Posts Tagged tom lehrer

I sang on stage ūüė≥


In the last post I mentioned that Joey Marianer and I sang ‘I Love Your Body‘ on the Open Phil Broadcast on Radio Orange. During that interview we promised to perform it at the Open Phil open mic that was coming up, so we did:

You can skip to 6:48 if you don’t want to hear me explaining who Joey is, pretending I’m not thrilled that he sets my words to music, and talking about my YouTube channel and Jonathan Coulton’s transition from code monkey to internet superstar, followed by Joey challenging Lill to a laugh-off and finding good positions for the microphones with help from Grey Sweater Guy.

I set the stage before this with another slightly disturbing love poem, Don’t Slip on the Ice, but it’s not the first time I’ve performed that one on stage, or even the best performance of it on video, so you’ll have to click on the link if you want to see it.

After we finished this song, I cajoled Joey into singing The Elements by Tom Lehrer, which he had previously planned to sing but didn’t feel up to doing in the moment. He got me back for that by getting me to sing it with him when it turned out he was indeed not quite up to it in the moment:

This is one of those songs, like Chicken Monkey Duck (which, technically, I have also sung on stage, but it feels more like a rap), where you can amaze people just by knowing the lyrics, so confidence in singing ability (of which I have very little) is not essential, though it is quite difficult to sing fast enough.

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The Vatican Nag (Tom Lehrer Parody)


I visited the Vatican recently, and a friend was kind enough to put this song in my head beforehand:

After arriving early enough to get to the front of the line for Saint Peter’s Basilica fairly quickly, being turned away because of a weapon I’d brought from Geneva (no, not antimatter), coming back unarmed and being let through without waiting in the then-hours-long line because they noticed I had ‘problems’ (I had blisters. Also, I’m not very good at walking), and then being repeatedly offered paid guided tours to skip the line while I was going to the post office and generally chilling out, I decided to write a parody. Here it is; The Vatican Nag:

Half off gods that come in threes!
Twelve for ten on rosaries!
Fourteen euros ninety-nine
to skip the line, skip the line, skip the line!

Buy a stick to take a selfie.
Try a discount saved-from-hell fee.
Whatever your indulgence is,
they’ll upsell the whole Jesus
doing the Vatican Nag.

Get in line for that basilica?
Only clueless pilgrims will, a co-
lossal fee will leave you poor as a m-
onk enjoying guided tourism.
You don’t have to spend the day there.
Save the day and spend your pay there.
Two, four, six… great!
Ninety euros, skip the wait!

Half off gods that come in threes!
Twelve for ten on rosaries!
Fourteen euros ninety-nine
to skip the line, skip the line, skip the line!

Hawkers oft insisting crap’ll
put you off the Sistine Chapel.
Don’t Holy See ’em;
try the Colosseum.
Hide in your attic and
never do that again.
Out of the Vatican Nag!

I used some artistic license here, but a lot of it is true. There were plenty of people selling 12 one-euro rosaries for the price of ten, and the ‘skip the line’ tours were either ‚ā¨15 or ‚ā¨43 depending on the kind of tour. People selling selfie sticks, hats, cellphone chargers, and flat wooden things that magically transform into sets of bowls were all over Rome and the Vatican. I did not see anyone selling indulgences (‘saved-from-hell fees’), however. Also, it wasn’t all that annoying, really. But do see the Colosseum.

I thought about saying ‘then the cost’ll send you Pentecostal’ but I think that’s even worse than the lines I have. I also wanted to use ‘poperies’ in the first line, but since it would be indistinguishable from ‘pot pourris’ if anyone actually sang it, I decided to go with the holy three-for-one deal.

In other news, I’ve been reciting my poems at Open Phil, a great open mic night in Vienna hosted by the Phil half of Crazy for Jane. You can watch some of the performances on the online highlights reels, but to see the whole thing you really have to be there.

Also, Shit Your Inner Voice Says is now on The FuMP Sideshow.

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Stochastic induction of epizeuxis is my bird feeder made out of a coconut


The following video is not an example of creative output on my part, for by giving Secretary of Geek Affairs Wil Wheaton the CERN T-shirt featured, I simply did what clearly needed to be done. I am nonetheless pleased to have induced what I believe to be an example of my favourite word, ‘epizeuxis‘:

Here is a picture of the card that comes with the T-shirt, which has an explanation of the equation (click for the text of the card and a higher-resolution version of the photo):

The explanation of the equations on the T-shirts I gave to Wil Wheaton and Julianna on JoCo Cruise Crazy

I have written an ‘origin story’ in the style of Peter Sagal’s, explaining the improbable series of events that led to my being on a boat in a position to give Wil Wheaton a CERN T-shirt, and drawing a parallel between the above video and Peter Sagal‘s bird feeder made out of a coconut. However, it ended up somewhat long (1000 words) and show-offish, and I have been too busy watching concert videos to edit it properly (indeed, I arbitrarily stopped editing it when I noticed the word count was exactly 1000), so I’ll put it below the ‘more’ thingy for you to ignore. I’m not sure whether all of the events are in the right order, but the story is 1000 words long so it’s too late to edit them now. It looks like I’ll even have to include the superfluous second introduction, since I accidentally included that in the word count.

It’s a shame, really, because I promised somebody I’d include the word ‘shanty’, and now I can’t edit it in. But you can’t argue with integer powers of the number of digits most humans have on their hands.

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Queen of Spades: Les √Čl√©ments


sing the LMNCeci est en quelque sorte une traduction de “The Elements” de Tom Lehrer, √† 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 fran√ßais.

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 √©tats d’am√©ricium.
N’oubliez pas pras√©odyme,
c’est juste avant le n√©odyme.

Y’a phosphore
sodium, bore,
plutonium
nobélium
béryllium
samarium
dysprosium
europium
puis calcium
et rhénium,
or, lanthane
et titane
et radon
sur Krypton
molybdène
oxygène.

Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas
très bon en la matière.
Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas !
Chimie c’est la gal√®re.

Manganèse, antimoine, silicium
rutherfordium, gadolinium
astate, thulium, césium, ruthénium
m’a dit Dmitri Mend√©l√©vium.
Seaborgium, dubnium protactinium
cobalt, arsenic, californium.

Y’a scandium
polonium
rubidium
ytterbium
baryum, brome
et le chrome.
Fer, tellure
zinc, mercure
et radium
potassium
argent, plomb
et argon.
Soufre chlore
et fluor
puis néon
et xénon
hydrogène
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 banni√®re.

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
einsteinium
lawrencium
technétium
puis niobium
et rhodium
berkélium
et yttrium
germanium
et erbium
vanadium
uranium
et lithium
et cadmium
sélénium
zirconium
prométhium
trop d’h√©lium
neptunium
iridium

Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas
très bon en la matière.
Ah ! bon Dieu ! Je ne suis pas !
Chimie c’est la mis√®re.

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