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November 30th, 2007

Two Down, One to Go

'Ars Longa, Vita Brevis'
(Art is Long, Life is Short)


Hi folks,

Am I dreaming? Blair is gone. Howard is gone. Bush is . . . . . . . scratching his monkey ass about now, I imagine.

Our new leader, Prime Minister Rutt, is about to ok the Kyoto Agreement, AND say 'Sorry' to Australian aboriginals. Christmas is just around the corner, Ladies and Gentlemen. Santa Claus is coming to town and I'm hanging out for my two front teeth.

Well, I'm optimistic. Why not? A change is as good as a poke in the whiskers, hopping into the horse's collar, hittin' the kitten, buzzing the brillo or taking your sugarbaby's temperature with the meat thermometer.

Big Russell asked me to find a song about a dog for the Illawarra Folk Festival in January. The first day of the festival shares the same grounds as the Bulli Dog Races so it is especially hairy to see all these bearded folk singers (well, spiritually speaking) walking around amongst all these race dogs and their trainers. I suggested to Russ to ask each folk festival attendee to bring their own dog, and put a number on it. Now that would be amusing, all these little numbered mutts strutting amongst the greyhounds. We could have a Folk Dog Best in Show. But I don't think they're going for it. Ah well, anyway, there's a poem about a dog at the bottom of the newsletter written by Robert 'Hairy Iron John' Bly.

Celebrating Writer's Series


Speaking of sugarbabies, my main squeeze sugarbaby, LIN VAN HEK, is appearing with me next Wednesday evening at the Stonnington Library, in Prahan, VIC, for the Celebrating Writer's Series. Lin and I have also been invited to tutor writing and songwriting workshops in Denmark, WA, and Michigan, USA, next year. Helen and Alice Garner were at the Stonnington Library a couple of weeks ago. It's a beautiful space for a literary gathering. Lin will be choosing some excerpts from her novels and short stories and I will be singing some of my seldom heard poetry-to-music art songs: lyrics by Sappho, Ovid, Cavafy, and also some new songs from my Leadbelly ballad-novel, including 'Open Your Legs, Sweet Sally,' (now that there's what you call poetry!) and 'Red Velvet Cake.' (I am also thinking about baking a Red Velvet Cake for intermission refreshments, so here's your chance to sample a soul food classic you wont find anywhere else in Australia.)
This is a very intimate venue with only 80 seats and no booking so first in best dressed.

Wednesday 5th December
Old Prahran Chambers
Town Hall, cnr Chapel & Greville Sts
Doors open at 7pm
Enter through Prahran Library

I'm putting together my Gallah Christmas Edition so once again am asking readers to dig up some unusual items about Christmas for me to include. This year's theme is: 'Get Thee Behind Me, Santa!'

Letters from Readers

Dear Joe,
Re: Christmas Songs Album
I have been trying to locate an old Christmas album by the artiste Joe Dolce, (Ed. Note: Ahem!!!) for years. It is a tradition in our house for the past 23 years to play this album the day after thanksgiving to trim the family tree. (we are an Italian family) I went to play the album and it is broken to my dismay. Is there any way of purchasing a new album or CD? Desperately trying to replace this family treasure.
Can you help???? Thank you, Susan

(Note: I knew my rare Christmas Album was considered cutting edge by some but using it to trim the family tree is a new one. Most people I know play it while they're puttiing out the family Christmas garbage. Anyway, the vinyl LP is now only available on eBay, and that's if you're lucky folks, and you WILL pay big bucks to own a copy of my expensive career segue into Proctologist's Paradise.
My old music teacher, Dr Lou Gottlieb, who was a member of The Limeliters, and studied under Arnold Shoenberg, once told me, during a combination music lesson/free love orgy on Maui, that the real musical masterpieces are either found in the Library of Congress or the budget second-hand bins. In the past few months, I've found 78 rpm records of 'The Pub With No Beer,' by Slim Dusty, 'Country Gardens,' solo piano by Percy Grainger, ' and 'Good Morning Blues,' by Leadbelly, on eBay.There is a version of 'The Italian 12 Days of Christmas,' however, on my double CD compilation CD, from my website.

Coupla notes.
Your Cowboy Wisdom is missing the #1 rule:
'Always drink upstream from the herd.'
Also, having mentions of Tallulah Bankhead and Norman Mailer reminds me
of the famous story about the two meeting just after The Naked And The
Dead was published and Bankhead saying "Oh yes, you're the young man
who doesn't know how to spell 'fuck'. John Conquest website

(Note: Thanks John, for the insightful cowpokism.
Of course, you can understand my confusion about where to drink with regards to the herd.
Here in Downunderopolis, water goes in the reverse direction down the bath drain and ex-Prime Minister John Howard has convinced us for years that - because of that quirk in gravity - we have to drink downstream from those right flank herds in Canberra. After his defeat in last week's election, hopefully we will now be regaining our rightful position centre trough.)

Dear Joe,
Subject: MEDIA RELEASE: ICC Prosecution Of John Howard Prime MInister of Australia
Keep sending newsletters Joe - see page 9 of today's AGE . . . The ad appears in The AGE front EGN section, I have taken action today to have Mr Howard officially and formally investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) Glenn

The President Judge Philippe KIRSCH
The Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo
International Criminal Court

Dear Sirs,
I wish you to immediately investigate under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, (Article 53 Initiation of an investigation 1.) if the action of outgoing Prime Minister of Australia John Howard in the invasion of and war on Iraq, constitutes (under Article 7) Crimes against humanity and (under Article 8) War crimes.
UN Resolution 1441 threatened Iraq it must open its country to full inspections or face military intervention. The full UN Security Council backed this legal demand and Iraq obeyed at international law. This Iraqi legal agreement then placed international legal obligations upon all signatories to the U.N. Charter (Australia) to continue inspections to prove our claim there were WMD's. Further, U.N. inspectors were in Bagdad CBD and not hindered to inspect anywhere by Iraq , they obeyed the UN order.
John Howard at war, invaded Iraq against the process of UN Resolution 1441, his invasion alone killed over 100,000 children, women and men. It didn't matter if Iraq had WMD's, because it obeyed the UN, Australia was legally obliged to not attack, the inspections would have shown there were no WMD's without one single person's life being taken.
Mr Howard's action has been declared a war crime by the Australian Liberal Party's past President John Valder, Kofi Annan the past UN Secretary general also declared the attack was illegal, the attack is a war crime and I wish Mr Howard to be investigated for indictment and prosecution.

Best regards
Glenn Floyd
Melbourne Australia


Australia's Rudd Gets Straight to Work

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Australia's Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd took advice Sunday on how to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and fielded phone calls from world leaders - starting in on work the day after a sweeping election victory.
The emphatic victory for Rudd's Labor Party swings Australia toward the political left after almost 12 years of conservative rule and puts it at odds with key ally Washington on two crucial policy issues - Iraq and global warming.article

Australian Premier, an Ally of Bush, Is Defeated
By Tim Johnston
The New York Times

Sydney, Australia - Australia's prime minister, John Howard, one of President Bush's staunchest allies in Asia, suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the electorate on Saturday, as his Liberal Party-led coalition lost its majority in Parliament.
He will be replaced by Kevin Rudd, the Labor Party leader and a former diplomat. "Today Australia looks to the future," Mr. Rudd told a cheering crowd in his home state, Queensland. "Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward."
Mr. Howard's defeat, after 11 years in power, follows that of José María Aznar of Spain, who also backed the United States-led invasion of Iraq, and political setbacks for Tony Blair, who stepped down as Britain's prime minister in June. article


Blonde on Blonde

A blonde woman Statetrooper pulls over a blonde women speeding driver and asks her for her license. After telling her she has no idea what a license looks like, the statetrooper says it has your picture on it. The driver looks in her purse and pulls out her compact and sees herself in the mirror and hands it to the Statetrooper. The Trooper looks at it and says, 'If I knew you were a cop, i wouldn't have stopped you...........'
(thanks to Frank Dolce)


Here is an unusual recorded phone message from Alec Baldwin to his twelve year old daughter where he blows his top. This guy needs a visit from the Child Whisperer: Listen
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)


Multiple Identities

Il Globo

A few years ago I drove my mother, an aunt and a cousin to a family lunch at which we knew no-one.
We had all received an invitation from a distant relative, who had tracked down all descendents of an English migrant family which had settled close to the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s. We weren't sure what to expect, but out of curiosity we hit the road and headed to our ancestral hometown of Kyneton.

I found it puzzling because the family in question ­ the Wells ­ wasn't that extraordinary. They had arrived, bought a house, had kids and died. One of their daughters had a grandchild who married an immigrant distiller from Aberdeen (as you do); they went on to have a son called Keith who, it turns out, was my grandfather. Nothing to write home about ­ just a run-of-the-mill settler story.

That said, the lunch was a blast. We met some nice people and I discovered that a state politician I had never liked was a very distant cousin.

But the atmosphere changed when an old uncle (a hundred times removed) took the microphone. "Thank God we're still here", he said. "You hear so much about multiculturalism ­ but there's no doubt who the real Australians are today!"

You could have cut the audience's embarrassment with a knife. It wasn't just that there were others, like me, with Italian antecedents; it soon became clear that there wasn't a family who didn't have a Chinese grandfather, a Greek aunt or a part-Filipino cousin who had also left the family's ethnic purity worse for wear. The eggs had already been scrambled.

It's a story which resonates for anyone who knows Australia 's Italian community. Just take the example of parents who demand their children marry other Italians. It's an obsession based on the premise that an Italian son- or daughter-in-law will always be good, loyal and honest, whereas people from other backgrounds are an unknown quantity. It's a logic which tells us that it's fine for a daughter to marry a delinquent, providing he be Italian or ­ better still ­ the child of immigrants from our parents' hometown.

It's all a bit weird. Firstly, it's ridiculous to attempt to limit the social interaction of second-generation Italian-Australians ­ that type of ethno-chauvinism would spell death for even the most self-contained communities (which this is not). Secondly, this fixation with ethnicity can have the effect of creating a one-dimensional identity. What happens when we describe as Italian-Australian only those who have two Italian parents, those who eat a certain type of pasta, those who support a certain soccer team, those who live in double-brick houses? Well, for a start it leaves us with an unsubtle understanding of who we are. It also allows little room for multiple identities. What about the Italian-Australian with an Aboriginal mother, or the one who only likes Indian food, or the immigrant who married a woman from China ? Where do they fit in?

I'm not much of a bocce player but I was happy to hit the court a few weeks ago with the members of Arcilesbica ­ an organisation of Italian-Australian gay women. There are thousands of reasons to support this group, not least of which is the fact that our parents were born into a society which was largely uncomfortable with homosexuality. The Church opposed it, the Communists saw it as a bourgeois disease to be swept away by the revolution, and the fascists well, let's not go there.

Yet supporting gay Italian-Australians is also about acknowledging a more complex reality. Every time a community member stakes a claim to an additional identity, he or she forces us (and, by implication, our parents) to review our preconceptions. A gay person can take pride in his or her cultural background without having to be concerned about traditional representations of Italianness. This is the complexity of the world in which we operate. Cultures are contaminated, identities get mixed up by our social and professional interactions and we inevitably take on all of the unanswered questions of contemporary Australian society. This is the country in which the descendent of the 'purest' of English settlers can feel at home in a pizzeria. article
(thanks to cinzia ambrosio, from Archlesbica)

(Note: I have just made the acquaintance of several friends on Facebook who share the name Dolce with me, but are black - half-Italian, half-Haitian! Shades of Voodoo and Papa Doc Duvalier! The mind boggles at the possibilities for cross-cultural cuisine. In fact, this might explain my love for both Italian regional cooking and African Soul Food. In any case, I will pass on any creative recipes I discover from my extended family of Italian-Haitian grandmothers!)




An Irish woman of advanced age visited her physician to ask his advise in reviving her husband's libido.
"What about trying Viagra?" asked the doctor. "Not a chance", she said. "He won't even take an aspirin."
"Not a problem," replied the doctor. "Give him an 'Irish Viagra'. It's when you drop the Viagra tablet into his coffee. He won't even taste it. Give it a try and call me in a week to let me know how things went."
It wasn't a week later when she called the doctor, who directly inquired as to her progress. The poor dear exclaimed,
"Oh, faith, bejaysus and begorrah! T'was horrid! Just terrible, doctor!"
"Really? What happened?" asked the doctor.
"Well, I did as you advised and slipped it in his coffee and the effect was almost immediate. He jumped straight up, with a twinkle in his eye and with his pants a-bulging fiercely! With one swoop of his arm, he sent me cups and tablecloth flying, ripped me clothes to tatters and took me then and there passionately on the tabletop! It was a nightmare, I tell you, an absolute nightmare!"
"Why so terrible?" asked the doctor, "Do you mean the sex your husband provided wasn't good?"?
"Twas the best sex I've had in 25 years! But sure as I'm sittin here, I'll never be able to show me face in Starbucks again.
(thanks to Bill Lempke)


Glorifying the Dead and Ignoring the Living

Something special happened to me this week, triggering the theme of this workshop.

A young and gifted classical singer and pianist whom I was consulting regarding my piano reduction of the Chinese-English choral work, 'Perfume Flower,' I am rescoring, solved a technical problem I was having, in approx 5 seconds with just one glance at the score!

When I offered to pay him, he replied ,'Oh no, I couldn't take money from a living composer.' That was an incredibly nice thing to say. Also, showed that he was a smart kid.

Later that night, while hangin' in the local Cave where I, Josephus the Snail Herder, repose to receive my Visions of Composition , there appeared a Golden Envelope. Inside was a thin Silver Letter, addressed to all Art Lovers of the 21st Century, in care of me, of course, but written in some kind of strange unfamiliar musical notation. Luckily, included in the large envelope, was a pair of sensual aluminium 3-D earplugs, the 'Uma' and the 'Thurmin'. With the help of this device, I was able to hear the Letter, which I now transcribe for you below:

" Dear Art Lovers of the 21st Century,

We the Following: the Ignored, the Misunderstood, the Overlooked, Underpaid, Pigeon-holed and Marginalized Artists of our Own Past Time, but now Proclaimed by YOUR Age as BLOODY GENIUSES, do Hereby Address Ye thusly:

Firstly, to all the so-called JS Bach Specialists who study at the finest Academia, win Honourum, Ribbons and Competitions fill Concert Halls, grow fat, wave white hankies and make album after album. If you do not compose music yourself SERIOUSLY, and passionately, and IMPROVISE fluently on your instrument - and you would not trade your life for this privilege - if you have not digested the very opening page of Maestro Bach's One and Two Part Inventions, which admonishes you to LEARN TO COMPOSE yourself - although you are competently performing the Dead Letter of the Maestro's Music , unfortunately, you are Misrepresenting the Living Spirit, without which his true Music can never be understood. We have often overheard you thinking that your fondest dream would be to go back in time and meet the Maestro himself and have him tutor you. Deluded Fool. Had you been alive in Bach's time, you would have been too busy glorifying the dead composers which preceded Bach, for the cheap applause, remunerations and kudos of the chattering peanut crunching crowd, your Teachers, and fellow Inmates of Academia, unable to actually hear the Maestro's Music then, just as you are unable to hear the current Living Musical Geniuses of your own time. Hark! Wake up from your Somnambula. Burn your Instruments. Take a Living Composer out to lunch today. Do not give up your Day Job teaching students the Art of the Dead Parrot Squawking. Yea! You are maketh a Joyful Noise. But the Maestro has left the building.

To the REST of you box of donut hole arse-lickers - you who follow current flavours of the Month, and Season, in Music, Art, Writing, Thinking. You who cannot imagine past Top Tens, and Music Charts, and continually Feed the Drunken Monkeys of Good, Better or Best, you who worship at the Iron Teat of the Sacrilegious Idol Contests, and bow in homage to the Radio Programmers' Deaf Deafer and Deafest Playlists. You Gossipy Womenfolk who are more interested in why Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise broke up, than why Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning stayed together. You Lost Children of the Cult of the White Wedding Dress, who would INDEED give up your Mother's Roast for a Scientology lesson with Tom Cruise, and who would rather shag Brad Pitt in a trailer on the set of Fight Club than rescue one of Vincent Van Gogh's lost paintings from his mother's pigsty. You brain-dead footballing and World Cup Soccer motherfucking sports Jocks who would prefer a half hour blow job from Cameron Diaz, rather than five minutes of life altering conversation with Emily Dickinson. And to all you blinker-visioned Music and Art Critics, Catatonic Festival Programmers, Pot-bellied Radio DJs, Balding Record Company A & R men, Bottom Feeding Writer's Agents, the Pencil Necked Publisher and his slathering Humpback, Igor the Lawyer, and All Entrepreneurs de Odeurs d'Manures. To all of you who would not have even noticed the Young Elvis or The Early German Beatles, or even poor stoned-out Philip K Dick, had not your friends, and the Ed Sullivan Show, already told you they were SOMEBODY - and even that was only because someone ELSE told them so. To all of you who did not think for yourself back then and do not think for yourself NOW (and in this I also include this pathetic and bitter frail vessel, Josephus the Snail Herder, through whom we are communicating our Thoughts via the Silver Letter at this very instant) - You, to whom all of us are STILL invisible and will REMAIN invisible, in our true natures, throughout your Mouse-Wheel Lifetimes. To you who presume to pass Daily Judgement on the very Souls of Currently Living, Ignored, Misunderstood, Overlooked, Underpaid, Pigeon-holed and the Marginalized Geniuses of YOUR OWN TIME, who are passing right in front of your myopic vision while you blink and reach for the TV Controller - those Winged Artists whose very Names will someday join ours, the Undersigned, in this Eternal Letter of Beesechment and Pissing in the Wind -

To all of YOU.

Thank you.

What the Immortal Fuck would we have DONE without you?

Your Humble Servants,

Johann Sebastian Bach, Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, Jan Vermeer of Delft, David Henry Thoreau, Herman Melville, Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, Camlle Claudel, Sylvia Plath, Joy Hester, Diane Arbus, Emily Dickinson, et al.

-transcribed this 30th Day of November, in the Year of Our Lard, MMVII, by Josephus the Snail Herder.




1 pound young okra
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teas salt
2 teas freshly ground pepper
3 rashers of middle bacon
minced garlic

Wash the okra and drain. Cut into half inch slices and remove stems. Dice the bacon and fry in oil in a large skillet until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. In the same oil, add half the okra and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry turning with spoon to cook evenly until tender and crispy and well browned, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with other half. Add garlic to pan if desired and toss. Sprinkle bacon bits over the top. Serve hot with Louisiana Hot Sauce.



The Resemblance Between Your Life and a Dog

I never intended to have this life, believe me -
It just happened. You know how dogs turn up
At a farm, and they wag but can't explain.

It's good if you can accept your life - you'll notice
Your face has become deranged trying to adjust
To it. Your face thought your life would look

Like your bedroom mirror when you were ten.
That was a clear river touched by mountain wind.
Even your parents can't believe how much you've changed.

Sparrows in winter, if you've ever held one, all feathers,
Burst out of your hand with a fiery glee.
You see them later in hedges. Teachers praise you,

But you can't quite get back to the winter sparrow.
Your life is a dog. He's been hungry for miles.
Doesn't particularly like you, but gives up, and comes in.

~ Robert Bly ~
(Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems)



New Hearing Aid

A man was telling his neighbour,
"I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect."
"Really," answered the neighbor . "What kind is it?"
"Twelve thirty.

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, "You're really doing great, aren't you?"
Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc: 'Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.'"
The doctor said, "I didn't say that. I said, 'You've got a heart murmur; be careful."

Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, "Windy, isn't it?"
Second one says, "No, it's Thursday!"
Third one says, "So am I. Let's go get a beer.
(thanks to Michael Leone)