Roger M. Wilcox's MIDI Sing-Along

Instead of recording my irresistible golden voice singing these instant-classic songs of mine, I thought I'd do the next best thing. On this page are links to MIDI files of songs I've written, where I have an an oboe playing the vocal part.  The lyrics to each song appear immediately below each link, so you can sing along with the music.

Note that some of these songs are woefully incomplete in terms of accompaniment, and others are just as incomplete in terms of lyrics.

And the Word Is Love

I performed this song at a friend's wedding in 1994.

Since long before
We wrote our lore
Before we wrote down time,
The feeling came
Through us, the same
As now they sometimes must climb;
The gentlest thing
Would loudly sing
In silences all heard.
Wherever it came down,
It made the sound
Of just a single word.

No Secret lay
In night or day,
Intense the word was known;
Yet so much so
That by some cruel blow
It's possible to be thrown.
Sometimes we cry,
"We'd rather die!",
The word seems so unsure;
But it's still there,
It's ev'rywhere,
The only thing that will endure.

And the word is love!  Love!  Love!  Love!
Love for all your life!
And the word is love!______
Be you husband, child, or wife!
The strength you draw
From natural law
Can never be absurd.
You might forget
What you have learned,
But don't forget the word!

(short instrumental refrain, played on a flute)

For the life that we live,
And the love that we give,
And the truth that we know
We cannot confuse;
Reach down to that deep desire,
And let it show its fire,
It's the reason for being here —
What have you got to lose?

This does not mean that you must always love upon demand,
Nor does it mean to love by coming down with an iron hand,
This does not mean to love afar upon some distant shore,
It merely means to love yourself, and your close ones all the more.

And the word is love!  Love!  Love!  Love!
Love for all you're worth!
And the word is love!______
Feels like a second birth!
It's all around
In ev'ry sound,
And rock, and tree, and bird.
You can forget
All you've been told,
But it's impossible to forget the word.

And the word is love.

In my early notes for this song, I had an alternative set of words for the first verse, based on the Newfoundland folk song first collected by Maud Karpeles in 1930 (but set to my song's melody):

She's like the swallow in the air that flies so very high,
She's like the river at my feet that flows but never runs dry,
She's like the sunshine gleaming down upon the farthest shore,
I love my love, I love my love, and now love is no more.

The lyrics at the end of the first verse were inspired by the last sentence in "30 Seconds Over Broadway" from the book Wild Cards. Eventually, in 2017, I got inspired to turn the entire song into a full-blown Ode To Jetboy:

A hero flew
In World War two,
And Jetboy was his name;
Retired, and then
They called again:
"Fly once more in your airframe.
Old Doctor Tod,
He hatched a plot:
He stole from an alien spy.
He's got a bomb, or something else,
In his zeppelins in the sky."

Without a thought
He took off hot
'Til he could climb no more,
And crashed into
The zepp'lin's crew,
And crawled out onto its floor.
There, Doctor Tod
Stood with his lot;
They fought there in the sky.
Tod drew his gun, and fired four slugs,
And ordered him to die.

But he said, "I can't die yet, because I haven't seen
The Jolson sto-o-ry upon that silver screen!"
They burst aloft,
The mist fell soft,
With pieces of his plane;
Wherever it came down
It made a sound
Like gentle autumn rain.

And the rest you all know
From the history books
For September fifteenth,
Nineteen forty-six.
How the alien virus pinned
Spread out upon the wind
And the engineered traits it bore
Unleashed their magic tricks.

Upon the bank
Where the zepp'lin sank
A monument now stands.
Called Jetboy's Tomb,
It's in full bloom
With visitors from all lands.
For that dark Sunday
The Wild Card came into play
'Cross the land, and sea, and air.
When Jetboy's last words
On his open mike
Went to list'ners ev'rywhere:
When he said, "I can't die yet, because I haven't seen
The Jolson sto-o-ry upon that silver screen!"
When Black Queens fell,
And Jokers got hell,
And Aces got their name;
Wherever it came down
It made a sound
Like gentle autumn rain.

And the world all changed.

My Love By Grenda vil Dift, 2856 A.D.

This was originally written for the short story Starlane Destroyer. I recorded it in 1994, for use at Neil & Jean's wedding, but they didn't want me to sing it there.

My love!  The center of my life,
Be with me when I am gone.
The warmth of your love can propel me
Past the deepest darkness and on.
My love!  The beacon in my nights,
Don't let your thoughts of me despair.
My love!  You're all the diff'rence I need;
Our lives' pure light shall dare!

I still recall a time
Before you turned my night into day,
And I wondered then, as I wonder now,
How could it have been any other way?

My love!  When all is said and done,
What we have will not be lost.
The darkness won't last forever,
And the dawn shall break through the frost!
My love!  Together we were, once,
And though that time refused to stay_____,
My love!
For all it's worth,
I know we'll be together again some day.

You May Run Through Endless Darkness

I heard this in a dream I had in 1999, right after I realized I wasn't ever going to be able to get a local girlfriend for as long as I lived in the Silicon Valley. (Note: I eventually did get such a thing, and went so far as marrying and divorcing her. But that's not what this song is about.)

You may run through endless darkness
Deeper than the night,
And you may feel the stings of emptiness,
Harsh and cold and bright;
You may face lonely nights
'Til you want to cry, "No more!"
In short, what are you fighting for?

God is Just Another Mutant

I also heard this in a dream, in 1998 or so, involving Space Ace and Kimberly from the old Space Ace video arcade laserdisc game.  Space Ace was aboard a boat, and Kimberly was singing this to him while skillfully navigating down a dangerous whitewater river, reminiscent of "Just Around the River Bend" from Disney's Pocahontas.  (The tune itself, however, seems to have been inspired by "Lasso You the Moon" from the movie Rustlers' Rhapsody.)

God may seem omnipotent, you see,
So beautiful and free
Beneath the waves.
But God is just another mutant drifting through the sea.
God made you.
God spent a lot to make you.
And God spent lots more making me.
(Nobody ever said that lyrics you hear in a dream have to make sense.)

She Are Green

Yet another song I heard in a dream, this time in 2003 or so.  It's a poignant, heartrending Irish folk ballad about the long lost green of youth, or the Irish countryside, or something, set against a comical fabric softener commercial involving a lady whisking her way through a black-and-white landscape that turns full-color in her wake (implying that the laundry product she's hawking keeps your clothes as brightly colored as the green grass).

Unfortunately, I didn't hear any real lyrics for it in my dream. So, I had to make some up:

When I was a lass in the green of my springtime,
It seems a lifetime ago,
My joy, like the shamrock, burst forth from the meadow
Like buds through the first melting snow.

My youth were as green as the wild Irish hillside,
I'd dance and I'd sing and I'd play.
And the lads all aglow from the spell of my beauty,
They'd look and they'd smile and they'd say:

"She are green! She are green!
The greenest that ever were seen.
She are green! She are green!
Like crocus and primrose,
She's all that blooms and grows;
As bright as the morn — she are green!"

But just as the springtime gives way to the summer,
And summer gives way to the fall,
The green of my youth slowly waned from its zenith
Until it was nigh there at all.

No more did my dances
Command the lads' glances,
No more would my charms hold the day,
Too late did I learn just how brief was the garland
And what else it means when they say:

"She are green! She are green!
The greenest that ever were seen.
She are green! She are green!"
Green like fruit on the vine,
Green like the tyro's line,
Lord count the ways she are green!

And now I look back near the coming of winter,
My chariot's race nearly run 'round,
And my green has gone brown, like the leaves on the branches
Will wither and fall to the ground.

My spring is long over;
How I miss the clover
And grass on the field from the day!
And I look to that girl of the next generation,
Still wild and still fresh, and I say:

"She are green! She are green!
The greenest that ever were seen.
She are green! She are green!"
Wear proudly the label
As long as you're able,
'Cause just for today, she are green!

Wear proudly the label
As long as you're able,
'Cause just for today, she are green.

Let's Go Bomb an Abortion Clinic

An extremely sarcastic song, which I wrote in 2000 in reaction to certain Contemporary Christian Music lyrics I heard. If you're not offended by this song, you're reading it wrong.

Ev'ry day, sev'ral thousand little cute, helpless babies
Are all killed while they're in the wo-omb still.
Don't they know that getting pregnant is God's mandated punishment
For getting laid against His holy will?
We can't let them get away with this, they've got to pay the price;
The time has come to act, the time is past for being nice!
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic.
Make the world once more Huckleberry Finn-ic.
With some primer cord and some C4
We'll keep 'em from killing any more,
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic!
Come with me, don't be such a cynic!
Stop the killers by killing them ourselves.

I've been all through the Bible, but I can't find a place where it says
Abortion explicitly is wrong.
But my pastor says that Moses only meant unborn babies
By that "Thou Shalt Not Kill" thing all along.
And if it's good enough for Moses, well, it's good enough for me!
God help the doctors I send to Hell for all eternity.
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic.
While they're still inside with their next-of-kin-ic.
We'll park a rented truck out front,
Like that Oklahoma City stunt.
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic!
Come with me, don't be such a cynic!
Blast them all, they deserve it for their crimes.

With the fear of getting blown up, they won't dare go near a clinic,
So they'll have to keep their babies like God said.
Now you may begin to wonder 'bout all those unwanted children
With a mother who would rather they were dead.
Well, frankly, I don't give a damn about them once they're born.
God says we've got more bombs to plant, we've got no time to mourn!
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic.
We'll keep them from committing a mortal sin-ic.
And don't worry if one of our caste
Or an unborn baby's in the blast —
Let's go bomb an abortion clinic!
Come with me, don't be such a cynic!
Kill them all, and let our God sort them out!
Boom boom boom boom, ka-blam!

My God Can Beat Up Your God

Inspired by Johnny Cash's "It's Goin' By The Book", this should certainly appear on the same album that "Let's Go Bomb an Abortion Clinic" is released on.

And Catholics,
And Muslims, and them Buddhists too,
And Shintos,
And Hindus,
All of 'em are wrong,
All of 'em are weak,
All of 'em are dumb.


Don'tcha know that my god can beat up your god!
My god can beat up yours!
Don'tcha know that my god can beat up your god!
My god ... is bigger than yours!

My god's better than your god,
My god's better than yours,
My god's better 'cause he eats Ken-L-Ration®,
My god's better than yours!

[tinny player piano solo]

. . .
My god's chest is hairier than yours!
My god's beard is scarier than yours!
My god's gonna make your god cry for his mommy!
Which he might not have, if you believe he's a causeless cause
(like mine)
But he'll cry for his mommy anyway, 'cause that's how big of a pansy he is!
Don'tcha know that my god can beat up your god!
My god can beat up yours!
Don'tcha know that my god can beat up your god!
My god ... is bigger than yours!

Ninja Lovers

Another song that came to me in a dream, this time in 2009 or so. Situationally inspired by Elan and Therkla in The Order of the Stick. Musically inspired by "It Can't Be Wrong," sung in homage to Frank Sinatra on at least one Warner Brothers cartoon. Imagine a girl ninja and a boy ninja fighting it out, each determined to kill the other, swinging and parrying and riposting, getting fiercer and fiercer — and then:

And then he took my hand,
And we began to dance,
I looked into his eyes,
And he looked into mine,
His smile could melt the stars!

And then, I pulled him close,
He held me in his arms,
The beauty of his face,
The warmth of his embrace —
My lifetime for his charms!


Yet another song that came to me in a dream, this time of when I was in the old Isomata festival choir. (Or perhaps it was the even older Isomata youth choir.) Later, in 1984, did a rendition of this song in GWBASIC.

Living and free
Expressing our thoughts
And the way we want things to be.
Telling our love
Telling our lies
They try to say things that can't be read in the eyes.
But can they talk?
Can they talk?
Can they talk? Can they talk?
Can they, can they, can they, can — can they talk?

For all that they're worth
They only describe time we've spent and not spent on Earth.
As we try to hold,
Recapture the past,
Recorded words are all we have to make our thoughts last.
But can they talk?
Can they talk?
Can they talk? Can they talk?
Can they, can they, can they, can they —

If I Die Before I Wake

This song came to me at age 20 . . . the darkest evening of the year.  It is supposed to be the voice of Orpheus, having learned that his darling Euridice has been slain by a snake bite and that the only way to bring her back is to march into the Underworld himself.  I later did a rendition of this song in GWBASIC.

The last little verselet comes from a 16th century poem by Edmund Spenser, which had been set as a 4-voice a capella piece by Halsey Stevens that the UCLA Madrigal Singers performed that year (the melody and harmony here bear no relation to the Stevens setting, however).

If I die before I wake
At least I will have tried for her sake.
I'd rather join in death with her
Than try to live without
mon coeur.

(Like as the culver
On the bared, bared bough
Sits mourning for the absence
of her mate.)

I've Found The New Meaning of Life

I came up with this theme while at Idyllwild music camp (ISOMATA) in the summer of 1981. I intended it to be the "triumph" music for the climax of The Pentagon War, but I also heard it in my head when I got to kiss a girl there. Can't imagine why. <whistles nonchalantly>

I've found the new meaning of life
I know that I can't take it in strife
I know I can't reject it,
For I must accept it,
I've found the new meaning of life

I've found the new meaning of life
I know that I can't take it in strife
I know I can't reject it,
For I must accept it,
I've found the new meaning of life;
I know I can't reject it,
For I must accept it,
I've found the new meaning of life

Tracer's Theme

The musical theme for this guy, written at about the same time as I wrote the story (1982). The words are only sung during the slow recap of the theme near the end.

Homeworld will never die here,
Tracer will always fly here,
Nobody left to cry here,
It's done — the empire has won!

(No one to know) my world has lost,
Fin'lly crossed,
Wha-at a cost!

The above lyrics coincided with Jeff Boeing learning that the alien energy-armor he wore came from the Last of the Armored Warriors, the losing side in a war against an oppressive star-spanning empire. I imagined the theme being recapped at the end of the story, or in a hypothetical sequel where Jeff Boeing discovers other Armored Warriors, with more triumphant lyrics:

Homeworld will never die here,
Tracer will always fly here,
Nobody needs to cry here,
It's done — the homeworld has won!

We are not gone,
Nothing drawn,
Live the new dawn!

Fanfare from a dream on 20-Nov-2011

The fanfare in this dream was clearly inspired by the 1990s TriStar Pictures logo fanfare, although I didn't realize it at the time.  My thoughts and emotions while dreaming this were aimed more at something like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Slow Dance

I heard this in my head in 2013. It's inspired, loosely, by Kate Bush's "Wow". Also not a full song. And lacks lyrics. But, damn, this tune really gets to me.

Yet Strew Upon My Dismal Grave

I composed this for 4-voice a capella chamber choir during my one graduate year at UCLA. Words by Thomas Stanley, Esq. (1651).

Yet strew
Upon my dismal grave
Such offerings as you have:
Forsaken cypress and sad yew

For kinder flow'rs can take no birth,
Or growth from such unhappy earth.

Time to Give My Dog His Denamarin

In early 2014, my dog was diagnosed with colitis. So he needs to take medicines to reduce the problems in his colon. But these medicines have the side effect of taxing his liver. So, at the behest of my Internal-medicine-specialist veterinarian:

It's time to give my dog his Denamarin.
It's a little bluish pill, this Denamarin.
Because he's taking steroid pills
His liver is impacted, so
I'm making up for it with Denamarin.

He won't just up and swallow Denamarin,
So I mush it with his dog food, Denamarin.
But not with too much dog food, 'cause
Officially you're s'posed to take it
On an empty stomach, Denamarin.

I don't mean to advertise for Denamarin,
There might be side effects from Denamarin,
I have a vet'rinarian
Who does internal medicine,
She said to give my dog some Denamarin.

It's not classed as a drug, this Denamarin,
So it hasn't been subjected, Denamarin,
To the same rigorous testing
That we give to pharmaceuticals
But there are published studies
That show measurable benefit
Compared with a placebo
In reducing bilirubin
So I'll keep giving my dog his Denamarin!

(Denamarin® is a registered trademark of Nutramax Laboratories Inc., for their combination formula of S-Adenosylmethionine and Silybin A+B. Both of these substances are classified as nutritional supplements rather than pharmaceuticals, they have not been subjected to the same kinds of rigorous trials that pharmaceuticals have. Heaven knows how effective it really is at this point, or how bad the side effects are.)


Written in 2014, this is the long-awaited sequel to Deuterium, which was recorded way back in 1983 with the help of Ken Tamura. Both songs use the same tune.

An isotope of hydrogen in a thermonuclear blast,
Three times as heavy as normal, but not stable — it won't last;
The nucleus, called a triton, holds two neutrons in its sway.
That's one neutron too many, so *woops!* nuclear decay!
The nucleus spits out a beta ray, an electron to you and me,
And a neutron becomes a proton then, and you've got helium three!

It's tritium! It's tritium!
A half life of twelve years.
It's tritium! Ah, tritium!
Made by the hand
Of clever Man,
Without us, nearly all disappears.

Now there are those who are trying to use tritium as a fuel,
To make some of our electric pow'r, and help the climate to cool;
They fuse it with some deuterium, but there's the problem you see —
To make them fuse together takes a whole lot of energy!
In fact, it takes more energy than the fusion reaction gives off.
We haven't hit the break-even point; it's still a long way off!

It's tritium! It's tritium!
No tokamaks or polywells yet thrive.
It's tritium! Ah, tritium!
And cold fusion's bunk,
For now, we're sunk,
It's only hope that keeps this dream alive.

But there's one place where the pressure and heat combine to give more:
The center of an atomic blast is hotter than the sun's core!
And there's where nuclear fusion pays back a hundred fold,
Turns A-bombs into H-bombs to flatten countries untold.
Don't try to build one in your garage, the plans are still classified.
They might not even use tritium, but lithium-6 deuteride!

It's tritium! It's tritium!
The heaviest hydrogen there is.
It's tritium! Ah, tritium!
In bombs galore
Oh, nevermore
Can any nation say, "None of my biz"!

Don't Ride the Bus

Shortly after Weird Al Yankovic debuted "Another One Rides the Bus," I had a dream involving a killer Santa Monica city bus (the big blue buses that would later be made famous by the movie Speed). And as the bus pulled away from another victim, I heard the beginnings of this song. This ended up being the first of my songs that I ever wrote actual accompaniment for and performed. (First performance was for my high school's "Coffehouse" talent show in 1982.)

Well, those death-dealing thingies of green, black, and blue,
They are whizzing on past you, so what will you do-oo-oo?
So you get up and chase it with all of your might,
And it starts to speed up then — faster than li-i-ight.
And although you run faster, and pray to the pope,
You know deep, down inside you, that there is no hope —
Do-on't ride the bus!

If you want to catch one, you'll regret when you do,
'Cause inside that speed demon, it smells worse than yo-o-ou.
And each passenger on there is sixty years old,
And they talk of things that are exciting — like mo-o-old!
And the noises inside there are louder than hell,
But when you raise your voice, then the driver will yell:
"Do-on't make a fuss!"

When you read in the paper, you find that each day
There's a bus accident when its hull cracked one wa-a-ay.
(or "when one turned the wrong way")
"Sixty were killed and two hundred injured,"
And you wonder how this kind of thing is endu-u-ured.
On the site of the crash are reporters galore,
Each all saying the same thing that they've said before —
"Do-on't ride the bus!"

They will hog up two lanes on the big city streets,
And in running to catch one, all you'll get is sore fee-ee-eets.
When they step on the gas, they pollute all the air,
And although they chug madly, they ge-et nowhe-e-ere.
And yet each day you insist they're needed — that's poo,
You're risking your life, here's my advice to you:
(Guess what it is?)
Do-on't ride the bus!!!
[in Mr. Rogers voice:] (How 'bout that, boys and girls, you got it right!)

Now I've more than put down the city bus system,
But there's another kind of bussing that's even worse than the-e-em.
By now you've prob'ly guessed, and now know what it is —
It's the school bus system for integrating "ki-i-ids".
And each parent and congressman knows that it's wrong,
Because if you're inside one, then you won't last long —
Do-on't ride the bus!!!!!

(Oh no.)

(The "Oh no" at the end was my parody of Barnes and Barnes, who ended all their songs with "Oh yeah!".)

Chariots of Video Games

Written in 1982, this was based on my mis-remembrance of the theme from Chariots of Fire. (For some reason I thought it was in a triple meter.) The subject matter was several of the arcade games I was playing at the time.

Just call me The Tempest, I ride on a storm,
Through different mazes of color and form;
The name of a play by old William Shakespear
And the name of a V-8 cut in half about here.
I fire, and I spin and super-zap;
I kill all the monsters, and I find
There are no Flippers, no Tankers, no Spikers, no Fuseballs, no Pulsars —
It's all in my mind.

For I am The Phoenix, among flying birds,
Some turn into clouds of space debris, some split into words;
The name of a missile, and a show on TV,
Named for an eternal firebird we never will see.
I go left and right, forcefield, and fire;
I kill all the birds, and I find
There are no warbirds, no wing-clips, no bombers, no eggs, no Starbase —
It's all in my mind.

They made me The Vanguard, out ahead of the crowd,
To shoot every moving thing in sight, and then explode loud;
The name of someone out ahead of the game,
And although the mission's different, the object's the same.
I move, fire, and fly through energy,
I kill everything, and I find
I always get 3 lives, and never win — this is no game —
It's all in my mind.

And then I'll play Pac-Man
[yicch – no I won't], and Blast your Astro,
And Cresta your Moon, and all other things like it can go;
I may not be the greatest, but I'm sure not the worst,
To think that I imitate someone, and call it a "first!"
I'm wondering whether things exist,
I've done everything, and I find
There is no arcade, no vision, no world, no matter, no universe —
It's all in my mind!!

Go Out To the Arcade

Written in 1982, this is sung to the tune of "Go Out With Joy" by Hank Beebe. I'd sung "Go Out With Joy" with either the Youth Choir or the the Festival Choir a previous summer at ISOMATA, and I carried that tune with me all the way into the video arcades that were so popular at the time.

Asteroids, Tempest, Defender-Stargate, Berserk,
Star Castle, Pac Man, Astro Blaster, Missile Command, Tail Gunner,
Lunar Rescue, Battle Zone, Moon Cresta.

Centipede, Make Trax, Galaxian, Laser Base,
Red Baron, Phoenix, Gorf, Astro Fighter, Lunar Lander, Scramble,
Space Invaders, Space Invaders Part II.

Venture, Starship 1, Crazy Climber, Galaga,
Super Missile Attack,
Star Fire, Qix, Donkey Kong, Kick, Vanguard,
Super Cobra, Mayday, Rip Off, Gun Fight, Targ!

Frogger, Omega Race, Pleiades,
Eliminator, Warlords, Jungler, Monaco, 280-ZZap,
River Patrol, Star Hawk, Space Wars, Zaxxon...

And all they ever do is eat up time & quarters,
With bad guys dropping bombs, and good guys launching mortars,
I wonder if the aliens can get through our borders....
I'm addicted to this day — hey hey!
Go out to the Arcade!

And then, there are the pinball games...

Evil [sic] Kinevil, Gorgar, Xenon —

For Donn Weiss

I wrote this in 1985 for Donn Weiss, the director of the UCLA Madrigal Singers, on his birthday (and in general all-around appreciation). It was my first 4-part a capella choral composition. I was lucky enough to find a teaching assistant and a group of lab rats volunteer singers who were willing to give me a chance to perform it for Mr. Weiss.

The final line of the final verse was inspired by the opening theme song to the British sitcom Butterflies.

For twenty-five years you've given your life
To make us the best we could be...
And now that another year has rolled 'round,
We're glad for your affinity.

Though we may yawn in apathy,
You've always pulled us through.
For that we're here to pay regard
For what (for all) you do.

You'll never slow no matter what the years say,
And we can never go when you need us to stay.

"Love is what's happening"; so you have said —
Even winter gives birth to spring...
What you've born here
Is something to hold dear;
A rare and gentle thing.

Oh Allison

I heard this very short song in a dream in 1985 or so, being sung by a barbershop quartet. By sheer coincidence, the UCLA madrigal singers group I was part of at the time had somebody in it named Allison.

The lyrics came directly from the dream. No hint of bestiality was implied, so get'cher mind outta the gutter.

Oh Allison, Allison,
Limit the crime to humankind.
Oh Allison, Allison,
Limit the crime to humankind.

Inspired by Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, "Laudate Dominum"

This was a composition assignment during my senior year as a undergrad at UCLA. I actually got lucky enough to have instrumentalists and a small group of singers read through it at the time, though as far as I know no tape recording was made.

Oh — and the words are largely nonsense. "Crist lag in todes banden" came from a piece I heard in my medieval music history class, "Laudamus te, ..." comes from the Gloria in the ordinary of the mass, "Der er, der herrlichste" comes from Robert Schumann's Er, der Herrlichste von Allen, and "sum ergo no" is a play on Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum."


Crist lag in todes banden, Dominum.
Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te!

Laudate dominum in virtutibus
Der er, der herrlichste sum ergo no.

Alleluyah, Alleluyah, Amen!

La Tuá ti Torméntire

This was a composition assignment during my junior year as a undergrad at UCLA. Due to what turned out to be my mishandling of the tape recorder, it didn't record the first two times I read through it in class, prompting two of my classmates to volunteer as "backup singers" for the third recording. Sadly, copies of this recording were never made available to us mere students and in all likelihood it got recorded over next semester.

The words are pseudo-Latin nonsense, with a smattering of Spanish thrown in for good measure.

La tua, ti tormentire,
Lo deum lagrimas, a deo iss a de...
La tua, ti tormentire,
Lo deum lagrimas a deo iss a de.
Cav'eat emtor, cav'eat memtor, let the buyer beware...
I may be wrong and I may not be strong, but at least, show that you care....
La tua ti tormentire
Lo deum lagrimas, a deo is a de.

PCM Invents!!!

An assignment from my class in tonal counterpoint (sophomore year at UCLA). It's a plain old two-part invention, written for keyboard. For authenticity's sake, I've rendered it here using the MIDI harpsichord patch.

PCM stands for Plagal Cadence Man. I adored plagal cadences.

Sonata in C Major, W. 16

An assignment very early on in my undergraduate music composition class. We were simply to write a piano sonata. For those of you unfamiliar with Sonata form, it consists of a main melody, followed by a second melody in a different key, followed by a development section in which anything goes, followed by the main melody again in its original key, followed by the second melody except now in the same key as the main melody. Or as Professor Robert Winter put it, "Some stuff that initially appears in a key other than the tonic later reappears in the tonic."

My classmates worried like heck about how to do their sonatas in a way that wouldn't sound like Mozart. Since I was probably the most diatonic, tonal person in the room, I figured I'd never be able to make it not sound like Mozart. So, what the heck, if it was going to sound Mozartian, I might as well go all the way into the middle of downtown Mozartville. If measures 28 and 29 sound familiar to you, it's because they were lifted almost verbatim from Mozart's sonata #16, K. 545. So there.

Chariots of Born Free

This was an assignment in my undergraduate music composition class, to write a short piece for piano that built to a climax. No relation to my earlier "Chariots of Video Games."

My Lovely Star

This was an assignment in my undergraduate music composition class, to set a given text to music. The text was an English translation of "Mein schöner Stern," which had been previously set by Robert Schumann. We were supposed to come up with our own setting and then compare it to the one Schumman wrote. The interrupted "Amen" at the end was my idea, what with me being Plagal Cadence Man at the time.

My lovely star! I beg of thee,
Let not thy clear and radiant light
Become obscured by vap'rous clouds.
Instead what now I fail to see,
My lovely star, reveal to me.

My lovely star, I beg of thee,
Because thou seest my sorry plight,
And knowest well my saddend heart,
Take me at last unto thy care,
My lovely star, to dwell with thee.

My lovely star, I beg of thee,
Take me at last unto thy care.
A ... m—
... nah.

If you're really curious, here's the original German text that Schumann set:

Mein schöner Stern! ich bitte dich,
O lasse du dein heitres Licht
Nicht trüben durch den Dampf in mir,
Vielmehr den Dampf in mir zu Licht,
Mein schöner Stern, verklären hilf!

Mein schöner Stern! ich bitte dich,
Nicht senk' herab zur Erde dich,
Weil du mich noch hier unten siehst,
Heb' auf vielmehr zum Himmel mich,
Mein schöner Stern, wo du schon bist!

My Time in the Light is Short

In September of 1986, The Transformers season 3 opened with the 5-part miniseries "Five Faces of Darkness." In it, Rodimus Prime or Arcee or somebody claimed, incorrectly, that Optimus Prime's dying words were "My time in the light is short." Since I didn't have a copy of The Transformers: The Movie lying around, I couldn't verify this and I ended up just taking 'em at their word.

I decided to use this line as the basis for a song in my undergraduate composition class. This was the result. The lyrics were ... kinda emo. (But what do you expect from someone who was recently a teen-ager?)

My time in the light is short,
I can feel my resources fading,
I have seen the restful dark,
It lies not far from here.

I suppose what I've had has been good,
At least for the times that were sweet;
Now my sorrows can die as they should,
Now my sorrows can die as they should,
And I'll worry no more from defeat.

Soon all that I was will be gone,
And soon after, forgotten my wake;
I have no regrets for the path I was on,
Save maybe for misery's sake.

But I can't forget all that I've left behind,
I can't forget joy, or loss, or my plight —
I can't forget! I can't forget!
I can't forget all that I chose in the light.


This was a purely instrumental piece I wrote in my senior year as a music composition undergrad at UCLA. I got a read-through of this piece by a chamber orchestra, but sadly the session wasn't recorded. I later re-used the melody in For They March Alone.

Confuconfutatis, Malemaledictus from the Antecedent-Consequent Requirequiem

Another purely instrumental piece I wrote in my senior year as a music composition undergrad at UCLA, this time for my orchestration class. I got a read-through of this piece by an orchestra, but sadly the session wasn't recorded. It was probably for the best, though, because the horn players totally mistook the single-dotted quarter note rhythm in the 2nd part for the double-dotted rhythm they'd been playing in the opening.

Lost in Meditation

The last piece I wrote as a graduate student in music composition. 'Twas for a little end-of-year party for the composers in our class. We were to take the classic lyrics from a Duke Ellington piece and, without hearing Duke Ellington's treatment first, set them to music in our own way. My inspiration was Cole Porter — or rather, Tom Lehrer's style parody of Cole Porter for Clementine.

Credit for the lyrics was given as simply "John Q. Anon" at the time I wrote this.

I am lost in meditation
And my reverie
Brings you back to me
For in my imagination
Love has lingered on
As though you'd never gone.

This is just a dream that cannot last
When the magic of this mood has passed.
So I sit in meditation
Trying to pretend this mood will never end.

Infra Man's Theme

The musical theme for this guy. I conceived of it right after I left UCLA. It's purely instrumental.

God Rest Ye Unitarians

A traditional melody, with words by Unitarian Universalist minister Christopher Gist Raible. It was originally written some time in the 1970s, to poke fun at the Unitarian Universalist willingness to celebrate every holiday in December except Christmas. Since then, it's become a Christmastime anti-Christian anthem in some circles. It appears here because my brother wanted a video of me singing it.

God rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay;
Remember there's no evidence there was a Christmas Day;
When Christ was born is just not known, no matter what they say,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

There was no star of Bethlehem, there was no angels' song;
There could have been no wise men for the trip would take too long.
The stories in the Bible are historically wrong,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Our current Christmas customs come from Persia and from Greece,
From solstice celebrations of the ancient Middle East.
We know our so-called holiday is just a pagan feast,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.

Death Row

During either my senior year as an undergrad, or my one graduate year in music composition at UCLA, I had an assignment to write a twelve-tone row as a string quartet. I hate twelve-tone rows. But there was one eight-tone row that was stuck in my mind: The Decepticons theme from the soundtrack to The Transformers: The Movie. (The cartoon, not the Michael Bay explosion fest.) So, I tacked the 4 missing pitches onto the end, and used it as the basis of this short piece.

The name came to me when I looked at the title one of my classmates had given to his 12-tone-row string quartet assignment. Tone rows are also called serial music, so he'd titled his version "Breakfast Serial." Well, darn it, no one was going to outdo me in the pun department!


Inspired by both the "Down, down, down and out" song in Bugsy Malone, and the background sound effects in Space Invaders, I conceived of this song when I was in high school, shortly after having memorized the first 100 digits of π. The bulk of the non-digit lyrics didn't come to me 'til 2015, though.

Note: I went on to memorize 200 digits of pi before the end of high school. And at last count, I could still recite them. (Though I sometimes get hung up at the 161st decimal place — I can never remember whether it's supposed to be a 4 or a 5.)

(Background chorus repeats "three point one four")
A transcendental number I will sing you,
With non-repeating digits to the sky,
Known to the ancient Greeks,
And to the modern geeks,
The glorious number called pi.

The ratio of a circle's circumf'rence
To its diameter's this quantitie;
Periphery, you see
Is abbreviated "P"
And the greek letter for P is pi.

The sum from n equals zero to infinity
Of four over two n plus 1, but multiply
By negative 1 to the pow'r of n,
And you add 'em all up, and you get pi — pi — pi — pi — piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

(Background chorus: "41971 69399 37510 58209")

That's the first one hundred digits of this number,
It keeps on going to infinitie.
It shows up in formulas found throughout the cosmos:
From alternating current, to the waves upon the ocean,
From the strength of a magnet, to the failure of a bridge,
From the quantum level, to the orbits of the planets,
To the motion of a weight upon a spring —
It's pi! (Pi!)

Waltz from a dream on 26-Mar-2015

Johann Strauss, Jr., eat your heart out!

Genetically Modified Food

There are many songs damning GMOs. This song from 2015 is in praise of them.

Three meals a day is an awful lot of food.
You'll starve unless you can eat four times your weight in food each year.
Now multiply that by seven billion, and you begin to see
Just how big a challenge feeding the world can be.

Not ev'ry land and clime is good for growing,
There's drought and cold and disease and heat and bugs and weeds and bad soil.
We've overcome each hardship by any means that we could.
But one tool stands alone above them all:

Genetiiiiiiiiiiiic modification!
We've been doin' it since before his'try began.
Genetiiiiiiiiiiiic modification!
Ev'ry cross-bred crop or selective breeding plan.

We're slowly workin' toward a world where famine's in the past,
Imagining abundance for the throng;
And now we have the means
To engineer these dreams
Into the light of day where they belong.

Each time you breed new seed, there can be errors.
New traits appear, some good, some bad; you keep the seeds you like best.
It's a long slow random process with side effects galore,
But a better way has given us something more.

Take a gene that codes for one trait only,
Insert it into the stem cells of a plant you want to improve.
They'll grow and give you seeds to plant, with the trait you want and no more;
Precision to give hope where there was none...

Genetiiiiiiiiiiiic modification!
We can give crops any gene under the sun;
Genetiiiiiiiiiiiic modification!
Less waste, less harm, more food for ev'ryone!

Cure vitamin deficiency, or fight the coming drought;
Each incremental win helps us along.
'Cause engineering genes
Has given us a means
Of uplifting the world where we belong.

Let's not forego the means
To engineer these dreams;
Let's keep them in the light ... where they belong.

Everything is Everything

The very first song I ever wrote, evar! I created the melody and lyrics in 1973, when I was 8 years old — and it shows.

Everything is everything
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
Depending upon how you look at it
Depending upon how you look at it

Suppose you take a glob of cla-ay,
Mash it and squish it all around,
Leave it there for a long long time;
That's the everything is everything
That's the everything is everything

Everything is sometimes nothing
Everything is sometimes nothing
Everything is sometimes nothing
Depending upon how you look at it
Depending upon how you look at it

Suppose you take a glob of cla-ay,
Put it under a machi-ine,
Disintegrate it right there and then;
That's the everything is sometimes nothing
That's the everything is sometimes nothing

Everything is everything
Everything is everything
Everything is everything
Everything is everything

(fade out)

My intent with the second verse — as much as I can remember it — was to imply what I would later learn was called the conservation of mass. Matter can neither be created, nor destroyed. It's a fundamental property of the universe. (Einstein had to come along with that damn energy equation and ruin everything, of course, but for most normal situations we mere mortals find ourselves in, the conservation of mass is a good enough approximation to the way the universe as a whole behaves.)

I'm Never Getting Laid Again

Sung to the tune of "The Arkansas Traveler." Not that I'm bitter.

Never getting laid again, again,
I'm never ever getting laid again,
I'm never getting laid again again,
Never ever ever getting laid again!

Though there've been a few times when I had a blast,
My sex life's now completely in the past,
Though reality can be a bitch, it's no help to complain,
I'm never ever ever getting laid again!

(Dat da da da dah), Oh well!

Suicide of a Skunk

I was lucky enough to get this recorded by a 10-piece small orchestra doing a live read-through, during my senior year as a music composition undergraduate student at UCLA.

The inspiration was a Tex Avery cartoon called Little 'Tinker featuring a skunk — not Pepe LePew — who was desperate to find himself a girlfriend. Sadly, every female he got close to ran away holding her nose. Eventually, he decides to end it all. In the cartoon, he stumbles across a female skunk at the last minute and they live happily ever after; in my music composition here, though, this doesn't happen.

Stand In Silent Requiem

I wrote this during my senior year as a music composition undergraduate student at UCLA, and was lucky enough to get a live performance. (Which one of the tenors didn't show up for, unfortunately.) A recording of the live performance can be found on my Digital Audio Rescues page.

The setting here is After The End.  Here is the complete text:

O la virtus manistratō . . .
Dusk has fin'lly made its descend.
The last rays ebb golden from a ghost town,
Our stay has fin'lly come to an end.

The only sound's the wind rushing across the ground,
A dead wind through the skeletons of trees,
Blowing dead grains of sand into concrete spires
Once lived in by such fools as these.

All we ever were is gone
From the lifeless face of Earth, our womb.
All record of our passage stands silent, wrapp'd in concrete,
A fitting stone to mark our tomb.

We were but transients, but ephemeral,
Soft creatures on a bed of stone.
And yet we survived, and yet we thrived,
And made this world our own.

And from the life here sprang intelligence,
And tools in its machine.
And weapons, and dominance,
And hatred that was never before seen.

There was a time when living people walked these streets,
When they could live amid their vic'tries and defeats.
The sand slipped between their toes, and the wind blew through their hair,
And shady leaves rustled from trees in lazy air.

Their love saw the best and worst,
Then came the fear of what came first;*
What we were searching for, we never found.

With power to control,
We struck ourselves, and took our toll.
Now all life's been driven away —
Or driven into the ground.

That was how we played
For the time we stayed;
Dusk has fin'lly made
Its descend.

All lost life grieves on our remnants:
"Oh, how could we have nurtured them?"
This dead town, the wind, the sand, the dead trees
Stand in silent requiem.

*) In early drafts, this line read: "Then came the need to finish first;".

Since the opening line is basically nonsense Latin, in the live performance I just had the singers sustain an "O" sound there.

You May As Well Ask the Sun Not to Shine

I came up with this after I left UCLA, just when I started going to CSUN. I hate to admit it, but Lifespring was part of the reason.

You may as well ask the sun not to shine,
May as well ask the rain not to fall;
You may as well ask these bells not to chime,
May as well ask for no sound at all;
You may as well ask the world to stand still
Than ask me not to love you.

Yet It Goes

I owe my inspiration for this song to the 2015 South Park episode "Tweek x Craig." No lyrics, yet.

It's Not Too Late to Back Out

Conceived in January 2016 as the perfect song to sing for a wedding processional.

You've found the love of your life,
It's all you ever imagined.
You're ready to take the plunge,
And commit for the rest of your life.

Day in, and day out,
Over and over again,
Your feelings will change,
But you'll stick it out to the end —

Until you cry 'no more!'
And you know 'twas your biggest mistake.
And you cry, and you cry,
And you pay for your error in blood.


It's not too late to back out!
It's no-o-o-o-o-ot too late to change your mind!
There's no law in the land that can make you say 'I do' —
It's not too late to back out!

(mmm hmmm...)

You've many years left ahead,
Don't throw them away on a pipe dream —
The grass always looks greener
On the other side of the fence

You're in love, and you're sure
You can work through the problems you've seen,
But some things cannot be changed,
And the slate will never be clean —

Your futures will dwindle away,
Trying to save this sinking ship;
And the longer you try,
The worse it will be in the end!


It's not too late to back out!
It's no-o-o-o-o-ot too late to change your mind!
There's no law in the land that can force you to say 'I do' —
It's not too late to back out!

(mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm...)
Dum dum da dummm!
(a la the Lohengrin bridal chorus)

Yes We Can

Heard in a dream in the early morning of 18-February-2016. No relation to Barak Obama's campaign slogan. Or Bob the Builder.

Will Mary Be Free

Heard while I was drifting off on 23-February-2016. The "Mary" might have been my coworker Mary, or the word "marry," or "merry Christmas," or "mare-y" meaning "similar to a female horse" for all I know. In this song, the voices are supposed to be a girl band singing in unison.

Will Mary be free
Will Mary be me
Will Mary doot doot doot doo doo doo doot, doot, dee —
Will Mary be free
Will Mary be me

The Moon Over Paradour

I thought of this song when the Richard Dreyfuss movie Moon Over Paradour was in the theaters, but before I saw the film. I think this should have been the movie's theme song.

The mooooooooooooooooooon
Over Paradour —
Like Gorlice–Tarnów
We're going mano-a-ma[r]no
Doo doo doo doo doot, doo doo!


I heard a short passage from this song in a dream, after I'd recorded 10 of the songs in The Music Van(i). I imagined a lounge singer in a 1960s musical.

No lyrics, yet.

Tim Curry Throwing Fruit

I heard this snippet in a dream in the early morning hours of 26-April-2016, after reading parts of a discussion thread on Tim Curry. He was throwing fruit (and vegetables) around on the floor and dancing and singing, in my parents' house in the early morning hours before they woke up, trying to (cough cough) "not make a sound" as obnoxiously as possible. Earlier in that dream I was in my parents' pantry, which had a bazillion light fixtures where all of the light bulbs, incandescent and compact fluorescent alike, were burned out. Typical.

There were lyrics, but as this was a rock song I couldn't make any of them out.

Here We Are In Lent Again

Posted as a poem, with a marching melody in my head, to the Usenet newsgroup on 6-March-1998. FoxTrot asked, "What are people on the newsgroup giving up for Lent?", and I replied, "I'm giving up saying things like this:"

Come on, people, let's gather around the old Easter Tree and sing some Lent Carols! I'll start:

Oh ...

Here we are in Lent again, my fellahs,
Living without stuff for forty days,
We're making ourselves suffer
To make a holy buffer
Against the dark desires of Satan's ways!

Oh, here we are in Lent again, my fellahs,
Feel penitent and guilty, 'cause you're scum,
God gave you all your feelings
To tempt you into peelings
Off your clothes and frolicking and drinking rum.

Oh, here we are in Lent again, my fellahs,
To pay the price for Adam and Eve's fall;
Never mind we weren't there,
And punishing us ain't fair,
In fact, it's probably Unconstitution-all!

Oh, here we are in Lent again, my fellahs,
So don't get the Big Guy mad at you, just halt!
Make one wrong move, and, well,
I hope you're comfy in Hell,
'Cause ev'rything that's bad is all your fault!

Can you tell I don't like Lent?

Severed Head

Posted by James Zalas ("Michelle"), as a poem in the Usenet newsgroup on 12-January-1997. I immediately put a melody to it in my head.

"I'm bored, so I'll write something for no reason
Yeah, tell me about it. I either write when I'm bored or late at night. I call this one "Severed Head":"

Severed head, severed head
From somebody that is dead
It is bloody
And gross and cruddy
With blood, dripping blood that's red.

So if you ever lose your head
You don't have to dread.
You'll feel no pain
Cos you'll be slain.
Severed head, severed head
Wherever it rolls
It leaves a trail of red.

Whaddaya think, sirs?

There Once Lived a Maid in This House

I heard this in a dream when I was attending CSUN in 1989 or 1990. It featured a chamber chorus singing in a quasi-atonal style, ending with a tennis pun.

There once lived a maid in this house;
Not even a maid, hardly more than a serving girl.
But could she serve, could she serve!
She had a wicked backhand.

200 Miles Away

I heard a little snippet of this in a dream in 2014 or 2015. I heard the voice of the guy who sang "Old Man River", except singing really high. It was really melancholy. It needs more fleshing out before it's a real song.

The melody at the beginning is a variation on "The Minstrel Boy," written by Thomas Moore in 1813.

We fought so hard to be out on our own,
Then we found each other, and we bonded.
The life we built filled up so many voids,
And the roots we planted ran so deep.
And then my once i-in a lifetime chance
Had come ...
But iiiiiiiit's two hundred miles away.
But it's two hundred miles away.

You had your reasons, and I had mine too,
Nothing left but for us to be parted.
The years diverged, never forgetting you,

And staaaaaaaaay two hundred miles away.
And stay two hundred miles away.

Easy Listening, 26-Apr-2017

Instrumental only. Just lyrics-free voice and guitar.

Mike the Saw-Gun Man

Way, waaaaay back in 1970 when I was a wee tyke of 5 years, a substitute kindergarten teacher asked me what my name was. I told her my full name, including my full middle name which I never use any more. Reckoning that this was all a bit unwieldy, she asked, "Well, what should we call you? Mike?"

I answered, "No, Roger" — but at the instant she said "Mike", an image flashed in my head. You see, back then, we as a society had not yet grown so paranoid that we didn't allow kids to have toys that might be dangerous or, you know, useful. I had a toy tool set. It included a small hammer and a small saw, both of which were real. That saw could actually saw through wood. Oh, sure, it was only a ripsaw, not a cross-cut saw, and its handle was made of light blue plastic, but darn it, it was my saw and it was the real thing. And at the instant the substitute kindergarten teacher said "Mike", I had an image of that saw, that little blue-plastic-handled saw, resting against my right hip like a cowboy's sixgun in its holster.

Flash forward five years, when I was the unthinkably advanced age of 10 years old. I had already written that smash-hit song "Everything is Everything" (see above), and now I was ready to go on to even greater things. I was up at Camp Big Bear, a kids camping retreat run by the YMCA. Every night, we had the "campfire" ritual starting at 8:30 PM. It was the only enjoyable thing about the whole Y-Camp Big Bear experience. There was a miniature outdoor amphitheater with a concrete stage, with a campfire burning between the stage and the audience. The camp counselors, and one selected "cabin" (the units or "tribes" the kids were sectioned off into), would perform songs and skits for our entertainment, sometimes with an audience-participation component to them.

Well, one of the counselors there, by sheer coincidence, was named Mike, and one night he got up on stage with his guitar and sang Allison Gross. This traditional folk song had been popularized by Steeleye Span in 1973, only a couple of years earlier. Except counselor Mike didn't sing it correctly. He altered the melody, getting rid of most of the pauses and subtly changing the tune. I'd never heard this tune before, though, so I assumed that his rendition of it was "correct."

And it was counselor Mike's wonky rendition of "Allison Gross" that served as the melody for my next great inspiration: A song about the "Mike" with the blue-plastic-handled miniature saw in his hip holster. Mike, the saw-gun man, was now a quick-draw cowboy vigilante who always, always got his man, and the song chronicled his ill-fated final adventure facing off against the dreaded Black Bart. I sang it over and over again to anyone in Y-Camp who would listen, until they were sick of it and started making parodies.

Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
The fastest saw-gun in the land.
Oh Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
He always, always ... gets his man.

His saw in its holster's always at hand,
And that's why he always gets his man.
When he sharpens those blades that are oh-so-fine,
When they touch you, they feel wo-o-orse ... than turpentine!

One day, Black Bart rode into town,
And challenged Mike to a deadly showdown.
Black Bart took out his gun, and tried to shoot,
But his saw deflected all the bullets that he tried to boot.

Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
With his saw in his hand, he can beat any man.
Oh Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
He always, always ... gets his man.

Black Bart swore revenge on Mike that day,
And rode off to think up another way
To take down Mike the saw-gun man,
By taking that saw ... out of his hand.

Then a thought came to Black Bart's crafty mind,
And he gathered magnets, all he could find.
And with that load, he rode back to town,
And called out Mike again, to bring him down.

Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
He's the fastest saw-gun in the land.
Oh Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
He always, always ... gets his man.

Black Bart threw magnets one-by-one,
Mike blocked them, but they stuck to his saw-gun.
With each magnet, his saw gained a pound,
'Til it got too heavy and fell to the ground.

Then Black Bart drew his trusty gun,
And said to Mike, "Now I have won!"
Without his saw-gun, Mike got shot,
And he died not cold bu-u-ut ... oh so hot!

Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
He was the fastest saw-gun in the land.
Oh Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
He almost always ... got his man.

Fade out
Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,
Mike, Mike, the saw-gun man,

I Just Wanna Say

Heard in a dream on 13-September-2017. Imagine a bubblegum pop folk girl band.

I just wanna say
If I had this day to live again
I'd want it all the same, except with you.

And I just wanna say
If I had to choose a day
To live again, I'd choose a day I spent with you.

Hey, Ho, Where'd You Go?

Instrumental. Inspired on 21-October-2017 by the music in a TV commercial.

(Haydn's 39th)

Written for wind ensemble, during my one-and-only year as a music composition graduate student at UCLA (early 1988). The melody was inspired by the first 2 bars of the secondary-key-area in the exposition of Haydn's Symphony Number 39 in G minor, first movement. Here's what Haydn could have done with it!

(Note: The original contained drum rolls and crescendoes on sustained notes, neither of which translate into general MIDI well at all. They are not present in this rendition.)

Jackie Sodium

Written in the mid-to-late 1980s as a theme song for this Champions character. It's as sad as a song can be, when said song is about a man who can instantly change his body into solid metallic sodium and back again at will.

Here comes Jackie Sodium, yearning to be free;
Once only Jackie Albertson, a chemist like you or me.
Until the lab'ratory accident which should have put him in a hearse
Altered him, empowered him with a blessing and a curse.

You know Colossus from the X-Men? He kinda works the same.
Jackie changes his body into metal, and back again.
But he doesn't turn into steel, or even copper or zinc or tin;
He turns to elemental sodium, a metal with its own whim.

Pure metallic sodium is shiny and soft, they say,
But it reacts with air so fast it instantly turns dull gray;
If you put it in water it bursts into a flame,
Releasing hydrogen gas which burns with the air, thus feeding its fire's acclaim.

As sodium he's bulletproof, and can lift a lot more weight;
But strangeness makes one a target for fear and disgust and hate.
In time, resentment grew and grew 'til even those who knew him turned,
They'd beat him as flesh, but as sodium, they wanted him slashed and burned.

They shot at him, chased him, cornered him, drove him into a swimming pool;
He saw their guns, his body mere flesh in the water so brisk and cool.
Instinctively, in self defense, he turned to sodium;
And in the water, his body became the fuel for a cataclysm.

The force of the explosion threw him high into the air,
And where he landed, half his body simply wasn't there.
Turned back to flesh, his charred remains for all the world to see,
With his death scream frozen on his face for all eternity.

There lies Jackie Albertson, survivor 'til the end;
Killed by his own will to live, and by those who called him "friend."

You Know Nothing

Heard in a dream, or dreamed up, on 25-July-2018.

You know nothing
You know nothing
Nothing at all.
You know nothing
You know nothing
Nothing at all!

I Hope You Had a Wonderful Time

Heard in a dream from 8-April-2018, where it was used as the goodbye song at the end of an episode of some children's TV show.

Doot doo doo doot doot doo
Doot doo doo doot doo
Doot doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo, DOOT doodoo doo
Doot doo doo doot doot doo
Doot doo doo doot doo
I hope you had a wonderful time.

Pickin' Up Puppies

Inspired by the World of Warcraft daily quest "Planning for the Future," in which you must pick up 12 wolvar pups.

Oh, I go pickin' up puppies, yes I do,
Pickin' up puppies, woo woo wo,
Pickin' up puppies, Pickin' up puppies,
Doodle oodle oodle oodle oot doot doo doo.
Pickin' up puppies, da da dom,
But first I gotta kill their mom,
Pickin' up puppies, Pickin' up puppies,
Doodle oodle oodle oodle om!

They say they want the puppies to preserve the population
Because of their impending all-out war,
But I hear that in Korea puppies are might good eatin'
Maybe that's what they really want 'em for!

But what do I care?
They're gonna give me a fishing pole!

So I go pickin' up puppies, yes I do,
Pickin' up puppies, woo woo wo,
Pickin' up puppies, Pickin' up puppies,
Doodle oodle oodle oodle oot doot doo doo.
Pickin' up puppies, yes I am,
Pickin' up puppies on the lam,
Pickin' up puppies, Pickin' up puppies,
Doodle oodle oodle oodle am!


Breakfast Time for the Ambrose Cat

An ode to feeding our five cats and one dog, conceived in early 2020 and finished in 2022.

Breakfast time for the Ambrose cat,
Ambrose cat,
Ambrose cat.
It's breakfast time for the Ambrose cat,
The special cream cheese cat.

It's breakfast time for the Phillip cat,
Phillip cat,
Phillip cat.
It's breakfast time for the Phillip cat,
The Phillip Phillip cat!

It's breakfast time for the Harry cat,
Cuddly cat,
Harry cat.
It's breakfast time for the Harry cat,
Though now he rests in peace.

It's breakfast time for the Princess cat,
Wobbles cat,
Princess cat.
It's breakfast time for the Princess cat,
The Princess Wobbles cat!

It's breakfast time for the Grisswald cat,
Scaredy cat,
Grisswald cat.
It's breakfast time for the Grisswald cat,
Though he too rests in peace.

Breakfast time for the Meimei cat,
Wait a minute
She's a dog.
It's breakfast time for the Meimei dog,
The Moo moo Meimei dog!

It's breakfast time for the Ambrose cat,
Ambrose cat,
Ambrose cat.
It's breakfast time for the Ambrose cat,
The Ambrose Ambrose cat!

The Ammm ... broooose ... Ammm ... broooose ... caaaaaaaaaaaat!

The Dukes of M*A*S*H

Conceived in 1981, in response to Stairway to Gilligan's Island. I don't know what the technical term for this specific kind of parody is. Music by Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Waylon Jennings.

Just a good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm,
Been in trouble with the law since the day they was born.
Straight'nin' the curves, flat'nin' the hills.
Someday the mountain might get 'em, but the law never will.

Makin' their way the only way they know how,
That's just a little bit more than the law will allow.
Just a good ol' boys, wouldn't change if they could,
Fightin' the system like a two modern day Robin Hood.

'Cause they're the Dukes of M*A*S*H,
They run moonshine or hash,
And you can take or leave them as you please.

And I would rather leave them ... in the breeze!

It's the Limelight!

An idea I got in 2021: An aria to describe just what the limelight is.

What's this bright, blinding white light shining in my eyes?
While the rest of my world's gone dark, and lost in the gloom?
It's the place I've always wanted to be,
The place I've longed for since puberty,
Where I'm the center of all the attention in ... the ... room!

The lamp now shining on me has lime in the fixture.
But it's not the kind of lime that grows on a tree.
It's a hunk of calcium oxide.
Chorus: A hunk of calcium oxide.
Called quicklime, because it's made using limestone, you see.

The quicklime sits in a parabolic reflector,
With a blowtorch heating it up 'til its mounting will strain.
It glows white hot, just as bright as can be,
And its beam shoots out and lands right on me,
And in that moment, I stand transformed on a higher plane:

It's the limelight!
Chorus: The limelight! The limelight! The lime—
It's the limelight!
Chorus: The limelight! The limelight! The lime—
It's the limelight!

Now in truth, no limelight's been used in over a cen'tchry,
Arc lamp searchlights have been around since 1893.
The carbon arc spotlight was all the rage,
Through the twentieth cen'tchry to light up the stage,
And now the followspot's often lit up by an L.E.D..

But the phrase, the term, is still part of our language.
Being "in the limelight" means you're in the public eye.
And to we performers, it means the same,
This crown of light might bring me glory and fame;
But even if not, for as long as at lasts, I'll shine on high!

It's the limelight!
Chorus: The limelight! The limelight! The lime—
It's the limelight!
Chorus: The limelight! The limelight! The lime—
It's the limelight! The limelight!
The limeliiiiiiiiight!

Trumpet, 27-Nov-2022

Instrumental. Heard in a dream on a Sunday morning after getting back from Thanksgiving. Smooooooove jazz, sort of.

Come All Ye Young Sailors

A sea chanty I dreamed up on a bike ride on 17-Feb-2023.

Come all ye young sailors who ply the great seas,
Come all ye young sailors and listen to me's:
We'll crest o'er the waves, and we'll ride on the breeze,
And we'll find a new land where we'll do as we please!


Did you hear this siren call? I heard it too.
I made the mistake of assuming it's true.
There are no new lands on the Earth anymore,
And I wasted a lifetime just hoping for more.

Goodbye, Adventure Time

Conceived early in the morning of 12-March-2023, after having watched the season finale of Adventure Time the night before.

Goodbye, so long, until we meet again,
There's no more Finn and no more Jake, and no more Princess Bubblegum.
We've reached the end, ...

Really Long Directory Name

Conceived on 29-March-2023, for when you need a file folder with a really really really really really really really really really really really long name.

'Cos it's a
Really really really really
Really really really really
Really really really long directory name!

Perfectly Adequate Cat

Conceived in April 2020, in response to Alejandra's claim that Princess Wobbles is a perfectly adequate cat.

Princess Wobbles is the one, doot doot doo doot doot doo
doo doot doot doot doot doot doodoot, doo doot doo doot doo doo
doo doot doot doot doot doot doodoot, doo doot doo doot doo doo
'Cos she's a perfectly adequate cat.

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