Friday, August 31, 2007

Just Under the Wire

It's already all over the Web that Sen. Larry Craig (R-Ida.) will resign tomorrow, in the wake of his having pleaded guilty to behaving like a Democrat. So I haven't much time left to pen, in extremest haste, and post the following parody of Irving Berlin's Doin' What Comes Natur'lly:

Larry Craig, yer kinda vague
About yer peccadilloes.
Why endure the third degree?
Do yer business virch'ally!

Yew c'n get the Internet
For almost next to nothin';
Larry, take a tip from me:
Do yer business virch'ally!

Yew don't have to sit in a bathroom stall,
When the Web is a sybaritic shopping mall.
Yew'll find just the right cyber-combat-zone
To amuse any predilection ever known.
Do it virch'ally!
Do it virch'ally!

(A word of explanation,
In view of what yew done:
It's called the "Union Station,"
But it's not a vulgar pun.)

Now ya know the way things go,
I hope yew've learned yer lesson.
Wanna stay a V.I.P.?
Do yer business virch'ally!

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Thursday, August 30, 2007


A friend recently suggested that I try my hand at parodying the theme from The Thomas Crown Affair. Without doubt, Windmills of Your Mind has appeal, thanks to a rich vocabulary and skilful prosody, which artfully conceal that the song has about as much meaning as the answer key to an SAT exam.

But those very virtues challenge the parodist like billy-o. I've made two false starts so far, and have nothing to show for it. Tough creative decisions will have to be made, and tough creative decisions go down with me about as easily as ground glass. I don't intend to chuck it, though. Not yet.

I give my faithful public fair warning: what I end up with won't be as funny as the original.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Post-Gig Letdown II: The Movie

Well, the fun's over; back to work.

Our workshop's music director brought the DVDs to tonight's performance, so my daughter will get to see what Dad did for his summer vacation. Meanwhile, the following snippet to the chorus of Old Black Joe occurred to me, for no particular reason:

Brooks Brothers,
Brooks Brothers!
Though your price is none too low,
You sell me stuff not fit to clothe
A two-bit ho'.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

That's a gentle assessment of the quality of Brooks Brothers merchandise nowadays, but I seem to be doing nothing but fragments these days. What I need is A Project.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Insomnia Again

Unable to sleep, because this keeps running through my head, to the tune of Yankee Doodle:

New York went to Boston Town
And up against the Red Sox,
And there they played like nine old men
In PJs, robes and bedsocks.

Yankees blew the Pennant Race;
Yankees blew the Series.
Now, to save their silly face,
They'll bore us all with theories.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

The views expressed in this lyric are not necessarily those of the lyricist. But the Yankees are in Boston September 14-16. I wonder if The Boston Globe would be interested? I might take my place beside F.P.A. himself! After all, what in tarnation is a gonfalon bubble?

Third Time's a Charm

So how about this, for the third quatrain of The Cleaning Lady:

I use a dustmop,
But never crouch,
So don't go looking
Beneath your couch.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Not inspired; it telegraphs the rhyme, and the joke is obvious the minute couch flashes upon the mental retina. But at least it doesn't change the subject, as the old lines did; and dustmop fits the falling sixth well enough. Serviceable.

Post-Gig Letdown

Five Petrikov groupies (or. in mental health parlance, masochists) attended last night's cabaret: the T-man and his wife; my next-door neighbors; and the lyricist of a Song About Coffee. A good time was had by roughly 16.67% of us.

The over-caffeinated lyricist told me afterwards that I'd be suffering what she called post-gig letdown today, but it hasn't come to pass. Instead, I've been mulling two (count 'em: two) ideas for a parody of Dusty Springfield's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me, which one of the other performers was singing last night. I don't usually blog snippets, but here are two:

You don't have to say I'm lovely,
Just because it's true.
You don't have to call me clever—
Like I never knew!
Forgive me—forgive me—
I can't help my brilliance.
So forgive me,
If Greatness gets you down.


You don't have to say you love me
More than twice an hour.
You don't have to be submissive—
Just be in my power.
Excuse me, excuse me—
I can't help my hang-ups;
So be docile,
While Daddy ties you down.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Carrying through on these is going to have to await my actually learning the original song, which has yet to infiltrate the Petrikov memory. The original is so utterly drippy, that it defies passive memorization. The harm that rock-and/or-roll has done to the musical taste of this nation is impossible to assess.

Addendum: I just heard that my hypnotherapist showed up, too. Never laid eyes on her. So make that 14.28%.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Addendum Anent the Cleaning Lady

Let's change I Don't Do Windows, shall we? Make it—

I don't do windows
Or scrub the floor;
No heavy lifting—
My back is sore;

I have my soaps from 10:00 to 2:00,
And at 3:30, I am through.
My morning teatime
Is strictly "me" time.

I don't like children;
I'm rough on pets.
I singe your curtains
With cigarettes.

In fact, my opening remark
Is not quite true:
I don't do windows—
Because I don't do poo.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

I'm still not happy with the third quatrain; though expressing a profound human truth, it doesn't seem to fit the general theme of goldbricking.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Problem

My DAMP has been urging me to change the following lines to a lyric I wrote two years ago, parodying You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby:

You were treated by a quack,
So demand your money back,
And, next time, buy direct from Voit!

According to him, the reference to Voit is obscure. Now, my feeling is, if a brand-name for sports equipment has managed to trickle its way through the collective conscious mind into the Petrikov wetware, it's pretty commonly known; but the DAMP doesn't see it that way. So I undertook to change it.

The snag is that (a) the -oit rhyme is a bitch, but (b) the line, And "Touche" is not as large as "Deloitte," elicited a belly-laugh from a Scotsman to whom I sang it, and I can't jettison lines that get reactions like that. So what to do? The DAMP suggested mispronouncing shirt or skirt in the time-honored tradition of Brooklyn in stereotype; but that option lacked artistic integrity, and we all know what I stickler I am about that. I mean to say, why would the singer suddenly slip into Brooklynese? One searches in vain for a motive.

Finally, today, while standing around waiting in a client's office, it hit me:

So I think that you'll agree
That your surgeon's gotta be
A mammillary maladroit;
'Cause I've never, etc.

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Which (a) continues the trend of the song in using fancy phrases to describe a bad boob-job, and (b) fits the music better--at least, to my ear, which is the only ear available at moment of going to press.

Something attempted, something done.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cole is Dead

No, not Cole Porter, silly. He died ages ago. I mean Jack Cole, who published the Cole Directory. When I first came to work in a New York law office--actually, a Brooklyn law office--I was introduced to this wondrous tome by the process server on our floor. I salivated at the thought of it back then; much of my time, it seemed, was spent trying to track down defendants who no longer resided at the addresses given in the police reports, and the Cole Directory seemed like the answer to a prayer. That, I told myself, was what our office needed. But our office never made capital expenditures in aid of its practice. Not because we weren't dedicated to doing the best job we could; there simply was no money to spend on such fripperies. The old firm still owes me a week's pay from those days. If I ever collect it, I'll stand my faithful readers (numbering upwards of two) a round of drinks, and blow the whole thing. What the hell?

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Cleaning Lady

Well, I sang Doughnut Boy to our young associate, the one person most likely to appreciate it, and it went over like a lead balloon. Which was to be expected; it was a homework assignment, after all. Not inspired.

Floating through my head since last Wednesday evening has been the germ of an idea for a parody of I Won't Send Roses, Robert Preston's un-love song to Bernadette Peters from Jerry Herman's 1974 musical, Mack and Mabel. Here's what I've got:

I don't do windows
Or scrub the floor;
No heavy lifting—
My back is sore.

I have my soaps from ten to two,
And at three-thirty, I am through.
My morning teatime
Is strictly "me" time.

I don't like children;
I'm rough on pets.
I smell of garlic
And cigarettes.

In case you haven't realized,
I'm not your shmoo.
I don't do windows.
In fact, I don't

Lyric © 2007 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

I hope everyone realizes that, by choosing a song from 1974, I'm going almost avant-garde. But I make up for it by reaching 'way back to 1948 for shmoo. Who, in this benighted age, knows what a shmoo is?

Incidentally, this song in no way is intended to reflect adversely on my own cleaning lady, who is exemplary. When she shows up.
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