How a piece of toast led to a Phoebe Buffay song, in 10 steps

Oh the cow in the meadow goes “moo”
Oh the cow in the meadow goes “moo”

Then the farmer hits him on the head and grinds him up
And that’s how we get hamburgers.

Nowwwww chickens!

1. I made some toast this morning, which reminded me of the JD Salinger story For Esmé – with Love and Squalor.

2. Because, you know, Sergeant X offers some of his toast to Esmé.

3. Also, probably because I recently read a New Yorker piece comparing and contrasting two particular Russian translations (Nemtsov vs. Rait-Kovaleva) of Catcher in the Rye.

4. I re-read the article, which prompted me to think about my favorite novels that have been (successfully, I think) translated into English. They are: The Little Girl and the Cigarette, by Benoît Duteurtre; Blindness, by José Saramago; The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende; The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery; and 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami.

5. 1Q84 and The Elegance of the Hedgehog make me crave simple Japanese food, especially stir fries and ramen.

6. At my house, anything resembling ramen is referred to as Ponyo noodles.

7. Speaking of Ponyo, in the American version Sosuke’s mother is voiced by Tina Fey.

8. Who used to work with Molly Shannon.

9. Which reminded me that I finally got around to watching Year of the Dog last weekend, and of how the protagonist Peggy (Molly Shannon’s character) sponsored a rescue chicken on behalf of her her six-year old niece, drove her to visit said chicken, and then attempted to take this little girl into a chicken slaughterhouse. (Gotta love Mike White’s humor.)

10. This all reminded me of how Phoebe Buffay – a character on a show I loathed but had one saving grace, Phoebe’s daffy songs – had a much better approach.

And that is how I arrived at her rendition of Barnyard Animals.

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