Christmas Rhapsody – My Favorite Christmas Parody Song Evar

queen bohemian rhapsodyIs this the Yuletide?
It’s such a mystery
Will I be denied
Or will there be gifts for me?

Come down the stairs
Look under the tree and see…

And it’s time, once again, for my annual plug for my candidate for the Best Christmas Song Parody Evar: Christmas Rhapsody, Pledge Drive’s Christmas-themed parody of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” written by my friend Tim Walters and his friend Steve Rosenthal.

Alas, there’s no video. Which is a shame, since I think this thing has potential to go seriously viral some year if there were a good video to go with it. Interested videographers should contact Tim through his Website. In the meantime — enjoy the song!

And if you like that, Tim has even more holiday music on his site. My fave: Down in the Forest, described as “A dark and slightly confused Yuletide nightmare. It has something to do with the Fisher King. Maybe.” Have fun!

Everyone Knows It’s Comet!

It’s cat-themed song parody time! Sung to the tune of “Windy.” For those who aren’t familiar with the Legend of Comet, here’s a bit of context to help you understand this particular cat.

Comet on fridgeWho’s peeking out from under a shoebox
Leaping and twisting high in the air?
Who’s bending down to pilfer my yogurt?
Everyone knows it’s Comet!

Who’s tripping down the sofas and bookshelves
Leaping at everybody she sees?
Who’s reaching out to capture a shoelace?
Everyone knows it’s Comet!

And Comet has stormy eyes
That flash when she claws my thighs
And Comet has teeth to bite
Upon my toes
Upon my toes…

Who wakes us up at six in the morning
Poking my face and biting my nose?
Who snuggles up, then nips at your finger?
Everyone knows it’s Comet!

Who’s chowing down on all the phone chargers
Tussling with every kitty she sees?
Who’s reaching out to dig in the laundry?
Everyone knows it’s Comet!

Other posts on this theme:
The Comet Song: Theme from “Cat Over the Fridge Up High,” by ReasJack

Camp Quest Fundraising Contest Ends Soon — Last Chance for My Singing Pledge!

The deadline for the Camp Quest fundraising contest ends September 3! So I’m re-posting this piece — to remind you that the contest is still happening, and my singing pledge is still on. Remember: the more money Team Awesome wins by, the more songs I’ll sing!

Raise money for Camp Quest — the kids’ camp for children of atheists, freethinkers, humanists, and other non-supernaturalists — and watch me make a singing fool of myself! Plus there’s a matching offer on the table from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation — so all your donations, up to $50,000, will be automatically doubled!

Last year, about eighty zillion bloggers teamed up against PZ Myers in an epic battle between good and evil, to be determined by who could raise the most money for Camp Quest. PZ was crushed by the Army of Awesome — and this year, he seeks revenge! So we’re doing it all over again. (This year’s Army of Awesome includes me, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist, Jen McCreight of Blag Hag, JT Eberhard of WWJTD, Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism, Sikivu Hutchinson of Black Skeptics, Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience, Cuttlefish of Digital Cuttlefish, C. L. Hanson of Letters from A Broad, The Chaplain of An Apostate’s Chapel, Phil Ferguson of Skeptic Money, and Dale McGowan of The Meming of Life.)

Now. You may remember that, in last year’s fundraising contest, several members of both teams made assorted wild promises about ways that we would make public spectacles of ourselves if our team won. Team Awesome prevailed, as the good and the righteous always do… so as a result, Jen McCreight learned to ride a bike on camera, JT Eberhard shaved his head and waxed his legs, Adam Lee grew a beard, Matt Dillahunty did an episode of The Atheist Experience in drag.

And I did karaoke. For the first time.

I’m not going to do that again. (Shudder.) However.

I was completely inspired by Crommunist’s songfest in the Secular Student Alliance blogathon. For every $10 donated to the SSA during his round of the Blogathon, Ian recorded a song requested by the donator — and wound up performing a total of 22 songs. (What can I say? Guy is hardcore.)

Now, of course, Ian can actually sing, which puts the whole thing into a different perspective. I can only sing okay. But I was inspired… and when I was thinking what wild promise I could make for this year’s Camp Quest Fundraising Battle to the Near-Death, I decided, “What the fuck.” (Also, I would like a second shot at this, and would like y’all to know that I can actually sing okay when I’m not singing through a shitty microphone in a noisy bar at the tail end of a weekend-long conference when my voice is shot.)

So I hereby make this pledge to you.

If Team Re-Defeat PZ — a.k.a, Team Awesome — wins the Camp Quest Fundraising Contest, I will sing, and video it, and post the video on this blog.

I’m not going to do karaoke again. Fuck that noise. But I will sing, on video, a capella, in the privacy of my own home. And I will post the video to this blog.

And I’ll go further than that. [Read more…]

The Comet Song: Theme from “Cat Over the Fridge Up High,” by ReasJack

Comet on fridgeEver since we got Comet, Ingrid and I have been trying to write a song for her, to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March. Otherwise known as the tune from “Bridge Over the River Kwai.” Otherwise known as the “Comet, it makes your teeth turn green” song, beloved by children across this great nation.

Now we have one! It was posted in a comment by ReasJack, in response to my latest Catster piece about Comet, Hell’s Kitten: Learning to Love Our Play-Aggressive Cat. And it’s beautifully done. The art of the song parody is a delicate one, and many people don’t get it quite right — but this one rhymes, and scans, and has all sorts of inventive little bits. We love it. Thanks!

Here, by ReasJack, is Theme from “Cat Over the Fridge Up High.”

She’ll bite like a machine
Your feet she’s in between
Your stuff she’ll glom it
She’ll chow down on it
And vomit todaaay
badum badum
She needs some more play time
She thinks “That LEG IS MINE!”
She’ll jump upon it
So play with Comet
Get on it

Blogathon for SSA: America’s Best Dance Crew, and the Great New American Art Form

I am of the opinion that hip-hop dancing is America’s great new art form.

I like the music fine, although it interests me somewhat less than it used to. (I liked it better when it was more political and less commercial.) But the dancing… the dancing is another story.

We started watching “America’s Best Dance Crew” almost by accident. We were staying overnight with some folk dance friends, and we watched an episode because our hostess was. But we got hooked immediately. We went very quickly from “America’s best what now?” to “We must never ever miss an episode of this show, no matter what happens.” Within a couple/ few episodes.

I love how it blends artistry and athleticism. I love how it is taking what is essentially a folk art form and, through time and attention and discipline and community, is transforming it into high art. I love that, no matter how high the art gets, or how wide-ranging its influences are, or how diverse its practitioners become, it never seems to lose touch with its urban street roots. I love how it blends serious-as-a-heart-attack discipline with playful, exuberant joy.

This is, in my opinion, the great new American art form. Like jazz, or abstract expressionism, or rock and roll. If you’re not paying attention, you’re missing out.

This post is part of my blogathon for the Secular Student Alliance. Donate today!

I’ve posted some quotes talking about why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome, and why they deserve your support. If you have a story or a comment about why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome — post it in the comments, and I’ll post it in the blog! Along with kitten photos, of course. Support the SSA!

Blogathon for SSA: The Fun of Badness

The song “Hit ‘em Up Style” — the version by the Carolina Chocolate Drops — came up on my shuffle at the gym the other day. Here’s video:

And I started thinking about why imagining wickedness can be so much fun. Why is it that this song — a song whose lyrics are entirely antithetical to so many values that I hold dear — has become one of my very favorites, a song that I’ll hit “Replay” on over and over again?

It’s not like the song is expressing resistance to cultural values that I tolerate but resent, and I enjoy the fantasy of rebellion. The song is antithetical to my very own values. Why is it so much fun?

Of course, part of it is that the Carolina Chocolate Drops just freaking rock the house. And their own fun with it is so very contagious. Still. This one is puzzling me. I’m not overly concerned about it, I’m happy to enjoy it. It’s just odd.

This post is part of my blogathon for the Secular Student Alliance. Donate today!

I’ve posted some quotes talking about why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome, and why they deserve your support. If you have a story or a comment about why the Secular Student Alliance is so awesome — post it in the comments, and I’ll post it in the blog! Along with kitten photos, of course. Support the SSA!

SSA Blogathon Relay Continues — With Song Requests From Crommunist!

And the Secular Student Alliance Blogathon Relay continues!

All this week, different bloggers all around the atheist blogosphere are committing to an extended stretch of hyperactive blogging, in some cases pledging to blog every hour or even every half hour for a full 24-hour period. All to raise money for the Secular Student Alliance. Our goal: Raise $100,000 by Sunday, June 17. (We’re over halfway there already!)

Ian Cromwell at The Crommunist Manifesto is rocking the house right now — literally. If you go to his blog and make a $10 donation to the SSA, he’ll do song requests. Videos are going up thick and fast, even as we speak. Go check it out — and make your donations today!

This Is Not Okay, JT

This is not okay, JT.

I’ve known JT Eberhard for close to two years. We met at the Secular Student Alliance conference in 2010, and he immediately impressed me with his passion, his joy, his bulldog determination, his fearlessness about other people’s opinions of him, his willingness to throw himself headfirst into the projects he cared about — and most of all, his ferocious defense of the truth. (His talk at that conference about how Skepticon got started should be required watching for anyone who thinks they don’t have the know-how to do organizing and activism.) He’s become one of my most trusted colleagues and allies in the atheist movement — and he’s become one of my closest friends.

I want to support my friends in doing what they most want to do with their lives. So when JT began talking about the possibility of quitting atheist blogging — of quitting professional atheism altogether — and going back to pursuing a professional singing career, I tried to swallow my disappointment. I knew it would be a huge loss to atheism to lose such a hard-working and extraordinarily skillful voice, and his absence at conferences and events would be a great personal loss to me… but I know we have to follow our dreams, and I tried to support him as whole-heartedly as I could.

But this is not okay.

When JT first started talking about getting back into music, his idea was to pursue a career as an atheist musician. He loves atheism more than almost anyone I know, and he wanted to stay in the movement and support it with this new direction. But he quickly began to get discouraged about whether he could ever earn a living as an atheist musician. I tried to be encouraging — Tim Minchin! Roy Zimmerman! Thousands at the Reason Rally! Hundreds of new atheists every day! — but he floated a few test baloons on Twitter, and he just didn’t think it would fly.

So he dropped the bombshell.

JT Eberhard is becoming a Christian musician.

He is departing Freethought Blogs, and is forming his new Christian Rock Band, Heart of Glory, beginning tomorrow, April 2.

I am baffled, and appalled. Especially since JT has acknowledged to me that he hasn’t, in fact, converted to Christianity. He’s as much of an atheist as he ever was. In a moment of honesty — something I always used to be able to count on from JT — he acknowledged that this was entirely a business decision. “Christian rock bands clean our clocks,” he said. “And they’ll eat up the ex-atheist angle.”

So overnight, the ferocious defender of the truth has changed his tune. And not just singing five-chord power ballads. “Does it really matter what people believe?” he asked me. “As long as people are happy, isn’t that the important thing?

“I just want to sing, Greta,” he said, tears in his eyes. “Is that okay?”

I feel like a bad friend saying this. I want to support my friends in pursuing their dreams. But no, JT. That is not okay.

UPDATE: If you want to talk to JT and try to persuade him out of this disastrous move, please go comment on his blog.

SECOND UPDATE: Happy April Fool’s Day!

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Fishmen…

It’s beginning to look a lot like fish-men
Everywhere I go;
From the minute I got to town
And started to look around
I thought these ill-bred people’s gill-slits showed…

I still think that Christmas Rhapsody is the best Christmas song parody ever. But this is a damn close second. My only problem is that I find myself humming or whistling it jauntily, and people think I’m whistling the Christmas song, and they have no idea that what I’m humming to myself is, “As I try to escape in fright/ To the moonlit Innsmouth night/ I can hear some more.”

Courtesy of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society. Enjoy!