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Posted at 10:29 AM ET, 04/10/2012

Gene Weingarten polls: Speed cameras and poetry

You get a notice in the mail that you were popped by a speed camera. The photo is of a car that is the make, model, year and color of your car. It was taken at a place and time consistent with your routine. You are 99.9 percent certain that it is your car -- there is no reason to think it might NOT be your car. The ticket is for $125.

However, the photo is a little grainy. A couple of 0’s in it could plausibly be 6s or 8s. You think that if you fight the ticket, it MIGHT get thrown out.

Here is my column from Sunday, about how my dog is a Republican. I was surprised to get voluminous angry mail from Republicans.

Tom The Butcher’s question:

About three times a year, I translate old jokes into poems, usually using sophisticated rhyme schemes or parodying famous poems. Two examples are below:

“The Camel”

in the style of an English heroic sonnet

An officer takes up his new command:

A desert outpost, lonely and austere.

He asks the sergeant how the men can stand

To be so long without a woman near.



The sergeant shyly shows his commandant

A tied-up female camel in a shed.

Whene’er the men are paralyzed by want,

They make good use of her, the sergeant said.



While horrified, the captain did not speak.

His feelings, though, were of extreme unease.

But after months he, too, was feeling weak

And very much in need of some release.



He found it in the way he’d so contemned;

But this the sergeant spied — the deed, unmasked!

Embarrassed now, the captain hawed and hemmed —

“That’s how the soldiers do it, then?” he asked.

“It’s not,” the sergeant said with measured frown —

“The soldiers ride the camel into town.”

* * *

The Dirty Parrot, in the style of The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

Late one midnight in my garret, as I sat with my pet parrot

Who was munching on a carrot on her perch beside the door,

Suddenly there came a “crap”-ing,

And a #&@!ing and a @+#!ing,

With such plucking and such clucking,

Words that gentlemen abhor,

Words like these, and nothing more.

“Stop your screeching,” I said, scowling,

“Blast you, fowl, who is fouling

English with your fetid yowling.”

This I said, and said no more.

Still she cussed, as it did please her

Causing me to reach and seize her

And entomb her in the freezer,

Punishment both swift and sure.

This I did, and did no more.

But in seconds I relented, of this violence I repented.

My reaction was demented, this I knew and knew for sure

So I opened up the door, resolv’d to punish her no more.

Though spared torment, she stopped cursing!

Started pleasantly conversing, suddenly dispersing

Language fit for parlor, language fit for church and pew.

Solemnly I then inquired, what, dear birdie, has inspired

Such a sweet and soft and wondrous sort of change in you?

She had no answer, just a query, just a sad and eerie query

Which she asked in such a quaver that it touched me through and through:

“Kindly tell me,” quoth the parrot, “what did that poor chicken do?”


Okay, now I am much enamored of this genre of column, as is Tom, but he worries that we are a little too pleased with ourselves.  

By  |  10:29 AM ET, 04/10/2012

 
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