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Spectre of Pithecanthropus
05-05-2006, 12:18 PM
When I was a kid growing up, we had these neighbors across the street, a muni court judge and his wife, who used to hang out with my parents, and my brother and I used to hang out with the younger daughter. This was well before the age of sexual awakening; she was like a big sister to us. The judge used to tell us this long story or joke of which the point was that every sentence in it was self contradictory in one way or another. It began:

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.

...
...
...
and it ended:
If you don't believe my story, ask the blind man.
He saw it too..

The thing is, there was a lot of stuff in between but I can't remember a word of it. Does anyone else remember this?

If it's any help, the judge's family came from Utah, as my father had originally, and was probably born around 1918.

Wee Bairn
05-05-2006, 12:23 PM
One day in the middle of the night
Two dead soldiers got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew out their swords and shot each other
a deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and shot the two dead boys
If you don't belive this lie is true
ask the blind man he saw it too.

I may be missing a line or two, but that is how I remember it

Miller
05-05-2006, 12:24 PM
I'm sure there are other variants out there, but here's how I learned it:

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys arose to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
Came and shot the two dead boys.
If you don't believe this tale so tall,
Ask the blind man. He saw it all.

Eureka
05-05-2006, 12:24 PM
At the risk of being smug and unhelpful, I plugged your first line, in quotes, into Google.

I got back several links (http://folklore.bc.ca/Onefineday.htm) including this one which includes analysis of some alternate versions of lines, and an explanation of why this is not a "nonsense poem" in the same sense as the "Jabberwocky" is.

bdgr
05-05-2006, 12:24 PM
The version my father used to tell me:

Gather around me hobos and tramps, cross eyed mosquitoes and bow legged ants.

I stand before you, right behind you, to tell you of something I know nothing about:

It was midnight on the ocean not a street car was in sight, the stars were brightly shinging and it rained all day that night.

So one bright morning in the middle of the night, two dead boys got into a fight. Back to back they faced each other, and they drew out thier swords and shot each other

Now if you dont believe what I say is true, ask that blind man, he saw it too.

bdgr
05-05-2006, 12:26 PM
oops...forgot the policeman line...I knew something was missing

Zeldar
05-05-2006, 12:44 PM
These all sound a bit familiar, but I wouldn't have been able to supply a version of my own. Too long ago.

Biggirl
05-05-2006, 12:53 PM
The version I know is quite similiar to a few of these

Ladies and Jellyspoons,
I come before you to stand behind you
And tell you of things I know nothing about:

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to arrest the two dead boys.
If you don't believe my lies are true
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.




Funny, I was thinking of starting a thread about nonsense rhymes. Really, I was! I was going to mention this poem and another favorite of mine:
As I was going down the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish that man would go away.

Rhythmdvl
05-05-2006, 12:58 PM
Hendrix plays a version, called Strange Things, that closely tracks Miller's post (sleepin' policeman…). It's on a compliation called Historic Jimi Hendrix (music.yahoo.com/release/7025). It seems to be out of print, but if it helps it's on Pair Records, and #SPCD2-1155 is on the spine. Good listenin'!

Skammer
05-05-2006, 01:10 PM
The version I learned, with differences noted:

Early in the morning in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And shot and killed the two dead boys.

Baker
05-05-2006, 01:27 PM
Here's how I learned it.

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight.
They drew their knives and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed those two dead boys.

And if you don't believe me ask the blind man who saw it all.

Infovore
05-05-2006, 01:33 PM
Funny, I was thinking of starting a thread about nonsense rhymes. Really, I was! I was going to mention this poem and another favorite of mine:
As I was going down the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish that man would go away.
I always liked this version:

As I was going down the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today--
I think he's from the CIA. :)

Antinor01
05-05-2006, 01:36 PM
I came to post the version I knew, but Miller beat me to it.

stanger
05-05-2006, 02:19 PM
From a Golden Book that I had back in grade school (early to mid 1960's):

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead men stood up to fight
Three blind men to see fair play
Forty mutes to yell 'Hooray!'
Back to back they faced one another
Drew their swords and shot each other

Why this was in a joke book, I'm not sure, unless it was just because of the absurdity of it all.

Chronos
05-05-2006, 05:54 PM
In the version I know, the deaf policeman "saved the lives of the two dead boys", which seems to maintain more of a contradiction that shooting or arresting them, and I never heard the last two lines about the blind man (but I'm going to add them anyway, the next time I tell it).

I've also heard one of "I'll tell you a story I know nothing about", but it looks significantly different than the one folks are quoting here. I don't remember all of it, but it includes "Admission is free, so pay at the door / Pull up a chair, and sit on the floor", and I think there was something about bricks rolling down (or maybe up) a hill.

Mangetout
05-05-2006, 06:51 PM
I was expecting to be able to say the author was Edward lear, but apparently not.

auRa
05-05-2006, 07:07 PM
I've also heard one of "I'll tell you a story I know nothing about", but it looks significantly different than the one folks are quoting here. I don't remember all of it, but it includes "Admission is free, so pay at the door / Pull up a chair, and sit on the floor", and I think there was something about bricks rolling down (or maybe up) a hill.

I remember memorizing a version of this poem for our literary week in about third or fourth grade. I can't remember the last two lines exactly, but the rest is still embedded in my mind for some reason.

Ladles and jellyspoons,
I come before you
to stand behind you
to tell you something
I know nothing about.
Next Thursday,
the day after Friday,
there will be a mothers' meeting
for fathers only.
Wear your best clothes
if you haven't any
and if you can come,
please stay home.
Admission is free,
you can pay at the door.
We'll give you a seat
so you'll sit on the floor.

Anastasaeon
05-05-2006, 07:14 PM
Almost exactly the same as several posters have mentioned, but for posterity:

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys decided to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
Came and arrested those two dead boys
If you don't believe this story is true
Ask the blind man, he saw it, too.

I learned it from a girl in my class in grade six. I have no idea where she got it from. :p

Biggirl
05-05-2006, 08:21 PM
I remember memorizing a version of this poem for our literary week in about third or fourth grade. I can't remember the last two lines exactly, but the rest is still embedded in my mind for some reason.

Ladles and jellyspoons,
I come before you
to stand behind you
to tell you something
I know nothing about.
Next Thursday,
the day after Friday,
there will be a mothers' meeting
for fathers only.
Wear your best clothes
if you haven't any
and if you can come,
please stay home.
Admission is free,
you can pay at the door.
We'll give you a seat
so you'll sit on the floor.

Your right. I mushed together these two poems in my head. Quick, somebody post their version of LuLu Had A Steamboat and Barnicle Bill The Sailor!

Myron Van Horowitzski
05-07-2006, 09:43 PM
My dad taught us this:

'Twas midnight on the ocean
Not a streetcar was in sight
Forest fires were raging
And it rained all day that night
Everything that you could see
Was hidden out of sight
The sexton rang the dishpan
Someone set the church on fire

Holy smoke! The preacher cried
While he tore his hair
And now his head resembles heaven
'Cause there is no parting there

Johnny L.A.
05-07-2006, 10:02 PM
Quick, somebody post their version of... Barnicle Bill The Sailor!
'Oh, the AirForce is the life for me,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
'I'll jump my ship and I'll leave the sea,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
'I'll fly so high, I'll pass the sky; and gravitation, I'll defy
'I'll make the ladies faint and sigh,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
'Pretty soon, you'll lose that grin. Pretty soon, you'll lose that grin.
'Pretty soon, you'll lose that grin,' cried the fair young maiden

'Well, I'm rough and tough and I know my stuff!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
'I'll fly this ship, 'til I've had enough!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
'Oh, I know the struts, I know the fins, I know the barrel rolls and spins
'I know the Outs, I'll learn the Ins!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot

'You're out of gas, you must go down. You're out of gas, you must go down.
'You're out of gas, you must go down,' cried the fair young maiden
'Well, I'm a cockeyed Finn, if I give in!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
'I've made my way through thick and thin!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
He kicked the bar, he pulled the stick, he hit the ground like a ton of bricks
I'd tell you more, but it makes me sick! Poor Barnacle Bill the Pilot

'Here's some flowers for his grave. Here's some flowers for his grave.
'Many brave hearts lie asleep in the deep,' cried the fair young maiden

sinjin
05-08-2006, 12:58 AM
The version I know is essentially the same as those posted, except it runs:

They stood back to back and faced each other
Drew out their swords and shot one another.

The reason for this is that, as bad as it is to rhyme each other with another, it's at least an order of magnitude worse to rhyme each other with each other!

Biggirl
05-08-2006, 07:00 AM
'Oh, the AirForce is the life for me,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
'I'll jump my ship and I'll leave the sea,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
'I'll fly so high, I'll pass the sky; and gravitation, I'll defy
'I'll make the ladies faint and sigh,' said Barnacle Bill the Sailor
'Pretty soon, you'll lose that grin. Pretty soon, you'll lose that grin.
'Pretty soon, you'll lose that grin,' cried the fair young maiden

'Well, I'm rough and tough and I know my stuff!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
'I'll fly this ship, 'til I've had enough!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
'Oh, I know the struts, I know the fins, I know the barrel rolls and spins
'I know the Outs, I'll learn the Ins!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot

'You're out of gas, you must go down. You're out of gas, you must go down.
'You're out of gas, you must go down,' cried the fair young maiden
'Well, I'm a cockeyed Finn, if I give in!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
'I've made my way through thick and thin!' said Barnacle Bill the Pilot
He kicked the bar, he pulled the stick, he hit the ground like a ton of bricks
I'd tell you more, but it makes me sick! Poor Barnacle Bill the Pilot

'Here's some flowers for his grave. Here's some flowers for his grave.
'Many brave hearts lie asleep in the deep,' cried the fair young maiden

The Barnicle Bill I know goes nothing like this. It's a dirty, dirty ditty.

Ghanima
05-08-2006, 11:55 AM
The one I learned is very similar:

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't believe this lie is true
Ask the blind man - he saw it too.

SpoilerVirgin
05-08-2006, 12:34 PM
The version I know has one line that no one has mentioned so far:

'Twas midnight on the ocean
Not a streetcar was in sight
The sun was shining brightly
As it rained all day that night
Two barefoot boys with shoes on
Stood sitting on the grass
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed the two dead boys

Myron Van Horowitzski
05-09-2006, 03:32 PM
Two barefoot boys with shoes on
Stood sitting on the grass


Yes! I knew I was missing something!

EvilTOJ
10-19-2011, 10:18 PM
Alright, I got here via stumbleupon, which one of you yahoos did it?

Taomist
10-19-2011, 10:56 PM
Funny, I was thinking of starting a thread about nonsense rhymes. Really, I was! I was going to mention this poem and another favorite of mine:
As I was going down the stair
I met a man who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish that man would go away.

I always thought this was Robert Louis Stevenson, 'cause I read his stuff constantly when I was little and this just SOUNDS like him. But apparantly I read something by William Hughes Mearns as well, since that's who wrote this. Thanks for the memories. :)

Rhythmdvl
10-19-2011, 11:24 PM
This is a particularly meta resurrection.

sco3tt
10-19-2011, 11:32 PM
The Barnicle Bill I know goes nothing like this. It's a dirty, dirty ditty.

This is the version (http://youtube.com/watch?v=OhCdKi4vtfI) I grew up listening to on one of my dad's old Oscar Brand LPs. He kept it in a Mantovani Orchestra sleeve but I saw right through it.

He should've stashed it inside Herb Alpert's Whipped Cream & Other Delights. I never got past the cover of that one. Link: URL="https://google.com/search?q=herb+alpert+whipped+cream+album+cover&hl=en&safe=off&prmd=imvnso&source=lnms&tbm=isch&biw=1399&bih=822"

Frylock
10-19-2011, 11:57 PM
My grandfather and his brothers used to recite something resembling this. I don't remember the bulk of it, but it began thus:

Ladies and gentlemen,
horses and fleas,
crosseyed mosquitos
and bowl-legged bees:

I stand here before you
(not after you).

I come to address you
(not to undress you).

I'm here to tell you a story I know nothing about.

Last night, at 12:00 noon...

And that's all I remember. I'm fairly certain the rest of it, while sharing the "string of contradictions" nature of the story you guys are recalling, had little else in common. I don't think it shared any of the details.

I feel like maybe it had a line about somebody driving into my back yard and killing my dead cat, but I'm not sure.

I'm certain that after the introductory bit, the thing didnt rhyme.

Little Nemo
10-20-2011, 12:15 AM
The version I remember had "pulled out his club and shot both boys" which seems more in keeping with the contradictory nature of the song.

Biggirl
10-20-2011, 12:48 AM
Five and a half years and nobody dared post the dirty Barnicle Bill lyrics.

Elendil's Heir
10-20-2011, 11:35 AM
I was wondering about that....

Biggirl
10-20-2011, 12:04 PM
Alrighty-- Barnacle Bill: The Dirty Ditty

Who's that knocking at my door?
Who's that knocking at my door?
Who's that knocking at my door, said the pretty young maiden.


Open the door and lay on the floor, said Barnacle Bill the sailor.
Open the door and lay on the floor, said Barnacle Bill the sailor.

The rest follows that same pattern of maiden and sailor--

What is that between you legs? said the pretty young maiden
It's my pole to stick up your hole, said Barnacle Bill the sailor


What if we should have a baby?
I'll dig a ditch and bury the bitch.

What if you should go to prison?
I'll fill my balls and bust the walls.

What if you should get the chair?
I'll blow a fart and bust the spot.


Those are the lines I remember from elementary school. Seriously, that's where I learned this. But not in class, don't be ridiculous.

P.S., I'm sure there are more lines. I just don't remember them.

Intergalactic Gladiator
10-20-2011, 12:06 PM
Five and a half years and nobody dared post the dirty Barnicle Bill lyrics.

The one I know is from hashing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hash_House_Harriers). Here's a hash songbook with barnacle Bill in it, though you'll have to search for it, the page doesn't have links.

http://horntip.com/html/books_&_MSS/1990s/1994_the_definitive_hash_songbook__zippy_(1994)/1994-01-00_definitive_hash_songbook__zippy_(PB)/index.htm <-- Beware, most of the songs are dirty, though there are no pictures or anything else visually NSFW.

The two dead kids poem I've seen in a book that my sister had as a kid full of nonsensical poems. I wish I remembered the name of that book.

Peanuthead
10-20-2011, 10:41 PM
It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry.
Sun so hot I froze to death Suzanna don't you cry.
Oh Suzanna oh don't you cry for me.
I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee.

Kimstu
10-20-2011, 10:50 PM
I remember memorizing a version of this poem for our literary week in about third or fourth grade. I can't remember the last two lines exactly, but the rest is still embedded in my mind for some reason.

Ladles and jellyspoons,
I come before you
to stand behind you
to tell you something
I know nothing about.
Next Thursday,
the day after Friday,
there will be a mothers' meeting
for fathers only.
Wear your best clothes
if you haven't any
and if you can come,
please stay home.
Admission is free,
you can pay at the door.
We'll give you a seat
so you'll sit on the floor.

I learned a version of that that went

Ladies and jellybeans,
reptiles and crocodiles,
I stand before you
and sit behind you
to tell you something
I know nothing about.
There will be a meeting tomorrow night
right after breakfast
to decide what color
to whitewash the church.
There will be no admission,
just pay at the door;
there are plenty of seats,
so sit on the floor.

4alaff
08-18-2012, 10:33 PM
I remember parts of some of these posts as two different poems:

(1)
'Twas midnight on the ocean
Not a streetcar was in sight
The sun was shining brightly
For it rained all day that night
'Twas a summer day in winter
And the snow was raining fast
As a barefoot boy with shoes on
Stood sitting in the grass

(2)

Early in the morning, about the middle of the night
These two dead cowboys got up to fight
Back to back, they faced each other
They drew their swords, and shot each other
Two deaf sheriffs heard this noise, and got up and killed the two dead boys
Now if you don't believe this lie, it's true
You can ask the blind man, 'cause he saw it too.

I guess, as things like these are shared, people put their own little twist on them, or tell them the best they can remember them.

filling_pages
08-19-2012, 07:15 PM
I learned it at scout camp as a marching cadence.

Late last night in the middle of the day
(Late last night in the middle of the day)
Two young old men went out to play
(Two young old men went out to play)
Back to back they faced each other
(Back to back they faced each other)
Drew their swords and shot each other
(Drew their swords and shot each other).
Sound off! (One! Two)
Sound off! (Three! Four!)

and so on.

Dan Norder
08-19-2012, 07:20 PM
I guess the two dead boys thread by its nature had to be zombified twice.

But then I appreciate hearing about variants of these, so I'm not complaining.

Shakebac
01-22-2017, 09:54 PM
This is how I learned it in California back in 1978

Early in the morning, in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
One was blind, the other couldn't see
Chose the devil as the referee
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
The deaf police man heard the noise
Came and killed the two dead boys
If you don't believe me that the story is true
You can ask that blind man, he saw it too.

I am so happy that I wasn't the only one who had heard this story.
I have taught to my daugter to pass it on.

Ukulele Ike
01-22-2017, 10:08 PM
Five and a half years and nobody dared post the dirty Barnicle Bill lyrics.
"Hello, young zombies, wherever you are..."

The best story I know about this song concerns the 1930 "hot jazz" recording by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra, featuring Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Bud Freeman, Bubber Miley, Eddie Lang, and Gene Krupa. (For all you non-jazzbos, those are VERY FAMOUS musicians)

During the second verse, when the band joins in singing, you can clearly hear violinist Joe Venuti happily going "Barnacle Bill, the SHITHEAD."

Hey, and it's online!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LaRUzoeC2T0

Happy Lendervedder
01-22-2017, 11:24 PM
The version my dad taught me:

One dark night in the middle of the day,
Two dead boys came out to play.
Back to back they faced each other.
Pulled out their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman a mile away
Heard those shots and shot those two dead boys.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
01-23-2017, 12:13 AM
I know the "It was midnight on the ocean" variants as part of the lyrics to "Ain't We Crazy" (https://youtube.com/watch?v=1RJ6FF2bxbE) by Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock (of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" fame).

E-DUB
01-23-2017, 12:35 AM
"I'll take my cock
And break the lock", said Barnacle Bill the sailor.

And as for the original posted poem, as I learned it surely went like this.......

"And if you don't believe this lie, it's true".


And here's another:

As I was sitting in my chair,
I knew the bottom wasn't there,
Nor legs or back,
But I just sat,
Ignoring little things like that.

Biggirl
01-23-2017, 12:57 AM
"I'll take my cock
And break the lock", said Barnacle Bill the sailor.



A fine addition to the dirty ditty. I will be sure to add it.

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