Foo Bar Baz

by Common Lisp

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This album collects my original songs written to date for the Song Fu and SpinTunes songwriting competitions, the original versions (perhaps in slightly better-mastered mixes), as well as any additional versions, such as a remixes or live versions, recorded after the contest deadline.

Deadlines were generally a week to ten days. Given the realities of my day job and parenting duties, that generally means 20-50 hours of very late-night recording sessions (when the kids are asleep and the neighborhood is quiet). It's an interesting challenge to write, perform, record, mix, and master a track from beginning to end in such a short time -- you generally have to push forward from your first concept forward without the luxury of starting over or making major changes.


released February 2, 2010



Track Name: Polly Loves the Rain (ft. Joe "Covenant" Lamb)
Now Polly is a positive proton, she was born a long time ago; a ten billionth of a second after the big bang created in that great inferno. She survived the mass annihilation | when the universe was one second old; only one in a billion baryons made it and went on to become everything we can hold. Almost four hundred thousand years later, the first atoms became stable; little Polly acquired an electron and they're nearly inseparable. After the first supernova, there was oxygen floating around, created by the alpha process, and little Polly was chemically bound. She was part of a molecule of water at the time of the solar system's birth; she became part of the accretion disc that eventually formed our Earth.

Yeah... the one we live on.

Now Polly experienced gravitation; Polly joined up with a comet's core. She was getting ready to change the clmate -- so suck on that, Al Gore. The comet crashed into the young planet Earth; Polly melted into the sea. They say a lot of the water we have now arrived very suddenly. Polly was part of the primeval ocean when the earth was still young and hot; there was no atmosphere; there was no life; but Polly was not distraught. In the blazing sun she steamed away and floated in the sky so black; she condensed on some dust and put her trust in gravity, and rode on back.

It wouldn't be the last time.

Polly the proton's been here before; she was once part of King Tut's sweat. Way back in ancient Egyptian times, she made his royal forehead wet A breeze blew up across the Nile, and Polly was vaporized. The invisible vapor cooled and then Polly was not surprised to meet up with a speck of dust and more water molecules; they formed a droplet and then a cloud made up of tiny globules. Now when you're feeling jerked around, and when you're feeling blue, or when you think no one could run in circles half as much as you do -- take a moment to think of Polly. She's gone 'round again and again; she still hasn't gotten tired of the ride but I've got no more rhymes for our friend.

She just keeps on riding that waterslide.


Yeah, Polly the Proton's been everywhere
All around this old galaxy
Polly's been part of a glacier
And Polly's been lost in the sea
Polly the Proton's been down your throat
And passed through your left kidney
Yeah, she's been drunk, she's been pissed
Been frozen; she's been dissed
And what she loves the most is being rain

[The original plan was for the song to run verse -- prechorus -- chorus 3 times with a longer ad lib and fade, but the song was going to run well over 5 minutes that way. I rearranged it to put the first two verses back to back, leave out chorus 2, and remove the longer ad lib vocal fade out.]

[Chorus 1]

Polly loves the rain
Coming down as rain
Since long before the plain was formed
Since long before Spain was named
Polly's loved the rain

[Chorus 2]

Polly loves the rain
Coming down as rain
Splashing on the Spanish plain
Spaniards fine it quite mundane
But Polly loves the rain

[Chorus 3]

Polly loves the rain
Onto fields of grain
Over Alba's* great floodplains
Failing** up the river Tay***
Polly loves the rain

[Ad lib and fade-out]

Polly rides the rain
Polly's in the rain
Polly is the rain
Polly has no brain
But Polly loves the rain

*Joe sang this Scottish word for Scotland
**Joe's Scottish pronunciation of "filling"
***I suggested "a river or Loch that fits the rhyming scheme" and Joe picked the one that runs by his home city of Dundee
Track Name: War Criminal
Dick Cheney is a loving husband (war criminal)
The government is on your side
Dick Cheney is a wonderful dad (war criminal)
Washington is your best friend
Dick Cheney is a man of his word (war criminal)
And you're good looking and oh so well informed


Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney
Shot his friend right in the face
Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney
Bloody hands and a rotting heart
Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney
Your next undisclosed location will be in hell

Dick Cheney is a loving husband (war criminal)
The terrorists just hate our freedoms
Dick Cheney is a wonderful dad (war criminal)
Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples
Dick Cheney is a man of his word (war criminal)
The Founding Fathers would surely have agreed



Waterboarding is harmless
And Guantanamo is a playground
The Geneva Conventions
Simply don't apply
Extraordinary Rendition
Is a tropical vacation
Cheney's a man of convictions
So let's give him a few more
This song is filled with beautiful rhymes
And you can't fool all the people... every goddamn day


Dick Cheney is a loving husband (war criminal)
America can do no wrong
Dick Cheney is a wonderful dad (war criminal)
Jesus Christ approves of torture
Dick Cheney is a man of his word (war criminal)
And there will never be a Dick like him

Track Name: Leaving Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor
You haven't got a harbor
But you've got a big arbor-
etum, and enormous U-
niversity; you've harbored me
Since I was twenty-three
But now I'm...


Leaving Ann Arbor, packing up my apartment
I'd share my regrets but regret's not my department
It's been a fun lifestyle, but Ann Arbor
I just can't afford to love you anymore

In 1990
Zingerman's was just a deli
Borders was still a bookstore
With no pretentions to be more
One cafe was all I needed
My hairline had not receeded
But now I'm...



You're liberals who say
"That's so very fucking gay"

You're a traffic nightmare
Every football Saturday

You're overpriced restaurants
That follow every trend

You're the good schools my kids
Aren't allowed to attend

Your home prices are obscene
It's insane, I'm not so keen

To drop a cool quarter mil
Don't want to pay that mortgage bill

For a tiny little shack
With no yard out in the back

The market's ready for correction
It's gonna lose its erection

My disclosure: your foreclosure
Will make you lose your composure

Ann Arbor, you're a pipe dream
You're high property tax

You're diversity
But without any blacks

You're a pretty young thing with an
Oozing cold sore

You're a fraud, you're a cheat,
You're an overpriced whore

It's my soul that's a stake
'Cuz I know your love is fake

Not to mention my empty bank
Account, you skank

I'ts been a good ride
But I'm swallowing my pride

I've given up, I'm done, I'm through
I can't afford to love you

Any more - no, I can't afford to love you
any more


"You know how to get to Ann Arbor, right?"

"How do you get to Ann Arbor?"

"You fake left and take a hard right."


I'm leaving Ann Arbor

(Car driving away)
Track Name: Science (in the Service of Beauty)

I am a scientist, true. But define "mad."


Once I was blinded by beauty
That I mistook for technology
I loved to play with electronics
Producing all kinds of crazy sonics
But these days I'm a nature lover
Give me a human under the covers


BEAUTY mistaken for
SCIENCE in the service of
MONEY producing new
Connections, rejections
Maybe too much introspection
Too much to handle
It can't hold a candle to you


Goodness, Miss Sakamoto! Is it really you? Do come in.
My, my, you haven't aged a day!
May I offer you a cup of tea?
You've heard, perhaps, that my little inventions have made me a wealthy man?


My meters are all a-quiver
Your touch gives me the shivers
Now let's conduct an experiment
Oh never mind, it's completely irrelevant
My vacuum tube's overheated
I've lost my cool, I'm completely defeated



ThinkPods and GeekPads
and things that warm up
Devices that vibrate
chips that make music
Psionics, dildonics
Good old telephonics
Machines that go "bing,"
Science chthonic,
Glowing rectangles
And cables in tangles
Just hop on the network
You don't need to do legwork
To find my location
You won't need cogitation
Texting is peachy
But pheromones can't reach me
Your webcam is online
But that's not in real time
Come over to my place
I can't feel you in cyberspace...



I see your teacup is empty!
Oh, dear, we've run out of sherry as well
Please be careful where you step; the laboratory is so cluttered.
It's very hard to find qualified help these days.
What? You say you might be interested in assuming your old... position?


Now your machinery's in order
You can trust me, I'm a doctor
You know that science is dandy
But come on honey, give me some candy
I want to study biology
In specific, your anatomy


SPOKEN (on drums/fadeout):

It was so good to see you, Miss Sakamoto!
Do come back and see me again soon.
Perhaps next time, you might care to have a look at my etchings?
My door is always open.
Track Name: Sherman's Lament (Featuring Duality) (Shadow)
I've spent my career teaching history
But my colleagues always mock me
My papers are rejected
My letters to the editor never selected

My memories of those days are mostly a blur
Of crudely drawn animation
With our horn-rimmed glasses, we'd explore
The pasts of many nations

His bowtie he always kept impeccable
The puns were completely unacceptable
I tell you this without much joy
For I'm no longer Peabody's... boy


My life has been so ordinary
Since the day he went away
Now it's been almost fifty years
And I am old and gray
I've never stopped believing
That he'll come back for me
My master, mentor, friend Mister Peabody


I followed Peabody's detailed instructions
To make sure our history functions
Fixing problems in our past
We righted wrongs and we had ourselves a blast

When our show got cancelled, he took it really hard
We heard him howling in the yard
On that fateful day, he broke his chain
And with nothing but his big brain

He trotted right through the door of his machine
We'd know where he went, but he broke the view screen
The government men took it away
Now how can I... get back... to yesterday?



Cartoons can live forever
But not so human men
I'm hoping that he gets here soon
So I can see his fuzzy face again
Maybe he traveled forward
And in some very different when
Some clever future doctors
Can fix me and make me young again
Now night is fast approaching
But if we meet up one day
We'll be dog and boy like it was yesterday


I had to pack up and go back to school
Which felt so very cruel
The history books all seemed strange
It's not nearly as fun when it can't be rearranged

Me, I just got older, and I discovered girls
But they never seemed to like me
Maybe the dog tags put them off
Or maybe they saw me scratch a flea

I never got married and I never had friends
I really hope this isn't how it ends
I hope my master won't forget me
And I'll make history with Mister Peabody



Now you might think I'm just confused
And age has left me in a fog
But I never minded playing second fiddle
To a dog
Track Name: Today is Not That Day (Shadow)
There will come a day
When I will die
When you will die
When all we are has passed away
Today is not
Today is not
Today is not that day

There will be a time
When all we are is not
When everything we've got
Will not be ours, and that's OK
Today is not
Today is not
Today is not that day

No one can know the hour
The hour or the moment
Dance like your heart's on fire
Dance like it's your last chance

And when we are no more
We will join the dance
The dance of all who were
Everyone who was and will be gone
Today is here
Today is all
Today is not
Today is not
Today is not that day
Track Name: Falling: a Nightmare in Three Acts
Act One: The Dream

Ambient nature sounds (wind)


"Sleep that knits up
the ravelled sleeve of care
The death of each day's life
Sore labour's bath;
Balm of hurt minds,
Great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."
- Shakespeare

Note: guitar is down-tuned 2 half-steps, so I play these
chords on guitar as Dm, Gm, Dsus4, Gm, Am7, C and Bbmaj7. As heard it is in the key of C minor (relative minor to Eb)... I think. I'm not so great with the music theory.

I've been here before
Fm Csus4
I can't see where I'm going
Cm Fm
There's darkness behind me
Gm7 Bb Cm
Darkness ahead

Cm Fm
There's a man in the shadows
Gm7 Fm
I can't see his face
Cm Fm
I thought he was chasing
Gm7 Bb
But it turns out I'm running

Cm Fm
It turns out I'm chasing
Gm7 Bb
The man in the shadows
Cm Fm
But my legs are so tired
Gm7 Bb Cm
I know I'm not strong

Csus4 Cm
Why won't he wait?
Bb Gm7 Abmaj7
Did I do something wrong?
Cm Fm
I can't catch my breath.
Gm7 Bb Cm
Don't leave me alone.


To sleep,
perchance to Dream;
Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death,
what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled
off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.
- Shakespeare

Act Two: The Nightmare

I will not cry
I'm running, not crying
I can't catch my breath
My lungs, they are aching

The man in the shadows
Is gone and I'm calling
Not crying but screaming
Screaming and trying to

Run and I'm slipping
The path it is crumbling
I'm screaming and gasping
Falling forever

I scream in the silence
Too frightened for crying
Falling for ever and
Ever and falling

I'm sitting bolt upright
And sweating and shaking
Down the hall mom is crying
Her heart must be breaking

The man in the shadows is
Gone and I'll always be
Missing his love, I'll
always be aching

Act Three: The Waking Dream

Ambient nature sounds (beach)

Instrumental break: shifts key to C major, I think.

Cm Fm Csus4 Gm7
Abmaj Gm F7
Cm Fm Csus4 Gm7
Abmaj7 Gm F7
G7 Am7 E F

When I was small, so small
I rode on your shoulders
My hands felt your beard
It was scratchy and warm
When I was small

(Ambient sound: wind sounds return)

Now you are gone, gone, gone
In the sun on the beach
We were laughing and playing
In the grass on the dunes
You ran and I chased you
On a day long ago
And then you were gone

Gone from your children
Gone from your wife
Gone from my brother
Gone from our lives

And though I've awakened
And though I've awakened
I'll always be aching
I'll always be aching
I'll always be runing
I'll always be runing
I'll always be chasing
I'll always be chasing
I'll always be falling
I'll always be falling


All men whilst they are awake
are in one common world:
but each of them, when he is
asleep, is in a world of his own.
- Plutarch
Track Name: A Brother's Valentine (Explicit Lyrics)
This one is for all you special gentlemen out there, who are looking for someone you just can't get from the ladies. No, that's not exactly what I mean. SpinTunes, represent! Sometimes songwriting contests -- they get a bad rap.

I'm speaking in verse since I've been told I can't sing
First off, let's establish this isn't a gay thing
And though I am sensitive and sometimes sing show tunes
There ain't no Santorum on the sheets in my bedroom

I'm pensive and anxious; not so good socializing
Bad at eye contact; find friendship quite trying
It always gets competitive; I feel disrespected
So though I need contact I remain disconnected

If you like, we could do this right in front of my wife
She and the kids would probably join in; that's my life
I get slobbered on, clobbered, watch boogers get eaten
Get wet on and sat on, but I can't be beaten

Real life is messy; babysitters cost money
Kids are drippy and messy; they think chaos is funny
If I manage to get out for a moment of quiet
When I get home the whole place looks like there was a riot

When I was a child
You had to bring each boy and girl a cutesie card
Bring enough for the class
Or you can fold them up and stuff them up your ass
Now that I am grown
I kind of miss those days and often feel alone
Please don't be shocked
This is not about your goddamn cock
Brother can you spare the time
To be my man-crush bromance Valentine?

So friendship gets difficult, especially past 40
But what really frustrates is all those who can't see
The value of contact not whatever's on cable
Of human conversation around a dinner table

You could bring along your own girlfriend or spouse
Throw in some wine or whisky, not to get soused
But for social lubrication; get the words flowing
Talk politics or culture, until our eyes are glowing

Ideas and philosophies, pedantic or not
Libertarian, contrarian, agrarian or fraught with
Conservatism, idealism, concepts good or bad
Try listening respectfully, although it makes you mad

We're not Limbaugh or Maddow; we're not in it for the ratings
We don't need to practice hate or engage in race-baiting
The art of debate was once taught in every school
What passes for it now is depressingly uncool


So friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter
When everything is virtual, real life goes in the shitter
Social media is corporate and the product is us
Now this is what it's come to, imagine my disgust

Hanging out IRL* seems increasingly unlikely
We've transcended friendship; it's messy and unsightly
I age and rage against the dying of the light
Maybe I'll catch you on the other side; I bid you good night

I've got just one special Valentine's Day wish for you, my brother -- only connect.

*"In Real Life"
Track Name: I.O.U.
My seven letters are I, O, Y, M, L, A, and W

I owe you my life, my love
All I am and all I own is yours

When we met long years ago, you
Welcomed me with love and laughter

My incandescent love I owe you
Another year's improvisation

I'll melt with willing obligation
I offer you my lullabye

I owe you my life, my love
All I am and all I own is yours

Adieu, my lady love
I owe you my life

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