0731: "Desert Island"

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Re: Desert Island Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Kizor wrote:What's bugging me is the alt text. I keep trying to read it as a re-wording of We didn't start the fire, and it keeps coming across as malformed.
That was my first thought too. But I also like it as "Thinking in Bed" from Alligator Pie by Canadian, Dennis Lee.

Thinking in Bed

I'm thinking in bed,
Cause I can't get out
Till I learn how to think
What I'm thinking about;
Spoiler:
What I'm thinking about
Is a person to be--
A sort of a person
Who feels like me.

I might still be Alice,
Excepting I'm not.
And Snoopy is super,
But not when it's hot;
If I was a Grinch
I expect I would know.
I might be my teacher,
But I don't think so.

My breakfast is waiting.
My clothes are all out,
But what was that thing
I was thinking about?
I'll never get up
If I lie here all day;
But I still haven't thought,
So I'll just have to stay.

I couldn't be Piglet,
I don't think I'm Pooh,
I know I'm not Daddy
And I can't be you.
There's so many people
I don't seem to be--
I guess I'll just have to
Get up and be me.

Dennis Lee

thewaytodustydeath wrote:The Tacoma Narrows bridge! Woo hoo! That is one of those pet things I have where I cherish knowing it because no one else I know knows about it.
There was this fantastic documentary of it on tv all the time when I was in like...middle school. Hard not to be impressed.

rwald wrote:And with that, I recognize it: I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General.

Edit: Though to be fair, I'm actually thinking The Elements Song.

YES! As soon as you said "modern major general" I thought about that, and then immediately (for the first time) realized that's the same as Tom Lehrer's "The Elements." Yes...I knew it was something familiar to me from child hood! That's correct!
"She’s a free spirit, a wind-rider, she’s at one with nature, and walks with the kodama eidolons”
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby super_aardvark » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

Deep sea creatures are kind of interesting, but verse with perfect meter on the internets... now that's a marvel of nature! Even coming from Randall, it impressed me greatly.

Was I the only one who heard it set to 88 Lines about 44 Women?

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby fishsticks » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:13 pm UTC

...It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine....

Or, at least, that's what the alt text made my brain start singing...

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Istaro » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:14 pm UTC

LuNatic wrote:I'm in favour of gutting NASA and transferring most of their funding to a Oceanic Exploration and Preservation Institute. The seas are so much more interesting than space.


Good point. After all, we don't know if there is or was life in the Earth's oceans, but if we can find out that there is or was, then by the Zero-One-Infinity principle that strongly suggests the universe is full of life, some of which is probably intelligent, which would be the most important discovery of human history. Although that would require that said ocean life have originated independently from us, but that wouldn't be too hard to prove since the oceans are so isolated from . . . wait . . . what am I saying?

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby JoeKhol » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:37 pm UTC

Zaoldyeck wrote:One would think that at least the guy realizes there be fish down there. He must be eating food, I mean, no one could be that coherent after 44 days without food.
Maybe on day 1, they were stranded.

Should I be worried I see that as the obvious answer?
Therefore, I think I am.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby JoeKhol » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:38 pm UTC

GaryD wrote:Another pub quiz fact: there's only one lake in the Lake District.
Well obviously. Otherwise, it'd be called the Lakes District. :mrgreen:
Therefore, I think I am.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Wnderer » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:39 pm UTC

PunxsatownyPhil wrote:Hmmm...


I see

Fan Coral
Kelp
An Albino Basking Shark
A Submarine
A small pink Thresher shark
ENORMOUS Lion Mane Jellyfish
A Sperm Whale
A Giant Squid
A Southern Stingray
A Giant Barracuda (must be getting cleaned by a Wrasse; it's gray)
A Moray
A school of fish I can't identify
A plane
A ship
A submarine



There' also a snail, coconuts in the tree, the whale is Moby Dick and hat guy is in the submarine.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby xepher » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:55 pm UTC

Why I am the only one who is reminded of those iSpy books from the alt text?

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:09 pm UTC

The comic is almost a commentary on science its self. We are sitting on a tiny island that is our knowledge and we are amidst a vast ocean of discovery. With things like quantum mechanics, we also seem so close to the surface, just waiting to peer under the veil that obscures our vision and understanding. QM, deep space exploration and the ocean are things that could open up a whole lot more understanding and knowledge once we get in deep, or the full picture.

[I understand we know a lot about QM, just commenting on how much more exciting it will be once we get Quantum gravity, and confirmation of things like higgs, or other yet to be discovered of confirmed theories.]
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby j-beda » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:27 pm UTC

rwald wrote:And with that, I recognize it: I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General.


I was reminded of "These are a few of my Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music" - but I don't think it fits perfectly.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:28 pm UTC

super_aardvark wrote:Deep sea creatures are kind of interesting, but verse with perfect meter on the internets... now that's a marvel of nature! Even coming from Randall, it impressed me greatly.

Was I the only one who heard it set to 88 Lines about 44 Women?
heh heh, I thought of all these songs too. Anyway, here's a fun FLASH of Elements I stumbled on.
http://www.privatehand.com/flash/elements.html
"She’s a free spirit, a wind-rider, she’s at one with nature, and walks with the kodama eidolons”
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby DocDoc » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

You people do realize that the island is really about 100 miles long, but only a few feet wide, right? All of the food and nekkid chicks are behind either stick guy or the tree. Depth perception is always my beach.

He's just messing with you on his FaceySpace page.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:06 pm UTC

Galen wrote:It is Earth Day.

torontoraptor wrote:Boomdeyada boomdeyada boomedeyada boomdeyada.

The world is awesome. :)


I heard it to this tune. Love the in depth analysis by everyone.

What I really want to know is, what phase-space maps explain the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows?


The collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, phase space.
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby BigglesPiP » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

I want an extended version of the alt text to the tune of "We didn't start the fire".

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby bmonk » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:11 pm UTC

Kaijyuu wrote:Whenever someone says "my boring, empty life" I'll think of this comic.

The world is awesome, full of boring and not so boring mysteries. Just gotta keep lookin'.

And it sure helps to look beneath the seemingly placid surface.

nahkaimurrao wrote:
LuNatic wrote:I'm in favour of gutting NASA and transferring most of their funding to a Oceanic Exploration and Preservation Institute. The seas are so much more interesting than space.


It is that kind of thinking that gives us SeaQuest instead of StarTrek. BTW after watching that show I realize StarTrek is probably not in our lifetimes, but perhaps SeaQuest is. Yet we don't seem to be moving that direction either. But why not. . .?

But we are. Look at all the remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) that are out there--such as Ballard used on the Titanic. As with Space exploration, you can do a lot more with less risk by sending robots and machines. The main reason it won't work for space: space is just too darn big! You need some local minds (with their attached bodies) once you start getting far enough away.
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby mszegedy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:10 pm UTC

TomRobbins wrote:Airplane crash, old sunken boat, submarine, and is that black smoke?.. is this a shout out to LOST?


Nah, I think it's mostly a coincidence. Those are a few of the first things that come to mind when you think of "stuff underwater" once you get to nonliving objects.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby WontonSoup » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

I loved the alt-text. I actually read through this whole thread to see if anyone recognized it. No one did, so I guess Randall wrote it, which is damn impressive.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby veganvampire » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:36 pm UTC

dsplaisted wrote:
natey wrote:What makes me laugh is the obviously friendly squid hugging that whale :]
That's definately not an attack


Did no one get the reference to TMBG? Or am I just seeing references where there are none?


Don't worry, I got it too.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:41 pm UTC

thewaytodustydeath wrote:The Tacoma Narrows bridge! Woo hoo! That is one of those pet things I have where I cherish knowing it because no one else I know knows about it. But it's nice to be reminded that there are plenty of online nerdy types who do.


Huh, even I knew about the Tacoma Narrows bridge way before that comic. I, on the other hand, feel sorry that this knowledge isn't known to many people, and I wish more people knew. I really don't need to feel special, not in THAT way.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby The EGE » Sat Apr 24, 2010 12:00 am UTC

To somebody back on the first page: It's not an Akula-class submarine. Akula-class subs are the only ones with the funny pod on the aft end, which holds the towed sonar array. Assuming it's the same Russian sub as here, it could be one of a number of other subs, but definitely not an Akula.

Also, cast my vote for hearing the alt-text to 'Modern Major General'.
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Edrees » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:08 am UTC

This comic is the epiphany that most of the planet we live in is submerged underwater. That is to say, everything that we know about our planet takes place in like, 15% of it. We have no idea about most of the shit that's going on way down there under the ocean, and yet that's what the majority of our planet really is.

It's a thought bender, I don't think it's funny, but I like this one a lot.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby andorians-rule » Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:33 am UTC

I took the alt-text to be the same tune as the chorus of The Prescription Drug Song by the Arrogant Worms.
---
Also, could we not do like the movie Waterworld and build large wooden floating forts with a network of traders going from each to another? That would ensure we (the human race) survive, at least some would. Well, perhaps with good co-operation, and farming. Or cannibalism, but eventually you would run out of people to eat.
---

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Cissy » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:07 am UTC

SirMustapha wrote:
thewaytodustydeath wrote:The Tacoma Narrows bridge! Woo hoo! That is one of those pet things I have where I cherish knowing it because no one else I know knows about it. But it's nice to be reminded that there are plenty of online nerdy types who do.


Huh, even I knew about the Tacoma Narrows bridge way before that comic. I, on the other hand, feel sorry that this knowledge isn't known to many people, and I wish more people knew. I really don't need to feel special, not in THAT way.


I wish more people knew every time I drive across the new bridge there. The mention in the comic is a sobering reminder that not only is there a lot to explore, it's crucial that we do so. Maybe it's not as cheerful as "Yay! Submarines and coral!", but... somebody had to bring you all down, right?

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The Tune for the Alt-Text

Postby Waterhouse » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:40 pm UTC

I checked over all the comments and no one else suggested that the tune might be "The William Tell Overture" or, if you like "The Presidents Song", by the Animaniacs - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvy0wRLD5s8
This is what I immediately heard it as in my head as I read it.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby jonas » Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:04 pm UTC

I can see schoolfish near the submarine, but I'm missing the dopefish.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby rwald » Sat Apr 24, 2010 10:08 pm UTC

Seriously people, I'm getting tired of this "it could fit whatever song I'm imagining." Poetry (and songs, for this purpose, are effectively poetry) doesn't work that way. Let's look at the meter used in the alt text, and the meter used in a number of popular songs:

Alt text: Iambic octameter (as pointed out by Kimble)
Modern Major General: Iambic octameter
We Didn't Start The Fire: Trochaic tetrameter with the last unstressed syllable chopped off of each line.
It's The End Of The World As We Know It: The unit here is either trochaic, or perhaps primus paeon ("DUH duh duh duh"), over and over again, with some of the unstressed syllables dropped in some repetitions; I don't know when lines end, though, so I can't count how many units per line.
The Big Bang Theory theme song: This is closer, since the main unit is "duh Duh duh DUH." Still, the first line in the alt text lacks a leading unstressed syllable, and that matchings Modern Major General better.
Kyle's Mom Is A B*tch: As far as I can tell, this one is "duh DUH duh duh duh DUH", which while being mostly iambs doesn't evenly divide into the 8 iambs found in the alt text. Sometimes the middle two unstressed syllables are left off, which gives us just two iambs; if you sung the whole song that way, though, it wouldn't be as fast paced, which is the point of a patter song.
Vogue: Similar to We Didn't Start The Fire, with unstressed syllables being dropped more frequently; this irregularity is part of the charm of the song, and even putting Start The Fire's lyrics in here spoils it.
Thinking in Bed: I've never heard this song before, but it looks like the unit is an amphibrach ("duh DUH duh"), and the song as a whole uses a variant on anapaestic tetrameter (which is what 'Twas The Night Before Christmas uses, for reference), dropping the first unstressed syllable.
A Few Of My Favorite Things: Dactylic tetrameter with the last unstressed syllable chopped off of each line.
The Prescription Drug Song: If I'm reading this chorus correctly, the odd-numbered lines are in fact iambic octameter, but the even-numbered ones are at least one iamb short. Likewise, the verses would match if they didn't frequently drop stressed syllables and whole iambs in the middle.
The William Tell Overture: This is a variant on anapestic trimeter, adding two extra stressed syllables at the end.

Conclusion: The non-Major General songs which come closest to matching are The Big Bang Theory theme song and The Prescription Drug Song by The Arrogant Worms; neither is perfect, though, nor can the match Modern Major General's history of having new lyrics written by people who want a "generic" patter song.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby makc » Sat Apr 24, 2010 11:58 pm UTC

n3mo wrote:wondering how he lived for 44 days on that little barren stub of land =P
he ate all the grass :)
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Re: Desert Island Discussion

Postby CaterinamtheCat » Sun Apr 25, 2010 1:45 am UTC

Kizor wrote:What's bugging me is the alt text. I keep trying to read it as a re-wording of We didn't start the fire, and it keeps coming across as malformed.


As soon as I read that, We Didn't Start the Fire came up on shuffle. :D

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Kizor » Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:10 am UTC

I live to serve.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby warflango » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:18 am UTC

"the most exciting new frontier is charting what's already here" ?

What happened to the Jovian moons?

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby hujackus » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:29 pm UTC

I really enjoyed looking up each of the items in the alt text. It led me to an interesting article about Brocken spectres.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby KelinciHutan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 10:02 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Shedek wrote:
rwald wrote:
Kimble wrote:
LordDragonfang wrote:Does anyone know what tune the alt-text is supposed to be sung to? It seems to have a rhyming scheme, but the syllabic pattern is too irregular for a poem.

Except for a missing unstressed syllable, it's perfect iambic octameter (or tetrameter, perhaps) in my Standard American English accent:
[big long syllable thinggummy]
And with that, I recognize it: I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General.

Edit: Though to be fair, I'm actually thinking The Elements Song.

Darn it! You got to it before I did.

The most exciting new frontier is charting what's already here,
the most exciting new frontier is charting what's already here,
the most exciting new frontier is charting what's already-ready here. :D

I love you all. And now I can't stop thinking of it like that. It's been too long since I heard "we didn't start the fire" to think of it in that way.

Am I the only one who thought of the Can-Can? Not the kickline bit, the other part.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Shokk » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:32 am UTC

warflango wrote:"the most exciting new frontier is charting what's already here" ?

What happened to the Jovian moons?

Things that I could not go on a vacation to for a good 1000 years are not exciting to me.
I have a pair of pants.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby super_aardvark » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:53 pm UTC

I just realized that the first word of the poem is "telescopes." Seems to contradict the message.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby StClair » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:14 am UTC

Edrees wrote:That is to say, everything that we know about our planet takes place in like, 15% of it.

Almost twice that, actually (27%).

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby nahkaimurrao » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:32 pm UTC

CaterinamtheCat wrote:As soon as I read that, We Didn't Start the Fire came up on shuffle. :D


I have never heard of this song but everytime I read the title I sing it to the tune of 'I shot the sheriff'.

Edrees wrote:This comic is the epiphany that most of the planet we live in is submerged underwater. That is to say, everything that we know about our planet takes place in like, 15% of it. We have no idea about most of the shit that's going on way down there under the ocean, and yet that's what the majority of our planet really is.


That is a great point, the world as we know it, the land portion is only 29% of the livable area of the earth, but knowing that the ocean provides a three dimensional volume of living space, the ocean actually provides over 99% of livable volume meaning that we really have only reached the tip of the iceberg.

At the rate of human population growth we will quickly outgrow our own land, but once we move to the oceans the amount of living space multiplies by 100 times.

So it is inevitable that we will start to see a type of oceanic colonization. In fact, if we can modify ourselves to be able to live underwater we could see a whole new species of human evolve and actually surpass in numbers their land walking ancestors. The whales have already returned to the ocean, perhaps we are next.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Eleni » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:55 am UTC

As an oceanographer, I love this one. I'd buy a high quality print for my office if it were offered in the store...
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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby Fume Troll » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:18 am UTC

The reference to telescopes doesn't really seem to fit with the rest.

Also:

moliphant wrote:
craigp wrote:WE HAVE LOCHS IN SCOTLAND, NOT LAKES. THE ENGLISH HAVE LAKES. WE'RE NOT FCKING ENGLISH (we're big part Irish and weeeeeee part Pictish)!!!


Yeah, and they have بحيرات. in Arabic countries, lacs in France, and jezoir in Poland, but we still call them lakes in American English. Loch Ness is pretty famous so we know that you guys call them lochs and not lakes, but it still doesn't mean we should use your word for them when we're talking in general.


GaryD wrote:As a Scotsman, I feel obliged to point out that there's only one lake in Scotland, the Lake of Menteith, and it is, in fact, quite shallow. Another pub quiz fact: there's only one lake in the Lake District.


There's only one natural Scottish lake, but there are a couple of man made ones: Pressmennan Lake at Stenton in East Lothian and Cally Lake at Gatehouse of Fleet in Dumfries and Galloway.

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Re: "Desert Island" Discussion

Postby custommadename » Mon May 24, 2010 6:43 am UTC

Yes! I just saw this, and it's amazing! It reminds me of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus

That last part with the giant octopus and the mega shark that are bigger than the submarine, with the submarine looking like those used in the movie, and the two animals fighting into the depths of the sea, is abso-freaking-lutely just like the movie! I love it! What a disastrous movie, though.

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Re: Desert Island Discussion

Postby Jorpho » Sat May 29, 2010 11:17 pm UTC

CatProximity wrote:
Kizor wrote:What's bugging me is the alt text. I keep trying to read it as a re-wording of We didn't start the fire, and it keeps coming across as malformed.
That was my first thought too. But I also like it as "Thinking in Bed" from Alligator Pie by Canadian, Dennis Lee.
For some reason it suddenly occurred to me that Silverstein must have written something almost exactly like that.


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