Longer-Form Humor

Along with my page of puns, I've occasionally written slightly longer-form humor.

Hodge star

(with apologies to Simon Donaldson and Smash Mouth)

Somebody once told me
That up to homotopy,
The intersection form knows M4
When pos def I was surprised
It can be diagonalized
And the proof uses physics and mo-ore:
Well, Yang-Mills starts running and it don’t stop running
Take a nice twist if you’ve got enough cunning
Didn’t make sense to path-integrate,
But still there’s ways we can calculate.
Use SU(2), use SO(3),
And what’s wrong with constants all called C
You’ll never know if you don’t go,
You’re never fixed if you don’t flow…

Chorus:
Hey now, you’re the Hodge star, get your form on, go play,
Hey now, Yang-Mills 2-forms, take that space but, mod gauge
All Hodge-fixed things are gone,
Anti-self-dual forms are instanto-ons…

It’s a cool space, and looks good to first order
If you think it’s smooth go look at the border
Simon Donaldson, he begs to differ
Judging by the cusps in his thesis's picture
So smooth it out, it’s not too hard to mend
The intersection form is the same on both ends.
And what you get: his proof’s scored
That’s the way some CP2s and M4 co-bord

Chorus

Hey now, you’re the Hodge star, get your form on, go play,
Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your Fields on, get paid,
All Hodge-fixed things are gone,
Anti-self-dual fo-orms…

Somebody once asked
Why’s this theory such a task
I hope things simplify at low energies,
I said yep, what a concept,
Seiberg-Witten theory does all that
So let us all use a Coulomb gaaaaaaauge
Well, Yang-Mills starts running and it don’t stop running,
Low energy means there’s something else coming
Didn’t expect these new EOMs
The branes are hard and the math is dense
Use SU(2) gauge symmetry,
Broken down to a U(1) theory
You’ll learn a remarkable fact (fact!)
Your moduli space is compact!

Hey now, you’re the Hodge star, get your form on, go play,
Hey now, there’s Dirac stars, new equations get made,
Whose zeros make manifo-olds,
Giving faster proofs than tools of o-old.
And all that glitters is go-old,
When topology meets monopo-oles.

Fifty nifty Swifties

  1. "Graveyards give me Tourette's," Tom said cryptically.
  2. "I'm writing poetry about U-boats," Tom said subversively.
  3. "Sean Connery has arrived," Tom said presciently.
  4. "I'm pretending I just said hi to you," Tom supposed.
  5. "Hear me out, what if saliva is made in the testicles?" Tom spitballed.
  6. "They shot me full of arrows," Tom said, quivering.
  7. "I'd like a martini," Tom said, shaken.
  8. "Sigh, I don't know what to get at the grocery store today," Tom said listlessly.
  9. "I'd like to assist Dr. Frankenstein!" Tom said eagerly.
  10. "I can't believe I lost at mini golf!" Tom sputtered.
  11. "This criminal has an extensive vocabulary," Tom said, perplexed.
  12. "This place has elevators!" Tom said, floored.
  13. "Your German bassoons suck!" Tom heckled.
  14. "No, the silent Marx Brother is the best," Tom harped.
  15. "And then James Brown's music maps to George Clinton's" Tom said functorially.
  16. "Aww, a small apartment," Tom said sweetly.
  17. "This isn't butter, it's ghee" Tom clarified.
  18. "You remind me of those ornamental carp" Tom said coyly.
  19. "Maybe you've forgotten, but it's still bothering me," Tom reminded.
  20. "Well, I kinda put sponsored content on my baseball glove," Tom admitted.
  21. "CONVEYORS!!" Tom belted.
  22. "Yeah, sure, I bet it'll rain tomorrow," Tom said precipitously.
  23. "To my daughter I leave a toucan, pointed towards the setting sun," Tom bequested.
  24. "This steak is too tough and fibrous," Tom insinuated.
  25. "Haha, I ate laundry detergent," said Tom, cheerfully.
  26. "Comb this hair this way, and the rest the other way," Tom imparted.
  27. "I BET BIG BEN AND LOST," Tom bellowed.
  28. "Thou art akin to a little insect," Tom said, antiquatedly.
  29. "I (sob) I just can't manage this city's utilities any longer, but I (sob) I must..." said Tom, turning on the waterworks.
  30. "Hey, wanna come over and … model so I can draw you?" Tom said sketchily.
  31. "Maybe I shouldn't have done en passant there," Tom pondered.
  32. "We must perservere and boot up the system," said Tom, pressing on.
  33. "Jenny's fighting by my side, it'll be OK," said Tom, congenially.
  34. "You're the reason I have Lyme disease!!" Tom said, caustically.
  35. "Praise the sugar as it vanishes in the water," Tom saluted.
  36. "They broke the tip of my teapot," Tom spouted off.
  37. "Theodore, you're a knight now," Tom asserted.
  38. "My lizard brain is pretty disorganized," Tom said, lucidly.
  39. "This knife isn't sharp, which you probably already knew," Tom said pointlessly.
  40. "Your line is, 'where I stand,'" Tom cued.
  41. "I have had it with this damn soda," Tom popped off.
  42. "If I only had a brain," sang Tom absentmindedly.
  43. "You're gone for gouda and now I'm blue," Tom said cheesily.
  44. "I have no mustache," Tom asserted bald-facedly.
  45. "Oh God, that Pokémon kid's here," Tom said, ashen.
  46. "I can't, I'm in an argument with Gary Oak right now," said Tom, blue in the face.
  47. "I'm sorry, but they got to the moon by compressing air and fuel," said Tom apologetically.
  48. "I don't care about my reputation, I'm still selling honey," Tom besmirched.
  49. "Ah good, Rick turned from a pickle back into a human," Tom said diligently.
  50. "You can run on more than just the treadmill," Tom said elliptically.

Superstrings

(to the tune of "Paper rings" by Taylor Swift)

The moon is high
Like the scale of the crazy energy
We’d need to measure superstringy symmetry
Far beyond the limits of the LHC

The wine is cold
Like the relic remnants of the CMB
Big Bang says that we need a new theory
Now we're searching for that quantum gravity

(Hey!)
Try one loop, 'cause you know you’ll gain some insight,
(Oh!)
Try two loops, just to make sure the proof’s right,
(Oh!)
Three loops! It’ll take you the whole night
(One, two, one two three four!)

I like 4d things, but I'd quantize you with superstrings,
Uh-huh, that's right, darling,
You’re the one I want, and
I hate experiments, except when we finally can test this,
Uh-huh, it's right, darling,
You’re the one I want
In superstrings,
In reference frames,
In mirror schemes,
Oh-ohh, you’re the one I want

In the landscape, an effective sugra view,
where the gauge group's SO(32),
I'm with you! 'Cause I know the vacuum's true

Which takes me back
To the papers that we cited of S.N. Bose,
Honey, without all the fluxes, fields, and flows
We wouldn't have theories to propose

So, (hey!)
Try one loop, just to see what all the terms are,
(Oh!)
Try two loops, push the theory out real far,
(Oh!)
Three loops! Keeping track of those h-bars
(One, two, one two three four!)

I like 4d things, but I'd quantize you with superstrings,
Uh-huh! That's right! Darling,
You're the one I want, and
I hate experiments, except when we finally can test this,
Uh-huh! It's right! Darling,
You're the one I want
In superstrings,
In Dp-branes,
In CY3s,
Oh-ohh, you're the one I want

I want your GUT breakthrough
I want your computations too
I want your 2d worldsheets
Wrap your branes around me, baby boy!

I want your Type I and Type II
I want your supercharges Q
I want your T-dual theories
Wrap your branes around me, baby boy!

Uh-huh…

I like GR things, but I'd quantize you with superstrings,
Uh-huh, that’s right,
You're the one I want
I hate divergences except when they clean up nice like this,
Uh-huh
Darling, you're the one I want

I like 4d things but I'd quantize you with superstrings,
Uh-huh! That's right! Darling,
You're the one I want, and
I hate experiments, except when we finally can test this,
Uh-huh! It's right! Darling,
You're the one I want
In superstrings,
In AdS,
and CFTs,

You're the one I want
In superstrings,
In popsci claims,
In theory dreams,
Oh-ohh, you're the one I want… (the one I want, one I want)

For the longest prime

(with apologies to Billy Joel)

Whoa-oh-ah-oh, for the longest prime,
Whoa-ah-oh, for the longest—

If you heard the primes were just finite,
You could prove yourself that that's not right,
All of your primes, see,
Can't factor 1 + prod p,
And QED, there is no longest prime.

Though that theorem's proof is set in stone,
Still we ask what prime's the largest known.
If you're invested,
Find one, and until it's bested
It holds the title of the longest prime.

Whoa-oh-ah-oh, for the longest prime,
Whoa-ah-oh, for the longest—

One big family's due to M. Mersenne,
Working just with paper and with pen,
He made conjectures,
Gave influential lectures,
Shaped how we're searching for the longest primes.

2 to some large prime minus 1,
Though not always prime,
It's been quite a run.
Lucas-Lehmer tells us so fast,
For primes that are vast
And it's more than we hoped for

Mersenne primes give perfect numbers too:
Given p take p + 1 choose 2,
If you want spoilers,
Read the proofs of Euclid-Euler
For applications of the longest primes.

We think that the converse is true,
The proof isn't known;
There's much left to do.
Do all perfect numbers come like this?
We only have a list
And it's more than we hoped for

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search,
Lately's brought forth quite a research surge,
Seems like the future's
A bunch of home computers,
Who are searching jointly for the longest prime.

Whoa-oh-ah-oh, for the longest prime,
Whoa-ah-oh, for the longest prime
Whoa-ah-oh, for the longest prime…

Shut up and calculate

(with apologies to David Mermin and Walk the Moon)

“Now can you prove this fact,
And don’t reformulate,”
I tried a general tack
She said, “shut up and calculate!”
This problem is no heavyweight,
She said “oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calculate!”

I was victim to nLab:
Categorical, physical gift of gab,
Everyday I had fifteen open tabs.
Oh, I was bound to get abstracter,
Bound to get abstracter…

I dropped the chalk,
I don’t know how to solve it.
She took the board and she said,

“Just check this row’s exact,
No need to ruminate,”
I looked to things abstract,
She said “shut up and calculate!”
This problem helps me graduate,
She said “oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calculate!”

Coherent sheaves on a certain scheme.
My kind of mad, undergrad, research dream,
With fancy new techniques held in high esteem.
Working in the bounded derived cate–
Bounded derived category…

She looked alarmed;
Looks like that’s not how math goes,
She wanted me to instead,

“Just mount a straight attack,
Why must you bloviate?”
I felt my technique lacks,
She said “shut up and calculate!”
I know I overcomplicate,
She said “oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calculate!”

(Oh c’mon nerd!)

She took me on,
As her doctoral student.
Before I’m gone,
I better think straight!
Each time we met,
No traction from abstraction,
She rolled her eyes and she said,

“Why don’t you take a crack,
Don’t just pontificate,”
I asked if I’m on track,
She said, “shut up and calculate!”
No need to hyperventilate,
She said “oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calc–”

“Don’t get so sidetracked
Or make your proof ornate,”
I tried on Artin stacks,
She said, “shut up and calculate!”
There’s more to do than meditate,
She said “oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calculate!”

“Oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calculate!”
“Oo-oo-ooh, shut up and calculate!”

That's a Leray!

(with apologies to Jean Leray and Dean Martin)

When you have EB and want homology, that’s a Leray,
When your fibers are cute and you want to compute, that’s a Leray.
For E2 what you have to do is compute Hq,
Of F, u-sing some priors,
Then you chase Hp of the base to the total space
In the case you desire.

When you want to transgress and have more than a guess, that's a Leray,
When the E2 page shines with nice vanishing lines you're in luck.
When you’re working with schemes but you know you’re not scheming, then I’d say,
Scusa mi, but you see, back in topology that’s a Leray!

When…
You…
Pushforward sheaves down to orbits or leaves, that’s a Leray (that’s a Leray),
And when you and a friend need to know K(G, n), that's a Leray (that’s a Leray).
Or converse, run it in reverse (don’t be so adverse),
Like Serre’s terse calculations (calcula-calculations),
H*(E) sometimes helps you see how to get at B
With some key applications. (To fibrations!)

When you really can flex on that double complex, that’s a Leray (that’s a Leray),
When the map on the edge can be given by wedge, you’re in luck,
When you’re working with schemes but you know you’re not scheming, then I’d say,
Scusa mi, but you see, back in topology that’s a Leray! (a Leray, that’s a Leray!)

Another one writes in Rust

(with apologies to Queen and/or the Rust Evangelism Strike ForceTM)

Steve codes warily like in C,
Keeping memory way down low
Ain't no sound but the sound of rustc
Machine code ready to go

Are you ready (hey!)
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the compiler the errors rip
To the sound of defeat (yeah)

💥, 💥, 💥, Another one writes in Rust
💥, 💥, 💥, Another one writes in Rust
And another one gone, and another one gone,
Another one writes in Rust
Hey, they're gonna get you too
Another one writes in Rust

How do you think I'm going to get along
With this code, when you're gone?
You rewrote all of the code in Rust,
And left me out on my own
Are you happy, are you satisfied
How long before I delete?
Out of the compiler the errors rip
To the sound of defeat
Look out!

💥, 💥, 💥, Another one writes in Rust
💥, 💥, 💥, Another one writes in Rust
And another one gone, and another one gone,
Another one writes in Rust
Hey, they're gonna get you too
Another one writes in Rust

Hey!
Ohhhhhhhhhh take it!
Write in Rust!
(…)
Hey!

Another one writes in Rust
Another one writes in Rust (ow)
Another one writes in Rust (hey hey)
Another one writes in Rust

There are plenty of ways you can cause a bug,
And bring things to the ground
You can segfault,
use a poor salt,
You can malloc bad and free what you don't own,
But it's ready, it's ready for you
It's not gonna let you cheat
Out of the compiler the errors rip
Repeating the sound of defeat

💥, 💥, 💥, Another one writes in Rust
💥, 💥, 💥, Another one writes in Rust
And another one gone, and another one gone
Another one writes in Rust
Hey, they're gonna get you too
Another one writes in Rust

Coder, hey hey, all right…

Carry-Ons My Wayward Son

(with apologies to Kansas)

Chorus:
Carry-ons, my wayward son,
just two pieces and you're done.
If you can't pass that one test,
don't you fly no-o more.

(…)

Ah-hhh…
Once I booked a flight despite this confusion,
But my baggage wasn't just an illusion,
I was checking in my luggage, but I brought too much.
Though my eyes can see I've gone to the airport,
Though my mind could think I don't need my passport,
I hear the voices at the counter,
I can hear them say,

(Chorus)

Masquerading as a frequent flyer,
Will not get your quota any higher,
And if you claim to be a pilot,
It surely means that you won't go.
In another line that's moving so slowly,
TSA makes us do things unholy,
I put my baggage on the scanner,
but I hear the agent say,

(Chorus)

Carry-ons,
You will have to remember,
Carry-ons,
Get your lunch from a vendor,
Now your stomach isn't empty,
Hope the plane waits for you.
Carry-ons, my wayward son,
just two pieces and you're done.
If you can't pass that one test,
don't you fly,
don't you fly no mo-oooooooooooooooooooooore!

(…)

No more!

I shot up Scarif (but I did not use AT-ATs)

(with apologies to Bob Marley)

I shot up Scarif, but I did not use AT-ATs
I shot up Scarif, but I did not use AT-ATs

All around the galaxy,
They're trying to look for me-eee,
They say they want to bring me in guilty,
'Cause I shot an Imperial library,
For that Imperial library, but I say…

I shot up Scarif, but I swear it's for the greater good,
I shot up Scarif, 'cause the rebels were in the neighborhood.

Galen Erso always hated me,
For what I don't know
Every plan he designs for me
He adds a kill switch before he goes,
He adds a kill switch before he goes. I say…

I shot up Scarif, but I swear it's for the greater good,
I shot up Scarif, but I swear it's for the greater good

Power came my way one day,
And I started up the guns
All of a sudden I see all of Rogue One,
Aiming to bring me down,
So I shot, I shot them down, and I say…

I shot up Scarif, but I did not get the Death Star's plans
I shot up Scarif, but I did not get the Death Star's plans

Darth Vader got the better of me,
And what is to be must be
Every day the Rebellion knows more
But one day the rebels will back down,
Yes, one day the rebels will back down, so I say…

I shot up Scarif, but I did not use AT-ATs, oh no,
I shot up Scarif, but I did not use AT-ATs, oh no

If I Only Had a Brane

Dorothy asked the String Theorist, “What would you do with a brane if you had one?”
The String Theorist said, “Do? Why, if I had a brane, I could –

I could while away the hours,
computin' tensor powers,
for Heisenberg spin chains.
And the renormalizin'
wouldn't be quite so surprisin'
if I only had a brane.

I would need no calculators,
To write down correlators
On spacelike hyperplanes.
With the proofs I'd be findin'
I could be another Feynman
If I only had a brane

Oh I… could tell you why,
the gauge group's not U(4),
I could know what happens at a black hole's core.
And what the Higgs
is really for…

I'd exactly solve the Isin',
As easily as sneezin',
On any nice domain.
With quantized gravitation
I could be a big sensation
If I only had a brane.”

The Bike Brigade

(with apologies to Lord Tennyson)

Half a mile, half a mile,
half a mile onward.
All in the Circle of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Bike Brigade!
On time to class!” he said:
Into the Circle of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Bike Brigade!”
Was there a kid afraid?
Not tho' the student knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to wait their turn,
Theirs not to reason learn,
Theirs but to crash and burn:
Into the Circle of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Bikers to right of them,
Tourists to left of them,
Golf carts in front of them
Hurried and wonder'd;
Storm'd at with horn and yell,
Boldly they rode (not well),
Into the roundabout,
Into a great farewell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their signals bare,
Flash'd as they turned in err,
Scaring some students there,
Hurrying to class, while
All Stanford wonder'd:
Plunged in the roundabout
Crashed going wrong ways out;
Tourist and student
Reel'd from the total rout
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Bikers to right of them,
Tourists to left of them,
Golf carts behind them
Hurried and wonder'd;
Storm'd at with horn and yell,
While friends and freshmen fell
They that had biked so well
Came thro' the roundabout,
Back from a sure farewell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their skid marks fade?
O the wild ride they made!
All Stanford wondered.
Honour the ride they made,
Honour the Bike Brigade,
Noble six hundred.

“Students Campaign to Bring Twerking to Viennese Ball”

An article I wrote for the Stanford Flipside, but they ended up not using.

Stanford's Viennese Ball has long been known for its elegance and classiness, but a group of attendees are requesting that this year, the organizers bring twerking to the event, as part of an attempt to modernize the festivities.

Many dancers are embracing this movement, including Richard Powers, the renowned social dance instructor. “At first, I wasn't sure how seriously to take these students,” he said, “but they've really shown their twerk, and now I understand the thrust of their argument. Dance evolves in fascinating ways, shaking up old ideas, and twerking is no exception. If there's enough student interest, I can open a section of Dance 162, Living Traditions of Twerking, next fall.”

“The basic step is quite easy, actually,” he demonstrated. “Now, fake what you thought you saw!”

The Flipside also reached out to a representative of the Viennese Ball planning committee, Ike Summergreen. He remarked, “I'm not really sure what to think of it… I'm not a big fan of twerking, but if it gets more people to turn up at Viennese Ball, then that's good, right?”

As for the Flipside, we're all for this hip dance trend. Twerkers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shame!

“I'm Dreaming of a Black Friday”

(with apolgies to whoever wrote White Christmas)

I'm dreaming of a Black Friday…
just like the ones I used to know,
Where the best deals glisten,
And children listen,
To hear shoppers in a row…

I'm dreaming of a Black Friday,
with every dollar that I save,
May you get a deal on that microwave,
And may all your retailers be brave.

I'm dreaming of a Black Friday,
To put our corporations in the green,
With consumers spending,
and bankers lending,
so that we live beyond our means…

I'm dreaming of a Black Friday,
with every cashier that's attacked,
May your sales be plentiful and stacked,
And may all your Fridays,
all your Fridays,
all your Fridays be black.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

This preview has been approved for all audiences by the Motion Picture Association of America.

"My name's Kurt Osis. I'm twenty-six years old, and I, uh, teach statistics at a high school in Northern Virginia.

No, that excuse doesn't work anymore. Let me try again.

My name is Kurt Osis. I am twenty-six years old, and I am a data scientist for the CIA. It is my job to discover trends and anomalies in the petabytes of data that the CIA collects about the world each week. We've saved lives by finding patterns in the data that nobody else could.

So anyways, a few months ago, we really started to put the ‘applied’ in applied statistics."

<ominous music, cut>

“Mr. Osis, we have a – mission for you. You see, desperate times make for desperate measures, and if the kernel falls to the Bayesians' plot…”

<cut, screeching brakes>

“Maybe you didn't expect it, but… you're about to be an outlier.”

<gunshot, cut>

“You have been assigned Agent MLE as your partner.”

“Hi, I'm Emily! Like you, I used to be approximately normal. I did swimsuit modeling. Now, I do statistical modeling… let's go put the discreet back into discrete math.”

<cut, explosion, chopper noises>

“But what about sQ's jackknife!?”

“That will be no use to you – your foolish model failed to predict me. You Americans never learn!”

<cut, music swells>

“I think – did we just, um, share a moment?”

<cut>

“If you don't tell me where the kernel is in the next thirty seconds, you're going to end up uniformly distributed across all of London.”

<cut, B-BOOM!>

Coming Summer 2015: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

<fade to black>

The Peano Man

(with apologies to Billy Joel)

It's 4:00 on a Saturday.
The normal group shuffles in.
A man sitting next to me tells me
That his thesis is awfully thin.

He says, “Son, can you prove me a theorem
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it's sweet and Gödel-incomplete,
And it'd help me to find some zeroes.”

La la la d/d(da).
La la d/d(da) da dum…

Write us a proof, you're the Peano Man,
Write us a proof tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for an axiom,
And you make the logic all right…

Now John in ℚ-bar is a friend of mine.
He proves things in ZFC.
And he's quick with a claim or to look up a name,
But there's someplace that he'd rather be
He says, “Joe, I believe I'm a corollary.”
As the smile ran away from his face.
“Well I'm sure that I could be a physicist,
If I could get out of this place.”

La la la d/d(da).
La la d/d(da) da dum…

Now Paul is a real function analyst,
Who approaches his work with a knife,
And he's talking with Davy, who's computin' sin(a*b)
And probably will be for life.

And the undergrads all practice algebra,
All proving what was to be shown,
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call problem sets,
But it's better than thinkin' alone.

Write us a proof, you're the Peano Man,
Write us a proof tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for an axiom,
And you make the logic all right…

It's a pretty good group for a Saturday,
And the professor gives me a smile.
'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see
To forget about math for a while.
And the blackboard, it looks like a snowstorm,
As lemmas and claims become clear,
And they sit at their desks and look over their tests,
And say, “man, what are you doin' here?”

La la la d/d(da).
La la d/d(da) da dum…

Write us a proof, you're the Peano Man,
Write us a proof tonight.
Well, we're all in the mood for an axiom,
And you make the logic all right…

Tsar Wars, Episode VII: The Norse Awaken

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.…

TSAR WARS, EPISODE VII: THE NORSE AWAKEN

Princess Anastasia has vanished. In her absence, the sinister RED GUARD has risen from the ashes of the Russian Empire, and will not rest until Anastasia, the last heir, has been destroyed.

With the support of FINLAND, General Carl Mannerheim leads a brave RESISTANCE. He is desperate to find Anastasia and gain her help in gaining independence for Scandinavia.

Mannerheim has sent his most daring general on a secret mission to Moscow, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Anastasia's whereabouts.…