Eating my own dog food

I should say upfront that this is my first lyric writeup.  I don't have anything against the practice, in fact I like em when they're well done.  I'm frequently delighted to find the lyrics of a favorite old song on E2 and I'm saddened to think of all the ones we lost during the change over last fall.  But lyrics are just not my usual beat and that's exactly why I'm writing this.  Consider it as a self-imposed assignment to eat my own dog food so I can declare it "good" with authority.

So this writeup is intended to expand my own knowledge of what's involved with complying with the new policy, and also to serve as a sort of beginners cookbook on how the process works. I'll apologize upfront if this sounds pedantic, my goal is to demystify the process and for those of you who are already clued in this may be more redundant than enlightening.

Summary: Four steps to compliance 

  1. Node what you love, select an original piece, lyrics, poetry, book review, whatever.  If you believe the material you are noding is wonderful, you'll have something to write about.. 
  2. Provide the Context, amaze us with your comprehensive knowledge of original piece. You might know a lot about the artist, or you might know about the historical context in which it was written, or you might just know a whole lot about how it made you feel the first time you experienced it.  
  3. Select a representative quote, you don't have to quote the entire work, just enough to give us the full flavor of it. Check the E2 copyright rules to see what's legal and proper.
  4. Prepare and send a permission request,  it never hurts to ask. Send a /msg to Content_Salvage requesting a CST_Group review.  This is optional it you're sure your work is compliant, but it's like flame retardant paint if you're borderline.  Besides, once your writeup passes the review, you can add the coveted CST Approved tag.
  5. Post it and reap your just rewards, feel the warmth of blessings from Valhalla. Fact is that there are a bunch of us who appreciate a really well explicated lyric node.

So, here's my own go at it.

Step One: Node what you love

To be honest, I'm also excited about adding a song that I really love, to the database. So maybe that's step one in the process: pick a song you love and that you think deserves to be in the E2 database for all time.  One thing certain about this new Copyright Policy is that noding lyrics has become lot more work.  It's no easy route to noder stardom, but if you love music, it's a worthy task.  

I'm an old guy, so rather than try to get a handle on one of my current favorites like The White Stripes, I'll reach back into my bag of old favorites and tap into one of Paul Simon's excellent tone poems for a subject, to wit: Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears  

Step Two: Provide the context

Paul Simon's album You're The One, was released in 2000 and quickly received acclaim as some of the best work he's ever done.  Simon was criticized as a cultural imperialist when he traveled to South Africa before the fall of apartheid to gather ideas and work with local musicians such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo on his groundbreaking album Graceland. This sentiment increased when he utilized Brazilian rhythms in Rhythm of the Saints, which resulted from his friendships with Tito PuenteEddie Palmieri and Milton Nacimento

The criticism subsided as it became clear that Simon was breaking new ground musically by basing his compositions on what he calls a "rhythmic premise," rather than a catchy lyric, or melodic riff.  He finds the beat first then builds on it by adding melody then lyrics.  This process has reached it's highest evolution in You're The One, an album that oozes musical mastery from every track. Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears is my favorite song on this altogether excellent album.  

Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears explores a theme that has run through Simon's work for many years; a world that is constantly evolving but somehow remains the same in the end.  I think he has a deep belief in the common experiences that we all share despite our apparent differences.  In Señorita , the idea of reincarnation is neatly wrapped around some striking vignettes: a  born again Christian the willing, the unwilling, salvation and, of course, our Señorita wearing theeponymous necklace of our innumerable sins and thus granting us absolution.  The song expresses our longing for a better world and, also, our acceptance of life as it is. There's also a transcendent bit about a frog.

Step Three: Select a representative quote

Under the E2 copyright policy the "Quoted lyrics or poetry cannot exceed 250 words."  That's actually a lot of words when you get right down to it, and should be plenty to provide the reader with a feel for the character of the work and some sense of why you think it's great.  The selection below is 247 words long.  I decided to start at the beginning and just run until near the end of the song where there was a reasonable break point.  In some cases it might be better to start somewhere in the middle to include a verse you particularly like.  

The important thing to remember here is that you are bringing us this song for a reason, select the portion of the lyrics that best highlights the reason you think the song is great.  For many songs, the 250 word limit is enough to include the entire song, but don't feel like you have to do that just because you can.  Along those same lines, you don't necessarily have to waste space on redundant choruses, or start at the beginning.  Your writeup is an original work about the song, use as many or as few lyrics as you need to make your case.  Oh yeah, find a text editor that does word counts for you.  Otherwise: Insanity!

Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears

I have a wisdom tooth
Inside my crowded face
I have a friend who is a born again
Found his savior's grace
I was born before my father
And my children before me
We are born and born again
Like the waves of the sea.

That's the way it's always been
And that's how I want it to be.

Nothing but good news
There is a frog in South America
Whose venom is a cure
For all of the Suffering
That mankind must endure
More powerful than morphine
And soothing like the rain
A frog in South America 
Has the antidote for pain.

And that's the way it's always been
And that's the way I like it.

Some people never say no
Some people never complain
Some folks have no idea
And others will never explain.

That's the way it's always been
That's the way I like it
And that's how I want it to be 
That's the way it's always been
That's the way I like it
And that's how I want it to be 

If I could play all the memories
In the neck of my guitar
I'd write a song called
Señorita with a necklace of tears
And every tear, a sin I've committed
Oh these many years
That's who I was
That's the way it's always been.

Some people always want more
Some people are what they lack
Some folks open a door
Walk away and never look back....

Copyright Paul Simon 2000

Step Four: Prepare and send a permission request & get a CST_Group review.

This is probably the step that most folks will be apprehensive of.  No worries, 'tis easy, well, relatively easy anyway.  First off, review the info on requesting permission in the sources below to get your bearings1, 2, 3.  Then get an address for the author or publisher and fill in the blanks.  Save your permission letter somewhere, even if the original author doesn't reply, the letter provides you and E2 with some protection and shows good faith on your part.  The permission letter is more good form than a strict requirement, but as you'll see it's simple and maybe you'll get lucky.

Here's my Permission Letter to Paul Simon

Paul Simon
12 August 2003 

Dear Paul,

I am a member of an online community called Everything2. The purpose of Everything2 is to act as a database that is user created, dynamic, and - well - includes everything.

To that end, we strive to add to the database the things that we find helpful, useful, amusing or important. I've been a fan of your music since the Sound of Silence came out in the mid sixties and have enjoyed every album you've released.  You've been so good for so long!  Anyway I'd like to contribute a small sample of your lyrics to the database at and I'm hoping you'll allow it.

Since it is the policy of Everything2 to not simply assimilate copyrighted material, I am asking you for permission to reproduce the lyrics to Señorita With A Necklace of Tears on the website.

For more information, please visit http// Everything2 is a noncommercial site which exists solely on the basis of the contributions of its users. Your cooperation would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


The second part is even easier: 

/msg Content_Salvage Hi there, my writeup Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears contains a lyric quote. Could you give it a review for compliance.  Cheers.

Here's what a CST_Group review looks like under the hood:

Writeup Title: Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears
Reviewer: momomom
Public domain?: N
Original Author's Permission received?:Requested
Quoted content less than 33%: Y
Compliance Assessment: Y
Review Request (w/timestamp) & Notes:  This writeup is compliant under Fair Use. Tc = 1625 words, Tq = 247 words, %q = 15%.

After the review is complete, you'll get a message like this:  

2004.2.18 (37.9 min) Content_Salvage says Your w/u  Señorita With A Necklace Of Tears has been reviewed by the CST_Group and is compliant. Please append this hardlink CST Approved. Thank you.

Step Five: Post your writeup, reap XP rewards and the quiet satisfaction of a job well done!

Prepared for the E2 Quests: Songs and Lyrics CST Approved



1  Template for a general Permission Letter:
2  More info on securing permission:
3  Here's the template Permission Letter I used:  All-purpose, handy-dandy Copyright Release/Permission Request Form 
--FWIW, I never received a reply from Señor Simon, but feel better for having asked anyway.

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