Cutting through the bullshit.

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

'Send the Marines' and other laughs; email account disabled

A few days ago, I posted a blog entry entitled ‘Democrats’ 'values and deepest principles'’. A reader wrote back reminding me of the lyrics to an old Tom Lehrer classic:

When someone makes a move

Of which we don't approve,

Who is it that always intervenes?

U.N. and O.A.S.,*

They have their place, I guess,

But first - send the Marines!

We'll send them all we've got,

John Wayne and Randolph Scott;

Remember those exciting fighting scenes?

To the shores of Tripoli,

But not to Mississippoli,

What do we do? We send the Marines!

For might makes right,

And till they've seen the light,

They've got to be protected,

All their rights respected,

Till somebody we like can be elected.

Members of the corps

All hate the thought of war;

They'd rather kill them off by peaceful means.

Stop calling it aggression,

Ooh, we hate that expression!

We only want the world to know

That we support the status quo.

They love us everywhere we go,

So when in doubt,

Send the Marines!

This reminded me of one of my other favourite satirical songwriters, not as well known as Tom Lehrer, Dave Lippman. So I googled him and found his website, and sent the reader the lyrics to one of Dave’s appropriate tunes from his ‘Shoot from the Lipp’ album, which I repeat part of here for your delectation:


(Home on the Range)

Oh give me a gun where the terrorists run

The government, just as we say

Where seldom is heard a disparaging word

And the lies are spoke loudly all day

(Marine Corps Hymn)

From Peoria to Pretoria we'll defend the master race

We will fight our dirty little wars even out in outer space

First to fight for right, then farther right

Keeping U.S. interests safe

We are proud to claim the title of United Bomb and Strafe

(My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean)

The Pershing flies over the ocean

The Trident sails under the sea

Cruise Missiles fly over the Urals

To make the world safer

For me

God bless free enterprise, system divine

Stand beside her and guide her

Just as long as the profits are mine

After I’d spent a couple of hours reading lyrics and listening to MP3s and laughing myself silly, I wrote to him to ask whatever happened to a song I remembered - a long rap that chronicled the history of the Contragate gang right back to their origins in the 1950s. Dave wrote straight back, reminding me of the album – ‘Shrub in ‘88’ – which only ever came out on cassette. Remember cassettes? Anyway, I suggested putting the lyrics up on his site and he has now done so. It’s much too long to put here, but I really recommend anyone reading this make a point of visiting his site, ordering his cds (He’s about to reissue ‘Shrub in ‘88’ on cd), and checking his tour schedule. He may be playing someplace near you (NYC this Saturday)! Anyhow, here’s a sample:

It may have been illegal but it wasn't wrong

Lemme tell ya, life's a beast

When you're caught between Iraq and a country

Of strategic importance in the Middle East

Not much has changed.

On a more sombre note, I got an automated email a couple of days ago that seemed to suggest that someone on this list had reported the blog as spam. It may have been a coincidence, but the next morning, the email I send it from was disabled. I’ve had a read through some of the pertinent entries on the google discussion board and it seems that this happens quite a lot. Many of those who’ve had their Gmail accounts disabled can’t even speculate as to the reason. You can report it and send emails to Gmail support to your heart’s content, but from what I read, there is no possibility of ever receiving a response or explanation from a human being. I think it is possible that accounts are sometimes reenabled, but this appears to be entirely unpredictable and ad hoc. I am certainly not expecting it. Nor do I expect ever to find out whether there was a connection between the two incidents. I have accordingly established a Yahoo address with a similar name.

What emerges from this is,

1. if you don’t like my blog, please just reply to any email from me asking to be removed and that will be your last one. Reporting it as spam is a particularly cruel and vicious approach and creates a lot of unnecessary busywork finding workarounds.

2. if you are using Gmail on the web, as opposed to via an email client like Outlook, then bear in mind that you are using the beta version, so glitches are to be expected, and there is this other little problem of having your account disabled without warning. That means that you will lose all your saved email and contacts and whatever else you use the site for. So I strongly recommend either starting to use a client program or taking some other step to download and archive your valuable email and other data. You might also consider establishing an alternative email account on Yahoo or somewhere, if you don’t have one already. As far as I can tell, if you want to access your webmail through Outlook or the like, Hotmail’s free service no longer supports this at all. I don’t believe free (i.e. US) addresses have ever done so. Free yahoo accounts of other nationalities, e.g. or, will allow access via a client if you sign up for ‘Yahoo delivers’. If you tick ‘yes’ on top of the yahoo delivers sign up screen, which is compulsory, then the box that says only send me adverts about the ticked stuff, and then don’t tick anything else, that should keep spam to a minimum.

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