Friday, June 30, 2006
I know I am a cow - Sesame Street
Cow: "Hmmm-hmm-hmmm ... (he looks up and reads the sign) 'I know I am a (coe).' ... That doesn't sound right."
(A farmer comes in, grumbling)
Farmer: "Mumble-mumble -- You're not a coe, you're a cow!"
Cow: (brightly) "I get it! Hmmm-hmm-hmm -- 'I (now) I am a cow!'"
Farmer: (walking around, the cow looks confused) "Grumble-grumble-grumble ... Listen -- 'I KNOW I AM A COW.'"
Cow: (smug) "You're not a cow!"
One day I'll fly away
Leave all this to yesterday
What more could your love do for me
When will love be through with me
Why live life from dream to dream
And dread the day when dreaming ends
Since everybody is busy watching Superman Returns, like TMY and Commies, Terence, Cason and gang...I got bored and starting searching through deviantart for interesting things...came across this super long TAG and decided to do it for no purpose. Just to kill time...
1. Your name: Lynette Goh Ying Qin
2. Straight/gay/bi?: Straight
3. Single?: Yes
4. Want to be?: Yes
5. Your birthday: 17 December 1989
6. Age you act: Probably between 13 to 25. LOL...
7. Age you wish you were: 18, so I can drive. GRRR...*glares at Oon Ee*
8. Your height: 5'4.5'' = 166cm
9. The color of your eyes: Dark brown/black.
10. Happy with it?: Yep!
11. The color of your hair: Black. With supposed streaks of red, but it faded off till brown since I was too lazy to use colour shampoo.
12. Happy with it?: Yep!
13. Left/right/ambidextrous?: Right. My left hand lost some strength after I broke it when I was young.
14. Your living arrangement?: Right now, with my brother and sis-in-law
15. Your family: In Johor Bahru, Malaysia...my sister's in Singapore though...
16. What's your job: College student.
17. Piercings?: My ears.
18. Tattoos?: No. Fake plastered on ones, maybe...
19. Obsessions?: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Tom Felton. God.
20. Do you speak another language?: Yes, Chinese/Mandarin/Hainanese
21. Have a favorite quote?: "Laughter is medicine for the soul"
22. Do you have a webpage?: Geocities and this Blogspot one...and many others too...
23. Do you live in the moment?: Yes, it's no good dwelling in the past, and never too good for worrying about the future. Like one particular show said, "And remember, time waits for no one.
Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present."
24. Do you consider yourself tolerant of others?: For the most part, yes, I do. If not how to survive with Sandy? *no offence girla...I LOVE YOU!* But if they go strongly against what I stand for, then too bad...
25. Do you have any secrets?: Who doesn't?
26. Do you hate yourself?: Sometimes, and it's not good. Got to choose to forgive myself whenever that happens.
27. Do you like your handwriting?: No, but I can't really change it much unless I change my attitude and mindset inside.
28. Do you have any bad habits?:
29. What is the compliment you get most from people?: "That's creative!" or a "Nice dance! Good job!" or a "You're so smart!" <--but I'm not sure whether that's a compliment or not...lol...
30. If a movie were made about your life, what would it be called?: Shifting Gears: The twisted Wonder of Lynette
32. Can you sing: Not that well, in tune...most of the time...
33. Do you ever pretend to be someone else just to look cool?: When I was younger, now nah...
34. Are you a loner?: Yeah, sort of. Sometimes I like to keep to myself.
35. If you were another person, would you be friends with you?: Not sure...I would have to be another person with an eccentric nature to connect...
36. Are you a daredevil?: At times, when I feel like it.
37. Is there anything you fear or hate about yourself?: Yes I do, but it's going to be something I have to cut off, or it'll drag me down further.
38. Are you passive or aggressive?: Passive Aggressive.
39. What is your greatest strength and weakness?:
---I'm not so sure about my strength...but maybe it can be that I'm able to look at situations with a bigger picture in mind and think deeper than what's given on the surface. I just don't say what I think as much, because I honestly say I don't have a lot of tact.
---Weakness? I seldom learn from my mistakes, and keep doing them all over again. Of course, this is in context of life, not education or knowledge.
40. If you could change one thing about yourself?: Get rid of my bad habits...seriously...
41. There are three wells - love, beauty and creativity. Which one do you choose?: Creativity. Because beauty means nothing much to me. As for love, I already have love, in great amounts of it from my family, friends and the loving one above.
42. How do you vent?: Through my RPG characters *surprise huh Aiai* and my beloved long mirror. I vent my anger in funny ways...especially with the mirror...AHH...
43. Do you think you are emotionally strong?: Yes and no... Depends on how you look at it. I can be quite emotional, but I am strong in what my emotions are for.
44. Is there anything you regret doing/not doing in life?: I do regret some things that I have not done. Like showering more love and concern to my family, especially my grandparents and parents. But I have not regretted anything that I have done, and I thank God for that.
45. Do you think life has been good so far?: Yes, compared to others....yes...
46. What is the most important lesson you've learned from life?: Never lean on your own self, you'll just get burdened down and burn up. Always lean on God's will to carry you through, that his love will reign over all.
47. What do you like the most about your body?: My nails...lol...
48. And least?: The eczema...
49. Do you think you are good looking?: Not really...
50. Are you confident?: Honestly, not really. I can be assertive and public speak if I want to, but self-esteem inside, not really...
51. What is the fictional character you're most like?: I'll use one of my RPG characters that's based a bit on me, and that's Catlyn Cynders with a mash of Pixie and Xylia.
52. Do people know how you feel?: Some do.
53. Are you perceived wrongly?: Often.
54. Smoke?: No. I don't intend to pollute my lungs.
55. Do drugs?: What about medicine?
56. Read the newspaper?: Sometimes
57. Pray?: Yesh!
58. Go to church?: Yesh!
59. Talk to strangers who IM you?: I will, until they bother me too much...
60. Sleep with stuffed animals?: Yesh! Moi COWS! and when I get back to JB, bring MINNIE with me...moi blue rabbit that I got when I was 3.
61. Take walks in the rain?: Yeah, when I have no choice. LOL...
62. Talk to people even though you hate them?: I do, but I'll be quite cold.
63. Drive?: I WANT TO *WAILS* BUT I'M UNDERAGE! *WAILS LOUDER*
64. Like to drive fast?: *rubs hands in glee* Maybe...
65. Like your voice?: Yes.
66. Hurt yourself?: Unconsciously and when I feel like hating myself...
67. Been out of the country?: Yes.
68. Eaten something that made other people sick?: Yeah...like my yummy Ice cream Sundae with McDonalds curry sauce that Malaysia McDs sadly don't have. Only Singapore...
69. Burped?: DUH!
70. Been unfaithful?: To God, sometimes. Not proud of it though...learnt from that.
71. Been in love?: Not sure...
72. Done drugs?: Nah.
73. Gone skinny dipping?: Nope.
74. Had a surgery?: Nope.
75. Ran away from home?: No.
76. Played strip poker: No!
77. Gotten beaten up?: No.
78. Been picked on?: Yes.
79. Been on stage?: Many times.
80. Slept outdoors?: Yes.
81. Thought about suicide?: Yes.
82. Pulled an all-nighter?: Yes, a few times.
83. If yes, what is your record? Erm...around 30hrs w/o sleep?
84. Talked on the phone all night?: Yeah, with KS, Amos, Sandy, Silas and sadly to say some other weird friends.
85. Slept together with the opposite sex without actually having sex?: Not answering...
86. Slept all day?: *GLEE* YEAH!
87. Killed someone? No *raise eyebrows*
88. Made out with a stranger?: Never made out before...
89. Had sex with a stranger?: Heck NO!
90. Thought you were going crazy?: Oh yes, in so many different ways...
91. Kissed the same sex?: On the cheeks, with my mom, sisters and Sandy...
92. Done anything sexual with the same sex?: EEW! No...
93. Been betrayed?: Yes. Who hasn't?
94. Had a dream that came true?: Yes, weird enough as it is...like one time I dreamt of a math test, and the next day was the math test, and I got full marks back. LOL...
95. Broken the law?: Small minor ones...lol...school laws...govt. laws, not those high-ended ones I guess. I did shoplift once before...quite an experience...
96. Met a famous person?: Yeah, local celebs though. Singapore lar...like Fann Wong, Zoe Tay, Desmond Koh, Chen Han Wei, Christopher Lee. Hey, they came to my school OKAY? LOL...
97. Have you ever killed an animal by accident?: Not me...
98. Stolen anything?: Look above. Yeah, once....grrr...
99. Been on radio/TV?: Once, on TV. News done on my school, I was conveniently there (in the background)...
100. Been in a mosh-pit?: No, never. I'll get claustraphobia...
101. Had a nervous breakdown?: Unfortunately, I've had a few. Mostly just before exams...
102. Considered religious vocation?: Vocation? huh...
103. Been criticized about your sexual performance?: WHAT? Zilch...
104. Bungee jumped?: Nope. Sad, will do it someday...
105. Had a dream that kept coming back?: Yes!
106. Shoe brand?: Whatever fits, I like Nike and Vincci.
107. Brand of clothing?: Any kind, even pasar malam...
108. Cologne/perfume?: I like Body Shop
109. What are you normally wearing to school/work?: Jeans, blouse or T-Shirt, belt and sweater.
110. Wear hats?: Yeah, sometimes...I'm in love with them...
111. Wear make-up?: Nope.
112. Favorite place to shop? BOOK SHOPS and music stores...
113. Favorite article of clothing?: A lot...
114. Are you trendy?: Nah. Unless you're talking about comfortable, athletic wear.
115. Would you rather wear a uniform to school/work?: No. I've had it enough with Uniforms...
116. Believe in life on other planets?: No
117. Miracles?: Yes
118. Astrology?: No
119. Magic?: Not fantasy like...
120. God?: YES!
121. Satan?: I believe that he exists...
122. Santa?: When I was younger yes...but now I realize he's a legend only, of St. Nicholas.
123. Ghosts?: In a way...spiritually speaking...
124. Luck?: Not in the sense of "fate"...
125. Love at first sight?: Not really, unless you count lust/infatuation which are different things altogether...
126. Yin and Yang?: No.
127. Witches?: Those fantasy ones, NO. But in the real world, yes, witches do exist.
128. Believe it's possible to remain faithful forever?: Yes.
129. Believe there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?: Maybe...
130. Do you wish on stars?: When I can.
131. Did you get frightened or uncomfortable seeing that as a section title?: Not at all!
132. Do you remember your first love?: Yes, Jesus. But if you're talking about homosapiens, then it's not love, more like well...puppy love...
133. Still love him/her?: Jesus = Yes. Puppy love guy = No.
134. Do you consider love a mistake?: No.
135. What do you find romantic?: Erm...Cuddling, talking over cups of coffee, doing favours for each other, horse-riding, books, standards/jazz/blues/big band music, playgrounds, venice, etc.
136. Turn-on?: Everything??? I'm not sure...
137. Turn-off?: Not sure either, anything negative I presume...
138. Do you base your judgment on looks alone: No.
139. If someone you had no interest in dating expressed interest in dating you, how would you feel?: Embarrassed, but will kindly say sorry.
140. Do you prefer knowing someone before dating them or going "blind"?: MUST KNOW first before going into anything. I believe that it has got to be friends stage first, then it moves on from there...
141. Have you ever wished it were more "socially acceptable" for a girl to ask a guy out?: Not really. Guys who take the first step are much more commendable and reliable. For then the girls can believe he genuinely loves her and is able to head a household in the future.
142. Have you ever been romantically attracted to someone physically unattractive?: Depends on how you look at it I guess...
143. Do you think the opposite sex finds you good looking?: Not sure, I doubt so.
144. What is best about the opposite sex?: They are more open, fun.
145. What is the worst thing about the opposite sex?: They can be arrogant, MCPs.
146. What's the last present someone gave you?: Erm...a photoframe and some seashells thingy from my uncle overseas.
147. Are you in love?: No. With God yes though...
148. Do you consider your significant other hot?: Don't know, never know.
149. What would you do if you were walking down the street and saw some hot guy/girl standing on the sidewalk?: Nothing. Just look at them one more time than move off.
WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON...
150. That haunted you?: Oon Ee.
151. You wanted to kill?: No one.
152. That you laughed at?: Jien.
153. That laughed at you?: Oon Ee and Jien.
154. That turned you on?: Nil
155. You went shopping with?: My brother and sis-in-law.
156. That broke your heart?: Danny
157. To disappoint you?: Myself.
158. To ask you out?: huh? more specifics please...
159. To make you cry?: Myself
160. To brighten up your day?: Jien
161. That you thought about?: Jesus
162. You saw a movie with?: AUSMAT gang...X-MEN 3.
163. You talked to on the phone?: Mommy!
164. You talked to through IM?: Steven Tan.
165. You saw?: Brother of mine.
166. You lost?: Not sure...
167. You thought was completely insane?: Grace
168. You wanted to be?: Don't know...
169. You told off?: Sandy
170. You trusted?: Sandy
171. You turned down?: Not sure either...
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU...
172. Smiled?: Few minutes ago.
173. Laughed?: Few minutes ago.
174. Cried?: This morning
175. Bought something?: Few hours ago.
176. Danced?: Just now.
177. Were sarcastic?: In the morning
178. Hugged someone?: In the evening
179. Talked to an ex?: Last year
180. Watched your favorite movie?: A few days ago
181. Had a nightmare?: A few days ago
182. Talked on the phone?: About a few hours ago.
183. Listened to the radio?: Coming home at night, in Oon Ee's car with Wilson and Chien Aun, I think...
184. Watched TV?: Yesterday night
185. Helped someone?: Erm, the ones I remember? Yesterday afternoon with a friend...
186. Were mean?: Not sure...
187. Sang?: A few hours ago.
188. Saw a movie in a theater?: A month ago? Can't remember, when did X-MEN 3 came out?
189. Said "I love you"?: Today!
190. Missed someone?: EVERYDAY! EVERYBODY!
Phew! That took me an hour and a half to finish...I wonder if I can tag somebody? How about Sandy, Oon Ee, Jien, Zhi Ai and Bong? LOL...Go on, I encourage you all to do so...
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Written by Laura Miller, Benalla Victoria.
Laura Miller is 19 years old. She lives in Albury with two friends and works part time as a Sales Assistant. She is currently studying Professional Writing and Editing and has been writing as a pastime for a few years. It is Laura’s goal to work in the writing industry and eventually write a novel. She entered the ABC Short Story Project to challenge herself and her skills as a writer.
Her mind is filled with nothing but the sweetness of the sunshine she can feel on the back of her neck and the words of songs past sung. Facing away from the window she sits in the soft faded chair that has supported her aging body for a time longer than she wishes to recall.
The voices of others filter through the walls around her and mingle with the songs that gently caress her tired mind, but she does not force herself to make sense of the sounds she hears, because to her they are not important. She has spent her life listening to the words of others simply because they were speaking, but now she does not worry with such nonsense. Besides, the sweet melodies that play through her mind have a much nicer taste to her than the bitterness that so often spills from other people's mouths.
But it is not always easy to ignore those around her and sometimes she must stop the music that lives within her and focus her attention on the words of others, as she realises, but does not fully understand, their distress when she chooses not to listen to the things they say.
The woman sitting opposite her has a certain gentleness about her that she recognises in herself and she wonders who she is. There is something about the way the woman sits forward slightly in her chair and looks into her eyes as if searching for something, that makes her want to listen to what she is saying.
"How have you been?" This asked tentatively as if she is not sure it is the right thing to say.
Forcing her mind to process the question and formulate an appropriate response is not easy as all of a sudden she has a thousand questions of her own she needs answered, although to many of them she is sure she already knows the answer.
"Fine." Her voice sounds strange her and is weak through lack of use. She tries again. "I have been fine, quite well actually. And what about yourself Janie?" Even as she feels the name swelling into her mind and flowing out of her lips, she wonders how she knows the woman's name. Surely they have only just met, as she could never forget such beautiful eyes that this woman possesses.
The woman does not seem perplexed by her knowledge of her name and in fact seems relieved, a small smile spreads across her lips.
"I am fine. Tired after a long days travel, but happy to be able to visit you again."
She wonders what she is talking about and why she has travelled so far seemingly just to visit her, but she thinks it would be rude to ask such a question, so instead she remains silent, trying to make sense of the questions that fill her mind. But she would much prefer to hear beautiful music than the confusing questions, and so she slowly urges herself to rid her mind of the chaos of words and replace them with the softness of music.
The woman continues to talk to her for another five or so minutes, but when it is clear that she is not going to get any more words out of her she stands and after placing her hand briefly on her fragile shoulder, leaves.
Just before she returns to her world of music completely she hears one of the nurses ask the woman how her mother is today and she wonders briefly how the nurse knows the woman's mother.
And they blame us for being violent when the violence comes from childhood tales.
What do YOU make of it?
['Sing a Song of Sixpence']
Lyn Gallacher: Hello, this is Lingua Franca on ABC Radio National. I'm Lyn Gallacher and this week we're here to peck off your nose; in other words, it's Part 2 of the meaning of nursery rhymes.
Last week we heard that the word 'goose' in 'Goosie Goosie Gander' came from a particular moment in British history when the word 'goose' was a euphemism for prostitute. Changes in word meanings are therefore a useful etymological tool for the 'carbon-dating' of nursery rhymes.
And this week, we pick up the conversation with Chris Roberts with the same archaeological linguistics in mind.
Chris Roberts: When I was doing the research for this, obviously the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes was a very useful guide, but the Oxford English Dictionary was incredibly useful just for looking up and verifying these words and when they came in and out of use, and when the meaning of them changed. 'Humpty Dumpty' changed its meaning several times.
Lyn Gallacher: Tell us about 'Humpty Dumpty'.
Chris Roberts: It's a very old rhyme; it's one of the few that's pan-European; you find versions of Humpty Dumpty right across Europe, so it's a very ancient rhyme. Now there are various meanings for Humpty Dumpty. In the 16th century it's a brandy and egg based drink, it's also used to describe a clumsy person of either sex, and who's falling over all the time. But during the English Civil War, which is 1640 I think, Humpty Dumpty took on a new meaning. It became the nickname of a cannon on the wall of the City of Colchester, probably because the cannon was ungainly and slightly odd-looking, and the rhyme after that date, started to be associated with that cannon, which was on the walls of the city and was knocked off and fell to pieces, and all the King's horses, and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again. So they have a rhyme which has an original meaning that's very old and it picks up different meanings as it goes through history. So nearly 400 years ago the rhyme comes to be associated with this cannon.
Lyn Gallacher: Even if Humpty Dumpty is a large gun, I can't help feeling sorry for the accident. Because as we all know, all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again.
Which brings me to the subject of violence in nursery rhymes. Have you ever wondered why in lullabies cradles perched in the branch of a tree fall down? Or why the maid in the garden has to have her nose pecked off?
['Rock a bye Baby']
Lyn Gallacher: Are nursery rhymes too violent? Do they give children nightmares, and should they be modified? You'll be interested to know that a preschool TV channel in Britain has issued a challenge to write new rhymes, ones that end the bloodshed.
Researchers who've done the counting, point out that nursery rhymes are more violent than TV if you add up the overall number of accidental and aggressively violent acts per minute. TV pans out to around five an hour, but the count in nursery rhymes is 52 an hour.
['Rock a bye Baby']
... And down will come baby, cradle and all.
Chris Roberts: If you analyse nursery rhymes and the incidence of violence, and also the moral censorship that comes after. Dropping Pussy in a Well is a good example: Ding, dong bell / Pussy in the well /Who put him in?
That they were actually worse than many violent television programs, because on a violent television program there is often some pay-back for the person committing the violence, there's often some moral lesson to be drawn, whereas nursery rhymes there aren't. A company called Mother Care recently issued a CD of cleaned-up nursery rhymes, where Humpty Dumpty is put back together again, where the cat who's put in the well is not really put in a well, is given some milk and made to go home and play with the mice, as opposed to killing the mice.
The other things is, there's a competition, I think it's Nickelodeon, and I think you have until October to come up with some new nursery rhymes for the 21st century that are more clearly morally instructive, and yet not offensive to children.
Lyn Gallacher: You're greeting this information with a degree of scepticism, you believe in the violence of nursery rhymes?
Chris Roberts: Well I grew up with these stories about 'Don't go into certain moors', and you'd hear horror stories about psychopaths and whatever, and nursery rhymes fulfilled this function, they were a warning not to do certain things, advice for life in some ways. So I'm not sure that cleaning them up is really a good idea. Maybe it's better that children are introduced to sometimes frightening topics in the home, gradually, rather than have to find them out suddenly and shockingly later on. So I'm a little bit sceptical, yes.
Lyn Gallacher: I guess the one that horrifies critics the most is probably Hush a bye baby, because that's a lullaby, it's got this gentle feel.
Chris Roberts: Yes, Rock a bye baby, has a couple of associations. One with American settlers, it's supposed to be an Indian thing about putting the cradle in a tree, but perhaps a better reading is that it's a reference to a family tree.
Lyn Gallacher: So the baby should actually feel secure?
Chris Roberts: The baby should actually feel secure, and the whole thing about the tree crashing, it is part of being a family, part of being in a family tradition. But some other lullabies are much more threatening to children. There's one about Bonaparte coming by and eating the child, which obviously goes back to Napoleon Bonaparte being the bogey figure in British society. But this changes over years and depending on who Britain is fighting, and it's gone through Russian Generals, and even later versions as Hitler is mentioned in it: Hush you baby, hush you squalling thing, I say, or Bonaparte will pass this way.
What's interesting about that is it's deliberately written for children, it's one of the ones that is targeted at children rather than being an adult rhyme, and many started out as folk songs, as adult rhymes, and if you like, crossed over into the children's side that's specifically at children.
['Rock a bye Baby']
... down will come baby, cradle and all.
Lyn Gallacher: You can almost hear exhausted parents at 3am singing these songs through clenched teeth. The concrete utterance of a nursery rhyme inaugurates a certain creativity, and absorbs the attention of the child into the world of how sound is made. And perhaps while the child is thus occupied, a parent can use the opportunity to let off a little steam.
It should be noted that today's attempt to clean up nursery rhymes isn't the first in history. It happened in Victorian times when nursery rhymes were first put into print. Prior to that they were merely an oral tradition, and the reason that these rhymes hadn't been taken quite so seriously by publishers before is that the notion of childhood hadn't been taken quite so seriously before. So not only do nursery rhymes reflect changes in language, they reflect changes in our attitude to childhood, and may also tell us about ancient rituals and superstitions.
What am I doing if I'm jumping over a candlestick, as in 'Jack be nimble, Jack be quick'?
Chris Roberts: It was basically if you could jump over the candlestick, and not put it out. It was deemed to be good luck. It's harking back to pagan fire rituals and finding good luck. There's a wonderful scene in the film, The Wicker Man, where they have the young ladies of the village jumping over fire as part of a fertility ritual. So essentially that's what's going on.
Lyn Gallacher: So is it assuming that people who are too fat will put out the fire by making too much wind?
Chris Roberts: Well that was my interpretation of it, that was my take on it, because I couldn't understand why jumping over fire would be good luck.
Lyn Gallacher: But you don't know that for sure?
Chris Roberts: I didn't know that for sure, no, but I thought that might be it, but a trimmer person, a fitter person if you like, would be able to clear the candle and I figured that a fitter person is more likely to find work, he's more likely to live longer and therefore that's good luck.
Lyn Gallacher: Well you've laid down the gauntlet now.
Chris Roberts: I'm hoping people pick this up, yes.
Lyn Gallacher: I'm going to have to do it.
Chris Roberts: What jump over the candlestick?
Lyn Gallacher: Oh yes, jumping over that candlestick.
Lyn Gallacher: As we said last week, it's not just the word meaning that matters when it comes to nursery rhymes, it's also the sound meaning. And in many cases this includes the tune. Singing in itself a lesson in the voice's vocation and in the dynamic potential of the vocal chords. Sung rhymes have an energy which strikes the ear-drum, and releases certain pheromones, which change our brainwaves. 'Yankee Doodle' is a perfect example of a burlesque melody that's simple, elemental and curious.
Chris Roberts: There are hundreds of versions of this rhyme, and there's a play in 1790, and there is a line in a play that says, 'I only know 140 verses, but our Tabitha at home knows the whole lot', which implies that there are more than 140 verses. Now the version that we most know is
Yankee Doodle came to town
Riding on a pony.
Stuck a feather in his cap,
And called it Macaroni.
The tune itself goes back to about 1760, but that version is quite clearly dated after 1770, and I'll explain why. Putting a feather in a cap, it's a traditional showing-off method if you've killed somebody in battle, you put a feather in your cap. And what the rhyme is actually about, this 1770s version is the British soldiers mocking the Americans during the War of Independence, and mocking the Americans in general for their lack of style, for their lack of sartorial elegance and just being a bunch of colonial hayseeds, basically.
The key to it is a final line, 'Put a feather in his cap and called it Macaroni'. Now the Macaronis, aside from being an Italian dish, were a British youth movement that reached its peak in about 1772, who were incredibly dandified young men. The Macaronis are one of the very earliest of these youth cults where peacock young men would parade around London in beautifully tailored jackets, incredibly outlandish wigs, and cummerbunds as well. And what the song is referring to is that it's not enough for you colonials to put a feather in your cap and think that that makes you a Macaroni, there's more to being a Macaroni than that.
Lyn Gallacher: But now the Americas chant it as if it's an endorsement of who they are.
Chris Roberts: Well the Americans after the civil war, I mean they use that version ironically. They played the tune when the British came down to sign the surrender documents after Bunker Hill. They had many different versions of their own celebrating their soldiers, so it's a very funny tune that's been used by both sides in the War of Independence, they had many versions afterwards. The British used it to taunt the Americans, the Americans then used the same version back ironically to taunt the British. It's a fantastic example of exactly that, of two nations just playing with the same tunes and words, and throwing them at each other.
['Old King Cole']
Lyn Gallacher: Now last week we promised to give you the meaning of 'Old King Cole', but it's not quite that simple. And if this doesn't convince you of the murky meaning of nursery rhymes, nothing will.
Can you tell me, is Old King Cole an Aboriginal cricketer?
Chris Roberts: Well yes and no. The original Old King Cole is -
Lyn Gallacher: A merry old soul.
Chris Roberts: He's a merry old soul; he's one of these legendary English Kings, nobody quite knew where he ruled or what he ruled, but there's this wonderful golden age of music and pipes and things were great. It's harking back to a golden era. But there is a much more recent King Cole, who is a 19th century figure. There was a team of Aboriginal cricketers who toured England in the 1860s. They were actually the first Australian cricket tour of England. Now in Britain, there is a fine tradition of being unable to pronounce foreign names. Books are compiled on the inability to pronounce foreign names correctly, and this is what happened to the cricketer whose real name (and I will probably manage to mispronounce it).
Lyn Gallacher: In the tradition.
Chris Roberts: The Rippinsteen is the best approximation I can get of it. But sadly, King Cole died over here, and he's buried in a park in Bethnal Green in east London, and the local people, who'd very much taken to the character, planted an Australian tree, they planted a eucalyptus tree on the grave of Old King Cole. Or King Cole as he became to be known, which has been visited by subsequent Australian cricket teams, so it's perhaps another example, a charming example, of a nursery rhyme picking up a different meaning hundreds of years after the original.
Lyn Gallacher: That's all for Lingua Franca this week. And Heavy Words Lightly Thrown, a guide to the hidden meaning of nursery rhymes is by Chris Roberts, and published by Granta.
Now...are YOU going to tell your children nursery rhymes or not?
Remember...it could kill...*cackles evilly*
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The Milk-White Doo (Pigeon) - Scottish Fairytale
THERE was once a man that wrought in the fields, and had a wife, and a son, and a dochter. One day he caught a hare, and took it hame to his wife, and bade her make it ready for his dinner.
While it was on the fire, the good-wife aye tasted and tasted at it, till she had tasted it a’ away, and then she didna ken what to do for her goodman’s dinner. So she cried in Johnie her son to come and get his head kaimed; and when she was kaiming his head, she slew him, and put him into the pat. Well, the goodman cam hame to his dinner, and his wife set down Johnie well boiled to him; and when he was eating, he takes up a foot, and says: "That’s surely my Johnie’s fit"
"Sic nonsense! it’s ane o’ the hare’s," says the goodwife Syne he took up a hand, and says: "That’s surely my Johnie’s hand."
"Ye’re havering, (talking nonsense) goodman; it’s anither o’ the hare’s feet."
So when the goodman had eaten his dinner, little Katy, Johnie’s sister, gathered a’ the banes, and put them in below a stane at the cheek o’ the door—
Where they grew, and they grew,
To a milk-white doo,
That took its wings,
And away it flew.
And it flew till it cam to where twa women were washing claes, and it sat down on a stane, and cried—
My minny me slew,
My daddy me chew,
My sister gathered my banes,
And put them between twa milk-white stanes;
And I grew, and I grew,
To a milk-white doo,
And I took to my wings, and away I flew."
"Say that owre again, my bonny bird, and we’ll gie ye a’’ thir claes," says the women.
My minny me slew," etc.
And it got the claes; and then flew till it cam to a man counting a great heap o’ siller, and it sat down and cried
My minny me slew," etc.
"Say that again, my bonny bird, and I’ll gie ye a’ this sill " says the man.
My minny me slew," etc.
And it got a’ the siller; and syne it flew till it cam to twa millers grinding corn, and it cried—
My minny me slew," etc.
"Say that again, my bonny bird, and I’ll gie ye this mi)istane," says the miller.
My minny me slew," etc.
And it gat the millstane and syne it flew till it lighted on its father’s house-top. It threw sma’ stanes down the lum, (chimney) and Katy cam out to see what was the matter; and the doo threw all the claes to her. Syne the father cam out, and the doo threw a’ the siller to him. And syne the mother cam out, and the doo threw down the millstane upon her and killed her. And at last it flew away; and the goodman and his dochter after that
Lived happy, and died happy,
And never drank out of a dry cappy.