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May 21, 2005


I love this:

If you've never heard him, he's very similar to Mark Russell, except that he's funny.

Mark Russell and the Capitol Steps are in my Whoppi Goldberg category: supposedly funny, but I'm still waiting to laugh.

But Tom Lehrer? Yeah, he's funny.

Capitol Steps do have their moments. But Lehrer is consistently on target with his rapier wit.

I grew up in an era where the Daily Show of its time (That Was The Week That Was - known as TW3) was on network TV (NBC) and Lehrer was their best songwriter (see his album That Was The Year That Was).

by the way, the complete CD collection of Tom Lehrer is here. Scroll down for samples.

Tom Lehrer is one of the greats, though unfortunately not a timeless great (his lyrics don't sound as relevant today as some of his peers' still do). His lyrics need a little updating to keep with the times:

"Oh, we are the folk-[blog] army; /every one of us CARES... /we all hate poverty war and corruption / unlike the rest of you squares."

See also Who's Next, IMF, and Smut. He also hit the nail on the head with the broadcasting of war:

"While we're attacking frontally, watch [Hannity and O'Reilly] describing contrapuntally the cities we have lost..."

Unfortunately, it was Rumsfeld (or was that Ashcroft singing?) who took the last lines to heart: "I'll look for you when the war is over/ an hour and a half [er, better make that decade and a half] from now!"

For another good science song, They Might Be Giants have made a good stab once or twice (not sure if they were their originals or covers of childhood favorites): "The sun is a mass/ of incandescent gas/ where hydrogen is built/ into He-li-um..."

First you get down on your knees/Fiddle with your rosaries/Bow your head with great respect and: genuflect! genuflect! genuflect!

I just found this article in the NYT about a singing nerd named Timothy Sellers. Looks like you can buy the songs through iTunes, which I might just do.

Also check out MC Hawking. This guy put together rap songs with Stephen Hawking's voice, songs like "F*ck the Creationists". Apparently, Dr. Hawking thinks the songs are funny as hell, and is flattered (what a cool guy).

You'd love Tom Lehrer, Page. The elements are a classic. Check the sample here.

If you want to hear the Elements, I highly recommend this flash-animated version:


brilliant.. thanks, emptypockets.

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