Monday, May 26, 2008

And A Fishy On The Trunk

Anna Lemma reports (and has been for some time) on a Ford Dealership radio ad that explicitly alienates Atheists, while pandering to an 86% Christian majority.

When the rapture sweeps the planet
I know Heaven’s my reward,
But for now my piece of paradise
I bought from Henry Ford

It’s a broken-down jalopy;
It’s a rusted piece of junk;
But there’s Jesus on the dashboard
And a fishy on the trunk

Sure, it leaks a little oil,
And it doesn’t “turn”, but “lurch”,
Seven miles to the gallon
But it gets me to my church

You can hear me from a block away
And smell last weekend’s skunk,
But there’s Jesus on the dashboard
And a fishy on the trunk

Got a brand-new bumper sticker
Saying “What Would Jesus Do?”
Now it’s holding up my tail light
With some duct tape and some glue

You can almost hear the “Kieffe and Sons”
In every “Rattle-Clunk”,
But there’s Jesus on the dashboard
And a fishy on the trunk.

I saw a car that had a fish—
A Darwin fish, with legs!
I fixed it, with a wrecking bar
And half a dozen eggs

Don’t mess with me or with my God
You heathen, godless punk—
I’ve got Jesus on my dashboard
And a fishy on my trunk.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Limericks--Graduation Day

So this weekend is graduation day for a lot of places around here. Last weekend for some, next weekend for others. Here at Cuttlefish U., commencement is this weekend, but grades are not due until next week. Which means that I am still grading while the students are celebrating. Still grading while I am trying to prepare for the Big Life-Changing Event that I will write about in a day or so (with luck, after my grades have been delivered).

I know that some of my readers have yet to suffer through even one graduation, and others have gone through 4 or more of their own, let alone their children's or their students. So we have many different perspectives here; I can't wait to read them!

It’s the end of their four (or more) years
Countless classes, and countless more beers
In a moment or two
All their loans will come due
That’s the reason for graduates’ tears!

With such pride that it’s swelling their chests,
We see Seniors escorting their guests
To their chairs on the field—
But too soon, it’s revealed:
Cuttlefish is still grading their tests!

Through the traffic and crowds I’ll be weaving
Looking flustered—but looks are deceiving;
Once you’ve gotten to know
Them for four years or so
It’s not always a joy when they’re leaving.

In the line, as you slowly advance
To receive your diploma, perchance
It would soften your frown
If you thought, ‘neath that gown,
That the speaker is not wearing pants.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh, wait...

Pharyngula reports on an opinion poll from Britain, revealing widespread belief that god is, in fact, male.  From the Lancashire Evening Post article:
A majority of people think God is male with nearly half of the population in Britain believing that all religions discriminate on grounds of gender.
Only 1% of people think of God as female, with 62% considering God to be male, the online survey conducted earlier this month of 1,050 adults in Britain found.

It certainly seems clear to me that somebody was made in somebody's image.

My God is pretty self-assured, and quite convinced He’s right.
He made me in His image, so He’s green-eyed, blond, and white;
And He’s very, very wrathful with the folks who disagree;
He’ll hold a grudge for centuries—Oh, wait—that might be me.

He’s insecure enough to want to hear how much you love Him
And He never will forgive you if there’s someone else above Him;
He’ll jealously react to any threat to His domain
By smiting all His enemies—Oh, wait—that’s me again.

He’ll make the world a better place for those who think like Him
For those in opposition, well, the situation’s grim;
He’ll call jihad, or else crusade—some form of Holy War
Because He knows He’s always right—Oh, wait—that’s me once more.

He’s handsome, bearded, steely-eyed, deep-voiced and somewhat haughty
So wonderful, his naughty bits are never seen as naughty
But perfectly proportioned, grand and firm and never shrinking,
A miracle of awesomeness—Oh, wait—that’s wishful thinking.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"...Ain't No Place I'd Rather Be..."

"Tennessee, Tennessee..."   PZed reports that the Tennessee State Senate has passed, by unanimous vote, a bill authorizing the State Board of Education to endorse a geocentric flat-earth physics course.  Oh, wait.  Nope.  A non-sectarian course "about the Bible and its impact on the world.

You know... that could be fun and worthwhile, if the right people were in charge of writing the curriculum.   The Gershwins, for instance, might have something to contribute...

In Tennessee, teachers
Can now become preachers--
So says a unanimous vote--
Cos Senators Herron
And Maddox were rarin'
To see it, so that's what they wrote.

With so much invested
They made sure they tested
To pass Constitutional rules
The Establishment Clause
Is mere guideline, because
We want Bibles galore in our schools!

They teach them the latest,
Well why not the greatest?
There's no greater lesson, you know:
"The things that you're liable
To read in the Bible
It ain't necessarily so"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Three-Quarters Crazy (A Song)

This one really is a song--It has a melody and chords and everything (and yes, it has some odd rhymes--they work when it is actually being sung). I have actually sung it out loud, but I don't recall ever doing so in the presence of witnesses. I suppose it is possible, though. It's kinda a minor-key bluesy thing....I sort of imagine introducing it at an open-mic night with "here's a song for anyone who has ever been driven half-crazy by a full moon".  (For the skeptics among us, the point is that it is neither the stars nor the moon that drive us crazy.  It's the people.  Usually, one particular person.)  I'd be happy to reproduce the melody and chords, but I don't have that ability with any software I currently have.

There’s a half moon in the sky
And I’m three-quarters crazy—
I’m three-quarters crazy for you.

I thought I’d take a walk,
and try to clear my senses
Think about building bridges,
think about tearing down defenses
Think about falling in love;
Don’t think about consequences
‘Cos I’m three-quarters crazy for you.

There’s a half moon in the sky
And I’m three-quarters crazy
Been thinkin’ of you
My mind is going hazy
And I’d blame it on the stars
But what can the stars do,
When there’s a half moon in the sky,
And I’m three-quarters crazy for you?

I struggle and I fight
I always end up cryin’
No matter what I do
I may as well stop tryin’
Cos I’m bound to lose
To that half moon in Orion
And I’m three-quarters crazy for you.

There’s a half moon in the sky
And I’m three-quarters crazy
Been thinkin’ of you
My mind is going hazy
And I’d blame it on the stars
But what can the stars do,
When there’s a half moon in the sky,
And I’m three-quarters crazy for you?

Guess I’m going ‘round the bend
I guess there’s no debating
With ev’ry move I make
I feel like I am skating
Out on thinner and thinner ice
On this course I’m contemplating
And I’m three-quarters crazy for you.

But is it the moon—
Her phases got me fazing?
I mean, maybe it’s you—
you know, you really are amazing
Maybe it’s you I see
when I think that I’m star-gazing
And I’m three-quarters crazy for you.

There’s a half moon in the sky
And I’m three-quarters crazy
Been thinkin’ of you
My mind is going hazy
And I’d blame it on the stars
But what can the stars do,
When there’s a half moon in the sky,
And I’m three-quarters crazy for you?

Outside my window right now, it is much too cloudy for stars or moon, so neither are the inspiration for this particular post.  It is, however, someone's birthday...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Limericks--Cars, Garages, Repairs, Payments...

...I just spent the morning--all of it--at the garage.  The good news is that the car is now safe for my son to drive.  The bad news is... well, you know what the bad news always is at the garage.  It wasn't quite a thousand, but it was within spitting distance.  I bike to work, and one reason is that my bike, and all the repairs I have ever paid for on my bike, cost less over the past 10 years than this one visit to the garage just cost.

So I'm more than a little bit miffed
As I stare at my car on the lift
And the thought of expense
Makes me just a bit tense
As they call in the afternoon shift!

There's a noise that the car always makes
As it pulls to the left, and then shakes--
It's a terrible sound--
It goes "Yeah, that's around
Seven hundred to drop on the brakes".

The finale, that just gets my goat--
The mechanic gets ready to tote
Up the numbers, then sees
Some additional fees
Based on payments he needs for his boat!

(disclaimer: I actually do really like this mechanic and this shop.  The last one, though...)

I suspect that this is a common enough theme that I can just leave it with three, and my amazing commenters will soon put me to shame!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Coat In A Jar?

The New York Times reports today, but Boing-Boing got there a few days ago--a recent art exhibit at the MoMA had to be... euthanized. A coat made of "living leather", a growing garment of mouse stem cells, was growing too fast and had to be put down. Yeah, it's worth following the links and reading.

My mom complained I grew too fast--
Or else, my clothes were shrinking.
I couldn't make my clothing last,
Until I did some thinking.
I couldn't make a coat to fit
With any fancy sewing,
And so I got a science kit
And started something growing--
A leather coat (size extra small)
From stem cells of a mouse,
With stylish collar, sleeves and all,
To wear around the house.
At first, it seemed a simple task
(They all do at the start)
I'd use the erlenmeyer flask
In which I grew my heart.
But all too soon, a snag arose:
My coat grew much too fast!
No more would I outgrow my clothes--
It's me that would not last!
My coat grew larger all the while,
I really don't know why;
So out of safety, not for style,
The garment had to die.
I pulled the plug, then stood and watched,
Expecting it to give.
But some procedure I had botched
Allowed it still to live!
The flask I'd used, I now surmise
(I did not, at the start)
Contained some cells--surprise, surprise!
My coat had grown a heart!

So now, I'm hiding from my coat
Behind a stockroom shelf;
If you should chance to find this note,
Just run! Go! Save yourself!

Image from Boing-Boing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Platypus Dreams

Buried in all the cool news about the Platypus last week was a little item that struck me. It seems that we do not look at the Platypus just for its DNA, but for another three letters as well. The Platypus dreams; it has REM sleep.
Jerry Siegel, a neuroscientist at UCLA, says he became interested in the platypus because he believed it would help explain how sleep evolved in humans. One theory is that rapid eye movement (REM) sleep evolved recently in humans as our brains got bigger and more complex. It was initially thought that the platypus didn't have REM sleep cycles, so Siegel went to Australia with modern technology to do more testing.

"And what we saw is that in the platypus, the REM sleep is absolutely unequivocal," he says.
So, this one is for my dear friends in the land of Oz...

The Platypus lives in the rivers and streams
On the Easternmost edge of Down Under.
Now scientists tell us these critters have dreams--
But what do they dream of, I wonder?

The Platypus dreamtime is strange and bizarre,
We can tell by the R.E.M. sleep.
But of course, we can't tell what their thoughts really are
From electrodes, and things that go "beep".

Perhaps it's a world where a stick that gets thrown
Doesn't swing back and aim at your head;
Or a place where some nine out of ten snakes aren't known
To be experts at making you dead.

Or maybe they dream of a spot on the shore
Where it's sunny, with plenty of worms,
Where it's nice and it's cozy, and who could want more
Than a picnic that wriggles and squirms?

A platypus nightmare, I cannot conceive,
From my opposite side of the Earth--
"It was horrible, really! You wouldn't believe
What came out of me when I gave birth!"

"Not the leathery shell of my nice, normal eggs
But a monster, all hairless and pink!
It was wiggling, and moving, and kicking its legs--
Could it get any grosser, you think?"

Australia, of course, is already so weird;
When a Platypus goes for a snooze,
When the strange world Down Under has all disappeared,
What alternate world would you choose?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hang The Bastards!

In one of those internet polls we know and love so well, the StarTribune asks the musical question, "Did school officials react properly to the students who did not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance?"

As of this writing, 2399 people have voted that the punishment should have been more severe.

I hope I can presume to speak on their behalf.

How dare these children fail to stand!
This is the great and sacred Land
Of Freedom; They should all be sent
To prison as their punishment!
Good, decent folk, like you and me
Display our love of liberty
By joining in the chanting crowd
To pledge allegiance right out loud;
To fail to join the droning throng
Is unAmerican, and wrong!
These kids, these traitors to the flag
Just make me sick! They make me gag!
They should be whipped; they should be beaten,
Their entrails taken out and eaten!
They should be torn from limb to limb
For this unpatriotic whim!
This is my land! I have the right
To make them buckle to my might,
Conform to the majority
And say the pledge along with me!

America, the beautiful,
Your citizens are dutiful,
And constitutionality
Comes second to morality;
And if we trade democracy
For out-and-out theocracy
(It seems we are susceptible)
That's perfectly acceptable.

While I'm in the majority
Don't question its authority.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Limericks--Location, Location, Location

There is, of course, a long tradition of location in limericks. The most famous location would have to be Nantucket, but I am certain you have heard others. If you like your own location, see what you can do with it here! If you would prefer to be somewhere else, immortalize that location in five lines. Or just pick a place that fits the rhyme scheme and be done with it!

There once was a lady from Boston
With a body too small to get loston
And the patriot's trail
From her head to her tail
Is worth ev'ry last cent that it's coston

There once was a man from L.A.
Who decided to drive far away
With the traffic, his car
Didn't get very far
So that's where he still is today

A student in Kalamazoo
Played a sensual song on kazoo
Her friend heard the humming
And thoughts started coming--
"When that song is over--me too?"

There once was a Podblack from Perth
On the down-under side of the Earth
Who writes posts every day
And has real things to say
But mine rhymes... for whatever that's worth.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's A Reptile! It's A Mammal! It's Super-Platypus!

The genome of the platypus,
We read today in Nature,
Befits a beast so odd it once
Defied our nomenclature;
A mammal, but it still lays eggs,
And you know what that means:
The platypus and lizards share
Some families of genes!
Although the tale is quite complex--
A long way off from solved--
The genome of the platypus
Shows how we all evolved!

Photo accompanies the New York TImes article.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Apology #130 to William Shakespeare

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the spot
Some mussels have to tell the dark from light;
A complex lens, this mollusk it has not—
One could not claim a mussel has true sight.
I have seen pigment cups for eyes in snails
But no such eyes my beauty doth possess—
To see a light’s direction, sans details
Is not the job of her eyes, I confess.
Nor pinhole lens, nor any incomplete
Approximation of her perfect eye;
No trail of clues to offer a concrete
Explanatory theory to apply.
And yet, all data points to one solution—
The eyes I love arose through evolution.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Blood-Curdling Cautionary Tale Of Science Run Amok

Genetically, of course, a spork
Is half a spoon, and half a fork
A laboratory in New York
Created them, then popped the cork.

Please, gentle reader, do not swoon,
But there was also, once, a foon
(That’s half a fork, and half a spoon)
Created, sadly, all too soon.

In cutlery, one tempts the Fates
When artificially, one mates
Utensils from across the plates
Regardless of recessive traits.

A careless thought: “let’s cross F-1
Again with forks, and have some fun.”
The simple plan was soon begun,
Then all too soon: “What have we done?”

With thirst for blood and killing drives
Such meddling ends in loss of lives
I only hope someone survives
To tell—the sporks have found the knives!

From xkcd, of course.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

In His Own Image

They say that God created Man
As part of an enormous plan,
And did so in His image, cos he loves us, every one.
When men of God discriminate
And treat their fellow men with hate
They do so with the knowledge it’s what Jesus would have done.
When righteous men, in righteous ways
Hate atheists, or Jews, or gays,
Or Muslims, pagans, redheads, southpaws, foreigners, or Voodoo
I know at first it may seem odd,
But clearly, you’ve created God
In your own image, when you find he hates the same folks you do.

“You can safely assume you have created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates the same people you do.” --Annie Lamott

(there are a number of versions of that quote floating around, attributed to Lamott—If anyone happens to know the definitive version, I would be happy to correct what I have here.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Friday Limericks: Time

Yeah, I said Friday Limericks.  Commenter Anfractuous reminds me that I missed the actual Friday, if you want to be all technical about it.  I do apologize--life is a bit hectic right now.  I will post about it soon, but a Major Life Event is coming up at the end of the month--it is very very good news for me, but comes at a difficult time (long story short--the cuttlespouse has been out of work since Christmas.  Things are ok, but what should have been an overwhelmingly cool thing is a very very cool thing that is also an added stress.  And this is a better time than most to thank the people who have used the tip jar.)

So anyway, time occasionally gets away from me.  And today being Limerick Friday (work with me here), I shall have my revenge.

Time's an illusion, you know
And lunchtime, of course, doubly so--
It so rapidly passes,
Or slow as molasses,
And where did my yesterday go?!?

The telling of time is an art
Take, for instance, the time we're apart:
That time is not reckoned
By hour or by second,
But measured in beats of my heart.

I remember when days used to last,
And a year was impossibly vast;
It seems yesterday morn
When my children were born--
How the hell did they grow up so fast?

My days, though to say so seems trite,
Seem to pass at the speed of--well, light.
If I only could see 'em,
I'd carpe each diem,
But they so quickly pass out of sight.

There--your turn!  Time is of the essence!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

National Day Of Prayer

No, seriously. It's the National Day Of Prayer. Not everyone is happy about it.

It's time to raise our voice in prayer,
And pray to--well, there's no one there.
No god to urge to do our bidding;
Go on and pray--just know you're kidding.

It's time to all sit on our asses,
And pray forgiveness for trespasses
(Or is that to forgive our debtor?
Who cares, as long as we feel better.)

It's time we all embrace god fully,
Feel all righteous, good, and holy--
Or be some atheistic jerk,
Roll up your god-damned sleeves, and work!

It's time to say "I do not care
To join you in this day of prayer."
Sure, a day off looks like fun,
But there is work that must be done.

Our problems will not fix themselves
There is no god to send in elves
To do the work of human ranks
So... join, today, in prayer? No thanks.