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Edgar Bergen

So many people are working in vaudeville today that I looked for three weeks to book enough acts for an hour bill and didn't have them until the night before we opened in Buffalo and money was no object!

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My Version Of T'was The Night Before Christmas

So...
While the children were sleeping,
Snug in their beds...
A fat man dressed in a red suit,
Trimmed in white fur...
Began to sneak around the house.
And your very protective grandfather,
Got his favorite baseball bat...
And began to beating that fat man in the head.

The policemen arrived,
And took your grandfather away.

When the children awakened,
Not a toy was in sight.
And all the children living in the ghetto,
Got a reality check.
Learning to go to sleep...
Without believing they will hear reindeer,
On the roof...
The night before Christmas.

'Honey?
Why are our grandchildren crying? '

~I read them my version,
Of T'was The Night Before Christmas.
They are too old to be thinking,
They will be getting something for free.
When we have spent our retirement money,
To keep them fantasized.~

'Couldn't you have found a better way,
To break the news to them? '

~No! ~

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T'was the Night Before Christmas

Her mommy was sound asleep, Her daddy was on the couch, Watchin' the T.V, She got up to use the potty, Hopefully he wouldn't see, Then she got back in her bed, She heard him walkin', And fallin' on the walls, 'cause he was drunk,

Then she prayed: 'Hopefully he wouldn't slap me, Please don't let him kick, Please not a bite or a scratch, Not even a knick, Please don't let it happen, Not on this wonderful night...', Then he opened her door, Grabed her by her neck, What a horibble sight, He put her down with a slam, Grabed her by her hair, And pulled her down the hall,

She screamed, She kicked, Then she yelled, 'WHAT DID I DO? ' After that he let go, He punched, He hit, There was nothing she could do, But lay there and cry,

Then her mommy screamed at her, For making her daddy angry, Mommy grabed a beer bottle, Then through it a her head, Her mommy said 'clean up this mess then go back to bed', She did as her mommy said, Then her mommy grabed her daddy by the arm, And went back to bed, Then she noticed she was bleeding from her head,

She grabed the phone and called 911, But I guess they were to late, 'cause when they got there, She was already dead,

T'was the night, Before christmas, The same night that little girl died, If you listen closely, You can still hear her cry.

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The Night Before Larry Was Stretched

The night before larry was stretched
Oh, the night before larry was stretched
Well the boys they all paid him a visit
A bit in their sacks too they fetched
For they sweated their duds till they ris it
For larry was always the lad
When a boy was condemned to the squeezer
Would fence all the duds that he had
For to help his poor friend to a sneezer--
-- and warm his ol gob fore he died
Well the boys they came crowding in fast
And they threw all their stools round about him
Six glims round his trap-case was placed
For he couldnt be well-waked without them
When one of them asked, could he die
Without having duly repented?
Said larry, thats all in me eye
And first by the clergy invented--
--for to get a fat bit for themselves
Oh and Ill be cut up like a pie:
And me nob from me body be parted.
Youre in the wrong box, then, says i,
For blast me if theyre so hard-hearted
A chalk on the back of your neck
Is all that jack catch dares to give you
Then mind not such trifles affect
Oh why should the likes of them grieve you? --
--and now boys, come tip us the deck.
Well the cards being called for they played
Until larry found one of them cheated
A point in his napper was made
For the boy hed been easily heated
Oh, hold me the hokey, you thief!
Ill scuttle your knob with me dodle!
You cheat me because Im in grief
Ah, but soon Ill demolish your noddle--
--and leave you your claret to drink
Then the clergy came in with his book
And he spoke him so smooth and so civil
Larry tipped him kill-sour look
And he pitched his big wig to the devil
Then sighing he threw back his head
For to get a sweet drop of the bottle
And dutiful sighing he said,
Oh the hempt twill be soon round me throttle--
--and choke me poor windpipe to death.
Oh then sure its the best way to die
Oh the dead are no better the living
For now when the gallows is high
Our journey is shorter to heaven.
But what harasses larry the most
And makes his soul poor melancholy
Is he thinks of the time when his ghost
It will come in a sheet to sweet molly--
--oh sure, itll kill her alive
So moving, these last words he spoke
We all vented our tears in a shower
For me own part I thought me heart broke
For to see him cut down like a flower
On his travels we watched him next day
The throttler I thought I could kill him
But larry not one word did say
Nor change did he come to king william--
--and then did his color grow white.
When he came to the old dublin chit
He was tucked up so neat and so pretty
The rumbler jugged off from his feet
And he died with his face to the city
He kicked too, but that was all pride
For soon you might see twas all over
Soon after the noose was untied
In darkness we waked him in clover--
--and sent him to take his ground sweat
Oh, the night before larry was stretched
Well the boys they all paid him a visit
A bit in their sacks too they fetched
For they sweated their duds till they ris it
For larry was always the lad
When a boy was condemned to the squeezer
Would fence all the duds that he had
For to help his poor friend to a sneezer--
--and warm his ol gob fore he died
--and warm his ol gob fore he died

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Many People

Many people are here
Many people are not
Many people have left
Many people have come -
We have seen many people that are not here.
Many people have died
Many people have lived -
The many people we loved and do love, have gone and left us.
Many of our friends and family are lost
For fear has taken me.
The pieces have fallen and broken and can’t be fixed
Those pieces were my life
And now my life is gone
For I am alone with none to guide me through my time
I am alone
I am alone.

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Too Many People

(tennant/lowe)
-------------------
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people at once
The husband or the hedonist
The businessman or the communist
The artist or the showbiz creep
The lover or the nervous geek
The question of identity is one thats always haunted me
Whoever I decide to be depends on who is with me
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people at once
The tactless twit putting his foot in it
Or the sensitive soul whos a role model
The urban jet setter - never at home
Or the country recluse - just leave me alone
Extrovert or introvert
Love is kind, and love hurts
Rebellion or conformity
What is my identity?
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people at once
The intellectual and bon-viveur
Or the naive simpleton, so immature
A devoted son and family man
Or the wicked uncle who doesnt give a damn
How often these have tempted me
The question of identity depends on what Im meant to be
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people at once
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people
I sometimes think that Im too many people
Too many people, too many people at once

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A Map Of Culture

Culture


Contents

What is Culture?

The Importance of Culture

Culture Varies

Culture is Critical

The Sociobiology Debate

Values, Norms, and Social Control

Signs and Symbols

Language

Terms and Definitions

Approaches to the Study of Culture

Are We Prisoners of Our Culture?



What is Culture?


I prefer the definition used by Ian Robertson: 'all the shared products of society: material and nonmaterial' (Our text defines it in somewhat more ponderous terms- 'The totality of learned, socially transmitted behavior. It includes ideas, values, and customs (as well as the sailboats, comic books, and birth control devices) of groups of people' (p.32) .

Back to Contents


The Importance of Culture


The concepts, culture and society are closely related. Culture is defined as all the products of society- material and nonmaterial; Society consists of interacting people living in the same territory who share a common culture. We really can't have one without the other (unless you want to call archaeological remains and historical records 'culture') . People in society create culture; culture shapes the way people interact and understand the world around them.

Culture determines what we know- the sum of all the angles in a triangle; what a screw driver is used for; how to use a computer to find out where Peloponnesians are...

Culture also determines what we don't know- how to catch a fish by hand; how to build a dugout canoe and navigate the South Seas without chart or compass.

Culture determines what we want to be- lawyer; dairy farmer; computer programmer; doctor; shaman; pearl diver



Culture Varies


It varies with the physical setting or geography: (A good example here is music. Think of all the differences in music that are related to geography. We're a mixed society in the United States, but think of the regional origins of much of our our music: Clogging in Tennessee; Cajun music (Zydeko) in Louisiana; City music vs. Country/Western Music, etc.)

It also varies with time: Have you ever tried to read Beowulf; Shakespeare; work a slide rule; drive a buggy; understand Victorian morality and ethics? I asked my young daughter if she wanted to go to a record store. 'What's a record? ', she asked. (Her generation has been exposed only to tapes and CDs) .

Think of culture as a stream flowing down through the centuries from one generation to another. Each generation contributes something to this stream, but in each generation something is left behind, some sediment drops to the bottom and is lost to society, (Bierstedt) . Examples of things lost to society the art of stained glass window making, violin making (The greatest violins ever produced by man were made in Cremona, Northern Italy in the mid 16th century) . (Science 84 5: 2 pp 3643) .

Culture is Critical to the Survival of Human Race


Because of the nature of the animal that we are. Unlike most animals that are specially adapted to the environment in which they live, we lack special physical characteristics such as long fangs, sharp teeth, claws, fur, feathers, or scales; or even physiological behavior patterns such as hibernation, to enable us to survive in a hostile environment. But, like the higher primates, (which we are one type of) , we share a number of important characteristics:

Characteristics of all primates:

Sociable: (Primates are gregarious and like to be in groups)
Smart: (large brain/body weight ratio) Humans' brains are most complex.
Sensitive hands: (All primates have an opposing thumb) .
Sound: (Primates are extremely vocal) .
Stand: (All primates can assume an erect posture which frees the hands):

Biological characteristics possessed by humans, alone:

Sex and Mating: (Year around mating- Unlike other primates, we lack a special breeding season. This, has important implications for gender roles) .
Schooling: (The young have a long period of dependence on adults. This also has implications for gender roles) .
Symbolic Speech: (Although there are numerous examples of chimpanzees being taught to use symbols to communicate, humans alone have developed a highly complex system of symbolic speech) .
Locomotion: (Humans alone, walk erect) .

Humans possess a highly developed, complex brain, which allows us to communicate symbolically, to learn quickly, and to innovate. We lack instincts (or if they do exist they are not readily apparent) . It is our culture that enables us to survive as a species. Culture provides answers to such basic problems as finding shelter, food, and clothing. Culture provides guidance for our every day lives; social organization which keeps us from tearing each other apart.

Every generation has to learn from scratch the culture of its society or it will perish. All the basic institutions of society that we discussed earlier; the economy, education, religion, recreation, politics represent needs that society must meet. Ways of meeting these needs are handed down from one generation to the next. They represent our culture. What we lack in physical attributes and strength, we make up for in our ability to communicate and learn culture from one generation to the next.

This, in my opinion, is precisely why Sociology is so important. It's humankind's almost total reliance upon socially transmitted patterns of behavior that enable it to survive. Society and culture are the subject matter of Sociology.


The Sociobiology Debate

There is a school of thought, Sociobiology, which sees much of human behavior as being instinctual. Sociologists generally hold that culture evolved (or developed) due to the influence of values (ideas) or due to changes in the material base of society (technology fire, the wheel, the computer) . They usually argue that biology (genetic programming) has a limited role. Sociobiologists, claim that human culture and social behavior derive from a process of natural selection and genetic transmission. Our genes predispose us to certain patterns of behavior unique from other animals. Sociobiologists support their argument by citing a number of 'cultural universals' found in all societies. They say that this is evidence of the influence of genetic factors. Examples have been drawn from the work of anthropologist, George Murdock (1945) who argued that all societies demonstrated some form of the following:

athletic sports

laws

bodily adornment

medicine

cooking (meal preparation)

incest taboos

cooperative labor

music

courtship

myths

dancing

num erals

dream analysis

personal names

family feasting

property rights

folk law

sexual restrictions

funeral ceremonies

religion

food taboos

toilet training

games

tool making

gift giving

weather making

Sociobiologists argue that human behavior ultimately is derived from our biology rather than learning. According to Murdock, all societies have incest taboos. Why? One biological argument would be that in-breeding can produce genetic defects, or that it may reinforce undesirable traits (such as hemophilia or mental instability) . Incest taboos force a group to broaden its gene pool which reduces the probability of passing along 'dysfunctional' traits. One could apply this argument to the Catholic Church: By forbidding priests and nuns to marry, it forced the recruitment of individuals from outside the church to keep the gene pool fresh. (This would prevent the formation of 'religious royal families' and the decline of the faith when a feeble minded monarch emerged) .

But there are problems with this argument. Referring to incest: Why is incest defined differently from one society to another? The range of variation is tremendous! Some societies have allowed marriage between brothers and sisters. Others forbid it between relatives closer than first cousins. Still others have restrictions going out even further; requiring individuals to marry outside the tribe. If there is a genetic basis for the incest taboo, why is there so much variation? Another point is that just as 'dysfunctional traits' can be reinforced through inbreeding; so can 'desirable' characteristics. (Dog breeders and horse breeders do this very thing) .

If everything were programmed genetically, we would expect to see little variation across societies in the way people handled the affairs of their everyday lives. But there are tremendous differences in...

the sports that we play and the way we play them
the families that we form and the ways we form them
the various ways in which we court our spouses
the friends we make and the way we make them
the tools we make and how we use them
the languages we invent and the way we speak them
the food we eat and how we eat it
the religions we form and how we practice them
the laws and customs we make and how we observe them.

The key point is that this behavior is learned. Humans can change culture without changing genes. Biology sets the stage by giving us unique capabilities that distinguish us from other species; culture determines how we use those unique capabilities.


Values, Norms, and Social Control

Values are socially shared ideas about what is 'right' and 'wrong; ' 'good' and 'bad' in society. Values are general ideas- broad and abstract. They vary from one society to another and one way to study society is to examine the values held by its members. Values are important because it is from them that we derive the norms or rules that govern our everyday lives. Values help guide conduct in unfamiliar situations and may lead to the formation of specific norms. Generally speaking, we tend to hold on to our values and are unlikely to compromise them. American values have been intensively studied by numerous scholars:

American values (Robin Williams) :

achievement and success

freedom

activity and work

conformity

humanitarianism

science/technology

progress

nationalism/patriotism

material comfort

democracy

efficiency/p racticality

individualism

equality

racial/ethnic superiority

American values (Talcott Parsons) :

instrumental activism

maximization of opportunity for individuals and sub collectives

progress

pragmatic acceptance of authority

economic production

objection to pretensions of generalized superiority of status

technology and science

Individuals as well as entire societies may experience value conflict. A great example of value conflict at the individual level is provided by the 1941 movie, 'Sergeant York, ' (starring Gary Cooper) . The movie tells the story of Alvin Cullum York, regarded as one of the outstanding heroes of World War I, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for killing 20 enemy soldiers and capturing over 100 prisoners. At first, York was a conscientious objector who held deep religions convictions against killing. The value conflict in this case involved the Sixth Commandment's prohibition against killing and what he felt were his duties as a patriotic American- to answer his country's call. Cooper, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Sgt. York, did a wonderful job showing how individuals 'freeze up' and are unable to do anything until they resolve these kinds of internal value conflicts.

One very powerful example of a value conflict at the societal level is the current debate over abortion. Values are not readily compromised and it is often impossible to find 'common ground' in these kinds of disputes. The debate over slavery and states' rights in the 1850s is an example of a value conflict that was eventually resolved through war- the bloodiest war in this nation's history. The deplorable state of affairs we are now observing in what was formerly Yugoslavia, is essentially another value conflict.


Norms are derived from a society's overall values. Values determine norms. Remember, norms are classified into several types.

Folkways (weak norms customs, etiquette; three meals a day, wearing shoes to class, tipping after a meal, taking same seat in class)
Mores (strong norms considered vital to our well-being, values, morals; cheating on spouse, child abuse and murder)
Laws (Norms established and punished by the state with punishments fixed in advance: written or encoded mores, folkways, and taboos; from traffic laws to laws against rape and murder) .
Taboos (Very strong norms whose violation is considered loathsome and disgusting)

Social Control is the means by which society ensures that its members follow approved norms. Norms are supported by sanctions- positive and negative; formal and informal; which are used to bring people into line.

Informal:
Positive (informal) sanction: give child a candy bar for behaving
Negative (informal) sanction: give a child a stern look for talking in church
Formal:
Positive (formal) sanction: combat soldier gets Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism
Negative (formal) sanction: person gets speeding ticket for doing 56 mph in a 55 mph zone

Back to Contents

Signs and Symbols

There is an important difference between signs and symbols that you should know. Symbols set man apart from animals. Animals use signs.

Signs are representational: There is a direct connection between the sign and the reality it refers to. The meaning is clear and unambiguous. Sort of like stimulus and response. There is no need to interpret meanings.

Smoke indicates that fire is present (or will soon be present)
The family dog scratches the door to the back yard- It wants to go outside. It gets its bowl- It wants food. (The bowl is directly related to food) . It lays down belly-up- It displays submission.

Symbols are interpretative:

A symbol is an object, gesture, sound, color, or design which stands for something other than itself. We humans give meaning to these things. Examples- wedding band; leather jacket; sports car; the length and color of a person's hair; (punk rockers; T.V. ministries where people are neatly dressed; flag burnings) . Symbols may have multiple meanings. Example- the cross on a church steeple; a burning cross; a red cross on the side of an ambulance. (A smile can take on many different meanings) . Symbols can change meaning over time. Example- 'V' sign was once obscene. It stood for victory in World War II. During the Vietnam War it meant peace. Symbols are capable of stirring up deep emotions. In the debate over abortion, individuals don't classify themselves as 'pro' or 'anti' abortion. Rather, they use the terms 'pro-choice', or 'pro-life'- 'choice' and 'life' are two important values in U.S. society. People often disagree over whether or not a symbol is appropriate for a given place or circumstance. Several years ago, there was much debate over whether or not McDonalds' 'golden arches, ' an internationally recognized symbol in its own right, should be displayed so prominently over the VCU Student Commons' entrances. Eventually, the arches were taken down.


Language

Most people feel that language is unique to human beings. Other species use signs with genetically fixed meanings and can learn to respond to specified stimuli- (Pavlov's dogs salivating at the ring of a bell) - but only humans can be said to have language. Language consists primarily of verbal and written symbols with rules for putting them together. (Language also consists of the nonverbal expressions which accompany speech in face-to-face interaction. Raising an eyebrow or winking an eye often relays more meaning than a hundred words. We can therefore modify our definition to include 'verbal, visual, and written symbols and their associated rules for putting them together.'

Is language really unique to humans? There are a number of very interesting studies that suggest that certain animals have a highly developed capacity for language. Click on the links, below for some serious and scholarly references on animal communication.

§ Birds

§ Chimpanzees

§ Gorillas

This next site has some interesting material on

§ Dolphins and Whales



Language is truly the 'keystone to culture' for without it, we could not pass on the collective experience of society and the lessons it teaches for survival. It is the primary way that we pass on our culture from one generation to the next. It enables us to store meanings so we don't have to relearn everything with each generation.
Language allows us to create worlds we've never seen and develop new ideas to explain the world around us. A good example is atomic theory. Before the advent of the scanning electron microscope men had predicted the existence of atoms and molecules using the symbols of language. Language also allows us to develop new ideas to apply to the future.
George Orwell realized the importance of language in his epic work,1984. Why did the rulers of Oceania develop 'Newspeak'? They wanted to restrict the creative ability of humankind so they wouldn't have the concepts of freedom, free enterprise, individuality. 'The purpose of newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the worldview and mental habits proper to devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.' (Orwell, p.246)

The SapirWhorf Hypothesis states that language not only reproduces our ideas, but it also shapes the way we think. It orders our reality. It may prevent people from being aware of things in the environment and focuses our attention on certain things. Examples:

Sexist language shapes our thinking about women. Coaches who ridiculed male players when they weren't playing well by calling them ladies? Language that treats women as objects; 'chick, fox, babe, hot cakes, skirts, etc. will tend to make us think of women as objects, not people.
Racist language, ethnic language; Micks, Spicks, Whops, Pollocks, Degos, Ollies, etc. tend to lower our image of people.
Color: The human eye can discern thousands of different shades of color, yet in our society we identify only 6 to 8 particular ones. A tribe in New Guinea breaks colors into categories of 'warm' and 'cold' (so much for the science of spectroscopy in that society) !
The Eskimos have many different words for snow. Unless we ski a lot, most of us use one- 'snow.'
Christian missionaries in Hawaii were shocked to find no word or concept for sin.
In (North) American society, we tend to treat physical objects as if they had wills of their own. If a pen rolls off a table, we'll say 'It fell off.' or 'It rolled off the table and fell on the floor.' The Russian culture works differently. Their response would be something like 'They did it.' or 'They caused it to fall on the floor.'

Are we slaves to our language? The language we speak predisposes us to see the world in certain ways, but language is extremely flexible. As we find ourselves lacking words to describe new ideas, machines, processes, and technologies, we coin new terms and phrases. 'Black holes, ' 'Quarks, ' and even 'Supply side economics, ' are all creations of the mind and examples showing where language has lagged behind conceptual ideas in the mind.


Terms and Definitions


Related terms and definitions:

Cultural universals: These imply practices common to every culture. We've already discussed the Anthropologist, George Murdock's proposed list of general traits found in every culture. It seems that there are a large number of very general traits common to all cultures, but no specific ones like what, exactly, defines murder, incest, etc. in a society?
Ethnocentrism: This is the tendency to judge other cultures by the standards of our own. ('Body Ritual Among the Nacirema') .
Cultural relativism: The recognition that one culture cannot be arbitrarily judged by the standards of another. We need to adopt this stance when studying other cultures.
Cultural Integration: Culture is not a random assemblage of skills, customs, values, and beliefs. These elements are woven into a definite pattern and are somehow related to one another.
Cultural Diversity: Common culture gives us a sense of identity but there is a great deal of variation among groups. We witness cultural diversity on both the international and national levels. We've already talked about regional differences when we compared the North with the South in the United States.
Subcultures: Within a culture there may exist groups of people who have their own distinct sets of values, customs, and lifestyles. (Italian Americans, African Americans, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, the young, the middle-aged, the old, etc.) . We can even say that there is a subculture of college life.
Countercultures: a counterculture that is fundamentally at odds with the dominant culture. (The youth movement of the 1960's, for example) .
Real and Ideal culture: Ideal culture is what the values say we believe in, what we should practice, while real culture is what actually exists. Often there is a discrepancy between the two resulting in cultural strain.

Approaches to the Study of Culture

There are several approaches to the study of culture. Here are two examples:

Functionalism looks at the roles that components of culture play in maintaining the social order as a whole. What are the consequences for a society if we remove or change one element of its culture? (i.e. in America, the computer) . The problem with this approach is that it tends to overlook change when stressing the functional relationships between variables. It also has a pejorative or negative view of unbalance in the system, even when such unbalance may mean social improvement.

.

The Ecological approach examines the culture of a given society in relation to the total environment in which it exists. For example, why do people in India let sacred cows roam the streets by the millions (100 million) when so many people are hungry? One reason is that cows are needed to produce the oxen which Indian farmers must have to plow the fields. Without them, even more people will starve. Also, the cows produce over 700 million tons of manure each year. Half of it is used for fertilizer; the other half is used for fuel. When the cows die, they are eaten by the untouchables or outcasts who are the hungriest people in the population. The cows' hides are used in the leather industry.



Are we prisoners of our Culture?

No. Culture does make humans what they are, but humans also make culture. We constantly make changes to our culture. It guides us through life, but we also change and modify it to our needs and desires. If we could not do this, everything would be the same from generation to generation just like the bees and termites. It's hard for 2. Processes of cultural change: Cultural change is usually slow and deliberate. When changes occur in one cultural element (the economy) changes can be expected elsewhere (politics) . Things generally tend to be linked together.

There are three mechanisms by which cultural change occurs:

Discovery the perception or recognition of something that already exists- fire, the New World.
Invention combining old knowledge to produce something that did not exist before, the compass, for example.
Diffusion the spread of cultural elements from one culture to another. i.e. gun powder from China to the West. Most cultural change occurs in this manner- (Linton's 'One hundred Percent American' article) .

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Mr. Crow And Sir Norman

Ventrilloquist was he, little boy sat on his knee
The people knew that the show was but the best one in the land
Until the night before the act
The dummy's clothes had all been packed away - he'd gone
And he'd left poor mr. crow right in the lurch
You know he's gone far away
I hear his voice go laughing
What of all the years we shared?
Hello mr. crow has your little boy left home - did he run away
Well i hope he'll soon be back to do the show
I'm sorry you must feel quite sad when your dummy runs away without a word
That is all old mr. crow had heard
You know he's gone far away
I hear his voice go laughing
What of all the years we shared?
Now come on mr. crow my dear
We'd better have this gottle o' geer
Then one fateful night into the dressing room so bright
Walked our friend tabledoll
Mr. crow cried tears of joy all in his tea
The bad doll said kindly address me as sir norman little man i am a star
And if you weren't so old maybe i'd let you be my doll
You know i've been far away
I've heard the people laugh
Now i'm a great big star

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How Many Women Are Out There?

How many women are out there,
That are looking for a man?
That would fight for what he believes in,
And would do whatever he can.

How many women are out there,
That wish that they could find?
A man that looks at future.
Not the things that are left behind.

How many women are out there,
That seek a man who's true?
When the situation arises,
It's the right thing he will do.

How many women are out there,
Looking for a man with determined heart?
To change the things he needs to change,
To make a brand new start.

How many women are out there,
That are looking for a friend?
One that would always be there for you.
On him you could depend.

How many women are out there,
That are looking for a lover?
To hold you hand when you walk around,
And hold your heart under the covers.

How many women are out there,
Think this man does not exist?
A figment of your imagination.
Is it one you can't resist?

How many women are out there,
That this is your desire?
This is the man you're seeking.
The one who'll light your fire.

How many women are out there,
They think that this man could be?
I'll let you know he does exist.
That man is simply me.

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Bill and Joe

COME, dear old comrade, you and I
Will steal an hour from days gone by,
The shining days when life was new,
And all was bright with morning dew,
The lusty days of long ago,
When you were Bill and I was Joe.

Your name may flaunt a titled trail
Proud as a cockerel's rainbow tail,
And mine as brief appendix wear
As Tam O'Shanter's luckless mare;
To-day, old friend, remember still
That I am Joe and you are Bill.

You've won the great world's envied prize,
And grand you look in people's eyes,
With H O N. and L L. D.
In big brave letters, fair to see,--
Your fist, old fellow! off they go!--
How are you, Bill? How are you, Joe?

You've worn the judge's ermined robe;
You've taught your name to half the globe;
You've sung mankind a deathless strain;
You've made the dead past live again:
The world may call you what it will,
But you and I are Joe and Bill.

The chaffing young folks stare and say
"See those old buffers, bent and gray,--
They talk like fellows in their teens
Mad, poor old boys! That's what it means,"--
And shake their heads; they little know
The throbbing hearts of Bill and Joe!--

How Bill forgets his hour of pride,
While Joe sits smiling at his side;
How Joe, in spite of time's disguise,
Finds the old schoolmate in his eyes,--
Those calm, stern eyes that melt and fill
As Joe looks fondly up at Bill.

Ah, pensive scholar, what is fame?
A fitful tongue of leaping flame;
A giddy whirlwind's fickle gust,
That lifts a pinch of mortal dust;
A few swift years, and who can show
Which dust was Bill and which was Joe?

The weary idol takes his stand,
Holds out his bruised and aching hand,
While gaping thousands come and go,--
How vain it seems, this empty show!
Till all at once his pulses thrill;--
'T is poor old Joe's "God bless you, Bill!"

And shall we breathe in happier spheres
The names that pleased our mortal ears;
In some sweet lull of harp and song
For earth-born spirits none too long,
Just whispering of the world below
Where this was Bill and that was Joe?

No matter; while our home is here
No sounding name is half so dear;
When fades at length our lingering day,
Who cares what pompous tombstones say?
Read on the hearts that love us still,
Hic jacet Joe. Hic jacet Bill.

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So many people are accustomed to written information that you really have to have a few more bells and whistles in this day and age.

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As a small company our fastest way to market was going to be by working with other retailers that were known for pioneering new technologies and categories.

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By and By

Was the parting very bitter?
Was the hand clasped very tight?
Is a storm of tear-drops falling
From a face all sad and white?
Think not of it, in the future,
Calmer, fairer days are nigh--
Gaze not backward, but look onward
For a sunny 'by and by.'

Was the priceless love you lavished,
Sought for, played with, and then slain?
Were its crushed and quivering remnants
Calmly thrown you back again?
Calmly, too, those remnants gather,
Bring them home without a sigh;
Sweet returns they yet shall bring you
In the coming 'by and by.'

Are the eyelids very heavy?
Does the tired head long for rest?
Are the temples hot and throbbing,
And the hands together pressed?
Hope shall lay you on her bosom,
Cool the poor lips parched and dry,
And shall whisper, 'Rest is coming--
Rest forever, 'by and by.'

And when calmed and cheered and freshened
By her soul-inspiring voice,
Then look up, the heavens are brightening--
Cease your wailing and rejoice.
Cry not for the days departed,
None wil hear you, none reply;
But look up where light is breaking
O'er a brighter 'by and by.'

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Why There's No Peace

Too many people are half asleep.
With one eye closed,
And the other that peeks.
When they are alone,
They hear a door that creaks.
And maybe to their feet,
They just might leap!

Where is that peace,
We've been praying to believe in?
And where do gossipers at night go?
The ones who claim to see,
Everything from their windows?

Too many people are half asleep.
With one eye closed,
And the other that peeks.
When they are alone,
They hear a door that creaks.
And maybe to their feet,
They just might leap!

Nobody's feeling safe behind doors anymore.
And those who snore loudly,
Are told they bore!

Where is that peace,
We've been praying to believe in?
Too many people are half asleep.

Where is that peace,
We've been praying to believe in?
Too many people are half asleep.

And where do gossipers at night go?
The ones who claim to see,
Everything from their windows?

Nobody's feeling safe behind doors anymore.
And those who snore loudly,
Are told they bore!

Too many people are half asleep.
And bored with each other,
That is why there's no peace!

Too many people are half asleep.
And bored with each other,
That is why there's no peace!

Too many people are half asleep.
Too many people are half asleep.
And bored with each other,
That is why there's no peace!

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T’was the Week after Christmas Break a parody of T'was the night Before Christmas

Twas the week after Christmas break,
And all through the school
The students were restless
For lessons poured out like and overflowing pool

Though most were quite dreary,
Some still touched their work
While visions of summer
Came around with a quirk

Out in the streets
A few were ditching
And hoping that ideas
The teachers would stop pitching

In my own class
I had been thinking
And trying not to smell
The garbage that was stinking

My classmates were sleeping
While the teacher was teaching
And students in class
Were passing notes that were beseeching

I flipped through a book
Wondering what it would take
To get my teacher
To just take a break

I stared at my paper
But in thought I was distracted
As my teacher wrote notes
My head seemed compacted

Some candy might assist
I thought with a smile
But as I began to eat
It became a trial

I’d completely considered
To take a nap
But the teachers voice
Sounded like a bad rap


When out of nowhere
The class got quiet
And when I looked
Captain Know it all had started a riot

His appearance quite shabby
And I hated his beard
As he glanced at me
He said something weird

“What kind of child
Would not make a complaint
When class is just
A place of restraint? ”

“On History! On Science!
On wonderful math
On good behavior
And a great career path”

His message said
He rolled out of the room
But we heard him complain
When he was given a broom

Your teacher has bored you
So try to stay awake
Happy week after break to all
And to all, a good wake

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Patrick White

The Rain Tonight

The rain tonight
a gentle carillon of afterthought
pensively lingering like eyes in the window.
The town unusually quiet
even for two a.m.
Asphalt with the albido of a wet rat snake
or a black bull
and blades of garish light
thrust through its back
like the swords of the streetlamp matadors
poised over its haemorrhaging
like solar daffodils
about to deliver the coup de grace
to the new moon.
The farmlands and the pot patches flourish.
Everything's wearing the mirror of everything else
like skin
and the leaves
pour their hearts out
like spouts without pitchers.
Black beads of rain
falling from the rim of my gangster hat
I might look like a gun
but inside
I feel like a boy
who just shot a bird with a slingshot.
All my life I've carried the bloodguilt
of someone else's crime
without knowing
what was done to whom and why.
It's as if I have always lived
through six decades of this strange life
like a child
trying to make up
for something I didn't do.
If my mother was the Virgin Mary
my father was
forty days alone in the wilderness
of a Vancouver Island logging camp
with the devil.
I never used to think
the sins of the father
were visited upon the sons
because it seems so savagely unfair
to damage their innocence by mere association.
Stalin McCarthy and Paul Pott come to mind
and if this is the work of God
then he's got spiritual rabies
and we've all been bit.
And I've wondered as well
if the sins of the sons are visited upon the fathers
just as cruelly.
For what was done to my mother?
For what was done to me
and my brother and sisters?
For something I did in a previous life
that casts its shadow over this one?
Because consciousness is an agony of atonement
for lifting the veils of faceless gods
and realizing there's no one there but you
for crossing the thresholds of hymeneal taboos
for stealing fire from extraterrestrial life
and feeling like Prometheus with a venereal disease
that keeps attacking his liver
like the moodswings of crackhead deathsquads?
I've always preferred the black holes
of the darkened midnight windows
staring bluntly out into the night
like mirrors in a coma
in an intensive care unit
unaware of what they reflect
to the more self-assured view from the inside
that presumes that it knows what it's looking at.
Heretics pariahs outlaws underdogs screw-ups
flawed beyond all human recognition
the crushed the lost the abandoned
the genocidal poverty
of those who are buried in the mass graves
at the last economic cleansing
they had to dig with their own hands
those who don't know how to do anything
whatever atrocity is perpetrated upon them
but hang on to their innocence
like a doll with one eye that doesn't blink anymore.
Those who eat their own ashes
out of tiny urns
like a junkie at a methadone clinic.
Those who were children until they turned six.
Those who have worked sacrificially all their lives for nothing.
The dead branch on the ground
the wind broke off the tree
still talking and dreaming of blossoms and fruit.
Those whose secret shy plan it is
to survive their lives
by staying out of their way
by taking the long way home from highschool
like a sword-swallower
who got one stuck
in the stone of his heart
he's not strong enough to pull out
to make himself king of the castle.
Parsifal on a grailquest to save the ailing kingdom
mounts his mule backwards
like a court jester
inciting the laughter of Don Quixote
and the bitter tears of King Lear
that fall like the rain tonight
and make the light run like blood
down the street drains
like a miscarriage of the pot of gold
at the end of a rainbow
that had let go like a watercolour
of a sunset at midnight
someone painted in cadmium red carlights.
I embrace all of these
as if we were all the anti-matter of humanity
ghettoized in the new privatized leper colonies
of the twenty-first century.
It's hard to love the whole person
when they're nothing but body parts
but I try.
I get orgiastically drunk on inspiration
in the company of the pagan muses
but when I sober up
I feel the Christian muse of guilt
slip its cosmic cuckoo's egg
in among the others while they're dreaming
and one by one push them out of the nest
like alternative universes.
That's when I write
like a snakepit looking up at the stars
wishing I had great vans of leather
tanned from all the eclipses I've shed like skin
and my words had the wingspan
of the inspired serpentfire
of kundalini dragons
when I see what happens to the flightfeathers
of innocent birds.
And then the rain begins to sing a strange lullaby
to a skull in a danse macabre
and it strikes me sometimes like a black mamba
in the back of the neck
as my hair stands up electromagnetically
that these aren't the lines of a riverine poem
flowing along on its own
but whip marks slashed across my back
like a flagellant on a long dark pilgrimage
of blue bubonic shadows
to the shrines of implacable death.
As if Perseus spurred on his winged horse
with a cat o' nine tails
made out of Medusa's severed head.
As if Hamlet were the wiseguy of a killer ghost
that put a contract out on everyone
including his son
to avenge his death
and wrest his marriage bed
from the hands of his brother
as if they fought over the same toy.
The night wears its darkness
like a hooded figure in a doorway
like a plague-rat behind the arras
like a black Isis in full eclipse
behind these veils of rain
that I am not yet nothing enough to lift.
It's not true the shadow falls
between the conception and the reality
because they're not two
and whether you slash at the river
or dedicate swords to The Lady of the Lake
whether you're burning heretics at the stake
standing up
or kings lying down
at half-mast on a death boat
you can't separate one tiny little tear of a raindropp
from its fathomless watershed.
Thesis antithesis synthesis
two profiles and a frontal
of the same face
the same waltz
dancing alone
with its own shadow
to the picture-music
of mind-bending space
like the rain tonight
that sees more in the spring
that it does when its drenchs the earth in autumn
with the fading hopes
of sad seasoned eyes
that have seen too much.
But I'm not a rootless trees
trying to use my homelessness as a crutch.
I like my spatial relations with the world
just as they are.
And the provisional integrity
of not buffing the clarity
of what I see in the mirror
whether it's fireflies in August
and moist stars hanging low
over the summer hills
just ripe for the picking
or an eyeless death in the void.
I risk the seeing
I expose my eyes to the dark energy
outside the field of vision
to burn the negative into white
so people can see what they feared
in the light.
So what was unknown and evil
could be shown
to be intimately their own karmic nemesis.
That the demons they feared the most
were the ones
they had done the most injury to
by condemning their innocence to exile.
That they are stalked and assassinated
by the shadows they dispossessed
like Tartars and Kalymyks
in a paranoid purge of Stalin
to walk and talk as if they didn't have any
and it were always high noon.
I forego my own righteousness
to defuse the black lightning of my judgement
by taking the thunder out of it
like a detonator.
I'm the first
to walk myself like a road in the morning
to look for improvised explosive devices
my psyche might have buried in the night
getting carried away
by the insurgency of this recurrent dream
that keeps rising up against me
like the mahdi against Kitchener in Khartoum.
Of all the agonies of hell
the worst is
the oxymoronic intensity
of being doomed by an excruciating irony of hate
to abuse the internal discipline
of my infernal nature
to try and do some good
in a godless world
that never stops crying
like the rain tonight
over the Dufferin Road Cemetery
that's gone on dying collectively
long after the last mourner has left.
Those that have power to hurt
but will do none
pay the steepest price for their compassion.
I take my finger off the trigger of the moon
and annul the contract
like a spider-mount
undoing the crosshairs
of its telescopic insight
into the eyes of human nature
when it doesn't think anyone else is watching.
The sins of omission in hell
are the virtues of what was not done on earth
by those for whom dismantling themselves
like a high-powered rifle
focused like a blackhole on the light
is not natural.
There's more empathy
in letting your hunger
transcend your appetite
by turning the light away from yourself
like a dragon that didn't swallow the moon
to make it rain tonight
than there is in exhausting your potential
by indulging it like an eclipse.
Lions don't hunt flies
because you're known
by the quality of your enemies
as much as your friends.
Ultimately there's no distinction
between the means and the ends.
The injustice of slaughtering the innocents
outlives the death-sentences
that pass for the lifespans of the slayers.
I hold the angry dragon within me
like a glacial lava flow
up to the darkness before me like a torch
and then I put it out
like an island in the rain tonight
and leave it to the birds to give it a name.
Compassion
is as close as I'll ever be
to anyone.

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It's always the small people who change things. It's never the politicians or the big guys. I mean, who pulled down the Berlin wall? It was all the people in the streets. The specialists didn't have a clue the day before.

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Her Nightmare

Their marriage had been so happy
Sad moments? No there were none.
Until the night of her sad sad dream
'Her Man was the Unfaithful One'
From dawn the next day and forever more
She yearned for the love she had known
But suspicion still lurked within her mind
And she walked faraway all alone...
Just because of a nightmarish dream
The dream that changed everything.

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The Old Man Beside A Huge Tree

i have seen the picture of an old man
beside a huge oak tree

the picture is old
black and white and the kind of one that is strong
for it will last another lifetime

i have not seen the old man
neither the huge oak tree for real

i have the picture of the old man and the old oak tree
and the younger man sleeping
his smooth skin caressed by the fluffing grass

there is a story there and it is all about
gods and dogs
a film about a director who lost his fame
and fortune
about a young gardener who captures a heart
and made it bleed

at the end the old man met a happy death
the old oak tree was gone
but i have not really seen what is real
i have seen only the picture of what i thought could have been real
black and white

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A Man Inside My Mouth

I woke up at seven and my body was vibrating
I was wrapped up in a blanket
I was grey
Damp and sore
The bedroom was an engine and my heartbeat was erratic
(like i think i'm at the racing
Like the night before)
I remember one girl standing
One was sitting on the ground
One was holding me up
The other pulling me down
And i couldn't decide which one was real
Because there wasn't a sound
(like i was pregnant again...)
"don't move don't blink don't think don't even breathe" she said
"or the photograph will spoil
And cut you off at the head"
So i was sucking
I was suncking like a fat lady would
But i couldn't hold it down another second
(bleagh!)
"don't twitch don't shout don't think don't even breathe" she said
"or the photograph will spoil and cut you off at the head"
So i was sweating
I was sweating like a fat lady would
And i woke up
With a man inside my mouth
(this won't hurt at all)

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The Un-intentional Shooting

I'm gonna tell you heart breaking story
Not because I want to.
Its a must.

Theirs was a kid named Robert of the age of five.
He lived just down the street.
He father and mom were getting drunk.
The usually for them.
Every night and day that is how it begins.
Well he had friends over that day.
There was something special he wanted show them.
He we upstairs to grab the something.
He came down stairs with the smile of smiles.
He said 'close you eyes for this is a great surprise'.
Then with flashes and bangs went one, two, three.
Three children were gone.
His mom walked in screaming, 'my god son what have you done'.
The boy said with tears in his eyes, 'I was just trying to have a little fun.'
His mom screamed 'somebody dial 911'.
Next sounds were the sirens and flashing lights.
The paramedics and cops were running.
They were too late all three children were declared dead on sight.
The boy, his mom, and dad were taken away from the home.
Split apart for the rest of their lives.
All because of one simple mistake.
They didn't lock up their guns.

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