Saturday, March 12, 2005

Say it Ten Times, Quickly!

Pharyngula: But Creationists Don't Need Comic Books--They Have the Bible!

Captain Creation,
cliff-chinned Christian conqueror,
crushes all contenders.

Discover the Bioterrorist Network

Pharyngula: Discover Your Momma's Network

At the foot of the garden's the Wart Patrol,
The frog in his puddle; the toad in his hole,
The beetle, the slug and the star-nosed mole.
Their looks are awful; their plans are worse--
Look out, or they'll give you the Ugly Curse.

In the sheltering trees, there's the Squawk Brigade
Birds in the sunshine and bats in the shade,
Fast-breeding flappers who ought to be spayed!
Don't venture near them; you're sure to be pecked
Or scratched, or beshitted; your shirt will be wrecked.

Let's not neglect, now, the Cult of the Bite:
The bee, the mosquito, the tick and the mite;
The scurrilous spider, who sneaks in at night.
Up with the zappers and out with the spray
(Though they'll always return, swat as you may.)

Also, beware of the Bearers of Fleas;
The cats and the rats and the Dee-Oh-Gees.
They may appear friendly and eager to please,
But they're really just filthy old bags of disease,
with thousands of parasites biting their knees!

Next, there's the terrible Salmonelloids,
The turtles and fishes and ophiuroids,
Lurking in pestilent deep-water voids.
They might look delicious, served up on a plate,
But these are the treacherous "something one ate".

We are their smorgasbord; they are our foe;
The otter, the springbok, the horse and the crow.
They'll be there waiting, wherever we go.
They'll bite us and sting us and crap on our heads,
They'll not be content until Mankind is dead!

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Intellectuals!

Pharyngula: Sullivan. Gah.

Men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses,
And sheep seldom fall in with goats.
Let's not bore the masses with difficult classes;
They understand biblical quotes.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Five of Several)

[Contents] [<<] [<] [>]

ACT TWO, SCENE ONE

SCENE: Another dilapidated Lab at the University of Minnesota. A Sputtering Lantern illuminates PZ Myers, who is using a Miniature Fishnet to skim the Algae from an Enormous Fishtank. Enter the Pompous Narrator.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: A fond farewell--how touching! Julia had her Proteus; Colline, his coat; and then there was Mel Gibson, of course, taking most spectacular leave of his dignity. And here, we have our dear Mr. Myers, bidding adieu to his zebrafish!

The Narrator leaves the stage. PZ removes a fish from the tank and holds it aloft by the tail. Apparently oblivious to its Desperate Thrashing, he begins to Serenade the animal.

PZ MYERS: You've always been my favourite, Norbert, since you were no more than a pharyngula. If I don't come back after tonight, I just wanted you to know...

(Singing, with great Passion and Vigour.)

...that your covering integumentary,
scale upon glistering scale,
Outshines the lights firmamentary;
Jupiter's red face turns pale.

I've watched your nerve occulomotor
Tracing a path to your brain;
Your commissure infima of Haller
seemingly whispered my name.

From your pharyngoclaviculares
and dorsal and ventral transverse,
To your basal pterygiophorès,
Here's reminiscence in verse.

Enter Miss Johnson, her Sadly Neglected Young Swain, and Assorted Students, unnoticed.

MISS JOHNSON (whispering): He's saying his goodbyes.

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S. (also whispering): Shall we give him a minute?

MISS JOHNSON: Or two, from the looks of it....

PZ MYERS: Your exquisite ceratobranchials--
Ah, a suborbital leak--

He wipes away a Stray Tear, with the hand that is not holding a Fish.

The blood in your afferent branchials
Renders me awestruck and weak.

These osseous hypurapophyses,
These radiant iridophores;
Farewell, for it's off to fight prophesies;
Farewell to you bright xanthophores.

Norbert the Fish now being quite Dead, PZ tosses him over his Shoulder. Miss Johnson catches him, and puts him in her Pocket.

MISS JOHNSON: Pardon me, sir.

PZ turns around.

MISS JOHNSON: It's almost time.

PZ MYERS (sighing): Already?

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S.: Time and tide, sir.

PZ MYERS: In that case, I suppose--

He pulls on his Overcoat, which was Hitherto hanging over the Back of his Chair.

MISS JOHNSON: Cheer up.

She begins to Sing.

Farewell to an era oppressive
Goodbye to a regime severe!

STUDENTS (joining in): It's only with action aggressive
We'll get any teaching done here.

PZ MYERS (getting into the spirit of things): Farewell to these furtive addresses,
Good riddance, ridiculous hours!
Goodbye to old men in long dresses
Annexing the things that are ours!

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S.: We'll soon have our eight AM classes,
Our scalpels, our pens, and our books.
We'll wander these halls without passes;
No more of this slinking like crooks!

PZ MYERS: Three cheers for the rebirth of Science
Three boos for that pilfering Church!
We'll show them our hearty defiance,
All in the name of Research!

ALL: Farewell to an era oppressive
Goodbye to a regime severe!
It's only with action aggressive
We'll get any teaching done here (etc.)

PZ MYERS: To the Library!

ALL: The Library, ho! (And various similar expressions of Enthusiasm.)
Part 6

If We Can't Have the Media....

Pharyngula: The Renard Network. I Wish.

Biology Live:
I caught it in my garden.
Who needs the small screen?

Hey, I Had One Of Those, Too!

Pharyngula: Digital Photomicrography

A mournful song of microscopes
Is mine to sing, alas;
Of microscopes and liquid soaps,
And shards of broken glass.

When I was but a little Wrong
A microscope had I.
My father got it for a song;
He spent more on his tie.

It had a black box on its top
A roll of film inside;
You pulled the cord, and out would pop
A snapshot of your slide.

The snapshots were a little blurred;
I thought I'd wash the lens
And that was when the slip occurred
On which my tale depends.

I lathered up my instrument
With extra-gentle suds.
I used a scrubbing implement
On all its knobs and studs.

At last, I set it down to dry
Upon the tabletop,
But, soapy-slick, it scudded by;
It was a goodly drop.

A mournful song of microscopes
Is mine to sing, alack;
Of microscopes and liquid soaps,
And snapshots turned black.

Friday is Invertebrate Day

Pharyngula: Flooding the Ark

Invertebrate cookout tonight!
(The grub-burger line's to the right.)
No backbones, okay?
It's better this way.
We'll barbecue slugmeat all night!

Pants on Fire!

Public Service Announcement: Things Not to Do

The "Things Not to Do" story is one of my favorite non-science Pharyngula entries. It makes me wonder what would happen if the same unfortunate circumstances were encountered by a member of the ID movement. I imagine...

When Michael's thigh began to fry
And smoke was rising from his fly,
He took some time to wonder why;
So curious was he.

"This pocket heat's beyond the range
Of human ken; It's passing strange.
What's in there? Batteries and change.
How ever can it be?"

"Could metal coins and batteries short?
Could random movements thus comport?
The chances must be close to naught,
Yet still it's burning me."

He rang a friend, got no free hunch.
Said William, "Second law's the crunch;
It can't be happ'ning."
"Thanks a bunch! My burn's now third degree."

The batteries burned and left him lame,
A candidate for (dubious) fame:
Awards they give in Darwin's name
For self-pruned family trees.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

White Fly Haiku, and Limerick Too

Pharyngula: White Lady

a) One Use for God

Pale as the dawn clouds,
a god descends for a while
on rice-paper wings.

Since he is tiny,
I pluck him from his orbit;
now, he feeds the fish.

b) He Had a Brain the Approximate Size and Colour of a Dandruff-Flake

There once was a fruit-fly so white
He gleamed like a firefly by night.
He tried to confide
In a light-bulb, and died;
(Sadly, he wasn't too bright.)

Phunicular crosses the line

Pharyngula: That Revolting Article about Earwax and Smegma

Bad Taste Warning: Skip this one if you're squeamish.

Phunicular thinks it a wheeze
To exude vulgar verses like these
On rubbing young furries
With smegmatic slurries.
Here mousey, try some of this cheese!

The Line has been Drawn in the Sebum

Pharyngula: That Revolting Article about Earwax and Smegma

I'll pen you a cerumen sonnet,
or limerick lyrics for lice.
I dare not, however, pass comment
On sad little smegma-smeared mice.

Faith Painting

Pharyngula: Townes and the Templeton Prize

Behold two wonders:

First, Creation in a box, prepared in seven days;
here's the paint-by-number world, with colour-code ablaze.
Here's a pasture ready-made, with quick-dry sheep bespilled;
here's a newborn cataract, fishily fulfilled.
Here's a woman rude-finagled from a broken bone
Here's a garden, sprung to life fifty years o'ergrown.

Next, a billion-year endeavour, in a rotten tree
Here, the swollen termite shelters, and the honeybee.
Here, the roots support an orchid, with one petal gone;
sap and stem and pedicel, lip and peleton.
Here is compost's culmination, every part alive;
Here, one life begets another; here, the orchids thrive.

For the mind incurious, the painted world will serve;
unimaginative souls get just what they deserve.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Tangled Bank #23 Is Up

Pharyngula: I Got a Tangled Bank for my Birthday!
The Tangled Bank

Here, a green shelter
Keeps wandering hyphae untrod.
Ten thousand birds sing,

rabbits conspire;
above, the moon-lilies nod.
The Tangled Bank calls,

with monotrope throat;
the bounty of rain and of sod
full-flowering, herein.

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Four of Several)

[Contents] [<<] [<] [>]

ACT ONE, SCENE FOUR

Enter His Holiness, the Grand Inquisitor of the Church of Divine Creation, wearing Golden Robes with a Hat to Match, and an Appropriate Air of Dignity. He carries a Bejeweled Scepter, which he bangs upon the Floor to command attention. The Churchgoers stop singing abruptly.

HIS HOLINESS: Is this how you comport yourself in the house of God? Show some respect!

The Pompous Narrator rushes onstage, Interjecting himself between Inquisitor and audience.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: His Holiness, the Bishop Scorpio, Devoted and Pious man of--

His Holiness seizes the Narrator by the Collar, and begins to Thrust Him Offstage

POMPOUS NARRATOR (speaking as quickly as possible): --God, paragon of Faith and Humility; Grand Inquisitor of the Church of Divine Creation!

His Holiness tosses the Narrator bodily from the stage. A Crash and a Groan emanate from the Wings. After enjoying a Moment of Silence, His Holiness addresses his Flock.

HIS HOLINESS: Let these walls resound with praises
Let each echo speak His name.
Blessed is the man who raises
Every fleeting breath the same.

Various Churchgoers join in, raising a Celestial Hymn to appease the Admonitions of His Holiness.

CHURCHGOERS: Hollow vaults, declaim His glory
Magnify our paltry hymn.
Day and night, repeat His story
Praise and homage be to Him.

His Holiness mounts the pulpit. A Conveniently-Placed Stage-Light shines upon him like Illumination from Heaven.

HIS HOLINESS: Let our hearts' impassioned beating
Set our anthem's fervent pace.
Let our voices' joyous meeting
Dignify this holy place.

CHURCHGOERS: Let our praises soar forever,
Borne on wings of fervid praise.
Let our song go on, unsevered,
For a hundred nights and days.

Let our chant peal forth, unceasing;
Let us praise Him to the skies.
Passion evermore increasing,
Raise a hymn that never dies!

Let each man, however lowly,
Join our consecrated choir.
Let him join in descant holy;
Let his ardour never tire.

HIS HOLINESS: Let our hearts' impassioned beating (etc.)

CHURCHGOERS: Hollow vaults, declaim His glory (etc.)

HIS HOLINESS: Amen.

ALL: Amen, amen, amen.

POMPOUS NARRATOR (offstage, muffled, with great Sarcasm): Amen, amen; at last!

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL (prostrating himself at the Foot of the Pulpit): Your Holiness.

HIS HOLINESS: Rise, my son, and tell me--what news of this PZ Myers?

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL (to the tune of the Rowdy Theme from Scene Three, but in a Less Rowdy Fashion): The Library's under attack;
They're coming to get their books back.
At midnight tonight,
They're coming to fight....

HIS HOLINESS (aside): (These heathens cry out for the rod.
PZ, you make me forget God!)
We'll meet them; we'll fight.
We'll show them what's right....

ALL (recapitulating the Rowdy Theme): PZ's not as bright as he looks!
We'll burn every one of his books!
We'll scatter their ashes apace;
We'll countermand Reason with Grace!

To rise, to fight (etc.)

The Churchgoers take up various Torches and Blunt Instruments, and file offstage in a Mob, led by His Holiness. The Narrator takes their place, carrying an Enormous Switch, which he Flips, somehow ending their Objectionable Song mid-verse.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: What a ghastly song! What a Vicious Mob! And what is to become of P.Z. Myers and his gang of Remarkably Melodious Students?

The Curtain is drawn, and begins to sweep the Narrator offstage.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Refreshments are on sale in the lobby! Please proceed in single file! Act Two shall commence in--

The curtain pushes the Narrator into the Wings

POMPOUS NARRATOR (shouting): --IN FIFTEEN MINUTES!

End of Act One
Part 5

Really and Truly the Last Joke About Mr. Myers' Swift-Advancing Years

Pharyngula: Happy Birthday To Me

It is an Ancient Lecturer
And he stoppeth one of three:
"Your test was total gibberish--
I've given you a C.

"You've managed to misspell your name,
And didn't cross one T;
If only they made grades that low
You would have got a G."

And now, in the Immortal Words of Various Students from our local Elementary School,

Happy birthday to you,
Your bum is all blue.
You look like a monkey,
And you smell like one, too.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Personality Test

Pharyngula: Personal Revelations

There once was a fellow who tested himself
(With one of those box-kits you get off the shelf)
For paranoid, schizoid, and manic disease,
(Those mental malfunctions one frequently sees.)
He anxiously watched for the strips to go red
(He always had felt a bit queer in the head.)
He trembled and footered and wriggled and shook,
He grimaced and shivered; he hardly dared look.
He screwed up his courage, but to his great gall
He'd no personality in him at all.

Poetic Phrase from PZ

Pharyngula: Gabler gone, but it makes no difference

The Gabler is gone,
a victim of age,
leaving a terrible stain

of ignorance on
biology's page:
spittle-flecked, senile, insane.

Our textbooks were marred
by this lying old knave,
willfully wielding his warps.

"It's awfully hard
to dance on a grave
when you're still battling the corpse."

S-snarking? Snarking!?

The pessimist, pushing poisoned pens,
Perceiving apoplectic pains,
Perhaps projects when she opines
That playful praise that's packed in puns
Deploys piqued barbs on peeved harpoons.
Her post our pristine ploy impugns:
Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Three of Several)

[Contents] [<<] [<] [>]

NOTE: In tonight's performance of The Crucible Tongs, the role of the Pompous Narrator will be played by PZ Myers. The role of PZ Myers will be sung by the illustrious Mr. Danny DeVito.

ACT ONE, SCENE THREE

SCENE: A Most Well-Appointed Church, bedecked with candles and stained glass windows, and everything with which a Prosperous Church might find itself bedeck'd. Various Churchgoers are present, wearing Rather Disturbing White Vestments.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Ah, the SEAT OF THE-O-CRA-CY itself: the Church of Divine Creation! The pious go about their business. Praying. Blessing. CON-SPIRING! Murther most foul!

The Narrator flounces off, nose in the air.

CHURCHGOER A (doing something benedictual with a piece of bread): Praise be to God.

CHURCHGOER B (breaking off and eating some bread): Hallelujah.

ALL: Amen.

A short period of bustling, set to a Fine Orchestral Accompaniment, ensues. The Churchgoers light candles, fill censers, and Occupy Themselves With Various Churchly Duties. A Senior Church Official enters, wearing a silly hat.

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: Don't get up, really, don't get up.

Nobody gets up, except those who were already standing, and who consequently don't count. S. Church Official looks mildly put out.

Churchgoer A offers S. Church Official some bread.

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL (eating bread): Hallelujah, praise God, and amen.

He inspects Various Churchly Matters. At length, satisfied, he begins to Sing.

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: Our lamb amongst the wolves--what news?

CHURCHGOER A: He says we're safe; we cannot lose.

CHURCHGOER B: Myers has not guessed our ruse.

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: It's almost ten o'clock at night.
Iscariot's nowhere in sight!
Brother, search now; use this light.

He hands Churchgoer A a candle. The music swells Dramatically as Churchgoer A heads off into the Wings, presumably searching. He returns almost immediately, with Mr. Iscariot in tow, and, unfortunately, with the Narrator as well.)

POMPOUS NARRATOR: Mr. IS-CARIOT, in the flesh. Students these days! Cutting class to attend CHURCH!

The Narrator exits stage right, shaking his head. Mr. Iscariot approaches S. Church Official with great agitation.

MR. ISCARIOT: Reporting from the Den of Iniquity, sir!

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: Proceed.

MR. ISCARIOT: It's just as we thought--Mr. Myers has not
Surrendered his books; in addition, he's got
A credulous crew, which we've codenamed "The Zoo"
Attending his lectures, and taking notes, too.
He's holding his class during preordained Mass.
He blusters and blasphemes; his teachings are crass.
And, further, the man has concocted a plan
He's coming at midnight, defying our ban!

CHURCHGOER A: He couldn't!

CHURCHGOER B: He wouldn't!

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: You don't mean--

MR. ISCARIOT: The Library!

Collective gasps.

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: The rebels are after the books!

MR. ISCARIOT (breathless): (Midnight, tonight!)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: PZ's not as bright as he looks.

MR. ISCARIOT: (They said...they'd fight!)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: We'll soon have them all in one place!

MR. ISCARIOT: (They'll fight...all right.)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: We'll vanquish their Reason with Grace.

MR. ISCARIOT: (They'll fight...all right...midnight...tonight!)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: We'll smother their theories in prayers

MR. ISCARIOT: (He's quite...a sight.)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: God help the teacher who dares

MR. ISCARIOT: (His eyes...alight!)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: To rise, to fight

MR. ISCARIOT: (They'll fight...all right.)

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: The truth, the light

MR. ISCARIOT: (Yes, quite...a sight...they'll fight...tonight!)

CHURCH OFFICIAL and MR. ISCARIOT: We'll fight for right, for right tonight!

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: That PZ's as dim as he looks!
He'll never escape with the books.
With all of the churls in one place
We'll scatter their Reason with Grace.
We'll crush all their theories with prayers
And God help the teacher who dares
To rise, to fight
Our truth, our light
The Church will win tonight!

MR. ISCARIOT: Midnight, tonight (etc.)!

S. CHURCH OFFICIAL: God help the teacher who dares (etc.)

The Churchgoers all cluster round, holding Torches and Tapers on high.

ALL: To rise, to fight
The truth, the light
The Church will fight, and RISE tonight!

PZ's not as bright as he looks!
We'll burn every one of his books!
We'll scatter their ashes apace
We'll countermand Reason with Grace!

We'll rise, we'll fight
We're truth; we're right
The Church will fight, and RISE tonight!

Those Churchies sure are rowdy! One fears for the intrepid PZ Myers and his gang of Equally Intrepid Students! How will it all end? Will PZ emerge triumphant, books in hand, or will the Church, indeed, prove victorious? And will this terrible song ever end? Only time will tell....
Part 4

Haiku for the Beautiful Data Mr. Myers Found in a Histology Paper

Pharyngula: Invertebrate Cartilages

Fragile the tissue
mucopolysaccharous.
All flesh must dissolve.

"Polysaccharide":
it sounds like a dream-city,
but it's just sugar.

Instead of the sea,
chondrocytes, Alcian blue,
here, on a postcard.

Women's Day Doggerel

Pharyngula: International Women's Day

The Dog and the Bitch shared a spot in the shade,
And soon fell to weighing their lot;
The bones they had buried, the messes they'd made;
The draughts they had drunk from the pot.

The afternoon passed like a sun-speckled dream,
With friendship maturing apace,
Till all that remained was one dying sunbeam,
And a chill wind to blow in one's face.

The Bitch grew reflective as day turned to night.
Her aspect grew pensive and terse.
She turned to the Dog and said "Can it be right
That you inspire homage and verse;
Yclept Man's best friend, and kept close by his side,
Whilst my very name is a curse?"

The Dog scratched his ear, for he had no reply.
They watched the sun sink in the west.
A cow lowed from somewhere; a donkey passed by;
The Dog turned to his fireside nest.
The Bitch, left outside with the cloud-looming sky
Went under the back porch to rest.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Will Mr. Myers Shake His Moneymaker?

Pharyngula: New Employment Opportunity

We're only one cutback removed from the day
When the bread-lines erupt with professors.
What will become of them? How will they pay
When their creditors turn to oppressors?

Will mortarboards supersede rags on the street,
When employment lines burgeon with scholars?
Will lessons be traded for something to eat?
Will wisdom be measured in dollars?

Will turf-wars break out between Knowledge and Crack
When the dole-office bristles with teachers?
Will they clog the buses, hunched up at the back,
As poverty chisels their features?

Or will they go down to the bad part of town
When they've come to the end of their brasses?
Will they wear leather, and will they get down?
Will our pedagogues brave shake their asses?

You Are Old

Pharyngula: Whatever you do, don't tell my wife!

"You are old, PZ Myers," the young man said,
"And your birthdays roll 'round like a fan;
And yet you continue your blog-links to spread—
Does Mary approve of your plan?"

"In my youth," said the sage (adding links to his page),
"I kept my mind active and supple;
And since all my links keep me lithe for my age,
She'll cope if I publish a couple."

"You are old," said the lad, "and I'm certain your words
Will infuse fertile minds with delight;
And your links could entrance young impressionable nerds;
Do you think, at your age, this is right?"

"In my youth," PZ Myers replied with some mirth,
"I was quiet and bookish and shy;
But, now that the geek have inherited earth,
With blog-links, my limit's the sky!"

"You are old," said the youth, "as I think we agreed,
And have grown most uncommonly wise,
To the point where the masses all covet your seed.
Do you have any hints for us guys?"

"What?! You're talking in metaphors? What have I said?"
Feeling faint, PZ gaaack'd and he blinked;
"If you hope I'll give hints to get webbedly-wed,
Young lad, you can go and get linked!"

They Said it All For Me

Pharyngula: I Suppose It Could Also Be a Metaphor for Iraq

'Tis the mark of a great man to know
When he's nothing to add to the show.
As such, I direct
(With utmost respect)
Your attention to this link, below:

House of the Sinking Feeling

It Could Be Worse

Pharyngula: A Disturbing Turn of Events

Our leading man protests his role
(He clearly lacks a poet's soul!)
He baulks at trills and scorns vibrato
(He should thank God it's not castrato!)

Probing the Past with one's Tongue (Filthy, Filthy)

Pharyngula: Homo Floresiensis's Brain: Igor Didn't Screw Up

Said the gypsy to the brainpan
"Let me tell your past.
Were you scholar; were you layman?
Was your knowledge vast?

"Did you walk with purpose holy?
Were you monk or priest?
Were you thin, or roly-poly?
Were you man or beast?

"Did you walk the sunny shore
Or shelter with a book,
Reading up on arcane lore
In some secret nook?

"Did you dress in rags or riches?
Was your fortune grand?
Did you live by digging ditches
In the hard-packed sand?"

Said the brainpan, in reply,
"Ha-ahh ga-ah unggg."
(The poet's trade is hard to ply
Without a working tongue.)

Haiku for the Vagaries of Academia

Pharyngula: Odd Academic Habits

For the Humanities Professor Reading from his Own Book:

a) A turtle-dove lands
on the same branch as last year,
and sees his own ghost.

b) Tumbleweeds straggle
o'er the wide, windless desert.
Nobody watches.

For the Student who, with Great Temerity, Uses the Toilet During a Lecture:

A frog leaves the pond,
perhaps tired of lilypads,
or not watertight.

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part Two of Several)

[Contents] [<] [>]

ACT ONE, SCENE TWO

With a great whooshing of Corduroy, P.Z. Myers enters the Classroom, bearing a Huge Armful of Dilapidated Books. The Students breathe a sigh of relief.

POMPOUS NARRATOR (strolling past as PZ greets his students): Ladies and GENTLEMEN, Professor P.Z. Myers, Soldier of the Set-Square, Crusader of the Crucible, Prince of the Pocket Protector!

PZ gives the Narrator a Very Strange Look Indeed.

PZ MYERS: Where's Mr. Iscariot?

MISS JOHNSON: He's late.

PZ MYERS: Knowledge waits for no man.

(Bursting into song)

Knowledge!

How is a professor to impart
The principles of science or of art?
What separates a pedagogue from a mere pedant?

How can a professor hope to teach
Concepts just beyond his students' reach?
Without a well-stocked library, he simply can't.

PZ sighs.

MISS JOHNSON: A library? But the library's been closed since--

MR. ISCARIOT comes slinking in, late.

PZ MYERS: Good of you to join us, Mr. Iscariot.

MR. ISCARIOT (with heavy sarcasm): Sorry. The library was closed.

Assorted laughs. PZ, always the wise mentor, ignores the hubbub and proceeds to address the assembled Students.

PZ MYERS: The Library is opening tonight.
We won't give up our books without a fight!
We won't let Schwann and Virchow rot away;
We won't consign Mendel to yesterday.

VARIOUS MUTTERING STUDENTS: - But how?
- But the Church--?
- It's not possible.

PZ MYERS: A wise man knows his enemy, say I;
A wise man does not curse his lot and sigh.
Tonight, the Church decrees a holiday
When all the faithful sit at home and pray.
Their confidence has overweening grown;
One guard shall watch the Library alone.

MISS JOHNSON: One guard shall watch the Library, alone?

PZ MYERS: One guard shall watch the Library, alone.

ALL: One guard shall watch the Library, alone.
The doors will part; the Church shall be o'erthrown!
The Library is opening tonight!
We won't give up our books without a fight!
We won't let Schwann and Virchow rot away;
We won't consign Mendel to yesterday!

MISS JOHNSON: Darwin will be nobly reinstated!

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S.: I always thought the Church was overrated.

PZ MYERS: Reasoning will soon replace religion.

ALL: The Church will be a fancy perch for pigeons!
One guard shall watch the Library, alone.
The doors will part; the Church shall be o'erthrown!
The Library is opening tonight!
We won't give up our books without a fight (etc.)

As PZ and company sing, MR. ISCARIOT sneaks away in a most Suspicious Manner. By some Great Stage Miracle, nobody notices.

PZ MYERS: One guard shall watch the Library, alone!
We'll free our books from mortar, brick, and stone!

Exeunt all, singing a rousing chorus:

ALL: The Library is opening tonight!
We won't give up our books without a fight (etc.)
Part 3

Monaturring Lektcherers At Uny-Versity's 4 Horrywitz

Pharyngula: Academic Bill of Right Wing Rule

I went to the lecture, you know
(Horowitz told me to go)
I went with my pen, and my
pad and my tape, and I
sat near the front, so I'd
miss not a word, though I'd
no blessed clue what was said.

I heard the man mention
(with evil intention)
that monkeys and men were the
same thing, and we share the
shape of our hipbones, or
proneness to gallstones, or
number of eyes in our head.

Then, with a twinkle of glee,
"Got any questions?" said he.
They all raised their hands in a
Heil Hitler manner, and
then the professor, he
led the whole group in three
cheers for the black, white, and red.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Skepticism

Pharyngula: Evidence that religion rots your brain

Our international news today
Rests on a strong foundation.
It's built on rock, not shifting sand,
And dressed in words you'll understand
Whatever your social station.

Sylvester's stone, a monument,
Can tell when popes are dying;
When a pontiff's life is under threat
The stone breaks out in a cold, cold sweat,
All natural cause defying.

It's written down in documents—
This rock's prophetic power.
Confirmed by nuns in habits gray,
When a pope's approaching judgement day
This monument needs a shower.

"The stone cries too," say nuns, "it's true!
There's people who have seen it."
That leaves no room for doubt, although
When asked, "Who saw?", they did not know.
Newsworthy? No. Latrine it.

When hardly-hard-nosed Hardach writes,
You might expect sensation.
She'll find a curse in mummy's ice,
And words from unnamed nuns suffice
To spice up her narration.

The battle for your brain today's
Been thoroughly reconnoitered,
So be a skeptic, check the source,
Ignore the rubes or else, of course,
You'll find that you've been Reuter'd.

Pharyngula: The Musical (Part One of Several)

THE CRUCIBLE TONGS, or LES MYERSABLES, a Fine and Upstanding Musical Show


CAST

Pompous Narrator - A Narrator, who Explains the Plot to the Not-So-Intellectually-Endowed
PZ Myers - A Noble and Embattled Knight of Science
Miss Johnson - A Student
Miss Johnson's Sadly Neglected Young Swain - A Student's Boyfriend
Mr. Iscariot - A Student Who Is A Little Sneaky
Ragged Students - A Chorus of the Knowledge-Hungry
His Holiness - The Grand Inquisitor of the Church of Divine Creation
A Senior Church Official - A Churchgoer who Isn't Terribly Special, but Gets His Own Scene Anyway
Various Churchgoers - A Chorus of the Grievously Deluded
Newscameramen - A Chorus of the Impartial (One Hopes)

[Contents] [>]

ACT ONE, SCENE ONE

SCENE: A dim, dark, dreary, deserted LAB at the University of Minnesota. Enter the POMPOUS NARRATOR, bearing a Ponderous Volume of Forgotten Lore.

POMPOUS NARRATOR (in a loud and sententious voice): In a MOST TERRIBLE THEOCRACY of the NOT-SO-DISTANT FUTURE, where KNOWLEDGE is decidedly not power, ONE MAN stands alone against the dread Church of Divine Creation. He is a BRAVE man! He is a PROUD man! He is a NOBLE man! He is Professor P.Z. Myers, of the University of South Dakota!

WHISPER (offstage): Pss, pss, pss.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: ...of the University of Minnesota. In a DARK and DESERTED lab, EMPTY save for the RATTLE of CRUCIBLE-TONGS in the WIND, his huddled students lament their dire fate! Without further ado: Atto Primo, lar-go can-ta-bi-le!

Enter Miss Johnson, Miss Johnson's Sadly Neglected Young Swain, and a chorus of Ragged Students bearing candles.

MISS JOHNSON (whispering): All quiet?

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S.: As Gross Anatomy.

MISS JOHNSON (breaking into song): Will there be no class tomorrow?
Has he left us to our sorrow?
Will there be no books, no lecture
Is this now the Church's prefecture?

RAGGED STUDENTS: (Will there be no class tomorrow?
Will there be no books to borrow?)

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S.: Will we have no harsh correction?
Will we not strive for perfection?
Will the Church halt all proceedings
That are linked to math or reading?

RAGGED STUDENTS: (Will we have no harsh correction?
What of natural selection?)

MISS JOHNSON and MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S.: Mr. Myers, won't you teach us?
Won't your golden wisdom reach us?
Raise the lectern, lower the pulpit
Cast the Church as sinful culprit!

RAGGED STUDENTS: (Mr. Myers, won't you teach us?
Let your words of wisdom reach us!)

MISS JOHNSON: Wisdom makes the common regal
(Even if it is illegal.)

MISS JOHNSON'S S.N.Y.S. (holding a book up to his face): Reading in the dark is murder.
Hang a lantern on the girder!

RAGGED STUDENTS (lighting lanterns and hanging them from a conveniently-placed beam): (Mr. Myers, won't you teach us?
Let the light of wisdom reach us, etc.)

ALL: Mr. Myers, won't you teach us?
Won't your golden wisdom reach us?
Raise the lectern, lower the pulpit
Cast the Church as sinful culprit, etc.

Suddenly, a RESOUNDING CRASH is heard offstage, then the slap of approaching footsteps. Everyone falls silent, and turns to face the DOOR. What EVER will happen next?
Part 2

Retirement at Eighty!

Pharyngula: The Tangled Bank is Going to be One Less than Half My Age

Here's birthday bumps for the P. Zed
One less year, now, until you are--

(How awful!)

Here's birthday bumps for the P. Zee
Here's one, and here's twice twenty-three.
With politics dirty
When you reach twice thirty
You'll still have to toil for your tea.

Sunday Riddle

Pharyngula: Sunday Sermon at the American Street

Born of brimstone and shame
And a name that cannot be spake
I might refurbish the lame
Or immolate them at the stake!
What am I?

(I am.)

Lament of the Cells, on the Hydrogenosomes' Day Off

Pharyngula: Hydrogenosomes

Soldiers forgotten, aimless we stand
(autumn's last bulrush; last kipper canned);
waiting for April; dreaming of salt
Hops in the bucket, longing for malt.

Logs at the wood-lathe, lying uncarved
Cells in the slush-pile, energy-starved.
One lacks a chisel; one wants for juice
(Give me triphosphates, or give me the noose!)

Freedom or curtains, that's fine for the French
(They haven't languished, warming the bench;
Watching Apollo ascend overhead
Chariot blazing, orange and red.)

Something's gone missing--what could it be?
(Lacking for eyes, it's too dark to see.)
Boredom runs rampant; there's nothing to do.
Organelle legions, we're waiting for you.

Zombie Lamb

Pharyngula: Bad Teachers

Mary had a zombie lamb
Made in her voodoo church,
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to lurch.

It followed her to school one day,
Its dread acts to conduct.
What happened there I cannot say:
This verse has been Kentucked.



Three blind guides,
See how they lead!
One played a teacher but cared for naught,
One drilled the lines that her preacher taught,
And granny took fright at creative thought;
That's three blind guides.



Baa, baa, blank sheet, did you learn at school?
Yes sir! Yes sir! Three good rules.
Lib'rals are evil; God will prevail;
And don't get creative or you'll end up in jail.