28 February 2012

That song that's stuck in my head: a Blog Off post

Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive when bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic. This week's Blog Off is about songs that get stuck in your head. Here's my take.


I fly in and out of the Tampa airport with alarming regularity. According to FourSquare, I've checked into that airport 28 times in the last six months. It's a great airport so far as airports go and obviously, I spend a fair amount of time there.

via The Decorating Diva

Every time I retrieve my car and drive home I pass a stand of oak trees at the entrance to the airport. All of them have a yellow ribbon tied around their trunks. A yellow ribbon tied around an oak tree has become the de facto statement of hope for the men and women who are in the armed services. Those ribbons are a stand in for "supporting the troops." I understand the sentiment behind those ribbons, but wouldn't it be better if the United States kept young men and women out of harm's way to begin with? Had the US not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in the first place, there'd be no need to tie yellow ribbons around trees. If the energy expended in those ribbons were directed toward electing politicians who didn't buy into the idea that the US is the world's police force, we'd be a better country. If you want to "support the troops," work to bring them home.


Anyhow, every time I pass that stand of beribboned oak trees, it's 1973 all over again and this song bores its way into my brain:

The only thing I can do at that point is crank up my Twitter buddy Joseph Calleja's E luceven le stelle from Puccini's Tosca. He's also my favorite contemporary tenor and a good guy. Even if you don't get opera, the man has a voice that won't quit.

I cannot get enough of his singing. So far as I can tell, Calleja's the only cure for a Tony Orlando and Dawn earworm. I've seen him perform twice by the way, each time in New York. On my bucket list is seeing Calleja in Tosca at La Scala in Milan. One of these days...

What songs bore into your head? What prompts that boring and how do you get rid of them?

Check out how other bloggers address this topic by clicking on the links in the following table.


  1. Another example of how we forget the past and tack a different meaning onto something. The song was about a guy who was in prison for three years and coming home, not in the military nobly serving his country. Regardless, it's all about politics anyway, right? Like the good 'ol days of the '50s.

    Another co-option that I'm seeing in TV commercials now is Charlie the Tuna for Chicken of the Sea. Charlie went away because he is a black tuna in a white tuna world. People forget that and re-purpose him for a clueless generation. Who is the next politically incorrect character to come back, Sambo? Too soon?

  2. Paul,

    Thanks for the earworm and the cure to the earworm. I needed the cure.

  3. My memory is that the Tony Orlando song was originally a story in Reader’s Digest. I seem to remember reading it, but that may be a side effect of the Orlando earworm!

    I agree completely on what you have to say on yellow ribbons, Paul. I must say that those who find it necessary to forever send this country’s young people to war have done a brilliant marketing job with their “Support the Troops” litany. If you support the troops, you’re duty bound to either support the war, or at a bare minimum, say nothing in opposition to the war. Either one works just fine for the powers that be.

    I do think that war protesting during the Vietnam War took a bad turn when it became vilification of the soldiers. Those guys were just doing what they thought was their duty. Of course, the immediate counter to that is that Germans and Japanese also followed orders in WWII. But at least this country raised lots and lots of hell about the wrongness of that war. What do we have now? Silence disguised as supporting the troops.

    The problem with war, of course, is that we have been taught to think of it as different. It’s not murder and wanton destruction of cities and infrastructure even though all the bombing and such that is done necessarily produce such things. No, it’s much more a matter of the USA showing the proper spirit to the villain de jure. I do find myself wondering, though, just how many more people we have to butcher before the world is finally safe for Americans.

  4. Rufus: Charlie the tuna pitching Chicken of the Sea? What ever became of the mermaid? "Ask any mermaid you happen to see; what's the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea!"

    Eric: are you an opera fan too?

    Joe: That "Support the Troops" canard is a brilliant marketing campaign from the Department of Defense. There's no room for dissent in it and I always counter it with bring them home if you really want to support them. It usually doesn't go over very well.

  5. Once Wang shu won the Pritzker I've had "everybody wand chung tonight" echoing in my head. I must have read his name 50 times yesterday.

  6. When I was about 3 (because, of course, it was 1973), Tie a Yellow Ribbon was my FAVOURITE song. According to my parents I knew all the words, and would frequently demonstrate that by singing it at the top of my lungs out the car window.


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