America, America

I remember reading a particular issue of Mad Magazine back in the seventies. As it so often did, it included some song and poem parodies, this time on an environmentalist theme. I can recite two of them from memory–one a spot-on Dr. Seuss, and the other a version of the song “America The Beautiful”:

O cancerous, for smoggy skies
For pesticidal grain
Irritated mountains rise
Above an asphalt plain

America, America
Thy sins prepare thy doom
Monoxide clouds shall be thy shrouds
Thy cities be thy tomb!

[Read more…]

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

They paved over Richard—that’s Richard the third
The Richard that used to be King.
Will I be remembered? The notion’s absurd!
But who knows what the future might bring?

Will the world of the future seek out where I rest?
Will they quarry in search of my bones?
Will they pore over details of things I’ve professed?
Will they look for the truth in the stones?

Will I live in the memories of those I have left?
Is this rational thought, or mere snobbery?
Will my grave be exhumed? And, for science, or theft?
Archaeology, maybe, or robbery?

They paved over Richard; they’ll pave over me
And a car-park may cover my head
My bones will be hidden where no one can see…
But I really won’t care. I’ll be dead.

In my opinion, the coolest site by far for looking at all the Richard III stuff is this, the University of Leicester page on the search. Great explanations of the dig, of the DNA search, of the analysis of wounds, of the reconstructed face…

And Jesus Saith “Take My Wife, Please!”

The fragment of papyrus read:
“And Jesus said, My Wife…”
Which shocked those unaware of this
Dimension of His life

The fragment, though, is incomplete;
It leaves the scholars vexed.
I’ll ask my learned readers, then…
What do you think comes next?

So, yeah… via National Geographic… A fourth-century fragment of papyrus is making some waves.

The papyrus made international headlines when it was cited in a new paper by Harvard historian Karen King. Smaller than a business card, the fragment includes several lines of handwritten text, composed in Coptic language, which uses Christian symbols.

The final line of text includes the words: “And Jesus said, My Wife…” while quoting Jesus.

My question, then, is simple: What’s the next line? What’s next, that the papyrus got cut off before it told us? For me, I see Jesus as a borscht belt comedian, stealing from Henny Youngman, Jack Benny, and Uncle Miltie…

And Jesus said, My Wife Simon Peter and I will be taking the weekend off..

And Jesus said, My Wife, when she sits around the house, she sits. around. the house.

And Jesus said, My Wife complains about dinner: loaves and fishes again?

And Jesus said, My Wife–Take her, please!

And Jesus Said, My Wife…

What?

Oh, rats!

From the fleas of rats and mouses
To a plague a’ both your houses,
If we can’t blame sheep or horses, then we gotta blame the Jews
When we found a small bacillus,
Not a god, had tried to kill us
It’s the sort of information anyone can surely use!
If you wish Yersinia pestis
Not to kill you, our request is
That you clean the fleas from bedding, and the rats from in your larder
But if you’re afraid of science
And you’d rather put reliance
In the methods of the church, then their advice is: Just pray harder!

Shelley at Retrospectacle has begun a week-long series that I am very much looking forward to–that’s right, it’s Plague Week!!

I have always been fascinated by The Plague; no matter how I have tried, I don’t think I can wrap my head around what life must have been like during such horrible events. I hope that the avian flu does not give us the chance to find out.