Sunday, March 2, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham (Bob Dylan... or a reasonable facsimile... :-)

From today's Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of the children's book author who wrote under the name Dr. Seuss, (books by this author) born Theodor Geisel, in Springfield, Massachusetts (1904). He was the son of German immigrants. His mother was an accomplished high diver, and his father was a target shooter who held the world record for marksmanship at 200 yards.

He studied literature and planned on becoming an English professor. But a woman in one of his classes noticed the drawings he doodled in the margin of his notebook during a lecture on Milton, and she told him he should become a cartoonist. He took her advice and also decided to marry her.

Seuss made a living selling cartoons to magazines, and he also drew cartoons for advertisements. The Standard Oil Company hired him to create monsters that live in the car, and he created the Moto-raspus, the Moto-munchus, and the Karbo-nockus. He published his first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, in 1937.

He went on to publish a series of fairly successful books for older children, and then, in 1955, an educational specialist asked him if he would write a book to help children learn how to read. Seuss was given a list of 300 words that most first-graders know, and he had to write the book using only those words. Seuss wasn't sure he could do it, but as he looked over the list, two words jumped out at him: "cat" and "hat."

Seuss spent the next nine months writing what would become The Cat in the Hat (1957). That book is 1,702 words long, but it uses only 220 different words. Parents and teachers immediately began using it to teach children to read, and within the first year of its publication it was selling 12,000 copies a month.

A few years later, Seuss's publisher bet him $50 that he could not write a book using only 50 different words. Seuss won the bet with his book Green Eggs and Ham (1960), which uses exactly 50 different words, and only one of those words has more than one syllable: the word "anywhere." It became the fourth best-selling children's hardcover book of all time.

A bit more googling, following a semi-memory from last year, led me to this article - although the original website is now defunct (i.e., someone pulled the plug), an mp3 of the song seems to still exist...

Tangled up in Seuss
When a musician recorded "Green Eggs and Ham" in the voice of vintage Bob Dylan and posted it online, the Grinch estate promptly replied: One fish, two fish, cease and desist.
by Dan Brekke
April 13, 2007

Kevin Ryan doesn't want to talk about his recent fling with Web stardom. He's a bit rueful and more than a little nervous about it, in fact, and wishes the whole thing would just go away.
If you missed his star turn, here's what happened: Ryan, a 33-year-old Houston music producer and author, went into his home studio and engineered a sort of retro mash-up of two of his favorite artists,
Bob Dylan and Dr. Seuss.

Ryan took the text from seven Seuss classics, including "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham," and set them to original tunes that sounded like they were right off Dylan's mid-'60s releases. He played all the instruments and sang all the songs in Dylan's breathy, nasal twang. He registered a domain name,, and in February posted his seven tracks online, accompanied by suitably Photoshopped album artwork, under the title "Dylan Hears a Who."

The rest of the article can be found here...

[I used another poem when I first posted this blog earlier today, but decided to replace it with one I wrote over a decade ago, for a friend's Return to Singlehood party six months after her divorce - she asked that each person's gift be an "exercise in creativity" and I tapped into my inner-preschool teacher (my career path at the time) to convey my depiction of the emotional tug-of-war I witnessed... and safety-netted with music, white zinfandel and non-judgmental listening on many an occasion. Life has a way of working itself out - I am lucky to still count her among my friends... ]

[Added 11:15 p.m.: I just finished watching Iron Chef America, an admitted TV addiction - the secret ingredient was, synchronistically, ham... and one of the dishes Cat Cora made was Green Ham and Eggs... :-) ]

SONG: Green Eggs and Ham by Bob Dylan... or a reasonable facsimile... :-)

BOOK: The Seuss, the Whole Seuss and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel by Charles D. Cohen

POEM: Fleeing Legs Then Wham! (with sincere apologies to Dr. Seuss) ~ self-penned, 10/27/95

I'm Roxanne.
Roxanne I am.

I am sad, so sad, you see,
because The Grinch walked out on me.
I do not want to be alone,
I talk to friends all day by phone.

What did I do to make him go?
I do not know, I do not know.
I only know I loved him so,
and loved the life I'd come to know.

How will I raise these kids of mine
without a Dad to make it fine?
I am in such great despair.
Who cares about the Cultural Arts Fair?

My world has fallen down on me,
I cannot do this alone, you see.
My nights are spent tossing and turning,
my days go by in endless yearning.

You can, you can, you are so strong,
if not now, it will not be long.
It may seem worry is here to stay,
but you will soon wake up one day
and realize that what seemed lost
has taken on another cost.
Try it, try it, you will see,
that being alone can be very free.

I will not try it in a bar,
I will not try it in a car,
I will not try it with my friends,
I only want this pain to end.

I will not try in here or there,
I will not try it anywhere.
There isn't enough wine in Pembroke Pines
to make me forget this horrible time.

I think that you will realize
and see things through unclouded eyes,
that what you seek to keep isn't worth
the one who took away your mirth.
And you will wake one day to find
that maybe you don't even mind
the time alone, with kids or friends.
Who needs this guy to make amends.

Hey, it has been six months and you were right,
I now can sleep right through the night,
and those who mattered to me before
still ring my phone and bang my door.

I have my school, my family, my work,
although they can make me berserk,
it is a different way I feel,
it is so true, it is so real.
I like the person that I am,
and sometimes I don't give a damn.

Hell, yes, I'll try it on a plane,
and in the dark and in the rain.
I will try it in my room,
just reading a book or listening to tunes.
I will try it here or there,
I will try it everywhere.
I do not mind losing his name
because alone and lonely are not the same.

QUOTE: "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” ~ Theodor Geisel


  1. wow, still remember that "divorce" party as if it were yesterday..wonder if she still has the afghan I made her? Bittersweet memories indeed.

  2. Hey, M ~

    Yeah, it doesn't feel like 13 years have passed, does it? - I'm willing to bet she *does* still have the afghan you made her.

    One of her quips during the evening was, "this party has shown me that all my friends are much more creative than I am!" - we all certainly did rise to the occasion... <3