I've come to the gradual realization that excessive humility in a person (a disease I like to call: Humilititis) is really a form of passive-aggressive behaviour. A very slow fuse. Leading to WMDs of all description. Weapons of Morbid Depression. I was watching my two grand daughters play the other day and thought: I wish I could be more like them. Who on earth would desire an exuberant, playful, screaming, laughing, shouting, running, jumping beautiful ball of energy to put it all in a sack, tie it up with a polite ribbon and be - quiet and humble? (Besides their parents, sometimes, that is.)
I've decided that REAL organic humility is a genuine sense of humour about one's self.
Not forgetting, also, the natural overwhelming of the ego by complete surrender to Eros. (Whenever possible.)
I took my car in for a service yesterday and when it was done, the mechanic said: 'I'm afraid to show you the bill. Your lot has been dropping off lately.' Meaning, like: a lot of people my age kicking the bucket. I said, 'Just give me the friggin' bill, just as long as the car doesn't drop off before I do."
Life is short. Or long, as the case may be. Make a joyful earful. Don't hide your big mouth under a basket.
Just because someone gloriously self-promotes themselves with statements like 'I am the Greatest!" (what a loser!) or "I am the Son of God!" (no comment) or 'I am a bloody Genius, people, wakey wakey!" it does not mean they are not contrite and humble souls. On a more practical note, what business on the planet could survive with this philosophy: 'I'll just sit here and keep my head down and be quiet and do my thing and everyone will eventually discover me and reward me for my focus and service to the community.' Another way this misguided philosophy has been popularly expressed is: build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.
Not necessarily. You will probably catch all the mice in your house but then what . . . . the mousetrap sits up on the shelf gathering dust. You need to take a big ad out in the "Better Mousetrap Builder's Gazette."
Like this one. I'm performing a short solo set for the Swiss-Italian Festival at Hepburn Springs (outside of Melbourne) on Friday night at Lucini's. Details on my website. I am also entering the local Pasta Sauce Competition with a special Chicken, Guanciale, Basil and Chili Sauce with Fennel Sausage and Kangaroo Braciole. If that sounds like a mouthful, it is! A dish designed to separate the folks from the finnochs.
For those local folks who missed our sold-out Castlemaine show, DIFFICULT WOMEN will be back up in Hepburn Springs, on May 25th, performing with SALLY DASTEY, ex-TIDDAS, at THE PALAIS. (More info and Booking)
And irony of ironies, I've been invited to perform a couple of Bob Dylan songs at a Bob Dylan Tribute Concert in late May! (Someone is just asking for it.) I might arrange a couple with new lyrics to see if anyone notices. Like:
'Blowing WITH the Wind'
' Like a Skipping Stone.'
'It's a Hard Face a Gonna Shaddap.'
One song I will be doing the right way is 'My Back Pages,' but without the atrocious third verse:
'Girls' faces formed the forward path
From phoney jealousy,
To memorizing politics
Of ancient history,
Flung down by corpse evangelists
Unthought of, though, somehow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now.'
(If any Bob Dylan corpse evangelists out there can tell me what this verse is actually saying, line by line, or why it is worth putting back into an otherwise brilliant song, I'm all hears.)
On the other hand, maybe I could just leave the first six lines as they are - and change the refrain couplet to:
'Ah but I was so much younger then,
I'm OLDER than that now.'
Probably no one would notice the difference, including Dylan.
(By the way, the Byrds, in their classic cover version, also left out the above verse - plus omitted the fourth verse as well:
" A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
"Equality," I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow.
Ah, but I was so much older then,
I'm younger than that now."
But I happen to like that verse so I'm leaving it in.
FAVOURITE READER LETTERS OF THE WEEK
Happy Easter or whatever festivals you wish to celebrate on your break. Sorry I don't know enough Latin to get all the jokes in your latest missive but I can refer you to some more on this page. I especially liked: 'Proxima sed non corona.' (Close but no cigar. Or maybe close but no mexican beer.) And a few others (which I actually found somewhere else ... I love the internet)
Nullo modo (No way) Fors fortis (Fat chance) Labra lege (Read my lips) Raptus regaliter (Royally screwed) Kind regards, Justine Stewart
(Note: Justine, I'm fond of this
"In curro meo ab Officina Baiuoaria Mechanica fabricato habeo machinam quae litteras per aethera transmittit." [I have a fax machine in my BMW.])
Hi Mr. Dolce,
According to billboard "Hot 100" [Shaddap You Face] peaked in 1981. But as a kid, I remember playing this song at our local pizza place's jukebox in either the late 60's or early 70's. Is this possible? Sincerely, Roy
(Note: Roy, I'm old but I'm not ancient. I was still 'Living La Vida Shaddap-a' in the late 60s. I wrote the song in 1979. )
You will probably be totally disinterested to know that last Saturday Night I went to Taronga Park Zoo. The occasion was a concert called Geoff Harvey's 'One Hit Wonders'. There were 21 of these masterpieces, about half of which I knew, (This lead me to think I may have been dead in the 70s) and though I waited on the edge of our blanket sipping my $2 cleanskin red and eating chook that song didn't get a run. Does this mean that you have been elevated out of 'One Hit Wonder' Class? Doug Ashdown's 'Winter in America' was there however along with the 'Macareena' and 'I'd walk 500 miles'. Regards Bigruss
PS it cost me $55 and I didn't get to see a single animal - not only that but they turned Sydney's lights out (bit of a fizzer really) just as I was starting to enjoy the view.
(Note: Big Russ, you ate a chook. That's an animal. Stop complaining.)
This [newsletter] not requested nor is it wanted. I am very annoyed about people sending me stuff from a list they get from somewhere. If not requested, it is spam, the scourge of the modern world of communications. Please remove me from your list. D.O.A.
(Note: Dear D.O.A. Nice initials. I love the 'personal' comments some folks send me when they want off my newsletter list - instead of the standard 'Delete' or 'Shaddap You Email' in the subject box as indicated. It's like they want to get one last lick in there with the boot in before they get removed, or maybe they don't think I will remove them unless they express outrage. I ALWAYS remove people from my list when they ask, but for these 'special' folks, I usually send my standard ten page 'Removal Confirmation' reply which starts:
"100% ORGANIC FREE RANGE MONEYBACK
GUARANTEED REMOVAL NOTICE
This is to assure you that you address has been REMOVED ( c.1300, from O.Fr. remouvoir, from L. removere "move back or away," from re- "back, away" + movere "to move". The noun is first recorded 1553, "act of removing;" sense of "space or interval by which one thing is distant from another" is attested from 1628; also, you may now officially consider your email address DELETED, TAKEN AWAY, TAKEN OFF, WITHDRAWN, EXTRACTED, DOFFED, DOUSED, PUT OFF, CAST OFF, THROWN OFF, CLEARED AWAY, ELIMINATED, TAKEN OUT, ERADICATED, EXTERMINATED, EXTIRPATED, BLOTTED OUT, EFFACED, ERASED, OBLITERATED, DONE AWAY WITH, LIQUIDATED, and for all general purposes EXPUNGED (without prejudice) from the JOE DOLCE NEWSLETTER. . . . (etc for ten pages.)"
- Two of my favourite emails this week, however, were of a more personal nature. The first came from 'Georg from Germany', who simply asked me to send his mother a personalized birthday greeting:
" Dear Mr. Joen Dolce,
My mother is one of your biggest Fans in Germany :) Its hard for me, becaus i have always to find new production of you. Now she is getting 60 Years old in the beginning of may. Normaly the biggest present would be a booking for the birthday party, but i think its not so easy because a normal live gig is very difficult because you live in australia (i think). By this way i want to ask you for a few sentences like a birthday mail per e mail of you... i want to give it with Cds of you to my mother. Her name is christina and i will be happy if you can send me an e mail like i wrote to you. I ll be shure it will be the biggest birthday present for her. Thank you for your support..and i hobe it is possible. I send you best regards from Munich (Germany) with 25 degrees outside today :) All the best for you, Georg "
(Note: I wrote Frau Christina a short little birthday letter, including the titles of two German language cover versions of 'Shaddap You Face' for her to check out - Gottlieb Wenehals, 'Mensch Arger Dich Nich' and the Party Service Band, 'Wenn Die Buhne Brennt' - and sent it off to Georg to surprise her. His mum is the same age as me by the way so we tribal elders have to stick together. This was the touching and unexpected reply I got. He spelled my first name right this time - but I actually preferred Joen!)
" Dear Joe,
thank you very much .... its perfect!!!! Its very funny i have to tell you, because you wrote of Gottlieb Wendehals (Werner Böhm his name :) I produced a complete album for him and he was signed at one of my labels... I am 33 years old and i make music since i am a small boy. My first hit i have had with 19 years. It was an cover dance version of "another day in paradise" ... and then it goes on and on. We sold 10 Million Records till now...
I have had an big studio and also my divverent labels. Distributed at universal, and zyx. In the last 3 years a was getting very ill and now i only work a little bit.I am standing on a waiting list for a new heart and i am waiting and waiting. its not so easy to get an new heart and its deifficult to hold the old one... but what should i tell :) i am writing songs and sometimes i produce anymore. but i sold the studio and i sold also two of my labels in the last month to a friend of me in spain.
So it was very very funny, wenn i was looking always for the titels of you..for my mum. First i was thinking its an just an party song...but then i found a lot of storries of you in the internet and it was intresting to read your thinking and also about the stories of the songs... So how ever. I thank you for your letter.... and if you need anything in germany or austria or switzerland .... no problem. You can send me an e mail ..this is my privat address and not of the company so i will get it for shure!!!!! I wish you all the best and dont hesitat to contact me if you need anything or what ever:) BEST, GEORG "
- The second personal letter came from London, Ontario:
Mr. Joe Dolce,
I wish I would've known your email before. I am Liz Franze of London, Ontario. I have to tell you, your song, Shuddup you face, well i'll tell ya, I heard it when it came out and brought it home after I bought it so I could play it for my brother Joe. I was blessed to grow up with my brother Joe Franze who has been confined to a wheelchair his whole life with Cerebral Palsy. He and I used to love to listen to your song, as he loved when I would imitate our dads accent, as he is full italian, from Calabria. I would imitate the way he said things, with his accent and Joe would kill himself laughing! So when your song came out and he heard it, he just laughed! My dad did too. He asked where did I get that, and I told him I heard it and then bought it, you know on 45, haha. Anyway Joe asked me, after my having to format his computer as we kept in touch on msn messenger daily, when I didn't have him at my house, if I still had your song on the computer and I said "No but i'll get it for you". I used to take him when my mom worked in the nice weather. I had a mini van and would take him to dirt roads and let him be in the drivers seat and drive, and he loved it! Things people said he'd never do we proved them wrong. So that summer that I had him almost daily recently in 2005, he asked if I could get your song for the cd player for the van for when we went out. I said I would. In November, 2005, he took sick with bronchitis and a touch of pnemonia, and was not feeling too well so I put off everything to help out with him, being a single parent of five children myself. By December, about mid month, I saw him and he wasn't able to get out of bed, he was so weak, so I told my mom, she needed to take him to the hospital to get him a feed tube. From his steady 90lbs, he had dropped to about 73lbs. Finally he went into the hospital into the new year, just after actually. We missed a family christmas dinner which was devastating because we always looked forward to that. They decided to do a lung scope on Joe, and I had stayed the previous night in the hospital with him, and in the morning my mom came up and I went home to sleep, or so she thought. The scope didn't go well and he actually died, and they put him on life support. I was up there the next day as he wasn't waking up, so My mom and dad, and sister were all up there, and around 8pm they decided to go home as there was not much could be done in ICU, but not me, I was staying put. He finally around 11pm opened his eyes, and I cried, and said "Oh my God there's those beautiful eyes!". He smiled the best he could with the tube in his mouth. Anyway, they did more, a tracheotomy, another scope and lung surgery and April 5th sent him home. I couldn't visit for a while as I had bronchitis and couldn't go near him with any kind of illness, so went to a clinic and they wouldn't prescribe anything, "It will run it's course". Another few days I was back there and told them they didn't understand, I didn't have time to let it run it's course, my brother is very ill and I'm helping out with him and can't be with him until i'm better, and the head of the clinic came in a prescribed something and apologized for making me wait since the first visit. I went over finally on May 4rth, and spent hours over there, gave him a shave, he was very sick to his stomach that night. I layed him in his bed and told him he needed to sleep, he looked so tired, and as he lay there he said he was scared, and he wanted me, I said i'm right here Joe, are you scared you are going to get sick while you're sleeping? And he kind of nodded. Then he said it again. He nodded off for a little bit, I promised to be right there until my mom woke up, as I sent my mom to bed because she was exhausted, from the 24/7 care she was giving him. My dad didn't want an inhome overnight nurse on the weekend which this was a Thursday night, as he didn't like strangers in their house, a little paranoid, always has been. Then he was not well again and I got him up and in his wheelchair. We sat in the kitchen, and I changed his bed with my mom for him, and stayed a bit longer and then went home and told them i'd be over early evening, to stay the night for the weekend nights, and then mom and dad could sleep. I slept in the afternoon the next day and around 4:55pm called them to tell them i'm on my way over with a bag, and my said I didn't need a bag. I asked why, and she said the ambulance was there, and I said, "Oh no, he's going back to the hospital?", and she said "No". I said, "You lost me now, what's going on?" Then she told me he hadn't been breathing for several minutes and they were working on him. I lost it,,, got in my van, and was at their house in about 5 minutes. When I got there the paramedics were standing around, and police and my mom and sister were in Joe's computer room and my dad at the dining room table. I looked at my mom and sister and asked where he was and they were crying and just nodded "No". I just felt as though my heart had lost half of itself. I wanted to see him and went toward the kitchen, and the officer stopped me and said they hadn't put him back in his bed yet, he was still on the kitchen floor, and I said I didn't care, they said it was fine they just wanted to tell me that. My sister came in behind me and we both knelt down either side of him, stroking his cheeks, and his forehead and saying how sorry we were that we didn't make it in time and crying. It was the worst day of my life~! I wanted to email you though to tell you how much joy and laughter your song brought my dear brother Joe, he just thought the world of it!, and we did share lots of laughs with it~! Anyway, I just wanted you to know that. I have enclosed a picture of my dear brother for you so you could see what a happy soul he was! I hope I haven't taken up too much of your time. Thanks for listening, Sincerely, Liz Franze
(Note: Folks, a letter like this makes it all worthwhile.)
Hi Mr Dolce,
I'm a massive fan of yours and have been for a while now. I dont know if you are aware of the website 'Facebook' but I have created a group called 'Joe Dolce Appreciation Society'. Its for like-minded fans like myself. It has 50 members already which i'm quite proud of! Anyway, to cut a long story short i just wanted you to know about this group! It keeps getting bigger and it wont be long before we hit 100 members. Keep writing great music and when are you gonna come to the UK, some live gigs over here would be awesome. Kind Regards, John
(Note: Dear John, The Joe Dolce Appreciation Society. I like the sound of that. We need a branch over here in Australia. Hell, I need a branch at home. I'm in, mate. Sign me up. That makes 51. Rock and Roll! What an appropriate name for the server: Facebook! I recommend this to all my readers, by the way. Let's give John a surprise and register 10,000 new members this week! Here's the website link: Joe Dolce Appreciation Society
Kucinich's Impeachment Proposal Takes Antiwar
Stand to New Lengths
By Marie Horrigan
Tuesday 24 April 2007
Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich on
Tuesday introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President
Dick Cheney for "high crimes and misdemeanors" related
to his participation in the buildup for the war in Iraq - and
what the longshot Democratic presidential contender said was belligerent
rhetoric toward Iran. In an 18-page draft resolution, Kucinich
outlined three charges against Cheney: that he "manipulated
the intelligence process ... by fabricating the threat of Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction" to justify the war in Iraq;
that he deceived citizens and Congress "about an alleged
relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda" to justify the war;
and that he has "openly threatened aggression against the
Republic of Iran, absent any real threat to the United States,
and has done so with the United States' proven capability to carry
out such threats."
"In all this, Vice President Richard B. Cheney has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as vice president, and subversive to constitutional government, to the prejudice of the cause of law and justice and the manifest injury of the people of the United States ... [and] by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office," the resolution concluded. article
The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV
by Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon
It's become a TV ritual: Every year on April 4, as Americans commemorate Martin Luther King's death, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader." The remarkable thing about these reviews of King's life is that several years his last years are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole.
What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling desegregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968). An alert viewer might notice that the chronology jumps from 1965 to 1968. Yet King didn't take a sabbatical near the end of his life. In fact, he was speaking and organizing as diligently as ever.
Almost all of those speeches were filmed or taped. But they're not shown today on TV. Why?
It's because national news media have never come to terms with what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for during his final years.
In the early 1960s, when King focused his challenge on legalized racial discrimination in the South, most major media were his allies. Network TV and national publications graphically showed the police dogs and bullwhips and cattle prods used against Southern blacks who sought the right to vote or to eat at a public lunch counter. But after passage of civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King began challenging the nation's fundamental priorities. He maintained that civil rights laws were empty without "human rights" including economic rights. For people too poor to eat at a restaurant or afford a decent home, King said, anti-discrimination laws were hollow. Noting that a majority of Americans below the poverty line were white, King developed a class perspective. He decried the huge income gaps between rich and poor, and called for "radical changes in the structure of our society" to redistribute wealth and power.
"True compassion," King declared, "is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring."
By 1967, King had also become the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic of overall U.S. foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 a year to the day before he was murdered King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." (Full Text/Audio Here)
From Vietnam to South Africa to Latin America, King said, the U.S. was "on the wrong side of a world revolution." King questioned "our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America," and asked why the U.S. was suppressing revolutions "of the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Third World, instead of supporting them.
In foreign policy, King also offered an economic critique, complaining about "capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries."
You haven't heard the "Beyond Vietnam" speech on network news retrospectives, but national media heard it loud and clear back in 1967 and loudly denounced it. Time magazine called it "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi." The Washington Post patronized that "King has diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."
In his last months, King was organizing the most militant project of his life: the Poor People's Campaign. He crisscrossed the country to assemble "a multiracial army of the poor" that would descend on Washington engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol, if need be until Congress enacted a poor people's bill of rights. Reader's Digest warned of an "insurrection."
King's economic bill of rights called for massive government jobs programs to rebuild America's cities. He saw a crying need to confront a Congress that had demonstrated its "hostility to the poor" appropriating "military funds with alacrity and generosity," but providing "poverty funds with miserliness."
How familiar that sounds today, nearly 40 years after King's efforts on behalf of the poor people's mobilization were cut short by an assassin's bullet.
In 2007, in this nation of immense wealth,
the White House and most in Congress continue to accept the perpetuation
of poverty. They fund foreign wars with "alacrity and generosity,"
while being miserly in dispensing funds for education and healthcare
and environmental cleanup.
And those priorities are largely unquestioned by mainstream media. No surprise that they tell us so little about the last years of Martin Luther King's life. article
Air Guitar Nation Movie
'To Err is human, To air guitar, divine."
A battle of naked ambition played out on the national and, ultimately, world stage, AIR GUITAR NATION chronicles the birth of the US Air Guitar Championships as legions of aspiring rock stars live out their dreams on a quest to become the world champion in a strange world where musical ability plays second fiddle to virtual virtuosity. (more)
1 billion fans can't be wrong:
In China, George is Elvis.
In Canada, George is Greek.
In Greece, George has a dream
" I first met George in Guangzhou, China. I was sitting in a restaurant (I couldn't order food, as I could barely speak a word of Chinese) and in walked an odd-looking, guitar-carrying Greek-Canadian. He sat down to chat with me, and then he surprised me by turning around and ordering us a full meal in fluent Mandarin. The waitresses were all stunned-one by one, they all crowded around our table, blushing and giggling, listening to this hairy foreigner speak Chinese.
Then to everyone's surprise, George whipped out his guitar, and started to sing folk songs . . . again, in fluent Mandarin. Suddenly, I was sitting with Elvis! (You know the TV concert where all the girls sit on the stairs around Elvis, as he sings and plays the acoustic guitar? That Elvis) To me it was like watching Neil Diamond, or Don Ho, but to the waitresses this was ELVIS, clapping, singing and swooning dreamily along. His impromptu concert shut down the restaurant for 45 minutes and opened up an entirely new China to me. I decided there and then I wanted to make a film about this guy.
So imagine how I felt when I when met up with George in Canaa . . . and learned that "Elvis" still lived with his mother. He was no longer the troubadour ladies man I had met in China, but instead a government statistician! I was a bit confused, since this George was so different from the one I'd seen charm the ladies in China.
Then he told me about his Olympic dream: to perform at the closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympics, as Athens passed the torch to China. As the "only Greek in the world who can sing in Chinese", it was his duty to sing at the Olympics. And it was my duty to follow George on his quixotic journey through Greece, China and Canada, chasing his dream, during an exhausting, extraordinary 2-year period.
Chairman George is about a man finding his
place in our chaotic, globalized planet. Where a Greek-Canadian
statistician can learn Mandarin, print up some trilingual business
cards and re-invent his life in China. Where he can aspire to
bring the ancient cultures of Greece and China together for a
brief moment at the Olympic games. Let George be your guide through
this strange new world . . . " (website)
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)
American Composer Elliott Carter Apologises
Associated Press NEW YORK
American composer Elliott Carter, an exemplar
of the atonalist style of modernism and according to admirers
the greatest living practitioner of his craft, apologised to music
lovers around the world today for what he called "a half
century of wasted time."
"What was I thinking?" the venerable Mr. Carter, 99, said at his home in Manhattan.
"Nobody likes this stuff. Why have I wasted my life?" Carter said he "went wrong" back in the 1940s and spent the next 60 years pursuing the musical dead-end of atonality.
In the past seven decades, he has produced five string quartets, a half dozen song cycles, works for orchestra, solo concertos and innumerable chamber works for various combinations of instruments --- all in an advanced, complex style he now dismisses as "noise." Despite consistent encouragement of many mainstream musicians such as Boston Symphony Music Director James Levine, for Chicago Symphony conductor Daniel Barenboim, and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Carter said his many admirers were "delusional."
"The critics who said they were just congratulating
themselves for being smarter than everybody else were right all
along," he said. "We should all go back and get our
heads on straight." Carter said he blamed his late wife,
Helen, for turning him into an unrepentant modernist. "She
liked this stuff, and I could never say no to her," he said.
Mrs. Carter died in 2003 at age 95. Since then, Carter said, he
has been re-evaluating his aesthetic.
"I'd like to write something pretty for a change --- maybe something based on an Irish folk tune," he said. He was uncertain whether he would withdraw his substantial catalogue from the repertoire, though one alternative would be to revise his works, ending each with a tonic triad, he said. "I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders," Carter said.
"From now on, I promise to be good." article
(thanks to WaylandN)
Jesus is Watching You
A burglar broke into a house one night.
He shone his flashlight around, looking for valuables;
and when he picked up a CD player to place in his
sack, a strange, disembodied voice echoed from the dark saying,
"Jesus is watching you."
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze.
When he heard nothing more after a bit, he shook his head and continued.
Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard,
"Jesus is watching you."
Freaked out, he shone his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice.
Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
Did you say that?" he hissed at the parrot.
"Yep," the parrot confessed, and then squawked, "I'm just trying to warn you."
The burglar relaxed.
"Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?"
" Moses," replied the bird.
"Moses?" the burglar laughed.
"What kind of people would name a bird Moses?"
"The kind of people that would name a Rottweiler Jesus."
(thanks to Joe Creighton)
Baccala with Anchovy-stuffed Green Olives and Potato Gnocchi in Tomato Sauce with Chilli
This is my variation of Christmas baccala, except I am using anchovy-stuffed green Queen sized olives and potato gnocchi, with the the kick of some additional red chilli.
Tomato Sauce with Chilli
250 g diced tomatoes
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil, minced
1/2 teas red chilli flakes (or fresh)
1 tble garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tble sugar
1 small piece of guanciale (pig's cheek) or pancetta
Salt, pepper to taste
Sauté the minced onion in the oil in the pot. Add the guanciale, for additional flavour. and cook for a few minutes. When the onions are opaque, add the garlic and chilli, and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and the basil. Season with salt, sugar and pepper. Simmer for about fifteen minutes, Add a little more water if necessary, mixed with some tomato paste. Cover and turn heat to lowest. Remove the guanciale and bay leaf before serving.
Anchovy-stuffed Green Queen-sized Olives
You can either buy these already prepared if you can find them or else make your own.
1 dozen green Queen sized olives, pitted
jar of small anchovies
Stuff each olive with an anchovy and set aside in a little olive oil.
4 fillets of baccala, with skin and bones, cut into about 4 inch pieces
flour for dredging
olive oil for frying
Soak the baccala for 24 hours in three changes of water to remove most of the salt, drain, trim and cut into pieces. Flour the baccala fillets lightly. Heat the olive oil until smoking in a pan and brown the fish on both sides, then set aside. Reserve some of the baccala-flavoured oil.
The key to great melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi is this ratio: one third flour to two thirds potatoes, and not too many eggs. So for a cup and a half of mashed potatoes, use a half cup of flour and one egg (or less!). Remember, we are not making bread dough but a sticky little mashed potato ball with a light floury coating and a little egg to hold it all together. NOT bread dough. That's the secret.
salt & pepper
Pick some nice potatoes, wash and peel and boil until cooked through. Cool and mash finely. Add flour and one egg and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should still be sticky. Flour a board and turn the mix onto the board and gently roll into a long thin cylinder about an inch in circumference. The tube should be floured on the outside and sticky on the inside. With a wet knife, quickly cut into one inch sections. Toss the pieces of gnocchi lightly in the flour to coat. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and slide or drop the gnocchi into it. When the portions rise to the surface, it's ready.
Add the baccala pieces and the stuffed olives to the sauce, cook a few minutes and turn. Drain and add the gnocchi, gentle spread around, drizzle a little of the reserved baccala-olive oil over the top, cover and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Watch it as you do not want the gnocchi to break up. Serve with freshly grated parmesean cheese, a sprinkle of chiffonaded fresh parsely, more black pepper or red chilli to taste, and fresh ciabatta bread.