May 17, 2011

Magpie Tales#66

Tess at Willow Manor appeals to us learned poets with this library selection


Walden 1

A dreamer called Henry Thoreau
one morning awoke and said "Oh,
Goodness Me! Think I should
go live in a wood?"
Said Mrs.T, "Great! Off you go!"

Walden 2

A century later came Skinner
who thought he was onto a winner.
We should combat life's stress
with Ludo or Chess
before, during and after our dinner.

Walden 3

Last verse, and I really do hope ya
enjoyed those two forms of Utopia.
Well then, for an encore
you could try Thomas More -
his original wasn't much dopier.

"Walden" or "Life in the Woods" H.D.Thoreau 1854
"Walden 2" A novel. B.F.Skinner 1948. Skinner was the ultimate behavioural psychologist. He denied free will, arguing that our every action is a learned response to external stimuli and we have no control over the response. To prove the point he taught pigeons to play ping-pong. Or something. His initials - B.F. - seem entirely appropriate.
Walden 3 "Utopia" by Thomas More, 1516. More was eventually executed by Henry VIII, but not for writing his book.


  1. Witty and rhythmic! So funny to compare living in harmony with nature with the off-beat quasi-socialist Utopia. I think Thoreau would have liked Skinner (even though you have to repeatedly feed the pigeons to get a good game of ping pong going). Well thought-out! Bravo!

  2. How wonderful is this? Boy, you are a hoot! And a lot of fun to boot!

  3. Ha! Great! Thorough Thoreau. Skinner...I fought with one of my teacher's about him for years, it was a terrible condition to live in. And, does anyone need more of More? Very silly indeed, doctor!

  4. Liz . . how right you are. I am a lot of fun to boot. Many have said so, laughing as they booted me. Out of pubs, dance-halls, poetry readings, philosophical debates . . you name it.
    Mary . . Where were you on the Skinner debate? Pro or Anti? Of course, this comment is clearly a conditioned response to your comment which was itself a conditioned response to . . . anyone for ping-pong?

  5. Love it! We had to study ol' BF Skinner in grad school but never learned about his novel (imagine!)

  6. Hey! Hey! I adored this......(but I'm not very good at ping-pong!).

  7. Had a good laugh with these, good stuff! And no one enjoys a good laugh more than I do...Except perhaps for my wife and some of her friends. Oh, yes, and Captain Johnson. Come to think of it, most people enjoy a good laugh more than I do, but that's beside the point. Right! On to ping pong!

    BTW, Jorge Luis Borges Ficciones was a recent inspiring read for me. Thank you for the kind words!

  8. Your usual amusing look at the prompt, Doctor.

  9. Just about any external stimulus can provoke a limerick!

  10. Dear Dr. FSTE: Very classy triple dip! I do expect that good ol' "BF" would love this initial reference (yes, I got that one; finally! very Freudian; oh smoked!) Yes...indeed truly enjoyable in the fancy brained filligree of your deportment!

  11. I'm for ping pong Doc ;-)
    I do believe rats, one's children and others can be conditioned, but I'm not a Skinner fan. Our debate was somewhat off-track, as my teacher claimed Skinner proved animals don't have emotions. At the juncture I called the teacher an animal, and he became quite emotional. On another subject altogether...I peeked at your other blog, your financial one, and I, er... want to apologize for my entire country, and hope you realize that some of us are not thrilled by our government.

  12. Mary . . my financial blog is my private ranting ground. I assume no one ever goes there, and to judge by the dearth of comments it's no bad assumption. I do think that if the Navy Seals had arrested Bin Laden instead of killing him, the USA could have humiliated him in front of his supporters in the US Courts - instead of which they turned him into a martyr.

  13. Well, that was my first time... sorry to be such a creeper, but it is listed under your blogs... And I agree about Bin Laden. Now instead, his wives will make the US look either impotent or win as far as I can see. Oh, I was so hopeful when Obama came in and that bad old Bush days were over, but now...'sigh'... not so much. Anyway, I like you sense of humor, and I'll keep away from your rants, unless you say otherwise.

  14. Mary . . . my apologies. I should have said "my personal stamping ground" to which I retire from time to time to paw the ground and roar like a crazed buffalo and the madness and injustice of World as all good ranters should. Please feel free to visit at any time. It is not "private", merely neglected. But then . . I am used to being Numbered Amongst the Downtrodden.

    ~T~ . . any Magpie certainly can!

    One and All . . best thanks for your encouragement, even though I'm not sure you should.

  15. Apology accepted, though not necessary. And really - a good little capitalist like you considers yourself 'downtrodden'? Still, valid rants.

  16. Ah! Perfection! Lovely read!

    Anna :o]

  17. Thanks for the suggestion. Stay tuned for the Nicolas Tournier painting as the next Magpie prompt. (shh...don't tell)

  18. Good Ol' Doc FTSE was being silly
    His limericks were hilarious dillies
    I laughed til I choked
    The hilarity he evoked
    I was killed by my humerous achilles


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