Skepticism

AI: Rhyme Time

Well, like many of you, I’m stuck at home while TAM is going on. And as such, I feel like we need a bit of entertainment to keep our minds off the fact that we’re missing out. So, it’s time to exercise the poet within.

Can you use the Comments to create a piece of poetry related to a skeptical topic?

(Feel free to post in limerick/sonnet/haiku/etc./etc. form.)

A  quick limerick to get the ball rolling:

A rap on a spiritualist’s table
Kept the Medium in jewelery and sable
‘Til Houdini went meddlin’
And showed she was peddlin’
The stuff that you clean from a stable 

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The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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90 Comments

  1. Part of a song I wrote a while back. Hope it translates well without my, frankly, stellar piano playing and heroic singing. You heard me. Heroic.

    Ain’t no mystic got a thing on me
    I ain’t gonna pay a dime for homeopathy.
    You’ll never see me patron a psychic.
    Reality is what it is and why it is is why I like it.

    ‘Cause I’m a Skeptic-Man and I think too much for my own good.
    But really, what I mean is I think too much for your own good.
    My Carl Sagan and my James Randi beats your Deepak Chopra and your Jenny McCarthy,
    I don’t want you to just trust in me,
    I just want scientific methodology.

  2. A bit of a stretch in rhyme-

    No matter how many times you tell ’em,
    To abstain from the woo-miester’s pablum,
    The believers will scoff,
    And soon take off,
    To buy all that frauds will sell ’em.

  3. @Some Canadian Skeptic:

    You should record this and have someone follow you around all day playing it on a giant boom box (that’s right, I said boom box.)

    Also, I think I might love you, Mr. Canadian Skeptic. Stellar piano playing and heroic singing automatically makes me start stripping.

  4. @Gabrielbrawley:

    I think Sam’s in Houston. I live in Plainview, about 45 miles north of Lubbock. It’s about 4 hours, if I remember correctly, away from Witchita Falls. … And now I sound like a stalker. But I swear it’s because I just recently (by recently meaning March) was in Witchita Falls.

  5. @tmarie:

    Yes, Houston. And staying on topic:

    While scanning the skies with my ‘scope
    I was overcome with a feeling of hope
    That we’d end all the wars
    And erase all the horrors
    Caused by king, by country, and by Pope

  6. Texas and Kansas both say
    “The Earth is young”
    Don’t tell us otherwise
    because we have guns
    The world points and giggles and starts to laugh
    don’t disrespect our faith the states scream
    don’t show us science
    if it ain’t in our bible we don’t but it
    monkeys don’t give birth to humans
    and Darwin was Hitler’s best friend
    gravity is only god holding us down
    and math is just the angles making it so
    “The earth is young”
    Maybe just a few days
    Now put up your books
    lets go play
    where are our nuclear weapons
    give me my internet
    I want my cable
    my car
    my plane
    just keep that nasty science away

  7. This might not have a direct skeptical undertone, but the lyrics are amazing. It’s a song by Kevin Devine called “Another Bag of Bones.”

    “It’s a brushfire spreading, feeding as it moves
    It’s a disappeared glacier; it’s the airborne flu
    It’s your disbelieving eyes logging concrete miles
    It’s your yawning conscience and your lawyer’s smile
    It’s an occupied country foaming at the mouth
    No smoking gun, no mushroom cloud
    It’s a military mother with a boy in hell
    And it’s a flag-draped casket down an oil well
    It’s an Argentine school-girl gagged and bound
    It’s a torture camp; it’s a long way down
    It’s the constant bracing shock of now
    And it’s the whole damn world turned inside out, alright

    It’s a march to extinction with your god in step
    It’s his name in your mouth; it’s his cross on your neck
    It’s a farm boy sprinting over desert dirt
    And he’s panting the ‘Our Father’ in staccato spurts
    Now that’s his automatic rifle and it tells no lies
    It’s his truth in your stomach, it’s no alibi
    But the trouble lies on the other side
    With an equal truth prepping for his holy night
    He sees the crescent and the star blink in the virgin sky
    And hears the call of milk and honey from the afterlife
    And as he eases to the checkpoint, he is calm and sure
    It’s collateral damage; it’s the cost of war
    It’s another bag of bones for the Gods to sort
    It’s just another bag of bones for the Gods to sort

    Well it’s a species disappearing, all the birds fly south
    In a January heatwave, in a pulsing crowd
    It’s an African Militia, kids with sub-machines
    It’s a conflict diamond on your bride-to-be
    It’s the dispossessed lining up at every gate
    It’s the facts worth facing, faced way too late
    It’s the mission of modernity, go get what’s yours
    Til there’s nothing leftover to go get no more
    And it’s not what we’re owed, but it’s what we’ve earned
    And it’s closer than we realise, and it’s time now to burn
    And oh it’s time now to burn
    And oh it’s time now to burn
    And oh it’s time now to burn, to burn”

  8. Not exactly Skeptical related, but thinking about the Skepchicks at TAM7 evoked a picture. (Due credit to my wife who came up with the title which became the theme.)

    The television’s rot
    Oprah book club? So not.
    Way too stressed to be online
    Gonna gripe with bitches and wine

    Don’t offer us a drink
    Just pour it in the sink
    Mind the keep out signs
    Around the bitches and wines

    I’ve had enough being nice
    All day long sugar and spice
    Gonna drop the Sweet Adeline
    And get down with the bitches and wine

    Coffee, tea or me
    Gets you nowhere, see?
    Night is for the less refined
    Watch while some bitches get wined

    Tired of old boy tricks
    Office full of suits with pricks
    Here’s something to remove your itches
    Hoist some wine with the bitches

    Nothing could be fina
    If you’ve got a vagina
    Find a way to make the time
    And spend it with bitches and wine

  9. How about a skeptic-themed parody of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”?

    You were so dumb when I first saw you
    I rolled my eyes
    As the nonsense starts
    You’re standing there
    Bringing all of your woo-woo to bear

    Pseudoscience
    Think you’re smart, you talk so loud
    As you debate feng shui with the crowd
    You say hello, you wanted me to know

    That you were a Leo, you guessed I was a Libra
    And my brain screamed, get away from idiot
    And you were looking at my aura
    Begging to read my Tarot, and I said

    Homeopathy, horoscopes and UFOs
    Anti-vax, crop circles, and Chakra flows
    You are a dunce with a cranial abscess
    It’s a woo story, maybe you’re a dumbass

    So I sneak out to the garden to leave you
    You follow me, you want me to believe too
    Here flows your lies
    Psychics, astrology, and ley lines…

    ‘Cause you were mumbo jumbo, you were spouting nonsense
    Your opinions unsupported by evidence
    When I asked you how you knew that,
    You told me that you “just know” — and I said

    Homeopathy, something you believe is so
    Just a drop of stupid in everything you think you know
    I’ll be the skeptic, you be the dimwit
    It’s a woo story, maybe you’re a dumbshit

    Homeopathy, quackery has strange appeal
    Science is difficult, but it’s real
    Your quote mining takes it out of context
    It’s a woo story, just a bunch of nonsense
    Woo woo

    I tired of debating
    Wondering if you were ever coming around
    Your faith in woo is grating
    So I get to write this parody smackdown — and I said

    Homeopathy, and all this crap you think is so
    I keep wondering, where did all your brain cells go
    Is this in your head? Or just wishful group-think?
    You picked a bugger and twiddled your nose ring

    And said, I’m not an idiot
    My IQ is not so low
    I love woo, and that’s all I really know
    There’s lots of mad stuff I really think and hope is true
    It’s a woo story, you should believe too

    Woo woo, woo woo
    ‘Cause you were so dumb, when I first saw you…

  10. I asked a single question
    Out to the world around me
    It answered with little hesitation
    Letting its secrets surround me.

    I asked a single question
    To the people I know so dear
    They stuttered and blundered and muttered
    But no answer did I hear.

    So, now when I ask a question,
    I ask to the world around.
    For just blind faith and trust are not answers
    And, outside, the truth abounds.

  11. @JOHNEA13: Bah, I was hoping to be the first with a James Randi theme.

    There once was a man named James Randi,
    Who said “I’ll give a thousand grandy!
    Just take this wood stick;
    Go, find water, quick!
    Alas, no modus operandi.”

  12. @tmarie: People stripping in front of me makes me strip. Incidentally, I can never go to a strip club.

    @Sam Ogden: @MiddleMan: @marilove: @Kaylia_Marie:
    Thanks for the kindness. Much obliged (That’s a southern phrase, right? “Much obliged”?). There is an audio recording of the full song during a rehearsal, I can be cripplingly lazy in getting these things together just to show off. And yet, I have no trouble being on stage playing this stuff essentially acting like “look at me! look at me! Am I accepted by you all yet? Do you love me yet?”.

    Ironies. I haz it.

  13. A Skepchick, during her paces
    Was burgled, losing her vases
    No flinching waif
    Her home is now safe
    She’s got bears to murder their faces

    Amazing Meeting
    Skepchicks with buzzed aldrins
    More liver damage

  14. I’m cheating, I wrote this a while ago.

    Ancient Wisdom

    I’m a skeptical lad as everyone knows
    I wonder a lot and I wonder aloud
    and I’m not shy about my scorn for all those
    who put all their faith in old story’s so proud
    of the wisdom that comes from far in the past
    so much better than all of our learning
    today we’re quite stupid, with our studies so vast
    so to the old days we’re constantly yearning
    back before we knew what caused our bowels to move
    we knew all that we needed to move ’em
    and so what if we routinely died from the flu
    we knew the right herbs for feverish green sputum
    So screw the future, and hark to the age
    when death was preceded by burning green sage

  15. And one more for my local skepchick:

    Skepchicks 3: Maria

    a spicy hot warrior, a dark lady sworn
    to be woo’s enemy, a champion born
    to battle the stupid, while stating their right
    to be stupid, indeed, while drinking all night
    in the tavern I met you, a vision in jeans
    with your glass of merlot, and your wit razor keen
    we spoke of volcanos, and skeptics desire
    to be able to piss, if placed next to fire
    Or magma in truth, thought either would hold
    No fear for a skepchick, nor water we’re told
    your skeptical powers have made you badass
    and underwater you’ve gone, to breathe strange mixed gas
    though we’re locked in a battle that we may not win
    the fights the thing, with friendship and grins

  16. Reading and writing,
    Researching genes and much else.
    Praying not at all.

    And:

    While questioning, we learn.
    While faithful, we accept.
    Answers we must earn,
    or never be free of false precepts.

    Our roads require thought and will.
    Others smoothed by many feet-
    Less traveled, ours is rough and oft uphill.
    And though they claim theirs alone is meet,
    We will travel on.

  17. There was a young man from Nantucket
    Who chomped supplements by the bucket
    Said the skeptic ‘Don’t wallow,
    With your tablet – don’t swallow
    For it won’t even work if you suck it’

    (That one needs a little work)

  18. (Borrowing from a previous limerick of mine):

    Out comes the ghoul James Van Praagh,
    And of course Sylvia Browne, that old hag,
    Getting in on the action
    Of talking to Jackson
    Is it true – spirits’ tongues do still wag?

  19. I listen with horrid fascination
    As McCarthy tries to stop vaccination
    “They’re dangerous!” we’re told,
    “Let’s return to times of old!”
    Right – better to be an ignorant third-world nation…

  20. Newborn baby was baptized.
    He cried and he flailed.
    He gooed and he gurgled,
    But to no avail;
    Dunked into cold water,
    Prayed over and blessed,
    And he thought with disgust,
    “And I’m wearing a DRESS!”

  21. In religion it is certainty that is sought
    Don’t change
    Stay the same
    Always the same because our truth comes from god
    But in science tis uncertinty that drives
    question change and grow
    learn from our failures
    success is fine and it sharpens the mind
    but the favorite phrase is
    “Hmm, that’s odd.”

  22. @James

    My toast was crispy charcol black
    Tho’ set on ‘light’ today.
    I swear that it was Satan’s fault
    That it turned out that way!

    And so tomorrow morning
    To James Fox’s house I’ll go.
    His toaster’s not posessed, it seems,
    By one from down below.

    HIS toaster has the holy touch.
    And I don’t truly care
    (As long as it comes out light brown)
    If there’s some chick on there.

    Unless it’s a SkepChic…that’d be AWESOME!

  23. @Gabrielbrawley: I wish it were something sexy like that. I met her through roller derby, and she seemed really cool. I play in a local orchestra, and we need flute players, so I made an announcement on Facebook. This was her response.

    “I play piano, have for 15 years. Tried a flute once, was haunted… returned it to its rightful owner and haven’t tried again yet.”

    I’m trying to figure out if she buried the thing with the alleged ghost’s body… but I don’t want to bring it up.

  24. People pray to prove their faith
    they say through god all things are possible
    they say they have faith in god and not science
    but when they jump out of an airplane they use a parachute and the science that made it

  25. 1)Critical thinking is cool
    Shame they dont teach it in school
    At least, not very well
    Unless, forbid hell,
    You believe in that spiritual bull

    2)Homeopathy isn’t too good
    Never does what it says that it should
    If it has hidden zinc
    You wont get the stink
    Of delicious great tasting food

    Second one not as good, and Im not sure if the first one works with the American accent, but its fine if you do it in Scottish. Like mine.

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