Speaking Of Naked…

Via “Wait, wait, don’t tell me” and their news quiz (June 13th’s in particular, but I can’t seem to link to just that), I find TIME’s article on naked hiking in Germany, and on Switzerland’s Supreme Court challenge of their no-nude-hiking laws.

I remember those laws; I wrote about them at the time (amusing pic at the link):

The Swiss have said “Enough! Enough!”
We’ll have no hiking in the buff!
See, German hikers gave them fits
By showing off their naughty bits—
A practice which the Swiss construed
As lewd, indecent, crude and rude.

So now, if Germans wish to slough
Their clothing there, the going’s rough.
No innies, outies, bums, or tits;
The Germans now must use their wits
If suddenly, they’re in the mood
To go out rambling in the nude.

If someone tried to call the bluff,
And hike in full display of stuff
The Swiss police alertly sits
To meet them with an all-out blitz–
A picture which, I must conclude,
Leaves naked hikers rightly screwed.

I particularly like the way it’s all the same rhymes. Not as easy as it looks.

Dance Naked At My Funeral

Dance naked at my funeral! Because
You can; because you are alive to dance!
Dance naked—never mind the laws—
The cops might care; you’ll have to take that chance!

Dance beside the fresh-turned earth—my grave—
With nothing on but bright blue sky, or clouds
If the sky is mourning my loss. Misbehave!
Dance naked! You have no need of shrouds!

Dance, naked, around my silent stone;
If I were there, and living, I’d dance too!
But no, my music’s stopped; my dance is done
Dance for me! That’s all I ask of you!

Dance naked—mourn in movement, in the buff;
For now, forget… you’ll join me soon enough.

Via our friends at the Good Funeral Guide, an article on some recent arrests in Zimbabwe, of people who caused a disturbance by dancing naked at a funeral “in the full glare of mourners”.

In one case, four were arrested; in another, 15 were arrested for naked dancing (or scantily clad dancing) at another funeral:

Officer commanding police in Mutare Urban District, Chief Superintendent Winston Muzah, confirmed the arrests.

“We cannot have a situation whereby people strip naked at funerals. That is taboo and criminal. As police, we do not condone such acts and we are on the alert for any repeat of such behaviour. We will take stern action against anyone found on the wrong side of the law,” he said.

It kind of made me wonder about the motivation. Was this a celebration? Were these people crashing funerals they were not part of? The article, while disapproving, is short on details of motivation:

Of late, funerals and burials in the high-density suburbs have degenerated into platforms of nudity in which mourners indulge in all sorts of misdemeanor.

Again, but why?

The more I thought about it, the more I thought… I want people dancing naked at my funeral. It is a time (or may be) when you feel most strongly the impermanence of life–so what better time to celebrate the delicate absurdity of it all?

Beat(less) Poem

image: Texas Heart Institute

There’s a little pump that’s sorta
Attached to my aorta
It plays a major part
But I knew I needed somepin’
For my blood to keep on pumpin’
Like an artificial heart

I knew it was worth tryin’
Cos otherwise I’m dyin’
I needed to restart
Though my blood races quicker
There’s no ticking in my ticker
It’s an artificial heart

For life, I’d face the knife
I know just what to do

You want to try a little something new?

Without a beat? Still sweet!

I can keep the reaper waitin’
My blood is circulatin’
I’m feelin’ mighty smart
Though my pulse won’t be stirrin’
I will hear the gentle whirrin’
Of my artificial heart

Via NPR, a story to warm all three of my cuttlefish hearts–new directions and progress in plumbing! Circulatory plumbing, that is–a new artificial heart, using centrifugal pumps rather than attempting to replicate a beating heart. No pulse–complete flatline–but blood circulates, and I am assured that this is what blood is supposed to do.

As always, the comments are fun; already, the poor poets and songwriters are being pitied. So I thought I’d be the first to jump in and write a bit of non-beat poetry.

Four Wheels Good–Two Wheels Bad!

When on a bike, I take great pains
To stay inside the cycle lanes
There may be unexpected stops
But still, it beats the traffic cops.

Actually, the cycle lanes in and around Cuttletown are getting better, but they have been thin, poorly marked, and ignored by drivers. As cycle lanes often are. So when I saw the story of a cyclist, ticketed for riding in a vehicular lane, there wasn’t much chance of me siding with the cop. Cars frequently use the bike lane when they need a bit of breathing room–and who can blame them? Much nicer to ding the paint on a bike than to face a truck nose to nose.

But come on–give the same consideration to a bike that needs to travel a car lane!

In theory, bikes and cars both are vehicles, subject to the same laws, and with equal claim to the road. In practice, some vehicles are more equal than others.

Clover The Turtle

Clover the turtle, with no back legs,
Can’t dig a hole to lay her eggs
But when she arrives on the Florida sands
Biologists lend some helping hands
She lays her eggs, they’re covered over,
Then slowly, off again goes Clover.

Via CNN, a story of Clover the leatherback turtle. Her hind flippers have been bitten off by sharks, but with a little help from her human friends, she still lays several nests of eggs each year (seven this year).

It’s really a sweet story–especially on a news day dominated by scandalous politics. There’s only so much muck I can wade through. On the other hand, take a look at the comments following the story. Even here, commenters are chastising those who deny god’s powers–how else would a turtle know how deep to dig?


“Two Crustaceans On The Moon…”

A guest post of sorts today! Reader Azita shares a song she wrote, and which I absolutely love. There is something special about the cross-pollination between art and science; Azita is a biology student, and so this song takes a unique perspective. It is “Lobster Love”, and I’ve attached the lyrics below–but watch and listen first!

The lyrics:
Wouldn’t it be nice you and me
Two lobsters in the sea
Holding claws on the beach
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had time
To watch the world go by
Watch day turn into night
As the stars begin to shine
Under starlight you are mine

I know that I only met you once but I never needed anyone else
I’m not saying this is love but I never needed anyone else

If we could I’d like to ride in a balloon
Fly as high as we could
Two crustaceans on the moon
We could do all the things we dreamed we’d do
Have anemones for tea
And a conch shell made for two
And we’d have to make some room
For the little lobsters too

I know that I only met you once but I never needed anyone else
I’m not saying this is love but I never needed anyone else

You make my heart beat faster, just listen
Faster than it should with my single circulatory system
I always knew I wanted you in my picture
If I had a spine you’d make it shiver
Believe me, I’m your biggest fan
I care for you as deeply as an arthropod can
When I’m with you, we have a lot of fun
You see right through my protective exoskeleton

I know that I only met you once but I never needed anyone else
I’m not saying this is love but I never needed anyone else

There is just so much to love about this (“if I had a spine you’d make it shiver”), and I thank Azita from the bottoms of all three of my Cuttlefish hearts, and encourage all of you to follow her example, and be creative and wonderful.

Just Because

So I was looking through the comments at USA Today’s “Faith & Reason” blog–you know how much I love reading comments. In particular, this one brought out a predictable sort because a religion blog was criticizing the tone of a science blogger. Commenters claimed there was no solid proof for evolution, and that no scientists were present at the Big Bang so it’s only a theory… and that if they want hard evidence, then they should look to the words of Jesus Christ.

It brought to mind a verse from just over 3 years ago, so I dredged it back up. Long time readers will recognize it, but I have quite a few more eyes on the page since then.

I’ve examined evolution, and I think I understand
Though the evidence is shaky, still I think the theory’s grand
But it’s only just a theory, so it’s only just a start
And an open-minded person should try picking it apart.
No belief without a reason! Give me proof of what you claim!
And the more I look, the more I see the evidence is lame!
When considering a tangled bank, I choose to see God’s Laws
And the reason I believe it? Just because.

Charles Darwin drew a picture of an ever-branching tree
From the earliest of creatures all the way to you and me
Other limbs produced the fishes, beetles, lizards, monkeys, ants,
Paramecia, bacteria, creationists and plants;
He supported it with evidence of every kind he could
Which I’ve critically examined, as a thinking person should;
Now I know that he’s mistaken in the picture that he draws
And the reason I believe it? Just because.

If you analyze it critically, as science says we must
You’ll find laws of physics broken, so the theory is a bust:
The second thermo-something law is busted into pieces
By the fact that evolution means that entropy decreases!
And random changes couldn’t make the creatures that we find,
So the evidence is clear, that we cannot be un-designed!
With castles out of playing-cards and armies made of straws
There’s the reason I believe it: Just because.

Now, with Darwin and his evolution clearly in the tank
There is only one alternative, if I am to be frank;
That’s the theory found in Genesis, the Holy Word of God,
And with natural selection out, creation gets the nod.
But we can’t be disrespectful to our deeply held belief,
So our critical examination, this time, must be brief
There’s no clothing on this emperor, not even filmy gauze—
But the reason I believe it? Just because.

Sure, the logic may be iffy, and the evidence is slim—
Who created the creator? And then, who created him?
Why the Genesis creation? Why not something else instead?
Can we guarantee the story is exactly what God said?
Is it literal or metaphor, or maybe outright fiction?
What’s the proper course of action when we find a contradiction?
I’m ignoring any nagging doubt within me where it gnaws
And the reason I believe it? Just because.

If I’m right, I go to heaven, which I’d really like to do
But I’ll go to hell for sure if I suspect that it’s untrue
It’s a simple little wager, there’s no reason to think twice:
You get punished if you’re naughty, you get presents if you’re nice
From the guy who watches all of us, from there behind his beard
(And who cares if it’s millennia since last time he appeared?)
And so, even if it’s really just a grown-up’s Santa Claus
Well, the reason I believe it? Just because.

The Much-Revered Sarah Palin

Listen my children, and then discuss
The stupidity found in the Palin bus
At the end of May, and beginning of June,
A visit we can’t forget too soon
That the media types force-fed to us.

She said to supporters gathered there
In folksy phrases, full of charm,
“You patriots are all aware
That Paul Revere, he gave that alarm
By ringin’ that bell, and shootin’ that gun,
That red-blooded patriots weren’t gonna run
He was ready to ride to keep us free
And tell them all ‘don’t tread on me’
So, one if by land, and two if by sea”

Reporters there were heard to say
They hadn’t learned it quite that way
As writers, some were English-lit-ish
And questioned if he’d warned the British
Who were, of course, the enemy,
Invading us—by land or sea—
So Sarah missed a thing or three
Her more important task that night
Was “make the news”, not “get it right.”

Meanwhile, her teabag friend Michele
While touring in the Granite State
A fortnight sooner to this date
(Well, give or take a day or two)
Was misconstruing facts as well
Her “shot heard round the world” was great
New Hampshire, though, was heard to boo.

The Concord where the shot was fired
“Heard round the world,” you may recall
Was not New Hampshire’s town at all,
Thus not the one where she was mired.
It seems there may be no Repubs
Who haven’t uttered stupid flubs
Their grasp, it seems, of history
Is battered, bruised, and blistery,
And why they’re on the public stage
In this enlightened day and age
Is more or less a mystery

Reader Kathie has alerted me (and so, I alert you) to a bit of versical fun at the Washington Post. You are invited to submit your own poems, honoring those there great patriot types, Paul Revere and Sarah Palin.

For a while, I considered writing a verse the length of the original. Then, I slapped myself in the forehead and scolded myself for contemplating such a waste of time. But hey, maybe I’ll add on to what I have here. When I’m all caught up with more important things, like alphabetizing my socks.

I’m Just A Tweet

Boy: Woof! There sure are a lot of people talking about this new scandal! I wonder what started it all!

Oh, I’m just a tweet
A congressional tweet
Just a photo that he’d like to delete
Well, if he’d stopped for a moment
Or considered just a minute
And thought “what would happen
If the whole world saw what’s in it?”
Now he wishes I would go away
And he hopes and prays that I will
But today I am still just a tweet

Boy: Gee, Tweet, that’s an awful lot of commotion over one picture!

Tweet: Well, I’m not just a tweet—I’m a lewd tweet by a Democratic member of Congress! I’m like a gift from the gods to the media, and especially to the right-wing pundits on Fox News! I started out small, but here’s the thing; any attempt to make me go away just makes me bigger! And any attempt to make me bigger, also makes me bigger!

Oh, I’m just a tweet
A congressional tweet
And he’s wishing that he’d been more discreet
Well it’s a long, long way
From initially denying
To a full press conference
With confessionals and crying
Now the media have come to play
They are sensing prey they can kill
So today, they are still on the tweet

Boy: Listen to the media talk! Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Tweet: Oh, it’s not debate; that would require more rationality. This is blood lust, and it’s only mostly about me. Some of it is about old grudges and insults, and I’m just a proxy issue. If they didn’t puff me up with importance, my story might die.

Boy: Die?

Tweet: Well, the news cycle is a stern taskmaster. But it looks like Fox News is going to run with me! Now the rest of the networks, papers, and websites have to choose whether they want me.

Boy: If they do, what happens?

Tweet: I’ll be the only thing on every media outlet until the next scandal hits!

Boy: Oh no!

Tweet: Oh yes!

I’m just a tweet
A congressional tweet
And the media are howling for meat
So now I’m stuck in the headlines
As a useful distraction
Diverting attention
From every other action
I’m the dirty laundry on display
Leading folks astray is my skill
So today I am still just a tweet

Boy: You mean there are other stories in the news, that people won’t see because they are focusing on you?

Tweet: Yes, that’s called the Modern Attention Span. The media believe you can only pay attention to one thing at a time, so that’s what they give you.

Boy: Wow, I guess it’s not easy to get out of the public eye when so many people have reason for you to stay, is it?

Tweet: No!

But how I hope and I pray that I will,
But today I am still just that tweet

News Anchor: Look! Sarah Palin said something stupid!

Tweet: Oh yes!!

Weiners In Public

The members of the media
Were moved, it seems, to tears;
They hadn’t seen such honesty
In far too many years
The congressman spoke openly
And did not try to hide;
He did not say “mistakes were made”
But rather, said “I lied”
He’d hurt his wife and family;
He’d hurt some friends he’d met
(Though they’d never met in person,
Merely on the internet)
His sin was, frankly, private,
And the public was not hurt;
He simply was a man who’d found
He rather liked to flirt.

The members of the media
Decided it was right
To keep his private troubles
From a harsh and public light;
They thought he’d had his punishment
Just facing them today
They thanked him for his troubles, and
They turned and walked away.

As virtually every news source in the world is reporting, Rep. Weiner has confessed. He did a bit of cyber-foolery, and lied about it.

I don’t recall Weiner as having been a moralizer, so I can’t easily laugh at him. He is in a world of hurt with his wife, but this is a big nothing, as scandals go. The measured response by the media should be… to leave it be.

So, how many weeks/months/years do you think they will actually drag it out?