Category Archives: Songs

Gone Viral

I’ve always had a great time at Disneyland, so it’s sad and unsettling to hear that over 40 of California’s 60 or so cases of measles can be traced to the Anaheim theme park. Apparently there are more people walking around the U.S. who aren’t vaccinated, and at crowded scenes like Disneyland they’re encountering others, including some from overseas, who also haven’t been vaccinated.

But you’re on vacation and preoccupied with fun, so the only potential infection that comes to mind is the musical earworm – a song that gets lodged in your head.

And once you’ve got this in you, it can become a handy device to remember the symptoms to look out for.

It’s a runny nose, its a stale, dry cough
it’s a crimson throat. Every swallow’s tough.
It’s a fever that’s light
And you just don’t feel right
You’ve got mousles after all.

Yes, it’s mousles after all.
Caught it off a castle wall!
Left by Hans from Niedernhall!
It’s a small, small world!

It’s conjunctivitis. You want a nap.
It’s some blotchy rashes that overlap.
Feeling pretty obscene, wish you’d had your vaccine.
You’ve got mousles after all.

You’ve got Mousles after all!
Sat in mucous at Toad Hall.
Shouldn’t be here with y’all.
It’s a small, small world!

What did you bring home from vacation?

Rotation Indications

Now that we know the age of stars can be told by measuring their speed of rotation, the jig is up for those  celestial impostors who claim to younger than their velocity indicates.

Fess up, Polaris. You’re getting a little long in the tooth!

For some odd reason, it put me in mind of this classic Disney song.

When you time a spinning star
You can know how old it are
Every revolution tells
a tale that’s true.

When it’s whirring like a top
Chances are it’s just a pup.
When the spinning lessens then
it’s more like you.

Stars get old.
Their slowing, up above,
is a precursor of
someday exploding.

Don’t know much, but this I do …
Stars revolve ’til they are through.
When you time a spinning star
you’re spinning too.

How good are you at guessing the age of people and/or things?

Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

Jump, Jive & Wail

I always knew electric eels were creepy.

Not only are these sea eels creepier than snakes, but they seem even more sinister now that we know they can use their electricity to remotely control the muscles of their prey.

The BBC article above describes how researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville discovered that eel current can cause hidden prey to involuntarily ‘jump’, thus revealing their position. You can guess what happens next.

But why were scientists from land-locked Music City so interested in the effect eels can have on the oh-so-correctly-named “unfortunate fish”?

Perhaps it’s really research into the strange power bands have over dancers, especially with the energy of an electric guitar at the front and brass as a conductor.

How are you at operating the remote control?

Bunker Concert

Happy Thanksgiving, Baboons!

To soothe you and provide some parting affirmations for the turkeys (treasure each moment as a gift!), here’s Bob Franke singing his signature Thanksgiving song more than 200 feet underground in a cold war bunker ordered built by Stalin – Bunker 42 in Moscow.

Where do you like to sing?

Sixteen Tons of Asteroid

Now that humans have successfully landed on a comet, excitement is building about the previously strange notion of Asteroid Mining.

Lots of new technology will have to be developed to make this work.

Not to mention a boatload of re-written classic mining songs.

There was never an Asteroid made outta mud.
They’re stone and copper and a whole buncha crud.
A whole buncha crud that’s a-flyin’ around,
That’ll never stop and it won’t come down.

You mine asteroids and what do you get?
A ride on a rocket and a load of regret.
St. Peter did you see me as I flew by?
I’m digging holes in the clear blue sky!

I was born around minerals, buried and old
there was coal and palladium and iron and gold.
But we took it all and we filled our cup
Then the straw boss said “Let’s dig way, way up”

You mine asteroids and what do you get?
A ride on a rocket and a load of regret.
St. Peter did you see me as I flew by?
I’m digging holes in the clear blue sky!

When I got to space then I started to drill.
I dug down and down in that airless chill.
Then I got so deep the whole hole just spun,
so I kept on digging up towards the sun.

You mine asteroids and what do you get?
A ride on a rocket and a load of regret.
St. Peter did you see me as I flew by?
I’m digging holes in the clear blue sky!

If you’re out in space you better let me pass
I will take your metals. I will steal your gas.
And I’ll make tear the end off your flying stone
‘Til it’s as brittle and hollow as an ice cream cone.”

You mine asteroids and what do you get?
A ride on a rocket and a load of regret.
St. Peter did you see me as I flew by?
I’m digging holes in the clear blue sky.

What’s the most physically demanding job you’ve ever held?

Use Other Exit

I loved the post from Clyde yesterday, along with the conversation that ensued.   I was especially tickled by this comment from Renee in North Dakota.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 4.46.35 PM

That is a beguiling image  – a would-be farmer, forsaking his chores for art.   It got me to thinking about old fiddle tunes, including Stephen Foster’s “Camptown Races”.


Uncle Albert had a barn,
Doo-dah, Doo-dah.
Often he’d relate this yarn,
Oh, do doo-dah day.

All them cows produced for sure,
Doo-dah, Doo-dah
Tons and tons of ripe manure
Oh, de doo-dah day.

Piling up all night.
Piling up all day.
When the cattle tried to leave
Guess what was blocking the way?

Albert got his fiddle strung
Doo dah, doo dah
On a hillock made of dung.
Oh, de doo-dah day.

Never did a bloomin’ chore,
Doo Dah, Doo Dah.
Sat beside a fragrant door,
Oh de doo-dah day.

While he played he never frowned,
Doo Dah, Doo Dah,
Watching bovines turn around
All de doo-dah day.

He would just recline,
Looking at the birds.
Now and then Albert would say,
“Man, what a mountain of turds!”

When have you let something pile up?