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Opening Arguments

25 or 6 to 4

How could we get through life these days without sites like snopes.com, which verifies or discredits various urban legends, or The Straight Dope, which has a record of meticulous research and reliability that is unmatched? I went to Straight Dope to find the answer to one of those nagging things that popped into my head a few days ago. It was the vexing philosophical question that many of us spent hours debating when we were younger, without satisfaction: What the heck does Chicago's great song "25 or 6 to 4" mean? Is it a sly reference to drugs, a suble tribute to spirituality? Of course, it had the answer, and it's a lot simpler tham many would probably like. Robert Lamm of the band, who wrote the song, gives us the scoop:

"The song is about writing a song. It's not mystical."

[. . .]

As for the curious title, Lamm says, "It's just a reference to the time of day"--as in "waiting for the break of day" at 25 or (2)6 minutes to 4 a.m. (3:35 or 3:34 a.m.)

Once we understand this, some of the lyrics suddenly become much clearer:

Waiting for the break of day--He's been up all night and now it's getting close to sunrise.
Searching for something to say--Trying to think of song lyrics.
Flashing lights against the sky--Perhaps stars or the traditional flashing neon hotel sign.
Giving up I close my eyes--He's exhausted and his eyes hurt from being open too long, so he closes them.
Staring blindly into space--This expression can be seen often on the faces of writers and reporters. Trust me.
Getting up to splash my face--Something you do when you're trying to stay awake, though a good cup of Starbuck's does wonders for Cecil and me.
Wanting just to stay awake, wondering how much I can take--How far can he push himself to get the song done?
Should I try to do some more?--This is the line that makes many think it's a drug song. But it is just as easily construed as a frustrated writer wondering if he should try to do some more lyrics/songwriting.

Aren't you glad you come here? Where else you gonna get such vital stuff?


Bob G.
Mon, 06/18/2007 - 6:17am

AHhhhh, those lilting lyrics from a bygone era....

Now I can't get it out of my head...thanks, Leo!



Kenn Gividen
Tue, 06/19/2007 - 3:14am

During my daily walk through Mill Race Park in Columbus, today, I noticed a strange cylinder-shaped object about the size of a small car descend from the sky and land on a bank along side White River.

A strange-looking creature extended a thin but apparently powerful arm from the craft and grabbed a huge man-like beast from the wooded area near where it landed.

Meanwhile, folks is Roswell, New Mexico, are gearing up for 50,000 visitors. July 5-8 is the 60th anniversary of the "Roswell Incident" and will be celebrated at the city's annual UFO festival. The event will add tens of millions of dollars to the area's economy.

Considering both space aliens and Bigfoot are known to be in Columbus, I suggest tourists visit our city instead. Besides, we're right on the Interstate, have a Bob Evans restaurant, two Walmarts and a White Castle.

I'm thinking I saw a prehistoric-looking creature swimming in the River. It may have been a plesiosaur.