Apparently many of you missed my newsletters while I was away. Aw! That's gives me a warm feeling. I have spent a little time reflecting on the recent whirlwind Countdown Spectacular Australian National Tour that I was part of. It was a unique artistic experience for a wide range of very diverse and somewhat fragile performing artists - most of who have never worked with each other on that kind of grand scale before. It was also emotionally challenging because it entered into the area of fond memories, loss of youth, compromised and forgotten dreams, abandoned lifestyles and a host of other intangible but extremely passionate feelings for everyone involved, including the producers.
It also felt like some kind of musical time machine that wasn't working properly. The well-known Countdown flashing lights looked the same as they did back then. Gavin Wood's distinctive voice sounded as pristine as it did back then. The Countdown dancers, young kids, all in their early twenties, even looked the same as the go-go dancers looked back in the 80s. Even the music sounded great. However, the ACTS looked like they had stepped out of the Portrait of Dorian Gray.
One of women on the tour - almost my age - said: "You know, Joe, I not attracted to all these guys around me. They all look like old men to me. I am attracted to guys about twenty-nine or so because that's the way I feel inside. But then . . . I look in the mirror and I realize I'm old, too."
I understood this remark. I told the story to my partner, Lin, and she remembered a short story from the Italian writer, Moravia:
"If you are in the habit of flirting with
women, it is difficult to realize when the time for that is past
and women begin to look upon you as a father or - even worse -
a grandfather. It is especially difficult because every middle-aged
man has, inside his head, another head: his outer head has wrinkles,
grey hair, decayed teeth. lustreless eyes; his inner head, on
the other hand, has remained just the same as when he was young,
with thick black hair, a smooth face, white teeth and bright eyes.
It is the inner head that looks longingly at women, imagining
itself to be irresistible to them. But, of course, women see the
outer head, and say: " What does he want, the old scarecrow?
Can't he see he's old enough to be my grandfather?"
- from 'Silly Old Fool,' by Albert Moravia, Roman Tales
C.P. Cavafy, my favourite Greek poet, reflected on the eternal age-youth internal flutter this way:
I've now put the collection of shots that I
took of as many of the artists and production folks from the tour
(100+) that I could photograph, in my black hat, online. My apologies
to anyone I missed (and there were a few). If our pathos should
cross again in the near future, and I have my camera and hat,
I promise to add you to the collection. Let me know where you
are. You can find The
Case of the Black Fedora here.
I also have a limited number of 'Shaddap You Face' t-shirts, in four glorious colours, remaining from the tour so if anyone is interested, go to my website shop and check them out. (Special photo there of me kissing John Paul Young in drag!)
Favourite Letters of the Week
Re: The Long and the Short of It
Was this the first newsletter you've sent since 28 July? That was the last one I got. There were heaps of highlights in this one but the one I loved best was the story of the elephant. I don't know when I last laughed so much!! The neighbours are probably calling for an ambulance to come with a straight jacket! Lovely reading about the creative ways you spent your time on tour. Cheers mate, Margaret
Welcome Back Joe!!
I havent had time to read yet as I am off to work in a few minutes, but I look forward to reading your email with relish..:o)) I have missed your weekly mailouts... Pauline, Hervey Bay
I seen ya Joe, up there with ya cute hat on ...at the Dome (Burswood Casino) in Perth....you goer you....heheh....great to see you....cheers Jillian
Re: The Long and the Short of It
Just wanted to thank you for lighting up my dreary life! I got a real kick out of your top 10 Countdown list. I thought I was the only one who found that stuff funny. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Carl
Re: The Long and the Short of It
Missed you Joe and Welcome back! Cheers, Frank
I acknowledge that I live, work & play on the land of Aboriginal people
I am a fan from way back, my lady was born in the USA and that's no reflection on you, just a comment! Enjoy always your viewpoint and letter, Ian G.
Im-a sick of having to rely on others to pass on your newsletter to me in an untimely fashion - please add me to your distribution list! I say please...Regards, Andrew
I truly stumbled across your site this evening here in New York and downloaded Shaddup You Face immediately, which is great! Is there a way to get a copy of your essay published, 'Iron Hans(el)', in (the) Australian magazine, XY: Men, Sex and Politics? I'm interested in what you have to say. Lance
(Note: 'Iron Hans(el)' was condensed from one of the chapters of my unpublished manuscript, 'The Metamorphosis of the Warrior.' It was a response to Robert Bly's 'wilderness' workshops for men in the late 80s. Here is the complete essay:)
by Joe Dolce
'Give not thy strength unto women nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.' Proverbs 31:3
There seems to be quite a bit of writing out at the moment in which our cultural myths are being torn apart and interpreted particularly by Jungian analysts, of which Robert A. Johnson is certainly the most insightful. The poet Robert Bly has given a similar treatment to the Grimm Brothers fairy tale, Iron John (Iron Hans). If you are not familiar with the tale, I will quickly paraphrase it for you: People disappear in the King's forest. No one can solve the mystery. A hairy man named Iron John who lives at the bottom of a lake is found to be the cause, he is captured, and locked in a cage in the courtyard of the King's castle. One day, the King's son, while playing with his golden ball, accidently rolls it inside the cage. Iron John says the boy can have his ball back if he steals the key to the cage which is hidden underneath his mother's pillow. The boy does it, Iron John takes the boy with him and escapes. In the forest, Iron John puts the boy through an assortment of initiatory tests. He fails the final one and must leave the forest. He finds work in another kingdom where he becomes enamoured of this other King's daughter. After a series of typical Arthurian warrior tasks and episodes, he receives the King's daughter as a reward and marries her. Iron John, who was under a spell, is set free, no longer hairy and wild, and now, as another baronial king, comes out of the forest to attend the boy's wedding and give him all his treasure out of gratitude....
Iron John. What a guy.
Have a read of it in the original. I've left a few things out
in my version. It's not a bad yarn, sort of like Rumplestiltskin
without the manic passion. Bly has made it clear that his interpretation
of this story is intended for men- that it is a men's myth. One
of the most alluring qualities of Bly's writing which I admire
is his ability to bring poetry into the areas of personal development.
Bly believes that we are paralyzed by our language especially
by the sharp, short four-letter words we use in our sextalk -
good Protestant words as he calls them.
Mary Daly and Dale Spender also believe that our language, and its patriarchal subtext constricts women's expression and has to be re-invented and reclaimed.
Yet and still the first question I asked myself, after I broke out of the poetic spell that Bly was creating with his masterful use of language, was how is this story portraying women? Sometimes technique can dazzle one so that one does not notice a wobble in the content level.
There are only two women in this tale, both support figures: the boy's mother, the Queen - and the second King's daughter, whom the boy marries. The mother is a sort of a non-identity, a faceless figure with no information about her other than the strange habit of sleeping on a key.
What doesn't make sense to me is this: the King ordered Iron John locked up, not the Queen, so why would the key be under the Queen's pillow? If anyone is responsible for Iron John being locked up, i.e. the 'wild part' of our psyches being held back and imprisoned, it's the King, not the Queen. Blaming mother again! The Queen didn't order Iron John to be locked up. Why is she sleeping on the key? Does the King make her sleep on the key? How many other keys does she have under her pillow? And why don't they hang them on hooks like other Kings and Queens? My point is: the King is responsible for the imprisonment. The key should be under the King's pillow. This tale is constructed around a lie.
The other woman portrayed in the story, the second King's daughter, is a snappy, spoiled, unendearing order-giver who is clearly treated as chattel of the King: the boy asks the King for her as his reward.
What are males being asked to learn from this tale? Tens of thousands of men have attended 'wild man' weekends in the U.S. Author Susan Faludi believes :
I found a great article in The Melbourne Age Good Weekend Magazine written by Richard Glover:
'The Weekend Warrior: The weekend warrior exploits women and feels terribly guilty about it. With the help of the men's movement- and a warrior weekend - he wants to fundamentally change his life. From now on, he wants to exploit women and not feel guilty about it. Luckily the movement can help. He will learn that it's no good blaming himself- not when he can blame his father, instead. Men, he'll learn, are an exploited minority: burdened with high wage rates, huge institutionalised power and a tragic inability to urinate without splashing the seat. The weekend warrior will also run around with spears and drums in order to get in touch with the primitive, nurturing masculinity of the food provider. Others may just prefer to go fishing.'
MYTHS AND TALES
A myth expresses an inner dynamic of the 'mind' of a society
or community at a specific time in its history, much like a dream
does for an individual person. Iron John is not a myth,
it is a fairy tale and not a worthy fairy tale to take as a template
for a man's self development. Why don't we interpret Hansel
& Gretel, or the hundreds of other misogynist stories
we feed to our children which continue to load all of our human
woes onto the backs of women? After all, in Hanzel and Gretel,
doesn't the mean step-mother order the wobbly father to lose the
children in the woods? Then, they are captured and fattened up
by the cannibalistic old crone in the Ginger Bread house so she
can eat them? This one is loaded with great images to interpret
and construct a philosophy around. I could give Iron Hansel
Workshops advising men who want to escape from the cages of
the women who want to fatten them up and make them soft. I can
see it now: Ginger Bread House Weekend Retreats where businessmen
could come and be locked up and fed expensive food, and then be
poked in the ribs by the boney fingers of leather-clad grandmas
who talked nasty to them. At the and of the workshop, everyone
would get their own effigy witch' to burn in the converted pizza
oven. The phone will be ringing night and day, the lecture circuit
will beckon, and then, the ultimate: jumping on Oprah's couch!
Well, the reason why we don't resurrect tales such as Hansel and Gretel and imbue them with poetic numinosity is because they are not expressions of our age; of our current cultural myths. And neither is Iron John.
There may be some truths in these stories, but they are so filled with fear, violence and hatred of women! Let us beware of poetic and psychological mumbo-jumbo that disguises misogynistic doctrine. Let us write and choose stories for ourselves and our children that empower each other and lift us up to our greatest visions of the beloved community.
For a much deeper myth and more profound poetic analysis, for men - which I might add, still has its problems - I would recommend Robert A. Johnson, especially, The Psychology Of Romantic Love, in which he looks at the story of Tristan and Iseult. The themes of this work are beyond the parameters of this essay but Johnson shows how romantic love today was handed down directly from courtly love of the Middle Ages and originally was a veiled way of practicing the religion of Catharism, a reform movement against the patriarchal church, which had lost touch with the feminine soul. The Cathars, also known, as the Albigensians, worshiped a feminine savior and a being of pure light arranged all in white awaiting to guide us into the presence of God. The Pope, through Crusades, drove the religion underground and it surfaced, disguised, in the troubadours and romances of courtly love.
Forget Wagner's 'Tristan and Isolde'. Of course, Wagner's
MUSIC is staggering and changed tonality forever - but his librettos
- and it's about time someone said this -
are pure crap. Wagner could not write poetry to save his soul
and he did not understand the real depth of the Tristan myth.
(The true writer, of the Wagner family, in terms of honesty, anyway,
was his wife, Cosima, the daughter of Liszt, whose diaries are
one of the most phenomenal records of the day-to-day life of a
major composer ever written.) If anyone wants some real insights
into the Tristan and Isolde myth and how it affects the way we
define love in our Western culture today, read Johnson's great
book, and also his source materials, 'The Romance of Tristan
& Iseult', as retold by Joseph Bedier, and 'The Romance
of Tristan,' by Beroul, the earliest written records of this
(Note: By the way, one of the best essays I've read about Robert Bly's short-lived 'neo-men's movement' was written by Ursula K. Le Guin who spend some time interviewing Bly at one of his retreats. She recalls the encounter in her humourous story, 'Limberlost', in the anthology, 'Women Respond to the Men's Movement,' published by Harper.)
UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Global efforts to support the human rights of Indigenous peoples have reached a critical turning point as the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples comes before the UN General Assembly for adoption later this year.
The Declaration had been under negotiation within the United Nations for more than two decades. In June 2006, the historic first meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the draft Declaration and recommended its adoption to the UN General Assembly.
The Declaration must be adopted by UN General Assembly in order to become part of the body of international human rights standards.
Please sign this global petition calling for
the adoption of the Declaration by the General Assembly.
(thanks to Margret RoadKnight)
Favourite Spam of the Week
From: Idella To: dolcefiftyfive
Try love sing i, get i you're from a me with. Do from get think, lend to a no. Away if the from i'll song sang sang on. And, out i feel, and help. Little love key the i to. What tune tune me help i my. Walk friends friends, you does by you the my little, stand a, and friends i, with you. From on going you, when walk the what my help from. You to when help and be own with would is me up. When what friends does to of is what out how get help if it.
(Note: That was all there was. No ad for anything. Total gibberish but with an uplifting aura about it- like the bastard love-child of e.e. cummings and Gertrude Stein. 'Lend to a No.' Good advice, if you can manage it!)
Favourite Throw-Away Mention of the Week
" I have to say, I think George Lucas' excuse of "waiting for the right time for technology to improve" is blatantly untrue. He just couldn't be bothered. If The Phantom Menace had come three years after Return of the Jedi, it would have been a far more interesting movie. For one thing, Lucas would not have directed it. CG effects would have cast Jar-Jar to the flames (or at least a man in a suit - hey, it worked with Chewie?!). . . . though I am a big fan of the blue-winged Joe Dolce copy, may have been human or a Jabba-style puppet. Or Joe Dolce himself. Amidala would not have had so many costume changes. But as far as special effects go, did we cringe at those in the Original Trilogy? Not at all; they were revolutionary. Do we laugh at the effects in Back to the Future? No. They still excite us now. So I see no reason why he could not have made the Prequels straight after Jedi. . ." Pete Scully
Bush Seeks Retroactive Immunity for Violating
War Crimes Act
By Elizabeth Holtzman
The Chicago Sun-Times
Thirty-two years ago, President Gerald Ford created a political firestorm by pardoning former President Richard Nixon of all crimes he may have committed in Watergate - and lost his election as a result. Now, President Bush, to avoid a similar public outcry, is quietly trying to pardon himself of any crimes connected with the torture and mistreatment of U.S. detainees.
The "pardon" is buried in Bush's proposed legislation to create a new kind of military tribunal for cases involving top al-Qaida operatives. The "pardon" provision has nothing to do with the tribunals. Instead, it guts the War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal law that makes it a crime, in some cases punishable by death, to mistreat detainees in violation of the Geneva Conventions and makes the new, weaker terms of the War Crimes Act retroactive to 9/11. article
I am a crack dealer in New Jersey who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My parents live in a suburb of Philadelphia and one of my sisters is married to a transvestite. My father and mother have recently been arrested for growing and selling marijuana and are currently dependent on my other two sisters who are prostitutes in Jersey City.
I have two brothers. One is currently serving a non-parole life sentence in Attica for murder of a teenage boy in 1994. The other brother is currently being held in the Wellington Remand Center on charges of neglecting his three children.
I have recently become engaged to marry a former Thai prostitute who lives in the Bronx and, indeed, is still a part-time "working girl" in a brothel.
My problem is this: I love my fiancé and look forward to bringing her into the family and, of course, I want to be totally honest with her.
Should I tell her about my uncle who voted for Bush?
Worried About My Reputation
(thanks to Bill Lempke)
(Note: Dear Worried, I can well understand your apprehension at un-closeting this embarrassing monkey skeleton in front of your unsuspecting fiancé. You rightly fear that she would not be able to overcome the social stigma - that would follow her as surely as stink on a wombat - associated with having a convicted Bush supporter in the family tree (even if it is as far back as the pre-Neanderthal). My advice would be to not mention it yet and instead buy her a nice pair of black ladder stockings for her work. No doubt this particular uncle will end up as one of her customers anyway at the next Republican convention, for instance, which would be a more opportune time to break the bad news. Signed, Abby)
Could You Have Passed the 8th Grade in 1895?
In 1885 the 8th grade was considered upper level education. Many children quit school as soon as they could master the basic fundamentals of the 3 R's (reading, writing and arithmetic). Most never went past the 3rd or 4th grade. That's all you needed for the farm and most city jobs. Child labor laws were not in existence. Additionally today's education has much more focus on technology and sociology than the grammar and geography of old. It's a different world with different requirements and capabilities needed to succeed
This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 from Salina, KS. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS and reprinted by the Salina Journal.
8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895
Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu., deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per m?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?
Orthography (Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography,
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.
Geography (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of N.A.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.
In defense: " Many of the questions require the test-taker to have absorbed some very specialized information, and if today's students can't regurgitate all the same facts as their 1895 counterparts, it's because the types of knowledge we consider to be important have changed a great deal in the last century, not necessarily because today's students have sub-standard educations.
Consider: To pass this test, no knowledge of the arts
is necessary (not even a nodding familiarity with a few of the
greatest works of English literature), no demonstration of mathematical
learning other than plain arithmetic is required (forget algebra,
geometry, or trigonometry), nothing beyond a familiarity with
the highlights of American history is needed (never mind the fundamentals
of world history, as this exam scarcely acknowledges that any
country other than the USA even exists), no questions about the
history, structure, or function of the United States government
are asked (not even the standard "Name the three branches
of our federal government"), science is given a pass except
for a few questions about geography and the rudiments of human
anatomy, and no competence in any foreign language (living or
dead) is necessary. An exam for today's high school graduates
that omitted even one of these subjects would be loudly
condemned by parents and educators alike, subjects about which
the Salina, Kansas, students of 1895 needed know nothing at all.
Would it be fair to say that the average Salina student was woefully
undereducated because he failed to learn many of the things that
we consider important today, but which were of little importance
in his time and place? . ."
A woman and a baby were in the doctor's examining room, waiting for the doctor to come in for the baby's first exam. The doctor arrived, examined the baby, checked his weight, and being a little concerned, asked if the baby was breast-fed or bottle-fed.
"Breast-fed" she replied.
"Well, strip down to your waist," the doctor ordered.
She did. He pinched her nipples, then pressed, kneaded, and rubbed both breasts for a while in a detailed examination.
Motioning to her to get dressed, he said, "No wonder this baby is underweight. You don't have any milk."
" I know," she said, "I'm his Grandma, but I'm
glad I came."
(thanks to Sue Dewsbury, via Dai Woosnam.)
Baked BBQ Spareribs with Penne
This combination came about as an accident. I had some leftovers of both dishes and combined them with unique results. The blend of Italian and Soul food is a natural. The bbq sauce works perfectly with the pasta.
Ribs (6-8 serves)
3 1/2 lbs (2 slabs) American pork spareribs, cut lengthwise down the middle of the slab, to make them easier to handle. Have the butcher do this.
2-3 cups white wine vinegar
1/2/ teasp red pepper flakes
1/2/ teasp ground black pepper
1 1/2 teasp salt
Night before: Rub salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes into both sides of ribs, cover and refridgerate overnight. Make the sauce.
Sauce (4-5 cups)
16 ounces of any good hot sauce (like Red Devil or Louisiana Hot Sauce)
3 cups tomato puree
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 sliced lemon
1 stalk celery
2 1/2 teasp red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients in a good sized pot. Heat until just before boiling but don't boil or else the sauce will darken. Cool. Strain. Put in a bottle with a lid in the fridge.
On the Day:
1. Preheat oven to 450F. Place ribs in large, flat baking pan.
Pour vinegar over the ribs and bake about 45 minutes to an hour.
Turn them a couple of times and spoon pan juices over the top.
(This step gives the ribs a vinegary flavour.)
2. Remove ribs from pan and place in a single layer on baking sheets, lined with aluminium foil. Bake at 450F for one hour. Ribs should be well-browned. (This step gets rid of all the extra fat cause fatty ribs are yuk!)
(These 2 steps can be done in advance.)
3. Boil a pot of water and cook 250 grams of penne macaroni until al dente. Drain and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking.
4. Finish: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the slabs, between the
bones, into individual ribs. Place the ribs in a large baking
dish to fit in a single layer if possible, but not necessary.
Place the penne in amongst the ribs. Spoon the BBQ sauce over
them to coat thoroughly. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and
bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. (Tip: keep
the foil from touching the ribs. The vinegar can dissolve thinner
foil!) Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side, corn-on-the-cob,
potato salad with beet root, and a green salad as well, if you
(Original ribs recipe from: Sylvia's Soul Food Restaurant, Harlem, New York.)
The Final Hurrah
True Crime in Australia
A man walked into a Seven-Eleven, in Wollongong, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.