Saturday, April 02, 2005

Old PhaWRONGulans Never Die

Pharyngula: PhaWRONGula comes to a close

I've been added to the Pharyngula blogroll, and we all know what that means:

I don't really know what to think—
A notch in the blogroll, a link!
A PZ extension,
The sort of attention
That comes with a nudge and a wink.

Steve Bates asks
It is grand to see Pharyngula PhaWRONGula befriending!
As I cheered at the beginning, now I'm sad the story's ending.
For a month a willing passenger who never knew the driver...
May I vote for the conclusion leaving PZ a survivor?
PhaWRONGula felt no compunction
To deal with the plot-line disjunction.
Choose reason or fervor,
Then you, as observer,
Collapse the Les Myers. wave function.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Congratulations, PZ, and Happy April 1st!

As did old man Prospero, so we find
Our cheap and tawdry charms all undermined.
It's time the truth were free, so we'll unwind
Our tangled web, and quit our daily grind.

a) Who are we?

First of all, none of the following suggestions were correct--we are not:

- Calvin Trillin
- David Horowitz
- Students of PZ Myers (much as we wish we were)
- Creationist attention-seekers, or other wingnut wonks
- Thomas Pynchon.

We are, however:

- Socar Myles (PhaWRONGula)


- Virgil Keys (Phunicular).

Congratulations, PZ! You got us! We shall be sending you this highly amusing, yet strikingly cheap-arsed prize, care of the University. Congratulations!

b) Why did we do it?

Every year, we pick someone we like and respect, and play a giant April Fool's joke on them. Last year, it was the Internet art community. We got 'em but good, let me tell you--pulled the silliest hoax imaginable, and they went for it hook, line, and sinker. It had to do with insane Christians. You'd have liked it. Or hated it. Or both, simultaneously.

With you, PZ, we knew it wouldn't be so easy. We couldn't pull a Piltdown Man on you, or snow you with some spurious scientific claim. You know more about science than we do, and are quite the skeptic, besides. So we decided to have a little lighthearted fun with you, instead. Initially, we only meant to compose verses related to your blog posts, but then you went and asked for tickets to "Pharyngula: The Musical", so we just HAD to write you one. We hope you enjoyed our humble efforts, and that you continue with your illuminating posts.

c) Is this the end of PhaWRONGula?

Yes and no. We cannot keep up the current frenetic pace, not if we wish to keep our jobs. However, we shall be leaving all the existing posts online, and we will occasionally pop up with an encore or two, when a moment presents itself.

Believe Me

Pharyngula: I doubt that the Skeptics' Circle is online

We skeptics were boasting about
the faith we could each live without;
You couldn't conceive
that you'd ever believe,
While I doubt that I'd doubt what I doubt.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Snake Oil Seminary

Pharyngula: Charlatanry at the U of M

The world is foisting snake oil--making education pay.
The U of M finds healing when big wads of cash are moved
across the palms and budgets in a touching, caring way.

P. Myers is disgusted at the quackery approved.
Pretorius suggests that for the uni's top admins
all self-respect and dignity are surgically removed.

While QrazyQat gets tetchy and flings in some punny spins
and mark in Pennsylvania fears that funding quacks may spread,
but Cameron says there is no shame; it's always who dares wins.

For making hay, McKay would say there's paydirt in this thread:
Try pandering to rubes with pets and selling a mirage.
(Just watch when John has cockroach clinics run from his back shed.)

A asks us how this touch-crap differs from a cheap massage
but seems to be distracted by some memories of fun.
J Ehrich adds some courses to his cultural collage.

How practical is TonyB when all is said and done,
to look for strength of character when money is involved?
But Reed gives hope from FSU where common sense once won.

Chris Clarke points out that quasi-vets hold lore that's un-evolved
But grants respect to volunteers who keep his bunny cowed.
while Grumpy thinks of Star Trek where senescence has been solved.

Jay wonders how much work's been done and how much research plowed
into traditional practices and new-age pseudo-tech
that's sold to desperate people wrapped in ancient wisdom's shroud.

Hey! I could sell the world a cure. Let's try it, what the heck!
"For everything you need to know: Pharyngula! (and Trek)"

Neener, Neener, Neener!

Pharyngula: Oh, No...A Puzzle!

Having trouble with our puzzle?
Try the Tangled Bank:
Seek a long and twitchy muzzle
Hid within that rank.

Find the one, you'll get the second;
it won't be hard from there.
Find us where the crocus beckons;
Let's see how you fare!

As before, please submit all guesses, wild speculations, and dead certainties to us by e-mail at, rather than leaving comments on our public posts. We would like everyone, especially Mr. Myers, to have a fair crack at figuring it out for themselves, should they so desire.

Those Licentious Scientists!

Pharyngula: Why Sex?

Here's something certain to vex
The fundie religious complex:
Check out their reading
Of research on breeding--
"Science supports teenage sex!"

...and don't forget to submit your guesses: Who Could We Be?

Who Could We Be?

Approximately twenty-four hours from now, us PhaWRONGulans shall be revealing our identities. However, before we do, we'd like to give Mr. Myers a fair crack at figuring it out for himself. Here are the clues:

1) One of us is on your blogroll;
one of us is not.
The second one is on the blogroll
of the first one caught.

2) One of us (commence the jeering!)
never finished school.
The second is in engineering:
he is no-one's fool!

3) One of us is dead already,
a ghost in cyberspace.
The other one keeps up a steady
limericking pace.

4) Your fourth clue is an anagram of our combined names: KISS MY OARS, EVIL CLERGY.

Please submit all guesses, wild speculations, and dead certainties to us by e-mail at, rather than leaving comments on our public posts. We would like everyone, especially Mr. Myers, to have a fair crack at figuring it out for themselves, should they so desire.

Should Mr. Myers prove successful, which we believe he ought to do, being a clever fellow, I, PhaWRONGula, shall try to scrounge up some fitting prize for him.

Should he fail, we shall both laugh at him.

You have approximately twenty-four hours. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Pharyngula: I have a new salary benchmark!

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

The hidden mysteries I divine
by watching letters recombine
will show you truths and light your way.
(And don't I wish these tricks would pay!)

There's more than meets the eye, you'll grant,
A game of chance this art is not,
Her name in history will go down
as a very useful "RECTAL NOUN."
And rumours of her studly front
are shown quite clearly: "NO REAL....

What Are Those Gosh-Durn Godless Educators Up To Now?

Pharyngula: Demons In Our Children's Minds

Beware the hypnotist that binds
The demons in our children's minds!
Beware the farmer's cow-trod copse,
For there, the chupacabra walks!
Beware the world, for it is cruel;
But most of all, beware of school!

Haiku With The Word "Bum" In It

Pharyngula: It Must Be Spring, re: Carl Zimmer's love darts.

In slime and mucus,
spring snails consummate their troth;
harpoons up the bum.

I'm Going to Hell for This One!

Pharyngula: Jerry Falwell Is Critically Ill

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more breathless, and more desert-dried
Still winds do stagnate; I can only pray
That summer's lease shall not be nullified.
Sometime too hot thy burning forehead shines,
And fever finds thy bold invective dimm'd,
And swift the sway of medicine declines,
By mortal fallibility unpinn'd.
But thy bombastic discourse shall not fade,
Nor shall my redden'd skin give up thy ghost,
Nor shall I find allayment in the shade,
When melanoma claims me as its host:
So long as breath imbues my roasted rind,
So long thy scorching screeds shall scar my mind.

(With apologies to Shakespeare, of course.)

Crusher Cranford

Pharyngula: I have a new hero

A scoffing scaramouche Scarborough
With scanty science skills
Screeched Schiavo's scandal for
Unscrupulous Schindler's shills.

Cranford crushed the crackpot critters,
Calling credulous cranks.
We credit Cranford's courage crossing
Calumnious columnist skanks.

Credibility = 2(Preparation + Eloquence) / Wingnuttery^3

Pharyngula: I Have a New Hero

When arguing on the TV
It's always a good plan to be
Up on your data;
if there's errata,
Millions of viewers will see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

All My Own Work. Honest!

Pharyngula: A plagiarist gets her comeuppance…

Shall I Compare Thee To A tree
whose hungry mouth is prest against
a borrowing of misery,
as though we were not drunk!
Don't be martyred

Forgive me
they were delicious.

Mock, Mock, Mockin' on Heaven's Dorks

Pharyngula: Point and laugh, everyone!

When the "finest conservative minds" in the west
are supporting Discovery's brightest and best
should we call this collusion a kit-full of tankers
or rightfully name it a wedding of bankers?

Palp Friction

Pharyngula: Spider Kama Sutra

Oh PZ! your posts have me thirstin'
for things I should not be submersed in.
Before your depictions
my worst spider fictions
were upside down kisses from Kirsten.

Induction Seduction

Pharyngula: Watch out, mathematicians, you're next!

Let's set the record straight about
How mathematics is in doubt.
Yes, math too has its dirty lies
But hides them from discerning eyes.
You want to see this great seduction?
Take a look at math's "induction."

Godless mathematicians say
ALL natural numbers known today
Can make themselves!--just start with one
Then add on one until you're done.
But what they say is plainly flawed;
They perpetrate a mighty fraud!

All things wise and wonderful,
All digits, even, odd,
All sums nice and numberful,
They all were made by God.

Math'matics is religion too
With arcane symbols through and through.
Has any math-magician ever
Made all numbers? No, they're clever:
Show the start, BELIEVE the rest.
They'll NEVER put it to the test.
They've tried and tried but they get weary:
See! Induction's JUST A THEORY!

Speculative Fiction

Pharyngula: PBS and the 'debate'

A science teacher, Claire, was met
By parents most annoyed.
They told her, "No more Darwin, or
We'll see you unemployed!"

Brave Claire replied, "Why can't I teach
The truth the textbooks tell?"
"You'll learn creation to our kids
Or else you'll burn in hell!"

"I'm very sorry, that's a task
Best handled by Miss Guide.
She runs religious studies now,"
Claire carefully replied.

"And now, I must depart because
I've lessons to prepare.
Your children need the best that I
Can give to them," said Claire.

That night Claire's home was tagged with paint—
Damned rascals and their tricks!
They'd signed their names: "Luke17"
And "Matthew18-6!!!"

You'd think it must have frightened Claire;
She left without a trace.
(Of course, in this the parents saw
A token of God's grace.)

Police had noted other pranks
That night, but nothing queer—
Some kid called "Mark9-42"
Had tagged the old wood pier.

A burglary had taken place
A minor one, but still
It's strange to steal the millstone from
The town's historic mill.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Educated, Intelligent Teachers? Travesty!

Pharyngula: We're Like Huns That Way

The Party of Jesters and Fools
Would ask that you play by our rules:

Thou shalt teach theology
In place of biology,
Physics, mechanics, and endocrinology.

Thou shalt hire all teachers
Who speak of "God's creatures",
Forsaking those sinners who scoff from the bleachers.

Thou shalt hold, each Monday
A class on how one day
Church will be every day, not just on Sunday;

The Party of Jesters and Fools
Would ask that you play by our rules.
We've armies to send against
Those we defend against:
Intelligent teachers in schools!

The Call of Darryl

From our own comments: "This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy"

out of his depth
has awoken. That is
not dead which can eternal lie
to self.

Haiku for a Misguided Optimist

Pharyngula: Gallagher: Distortions and Dishonesty

April's sprouts spring forth,
well-mindful of November
waiting in the wings.

So springs Gallagher,
in spite of the forthcoming
Pharyngulan slap.

I Think My Brain Just Died A Little

Pharyngula: Just When You Think They Couldn't Possibly Get More Stupid, re: Wizbang Paul's Fascinating Use of Excel

This morning, my IQ was--I've forgot!, wait a minute, what?
Upon perusing Wizbang's party line,
I found I could no longer make a...rhyne.(1)
A greyish ooze went running down my neck:
My brain absconding, frightened by the wreck
Of logic, reason--ah, I cannot count!
My meter's shot; I've parched my wordy fount!
As I pen this line, the first has gone
From out my head; I'm left to ramble on
Without my usual dignity and grace:
"Oh, stuff it, Paul--the egg is on your face!"

(1) With apologies to Tom Lehrer, and his lively indictment of folk-songs.

Did Mr. Nader Forget His Parachute?

Pharyngula: Nader's Descent Has Reached Terminal Velocity

It seems Mister Nader is falling
At a rate of knots frankly appalling.
Will splashdown soon follow
Or are we to swallow
Still more of his stale caterwauling?

I Think We've Been Ro(d)gered!

Re: the plague which has been brought upon us, here, here, and also here, and in various other places in duplicate.

We believe the author is Darryl Rodgers, recently banned from Pharyngula.

It seems we have acquired a fan,
A versifying also-ran
Whose wordy souffles fail to rise,
(Though, my, the man can sermonize!
His brimstone'd spoutings stung my eyes
And made my poor vibrissae rise
As though to face their God straightway
"Alack," they cried, "'tis Judgment Day!")
His rhymes were trite; his barbs were dull;
They rankled in my poet's skull,
An insult to Calliope,
Sweet muse of epic poetry!
He may be absolutely right(1),
But (Jesus wept!) he cannot write!

(1) Though we doubt it.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Haiku for the Joys of Vandalism

Pharyngula: Vandalism!

Consider a rose,
in the prime of perfection,
festooned with fried eggs,

or a gentle leaf,
smooth and uncaterpillar'd,
blasted by Martians!

Try it yourself!

Pharyngula: The Musical (Conclusion)

[Contents] [<<] [<]

Nota Bene: To begin with, we intended to write only one conclusion to our Most Entertaining and Respectable Musical Production, in which PZ Myers escaped his terrible fate, and the Church of Divine Creation was cast forever into Ignominy and Disrepute. However, by reader request, we hereby present you with two endings: one comic; one tragic.


At this point, all the Players freeze in place upon the Stage, save for the Narrator, who steps forward with Grave and Serious Intent.

POMPOUS NARRATOR: --it's in your hands entirely, dear Audience! What say you? Does our dear Mr. Myers not impress you? Does his passion not inspire you, yea, to greatness? Were you not moved to tears by his dying words? Would you not like to see him rescued, and the Church of Divine Creation flung into disrepute? Dear friends, by your cheers and applause, which among you would like to see our Professor spared?

He pauses to allow for any forthcoming Applause.

And now, by applause most improper, are there any vile crawlers amongst you who would prefer to see P.Z. put to death, and this great nation plunged into a thousand-year Age of Benightenment?

He pauses to allow for any forthcoming Neanderthal Hooting Applause. From this point forth, there are two possible Conclusions which might be Performed, depending upon the decision of the Audience.


POMPOUS NARRATOR: Ah, I knew my faith in you was not misplaced! Congratulations on your impeccable judgment and civilization! And now, without further ado, I present the conclusion of tonight's performance of Les Myersables, or The Crucible Tongs!

Exit the Narrator, at Long Last. In his place, enter Mr. Iscariot Unconvincingly Disguised as a Priest. The main component of said Disguise seems to be an Irritating Nasal Voice, and yet Everyone is Fooled.

MR. ISCARIOT: Buona sera, signori miei, from il sacro suol Romano! Son l'umile Fra' Bertolio, qui venuto per chiamarlo--

HIS HOLINESS (Interrupting): Momento, momento; no hablo esperanto!


HIS HOLINESS: No...espanol? Italiano? No!



MR. ISCARIOT: Siiiiiiii....


MR. ISCARIOT: Una parola....


MR. ISCARIOT: Una preghiera....


MR. ISCARIOT: Ma breve....

HIS HOLINESS: Ma, bravo! What is this? Get on with it, would you?

Mr. Iscariot, as he speaks, has been Insinuating himself between PZ and the Executioner, and is now shielding the Former with his Own Body.

MR. ISCARIOT: Giovanni Paolo, Excellenza
E Sua Divina Onnipotenza
On his t'rone firmamentale
Bid you halt this bacchanale!




MR. ISCARIOT: Ah, ferma!


MR. ISCARIOT: Mercy, mercy, deh, salvarlo!
Execution--ah, non farlo!
Fra' Bertolio begs forbearance;
For this Roman interference!

HIS HOLINESS: But we're--

MR. ISCARIOT: Ah, udirmi!

HIS HOLINESS (roaring with Fury): We're not Roman Catholic!

His Holiness attempts to get Around Mr. Iscariot, and pull the Trapdoor Mechanism himself, but Mr. Iscariot throws himself upon the Ground, seizing His Holiness about the knees and clinging on for Dear Life.

MR. ISCARIOT: Ah, pietade!

HIS HOLINESS: Let go of me, you ridiculous little man!

MR. ISCARIOT: Una parola ancora!

Offstage, an Ominous Rumbling can be heard; the chatter of Angry Voices, and Many Pounding Footsteps, drawing ever nearer.

HIS HOLINESS (imitating Mr. Iscariot): Una parooolaaaaa! The hell with your "parola"!

MR. ISCARIOT: Oh cielo, pietà!

His Holiness kicks Mr. Iscariot hard, Dislodging him, and releases the Trapdoor. Mr. Iscariot, struggling to his feet, seizes the gasping Professor, and holds him aloft with great Difficulty, thereby preventing him from choking to Death. His Holiness begins to Loosen Iscariot's Grip.

ANGRY AMERICAN PUBLIC, OFFSTAGE: (We can remember the scent of September,
of schoolbooks, erasers, and gum,
Biology teachers with curious features
lecturing us on the thumb.)

HIS HOLINESS: What's that?

ANGRY AMERICAN PUBLIC, DRAWING NEARER: (Who can remember the scent of September,
that leafishly redolent zing?
The jubilant quiver of birds by the river,
puffing themselves up to sing?)

MR. ISCARIOT (abandoning the Nasal Voice): I knew it! The live broadcast!

PZ MYERS: What is it?

MR. ISCARIOT: It's your public, sir! They saw you on TV, and--well, look!

He pulls PZ to Safety. The Churchgoing Crowd parts once again, this time admitting an Enormous Crowd, bearing PZ Support Placards, and wearing Mortarboards upon their Heads. His Holiness, the Executioner, and the Church Officials begin to back away in terror. The Students and the Churchgoing Crowd join with the Angry American Public.

ALL: A seagull commotion; the tang of the ocean,
the taste of the sea in your mouth,
A mixture of fishes and salt-spray delicious,
And remnants of birds flown south?

His Holiness and his Minions flee in terror, Leaping from the Stage in their Frenzy. They are chased into the Audience, then Clean Out of the Theatre. PZ is borne off in triumph, upon the Shoulders of the Crowd.

The flash of a salmon, the taste of an almond,
the myriad marvels of life?
Who hasn't wondered just where the bear lumbers,
and why swans take only one wife;

Why serpents are heelless, and deserts are eel-less,
and some folks have two extra toes;
why bats roost together, in huddles of leather,
while sloths hang in lonely repose?

The purpose of science lies not in defiance
Of all that is noble and good;
We live to discover, to dig and uncover,
revealing a world understood.


- or -


POMPOUS NARRATOR: Really? Truly? Cheer now, to change your mind.

He pauses, allowing for a Merciful Change of Heart.

No? Very well. On your head be it. Without further ado, the end of both Les Myersables or The Crucible Tongs, and of civilization as we know it.

Exit the Narrator. In his place, enter an Actual Emissary of the Roman Catholic Church, Late as Usual

LATE EMISSARY (reading from an Official-Looking Scroll): Fra' Benvolio, et cetera, et cetera, qui venuto per--ah, yes; here it is:

Messaggio breve from il Papa;
On vacation in Caracas:
If you have this uccisione,
It's not with his benedizione.




LATE EMISSARY (studying his Scroll): Attendi....

He persuses his scroll Intently, Muttering to himself.

LATE EMISSARY: No, that's all.

HIS HOLINESS: All right, then. If we have no further ob-ject-zione....

Several seconds of Dead Silence ensue. His Holiness gives the sign, and the Executioner releases the Trapdoor. The crowd Gasps. PZ kicks and writhes briefly at the end of the Rope, then is Still. Enter Mr. Iscariot and various Members of the Public, too late. They recapitulate PZ's final address in a Sorrowful Minor Key.

MR. ISCARIOT: Remember, remember the scent of September;
how swiftly you faded away!
The fragrance of pages perfumed by the ages,
consigned to a lost yesterday.

DISAPPOINTED AMERICAN PUBLIC: Ah, we remember the scent of September,
now winter has vanquished us all;
With snow on our lashes, we'll weep o'er the ashes
of a happy and colourful fall.

They cut down PZ's Motionless Corpse from the Gallows, and Bear it Away, with much Sadness. His Holiness and his Minions also leave the stage, in Triumphant Procession.

MR. ISCARIOT and DISAPPOINTED PUBLIC: Who knows why the bird flies; who knows why the cell dies;
who knows why our lives are so cruel?
With Mendel and Schwann both forgotten and gone,
What shall we study in school?

Our favourite teachers, supplanted by preachers,
Singing the gospel divine;
Ah, hear us repenting, forever lamenting
a future that's dead on the vine.

We'll always remember that balmy September
When poor PZ taught his last class;
The excerpts he read us; the wisdom he fed us,
We've failed our dear mentor, alas!


Only a flesh wound!

Pharyngula: Buh-bye, Darryl

Darryl feels the persecution
of the evil evolution;
Darryl knows he'll be rewarded
for the truth his words recorded;
Darryl daily bears his cross,
counting worldly wisdom loss;
Darryl feeds his strong conviction
that he just faced crucifixion;

What to do with artless dodgers?
Any clues, Darryl "Rodgers".

PhaWRONGula's Never Been Kissed

Pharyngula: Happy Easter

I tried to steal an Easter kiss from our Wizbang Paul,
Who ran away, protesting that I made his dermis crawl.
PZ fended off my pucker with his wedding band;
Phunicular was anti-kiss, and made a steadfast stand;
The upshot being that I didn't get a kiss at all.

Sometimes, Science and Politics Just Don't Mix (Sorry, Coturnix)

Pharyngula: Spreading the Rantage Around, with Titular Reference to Science and Politics

It's time for a grand revolution,
An end to this crass dissolution
Up with Creation,
And Dubya Nation,
And no more of this Evilution!

They're Everywhere, Sir, Just Everywhere!

Pharyngula: Theocracy Report

They're everywhere, P. Zed;
they're all around!
They're underneath your bed;
don't make a sound!

The closet's full, P. Zee,
of tiny nuts!
There's one behind that tree
(his nose outjuts)!

There's no escape, P. Zoo,
they're in your hair!
They're going to get you too--
they're everywhere!

PZ Suffering Satire? Where?

Oh Stephen Brophy, read the text!
No suffering will you see.
There's ne'er a scold from these two skalds
And on our scroll a tale unfolds
Of tribute to PZ.

Oh Stephen Brophy, read the text!
Pray, change your point of view.
The quest for truth is always hard
And each brave knight deserves a bard;
For PZ there are two.