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The Digital Pack-Rat, Vol. 17

Yeah, I know, it has been nearly two months. But in all that time, there is only enough pack-rat material for one post. (Seriously, it took over a week before I could read the news without rewriting each story in rhyme–but I forced myself. Now, it is taking me a bit to get back into form…)

The first… I poked my head up out of my hiding-place to write a few lines about homeopathy, when the swine flu scare brought the snake-oil salesweasels out into the open.

I would never give plain water
To my wife, or son, or daughter
Any more than I would bleed them, or would chant some silly spell.
If their symptoms verge on flu-ish
I want medicine that’s true-ish
Give me proven (double-blind) effective drugs, or go to hell.

Next… I don’t ordinarily include limericks in the pack-rat volumes, but if I don’t, this will be a too-brief post. The topic? Creating dinosaurs, through genetic modification of … chickens.

Though the task is a little complex,
Given time, we can work out the specs–
With the motive and means,
We can juggle the genes:
From a chicken, derive a T-rex!

Though the papers will claim that I’m mad,
There is nothing I’ve done that’s so bad–
This isn’t designing,
But merely refining–
I’m giving them back what they had!

Every egg that you’ve scrambled or fried
Is a dinosaur’s sibling that died–
If you’ve cooked up your dozens,
I’m telling you, cousins,
It’s time that you’d best run and hide!

Just one day later, PZ published back-to-back posts. One wrote of his commencement speech at Keck. The other wrote of email he got from Heck. Come on; that’s just not fair…

By juxtaposing Keck and Heck,
You’ve fashioned me a nervous wreck–
The one is nice, the other, dreck;
My head so spun, I sprained my neck.
So now I type (well, hunt and peck)
And try to keep my thoughts in check;
Please, next time, won’t you wait a sec
Or maybe holler “clear the deck!”
Before you deign to flick that speck?

Next, a singular(ity) verse… I must write at length about the singularity at some point–I actually have well-considered opinions, backed up with consistent logic and (even better!) evidence. But for now…

My mind, they say, will fit in lots
Of itsy bitsy nanobots–
Assuming such a thing could be,
That thing, of course, would not be me.

The same day (wow, I must have had lots of grading due or something), PZ had to write about “Men in fancy hats”. Hats are, to a verse-monger, what a red flag is to a bull. Too much metaphor, too easily rhymed. Ask Dr. Seuss.

I saw a man who wore a hat,
So big, so bright, so tall–
So heavy on his head, it sat,
The biggest hat of all.

He carried this tremendous weight,
Although his neck did strain,
Because it made him contemplate
Christ’s suffering and pain.

It made him feel that pain is good–
It fortified his soul.
He suffered greatly, as he should,
For thus is mankind’s role.

He wore it proudly, even though
The atheists would scoff;
It hurt his head, but even so
He would not take it off.

The moral here, I think you’ll find,
Is easy to apply:
Take off that hat, and free your mind,
And hold your head up high.

Almost done now, I promise!

Again, I blame PZ. He shares his Mr. Birdnow with us, and Birdnow mangles John Donne.

Though “thee” and “we”, it seems to me,
Are similar, phonetically,
The use of each in proper speech
Is out of Mr. Birdnow’s reach.
Ask not for whom we sit and fume
Ask not whose writing gives us gloom
For now, as ever, the bell, so clever,
Tolls and tolls for Mr. Birdnever.

Lastly (!!!), a bit of wordplay with Thunderf00t and Luskin. Just because.

Thunderf00t’s not mean, or brusque; in
Fact, when he exposes Luskin,
Leaving just a tattered husk, in
Pieces on the floor,
He does so in his usual Thunder-
F00tish manner; Luskin’s blunders
Neatly listed. It’s no wonder
All of us want more.

Again, I remind you to vote in the poll (over there to the right–it is clearly the most important poll on its subject that there has ever been). And donate blood, tip your waitress/waiter, hug your loved ones, and don’t make me come over there.

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