Some Song Lyrics

that can be found on this page are:

  • From The World's Worst Poetry, added 5/18/06
  • Furrier Than Thou added 12/2/04
  • Born to be Mild added 12/2/04
  • The Electron Transport Chain Gang added 12/2/04
  • We Were Meant To Be Together added 11/29/00
  • C4 Pathway Song added 12/9/05
  • Clone, Clone of My Own added 8/11/00
  • Songs of Biology added 2/11/00
  • The Day the Software Died added 4/11/99
  • Dr. Beaker added 6/20/99
  • The Brain Forest added 6/13/99
  • The DNA Protest Song added 6/13/99
  • Science Songs from 1960 added 5/16/99
  • Symbiotic Relationships added 5/11/99
  • Biology Karaoke
  • Vilt Thing
  • Fifty Ways to Love Your Liver
  • Fifty Ways to Love Your Lever
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
  • Special Relativity
  • Like a Sturgeon
  • The Water Cycle Song
  • Ain't Nothin' but a Groundhog

    From The World's Worst Poetry

    Well, maybe we shouldn't be promoting bad poetry (although remember, "In education, a bad joke [or song, or poem] is worth 10,000 words."), but some of the selections in this book deal with scientific topics and it is interesting to consider how folks viewed science in earlier times. So a couple of samples are presented here:

    This first selection consists of a few lines from a 600-line poem, Geology, by James Milligan, about whom I could find no information on the internet. The book just says he lived in the 19th century:

    The science of Geology
    Proves the earth's antiquity.
    We find, when we look well abroad,
    The rocks contain their own record.
    The animal and plant remains
    Conclusive evidence sustains.
    They lived on the earth's surface fair
    When the huge rocks were forming there.
    In ages past they lived and died
    And afterwards were petrified
    By enclosure in massive rocks,
    And thus became fossilised blocks.
    The oldest-known rocks contain lime,
    Thus proving at that remote time
    Animal life did then abound,
    Which may fill us with thought profound.

    And from Edward Newman, a mid-19th-century President of the Entomological Society, a few lines from an 86-page masterpiece, The Insect Hunter: (note that the lines don't rhyme, but perhaps that is appropriate for the subject)

    First of walkers come the Earwigs,
    Earwigs or Forficulina;
    The hind wings, quite transparent,
    Like a lady's fan are folded
    Neatly up beneath the fore wings,
    And when opened out are earshaped,
    Very beautiful to gaze on;
    All the legs are very simple,
    And the feet are all three jointed;
    At the tail we find a weapon
    Very like a pair of pincers,
    And with this 'tis said the Earwigs
    Open and fold up the hind wings;
    You may watch them and observe it;
    I have never had that pleasure.

    Thus, an interesting assignment for students would be to write a poem about some scientific subject. Publish all the poetry in a book for "parent's night" or some other special event. ---Dr Chordate

    Furrier Than Thou

    by Jeff "Dr Chordate" Moran

    This is a song I have envisioned as one of those folk songs for which a thousand verses could be written: one (or more) for each kind of living thing. In its form below, the song extols the virtues of being mammalian over that of other vertebrate classes-- mammals being far superior, of course, by virtue of their hair.

    There's many animals in this world we share.
    But not a lot of them can say that they have got some hair.
    Every animal's unique in its own special way;
    But if you are a mammal, you've got the hair to say:

    Chorus: I'm furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    Other creatures have other features, but I'm furrier than thou!

    You come 'round and flaunt your feathers right up into my face.
    You've got wings and hollow bones and fly all over the place.
    You've got a gizzard and a bursa, a syrinx in your throat.
    Well, I don't care, you've got no hair for a natural fur coat.
    I ain't got no feathers. I ain't got no beak. My aorta doesn't arch to the right.
    But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
    It's what I wear to keep me warm at night.

    Chorus: I'm furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    I may not fly around the sky, but I'm furrier than thou!

    You've got dry skin, covered with scales, and slither over the ground.
    Your nose is no good, you smell with your tongue, just flicking it around.
    You've got no arms and got no legs, but you constrict and squeeze.
    Well, I don't care, you've got no hair providing homes for fleas.
    I don't lay no eggs. I ain't got no scales. I ain't got no ugly unhinged lower jaws.
    But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
    I wear it all the way down to my paws.

    Well, hey there, snake! Been dancing recently?
    How are those piano lessons going? Want to buy my old banjo?

    Chorus: I'm furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    Now you can stare at all my hair, 'cause I'm furrier than thou!

    You've got moist skin and it's slimy 'cause you've got lots of glands;
    And when you sing, just look at how your little throat expands.
    Your little babies are tadpoles that squiggle in a pond.
    Well, I don't care, 'cause I've got hair of which I am quite fond.
    I ain't got no nose running in my mouth. I ain't got cold blood, I'm not chilly all the time.
    But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
    It's my hair that enables me to swear: I'm . . .

    Chorus: ...furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    You're in the metamorphose set, but I'm furrier than thou!

    You stay in water all day long, swimming with your fins.
    A swim bladder for buoyancy, and scales outside your skin.
    You've got a lateral line system to tell you up from down.
    Well, I don't care 'cause I've got hair to wear when I'm in town.
    I don't got no fins. I ain't got no gills. I don't swim so deep and I don't swim so well.
    But I've got hair to spare, yes, I've got hair, it's what I wear.
    And I do think my hair's really swell.

    Chorus: And I'm furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    I don't care if I breathe air, 'cause I'm furrier than thou!

    So if you're feeling blue someday, and things have got you down.
    The animals make fun of you, and your face wears a frown;
    If there's times you feel like you have had a bad hair day,
    You can rejoice, and with your voice shout,
    "I am hair to say:

    Chorus: I'm furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    I may not fly around the sky, or metamorph from a small tadpole.
    I don't have fins to help me swim, and slith'ring round is not my goal.
    But I'm furrier than thou! I'm furrier than thou!
    And I thank God and evolution that I'm furrier than thou!

    Born to be Mild

    by Jeff "Dr Chordate" Moran

    Oh, I'd really like to be a sloth,
    'Cause I'd never get worked into a froth.
    I'd be strictly arboreal in forests equatorial
    Of Central and South America.
    And just come to earth once a week to--you know--go.
    And then, I'd go slow.

    Because, I'm born to be mild.
    I'm the mildest creature in the wild.

    A sloth sleeps about twenty hours a day,
    And every sloth I know thinks that's OK.
    Just hanging from a high tree branch,
    Upsidedown is my normal stance.


    I'd have nine vertebrae in my neck
    So every direction I could check
    For things that might be a threat
    Without breaking a sweat.
    Really, I'd just never fret.


    Every day or two I'd move about
    A new branch or two to check out.
    I'd eat tender twigs and leaves
    With my foliage grinding molar teeth.


    The Electron Transport Chain Gang

    by Jeff "Dr Chordate" Moran

    In the mitochondria membrane
    We find the electron transport chain,
    Where all day long electrons spin around,
    Energy going, going down, down, down.
    NADH to ubiquinone,
    Then on to cytochromes where heme is found.
    And as electrons lose energy,
    Here and there is formed ATP.
    Until at last cytochrome oxidase
    And oxygen fall into an embrace.

    That's how it works on the chain gang.
    The electron transport chain gang.

    Gets a pair of 'trons from NADH
    Which it donates to ubiquinone,
    A coenzyme that is quite well known.
    It floats to a cytochrome complex
    And the 'trons get transferred next
    To cytochrome c, and with another pair,
    All four pass to the last enzyme there.
    And when the electrons fall into place,
    Water's formed by cytochrome oxidase.

    That's how it works on the chain gang.
    The electron transport chain gang.

    We Were Meant To Be Together

    I wrote this some time ago as a love song about two magnets, which as you know are those things you find crawling all over a dead cat.

    We were meant to be together, like birds of a feather,
    Like the butterred side of toast and the floor.
    And just like every hammer's got to hit a thumb
    And every tennis shoe's got to find a piece of gum,
    We were meant to be together for evermore.

    Opposites attract they say, and baby we're poles apart.
    It's like I'm the North, you're the South. We're different right from the start.
    But the nearer we are to each other, the stronger our attraction becomes.
    And when our flux lines converge, just feel that power surge.
    Spoken: Oh, you stroke my lodestone, baby!!!

    We were meant to be together, like birds of a feather,
    Like the butterred side of toast and the floor.
    And just like every slush ball's got to hit a face
    And every basketball's got to smash a vase,
    We were meant to be together for evermore.

    Well, it's a little like being in love, kind of hard to explain,
    When they try to pull us apart, separate our ferrous domains.
    The put us in motors, CDs, and tapes, computers and levitated trains.
    And even if we can't understand the source, we know it's a fundamental force.
    Oh, you keep my charged particles in motion, baby!!!

    We were meant to be together, like birds of a feather,
    Like the butterred side of toast and the floor.
    And just like every tire's got to find a nail
    And every Captain Ahab's got to kill a whale,
    We were meant to be together for evermore.

    C4 Pathway Song

    This song was sent to me recently by one Garry Button. I am sorry, I don't really know any thing about him, except he wrote this instead of preparing a power point presentation. It's a good song nonetheless:

    Sung to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan's Modern Major General song:

    This is the very model of the C4 pathway concentrate
    A detour from the complex Calvin cycle let me elucidate
    Adaptions not for animals or minerals just vegetables
    In different climates, rainfall, tem-per-at-ure even sclerophyll

    The C4 cycle is a way to fix more wayward CO2
    When photorespiration takes more O2 than a plant can use
    The ratio between them both confuses all the rubisco
    In matters biological the reasons for this are unknown

    The photorespiration system makes the gasses competitive
    Carboxylation or oxidation efficient or repetitive
    The chloroplast peroxisome and mitochondrion all will state
    How easy it is to lose the CO2 to phosphoglycolate

    Phosphoenolpyruvate makes C4 acids when renewed
    Of which oxaloacetate and malate through enzymes are two
    The difference is seen the best when viewing leaf anatomy
    C4 leave have bundle sheaths not mesophyll unilaterally

    For biologic knowledge here's a system that's elementary
    Like photosynthesis uncovered in the middle of last century
    When photorespiration is repressed to help a plant self regulate
    This is the very model of the C4 pathway concentrate

    - Garry Button

    Clone, Clone of My Own

    I received this song via mail. It's one of the nearly infinite number of various things penned by Isaac Asimov, and so I suppose is about 30 years old. (And it just goes to show what the minds of even famous scientist/authors turn to when idle.) Sung to the tune of "Home, Home on the Range".

    O give me a clone of my own flesh and bone,
    With its Y chromosome changed to X.
    And when it is grown, then my own little clone
    Will be of the opposite sex.

    Clone, clone of my own,
    With its Y chromosome changed to X
    And when I'm alone with my own little clone
    We'll both think of nothing but sex.

    O give me a clone, hear my sorrowful moan,
    Just a clone that is wholly my own.
    And if it's an X of the feminine sex,
    Oh what fun we will have when we're prone.


    My heart's not of stone, as I've frequently shown
    When alone with my dear little X
    And after we've dined, I am sure we will find
    Better incest than Oedipus Rex.


    Why should such sex vex, or disturb or perplex.
    Or induce a disparaging tone?
    After all, don't you see, since we're both of us me.
    When we're making love, I'm alone.


    And after I'm done, she will still have her fun,
    For I'll clone myself twice ere I die.
    And this time without fail, they'll be both of them male,
    And they'll each ravish her by-and-by.

    Songs of Biology

    I received a photocopy of a small book of this name, copyright date 1948. However, some of the songs are much older than that. It just goes to show that some scientists/educators have been trying to use songs as educational tools for many years.

    One of the songs, Amphioxus, is set to the tune of Tipperary (which gives you some idea of its vintage):

    A fish-like thing appeared among the Annelids one day.
    It hadn't any parapods or setae to display.
    It hadn't any eyes or jaws or ventral nervous chord,
    But it had a lot of gill slits and it had a notochord!

    It's a long way from Amphioxus.
    It's a long way to us.
    It's a long way from Amphioxus
    To the meanest human cuss.
    Good-bye fins and gill slits,
    Welcome lungs and hair.
    It's a long, long way from Amphioxus
    But we came from there.

    It wasn't much to look at and it scarce knew how to swim.
    And Nereis was very sure it didn't spring from him.
    The Molluscs wouldn't own it and the Arthropods got sore.
    So the poor thing had to burrow in the sand along the shore.

    It wriggled in the sand before a crab could nip its tail.
    It said, "Gill slits and myotomes are all of no avail.
    I've grown some metapleural folds, and sport and oral hood,
    But all these fine new characters don't do me any good.

    It sulked awhile down in the sand without a bit of pep.
    Then it stiffened up its notochord and said, "I'll beat 'em yet.
    I've got more possibilities within my slender frame
    Than all these proud invertebrates that treat me with such shame.

    "My notochords shall grow into a chain of vertebrae.
    As fins my metapleural folds shall agitate the sea.
    This tiny dorsal nervous tube shall form a mighty brain.
    And the vertebrates shall dominate the animal domain."

    [The above lyrics are claimed by a Philip Pope of Whitman College (probably long since deceased)].

    This next song is about chromosomes, set to the tune of "My Maryland" (or better known as "O Tannenbaum [O Christmas Tree]". A Dr. Anne Blount claims to be the lyricist, and the date on the song is 1917, which is more than 30 years before Watson and Crick deduced the double helical stucture of DNA.

    O Chromosome

    Oh, Chromosome, Oh, Chromosome. How fateful is thy mission?
    Thou givst to life variety, not brought by simple fission.
    From out remote antiquity thou bringest my heredity.
    Oh, Chromosome, Oh, Chromosome. How fateful is thy mission.

    Oh, Chromosome, Oh, Chromosome. What burdens dost thou carry?
    Oh, Chromosome, Oh, Chromosome. One hardly dares to marry.
    There's atrophy and cataract, by which one may be blinded.
    Epilepsy and wanderlust, and even feeble-minded.

    Oh, Chromosome, Oh, Chromosome. How fateful is thy mission.
    Oh, Chromosome, Oh, Chromosome. How sad is my condition.
    My grandsire's gift for writing well has gone to some lost polar cell.
    So I give out this doggerel. I cannot do much better.

    The Y2K Song: The Day the Software Died

    A song of approximately this title came to me via email, the sender saying that the source was unknown. It's probably a good idea to get all the Y2K songs out now, since the remote possibility exists that it won't be possible after December 31,1999. (OH, well, nothing serious happened, as far as I know . . . but it's still a good song.) However, the original song seemed to miss a lot of opportunities for computer oriented references and plays on words (plus, some of the computer references that were there were so specific that only a real computer nerd would understand them), so this is my rewritten version. I think I can claim credit for about 80% of the words, and if someone out there recognizes the rest and wants to claim credit for that, fine. The tune is rather obvious.

    The Y2K Song: The Day the Software Died

    80% written by Dr. Chordate, 20% by ?

    A short, short time ago, I can still remember
    How my laptop used to make me smile.
    And I knew if I had a mouse, I could point, click, surf, and browse,
    And make my boss happy for awhile.
    But Y2K makes me shiver as my hard drive starts to quiver.
    With data that is screwed up, systems that won't boot up.
    Well, I don't remember if I cried when I learned my CDs were fried,
    And something dissed my floppy drive the day the software died.

    And I was singing,
    By, by, all America cries. We've been erased and we don't know why.
    Those good ol' boys were using DVD drives,
    And sayin', "This'll be the day that I die. This'll be the day that I die."

    Did you write this book of codes, and do you have faith that they will load,
    Internet Explore installed.
    Do you believe you'll find a gate accessing 21rst century dates?
    And can you teach me how to write COBOL?
    Well, I know that you've been sending flames. You hate to go back to mainframes.
    You trashed all your RAM. Man, I dig that crazy spam.
    I'm a lonely, middle age Ph.D. with a real IBM PC
    That won't backspace or delete the day the software dies.

    Now for ten years we've been downsized, sold, merged, and trivialized,
    And now we haven't got a prayer.
    Coders think they're queens and kings demanding all sorts of things
    That before you know they wouldn't dare.
    And with the networks shutting down, and MacIntosh icons that frown.
    Offensinve DOS commands; they don't understand.
    And while a newbie reads a COBOL book and says he's got us off the hook,
    He doesn't yet know where to look, the day the software dies.

    I met a guy from Microsoft, and I asked him how much he had lost,
    But he just scowled and turned away.
    So I went down to the software store where I'd bought Windows years before,
    But the man there said that Netscape, it wouldn't play.
    And in cubicles, the users screamed, accountants cried, and coders schemed.
    But no servers awoke. The modems all were broke.
    And the three men I admire most: Bill Gates, Dave Packard, and Steve Jobs-
    The caught the last plane for the coast, the day the software died.

    Second Chorus:
    And they were singing,
    Byte, byte, why are we on this flight.
    It's never gonna land 'cause controllers can't sight.
    We should have seen this coming, now it's payback time.
    And this'll be the day that we die. This'll be the day that we die.

    Repeat first Chorus:

    Dr. Beaker

    by Steve Berg (The Notorious Einsteinway), copyright 1994.

    The song was written a few years ago by my good friend and collaborator:

    Went to the chem lab the other day an experiment there to try.
    Dr. Beaker came in with a flask in his hand, he's a volumetric kind of guy.
    I mixed some of this and I mixed some of that and liquid 'cause it was dry.
    Out came a poof, then a giant woof, through the roof you could see the sky.

    Dr. Beaker . . . He is the king of the lab.
    Dr. Beaker . . . He makes the chemistry fab.
    . . . fabalaba fabalaba fabalaba fabalaba . . .

    He says to me, "Son, yes, you're the one who blew this experiment.
    Don't do that again or all of your friends will wonder just where you went.
    You gotta follow protocol and you gotta measure all the chemicals that are spent,
    For exact duplication to achieve the replication of the lesson is our intent."

    Dr. Beaker . . . He is the king of the tubes.
    Dr. Beaker . . . I tell you, he is no boob.
    . . . boobatuba boobatuba boobatuba boobatuba . . .

    "Measure some of this," he says to me. "In grams, make it 5 point 3.
    Add 10 milliliters of liquid x with this specific gravity."
    I fell off my skeeter. "Now, what's a milliliter?" I asked the teach, "Tell me."
    "A cubic centimeter is all it is. It's easy, don't you agree?"

    Dr. Beaker . . . It's not hard just 'cause it's new.
    Dr. Beaker . . . Now I can measure stuff, too.
    . . . milliliter milliliter milliliter milliliter . . .

    I measured out the chemicals like he said and mixed them in a flask.
    I tested it with litmus and it turned red, and I knew I'd accomplished my task.
    I measured again what the volume had been, the results left me aghast.
    Then I remembered that the solid it was powdered and absorbed into the rest.

    Dr. Beaker . . . Well, if you don't know the task.
    Dr. Beaker . . . Don't be afraid to ask.
    . . . fraid to ask fraid to ask fraid to ask fraid ask . . .

    Then I weighed the mass inside my flask and little did I surmise
    Though the volume stayed the same, the mass had changed. Hey, I don't tell no lies!
    Then I set it a bubblin' with the heat from my Bunsen until I boiled it dry.
    Well, glory be, there were 5 point 3 grams left. What a surprise!

    Dr. Beaker . . . He is the king of the lab.
    Dr. Beaker . . . He makes the chemistry fab.

    Dr. Beaker . . . He is the king of the lab.
    Dr. Beaker . . . He makes the chemistry fab.

    The Brain Forest

    by Dr. Chordate, copyright 1997.

    Where do thoughts come from? How do your learn?
    How do you know what you know?
    How do you figure out which way to turn?
    What makes the memories grow?
    There's a brain forest growing in your head
    Any time you thing about what you've read,
    Or every time you're learning something new.
    There's a brain forest growing inside of you.

    Forests have trees that stretch towards the sky with leafy green branches out-growing.
    Nerve cells branch, too, inside of your brain, making connections for knowing
    All sorts of facts and creating ideas and remembering deeds that you've done.
    They're all packed up inside of your head. And learning new stuff can be fun!

    Chorus: Axons and dendrites, the branches of nerves, make connections near a quintillion.
    Good use of synapses and action potentials, and you could really be brilliant.
    With neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, GABA, and acetylcholine,
    You can learn science and English and math, and everything in between.

    Like a tropical jungle, the brain forest's thick; there's billions of cells in the brain.
    Arteries bring nutrients to those cells, while wastes wash away in the veins.
    With proper sun, soil, and rain, trees grow with their branches out-reaching.
    Inside your head nerve cells grow too, when exposed to lots of good teaching.

    Billions of nerve cells make up your brain, but like trees, they don't live forever.
    In adults, 80,000 are lost every day, which could make one a little less clever.
    So take care of the forests wherever you find them, in a park or inside your head.
    Make sure they're healthy and full of life, and especially keep them well fed.


    The DNA Protest Song

    by Dr. Chordate, copyright 1995

    This song is set to the tune of the old Kingston Trio song, The MTA Protest Song. Rufflup = RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism); these are the variations between individuals in DNA fragments produced by specific restriction enzymes; this is commonly used these days in court cases and other situations. PCR = polymerase chain reaction, a atechnique for amplifying a DNA sequence.

    Let me tell you a story 'bout a man named Felix on a tragic fateful day.
    He put thymine in a beaker, guanine in a flask, and went to make some DNA.

    But did he ever rufflup? No, he never rufflupped, with his phospates so abrupt.
    He may hide forever in the labs of Boston. He's the man who never rufflupped.

    Felix picked up more thymine at the Woods Hole Laboratory
    Which he traded for some cytosine.
    But the P. I. told him, "One more nucleotide."
    Felix couldn't finish his gene.

    Felix said, "I don't understand what's missing. Is it purine or pyrimidine?"
    All the P. I. said was, "You must be making some amine deficient proteins."

    Now Felix's wife goes down to the lab every couple of days
    And through an open window she hands him a test tube full of polymerase.

    So Felix tried doing some PCR, but he didn't get very far.
    An explosion occurred near the Bunsen burner; he ended up with CPR.

    Now all night long Felix wanders the lab, crying "What will become of me?
    How can I ever win a Nobel Prize, or even earn a Ph. D?"

    Come all you people, don't you think it's a shame what happened to Felix?
    For the lack of adenine and some hydrogen bonds he couldn't make a double helix.


    Science Songs from 1960

    A few months ago, a network friend sent me the lyrics to three albums of science songs that apparently were relatively popular in the 60s: Space Songs (copyright 1959), Energy and Motion Songs (copyright 1961), and Weather Songs (copyright 1961). All the lyrics are by Hy Zaret (who also wrote "Unchained Melody"), and the main performer is Tom Glazer. The most famous of these songs is probably Why Does the Sun Shine: "The sun is a mass of incandescent gas . . . " (also recorded a few years ago by the group They Might Be Giants). These songs are interesting, particularly in terms of the differences in how science is presented in song. Many of these songs have lyric text that is spoken. A couple of examples are presented here:

    What Is the Milky Way

    What is the Milky Way? Stars along the rim of our galaxy.
    Billions of stars, they say, make the Milky Way a delight to see.
    There are many billions of galaxies, each of them with billions of stars.
    Could it be that somewhere among all these
    There's another planet like ours

    Our galaxy is a flat spiral composed of billions of stars. The nearest galaxy to ours is a million light years away. The farthest we can see are about a billion light years away, and somewhere among the billions of galaxies there could be planets like ours, with life on them.


    In a jet plane hot gases shoot out of the back of the engine at great speed. Energy for the motion of the gases is supplied by the burning of fuel. The action of the rushing gases causes an equal and opposite reaction which sends the jet plane forward.

    And that's how a jet plane flies!

    The Law of Motion, applied to jets,
    Is simply "action and reaction".
    The zooming power the engine gets
    Is simply "action and reaction".

    Gas compressed inside the engine pushes out in all directions.
    Sideward thrusts are equalized and can't escape from the jet.
    Gas exhausted thru the engine brings an opposite reaction,
    Gives the jet its forward thrust.
    That's all there is to a jet!

    The Law of Motion, applied to jets,
    Is simply "action and reaction".
    The zooming power the engine gets
    Is simply "action and reaction".

    Newton said it . . . Give him credit . . .
    His Law of Motion still applies:
    "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

    And that's how a jet plane flies . . . !

    Symbiotic Relationships

    by Dr. Chordate

    I'm a brown cow standing here eating grass and hay;
    And I wish I felt better, but to tell the truth, I'm not okay.
    'Cause I feel like I'm hosting a tapeworm convention today,
    And I'd really rather that those squiggleers would stay away.

    I'm a tapeworm and I can't live on my own.
    I gotta have a warm-blooded animal to call my home,
    Where I can get lots of good food until I'm grown,
    Or until my host dies leaving me all alone.

    Well, I don't like you 'dause you're a blood-sucking worm,
    You make me sick, and you make me squirm.
    'Cause you're a parasite, yeah, you're a parasite,
    I say, you're a parasite, and that's not all right with me.

    I'm a shark and I swim around looking for meat to eat.
    And when I gobble down food, I'm not always real neat.
    So there's usually some scraps left over for another's treat.
    Now, there's a meal deal that's real hard to beat.

    I'm a remora, and I'm a lazy and selfish fish.
    But injuring or hurting something else is not what I wish.
    I just want to live in a way that's commensalish,
    Like getting free rides to a dinner that sea-food-ish.

    Well, if you want a free ride, I don't care.
    And it doesn't matter if you won't share,
    'Cause I can manage, I say, I can manage,
    I say, I can manage by myself anywhere.

    I'm a bee looking 'round for a flower to pollinate.
    I need some pollen and nectar, and it's getting late.
    I'm looking for a mutual relationship, and I can't wait.
    And what I need I just can't get from a casual date.

    I'm a flower, now won't you look over here at me.
    Just a pretty as I can be, don't you agree?
    Sitting in a field, waving at you in the breeze.
    But I won't make seeds 'til I get pollinated by a bee.

    Well, I need you and you need me.
    We get along together mutually.
    And you can't get along, I say, you can't get along,
    I say, you can't get along without me.

    Biology Karaoke

    These were sent to me recently by Frank Virzi who is developing a Biology Karaoke site which includes a number of songs set to popular songs. As noted other places on these pages, often the most convenient thing for a teacher who wishes to set scientific concepts to songs to do is to use already existing, familiar tunes (such as popular songs or Christmas carols). That site is Biology Karaoke. Below are a couple of examples of what you can find there:

    My Oh My, Mitosis

    Words by Frank Virzi

    (to the tune of the Monkees "Daytime Believer")

    Interphase, that's the time when DNA is fine.
    They call it chromatin, it's really thin.

    The DNA duplicates during S phase, which stands for synthesis.
    That's what happens just before G2.

    My oh my, mitosis when chromosomes divide.
    Metaphase is between prophase a and anaphase, oh yeah . . .

    Plant cells form cell plates in between the daughter cells,
    To split the cytoplasm into two . . .

    During metaphase, chromosomes line up along the equator of the cell;
    At anaphase the chromatids and centromeres pull apart.



    Words by Frank Virzi.

    (to the tune of the Beatles "Yesterday")

    ATP, active transport needs you, can't you see?
    Sodium pumps require energy to go against the gradient.

    Cilia and flagella depend on you, not to mention pinocytosis to
    Internalize small molecules.

    Sometimes when water needs to be pumped out of a cell,
    That's when contractile vacuoles make it seem more iso-to-o-o-nic.

    ATP, the triphosphate of adenosine; ribose has five carbons in between
    Three phosphates and an adenosine.

    Glucose finds its way through the carrier molecules;
    Those are proteins which are embedded in the cell membrane.

    Suddenly, turgor pressure builds up in a leaf
    When water rushes into the hypertonic plant cells
    Without the help of ATP.

    Vilt Thing

    I came across this one on the Internet recently. The lyrics honor the recent successful launch of the Stardust spacecraft which will pass through the tail of Comet Wild (pronounced with a German accent: "vilt") on 2 January 2004, collecting dust on some panels composed of a glass foam aerogel that will subsequently be sealed in a container and returned to Earth for analysis. Someone wrote some lyrics to the 1960s tune of "Wild Thing" by the Troggs: Vilt Thing

    Vilt thing, we'll make your dust cling.
    You make this aerogel filthy. I said, vilt thing.

    Vilt thing, we thing you're dusty, but we wanna know for sure.
    Are your particulates Brownlee? Ooh, you're dusty.

    Vilt thing. We'll make your dust cling.
    You make this aerogel filthy. I said, vilt thing.

    Vilt thing, we think you're icy. But we wanna know for sure.
    Does your dust hold volatiles? Brrr, you're icy.

    Vilt thing. We'll make your dust cling.
    You make this aerogel filthy. I said, vilt thing.

    Fifty Ways to Love Your Liver

    by Jeffrey B. Moran1 (with apologies to Paul Simon)

    This organ's not inside your head, she said to me.
    It's in the abdomen, anatomically.
    I'd like to help you understand hepatically,
    There must be fifty ways to love your liver.

    She said, it's really not where food that has been chewed
    Is digested into tiny molecules.
    But it makes bile which into the gut is spewed.
    There must be fifty ways to love your liver.

    Just lay off the smack, Jack.
    Eat some more bran, Stan.
    Make the right choice, Royce,
    Just listen to me.
    Cut out the brew, Sue.
    Don't want to be yellow, fellow.
    Eat your protein, Gene,
    And let your liver be.

    She said, hepatitis pains your liver so,
    It usually comes from viruses, you know,
    In contaminated food and used hypos.
    There must be fifty ways to love your liver.

    She said, remember how cirrhosis makes you bawl.
    It comes from drinking too much alcohol.
    And I realized that though she had a lot of gall,
    There must be fifty ways to love your liver.

    Chorus: as before

    (and now for you physical scientists out there)

    Fifty Ways to Love Your Lever
    by Jeffrey B. Moran1 (with apologies to Paul Simon)

    It's not a vision in your head, she said to me.
    But a machine when you've work to do simply.
    I'd like to help you understand mechanically,
    There must be fifty ways to love your lever.

    She said, it's got a fulcrum or a pivot point, you know,
    Relative to the points of effort and of load.
    And what is lost in force is gained in motion, so
    There must be fifty ways to love your lever.

    Just slip out the jack, Mack.
    Use a pry bar, Carl.
    Those pliers employ, Roy.
    Just listen to me.
    Work that pump, Gump.
    Fill a wheel barrow, Cheryl.
    Magnify the force, Doris,
    And let your lever be.

    She said, there's three kinds of levers you can use,
    When you've heavy weights to lift or motion to infuse.
    And I realized that though she was missing a few screws,
    There must be fifty ways to love your lever.

    In some, the fulcrum's in between the effort and the load.
    Or at one end as in the nutcracker you hold.
    In others, the effort's in the middle mode.
    There must be fifty ways to love your lever.

    Chorus: as before

    Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

    I recently came across the words to this song on the Net. It is from Monty Python's THE MEANING OF LIFE.


    Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
    And people are stupid, wicked, or daft,
    And you feel that you've had quite enouuuuuuuuuuuugh . . .

    Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
    And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour.
    It's orbiting at ninety miles a second, so it's reckoned,
    The sun that is the source of all our power.
    The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    Through an outer spiral arm at forty thousand miles an hour
    Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way.

    Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars,
    It's a hundred thousand lightyears side to side.
    It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand lightyears thick,
    But out by us it's just three thousand lightyears wide.
    We're thirty thousand lightyears from galactic central point,
    We go round every two hundred million years.
    And our galaxy is only one of millions and billions
    In this amazing and expanding universe.

    The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
    In all of the directions it can whiz.
    As fast as it can go, that's the speed of light, you know;
    Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.
    So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure,
    How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
    And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space
    Cause there's bugger-all down here on earth!

    Special Relativity

    This song was sent to me several years ago by Stewart Walker, a Children's Music Web email friend from Australia. He says he wrote it some years ago during a university physics class. The teaching point here is that if you can get your students to do something creative like this, they will remember the content for the rest of their lives. If you want to quiz Stewart about what he remembers about relativity, you can contact him at He is now part of the duo Joey Stew.

    Special Relativity

    In 1905 some of Newton's jive got up Einstein's nose
    He said you just can't explain from a classical frame what the world already knows
    That the ether idea ain't hip, it simply doesn't fit
    With reality so it's plain to see, we need special relativity


    Try as you might the speed of light is as fast you can go
    And I'll tell you again there is no preferred frame, cos Einstein tells me so
    And if you don't believe it's true, just accept it all like I do
    Cos in reality it's plain to see, noone understands relativity


    Bridge: And if you need experimental proof
    look at the muons coming down through the roof
    Their decay slows down as they approach the ground
    Just like Einstein said it would, ain't that good?

    Copyright (c) 1983 Stewart Walker

    Like a Sturgeon

    by Jeffrey B. Moran.

    I finally made it through fish school.
    Somehow I made it throu-ou-ou-ou-ough.
    But I'm just a fry, and I still make a mistake or two-oo-oo.
    I was lost, almost squashed
    When I crossed from marine to fresh water.
    Now I'm trying to avoid,
    Yeah, I'm trying to avoid a big river otter.

    Hey! Like a sturgeon
    Spawning for the very first time.
    Like a stur-ur-ur-urgeon.
    Making caviar is my line.

    I've got a long projecting snout,
    An asymmetric tail,
    Cartilaginous skeleton,
    And bony plates for scales.
    I've got a dream of a stream
    Where I can clean out a place to spawn.
    And I'll spew my insides out,
    Yeah, I'll spew my insides out until my eggs are all gone.

    Hey! Like a sturgeon
    Spawning for the very first time.
    Like a stur-ur-ur-urgeon,
    I've got caviar on my mind.
    Oh, oh, oh, oh . . . .

    TheWater Cycle Song

    This is a song that was emailed to me recently by Jason Jones, an elementary school teacher (actually a K-6 Instructional Training Specialist). He says he wrote it to help his fourth and fifth grade students remember the water cycle. The students act out the actions as they sing it. The song is sung to the tune of the Itsy, Bitsy Spider and is titled appropriately enough The Water Cycle Song:

    Water on the Earth changes into vapor
    Another name for this is evaproation
    Now it's time to fall on land
    Thanks to condensation
    And after watering the plants
    The process starts again.
    Although this seems simple on the surface, it is just the sort of thing that helps elementary students remember what their teachers want them to remember. And the easiest thing for teachers to do when they go to write a song is to use an already existing melody. Below is another example of a song that uses a recognizable tune.

    Ain't Nothin' but a Groundhog

    by Jeffrey B. Moran


    You ain't nothin' but a groundhog
    Sleepin' all the time.
    Ain't nothin' but a groundhog
    Sleepin' all the time.
    You ain't never chucked wood and you ain't no friend of mine.

    You said you ate dry grass. That was just a lie.
    You said you ate dry grass. That was just a lie.
    'Cause you eat sweet clover until the day you die. You dig yourself a burrow for sleepin' in at night.
    'Cause you eat all day 'til you can't eat another bite.


    You eat a lot all summer so you can hibernate.
    You eat a lot all summer gaining lots of weight.
    Then you sleep all winter 'til it's spring and it's time to mate.

    You said you had canines. That was not the truth.
    You said you had canines. That was not the truth.
    'Cause like every rodent you got big incisor tooths.


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