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Friday June 2, 2006

Law of Prosopagnosia Shaddapus

"I hate quotations."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dear Folks,

Prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, is a neurological condition that renders a person incapable of recognizing faces. It is unrelated to the person's ability to see faces. Someone with perfect vision can suffer from prosopagnosia. In the normal brain there is a center that is dedicated to face recognition. Prosopagnosia arises when that special center becomes damaged or is otherwise unable to perform its function. (more info)

Prosopagnosia Shaddapus, or Shaddap You Face-blindness, on the other hand, is a related condition that renders a person incapable of shaddaping their face. Period. It is unrelated to the person's actual speech ability. Someone with perfect speech can suffer from prosopagnosia shaddapus and be incapable of shutting their pie hole. In the normal human throat there is a center that is dedicated to yada-yada-yada recognition. Prosopagnosia shaddapus arises when that special center becomes clogged with cat furballs, shag carpet lint or simple gasbagging fumes and is otherwise unable to perform its normal function.

Tickets went on sale in Melbourne last Monday for The Countdown Spectacular Tour which I will be performing in throughout Australia in August, as most of you probably know by now, with the intense national promotion that has been going on. In just two hours, the first show at the Rod Laver Arena, in Melbourne, was sold out with 10,000 tickets being snapped up immediately and a second show added! Now, I'm not used to this kind of excitement folks, believe me! I'm not Madonna or Willie Nelson, even though I have long stringy hair and a nice bum. (For instance, how does an independent record label and t-shirt business - like yours truly - plan for an audience of potentially 200,000 people in three weeks? Think about it. Say you usually manufacture a CD run of 1000 copies - an average run for an independent artist - and sold them all out in the first show! Then what? Eleven more shows to go. Yikes! The mind boggles.) Anyway, I've learned over the years not to be greedy, but grateful, for special opportunities like this. Overcapitalizing, under the hypnosis of greed, has brought many a punter - and bank account - thundering to the ground.) I think my plan will be to just relax and stay the same - and if by some miracle, I sell out all my stuff in the first show, well, then say thank you, dear godmother fortune - and then go and make a new, long overdue CD. If I don't sell out, I will still have my Willie Nelson hair shirt.

Here's an excerpt from last week's The Melbourne Age which, also, pretty much sums up the way I feel about that Axis of Idolatries: Australian Idol, American Idol and the Italian hit, Vafanculo Idol:


" . . . Of course, it's not really about the song. Not any more. Not since Abba won, actually, in 1974. And it was never about the lyrics. Eurovision is now less a contest than an industry, and the industry buzzword is radiance. Pre MTV, radiance came from within. These days, radiance is like electricity: it must be installed by a skilled tradesman. Contestants' record companies routinely hire choreographers to contrive sparkle by programming dance steps, a racy costume change and the kind of startled, freeze-frame smile that might otherwise be produced by applying an electric cattle prod to the contestant's rear." John van Tiggelen, The Age Good Weekend, May 20, 2006.



[You quoted:] ' . . .the qualities Christianity idealises especially for women are also those of a victim: sacrificial love, passive acceptance of suffering, humility, meekness, etc.'
Mary Daly.

Aren't those qualities that Christ recommended of all his followers, not just women? Or have I got it wrong somehow? And if I recall correctly, Gandhi was male, too, wasn't he? I believe Buddha also preached humility, did he not? And he was a guy, no? In my book, it's the high testosterone level of man-kind which precipitates and prolongs the violent legacy of the human race, and God save us all from it. I thought that the current trend of thought was to desire a few more of those feminine traits - like nurturing, caring, giving, etc. - to be fostered/engendered in the otherwise combative and belligerent hairy gender. I understand that female CEOs are in great demand these days because they bring to the negotiating table ability to compromise, understanding of and compassion for human nature/others, humility, tolerance, etc. Newt W

(Note: Newt, the point that Barbara Deming is making - and her unique contribution - is the emphasis on, of course, preserving those essential qualities that Christ refers to, but also clarifying, especially for women, the need for sufficient aggression - or self-assertion - so that there is no confusion with traditional and patriarchal notions of passivity, which for women historically has meant victimisation. For women, especially, there is a BIG difference between pacifism and non-violent resistance - The key word here being: RESISTANCE! Here is a quote (forgive me Waldo) that helps illustrate how the playing field isn't exactly even between men and women:)

"I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career." Gloria Steinem

Subject: DELETE
I never asked to be on your list.
.mp3 audio,
Scott Hawley

(Note: I particularly liked Hawley's way of asking to be taken off my newsletter list. He sent me the above .mp3 live recording of a song he wrote called, ' Take Me Off Your Stupid Email List.')

Hi Joe,
Where do I start to tell you about this website? The square watermelon, the photomosaics that go on forever, the build-it-yourself pinhole papercutout camera, the mosquito-like ringtone that teachers can't hear so kids in class can ring their friends, the fight against totalitarianism in the US, clothing that lets you do your own acupressure, a $100 laptop for the developing world, the treehouse that looks like a cartoon invention, etc etc etc  No recipes, though!! Cheers,
Justine (site)

Hello, Joe,
And thanks as always for the entertaining
newsletter/philosophical primer/catch-as-catch-can email. Do you know the owners of Harmony Row Vineyards, a venue that you list? . . . I was intrigued by the name and wondered if it owed anything to the album 'Harmony Row' by Jack Bruce. This might be my favorite recording of all time and few people, at least here in the States, seem to know that dark masterpiece Bruce and Brown created after the breakup of Cream. Thanks again for your continued service to musicians and grammarians,
John William Davis

(Note: John, I'm not familiar with that album but it sounds like something I need to know about. The Cream was a big influence on my music, and I taught myself to learn and play ALL of Eric Clapton's electric guitar solos, note for note, vibrato for vibrato, in my band, Headstone Circus, back in the early 70s. Harmony Row Vineyard is a joint venture of Dennis Cartwright and Cliff Ellery. I've printed a little recipe for salsa, that I had there last week, further down below. Harmony Row was also the name of an Australian comedy made in the 30s by F.W. Thring, the father of the eccentric Australian actor, Frank Thring, whose most well-known role was as Pontius Pilate, in Ben Hur. I'm sure there's also some kind of link here: you know, Jesus, grapes, vineyard, Pontius Pilate, Frank Thring . . . . . . . Cliff Ellery . . . well, maybe not. Anyway, here's Cliff's comments to your note:)

(pic: Pontius Clifftus)

Hi Joe,
It is true that when we were searching for a name that conveyed music and wine .. when the thinking came around to something involving harmony (music & peace .. how appropriate!), we thought of Jack Bruce and his "Harmony Row" album. Harmony Row was a street of slums, now demolished, close to where Jack spent part of his childhood.  Harmony Row was famous for being the longest unbroken tenament in Europe, at just over one mile long. We were aware of the connection but primarily wanted to convey an image of music & peace amongst the rows of vines. Cheers, Cliff)



Here is a creative website you will enjoy. It's called stuffonmycat.com. Novel ways of piling objects on your favourite feline. They say cats are smarter than dogs and have more integrity, or whatever. I think you will change your mind after you see a few of these photos. (Can you image a dog letting you do this stuff?) You can even submit your own photos. (site)



" My first single wasn't The Specials. It wasn't even Madness, or Blondie; they all maintain kudos. No, it wasn't any of them, it was Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'. (Ed Note: Good on ya!) I loved it. With its witty lyrics, funny pseudo-Italian voice and amusing video, it was a true folk song of its time. C'mon, gimme a break: I was nine. Clearly I wasn't alone buying this single: it was selling fifty-thousand copies each day, dwarfing the sales of many Number Ones these days. And I remember quite a queue in W H Smith, Basildon. Yet I've never heard anyone else admit their first single was Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'. Wait. It gets worse. My first album wasn't The Jam, or The Wedding Present, or Soft Cell; all of which would have been OK. No, such a devoted fan was I, it was also Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'. (Ed Note: I'm starting to like this kid!) As I'd enjoyed Joe's follow-up singles, 'If You Want To Be Happy (For The Rest Of Your Life)' and 'Reggae Matilda'. Yes, there were follow-up singles, and an album. C'mon, gimme a break: I was ten. Clearly I was fairly alone buying this album: it didn't sell very many copies, and I was served almost immediately in Kelleys Radio, Basildon. Before being swiftly escorted from the building. So I'm not totally surprised I've never heard anyone else admit their first album was Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'. Don't go! Stay. But it gets so much worse. My first gig wasn't The Smiths, or Depeche Mode, or even FGTH; all would have been respectable first gigs. No, it wasn't even Joe Dolce. That would had been silly: he didn't tour this country, and I wasn't that sadly obsessed." Unluckyman, UK

"Joe Dolce was fabulous."
Cindy Sheehan, on the performance of GIFT (from One Iraqi Child), CORETTA SCOTT KING and IMAGINE, to open the Unity for Peace Public Meeting, Melbourne May 25th, 2006

'I hated Joe Dolce's, 'When The Lips and the Skin Remember'. This was grandly proclaimed as a song cycle to poems of C.P. Cavafy. None of the poems' sensuousness were evident; indeed much of the music could well have accompanied a description of a retired matron changing a nappy.' Michael Easton, Melbourne music critic and composer (r.i.p.) The Age 1995.

(Note: Folks, I had to throw one bummer in there just to balance things out and let you know I wasn't vanishing into the Black Hole of Culocutta.)

"You have made my LIFE!"
Eighty-seven year old Greek man, (who knew and lived in the house next to CP Cavafy in Alexandria) commenting after a performance of 'When The Lips and the Skin Remember' at Mietta's Salon, 1995.


Thorium - the New Alternative Energy
(Rina Garner interview with Red Symons)

" Thorium is a naturally-occurring, slightly radioactive metal discovered in 1828 by the Swedish chemist Jons Jakob Berzelius, who named it after Thor, the Norse god of thunder. It is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils, where it is about three times more abundant than uranium. It also has the capability to generate power inexpensively, offers no possibility of a meltdown, creates no weapons grade by-products and burns up existing high-level waste as well as old nuclear weapon stockpiles. Red Symons spoke to Wilson de Silva of, Cosmos Magazine to find out more about this super-element and why it is still largely unheard of and under-utilised. . . . considering that Australia has the world's highest reserve of thorium (at 300 000 tonnes, followed by India at 290 000 then Norway at 17 000) it seems it could definitely be within the country's interest to be looking at this research. . . ." (interview)



From: Herman Willard Subject: Huge Tit Sucking Cock

(Note: I couldnt quite visualize how that worked, so I had to check it out. It was actually an ad for a $69 fake Rolex. Mr Willard must have meant clock.)


Can You Tell the Difference Between Computer Programmers and Serial Killers?
(A Little Photo Quiz)


Monkey Business 2008
By Kelpie Wilson

"The press is putting everyone on notice that they are going to keep their noses firmly buried in Hillary Clinton's panty drawer for the next two years." David Wyles

Is this what the 2008 [US] presidential contest is going to look like? Last week, two media stories made me wonder.

On Wednesday we were treated to a jaw-dropping Bill Frist puff piece by Washington Post writer Laura Blumenfield, who followed the politician and heart surgeon into a National Zoo operating room as he performed an operation on a gorilla named Kuja. Her breathless reporting describes the surgeon's "hairy arms" and the odor of gorilla testosterone. She fantasizes about the stanky hormone clinging to the Senate majority leader as he presides over the Senate later in the day as its top "silverback" gorilla.

And she gives us this incredible quote:

Frist listened to the heart; the gorilla's lub-dub sounded human. "When you're this close, you feel this kind of oneness with them ... Gorillas, people, men. You look at the people here, a symphonic flow of people pitching in. It's the oneness of humanity."

What does this mean? The surgeon who diagnosed Terry Shiavo by videotape ultimately mis-diagnosed the appeal of the Shiavo death-watch beyond the fundamentalist base. As he sets his sights on 2008, is he reaching out now to animal lovers and ecologists with this declaration of oneness with the gorilla? Won't he get in trouble with the Creationists for this, despite the fact that he endorses teaching Intelligent Design?

The absolute separation of humans from all other animals is a key plank in the fundamentalist world view. As superior beings, humans are seen as exempt from nature's rules, with permission to kill polar bears, spotted owls and orangutans anytime they get in the way of human needs and appetites.

But what if we are just like any other creature that overshoots its carrying capacity - like yeast in a jar of sugar water? When it uses up all the sugar, the yeast dies, leaving behind its waste product, alcohol. article


The Brief Safe

A money safe built into a pair of men's jockey shorts, complete with fake 'skid' marks! Leave them in plain view. No burglar in their right mind would pick them up and look through them. (Produced by . . wait for it . . . . Shomer-Tech Law Enforcement and Military Equipment!) (site)



1. Autopsy: No Arabs on Flight 77
By Thomas R. Olmsted, M.D

I am an ex Naval line officer and a psychiatrist in private practice in New Orleans, a Christian and homeschool dad. It troubled me a great deal that we rushed off to war on the flimsiest of evidence. I considered various ways to provide a smoking gun of who and why Sept 11th happened. Astute observers noticed right away that there were no Arabic sounding names on any of the flight manifests of the planes that "crashed" on that day. A list of names on a piece of paper is not evidence, but an autopsy by a pathologist, is. I undertook by FOIA request, to obtain that autopsy list and you are invited to view it below. Guess what? Still no Arabs on the list. article

2. Barbara Olson's "Phone Call" From Flight 77

This is a story about a little white lie that bred dozens of other little white lies, then hundreds of bigger white lies and so on, to the point where the first little white lie must be credited as the "Mother of All Lies" about events on 11 September 2001.  For this was the little white lie that first activated the American psyche, generated mass loathing, and enabled media manipulation of theglobal population. Without this little white lie there would have been no Arab Hijackers, no Osama Bin Laden directing operations from afar, and no "War on Terror" in Afghanistan and occupied Palestine. Clearly the lie was so clever and diabolical in nature, it must have been generated by the "Power Elite" in one of its more earthly manifestations. Perhaps it was the work of the Council on Foreign Relations, or the Trilateral Commission?  
     No, it was not. Though at the time the little white lie was flagged with a powerful political name, there was and remains no evidence to support the connection. Just like the corrupt and premature Lee Harvey Oswald story in 1963, there are verifiable fatal errors which ultimately prove the little white lie was solely the work of members of the media. Only they had access, and only they had the methods and means.
    The little white lie was about Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator for CNN and wife of US Solicitor General Ted Olson.  Now deceased, Mrs Olson is alleged to have twice called her husband from an American Airlines Flight 77 seat-telephone, before the aircraft slammed into the Pentagon. This unsubstantiated claim, reported by CNN remarkably quickly at 2.06 am EDT [0606 GMT] on September 12, was the solitary foundation on which the spurious "Hijacker" story was built. article


The Torpedoing of the Wilhelm Gustloff


The torpedoing of the Wilhelm Gustloff by the Russian submarine S-13 resulted in over 9,000 tragic deaths ­ a staggering figure by any comparison.  Heartbreakingly, estimates have indicated that up to half of those who perished were children.  Furthermore, examination of history and facts surrounding the Gustloff provide drama rivaling any award-winning movie or book ever made. However, ask most people to name the greatest ship disaster is in history and you'll usually get a response that inevitably includes the Titanic (which is then usually dismissed as being too obvious).  Other suggestions will be offered like the Lusitania, USS ArizonaAndrea Doria, etc. Depending on where you live in the world, the ship names may be different - with the probable exception of the Titanic due to its profile.  Rarely will the Gustloff (or indeed other German ships evacuating the Bay of Danzig/Gdansk in early 1945) be among them.  Why? article


Natural Laws of the Universe

Law of Mechanical Repair:
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to 
itch or you'll have to pee.

Law of the Workshop:
Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

Law of  Probability:
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the 
stupidity of your act.

Law of the Telephone:
When you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal.

Law of the Alibi:
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat 
tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.

Variation Law:
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will  
start to move faster than the one you are in now.

Bath Theorem:
When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

Law of Close Encounters:
The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with
someone you don't want to be seen with.

Law of the Result:
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

Law of Bio mechanics:
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

Theatre Rule:
At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle 
arrive last.

Law of Coffee:
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask  you
to do something  which will last until the coffee is cold.

Murphy's Law of Lockers:
If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent

Law of Dirty Rugs/Carpets:
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a 
floor covering are directly correlated to the newness, light-color  and
cost of the carpet/rug.

Law of Logical Argument:
Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

Wilson's Law:
As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop 
making it.
(thanks to Bill Lempke)



Alison's Harmony Row Salsa

I had this brilliant and simple salsa over the weekend at the Harmony Row Vineyard, where
DifficultWomen performed. Here is Alison Cash's simple but so yummy idea. I made it myself, from memory, with a few additions. Careful, it's pretty addictive.

fresh tomato, sliced and diced
some thai sweet chili sauce
fresh mint leaves, chopped finely

Mix the ingredients in any ratio you want depending on what flavours you want more or less of.

The Dolce 'Culo da Inferno' Variation

Add two pickled chopped jalapeno peppers, five seeded and chopped green chilies, one finely chopped red bird's eye chili (hot!) and a bunch of fresh chopped coriander. Ouch! Serve with steak, hamburgers, in tacos, on refried beans, with lentils, or as a side with huevos rancheros.



The End of the Raven

by Edgar Allen Poe's Cat

On a night quite unenchanting,
when the rain was downward slanting, 
I awakened to the ranting
of the man I catch mice for.

Tipsy and a bit unshaven,
in a tone I found quite craven,
Poe was talking to a Raven perched
above the chamber door.

"Raven's very tasty," thought I,
as I tiptoed o'er the floor,
 "There is nothing I like more".
Soft upon the rug I treaded,
calm and careful as I headed
Towards his roost atop that dreaded
bust of Pallas I deplore.

While the bard and birdie chattered,
I made sure that nothing clattered,
Creaked, or snapped, or fell, or shattered,
as I crossed the corridor;

For his house is crammed with trinkets,
curios and weird decor -
Bric-a-brac and junk galore.
Still the Raven never fluttered,
standing stock-still as he uttered,
In a voice that shrieked and sputtered,
his two cents' worth - "Nevermore."

While this dirge the birdbrain kept up,
oh, so silently I crept up,
Then I crouched and quickly leapt up,
pouncing on the feathered bore.

Soon he was a heap of plumage,
and a little blood and gore-
Only this and not much more.

 "Oooo!" my pickled poet cried out,
 "Pussycat, it's time I dried out!
Never sat I in my hideout
talking to a bird before.

How I've wallowed in self-pity,
while my gallant, valiant kitty
Put and end to that damned ditty" -
then I heard him start to snore.

Back atop the door I clambered,
eyed that statue I abhor,
Jumped - and smashed it on the floor.


~ by Edgar Allen Poe's Cat ~
(from Henry Beard's, POETRY FOR CATS)




Some people are like Slinkies.
Not really good for anything,
but you still can't help but smile
when you see one tumble down the stairs.