I caught myself multi-tasking this morning without thinking. In fact, I've been doing this particular little timesaving manoeuvre for sometime but just noticed how efficient it is.
First, I put on some fresh coffee. While I'm waiting for it to percolate, I walk into the bathroom, fill the basin with hot water, and lather up for a shave. Then, I unzip my fly and release Pegleg Johnnie Johnson, The First Born Son of Kong, and step in front of the toilet and take a leak, freehand, while shaving at the same time in front of the small mirror over the toilet. I usually get a third of my face shaved, zip up, go back to the bigger mirror and finish up shaving. Then I brush my teeth and by that time the coffee is starting to perk. I then towel off and go in the kitchen and pour the coffee.
I know. You're probably thinking: I hope he washes his hands. Of course I wash my hands. I'm not stupid. Do you think I want to get coffee grounds all over my dick?
Ain't it funny how life swings around to meet you sometimes? Last week, I talked about my new Leadbelly Ballad-Novel and printed the lyrics to one of the songs, 'I'll Fight Jim Crow, Anytime, Anywhere,' which has its context in the racism of the 20s-40s of the US Deep South. This week, the big news sweeping the States concerns a series of Nooses that have been left at key locations where black people work. Some people are now saying The Noose has become more fearsome symbol than the Swastika.
This week's Songwriting Workshop 8 will look at the idea of stand-alone song titles and the Kinky Friedman song, 'They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore,' and see if it can be redirected to a different place with a little re-write.
FAVOURITE LETTERS OF THE WEEK
I always have to wring myself out and hang myself out to dry after you - love ya. Beverley xoxo
(Note: Love you, too, Bev. Also, the little naughts and crosses you stuck at the end of your note. Here's one I made up you might find comes in handy for that certain someone. xxkissexx)
Write to you the woman from Russia. My name Tatyana to me of 26 years! I to want to find the man for serious the relation in your country. I am ready for creation family and to want it. I cannot find the man in Russia for myself because it very difficultly in Russia. It is a lot of men in Russia to drink alcohol much it to not like I. I to want to create family and to live in your country because the government to care of people, I to want to live and be sure in the future. In Russia it is not possible to live easy. I to tell about myself. I live in city Yoshkar-Ola it is 1000 km from capital Russia Moscow.
My city small and very beautiful. I to work the seller in shop home appliances. I the cheerful woman to like to go in for sports and do all what to like the usual person.
My history: we with my girlfriend were going to go in your country as tourists for search of men for serious the relation. But my girlfriend could not go with me. But now I shall have the visa in 7 days for your country. I to not want to waste time. I now in Moscow also wait for reception of my visa. To me would give advice that I to search the man through the Internet. I will think to you important to know where I to take yours e-mail. I was registered in agency of acquaintances and to me to give yours e-mail the address. If you to want I shall speak with me is glad dialogue with you. And it is possible we a meeting in 7 days because I can arrive to you. Please tell to me about itself! About your city! There was to me a photo! I shall send you a photo of me in the following letter. I shall wait your answer. Write to me on e-mail.
Yours faithfully, Tatyana
(Note: Hello Woman, send photo of tractor. That is, unless woman is tractor. Boom boom! [Why do I have a sneaking hunch that this is one of the Kazakstan Kowgirls?] site
the 3JJJ crew took the Samuel L Jackson session to air this afternoon too . . . you probably know already. . . they talked about it for quite a while, personal associations with it, how it was the biggest seller in the history of Australian song...then they dissed it at the end as racist . . . go figure. . . youth . . . It must have been fun watching Jackson. . . . I loved his delivery, then his face when he heard your original . . . priceless stuff. No talk of racism there either. I'm doing Cage's music circus Friday night @ Melbourne Festival with my Free Music Ensemble. Great work. Love, Rupert
(Note: No, I think I was doing my shaving triathlon when it was on, but thanks for letting me know. In case anyone else missed this, Rupert is talking about Samuel L. Jackson's 'reading' of the lyrics of Shaddap You Face. Someone told me recently that she never thought much of Jackson's acting until she heard him read 'Shaddap You Face'! I have always been fond of his sense of humour and watched him in an amazing and deep DVD the other day, 'In My Country,' with Juliette Binoche, about the amnesty and reconciliation trials in South Africa. Here is a youTube link again to the song lyric reading: youTube
This was a great program on KQED's main channel 9 last night [The Ghost In Your Genes.]. . . this is very good news for a change, if those cancer patients stay in remission. . . Love Ramon
"The Ghost In Your Genes explores new findings that call into question the belief that all inherited traits are passed on by our genes. The fast-growing field of epigenetics investigates hidden influences that could not only affect our health today, but that of our descendants far into the future. It now appears the environment we live in makes small chemical changes to our DNA without affecting the gene's overall makeup. The lives of your grandparents - the air they breathed, the food they ate, even the things they saw - could possibly affect you, and that what you do in your lifetime could, in turn, affect your grandchildren. This program examines this fascinating new idea, interviewing top scientists in the field and exploring what could be a paradigm shift in the way we think about inheritance and our genes." article
Quotes from Goethe No. 1
The heights charm us, but the steps do not;
with the mountain in our view we love to walk the plains. Goethe
In Jena and Beyond, Nooses Return as a Symbol
By Darryl Fears
When he reached his third-story workstation at a construction
site near Pittsburgh two weeks ago, Errol Madyun saw the noose
- thick, neatly knotted and strong enough to hang a man.
"It was intimidating," said Madyun, a black ironworker.
More than 400 miles south in North Carolina, Terry Grier, superintendent of Guilford County Schools, saw the same type of noose last month at predominantly black T.W. Andrews High near Greensboro.
"It was huge," Grier, who is white, said of a noose he discovered hanging from a flagpole, one of four nooses placed at the school. "I became very angry. Part of what you think is it's a copycat of Jena."
Law enforcement authorities, including the Justice Department, are expressing concern over a recent spate of noose sightings in the aftermath of events in Jena, the small Louisiana town that has been engulfed by racial strife and was the scene of a recent civil rights demonstration.
Nooses have been looped over a tree at the University of Maryland, knotted to the end of stage-rigging ropes at a suburban Memphis theater, slung on the doorknob of a black professor's office at Columbia University in New York, hung in a locker room at a Long Island police station, stuffed in the duffel bag of a black Coast Guard cadet aboard a historic ship, and draped around the necks of black dolls in the Pittsburgh suburbs. The hangman's rope has become so prolific, some say, it could replace the Nazi swastika and the Ku Klux Klan's fiery cross as the nation's reigning symbol of hate. article
Quotes from Goethe No. 2 Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being. Goethe
Steep Decline In Oil Production Brings Risk
of War and Unrest, Says New Study
· Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year
· Decline in gas, coal and uranium also predicted
by Ashley Seager
World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half
as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme
shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.
The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in
London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006
- much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which
predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after
oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday
hitting more than $90 (£44) a barrel.
"The world soon will not be able to produce all the oil it needs as demand is rising while supply is falling. This is a huge problem for the world economy," said Hans-Josef Fell, EWG's founder and the German MP behind the country's successful support system for renewable energy. article
Foreploy (v): Any misrepresentation about yourself for
the purpose of getting laid.
Giraffiti (n): Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
Sarchasm (n): The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
Osteopornosis (n): A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
Karmageddon (n): its like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating. (Thanks to Alex Smith)
Quotes from Goethe No. 3 We should quietly hear both sides. Goethe
THE ESTONIAN SINGING REVOLUTION
When DIFFICULTWOMEN performed
in Estonia a few years ago, I first heard from the locals about
the singing revolution that was instrumental in driving
out the Soviets.
(Side story: I even bought an old Russian chess set, with the hammer and sickle stamped on the back of the board, from some Russian gypsies in a second-hand shop, one of whom, after I had paid, said to me, very arrogantly, 'I don't need no little pieces - I play you in head.' Maybe I should introduce Tatyana, up above, to this guy but he probably already has a tractor.)
Anyway, The Singing Revolution was the name given to the step-by-step process that led to the reestablishment of Estonian independence in 1991. This was a non-violent revolution that overthrew a very violent occupation. It was called this because of the role singing played in the protests of the mid-1980s. Now there is a documentary available that recounts this musical miracle.
" The Singing Revolution" is an inspiring account of one nation's dramatic rebirth. It is also an evocation of humankind's irrepressible drive for freedom and self-determination." article
(Thanks to Margret RoadKnight)
Quotes from Goethe No. 4 To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking. Goethe
When Maurice Chevalier sang, 'Thank Heaven, for Little Girls,'
a million mothers fainted but when they came to their senses,
locked up their daughters. You might say, well, that was then
- things were generally more Lolita in those days. Blame
Nabokov, in particular. Blame the French, in general. Hell, even
Jerry Lee Lewis married his fourteen year old cousin AND transported
her across state lines. (They used to bulk bill that guy for breaking
Recently, I was part of Fiona-Scott Norman's The Needle and the Damage Done trilogy and heard a great collage of these intergenerational lyrics. Has anyone ever actually listened to the words to The Knack's, MY SHARONA:
Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh.
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona.
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up. Such a dirty mind.
Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.
My my my i yi woo. M M M My Sharona...
There is a history of this going way back.
Clair, the moment I met you I swear I felt as if something
Had happened to me Which I couldn't see
Words mean so little when you look up and smile I don't care
what people say,
To me you're more than a child Oh! Clair, Clair
But why in spite of our age difference do I cry Each time I
leave you I feel I could die
Nothing means more to me than hearing you say, " I'm going to marry you,
Will you marry me Uncle Ray?" Oh! Clair, Clair
Clair, I've told you before Don't you dare Get back into bed
Can't you see that it's late No you can't have a drink
Oh! all right then but wait just a bit While I, in an effort to baby sit,
Catch of my breath what there is left of it. You can be murder at this hour of the day
But in the morning this hour Will seem a lifetime away Oh! Clair, Clair Gilbert and Sullivan
Ok, who else?
Would you like some sweeties little girl? Come a little closer
I've got the kind of toys you've never seen Manmade and a bit obscene
Little angel come and sit upon my knee Ozzy Osbourne
Young girl, get out of my mind My love for you is way out of
Better run, girl, You're much too young, girl
With all the charms of a woman You've kept the secret of your youth
You led me to believe You're old enough
To give me Love And now it hurts to know the truth, Oh,
Beneath your perfume and make-up You're just a baby in disguise
And though you know That it is wrong to be Alone with me
That come on look is in your eyes, Oh, So hurry home to your mama
I'm sure she wonders where you are Get out of here Before I have the time
To change my mind 'Cause I'm afraid we'll go too far, Oh, Young girl Gary Puckett & The Union Gap
LI'L RED RIDING HOOD
Hey there Little Red Riding Hood, You sure are looking good. You're everything a big bad wolf could want. Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL
Good morning little schoolgirl, can I come home with you Tell
your moma and your papa, I'm a little schoolboy too
Come on now pretty baby, I just can't help myself You're so young and pretty, I don't need nobody else
Good morning little schoolgirl, can I come home with you Don't you hear me crying\I want to be your chauffeur I want to ride your little machine
I want to put a tiger, baby Hey in your sweet little tank You got them box-back Nitties, darlin' Great big ol' noble thighs
And I know that 'cha That 'cha work undercover with a boar hog's eye
Sung by Pigpen of the Grateful Dead, Lyrics and Music: Sonny Boy Williamson.
And, our old Dylan favourite:
"She makes love just like a woman, but she breaks just like . . . . . . . . " (you know the rest)
Here an interesting article from American Sexuality Magazine:
" . . .playfulness permeates the treatment of paedophilia
in popular music. Successful pop music is in touch with youthful
feelings and issues. Part of adolescence is the discovery of sexuality,
which is seen as a "grown-up" thing, and hence the collision
of the "young" and the "adult" worlds. From
there springs the disconnect, the place where the subject matter
becomes a description of illegal activity.
In an analogous way, if a youth throws a baseball through a window he may be personally excused for it but for an adult there are potentially darker consequences. The portrayal of intergenerational sexuality may be a flight of fancy for the young but is criminal for adults. Audiences and corporate America accept the lyrics in popular music even if some of the activities alluded to are criminal offenses. article
Quotes from Goethe No. 5 Certain flaws are necessary for the whole. It would seem strange if old friends lacked certain quirks. Goethe
Children Detach From Natural World As They
Explore The Virtual One
by Peter Fimrite
Yosemite may be nice and all, but Tommy Nguyen of San Francisco
would much prefer spending his day in front of a new video game
or strolling around the mall with his buddies.
What, after all, is a 15-year-old supposed to do in what John Muir called "the grandest of all special temples of nature" without cell phone service?
"I'd rather be at the mall because you can enjoy yourself walking around looking at stuff as opposed to the woods," Nguyen said from the comfort of the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall.
In Yosemite and other parks, he said, furrowing his brow to emphasize the absurdly lopsided comparison, "the only thing you look at is the trees, grass and sky."article
Quotes from Goethe No. 6 Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow. Goethe
Kucinich Pushes Bush Impeachment
by Julia Reynolds
Congressman Dennis Kucinich . . . was energized by a straw
poll taken Sunday in San Mateo County, where he came in second
after John Edwards as the favored Democratic candidate.
"That shows that I am electable," he said. "That was very powerful, a sign of rising support because of the stand I take for peace - including standing up against war with Iran."
He seized the moment to come out with perhaps his strongest stance to date toward impeaching President George W. Bush. "I'm going to talk to members of Congress this week and tell them taking impeachment off the table is a big mistake," he said. Kucinich was moved to take action, he said, in part because of Bush's recent suggestion to reporters that a world war with Iran might be imminent, leading Kucinich to wonder "whether he's playing with Armageddon or he's not well." "The world can't countenance the president of the United States raising the specter of World War III," he said. "A president must be temperate with his words." article
Quotes from Goethe No. 7 If you miss the first buttonhole, you will not succeed in buttoning up your coat. Goethe
It's Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week!
by Barbara Ehrenreich
A major purpose of this week is to wake up academic women to
the threat posed by militant jihadism. According to the Week's
website, feminists and particularly the women's studies professors
among them, have developed a masochistic fondness for Islamic
fundamentalists. Hence, as anti-Islamo-Fascist speakers fan out
to the nation's campuses this week, students are urged to stage
"sit-ins in Women's Studies Departments and campus Women's
Centers to protest their silence about the oppression of women
Leaving aside the obvious quibbles about feminist pro-jihadism and the term "Islamo-Fascism," which seems largely designed to give jihadism a nice familiar World War II ring, the klaxons didn't go off for me until I skimmed down the list of Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week speakers and found, incredibly enough, Ann Coulter, whom I last caught on TV pining for the repeal of women's suffrage. "If we took away women's right to vote," she said wistfully, "We'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream; it's a personal fantasy of mine." article
I recently got into quite a email bunfight with Stephen Taberner of the Spooky Men Chorale over my Songwriting Workshop 3 where I deconstructed Neil Finn's 'Dont Dream It's Over' and offered my improvement on what I considered a lame set of lyrics. Stephen didn't much approve, and - in the distinctive sub-tongue of the King's English that he is reknown for - told me so.
Originally, I was going to publish our correspondence in the newsletter - in real time - as it unfolded - but it simply became too intense very quickly and a bit personal. (I still may edit it together and, with Stephen's permission, print it down the track.)
Over the course of those few letters, he referred to me variously as pompous, a great galoot and a big struttin' turkey. I promptly wrote three songs dedicated to him - which I call the Taberner Trilogy with the titles: 'St Pompous Ass Day,' 'The Great Galoot,' and 'You Big Struttin' Turkey,' the last one even making its way into my Leadbelly Ballad-Novel, which goes to show that - if I may rewrite the old adage:
Here's a little advice for Stephen from another barnyard fowl from the Deustchland: For a man to achieve all that is demanded of him he must regard himself as greater than he is. Goethe
Stephen and I have actually become better friends (I think!) as he recently invited me to his house warming where I baked him a White Chocolate Tart with a tiny Crowing Rooster Snowdome as the centre piece. Here's a link to the Spooky Men Chorale website: site
I like Spooky Men and their innovative 'men and mastodons' approach to life, music and humour - but the thing I first heard that attracted me to Stephen wasn't this kind of material, but his creative counterpuntual and Georgian approach to choral arrangement which can be heard on the track, Lashgvash: .mp3
Startlingly good stuff and, as I've said before, I only really stand up and notice music that compels me to want to learn to do that myself. This certainly qualifies.
Anyway, one good insight I got out of our dialogue was that it was foolish of me to consider any rewriting of songs like Neil Finn's, or Dylan's or even the following Kinky Friedman song - as improvements. Music is personal taste so the whole idea of an improvement is a matter of personal opinion.
I have decided that a more accurate term is: to redirect - to point the song in another direction that is, perhaps, implied, but not realized.
In Neil Finn's song, I could hear the depth of a song like Lennon's, 'Imagine,' buried in there, within Finn's great melody, but unrealized in the lyrics.
And in Kinky Friedman's song 'They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore,' I heard an idea in the title that, in my view, is unrealized in the actual song. More about that later.
I have always loved stand-alone titles like this title. Mini-haikus that do not require any further reference - either to the lyrics or music. The title itself stimulates the imagination. A few other examples that come to mind:
'Ain't No UFO Gonna Catch My Diesel." (First time I heard that title, I had go search out the song to learn.)
'Daddy's Gone to Heaven To Sleep With Jesus.'
'Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life.'
Sufjan Stevens has an interesting approach to song titles, like the following:
'The Black Hawk War, Or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization
And Still Feel Good About Yourself In The Morning, Or, We Apologize
For The Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, Or
I Have Fought The Big Knives And Will Continue To Fight Them.'
(This is just an instrumental, but, like, who needs more lyrics with a title like that?)
I've written a few of my own over the years. "Shaddap You Face' - of course, for one.
'Did You Get Stupid From Being Ugly, Or Ugly From Being Stupid' - is another.
'A Girl is Born in Bethlehem'
'It Was Only a Dream (But No Reason to Awake)'
'Marching With Martin Luther King, Jr'
'In the Garden With Monet'
'Crop Circles in My Marijuana'
'The Vafanculo Polka'
'Lullabye for a Battered Child'
'Tonight I Am Not Your Child, I Am Your Lover'
'My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame'
'God is Dead, Marx is Dead (And I'm Not Feeling That Good Myself)'
'Memphis Minnie and The Great Male vs Female Guitar Contest'
'Get Thee Behind Me, Santa'
Quite a few, now that I look at it. I guess that principle has been guiding me for a long time. Well, if you can come up with a stand-alone title, the lyrics are half-written, in my opinion. And if your stand-alone title, is also the musical hook, or chorus of the song, then the melody is half-written. So it's a good starting point. For the Leadbelly Ballad-Novel, I filled an index card with creative titles, and as I got more and more in the lyric writing mood, I would just go down the list. Here are some of the stand-alone titles from the fifty new songs from my new Leadbelly composition-
'Jack Johnson and the Mann Act of 1910' (how
they finally busted the great black boxer)
'The Zigaboo Peckerwood Waltz' (speaks for itself)
'Orpheo, Don't Look Back' (from Eurydice's point of view)
'Open Your Legs, Sweet Sally' (Do I have to explain this one?)
'Pigtails in Gravy' (a recipe song!)
'Jelly With My Cake' (It got to be jelly, 'cause jam don't shake)
'The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan' (a little historical song - in the 20s, the Klan comprised 15% of US eligible population ie. 5 million people! Today it's membership is around 3000.).
So back to Kinky's song. 'They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore.' To paraphrase the idea I heard in the title, before I ever heard the actual song:
Jesus was a man of love and peace, who respected women, and preached non-violence, returning love for hate, and living outside of the structure of traditional religious organization - basically, a Jew who thought for himself about God and Life. They ain't making them like that any more.
But here are some of the actual lyrics to the song:
Friedman's idea is contained in these two lines:
'No, they aint makin jews like jesus anymore, We dont turn the other cheek, the way we done before. '
A little bit different message that what I imagined, eh? Holy Mossad, Gefiltefishman!
So my challenge here was to re-direct the song lyrics to say more of what the title implied to me - of what I initially envisioned the song would be about. Here is a first-draft stab at it. (Once again, it's just a FIRST DRAFT, so don't go all Professor Whitey on me. It's just to demonstrate that it can be done.)
Quotes from Goethe No. 9 Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one. Goethe
I had some left over buttermilk from my Red Velvet Cake recipe last week so I thought I would try buttermilk pancakes which I haven't had for thirty years! I found this little incantation which will produce a yummy result.
250 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
750 ml (3 cups) buttermilk
75 g (212 oz) unsalted butter, melted
unsalted butter, extra, for greasing the pan
1. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
2. Add the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter and whisk to combine.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush a small portion of butter over the base.
4. For each pancake, ladle 80 ml (1/3 cup) of batter into the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface.
5. Turn the pancakes over and cook for another minute.
6. Transfer to a plate and keep warm while cooking the rest of the pancakes.
Serving Suggestion: Serve the pancakes in stacks with
the plums, a jug of maple syrup and some yoghurt. Makes 16
(thanks to Richard Glover)
THE FINAL HURRAH
It's sooooo dry in Australia that .........
a. You're only permitted to eat watermelon between 8pm and
b. The Government has introduced a water pistol buyback scheme.
c. Kids are encouraged to wee in the pool.
d. Jesus is turning the wine back into water.
e. I saw two trees fighting over a dog.
(thanks to Jim Testa)