Saturday, November 26, 2005

I'm back! And I have CANDY!

` At least, if you define 'candy' as 'random prose and drivel'.

` Also, I am glad to announce that my computer now works! There may have been nothing wrong with the hardware at all - my hard drive did nothing unusual on Phil's computer, although Phil's did turn up two worm viruses that may have been wreaking havoc with the BIOS. So far, it hasn't done anything strange yet.


` So, without further ado: Drivel! First, this is what I am told is a Chinese proverb:

` 'There is no economy in going to bed early to save candles if the result be twins.'

` It is so wonderfully and culturally different that I wonder if it really is from China. Hmmmm... it's hard to say. Really, I like to be informed on where words, phrases and sayings actually come from. That's why I make some effort to be sure of something before I say 'I'm sure'.
` It's the skeptical way.
` For example, I recently learned that the children's rhyme Ring Around the Rosie is not at all about the Black Death of the fourteenth century, just as I had suspected all along. At least, there seems to be no evidence of it whatsoever:
` In 1881, Kate Greenaway's Mother Goose published the rhyme for the first time we know of:

Ring-o-ring o' roses,
A pocket full of posies,
Hush! Hush! Hush! Hush!
We're all tumbled down!

` Sounds like a rhyme about children becoming exhausted after picking flowers all day to me! Then in 1883, William Wells Newell's Songs and Games of American Children came out, which claims that this version of the same rhyme was sung by children in New Bedford, Massachussetts nearly a century before that:

Ring a ring a rosie,
A bottle full of posie,
All the girls in our town
Ring for little Josie.

` Sounds like a neighborhood crush, doesn't it? Another version Newell provided was this one:

Round the ring of roses,
Pots full of posies,
The one who stoops last
Shall tell whom she loves best.

` Newell explains: "At the end of the words the children suddenly stoop, and the last to get down undergoes some penalty, or has to take the place of the child in the centre, who represents the 'rosie' (rose-tree; French; rosier)."
` In addition, Alice Bertha Gomme's 1894-98 work, The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland, published a good dozen versions of this rhyme, and only one is at all similar to the one children sing today.
` Overall, none of these seem to have anything to do with dying of the plague, including the modern version:

Ring around the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down!

` So, though some as-yet-unknown persons have suggested that 'roses' describe buboes from the plague, there is no evidence that they have ever been called 'roses': As for the posies, they seem to come from earlier rhymes which describe flower-picking and whatnot: The word 'Ashes' or 'Attishoo' seems to be more a nonsensical new addition to the rhyme rather than an allusion to cremation or sickness: 'Falling down' dates back to earlier versions of the rhyme when it was meant to be more of a game, rather than death.
` I just love these things - thank you David Wilton and your book, Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends.

` Next up is something that is even more obscure that even less people will care about - my question to Barnes and Barnes about a song of theirs:


` Hey Mr. Art-men? I have your adorably infernal song 'Salvation is Linoleum' song going through my head. I gotta ask: was this song inspired by linseed oil fumes, or are you guys just being weird? Who came up with this 'linoleum' thing, anyway?


` Hugs and flying squirrel undies- - - -Spoony Q

` Billy Mumy wrote:

That was Spanky McFarlane, if memory serves me well. But if could've been Fidel Castro or Fidel Castro's barber. They were all hanging around us a lot in those days.
toomp
yeah

` Robert Haimer answered me as well:

We, and our minds of brilliance, came up with that song. Actually, it was a reworking of an old Everly Brothers tune...
RT-
TOOMP!


` Ah... it's so clear to me now! May you shine with floor wax!

S E E Quine


` Uhmmmmm. Yeah. Aren't they great? As one fan recently pointed out, Barnes and Barnes are like music deities who are quick to answer their minions' prayers about linoleum, beer and cheese. And yet, they won't tell any of us what 'toomp' is supposed to mean! Gr.
` What else? Hm. Oh yes, I was going to go to the library to scan some of my beautiful new pen sketches, as well as the cover of 'a RED sketchbook', which I think looks awfully sharp. I coulda done it today, but I really want to work on my sci-fi novel right now, as I haven't had a chance to do that in a while. Then, perhaps I'll complete my DVD in time for Christmas and all will be well.
` Oh yes, I still have to finish that MIDI for The Swill Man, and I could now that I have the song I need available once again. Hmmm. Well, I have been playing the piano more often...

` La, le laa. I'm hungry. I go get Thanksgiving leftovers. Mmm. EdgeWalker's homemade cranberry sauce...

3 comments:

Amber said...

You're back, and with cranberries, which for the record, are not candy.
I also play the piano, I recently aquired an old piano at an estate sell for 100 dollars. It's a beautiful antique. It needs some tuning and refurbishing though, until then I just pretend that I sound a bit like Tom Waits.

Galtron said...

WELCOME BACK! And I was just blackmailing you - actually, I will always love your writing! As long as it exists!

S E E Quine said...

` Hee hee. That's awesome! I love to play the piano. Glad you have one!

` And Galtron... you... and your... blackmailing. Yes well, keep up the good work.