Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Palindrome, Palindrome Where Do You Roam?

I am a big fan of Riders in the Sky, a group in the tradition of the Sons of the Pioneers with a humorous bent and a fixture on many public radio stations. One of the sketches they did on their radio show was The Ballad of Palindrome, which featured a song lead-in much like the Johnny Western song The Ballad of Paladin used on the 50s TV western, Have Gun Will Travel, starring Richard Boone.

Some of the lyrics:

(to the tune of the Ballad of Paladin)
There are campfire legends that the plains men spin
Of a man who was nothing like Paladin
Couldn't ride couldn't shoot but he won his fame
Cause everything he said, said backwards was the same
Palindrome Palindrome what's in a name
Palindrome Palindrome backwards the same

From there, the sketch dialogue involved palindromes.

I mention this because I am also a fan of palindromes and Sunday, March 10 (3/10/2013 – a palindrome date) the first annual SymmyS (a palindrome) were awarded for the best palindromes of 2012. The awards were announced at a
ceremony at the Funhouse Art & Beer Cabaret (sounds like fun) in Portland, OR. The competition featured all of the contestants in last year's World Palindrome Championships plus several talented newcomers.

There were four categories, with 10 finalists in each:
Short Palindromes, Long Palindromes, Word-Unit Palindromes, and Poetry.

A palindrome is not, as has been suggested, an unmanned aircraft flown by Sarah Palin. It is a word or phrase or date that reads the same forwards as backwards. Some common palindrome words are civic, level, rotor, and kayak.

A familiar palindrome phrase is Madam I’m Adam. One of my favorites is party booby trap.

These are simple compared to what the came out of the SymmyS Sunday.

For instance in the Short Palindrome category, Jon Agee won for Igloo Dialogue:
An igloo costs a lot, Ed!
Amen. One made to last! So cool, Gina!

In the Word Unit category Aric Maddux to first with:

You swallow pills for anxious days and nights,
and days, anxious for pills, swallow you.

And in second place John Connett offered:
Fishing for excuses? No need. You need no excuses for fishing.

I love words and word play, but this is way out of my league.

A last thought about Have Gun Will Travel. It was very popular in the 50s and I watched it avidly. There seemed to be a lot of curiosity about Paladin’s first name as he didn’t use it, however if one paid attention it was quite obvious what Paladin’s first name was: Wire. His business card read “Have Gun Will Travel” and below that his name, “Wire Paladin”

No comments: