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Friday September 5th, 2008

Black Homer

  Most secrets of knowledge have been discovered
by plain and neglected men than by men of popular fame.
And this is so with good reason.
For the men of popular fame
are busy on popular matters.
Roger Bacon  English philosopher and scientist

Hi folks,

I like the variety of ways of seeing a ‘Black Homer’ (see further down for further elucidation). Because I’m sure the Democrats see Barack Obama as one kind of Homer -  and the Republicans see him as another. Did you know Obama even has a Facebook account? What a regular guy! He lists amongst his favourite music, Johann Sebastian Bach. (I’m voting for him!) His favourite movies are Godfather I & II.  (Hell, I’m voting for him twice!!) And his favourite quotation is from Martin Luther King, ‘The Arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.’  (Damn! I’m voting for him three times!!!)  He has fifteen photo albums on Facebook and 1,641,469 friends. We have a lot in common. I‘m on Facebook, too. Except I have fifteen friends and 1,641,469 photo albums.

One of my newest songs, Asparagus on Mars, is now on the shortlist for the Stomp Out Cancer CD, in Kentucky, to raise awareness and funds for Ewing's Sarcoma research. There are links to the lyrics and a rough demo in the Audio section here:

Healthy Thought of the Week

I think one of the reasons that healing a major disease can be so difficult is due, in part, and amongst other things, to a matter of Will.
 Seneca once said, ‘Part of the cure is wanting to be cured.’
 A whole lot of people on this nuthouse planet, crossing many religious boundaries, have had a big squeaking, subtle and deeply rooted death wish implanted in them since they were small children. And that death wish can be paraphrased thusly:

‘After death, true and perfect happiness, free from pain and worry, awaits us all . . in Heaven.’

Here’ are a few samples:

From this world of pain and sorrow,
To that golden promised land;

There is nothing to hold me here.
I got a glimpse of that heavenly land;
Praise God, I am going home.

This world is not my home I'm passing through;
And in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye I'll be gone,
Lord, I'm just so homesick ...

When all sorrow has drifted away;
I'll be standing at the portals,
When the gates open wide,
At the close of life's long, dreary day.

In the world to come, there is nothing corporeal, and no material substance;
there are only souls of the righteous without bodies -- like the ministering angels...
The righteous attain to a knowledge and realization of truth concerning God
to which they had not attained while they were in the murky and lowly body.
Mishneh Torah, Repentance

"Every soul shall have a taste of death:
And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense.
Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden
will have attained the object (of Life):
For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception."
Sura 3:185

Of course, you know that Muslim men have this extra incentive:
Every man who enters paradise shall be given 72 houris (fair females);
no matter at what age he had died, when he is admitted into paradise,
he will become a thirty-year-old, and shall not age any further.
A man in paradise shall be given virility equal to that of one hundred men.
TIRMZI, vol. 2

...They will sit with bashful, dark-eyed virgins,
as chaste as the sheltered eggs of ostriches.
Koran 37:40-48

Now all that, to me, (especially the ostrich eggs) sounds a whole lot better than saying ten our fathers and ten hail marys once a week, cutting courdoroy for Hymie Goldstein, flipping Quarterpounder Camel Pooburgers at McHusseins, or . . . . going on the healing journey to overcome a difficult illness. Doesn’t it?

So then . . . .  why get WELL? . . .  if we’re better off DEAD?

In my learned opinion, this kind of voodoo thinking is a significant error of fuzzy frontal lobotomized discomboobulation.

Because, in fact, true and perfect happiness, free from pain and worry, awaits us right now  - in the present moment.

Le moment actuel! Il momento attuale! El Actual Momento! O Momento Atual!

Remember that?

The Present Moment: The Artist Formerly Known as Be Here Now!

In one of the many inaccurate translations found in the King James Bible, (there are over 100,000 bloopers at last tally) is this well-known phrase:

‘The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You,’

But which, it turns out, more accurately should be translated as:

‘The Kingdom of Heaven is Among You.’

Not up in the sky. Not waiting for us when we’re dead.
Not inside the ostrich egg.

Among us
, folks!


G’day Joe,
 Another great newsletter! I really enjoyed reading your treatise on semantics and context. Your comeback to Sarah was also GOLD! Keep up the great work mate.
 Cheers, Frank

Hey Joe,
Love getting the newsletter…..
Reading all the response to the Silver consumption …. Silver Schmilver!
What about eating Gold?
Lyon , France , on cours Franklin-Roosevelt, there is a chocolate shop called ‘Bernachon’
Le palet d'or: Fresh cream and dark chocolate adorned with a golden leaf, it is our first specialty.
Chocolates from somewhere near Heaven, with Gold flakes, hand made, nothing but the best.
Close eyes, take it slow, take time to absorb even just the one, piece by piece crumb by crumb, even if it lasts only a moment!
The feeling….. if you can catch it, is totally indescribable…… Endorphins? Adrenalin? Who cares….. Garth

Garth and Frank, thanks for your feedback and encouragement. I have included a little ditty about gold down at the bottom just for you. Cheers,  Midas the Blind Prospector.)

Hi Joe.
I saw Jonathan Edwards' name in your letter and remembered that John Du Bois (alias John Bois) the bass player in the Dingoes was a friend of Jonathan's and did some playing and recording with him way back when. Just a thought. Take care friend, Broderick Smith

(Note: Broderick, I’ll say ‘way back then!’  John Bois, in 1604, was recruited for one of the Cambridge committees set up to translate the Bible into English. He also served in the "Second Cambridge Company" charged by James I of England with translating the Apocrypha for the King James Version of the Bible. Six years later, when the work was done, the different translations were reviewed by six scholars for the final publication. Bois was one of their number. The Bible was then published in 1611.   On the other hand, Jonathan Edwards (1703 –1758), was a missionary to Native Americans and is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian.  The followers of Jonathan Edwards and his disciples came to be known as the New Light Calvinist ministers, as opposed to the traditional Old Light Calvinist ministers. Prominent disciples included Samuel Hopkins, Joseph Bellamy and Jonathan Edwards' son, Jonathan Edwards, Jr. I think these guys recorded two albums together before they had a major theoretical falling out over what weight nails were used for the crucifixion.)

What I’m Reading This Week

Bucketloads of stuff on how to do your own simple pH tests on water, saliva, urine and garden soil. Good first date stuff! Here’s a couple of links, one which will give you a free pH kit (Australia only):
Acid-Alkaline Chart

What I’m Watching This Week

Untraceable, with Diane Lane. Directed by Gregory Hobit.  While at first glance, this film may appear to be just another serial killer flick, there is a deeper idea present that I found unique and important. Diane Lane plays the detective trying to find  a guy who abducts his victims (there is a reason for choosing these particular people which we find out later), and then tortures them to death -  on his internet site, for all to watch. Or rather, WE torture them to death, as the bizarre devices he invents to kill them are automatically rigged to the amount of hits that his internet site receives. eg. the more people that click on the site to watch, the more acid is released into the tank killing the victim, etc. The amount of site hits increase exponentially as word of mouth goes round. People know they are speeding up the death but they cant help themselves: they have to tune in. So each murder happens faster as word of mouth builds.  The film has put its finger on the morally grey pulse of what attracted people to the brutality of the Roman Coliseum, why a crazed gunmen shooting students sells newspapers, and the media in general loves war and ugly pictures of self-destructive celebrities.
(Don’t believe me? See if you can keep from clicking on this link to the Saddam Hussein Execution Video. I dare you to skip over it:

Grey Owl, with Pierce Brosnan. Directed by Richard Attenborough.  About a beaver trapper in the 30s who lives in the extreme Canadian wilderness and becomes a visionary advocate for protection of the wilderness.

Bunny Lake is Missing, with Lawrence Olivier. Directed by Otto Preminger. Hitchcock-style black and white psycho-thriller.

Variations on a Theme I:
Flight of the Phoenix (original), with James Stewart and Richard Attenborough. Classic.
Flight of the Phoenix (new), with Dennis Quaid. About a plane that comes down in the Gobi desert and the survivors attempts to save themselves. Both versions are great. One of the few remakes I can think of that stands equally along side the original.

Variations on a Theme II:
Tombstone, with Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. About the Gunfight at the OK Corral between the 3  Earp brothers, Doc Holliday -  and the Clanton gang.
Wyatt Earp, with Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid. Same story. I thought noone could do a better Doc Holiday than Val Kilmer but an emaciated Dennis Quaid comes up an awesome tie. Kevin Costner behaves himself for a change and creates a memorable Wyatt Earp.

Palin Picked as Last Resort After Evangelical Revolt

Republican presidential candidate John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate after conservatives threatened a revolt if he went with his first choice, former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman!!
Senator McCain has defended his choice of Ms Palin to run for vice-president after news of her 17-year-old pregnant unmarried daughter dominated day one of the Republican national convention in St Paul, Minnesota. (Note: You gotta love these Republican kids!! Lesbians. Unwed mothers. They’re going for it!)
Now it has emerged that the shock announcement of the unknown Ms Palin was forced upon Senator McCain after conservatives threatened a revolt at the convention if he pushed ahead with his preferred vice-presidential pick, Independent and former Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman .
After weeks of vetting his potential vice-presidential picks, Senator McCain was set on his old friend and Al Gore 's running mate in 2000, Senator Lieberman .
But 10 days ago Senator McCain was called into a meeting by several of his most senior and trusted campaign advisers.
He was told if he proceeded to nominate Senator Lieberman , who is pro-choice on the issue of abortion, the conservative Christian base of the party would take the issue to the floor of the convention and try to overturn the selection.

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain
Dr Phillip Butler

(Note: Doctor Phillip Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war [with John McCain.] He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals. After his repatriation in 1973 he earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and became a Navy Organizational Effectiveness consultant. He completed his Navy career in 1981 as a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey , California He is now a peace and justice activist with Veterans for Peace.)

As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States. . . .
 . . . I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.
    It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq , even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual . The past 7 years have proven to be disastrous for our country. And I believe John's views on war, foreign policy, economics, environment, health care, education, national infrastructure and other important areas are much the same as those of the Bush administration.
    I'm disappointed to see John represent himself politically in ways that are not accurate. He is not a moderate Republican. On some issues he is a maverick. But his voting record is far to the right. I fear for his nominations to our Supreme Court, and the consequent continuing loss of individual freedoms, especially regarding moral and religious issues. John is not a religious person, but he has taken every opportunity to ally himself with some really obnoxious and crazy fundamentalist ministers lately. I was also disappointed to see him cozy up to Bush because I know he hates that man. He disingenuously and famously put his arm around the guy, even after Bush had intensely disrespected him with lies and slander. So on these and many other instances, I don't see that John is the "straight talk express" he markets himself to be. (full article),15202,164859_1,
(thanks to h a l l o r a n)

Senator Barack Obama and the Paradox of Dr. King
Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III

‘Marchin' with Martin Luther King, Jr,
Marchin' on down that road. (2x)
We've come a long way, people,
Still got a little ways to go.’
Marchin' with Martin Luther King Jr,
words & music: Joe Dolce, on Freelovedays CD, 2000.

On August 28, 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of the greatest speeches ever - what has now become known as the "I Have a Dream" speech. Forty-five years later to the very day, Senator Barack Hussein Obama became the first African-American to accept the presidential nomination of a major political party in America.
 On this day, many see Senator Obama's historic accomplishment as evidence of the fulfillment of Dr. King's dream. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" According to The New York Times, Dr. King's daughter, Bernice King, declared that Senator Obama's nomination is part of her father's dream, citing Obama's nomination as, "the acceptance of a Democratic presidential nominee, decided not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character." This is, in fact, evidence that America has made progress on the long and difficult road toward racial tolerance and acceptance. However, there are still many miles left to travel.
The interesting paradox of Senator Obama's historic nomination and Dr. King's speech is that while Democratic candidate Obama is the beneficiary and living evidence of the realization of the "dream," President Obama will have to address the current realities of systemic racism and personal prejudice that have resulted in continued disparity between African- Americans and Euro-Americans in much the same way as they did in 1963.

Slavery Haunts America's Plantation Prisons
Maya Schenwar
On an expanse of 18,000 acres of farmland, 59 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, long rows of men, mostly African-American, till the fields under the hot Louisiana sun. The men pick cotton, wheat, soybeans and corn. They work for pennies, literally. Armed guards, mostly white, ride up and down the rows on horseback, keeping watch. At the end of a long workweek, a bad disciplinary report from a guard - whether true or false - could mean a weekend toiling in the fields. The farm is called Angola, after the homeland of the slaves who first worked its soil.
This scene is not a glimpse of plantation days long gone by. It's the present-day reality of thousands of prisoners at the maximum security Louisiana State Penitentiary, otherwise known as Angola. The block of land on which the prison sits is a composite of several slave plantations, bought up in the decades following the Civil War. Acre-wise, it is the largest prison in the United States. Eighty percent of its prisoners are African-American.
"Angola is disturbing every time I go there," Tory Pegram, who coordinates the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3, told Truthout. "It's not even really a metaphor for slavery. Slavery is what's going on."


“Tell you a story
Of a mighty black man
From a town that was run
By the Ku Klux Klan.

He was the Number One Man
On the Number One Gang
On the Number One Farm in the State.”

The Ford car eased up to the prison gate.
One guard patted down the two Lomaxes,
The other two searched the car,
Pickin through the five hundred pounds
Of recording equipment.
A recent prison break had made
Captain Andrew Reaux of Camp A
Extra cautious.
There had been no visitors
To the farm now in a year.
You Texas boys struttin’ long way from home.
You gonna make a record from our niggars?
The beef-necked guard was necessarily suspicious
But with curious eyes.
Hell, even these ofays must get bored out here,
Thought Alan Lomax.
Well, you never know, Captain.
Last month, we found ourselves a Black Homer
Down in Egypt, Texas,
Over Duncan Farm.
He knew the allusion was lost
On the blank face looking back at him.

In the Louisiana South,
Homer was a common hillbilly name. . .


(from Leadbelly Ballad Novel, words & music: Joe Dolce, 2008)

MUSIC . . . .

If You Want to Be Happy
I recorded this song on my very first album but here is Cher, Winona Rider and a sparkin’ ten year old Christina Ricci dancing to the song, from the film, ‘Mermaids.’ Christina blows them all away. There’s an old Hollywood saying, ‘Never do a show with kids or animals.’

Cat Stevens (Islam Yusef) Singing the Islamic Call to Prayer

Oliver Messiaen on Debussy and Colour
(Thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)

I Don’t Mime if I Do

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Admits 'Miming' at Sydney Olympics 2000
SYDNEY (AFP) - Eight years after it hosted an Olympics that were famously hailed as the "best games ever," Sydney has had to confess that it faked one of the key musical performances at the opening ceremony in 2000.
The revelation came after it emerged that nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was just lip-synching when she "sang" a patriotic song before 91,000 people and a global television audience during the August 8 opening ceremony at the Beijing Games.
Orchestra bosses have admitted that the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) mimed its entire performance at the ceremony, and that some of the real music was in fact recorded by rival musicians in Melbourne.

Beijing Games organisers confirmed that Lin Miaoke, who performed "Ode to the Motherland" into Beijing's National Stadium (the Bird's Nest), was not singing at all but miming.  When pianist Lang Lang (who opened the games) was asked by a Hong Kong reporter what his own thoughts were on the lip-syncing saga from the Olympics opening ceremony, he stormed off in indignation.
(Note: I’ve seen this reaction before in other Chinese composers and musicians who are feted and honoured by this problematic Chinese government, especially certain ones I have worked with in Australia. Very careful not to bite the chopstick that feeds them! They have an extraordinary facility at getting grants and winning prizes but until these artists can distance themselves from the Government Teat, as the great Russian ballet dancers had to learn to do with the Soviets, there will never emerge anything truly visionary and modern from Chinese composers, only derivative Western forms, with no real core originality, or moral spine. For instance, here is a certain celebrated composer in Australia who specializes in taking Bach masterpieces and ornamenting them to buggery, adding ten ornamented notes for every one of Bach’s. Like he thinks he can outsmart Bach? The great Maestro hated excess ornamentation and said so often. Beethoven was also an integrated master of complexity – but also simplicity. The very first thing I look for in the smoke and mirrors of these overtrained musical performing seals is this: have they composed anything as SIMPLE and as memorable as the Moonlight Sonata? Even half that? Something you can hum, for Christ sakes! The answer is always NO. One of my old girlfriends used to call it, ‘too much head in bed.’   Charlie Mingus said it perfectly, ‘Anybody can play weird; that's easy. What's hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.”

Ok – so let’s get simple, stupids.

(thanks to WaylandN)



Dolce-Dolce is a site for all women who believe life should be sweet. Dolce-Dolce was founded by a former International Fashion, Beauty and Health editor and writer who has worked for the some of the biggest names in publishing all over the world and thoroughly enjoyed it. She started Dolce-Dolce when she herself began to find it difficult to separate editorial from advertorial in some major magazine and online bulletins. She didn't like it and neither did her friends. They are busy women who need good research and info in a brief and amusing format. Two years later she and her team have come up with their solution--Dolce-Dolce. We promise you the real deal all the time from top experts who treat the celebrities, from experienced editors who have seen it all. We will consider like minded partners and sponsors but there will be NO advertising--NO tit for tat. Try us.

Libyan-Italian Friendship Day

Italy to pay Libya $5 billion
The Associated Press

 BENGHAZI, Libya: Italy agreed over the weekend to pay Libya $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country, which ended in 1943.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and the Libyan leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, signed a memorandum pledging a $5 billion compensation package that involves construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians in World War II.
"It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era," Berlusconi said Saturday as he arrived. "This agreement opens the path to further cooperation."
In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on the thousands of illegal migrants smuggled across the Mediterranean to Italian shores. Libya has largely not delivered on pledges over the past few years to eliminate the problem. Italy will pay for $500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.
With the agreement, there should be "fewer clandestine migrants leaving Libyan shores for Italian" coastlines, Berlusconi said in comments broadcast on Italian state television.
Rome is also eager to increase its long-consolidated energy ties with Tripoli. Libya is a big supplier of natural gas and oil to Italy. Berlusconi said the agreement helps open the way to more "gas possibilities, possibilities for Libyan oil, which is of the best quality."
Qaddafi received Berlusconi under a big tent in Benghazi, where they exchanged gifts and discussed the agreement over lunch. The Italian leader said that part of the package would be for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years, including a coastal highway stretching across the country from Tunisia to Egypt.
Berlusconi handed over to Qaddafi the Venus of Cyrene, a Roman statue taken in 1913 by Italian troops from the ruins of the Greek and Roman settlement of Cyrene, on the Libyan coast.
It has taken years of negotiations for the two sides to reach a deal on compensation for Italy's rule over Libya from 1911 to 1943. The compensation package will also finance the clearing of land mines planted in the Italian colonial era.
Libya says that Italian troops killed thousands of Libyans and drove thousands more from their villages and cities under colonial rule.
"In this historic document, Italy apologizes for its killing, destruction and repression against Libyans during the colonial rule," Qaddafi said.
Tripoli's relations with the West have improved dramatically since 2003, when Libya accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
On Aug. 14, Libya signed a deal with the United States to settle both countries' claims for compensation for past bombings.
Berlusconi said that "in the name of the Italian people, as head of government, I feel it is my duty to offer an apology and make plain our sorrow for that which happened so many years ago, and which affected so many of your families."
Libya named Aug. 30 Libyan-Italian Friendship Day.
(Thanks to Stefan Abeysekera)


Saint Joseph's Day Dried Bean Soup
(Maccu di San 'Gnuseppi)

"This is," says Pino Correnti in his Il Libro d'Oro della Cucina e dei Vini di Sicilia, "a ritual soup for San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph, March 19), and also a custom handed down from the celebrations of the spring equinox in classical time: the housewife clears her pantry of the leftover dried legumes in the expectation of the new harvest to come."

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes

10 ounces (300 g) shelled dry fava beans
8 ounces (200 g) shelled peas
4 ounces (100 g) chickpeas
6 ounces (150 g) beans
4 ounces (100 g) lentils
2 bunches of borragine (a wild grass with milky white hairs; in its absence use
spinach or collard greens)
3/4 ounce (20 g) fennel seeds
A frond of wild fennel
A medium-sized onion
2 sun-dried tomatoes
Olive Oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Croutons made by dicing day-old bread and sautéing the pieces in olive oil

Set all the legumes except the lentils, which cook quickly, to soak in lightly salted water the night before.
The next day drain them, and set all the legumes to boil in a big pot of lightly salted water, adding the onion, tomatoes, and greens, chopped, after about two hours. Continue simmering for another couple of hours, by which time it will be ready. Check seasoning, and serve over the croutons, with a cruet of olive oil for people to drizzle over their soup.

El Dorado

Juncha slowly dying of jaundice
Or yellow fever or blight or jumbie or neighbour's spite,
No one knows why he turns the colour of cane.
Small boys come to peep, wondering
At the hush of the death-hut
Until their mothers bawl them out.
Skin flaking like goldleaf
Casts a halo round his head
He goes out in a puff of gold dust.
Bathed like a newborn child by the women.
Laid out in his hammock in the yard.
Put out to feel the last sun.
They bury him like treasure,
The coolie who worked two shillings all day
But kept his value from the overseer.
~ David Dabydeen ~
 (Turner: New and Selected Poems)

Newsletter Archive  and  Recipe Index


'Piddler on the Roof' pleads guilty

A New Zealand teenager dubbed "the Piddler on the Roof" after being caught on security camera urinating into a parking meter has pleaded guilty to intentionally damaging the machine.
Police dubbed chef Sarron John Malot the Piddler on the Roof because of the second-floor location of the meter and in a statement said: "He pees up in the air in a big arc, so it goes in the coin slot and out the hole where people collect their tickets."
Outside the courtroom, Malot insisted to reporters that he had only urinated once on the meter, despite a council spokesman saying earlier this month it had been doused four or five times in the past year.
He said he had been out with friends and wanted to urinate but when they wouldn't let him go against their car, he chose the parking machine instead.
"I was not aware of what I was doing," he said.
Malot said he had not been deliberately aiming at the machine but "couldn't stand properly".
His family had been supportive and he accepted he had done a stupid act but he did not want to be known forever as The Piddler on the Roof.
"I'd like to say I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do it.
"But who hasn't pissed in public?"
(for Peter Marks)