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Doggerel

I can't write real poetry, but here are some funny verse and song parodies (filk songs). (The Free Software Song is also a filk song, a serious one; here I give the ones that are not related to the GNU Project.)

Anyone who would like to sing or perform the songs, please go ahead--I would be delighted.

Poppycock
Alma LLenera
Guantanamero
The Neuron Ron
Two limericks
My Ronnie
Old MacDonald's Loan
APL
Debugging
If I Had a Hammer
Boot It!
The Sandwich
Bardic Circle
I've Been Answering My Email
Servin 'Em the Writs
Good King Wenceslas

Alma Llenera

With the melody of Alma Llanera
(Dedicated to Tania Leal, who eats plenty without getting fat.)
Audio recording.

Yo no como lo liviano,
Ensaladas con apio,
Y es porque tengo el alma
De llenarme bien la panza.
Y es porque tengo el alma
De llenarme bien la panza,
De comer.
De comer.

Bebo, como, peso tomo,
Yo devoro con pasión.
Yo devoro con pasión.
Bebo, como, peso tomo,
Ya no paso con soltura
La puerta del comedor.

Hace tiempo fui delgado,
Pues mudé al comedor.
Soy esclavo de la nevera,
De las carnes, de los dulces.
Soy esclavo de la nevera,
De las carnes, de los dulces,
Y la sal.
Y la sal.

Bebo, como, peso tomo,
Yo devoro con pasión.
Yo devoro con pasión.
Bebo, como, peso tomo,
Ya no paso con soltura
La puerta del comedor.

Hace tiempo fui delgado,
Pues mudé al comedor.
Soy esclavo de las carnes,
Un día quiero cambiar.
Soy esclavo de los dulces,
Un día quiero cambiar.

For Guantanamero see its own page

The Neuron Ron

This take-off on Da Do Ron Ron was inspired by a talk by Professor Mark Bickhard of Lehigh University.

We're not simple systems that switch on command.
The neuron, ron, ron, the neuron ron.

Digital is not the way to understand.
The neuron, ron, ron, the neuron ron.

Oh, we oscillate. Oh, we resonate.
Oh, when you make me fire.
The neuron, ron, ron, the neuron ron.

Two limericks

For reasons obscure and unclear,
I can't put my nose in my ear.
But if I succeed,
I'll be happy indeed,
For I'll finally have a career.

If I could just kiss my own nose,
I'd have a career, I suppose.
But the Christian right wing
Would frown on the thing;
For safety, I'll just kiss my toes.

My Ronnie

I thought of this around 1987. I wish I had thought of it in 1984 when it could have done some good in the election.

(To the tune of "My bonnie")

My Ronnie lies over the radio.
My Ronnie lies over TV.
My Ronnie lies over and over.
What has he done to my country?

Old MacDonald's Loan

This filk uses the tune of "Old MacDonald's Farm". It was inspired by the farm crises of the 1980s, in which many American families lost farms to foreclosure and the US government did little to help them.

Old MacDonald had a farm.
  (How much do I owe?)
And on his farm he had a loan.
  (How much do I owe?)
With a mortgage here, a mortgage there;
  Here a debt, there a debt, everywhere insolvent,
[Slowly] Old MacDonald lost his farm.
  (How much do I owe?)

APL

This uses the tune of "Row, row, row your boat". The Greek letter rho is an important operator in the APL programming language.

Rho, rho, rho of X
Always equals 1.
Rho is dimension; rho rho, rank.
APL is fun!

Debugging

This song uses the tune of "Deck the halls with boughs of holly". I wrote it in the 1970s, when decks of punched cards and thumping line printers were still widely used.

Deck the cards that hold the data.
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
Hand them to the operator.
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
Hear the output printer thumping:
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
50 k of core are dumping.
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)

Now you have to start debugging,
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
Through the dump for errors culling.
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
If you cannot understand 'em,
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
Just change anything at random.
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)

When it seems your program's mended,
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
And you think your task has ended,
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
Ware rejoicing prematurely:
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)
There will be more errors surely.
  (Fa la la la la, la la, la, la.)

If I Had a Hammer

This song is about Ragnarok, but the music is neither rag nor rock; it's the tune of a well-known song whose first line is the same as here. I wrote it in the 80s.

If I had a hammer,
I'd throw it in the morning,
I'd throw it in the evening,
All over this land.
I'd throw it at Loki,
I'd throw it at Fenris,
I'd throw it in the war between the gods and the giants,
All over this land.

If I had a horn,
I'd blow it in the morning,
I'd blow it in the evening,
All over this land.
I'd blow it at Loki,
I'd blow it at Fenris,
I'd blow to start the war between the gods and the giants,
All over this land.

If I had a saga,
I'd sing it in the morning,
I'd sing it in the evening,
All over this land.
I'd sing about Loki,
I'd sing about Fenris,
I'd sing about the war between the gods and the giants,
All over this land.

Well I've got a hammer,
And I've got a horn,
And I've got a saga to sing
All over this land.
It's the hammer of Thor,
It's the horn of Heimdall
It's the saga `bout the war between the gods and the giants,
All over this land.

Boot It!

(This filk uses the tune of "Beat it". I wrote it in 2001.)

When your computer doesn't do what you type,
And half the screen is covered with a big white stripe,
The vendor won't pay any mind to your gripe,
So boot it. Just boot it.

When you discover that a process won't die,
If kill -9 won't work there's nothing else to try.
Your jobs are dead meat, so kiss 'em goodbye
And boot it. 50 hours of work,
Just boot it, boot it.
And if you can't boot it, shoot it!

When you reboot it, work will be lost.
It doesn't matter what this will cost.
Just boot it. Just boot it.
Just boot it. Just boot it.

When all the characters are coming out weird,
And won't come back right even when the screen is cleared,
You can't fix such things by tugging your beard
So boot it. Just boot it.

If your computer still is running Windows,
And every time it crashes your frustration grows.
When the system's not free, you will always be hosed.
Just boot it. Put a GNU system on,
And boot it, boot it.
Or put it in your horn, and toot it!

It doesn't matter what was to blame.
Till you reboot it, your machine's lame.
Just boot it. Just boot it.
Just boot it. Just boot it.

It doesn't matter what you did wrong.
Till you reboot it, your machine's gone.
Just boot it. Just boot it.
Just boot it. Just boot it.

The Sandwich

(To the tune of "Men of Harlech" or "Woad")

I would like some hot pastrami
And some slices of salami
For to take back to my mommy,
Waiting home for me.

Cover them with pumpernickel,
Garnish with a sour pickle.
Russian dressing nice and thick'll
Fill her heart with glee.

First put on some ketchup;
Then put on some mustard.
Just for cheer, add worcestershire,
and maybe even chocolate custard.

Then put on a cup of relish--
Eating without relish would be hellish--
Finally you must embellish
It with munster cheese.

Bardic Circle

In the early 1980s, before the Boskone science fiction convention was moved out of Boston, I used to go to it every year. While I liked the filksinging there, and often enjoyed listening to the good singers who were invariably there, I was disappointed that they conspired not to let others sing. So I wrote these song words about it, using the tune or "Acres of Clams", which is used for many filk songs.

Note that the first word of the last line of a verse is in most cases sung on the last note of the tune for the third line. I've written these verses accordingly.

At Boskone when they have filksinging,
The best singers know who they are.
They know we know they are the experts, So
they pass around the guitar.

[The last two lines of every verse are
repeated in this pattern]
So they pass around the guitar,
So they pass around the guitar,
They know we know they are the experts, So
they pass around the guitar.

When an expert would like to start singing,
He braces himself in advance.
He bursts in just when a song's ending, Not
giving the others a chance.

If anyone else begins singing,
The expert continues right on.
Preventing security lapses is
A burden that never is done.

If two experts both feel like singing,
They both burst in at the same time.
They fight till one drowns out the other; Such
fighting is simply a crime.

At Loscon when they have filksinging,
When one singer feels that he's through,
He turns to the next in the circle, And
tells him, "It's now up to you."

And so all my fellow filksingers,
Stand up and be counted I say!
Shall we limit the singing to experts, Or
give each filksinger his day?

I've been answering my email

(To the tune of "I've been workin' on the railroad." I wrote it in 2005.)

I've been answering my email,
All the god-damned day.
I've been answering my email,
'Cause my work is done that way.

Can't you feel the fingers aching?
Typing till early in the morn.
Can't you see the letters blurring?
It's just an ad for porn.

Polish Translation of I've been answering my email.

Servin Em the Writs

This song, written in 2005, describes what ought to be done to the executives of companies like Enron.

Servin' 'em the Writs
Richard Stallman
[To the tune of "Puttin' on the Ritz]

When I'm bored, got time to kill on
weekends, then I test my skill on
deadbeats' wits -
Servin' 'em the writs.

Just like thieves, they run out on their
debts, and leave their creditors be-
hind in fits -
Servin' 'em the writs.

Dressed like someone else so we won't mind them.
If the room has curtains, look behind them!
(There you'll find them.)

Come, let's spy on ex-CEOs,
flush with cash from pecadillos
their pockets -
Servin' 'em the writs.

You can't pull a gun like a state trooper.
Always have to be a party pooper.
(They're in stupor.)

They'll declare it's far from OK
to be jailed and sell the DA
treacherous bits -
Servin' 'em the writs.

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas was waked
Suddenly and, staring,
Saw a Salvation Army band
'Neath his window blaring.

Running outside angrily
He shouted as they ran off:
"Play another Christmas song,
And I'll chop your heads off!"


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Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2014 Richard Stallman

Each song or poem is released under Creative Commons the Attribution 3.0 license.