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October 21st, 2005

Granny Lalla's Letters to the Lovelorn

I didn't trust it for a moment,
but I drank it anyway,
the wine of my own poetry.

It gave me the daring to take hold
of the darkness and tear it down
and cut it into little pieces.


Dear Grannychildren,

This week, I have included some of the writings of LALLA, from the translations by Coleman Barks, in Naked Song. Lalla Arifa, born in 1335 AD, is still a controversial figure. The Hindus regard her as the reincarnate, whereas the Muslims, a perfect mystic saint. Lalla Arifa was lost in spiritual wonderment; walked about naked; fought against her self; and renounced the world. Her teachings gave a new lease of life to thousands of people. She was a poet and sang of spiritual and divine bliss. Both Kashmiri Hindus AND Muslims affectionately call her "Mother Lalla" or "Granny Lalla".


Favourite Reader Comments of the Week

Happy birthday Joe,
God bless your big toe.
More power to your elbow.
I hope it doesn't snow.
Turn the lights down low
And when the moon's aglow
Take a flight to Tokyo
Where a lovelorn buffalo
Will serenade you with a slow
But tuneful tremolo,
Adagio, pianissimo
On elegent oboe
Made in Mexico.
While you sip a ripe Bordeaux,
And stain your mustachio,
With shades of indigo
And the icepacks overflow
To drown the seeds of woe.
Happy birthday Joe.
kath tait


Hi Joe,

Read your comments on The Proposition ..... I understand as a creative person you pass a more critical eye over the work....It would be the same if I saw another psychologist working, I would have a lot to say more than likely. I enjoyed the film.....but perhaps this is one of the advantages of being an average punter. I'm able to go and enjoy entertainment for entertainment's sake. During the film, I was very aware of the cliches. The film was laden with them. Having very little opportunities to go to the movies, I was determined not to let my thinking get caught up with the preoccupation of Nick Cave just bundling together a whole lot of work that's already been done..... that would have denied me of a good afternoon's entertainment. As a result, I enjoyed the film, enjoyed the cinematography, enjoyed the characters and the acting, enjoyed the music and even enjoyed the 'whispering'.... I suspect Nick Cave knows exactly what he's doing....In terms of its historical accuracy, I'm not sure that anyone takes that on board.....just as people don't watch John Wayne films for their accuracy (or do they?)....
As for the constant references to his past drug use......I think that was a pretty long time ago now. God knows, someone likes him....those suits look pretty goddamned expensive to me......am at work and there have been fun animated discussions about The Proposition .....some like it some not so much....it seems that the one musician and the some time actor amongst us here liked it less....we conclude that perhaps those like me (non actors, musicians, film-makers etc) have the critical faculties that the rest of us don't have.....anyways ... perhaps that is why Andrew, you and others....saw 'through' it and hence didn't enjoy..... unlike me .... Have passed your newsletter to one of those who agreed with your thoughts here in the office ... hope that is okay.

(Note: Thanks for writing and for your perspective, Sara. In return, here's a photo you might like.)


Dear Joe,
Was interested to see your song, 'Shaddup..' listed on ABC TV's 'Spicks and Specks' music quiz program as one of the world's worst pop songs. I don't remember where it came in. I think the Bee Gee's 'Spicks and Specks' should get a rating on that list itself.

(Note: Dear Bewildered: once again, whenever you see a 'poll' like this in the media, remember that it is primarily a promotion for the program that runs it - and not much more. The 'sampling' is usually taken from such objective and diverse sources as office staff and the catering service. Wagner once said that unless someone has the ability to DO what you do, they have no AUTHORITY to criticize it. Let's see if 'Spicks and Specks' is around in 25 years (that's 2030) to conduct further polls. 'Shaddap' is celebrating its Silver Anniversary and continues to be recorded by other artists (the most recent being a Papua New Guinean 'pidgin' version, called, 'Pasim Pes Bilong Yu,' by The Breeze Band,) and remains relevant and talked about, not because it is primarily loved, or hated, but because opinion is STILL divided (exactly as it was in 1980) - and is therefore still controversial.
Parable: Tradition has it that Lalla left thome, and her marriage, at 24 to become a student of the Hindu teacher, Sed Bayu. It was then also that she began to ignore conventional standards of dress and to wander in a state of ecstatic clarity. One morning as children were making fun of her nakedness, a cloth merchant scolded their disrespect. Lalla asked him for two strands of cloth equal in weight. That day as she walked about, she wore a piece of cloth over each shoulder, and as she met with respect or scorn, she tied knots in one or the other. In the evening she came back to the merchant and asked him to weight the cloth again. The scales swung in balance, of course, no matter how the cloth was knotted. Praise and blame have no substance of their own.)

Naked Song of Lalla 2

Let them throw their curses.
If inside, I am connected
to what's true, my soul
stays quiet and clear.

Do you think Shiva worries
what people say?

If a few ashes fall on a mirror,
use them to polish it.

Dear Joe,
I've been singing "[My Home Ain't in the] Hall of Fame" to myself since I heard [Jonathan Edward's] version of it in the early '70s. Just found your website and wanted to thank you for a wonderful song that I have always admired. A few years ago I finally picked up a guitar and learned (with great difficulty) to strum a few chords. Even wrote a song about being musically challenged. [Your] song inspired me to keep playing no matter what other's said of my talent. Thank you.
Bob H.


Naked Song of Lalla 3

I went everywhere with longing
in my eyes, until here
in my own house

I felt truth
filling my sight.


Favourite Reviews of the Week

"His name was Giuseppe de Bonano, a gelato ice-cream vendor from Naples. Giuseppe closed up his Neapolitan shop early one afternoon and arrived home to find his wife banging the local postman. In a fit of rage, he shot il postino and his wife, and then stowed away in the hold of a prune ship bound for Boston. Upon arrival, he immediately signed up for the cavalry and was assigned to Fort Lincoln on the Rosebud River, then under the command of one General George Armstrong Custer. Custer, impressed by Giuseppe's handlebar moustache and trumpet noodling, ordained him as the company bugler. What Custer didn't know was that Giuseppe knew only seven words of English, namely 'Shaddupa You Face,' and "Vanilla, chocolate or strawberry?' " Mike Morgan

"What's your customer-care philosophy?"
"I'm a strong believer in a customer-orientated, outward-facing confrontationalist theory, inspired by Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'.
Scary Duck


Naked Song of Lalla 4

Fame is water
carried in a basket.

Hold the wind in your fist
or tie up an elephant
with one hair.

These are accomplishments
that will make you famous.


Inventor Denies Using Dead Cats for Fuel

BERLIN - A German inventor said he has developed a method to produce crude oil products from waste that he believes can be an answer to the soaring costs of fuel, but denied a German newspaper story implying he also used dead cats.

Christian Koch, an inventor and patent holder of the "KDV 500" that he said produces high quality fuel, said he can transform waste products such as paper, rubbish and plastic materials into fuel.

But Koch, 55, said there was no truth to stories published in Bild newspaper on Tuesday and Wednesday that suggested he used dead cats as part of the mix for his organic diesel fuel.

"I use paper, plastics, textiles and rubbish," Koch told Reuters.

"It's an alternative fuel that is friendly for the environment. But it's complete nonsense to suggest dead cats. I've never used cats and would never think of that. At most, the odd toad may have jumped in." (boom boo. . err, . . . ribbet ribbet.) (article)


Naked Song of Lalla 5

If you ride the breath
and keep it under control,

hunger and thirst and other wantings
will not be dangerous to you.

Being skilled with that bridle
is a great blessing.



FACTNet continues to be the #1 most visited Internet web site for information on destructive cults and fundamentalist groups as well as mind control.

A Quick Overview of the Tactics of Unethical and Destructive Psychological Influence

We do not allow others see us enter our PIN numbers into ATM machines. We tell our children not to accept candy from strangers. We advise our teenagers on safe sexual practices. We proactively protect our computers from viruses. We stop at traffic lights. Yet there are some things that our parents cannot tell us. There are occasions where we only learn by first getting hurt. Nevertheless, we have the capacity to inform ourselves through written records and oral traditions.

FACTNet focuses on protecting freedom of mind and thought from harms caused by all forms of unethical influence found in destructive cults or fundamentalist groups. FACTNet makes this information freely available so that people do put themselves in harm's way.

There are warning signs. There are red flags. For example, if one reads carefully through the list below, one can correlate what one is reading to what one experiences in everyday life. We all experience some of these things to varying degrees. In our religious organizations, our work environments, our political systems and even our marriages.

The following tactics are some that are used to create undue psychological and social influence, often by means involving anxiety and stress, fall into seven main categories:

TACTIC 1: Increase suggestibility and "soften up" the individual through specific hypnotic or other suggestibility-increasing techniques such as: Extended audio, visual, verbal, or tactile fixation drills, Excessive exact repetition of routine activities or indoctrination, Sleep restriction and/or Nutritional restriction.

TACTIC 2: Establish control over the person's social environment, time and sources of social support by a system of often-excessive rewards and punishments. Social isolation is promoted. Contact with family and friends is abridged, as is contact with persons who do not share group-approved attitudes. Economic and other dependence on the group is fostered.

TACTIC 3: Prohibit disconfirming information and non supporting opinions in group communication. Rules exist about permissible topics to discuss with outsiders. Communication is highly controlled. An "in-group" language is usually constructed.

TACTIC 4: Make the person re-evaluate the most central aspects of his or her experience of self and prior conduct in negative ways. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine the subject's basic consciousness, reality awareness, world view, emotional control and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her life's history and adopt a new version of causality.

TACTIC 5: Create a sense of powerlessness by subjecting the person to intense and frequent actions and situations which undermine the person's confidence in himself, his understanding of reality and his judgment.

TACTIC 6: Create strong aversive emotional arousals in the subject by use of nonphysical punishments such as intense humiliation, loss of privilege, social isolation, social status changes, intense guilt, anxiety, manipulation and other techniques.

TACTIC 7: Intimidate the person with the force of group-sanctioned secular psychological threats. For example, it may be suggested or implied that failure to adopt the approved attitude, belief or consequent behavior will lead to severe punishment or dire consequences such as physical or mental illness, the reappearance of a prior physical illness, drug dependence, economic collapse, social failure, divorce, disintegration, failure to find a mate, eternal suffering etc. (website)


Naked Song of Lalla 6

Your face is beautiful,
but your loving is cold.

Your tongue is tired of saying
sacred words over and over,

and your fingers, you've worked them
to the nub copying texts,

but the rage stored inside you
has found no way to leave.




Most zombie movies have neglected to provide an explanation as to how or why the dead have become reanimated and attack the living. But the Living Dead trilogy has made some effort at explaining this event. This page contains a further discussion on this issue and, based on information from the series, I have outlined the known zombie traits and biological characteristics. I will also attempt to provide a realistic explanation for the reanimation, although coming up with a conclusive explanation may be impossible. Please note that these ideas involved a great deal of conjecture and hypothesis, and may not necessarily reflect the views of others. (Ed Note: Especially fundamentalist zombies.)

Known Behavioural Characteristics

* Zombies primarily crave human flesh.
* They will consume living or freshly killed bodies.
* Zombies have also been known to consume other living organisms although this is irregular.
* Zombies appear to be able to discern the difference between another zombie and a living human based on sight only.
* Zombies will not attack each other although they have been known to fight over food.
* Zombies often frequent places they are familiar with from their normal life.
* Zombies may be quite weak in the initial stages of reanimation. In Night and Dawn, generally people could run in amongst them without much danger.
* They seem to increase in strength over time. By Day of the Dead, people are not so capable of breaking free from them once a zombie has hold of you. They are also capable of tearing apart a human being with apparent ease. In Day of the Dead, the zombies were strong enough to tear a man in half and tear a man's head off.
* Zombies retain some knowledge or memories from past lives.
* A dead body will rise within a few hours unless the brain is destroyed.
* Zombies appear largely incapable of normal speech. Some specimens have retained very rudimentary ability in this area.
(Ed Note: Hmmmm? Sound like anyone we know?) (website)


Naked Song of Lalla 7

Unconscious people read the scriptures
like parrots saying Ram, Ram,
in their cages.

It's all pretend-knowedge.
Read rather, with me, every
living moment as prophecy.



~~~~~~~~~~~~ Humourous Interlude ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"So who were those faggots?"
Muhammed Ali, on meeting the Beatles and posing for photos with them in the early 1960s.





Cardinal Wants Eastern, Western Churches to Reunite

VATICAN CITY (Oct. 10) - A Roman Catholic cardinal on Monday suggested that Pope Benedict try to arrange a worldwide meeting of bishops from the Catholic and Orthodox Churches with the long-term aim of reunification after nearly a thousand years of schism. Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Ukraine made the proposal during a speech to a synod of Roman Catholic bishops meeting at the Vatican on the theme of the Eucharist, the communion bread and wine which both Catholic and Orthodox faithful believe are the body and blood of Christ.
"If the Eucharist is the source of life in the Church and we both have it, why are we not united?" Husar told the synod, according to a priest briefing reporters. Husar suggested that such a synod of bishops from both Catholic and Orthodox Churches would help the cause of unification. The Orthodox Churches split from Rome in the Great Schism of 1054. Relations between the two churches have been particularly tense since the break-up of the former Soviet Union in 1991.The Russian Orthodox Church, the largest in worldwide Orthodoxy, has accused Catholics of using new-found freedoms to woo converts away in countries of the former Soviet Union. The Vatican has rejected accusations of so-called "soul poaching" as unfounded. Worldwide orthodoxy, which is organised under national churches, has a total of some 220 million members, compared to 1.1 billion Roman Catholics.Since he became pope, Benedict has said he wants to make Christian unity a hallmark of his papacy, calling several times for renewed dialogue with Orthodox Christians, Protestants and Anglicans. (article)


Naked Song of Lalla 8

If you're wise, be foolish.
If you can see, squint.

Though you can hear, sit
dumb as an old rock.

Whatever anyone says,
listen and agree.

This is a friendly practice,
and it leads to some truth.



What is a bright?
* A bright is a person who has a naturalistic worldview
* A bright's worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements
* The ethics and actions of a bright are based on a naturalistic worldview

Reason and Purpose

Currently the naturalistic worldview is insufficiently expressed within most cultures, even politically/socially repressed. To be a Bright (someone who fits the definition and registers on this Web site) is to participate in a movement to address the situation. There is a great diversity of persons who have a naturalistic worldview. Some are members of existing organizations that foster a supernatural-free perspective. Far more individuals are not associated with any formal group or label. Under the broad umbrella of the naturalistic worldview, the constituency of Brights can undertake social and civic actions designed to influence a society otherwise permeated with supernaturalism. Are You a Bright? (website)
(thanks to Ian Burns)


Naked Song of Lalla 9

For a moment I saw a beautiful moving river.
Then a vast water with no means of crossing it.

For a moment, I saw a bush full of opening buds.
Then no roses, no thorns, nothing.

For a moment I saw a busy cooking fire.
Then no hearth, no smoke, no flame.

I saw the great mother of kings, Kunti.
Then, the next moment, sitting here, is
the helpless old aunt of the potter's wife.





No Combat for Grannies Full of Fight
By Clyde Haberman
New York Times

To use a hand-me-down phrase from a more gallant time, they were women of a certain age. More precisely, they were women of a certain age in an uncertain age. They were not kids, that's for sure, these women who went yesterday to the armed forces recruiting station in Times Square. Ostensibly, they were there to enlist. Send them to Iraq, they said. They've led long lives, long enough to have grandchildren, even great-grandchildren. Better, they said, to put them in harm's way than young people just starting out.
"I'm a double grandmother," said Betty Brassell, who is 75 and lives on the Lower East Side. "I have a great-grandson. I'm sorry, I forgot to bring his picture."
  First in line was Joan Wile, 74. She carried a bucket of cookies. Behind her was Marie Runyon, a former state assemblywoman who has fought more left-wing battles than AARP has members. At 90, Ms. Runyon can barely see, but that did not stop her from banging on the booth's door, to the right of the poster of Uncle Sam pointing and saying, "I Want You."  "You" did not include her.
"Are you hard of hearing?" Ms. Runyon hollered at the young men inside. "Let's get cracking here. We want to enlist. What's the matter with you?" (article)


Naked Song of Lalla 10

When you eat too much,
you forget your truth,

and fasting makes you conceited,
so eat with some discipline,
and consciously. Be
an ordinary human being.

Then the door will open,
and you'll recognize the way.
Lalla, be moderate!



Granny's Candied Rose Petals


Beat one egg-white in a small bowl. Sprinkle a layer of castor sugar on a small plate. Wash and pat dry some organically grown rose petals, removing the discoloured ones, and snipping away any hard, yellow ends. Dip the rose petals first in egg-white, then in castor sugar so they are coated on both sides. Dry them on a rack and store the candied petals on wax paper, each layer separated by a paper towel or piece of cheesecloth. Use for decorating Rose Petal Ice Cream, a birthday cake or any dessert.


Naked Song of Lalla 11

I, Lalla, entered the jasmine garden,
where Shiva and Shaki were making love.

I dissolved into them,
and what is this to me, now?

I seem to be here,
but really I'm walking
in the jasmine garden.

~ Lalla ~
from Naked Song, translated by Coleman Barks,
Maypop Books, Athens, GA 1992






Naked Song of Lalla 12

In this state there is no Shiva,
nor any Holy union.

Only a somewhat something moving
dreamlike on a fading road. . . .