Thursday, July 12, 2007

Anything You Want

"You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant"
-Arlo Guthrie
Alice's Restaurant

"Anything you want, you got it; anything you need, you got; anything at all, you got it, Baby"
-Roy Orbison
You Got It

The internet has added a whole new dimension to the art of searching for information. Yes, there is a lot of "junk" out there: untruths, half-truths, opinions, biases presented as fact. But it's amazing what you can find, if you know how to look...

A teaching assistant wanted to know the precise time of the Summer Solstice. Not a problem.

More challenging was the request of a principal who had received complaints from a parent that a mural in the music room showed the group KISS. Could I please verify that the acronym did NOT stand for "Kids in Service to Satan"? This was a bit trickier, since even the band members didn't agree on the origin of the name. We finally went with the statement from drummer Peter Criss, who flatly states that it means nothing. (But you can hold to the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" alternative, if that works better for you)

Search skills also come in handy in private life (if anything is truly private these days). When I spent a summer at Oxford, my Welsh-born college roommate advised me to bring home a sixpence for my wedding day. With all the changes in currency, these coins are no longer used in the UK, but I've managed to find a few to give as shower gifts, so that the new bride can carry:
Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

My younger brother used to play the tape of a baseball-themed song every night at supper time until the entire family had the lyrics memorized. He was quite impressed when I tracked down the words to "D-O-D-G-E-R-S (Oh Really? No, O'Malley)". To be fair, it was kind of catchy when sung by Danny Kaye!

A final, sweet success: my Irish mother rocked me as a baby to a little rhyme taught to her by my Italian father. I couldn't find information about it anywhere, until I came across a posting on a Fairy Tales Discussion Board. The author seemed to be familiar with Ya Ya Baccala, and after I finished reading her comments , I knew why. It was written by my own daughter, leaving a little memorial to a dearly loved grandfather.

In the words of the immortal Mick Jagger:
"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you might find, you get what you need"
-Rolling Stones
You Can't Always Get What You Want

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