Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 101 – February 2009

My old mother passed away this last month just gone, so it’s not really been the start to a good year. She fell sick just before Christmas and died in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in mid January. She had nearly reached her 93rd year and she’d had an enjoyable life so it seems to me, at 91, to be a reasonable time to move on. Certainly I’m physiological about it.

So with a recession coming on and a sudden development of an allergy towards dogs and other hairy beasts, and probably dust and crap, I march onwards into a new year and issue 101.

And so it is that the New Year starts not only with a recession, but with a new and seemingly wiser president than the last incumbent of that position. Well, if ever the world needed a wise head as the leader of America it’s certainly now. I mean it’s an absolutely mad world; ex-president Bush, himself a war criminal, has given a special award to another war criminal for his leadership in attaining world harmony – or some such nonsense. Apparently other recipients have included the Pope and Nelson Mandela; both of whom would have every right to be insulted and certainly disgusted but are typically serene about it. So it is little wonder that when his 38-caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California recently, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again.
This time it worked.

But apparently Bush madness is now an epidemic; here are some more examples

The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and, after a little shopping around, submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company expecting negligence sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine and he also lost a finger. The chef's claim was approved.

A man who shoveled snow for an hour to clear a space for his car during a blizzard in Chicago returned with his vehicle to find a woman had taken the space.
Understandably, he shot her.

An American teenager was in the hospital recovering from serious head wounds received from an oncoming train. When asked how he received the injuries, the lad told police that he was simply trying to see how close he could get his head to a moving train before he was hit.

A man walked into a Louisiana Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer... $15. Which begs the question. If someone points a gun at you and gives you money, is a crime committed?

As a female shopper exited a New York convenience store, a man grabbed her purse and ran. The clerk called 911 immediately, and the woman was able to give them a detailed description of the snatcher. Within minutes, the police apprehended the snatcher. They put him in the car and drove back to the store. The thief was then taken out of the car and told to stand there for a positive ID. To which he replied, 'Yes, officer, that's her. That's the lady I stole the purse from.'

When a man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle street, he got much more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find a very sick man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A police spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his siphon hose into the motor home's sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges apparently it was the best laugh he'd ever had.

And finally, in another country, after stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies.
The deception wasn't discovered for 3 days

And I blame George W Bush for all this!

For those of you who have thus far missed it Pete Seeger appeared alongside with Bruce Springsteen at The Obama Inaugural Celebration Concert. You can see this wonderful piece of history here…..
It has been brought to my attention that the present Poet Laureate is about to retire from the post. Poetry should be accessible to the people, and the work of the Laureate particularly so. The folk poet Les Barker has published many books, and has held audiences in fits of laughter for years. His work is just what a depressed nation needs.

And you can find a good song about the oncoming recession By Bryn Phillips at
Hope you like it. I did.

There will be an early Rambling issue (102) for March in mid February; the April edition (103) will be late. Rhonda reckons that she needs the Ramblings to keep sane; and I would do anything to keep her from the clutches of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Read into that whatever you want).

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

Feb 7th (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.

Feb 25th (Joe) Durham, North Carolina. US
Feb 26th (Joe) Calvert Marine Museum in Maryland. US
Feb 27th (Joe) Pickers Supply Concert Hall, Fredericksburg, Virginia, US.
Feb 28th (Joe) Washington Folk Song Society. US
Mar 1st (Joe) South Street Seaport Museum, New York. US.
Mar 2nd (Joe) Taping television show ‘Horses sing none of it’. Randolph, NJ. US.
Mar 3rd (Joe) Taping radio show with WNYC – New York Public Radio
Mar 7th (Joe) Philadelphia Folk Song Society. US.
Mar 10th (Joe) Montgomery College, Bluebell Hill, Philadelphia US (Lunch time).
Mar 10th (Joe) The Mermaid Inn, Winston Road, German Town, Philadelphia. US
Mar 14th (Joe) South Portland, Maine. US.
Mar 15th (Joe) House Concert, Boston, Ma. US
Mar 16th (Joe) The Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Boston, Ma. US
Mar 17th (Joe) World Performance Center in Essex. Ma
Mar 28th(Joe) Fiddlers Dream Coffeehouse, 1702 East Glendale, North Phoenix, Arizona.
May 2nd (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 3rd (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 4th (KM) Sweeps Festival, Rochester
May 8th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland

May 11th (Joe) Leeds
May 20th (Joe) Menston Retired Mens Forum, Kirklands. (Paul Robeson)
May 23rd (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
May 24th (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
May 25th (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
May 26th (Joe) Exmouth Shanty Festival
Jun 12th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 13th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 14th (KM) Falmouth Festival of the Sea
Jun 18th (KM) Topic Folk Club, Bradford.
Jul 24th (KM) Warwick Folk Festival
Jul 25th (KM) Warwick Folk Festival
Jul 26th (KM) Warwick Folk Festival

Aug 21st (Joe) Moira Furnace Folk Festival Leicester - Provisional
Aug 22nd (Joe) Moira Furnace Folk Festival Leicester - Provisional
Aug 23rd (Joe) Moira Furnace Folk Festival Leicester - Provisional
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 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 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.
Sep 25th (KM) The Castle Inn, Combe Martin, High Street, North Devon


To respond to your 100th --
We actually read the ramblings and not in a "sort of" way. Look forward to them. As just general fans and also the only known blue Morris group to actually dance in a Red state event; ergo Sarah Palin's campaign for Governor in 2006, we have a very good sense of the absurd and paradoxical world "we" live in. Hey folks, it is Alaska and there just aren't a lot of places to dance sometimes. Not only that, but since we are small in numbers, it actually is good to know each other on a more personal basis sometimes and to share opinions and we do. That is a definite fact of an Alaskan, never shy about sharing opinions.
So you can count about 2-3 more readers that I pass this on to.
I am hopeful for 100 more. Next month for many of us looks to be a great month with a whole new President. Something I have been looking forward to for quite a while. We ended up getting a new Senator who is actually an all around good guy so Spring has come early for us. Best of health to you and a Happy New Year to all.
Chris Berg (Alaska).

Well done Joe upon reaching the century !
I have read all two thousand of them - so it seems, but then again I have known you for nearly three million years, and lets face it you have had to sit through a number of my rants - so its only fair I read yours!!!

Yes it seems strange that G. Bush has been allowed to reign for so long - I wonder if He and Rumsfelt and Cheyney along with Blair and Straw and Hoon and Becket and, and, and….. will ever have to face a war tribunal for the lies they told to get us into this mess and the lies that they are still telling to mask their deceit.

I see Mr Brown has brought Ian McCartney back in from the cold - to become his lying machine, you may remember the porkie-telling little Scots bastard - he held office for Tony Blair and lied and lied about almost anything there was to lie about! Mandelson was in office at the time, so that may be the reason for the re-instatement - I think maybe 'Gay' Gordon is possibly surrounding himself with the Blair ' magic machine' to protect him till its time for him to go. I don't feel old Obama is going to make much difference to the world situation either - I hope he does, but I'm not too optimistic.- As I write this, he is probably in the indoctrination farm, having his first, or maybe second treatment.

Merry Christmas peace on earth to ALL men
Israel in true Israel peace mode attacked Gaza on Saturday - The world complained - Israel said "Fuck you' We do what we want to do - and if we fail - the USA will come in and protect us." Come on Obama say something !!!!!!!!!
The last conflict in the Lebanon - you remember was when Israel attacked a country because Hamas had captured two soldiers and refused to let them go. Hundreds, maybe thousands of innocents were killed and made homeless - towns and roads bombed - hospitals and other infrastructure ruined. The World sat on it's hands and said nothing for 2 or 3 days while the pounding went on.
The result for Israel? Nothing ! In fact it (Israel) almost lost the ground war as Hamas fighters took on the heavily armed army and drove them away, and when this happened in came to big boys and said "Time to stop." The Israelis went home, their war minister was sacked. But did they talk peace? Did they move the settlers out of the Palestinian territory & give back the land that they captured back in '67 - (which would be a huge move to bring peace to the area & would give them some moral high ground) Did they hell!

What did they do? Built more homes for Jewish settlers - (who come from all over the world) And what does the world do? Nothing. And when Hamas (who incidentally were democratically elected) complain and then resort to violence (for they very little left) in comes the heavy arm of the occupiers once again. It’s not just sad – it’s disgusting.

Sorry for the rant Joe, So Close to the new year ticking in with all its new hopes but had to get it off my chest, I am so angry (what’s new?)
Havva a peaceful new 2009 and a great trip to the states
Love to Nora and yer muvver
Shep Woolley

Hey Joe,
Well, I may not read every word, but I surely do enjoy your Ramblings. We had talked about finding a gig for you somewhere in the Mystic area. I see there's a bit of a hole in your schedule between March 10 and 14. Shall I look around for a house concert possibility for perhaps Thursday the 12th?
All the best,
Geoff Kaufmann (Connecticut – USA).

Greetings & salutations for the New Year.
Delighted to take bets on your approval of Obama 4 years in the future - never working in private enterprise isn´t a great harbinger of the design of successful & workable programs; at least for those of us who are convinced of governmental incompetence and see the private sector as the only "capable" (if flawed) implementer of change.
Remember the fleece lined jockstrap, its cold when and where you´re going!
If you´d put out a bit more detail as to the below dates - such as times and addresses, it´d be a pleasure to stir up potential audiences in the neighborhood.
Pat Waggaman – Valparaiso Chile.

Dear Joe,
Thanks for the latest Ramblings. Have a good US tour, sorry you won't make it out to the midwest. Susan and I are hoping to get over to the UK one of these days. Have a good new year.
Phil Cooper (American Mid-West).

Hello Joe,
Don't you dare send a blank Ramblings in March! Get yourself a laptop sorted out and do something while you are away even if it's a bit short. I need the monthly fix for god's sake!
Rhonda Tauman – Teneriffe.

You might like to check out >< for a video, plus one new verse (the writer says two, but the first I've known for years.) Don't forget you can post direct to FolkNews blog if you want.
Just let me know, and I'll make you a contributor (you can add comments without being accredited). Then you could post your ramblings.
On, you'll find my rewritten O Little Town of Bethlehem, as sung by Gloria and me. Just finished editing the video of our Palestine olive-picking trip, complete with a song I wrote out there to the tune of Little Boxes. I'll be posting it on YouTube asap.
Karl Dallas
Tel: +44(0)1274 823949
Mobile/cell: +44(0)788 077 0721
Buy CDs, videos, books etc from the HoustonMedia aStore at (UK) or (US)

Dear Joe,
Some more fuel for your ramblings.
I finally have hard numbers re. the loss of live-music, in Kent and East Sussex, and I believe that the evidence is that the Licensing Act 2003 is responsible.
If this email reaches you mangled, there is a version on the web at : (those are underlines, not spaces)
However the real question is :
What is it about the Licensing Act that is destroying pubs and the music ?
Suspicions :
Longer opening hours : Pushes up costs for the smaller pubs.
Longer opening hours : No need to go to the pub now ....
More sales of booze in supermarkets.
Your thoughts ? We need a dialogue on this - a number of people have responded with thoughts, but many of their suggestions (fewer pubs, etc.) are themselves consequent on the Licensing Act.
Yours Sincerely,
Dr. Beau Webber

I am sincerely concerned; you say you drove 400 miles to your last/first booking in America, no I don’t read your emails carefully. My concern is that I know you! I wouldn’t trust you to drive 400 yards, let alone 400 miles in a foreign country, in a hired car!
I am currently in Gran Canaria for the Christmas Festivities, but that doesn’t stop me being concerned for old people!!
I can tell a very funny story about another Banjo player, Barney McKenna who drove the Furey Brothers to Dublin Airport. They were really scared, the Furey´s. "Jazuz Barney, You drive like a mad man" "You should be with me when I´m alone".
Barney verifies the story!!
Fondest regards,
Tim Justice

Hi Joe
Congratulations on your 100th Ramblings. I don't know whether I was one of the original recipients but I am sure I have read most of them. I look forward to them at the end of each month, and rest assured, read them from beginning to end.
With Best Wishes for the New Year
Bryn Phillips
(Woodman Folk Club - Kingswinford)


A Senior citizen drove his brand new BMW Z4 convertible out of the car Sale's room.
Taking off down the motorway, he floored it to 100 mph; enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left.
'Amazing!' he thought as he flew down the M1, enjoying pushing the pedal to the metal even more. Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a police car behind him, blue lights flashing and siren blaring.
'I can get away from him - no problem!' thought the elderly Nutcase as he floored it to 110mph, then 120, then 140mph.
Suddenly, he thought, 'What on earth am I doing? I'm too old for this nonsense!' So he
pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the police car to catch up with him.
Pulling in behind him, the police officer walked up to the driver's side of the BMW, looked at his watch and said, 'Sir, my shift ends in 10 minutes. Today is Friday and I'm taking off for the weekend. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go.'
The man, looked very seriously at the policeman, and replied, 'Years ago, my wife ran off with a policeman. I thought you were bringing her back.'
Have a good day, Sir,' said the policeman.


The train was quite crowded, and a U. S. Marine walked the entire length looking for a seat, but the only seat left was taken by a well dressed, middle-aged, French woman's poodle.
The war-weary Marine asked: 'Ma'am, may I have that seat?'
The French woman just sniffed and said to no one in particular, 'Americans are so rude. My little Fifi is using that seat.'
The Marine walked the entire train again, but the only seat left was under that dog.
'Please, ma'am. May I sit down? I'm very tired.'
She snorted, 'Not only are you Americans rude, you are also arrogant!'
This time the Marine didn't say a word; he just picked up the little dog, tossed it out the train window, and sat down.
The woman shrieked: 'Someone must defend my honour! This American should be put in his place!'
A very-old-school-tie gentleman sitting nearby spoke up: 'Sir, you Americans seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing.
'You hold the fork in the wrong hand. You drive your cars on the wrong side of the road.
'And now, sir, you seem to have thrown the wrong bitch out the window. '

Clocks in heaven.
A man died and went to Heaven. As he stood in front of the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.
He asked, 'What are all those clocks?' St. Peter answered, 'Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock move.'
'Oh', said the man. 'Whose clock is that?'
'That's Mother Teresa's', replied St. Peter. 'The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie.'
'Incredible', said the man. 'And whose clock is that one?'
St. Peter responded, 'That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abraham told only two lies in his entire life.'
‘So which one is Tony Blair’s clock?' asked the man.
‘Oh that’s in the office’ said St Peter ‘I’m using it as a ceiling fan.'

Finally, now Bush has gone here are just a few words and statements of wisdom we are going to miss in the years to come. (But as Lee Hayes would say “This too must pass”.)

1. "They misunderestimated me." - Bentonville, Arkansas, 6th November, 2000.
2. ''I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe - I believe what I believe is right." - Rome, 22nd July, 2001
3. "There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again." - Nashville, Tennessee, 17th September, 2002
4. "There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead."- Washington DC, 11th May, 2001
5. "I want to thank my friend, Senator Bill Frist, for joining us today. He married a Texas girl, I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me." - Nashville, Tennessee, 27th May, 2004
6. "For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times."- Tokyo, 18th February, 2002
7. "The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself." - Grand Rapids, Michigan, 29th January, 2003
8. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - Washington DC, 5th August, 2004
"I think war is a dangerous place."- Washington DC, 7th May, 2003
9. "The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the - the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." - Washington DC, 27th October, 2003
10. "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat." - Washington DC, 17th September, 2004
11. "You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." - CBS News, Washington DC, 6 September, 2006
12. "Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" - Florence, South Carolina, 11th January, 2000
13. "As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards." - CNN, 30th August, 2000
14. "I understand small business growth. I was one."- New York Daily News, 19th February, 2000
15. "It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it." - Reuters, 5th May, 2000
16. "I do remain confident in Linda. She'll make a fine Labour Secretary. From what I've read in the press accounts, she's perfectly qualified." - Austin, Texas, 8th January, 2001
17. "Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYN's aren't able to practice their love with women all across the country." - Poplar Bluff, Missouri, 6th September, 2004
18. "Will the highways on the internet become more few?" - Concord, New Hampshire, 29th January, 2000
19. "It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber." - Washington DC, 10th April, 2002
20. "Information is moving. You know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets." - Washington DC, 2nd May, 2007
21. "I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully." - Saginaw, Michigan, 29th September, 2000
22. "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." - LaCrosse, Wisconsin, 18th October, 2000
23. "That's George Washington, the first president, of course. The interesting thing about him is that I read three - three or four books about him last year. Isn't that interesting?"
Speaking to reporter Kai Diekmann, Washington DC, 5th May, 2006
24. "I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together." - Bartlett, Tennessee, 18 August, 2000
25. "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best."- Washington DC, 18th April, 2006
26. "And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and [Tony Blair] read it." - On the publication of the Baker-Hamilton Report, Washington DC, 7th December, 2006
27. "All I can tell you is when the governor calls, I answer his phone." - San Diego, California, 25th October, 2007
28. "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office." - Washington DC, 12th May, 2008

And to think he was voted into power not once – but twice!

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead.