Home, CV, Reviews, Testimonials, Recordings, Lyrics, Newsletter Archive, Recipes, Presskit with Photos, Links, Contact

July 1st, 2005


"Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite them;
And little fleas have littler fleas
And so ad infinitum."


Hi Folks,

I recently did an interview with Stool Pigeon Magazine in the UK and I asked the editor, Phil Hebblethwaite, to try to find out more details about the so-called infamous BBC 2 poll last year that voted my song, Shaddap You Face, the Worst Song in History. For some bizarre reason, this story caught the fancy of the Australian and British media, and dozens of national and international papers and radio stations rang and emailed me for my comments. But I could find no record of the poll on any of the BBC websites. Or on the internet, either. Here's what Doctor Phil found out:

"Hello again, Joe.
This has altogether taken me rather a long time to get to the bottom off, but I've made some inquiries and can tell you the following... Last year, BBC Radio 2 presented a music programme called 'Twos on 2', which was about so-called "classic" songs being kept off the number one spot in the pop charts by so-called "novelty" songs. One example they came up with was when 'Shaddap You Face' prevented Ultravox's 'Vienna' from reaching number one (as if Ultravox had some God-given right to be number1!). Now, during the course of this radio programme, listeners were invited to call-in
(my emphasis) and and vote for which of the many songs featured they most disliked. Yours was voted "most disliked". The BBC press office managed to contact the producer of the programme and they asked him whether there's any record of how many people voted, who they were, whether they were representative, etc. He said that it's likely that no record was kept. So, it seems that the poll is not one to be taken seriously. Joe, your name is cleared. It transpires that the BBC2 poll voting 'Shaddup Your Face' was unscientific and irrelevant." Cheers, Phil Hebblethwaite, Editor The Stool Pigeon UK

Serious Music lovers, I doubt that ANY of the 4 million plus people who actually bought my record would have called-in to participate in this wanky non-poll. Most of these so-called 'public opinion' surveys are really only conducted with a small sampling of about 200 or so people, if that. Hardly representative of anything. (Secret Revealed: Do you know what these radio station polls are actually for? Radio station PROMOTION. Duh! i.e. A previous UK radio call-in which was also widely reported in Australia had the Worst Album of All Time going to Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, by the Beatles. Wha??? They must have got their sampling for that one from the Suffolk School of Lawn Maintenance.)
So why did the Australian media jump on this particular musical bandwagon and start flogging my old lame and half-blind mule? Gossip travels faster than truth, and every cub reporter likes to think they are privy to exclusive information about the Best, the Worst, the Most, and the Least, before anyone else cottons on to it. Trouble with this approach is that one can also be the First . . . to Be Wrong! Anyway, it was really just an excuse, by the Media-That-Be, to have a little fun. You know - a nice-a human interest story. Some comic relief. A whiff of gaiety in a much too serious world. Let's Pin the Tail on Guiseppi this week. Well, all you hacks . . . I forgive you. But I'm still keeping those pins for my Voodoo Dolls.)


TOMMY COOPER'S FINEST No 1. (Don't forget to do the voice....)
Two cannibals eating a clown. One says to the other "Does this taste funny to you?"



Hi Joe,
. . . The fact that actor, pilot (if only Lafayette's son had had such opportunities instead of being driven to suicide), and chef and guy who can now spell Tmo Criues . . . recently told the world that a fellow entertainer
[ed. note: Brooke Shields] should've taken vitamins rather than anti-depressants seems to echo the party line that psychiatric treatment of any kind is abhorrent...even aspirin makes you "wooden" and "out of touch" according to an official Scientology home page!!! . . . Anyway, I digress. Keep up the good work. . . On the good news front: 56% of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, apparently. (Wonder when the other 44% are going to wake up?) Better start gearing up for October:  ..."Two strands of time that are celebrated in two communities now often at odds with one another are this Fall woven together in a way not seen for decades. The sacred Muslim lunar month of Ramadan and the sacred Jewish lunar month of Tishrei, which includes the High Holy Days and Sukkot, both begin Oct. 3-4. But there is more. Oct. 4 is the Saint's Day of St. Francis of Assisi; Oct. 2 is Gandhi's birthday and also Worldwide (Protestant) Communion Sunday. And in mid-October, parallel to Sukkot, there are major Buddhist and Hindu festivals." Phew!! Cheers JS

(Note: JS, I love Brooke Shields reply (paraphrase): 'I think Tmo Criues should stick to saving the world from aliens and leave post-natal depression to the women who have actually given birth.' Point and match. Criues, in a recent interview stated that a person can be both a Christian AND a Scientologist. Fair enough said. Until you get to the UPPER LEVELS, that is, according to ex- Scientologist, Bob Minton, from The Lisa McPherson Trust, who says that, at that point, you found out that: ' The concept of religion, including God, Christ, Mohammed, Moses etc., were all an implanted false reality [by aliens] that to this very minute are used to control WOGS on Earth.' WOGS is Hubbard's slang term for anyone not a Scientologist. WOG? That's Odd - Why do I feel such a strange affinity to that word? Must be an old race memory. Forgive me. It'll pass. . . . .
I know this is going to sound OBVIOUS, but someone has to say it: If Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and the concept of Religion itself are implanted false memories from aliens - and . . . wait for it . . . Scientology is now officially registered as a Religion - then why wouldn't Scientology also have been an implanted false memory from aliens? (Or am I the only one that thinks these kind of thoughts?)


Yes -- power, security and community in the Dark Ages. What exactly is religion now? I grew up in an Irish/Italian, very catholic household. We didn't have community or security--but there was a lot of control. And nine kids who were told obey and worship God's holy name and who were scared to death of hell. It was a massive headfuck designed to repress/train the free spirit into a certain way of thinking. And it's not a very big leap to go from fearing hell to fearing WMD...or to go from thinking that God will save you to thinking George Bush's war will save you. My mom died two years ago. I often wonder if the revelations of the pedophile priests killed her. She spent her whole life repressing her kids, despising gays and abortionists, and feeling bad about her sinful self only to find out that the institution she put all her faith into wasn't what she thought it was. I can only imagine her horror.

(Note: T.S., Sorry about your mom. My mother, who passed away last year, was also forbidden to attend our Catholic Church most of her ENTIRE life, due to living in sin, based on an archaic canonic law regarding divorce, until the Church, in its finite un-wisdom, changed the law. This was about the same time they also changed the law that we couldn't eat meat on Friday without committing a venial sin. I guess you have to look at the bright side, though - without that latter restriction, we wouldn't have baccala today.)

Hi Joe,
The Scientology crew are now finding very pliable victims in the tsunami affected. They are very active in Sri Lanka etc.  Couple this with the evangelists who are also rushing in, and the poor victims have another tsunami in their heads.

Hi there Joe,
Isn't technology great? We latter-day pamphleteers have a potential audience far greater than our forebears (folks like Ben Franklin and Voltaire) - the fact that the Web serves as a global "Speakers' Corner" is a testament to genuine, pure-bred capitalism (which only currently exists on the Web).
I have really enjoyed your recent thoughts on Scientology. As part of my general anarchism, I am generally not well disposed to organised religions (including democracy), which serve almost universally as concentrators of power, influence and corruption - and invariably operate to the detriment of their most well-intentioned 'faithful'.
I have no direct experience of Scientology, but it strikes me as largely benign - although on the Left Coast of the US it has become a sort of Freemasonry for the quasi-artistic (Hollywood) community: the fact that some powerful figures subscribe to it means that newcomers to the industry join simply to attempt to generate career benefits. It's not surprising given the lack of intellectual capital accumulated by most would-be actors - let's face it, the 'would be actor' crowd are mostly kids who spend their teens thinking it's more important to be pretty than to be educated; it's only AFTER some infinitesimally-small fraction of them becomes famous that our media imbues them with mock-intellect. . .
. . .The Sufi parables in this week's missive were a brilliant act of subversion; most people associate the word 'mullah' with Taliban 'intellectual overlordism', and the world would be well-served if more of its population could see that Islam is faceted (and not immune to taking the piss out of itself). It's a far-less-organised religion than most, and the Sufi branch is probably the most enlightened.
Thanks for taking the time to compile and distribute your "pamphlet"; I'm glad I found it, and I'm also glad that I keep remembering (eventally) to re-subscribe when I change e-mail addresses: it usually takes me a month to notice the 'hole' in my incoming streams-of-consciousness. Cheers,

(Note: GT, I like your term 'pamphleteer' - I was wondering what I was doing! Re: Democracy. What's the option? Even though no artist worth their salt creates democratically. (The vote of the majority never determines whether I consider one of my songs a keeper.) Great artists are Autocrats. But that's the paradox. Democracy seems to be the most benign environment for artistic Autocracy. As Robert Johnson, the Jungian therapist and writer said - to be able to hold a paradox in your mind - two opposing thoughts - without making one of them wrong - is the surest way to growth of consciousness. Re: Scientology. Another little known fact: The word 'Scientology' was actually made up by Dr. Anastasius Nordenholz, born on February 1st, 1862, in Buenos Aires, Argentina - not by L. Ron Hubbard. Nordenholz came to Germany when he was 16. In 1934, his work "Scientologie - Wissenschaft von der Beschaffenheit und Tauglichkeit des Wissens" ("Scientology Science of the Constitution and Usefulness of Knowledge") was published. Raising the question "what can we know, what must be known about knowledge to justify the world?", Nordenholz calls for a "science of knowledge" thusly creating the term 'Scientology' (pg. 1). "The task of Scientology is the erection of the systems of knowledge, of understanding, of comprehension per se. Knowledge is the common material of all other sciences. It follows therefore that the science of knowledge itself is the key-science of the overall system of the sciences of the world. All other sciences of the world have the science of knowledge as their presuppositions...". (pg. 4) (article)

Last week I gave a link to The Anderson Report, the 1965 Australian Board of Inquiry into Scientology:
" Hubbard began fighting back against the Anderson report on the day of its publication, beginning with a rebuttal written exclusively for the East Grinstead Courier, accusing the Australian inquiry of being an illegal 'kangaroo court' which had refused to allow him to appear in his own defence. Its findings were 'hysterical', he said, and not based on the facts. He compared the inquiry to the heresy trials which had led to witches being burned at the stake in the dark ages. However, Mr Hubbard -- described as 'the son of a Montana cattle baron' -- still found it in his heart to be munificent: 'Well, Australia is young. In 1942, as the senior US naval officer in Northern Australia, by a fluke of fate, I helped save them from the Japanese. For the sake of Scientologists there, I will go on helping them ... Socrates said, "Philosophy is the greatest of the arts and it ought to be practiced." I intend to keep on writing it and practicing it and helping others as I can.'
The Australian government was first to act: in December 1965, the State of Victoria passed the Psychological Practices Act which effectively outlawed Scientology and empowered the Attorney General to seize and destroy all Scientology documents and recordings. Scientology's 'official' reply to the Anderson report was a forty-eight-page document, bound in black and gold, and titled 'Kangaroo Court: An investigation into the Conduct of the Board of Inquiry into Scientology.' It was hardly designed to win the hearts and minds of the average Australian. 'Only a society founded by criminals, organized by criminals and devoted to making people criminals, could come to such a conclusion [about Scientology] ...' the introduction declared. 'The foundation of Victoria consists of the riff-raff of London's slums -- robbers, murderers, prostitutes, fences, thieves -- the scourings of Newgate and Bedlam ... the niceties of truth and fairness, of hearing witnesses and weighing evidence, are not for men whose ancestry is lost in the promiscuity of the prison ships of transportation ...'
After airing the manifold grievances of the church, 'Kangaroo Court' returned to its initial theme: 'The insane attack on Scientology in the State of Victoria, can best be understood if Victoria is seen for what it is -- a very primitive community, somewhat barbaric, with a rudimentary knowledge of the physical sciences.' "
from Bare-Faced Messiah, by Russell Miller, Ch 15, pgs 330-333, Sphere Books, UK, 1988.

(Note: Bitchy! No wonder he never got an invite to the Henry Lawson Festival.)

Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off.


"We truly do live in the Age of Irony, in an age when satire has become meaningless because real life is more satirical than satire can ever be. " Arundhati Roy

Noel Gallagher was interviewed by David Walliams in The Observer last weekend, and told a classic story. Liam, apparently, was a huge fan of Spinal Tap. But he thought they were a real band. He was horrified to discover the same actors performing as A Mighty Wind at Carnegie Hall a few years back and, when Noel told him the bad news, shouted "I'm not 'avin' that", and stormed off. And has never watched the film again. (thanks to popbitch)

A blind bloke walks into a shop with a guide dog. He picks the dog up and starts swinging it around his head. Alarmed, a shop assistant calls out: 'Can I help, sir?' 'No thanks,' says the blind bloke. 'Just looking.'

I haven't maintained this category recently as most of the dull dull everyday porn spam that clogs my mailbox gets deleted immediately without reading. But this one caught my attention. The last line is my favourite:

From: "Table H. Initiated" Subject: Hello Mr. Joe Dolce

B0nj0ur my 0ld cham Joe Dolce,
Amanda was a teachher at schhool Shhe had just finisheed colllege and wasn't much oldeer than pupils. Amanda was veery prretty. Many boys looved heer. Somme imagined more Onne evvening shhe stayed late at scchool. Beforre going homme Amanda enttered WC. That was darknness in it . . . . Q. Knnow hoow to make a Cat sound like a Doog? A. Pour Gas on a Cat, and thhrow a matcch at it........ WOOOF. For by means of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread. Man whho wantts prretty nursse, must be patient.
Q: What's thhe deefinition of "Endlesss Loove?" A: Ray Charlles and Heleen Kelller playing tennis.
Thhe early bird catcches thhe worrm, but it is thhe early worrm that geets caughht.

"Cos it's strange, isn't it. You stand in the middle of a library and go 'Aaaaaaagghhhh' and everyone just stares at you. But you do the same thing on an airplane, and everyone joins in".

US Army Recruiters Use Desperate Tactics

Army takes action against Houston recruiter who threatened prospective soldier
By Mark Greenblatt

The Army has punished the Houston recruiter who was caught on tape threatening to arrest a young man if he didn't report to the recruiting station that day to talk about joining the Army.
The Army isn't saying what the punishment is for Sgt. Thomas Kelt who was featured this week in an exclusive 11 News Defenders investigation. Sgt. Thomas Kelt refused to comment on any of the questions asked by 11 News Defenders. A statement from the Army said its investigation, directed by the local commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, revealed that: "The recruiter's actions were in fact, inappropriate and not according to Army recruiting policy."

Those inappropriate tactics included a taped recording 11News obtained of the following message Sgt. Kelt left on the prospective recruit's cell phone: "Hey Chris, this is Sgt. Kelt with the Army, man. I think we got disconnected. Okay, I know you were on your cell probably and just had a bad connection or something like that. I know you didn't hang up on me. Anyway, by federal law you got an appointment with me at 2 o'clock this afternoon at Greenspoint Mall, okay? That's the Greenspoint Mall Army Recruiting Station at 2 o'clock. You fail to appear and we'll have a warrant. Okay? So give me a call back." Listen to recruiter's voice mail message: (.wav file)

Other young men have since come forward to say they too have been harrassed by recruiters. The Army hopes the stand-down will be send the message that those threats are unacceptable. Army General Michael Rochelle announced Thursday he will order nearly every one of the nation's more than 7,000 recruiters to reaffirm their oath of office during that stand-down. (article)

"So I was in my car, and I was driving along, and my boss rang up, and he said 'You've been promoted.' And I swerved. And then he rang up a second time and said "You've been promoted again.' And I swerved again. He rang up a third time and said 'You're managing director.' And I went into a tree. And a policeman came up and said 'What happened to you?' And I said 'I careered off the road.'

We are Killing the Planet. That is Not an Exaggeration
by Charles Secrett

The statistics released yesterday are a wake-up call to individuals and families that we're all responsible for climate change. Too many people think: "Climate change has nothing to do with me - it's the fault of government and industry." But statistics like this show the cumulative effect of millions of people doing the wrong thing.

We can't escape the link between climate change and our individual daily behavior: how much we drive; what sort of fuel we use and what sort of car we own; whether we use public transport, walk or cycle whenever possible; whether we pile on board budget airline flights, the most irresponsible form of transport; whether we turn off the tap while we brush our teeth; whether we try to find local producers for our food, so that it hasn't traveled halfway across the world to reach our dinner plate. And, of course, whether we turn off our electrical appliances.

We have got to make the connection between our own lifestyles and big, global problems like climate change.

The couldn't-care-less attitude puts our future in peril. Our generation and future generations cannot afford it - we are killing the planet. That is not an exaggeration, but a scientific fact.

We all have a role to play. Yesterday's report shows how very simple changes in our behavior and lifestyles can have a positive effect in tackling climate change. What the individual does matters greatly.

All too often we're lazy - leaving the TV, radio, computer or DVD player on standby, so it can jump from red light to switched-on at a touch of the gizmo. What could be simpler than turning them off?

We need to be aware of the consequences of our own actions and not rely on the Government to legislate and save us. It would be beneficial for the Government to introduce stringent pollution taxes for those companies and households that waste dirty energy - and reward those that "go clean" in their energy use. But how far do we want legislation to go? What sort of society will it be when government has to legislate for everything we do to avoid terrible pollution and the catastrophic effects of climate change, trampling on our civil liberties in the process? We as individuals need to act to prevent such a green Orwellian nightmare.

We are already running out of time and common sense tells us to start today. (article)

"So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can you give me a lift?" I said "Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it.'"


by L. Ron Hubbard

I received by mail order, the hard-to-find sci-fi story FEAR, written by Hubbard, and got through it this week along with another brilliant bonus sci-fi story of his, called BORROWED GLORY. These two tales were published in 1940, long before Scientology was even a gleam in Lafayette's eye and reveal a gifted and insightful storyteller. (He should have kept writing sci-fi.) The so-called 'alien cosmology' of Scientology makes much more sense to me now. Hubbard was the Stephen King of his day. Prolific. A great sci-fi writer can create a brilliant and believable alternative universe. The Martian Chronicles, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings and Dune, to mention just a few examples. Any one of these could have been a believable religion, had the authors had the chutzpah. But forget 'Battleship Earth' as an example of Hubbard's writing. It's a C-grade story at best and an DD-grade movie at worst. Whatever anyone's opinion is of Scientology, I strongly recommend finding FEAR and reading the story (written in the 40s, remember) that influenced a whole new generation of storytellers. It's slightly reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Tell-Tale Heart.'
"A true scare!"
Ray Bradbury
"FEAR is L. Ron Hubbard's finest work!"
Robert Bloch, author of Psycho.
'A classic tale of creeping, surreal menace and horror . . . one of the really, really good ones.'
Stephen King.
(FEAR, by L. Ron Hubbard, Bridge Publications, Los Angeles, CA 1995.)


"You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said 'Parking Fine.' So that was nice."



What Constitutes a Religion?

"Scientology will decline, and become useless to man, on the day when it becomes the master of thinking. Don't think it won't do that. It has every capability in it of doing that."
L. Ron Hubbard, Philadelphia Doctorate Course Lectures, pg. 47, 1952

In 1983, the Supreme Court of Australia recognized not only the Church of Scientology, but also 500 other religions:

" The most significant Australian authority on the question of what constitutes a religion is the decision of the High Court of Australia in the Scientology case which was decided in 1983. The High Court found Scientology to be a religion. On the question of the current approach to the meaning of religion, the Scientology case provides the best elucidation and it is worth a detailed consideration here.
The initial decision, made by the Commissioner of Pay-Roll Tax in Victoria, was that Scientology was not a religion. This decision was upheld in the Supreme Court of Victoria and on appeal in the Full Court. The judgments against Scientology as a religion relied on the premise that Scientology was a philosophy rather than a religion and that the trappings of religion had only been acquired after its establishment in order to give the organisation the semblance of a religion. This assertion was rejected by the High Court. Instead, the High Court supported a broad definition of religion, while cautioning against too broad a meaning. Mason Acting CJ and Brennan J said:
" . . The mantle of immunity would soon be in tatters if it were wrapped around beliefs, practices and observances of every kind whenever a group of adherents chose to call them a religion...A more objective criterion is required...We therefore hold that, for the purposes of the law, the criteria for religion are twofold: first, belief in a supernatural Being, Thing or Principle; and second, the acceptance of canons of conduct in order to give effect to that belief, though canons of conduct which offend against the ordinary laws are outside the area of any immunity, privilege or right conferred on the grounds of religion. . ."
Wilson and Deane JJ noted that there was no single characteristic which could be used to identify an organisation as constituting a religion and that the most that could be done was to formulate a range of indicia gleaned from past decisions. The indicia of religion as discussed by Wilson and Deane JJ were: that the particular collection of ideas and/or practices involved belief in the supernatural, that is, belief that reality extended beyond that which was capable of perception by the senses; that the ideas related to man's nature and place in the universe and his relations to things supernatural; that the ideas were accepted by adherents as requiring or encouraging them to observe particular practices having supernatural significance; and that, however loosely-knit and varying in beliefs and practices adherents might be, they constituted an identifiable group or identifiable groups.
Murphy J, while agreeing with the outcome proposed by the other judges, expressed a broader view. He said that it was not the role of the courts to pass judgement on the validity of the beliefs of the adherents of a religion. He went on to explain his views about this. An analysis of what he said reveals a significant difference between his approach and that of the other members of the Court. We ourselves prefer the views of the majority and accept them as determinative of what constitutes a religion in Australia.
The judges in the Scientology case, in describing religion, went beyond saying that an organisation would only be a religion if it centred on a belief in a Supreme Being. Mason ACJ and Brennan J concluded that what was required was a belief in a `supernatural Being, Thing or Principle'. This marked a move from the trend to that date and the trend still in Britain in favour of theism. Picarda notes that `the theistic theme has always been well to the fore in definitions of religion in American cases. And it has constituted the essence of modern pronouncements on religion in the English courts.'

"So I went down my local ice cream shop, and said I want to buy an ice cream'. He said, 'Hundreds & thousands?' I said 'We'll start with one.'

Ignorance on Iran May Lead to an Unwise Attack
By William O. Beeman

Tehran - The United States may still attack Iran, and for all the wrong reasons. Two recent analyses, both appearing a day before the final runoff to determine the Iranian presidency (June 23, 2005) reveal how this may happen, and what the logic behind such an attack may be. The first analysis, by former United Nations nuclear arms inspector Scott Ritter, distributed through the Al Jazeera website, claims that the United States' assault on Iran has already begun. Ritter asserts that the terrorist organization Mujaheddin-e Khalg (known as the MEK or MKO in the West) is operating as a strike force under CIA direction, and that the United States is preparing to stage military attacks from Azerbaijan (article)

So I went to the dentist. He said "Say Aaah." I said "Why?" He said "My dog's died."



The Thing We Don't Talk About
By William Rivers Pitt

 . . . In 1947, President Harry Truman put forth the Truman Doctrine, a broad policy of foreign intervention to combat the feared spread of Communism around the world. The Doctrine was essentially created by a small band of men like Paul Nitze, who were the precursors of what we now call neo-conservatives. Nitze, it should be noted, was the mentor of Paul Wolfowitz, who went on to be the mentor of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney. The establishment of the Truman Doctrine, the establishment of the "permanent crisis" that was the Cold War, required that the American economy remain on a wartime footing. There it has remained to this day, despite the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the threat of a global communist takeover. Ten thousand books have been written on this subject, on the impact of our wartime economic footing upon domestic policy, the environment, global affairs and politics. In the end, however, the fact that our economy is set on a wartime footing means one simple thing:

We need wars.

Without wars, the economy flakes and falls apart. Without wars, the trillions of dollars spent on weapons systems, military preparedness and a planetary army would dry up, dealing a death blow to the economy as currently constituted. Without wars or the threat of wars, the populace is not so easily controlled and manipulated.
Let us be clear, however. When I say "we," I do not refer to your average working man and woman on the street. The man running the shoe store or the woman managing the bar does not need war to remain economically viable. The "we" I speak of is that overwhelmingly wealthy and powerful few who have wired their fortunes into the manufacture of weapons, the plumbing of oil, and the collection of spoils through political largesse. . . .
(thanks to Stephen Ross)

"Now, most dentists chairs go up and down, don't they? The one I was in went back and forwards. I thought 'This is unusual'. And the dentist said to me 'Mr Cooper, get out of the filing cabinet.'"


"An ant and an elephant marry. The first night of the honeymoon, they make love. The elephant dies of a heart attack. The ant is devastated and says: "Five minutes of passion and now I have to spend the rest of my life digging a grave."
(thanks to Kevin via Dai Woosman)

"So I got home, and the phone was ringing. I picked it up, and said 'Who's speaking please? ' And a voice said 'You are.'"



Grandpa Joe's Pickled Sour Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice in a tomato-based sweet-and-sour sauce: They are known by many different names (galuptzi, praakes, stuffed cabbage, Holishkes, etc) and are made in many different ways, depending on where your grandmother came from. Below is my variation made with a whole head of pickled sour cabbage (saurkraut) which can be found at jewish delicatessens. (It can also be made with fresh cabbage, but in that case, the head of cabbage has to be boiled for about five minutes so the leaves can be loosened intact.)


8-10 whole leaves of pickled sour cabbage

half kg ground beef
1 pork sausage, casing removed
1/2 cup rice
1/2 grated onion
1/2 grated carrot
1 tsp. garlic, chopped finely
Handful of minced parsley
1 egg

Sweet-Sour Sauce:
16 oz.of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of raw sugar
1/4 teasp red chilli flakes

Gently remove the cabbage leaves from the head. You want them to be intact. Combine the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves (it will dissolve faster if you pour the lemon juice over it). Pour about 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish. Break the pork sausage apart and fry until brown it a little olive oil. Combine the sausage meat with the rest of the filling ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Make a ball out of a handful of the filling and roll it up in a cabbage leaf, folding in the sides and rolling from the soft end to the spiny end. Secure with toothpicks. Put the resulting rolls into the casserole dish with the sauce. Do this until you use up all of the filling, making 8-10 cabbage rolls. Then pour the remaining sauce over the top. Cover and bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees. (Longer if you like your cabbage rolls really soft. These are also great re-heated the next day.)

"So I rang up my local swimming baths. I said 'Is that the local swimming baths?' He said 'It depends where you're calling from.'"


As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse
I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.
I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,
and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow
so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.
Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,
singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.
~ Billy Collins ~
 (Nine Horses)

"So I rang up a local building firm, I said 'I want a skip outside my house.' He said 'I'm not stopping you.'
(thanks to Joe Stead, via Dai Woosman, for Andrew Pattison)