Originally created 12/16/03

Many rings have had cultural impact



Contrary to what Frodo might have said, there is more than just One Ring.

While the current appearance of the hapless Hobbit and his all-powerful magical bling might temporarily overshadow history's other famous rings, it's important to remember their cultural significance.

For instance:

RING AROUND THE ROSIE: Believe it or not, this schoolyard favorite's roots can be found in the less-than-playground-friendly era of the Black Death. Still, this ring rhyme is far nicer than the possible alternatives. Nobody wants to hear a preschool class sing about flea-infested rats.

RING-A-DING-DING: Once the calling card for hepcats everywhere, this Sinatra-derived exclamation was once the most cutting-edge way possible to exhibit excitement. Today it just sounds silly. It also should never be confused with the ...

RING DINGS: Although often confused with the similarly chocolaty Ding Dong, the Ring Ding distinguishes itself with less cake, more filling and a leaner, meaner profile than the Dong.

RICHARD WAGNER'S RING CYCLE: Although this powerful quartet of operas (which, if performed back-to-back, lasts 19 1/2 hours) is a masterpiece of vocal performance, the symbolic use of mythology and musical composition owes its immortality to the singing star best remembered for his stirring portrayal as Siegfried. It's impossible to hear Elmer Fudd sing "Kill the wabbit" and not tear up a little.

RING AROUND THE COLLAR: Never mind the coffee on your tie or the errant sink spray that nailed your pants. A clever advertising campaign made the worst laundry woe a thin strip of neck dirt inside the shirt. Although few people take the time to check the inside of friend and family member's shirts, ring around the collar still strikes fear in the heart of the smells-clean-to-me set.

RING MY BELL: Although Anita Ward's disco-era standard rarely diverts from the lyrical request to ring said bell, it seems unlikely that it's about a request for a knock-free zone. Ring-a-ding-a-ding, indeed.

OLYMPIC RINGS: It is a cold-hearted soul that can watch those five colored rings fluttering in front of an eternal flame and not get choked up. Although the intersecting circles theoretically represent the five continent groups, for most they mean that the four-year wait for televised ski jumping is finally over.

THE GREEN LANTERN'S RING: Sure, there are a lot of superheroes with rings. Captain Marvel used to keep his costume in his, and those irritating Wonder Twins were always using theirs for a little "form of/shape of" mojo. But the Green Lantern trumps them all because his ring can do anything. A giant fist, a pair of wings, a scary monster face - anything is possible with a Green Lantern ring. Its only drawback is a fairly monochromatic color scheme.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.