Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
toaster 'at" humbug.com
This is round 2 of Humbugardy. I'm your host, Alex Scorebard.
Note: In this round, searching the web is allowed.
There once was a guy near Pawtucket
Who crowded the plate when he struck it
Once beaned by a phone,
Asked about a dino bone,
"It ain't in the Bible, so fuck it."
"There never were dino's who'd snarl!"
Said the aging switch-hitter named Carl.
His Bible he'd thump
As he'd head-butt the ump.
He's created by his God to quarrel.
Three hundred, thirty-four, one-oh-eight:
A season we'd all see as great
But his words every day
Overshadowed his play;
I wonder if he'd call that fate.
The New York Yanks, in round one, had drafted him.
His employers, he's felt, oft-shafted him.
From a petulent young scamp,
To aged World Series champ,
Evolution? No, Carl says, God crafted him.
Carl's theories are thoroughly pinked
They're brushed with the charlatan's tinct
But despite all the fuss
His bat is what's sadly extinct
Some would call Everett a loon.
Cuz he thinks no man stepped on the moon.
"Dinosaurs in La Brea?
You ain't foolin' this playa,
Check it in the Chicago Tribune."
The 'Stros lost faith in me,
Then the BoSox failed to believe.
But God had a plan,
For this lowly man,
And, glory be!, He won me a ring.
A DH in a recent Fall Classic
Once threatened to mete out an ass-kick
To strike-happy umps
And infidel chumps
But with time he's no longer Jurassic
Quoting Carl Everett makes
Humbug's great poets and
Readers to snarl,
"Trust evolution or
"Fear our sharp wit. Ha: the
"Man is named Carl."
There once was a powerful batter
Who was widely renowned for his chatter.
"Dinosaurs? I'll believe
This thought you concieve
When you serve me their meat on a platter."
it seems that carl everett's a figure
whose faux pas make his mockery de rigueur
if he were more of a batter
we'd ignore his dim chatter
but it's mouth, not his bat, that is bigger
The DH of the champion Sox,
Could not hit his way out of a box,
His religion abhores
tales about dinosaurs,
And for that he's as dumb as an ox.
A fielder when beaned by a phone
Declared in a jubilant tone
"I'll tell you one thing
If you just count the ring
You'll know you should leave me alone"
Hey, it's midnight, don't blame me ...
With the exception of elleftymalo, Turnstiles' limerick was the only one that scanned correctly. All the others either have an extra beat somewhere, require you to stress a syllable that doesn't really want to be stressed.
(For example, I pronounce it "DIN-o-saur", not "din-o-SAUR". YMMV, but I'm da judge.)
elleftymalo's limerick scanned properly, but the second line is only a near-rhyme.
Humma's double dactyl scans and rhymes correctly. Props for that.
It was a good one, too.
I'll take Sudoku for 800.
Beyond that, none of these scan perfectly. Turnstiles' fourth line has an extra beat. Given Turnstiles' domination of this round it would have been nice to see someone else get it. No offense to Turnstiles, or to our gracious host. I just felt the need to put in my two cents.
The meter must conform to the following scheme:
S = stressed syllable
u = unstressed syllable
 = optional syllables
[u u] S u u S u u S [u u]
[u u] S u u S u u S [u u]
[u u] S u u S [u u]
[u u] S u u S [u u]
[u u] S u u S u u S [u u]
Additionally, in order to satisfy the rhyme scheme, lines 1,2,and 5 and lines 3 and 4 must have identical meters at the end of the line.
As you can see, Turnstiles' poem qualifies as a limerick that scans. The rules do not require you to have the same number of optional weak syllables at the beginning of every line.
The ironic thing about limericks is that although it typically deals with light-hearted and whimsical topics, its form is completely rigid and unforgiving.
If you have to read a line twice to get the scan right, that's like flubbing the setup to a joke before you tell the punchline. It ruins the effect.
Now, class, I could have rewarded the better punchlines, but the percentage of metric mistakes in this exercise was simply unacceptable. If I let it slip, you all would have just made the same mistakes again next time. Now you have learned a lesson. The next time you're asked to write a limerick, you'll make sure to get the meter right, and I'll have 25 wonderfully crafted limericks to choose from.
When Sir Carl heard the questioning start
His responses were often quite tart
But particular ire
This response did inspire:
"Grab your curly-haired spouse and depart!"
Second: with the optional syllables, do there have to be two, or is it okay if there's only one, as long it's consistent throughout the piece? Example:
Carl, with the mountainous name
Your mind's like a sputtering flame
On subjects Jurassic
Your reasoning's Classic
Now shut up and play in the game
Third: I think the biggest thing I've learned from today's class, professor, is that I should bloddy well stick to prose! ;)
Second: You can have 0, 1, or 2 optional syllables.
Third: Your second poem is perfect, and probably would have won.
Fourth: I've learned to pre-submit my poetry answers for approval.
 why would you read it in such a way that it doesn't work, when if you read "grab" neutrally, it works fine? and the same goes for di-no-SAUR... whatever happened to poetic license?
We should move past them, quickly, and then we can get subjective.
- - -
Limericks are jokes. And with jokes, delivery is key. There's a whole movie (The Aristocrats) about that very thing. In that film, the punchline is always the same--it's the delivery that makes all the difference.
All these entries were delivered in written form. I was reading them to myself, not knowing what they were going to say. So I read them at face value. If I have to back up and read them twice to make them work, the delivery is damaged, and the punchlines lose their oomph.
As the the old saying goes, if you have to explain a joke...
If you're reading it aloud to me, instead of having me read it myself, then it's a different beast.
There are times for taking poetic license. But with limericks especially, it should be done rarely, and only when needed to get the point across.
Here's an example of a limerick where the rules are broken, and it's necessary to do so:
If you do something like that, then you won't lose points for breaking the rules.
But that isn't the case here. There isn't a single one of these poems that couldn't be rewritten to conform to the rules where conforming to the rules wouldn't enhance the punchline.
Haiku are different. They aren't jokes. They're not setting up a punchline. They're just presenting an image or two. You can break the 5-7-5 rule there much more forgivingly. In fact, graciebarn's winning poem at the 600 level in this category would have been better if it were just 2-7-5. The first three syllables weren't really necessary.
I have considered having poetic "open threads" on this site many times. I think that might be fun, I've held back, because I simply don't want to read a gazillion poems that don't scan. That would get really old really quickly.
I can see a lot of talent out there. But you're all raw. You're like young infielders with good speed and a strong arm, but you don't have the fundamentals down. Your footwork (pun intended) is all messed up, so you make a lot of unforced errors. But with practice and discipline, you can learn to catch and deliver the ball right on target every time.
And then we all win.
Of course, that's not something you should have done here - it's a gameshow, after all - but for an open thread it could act as a little quality assurance.
Furthermore, though my intitial dissent was not issued in support of my own entry, given the explanation in 30, I can't figure out how my entry 8 breaks the rules. Is it that you're reading "quarrel" as two syllables? I suppose I should have written "quarr'l" or the like to force you to read it as one ("quarl"?)?
It seems to me that the rules are being applied somewhat arbitrarily.
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