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September 21st, 2007


"Women are not people. They are devices built by the Lord Jesus Christ for our entertainment." Peter Griffin, The Family Guy

"If [Muslims] had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now." Ann Coulter


Hi folks,

No offence meant to any REAL women by those above two quotes. I just think those two cartoon characters go well together. I also remember when Pauline Hanson first appeared on the Australian scene, I was a bit hesitant to get stuck into her because I always try to support 'sisters' in politics whenever I can, due to the great gender imbalance in government. But the xenophobi-crap Pauline was advocating really bothered me so I asked singer-songwriter, Judy Small, for her opinion. (I can always count on Judy for a clear-headed response.) She said, "She ain't no sister of mine."

This week's newsletter looks at the demise of Blackwater, Inc, Iraq: It's the Oil, Stupid!, belated birthday wishes to Margaret Sanger, Skeptics, Team Jesus, and, in Songwriting Workshop 5, Bach and Ovid.

The Family Guy Quote 2:
"If I'm a child that means you're a pedophile, and I'll be damned if i'm going stand here and take this from a pervert." Peter Griffin, (after Lois tells him he's childish):

The Ann Coulter Quote 2:
"The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man's dominion over the Earth. The lower species are here for our use. God said so: Go forth, be fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet - it's yours. That's our job: drilling, mining and stripping."


Re: Suitcases For Russia
You can't have it both ways. You are either in the capitalist political rhetoric camp or you're not. The same dopes that fed us the WMD line to justify this deplorable expansionist colonialist powerplay at the expense of over half a million souls (and counting) in Iraq, are the children of the dopes who hoisted the Iron Curtain after WW2. If this is the way you oppose selling this stuff to Russia now, will you be lampooning again when they flog it to some former middle eastern despot in a decade or so?
This should be debated for deeper reasons, reasons far more compelling than the fact that sycophantic popular culture reflects the Washington view. It always does, Bonds and Rambos are inevitable, would you expect anything else? The implications of this are so f*cking heavy that we can't joke, lay blame, compare or otherwise passively observe and deride historical U turns. WS
ps Irish whiskey is spelled with an "e".

(Note: WS, I agree with everything except the part about 'we can't joke'. As my old blind grandma used to say, 'If they can't take a f*ck, then joke 'em.' This will become clearer to you once you start drinking less whiskey with an 'e' and more whisky without one. (ie Lavagulin, Laphroaig, Glenlivet, Arlberg. These were also the names of Robbie Burns' children, by the way.) Here's a little study on the etymology of that word that should offend practically everyone, drunk or sober. L'chayim.) article


Alcohol And Health
Moderate drinkers tend to have better health and live longer than those who are either abstainers or heavy drinkers. In addition to having fewer heart attacks and strokes, moderate consumers of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine or distilled spirits or liquor) are generally less likely to suffer hypertension or high blood pressure, peripheral artery disease, Alzheimer's disease and the common cold.article

Re: Suitcases For Russia
I share your disappointment etc re Oz uranium sales. I would like to note though that my home State of Western Australia  still refuses to mine uranium - let alone sell it to anyone. Kind regards, Collyn Rivers, Broome WA.

Old Soviet-era joke:
Russian scientists develop a nuclear weapon that will fit in a suitcase, so they go to the Communist Party bosses and say "Isn't this great? We can build thousands of these and you can take one into all their major cities and hold the The West to ransom." But the apparatchiks give it the thumbs down as being impractical and when the scientists ask why, they say,
'Where are we going to get that many suitcases?" John C

Hi Joe.
 A friend of mine sent me the 'cars in barn discovery' story before I saw it in your newsletter. It's doing the rounds.
  I'm a member of the Australian Skeptics and don't believe half the bullshit sent to me in e-mails of this genre. I did some searching on the internet and sure enough, Mythbusters have the story listed as a hoax. (The real story is quite a good one, so it's sad but typical that someone had to embellish it and turn an interesting story into a hoax.)
  What interests me is that apart from the few entries I found that researched the 'find' and discovered the real story, there were hundreds that breathlessly retold the hoax story as fact. We all like to think that the internet has become a great aid to finding the truth about things, and it is, but it is also a very powerful propagator of bullshit. You only have to look back to the Liberal Party's tampering with John Howard's Wikipedia entry recently to see the dangers that the internet can pose by way of manipulation of information that we expect to be objective.
  The only defence we have is to be extremely skeptical, and keep our bullshit detectors as finely tuned as possible. We should notice things like the number of UFO reports dropping now that mobile phone cameras are owned by millions of people... and draw our own conclusions.
  On a slightly different subject, I appreciated the Chaser's stunt recently where they used a fake Canadian motorcade to get past several layers of security at the APEC conference in Sydney . (That hilarious footage is on the web.) We the public are asked to believe that all these absurd security precautions such as having our nail clippers and shampoo confiscated when we go to board an aircraft are going to make us safer. But if you actually think about it, how hard is it for a determined group of assassins to kill a lot of civilians? Not hard at all. One truck driver accidentally killed a dozen by running into a train not so long ago. The hard part is recruiting people who are mentally unhinged enough to be willing to die or to go to jail for life in order to commit mass murder. Logically that's where any 'security' spend should be concentrated, on combating the problem at its source. Once some of your own countrymen want to kill you so much they are prepared to die to do it, it's a bit late. Fortunately Australia doesn't seem to have produced too many psychos yet, so we still have time to roll back this over-the-top security obsession and use some common sense. As far as saving lives goes, any rudimentary analysis of statistics reveals the obvious, that if we put most of the money spent on 'security' apparatus into aboriginal health, stopping more people from smoking, lowering alcohol abuse and reducing obesity, we'd save vastly more lives. It's the good old politics of fear though, isn't it? Regards, Guy West.
Australian Skeptics
(related article)

(Note: There's a link to the Australian Skeptics site above although I'm a bit skeptical of it. boom boom. Still . . everyone needs a skeptic tank. boom boom. Thanks to Guy and also to Andre, from Denmark, WA, for pointing out that the car story is a hoax.)

I really love that, among all those amazing cars, is a FORD TAURUS. beth h.

(Note: Beth, Taurus the bull. There was more than that bull in that barn. See photo below.)


Dear Joe,
Subject: shaddap your face
i would like to say that shaddap your face will always bring a smile to my face. I was at secondary school when it was number one in England. when my children were small I used to sing it to them. thanks Joe and good luck in all you do x the song cheers me up and always brings a smile to my face and my children's! Leighleeanne

(Note: Leighleeanne, when i was a boy, just about-a eighth grade, mama used to say . . its-a not so bad, its-a nice-a place . . hey! check further on down as there are a bunch of new youtube clips using the song. A whole month worth of smiling.)

The Family Guy Quote 3:
Chris: Dad, what's the blow-hole for?
Peter: I'll tell you what it's not for, son. And when I do, you'll understand why I can never go back to Sea World.

The Ann Coulter Quote 3:
"As for converting them to Christianity, I think it might be a good idea to get them on some sort of hobby other than slaughtering infidels."


Team Jesus

"How many neocons does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
"Neocons don't believe in light bulbs, they declare war on evil and set the house on fire".

Interview with James Carroll:
He's a man who knows something about the dangers of mixing religious fervor, war, and the crusading spirit, a subject he dealt with eloquently in his book Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews. A former Catholic priest turned antiwar activist in the Vietnam era, James Carroll also wrote a moving memoir about his relationship to his father, the founding director of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency. Carroll essentially grew up in that five-sided monument to American imperial power. For him, as a boy, the Pentagon was "the largest playhouse in the world" and he can still remember sliding down its ramps in his stocking feet, as he's written in the introduction to his recent, magisterial history of that building and the institution it holds, House of War. As a weekly columnist for the Boston Globe, he was perhaps the first media figure to notice - and warn against - a presidential "slip of the tongue" just after the assaults of 9/11, when George W. Bush referred briefly to his new Global War on Terror as a "crusade." He was possibly the first mainstream columnist in the country to warn against the consequences of launching a war against Afghanistan in response to those attacks - now just another of the President's missions unaccomplished; and, in September 2003, he was possibly the first to pronounce the Iraq War "lost" in print.article

The Family Guy Quote 4:
Lois: You're drunk again.
Peter: No, I'm just exhausted 'cause I've been up all night drinking.

The Ann Coulter Quote 4:
"I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East, and sending liberals to Guantanamo."


Remembering Margaret Sanger
By Gloria Feldt
RH Reality Check

"Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have. Regardless of what man's attitude may be, that problem is hers - and before it can be his, it is hers alone."

September 14 is the birthday of Margaret Sanger, founder of the U.S. birth control movement. She was born Margaret Higgins in Corning, New York, in 1879, though ever vain, she would later alter the family Bible to appear three years younger. The sixth child of eleven living siblings, her earliest childhood memories were of crying beside her mother's bed as after she almost died following a difficult childbirth.
Sanger's mother, Anne Higgins, did die, worn out from those too frequent pregnancies and births, at age 50. These experiences formed the sensibilities that propelled Margaret Sanger to advocate for birth control. She dedicated her first book on the fundamental rights of women to control their fertility to her mother. article


: Crystal Passage Subject: Free Colon Cleanse Sample

The Family Guy Quote 5:
Peter: So uhh, Mr. Pewterschmidt, the big race is tomorrow eh? Bet you're gonna need some strapping men to help you with your boat.
Mr. Pewterschmidt: Are you calling me gay?
Peter: No. No. I just; I just thought you might want some extra seamen on your poopdeck.

The Ann Coulter Quote 5:
"I have to say I'm all for public flogging. One type of criminal that a public humiliation might work particularly well with are the juvenile delinquents."



(Note: Regular readers will know that I have devoted much newsletter space to criticizing this mercenary organization.)

Iraq has cancelled the licence of the private security firm, Blackwater USA, after it was involved in a gunfight in which at least eight civilians died. The Iraqi interior ministry said the contractor, based in North Carolina, was now banned from operating in Iraq. The Blackwater workers, who were contracted by the US state department, apparently opened fire after coming under attack in Baghdad on Sunday. Thousands of private security guards are employed in lawless Iraq. They are often heavily armed, but critics say some are not properly trained and are not accountable except to their employers. article


The Administration Must Rewrite The Rules
To Restrict Private Security Contractors -
Assessment Needed To Examine Blackwater's Failures

WASHINGTON - September 18 - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), released the following statement after news reports today detail that Iraq's Interior Ministry revoked the license of Blackwater USA. The American security firm was blamed for a Sunday gun battle in Baghdad that left eight civilians dead.
"The Administration needs to be called before Congress to see if Blackwater's failures are provoking more conflict in Iraq," Kucinich said.
"We shouldn't have mercenaries in Iraq or any other war zone. Not only should the State Department launch a full and complete investigation into this incident, but Congress should also hold Blackwater accountable.
"Congress needs to examine whether the United States should even use security contractors in war zones. A thorough and comprehensive examination is needed to know the true implications of American security firms in Iraq." article


The Family Guy Quote 6:
Lois: Peter, theres a hooker on the bed!
Hooker: Hi.
Peter: Stand perfectly still Lois, their vision is based on movement.
Hooker: Where'd you go?

The Ann Coulter Quote 6:
"My libertarian friends are probably getting a little upset now but I think that's because they never appreciate the benefits of local fascism."


Alan Greenspan Claims Iraq War Was Really for Oil
By Graham Paterson
The UK Times

America's elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil. In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush's economic policies.  However, it is his view on the motive for the 2003 Iraq invasion that is likely to provoke the most controversy. "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil," he says. article


The Family Guy Quote 7:
Peter (to Meg): Remember that pony you wanted when you were 6? Well I've been waitin for a time like this.
(opens closet door and a skeleton of a pony is there)
Peter: Oh, oh god, that's right ponies, ponies like food.

The Ann Coulter Quote 7:
"Liberalism is a religion - a comprehensive belief system denying the Christian belief in man's immortal soul. Liberalism is the opposition party to God."


"If you're wondering how all those shitty bands get fans on myspace, well here it is. They're using this program made by these guys to add friends, promote shows, post comments etc. Check it out - you'll be a star in no time!" Cheers, John article



In my of my more recent works, a fifteen movement song-work from Ovid's Narcissus, titled, 'Ecstasy of Narcissus,' for choir and neo-baroque instruments, I was inspired, in part, once again by Bach.



Phoebus and Pan
This little known work of JS Bach, based on the Ovid myth, was performed in local Leipzig coffee houses in the late eighteenth century. The following description of the piece comes from my unpublished novella about Bach, 'Bequeathed':

"It had been in 1731, Gottlieb, and I had just celebrated my thirtieth birthday. Sebastian was conducting a group of musicians from the Collegium Musica in a performance of one of the secular works he had composed outside of his church duties."
Gorner recalled that the libretto to Phoebus and Pan had been written by Picander based on the Metamorphoses XI of Ovid, and the Greek myth. The cantata begins with the winds, gradually retreating into stillness. Then the two competitors enter. Pan, master of the pipes, boasts of the power of his merry songs to charm people to dance. Phoebus counters with a grave and solemn aria to his beloved. To this, Pan replies by deriding his companion's weighty tunes. The arbiter of the dispute, the Lydian mountain God, Tmolus, decrees Phoebus the winner, but King Midas, to the contrary, has voted for Pan. For his stupidity, King Midas is then bestowed with the punishment of having to wear asses' ears. Pan's flute represented music of an agreeable nature, of commerce, and of the Leipzig world of business, easily understood by anyone. The music of Phoebus represented the beauty of melody with the grandeur and depth of learning, fit for the gods. Both types of music are justified but must always be opposed to one another. However, where art is truly cherished, the music of Phoebus, that of depth and beauty, will always emerge as more important. Bach knew that his music was the music of Phoebus, whereas the pipes of Pan echoed in the popular opera composers and nearly all the rest of the musical world of that period.
When Gorner had heard this work years ago, he had felt certain that the figure of King Midas had also been meant to portray the critic, Johann Adolph Scheibe. Scheibe had once applied for the post of organist at the Thomaskirche when Bach had been one of the judges. Scheibe had been rejected for the position and it had been given to Gorner instead. Scheibe had subsequently gone on to vehemently criticise the music of both Bach and of Gorner, calling Bach's music vain and tedious and against reason, and Gorner's, that of a conceited ignoramus. This critique, linking the two musicians together, had been influential in Gorner's growing sympathy to Bach's work."

You can hear Phoebus and Pan on this CD:
Cantata No. 201, 'Geschwinde, ihr wirbeln den Winde' (Phoebus und Pan)
Performed by Berlin RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin Academy for Ancient Music. Conducted by René Jacobs.

English translation of libretto

OVID is well-known for his stories of transformation, but not many people realise the Metamorphoses contain some of the most violent passages ever written. Today's gore-fest films do not hold a candle to the violence of antiquity contained in the tales of the Roman Coliseum, Josephus' narrative of the Fall of Jerusalem and Ovid. Take this excerpt from the 'Battle of the Lapiths Against the Centaurs':

"You will suffer for this, if I can but lay hold on a weapon!" shouted Exadius. Instead of a spear, he seized a set of stag's antlers, which had been hung on a tall pine tree as a votive offering. The two branching horns pierced Gryneus' eyes, and gouged out his eyeballs, part of which clung to the horn, part trickled down on to his beard and hung there, congealed with blood. Then Rhoteus snatched a blazing branch of plumwood from the very heart of the altar and, swinging it to the right, grazed Charaxus' temples with their coverings of yellow hair... with his half-burned branch, he renewed his assault on his foe, striking him repeatedly: three times, four times with violent blows he smashed the joinings of his skull, till the bones sank into the jellied mass of his brains."
OVID, Metamorphoses, Book XII, 190-106 site

The Family Guy Quote 8:
Peter: Lois, um, go get the medical dictionary and look up "fork" and "lung."
Lois: Why?
Peter: Time is a factor, Lois.

The Ann Coulter Quote 8:
"If Gore had been elected president, right now he would just be finding that last lesbian quadriplegic for the Special Forces team."



Here is a live performance of one of my blues harp instrumentals that some kind soul put online. Surprise to me! Notice that there is NO harmonica holder. It's all in the tonguework, folks. view

Here is another original old 80s video clip of mine that someone stuck online. (Who are these angels?) There are a host of Melbourne comics and identities in this one including Lin Van Hek and Los Trios Ringbarkus. I once got a wonderful letter from the writer of the original song - a Number 1 Hit for Jimmy Soul in 1963:
'"If You Want to Be Happy" has got to be as good if not just a wee better than 'Shaddap You Face'. Frankly I never dreamed anyone could come up with such a great and incredibly different arrangement. Sure, the new lyrics are excellent but the whole Italo-Anglo melodic fusion is absolutely fantastic. As a hard-nosed and proud Italian-American, I do not in anyway find it offensive or demeaning. Would you believe that I am a charter member of the National Italian American Foundation and not more that two weeks ago, I informed our president in Washington, D.C., Frank Stella, that Joe Dolce's next release would be one I wrote!!' Frank J. Guida view clip

* Speaking of YOUTUBE, feast on the latest collection of public 'Shaddap You Face' offerings. I think there were about 30 or so and growing the last time I counted. They're not all good, of course, but some of them are funny! I am perpetually amazed by all this!

*Singing Chef
* Weirdos Productions( basically, 2 girls smacking each other around)




Here's an exciting Son House video sent to me by my brother Frank.view

I follow it with the White Stripes performing another classic Son House song.

White Stripes do Son House's, 'Death Letter' view



The Family Guy Quote 9:
" I've got an idea - an idea so smart that my head would explode if I even began to know what I'm talking about." Peter Griffin

The Ann Coulter Quote 9:
"The Episcopals (sic) don't demand much in the way of actual religious belief. They have girl priests, gay priests, gay bishops, gay marriages."



Chicken Milanese

(A schnitzel by any other name. I heard once that you should be able to sit on a properly-made schnitzel without getting oil on your pants. I'm positive that an Italian didn't say that!)

8 (2-ounce) pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 lemon, quartered
2 cups fine dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
 olive oil, for frying
 sea salt, preferably gray salt
 black pepper

With a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, pressing the seasonings into the meat with your fingers. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds pepper. Work in the olive oil by hand, then spread the mixture on a dinner plate. Spread the flour on another dinner plate. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Dip the cutlets in the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip in the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl.
Finally, coat the cutlets on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs, pressing them into place. As each cutlet is coated, place it on a tray. Cover the cutlets and refrigerate until you are ready to fry them.
Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add olive oil to a depth of 1/4-inch. When the oil is almost smoking, add as many cutlets as the skillet will hold comfortably; do not crowd the pan. Cook until the cutlets are golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the second side about 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. With tongs, lift the cutlets as they are done, allowing any excess oil to drain back into the skillet, and transfer to cookie sheet lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with the remaining cutlets. Divide the cutlets among 4 plates. Serve immediately.


I used to sit in the cafe of existentialism,
lost in a blue cloud of cigarette smoke,
contemplating the suicide a tiny Frenchman
might commit by leaping from the rim of my brandyglass.
I used to hunger to be engaged
as I walked the long shaded boulevards,
eyeing women of all nationalities,
a difficult paperback riding in my raincoat pocket.
But these days I like my ontology in an armchair,
a rope hammock, or better still, a warm bath
in a cork-lined room--disengaged, soaking
in the calm, restful waters of speculation.
Afternoons, when I leave the house
for the woods, I think of Aquinas at his desk,
fingers interlocked upon his stomach,
as he deduces another proof for God's existence,
intricate as the branches of these bare November trees.
And as I kick through the leaves and snap
the windfallen twigs, I consider Leibniz on his couch
reaching the astonishing conclusion that monads,
those windowless units of matter, must have souls.
But when I finally reach the top of the hill
and sit down on the flat tonnage of this boulder,
I think of Spinoza, most rarefied of them all.
I look beyond the treetops and the distant ridges
and see him sitting in a beam of Dutch sunlight
slowly stirring his milky tea with a spoon.
Since dawn he has been at his bench grinding lenses,
but now he is leaving behind the saucer and table,
the smokey chimneys and tile roofs of Amsterdam,
even the earth itself, pale blue, aqueous,
cloud-enshrined, titled back on the stick of its axis.
He is rising into that high dome of thought
where loose pages of Shelley float on the air,
where all the formulas of calculus unravel,
tumbling in the radiance of a round Platonic sun--
that zone just below the one where angels accelerate
and the ampitheatrical rose of Dante unfolds.
And now I stand up on the ledge to salute you, Spinoza,
and when I whistle to the dog and start down the hill,
I can feel the thick glass of your eyes upon me
as I step from the rock to glacial rock, and on her
as she sniffs her way through the leaves,
her tail straight back, her body low to the ground.
~ Billy Collins ~ 
(The Art of Drowning)




A young Chinese couple gets married. She's a virgin. Truth be told, he is a virgin too, but she doesn't know that. On their wedding night, she cowers naked under the sheets as her husband undresses in the darkness. He climbs into bed next to her and tries to be reassuring.
"My darring," he whispers, "I know dis you firss time and you berry frighten. I pomise you, I give you anyting you want, I do anyting - juss anyting you want. You juss ask. Whatchu want?" he says, trying to sound experienced and worldly, which he hopes will impress her.
A thoughtful silence follows and he waits patiently (and eagerly) for her request. She eventually shyly whispers back,
"I want to try someting I have heard about from other girls... Numbaa 69."
More thoughtful silence, this time from him. Eventually, in a puzzled tone he asks her...

You want... Garlic Chicken with snow peas?"
  (thanks to Bill Lempke)