Monday, July 23, 2012


Mondegreens can be thought of as aural malapropism. Instead of saying the wrong word, you hear the wrong word.  The term mondegreen was originally coined by author Sylvia Wright. As a child, Wright heard the lyrics of “The Bonny Earl of Murray” (a Scottish ballad) as: 

Ye highlands and ye lowlands
Oh where hae you been?
Thou hae slay the Earl of Murray
And Lady Mondegreen

Wright eventually realized that Lady Mondegreen existed only her mind – the actual lyrics were "slay the Earl of Murray and laid him on the green." To this day Lady Mondegreen's name has been used to describe mishearings of this type.

Do you have a mondegreen example?  Here are some humorous ones I found scrolling around online:   
  • "There's a bathroom on the right."
    "There's a bad moon on the rise."
    Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater
  • "Excuse me while I kiss this guy."
    "Excuse me while I kiss the sky."
    Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
  • "Dead ants are my friends; they're blowin' in the wind."
    "The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind."
    Blowin' In The Wind, Bob Dylan
  • "Midnight after you're wasted."
    "Midnight at the oasis."
    Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur
  • "The girl with colitis goes by."
    "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes."
    Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
  • "You and me and Leslie."
    "You and me endlessly..."
    Groovin', The Rascals
  • "I'll be your xylophone waiting for you."
    "I'll be beside the phone waiting for you."
    Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations
  • "Are you going to starve an old friend?"
    "Are you going to Scarborough Fair?"
    Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkel
  • "Baking carrot biscuits."
    "Taking care of business."
    Takin' Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
  • "What a nice surprise when you're out of ice."
    "What a nice surprise bring your alibis."
    Hotel California, Eagles
  • "Hope the city voted for you."
    "Hopelessly devoted to you."
    Hopelessly Devoted to You, Grease
  • "I'm a pool hall ace."
    "My poor heart aches."
    Every Step You Take, The Police
  • "Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby."
    "Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby."
    Angel of the Morning, Juice Newton
I, ahem, must admit that I always thought it was “You and me and Leslie . . .”  No lie!  But, I cannot imagine anyone thinking the lyrics are really “baking carrot biscuits” – “every day,” no less (some kind of bunny bakery?).  Seriously?  Who would think this?  I mean, if you would bake carrot biscuits, you may do it, perhaps once in your life.  Right?  Try some new recipe in the food section and then agree to go back to baking regular biscuits, like other members of normal society.  Or maybe not.  In any case, I have never baked carrot biscuits and likely will never bake carrot biscuits.  Nor will I sing about baking carrot biscuits.  So there.  Unless you and Leslie want them, that is.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Feminist = Fine

First, she took Britain by storm. Next up, the United States.  Caitlin Moran’s mission: to blow up the nasty image feminism has acquired and to reclaim the word (and the ideology) for the people. Sort of a backlash to the backlash. And, she's a hoot (which helps).
According to Sarah Lyall of The New York Times, Moran’s book, How to Be a Woman, is “part memoir, part philosophical rant, part manifesto written with the lightest touch. . . The book aims to make women proud of being feminists.”
Moran says, “The word ‘feminism’ has for some reason gone off the rails to connote, incorrectly, preachy humorlessness and grim separatism.  When I talk to girls, they go, ‘I’m not a feminist.’  And I say, ‘What?  You don’t want to vote?  Do you want to be owned by your husband?  Do you want your money from your job to go into his bank account?  If you were raped, do you still want that to be a crime?  Congratulations:  you are a feminist.”
Check out Caitlin Moran’s website and see for yourself:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Texts from Jane Eyre

If you know anything about me, you know I'm crazy (well, not quite Bertha-in-the-attic-crazy, but Cocoa Puff-crazy) about Jane Eyre. What if Jane, and Rochester and St. John, were alive and well today? Well, they'd be texting, wouldn't they?
Kudos to my fellow English department professor, Heidi Lavine for unearthing this gem from the website "Hairpin" -- a rendition of what texts between Jane and Rochester and St. John would look like. Check it out. It is hilarious! (I, personally, liked the line, "But I taught you Hindi and everything. That's basically the same as getting engaged for missionaries.") What's your favorite line?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Turkey and the Blackbird

Notice the turkey. It was in our yard, recently, gobbling up the bird seed.  A real turkey?  Yup.  A wild turkey?  Apparently so. Eating the bird seed meant for the delicate flutter of cardinals, bluebirds and chickadees? You got it.

After we got over our initial astonishment at seeing a real turkey in our backyard, my husband opened the window and shooed it away.  It ran, head a’bobbin’ for the marshy meadow beyond.  A few days later, though, we noticed it again, filling up on the songbirds’ chow.  But before we could do anything, the dominant bird of our feeder, a hellacious redwing blackbird we call “The Maitre d” (because he decides when the feeder is open and which birds will or will not get a perch that morning), took care of business himself.  Although as small as David was to Goliath, our gutsy guy puffed himself up and attacked the turkey’s feet, squawking and pecking fiercely.  The turkey, as you see in the photo, ran for dear life . . . and has been kept away to this day.   

We were more than impressed with our glossy-winged sentry.  According to birdish sources, this behavior is not at all unusual for redwing blackbirds.  They’ve been deemed among the bravest of birds, defending their territories and the nests of their females from animals and much larger birds.  Not only do they call and flap at danger, but they don’t mind outright attacking, as we witnessed with the unfortunately turkey.  These confident birds, it is said, are real swashbucklers – doing everything they can to get noticed by their ladies, and doing everything, afterward, to protect those ladies, and their families, in kind.

Our bird drama amused us for days.  It’s amazing what you can see by simply looking.  A romantic tale of ladies and gentlemen . . . and a big-bellied thief chased back to the shadows.  All for the price of a little birdseed.