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Friday March 24th, 2006


The Ghosts of Athens - The Most Haunted Town in Ohio

' You're all perfectly safe, by the way. I took off my shoes at the airport. Terrorists hate the smell of feet.'
Kurt Vonnegut


Dear Folks,

I recently discovered a nice cover version online of one of the first songs I ever wrote, 'Athens County', performed by a group called, The Mission Mountain Wood Band, and recorded in New York City, in 1978.

'Athens County' was written in an unusual way. I wrote the music and lyrics when I lived in Athens, Ohio, in the mid-70s. (Athens, Ohio, by the way, was named by the British Psychical Society, in the 1800s, as one of the most haunted spots in the WORLD, especially the Athens Mental Heath Center (aka the Athens Lunatic Asylum, the Athens Asylum for the Insane, the Athens Mental Health and Retardation Center, the Athens Hospital, the Athens Mental Hospital, etc) where I was an actual inmate for a little while. More on the Ghosts of Athens, and my incarcerations there further down below. Meanwhile back to the story about the song . . .)

In a letter to my onetime band-mate, Jonathan Edwards, who was living in Boston, I enclosed a copy of the lyrics to my song, 'Athens County'. I thought Jon would like it, as we both went to college in Athens, took a lot of acid trips together there, and had played in the hottest little band in the county, The Headstone Circus. Now Jon, for some illogical reason, set the lyrics I sent him, from the song that I told him that I had already written, to his OWN music, and recorded it that way! (Can any other songwriter imagine doing that?) He didn't even ask my permission - but I didn't care either! (We were all still naive free love hippies in those days, you have to understand.) The first time I heard this collaboration was on his first album - the album that included 'Sunshine', his huge hit single. Well, I continued to play 'Athens County' in live performance my own way with my original music, but over the years, eventually came to accept Jon Edwards' and my oddly conceived musical love-child as the true version. If you want to hear an excerpt of The Mission Mountain Wood Band's recording, go here: (site)

(Note: I send an email to the band to let them know I loved their harmony interpretation of my song and asked where I could get the complete track. Someone in the office wrote me back that I if I wanted to get a copy of the song, I could buy the 5 CD and DVD, with 24 page Commemorative Booklet, Collectors Edition, on their website for - $US 100.- (Exsqueeze me?). I was about to dash off a reply thanking them and suggesting that they in turn could purchase 'The Collected Vanfaculo of Joe Dolce' on my website, when I got another email this morning from the artist letting me know that a Special Edition would be sent to me, free of charge, with compliments.)

I recently bought a CD of another artist I liked online from CD BABY. This is the unexpected shipping notice I got:

" Dear Joe, RE: CD Baby loves Joe! Thanks for your order with CD Baby! Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing. Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Monday, March 20th. I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers
, President, CD Baby. "

(Note: Kind of gives you hope for the world, doesn't it? They better send me my 'Customer of the Year' plaque, though.)



Favourite Reader Feedback of the Week

Dear Joe,
. . . What a pisser that they cut your song on the "Where Are They Now" program. Of course, the New World Order don't want your kind of cutting remarks going out to the public. Do they? Cheers,
Jim P.

Hi Joe,
Re: Julius Caesar Quote Last Issue 

" Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar." Julius Caesar

Nice quote [Joe]. But it looks like it isn't actually JULIUS CAESAR. There's a HUGE amount of stuff on the internet about this quote. (article)
There are also a few right wing sites which lampoon Barbra Streisand who told a political rally that it was Shakespeare. Best wishes,
Michael Cathcart

(Note: Thanks to Michael and also WaylandN for pointing out my error. The actual quote is not from Caesar, but from a well-known cartoon pig and should read:

" Wookout the weedew who bangs the dwums of Waw in owdew to whip the citizenwy into a patwiotic fewvow, fow patwiotism is indeed a double-wedged swowd. It both embowdens the bwood, just as it nawwows the mind. And when the dwums of Waw have weached a fevew pitch and the bwood boyos with hate and the moind has cwosed, the weeder will have no need in seizing the wights of the citizenwy. Wather, the citizenwy, infwused with feaw and bwinded by patwiotism, will offew up aw of theiw wights unto the weedew and gwadwy so. How do I know? (You tawking to me? You tawking to ME?) For this is what I have done. And I am DUBWA." Porkus Dubwus Seizure

Hi Joe,
How's things? Hope it's going well with all the globetrotting. You'll be glad to hear we found footage of both the Dutch and French cover versions of "Shaddap" so I'm posting full length copies of both to you as a thank you for all your help. The Dutch one is my personal favourite, a guy in a white suit with a wig and a fake moustache, accompanied by a group of scantily clad women. I can't understand a word he is saying but it's unmistakably "Shaddap You Face". Once our programme is finished we will, of course, send you a copy of that as well.  Many thanks again for all your kind help,  Regards,
Sam, UK

Just to say your newsletter is a real tonic .. glad to have made the connection. aum out,
Robert David

(Note: One of the many acquaintances made as a result of the US Folk Alliance, singer-songwriter, Robert David, also plays some mean French Canadian squeezebox, so visit his website: (site)

Re: Airline Stories

Always love the newsletter. Living as I do in Atlanta, the home of the world's busiest airport, and being a frequent traveler myself, I especially liked the airline announcements in the latest edition. Here's something I got back in response to my forwarding of that particular section. Best regards, Patrick N

" When I was in high school, I had a very good friend whose father was chief pilot at Delta. He felt that part of his job required him to promote air travel, so he never told unfavorable stories. But on the very, very rare occasion that someone got a drink into him stories would gush forth. I remember three.

1. He served as the pilot rep on committees investigating complaints passengers made against airlines. Once an international carrier completing a Pacific crossing noticed a biological wonder known as the "red tide" just off the coast of California. Several passengers complained about the flight crew pointing it out with this message:

"Ladies and gentlemen. We are approaching the coast of California. Those of you on the left side of the aircraft will notice that the water is colored a brilliant red. This phenomenon is called the red tide. Scientists don't know what causes red tide but it is believed to be the result of millions of tiny orgasms."

2. Another favorite was about the guys up front who didn't have the seniority to get a really good flight. They flew as a team on an easy flight that required them to take off, cruise on autopilot for a couple of hours, and then land. They would then turn around and do it over again. The two (actually there were three in those days) got to be quite a team and would bid on flights together. They got to know each other quite well. All three delighted in the discovery that they shared a deep belief in Christianity. Eventually it was decided that they would read aloud from the Bible during the autopilot phase of the flight. All went well for months - they formed a closer bond with each other and with Christ - until the day that they forgot to kill the microphone after making cabin announcements.

3. And the best story --- when a major airline decided to go all-jet it had to delay the transformation because of one flight from Atlanta to South Carolina. The airport in South Carolina was too small to accommodate jets but the flight could not be taken off of the schedule because the airline had a mail contract to service the route. The airline decided to stop selling tickets on the flight - thus becoming an all-jet passenger carrier - while flying the route cargo - only for several months until the mail contract expired. It was boring for the flight crew. The flight was too short for them to do anything; there were no passengers; and they generally flew in the middle of the night. The crew quickly discovered that they constituted the only commercial flight to this rural Southern airport. They developed the non-standard practice of turning off all of the aircraft running lights before radioing for landing instructions. The contact call would go out to the tower: "S----g tower, guess who?" The FAA tower employees (back in the good old days when the FAA staffed rural towers) appreciated the joke but, with repetition, it got old. One dark night the plane approached the destination airport with its lights off and radioed the familiar "Guess who?" To the aircrew's shock, all of the approach, landing, taxiway, and apron lights suddenly died. The only hint that of where the airport might be was the extreme darkness in the middle of the countryside. Before the crew could react, their radio crackled. "Guess where." MKJ


Schapelle Corby Tours


" My name is Eddie Hutauruk and I have been running tours in Bali for over 8 years. Schapelle Corby Tours is our latest venture, and is fully respectful of Schapelle and her situation.

Schapelle Corby is a convicted Australian drug runner, and my tours allow people to see Schapelle in her cage at Kerobokan Prison in Bali. Tours can be arranged for most days of the week and pick-up is possible from most Bali hotels. . . " (article)


Favourite Reviews of the Week

Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face'
" ...If music be the food of love, this one gave me an upset stomach... " DMTV

'1981. No 1 in England and Australia. The Joe Dolce Music Theatre seemed to be EVERYWHERE!! Here in England, we were all shouting "Shaddap Your Face!" for yonks. Daft times - happy memories! Some of us even wore the badge...' Andy  

'joe dolce if i had a gun i would of shaddup his face alright id have shot him the only thing worse was st winifrids school choir with grandma ultravox vienna was an all time classic that should have been number 1 only to be robbed by that dickhead joe dolce is their no justice in this world ' osama bin (Mar 2006)

(Note: Osama bin . . .?? You're not the same one who . . . No! Go on! You're pulling my Camel Johnson. It couldn't be. I see that this little gem was put online just recently by Osama. Obviously, in the 25 years since 'Shaddap' was in his' Face', he hasn't forgotten the trauma. This is obviously the real motive behind 911. It's clear though that, in all that time, Osama Bin improving their minds, and Osama HaBin't.)

Poster Women


Poster Women attempts to visually map a history of the women's movement in India. There is now a collection of nearly 1,500 posters, representing the women's movement from the 1970s. Some of the major campaigns that Poster Women tracks are violence against women, more specifically domestic violence, the anti-dowry and anti-rape campaigns, sexual harassment, literacy, health and reproductive rights, environment, religion and communalism, gender equality, rights of all kinds-land rights, rights of domestic workers, dalits, working women . . . (site)

(Note: It was through the Poster Women site that I discovered a remarkable artist named Caroline Lavelle, whose album is the one I bought from CD BABY. She studied at the Royal College of Music in London but chose a different path. From the early 1980s to early 90s as a member of De Dannan spanning the golden years of that legendary group (alongside Mary Black and Dolores Keane), her three record tenure with Loreena McKennitt and as a current touring member of The Chieftains, Caroline Lavelle has maintained the thread of creativity that connects her to her Celtic heritage and rural English roots. This is Chamber-Folk at its finest. Have a listen to the track 'Timeless', and you will hear something special: (site)


Nadia McCaffrey


The following article is about my friend, Nadia McCaffrey, of the Gold Star Mothers For Peace. This is the same organisation that Cindy Sheehan belongs to. By the way, for those who asked some more information about the Peace Conference in Melbourne, it is happening from May 25 -27th. Cindy Sheehan and many other activists will be speaking, I've been invited to sing 'Gift (from One Iraqi Child)' and I will also be performing, along with Lin Van Hek, Judy Small, and others to be announced, at the Benefit Concert at Trades Hall, in Melbourne, on Friday May 12th, organized by Maggie Morgan, to help raise some money for airtickets and costs for Cindy to come out here. I will give more details a little later when I find out more. Meanwhile:

A Town's Sacrifice, a Nation's Dilemma
By Patrick May
Mercury News

TRACY - The two mothers sit side by side in front of the monument, talking quietly, huddled against the wind. From the glistening black marble, two names emerge, each a soldier, each a son. Nadia McCaffrey lost Patrick.
"I support the troops, but I want them home,'' she says. "I want the killing to stop.''

Jan Martinez lost Jesse.
" We need to be more aggressive and fight for what we believe,'' she says. " We can't just walk away."

This weekend, as an uneasy nation recognizes the third anniversary of the Iraq war, this small Central Valley town mirrors a larger uneasiness. With one of the highest per-capita rates in the state of military members killed in Iraq, Tracy is intimately engaged with this war, struggling with both the pain of loss and a muddled sense of patriotism. After the deaths of five of its young men, after the memorial services were held and the yellow ribbons downtown frayed and the care packages for the troops were sent, Tracy now seems not only emotionally spent but suspended in midair. Locals are split between pushing forward in Iraq and planning a pullback; between honoring their dead by following through and honoring their dead by getting out. . . (article)

The Toll on Tracy
A moving multimedia featuring these two mothers: (site)

The United States Is Not Preventing Civil War in Iraq
(from The Logic of Withdrawal, By Anthony Arnove)

" . . .Perhaps the greatest fear of many antiwar activists who now support the occupation is that the withdrawal of U.S. troops will lead to civil war. This idea has been encouraged repeatedly by supporters of the war.

"Sectarian fault lines in Iraq are inexorably pushing the country towards civil war unless we actually intervene decisively to stem it," explained one U.S. Army official, making the case for a continued U.S.presence.

But Washington is not preventing a civil war from breaking out. In fact, occupation authorities are deliberately pitting Kurds against Arabs, Shia against Sunni, and faction against faction to influence the character of the future government, following a classic divide-and-rule strategy.

Taking this idea to its logical extreme, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman argues, "We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind."
Such arguments are not just the fantasy of keyboard warriors like Friedman, however. As the journalist A.K. Gupta notes, "the Pentagon is arming, training, and funding" militias in Iraq "for use in counter-insurgency operations." Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said such commandos were among "the forces that are going to have the greatest leverage on suppressing and eliminating the insurgencies."

In addition, the Iraqi constitution, drafted under intense pressure from occupation authorities, essentially enshrines sectarian divisions in Iraqi politics. And, finally, despite all of its rhetoric about confronting Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq, the United States has in fact encouraged it, bringing formerly marginalized fundamentalist parties such as the Dawa Party and the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq into the Iraqi government. . " (article)


Favourite Spam Subject Heading of the Week
: Refreshingly simple way to spice up your life. Burnout.


Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools

by Greg Palast, The Guardian

Get off it. All the carping, belly-aching and complaining about George Bush's incompetence in Iraq, from both the Left and now the Right, is just dead wrong. On the third anniversary of the tanks rolling over Iraq's border, most of the 59 million Homer Simpsons who voted for Bush are beginning to doubt if his mission was accomplished. But don't kid yourself -- Bush and his co-conspirator, Dick Cheney, accomplished exactly what they set out to do. In case you've forgotten what their real mission was, let me remind you of White House spokesman Ari Fleisher's original announcement, three years ago, launching of what he called, "Operation Iraqi Liberation." O.I.L. How droll of them, how cute. Then, Karl Rove made the giggling boys in the White House change it to "O.I.F." -- Operation Iraqi Freedom. But the 101st Airborne wasn't sent to Basra to get its hands on Iraq's OIF. "It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst . . . (article)

(Note: O.I.F. - Operation Iraqi Freedom. At McDubya's you get that with a side dish of Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast. But Operation Iraqi Fuckup sounds more accurate. With the complimentary side of Fuckup Fries and Fuckup Toast. We don't need a bag, thanks. We're already holding it.)



Breakfast at McDubyas


Dick Cheney and George W. Bush were having breakfast at McDubyas. Monica Lewinsky had just started working there as a waitress and she asked Mr. Cheney what he would like, and he replied,
"I'd like a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit."
"And what can I get for you, Mr. President?"
George W. replied with his trademark wink and slight grin,
"How about a quickie this morning?"
"Why, Mr. President!" the waitress exclaimed, "How rude! You're starting to act like Mr. Clinton, and you've only been in your second term of office for a year!'

As she stormed away, Cheney leaned over to Bush and whispered...

"George, it's pronounced, 'quiche'."
(Thanks to Bill Lempke)

This one also comes from Bill -


(generously rewritten by a retired Methodist minister)

Bush is my shepherd; I dwell in want.
He maketh logs to be cut down in national forests.
He leadeth trucks into the still wilderness.
He restoreth my fears.
He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace for his ego's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will find no exit, for thou art in office.
Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control, they discomfort me.
Thou preparest an agenda of deception in the presence of thy religion.
Thou anointest my head with foreign oil.
My health insurance runneth out.
Surely megalomania and false patriotism shall follow me all the days of thy term
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.


I Am Done With Violence
Enough scenes of horrid brutality, bloodied faces, tire irons to the knee. Can you purge?

By Mark Morford
SF Gate Columnist

" It's happened. I have reached saturation, the threshold, my absolute limit.

I cannot watch another gruesome fight scene, another wanton massacre, another thuggish gangsta beat-down, another head-butt, skull-crush, pickax face-rip, crazed stabbing, fistfight, leg-smash, finger-chop, nose-crack, throat slash or another gruesome scene featuring a grisly one-eyed mutant hacking off a woman's arms and tearing off her face with a chainsaw and laughing maniacally. . . (article)


The Most Haunted Town in Ohio


If there is any town that might qualify as the most haunted place in Ohio, it would probably be Athens, a sleepy community in the Southeastern part of the state. Besides being home to the Ohio University, it is also nestled into the Appalachian Mountains, which for centuries has been considered a region of magic and ghostly folklore. There are many stories to Athens -- and many ghosts.

The ghost stories and legends here are numerous and include everything from the hauntings of an abandoned mental hospital to stone angels who shed tears in local cemeteries. . .

The Athens State Mental Hospital

This large, state operated facility had a reputation for housing the criminally insane and included a few notable inmates. Perhaps the most famous was that of Billy Milligan, one of most celebrated cases of multiple personalities. A book was written about him by Daniel Keyes and he was confined to the Athens hospital for years. As with many state mental institutions, the Athens center was closed down during federal budget cuts in the 1980's. Many of the former inmates were let out onto the streets and vanished into the landscape. The buildings were then left to the public and stories began to circulate of the horrible conditions of the hospital, of torture and of course -- of ghosts. The most famous "spook story" of the former hospital has it that a female named Marge escaped from her room while the place was in operation and disappeared. Her remains were discovered some time later. She had been hiding in the attic of the building and had starved to death. The outline of her body can still be seen on the floor of the building. . . (article)


The leading cause of insanity among the male patients was masturbation, according the annual report of 1876. In the first three years of the hospital, eighty-one men and one woman were diagnosed as having their insanity caused by masturbation. (wikipedia)

Folks, I went to college for a couple of years in Athens, Ohio, dropped out, learned about music there, played in a couple of successful local bands, learned about grass, acid, sex, love, music, art, and poetry in Athens. Everyone I know who lived in Athens (or still lives there) has come away from that place with the feeling that they have had some kind of life-changing mystical experience that is impossible to forget. Hence why I wrote the song, 'Athens County'. I didn't know when I wrote it, however, that Athens had such infamous history.

I had my most traumatic acid trip in Athens, where I totally lost it, had an extended conversation with some loud 'voice' coming out of the sky, and ended up running down the centre of main street nude and being locked up in the Pomeroy County Jail for a couple of weeks. That story is documented here in this song, 'Joe Dolce's 27th Acid Trip': (lyrics and further links)

The way I avoided the Vietnam War draft was by committing myself voluntarily to the Athens State Mental Hospital, up on the hill, for 30 days observation. (I think I used to play ping-pong in the community centre there with that Billy Milligan fellow, or someone closely related to him.) I clearly remember one of the doctors telling me in one our regular interviews that sometimes he thought I was faking it to get out of the draft - and sometimes he thought I was really ill and it was a good thing they had me in there. (Things like that used to really scare me. Especially when I was stoned. Which I usually was.) Some of my fellow inmates used to regularly slip down into the hospital catacombs and have sex with each other. I think a couple of them actually fell in love. (I hope they were real people. Who knew?)


Even the college, OHIO UNIVERSITY, was weird and hyper-creative. The head of the Art Department was a professor named, Aethelred Eldridge, and he believed he was the reincarnation of William Blake! Here's a little about ol' Aethelred:

"It's meaningless, but on the other hand, it t'aint. "
Aethelred Eldridge


"Aethelred Eldridge- Professor, Painter, and one of the Avant-Garde, delivers stream - of - consciousness lectures during "Art in Your Life." Several days a week following the class, Eldridge heads down the hilly campus from Seigfred Hall to Galbreath Chapel, where he recites Blake's poetry for up to 45 minutes. Most often, he's the only one in the room. . . . He founded the Church of William Blake on his property outside of Athens, near Mt. Nebo, a spiritualist mecca since the 1830's."

Here are a few comments from some of his students:

"Every Ohio U. student must sit in on just one class before they leave Athens, just to experience the enigma that is Aethelred. ps, he sincerely believes he's William Blake reincarnated, and i don't know if he still does, but he used to give Blake poetry readings at Galbreath once a week. pretty amusing. " 

" This is the easiest class you will ever take... you just show up for the most part... my finals were making a crayon drawing of whatever and making a bread man... "

Here is a recording of Eldridge reading Book II of 'Milton', written by William Blake (or written by himself, as the case may be:) (audio)


Blueberries in Shiraz with Star Anise

1 cup Shiraz
zest of lemon
zest of kaffir lime (or lime)
cinnamon stick, or powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teasp Star Anise powder

Place blueberries and just enough wine to cover, in a saucepan. Add sugar, cinnamon, star anise powder, lemon and kaffir lime zests. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until blueberries are soft and wine has reduced to a light syrup. Correct taste. Remove from heat and let rest for in fridge. Serve with cheesecake.


On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
~ John O'Donohue ~ 
(Echoes of Memory)