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Friday April 6th, 2007

We Want Our Money Back

" In culo alla balena . . . sperando che non scoreggi "
(An old Roman saying, to performers, before a show,
in the manner of 'break a leg'.
The first part means roughly, 'Get yourself up in that whale's arse..' -
to which you then reply with the second part,
' . . . and hope that it doesn't fart.')

Dear folks,

In culo alla balena . . . .

Author and playwright, George Bernard Shaw invented his own phonetic alphabet, The Shavian Alphabet, which he believed would increase handwriting to 60-100 words per minute, make reading 50-70% faster and improve the speed of writing by 80 - 300% . He reduced the English language to 48 phonetic symbols, with four separate symbols for the words: the, of, and and to - (one of which, he claimed, occurred approximately once in every six words used.) He believed new uses would be found for his Shavian alphabet without abandoning the old one. Unfortunately, his utopian idea, along with so many other experiments of this nature, has ghosted into history. However, GB Shaw did stipulate in his Will that one of his plays, Androcles and the Lion, be published by his Estate, with parallel texts, to demonstrate his alphabet. I managed to get a copy of it by mail order from Amazon. The play comes with a key card in the back to enable you to figure out how to read the Shavian side of the text. It took me about an hour to work out how to decipher the alphabet enough to be able to write some basic things in it. (It would take a much longer time to become fluent enough to make it practical, as it's kind of like a mix between shorthand and chess notation.) I have written out the title of 'Shaddap You Face' in the Shavian alphabet above and below, with markings to show how to sound it out. (Interesting what we ageing literary giants get up to in our spare time! Alphabets. Newsletters.)

Speaking of Das Newsletter: it will be on holiday for at least a week while I unplug from what my dearly departed friend, Lou Gottlieb, from The Limeliters, once called, 'the sixty cycle hum.' Paradoxically, I'm going to the Big bush to get away from the little Bush (W) - for the air, the space, the exercise, the writing, the reading, the peace - and the inconvienences.

We finished our recent season of DIFFICULTWOMEN shows with a sell-out concert at the Castlemaine State Festival on Wednesday night. This was our third Castlemaine Festival so it is gratifying to know that we haven't outworn our welcome since our first appearance there in back in 1994. DIFFICULTWOMEN has been together now for fifteen years, with the original members (that's Lin Van Hek and I!) - plus, our backup singers: Frida Kahlo, Camille Claudel, Memphis Minnie, Viv Eliot, Sonya Tolstoi, Virginia Woolf, Alice B.Toklas and Gertrude Stein, Katherine Mansfield, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Kath Tait (!) and newest member, young Louisa Lawson, any number of which might pop in and out, depending on how they feel. If you missed the Castlemaine show, we are doing one more concert in nearby Hepburn Springs, on May 25th, at The Palais Theatre, with wonderful special guest, SALLY DASTEY (ex-Tiddas) opening the night. Come and have a spa and stay for the show. That ought to be something else! Info on the DW website.

A couple of issues ago, I got stuck into Borat. I ran across a true news item that I printed recently about his hometown:

" . . . a chicken in a Kazakhstan village laid an egg with the word "Allah" inscribed in Arabic on its shell."

God is great. Now we know why the chicken crossed the road. To get to the Allah side. Boom boom . . . and Peace be upon him - the chicken, that is - and his prophet, Colonel Borat Sanders.

I've added two new pages to my website:

1. Reviews and Testimonials for my new album 'The Wind Cries Mary,' including the recent 3 1/2 Star review in the Melbourne Sunday Herald, by Pete Best. I will be adding to this page as more reviews come in as I am expecting Australian Guitar, Rolling Stone, and others from overseas over the next month or so. As you may know, I always include the positive as well as the negative comments in my archives - and this recent review, with plenty of light and shade, and good serious thinking, by Dai Woosnam, one of Britain's most respected and long-time folk and Celtic music writers, starts out with an endearing remark:

I once stayed in a hotel in France where on the back of the room door was a sign placed there by the management. The sign said "Please refrain from cries of pleasure". I thought of that hotel (way back down the road) as I played this CD. And figured that maybe Joe Dolce would have been wise to attach such a sticker to the jewel case of his CD. . . " (complete review)

2. Joe Dolce YouTube Video Page: a collection of videoclips, some that I have produced, but mostly from the YouTube community. There are some unusual clips here: 'Shaddap You Face - The Beginning' (shot live in performance in 1980, six months before the song was even recorded - watch its effect on an absolutely unsuspecting audience); some excerpts from the 'Inspired Shaddap You Face' Contest at the National Folk Festival (Peter Grayling with a cello fantasia, and the Canberra Celtic Pipes 'highland fling' variation), the rare 'Crop Circles in My Marijuana' clip from my last album 'freelovedays'; an in-performance demonstration of the technique I invented for blues harp harmonic feedback (showing how the range can be extended over an octave by using amplifier feedback); 'River of Life,' by Kath Tait, from DIFFICULTWOMEN, sung by Lin Van Hek, and many others.


Hora prima


Hi Joe,
Child of Nature, eh?
How stupidly hippy is it? We found that awful song on the net as well, along with about fifty-odd 1 hour "Beatle-casts" if you're ever in the mood for lengthy extreme torture. Listening to some of these, you can see far more rubbish spewed forth from the Beatles, than they are usually given credit for. It's seems a taboo subject to mention that The BEATLES did write some dire drivel, and much of it was released. Much of it was chucked out by them too (good decision), but sadly dredged up for all to cringe at (Anthology-bad decision). I mean, who wants to hear the 73 crap takes of a song you may have grown to like. It tarnishes it somewhat. It also slaps a huge question mark over whether The Beatles were really a good band or were they really a shoddy band who required heaps of practice, and heaps of production polishing.The "lost" tapes are better left that way, they spoil the magic...magicians never tell, right? If Lennon were alive he'd shoot himself. Burn the old tapes & acetates, I say, and burn the atrocious "Love" album while you're at it. George Martin mash-ups=shit. That scene's already old, and it's only been 5 minutes. The best thing that Lennon did was walk out on Maharishi. He got up in the middle of a "sermon", patted him on the head saying "That's a good guru..". He came to his senses. When will the music-buying public do so as well, and stop getting milked by record companies who release dodgy cutting room floor out-takes? enough already. Stuart

II Hora secunda

Biting the Hand That Trains
By Eve Conant, Dan Ephron and Rod Nordland

Iraqi troops turned their rifles on Americans on a joint patrol, exposing the risks for embedded U.S. military advisers. One mother's quest for justice.

March 31, 2007 - Nadia McCaffrey sensed something was amiss. In 2004, military officers told her that her son had been killed by insurgents near Balad. Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, 34, had been a combat lifesaver in a National Guard unit in Iraq for two months. But soon after his death, members of Patrick's unit told Nadia that there was more to the story of that day than a common ambush. For two years, she pressed the military to come clean, demanding to see autopsy and "after-action" reports. Finally, last year, a general arrived at her home in Tracy, Calif., with the real account: Iraqi troops turned their rifles on Americans in a joint patrol, killing Patrick and an officer. Now Nadia, 61, wants to travel to Iraq to see justice served. article


'No More Iraq War,' Kids Cry - Youngsters Lead Peace Parade Through Brooklyn
by Joe Maniscalco

A cadre of enthusiastic youngsters carrying homemade banners and balloons called for an end to the Iraq war this weekend in a kid-centric "peace parade" stretching from the playgrounds of Carroll Park to the arch at Grand Army Plaza."Money for schools, not for war," the children shouted from their Razor scooters and inline skates as they moved up Union Street. "Impeach Bush."

Adults from Midwood to Park Slope including members of Brooklyn Parents for Peace, First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, the New York State Green Party and a drum corps called The Himalayas accompanied the kids, filling three-quarters of the block between Smith Street and 3rd Avenue at the outset of the march.

One Carroll Gardens mom said that her 10, 9 and seven-year-old children knew "quite a bit about the war" and that she was worried about what effect the conflict is having on them.

"They talk about it at school," she said. "They see it in the newspaper, they see it on TV. I don't know if they understand all the difficulties involved in it, but I think it's hard to portray war as good for kids."

At Sixth Avenue, onlookers outside the Union Market applauded and cheered on the children while moms on porches unfurled banners denouncing the Bush agenda.

Automobile horns and joggers flashing peace signs greeted the marchers at 7th Avenue.

By the time the procession reached 8th Avenue, the kids were shouting "Stop the war now, we want our money back." article

III Hora tertia

Can George W. Bush Be Purged?

Mayan priests purified their sacred land after Shrub scurried off. Can we do the same?
By Mark Morford

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sage is always good. Or maybe lavender. Pine is nice, too. Dried, bundled, tied with string, burned with hot, divine intent. Would it work? Do we have enough to go around? This is the question.

I speak, of course, of ritual. Purging and cleansing and purifying and, truly, burning a nicely dried, blessed smudge stick can be a terrific slice of personal magic, to rid a space (or perhaps even your own body) of negative juju or vicious spirits or just to make way for the new and the moist and the good. You can smudge a room. You can create a divine smoldering cloud and then move through the smoke, invoke change, purge the negative, invite hot licks of yes. It is a thing to do.

But here's the thing: Can you smudge an entire nation? Do we have enough lavender for 300 million? It is, all things considered, a big goddamn country. Windy. Rocky, in places. Could be tricky. Not to mention, you know, hazy. From all the smoke. Think of the potential traffic accidents. Coughing.

Important considerations, really, because it is becoming increasingly evident that a great national purifying ritual is just about exactly what we need. We are, after all, almost at that point. The Great Bleakness is nearing its end and you can veritably feel the swarm of uptight BushCo demons and malicious energies swirling around the country like happy karmic leeches, like a giant intellectual rash, like black raindrops of dank sweat from Karl Rove's evil mealy thighs.

To make matters worse, these dark energies, these base spirits were actually invited here by the Powers That Be, by those quivering, shivering, terrified armies of evangelical right-wing neocon bonk jobs and attorneys general and sour Supreme Court justices and scowling defense secretaries lo these past half-dozen years, and this means they shall not leave easily, despite how it is quickly coming time for them to be shoved back down into the bowels of fear and shrill egomania whence they came.

We must, therefore, do like the Mayans do. We must follow their divine and entirely appropriate example, set just recently.

Apparently, George W. Bush -- famed warmonger, despoiler of lands, despiser of gays and women and science and earthly resource, hapless fascist-wannabe -- it seems George just visited Guatemala, where he happily trod upon a holy Mayan site or two and shook hands with wary diplomats and blinked a lot and mispronounced a hundred different names. You know, same old, same old.

But then something interesting happened. Seems Bush left behind huge steaming piles of banality wherever he went, and therefore the first thing Guatemala's holy guardians of the sacred did as soon as Air Force One's wheels lifted off the ground was, of course, to purify the hallowed ground our president's shockingly low, nefarious energy had infected. article
(thanks to Stephen Ross)

IV Hora quarta

Australia 's Lost Folk Songs

There's a special theme concert at the National Folk Festival, in Canberra, this weekend that sounds worth attending.   It will be held in the Trocadero Tent at 11am on Easter Saturday 7 April.  The singers will be Bernard Bolan, Kate Burke , Cloudstreet, Dave De Hugard, Jenny Fitzgibbon , Seamus Gill , Ernie Gruner, Roger Montgomery , Maggie Murphy , Chloe & Jason Roweth and Danny Spooner .
Some of the lost songs in the concert feature intriguing titles such as: 'Adam Was a Gentleman',  'Never Take the Horseshoe From the Door', 'Don't Swat Your Mother or Baldheaded End of Broom'  and 'The Blessed Zulu War.'

" Australia's folk songs are not all about sheep, drovers, miners, bushrangers and convicts.  Rather, they cover an immense spectrum of subject areas ­ the problem is, our early generations of folk song collectors in the 1940s and 1950s focussed virtually exclusively on songs that smelt of sheep dip, rawhide and other male rural professions, and by the time we all realised there was more to it than that the generation that had grown to maturity in Australia's colonial era had died out.
In 1940 the Melbourne Sun newspaper put out a call on behalf of priest and musicologist Dr Percy Jones, seeking from its readers old songs recalled from Australia 's pioneering days.  Jones later published a folio of ten songs from his collection, including such classics as 'Click Go the Shears'.  I have discovered however that the Sun journalist assisting Jones had published in his column fragments of 71 of these songs submitted by his readers.  These include a number of wonderful items ­ including a number of broadside ballads - never followed up by Jones.  I have managed to identify and obtain full versions of 47 of these songs, and together with a number of singing folkie friends we will be presenting a feature concert of a selection of these 'lost Australian folk songs' at the National Folk Festival.  If you are able to get to the National, we'd love you to attend."
Keith McKenry

V Hora quinta

The Tong Master

 Griff was at the barbecue and Joel was at the barbecue and I was at the barbecue; three men standing around a barbecue, sipping beer, staring at sausages, rolling them backwards and forwards, never leaving them alone.

 We didn't know why we were at the barbecue; we were just drawn there like moths to a flame. The barbecue was a powerful gravitational force, a man-magnet. Joel said the thin ones could use a turn, I said yeah I reckon the thin ones could use a turn, Griff said yeah they really need a turn it was a unanimous turning decision.

Griff was the Tong-Master, a true artist, he gave a couple of practice snaps of his long silver tongs, SNAP SNAP, before moving in, prodding, teasing, and with an elegant flick of his wrist, rolling them onto their little backs. A lesser tong-man would've flicked too hard; the sausages would've gone full circle, back to where they started. Nice, I said. The others went yeah.

Kevin was passing us, he heard the siren-song- sizzle of the snags, the barbecue was calling, beckoning, Kevinnnnn ...come. He stuck his head in and said any room? We said yeah and began the barbecue shuffle; Griff shuffled to the left, Joel shuffled to the left, I shuffled to the left, Kevin slipped in beside me, we sipped our beer.

 Now there were four of us staring at sausages, and Griff gave me the nod, my cue. I was second-in-command, and I had to take the raw sausages out of the plastic bag and lay them on the barbecue; not too close together, not too far apart, curl them into each other's bodies like lovers ­fat ones, thin ones, herbed and continental. The chipolatas were tiny, they could easily slip down between the grill, falling into the molten hot-bead-netherworld below. Carefully I laid them sideways ACROSS the grill, clever thinking.

 Griff snapped his tongs with approval; there was no greater barbecue honour. P.J. came along, he said looking good, looking good -the irresistible lure of the barbecue had pulled him in too. We said yeah and did the shuffle, left, left, left, left, he slipped in beside Kevin, we sipped our beer.

Five men, lots of sausages.

 Joel was the Fork-pronger; he had the fork that pronged the tough hides of the Bavarian bratwursts and he showed a lot of promise. Stabbing away eagerly, leaving perfect little vampire holes up and down the casing.

P.J. was shaking his head, he said I reckon they cook better if you don't poke them.  There was a long silence, you could have heard a chipolata drop, and this newcomer was a rabble-rouser, bringing in his crazy ideas from outside. He didn't understand the hierarchy; First the Tong-master, then the Sausage - layer, then the Fork-pronger - and everyone below was just a watcher. Maybe eventually they'll move up the ladder, but for now - don't rock the Weber.

Dianne popped her head in; hmmm, smells good, she said. She was trying to jostle into the circle; we closed ranks, pulling our heads  down and our shoulders in, mumbling yeah yeah yeah, but making no room for her. She was keen, going round to the far side of  the barbecue, heading for the only available space .. . . the gap in the circle where all the smoke and ashes blew.  Nobody could survive the gap; Dianne was going to try. She stood there stubbornly, smoke blinding her eyes, ashes filling her nostrils, sausage fat spattering all over her arms and face. Until she couldn't take it anymore, she gave up, backed off.

Kevin waited till she was gone and sipped his beer. We sipped our beer, yeah. Griff handed me his tongs. I looked at him and he nodded. I knew what was happening, I'd waited a long time for this moment - the abdication.

 The tongs weighed heavy in my hands, firm in my grip - was I ready for the responsibility?  Yes, I was. I held them up high and they glinted in the sun. Don't forget to turn the thin ones Griff said as he walked away from the barbecue, disappearing toward the house. Yeah I called back, I will, I will.

I snapped them twice, SNAP SNAP, before moving in, prodding, teasing, and with an elegant flick of my wrist, rolling them back onto their little bellies. I was a natural, I was the TONG-MASTER.
(thanks to Joan Chenery)

VI Hora sexta


1) (On an infant's shirt): Already smarter than Bush
2) If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
3) Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
4) Who Would Jesus Torture?
5) No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade
6) Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
7) Like Jesus Would Own a Gun and Vote Republican
8) We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
9) Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
10) Frodo Failed. Bush Has the Ring.
11) Impeach Cheney First!
(thanks to Bill Lempke)

VII Hora septima

French Scientists Rebut U.S., Muslim Creationism
by Tom Heneghan
Monday, March 26, 2007 Reuters

With creationism now coming in Christian and Muslim versions, scientists, teachers and theologians in France are debating ways to counteract what they see as growing religious attacks on science.

Bible-based criticism of evolution, once limited to Protestant fundamentalists in the United States, has become an issue in France now that Pope Benedict and some leading Catholic theologians have criticized the neo-Darwinist view of creation.

An Islamist publisher in Turkey mass-mailed a lavishly illustrated Muslim creationist book to schools across France recently, prompting the Education Ministry to proscribe the volume and question the way the story of life is taught here.

The Bible and the Koran say God directly created the world and everything in it. In Christianity, fundamentalists believe this literally but the largest denomination, Catholicism, and most mainline Protestant churches read it more symbolically.

This literalism led Christian fundamentalists to reject the theory of evolution elaborated in the 19th century by Charles Darwin, the foundation stone of modern biology. Muslim scholars also dispute evolution but have not made this a major issue.

"There is a growing distrust of science in public opinion, especially among the young, and that worries us," said Philippe Deterre, a research biologist and Catholic priest who organized a colloquium on creationism for scientists at the weekend.

"There are many issues that go beyond strictly scientific or strictly theological explanations," he said at the colloquium in this university town southwest of Paris. Deterre's Blaise Pascal Network promotes understanding between science and religion.

Barred from teaching creationism in U.S. public schools, some conservative Christians now advocate the "intelligent design" argument that some forms of life are too complex to have simply evolved. Scientists call this creationism in disguise.

These American concerns caught notice in Europe after Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, a confidant of Pope Benedict, attacked neo-Darwinist theories in 2005 in what seemed to be a move to ally the Catholic Church with "intelligent design." article

VIII Hora octava

A Polish immigrant went to the VicRoads to apply for a driver's license.
First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test.
The optician showed him a card with the letters:
'C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.'
"Can you read this?" the optician asked.
"Read it?" the Polish guy replied, "I know the guy."
(thanks to Jim Testa)

IX Hora nona

"... by far the most astonishing guitar player ever has got to be Django Reinhardt ... Django was quite superhuman, There's nothing normal about him as a person or a player ... and you can't forget Gene Vincent's guitarist, Cliff Gallup ... he was my guiding light through my teenage years ... if you want to take a broader view, I think country guitarist Albert Lee is a gas ... there's also Paul Burlison, who played with Johnny Burnette ... people don't think of Les Paul as a rocker, but as far as I'm concerned he laid down the building blocks of rock and roll .. from a jazz perspective there's Charlie Christian, Thumbs Carlyle, Grant Green - they're all fabulous players... you can't forget Buddy Guy, I once saw him throw the guitar up in the air and catch it in the same chord ... Eddie Van Halen brought tapping to the forefront and I still think he was one of the tastiest players doing it ... George Harrison's got great intonation ... Eric Clapton is certainly the ambassador ... he's the guy everybody makes reference to, He's the household name for electric guitar, blues and rock and roll ... " Jeff Beck


Did You Ever Hear About Cocaine Keith . .?

LONDON - Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all. In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive." Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84. Richards, one of rock's legendary wild men, told the magazine that his survival was the result of luck, and advised young musicians against trying to emulate him.

"I did it because that was the way I did it. Now people think it's a way of life," he was quoted as saying. "I've no pretensions about immortality," he added. "I'm the same as everyone ... just kind of lucky. "I was No. 1 on the `who's likely to die' list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list," Richards said. article
(thanks to Frank Dolce)


X Hora decima


George W Bush Iraqi Ostrich Steak Saddam

* Four 4-oz. George W Bush Iraqi Ostrich fillets.
* 8 tablespoons Baghdad butter.
* 4 tablespoons Kurdish shallots, finely chopped.
* 2 lablespoons Kuwaiti Worcestershire Sauce.
* Syrian salt and Iranian pepper.
* Chopped Israeli parsley (Optional).



The Hard Part:
First, you have to get the George W Bush Iraqi Ostrich's head out of its 'hidey' hole in the sand. Easier said than done. Ask your butcher to help with this. And your news agent. And your Aunt Doreen. And especially your Senator and Representative. Yelling, 'Come heed the call . . ' you grabs the George W Bush Iraqi Ostrich by it's scrawny neck. Ask your Aunt Doreen to scream in its right ear, 'you bloody idjut!'. The senator should grab it by its gonads and the representatives stick an arm up its arse. Everyone together pulls while chanting, 'We Want Our Money Back!' That should extract it. If not, then just lop off the head. (This recipe is NOT intended for vegetarians but they can help with the arm up the arse bit.)

The Easy Part:
1. Place four 4 oz. George W Bush ostrich filets between sandpaper and pound to 1/2 inch thickness with butt end of AK 47.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons Baghdad butter in small Made-in-USA saucepan, add finely chopped Kurdish shallots and cook until lightly browned off. Add 2 tablespoons Kuwaiti Worcestershire Sauce and heat until bubbling mad. Keep hotheaded.
3. Heat 6 tablespoons Baghdad butter in 12-inch Made-in-USA skillet. When Baghdad butter begins to brown off, add George W Bush ostrich steaks and shock and awe 3 minutes on the North side, and 2 minutes on South side. Transfer to Saudi Arabian plates and sprinkle with Syrian salt and Iranian pepper. Serve with Kurdish shallot sauce.

Optional: Sprinkle with Israeli parsley.


XI Hora undecima


Why Then Do We Not Despair?

Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold,
Death's great black wing scrapes the air,
Misery gnaws to the bone.
Why then do we not despair?
By day, from the surrounding woods,
cherries blow summer into town;
at night the deep transparent skies
glitter with new galaxies.
And the miraculous comes so close
to the ruined, dirty houses --
something not known to anyone at all,
but wild in our breast for centuries.

 ~ Anna Akhmatova ~
 (Poems of Akhmatova, edited and translated by Stanley Kunitz with Max Hayward)





XII THE FINAL HORA (duodecima)


. . . . sperando che non scoreggi!