A Song Whose Time is Now

I open the door and wave to the man
Just getting out of his UPS van
A box in his hands and a mask on his face
He comes up the stairs and my steps I retrace

And it’s
Step two three, back two three
Maintain the spread
Don’t get too close or you might become dead
Friend, lover, and neighbor, each one exalts
The social distancing waltz

The grocery store is a dancehall now
Two carts’ distance is what they’ll allow
Mind your feet well, listen for the refrain
As you notch your way up to the checkout lane

And it’s…

It’s a part of me now, and all of my group:
An invisible twelve-foot diameter hoop
Perhaps you’d survive, but why take the chance
You can join complete strangers enjoying the dance

And it’s…

The Devil Went Down To Richfield

The devil went down to Richfield
He was looking for a soul to fry
He was in deep shit
His accountant quit
So he headed out to Best Buy

He comes across a young lady
Testing the console games
And the devil quick
Grabs a joystick
Turns and he declaims:

I guess you didn’t know it
But I invented the PS 2
And if you can dance, then take a chance
I’ll make a bet with you.

You play Guitar Hero, girl
But the devil can rock and roll
I’ll bet an Arcade Classics
Upright Machine
If you will bet your soul

The girl said my name’s Jenny
And I may seem a simple lass
But I’ll take you on
And I’ll beat your con
Cuz I’m going to kick your ass

Jenny, grab that interface that looks just like a Strat
Cause there’s nothing to do in Richfield except video combat
And if you win you get the best console in the world
But if you lose you’re in deep shit, girl.

The Devil took the controls in the shape of an old Les Paul
And he rocked it like Keith Richards,
But without any drugs at all.
And he jumped and writhed and hit those frets
and danced upon his hoofs
Yeah he didn’t miss a beat, and his score went through the roof.

When the devil finished, Jenny said, I admit that you’re not bad
But you stand clear by the Nintendo gear
And see that you’ve been had.

Aerosmith to ZZ Top
Through them all she ran
And she finished off with a fiddle piece
By the Charlie Daniels Band

The devil bowed his head and took his loss real hard
But a deal’s a deal so he gave the clerk
His Sulfur Mastercard
Jenny said, Devil, just come on back
If you can pay the toll
Just run and duck, you stupid fuck
I’m the queen of rock n roll

The Old Double-nerd Flag

It’s rare to have a chance to fly both my filk-nerd flag and my gaming-nerd flag at the same time, so how can I pass it up? In the table-top campaign Jenphalian is running, we were told we needed to sing for our supper, and given a few weeks to come up with a song.  This is mine.  If you are so culturally deprived that you can’t deduce the tune, you can embarrass yourself by asking and I’ll tell you.  Also, just for clarification, I’ve marked with an asterisk the stuff that is specific to that campaign and thus might not make sense.


Sevri [spoken, to Almoni]: …and then we’ll have a mock duel to get his lordship’s attention, and then he’ll ask me to swear loyalty, and—

Dorian [spoken]: The quest is where you belong!

[start music]

Dorian [spoken]:  Sevri, listen to me. The world of the nobility and the peasants, it’s boring. Life on the quest is better than being stuck here with some aristocrat.

Dorian: The gold piece is always brighter in somebody else’s purse.
But swearing in as a fighter, you’ll find out it’s just a curse.
There’s all of this loot we stare at, and it’s either us or them.
The snowmen* each have a carrot: the unit of weight of gems!

Out on the quest Out on the quest
Sneaking and hiding, or running and riding two abreast
It’s just dull at hearth and hall,
We like a good old dungeon crawl.
Once we get going we’re all saving throwing
Out on the quest.

The rogue on the quest does service, he’s glad to be out of town.
The rogue off the quest is nervous, who knows who might track him down?
But once in the fight we manage, we’re fine though they say we’re nuts.
If we get some minor damage,
Aelwyd: Guess who has to heal your butts.

Dorian: Out on the quest, Out on the quest
Though skeletons face you at least they won’t place you under arrest.
Maybe we die some here and there, but we’re not bored so we don’t care.
We do our duty and pick up more booty out on the quest.

Out on the quest.
Combat’s a must here, parry and thrust here, you’ll be impressed.
Even the paladin and the mage, they get that old berserker rage.
Happy to slay ’em. We got the mayhem out on the quest.

The monk is a punk, the vamp is a champ.
The knight is all right his helmet’s a lamp.*
The ranger’s a danger, tanks get our thanks
The fin’s going in the soup.* (yum)
The barb in his garb can hit pretty deep.
Assassin is hiding Can’t see him creep.
The wiz knows his biz, the priest never ceased
And watch that archer shooooot.

Out on the quest Out on the quest
Whenever we seize phylacteries it’s just the best!
What have they got? A lot of hicks. We get to roll our 3D6
Every dual wielder is a damage dealer out on the quest.
Each druid shaman does element bombin’ out on the quest.
Each sword and boarder going in order
Though we give a sob for Paladin Bob*
It’s courage we measure when counting the treasure
Out on the quest!



Last, click here if you want the performance.

Do You Believe In Science?

And then this happened:

And here are the lyrics:
Do you believe in science in a young girl’s mind
Testing results to verify what she finds
And it’s science it makes you happy and cheery
From hypothesis to demonstrable theory.
I’ll tell you about the science it’ll take some proof
The neverending search for objective truth

If you believe in science, don’t bother to guess
If it’s observed in a lab, if it passes the test
Then do it again so the results are reliable
As long as what your looking at is falsifiable
You won’t be convincing if your data’s too scant
So outline your plan, apply for a grant.

If you believe in science come along with me
We test what we know and we know what we see
Farewell now, to every phantom and wraith
And every idea based only on faith
We’ll look great in our white lab coats
And I’ll follow you around and keep careful notes.

Yeah, do you believe in science
Yeah believe in the science that’s what we should do
And we’ll send it out there for peer review
Believe in the science that can find the truth
Ohhh, talkin’ ’bout science
Do you believe in science

Endlessly Tweaking

My colleague Casey Blair conspired with the cat to force me to write this. The original can be found here.


Endlessly tweaking her stories assemble in scrivener
Awaiting her words
Flailing at phrases connected by commas that run
Wishing they were wise
Only to stick at the need to revise.

Pensively plotting she opts for an outline and opens
An empty notepad file
Clearly contriving the crux of the conflict she backs up
To chapter five
Or even the prologue

It is one story
It is too discordant
It’s in three fragments
It is for submission

Perspective produces professional prose that puzzles
The editor inside
Perfection’s a problem that promises painful proposals:
Which words to elide
While choking on the prologue

It is one story
It is too discordant
It’s in three fragments
It is for submission