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1. The Curse (Of The Billy Goat)


"Billy Goat" Bill Sianis 

Had box seats to game four

Of the '45 World Series

Cubs versus Detroit

One seat he would sit in

The other was for his kid

A goat by the name of Murphy

Who the Cubs had always admitted


That day an usher wouldn't let them 

To their box at Wrigley Field

So directly to the owner

PK Wrigley he appealed

The answer came from Wrigley

It was final and succinct

He said there’d been a few complaints

Some people didn’t like the stink


Sianis, he was livid

His face was turning blue

He went out past the turnstiles

Onto Waveland Avenue

The vendors on the sidewalk

Say he raised his arms up first

And with his hands above his head

They say he placed The Curse


Just then a cloud passed over

From the lake a chilly wind

Anybody within earshot

Woulda had goosebumps on their skin

The skeptics say baloney    (it’s hoo-ha)

The poets make up verse

60 some years later

They still blame it on the curse


Those two box seats bore witness

As the Tigers took the game

Like they would games five & seven

The Cubbies came up lame

Ol' Billy Goat Sianis 

Got the last word, Holy Cow

He telegrammed Mr. Wrigley

Asked him “Who smells now?”

It stared at Leo Durocher

Stared right at his lip

And Leo stood there staring back

With his hands upon his hips

On the top step of the dugout

A cat the color of a hearse

They blew a nine game lead in '69

People say it was The Curse


They were playing for the pennant

In 1984

Against the San Diego Padres

They only had to win one more

To advance to the World Series

But they slipped into reverse

And when Durham flubbed a grounder

People blamed it on the curse


Most recently, 2003

And just five outs away

When a Cubs fan tried to catch a foul

While the ball was still in play

The lockers had been plasticised

But the bubble had just burst

The Marlins drank the champagne

People blamed it on The Curse


Just ask someone in Boston

How long it took to break

The Curse of the Bambino

With its annual heartache

And every time it happens

It just feels that much worse

They say there’s always next year

And that might be The Curse


2. Old Song Handed Down


An old photograph, it’s in your eyes

The treble clef, the key, the ties

Would there be any more of you?

In the family line who played music too?

Did you stray a little from the score?

Did you ever try to add anything more?

Did you ever try to make things up?

Just little riffs & stuff?


What kind of music did you play?                  

The kind that makes hard times go away?

Ancient tunes that were passed along?

Was anybody writing songs?

Did people think of you as odd?

Did they think it came from the devil or G-d?

Did they ever tell you to keep quiet?

Did you suffer when you had to deny it?


People probably didn’t play guitars

There wouldn’t have been any popular stars

Who’d come around, who you’d have heard

There was no way to spread the word

Nobody had a radio

Record player or a stereo

No Ipod and no tv

No cassettes and no cds


You had a violin and you had a bow

How far away did you have to go?

To get where no one else could hear

So you could play it loud and clear?

Did you have such a secret place

Where you could go and know the Grace?

A river bank or a favorite tree

Somewhere you could just be free?


As I go from town to town

Small glimpses are all that I’ve found

Would you recognize these sounds?

Are they like the old songs handed down?


When you used to sit & play

Would everyone and everything go away?

Was there anyone else who understood

Anywhere in the neighborhood?

Or anywhere else for miles around?

The next little village, even the next town?

Did you ever see the city 50 miles away?

Did you ever get to hear an orchestra play?


In the village market or the few little shops

Could you get a new string if one ever popped?

Your first violin, who gave it to you?

Was it handed down, was it made for you?

Or did you get to go and pick it out?

In the local shops were Jews allowed?

Did your parents have to sacrifice for years?

Was it music to their ears?


If we could just sit one night under the stars

The same constellations, the very same Mars

Not talk about neocons, or about czars

All I want to do is pick the guitar

You can tune up that fiddle & rosin the bow

If you want we could give it a go

I only really know 3 or 4 chords

I slide this capo thing up the fingerboard


I wonder who you’d be today

Or I’d be back then and what we’d play

A gypsy tune, a Russian waltz

One of mine or something classical

For now I’ll blow kisses, for now I send love

And if you can listen from somewhere above

I hope you can hear that it comes from a place

An old photograph, a familiar face


As I go from town to town

Small glimpses are all that I’ve found

Would you recognize these sounds?

Are they like the old songs handed down?

3. A Toast to the Woman in the Holler


Catherine’s boyfriend played saxophone

Catherine wanted a flute

There was one in the window of the music store

That happened to be a real beaut

But Mummy couldn’t afford it

This much Catherine knew

Still, she stood there a few minutes dreaming

Knowing it wouldn’t come true


Christmas time was coming

And Catherine had the blues

Her Mummy asked her what she wanted

Catherine didn’t tell the truth    

She knew there wasn’t the money

Not even for one to rent

The only thing Catherine really wanted

Was to play an instrument 


Catherine cried for a month in her bedroom

When she had to quit the school band

The woman who lived in the holler

Heard about this secondhand

And the goodness gathered within her

And fluttered like butterflies

She in a vision released them 

And she watched them take to the skies


And on a very cold night in December

Maybe the coldest night of the year

The woman who lives in the holler

Cried a few secret tears

For the last few moments of glory

And the glories that had been before

And the times it had been there to rescue her

She set her flute down by the door


People whisper about her

The locals say she’s a witch

Though she’d be the first to come help them

If they ever got stuck in a ditch  

The candles she lights at her altar

They burn as a gesture of love                                             

The kind they talk about in the churches

Yet they know so little of


It was one day just after Christmas

And Catherine wore her new hat

Her mom brought her out to the holler

The woman was there with her cats

Catherine had no idea 

But someday maybe she would

That what she would soon be receiving

Was being given for a greater good


So here’s to the future of music. 

And here’s to the power of song

And here’s a toast to the woman in the holler

For passing these things along


The case was covered with stickers

And words.that this woman had scrawled  

From the magic places she’d been to

Trinkets from her own Mardi Gras

And it all meant nothing to Catherine

It wasn’t her story to tell

She’ll have her own words and stickers

Should she ever fall under the spell


So it’s Catherine’s turn now to hold her

Here’s hoping she’ll learn how to play

Maybe she’ll drop by the holler

To visit this woman some day

Maybe she’ll come with her boyfriend

The one who plays saxophone

Maybe they’ll play for the woman

A few things they made up on their own


So here’s to the sweet gift of music

Here’s to the power of song

And a toast to the woman in the holler

For passing these things along


4. The Great Santa Claus Debacle of 1968


It was the 15th of December 


Franklin Field in Philly

The subject of debate:

Did the Eagles’ fans boo Santa

Because they thought that he was drunk?

Because his costume was in tatters?

Or because the team just stunk?


The coach was Joe Kuharich

He clearly had to go

The homemade banners hanging up

They all were saying so

They hung him from the flagpole

In effigy that day

An airplane pulled a sign

That told him where to go away


It was the last game of the season

The team would finish 2 and 12

The snow was really falling

The cheerleaders dressed like elves 

Norm Snead threw interceptions

The runners gained no ground

If it wasn’t for the booing

There wouldn’t have been a sound


The gun went off at halftime

But the field had too much snow

To go on with the regularly 

Scheduled halftime show

The guy who would play Santa

Never even left his house  

He’d phoned a little earlier

To say that he could not get out


And there was Frank Olivo

A 19 year old fan

In his Uncle Charlie’s Santa suit

With a fake beard in the stands

Did someone from the Eagles 

Come & promise him applause?

If he’d just run out on the field 

While the band played  "Here Comes Santa Claus."


There probably was some drinking 

If you measured the whole scene

There were the usual bare chested guys 

With faces painted green

By the time our Frank Olivo 

Had hit the end zone running

The first of what would be a couple hundred 

Snowballs started coming


One knocked off his glasses

One knocked of his beard

A couple of them made his 

Phony eyebrows disappear

He gave the crowd the finger

And stood there like a giant

“You’ll all get nothing for Christmas”

He yelled out in defiance


In the safety of the tunnel 

He scooped snow out of his ears

The Eagles marketing director 

Asked if he’d come back the next year

Frank Olivo answered,

“No, I don't think so

Because next year it might be bottles 

If there isn’t any snow”


5. The Point


When I was a little feller

Ping pong table in the cellar

Every night just after dinner

He used to let me be the winner


The ones I could get over the net

He’d pretend he couldn’t get

Deliberately he’d hit them wide

But only barely miss the side


Everything he’d hit real soft

He would turn it on & off

But just to show me that he could

He’d hit one almost through the wood


My dad, he was the champion

Me, I was his only son 

He taught me everything he knew

And I’ve shown him a thing or two


He played the ball with lots of spin

Taught me how to serve like him

I was eleven, maybe ten

Starting to play a little better then


Then I started talking trash

Finally he’d met his match

Sixteen, maybe seventeen   

Taut as the net that was between us


He’d slam one & I’d slam one

He’d slam one & I’d slam one 

He’d slam another, I’d slam another

Back & forth, attacking each other


It was spin and counter spin

Neither could let the other win

Things could never be the same

When I learned to beat him at his game


Now we play like gentlemen

Volley back & forth again

Neither of us keeping score

We don’t need to anymore


Now I don’t want to slam at all

I don’t want him to have to chase the ball

Let’s just keep this thing in play

That’s the whole point anyway

6. Death Row All-Stars


Where the Rockies meet the Plains

Towns rose up to meet the trains

Frontier justice handed down

Rawlins was that kind of town

They’d hang somebody now & then

Make some shoes out of their skin

Put them up there on display

Reminding folks crime didn’t pay


Wyoming built a state pen here

For the worst of men to spend their years

Tom Horn had been the last to hang

Before the shortstop Joseph Seng

Now all my teammates, one by one

And each of us a mother’s son

Will follow to the gallows pole

Lord have mercy on my soul


The day that Warden Allston came

He hung a picture he had framed

Of Connie Mack, his eyes ablaze

Sitting with his World Champ A’s

He ordered balls & bats & gloves

To form a prison baseball club

Teams from all across the west            

Would testify we were the best


Practice in the prison yard

Concrete diamond, pocked and scarred

I only lived to crush that ball         

Somewhere far beyond the walls

To places I won’t ever see

Go on ball, you go for me

Give those lawmen all the drop

Keep on rolling, never stop


On game days homemade banners hung

The streets were full, the bells were rung

The Carbon County Volunteer Band

Played for people in the stands

Dark blue flannels trimmed with white

They fit just fine, baggy or tight 

Compared to wearing prison blues

They kept us off the working crews


1911, 1912

Trophies on the warden’s shelf

We went 39 & 6

Against a clock that always ticks

The warden bet on us to win

So did the judge, the two were friends

Our executions would be stayed

Depending on how well we played


Yesterday I struck out twice

Lay all night on a bed of ice

The warden called me in this morn

Asked me for my uniform

Offered me a cigarette

Told me that my date’s been set

Tomorrow, should the sun still rise

I would be the most surprised  


This here 5 x 7 cell

At the old Crossbar Hotel

I’ll leave things just the way they are

The photographs, the baseball cards  

Whoever has to take them down

There’s one of me out on the mound

Send it to my Mama, please

And say I died from some disease

7. The Unreliable Taxi Company

The Unreliable Taxi Company, call him if you want      

It’s just Bob & his cab is probably sitting out in front

Of one of the local taverns in a little Michigan town

But The Unreliable Taxi Company might not want to be found


The Unreliable Taxi might take off Saturday night

Even if he plans on working & you never know, he might

But not if there’s a poker game or something on tv

You’ll have to find another way to where you want to be


If you go out drinking thinking Bob’ll take you home   

Be prepared ‘cause every now & then he’ll leave you on your own

You can either walk back or stay right where you are

Until he can come & take you, or drive you to your car     


The Unreliable Taxi parked in a dark & quiet place    

It’ll be a couple of hours before Bob can show his face   

He’ll be driving in the morning, he’ll be glad to take you then 

It’ll be a couple of hours - it’s hard to say just when


The Unreliable Taxi Company, call him if you will

He’s never had an answering machine & he surely never will

Maybe you’d be better off to get yourself a bike

The Unreliable Taxi, you can call him if you like


But The Unreliable Taxi Company might not answer his phone

Even sometimes when he’s only sitting around at home

Maybe you can reach him - he might even show

He might even be on time - it’s something you don’t know


The Unreliable Taxi Company sleeping at the wheel

No panic to the locals, it’s really no big deal

Even when it’s noon & his cab is still out front

Nobody wants to wake him, you can try it if you want


The Unreliable Taxi, you see him around town

You might even see him driving somebody around

If he needs the money & if he isn’t drunk

If he hasn’t locked his only set of keys inside his trunk

8. Mary the Elephant


In the Sparks Brothers Circus 

They smoked only cheap cigars

A two bit traveling circus.

10 to 15 railroad cars

With a not so high high wire

And some leaks around the tent

Educated sea lions

And four or five elephants


In the Clinch River Valley

A little mining town

Not too far from Kingsport

There's no one still around

That can tell it like it happened

And just stick to the facts

Not get mixed up with legends

Or start filling in the cracks


Red was Mary's handler

They'd hired him that day

He'd rode in on a box car

And he just sort of stayed

He got a job as janitor

At the Riverside Hotel

Until the circus came to town

He bid everyone farewell


He knew nothing about elephants

But what was there to know?

They were big, they were dumb

And they walked kind of slow

They had trunks for grabbing peanuts

And to stuff them in their mouths

He figured that was pretty much all

You need to know about 'em


So they handed Red a stick

For the afternoon parade        

Only once did he whack Mary

It was his only mistake

She wrapped her trunk around him

Threw him to the ground

Stepped upon his head

There were children all around


Now contrary to the rumors

She was never tried

She never was convicted

Of any homicide

She never went to prison

No one sentenced her to hang

Like the storytellers told it

And the singers often sang


It was front page in the papers

From Statesville to Little Rock

From barbershops to filling stations

Mary was the talk

Sparks Brothers Circus 

They just couldn’t be going around

With such an unpredictable creature

They would have to put her down


It's said they fired bullets

But it was too small a gun

They tried some electricity

But she wasn’t even stunned

It was all done in the spirit of 

Good clean family fun

In the entertainment business

You give the people what they want


They shipped Mary in a railcar

To Erwin, Tennessee

They advertised a hanging

3000 came to see 

The ringleader announced

It would be in the railroad yard

When the matinee was over

And there'd be no extra charge


They left her hanging half an hour

Till somebody got her down

The people got their money's worth

Pity the poor clowns

Who weren’t really smiling

When they dumped her in a grave

That had been dug by a steam shovel

And was as big as a cave


The town won’t put a marker

Above where Mary lies

They don’t want the attention

Or lawsuits to arise

She never went to prison

No court sentenced her to hang

Like some storytellers told it

And some singers often sang


In the Sparks Brothers Circus 

They smoked only cheap cigars

A two bit traveling circus

10 to 15 railroad cars


9. The Man Who Blew Kisses


The man who blew kisses stood out in the crowd

He wasn’t so tall & he wasn’t loud

I couldn’t tell you how he was dressed

But of everyone there I remember him best    


The man who blew kisses was simple & free

He never considered how people might see him

He walked on the water & swam through the air   

No trepidation & without a care  


The man who blew kisses lives in a home

He isn’t allowed to go out on his own

Wherever they take him he’s happy to go

He loves everybody & lets them all know


The man who blew kisses, blew them at me

It tickled my heart & it buckled my knee

It made my voice crack & it righted all wrongs

I blew kisses back at the end of the songs


The man who blew kisses in front of the stage

Knew nothing of jealousy, nothing of rage

Nothing of prejudice, nothing of shame

He’d never been broken, never been tamed                    


The man who blew kisses, he misses some things

But he was catching my drift, he had air in his wings

His head was a’ rocking, he was clapping his hands

He was stomping his feet, he was doing a dance


The man who blew kisses eats tulips for lunch     

And probably rainbows but that’s just a hunch

Sunshine & pixie dust mixed in his punch

Daisies for breakfast he eats by the bunch 


The man who blew kisses will blow them at you

He blows them at anyone, no matter who

And I thought to myself in the middle of all this

That the song I was singing was but a kiss

10. In the Beginning (by Nick Annis)


In beginning...G-d created the Heavens and the Earth.  And the Earth was without form and void and  darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the spirit of G-d was moving across the face of the waters.  It’s an oral history, that was handed down, father to son, word of mouth, from Adam to Seth, Seth to Enos,  Enos to Canaan.  For 40 generations...a growing changing story, handed down, word of mouth, father to son.   


‘Til Moses gets it down on lamb skin, but lamb skins wear out...need to be recopied. So you have copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of copies of an oral history, passed down through forty generations...


From Hebrew it’s translated to Arabic, from Arabic to Greek, from Greek to Latin, from Latin to Russian, from Russian to German, from German to an old form of English that you could not read.  Through 400 years of evolution of the English language...the book we have today...which is....

a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of an oral history, passed down through 40 generations...


You can’t put a grocery list through that many translations, copies, and retellings and not get some big changes to the dinner menu when the kids make it back from EarthFare.  And yet people are killing each other over this written word.    

Here’s a tip:  if you’re killing somebody in the name of G-d, you’re missing the message.

11. Liar Liar Pants on Fire


Liar liar, pants on fire

See you squirm, see you perspire

Not a word you say is true

There’s never been one out of you


Smoke & mirrors, bait and switch

You and your friends are getting rich

Picking pockets, pulling strings

And other more despicable things


Liar Liar, pants on fire

Preaching only to the choir

Photo op in front of the steeple

How did you manage to fool these people?


Talk the lingo, dress the part

Even put your hand on your heart

Bomber jacket, emperor’s clothes

You can’t even reach the end of your nose


Liar liar, pants on fire

Chain of command doesn’t get any higher

Orders come down from the top

Punish the guy who pushes the mop


Throw away the key and forget about bail

The likes of you ought to rot in jail

Guilty!  Guilty of the highest crimes

And the lowest ones at the very same time


Liar liar, pants on fire

Teleprompter, hidden wire

Who’s this G-d that speaks to you

Who would authorize the things you do?


Bend the rules, twist the facts

Make excuses, cover your tracks

Why won’t you let anybody see

The flag-draped coffins on tv?


Liar liar, been found out

Whistleblowers talked about

How you classify & cook the books

For the benefit of a bunch of crooks


12. Two Left Feet


There was one certain girl I was hoping to meet

Would have asked her to dance but for my two left feet

She wasn’t sitting with anyone else

I was just sitting there all by myself


I said I didn’t dance, I have two left feet

To this other girl, standing over me in my seat

Besides it wasn’t really my kind of beat                         

And this wasn’t the girl I was hoping to meet    


I wasn’t attracted, not on first glance

She wouldn’t go away, I didn’t want to dance

She lifted me up to my two left feet                                            

My eyes went to the girl I was hoping to meet


I was thinking I could make a break for the door 

But she pulled me out there onto the dance floor

The band started in on an old fashioned waltz

She didn’t lead so I did by default


It was awkward enough, those very first steps

I stepped on her right toes and then on her left

Evading her eyes I tried to be discreet                         

Keeping tabs on the girl I was hoping to meet


Her hand on my waist made me relax

She moved it up to the small of my back

Touching a nerve, I shot her a glance

She said “I thought you told me you couldn’t dance


She pointed down at my right foot

Going to all the right places, wherever I’d put it

She followed me when I spun her around

And when I dipped her all the way down


The way her hair fell back, and hung to the floor

The way we locked eyes then, and forevermore

The thing about beauty, and I don’t know why

Sometimes you don’t see it ‘till it pokes you in the eye


The one song ended & another began

We exchanged names and applauded the band                                 

I guess I never did let go of her hand                      

For the next couple hours we danced & we danced                                              

Now we go out dancing every Saturday night

She dresses up and she’s quite a sight

This was the girl I didn’t want to meet

But that was the guy with two left feet

13. The Ballad of D.B. Cooper


He was carrying a briefcase

When he stepped aboard the plane

Northwest 305 from Portland 

On the tarmac in the rain

Dressed in loafers & a dark suit

Underneath an overcoat

A white shirt & a black tie 

That was loose around the throat


It was Thanksgiving eve

Back in 1971

He had on a pair of sunglasses

There wasn’t any sun

He used the name Dan Cooper

When he paid for the flight

That was going to Seattle

On that cold and nasty night


They taxied to the runway

And then took to the sky

Cooper let a little 

Bit of time go by

Before he called the flight attendant

And told her to stay calm

But that inside his briefcase

He said he had a bomb


Two hundred thousand dollars

In 20 dollar bills

A plane, a crew, some parachutes

& No one would get killed

They landed in Seattle

The authorities complied

All the passengers were let off

The crew remained inside


The plane took off for Portland   

Just Cooper & the crew

It wasn’t quite an hour

When he bid them all adieu

But first he tipped each one of them

Two thousand bucks apiece

He was such a nice man

They later told the police

Out a little service doorway

In the rear of the plane

Cooper jumped into the darkness

Into the freezing rain

They say that with the windchill

It was 69 below

Not much chance that he’d survive

But if he did where did he go?


Some guy who lived in Oregon

By the name of DB Cooper

Was arrested and interrogated

By a couple of state troopers

It wasn’t him who did it

The lawmen had no luck

But the papers ran the story

The name DB Cooper stuck


It was on a family picnic

8 or 9 years later

Six thousand muddy dollars

Found by a 2nd grader

On the banks of the Columbia

Which would’ve been on his route

Authorities confirmed

That it was part of Cooper’s loot


Whoever DB Cooper was

Today is still a mystery

The only unsolved skyjacking

In aviation history

No one’s ever tried to claim

The very large reward

No one’s ever seen him since

He bailed out the door


Divers search the river

Every summer still

For an article of clothing

Or a twenty dollar bill

A briefcase or a wallet

With some kind of ID

To determine who this DB Cooper

Might actually be

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