Not So Kid Friendly

Gill returns to look at a topic we’ve covered before. This seems like a good example.

Have you ever been curious about the origins of those stories and rhymes we read, sang and chanted as children? They may leave you with nightmares. So from sleeping beauty being violated to some very racist songs, here are some childhood ruining things.

  1. The Sun, Moon, and Talia – Sleeping beauty in it’s more toned down form sees the prince kissing her awake after 100 years, but the original has a king who, taken by her beauty, violates her in her sleep. She only learns of the violation when one of her newborn twins sucks on her finger, breaking the curse.

  2. See Saw Margery Daw – I honestly don’t know much of this one, other than it basically details an impoverished family having to put their children into child labor and seems to be generally insulting to the poor, especially in the later verses.
  3. Pop goes the weasel – There are many different theories about where this song came from and what it means, one of which is that it tells the story of someone drinking away a family’s meager funds and having to sell his jacket.
  4. Turkey In The Straw – This one seems like a fun little ditty bluegrass bands would play to encourage square or round dancing at a barn dance and for the most part it is, but a version in 1916 was insulting to people of color stating “N word likes watermellon ha ha ha!” I know I will never look at this one the same way again.
  5. Ring Around The Rosie – If you went to nursery school or your parents had a book of nursery rhymes, that was probably a favorite. The truth is much darker and far less fun. It talks of the plague and a lack of germ knowledge, and at the end the death rights by a Catholic Priest.

    Note from Steve: I’ve heard this for years and had no reason not to believe it, but there are reasons to believe that it’s probably wrong.

  6. Here we go round the mulberry bush – Sounds like the recipe for good parents giving their youngsters instructions about how to do things. No such luck, it was actually a song prisoners in a British women’s prison sang to their children while in the exercise yard.

    Note from Steve: Or maybe it wasn’t. Nobody quite seems to know. Tracing things this old is hard sometimes, you guys.


  7. Jack And Jill – I don’t mean the one where they go up the hill with a buck and a quarter. I mean the mother goose version. Here are two possible versions of how it came to be. One involved two untrue spouses in early 17th century England who conceived an illegitimate child, while another later version talks about the French Revolution and the deaths of Louis the 16th and his wife.
  8. Peter Peter pumpkin eater- I thought little of this one as a child, but now in researching this it smacks more of Dateline or one of those crime scene shows. A theory is that Peter was fed up with his wife’s cheating ways and murdered her putting her remains in a pumpkin shell.

  9. The Blue Tale Fly – I, not fully understanding the meaning of it, had this particular ditty on a record when I was small. You know “Jimmy cracked corn and I don’t care?” Well, let’s just fast forward the clock thirty-five years when a grown me finds out the meaning. This is actually a mockery song performed by some white dudes in blackface pretending to be slaves in the pre-civil war southern US. In essence what it’s trying to convey is that sadistic master would have slave slap flies from him as he rode his horse, and one day master was knocked off his spooked horse and met his end. Oops.
  10. Peter Pan – Written by J. M. Barrie around the dawn of the 20th century, it talks of a boy who doesn’t age or grow up. My mother saw an incarnation on TV at her grandmother’s home in 1954, but what the Mary Martin classic left out was the fact that Peter saw Wendy as a mother figure, but Wendy had developed romantic feelings for him.
  11. Snow White – The 1937 Disney movie is a far cry from the original. In that version, the wicked queen successfully kills Snow by poisoning, and rather than a kiss the passing enchanted prince bargains with the dwarfs to let him take her body home. As the prince’s servants carry her coffin made of glass, they drop it, dislodging the apple from her throat and bringing her back to life. She then goes off to marry the prince and live happily ever after without even considering how weird it is that he tried to buy a dead body.
  12. Mary Mary quite contrary – It seems innocent enough. A poem filled with pretty things. But wait, I am about to ruin this for you. Mary is thought to be the devoutly Catholic queen of England, the garden talked about smacks more of a killing field, and the bells, shells, and maidens are all torture devices. A thumb screw, genital mutilator, and early beheading device.
  13. London Bridge – You probably played this with some friends or in a group with linked arms trying to trap people, but you may not want any youngster playing it now. One theory is that the song and actions refer to the tradition of sacrificing children by encasing them in structures to ensure their safety and stability. Yes, when you dropped your arms you didn’t know that you were symbolizing that, did you?
  14. Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your long hair – Where do I begin with this? Well, a witch kidnaps a young girl, locks her in a tower, a prince rides by, knocks her up, and she is banished. The prince is pushed from the tower, blinded, and forced to wander the desert. When he finds his beloved, her tears restore his sight.

  15. Goosey Goosey Gander – I was never read this one as a child, but in researching this it did come up. About 450 years ago in England there was a push to convert everyone from Catholicism to Protestantism, and Catholics were forced to take desperate measures to practice their faith. This meant hiding priests in priest holes. Catholics were referred to as Left Footers, but that’s not what it meant when it said “I grabbed him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.” The punishment was a gruesome form of death.

  16. Never Laugh when the hearse goes by – Often a little rhyme spoken at Halloween, this actually hearkens back to WW I and possibly even earlier. Its purpose is to remind children albeit in a gruesome way to respect the dead.

Questions

Do you know much of the dark or sordid origins of your favorite childhood song or rhyme? What was your favorite book as a child? Are there any cartoons, books, or movies from when you were a kid that probably would at the very least be frowned upon now?

They Should Have Sett It Up To Play Hit The Road Jack


Hey guys, what if we built rumble strips into this here road so that whenever somebody drives on it their tires will make it play a song?

It should have taken 20, maybe 30 seconds of thought tops after the chuckles and the I wonder how easy it would bes died down to figure out that even though it might sound kind of fun on paper, long term, a singing road is a terrible, terrible idea. But apparently people just don’t have time for that kind of brain investment. There are, after all, roads to build.

Created by strategically laid “rumble strips” as a way of livening up journeys across the flat landscape, the novelty has worn thin for locals who say the constant droning melody is driving them mad.
The tune is created when car tyres drive over the strips — which are usually deployed at the side of major roads to warn drivers they are straying off course.
If hit at the correct speed — the 60kph limit — the road will sing out the anthem of the Friesland region, a northern part of the Netherlands that has a distinct language and culture.

“Last Saturday night the taxis were driving from Leeuwarden to Stiens, and on the way back they tried to go across the lines as quickly as possible and we had the anthem played all night at high speed,” local resident Ria Jansma said.

Thankfully somebody did finally have an ah ha moment after the almost immediate backlash, and the strips, which are reported to have cost nearly $100,000, have since been removed.

Now That’s What I Call Songs Sung To The Tune Of “Two Princes” By The Spin Doctors 5

Matt, without whom none of us would be here and whose podcast you should listen to and maybe even Patronize if you haven’t already, threw this at me while we were talking on Twitter. Don’t ask me to explain it, just enjoy it in all of its wonderful stupidity.

Do you like all kinds of songs, but wish they all sounded like “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors? This is the compilation album for you!

This video was made in a day for the Sketch Cram show at UCB East in New York, a monthly show where New York’s best sketch writers and performers create a show in a day and perform it that night.

Written by Jason Saenz, directed and edited by Benjamin Apple, vocals by Zack Poitras, voiceover by Benjamin Apple.

I Want To Eat AT Wendy’s Right Now In Spite Of The Fact That This Is How They Train People

I don’t have a whole lot to say about this load of Wendy’s employee training videos I’m about to drop on you, but I do have to ask: Do restaurants still make these things? If yes, how does anyone ever learn to do anything correctly?

Oh. Right. Never mind.

Yes, that was partly a shot at some of the terrible service I’ve been on the wrong end of in my day, but also a genuine question. I’m sure on some level they’re instructional and that eventually you’ll find yourself singing about where to put your lemon, but how long does that take? How many times do you have to watch one of these before it stops being ridiculous and starts being helpful? And how long does it take to go from helpful to haunting your thoughts whether you’re sleeping or awake?

Alright, let’s learn how to make and serve some stuff!

First up, cold drinks in what sounds like the style of a rapped Paula Abdul tune.

It’s just good sense to follow that up with hot drinks. I can’t pick out who specifically they had in mind stylistically here, because for a while in the 80s this is what everything sounded like.

We need to give those drinks something to wash down, so why not some chili or maybe a kids’ meal? I didn’t realize Wendy’s had chili way back in whatever decade this song is meant to represent. I don’t remember having a chili at Wendy’s until the late 90s, but Google is giving me the sense that they’ve always had it.

And of course nothing is more important than your grill skills. So important are they that this one’s a 2-parter. And my god, what a 2-parter it is. There’s a bad Robert Palmer impression, Dave Thomas showing up to repeatedly pronounce the word fashioned in a distracting way that he either coached out of his voice later or that I’ve totally forgotten, some acting straight out of every educational film you’ve ever seen and the obligatory rappin’ and weird ass music video.

And in case you’re overwhelmed by all of that like our hero Bill here, let’s talk through the rap song before…oh, just watch.

I want to go to Wendy’s now. Anybody else? I haven’t had a Frosty in ages.

Chucking My CD Collection Seems Like A Great Idea Until It Doesn’t

When I put up Gill’s last thing, I also went off on a bit of a side tangent about physical CDs and how I don’t have much use for them anymore. As often happens, one of the next things I saw completely out of the blue was a post on that very subject.

The consensus there seems to be good lord no, you’ll regret it, but that’s not much of a surprise considering the source. It’s Alan Cross’ website, and he and the people who frequent it tend to take their music and their collecting of it quite seriously. But though I’m not so much a serious collector as I am a guy with a decent amount of music kicking around, I think they’re right. As much as the thought of dragging hundreds of these damn things around if/when we move again pains me and although I rarely if ever dig one out and listen to it instead of hitting Spotify or whatever, I can’t bring myself to ditch them like I did my VHS tapes last move. Not a single day has gone by that I truly miss those, but I can’t imagine feeling the same way about all the music.

I don’t get attached to artwork or liner notes since I can’t really look at them, but there’s still a specialness (pretty sure that’s not a word) about the objects that a digital file could never quite replace. Some of those CDs have fun memories attached to them, like visits to big cities with their awesome, gigantic record stores or the joy and sense of accomplishment I felt when I finally got my hands on something I didn’t think I would ever find. Music discovery algorithms can be quite fantastic and I’m certainly not saying that there’s no joy whatsoever in finding something you didn’t know you were looking for that way, but I have yet to feel the same feelings because of Discover Weekly that I do when I flip through the CD collection and think back to rummaging through bins at one of the local secondhand shops and finding that someone had just gotten rid of something that I could now take a chance on for cheap.

So unless I have a fit of fuck it fever one day and get rid of everything before I have time to think, I guess I’m stuck with these things. That’s probably ok, at least for as long as they get to stay where they are.

My Nerd Palace

Gill is imagining what her dream house would look like. I haven’t thought about mine in so long that the last time I did, the main feature was going to be a giant room dedicated to nothing but my music collection. But thinking about it now, I could probably use that room for something else. In the last decade I’ve been given more physical albums than I’ve bought. I think I can count the number of CDs I’ve purchased for myself on one hand and still have fingers left over. I used to be attached to the idea of holding something in my hand, but now, with very few exceptions, I do not give the first damn about that. I’m all about digital and streaming nowadays. Sure there’s a risk that content gets pulled or that the store you bought your albums from goes out of business and you can’t get a redownload if you need one *coughcough* HMV Digital *coughcough*, but generally it hasn’t been a big problem, plus it’s nice not to have to find new places to put everything or lug more and more crap around every time you move. And we haven’t even gotten into the problem of disc rot. For all I know I could be sitting next to a shelf full of garbage right now.

People have, on occasion, asked me what my dream home would look like. Well, stick around and I will tell you about Nerd Palace.

Main Floor

When you come inside, don’t forget to take off your shoes. You can put on some slippers if you need to.

Take a turn to the left to my kitchen. It’s inspired by one of my favorite things, my love for trying new foods. There are Southeast Asian style curtains, the flooring is wood from here in Canada, and the walls are painted to look like an African sunset.

Heading down the hall to the right we see the “chill room.” here we have a stereo system with cool jazz playing. This room is done in turquoise and sea foam.

Now we head further down the hall to the first “rumpus room.” this has an actual repurposed 1980’s arcade with only the classic games like Asteroids and space invaders.

The Basement

Now let’s head on downstairs. Here is where the true nerding out happens! In one section we have a theater room just waiting for people to kick back with anything, Back To The Future, Star Wars, you pick. Right in the thick is a virtual reality set. You can wear the helmets and head as far into history or the future as you like. And of course no nerd palace is complete with out tons of wifi.

Upstairs

Although mostly private, I will show you two rooms. My quiet room is where I go to think, do Bible study, or just be alone. Now my sleeping quarters. My room is painted in my two fave colors, olive and black.

Now You Know

Thank you for stopping into this virtual tour of my dream home. Feel free to tell me about yours.

I Have Loose Lips, Doo Doo Doo Doo…

Ever since Dave left CJOY, we haven’t had the desire to listen to it in the mornings anymore. I’m sure the guy who replaced him is trying his level best, but he’s just not Dave and it shows. So, we started listening to CKWR, and it’s kind of fun because they have so much more freedom. I have heard some really wacky stuff in the mornings, some of which I’ve never heard before, and it gets the day started nicely.

Among the songs I’ve never heard before is this one by Alfie Zappacosta called “Start Again”. We have previously had the poor bus stranger, now we have the poor long-time friend.

Here, have some lyrics.

I don’t believe it, how have you been it’s been a long time
Nice to see you again
What you been up to, you look well to me
Come down to my place
I’ll pull out some cheer and we’ll talk again. it’s nice to talk again
My brother, he was doing o.k. he worked in plastics
Made a good wage
Too much pressure to be faced everyday and so his problems
Got carried away
And he gets to the booze once too often
Don’t know why he wants to get so high.
He stays up, while things go down
In good time he’ll come around
Easy come and easy go
Do, do, do, do, do,
I can’t seem to stop him he just starts again
He just starts again
Did i tell you, bout the love of my life
You know she left me, it cut like a knife
Another story, so you can see
Though we’re apart now, she’s still dear to me
Can there still be respect for one another
And can we still sleep together once in a while
We stay up, while things go down
In good time we’ll come around
Easy come and easy go
Do, do, do, do, do,
It seems when we’re broken
We just start again
We just start again
It’s nice to talk again
As we start again

Wow! Can you imagine getting that onslaught? “Hey! Nice to see ya! You look good. Let’s go have a drink! Oh by the way, speaking of drinks, my brother drinks too much and he’s cracking under the pressure, but everything will work out somehow. Oh, and my wife left me. But I still want to sleep with her. La la la la la. So nice to catch up!”

I wonder if this poor long-lost acquaintance wrote an answer song. Hopefully their life hasn’t been nearly so turbulent.

I Will Go…Nowhere Near This Ever Again!

I was in a cab, and this atrocity assaulted my ears.

Uuuuuuuuuug!

I could end this post right here, because that is a horrible version of a beautiful song, but there is so much more I have to say.

First, just in case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the original.

I’m not usually a fan of opera-like stuff, but this song has a very special place in my heart that starts with neighbour Cam who passed away nearly 13 years ago. Before he died, he lent me the Andrea Bocelli Romanza album, simply saying he liked it. I listened to it, and though it wasn’t my style, I gave it a chance, and some songs did sort of crawl into my head. You know how I feel about merrily singing foreign songs without knowing what they mean, so I read translations of the lyrics. From what I understand, although Con Te Partirò means “I will go with you” if taken literally, its true meaning is something like “We have to part ways, but I will be with you in spirit.” When they translated the title, they changed it to “Time to say goodbye.”

When my neighbour passed away, this song was played at his funeral, and I learned that he would listen to that whole album while he was getting radiation treatments, and he said it sounded like he was being sung to by angels. I went out and bought the album, and sometimes I listen to it and think of him. Do you see why this version made me want to scream?

I understand that anybody can cover a song any way they like, and some covers are really cool. This, to me wasn’t an example of cool. Not only did it sound cheap, but the words came straight out of opposite land. If you don’t believe me, read the translation of Bocelli’s version.

When I’m alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not with me, with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.
Time to say goodbye
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer.
It’s time to say goodbye…
When you are far away
I dream on the horizon
And words fail,
and, Yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me,
with me, with me, with me.
Time to say goodbye
To countries I never
Saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
On ships across seas
Which, I know,
No, no, exist no longer;
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you,
I with you.

Now, here are the butchered lyrics that were set to that techno garbage that I heard:

Stranded alone on a sea of emotion
You found me
Your love was a light
In the darkness that shone
So profoundly
Say that you’ll stay
Do not be afraid, afraid
You, you’re my breath
The air I breathe
You are my imagination
Su le finesse
Song of my heart
Secrets I’m not afraid to whisper

Con te partiro
I’ll go where you lead me
Wherever you are
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together
I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together

Stranded alone on a sea of emotion
You found me
It’s you who first found me
Come here, come here
Put your arms around me,
Come here
It’s you who surrounds me
Come here, come here
Come here
Come here
You, you’re my breath
The air I breathe
You are my imagination
Su le finesse
Song of my heart
Secrets I’m not afraid to whisper

I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together
Con te partiro
I’ll go where you lead me
Wherever you are
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together
I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
(forever and ever we’ll stay)
In love together

Con te partiro
I’ll go where you lead me,
Wherever you are
I will go with you
I’ll go where you lead me
Forever true
In my…
Heart!

Um, barf! One is saying they can’t be with someone anymore and they may never see them again and the other is just being all “smoochy smoochy I’ll follow you like a loyal puppy.” Barf!

And if that wasn’t bad enough, in some places, they channelled their inner Ken Lee, farted in some ducks, and just made up words. I am pretty sure there is no reference to “say that you’ll stay” in the English translation of the Italian, but the Italian lyrics sure kind of sound like that. also, all the “come here”‘s to sub in for con me, which means “with me”, annoyed the living hell out of me.

Am I the only one who cares? Have I become an old woman who is out of touch? Does this bother anyone else? Or should I lighten up?

I’m Sure There Must Be Worse Baseball Songs, But Marlins Will Soar Is Way Up There

Oh my sweet Jesus in heaven, what in the hell is this and how has it escaped me for eight years? And perhaps more importantly, how do I unhear it and get it to go away again?

Woof. That sure is a lot of awful to cram into a minute and 47 seconds. But at the same time, you cannot argue that it is anything but a tune befitting a bad team with even worse ownership. A team such as the Miami Marlins, in whose name it was written back in 2010.

Yes, that is in fact Scott Stapp A.K.A. that Creed guy word vomiting random baseball related syllables over a backing track he likely wrote in 1998. I don’t know if he was paid actual money for it (it seems likely considering the Marlins history of great business decisions), but it does appear that he was compensated in the form of free tickets for life and the ability for his kids to be bat boys whenever they wanted. That’s nice for the kids I guess, but why does this damn team hate the rest of us so much?

Let’s play ball, it’s game day
We want strikeouts, base hits, double plays
Take the field, hear the roar of the crowd
Come on Marlins, make us proud
Keep hoping and dreaming and you will soar
With a little faith and love, you will soar
One strike, two strikes, swing away
A diving catch, a stolen base
A perfect game, a triple play
Another play-off race—YES!
World Series chance we’ll [unintelligible scream]

I think it’s “World Series champs you’ll be,” but “unintelligible scream” sums the team up much better, so let’s just go with that.

It Wasn’t Me, Featuring Shaggy As President Trump

Even Shaggy is doing Trump parody songs now.

Yes, that is the actual Shaggy in the role of Donald Trump singing his own song with James Corden’s Robert Mueller as the two make jokes about the leader of the free world without having to really exaggerate anything. What times we live in.

Thankfully someone has already written out the lyrics. I wasn’t looking forward to Carin feeling like she should do it and then actually doing it. It’s getting harder for my formidable laziness to sit on and crush my guilt when that happens.