December 14, 2008

"I believe in God and Senator Dodd."

I read the opening lines of Calvin Trillin's op-ed -- written in June 2006, but featured on the NYT website this morning as an op-ed "classic":
MY excitement at the news that Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, is considering a bid for president in 2008 is easy to explain: his name has enormous rhyming potential. We all have our own issues.
And it took me back to the 60s, when Dodd's dad was a Senator and Phil Ochs used the line I've put in my title in "Draft Dodger Rag," which you can listen to here or buy the album "I Ain't Marching Anymore." Lyrics here:
Oh, I'm just a typical American boy from a typical American town
I believe in God and Senator Dodd and a-keepin' old Castro down
And when it came my time to serve I knew "better dead than red"
But when I got to my old draft board, buddy, this is what I said....
The original "chicken hawk" song (I think).

But the subject is poetry and names. Trillin has made his career in part out of writing light verse with a high proportion of famous names:
Someone in my position tends to see Ross Perot and John McCain as two peas in a pod — blessedly iambic candidates with nearly unlimited rhyming possibilities. During my 16 years in the deadline poetry game, though, we've had nobody with a name like Ross Perot or John McCain in the White House. I've had to deal with presidents whose names are an affront to rhyme and meter. Given the rhyming difficulties of Bill Clinton's name, in fact, I believe future historians will think of him as the "orange" of American presidents.
I think of him as the banana of Presidents, but it's all a matter of how you look at things.

Just the other day, in this comments thread to that post about whether lawprofs should call students by their first names, we got to talking about the poetic limitations of some names. I said: "[T]here are no pop songs about 'Ann.' Actually, there are few pop songs with one-syllable names."

With this, Pogo proved me wrong and exposed my inadequate knowledge of the 1960s, to which I'll plead guilty, eschewing the defense that if you can remember, you weren't there.
I looked into your cool cool eyes
I felt so fine, I felt so fine
I floated in your swimming pools
I felt so weak, I felt so blue
If you want to rhyme, rhyme. If you don't, don't. ← inferred Stooge theory of poetry.

Back to Trillin, who despite his name, didn't sing his lyrics (as far as I know). Trillin's had trouble with the current administration:
At times George W. Bush has seemed interested in making my life easier. He must have known before the appointments were made, for instance, that Condoleezza Rice's name fits exactly into the meter of "The March of the Siamese Children" from "The King and I" ("Condoleezza Rice, who is cold as ice, is precise with her advice") and that Alberto Gonzales rhymes with "loyal ├╝ber alles."
And he fretted over the names coming up in 2008:
In my more pessimistic contemplations of the 2008 campaign, I see myself telling some political operative that I've made my peace with the possibility that the Democrats, desperate for some charisma, could turn to Barack Obama — a man whose rhymes I long ago used up in trying to deal with Osama bin Laden.

"But Obama's not the only Illinois contender," the operative says. "There's also the governor."

"The governor?"

"The governor," he repeats. "Rod Blagojevich."
Okay, then. Let's see the poems. Roll out your "-itch" words, you bitch.

IN THE COMMENTS: JohnJEnright composes this:
He desired the joy
of being rich.

He devised a ploy,
but it hit a hitch.

Weep, Illinois,
for Blagojevich.
AND: More commenters are itching for frontpaging. First, bearbee:
Blagojevich
Chicago jock itch
Who tried to get rich
By auditioning off a niche
And ended in an FBI hitch
Now when will he turn and snitch
And Palladian (presumably sung to the tune of "The Munchkin Song"):
Blagojevich, you bitch,
Will scratch you where you itch
and name you to the Senate seat that Barry O did ditch.

But wait! Hold on!
There's just a little hitch!
A Senate seat is valuable! He's trying to get rich.

So here's the pitch!
Pay up you fucking bitch!
And just forget Pat Fitz and Lisa Madigan, that witch!

Blago-jevich!
Payola is his niche!
A suitcase full of unmarked bills, nobody's gonna snitch!

But who will stop
this monumental kitsch?
Corruption that would cause even Jack Abramoff to twitch!

Fitch? No, Fitz!
in a prosecutor blitz
will smash the Illinois machine to tiny little bits!

24 comments:

AllenS said...

Your request for the Blagojevich
has the Democrats doing the ostrich
for when the bitch needed a pitch
he called a Jackson to enrich
and now he is going to do a hitch
in a prison kitsch

I'm hungry for a sandwich

Ron said...

Maybe we can set Obama to the music of "Oh, Donna" from the '50's...

EDH said...

Speaking of bonanas...

Some would call this cheating.

Anna!
Anna, Anna Bonana fanna fo Fanna
Fee fi fo Manna Anna!

SteveR said...

Sometimes politics cannot be made funny or people seen as clever by trying to turn politicians into sources of humor.

Barack's a crock
but McCain' lame


See what I mean.

john said...

Professor Annie?

jimbino said...

One big advantage of living in a multi-lingual world is that the rhyming and punning opportunities are multiplied.

The Brazilians commented on the Clinton affair by referring to him as "Bill Pinton" and to her as "Monica Chewpinski."

EDH said...

Charlie, you're the Bonana King!

Put a banana in your ear.

Full Version (6min). Highly recommended.

I love Charlie's attitude!

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

We may call you Milrod, we may call you Blago
We may call you Haircut, or Shit heel of Chicago
We may phone you with a tap, which makes you mad again
We may call you anytime, no matter how you spin
You're still gonna have to serve in prison, yes
You're gonna have to serve in prison
Well, it may be conspiracy, or maybe just mail fraud
But you're gonna have to serve in prison

bearbee said...

Barack
Chicago hack
Pal of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Wants to grab all of your greenback
Funny guy like a heart attack

Maguro said...

Subterranean Blago Blues

Blago comes fleet foot
Hair stands about ten foot
Talkin' that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone's tapped anyway
Blago says that many say
They'd never bust him anyway
Orders from the D. A.
Look out kid
Don't matter what you did
Walk on your tip toes
Don't try "No Doz"
Better stay away from those
That carry around a fire hose
Keep a clean nose
Watch the plain clothes
You don't need a weather man
To know which way the wind blows

JohnJEnright said...

He desired the joy
of being rich.

He devised a ploy,
but it hit a hitch.

Weep, Illinois,
for Blagojevich.

bearbee said...

Blagojevich
Chicago jock itch
Who tried to get rich
By auditioning off a niche
And ended in an FBI hitch
Now when will he turn and snitch

Charlie said...

"I Want to Help You Ann"-The Lyres (Boston circa 1981)

Palladian said...

Blagojevich, you bitch,
Will scratch you where you itch
and name you to the Senate seat that Barry O did ditch.

But wait! Hold on!
There's just a little hitch!
A Senate seat is valuable! He's trying to get rich.

So here's the pitch!
Pay up you fucking bitch!
And just forget Pat Fitz and Lisa Madigan, that witch!

Blago-jevich!
Payola is his niche!
A suitcase full of unmarked bills, nobody's gonna snitch!

But who will stop
this monumental kitsch?
Corruption that would cause even Jack Abramoff to twitch!

Fitch? No, Fitz!
in a prosecutor blitz
will smash the Illinois machine to tiny little bits!

___

OK, I'm spent...

Mark O said...

Ann, this must be you. From Billy Ed Wheeler through the Kingston Trio.



I know I'll never meet another hunk o' woman like my Ann. She makes me feel like a great big man.
I'm gonna go tell her mama what I think about her, say, "Thank you, ma'am, for giving me your daughter Ann."



She sure is stacked from her toes to the nape of her neck, she's packed like a seed in a grape, she's smooth as marble skin.

When I see her I believe I'm a real young guy and ev'ry time I go to work I think I might die if I can't hurry home again.

If the good Lord worked all night a-makin' me a female plan, I'd say, "No, thanks, Lord. I'll just keep Ann."

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

My contribution above written to be speak-sung in the manner of The Munchkin Land Song from The Wizard of Oz and sort of to the tune of I'm Late! [WARNING, AUTOPLAY MIDI] from Alice In Wonderland.

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meade said...

Well done, Palladian.

Here's another one of my cheap lazy efforts with apologies to my cousin Norman Meade:

RAHM IS ON MY SIDE

Rahm is on my side, yes he is 

Rahm is on my side, yes he is
Now you always said 

That you'd cop a plea 

But you'll be shutting up (said you would Blago baby) 

You'll be shutting up (I said so many times before) 
You'll be shutting up for me

Oh, Rahm is on my side, yes he is 

Rahm is on my side, yes he is

You're searching for pardons 

So just wait and see 

You'll be shutting up (I won't have to worry no more) 

You'll be shutting up (just spend some time with Rezko, baby)

You'll be shutting up for me

Go ahead, go ahead and screw Chi-Town 

And Blago, do everything your heart desires 
Remember, I'll always be around 

And I know, I know 
Like I told you so many times before 

You're gonna shut up, baby 

'Cause I know otherwise

You're gonna come back shouting 

Yeah, shouting profanities at my back door 

(And that would not be cool)

Well, Rahm is on my side, yes he is

Rahm is on my side, yes he is
'Cause I got the real power 

The kind you should heed

You'll be shutting up (say you will Blago baby) 
You'll be shutting up (I said so many times before) 
You'll be shutting up
for me

Yes Rahm, Rahm, Rahm is on my side, yes he is 
Rahm, Rahm, Rahm is on my side, yes he is

Oh, Rahm, Rahm, Rahm is on my side, yes he is

I said, Rahm, Rahm, Rahm is on my side, yes he is 
Oh, Rahm, Rahm, Rahm is on my side

Yeah, Rahm, Rahm, Rahm is on my side

chickenlittle said...

melody

Are you ready, Meade? Aha.
Bearbee? Yeah! Palladian? OK.
Alright, fellas, let's go!
.
.
.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
And the man at the back said
Everyone attack and it turned into a Blagojevich blitz
Althouse in the corner said
Boy, I wanna warn ya, it'll turn into a blog room bitch,
Blagojevich blitz,
blog room bitch,
Blagojevich blitz
Blog room bitch...

Meade said...

Careful, chcklittle: She could kill you with a wink of her eye

chickenlittle said...

Meade said: Careful, chcklittle: She could kill you with a wink of her eye

Yes, but not like Sarah does it.