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May 5th, 2006

Barking like a Canis Familiaris

"It's hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his NOT understanding."
Upton Sinclair


Dear Folks,

Next Friday is the Unity for Peace Benefit Concert to raise some funds to bring USA peace activist, CINDY SHEEHAN to Melbourne for the Unity For Peace Conference later in the month. I'll be performing at the benefit, along with some fine Australian artists. (details below).

I've been searching for years for an original 78 rpm copy of Slim Dusty's 'The Pub With No Beer', and I finally found one on eBay and won the bid. The record went to Number 1 on the Australian charts in 1957 and was Australia's first Gold Record and only Gold 78 rpm! It held the longevity record as the most successful Australian produced record for 22 years straight (1957-1979) until 'Shaddap You Face' broke it in 2003 (1980-2003). The 'Face' has now held this title for over 25 years and even if someone breaks the sales record of 350,000 + Australian units (4 million + internationally) this year (which they won't!), that figure will then STILL have to remain unsurpassed until 2030 to smash the longevity record. I wonder if any of us will be around to see it? (There is also another title to break: the number of local and overseas cover versions ('Shaddap' has about 40 cover versions, by last tally) but I wouldn't have a clue as to which other Australian songs come near it. Anyone have any figures out there? I think the obvious contenders would be 'Friday on My Mind', and 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport.'

I've had so many interesting letters this week that I thought I'd devote a larger amount of space to them.



Okay I'll bite - what are Japanese breadcrumbs? (bledclums, boom boom....but seriously, what are they?) - btw, Loved the Pink & Indigo Girls song. Green Day have also been singing against war in Iraq from day one...before, actually. The White Stripes, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Crowes need to get with the program. . . Cheers,

(Note: Pelmit me to prease exprain: Japanese bledclumb, 'Panko' clumb, white and velly much coarser than tladitional Amelican or dinki-di Austlalian clappy bledclumb and cleate a clunchy and velly right clust. While standald bledclumb made by glinding up dlied bled; Japanese panko clumb ploduced with an "erectol-static baking technique". Clumbs can be pulchased at most Japanese food shop. Ah . . . so fluck off and samey-same for anti-Ilaq Gleen Day, White Stlipes and Brack Clows peace cleep flends! )

Re: Rhymes for Orange
This reminds me of an episode from the  HR Pufnstuf where the wonderful Witchiepoo enters the following nonsense song in the Island song competition:

Oranges Boranges (who says!)
Oranges Boranges (who says!)
Oranges Boranges
Who says! there aint no rhyme for oranges,
david bridie

Hi Joe,
Sorry, I couldn't make your Folk show in Texas a few months back. I have an upcoming presentation to an Italian conversation class I'm taking at Pasadena City College. I think I'll present your bio & current projects but I also would like to show some vintage clips of you: cool, campy or otherwise. Is there anything out there for download, etc? Grazie, Your cousin,
Joe Dolce, from Los Angeles

(Note: No, folks, you are not entering the Sicilian Twilight Zone. Last count, there were over 200 Joe Dolce's in the USA alone - most totally unrelated. I have been in occasional contact with about five or so of my doppelgangers, including the infamous gay journalist, Joe Dolce, ex-editor of Playboy and Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine. I had lunch with him in New York where he commented to me that if we got married, our towels would have the same monograms!)

Dear Joe,
A small correction. If indeed the Pentagon has a bomb weighing 700 tons, the name 'Divine' seems appropriate. It would indeed be a large bomb, a little too big to be delivered to its target is my guess.

(Note: i.e. At ease, private. We're talking 'bout your standard issue Divine Fat-Assed Frying Chicken-Eating Motherfuckin' Cap-in-the-Ass Smoke Machine. Dismissed!)

Hi Joe , I dont know how you got my email but its ok. You have some interesting things to say. Ive got a website with some paintings on it. See what ya reckon. Cheers, Mark Di Marzio
Robert Johnson, by Mark Di Marzio

Hi Joe,
Love the email as always.  For an interesting viewpoint on Chernobyl, check out Elena's Website where she describes her long and repeated motorbike rides through the area.  Very cool stuff. regards,

Where can I buy your CDs. I have a family wedding soon and we want fun loving Italian songs......there will be many famiglia and paisanos in attendance. They all love 'Shaddap You Face' however someone lost the recording at a previous wedding. I will not be able to show my face - without 'Shaddap You Face'. *(boom boom!) I need your songs desperately on CD.............' Shaddap You Face', '12 Days of Christmas (the Italian Xmas Dinner variation)' - 'Vaffanculo Polka' . Price is no object at this point. All the Best,

(Note: Price is no object? Hey Mike, for 20 Large (and my own buffet table) I'll come over and SING 'Shaddap You Face', in person, at your next friggin' wedding. Seriously, I'm honoured that it's become a family tradition to play it at nuptials. You might also keep in mind that, down the track, it would also work for divorces.)

Don't know how I got onto your list, must have met you in Austin. At any rate, I'm really enjoying these newsletters. Thanks!

Hi Joe,
Subject: Bagpipe Music for 'Shaddap You Face'
We received this kind email from a fellow piper in Victoria, and I thought you would like to have a copy for your collection. I also thought that you might be interested in "owning" a copy of the "original" score for bagpipes. Anyway, just let me know when you want to record it as a B-side to your anniversary re-release. I have found someone with the Gaelic voice to do it, and we could polish the choreography a bit for the video clip!! cheers,
Kevin McDonald


" Dear Pipemajor,
Heard about your success in the Shaddup You Face competition and had a good laugh and then thought what a great thing it is for a pipe band to be not so serious all the time. I'm wondering if you might share your arrangement. We could do with something popular and amusing like this to play at our concerts. Congratulations on your win and the publicity you generated for celtic music.
John Minchin-King, Horsham Pipe Band, Victoria."

(Note: Kevin, forget the B-side. This idea is an A-side and - write this down, punters! - the first pipe band to record and release it this way will reap the rewards! - as a straight instrumental, with one gorgeous Highland Fling dancer, for the clip. But I would still love to perform it together with the Canberra Celtic Pipes one day 'live'. Maybe for the Edinburgh Tattoo! Kev, have your little people call my little people.)
(Canberra Celtic Pipes Website)

Hi there Joe,
Subject: Another 'War Song' from Paul Kelly
Please find below lyrics on behalf of Paul Kelly. Kindest Regards,


My name is John Johanna, I am misunderstood
Lately I have been accused of grievous murder in cold blood
My mission is most righteous, my cause is true and just
The wicked need chastisement, you know it's either them or us

God told me to
I did what I had to do
God told me to

All around me empty chatter, the old men wring their hands
Meanwhile in broad daylight Satan gathers his unholy bands
The mighty strength of angels carries me on my seeking flight
My anger is a hammer - you know not its power or the hour it strikes

God told me to
I answer not to them or you
God told me to

Seven golden candles flaming bring forth the Son of Man
In his mouth a two-edged sword, seven stars shining in his right hand
The beast has eyes before him, the beast has eyes behind
Those not with me are against me, they're surely gonna feel my holy fire

God told me to
To thine own self be true
God told me to
God told me to
(Copyright Paul Kelly 2005.
Permission granted for reproduction)

(Note: Thanks to Paul for allowing me to quote this recent lyric, which he performed to open our 'Golden Guy Fawkes Awards' last Monday at the Melbourne Gaol. [Aside for film buffs: 'God Told Me To' was also the title of a Larry Cohen horror exploitation film of the 70s in which Tony Lo Bianco plays a religious cop who is faced with a seemingly random series of murders committed by various people who, when asked why, simply say "God told me to". Lo Bianco was a last minute replacement for Robert Forster who was sacked after two days filming. Why was he fired? God told them to. Boom boom!]. This song of Paul Kelly's is, in fact, not a 'war' song at all but an example of irony AND sarcasm in social protest:

IRONY - Function: noun, Etymology: Latin ironia, from Greek eirOnia, from eirOn dissembler.
1 : a pretense of ignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make the other's false conceptions conspicuous by adroit questioning -- called also Socratic irony
2 : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning

As contrasted with:

SARCASM - from the Latin word, sarcasmus, which, in turn, comes from the Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein - to bite the lips in rage!- from sarx, sark-, flesh - the root word literally means "to cut a piece of flesh (from the targeted person)." It is proverbially described as "the lowest form of wit" (a quotation sometimes ascribed incorrectly to Oscar Wilde, but untraceable). The term is frequently misused as a synonym for irony. Irony refers however to the literal meaning and the intended meaning of the words uttered being different, while sarcasm refers to the mocking intent of the utterance. It is possible to be ironic without being sarcastic, and to be sarcastic without being ironic. Sarcasm is also regularly confused with cynicism, which in common use is seen as a fundamental nihilistic attitude toward other people and life in general, whereas sarcasm can also be used to express positive ideas or sentiments. (from Wikipedia)

You know, I wish I had been a little sharper on the night of those Guy Fawkes Awards because I could have closed the night with a verse from my own song, ' Did You Get Stupid from Being Ugly? (Or Ugly from Being Stupid?)' written two years ago, which would have tied in nicely with Kelly's opening song theme:

" You say God told you to do it,
That God told you to kill,
But I always thought that God
Gave us a little thing called 'Free Will.'
Free Will to just stay put, or Free Will to up and go,
The next time that God tells you to do something like that,
Why don't you just tell Him, 'No'? " (lyrics)

'God Told Me To' also reminds me of another fundamentalist-kind of song that I wrote about twenty years ago. (An example of cynicism?) Here are the lyrics to that one:


God Was A Hard Man, A Hard Man was he,
He built a Hard House, Down by the Hard Sea.

God had a Hard Wife, She served him Hard Soup.
She wore her Hard Dress, On a Hard Hoop.

God had a Hard Pillow, On his Hard Bed,
He wore a Hard Hat, On his Hard Head.

God had a Hard Job, He wore his Hard Collar,
Every Hard Day, He earned his Hard Dollar.

God Was A Hard Man, God Was A Hard Man.

God had a Hard Son, He shook a Hard Rattle.
Every time that he cried, He got a Hard Paddle.

One day his Hard Son, Choked on a Hard Bone.
Into a Hard Box, He made his Hard Home.

God Was A Hard Man, God Was A Hard Man.

God drew the Hard Blind, To block the Hard Sun,
And put a Hard Bullet, Into his Hard Gun.

God blew his Hard Brains Against the Hard Wall.
They found his Hard Head, Wasnt that Hard at all.

God Was A Hard Man, God Was A Hard Man.

(Copyright: Joe Dolce 1985
Dolceamore Music.)



Anglicans:   8.   One to call the electrician and 7 to say how much they liked the old one better.
Charismatics:   Only one.   Hands are already in the air.
Lutherans:   Change ?!?!?!?!?!
Mennonites:   At least 15.   One to change the bulb and 3 or 4 committees to approve the change. (Oh, and a casserole.)
Mormons:    5.   One man to change the bulb and 4 wives to tell him how to do it.
Pentecostals:   10.   One to change the bulb and 9 to pray against the spirit of darkness.
Presbyterians:   None.   God has predestined when the lights will go on and off.
Roman Catholics:    None.   They use candles.
Unitarians:    We choose not to make a statement either in favour of or against the need for a light bulb.   However, if in your own journey, you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine.   You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb.   Present it next month at our annual Light Bulb Sunday Service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.
(boom boom! blown out!)

Blond Baptist Cowgirl Joke
A blonde cowgirl, who is visiting Texas from Arkansas, walks into a bar and orders three mugs of beer. She sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn.
When she finishes them, she comes back to the bar and orders three more.
The bartender approaches and tells the cowgirl, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."
The cowgirl replies, "Well, you see, I have two sisters. One is in Australia, the other is in Dublin. When we all left our home in Arkansas, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So I'm drinking one beer for each of my sisters and one for myself."
The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it there.
The cowgirl becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way.
She orders three mugs and drinks them in turn.
One day, she comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take notice and fall silent. When she comes back to the bar for the second round, the bartender says, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."
The cowgirl looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in her eyes and she laughs.
"Oh, no, everybody's just fine," she explains, "It's just that my husband and I joined the Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking."
"Hasn't affected my sisters though."
(thanks to Jim Testa)

Melbourne Unity for Peace Benefit


Special Concert to raise funds to bring US peace activist and Gold Star Mother for Peace, CINDY SHEEHAN, and other guests, to the Melbourne Unity for Peace Conference later, at the end of May. With guest artists:


MAY 12th
7:00 pm

When Nukes Kill, No One Counts the Victims
by Ira Chernus

 This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion, the worst nuclear power disaster in history. People are still dying from the long-term effects. An area the size of a small city is still off limits to human habitation.

In the U.S., there hasn't been a new nuclear power plant built since the Three Mile Island accident of 1979. But that is beginning to change. Last year Congress passed an energy bill that gave the nuclear power industry tax credits worth $3.1 billion along with new liability protection. Now at least half a dozen new nuclear power plants are in various planning stages.

According to Physics Today, "the nuclear power industry believes the first new US order is only two years away." Most of the new facilities would be in the South, where pay scales are lower and the public seems willing to accept the risks in order to get badly needed jobs.

Is the trade-off worthwhile? People might be able to make an informed decision if they knew the risks. But they can't. When a nuclear accident happens, no one ever knows how bad the damage is. We can't even get a firm estimate. In Chernobyl, the death toll was countless -- quite literally. By one reckoning, only 65 people died. Yet the BBC reports that the death toll is surely in the thousands and might be as high as one hundred thousand. When you add in illnesses, birth defects, and long-term environmental damage, it's all way beyond anyone's ability to calculate. How can anyone ever measure the benefits against the risks, when the risks are so totally unknown? (article)

Gorbachev Urges G8 to Back Solar Power, Not Oil or Nuclear
by Philip Thornton

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev urged the world's biggest industrialized nations to set up a 50-billion-dollar (44-billion-euro) fund to support solar power, warning that oil or nuclear energy were not viable energy sources for the future.

Gorbachev -- who chairs an environmental thinktank, Green Cross International -- called on leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations to invest in renewable energy sources, in a statement marking the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. (article)



Neil Young has released an anti-war album. (Good on him! - 'bout friggin' time! Maybe Bob Dylan will be next slow-starter if he can free himself from his two decade long infatuation with self-talk.) You can hear Young's album for free on his site, Neil's Garage.

Audio-Visual Amusements


by Eric Idle


Subject: With love . . . ;)

"Now oil the joints in my arms," he said. And Dorothy oiled them and the Scarecrow bent them carefully until they were quite free from rust and as good as new." Hello! My name is Tracy. I'm 72 y.o. I like to go out, and my job demands a lot of my time, but sometimes I just want a night in with someone new and exciting . . . may be you? ;) "Whoever owned it could call three times upon the Winged Monkeys, who would obey any order they were given. But no person could command these strange creatures more than three times." (Note: Obviously, a Personal from the Wicked Witch of the West.)



The Gay and Lesbian Declaration of Independence

"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal stations to which the laws of nature and of natures god entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. . ." (more)

In June 2004, the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom declared it's independence from Australia and is currently the smallest Kingdom in the world. Scattered over some 1 million square kilometres of ocean. The Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was first administered as an overseas territory of England. Emperor Dale Parker Anderson raised the gay rainbow flag and claimed the islands of the Coral Sea in his name as homeland for the gay and lesbian peoples of the world. (article)

The Top 12 Mensa Pick-Up Lines
1. "Baby, I'll have you barking like a 'canis familiaris'."
2. "By visually measuring the wrinkles in the front of your pants, calculating your body mass based on your height and weight, and dividing that number by your waist size -- I conclude that you have absolutely nothing in your pocket and are, in fact, glad to see me."
3. "Ooohh, your IQ is 145? I like 'em dumb and strong!"
4. "I bet your brain stem reaches almost down to your gluteus maximus."
5. "If I were to mention to you that you have a bellus corpus, would you hold it against me?"
6. "According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Mechanics, we may already be making love right now."
7. "That tape on your glasses really sets off your eyes."
8. "You must be tired, because you've been running quadratic equations through my mind all night."
9. "You'll have to excuse me -- Your presence excites me beyond all capacity for cognitive discourse."
10. "It doesn't take a genius to see how gorgeous you are, but if it did, I'd be overqualified."
11. "Towards what end does a substantially empathetic demoiselle such as yourself inhabit a locus such as this?"
12. "What say we skip this nerd-fest and hit an all-night symposium on Euclidean Geometry?"


The Goomba Diet : Living Large and Loving It
by Steve Schirripa
(Steven R. Schirripa, a native of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, is a six-season veteran of HBO's 'The Sopranos'.)


" Put a fork in your right hand, a hunk of bread in your left, and mangia like you mean it. "
Steve Schirripa

Excerpt: " There's almost nothing in the world a real goomba likes better than eating. Even the goombas who aren't fat. The whole goomba world revolves around food. Family is all about food. Business is done over food. Deals are made at restaurants. Every big social event - from the christening to the wedding to the funeral - is built around the food. The most important question in a goomba's life is not "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?" or "How do you plead?" The most important question in a goomba's life is "When do we eat?" You can identify the goomba by what he eats, when he eats, how he eats, and how often he eats. In my first book I told you that you might be a goomba if you've ever eaten a sandwich on the toilet. If that sounds like you, you might already be on the Goomba Diet without even knowing it."

- The air freshener in your car is a slice of provolone.

- They put up crime scene tape after you visit the buffet table.
- It takes more than two people holding hands to give you the Heimlich Technique.

Dieting and Social Tips:
- Walk to court.
- Cut out those carbs. Only eat pastas that end in the letter i.
- Do tip the maid. Don't tip the made guy.
- Do tell the bride she's beautiful. Don't tell her she's hardly showing.

"I'm staying open-minded, but all I know is before the diet, Steve was playing Gandhi - now he's playing India." -
Steve Van Zandt, "Silvio Dante" on The Sopranos

"A great career, a great family, a great attitude, and a great appetite! Who wouldn't want to live this way?" - Mario Batali, host of Molto Mario and author of Molto Mario

"Author Steve Schirripa loves food like no one I've ever met. His "Ode to a Calzone" moved me to tears." - Terence Winter, writer and executive producer on The Sopranos

"If all my customers ate like Steve I could get my own TV show." - Michael DeGeorgio, owner, Il Cortile restaurant

"If only Steve lifted weights the way he lifts his fork, he'd be Mr. Olympia."- Hans Felcher, Steve Schirripa's personal trainer.
(Book available at Amazon.com)


Roast Tarantulas


" . . . Odd that nobody eats tarantulas because of their close relationship to crabs and the like. Last night I was watching a show on a tribe of Amazonian Indians and lo and behold, they were trapping and cooking the big ol' spiders. And I do mean big. These guys were the size of blue crabs. I would guess that they're at least eight inches across the spread legs.
Take One Tarantula . . .. Not an easy process! First they catch the critters by luring them out of their tunnels with a long strip of grass. The hunter then very deftly grabs the spider by the thorax, folds the legs back and wraps the spider in a leaf for transportation to the camp site. At the campsite, the spiders are killed. Everything is used. The abdomens are removed and stripped of eggs. The eggs are wrapped in a leaf and roasted over a fire to produce a spider egg omelette. The bodies are tossed directly onto a fire to singe off the hair and to cook the meat. When they're done, the legs and thorax are cracked open and picked just like when you eat a crab. After the meal the fangs - which are a good inch and a  half long - are used as toothpicks. It was emphasised that the spiders taste very much like crab."
(thanks to Stephen Ceideburg)





With difficulty I read on the ancient stone
I make out a "SO(U)L."
Where they mention age "HE LI(VE)D . . . YEARS."
The Kappa Zeta shows that he fell asleep young.
Among the worn-away pieces I see "HI(M) . . . ALEXANDRIAN."
Then there are three lines that are quite mutilated;
but I make out a few words - as "OUR TE(A)RS," "SORROW,"
then again "TEARS," and "W(E) HIS (F)RIENDS MOURN."
It seems to me that Leucius must have been dearly beloved.
In the month of Athyr Leucius fell asleep.



" . . . Sensual delight sickly and corruptively acquired
should be loved even more;
rarely finding the body that feels as it would wish -
sickly and corruptive, it furnishes
an erotic intensity, unknown to health . . ."

Extract from a letter
of young Imenus (of a patrician family) notorious
in Syracuse for his wantonness,
in the wanton times of Michael the Third.

~ C.P. Cavafy ~
(The Complete Poems of Cavafy
translated by Rae Dalven)


For Cavafy

The poems are sad and short: love half-remembered,
history- beautiful, closed and Greek.
But what I like best
is the blank three-quarters page,
white as a statue's marble eyes -

a space to write or cry.

~ Bruce Williams ~

The Final Hurrah


I married a widow who had a grown up daughter. My father visited us often, fell in love with my step-daughter and married her. Thus he became my son-in-law, and my step daughter became my mother, because she was my fathers wife.

Soon after this my wife gave birth to a son, which of course was my father's son-in law and my uncle for he was the brother of my mother.

My father's wife also became the mother of a son. He was of course my brother and also my grandchild, for he was the son of my step-daughter.

Accordingly , my wife was my grandmother, because she was my mother's mother. I was my wife's husband and grandchild at once, and as the husband of a person's grandmother is his grandfather.

Therefore . . . . . . .

(If you can work that out, consider yourself a Mensa candidate - and also an honorary abused child. )