Archive for April, 2014

Brush Up on Parody

This is a parody of Brush Up on Parity by Arthur Roberts, which is in turn a parody of Brush Up Your Shakespeare, by Cole Porter, which I hadn’t heard until yesterday.

A lively part of society
thrives on musical comedy;
they’ll settle for nothing duller than
Python or Gilbert and Sullivan.
But the normals and the posers
don’t know how to hum along;
they’ll be looking down their noses
till they hear a popular song.

Brush up on parody;
fair use is allowed.
Brush up on parody;
bring the funnies to the crowd.

If a brain-damaged bully torments ya,
ease your pain with a dose of Dementia,
and if they overhear while they hit you
they’ll be laughing not at you but wit’ you.

When you’ve let what is left of your pride go,
let your own song beset the FuMP sideshow!
Brush up on parody
and they’ll laugh out loud (in a meeting!)
And they’ll laugh out loud.

Brush up on parody;
fair use is allowed
(but maybe you shouldn’t rely on a compulsory mechanical license if you want to protect your original arrangement from Glee’s plagiarists…)
bring the funnies to the crowd.

If you can’t tell a breve from a quarter,
you can borrow a tune from Cole Porter.
And if nuts try to shame you to stop it,
say they’ll just have to blame Arthur Roberts.

Lambast trends or concoct innuendo
and then send it to Dr. Demento!
Brush up on parody
and they’ll laugh out loud (tune’s miaowed!)
And they’ll laugh out loud (like a lolcat!)
And they’ll laugh out loud.

I wrote a full draft of this yesterday, but I’m glad I kept it around to touch up today. It still has a lot of dubious compromises between rhyme and reason, where I should have taken the time to find consensus. But it’s NaPoWriMo and I’m publishing a poem a day, so polish is scarce. I just noticed that the prompt for today is ‘let’s rewrite a famous poem, giving it our own spin’, so a song parody seems appropriate.

This is something I’ve wanted to write pretty much ever since I first heard Brush Up on Parity, because it’s such an obvious parody title, although I wasn’t sure what the lyrics would say. If I’d been basing this on Brush Up Your Shakespeare instead of Brush Up on Parity, I’d have made this longer and filled the extra stanzas with amusingly-contrived rhymes for the names of parody musicians. It’s not like rhyming Shakespeare plays, though; these are real people and I’d be conscious of which ones I was leaving out.

In case you’re wondering, the FuMP sideshow is a secondary podcast of the Funny Music Project, one which anyone can add a funny song to. Dr. Demento has been hosting a comedy music radio (now internet) show for decades, and if you haven’t heard of him you really need to brush up on parody. I have not actually listened, since his radio show wasn’t available when I grew up, and I haven’t figured out his website yet, but I met him at MarsCon!

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The Bookshop

It pulls the Sun across the sky
with wool that’s spun of plots and tied
to far-off wonder lost nearby.
As warp drives run, space-time will fly
and tear asunder passersby
and dear assumptions underly-
ing vapid slumps they occupy.
Climactic undertakers cry:
The chosen one’s about to die
but Chekhov’s gun’s return is nigh,
And set to stun, it acts, whereby,
the battle won, the other guy
has just begun to say, “Goodbye!
Now I’ve got funner fish to fry”
when all he’s done is shoved awry,
as next someone will dare reply:

“Do you have money? Won’t you buy?
It’s eighteen-hundred hours and I
should shelve the unbought books and try
to count demand and resupply.”


I started a poem and a song parody today, and made progress on a poem parody I started on Friday, but they need a little more time to ripen and I need a little more time to sleep. This is one I wrote several months ago and merely polished a little today; I wrote it in about twenty minutes to post on Facebook, after commenting that the sun went down while I was in a bookshop. It was the shortest day of the year, and I was in Stockholm airport, but bookshops can have that effect even under more usual circumstances. I have to be careful ‘polishing’ things I wrote too long ago; I almost rubbed off part of the streak of mid-line ‘un’ rhymes that I’d forgotten I put there. Now I see them and I’m impressed with myself.

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Unintentional Haiku from New Scientist, on Reality, Existence, and God

I’m not only behind on poems, I’m also behind on reading New Scientist magazine, so I’m just starting on a special issue with the ‘big questions’ with articles about reality, existence, God, consciousness, life, time, self, sleep, and death. This seemed like a good place to find interesting unintentional haiku, so I ran Haiku Detector over the first three sections. Perhaps I’ll do the rest on later Saturdays, to give myself a weekly break during poetry writing month.

There’s only one unintentional haiku on the subject of reality:

Afterwards, we map
the locations of all the
thousands of flashes.

These three are about existence:

“Small simulations
should be far more numerous
than large ones,” he says.

Sadly that means you
will never be able to
meet your other you.

A few researchers
even think it could happen
in the next decade.

That last one works for many great scientific quests, at any time. Here are some about God… or… Santa?

More interesting still
was a second version of
the experiment.

Santa knows if you’ve
been bad or good but does he
know all that you do?

Because of this, they
are highly susceptible
to false positives.

I wonder what the second version of God’s experiment would be like.

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There are things that I can imagine
that are worse than what happens to me.
And there are things that I cannot imagine
that are worse than my mind’s eye can see,
and there are things that I cannot imagine
that are worse than even those things can be,
and there are things that are worse than the things in this verse,
and so on, into infinity.

But  there are things that are better than all of these things,
and these things, they have happened to me.
And there there are things that are better than any of that,
even things that my mind’s eye can see,
and there are things that I can’t even wonder about
that are wonderful as things can be,
and still better than that: it’s things all the way up
into heavens of infinity,
and things even more great than infinity states:
aleph one, aleph two, aleph three.

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Whenever I touch you
there is a heat I can’t ignore,
inflaming feelings destined to ignite us.
There’s tingling in my skin,
and I go red from head to floor.
Is it love?
Or is it contact dermatitis?

My weakness is for you;
I nearly swoon at your sweet face.
My heart misses a beat each time I see ya.
Its rhythm is disturbed
and all my stress seems out of place.
Is it love?
or is it arrhythmia?

You learn to cook gourmet
and then you really go to town,
and after the dessert you pop the question.
My stomach does ballet
and there’s a stirring farther down.
Is it love?
Or is it indigestion?

I tried to play it safe,
and we were strict about consent.
I’m breathless from your bedside operation.
I said I’d die for you;
perhaps you don’t know what I meant.
Is it love?
Or is it lung donation?

There’s nothing I can do;
I am so helpless in your hands.
I’ll stay right here and nobody can thwart us.
I’ve fallen hard for you
and something’s stiffened in my pants.
Is it love?
Or is it rigor mortis?

Your heavy breathing’s clear
from undulations of your chest.
My organ is inside you; now I’m onto ya!
Deep down I’m really dirty;
something’s writhing through my flesh.
Is it love?
Yes! That was hypochondria.

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The Old Dopamine Peddler

This is inspired by what Hank Green said about picking the right addiction just after singing about Tetris on JoCo Cruise Crazy 4. Appropriately, it can be sung to the Tetris tune (a.k.a. Korobeiniki, meaning Peddlers) though it is modeled more closely on Kobi LaCroix’s ‘The Peddler: A Half-Assed Translation’ than on any other version.

Open your mind and I know you will find that its system’s designed for times of rest.
You must know there are places you go when the throes of adulthood get you stressed.

Tics of our mental relief, incrementally pouring cement in between life’s bricks.
Kicks you spurn, they protect you from burnout, without them we’d turn out lunatics.

Drugs, TV or Tetris fun.
Learn, create, or get this done.

When willpower fails you, addiction assails you, and sometimes it ails you but there’s a way
to decide which addiction will guide you; when will won’t provide, you have a say.

Low-power moments with something to show for them, that’s how a grown-up can function well.
Something easy that won’t just delete, so it slowly accretes your world’s oyster shell.

Flappy Bird will do you wrong.
Add more words to parody song.

Not films of Fluffy, watch How To Make Stuff, and make making the puff you’re addicted to.
When at rest, read of skills that impressed, and you will find the best are afflicted too.

New bricks are falling; you can’t fit it all in; you may drop the ball into yawning gaps.
Do it too much, you won’t get to do much, but don’t over-rue such a paltry lapse.

Climb this twelve-step staircase to
time that will no longer waste you.

Post a creation of procrastination,  you’ll find validation to keep you keen.
Reinforce, don’t forget to be awesome, endorse with the force of dopamine.


(Reinforce, don’t forget to be awesome, of course that’s endorsed by the brothers Green.)

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Back to the Future Song

This is to be sung to the tune of Gulf War Song by Moxy Früvous, or some approximation of it. While writing it I forgot how much the tune varied, and got stresses and extra syllables in all sorts of wrong places while thinking of similar tunes in other parts of the song. It’s NaPoWriMo’s fault I’m blogging it in this condition. Luckily, I have a time machine, so I can go back and fix it later without worrying about messing anything up.

He made a car
that goes through time
with the fuel that he stole
when it hits eighty-eight miles an hour.
He nearly died.
The kid messed up.
Then they botched three more Times
and to fix things they needed more power.

What kind of klutz tears the space-time continuum,
And assumes that the remedy’s to keep on changing time?
He’s just a h0ver boi.
Doc’s just a drag racer.
If they killed their own forebears, would it still be a crime?

Fighters to change the past.
Fighters to get back.
Fighters for hoverboards, peace and a jet pack.
Don’t you insult this guy ’cause he’s Marty McFly,
and history seems to agree
to be what he says to be.

They went back, then back forward,
and the bullies all got their dues,
and it worked out just fine for ‘the good guys’.
Who was hurt? Who’s erased?
Were the the questions unasked.
Did a hurricane start with his Levi’s?

What could they do? He’s just Doc Brown, and not The Doctor.
They couldn’t track each wingbeat of every butterfly.
Don’t think it helps to say, ‘think, McFly, think’ again.
They’ve ways to make history; how could they not try?

Fighters to fix the past.
Fighters to get back.
Fighters for hoverboards, peace and a jet pack.
Don’t you insult this guy ’cause he’s Marty McFly,
and history seems to agree
to be what he says to be.
To heck with causality.

He’s just an underdog.
Doc’s just a scientist.
Time travel’s ‘heavy’, not light at c.
What could they do? He’s just Doc Brown, and not The Doctor.
And history seems to agree
to be what he says to be.
To heck with causality.
Great Scott, where and when are my keys?

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A Guide to Understanding the Redefinition of the Sonnet

The sonnet is a noble little song,
that rambles with loquaciousness of yore.
In times of Twitter, quatrains are hardcore;
an octave and a sestet’s just so long!
And so decree the OED: So long!
The fourteen lines expected heretofore
will henceforth shrink by one per year or more.
TL;DR: yo, Shakes, ur doin’ it wrong!

Like tweets, the turn seems rash and vain and fast,
but nobody would dare to redefine
if all existing verse would break the rule.
So here’s the sanctioned way to fix the past:
just never read beyond the thirteenth line.
(Unless, of course, you’re not an April Fool.)

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