Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 119 – August 2010

So here I am still rambling on – issue number 119! That will be 10 years next month, although I suppose theoretically speaking I’ve reached 10 years this month; issue 120 will be the start of my eleventh year. And what have I achieved in this time? Well my 28 world wide fans are still out there somewhere with a goodly number residing in or around Philadelphia. I think I’ve made a lot of new friends; some I’ve never met and it has without doubt helped Kimber’s Men in a strange mysterious way. The band seems to be busier than ever and whilst that is purely due to us giving popular performances and being more and more in demand this monthly missive has contributed in keeping things together insofar as our fans know where we are going to be. Well most of the time anyway!

I suppose what has given me most satisfaction in the last 10 years is the knowledge that I’ve been right about so many things that are happening, or have happened, world wide.

Baroness Manningham-Buller, who was head of MI5 for a number of years, has this last month disclosed the following facts to the Iraq war enquiry.
1. Iraq was of little to no danger to this country
2. That attacking Iraq has allowed Al Qaeda to infiltrate terrorists into Iraq where there were none before
3. That attacking Iraq (and Afghanistan) has “overwhelmed MI5 by the upsurge of home grown terrorist threats within our own shores by young men convinced that the west was anti-Muslim”.
4. The decision to go to war was based on insubstantial and fragmentary intelligence about the threat posed by Iraq. MI5 had been relaxed about the risk from Saddam Hussein but Al Qaeda now had a foothold in Britain as a result of the war.

She went on to say that the war produced a fresh impetus to people prepared to engage in terrorism and that in 2003 she made an “unprecedented” request to Tony Blair to double MI5’s budget after the service was forced to do “five times” as much work with only twice as much money. In March 2002, a year before the conflict began, MI5 had advised the Home Office that the risk of Iraq attacking British interests was not significant. If you’ve kept back copies of the Ramblings (and I know some of you do) you will discover I was saying exactly the same things when they happened.

Yet still we went to war; and we went to war on a damn lie. Everything I told you was correct; so what I want to see now is justice for the down-trodden Muslim. I want to see Tony Blair brought before a court and tried for the war criminal he is. When found guilty this will hopefully purge the terrorists in this country to realize that as a nation we are ashamed of our actions this last decade and perhaps then the desire to blow us all apart will decrease. I call upon David Cameron to do something about it! But I fear I’m farting in a thunderstorm. At least the deputy leader for the government has now publically stated in Parliament that the Iraq war was illegal. And remember this war has cost us millions and millions of pounds in taxes. Remember when you get your monthly/weekly wage packet that the income tax you are paying today is paying for the Iraq War! Remember it, because it is important you do. Remember when we are told that the country is in recession that the banks are not entirely to blame. You know who the real criminal is; and he walks around scot free with a mealy smile and a wicked grin.

Meanwhile our armed forces continue to battle in Afghanistan in a war we all know they can never win and now we have the added problem of Al Qaeda operatives infiltrating the Afghanistan army and killing our boys/girls (and those of our allies) whilst they sleep. Americans who voted for George W Bush have a lot to answer for.

Whilst not wanting to unduly upset my American readers/friends I have to say that I find the bleating of US senators be they Democrat, Republican or Independent about BP, Lockerbie, and Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, extremely hypocritical to say the least. How they can sanction war after bloody war from Vietnam through the decades until present day, not to mention North Korea in the 50’s, murdering thousand upon thousand of innocent people along the way and then become upset about one man being released from prison almost beggars belief.

Meanwhile in France they intend to ban the burka. I championed this idea some 7/8 years ago, but now I’m not so certain it’s such a clever idea. When I stressed that suicide bombers could infiltrate shops and precincts quite freely the danger from terrorists was much less than it is today; now I fear that misguided Muslims will find an excuse to increase terrorist activity on the strength of this law. It will be interesting to follow the progress of this idea in France. France has seen little terrorist activity thus far, I suspect it will increase if the burka ban stays in place.

It seems there is no longer justice in this country. That’s assuming that once there was. The case of the death of Ian Tomlinson caused by an over energetic member of the Metropolitan Police (the Met always have had laws for themselves) who is not to be charged even with assault when there is filmed evidence, is proof enough that there is one law for the common man and another for police and politicians. I suppose if one man can get away with causing the death of thousands by manufacturing an illegal war it would be unreasonable to charge a policeman with causing the death of just one man. Totally unreasonable to even dream that the policeman should go to court and when found guilty be sentenced to a prison term. In fact if I ever dream it I will have to wake up and apologize to myself for dreaming such nonsense. I cannot and do not condone the actions of Mr. Moat (for American readers Raul Moat came out of prison in July shooting and blinding a totally innocent policeman doing his daily job, whilst murdering another man he thought was a policemen), but is it little wonder that the police are held in such low esteem, especially by those who feel, rightly or wrongly, that they have been wronged by the police and the justice system in the past? No wonder at all, when policeman are encouraged to go about their daily routine causing the death of totally innocent bystanders. I look forward to the result of the internal police enquiry now to be undertaken. But I don’t hold my breath.

When, last month, I said I had entered into my 70th year a few of you wrote to congratulate me on reaching 70. Well of course I’m only 69. Confusing? Not really when you are born you enter into your first year of life, thus paradoxically I’m entering my 70th year now that I’m 69.

Finally on a lighter note altogether, although I think I might have pointed you in this direction before, take a look at the Ross Sisters at 1944 America' Got Talent

Worth 5 minutes of anybodies time – but watch it to the end.

Oh and of course, a press release!

Joe Stead is to give a lecture at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire this Sunday afternoon August 1st commencing at 2pm (Prompt) on the Life and Times of Pete Seeger.

Joe has known Pete Seeger well for the last 26 years. He has performed with him in concert twice in America, recorded him on long playing records here in Great Britain at the Royal Festival Hall, and Joe is the only non-American Pete approached to vet his book “Where have all the Flowers gone?” before publication in 1993. An amazing honour. Pete once reputedly said “That fellow Joe Stead knows more about me than I know myself!” Well that’s probably not true but what he does know he will impart to you at this two hour workshop, in which you will get opportunity to join in with some chorus songs. Joe was recently featured during a BBC Radio documentary about Pete Seeger when he was joined by the pupils of Salterhebble Junior School in Halifax singing ‘Sloop John B’.
Don’t miss the ‘Life and Times of Pete Seeger’ activist, pacifist, environmentalist.

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

Aug 1st (Joe) Life and times of Pete Seeger, Trades Club, Hebden Bridge. 2pm prompt.
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 3rd (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 4th (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 5th (KM) Great Yarmouth Festival of the Sea
Sep 11th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 12th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 23rd (Joe) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. The Life and Times of Paul Robeson.
Sep 24th (KM) Blackmore Theatre, Exmouth, Devon. with Exmouth Shanty Men
Sep 25th (KM) The Pack o’ Cards, High Street, Combe Martin, North Devon
Oct 8th (KM) The White Horse Inn, Edwardstone, Suffolk
Oct 9th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Oct 10th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Nov 12th (KM) St. Michael All Angels School, Meadow Close, Shelf, Halifax HX3
Jan 11th (Joe) Burley in Wharfdale Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 5th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 8th (Joe) Fox Pub, Main Street, Thorner, LS14 3DX. – Valparaiso round the Horn


In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22. It cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
James M. Kauffman,
Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education
University of Virginia
PS (It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian)

Was going to write to you as I was somewhat surprised at your apparent support for Obama in the Ramblings. Then I saw this article today and thought I would first let you read it. Obama has not only just carried on with Bush's disastrous foreign policy but has escalated it and will continue to do so. Bush was always seen as a joke but I tell you I fear for this planet under Obama, he scares the life out of me. Please read....
Speak soon
Adrian Nation.

From a fan in the USA...
On being happened to me last year. I really do not feel very different now than 20 years ago...but my hair is grey and I find myself the oldest person now at many events here!

Thanks for the comments about our president....the wars we are in should end now. He is a bit too slow on all this, but otherwise, I support him and appreciate his intelligence, ability to speak ENGLISH correctly and willingness to work with others....hope he lives through his two terms. ....

Sonja Hedlund
Ballads and Banjos
845 482 4141
PO Box 546
Jeffersonville, NY 12748

I totally agree with you about Obama receiving the Nobel Prize. I think that he should have NOT accepted it. I was SHOCKED, really, that he didn't.

By the way, thanks again for the CDs you gave to us. We were enjoying them thoroughly in the car today on the way to Wales. So, thoroughly, in fact, that we missed several turn-offs from various roundabouts, since we were so engrossed with the music, that we stopped listening to our trusty Sat Nav! We'll enjoy them again and again at home in the safety of our ARMCHAIRS!

Hope you are well and enjoying what we understand is the first rain in a long time!

Warmest regards from your friends,
Deborah & Larry Hanks (Berkley - California)

Just to point out (without going in to arguments about the merits or otherwise of representative democracy and debates about protest tactics), that an absolutely huge amount of us did march and campaign against the invasion of Iraq, on a scale not seen for at least a generation, if ever. And there is still a lot of campaigning and direct action being done against the "war on terror".

Great newsletter, thank you very much.

Louise van der Hoeven

Congratulations on almost reaching 70! If me & my old man were still together, we would be celebrating his 70th (on 4.7.10) but I have to say in some ways, not living with a 70 year old, has its blessings!!! He is still going strong, with a second family, uni bills to pay but with the added joys of aching joints like the rest of us!!!! Our sons keep in touch with him so may meet up for a "celebratory" drink.

I have copied your first para and sent it to a couple of friends (both of whom were dated by Roy) so that they may also remember him, and the others you mention, although I have to say I can't place them by name. One chap I do remember (who was perhaps a little younger than you but went to Askes) was Philip Bingham! Along with David Harding & Roy Kimberley, but again they are my age (a youthful 65).

Not really wanting to be drawn into the polictical debate (you get what you vote for) I did in fact march against the war and I noticed on that day that a fair few 10's of thousand others did so as well! So whatever happened to mass, peaceful protest?

Umm, not sure your "she" jokes are all that PC!

Anyway have a happy 70th year. I'll look out for your records (not that I shop at Tesco's) and note that you still aren't venturing south of Watford!!!

Love Sue Head

It was depressing to read the long list of the folkie departed in your most recent newsletter, but I have to tell you that in June we also lost Graham Cooper, who I used to sing with in The Lonesome Travellers in the 60s and early 70s. (We lost the third member of the group, Dougie Porter, in 2001.) It looks like folk singers don't make very old bones. Still, for those of us still going - as you say - keep smiling, keep singing.
Regards Steve Rostron.

Hi Joe
Thanks for including me in your "ramblings" listing.
Good to hear from you. The weather couldn't have been better for the Falmouth Sea Shanty Festival. Also managed to visit Mullion Cove, Kynance Cove and Cadgwith before the trip back to Nottingham.
Keep smiling and singing yourself. When resident at The Nottingham Coop Folk workshop I used to learn 4 songs a month. Now it's a song every 4 month if I'm lucky. I guess that's normal when you get to 72.
Quentin Hood


The World Cup (Soccer that is!)

What’s the difference between Cinderella and the England football team?
Cinderella wanted to get to the ball…………

Osama bin Laden has just released a new TV message to prove he is still alive. He said that the England Team performance on Saturday was completely s**t. British intelligence have dismissed the claim, stating that the message could have been recorded anytime in the last 44 years.

The England team went to visit an orphanage in South Africa this morning.
"Its so good to put a smile on the faces of people with no hope, constantly struggling, and facing the impossible" said Jamal Omboto, aged 6.

Fifa have released a statement saying the fan didn't break into the dressing room after all, but was let in by Rob Green.

What's the difference between Rob Green's spill and BP's spill?
- Robert Green has got a cap for his.

The FA have launched an inquiry to find out how a fan found his way into the dressing room. And another enquiry into how Aaron Lennon found his way into the dressing room.


The International Council of Man Laws.

1: Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
2: It is OK for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:
(a) When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
(b) The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her Blouse.
(c) After wrecking your boss's car.
(d) When she is using her teeth.
3: Any man who brings a camera to a stag night may be legally killed and eaten by his friends.
4: If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever unless you actually marry her.
5: Moaning about the brand of free beer in a mate's fridge is forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
6: No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your mate's birthday is strictly optional. At that point, you must celebrate at a strip bar of the birthday boy's choice.
7: In the mini-bus, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
8: When stumbling upon other blokes watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.
9: You may fart in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment (commonly known as a Dutch oven), she's officially your girlfriend.
10: It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach ... and it's delivered by a topless model and only when it's free.
11: Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.
12: Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
13: Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
14: If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.
15: Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink much as the other sports watchers.
16: A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
17: Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
18: Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing i.e..,both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
19: Thou shall not buy a car in the colours of brown, pink, lime, green, orange or sky blue.
20: We've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the definition of each is listed below:
"GUTS" is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to say, "are you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"
"BALLS" is coming home late after a night out with the guys smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife square on the ass and having the balls to say, "Hello honey, thanks for waiting up for me"


A survey.
“Would you please give your honest opinion about solutions to the food shortage in the rest of the world?”
The survey was a huge failure because of the following:
1. In Eastern Europe they didn’t know what “honest” meant.
2. In Western Europe they didn’t know what “shortage” meant.
3. In Africa they didn’t know what “food” meant.
4. In China they didn’t know what “opinion” meant.
5. In the Middle East they didn’t know what “solution” meant.
6. In South America they didn’t know what “please” meant.
7. In the USA they didn’t know what “the rest of the world” meant.
8. In Britain they hung up as soon as they heard the Indian accent.



Apple announced today that it has developed a breast implant that can store and play music. The iTit will cost from $499 to $699, depending on cup and speaker size. This is considered a major social breakthrough as women are always complaining about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead.