An English traduction of Müller's Der Leiermann.
Imagine an English speaker hearing Müller's poem read or sung
in German, recognizing a few words, and filling in a ludicrously wrong
idea of what the text might be about.
See also these ``program notes'', which include another song parody, with much the same title and topic but a different base song, that my ``Liar-Man'' inspired Jim Propp to create. My parody was written during the Clinton-Monica scandal, and posted under an anagrammatical pseudonym to several USENET newsgroups in 1998. Any resemblance to or resonance with current political events is purely coincidental.
The Boston/Cambridge suburb of Somerville used to be much seedier
some years ago, suggesting this parody of Summertime.
The last line originally read ``Or I'll bleed you dry''; I don't remember who proposed the new improved version.
Surgeon Special's Warning: Puzzle Solving (2001): posted to the USENET group rec.puzzles (and cross-posted to rec.arts.poems) after one too many ``in words of one syllable'' threads. Some of the trochaic words refer to other persistent rec.puzzles threads. NB: The last and fourth-to-last lines scan correctly, notwithstanding initial appearances...
A tension of tolerance: A talk I gave at Morning Prayers at Harvard's Memorial Church on December 6, 2002. Morning Prayers is a 15-minute service held at Memorial Church's Appleton Chapel every weekday at 8:45AM; it includes a reading from Scripture and a short (5 minutes or so) address by an invited member of the Harvard community. My 6.xii.2002 address, introduced with a few verses from Ecclesiastes, concerns a paradox, somewhat similar to the ``Liar Paradox'', inherent in the idea of tolerance of people of different religious, moral, or spiritual persuasions.
The dark side of Psalm 137 [Rivers of Babylon]: My second Morning Prayers talk, delivered on December 10, 2003. Here I chose a less ambitious topic: what do the familiar opening verses of this Psalm have to do with its shocking (and much less familiar) conclusion?
The numerology of the Beast:
My third Morning Prayers talk, delivered on October 14, 2004.
A cautionary tale about overzealous pattern recognition:
How 666 came to be ``the number of the beast'',
how that dreaded number could be invoked against
everything from Roman numerals to Ronald Reagan, Viagra,
and the World-Wide Web, and the modern science
that can tell pattern from coincidence and wishful thinking.
As with the other Morning Prayers texts here, bracketed words and sentences are explanatory material etc. that I did not actually say in Appleton; texts for public speaking are written differently from texts meant primarily for silent reading.
Of Euclid and equality: My fourth Morning Prayers talk, delivered on April 21, 2006, a few days after Patriots Day: I muse on some connections between a classic patriotic text (``We hold these truths to be self-evident...'' from the Declaration of Independence) and Euclid's classic text on geometry.
The High Holy Days
and prayers for forgiveness:
Yet another Morning Prayers talk, which I was asked to give
on October 1, 2008, the second day of
Some other original (to my knowledge) word puzzles: