PZ Myers reports on a laboratory-bred strain of mice that can regenerate after injury without scar tissue. Better material for PhaWRONGula I could not have expected.

I'm called The "Contract" Cleaner—a master of my trade,
But in Heber-Katz's lab last night my limits were displayed.
A broken cage, the signs of raging rodents round the room:
Just mice, mere silly mice, but still, I'd need more than my broom.

A man can make a mundane job rewarding if he's smart—
See simple tasks as challenges to solve by works of art.
My finely balanced pressure plate with cheese as murid lure
Was coupled to supports to hold a deadweight insecure.
(I must disclose the weights I chose to pin the pesky species
were stacks of Darwin's unknown work, The Origin of Squeeshies.)

At twelve o'clock I heard the knock as trap slapped on its prey.
At twelve-o-one the mouse had won. He'd shrugged and slipped away!
The mouse had thumbed his nose, but I suppose I mustn't grouse;
I'd built a better mousetrap but this beast's a better mouse.

I worried that this furried monster mouse may beat the rap,
So listen while I hasten to describe a better trap:

The opto-sensor trigger tips the Dewar flask, and then
It empties out its contents—dousing mouse in liquid N.
The icepick spring releases, shatters mousicle to bits
(And the pieces of the meeces can be added to your grits).

I baited then I waited, sitting down to read a book.
—Scurry, munch-munch, Slop! Crash! Tinkle!—so I stood and took a look.
As I watched, the mouse-frits melted, drew together in a pool,
To a mousey bloody puddle—while I waited like a fool.
The puddle writhed and wriggled; it was then my jaw fell slack.
It scampered off on regrown legs and giggled, "I'll be back."

So now I'm just The Cleaner—I'm limiting my claim.
I won't be cleaning science labs; I cannot bear the shame.
Those boffins in their labcoats mate a mouse with mousey spouse.
I'd build a better mousetrap, but they'd breed a better mouse.

A Sonnet for the Besnotted

Oh! sore besnotted though you be,
Your senses rendered dull,
With random hacking repartee
As raucous as a gull,
Your thorny-throated musings pained
By throes of refluxed gunk
(That while you slept had seeped and drained
And swilled with what you'd drunk),
Though gaseous protests punctuate
Your patois à la toad,
And sinal suckage grows so great
That swollen tracts explode,
Yet will I listen with persistence.
One condition: keep your distance.

Praise the FSM

The Flying Spaghetti Monster is desirous of our worship and of our efforts to educate the uninformed. Yet how shall we, the faithful, unite our voices and our spirits without music and devotional lyrics to inspire our zeal? Here are two hymns that I dedicate to our Noodly Master.

All Things
(With apologies to Cecil F. Alexander)

All things bold and booty-full,
All pirates tanned and tall,
All things new and noodle-full,
Our Monster made them all.

One hook He gave us, sharpened;
One eye clad in a patch;
We heeded not His warning:
"Be careful when ye scratch!"

Repeat Chorus

The urge to seek adventure,
The tattered treasure chart,
The lure o' bounteous baubles
That pump a pirate's heart.

Repeat Chorus

The wide blue ocean freedom,
The tang of salty air,
The rum imbued with courage,
Spaghetti placed it there.

Repeat Chorus

Each saucy buxom maiden
Each winsome comely tart
And lust with which to woo 'em
His noodle doth impart.

Repeat Chorus

The slapping of the rigging,
The endless lonely sea,
That strapping young midshipman
When weeks from port we be.

Repeat Chorus

He gave us swaggering heroes
With rapier repartee,
And moody brooding shipping:
Spaghettiness adds squee!

Organ swells for final chorus:

All things bold and booty-full,
All pirates tanned and tall,
All things new and noodle-full,
Our Monster made them all.

Sheet musicMidi file

(With apologies to William Blake)

And did that meat in recent time
Make Kansas School Board members green?
And was the saucy source of all
Adjusting things we'd never seen?

And do our sub-atomic strings
Reveal the nature of design?
And was Spaghetti's flavorous feast
To show His Noodliness divine?

Bring me my bowl of pasta gold!
Bring me my meatballs of desire!
Bring me my sauce with herbs untold!
Bring me my bolognese of fire!

I will not cede my legal right,
Nor shall my fork sleep in my hand,
Till we have taught Spaghetti's Flight
In Kansans' backward schooling land.

Sheet music & Midi file

[Edited to add an extra verse to All Things at the request of a fellow FSM worshipper.]
[Edited to add links to sheet music and midi files.]

The Return of the Curse

The curse is a long neglected literary device, but one I believe should be revived and added to the pundit's arsenal. The floods of invective, tirade, rant and snark have grown stale and are losing their emotional power. They've become old and comfortable, viewed as reassurance to the supporter and meaningless noise to the opponent.

The curse is more than an argument or an assertion, it is a word of prophesy. It ties fate to its victim's coattail. It signposts a course through the multiverse. Like science, it makes predictions.

PZ Myers draws our attention to the curse left by the famous UFO debunker, Philip Klass

The Last Will and Testament of Philip J. Klass

To UFOlogists who publicly criticize me…or who even think unkind thoughts about me in private, I do hereby leave and bequeath THE UFO CURSE: No matter how long you live, you will never know any more about UFOs than you know today. You will never know any more about what UFOs really are, or where they come from. You will never know any more about what the U.S. Government really knows about UFOs that you know today. As you lie on your own death-bed you will be as mystified about UFOs as you are today. And you will remember this curse.

Inspired by Klass's curse, I penned a curse in verse for PhaWRONGula (only to find on completion that Socar had been similarly inspired).

To Curse a Creationist

May your Luddite defiance and techno-anxiety,
Your morals from myth and pretensions of piety,
Irrelevance to an enlightened society
Let everyone know you're a freak.

May your lifetime's disdain for your own education
One day be the source of your mortification--
A breathtaking, gut-wrenching realization
Of your ignorant arrogant pique.

May your paranoid claims and continued insistence
That science suppresses your piece de resistance
Become such a part of your blighted existence
You feel that it's pointless to speak.


"Oh Nanny! I climbed the high turret today,
And I saw near the forest a gay little fawn
In the shadows and rays of the dawn through the trees;
May I go out and play with it please?"

"Elizabeth, the Master would be shocked!
We keep our castle locked to keep you safe
From monsters that seem playfully benign
But seek to lead your mind away from home."

"Oh Nanny! the view from the tower is grand,
And I saw to the edge of the land, where the hue
Of the sky changes into deep blue with white lace;
It's a shimmering beautiful place."

"Elizabeth, that sparkling blue is death
With freezing crushing depths to drag your heart
Away from this warm hearth where you belong,
Inside our castle's strong defensive walls."

"Oh Nanny! I climbed to the top of the gate
To see over the trees; there's a fete in the town
And some children are running around in the sun
May I go out and join in the fun?"

"Elizabeth, those children are diseased
Poor loveless waifs with fleas and scabby skin;
Their filthy lives begin and end in hate.
Stay here in this estate for your betrothed."

"Oh Nanny! it's obvious I'll never grow
To be happily-ever-devoted to him
Like some cosseted maid in a Grimm fairy tale
Always bound to the will of a male.

And Nanny, I wish there were some other way
But I'm damned if I'm going to stay in this tomb
To be kept as a trophy, a womb for his line;
This life can't be his; it is mine."

So Elizabeth made her escape late at night,
Down the wall, through the woods by the light of the moon,
Through the village where wrappers were strewn in the streets,
Past the glare of the signs and the beat from the bar,
And the twang of the bluesy guitars, to the guy
Asking "You from tha' castle up Ironbar Creek,
With tha' crazy-assed millionaire freak?"

A "Love" Sonnet

Ask, "Is this love?" I'll ask you what you mean
By love—some silver screen that makes you blind
To faults, or some fantastic pact between
Imagined gods who've had your fate designed?
Perhaps four little letters are a key
To probe the private—password to the pants—
But used again, describe the wrath of she
Whose cubs are threatened by a pervert's glance.
This many-splendored word's a whore who sleeps
With sycophantic shallow flawless skin
And gloms the sinner's soul in haste but keeps
The way they are at bay because it's sin.
So tell me, why is such respect conferred
On one old overloaded worn-out word?

Lord of the Flies

Cross-posted from PhaWRONGula: Learning to Fly.

Pharyngula: Well, maybe another catch is if getting up close and personal with flies makes you squeamish…

You want Dipteran smut? Here's the website, uncut:
Anatomical Atlas of Flies.
You'll need, for inspection, a broadband connection
Because of its gigabyte size.
So shrug off your shyness and feast on the flyness
Expressed in high-res for your eye.
Come hug the homology, munch the morphology;
Have to agree, "Pretty fly!"

Fat Fluffy Fiends

A mischievous master lurks under my bed
With lint for a body and hair for a head.
His diet is dust so he's very well fed
Like all of his fat fluffy fiends.

He's planning a party to rage through the night.
He'll sniff my wet socks and get high as a kite
And scoff on dried skin-flakes and toenail delight--
Just him and his fat fluffy fiends.

He'll fall about laughing at lewd people-puns,
Make fun of our feet (big warped knobbly ones),
And dream about dandruff cascading in tons
To build up more fat fluffy fiends.


Because each scar invites me to explore
This convoluted sculpture of the past,
I can't resist; I must come back for more.

In every game one name is left till last--
A victim of the school of youthful crimes.
This convoluted sculpture of the past

Wears tangled thorns that still draw blood at times,
Revealing tales not shared except in trust.
A victim, of the school, of youthful crimes,

Of days in fear all hopelessly unjust,
Lives on despite the numbing of the years,
Revealing tales not shared except in trust

To those prepared to understand the tears.
A story dressed in memories of a youth
Lives on despite the numbing of the years

And tells us that we never know the truth.
Because each scar invites me to explore
A story dressed in memories of a youth
I can't resist, I must come back for more.

But the Tale Goes On

In years of happy ever after
Even geese could dream
Of singing songs of light and laughter,
So she hatched her scheme.

She raised her voice in wacky wit
And wondered if some day
She'd ditch this gold-egg-gig and split,
Forgoing steady pay.

But Jack was gentle, Jack was safe,
And jobs like hers were rare.
(That years of choking eggs could chafe,
Her chum seemed unaware.)

The more she sang the less he listened;
Little would he hear,
Contented that the gold still glistened,
Growing year by year.

And so she knew her dreams were dead--
Her ditties: bland and trite.
The goose, too bored to leave her bed,
Then bade the world good night.

Syndicate content