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Song Parodies -> "The Spar-Tangled Damners (Non-Partisan Anti-Govt. Rant)"

Original Song Title:

"The Star-Spangled Banner"

Original Performer:

Francis Scott Key

Parody Song Title:

"The Spar-Tangled Damners (Non-Partisan Anti-Govt. Rant)"

Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

"Spar": Not a sailboat mast or boxing exercise here, but "to bandy words; dispute" - which is all that ever seems to be happening these days, with little actual accomplishment.

TO OUR UK / COMMONWEALTH FRIENDS: Realize that it's probably not of political interest, but you might enjoy the syllable-matching to TOS (or not). Oh, and thanks for lending us "Anacreon In Heaven" to use for the melody to F. S. Key's poem. (It was also very courteous of the British, upon winning Olympic gold, to play a US song, "My Country, 'Tis Of Thee"... wink, nudge ;)

Props to Barry Mitchel for being among the few to do all four stanzas. Although TT did only two in his Sarah Palin droology of TOS, he threw in an *extra* verse and did five in this one. (Coulda' done 50 -- it was a large subject.)

Quotes are below the fact-notes. Strictly optional, but they're worth it, IMHO.

Oh, say, can't you see through the cons' surly tripe? [quote #10]
Congress cow-ardly failed: both the Left, Right:,"ass", deeming
Whose broads, bribes: our plight, mars through the querulous fight
As those da*m farts, ne'er watched: us, they're gallingly reaming [1] [Q.#11]
At our pockets, they stare; The bums: thirsting: more, share [Q12]
Aloof, through their might; How much swag can you spare? [Q13]
Oh, say, does that Bar-strangled manor still waive? [2] [3]
Rule the land by decree? My new home is a cave [4]

Congress: whores, dumb machine; truly pissed are the peep
Where it goes, money, most: in bed, lie: quid pro "quoses" [5]
Cat so fat: nominees of the Cabinet cheat
As no income tax flows: pelf conceals, ne'er discloses
Congress hatches each scheme; as we're mourning worst "team" [Q14]
When "bull" story detected: "Sunshine", just a dream [6]
'Tis bizarre-angled manner! Why can't they behave? [Q15]
They've abandoned the free; took a throne; made us slave [Q16]

And where's our command? They're out flaunting their whores
"Let us have us some more, as we prattle collusion" [Q17]
"Come home to our country; We'll leave I-raq": swore [Q18]
Still, blood doth gush out: 2 thou-2 resolution [7]
Safe old age, we crave, but they tax, birth to grave [Q19]
Both in error: Left, Right; they consume what we save [Q20]
And though marred: gang-led manners (I cry!), chumps still rave [Q21]
They've s**t-canned all our free- -doms; our Tome: burnt by knave [8]

Why must be it ever, that greed rules the land [Q22]
They ream, and shove it home, leaving more desperation [9]
Zest for trickery; deceit; Bail out crooks? Rescue panned [Q23]
Seizing power; our wrath, bade; we deserved a just nation [Q24]
These wankers disgust; major flaws: power lust [Q25]
You'd best win the Lotto; facade will go bust
(Hill-ar-y Clinton's man: her, a spry hump might save) [Q26]
Thanks to fans of TT! Read this poem? You are brave!

[1] Re: The promise that health care would be debated in public and broadcast on C-SPAN, then the subsequent behind-closed-doors meeting.

[2] Double pun: A "bar-strangle" or "bar chokehold" is a type of chokehold sometimes used by police to subdue a suspect who is resisting arrest. Some police departments have "barred" its use after one such suspect died from the hold. (It cuts off blood supply to the brain, quickly rendering the recipient unconscious long enough to get the handcuffs on.)
Other meaning: As discussed in comments at Phil Alexander's rant against British libel law, most Congresspersons are lawyers; hence, members of the Bar (Association). So, the country is being strangled by lawyers. (Even those who are *not* politicians!)

[3] "manor" -- referring to the Capitol building; "waive" the fact that the Constitution provides that Congress is the branch of Government that makes laws -- see the next line for how they've waived that.

[4] "Executive Order" -- no such thing in the Constitution, by the way. Obama didn't invent it -- it's been used by Presidents for decades, with no basis -- but O has stated openly as a general policy that he will make laws *whenever* Congress doesn't pass what he propose. As said, Republican Presidents, notably Nixon and GW Bush, have used them in various cases, while F. D. Roosevelt used this non-existent power to steal everyone's gold coins, so this is truly a non-partisan rant against the practice itself, not any one politician or party. Get rid of the very idea - *fast*.

[5] Old saying, "Politics makes strange bedfellows". And they generally get in bed with whomever donates the most to the campaign, etc.. And the donors naturally want something in return, or "quid pro quo".

[6] "Government In The Sunshine", it's called -- all meetings open to the public and the press. But a lot of government seems to take place where the sun don't shine....

[7] The 2002 Iraq War Resolution. What is *that*? You either declare war, or you don't. You don't "pass a resolution". And btw, the Constitution states that only Congress can declare war. Not the President, get it?

[8] Tomes referred to: Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other "outdated" ideas -- as they voted to extend the Orwellian US PATRIOT Act for another year.
"The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now." – South Carolina v. United States, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905)

"But the Patriot Act is necessary for our safety!" Sorry, that argument failed more than 200 years ago: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." – William Pitt (1783)
"It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

[9] (Pacing note) In Key's time, as in Shakespeare's, OS word "loved" was 2 syllables.


[Q10] "If we all stop voting, will they just go away?" – bumper sticker

[Q11] "If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free." – P.J. O'Rourke (1993). ZINGGGGGGG!!!!!

[Q12] "The Government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other." – Ronald Reagan.

[Q13] "We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle". – Winston Churchill

[Q14] "I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy – but that could change." – Al Gore.
... and who should know better than one who is trying so hard to reverse it himself?
btw, did anyone else notice that an "irreversible trend", by definition, "cannot" be changed? - else, it's not irreversible. And *this* is the level of logic that we're supposed to accept, as Gore justifies his crusade? Aristotle (founder of modern logic) is spinning in his grave.

[Q15] "The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a bit longer". – Henry Kissinger
(parody - we know what that is, right? - of the US Marine Corps slogan, "The difficult, we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.")

[Q16] "They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?" – Paul Harvey, 8/31/94

[Q17] "The Ten Commandments contain 297 words. The Bill of Rights is stated in 463 words. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address contains 266 words. A recent federal directive to regulate the price of cabbage contains 26,911 words". – The Atlanta Journal

[Q18] "Vote for the man who promises least; he'll be the least disappointing." – Bernard Baruch

[Q19] "Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt". – Herbert Hoover, who as early as the 1920s saw the dangers of a Congress with unlimited spending powers running up massive deficits, and, when he attempted to slow the gushing, was blamed for the Depression caused by the irresponsibility of his predecessors and by the creation of the Federal Reserve Board in 1913.
Full story in this parody.

[Q20] "If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate. If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist". – Joseph Sobran (1995)
(TT is an extremist, apparently -- and dang proud of it.)

[Q21] "It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money". – P.J. O'Rourke

[Q22] "Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business". – Calvin Coolidge (for which he is highly underrated, IMHO. Too bad no POTUS since has ever lived up to that high standard.)

[Q23] "Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." – Ronald Reagan (1986)
... If you're good at what you do, you pay to subsidize those who are incompetent or crooked in what they do. See anything wrong in this picture?

[Q24] "A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away." – Barry Goldwater (1964)

[Q25] "More laws, less justice." – Marcus Tullius Cicero (42 BC). .. Yep, that far back -- 2000 years ago, they knew.

[Q26] Yeah, it was supposed to be non-partisan, but there are no perfect matches for "triumph" (like "orange", lol), and if Hilly had "taken care of business" ... ergo, it was irresistible. (The Debbil made me do it! The Debbil made me do it!)


"Everything government touches turns to crap." – Ringo Starr

THE TEST AT THE END: Who said this, and when?

"The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced. If the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt, people must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

A) Glen Beck, in 2009
B) Bill Clinton, in 1996
C) The Socialist Party, in 1936
D) One of the Founding Fathers, in 1794
E) None of the above.

(Answer below.)

E) Marcus Tullius Cicero, 55 BC. ... p. s.: They didn't listen, and the greatest empire in the world, the Roman Empire, collapsed a (historically) short time later. (The factors Cicero warned against were substantial contributors to the Decline And Fall....)

Consolation prize if you picked (B). What Bill *did* say:
"The era of big government is over." – Bill Clinton, State of the Union Address, January 23, 1996


"I'm not going to pontificate and tell you to execute your government at dawn, but it wouldn't be a bad idea." – John Lydon (joined by Tommy Turtle)

More than 1200 other great quotes on the nature of Government, freedom, etc, (and the source of the above) here.
© 2010 Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. E-mail:

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Total Votes: 6

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Patrick - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
During the War to Prevent Certain Southern States from Exercising their Natural and Constitutional Right to Secede from the Union, Oliver Wendall Holmes composed a fifth verse to Francis Scott Key's song. So you are in illustrious company in that regard. I continue to be amazed by your ability to replicate the linguistic stylings of the 18th and 19th centuries in your musical reflections on today's issues. A rare talent indeed! What no one else is saying is that health insurance is not the same as health care. Insurance is simply the ability to press one's claim for payment, not an assurance that someone else will pay. This scheme simply sets up another tax and the illusion of a "trust" fund which we trust will be looted by Congress long before the first claim is paid.
Old Man Ribber - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
Who could ask for anything more? All four verses used, flawlessly executed, issues addressed, and more than a few rib-ticklers. The footnotes and quotes are a veritable lesson plan! Thanks. ;D
Mark Scotti - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
I salute your creativity! One set of three fives, under one shell for info and laughter for us all!!
Phil Nelson - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
good write
John Barry - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
TT, you never cease to amaze. I'm curious: how long did it take you to do this?
TJC - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
Ringo Starr corollary: Everything TT touches turns to gold!
Erudition chelonified, SirTurtle reveals in grand entertaining fashion hidden anathemas within our anthem...
Warren Baker - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
TT, tell us how you really feel ;-P I suspect this has been tumbling round the noggin for a while. Nice work, dude.
Tommy Turtle - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
Sorry, all, the Delta IV GOES Weather Satellite launch was scheduled an hour ago, but kept getting delayed -- didn't want to miss it.

Patrick: "If [the Declaration of Independence] justifies the secession from the British empire of 3,000,000 of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of 5,000,000 of Southrons from the Federal Union in 1861". – New York Tribune, December 17, 1860.
                    Thanks for the kind words. The syllable-matching was the "Key" (ouch! go ahead, I deserve it) to keeping Key's style, along with being mildly literate in older English, i. e., Shakespeare on through, so that words like "doth" and "bade" are available. Astute analogy on your part to "Social Security", a "fund" that doesn't exist and never did -- just a lien on your grandchildren. Thanks for v/c.

Old Man Ribber,
I got musing
I got nice words
Who could ask for anything more?! :-D
          Unfortunately, I "don't" Got Rhythm, but ya can't have everything ;) ... thanks for v/c, and you're welcome for the lesson plan -- moonlighting as a history teacher now, eh? ;-)

Mark Scotti: I'll run that comment up the flagpole and salute it any day, Sir!

Phil Nelson: Thanks. (Are you by any chance related to Calvin Coolidge? Not complaining; appreciate all v/c.:-)

TJC: As always, yer comment is as rife with word-wizardry as any parody! Special kudos for "anthem/anathema"! :-D

Warren Baker: I try to hold my feelings in, sorry. :-D ...The philosophy has been in the noggin for as long as I've lived, but see answer to John Barry, saved for last to be merciful to other commenters. It first occurred to me late last week. Thanks for v/c.

John Barry: I'm afraid that the truth would come across as braggin', but since TT has no reputation for humility to lose, there's no risk... actually, he's just a freak. ;)
The first verse was beamed into the pea-brain by the aliens within a few minutes, late last week. Scratched it down and had a quickie parody, though considered doing all four instead. Sometime over the weekend, either just before sleep or just after awakening (when the brain is defenseless against their Paro-Beams; i. e. when the conscious mind has not yet taken over and the preconscious or subconscious is still free to create without work-a-day preoccupation), most of the second and fourth verses arrived in another ten or fifteen minutes, plus typing (slow, with flippers), tweaking, nailing the matches, etc. Only Verse 3 and the two concluding lines took conscious thought. Total -- maybe three hours, plus gathering and collating the footnotes and quotes, formatting, linking, running through the Preview pane and fixing typos, etc. Total elapsed time over several days, best guess: 5-6 hours.
                    This challenge from Stu McArthur was done in two hours:
A phone conversation with TJC produced the inspiration for one in which your own great antecedent work was plugged, and TJ will verify that it was sent to him also about two hours later:
                    Some of the simpler ones are written almost in real time; i. e., as fast as I can read TOS line, the parody line comes as fast as I can type it -- which admittedly isn't very fast.... E. g., today's OxiClean™ parody was tossed off in no more than ten minutes, max, then sent to FG for her input.
                    Bottom line: I'm a freak, and I don't mean a freak (One of those too, of course - ewe knewe that :-D) , I've been a freak all my life (from age 3), and that's why I make so many social gaffes on this site and everywhere else -- just don't know how to relate to "normal" people, for which I mass-apologize. Anyway, there's your (typically long-winded) answer. Thanks for vote, comment, and your ability - and willingness - to appreciate these epics.

Fiddlegirl - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
"Vintage" TT... brilliantly conceived from start to finish. History *does* repeat itself-- why does no one ever heed the lessons? :(
Tommy Turtle - March 04, 2010 - Report this comment
Fiddlegirl: Because each somehow thinks that their situation is "different". Sure, the technology is different -- cell phones instead of messengers; nukes instead of swords -- but human nature never changes. People "rationalize" = "rational lies".

Also, as you yourself know well, Teach, we're not allowed to teach or learn anything from all those dead white chauvinist racist imperialist male pigs who founded those civilizations; ergo, we can't learn from their mistakes. No "World History" or "Western History" classes = no lessons learned. Do you know what % of the US public can find Iraq or Iran on a map of the world?

Oh, and before I praTTle on any longer, thanks for v/c! :-D
Phil Nelson - March 05, 2010 - Report this comment
I have been known to give long comments on occasion, when I feel like it. Hencetoforth, all long comments are an expression of my thoughts at the time and hereby when I don't have any particular thoughts on a parody I give a short comment. So whatever I say depends on my thoughts on the parody at the time. But you should never infer that I like it less because of a short comment. Rather, I just have no particular funny quip to put up at the time. And that sometimes means the parody was so good that it temporarily stifled my creativeness. In due course, at the appropriate juncture, in the fullness of time, I give long comments.
TT @ Phil Nelson - March 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Duly chastened, I replied to that comment at the OxiClean parody. Just a play on "Silent Cal" (you know the anecdote about the dinner-table bet, right?), and not a very good one. *ALL* comments in good faith are appreciated. I apologize if it was taken negatively. Thanks for follow-up.
Phil Nelson - March 05, 2010 - Report this comment
I think I heard it before. I know you appreciate my comments, just was explaining. It wasn't taken negatively, just explaining in a fun way about it all.
TT @ Phil Nelson - March 05, 2010 - Report this comment
Thanks for letting me know no offense was taken. Unfortunately, I'm good at giving it unintentionally :-( Thanks again.

In Brief (a new first for TT!)
Woman at dinner party says to Cal Coolidge: "I bet a friend that I could get you to say more than two words to me tonight."
Calvin Coolidge: "You lose."
Ann Hammond - March 06, 2010 - Report this comment
he he he he he heing
Tommy Turtle - March 06, 2010 - Report this comment
Ann Hammond: I do believe that that's the most "he"s that TT has ever gotten from you for a single song! :-D ... Thanks for the emphatic giggles! ;)

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