Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 107 – August 2009

Thailand. An oxymoron where cruelty to animals is considered abhorrent but you can watch cock fighting to the death on television at tea time. Fancy watching Manchester United play Barcelona son? No dad rather watch two birds kicking shit out of each other! So now all my children have presented me with grandchildren from ‘exotic’ partners. Within the Stead family framework I can now include Buddhists, Rastafarians and Italians. We ostensibly went to Thailand to be present at the wedding of son Jonathan to Aon; but missed it by a few days! Having booked our flights Aon’s mother suddenly decided that they had picked an ‘unlucky’ day; so the wedding came forward a week to a lucky day. Well that’s Thailand for you!

Whilst in Thailand I heard news of the tragedy that is Peter Harvey (Mansfield school teacher arrested on suspicion of attempted murder of pupil Jack Waterhouse). That an apparent excellent teacher hailed by both staff and pupils alike can be driven to such a loss of control is proof indeed that the banning of corporal punishment within our schools was a bad idea. I know there are those of you amongst my readers who will be tut-tutting away; and I know too that it is highly unlikely this crazy decision will ever be reversed. My sympathies lie completely with the Harvey family as it is extremely unlikely he will ever be allowed to teach again; and he will probably do time in a prison somewhere that is overcrowded with youth’s doing porridge for knife and gun crimes. His pension too will be greatly reduced. The simple fact is that there is a minority of youth today who have absolutely no respect for rules and regulations; they got away with blue murder at schools because of lack of discipline and they carry on with the same attitude in outside life. Of course I’m only talking about a small percentage; but it is a large enough of a percentage to cause a major headache within our society. The parents of Jack Waterhouse should be tried and fined for failing in there parental duties. Indeed they should be put in the stocks! Do we still have any?

With the news that our lousy government is to support the candidacy of Tony Blair as first permanent President of EU, you can petition to oppose this by signing the online petition at…………………………………………………………..

The Ramblings are normally put together over a period of about 30 days, but July has involved a three week trip to Thailand, filming for a BBC 4 television presentation and latterly a trip to Spain; so this month there's not a lot of time to compose the 'editorial'. But here’s a little quiz for you. In order to cut down the enormous response I’ve decided the winner will receive a Joe Stead CD whether he/she likes it or not. Simply complete the conversation below. The answer was funny.

What did the Kiwi say next?

I passed a fellow taking a shower in Thailand who greeted me as I passed with a cheerie “Howdie”
“Australian?” I enquired
“No Kiwi” came the reply
“Oh, I expect you want England to beat Australia in the Test Match?” said I
What did the Kiwi say next?

An obituary for Johnny Collins follows later.

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

Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 30th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 31st (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 4th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Sep 5th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea
Sep 6th (KM) Hull Festival of the Sea

Sep 9th (Joe) North Bradford Men’s Forum. - Valparaiso
Sep 10th (Joe) Heckmondwyke Supper Club. - Robeson
Sep 11th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 12th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 13th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 18th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival
Sep 19th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival
Sep 20th (KM) Deal Maritime Festival

Sep 29th (Joe) Leeds Elmete Probus Club, New Inn, Eccup Lane, Bramhope. – Valparaiso
Oct 9th (KM) Clarinbridge Community Festival, County Galway, Ireland.
Oct 10th (KM) Clarinbridge Community Festival, County Galway, Ireland.
Oct 11th (KM) Clarinbridge Community Festival, County Galway, Ireland.
Oct 19th (KM) The Bridge Folk Club, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire

Nov 14th (Joe) The News from Nowhere Club, Waltham Forest. – Robeson Lecture.
Nov 21st (KM) 'Folk At The Proke', St. Mary's Social Club, Melton Street, Batley
Dec 3rd (KM) Meadow Close School, Shelf, Halifax. HX3
May 14th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 15th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
May 16th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival
Jul 2nd (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 3rd (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 4th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Aug 20th (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 21st (KM) Fano – Denmark
Aug 22nd (KM) Fano – Denmark

Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 28th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 29th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 30th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 24th (KM) Exmouth (venue to be confirmed), Devon
Sep 25th (KM) The Castle Inn, Combe Martin, High Street, North Devon

Johnny Collins.

John Robert Collins, folk singer, born 10 May 1938, died 6 July 2009.
I first met Johnny when we were both booked for a picnic somewhere in Berkshire which involved a trip on a canal boat. Newbury springs to mind, I guess it was about 1968, he had just left the army. He didn't sing many sea songs in those distant days having quite recently returned from the Far East. But his rich bass voice was a revelation to me and all who heard it for the first time. As everyone in the 'folk world' knows he was to join in a partnership with Jim Mageean that was to last for 35 years. The Herga folk club in Wealdstone resounded for many a Monday night with shanties from the seven seas inspired of course by the living legend that was Stan Hugill. He recorded one album on my Greenwich Village label with Jim 'Live at the Herga Folk Club' and we released another, panned by some critics, from a tape they brought back from Holland. Johnny actually died twice! His heart stopped for a period of nearly ninety seconds when he had a massive heart attack about 40 years ago, but the doctors and nurses revived him and following a three way by pass heart operation he continued to give his public wonderful entertainment until this last month when his heart gave out for a second time whilst performing with Jim in Poland. He was a frequent performer on mainland Europe, where sea songs and shanties in a variety of languages are very popular. Johnny achieved his greatest triumph in 1983 when he and his frequent singing partner Jim Mageean won an eastern European Song contest, misrepresented by some as being a version of the Eurovision song contest. The Intervision song contest was actually called The International Liederfestival (Menschen und Meer) the theme that year being Men and the Sea which is why Jim and Johnny sang shanties; it was staged in Rostock, East Germany. Other competitors made full use of the 96-piece orchestra, but Jim and Johnny won the hearts of the voting audience with a medley of unaccompanied sea shanties.

Born in Norfolk, Johnny was adopted by a Belfast-born railway man and his wife a music teacher from Norwich. He left school at 16 and two years later joined the army - at first the Royal Engineers, then transferring to the Royal Army Medical Corps. Stationed in London in 1958, he came across the jazz and folk clubs of the West End and like many others learned to play the guitar. He was posted to Singapore in 1959 and at his next posting in Hong Kong, Johnny ran a folk club and sold out the City Hall with his new folk group.

Through the 1980s and into the 90s, Johnny performed at many of the world's maritime festivals. In the US, he sang at the Maine and Newport maritime museums, as well as the Kendall Whaling Museum in Massachusetts, and the prestigious Mystic Seaport festival in Connecticut. He was the resident shantyman at Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia, and for more than 20 years, was the main guest at the maritime festival in Workum Holland. In 1987, Johnny was invited by the East German government to the Berlin Shanty Festival (an unlikely event for a land-locked city) to celebrate Berlin's 750th anniversary.

A man with incredible charisma his passing is a massive loss to the folk and maritime music scenes. Johnny is survived by his partner, Joyce Squires, and two children, Carol and Michael from an earlier marriage.

Michael Jackson.

Fifty year old dancer who never grew up and consequently had an unusual fascination for sleeping with children, but all very innocently you understand. He could sing a bit and had a following certainly exceeding two thousand. Started out very black in colour, died an unpleasant shade of grey. Now perched upon a crescent moon somewhere over Neverland. Well, that's according to Brooke Shields and she should know. Not a great loss to the folk scene; hardly a loss at all anywhere in my opinion. Sleep soundly children; that’s another one gone.


Dear Friends,
I expect you will have heard by now that Johnny Collins , my great friend and singing partner of 35 years, passed away on Monday July 6th shortly after 8am (bst) in Gdansk.
I am writing to let all his friends know that he suffered no pain at the end and was relaxed and comfortable in hospital when he suffered a massive heart attack (at least the 10th of his life - his 1st was in the 1950's). Pat Sheridan and I were sharing a hotel room with him and he woke us at 6am Polish time (5am bst) and asked us to take him to hospital as he wasn't feeling well. His pulse was racing and he was short of breath. We immediately called a taxi from hotel reception (we were told an ambulance would take longer) and within minutes we were speeding through Gdansk and arriving at Nicolas Copernicus Hospital. He was seen to straight away with ECG and Chest X-ray and wheeled to a ward in Cardiology where they did various tests (blood pressure etc) the results of which all seemed normal to him as an ex-medic. He was chatting to us about this and said he felt safe now as the hospital was very clean and his heart monitor screen looked OK. He joked with us saying 'you will let me know if I flatline won't you'. We made him comfortable, half sitting, with his backrest and mobile phone by his bed so he could call Joyce later when she got up (it was too early he said). The doctor said he would have to stay in a couple of days for observation and may need to be transferred to another hospital for better Cardiography.
There was a picket line across the road at a government building and we watched through the window and reported the action to him as the TV crews turned up to interview them.
We were then asked to stand outside the ward while they did further tests and while we were there he arrested and the crash team were called. We watched them pumping his chest for about 10 minutes, the door was slightly open and we were just a few feet away outside. They then came out and told us that he was gone. I called Joyce immediately with the terrible news. It was then 9.10am Polish time (8.10 bst).
We were then taken to talk to the Cardiologist about formalities, post mortem etc.
I've just got back from Poland and spent a few hours with Joyce returning his belongings.
I'm sure all his friends would want to know that the last days of his life were happy ones. The previous weekend he'd been singing at Braunston Festival, Northamptonshire and at a concert in Watford with Eric Bogle. We'd been in Poland since Wednesday July 1st and all our concerts had gone extremely well (he laughed about his 'celebrity status' in Poland).
He was singing well and seemed fine apart from using his spray inhaler quite frequently.
On Sunday July 5th we spent the whole day out on the Baltic sailing with the Tall Ships parade of sail which was spectacular. We sang shanties to the ships crews as we passed.
The weather was glorious and Johnny sat on deck all day, apart from when singing, had a meal and thoroughly enjoyed himself. In the evening we did a great concert together with Pat Sheridan in the Zejmans Club, Gdansk. We did three 40 minute spots with a packed audience and had everyone singing along with our shanties and sea songs. The concert was recorded and we talked to the organisers at the end about making an album of it.
The Club Commodore had made a toast with Dutch Geneva earlier so Johnny insisted on returning the toast to the Commodore with 'Reach for the Gin' by Mike Sparks. It was to be his last song apart from us all singing Stan Hugill's 'Old Maui' all the way home in the taxi.
He will be greatly missed by us all but I think he went the way he would have wanted.
I'll keep people posted on Funeral arrangements which will be delayed by legal procedures.
I know all of you will be thinking of his family at this time, especially
Goodbye Mate,
Jim Mageean

I enjoy your Ol' Codger Ramblings. For the record, although I don't agree with every detail of every one of your "rants," I am in general agreement with almost all that you have to say, and even when I don't quite agree, I enjoy your writing. Once, when Joel Mabus was booked to appear here, he sent me his "promo" material. All it said was, "Take my word for it. I'm wonderful." He was (and is), and so are you.
Justin Kodner (Princeton Folk Music Society, USA).

Since I live in Bradford, in a part of Bradford (Manningham) with the largest proportion of Muslims, and was for many years governor of a school with roughly 80 per cent Asian pupils (the proportion is changing lately, with the influx of Eastern European migrants), I feel I know something about the issues you raise. But I see a different picture from yours, where (as has always been the case in the past) our culture is being enriched by all such influxes.
A few years ago I was funded by the Home Office to go into schools organising song-writing workshops as part of an anti-drugs initiative (the initiative stopped, abruptly, when the money was diverted into the "war on terror"). My main thrust was not so much anti-drug as pro-life. I tried to get the kids to celebrate the things in their lives they might lose if they got into drugs. In one class, the line "we got to the mosque" was suggested, and there were two white girls in the front desks who looked a bit uncomfortable with this. I asked the boy who had suggested the line if he could think of a more inclusive line. "We go to worship," was his suggestion. I asked the class if they were happy with that. There was a roar of agreement. And the girls? They looked very happy.
I was doing this work during the Bradford riots, and I went to my desk in the local police station the very next day. A number of police had been drafted in from neighbouring forces to create a visible presence on the streets, and because they were not familiar with the culture, they had some problems understanding the situation.
"We've had to explain to them," said one constable, "that a group of Asian kids on the streets is not another riot in the making. They live outdoors. They have nowhere else to go."
(Actually, I saw the riot start, as I was walking with crowds of young predominantly Asian men returning from an illegal rally against National Front plans to march through Manningham, when an NF idiot emerged from a pub and threw a bottle at us. The police responded by wading into us as well as the four or five fascists in the pub, and the situation escalated. At one time, the battle was raging in the street outside my bedroom window. My Muslim friends were phoning the fire brigade to report that a local BMW car showroom was being set on fire, but the police were too busy attacking the crowd to give the fire crews the necessary protection. But all this would never have happened IF the NF hadn't been given permission to march, IF they'd been apprehended as they tried to enter the city and told to get on their bikes - a power the police were quite happy to use during the miners' strike, IF the Bradford festival hadn't been cancelled on its last day because of the presence of a handful of fascists and instead had been turned into a celebration of the vibrant life of our wonderful city, IF the police had been able to distinguish between the man who threw the bottle and the youths who responded with punches, etc etc. This was NOT a race riot, though there have been examples of hate crimes in some predominantly white council estates, targeting the few Asians who live in their midst. But I digress.)
I was walking down the road on another occasion, on the opposite side of the road from a crowd of young men, gathered round a car. "'Ere," shouted one, "I want to talk to you." Well, I am fairly well known in Bradford for my opposition to the war in Iraq and my solidarity work in and about Palestine, so I crossed over, but it seemed to me that these lads were planning to have a bit of fun at the expense of this old white guy with the long white beard. But I crossed over, extended my hand to the lad who had shouted, and greeted him: "Salaam aleycum" (Peace be unto you). His whole manner changed, and he responded appropriately: "Wa-aleycum salaam". "How are you?" he went on. We had an interesting chat and I went on my way.

My church is just across the road from the mosque. I think it's lovely when the church bell rings at the same time as the muezzin call to prayer from the neighbouring minaret, and was proud of the fact that when I went to Iraq collections were taken up in both places to help with my travel expenses. We have welcomed into the church an Islamic singer whose repertoire is all about Jesus. We threw open our churchyard to a local Muslim women's hgroup who wanted to hold a garden party.
When I came back from Iraq I campaigned in the local elections as an independent (I got 728 votes after a 3-week campaign, which wasn't bad, but one shopkeeper said he couldn't put my poster in his window because of family - ie clan - pressure, since the Labour candidate was from his own clan, but he would certainly vote for me), and when I knocked on the door of one house, the resident asked me, "What do you believe?" I told him I was a socialist, wanted to de-privatise local schools, was chair of the local Community Health Council and had campaigned for more adequate treatment for drug addicts, etc etc.
"No," he said, "what do you BELIEVE? What is your faith?"
"Oh," I replied, "I'm a Christian."
"Then I'll vote for you, because you're a man of faith. I wouldn't vote for an atheist." Now some who share the atheist faith I subscribed to for the first 49 years of my life may find that story offensive, and I know that as Jesus said, it is not those who cry "Lord Lord" who will be saved, but those who do the work of our Father, and I know that many atheists are in that number, but I tell it like I find it.
I believe much of the opposition to the BNP is counter-productive, because, as they always do, the fascists are identifying real concerns among the white working class, and exploiting them, quite cynically. For instance, the BNP has instructed its followers to followers to lay off the anti-Semitism, because in Palestine the Israelis are on "our" side, against the Muslims (the fact that 20 percent of Palestine refugees are actually Christians is ignored by this ignorant crowd.)
Personally, I believe in totally open borders, but realistically, I know that's never going to happen, until we have a world-wide socialist commonwealth, or the kingdom of God on earth, as Jesus put it.
Immigration IS an issue, but it's significant that it is mainly in areas with few Asians that tensions arise. But a lot of the demographic disparity is caused by the fact that under EU rules, we are FORCED to accept economic migrants from anywhere in the EU, while locking up and (eventually) expelling genuine asylum seekers. In the predominantly Muslim school I mentioned above, some of the teachers are Urdu speakers who can help the kids with their English skills, but it just cannot afford to employ speakers of Polish or Czech for kids with no English at all. We should be campaigning to leave the EU, and regain control of our own borders. (But anyway, a lot of these families are going home now, as our economy goes into melt-down.)
Since I know you, Joe, I know the charge of BNPism is fatuous, but as a famous (yes!) personality in the folk world, you really do need to avoid giving any sort of comfort to the idiots who would set us against each other. I know you cherish the reputation you are building up of being some kind of shock-jock, an angry curmudgeon who is not afraid to think the unthinkable, say the unsayable, but that is not the real you, not the you I have been proud to have as a friend.
And please, people, try to avoid raising the spectre of "political correctness" when anyone complains at immoderate use of language. Like the myth of Victorians who put trousers on their table legs to spare young maidens' modesty (it never happened, except in a work of satire, the name of whose author escapes me for the moment), PC is a right-wing myth. Treating people of different faiths, of different skin-colour, of different gender, etc, with respect, is not PC; it's what being human is all about.
As a campaigner for the Palestinian cause, I was proud to sing to a mixed gathering of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Bahai and Jews earlier this week. It was in a local synagogue, and the song I sang was the old Hebrew socialist chant, Shalom chaverim (Peace, comrades). I sang it in several local languages, English, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, and even (remembering a friend who told me his gardener came from South Africa) in Zulu. Let a thousand flowers bloom, as my old comrade, chairman Mao, once said.
Karl Dallas

There have been many of us who have been warning of the upcoming undermining of the West for years. Certainly, ever since the early eighties when little had come to the fore in the UK about alternative societies, there were a few of us saying that, unless we turned it around, our society would no longer exist the way we were experiencing it for very much longer.
Muslim society is fundamentally different from Western Culture - without saying one is any better than the other in any way, shape or form.
We have the current experience - and had the experience back in the eighties - that, generally, the idea for the muslim is one of conquest. Once a situation has been possessed by muslims, it can't be ever thought to have been surrendered.
That's why Israel is such an affront to the nations round about - because it was muslim and now isn't. That's why the muslim world want Southern Spain back (yes, honestly). It goes right across the board.
But conquest means acquisition - and when the Government invited more and more ownership and investment from the Arab 'rich', we turned possession and enjoyment of our own land over to people who would neither respect nor honour our way of life.
We should make no mistake here - what has been put into motion for the past 40 years will not be reversed. Unfortunately, the time is too late for that (the BNP will not be our saviour as you already know) - rather, we need to think how we will continue to exist in the dramatic and often violent changes that will be coming upon the West in the next 20 years.
You know I'm a follower of Jesus, Joe, so you know some of what I live. But it's plain that when any nation or 'culture' give themselves up to sexual promiscuity, then their end is not very far away. It has happened down through history time after time after time
- and we think we're immune?
Nations are given over to the possession of other nations who are more disciplined and less corrupt - sometimes even to the more corrupt - and what we're seeing in the UK (and the West in general) is no different here.
See Glubb's (non-christian) excellent treatment of history here:
And my treatment of the matter from Scripture here:
btw, for the record, what I perceive you as saying about muslims in the UK is most definitely 'racist' in the legal sense. But you're quite right, though. Isn't it great to be illegal but to be right?
Lee Smith

You deserve full credit to you for reproducing my critical email – and those of others – in your Ramblings and full credit also for trying to state your position more clearly. It is most encouraging to hear you say towards the beginning of your piece for July –
“The majority of Muslim people living in this country are kind considerate folk who go about their daily lives all day without a devious thought. I’ve never said otherwise.”
That is indeed encouraging. Unfortunately, you go on to work yourself up into lather again and say -
“I would hate to revisit Britain in 100 years to discover that all women are second class citizens and that our churches have all been pulled down;”
Let us consider that statement. Is it at all likely to happen? Is it provocative? Is it inflammatory? Does it have racist overtones? Which particular political grouping or party would be most pleased to see such statements being made?
Elsewhere, you write -
If you think there are not factions of Muslims living in Pakistan and Afghanistan who want to bring our civilization down in preference to their own you are living in cloud cuckoo land, and as we have seen they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal.
I would have to agree totally. There are elements in those countries that would want everyone to live their lives in the intolerant way they advocate. But which force has provided the biggest recruitment drive for this way of thinking? Has it been a) The Taliban, b) Al Qaeda c) The British and American governments who have bombed and killed thousands of innocent civilians, those who just happened to be at a wedding party, for example? I would suggest that the actions of those governments and their illegal war would make the answer c).
Furthermore, I wonder why you appear to favour Christianity (a failed and intolerant creed which in its worst manifestations has been responsible for countless thousands of deaths) over Islam (a failed and intolerant creed which in its worst manifestations has been responsible for countless thousands of deaths).
Now here we come to a part of the discussion where you and I and the majority of the British people agree. You say -
Bush and Blair should be tried as war criminals and I endorse that statement especially now that it has been proven that Bush and Blair deliberately lied to their countries to give credence to an illegal war they were bound to win; and when it was proven that there were no weapons of mass destruction they clouded the picture by daring to suggest that it was after all what the Iraqi people wanted!
Spot on! I would have joined you in that March against the War, I was planning to go but the day before, my daughter gave birth early to her fourth child and the family pull was greater than my outrage, so I went to see my new grandson (Four children? Rather a large number for a white non-Muslim family, wouldn’t you say?). I was sorry to hear you say –
I also managed to do the walk three weeks after coming out of hospital having had major surgery on my right knee.
Sorry to hear about that, I hope you have recovered full mobility now. I hope that you got wonderful treatment in your NHS hospital. Did you know that 34% of people working in NHS hospitals – at all levels - were not born in this country? Where would we be without them, eh? I had to go to an A&E department in your part of the country in 2006 when I was on tour there with the person in our company who needed treatment. She got nothing but courtesy, efficiency and helpfulness from all the staff we saw, all of whom appeared to come from the Indian sub-continent. How the hospital would have coped if there had been laws preventing too many immigrants coming to work in hospitals, I don’t know. Were you in hospital in your own area, Joe? Did you crack that funny about the size of their families? That one that goes I’m wondering, if this trend continues, just what are we going to do with all the forthcoming taxi drivers, Asian restaurateurs and corner shops? Or did that not seem appropriate?
I spend an increasing amount of time these days in The Gambia (90% Muslim) these days and have had occasions to go to hospitals and clinics when I am there. Quite a small proportion of the staff in hospitals there appears to be local. I was told that only five qualified Gambian-born doctors work in hospitals in The Gambia. I must say that this seems unlikely but it is a fact that teams of recruiters from European countries go to African and Indian sub-continent hospitals trying to attract doctors and nurses to come and work in Europe offering salaries which must seem unbelievable to the Gambians. (A Sussex headteacher colleague of mine was paid to go to India during one school holiday to interview and recruit teachers for schools in this county.)
If you do go to a hospital in The Gambia, you are likely to be treated by a Cuban! Why is this I asked the doctor who treated me? He said that one of the standard questions for any young nurse or doctor when they were applying for a job in Cuba was “How have you spent your time since qualifying?” and if the answer did not include, “I’ve spent at least three years in a hospital in one of the world’s poorest countries” backed up by evidence that this was the case, then there was no chance of getting the job. And they say that communism has failed.
You say
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that neither Messrs Smith or Smaje have my sense of humour; a humour that is sometimes more sardonic than others,
Well, Joe, you and I can think back forty years and remember that a large proportion of the jokes going about then were Irish jokes and the whole point of them was to make the Irish look thick. They are no longer acceptable to most people’s company and seem to have died out as people find them racist. It’s about time that “jokes” about ‘corner shops’ etc. went the same way. I would not call it ‘sardonic’, I would have another name for it.
Less importantly, you say
Silly buggers the pair of them.
and this weakens the effect of your argument by including an insult. Oh! And your geography is not all that strong either; Lewes is not in West Sussex.
Funnily enough, the most irritating comment in the whole circular came from another letter responding to you comments. The one which , in an attempt to trivialise an important debate said -

Hi Joe,
If we all have to breed a bit more, could you please send some nubile young women in my direction, and I will do my best.

You referred to the Mudcat Café thread where the issue of your comments had been discussed. The person who wrote the above note to you also took part in that discussion and mentioned that hideous YouTube video that you advocated in Ramblings 105 saying of it -
the video, is the rantings of white Racists.

Doesn’t seem to be the work of the same mind, does it?

Best wishes
Vic Smith

Hi Joe,

I have to agree with your funnies on "Why America is in Trouble." I once led a group of young students on a public sightseeing boat that toured up and down Boston Harbor. As we approached the end of the Logan Airport runways, with the skyline of Boston hard to starboard, an elderly tourist walked up to me and asked, "Excuse me, but ... what ocean is this?"

Suddenly, your funnies are too true.

Bob Webb (Maine USA)

Subject: Leroy needs prayers

Lawyers will especially love this one.........

Anyone with needs to be prayed over, come forward, to the front at the altar", the Preacher says.
Leroy gets in line, and when it's his turn, the preacher asks: "Leroy, what do you want me to pray about for you?"
Leroy replies: "Preacher, I need you to pray for my hearing."
The preacher puts one finger in Leroy's ear, and he places the other hand on top of Leroy's head and prays and prays and prays, he prays ...
After a few minutes, the Preacher removes his hands, stands back and asks:
"Leroy, how is your hearing now?"
Leroy says, "I don't know, Reverend, it ain't til next Wednesday!"


The Cowboy and the Pharmacist
A Texas cowboy walked into a drug store and asked to talk to a male pharmacist. The attractive woman he was talking to explained that she was the pharmacist and as she and her also equally attractive sister owned the store, there were no males employed there. She then asked if she could help the gentleman.
The cowpoke said that it was something that he would be much more comfortable discussing with a male pharmacist.
The female pharmacist assured him that she was completely professional and whatever it was that he needed to discuss, he could be confident that she would treat him with the highest level of professionalism.
The bronco-buster agreed and began by saying, "This is tough for me to discuss, but I have a permanent erection. It causes me a lot of problems and severe embarrassment, and I was wondering what you could give me for it."
The pharmacist said, "Just a minute, I'll go talk to my sister."
When she returned, she said,
"We discussed it at length and the absolute best we can do is, 1/3 ownership in the store, a company car, and $3,000 a month plus living expenses."


An elderly man in Florida had owned a large farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back, fixed up nice; picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees. The pond was ideal for swimming, although he rarely did that anymore.
One evening he decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while, and look it over. He grabbed a five gallon bucket with which to bring back some fruit.
As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.
As he came closer he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in his pond.
He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end.
One of the women shouted to him, "We're not coming out until you leave!"
The old man frowned, "I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or to make you get out of the pond naked."
Holding the bucket up he said, "I'm here to feed the alligator."


They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters.
The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes snacks and meals.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Ladies , don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again , ' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.

For those of you who have children and don't know it , we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

At the evening service tonight , the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminium cans , bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you will want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining , super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.&n bsp;

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge so up yours.'


What did the gangster's son tell his dad when he failed his examination?
'Dad, they questioned me for 3 hours, but I never told them anything!!'

What's the difference between people who pray in church and those who pray in casinos?
The ones in the casinos are serious.

When I was young I used to pray for a bike, then I realized that God doesn't work that way, so I stole a bike and prayed for forgiveness.

A little boy went up to his father and asked : 'Dad, where did all of my intelligence come from?'
His father replied : 'Well, son, you must have gotten it from your mother, because I still have mine.'

Jimmy's teacher sent a note home to his mother, saying : 'Jimmy seems to be a very bright boy, but spends too much of his time thinking about girls.'
The mother wrote back the next day : 'If you find a solution, please advise. I have the same problem with his father!'


(Survey by Thomas Cook and ABTA)

"I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."
"It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time - this should be banned."
"On my holiday to Goa in India , I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all."
"We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels."
A woman threatened to call police after claiming that she'd been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the "do not disturb" sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.
"The beach was too sandy."
"We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white."
A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping the gravy at the time.
"Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women."
"We bought 'Ray-Ban' sunglasses for five Euros (£3.50) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake."
"No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."
"It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home."
"I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends' three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller."
"The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the accommodation'. We're trainee hairdressers - will we be OK staying here?"
"There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners."
"We had to queue outside with no air conditioning."
"It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."
"I was bitten by a mosquito - no-one said they could bite."


Sometimes you are encouraged about our country's future when you see something like this. Specifically, there is an annual contest at Oxford University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term:
This year's term was "Political Correctness."
The winner wrote:
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

So tying to stay politically correct, which everyone knows I can’t; I’ll end with this little conundrum.

In Great Britain and America we “come”
In Japan they “go”
In Thailand they “arrive” (which I think is rather nice)
What about Afghanistan? Do they “explode”?

Keep smiling, keep singing,

Joe Stead