Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shirley Ellis Would be Tickled

When dinosaurs roamed the Earth and Elvis had taken up residence in Vegas and the novelty of Frankie and Annette playing Beach Blanket Bingo had waned, rock and roll had some great music within and without the seismic shift created by The Beatles and All Those Other People.

One of my favorites from back in that day was Shirley Ellis with "The Name Game" and I can only hope she was able to hang on to her own publishing rights, because if she did, she's a wealthy lady today.

I was thinking of her when someone (he works for a local newspaper, as much as anyone at that paper is allowed to work, with pay) sent out a smile the other day, via Twitter (the first useful application I've had since joining it), that asked 'if Ella Fitzgerald married Darth Vader, would she be Ella Vader?' Not profound, but a rueful grin is still a grin and in these hard times in the Land of Plenty I'll take whatever kind of grin is being passed around.

I've since run across a news story that tops even Ella's scatting and James Earl's wheezing, "Germany Upholds Triple-Barreled Name Ban". Please understand. I love my wife's homeland and enjoyed the decade and a half I lived there. There was, and I'm sure still is, a great deal about the lifestyle I prefer to the Land of Sharpened Elbows in which I currently reside, but, in fairness, just as there are things we do here that I don't get, there are customs and concepts that I never appreciated while residing in Offenbach am Main.

Each day on this side of the pond, we demonstrate to ourselves and the rest of the world if they ever make free-wheeling hells-a-popping-live-and-let-live lifestyle an Olympic Event, it'll be "USA! USA!" at the medals podium. Nothing gets us down and nothing ever seems to cause us to lose our swerve. Not that long ago, I met a young person named Starcruiser. That was his first name and, he told me, he had a brother named Zephyr. Reformed car-guy that I am, I know that one of his parents was, obviously, Crazy 'bout a Mercury. My larger point is, while I shake my head, the caravan rolls on and no one gives this kind of stuff a second thought.

Okay, almost no one. As it turns out, the German equivalent of our Supreme Court, in Karlsruhe (home of one of my favorite up and down Bundesliga teams, KSC; they remind me of my Offenbach Kickers) spends a great deal of time in second thoughts, and possibly third when needed. And, to me an interesting cultural difference, no one in Germany gives this kind of judicial and governmental intervention a second thought. It is what it is. In a nation that has listing of permitted first names, I laughed reading this news item about folks decidng they wanted to wrestle on how much last name was okay.

"Come on everybody! I say now let's play a game.
I betcha I can make a rhyme out of anybody's name.
The first letter of the name, I treat it like it wasn't there;
But a B or an F or an M will appear.
And then I say bo, add a B then I say the name and Bonana fanna and a fo.
And then I say the name again with an F very plain and a fee, fy and a mo.
And then I say the name again with an M this time, and there isn't any name that I can't rhyme."

Augenblick, Herr Kunz-Hallstein. Wo brennts und was haben Sie mit Shirley getan?
-bill kenny

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