Saturday, June 28, 2008

Fresh from my warped mind

Just to show that mondegreens aren't entirely a product of my youth, I misheard this one on the radio the other day.

WRONG: Tie the kids to the back of that limousine
RIGHT: Tie the cans to the back of that limousine
"Love Is a Beautiful Thing," Phil Vassar

Friday, June 27, 2008

Life After "Life After Life"

Do you go to bed at night horrified by the prospect of Jesus Christ eating your liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti because you once downloaded porn off the Internet?

Well, probably not (unless you’ve read way too many Chick Tracts), but if you do, worry no more. Maybe.

Earlier this year, I read a book that I've been wanting to read for years--Life After Life by Dr. Raymond Moody. This was the first book to deal with the possibility of an afterlife seriously from a research-oriented viewpoint. I hesitate to call it scientific because Moody does not claim it is scientific.

The book is basically a case study of people's experiences while being clinically dead, just prior to being revived. What they experience has become a cliché in the years since the book was published in 1975--going through a long tunnel, seeing a bright light, being reunited with loved ones and seeing a review of your life.

What struck me most about these experiences is that they make for pretty damn boring reading. That may be from overexposure, since the experiences have become such a part of American pop culture. They've inspired a really bad movie, been parodied on "The Simpsons," and spawned a cottage industry of scam artists. And if that doesn't epitomize pop culture, what does?

The sameness of the stories is a big part of what makes them so reassuring. For if these were mere dreams or hallucinations, why are they so similar? I doubt if any two people have the same dream in one night. Although you would trash my theory if you had a dream on June 25 about singing "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" at karaoke but finding it was out of your range.

While the subject’s religions, or their behavior during life, are not dealt with, they do not seem to be a factor, one way or another, in the pleasantness of the experience. The sensation of peace and unconditional love is the same for all—except for one person who attempted suicide and wound up in some gray purgatory. (Almost all near-death experience researchers take a dim view of suicide, which, I suspect, is due to liability issues. Nobody wants to get sued by the parents of some kid who couldn’t wait to get to the other side.) Nobody’s experiences even remotely resemble the traditional Christian concepts of heaven or hell. So worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster or J.R. “Bob” Dobbs with all your might! As for you Scientologists, well, you made your own bed.

Moody also does not address cross-cultural differences, which makes me question his methodology. He lists several cultures, mostly Native American peoples, which he did not study because he didn’t have the resources. Yet the back cover mentions that he teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas—within easy driving distance of thousands of Native Americans. Couldn’t Moody break himself away from the craps table long enough to talk to some of them?

Does Life After Life answer your questions about the afterlife? It may leave you with more questions than before. But if you need more evidence of life after death than an ancient edict by some invisible thing in the sky, it might make you rest a little easier.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

This one would make a cool cartoon

This week's mondegreen:

WRONG: I can see all popsicles in my way
RIGHT: I can see all obstacles in my way
"I Can See Clearly Now," Johnny Nash

Come to think of it, this phenomenon isn't limited to songs, at least not in my life. I remember, when I was little, having to go to the basement because a tomato was coming. And hearing about how Michelangelo painted the Sixteen Chapels. I'll bet he was exhausted! And when I read the Bible, I couldn't figure out why those Old Testament kings had so many porcupines....

Then there was the time that my brother was watching the cop show starring Jack Lord that was set in the 50th State. I asked him what he was watching, and I thought he said, "A Wife I Know."

But the funniest was the time that he told me about this songwriting seminar where he met one of the writers of a song that had been a country hit for Gary Morris, but would later become more famous when covered by Bette Midler. Imagine how I laughed when he said he met the writer of "Women Eat My Wings"!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mondegreen of the Week

WRONG: The pizza in the pizza
RIGHT: The preacher and the teacher
"China Grove," The Doobie Brothers

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ain’t Too Proud to Blog

I had planned to make my next blog entry about life after death, but sometimes the matters of this world must intervene.

Many of you probably know my wife, Jamie—in fact, a lot of you came to my site through hers. (I know this is true because I have Sitemeter.) She has enjoyed sharing her knitting, and her life, with you for quite some time, and she has received a lot of positive feedback from Buttercupia.

As I noted in a previous entry, Jamie broke her leg in January, which required six surgeries and a long rehab which is still continuing. She came back home in April and returned to work two weeks ago. She walks with crutches and is slowly…slowly…getting better.

Yesterday, she learned that, due to a clerical error, she had been getting paid for time that was supposed to be devoted to unpaid medical leave. As a result, there has been a substantial overpayment, and she will not receive another paycheck until August.

I’m sure many of you know what would happen if one person in your household was suddenly without income for two months. Let’s just say that Bananarama didn’t know a damn thing about a cruel summer.

Last night, I wandered into several sites devoted to cyberbegging. That’s right. People actually beg for money on the Internet, usually with a sob story that may or may not be true. In most cases, my money’s on “not”—but you never know. When I read one spiel from a woman who claimed to have lost her front teeth in a “domectic dibute” [sic], I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.

As a descendant of unreconstructed Ohio krauts, I am very uncomfortable with begging. I heard speeches about pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps before I could tie my shoes. But there are situations where begging is not bad. If it weren’t for begging, public TV would not exist, Jerry Lewis would be just another washed-up comic, and kids would find Halloween pretty boring.

Is this one of those situations? I’ll leave that up to you.

Jamie has a link to a PayPal account on her site (just look for the word “Ranunculus”). If you’ve enjoyed her knitting pictures and patterns, if her smoking cessation entry helped you quit, or if she turned you on to a favorite site through her extensive list of links, now would be the perfect time to let her know. And thanks.

May we be in the position to do the same for you someday.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Lakers rally song?

This week's mondegreen:

WRONG: Tighten our belts, abuse the Celts
RIGHT: Tighten our belts, refuse to sell

"Round and Round," Ratt