Saturday, January 07, 2006

Shorts in a Wad Saturday

First, since I don't wear shorts, I'm obviously talking about someone else's.

Second, this is ancient news, I realize, but Bill O'Reilly really got his twisted up about a Wisconsin elementary school a couple-three weeks ago singing, in its Winter/Holiday/Other PC Label Program, the "Silent Night" tune with other lyrics.

I wonder if he remembers how common it is to create new lyrics for well-known tunes?

Is he forgetting that we sing the words of Francis Scott Key's poem "The Defense of Fort McHenry" to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven", a drinking song originally written for a "gentlemen's social club" (the Crown and Anchor) in London? and call it our national anthem? Looking at the score, I think the pace we usually give it is a travesty: it's meant to go much quicker than Leann Rimes sang it Wednesday before the USC-Texas game.

And speaking of Texas, does he realize (O'Reilly, I mean. I'm back to him)that "The Eyes of Texas" is sung to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad"?

I wonder if he's concerned that the Maryland state song is sung to the tune of the venerable Christmas carol "O Tannenbaum" (Oh, Christmas Tree"). Strikes me as very similar sacrilege, yet he fails to mention it.

I learned from an American literature teacher that most of Emily Dickinson's poetry can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas" (try it. It works). She never told me they also could be sung to the tune of "Amazing Grace," though. Which of course means that the words of "Amazing Grace" can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas," and vice versa. Does the war on all-that's-holy never end?

And yes. I'd be honored if, at my funeral, Miss Dickinson's "Because I Could not Stop for Death" were sung twice. First to the tune of "Amazing Grace," and then, as what's left of my earthly presence leaves the building, to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

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