This week we have Harry Belafonte's 'daylight come and dubya wanna HIM-a go home', news on the world's greatest pizza competition, the Three Wars in Iraq, an exciting West Papua Benefit Concert in Melbourne, watch THE MEATRIX 2, CHAVEZ says Venezuela has greater oil reserves than the Middle East - enough to last the world for 200 years (the South American birdlife are gonna love that!), a key Homeland Security press official busted for online pornography with an under-aged girl (another Bushie bites the dust), a story on songwriter/activist Lee Hays: friend and performing buddy of Woody Guthrie, Delusions of Adequacy: The World's Worst Album Covers (CD designers take heed - you know who you are, Michael!), and the farmer who taught his sow to sow. All this and more. Come and get it.
Wagner once said that a great piece of music is greater than any single interpretation of it. Time will tell whether 'Shaddap You Face', is a great piece of music or not (probably not - but what do I know?) - but there are an INFINITE number of ways to interpret it - that's a fact. Speaking of facts, in fact, I've never seen a song before that can be facked around as much as this song without destroying its centre. There are 15 brave souls who are going to run the gauntlet next weekend at the National Folk Festival in attempts to 'push the envelope' on Shaddap You Face. (Maybe 'sucking the stamp' is more accurate.)
In a more serious musical vain, I wrote a very addictive pop song this week, a lot like the Beatles, 'Ticket to Ride', and I have come up with four separate sets of lyrical ideas for the music, really digging deep to try to do justice to this colourful tune. Of those four separate lyrics, two of them are keepers. So I decided that rather than save one set to write a different song from (which is what I would normally do), I would just sing the same music with two separate sets of lyrics. Two songs. One piece of music. I've just changed the guitar theme a little and will arrange and harmonize the two songs differently. But both sets of lyrics draw out a different quality in the one music: one brings out the humour and one brings out the melancholy. It feels incredibly naughty to do this, like I've broken some unwritten rule of 'classic' songwriting - but I don't care - I like it! (After all, this isn't an original idea: in the St Matthew's Passion, JS Bach uses one hymn melody, with six different sets of lyrics and six different harmonisations! God, he pisses me off sometimes!)
FAVOURITE READER LETTERS OF THE WEEK
Fancy finding you by googling "baccala" for my easter cooking. I've since read most of your archived emails and would love to receive them in future, our views are parallel in many ways. We don't get to much music these days, living in semi-retirement near the Murray but still go to Port Fairy each year and will try to get to Canberra one day again. Have always admired your music. Cheers, Paul H.
RE: Australian Gun Law Statistics
Sorry to weigh in but really, Ed Chenel - Aussie police etc guns etc is all too much for me. Consider this ... even if his crime statistics can be attributed a small amount of truth (i.e. they have increased) his faulty logic concerning the reason is the issue. Not lack of guns in honest citizen's hands (spare me) but, actually, John Howard's wedge politics, disenfranchisement of all except the very wealthy. In other words, crime's up because times are hard for the silent (but violent) minority who are hurting and hurting badly! What do you do when an hour a week is considered employment? What do you do when you've no money and TV tells you having money and clothes, shoes and ipods and mobile phones and ....and...and... is all that matters? Rob your neighbour, I guess. Kathy C.
Subject: true love
My friend, Cheryl (one of the Old Spice Gals . . .she's Spanky Spice. . . there's also Cranky Spice and Squinty Spice in our group) is just launching her singing career on a world tour with the Downhome Divas -- and she wants your newsletter. Will you add her to your list, please? thanks, kt
I want to sign someone up to your weekly newsletter. I forwarded one to my friend (the one about 911 conspiracies) and since then he's been requesting every one. Save me pushing the forward button on my computer, huh? Ta for that. Keep up the good work. Paul
(Note: Paul, here's a nice multi-media story about the 911 conspiracy that is very interesting indeed. (twintowers)
The more I read, watch and think about Iraq, the more I appreciate the sad but accurate old dilemma descriptor : We're between Iraq and a hard place. How did the world we end up here? Operation Iraqi Liberation. ie O.I.L. Keep the real wheel working. Dominic F.
(I was requested to forward the next letter to a fellow reader:)
RE: Joe Dolce Writing A Book?
For God's sake don't encourage him, we all barely survived 'that song'! and anyway, a book is out of the question we may lose this brilliant, extremely funny and most importantly 'free' newsletter! Stephen D. (Whereabouts unknown - actually I am hiding in the tea room, with this
You've probably seen some of these but there's one or two I hadn't seen before. My favourite is The Brailettes . . . Keep up the good word. JAMES
Delusions of Adequacy
Some of the Worst Album Covers ever Designed (website)
Tally Mon Come, Name Belafonte
The Singer's Latest Hits Find an Enthusiastic Audience in Washington
By David Montgomery
Even friends who most appreciate the complicated package that is Harry Belafonte hark back to that simple soundtrack of America getting its first black matinee idol -- cheesy as the calypso sweetness might seem half a hip-hopping century later. As Belafonte enters a banquet hall at Howard University Friday to receive an award from TransAfrica Forum, there it is, sea-breezing out of the sound system: Day-o, day-ay-ay-o . . . Come, Mr. Tally Mon, tally me banana; Daylight come and me wanna go home . . .
The luncheon crowd of 225 civil rights activists, foreign policy idealists, celebrities (Danny Glover) and ambassadors (Hugo Chavez's emissary from Venezuela) gives a hip-swaying standing ovation. A big screen flashes snapshots of a career -- Belafonte with Martin Luther King Jr., Jack and Bobby Kennedy, a giant bunch of bananas. But what the crowd most wants to hear is more of the stinging, controversial jeremiad that Belafonte has been laying down this year, red hot like today's news.
He does not disappoint. At 79, the entertainer still knows his audience. He may discomfit -- in fact, he likes to discomfit -- but he never disappoints. In January he led a delegation (Glover, Cornel West, Bloods, Crips) to Venezuela, met with leftist president Chavez for eight hours, and called President Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world." Back in the United States, he referred to "the Gestapo of Homeland Security." A few years ago, he compared then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to a slave who "was permitted to come into the house of the master . . ..
"It's always the same old thing,"
he says. "People feel jeopardized if ruling power speaks.
When I took up the cause of Dr. King" -- as counselor, fundraiser
and bail-poster -- "I was a threat for my middle class and
white audience . . . White women ran through the house singing
my songs while cooking dinner, their husbands came home and they
danced all night to the calypso . . . [Then] I support the 'upheaval.'
Oops." But now look how far the mainstream edge has moved:
"Dr. King is a holiday." (article)
(Thanks to Margret RoadKnight)
Fact Probably Not Worth Knowing
Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.
The West Papua Benefit Concert
Now that the 42 West Papuan refugees have arrived in Melbourne, the West Papua Benefit Concert at the Grand Central on Thursday april 13th, featuring My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Dilli Allstars and the Black Brothers (West Papuan stringband) has become a welcoming party for these brave people.
What is exciting is that many of [the refugees] have musical ability and have expressed interest in performing on stage on the night. We have now added them to the bill. One of them in particular, Donny Roem, is a wonderful musican from Jayapura.
Amongst the 42 are families, single men, single women, grandmothers; one boy in particular, aged 12, has no parents and is here on his own in this big city. There's is a story of amazing courage. Many have had to flee West Papua to escape incarceration for the ridiculous crime of raising the "Morning Star " flag. This is not jumping the queue, or trying to take advantage of a better lifestyle. They have left behind their homeland, their families, their belongings in real fear for their lives. Theirs is an amazing achievement. They have managed to garner press and attention for the issue of social justice in West Papua in a way that could not have been imagined months ago.
It would be fantastic if we could have a packed evening at the Grand Central and show them some real Melbourne hospitality, to make them feel welcome in our city. Come on down, it'll be a great night. Come and greet these wonderful people in an atmosphere of music and film and party.
Thursday Apr 13th
(thanks to DAVID BRIDIE)
(You've heard of The America's Cup. Now discover:)
THE AMERICA'S PLATE
Competition elebrating the world's greatest pizza. This year's competition will involve the winners from these seven countries: Australian National Pizza Champion, in Sydney, Italian National Pizza Champion, in Salsomaggiore, Terme, American Pizza Championship, in New York, NY, Swiss National Pizza Champion, New Zealand National Pizza Champion, French National Pizza Champion, Canadian National Pizza Champion. (article)
FAVOURITE REVIEW OF THE WEEK
Four Reasons to Shoot Your Radio
1. David Bowie - 'Aladdin Sane',
LP: Aladdin Sane
2. Hogan's Heroes - 'Hogan's March', LP: Hogans Heroes Sing the Best from World War II
3. Tom Lehrer - 'An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer', LP: Poisoning Pigeons in the Park
4. Joe Dolce - 'Shaddap You Face', LP: Shaddap You Face. Rez
Fact Probably Not Worth Knowing
Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.
Two Deadlines and an Exit
By John F. Kerry
The New York Times
We are now in the third war in Iraq in as many years. The first was against Saddam Hussein and his supposed weapons of mass destruction. The second was against terrorists whom, the administration said, it was better to fight over there than here. Now we find our troops in the middle of an escalating civil war.
Half of the service members listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after America's leaders knew our strategy would not work. It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. We want democracy in Iraq, but Iraqis must want it as much as we do. Our valiant soldiers can't bring democracy to Iraq if Iraq's leaders are unwilling themselves to make the compromises that democracy requires.
As our generals have said, the war cannot be won militarily. It must be won politically. No American soldier should be sacrificed because Iraqi politicians refuse to resolve their ethnic and political differences. (article)
THE MEATRIX 2
'The Meatrix 2' has Launched!!! It's been two years since Free Range produced the runaway hit and winner of the Webby award, "The Meatrix." Now, the action packed sequel is here! Follow Moopheus, Leo and Chickity as they dive deeper into the Meatrix to uncover the the truth about factory farming.
Suggested: first watch Part 1:
THE MEATRIX (1)
and then see Part 2 right afterwards!
(thanks to Stephen Ross)
NO MORE CHEAP OIL SAYS CHAVEZ
If you thought high oil prices were just a blip think again. . . . Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ruled out any return to the era of cheap oil.
The colourful Venezuelan leader hosts the OPEC
meeting on June 1 in Caracas and he will ask OPEC to set $50 a
barrel - the average price last year - as the long term level.
During the 1990s the price of oil had hovered around the $20 mark
falling as low as $10 a barrel in early
1999. . .
. . The US DoE report shows that at today's
prices Venezuela's oil reserves are bigger than those of the entire
Middle East including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Iran and
Iraq. The US DoE also identifies Canada as another future oil
superpower. Venezuela's deposits alone
could extend the oil age for another 100 years.
The US DoE estimates that Chavez controls 1.3 trillion barrels of oil - more than the entire declared oil reserves of the rest of the planet. Hugo Chavez told Newsnight's Greg Palast that "Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. In the future Venezuela won't have any more oil - but that's in the 22nd century. Venezuela has oil for 200 years." Chavez will ask the OPEC meeting in June to formally accept that Venezuela's reserves are now bigger than Saudi Arabia's. (article)
Homeland Security Official Arrested in Online
The Associated Press
Miami - The deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday for using the Internet to seduce what he thought was a teenage girl, authorities said. Brian J. Doyle, 55, of Silver Spring, Md., was arrested on seven charges of use of a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor. The charges were issued out of Polk County, Fla. Doyle had a sexually explicit conversation with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl whose profile he saw on the Internet on March 14, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. (article)
Woody Guthrie and Lee Hays were central to the American folk revival of the mid 20th century, writing, collecting and popularizing folk music. Along with Pete Seeger, they identified with the struggles of the poor from the Great Depression onward, and sought to raise social consciousness with their lives and their music. They brought the radical South to the North when they congregated in New York City. In the 1940s, with Pete Seeger, Hays and Guthrie formed the nucleus of the Almanacs, a group with a varying roster that wrote and performed union songs for rallies and concert bookings. They popularized the "hootenanny" in New York City, recreating and reinventing this form of musical get-together. (Seeger borrowed the name of this jam session from lingo he learned in his tours of the Pacific Northwest.) Both men were part of the group of singers and audiences beaten in a long gauntlet of police and vigilantes in Peekskill, New York in 1949 in an anti-Communist feeding frenzy.
The original Weavers -- Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Ronnie Gilbert -- began singing together in 1949. They recorded their own songs and songs collected from folk singers across the U.S., such as Leadbelly, who wrote the Weavers, first big hit, "Good Night Irene." Their shows were hardly the stuff that would please the earnest folklorists. They included everything from Bantu chants, the lively "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena," to old hymns and original material, such as the anti-war, "Wasn't that a Time." In some ways they were the original worldbeat musicians. But Hays' unwillingness to play long tours doomed the band financially, and his lethargy, drinking, and domineering ways made their experiences difficult at best.
Hays and Seeger were called to the House un-American Activities committee in 1952. Much of the accusation against them focused on whether "Wasn't that a Time" ridiculed the soldiers at Valley Forge, and where they had performed it. The band re-formed in 1955, and they played together until 1964. In 1957, Hays, with the Weavers, played a benefit for Guthrie that marked the beginning of his canonization, according to Guthrie biographer, Joe Klieg.
Guthrie's career ended in his struggle with
Huntingdon's disease. Later, diabetic Hays would have both legs
amputated, and would play his last series of concerts at Carnegie
Hall in 1980 with the Weavers from his wheelchair. Yet, despite
similarities in their life missions, their struggles with crippling
illness, and their roles in the dance of expression and repression
in 20th century America, they leave behind different legacies
and very different records of their lives. (article)
(Ever wonder why people from overseas (like Dubya, for instance) have a hard time with English? Look over the following:)
Perils of English
"Families is where our nation finds hope,
where wings take dream."
George W Bush - Tonguetwister No. 456678, La Crosse, Wisconsin, Oct 18, 2000
Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple
nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England
or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads,
which aren't sweet or bread, are meat.
We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea, nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
There's a fair case that English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race - which, of course, is not a race at all.
That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
Here are further examples of why English is so hard to learn:
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes (only for Americans!)
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell into a sewer.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
22) Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick."
(thanks to Jim Testa)
Swamp Water Punch With The Floating Hand-of-Death
Orange juice, with some of the pulp from the
Alcohol of choice
Blue food coloring
Put some blue food coloring into the orange
juice punch until it turns a disgusting swamp-green color.
The color is gross and the orange juice pulp floating around
really adds to the effect. People will realize that the
punch tastes good, but it will take them awhile to figure
out it is orange juice.
water (or orange juice)
Freeze the water, or orange juice, and gummy worms in a clean rubber glove. Peel off the rubber glove and float the hand in the punch. Drink while watching your favourite scary movie (or Fox News.)
Fact Probably Not Worth Knowing
Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise it will digest itself.