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May 4th, 2007

Awesomely Simple

"Creativity is more than just being different.
Anybody can play weird; that's easy.
What's hard is to be as simple as Bach.
Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." Charles Mingus


Dear Folks,

Has anyone ever had one of them colonoscopies before? I have a theory that the reason there aren't so many UFO abductions lately is that the aliens have all become proctologists - that way they can do your basic anal probe undetected. You THINK they're just looking up your arse but they're really planning the overthrow of the human race - with the back door entrance technique. (Just make sure they don't leave one of those plastic gloves in there. That can cause problems later on.)

Here are my two favourite sites for locating things on the internet:
For books: abebooks
For dvds: happyhunter
Just type in what you want and you're off. I use both of these sites regularly to hunt for my hard-to-find entertainment and education.

Last weekend, I won the the Great Pasta Sauce Competition, in Hepburn Springs, at the Swiss-Italian Festa, 2007, Non-Professional Category, with my recipe for Guanciale, Basil and Chili Tomato Sauce, with Fennel Sausage and Kangaroo Braciole. I entered this, at the last minute, mainly because I thought it would be a hoot, I was going to be up there performing anyway and also wanted to make the dish for myself! (I like eating my own cooking.) It takes a bit of doing to organise this dish but it's a ripper and worth it. I didn't really anticipate winning, as I knew I would be up against some serious Italian grandmothers but, hey, with seven grandchildren, I guess I am now officially a serious grandfather so these women are really my peers now! I had the humble reflection that, of course, that I SHOULD win because the recipe is an original idea and I had prepared it perfectly. We had some for dinner the night before the contest so I knew I had done my best.
After the contest was over, I didn't hear anything so I assumed: once again, no Gold Star. I was curious about the outcome, however, so I emailed the organisers and asked who got the gongs and what the idea was for the winning dish. I was told that a High School student had won overall First - Best Sauce of the Day - ahead of even the professionals - for a 'traditional' sauce. (Whatever that was.) Something sounded fishy (and I don't mean marinara). But I accepted the verdict. What do I know about serious cooking contests? I knew I had created something original, building on a traditional idea, but with a uniquely Australian twist. No kangaroos in Italy, folks. So it didn't really make sense that my dish would have NO impact, especially if the judges were competent. (Something one must always consider. Especially when one loses.) Cooking, like music, is an art and there is no real way to measure how something 'tastes,' so to speak. Not like chess, which is black and white. You win. You lose. Personal taste does not enter into whether one gets one's cojones checkmated:

"Once in a lobby of the Hall of Columns of the Trade Union Centre, in Moscow, a group of masters were analysing an ending. They could not find the right way to go about things and there was a lot of arguing about it. Suddenly [Grandmaster] Capablanca came into the room. He was always fond of walking about when it was his opponent's turn to move. Learning the reason for the dispute the Cuban bent down to the position, said 'Si, si,' and suddenly redistributed the pieces all over the board to show what the correct formation was for the side trying to win. I haven't exaggerated. Don Jose literally pushed the pieces around the board without making moves. He just put them in fresh positions where he thought they were needed. Suddenly everything became clear. The correct scheme of things had been set up and now the win was easy. We were delighted by Capablanca's mastery..." KOTOV, Think like a Grandmaster

But then, Glory to Hosanna on High, after I had forgotten about the whole cooking thing, I got a second email from the judges informing me that the scoresheet had been misread, and, in fact, I had won First Place in my division. (They must be pretty competent after all, eh?) Now, I don't know if anyone has ever seen the film 'Sgt York', with Gary Cooper, but there is a scene where he is on the rifle range for the first time in Army basic training. He is a bit of a yokel from the hills, a conscientious objector who has been reluctantly drafted - but he is a crack shot from shooting turkeys back thar in the mountains. The other soldiers don't know this. Yet. He takes his first shot. They tell him that he has completely missed the entire target. They laugh at him. Sgt York just can't figure out how he could have missed that 'big ol' target' as he put it. So they check again. This time they see that, in fact, he has hit it so perfectly dead centre that they couldn't even see it at first. He adjusts his sight and his next five shots are all dead centre. It feels good to be The Man. Or The Grandma. My family is taking my cooking a little more seriously now. And so they should. The winning recipe is down below.


Don't be a dick. Nobody should have to opt out of a mailing list they never requested to be on in the first place. . .
...and then it occurred to me I put [you] on my mailing list. :-( Eric H

(Note: So, Eric or Rick, short for Richard, long for Dick - who'se the dick now? Remember, every time you point the finger at someone else, your other four fingers are self-administering a prostate exam.)


Hi Joe
I'm a pedantic, disagreeable bastard and despite my early reservations, I now quite look forward to your weekly ramblings interspersed with sundry, sobering worldly titbits and the odd chuckle. However, can you please be more careful with your grammar and spelling. The opening line of your most recent email was; "I have come to the gradual realization........" This is poor on 2 counts;
 1. It's not possible to arrive at a state of "gradual realization", your use of the adjective 'gradual' is contextually incorrect. You have either arrived at the state, or you are gradually (adverb) going towards it.  
2. Replacing S's with Z's is a nauseating Americanisation of the English language.
 It would be correct to say, "I have come gradually to the realisation....."
 Speaking about correct English, insert punctuation to make sense of the following;
  - that that is is that that is not is not is not that so -
 Also, I saw you on a Saturday morning kids show in the UK about twenty five years ago and nearly vomited as you heralded the end of my interest in popular music. Good day, WS

(Note: Dear WZ, you vomiting fool, I guezz what I waz trying to zay waz that I gradually realized that my realizationzhip had been gradualated in incrementz rather than inztantaneouzly realationable in one unincremental excrementation. Or, as my ex-grammar teacher, the Jedi master, Yoda, once said, ' Grammar, my strong point, is not.'
That, that is, is that 'that is not' is not 'is not that so?'
Here's a little something for you to punctuate yourself, and the dangling participle you rode in on:
- Re Reeses thesiss on the faeces of the Rhesus species Reeses nieces Elisses peaces in pieces during recess realizing Reeses Rhesus Jesus was deceasus -
True, WZ, sometimes my grammar mistakes make me look stupidly. I always think when other people make one of these mistakes, then their stupid. And of course, there obviously going to be more stupid then their thinking they are. Your probably wondering who learned me how to spoke? Your letter makes some good points. I make the mistakes to. Damnit, sometimes I mess up and even misspelled ridiculous right... As another famous gramma person said, " Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me -you can't get fooled again."
In short, WS, let I be the one who, that it be me who is assigned to point them out. Myself. Remember the wisdom of the Yankee bard:
"I never made a mistake in grammar but once in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it."
Carl Sandburg.)

Consider the following:

Hi Joe,
Brutal honesty seems to be the flavour of your habit so I shall offer you the same. I don't usually read your stuff. Largely due to lack of time, which is self regulated for I feel that to be before a computer for long periods of time will swallow up some greater opportunity on the outside of my house. But regardless of this, sometimes, I do. I find you quite interesting. And I admire your vocabulary. That's all I've got time for! Ha ha! Peace, KK

I'm a carnivore (thats why our eye teeth are like they are) My wife however is a vegetarian and I was forced to write this short bit of doggerel about her- I think it applies to most vegie-poofs. (A vegie-poof is the name given to vegetarians in the trendy Northern Suburbs of Illawarra,)
'My wife's a vegetarian, There are things she will not eat,
Like chicken, lamb or offal, or any kind of meat,
She likes a low fat diet and won't cook in oil at all,
And the thought of chips and Chico rolls, just drives her up the wall.
We had a plague of mice last week, she was in a dreadful state,
So she dug out all the mouse traps, but we didn't have the bait,
I was sent up to the shop for cheese, but before I could depart,
"Make sure you get low fat," she said, "full fat's bad for their heart."
Bigruss Feb 07

Dear Joe,
This line in this [your last newsletter] made me laugh fit to bust:
'... (translated by Julius Cranium Minimus) ...'
As usual the whole thing was a great read.
But are you sure that you and Wikipedia have perhaps though not fallen
for a most elegant April Fools' joke on Elliott Carter? You of ALL
the people I know Joe, have the most refined working model of what Papa
Hemingway called his BISD ("built-in shit detector"). So I am
surprised that the warning bells weren't ringing out loud when you
anthologised it. Of course, it is the spurious "Associated Press NEW
YORK" that gives it a false gravitas that then leads to the casual
reader momentarily letting down his guard. Kindest, as ever, Dai.

(Note: Well, Dai, what can I say? To quote John Cage, " . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .")

Hi Joe:
The original date on the Carter announcement was April 1, which explains a lot.
Carter was my first harmony/composition teacher when I was 15 and took private lessons from him for a few years. He confessed one day that he wished he had taken up  another artistic career, such as painting, which didn't inspire much enthusiasm in me to continue (although I did move on to the Rome conservatory. At that time he was already respected amongst the in-crowd for his piano sonata and first string quartet, but still had not made much of a dent in the concert-going public. Did he ever? I guess what I learned from Carter was: live long enough to achieve such an advanced age that they're gonna have to pay attention ­ something like that. The joke is funny, however -- and I took it seriously for an instant because of his remark back then about wishing he'd taken up another career. The other possibility would've been that he had declined into his dotage and was saying peculiar things... Twinkles, R

Joe -
Re: American Composer Elliott Carter Apologises
This turned out to be an April Fool's hoax. I didn't research it thoroughly enough before I sent it out - but I think mainly I wanted so much for it to be true, that I didn't notice the date it was sent out. Mea culpa. Perhaps you could print this, so people won't remain misinformed (not that many of them really care, probably). Newt W

(Note: Newt, I wanted it to be true as well. Actually, the April Fool's Joke is closer to truth than fiction. Someone SHOULD apologise for this century long wank with 12-tone serialism. These composers aren't setting the bar very high really. Anyone worth their salt can write well like this with a little practice. And anyone who can improvise can play12-tone. Even young children. They don't have to write anything down either. No keys. Poly-rhythms all over the place. Totally with it and grooving. After a year or so of flirting with chromatic music composition, common sense returned me to JS Bach (thank you!) and I have since decided that pre-occupation, by adults, with this kind of scribbling is a serious cop-out to one's potential genius because: real music is about so much more than just technical dynamics. LOUD!!!! Soft. . . Sudden! G r a d u a l . . . . That's about it in a nutshell for chromatic music. And just listen to Elliott Carver talk about his own music in this interview below. He's in his NINETIES but sounds like a kid talking about a video game - he never once mentions any of the essential and loftier purposes of music, such as healing, worship, protest, community. All he is interested in are thing like tempo, counter-point, poly-rhythms, etc. The nuts and bolts of composition. Not the Soul. Not the Living Breath Big Picture - the things that makes music necessary to life. The big mistake these over-educated smart guys make (and they can win every award in the book - they still be whistling chromatically in the wind tunnel of their upper colon) is straying to far from the Masters. And I mean Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven amongst scores of others. Did Carter and Schoenberg REALLY think they got anywhere near what Johan, Amadeus and Ludwig did? That's what I mean by setting the bar too low. Percy Grainger, whom I admire very much, once scored a folk song for 18 guitars. Instead of learning to play the guitar himself, he made each guitarist put six of the same string on their guitars (ie six E strings), tune all the strings to the same note and just strum frantically using DYNAMICS to imitate the sound of the ocean. Interesting, but a WANK, basically. Yehudi Menuhin once told Glenn Gould that the reason he didn't like the Bach-trained Arnold Schoenberg's serialism was that it was too derivative. In other words, you had to already know the 'story' before you could understand the gibberish variation. Like 'Hamlet', where they kept the plot the same but changed the language to Klingon-speak. You know when the ghost appeared. The murder happens, etc. I'm not impressed with 12-tone serialism. I can do it blindfolded. Boring. Give me an atonal tune I can sing in the shower. THAT will impress.) Interview with Eliott Carter



I found a listing under my name on the German Wikipedia! Mein udder car eist und dachsund! Nutting! I know nutting! (site)

Some wonderful anal-probers have found this long forgotten song from my deleted first Australian album and included it on a 'Flying Saucer Music' website. You can download it on an .mp3. I wonder if I should tell them about 'Crop Circles in My Marijuana' off of my 'Freelovedays' album? Here's a sample of the brainpower you will find:
" . . .Coincidences and synchronicities: "Dolce" is Italian for "sweet," as "Dulce" is in Spanish. In 1981, the Air Force was flying Paul Bennewitz over the Archuleta mesa near Dulce, New Mexico, in an attempt to get him to believe that there was an underground alien base located there. . ." (site)

Here's the first album I ever recorded with Jonathan Edwards and SUGARCREEK from Boston. I found it for sale for $200.00 on the internet. How about that? A collector's item. (site




" Many people believe that The Sex Pistols were kept off the number one spot in 1977 as it would have been embarrassing for the Queen's Silver Jubilee if God Save The Queen had been at the top spot. This is nonsense, it simply didn't sell enough records. The only time the Queen has interfered in the charts was in 1981 when she officially decreed that Joe Dolce Music's Shaddap You Face should be at number one ahead of Ultravox's Vienna as it would "really piss that Midge Ure off".(source)


Many of you might know that 'Shaddap You Face' was translated into the aboriginal Indjibundji language by tribal elder Gnarnayarrahe Inmurry Waitairie. Here is an interesting article about Gnarnayarrahe.

Gnarnayarrahe Waitairie and Indjibundji Culture
His story is old
is bold and right as the earth he walks
it don't move, it just bides its time
it always stays
the story was told
Terra Nullius

David Bridie

These lines from Terra Nullius, the penultimate track of Not Drowning, Waving's 1989 album Claim could well be mistaken for a testimonial to Aboriginal elder Gnarnayarrahe Inmurry Waitairie. This article examines the cultural traditions which have informed Gnarnayarrahe's musical and performance career to date and analyses the nature of his collaborations with Not Drowning, Waving on their Claim album, and with Italian-Australian vocalist Joe Dolce on the stage musical Pundulumura. Through this, I will attempt to argue that Claim and Pundulmura represent significant projects which enable us to understand just how far an ancient people have had to adapt to a new culture, often at the cost of their own spiritual integrity (article)



Dear friends,
Today, an Indigenous baby born in Australia is statistically likely to have a shorter life than a child born in remote rural Bangladesh or Nigeria. We can take a real step towards ending this disgrace at next Tuesday's federal budget by demanding the Treasurer commit just a small portion of Australia's bumper $16 billion surplus to ending this preventable injustice. The budget decisions are being made right now, so put your name to the petition and together we will end the inequality within a generation. Petition

(thanks to Michael Leone)



FROM: CustomKnives Subject: Bromberg's letter and the announcement of his death, sent by Maxim Kammerer to the President.
' I couldn't see how I could jog with it at my side. There weren't any live people in that city. You'll now want to screw with the options. Something else occurred to her. Viagra.'

Here's a recent Letter to the Editor published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette from an obviously concerned US Republican who has identified a simple and obvious reason for global warming. (Didn't Sgt York come from around these parts?)


Arkansas Democrat Gazette
April 6, 2007


Daylight Exacerbates Warning

"You may have noticed that March of this year was particularly hot. As a matter of fact, I understand that it was the hottest March since the beginning of the last century. All of the trees were fully leafed out and legions of bugs and snakes were crawling around during a time in Arkansas when, on a normal year, we might see a snowflake or two.
This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person. As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they?
Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps next time there should be serious studies performed before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects."
Connie M. Meskimen, Hot Springs
(thanks to Ramon Sender)



Guanciale, Basil and Chili Tomato Sauce, with Fennel Sausage and Kangaroo Braciole
(Winner of the Non-Professional Category: Great Pasta Sauce Competition, Hepburn Springs Swiss-Italian Festa 2007)

" Braciola (plural braciole) In Italian American cuisine, braciole (the word is commonly pronounced /bra'zhol/ from the Sicilian pronunciation) is the name given to thin slices of meat (typically pork, chicken, or beef, but even swordfish) that are rolled with cheese and bread crumbs and fried; the bread crumbs are often left off, and the braciole are cooked along with meatballs and Italian sausage. They can be served with tomato sauce, or even plain. There exist many variations on the recipe. Changing the type of cheese and adding assorted vegetables (such as eggplant) can drastically change the taste. Braciole are not eaten as a main dish, but as a side dish at dinner, or in a sandwich at lunch.

What are known as braciole in the United States is named involtini in original Italian cuisine. Involtini are thin slices of beef (or pork, or chicken) rolled with a filling of the Parmesan cheese, eggs to give consistency and whatever additional ingredients (other cheeses, ham, bread crumbs, mushroom, onions, sausage, etc.) are available. Involtino (singular) originates from the word "voltare" (to turn), as in the action or rolling the meat around the filling (as in rolling a sheet of paper for storage). One involtino is held together by a wooden toothpick, and the dish is usually served (in various sauces: red, white, etc.) as a second course. When cooked in tomato sauce, the sauce itself is used to toss the pasta for the first course, giving a consistent taste to the whole meal.

Also used in Italian slang as a reference to the male organ. Most recently quoted in Sopranos, season 3, episode 7." wiki article

Ingredients for sauce:
best quality olive oil
1 anchovy
1 small diced yellow onion
quarter inch slice of guanciale (cured pig's cheek)
wings and back of chicken
2 teasp finely chopped garlic
1/4 teasp red chilli flakes
1 cup dry white wine
2 litres tomato passata (buy a simple one containing only tomatoes and water - no herbs and spices - or make your own)
1 bay leaf
1 tble sugar
1/2 teasp freshly ground black pepper
handful fresh basil leaves
six Italian fennel pork sausages (buy them or make your own)

Ingredients for Kangaroo Braciole:
4 thin boneless kangaroo cutlets, cut and pounded thinly into a flat rectangular schnitzel shape for rolling (ask the butcher to do this for you and then give 'em a few extra whacks yourself at home before preparation.)
4 thin slices of ham off the bone
4 thin slices of salami (remove rind)
4 thin slices of prosciutto
4 thin slices of soppresata (remove rind)
4 thin slices of provolone cheese
cooked ground Italian fennel sausage meat (removed from casing)
fresh garlic, chopped
fresh parsley, chiffonaded
freshly ground black pepper
grated romano or parmesean cheese
strong black thread or kitchen string for tying

To prepare the braciole:
Gently lay out the thin pounded slices of kangaroo fillets.  Season meat with garlic, black pepper, and parsley.  Layer slices of all meats and provolone in the centre.   Add ground sausage and sprinkle with the grated cheese.  Fold in the two sides of meat.  Roll up the meat, keeping all ingredients inside. (Practice makes perfect.) Secure and tie with string. 

Brown the meats:
Brown the chicken pieces briefly in some olive oil. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same oil, brown the fennel sausages until just cooked Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same oil, gently brown all sides of the kangaroo braciole.  Remove and set aside.
Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the oil and reserve.

To prepare the sauce:
Heat quarter cup fresh olive oil in deep skillet. Add a quarter-inch thick slice of guanciale. Add one whole anchovy and mash into oil until dissolved. When the guanciale begins to release its fat, add one small finely chopped onion. Cook slowly allowing the onion to release its flavour and become translucent. Add the garlic and red chilli flakes. Cook for a minute watching CAREFULLY that the garlic does not burn. (Yuk! If you lose focus and the garlic burns, throw everything out and start over from scratch with a fresh pan). Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add the tomato passata, bay leaf, sugar, black pepper and the chicken pieces. A little salt. (Be temperate with the salt at this stage as the braciole and fennel sausages are salty and the parmesean cheese, to finish, also adds some salt. Fine tune flavouring later before serving).

To the simmering sauce, add the fennel sausages, the kangaroo braciole rolls and some of the oil that the meats were browned in (a couple tablespoons for added flavour). Cover and simmer over very low heat for an hour or two. Make sure the sauce does not thicken too much. If it does, add a little thin chicken stock or water.

When the chicken is practically falling off the bone, remove the braciole and the sausages and set aside. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve or colander. Pick out the chicken bits and remove any usable meat from the bones and set aside. Discard bones. Pick out basil leaves and set aside. Strain the sauce again through a medium sieve so that it has a smooth texture. Place sauce in a clean pot with the chicken bits, the basil, the fennel sausages and the braciole rolls. Return to the simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes.

To serve:

Cook some pasta until al dente.
Remove the braciole rolls and gently remove the threads. Slice into half inch slices. Start from the centre and try to keep the shapes intact. Place some sauce in a frying pan, bring to a simmer and toss spaghetti, or penne, in the sauce until LIGHTLY coated (do not do the heavy red sauce number!.) Serve the sauce-coated pasta on a plate with a fennel sausage and a couple slices of braciole, freshly grated parmesean cheese and some chiffonaded fresh parsley.




This is what you should do:
Love the earth and sun and animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people. . .
re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
dismiss what insults your very soul,
and your flesh shall become a great poem.

~ Walt Whitman ~
 (Excert from Preface to 1855 edition, Leaves of Grass)





Cheating Death
Two men waiting at the Pearly Gates strike up a conversation.
"How'd you die?" the first man asks the second.
"I froze to death," says the second.
"That's awful," says the first man. "How does it feel to freeze to death?"
"It's very uncomfortable at first", says the second man. "You get the shakes, and you get pains in all your fingers and toes. But eventually, it's a very calm way to go. You get numb and you kind of drift off, as if you're sleeping. How about you, how did you die?"
"I had a heart attack," says the first man. "You see, I knew my wife was cheating on me, so one day I showed up at home unexpectedly. I ran up to the bedroom, and found her alone, knitting. I ran down to the basement, but no one was hiding there, either. I ran up to the second floor, but no one was hiding there either. I ran as fast as I could to the attic, and just as I got there, I had a massive heart attack and died."
The second man shakes his head. "That's so ironic," he says.
"What do you mean?" asks the first man.
"If you had only stopped to look in the freezer, we'd both still be alive." (boom boom)
(thanks to Jim Testa)