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October 3, 2010

Indeed, in matters virtual, both fixèd and mercurial,
They all are fearsome figures of a fluent Fluorospherical.

Posted by Abi Sutherland at 02:22 PM * 150 comments

Hey, everyone! The grownups are away at Viable Paradise for the week! This is our chance to have some fun.

She is the foremost figure of a fluent Fluorospherical
She’s very well-acquainted with the meaning of a miracle
And posts on matters fibrous, philosophical and factual
In modern or in middle English she will have gobsmacked you all.

He writes on points political and argues when they aggravate
And sometimes when we’re lucky he’ll on publishing pontificate
His certainty on cycling is a thing that we appreciate
And all the links to clever blogs he takes the time to aggregate.

While graphic posts on injuries are always very mem’rable
And make us realize how much our safety is ephemeral,
I appreciate the work he does debunking many a cruel hoax
(And never drink my tea when he’s been posting some of his best jokes.)

I leave Avram and me to the tender mercies of the thread. Note, too, that the commentariat is fair game:

He generously shares the worst of all his students’ blundering
While his eclectic erudition sets us all to wondering
If academic excellence is all that he can do that well
(A doubt he can disperse in sonnet-form or in a villanelle.)

(I need not tell you to keep it nice? Thought not.)

Comments on Indeed, in matters virtual, both fixèd and mercurial,
They all are fearsome figures of a fluent Fluorospherical.:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 03:04 PM:

I want to see Abi singing that while dressed in the appropriate uniform.

#2 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 03:18 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @1

Immediately as I started reading, I began to wonder how it would sound if properly read out loud.

But your option is much, much better.

#3 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 03:33 PM:

He's erudite and Latinate and up in all the rituals;
He hands out yummy truffles so y'alls pants no longer fit you-alls;
He tolerates no trolls, and seldom feels he should equivocate,
And points out any grammar you should chance to upfucktificate!

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 03:36 PM:

Bombie @2:

You do recognize the source, don't you? I don't know how far it's known outside the Engelstalige wereld.

#5 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 03:42 PM:

While binding books in most exotic covers is her avocation,
testing software is the work that brings her worldly compensation.
The psychic field she generates can break the most robust creation,
Yet here within our virtual village she mends all with her moderation.

#6 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 03:57 PM:

abi @2:

I did not, thank you. All I've got are notions of Gilbert and Sullivan's works (mostly from looking up references, a lot of which I probably encountered here on ML), but I've never actually experienced (or read) any of their plays.

Now you've made me wonder, though, how far they are known over here. I think I might ask around.

#7 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:06 PM:

Watching the link again, it but now dawned on me that, of course, I've encountered many spoofs and parodies all my life (in English TV-shows, I presume, but right now I can't name one). Now I know where they originated. Thank you for this educating moment!

Now I'm all the more curious if it's a cultural reference most of us Belgians miss out on, or if it's just me.

#8 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:17 PM:

Fragano @1:

But what would the appropriate Fluorospherical uniform be? Aside from a troll-bashing club, of course.

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:24 PM:

Anybody else remembers the Muppet Show where Gilda Radner sang with the Carrot of Penzance?

#10 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:27 PM:

Serge: But of course.

abi: I must say I like that link right well. A glorious mix of serious play, and self-aware self-mockery.

I really need to see more G&S.

#11 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:28 PM:

Bombie @ 6

Oh, you've missed _so_ much! You're Dutch/Netherlandish, If I remember correctly, and I'm not sure how well G&S's humorous Victorian England satire would would travel across cultures, but I'd venture to say that you really _need_ to see & hear the Operettas (preferably in properly-hammy performances) -- there are some very good movie versions, especially those featuring Danny Kaye. The scripts/printed plays are fine, of course, but communicate only a relatively small part of the possible Effect. (Mind you, the Patter Songs are Really Fast, and you'll probably have to hit "replay" several times (& refer to the printed libretto) to figure out what's going on, but I think it's well worth it.)

#12 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:35 PM:

This thread makes me feel so much better about my recent transgression. heh.

#13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:41 PM:

Sarah #8: It has to include a disemvoweller.

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Don Fitch #11: Plus the major patter songs (e.g. "Major General" and "Little List" were written to be updated. Performances today insert contemporary references.

#15 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:44 PM:

Oops,there's a missing close bracket up there.

#16 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:47 PM:

Serge #9: Anybody else remembers the Muppet Show where Gilda Radner sang with the Carrot of Penzance?

Season 3, Episode 4.

#17 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 04:49 PM:

Serge @9

I actually saw it just now (here), in my quest to discover all the references again from my new slightly more informed point of view. (also: scrubs, the simpsons, animaniacs, ..)

Don Fitch @11

Discovering their operas has been on my mental 'to do' list for quite a while now. This thread has (happily) made it clear to me how much more I might have missed and will miss, so it's become that much more urgent! Any performances you (or anyone) would recommend, or are the movie adaptations you suggested the better option?

#19 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 05:54 PM:

Serge #9:

Carrot of Penzance.

From ~6:15.

#20 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 06:10 PM:

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time —
To let the pun-ishment fit the line —
The pun-ishment fit the line;
And make the Fluorosphere,
With culinary intent,
A sauce of mustard and condiment!
Of mustard and condiment!

#21 ::: salixulon ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 06:46 PM:

If you happen to be familiar with the Ada programming language (and especially with its 1983 reference manual), you might appreciate this parody of the Major-General's Song. (It's not the very model of an operatic parody, since those who fully understand are something of a rarity.)

#22 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 07:18 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @13

You called for a disemvoweller?

#23 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 07:50 PM:

I appreciate the G&S references, but this isn't related to that. It's about the Particle link to "It Gets Better," the tooltip that reads "Can we do one of these for SF fans?"

Much as I sympathize with SF fans being bullied in school (hey, I'm a geek too), is this really the time? Five gay kids have killed themselves in three weeks.

#24 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 08:31 PM:

That would fit better in the Open Topic, Rebecca. I expect.

The quick answer is, working to stop bullying (and shaming) makes it better quicker for everyone, wherever the bullying/shaming happens. Yep, now's a particularly important time for helping gay teens -- and people are on it, doing a good job so far. And we can help expand it just a little bit, maybe.

#26 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 11:02 PM:

Bombie@17: The "big three" of Gilbert and Sullivan are fairly generally agreed to be The Mikado, H.M.S. Pinafore, and The Pirates of Penzeance. I think I've now seen their entire oeuvre performed, and I have to say that for me those three do stand out as being much the best (though all of the others are at least decently good, and often have wonderful moments; they just don't have as many of them).

I would have to disagree with Don Fitch@11; none of the movie versions I've seen have been anywhere near good enough. The problem is that movies need stars -- movie stars, not opera stars. The music is simply too difficult for the singers in all the movie versions I've seen, and hence the whole thing suffers badly.

Well, except for Topsy Turvy, which is wonderful, and incidentally has most of a full performance of one play and snippets of several others. I guess it sneaks by through not being just a movie of one of the plays.

Our local amateur group (the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company) is remarkably good; in fact they've just appointed a new music director, who turns out to the be the assistant conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra in his day job. I've seen them do several performances of most of the plays by now, and am always happy to go back.

#27 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 11:04 PM:

Bombie @22 said: You called for a disemvoweller?

I am reminded of mi profesora di español saying in class (as far as my monoglot, English-native, accent-deaf classmates could hear): "Remember, in espanish it is berry important -- always pay close attention to your bowels." Pause, as she assesses the HUH looks. "Your bowels. Not *bowels*" gestures to her midsection, "Your BOWels. Also your consonants."

#28 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 11:09 PM:

As I once said before:
I seek illumination from the writers of the fluorsphere
Each time I come to Making Light I see that even more is here
Parodies and politics and poems mean a lot to me
As well as lots of minor lore of dinosaurs and sodomy

(I am sure that a better dinosaur never sat a gee)

#29 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 11:51 PM:

As I've already done my best by My Object All Sublime and have had numerous whacks at the enduring monuments of the G&S repertoire, I thought it might best suit to endeavor to go back to some true nautical song for my hymn to this group. The one that picked me has a tone that's none too respectful, but I try to do right by the muse that buys me a drink.

Thus:

Our captain is Teresa,
Dead language puns do please 'er
And if betime, they also rhyme
You'll even drop and freeze 'er.

The first mate's name is Patrick
Flamboyant and theatric
He'll play guitar an' tend the bar
An' edit for an 'at trick.

(chorus:)
Writin' in the Lightin'
Frightenin' the blightin'
Flightin' wit' our writin'
It's what we like to do.

The bosun, Jim, 's a worrier
Who struggles to assure yer
If a comet hits when you've no kits
His spirit will abjure yer.

Our cook's a skirt called Abi
She's garrulous and gabby.
And glad to find you fourteen lines
On language or kohlrabi.

Writin' in the Lightin'
Frightenin' the blightin'
Flightin' wit' our writin'
It just feels right, it's true.

The cabin boy's named Grumer
A far from idle roomer:
He'll pen an ode, debug your code,
Or disemvowel foul humor.

Our crew crawled braes a-brembled
To be herein assembled
With verbal quips and wit like whips,
Until the welkin trembled

Writin' in the Lightin'
Frightenin' the blightin'
Flightin' wit' our writin'
'Tis silly, but 'twill do.

Writin' in the Lightin'
Frightenin' the blightin'
Flightin' wit' our writin'
We saved a spot for you.

(Fold in animated Sex Pistols to suit taste.)

#30 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:25 AM:

I'm working on an autobiographical version, but only have the first line so far:

I am the very model of a hopey-changey liberal

#31 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:58 AM:

Well, There's antimony arsenic aluminum selenieum...

What I wouldn't give now for a list of posters, organized by syllable count, and suffix sound. And a holocaust cloak.

#32 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 01:47 AM:

ddb @ #26, have you seen this one? When even Frank Rich applauds the Broadway production from which it came, as Wikipedia told me he did (and I went to read his original review), it has to be reasonably good. I admit I've always wanted to see this because it's about the only thing Linda Ronstadt has done that I've not heard, but still.

#33 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 01:48 AM:

Serge @ #9:

By one of those strange coincidences, I watched it on Saturday.

#34 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:02 AM:

Linkmeister @32, it says something about that production of Pirates that a song is brought over from Ruddigore, one of the more demanding patter songs. And the performers get it to work.

#35 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:03 AM:

Dear me. Well, most of my G&S is old stuff, like "The Accidental Admiral," which was written to make Lois McMaster Bujold laugh. Snippet:

"He brought in Trainee Taura, who is like a Wookie Amazon
(He got her into uniform but likes her with pajamas on)
His ship's so full of women you'd mistake it for a nunnery --
But one where all the sisters are superior at gunnery."

And then there's the whole writing-silly-G&S-and-other-pastiches-from-Neil-Gaiman's-party-invitations thing, which can be found in part in IDEA #12 (if you google for Idea, Geri Sullivan, Ford, and conflagrations, you'll probably find a pdf of it somewhere), but I dare not reproduce that here. It was funny, though -- especially sitting in Neil's living room singing Mike's version of Guys and Dolls, which involved Guy Fawkes disguised as a barrel of herring.... No, there's no good way to explain it, but it led to the Guys & Dolls stuff the next year.

Must resist temptation to stay up and write Fluorospherean verses, as sleep is of the essence.


#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:50 AM:

Paul A @ 33... Coincidence or conspiracy?

"I don't explain them, I only introduce them."
- Kermit

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:51 AM:

Bombie @ 17... Soon Lee @ 19... Thanks.

#38 ::: ddb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Linkmeister@32: I believe I've seen it, but fairly close to when it was released, so a very long time ago now. Not to my taste.

Also the Groucho Marx Mikado, though that one was pretty much doomed from the start.

#39 ::: Bombie ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:08 AM:

Elliott Mason @27

I hereby vow* not to use my meagre photoshop skills to make a picture of a disemboweller..

--
* Do not. write. 'bow'. Aargh, so tempting!

#40 ::: Russ ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:27 AM:

I cannot help but mention that a close family member is very much the model modern psychopharmacologist.

#41 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:43 AM:

Bombie @#6: The movie Topsy Turvy, about the creation of The Mikado, makes a good introduction to G&S, I think. It features various numbers but also shows the practice sessions and backstage stuff, so it's not as confusing as seeing an operetta for the first time.

#42 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:50 AM:

There are actually a couple of clips from the Groucho Mikado up on YouTube now. FIrst was the Little List, and then (at my request) Tit-willow/There is Beauty. The video quality is understandably poor. I hadn't realized that the recorded version I have wasn't the same as the televised performance, and the on-stage qualities of the video version aren't as good as what I was used to hearing from this cast. Nonetheless, it's worth seeing.

I rather like Mr. Marx as Ko-Ko. On first hearing, I thought lines had been rewritten for him, but they were pure Gilbert. I do wish the show hadn't been cut so mercilessly, of course.

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:11 AM:

Lila 3: *blush* Thanks! Of course calling me 'erudite' on a board containing Teresa and Abi and so many others seems...well, I am only an egg. An egg of an egg.

Do I correct people's grammar that much? I do try not to do that. Except for trolls.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:33 AM:

Xopher @ 43... I am only an egg. An egg of an egg

Yolk'an say that with a straight face?

#45 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:36 AM:

More pastiches! Don't make me be the one doing all the work...you won't like the next tranche.

#46 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:53 AM:

Serge 44: Yes I shell, over and over.

#47 ::: Q. Pheevr ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:05 PM:

Over and over? Easy for you to say.

#48 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:17 PM:

Serge #44: You say that when you're the keeper of the albumen?

#49 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:21 PM:

Xopher @ #43: that was intended as a tribute to the line, "Your grammaration is all upfucktificated" (which has entered our household phrase book), not a suggestion that you are the Grammar Police. Sorry!

#50 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:23 PM:

I am the very model of a lurker Fluorospherian
I timidly peek out and comment then hide back in here again
Next thing you you know I'm writing sonnets on the state that we are in
I am the very model of a lurker Fluorospherian

#51 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:35 PM:

Lila, no sorries! Me love it. Get it before I not did.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 12:50 PM:

Fragano @ 48... Omelette'ing others handle that responsibility.

#53 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 01:02 PM:

#35 Argh. I really was tired. For "led to the Guys and Dolls stuff the next year" please read "led to the Gilbert and Sullivan stuff the next year."


My pastiche well seems to have run dry. Ack.

#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 01:26 PM:

Actually I had quite forgotten ever saying such a thing. Thanks for reminding me, Lila!

Serge, your mind is clearly scrambled. Take a deep breath.* I don't want to have to harshly repoach you.
____
*You know why this is a pun.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 02:02 PM:

Xopher... That'd be a fowl thing to do.

#56 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 02:30 PM:

Serge, Xopher, desist lest you two be folded and beaten into peaks.

#57 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 02:54 PM:

Linkmeister @56

That seems a bit hard-boiled. I was only going to threaten to separate them.

#58 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 03:21 PM:

Serge, Xopher: You two are clearly addled.

#59 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 03:22 PM:

C Wingate @25: Thank you for reminding me of that one. :-) I had seen it long and long ago, and failed to bookmark it.

#60 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 03:32 PM:

Fragano @ 58: Yet neither of them admits to being coddled by us well-meaning supporters. I was shirred they would speak up, but that may have been just another tired quiche.

#61 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:06 PM:

I am the very model of an icebox plum bowl plunderer
Although at breakfast time my love will call me quite a blunderer
I know all the locations of the sweetness that's most fruitiest
And where my true-loves' breakfast time alluring cold fruit booty[1] is

I've studied long the placement of the fruit that is most chilly-ums
And also know a little bit of famous verse by Will-i-ams
Though plunder-worthy plums are neither animal nor mineral
I've stolen me a feast that's worthy of a major general

A marriage with a hungry poet takes a little hardening
And flowers chocolates and some grapes should buy a bit of pardoning
Of sleeping on the sofa I am tired and it's no wonder, fer
I am the very model of an icebox plum bowl plunderer

[1] Get your mind out of the gutter!

#62 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:18 PM:

Is there anything we will not do to that poem?

#63 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:20 PM:

albatross, 61: Wild applause.

Mark, 62: Well, I don't see us leaving it alone any time soon....

#64 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:20 PM:

All my best stuff is stolen from Gilbert & Sullivan.

I've totally poached their oeuf-vre.

**runs away fast**

**stays gone for just a second**

**runs back in**

Did you know that Katisha's solo "The Hour of Gladness" goes beautifully to the tune of "The Phantom of the Opera"? You can find the lyrics here, near the end of the Act I Finale.

**runs back out again, pursued by at least two separate crowds**

#65 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:34 PM:

Ginger #60: It's a matter of seeing how long we will soufflé.

#66 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 04:44 PM:

I think there's an egg up in the server. Someone should fix it before the whole thing fries.

albatross@61: I want to do your taxes and knit you stripey socks. Wait, let's see ...

I want to do your tack-us-es and knit you stripey sock-ess-es,
I want to send you presents in assortaments of bock-us-es.
Your poeting's terrific and your wit is quite remarkable,
The sun should ever shine on you, unless you want it darkable.

#67 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 05:33 PM:

Mark @ #62 wondered:
Is there anything we will not do to that poem?

Translate it into Klingon?

Alternatively (since moose are no good at languages):

This is Just to Say

I have sodomized
the dinosaurs
that were in
your ice age

and which
you were probably
saving
for Darwin

Forgive me,
they looked
so lonely
and so cold

#68 ::: salixulon ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 06:00 PM:

albatross @61, HelenS @66, Cadbury Moose @67: Kudos to you all! It just gets verse and verse!

For so many others, ova-tions and eggsultation!

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 06:07 PM:

"Which came first? The chicken, or the egg?"
- Stephen Hawking

#70 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 06:16 PM:

I've always thought that was a silly question. There were eggs millions of years before there were chickens.

#71 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:19 PM:

This is just to say
THat I have stolen
the moderator
That was in the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for a flaming thread.

forgive me
She was a plum
so wise
and so soothing

#72 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:21 PM:

#67: Refrigerators? Klingons do not need refrigerators! Everything is eaten fresh and raw the day it is hunted!

(We'll not even think of eating small purple fruits. Too much like tribbles.)

#73 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:23 PM:

Jon @ #72, presumably you have forgotten where prune juice comes from. ("A warrior's drink!" --Worf)

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:29 PM:

Plum nasty, albatross!

Mark @ 62:
Is there anything we will not do to that poem?

I don't think any of us will respect it in the morning.

#75 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:38 PM:

Xopher (70): I agree! There's also a definitive answer even if one specifies "chicken egg".

#76 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:39 PM:

@35: That is *awesome*. Did it succeed in making Lois laugh?

Also, regarding what you say in the comment thread about that song being about a specific phase in Miles's life: if someone were to want to write a sequel, so to speak, I note that "I am the very model of a Barrayaran Auditor" scans properly. Maybe in a few weeks when there's more new material...

#77 ::: Heather Rose Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 07:54 PM:

Cadbury @ 67

Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the Klingon version would boil down to something along the lines of "I ate your plums -- ya wanna make something of it?" I doubt that anything even vaguely approximating an apologetic tone would be available.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 08:41 PM:

Xopher @ 70... I'm disappointed. I was hoping you'd go for the dirty joke in that question.

#79 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:08 PM:

albatross @ 61 and Cadbury Moose @ 67 : Epic Awesome. I read albatross' post in the lab after lunch today - it made the prospect of 3+ hours of statistics much more bearable.

#80 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:38 PM:

Now I'm going to go ahead and alienate *everyone* by voicing my utter DISLIKE of a certain G in partnership with a certain S.

For an audition (far back in the dark days when I trod the boards) I had to sing a G&S song with intensity and a touch of pathos.

For my sins, I was cast.

Willow, titwillow, titwillow.

#81 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:55 PM:

The plums of my enemy have been devoured,
We shout Ka'plah!
In vast quantities they have been dried and crushed.
The Federation weaklings made the Warrior's Drink,
Yet in cowardice despise it, ignored.
My enemy's much-praised prune juice warms in casks
In our flagship's cargo hold, our plunder well deserved.
Great, round stacks of barels, casks and, between them, aisles
One passes down reflecting on war's victories,
Pausing to remember all those burning star fleets,
Disruptor fire slashed, rending the enemy's sky-
For behold, the perfect plum
Among these ranks and banks of casks,
These glorious and seemingly inexhaustible flasks
Of Warrior's Drink.*

----
* It scans much better in the original tlhIngan Hol, of course.

#82 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 09:57 PM:

*barrels

(what is it with me a poem typos?!)

#83 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:00 PM:

What Xopher said. There were eggs way before there were any avians, including eggs in water....

#84 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 10:17 PM:

Though if some of those pre-avian eggs were fertilized in a sodomitic fashion, they'd be definite fodder for discussion here!

#85 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:25 PM:

I live in a neighborhood with small yards, where you can't help seeing and hearing your neighbors. If my neighbors haven't already written me off for running out into the front yard in my bathrobe to photograph flowers in just the right morning light, or walking about brandishing a bamboo plant stake in a martial manner when dragging the trash cans to the curb during spiderweb season, then I'm sure they've struck me off the "invite to the block party" list now. And it's all your fault!

I was bustling about the house, loudly singing I am the very model of a modern major general... as I passed the back door, and found the dog asking to be let out. The dog is 13 years old, and does not move quickly, so I was absent-mindedly holding the door open, and bellowing, for quite a while before I realized what I was doing. There was no applause.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:40 PM:

Paula Helm Murray @ 83... Of course, and the question is old enough that it predates Darwin, whose work answered the question by pointing out that a species isn't a closed system. Hawking was using the question to ask here where the Universe comes from. And yes, that is a chicken clucking at the stars.

#87 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2010, 11:51 PM:

janetl @ 85:

Our neighbors never got upset at the way we would race around the yard in the evening wielding salt shakers to destroy slugs; Portlander are used to weird so I doubt that W. S. Gilbert is going to disconcert them.

#88 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 12:36 AM:

This is just to say
I took your poem.

#89 ::: Shane ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 12:49 AM:

Your silent gaze presents us here the screen on which we strut and play
unfinished posts and half-made verse that never ends up sent our way
A conversation with one side may feel like an engagement fail
but one-way friendships' quite enough if you'll support me in email

#90 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:31 AM:

Mmm...now I'm of a mind to finish up "The Nazgûl of Penzance" that I started posting on LJ a few years back (Here, if anyone's interested)

#91 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:41 AM:

Serge (86): a species isn't a closed system

That's why there's still a definitive answer even if one specifies chicken-egg. Well, okay, two possible answers; first you have to define your terms.

If a chicken-egg is:

a) an egg laid by a chicken--
then the chicken came first (first chicken laid first chicken-egg)

b) an egg that a chicken hatches out of--
then the egg came first (first chicken hatched out of first chicken-egg).

See? Simple. ;)

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:52 AM:

Mary Aileen @ 91... The question really is "Who came first? The first chicken, or the first egg?"

The answer is: the rooster.

#93 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:57 AM:

Pastiche not Zathras skill. :-(

#94 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 10:59 AM:

No, but pastiche definitely Zathras skill!

#95 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:50 AM:

Dave Bell @34 said: Linkmeister @32, it says something about that production of Pirates [with Kevin Kline and Linda Ronstadt] that a song is brought over from Ruddigore, one of the more demanding patter songs. And the performers get it to work.

It was, and it was marvelous. I had that tape in my formative years, and listened to it repeatedly.

In fact, thanks to that tape (and the song from Ruddigore it ported over), I actually unexpectedly landed the supporting role in a Doctor Who filk operetta☂. The person originally recruited to play The Companion discovered at the con where we were to perform that the Ruddigore patter song (My Eyes Are Fully Open, with lines like "This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter") was included in her role.

She quite rationally decided not to try to learn a full-bore G&S patter song at the last second. Thankfully, I knew all the required tunes by heart, so we swapped -- she became Third Townsfolk From The Right, as it were, and I got to be the Companion. Luckily, my spare shirt for Sunday morning said "My Parents Were Abducted By Aliens And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt," so my costuming needs were clearly handled.

☂ "Doctor Who and the Torians; or, the Lass that Loved a Cyberman", by S. Bruce; originally written in 1984. Because I know this crowd is interested, the songs are as follows:
- If You Want To Know Who We Are (We're a Trio of Cybermen)
- Oh Better Far to Live and Die (With a plastic arm and a plastic thigh)
- I Am the Very Model of a Modern TARDIS Traveler
- We Are Warriors Three (Fearsome Cybermen)
- My eyes are fully open to the awful situation (I must hurry to The Doctor and I'll give him an oration)
- With Cat-Like Tread (on Cybermen we steel. -Not steel, gold!)
- We Must Defeat these Cybermen (tto 'When First my Old, Old Love I Knew')
- A wandering Timelord I a thing of scarves and hatses—
- Impersonating Cybermen should not be hard to do (tto "It’s Clear that Mediaeval Art Alone Retains its Zest”")
- In bygone days I had the love
- For he is a Gallifreyan? He is! Hurrah for the Gallifreyan!
- Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen / Our stratosphere is now serene

I have the whole libretto in pdf format, if you know anyone who needs to see it (or perform it).

#96 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 12:38 PM:

If ever it might happen that a troll leaves threads befouled
I've got a little list
I've got a little list
Of attitudes pernicious that might well be disemvowelled
And they'd none of them be missed
They'd none of them be missed

There's the pestilential nuisances who spew out poisoned hate
All people who too arrogantly think their creds have weight
All sock puppets who on tooting their own horns insist
They'd none of them be missed
They'd none of them be missed

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:04 PM:

Itd be interesting to find out how well G&S's rapid-fire patter can be handled by someone whose native language isn't English. No, not me. I'm like Lina Lamont: can't sing, can't act, can't dance.

#98 ::: Kyndra ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:39 PM:

de-lurking for a moment to say that the Stratford Festival Mikado from 1982 is really pretty good. The singers could both sing and act.

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 01:53 PM:

Kyndra @ 98... I remember seeing that (along with other G&S productions) on the CBC when I was still living up there.

#100 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 06:38 PM:

#85 janetl

Now that is exactly the reason I hold long conversations with visiting cats while I haul the garbage container to the street and so on. Unlike yours, my behavior clearly marks me as normal and sane to my neighbors.

Or, maybe not? as they cannot see with whom I'm conversing nor ever hear any responses.

Love, C.

#101 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 07:13 PM:

Otter @ 96

May I suggest a small revision?

There's the pestilential nuisances who spew out poisoned hate
All people who too arrogantly think their creds have weight
All sock puppets who on tooting "someone else's" horns insist
They'd none of them be missed
They'd none of them be missed

#102 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 08:52 PM:

Cally Soukup @101

All sock puppets who on tooting "someone else's" horns insist

Heh. I like it, but unless I'm hearing it differently than you're thinking it, I think it's lost the meter. Maybe who on tooting "someone's" horns insist ?

#103 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 09:03 PM:

Seconding the love for the Stratford Festival Mikado. The on-stage costume change for the wedding is AMAZING.

#104 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2010, 11:17 PM:

Otter @ 102

I think my meter meter is broken; now no matter how I stare at it I can't make it come out right! I suspect this means it's past my bedtime....

#105 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:22 AM:

I have to count syllables on my fingers as I verbally try out poem lines.

#106 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:11 AM:

Elliott, there is not enough OMG WANT! in the world to express how very badly I need to see this PDF of yours. However, Google seems to have found me it. Is it missing anything vital?

#107 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:44 AM:

Constance @ 100: I have found that conversing with cats in a normal tone of voice, rather than the kitty-kitty! sort of thing, does often confuse humans nearby. Many people don't say things like "Oh, excuse me" to the four-legged.

#108 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:56 AM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little @106: Nope, that's it. Google didn't find me it when I looked, but clearly I was looking wrongly. :->

#109 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 02:56 AM:

Cally Soukup @ #104:

Perhaps And all sock puppets who on tooting "someone's" horns insist - that seems to my ear to have the right meter. (Although it doesn't quite capture the sense you were going for.)

#110 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 04:42 AM:

janetl #107: I have found that conversing with cats in a normal tone of voice, rather than the kitty-kitty! sort of thing, does often confuse humans nearby.

I've known some very intelligent cats over the years; using baby talk on cats (or human toddlers, for that matter) just seems condescending and cringe-worthy to me.

#111 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 07:08 AM:

91: reminds me of the answer to the Cretan Paradox: Epiminondas the Cretan says "All Cretans are liars".

Answer: obviously he's lying; some Cretans, including him, are liars, and others aren't. Or alternatively, he's telling the truth, but a liar doesn't lie all the time.

#112 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 08:36 AM:

Cally Soukup @104, I don't trust my meter meter either. (A decrepit old gas man named Peter...)

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:03 AM:

Woyuld you trust the pitter-patter of Demeter as she sells you a meter?

#114 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:02 AM:

The question is whether it's a metric meter or an English meter. Although I think an English meter is a metre.

And what metric do we use to determine if it's a metric meter?

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:17 AM:

Meanwhile, at the theater, the master chastises the actor and the usher.

#116 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:29 AM:

More matter, less patter!

(Back later for better palaver.)

#117 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:35 AM:

Dave @ #114:

Hexameter is the key insight.

#118 ::: Andrew M ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 11:58 AM:

ajay@111: Certainly you get consistency that way. However, there is still a paradox, in that it might be an observed fact that all statements by Cretans other than this one by Epimenides are false; he cannot, just by saying this, force other Cretans to tell the truth.

Of course in a real-world context,it's absurd to suppose that all statements made by Cretans should be false. But that can be got round by considering a more restricted class, e.g. statements made by Cretan prophets at ten o'clock on a Thursday morning. If all such statements so far have been false, and then Epimenides says, at ten o'clock on a Thursday morning, that they are false, what is the truth?

(We will ignore the fact that holy scripture says that Epimenides' statement was true.)

#119 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:01 PM:

I remember hearing about a study into baby-talk that found that although adults may think it sounds stupid (and possibly condescending) it actually has characteristics that help the baby's language development.

The interesting bit is that they also did a study with the same subjects talking to their pets and found that although there were obvious similarities, pet-talk lacked the key characteristic of baby-talk.

(details)

#120 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:16 PM:

There's clearly a pattersong line that ends in "meretricious meter" there....

#121 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 12:33 PM:

Hexameter is the key insight.

Is that what happened to the meter? Somebody put a hex on it?

And I like the meretricious meter idea.

#122 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 01:44 PM:

In actual fact, Cretans just like to mess with ya.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 03:09 PM:

Captain Kirk: Harry lied to you, Norman. Everything Harry says is a lie. Remember that, Norman. Everything he says is a lie.
Harcourt Fenton Mudd: Now I want you to listen to me very carefully, Norman. I'm... lying.
Norman: You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because you always lie... illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human; only humans can explain! Illogical!

#124 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 03:57 PM:

Kip W #122: It's all in what you Knossos.

#125 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 07:14 PM:

Elliot @95:

Excellent! I only wish I felt metric enough to say something musical.

#126 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 08:03 PM:

Oh, come on! He's a cretin, how can anything he says make any sense?

... oh ... I thought he was talking through his labyrinth.

#127 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2010, 10:46 PM:

re 104: How about
And stocking puppets who on touting "someone else" insist
?

This, to my ear, smooths out the bump and also suggests "stalking horse," which is not amiss in the situation.

#128 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 12:14 AM:

Kip @ 127

Oh, that's perfect! Thanks for correcting my updating of Otter's verse! I hope Otter likes it.

--Cal

#129 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 10:11 AM:

Kip @127, Cally @128

And stocking puppets who on touting "someone else" insist

I like it!

#130 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 04:40 AM:

There's always this, of course.

Tom Holt has a lot to answer for.

#131 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 09:23 AM:

Cadbury Moose @ 130: Oh yes! Thanks you for linking to that one.

#132 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 06:41 PM:

He was the very model of a modern major genre-al,
with prose and verse fantastical, and scholarly, and sf-nal.
He knew the Trains of Arthur, and he wrote of elves piratical,
and alternative worlds born of choices hieratical.
He was the Prince of Parody, The Shake got ribbed the most of all,
he understood that lunar youth take trains and not go orbital.
About la milice Gascogne and their meetings he had all the news
and for the Standard Model he had poems anyone could use.
He was very good at roles in games; he wrote the rule books tactical,
He knew the true names of the fen and led their play dramatical.
In short when words were needed to produce effect emphatical,
he was the very model of a modern major genre-al.

#133 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 07:54 PM:

Bruce Cohen (132): ::applause::

#134 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 08, 2010, 08:19 PM:

Bruce, 132: *cheers* (Now do it twice as fast, in one breath.)

#135 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 12:20 AM:

Texanne: and backwards, in stiletto heels.

#136 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 01:22 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) @132:.

Superb. Just superb.

#137 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 04:33 AM:

Aww. Bruce, well done!

#138 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 05:28 AM:

*Joins the applause*

(although I almost missed him and didn't know him well)

#139 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 10:09 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #132: *APPLAUSE*

#140 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 09, 2010, 05:17 PM:

elise, I was especially hoping you'd like it. And thanks to all of you for your applause.

Raphael, I never met him, and didn't really know his writing until after his death, but I've been making a point to track down everything I could since then. Not long ago I found an old copy of "Web of Angels" at Powell's, and was very impressed at the maturity of even his earliest work.

#141 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 10, 2010, 11:56 PM:

I only knew him here, and in fact didn't associate his published work with him until after his death.

I need to read some of it.

#142 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:11 AM:

A fluorospheroid I,
A fool for songs and verses
For rhyming metric curses
And knowing how and why.

My list of likes is grand,
With things both rich and strange as
I ring all sorts of changes
Where'er I put my hand, yes
Where'er I put my hand!

Would you dwell on medieval times?
I'll dwell with you!
Oh, fal lal lal lah lum!
Or do you love more recent rhymes?
I dig those too!
Oh, sorry about your plum!

I'll fill your scanning eyes
With notions old and wise
While footnotes rise
From sources new —
Oh, diga diga dum.

But if real-life revelations should be called for,
I've scientific studies rightly made
For whatever wonders we may meet in fiction
Reality can put them in the shade!
I sing of scientists who question all things
And settle for no theory lacking proof
And I know that if it's cosmic lore or small things
They'll never ever rest, until they reach the truth

(Yes, if it's cosmic lore or even things too small for us to see
They'll never rest, until they reach the truth!)

And if you dote on a sharp turn of phrase
You're sure to find it here.
Like many others, you'll stand in amaze
At the quibbles rich, and the many ways
The winds of chat can veer!

(Woo hoo! 'Tis True!
The winds of chat do veer!)

To play it safe with a dull cliché
Some other site may approve
But the only lines we find okay
Are swift and light
And crafted tight
And freshly made today, hey hey!
Like a chess grandmaster's move.

(Then wipe your keyboard — off we go
As toward the light we steer
With a hip hooray
And a rondelet
The winds of chat will veer!

With a hip hooray
And a rondelet
Hey hey! Hooray!
Hooray! Hey hey!
And rondelet,
Olé!)

A fluorospheroid I,
A fool for songs and verses
For rhyming metric curses
And knowing how and why…
And knowing how
(and knowing how and why)
and why!

#143 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: October 11, 2010, 01:40 PM:

Kip W @142: Oh. My.

Bravo, m'sieur.

#144 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 12:33 AM:

This Is Just to Say

I have read
the poems
that were in
the thread

and which
will probably
earworm us
for weeks

Forgive me
they were delicious
so silly
and so warm

#145 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 02:12 AM:

Earworms earworms,
Roly poly earworms,
Earworms earworms,
Obsess me arrggghh!

Chorus:
Earworms earworms,
Roly poly earworms,
Earworms earworms,
Obsess me arrggghh!

In the morning,
Horrifying earworms,
In the evening,
Floating in my brain.

(Chorus)

Tell an earworm
To a passing stranger,
They won't answer.
Yay! You're cured!

(Chorus)

#146 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2010, 09:06 AM:

Earl @145, I hope you feel better now ... I'm seriously earwormed. Aargh!

Other recent poems - Kip W, Bruce Cohen, janetl - applause.

#147 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 02:18 PM:

janetl and Earl - nice work; not sure which I'd rather have in my ear, and earworm or a plum.

#148 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 13, 2010, 04:56 PM:

Bruce Cohen #147: I can't hear you, I've got a plum in my ear!

#149 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 14, 2010, 10:28 PM:

This was just posted to Youtube on October 11th -- no doubt inspired by this thread: Obama! A Modern U.S. President (musical spoof)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y54FRMedT_s

#150 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 15, 2010, 12:43 AM:

David Harmon @ 148:

And now, the winner of the Little Jack Horner "What a Good Boy" Prize ...

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