Off-topic/Open Thread: Playing solitaire til dawn, with a deck of fifty-one

This is sort of apropos of nothing, but if you’re ever looking for the most cheerful sounding song that’s actually about depression and denial, here it is: The Statler Brothers’ classic “Flowers on the wall.”

Lyrics here. And here’s a later performance of the song featuring a great deal of facial hair, and a brief non-singing cameo by The Man in Black.

Consider this an official Manboobz Weekend Dance Party Open Thread.


About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on October 22, 2011, in music, off topic, open thread, video. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Bailey S. Zelthebeo

    Favorite song…

  2. David K. Meller

    Whatever its rather sinister meaning ( a chronic depressive confined (against his will?) in a mental asylum), it is a pleasant melody, and I was glad to hear it again after all these years.

    Thank you!

  3. David, I always figured he was at home, shut in of his own volition. The eyes not accustomed to the light, shoes not accustomed to the hard concrete indicate they are meeting outside, and few hospitals let you play cards until dawn. I’ve heard the mental hospital interpretation more and more recently. A new “urban legend” attaching to a classic, or was it always around?

  4. I’ve seen a lot of references to the mental institution interpretation, but nothing definitive. I’m assuming it’s about a guy who’s been dumped who’s holing up in his room (and telling his ex that he’s fine). It could also just be about someone overwhelmed by depression.

    Here’s a discussion on a country music blog:

    If it’s about a guy who’s been dumped, there’s another classic country song that’s very similar (if a bit more obvious): “She thinks I still care,” made famous by George Jones:

    And then there’s 10cc’s “I’m not n love.”

  5. What I Did On My Holidays, by Magpie.

    Went to Melbourne with Mum and Best Friend, and we shopped till I dropped. Literally. Called an ambulance, went to Emergency and was given Adenosin. Wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, cause the nice doctor gave me Midazolam first🙂

  6. Made some truly amazing oatmeal cookies yesterday. Turns out the keys are: 1) dark brown sugar and 2) Having MrB form the cookies. He makes them into little balls of uniform size, and they all come out gorgeous.

  7. Are oatmeal cookies like Anzac bikkies, made with golden syrup and quite hard in texture? Cause yummy!

  8. Since I first heard it yesterday, I can’t get this song out my head.

    I kind of hate that I actually like a song that uses auto-tuning.

  9. No, these are soft and chewy, made with brown sugar (though my mother adds molasses and substitutes wheat germ for some of the oatmeal – hers are yummy, too). Here’s the recipe I use, a slight variant from my mom’s ancient Betty Crocker cookbook (it’s in American, I don’t know how to convert):

    Over to 350

    Combine 1.5c shortening, 2c dark brown sugar, 1c white sugar, 2 eggs, .5c water and 2t vanilla (i use organic vanilla extract, good vanilla makes a real difference). You can also add a T or two of molasses if you like. Beat until well mixed and a little fluffy. Add 3c flour (you can use less if you want a thinner, crisper cookie), 2t baking soda, 1T salt and 6c quick oatmeal (or 5c oatmeal and 1c wheat germ). Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

    You can add sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, raisins or other dried fruit, or any other nuts you like. And I like my sweets a little bit salty, it makes a nice contrast. You can cut the salt down to 1 or 2t if you prefer.

  10. Oh, these are my abbreviations:

    t = teaspoon
    T = tablespoon
    c = cup

    Again, in American.

  11. Kathleen: My mom has that cookbook too!

  12. Wow, thanks Kathleen.

    Huh. Comedy, nerdy-ness AND recipes…Manboobz has it all.😀

  13. katz: There are multiple versions – the one Mom uses is almost impossible to find, and they change the cookie recipes with every new edition. These are the best of the bunch, I think.

  14. red_locker: You’re welcome. I’m always happy to share cookies!

  15. Ms. Crazy Pants

    Well, now that cookies came up, I have to share my favorite. I used to make these as a kid all the time, and I’ve just rediscovered the recipe in the last year.

    Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
    * 1 stick butter (1/4 pound, 115 grams)
    * 1/2 cup (120 mL) milk
    * 2 cups (475 mL) white sugar
    * 1 tsp vanilla
    * 6 T cocoa powder
    * 3 1/2 cups (830 mL) rolled oats

    1. Melt butter, sugar, and milk in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes.
    2. Add vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly.
    3. Add oats in 4 increments, stirring completely between additions.
    4. Remove from heat and drop by tablespoonful onto aluminum foil or waxed paper.

  16. I take my depression straight up with a shot of bourbon.

  17. And in the “catchy songs about depression/alienation” category, we have one of my all-time favorites.

    “I quit
    I’m done
    ‘Cause I don’t think it’s gonna turn out okay
    It’s no fair
    It’s no fun
    If every time it’s gonna end the same way
    Me zero
    Big bad world one”

  18. Fun time story time.
    Back in ’99 I decided to dump the girl I was living with and move across the country to New Orleans. (Yeah, I was a jerk. I’m trying to overcome that)
    I loaded up my Yamaha with camping gear and headed east.
    I had this song going through my head through most of South Dakota and Nebraska. The fact I’m not insane says… something.

  19. As a depression theme song I’m a fan of the “Suicide is Painless” MASH theme… When I was in high school my dad rented the movie and my mom was horrified when she heard the lyrics (“that’s gonna make her kill herself!”) but the song is so over the top it ended up being my first laugh that week. Good times. :p

  20. Thanks, I love this song! My dad used to quote it to me and my sisters, back when we were horrible teenagers – we especially related to the part about “smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.” Awesome!

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