“My hat, it has three corners…”

I learned this song as a child, as many of us probably did at camp or elsewhere.

My hat, it has three corners,
Three corners has my hat.
And had it not three corners,
It would not be my hat!

Or, in German:

Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken,
Drei Ecken hat mein Hut,
Und hätt er nicht drei Ecken,
So wär es nicht mein Hut.

It’s sung to an old Italian folk tune, “The Carnival of Venice“:

Only recently, thanks to a Facebook post by a respected friend and colleague, did I learn that the tune has a lot more attached to it than one simple verse.

The starkly minimalist play by Samuel Beckett, “En Attendant Godot” (Waiting for Godot) contains the following song in French, which is endlessly iterative:

Un chien vint dans l’office
Et prit une andouillette;
Alors à coups de louche
Le chef le mit en miettes.

Les autres chiens en ce voyant
Vite vite l’ensevelirent
Au pied d’une croix en bois blanc
Où le passant pouvait lire:

Un chien vint dans l’office…

A dog went into the kitchen
And stole a piece of bread;
The cook came out with a ladle
And beat him till he was dead.

Then all the dogs came running
And dug the dog a tomb,
And wrote upon the tombstone
For the eyes of dogs to come:

A dog went into the kitchen… (repeat forever)

There are other translations of this song as well; some claim that the German version is the original, which Beckett appropriated for his play:

Ein Mops kam in die Küche
Und stahl dem Koch ein Ei.
Da nahm der Koch den Löffel
Und schlug den Mops entzwei.

So kamen alle Möpse
Und gruben ihm ein Grab
Und setzten einen Grabstein,
Auf dem geschrieben stand:

Ein Mops kam in die Küche…

(Like most folk songs, there are numerous versions with slightly varying words; there is a bawdy German song, non-iterative, that begins “Ich bin ein junges Weibchen” that uses the same melody as well.)

And here’s the Hebrew version:

אל המטבח בא כלב
ועצם שם חטף
אז הטבח חבט בו
הרג אותו עם כף

כל הכלבים אז באו
וקבר לו חפרו
ומצבה הקימו
עליה הם כתבו:

אל המטבח בא כלב…

El hamitbach ba kelev
Ve-etzem sham chataf
Az hatabach chavat bo
Harag oto im kaf.

Kol haklavim az ba’u
Vekever lo chafru
Umatzeva hekimu
Aleiha hem katvu.

El hamitbach ba kelev…

It is interesting to note that all of these versions can be sung to the same tune, although it is not always used in every interpretation of “Godot.”

The concept of the eternally iterating song poked my memory, and I recalled that when I was a young child, my mother and I would end up rolling in laughter after doing this one for what seemed like hours:

Twas a dark and stormy night!
Three robbers sat in a cave!
“Tell us a story!” said one,
And this is how it begun:

‘Twas a dark and stormy night…

Mother was an actress, and a good one – so every iteration took on a different character when it was her turn.

Finally, there’s this gem written by writer/composer Norman Martin in 1988:

Be grateful. Be grateful, I say, that I didn’t choose to post the 10-hour version!

Many thanks to my colleagues in the translation community for the various versions (whom I shall not name unless they tell me they wish to be identified!)

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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The “Not Weird Al” Page

Resurrecting this page from the Internet Archive for easier access (not everyone knows how to find the Wayback Machine, or that it even exists.)

This list of songs wrongly attributed to Weird Al Yankovic was written and maintained by Charles Ulrich and went offline on November 21, 2010. It is presented here as last seen, with one small edit for “Cat’s in the Kettle,” which is the original reason I fell down this rabbit hole. The original copyright statement has been preserved.

Songs Not Written by Weird Al Yankovic

artist confirmedartist unconfirmedartist unknown

12 Pains of Christmas Bob Rivers
50 Ways to Get Bin Laden Dean and Rog
All I’m Gonna Do Paul Shanklin
American Pie (Bill Clinton version)  
Another Brick in the Wall (Newt Gingrich)  
Answering Machine (Friends parody)  
A Salute to Breasts  
A**hole Son Bob Rivers
Baby Got Jack MC Sampler & White Honkey
Baby Got No Back  
Back That A** Up South Park, Big Gay Al
Ball Star Johnny Crass
Barney’s on Fire None of the Above
Beer Polka  
Bi Bi Bi  
Bimbo Number 5 The Morning Show @ Z100 Portland
Bomb Iraq Capitol Steps
Bong Song  
Born in East L.A. Cheech Marin
Burning Down the Church Bob Rivers
Cat’s in the Kettle Manic Larry
Baker (originally performed for American Comedy Network by Bob Rivers
Chewbacca, What a Wookie Supernova
Combo Number 5 David Brody @ Z100FM New York
Cows With Guns Dana Lyons
Darth Maul  
Dirty Deeds (Done with Sheep) Bob Rivers
Don’t Shoot Mr. Postman Bob Rivers
Don’t Touch That Laszlo & Gary
Elmo’s Got a Gun Tommy And Rumble
Eskimo Corky and the Juice Pigs
Freeballin’ Bob Rivers
F*** the Macarena MC Rage
Furby Prank Call  
Gettin’ Sticky With It  
Gilligan’s Titanic Island  
Gonorrhea (Macarena Parody)  
Goin Huntin The Arrogant Worms
Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck Da Yoopers
Heart Attack #5 John Mammoser
Hello, I Love You (Let’s get Tested for AIDS) Bob Rivers
Hooker on the Corner  
I Did it All for the Wookie  
If You Want To Be My Intern  
In A Gadda Da Vida Polka Scott Chapin
In A Gadda Da Vida Polka * Loose Bruce Kerr
Internet Sandman Johnny Crass
I Ran Over the Taco Bell Dog *  
Isle of Survivor My Hairy Brother
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) They Might Be Giants
I Wanna be a Stormtrooper The Anarchy Steering Committee
Kill the Wabbit Ozzy Fudd (Mark McCollum)
Killing My Software  
Last Vote for Al Gore Robomusic
Late Night With Letterman Robomusic
Let’s Go Smoke Some Pot Dash Rip Rock
Livin’ La Vida Homo R.J. from the Fishheads
Livin’ La Vida Yoda* Todd Downing
Make my Boobies One More Size David Brody @ Z100FM New York
McDonald’s Girl The Blenders (Cover)
Men in Brown  
Microsoft! (Bloatware) David Pogue
Microsoft Christmas  
Minimum Wage Bob Rivers
Mo Booty Mo Problems  
My DNA  
My Fart Will Go On  
My Girlfriend Died Tom Green
My Girlfriend is Inflatable John Mammoser
My Name is… Darth Vader  
Nine Coronas John Mammoser
Nine Inch Claws None of the Above
No Hoochies  
Oops I Farted Again * Bob Rivers
Oops I’m Pregnant Again  
Oops I S*** in my Pants  
Osama bin Laden Dead or Alive  
Parody of Another Brick in the Wall  
Pet Names for Genitalia Tom Green
Please Don’t Wear That Thong  
Rice, Rice, Baby Gary Thomas & Mark Jonathan Davis
Saddam Hussein (Chumbawumba parody)  
Secret Asian Man Da Vinci’s Notebook
She Gotta Pee  
SmokaBowla TechnoHippies
Stan  
Star Trek Rhapsody Hillman Morning Show
Star Trekkin’ The Firm
Star Wars Cantina Mark Jonathan Davis
Star Wars Gangsta Rap Bentframe
Star Wars (disco medley) Meco Monardo
Thank God I’m a Pubic Hair John Valby
The AOL Song Bob Rivers
The Beer Song Trey Parker & Matt Stone
The Bill Gates Song  
The Devil Went Down to Jamaica David Allen Coe
The Devil Went Down to Jamaica Travis Meyer
The Friends Song Parody  
The Microsoft Empire Strikes Back  
The Real Slim Santa Kevin & Bean @ 106.7 KROQ Los Angeles
The Taliban Can  
Thong Song  
Three Inch Tool Bob Rivers
Toast * Heywood Banks
Ugly Girl  
Ukrainian Woman  
Uncle F***er The South Park Movie Soundtrack
Vagina* Pig Vomit
What if God Smoked Cannabis Bob Rivers
Walk with an Erection* J.B.O.
Walking ‘Round in Women’s Underwear Bob Rivers
WarCraft Rap Quency
Weenie in a Bottle Hawaiian Ryan
Which Backstreet Boy is Gay The Morning Show @ Z100 Portland
Who Let the Cows Out The Waking Crew @ KYGO 98.5 Denver
Who Wants a Recount? Shamus and Brad @ KFTZ 103.3 Blackfoot
Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up* Emily Ellis @ KLUC 98.5 Las Vegas
Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up* (Male Vocalist)
With Legs Wide Open  
Windows 95 Sucks Bob Rivers
Wonderbra Bob Ricci
Wrong Foot Amputated Bob Rivers
Y.O.D.A. The Great Luke Ski
Yoda Sunscreen Mix 99.9FM Toronto
You’re a Porn Star (Parody of All-Star)  
Zelda* The Rabbit Joint

Footnotes:

In A Gadda Da Vida Polka:

Susan Carter tells me that the In A Gadda Da Vida Polka
performed by Scott Chapin is not the same as the one floating around the net.
If you want to be sure, you can download Scott Chapin’s version (linked above)
for free and compare it to what you have on your hard drive. UPDATE:
Susan appeared to be quite right. You see, Ellen Koenig alerted me
that the polka in question that has been floating around is by none other than
Loose Bruce Kerr, who apparently had (or maybe still has) an informal
working relationship with Dr. Demento and Weird Al. Another
mystery solved! This one is
reportedly the one being swapped around on the file sharing networks. It
features the artist playing an accordian solo while singing to the tune.
UPDATE: Steve also adds: Here’s how to determine which is
which. Scott Chapin’s (from the CD “Poseur of Polka”) is a direct
cover, with same melody and some parody lyrics. Bruce Kerr’s is a
parody of Livin’ La Vida Loca.

I Ran Over the Taco Bell Dog

Many folks have written in to say that this song was performed by Adam
Sandler
. Unfortunately, those folks are mistaken. I did at one point
have him listed as the artist of the song, and shortly after I received
a flood of emails from Sandler fans telling me that it was all a lie.
So far, there is not a shred of evidence that can link Sandler to this
song, and as such, it shall remain artistless for the time being.

Livin’ La Vida Yoda:

Jay Ward noted that there are two versions of this song. One version
is by Jimmy Fallon from a Saturday Night Live episode and the other,
reportedly more popular, version by Todd Downing. This
page
has some unofficial lyrics for the interested.

Oops I Farted Again:

There was, for a significant amount of time, some confusion as to who
wrote this. Some people said Bob Rivers,
others said the artists at Zthing.com
were the ones who created it. But now the truth shall be known! Patty
Brown
reports that the Bob Rivers version of the song is the same as that
used in the Zthing.com shockwave animation.

Vagina:

I’ve been receiving conflicting reports on the actual authors for this song.
I first attributed it to The Longpigs, who have their discography online.
Then, I get an email from Bastiaan Huisman who tells me that it’s
not, in fact, by The Longpigs, The Bloodhound Gang, or
Monty Python. (Being that they have a Penis Song, but not a
Vagina Song.) Justin Petrosek wrote in recently to let me know
that this song is probably Three Point One Four by The Bloodhound
Gang
because the song itself deals extensively with vaginas, but the song
title does not reflect so. If anyone has more evidence regarding this, please
send it on in. UPDATE: Adrian Mettler wrote with proof
saying that the version of the song he has is NOT by The Bloodhound Gang.
I’m listing this song as Artist Unknown until there some real proof on this one.
UPDATE: I received another email today, (which I accidently
deleted, sorry!) suggesting it may be by NOFX but I checked and that is
not the case either. UPDATE: YES! YES! YES! Confirmation at last!
Seth Christenfeld wrote in to say that he had to endure multiple playings
of this song by his camp-mates and even provided actual proof of THE REAL
ARTISTS OF THIS SONG, Pig Vomit. What a cozy name!

Toast:

Toast was a skit done live on the Bob & Tom national morning show. Although the artist / musician / clinically
insane guy behind the microphone sure sounds a lot like Al, it is not.
MP3 sharees often label this as an “extremely rare” Al recording. Well, I
guess it would be rather rare if he never performed it. Only recently was
Al a guest on the Bob & Tom show, but it was a satellite interview and he
performed no songs. The actual artist of this tune is Heywood Banks, a funny guy in his own
right.

Walk With an Erection

There has always been a certain amount of controversy surrounding this song. I would
get loads of emails claiming that WWAE was by The Swinging Erudites, but the
evidence just kept pointing to J.B.O. Finally, the German Amazon.de
proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that J.B.O. did the song because it had a sound clip
of WWAE, which appeared on their Explizite Lyrik album and this clip matched up
perfectly with the one that’s being shared under Al’s name. And so I thought the
mystery was solved until
Greg Urbaitis, member of The Swinging Erudites emailed me. He argued, of course,
that the Swinging E’s were the ones who did the song, and I wanted to be
well-armed for my rebuttal, so I dug a little deeper into the history of the song until
I ran across a web page that stated that the Swinging Erudites were the ones who
originally wrote and performed the song, which was then covered by Carson Sage,
which was in turn covered (and presumably translated) by J.B.O., making the
version appearing on this page a cover of a cover. Case closed. I hope.

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up:

Previously I had Christina Aguilera attributed to this one. I had her name
in mind as the artist of this song not only due to the many erroneous song
listings, but from at least one overheard conversation as well.
Jeremy set me straight: “The female version of Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up
was recorded by Emily Ellis for KLUC 98.5FM, Las Vegas, NV. The
intent was to make people think it was Christina Aguilera
singing, and apparently it worked.”
Perhaps someone should start a
Not-Christina Page?

Will the Real Slim Shady Please Shut Up (Male Vocalist):

I’ve been getting reports that there is definitely a version of this sung by a
male vocalist being traded under Weird Al’s name. I see that it’s also attributed to
Cletus T. Judd, but I can not yet find any solid evidence that he’s the true
artist.. UPDATE: Hmm. Nope, I was wrong. There are apparently *two*
(at least) entirely different versions of this song by a male vocalist. Fun, fun,
and more fun.

Zelda:

As cleverly shown in the Not-Al cross reference table below, this song is
often mistitled as The Legend of Zelda or Zelda Nintendo Theme.
It is neither of those, nor was it ever performed by System of a
Down
. You might say the guy in the song sounds like the lead vocalist from
SoaD, but personally I don’t see the resemblence except that they both like to
scream a lot. UPDATE: This song is performed by The Rabbit
Joint
. Case closed, it seems.

Song Title Cross References:

This list is a cross-reference for song titles that aren’t the actual title
for Weird Al songs. The column on the left shows the unofficial (wrong) name
and the one on the right is the reference to the actual (right) song title.

Al Songs

Wrong Title Right Title
Achy Breaky Heart Achy Breaky Song
Anakin Guy The Saga Begins
Batman Returns Cavity Search
Bohemian Rap City Bohemian Polka
Constipated A Complicated Song
I’m Fat Fat
Jedi Knight The Saga Begins
Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Headline News
Numb Me, Drill Me, Floss Me, Bill Me Cavity Search
Offspring Rendition Pretty Fly for a Rabbi
The Jedi Song The Saga Begins
There’s Something Weird in the Fridge Today Livin’ in the Fridge
Yabba Dabba Doo Bedrock Anthem

This list is a cross-reference of incorrect and correct titles for songs
not written by Al. The column on the left shows the unofficial (wrong)
name and the one on the right is the reference to the actual (right) song
title. To see the artists of these songs, look up the correct title
above in The List.

Not Al Songs

Wrong Title Right Title
All I Wanna Do (Bill Clinton) All I’m Gonna Do
I Like Small Butts Baby Got Jack
Bitchney Spears Make My Boobies One More Size
Hooker in a Bottle Hooker on the Corner
Let’s Bomb Iraq Bomb Iraq
I Like Big Butts Baby Got Jack
I Hate Big Butts Baby Got Jack
I’m the Only Gay Eskimo Eskimo
Metallica Against Napster Internet Sandman
Napster Land Internet Sandman
Star Wars Disco Star Wars: Title Theme (Disco Medly)
Survivor Parody Isle of Survivor
The Legend of Zelda Zelda
The Vagina Song Vagina
Zelda Nintendo Theme Zelda
Page design, content ©2002-2005 Charles Ulrich. All song titles are copyrighted by their respective holders.

The Old Wolf has spoken, with gratitude to Charles Ulrich.

Music: Chilling passages

If this were one of the notorious clickbait websites, the title of the article would be “Five Musical Passages That Will Give You an Orgasm!”

But I have an elemental aversion to clickbait, so I’ll just share a few musical pieces with you that are guaranteed to give me gooseflesh. No matter how many times I listen to them.

In passing, those chills you get when listening to whatever piece of music gives you a rush come from a release of dopamine, the same pleasure chemical responsible for the joys of food, sex, and other more substantive things.

Note: These are not listed in any particular order – all of them can be my favorite at any given moment.

1) Allegri’s Miserere

Wait for the high “C.” Something like having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick, if that sounds familiar and you can relate.

2) Liszt: Les Préludes

The part that makes me weep begins at 14:02, but the whole piece is like Sara Lee’s All-Butter Frozen Brownies to my soul.

3) Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (Pastorale)

This is the piece that was responsible for my first “music-gasm,” as it were, at a very young age – and Walt Disney is responsible. His use of this piece in the masterpiece Fantasia captivated me like nothing else had in my short 8 years.

The bit that always grabs me begins at 3:00 in the above clip, but the entire symphony is breathtaking. I know my parents listened to a lot of classical and broadway music when I was a baby, but this piece is the one that cemented my life-long love of classical music, and particularly that of Beethoven.

4) Barber: Adagio for Strings

Just this whole piece. If ever I feel like calling up melancholy anguish for the sorrows of the world, this is my go-to piece.

5) Beethoven’s Sonata 21 in C Major, Op. 53 (Waldstein)

Again, der Allermeister. Listen to Claudio Arrau knock my socks off, starting at 22:35, and then go back and listen to the entire masterpiece.

it goes without saying that there are many, many others – but these are some of the ones that come back to over and over again.

These are my favorites; go hunting, and find some pieces that move you in the same way.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Johnny Cash – Strawberry Cake

Saw this image float by in a collection of so-called “rare photographs,” and wondered about the back story.

EsAcUDX

The Internet, of course, has its own answer for everything:

johnny-cash-eating-cake-in-a-bush-high

But that’s not the real story.

cake

The photo is from the back of Johnny’s album, “Strawberry Cake,” accompanied by this text:

“On a hot summer afternoon in New York City, June and I walked through the zoo in Central Park. It was a hot dog and ice cream day. The place was crowed and giving up on the Hassle of working our way through the crowd, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the concert that night at the Garden State Art Center. As we approached the hotel, I saw a bum lying on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. He never even opened his eyes when I stood over him, June said, “Come On Honey” But I said “just a minute” I walked around him, hoping he wasn’t dead. My shadow fell across him and when I moved on, I saw his eyes flutter as the bright sunlight hit his face. He didn’t open his eyes, but I knew he wasn’t dead. “What are you doing?” June asked “I’m thinking about my friend here, “I said” “that could be me, you know” June came over closer and smiled at me. “That was you a couple of times.” Then she said again, “Come on lets go” The rest of the story is in the song. I became that man. I put myself in his place and my mind, he finally won. I wish I knew who he is, and where he is. I’d send him a piece of Strawberry Cake.”

Below you can watch a Dinah Shore episode from 1975 where Johnny describes the origins of the song and sings it for your listening pleasure:

Lyrics:

In New York city just walking the street
Ran out of money had nothing to eat
I stopped at the Plaza, that fancy hotel
Where you can check in if you’re well to do well…
The first of July and a hundred and four
I stopped at the Plaza’s front revolving door
I stepped in the door and went around for a ride
Treatin’ myself to the cool air inside
Then I found myself in a chandeliered room
Where people were dining and I hid in the gloom
My hunger pains hurt ’til I thought I would break
When a waiter brought out a big strawberry cake

Oh that strawberry cake
Oh that strawberry cake
Out in California them berries were grown
And into this city them berries were flown
For making that strawberry cake

Then I thought of Oxnard, just north of LA
Where I picked strawberries for many a day
Hard work with no future for the harvest was done
And I headed eastward a-travelin’ by thumb
And nobody wanted me here in this town
I felt like a stray dog they all kick around
Them berries reminded me of my bad breaks
I’m hungry and I want that strawberry cake

I deserve that strawberry cake
Deserve that strawberry cake
I ran and I grabbed it then out the side door
Into Central Park through the bushes I tore
Holdin’ my strawberry cake

I look back behind me and what do I see
The chef and headwaiter and the maître d
I had a nice helpin’ of cake as I ran
I gobble them berries as fast as I can
They’re closin’ the gap as I slowed down to eat
But the cake brought a new surge of power to my feet
I hid in the bush when the lead I did take
And I quietly finished my strawberry cake

I ate all that strawberry cake
That fine fancy strawberry cake
Someone at the plaza is without dessert
But for the first time in days now my belly don’t hurt
I’m full of strawberry cake

The rest of the text on the album reads as follows:

“By your possession of this album, you can consider yourself having been present twenty years ago in 1955. At the start of a career and it sound at Sun Records Studio in Memphis Tennessee, as Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two cut their first record to a recently as September 1975. When Johnny Cash presented at London England’s Palladium his Johnny Cash Concert. From the standpoint of “Sound” to have been present at one would be the same as having attended the other. Times change, tastes change, and in order to conform some artists must change. Johnny Cash changed in keeping with the times; but as it turned out, not keeping with tastes. Many opinions were expressed to John and me, as to what should be done for the sake of conformity. Innovations were tried new arrangements, different material, engineering “gimmicks” but fortunately one item defied change. Through it all the voice and style remained constant and identifiable in some cases, nevertheless still there. If any change is perceptible in today’s recordings, as compared to those of twenty years ago, that change is of time as related to maturity of voice. This album, then, brings us around full circle. Back to the start of a career and sound. To point from which a digression was never needed. Here is what you have demanded. The basic honest, up-front Johnny Cash …. Better than ever.”

While I’ve never been the most devoted country fan – I’ve always preferred bluegrass – Johnny Cash stands out as a notable exception in my own playlists. He was a complex individual, one who was described as a “lens through which to view American contradictions and challenges.” (Miller, Stephen, Johnny Cash: The Life of an American Icon). 

Johnny’s music and his life and his relationship with his beloved wife June were sufficient to make him a larger-than-life figure who earned an indelible place in musical history. I’m glad I got to live in his era, and regret only that I never got to see him perform live in concert. His likes will not be there again.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

But for Ireland I’d not Tell Her Name (Is ar Éirinn Ni n-Eósfhainn Cé Hi)

This beautiful ballad has long been one of my favorite songs of Ireland. I first fell in love with it as part of “Mary O’Hara’s ireland:”

Later, my wife introduced me to The High Kings, who performed an abridged but no less pleasing version:

There are numerous spellings of the lyrics out there, but I have chosen to use the one that appears on O’Hara’s recording.

Aréir is mé téarnamh um’ neoin
Ar an dtaobh thall den teóra ‘na mbím,
Do théarnaig an spéir-bhean im’ chómhair
D’fhág taomanach breóite lag sinn.
Do ghéilleas dá méin is dá cló,
Dá béal tanaí beó mhilis binn,
Do léimeas fé dhéin dul ‘na cómhair,
Is ar Éirinn ní n-eósfhainn cé hí.
Last night as I strolled abroad
On the far side of my farm
I was approached by a comely maiden
Who left me distraught and weak.
I was captivated by her demeanour and shapeliness
By her sensitive and delicate mouth,
I hastened to approach her
But for Ireland I’d not tell her name.
Dá ngéilleadh an spéir-bhean dom’ ghlór,
Siad ráidhte mo bheól a bheadh fíor;
Go deimhin duit go ndéanfainn a gnó
Do léirchur i gcóir is i gcrich.
Dó léighfinn go léir stair dom’ stór,
‘S ba mhéinn liom í thógaint dom chroí,
‘S do bhearfainn an chraobh dhi ina dóid,
Is ar Éirinn ní n-eósfhainn cé hí.
If only this maiden heeded my words,
What I’d tell her would be true.
Indeed I’d devote myself to her
And see to her welfare.
I would regale her with my story
And I longed to take her to my heart
Where I’d grant her pride of place
But for Ireland I’d not tell her name.
Tá spéir-bhruinneal mhaordha dheas óg
Ar an taobh thall de’n teóra ‘na mbím.
Tá féile ‘gus daonnacht is meóin
Is deise ró mhór ins an mhnaoi,
Tá folt lei a’ tuitim go feóir,
Go cocánach ómarach buí.
Tá lasadh ‘na leacain mar rós,
Is ar Éirinn ní n-eósfhainn cé hí.
There is a beautiful young maiden
On the far side of my farm
Generosity and kindness shine in her face
With the exceeding beauty of her countenance.
Her hair reaches to the ground
Sparkling like yellow gold;
Her cheeks blush like the rose
But for Ireland I’d not tell her name.

There are other versions out there, no less pretty; these two are my favorites.

Tá an Sean-Fhaolchú labhairthe.

Music lost, music found

In the early 1970s I spent a year or so in Naples, Italy. While there I acquired a lot of lovely Italian LPs, but I had also brought some music with me from home to play on my portable cassette player. I would listen to these albums endlessly, and they became inextricably associated with my time there.

But time moved on, I moved back to the states, and over the years the two cassettes either wore out or were lost, and ultimately they faded from memory, leaving only an echo. Every now and then I would hear one of the pieces on the radio, but never had enough musical skill to identify them; it took me decades to locate all the pieces I had become so fond of, but finally the list came together and I could find the old track listings and identify the albums, with the additional bit of help that I recalled the albums were released by RCA.

I can no longer find images of the cassettes themselves, but the same albums were released either on LP or 8-track:

liszt

Tchaikovsky

Thanks to the miracle of music streaming websites like Pandora and Grooveshark, I was finally able to re-assemble the albums in virtual format, and once again listen to these compilations; music being a powerful memory elicitor, these glorious pieces transport me back to the Naples of the early 70s.

The playlist:

Smetana – The Bartered Bride

  1. Overture
  2. Polka
  3. Furiant

Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1
Liszt – Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Dvorak – Scherzo Capriccioso, Op. 66

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6, “Pathétique”

The more time goes on, the more the Internet manages to capture and archive. While Google Books and Newspapers have been more or less given up on as projects, private enterprises are stepping in to pick up the slack; it is to be hoped that a compromise can be worked out between the exigencies of copyright and the importance of digital archival.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Wizards in Winter: Taking it to the next level

In 2005, Carson Williams, a Mason, Ohio electician, decorated his home and synchronized it to the music “Wizards in Winter” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A higher-quality version of the original video that was circulated by email can be seen below.

Not to be outdone, a neighborhood in Yucaipa, Calif. decided to one-up the Joneses, as it were, and got everyone on an entire block to come up with a similar synchronization. They recorded the result with a drone; it’s breathtaking, to say the least.

Paul Ó Neill, the creator of TSO, was moved. He told Billboard “We were incredibly honored and flattered when we first saw a house in Mason, Ohio, sync their lights to ‘Wizards In Winter,’ but to see a whole community band together and do something like this is beyond words. We only hope they don’t send us the electric bill!”

Here’s the neighborhood video:

This is one of my favorite pieces of music, largely as a result of the original video; I was delighted to see this evolution.

Probably not good for epileptics, though.

The Old Wolf has spoken.,