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September 23, 2005

Shaddap You Piehole

"Sometimes dogs do eat homework."
John Roberts, Supreme Court Nominee and Federal Appeals Court Dog Show Judge


Dear Sponge Comrades,

I just got back from a couple weeks bush. Rejuvenating, to say the least, but also hard and creative work. Putting a new roof on the love shack, building a new south wall - all without the conveniences of electricity or power tools. Cooking three pies in a bush oven over coals: sour cherry, sweet potato and my own spaghetti and meatball pie with guanciale crust (see recipe below). Sharing the space with the midnight prowling of possums and the early evening thundering of kangaroos looking for water. The wind gods were very upset and there were at least twelve huge trees blocking our way in and out. Luckily I had my old chainsaw sharpened and tuned. I'm still aching from the muscles I had to re-hire for those little interludes. One storm looked like it had collapsed a whole section of forest across the road and it took four of us to clear it. Speaking of wind gods, Hurricane Katrina has passed the baton on to Hurricane Rita as I write this, only this time, Texas is the target. Texas. I've just received an invite to do a showcase at the North American Folk Alliance in Austin, Texas, in February, next year. The home state of George W Bush, the Lesser. I wonder how fast PresentlyDented Bush will respond to his own State's emergency. Austin is also the base of party animal country singer Robert Earl Keen Jr who recorded my song, 'Hall of Fame' recently. Hope they like my version, too. The Original. After 'Shaddap' it is my most covered song but I've never recorded it myself. There must be a whole mess of good ol' boys down there in Austin, I reckon. Mixed in with the folkies. I'll also be serving up my anti-Religious Right song, 'Did You Get Stupid from Being Ugly (or Ugly from Being Stupid?'). Probably a question that will cause a few cowboys no end of grief trying to answer. I'm currently reading, 'Commanche Moon,' the final novel in the Lonesome Dove saga, by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Larry McMurtry, about the middle years of Texas Rangers August McCrae and Woodrow F. Call. I'm really looking forward to visiting Texas. Finally, since Texas Rustler George W recently got himself super-sized up to the double McUgly Burger, (by not making time for Cindy Sheehan - and reading his Goat Book, Part 2 - Revenge of The Gruff, instead of tending to business promptly and urgently during Katrina,) I've decided to dedicate this week's recipe, way down yonder at the bottom of the page, to Dubya. . . for old times sake!


Favourite Reader Feedback of the Week

G'day Joe,
Still enjoying the weekly newsletter. Keep it up. I cracked up something cruel when I read the following Mark Twain quotation ... it really is a case of the more things change the more they stay the same... cheers ... 
Allan D.

"Satan must have been pretty simple, even according to the New Testament, or he wouldn't have led Christ up on a high mountain and offered him the world if he would fall down and worship him. That was a manifestly absurd proposition, because Christ, as the Son of God, already owned the world; and besides, what Satan showed him was only a few rocky acres of Palestine. It is just as if some one should try to buy Rockefeller, the owner of all the Standard Oil Company, with a gallon of kerosene." - Mark Twain, a Biography


Favourite Reviews of the Week

(The Nice One -)

Jonathan Edwards "Have A Good Time For Me"
(Atco, 1973/Collector's Choice, 2005)

"The album's true gem is a JOE DOLCE song called "My Home Ain't In The Hall Of Fame," which was a perfect statement of purpose for a guy whose debut album had put him in the Billboard chart's Top Five, but whose subsequent releases were about as anti-commerical as you could get . . . It went on to become an alt-country anthem, both through Edwards's excellent version, and a fine cover by bluegrasser J.D. Crowe . . . That song alone is worth the price of admission for this fine old hippie album. Recommended! " Joe Sixpack, San Francisco DJ - 'Hillbilly Record Riot Reviews'


(The Extra-Nice One With Sugar on It -)

Dear Joe,
Let me, on behalf of the Henry Lawson Festival committee, thank you for your unforgettable appearance at this year's Festival Concert. It is certainly the best act I have had on the concert bill in four years of organising the event... people in town are still talking about it!
Peter Soley, Henry Lawson Festival Committee


(And the Not-So-Nice One With Rat Poison on It - )

Top Ten Worst Ambassadors of Italian Culture Via Song

In the 20th century, 27 million Italians left their home country. This is no surprise, ever since the days of Amerigo Vespucci, Italians have been hopping on the boat and trying to go somewhere, anywhere else. But the end result of this is that 50 million people outside of the boot now identify themselves as 'Italian,' 'Italian-American,' 'Anglo-Italian,' 'Italo-Argentinian,''or a million other 'Italianate Hyphens.' And whilst most of us have been happy to eke out a living either fixing your car or working as hired muscle for loan sharks, some of us have been making moves in the entertainment industry. On the big and little screen, we've delivered The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Sopranos, Scarface, A Bronx Tale, Once Upon A Time In America, and absolutely no films that aren't about the gangsters. And we do pop as well. Those who've represented for their Italian ancestry whilst adding to the rich tapestry of popular music include: Toni Basil (real name: Antonia Basilotta), Tony Bennett, Jon Bon Jovi, Sonny Bono, Jim Croce, Ronnie James Dio, Dion, Connie Francis, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Henry Mancini, Tim McGraw, Bruce Springsteen Gwen Stefani and, ummm, Joe C; with Prince and Alicia Keys on team for the Afro-Italian-American side of things. But, unfortunately, there's always a few who have to ruin it for the rest of us, be it through wilful guineadom or just plain lack of talent.

Joe Dolce Music Theatre - Shaddup You Face
'Shaddup You Face' is the most successful single ever released by an Australia-based recording artist. The country's current leader, John Howard, is on record as saying that his country takes in too many immigrants. I see a definite cause and effect pattern emerging here. The song paints Italian caricatures in brushstrokes as wide as the average middle-aged Italian woman's ass. (Ed note: ouch!) From the hen-pecked son with low-intelligence (Ed note: you talkin' to me?) and a propensity for small-time crime, through to the overbearing mother, through to the fact that every-a single-a word-a he-a says-a is-a ending-a with-a a-a 'a'-a tacked-a on-a, through to the fact that it has an accordion solo. Which is announced with the line 'Big accordion solo!' Absolute rubbish.

Dean Martin - That's Amore
'Food and sex, those are my two passions. It's only natural to combine them,'said one of the two greatest Italian-Americans ever, George Costanza. The other took him at his word and sang a really bad song about it. Long-time Stylus readers will know I have nothing but love for Dino. However, he got it really wrong on occasions. From the amazingly un-Italian sounding choir that kicks the track off, through to the pizza parlour mandolins, and Dean realising that the track is shit and giving it one of the most disinterested vocals of his career. For the uninitiated, the 'Pasta Fazool' is pasta and cannelini beans, sometimes with cheap cuts of meat added. (Ed note: cheap cuts? The only cheap cut I can see here is this bozo.) If that makes you drool, or indeed you're drooling at the stars in the first place, one can only assume you're in a coma. Dom Passatino, Stylus Magazine, UK Editor
(thanks to Frank Dolce)

(Note: Once again, I am eternally grateful to my brother, Frank, for leading me to these wonderful etceterattum. Well, what can I say to Editor Dom Passatino, obviously a fellow Italian? I felt a little hurt - until I noticed that Dean Martin's 'That's Amore' came right after mine on his trash list. Wha . . . ? I have never met an Italian who didn't LOVE 'That's Amore'. I guess to find the trauma behind Dom's delusional thinking, we have to remember that firstly, he IS from the UK (which speaks for itself) and more importantly, back to his full Christian name: Dominic, from the Latin name Dominicus meaning "of the Lord". This name was traditionally given to a child born on Sunday. i.e. his Medull-a Oblongat-a was formed on the day the Lord rested. Also, not to forget 'Dominique -nique -nique' by the Singing Nun - a great song . . but ultimately about St Dominic, the first Inquisitor the Catholic Church appointed, via a Crusade, to seek out and eradicate their fellow Christian Albigensian 'heretics', who were also the prototypes for today's singer-songwriters. So I also hope our young altarboy Dominic, (aka Sputnum of Satan Jr), will either cast out the Italian-bashing Demons that possess him, or, failing that, avail himself to a serve of the classic pie recipe given down below.)

Guaranteeing Salvation Since 1612


For years, Creation Scientists have disputed how Noah was able to quickly collect millions of indigenous animals from remote, inaccessible regions of the world for a 40-day ride in his ark. New evidence from an archeological find in China supports the long held Christian belief that Noah's sons rode giant flying dinosaurs to transport duck billed platypuses from Australia, and penguins and polar bears from the Antarctic, to name a few.  "Those must have been some mighty big flying dinosaurs," says Pastor Deacon Fred. "Imagine the look on Noah's face when his sons flew in for a landing with a pair of Hippos strapped to the back of one of them things!  Glory to God!" (article)


The United States Department of Faith

Preamble: Being so that it is perfectly clear that religious zealots (of the non-Christian persuasion) were allowed to attack America on September 11, 2001 because the previous non-Christian administration was too busy being orally pleasured by sundry hussies and harlots (Ed note: can I have an amen!), thereby allowing non-Christians in every conceivable position of power (whether under the Oval Office desk or elsewhere) to propagate a national illusion of secular security obtained without the active or willing assistance of anyone living in the sky (hereinafter "Godless State"). It is a historical fact that the United States was founded on Bible-based Christian principles, including, but not limited to, a loathing of witches, and all recent causes of unrest, death and downward stock prices have and are being caused by a gloating, homosexual tap-dancer named Lucifer made bold by said rejection and/or neglect of those Godly principles. It is hereby noted that a mandatory and immediate return to those Christian principles practiced by our Founding Fathers (hereinafter "Puritans") should be the nation's most urgent priority. (article)


Brace for more Katrinas, say Experts

" I see that our gallant President has decided that it is taking far too long for Iraq to look like America. So he has decided to meet them halfway by making New Orleans look like Baghdad." Mrs Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian

For all its numbing ferocity, Hurricane Katrina will not be a unique event, say scientists, who say that global warming appears to be pumping up the power of big Atlantic storms. 2005 is on track to be the worst-ever year for hurricanes, according to experts measuring ocean temperatures and trade winds -- the two big factors that breed these storms in the Caribbean and tropical North Atlantic. (article)


Texans flee from Rita
Category 5 storm churning toward Gulf Coast

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Residents in southeast Texas and coastal Louisiana scurried to get out of the way of Hurricane Rita, a Category 5 hurricane expected to hit the Lone Star State this weekend. The National Hurricane Center said at 4 p.m. that the storm has intensified and now packs maximum sustained winds of 165 mph (265 kph). Around Houston, the fourth most populous city in the United States, interstates and highways are clogged with traffic as residents rush to leave. Houston Mayor Bill White urged the residents in areas at risk for storm surge and those living in mobile homes to "begin making their evacuation plans." (article)


Many of you music lovers will recall the little joke I passed along recently:

' A C, an E-flat, and a G go into a bar. The bartender says: "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." ' (BOOM BOOM!)

Well, apparently we aren't through with that story yet. Here's the latest evolution:
' A C, an E-flat, and a G go into a bar. The bartender says: "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them. After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished and the G is out flat. An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough. A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second." Then an A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor. Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now. You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight." The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender (who used to have a nice corporate job until his company downsized) says, "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development." This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit, and everything else, and stands there au natural. Eventually, the C sobers up, and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility. On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.'
(thanks to Joe Creighton)




Click the link below. It's one of the most interesting pieces I've received for a long time.

(thanks to Philip Walker.)



The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
By J. B. Muller

From St. Mark's Church, Badulla, brass plaque on the wall (English). A plaque in Sinhala is to be found on the opposite wall (on the right hand side when one enters the Church building).

A.D. 1845
In Memory of
Major, Ceylon Rifle Regiment
Assistant Government Agent and
District Judge of Badulla
By All Classes of His
Friends and Admirers.
He was killed by lightning at
Hapootalle June 7th 1845
Aged 41
"In the midst of life, we are in Death."

And thereby hangs one of the most bizarre stories from the British period of this country's colonial history. Major Rogers has come to our notice because he is reputed to have hunted down and shot over 1,600 elephants, about double the current elephant population of Sri Lanka in 2005. As the assistant government agent and district judge of Oovah (Uva) he received a great deal of information about the herds of wild elements that roamed freely not only in the Dry Zone forests below the central massif but also those elephants that migrated regularly to the hills to feed, to mate, and do all the other things elephants are wont to do when they are both wild and free.
In this manner, Major Rogers came to know of a hasthi-rajah or elephant king, the paramount leader of a large herd of tuskers and said to be a magnificent tusker himself. Rogers's blood caught fire when he heard this news and he decided that he would hunt this animal down and claim for himself the dubious distinction of having killed it. Apparently, at this time, Ms. Buller, the wife of the Commissioner for Colombo City was visiting at Badulla and so, with a view to impressing her with his prowess, a hunting party was speedily assembled-horses, beaters, bearers, guns, food, and whatever else was required for a foray into the jungles below the blue mountains of Uva.
Quite probably Major Rogers and his hunting party took the route taken by the unfortunate Portuguese general, Dom Constatinho de Sa when he retreated from Badulla before the onslaught of Rajasinha's army-the Ella Gap, through Randeniwela to Wellawaya. This was wild, rugged country with steep ravines, thickly wooded patches alternating with mountainous grassland and stupendous granite outcrops. The descent wasn't easy but it was full of adventure and the discovery of the unfamiliar, at least to British eyes.
The beating of the hunt began down there in the dry heat of the plains and continued northwestwards towards Koslanda and Haldummulla which lies at the foot of the Haputale Pass, the other entry point into the beautiful bowl Uva Valley.
On this day however, the formidable Major was not in luck's way. Nary was an elephant flushed from the jungle. Naturally, the Major was wroth, particularly as he had a lady friend to impress. Disappointed, they made their way up the steep climb on the southern slopes of the Ohiya part of the Uva massif.
By and by they came to the small, wattle-and-daub, thatched structure that was the Haputale Rest House in those far off days. Tired and frustrated by his lack of success the still smouldering Major Rogers sank down into one of the several hansi-putuvas or reclining chairs on the rough-and-ready verandah. Here, he pulled out his pipe, filled the generous bowl with fresh tobacco, tamped it down firmly and put a match to it, drawing deeply of the fragrant smoke.
Meanwhile, Ms. Buller roused the appu, and betaking herself to the pantry at the back, busied herself in pouring some freshly ground coffee for herself and Major Rogers. Suddenly a tremendous, ear-shattering roar shook the entire building and the coffee pot fell from her hands to shatter on the floor. The servants, wide-eyed with fear, gibbering, fled out of the building, falling and rolling down the steep hill at the back.
The scene that greeted Ms. Buller caused her to faint away instantly. There lay a mass of crushed flesh and bone, boots with the spurs on, the belt and clothes in one gory, grisly mess-the mortal remains of Major Thomas William Rogers.
When the good lady was in the Pantry brewing coffee, Major Rogers who was revealing in his pipe, eyes closed in blissful ignorance, heard a sharp snort.
Opening his eyes, he was astonished to see hasthi-rajah towering over him, its eyes red with rage, its lips flecked with milky foam. With a mighty roar that shook the building to its foundations, the king elephant gored Major Rogers to death, its tusks piercing his body over and over again.
The king elephant then picked up the lifeless remains and flung it down on the floor, stamping on the hot and bloody flesh until Major Rogers was reduced to a mass of unrecognizable pulp.
The bearers, the beaters, the Rest House staff, and the horses had fled the scene in blind terror. They had climbed trees fouling their clothes in the process as some vacated their bowels freely.
(thanks to Stefan A.)



Government Jobs

A guy goes to the Post Office to apply for a job. The interviewer asks him, "Have you been in the service"
"Yes" he says. "I was in Viet Nam for three years"
The interviewer says, "That will give you extra points toward employment".
The interviewer then asks, "Are you disabled in any way"
The guy says, "Yes 100%...a mortar round exploded near me and blew my testicles off".
The interviewer tells the guy, "O.K. I can hire you right now.  The hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. You can start tomorrow.  Come in at 10:00 A.M.
 The guy is puzzled and says, "If the hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. then why do you want me to come in at 10:00 A.M."
"This is a government job  "the interviewer says. "For the first two hours we sit around scratching our balls.......no point in you coming in for that"
(boom boom)
(thanks to Jim Testa - By the by, you've got the perfect name for this joke, Jimmy. A couple more Boom Boom Bonus Points for you!)



"One thing to point out is, the official account itself is a conspiracy theory. It says that 19 Arab Muslims under the influence of Osama bin Laden conspired to pull off this operation. The question is not whether one is a conspiracy theorist about 9/11. It's which conspiracy theory do you find most supported by the evidence?"
David Ray Griffin, 66-year-old Professor Emeritus at the Claremont School of Theology (article)



Fundamentalist Radicals at Home are Just as Scary as Those Abroad
by G. Jefferson Price III

The similarities among the radical wings of religious fundamentalism are striking and frightening. In Iran, for example, the mullahs issue fatwas, the exhortations to assassinate people they don't like. The most notorious of these in recent times was the fatwa issued in 1989 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against the Indian-born author Salman Rushdie. The ayatollah was incensed because Mr. Rushdie's novel Satanic Verses seemed to insult Islam.
We have our own religious nuts here in America. They issue their own fatwas. The latest example of this came last week from one of the nuttiest of them all, the so-called Rev. Pat Robertson, who urged the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
When his fatwa caused an uproar among more sensible evangelicals, Mr. Robertson first said he was misquoted - which he wasn't - and then apologized as if he didn't mean what he said. So he's not just a nut, he's a liar.
Possibly, he is a dangerous liar. Arthur Hirsch, reporting in The Sun last week, found many who say that Mr. Robertson's influence has waned. But if a single psychotic listening to Mr. Robertson's 700 Club broadcast took it into his head that the preacher was expressing God's will and decided to follow instructions, the outcome could be dangerous.
Mr. Robertson's outburst of malevolence was not exceptional for him or for some of his equally excessive brethren, such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell.
Mr. Hirsch's article was accompanied by some of the more outrageous things Mr. Robertson has said in the past.
Here's one of my favorites:
"The feminist agenda ... is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." (article)

So listen up, all ye knuckleheaded brethren, there be hopeth yet for thee:

Fundamentalists Anonymous:
Twelve Steps to Sanity
by Lee Adams Young

All who have chosen to walk away from biblical fundamentalism are welcome to join Fundamentalists Anonymous, and to consider embracing the following Twelve Steps:

1. I realize that I had turned control of my mind over to another person or group, who had assumed power over my thinking.

2. That person or group persuaded me of the inerrancy of the Bible, in spite of its many internal contradictions.

3. I became addicted to the Bible as the supreme focus of my faith, in spite of the commandment that God should come first.

4. I admit to God, to myself and to another person the shortcomings of my belief in the unbelievable.

5. I have made an inventory of my false claims about the Bible.

6. I have made a list of those whom I led into confusion about the Bible.

7. I am willing to make amends to all those whom I may have led astray.

8. I realize that I have the inner power to restore sanity to my life and to search Scripture for the truth.

9. I will reach out to friends who can help me clarify my thinking about the Bible, God and Jesus.

10. I confess that only with God's help can my mind grasp the truth.

11. I will seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, praying for knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these twelve steps, I will offer these steps to other former biblical fundamentalists.
(These 12 steps are adapted from those of Alchoholics Anonymous.)

Mangled Measurements


1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1
5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour =
7. 364.25 days of drinking low calorie beer = 1 Lite year
8. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling
9. Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon
10. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
11. Basic unit of laryngitis - 1 hoarsepower
12. Shortest distance between two jokes - a straight line
13. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
14. 1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
15. 1 million bicycles = 1 megacycles
16. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle
17. 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds
18. 10 cards = 1 decacard
19. 52 cards = 1 deckacard
20. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 fig Newton
21. 1000 grams of wet socks = 1 literhosen
22. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
23. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
24. 10 rations = 1 decaration
25. 100 rations = 1 C-ration
26. 2 monograms = 1 diagram
27. 8 nickels = 2 paradigms
28. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University
Hospital = 1 I.V. League
(thanks to Dai Woosnam)


Che's Family Plans to Fight Use of Famed Photo
By Damian Wroclavsky


HAVANA - With his picture on rock band posters, baseball caps and women's lingerie, Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara is firmly entrenched in the capitalist consumer society that he died fighting to overturn.
The image of the Argentine-born guerrilla gazing sternly into the distance, long-hair tucked into a beret with a single star, has been an enduring 20th century pop icon.
The picture -- taken by a Cuban photographer in 1960 and printed on posters by an Italian publisher after Guevara's execution in Bolivia seven years later -- fired the imagination of rioting Parisian students in May 1968 and became a symbol of idealistic revolt for a generation.
But as well as being one of the world's most reproduced, the image has become one of its most merchandised. And Guevara's family is launching an effort to stop it. They plan to file lawsuits abroad against companies that they believe are exploiting the image and say lawyers in a number of countries have offered assistance.
"We have a plan to deal with the misuse," Guevara's Cuban widow Aleida March said in an interview. (article)



'True tragedy occurs not when good battles evil, but when one good battles another.' Hegel

To you and me, a sponge is quite clearly a single clump of squeezable stuff. But that singularity is an illusion. Take a living sponge, run it through a sieve into a bucket, and the sponge breaks up into a muddy liquid that clouds the water into which it falls. That cloud is a mob of self-sufficient cells, wrenched from their comfortably settled life between familiar neighbors and set adrift in a chaotic world. Each of those cells has theoretically got everything it takes to handle life on its own; but something inside the newly liberated sponge cell tells it, 'You either live in a group or you cannot live at all." The microbeasts search frantically for their old companions then labor to reconstruct the social system that bound them together. Within a few hours, the water in your bucket grows clear and sitting at the bottom is a complete, reconstituted sponge.
(by Howard Bloom, The Lucifer Principle.)



This week's dish is my own Aussie-Italian version of the grand timbalo from the last issue. A bite-size cousin which now becomes the third 'official' recipe in celebration of the 25th Silver Anniversary of Shaddap You Face.



Guanciale Pie Crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup reduced fat from a thick chunk of guanciale (or some melted lard)

left over spaghetti and meatballs (or make it the same day!)
any other cooked vegetable you care to add such as fried breaded eggplant, steamed broccoli, steamed carrots, sauted beet green leaves in garlic or silver beet, fresh peas or brussels sprouts cooked in butter.
grated parmesan cheese
olive oil
chopped parsley
one egg

Reduce the guanciale slowly over low heat until 1/2 cup of fat is released. Discard the solid bits (I usually munch on them, while cooking, with a glass of red.) Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the reduced guanciale fat. Mix with your hands until crumbly. Gradually add a little water at a time and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and shiny. Divide into two pieces - one about 3/4 of the bulk and the other 1/4 (the lid). Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour or two (the longer the better).

Preheat the oven to the hottest temp. Approx 260 C. Use a small casserole dish (4-5 inches across) , a deep dish pie pan, or some other bowl shaped container that you can put in the oven. Thoroughly grease the inside of the casserole dish with butter. Roll out the larger piece of dough until it is about a 1/4 inch thick and will fit in the casserole dish and come up to the top. Gently lower the rolled dough into the dish and press into place. Starting with a layer of spaghetti, gradually layer the vegetables, adding the meatballs, some chopped parsely, a central layer of spaghetti, more vegetables, more parsely, cheese, and end with a top layer of spaghetti so that it just reaches the rim of the casserole dish. Roll out the smaller piece of dough into a lid that will overhang the casserole and place it on top of the pie, tucking in the edges and press with your fingertips to make a good seal. Brush with an egg wash to help with the seal and make a nice golden top. Place the casserole on the centre shelf of the oven and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. Check after about 30 minutes and if the top of the crust is golden brown, cover with a piece of aluminium foil and continue baking another 15-20 minutes until ready. Careful not to burn or overcook the crust! Remember, you are only reheating the ingredients so keep an eye on that crust!

Take the pie out of the oven and gently run the edge of a knife around the top edge of the crust to loosen it slightly. Let the pie rest in the dish for about 20 minutes before turning out and serving. To turn out, place a board over the top of the pie and turn over, gently shaking it until it comes loose. If the other side of the crust is still a little underdone, place back in the oven for ten minutes. Serve either way up (which ever you prefer) with some extra spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce or ketchup, or chilli sauce on the side.

You can either enjoy this with a simple glass of red - or else whoop it in ol' George W's face, with a glass of anything handy.


(The closing lyric adaptation is written by Keith McKenry, who also, along with Bruce Watson, co-wrote the excellent song, September 11th, which is now a staple of my live repertoire. The following words can be sung to the original tune.)


The City of New Orleans
(with apologies to Steve Goodman)

Bearing on the City of New Orleans,
Katrina ­ massive Force Five hurricane -
The order comes to flee the helpless city,
Take the kids and run from the coming gale.
All along the northbound odyssey
The folk pull out and try to flee
Rollin' long past houses, farms and fields.
Leaving those that have no means,
Women, children, old black men,
In the graveyard of America's ideals.

Good morning America where are you?
Don't you know, we're begging you to come?
We're the town they call the City of New Orleans,
There'll be thousands of us dead ere day is done.

The dead lie with the living in the Stadium.
And more arrive ­ ain't no one keepin' score.
Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle
Feel the whole world crumblin' 'neath the floor.
And the sons of Pullman porters,
Daughters of engineers,
Hide their fears 'neath the mighty roof of steel.
Mothers with their babes asleep,
Are rockin' to a deafening beat
For the hurricane's horror's all they feel.

Good morning America where are you?
Don't you know, we're begging you to come?
We're the town they call the City of New Orleans,
There'll be thousands of us dead ere day is done.

Nighttime in the City of New Orleans,
This is not the way things ought to be.
Help you say it should be here by morning,
But it's four days now. We're dying,
Can't you see?
And all the stricken people scream
­ If only this could be a dream ­
And the ruling class still ain't heard the news.
The Pres'dent sings his song again,
"You citizens, please stay calm."
This town's got the disappearing gov'ment blues.

Good night America, where were you?
Don't you know, we all begged you to come?
We're the ghosts that haunt the City of New Orleans,
We were abandoned here. Our day is done.

~ By Keith McKenry ~
September 2005

(Thanks to Maireid Sullivan)