JOE DOLCE NEWSLETTER
Friday June 12th, 2009
"Love is an exploding cigar which we willingly smoke."
The picture above is of my youngest grand daughter, Leila, (age 2) showing a bit of the attitude she’s inherited from the Italian side of the family. Attitude-R-Us. You may recall the videoclip of her sister, Mistica (age 5), whomping grandpa Joe up side the head with the ‘eh duh.’ Here is is again if you missed it:
Lately, Misty has now made it her mission to interrupt grandpa whenever he tries to sing Shaddap You Face, within earshot of her, yelling at him and telling him that he’s naughty and not to say bad words. Hopefully, one of them will grow out of it soon.
I’ve been following with amusement the caning that Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has been getting from the good folks of Australia for publicly insulting Australian current affairs presenter Tracy Grimshaw. You think he would have learned from Frank Sinatra’s mistake in the 70s when Sinatra called an Australian woman journalist a ‘two-bit hooker.’ Old Red Eyes was eventually forced to apologise. Now so has Ramsay. Tsk tsk. Bill Gates’ remark comes to mind: "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose." Even Prime Minister Rudd got it right for a change when he said Ramsay’s comments reflected a "new form of low life". Ha ha! I met Rudd’s Deputy Minister Julia Gillard this week at a luncheon and she has expressed the same opinion. For once we all agree on something. Personally, I think Ramsay is vastly over-rated as a chef , his recipes derivative and uncreative, and his attitude irritating. This whole phase we’re going through of chef-as-tyrant reminds me of the way orchestral conductors used to be admired for being dictatorial. Yawn. Life is too short for arseholes, don’t you think?
Help For Wildlife
The money raised in March, at the Judy Small, Kavisha Mazella and Difficult Women International Women’s Day and Bush Fire Appeal Concert, at Monsalvat, has gone to Help For Wildlife, a 24 hour state-wide emergency service, which is a voluntary, non-profit organisation. All funds will be used directly for medical supplies such as silverzine cream, non stick dressings, soft bandages, vet wrap, Saline, disinfectant/clorhexidine, syringes, pain relief and antibiotics. The Help for Wildlife response team are based in the vicinity where the Kinglake/ Healesville fires occurred.
They still desperately need funding for feed such as hay to provide food for starving wildlife and donations for fuel to carry out the extensive search and rescue needed to help these animals. Notably kangaroos and wallabies found in abundance in this area can take months to recover and require a great deal of dressings and medication during this time. Do what you can if you are able:
HELP FOR WILDLIFE - PO Box 181 COLDSTREAM. 3770. Ph 0417 380 687
FAVOURITE LETTERS OF THE WEEK
Thank you Joe -
for the link to the article about James and the efforts on his behalf. His situation is so incredibly sad. Beth Herzhaft
Check out the new film release "Sampson and Delilah" set in Alice Springs and outlying desert communities. After the film, beautifully done with hardly a word, we went home and bawled. Courageous take on contemporary Indigenous experience and petrol sniffing. Ciao and lots of pasta fazool, Black Nonna Antonietta
I attended San Francisco State College in the fall of 1966, when our homecoming queen was the late comedienne/musician Jane Dornacker, who billed herself as the Earth Mother. She arrived on campus on the back of a flat bed truck, wearing a long brown gown and waving a magic wand. The contestants from the various campus sororities didn't stand a chance.
The following year the homecoming queen was a gay guy named S.E. Harrison. I can't find anything recent about him in Google. Alicia
Is Today The Day? -
Four words that make me shiver as I visualize the large sign posted near one of the gates at Camp Anaconda.
I can only imagine my son reading these words as he and his unit would leave the camp [for Iraq] on a last mission of no return... Eliane McCaffrey, Goldstar Mother for Peace
A fascinating overview of ecstatic shaking in various spiritual groups - Shakers, Quakers, Charismatic Christians, to the Kalihari Bushmen and the Brazilian Macumbe religion.
"Shaking Medicine" by Bradford Keeney.
(thanks to ramon sender)
What I’m Reading This Week
THE COLOUR OF SAYING – Dylan Thomas’s personal selection of poetry and limericks, written by a variety of poets from Auden to Anon, that he read from time to time in live poetry readings. A great doorway into many poets you may not have understood before - as ALL of these poems, chosen by Thomas, sound exciting when read aloud. I consider this a valuable tool – a bridge so to speak - for song lyricists who are interesting in writing poetry.
ENDLESS LIFE – Selected Poems of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. One of the most unique and consistent voices in contemporary verse - and he’s still alive and kicking!
RAPTURE - Carol Anne Duffy. One sublime extended 62-part book length love poem.
THE COMPLETE POEMS OF ELIZABETH BISHOP - 1927 – 1979. I’ve been a fan of her writing for 40 years.
What I’m Watching This Week
STATE OF PLAY, starring Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck. My review has SPOILERS in it so don’t read it if you plan on seeing the movie. On the other hand, do read it, so perhaps you WON’T get so brainwashed, or befuddled, by the movie, and not know why! Because I loved this film – up to the final fifteen minutes - and then I hated it. I absolutely hated the weasly ending. With an important kind of hatred. So much so that I decided, after much deliberation back and forth, to write something about WHY it angered me, even if it means giving away the lame-ass ending. This decision was also partially hastened by the four star reviews given the film by David Stratton AND Margaret Pomeranz, both of whom I usually admire. So why are these esteemed critics missing what, to me, is so very obvious? LAST WARNING: Don’t read further if you plan on seeing the film and want to be surprised.
First a synopsis: State of Play is a 2009 American political thriller. It is a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed 6-part British television serial State of Play, which first aired on BBC One in 2003. The film tells of a journalist's probe into the suspicious death of a Congressman's mistress. Russell Crowe plays the journalist and Ben Affleck plays the Congressman. Support comes from Helen Mirren. The plot of the six-hour serial has been condensed to fit two hours, and the location changed to Washington, D.C. (First heads up.) Apparently Russell Crowe was a last minute replacement for Brad Pitt. (Second heads up.) I’d be interested in why Pitt dropped out. The ‘bad guys’ – all through the main part of the movie – are a corporation known as PointCorp ( allegedly, a thinly veiled reference to Blackwater - now Xe - the private mercenary military organization that was used extensively in the Iraq war. Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq was revoked by the Iraqi Government on September 17, 2007, resulting from a highly contentious incident that occurred the previous day during which seventeen Iraqis were killed. The license was reinstated by the American government in April 2007, but the Iraqis announced that they have refused to extend that license in early 2009. Here’s some more details on Blackwater (Xe):
Now the spoiler - and my stubborn salmon-swimmingup opinion. Until the end of the movie, you are rooting for the All-the-President’s-Men journalist character, played by Russell Crowe with long hippy hair (a la Dustin Hoffman), to nail the corrupt PointCorp private mercenary military corporation that seems to have its claw in everything shady. Everything we hated about the Bush administration. But then, in an amazing about face, we find that PointCorp is INNOCENT and the bad guy is really a deranged ex-Iraqi War veteran who is following a personal agenda. BOO! Just like the wacked out psycho ex-Vietnam vet films that flooded the cinemas post-Vietnam War. Double Boo! Why on earth would any thinking actor, or critic, promote a film like this? Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck – and even Helen Mirren – do not need the money or the work. So why would they participate in a project with such a rightwing about face? Didn’t they read the script to the end? I guess actors, like musicians, and certain critics, with some exceptions, are not always known for their moral clarity.
...and speaking of moral grey zones -
24 - SERIES 7 - with Keifer Sutherland. Jack Bauer is back and just as I predicted would happen - to bring the show more in line with Obama politics, rather than Bush and the Right WingDingers, (where the past 6 seasons have been firmly lodged,) this series starts with Jack called up before a Senate investigative committee on charges of torture and illegal interrogation etc. CTU has been broken up! I used to have a conundrum watching Jack torture terrorists in order to get key information. I knew that torture was wrong, but I always secretly rooted for him to do it anyway, and get the bad guys to talk. To save us from nuclear attack and bio-weapons. The end justifying the means and that kind of thing. Finally I figured out my dilemma! In the fictional series, WE KNOW that the terrorists are keeping secrets that, unless revealed, will lead to massive death and mass destruction. There is no maybe. We KNOW what they are doing and we KNOW where they are hiding the WMDs. WE KNOW this without a shadow of a doubt, so we say, ‘do whatever it takes, Jack.’ Good on ya! But in REAL LIFE, not only do we NOT KNOW whether terrorists are concealing life or death secret information, but WE DON’T KNOW if most of them are even terrorists! Look at the travesty that is Guantanamo Bay. That’s the main and significant moral difference between 24 - and real life. But it makes all the difference. Now imagine this scenario for 24 - Series 8: we aren’t shown in advance whether the folks Jack Bauer interrogates are guilty or not. And let’s say, the first ten people he tortures are completely innocent. How much longer do you think people would continue watching this? Torture after torture. Mistake after mistake. Not long, folks. Torture only works when you have a good script. Also, here, as in State of Play, we have another thinly disguised Blackwater – this time called Starkwood – but this time, thankfully, they STAY the bad guys and get their just rewards.
SURFACE – (originally titled Fathom) a US science fiction television series. During a routine submersible dive in the North Pacific Ocean, California oceanographer Laura Daughtery (played by spunky Lake Bell – Colin Farrel’s girlfriend in real life) is attacked by an unknown life form that appears out of a field of craters on the ocean's floor. This series encompasses possible implications of genetic engineering, and modern biotechnology. I loved it. It’s also one of those fabulous films that adults and kids can watch together, like ET. Too bad they discontinued the series.
THE LOST ROOM – another great science fiction television miniseries that aired on the Sci Fi Channel in the States. Once an ordinary room at a 1960s motel along U.S. Route 66, where something awful has happened, the Lost Room now exists outside of normal time and space. The series revolves around this mystical Room and some of the everyday items from inside that room – like a comb, a key, a clock – a hundred things to be exact - which possess unusual powers, like stopping time, revolving things, making one invisible, etc. The show's protagonist, Joe Miller, is searching for these objects to rescue his daughter, Anna, who has disappeared inside the Room.
What I’m Listening to This Week
LASCIA CH'IO PIANGA – composed by George Frederick Handel, from the movie, Farinelli. The moving scene, in the film - where Farinelli belts out this aria in his four octave castrato alto, and Handel is completely overwhelmed by the beauty of what he is hearing, tearing off his wig and losing consciousness, all in counterpoint to flashbacks of the freshly castrated child Farinelli being lowered into the tub of warm milk - never fails to make me weep.
800 Britons on waiting list for Swiss suicide clinic
Record numbers of Britons who are suffering from terminal illnesses are queueing up for assisted suicide at the controversial Swiss clinic Dignitas, the Observer can reveal.
Almost 800 have taken the first step to taking their lives by becoming members of Dignitas, and 34 men and women, who feel their suffering has become unbearable, are ready to travel to Zurich and take a lethal drug overdose.
MICHAEL MOORE ON THE FALL OF GENERAL MOTORS
by Michael Moore
I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.
As I sit here in GM's birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?
It is with sad irony that the company which invented "planned obsolescence" -- the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one -- has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh -- and that wouldn't start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the "inferior" Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to "improve" the short-term bottom line of the corporation.
L’Ours (The Bear) – The Cougar Scene
Storytelling doesn't get much purer than this--a film with virtually no dialogue and not a minute that isn't fascinating.
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)
~ FAMOUS DOLCES OF THE WORLD ~
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Leg of Lamb with Berbere Spice and Garlic-Yogurt Sauce
Leg of lamb
Half cup Berbere spice
2 cups yogurt
4 cloves garlic
Berbere Spice Mix
(See recipe archive: http://members.iinet.net.au/~dwomen/files/nlMay152009/index.html#BSR)
Mash two cloves of garlic (more if you like it stronger) with some salt in a mortar and pestle. Add the yogurt, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little olive oil and mix well. Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Cut the garlic into long wedges. With a small knife, make inserts in the lamb and poke in a garlic wedge.
Rub the leg of lamb with the berbere spices on all sides.
Place in a roasting pan. Put a good splash of olive oil over it and roll in the pan until well-coated. Roast for around an hour, turning every twenty minutes or so - (tip: turn the roast as well, boom boom!) - or until the juices run slightly clear when the meat is pierced with a knife. Take out of the oven and rest before carving. Serve with the garlic-yogurt sauce on the side, roast potatoes & pumpkin with rosemary, and a green salad.
Tip for Left-Overs: Place the sliced lamb in a bowl and sprinkle salt and lemon juice over the top. Eat with your fingers.
Elegy for Jane
(My student, thrown by a horse)
I remember the neckcurls, limp and damp as tendrils;
And her quick look, a sidelong pickerel smile;
And how, once startled into talk, the light syllables leaped for her,
And she balanced in the delight of her thought,
A wren, happy, tail into the wind,
Her song trembling the twigs and small branches.
The shade sang with her;
The leaves, their whispers turned to kissing,
And the mould sang in the bleached valleys under the rose.
Oh, when she was sad, she cast herself down into such a pure depth,
Even a father could not find her:
Scraping her cheek against straw,
Stirring the clearest water.
My sparrow, you are not here,
Waiting like a fern, making a spiney shadow.
The sides of wet stones cannot console me,
Nor the moss, wound with the last light.
If only I could nudge you from this sleep,
My maimed darling, my skittery pigeon.
Over this damp grave I speak the words of my love:
I, with no rights in this matter, Neither father nor lover.
~ Theodore Roethke ~
THE FINAL HURRAH
Will Rogers. . .
· Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.
· There are three kinds of people: The ones that learn by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.
· Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
· The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
· Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've travelled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.
· When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
· Being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
· Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today it's called golf.
(thanks to Michael Leone)