A Little Friday File Fun (02/27)

February 27, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - They say that a picture is worth a thousand words...

Well, here’s a couple of thousand…

There’s some buzz on the Internet recently that Google Earth software has located the mythical sunken city of Atlantis off the coast of Africa. Either that, or Google is totally trying to hide something.   The story goes that a British aeronautical engineer was playing around with the new Google Earth 5.0, which includes undersea data, and noticed something funny off the coast of Africa – – – about 600 miles west of the Canary Islands – – – that resembled a pattern of a street grid – – – Google says that “Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor. The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.”   You can see it online at http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/20090220/atlantis_270x158.jpg 


AIR TRAVAILS?   Before you traverse to Traverse City or shoot over to Charlotte, check out this list of America’s most expensive airports for domestic travel.   Recent research by Forbes listed the 25 most expensive airports. Many of them might surprise you, as they are housed in medium-sized cities, mostly concentrated in the Midwest and Southeast.  MORE at http://www.planadviser.com/research/article.php/3797 

...and here's a thousand more...

- - - And finally, in Ireland, UK , police have finally solved the mystery of Ireland's worst driver - - - one Prawo Jazdy, who, according to published reports, had been wanted from counties Cork to Cavan after racking up scores of speeding tickets and parking fines - - - and he apparently managed to continue to elude justice by giving a different address - - - more than 50 times, as it turns out - - - but it turns out that "Prawo Jazdy" is actually Polish for "driving license" - - - and its appearance on the driver's licenses was not the individual's name - - - but the first and surname on the license - - - you can see what it looks like at http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45492000/jpg/_45492253_prawojazdy.jpg

TRIVIAL PURSUITS :   As noted above, while The Star-Spangled Banner had been acknowledged as America's unofficial national anthem since at least 1914, it was not until 1931 that an Act of Congress, signed by President Herbert Hoover, made it official.   It became well known as a patriotic song, but the tune has a less auspicious origin.  

Do you know what it is/was? 

Now, the story you may have heard is that it happens to be the tune of a popular English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven."  

However, to really understand its TRUE origins - which is, how that song became the tune of our national anthem, let's put it all in context.   You are perhaps familiar with the story behind the composition of the poem that became the Star-Spangled Banner - how Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner were aboard a British ship on a mission from President James Madison to negotiate the release of one Dr. William Beanes.   While there, they overheard plans of the British to attack Baltimore harbor - so the British held them on board until after that attack had commenced.   That, of course, was where Key witnessed not only the battle (rockets red glare, bombs blasting in air…), but the American flag (and more significantly, the defenders of Baltimore) surviving the onslaught.

After Key's release (the next day), he took the poem he wrote (titled "Defence of Fort McHenry"), and gave it to his brother-in-law, Judge Joseph H. Nicholson.   Nicholson reportedly saw that the words "fit" the popular melody "The Anacreontic Song", composed by John Stafford Smith, which was the official song of the Anacreontic Society (an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London).

So, how is it a drinking song?  Well, the song itself has a number of drinking references.   It depicts a squabble among the Greek gods, to which wine-god Bacchus has (is) the solution (literally), and all join in devotion to "the myrtle of Venus and Bacchus's vine."  

By the way, Anacreon (for whom the Anacreontic Society was named) was an ancient Greek poet (563-478 BC) whose many poems about the pleasures of wine and its results earned him the reputation as the bard of the grape. He is reputed to have died at the ripe old age of 86 from….choking on a grape seed...

As for this being a drinking song - well, it's probably more accurate to describe it as a song about drinking.   Still, it's said that it was commonly used as a sobriety test - on the notion that if you could sing a stanza of the notoriously difficult melody and stay on key, you were sober enough for another round.  

You can hear the original song at http://www.astrococktail.com/mp3/Anacreon.mp3