The Pina Colada Song — Your Guide to Writing

TeaPartyThumbby Brad Nelson
I’ve had the Pina Colada Song going through my head all morning. I figure there must be a reason for it. If not, I’ll put that song to some use anyway.

There are two main reasons for the existence of StubbornThings. One is to reinforce the idea of an American culture apart from stifling political correctness, identity politics, grievance politics, and the usually insufferable environmentalism-as-a-religion.

There are other ways to be. Maybe some are just as stupid, but we needn’t don the garbage that Karl Marx and the axe-grinding cranky activists of the Left have tried to straight-jacket us into. If you are not embarrassed by a president giving speeches in front of Styrofoam Greek columns, then all I can say is, “Have a nice life. See ya later.”

The other main reason for StubbornThings is to hear from real Americans. As much as I sometimes respect what the talking head professional commentators on Fox, National Review, or other media outlets say, these are not real people for the most part.

Again, I generally like these people. I like Jonah Goldberg. But he is Jonah Goldberg Inc. And one of my favorites is Mark Steyn. But, again, it might be more apt to call him “Mark Steyn Inc.” These people are book sellers. And God bless them for doing so. They often share a lot of good ideas. The books I find myself recommending more than any are Steyn’s “America Alone” and Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism.” These are great books.

But for all the talking and bookselling, the country keeps titling more and more Left. You can go to National Review and read the most eloquent defense of some minute, but important, principle. But it will most likely be written in the language of intellectualoidism. It occurs to me that top-down — even in a good cause — isn’t working. We need to get average Americans speaking their minds once again.

This is one reason that the chattering class doesn’t tend to like Sarah Palin. Palin is more of a plain-talking straight-shooter. Yes, without a doubt she is also “Sarah Palin Inc.” She has turned herself into a commodity. But the point stands. The chattering intellectualoid Washington DC beltway class has assumed there is only one proper way to address the topics of the day and that they own this method. And they get very defensive if you don’t genuflect to their style of intellectualoid-mannered BS.

“So, Brad,” you’re no doubt thinking. “What the hell does all this have to do with the Pina Colada Song by Rupert Holmes?”

Actually, by writing the above, I was hoping to finally get that song out of my head. It hasn’t worked. But that song does remind me of something great about America. It is the land of expression. Sometimes that expression, as with the Pina Colada Song, is a mixture of the vapid and the sincere. But it is intrinsically, and almost uniquely, American not to sit quietly while our would-be masters tell us what we should do and how we should think.

“But, Brad,” I can hear you thinking. “Even if Charles Krauthammer is sometimes full of intellectualoidism, he writes his intellectualoidism so eloquently. Who is going to care what I say when these days it is style that matters most, not substance?”

And I say, Throw that bit of psychological tea into the intellectualoid harbor. The oligarchy-like political class ought not to be allowed to set the rules.

One of the things that has saddened me most is to see my fellow Americans lose the ability to express themselves. And, no, Facebook is no substitute for that. In fact, it’s like many things in our vapid culture (what Jonah Goldberg calls “Satan’s Urinal”). It is a poor substitute for the real thing. It’s akin to people watching “reality TV” (which isn’t real anyway) instead of engaging in the real thing, no matter how humble or mundane.

So let’s return to Rupert Holmes and the lyrics that got me to thinking about this subject matter:

So I wrote to the paper
Took out a personal ad
And though I’m nobody’s poet
I thought it wasn’t half bad

“Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne…”

Yes, that’s right. It wasn’t half bad. It’s a song sometimes that I wish that I had never heard. It occassionaly gets stuck in my brain like one of those velcro-like seed pods that get attached to my socks when I’m hiking in the woods. But, Rupert, your lyric indeed wasn’t half bad.

And that is not a plea to reach for mediocre. But it is a plea to reach. Anyone and everyone has a story to tell. It needn’t be particularly profound. It needn’t be perfect. But it should be your voice and not the voice that you suppose you should don in order to fit into the reigning narrow view of “legitimate conversation.”

Just remember, a very bad man got elected as president because of his ability to lie and to make it sound nice. We ought not to restrict ourselves to the rules set by those who set them, in large part, to shut the rest of us up. So speak up, no matter how innocently naive, crude, or homespun you think it is. Then send it to If it’s real, if it’s not “half bad,” we will publish it. And it will be your way to stick your finger into the eye of those who suppose themselves to be your betters. • (2477 views)

Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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15 Responses to The Pina Colada Song — Your Guide to Writing

  1. pst4usa says:

    As I strive for mediocrity, here is a story from David Barton on WallBuilders live radio the other day, not quite Pina Colada but here it is.
    This is a story that Davy Crockett relates, it is from the 1870’s biography, Crockett died in 1836 but his biography came out afterwards. Here is an example of the plain speak that used to be a part of this nation. He wrote;

    Several years ago I was standing one evening on the steps of the Capital with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire, we jumped into the hat (a cab), and drove over as fast as we could; when we got there I went to work and I never worked so hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But in spite of all that could done many houses were burned many families made houseless, besides some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt as something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief, we put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as could be done. The yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

    The next summer when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around the boys in my districts, so I put a couple shirts and a few twist of tobacco in my saddlebags and I went out. I’d been out about a week and found things going very smoothly when riding one day into a part of my district in which I was more of the stranger than any other part, I saw a man in the field plowing coming toward the road. I gauged my walk so that we should meet, as he came to the fence, he came up I spoke to the man, he replied politely but as I thought rather coldly. I began well friend I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates, and…. Yes I know you, you’re Colonel Crocket, I’ve seen you once before and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you’d better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again. I begged him to tell me what was the matter.

    Well Colonel, said he, you gave a vote last winter which shows a you either have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you’re wanting the honesty or the firmness to be guided by it, in either case you’re not the man to represent me. Now I believe you to be honest, but an understanding Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook because the Constitution, to be worth anything at all must be held sacred and rigidly observed in all its provisions the man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is… Crockett said I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it. For I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any Constitutional question… No Colonel, said he, there is no mistake, though I live here in the back woods, and seldom go from home I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My paper say that last winter you voted for bill to appropriate $20,000 to some suffers by fire in Georgetown, is that true? Certainly it is, said I, and I thought that that would be the last vote which anyone in the world would have found fault with. Well Colonel, said he, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away public money in charity? Crockett said, here was a sockdolager, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a single thing in the Constitution that authorizes it. I found I must take another tack, so I said, well my friend I may as well own up, you got me there, as certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should have the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relief women and children, particularly with the full and overflowing treasury. And I’m sure, if you’d of been there you would’ve done as I did.

    It’s not the amount, said he, that I complain of, it’s the principle, in the first place, the government ought to have in the treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes, but that has nothing to do with the question, While you are contributing to relieve one, you’re drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you; and you had as much right to give $20 million as $20,000. You will very easily perceive that a wide door would be open for fraud, corruption and favoritism on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No Colonel, congress has no right to give charity! Individual members may give as much of their own monies they please but they have no right to touch the dollar of the public money for that purpose. There are about 240 members of congress if they had shown their sympathy for the suffers by contributing each one-week’s pay it would’ve made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in Washington who’d freely give $20,000, without depriving themselves of even one luxury of life. The congressman chose to keep their own money.

    The people have delegated to congress by the Constitution the power to do certain things; to do these it is authorized to collect and pay monies and for nothing else, everything else beyond this is usurpation and a violation of the Constitution. Crockett then wrote, I could not answer him, and the fact is I was so fully convinced that he was right I did not want to. But I must satisfy him and I said to him well my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I have not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard sound sense, then all the fine speeches I’ve ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire, before I would have would’ve have given that vote. And if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another un-Constitutional law I wish I may be shot.

    He said it was one of the luckiest hits of my life. He also famously said to Congress, “You can all go to Hell, I’m going to Texas” in reference to support for the nation of Texas in their war for independence against Santa Anna.

  2. Brad Nelson bradnelson says:

    “Socgoliger.” Great word. Yes, this “charity” has been corrupted. Should have nipped it in the bud.

  3. CCWriter CCWriter says:


    Word of the Day Archive
    Saturday January 8, 2011

    sockdolager \sok-DOL-uh-jer\ , noun:

    1. A decisive reply, argument.
    2. Something unusually large, heavy, etc.
    3. A heavy, finishing blow.

    WHACK! – bum! bum! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum-bum – and the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling away, and quit – and then RIP comes another flash and another sockdolager.
    — Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

    “Your first day awake with us was some sockdolager,” Andy said. “You handled them sharps slick as grease.”
    — Darryl Brock, If I Never Get Back

    Sockdolager is an odd American combination from the 1830s. Its probable components are sock, as in “striking a blow,” and doxology, “a fervent hymn to god.” Sockdolager is also possibly the last word Abraham Lincoln heard before he was assassinated.

    • Brad Nelson bradnelson says:

      Sound as if we need to do our part to revive that word. It’s a good word. It’s sockdolagericious.

      • CCWriter CCWriter says:

        Word of the week. Will add to to-do list.

        • Brad Nelson bradnelson says:

          Maybe some kind of “word of the week” sidebar item. If anyone is interested in coming up with the words and definitions, let me know.

          • CCWriter CCWriter says:

            Yeah, I meant it’s on my to-do list. You could put up sockdolager to start. And if anyone thinks of a word that’s a possibility and wants me to research it, I’ll be happy to. I’m especially interested in correcting misapprehensions and misapplications of words.

            • Brad Nelson bradnelson says:

              CC, in order to facilitate automating as many things as I can, I’ve found a plugin for WordPress that offers a “Word of the Day.” I’ll beta test if offsite and if it works, I’ll plug it in and give it a try. Maybe it will allow us to do custom words. Also, I increased the threading ability of comments to go to 7.

    • pst4usa says:

      Thanks CC. I was typing as fast as my fat fingers could go. Also David Barton speaks very fast and not always clearly. As I re-read my post I found a lot of typos. Brad any way for me to fix those?

      • Brad Nelson bradnelson says:

        Pat, I’ve just added new functionality to this which will allow registered users to edit posts indefinitely. Anonymous users (or those who just enter a name and email in order to post) will have up to 30 minutes to edit their posts.

        • CCWriter CCWriter says:


          • Brad Nelson bradnelson says:

            I wish I could take credit for it. I’m finding a lot of neat and free plug-ins for WordPress. I hope to add a simpler login page. Pat told me his attempt to register was a little “stubborn.” I don’t know what the heck we was expecting from this site. 😉 But I’ll see if I can make that easier.

  4. pst4usa says:

    This is very stubborn indeed. Here is an edit.

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