Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Kingston Trio Said It All

I was trying to come up with something thoughtful to say, so I took a look at the front page of The New York Times.  Amazing.  Simply amazing the world we live in.  And that brought me to thinking of an old Kingston Trio Song from my grandpa's era.  So, with apologies to Dave Guard, Bob Shane, and Nick Reynolds (the original trio), here’s my updated take on the lyrics to Sheldon Harnick’s 1959 classic, “The Merry Minuet.”  Not exactly American Idol material, but it might have a shot at Eurovision.

They're rioting in Istanbul,
Feeling tense in Cairo.
The Taliban made Qatar cool,
But Karzai said no.

Our dear world is teetering
With desperate souls.
Iranians hate Israel,
Israelis hate the polls.

North Koreans hate Japanese,
Russians hate Americans,
The EU must
Hate itself from where it stands.

But we can be thankful,
Look forward with pride,
For life’s not as bad
As it once was in Chad.

At least that’s how it seems
When there disappear,
From each new day’s fresh headlines,
Played out tales of lives set in fear.

They're rioting in Istanbul
But I’m off in Greece.
Goodbye Fox, uhh-uhh CNN
And ERT please rest in peace.

Think about it. 



  1. Well done, Jeff. That puts it all in perspective. Even air travel!

    1. For you, Michael, to imply let alone state that anything I wrote could possibly put modern air travel in perspective, is equivalent to announcing I just won a Pulitzer. Thank you.

  2. Think about it? I can't get past the comment that they are from your grandpa's era.

    It is too bad that so much of the Kingston Trio's music reflected the issues of the times but Charlie on the MTA ( now the MBTA) remains forever pertinent. Riding beneath the streets of Boston beats riding on the streets of Boston but that's like saying being bitten by a tiger is a more positive experience than being bitten by a lion. Charlie would need $2.50 to ride the subway today or $2.00 if he had a Charlie card. No one can claim the T doesn't have a sense of humor. The question that has plagued Bostonians for all these years is why didn't Charlie's wife put the coin in the bag with the sandwich? Maybe she didn't want him to return.

    The T is a perennial target but considering that the streets of Boston were laid out when Massachusetts was a colony, the T does get people where they need to go eventually. Not much has changed on the BC branch since you were riding it, Jeff, but it beats trying to navigate Cleveland Circle.


    1. Ahh, Beth, so you figured it out. Well, my grandfather was alive in those days so it was his era. As far as who's else it may have been, let's just say the answer's out there somewhere along with Charley and my fading memories of "T" time in Chestnut Hill.

      As for why Charley's wife never put the fare that would free him from the clutches of the MTA in with the sandwich she handed him every day, I think the answer is obvious: She wasn't a hero type of person, but more of a grinder...

      [I dare you non-Bostonian sandwich types to figure that one out:))].

    2. "As for why Charley's wife never put the fare that would free him from the clutches of the MTA in with the sandwich she handed him every day, I think the answer is obvious: She wasn't a hero type of person, but more of a grinder... "

      Groan. Boston I maybe but I have been south of Connecticut.


  3. I really like this, other than the reminder of How um, mature, I really am. It puts me in mind of another bard from Boston, Tom Lehrer, who was so good at puncturing balloons. Does anyone remember him? Nice work,Jeff.

  4. Yes, Lil, I loved Lehrer's stuff, especially the way he toyed with the lyrics to Gilbert & Sullivan's "Modern Major General." In fact, I believe many (wrongly) believed that he and not Sheldon Harnick had composed "The Merry Minuet."

    BTW, glad things went well for you.

  5. Tom Lehrer was wonderful. I particularly liked the way he slaughtered holy cows. The late unlamented "New Math" was one such bovine. The refrain was: "It's so simple, so very simple, that only a child can do it!"

  6. My favorite was his interpretation of the Mickey Mouse song - " MIT, PhD, Money,"


  7. Michael and Beth, I'd love to hear you two perform a duet of any Tom Lehrer song...better yet, a rendition of your own lyrics to any of his tunes!

    1. I don't know about Michael's singing talent but I know about mine. My kids have suggested I stop singing.


    2. Michael used to sing for a group called the Gravels!

  8. The water tasted bad for a week. And we had to make do with gin, with gin. We had to make do with gin!

  9. I'd love to hear your performance!! I liked it.