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August 03, 2005

The Official Off to Scotland Open Thread

Off to Scotland. Will drop in when I arrive (bringing my laptop. Yes, I have an adapter, and, damn, UK electrical plugs are huuuuuge). In the interim, here's an open thread for you to play with. And a starter topic:

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

Think about it.

Posted by john at August 3, 2005 10:36 AM

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jessica | August 3, 2005 11:15 AM

Because in songs rainbows often represent the intangible things that we yearn for but can never achieve

Tripp | August 3, 2005 11:21 AM

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

Did you ever try to rhyme Cumulo Nimbus?

Jim Winter | August 3, 2005 11:39 AM

Because people think, "Hey, that guy wrote a song about a Rainbow. Why, oh why, can't I?" There was even a band named for it.

Radical Bender | August 3, 2005 11:53 AM

I'd rather know just what *is* on the other side?

John Scalzi | August 3, 2005 12:09 PM

Tripp said:

"Did you ever try to rhyme Cumulo Nimbus?"

No, but Neil Finn did: "Like a Cumulo Nimbus, coming in from a distance."

katre | August 3, 2005 12:22 PM

A friend of mine pointed out that the song Rainbow Connection works perfectly if you re-interpret the lyrics as Cthulhu Horror. Think about it.

Kafkaesquí | August 3, 2005 12:30 PM

The question is not why there so many songs about rainbows, but rather why the most popular one is sung by a puppet.

James Kew | August 3, 2005 12:59 PM

UK plugs are huge; but then, I always think US sockets look like tiny smiling faces.

Steve Eley | August 3, 2005 01:04 PM

To mock the color-blind.

Chris Sullins | August 3, 2005 01:14 PM

They're not interested in the rainbow at all; it's the pot of gold they're after!

Scott | August 3, 2005 01:45 PM

You know, that song gets me to tear up every single time I hear it. And, yeah, it's one of my favorite songs ever.

Stephen | August 3, 2005 01:53 PM

As one of my friends pointed out, the lyrics to that song would fit in well with an H.P. Lovecraft story.

Rainbows are visions, but only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see!

Or later on,

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I've heard them

Scott | August 3, 2005 02:26 PM

The question is not why there so many songs about rainbows, but rather why the most popular one is sung by a puppet.

A couple reasons...
First of all, that frog sure could sing!
Second of all, it's a good song.
Third of all, it invokes all of the power of any previously written rainbow song.
Fourth of all, there's a certain latent "improving" effect of hearing something enough times in good circumstances... which is to say, that even if you didn't care about the song the first time you heard it, after watching the muppet movie a dozen more times (and hearing the song the required two dozen more times) the good experience of watching The Muppet Movie improves, in your mind, the nature of The Rainbow Connection.

And Finally... What, do you have something against puppets? (I know, I know... of course you don't have anything against puppets, some of your best friends were puppets, just like SOME OF HITLER'S BEST FRIENDS WERE JEWS!!!!!)

(Anybody else agree that I shouldn't try humor by exaggeration until I've been awake for more than 2 hours? 'Cause, y'know... that didn't work out so well)

Brian Greenberg | August 3, 2005 02:36 PM

You have to watch all the way to the end of the movie. The answer's in the Reprise. To wit:

Why are there so many songs about rainbows? That's part of what rainbows do. Rainbows are memories, sweet dream reminders What is it you'd like to do?

All of us watching, and wishing we'd find it;
I've noticed, you're watching too.
Someday you'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and you.

Life's like a movie, write your own ending
Keep believing, keep pretending
We've done just what we set out to do.
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.

Classic. How could lyrics like that not be a hit?

dichroic | August 3, 2005 02:43 PM

I think the question should be, "Why are there so few songs about flying?" I mean, there are boatloads (sorry) of songs about sailing, but hardly any about actually being up amid the clouds and rainbows. Especially if you don't count the ones that are only tangential, like "Leaving on a Jet Plane".

Tosy and Cosh | August 3, 2005 03:54 PM

ARE there that many songs about rainbows? Whenever I hear "The Rainbow Connection" I think to myself, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" and . . . ?

And I'm not sure by what possible rubric "Connection" is more popular than "Somewhere."

Patrick | August 3, 2005 04:51 PM

It's an evil liberal plot. Rainbows, indeed.

Kafkaesquí | August 3, 2005 09:15 PM

Scott, I only have issues with puppets that look like Nazis. And then only if they can sing.

By the way, did you know Hitler liked rainbows?

Audrey Estock | August 3, 2005 09:26 PM

I think the question should be, "Why are there so few songs about flying?"

Because there's remarkably less time spent on planes than boats (when going from place to place), and all the time on the planes is spent by staring at the ground and hoping it doesn't suddenly come up to meet you.

Or complaining why you can't use your cellphone for the entire trip.

Thus, there is very little time for writing songs, what with all the complaining and worrying.

gwms | August 3, 2005 11:41 PM

Riding on airplanes is like riding a really expensive boring bus. Who wants a song about sitting in lines, looking at round walls?

Sue | August 4, 2005 07:42 AM

Well, I guess I know what I'll be hearing over and over all day. Nothing like having a song planted firmly in your brain at 6:42 a.m.

iain | August 4, 2005 08:40 AM


Best of luck in Scotland! Try the meat pies & a fine Scottish lager, if you're of a mood.

The fried Mars Bars, not so good...

Tripp | August 4, 2005 09:19 AM

"Did you ever try to rhyme Cumulo Nimbus?"

No, but Neil Finn did: "Like a Cumulo Nimbus, coming in from a distance."

"Nimbus" rhyming with "distance?" That proves my point, doesn't it?

Switching topics - after 6 months in England I came back to the US and both the electrical connections and small change looked very flimsy to me. The electrical plugs looked almost dangerous.

LC9er | August 4, 2005 09:26 AM

Let us not for get Reading Rainbow, and that the Ritchie Blackmore / Ronnie James Dio band Rainbow... heh.

Rex Schrader | August 4, 2005 12:26 PM

I think the question should be, "Why are there so few songs about flying?"
It could be a cultural artifact. We've only been flying for about 300 years (properly for only about 100), but we've been sailing for almost as long as we've lived near water.

Dave Ruddell | August 4, 2005 02:03 PM

Clearly this is a case of those Liberals in Hollywood pushing the Gay Homosexulaist Agenda on the good people of Middle America, seeking to convert people to the Gay Homosexual Lifestyle. The fact that they use a puupet to do this only proves that they're in league with NAMBLA. I mean, duh.

claire | August 6, 2005 02:17 AM

flying songs:

"and she was" the talking heads
"wind beneath my wings" bette midler
"horses" rickie lee jones
"my flying saucer" billy bragg
"break it up" patti smith

"cumulo nimbus" rhymes:

broom, you row in dust
muumuu harem lust
womb eulogy cuss
tomb euphony must
zoom in on him, Gus
groom your old Simbas

Steve Eley | August 8, 2005 05:18 PM

By the way, although it's a few days late, I'd like to use this open thread to give a great big shoutout to Bill Schafer and all the guys at Subterranean Press. Those guys are really on top of things.

Y'see, I got numbered copy 63 of Agent to the Stars last week. (Actually I received two copies because of that contest here, but I'd paid for one, and the other is already committed to another purpose.) It was badly damaged in the mail. How badly damaged, I won't say, as it might shock those of delicate book sensibilities; suffice to say the book wasn't easily readable, and it was clearly the postal service at fault, not Subterranean.

I took some pictures and sent them an e-mail that evening. Bill sent a response back within five minutes, and two days later had a fresh new copy by UPS.

I was rather hoping they'd send me a new copy, of course, but the speed with which they did it far exceeded my expectations. These guys have got to have some of the best customer service in publishing. I wanted to post here and recognize that. I'm very glad I spent my money with them, and will be on the lookout for opportunities to spend more.

Dane | August 9, 2005 11:55 AM

I have heard it said that all happy stories are the same, but sad stories are sad in their own way. Rainbows are notable fleeting bridges between a moment of happiness and those singular moments of sadness. Everyone remembers at least one rainbow and the feeling of happy it brought. Unique experiences of happy are worth singing about.

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