December 31, 2011

Should “Auld Lang Syne” lyrics be forgot, sing a parody version…

You can read about the origin of the lyrics of “Auld Lang Syne” on my blog. In tonight’s post on, I offer some of my favorite alternative lyrics. Happy New Year!


“When Socrates in Ancient Greece
Sat in his Turkish bath
He rubbed himself, and scrubbed himself
And steamed both fore and aft.
He sang the songs the sirens sang
With Oscar and Shakespeare
We’re here because we’re queer
Because we’re queer because we’re here.

The highest people in the land
Are for or they’re against
It’s all the same thing in the end
A piece of sentiment.
From Swedes so tall to Arabs small
They answer with a leer
We’re here because we’re queer
Because we’re queer because we’re here.” 
       Brendan Behan (1923-1964)
       Irish playwright, poet and novelist
       The best-known song from his play
The Hostage (1958)


“We’re here because we’re here because
We’re here because we’re here
We’re here because we’re here because
We’re here because we’re here.”   
       World War I song of unknown origin,
sung by British soldiers to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”


“If all the lyrics are forgot
Right after the first line
Don’t worry ‘cause alone, you’re not
That’s how you sing “Lang Syne”!

Now all the lyrics are for naught
We butcher “Auld Lang Syne”!
We drink a couple Jaeger bombs
(Now drunk out of our minds!)

Now awl the lyrics are forga
Wha-eva comes 2 mind (hic!)
Shoo awful lyr-er uh uh what?
Blah blah blah blah lang syne! (blaaarrgh!)”
       The parody song “Old Lame Song”
on the website by “Red Ant”


“Let drinking rum now be forgot,
And never brought to mind;
Let drinking rum now be forgot,
And cider, beer, and wine.

For rum and beer we pay full dear,
With rosy nose and eyes;
We'll take a glass of water now,
For sure we're growing wise.”
       Anti-drinking song
published in the Signal of Liberty newspaper (Ann Arbor, MI) in 1842


“We’re Here Because We’re Not All There!”
       Slogan on a button sold by
the Wooden U Recover website, which sells “recovery” merchandise to people on the wagon.

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Related listening and reading…


November 22, 2011

“The shot heard round the world.”


“The shot heard round the world.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
       American poet, essayist and lecturer
       This famous line is from Emerson’s poem
“Hymn Sung at the Completion of the Concord Monument.” It comes at the end of the first verse:
“By the rude bridge that arched the flood, 
              Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, 
              Here once the embattled farmers stood 
              And fired the shot heard round the world.”

       Emerson wrote the poem in 1836 for a ceremony to celebrate the completion of a monument to the American “Minutemen” who fought at
the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. These skirmishes between rebellious Americans and British troops on April 19, 1775 are generally regarded as the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
       That morning, some 700 British Army regulars were marching through Lexington toward Concord to confiscate an illegal weapons arsenal stored there by the Massachusetts militia. When the “Redcoats” got to Lexington, their way was blocked by about 80 local militiamen. British Major John Pitcairn ordered the Americans to disperse, which they actually began to do. Then, suddenly, someone fired a shot. Nobody knew who it was. But, when it rang out, both sides started firing at each other and the American Revolution was underway. 
At the official dedication of the Concord Monument on July 4, 1837, Emerson’s poem was sung to the tune of a hymn called “The Old Hundredth,” a.k.a. “The Old 100th” or “The Old Hundred.” (Hence the use of the word “hymn” in the title.) His memorable phrase “the shot heard round the world” created a phrase formula that has since been used to refer to various other things that generate wide attention or notoriety. For example…


“The divorce heard round the world.”
Perez Hilton
       American celebrity news blogger and “television personality”
Hilton’s description of “reality star” Kim Kardashian’s divorce from NBA player Kris Humphries, ten weeks after their offensively lavish, apparently made-for-TV wedding brought joy to the hearts of millions of celebrity-obsessed people — and to the pocketbooks of TV shows and tabloid magazines and websites that cover such stuff.


“The brain fart heard round the world.”
       Jon Stewart
       American comedian and host of The Daily Show
       Stewart’s description
(on The Daily Show) of Rick Perry’s “oops moment” during the November 9, 2011 Republican presidential candidate debate, when Perry said he would abolish three federal agencies if elected but was unable to name all three. Some commentators called it “the oops moment heard round the world.”


“The blooper heard round the world.”
       TIME magazine, October 18, 1976
       TIME’s description of the major gaffe by President Gerald Ford during the October 6, 1976 presidential debate with Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter, when Ford claimed “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” In fact, the Soviet Union clearly dominated a number of countries in Eastern Europe at the time, including East Germany, Yugoslavia, Rumania and Poland. The remark made Ford seem clueless about international politics. He later admitted he’d misspoken. Carter won the election.

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Related reading and viewing…

October 19, 2011

“Religion is the opium of the people.”


“ the opium of the people.”
(“Die das Opium des Volks.”)
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
       German philosopher, historian and “Founding Father” of socialism and communism
       From the introduction to his manuscript
Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1844)
       The quote above (sometimes translated as “ the opiate of the people” or “ the opium of the masses”) is the familiar condensed sound bite taken from the more nuanced point Marx made in the introduction to his critique of the views of German philosopher
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). Here’s what he actually wrote: “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.”


“Occupy Wall Street...ignited a month ago after a prompt from AdBusters, a not-quite-underground magazine based in Toronto that wraps its anti-corporate message — hyper-consumption is the opiate of the people — in high-definition, high-gloss irony. (It is rather delicious that the counterattack to the vast class war waged for so long by the American right wing and its corporate masters was hatched under Canadian sponsorship. The last time Canada provided such a public service was when it harbored Vietnam-era draft resisters.)”
       Editorial in
The Boston Phoenix, October 17, 2011


“Is talking about the economy becoming the opiate of the classes?”
Rev. Michael Bresciani
       American minister, author and conservative columnist
one of his recent columns on the RenewAmerica website, September 25, 2011


“We might not have free education, healthcare, or affordable housing but at least we have the ‘freedom’ to pay for unlimited access to online pornography. But what is this tawdry freedom really? Surely the masturbating porn audience is a parody of sexuality. Work, consume, masturbate to porn, be silent, die. Pornography is the opium of the people.”
Dr. Abigail Bray
       Australian sociologist and author of the book
Misogyny Re-Loaded  
in an opinion piece published in The Sydney Morning Herald, October 8, 2011


“If religion is the opiate of the masses, then what the fuck is opium?”
Mason Lerner
       American stand-up comedian and freelance writer
       One of the 25 things Lerner said he cares about more than whether the NBA is going to have to cancel some games,
in his column on the FasterTimes website, October 17, 2001

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Related reading…

October 11, 2011

“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”


“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”
       Used in TV ads for
Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup by actors Chris Robinson and Peter Bergman
       This now oft-parodied confession was popularized by Vicks Formula 44 commercials that began airing in 1984. The original ads featured Robinson, who was best known at the time for his role as Dr. Rick Webber on the television soap opera General Hospital. In 1986, after Robinson was convicted of tax evasion, he was replaced in the Vicks ads by actor Peter Bergman, who was playing Dr. Cliff Warner on the soap All My Children.
       In a 1984 version of the Vicks commercial that’s currently
posted on YouTube with some other vintage ads from 1984, Robinson says: “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV. And, when many adults get a cough, they play doctor at home. They treat their cough with the same medicine they originally bought for their children. They need one of the adult formulas from Vicks, for the coughs adults get, with the strength adults need. Formula 44 for coughs. 44D for coughs with congestion. And, now, Formula 44M for coughs with congestion and a raw irritated throat. The adult formulas. You can't buy anything more effective.”
       Bergman’s initial ad for Vicks in 1986 was virtually identical.


“TV’s answer to Web MD, Dr. Mehmet Oz, ran a segment...claiming that his tests found high levels of arsenic in ‘some of the nation’s best known brands of apple juice.’ But because he’s a doctor AND he plays one on TV, the FDA says Dr. Oz’s tests were flawed and that he went overboard on the fearmongering.” 
Christopher Robbins
       American journalist and editor 
a Sept. 18, 2011 post on the Gothamist website about the recent flap over Dr. Oz’s claim that apple juice contained potentially unsafe levels of arsenic 
       Food and Drug Administration officials criticized Oz for using tests that do not distinguish between poisonous inorganic arsenic and naturally-occurring organic arsenic, which is found in soil and in many food products in minute levels and is not really a health threat. (If it were, we’d all be dead.)


“In her 2006 book Godless: The Church of Liberalism, pundit Ann Coulter attacked Democrats for being anti-religion and for faking religious faith. However, Coulter apparently is not a member or regular attendee of any church. Perhaps she should offer a disclaimer at every personal appearance: ‘I’m not a Christian, but I play one on TV, radio, and in books.’”
Brian Kaylor 
       Baptist journalist, blogger and book author
In his book For God’s Sake, Shut Up! Lessons for Christians on How to Speak Effectively (2007)


“I’m Not a Feminist But I Play One on TV”
       Susan Faludi 
       Feminist writer and activist  
       Title of
her oft-cited feminist article published in the March/April 1995 issue of Ms. magazine
       In the article, Faludi criticized so-called “third-wave feminists” and female celebrities who appear or claim to be “liberated” but who are more closely aligned with conservative, traditional values and views of women than with the values and views espoused by feisty feminists like Faludi. She called such women “Pod Feminists,” a metaphor based on the “pod people” in the classic sci-fi horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


“Heidi Montag may think she’s a feminist, but she definitely doesn’t play one on TV.”
Comment posted on the AolTV site by the editors of
       The comment is linked to’s
list of “The 20 Least Feminist TV Characters”
       Heidi Montag is best known as the star of MTV’s “reality” series The Hills and for her love of plastic surgery. The editors obviously disagreed with a previous New York Times review that had
called Heidi “a feminist hero.” (Heidi said she was “very honored” by being given that title.)

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Related reading…

September 25, 2011

“A kinder, gentler nation” – or maybe not...


“I want a kinder, gentler nation.”
George H. W. Bush  
       Republican politician and 41st President of the United States 
       This is one of three famous quotes from
the speech Bush gave on August 18, 1988 at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, accepting his nomination as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. That address, written by speechwriter Peggy Noonan, also included the memorable phrase “a thousand points of light” and Bush’s infamous pledge: “Read my lips: no new taxes.”
       In the part of the speech that included the soon oft-parodied words “a kinder, gentler nation,” Bush explained:
       “Prosperity with a purpose means taking your idealism and making it concrete by certain acts of goodness. It means helping a child from an unhappy home learn how to read - and I thank my wife Barbara for all her work in literacy. It means teaching troubled children through your presence that there's such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it's soft and insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved? Well I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation.”


“I like George Bush very much and support him and always will. But I disagree with him when he talks of a kinder, gentler America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it's literally going to cease to exist. I think if we had people from the business community — the Carl Icahns, the Ross Perots — negotiating some of our foreign policy, we’d have respect around the world.”
       Donald Trump
       American businessman, reality TV celebrity and unreal presidential candidate
an interview published in the March 1990 issue of Playboy magazine


“We got a thousand points of light
For the homeless man
We got a kinder, gentler
Machine gun hand...
Keep on rockin’ in the free world.”

Neil Young
       Canadian rock musician and songwriter 
       These lyrics come from Young’s popular, politically-charged rock anthem “Rockin’ in the Free World,” released in 1989. He originally wrote the song to express his opinions about the political policies of President George H. W. Bush and what he viewed as an increasingly meaner, harsher America. Young still performs it with great passion today and many of the lyrics seem as relevant as ever. Maybe even more relevant.


“I think they were hoping for a kinder, gentler Dick Cheney, and I listened to what they had to say, and then I ignored their advice.”
       Dick Cheney
       Republican politician and U.S. Vice President under President George W. Bush
       Cheney made this comment in his memoir, In My Time (2011). It describes
his response when campaign consultants working for Bush asked him not to use harsh rhetoric attacking Democrats during his speech at the 2000 Republican convention, due to their concerns that Cheney would alienate moderate swing voters. Of course, the consultants’ concerns were unfounded. Dubya went on to win the 1988 presidential election by a huge landslide over Gore and moderates came to love Cheney. Nah — just kidding.


“Market forces are not kinder and gentler to technologies just because we prefer them.”
       Scott L. Montgomery
       Geologist, author and faculty member at the University of Washington, Seattle
       Commenting on renewable energy sources in his book The Powers That Be: Global Energy for the Twenty-first Century and Beyond (2010)

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Related reading (and listening)…

September 10, 2011

No peace (or rest) for the wicked…


“There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.”
       Isaiah 48:22 (King James version)
This Bible verse, and the similar line in Isaiah 57:20, gave rise to the proverbial saying “No rest for the wicked,” which eventually morphed into “No rest for the weary.” The meaning of the Bible verses is that people who do sinful, wicked things will be tormented and won’t be able to find peace in their lives.


“In this Kingdom of Evil,
There is no peace for the Righteous.
It is the wicked that inherited
This tortured World, engulfed
In the red, milky, cry-absorbing fog,
Guarding the wilted conscience of man.”
       Holocaust survivor Alexander Kimel
       In his poem
“We Will Never Forget – Auschwitz”


“They say there’s not rest for the wicked. But what about the good? The battle of Good vs. Evil is never-ending because evil always survives, with the help of evil men.”
       Daredevil (played by Ben Affleck)
       In the movie
Daredevil (2003)


“There is no peace for the thinker, unless in some way he learns the wisdom of Professor FE Abbott’s dictum, ‘Either we must cease to think, or we must think more profoundly.’”
       Editorial in The Andover Review (June 1892)


“There is no peace for the politician save in the grave.”
       Augustine Birrell
       In his
biography of William Hazlitt (1902)


“There is no rest for the undead!”
       T-shirt on

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A book of quotes for Rolling Stones fans:

What Would Keith Richards Do?

by Jessica Pallington West

August 28, 2011

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”


“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”
Nathan Hale (1755-1776)
       American schoolteacher, spy and Revolutionary War hero
       According to legend, Hale uttered this brave quote on September 22, 1776, just before he was hung by the British for being an American spy. According to modern historians, he probably didn’t say it. If he did, he was probably paraphrasing an earlier quote from Joseph Addison’s play Cato (1713), which was popular in the 1770s and almost certainly known to Hale. In Act IV, Scene 4 of the play, Cato says: “What pity is it / That we can die but once to serve our country!”


“I regret that I have but one life to give. I want more lives!”
Stephen Colbert
       American political satirist
his intro to the June 5, 2008 episode of The Colbert Report


“I only regret that I have but one shirt to give for my country.”
Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989)
       American political activist and leader of the Yippies
His response in October 1968 after being found guilty of the “crime” of wearing an American flag shirt.


“I only regret that I have but one liver to give for my country.”
Fred Chapin (1929-1969)
       American diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Guatemala and Ethiopia
       Chapin, famous for his ability to drink a bottle of Scotch and still give a lucid interview, is generally credited with coining this quip. It’s
said to be well-known in Foreign Service circles.


“I only regret that I have but nine lives to give for my Cheez-site.” 
       Posted by
       Another one of those cute LOLcat photo/quotes

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Related reading:

August 10, 2011

“Let them eat cake” – the misinterpreted origin, recent political uses and some politically incorrect variations...


“Let them eat cake.” (“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”)

       Attributed to
Marie Antoinette (1755-1793)
       Queen of France from 1774 to 1792; beheaded in 1793 in the wake of the French Revolution 
       This classic expression of disdain for the common people has traditionally been attributed to Marie Antoinette. She supposedly said it when she was told that most French people were do poor they were unable to buy bread to eat.
Many scholars now doubt that she actually said it. Moreover, if she did say the line as traditionally given in French — “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” — it has long been mistranslated and possibly misunderstood. In English, those words actually mean “Let them eat brioche,” referring to a bakery product that is not what we usually think of as a “cake.” Brioche is a light, fluffy pastry with a flaky crust. As explained by the excellent Phrase Finder site, French law in Marie Antoinette’s time required bakers to sell fancier products like brioche at the same price as a common loaf of bread, to prevent them from using too much of the limited flour supplies to make products that would typically be more profitable to the bakery but unaffordable to poor French families. Thus, “Let them eat brioche” could have been an expression of compassion rather than disdain, suggesting that poor people should have access to a product they would have been unable to afford without price controls.


“While chastising the Republicans for not agreeing to a debt ceiling deal that would include his suggestions to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits, President Obama said Congressional members needed to do their work, reach a deal and just ‘eat their peas.’...While no one knows for sure if Marie Antoinette ever really said, ‘Let them eat cake,’ we do know the elite in France all those years ago in the 1700s were clueless to the cries of people who couldn't afford bread much less the cake they had been admonished to eat. It appears that in 2011 in the United States of America, we can now replace that admonition with our own: ‘Let them eat their peas.’”
Donna Smith
       Healthcare reform activist and Founder of American Patients United
       In an
opinion piece posted on on July 18, 2011


“Now, once again the reincarnated Marie Antoinette Michele Bachmann is screaming from the floor of the House of Representatives and from Iowa televisions ‘I will not raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. Let them eat corn!’ If the GOP once again drive the country and the world into a financial ditch can martial law and a fascist dictatorship in the United States be far behind?”
Karen Fish
       Freelance blogger
an op-ed posted on site on July 23, 2011


“Let Them Eat Pussy”
       Title of
the 1998 debut album by the “psychobilly” rock band Nashville Pussy


“I saw this video once, yeah, they was all dressed up like Marie Antoinette. Well, they wore the wigs. Let Them Eat Cock it was called.”
Fraser Ayres
       As the character Clint,
in an episode of the BBC comedy TV series The Smoking Room (2004–2005)

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