Archive for June, 2008

Four of Hearts: Alice and Bob

I gave a note to Isaac meant for you,
but Marvin changed my message to a curse,
and though the barb that reached you wasn’t true,
you shivered at the harshness of my verse.

The next time I made sure to use a code,
So such a change would never fit the rhythm.
But Eve was smart, and understood my ode,
Her friends took part, and took our secret with ’em.

Embarrassed by such semaphore of hearts,
I used entangled light to write my note on.
But Eve still looked, and such a look imparts
an altered quantum state upon the photon.

To heχ with fears of stickybeaks or malice
Dear Bob, I’ll shout, I love you, signed, your Alice.

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Three of Hearts: Chpamnorbosg Eiurnyngillyng

Three of hearts showing the ALICE TPC, with tentacle monster and the word \'Prévisible\'. A spectacular view of the interior of the ALICE Time Projection Chamber (TPC) - the world\'s largest. It measures the trajectories of the thousands of particles emitted in heavy ion collisions with sub-millimetre precision.A lad at a fair who was lacking directions,
found a booth which was offering temp’ral projections.
“We’ll show you the future, we’ll show you the past,
you’ll gape at the first and you’ll gasp at the last.”
Being fond of projections, and not short of time,
he sat in the chamber and paid in the dime.
There were buttons for films of both pre- and post-diction
in all sorts of genres; he chose science fiction.

Way out behind the shroud of night,
beyond the Milky Way
the sothnax live in perfect time,
not slaves of night or day.

They see the world through two stalked eyes
one each of time and space.
What humans see as future time
is just a further place.

In such a world it’s rather hard
to pull off any capers,
a fresh-made scheme is by that time
already in the papers.

But one mad sothnax killed and fled
without the slightest plan
without the slightest thought that time
flew faster than he ran.

For since a lengthy moment he
was blinded in one eye,
the police approached, and just in time,
the killer found out why.

For all the speed a photon has,
it’s far outpaced by souls.
For all their pow’rs to see through time,
they can’t see through black holes.

And so the killer’s soul escaped
and made its way toward Earth,
to steal a dying egg in time
to steer it back toward birth.

Their unforeseen collision forced
the dying human soul
to think it was not yet its time.
They fused to make a whole.

But enough with this fiction of tempo-transmography,
Our fact-hungry viewer went next to biography.

Chpamnorbosg Eiurnyngillyng
Lived a life of greed and killing
then he got in a mother
and started another.

And with that our young lad was left thirsting for more
so he pressed on the button that said ‘film d’amour’.

roses are red,
sothnax xanthose.
One soul mates a sothnax,
two soulmates arose.

Such soulful emotion was too strong a homily,
So to lighten things up he selected a comedy

An alien thought he was winning
till he got into trouble for sinning
So he came down to Earth
underwent a new birth
and completely forgot his beginning.

Just for fun our lad moved to the edge of his chair
then selected a horror and braced for a scare.

She screamed bloody murder
as the monster interred her
and without an escape route
she was juiced like a grapefruit
but the killer’s black soul
sped to make a black hole
to escape being observed
an escape undeserved.

And he grew as a boy
with no thoughts of the ploy
till the day he was found
by a bloodless bloodhound

And our hero could see that in fact it was he,

and they came in the stall
and forced his downfall
he screamed a waul
lost the brawl
lost all

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Spades Word Cloud

In my continuing quest to do everything that Jonathan Coulton does, I’ve used all the words from everything I wrote from the Ace to the King of spades (including letter-inspired writing from that period) to create this most excellent word cloud at the even more most excellent site Wordle.

My first attempt had the words ‘I’m excellent’ perfectly aligned, but then I went and changed the font. Still, there are some interesting messages to be found in this one.

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Two of Hearts: Words for Snow

l\'eau et l\'O2 font la neige

In English I can breathe like air.
In French my easy breath is gone
to water that I’m choking on.
J’ai changé d’air, j’habite en Suisse,
I cannot live in cowardice,
so I speak in French a little more
l’air anglais dedans et dehors
the fractal mix like falling snow
la langue française joue le rôle de l’eau
that’s crystalised like none before
une neige si belle, j’en veux encore
l’eau à la bouche, mes langues y glissent,
I want to see some more of this
et rester dans la neige qui fond.
Je veux nager comme un poisson
dans l’eau française, courante et claire.

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Nitrates really are good for the heart, and Jonathan Coulton’s coming back

It’s not often that something I say metaphorically ends up on the front page of the newspaper as the literal truth less than 48 hours later. This is what I saw when I got home this evening:

Nitrates are good for the heart!

Or if you’re French, Surprise: Nitrates are good for the heart! Isn’t that what I said in last week’s Thing? Clearly I chose the right suit to post that poem in. And the right deck as well — this is indeed an intriguing development.

And as if that weren’t enough, while I was still downloading that image from my camera, I found out that Jonathan Coulton is coming Over Here again, for concerts in London and elsewhere. I booked a ticket in the panic, hopefully I’ll be able to go. Perhaps I should self-publish the spades already so I’ll have a nice shiny book to give him.



Ace of Hearts: Nitrogen

Plain ace of hearts with an N on it, and the words, \'as de cœur\' Nitrogen, we breathe and we ignore.
We do not know what we are breathing for.
A large part of the air, the human race
is there to simply breathe, and nothing more.

Hot air, without reaction or a face,
with nothing more to do than take up space
continue, as today, and as before
breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, keep up the pace.

Should lightning strike, your senses to alert
And nitrogen to nitrates to convert
you’ll breathe with force of will and not cuirass
The air, the breath, the life, no more inert.

Your heart is not a mere ignoble mass.
Take nitrates, and create some biomass.
Take hold of the inertia, and invert:
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in this noble gas.


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King of Spades: My Favourite Strings

King of Spades featuring The LHC Control Centre, and magnets saying \'théorie M\'The following is to be sung to the tune of ‘My Favourite Things’ from The Sound of Music. For those of you who either don’t know the tune, or prefer to listen to something being sung badly than to imagine it being sung well, here is a hastily recorded demo.

Leptons and sleptons and quarks and gluinos,
positrons, Higgs bosons, muon neutrinos.
Some folks will tell you that all of these things
are just vibrations in closed loops of string.

D-branes and p-branes and strings heterotic,
worldsheets and nerd feats and mesons exotic,
Scores of false vacuums and questions they bring,
many more concepts that I can not sing

All existence
from Planck distance
strings can well explain,
and if you don’t think that 1D is enough,
then gen’ralise to membrane.

Don’t tie your strings into everyday chatter.
Don’t tell the truth when they ask what’s the matter.
Ordin’ry people just ask on which fing-
er they should put your new synchrotron ring.

Start off by getting all Klein-and-Kaluzy.
Add more dimensions and then you’ve got SUSY.
Have fun with spinors and Lie groups and rings,
call it a theory of everything.

When they mention
your dimension
doesn’t seem to show,
you simply remind them they’re all curled up small,
and that we will never know.

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