Saturday Night’s Alright For Biting

My brain does weird things sometimes. When I’m engaged in a project, it will often find itself an irrelevant little side project — often musically-themed — and get very fixated on it. A list of songs that can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”; a list of songs in which the word “heart” can be replaced with the word “head” to comic effect; a cat-themed song parody. And the more important the main project is, and the more deeply immersed I am in it, the more obsessively fixated my brain gets on the side project.

Thus far, during the writing of “Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why,” I have written two — not one, but two — cat-themed song parodies. I’ve already posted the lyrics to “Love Me, Love Me, Love Me — I’m A Kittycat!” Today, in honor of Comet, I bring you Saturday Night’s Alright For Biting. To the tune of Elton John’s Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting. (If you need an explanation of what Comet is like for context, you can find it in Hell’s Kitten: Learning to Love Our Play-Aggressive Cat. And yes, the cats eat venison. Special novel-protein diet.)

Saturday Night’s Alright For Biting

Comet yawning with teethIt’s getting late and my teeth can’t wait
Mom, bring my favorite chew toy here
It’s eleven o’clock and I wanna rock
Gonna bite your ankles and your ears

My mama Ingrid’s nose and my mama Greta’s toes
Are begging to be chewed on here
My sister looks cute in her little white boots
And lots of my spit in her fur

(chorus)
Now give me some of your cheese and yogurt
I’ve had it with your venison
‘Cause Saturday night’s alright for biting
Get a little chomping in

Gonna do some dangling with my dangle toys
Gonna chase a beam of light
‘Cause Saturday night’s the night I bite
Saturday night’s alright to bite
To bite
Meow, meow, meow, meow

Comet and Talisker on swivel chairWell, my sisters look like they wanna play tonight
I’m looking for a kitty who will tussle and fight
I can chase them down the hallway in a wild stampede
I can leap up in the air and then I’ll claw your knees

A couple of the things that I like to bite
Are shoelaces and fingers and a bug in flight
I’m a juvenile delinquent of the feline class
And if it’s full of water I’ll knock over your glass

(chorus)

Saturday, Saturday, Saturday
Saturday, Saturday, Saturday
Saturday, Saturday, Saturday night I’ll bite

So Love Me, Love Me, Love Me — I’m A Kittycat!

So we were crooning to our cats the other day, as is our wont, and the line, “So love me, love me, love me — I’m a kittycat!” jumped into my head. At which point, of course, I couldn’t rest until the whole song was written.

So here it is. To the tune of Phil Ochs’ “Love Me, I’m A Liberal.” And don’t worry, this didn’t cut into book writing time — I wrote it in the shower.

comet_on_fridgeI jump to the top of the mantle
And then try to climb even higher,
I jump to the top of the stovetop
“Cuz cat hair won’t burn in a fire,
But it wasn’t me stealing your butter
Whoever said that is a liar,
So love me, love me, love me — I’m a kittycat!

Houdini staringI hide in the springs of the sofa
And oftentimes under the bed,
That noise could have been a coyote,
Or demons, or Erik the Red,
But I think you’ve forgotten my dinner
So I’ll walk up and down on your head,
So love me, love me, love me — I’m a kittycat!

Talisker looking smugI’ll plonk on your lap when I want to,
Demand that you sit there and stay,
I’ll act like I want to be petted
Then fidget and wander away,
But I have such cute whiskers and muzzle
So worship me all night and day,
And love me, love me, love me — I’m a kittycat!

Oh, for those of you who don’t know the original tune that this goes to: Here’s the original by Phil Ochs:

And here’s the updated version by Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon:

But my kittycat one definitely has the deepest social commentary. Very relevant to the burning issues of today.

Blogathon for SSA Week: My Atheist Music Mix

SSA week Page Banner

This post continues my leg of the Blogathon for SSA Week… now! From now until 9pm PDT, I will write one new blog post every hour. Plus, for every $100 raised during that time, I will post one new picture of our cats! And all donations will be matched by SSA Supporters Jeff Hawkins and Janet Strauss — so whatever you donate, it will be doubled!

As of 1:01 PDT: 431 Donors, $69,948.02
As of 2:01 PDT: 433 Donors, $70,118.02

I put together an atheist/ humanist/ skeptical/ irreligious mix CD a little while back, and thought I’d share it with all y’all. Songs being listed here is no indication that the singer or songwriter is an atheist. Links to YouTube videos when available.

The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, The Persuasions (covering Frank Zappa)
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel
Into My Arms, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam, The Vaselines
Marshmallows and a Holy Bible, Circus Contraption
Science Is Real, They Might Be Giants
Superstition, Stevie Wonder
Hard To Be, David Bazan
Dear God, XTC
God, John Lennon
And When I Die, Laura Nyro
It Ain’t Necessarily So, Aretha Franklin
Are You Ready, Freakwater (live version — couldn’t find the studio version on YouTube)
Jesus Loves Me (But He Can’t Stand You), Austin Lounge Lizards (weird irrelevant fan video)
All Things Dull And Ugly, Monty Python
Part Man, Part Monkey, Bruce Springsteen
Stealing, Tackhead
When I’m Gone, Phil Ochs
Heaven, Talking Heads
By & By, Chumbawamba
What a Wonderful World, Joey Ramone

By the way, I’m getting it on the record now: I want “By & By” played at my funeral.

What are your favorite atheist/ humanist/ skeptical/ irreligious songs?

If you like this post — or indeed, if you don’t — please donate to the Secular Student Alliance!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-men

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!

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.”

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

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!