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Bill Roper's Journal
The Anything Machine 
11th-Apr-2016 10:13 pm
FilkONtario also has an annual at-con songwriting contest where you are supplied with a list of words -- always including "penguin" -- and challenged to write a song that includes them all. This year, the words were "penguin", "titanium", "synergy", "infinity", and "entropy". This was a fairly happy set of words, as it didn't take me long to figure out what my song should be about.

I don't frequently set songs in other people's universes, but in this case the universe belongs to my brother-in-law, Jeff Duntemann, and I figure that I can always set Gretchen on him if I need to. :) We'll see when he finds this... :)

Anyway, the song is set in his Drumlin universe and it goes like this.

Words and Music: Bill Roper
Copyright 2016

The Anything Machine

Come and hit the beat,
Tapping out binary feet,
Striking moon and sun until the message is complete.
Now emerging from the sand,
Satisfying your demand,
Is the object you requested rising up at your command.
It could be something that you know or something you have never seen.
You can get most everything from the anything machine.

We’re stuck upon this planet that no other human knows.
It’s the sort of thing that happens when your warp drive shifts and blows.
Our colony is trapped here with no rescue to be seen
And the only way we can survive is with the anything machine.

The anything machines are just a simple pair of drums
And a pool of sand in front of them from which the object comes.
Two hundred fifty-six times you must strike upon the skins.
Your message is completed and that’s when the fun begins.


Strike upon the moon and you will always get a knife.
Strike upon the sun and get a rope that just might save your life.
A ball of pure titanium, a penguin statue with a grin,
Anything you might desire is indexed deep within.

Now we’re living here in synergy, one short step from infinity.
We could have anything we want if we only knew the key.
But locked somewhere in entropy’s the message that could set us free.
We’re seeking out the symmetry and a home we’ll never see.

(Chorus twice)

Yes, you can get most everything from the anything machine.
From the anything machine.
From the anything machine.
12th-Apr-2016 06:25 am (UTC) - Anything Machine Filk
Very Good!
12th-Apr-2016 04:27 pm (UTC) - Wow!
Hokey smoke! (I had originally written something else...) I've done some lyrics here and there, but I bow to the master...and blush for the compliment.

I'd suggest changing "strut" to "ball" because the thingmakers sometimes present "elemental samples," which are bowling-ball sized spheres of pure chemical elements. Ordinary people call them "big balls" and the Big Ball of Gold is much searched for. The Big Ball of Titanium would be a prize indeed.

And I'll come up with a way to include a drumlin statue of a grinning penguin once the novel gets underway. In the meantime, onlookers can find Drumlins stories in my collection Cold Hands and Other Stories, and my Ace Double tribute Drumlin Circus/On Gossamer Wings, both on Amazon.
12th-Apr-2016 04:46 pm (UTC) - Re: Wow!
Edited as suggested. :)

I originally picked a strut as being a part for some unknown machine and of somewhat lower value than the big ball, but these drum patterns get found and then lost again...

I'm glad you like it!
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