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April 2014

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Muh-Nah Muh-Nah

A new earworm has arisen in my head like a June cicada in Chicago, singing its butt off while remaining infuriatingly out of reach. It all started with a new TV commercial for the Saturn Vue, accompanied by a ridiculous nonsense melody that I (very fortunately) hadn't heard in 30 years. It has no words, really, just a gruff voice saying "muh-nah muh-nah" alternating with a female duo singing similar nonsense syllables. It had been a top 40 song when I was in high school, and I vaguely recalled a Muppet Show clip with two pink cows and a caveman performing it. The song definitely suggests silly fooling around, which may be why (according to Pete Albrecht) it was background music for a series of comedy skits about Moon men that ran on the Red Skelton show 1970-ish.

Well. The Internet changes things. Searching for "muh-nah muh-nah" led me in a few hops to the song's own page on Wikipedia. I quickly learned that the song was written in 1968 by Piero Umiliani, and (once I found the clip itself on YouTube) that the muppet creatures I thought were pink cows were actually Snowths, which may be Muppetese for "pink cows." I learned that Frank Oz did both Snowths at once, one on each arm. I learned that the song had originally been written for a 1969 "mondo" film called Sweden: Heaven or Hell? about which the less we know the better, since it was apparently so raunchy that they banned it...in Sweden. I learned that somebody actually tried to transcribe the lyrics, which is interesting because there really aren't any.

And if you really really want to hear the original version of the song itself, you can find it here.

Just don't say I didn't warn you.

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Comments

That song was an integral part of my growing up. (It's been in existence since well before I was born, so in my world, it has always existed.)

We actually play the "muh-nah muh-nah" game when ever anyone says something that sounds remotely similar. "Phenomenon" is a favorite.

It's very catchy. :)

(Anonymous)

Sweden: Heaven or Hell?

Monty Python said it years ago:

http://www.lyricsdepot.com/monty-python/finland.html

so

Finland = Hell
Sweden = Heaven

Jeff be careful while driving in Finland, only Russian drivers are more dangerous.

--Aki

Yes... I picked up Vol 1 of The Muppet Show the other day, and that was on the first broadcast episode.

Someone ought to do a paper on what physiological, evolutionary purpose is served by our brains locking onto melodies like that.

I first noticed this, um, piece during a beauty pageant, (probably Miss America.) In the talent competition, one of the girls did a sort of comedic dance routine to it. She was derssed as a cute alien in something Jetsonsish and deelyboppers
exploring a trashcan, playing with the trash.
It was cute. I have no memory of who she was or how she fared.

GHR

(Anonymous)

Muh-Nah Muh-Nah

Curse you, Jeff Duntemann! ;-)

BCB
If you're familiar with world of warcraft and in particular abbreviations such as ROFLMAO, WTF, etc. take a look at the video on youtube labeled "roflmao".

(Anonymous)

Okay, you made me look -- and now I remember it. But, I remember it more from Sesame Street than from the Muppet Show (which I seldom watched).

However, looking through the "associated" clips on YouTube brought up a later version that made me laugh harder than I have in quite a while. It'll probably make you laugh the worm right out of your ear.

Just look for "Phenomena" with Kermit and Sandra Bullock. :-)

Lawrence O. Johnstone
Ukiah, CA

Hah! That's brilliant, absolutely FB. For those who might be interested, here's the direct link to the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voe5i6LGvY4

It helps (at least a little) if you've seen the original Muppet cover of the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YevYBsShxNs

Time's sure fun when you're having flies!