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Posts Tagged ‘Irony’

Integrating 4 and 5

In Children's Literacy, K-12 Education, Popular Music, Songs On Saturday, Thats' Life, Tv Show Theme Songs, Writers and Writing on May 14, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Hello Everybully! Welcome! To Songs On Saturday!

Last week was so nice we’re doin’ it twice, including another song from my heretofore unreleased compilation called Stupid Pet Sounds.

This week, Songs On Saturday integrates four of my favorite things:

  • People
  • Randy Newman
  • music and

The Five Aspects of Literacy: Reading, Writing, Listening, Thinking and Speaking (in That order)!

Huh? What’s literacy got to do with Songs On Saturday or music at all? In general even?

I’m glad you asked That. BOL! Music involves listening, yes, but it also involves reading. I enjoy reading music lyrics. Reading about the musicians. Reading about the music, reading the notes. Reading about the instruments. There’s a lot of reading involved with listening to music! Lyrics, the words to music, are written by songwriters.

Songwriters are not always musicians or recording artists. They don’t all sing, play an instrument or even read music! Some songwriters “hear” the music in their heads or the lyrics may come to them at 2 o’clock in the morning forcing them from sleep, compelling them to write them down. Lionel Ritchie and Smokey Robinson have produced Grammy Award winning tunes that began with little more than the hook or a simple phrase. Then they labored to construct the song, often collaborating with others on the project.

Some songwriters are accomplished musicians but not performers. People like David Foster, Paul Williams, Burt Bacharach or Bernie Taupin. They write the songs that make the whole world sing. Their talents are sought and highly prized by big name entertainers such as Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and Elton John.

A handful of songwriters are not only celebrated musicians and composers who accompany themselves with instruments, they also write their own songs. These musicians belong in an exalted class of musicians, Singer/Songwriters that include Paul Simon, Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Carole King, Adele— and

Randy Newman?

O-Tay sure, many of you were first introduced to Randy Newman because of unarguably one of the funniest TV theme songs in sitcom history. The show wasn’t too bad, either. Very funny.

free music

Listen to Randy Newman's Short People | 1977

But Randy Newman is more than just a writer of hilarious sitcom theme songs. He’s a Singer/Songwriter whose satirical lyrics make you think and at least in one famous instance, made a lot of People speak as well.

In 1977, Randy Newman released a tune called Short People. “Short People” was widely misinterpreted by a public just beginning to experiment with the latest phenomenon in social sensitivity– political correctness. This new attitude had the unintended consequence of generating a great deal of publicity for the song and unwelcomed controversy for Randy Newman.


At first blush, the song appears to be ridiculing of Little People, with phrases such as “nasty little feet,” “stubby little fingers” and “dirty little minds.”

Mr. Newman was compelled to publicly defend his use of a literary device, the figurative intent of the word “short” and to appear on many late night talk shows to explain the song’s intent which was to call attention to how silly and small bigotry looks, sounds and actually, in fact, is.

When asked whether he anticipated the irony of the lyrics would spark such a firestorm of criticism, Mr. Newman responded: “I didn’t. I thought, all you gotta do is listen. It’s not like it’s James Joyce. [Then] I realized the medium wasn’t great for that. People don’t listen to music like that…”

Newman went on to record other songs that examine and mock bigotry: “Rednecks” and “Half A Man.”

In a 2003 interview fur The Sunday Times Mr. Newman went on to respond further about people missing the point of his songs: “To write indirect songs with characters that aren’t yourself as the narrator is not the best way to achieve commercial success. I mean, irony, who’s got the time? But it’s what I do, and it’s what I can’t help but do. I couldn’t write like Elton John if I tried.”

People under the age of 30 will, doubtless, recognize the distinctive voice and banging, saloon-like piano playing of Randy Newman from all the Disney Pixar films he’s done the music fur, namely the Toy Story films.

Now that you’ve clicked on all the links to learn more about Randy Newman and all his impressive achievements in a long and remarkable career, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. And so now… without any further ado, Songs On Saturday proudly presents ThatOne performing his soon-to-be hit (in his own mind) “Small Bulldogs!

Small bulldogs got no reason
Small bulldogs got no reason
Small bulldogs got no reason
To live

They got little legs
Corpulent behinds
They march around
With determined strides
They got little noses
Protruding bottom teeth
They got big fat cushions
On their plodding little feet Well we Don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small bulldogs
‘Round here..!
Bulldogs are not the same
As you and I
(They’re cool and don’t lie)
Bulldogs are brothers
Hear this long, heavy sigh
It’s a wonderbull world! Small bulldogs got no buddies
Small bulldogs got no buddies
Small bulldogs got no buddies
To love
They got little stubby legs
Make ’em walk so slow
You got to pick ‘em up
And motivate their “Go!”
They got wagons & strollers
That go squeak, squeak, squeak
Make those purring noises
When they sleep, sleep, sleep
They got grubby little toe nails
Funny little minds
They grab you by the heart every time

Well we… don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small Bulldogs
Don’t want no small bulldogs
‘Round here..!

Goodwill Energies I direct
Toward each and every one of you
Each and every day

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”
That’s life today!

Luck Of The Irony

In Children's Literacy, History, K-12 Education, Literary Device: Irony, Thats' Life on March 17, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Irony. It’s a fun literacy device. Irony is when there is a gap between what is said, seen or done and what, in fact, is true. The gap, however, has to be significant: it can’t merely be a factual error or even a lie. The irony depends on the audience’s or reader’s recognition of the gap. But did you know there are three types of irony?

And then there’s Cosmic or

Thanks Oatmeal.

Cosmic irony comes closest to the way most People use and understand irony, in that God or fate is manipulating events so as to inspire false hopes which are inevitably dashed.

Consider the phrase: The luck of the Irish. Today almost everyone you meet will tell you it means good luck. But does it? The phrase luck of the Irish is the most widely popular and familiar use of verbal or rhetorical irony. But that fact has been lost in today’s chronic misuse and understanding of the irony.

See, the Irish don’t necessarily consider themselves especially lucky and the historical record kinda sorta bears this assertion out. A certain wistfulness occurs when some People use the phrase ‘luck of the Irish.’ It could just as easily be said that the luck of the Irish alludes to bad fortune, hard times, and centuries of disease, misery and loss. A lot of Irish poetry and writing always focuses on tragedy. 

This experience with tragedy, suffering and loss have given rise to an acculturated propensity towards reliance on superstitions to help them make sense of a confusing and often disappointing world. One needs only to look at the behaviors of a lot of baseball players and the protracted good luck rituals they practice on the field.

It is widely known that there are many native superstitions in Ireland; things not totally eradicated from a past history that predates the advent of Catholicism. Some of the earlier Celtic traditions were absorbed into the Catholic traditions or were simply tolerated and  allowed to persist. Luck of the Irish then, may be a reference to many Irish beliefs concerning it, and have little to do with the vast sweep of a tragic Irish history.

So the luck of the Irish is ironic in that it has more to do with an attitude toward adversities  and overcoming or enduring them than it has to do, really, with actually having good luck or being lucky. It’s wistful coping with ill fortune. With a happy, hopeful, forward looking attitude.

Which begs the bigger question:  What is good luck anyway and do you really wanna have it?

That discussion in tomorrow’s  ThatOne | EBD. Until then…

Goodwill Energies I project
Upon each and every one of you
Each and every day!

“And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…”

That’s life today.

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Sign-O-The Times

In Animals and Pets, Children's Literacy, Humor, K-12 Education, Popular Culture, Popular Music, ThatOne WORD, Thats' Life, Writers and Writing on March 30, 2010 at 4:43 PM

♫Sign, sign
Everywhere a sign.
Blockin’ out the scenery.
Breakin’ my mind.
Do this. Don’t do that.
Can’t you read the sign..?♫

I wish I were more funny.  I like to think I’m a fun, funny sort of guy and I am when there is talking going on.  I enjoy repartee. Repartee: (n) Conversation marked by the exchange of witty retorts. Witty retorts that are sprinkled generously with allusion, sarcasm and irony. That’s the way I think and speak and relate to others in a nutshell.

That’s why I love it when I get email from People who send me stuff that’s fun or funny.  This time I got this article:

The Most Ironic Signs Of All Time

Signs are interesting. They’re brief. They’re concise. They tell you what you may or may not do, when or when not to cross, even help you to choose this or that burger.

These signs, though, are not precise. They’re ironic. ‘What’s ironic,’ you ask?  That’s a very good question. Irony is a literary technique used in writing. It’s also a verbal or rhetorical device so whether you know it or not, you can and do use irony in your everyday speech every day.

These signs are such excellent examples of this literary device, I’m simply going to encourage you to look at the signs and discuss how they are ironic amongst yourselves. I’d love to hear the definitions you come up with for irony.

That’s life today!

Goodwill Energies I direct
Toward each and every one of you
Each and every day

❝And there came to be evening and there came to be morning…❞

❝And the sign said, ‘Everybody welcome.
Come in. Kneel down and pray.’
And when they passed around the plate to begin it all,
I didn’t have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper
And I made up my own little sign.
I said, “Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ’bout me.
I’m alive and doin’ fine.”❞