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Would You GO Already???

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My dear friend Rock Hard, one of those guys who left us and was never coming back, had been back lately, but promises us that it is just a temporary visit.


At first it was just to correct a grammatical error, but he goes on and on, repeatedly promising that THIS time he is leaving, but he doesn't go. Could someone help push the old man's wheelchair a nudge? Even if you have to roll it down the stairs...poor thing won't notice the few extra bumps!


Then we can all wait until he comes back...just for a second, just because he has this one point he wants to make!

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It kind of reminds one of the scene from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance that includes the lines, “Away, away!”, “…do not stay!”, “…why this delay?”, and ultimately culminates with, “Yes, but you don’t go!”… “Yes, but you don’t go!”


Tarantara! Tarantara!

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>“Yes, but you don’t go!”


Too perfect!


I wish you hadn't, though. Last night I read this just before an escort showed up at my door. So that damned music was running through my head the whole time.


...But still in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral

I am the very model of a modern Major-General!

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Sorry about that! If it is any consolation I couldn't get the damned tune out of my mind either!


However, you seem to have returned the favor as I will be humming the following all weekend…


I am the very model of a modern Major-General,

I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical

From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;

I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,

I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,

About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,

With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.


Etc. etc. etc.


For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,

Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;

But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,

I am the very model of a modern Major-General.


Hopefully by the time the guy I have hired to whoop my butt arrives on Sunday I will be long over it… but with my penchant for masochism probably not!

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> Hopefully by the time the guy I have hired to whoop my butt arrives on Sunday I will be long over it… but with my penchant for masochism probably not!


My brain is filled up totally with Gilbert and with Sullivan.

There's no room left for other things, important or irrelevant.

Just two days left to tune them out, and turn into a masochist.

If they're not gone by Saturday, I'll have to call an exorcist.

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Well guys, I appreciate the concern but the hour is fast approaching and I’m still being tormented by thoughts “vegetable, animal, and mineral”… not to mention that damned “square of the hypotenuse”!


However, while I know JT meant well with his patriotic sentiments, his mention of “God Bless America”, which unfortunately conjured up thoughts of Kate Smith, really did not help matters… so consequently… this masochist might just have to call that exorcist…


I’ll let you know how things went down…

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This will not help a bit...




...nor will this Tom Lehrer bit that parodies G&S at the end...



Clementine by Tom Lehrer


I should like to consider the folk song, and expound briefly on a theory I have held for some time, to the effect that the reason most folk songs are so atrocious is that they were written by the people. If professional songwriters had written them instead, things might have turned out considerably differently. For example, consider the old favorite, with which, I'm sure, you're all familiar, Clementine, you know:


In a cavern, in a canyon,

dadada dadadada...


...a song with no recognizable merit whatsoever - and imagine what might have happened if, for example, Cole Porter had tried writing this song. The first verse might have come out like this:


In a cavern, in a canyon,

Excava-ha-ha-hating for a mine,

Far away from the boom-boom-boom of the city

She was so pretty - what a pity, Clementine.*


Oh Clementine, can't you tell from the howls of me

This love of mine calls to you from the bowels of me.

Are you discerning the returning

Of this churning, burning, yearning for you...oo oo...ah ah...


... well, supposing at this point that Mozart (or one of that crowd) had tried writing a verse, the next one might have come out as a baritone aria from an Italian opera, somewhat along these lines:


Era legera e come un fairy

E suo shoes numero nine,

Herring bo-ho-ho-hoxes sans-a to-ho-ho-hopses,

Sandalae per Clementina si, per Clementina si,

Per Clementina sandalae, per Clementina sandalae, per Clementina.


Clementina, Clementina, Clementina...

Herring boxes sans-a topses sandalae per Clementina,

Herring boxes sans-a topses sandalae per Clementina,

Che sciagura** Clementina, che sciagura Clementina, cara Clementina, cara



Supposing at this rather dramatic juncture in the narrative, one of our modern cool school of composers had tried writing a verse, the next one might have come out like this:


A one, a two, a three...

Drove those ducklings to the water... yeah brach! doddley doo doo uh ah!

Ev'ry morning like 9 a.m. ...ooh pah! de do de do do do, biddley da!

Got hung up on a splinter, got a-hung up on a splinter...

cloo ge mop! Huh huh! [do de do de do do do]

Fell into the foamy brine, dig that crazy Clementine, man!


To end on a happy note, one can always count on Gilbert and Sullivan for a rousing finale, full of words and music and signifying - nothing.***


That I missed her depressed her young sister named Esther,

This mister to pester she tried.

Now her pestering sister's a festering blister,

You're best to resist her, say I.


The mister resisted, the sister persisted,

I kissed her, all loyalty slipped.

When she said I could have her, her sister's cadaver

Must surely have turned in its crypt.

Yes, yes, yes, yes!


But I love she and she loves me.

Enraptured are the both of we.

Yes I love she and she loves I

And will through all eterni-tae!


- see what I mean?




*For reference, here are the original lyrics to Clementine:


In a cavern, in a canyon [Cole Porter verse 1]

Excavating for a mine,

Dwelt a miner '49er,

And his daughter, Clementine.



Oh, my darling, [Cole Porter verse 2]

Oh, my darling,

Oh, my darling, Clementine.

You are gone and lost forever,

Dreadful sorry, Clementine.


Light she was and like a fairy, [Mozart verse]

And her shoes were number nine,

Herring boxes without topses,

Sandals were for Clementine.




Drove she ducklings to the water [beatnik verse]

Ev'ry morning just at 9,

Struck her foot against a splinter,

Fell into the foaming brine.




Ruby lips above the water,

Blowing bubbles soft and fine.

As for me, I was no swimmer,

So I lost my Clementine.




How I missed her, how I missed her, [G&S verse]

How I missed my Clementine.

So I kissed her little sister,

And forgot my Clementine.


** Che sciagura: Italian for "What a disaster"


*** A reference to a line from Macbeth:


Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing. (5.5.28)

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You were right… it did not help!


However, I appreciate the effort…


Shoot! Now I have thoughts of Kate Smith costumed as Major-General Stanley singing “Clementine” as a Gilbert and Sullivanesque patter song…


At any rate, I’m off to get my butt pummeled… and I am confident that when the Greco-Roman god that I have hired arrives at my hotel he will erase any unpleasant musical thoughts and hopefully will have me humming the “Ode to Joy” all evening!

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