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Friday February 23rd, 2007

The Wind Cries Mary

If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh


Dear Folks,

Well, this is the fifth year of my free weekly newsletter and thanks to all of you who have hung in there with me for my so-called social-music-recipe-humour pamphleteering. My subscriber list is now well over 100,000, primarily in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia, with a remarkable removal request rate of only 20 percent (that's one out of five) - and for new readers who are reading this for the first time, but who prefer NOT to get the newsletter, just send a simple DELETE back to me and you will be taken off the list instantly. But think about it first - as there is good value for no money, herein. I do understand that many of you have too much unsolicited stuff in your inboxes already so I will respect your wishes if you prefer not to hear from me.

But if, like the large 80 PERCENT, you like what you're getting, then I will endeavour to keep it interesting.

As far as commerical motivation, OK, yes, occasionally, I will mention something like an upcoming show of DIFFICULTWOMEN or CD release (like this week!) - BUT it will be the exception rather than the rule I promise, as my focus is on social issues and entertainment - not selling you shit - and also due diligence in pointing the ugly stick at the Coalition of the Willies: the Bush-Howard-Blair governments. (God knows, who will we make fun of when they're gone? I guess we'll just have to bear that feeling of emptiness until the next Yo-Yo Witchdoctor comes along- like Rush Limbaugh, see down below. There always seems to be a new one, shaking a rattle, emerging from the woodwork, somewhere or other.

So here's the brief commerical. My new album, 'The Wind Cries Mary,' is now available. I'm excited because it's my first studio recording since 2001. (I just keep crankin' them out, folks. Not! ) But I am only making this initial pressing of 1000 copies available through my website and at live performances - no shops at this stage. Please have a listen to excerpts from 'Cocaine Lil' and 'Lynetta' for a taste. I promise, you won't regret it. 'Lynetta' is sung completely in Mauritian French and is a wild cajun-bayou groove, and 'Cocaine Lil' is a electric blues, singing and shouting arrangement of a old traditional 19th century lyric, first collected in Carl Sandburg's 'American Songbook', in 1927:

'Did you ever hear about Cocaine Lil,
She lived in Cocaine town on Cocaine hill,
She had a Cocaine dog and a Cocaine cat,
They fought all night with the Cocaine rat."

Lyric content aside, it has the most dynamic extended (45+ bars!) electric stratocaster solo I have ever recorded. One take. No overdubs. The real deal. I also recommend 'It Was Only a Dream (but No Reason to Awake' which is an evocation of the peace and love of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I was fortunate to find an original '60s mellotron over at Woodstock Studios to create the thematic Beatle-like keyboard part. There is also a strong and unabashed political side to the record with 'Gift (from One Iraqi Child,' and Bruce Watson and Keith McKenry's brilliant 'September 11th'. Even the acoustic version of 'Wind Cries Mary,' sung as a duet with Lin Van Hek, will give some new insights into Hendrix's surreal lyric. The guitar solo is played dead-on, note-for-note, but an octave down, on a big ass resonator steel-body! (Don't try that at home, kids.) Here are the audio samples: site

And the album website, with links for lyrics and if you want to get a copy: site


I was having a little email exchange with my mate, Big Russ, about the well-known case of ' the blind carpenter who picked up his hammer and SAW,' (boom boom) when I suggested there might also have been a 'deaf stockman who mustered his horses and herd.'

Big Russ commented, thusly:
'Joe, that is so bad it derseves (sic) this immortal piece of verse in retaliation:

I opened my fridge and got quite a scare,
For there was a rabbit just sitting there,
As large as life, and with never a care,
This is true, I'm not one for jesting.

I said to the rabbit in tones severe;
"Rabbit, what are you doing here,
Among my carrots and lettuce and beer?
I find your presence quite testing."

I could see he'd been feasting, he wasn't thin,
But he looked at me with a smart-arsed grin,
And said; "This is a Westinghouse that I'm in.
And that's what I'm doing- I'm 'westing'."
Bigruss feb 06 '

Ouchness! Did Big Russ really sign his name to that? And date it? (We really didn't 'derseve' that either.) Ok - so in a complete knee-jerk counter-retaliation, I have decided to sprinkle this week's newsletter with a little more of the same throughout, such as the story of:

'The insensitive tailor who picked up some silk and FELT.' (Good grief!)

If anyone out there knows of any others to add to this strange community of misfits and tradespeople, please let me know.


Hi Joe! 
Greetings from an old Harvey [High School] classmate.   I remember all kinds of funny things you did . . . like when we had a substitute in English who was wanting us to read a poem aloud with feeling . . . and you volunteered.  Only you made up your own words as well as reading with emotion.  You ruined that wonderful poem for that sub and she cried and asked you to leave the class and so you crawled out the window.  The rest of us were all in hysterics.  And once in Mr. Pollack's math class you wandered up to the board and when he asked you what you were doing you rattled on about the tiny spaceship you had just seen land up there.  These were all actually very funny at the time and are the stories I told my children about my high school life!  I decided to write and say hi as one of my daughters is in Australia (Melbourne) right now . . . just for a couple weeks or so and has told us how much she loves it there.  She is convinced that if we all start talking like you all down there, we will all lead happier lives.  Actually she is making a pitch for the entire family to move.  I have told her now that she should be looking up Joe Dolce as well as my childhood pen pal who was from Australia .  I have warned her you are like famous as well as ...well very liberal!   My closest claim to being a liberal was that I dated the head of SDS for a bit in college but truthfully it was because I liked the bellbottoms and outfits and wearing flowers in my hair! It is always fun to get your newsletters and I smile at how you rant on and on . . . sometimes with good points and sometimes a little crazy!  And of course I appreciate the poetry you include . . . if only you could send it to that poor teacher whose literary love you ruined!!! Cheers! DGT

(Note: Dear DGT, it's wild hearing about the antics we got up to as kids - most of these stories I have long forgotten but they tend to come rushing all back when I'm reminded. What was I thinking? Probably the same things I am thinking now! Let me clarify for my aussie readers that Liberal in the US does not mean the same thing as it does in Australia. US Democrats are usually referred to as Liberals. And the US Republicans are the Conservatives. So the closest thing to a US Republican, in Australia, is the Liberal Party (ie John Howard) - (are you getting confused? I am.) and there really is no comparable party equal to the US Democratic party. The closest creature might be a mix between Don Dunstan and Gough Whitlam. (Maybe with some Fraser thrown in to leaven it out.) US Democrats are classically 'known' for their oration skills - nearly all of them are eloquent public speakers - whilst Republicans - say George W Bush and Ronald Reagan - are 'unknown' for their speaking abilities. And about my being 'like famous' over here? It's actually more like 'a legend in my lunchtime' - with lunch break getting shorter all the time! Finally, SDS stands for Students for a Democratic Society: site


Hey Joe!
Thanks for the truth on Brian Wilson and the Theremin (not!) I've always wondered about how he got it to play those notes exactly..... Meanwhile, you gotta go to this website for everything you wanted to know (and more) about theremins...including amazing downloadable software. I look forward to Shaddapa Ya Theremin or variations thereof. Cheers, Justine Stewart

Deer Jow,
Thnak yu for send infamashen! Am ver exited to heer I hav own dossia pickshur on Astralyan Pravda websight. Wen I go to hav a luk I see that it is picksher of Ricky Lee Gorbachev not akshely me but is orl rite she luk a lot betta in fotergraf. Is blond yu no always mor glamrus. We lov hav yu and Lin for Cygnent and Festivl fotografer take a lot of pickshurs two - yu mabey chek at http://picasaweb.google.com/tomgiblinphotos we be put som on festivl websight in nex wik or so. Yur frend from Cygent, Billy Jo Brezshnev

(Note: I know vat you are meaning, Billy Jo, like hippy hippy shake and ungroovy John 'Viktor' Howard is very unattractive man!)

No. 4 ' And then there was . . .'
The mute bicyclist who damaged his wheel and SPOKE. (arghhhhhh!)

Most Interesting News Item of the Week

Japan Makes Beer from Milk

Great news for beer and milk lovers: A liquor shop owner in Japan's largest dairy farming region has stopped crying about local spilled milk and started making beer from it instead.
"We came up with the idea after hearing about surplus milk," says Chitoshi Nakahara, head of the Nakahara liquor shop on the northernmost island of Hokkaido.
Nakahara's new brew, "Bilk" is about 30 per cent milk.
It also contains hops, and the production process does not differ much from that of regular beer, he says.
Bilk looks and tastes like ordinary beer apart from a slightly milky scent, he says.

No. 5 'And then there was . . .'
The one legged hippie whose bank removed the lien on his crutches so he dropped some LSD and tripped. (That was a bit of a stretch . . .)

Rush To Peace? (Rush Limbaugh Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize . . . Arf! Arf!)
Article by William Fisher

"Why should Blacks be heard? They're 12% of the population. Who the hell cares?"
Rush Limbaugh, On African Americans

"I think this reason why girls don't do well on multiple choice tests goes all the way back to the Bible, all the way back to Genesis, Adam and Eve. God said, 'All right, Eve, multiple choice or multiple orgasms, what's it going to be?' We all know what was chosen."     Rush Limbaugh, On Choice

These days, trying to identify the most outrageous news story of the month presents an embarrassment of riches. Just think of what we have to choose from. The options range all the way from the U.S. Senate debating about whether to have a debate on President Bush's "surge" of troops in Iraq, to President Bush telling us we're making "slow progress" in that death-ravaged country, to Vice President Cheney proclaiming that the administration has achieved "enormous successes" there, to the neocon renaissance ginning up a war with Iran. But then came an event so bizarre that it easily broke through the fog of delusion to rise right to the top of the list. That event was the nomination of Rush Limbaugh for the Nobel Peace Prize. (article)

(Note: Other memorable Rush Limberger cheesy quotes:

"The NAACP should have a riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."    Rush Limbaugh, On the NAACP

"Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society."     Rush Limbaugh, On Feminism

"One of the things I want to do before I die is conduct the Homeless Olympics . . .the 10-meter shopping cart relay, the dumpster dig, and the hop, skip, and trip."     Rush Limbaugh, On Homelessness

This guy should be a shoe-in for the peace prize. Especially if he's up against Bush.


No. 6 'And then there was . . .'
The spendthrift fisherman whose finances floundered.
(come on, help me, people, I'm dyin' up here!)




(They say the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree but I think ol' Hank Williams Senior's tree must have been hanging off the edge of a cliff. His grandson's chucked a Uie. . . .)


Hank Williams III and Assjack
('The Dick in Dixie') site


No. 7 'And then there was . . .'
The New Zealand fisherwoman with blocked sinuses who caught some whitebait and SMELT.


Hybrids Could Turn Big US Truck Fleets Green
by Frank Greve

WASHINGTON - The next big thing in hybrid vehicles could be a garbage truck.
A combination of fuel cost pressure, pollution problems and promising technology is drawing virtually all the U.S. trucking industry's leading makers and fleet owners to hybrid trucks. The trucks, which convert braking energy into supplementary power, aren't in mass production yet, but that's almost entirely a pricing issue.
In the case of hybrid garbage trucks, New York, Chicago, Houston and other big cities want them. Truck makers Peterbilt and Oshkosh are keen to build them. And the Environmental Protection Agency is promoting them as ideal platforms for hybrid technologies that work best on vehicles that stop and go a lot.
Garbage trucks are without peer in that department, according to Matt Stewart, the overseer of Chicago's fleet of 500. "You pull up, you idle, you stop, you load. You pull up and do it all over again." It adds up to 300 to 1,200 stops a day per vehicle. For a conventional diesel, 4 miles a gallon is decent mileage.
Most other hybrid trucks in the prototype and field-test stages do similar stop-and-go work. Delivery vans, for example, and shuttle buses are approaching production, according to Bill Van Amburg, the senior vice president of WestStart-CALSTART. The nonprofit group, based in Pasadena, Calif., brings together hybrid truck makers and potential customers. (article)

No. 8 'And then there was . . .'
The Kabuki actress who said NOH on the first date.
(that one was bloody genius!)


What Makes You So Strong, Black Man?
(Text of speech by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago, guest preacher at the Allen Temple Baptist Church, in Oakland, Calif.)

"How is it that after 200 years of slavery, in which skin color was the determining factor of your servitude and social status, you could still produce a Frederick Douglass, a Booker T. Washington and a W.E.B. DuBois? What makes you so strong, black man?

How is it that after losing millions of souls crossing the Atlantic on slave ships, losing your name, language and cultural identity, you could still produce a Benjamin Banneker, a Louis Armstrong, a Duke Ellington, a Paul Robeson and a Jackie Robinson? What makes you so strong, black man?

How is it that after two centuries of being someone else's property and another century of Jim Crow laws, lynchings and daily insults, you could still produce a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, a Malcolm X, a Howard Thurman and a labor leader like A. Philip Randolph? What makes you so strong, black man?

How is it that even though for years they had a law making it illegal to teach blacks how to read, you could still produce a Langston Hughes, a Ralph Ellison, a Richard Wright and a James Baldwin? What makes you so strong?

How is it that after having your intelligence and moral worth devalued and degraded by some of the leading intellectuals of modern scholarship, you could still produce a noted pediatric surgeon like Ben Carson, a mathematician like Bob Moses and an inventor like Lewis Latimer?

How is it that after being considered inferior by leaders of Western civilization, including the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, you could still produce a Joe Louis, a Muhammed Ali, a Hank Aaron, a Michael Jordan and a Jesse Owens, who told Hitler to stick it in his ear by winning four gold medals in Germany?

And what makes you so strong, black woman? How is it that after 300 years of being used -- used as a toy for the slave master, as a punching bag by your own men, you could still produce a Harriet Tubman, a Sojourner Truth, a Fannie Lou Hamer, a Rosa Parks and early 20th-century millionaire Madame C.J. Walker? What makes you so strong, black woman?

How is it that after being inculcated with the idea that your skin color is ugly, your hair nappy, your lips too big and your hips too wide, that the less you look like a blonde beauty, the worse off you are, you could still produce a Josephine Baker, an Angela Bassett, a Jane Kennedy and a Pam Grier? What makes you so strong?

How is it that after being walked on and walked out on, after being portrayed as a sexless Aunt Jemima and an oversexed temptress, you could still produce a Toni Morrison, a Zora Neale Hurston, a Maya Angelou and an Oprah Winfrey?

How is it that after men, even your own men, told you were good only for housekeeping and making babies, you could still produce an educator like Mary McLeod Bethune? What makes you so strong, black woman?

How is it that after being cast as lazy welfare queens, you could still produce a sculptor like Meta Warrick Fuller and a Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, whose research led to treating cancer patients with chemotherapy and who later became the first black woman to be named associate dean of a medical school in America?

What is the source of this incredible human strength and resilience that turns victims into victors?

Thank you, black America, for the many marvelous things you have contributed to this great nation, and for reminding us of the paradoxical power of the powerless."
(thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)



Cardoon Fritto
(Fried Cardoon)


This is something that my grandmother and mother made all the time at home when I was growing up and didn't realize how unusual it was until I got to Australia and couldn't find it. It is the Italian soul food equivalent to collar greens. Around my hometown of Painesville, Ohio, cardoons grew wild, like weeds, along the edges of derelict buildings, and in the remotest places. I fondly remember the trips with the aunts and grandmas, their tea towels wrapped around their waists, kitchen knives in hand, to hunt out the elusive young dandelions and cardoons. A cardoon resembles celery in appearance but has a taste like the heart of an artichoke.

1 bunch cardoon
2-3 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbs. milk

Remove leaves and strings from cardoon stalks. Cut into 3 inches pieces. In a large pot, boil the cardoon until tender. Add tsp. salt. Drain in colander. In a bowl beat eggs, milk and a pinch of salt. In another bowl put the bread crumbs. Dip cardoon in egg and bread crumbs. In a frying pan add oil and heat. Put breaded cardoon in pan and fry till golden. Remove and drain on paper towels.





Time is the shop
Where everyone works hard
To build enough love
To break the
Wise men keep talking about
Wanting to meet Her.
Women sometimes pronounce the word God
A little differently:
They can use more feeling and skill
With the heart-lute.
All the world's movements,
Apparent chaos, and suffering I now know happen
In the Splendid Unison:
Our tambourines are striking
The same thigh.
Hafiz stands
At a juncture in this poem.
There are a thousand new wheels I could craft
On a wagon
And place you in -
Lead you to a glimpse of the culture
And seasons in another dimension.
Yet again God
Will have to drop you back at the shop
Where you still have work
~ Hafiz ~
 (The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)










No. 9 'And then there was . . .'
The French guillotinist who was fond of getting head. (chop chop!)