Monday, April 26, 2010

Bad-Prose Rants from Lady Wawa

This is my technical communicator parody (abbreviated) of Lady Gaga’s monster hit “Bad Romance”. Her Youtube video is approaching 200,000,000 views. For related videos and lyrics, do Google searches. Note: Lyrics accuracy varies among sites. Lyricsmode.com, which I used for most of my research and initial lyrics, had the best accuracy contrasted with other lyrics sites.

Bad-Prose Rants from Lady Wawa

Uh oh uh oh oh oh no no no no no no,
Your doc seems pretty poor.

Uh oh uh oh oh oh no no no no no no,
Your doc seems pretty poor.

Ras-ras-raspberry,
Ras-ras-raspberry,
Gag—I just might choke,
A doc is not a joke.

Ras-ras-raspberry,
Ras-ras-raspberry,
Gag—I just might choke,
A doc is not a joke.

Unmatched tenses are plenty to see,
Subjects and verbs don’t often agree,
Well you should see,
You skipped some concepts that are key.

Your lists aren’t swell; items aren’t parallel,
Paragraphs too long, too many lines just read wrong,
Re-duce, re-duce,
Re-reduce redundancy,
(Re-reduce redundancy.)

(spoken)
You know you wrote bad,
It's only your first draft,
Take another pass; improve that trash.

You need to improve that piece of poo,
And upload some better content,
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh.)

Please tighten the prose so it won't look so hosed,
And so it won't make me retch.

Uh oh uh oh oh no no no no no not this,
Don't ship the piece as is.

Nah nah, no no, it's not good work,
Improve it, and don't write it worse.

Ras-ras-raspberry,
Ras-ras-raspberry,
Gag—I just might choke,
A doc is not a joke.

Edit, edit punctuation,
Periods, commas, exclamations,
Word, word, use thesaurus,
Choose the words most glorious.

Move, move, move some clauses,
If they bring about good pauses,
Shorten up some sentences,
If they make for better senses.

Fix misplaced mods,
Fix comma probs,
Fix split infinitivin’s,
Fix letter cap nits.

Fixez punctuation,
Fixez double negation,
Fixez tout formatting,
Do style guide adhering,
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh-oooh),
Do style guide adhering,
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh-oooh),
Do style guide adhering,
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh-oooh),
Do style guide adhering,
(Doing a bad-prose ranting),
Do style guide adhering.

You need to improve that piece of poo,
And upload some better content,
(Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh.)

Please tighten the prose so it won't look so hosed,
And so it won't make me retch.

Uh oh uh oh oh no no no no no not this,
Don't ship the piece as is.

Nah nah, no no, it's not good work,
Improve it, and don't write it worse.

Ras-ras-raspberry,
Ras-ras-raspberry,
Gag—I just might choke,
A doc is not a joke.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rich Man Poor Man

YouTube playlist for this article,
playlist compilation article


Rich man. Poor man. Beggar man. Thief. Doctor. Lawyer. Indian chief. From my recollection, these occupations/titles were designators in a child's poem for buttons that would foretell the clothing-wearer's fate. (Never mind that people don't wear only one article of clothing for life.) Scrapbook.com and phrases.org.uk have some overlapping background information.

The scrapbook.com reference mentions the poem as a chant, that the landing button is the occupation of the future spouse. As another use for the chant is to find the "it" person in a game. ("Tag, you're it" comes to mind.) The methodology of determination reminded me a lot of "one potato, two potato", the countoffs starting the same way.
All players put their fisted hands together in a circle and one person starts the chant by tapping each fist in succession. When "Indian Chief" is said, the person whose fist is tapped puts that fist behind their back. Then the chant starts again with the chanter starting with someone else in the cirle [sic]. As soon as one person has both hands out of the circle they are "It".
At mamalisa.com, the game-instructions for one-potato-two-potato countoff indicate the similarity to scrapbook.com's button countoff.
All of the kids put our their two fists. One kid goes around tapping the other kids' fists with his fist. The one whose fist he ends the rhyme on is out (that kid puts that fist behind his back). Then go around again and again until only one fist is left. The one that is left at the end of all the rounds is "It".
In phrases.org.uk, pits from fruit on game players' plates—rather than their clothing buttons—determine the "it" person. In an indication of ingrained tradition, the occupation/title applies to males only; if the game players are female, "it" is the occupation/title of their future husband. In another difference from scrapbook.com, phrases.org.uk lists occupations as tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief.

For more variations of countoff chants and occupations, visit Wikipedia's tinker-tailor page.

Rich man poor man—that phrase is so well-known, I sense many people could mentally finish reciting the rest of the best-known parts of the poem. It's so well-known, an Emmy-award winning mini-series titled Rich Man Poor Man broadcast in 1976 , thereby providing a feedback loop for familiarity between the mini-series and the poem.

I've thought about songs that tie in with the poem, not initially knowing about tinker, tailor, soldier and sailor. I offer the following for viewing (as much as possible) and listening entertainment:
Rich Man
If I were a Rich Man, [musical video clip, uncredited artist]
Poor Man
Poor Side of Town, Johnny Rivers
Rag Doll, Four Seasons
Beggar Man
Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Temptations
Beggin', Four Seasons
Baby Please Don't Go, Them/Van Morrison
Thief
Steal Away, Robbie Dupree
Doctor
Good Lovin', Olympics
Doctor Doctor, Robert Palmer
Lawyer
Lawyers in Love, Jackson Browne
Indian Chief
Cherokee Nation, Paul Revere and the Raiders
Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum
Soldier
Universal Soldier, Buffy St. Marie
Sailor
Sailing, Christopher Cross
Sail Away, Enya
Tinker
If I were a Carpenter, Bobby Darin
One song that contains nearly all the occupations of the poem is the Yardbirds' "Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor". Occupations listed in the lyrics are as follows:
tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, doctor, baker, fine shoe-maker, wise man, madman, taxman
I am unable to find a song that refers to "tailor" as an occupation; however, the Searchers' "Needles and Pins" might be as close I find for a thematic fit because of the implements. Sew, in closing, I hope I will have provided enough entertainment, enlightenment, and a-muse-meant in this article to suit visitors.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

52-week Year As 13 Months

Instead of the current calendar that has the inconsistent spread over 28, 29, 30, and 31 days—depending on leap year, leap century, or regular year numbers, it'd be dandy to divvy up the 52 weeks differently. How about 13 months of four weeks each, with the leftover one or two days as bonus day(s) for the 13th month of the year? A year has 365 days in a normal year. Using 13 as the divisor, the quotient winds up as 28 (four exact weeks), with one day left over—two if 366-day year. (Par-TAY! Par-TAY!)

With twelve of the thirteen months having exactly 28 days, all the months could start on the normal first day of the week. As everything would be multiples of seven, there could be huge reduction in confusion over non-synchronization between current calendar day numbering and weekly day numbering. Payroll, scheduling, and programming could be greatly simplified, imo. There'd be fewer calendars to have to buy year to year. (An example of 13-month year advocacy site is 13moon.com.)

Just think! No more "September hath 30 days, ...". In my case, I could never get past the September rule comfortably. A newer ditty completely destroyed any possibility of my memorizing it. And it expresses my sentiment: "Thirty days hath September. The rest I don't remember."

Awhile back, I had learned a handy physical helper until repetition facilitated the memorization. With the hand in a fist, I used the finger-knuckle method to note the 31-day months. The path starts with the index-finger knuckle (January), advances to the pinky-knuckle (double tap to accommodate July and August), and returns to the middle-finger knuckle (December), as shown in the illustration. Tap a few times till you get used to the knuckles representing 31-day months. (The valleys represent the not-30-day months.)

Anyway, as the world is unlikely to change the calendar any time soon, the poem, knuckles, and various paper/online calendars can continue to be the mainstay of day/date consultations. In case you're curious how we got to the messy distribution of days and months, wisegeek has explanations.

Excerpt of interest, when the calendar had only 10 months—

The calendar had only ten months, and the number of days in a month were as follows: 31 days in Martius, 30 days in Aprilis, 31 days in Maius, 30 days in Iunius, 31 days in Quintilis, 30 days in Sextilis, 30 days in September, 31 days in October, 30 days in November, and 30 days in December.
Note that the first syllables for 7th (Sept), 8th (Oct), 9th (Nov), and 10th (Dec) months are Latin terms for the ordinal positions. Now, we associate the positions of September as the ninth month, October as the tenth month, November as the eleventh month, and December as the twelfth month. More detailed explanation about these months and the others are at 13moon.com's "WHAT'S IN A NAME?" page.

While I'm on the subject of calendars, the names of the days of the week have long histories and also associations across regions in Europe. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday retain much of their phonetic and name ties to Norse gods. Encyclopedia Mythica's "Origin of the names of the days" has explanations and also other-language information.

If you need to create your own calendar, my other calendar article will help, but only if you don't try to create a 13-month one.

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