September 13th, 2003

The Lab Report and the Cat Scan

"Don't be so humble - you are not that great."
- Golda Meir (1898-1978) to a visiting diplomat



Dear Folks,

Last week I suggested something in common between the Australian 'tall poppy syndrome,' and Sicilians with their traditional distrust of authority. Well, the Japanese also have a saying: "The tallest nail gets hammered down first". (Thanks to WaylandN.)

Special thanks to daughters Sara and Blaise for giving me some nice Father's Day presents this year: from Blaise - a hand knitted sky blue scarf and Father's Day card made from her own hand-made paper, and from Sara: The Southwest Hot Sauce 6-Pack, including Ass-Kickin' Original Hot Sauce, Ass-Kickin' Horseradish Hot Sauce, Ass-Kickin' Cajun Hot Sauce, Habanero Hot Sauce from Hell, and Habanero Hot Sauce from Hell - Devil's Revenge. I'm half way through the Cajun one and so far I'm very pleased! But I do get fed up with all this competitiveness between the various hot sauce companies as to whose is the hottest. They have festivals and everything to find the ultimate gastro-murder weapon. The hottest chilli dish I ever had was in a Texan roadstop cafe - a friendly local Mexican ordered me something from the kitchen he told me I would never forget. The cook brought me out a small dish of innocent looking home-grown Jalapeno peppers. I took a healthy bite out of one and immediately got a quarter inch blister on my lower lip. He was right: I never forgot it. But I think the real test of 'hot' isn't going in, but coming out. That's where the line in the sand is drawn. So to that end (pardon the pun) - and inspired by my two father's day presents, I have designed my own special formula Habanero Chili Handmade Toilet Paper, called 'The Devil's Sandpaper.' I will consider making this available on my website if demand warrants.

Barbie Deemed a Threat to Morality by Saudi Arabia's Religious Police


Saudi Arabia's religious police have declared Barbie dolls a threat to morality, complaining that the revealing clothes of the "Jewish" toy -- already banned in the kingdom -- are offensive to Islam. (more)

It's the US Treasury Bill, stupid . . .

"It is US treasury bills that have now effectively become the world's reserve currency - where once that reserve currency was neutral (gold)... It is this international financial system that makes the U.S. administration so arrogant in its refusal to 'adjust' its economy by cutting
spending and paying its way... It is this financial system which makes U.S. financiers so confident that the rest of the world will continue to finance their nation's extravagant spending binge. In the words of David Goldman, head of debt research at Bank of America Securities:
'America is at little risk for the foreseeable future, simply because the world's capital has nowhere else to go' (Wall Street Journal, 13 August 2003).
(thanks to The Daily Reckoning)


(This is a great resource for anyone interested in the origin of words.)

Example: Iran/Aryan

Aryan - 1601; as "the original Aryan language," 1847 (Arian was used in this sense 1839, but led to confusion with the tern in ecclesiastical history), from L. Ariana, from Gk. Aria name applied to various parts of western Asia, from Skt. Arya-s "noble, honourable, respectable," the name Sanskrit-speaking invaders of India gave themselves in the ancient texts, originally "belonging to the hospitable," from arya-s "lord, hospitable lord," originally "protecting the stranger," from ari-s "stranger." Ancient Persians gave themselves the same name (O.Pers. Ariya-), hence Iran (from Iranian eran, from Avestan gen. pl. airyanam). Used 1861 by Ger. philologist Max Müller (1823-1900) to refer to "worshippers of the gods of the Brahmans," it had been earlier applied (by Pritchard and Whitney) to a group of related, inflected languages, gradually replaced by Indo-European (attested from 1814); it came to be applied to the speakers of this language 19c., picked up in racist writings of M.A. de Gobineau, and used in Nazi ideology to mean "member of a Caucasian Gentile race of Nordic type." As an ethnic designation, however, it is properly limited to Indo-Iranians, and most justly to the latter. (Here)

DEAR SANTA I . . . . .

Bush Resignation Hailed by World Leaders
by Greg Palast. September 11, 2003

The surprise resignation of the forty-third President of the United States, George W. Bush, on the second anniversary of the terrorist attack on America, was hailed by chiefs of state throughout the world. Mr. Bush announced that after, "two years of bloodshed,
economic devastation, and spreading fear in America and abroad," he saw no choice but to accept that, "I have held a title which I did not win, and for which I have proven unqualified."

The text of the former President's September 11 address to the nation follows:

"My fellow Americans:

I come to you tonight with a heavy heart. Two years ago today, thousands of innocent Americans were murdered by terrorist maniacs. In the script I've been handed, I'm now supposed to tell you that America is safer today, and that the world is kinder and nicer and happier, because of I'm such a brilliant general in the War on Terror. But who are we kidding? Yesterday, Osama released his new hit video. The terrorists are having a picnic ever since I turned over our foreign policy to Saudi Arabia and Exxon-Mobil. And here's the point in my speech where my handlers would have me tell you about how I've been praying hard, making it sound like I just got off the phone with the Lord. I don't know about you, but I find it pretty darn offensive, downright blasphemous, to drag the Lord's name into every cheap campaign speech and chest-pounding war threat. Osama says he talks to God too. Let's leave Him out of the politics from now on, OK? Look, in my speech this past Sunday, I used the word "democracy" about 11 times when talking about Iraq. It's democracy Florida-style, I suppose. Except we're not fixing the vote this time we aren't letting these people vote at all. "Iraqis aren't prepared for democracy." That's what Dick Cheney and Saddam Hussein told me. So we're blowing 100 billion bucks we don't have to colonise a country we don't want. Rummy tries to explain it to me each morning -- oil this and oil that -- but I just don't see it. And one of our kids dying there every day - where are their parents, anyway? My dad didn't let that happen - he got me out of the service. Didn't I look neat in that fly-boy suit? And, let me tell you, I just looked at our nation's piggy bank. Uh-oh. When I arrived, the last guy left me $4 trillion and said, "Be careful with all that cash in this neighborhood." Well, I have to level with you, America: it's all gone. The cupboard's bare and this year alone we blew half a trillion more dollars than we have in our bank account. Man, I can't believe I went through all that dough stone sober. And what did we get for it? A Fatherland Security Department that's trying to read the labels on everyone's underpants. Think about it, all this Total Information Awareness KGB stuff: two years ago Americans were the victims - but my government has made Americans the suspects. I don't know about you, but this guy Ashcroft scares the bejeezus out of me. And today I'm told that over nine million Americans are out of work. That's not so bad: I haven't done much work in my lifetime either. But my mama explained to me that not everyone's daddy can lend them an oil well to tide them over. It's like I can't get anything right. The lights are going out in Ohio and the North Pole is melting. I don't get it. I appointed all those regulators that Ken Lay told me to, and I got rid of all the rules that got in the way of patriotic Polluter-Americans . and what's the upshot? America the Beautiful is looking like she's had a pretty rough night. Won't be long before the whole country smells like Houston. And now the stock market's floating face down in the swimming pool -- despite everything I've done for those guys on Wall Street. Even my plan to give every millionaire an extra million seems to have backfired. Greenspam says I've created "business risk." Says I spook investors. But when I asked Greenspam for a solution, all he did was hand me a bag of pretzels. Hey, I can take a hint. OK, I'm over my head on this one. I look back over these last years, and what have I got to show you for it: two years of bloodshed, economic devastation, and spreading fear in America and abroad. When I ran for this office, I said the issue was, "character." And just look at the characters around me. I've gotten all their resignations today. And while I've got some character left, here's my own good-bye note too. Let's face it: I have held a title which I did not win, and for which I have proven unqualified. You know it. And I know it. It's at this point in the speech where I'm supposed to say, "And may God bless America." God better, because Dick Cheney won't. Don't panic: I'm not turning over this sacred office to Mr. Contracts-R-Us. Instead, I've petitioned the United States Supreme Court to pick a President for us. Those guys picked the last one, why not the next one?

And so, my fellow Americans, you can take this job and . . ."

Here, Mr. Bush's words became unintelligible. As usual.

Korean Farmer Takes Own Life Amid Protests in Cancún

"Fish will not live where water is too clear. But if there is some duckweed or something, the fish will hide under its shadow and thrive. Thus, the people will live in tranquillity if certain matters are a bitover looked or left unheard." Yamamoto, Hagakure 24
(thanks to Rupert Guntner)

September 10, 2003

Today in Cancún, Kyung Hae Lee, a 56-year old South Korean farmer, died after stabbing himself in protest of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a global trading institution that has been leaving farmers hopeless and desperate, and silently killing them the world over.

Lee was among the 120 Korean farmers who courageously rammed a dragon structure into the chain-linked fence barricade heavily armed with police and military separating civil society from the official trade meeting. After the barricade fell, Lee climbed to the top and stabbed himself in the chest. He was rushed to the hospital and died soon after.

Lee's sacrifice underscores the urgent plight he and small farmers around the world face under the current negotiations on agriculture. "He believes that if the negotiations go through, it will be the death of the Korean farmer," said a colleague with the Korea Peoples' Solidarity Movement. Lee joined the thousands of farmers who traveled continents to protest the dead end that the WTO presents, signaling to the rest of the world that he was willing to sacrifice his own life--thousands of miles away from his family and his people--instead of silently suffocating under the harsh rules of the WTO.

His death today falls symbolically on Chusok, one of the largest national Korean holidays where family and friends gather to give thanks to their ancestors for the food they have harvested.

Support Food First!

Your tax-deductible donation to Food First helps us continue to challenge the dominance of corporate and international financial institutions at the expense of millions of poor people both here in the U.S. and worldwide. This is your opportunity to invest in critical analysis and education for action.

Click on the link below to join or donate to Food First.
(thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)


(Question to Miss USA contestant: If you could live forever, would you and why?)
"I would not live forever, because we should not live  forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we  would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever,"
--Miss Alabama, 1994 Miss USA contest. (note: Sweetie, could you pass the mashed potatoes, please?)

"Whenever I watch TV and see those poor starving kids all over the world, I can't help but cry.  I mean I'd love to be skinny like that, but not with all those flies and death and stuff."
--Mariah Carey (note: Better hold those mashed potatoes, mom.)

"Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life,"
--Brooke Shields, during an interview to become Spokesperson for federal antismoking campaign. (note: Some might say the most important part, Brooke honey.)

"I've never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body," --Winston Bennett, University of Kentucky basketball forward. (note: I think the knee surgery on Winston's brainpan was successful.)

"Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
--Mayor Marion Barry, Washington, DC. (note: Mayor Marion, the excessive littering of bullet cartridges should be looked at.)

"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." --Hillary Clinton commenting on the release of subpoenaed documents. (note: Monica Lewinski might disagree with you there, Hills.)

"That lowdown scoundrel deserves to be kicked to death by a jackass, and I'm just the one to do it," --A congressional candidate in Texas. (note: This sounds like the guy that gave me the dish of Jalapenos.)

"Half this game is ninety percent mental." --Philadelphia Phillies manager, Danny Ozark (note: And the other half are the ten percent mental patient managers. )

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment.  It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." --Al Gore, Vice President (note: Biodegradable sentences might help, Al.)

" It's no exaggeration to say that the undecided could go one way or another"--George Bush, US President (note: There is a third option but George W's not ready to make up his mind about that yet.)

"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"--Lee Iacocca (note: 'Anyway, don't we have the fresh air button standard in the Chrysler? ')

"I was provided with additional input that was radically different from the truth. I assisted in furthering that version." --
Colonel Oliver North, from his Iran-Contra testimony. (note: Pretty much in the same way that Pinocchio assisted in furthering his nose.)

"The word "genius" isn't applicable in football.  A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." --Joe Theisman, NFL football quarterback & sports analyst. (note: Norman was Albert's hippie cousin who invented the prototype formula: E = LC squared - which produced an odour somewhere between rotten eggs and sulfur and was an effective and non-violent method of clearing elevators in military buildings. )

"We don't necessarily discriminate. We simply exclude certain  types of people."--Colonel Gerald Wellman, ROTC Instructor. (note: In other words, we just simply criminate.)

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure." -
Bill Clinton, President (note: We also run the risk of not being selected for the Mensa Board, Bill.)

"We are ready for an unforeseen event that may or may not occur." --  Al Gore, VP (note: Al, it either will or it won't - the future is not ours to posteriorate, son.)

"Traditionally, most of Australia's imports come from overseas." --
Keppel Enderbery (note: The rest are locally produced.)

"Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away.  May God bless you.  You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances." --   Department of Social Services, Greenville, South Carolina (note: Dear Dept of Social Services, That'll be ok 'cause I ain't eating much lately.)

"If somebody has a bad heart, they can plug this jack in at night  as they go to bed and it will monitor their heart  throughout the night. And the next morning, when they  wake up dead, there'll be a record."--Mark S. Fowler, FCC Chairman (note: And I'm sure that that record forms part of Mr Fowler's CV.)
(thanks to Doug Ashdown for the quotes, but I'm the one to blame for the notes.)

DEAR SANTA II . . . . .

The Eroscillator oscillates up to 60 times per second, providing a totally unique, gentle motion which moves naturally and softly from side to side rather than up and down like an ordinary vibrator. The sensation is radically different. (more , including The French Legionnaire's Mustache!)

"Outside of a dog, a book is probably man's best friend; inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx


Limp Parrot

A woman brought a very limp parrot into a veterinary surgery. As she  lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened  to the bird's chest. After a moment or two the vet shook his head sadly and  said "I'm sorry, Polly has passed away". The distressed owner wailed "Are you sure? I mean you haven't done any  testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or  something". The vet rolled his eyes, shrugged, turned and left the room returning  a  few moments later with a beautiful black Labrador. As the bird's  owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the dead parrot from top to bottom.  He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.  The vet led the dog out but returned a few moments later with a cat. The cat jumped up and also sniffed delicately at the ex-bird. The cat sat back, shook its head, meowed and ran out of the room. The vet looked  at  the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but like I said your parrot is most definitely 100%, certifiably...dead.   He then turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a  bill which he handed to the woman. The parrot's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried. $150 just to tell me my bird is dead?' The vet shrugged. "If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would only have been $20, but with the Lab report and the Cat Scan....."
(thanks to Maireid Sullivan)

"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of some weird religious cult." -Rita Rudner

Vigyan Bhairava Tantra "Zen Flesh Zen Bones" 52
(thanks to Ramon Sender)

FUN multi-media

Awesome Japanese Ping Pong Movement Piece
Ping here!


' (Australians) shoot and eat the two animals that are on our National
Crest. No other country has this distinction. '
(thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)


An simple variation of Oysters Kilpatrick - substituting pancetta for bacon.

1 dozen fresh oysters, on the half shell
chunk of nice pancetta, chopped finely
worchester sauce
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper

Heat the grill. Place the oysters in a tray that will fit under the griller close to the flame.
Place a 1/2 teasp of worchester sauce, some salt, pepper and cayenne pepper, and a teaspoon of the finely chopped pancetta over each oyster and grill until the pancetta is browned. Serve with sliced lemon.


"Res ipsa loquitor"
(The thing speaks for itself)

1 can cold Victoria Bitter Beer
1 cup flour
1 egg yolk
2 egg whites
1 tble sugar
salt, pepper, & cayenne pepper

4-5 fillets of flathead or flake, cut in 2-3 inch pieces
oil for deep frying

Place flour in bowl. Mix in enough beer to make a smooth batter. (Drink the rest. This is the important difference from using plain water.) Add egg yolk, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper and mix well. Set aside. Heat oil until hot enough for deep frying. Whip egg whites until peaks form. Fold into batter until smooth. Dip fish in batter and shake off excess. Deep fry in oil until golden. Drain. Serve with lemon.



The key to the flavour of fried green tomatoes is frying them in bacon fat. Not particularly a health food kind of thing but if you want to make them authentically (and this goes for just about everything that grandmas make: remember they always put in a lot of salt, sugar, white flour, butter, oil and fat in those oldcountry dishes - all the: 'not-good but oh-so-GOOD' things! That's one of the reasons we can't make things taste the way they did - we're too timid to COMMIT! - Apple Strudel just doesn't taste as good with Whole Wheat Concrete Mix and Stinkweed Blossom Honey. Sorry. So you want health? Or you want to EAT? You can't have your bellybutton ring and see it too.)

For this classic soul food dish, I thought I'd mix it up Italia-style once again and use Guanciale (air-cured pig's cheek) for the base flavour, rather than bacon fat. (more about Guanciale in the RECIPE INDEX.)

4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup  flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
guanciale, chopped into small chunks.

Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.
Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat. Put in the fridge for 15 minutes.
In a large skillet, fry the guanciale until the fat is rendered (enough so that there is 1/4 inch of fat in the pan) - remove the crispy chunks and set aside. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels. Serve with the crispy bits on top. Great with your favourite hot sauce six-pack.


1/4 finely sliced cabbage
1 large peeled and grated carrot
two finely chopped cloves of garlic
1 tble sugar
salt, pepper
finely chopped parsely

Mix the garlic in with about a half cup of mayonaisse. Mix the cabbage and carrot together in a bowl. Add the mayonaisse, salt, pepper, sugar and cayenne pepper to taste. Add more mayonnaise if necessary. Mix thoroughly. Sprinkle parsley over the top and cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until ready to eat.

Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.
--Albert Einstein (or was that Norman?)