Code Blue Limerick Emergency Alert!

Ok, people, this one is serious. Spread the word to anyone you suspect might help, or anyone you suspect knows people who might help.

One of the cooler projects in the history of humankind is the OEDILF—the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form. I first wrote about them here. Their goal is

to write at least one limerick for each meaning of each and every word in the English language. Our best limericks will clearly define their words in a humorous or interesting way, although some may provide more entertainment than definition, or vice versa.

Seriously. Think about that. Every word in the English language. Suddenly I don’t look nearly so obsessive, do I? And, to top it off, they are doing this in alphabetical order. They won’t get to “Nantucket” until maybe 2020. And these are limericists! There are contributors with thousands of limericks to their credit—one author with over ten thousand submitted!

Anyway… I just got an email: for whatever reasons, their limericists are slacking off. (Full disclosure: I’m at least partial author on… wait, really? … on over 100 limericks. I honestly thought it was at least a score fewer. I stopped in 2009 or so because I started this blog instead. So, yeah, I am one of the slackers.) They are currently well below their historic levels of limericks.

You can help. If you read my blog, you are a rare creature. And you are likely to hang around with other rare creatures. So please… spread the word.

Join the OEDILF movement. Start writing limericks. Tell your friends. Especially the ones who have fun with limericks.

I mentioned above, the OEDILF team are moving through the dictionary in alphabetical order; they don’t open up a new set of letters until they have completed a certain percentage of the previous words. Thing is, a substantial number of the uncompleted words happen to be highly specialized—scientific or philosophical terms. You know—the stuff my readers eat for breakfast.

So you are the perfect solution.

You can save the OEDILF.

And you should. It’s worth saving. It is the very definition of a quixotic crusade (they may not get to “quixotic” in my lifetime; that should tell us something).

Ok, a bit of backstory. A good many of my early proposed limericks… were terrible. The people at OEDILF are the best of the best. Their limericks are not forced. Their rhymes are not “close enough”. They have a workshop process that winnows out bad limericks, and improves good ones. Like I said, these people are the best.

When I started submitting limericks at the OEDILF, I arrogantly assumed my verses were good enough. No. My limericks included some forced rhymes, and some metric no-no’s. They’d have been fine for Carl Kassel to read on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me’s “listener limerick challenge”, but those tend to be really clunky limericks serving a different purpose.

So anyway, don’t do what I did, and just assume that the workshopping process will fix your limericks. Take the time to polish your work before submitting it, and take pride in being part of a really cool global act of obsession.

And hey, it’s fun!

And you think *I’m* obsessive!?!

…just in case any of you have any free time at all (I currently do not–5 big projects all with the same due date: this Wednesday), I thought I’d share a great place to get completely lost in productive obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Ok, you might have noticed I have a tendency to write things in verse. Just a bit. Once in a while. But it’s not like I have decided to, say, write the entire unabridged dictionary in Limerick form. In good limericks, with proper rhymes and anapest meter and peer review. And (I’m sure there is an appropriate Douglas Adams phrase here, but as I said, I am busy) alphabetically. It began in 2004 (from an idea hatched in 2003), and has made it to the early D words so far. I have contributed about a hundred, but only just over half of them have passed peer review so far; these people are strict. And they are good. And they are obsessive! There are authors with thousands of approved limericks!

So if that sort of thing tickles your fancy, pop over and give it a try! Or, if you just need a definition for something… in limerick form… for a word that begins DA or earlier… they probably have it.

Some of mine from the site:

cuttlefish by Cuttlefish

The cuttlefish: squid-like, you think?
Just a cephalopod in the drink?
Then you also should know it
Refers to a poet,
Or any who hide in their ink.

browse by Cuttlefish

As I browsed through the books I’d requested,
The librarian had me arrested!
I cried, “Surely you’ve read
Francis Bacon, who said
That some books should be chewed and digested!”

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.”
—Francis Bacon, Sr. (1561–1626)

brevity by Cuttlefish

The OEDILF takes the planet by storm—
Some day soon, we will find it the norm!
Words explained in great brevity
(Brief) and with levity—
Defined in the limerick form!


braised by Cuttlefish

The little 4-H-er was praised
For the beautiful calf she had raised.
The judge said, “It shows
That you love Elsie Rose.”
“Oh, I will”, said the little girl, “braised.”

Elsie Rose will be browned in fat and then simmered in a closed container.

chromium steel by Cuttlefish

She’s a robot; she doesn’t look real,
But she still has a certain appeal:
She has silicon eyes
And molybdenum thighs
And an ass made of chromium steel.

In 1921, when Karel Capek introduced the term robot, robots were assumed to be humanoid in appearance. Things have changed; most modern robots are not humanoid, and the term chromium steel has been replaced by stainless steel, referring to corrosion-resistant steel containing chromium content of at least 10.5% by weight.

chromatophore by Cuttlefish

Look again, and you might doubt your eyes:
It’s the cuttlefish, cloaked in disguise!
What’s its trick? There, within
Its remarkable skin
Are chromatophores, changing in size.

Chromatophores—cells, containing pigments, that can contract or dilate—are responsible for the amazing and ever-changing appearance of the cuttlefish. Cuttlefish make chameleons look like rank amateurs.

Friday Limericks–Greece!

This is not the only country on my trip, but I am certainly glad it is one of them! I have wanted to go to Greece since… I think my first presentation on the Parthenon in 4th grade, or maybe earlier, reading the children’s versions of Greek mythology. Of course, ignorance being what it is, I have had quite a learning experience here. As someone (Between Mark Twain, Ben Franklin, and Will Rogers, there is a 99% chance of one of them having said just about anything) is alleged to have once said, “it’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you do know, that ain’t so”. I have such vast quantities of both categories here that it would be tough to say which wins out.

But anyway, it is Friday the 13th and I have had a wonderful day. So the Friday Limerick topic is Greece–broadly defined.

There once was a lady from Hellas
Quite a favorite with all of the fellas
From them all, she chose one,
But was having such fun
With the rest, that she just wouldn’t tellas

There once was a Byzantine Monk
In a bit of a Byzantine funk
So he took his small flock
To the top of a rock
Where he thunk, and he thunk, and he thunk
[imagine a photo of a Meteora monastery here. I will edit it in when I have bandwidth to load it.]

It’s slimy, yet furry and squeaky;
I think you’ll agree that it’s freaky;
But beyond all dispute
Is the fact that it’s cute–
And I found it in Thessaloniki!

(this one is worth clicking on–it’s just so cute!)

Friday Limericks–Graduation Day

So this weekend is graduation day for a lot of places around here. Last weekend for some, next weekend for others. Here at Cuttlefish U., commencement is this weekend, but grades are not due until next week. Which means that I am still grading while the students are celebrating. Still grading while I am trying to prepare for the Big Life-Changing Event that I will write about in a day or so (with luck, after my grades have been delivered).

I know that some of my readers have yet to suffer through even one graduation, and others have gone through 4 or more of their own, let alone their children’s or their students. So we have many different perspectives here; I can’t wait to read them!

It’s the end of their four (or more) years
Countless classes, and countless more beers
In a moment or two
All their loans will come due
That’s the reason for graduates’ tears!

With such pride that it’s swelling their chests,
We see Seniors escorting their guests
To their chairs on the field—
But too soon, it’s revealed:
Cuttlefish is still grading their tests!

Through the traffic and crowds I’ll be weaving
Looking flustered—but looks are deceiving;
Once you’ve gotten to know
Them for four years or so
It’s not always a joy when they’re leaving.

In the line, as you slowly advance
To receive your diploma, perchance
It would soften your frown
If you thought, ‘neath that gown,
That the speaker is not wearing pants.

Friday Limericks–Location, Location, Location

There is, of course, a long tradition of location in limericks. The most famous location would have to be Nantucket, but I am certain you have heard others. If you like your own location, see what you can do with it here! If you would prefer to be somewhere else, immortalize that location in five lines. Or just pick a place that fits the rhyme scheme and be done with it!

There once was a lady from Boston
With a body too small to get loston
And the patriot’s trail
From her head to her tail
Is worth ev’ry last cent that it’s coston

There once was a man from L.A.
Who decided to drive far away
With the traffic, his car
Didn’t get very far
So that’s where he still is today

A student in Kalamazoo
Played a sensual song on kazoo
Her friend heard the humming
And thoughts started coming–
“When that song is over–me too?”

There once was a Podblack from Perth
On the down-under side of the Earth
Who writes posts every day
And has real things to say
But mine rhymes… for whatever that’s worth.

Friday Limericks: Time

Yeah, I said Friday Limericks.  Commenter Anfractuous reminds me that I missed the actual Friday, if you want to be all technical about it.  I do apologize–life is a bit hectic right now.  I will post about it soon, but a Major Life Event is coming up at the end of the month–it is very very good news for me, but comes at a difficult time (long story short–the cuttlespouse has been out of work since Christmas.  Things are ok, but what should have been an overwhelmingly cool thing is a very very cool thing that is also an added stress.  And this is a better time than most to thank the people who have used the tip jar.)

So anyway, time occasionally gets away from me.  And today being Limerick Friday (work with me here), I shall have my revenge.
Time’s an illusion, you know
And lunchtime, of course, doubly so–
It so rapidly passes,
Or slow as molasses,
And where did my yesterday go?!?
The telling of time is an art
Take, for instance, the time we’re apart:
That time is not reckoned
By hour or by second,
But measured in beats of my heart.
I remember when days used to last,
And a year was impossibly vast;
It seems yesterday morn
When my children were born–
How the hell did they grow up so fast?
My days, though to say so seems trite,
Seem to pass at the speed of–well, light.
If I only could see ’em,
I’d carpe each diem,
But they so quickly pass out of sight.
There–your turn!  Time is of the essence!

Friday Limericks: Expelled!

I hear a rumor that today there will be more than a handful of bloggers taking aim (metaphorically speaking) at the movie “expelled”. I can’t think of a better topic (or worse, I suppose) for this week’s Friday Limericks. Enough to make me wait up until midnight to post! Lots of good rhyming words here, and of course foul language counts… these are limericks, after all…

There once was a lawyer named Stein
Who argued the case for design—
He never did answer
Just who designed cancer—
Design, for Ben Stein, was benign

A fight over copyright spelled
The end of the line for Expelled;
Which, fortunate-ly
Meant that no one would see
Just how terribly bad the film smelled.

A plagiarized cell animation?
Then invoking the Aryan Nation?
In a monotone diction?
Ah, yes—it’s pure fiction!
A film made by “special” creation!

In an hour or two, I’ll be fine–
It’s just too much burritos and wine–
But for right now, oh boy, let
Me get to a toilet:
I’ve got to expel some ben stein.

Have at it!

Friday Limericks: Under The Sea

Maybe it is just those prepared cuttlefish snacks, but I am in the mood for fish.

‘Midst the seaweeds and sponges and corals
Live the cephalopods; and their quarrels
Will come, often, to blows–
A behavior which shows
A deplorable absence of morals!

A grey-haired and bearded signore
With a snorkel and mask, took a foray
To a reef, but gave flight
When his toe felt a bite–
But as everyone knows, that’s a Moray

Now a squid has a bite, but the truth is,
There’s a beak where you’d think that a tooth is
I suppose that won’t matter
If you’re on the platter–
A snack for a great Architeuthis!

I may add more later, but I have to get going–places to go, things to do! Uncharacteristic of Fridays for me…

Have fun!

Friday Limericks: I Wish…

First off, some thanks to a few people, so that they don’t get lost below the limericks. Thanks to the people who commented last week! My goodness, what wonderful verses! I am sorry I have been so busy in the real world–I should have heaped praises on each of you at the time. I hope that now is not too late. (Speaking of too late, it is never too late to add a comment onto one of those threads. Limericks should not be confined to Fridays alone, after all. Also, I should have thanked MuseSusan by name, 2 weeks ago, for her comment on “Limerick/War” that inspired the Friday Limerick Post. Thank you, MuseSusan–you are aptly named.

Now, on to the topic. “I wish”. There is a lot of room to play with this one. You can be silly:

I wish that my office were round
With no corners at all to be found
You would find me no mourner
For stacks in the corner—
Now everything’s all in one mound!

Or poignant:

I wish on the stars every night
That again she’ll return to my sight
It’s been too many years
And I can’t count the tears,
But the stars wouldn’t let me down… right?

Or put words in someone else’s mouth:

I wish I could frolic with squid
More closely than Jacques Cousteau did
I could study their charms
While ensnared in their arms
And surrender control to my id!

–P. Z. Myers

Even someone’s mouth you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot toothbrush:

I wish I possessed such a brain
That biologists could not explain—
A fiery crucible
All irreducible—
Or, hell, at least one that was sane!

–M. Behe

Or just be boring and write a normal limerick…

I wish it were summer already
With the temperatures all nice and steady
These up-and-down weeks
Are for rougher physiques
I’ll just wait here in bed with my teddy.

Ok, have at it! I really wish you would…

Friday Limericks: You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

I’ve been making one hell of a list
Of the things that keep getting me pissed
I’ll remember them all
From the great to the small
And be mad if there’s any I’ve missed

Like, for instance, the country’s at war
And the president’s judgment is poor
There’s so much we could choose
To explore in the news,
But they lead with the Guv and the whore.

And I’m mad cos I watch my TV
When I know what it’s doing to me—
My blood pressure rises
As shows award prizes
For crap I would pay not to see.

And I’m angry at freakin’ Ben Stein
And that movie on Stupid Design
Cos if we’re created
It’s clear that God hated
Our asses—or maybe just mine.

So, hate is the topic today
Or dislike, or annoyance, dismay,
Hot and bothered vexation
Or mere irritation—
I’m sure you have something to say!

That’s right–the topic today is whatever annoys you. Irritates you. Bothers you. Steams your clams. Burns your beans. Gets your goat. Harshes your mellow. Pisses in your cornflakes. Frays your last nerve…

You get the point. Have at it!

(One thing that does not make me mad–I was very happy to see all the limericks last week! And I’d love to see more–I know I have lurkers here, not commenting; come on! Limericks are easy!)