1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

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deeisenberg
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby deeisenberg » Wed May 09, 2012 4:08 pm UTC

Ophidiophobic is mispelled. This made the herpetology student cringe.

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grobus
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby grobus » Wed May 09, 2012 4:21 pm UTC

Serious question:

Will Randall ever get over college?

BethMit
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby BethMit » Wed May 09, 2012 10:54 pm UTC

....
#########################################################
For it is, it is a glorious thing to be, of major, general.

But I have no rhyme for the last line. :(

(And yes, I joined to post this. Awesome comic.)


How about:

But at the risk of sounding like I'm bitter, burned, or cynical,
It is, it is a glorious thing to be, of major, General.

xave
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby xave » Thu May 10, 2012 12:43 am UTC

here's my take. hope you guys enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R2wm91_uU0

Aster Selene
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Aster Selene » Thu May 10, 2012 2:50 am UTC

It's amusing for this comic to come up because I'm going to college this fall and I still have no clue what major to pick.

I have no idea what to do with my life, so getting a Ph.D in Undecided sounds pretty cool about now.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu May 10, 2012 6:46 am UTC

bazza wrote:
Someday I'll be the first to get a Ph. D in 'Undeclared'.


The literal meaning of Ph.D is "Doctor of Philosophy". So "Ph.D Undeclared" is an inconsistent state of being, which ironically is probably worthy of much philosophical discussion.

If I had had the time and money to spare and didn't need to get on with the daily grind, I would have gotten a doctorate in philosophy. One thing I looked forward to at that time was being able to (humorously) give people incredulous stares when they asked me what my degree was in. "I just said. Philosophy. Doctor of. It's right there in the title."

Then again, I guess I could have gotten a BA in Art and accomplished the same effect. "What do you mean 'in what?' I just said. Art. Bachelor of. Duh."

Now I wonder, do MD programs have majors? Can you have an MD 'in Endocrinology'? Or is it all just a Doctor 'of Medicine', and you specialize in whatever but it doesn't go in the title itself?
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VectorZero
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby VectorZero » Thu May 10, 2012 7:54 am UTC

AFAIK, virtually all medical degrees are generalist; the specialisation comes in the postgraduate training (residency.) Most places that teach medicine as an undergraduate university program (UK, AUS, NZ, SA at least) award a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery, then specialisation is awarded through fellowship of the relevant college (Surgery, Physicians, Anaesthesists, General Practice etc.)

I'm in the awkward (to explain) position of specialising in General Surgery which, despite the name, is as much a subspecialisation (and takes as long) as specialising in orthopaedics, urology etc.
Van wrote:Fireballs don't lie.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby jpers36 » Thu May 10, 2012 3:53 pm UTC

Aster Selene wrote:It's amusing for this comic to come up because I'm going to college this fall and I still have no clue what major to pick.

I have no idea what to do with my life, so getting a Ph.D in Undecided sounds pretty cool about now.


Three quick questions for you I'm not asking for a response here, just hoping they can give direction.

1) What do you like to do?
2) What are you good at?
3) What can you make a living at?

They may seem obvious questions, but my wife frequently wishes someone would have asked her 2 and 3 prior to college.

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SeySayux
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby SeySayux » Thu May 10, 2012 4:02 pm UTC

The obvious solution to this dilemma is to study CS and use a properly configured text editor.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby ahammel » Thu May 10, 2012 4:25 pm UTC

VectorZero wrote:I'm in the awkward (to explain) position of specialising in General Surgery which, despite the name, is as much a subspecialisation (and takes as long) as specialising in orthopaedics, urology etc.

I should bloody well hope so! I'd prefer not to have a dabbling jack-of-all-trades rooting around in my insides, thank you very much.

babble wrote:the anti-literature & history panels are weirdly proud of not learning things aren't they.

Not really. The criticism isn't that literature and history aren't worth knowing about, it's that the job prospects in those fields are pretty dismal (or have that reputation, anyway).

That's why I got out of English lit and into evolutionary biology. It's easy to find work in the booming systematics industry, right? I'm an idiot.
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Snagglepuss » Thu May 10, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

In response to all the youtube videos (which are fantastic by the way):

i'm waiting for the xkcd musical. somebody get crackin'!

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Puppyclaws » Thu May 10, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Just what does one do with a Communications major? I nearly started a thread about that recently.


At many colleges/universities, "Communications" is essentially journalism. This is one reason (besides its reputed ease) that it makes sense for athletes to get degrees in communications: if they aren't good enough to maintain a long career on the field (and very few people are, after all), they may still be able to get a job doing sports broadcasting.

See also, "what do you do with [degree]" assumes the goal of a college degree is vocational, that's not the purpose of education, etc. etc. etc.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Jorpho » Fri May 11, 2012 5:01 am UTC

Say, have any of these people singing along actually tried using the music from "The Elements" instead of Modern Major-General? Seems to me it would be a bit easier and more fitting; The Elements does not have that rising-in-pitch chorus thing.

Puppyclaws wrote:At many colleges/universities, "Communications" is essentially journalism.
Is there a particular difference?

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Quicksilver » Fri May 11, 2012 8:36 am UTC

Snagglepuss wrote:In response to all the youtube videos (which are fantastic by the way):

i'm waiting for the xkcd musical. somebody get crackin'!

So

It has come to this.
Spoiler:
(Just for the record, I hope this never comes to pass. I'm a brony, but I've never heard any of the songs on the show.)

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Puppyclaws » Fri May 11, 2012 2:39 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Puppyclaws wrote:At many colleges/universities, "Communications" is essentially journalism.
Is there a particular difference?


...between a major in communications and a major in journalism? It depends on the school. Sometimes, the communications department is the journalism department, it's just a name thing. At other times, communications can be more focused on the tv/radio aspects and broadcasting. (As a side note, at one time I attended a school with a TV department, a journalism department, and a radio department, all with separate programs and majors). And some schools use it to mean something more akin to interpersonal communication, or alternately electronic communication systems, or a cross between all of those things.

natech
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby natech » Fri May 11, 2012 4:44 pm UTC

Hey, a friend of mine made a video of himself singing this song and playing piano along with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRexBMPe ... ploademail

Heh . . . he started out as a Physics major, switched to Art, and after four years of college he's dropping out to study film.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Garick » Fri May 11, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

[quote] And some schools use it to mean something more akin to interpersonal communication, or alternately electronic communication systems...quote]

Indeed. My AS in Communications (which I got basically by accident in the course of my Air Force training) was mostly involving radio theory and network analysis, whereas the University course I took in the subject was mostly about public speaking. At my first Uni, both journalism and comm degrees were offered.

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Eshru
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Eshru » Sat May 12, 2012 10:55 am UTC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y54FRMed ... ata_player

Thought I'd share this, it made me go "wait... What?"

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby RandomExcess » Sat May 12, 2012 1:20 pm UTC

Mattyboy wrote:
Had to do it...

I think I might have the same mic as davidad - rode nt1-a?


mash up of your video to display the comic content... WARNING: You have to manually mute the version on the right for optimal effect.

http://youtubedoubler.com/?video1=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D4L_YLRGMAhU&start1=1&video2=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DJ7lVAATq8MM&start2=0&authorName=RandomExcess

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby babble » Sat May 12, 2012 10:06 pm UTC

ahammel wrote:Not really. The criticism isn't that literature and history aren't worth knowing about, it's that the job prospects in those fields are pretty dismal (or have that reputation, anyway).


Yeah and the comic about maths depicted people who say 'i've never used maths so it was pointless'. it then equated that sentiment with 'being proud of not knowing.' So so am I.

Puttyhead
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Puttyhead » Sun May 13, 2012 3:24 pm UTC

Absolutely true story:

Me: I'm here to register for my Senior fall classes.

Person at desk: I have a note from the registrar that says that you're not allowed to register for classes until you declare your major.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby dean.menezes » Sun May 13, 2012 9:31 pm UTC

soundandfury wrote:Bad pun: The Maths panel demonstrates that mathematicians can get employment from the military, in the field of logistics.
(At least, I think that cannonball trajectory's meant to be the bifurcation diagram of the logistic map).

People have known that since Shakespeare, who observed that Mr. Michael Cassio ("Forsooth, a great arithmetician") became lieutenant to Othello.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby furyguitar » Sun May 13, 2012 10:04 pm UTC

Is the person in the Astonomy cell supposed to be The Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait? (In the picture in the bio on the right side of screen, he is wearing a hat. He is bald under that hat. And he is an avid reader of XKCD.)

--------------------------
EDIT:
I should have done better research BEFORE I posted. It IS Phil Plait.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby PigeonBrain » Mon May 14, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

Wonderful - but oh, dear! It takes me back to a poem dedicated to my astrophysics teacher in 1994:

In thanks for a course in High-Energy Astrophysics.

There's cyclotron and synchrotron and inverse Compton scattering,
There's bremsstrahlung and thermal radiation, and a smattering
of general relativity and black holes and fast pulsing stars
and supernovae (I's and II's) that far outshine a Sun like ours.
[chorus: And supernovae (I's and II's) that far outshine a Sun like ours.]

Now neutron stars are very dense - conserve angular momentum
which makes them spin fast, last a long time (almost ad infinitum).
The pulsars spin down at a stable rate but sometimes glitch - we sus'
that sudden crustal fracturing made changes to their radius!
[chorus: That sudden crustal fracturing made changes to their radius!]

Accretion onto compact stars, X-ray emissions do create.
In binaries, it's Roche-lobe overflowing makes the denser state.
In AGN, non-thermal spectra vary and seem to declare
We should suspect a super-massive black hole may be lurking there.
[chorus: We should suspect a super-massive black hole may be lurking there.]

So we've all learned of cosmic rays and jets of vast proportion. If
we ever see a black hole, we'll approach it with due caution. It
remains for us to give a vote of thanks and one more time to yell:
"(Especially high-energy) they taught us astrophysics well!
[chorus: "(Especially high-energy) they taught us astrophysics well!]

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Fenyx » Tue May 15, 2012 4:49 pm UTC


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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Greywolf » Tue May 22, 2012 10:44 pm UTC

clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap

That was MOST impressive.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Wed May 23, 2012 12:09 pm UTC

Major: Physics
Minor: Computer Science

Current Job Title: Software Engineer


.... effin' figures.

queencobra
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby queencobra » Thu May 24, 2012 7:00 am UTC

I hope this one becomes a poster, because it describes my college woes. I finished my GEs with no problems, but settling on a major was tough. I went from pre- med biochem to cellular bio to bioengineering to chemistry/electrical engr (double major).

After some soul searching and finding something that I am truly passionate about I settled in Computer Engineering (specializing in security/cryptography) and Pre-Med English. I have 5 years to go until I'm done with my bachelors, but I don't mind. My engineering advisor, however, is real rectum.

Della
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Della » Sat May 26, 2012 1:22 am UTC

On 5/18, Wikipedia apparently corrected their redirect for "Physics Major" from "Engineer" to "Physics Education." :lol:

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Carteeg_Struve » Tue May 29, 2012 5:12 pm UTC

Della wrote:On 5/18, Wikipedia apparently corrected their redirect for "Physics Major" from "Engineer" to "Physics Education." :lol:


Well, that's a lie. 8)


(Note: I mean the redirect is lying; not your post. :D )

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby muntoo » Thu May 31, 2012 12:11 am UTC

Kinda late, but the bane of Archaeology professors is actually spelled "ophiophobic".

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby argleblargle » Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:11 pm UTC

Graduated physics major here... just saw this comic and came here to rant about how terrible my major is.

First of I, like Randall apparently, was once under the impression that a physics major could get hired for most kinds of engineering jobs. That is false. The physics major is mostly based on learning derivations of "first principles" that were worked out in the 19th century. It's totally irrelevant to any kind of modern day engineering. Why should a company hire you with no relevant training when they could hire an engineering major with 4 years of specialized training in that subject, instead? (assuming that your resume doesn't get automatically discarded by HR software, of course). Even worse, many engineering jobs are legally required to ONLY hire licensed engineers, AKA not physics majors.

On the plus side, many physics majors get jobs as software developers. However, as far as I can figure out, those are all people who self-taught themselves programming, because it's not taught as part of the physics major (or is only a minor part). Since the homework for physics courses is quite difficult, I focused hard on that and didn't have much time for teaching myself programming.

The most common outcome for physics majors is to simply go on to graduate school (57%, according to http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/reports/bach2010.pdf). I went there for a little while too, until I realized that:
a) Graduate school wasn't going to train me for anything other than becoming a tenured professor
b) My chances of actually becoming a tenured professor were <5%
c) The real purpose of sending so many kids to grad school is to ensure a cheap and plentiful supply of RA labor

A lot of people also bring up teaching high school physics LOL... yeah, just what I want, to go back to high school and stay there for the rest of my life! NOOOOOO thanks.

So now I'm out on the job market, feeling kinda annoyed that after more than 16 years of formal education I still don't have any marketable skills. Currently trying to teach myself a crash-course in programming so that I can get into software development, since it seems like that's overwhelmingly where the money is for people who can do technical work but don't have an engineering degree. I'm really wishing that I had majored in CS or engineering and then learned physics later as a hobby.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby alreadytaken4536 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:24 am UTC

No complaints as a Music Education major!

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby J Thomas » Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:31 pm UTC

argleblargle wrote:....

So now I'm out on the job market, feeling kinda annoyed that after more than 16 years of formal education I still don't have any marketable skills. Currently trying to teach myself a crash-course in programming so that I can get into software development, since it seems like that's overwhelmingly where the money is for people who can do technical work but don't have an engineering degree. I'm really wishing that I had majored in CS or engineering and then learned physics later as a hobby.


The system was designed with conflicting goals.

If the point was just job training, then for each job the educators provided training for they would project the number of workers needed, pick plausible job candidates, and train that number of them plus 5% or 10%.

But we don't want the elites to just pick their children for elite jobs. So the theory is that we let anybody get educated for anything they want, limited only by their bank accounts or credit limits. You don't lose the chance to get the job just because you can't get the education. (Except of course for people who can't get into med school etc. If professional schools didn't sufficiently limit the number of their graduates, then the profession might suffer income loss and MDs might get no more respect than barbers. But if you can't get into med school you have the consolation that you must have just plain not been good enough. They only take the best, right?) (And it could be argued that an MBA from the University of North Dakota is just plain not as good as one from Harvard. If your training is about how to run a large company, there aren't all that many large companies that need a fresh MBA to run them and maybe the Harvard graduate with all his connections will have a better shot at them. But hey, the tuition is about $50,000/year less at UND.)

So look -- if you can do well as a physics major you must be smart. And you don't have specific job training that tells you how to do a specific job. Maybe you could find a job that nobody is teaching job skills for, a job that needs somebody who's smart. After you get the job you'll have to make it up as you go, but your experience with scientific method will be a plus for that, right?

How do you find a job opening like that? Hey, you're smart. You'll figure out a way.

How do you impress whoever it is that can hire you that you're the right person for the job? Hey, you're smart. You'll figure out a way to do that too.

Should you learn computer programming too? Of course! Particularly scripting languages that help you do things easier when you need to get answers from a computer. And if you learn programming well enough, that can be a backup if the other jobs don't work out. Like, the same physicist who might otherwise have hired you as a cheap research assistant can hire you as a cheap code monkey.

All over the country there are jobs waiting for smart young people who'll take initiative and then take the blame if something goes wrong. You could have one of those jobs if you want it. There's no security but there isn't really much security with anything else either.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:08 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:How do you find a job opening like that? Hey, you're smart. You'll figure out a way.

How do you impress whoever it is that can hire you that you're the right person for the job? Hey, you're smart. You'll figure out a way to do that too.
This is a brazenly false equivalency. An aptitude for physics does not correlate with any kind of facility in job hunting or impressing job recruiters, nor is anything of that nature taught as part of a Physics program. If you speak from personal experience, then you, sir, were freakin' lucky – not that I'd ever expect to be able to persuade you of that.

Like, the same physicist who might otherwise have hired you as a cheap research assistant can hire you as a cheap code monkey.
After sixteen years one might at least hope to do a little better than "cheap", but of course no one should feel entitled blah blah blah.

All over the country there are jobs waiting for smart young people who'll take initiative and then take the blame if something goes wrong.
You don't need to be smart to take an initiative and then take the blame. Quite the opposite.

J Thomas
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby J Thomas » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:45 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
J Thomas wrote:How do you find a job opening like that? Hey, you're smart. You'll figure out a way.

How do you impress whoever it is that can hire you that you're the right person for the job? Hey, you're smart. You'll figure out a way to do that too.
This is a brazenly false equivalency. An aptitude for physics does not correlate with any kind of facility in job hunting or impressing job recruiters, nor is anything of that nature taught as part of a Physics program. If you speak from personal experience, then you, sir, were freakin' lucky – not that I'd ever expect to be able to persuade you of that.


I'm afraid you're right. I'd like it to be true that an aptitude for rethinking your assumptions, coming up with new ways to approach problems, problem-solving etc would be useful for this sort of problem. And it ought to be useful for physics too. But quite likely a person can do perfectly well taking physics courses etc without needing any of that. Without getting any practice at it, or even the sense that it might be useful. And then at some point the poor grad student is expected to do original innovative work, and has to quit physics if he doesn't manage that in short order.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

TrevorBradley
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby TrevorBradley » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:07 pm UTC

Hey everyone, just wanted to all to know that my choir has released a video for "Every Major's Terrible" with full chorus and geeky video. We hope you like it.

You can find the video at: http://www.everymajorsterrible.com/

More info about us at http://www.sfuchoir.ca/

Enjoy!

Ashtar
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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Ashtar » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:44 am UTC

TrevorBradley wrote:Hey everyone, just wanted to all to know that my choir has released a video for "Every Major's Terrible" with full chorus and geeky video. We hope you like it.

You can find the video at: http://www.everymajorsterrible.com/

More info about us at http://www.sfuchoir.ca/

Enjoy!

Having a hard time not reading that as "STFU, Choir".

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby mathmannix » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:53 pm UTC

Felix Griffin wrote:...
#########################################################
For it is, it is a glorious thing to be, of major, general.[/spoiler]

But I have no rhyme for the last line.


(This is a different song in the musical...)

For he has a major general! Hurrah! He studies the arts liberal!
And it is, it is, a glorious thing, to have a major, general.

(then there's the coda later...)

But still, in getting all my minors, eight or nine or ten in all,
I've nothing to show for a major, save for the arts liberal.
I hear velociraptor tastes like chicken.

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Re: 1052: “Every Major’s Terrible”

Postby Jorpho » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:03 am UTC

So, I asked this earlier: has anyone seen someone attempting this with Lehrer's "The Elements" instead of Modern Major General?


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