The Promised “Making-Of” Post

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is in reference to the sonnet I wrote for Shruti on the JoCo forums, which, as I mentioned there, is both a sonnet in attempted Shakespearean style and a diagonal acrostic. Before we go further, let’s make sure everyone’s uncovered the message, all right?


Got it? Let’s carry on. Read the rest of this entry »


Like any Mavericks fan, I was tremendously relieved after the Mavs won on Wednesday to even the series with Golden State. In fact, I was probably more relieved than anyone else, because I’ve been sitting on this for a little while.

I’m not very superstitious in general, but I’m a little sports superstitious, and I didn’t want to put up a post about the Mavericks’ march to playoff victory before they’d actually, y’know, gotten a playoff victory.

Anyway, I’m all-encompassingly a homer, but I think the Mavs are the best team in the NBA. (If I hailed from Phoenix or San Antonio, I’d be saying the same thing about different colored laundry right now.) They have solid defense, good penetration, reliable outside shooting, and a lot of depth. All they’ve lacked… is a fight song.

This is to the tune of Ernest Longstaffe’s “When the Sergeant-Major’s on Parade.” To the tune of the chorus, actually, as the verse is kinda blah.


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As ever, apologies to anyone who’s got good enough pitch recognition to wince at my terrible vocals.

Transcript and lyrics follow.

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(“Friday?” Well, I guess I was working on it on Friday, or something. Also, I think this is the fifth Fiasco, but I’ve forgotten to keep count.)

I’m thinking about picking up a new instrument (if only so that I can accompany myself without that same plodding oom-pah piano) Just how easily influenced I am can be seen in the list of new instruments I’m considering:

Now here comes The Doifter, set on spoiling my calculations by introducing a new element into the mix. A tiny, four-stringed element of pure joy.

Ultra Concentrated Joy

Here is my cover of her song, “The Rubbish of Strangers.” My rendition contains no ukelele, unfortunately (although the allergic should note that it was manufactured in a facility that also processes ukeleles), and as you can guess, my singing is not at all as good as hers. Accompaniment is also by me, on plodding oom-pah piano. Finally, I’ve added new lyrics and music of my own composition to the end.

If you still want to listen in spite of all that, here it is.


Lyrics are after the jump.

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Friday Fiascos #4: The Things

Friday, October 13, 2006

I have been waiting to put this up for a long long time! Therefore I am happy to present it at long last, even though I know in my heart it’s not all that good.

Some of you may be familiar with the work of gentleman-songster Jonathan Coulton, who recently completed his (first?) Thing-a-Week cycle of 52 original songs, covers, mashups, text-to-speech recordings, and other things.

I have penned a tribute to it, done (mostly) to the tune of Thing number thirty, but the effect is rather spoilt by my inability to sing, alackaday.

Oh, would that someone would record this properly! Oh, if only there were someone with a good singing voice who knows the subject matter and the source tune well and who might be made aware of this Fiasco by an e-mail I have sent!

(Only kidding. Enjoy your tour.)

As is my custom, I’ll dissect (or vivisect) this on Monday, so check back then to see all the awful things I have to say about this. (UPDATE: Here’s the link. If you don’t understand the joke in the last line, click the link.) For the meantime, suffice it to say, yes, it’s artificially sped up.

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Even if you have a sensitive ear and do not want to risk it by listening to me caterwaul, I hope you will click the link and look at the lyrics.

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Friday Fiascos #3: Anatomy

Friday, October 6, 2006

I’m quite disappointed that I couldn’t finish what I was going to put up here in time to post it this week. However, since I promised last week that there’d be something worthwhile here, let me dust off something that has been on back burners for a while but that I’ve just hunkered down to finish.

Finger on the button, eye on the ball,
Nose to the grindstone, back to the wall,
Nail in the coffin, foot in the grave,
Heel of the despot, lash for the slave,
Back to the future, face from the past,
Toe in the water, arm in the cast,
Bone of contention, jaws of defeat,
Mouth of a river, side of a street,
Left-handed compliments, right-handed screws,
Hip to the lingo, mind p’s and q’s,
Shoulder the burdens, foot all the bills,
Pore over problems, head for the hills!

Not much else to say today. See you Monday.

— Bry

The best-laid plans of My-an-mar.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

or, How do you solve a problem like Myanmar?

Question: How do you pronounce Myanmar?

Wikipedia tells me — well, it tells me a lot, none of which helps. Apparently, it’s supposed to be pronounced, in Burmese (not in “Myanmarese,” strangely), as “Myanma”, but all y’all non-rhotics gave the people of Myanmar the idear that they could tack on that extra “r” without affecting the pronunciation and make themselves worth more in Scrabble. I now know that the “an” is pronounced differently in Burmese depending on whether it is used as a noun or an adjective. It also tells me that

Opposition parties, although they oppose the English name “Myanmar”, do not oppose the official Burmese name Myanma, and no opposition party is proposing to use the colloquial name Bama as the official name of the country.

I’m a little tired, but I gather that “Bama” is pronounced to fit into

Bermuda, Bahama, / Come on, pretty Bama,

rather than

I can’t forget the glamour,

Your eyes held a tender light,

And stars fell all over Bama

Last night., another place I go for answers, helps me less. The dictionary gives the pronunciation as

Myan·mar (myän-mär, -mär),

and the encyclopedia as

Myanmar (myänmär, mēänmär)

and the “geography” as

Myanmar (myahn-mahr, meye-ahn-mahr)

I think I’m going to have to wait until I finally meet someone from Bama Burma Myanmar before I find out where this accent actually falls, and I get the feeling that I’ll have to endure a political spiel before I get my answer.

Instead, doggerel.

“We shall disembark in Burma,”

Mama said to Grandma Rita.

But when they reached terra firma

They found terra incognita.

Unbeknownst to dear old Mama,

She had misinformed my gran’mar;

They found neither Bur- nor Bama —

Burma had become Myanmar.

— Bry

PS: If y’all wouldn’t mind hanging on, I’ll try to figure out some way to work Yangon in.

Friday Fiascos #1: A Retread

Friday, September 22, 2006

One of the several reasons I started this blog was that I had too many thoughts floating around that I found entertaining, and I needed a way to empty my brain.

(It can justly be claimed that I was doing quite well at that before the blog, to which I reply that nonetheless it is a necessary step in washing Mr. Miyagi’s car.)

If that were my sole justification, the blog would have already succeeded — as soon as I open a page to start a new post, my mind is completely blank.

It is rather embarrassing, but I have nothing newly prepared — the songs I hoped I’d have ready are each about a couple of stanzas and a decent arrangement away from an acceptable state of completion, and I’ll have to put those off for next time. Instead, I’ll empty not my brain but my storehouse of old verses.

This is one that few other than I have seen (even its subject hasn’t seen it as of yet, which I hope to rectify by a well-placed e-mail). Said subject is Paul R. Katz, who wrote an editorial in January in which he satirized the pretensions of his schoolmates.

This satire, of course, was taken literally by a large number of said schoolmates, with far-reaching consequences, the most notable of which was that I spent a night composing this bit o’ doggerel:

Read the rest of this entry »

Hello, and welcome. I am your humble host, “Bry” (n.b. That is the last time any reference to me on this blog can truthfully include the description “humble.”).

As you see, I have decided to start a blog, although I’m not sure what content I have with which to pollute the world.

From what I can tell, the principal subject of blogs is “things my cat did that are funny, interesting, or entertaining only to me.” I don’t have a cat, so my blog’s going to have to feature things that I did that are funny, interesting or entertaining only to me. The drastic reduction in cute this causes is offset by a roughly proportional surge in smug.

I’m struggling to find a pithy description of this blog that isn’t tautological. This is going to be a creative blog — but then all blogs are, to some extent, I suppose. And of course it’s essentially a vanity blog — but then, ditto.

I guess the best mission statement for this blog is that it’s a place to post entertaining things I write, where “entertaining” means “entertaining me,” not “entertaining you.” (This mission statement will be changing frequently.)

Things like, naturally, badly written light verse:

To close this post inaugural,
This neoteric blogger’ll
Compose a bit of doggerel,
Sing, hey! for the birth of a blog.

I’ll post with regularity,
Although urbane hilarity
Will be a dreadful rarity,
Sing, hey! for the regular blog.

I’ll strive to be satirical,
And muse in manner lyrical,
If you see any sense, it’s a miracle —
Sing, hey! for the typical blog.

I’ll pump up my vanity
(It’s astronomical),
Blather inanity
(Thinking it comical),
Try different media
(Choices are numerous),
Link Wikipedia
(It’s much more humorous),
Try innovation and
Joke around airily,
Lose inspiration and stop arbitr

“Entertaining” also means that while there’s going to be quite a lot of me, there’s not going to be anything much about me, except maybe that I’m too easily amused.

Well, enjoy yourselves (once you get here; I haven’t actually invited anyone yet). More later; I’m off to find a bottle of champagne to break against my laptop.

— Bry

I should mention: As you may have noticed, my nom de blog is, imaginatively, Bry (actually, it is a little imaginative in that hardly anyone has ever called me Bry before). Anyone who reads this will probably know my True Name — if so, and if something compels you to comment, you may use whichever name you prefer, although I shall respond (“in character”, as it were) under my blog alias.

I have decided to adopt this name because I hope there will be a rather pleasurable frisson in maintaining the fiction that it is not I but this fictional “Bry” who is wasting so many hours writing blog entries. (If it influences your decision, addressing me by this name would help me perpetuate this fiction.)