Occasional light verse, mostly political. If you're looking for a certain cold medicine, try here. But we can put you to sleep cheaper.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

knock yourselves out

The Washington Post reports today,

"The [Transportation Security Administration] has been reviewing its
list of prohibited items since last summer and has debated whether
throwing stars (a martial-arts weapon), ice picks and knives should be
allowed back on board [airplanes], according to TSA documents."

Twinkle, twinkle, throwing star,
How sublimely sharp you are!
Up above the world so high,
On the plane in which I fly.

We so fear to make an error
In the fight to stave off terror,
That we give up civil rights
For the sake of peaceful nights,

And treat with even greater scorn
Rights of people foreign-born
(Habeas corpus? Not a bit of it!
Detainees shall have no writ of it!).

I thought that I should never see
The day we'd choose to be more free,
But now -- you'd think I'd jump for joy -- a
Small retreat from paranoia!

Why, though, should I be inspired,
When what we'll win's the least desired
Of all the rights we could regain:
To bring sharp objects on a plane?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Great American poets / Great American products

This has been one of those weeks when the nightquill staff has been chained to their desks toiling for the glory of our usual stalking horse in the Style Invitational of the Washington Post. The fruits of these efforts will appear here eventually, but in the meantime we compensate by reliving past glories from that same contest.

The challenge was to present famous advertising jingles as they would have been done by famous poets. Three great American poets were channeled to tackle the old Coca Cola jingle, "I'd like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company" (which dates at least one member of the nightquill board).

Emily Dickinson was shy:

I'd like -- to buy --
The world -- a Coke --
But can't face --
Company --

e e cummings found a hidden message:

i'd like to buy the world
(- a coke and keep it

...and Walt Whitman can be counted on for a hearty finale:

Huge, shaggy, thirsty, laughing colossus,
Embrace the world,
And would like to buy it a Coke.

None of these saw print. But the contest was won by our personal favorite, E. A. Poe, waxing rhythmical on the Alka Seltzer theme of the same vintage: "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!":

At the banquet, I, unswerving, swallowed serving after serving,
'Though the food was undeserving, and unnerving were my hosts;
Now I wrestle with the question of impending indigestion
And my stomach burbles blindly with the groans of gastric ghosts,
But a plop, plop, plop, and a fizz, fizz, fizz,
Is the only hope that reaches to the depths of my despair,
And my vicious predilection to a chemical addiction
Is as trivial as fiction with this torture to compare.
And my soul sighs for the solace that indubitably is
In the plop, plop, plop, plop, plop, plop, plop
And the fizz, fizz, fizz, fizz, fizz!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Retailing gossip

H. Lee Scott, the Walmart chair,
Would love to be adored,
And now is trying hard to wear
The cloak of Henry Ford.
"Our customers need higher pay
To buy the things we sell --
Let Congress raise the floor today,
And all will turn out well."

Since Walmart jobs exceed the floor,
This seems unhypocritical;
Yet Costco pays a whole lot more --
So is it just political?
"Our shoppers should be better paid ...."
(Our workers surely won't,
For state-supported Medicaid
Provides them what we don't

You've said that wages should be upped;
A fine idea you've got!
But if our scorn should not erupt,
Then up yours, H. Lee Scott!