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October 16th, 2004

Same Circus, Different Clowns

"If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democratic."
Harry Truman

Dear Voters,

I know a lot of readers are slightly miffed that John Howard has been re-elected for another four years as Prime Miniscule of Australia. Even though I voted for the Labourious candidate, I don't feel that bad. Why? Because both of them were pretty much of a muchness - and besides, you can bet John Howard will fetch for Massa Kerry, the same as he done for Massa Bush. As someone who passed me in the voting queue sighed, ' Same circus, different clowns.'
Perhaps next year the Australian Labourious Party and the Australian Greens-with-Envy Party will see fit to join forces in a more intelligent way and form a powerful Coaliposuction, thereby draining the Excess Lethargy clogging the National Artery.

But now in the centre ring, ladies and gents, in the U.C.A. - (The United Circustents of America) - removing ClaraBush, the Cross-Eyed Texas Rodeo Clown, from his Big Barrel, should be the urgent concern. (And I should know about clowns, folks, as my friend, folksinger, Jonathan Edwards, once told my brother, I had the mind of Einstein and the personality of Emmet Kelly.)


Every megabyte sent over the Internet takes two lumps of coal to power.

Favourite Weekly Porn Spam Subject Heading
From: Bartholemew J. QuatraGusti Subject: Suck My C*ck Through This Pizza

Favourite Reader Feedback of the Week

Dear Joe,
Here we bloody go again.  Racist Australians according to OZ. Victor V.  couldn't handle backyard gardens.   I am 5th generation Australian, my father and grandfather (both Australian of several generations-(no genealogy research then so they considered no other heritage)--- had back yard gardens (back in the fifties) and grew Tomatoes, beans, peas, carrots, parsnips etc.  I should know, I had to walk the streets with a wheelbarrow and fork and pick up any cow manure I could find to bring home for fertilizer. That was embarrassing for me, part of the environment I grew up in and I am not BLAAAMING anybody.   My paternal grandfather made the Xmas pud in the old copper, every year along with about a dozen extra for family and friends, oh yes They were resplendent with 3 pences and 6 pences.  So we did have a few little traditions, like running 2 shilling sweeps amongst family and friends or in the pub or workplace, every Melbourne Cup Day. I got to know quite a few 1st generation Italian kids through my kids when they were young and I enjoy their sense of humour enormously  most of their parents who settled in this country have done very well thank you very much.   SO GIVE IT A REST FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
L.S. Perth

P.S.  My favourite meal is a Sunday roast lamb, gravy and roast potato and pumpkin, peas and cauliflower with white sauce.   I occasionally enjoy Spagg Bog or even a curry.

Hi Joe,
I see the spelling of karaoke comes into discussion in the newsletter. Don't know if anyone cares, but the word is derived from the japanese word kara meaning only, and their own version of the word orchestra 'oke'. Hence 'only orchestra', no singing supplied. Also, from my time in Japan (13 years ago - things may have changed), it was considered bad form to perform too well. Karaoke was seen as a way of exposing your soft underbelly. Cheers,
Peter H.

Favourite Newsletter Removal Request
: Please Gnaw Elsewhere.

An average of 100 people choke to death on ball point pens each year.

Bush on the Couch
By Justin Frank

Dr. Frank is the author of Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President (2004). He is a Washington, D.C.­based psychoanalyst and professor of psychiatry at George Washington University Medical School.

" . . . Bush was the first born child to a family that had long and moneyed traditions on both sides. When he was three and a half his sister Robin was born. It has been said that the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty" was written with the first-born child in mind. It seems to capture perfectly the irrevocable trauma felt with the second child is born: Nothing can put the first-born back together again. Of course, first-born offspring find different ways to manage this insult. Some can be suspicious and overly competitive; others can be overtly nice while covertly furious; still others always keep an eye on the second child, making sure he doesn't get too much. First-born children keep careful track of how much food mother gives to their siblings.

But if the second-born dies, as Robin did when George was seven, then an entirely new and complex dynamic is set in motion. The first-born often has to disown his destructive fantasies and banish them into his unconscious. But such fantasies threaten his mental equilibrium and he has to do something with them. One solution is to project them outward, thereby experiencing people around him as destructive or a source of danger. . . ." (article)

Many blindly follow Bush despite failings
Detroit Free Press

JOHN SOMMERS-FLANGAN, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and author on the faculty of the Counselor Education Department of the University of Montana in Missoula.

" I still feel stunned when a woman tells me she's returning to live with a man who recently broke her jaw. With her teeth clenched and mouth wired shut, she says she's going back, "because he loves me and I love him." Pardon me if I'm not bowled over by the magic of love. . " (article)

If the population of China walked past you in single file, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction.


Strangers on My Flight
(hear ol' blue eyes like you've never heard him before)

"Strangers on my flight,
turbans they're packin'.
Wonderin' if they might,
plan a hijacking.
They could pull a stunt,
before this flight is through . . " . (listen to song)

The little hole in the sink that lets the water drain out, instead of flowing over the side, is called a "porcelator."

Indians Against Christian Conversion

"Stop all conversions, it is the deadliest poison that ever sapped the fountain of truth." M.K. Gandhi

To the Pope,
We, the undersigned, demand that you immediately stop all efforts to convert other to Christianity. Missionary efforts sponsored, supported and funded by your church have lead to communal tensions, hatred and the murder of thousands of innocent civilians.

By supporting conversions, you also believe that Christianity cannot co-exist with any other religion in this world. In effect, your conversion efforts do not bring out the high moral values of religious tolerance and co-existence but of hatred and divisiveness. In essence, a conversion is an act of violence.

Therefore we demand that you apologize for the persecution by the church to people of all faiths and end immediately conversions.

The Undersigned

The strength of early lasers was measured in Gillettes, the number of blue razor blades a given beam could puncture.


A lonely older lady, aged 75, decided it was time to get married. She put a want ad in the local paper that read:
"HUSBAND WANTED. Must be in my age group, must not beat me, must not run around on me, and must still be good in bed! All applicants must apply in person."
On the second day of the ad she heard the doorbell ring. Much to her dismay, when she opened the door, there sat a man in a wheelchair. He had no arms or legs.
She asked sardonically "You're not expecting me to consider you, are you? Just look at you----you have no legs!"
The old man smiled, "Therefore no chance to run around on you!"
She snorted, "You have no arms either!"
Again the old man smiled. "Nor can I beat you!"
The old lady raised her eyebrows and gazed at him intensely.
"Are you still good in bed?" she asked.
The old man smirked and said, "I rang the doorbell, didn't I?"
(thanks to Anna Pavoll - Harvey High Class of '65)

Political Artists Awakening in Unprecedented Numbers
by Paul Chavez

 President Bush has unwittingly become a muse for a growing number of artists inspired by the war in Iraq and the upcoming presidential election to make political statements through their craft. Painters, sculptors, graffiti artists, guerrilla poster makers and aspiring artisans have been showing an unprecedented level of political outrage, said Carol Wells, director of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics in Los Angeles. . . (article)

Oprah Slaps Bush
With 30 states poised to smack down women's rights again, the one true saviour emerges
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

So there she was, the nation's most powerful and popular public female, kicking butt on a recent installment of her insanely beloved TV show with the help of celeb guests (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, P. Diddy, Christina Aguilera) and galvanizing stunned women across the nation to participate in this election, or else. There was Oprah, doing what she does so freakishly well, cheerleading and extolling and impressing upon, getting women up and getting them angry and demanding that they exercise their hard-won right to vote and demanding that they quit dissing their feminist ancestors, the ones who worked so damn hard for suffrage and for freedom of choice and for the right to tell powerful sexist Republican men where they can shove their repressive sexist antichoice bigotry. . . (article)



1. Democracy, Tradition Collide as Afghan Women Try to Vote
 By Sudarsan Raghavan
 Knight Ridder Newspapers

  ISTALEF, Afghanistan - Samerra said she wanted to vote for Masoda Jalal, the only Afghan woman running in Saturday's historic presidential elections, because she "would fight for more rights for women." But Samerra's father didn't agree with her choice. He ordered her to vote for Yunus Qanooni, an ethnic Tajik like him. Samerra's protests went unheard. . .
. . . ."We don't allow our women to vote," said Mohammad Aslan, 20, over hot tea and bread in his two-story mud-walled house. "The Quran (Islam's holy book) doesn't allow women to vote. I have five uncles, and they don't allow their women to vote. . . ."

2. Bush AWOL As 250 World Leaders Reaffirm Women's Rights

WASHINGTON - With the notable exception of U.S. President George W. Bush, more than 250 global leaders, including former President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, reaffirmed their commitment to a ten-year-old UN plan to ensure the rights of women around the world . . . (article)

3. The Genius of Wangari Maathai
by Anna Lappé and Frances Moore Lappé

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts - Several prominent Norwegians have questioned the Nobel Committee for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Wangari Maathai. Why honor environmental activism in an era when war, terrorism and nuclear proliferation are even more urgent problems?
Government foresters laughed at her idea of enlisting villagers; it took trained foresters to plant trees, they told her. Because she didn't listen, today Kenya has 30 million more trees, all planted by village women.
Maathai's genius is in recognizing the interrelation of local and global problems, and the fact that they can only be addressed when citizens find the voice and courage to act. Maathai saw in the Green Belt Movement both a good in itself, and a way in which women could discover they were not powerless in the face of autocratic husbands, village chiefs and a ruthless president. . .


A wealthy man was having an affair with an Italian woman for several years. One night, during one of their rendezvous, she confided in him that she was pregnant. Not wanting to ruin his reputation or his marriage, he paid her a large sum of money if she would go to Italy to secretly have the child. If she stayed in Italy to raise the child, he would also provide child support
until the child turned 18. She agreed, but asked how he would know when the baby was born. To keep it discrete, he told her to simply mail him a post card, and write "Spaghetti" on the back. He would then arrange for child support payments to begin.

One day, about 9 months later, he came home to his confused wife. "Honey," she said, "you received a very strange post card today." "Oh, just give it to me and I'll explain it later," he said. The wife obeyed, and watched as her husband read the card, turned white, and fainted. On the card was written: "Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti. Two with meatballs, one without."
(thanks to Kathy Dolce Gentiluomo)



Israeli who shot girl, 13, in Gaza is suspended
From Ian MacKinnon ,in Jerusalem

AN ISRAELI army company commander has been suspended from duty while superiors investigate claims that he fired 20 bullets into the prostrate body of a 13-year-old Palestinian girl. . .
. . . Iman was shot dead as she walked to school near an Israeli sentry post on the Philadelphi Road in the Tel al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah. Soldiers in the unit said they feared that her school bag contained a bomb, though later no device was discovered.
As she approached she was fired on, and dropped the bag and ran. She was hit by a number of shots from a range of about 70 metres (77 yards) and fell. The commander, in charge of about 60 men, then approached the girl who may already have been dead and shot her twice more at close range. He moved back to his troops but then returned to the girl, set his rifle to automatic and emptied the clip of bullets into her body.
The soldiers under his command said they yelled to him over the radio: "Don't shoot, she's a little girl", but to no avail. "We saw her from a distance of about 70 metres," one of the soldiers said. "She was fired at . . . from the outpost. She fled and was wounded. I understood that she was dead. The commander neared her and shot two bullets at her, returned toward the force, turned back to her, put the weapon on automatic and emptied his entire clip.
"We were in shock. We held our heads. We couldn't believe what he'd done. Our hearts ached for her. She was just a 13-year-old girl. How could you spray a girl from close range? He was anxious for a long time to take out some terrorists and shot the girl to relieve the pressure." (article)


Cats can hear ultrasound.


'Humpty Dumpty' Egg Foo Yung, with Sausage Gravy

I first had this dish in a Chinese restaurant when I lived in Cambridge when I was about 22 years old. I was in a band, (with Jonathan Edwards,) at the time called 'The Headstone Circus,' (later renamed, unfortunately, 'Sugarcreek'.) I used to love to spend a lot of daytime hours sitting under the trees in the Cambridge University common and write unrequited love poems - and I would have Egg Foo Yung for lunch about three times a week, to help ease the torments, I guess. I have never had it since. I don't know why, but just the other day, the recipe came back to me, complete in every detail. I prepared it and it tasted pefectly the way I remembered! (Maybe all that lost love has finally been requited.)

500 grams of bean sprouts
4 eggs, beaten
2 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal
1 chicken breast
1 Italian pork sausage, casing removed, and minced with a fork
some chicken stock
2 tablespoons flour
half onion, finely chopped
fresh parsley and coriander, finely chopped
1 shitake mushroom, chopped finely and sauted in a little butter
olive oil for frying
salt & pepper

First make a little chicken stock for the gravy. Cut up the chicken breast in medium size pieces and simmer in water until the chicken is soft enough to break apart. Remove the chicken from the stock and set the stock aside. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tear into shreds. Mix the chicken, the bean sprouts, the eggs, the spring onions, the fresh herbs, the mushrooms, and the salt and pepper together to make an coarse omelette batter. Rest in the fridge while you make the gravy.

Place some oil in a pan and when hot, cook the onions until soft. Add the sausage mince and fry. When the sausage is cooked, remove from pan and set aside. Add the flour to the four tablespoons of the pan fat and cook for a minute. Slowly add the chicken stock until you have a smooth gravy. Add the sausage mince, the salt and pepper, and stir over low heat. Keep adding just enough water to keep the gravy smooth and when it ready, remove from the heat while you cook the omelette patties.

Place a little olive oil in a skillet, and when it is hot, add enough of the omelette mixture to make 3-4 medium sized patties. When they are golden on one side, flip over and cook on the other side.

Place two Egg Foo Yung patties on a plate and spoon the sausage gravy over the top, with fresh cordiander on the side.


This evening, the sturdy Levi's
I wore every day for over a year
& which seemed to the end
in perfect condition,
suddenly tore.
How or why I don't know,
but there it was: a big rip at the crotch.
A month ago my friend Nick
walked off a racquetball court,
got into his street clothes,
& halfway home collapsed & died.
Take heed, you who read this,
& drop to your knees now & again
like the poet Christopher Smart,
& kiss the earth & be joyful,
& make much of your time,
& be kindly to everyone,
even to those who do not deserve it.
For although you may not believe
it will happen,
you too will one day be gone,
I, whose Levi's ripped at the crotch
for no reason,
assure you that such is the case.
Pass it on.

~ Steve Kowit ~
 (The Dumbbell Nebula)