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Friday February 27th, 2009

Red Ants, Tics and Midges

 "Maturity includes the recognition that no one
    is going to see anything in us that we don't see in ourselves.
    Stop waiting for a producer.  Produce yourself."
          Marianne Williamson

Hi folks,

The weather is mucho hot again this week and again the bushfire alert is high. Four hundred alone have flared up since Monday with four major ones just on the outskirts of Melbourne.  Wednesday was a cool and wet day but today – predicted to be the hottest of the week - will be especially dangerous. Bushfires - awful as they are -  along with convicts, meat pies, kangaroos and aussie rules football form an essential part of the makeup that makes Australia Australia.  Here poet Henry Kendall briefly describes ‘the flaming terror’ back in the 1800s:

' . . And therefore, through the fiercer summer months,
While all the swamps were rotten - while the flats
Were baked and broken; when the clayey rifts
Yawned wide, half-choked with drifted herbage past,
Spontaneous flames would burst from thence, and race
Across the prairies all day long.

                                      At night,
The winds were up, and then with fourfold speed,
A harsh gigantic growth of smoke and fire
Would roar along the bottoms, in the wake
Of fainting flocks of parrots, wallaroos,
And 'wildered wild things, scattering right and left,
For safety vague, throughout the general gloom.

Anon, the nearer hill-side growing trees
Would take the surges; thus, from bough to bough,
Was borne the flaming terror! Bole and spire,
Rank after rank, now pillared, ringed, and rolled
In blinding blaze, stood out against the dead
Down-smothered dark, for fifty leagues away.

For fifty leagues! and when the winds were strong,
For fifty more! . . '

 - from 'A Death in the Bush', Henry Kendall (1839-1882)

Open Letter from Peter Marshall, National Secretary of the United
Firefighters Union of Australia

DEAR Mr Rudd and Mr Brumby,
On behalf of more than 13,000 firefighters and support staff in Australia, I write this open letter to request a review of Australia’s fire risk and our readiness to meet future catastrophic events.
The fires in Victoria have ripped through towns and suburbs, farms and forests, destroying lives and livelihoods. Ashen remains are the sorrowful legacy of the devastation they caused. Never before in Australian history have we been confronted with such destruction at the hands of fire.
Firefighters work in conditions that most of the public try to flee. We often put our lives on the line. We understand that our job is dangerous by its very nature.

 However, we are gravely concerned that current federal and state government policies seem destined to ensure a repeat of the recent tragic events.
Consider the devastation in Victoria. Research by the CSIRO, Climate Institute and the Bushfire Council found that a “low global warming scenario” will see catastrophic fire events happen in parts of regional Victoria every five to seven years by 2020, and every three to four years by 2050, with up to 50 per cent more extreme danger fire days. However, under a “high global warming scenario”, catastrophic events are predicted to occur every year in Mildura, and firefighters have been warned to expect up to a 230 per cent increase in extreme danger fire days in Bendigo.  And in Canberra, the site of devastating fires in 2003, we are being asked to prepare for a massive increase of up to 221 per cent in extreme fire days by 2050, with catastrophic events predicted as often as every eight years. Given the Federal Government’s dismal greenhouse gas emissions cut of 5 per cent, the science suggests we are well on the way to guaranteeing that somewhere in the country there will be an almost annual repeat of the recent disaster and more frequent extreme weather events. (full letter)
(thanks to Michael Leone)

If you have been moved by the tremendous efforts of the fire fighters, support staff and other emergency workers, or would just like to say thank you, here is your chance. Click on the link below and post a message or photo.
All messages will be forwarded on.

It was good to hear that author Harry Nicolaides was finally released from Thai prison and is now back in Australia. Part of the objective of the Melbourne Pen Writer’s Benefit we held last week was to draw more attention to this issue.
Pardoned Author Back After Thai Ordeal
An emotional Harry Nicolaides has arrived home after spending almost six months in a Thai prison for criticising Thailand's royal family in a novel he wrote.
The Australian author said he was "bewildered and dazed, nauseous" shortly after touching down in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon. (article)

To those in the Eltham and Montsalvat area, please help this show by downloading our small poster pic (160 K):
or larger .pdf (2.7 Mb):

Please send a few of  them around to your friends who you think might like to know about this concert.


Dearest Joe.....
I'm laughing my ASS OFF reading the chili piece!
Have you recovered???
LOLOLOLO! LOLOLO! Har harharhar.....
I hope you're OK!
Xox wildflower
I can barely type!!!

Hi Joe,
Mary Oliver's "Twelve Moons" is a favorite of mine.  I enjoy reading your newsletter!  Thanks for putting it together. Jenny

here is a quote well i thought funny enough it comes from my witty wife Mayuko who is a essayist and freelance writer.
it was when she was learning english:
"If you say dog is man’s best friend then why do you call each other sons of bitches when you are angry?"  Mayuko’s husband

hi joe,
the billboard #1 lists are fascinating!  my song is "how high the moon".  cool! one can see the history of one's relationship with pop music so clearly by reading the list.
in the fifties and 60's, i can sing every song on the list (or hum the instrumentals).  by the '70's i know all the songs, but don't like most of them, and have clearly abandoned CHR radio as a listening source.  by the 80's it's even less, and for the next almost 20 years, the only song i've ever heard of is "lady marmalade", which i'm guessing is a cover of the original. and yet, i play music for a living, and continue to collect and enjoy new music as much as ever.  my house and my itunes library are just full of music of all genres from all eras. i wonder how it is for other people?  i would be very curious to hear that. Cheers, joan, Canada

"Turkish uses the Roman alphabet, and Arabic is not an official language — nor is  it taught in schools as a foreign language. Well, at least not in Izmir. I'm sure the Muslim folks in Eastern Turkey esp. study it...some may even say they do so religiously. Ah, I crack me up." Tilda (California.)

(Note: This was in reply to my sending Tilda a copy of my poem, ‘Om el Dunia’, which was recently inscribed into Arabic by Iraqi playwright, Majid Shokor.)

What I’m Reading This Week
by Robert Harris. Brilliant Roman Empire-era thriller, leading to the catastrophe of Pompeii, but told from the point of view of a Roman aqueduct engineer.

The Lonely Crossing, poetry by Louisa Lawson, Henry’s mum.

The Metamorphoses of Ovid.

Fire, by Sebastian Junger. Author of The Perfect Storm.  Descriptions of some of the worst wildfires (American bushfires) in US history.  Junger traveled with the crews and jumpers. The most detailed inside-out look at firestorms imaginable, including equipment, burn-off techniques, the science of fire control, tragedy and incredible heroism, from the points of view of the firefighters.

Spicebox of the Earth,
second book of poetry by Leonard Cohen, published in 1961,when he was 27. He would not begin recording his own music until 1967.

Collected Poems of Irving Layton. Canadian poet and Leonard Cohen’s writing teacher in Montreal.  (Born: Israel Pincu Lazarovitch.) He published his first book of poetry in the year I was born, 1947. Some consider Layton, Cohen's literary mentor.  Like Cohen, and many other male writers of that generation, he had a fatal attraction to much younger women, only in Layton’s case, he took it to the extreme, (also typical of his poetry) -  his fifth wife Annette Pottier was 48 years younger than he was!  I ordered this volume a couple of weeks ago from an online bookseller in Queensland and was surprised to find upon receiving it that it was autographed and personally inscribed by Layton, to his wife’s mother, in the following way: ‘For Sadie, this book contains the better part of me; the other part you know . . . Irving.’  Layton died in 2006. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize but beat out by Marquez.  A sample of one of his poems:

Tribal Tic

 I know some poets
so envious of my fame

that at the publication
of each new book
of mine

they hopefully
count the lines
of my poems

if they are as brief
as this one

~ Irving Layton ~

What I’m Watching This Week
Documentary on Dalton Trumbo, an American screenwriter and novelist, (Exodus, Spartacus, Roman Holiday) and one of the Hollywood Ten blacklisted during the McCarthy  communist witchhunts. Very inspiring story of someone who stood firm for his principles during one of the USAs periodic paranoia attacks.

Firestorm, with Scott Glen. Thriller about US smokejumpers – firefighters who parachute right into bushfires! Pretty close to home. Good one-two punch with the book, Fire, by Sebastian Junger.

Mongol, Directed by Sergei Bodro. Story of Ghengis Khan.

What I’m Listening to This Week
Nessun Dorma.
Puccini a la Pavrotti.

Government Contracts and the White House Fence

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House in
DC: One is from New York , another is from Tennessee and the third, is from
Florida .

All three go with a White House official to examine the fence.

The Florida contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring,
then works some figures with a pencil.
"Well," he says, "I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials,
$400 for my crew and $100 profit for me."

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says,
"I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100
profit for me."

The New York contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the
White House official and whispers, "$2,700."

The official, incredulous, says,
"You didn't even measure like the other guys!  
How did you come up with such a high figure?"

The New York contractor whispers back,
"$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence."

"Done!" replies the government official.
And that, my friends, is how government contracting works
(thanks to Stevanne, Berkely, CA.)

Six Bizarre Mentions of  ‘Shaddap You Face’ This Week

“Shut-Up-a-Gervais was a proposed feature for the Ricky Gervais Xfm radio shows during Season 2. The title was based on the famous Joe Dolce song, Shaddap You Face. Ricky said the feature/sitcom was based around him playing an Italian waiter.”

2. “I laughed my way through Joe Dolce - Shaddup You Face, when I saw it on here this morning....” Anzac, Forum Member, STORMFRONT, WHITE PRIDE, Location: Beautiful England - (and we're taking her back, along with the rest of Great Britain and every other White Nation in this world.)
(Note: Mein gott! It guess it takes all types to make a Neo-Nutzi Movement. Is it ‘cos I is black?)

3. Shaddap You Face’ : Indeed – surely the only song ever to be covered by both KRS-One and Max Bygraves!”  Davey

4. “A mate of mine used to do an impression of Bryan Ferry singing Shaddap You Face. It was hysterical, but you had to be there.”  London Lee

5.  TIME OUT INTERVIEW WITH MIDGE URE: Dolce Travesty Rankles a Midge
12 February 2009
“ . . . In a way it's a shame that the main thing they [Ultravox] are fixed in people's memories for is one of those weird aberrations that occasionally happen in the wonderful world of pop – when the title track of their Vienna album looked set to hit the top spot but was held off for several weeks by Joe Dolce's dreadful novelty record, Shaddup You Face. The ironic thing is that it is now more famous because it didn't reach number one than it would have been if it had done so – possibly the biggest number two record of all time.
"Watch what you're saying when you refer to it as a big number two,'' he laughs. You can imagine that he would love to say (as the song has it) "it means nothing to me,'' but although he has been at number one both before and since . . . the rest of Ultravox haven't had that pleasure, so you feel that it still rankles slightly.
"It was one of those occasions when the public's taste just decided to defy logic," he says. "I've never met Joe Dolce and don't intend to. But nowadays Vienna regularly appears in polls of the hundred greatest singles ever and I'm still around. Where is he now?"

(Note: Oooh! What a beee-itch! I’m almost tempted to ring up Heather Mills McCartney and ask her to go over there and whoop him upside the head with her wooden leg. Why is it every five years or so,  Ure spits the dummy about Shaddap You Face?  He doesn’t intend to meet me?  That makes me sad. I mean how many times do you get a chance to spend quality time with someone that they named a small Scottish Highland insect after? There is even a Midge forecast website, sponsored by the insect repellent, active Saltidin: Over the years, I have tried to live graciously with the periodic niggling, trying various Midge control methods such as Midge repellant cream, which acts as a barrier minimizing bites, and a Midge Magnet – even a Midge Eater,  ‘. . . releasing gases to attract the female Midge - the one that bites. The main gas is carbon dioxide - this is also what we produce when we breath out, so the biting Midge recognises this as a signal that a potential meal is available. The Midge is drawn to this scent, whereupon it is sucked in and "bagged”. . .’
  Here’s a YouTube excerpt from 'Filthy Rich & Catflap', written by Ben Elton, where Ade Edmondson and Rik Mayall apply some of these techniques at Ure’s house.

6. “ I remember being very annoyed at the singalong section [of Shaddap You Face], because the audience kept shouting “hey!” at the end of every line, when Joe had very specifically told them that they should shout “hey!” at the end of the first line, then he would “singa the rest” - at which point they could all sing “shaddap-a you face.” They JUST DIDN’T LISTEN. I can feel myself getting slightly cross when I think about it now, actually.” Taylor

(Note: Thanks, Taylor, for pointing out that important but overlooked fact. It always bothered me, too, that people were prevented from appreciating the depth of the lyrics by the drunken yobbos who sang in the wrong places.  I originally wrote 178 verses and laboured for almost 18 years before editing it down to the two verses that finally made it into the final version. Some of the themes I explored in the omitted verses were global warming, Japanese whale hunting, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the infiltration of the Russian mafia into the production of African baby formula and the real people behind the assassination of JF Kennedy. The Amish. Unfortunately the only copy of the completed unedited master tape was left accidentally near the kitchen sink and erased by my collection of Ultravox fridge magnets.)

Cruel Facebook Hoax Ends Marriage
A married man who drove more than 600km to see a woman he met on Facebook has been the victim of a hoax by rival football supporters.
Manchester United fan, Stuart Slann, spent nine hours in his car travelling to meet "Emma", who he had been sharing suggestive emails with.
Believing he was about to enjoy their first night of romance together, Stuart, 39, finally arrived at a remote Scottish farm where he waited for the encounter.
After three hours sitting in his car with "Emma" nowhere in sight, a phone call soon revealed the cruel hoax.
He was surprised to hear the voice of a man with a Liverpool accent.
"Hello Stuart, do you remember us?," they asked.
"It's them Scouse lads who threw you in the pool, you've been framed."
Last year he fell out with the two Liverpool supporters who were staying in the same holiday hotel in Mexico .
They argued about whose football team was better: Manchester United or Liverpool.
To add to the elaborate hoax the men put a recorded phone conversation between them and Stuart on the internet.
It resulted in Stuart's wife Louise finding out about his potential fling on Facebook and she later left him.

(Note: You gotta love the British! They know how to do these kind of things properly.)


Q: What are banks for?
A: To make money.
Q: For the customers?
A: For the banks.
Q: Why doesn't bank advertising mention this?
A: It would not be in good taste, but it is mentioned by implication in references to reserves of £249,000,000,000 or thereabouts. That is the money they have made.
Q: Out of the customers?
A: I suppose so.
Q: They also mention Assets of £500,000,000,000 or thereabouts. Have they made that too?
A: Not exactly. That is the money they use to make money.
Q: I see. And they keep it in a safe somewhere?
A: Not at all. They lend it to customers.
Q: Then they haven't got it?
A: No.
Q: Then how is it Assets?
A: They maintain that it would be if they got it back.
Q: But they must have some money in a safe somewhere?
A: Yes, usually £500,000,000,000 or thereabouts. This is called Liabilities.
Q: But if they've got it, how can they be liable for it?
A: Because it isn't theirs.
Q: Then why do they have it?
A: It has been lent to them by customers.
Q: You mean customers lend banks money?
A: In effect. They put money into their accounts, so it is really lent to the banks.
Q: And what do the banks do with it?
A: Lend it to other customers.
Q: But you said that money they lent to other people was Assets?
A: Yes.
Q: Then Assets and Liabilities must be the same thing?
A: You can't really say that.
Q: But you've just said it! If I put £100 into my account the bank is liable to have to pay it back, so it's Liabilities, but they go and lend it to someone else and he is liable to have to pay it back, so it’s Assets. It's the same £100 isn't it?
A: Yes, but.... that £100 the bank lent gets paid into a bank account somewhere, within the banking system so it is still there.
Q: ????
A: Well think about it, if the banks pay out by lending to someone, the money just does not disappear does it? So the money lent ends up back in some bank account somewhere.
A: So that bank can lend it to someone else.
Q: So my original £100 has now been lent out twice.
A: More or less.
Q: More or less ????? Then it cancels out. It means, doesn't it, that banks haven't really any money at all?
A: Theoretically......
Q: Never mind theoretically! And how many times can they keep doing that??? And if they haven't any money, where do they get their Reserves of £249,000,000,000 or thereabouts??
A: I told you. That is the money they have made.
Q: How?
A: Well, when they lend your £100 to someone they charge him interest.
Q: How much?
A: It depends on the Bank Rate. Say five and a-half percent. That’s their profit.
Q: Why isn't it my profit? Isn't it my money?
A: It's the theory of banking practice that.........
Q: When I lend them my £100 why don't I charge them interest?
A: You do.
Q: You don't say. How much?
A: It depends on the Bank Rate. Say a half percent.
Q: Grasping of me, rather?
A: But that's only if you're not going to draw the money out again.
Q: But of course I'm going to draw the money out again! If I hadn’t wanted to draw it out again I could have buried it in the garden!
A: They wouldn't like you to draw it out again.
Q: Why not? If I keep it there you say it's a Liability. Wouldn't they be glad if I reduced their Liabilities by removing it?
A: No. Because if you remove it they can't lend it to anyone else.
Q: But if I wanted to remove it they'd have to let me?
A: Certainly.
Q: But suppose they've already lent it to another customer?
A: Then they'll let you have some other customer’s money.
Q: But suppose he wants his too....and they've already let me have it?
A: You're being purposely obtuse.
Q: I think I'm being acute. What if everyone wanted their money all at once?
A: It's the theory of banking practice that they never would.
Q: So what banks bank on, is not having to meet their commitments?
(thanks to Derek Jones via Joe Stead via Dai Woosnam. Whew! This is like a relay race.)


Product Design 5
by Joe Dolce

With Product Design 5, the latest innovations and current design trends are presented in one of the most comprehensive projects to date. Over 375 new selections will make the book the foundation for a bridge that will take us into the next century.


Red Ant Stir Fry

Red ants come from Thailand. Once a year the female ants fly out of their holes to breed. At this time whole Thai families sit by the holes to catch them.

1 tablespoon oil
300g female giant red ants (midges may be substituted but it won’t be the same.)
1 onion, chopped

Heat the oil in a pan, then stir-fry the ants and the onion together until the onion is well browned. As the ants are cooked they become dry and crisp, due to their high fat content. They taste like bacon. Serve with a spiced vegetable such as potatoes or rice with chilli powder.

Just a moment ago
My pen was poised
Over the paper
Unsure how to start
This poem.
But now as you can see
      It is coming along fine.
~ Josephus Dolce ~



Newsletter Archive  and  Recipe Index

NEWS!  Joe Dolce new CD, 'The Wind Cries Mary,' chosen as ALBUM OF THE YEAR by 97.1 FM, 3MDR Radio, Melbourne!

'. . .[the] musicianship and song writing are better than ever. One of his songs, about forgiving his father's violence, has lyrics that an eminent poet would be proud to have written. Dolce's setting of another poet's work, called MILES' DELIGHT is a show-stopping highlight!' Chris Boyd, The Herald-Sun.

“ In Joe’s case we find that he never abandoned his music and his current work poses the question whether his musical legacy has left him completely misunderstood. .” George Negus Tonight

Listen to some excerpts via the link below:
Joe Dolce Electronic Press Kit


Drunk Driver

A N.C. state trooper pulled a car over on I-95 about 2 miles South of Smithfield.
When the trooper asked the driver why he was speeding, the driver said
he was a magician and juggler and was on his way to Ft. Bragg to do a
show at the Shrine Circus. He didn't want to be late.

The trooper told the driver he was fascinated by juggling and asked if
the driver would do a little juggling for him then he wouldn't give him
a ticket. He told the trooper he had sent his equipment ahead and didn't
have anything to juggle.
The trooper said he had some flares in the trunk and asked if he could
juggle them. The juggler said he could, so the trooper got 5 flares, lit them and
handed them to him.

While the man was juggling, a car pulled in behind the patrol car.
A drunken good old boy from Mobile County got out, watched the
performance, then went over to the patrol car, opened the rear door and
got in. The trooper observed him and went over to the patrol car, opened the
door asking the drunk what he thought he was doing.
The drunk replied, 'You might as well take my ass to jail, cause there
ain't no way I can pass that test.'
(thanks to Bill Lempke)