Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 85 – October 2007

I was interested, and somewhat surprised, that nobody wrote to me this last month to criticize my comments regarding the revival of the stocks as a form of punishment for habitual criminals. I can only assume therefore that the majority of you agreed with me on that point, whilst the few that didn’t’ simply ignored me completely, probably coming swiftly to the conclusion that I was as mad as a hatter. At the same time probably identifying me with inmates of a lunatic asylum.

Identification is an interesting subject. Most shanty groups for instance, when at work, walk around festival sites and other places of employment wearing tee shirts with the name of their group proudly emblazoned upon them. This is something we in Kimber’s Men simply refuse to do. I suppose it is either a form of insecurity on their part or a belief that they need to be able to recognise each other late in the evening after the consumption of huge quantities of alcohol. This latter theory can actually be proven to be unfounded by a bunch of brothers from North East England who have taken alcohol consumption to a new level. They never forget who the other is and incredibly never forget their words either. Sometimes they even remember who I am! But of course the brothers, whilst accompanied by a sister who drinks considerably less than they do and keeps them in check, are not actually shanty singers. Whilst they do sing the odd shanty (and by this I don’t mean they sing shanties in an odd fashion) they concentrate mostly on songs from the traditional idiom that have little or nothing to do with the sea. But they do disprove the theory that uniforms are a necessity of identification within the group; which brings me back to the insecurity theory.

Identification cards however are another kettle of fish and in my opinion they are becoming a necessity, which is something I thought I would never admit. Indeed today I go further and support the idea of a national DNA bank. I will willingly submit my DNA to any authority who requires it. If I do something wrong I have no reason to believe that I should not be identified for the crime.

This of course can lead to the unlikely event of somebody planting your DNA at the site of a crime, as was highlighted by Panorama recently on television. And make no mistake about it; it is a strong possibility in some cases, especially in instances where the police might be looking for a quick nick. And I say this with some authority having lived in London for many years and had first hand knowledge of police methods in this part of the country. The Met cannot be trusted any more than your next door neighbour who goes out late at night armed with a crow bar and a Lone Ranger mask.

But my argument here is that the police have targets to reach and many unsolved crimes to attend to. If catching real criminals were made easier and therefore more arrests were made it would be unnecessary for the police to stoop quite so often to underhanded tactics to ‘catch their man’. And in any rate the likelihood of a planted DNA sample coinciding with a time when you have no alibi is really in most instances extremely small.

Do I, you might ask, believe that the Portuguese police have planted DNA to implicate the McCann’s? And the answer to that is “yes I do” – although of course I have no more real evidence than you. The mere knowledge that police anywhere in the world hate being made to look fools, coupled with the fact that the investigating officer is already implicated in an arrest and imprisonment of a female suspect who claims to have been tortured and questioned non-stop for 48 hours makes a pretty strong case on my behalf. One would think that an officer tainted in this way would be reduced to a desk job until the matter was resolved. Apparently not so in Portugal.

I believe it would be a good idea to give passengers on air planes a DNA test during the flight? It would be very simple to do. Perhaps someone should introduce a bill to make it law that all people travelling to and from Great Britain whether by sea or air (or by tunnel) should undergo a DNA test, especially if they don’t have a UK passport. It would admittedly be more difficult to implement on ships, but not impossible. Whilst this would not completely stop unauthorized travellers slipping through the net; it would greatly reduce the possibility of known criminals escaping the country and would equally make it more difficult for known terrorists to enter it if they were able to devise a way of instant recognition, and I do believe this will come – the recognition I mean. At the moment of course it takes a few weeks, but science is moving at a phenomenal speed as is proven by the evolution of the mobile telephone, which will soon also be armed with satellite navigation. By doing this the DNA register would be easily kept up to date at the same time. All you would need would be an official on each flight armed to the teeth with cotton wool sticks and a fool proof method of ensuring identity cannot be mistakenly switched to somebody else; which in the case of some American airlines might cause a problem. Presently of course by the time the test is completed in a laboratory the miscreant would be miles away; but at least you would know the country to which they went, or in the case of terrorists the time method and port of departure and entry. This way dear old CCTV will quickly identify the faces of the wanted person. No point scouring Derbyshire for someone who flew to Malaga and has not come back. If a foreign airline company refused to comply you simply set up a holding area at the airport of entry where passengers would undergo a test before entering immigration. If this puts people off visiting Britain it’s simply tough luck on them. We don’t need anybody, Muslim, Christian or even Rastafarian entering Britain if they have a dubious past of which they are ashamed.

And I’m not, in the last paragraph, having a dig at all the Americans who walk this planet. Having been to America many, many times I have many friends and I fully understand that they are not all incompetent fools. Indeed far from it. But I do find it hard to understand why the President of Iran is invited to visit their country simply to be ridiculed, demonized and humiliated even if he does claim that homosexuality is a western evil unknown in Muslim countries. Surely America has woken up to the fact that 9/11 was instigated by Bin Laden from either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Iran and Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with it. Of course the tentacles (do you know I was tempted to type ‘testicles’?) of evil have now spread into both these countries; but we can thank the unnecessary and criminal war on Iraq for that. That many Americans are both incompetent and crazy is easily proven by their President, and by the loonies who voted for him a second time. Surely the most sensible course of action would have been to envelope the Iranian president with kindness and understanding. Show him the 9/11 site if he would like to see it. Try to befriend the man (who certainly has a higher IQ that GWB) making him look foolish and unwanted is no way of ending our discomfort at his agenda. It simply exacerbates it. Muslims, especially those in Iran and Iraq are fed up with being treated as second class citizens. Jim Crow has many disguises.

A short story
“Not all Conservatives are bad thoughtless people”
“The diary of a bunch of keys”

Guaranteed to give pleasure to all my sadistic readers.
Will cause great envy in the masochist ranks.

Told in diary form.

Friday September 14th. 9am. Take car to John Hoyle’s Garage for service and repair to hand brake.
Friday September 14th. 6pm. Collect car from John Hoyle. New brake lever mechanism required will fit same on Tuesday. Cost of service £118. Agreed Nora will pay total cost on Tuesday. I will be in hospital recovering from a knee operation.
Sunday September 16th. 1pm. We are taking mother, Alison, Brian and their two children Stan and Jasmine to lunch at The Brown Horse in Northowram. Thank goodness son Arthur is at his mother’s. Should keep the cost down!
Sunday September 16th. 1.15pm. Arrive at Alison’s house. Apply hand brake and collect remainder of the party. We are travelling in two cars as there is not enough room in one car for us all.
Sunday September 16th. 1.20pm. Discover hand brake has decided to go into a solid state. Fiddle with it for about 7 minutes acutely aware that our table is booked for 1.30pm. Decide to lock my car up (with Nora’s keys inside it) and drive to Northowram in vehicles owned by Alison and Brian. Not too happy as the cost of repair and service to my car will be increased by at least a £25 towing charge unless I can free the brake upon our return.
Sunday September 16th. 1.50pm. Arrive at Brown Horse, apologize for late arrival having left my car keys in Brian’s vehicle as I didn’t want them jangling at my side during the meal.
Sunday September 16th. 3.45pm. Pay for meal - £90.
Sunday September 16th. 3.47pm. Return to vehicles to discover that Brian’s vehicle has been broken into. Nothing stolen except my keys. Pray Alison has a duplicate set of our house keys in her house. Search car park for keys. Ask in pub if any keys have been handed in. Informed by pub that the CCTV was not working. Now in state of deep depression. I am entering hospital tomorrow for a new knee. I have a car parked miles away from the garage which is locked up without a key. Suddenly envisage a new bill nearing £500 for car and at least £30 for replacing keys and the strong possibility of breaking and entering my own home with the ensuing cost involved to repair damage.
Sunday September 16th. 4pm. Arrive back at Alison’s. Alison finds set of duplicate keys. Good; there is a God.
Sunday September 16th. 7pm. Unknown lady discovers a bunch of keys outside the Conservative Club in Wibsey; about 6 miles from Northowram. Lady decides to take keys into Conservative Club on the assumption that they probably belong to a club member.
Sunday September 16th. 10pm. Go to bed cursing. Check I’ve packed things I will need in hospital which includes my lap top with 504 songs on it in alphabetical order all sung by Pete Seeger. (See; I told you this story would be of interest to sadists and masochists).
Sunday September 16th 10.05pm. Unknown lady leaves Conservative Club in Wibsey aware that nobody has claimed the mysterious bunch of keys she found outside the premises three hours earlier.
Monday September 17th. 5.30am. Arise, shower, dress and look at weekend’s emails. Answer where necessary. Pack sleep machine. Put my problems into perspective by thinking about the McCann’s.
Monday September 17th. 9.15am. Drive to garage to inform John Hoyle’s son Richard of ongoing nightmare. He agrees he will travel over to my car later in the day to arrange a tow back to garage.
Monday September 17th. 11am. Calderdale Hospital. Enter Ward 8D; admittance ward for surgical operations and prepare for operation that afternoon.
Monday September 17th. 12.30pm. Decide to have a last minute poo and pee before operation. Past experience reminds me that both bodily functions are badly influenced by codeine and morphine when in post operational condition.
Monday September 17th. 1.30pm. Go to sleep.
Monday September 17th. 8pm. Nora leaves at conclusion of visiting time. I settle down, earphones in place and Pete Seeger bursts into ‘Abiyoyo’.
Tuesday September 18th. 00.30am. I’m aware that my bladder has not been emptied for 12 hours. A nurse brings the bottle and I struggle out of bed standing and straining for 5 minutes on one good leg. The bottle remains empty, the bladder remains full. I’m totally incapable of peeing into a bottle when lying down; I’ve even tried it at home when normal and not under morphine. Pete is leading very early Weavers sing ‘Banks are made of Marble’. I wish my knob was.
Tuesday September 18th. 1.30am. I’m now aware that my bladder has not been emptied for 13 hours. A nurse brings a bottle and I struggle out of bed standing and straining for 5 minutes on one good leg. The bottle remains empty, the bladder remains full. “Oh well I expect I’ll go soon”. Pete is now having a conversation with a mule, which is probably a more sensible pastime than standing by a hospital bed talking to yourself.
Tuesday September 18th. 2.30am. I’m now aware that my bladder has not been emptied for 14 hours. A nurse brings a bottle and I struggle out of bed standing and straining for 5 minutes on one good leg. The bottle remains empty, the bladder remains full. “Oh well, I’ll probably go before daylight”. Pete is singing about C for Conscription and a Congress that passed that God damned Bill. I know what I want to pass! And for me tomorrow it’s doubtless C for Constipation.
Tuesday September 18th. 3.35am. I’m now aware that my bladder has not been emptied for 15 hours. A nurse brings a bottle and I struggle out of bed standing and straining for 5 minutes on one good leg. The bottle remains empty, the bladder remains full. I’ve delayed my hourly bladder inactivity by 5 minutes. Pete was reaching the interval of his infamous Carnegie Hall Concert and I decide I might as well listen to the end. After all it would be rude to get up and leave the audience before he finishes his first half; anyway I’ve always enjoyed “If you miss me at the back of the bus.” I now really need to relieve myself but the morphine, whilst numbing the pain in the knee, is also numbing the muscles that work my bladder. “I hope the nurses don’t decide to stick a cafeteria in my dick!”
Tuesday September 18th. 5.30am. Ditto 2.30am except it is now 18 hours. Pete is doing Draft Dodger’s Rag. Enough said really; take the ‘r’ out of the first word and he could be singing about me. I’ve had some fitful sleep and I wonder which songs I’ve missed. The need for relief is reaching titanic proportions.
Tuesday September 18th. 6.30am. Ditto 2.30am. Twenty hours without a pee. Pete’s following a drinking gourd! “Fuck it I’m getting frantic”.
Tuesday September 18th. 8.00am. My penis bursts and a flood of dark yellow liquid shoots uncontrollably into the bottle. Hooray. I slump exhausted back into bed. “Good old Pete, he’s got me through it!”
Tuesday September 18th. 9.00am. I need to go again. “Good I’ve probably got quite a lot of it stored up inside me”.
Tuesday September 18th. 10am Ditto 9am. But now it’s just a little dribble
Tuesday September 18th. 11am through till 4pm. I can’t stop the need to pee. I’m peeing every 30/45 minutes but each time I only manage a teaspoon full. “I’ve probably got MRSA!” They’ve got me out of bed sitting in an armchair and I can now stand on two legs. The nurse does a test and declares my urine is full of blood, yeast and other floating unpleasant objects. The combination of diluted orange juice over a period of 15 hours after recovery without relief has obviously caused bugs to appear within my bladder. “Oh goody!” Nora visits and informs me that John Hoyle’s son Richard has forced his way into my car, smashed the steering lock and given up. “Oh goody, goody!” The car is now in the hands of the insurers.
Tuesday September 18th. 9pm. I’ve been trying to pee every 20 minutes now since 5pm. The nurse gives me a pill. Antibiotic.
Wednesday September 19th. 9am. I’ve been peeing or trying to pee now every 20 minutes since yesterday afternoon. “This has gone beyond a joke!” I’ve been peeing, sleeping for 10 minutes and waking again desperate to relieve myself. I’m drinking as much as I can and I fill four whole bottles in the course of the night. Pete is doing ‘Midnight Special’. I hope I don’t have to emphasize the irony here.
Wednesday September 19th. 10pm. The nice lady from Wibsey Conservative Club telephones home to inform Nora she has found my keys. Noticing there is a Tesco card attached to the key ring and that nobody from the club has claimed them she decides to contact Tesco’s hoping they will give her a telephone number. Amazing!!!!
Thursday September 20th. 9.30am. All the nurses on Ward 8C go into hiding or suddenly find important jobs to do in other wards.
Thursday September 20th. 9.32am. Mr Chapman, my surgeon, arrives at my bedside. As a surgeon he is brilliant, as a human being he is a monster. He surveys me with the sardonic grin in which he specializes, looks at my notes, speaks into his Dictaphone and declares I can go home this afternoon. I thank him, but he’s out the door before the words actually leave my mouth. Pete meanwhile is wondering where a bunch of flowers has gone. Well not with Mr Chapman that’s for sure.

Of course the fact that the car keys have been found means the insurance claim has been changed and I’m certainly looking at a bill of at least £500 unless I can convince my insurance company that they should pay for the damage inflicted on my car by John Hoyle’s garage at my instigation. Apparently the bill might be as high as £1,700!

The motto. Never leave your keys safely locked up in somebody else’s car and always pee and poo before an operation.

Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

Oct 14th (Joe) The Works, Sowerby Bridge – Afternoon. (Children’s performance)
Oct 14th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge – Evening.
Nov 18th (KM) The Open Door Folk Club, The Royal Oak, Werneth, Oldham.
Nov 25th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge. (6pm start)
Dec 8th (Joe) Sixmilebridge Folk Club, Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Eire.
Jan 10th (KM) Topic Folk Club, The Cock and Bottle, Bradford.
Feb 2nd (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. (Matinee and evening).
Feb 24th (KM) Southport Folk Club.
Feb 25th (Joe) Rossett School, Harrogate – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 29th (Joe) Ripon Heritage Centre – Life + Times Paul Robeson
Apr 3rd (Joe) Bishop Stortford Folk Club, All Saints Church Hall, Bishop Stortford.
Apr 6th (Joe) Walthamstow Folk Club, The Plough Inn, Walthamstow. (Robeson lecture)
Apr 26th (KM) Halifax Playhouse Theatre – recording ‘live’ album.
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 11th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 14th (Joe) North Bradford Retired Men’s Forum - Life + Times Paul Robeson
Jul 17th (KM) Gregson Lane Folk Club, Village of Gregson Lane, Preston.
Sep 5th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Jan 11th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare - Provisional
Jan 12th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare - Provisional
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire


Hi Joe
In your last ramblings you wrote:
"the campaign to save the planet against global warming ....... Whilst we all understand the problem.... "
What do you mean by "Save the planet"? A bit strong. The planet is not going to disintegrate, or wobble off orbit because of increased carbon dioxide levels!
Maybe we're going through a period of climate change, which may or may not be attributable to "anthropological carbon dioxide" who knows - there's still a lot of debate going on. But save the planet? Come on! That made me wonder about your second point - "Whilst we all understand the problem....." Do we, do they, do you? Probably not.
With very best wishes
Bryn Phillips

Hi Joe
Great ramblings this month, I have already spent several moments wobbling uncontrollably in my seat after reading the funnies particularly the Winalot story and the definition of 'Lymph'. You know whenever I mention you to my boys they always remember you as 'the one who wobbles in his seat when he laughs'!!
Your comments on Iraq match my own thoughts and bring to mind the lyrics of a song by my hero Bruce Cockburn who visited Baghdad in April 04 to see what wonders the 'saviours of Iraq' had wrought on the country. The song is called 'This is Baghdad'

Everything's broken in the birthplace of law
As Generation Two tries on his tragic flaw
America's might under desert sun
I saw her frightened eyes behind the muzzle of her gun

Uranium dust and the smell of decay
Sewage in the street where the kids run and play
Not enough morphine and not enough gauze
Firefight in darkness like snapping of jaws

This is Baghdad

You couldn't see the blast--the morning was bright
But some radiant energy flared up into the light
Like the sky throwing its hands up in horrified dismay
Or the souls of the dead as they sped on their on their way

Car-bombed and car-jacked and kidnapped and shot
How do you like it, this freedom we brought?
We packed all the ordnance but the thing we forgot
Was a plan in case it didn't turn out quite like we thought.

This is Baghdad
© Bruce Cockburn 2006 Golden Mountain Music Corp.

The events on our streets have disturbed me deeply also and is currently the subject of a new song that is being born in my head and yes I agree with your thoughts here too. It may seem unrelated but someone sent me in an email, a poem by T.S.Elliot called 'Burnt Norton' some months ago and it is a most wonderful piece of work. I was so taken with it and seeing that it was part of a bigger work called 'Four Quarters' I decided to go straight to town to buy it.

I spent 10 minutes wandering round my local W H Smith looking for the poetry section and eventually gave up on the idea of discovering it alone and had to ask an assistant. "Do you have a poetry section" I asked, "Yes" she replied with a look on her face that said 'you look a bit tall to be reading poetry'. "Well it must be very small" I said "because I can't find it anywhere"

She led me back and forth looking for it herself until she pointed with finality to a row of 7 books. Yes on a whole floor of books there were just 7 that comprised the poetry 'Section'

I stood there for a moment with absolutely no hope of seeing T.S. Eliot on the spine of any of them, then turned 180 degrees to scan the vast wall behind me that was full of books on every conceivable crime and debased human activity you could ever hope to think of.

I thought at the time that as a society we are drip-fed murder, rape, violence and acts of no-consequence everyday as a form of entertainment that it's almost like we 'understand' those things. We are invited into the heads of the people who do these things albeit fictitious. But we think we understand. But show a child or teenager or the majority of adults a copy of Burnt Norton or "Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas and they won't understand. Moreover they don't have the time to try to understand. Understanding takes time.

The vast majority of our nation's children spend hour upon hour playing video games where, although the levels of violence are obscene, no-one really dies. You press a button and pop up again to live and fight another day. No consequences! This coming from a 30 something, 6'4" black belt martial artist may all sound a bit 'Mary Whitehouse' but as my new song will say "If you don't think it matters then it's really just a matter of time"

Our children more than anything else need to know that their actions, both good and bad, will carry consequence, and that is as you point out is what is lacking in both our society and our judicial system.

On another subject raised in the Letters.
I don't know Joe if you saw the program on channel 4 some months ago called "The Great Global Warming Swindle". It was a fascinating documentary which sadly I can't recall all the relevant details from but in essence there are a large and highly respected group of scientists who believe that the whole carbon emission argument is actually back to front. Al Gore in his now famous presentation shows that in the past 10,000 years whenever the temperature of the planet has been on the increase there have been increased levels of carbon in the atmosphere. The aforementioned scientists wholeheartedly agree that yes the two things are inextricably linked but they also point out that there is a big lag in the relation of these two things and the mover in this equation is the planet's temperature and not the carbon level. In other words, the planet doesn't warm up because of high carbon levels, rather the carbon levels rise because the planet is warming up.

How long ago were we seeing reports about the looming disaster because of a water shortage with all the local news shots of reporters on cracked dry land within the usually brimming shores of our reservoirs? Well now once again they are full, nature has set the scales again and the more reason for dwindling water was because of the mismanagement of the big water companies spending the profits on themselves and not their leaking pipework. The documentary showed local TV news programs from 1975 with reporters telling tales of woe and using the term 'global cooling'. It seems from the turn of the last century until around 1940 the planet was warming up, then for some reason it began to cool for some 30 odd years until in the late 70's two things happened...the planet began to warm up again and the miners went on strike. Here's a good one for the conspiracy theorists. Mrs Thatcher with her foresight spectacles on had realised that coal was a problem. She wanted to close the mines and had a real fight on her hands and it was she that set up the IPCC which then began to spread the story of how carbon was our enemy.

The point is that we, Joe Public, have got an extraordinarily difficult job on our hands making any kind of informed decision about why our planet and climate is in the state it is in, or any other subject, because we as ever, never get the whole story. It is now taken as fact among the masses that the reason for global warming is carbon emission. Well nobody actually knows that! It is still a theory just like evolution is still just a theory and not the fact that is taken for granted in every school and wildlife documentary. But of course we are told what our governments want us to be told because then they have us under control and can make more money out of us. Just what is happening to the huge extra revenue that has been generated by the extra tax on domestic flights in this country? Is it being used directly to fight the causes of global warming?

The fact is we humans are far more destructive than we are clever and unfortunately the positions of power that exist in our world system attract just the kind of people who you really don't want in positions of power. I want to see someone with a humble soul and a contrite heart making the decisions that will affect me, not someone who is just damn sure that they must be right whatever the outcome for the rest of us.

Anyway Joe I'm late for work now but thought I must prove to you that I read your monthly’s.

I hope the knee is a total success and look forward to another walk along the canal with you sometime soon.

All the very best
Adrian Nation

Hey Joe,
Always enjoy your ramblings, but where's your good head today? You're too intelligent to be so simplistic about Americans and about youth. Just as not every Brit has a stiff upper lip and a stick up his keister, not every American is about wealth and power. Many of us are sick with grief and taking every action we can to change our country's ill-informed and ill-intentioned foreign and environmental policies. And some of us see clearly enough to know that children learn what they live. If you whack a bottom, the child learns to believe that physical strength and the willingness to use violence are power. The problem isn't too few whacked bottoms, it's too many children growing up seeing daddy whack mommy, only to have mommy turn and whack them. Then of course, they also see our fearless leaders whacking everyone in their way with the military, and then whacking the military for failing to whack hard enough. Then there's the telly. Maybe there's enough whacking going around? My siblings and I were never struck, nor were my children or grandchildren. For the most part, we've grown up to be gentle souls... for Americans, that is <grin>.
Speaking of which, we'd love to see a stop here in your schedule. You and the Mrs. are always welcome at our place.
Kathleen Knight
Pa. USA.

Hi Joe
Just read your latest ramblings. We stopped birching, public hanging and flogging because we felt they were barbaric. They didn't stop crime it just made criminals more careful about being caught.
Remember those days when being caught was the number 1 crime?
We do need to do something though for those poor youths who are lost and have very little good parenting or tough love but I don't know what will actually work. In my job I saw so many lost, bewildered and frightened teens who had been given no firm boundaries. They acted powerful but just felt very frightened inside. There really are very few places for them that don't cause more damage and most of them arrive too late to be helped.
The major cause of youth crime is very, very simple PISS POOR PARENTING.
Rant over.
Mary Barr

The blacklist and the blacklisters go back to the period before WWII when they went after the volunteers for the Spanish insurrection. They went through the colleges and dismantled entire departments on the basis of a few words from a disgruntled conservative. After the war was over they came down again like wolves on the fold. My radio show was a special target because it was a platform for questionable folksingers. But WNYC, though owned by the City had a strong minded mayor name Fiorello H LaGuardia. Some day I'll tell you about my meeting with "The Little Flower". But the witch-hunters were inflated by the public fear of the Soviet which had managed to acquire dibs on the Atom Bomb. Then the public trials began prepped by "Red Channels" which listed some great Americans as provocateurs. (I'm in that one). Since I was anti-Stalin they thought I'd help them but I told them I couldn't and they were infuriated. But the program director kept my program on the air and it was the only platform for the blacklisted performers. I taped ten shows and went back to Canada. Thence to England and old friends like John Runge, Peter Kennedy, Attenborough, Theo Bikel (in "Love For Three Colonels"), Isla Cameron etc. I went to Scotland and drove Hamish Henderson to the Highlands, meeting with the two Edinburgh grads who had stolen the Wee Magic Stane, without which the Queen would not be the monarch of Scotland. Then back to the states just as my last show was airing.
Where were you?
Oscar Brand.


Craig: I Will Not Blow This Job

Idaho Senator Withdraws Resignation

Less than one week after announcing his intention to resign from office, embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) changed course today, telling reporters in Washington, “I will not blow this job.”

Over the past few days, there had been whispers in Republican circles that Sen. Craig had, in the words of one of the Idaho senator’s associates, “pulled out too early,”

“At the end of the day, Larry does not want to blow this job,” the associate said. “He will do whatever it takes to win back the support of his constituents, even if it means getting down on his knees.”

Another associate of Sen. Craig’s agreed that the Idaho senator announced his intention to vacate his Senate seat too hastily: “I think Larry now feels that to leave office on September 30 would be a premature evacuation.”

Sen. Craig got a key vote of support from Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn), who held a press conference at the Senate today to call the charges against the Idaho senator a “bum rap.”

But even as Sen. Craig picked up the support of Sen. Specter, a source close to the Republican caucus indicated that most Republicans are “backing away” from Sen. Craig.

For his part, Sen. Craig told reporters that he would take whatever steps are necessary to find favor with his Republican colleagues: “I will absolutely bend over backwards.”

Elsewhere, after a B-52 pilot flew over several U.S. states carrying nuclear warheads, the Air Force said that it would discontinue its use of Mapquest.


“A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country”.
Well, there's a very simple answer.
Nobody bothered to check the oil.
We just didn't know we were getting low.
The reason for that is purely geographical.
Our oil is located in Alaska, California, Coastal Florida, Coastal Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Our DIPSTICKS are located in WASHINGTON , DC !!!
Any Questions ???
NO? I didn't Think So.


The story of Ralph and Edna.
Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Ralph suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there. Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out.

When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna's heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Edna the news she said, "Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love. I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness. The bad news is, Ralph, hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's dead."

Edna replied, "He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon can I go home?


Last night, my wife and I were sitting in the TV Room and I said to her, "I never want to live in a Vegetative state, dependant on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull The plug."

She got up and unplugged the TV and threw out my whiskey.


7 reasons not to mess with a child

1. A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.
The little girl said, “When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.”
The teacher asked, “ What if Jonah went to hell?”
The little girl replied, “Then you ask him.”

2. A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work.
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.
The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like. Without looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”

3. A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to “honour” thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?”
One little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, “Thou shall not kill.”

4. One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?”
Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white. The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Mummy, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”

5. The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.
“Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, ‘There’s Jennifer, she’s a lawyer,’ or ‘That’s Michael, He’s a doctor.
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, “And there’s the teacher, She’s dead. “

6. A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, “Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face.” “Yes,” the class said.
“Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn’t run into my feet?”
A little fellow shouted, “Cause your feet ain’t empty.”

7. The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: “Take only ONE. God is watching.”
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead