Home, CV, Reviews, Testimonials, Recordings, Lyrics, Newsletter Archive, Recipes, Presskit with Photos, Links, Contact


August 12th, 2005

Guiseppi e Finocchio - A Bedtime Story

'No one can become really educated without having pursued some study in which he took no interest.
For it is part of education to interest ourselves in subjects for which we have no aptitude. '
T S Eliot

'The schools ain't what they used to be and never was.'
Will Rogers


Dear Folks,

Songcatching. One of my most urgent social commentary songs, 'Did You Get Stupid From Being Ugly (Or Ugly From Being Stupid?) was just selected for the Canadian compilation CD, 'Protest Songs for a Better World.' All funds generated from CD sales will be donated to The United Nations Foundation. REALPLAYER STREAM

'Lower Jesus,' has passed the first round of finalists in the Australian Gospel Song Awards. Cross your fingers (pun intended).

Next year's National Folk Festival 2006 themes are, 'Queensland, The Italians in Australia, and The Working Life.' I've been asked to be a judge in the 'Inspired 'Shaddap You Face' Competition,' where other artists compete with their versions of the controversial classic! (I know I know, 'shaddaaappppp with that song, already!) Anyway, as there are now between 35-40 cover versions out there, this could add another 20 or so to the pot. I'm hanging out for the legendary Italian folk artists like Judy Smallonzoni, La Voce dell Culo w/ Kapiche Mazzepaparazzi, The Menzatesta New Age Bacallapersons, as well as, hopefully, Little Jimmy 'The Neck' Barnsey, Paolo 'Mumbles' Kelly, Kasey 'Rivet Lip' Chambers, Big Mama Renee Geyerlanski, and, of course, The Finnochio Brothers, Neil and Tim, to come up with their interpretations. It's the 25th Anniversary, remember. Don't let me down, folks.

FACTS PROBABLY NOT WORTH KNOWING NO. 1: finocchio: Italian slang for GAY; from finocchio "fennel", a plant whose roots were used as coals (i.e. faggots) when Prometheus stole fire from the (originally female) sun, giving it to humankind.




Hello Joe,
Just wondering your connection to the Raelian Movement? Are you Raelian? Have you read the messages? Look forward to hearing from you :)
Star Adrael (australia.rael.org

(Note: As RaeAli G might say, 'For rael!' It must have been that woodpecker thing I mentioned a few issues back. Anyway, now I've raelly done it - They're coming to take me away. Ha ha. They're coming to take me away. Ha ha!)

RE: COOTIES - Song from World War One
Great newsletter as always.... I suppose you know the old song ??? Do you know the melody too? I do.... as always a font of Trivia. Anyway, I learned it as a kid in Canada. See ya,

"K-k--k-Katie, you wonderful Katy,
You're the only g-g-g-girl that I adore
When the m-moon shines
Over the cowshed
I'll be K-k-k-kissin' your lips
until they get sore.

The REAL meaning /original version of that song is:

"C-c-c-cootie, your horrible cootie
You're the only wa-wa-wa-one that I abhor
When the m-moon shines
Over the cowshed
I'll be s-s-scratchin' my back
until it gets sore."

(Note: 'Lest we forget: two more Cooties of note. Cootie Stark was a blind street singer, who learned his stuff from Greenville, South Carolina, bluesmen Uncle Chump and Pink Anderson in the 1930's - one of the last authentic Piedmont blues guitarists/singers and provided a direct link to a South long gone. Charles Melvin 'Cootie' Williams was born in 1911, in Mobile, Alabama. A self-taught trumpeter, he replaced Bubber Miley in Duke Ellington's orchestra, remaining there for 11 years. During this stint he made a number of records with other leaders, notably Lionel Hampton and Teddy Wilson (on some of whose sessions he accompanied Billie Holiday). He also led the Rug Cutters, one of the many small groups drawn from within the Ellington band. In 1940 Williams left Ellington and was briefly with Benny Goodman before forming his own big band. In later years, asked about his drinking habits, Williams remarked that he had not been a drinker until he had his own band. (See The Cowbell movie below!) Given that his band included unpredictable musicians such as Bud Powell and Charlie Parker it is easy to understand why he turned to the bottle. His full, rich tone and powerful style was showcased by Ellington on "Concerto For Cootie (Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me)", recorded in 1940.)


I've got to say it.  Australia has more silent letters than any other nation on the globe.  For example, the days of the week (as pronounced on both SBS and ABC ­ I deny watching anything else) are now  "Mundee, Choosdee, Wensdee" and so on.  The double 't', as in 'butter' has become a short of a 'd' sound, whilst 't' as in trouble has become 'chruble'.   I suspect that 'awsome'  and 'scary' have become adjectives of choice because they are so easy to say; there are no troublesome letters that might require the tongue to do some work.  The unfortunate nation invaded by the coalition of the world's fattest nations is now  "Eye-rack", and after an air crash close to Palermo, I was mesmerised by the nasal pronounciation that Australian journalists managed, compared with the lovely rolling 'r' and tonality used by the Italians.    Then there is the Tour de France; as far as I am concerned anyone who uses the 'de' should use the French pronounciation of tour and France.. Launceston is a whole different story, pronounced in England 'Lawnston' (Launces ­ ton) over here it has grown a whole new middle syllable. 
Philippa Morris

Dear Joe,
Every schoolboy knows about the silent p in swimming.
John Counsel

Perhaps this is the next step the English language will take to get rid of those pesky "silent" letters, Best,
Mike Edmonds -

" The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

(If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl)

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous
There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order: "abstemious" and "facetious."


FROM: Okra P. Suppositories Subject: Joe Dolce

Wakey wakey! MR. Joe Dolce
Seee Naplles and die.

Why are bllond jookes so shhort?
So meen can remeember them.

(Note: Speaking of bllond jookes . . . .)

Blind Man's Blonde Joke

A blind man enters a lesbian bar by mistake. He finds his way to a bar stool and orders a drink. After sitting there for a while, he yells to the bartender in a loud voice, "Hey bartender, you wanna hear a dumb blonde joke?"!!! The bar immediately falls deathly quiet. In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, "Before you tell that joke, sir, I think it is just fair, given that you are blind, that you should know five things... 1 - The bartender is a blonde woman. 2 - The bouncer is a blonde woman. 3 - The woman sitting next to me is blonde and is a professional weightlifter. 4 - The lady to your right is a blonde and is a professional wrestler, and 5 - I'm a 6 foot, 200 lb. blonde woman with a PhD., a black belt in karate and a very bad attitude! Now think about it seriously, Mister. Do you still want to tell that joke?"

The blind man thinks for a second, shakes his head, and says; "Naaaah . . . not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times."
(thanks to Jim Testa)

(Note: Speaking of lesbians . . . )

FACTS PROBABLY NOT WORTH KNOWING NO. 5: Bulldike or Bulldyke: 1931, Amer. Eng., probably shortening of morphadike, dialectal garbling of hermaphrodite, but bulldyker "engage in lesbian activities" is attested from 1921, and a source from 1896 lists dyke as slang for "the vulva." In slang, a strong warriorlike Lesbian, assertive looking Gay woman; from the name of a warrior Queen of the Celtic Hicca people (Boudica, "boo-dike-a") who rose up against Roman colonisation in A.D. 61. Variations of the slang word are bulldagger, bulldag, and in the Gay bar slang of the fifties, Dieseldike.



(Thanks to Cal Burke and Dai Woosman)


Air Force Colonel Accused of Defacing Cars Bearing Pro-Bush Bumper Stickers

DENVER - An Air Force Reserve colonel could face criminal charges for allegedly vandalizing cars at Denver International Airport bearing pro-Bush bumper stickers. Lt. Col. Alexis Fecteau, director of operations for reserve forces at the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, is believed responsible for defacing at least 10 parked vehicles between December and June, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said Tuesday. A bait car left by a police detective was also defaced and the detective tracked down Fecteau, who turned himself in Friday. He was released on bond. A message left for a man of the same name in Colorado Springs wasn't immediately returned.

Jackson said Fecteau is suspected of blacking out the Bush bumper stickers and then spray painting an expletive and the president's name on the vehicles. (article)



Military Families to Join Cindy Sheehan in Crawford
Gold Star and Military Families from Across Country on Their Way to Texas

August 9 - CRAWFORD, Texas - More members of Gold Star Families for Peace (GSFP) and Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) are traveling to Texas to join the protest outside of President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he is vacationing for the month of August. (article)

Fallen Soldier's Mom Leads March on Crawford
By Deb Riechmann

Crawford, Texas - The angry mother of a fallen U.S. soldier staged a protest near President Bush's ranch Saturday, demanding an accounting from Bush of how he has conducted the war in Iraq.

Supported by more than 50 demonstrators who chanted, "W. killed her son!" Cindy Sheehan told reporters: "I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?'" Sheehan, 48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns (article)


Address to Veterans For Peace Convention
Cindy Sheehan

" . . . Another thing that I'm doing is - my son was killed in 2004, so I'm not paying my taxes for 2004. If I get a letter from the IRS, I'm gonna say, you know what, this war is illegal; this is why this war is illegal. This war is immoral; this is why this war is immoral. You killed my son for this. I don't owe you anything. And if I live to be a million, I won't owe you a penny. And I want them to come after me, because unlike what you've been doing with the war resistance, I want to put this frickin' war on trial. And I want to say, "You give me my son, and I'll pay your taxes. . ." (article)

(Note: Some of you may remember the lovely letter I received from GOLDSTAR mother, Nadia McCaffrey, in the February 25th issue of the newsletter. Nadia informed me that she was passing around my anti-Iraq war song, GIFT, to other members of the Gold Star Families for Peace. www.gsfp.org


Bookcrossing n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.
(added to the Concise Oxford Dictionary in August 2004)

The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...

1. Read a good book (you already know how to do that)
2. Register it here (along with your journal comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book
3. Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records journal entries for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!

So go grab a book or two from your shelves now (they're not doing anyone any good there, are they?), register them here, jot down our URL and the BCID we'll give you inside the covers, and then give them away or leave them where someone will find them. (website)
(thanks to Dai Woosman)




FACTS PROBABLY NOT WORTH KNOWING NO. 6: A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

" ...Then you discover that, just down the road in Burke, Virginia, a woman 25 years your senior, a woman named Ruth Kneuven, clocking it at 82 years old, has managed to rack up a staggering total of not 100, not 200, not even 300, but over 420 diseased feral cats (some reports put the number closer to 500) spread over two separate homes.

And a whopping 100 of her cats are dead (that's more than you had, alive or dead!), and the dead ones are stuck in plastic bags and in bins and jammed behind walls and lodged between the decaying brickwork all over the house, and the stench became so otherworldly that the cops and animal control finally came and hauled away all her cats, too. " Mark Morford (article)



FACTS PROBABLY NOT WORTH KNOWING NO. 7: Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.

It is a common belief that 1 human year is equal to 7 dog years. That is not very accurate, since dogs reach adulthood within the first couple of years. The formula used below is from a canine expert and is a bit more accurate. (as accurate as one can judge these things) The formula is: 10.5 dog years per human year for the first 2 years, then 4 dog years per human year for each year after. Dog Years Calculator



(With Christopher Walken - for anyone who has ever wanted to play in a band - from Saturday Night Live - thanks to Joe Creighton)



~~~~~~ THE SISTERHOOD OF MAN ~~~~~~~

'...the 'sisterhood of man'... I would not use the pseudo-generic "man" in any other kind of
context than this contradictory and problematic setting.' Mary Daly




(Note: The zheng is one of my favourite Asian instruments. Five years ago, I composed a work for Chinese and English choirs, erhu, zheng and mixed western instruments, called 'Perfume Flower', based on a poem by the 19th century revolutionary woman poet and activist, Ch'iu Chin, who opposed footbinding and was beheaded by the Manchu dynasty.)

" The Zheng is a 12, 16 or 21 stringed zither or horizontal table harp which is native to China, is plucked, and has a soft sound. The Zheng has movable bridges called yen chu- "geese frets" so called because they create a diagonal line across the sounding board of the instrument like a flock of wild geese in flight. These can be adjusted quickly to re-tune the instrument in a variety of scales or modes. In traditional performance technique, the right hand plucks the strings with natural or artificial fingernails near the right-hand bridge, while the left hand presses the strings to the left of the movable bridges to create pitch bends, ornamentation and vibrato. Originally the technique was not overly complex, with the right hand often plucking tunes in simple octaves, since this was the instrument for the elegant amateur, not the virtuosic professional. But over time, the Zheng developed its own virtuosic technique which allowed it the range to adapt pieces from both the Pipa and the Qin repertoires with their respective associations of dramatic entertainment and lofty spirituality. Because of this range, the Zheng was found in the elegant womens' quarters of a wealthy household as well as in the boudoirs of the courtesans. It also made its way to Japan where it became the Koto. Primarily associated with women entertainers, the Zheng has been celebrated in poetry over the centuries for its ability to evoke moods- both happy and sad- and like the Pipa, used as a symbol for beautiful women. "
The Music of the Woman Entertainer


Wal-Mart Fights to Split Sex Bias Suit
By Bob Egelko

Wal-Mart tried Monday to derail the nation's largest-ever discrimination suit, arguing that a single trial on the claims of 1.6 million women would be neither fair nor manageable. But the retailing giant got little apparent sympathy from a three-member federal appeals court. The 45-minute hearing before the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was critical to the future of the suit, which claims the company had a systematic bias against women in pay and promotions. The court took the case under submission and gave no hint of when it might rule.

At issue is whether Wal-Mart must defend against lawsuits by six individual plaintiffs or against a single, colossal class action on behalf of nearly every woman who has worked at one of its 3,400 stores nationwide - including 16 stores in the Bay Area - since Dec. 26, 1998 (article)

German Women vs. Adolph Hitler


In the 1930s German women who opposed Nazi fascism mostly came from left parties. When Hitler came to power all women's organizations were ordered to accept Nazi leadership or disband. Many prominent German feminists went into exile or were sent to concentration camps. The following APPEAL TO WOMEN was issued in 1932, on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, by a women's committee closely associated with the German Communist Party:

" Wives, mothers girls of the Working Class!
We appeal to you at this critical time to join together in anti-fascist action!

The Nazis tell you that they want to save the family. In Braunschweig where a Nazi, Klagges, governs, all regulations concerning the indigent are brutally enforced against working people. Klagges has cancelled all plans for mothers' homes and nurseries. He gave an order to evict a tubercular unemployed worker, his pregnant wife, and their two small children. The mother was forced to deliver her baby in a windowless room six meters square with the rain pouring through the roof.

The Nazis demand the death sentence for abortion.
They want to turn you into compliant birth-machines.
You are to be servants and maids for men.
Your human dignity is to be trampled underfoot.
Your families will be driven to desperation from ever greater hunger
The Nazis are the deadly enemies of liberation and equal rights of women.
You must refuse to deal with them!
Whatever party or world-view you favor - come and join together in
anti-fascist action...
Form united committees for the joint battle against hunger, fascism, and war!"


FACTS PROBABLY NOT WORTH KNOWING NO. 8: Women blink nearly twice as much as men.




A curious war made San Francisco the salami capital of America. From 1967 until 1970, a band of six determined Bay Area sausage makers argued to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they deserved the right to not only use Italian methods, but to call their product "Italian salami." They were direct descendants of salami makers of Milan, Lucca, Parma and Modena. Around the turn of the last century, they had settled in a city whose temperate climate might be the only one in the United States perfectly suited for dry-curing salami. They even had the right strain of penicillin mold to give the links a classic white bloom. . . (article)


Risi e Pisi con Finocchio Liberace
(Risotto with Peas and Fennel)

1 bulb fennel, sliced in thick fillets
50 g butter
50 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 cups Ferron or Aborio rice
1 ponnet fresh peas
5 cups light chicken stock, kept at a simmer
100 ml white wine
salt and pepper
chiffonated parsley
1 long playing Liberace record
1 Liberace candelabra

Place the rice and the wine in a pot, bring to a boil, and cook until alcohol evaporates. Gradually add the hot stock to the rice, a ladle at a time, stirring continuously until it is absorbed, do not leave it unattended. While you're stirring, cook the fresh peas separately until firm but tender. Lightly sauté the fennel slices in a little butter. Set aside and keep warm. When the rice is ready, and al dente, remove from the heat, stir in the butter, parmesan cheese, and the peas, and place the fennel slices on top, cover the pot and let rest for five minutes.

To Serve: Plate with parsley and freshly ground black pepper sprinkled over and thin shavings of parmesan cheese. Put on the Liberace record, light the candelabra, turn off the lights, and pour some wine. (If you wear dentures, make sure they are polished sparkling white for that special smile.)


Impromptu, Written While Hearing the Zheng Played

For twenty years I had not heard the sad notes of the Zheng.
Then suddenly her slender fingers made the strings resound.
First the tones came lightly like birds twittering among the flowers;
Then there was a low, murmuring sound like streams covered with ice.
It is usually said that this music is now forgotten,
So I asked her who taught her the Zheng when she was still a child.
The song finished, and the guests laughed at me over their wine cups
For I, white-haired old man, had started silently to weep.

Ouyang Xiu, Song dynasty
(translated by Arthur Waley)



There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.
A "jiffy" is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.