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Friday August 29th, 2008


“ You . . . . .
But who am I talking to?
I am singing to myself.
The aching inside of me says: You.”
Joe Dolce, You? 1976

Dear YOU,

i - (that’s the little i, not the Big I)-  i just want to take this time to thank YOU, and only YOU, for your contributions and support over the years. Without YOU, there is no way that i could possibly have continued on with this newsletter. YOU are the reason i am here. Without YOU, there would be no Sun, no Moon -  even no i . i want to thank each and every one of YOU. Thank YOU thank YOU thank YOU. My mother thanks YOU. MY father thanks YOU. And i thank YOU. YOU are the reason i here at i productions get out of bed. YOU are the first person i think about every single morning and the last person i think about every single night. In fact, in honour of YOU,  i have dedicated Songwriting Workshop 25 down below.

(The fragment of lyric quoted up above comes from an unfinished song that i started back in the 70s.  i have always had a hard time singing songs to the ephemeral YOU that we hear over and over again in just about every musical love song on the planet. It’s taken me almost forty years to figure out why.)

The gravity-defying photo above is taken of me back in the late 40s on one of the many swish cars my dad owned during his younger days. Naturally, the little girls in my playgroup thought it was my car, and i wasn’t going to tell them any different.

JONATHAN EDWARDS, US singer-songwriter, best known for his 70s hit song, 'Sunshine,' has released a new album, 'Rollin' Along: Live in Holland.' I wrote the title track and we co-wrote another song on the album, 'Athens County,' (which is the mystical place in Ohio where we met at Ohio University and formed the hot little psychedelic band, 'The Headstone Circus.'  Which broke up in the early 70s - due to too much Circus and not enough Head. RIP.) Jon has also released a DVD, 'Live in the Netherlands,' which contains another of my songs, 'My Home Ain’t in the Hall of Fame.' Here is a live performance of it:
(thanks to steve ide)

Both Jon Edwards and I had Top Ten hits in the Netherlands but thinking back now,  'Athens County,'  contained this opening lyric:

'Way down in Athens County, that's where I am,
Going on the road tomorrow, up to Amsterdam . . .'

which was written long before either of us had ever been to Holland. I was just looking for a word to rhyme with 'am!'  Was this some kind of prophecy?
I wonder where we would be now if I had used, instead, Viet Nam?  Not to mention Yucatan, Kazistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Switzerland,  Iran, Thailand, Queensland, Horsham or even the Vatican.


Dear Joe Dolce,
I'd would like to have the music sheets for both guitar and piano [for your song, ‘Smokin’]
I'm an Austrian teacher and planning a school play about the dangers of smoking.
I want to use your song in the play at the school performance.
Kind regards, Gabi Sternjak, Austria.

(Note: Folks, ‘Smokin’ is on ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ album. There’s a full audio version in my electronic presskit
Here are the lyrics:

Oh ma god Joe,
What prompted the silver rave? Someone sell you something?
Next you'll be selling Enjo and Amway!!
Question: Why were pommy royalty and upper crusters called "Blue
Bloods" - Answer : because they ate with silver cutlery and used silver
food vessels - and looked slightly blue-tinged (agyria) from absorbing
If I were you, I'd stick to what you know - and medicine obviously
ain't one of them.  Keep up the good work, but get your "Blues" in 4-bars, not a bottle of
colloid, cheers, Sarah

(Note: Sarah, I actually used to sell Amway - so there. Taught me alot. How to handle rejection, girl. (ha ha!)

Check your facts on Agyria before you scare monger people, Sarah. Colloidal silver, as I carefully explained, was the STANDARD antibiotic up until WWII. Approved by all doctors and in the medical handbooks. There haven't been many reported cases of agyria in the history of its use compared the horrible stories about just about every other drug or medical procedure in practice.
The famous 'blue man' story is worth checking out (see the link in the last newsletter). But he STILL continues to use colloidal silver as does his wife (who hasnt turned blue) and he carefully explains what he did wrong which resulted in agyria. OVERDOSING, basically. Anyone taking  
the amount of any antibiotic or drug, including aspro, the way he did colloidal silver, would turn blue and green (ie death).

Don’t let a few scary stories keep you from understanding a very simple principle that may come in handy one day in an emergency when you may be in a situation where CANT get standard antibiotics.

By the way, wikipedia says that Blue Blood is an English idiom recorded since 1834 for noble birth or descent; it is a translation of the Spanish phrase sangre azul, which  described the Spanish royal family and other high nobility who claimed to be of Visigothic descent, while their subjects were largely of mixed descent  (Iberian, Celtic, and Roman). There is no connection between the phrase and the actual blood color of nobility; however, in the ancient and medieval  societies of Europe, much of the upper class may have had superficial veins that appeared blue through their untanned skin, in contrast with the working  class of the time, mainly agricultural peasants. The alternative traditional  explanation, argyria (a disease causing a blue-grey skin tone after digestion of silver), is considered less valid, as table silverware was not yet regularly used by much of the nobility.
Robert Lacey explains the genesis of the blue blood concept: It was the Spaniards who gave the world the notion that an aristocrat's blood is not red but blue. The Spanish nobility started taking shape around the ninth century in classic military fashion, occupying land as warriors on
horseback. They were to continue the process for more than five hundred years, clawing back sections of the peninsula from its Moorish occupiers,
and a nobleman demonstrated his pedigree by holding up his sword arm to display the filigree of blue-blooded veins beneath his pale skin—proof that his birth had not been contaminated by the dark-skinned enemy. (Robert Lacey, Aristocrats. Little, Brown and Company, 1983, p. 67)
Another theory claims - not without reason - that the "blue blooded" must ultimately have hailed from the ranks of the "blue" Ashina, the early Mediaeval ruling dynasty of the so called Göktürks ("Blue" or "Celestial" Turks) themselves connected to various people who had a seminal impact on
the birth of the aristocracy - with whom they interacted - of Central and even Western Europe, as were the Huns, the Alans, the Avars or the Khazars.
Out of these, the Iranian-speaking Alans, from 407 to 409 A.D. together with the allied Germanic tribes like the Vandals and Suevi, swept into the Iberian peninsula. In response to this invasion of Roman Hispania, Honorius, the emperor in the West, enlisted the aid of the Visigoths to regain control of the territory. The Alanic aristocracy in the Iberian peninsula was eventually absorbed by the ruling caste of the Visigothic royalty, yet not before passing over to it the tradition of the "blue blood" as a distinctive appanage of nobility and a relic of its Eastern "blue" Ashina heritage.

Finally, Colloidal silver is allowed as a dietary supplement.
Therapeutic Goods (Excluded Goods) Order No. 1 of 2008 (revision) No 10:    
Substances for use in the purification or treatment of drinking water    -  
If no claims are made for therapeutic use.

Warning: This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.

Hello Joe,
Thanks for your newsletters, always monstrously entertaining, don't stop.
Your article on silver was most interesting. I'd assumed it was just
hippy nonsense, but now I see there's much more to it. This sort of
revelatory thing is happening to me more often these days - I laughed
when people told me about the efficacious use of magnetised water for
kidney stones (water, magnetic!?), but now I've done the research and
seen the light. So you may also be interested in the short story of the
persecution of good ol' asprin ...
The 'problem' for Big Pharma with public domain medications and their
unpatentability was also behind the job they did on asprin starting in
the 1960s. Asprin was and still is a wonder drug available even to the
peasants at a price close to fuck all. It was so popular in the 60s that
a few people were taking overdoses, some developed stomach bleeds.
Someone may even have died. So in order to protect the populace and make
room in the market for the newly developed and highly defendable NSAIDS
(Iboprufen, etc) big Pharma orchestrated a world wide campaign,
enlisting nearly every doctor on the planet, to push asprin off the
shelves. You might have noticed that they didn't succeed, asprin is
still commonly available and it continues to work way better than the
NSAIDS as an analgesic and for reducing inflamation. rock on, Simon Veitch

 Hi Joe,
 love your newsletter.
Kenny Everett (RIP) once remarked that the closest thing
you can get to silver is the lone ranger’s bum. John Smales

Caro Josephus,
 Methinks, somewhat scatologically, that 'fumum recta' or more precisiely 'fumum rectae' could yield far more perverse literalist translations than you provide....though don't stop sending me your weekly perorations for they trigger all sorts of memories of Jesuit school Latin taught by Belgians in English to postcolonial Indians studying Septimus Rex and engaged in deliciously wicked schoolboy condemnation of 'rectumus sex'.
 Your second item from W.S. Gilbert, 'wildely' inserted, so to speak, also triggered memories of Grosvenor, an idyllic poet modelled after Oscar, and who ends up alone, not being able to magnetise anybody. In real life, such people tends to portray HE Lieutenant the Duke of Dunstable, who lands the stentorian fabulist Lady Jane, as many of us, alas, do.
 Gilbert needed to make more of the kind of men who make matches with powerful women, portraying them alternately as effete types or mercurial jesters. I tried in vain to be Ko-Ko but it didnt work and Katisha stormed off in a fit of pique to join a ladies seminary, while I attempt, desperately, to finish the script. Pray what is your advice? Salmonella P. Thrushdie (kinsman by marriage to Joe di Cunilingua)

What I’m Watching This Week

The Real Dirt on Farmer John,
The story of Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics. Peterson was raised as a traditional midwest farmboy from three generations of farmers. He developed a ferocious work ethic regarding farming but when he inherited the land, he also crossed paths with the flower power generation. The family land became a commune, he started crossdressing on his tractor, the locals thought they were all practicing satan worship, he went bankrupt, the land was reduced from 400 to 22 acres to pay debts,  and Peterson left it for Mexico to nurse his wounds. When he returned, he transformed the place into a awesome organic community farm with about 1200 families from all over America taking part.  DVD comes with a small but excellent cookbook! (See excerpted recipe down below.)
The Hoax, with Richard Gere. About the Howard Hughes autobiography literary hoax.
In Brudges, with Colin Farrell. Inventive hitman story.
The Harlot’s Progress. Directed by Justine Hardy. Story of British artist William Hogarth.
Twilight Zone Episodes from the 50s. Narrated by Rod Serling and many stories written by Richard Matheson.
Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, screenplay by Billy Wilder.

What I’m Listening to This Week

Steve Seskin
Schubert’s Wintereisse, sung by Hans Hotter.

Beauty Contest for Nuns in Italy

An Italian priest and theologian says he is organising an online beauty pageant for nuns to give them more visibility within the Catholic Church and to fight the stereotype that they are all old and dour. The Miss Sister 2008 contest will start in September on a blog run by the Reverend Antonio Rungi and will give nuns from around the world a chance to showcase their work and their image.
"Nuns are a bit excluded, they are a bit marginalised in ecclesiastical life," Rungi told The Associated Press after Italian media carried reports of the idea. "This will be an occasion to make their contribution more visible."
Rungi, a theologian and schoolteacher from the Naples area, said that visitors to his site will have a month to "vote for the nun they consider a model".
Nuns will fill out a profile including information about their life and vocation as well as a photograph. It will be up to them to choose whether to pose with the traditional veil or with their heads uncovered.
"We are not going to parade nuns in bathing suits," Rungi said by telephone from his town of Mondragone. "But being ugly is not a requirement for becoming a nun. External beauty is gift from God, and we mustn't hide it."
Rungi said the idea was first suggested to him by nuns with whom he regularly prays and works. He hopes there will be dozens of submissions once the website is started.
The contest drew criticism from the association of Catholic teachers.
"It's an initiative that belittles the role of nuns who have dedicated themselves to God," the group's president, Alberto Giannino, told Italy's ANSA news agency.

Woman Tries to Kidnap 'Virtual' Friend

A woman who fell in love with the online persona of a man in the virtual world Second Life has been charged in the United States with trying to kidnap him. Police charged North Carolina woman Kimberly Jernigan with trying to kidnap a man from the state of Delaware, and breaking into his apartment, after he ended their online relationship.
They had met while using Second Life - a virtual world where people can create characters and interact with others in the virtual world, CBS reports.
But when they met for real several months ago, the 52-year-old man ended their online relationship.
Police allege Jernigan, 33, drove to the victim's workplace earlier this month and tried to kidnap him at gunpoint.
She failed, and returned a fortnight later, posing as a postal worker to get his new address.
It is alleged she later broke into the man's apartment, and when he arrived home he told police he saw someone pointing an object at his chest that was projecting a laser beam.
He fled and alerted police.
Police who arrived at the scene found handcuffs, duct tape and a Taser gun, along with Jernigan's dog Gogi, who had been bound with tape to stop him from making noise, the CBS report said.
Jernigan was arrested after a struggle when her car was spotted soon after the alarm was raised.
She has been charged with attempted kidnapping, burglary and aggravated menacing.
The RSPCA said her dog was not harmed, but officials were looking into possible charges of animal cruelty.

Intel Cuts Electric Cords with Wireless Power System

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Intel on Thursday showed off a wireless electric power system that analysts say could revolutionize modern life by freeing devices from transformers and wall outlets. Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner demonstrated a Wireless Energy Resonant Link as he spoke at the California firm's annual developers forum in San Francisco. Electricity was sent wirelessly to a lamp on stage, lighting a 60 watt bulb that uses more power than a typical laptop computer. Most importantly, the electricity was transmitted without zapping anything or anyone that got between the sending and receiving units.
"The trick with wireless power is not can you do it; it's can you do it safely and efficiently," Intel researcher Josh Smith said in an online video explaining the breakthrough.
"It turns out the human body is not affected by magnetic fields; it is affected by elective fields. So what we are doing is transmitting energy using the magnetic field not the electric field."



The difference between the right word and the nearly right word
is the same as that between lightning and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain

‘YOU gotta lotta nerve to say you are my friend.”
“I got YOU, babe.”
“She Loves YOU, yeah yeah yeah.”

Who’s this YOU fella?

When I say I love you to someone I love up close and personal, I mean it specifically for that person. When I hear a performer saying ‘I love you,’ to an audience, it always sounds insincere. But most audiences lap it up.

Perhaps there is a Kingly You like the Kingly We: ie. King George would say ‘WE are pleased.’  
So when King Johnny the Performer says, ‘I love YOU,’  does he refer to what the Greeks call agape, or ALL OF US?

Following on, if King George had been a performer, he could have possibly said, ‘WE love YOU.’  (All of us love all of you.)
Wouldn’t that make you feel special?

The reason I bring this up is that I heard a song this week that made me cry on first listen and I thought this is a song I need to learn and sing.
But on repeated listens, I started to cool down and question why I had reacted to the song in that way, and if, in fact, I was reacting to something the song triggered in me that wasn’t really in the song. Or rather, the bigger idea behind the song, which I understood but now didn’t feel like the song captured correctly. I don’t know.  Because I no longer felt like learning this song and singing it.

But I sure felt like writing about it.

It had to do
With the YOU.

The song is titled, ‘I Think About You,’ and was written by Don Schlitz and Steve Seskin. Both of these fine songwriters are well-known in Nashville having a whole mess of hits between them.  

Steve Seskin has written seven number one songs, including Grammy-nominated “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” recorded by Tim McGraw, and “Don’t Laugh at Me,” winner of NSAI Song of the Year and Music Row Magazine Song of the Year in 1999 as recorded by Mark Wills. His other #1 hits are “No Doubt About It” and “For a Change,” both recorded by Neal McCoy, “No Man’s Land” and “If You’ve Got Love,” both recorded by John Michael Montgomery, and “Daddy’s Money,” recorded by Ricochet. Other chart toppers include “I Think About You,” recorded by Colin Raye, and “All I Need To Know,” and recorded by Kenny Chesney.  “Don’t Laugh at Me” was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and became the impetus for the Operation Respect/Don’t Laugh at Me project, a curriculum designed to teach tolerance in schools.

Don Schlitz  has earned two Grammys, as well as four ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year awards.  He has written fifty Top Ten  hits in the US  including twenty-four Number One’s. Schlitz' first hit as a songwriter was Kenny Rogers'  "The Gambler", which became a crossover country hit upon its release in 1978.  Schlitz has penned several hits for other country artists, including the Number One singles "Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis and "When You Say Nothing at All" by Keith Whitley. United States President George H. W. Bush also commissioned Schlitz to write a theme song for his "Points of Light" program. (Not sure if he should brag about that one, though.)

Here is an excerpt of the lyrics of the song, for illustrative purposes, showing the main themes:

I Think About You
(Written by Don Schlitz/Steve Seskin. Publishing Administered by: CROSS KEYS PUBLISHING CO INC, NASHVILLE, TN)

Verse 1:
Everytime I see a woman on a billboard sign
I think about you
Saying "drink this beer and you'll be mine"
I think about you
When an actress on a movie screen
Plays Lolita in some old man's dreams
It doesn't matter who she is
I think about you

You're eight years old
big blue eyes and a heart of gold
when I look at this world, I think about you
and I can't help but see
that every woman used to be
Somebody's little girl,
I think about you.

(To read the full lyric, go to:

Here’s a version of Steve Seskin singing it live in performance. This is the way I first heard it. See if you have the reaction I had:

OK. So what bugs me about this song?

 I wrote Steve Siskin with my thoughts and asked him to forward my letter to co-writer Don Schlitz and to explain a little of how the song got written.  I like to give fellow songwriters an opportunity to present their point of view on why they wrote the particular song -  and what they intended  - whenever I plan to look at something in depth. Steve was gracious enough to write back. To date, I haven’t heard from Don Schlitz yet but it doesn’t really matter.  

Here are my original thoughts, Steve’s letter to me in reply, and my closing remarks.

I think that the intention in the song is a good one and I support the vision behind the idea.   I'm just having a difficulty with the actual realization of the vision.

I tried imagining singing this song to my grand daughter and I realized that I couldnt do it and that it wasnt really meant for an eight year old to hear - EVEN THOUGH it is being addressed to an eight year old. The YOU in the song seems to be an eight year old child.

Or is it?

This is the problemo.

I believe that the subject matter of this song is too complex and too mature to be presented to a child of this age. It is actually being sung, in my view, to an ADULT, as though she/he were the child. Asking the adult to identify with the child - or perhaps the child they once were.

Of course, it could also be argued that it is being sung to oneself,  to the spirit of all eight year old children, or the child within, or that kind of thing.
But in that case, why not say so?

But in either of the above cases, I find the lyric therefore slightly off centre. Because the song is still addressing the eight year old child in an apparently direct way. I think imagery and ideas like this would be very awkward for someone this age to sit and listen to.

For instance, if I personally were writing this lyric about MY eight year old grand daughter, I would have said, "I think about HER.' 
That way, there is no misunderstanding that this song is intended to be heard by an adult.

I asked Steve for his comments and also to reply to these questions:

1. How did the collaboration work between the two writers?  Who wrote what? 
   Was there any argument over the content  - and any compromise from either writer's original vision?
(The reason for this last question was because recently I examined the lyrics to the song ‘Danger,’ by Steve Goodman and Michael Smith, about a relationship between a nineteen year old and a fourteen year old. Michael Smith wrote me that the original lyric was less controversial but Steve Goodman persuaded him to go with a more edgy lyric. Sometimes working in collaboration can produce something less than the sum of the parts. So I was interested if this had happened in this song too.)
2. What are your comments about my suggestion of changing the 'you' to 'her'?
3. If you could re-write anything about the song today, what would it be?
4. Have you ever sung this song to an eight year old child? If not, would you consider it?

Here is Steve’s reply unedited:

Hi Joe,

Thanks for your inquiry about "I Think About You" I probably won't have time to get Don to comment but I'll do my best to answer your questions. I think you said a very interesting thing that is not to be taken lightly which is...

‘ . . The first time I heard the song, it made me cry and I thought it was a song that I needed to learn. ‘

In my mind the song would never be sung to an eight year old. It is a song that is an inner dialogue. I think parents/grandparents think about their kids/grandchildren all the time and worry about the big bad world out there. Don and I also talked about how society uses sex to sell us everything under the sun and how when you have a daughter you start looking at the world a little differently. The reason we housed the song the way we did was to make it a bit warmer and draw the camera in on the relationship between father and daughter. I do admit it's an odd use of 2nd person but I think it works. To me, some of things we said which you obviously wouldn't say to an 8 year old, serve to define it as a conversation with oneself.

The hard thing for me about the song when we first wrote it was how long it takes to payoff which happens when the listener finds out who the you is. I had to play it out several times before I realized that delaying the payoff was okay and made it even stronger when it came in. You're the first person to make this comment and I think you have a point but I'm still glad we sang it [about] our daughters in the song even though we would never have sung it to them when they were eight in real life. It is most definitely a song for adults.

1. How did the collaboration work between the two writers?
Who wrote what?  Was there any argument over the content  - and any compromise from either writer's original vision?

We wrote it together, music and lyric at the same session. Don had the idea for the song, we talked about our kids and went from there. It was written in one day.

2. What are your comments about my suggestion for changing the 'you' to 'her'?

I believe I answered this in the above section

3. If you could re-write anything about the song today, what would it be?

I would not change a thing

4. Have you ever sung this song to an eight year old child? If not, would you consider it?

No... By the way... I'm very cognizant of this kind of thing. My song Don't Laugh At Me was not written for children and when Mark Wills recorded it, it had some pretty heavy images in some of the verse. When Peter Paul and Mary turned it into a school program to try to curb bullying, I rewrote several parts of it so I could sing it in schools to young kids. If you'd like more info on that song/program, go to Thanks...

FYI I just got back from Australia. I've been coming over for the last two years to teach with a friend of mine named Pat Pattison. We did weekend workshops at JMC Academy in Melbourne and Sydney. Next year I will come by myself the 1st week of April and do a workshop in Melbourne on the 3rd, 4th and 5th and then in Sydney on the 10th, 11th and 12th. If you'd be willing to mention it to your newsletter people I'd sure appreciate it. I can get you the particulars if you'd like. Thanks a lot...   Steve

Final Notes:  Well, it’s obvious from Steve’s reply, that he is an articulate and aware person. His work reinforces his commitment to educating children and being a responsible parent. And, as I said, the vision behind the song is a good one.

I also wouldn’t put to much store in the fact that I cried, Steve, if you’re listening. I cry every time Bambi’s mother dies in the cartoon. I cry when I sing my own songs. I’m a crying fool.

Here’s where I think the difficulty in this lyric lies for me is. And it’s not personal. Its not really about Steve’s song per say. It’s pretty much the problem with 99% of all popular entertainment.

Not saying what you mean.

Or saying it halfway and asking (or expecting) the audience to put the other half together – or fantasize the rest. But as a close friend commented, ‘The intelligent folks can figure it out, but for the majority of drunks in the bar, they mainly hear ‘Lolita’, ‘Some kind of treat’, ‘big blue eyes and a heart of gold,’ etc and miss the quick line about the eight year old child,’ about 50% of the information would go in and that 50% would be one big mush of sex, Lolita, blue eyes,  a heart of gold and an abused woman.  Just another day at the trailer park. Conflicting signals.

‘I Think About My Eight Year Old Daughter’ would be a much more devastating title which would be impossible to ignore – I don’t care how many glasses of beer you had. Probably make it less commercial though.

It really comes down to this YOU fella again.

It’s said when the first troubadours – the Cathars -  began singing of courtly love, in the Middle Ages (see Workshop 22,’The Invention of the Love Song, in Archives),  they would address their Lady of the Court as YOU. But behind this innocent celebration was a covert divine subtext. YOU was actually referring to the Cathar divinity.

YOU, in the works of St John of the Cross, and other passionate religious writers, of course, always refers to GOD, or to Jesus.

One of the ground-breaking moves Ray Charles made was to put romantic and sexual themes to traditional gospel musical templates. The YOU became YOU, BABY! The divine and courtly spiritual love song has utterly changed its nature in the last two hundred years into a song of pure romance and seduction. Just listen to the way YOU is used in country and folk music for instance. Listen to Keith Urban. Kenny Chesney. These guys are walking seduction traps. YOU this. YOU that.

Steve refers in his letter to the ‘payoff,’ in the song. In other words,  the point when you find out WHO the YOU is. Up until then, the song could be sung to anyone.

But what if the ‘payoff,’ verse had been different - and went something like this:

Everytime I see a woman on a billboard sign
I think about You
Saying "drink this beer and you'll be mine"
I think about You
When an actress on a movie screen
Plays Lolita in some old man's dreams
It doesn't matter who she is
I think about You.

You're my Lord
Loving heart and a Crown of thorns,
when no one cares,
I think about You,
and how you saved me, Lord,
From my life of sin
And Satan’s Lair,
I think about You.

I’ve returned the YOU to its religious domain. It still is an inner dialogue but it now it  is also testifying. To the congregation. To the non-believers. To God. Halleluia!  Ok. You say: that’s a ridiculous lyric. Not good, Joe. But here’s something worse. Make the verses even more ADULT:

When I see a pretty bitch snaking on a pole,
I think about you
Nice pair of tits, the kind you’ld like to hold
I think about you
She wouldn't dare talk to this stranger
Unless I had the money to pay for her favour,
it doesn’'t matter who she is
I think about you.

You're eight years old
big blue eyes and a heart of gold
when I look at this world, I think about you
and I can't help but see
that every woman used to be
Somebody's little girl,
I think about you.

Pretty foul, eh? See, when you jack up the verses like that, they cannot be redeemed by any ‘payoff.’ They are what they are. Conflicting signals.

A lot of good ol’ boys off their faces on a slab of beer with their brains cells slightly dilated might translate the imagery like that. Especially if the song was sung in a bar where there were topless waitresses or someone riding a friggin’ mechanical bull off to the side of the stage.

My real rant in this workshop is over the overuse of the word YOU in songwriting today when it seems to me, with further creative thought, there is a more focused and effective way to say exactly what it is you mean.

A respected woman writer friend of mine, mother of four and grandmother of nine, reading the lyrics through, having never heard the music, commented that the language seemed a bit awkward in expressing what the writer obviously intended.  But when she heard the song, commented that the way Steve Seskin sings it  - where he puts the emphasis - brings out the meaning.

Here is an article where Steve talks in length about the way he writes songs. Very insightful.

Steve Seskin Website:


The Three Dolce Sisters

The Three Dolce Sisters; Rosalie, Gertrude and Regina, were billed as 'Vaudeville's Daintiest Singers' in a 1913 Orpheum Theater playbill in Winnipeg. The sisters were an attractive and popular vaudeville act in the US and Canada.
Some of their hits were:  That Mesmerizing Mendelssohn Tune,  by Irving Berlin (1909),  Goodby Betty Brown (1910),
 Sweet Swanee Sue (1911),
 Another Rag (1911) and You Didn't Care (1915).
(thanks to Gary Burt)


Their actual names were Vicki, Dixie, and Betsy Ross and they originated from Colorado City, Texas. Their song in Picadilly Hayride (Five Minutes More) was later covered by Frank Sinatra. They were summoned to a command performance before the King and Queen of England on Nov. 4, 1946. I have no idea how they came onto the scene in New York (did stage and revues there) or what happened to them afterwards.  I wonder if the Three Dolces could do what the The Ross Sisters could do. Have a look at this!
(thanks to Halloran)

Capoeira Fighter (oops! Shades of Indiana Jones!)
(thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)



Makes about 20 – 30 4 inch pancakes.

6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
1 cup flour
3 large eggs, beaten
3 tble olive oil
Half cup milk
Half teas salt
Quarter teas black pepper
Half cup vegetable oil

Combine sweet potatoes and onion in a large bowl. Add flour, eggs, and olive oil. Mix well. Stir in milk, salt and pepper.
Heat vegetable oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Ladle half cups of mixture into the oil and lightly press into pancake shape with a spatula. Cook until golden brown on one side, then flip and cook on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with pineapple salsa.

(from ‘Farmer John’s Cookbook-

Things to Think

Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.

When someone knocks on the door,
Think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time,
Or that it's been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

~ Robert Bly ~
(Morning Poems)


The Italian

An 18 year old Italian girl tells her Mom that she has missed her period for 2 Months.
Very worried, the mother goes to the chemist and buys a pregnancy test.
The test result shows that the girl is pregnant.
Shouting, cursing, crying, the mother says," Who was-a the pig that-a did-a this to you? I want-a to know!"
The girl picks up the phone and makes a call.
Half an hour later, a Ferrari stops in front of their house.
A mature and distinguished man with grey hair and impeccably dressed in an Armani suit steps out of the Ferrari and enters the house.
He sits in the living room with the father, mother, and the girl and tells them, "Good morning, your daughter has informed me of the problem.
I can't marry her because of my personal family situation but I'll take charge. I will pay all costs and provide for your daughter for the rest of her life. Additionally, if a girl is born, I will bequeath a Ferrari, a beach house, 2 retail stores, a townhouse, a beach front villa, and a $2,000,000 bank account. If a boy is born, my legacy will be a couple of factories and a $4,000,000 bank account. If twins, they will receive a factory and $2,000,000 each. However, if there is a miscarriage, what do you suggest we do?"

At this point, the father, who had remained silent, places a hand firmly on the man's shoulder and tells him, "Hey, you try-a for another!"
(thanks to Jim Testa)