Good Year For Earworms

Today’s guest post is from Linda in St. Paul (West Side).

The Germans have a word for it – ohrwurm, which translates literally as earworm, that phenomenon of getting a song lodged in your head that plays over and over till it drives you to distraction. I fall victim on a regular basis. Often particular songs are triggered by everyday objects or activities, and this is never more true than when I’m working in a garden.

I can’t trim a rosebush without drifting into It’s Been a Good Year For the Roses. It’s usually the George Jones version, though it occasionally morphs briefly into Elvis Costello.

Tending a bittersweet vine is a sure way to conjure Big Head Todd and the Monsters. (“Bittersweet…more sweet than bitter…bitter than sweet…”)  If you don’t know it, you could look it up on YouTube. Consider yourself warned, though – it’s a sticky one, as difficult to dislodge as a ball of burdock seeds.

Buttercups invariably trigger All Shook Up. I explained this to a friend once and she told me I am lucky my mental jukebox goes to Elvis instead of The Foundations.

An especially virulent earworm is Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me. I cannot even walk past an apple tree without suffering an acute attack.

And then sometimes my brain takes an odd detour and arrives at destination I’m at a loss to explain. I spend a couple of weeks in the summer pulling a vine known as hog peanut. To my knowledge, no one has ever written a song about hog peanut. The song that surfaces from my subconscious to fill the void is the bebop classic Salt Peanuts, with the lyrics adapted: “Hog peanut…hog peanut…” in an endless loop. Can you hear it?

Winter is fast approaching, and the garden earworms will sleep beneath the snow for a few months, to return in the spring. The only thing I have to say is…it’s been a good year for the roses.

Share your favorite (or least favorite) earworms.

Of Two Minds

Today’s post comes from Congressman Loomis Beechly, representing Minnesota’s 9th District – all the water surface area in the state.


Greetings Constituents!

I had a wonderful time in the 9th district during my extended August break, floating around Lac du Loon on my executive inner tube. But now I’m back in our nation’s capital for what will be, I’m certain, a very exciting September. I am already starting to adjust my way of thinking. 

As an unaffiliated and unacknowledged member of the House of Representatives, I’ll have some serious choices to make over the next few weeks.

  1. Should I stand with the president on striking at Syria in some meaningful, attention-getting, but non-invasive way?
  2. Should I hold the line on the budget by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, thereby risking a default?
  3. Should I give a hoot about passing laws, or do I just want to UNpass some?
  4. Should Congress act to take control of Miley Cyrus’ career before she spirals completely out of control and winds up in Lindsay Lohan territory?

These are the pressing issues of the day, and I wish I had quick, easy answers.

But I don’t! As a member of Congress, I’m usually too busy talking about various things to be able to take the time necessary to know anything about them. So on the mysterious questions listed above, I’ve decided to use the zig-zag voting strategy. That’s where I alternate votes to keep my opponents guessing and to give the Law of Averages a chance to make me right sometimes.

So I’ll vote “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No.” In that order.

And I do this fully aware that the public will not love me for it.   Americans’ approval rating for Congress is remarkably low. The irony is stunning. Every two years we run so hard in our districts to try to get everyone to love us. And for our success, the reward is to be stuck in a job where we are routinely and robustly despised.

I know this, and yet I don’t know it, because I’ve concluded that in order to make a decent life in public service, you need to have two brains where each one does not quite know what the other one is up to. One brain can stay convinced that you are brilliant, charming and good, while the other brain absorbs criticism and says all the things that are necessary to raise campaign funds.

And of course with two brains, you always have deniability. Though sometimes it helps to have three in case the first two start comparing notes. By now I might be up to as many as five – I’m not entirely sure. But no matter how minds I have running at any one time, I’m proud to say that at least one of my them faithfully represents Minnesota’s fabled 9th District!

And the other one is, of course, thoroughly appalled.

Your Congressman,
Loomis Beechly

How many minds do you have?