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December 05, 2002

We Three Kings We three

We Three Kings

We three kings of Palestine are
Packing Semtex into a car.
It was loaded and exploded

We two kings of Palestine are
Packing Semtex into a car.
It was loaded and exploded

I a king of Palestine am
Packing Semtex into a pram.
It was loaded and exploded

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.........

Ok, technically that was not a re-write of a beloved carol, but a rewrite of a joke about a beloved carol. Still, I think it fits into the general plan for the month. I first heard it on Prairie Home Companion, but I don't think it originated there, and Garrison's been kind of a sourpuss lately, so I don't feel like giving him the credit.

But, since it was really easy, and I feel that perhaps those of you stopping by might deserve a bit more, since you're not getting anything close to my normal effort at carol mutilation in this post. What I can do is show you the beginnings of the meme, for me at least. I managed to dig up copies of the first mutilated carols I can remember from the attic bookshelves, both of which I ran into when I was about eight.

The first is by Isaac Asimov, to the tune of "The First Noel", from his Treasury of Humor

When they tore down the el, our mayor did say
That soon in its place there would be a subway.
'twould be new, 'twould be clean
twould be painted white and green,
So give three cheers for our bright new subway.
No el, no el, no el, no el!
So give three cheers for our bright new subway.

It must have stuck in my head due to the pun, because it doesn't scan worth a damn. Drop the the "there" from the second line, change "white and" to "light" and replace the last line with something that actually has the correct number of syllables and rhyme scheme, like "Never again shall we ride the el", and it's a much better fit.

Zod: Look at you, re-writing Asimov. You don't have a small opinion of yourself, do you? He's gonna leave the bosom of Abraham just to come back and kick your ass personally.
I'm an English major, it's what we do.
Zod: What, drive the crowds away by offering a detailed explanation of the exciting craft of parody song creation?
All Art has rules.
Zod: Art? Since when did you do anything that deserves a capital letter? You using the term to begin is ludicrous, like the guy who sold cans of his own shitas "art"
Never claimed it was good art.
Zod: At least he got paid for it. I see I shamed you back into the little "a".
Should we explain the pun?
Zod: Screw 'em if they don't get it.
That's nice of you.
Zod: 'Tis the season.

The other is one Dad sang every year around this time, from Walt Kelly's Pogo comic strip, to the tune of Deck The Halls

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla walla, Washington, an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley'garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly welly cracker n' too-da-loo!
Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantalope, 'lope with you!

Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarum bung-a-loo!

Duck us all in bowls of barley,
Ninky dinky dink an' polly voo!
Chilly Filly's name is Chollie,
Chollie Filly's jolly chilly view halloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Double-bubble, toyland trouble! Woof, Woof, Woof!
Tizzy seas on melon collie!
Dibble-dabble, scribble-scrabble! Goof, Goof, Goof!

I don't recall ever approving of him singing this song, at any time or place. When I was little it was because the words weren't the correct ones. When I was older it was out of the sheer mortification of having a father who not only insisted on being seen in public, but of actually talking or shudder singing. Oh, the horror of it all. One day I'll tell you about the time he took up jogging when I was in middle school, and he not only wore purple tennis shoes, but conducted his run on part of the same route used by my school bus!

It's a wonder I survived, though it was perhaps only so God could make me see what it's like to be on the receiving end. I was singing "Silent Night" to Ngnat last night at bedtime when she reached over, put her hand over my mouth and said "Daddy, be quiet."

I'm going to start memorizing "Boston Charlie" tomorrow.

Posted by Bigwig at December 5, 2002 03:40 PM | TrackBack
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