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Friday January 11th, 2008



" I used to be a dyslexic-agnostic-insomniac
but I got tired of lying awake in bed at night
wondering if there really was a dog."

Hi folks,

There will be a break in the newsletters for the next few weeks. After the Illawarra Folk Festival on Jan 17-20, DIFFICULT WOMEN has an extremely rare appearance in Sydney, on Wed Jan 23, in Bondi (See my website for the details) and then I take a long overdue trip to the bush to recharge the solar battery.

I just got my overseas absentee ballot for voting in the US Democratic Primaries. (Being a dual national, I vote in both Australia and US elections.) Have a look at who I have to choose amongst: Dennis Kucinich. Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama. Amongst others. Talk about a hard choice. I love them all. Why can't they just form one mighty Triumvirate government together? They would all be a step forward for different reasons. Firstly, they are all qualified and any one of them is such a breath of fresh air compared to eight years of 'L'Odeur de Bush'. And each of them would pioneer a long overdue direction in US politics: Clinton as the first woman president, Obama as the first Black president, and Kucinich as the first tofu-eating, no shoe wearing peace love and happiness president (not to mention his six-foot Amazon redhead of a wife, Elizabeth! What a doll. Dennis is elf-short with big ears and reminds me of a hobbit. Together they're like a scene out of Lord of the Rings. But I love them both.) I guess I'm going to have to take another hard look at the issues to choose only one of these fine candidates. For those of you, like me, who need to do more homework on the real differences between the US Democrats - and have a gander at, now that Bush is ineligible, who the Reptilicans will be threatening, and their positions, here is a site where you can take a QUIZ on the issues, and then match your views against the candidates' stated positions. Pretty cool: (site)


Further Adventures in the Face Trade

You may recall that I directed you to actor SAMUEL L. JACKSON doing his take on my song 'Shaddap You Face' on UK television recently: (uTube)

Well, the Sunday Herald published an interview with BORAT (Sasha Baron Cohen) this week. More Twilight Zone for yours truly. Check this out:


Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen has revealed where he found the inspiration for his Italian accent in Tim Burton's movie version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - in Australia.

The 36-year old British actor and comedian, who plays Senor Pirelli opposite Johnny Depp in the title role of the Stephen Sondheim musical, says the accent comes from the Joe Dolce song, Shaddap You Face.

"I knew I needed a ridiculous Italian accent, so I'd walk on set every day singing 'Whatsa matter you? Gotta no respect,'" Baron Cohen says.

"The accent of Senor Pirelli comes from Joe Dolce, so I learned my Italian accent from an Australian!"

So there, all you fifteen-minutes-of-fame Andy Warhol parrot fuckwits - it has now been TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS and people are still being influenced by this so-called One Hit Wonder. Don't underestimate the One Hit concept. One hit of an asteroid could end life as we know it.

But folks, the really amusing thing is this: Sacha Baron Cohen is Jewish. I learned my 'ridiculous' Italian accent - which to me is pure grandmother music - partly from remembering around-the-house talk, naturally, but mostly from the incomparable influence that watching Marx Brothers films had on me as a child, especially Chico Marx.

The full circle: The Marx Brothers were also Jewish! Who kneeeeeeeeeeew?

What-a go around-a, come-a round, eh?


Here's a short .wav audio excerpt from Chico Marx, the Maestro of the ridiculous Italian Accent. Behold ye imitators and despair:


Hello friend,
Do you have any catalog-info and magazines about poultry, birds, pigeons can you send me some of them for free? i wish you a happy new jear (sic) and good luck for 2008. manfred h., hergisdorf, germany.

(Note: Herr Manfred, I got a pamphlet on Tasmanian Turbo Chooks that you're welcome to. About pigeons, I know nutting . . . nuttttttttttting! Happy New Jear to you, mein gifellte flugelhorn!)

To all my friends who sent me best wishes in 2007 or promises of good luck if I forwarded something, IT DID NOT WORK!
For 2008, please just send either money, chocolate, petrol vouchers or red wine. Thank you! Bill Lempke

Dear Joe,
RE: Samuel L. Jackson Video, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Chico Marx
great vid! That's hilarious. As a kid, I dressed up as Groucho for Halloween one year... it was such a hit, I dressed up as Harpo the following year... I figured I was on such a roll that I dressed up as Chico year 3. for some reason nobody knew who I was . . . Johnny Molson, The Molson and Lee Show , Springfield. Illinois, USA (site)


I have been invited to be the Artistic Director of the Brave New Works 15 Festival in Denmark, Western Australia, in March. The theme of BNW 15 is WATER. I have been finding it quite enlightening to become more conscious of personal water usage and how to conserve and creatively make better use of it. Consciousness is the first step to change. Here are some more suggestions and practical tips:

1. Work out how many litres of water you personally use for everyday repetitive activities.

For instance, our Concorde Dual-flush toilet uses 4.5 litres, for a full flush, and 3 litres per half flush. Old style single flush toilets could use up to 12 litres per flush. I usually pee about 4 times a day (unless I'm drinking!) Normally, I would use the half-flush which is 12 litres of water. Now I whiz on the lemon tree in the garden which saves approx 12 litres a day and 360 litres a month. Of course, I can't always stick to this plan but I work at it. Small steps but they add up.

2. How many litres are in a bucket? We have two types of buckets: the small blue bucket holds 9 litres, the larger black one holds 12 litres. Use an old milk carton to measure.

3. A normal shower uses approx 120 litres of water per 8 minute shower. A water-efficienct showerhead uses 40 per cent less, or about 72 litres per shower.
When I shower, I stand in a wide plastic basin which I place on the floor under the shower. My quick cooling off shower uses approx 1 bucket (9 litres) and a longer 'get clean' one uses 2 buckets (24 litres). That's it. That's all you need normally. This water goes into buckets and directly onto the garden on our restricted water days.

4. About once a week, take a good scrubbing hot bath with plenty of soap and shampoo. Nothing wrong with that now and then. Don't put soapy water on the garden, but share the bath with someone else. We take turns having first baths. We've been doing this for years - long before water restrictions came in. It comes from living for extended periods in the bush where we had to bucket water from the river into a bathtub, which we would build a fire underneath. We got used to sharing bathwater as it took hours to heat the water up. It won't kill you. It might save you.

Here's an informative site on the WELS SCHEME (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards):

" Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realise that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are god." Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist



Dear God:
Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another? How can they get to know one another?

Dear God:
When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

Dear God:
Why do you have cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around in a car?

Dear God:
If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God:
We dogs can understand human verbal instructions, hand signals, whistles, horns, clickers, beepers, scent ID's, electromagnetic energy fields, and Frisbee flight paths. What do humans understand?

Dear God:
More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God:
Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, will I have to apologize?

Dear God:
Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog:
1. I will not eat the cats' food before they eat it, or after they throw it up.
2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way these dead things smell.
3. I will not munch on "leftovers" in the kitty litter box, although they are tasty.
4. The diaper pail is not a cookie jar.
5. The sofa is not a face towel. Neither are Mom and Dad's laps.
6. The garbage collector is not actually stealing our stuff.
7. My head does not belong in the refrigerator.
8. When the officer reaches in for Mom's driver's license and registration, I will not bite his hand
9. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad's underwear when he's on the toilet.
10. Sticking my nose into someone's crotch is an unacceptable way of saying "hello".
11. I don't need to suddenly stand straight up when I'm under the coffee table.
12. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur before entering the house --- not after.
13. I will not throw up in the car.
14. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt across the carpet.
15. When we have company, I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch
16. The cat is not a "squeaky toy", so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it's usually not a good thing.

PS Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back? Please?
(Submitted by Robert B. Warwick)



" In families where they fall prey to wild canine prophets, in families where they seek sanctuary in absolutely essential affections, in excessively indulgent families, they are ready to swear their best friendship. They are primitive gods, affectionate and sentimental now living on a human scale that we've created. Man's most faithful friend becomes a god. Marco Morosini has chosen to become an animal designer, creating temples for four-legged gods . . . . . (enter)



* Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.
* Man who walk dog through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok.
* Man who take dog with him and fart in church sit in own pew.
* Crowded elevator smell different to midget, Dennis Kucinich and dog.
(thanks to Michael 'Best in Show' Leone)




Sirius, The God, Dog Star

The effect of Sirian energy and influences generated approximately 13 years ago, the last cycle when Sirius A and B were closest, in 1993 / 1994, have created renewed interest in this most influential heavenly body. The history books and religions of the world have had much to say about the God / Dog star. This article reflects on our ancestor's beliefs and inspired insights into a great mystery ~ the mystery of the Dog Star and its influences on our little corner of the universe.
Sirius was an object of wonder and veneration to all ancient peoples throughout human history. In the ancient Vedas this star was known as the Chieftain's star; in other Hindu writings, it is referred to as Sukra, the Rain God, or Rain Star. The Dog is also described as "he who awakens the gods of the air, and summons them to their office of bringing the rain." (more or less)



This is an exciting promotional video for Turkey that was sent to me by my friend Tilda. Hang in there, kids. It kicks into gear about half way through! (uTube)




One of my early 60s pop influences was an American band called The Left Banke. They had a beautiful combination of electric guitars, harpsichord and strings: baroque rock. You may have heard of their most famous song Walk Away Renee which was a big hit for them, but also for other artists such as The Four Tops. Lesser known songs that influenced me were Pretty Ballerina, She May Call You Up Tonight and Something On My Mind. (Kind of slightly tepid lyrics in retrospect, but the combination of three-part harmony and instrumentation was quite hypnotic and still sounds good to me.)
Wikipedia adds, 'The song [Walk Away Renee] is one of a number Michael Brown wrote about Renee Fladen-Kamm, then-girlfriend of The Left Banke's bassist Tom Finn and object of Brown's affection. She was associated with the band for a few weeks, and described as a free-spirited but quiet tall blonde. The song was written one month after Brown met her. Other songs written about her include the band's second hit "Pretty Ballerina" and "She May Call You Up Tonight". Reportedly, Brown was so smitten with Renee that he would physically become ill and couldn't play if she was in the room. (Note: Writing love songs about your bandmate's girlfriend must have been great for inter-band relations - no wonder they split up.) After decades of obscurity, Renee Fladen-Kamm was identified in 2001 as a noted soprano, vocal teacher and artist on the West Coast and a member of a medieval English music ensemble, The Sherwood Consort, and director of Opera Non Troppo and Resmiranda Women's Ensemble.
Here's a YouTube early clip of Walk Away Renee: (uTube)

The Left Banke Official Website


Garlic May Prevent Cancer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Men in China have the lowest rate of prostate cancer in the world, and a diet rich in garlic, shallots and onions may be one of the reasons.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute report in a new study that a diet with lots of vegetables from the allium food group - which includes garlic, shallots and onions - reduces the risk of prostate cancer by about half. And the common Chinese diet includes hearty servings of these vegetables.
The study, appearing this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, is based on interviews with 238 men with prostate cancer and 471 men who were free of the disease.
Men in the study, all residents of Shanghai, China, were asked how frequently they ate 122 food items.
The results showed that those who ate more than a third of an ounce a day from the allium food group were about 50 percent less likely to have prostate cancer than those who ate less of the foods.
"We checked on many food items and the allium food group stood out (as protective against prostate cancer)," said Ann W. Hsing, an NCI epidemiologist and the first author of the study. "But the conclusions need to be replicated in another study." She said the study was conducted in Shanghai because China has the lowest rate of prostate cancer in the world.
Scallions seemed to be the most protective. According to the study, men who ate about a tenth of an ounce or more a day of scallions reduced their prostate cancer risk by about 70 percent. For garlic consumption of the same amount, the prostate cancer risk was reduced by about 53 percent.
Hsing said that the typical Chinese diet is much more heavily seasoned with garlic, scallions and onions than is the traditional American diet. But even so, the amount of allium vegetables consumed is measured only in fractional ounces. For instance, the study suggests that an effective level of prostate cancer protection can be achieved with about one clove of garlic a day.
"The reduced risk of prostate cancer associated with allium vegetables was independent of body size, intake of other foods and total calorie intake," the study authors reported.
Hsing said the study reinforces earlier studies that have linked high vegetable consumption to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. For instance, earlier studies have found that that eating tomatoes and tomato products can lower risk of prostate cancer. Italy, where tomato sauce and garlic are favorites, has one of the lowest rates of prostate cancer in Europe, said Hsing.
Janet Stanford, a cancer epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said the study by Hsing and her co-authors continues to support the general finding that "eating vegetables is a good thing."
Stanford said her group, in an earlier study, linked broccoli, cauliflower and related vegetables to a reduced prostate cancer risk, while a high fat diet increased the risk.
"This shows that your mother was right," said Stanford. "Eat more vegetables."
The Shanghai study was conducted by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health, and at the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China.




This is a classic and simple dish and there are many variations. Here is the one I make.
If you use a family pet, disguise it with a wig so as not to upset the children.

(Note: If dog is unavailable, a free range chicken works just as well.)

1 medium fresh free range dog (ask your local Vietnamese butcher to catch and prepare.)
40 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon
fresh rosemary
olive oil

Wash and pat dry the dog. Salt the dog liberally inside and out, rub it in and let rest for about an hour. Pre-heat oven to 250C. Salt the dog again. This time add some pepper. Cut small slits in the dog and insert pieces of fresh rosemary. Cut the lemon in half and put it in the dog cavity. Brush the dog with some olive oil and place in a roasting pan in the oven. Cook on one side for half hour. Turn over and cook for another half hour in the pan juices. Turn again, spread the unpeeled garlic cloves around the pan, and cook for a further half hour. If the top is browning too fast, cover with tin foil.

Carve the dog and serve with a heaping mound of garlic cloves which can just be sucked out of their skins or else spread on toast.

Thematic background music: 'How Much is That Doggie in the Window?'


Native American Myths

God Had a Dog
A Kato Legend

Nagaicho, the creator, set out to create the world, and he took along a dog. He placed four big pillars at the corners of the earth to hold up the sky. He created man from the dirt, and then he created woman.
The sun became hot, the moon was cold, and trees grew everywhere. Waves danced on the surface of the ocean and all the creatures of the seas swam in it and were happy.
Then Nagaicho saw that the creatures of the earth needed water. He dragged his feet deep into the Earth and created rivers. He poked his fingers into the Earth and created flowing springs.
And the elk and the deer came to drink at the rivers and springs.
"Drink", Nagaicho said to the dog. And the dog drank from the sweet water, and Nagaicho himself lay down and drank.
"It is good. They will all drink it," said Nagaicho.
Then Nagaicho piled rocks around the edge of the water and made lakes and ponds.
"Drink the good water" he said to the dog. "Drink, my dog."
And the dog drank, and Nagaicho lay down and plunged his face in the water and drank.
" It is good," he said. "Bears and people will drink here," he said.
The Nagaicho put salamanders and turtles and little eels in the creeks.
He put grizzlies and deer in the mountains and panthers and jack rabbits.
So Nagaicho walked along, creating the creatures.
"Walk behind me, my dog," said Nagaicho. "Let us look at all that is made."
The trees were tall; the streams were full of fish. The little valleys had grown wide and full of flowering brush.
"Walk fast, my dog," he said. "The land is good."
Acorns and chestnuts hung on the trees. Berries crowded the bushes. There were many birds and snakes. The grass had grown. Grasshoppers were leaping about. There was clover.
"We made it good, my dog," said Nagaicho. And so they started back, Nagaicho and his dog.
The mountains were high; the land was flat; the creeks were full of trout. The good water raced over the rocks.
They walked along. "We are nearly home, my dog," said Nagaicho. "I will drink water. You too drink," he said to the dog.
The face of the earth was covered with growing things. The creatures were multiplying upon it.
And Nagaicho went back into the North with his dog.




"A country dog comes to the city and seeing his first parking meter thinks,
'How do you like that . . . PAY TOILETS!"