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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

30 April 2005

Veterans of Stupid Wars

My bestest friend JdP recently told me he is unimpressed with Vleeptron, which he says is nothing more than a whole bunch of my old stale rants. He hurt my self-esteem. I have left instructions with Vleeptron Homeland Equanimity & Justice that if he ever shows up at the Akira Kurosawa Zeta Beam Drome, he is to be relieved of his travellers checques, forced to withdraw his life's savings from the ATM, old motor oil will be poured all over him, and he will be shoved back in the ZB Kiosk and sent to Chester, Pennsylvania.

Also this bum has been to Tierra del Fuego, and I have not. He says they sell a lot of nifty t-shirts and tourist souvenirs after the 7-hour bus trip south from Buenos Aires. Soy muy verde con envy.

Last year I took my beloved website into the backyard and shot and buried it. It was starting to rot and smell bad, and a woman started writing me nasty e-mails telling me I was Evil because I had made a narrative collage, "The Cowboy and the Dutch Tulip Girl," which included an FBI wanted poster I stole from the Post Office of a middle-aged CPA and bank embezzler who deserted his wife and children and probably ran off to Paraguay with Anika, and is still missing. He wears thick glasses. The FBI considers him unarmed and undangerous.

As through this life you wander
You meet some funny men
Some rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen
-- "Pretty Boy Floyd," Woody Guthrie

I tried to kill my website, I tried to make it vanish entirely from the Internet, but that is surprisingly impossible in Cyberspace. Without ever asking my permission, some strange Archive Site just mirrored it and it will remain Ungoogleable and Accessible Only To The Very Clever for the next 11,224 years.

Say it wit' flowers
Say it wit' mink
But whatever ya do
... a-dinka-doo
a-dinka-die ...
-- Jimmy Durante

If you are Very Clever, you can find where AMY identified the Mystery Molecule du Jour and won herself a free meal at the (formerly) Fabulous Miss Florence Diner. There is also my Homage Page to the Fabulous Miss Florence Diner. Aimez-vous tripe?

Here is some Old, Stale Wine from my website. There's a new war on, a war as stupid as the war I got hosed up into 36 years ago, a new War Without End. I think it's time to crank up my Original Veterans' Organization again ...

Veterans of Stupid Wars
(est. 1998)

We're Veterans of Stupid Wars

We got the clap from foreign whores
We drink all night, we're really bores
And now we vote for more new wars!

Greetings, all veterans of the world's armies, navies, air forces and coast guards, and hi! Welcome to the first really new idea in Veterans' organizations --

The Veterans of Stupid Wars!

All veterans' organizations until now have been devoted to getting their members drunk and then, after their critical faculties and judgment centers have been destroyed, hypnotizing them into voting for the most rabidly warmongering, saber-rattling, jingoistic, right-wing candidates available. (This is called Patriotism.) The purpose, of course, is to make it a political breeze for the lawyers and bureaucrats who run these countries to cook up new wars all the time, and the purpose of that is to make all these sleazes rich and powerful while our kids get the crap bombed and shot out of them.

In the USA, all major veterans organizations have also been devoted to fostering violent fistfights between World War II veterans and Vietnam-era veterans, so Vietnam vets stay politically fragmented and powerless, and completely abandoned by older generations of veterans.

Likewise, traditional Russian vets organizations have helped their government abandon Afghanistan War vets to drug and vodka addiction, prison, suicide -- the same program as Vietnam vets. (This is called Patriotism.) Because they're sick, politically fragmented, poor or homeless, and abandoned by the WWII vets, the official government name for Vietnam and Afghan veterans is "bums."

The Veterans of Stupid Wars is Different!

1. If you say your war was stupid, that's fine with us, come on in! Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm, Somalia, Haiti, the former Yugoslavia, the occupation of Southern Lebanon, the Iran-Iraq war, the British occupation of Northern Ireland -- if it seemed stupid to you, that's good enough for us.

2. We don't really drink beer all night, but if you want, you can smoke reefer all night (if you give us some). You get a vote about what songs to put in the juke box, but no Barry Sadler and no Kate Smith.

3. If you're fucked up on anything worse than pot, the Veterans of Stupid Wars will do whatever we can to get you medical treatment without giving you a lot of shit about it. We'll also do what we can to get or keep you out of jail. Our motto:

Bring 'em back alive!
(or don't send 'em in the first place.)
Then keep 'em alive!

4. Men, women, transgender vets welcome! You can wear any silly hat or uniform you want (I'm particularly fond of puttees), or you can do the whole thing in civvies, or, if it's warm enough, in the nude.

5. We swear never to make any cushy sweetheart corrupt deal with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any of its mirror veteran-killing bureaucracies in any other nation.

6. Our Community Outreach will do everything we can to keep idiot high-school kids from joining the military, and to keep military recruiters out of high schools.

7. Our Legion Hall has a Flag-Lite policy. And no guns! Don't bring your creepy souvenir guns and grenades around here! Also, we don't do funerals. We just do parties, barbecues and tailgates to rock concerts (like the B52s/Pretenders/Royal Crown Revue Time Capsule Tour).

I'll think up new Constitution articles as I go along.

Let's all go balmy
And join the army
See the world we never saw!
When we get feelin' down
We wander into town
And if the population
Should greet us with indignation
We chop 'em to bits
Because we like our hamburger raw!

-- Bertolt Brecht, "Soldiers' Song,"
"The Threepenny Opera"

I'm thinking of restricting the VSW to enlisted personnel and excluding commissioned and warrant officers, and restricting membership to vets who were either drafted or served no more than three years before the lights went on in their head and they got the hell out. I don't want a lot of old Lifer Volunteer types hanging around the Legion Hall. Let me know what you think about this.

So ... if you ever had to do time in anybody's stupid military, during anybody's stupid war, drop us some e-mail and let us know what's up with you, how you're getting along, why you think every scum official of the Department of Veterans Affairs ought to be brought up on War Crimes charges, and in general how you think we can stop having wars -- or at least have them fought by the same psycho assholes who start the wars. We'll print your comments here and see if we can get this ball rolling.

Yours sincerely,

Elmer Elevator

(SP5 US Army 1969-1971)
Founding Grand Poobah
The Veterans of Stupid Wars

elmer says hi

Bureaucracy Marches On!

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Registry of Motor Vehicles License Application
Form G001936 2/09 #10312

|_| Check here if sex has changed.

Note: additional documentation may be required.

Change Sex To: |_| Male |_| Female

elmer says hi

out on the edge of darkness

Since the 11 September 2001 terror attacks on the United States, our government has had to mobilize all its resources -- law enforcement, intelligence, military, public health, etc. -- to develop defenses against the new kinds of threats against America emerging in the 21st Century.

One of the most frightening of all these threats is a possible mass attack against America by very old nearly forgotten hippie folksingers with acoustic guitars from the 1960s and 1970s. Because of the terrible damage this could cause America, The Department of Homeland Security and all agencies charged with defending the United States are constantly on the lookout for these kinds of terrorists, and are determined to thwart their schemes at all costs.

The Center for Folksinger Early Detection (C-FED) began operations at its new headquarters in Scaggsville, Maryland (midway between Washington DC and Baltimore) in September 2003.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

C-FED Headquarters, Scaggsville MD
The last design by the American architect Philip Johnson (1907-2005).

And, as things turned out, not a moment too soon.

Of all the old 60s and 70s folksingers, anti-terrorism experts had long warned that the most dangerous was the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, English composer and singer of "Peace Train," which first began reaching the ears and minds of naive and defenseless young Americans in 1971, on AM and FM radio stations, and as the last track of his album "Teaser and the Firecat."

The folksong's defeatist, non-violent, nihilistic message of peace and universal brotherhood was incredibly infectious and damaging to national security. America was at that instant waging a huge war in Vietnam, and although it was clear to all military experts that the overwhelming might of the American military (versus short enemies in pajamas and sandals who rode old bicycles through the jungle) would eventually pursuade the Vietnamese people to desire American-style two-party democracy, freedom, the free-market economic system, and American beverages, culture and fast food, 1971 was a difficult and challenging moment for the war effort.

"Peace Train" had a devastating effect on young Americans on the homefront. Many cancelled their plans to enlist in the military, while others relocated to Toronto and Vancouver. According to the Gallup Poll, an estimated 21.3 million young Americans who heard Stevens' song changed their opinions from

* "This war really sucks, and deranged drunk psychopaths must be in charge of it."


* "This war totally sucks the hairy wazoo even more than I thought it did last week. Nixon and Kissinger must be completely out of their fucking minds."

The collapse of American patriotism, morale and determination caused by "Peace Train" was a substantial factor in the ultimate War Tie, in which North Vietnam and the Viet Cong agreed to completely conquer South Vietnam and make everyone Communists, and the Americans agreed to flee for their lives on helicopters to waiting aircraft carriers in the South China Sea in 1974.

Government officials charged with protecting America from hippie folksingers had learned their lesson, and vowed never to let these foreign musical terrorists set foot on our shores again.

During the Carter and Clinton administrations (Clinton played the acoustic guitar on an African trip when he learned one of the sexual harrassment lawsuits dogging him had been dismissed), the government relaxed its vigilance and dropped its guard against foreign hippie folksingers, who were allowed free access to come and go from the United States, and sing folksongs, often with pacifist and troilist themes.

On accepting the Democratic Party's presidential nomination at its 1992 New York City convention, Clinton instructed convention officials repeatedly to blare "Don't Stop Thinking about Tomorrow (Yesterday's Gone)" by the foreign folksingers Fleetwood Mac. New York City, and particularly the neighborhood of Greenwich Village, where many Democratic convention delegates spent their time, is a traditional center of nihilistic pacifist folksingers both foreign and domestic.

But immediately on taking office in 2000, George W. Bush Jr. instructed his senior national security officials that the folk song threat was now a top priority in protecting America, particularly after the United States launched its war to install democracy, American fast food and soft drinks, and distribute free Bibles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On 22 September 2004, the most dangerous folksinging "sleeper" of them all, Stevens, attempted to slip past America's intelligence net and fly from England to Dulles International Airport, only 27 miles from the White House.

C-FED analysts have subsequently discovered e-mails which contain conclusive evidence that, once safely on American soil, Stevens planned to borrow a Martin 00028EC
acoustic guitar and sing "Peace Train" to a new generation of young Americans who had never heard it before, and consequently had no immunity to its powerful morally erosive effects.

He nearly succeeded.

But while his airliner was in mid-flight over the North Atlantic, agents of C-FED were alerted to the threat, and sprang into action.

President Bush was immediately awakened twice, notified of the crisis, and presented with several options, but decided against sending fighter jets to blow the plane out of the sky, although his National Security Advisor, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, pushed for that solution as the only one that could guarantee a perfectly safe outcome for Homeland Security.

Instead, despite the potential threat to the people of Maine, the President chose to divert the aircraft to Bangor International Airport, where the singing Islamic terrorist and his daughter were immediately taken into custody and sent back on the first London-bound aircraft. (Bangor Airport is the specially designated air crisis facility equipped to handle trans-Atlantic airline passengers who get drunk, throw pretzels at other passengers, and try to stick their hands in the blouses of flight attendants.)

America was safe, and the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars of Liberation and Democracy continue on their smooth, prompt and ultimately victorious courses. The Department of Defense has recently announced that all American troops will be home by Christmas 2005.


The Washington Post
Wednesday 22 September 2004

Cat Stevens Held
After D.C. Flight Diverted

By Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writer

U.S. security officials yesterday diverted a Washington-bound United Airlines flight and detained Yusuf Islam, formerly known as the pop singer Cat Stevens, after discovering that he had been allowed to board the plane in London even though he was on the government's no-fly list.

Islam was questioned in Bangor, Maine, by Customs and Border Protection agents. Dennis Murphy, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said Islam is scheduled to be deported today on a flight to Europe. "He is being detained on national security grounds," Murphy said. He declined to elaborate.

Islam was denied entry into Israel several years ago out of concerns that his charitable contributions had funded militant groups. He denied knowingly contributing to any such groups.

Homeland Security officials worked with the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday afternoon to order the United flight to land in Bangor, the closest major airport on the East Coast, after learning that Islam was on board the Boeing 747. Islam, whose name is listed as "Usef Islam," is on several government watch lists, including the no-fly list, according to sources familiar with the event.

While the flight was over the Atlantic, Customs and Border Protection agents were routinely comparing the passenger manifest against the watch lists and realized that Islam was on board, these sources said. Airline agents conduct similar checks before flights depart; it was not clear yesterday why Islam was not flagged before he boarded.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman Mark Hatfield said his agency made the decision to divert the flight. "We did not want that aircraft to enter the Northeast corridor airspace," which would have taken it over New York and into Washington, Hatfield said. "We got information that led us to make a decision, based on the fact there was a confirmed individual on board."

United Airlines declined to comment on the incident yesterday but said that its Flight 919 eventually continued to Dulles International Airport yesterday evening.

Islam recorded 12 albums before abandoning his singing career in the late 1980s after he converted to Islam. He drew criticism in the late 1980s after he publicly supported Ayatollah Khomeini's death edict against author Salman Rushdie. After the terrorist attacks in 2001, Islam said he would donate profits from his CD box set to families of the victims of the attacks.

Staff researcher Don Pohlman contributed to this report.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company



Peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya*
Come on peace train

Peace Train on its way

Oh I've been happy lately,
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be,
Some day it's going to come
Oh I've been smiling lately,
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be,
Some day it's going to come

Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on peace train
Some day it's going to come,
Come on peace train,
Mmm, come take me home again,
Oh peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Mmm, come on peace train

Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya

Cause out on the edge of darkness,
There rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
Come take me home again
Oh I've been smiling lately,
Thinking about the world as one
And I believe it could be,
Some day it's going to come

Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on the peace train
Some day it's going to come,
Come on the peace train,
Mmm, come take me home again,
Some day it's going to come,
Some day it's going to come,
Some day - some day,
Some day it's going to come

I've been crying lately,
Thinking about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating?
Why can't we live in bliss?

Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya, Ngise'Khaya

Peace train sounding louder
Glide on the peace train
Mmm, come on peace train
Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on peace train
Some day it's going to come,
Come on peace train,
Mmm, come take me home again

Peace Train on its way
Come take me home again

Come take me home,
come take me home
Come take me home again,
Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on peace train

Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on peace train
Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on peace train
Some day it's going to come,
Come take me home again,
Mmm, come on peace train
Peace Train on its way
Peace Train on its way
Peace Train

Cause out on the edge of darkness
There rides a peace train,
Peace train take this country,
Come take me home again,
Come take me home again,
Come take me home...

* Zulu: "Take me home"
© 2003 Cat Music Ltd

29 April 2005

HM E2R on Halal & Kosher Slaughtering

Her Majesty has spake! Her Majesty
is committed to respect for the rights of religious groups! Now everybody shut up!

Found it through no help from the unresponsive bureaucrats of Defra. Found it on



Recommendation 197:

Where an animal has not been stunned, the OVS must ensure that nothing is inserted into the neck wound post-cut.

Response: Do not accept. The Government is committed to respect for the rights of religious groups, and in view of the assertion by Shechita UK that the insertion of the slaughterman’s hand into the wound to check that all the vital structures have been cut cleanly is an essential part of shechita slaughter, we will not be legislating against it.

We accept that such action will stimulate nociceptive pathways and in a conscious animal may lead to a perception of pain. However the length of time for an animal to lose consciousness after the neck cut is disputed. We will continue to explore with the religious authorities whether, following the cut, there could be a greater delay before this inspection is carried out.

Recommendation 201:

Council considers that slaughter without pre-stunning is unacceptable and that the Government should repeal the current exemption.

Response: Do not accept. The Government does not intend to ban the slaughter of animals without prior stunning by religious groups. We agree with FAWC that the scientific evidence indicates that animals that receive an effective pre-cut stun do not experience pain at the time of slaughter. The balance of current scientific evidence also suggests that those cattle which receive an immediate post-cut stun are likely to suffer less than those that do not. However we recognise that this latter conclusion is disputed. The Government is committed to respect for the rights of religious groups and accepts that an insistence on a pre-cut or immediate post-cut stun would not be compatible with the requirements of religious slaughter by Jewish and Muslim groups.

However, others, particularly consumer and welfare groups, oppose slaughter without prior stunning and do not wish to eat meat that has not been stunned prior to slaughter. Meat from these animals can find its way onto the ordinary meat market but is not identifiable by consumers at the point of sale. As part of the wider process of review and consultation on labelling meat, the Government will work with consumer and industry groups to consider whether this problem can be addressed through a voluntary system of labelling, bearing in mind that an early EU agreement on meat labelling according to slaughter method is unlikely.

Recommendation 203:

Until the current exemption which permits slaughter without pre-stunning is repealed, Council recommends that any animal not stunned before slaughter should receive an immediate post-cut stun.

Response: Partially accept. The Government does not intend to make it a compulsory requirement for animals to receive an immediate post-cut stun. The Government considers that the current balance of scientific evidence suggests that cattle which have not received a pre-cut stun would benefit from an immediate post-cut stun. However, we recognise that this conclusion is disputed.

The Government is committed to respect for the rights of religious groups and accepts that a compulsory immediate post-cut stun on cattle would not be compatible with the requirements of religious slaughter by Jewish and Muslim groups. We will continue to discuss with the religious authorities the extent to which a voluntary immediate post-cut stun might be introduced in a manner that is compatible with their beliefs.

Faulkner's 1950 Nobel speech

Here, I clarify: This intro is from the Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) Faulkner site, and you should click on it, it's everything you'd want the Faulkner site at OIe Miss to be. Faulkner didn't exactly go to Ole Miss. He had a job tending to the boiler at night, and wrote "Sanctuary" in the boiler room. It's a pip, a real ripping yarn, about a sailor named Popeye, but not the one who eats canned spinach.

William Faulkner officially earned the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 1949, but he did not receive it until the following year, because the Nobel Prize committee could not reach a consensus in 1949. Hence, two Nobel prizes were awarded in 1950, for the prior year and for the present one. The speech Faulkner delivered was not immediately intelligible to his listeners, both because of Faulkner's southern dialect and because the microphone was too distant from his mouth, but when it was printed in newspapers the following day, it was immediately hailed as one of the most significant addresses ever delivered at a Nobel ceremony.

The text below is reprinted from Essays, Speeches, and Public Letters.


I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work -- a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.

Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.

He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed -- love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail.

Vleeptron PEBKAC query No. 1

Okay let's start small.

How do I make the margins wider?

Bob bothers some British bureaucrats

Okay! Connected with HM UK GB Defra's Website like Mr Aram of FAWC told me to!

And the $(^*#@*&%^ 8 March 2005 press notice he promised is Not There. Ça n'existe pas.

I am going to find this fucking thing if I have to fly to London and rent an umbrella. These bureau-weasels are hiding this controversy from the scrutiny of Vleeptron. And that sucks.

There's stuff in this report which will outrage and inflame Jews, Muslims, animal lovers, sheep, cows, kosher butchers and halal butchers, and They don't want the Jews, Muslims, animal lovers, sheep, cows and traditional butchers to get their hands on it. The little grey women and men behind Window 3A with their Perfect Attendance Record have bungled this business from Day 01, and now they don't want us to see how they've screwed it all up.

Vleeptron is not just a blog,
we're also an NGO!

We will bring this matter into the sunsine, the suncosine, and the suntangent.


Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
ATTENTION: News Releases / Press Notices
Mesdames and Sirs:
Mr Richard Aram, Assistant Secretary of FAWC, informs me by e-mail that
A press notice announcing the Government's response to FAWC's Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing: Part One: Red Meat Animals was issued on 8 March 2005 and can be found on the Defra Website ( under news items.
... but I am unable to find this document on the above DEFRA website.
I am very interested in this information, and would very much appreciate any help you can give me to find it.
Yours sincerely,
Bob Merkin
Northampton Massachusetts USA
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Your query "kosher" found 0 documents from 2695 documents in this subject.

other shoe drops: Halal & Kosher slaughtering still OK in UK

This was such an interesting story. It pitted lovers of animals (many of whom are Jews and Muslims) against observant Muslims and Jews (many of whom are also lovers of animals). It was a real political bus-train wreck, not to mention a Set Theory nightmare.

Poor Queen ... this wasn't her idea in the first place. It's moments like this that she probably does wish she could still lop some heads off. First they take all her old autocratic powers away, and then everything the government does, they stamp her name all over it, like it's her fault and she's responsible. Every year when Parliament opens, the Prime Minister writes a speech for her to speak like a ventriloquist's dummy. And that crazy family of hers!

Anyway, FAWC's Great Idea made a big noise when they issued their recommendation to ban Kosher and Halal slaughtering, but here where we all wear coonskin caps and smear ourselves all over with bear grease to keep warm in the winter, I was dying to know what happened!

But one reason we in the boondocks & sticks didn't know is that Her Majesty only rejected FAWC's recommendation last month!

So I went to FAWC's website and found this poor gentleman, and I e-mailed him. An hour later he e-mailed me back! Superbureaucrat!

But grrrrrr ... I can't connect with this morning -- their bureaucrats suck -- so the news release Mr Aram pointed me to will have to wait.


-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Merkin []
Sent: 29 April 2005 13:23
To: Aram, Richard N (AHAW)
Subject: What happened with Kosher/Halal slaughtering?

Mr Richard Aram
Assistant Secretary FAWC

Dear Mr Aram,

I would very much appreciate knowing the resolution of FAWC's June 2003 recommendation to HM Government that Kosher and Halal methods of slaughtering be prohibited.

Are Kosher and Halal methods still permitted, or has HM Government prohibited these practices?

It's very difficult to get these kinds of follow-up details here in the United States. FAWC's initial recommendation was broadcast on BBC-TV at the time, but I haven't been able to clarify what actions followed.

Thank you very much.


Bob Merkin

Northampton Massachusetts USA


Mr Merkin

The GB Government did not accept FAWC's recommnedations for the practice of slaughter without prior stunning to be ended.

A press notice announcing the Government's response to FAWC's Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing: Part One: Red Meat Animals was issued on 8 March 2005 and can be found on the Defra Website ( under news items. There are links in the notice to the full reasoned response.

Hope this helps,

Richard Aram
FAWC Secretariat
Area 511, 1A Page Street
Tel. 020 7904 6532
Fax. 020 7904 6993

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

This email and any attachments is intended for the named recipient only.
If you have received it in error you have no authority to use, disclose,
store or copy any of its contents and you should destroy it and inform
the sender.
Whilst this email and associated attachments will have been checked
for known viruses whilst within Defra systems we can accept no
responsibility once it has left our systems.
Communications on Defra's computer systems may be monitored and/or
recorded to secure the effective operation of the system and for other
lawful purposes.

The original of this email was scanned for viruses by the Government Secure Intranet (GSi) virus scanning service supplied exclusively by Energis in partnership with MessageLabs.

On leaving the GSi this email was certified virus-free


Dear Mr Aram,

That more than helps, it solves! And your lightning-fast reply -- thanks!

Here in the former Colonies it's a bit difficult to follow UK developments, but this was such an interesting story with such interesting dimensions and conflicts. I so much appreciate your dropping the other shoe for me. I owe you one.


Bob Merkin
Massachusetts USA

28 April 2005

chanson du Cunegonde

When DespicableTeacher was a little girl, she and her father used to sing this little song to one another:

Cunegonde veux-tu du fromage?
Eh oui, papa avec du sucre dessous
mais ma fille, ce n'est pas l 'usage....
Eh bien papa tu peux te le mette au Cul

Cunegonde veux-tu du fromage?
etc etc

Here is my very bad first attempt at an English translation. Please, anyone whose français is better than mine (and that's touts le monde), feel free to improve it.

Cunegonde would you like a little cheese?
Oh yes, Papa, with secret sugar please!
But my child, that's really not considered fair ...
Okay, Papa, then you can put it on your derriere

ein sick puppy

Dearest Amy,

I'm really sorry I ever brought up this coprophilia thing. Your mother was right: Never play with anything meant for the toilet.

And I feel your pain as you initially tried so hard to be a modern up-to-date politically correct non-judgmental person, but then you remembered your mom's words, and you just couldn't. It's dirty! It's dirty! And anybody who does it is such a perv!

Well, anyway, you won some more pizza for knowing what it was. Please come East one of these days! Although SWMBO and I mutter very seriously about a trip to your neck of the woods. I want to see the big meteor crater, and she wants to go to the World's Capital of Tastelessness, where they worship Elvis the way people in Mecca worship Allah: Las Vegas. If this trip happens, we'll take you out for all the food you've won since you first identified the insulin molecule on my old dead website.

And meanwhile, I'd really appreciate it if you find a cure for diabetes. When Faulkner's editor called him in '49 to tell him he'd just won the Nobel Prize, Faulkner told him he couldn't go to Stockholm to accept because he didn't own a tuxedo. Could you tell us what outfit you'll wear when you win your Nobel for Medicine and Physiology? Say something nice about Rosalind Franklin in your speech. The three guys who won the DNA prize have all said her x-ray crystallographs deserved a chunk of the prize, but she died young, and the Nobel is never awarded posthumously.

la Science, c'est aussi pour les Jeunes Filles!

-- sign in a Toronto high school classroom

Oh, did you check out the rotating Thujone Fun Molecule? How can something with so few atoms be so much fun and cause so much trouble? But it does cure pinworms.

Okay, back to Phun with Pheces. DespicableTeacher has identified the tune for Mozart's No. 1 Euro Pop Song, "Leck mich im Arsch": K231 (the K stands for Ludwig Alois Ferdinand Ritter von
Köchel, the Mozart scholar who first ordered and catalogued all Mozart's compositions). Everybody click and sing along!

It's becoming clearer and clearer that Wolfgang was ein sick puppy.

But what about dennis? What you are about to read ... well ... this dennis guy ... does he hang on this Mozart List because he just loves the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

Or does he hang on this List because it's the hottest 18th Century Coprophilia Site on the Web? What up with dennis?

I just wanted to know some more stuff about Mozart, and that's when I got the scholarly bio, and had to reach for the dictionary to learn about this previously unsuspected perversion.

But does dennis know too much about Mozart?

Read this, sing these really swell Euro Pop Songs, and decide.


Subject: Mozart's "Kiss My XXX" Canons
From: dennis
To: All
Date Posted: 09:23:34 04/15/04 ()
Email Address:


In 1799 Constanze Mozart sent Breitkopf & Härtel several manuscripts including a list of "songs". Among this list of songs Item 21 reads "Three Canons Lek mich im Arsch". Constanze included a note saying she would be sending the Canons later and that their texts would have to be altered because they were "unruly". It is uncertain which canons she referred to but two were most likely--K231/382c, known by its incipit "Leck mich im Arsch" (Kiss my Ass) and K233/382e "Leck mir den Arsch fein recht schon sauber" (Kiss my ever so nice clean ass). The third was probably K234/384e "Bei der Hitz im Sommer ess ich" (In the heat of summer I eat). B & H published the 3 Canons with new texts: "Lasst froh uns seyn" (Lets be joyous), "Nichts labt mich mehr als Wien" (Nothing pleases me more than wine) and "Essen, Trinken, das erhalt den Leib" (Eating, drinking support love), only citing the first line of Mozart's original text. Not only these three, but six other canons were published by B & H with new suitable texts. However the other six texts are known to us from Mozart autographs, these first 3 canon texts have been lost to us. However a recently found set of the "Oeuvres Complettes" of Mozart's from ca. 1804 gives all 9 original canon texts that B & H suppressed. The original texts are entered just below B & H's printed words.

The authenticity of these 3 "Leck mich im Arsch" canons has been questioned by Albert Dunning in the Mozart-Jahrbuch and again in his NMA volume. Then in 1988 Wolfgang Plath established the music of K233 and K234 is most likely to be attributed to Wenzel Trnka (1739-1791), having been published before 1800 in "XII Canons for 3 Voices Composer Sig. Wenceslao Trnka", and again later by Aloys Fuchs under Trnka's name. Michael Ochs in a 1991 Mozart-Jahrbuch article hypothesized that Breitkopf & Härtel received the Mozart canon autographs from Constanze Mozart and made in-house copies of them; then on these copies were written the substitute texts, with a few modifications in the music to accommodate B & H's new words. Even though this is very plausible, unfortunately there is no evidence of any in-house copies and no clue where the autographs went to. Ochs reproduces the original text of Mozart's for the canons as follows:

K233 "Leck mire den A..recht schon, fein sauber lecke ihn, fein sauber lecke, leck mire den A...Das ist ein fettigs Begehren, nur gut mit Butter geschmiert, den das Lecken der Braten mein
tagliches Thun. Drei lecken mehr als Zweie, nur her, machet die Prob' und leckt, leckt, leckt. Jeder leckt sein A...fur sich".

K234: "Beider Hitz im Sommer ess ich gerne Wurzl und Krauter auch Butter und Rettig; treibt furtreflich Wind und kuhlet mich ab, und kuhlet mich ab. Ich nehm Limonade, Mandelmilch, auch zu
Zeiten Horner bier, auch zu Zeiten Horner Bier; das im heissen Somer nur, im Sommer nur. Ich fur mich in Eis gekuhlts Glas Wein, fur mich in Eis gekuhlts Glas Wein in Eis. Auch mein Glas

Remember Plath established most likely the music is by Trnka, but according to Ochs "we must nevertheless admit that the words have a definite Mozarteun ring. Their appearance...leads one to
speculate that Mozart fitted his own text to someone else's music, unlikely as that may seem. According to Plath, Trnka's canons originally had an Italian text (from Metastasio), and had been
changed to the coarse German by someone else, and then later attributed to Mozart.

K231: Leck mich im A...g'schwindi, g'schwindi!Leck im A...mich g'schwindi. Leck mich, leck mich, g'schwindi/etc. etc. etc."

A further possible "Leck mir Arsch" canon maybe K559. the text "Difficile lectu mihi Mars" apparently makes fun of Johann Nepomuk Peyerl (a Bavarian tenor in Mozart's circle). According to
an account by Gottfried Weber in 1824 one evening Mozart wrote out the nonsense Latin sounding words in the hope that Peyerl's accent would pronounce the words "Lectu mihi mars" as "leck du
mich im Arse". When this happened the party would turn the page over and find the mocking canon K560a "O du eselhafter Peirel", which is indeed written on the back of the K559 autograph. However Dunning in NMA shows there is reason to doubt this account. This canon also has Mozart versions using the names "Martin" and "Jakob". The Breitkopf & Härtel set spoken of earlier uses the word Reitknecht, perhaps used by B & H to make a text more presentable.

Another of Mozart's humorous canons is K232/509a "Lieber Freistaedtler, Lieber Gaulimauli" written most likely in summer of 1787, where Mozart pokes fun at a student, Franz Jakob
Freystadtler, whom he nicknamed "Gaulimauli" (horse-mouth) "Stachelschwein" (porcupine) and "Herr Lilienfeld (Mr. Lilyfield) in letters and a comedy sketched by himself.

In my favorite Canon K561, Mozart says good night with an insult in five languages, then ends by saying "Sleep tight, and stick your ass in your mouth". Again B & H made a complete re-texting for the canon.

Köchel had placed the "Leck mir Arsch" canons K231, 233 ,234 with the 1775 compositions, believing they fit well with Mozart's letters from his Salzburg years that used toilet language. In K3 Einstein moved them to Mozart's early Vienna years because of the "humorous social intercourse" which the texts reflect, renumbering them K382c,d and e. William Cowdery (1991) believes they might fit well with the similar obscene lyrics of the 1788 Canons. However Dunning pointed out that the earlier dated canons differ in their melodic flow from the "Vienna Canons" of 1787 and 1788, even placing a slight doubt on their authenticity. Regarding the Canons K559 and K560a Dunn believes they may have been written as early as 1786, as Peyerl was still in Salzburg to at least mid December 1785; so the earliest Mozart could have met him in Vienna was at the very end of December 1785 and most likely 1786. Mozart then batch entered the 9 canons at one time in his work catalogue on September 2, 1788. However Alan Tyson's NMA volume of watermarks places the Peyerl canon on a type of paper Mozart purchased after his return from Prague in December 1787 and predominately used in 1788, including all pages of K550 and K551, Symphonies #40 and #41.

All the Canons discussed here are available (in the Breitkopf & Härtel re-texting) on the Philips Complete Mozart Edition, volume 23.


27 April 2005

None of that stuff here, no sireee Bob!

Okay here it is, I have taken this ancient rumor and squeezed The Truth out of it. And it turns out the ancient rumor is True. This is from US Customs & Border Protection, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, which is the new agency which makes sure that old 1960s hippie acoustic-guitar folksingers can't set foot in the USA, where they might sing "Peace Train." These ever-alert and diligent bureaucrats forced the airplane with Cat Stevens and his dottir to land in Bangor, Maine, and then shoved them on the next eastbounder and sent them back to England because he was deemed to represent a threat to national security. (For the last 20-odd years he has been a Muslim and goes by a new name, Yusef Islam. He spends his wealth on medical care for Asian kids wounded in various wars.)


Absinthe (Alcohol)

The importation of Absinthe and any other liquors or liqueurs that contain Artemisia absinthium is prohibited.

Artemisia absinthium is one of several common plants and shrubs which contain thujone, the Fun Molecule of the swell, nifty, dandy Euro-beverage absinthe. Before Europeanaissies brewed up this swell drink in the 19th Century (French soldiers brought it back from North Africa, I guess it's a gift from the Foreign Legion), an extract of the plant called Wormwood was traditionally used to cure intestinal worms.

And it works! What happens is, you drink the stuff, and the thujone stuns the primitive nervous systems of the worms, and they relax their grip on the inside wall of your intestines, and then you evacuate them the next time you are sitting down reading the next chapter of "du Côte de Chez Swann." (Did I spell that right?)

I wish I'd taken photos of our Swell Absinthe Party, especially the part when one guest set the coffee table on fire.

this free software sux

godammit, this damn blogger is driving me crazy! I tried to post these hot new fotos of J-Lo in the shower, and look what shows up on Vleeptron! WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BLOGGER IMAGE SOFTWARE?????

Hot New Photos of Jennifer Lopez Taking a Shower!!!

blood sausage = blood pudding = black pudding = black sausage = boudin noir Notes: These eggplant-colored sausages are made of pig's blood mixed with fat, a filler like bread crumbs, and other flavorings that vary from region to region. They're usually sold precooked, but most people heat them before serving. Regional varieties include Germany's blutwurst, Louisiana's boudin rouge, and Spanish morcilla. Substitutes: zungenwurst OR boudin blanc


As indicated earlier, I don't know how this nasty dustup ended up, I'll do some more surfing, maybe e-mailing.

What struck me when I saw it on BBC TV was what a thuggish, insensitive, foot-shooting political iniative it was. Jews have been allowed to practice their faith openly in the UK since Oliver Cromwell, and there's gazillions of practicing Muslims in the UK, most whose families came to the UK from former British Empire colonies. If you want to find the most rabidly loyal and patriotic Brits, if you want to find the people who sing "God Save The Queen" (NOT the Sex Pistols' version) the mega-loudest, find UK-born Muslims and Jews.

So FAWC has targeted the most loyal, patriotic, UK-adoring citizens, and particularly the ones who observe their most ancient religious practices, and are threatening to forbid the ways their God and their Prophets tell them to prepare meat. This would be equivalent to telling all Baptists in the USA South that starting tomorrow, they can't immerse their followers in the river or swimming pool for public health reasons.

I didn't have a heart attack and die from shock. Governments do this kind of dumb foot-shooting crap to piss off their best citizen friends all the time. That's history's fertilizer for growing revolutions.

Two personal aspects:

1. I am not exactly the most observant Jew on Vleeptron. Sometimes I confuse the Old Testament's List of Forbidden Foods with a Menu.

Well ... it's my heritage. In Washington DC where I grew up, the most popular shellfish restaurant (Chesapeake Bay crabs yummmmm!) was owned by a nice Jewish family of our acquaintance, and Christians were always complaining that the Jews got there first every night and were hogging all the tables and eating all the crabs and shrimp. I knew this wife of a very prominent rabbi, and she said, "I make it a point never to eat shellfish in any restaurant where any of my husband's congregants might see me." (Although ... what the heck are they doing there, huh?)

2. Love of Animals and protection of animals is Article 1. in the Vleeptron Constitution. (We also toss momzers who mistreat animals in our prisons, that's one of the few prison-specific crimes on V.)

I might join the FAWC if they convinced me that Halaal and Kosher slaughtering were indeed far crueler than industrial slaughtering, if actual cows and sheep testified under oath in Parliament or Congress. Dr. Dolittle could be the official translator.

But I'm far from being convinced by these political drunk drivers. While Earth Humans are still going through this temporary phase of eating quadruped mammals -- as you know, we're all going to stop and become Vegans in 2009 -- well, raising these animals by the millions specifically to be slaughtered and eaten, that's the questionable ethical practice, not the specific way the butcher slaughters Lamb Chop or Elsie.

Jeez! First they expect me to stop smoking cigarettes. Then they make me stop with the troilism. They won't sell me Teflon-jacketed hollow-point assault rifle ammo anymore! Now they want me to stop eating meat. What next???

BBC: Tuesday 10 June 2003 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK

Halal and Kosher slaughter
'must end'

The method of animal slaughter used by Jews and Muslims should be banned immediately, according to an independent advisory group.

The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), which advises the government on how to avoid cruelty to livestock, says the way Kosher and Halal meat is produced causes severe suffering to animals.

Both the Jewish and Muslim religions demand that slaughter is carried out with a single cut to the throat, rather than the more widespread method of stunning with a bolt into the head before slaughter.

Kosher and Halal butchers deny their method of killing animals is cruel and have expressed anger over the recommendation.

'Clearly suffering'

One worshipper at the Central London Mosque told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Everything about the Islamic way of life is under attack so it makes you wonder if this is actually about humanity to animals."

Peter Jinman, president of the British Veterinary Association said vets respected people's religious beliefs, but urged Muslims to be respectful of animals too.

The brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain
Muslim Council of Great Britain

"We're looking at what is acceptable in the moral and ethical society we live in," he told Today.

FAWC said it wanted an end to the exemption currently allowed for Kosher and Halal meat from the legal requirement to stun animals first.

It says cattle can take up to two minutes to bleed to death - amounting to an abuse of the animals.

"This is a major incision into the animal and to say that it doesn't suffer is quite ridiculous," said FAWC chairwoman, Dr Judy MacArthur Clark.

Compassion in World Farming backed the call, saying: "We believe that the law must be changed to require all animals to be stunned before slaughter."

'Way of life'

Muslims and Jews argue that their long established method of slaughter results in a sudden loss of blood from the head, causing animals to feel virtually nothing.

Q&A: Animal slaughter

They say they will fight any attempt to prevent a practice required by their religion and central to their way of life.

One rabbi, who had been practicing the Jewish method of animal slaughter for around 40 years, told BBC News: "The process takes a fraction of a second.

"With a very, very sharp knife all the vessels in the neck are severed and that means there's no blood going to the brain and the animal loses consciousness very rapidly and dies soon after that."

The Muslim Council of Britain says animals are not distressed when they are slaughtered.

"It's a sudden and quick haemorrhage. A quick loss of blood pressure and the brain is instantaneously starved of blood and there is no time to start feeling any pain," said spokesman Dr Majid Katme.

The Humanists movement, which has previously called for the abolition of ritual slaughter, said ethical values should be put above religious ones.

"There is no imperative for Muslims or Judaists to eat meat produced in this manner," said spokesman Roy Saich.

"There is no reason why they should not simply abstain from eating meat altogether if they do not wish to eat the same meat as the rest of us."

- 30 -

26 April 2005

We're Number One again!

Here's something about the USA you might not have known: WE'RE NUMBER ONE in Prisoners! The Land of the Free runs the World's Largest Prison System. We have more prisoners than Russia! We have more prisoners than China! (Russia used to be Number One, but they cheated around 2000 and freed 250,000 Gulagniks.) One of every four prisoners on Earth is in a USA prison or jail! Women in prison! Children in Kiddie Jail! Men in prison!

Note also that prisons have replaced psychiatric hospitals as the public institution which cares for our most seriously mentally ill.

And it's hugely racist! Check out the stats of black and Hispanic prisoners, the rates at which they go to prison compared to whites!

I don't wish any bad things to happen to the people of any other nation on Earth, but jeez I sure would like it a lot if, before I die, the USA is Number 2 in this grotesque Anti-Freedom Olympics. (Actually if you really want to make me happy on my next deathday, tell me the USA is No. 87th in this vile competition. Don't lie just to make me feel better.)

On Vleeptron we have like almost No Prisoners. You have to get caught soaking an American Heritage Girl in barbecue sauce and shoving her into the microwave to go to prison on Vleeptron.

On Vleeptron we attack the root causes of incarceration: Education (most prisoners are illiterate), substance abuse (most prisoners have substance abuse problems, and they don't get any real treatment in prison, but drugs are plentiful and easy to get in prison, so you can get worse), unemployment, children being raised by families missing one or both prisoner parents. It's now typical for children in inner-city ethnic slums to have had one or two parents in prison for three generations. Kids grow up thinking that's normal. In their neighborhood, it is normal.

And on Vleeptron, you don't go to prison any faster or any longer just because you're plaid. All races get screwed on the prison thing equally.

So ... like ... are we Safer?

Nahhhh. Countries which incarcerate fractions of their population compared to the USA have much lower rates of violence, homicide, drug abuse.

The report can be downloaded from

Sunday 24 April 2005
Reuters News Service
Copyright 2005 Reuters
U.S. prison population,
world's highest, rises again

by Alan Elsner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. penal system, the world's largest,maintained its steady growth in 2004, the Department of Justice reported on Sunday.

The latest official half-yearly figures found the nation's prison and jail population at 2,131,180 in the middle of last year, an increase of 2.3 percent over 2003.

The United States has incarcerated 726 people per 100,000 of itspopulation, seven to 10 times as many as most other democracies. The rate for England is 142 per 100,000, for France 91 and for Japan 58.

The figures issued by the department's statistical unit showed that 12.6 percent of black males in their late twenties were behind bars. The comparable rate for Hispanic males was 3.6 percent and for whites 1.7 percent.

"Unless we promote alternatives to prison, the nation will continue to lead the world in imprisonment," said Jason Ziedenberg, executive director of the Justice Policy Institute, a think-tank that studies prison issues.

According to the Justice Department, violent crime in the United States fell by over 33 percent from 1994 to 2003 and property crimes fell by 23 percent.

Yet the prison population has continued to climb, increasing an annual average of 3.5 percent since 1995, partly due to high recidivism. Within three years of their release, two of every three prisoners are back behind bars.

Criminologists attribute the growth in the prison population to "get tough on crime" policies that have subjected hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug and property offenders to long mandatory sentences.

"We have to be concerned about an overloaded system which sentences many offenders quickly and is not dong a good job of sorting out people who should be incarcerated from people for whom other responses would produce better, less expensive results," said Malcolm Young, executive director of the Sentencing Project, a Washington think-tank.

The rise in the prison population varies by state. Since 1998, 12 states experienced stable or declining incarceration rates but crime rates in those states declined at the same rate as in the other 38.

Texas, with 704 per 100,000 people in state prisons, incarcerates almost seven times as many as Maine, at 149 per 100,000.

It costs around $22,000 to lock up one person for a year. The United States spends about $57 billion annually on its prison and jail system.

Women remain the fastest-growing segment of the prison population, increasing by 2.9 percent over the year to over 103,000. In 1980, the United States imprisoned 12,000 women.
In addition, the United States jails around 283,000 people with serious mental illnesses and almost 92,000 foreigners.

- 30 -

Vleeptron is now a raw international sausage foto album

As you've noticed, I've figured out how to post images to Vleeptron without that crummy defective worthless Free Software program called Hello, brought to bloggers courtesy of the pretty spiffy free image management program called Picasa2, which questionable bounties and benefits all brought to bloggers for free by Google. Hello worked for a couple of weeks, then took sick and died. Hello can just bite me.

Strangely enough, though, my new way of posting images to Vleeptron only allows me to post images of raw sausages. I don't know why that is. I'm not very technologically sophisticated. Well, until I learn more about posting images, I hope you all enjoy many weeks more of images of the world's wonderful raw sausages. Any advice or tips or hints would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure lots of other bloggers have this raw sausage image-posting problem too.

Now in the Vleeptron Parlour: Beautiful Child of Song!

Someone has sent me The Most Charming little-child song -- actually a duet between Poppa and Dottir -- about a little girl named Cunegonde.

Did lots of Euro-parents really name their fe-Kinder "Cunegonde"? In the 18th Century? Ever? Who was The Original Cunegonde?

Do you Europeanaissies actually have neighbors down the block or downstairs named Cunegonde?

What do any Vleeptroids think about the wisdom of naming my daughter Cunegonde? Check one:

|__| How charming! The little girl will have
such a wonderful, rich, successful life
with a name like that!

|__| If you name one of my helpless infant sisters
that, I will find you and break your kneecap
with an aluminum Louisville Slugger.

Imagine yourself Cunegonde.

I think I know how it's actually pronounced pretty darn close, and it just flies out of the mouth like butterflies singing Mozartlieder and flinging little gold coins all over the room.

I do not know if I have My Correspondent's permission to publish this beautiful song from childhood past on Vleeptron, where all the Vleeptroids can see it and learn to sing it. (I don't think that's a Bad Thing.)

But until then, click here for the tune (what an interesting choice for such a dainty and delicate little song, the Carnival Steam Calliope arrangement!), and sing along ...

Come, I am longing to hear thee,
Beautiful Child of Song!
Come though the hearts that are near thee
Around thee devotedly throng.

Come, I am longing to hear thee,
Beautiful Child of Song!
I’m longing to hear thee
Carol thy lay, Sweet Child of Song.

Come, for the spell of a fairy
Dwells in thy magical voice,
And at thy step, light and airy,
E'en cold hearts enraptured rejoice.

Come, I am longing to hear thee,
Beautiful Child of Song!

-- Stephen Foster, 1860

Matt Groening (I think he's originally from Oregon) is the cartoonist creator of The Simpsons. He also publishes a series of very odd cartoon books called "Life in Hell," featuring urban bunnies with urban problems like unpleasant landlords, and Jeff and Akbar, two short Dopplegangers
who both wear a red fez (just like me) and live in an apartment and just have lots of the most irresponsible kind of fun (just like me), until their three identical red-fez-wearing nephews, Screwy, Kablooey and Ratatooie, come to stay with them for a couple of weeks. Jeff and Akbar Make Their Own Rules as they go through life the way counterfeiters make their own money: Very discreetly and quietly.

"Life in Hell" also has a running feature "Kids' Greatest Hits." Groening claims the lyrics of Every One Of These Songs is certified, authentic, truly actually sung by Authentic Children, with no coaching, no tutoring, no prodding or tampering with the witness by adults. Kids really really sing these songs all by themselves, and presumably composed them, too (although I wouldn't put it past Klaas to have taught this to some kids in a Rotterdam alley one summer night because he was bored).

This was heard on an elementary-school playground on the USA West Coast somewhere, somewhen, to the tune of "Frere Jacques":

Marijuana, marijuana
College kids are makin' it
High school kids are takin' it
Why can't we? Why can't we?

Shareef don't like it! He says it's not kosher!

Rock the Casbah
The Clash

Now the King told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin' to the top

The Sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a' cruisin' down the ville
The Muezzin was a' standing
On the radiator grille

Shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
Shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah

By order of the Prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound

But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the Shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in-crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing

But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive

The King called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way

As soon as the Shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare

As soon as the Shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed

He thinks it's not kosher
Fundamentally he can't take it.
You know he really hates it.

Both Muslims and Jews ain't supposed to eat pigs. To Jews, pigs are Not Kosher ( = Trafe), to Muslims they're Not Halal ( = Haraam).

After a thousand golden years of living together as neighbors in peace, respect and cooperation from Spain to India, Jews and Muslims are having hard times getting along in our lifetimes. But in the USA about five years ago, Imams and Rabbis got together to ask the processed food industry to stop using a factory lubricant which was pork-fat-based. (You don't exactly eat it, it just helps the factory push the food goop through the pipes.) Their cooperation was a success, and now the factories use an entirely synthetic lubricant.

Last year in the UK, Her Majesty's Government threatened to forbid both the traditional Kosher and the traditional Muslim method of slaughtering cows, claiming it to be unnecessarily cruel. So once again, whether they like it or not, Imams and Rabbis, and Jewish butchers and Muslim butchers are having to cooperate to save their ways of preparing meat, which are how the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Q'uran demands that it be done. On just the question of animal cruelty, both kinds of butchers passionately tell the Beeb that their kind of slaughtering is not cruel, that God forbids cruelty to animals.

I don't know if Her Majesty has backed down or changed her mind. She's the Queen. What's the point of being the Queen if your vassals and serfs can thwart you? Complaints??? Complaints??? Off with their heads! That one in the back row -- scrub him down and bring him to me after supper! (That's the way it worked in the good old days.)

Lord knows what technical disaster is about to happen, there are all kinds of strange semi-visible blinking symbols on my screen, but with any luck, you're about to see some alheira. There are hundreds of sites about this very popular sausage in Portugues, but very few in English, with a picture. (I know Steve loves pictures of raw sausages.) This is from The Portuguese Culture Web.

Alheiras, or stuffed sausage

The history of the alheira is associated with the presence of the Jews in Trás-os-Montes, after their expulsion from Castile by the Catholic Kings in 1492. They came from Benavente and Zamora by way of Bragança, Mirandado Douro, Freixo de Espada à Cinta and Chaves and they settled in several small towns includingAlfândega da Fé, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Mirandela, Mogadouro and Torre de Moncorvo, whose Rabino they were dependent on.

Here they settled and prospered until King Manuel I decided to seize their wealth, expelling them or sending them to the fires of the Inquisition.

While the rich Jews left for the lands of France, Italy, and Flanders, the poor ones stayed and converted to Catholicism. The New Christians were born.

Nevertheless, the work of the Inquisition did not stop, since even in the smallest and most isolated villages of this region, it tried to find out who did not work on Saturday, who did not eat fish without scales or pork.

It was for this reason that there began to appear above the comfortable fireplaces that lessened the rigours of winter, some golden and round stuffed sausage que seemed to be made of a recently killed pig.

But although the vestiges of their religious tradition were fading, the persecuted New Christians, instead of putting tripe from the animal that Mosaic law prohibited, used the fat hen raised in their yard, assorted hunted animals, and mixed everything together in bread with olive oil and wild garlic, giving the name to the sausage--alho, alheira.

The people who always lived here, knowing the fine taste of the alheira, began to make it, but instead added pork, which they thought was in its origin and was cheaper for them. The alheira was born.

There are only 7 days of the week on Vleeptron, and so there was no room for everybody's favorite sausage.

When my overnight ferry from England to the Netherlands served cafeteria breakfast, they served an English sausage, black pudding, that looked so disgusting that I almost wouldn't eat it.

Almost. And it tasted disgusting, too.

As you've probably begun to suspect, I have a serious sausage-abuse problem. Heroin, opium, cocaine, liquor, Oxycontin, methamphetamines, LSD, I can take 'em or leave 'em ... but of all the addictions, a sausage jones is the wurst, particularly when I'm doing the trains and ferries of Europe.

Wherever the train stops for three minutes, there's always a vendor of hot fat-dripping local sausage ready to enable me. Euros and the sausage are exchanged, and I'm straight again for the next 170 km. Language skills are not required. I just point. Often I never learn the name of the tubular thing I just tossed down my maw.

Another English-language site is a specialty (read: overpriced) sausage-maker from Ludlow, Massachusetts,
which I could drive to in about 25 minutes. They claim to make alheira, but their recipe is part chicken and part Porky and Petunia.

Ya know that's not kosher!

When the US military began gearing up for the first Persian Gulf War, the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" was the first song their radio station played for the soldiers (and every Muslim with a transistor radio within 500 miles of the transmitter).