Moldy oldies bring on attack of mental hiccups


Put another nickel in the nickelodeon, Peggy Jo, while we check out a light-hearted letter from Bonnie Taylor of Parish who wrote that after reading about “Marzey Doats” in an old column she couldn’t get the song out of her mind.

“Thank you for starting that ridiculous song – “Marzey Doats” – running through my head,” she said with a chuckle.

And to share the joy (?) of the stalking-tune syndrome, she enclosed a “Smithsonian” magazine article titled, “The Hit Parade from Hell” by Ken Budd who wrote in mock agony about tunes that stalk:

“Hearing a song repeatedly – even a song you like – is irritating. Hearing a song you don’t like, repeatedly, is madness. It’s like an endless attack of mental hiccups.”

Budd wrote that these hiccups unfortunately aren’t limited to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” the tune that was stalking him at the time.

“My brain is a cerebral jukebox of moldy oldies,” Budd wrote. “I know all the words to ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ol’ Oak Tree.’ And ‘Copacabana.’ And the theme from ‘The Love Boat.’”

He wrote that he “once spent an entire morning singing AlkaSeltzer’s ‘Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz’ jingle.”

Hush and get out of town.

What Taylor and Budd describe is a truth like unto an epiphany. I have experienced the stalking-tune syndrome for years, including these:

– “Catch a Falling Star” by Perry Como.

– “High Noon” by Tex Ritter.

– “How High the Moon” by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

– “Streets of Laredo.” (Remember the song but not the singer.)

“Little Liza Jane.”


The French horn was developed by the French, but that is not why it is called a French horn.

A National Public Radio reporter said the initial name for the instrument was “angle horn” because it was shaped at an angle.

However, when the French heard people calling it an “angle horn,” they realized that “angle” sounded too much like “english,” so they insisted that the instrument be called “the French horn.”


And now for some old sayings from a veteran correspondent:

– “Many’s the time I’ve heard the owl hoot.” this means the person has had some tough, lonely times.

– “Potlikker hound.” This means that this particular hound is no good for hunting or anything. He just lies around and laps up pot likker. (Merriam-Webster spells it “likker.”)


An Italian murder trial revealed a most interesting version of the old saying about the fox in the hen house.

In its coverage of the Gucci murder trial in Rome, The New York Times quoted a trial lawyer as saying:

“Never let even a friendly fox into the chicken coop. Sooner or later it will get hungry.”

Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist.

He can be reached at


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