"Just when I think I'm out, they PULL me back in." Michael Corleone, Godfather III
I was sitting here minding my own business when somebody done gone and made me into a NOUN.
"People are constantly asking the question as to who might have been Australia's "best" Prime Minister. I wouldn't know how to answer that question and, at any given time, it seems, neither would a good half of the country. But we all know a dork when we see one, so the question as to who might have been our "coolest" PM is one that at least might garner a definitive answer. Do we actually have our own JFK, a leader who is noticably cooler than all of the others? Or has our contributing voice to the great jazz of international politics been just one JOE DOLCE after another?" Jack Marx, The Daily Cool
First, let me introduce the great jazzband of international politics: John Howard on spoons, Tony Blair on kazoo and George W Bush on washtub. Jack Marx is obviously three brothers short of a Marx Brothers movie here - and certainly he 'ain't gotta no respect' for yours truly if he thinks I'm jammin' with these boys . . (but, hmmmmmm . . . wonder if I can collect royalties on that kind of usage of my name? I'd have my people look into it . . . if I had any people.) Marx seems to be having a synaptic short-circuit from what my friend Dai Woosnam called a 'sense-of-humour bypass'.
Ah, such are the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune! (I think Groucho said that.)
Fortunately, I finally seem to be gaining some understanding amongst the SERIOUS jazz and pop musos:
"Lyricists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Billy Holiday, Kurt Weill etc etc all really affect me. In music such as jazz it can be difficult to balance the musical complexity with compelling and truthful words, but some contemporary jazz singers such as Patricia Barber and Kurt Elling have been doing some amazing work that seems to do pretty well at finding a good balance. 'Shutup Ya Face' by Joe Dolce has some rich text also." Sophie Brous. National Jazz Awards Finalist
"I've got to mention my admiration for Joe Dolce for creating a song that was voted UK's most hated song of all time." Clare Bowditch, asked about her all-time fave acts.
May the Goddess of Plenty and Fertility bless the above Divas with a Multitude of Ankle-biters!
My philosophy on that is this: if the Cosmic Celebrity Chef gives you a Lemon, then why not make Petite Tarte de Citron avec une Sauce des Cerises, Anis Étoilé et Peau de Citron? (recipe below).
Actually, my favourite review of the past week - of my new album, The Wind Cries Mary - has been the following one in Rhythms, Australia's roots music monthly, by Eva Roberts:
" Yes, he is that Joe Dolce, the frank in your face singer who received international acclaim in the early 1980s with his release 'Shaddap You Face'. While that song has been dubbed as one of the most memorable of the '80s, and also has the auspicious title of the 'worst song ever recorded' whilst remaining one of the most successful songs in Australian music history, it isn't a reflection of the real Joe Dolce and his consummate musical ability. The Wind Cries Mary is a testament to this. This is his first release since 2000 and cements Dolce's reputation as one of the country's premier songwriters. His lyrical compositions are delightful to listen to, the words fit together like a perfect puzzle . . ." (full review)
Tarte de Citron, anyone?
American to Recast Hiroshima's Message
Peace activist Steven Leeper, the first foreigner to head the memorial foundation, wants to add substance to the emotional plea.
HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - Dig down below the 3 feet
of topsoil that was dumped atop the ruins of central Hiroshima
to make a memorial Peace Park and you'll still turn up bones,
remains of Japanese civilians incinerated when an American B-29
bomber dropped an atomic fireball over this spot one August morning
The Peace Park is a graveyard, the most visible scar of Japan's disastrous imperial war and ground zero of its postwar, anti-nuclear conscience.
Remarkably, Hiroshima is now entrusting stewardship of this symbol of its annihilation to a citizen from the country that dropped the bomb: Steven Leeper, an American peace activist recruited to reinvigorate a local peace movement that critics say has failed to sufficiently push the power of Hiroshima's anti-nuclear message to a global audience.
"Hiroshima feels an urgent need to have more connection to the world," says Leeper, 59, who spent long stretches in Japan as a child and an adult. He says his mandate from Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba is to find a way to turn Hiroshima's misfortune as the original victim of nuclear war into more than just a sentimental force for peace. (article)
FAVOURITE LETTERS OF THE WEEK
Re: Last Week's Newsletter - Kakistocracy
that was a bloody ripper ... Cathy
Thanks for the newsletters - always find them interesting and amusing. Always keen to read the jokes as we use some in our Entertaining in Retirement Complexes. Many thanks - have a good day. Jan R.
(Note: Jan, do you think you could put my name on the shortlist for one of those Retirement Units in the near future? Also, if you need some entertainment, I know a good collection of old people songs. )
My Sweet Joe (Joe Sweet? or even Dulce...),
Out of a compulsive (OCD at it's most out of control) need to clean my inbox, I have at times been guilty of deleting your letters when I don't (think) I have time to read them. I have finally created a special folder just for your newsletters. I am printing them one by one on my tired-ass printer. I lounge on my porch swing and read them. (My back's too f'd up to read at the computer.) Now I regret the deleting of some issues. Do you have an archive. I must have them all (bwaa-ha-ha-haa)!!! peace love and bi-focals, Lisa Markley
(Note: Dear Lisa, Thank you for the lovely letter. It gives me a nice queasy feeling to think of you swinging there and reading something I wrote. I tried printing out one of my newsletters once, to give to a computer-challenged friend. With all the links etc I think it came to about 35 pages. I wouldn't wish that on any lame-ass printer. If I work mine too hard it starts making a noise, like coughing up hair balls, then segues into a plastic voodoo-like death rattle, and decides to finish the printing half way across the page and onto the roller. If I could get my one good leg up that high, I'd kick it. Cheaper to buy a laptop. The Newsletter Archive is on my website. Keep on swingin'!)
Re: Beautiful Prose- Beautiful Music
Just read this beautiful piece of prose!
"Exploiting the natural tensions of the harmonic minor, Klemzer (sic) brings a wide variety of dynamics into the musical vocabulary which makes for fresh and spirited performances."
I bet very few of you have been there when the natural tensions of the harmonic minor have been trying to tear themselves apart. Bigruss (Klezmer)
(Note: Actually, Russ, I experienced something along those lines a couple of days ago trying to slice a piece of guanciale (pig's cheek) with a dull kitchen knife. The knife slipped and I cut my hand, screaming out in the key of Vafanculo Minor. But, folks, Big Russ has unwittingly pointed out an extremely rare sub-branch of 12th century jewish Klezmer music called 'KLEMZER'. These break-away musical outlaws not only exploited the natural tensions in the harmonic minor but also the natural tensions in the spelling of the word itself, often resulting in bloodshed and the infamous 'Klemzer-Klezmer Clan Wars'. The Klezmers, of course, emerged victorious, relegating the defeated Klemzers to virtual musical anonymity, and writing one-liners for Henny Youngman.)
I found my own face in a pizza crust the other night, but that's because I was just too lazy to cook. Ha ha. Here's an apparition that I saw way back in 2003 ... it's not a pizza but if you examine you will see Lady Madonna herself in the ham at "i Carusi" restaurant in Brunswick. Enjoy, Peter Casamento Photography
(Note: Yes, Peter I definitely see Our Lady of the Proscuittos. Further on down the line though, I noticed something else.
Re: WOMEN IN ART
When a couple of male friends sent me the website above, after I had looked at it I sent them the following semi-rant:
"Not an African, nor an Oriental, in the entire bunch. Guess that's because there was nobody around to paint them? And no one over 30, I'd say. . . . I've personally known beautiful women of 35, 40, 45 and up, with a welcome addition of maturity and wisdom to add to their beauty. No wonder cosmetics command such a huge amount of women's discretionary spending money, what with many men being stuck/limited in their conception of beauty to those women under 30 - who are white. "
On the other hand, I debated sending it on - being white, male, and born in 1940, myself! WaylandN
(Note: Wayland, obviously you won . . . and also lost, your debate. Congrats . . . and, also, better luck next time.)
Do you suppose that's where the word caca or kaka (kahk-uh. I've never seen it in print) comes from? You know, as in, "Mommy, I have to make caca" or "George Bush is a kaka head." Related to words/speech, you might find some of these interesting -- class material for a 400 Level English course at Cal State Northridge. Best, JJ
(Note: Or "Mommy, George W Bush is making ca-ca on the Constitution." Interesting website, JJ. Here are a few nuggets I found there:
1. " The common speech of the commonwealth
of Australia represents the most brutal maltreatment which has
ever been inflicted upon the mother tongue of the English-speaking
Walter Churchill (of the American Philological Society)
2. "Di vos fo som man di krai fo bush:
'Fix di ples weh Papa God di go, mek yi rud tret'."
(The voice of some man the cry in bush: 'Fix the place which Papa God the go, make's road straight'.)
Sample of Cameroonian Pidgin Version of Gospel
3. " A no wahn a ting to du wid yu bika
yu kom lang taym an yu no kom luk fu Titi. Hu iz dis, Pap?"
(I want nothing to do with you because you have not come for a long time to see Titi. Who is this?)
Miskito English - Miskito Coast, Nicaragua
RAY J JOHNSON
"Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, you doesn't has to call me Johnson, You can call me RAY; or you can call me JAY . . . "
Does anyone remember Raymond J. Johnson, Jr, a character created by comedian Bill Saluga? He only had one schtick, and it was short one, but it was a knock-out. He kept popping up on tv comedy shows when I was a kid. I finally found a recording of his famous routine.
Free Website Translator
Here's a nifty little script you can add to your homepage that allows your readers to instantly translate your site into other languages. Once you click on it, it also automatically translates every other page within your website. Naturally, it's a rough-as-guts machine translation but sometimes that's enough to give folks the drift of what's going on. I use these things all the time. (Click on one of the little flags to try it on this page!) You can just grab the Logo, with country flags, or go here.
AA GILL - FOOD CRITIC WITH CHILI
" Adrian Anthony Gill is a British newspaper columnist and writer. He is also restaurant reviewer in the Style section of the London Sunday Times. Gill suffers from severe dyslexia. All his works are written by him dictating to copytakers. He has received criticism from countless UK celebrities and the social elite due to his abrasive nature. He was once described as a "complete and utter prick" by Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic. . . ." wikipedia
Obviously, an extremely controversial guy (who likes it that way) but writes as though he's got a firecracker up his arse. (Sometimes not a bad thing.) He seems to make a lot of people angry. (He did make me laugh, with a side of occasional wince.) I wonder if I should send him my new album for a review? Here are a few of his food comments from his recent trip to the restaurant, DIM T:
" Dim T (not a name to conjure
with) is sort of beginner's oriental food for people who think
Pot Noodles are a sophisticated treat. I rarely come across food
that I really, really can't force down through squeamish disgust
I feel it would be a professional failing. But Dim T served
up the disgust that squeams not once, but half a dozen times.
When the waiter took our laden plates away, surveyed our faces
burkaed with napkins and asked if everything was all right, if
I had been able to open my mouth with safety, I would have said:
"You tell me." The nicest thing you could say about
the dim sum is that it was what you imagine dog food would be
like if it was stuffed into wet Wonder Bread and steamed until
it gave up.
Chicken, cashew nut and coriander looked like a hippo's inflamed tonsil; the smell of it was like vinegar in the eyes. . . . A spicy chicken soup was a large bowl of thin, hot, smelly water. My wokked pork fillet with egg noodles was a foul, grey, greasy, overcooked confection that you might expect to find in a fire station or a sixth-form common room. I have never met a Pot Noodle I wouldn't have preferred. Altogether, this is as bad a concept and execution in a restaurant as I have come across for years. . .
5 stars: Dim of praise
4 stars: Nice but dim
3 stars: Dim sum
2 stars: Dim and dimmer
1 star: Diminished responsibility " (article)
(thanks to Chef Dai Woosnam)
de Citron, avec une Sauce des Cerises,
Anis Étoilé et Peau de Citron
(Small Lemon Tart with Cherry and Star Anise Sauce and Candied Lemon Peel)
From a menage of various recipe influences; the pasta frollo from Loretta Sartori, the Cherry Sauce with Star Anise, adapted from a fig recipe by Guy Grossi, and the lemon filling, from Stephanie Alexander.
(sweet shortcrust pastry)
1 egg (55 g)
100 g sugar
200 g unsalted butter
300 g plain flour
9 small fluted loose-bottomed 9-10 cm tart tins
Cream butter and sugar lightly. Add the egg
and continue creaming until absorbed. Carefully fold in flour,
mixing only until just combined. The dough will still be a little
sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Knead the chilled dough lightly first to soften, then roll out evenly in all directions with a small amount of dusting powder.
Blind Bake: Line the tart cases with the pastry, pressing into base and sides. Remove excess pastry around edge with a knife. (Left over pastry can be frozen and thawed out the morning you want to use it.) Chill pastry in cases for one hour. Preheat oven to 180C. Place a piece of baking paper and then line with foil. (I skip the baking paper part and just use the foil.) Fill cases with beans to keep the edges stable in the oven. Bake for 10 -15 minutes. Remove from oven when outer edge of crust is golden brown. Remove beans and check bottom. If bottom is still moist, return to oven (without beans) for five minutes until base is ready.
Cherry Sauce with Star Anise
2 cups red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/4 teasp pepper
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
500 g castor sugar
1 cup water
500 g fresh cherries, pitted
Put red wine, cinnamon, star anise, pepper, vanilla bean, sugar and water into a heavy based pan. Cook over moderate heat until liquid has reduced a little and is syrupy. Add cherries and lower heat. Cook for five minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cherries and set aside. Return sauce to heat and reduce further until about half the volume. The sauce should be quite thick now. Remove from heat and return cherries to sauce. Cool until ready to use.
Candied Lemon Peel
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1. Cut lemon into slices, and remove the fruit
pulp. Scrape off as much of the white inner layer as you can,
this part is bitter..
2. Bring water to a boil in a small pan, and add lemon peels. Boil for about 5 minutes, until tender. Remove peels from water, and stir in sugar. Return to a boil, add peels, and boil until transparent. Drain and slice into slivers. Set aside until ready to use.
3 large lemons
250 g castor sugar
200 ml cream
Extra cream for serving
Pre-heat oven to 160 C. Zest and juice lemons. Combine eggs and sugar until well-blended. Add zest and juice. Stir. Add cream and mix thoroughly using a whisk. Pour into just baked pastry cases and bake for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in tin for 30 minutes before serving.
Turn out onto plate, dust with icing sugar, gently swirl some of the thickened cherry sauce into the fresh cream and either spoon on top or on side of tart. Garnish with the slivered lemon peel.
Makes approx nine small tarts.
THE FINAL HURRAH
The Silent Debate
Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy, if the Pope won, they would have to leave.
The Jewish people met and picked an aged, but wise Rabbi Moishe to represent them in the debate. However, as Moishe spoke no Italian, and the Pope spoke no Yiddish, they all agreed that it would be a "silent" debate.
On the chosen day, the Pope and Rabbi Moishe sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Rabbi Moishe looked back and raised one finger. Next, the Pope waved his finger around his head. Rabbi Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.
The Pope then brought out a communion wafer
and a chalice of wine. Rabbi Moishe pulled out
an apple. With that, the Pope stood up and declared
that he was beaten, that Rabbi Moishe was too clever, and
that the Jews could stay.
Later, the Cardinals met with the Pope, asking what had happened. The Pope said, "First, I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there is still only one God common to both our beliefs. Then, I waved my finger to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground to show that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us of all our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of the original sin. He had me beaten and I could not continue."
Meanwhile the Jewish community was gathered
around Rabbi Moishe.
"How did you win the debate?" they asked.
"I haven't a clue," said Moishe. "First he said to me that we had three days to get out of Italy, so I gave him the finger. Then he tells me that the whole country would be cleared of Jews and I said to him, we're staying right here."
"And then what?" asked a woman.
"Who knows?" said Moishe, "He took out his lunch, so I took out mine."
(thanks to Elizabeth Van Dort)