The “What Happened To You?!” Musical Family Road Trip

family-road-trip-warning-signOn Monday we drove from Fargo (ND) to Menomonie (WI) to meet my folks and get the eldest who had spent a week at their house. We do road trips like this quite often, what with visitation & all, so what I’m about to say happens in many variations…

Somewhere around Hudson (WI), hubby and I put in a CD. Not just any CD, Pete Seeger’s For Kids & Just Plain Folks (a recent garage sale find). He & I begin to sing along and either our collective loud singing or my “chair dancing” garners interest from the children. We are notified by this when Hunter complain-asks, (with intensely wrinkled face), “What is this?!” I tell him it’s folk music; that I like bluegrass and folk music. His response?

A judgmental, “What happened to you?!”

But eventually, the children not only listen (which required two of three to remove earplugs & turn off their iPods) but begin singing along — even to songs they’ve never heard before, like the fanciful & silly Here’s To Cheshire — Here’s To Cheese (Froggy).

As Pete Seeger himself said in his narration, there once was a time when very few people had music to listen to. Only the very rich could hire performers, so most people had to make their own music. (In his narration, Seeger relays the comments of a man who claimed to have learned the fiddle because he noticed that fiddle players got to stand next to the fires; which prompted me to add, “And fiddle players get the chicks.” To which hubby commented, “Fiddlechicks!” now a frequent expletive we use lol)

Anyway, my point is that most of us are spoiled by the availability of music — and we lessen the musical experience too. Not only do we make less music ourselves, but we don’t share it either. We sit enclosed in our own musical bubbles, earphones in and isolated from the experience of sharing music. For hours. Days, even.

It’s a shame, for there’s great fun in sharing a silly sing-along with Seeger. Or, as occurred later, singing along with Three Dog Night – Joy to the World: Their Greatest Hits.

I must say that those 80’s air band contests (yes, I “competed” in those) & Karaoke (even though they are much more solo-performance oriented) are better alternatives to the isolation of listening/singing alone to your earplug-fed music, with or without singing into your hairbrush. (But Rock Band et all can go to hell; it’s not teaching a love of music or even a shared musical experience, just making music more competitive acts and solo pursuits.) I’m much more in favor of group & family sing-alongs — be they with Mitch (grandma put those albums on at Christmas) Seeger, Three Dog Night, GNR, or whoever.

So take a road trip with your family, your girlfriends, etc. Have everyone unplug from their individual listening devices, & create a sing-along.

You could try this at home; but just like those questions kids ask you when you are driving, you have a captive audience in the car. Use it.

Credits & Other Info:

Mini review of Pete Seeger’s For Kids & Just Plain Folks: A lovely collection, but poorly equalized. I suggest other Pete Seeger recordings where the volume doesn’t waver, resulting in continual volume adjustments & ear-blasts. (However, as usual, not all the songs may be available on other CDs/recordings; I’m not into researching that.)

Mini review of Three Dog Night – Joy to the World: Their Greatest Hits: Absolutely fabulous! Has 14 songs which sound like they’re on vinyl, and has a track (I’d Be So Happy) that’s not on the other (later released) 20 Greatest Hits album.

Image made via CustomRoadSign.

Ah, The Sights & Sounds Of 80’s Flicks

The Monday Movie Meme is I love The 80’s; here are some of my quick thoughts on my favorite 80’s films…

Desperately Seeking Susan — I was dressing like slutty Madonna; but like Rosanna Arquette’s Roberta Glass, I wanted more of Madonna’s life (as Susan, anyway). I recently watched the movie again, and felt the same stirrings now. Still a cheap, fun thrill!

The Lost Boys — Still an excellent film. A great blend of adventure comedy with enough chills & thrills to make you grip your boyfriend’s arm. Of course, Jami Gertz & Jason Patric gave you chills & thrills of a different sort (and maybe that lead to different sort of grips between you & your boyfriend… I’m not judging you if it did.)

I wore out my cassette version of the soundtrack; had to get it on CD.

Pretty In Pink — Molly totally chose the wrong guy. How can anyone turn down The Duckman?! His performance of Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness, & the rich kid was forgotten. Yes, I know that song was lip-synced; but I melted. (Jon Cryer, as Duckie, did sing Love in the film though.)

James Spader was in the film too — as the rich jerk you loved to hate. Too pretty for me to like him then, it was too easy to lump Spader into the group of vain guys who thought they were better than me.

james_spader_molly_ringwald_pretty_in_pink

But…

Along came Secretary & then Boston Legal, and I completely, utterly fell in love with Spader. He’s on my list of “people I’m allowed to ‘do’ if I ever have the opportunity.”

I may have to write more about my love affair with James Spader later.

The Breakfast Club — This time Molly Ringwald got the guy right; but somehow, I knew that once she drove off with her (movie) dad, she’d forget all about Judd Nelson…

I wouldn’t.

Judd was never hotter. (I know because I kept waiting for him to appear so hot again. :sigh: I still wait.)

But to me, the ultimate 80’s flick is Valley Girl. If I couldn’t be brave enough to live life as Madonna’s Susan, well, I’d get me Nicolas Cage, the dangerous yet misunderstood “bad boy” who’d love me, even if I would have uttered “gag me with a spoon” — which, trust me, we only said to mock those we felt were lame enough to say that… I don’t think anyone ever said that outside of a movie or a cliché.

Actually most of the movie is cliché. But it’s the height of cliché! It’s full of romantic cheese done with an incomparable stylistic edge set to Modern English’s I Melt With You, yet (and loads of other greats on a kick-ass soundtrack).

Mixed Reactions To A Literal Three-Ring Circus

Trying to move past my fear knowledge of clowns and their assassination attempts on my life, we went to the circus on Saturday — El Zagal’s 58th Annual Shrine Circus, at the Fargodome. You’ll never guess who the opening act was…

Sanjaya Malakar.

sanjaya-malakar-fargo-shrine-circus-2009

Yup, that kid with the weird hair from American Idol season 6. The one who makes young girls cry (and that, I guess, is due to puppy love — not the whine of his voice or the sight of his knotted-up hair).

sanjaya-malakar-fargo-shrine-circus-2009_2

My daughter, Destiny (age 12), upon hearing the news that we were going to the circus, warned alerted me to the Sanjaya performance with a, “Everyone from school is going to see Sanjaya!” I guess he still makes pre-teens swoon. I don’t get it. It’s not like he’s Andy Gibb or Parker Stevenson… But hey, I guess I’m just old.

But how far down the talent totem pole do you have to sit to perform at a circus? A circus in Fargo, North Dakota, yet.

Pretty far down.

Even if folks are talking about his being here for some flood relief benefit. (Bryan Shinn, public relations spokesman for the El Zagal Shrine Circus, supposedly said that “Malakar’s appearance is a byproduct of the region’s flooding, which postponed the first scheduled dates of the circus earlier this month and threatened cancellation when replacement acts were hard to find… Malakar will congratulate us on what a great job we did fighting the flood.” I didn’t hear the kid say that…

Oh, but see, he was in town for a local bar’s American-Idol style singing competition called Fargo Star. And while that’s not a hell of a lot better than performing at the circus, I guess the boy’s got a book, a five-song EP — and, yes, a reality television show to promote.

sanjaya-malakar-fargo-shrine-circus-2009_3

Anyway, my hysterical laughter at Sanjaya’s performance wasn’t a thing to be contained. I cackled like an old lady from my nose-bleed seats. Especially when he shook is tiny butt.

But several acts later, I found myself crying.

It was over a bear act — Rosaire’s Bears. Call me crazy, call me a chick; but bears are not supposed to walk on their hind legs (for such lengths of time), suck from bottles and fake-smooch men.

bear-show-shrine-circus-2009

I don’t care if young men and women in gilttering Lycra outifts swing from trapeze or are juggled by their parent’s feet; they (sort of) have a choice. In fact, that stuff pretty darn thrilling. At least for me. Not many of the kids seemed as impressed as the adults. But maybe that’s because today’s kids are overweight and only “do” stairs when the escalators are broken — or when they have to walk steps to get into the house to sit and play a video game.

Yeah, I’m saying that too many kids are so out of shape & mesmerized by digital action & special effects that they don’t even realize what a feat it is to do the stuff that was right in front of their cotton-candy-eating faces.

But I loved the human circus performances. Then my entertainment isn’t spoiled by wild carnage (other than my motherly sense of worry) or neglect/abuse.

Maybe I should just be expecting my period.

But the other acts cheered me up a bit — until the elephants came out. They were also a ticketed ride attraction too. Riding an elephant… Mmmm, OK… But why did one of the women have an elephant lay down on it’s side & do the splits on top of it? Demeaning. And probably a sticky mess too, based on the skimpiness of her costume.

All I could think of was what has happened to trained performing elephants, and I was ready for another cry over them and the bears…

Bears aren’t supposed to pose for photographs with kids either. For the sake of the bears & the kids. (I don’t care that they had pretty painted canvas dividers — I know what bears can do. And these are tamed wild animals, not domesticated animals. Even domesticated dogs bite, maim, kill…)

Sanjaya was posing for photographs at the circus intermission (autographing stuff too, I guess); but he has a choice. And if thinks the promotion helps his career, his choice to be a dancing bear, fine. But spare the bears. Please!

And then it hit me; the best photo-op of the day would have been to get a photo of Sanjaya with the bear. Because that one photo would have summed up so many things that are wrong in this world.

The Baldknobbers (It Ain’t No April Fool’s Joke!)

Flipping through a box of ephemera at an antique mall, I spotted the word “Baldknobbers” in big red letters — who wouldn’t pull that up for a closer inspection?!

In my hands I now held a souvenir book for The Baldknobbers Hillbilly Jamboree Show, “a tradition in Ozark Mountain Country”– the 25th Anniversary Edition.

baldknobbers-souvenir-book-cover

That was a bit disappointing… I mean with a name like “The Baldknobbers” I had expected something far more pervy. But it turns out that The Baldknobbers Jamboree attraction was Branson’s first country music and comedy show — and are largely credited for the “music scene” (tourist trap) that Branson now is. Apparently the group started back in 1959 when brothers Bill, Jim, Lyle and Bob Mabe began entertaining visitors in downtown Branson on the Taneycomo lakefront. (One can only imagine that this consisted of odd performances and very little money put into hats?)

baldknobbers-1959

I could remain disappointed that there’s not enough smut-factor, that the group still exists — that I don’t have something incredibly exotic and rare. But my souvenir program dates to 1984 (which is older than some of you reading here) and it has 11 Baldknobber autographs, including from founders who have passed away. And, it has photos of the “Baldknobber Wheels”, aka old touring buses used by the group — so awesome, I must have that first one!

baldknobber-wheels

(Truthfully, it’s those images which made me pay the $5 & rush home to show my Mom — one lady who enjoys kitschy vehicles and “baldknobbers” as much as I do.)

While that’s cool & all, the interesting thing is the very thing which drew me to the old souvenir booklet: the name Baldknobber.

It turns out that the Mabe brothers took the name from an Old Ozarks vigilante group the Bald Knobbers, who called themselves that because they held their meetings on a treeless hilltop or “bald knob”. Those original Bald Knobbers have a long & complicated history, beginning as, according to Wikipedia, “a group of non-racially motivated vigilantes in the southern part of the state of Missouri.”

original-bald-knobber-hood-mask

Non-racially motivated? I cannot look at the Bald Knobbers’ traditional hoods with horns — on dark fabric with light markings for facial features, no less (Gerry Darnell says they wore horned black pillowcases with the eye and nose holes rimmed in orange) — and not see anything other than the horror of blackface. I’m wondering who can?

But apparently the group was borne of the post-Civil War lawless southwest, a vigilante response to murder and other crime that, horrible enough prior to and during the war, went unheeded & grew after the Civil War as fugitives sought refuge in the remote and inaccessible Ozarks region.

The purpose of the old Bald Knobbers was to “correct the lawlessness”, but eventually they became not only increasingly violent, but using their power for greedy and selfish purposes, including killing Anti-Bald Knobbers and those who spoke negatively about the Bald Knobbers — finally becoming home grown terrorists.

While the Bald Knobbers may not have originally been racially motivated, some argue that the group did not dissolve in 1889, but merely went underground after the lynching of John Wesley Bright in 1892 and then members &/or believers became associated/perverted/twisted into the KKK family clan.

All of this certainly takes a funny phrase and makes it anything but funny.

The “full circle” moment for this collector was discovering that I’ve had my hands on this story of the original vigilante Bald Knobbers for quite some time. In some box or other (which I can’t really dig in right now, due to the flood situation here in Fargo), I’ve got at least one copy of Harold Bell Wright’s Shepherd of the Hills, which I’m told covers the Bald Knobbers and this period of United States history:

In 1907, Harold Bell Wright published the novel Shepherd of the Hills which tells about the Ozark area and its’ settlers such as the Ross family. Mr. Wright was afflicted with tuberculosis (consumption) and stayed with the Ross’ while he waited for the White River to recede enough to be crossed. Mr. Wright was a young man seeking his health. He stopped among the hill folks and found peace. He explored Marvel Cave and was amazed with its beauty. He visited each summer for seven years collecting notes about real life events of the people of the area. He stayed in a tent near the Shepherd of The Hills homestead. The experience moved him to set a story-part fact, part legend, part dream. The novel gained popularity quickly and attracted many tourist to see the area he wrote about. The Shepherd of The Hills novel has become a widely read book and had over a dozen television productions and eight movies made from it.

This is a still from the 1919 movie based on the book:

film-still-of-bald-knobbers-in-1919-film-the-shepherd-of-the-hills

The bottom line is that I now have two reasons to go to Branson: to see The Baldkknobbers (with my mom, so we can steal some vintage Baldknobber wheels) and to see the cabin that Harold Bell Wright stayed in. I had no reason or desire to go before.

cabin-which-inspired-harold-bell-wrights-book

So, to re-cap, I paid $5 for a retro souvenir booklet worth so much more: it made me laugh out loud, discover a fascinating history story — one which leads to a book I likely already own (another excuse to read!), and now have a reason to travel to Branson. I call that a good score.

Dancing With The Stars, My Age Is Showing

Watching Dancing tonight, the results show, I saw Hall & Oates perform one of the songs from my glory days, Maneater.

Now the interesting thing, the thing is not just that I feel old because I watch the show with my kids, but because I’ve seen Hall & Oats perform live, in concerts. And I thought I’d already seen the duo’s life cycle.

But I was wrong.

The first time I’d seen the band I was 19 or 20. It was at the great party on the lake, Summerfest — back in the day when the old stage had true general seating. Not some general seating (like today on ‘the hill’, with partially obstructed views, vs. the ticket seats closer to the stage), but all the seats were general seats.

The only price you paid was your general admission to the fest (and the food and drink bill — which was no small thing, but still cheaper than it is today). The true fans, those dedicated to the principal of the fest and music, would arrive in a group at the festival park before the gates opened, and at 10 A.M., when the gates opened, rush the main stage.

There you’d scrounge for and stake-out the best seats you could get. You had to be a group because in order to keep you seats, at least a pair of you would need to sit, lounge and/or lay upon the old wooden plank seating from 10 in the morning until 7 P.M. or so when the opening act would begin their performance.

You’d guard in shifts, with other members checking back in either to take their shift at seat saving or to bring you wine coolers, beers & real brats (not the grey hotdogs many try to pass-off as bratwurst). I personally loved my seat saving duties. Despite the great number of other seat savers (and the scavengers who tried to poach seats) and music occasionally billowing by from one of the other stages, it was one of the more quiet places on the lake to actually have a conversation. Conversation, sunlight, wine coolers, music, lake breezes… What’s not to like? Oh yeah, and the inevitable run-in with old friends who spotted you on your concert seating stake-out. (Remaining in place, letting others come to you, has always been one of the best ways to be found.)

Anyway, the first time I saw Hall & Oats was at Milwaukee’s Summerfest — they were just approaching their biggest days and as a college student on the cutting edge of music at the time, it was freakin’ fantastic. Being slightly drunk on beverages, the feeling of cool night lake air caressing hot sunburned skin, the intoxicating mix of old and new friends (and lovers), and youth was topped-off by awesome music & dancing on the wooden plank benches as we scream-sung the lyrics. Hall & Oats was on fire and so was I.

But just a few short years later, or so it seemed to me, Hall & Oats was once again back at Summerfest — but this time, at one of the smaller music stages. I still went to see them & had a fantastic time. But it was a stage demotion, symbolic of their loss of cool status — and my own. No longer were any of us on fire… Smoldering, maybe; but not on fire.

I noted it, this temporary ‘hot’ status in pop culture, and how it mirrored my own fleeting popularity in our youth obsessed culture. I didn’t like it; but I accepted that this was how others would see us. They were wrong; but let them move along with their fads & fancies.

Flash forward to now. A few weeks ago, Hall & Oates appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (yes, I am old; but I’m also cool enough to have intelligence and good taste, thankyouverymuch). Their appearance may have seemed a slice of retro kitschy goodness to many — a big “Howdy” to gods from the 80’s, a decade now so “vintage” that it’s back “in” again — but to me, it was a fond remembrance. Not just of my glory days, but of my “they’re wrong, they don’t know what they’re doing” thoughts. Seeing them with Stewart wasn’t a nod from a current pop culture collegiate deity to gods that once were; it was, at least, mutual recognition of one another’s cool factor — with neither’s being over with.

Seeing the duo’s performance on Dancing tonight, with that hot Karina Smirnoff in a flaming red jumpsuit and black leg warmers, I realized that I may no longer look as hot as she did — but I once wore those leg warmers, those heels, and mesmerized audiences grooving to Maneater. My audience was smaller, my moves less professional; but by boobs were bigger and I was entertaining and cool to those who watched. Like Hall & Oates, I may not be the looker I once was, but I’m not dead. Or irrelevant.

I hope to keep seeing more of them; because, boys, every time you go away you take a piece of me with you.

The Tale Of The Dachshund

The Tale of the Dachshund, A Humorous Song, by Harvey B. Gaul, is another silly little ditty:

I had a little dachshund once,
So long, you haven’t any notion,
The time it took to notify
His tail of his emotion;
And so it happened when his eyes,
Were full of woe and sadness,
His tail would still be wagging on
Because of previous gladness.

* He thinner grew each day,
Till ht stretched himself away!
I had a dachshund once
The hot-dogs know him now.

* “Text for ending is optional.”

And I think I’d opt “No, thank you.” That last line is especially icky.

The Tale of the Dachshund, copyright, 1923, Harold Flammer, Inc.; dedicated to May Peterson.

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit, Part Three (Or, The Little Chink In Sister’s Armor)

That darn Sister Patricia also owned a copy of Little Chink, one of (at least) three Musical Recitations by Helen Wing.

Little Chink is by one Mildred Merryman — who, as it turns out, is quickly becoming an obsession. More on that in a bit; first, here’s the lyrics.

Chink, Chink, Chinaman, named Chow-Chow,
Lives all alone with his dog Bow-Wow,
Sits and drinks his tea all day
Out of a tea-pot, Chinese way.
Chinese girl thinks he’s just right
She sings to him with all her might:

Little Chink Chink Chink
I think think think
You must be wise
Little Chink Chink Chink
When you wink wink wink
With your funny little beady, little eyes.
Little Chink Chink Chink, I love-a, love-a you
Lets you marry me and I’ll marry you,
Little Chink Chink Chink
What do you think-What Do you think?
I saw you wink! Little Chink.

I get that the word “Chink” lends itself to easy rhymes like “wink” and “think”, but geeze.

Now, the second verse is not printed with the actual music composition, so when I saw Sister’s penciled lyrics, I immediately thought that she herself had (as she had done with Japanese Love Song) made her own lyrics, creating the “pig-wig tail” part.

But inside the front cover, the entire lyrics are printed. Here’s the second verse:

Once came a big bear Woof! Run, run!
Poor little Chink, Chink have no gun,
But he such a brave boy, He no fail!
He shoots him down with his pig-wig tail
Chinese girl thinks he’s so smart
She sing to him with all her heart.

So while Sister is guilty of purchasing, playing & likely directing a choir of children to sing this song based on the titular ethnic slur, she is free of the sin of writing any part of it. That honor goes to Mildred Merryman…

Mildred Merryman is Mildred Plew Merryman, nee Mildred Plew Meigs. Very little is known about Mildred — something that only makes me more obsessed. I do know that she wrote a number of poems for children, so silly & full of rhyme that they naturally lend themselves to children’s songs — making each poem a potential ditty. (In some cases, a real doozy of a ditty.)

From what I can see, neither her other poems or ditties are so offensive. In fact, they are quite cute. So I continue to hunt for more and am doing some heavy research. Stay tunned for more on Mildred.

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit, Part Two

More vintage sheet music owned by Sister Patricia; this time, Story Poems with Musical Settings by Phyllis Fergus.

The song, The Woodpecker (copyright 1925 by Clayton F. Summy Co.), takes its lyrics from an anonymous poem previously published in The Millgate Monthly, and is dedicated to Fergus’ niece, Elizabeth Clifford. Something which likely makes poor Elizabeth cringe — roll over in her grave? — why couldn’t her aunt just pat her on the head and exclaim, “My haven’t you grown!” and give her an ugly frock like the rest of the relatives? Because this is one racist little song:

The Woodpecker

A woodpecker picks out a great many specks
Of sawdust when building his house.
He works like a nigger
To make the hole bigger,
He cuts thru’ the wood like a mouse.
He doesn’t bother with plans of cheap artisans,
But there’s one thing can rightly be said;
The whole excavation has this explanation
He builds it
By working, Well! by using his head!

Can’t you just imagine a classroom full of students with bright shining faces who, at the urging of Sister M. Patricia, are happily singing the n-word as part of their religious dedication?

Singing their way into heaven? Hmmm, more like sinning their way to hell.

Ah, but it was the times… The roaring, racist 20’s.

But if the image of a nun leading a choir of earthly angels in singing the n-word doesn’t illustrate how entrenched and insidious racism is, then what will?

If the name Clayton F. Summy sounds vaguely familiar, it likely is due to the Happy Birthday hullabaloo. (See also: Google Answers.) Which means that the same folks who claim to own the rights to Happy Birthday likely also own this racist little ditty.

You Can’t Judge A Racist Nun By Her Habit

Normally the most interesting thing to me about vintage sheet music is the cover art; this is because I’m musically illiterate and can’t use it for anything but decoration and/or parts for altered arts (honestly, the only way I am able to carry a tune is to buy sheet music *ba dum dum* ). But this weekend I bought hundreds of sheets of vintage sheet music & some of the most fascinating ones were those that had little to no artwork at all.

All of the pieces I’m showing you today were owned by one Sister M. Patricia, O.S.B. (Order of Saint Benedict), from Sacred Heart Convent, East Grand Forks, Minnesota. (Puzzling then, that at least The Naughty Little Clock Song sheet music would come all the way from Boston! Surely there was a cheaper option in the Twin Cities?)

But anyway, Sister M. Patricia was a racist nun — and I can say that based on her musical habits.

First up, her copy of Japanese Love Song, copyright 1900, words by “Anon”, music by Clayton Thomas aka Salome Thomas Cade aka Nellie Salome Thomas, and dedicated to Madame Alberto Randegger. Only Sister has crossed-out “Japanese” and replaced it with “Chinese” —

Because apparently one Asian is as good, or as heathen, as another. Hey, I’m not calling anyone a heathen! The original lyrics read:

She was a maid of Japan
He was the son of Choo Lee
She had a comb and a fan,
And he had two chests of tea.

She wore a gown picturesque,
While he had a wonderful queue,
Her features were not statuesque,
Which matter’d but little to Choo, to Choo,
Which matter’d but little to Choo.

He smiled at her over the way,
She coquetted at him with her fan;
“I mally you,–see?” we would say
To this queer little maid of Japan.

And day after day she would pose
To attract him, her little Choo Lee,
All daintily tipp’d on her toes,
This love of a heathen Chi-nee, Chi-nee
This love of a heathen Chi-nee.

But Fate was unkind to them, quite,
For he never could reach her, you see,
Though she always was there in his sight,
And she look’d all the day on Choo Lee;

For a man mayn’t do more than he can,
Tho’ a maiden may languishing be,
When she is a maid on a fan,
And he’s on a package of tea, of tea,
And he’s on a package of tea, ah!

Her revisions also include changing lyrics in the newly created Chinese Love Song:

For continuity purposes, of course, “Japan” was changed to “Chi-nee”. And Sister is nothing if not consistent in her racism, as we’ll see in part two. (Yup, that’s a tease to come back soon.)

PS This little song was performed at a The New York Times, August 31, 1902:

The Naughty Little Clock

The amazingly cute and gay lyrics to The Naughty Little Clock:

There once was a frivolous and giddy little clock,
A little French clock very gay;
Very trim and very neat but a creature of deceit,
When you wished to know the time of day.
It’s goings on would shock
The old hall clock, Till it held up its hand aghast;
I’m sure to tell the truth, It went wrong in early youth,
Had a natural inclination to be fast.

Chorus:
Tic-toc, tic-toc, said the silly little clock,
“Oh, life in the house is slow,
So cold and grim, very dull and prim,
I’m getting run-down I know”
So she sighed all day for a life more gay,
She longed for a shady past.
This naughty little, haughty little clock, tic-toc,
That had an inclination to be fast.

“I’m quite wound up,” declared the giddy little clock,
“I’m weary of the mantel shelf;
For years I’ve had to chime to give other folks the time,
Now I’d like to have a time myself.
I’d even run away
With a gay roué,
If he’s show me the town’s great sights;
So she took up with a lamp,
And incorrigible scamp,
Who smoked and always went out nights.

Tic-toc, tic-toc, said the foolish little clock,
“Oh, won’t you elope with me?
I’m yours from today if you’ll take me away
Where something of life I’ll see.
Well, they ne’er came back and the bric-a-brac
Had scandal enough to last
In gossiping about the little clock, tic-toc,
That had an inclination to be fast.

Copyright 1899; music by Reginald De Koven, lyrics by Harry B. Smith. (My copy of the sheet music states that the copyright was assigned 1930 to Theodore Presser Co.)

Gimme Back That Filet-o-Fish

Not since “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame-seed bun” have I enjoyed singing along with a McDonald’s commercial so much, so many kudos to Arnold Worldwide for the latest Filet-o-Fish commercial. Here are the lyrics, so you can sing along with the video which follows:

Gimme back that filet-o-fish
Gimme that fish
Gimme back that filet-o-fish
Gimme that fish
What if it was you
hanging up on this wall?
If you were in that sandwich
you wouldn’t be laughing at all!

Normally McDonald’s falls so far behind the trend curve that they become not fun & kitschy but irrelevant (leaving Burger King to reign over kitsch & cool) but this time the decade delay in mocking Billy Bass works. Not just because you’ll find a dozen of these plastic mounted wall fish thrown back into the consumerism pond via thrift shops, but because of the incredible music & lyrics.

The music is not, as rumored to be, by the band Holy Fuck. However, if you are looking for 6 minutes and 26 seconds of similar sounding retro Casio Keyboard nostalgia (with a bit more heat & noise from the mutated rhythm), then get Casio Bossa Nova. I totally enjoyed it myself; but it’s not the music in the commercial.

Determined to find out who it was behind the fab song in the McDonald’s ad, I got on the phone with the folks at Arnold Worldwide — who, by the way, answer the phone with the perplexing, “Good afternoon, Arnold,” which prompted me to respond, “My name is not Arnold.”

Anyway, Arnold Worldwide didn’t write the tune or the lyrics, but they still get my kudos because they hired the folks who created it: Pulse Music.

So thanks, Pulse Music. I’m off to get a Filet-o-Fish. Humming & singing Gimme back that filet-o-fish all the way.

PS My dog especially loves it when I sing the “ahh!” at the end.