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Golden Oldies: Quotable Quotes: Memorial Day Mondegreens

by Miki Saxon

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Even more amazing, the funny ones are still funny. I lived for 25 years in San Francisco and read the SF Chronicle and Jon Carroll regularly, which is where I learned about Mondegreens. My own personal Mondegreen is the “pickled bass” (i.e., fickele past) in the chorus of Cross Over The Bridge,

Golden Oldies is a collection of some of the best posts during that time.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

I thought I’d share some Memorial Day appropriate fun with you today and get serious tomorrow. I’ve written about palindromes (no relation to Sarah) and I’m sure I will again, but today I have three patriotic mondegreens courtesy of Jon Carroll.

In a nutshell, a mondegreen is a mishearing of song lyrics—as you might guess, kids are a great source of them.

The term was coined by Sylvia Wright in 1954 when she wrote about a song she heard as “Ye highlands and ye lowlands/Oh where hae you been/They hae slay the Earl of Murray/And Lady Mondegreen,” only to learn years later that it was actually, “They hae slay the Earl of Murray/And laid him on the green.”

So here are three to help launch your Memorial Day celebration.

I love this first one, it could be the start of a new oath for people who take jobs on Wall Street.“I led the pigeons to the flag” (for “I pledge allegiance…)

Next, is a possible opening line for a song about Congress, “Oh, beautiful, for spaceship guys,” only it might be more accurate if it was ‘oh, beautiul, for spacy guys…’

This final offering has to be the product of a hungry five-year-old, “America, America, God is Chef Boyardee.”

For more mondegreens be sure to use the link above.

Image credit: Visa Kopu

Please share your own Mondegreens below.

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