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Friday August 8th, 2008

Tooth Aching Blues & Red Eye Gravy

   Honour without intelligence is a disaster.
Honour will lose the war.
Lt General James Longstreet,
Second in Command to Robert E. Lee, Confederate Army

Hi folks,

A couple of weeks ago I told you about the Underground Railroad and growing up along the Grand River which was one of the portals of Lake Erie leading to the free lands of Canada for escaping Southern slaves. The photo above was taken the last time I visited the section of the Grand River behind my boyhood home.

Only three days remain until the anniversary of Aug 11.  More commonly known as 811. I know you probably don’t remember 811 since it was eclipsed by the more famous 911. Michael Moore hasn’t made any films about 811 yet (that’s the temperature that corn pops.) But this is a famous day in history.  This was the day in 2492 BC of the defeat of Bel by Hayk, progenitor and founder of the Armenian nation. ( I still have a problem with Armenians on account of that, I’m sorry to say.) 811 was also the day Babe Ruth hit his 500th home run, Alcatraz Prison was opened for business, the Watts race riots started in LA, and the last ground combat unit departed Vietnam. This was the day Ľubomir Visnovsky the legendary Slovak ice hockey player was born in 1976,  and the day Wilfred the Hairy, Count of Barcelona, died in 897.

And don’t forget St Fiacre Day. Fiacre was born on 811, 7 AD.  Legend has it that St Faro allowed Fiacre as much land as he might entrench in one day with a furrow; Fiacre turned up the earth with the point of his staff, toppling trees and uprooting briers and weeds. A suspicious woman hastened to tell Faro that he was being beguiled and that this was witchcraft. Faro, however, recognized that this was the work of God. From this point on it is said St Fiacre barred women, on pain of severe bodily infirmity, from the precincts of his monastery. (And severe bodily infirmity, administered by an honest-to-God Saint can be a bitch, let me tell you, friends: pustles and lesions and the whole Catholic ball of wax.)

I guess many of you are finding my newsletter in your Trash basket thanks to the Spam filters you have in place. I’ve tried to be good but sometimes I just have to say naughty things. Well, if you don’t get the newsletter at least you know where to look. Failing that, you can always find it on my website on Friday morning. I don’t use generic Spam filters myself. However, I do have some clever diversion commands in place that divert certain types of repetitive email soliciting to the bin. But I still check my Trash every now and then just  to make sure you arent there!

Here’s a quick little clip I made this week:  Tooth Achin’ Blues.  (Friends, I feel your pain.)

Survivors of Dental Quackdom! Abandon not ye hope! See the article further down on DIY Dentistry.

Frantoio a Freddo

Charlie Greco and his son Johnny established the Kewstoke Olive Estate at Wunghnu about 20 km north of Shepparton only eight years ago. Their effort is starting to pay off and this year has seen the first commercial production of some of the best olive oil in Australia.   Charlie and Johnny found two Italian olive presses in South Australia, brought them over and have restored them to mint condition. One of the presses is at least over 70 years old. Charlie has even introduced an olive harvesting machine that shakes the olives into an upside “umbrella” canopy. Such process ensures that the olives are picked on the day when processed.  Charlie’s quest for freshness and purity are the two main ingredients of his now well known olive grove.  The Greco's olive farm produces 15 000 litres of olive oil each year  and if anyone around Melbourne wants to take advantage of the real thing, here are the contact details to get on the list for the next pressing:
Charlie Greco – 5826 9491. RMB 1230 Waaia-Bearii Rd Wunghnu Vic 3635.
(thanks to emilio fiorenza)


Hi Joe,
. . . missing your newsletter this week. Maybe you're taking a week off, or
maybe if you've mentioned Viagra or penises, you could be getting deleted by
my P-mail filter....P-mail = annoying penis-related spam email.
thought you might like this one. Cheers, Justine Stewart

Three aspiring psychiatrists, from three universities, are attending their
first class on emotional extremes.
'Just to establish some parameters,' said the professor to the student
from Oxford University, 'What is the opposite of joy?'
'Sadness' said the Oxford student.
'And the opposite of depression?' he asked the young lady from Cambridge.
'Elation,' she said.
'And you, sir,' he said to the student from Dublin University,
'How about the opposite of woe?'
"Well Sir," the student replied, "I do believe that would be giddy up". (boom boom!)

Hi Joe
Email Alert : Drop By Drop
Above is the subject line of your recent email. The security team  here at work have taken to 'firewalling you' with extreme prejudice and I can't for the life of me work out why.
Apparently any c*nt that sends though stuff with anything f*cking rude in it, gets grabbed by the t*sticles ! I now go searching for you in the 'grabbed bin'.
I actually can't find anything in the content of your work, which sways between witty harmless cynicism and very clever social comment that could be offensive to any educated person !? perhaps they just don't like name, jo   sephus  v-caesar ?, or they think 'drop by drop' is an article about 'golden showers for seniors'
Very perplexing  ( keep them coming  arriving)  Cheers Stifanus

Joe, Another drop by drop for your consumption,
‘And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart and in our own despair,
Against our will, comes wisdom to us
By the awful grace of God.’

Misquoted and quoted by Robert Kennedy and Richard Nixon variously to their own advantage.
Keep up the good work, Ieuan W

Hey Joe,
 Have we finished with quotations? The following is so commonly quoted it is almost a cliche but there is often strong truth in cliches which isn't realised until the reality affects us personally:

'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing'.

This has been attributed to Edmund Burke, 1795 but apparently there is no proof that he ever said or wrote it. The following is also attributed to him:

‘When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.’

Similar dog, different leg, equally depressing but unfortunately true. . . Lovely sunny day here in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, though the nights have been freeeeezing.
Kind regards, Robyn Jones

:  Edmund Burke was an Irish political philosopher, Whig politician, and statesman; he is regarded by many as the "father" of modern conservatism. He is mainly remembered for his support of the American colonies in the dispute with King George III and Great Britain that led to the American Revolution. Some other of his remembered off-the-cuff remarks:

‘ The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered.’

‘Through a wise and salutary neglect [of the colonies], a generous nature has been suffered to take her own way to perfection; when I reflect upon these effects, when I see how profitable they have been to us, I feel all the pride of power sink and all presumption in the wisdom of human contrivances melt and die away within me. My vigour relents. I pardon something to the spirit of liberty.’
First Speech on the Conciliation with America (1774)

‘It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in, — glittering like the morning star full of life and splendour and joy... Little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, — in a nation of men of honour and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded.’ Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)

What I’m Reading This Week
The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. Pulitzer Prize winning novel about the decisive American Civil War battle of Gettysburg.

What I’m Watching This Week (DVD)
City of Vice – mini-series on the Bow Street Runners, Law and Order comes to 1753 gangland London. (UK)
Monsieur Vincent – story of St Vincent de Paul. (France)
The Andromeda Strain – remake of Michael Creighton classic into a mini-series by The Scott Brothers. (USA)

What I’m Listening to This Week
Gurrumul, by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu



“ The greatest musician who ever lived. He can make the animals dance! Never heard this one of his, i love the other one i've heard too. Thanks for sharing.  "All my spoons are bent!"  OsvaldoPaese, on Joe Dolce’s  Crop Circles in My Marijuana

This is a fascinating reply from Dai Woosnam, of the UK, in response to my ‘Tooth Achin’ Blues’ video that I sent to him for a preview:

Do-It-Yourself Dentistry
Joe, my comrade!
You will never know just how APT your video was!
At the start of this year I paid £194 to have a dentist fit a new crown in exactly the same place as this guy's featured:
 The interesting thing about this guy in the article is that he claims it was the lack of a National  Health Service (NHS) dentist that necessitated the use of superglue!
 Look, I have had one all my life, and have watched their charges go off the graph.
 I was not prepared to pay the NHS price of £194 for a tiny replica tooth, when I could get three tubes of superglue for £1 in the "Everything You Want For A Pound" shop.   And each drop of superglue had served me well for about 8 months, working as the guy says, for a month or two at a time.
 I was just a third of my way through my first bottle ... that had cost me 33 pence ... instead of the £194 the dentist wanted!   I stopped because my wife did not want her husband gluing his own teeth.
 Britain is full of people who cannot pay these crazy prices.   If you are on the dole you are alright, the State will pay.   Guys like me who earn a very modest sum, are expected to pay, and I do not think that right.
 It is the NHS for God's sake!  When it came in in 1948, it was supposed to look after you from cradle to grave.   Take all the cost out.  And we pay all our working lives INTO it with our National Insurance contributions.
 But what was a FREE prescription service in 1948, in England, now costs £7.10 a time.   And what has happened in the field of  NHS dentistry is the most obscene of all the abuses to the "Free NHS" ethos.
 DIY dentistry is very common now all over the UK.   Check this out:
 So thanks for your latest YouTube posting.   Your marvellously inventive ways of DIY dentistry however, are sure to have been emulated by a million Brits these past few years.
 So for us Brits, if we now need extensive treatment here in the UK, we are likely to go abroad.  The boom in European "dentist" holidays is very real!  Hungary is the fave choice of country:

  There are literally SCORES of such dental holidays in towns and cities all over MittelEuropa.
 Truly, YCNMIU, Joe.
 I bet you in Oz must look on us Brits in wonder that it has come to this.
But one factor in favour of the British  DIY brigade is this: superglue holds a broken crown in place much longer than dental cement.    When my dentist first tried to "mend" it (i.e. before the decision was made to REPLACE it) my crown stayed in place with his cement for 5 days.  When I superglued it it lasted approximately two months, before needing re-gluing. 
 And what is dental cement anyway, but a weak form of superglue?  Ipso facto, a large amount of a dentist's time is spent GLUING.


David "Dai" Woosnam
DN33 2EF
*  YCNMIU = You Could Not Make It Up (even if you tried!)


“ I'm just like my father
But I am much worse
He hurt his mother
I hurt mine worse
I'm just like my brother
He hurt his wife
I hurt mine first.”
Violent Femmes Just Like My Father

The portrait of me was done by our son, Jan, about twenty years ago, when he was just a boy (just-a bout-a eighth-a grade. boom boom!). I found it disturbing back then but now I have come to love its honesty. And his, for painting it.

Sooner or later, every songwriter either writes a song about their relationship with their father, their mother or both. I’ve written two about my dad and one about my mum. I’m not alone either. There are many songs out there in songworld about the parental-child cat’s cradle. The perspectives range from adoration, celebration, acknowledgement, curiousity, blame, fingerpointing, reconciliation - to downright hatred. Many songs are written to please a parent. Some are written to exorcise the father-demon out of the child. Just as everyone has a unique story to tell, everyone also has a unique father story in them. The problem is: it is extremely difficult to get the perspective to write something worth writing; that’s not plagued by sentimentality or cliché.

In the novel, ‘My Name is Asher Lev,’ by Chaim Potok, the young child prodigy painter, Lev, cannot get past the fear he has about what his parents -  Hasidic Jews, who view art as a waste of time, or worse - as a manifestation of the "sitra achra" (the "Other Side", the realm of the demonic), - will think of him if he paints what he really wants to paint.  But encouraged by one of the worlds greatest living artists, Jacob Kahn, a non-observant Jew who has been recommended by his Rebbe, Lev finally breaks through and commits his deeper visions to canvas. Even his father cannot help but be proud of him at first  - however his gift finally calls upon Asher to paint his masterpiece - a work which uses the symbolism of the crucifixion to express his mother's torment. This imagery so offends his parents and his community that he is pressured to leave.

Many artists struggle with wanting to freely express themselves, but are afraid of hurting the ones around them (or their standing with them!) by what they say. The paradox is that if some of these issues are not dealt with, in a creative way, you end up hurting the ones around you, anyway -  but in a different manner. Unless the nightmares and dreams of your childhood are transformed into your life/art, your darkest fears will be passed on to your own children and your vision will be worn down by the grind of living and forgotten. You can see a therapist -  but for the artist, the Work itself is the therapy.

There are different ways to deal with the necessary but sensitive and potentially explosive material involving family and friends.

One way is to create a Hundred-Years-After-I’m-Dead Box. No one sees this stuff in your lifetime or your kids lifetime. It is just for your own personal use. Say whatever you want. Use it to free yourself. And lock it up with a note in your Will that is is not to be opened until 100 years after your death. To me that approach is a bit silly. But many authors have things like this in place. Ted Hughes has a box of material that is locked for the next thirty years. Hopefully, the lost and presumably burnt diary of Sylvia Plath (destroyed by Ted Hughes himself) will turn up in there.

The Write-it-Down-and-Then-Destroy-It Approach:  when I do my annual dreambuilding-goalsetting sessions, I write down thoughts, feelings and fantasies passing through my endlessly curious mind that if anyone I know ever read, they probably would never speak to me again. (That’s how problematic some of the stuff is.) Then I think carefully about what I have written and having gotten it out of my system and into the light of day, utterly destroy it. It is For My Eyes Only. No trace remains to confuse others. Except in later transmuted form -  in my work.

Another way to proceed is to write what you will - and family and friends be damned. Do what Asher Lev did. Personal freedom as an Absolute. I don’t subscribe to this extreme any longer although I did when I was younger. I alienated a whole lot of people, too. Sorry if you were one.

Or you can turn it into fiction. Write whatever you want – and change all the names, dates and places.

What I decided to do with my own personal FATHER song (the lyrics are printed out at the bottom of the newsletter) is this:

I write and sing the song regularly – as a kind of one-man AA meeting – for myself, my audiences and my children.  It is not important that my own father hear the song,  understand what the song is about or know why I had to write it. My father is not an artist, does not read poetry and is from a completely different generation of men. He fought in Korea and World War II. He is not familiar with Dylan Thomas or DH Lawrence. In a way, he’s like Asher Lev’s father, but Italian-American. But my father has found his own personal way of transforming himself over the years, as many non-artistic people do, and his grandchildren love and have only ever known him as a gentle man. So why should I stir things up unnecessarily? Let me give you an example.

Some ten years ago I had intended to play my Father song for my dad. My partner Lin and I went to visit my parents in Ohio and I decided to sing him the song. I gritted my teeth and I was just going to do it. Damn the torpedoes. Lin sat out watching television with my mom and dad while I went in my room and tuned my guitar. Suddenly, Lin slipped in and whispered, ‘I don’t think it’s the right time to sing the song.’ When I asked why, she said that they were watching Oprah Winfrey and there was a panel of guests who had all had hit songs or hit television shows and now were kind of faded memories. They were all writing ‘Mommy Dearest’  books about their upbringing, childhood discipline, etc. My dad turned to Lin and said, ‘Lin, look at that. These clowns careers are at a low, and what do they do? They all come out and start blaming their parents!’

So I decided to think about it a little more. And here is what I came to:

My ‘Father’ song is meant to stop the patterns I grew up with, in my OWN life, so that I don’t pass them on to my own kids.

Not to change my father. Not even for my father’s acknowledgement or applause.

My dad and I have an excellent relationship these days and it has come about exactly because both of us have done work on ourselves -  each in our own separate ways.

But I did write another song for him, ‘My Father Loved Watching Comedy,’  which celebrates the love of humour that he has always had and that I grew up with:

‘My father loved watching comedy.
My father loved Italian comedians.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis,
And Chico Marx,
(Even though the Marx Brothers were Jewish.)
My father loved watching comedy.’
℗ Joe Dolce, Dolceamore Music

Not everything is for everybody all the time. Use some personal judgment.  Avoid the One-Size-Fits-All mentality.

Some of the best known father songs:

Father & Son
Cat Stevens

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again.
Its always been the same, same old story.
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.
Now theres a way and I know that I have to go away.
I know I have to go.

Here’s a recent version performed for an audience filled with muslims by Cat Stevens  in his alterego as Yusuf Islam:

Papa Was a Rollin' Stone
Penned by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, who co-wrote it for Motown,  The Temptations

It was the third of September; that day I'll always remember,
'Cause that was the day that my daddy died.
I never got a chance to see him;
Never heard nothin' but bad things about him.
Mama I'm depending on you to tell me the truth.

Mama just hung her head and said Son,

Papa was a rollin' stone.
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
And when he died,
All he left us was alone.

My Father's Eyes
Eric Clapton

Sailing down behind the sun,
Waiting for my prince to come.
Praying for the healing rain
To restore my soul again.
Just a toerag on the run.
How did I get here?
What have I done?
When will all my hopes arise?
How will I know him?
When I look in my father's eyes.
My father's eyes.
When I look in my father's eyes.
My father's eyes.


Dance With My Father
Luther Vandros

Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me and then

Spin me around till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure
I was loved

If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
How I’d love, love, love to dance with my father again

Daddy's Hands
Holly Dunn

I remember Daddy´s hands, folded silently in prayer.
And reaching out to hold me, when I had a nightmare.
You could read quite a story, in the callouses and lines.
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind.
I remember Daddy´s hands, how they held my Mama tight,
And patted my back, for something done right.
There are things that I´ve forgotten, that I loved about the man,
But I´ll always remember the love in Daddy´s hands.
Song for Dad
Keith Urban

The older I get
The more I can see
How much he loved my mother and my brother and me
And he did the best that he could
And I only hope when I have my own family
That everyday I see
A little more of my father in me


Judy Small

This is the song I waited thirty years to write
It fades and it focuses like shadows in my sight
Its a song that was ended on a rainy summer night
This is the song of my father

There are times when I cannot recall the colour of his eyes
Times when I remember him clear as summer skies
There are times I think my memories of him are only lies
This is the song of my father

This is the song of my father that Ive never sung before
Though he lives in every part of me in every living pore
Its more than thirty years ago he died and Ive never missed him more
This is the song of my father

My father was a journalist he made the language breathe
And his love of words and wisdom is what he passed on to me
I hear him in my choruses and in my harmony
This is the song of my father

He was a gentle and an honest man his friends all loved him well
Though he never was a saint from tales my mother used to tell
There are times I hear him speaking just as clear as any bell
This is the song of my father

He died when I was fourteen he never saw me grow
He never knew the woman that my friends have come to know
But he remains forever as he was that rainy night
When I held his hand and promised to be good.

He gave me strength and laughter though he often was in pain
I hear him chuckle softly when I write a clever line
I wonder what hed think of me if he could know my mind
This is the song of my father

This is the song of my father that Ive never sung before
Though he lives in every part of me in every living pore
Its more than thirty years ago he died and Ive never missed him more
This is the song of my father
Its more than thirty years ago he died and Ive never missed him more
This is the song of my father

('Mosaic' album and Live at the Artery.)

My Father
Judy Collins

My father always promised us
That we would live in France
We'd go boating on the Seine
And I would learn to dance

We lived in Ohio then
He worked in the mines
On his dreams like boats
We knew we would sail in time


Song To My Father
Jane Siberry  

Flashes of warmth
Golden summers
Sparkling winters

Walking with daddy on Sundays
Hand in hand, heart in heart
Hand in hand, heart in heart

Lift me up on the pony again
Daddy, don't leave me alone in the dark
Swing me on your leg again

Daddy, why did they take the horse to the factory?
Dry your tears and you can watch TV
Between mommy and me


Song For My Father
Horace Silver

If there was ever a man
Who was generous, gracious and good
That was my dad
The man
A human being so true
He could live like a king
'Cause he knew
The real pleasure in life


My Father's Song
Barbra Streisand

Whatever you are, you're going to be
Whatever you are is all right with me
You're going to be what you want anyway
These are the words I heard my father say

 On My Father's Wings
The Corrs

If you were with me now
I'd find myself in you
If you were with me now
Your the only one who knew
All the things we planned to do

I want to live my life
The way you said I would
With courage as my light
Fighting for what's right
Like you made me believe I could

And I will fly on my father's wings
To places I have never been
There is so much I've never seen
And I can feel his heartbeat still
And I will do great things
On my father's wings

 My Father Used to Sing
Charlie Landsborough

My father was a common man
His fair is such a thing
An ordinary common man
Till he begin to sing
It felt like Angels guided around
To listen to each gentle sound
My father use to sing


Seein' My Father In Me
Paul Overstreet

Last night we brought the children by to visit their Grandpa
And it's plain to see they're truly part of him
While we were there
Their Grandma took out some old photographs
Man, he sure looked a lot like me back then

I'm seein' my father in me
I guess that's how it's meant to be
And I find I'm more and more like him each day
I notice I walk the way he walks
I notice I talk the way he talks
I'm startin' to see my father in me


Sheridan Cosy

You're just a little older than I might choose
Right between me and my father
That crosses my mind on slow afternoons
I don't let it get much farther
But I can't pretend I'm not still a little my Daddy's little girl

It's going to take a lot of sweet talk
to sell you as a safe bet for my world
More than your years, all the things of you I choose
Come right between me and my father . . . .

. . .If Daddy and another man were drowning in the water
there's never been much question
My daddy would get rescued by his daughter



Martin Simpson

You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job,
Not steady enough for the office, not hard enough for the hod.
You'd rather be riding your Norton or going fishing with your split cane rod.
You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job.

When your grammar school days were over, it was nineteen-seventeen,
And you did the right and proper thing. You were just eighteen.
You were never mentioned in dispatches. You never mentioned what you did or saw.
You were just another keen young man in the mud and stink of war.

You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job,
Not steady enough for the office, not hard enough for the hod.
You'd rather be singing The Pirate King or fishing with your split cane rod.
You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job.

You came home from the Great War with the pips of a captain's rank,
A German officer's Luger and no money in the bank.
Your family sent you down in the coal mine to learn to be captain there,
But you didn't stand it very long. You needed the light and the air.

You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job,
Not steady enough for the office, not hard enough for the hod.
You'd rather be watching performers fly or fishing with your split cane rod.
You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job.

When the Second War came along, you knew what should be done.
You would reenlist to teach young men the booby trap and the gun;
And they sent you home to Yorkshire with a crew and a Lewis gun
So you could save your seaside town from the bombers of the Hun.

You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job,
Not steady enough for the office, not hard enough for the hod.
You'd rather be finding the nightjar's nest or fishing with your split cane rod.
You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job.

And when my mother came to your door with a baby in her arm,
Her big hurt boy, just nine years old, trying to keep her from harm—
If you had been a practical man, you would have been forewarned.
You would have seen that it never could work and I would have never been born.

There's no proper work in your seaside town, so you come here looking for a job.
You were store man at the power station just before I came along.
Nobody talked about how you quit, but I know that's what you did.
My mother said you were a selfish man and I was your selfish kid.

You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job,
Not steady enough for the office, not hard enough for the hod.
And your Norton it was soon gone along with your split cane rod.
You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job.

You showed me eyebright in the hedgerow, speedwell and traveler's joy.
You showed me how to use my eyes when I was just a boy.
And you taught me how to love a song, and all you knew of nature's ways,
The greatest gifts I have ever known and I use them every day.

You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job,
Not steady enough for the office, maybe, not hard enough for the hod.
You'd rather be riding your Norton or going fishing with your split cane rod.
You were never any good with money. You couldn't even hold a job.

I want to thank Dai Woosnam, of the UK,  for the basic idea for this workshop. He sent me the Martin Simpson song above and the Steve Goodman YouTube video down below which I admit I approached with some hesitation.  (You may recall my comments on one of Goodman’s previous songs about the underage lover.) However, I was moved by his song to his father and it reminded me of my own so I thought I would see how many others there were out there. Quite a few I discovered.

My Old Man
Steve Goodman
I miss my old man tonight
and I wish he was here with me
With his corny jokes and his cheap cigars
He could look you in the eye and sell you a car.
That's not an easy thing to do,
but no one ever knew a more charming creature
on this earth than my old man.
He was a pilot in the big war in the U.S. Army Air Corps
in a C - 47 with a heavy load
full of combat cargo for the Burma Road.
And after they dropped the bomb
he came home and married Mom
and not long after that
he was my old man.
And oh the fights we had
when my brother and I got him mad;
He'd get all boiled up and he'd start to shout
and I knew what was coming so I tuned him out.
And now the old man's gone, and I'd give all I own
to hear what he said when I wasn't listening
to my old man'
I miss my old man tonight
and I can almost see his face
He was always trying to watch his weight
and his heart only made it to fifty-eight.
For the first time since he died
late last night I cried.
I wondered when I was gonna do that
for my old man.


My Old Man
Ewan MacColl

My old man was a good old man
Skilled in the moulding trade
In the stinking heat of the iron foundry
My old man was made
Down on his knees in the moulding sand
He wore his trade like a company brand
He was one of the cyclops' smoky band
Yes, that was my old man

My old man wasn't really old
It's just that I was young
And anybody over twelve years old
Was halfway to the tomb
He was loyal to his workmates all his life
Gave his pay packet to his wife
Had a few jars on a Saturday night
Yes, that was my old man

My old man was a union man
Fought hard all his days
He understood the system
And was wise to the boss' ways
He says, you want what's yours by right
You have to struggle with all your might
They'll rob you blind if you don't fight
Yes, that was my old man

My old man was a proud old man
At home on the foundry floor
Until the day they laid him off
And showed him to the door
They gave him his card, said, things are slack
We've got a machine can learn the knack
Of doing your job, so don't come back
The end of my old man

My old man he was fifty-one
What was he to do?
A craftsman moulder on the dole
In nineteen thirty-two
He felt he'd given all he could give
So he did what thousands of others did
Abandoned hope and the will to live
They killed him, my old man

My old man he is dead and gone
Now I am your old man
And my advice to you, my son
Is to fight back while you can
Watch out for the man with the silicon chip
Hold on to your job with a good firm grip
'Cause if you don't you'll have had your chips
The same as my old man


Adam Raised a Cain
Bruce Springsteen

In the summer that I was baptized,
My father held me to his side,
As they put me to the water,
He said how on that day I cried.
We were prisoners of love, a love in chains,
He was standin' in the door, I was standin' in the rain,
with the same hot blood burning in our veins,
Adam raised a Cain.

All of the old faces,
Ask you why you're back,
They fit you with position,
And the keys to your daddy's Cadillac,
In the darkness of your room,
Your mother calls you by your true name,
You remember the faces, the places, the names,
You know it's never over, it's relentless as the rain,
Adam raised a Cain.

In the Bible Cain slew Abel
And East of Eden he was cast,
You're born into this life paying,
for the sins of somebody else's past,
Daddy worked his whole life, for nothing but the pain,
Now he walks these empty rooms, looking for something to blame,
You inherit the sins, you inherit the flames,
Adam raised a Cain.

Lost but not forgotten, from the dark heart of a dream,
Adam raised a Cain.


Breakfast Ham and Joe’s Red-Eye Gravy

I made a Maple Syrup, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Glazed Ham this week  ( and had left over ham so I got on the internet to see what I could do with it. I found an old Southern recipe that I remember having grown up. Red-eye gravy is basically throwing a little fresh coffee in the pan to deglaze after frying a piece of ham for breakfast! Sounds strange, and strong and rightly so  - it’s slightly bitter, as coffee is, but it's a classic and there are a few different variations on the theme. After experimenting over the course of several mornings with Alabama and Louisiana recipes, and using my own intuition, I have come up with a tasty red-eye gravy that is actually slightly red. (It's said that President Andrew Jackson asked for some gravy on his ham as red as his servant's eyes who had apparently been up all night drinking.  Another theory is that the addition of coffee helps keep one awake when driving the all-night 'red-eye' shift.)

You might recall that in Songwriting Workshop 23  Recipe Songs I referred to Paul Kelly’s song, How To Make Gravy, where he suggests tomato sauce in gravy for a roast. It didn’t make sense to me there, but it does here. The difference is the coffee! The Goddess is in the Details.
    •    2 tablespoons fat or olive oil, or chicken smaltz ,or a combination (ie. enough fat to cook the ham with some left over)
   •    1 slice of cooked ham, about 1/4-inch thick, with fat if possible (you gots to have yo fat!)
   •    4 tablespoons strong black coffee
    •    2 tablespoons water
    •    1 tablespoon brown or raw sugar
    •    2 tablespoons tomato sauce (or ketchup)
    •    1 tablespoon butter

   •    (optional:) quarter teaspoon red chili flakes

Melt oil/fat in skillet and fry ham until done. Remove ham to a platter and keep warm. Add chili flakes and stir briefly. Add water to the pan. Add coffee and sugar and scrape bits from pan. Reduce a little. Add butter and tomato sauce.  Stir and simmer for a minute, reducing further. Serve red-eye gravy on the ham and some on the side. For a large slice of ham or two slices, double amount of liquid. Nice with a side of fried potatoes, grits, eggs or biscuits - or all of above!

In parts of Louisiana, a cajun-style red-eye gravy is made with a roast beef instead of ham. (Paul Kelly might want to check this one out for a little fine-tuning on his own idea.)

There are a couple of other nice looking recipes floating around: one involving a Coffee-Crusted Sirloin with Red-Eye Gravy and a fried chicken one called Uptown Chicken with Red-Eye Gravy which look intriguing but I want to try them before recommending them.


I awake in the night with an ache in my chest,
A trapezoid nightmare's denied me my rest,
As scene after scene from my childhood quest,
Unfolds to the pounding here in my breast,
As my well-structured reason comes crashing.

I'm not blocking the pain with a needle or drug,
But I'm tracking it just like a light in the fog,
And I'm using its chisel 'till a channel is dug
To the memories behind the pictures that jog
All through my sleepless passion.

To my father's house in a psychic scene,
With his silken touch and his dying dream,
And his sweet kiss and his beating fist,
And the love of my mother somehow caught in between,
All merging in my tossing and turning.

I find my father again and he's broad and he's lean,
And he's tall like an oak as I fall to my knees,
He says, 'Stand up like a man,' once again striking me,
And my mother just watches it so passively,
With her unspoken glance filled with yearnings.

And the anger and deep rage that's burning in my heart,
Will clear now in anguish and tears and depart,
To free me from the labyrinth dark,
On the day that I forgive my father.

I clung to my mother like an image in a mirror,
Unable to comprehend, paralysed by the fear,
Perceiving my father somehow interfered,
In this perfect and infantile reflective sphere,
In which there could be no other.

Maybe my father, yes, didn't expect,
that the son he had longed for and finally would get,
Now loomed as a threat in this triangle net,
Between him and this woman that he had once met,
Who was now his best friend and lover.

Or maybe hatred of women channelled through father's shell,
Using him as an instrument in a much deeper spell,
From centuries before when life was just hell,
And men possessed women to buy and to sell,
As though they were objects or chattels.

But I, in my innocent childish state,
Mistaking for love, the aggression and hate,
'Till it stamped in my mind and like acid it ate,
And it mapped out my promises, my vows and my fate,
That all love must be bound up with battles.

And the anger and deep rage that's burning in my heart,
Will clear now in anguish and tears and depart,
To free me from the labyrinth dark,
On the day that I forgive my father,
In the way that I forgive my father.

Now I'm a father, these scenes are replayed,
With a young man I care for who was never to blame,
For the aggression and patterns that were long ago laid,
By a much older person whom he'd find somewhat tame,
If perchance there was more time we could share.

'Cause though I embrace a non-violent creed,
There's a nightmare of violence still smouldering in me,
I question my motives so scrupulously,
Am I just a coward behind some philosophy,
Or is my love for others sincere?

But the anger and deep rage that's burning in my heart,
Is clearing in anguish and tears to depart,
To free me from the labyrinth dark,
On the day that I forgive my father,
In the way that I forgive my father,
If today, I forgive my father.

~Joe Dolce~
(released on ‘Memoirs of a Mouth Organ’ and the Difficult Women’s ‘Flower’ CD)



Russia & World War 3

 At the Russian military academy, a General gave a lecture on 'Potential Problems and Military Strategy'. At the end of the lecture he asked if there are any questions.

An officer stood up and asked: 'Will there be a third world war? Will Russia take part in it?'

The general answered both questions in the affirmative.
The officer asked: 'Who will be the enemy?'
The General: 'All indications point to China .'
All the audience is shocked, the officer asks: 'General, we are only 150 million, there are 1,500 million Chinese. Can we win at all?'
The General: 'Just think about this. In modern warfare, it is not the quantity that matters but the quality. For example in the middle east we have had a few wars recently where 5 million Jews fought against 150 million Arabs, and Israel was always victorious.'
After a small pause the officer asked, 'Do we have enough Jews???'
(thanks to Peter Marks)