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March 31st, 2006

The Double Dubyas

"A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to its true principles. It is true that in the meantime we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war and long oppressions of enormous public debt .... If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are at stake."
Thomas Jefferson
(in response to the US Sedition Act of 1798)


Dear Folks,

My mate, Blue the Shearer, pointed out last week, in his weekly poem, the startling fact that both George Walker Bush and John Winston Howard (aka Johnny-No-Stars - see below for definition) share a common DUBYA in the middle of their monikers. Egad! The Double Dubyas. The Golden Arses. Over Ten Million Burglaries Served.


'The 25th Anniversary Inspired Shaddap You Face Contest' at the National Folk Festival next month is shaping up. Some of the contestants who will be performing their inspired interpretations are: Bernard Carney, Bruce Watson, Kavisha Mazzella and the Black Nonnas, The Gerry Doyle Trio, Brett Robin Wood, Greg Champion, Rebetiki, Les Smokin' Gitanes, Wongawilli, Touchwood, Kate Delaney, Cabaret Poetica and Vivienne Sawyer - with more to be announced no doubt. I will be threading the whole thing together with some concoctions of my own and thematic ancedotes.
National Folk Festival Site


'Sappho (Fragment 64'), recorded on my 'Freelovedays' CD, forms part of a quartet of Sappho poems I set to music 15 years ago, with the title, 'Evocation of Sappho.' It just won a songwriting contest in the US and was selected a part of the playlist of one of the biggest online radio stations in the world, from Martha's Vineyard: mvyradio.com. Here are Sappho's words.

You can listen to the song on mvyradio.com - or go to the Joe Dolce Electronic Press Kit


Favourite Reader Letters of the Week

I enjoyed reading through this [newsletter] and wonder if you're planning a book. I think you've got great style. Best,

(Note: A book is a good idea. How about this for a title, 'The Covers' - with this for a subtitle: 'The Covers (of This Book are Too Far Apart.)'

I'm so pissed that I missed my opportunity to meet you at the Folk Alliance shundig in Austin. I've been playing your songs on my Sunday night folk show for close to 40 years --- especially, "King Of Hearts" which I would always talk about with Jonathan [Edwards] when he would come on my show to sing some tunes. "Hall of Fame" is also a classic and I'm still searching for a good quality CD of Jon doing both of these tunes on a CD. Jon used to tell me about your antics when you were sharing a place---the 'writing on the wall' was a big topic of conversation way back then. From reading your posts you seem to be just a vibrant a character as you were in those early days. Keep up the great work. Maybe we can say hello somewhere down the road.
Gene, Philadelphia, PA USA

(Note: Gene has been playing my songs on his radio show for almost 40 YEARS! Talk about a reality check! 'Shaddap You Face' is only 25 years old. I've only been in Australia for 26 years. The 'writing on the wall' that he is referring to has to do with when the 'Headstone Circus' [the band that Jonathan Edwards and I were part of] shared a house together, back in 1967, two feet away from the railroad tracks, way down in Athens County, Ohio. We were all in our early twenties and this was our first real home away from the dorm living of Ohio University. [Before we all eventually dropped out.] This old house [really a shack] only had a couple of bedrooms and, as there were four band members, Jon and I jury-rigged a couple of blankets up to make a makeshift wall in the front room, and each of us had our 'bedrooms' on opposite sides of this blanket wall. Naturally, you could hear everything. After while, Jon and I got in the habit of writing down the length of time that each other spent making love to our various girlfriends, as it usually kept the other one awake until the luv noises ended. Kind of a little private tally to see who could keep the other awake the longest! Stupid, I know, but we were young, horny . . . . and couldn't sleep. Still, it's not as strange as the girl named Nancy I once knew who used to count out her orgasms by number - out loud! Really, I remember her counting up to 35 or 40 one time. My memory's a bit hazy - I was a bit out of it at the time and I think I stopped writing after 30.)

hey joe,
Didja ever hear Athens-ites, the B-52's lovely song, "dry county" ? they also wrote songs about, among other things, butterbeans, aliens, media manipulation, the environment, the girl from ipanema going to greenland, and even some fine instrumentals. Shame they were best known for a "novelty hit" (Rock Lobster). hmmm, esoteric, supporting worthy causes, interested in food (esp. beans), great songs ignored but everyone knows their most...uh...dare i say annoying...song.......perhaps u are friends with them already, sounds like you have a few things in common! best regards,
Justine S. (one-handed with baby on lap hence lousy punctuation)

(Note: Justine, the B-52s were from Athens, GEORGIA (not Ohio). Close . . . .but no lobster - or ghosts, for that matter.)

A conservative friend of mine commented to me the other day that I seemed to blame Bush for everything. Of course, I don't - not absolutely everything - but I tried to convey to him how I feel that in the major questions and conundrums facing our civilization today he is definitely (In My Humble Opinion taking us down the wrong path(s). This Old Testament Psalm-like testament I received today says it well, I believe, and thus I pass it on (generously amended/amplified by yours truly). Here's my version. Better? Longer, at least. . . .
Newt W


THE 23RD QUALM (Mach 2)

Bush is my shepherd; I shall dwell in want all the days of his ascendance,
and also probably many days thereafter,
until his policies have been expurgated.

He maketh trees to be cut down in our national forests,
and logs to be harvested therein by large, donation-bearing companies.

He leadeth large, polluting trucks owned by those companies or subsidiaries of same,
into the hitherto still and peaceful wilderness,
frightening or destroying the creatures of field and forest,
and putting all Your creations in great jeopardy.

He restoreth my fears, and returneth my nightmares,
and generateth new anxieties daily and nightly,
through the reckless, stubborn and overbearing support of his own agenda,
with disregard for anyone else's,
and his forgiveness of the trespasses of his minions
against all sense of Your Commandments.

He leadeth me in the paths of international disgrace
and outrage for his ego and zeal's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of pollution and war,
I will find no surcease, no respite and no exit,
for thou art in office, and thy party is in control,
and revelleth in its dominance over the poor and deprived.

Thy tax cuts for the rich and thy media control:
they discomfort me mightily.
Thy disregard for science, and thy raising up of the voices
of belligerent deniers of reality to positions of prominence and power,
and thy backing of sleazy politicians, and their murky ethical behavior,
all serve to cast down my opinion of you to the lowest depths.

Thou preparest an agenda of deception and denial
in the presence of thy simplistic religious beliefs,
which offend the Lord Thy God's sensibilities.

Thou anointest my and my family's head with foreign oil,
at greater and greater expense to our economy,
and with less and less security that it will continue flowing
when we become even more addictive to its presence,
thru thy attraction and allegiance to the large oil companies,
to which thy family has for many generations been allied,
and from which thy family and ancestors have received
multiple benefits throughout those generations.

Thou disregardeth the multitude of signs from the Lord thy God
that the Earth and all creatures that dwelleth therein
are being challenged mightily by the warming of the Firmament.

My health insurance runneth out,
or at the very least becometh a greater and greater burden
to bear financially, and many in our sorely tried land are in great need,
and goeth without any insurance whatsoever.

Surely megalomania, self-righteousness, intolerance of other viewpoints,
no sense of history and a false and mindless patriotism shall follow
thee all the days of thy term, and spread their tentacles of evil
throughout our land. . . . . .

And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.


Incompetent Design

By William Rivers Pitt

Last week, George W. Bush got up before a gaggle of reporters and washed his hands of the mess in Iraq. The question of how long an American presence will remain in that country "will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq," said Bush. To be fair, he isn't the only one. The entire administration appears to have become bored with the whole process.

Take Daniel Speckhard, for example. Speckhard is Director of the US Iraq Reconstruction Management Office, which is in charge of rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure ravaged by war and depredation lo these last three years. Speckhard is quoted in a report in last week's USA Today: "The Iraqi government can no longer count on U.S. funds and must rely on its own revenues and other foreign aid, particularly from Persian Gulf nations. 'The Iraqi government needs to build up its capability to do its own capital budget investment,' said Speckhard."

Really. They have no police or military to speak of, the hospitals are trashed, the lights won't stay on, the flow of potable water is screwed, roads and bridges are bombed out, hundreds of buildings are wrecked, the so-called "elected" government is totally powerless to contain or control the chaos within the country, headless bodies are popping up left and right, a dozen people die every day from bombings and executions, the entire country is careening towards civil war ... and somewhere in all this, Bush and his people expect the Iraqi government to "do its own capital budget investment."

I am going to find a china shop somewhere in the city and walk in with a free-swinging baseball bat. My goal, which will be clearly stated, will be to improve upon the place. I will spend the next three years meticulously destroying everything I see inside, from the cash registers to the display cases to the nice Royal Albert tea sets in the corner. Along the way, I will batter the brains out of any poor sod unfortunate enough to get in my way. When I am done, I will claim with as much self-righteousness as I can muster that none of the mess is my responsibility. I will then, of course, refuse to leave. (article)


Favourite Reviews of the Week

"I should be so lucky . . . lucky, lucky, lucky . . ." Now that's what I call funeral music, Vol 1. (What a great idea for a record, by the way: track two, Shaddapa Ya Face by Joe Dolce - just for the line: "Itsa notsa bad, itsa nice-a place, ah-shaddapa ya face.") Martin Samuel, Timesonline

"I'm unfamiliar with JOE DOLCE. Is that a song or a performer?" Songseeker

"Protest Songs For A Better World is a thirteen-track rally cry anthology of original protest songs selected from submissions from around our troubled globe. All the tracks are wake up calls, but my personal highlights include: Southpaw Jones humorously ominous Protest Song, Lenny Solomon's evocative Gettysurg, Maria Dunn's rousing Troublemaker', Joe Dolce's Did You Get Stupid from Being Ugly (Or Ugly from Being Stupid?) and Williams & Williams' Between Iraq & A Hard Place." Mike Jurkovic, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


Good Versus Evil Isn't a Strategy

By Madeleine Albright

(Madeleine Albright was US Secretary of State, from 1997 to 2001)

The Bush administration's newly unveiled National Security Strategy might well be subtitled "The Irony of Iran." Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the invention of the phrase "axis of evil," the administration now highlights the threat posed by Iran - whose radical government has been vastly strengthened by the invasion of Iraq. This is more tragedy than strategy, and it reflects the Manichean approach this administration has taken to the world.

It is sometimes convenient, for purposes of rhetorical effect, for national leaders to talk of a globe neatly divided into good and bad. It is quite another, however, to base the policies of the world's most powerful nation upon that fiction. The administration's penchant for painting its perceived adversaries with the same sweeping brush has led to a series of unintended consequences.

For years, the president has acted as if Al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein's followers and Iran's mullahs were parts of the same problem. Yet, in the 1980s, Hussein's Iraq and Iran fought a brutal war. In the 1990s, Al Qaeda's allies murdered a group of Iranian diplomats. For years, Osama bin Laden ridiculed Hussein, who persecuted Sunni and Shiite religious leaders alike. When Al Qaeda struck the US on 9/11, Iran condemned the attacks and later participated constructively in talks on Afghanistan. The top leaders in the new Iraq - chosen in elections that George W. Bush called "a magic moment in the history of liberty" - are friends of Iran. When the US invaded Iraq, Bush may have thought he was striking a blow for good over evil, but the forces unleashed were considerably more complex.

The administration is now divided between those who understand this complexity and those who do not. On one side, there are ideologues, such as the vice president, who apparently see Iraq as a useful precedent for Iran. Meanwhile, officials on the front lines in Iraq know they cannot succeed in assembling a workable government in that country without the tacit blessing of Iran; hence, last week's long-overdue announcement of plans for a US-Iranian dialogue on Iraq - a dialogue that if properly executed might also lead to progress on other issues.

Although this is not an administration known for taking advice, I offer three suggestions - (article)


New words for 2006

SEAGULL MANAGER. A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves.

SALMON DAY. The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

SITCOM. S.ingle I.ncome, T.wo C.hildren, O.ppressive M.ortgage. What Yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home and start a "home business".

SINBAD. Single working girl: S.ingle I.ncome, N.o B.oyfriend A.nd D.esperate.

404. Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.

AEROPLANE BLONDE. One who has bleached/dyed hair but still has a 'black box'.

AUSSIE KISS. Similar to a French Kiss, but given down under.

GREYHOUND. A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare.

JOHNNY-NO-STARS. A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.

MILLENNIUM DOMES. The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but there's actually nothing in there worth seeing.

MONKEY BATH. A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: "Oo!Oo!Oo! Aa!Aa!Aa!".

MYSTERY BUS. The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you're in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

PICASSO BUM. A person whose shorts are too small for them, so they look like they've got four buttocks.

EDWARD WOODWARD. A fart in the bathtub. (Say the name outloud to get the full effect.)
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)





("Some people call it a Slingblade . .")


By now. most of you have twigged that I am a big Billy Bob Thornton Slingblade movie fan. I've given a link down below to the complete shooting script for the film which won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay and reads as beautifully as any novel. And what muso could forget the great short course in lyric writing given by the wordsmith of the band, Morris:

See Vaughan, you shouldn't question a genius. Morris is a modern day
poet like in the old days.

Our latest composition is as follows: entitled:

"The Thrill" --

"I stand on the hill
Not for a thrill
but for a breath
of a fresh kill
Never mind the man
who contemplates
doing away with license plates
He stands alone anyway
Baking the cookies of discontent
By the heat of a laundrymat vent
Leaving his soul"

(Then like in poetry I have dot dot
dot then drop down to the next line
kind of off center.)

"Leaving his soul parting waters
Under the medulla oblongata
of (then dot dot dot again)

(Silence for a moment as everyone in the room just stares at something other than Morris.)

I don't think that's right.
I believe dot dot dot
come between medulla and oblongata
or something like that.

(Morris stares at him)

Well it did. It wadn't before mankind, I know that much.

The dots are where I say they are.

Melody and tune. That's your trade.
You're a tunesmith, Terence.

Complete SHOOTING SCRIPT of Slingblade.
KARL'S KORNER .wav files of Karl Childer's Best One-Liners:


Two Different Ways at Looking at a Dolce


1. Dolce Ear Training



Dolce Ear Training is a perfect tool for first year music theory students whether they are in junior high, high school, or college. Dolce Ear Training continues a students music skills development where Dolce Music Flash Cards leaves off. Dolce Ear Training aides students in learning to identify rhythms, intervals, and chords. (info)


2. Dolce Font Typeface


Elena Albertoni is an Italian type designer (b. 1979, Bergamo) who studied at ESAD Amiens and the Ecole Estienne in Paris, before taking a position as type designer at FontFabrik in Berlin. She cofounded Anatole Type Foundry with Pascal Duez. At the Rencontres de Lure 2005, she speaks on OpenType and Latin characters. Her script typeface DOLCE won an award at the TDC2 2005 type competition. Dolce Font Demo

(Note: Elena's little font demo above is a virtual history course in the Art of Typeface Creation. Highly recommended for all writers!)

Good Lines to Remember
(In the Event of an Anal Probe During Your Next Alien Abduction)

A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients while he was performing prostate exams and colonoscopies:

1. "Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!"
2. "Found Amelia Earhart yet?"
3. "Can you hear me NOW?"
4. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
5. "You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married."
6. "Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?"
7. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..."
8. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!"
9. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!"
10. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity."
11. "You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?"
12. "God, Now I know why I am not gay."
13. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?"
(Thanks to Jim Testa)

(Note: Jim, 'lest we forget - Number 14 - my own feeble retort, a couple of years ago, when I had my pony poked, whispered in my breathiest Marilyn Monroe voice: "I'm ready for my close-up, Mister President."

Speaking of drilling . . . . .)


My Saudi Arabian Breakfast

By Chad Heeter

Please join me for breakfast. It's time to fuel up again.

On the table in my small Berkeley apartment this particular morning is a healthy looking little meal - a bowl of imported McCann's Irish oatmeal topped with Cascadian Farms organic frozen raspberries, and a cup of Peet's Fair Trade Blend coffee. Like most of us, I prepare my breakfast at home and the ingredients for this one probably cost me about $1.25. (If I went to a café in downtown Berkeley, I'd likely have to add another $6.00, plus tip for the same.)

My breakfast fuels me up with about 400 calories, and it satisfies me. So, for just over a buck and half an hour spent reading the morning paper in my own kitchen, I'm energized for the next few hours. But before I put spoon to cereal, what if I consider this bowl of oatmeal porridge (to which I've just added a little butter, milk, and a shake of salt) from a different perspective. Say, a Saudi Arabian one.

Then, what you'd be likely to see - what's really there, just hidden from our view (not to say our taste buds) - is about four ounces of crude oil. Throw in those luscious red raspberries and that cup of java (another three ounces of crude), and don't forget those modest additions of butter, milk, and salt (another ounce), and you've got a tiny bit of the Middle East right here in my kitchen.

Now, let's drill a little deeper into this breakfast. Just where does this tiny gusher of oil actually come from? (We'll let this oil represent all fossil fuels in my breakfast, including natural gas and coal.)

Nearly 20% of this oil went into growing my raspberries on Chilean farms many thousands of miles away, those oats in the fields of County Kildare, Ireland, and that specially-raised coffee in Guatemala - think tractors as well as petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.

The next 40% of my breakfast fossil-fuel equation is burned up between the fields and the grocery store in processing, packaging, and shipping. (article)



Cafe Au Lait Luzianne

" Coffee makes me a might nervous when I drink it."
Karl Childers


Here's a New Orleans cuppa.

2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 cups Louisiana coffee w/chicory
1. Combine milk and cream in saucepan; bring just to a boil (bubbles will form around edge of pan), then remove from heat.
2. Pour small amount of coffee in each coffee cup.
3. Pour remaining coffee and hot milk mixture together until cups are 3/4 full.

(NOTE: Skim milk can be substituted for milk and cream for those who are counting calories or who get a might nervous.)



I discovered this variation of Veal Marsala last week using masa (corn flour prepared with lime water) instead of flour to dredge the veal pieces. It adds a lovely subtle corn flavour to this dish and also reinforces the tang of the kaffir lime leaf garnish. Serve with a red wine that has a strong peppery finish such as a Mount Langi Ghiran Cliff Edge Shiraz to further bring out the heat in the dish.

Thin pounded veal slices, cut in small pieces
masa flour, for dredging
Marsala wine
olive oil
1/4 teas red chili flakes
generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
sugar to taste
1/2 lemon, and 1/2 kaffir lime leaf, very finely slivered, for garnish

Dredge veal slices in masa. Shake off excess. Heat the olive oil until smoking. Brown veal on both sides, until cooked through. Remove veal and set aside. Scrap bits from the pan. Add the red chili flakes and as much Marsala as you want (between half cup to a cup or more), some salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir well and return the veal to the pan and simmer until the sauce is reduced and slightly thickened into a nice gravy. (Add more marsala if necessary and further reduce). Check seasoning. Add the kaffir lime leave as a garnish and serve with a wedge of lemon.


For the Sleepwalkers

Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.
I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,
palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.
And always they wake up as themselves again.
That's why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.

Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thick black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.

We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds

and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.
Edward Hirsch ~






People Having a Worse Day than You

1. Indian farmer D Jaggalah died after drinking bootleg booze. Villagers at his cremation raised a glass to toast their friend, but used the same batch of alcohol that killed Jaggalah. Ten funeral goers were poisoned. And died.

2. Sam McGilton, a 72 year-old West Virginia man was arrested while being caught masturbating in a library, while wearing a flowery dress, red stilettos and a bouffant woman's wig. (photo)

3. Dog Condoms Inc had to recall their product due to "an unacceptable failure rate resulting in canine pregnancies." Plus the meat-scented rubbers were proving too tempting, and proving to be a choking hazard.

4. Richard Parker from Felixstowe got drunk in his local pub, undressed, urinated in the pocket of the pool table, stuck a pool ball between his arse cheeks, walked through the pub and deposited it in a drip tray at the bar. Richard was sentenced to 28 days in prison.
(thanks to popbitch)