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February 11th, 2005

Humour Me

" February 1st was Groundhog Day and the State of the Union Address. It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication and the other involves a groundhog."
Air America Radio


Hi Folks,

This weekend is the Australian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn, NSW, where I will be appearing with Ash Grunwald, The Backsliders, Dutch Tilders, Fiona Boyes, Jeannie Lewis, Margret RoadKnight, Phil Emmanuel, Ross Wilson & the Urban Legends, and many others. I have a blues harp workshop on Saturday arvo and a solo concert in the evening. Play da blues, Blind Garlic Joseph! I'm taking the overnight train to Goulburn and I can't wait. (Yeah right!) Last time I was on an overnighter, about five years ago, I had a gall bladder attack at 3 am, halfway between Melbourne and Murray Bridge, in the middle of bloody nowhere. There was only one attendant on the train, about 17 years old with pimples, and she wanted to know if I wanted them to stop the train and send for an ambulance. As I was on my way to help spread the ashes of my partner Lin's father over the Murray River, as per his last request, I decided to tough it out for the remaining four hours to Murray Bridge. I learned a lot about pain on that trip. There's a point, right before unconsciousness, where extreme pain actually disappears, and a state of calmness and bliss comes over you. We got into that dark station at 6 am and I went straight over to the emergency ward of the local hospital where the male doctor on duty sent me down for x-rays and advised an operation to remove the offending organ, with a special new keyhole technique. I said, whoaaaa! wait a minute, there Dr Frankenheimer! Put that key back on the muthaf@cking hook! I want a second opinion. I skeedaddled out of there and after I arrived at our accommodation, I rang up the woman radiologist who had actually taken the x-rays (her number was on the x-ray envelope) for HER opinion. She asked me if I had done any fasting lately? I told her yes, I had just done a two week juice fast with a colonic the week before. She said that THAT probably was the reason for my extreme bile reaction and she wouldn't advise any operations just yet - to go home and let nature take it's course. When I got back to Melbourne, I got two more opinions from specialists: one male and one female. The Dr Man 2 suggested the surgery. And the Dr Woman 2 suggested no surgery. Strange how the male doctors were straight off the post to want to slice and dice. And the women doctors tended toward letting time and the body heal itself. Well, I decided to wait it out and I haven't had another episode since then. Of course, I haven't been on an overnight train since then either. I'll let you know what happens over the weekend. Might be singing 'Got Dem 'Ol Gall Bladder Blues Again' way down in Goulburn.

Favourite Reader Comments of the Week

Dear Joe,
I love your newsletter! Thank you. Your new friend,

Hi Joe,
Here's the solution to last week's mind reading puzzle. The process always gives a multiple of 9. If you're interested here's why:

The 2 digit number is 10x  + y
The subtraction is -x -y
The whole process is  10x + y  -x -y = 9x
You'll notice all the multiples of 9 have the same symbol.
It's an old trick. The same technique is used in the "I Can Tell You How Many Matches Are Left In This Matchbox"  trick. A good way to win a bet in a pub. Cheers,
David Carter

Hi Joe,
First of all great work with newsletter, keep it up. I work with Emma Pomfret, the UK journalist who you mentioned in the last edition, and I thought I should bring this to your attention. Not only is she organising a 25th anniversary party for 'Shaddap' but she's really starting to get pretty damn obsessed with you and your career. I found this pic in a frame on her desk. It doesn't look real, as I'm sure you've never met her, but it looks like she has doctored a photograph to make it look as though the two of you have a relationship. She's probably harmless, and until a couple of months ago, has acted completely sane around the office. But I thought I better give you a heads up, from one Melbournian to another. Just in case.
Keep safe.
Dan P

(Note: Dan, your email gave me a fright and I promptly reported it to ASIO. I also have some connections in the UK who will look into it. You've heard of the Black Hand? Well, this is a splinter group called the Black Toe, or SHTCE, (Sicilians Who Tried to Climb Everest) so don't be surprised if Ms Pomfret suddenly shows up at the office one day, sans digitalis majorus.
As for the photo, well, it obviously is doctored. Taken from the internet and a quick hack Photoshop job by some incompetent who shouldn't have given up his day job in lawn care. I tracked down the original untreated photo. Notice the difference when the two are place next to each other:

Thanks for the alert and I suggest steering clear of this young lady around the office. Remember what happened to President Clinton: "I did not have pomfret with that woman." . . . . your gay penpal, Joe)

Your Joey Dolce
(recipe) intro reminded me of my one and only gastronomic encounter with one of the Australian National Crest animals you mentioned: In 1999, whilst shooting some footage destined to become part of a fairly boring, don't-put-your-hand-here, metal stamping training video in Franklin, Kentucky ("it's down thar at da bottom, 'bout a booger-flick fum the state line," as we were so colorfully directed on our first day in town), I and my video crew happened upon an emu ranch in the middle of nowhere, right next to Where-The-Hell-Are-We?. While we didn't have time to sit down and enjoy a full-course of the demure bird with all the fixin's, we did partake of some excellent Emu Jerky. Goes great with a couple of cold beers on a hot, dusty, August afternoon after dodging red-necks running heavy machinery all day. As for Macropus Rufus (or is it Macropus giganteus?), the closest I ever got to one was when an inebriated young dude, wearing his de rigeur Kangol cap, threatened to kick my white-ass as I was making my way out of an Ice-T / Body Count concert some years ago. Anyway, keep up the good work; I'm enjoying it more and more with each issue. Your pal, JJ

Favourite Review of the Week

The Eternal Ultravox vs Shaddap You Face Bunfight

The Dullest Songs Ever: No. 10 Vienna ­ Ultravox
" Famously, this pompous, overblown, Gothic snorefest never made it to number one, beaten as it was by Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'. As many critics fail to point out Dolce (real name James Dolce) wasn't the talentless self-parody that he made out and as well as reaching number one in the UK he also was an accomplished mountaineer, cellist, librettist and international jurist, being responsible for writing the preamble to UN Security Council 338 which calls for "the withdrawal from all occupied territories by the a-state of Israel, pronto." Ultravox front man Midge Ure never lived down this perceived humiliation, despite Vienna reaching a 9 on the Ditchwater Scale of Dullness, and insisted that when he co-wrote 'Do they Know It's Christmas' with Bob Geldof, he insisted that charities had to sign a legal declaration thus: "We (insert name of charity here), without let and hindrance do here forth admit that 'Vienna' was a more worthy and better song than 'Shaddap You Face' which is a fond thing vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture; but rather repugnant to the word of God", and any charity that refused would receive nary a penny in aid.

An interesting sub-note is that during the filming of the video of Vienna, Ure's moustache, having been declared a Crime Against Humanity by Amnesty International, had its own lawyer appointed. The moustache's resulting dirty-protest meant that the video had to be shot in black and white with a lot of 'tache obscuring dry-ice; Amnesty only relenting and agreeing Ure could keep the bumfluff in exchange for a promise to stop tucking his trousers into his boots.

Regardless of the controversy, Vienna is now considered a classic although Shaddap You Face is a far, far better song. Sadly Dolce lost his lustre and is reinventing himself as a drag tribute act covering maudlin, inoffensive pop standards as "The Dago Dido". " Boris The Tonk
(thanks to Frank Dolce)

Why Does Windows Still Suck? Why do PC users put up with so many viruses and worms? Why isn't everyone on a Mac?
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

" . . . Are you using a PC? You probably have spyware. The McAfee site claims a whopping 91 percent of PCs are infected. As every Windows user knows, PCs are ever waging a losing battle with a stunningly vicious array of malware and worms and viruses, all aimed at exploiting one of about ten thousand security flaws and holes in Microsoft Windows. Here, then, is my big obvious question: Why the hell do people put up with this? Why is there not some massive revolt, some huge insurrection against Microsoft? Why is there not a huge contingent of furious users stomping up to Seattle with torches and scythes and crowbars, demanding the Windows Frankenstein monster be sacrificed at the altar of decent functionality and an elegant user interface? . ." (article)


"Wee have also Sound-Houses, wher wee practise and demonstrate all Sounds, and their Generation. Wee have Harmonies which you have not, of Quarter-Sounds and lesser Slides of Sounds. Diverse Instruments of Musick likewise to you unknowne, some sweeter then any you have; Together with Bells and Rings that are dainty and sweet. Wee represent Small Sounds as Great and Deepe; Likewise Great Sounds, Extenuate and Sharpe; Wee make diverse Tremblings and Warblings of Sounds, which in their Originall are Entire. Wee represent and imitate all Articulate Sounds and Letters, and the Voices and Notes of Beasts and Birds. Wee have certaine Helps, which sett to the Eare doe further the Hearing greatly. Wee have also diverse Strange and Artificiall Eccho's, Reflecting the Voice many times, and as it were Tossing it; And some that give back the Voice Lowder then it came, some Shriller, and some Deeper; Yea, some rendring the Voice, Differing in the Letters or Articulate Sound, from that they receyve. Wee have also meanes to convey Sounds in Trunks and Pipes, in strange Lines, and Distances." Francis Bacon's New Atlantis 1624
(thanks to Joe Creighton)

Health Alert

New Disease: Gonorrhea Lectim

The Center for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of sexually transmitted disease. This disease is contracted through dangerous and high risk behavior. The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him"). Many victims have contracted it after having been screwed for the past 4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this especially troublesome disease.Cognitive sequellae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include, but are not limited to:
- Anti-social personality disorder traits
- Delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor
- Chronic mangling of the English language
- Extreme cognitive dissonance
- Inability to incorporate new information
- Pronounced xenophobia
- Inability to accept responsibility for actions
- Exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado
- Uncontrolled facial smirking
- Ignorance of geography and history
- Tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies
- A strong propensity for categorical, all-or nothing behavior
The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years ago in a Texas Bush.
(thanks to jrsimonetta)

Author Now Suspects 'Deep Throat' Was -- Drumroll, Please -- George H.W. Bush
By E&P Staff

The author of the 1993 biography of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, "Deep Truth," today named George H.W. Bush the new chief suspect as famed Watergate source Deep Throat. . . .
" . . .Did Bush have motivation? You bet," Havill wrote. "It was Richard Nixon who urged Bush to leave a safe seat in Congress, hinting there would be a position as assistant Secretary of the Treasury waiting for him if he failed to win a Senate seat held by Ralph Yarborough. When Bush lost, Nixon reneged and asked him to take the U.N. slot instead but teased him by hinting he would be the replacement for Spiro Agnew in 1972. Instead, he was given the thankless task of heading the Republican National Committee in 1973. The elder Bush got his revenge in the end, by standing up at a cabinet meeting in August of 1974 and becoming the first person in Nixon's inner circle to ask the President to resign. . ."

Rumsfeld Debating Whether to Avoid Germany
By Charles Aldinger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday he has not decided whether to attend an international security conference next week in Germany, where he might be subject to arrest on a war-crimes complaint. (article)

Paranoia Grips the U.S. Capital
By Eric Margolis
The Toronto Sun

" . . .Rumsfeld has just managed to create a new, Pentagon spy/special ops organization, blandly named "Strategic Support Branch," (SSB) that will replace or duplicate many of the CIA's tasks. The CIA has been sent to the doghouse. Too many CIA veterans criticized or contradicted Bush's and Cheney's phony claims over Iraq and terrorism. So Bush has imposed a new, yes-man director on the agency, slashed its budgets, purged its senior officers, and downgraded CIA to third-class status. Rumsfeld's new, massively funded SSB will become the Pentagon's CIA, complete with commando units, spies, mercenary forces, intelligence gathering and analysis, and a direct line to the White House. The Pentagon has just effectively taken over the spy business. . " (article)

Humour Me

Shower Techniques of Men and Women

How To Shower Like A Woman

    Take off clothing and place it in sectioned  laundry hamper according to  lights and darks. Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown. If you see husband along the way, cover up any  exposed areas. Look at your womanly physique in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups /leg-lifts, etc.
Get in the shower. Use face  cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide  loofah and pumice stone. Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins. Wash your hair  again to make sure  it's clean. Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced. Wash your face with  crushed apricot facial scrub  for 10 minutes  until red. Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash. Rinse conditioner off  hair. Shave armpits and legs.
Turn off shower.  Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower. Spray mold spots with Tilex. Get out of shower. Dry with  towel the size of a small country. Wrap hair in super absorbent towel. Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head. If you  see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

How To Shower  Like A Man

Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of  the bed and leave them in a pile. Walk naked  to the bathroom. If you see wife along the way, shake wiener at her making the 'woo-woo' sound. Look  at your manly physique in the mirror. Admire the size of your wiener and scratch your butt. Get in the shower. Wash your face. Wash your armpits.  Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off. F@rt and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower. Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area. Wash your butt, leaving those coarse butt hairs stuck on the soap. Wash your hair. Make a Shampoo  Mohawk. Pee. Rinse off and get out of shower.  Partially dry off. Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of tub the whole time. Admire wiener size in mirror again. Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on, return to bedroom with towel around waist. If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake wiener at her and make the 'woo-woo' sound again, throw wet towel on bed.
(thanks to Frank Dolce)


Bless Me, Ultima

"The Norwood superintendent of schools has banned an internationally acclaimed book because, he said, it is too full of profanity for English classes at the 96-student high school. Superintendent Bob Conder said some parents were offended by obscene language and paganistic practices in "Bless Me, Ultima," a 1972 coming-of-age novel by Rudolfo Anaya about a 7-year-old boy who experiences life through the different prisms of his staunch-Catholic mother Luna and Ultima, a curandera who uses herbs and magic to heal . . ."

The ironic thing about this is:
" President Bush awarded Anaya the National Medal of Arts in 2002. First lady Laura Bush has listed "Bless Me, Ultima" as ninth on a list of 12 books that she highly recommends. (article)

Truthout Women

Truthout.org has added a new section which specifically features articles on Women's Issues. (site)

Puzzle O' the Week

Count the "F's" in the following  text:

    (see below) 
Managed it ?
Scroll down only after you have counted them,  okay? 


Do  you think there are three?


How  many ?    3?

Wrong, there are 6 !!-- no joke.
Read  it again.


The reasoning behind it:
The brain cannot process "OF".
Incredible or what ? Go back and look again!!
(thanks to Russell Hannah)

The Twisted Mind of Peter Kaye

" When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realized, God doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me.

My mom was a ventriloquist and she always was throwing her voice. For ten years I thought the dog was telling me to kill my father.

I was doing some decorating, so I got out my step-ladder. I don't get on with my real ladder.

I went to a restaurant that serves 'breakfast at any time'. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.

Well I was bullied at school, called all kinds of different names. But one day I turned to my bullies and said - 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me', and it worked! From there on it was sticks and stones all the way.

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?

The most painful household incident is wearing socks and stepping on an upturned plug.

One of the most awkward things that can happen in a pub is when your pint-to-toilet cycle gets synchronised with a complete stranger.

Every bloke has at some stage while taking a pee, flushed half way through and then raced against the flush.

I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

If a person owns a piece of land do they own it all the way down to the core of the earth?

Is it possible to brush your teeth without wiggling your bum?

Why is it called Alcoholics Anonymous when the first thing you do is stand up and say, 'My name is Bob, and I am an alcoholic'?

Why does mineral water that 'has trickled through mountains for centuries' have a 'use by' date?

Is French kissing in France just called kissing?

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, 'I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here and drink whatever comes out'?

What do people in China call their good plates?

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you but when you take him on a car ride; he sticks his head out of the window?

Everyone had an uncle who tried to steal their nose."
(thanks to Bill Lempke and Annie Fiume)


Sharon, Abbas Agree to Halt Mideast Violence
By Lara Sukhtian
Associated Press

SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas declared Tuesday they would stop all military or violent activity against each other, pledging to break the four-year cycle of violence and get peace talks back on track. With their flags whipping in the wind, Sharon and Abbas met face-to-face at a Mideast summit Tuesday. Afterward, Abbas said: "We have agreed on halting all violent actions against Palestinians and Israelis wherever they are." Sharon made a similar pledge: "Today, in my meeting with chairman Abbas, we agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and, at the same time, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere." (article)

Breaking Ranks to Shun War
By David Zucchino
The Los Angeles Times

His sergeant called him a coward to his face. His chaplain sent him an e-mail saying he was ashamed of him. His commanders had him formally charged with desertion. Sgt. Kevin Benderman, who has served one tour of duty in Iraq, is refusing to serve another. . .
"War is the greatest form of wrong," Benderman wrote in his seven-page conscientious objector application. "I believe that my moral obligation to humanity is to not allow myself to be a part of this destruction." In the six months he spent in combat in Iraq in 2003, Benderman said, he was badly shaken by what he witnessed. He saw a young Iraqi girl with her arm horribly burned and blackened, standing helplessly on a roadside as Benderman's convoy rushed past. He saw dogs feasting on civilian corpses that had been dumped into pits. He saw young U.S. soldiers treat war like a video game, he said, with few qualms about killing or the effects of the invasion on ordinary Iraqis. . .

Benjamin Ferencz

Benjamin Ferencz is an impassioned, heart-filled advocate for human rights and global peace. Now in his 80s, Ferencz devotes all his time and energy to the daunting mission of changing our glorification of war to a reverence for peace. Meet one of the most inspiring leaders of today as he expounds on his experience of collecting evidence of at Nazi concentration camps, the governance of human behavior, the education of young Americans, and his tireless pursuit to establish an international criminal court at the United Nations.

"I served for three years in the United States Army, in every battle from the Battle of the Bulge to the beaches of Normandy, and I tell you there will never be a war without crimes - never - because warfare itself is the biggest crime of all. I am trying to create a peace ethic to replace the war ethic. People have to start thinking in terms of living peacefully and resolving their differences by peaceful means and not by going out and killing a bunch of people that had nothing to so with the decisions."
- Benjamin Ferencz, renowned human rights advocate and former prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials


Humour Me Again

Leroy is a 20 year-old 5th grader. This is Leroy's homework assignment. He must use each word in a sentence.

1. Hotel - I gave my girlfriend crabs, and the ho tell everybody.
2. Dictate - My girlfriend say my dictate good.
3. Catacomb - I saw Don King at da fight the other night. Man, somebody get that catacomb.
4. Foreclose - If I pay alimony today, I got no money foreclose.
5. Rectum - I had two Cadillac's, but my bitch rectum both.
6. Disappointment - My parole officer tol' me if I miss disappointment they gonna send me back to the joint.
7. Penis - I went to the doctors and he handed me a cup and said penis.
8. Israel - Tito try to sell me a Rolex. I say, "man, it look fake." He say, "Bullsh*t, that watch israel".
9. Undermine - There's a fine lookin' ho living in the apartment undermine.
10. Acoustic - When I was little, my uncle bought me acoustic and took me to the poolhall.
11. Iraq - When we got to the poolhall, I tol' my uncle iraq, you break.
12. Stain - My mother-in-law stopped by and I axed her, "Do you plan on stain for dinner?"
13. Fortify - I axed this ho on da street, "how much?" she say "fortify."
14. Income - I just got in bed wif da ho and income my wife.
(thanks to Joe Creighton)


To Make a Tarte that is Courage to a Man or Woman

Take twoo Quinces, and twoo or three Burre rootes, and a potaton, and pare your Potaton, and scrape your rootes and put them into a quart of wine, and let them boyle till they bee tender, & put in an ounce of Dates, and when they be boyled tender, Drawe them through a strainer, wine and all, and then put in the yolkes of eight Egges, and the braynes of three or foure cocke Sparrowes, and straine them into the other, and a little Rose water, and seeth them all with suger, Cinamon and Gynger, and Cloves and mace, and put in a little sweet butter, and set it upon a chafingdish of coles betweene two platters, and so let it boyle till it be something bigge.

Violet Sandwiches

4 slices bread
30-40 wild violet flowers
light cream cheese

After picking the violets, rinse them and remove the stems. Toast the bread. Spread each slice with cream cheese. Then place the flowers face up on the cheese, gently patting the petals in place. You can also make this recipe using pansies from your garden. Because garden pansies are bigger than violets, you'll need fewer flowers. Makes 4 open face sandwiches. Pick only flowers that you can identify and know are safe. Avoid picking them from polluted areas and avoid those sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. Check the plants for bees and other insects.
(from Lin Van Hek's forthcoming novel, El Libro de Plata.)


To my granddaughters who visited the Holocaust
Museum on the day of the burial of Yitzhak Rabin
Now you know the worst
we humans have to know
about ourselves, and I am sorry,
for I know that you will be afraid.
To those of our bodies given
without pity to be burned, I know
there is no answer
but loving one another,
even our enemies, and this is hard.
But remember:
when a man of war becomes a man of peace,
he give a light, divine
though it is also human.
When a man of peace is killed
by a man of war, he gives a light.
You do not have to walk in darkness.
If you will have the courage for love,
you may walk in light.  It will be
the light of those who have suffered
for peace.  It will be
your light.
~ Wendell Berry ~
 (A Timbered Choir)