Archive for May, 2008

Queen of Spades: Les Éléments

sing the LMNCeci est en quelque sorte une traduction de “The Elements” de Tom Lehrer, à chanter sur l’air de “Je ne suis pas bien portant” de Gaston Ouvrard. Je cherche quelqu’un qui pourrait la chanter, je chante encore plus mal que je prononce le français.

The following is a French translation of Tom Lehrer’s “The Elements“, to be sung to the tune of “Je ne suis pas bien portant” by Gaston Ouvrard. Sorry, no recording yet, I can neither sing nor pronounce French well enough. You’re welcome to try.

Y’a nickel, bismuth, tantale, gallium,
osmium, carbone, aluminium,
azote, terbium, platine et hafnium,
et les états d’américium.
N’oubliez pas praséodyme,
c’est juste avant le néodyme.

Y’a phosphore
sodium, bore,
puis calcium
et rhénium,
or, lanthane
et titane
et radon
sur Krypton

Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas
très bon en la matière.
Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas !
Chimie c’est la galère.

Manganèse, antimoine, silicium
rutherfordium, gadolinium
astate, thulium, césium, ruthénium
m’a dit Dmitri Mendélévium.
Seaborgium, dubnium protactinium
cobalt, arsenic, californium.

Y’a scandium
baryum, brome
et le chrome.
Fer, tellure
zinc, mercure
et radium
argent, plomb
et argon.
Soufre chlore
et fluor
puis néon
et xénon
et tungstène.

Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas
très bon en la matière.
Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas !
C’est la croix, la bannière.

Il y a hassium bohrium curium
iode, thorium, étain, actinium
et cuivre, indium, holmium, fermium
et meitnérium et magnésium
et aussi thallium et francium
les gaz à effet de cérium.

Y’a strontium
puis niobium
et rhodium
et yttrium
et erbium
et lithium
et cadmium
trop d’hélium

Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas
très bon en la matière.
Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas !
Chimie c’est la misère.

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Jack of Spades: ɘloЯ

My Goodness, My Guinness


One ev’ning I went to the pub for a beer
and later went home to my bed.
As I went off to sleep I was feeling quite queer,
and the world turned around in my head.

The pieces of bread dipped us humans in cheese,
the cheese made by cows from our milk.
Early worms got the birds, while they made their pongees
from our swaddling, and christened it silk.

As letters sent men they would each seal a kiss,
which itself stole a beau, what a turnoff.
And Soviet Russia was in all of this,
poking fun at our man Yakov Smirnoff.

The horses on knightback were chased by the steeple,
convinced they should set the truth free.
And wars fought in soldiers then started the people,
till their shoes walked a mile in me.

Then science was checked by remains prehistoric,
The reptiles who warmed up the air
and caused the extinction of things meteoric
while the common were sought by the rare.

At some point, I think I awoke my alarm,
but I’m not at all certain of when.
For certain events have a true-to-life charm.
I should never drink lager again.

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Ten of Spades: The Fungus Who Ruled the World


Qui domine le monde? Fistulina hepatica?

I am the master of my environment. The king of the fifth kingdom. My sweet chestnut tree delivers all the nutrients I need. I have no need for even a brain to live in this paradise on a lesser creature. Nothing needs to change; even in the far future, if my tree dies, my descendents can continue to feed on it. This forest belongs to us.

With food security like this, it does not matter that I am incapable of surviving without my host.  I have everything I need. I do not need to move, I do not wish to move, and, because a perfect design has no superfluous features, I have no ability to move.

And yet, I am moving. I am being pulled from my life source. Pulled by something even more powerful than myself.


I can no longer pretend that I am the master of my environment, above the rest of the animal kingdom. I can not go on as a parasite on less fortunate creatures, raising and killing them just because I have a big enough brain to know how. Something has to change. There are simply not enough resources to continue transforming large amounts of food into small amounts of meat. I want something to be left for my descendents. This forest belongs to nobody, and we have no right to destroy it for pasture.

I’m perfectly capable of surviving without meat. I can get all the nutrition I need from fruits, vegetables, chestnuts from the forest, mushrooms… ah, now here’s a beef steak I can eat without troubling my conscience.

I pull the beefsteak fungus from the treetrunk and take it home for dinner. I need not exercise my power over nature tonight.


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Nine of Spades: 0.5|1〉+0.5|0〉+8i Lives

A nine of spades featuring a cat, an \'I\' magnet, and \'vies\' magnet positioned next to the nineThe first, I landed right-side up,
The next, I saved my skin.
The third, I won at cat and mouse,
The fourth, I dragged me in.
The fifth, I wasn’t curious.
The sixth, I wasn’t swung.
The seventh, I escaped the bag.
The eighth, I got your tongue.

So of my deaths, I’ve sidestepped eight
with guile and movements deft.
And while I’m in a quantum state,
I’ve still a half-life left.


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I: Reflections in the imaginary axis

An imperfect reflectionI see ruthless enemy
The devil, I know,
The negative one.
I saw the root
of evil
of evil
I was the root
of the negative one.
The devil that I know:
Icy, truthless inner me


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