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Good Mountain Press Monthly Digest #054
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~ In Memoriam: Arthur Miller (1915-2005) ~~~~
~~~~~~~~ Playwright "Death of a Saleman" ~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~ GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #054 Published April 1, 2005 ~~~
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Quote for the Spring Forward Month of April:

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #054, April 2005
Archived Digests
Table of Contents

1. April's Violet-n-Joey Cartoon
2. Honored Readers for April
3. On a Personal Note
4. Cajun Story
5. Recipe of the Month from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen: Brussels Sprouts Soup
6. Poem from Yes, and Even More:"Chains of Mind"
7. Reviews and Articles Added for April:

8. Commentary on the World
9. Closing Notes - our mailing list, locating books, unsubscribing to Digest
10. Gratitude

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THE GOOD MOUNTAIN PRESS DIGEST #054
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ARCHIVED DIGESTWORLD ISSUES ON THE WEB
 
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1. April Violet-n-Joey CARTOON:
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For newcomers to the Digest, we have created a webpage of all the Violet-n-Joey cartoons! Check it out at: http://www.doyletics.com/vjtoons.htm Also note the rotating calendar and clock that follows just to the right of your mouse pointer as you scroll down the page. You'll also see the clock on the 404 Error page if you make a mistake typing a URL while on the doyletics.com website.

The Violet-n-Joey Cartoon page is been divided into two pages: one low-speed and one high-speed access. If you have Do NOT Have High-Speed Access, you may try this Link which will load much faster and will allow you to load one cartoon at a time. Use this one for High-Speed Access.

This month Violet and Joey learn about the power and process of a mantra in action.

#1 "Catch A Mantra" at http://www.doyletics.com/12030596.gif

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2. HONORED READERS FOR April:
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Each month we take time to thank two of our good readers of Good Mountain Press Digest, books and reviews. Here's our two worthy Honored Readers for this month. One of their names will be in the TO: address line of your email Digest notification. Our Honored Readers for April are:

Dave Lyons in New Orleans

Glenn Martin in California

Congratulations, Dave and Glenn!


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3. ON A PERSONAL NOTE:


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Out Our Way:

The month started out with a flat of Louisiana Strawberries from Pontchatoula. These are always the reddest and sweetest strawberries of the year. Being grown so near to us, they always last the longest. I threw away two strawberries a week and a half later when I pureed the last three pints for smoothies. We also passed a milestone at Timberlane when the avocado tree I planted from a seed about 12 years ago began to bloom for the first time. The pollinator of choice seems to be ladybugs and I have a photo below of them doing their work.

Gretna is a town in Scotland famous for Gretna Green — a place couples could go to get married after England enacted laws in 1734 that parental consent was necessary for a couple to be married. Scotland lacked such a law and the first coach stop over the border into Scotland was a blacksmith shop at Gretna Green. It became a custom for couples to stop by the Ole Blacksmith Shop there to have the blacksmith perform the services for them, so they could quickly return to England married.

Our home town of Gretna has such an Ole Blacksmith Shop, and in the tradition of Gretna Green, many marriages are performed there, often several on a single day. On a recent Valentine’s Day over 14 weddings were performed at the Blacksmith Shop. Each wedding comes with a guarantee, by the way, which you can read in the sign above being held by one of the blacksmiths, J. B. Borel. JB is also president of the local chapter of the Council for the Defense of French-speaking in Louisiana, Les Amis du CODOFIL Westbank. Elsewhere in this Digest, you’ll find photos of a familiar-looking new blacksmith-in-training and the S-hooks he hammered and forged from rod stock. Here's some of what I learned from Blacksmithing 101: "Strike while the iron is hot" means you're wasting your energy hammering if the iron has cooled off a little. "Too many irons in the fire" means you can't get anything accomplished because the excess amount iron has cooled down your fire.

We went to our first CODOFIL breakfast. It takes place first Saturday of the month at LeBlanc's Restaurant. CODOFIL is the Council of Development of French-speaking in Louisiana and it was great to be sharing food with French-speaking Cajuns again. We pledged allegiance to the American flag in French, something my grandparents did in their time, but I had never gotten a chance to do before.

After the breakfast we invited Paul, Joyce, Buster and Emily over to Timberlane for cards. This time when we played Pay Me! I actually got to say those words a few times and came out winning for the day. Our son John brought his two sons, Kyle and Collin over, and Paul played the violin for them. For lunch we dined on take-out — Di Martino’s Po Boy sandwiches and its wonderful shrimp potato salad. Talk about good!

Grandson Collin spent the night with us and came to High Mass at St. Joseph's the next morning. I explained to him how we expected him to behave during church and he did admirably for a four-year-old boy. Afterward we went out into the Memorial Garden and in the little chapel, we lit a candle for his great-grandfather Gene Grazer who was on his deathbed. I explained to him that Gene would be able to see this candle while he was in the spiritual world and would feel loved by Collin when he saw it. Fire provides a linkage between the physical world and the spiritual world. A few days later his mom called Del to ask what Collin was talking about this candle he lit for Gene. Del explained to her what we told Collin. Later we found out that Gene had passed completely into the spiritual world during the time of that phone call. Gene was a real gentleman and he will be missed by all who knew him. Our long-time friend, Father John Finn formerly of Holy Family Church, our church in Mimosa Park, came to do the funeral mass for Gene, so we know Gene got a fine send off.

We celebrated the tax return ceremony this year with our friend and CPA Tom Trumble who did another excellent job of satisfying all our coerced tax payments to the Federal bureaucracy. When taxes are voluntary, we'll know that real freedom has come to our land. Till then, may I wish everyone a Happy-As-Possible April 15th? After our tax meeting, Del and I drove to Metairie for our weekly joint massage (check the ambiguity, folks) and stopped at Bennigan's for French Onion soup and Caeasar's Salad. At a nearby table was Sandy from Del's former employer TBS and Del had a chance to catch up on the scuttlebutt she's missed by being gone for several months. Talking about 'being gone' — she has finished liquidating AHP and received the final papers from the Secretary of State attesting to that fact. One more first of the month report for April and AHP is finally history. She helped Jane Hodel Cooper give birth to AHP and she has now single-handedly given it an honorable burial. All claims were paid, all lawsuits settled, and creditors satisfied. Atta Girl, Del ! ! ! This is one of the good news stories which will never appear in the Times-Picayune news paper, don’t you know?

Had to get a hot water heater replaced for our apartments this month, always a challenge in a 100-yr-old house. Got to watch LSU's basketball team nearly beat Kentucky in the SEC Conference Championship, then go down ignominiously to UAB in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. Oh, well, next year. Back to baseball and LSU's run for another National Championship there.

Two crawfish boils this month. For those who don't know what that is — we catch these tiny lobsters in the ditches, swamps, and rice fields and throw them live into a boiling pot of water filled with delicious seasonings and then we dump them on a table covered with newspaper and peel and eat four to ten pounds of them. Non-natives usually turn their noses away from them — which is great — more for us. First boil was given by our daughter Maureen in Metairie and she asked if I'd bring my tools for opening oysters. I also brought the fixings for my special sauce to dip the oysters on the half-shell into: ketchup, horseradish, lemon, Worcestershire Sauce, Louisiana Hot Sauce, salt and pepper. I had been spoiled all these years by having Buster and Henry opening oysters for me, so I figured it was time for me to be the opener. Jean Paul and Katie Wood loved the oysters and it's always more fun doing that wet, dirty work of opening oysters on the halfshell if there’s someone to appreciate it. The second crawfish boil was in Baton Rouge at our son John's. It was a more genteel boil with trays instead of newspaper and no oysters.

Had lunch with Anna Keller at the Red Maple where she gave me an autographed copy of her new book (See phot below with my review of her book.) Belle Terre Acadie. I read it in the next few days — it is a wonderful story about the D'hué family over the generations beginning with their expulsion from Acadia (Nova Scotia). Brought tears to my eyes as I read the horrendous deprivations my own ancestors suffered overcame during their uprooting from Acadia and subsequent transplantation into South Louisiana where we all live and thrive today. This was a month of being immersed in my Cajun heritage in many ways.

During the CODOFIL breakfast JB had mentioned there would an Acadian Memorial Festival in St. Martinville on March 19. We decided to go and made immediate reservation at the Old Castillo B&B situated along Bayou Teche adjacent to the grounds for the festival. We ate at Café Des Amis in Breaux Bridge our first night, and asked our waitress, a young perky gal, who to find the famous dance Mulate’s. She didn’t know, explaining she was an UL student from Houston, but she found out for us. She said, “Last night a table asked me where was a good place to go dancing and I didn’t know what to tell them.” We drove out and scouted Mulate’s — saw a lot of cars so we decided to come back the next night.

The next day we spent at the festival. Cajun bateaus on the bayou, Cajuns in period dress of the eighteenth century dancing and singing songs in Cajun. We visited the Cajun Museum on the festival site which contains plaques with names of the Cajuns exported to Louisiana which included my Babin ancestors. (See Plaque of Babins exported to Louisiana below.) In the afternoon I went to the WWII Veterans lecture at DuChamps Opera House. Talked about the Cajun Macqui who assisted US forces in taking France during WWII — around D-Day. Had great bread pudding there after the talk.

After a long day we drove to Mulate’s at 6 for dinner. By 7 we were eating our hot bread pudding when the Cajun band started playing. Del said, “There’s couple on the dance floor that looks like your brother Paul and his wife Joyce. It is Paul and Joyce.” We were surprised, so I said, “Let’s surprise them.” They were on the opposite side of the dance floor which was already crowded for the first dance and we began dancing closer and closer without looking at them until they saw us. They were surprised. They had spontaneously decided to stop for a bite to eat at Mulate’s to break up the long trip home from a Spring Break trip with their son, Greg, Heidi, and the three girls to Big Bend National Park. The wait for a table was an hour, so they thought they’d dance a few dances and then eat down the road. We invited them over to our table and they ate while we visited and danced a few dances.

The next morning we celebrated Palm Sunday mass at St. Martin of Tours and drove home after church with a blessed palm for Timberlane. The church has a fine statue of Mi-cha-el the Archangel which I have a photo of in this Digest. The Atapakas Indians of the St. Martinville area were reputed to be cannibals and the Cajuns cooperated with the other Indians of the region to force the Atakapas to make their boudain from hogs instead.

Del came down with what her dad used to call affectionately "diphloucus of the plock” — which we would call a bad cold — and she had to rest in bed for a few days while I ran a few of her errands. Her mom is still day-to-day on how she's feeling. Had a setback this month which required day-time help for a few days, but the doctor has taken her off the cholestrol medicine — after all the side effects clearly state: can cause muscle & joint pain. As always we remain hopeful for a full recovery and ask for your prayers for Doris.

We were visited by Cedar Waxwings this month and I took some photos. If you aren't home every day you would miss them. They come in a large flock of several hundred birds, but most of the flock remain in nearby trees while some third of them are eating berries from one tree. It's a holly tree with red berries which borders the South Portico garden. They fly constantly in and out of the berry tree while the surrounding birds keep watch. Eventually all the birds get their fill and they fly off till next year. It's quite a treat to watch them take turns eating, so keep an eye out for these beautiful and interesting birds.

I went to see LSU whip SLU in baseball at Zephyr's Stadium in Metairie. One game a year at a stadium is more than enough for me, especially at that stadium, thank you very much. At home, I mute the loud, irritating commercials, but in a stadium, what can you do if they play excruciatingly loud and obnoxious music? To explain to Del how bad it was between innings when the Disc Jockey played horrible booming music from stadium-size boom boxes, I performed this little ditty I made up on the spot as a rap song. It's my rant about the Zephyr Stadium Cacaphonous Boom Boxes:

“Yo, Bro, watch the sho,
Watch the Tigers winning
ZAP the amps tween the innings
Plug the speakers with a slug
      Pitch the DJ Bitch
      Ovah the ditch
Yo, Bro, baseball’s where it’s at
Don’t need no friggin scat.”

For Maundy Thursday my friend Brian Kelley came over for lunch. For Good Friday we drove to John's crawfish boil. On Easter Sunday I took Del to Easter Brunch downtown at Le Pavilion Hotel. Sunday afternoon I cut the grass at Timberlane for the first time to celebrate the beginning of Spring officially.

After buying Del a silver moebius strip bracelet with the Lord's Prayer on it, she had wished for one in gold instead of silver. So for her big 6 0 birthday coming up April 12, I bought her the gold one. After she took it out of the box, I held it up and said, "Here's the 0 from the big 6 0!" She laughed. When I ordered the gold one, I thought long and hard on what we might wish to do with the silver one Del had been wearing, and finally I decided to buy a second silver. Our two oldest daughters, Kim and Maureen, had each lead a great event in the past 12 months and I suggested to Del we honor them with a silver Lord's Prayer bracelet. Kim had the idea to honor 1200 soldiers at Fort Polk heading off to secure the peace in Iraq with a special meal prepared and delivered by her daughter, Katie's 8th grade class and mothers. Maureen designed the 2005 Jefferson Parish's Superintendant's Conference for 130 JP Principals and Administrator. Simultaneously Del had lunch with Kim to present her bracelet in Baton Rouge while I had lunch with Maureen to present her bracelet. I have a photo of Maureen wearing her bracelet. Kim hasn't stayed in town long enough since she got hers for me to get a photo. She went to D. C. with Katie's class on a trip, then fly out West with the family for skiing vacation.

What's next? In New Orleans, there's the Spring Festival, the Jazz and Heritage Festival, blackberries to be picked, creole tomatoes, and the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer to look forward to.

Till next we meet in these pages, have a great April!

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Movies we watched this past month:

Notes about our movies: Many of the movies we watch are foreign movies with subtitles. After years of watching movies in foreign languages, Arabic, French, Swedish, German, British English, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and many other languages, sometimes two or three languages in the same movie, the subtitles have disappeared for us. If the movie is dubbed in English we go for the subtitles instead because we enjoy the live action and sounds of the real voices so much more than the dubbed. If you wonder where we get all these foreign movies from, the answer is simple: NetFlix. For a fixed price a month they mail us DVD movies from our on-line Queue, we watch them, pop them into a pre-paid mailer, and the postman effectively replaces all our gas-consuming and time-consuming trips to Blockbuster. To sign up for NetFlix, simply go to http://www.netflix.com/ and start adding all your requests for movies into your personal queue. If you've seen some in these movie blurbs, simply copy the name, click open your queue, and paste the name in the Search box on NetFlix and Select Add. Buy some popcorn and you're ready to Go to the Movies, 21st Century Style. You get to see your movies as the Director created them — NOT-edited for TV, in full-screen width, your own choice of subtitles, and all of the original dialogue.
P. S. Look for HD/DVD format movies which are now available from NetFlix.
Hits (Watch as soon as you can. A Don't Miss Hit is one you might otherwise ignore.):
“Finding Neverland” (2004) A truly fine movie with absolutely no flaw to be found. I was taken aback to find that sweet Lara (Julie Christie) had aged into her harridan mother, but she played it well. This is a movie about a man who recovered his own childhood when he met some lost boys. About a staid London playwright who dared to put a grown man into a dog costume on stage to open a play and to seed the opening night audience with 25 eight-year-old orphans. About the real Peter Pan who led Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, the love of his life, into Neverland and the rest of the world has been following her there ever since.

“Being Julia” (2004) After watching this movie, we felt like we spent a night at the theatre without having to put on a Tux and long gown. Julia was all actress in all the parts she played in her life, but the biggest parts are the creative ones where one writes the script as one goes along and when one tells the truth to all who have been inured to lies. And when Julia is being Julia, there’s no force on earth that can stop her.
“Hope Springs” (2003) Colin Firth, full of despair, jets from the UK to a small US mountain town of Hope — obviously the moods of despair and Hope cannot co-exist for long. All the population of Hope seems in a conspiracy of dunces to break him out of the throes of despair. This is a bouncy romance in every sense of the vernacular — full of surprises and small town idiosyncracies that will titillate and delight you until the credits roll.
“Round the Bend” (2004) Michael Caine and Christopher Walken in powerful performances. Caine is the great-grandfather who loves to dig up stuff and his grand plan for one last dig meets resistance which he overcomes by dying and placing the plan in his will. Dig? The plan involves a trip across the desert in a 60s VW Bus. Dig? Caine, his dog Sky, his long-lost son, Turner (Walken who shows up after going out for cigarettes thirty years earlier), his grandson Josh, and a ten-year-old great-grandson pile into the bus to dig up relics from the past. What happens next is really “round the bend”. . . Dig?

“Five People You Meet in Heaven” (2004) — a tour de force by Jon Voight who played Eddie Maintenance, an 83-yr-old maintenance man with a gimp leg who serviced the rides at Ruby Pier an amusement park. He died feeling he had accomplished nothing with his life and the five people he meets have a lot to show him about what a life is really about — it’s all the things going on when we’re noticing other things. Five tugs on the heart strings. Great line: “Sacrifice is not something to feel bad about — it’s something to feel good about.”
“Augustus” (2003) — Peter O’Toole in the last years of his career gives an outstanding performance of Caesar Augustus in the last years of his career. When Augustus on his death bed talks about being a player and asks the camera, “How am I doing?” We can only answer Peter saying, “Tremendous!” See Marc Antony and Cleopatra through the eyes of Augustus for a change. The treatment of Livia as a loving wife more than a scheming one. Of the intimate bond between Augustus and his daughter. It’s all there and even more.
“Dirty Dancing” (1987) with Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in a dancing movie that brought the “Dip” into dance studios across America and the world. Hot - hot - hot! From the time her hand brushed his butt until the credits rolled steam was coming out of the projector.
“Attila” (2000) — an epic 3-hr portrayal of Rome against the Huns and their leader Attila. Flavius taught Attila how to use pretexts and subterfuge to defeat his enemies, but he saved one ace-in-the-hole which Attila discovered only as he was dying.
“Ladder 49" (2004) A great tribute to a brave fireman’s life. Trapped on the 12th floor, he remembers his rescues and fires and friends he loved and friends he lost along the way. Joachim Phoenix did an exceptional job playing a loving father who was a dedicated fireman until the end. Travolta great as his commander.
“Play It Again, Sam” (1972) If I had watched “Casablanca” before 1971 when I was going through a similar evolution that Woody did in this movie with Diane Keaton and Tony Roberts in this movie, I might have been tempted, like Woody was, to say goodbye at the airport using the ending dialogue of Humphrey Bogart and stayed married to my first wife. Watch Woody watching that dialogue at the beginning of this movie — he is giving us a reprise of when the real Woody watched it and decided he would have to find a way to play out that dialogue in his life. Since Woody’s life is the stage and films, he wrote a play about it which became this film. This movie is a nested recursion of a theme. It’s a delight to watch the events play themselves out in the course of this movie so Woody can finally at the end of this movie play the noble Bogart character giving up his Ilsa for her good and the good of her husband. If you haven’t watched it lately, shout over to the projectionist, “Play it again, Sam!”

Misses (Avoid At All Costs): We attempted to watch these this month, but didn't make it all the way through on most of them. Awhile back when three AAAC horrors hit us in one night, I decided to add a sub-category to "Avoid at All Costs", namely, A DVD STOMPER. These are movies so bad, you don't want anyone else to get stuck watching them, so you want to stomp on the disks. That way, if everyone else who gets burnt by the movie does the same, soon no copies of the awful movie will be extant and the world will be better off.

“Kiss the Bride” (2002) Goodbye! A DVD STOMPER
“Vera Drake” (2004) A slow movie about a housekeeper in the outskirts of London. The movie starts slow, goes slow all the way to end then stops. We watch Vera take care of her mom, tend a sick neighbor across the hall, send her daughter off to work, meet her daughter’s fiancé, all of whom don’t talk, or barely so. We do hear Vera say, "I'll fix tea" about 317 times. She fixes tea everywhere except in all the many scenes where she's pumping a soapy solution into a young woman to cause a miscarriage. When she gets arrested for this and questioned, she barely talks, mostly sobby head nods to guesses by police. And did I mention that this movie is s l o w? Slowly take the DVD reverently from its sleeve when it arrives and stomp it slowly and silently, out of respect for the producer's intent. A DVD STOMPER! “Alfie” (2004) Ask yourself, “How long can I bear to have Jude Law starring in my face telling me obvious things about what just happened in the movie?” If your answer exceeds one hour, do not rent this movie. “Alfie” cannot be cloned and this movie proves it. There oughta be a Law against remakes of bad movies. Get a life, Jude! Alfie never had one.
“I Heart Huckabees” (2004) A Hollywood message in search of a movie. A DVD STOMPER
“What the BLEEP do We Know?” (2004) What the BLEEP do I care? This is a dreadful movie on all counts: the key actress can’t speak clearly and fusses at someone who signs to her, “I can’t lip-read, you twit!” or something like that. But the worst part is she has a perpetual headache which is shown in closeup over and over again. The whole movie is a headache machine. All the ideas talked about chattily I’ve read handled much better in books. Fred Alan Wolf was a treat to watch — the only oasis in a desert of scientific mumbo-jumbo that goes nowhere fast and stays there. A DVD STOMPER! Keep this one out of your friends’ hands or buy them some aspirin to take while watching it.
“Dirty Dancing — Havana Nights” (2004) Swayze was an onlooker this time while a American chick Katie and a Cubano hombre Javier entered a dance contest. Not-not-not! Sorry but they came in a distant second to Patrick and Jennifer.

Your call on these — your taste in movies may differ, but I liked them:

“Bridget Jones – Edge of Reason” (2004) Was this movie worth gaining 40 lbs to play a woman called Jones, Bridge, and Beeshit? Your call. The movie, once you turned off the stupid Quiz on the DVD, was almost interesting, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, mostly ludicrous and silly.
“Spring Forward” (1999) A long conversation between Ned Beatty and Liev Schrieber as the younger man joins the older on a two-man park ranger gig. Just out of prison, Liev is the foul-mouthed and easily angered young man, and Ned is the polite and slow to react older man who watches and learns. A movie that starts slow and ends slow, but as the credits rolls we realize we watched a thoughtful tale unfold which has warmed our hearts.
“Coming Home” Vol. 2of 2 (1996) in which Judith enters the post-war era, her sister returns, and they move back into her estate. Some came home blind, some came home shattered, and some came home to re-start their lives. A sobering look at the WWII lives and times of Britishers who lived in large estates along the coast.
“When Human Voices Wake Us” (2002) — the title is from the last line of “J. Alfred Prufrock” — “Till human voices wake us, and we drown.” A young girl apparently drowns and an older version of her returns to haunt the days and nights of a man who knew the young girl. What’s going on is not at all clear till the very end, but there are hauntingly beautiful scenes and words which make the denouement worth hanging around for.
“Vanity Fair” (2004) A lavish production of Thackeray’s famous novel which asks the question whether a governess can ever be admitted into society in the early 1800s in England. After Reese Witherspoon’s best efforts at shocking the nobility, the answer comes out, “Well, she can always go to India where no one cares if she was once a governess.”
“Mansfield Park” (1999) A well-done presentation of Jane Austen’s semi-autobiographical novel right up to the point where they added in the Hollywood message: Fanny’s look at horrendous sketches Tom made of his father’s plantation in the West Indies. Nothing like that appeared in the novel. For all we know from the novel, Sir Thomas was like the majority of good, kind plantation masters, you know, the ones we never hear about anymore, as if they never existed. [Watch for actor who played Reese's husband in "Vanity Fair" to appear as son Tom Bertram in this one. Another intemperate roué role.]
“Tumbleweeds” (1999) Delightful movie about “trailer trash” with a freshness and verve that tugs at the heart strings. How many times can you meet a guy, get married, get divorced, and move to Arizona with your pre-teen daughter? Some time you have to stop rolling along and set down roots. Even a tumbleweed does that at some point in its life or there would be no little tumbleweeds. Some day one Romeo is going to put her foot down.
“Paycheck” (2003) A sci-fi fantasy by Philip K. Dick (“Blade Runner”) in which Michael (Ben Affleck) is a reverse engineering specialist who is always creating more than he’s asked to do. Industries in this near-future world use special techniques to prevent stealing of inventions by the individuals who create them. (In other words corporations are stealing the ideas of their employees, what else is new?) Michael has to work for three years in a closed environment, is given amnesia for the entire time and everything he worked on, and then he leaves with a big paycheck. He leaves with the only personal effects he entered the job with. How can he can communicate with his future self when he leaves the job? How can his future self figure out what the project was he worked on? Inquiring minds want to know. Lots of mindless shooting and automobile chases to fill up the time. I longed for a young Harrison Ford to play Michael – Ben “No Affect” Affleck filled the screen with blank stares that Ford would have filled meaningfully, in my opinion, as he did in “Blade Runner.”
“Closer” (2004) Don’t get any Closer. After viewing the lugubrious film, “Alfie”, last night, we didn’t even want to look at Jude Law’s face again, and we were right — this movie ends with Jude getting screwed in the end, again. He ends the movie without any girl just like in Alfie. Getting “closer” this time to two girls, but still trying to figure out “What’s it all about?” If you’re reading this blurb, you should know that this film is a stacked deck. No matter how you deal it, if you try to make a Royal Flush out of Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts with this movie, you won’t even get two pairs. You may not mind losing at poker and, if so, it’s your call.



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4. CAJUN STORY:
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(Adapted by one told at a club breakfast.)

A gas explosion had leveled a convent in Abbeville and killed seven Cajun nuns in the blast. As a result, St. Peter set up a special line and ceremony to welcome them into Heaven. He announced to the queued up nuns:

“Sisters, I’m here to welcome you all to Heaven, where you will receive your rewards for leading a pure and chaste life on Earth. There is, however, one more purification you must undergo, so please be patient.”

St. Peter welcomed the first nun and posed this question to her, “Sister Clothilde, have you ever touched a man’s penis?”

Sister Clothilde blushed slightly and said hesitatingly, with her index finger extended, “Yes, one time, but I only touched it with the very tip of my finger.”

“Then you must place the tip of that finger in this chalice of Holy Water before you will be allowed to enter Heaven and receive your eternal reward,” St. Peter said, directing her to the golden chalice.

When she had finished, the next nun came forward and St. Peter posed the same question to her and she blushed deep red and said, as she moved her right hand suggestively, “Yes, I confess, St. Peter, I once stroked a man’s member.”

“Then, my child, you will have to place your entire hand in the Holy Water,” St. Peter said. The good sister dipped her entire right hand into the water and St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates to let her into Heaven. Suddenly he heard a big commotion in the back of the queue and, as he turned he noticed that a perturbed nun had jumped to the front of the line.

“Yes, Sister Angele, what is so important?” he asked.

“St. Peter,” she blurted out, “you have to let me gargle this stuff before Sister Agnes washes her sorry butt in it!”

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5. RECIPE of the MONTH for April, 2005 from Bobby Jeaux’s Kitchen:
(click links to see photo of ingredients, preparation steps)
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Brussels Sprouts Soup

Background on Brussels Sprouts Soup: This is one of our favorites soup for a chilly winter or Spring day. Best of all you can get two meals from one package of Brussels Sprouts. I've always loved Brussels Sprouts and Del hated them. In the few restaurants where I ate Brussels Sprouts, they were invariably bitter and variously unappetizing. As a result, I rarely ate them, until a few years ago, however, when I started cooking them for me for my lunch in the kitchen off the office where I write. I'd cook about 5 or 6 sprouts, just enough for me to eat and throw the water away. One day, I poured the water from the pot into a cup and tasted it. It was sorta good. From that moment on, I began saving the broth and developing this soup from it. I always cook the sprouts first for a side dish for me and Del, and use the leftover sprouts and broth for the soup base. Del now loves Brussels Sprouts since she did a speed trace. I actually took her two traces: one to be able to eat the sprout, and another to be able to swallow it. After a year of eating a sprout or two when I cooked them — after the trace I could cook them when she was home — she now likes them, especially loves this soup. This is a soup made completely from leftovers and takes only a minute or so to prepare. See a closeup of the soup. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 Bay Leaf
1 Can Chicken Broth.
1 Package of Fresh Brussels Sprouts
1 tsp Celery Seed
Tony Chachere's Seasoning
Chicken Seasoning
Malabar Black Pepper
Bertolli's Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Long Grain/Wild Rice (cooked)


Preparation of Dish One: Brussels Sprouts Side Dish

Start with a package of fresh brussels sprouts — never use frozen. Boil the sprouts in water with a tsp of salt and a tbsp of olive oil for about ten minutes or till a sharp fork can easily penetrate a sprout.

Eat about half the brussels sprouts as a side dish, lightly buttered. They should taste sweet and delicious (or else throw them away — they won’t taste any better in the soup). Save the broth from the boiling for the soup.

Cooking Instructions for Dish Two: Brussels Sprouts Soup
Soup [Note: quantities are only guidelines. ]
Use the remaining buttered brussels sprouts (anywhere from six on up) and place into the broth saved from above. With a sharp pointed knife cut the sprouts into about quarters. This can be done easily in the pot. You won't lose any leaves from the sprouts and you’ll save yourself a mess on the counter top.

Turn heat on high while adding ingredients. When soup boils then lower to a mild boil. Add a Bay leaf. Add a tsp of celery seeds. Grind some Malabar pepper over the soup. Add some Tony’s and Chicken Seasoning. Add about a half cup or more of leftover Long Grain/Wild Rice from the freezer or a previous meal. Add a can or two of chicken broth. Season to taste.

Final words
Bon Appétit!



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6. POETRY by BOBBY from Yes, and Even More:
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Chains of Mind

The oak tree is resigned
to the chains that bind
It flows with ease around
the chains in time.
Are there chains
that bind your mind?
Will you flow with ease around
those chains in time?

Chains of Mind: Written April 16, 1996 in my Timberlane easy chair about 5 pm. I wrote it on page 194 of The Art of Being Human by Hazrat Inayat Khan. The operant quote that inspired this musing was, “Resignation is not an easy thing. How many people in this world try to learn wonderful spiritual things, but this simple thing, resignation, is miraculous; for this virtue is not only beautiful, it is a miracle. . . . To be resigned, therefore, is not weakness, it is a great strength.”

      If you have ever placed a chain around an oak tree and have come back years later to see the hard wood of the oak flowing like molasses around the chain, you would know that the oak, resigned to its fate, simply flows around the impenetrable chains as if they were not there. Humans could learn something about resignation from observing oak trees.

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7. REVIEWS and ARTICLES for April:
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And for my Good Readers, here’s the new reviews and articles for this month. The ARJ2 ones are new additions to the top of A Reader’s Journal, Volume 2, Chronological List, and the ART ones to A Reader’s Treasury.

1.) ARJ2: The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Vol. 6 by Henry David Thoreau

The treasures that Thoreau tosses up to light for us to marvel over are rampant. He doesn't merely walk over the ground, he reads it aloud to us as he strides. And occasionally he offers us suggestions for our living.

[page 19] Dec. 16. Friday — Hoar Frost: The elms covered with hoar frost, seen in the east against the morning light, are very beautiful. These days, when the earth is still bare and the weather is so warm as to create much vapor by day, are the best for these frost works.
       Would you be well, see that you are attuned to each mood of nature.

These journals of Thoreau are like his cenotaph — a sepulcher raised to a man whose remains are buried elsewhere — like the cenotaph of the clam whose beauty would forever remain hidden from sight but for the audacity of a man to raise it from the depths, extract its succulent treasure, and display its shell for every beachcomber to view.

If you would accompany Thoreau on his walks — have him read to you what he sees along his way and listen to him as he excavates the treasure from his surroundings to show them to you — read his Journals.

If you wish a short reprise of his walks, read my reviews of his Journals.

http://www.doyletics.com/arj/tjr06rvw.htm

2.) ARJ2: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

If you’ve seen this as a movie, you have a treat in store for you as you read it as a novel.

Jane Austen lets you see into the thoughts and feelings of each of the characters with great detail and nuances that a movie can only hint at.

In the society of Mansfield Park’s time when what one thinks and feels are so different from what one displays externally, Austen’s novel technique makes one privy to closely held secrets.

The successive unraveling of the truth is a joy to behold.

http://www.doyletics.com/arj/mansfiel.htm

3.) ARJ2: Belle Terre Acadie by Anna Keller

The Acadian homeland in Canada may be gone with the wind, but it is not forgotten — if anyone has forgotten it, this novel of the Cajun expulsion and migration to Louisiana will be a poignant reminder. It allows us to follow the lives and fortune of several families as les maudits anglaises (the accursed English) uproot families to steal their land, cram them in overcrowded ships, and export them like livestock to distant lands in the middle of winter.

Those lucky few who survive the tortuous journey to Louisiana build a new life from scratch for their land. Those who are descended from the families who survived will enjoy learning of their ancestors’ journey and will find themselves muttering under their breath by the end of the book, “N’oubliez pas.” (“We will never forget.”)

http://www.doyletics.com/arj/belleter.htm

Belle Terre Acadie may be ordered here on-line.

4.) ARJ2: Spiritual Science as a Foundation for Social Forms by Rudolf Steiner

Why read another Steiner book, especially one with such a ponderous title? The answers are as manifold as the interests of Rudolf Steiner which fill the pages of this fascinating and enlightening series of lectures he gave in 1920.

When I read a materialistic scientist’s exposition of the evolution of the cosmos, the biggest questions are always left unasked and unanswered.

What happened before the Big Bang?

Are the answers provided always fall short of making good sense.

Why does the Moon have such a dramatic effect on humans?

How did humans evolve?

Where does religion fit into the scheme of things?

Is there a spiritual world and if so where does it exist?

Steiner explains why this is so: since the fifteenth century humankind has produced a civilization based on a way of thinking which emerges only out of the human being and not out of the cosmos in which humans are immersed. The result is a tapestry of half-truths which hides more than it reveals. The walls of reality are hidden behind a man-made veil of maps of reality which explains only the things displayed on the tapestry, and omits the reality which awaits anyone who will lift the tapestry and gaze behind it. The time to do this is now, and Steiner is the way-shower to assist us in lifting the skirt of the material world to see the wonders hidden from our eyes, up until now.

To enjoy the complete symphony of topics Steiner orchestrates for us, read the book. For a few scherzos and andantes, read the review.

http://www.doyletics.com/arj/ssasafsf.htm

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I hear often from my Good Readers that they have bought books after reading my book reviews. Keep reading, folks! As I like to remind you, to obtain more information on what's in these books, buy and read the books — for less information, read the reviews.


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8. COMMENTARY:
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In this section I like to comment on events in the world, in my life, and in my readings which have come up during the month. These are things I might have shared with you in person, if we had had the opportunity to coverse during the month. If we did, then you may recognize my words. If I say some things here which upset you, rest assured that you may skip over these for the very reason that I would likely have not brought up the subject to spoil our time together in person.

1. Padre Filius Visits a Rug Store this Month:

Padre Filius, the cartoon character created by your intrepid editor and would-be cartoonist, will appear from time to time in this Section of the Digest to share us on some amusing or enlightening aspect of the world he observes during his peregrinations.

This month the good Padre is passing a Rug Store when he observes an interesting sign in the window.


2. The Thinking Cook

A good friend wrote me via email the other day saying, "Ever have one of those nights that you just don't want to cook and a delivered pizza doesn't cut it?" and gave me a link to a cooking website. I expressed my thanks for the link and replied with my philosophy on cooking which I'd like to share with you.

There hasn't been a pizza delivered to our house since the kids left for college twenty years ago — they ordered it. And I don't ever not feel like cooking. But I took a look at Jacques's site anyway. I went through the slide show where he shows how to remove salmon from the skin and take away the dark flesh. All stuff I figured out from actually tasting the food without having to be taught by somebody. Thanks, anyway, Jacques, I can take it from here.

I learn things about cooking in the cracks where most people don't bother looking. Cooking for me is like books, I don't read best-sellers as anyone who's familiar with my reviews can observe, since I review every book I read all the way through. With cooking I look for techniques, for processes, when I catch a few minutes in the middle of a cooking show. How to prepare a sauce, for example, so I can design any kind of sauce I wish with what I have on hand.

Only cooking show I ever watched all the way through was the Justin Wilson Show. Ever notice? He was the only chef who actually sat down and ate the food he cooked. And savored it. Oh, the Galloping Gourmet Graham Kerr occasionally knoshed a bit on his food after he cooked it, but he never stopped talking long enough to convince me he was enjoying the food he ate. Compare him to Justin and you'll see the difference. (Justin wasn't a real Cajun and admitted it, but he loved Cajuns and had a unique style which was lovable.)

What do most other Chefs do when they finish cooking a dish? Display it. Rave over it. Talk about how good it smells. Let others to taste a bite. They rarely ever actually taste the food the food themselves during cooking or after. I wonder if Jacques tastes his own food on the show?

About the website. Very slick. Jacques is a nice looking guy. Talks better than Julia Child. Videos are professionally done. Will help a lot of people cook and give them ideas. Cuisinart is a prominent advertizer for the website/show.

I have no use for most of his recipes because I threw away my Cuisinart about 20 years ago after I spent 10 minutes cleaning all the parts after it saved me 5 minutes chopping by hand. Also it mutilated the food, and as a Cajun I cannot bear to waste food just to learn how to use some maudits machine. I chop everything by hand with a carbon steel chef's knife I paid $2.50 for about 20 years ago, and which I rinse and wipe clean in 5 seconds and put up in 2. That's fast cooking and clean up. Plus I get to think about who I'm preparing the food for with loving thoughts as I chop each bite. I've learned that what you think about while you prepare food goes into the food you're cooking. Try thinking loving thoughts when WHHIIRRRRRRR!! is going on in your kitchen. Can't see for the life of me why I would want the horrendous sound of a food chopper and the way it makes me feels me when it grinds away to go into every dish I prepare.

Ever eat in a restaurant where the food was prepared nice-looking with fresh ingredients and seasoned properly but tasted completely unappetizing? It was prepared by some 20-something who hated his job and was thinking of all the mess he'd have to clean up before he left work that night WHILE he was preparing the food! He followed all the instructions he was given and still the food was insipid. You tasted it and now you know why. [See my poem The Thinking Cook.]

By the way I cook a lot with crawfish and I always buy the cheapest crawfish I can find. No real Cajuns would pay more money to buy crawfish just because some maudits agency is buying ads to say crawfish from one place tastes better than crawfish from some place else. We just taste the crawfish ourselves and buy the cheapest crawfish that tastes good. Excuse me, I have a couple of crawfish leeks tarts in the oven I have to remove.

3. Social In-Security

What's the opposite of security? Insecurity! And that's the "gift" that the so-called government gives us when we retire. It is not based on investment, but in stealing money from one's paycheck and an equal amount from one's employer each month. This latter theft is invisible to any who read their check stub, but the amount missing is exactly equal to the FICA that is visible. It's as if the Feds think we're too dumb to realize the huge amounts they are taking from our paychecks to fund a pyramid (Ponzi) scheme which pays out a NEGATIVE 1.2% interest to those who are forced to invest in it. This Ponzi scheme uses current theft receipts to pay those who have already retired while holding current wage-earners' grandchildren-to-be hostage to pay for their retirement.

It would seem that anyone who offered a chance to invest this money in bonds or stocks that earned money instead of losing money would be considered a savior for the working class. Yes, that would be so anywhere but in the USA where the Democrats would pillory and burn at the stake any Democrat who suggested it, and what they would do to the Republicans, you only have to turn on either C-SPAN to determine for yourself.

Are you familiar with the Rule of 72? If you divide an interest rate into 72, the quotient will tell you over how many years your money will double. If you get a 6% return on an investment, you'll double your money every 12 years. If you work for 36 years and average 6% that's three doublings or 8 (EIGHT) times the amount you invested. At 12% that's six doublings or 64 (SIXTY-FOUR) times the amount you invested. Now let's look at the current SS PONZI scheme which pays about -1.2%. Divide 1.2 into 72 and you get 60. At a positive interest rate of 1.2 your money would increase only by half in about 36 years. Thus, with a -1.2 % rate, it would be worth about a third less than you put into it, all things being equal — and any fool knows there is no such thing as all things being equal when it comes to the FEDS — they change things every year or so to keep things unequal and you confused.

When I read this quote below, it read as if it were something I had written, but it came in the FederalistPatriot.US 05-12 Brief — Bravo Michael ! ! !

Put me clearly on the record: I don't want to 'reform' Social Security or 'rescue' it or 'adjust it to the new realities of the 21st century.' No, I want to hit it in the head with a shovel and bury it in a New Jersey landfill. It is time to kill the rotten, lousy, 'rip off your kids to keep granny in bingo cards' Ponzi scheme that we call Social Security, but would be more accurately described as 'the government taking money from poor, hard-working young families and giving just enough of it to retirees to keep them broke, too'.
Michael Graham

4. Comments from Readers:
  • About May, 2004's Digest:
    "What a creative and comical guy you are! I had to laugh when you spiced up your digest with the Boeuf Gras and the Krewe of Asses. Ha! ha! Good points — all." Dave Lyons
  • From our Guestbook:
    "Thank you for clearing up the mystery of Zhivago vs Andreivich. I tried reading the book in college but the names were too much to overcome. Last weekend I finally saw the film in its entirety, and was again left confused by why Yuri was called so many names. Thank you for clearing this up for me." M. Nguyen, Philadelphia, PA
  • From our eMailbox:
    "bonjour de la plagne en savoie france," Bernard & Christiane Cressend

    Obviously this French couple was saying hello, but I couldn't find a translation of "la plagne" or "savoie" and I was puzzled till I realized that they were names of places. A quick Google revealed this likely translation of their greeting:
    Good Day from La Plagne, Savoy France (in the Alps)

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9. CLOSING NOTES:
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Thanks to all of you Good Readers for providing the chemistry which has made this site a glowing endeavor. — Especially those of you who have graciously allowed us to reprint your emails and show photos of you and by you on this website — you're looking good!

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You can read a description of how to do a Speed Trace:

Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here



Or Watch Bobby extemporaneously explain How to Do a Speed Trace on Video:



To make a connection to the Doyletics website from your own website, here's what to do. You may wish to use the first set of code below to link to the site which includes a graphic photo, or to use the second set of code for a text-only link. Immediately below is how the graphic link will look on your website. Just place this .html in an appropriate place on your website.

<CENTER> < — with graphics link — >
<A HREF="http://www.doyletics.com/index.htm">Learn to Do a Speed Trace Here<BR>
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Check out the new additions to the Famous and Interesting Quotations at:
http://www.doyletics.com/quotes.htm

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My reviews are not intended to replace the purchasing and reading of the reviewed books, but rather to supplant a previous reading or to spur a new reading of your own copy. What I endeavor to do in most of my reviews is to impart a sufficient amount of information to get the reader comfortable with the book so that they will want to read it for themselves. My Rudolf Steiner reviews are more detailed and my intention is bring his work to a new century of readers by converting his amazing insights into modern language and concepts.

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