Thongs - was RE: virus: missa viriis

The (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 23:37:15 -0500

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of
> Sent: Tuesday, 29 June, 1999 20:54
> To:
> Subject: Re: virus: missa viriis
> In a message dated 6/28/99 12:42:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
> writes:
> << . a song to sing when Virions meet.
> . a joy to share with those who observe.
> >>
> Oh jeez, I'm having flashbacks to Unitarian services... I took my
> 12-year-old son to one, when I still thought going to
> "church" might be a
> good idea, and he drew a circle around the word "church" in
> the planner I had
> brought with me, then added the nullifying slash. We got up
> and left...
> Leigh (
LOL! Sensible kid.

All my sympathy... I found the image it brought to me to be most repugnant too... But I visualized a bunch of crew cut IBMers in dark suits standing around singing hymns to Thomas J Watson Snr.

In "Father Son & Son" (coauthored with Fortune executive editor Peter Petre), Tom Watson Jr. wrote:

"The school's aim was to produce future officers of the company, and Dad always talked to us trainees as if we were colleagues." Everything about the school was meant to inspire loyalty, enthusiasm, and high ideals, which IBM held out as the way to achieve success. The front door had the motto 'THINK' written over it in two-foot-high brass letters. Just inside was a granite staircase that was supposed to put students in an aspiring frame of mind as they stepped up to the 's classes. Engraved on the risers were the words:


"In class the first thing we did each morning was to stand up and sing IBM songs. We actually had a songbook, "Songs of the I.B.M.' It opened with 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' and on the facing page was IBM's own anthem, 'Ever Onward.' There were dozens of songs in praise of Dad or other executives, set to tunes everybody knew. One of my favorites was to Fred Nichol... Making rousing speeches in praise of my father was one of Nichol's specialties, and his success showed how far loyalty could carry a man at IBM. The song was sung to the tune of 'Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys Are Marching':

V.P. Nichol is a leader,
Working for the I.B.M.
Years ago he started low
Up the ladder he did go
What an inspiration he is to our men!

"A lot of outsiders thought our singing custom was odd, but the man in charge of our class didn't make a big deal out of it. He said, 'We have these company songs. We think they build morale. Here is the way they go. Mr. Flaherty here at the piano will sing it through for you first and then you'll all sing it.'

"The teachers were veteran company men, all dressed, as we were, in regulation IBM clothes -- dark business suits and white shirts with stiff collars. Dad believed that if you wanted to sell to a businessman, you had to look like one. There was a big picture of Dad looking watchful on the wall behind the lectern. The rest of the classroom was decorated with his slogans, and, as in every office of IBM, there was a 'THINK' sign prominently displayed. Magazine cartoonists used to make fun of these signs, and IBM's critics thought they were ridiculous: how could anybody really *think* in a company that was such a one-man show? But to everybody inside, the message was crystal clear: you would sell more machines, and advance faster, if you used your head.

"I used to marvel at how willingly new employees embraced the company spirit. As far as I could tell, nobody made fun of the slogans and songs. Times were different then, and I suppose being earnest didn't seem as corny in 1937 as it does today. And, of course, jobs were awfully hard to come by in the 1930s, so people would put up with a lot. As for me, I was pretty used to the IBM culture because I'd grown up at the source.

It only bothered me when Dad let things get out of hand -- as in 1936, when he commissioned an IBM *symphony*."

Rah! Rah! Rah! Bullshit never rains but it pours...

Some suggestions for songs...

How about the Akond of Swat? "The proper way to read the verses is to make an immense emphasis on the monosyllabic rhymes, which indeed ought to be shouted out by a chorus."

If we must have "songs", lets pick the most obscene ones we can. Some suggestions:

The Ball of Kerrimuir The Ballad of Eskimo Nell The Engineer's Song Good Ship Venus Bastard king of England Abdul el Bulbul Emir I like a moose

etc, etc

and in a slightly different vein,

Always look on the bright side of life
All things dull and ugly

TheHermit <"The last good thing written in C was Franz Schubert's Symphony number 9." >