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Song Parodies -> "Paired Elements (Irreversible Binomials)"

Original Song Title:

"The Elements"

Original Performer:

Tom Lehrer

Parody Song Title:

"Paired Elements (Irreversible Binomials)"

Parody Written by:

Giorgio Coniglio's Grandson

The Lyrics

My grandfather previously posted 2 parodies of Tom Lehrer’s “Elements” on this site. The current effort involves a linguistic device discussed by Wikipedia as “Siamese twins” or ‘irreversible binomials”. These phrases include a pair of parallel words (most often nouns or adjectives) used as an idiomatic expression, usually joined by ‘and’ or ‘or’; the order of elements generally cannot be reversed. There are probably a thousand of these in the English language. Commonly listed examples are ‘short and sweet’, ‘nuts and bolts’. 'back and forth', and ‘vim and vigor’. To enhance the singability, I have skewed my selection of binomial pairs to emphasize those that have alliteration or rhyming of the 2 elements. You can view the previous lyrics and commentary displayed at Post "No Elements", (a song about Latin nouns), or at Post "Of Residents and Presidents" , a song dealing with mispronunciation of the word 'nuclear'.
There’s form and function, farm and factory, rules and regula-ations
No rhyme or reason; feast or famine, trials and tribula-ations.
There’s rough and ready, rags to riches, rock and roll, down and dirty
And dine and dash, and check or cash, and drunken and disorderly.

For king and country, hearth and home, love it or leave it, bull or bear
And wild and woolly, weeping wailing, whys and wherefores, wash and wear
There’s prince and pauper, publish-perish, longitude and latitude
And odds and evens, wax and wane, and hoot and holler, rude and crude.

And live and learn, last but not least, and lend and lease, and life and limb
Safe and secure, and search and seizure, signs and symptoms, sink or swim
Sugar and spice, and Stars and Stripes, and sticks and stones, and sights and sounds
And hale and hearty, helter-skelter, Heaven Hell, and horse and hounds.

There’s flora fauna, fun and frolic, fin and fur, forgive forget
Over and out, and twist and shout, and tit for tat, aid and abet
And Jew and Gentile, dribs and drabs, dead or alive, and juke and jive
And my way or the highway, hush-hush, bed and breakfast, drink and drive.

There’s part and parcel, pen and paper, post and pillar, pig in poke
And rant and rave, and bread and butter, mix and match, and smoke and joke
Last will and testament, pell-mell, flip-flop, footloose and fancy-free,
Deny his due to devil, day-in day-out, and the deep blue sea.

Nieces and nephews, peas in pod, kit and caboodle, meek and mild
And ghosts and goblins, trick or treat, witches and warlocks, wet and wild
And rest and relaxation, birds and bees, thick thin and tic-tac-toe
And fender-bender, fair or foul, and spick and span, and friend or foe.

The order of paired elements - important? yes, no, may-aybe;
Be careful not to throw out the bathwater with the ba-aby.

Yet, slip and slide, not hair nor hide, the definition gets defied,
Like 'Prejudice' before the 'Pride', so 'side by side' is classified
With home sweet home, rose is a rose, eye for an eye, and nose to nose -
These phrases pose the gap to close that spaces poetry from prose.

There's Jack and Jill, day after day, bumper to bumper, inch by inch,
And heart to heart, mile after mile, with salt and pepper, just a pinch.
What's right is right, what's fair is fair, said more and more by Mo-other,
From sea to shining sea, if it's not one thing, it's ano-other.

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Matches Pace of
Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 2.2
How Funny: 2.2
Overall Rating: 2.2

Total Votes: 23

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   13
 2   2
 3   3
 4   1
 5   4

User Comments

Comments are subject to review, and can be removed by the administration of the site at any time and for any reason.

Al Silver - July 06, 2015 - Report this comment
Meet and proper.
Sal - July 06, 2015 - Report this comment
A parody filled with linguistic odds and ends? 5-4-4
Phil Alexander - July 07, 2015 - Report this comment
:-) What, no hue and cry? Just one of the whys and wherefores, I guess :-)
Giorgio Coniglio's Grandson - July 07, 2015 - Report this comment
Thanks Al, Sal and PhilAl. for adding your comments, although your examples are not at all alliterative. I would allow that there are metes and bounds, meat and potatoes, and meet and greet. Perhaps, Al, you had in mind the dropper-propper, an assistive device for the elderly?
Al Silver - July 07, 2015 - Report this comment
"Meet" is an archaic adjective, meaning "precisely fitting and right." It's often used before "proper."
GC's G - July 07, 2015 - Report this comment
Meetly stated, i. e. right on! BTW Did you like my sticking a binomial betwixt the devil and the deep blue sea? We really should stop meeting like this.
Al Silver - July 07, 2015 - Report this comment
Bake and shake, man! That's a polynomial! Or a Frankenomial! I gotta get out of this Apple store before my head explodes all over their goodies.
Al Silver - July 07, 2015 - Report this comment
Shake, THEN bake. No wonder Lutèce fired me as chef.
GIorgio Coniglio's Grandson - July 11, 2015 - Report this comment
The musicality of these binomials, along with your comments suggest that important subsets should have been more rigorously defined. I propose post hoc purging the following rhyming binomials from this posting: rude and crude (verse2), helter-skelter (v.3), smoke and joke, and pell-mell (v.5), and fender-bender (v.6). These could be replaced by the alliterations 'crass and crude', 'tots and toddlers', 'josh and joke', 'heave-ho' and 'cute and cuddly' respectively. I have another version of the song, completely devoted to rhyming binomials, e.g. 'shake and bake' in preparation. GC'sG
Mel - July 11, 2015 - Report this comment
Please spare us!!!
Al Silver - July 11, 2015 - Report this comment
I'm looking forward to the rhyming version. I think that would be more fun to sing and hear than alliterative binomials. Pay no attention to "Mel" and all his many other negative personas.
Really? - July 12, 2015 - Report this comment
Riiiight, Al Silver is your real name ;-)
Al Silver - July 20, 2015 - Report this comment
Apropos of grandsons, when I offered my 14-year-old a handful of cherries three years ago, warning him of the pits, he looked at them thoughtfully and intoned, "The cherry is a difficult fruit." I have lived in accordance with that dictum ever since. It has the metaphoric ring of a Chauncey Gardner pronouncement, and I commend it to you all.

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