. . . Lyrics server

. . .

Ebb Tide
First the tide rushes in,
Then the tide rushes out,
Then the tide rushes in,
Then the tide rushes out again.
Like this tide
Is that tide,
And the prior
Like the next,
For all tides
Act like tides,
Since that is how they've earned the name of tide.

. . .

Tears, tears,
They're good for the eye.
The more you tear, the more you cry.
The more you cry, the better you look.
So chop some onions when you cook.

. . .

It's humped and scarred and disgustingly hirsute
Hey la, hey la, my boyfriend's back.

. . .

In production: MGM returns to musicals with Ben Stiller's remake of Lost Weekend, starring an unshaven Jim Carrey, a shaven Gwyneth Paltrow, and the Dalai Lama as Joe the Barkeep. Andrew Lloyd Webber's score packs such potential VH-1 hits as "The Brandy Man," "Tomorrow (I Guess I'll Clean Up My Act Tomorrow)," and "Sink":

Sink till sunk.
Life is simple
If you live it drunk.
Don't worry if you're not good enough
To manage a goddamn thing.
Just sink,
Sink till sunk.

. . .

Bang and bong and boulder bun
Are all my brain and body need.
Bang and bong and boulder bun
Are very good indeed.

. . .

Gosh, I like the Internet: Someone sent me email this morning asking for the complete lyrics to "Sunshine, Lollipops, & Rainbows" for their science project.

. . .

This Magic Orange (to the tune of "This Magic Moment")

This magic orange
Is easily punched down
Then stretches up and
Was drawn by M. K. Brown.

. . .

Bringing out the Dead confirms that Martin Scorsese should stick to black comedy, that Paul Schrader should shut the fuck up, and (insight via Juliet Clark) that Nicolas Cage is the only possible choice to play Andy Kaufman in a bio-pic.

And -- wow, you know, we're all so used to hearing "Shut the fuck up" (I am, anyway), but it looks kind of odd in print, doesn't it? Like maybe it could be from a gangster movie instead of "Rub the snitch out" or from like a sea chanty:

Shut the fuck up, boys,
Oh, shut the fuck up,
Heigh! ho! shut the fuck up....

. . .

The Miracle of Digestion, as adapted from George Clinton:

Fried turkey is a reality.
Fried turkey is a reality.
Fried turkey is a reality.
Fried turkey is a reality.
Fried turkey is a reality.
Fried turkey is a reality....

"(That's only 35 minutes for a 10 pound bird!!)."

. . .

Lyrics server: Frequent-Hotsy-Totsy-flier Beth Rust was actually responsible for correcting my notion of "Rawhide"'s lyrics to the above. For many years my memory waffled between:

Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope 'em, tie and brand 'em,
Soon they'll be sitting by your side.
Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope 'em, tie and brand 'em,
Soon one of them will be your bride.
-- both of which seemed to express warmer sentiments towards cattle than cowboys are rumored to feel.

. . .

These United States:


. . .

The Passable Kingdom

Mares eat oats
and does eat mares
and little lambs eat those does.
A kid'll eat little lambs,
wouldn't you?

. . .

Beyond any doubt, Stephin Merritt is this year's star pupil of the Lorenz Hart School of Miserable Short Ugly Love Song Lyricists, but when I encounter the following "lyric by Lorenz Hart; no music survives," this miserable old ugly chronicler can't help but recall my generation's pretender, Croonin' Costello:


I do men's nails for seventy-five cents
And I guess I earn my pay.
Kindly realize that a heel or two
Get a manicure plus a feel or two.
God, how I hate their hands!

Brokers, clerks and singers,
Arthur, John and Bill,
Each time you touch their fingers
They think you get a thrill.

God, how I hate their hands!
Hands can tear one asunder.
I go through torture nobody understands.
Stop it! My life is a nightmare!
Hands! Hands! Hands! Hands! Hands!

Hands can hold you and hurt you,
Hands can grip;
Hands can laugh at your virtue,
Hands can slip;
Hands can tear your heart out,
Hands can make you dream.
What a fool you seem.
You could scream.

Hands can beg for mercy,
I'm afraid of you.
I am black and blue.
This won't do.

My God, they're driving me crazy
With their goddamn hands.

. . .

La vache qui rit Someday soon we'll all be dressed in leather
If the fates allow,
So have yourself a merry little Christmas cow.

. . .

Lyrics server

Eating overripe figs and listening to "Ring of Fire":
Now don't tell me
I've nothin' to do.
(Actually, that was a couple of years ago. Last night I instead drank a bottle of Shiraz, looked at Lynda Barry stuff, and listened to Johnny Thunders, but big diff....)

. . .

Lyrics server

"... to illustrate an editor's difficulty in reconstructing even the simplest text from the madrigal part-books, Fellowes transcribed that song's first two lines,

What ails my darling thus sitting all alone so weary?
  Say why is my dear now not merry?

from the following:
Cantus. What ails my darling, say what ails my darling, what ails my sweet pretty darling, what ails my sweet, what ails mine own sweet darling? What ails my darling dear thus sitting all alone, sitting all alone, all alone so weary? Say, why is my dear now not merry? Altus. What ails my darling, say what ails my darling, what ails my darling dear, what ails mine only sweet, mine only sweet darling? What ails my darling, what ails my darling dear, sitting all alone, sitting all alone so weary? Say what grieves my dear that she is not merry? Bassus. What ails my darling, say what ails my darling, what ails my darling, say what ails my dainty dainty darling, what ails my own sweet darling? What ails my dainty darling, my dainty darling so to sit alone so weary, and is not merry?"

-- as quoted in Stephen Ratcliffe's Campion: On Song

. . .

UC Berkeley Art History Department Fight Song

In this paper I will argue.
      Won't you argue now with me?
Everybody likes to argue;
      No one likes to disagree.

In this paper I have proven
      What somebody else has shown
Was maintained and demonstrated
      Citing yet another drone.

. . .

THE NEW OPTHOMOLOGIST - Number 23, April 2000
Contacts fall from the eye;
I am sick, I must die --
Lord have mercy on us!
- Shakespeare
Health Tip: After eating ribs, you might still have an extremely detectable amount of BBQ sauce left on your fingertips even if you've washed your hands three times. (Contributed by RD of Berkeley, CA)
"There's nothin' cornea than aqueous humor!" -- Dr. Borschtbeldt

. . .

Lyrics server

She's as sweet as Oulipo honey,
Shears as swerve as outback honky.
He gnaw, Hopey-Lou saw tweezers, eesh!
That girl is luscious, if sugary.

. . .

Lyrics server

When the eel treats your thigh
Like a big piece of pie
That's a moray.

. . .

Famous Ballads Illustrated: The Parting Glass

O, all the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm that ever I've done,
Alas, it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall;
So fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.
A fair maid
If I had money enough to spend
And leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
I own, she has my heart in thrall;
But fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.
O, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away.
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay.
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise, and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.
You should not

. . .


Brown coleen Juliet Clark relieves us of the responsibility of Illustrating one Famous Ballad ourselves by finding a rare photo of "The Rocky Road to Dublin," which, it turns out, was a scenic railway in Coney Island. And I didn't even know that the Clancy Brothers had been to Coney Island! For that matter, I didn't even know that Coney Island was scenic!

I loike (typo, but I'll leave it) much about our previous Famous Ballad, but probably most the way it uses "Since it falls" in one line and "I should rise" in the next and then, since it already used "fall," completes the parallelism with the unexpected unrhymed flatness of "not." Piquant! The syntax may be stilted, but where would humanity be without stilts?

. . .

Dr. Justine Larbalestier reminisces fondly:

Have you seen the movie West Side Story recently? I was obsessed with it and the music as a kid and made the mistake of rewatching it recently. When I think of it in memory it's shot on location in NYC - the camera moves around; it's full of dynamic dance sequences that use the natural environment - i.e. the street of NYC. It's a vibrant, alive, great and sexy anti-racism musical. Nope. It stinks. There's the one opening scene with the overhead shot of Manhattan and then the opening dance sequence and then it's all sound stages and a camera that's so static you wonder if it's got icicles all over it. (Well it would have it were here in NYC at the moment - is there a point to having such cold winters? I don't get it.) Worse still there's no ambient noise. The film is visually and aurally dead and since it didn't use scratch'n'sniff technology and no-one's going to lick the screen that means it's completely dead. Then there's the presence and, er, acting - with the exception of Rita Moreno, George Chakiris and Russ Tamblyn - it's unspeakably bad. Especially the two cardboard leads who can't sing or dance or act. Brilliant casting there people!
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with that song but tended to remember it as "Somewhere a place for us / In outer space for us...." Clearly, I still do.

. . .

When life gives you scraps, make collage

I gained new insight into the miracle of heterosexuality yesterday when I first read "A fixing on rotation" (via Bovine Inversus) while first hearing The Vernon Girls' "You Know What I Mean" (via alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.1960s). Insofar as I can, given my limited web space, I'd like to share the experience with you....

"You Know What I Mean" by

(Sha la la la la la. Sha la, la la la.)
(Sha la la la la la. Sha la, la la la.)

Messt1 this boy he started to tuh-wist me.
All night long we were doing the twist.
Then about half past ten he kissed me.
Boy, did I know that I'd been kissed.

Ooooh! -- uauchghh! (phlegm-hawking sound)2

Well, you know what I mean.
Well, you can't get over a thing like that.
Boys are natural twisters.
You know wot I mean.

I became his fi-nance fixer,
Paid for everything while he
Twisted like a cement-tuh mixer
With every ohther girl but me.

Ooooh! - uauchghh! (phlegm-hawking sound)

Well, you know what I mean.
Well, you can't get overrh a thing-uh like that.
Boys are natural twisters.
You know wot I mean.

Spends my dough but more to resist him3
He was awful cute you see.
When my loost's run out, that twister's
Dawn4 away and run out on me.

Ooooh - wackgh! (disgusted sound)

Well, you know what I mean.
Well, you can't get over a thing-uh like that.
Boys are natural tuh-wisters.
You know wot I mean.

When you're tempted, don't-uh you linger.
Just remember he can twist
Some gehls round his little finger
And you might be next on his list.

Wagh-khchh. (ladylike phlegm-hawking sound)

Well, you know what I mean.
(Dumb dummy, dummy dummy dumb dumb)
Well, you can't get over a thing like that.
(Dumb dummy, dummy dummy dumb dumb)
Boys are natural twisters.
You know wot I mean.

So I said to him, Mary, like, I said, lissen 'ere y'flirt, I said what d'you think you're doin'? But 'e went awn! Twistin'! In fact he twisted the legs off me, I couldn't....

Bachelor stripped by his brides, even
1. A peculiarity of this Liverpudlian variant is its transformation of a terminal "t" to "ss." Thus, "met" to "mess," "loot" to "loos."

2. The only pre-1977 use of spitting as a hook in pop music?

3. Obviously wrong, but it took me so long to realize that what sounded like "five months" was actually "finance" that I despair of solving this problem.

4. Dialect, mannerism, or mistake? Topic for further research.

. . .

Bless our Mondegreenery home

You know what I always thought was really great about "Runaway"? When Del Shannon says he's

Wishing you were here by me
In endless misery.
I still wouldn't want any of my friends to take him up on the offer, but I had to admire his honesty.

And now I don't.

. . .

Inspiring verse of the day, from 1% Goat's "Now We Are Pirates":

"Johnny was a meatloaf
So we had to eat him.
Now he's dead
But we found a map on a metal plate in his head,
In his head,
In his head,
In his head.

. . .

No Pictures
No Caption

Meeting of minds

  1. Withdrawn from circulation

    Rebound, pulped, or sold down the river to Moe's -- ah, but publication, that was the glorious thing.

  2. Open the door, Richard

    I had all these keys since long before buying the lock, so one of them's gotta fit.

  3. Hide & no seek

    Is this what winning feels like?

  4. Dear Abby [2.7MB MP3]

    Dear Mixed-Up Teenager:
    Gee, baby.
    You say nobody loves you?
    And everybody hates you?
         (Yay, yay, yay, yeah. Oo-ooh.)
    You know... baby...
    When someone's so low
    I gotta suggest that you do go
    Out in that yard
    And eat worms.
    Yeah. Worms.

. . .

Cold Feet, Bedroom Eyes

Beauty, since you so much desire
To know the place of Cupids fire:
About you somewhere doth it rest,
Yet never harbour'd in your brest,
Nor gout-like in your heele or toe;
What foole would seeke Loves flame so low?
But a little higher, but a little higher,
But a little higher --
But a little higher --
There, there, o there! lyes Cupids fire.
  Thinke not, when Cupid most you scorne,
Men judge that you of Ice were borne;
For, though you cast love at your heele,
His fury yet sometime you feele;
And where-abouts if you would know,
I tell you still, not in your toe:
But a little higher, but a little higher,
But a little higher --
But a little higher --
There, there, o there! lyes Cupids fire.
- Thomas Campion, 1617
  1. This conspiracy of mind and foot against the groin seems to've been much on Campion's mind or groin at the time he assembled his Fourth Booke of Ayres, as, only two songs earlier, he'd complayn'd:

    Then downe my pray'rs made way
          To those most comely parts
    That make her flye or stay,
          As they affect deserts:
                But her angry feete, thus mov'd
                Fled with all the parts I lov'd.
      Yet fled they not so fast
          As her enraged minde:
    Still did I after haste,
          Still was I left behinde,
                Till I found 'twas to no end
                With a Spirit to contend.

  2. Many a bawdy song has been burlesqued from a Plutarchian lyric, as many a sentimental or childish-foolish number has been bowdlerized from a bawdy song.

    Twentieth-century American pop musicians often commuted between gospel and secular genres (which themselves mandated varying degrees of directness), and sometimes carried specific songs with them. But pretty much all the earlier transformations I'm familiar with were cross-author, and often conceived of as parodies, with the Earl of Rochester's memorably horrific (and Bataille-trumping) Scroope-over one of the most vicious.

    Exceptionally, Campion was here burlesquing one of his own. From the first Booke of Ayres, published in 1601:

    Mistris, since you so much desire
    To know the place of Cupids fire,
    In your faire shrine that flame doth rest,
    Yet never harourd in your brest;
    It bides not in your lips so sweete,
    Nor where the rose and lillies meete,
    But a little higher, but a little higher:
    There, there, O there lies Cupids fire.
      Even in those starrie pearcing eyes,
    There Cupids sacred fire lyes;
    Those eyes I strive not to enjoy,
    For they have power to destroy;
    Nor woe I for a smile, or kisse,
    So meanely triumph's not my blisse;
    But a little higher, but a little higher,
    I climbe to crowne my chast desire.

    (The fine editor of my Campion, Walter R. Davis, oddly refers to the later version as "slightly revised.")

. . .

Tired of complaints, I'm ready for fun.
I'll make friends with anyone.
Are you out there, somebody like me?
If you are, I hope you can see:

I am just a guy who likes to rock and roll,
I am just a guy who likes to get drunk,
I am just a guy who likes to dress punk,
Get my kicks and live up my life.

. . .

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are

"That's The Bag I'm In" by the Fabs

Every morning when I wake up
I burn my fingers on the coffee pot.
My toast is cold and my orange juice hot.
I could start over but I'd really rather not
'Cause it would only happen over again.

Well, yeah!
Well, that's the bag I'm in.
That's the bag, that's the bag, that's the bag I'm in.
That's the bag, baby!
That's the bag I'm in.
Well, that's the bag I'm in.

I never met a girl I thought could be my friend.
The only money I got is Chinese yen.
They'll probably drop the bomb the day my ship comes in.
I want a steady girl who could be tall and thin.

Well, that's the bag I'm in.
Well, that's the bag I'm in.
Well, that's the bag I'm in.

  "Fickle Heart" by Johnny Garfield

Every heart is a fickle heart,
No matter what the good folks say.
But I'd rather love a fickle heart
And make every day a rainy day.

Every dream is just make believe
Of the things you want every day,
But I'd rather dream just little dreams
Than let your love fade away.

When I hear your call,
Pitter pat on my door,
The world becomes alive.
You always return
the love that I yearn.
What else can I ask?
Nothing more.

Every heart is a fickle heart,
No matter what the good folks say.
But I'm so glad of the love you give
With your fickle heart every day.

To further cite Dorothy Wordsworth's much cited formula, poetry takes its origin from dining digested in tranquility.

And nothing more reliably feeds pop lyricism -- pop being, as Leonard Bernstein and Rod McKuen assured us, the poetry of our time (that is, too early in the morning) -- than breakfast, whether the breakfast be good or bad.

I love breakfast songs, and bummers, and my favorite bummer breakfast song used to be Neil Young's "Last Dance": "The coffee's hot and the orange juice is cold... cold... cold."

But the Fabs bum worse. And they deserve to.

And they know it! And they don't care!

'Cause they want it that way! No compromise! No learning! Your fingers get burnt, you just push 'em right down home on the range again! Fuck learning! We chose to do this and we will keep on doing it!

You know, like when people quit publishing on the web because it's so disgusting to pay attention to hit counts and to newspaper stories and self-promoting programmers and all those things that I guess must be inherent to publishing on the web. Or like asshole yuppie men complaining about how whiny and airheaded and golddigging all attractive women are, or like asshole yuppie women complaining about how sleazy and manipulative and moneygrubbing all attractive men are. God forbid you should ask them to define "attractive."

I especially like how the unmodulating 1-2-1-2 garage chords and thump-thump beat emphasize that "it would only happen again."

I understand how legal partnerships can be useful when managing expensive property like houses or children or senatorial seats. But I never got how marriage proves emotional commitment.

I mean, why would the government be interested in your emotional commitments, and why would you want them to be? You show an emotional commitment (usually quite explicitly enough to embarrass your friends) by staying emotionally committed. Making a public oath of emotional commitment seems as nuts as swearing that y'all'll nevah be hungreh agehn. It's not up to you. At most, it's inviting disgrace; at best, it's unnecessary.

Some folks, not to name names, have accused me of cynicism on this score. Not so! I think emotional commitment is entirely possible. And nice! But I haven't noticed oaths helping it along. People just like to make oaths.

Johnny "Everybody Dies" Garfield, on the other hand, he would seem really cynical.

Kind of.

If it wasn't for this... his... triumph.

Garfield belts the song out like a puffy heldentenor: it's heroic how heroic he feels. It's that Nietzschean clasping of tragic fate, but closer than usual because he's really not complaining. He liiiiikes it. What tightens the ties that bind, cutting voluptuously into his flesh, is an ecstatic faith in betrayal.

May blessings rain and sizzle upon him and his, pitter pat, acidly and basely.

. . .

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are

"So Round So Firm So Fully Packed" by Merle Travis, as performed by Johnny Bond & his Red River Valley Boys, 1947

So round, so firm, so fully packed
That's my gal
So complete from front to back
That's my gal
Toasted by the sun
And I'm a son of a gun
If she don't make my five-o'-clock shadow
Come around at one

You can bet your boots I'd walk a mile
Through the snow
Just to see that toothpaste smile
They mention on the radio
If you don't think she's a lot of fun
Just ask the man who owns one
So round, so firm, so fully packed
That's my gal

So round, so firm, so fully packed
She's for me
She's just like a money back
Like the barfly goes for drink
Like the bobbysocks go for Frank
And just like Jesse James would go
For money in the bank
Now she's so sweet and perfect-size
She's a whiz
But she wears a 45
(Gun, that is)
She's got the looks that's so impressing
She's got the pause that's so refreshing
So round, so firm, so fully packed
That's my gal

She always hits the spot
Like a twelve-ounce bottle of pop
And when she smiles I go so wild
I pert near blow my top
Now she's got lots of looks to spare
She's for me
And that certain ring she wears
Is a lifetime guarantee
She's done told me I'm top hand
Won't be long till she wears my brand
So round, so firm, so fully packed
That's my gal
Spanked with a foxtail brush
Corporation disciplines consumer with the foxtail brush of advertising

For a hundred years or so, Americans have explored the ambiguous frontiers of self-definition, forcing the world at gunpoint to join our exciting journey.

Of course I'm not talking about sea-froth like "gender play," or "virtual avatars," or "community." No, I mean the ambiguity so central they put it in the name: incorporation, the profit imperative made better-than-flesh and sent to earth to redeem humanity (value 5¢ ME CT VT MA NY). Which, with recent "trade" agreements, has become the global equivalent of the medieval European Church: a spiritual authority that trumps all local secular rule.

We simple consumers have come to terms with the inescapable as we always have, with our own small attempts at incorporation. We swear allegiance to our patron brands, pin their badges to our clothes, draw our commonplaces from their testaments, collect their relics, and blaspheme at leisure.

I witnessed one notch-click on the pendulum-blade of progress in the 1980s, when, after years of viewing paid celebrity endorsements, American youth volunteered life-service in the sandwich boards free of charge. (For some reason, blanketing the family Volvo NASCAR-style never took off the same way.) I'm a transitional type, myself: although I still unstitch the leatherette patches from Levis, I was perfectly willing to advertise nostalgically "aesthetic" corporate products.

A generation earlier, Merle Travis took the path of Solomon, Hafiz, Meera Bai, and Teresa of Avila, merging sexual desire and spiritual quest in the limited stability of lyric.

It's human nature to bolster one unattainable yearning with another, although that rarely resolves the confusion at their hearts. Here, the singer praises his darling using the sacred vocabulary of sales, which seems to imply that he's selling her. And yet he also insists on her as his exclusive property.

The collector who claims copyright: a Raymond Rohauer of love.

. . .

Dangerously tiny dancer

Bhikku, l'ascoltatore migliore, looks in his own ear and writes:

Re the "come on and diet" line, the whole thing is arsy-versy anyway because previously hasn't he advised her to "Grab the ketchup"?

My favourite bit is the most heart-felt bit of singing and the emotional climax of the music, when he tells her where to find the light switch.

. . .

Technicians of the Sacred

Slim & Slam
(Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart)
New York, August 17, 1938
Vol vist du gaily sta
Vol vist du gaily sta
Vol vist du gaily sta

Vol vist du gaily sta
I found my lucky star
Vol vist du gaily sta

I told my lucky star
Vol vist du gaily sta
Vol vist du gaily sta

Maña maña maña mi
Maña maña maña fi
Maña maña
Vol vist du gaily sta
I found my lucky star
Vol vist du gaily sta

Vol vist du gaily sta
I told my lucky star
Vol vist du gaily sta

Vol vist du gaily sta
Vol vist du gaily sta
Vol vist du gaily sta

Maña maña maña mi
Maña maña maña fi
Maña maña
"Say! Boy!"
"What's the matter, man?"
"What do you think about what volvistugailysta means?"
"Man, I don't know. What does it mean, man?"
"Don't mean a thing, don't mean a thing."
"Well, all right, man."
"Just a little jive talk. In the Floogie language, you know."

Gaily sta
Gaily sta
Gaily sta

. . .

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are

"She's A Soldier Boy"
A New Generation, 1969

She tells lies with her eyes
She's not a lady all the time
Though she's breaking inside
She will only cry at night

She's a soldier
She's a soldier boy

She deceives me and leaves me
And then she's back in love with me
To my weakness she's blind
She always sees the best in me

She's a soldier
She's a soldier boy

Evenings I meet her
Make longing sweeter

Like a soldier she'll fight
Till she's got what she's looking for
If it's wrong, if it's right
I'll stand by her forever more

'Cause she's a soldier
Yes, she's a soldier boy

When You Looked In Lizbeth's Eyes You Saw Yourself
+ + +

Another month, another idiotic gender essentialist story:

Scientists say they have discovered what happens in the brain when someone falls in love.
This BBC reporter is careful with the "most"s and "more"s:
Most of the women showed more activity in the body of the caudate, the septum and the posterior parietal cortex, which are areas linked to reward, emotion and attention. Most of the men in this study showed more activity in visual processing areas, including one associated with sexual arousal.
And also careful to do so only several paragraphs after the blatantly overstated hook:
But scans found women's brains showed emotional responses, while men's showed activity linked to sexual arousal.
That's called balance.

Where to start? How about with the original researchers' assumption that "falling in love" is a simple biological universal, free of cultural specifics? Because otherwise they certainly wouldn't be coming up with these fascinating hypotheses about evolution.

Or, sticking to the story's own terms, how about the possibility that most women in New Jersey reach orgasm more slowly than most men in New Jersey, and that New Jersey women have therefore "evolved" to associate sexual arousal with systems of reward and attention? Or that most men in New Jersey have more opportunity to jerk off to porn, and that New Jersey men have therefore "evolved" to associate sexual arousal with visual processing?

And how about those "most"s and "more"s? Given that we're talking about "17 young men and women," in just how many individuals was that played-up distinction incarnated?

If I was a cheerier sort, I might take it as a good sign that essentialists have been more and more forced to rely on the most variable and plastic organ of the human body (no, breast implants don't count) for support. But I'm depressive, so instead I take it as another sign that the government is preparing prenatal genetic tests which, along with universal "Seinfeld" syndication, will replicate the social norms of present-day middle class America forever.

I think my doctor called that "depressive." Sometimes I get those medical words all mixed up.

+ + +

In other news, still no comeback in sight for bisexual chic!

. . .

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are

Steel smooths the ride

"Someone Wants You Dead"
World of Pooh

According to the wall clock, it was done at half-past five.
She must have pulled the cord out right before she died.
The gun was resting in her hand, suggesting suicide.
That would not account for the note left at her side
Which read:
Someone wants you dead.

It wasn't a big mansion with a garden in the back.
It was more an abandoned basement made into a flat.
She didn't have a Doberman; she didn't have a phone.
It was not the kind of place you want to live alone.
Not if
Someone wants you dead.

Bury the axe and clear the air.
There's always someone who hates you somewhere.
There'll always be someone who hates you somewhere.

I wish I could solve this crime, but nobody was there.
She was hit by accident by a bullet in the air.
It kind of goes to show you how you ought to keep aware.
You can never trust a bullet hanging in the air.
Not when
Someone wants you dead.

Bury the axe and clear the air.
There's always someone who hates you somewhere.
There'll always be someone who hates you somewhere.

On any serious political issue, at least half of American voters don't agree with you and a significant minority would like you to drop dead. With each strong opinion you hold, the number of voters who disagree with you and the number of voters who would like you dead grows. If you hold three or more strong opinions, no one you agree with will ever win a nationwide election. (Unless they've successfully hidden their intent.)

Since I hold at least three strong opinions, my vote is usually decided by who'd like me dead less. In a race between Dianne Feinstein and John McCain, say, I'd vote Republican, since they'd both like me dead but Feinstein works harder at it. Ralph Nader, too, would shuffle a grim pavan upon my grave.

On the other hand, although John Kerry isn't fond of me, he wouldn't go out of his way to do anything about it. Kerry for President!


On ya, Ray. Course, I'd always thought of voting in terms of who I'd like to see dead the least. In which case, yeah, yeah, whatever: Kerry for President.

A nobler algorithm, but I'm old enough to remember that voting for a presidential candidate doesn't necessarily lengthen their lifespan.

are you the ray davis-- who makes the manoala's???????????
be well
walk softly

. . .

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are

"One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"
Big Maybelle, 1954

My baby jumped up this morning
And sat on the side of the bed
He said I'm leaving you baby
And this is just what I said

I said I can't make you stay if you want to go
But it's high time baby that you should know

One monkey don't stop no show
One monkey don't stop no show
So if you still want to go, go ahead
And I meant every word I said

My baby thought I was jiving
And he went right out the door
He left me about three in the morning
Hmm, I got me a man at four

Some women cry when their men leave 'em drylongso
But I found out something long time ago

One monkey don't stop no show
One monkey don't stop no show
So if he gets too big for his pants
Get a spring brand new one and give him a chance

I used to be chicken-hearted
And cry when he'd walk out the door
'Cause I was just young and simple
Ha! Ain't like that no more

'Cause I had a hard way to go 'fore I learned the score
But I'm here to tell you and I should know

One monkey don't stop no show
One monkey don't stop no show
I let him do anything he choose
'Cause there's a million men who can fill his shoes

One monkey don't stop no show
One monkey don't stop no show
One monkey don't stop no show
And you can tell them I told you so

Three Memorable Fancies
  1. On July the Fourth, 2004, I heard Big Maybelle, and she seemed to me Lady Liberty proclaiming a new Battle Hymn for the Republic.
  2. From comments at Wealth Bondage:
    Go to those countries and see, unless like Cambodia the ordnance stays live. But when it's truly over, especially once the generation that carried it out is gone...things look up, birds sing, roses grow where the dead were laid, the grass is greener over the battlefield especially. That too is how we got here. The knee-jerks see that telling as moral too, but that's the point, that morality came out of that, there never was any first peace. Never. Except that three-quarter season inside the womb. That's what you remember.
    The retooling society owes whatever peace it finds to the war it found prior to that. We don't like the implication so, as you say, we ignore it; 'til it won't go away, then we get mad at it.
    It's all work.
  3. My hands were sticky and wet, and my feet gluey in tall galoshes. And it seemed to me I saw an ochre-smeared statue of Hope, and beneath it carved the ambiguous message:


Monkey boy likes Big Maybelle! - Renfrew

The bastard was just using her, seems to me. Well, he'll get his —Big Maybelle tells me so.

. . .

Work Song

I don't know what to do about it;
try again tomorrow.

I don't know what to do about it;
try again tomorrow.

I don't know what to do about it;
try again tomorrow.

I don't know what to do about it;
try again tomorrow.

(Repeat 2399 times)

. . .

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are

Trifles light as air.
"Carve Dat Possum"
by Sam Lucas
(with an assist from "Go Down, Moses")
(as performed by
Harry C. Browne & Peerless Quartet,
The possum meat am good to eat.
Carve him to the heart.
You'll always find him good and sweet.
Carve him to the heart.
My dog did bark and I went to see
Carve him to the heart.
And there was a possum up that tree.
Carve him to the heart.

I reached up for to pull him in.
Carve him to the heart.
The possum he begun to grin.
Carve him to the heart.
I carried him home and dressed him off.
Carve him to the heart.
I hung him that night in the frost.
Carve him to the heart.

The way to cook the possum sound:
Carve him to the heart.
First parboil him, then bake him brown.
Carve him to the heart.
Lay sweet potatoes in the pan.
Carve him to the heart.
The sweetest meat in all the land
Carve him to the heart.

Carve that possum,
Carve that possum, children.
Carve that possum,
Carve him to the heart.
Oh, carve that possum,
Carve that possum, children.
Carve that possum,
Carve him to the heart.

As environments grow harsher, biodiversity becomes chaff. It's winnowing time again. A good time to know one's species.

Couple years back, the Fantagraphics web site posted a recording of a Nixon-era on-stage interview with stogie-chompin' obscenity-tossin' 100%-pure-bitter Walt Kelly.

I recollect one moment in particular, when, after repeated attempts to get him to admit to harboring some last splinter of child-like wonder and hope, Kelly roared, "So what you're saying is I'm a fairy."

Having worked on Pinocchio, Kelly knew from fairies, so I guess we can take his word he wasn't one.

Me either. I'm more a Jiminy Cricket type, 'ceptin I remain one of those folks Jiminy bets don't believe that.

Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote.... Squirrels have been suggested as an avatar, but I feel no bond to the greedy beggars.

I admire the white bear, but my wagging jaws lack tenacity.

And The Man's best friend, like poor poopy Hitchens, uplifted from brick-dodging junkyard dog to yapping Corgi, I pity you. You can't beat them, so you join them. Once you join them, they beat you more. Now they beat in sport instead of in earnest, but still it's more.

Also "a deer in the headlights of history" I'm not. I'm not so decorative, nor so herbivorous, nor so ignorant of trucks.

Nor am I a pedigreed, primped, and tenured gerbil, exercising my wits against a bell and mirror and sleeping on a bed of shredded Marcus.

A scavenger of garbage, a hisser, a sulker, urbanized but un-urbanable....

When nuance becomes an established technique of sabotage, us quibblers feed the revolution only in the most literal sense. We try to play possum and find we're playing Shmoo.

But I got nowhere else to go, so still I go Pogo. It's what's for dinner.

Berkeley, California – Wien, Osterreich.
For Phil Cubeta.


I think it would fly as a rap: "I'm the real Walt Kelly / I really rock 'em / I'll shoot you dead / An' ya won't play possum" etc. - RQH

An old friend anonymously inquires:

But what about Daffy Duck?

"When have I last looked on the round dot eyes and the long wavering bodies of the little black ducks of the moon?"

Josh Lukin triangulates:

First time I read Swamp Thing 32, I cried for five days straight. But I would not have objected if anyone'd thought my lachrymosity had a different orientation.

Phil declines.

. . .

M-16 Rabbit
(to the tune of "Devil With a Blue Dress On")
Rabbit with an M-Six
Rabbit with an M-Sixteen
Rabbit with an M-Six
Rabbit with an M-Sixteen


you sound smart

. . .

The War of Art

What is it GOOD for?

. . .

Twenty Years of Hot One-on-One Action cum grano salis

The first photograph showed a naked ameba, fat and replete with food vacuoles, splashing lazily and formlessly at the bottom of a metal tank in the completely relaxed state that precedes reproducing.

The second was like the first, except that a trickle of salt water had begun down one side of the tank and a few pseudopods had lifted toward it inquiringly. To leave nothing to the imagination, a sketch of the sodium chloride molecule had been superimposed on the upper right corner of the photograph.

In the third picture, the Gtetan was ecstatically awash in the saline solution, its body distended to maximum, dozens of pseudopods thrust out, throbbing. Most of the chromatin had become concentrated in chromosomes about the equator of the nucleus. To an ameba, this was easily the most exciting photograph in the collection.

- from "Party of the Two Parts" by William Tenn (AKA Philip Klass)

* * *

Gosh, I like the Internet: Mr. Waggish surveys the past twenty years from a different vantage point (and incidentally alerts us to two new translations of the Musil work I reread most often). Jessie Ferguson shares lovingly bitter gleanings from a twenty-year gaze into Ingeborg Bachmann's Malina. Two Dutch translators present a convincingly anti-scholarly argument for a revised Finnegans Wake (which was published eight years later, very affordably, by Oxford). My favorite institutionally-funded "blogs" (nasty jargon for "weblogs," which one would have thought nasty-jargon enough as is) compare swallows and strangles among Ibsen translators. At the Public Domain Review, Jé Wilson relates the long history of French male delight in female decapitation and skull-hammering. Justin E. H. Smith considers the beaver. The Neurocritic triggers a bloom of cognitive sparks. Matt Cheney knocks around one of those west/burst years. Michael Peverett hits the road and British rails with Paul Simon and Terrance Hayes. ("America" is one of the three Paul Simon songs I like, but it always embarrasses me too. Puerility well-conveyed remains puerile. [PULL IN YOUR HEAD - WE'RE COMING TO A MISE EN ABYME])

* * *

Big business monkeys: Hoping to get lucrative stock options from a computer science degree is like hoping to get rich parents from an M.B.A.

* * *

A Valediction of his carbon footprint

Since thou and I sigh one another’s breath,
Whoe’er sighs most is cruellest, and hastes the other’s death.

* * *

Our Motto: If you build it, they will route the highway around it.

* * *

In production: Leopold & Loeb: The Birth of Modernist Epic from the Classicism of Amateurs

* * *

She's only a bird in a feathered cage.

* * *

Theme from The Vanishing

He was a grave digger
One way passage, oh
It took me so long
To find out
But I found out

(The best story in the anthology which published my first story was a "don't believe in Beatles" affair. I guess that's not very interesting but at least the story was.)

* * *



Your link to "I buried Paul" on on your "Bobbettes" page of 2003/04/28 must be changed to the official site for Paul and Jane Bowles as the site is NOT accurate and does not have the endorsement of the official site, which also serves as the official Jane Bowles site. The site is but one of numerous domains bought up by an English couple who never even wanted to meet Bowles during the 20 years they have visited Morocco. No one who knew the Bowleses personally, nor any other authoritative site, links to

Thank you for changing this to, which was established by the literary and musical heirs of the estate of Paul Bowles.

Best wishes,
administrator and webmaster for

We regret any inconvenience.

* * *

Ba-lue Mun-deii Ur-rah-tah: Reggie Hall says Perry Mason sold shoelaces. But that's not so. He sold Sweetheart Soap.

* * *

I've at least ensured that my wasted life was no great loss. If 'tweren't done, 'tweren't best done cheaply.

* * *

Critics rave

Hi! Hope you’re having a great day! My name is Cristina and I’m with the USA Drinking Team website. We’re a one-stop shop for all party needs, offering fun and cool stuff, from unique clothing, accessories, and other party products. We also have a blog where our readers can find cool ideas for get-togethers and all kinds of celebration. Party animals like us can get really creative when it comes to throwing parties, you know!

To give you a quick peek, here’s an example of the kind of content that we create: [...]

I realize we could work together at promoting both of our sites. Your site,, seems like it could be home to some of our articles as we may have similar audiences. I feel like your readers would enjoy our tips and articles and appreciate all things fun and festive. If you’d be willing to share our articles on your site, we would be more than happy to share your content, as well as any promotion or announcements that you may have, with our followers. Let me know if you’re up for something like this. Happy to answer any questions, so just shoot me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


"Pleasure is no fun."


Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.