88 Lines About 44 Mefites

February 14, 2007 10:47 PM

An ode to some of the more vibrant personas and memorable events in Metafilter history -- and an homage to the classic tune by The Nails. Lyrics with tremendous amounts of annotation inside.

posted by cortex (93 comments total) 164 users marked this as a favorite

The lyrics:

MiHail liked the portobellos
Became a legend, rest in peace
jonmc's the Everyman [2, 3, 4]
He talked a lot, to say the least

Ethereal Bligh's a feminist [2, 3]
Who spoke in lengthy paragraphs [2, 3]
loquacious was some other guy
Who liked to play the site for laughs [2, 3, 4]

Stan Chin got a golden star
But lost it after folks complained [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]
Effigy2000 posted
well [cf: A, B] and got it back again [2, 3, 4]

mathowie's the man in charge [2, 3, 4]
Quit [2, 3, 4, 5] his day job, had a kid [2, 3]
jessamyn's library science [2]
Kept the green unasshatted [2, 3, 4, 5]

asavage was mefi's own [2, 3, 4, 5]
He spent his workweek busting myths [2, ^]
It's Raining Florence Henderson
Adapted Arlo [2], always riffed [2, 3]

y2karl was fond of small tags [2, 3, 4, 5]
Favored blues and politics
jonson's posts were often faved [2, 3]
He gave the blue its daily fix [2]

matteo churned out stunning posts [2, 3, 4]
But spoke of fascists [2, 3, 4, 5, 6], liked to mock [2, 3, 4]
quonsar [~2] was a fishpants expert [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
Freed [2, 3, 4], he chanted "smock smock smock" [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

languagehat's a language hag [2, 3]
Prayed for flameouts [2, 3, 4, 5], argued words
amberglow showed lots of passion [2, 3]
Liked the fellas [2, 3] -- tough luck, birds

wendell's name was often dropped
when threads detoured from bad to worse [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
konolia declared herself
to be anus-expose-averse [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

MiguelCardoso liked to chat [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]
They love him out in Portugal [2, 3, 4]
madamjujujive's output [2, 3, 4, 5]
Would make our cup to overflow

delmoi was a model mefite
Consistent, clearly spoken [2, 3] man
dhoyt [2, 3, 4] was four different people
All of them extremely banned [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

Stavros was a wonderchicken
Korea's [2, 3, 4] where he spent his time
ikkyu2's the AskMe doctor [2, 3, 4, 5]
Never charged a single dime

crunchland turned into Dave Faris [1]
Either way the method's good [2, 3, 4, 5]
kindall ran the old self-link list [2, 3, 4]
Projects stands where it once stood [1]

ParisParamus was sassy [2, 3]
Liked to praise the GOP [2, 3]
dame did not take shit from no one [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]
Lived it up in NYC [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

un owen Trebeked [2, 3] and scammed [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]
Once said "hurf durf butter eater" [2, 3, 4, 5]
jenleigh was a made-up redhead [1]
Lonely Scots had hoped to meet her

son_of_minya went out flaming [2, 3]
Threatened to cut off his hand [2, 3]
Meatbomb earned himself a timeout
for Westphalia Treaty spam [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Pot was shrill and unforgiving
Always calling Kettle black [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]
Kettle wasn't any better
couldn't shrug off Pot's attack [2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6]

hama7 split the middle
Heated [2, 3] comments, lovely posts
grumblebee was full of questions [2, 3]
More inquisitive [2, 3, 4] than most

jkottke was an old-school member [2, 3]
Ran his own blog, popped some corn [2, 3, 4]
Seth contended up through 04 [2, 3]
Then took off, his welcome worn [2, 3, 4]

AlexReynolds got the boot [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
For acting like a drama queen
Pretty_Generic [2] got banhammered [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]
He was screwing with the green [2]

Keyzer Soze got in trouble [2, 3]
Asked the site to help him out [2, 3, 4]
dios was our Charybdis [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]
This song's about him, have no doubt [2, 3]

Astro Zombie [2, 3] had some sequels
Fractured clones named 2 and 3 [2, 3, 4, 5]
cortex camped out in the grey [2, 3, 4, 5]
and sang [2, 3, 4] about the things he'd see
posted by cortex at 10:48 PM on February 14, 2007 [38 favorites]

I'd thought about doing this a couple times over the years, but it sort of gelled earlier this week when it came up again (see here).

I most wrote it top-of-mind, brainstorming for notable mefites with a few people initially and then writing up couplets from there. Then I went back for links—I did not, mind you, check all these, so at least one or two are likely broken. I tried to stick key links on the words and supporting/ancillary stuff in the additional notes.

There are some arguably famous events that were left out because it was hard not to be kind of nasty; and some things or folks I just didn't know enough about because they were active at a time or in areas where I wasn't paying attention.

Lots of folks were necessarily not mentioned—to cover everyone of note would make for an extremely, tediously long song. As it is, it tops 5 minutes at 149 bpm (which is what The Nails did it at as well).

If anybody has the hots to remix, I'm happy to provide source tracks, etc. I did a pretty quick-and-dirty job on the actual recording—several hours of annotation kind of took it out of me.
posted by cortex at 10:54 PM on February 14, 2007

Jesus. Wow. Damn you.

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:02 PM on February 14, 2007


About the only thing I could possibly suggest is somehow working in the dios vs. rothko contest.
posted by mathowie at 11:12 PM on February 14, 2007

Stupendously badass, to paraphrase Neal Stephenson (I think). Kudos, cortex!
posted by cgc373 at 11:23 PM on February 14, 2007

posted by jessamyn at 11:24 PM on February 14, 2007

anus-expose-averse is totally going to be my new band name.
posted by mathowie at 11:27 PM on February 14, 2007

This is amazing!... I'm a newbie, but this helps all of the MetaFilter history come to life.
posted by amyms at 11:28 PM on February 14, 2007

cortex = Portland's claim to fame
posted by Cranberry at 12:15 AM on February 15, 2007

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:27 AM on February 15, 2007

Holy crap! I've been mentioned in a song written and sung by one of my favorite and most talented MeFi contributors!

Cortex, I won a Wii but it wasn't until now that I truly won.

This song, like pretty much every song you have ever written and posted here in the black, is excellent. No, it is above excellent. Beyond it. It transcends it. It is something that cannot be described with mere words.

Thank you. Thank you not only for mentioning me in one of your songs, but for being a model MeFite and for giving so much of yourself to a community that you clearly love. Kudos!
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:53 AM on February 15, 2007

Holy flurking schnit! I don't know if I'm more impressed by the song or by the annotation!
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:14 AM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

7 years on MeFi and I don't warrant a lyric?!

Just kidding -- this is freaking genius.
posted by litlnemo at 3:12 AM on February 15, 2007

*stands, throws roses, claps*
posted by safetyfork at 3:52 AM on February 15, 2007

This song's about him

Why does everything have to be about me?

cortex, this is awesome. i totally have the hawts for you.
posted by dios at 5:11 AM on February 15, 2007

cortex, have I ever told you you're my hero?
posted by jonmc at 5:24 AM on February 15, 2007

it's got a good beat;I'd dance to it; I give it a 98, Dick.
posted by Dizzy at 5:29 AM on February 15, 2007

Brilliant! If you keep refreshing the main page of Music instead of coming inside here, you can see the comments and the favorites of this song go like one of those real time statistic thingies.

Are you going to put this into your RPM list? Don't tell me you are going to manage the whole album in a month thing and then spend free time writing/recording/annotating this song. What have you got in your veins? Red Bull?
posted by micayetoca at 5:30 AM on February 15, 2007

Both the post, and the song are epic.
posted by sparkletone at 5:32 AM on February 15, 2007

Are you going to put this into your RPM list?

Only as an act of desperation if Feb 28 is ticking away and I'm a song or five minutes short of the quota. It's not really a cover, but it's unabashed parody, and that feels a bit like cheating.

Thanks, everybody. It's an honor being part of a site with so much good source material. The slashdot version would have gone something like this, I reckon:

Taco is a doubleposter
Zonk approves things no one should
Portman, stoned, hot grits down pants?
They'd mod you down more if they could

God, I hope CmdrTaco doesn't read that.

So, yeah. Go mefi.
posted by cortex at 5:56 AM on February 15, 2007

when cortex moves to michigan we shall take the music world by storm.
posted by quonsar at 6:28 AM on February 15, 2007

*salaams deeply*

I hardly need to say that [c'est si bon]. I think this is my favorite couplet:

dhoyt was four different people
All of them extremely banned

And I love, love, love the fact that pot and kettle get a whole stanza to themselves. This is truly the Best of MeFi. Give that man a gold star!

/not actually a hag
posted by languagehat at 7:17 AM on February 15, 2007

RaWK! Way awesome.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:33 AM on February 15, 2007

Yay! You combined a song I love and me. It's like everything that makes my life worth living. Except you made me ungrammatical. And it seems I say "fuck" a lot.

All the lines about other people are okay too. Good work.
posted by dame at 7:49 AM on February 15, 2007

This just made my morning. Great job, as always!
posted by Songdog at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2007

All the lines about other people are okay too.

Heh. That captures the "am I on this list" aspect perfectly, dame. And it's nice to be exempt from scanning for my nick in this case. (Not that I would ever scan a discussion of metafilter for my nick. No sir.)
posted by cortex at 7:58 AM on February 15, 2007

I don't know what you are talking about. What sort of sick narcissist would care about being mentioned. I didn't even type that comment. It was the cat. And the elves. The cat-elves.
posted by dame at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2007

Geez, man. That was mighty impressive.

And besides the writing, I thought the verse delivery was very pleasant to listen to. You should record books on tape or something.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:13 AM on February 15, 2007

This may be the most fabulous exercise in name dropping music has ever seen. Take that lame Maria Carrie hip-hop.

This is quite great. Liked the whistling.
posted by French Fry at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2007

Aside from your failure to rhyme "language hag" with "<img> tag," this is perfect.
posted by staggernation at 8:17 AM on February 15, 2007 [3 favorites]

Wow, you actually did it. Great job. So, I've never heard The Nails song, but it sounds a lot like "A Summer Song" by Chad and Jeremy, which sounds a little like "Words of Love" by Buddy Holly. There's probably also a classical piece that I'm missing right now. Oh, and our cat said it was no "We Didn't Start the Fire." He was a little upset this morning. It's great, cortex.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:46 AM on February 15, 2007

Dammit, the cat's other owner already made the Billy Joel joke. Whoops.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2007

That reminds me: for reference, here's the original song. Snagged it from newsome.org—I'm half inclined to do a post some time about "88 Lines About 44 foo" parodies.
posted by cortex at 9:00 AM on February 15, 2007

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:23 AM on February 15, 2007

Fucking wicked hot.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:36 AM on February 15, 2007

Is this the greatest thing ever? Quite possibly...
posted by jonson at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2007

F'in' awesome!
posted by Lynsey at 10:22 AM on February 15, 2007

Haha, how delightful! I am so pleased to be included.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:28 AM on February 15, 2007

*not mentioned, idolizing cortex from afar nevertheless*
posted by GrammarMoses at 11:02 AM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I can die happy now. Seriously. This is lovely madness.
posted by loquacious at 11:33 AM on February 15, 2007

Further notes:

- I had considered tagging each couplet with an anchor, so that really dedicated people could refer back to portions of the annotated lyrics relevent to a specific user or incident, but decided that (a) that was too much extra work, and (b) that might just be a plain old bad idea regardless.

- While many of the annotations related to specific incidents are close to what could be considered a canonical summary of said incident, others are more vague. For delmoi, for example, it's hard to put a fine point on "just being a good citizen"; likewise with Seth's apparently unannounced departure, or matteo's famed snarkiness.

- Similarly, there are many cases where more citations could have been supplied—y2karl's posting history, for example, or hama7's. Research became a bit of a bear after a while, and as a visit to those folks' profiles yields the excellent goods anyway, I left off at that point.

- The use of the word "personas" rather than "people" in the posting text at the top of the page is deliberate: while many of these citations refer to specific, inarguable events, others refer to events that are more contended (un owen, for example), and still other refer more to the existing perception of a user than to anything concrete and easily summarized in a few links to that user's output on the site. In the case of exteremely bad behavior, that may be because of deleted content, but I suspect it's more to do with the way momentum and public perception concretizes things that aren't necessarily all that concrete otherwise.

- I'm a bit wary of the negative side of cult-of-personality around here, so I want to stress that my intention here is part archeology, part caricature. None of these 88 lines should be considered portraiture so much as gesture, a stab at capturing some of the existing metafilter mythology in rhyme and annotating the zeitgeist. And it's overwhelmingly driven by my personal perceptions of that zeitgeist—I don't presume that what I see as being what people think on mefi is necessarily what other people would take away from their perspectives. Plus it's a fairly silly venture, top to bottom.

- Yes, yes, it's not strictly 44 mefites; if you count usernames, it's more; and if you count meatspace individuals behind the usernames, it's fewer. Let's just pretend that makes it all balance out.

- The matteo/quonsar stanza was really, really hard to pronounce and I still didn't really spit it out right. It almost sounds like I say "poets" for "posts". I had the foresight to rearrange some of the other stanzas for pronouncability, but I just left this one as is and banged my head against it until I got a take that didn't completely suck.

- The backing track is all just Reason goofery.
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've only just read the lyrics, not listened to the song yet, and this is still the coolest thing I've seen all week by several orders of magnitude.

And there should be a word for that feeling of scanning down the list going "oh my god am I on there?"

It would be a word that means "consciously aware anticipatory vanity". Languagehat, a little help?
posted by Ynoxas at 12:54 PM on February 15, 2007

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:59 PM on February 15, 2007

I'm not sure what the word for the skimming should be.

But the feeling you have, of simultaneous disappointment and quiet shame for being disappointed, when you get to the end and don't see your name?

posted by cortex at 1:40 PM on February 15, 2007

I have been immortalized in song. Now my life is complete.
posted by kindall at 1:42 PM on February 15, 2007

excellent job......

havent heard this song since I was spinning it on a college radio station round 1984.....what a trip
posted by timsteil at 1:51 PM on February 15, 2007

Absolutely amazing. You are a god among insects, cortex.

(And "unasshated" gets a special award for technical metrics.)
posted by rokusan at 2:07 PM on February 15, 2007


Which was the subject of my first-ever metatalk post, though the word had not been coined yet.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:19 PM on February 15, 2007

OMG has anyone said this yet, in order to honour the perfect internet moment, yes, mefi, my tongues is so firmly in my cheek its licking my own ear.

so let me say it,


and roflmao to boot.
posted by infini at 2:27 PM on February 15, 2007

crouton: nice catch. Also, it turns out that googling for "A-listlessness" is non-trivial, as google treats that quoted string as equivilant to "a listlessness". Dammit.
posted by cortex at 2:29 PM on February 15, 2007

Gold star, gold star, gold star, gold star, gold star!
posted by deborah at 2:43 PM on February 15, 2007

Stuff like this is why I love me some Mefi. Ausgezeichnet, cortex.
posted by sacre_bleu at 2:46 PM on February 15, 2007

Just brilliant and what a great gift to MeFi! Thanks cortex!
posted by snsranch at 3:57 PM on February 15, 2007

It just occured to me that mathowie might have commisioned this work, but only cuz it's worth paying for. Good show man.
posted by snsranch at 4:03 PM on February 15, 2007

Holy crap! These are the most well-cited song lyrics I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot.
posted by Durhey at 4:23 PM on February 15, 2007

snsranch: as much as I'd love to say I'm a paid musical obsessive, this was not Matt's doing. I first told him about it in IM yesterday evening, when I was trying to pin down a cite for his "i'm mefi fulltime" transition (the link on quit in his stanza, btw).

To which he replied, and I quote:

"oh jeez
that's a lot of HTML"

Durhey: thanks. In deference to you, however, I should point out that I still haven't found a new way to cook chicken.
posted by cortex at 4:31 PM on February 15, 2007

Now that song is stuck in my head.

posted by tkchrist at 4:33 PM on February 15, 2007

"oh jeez
that's a lot of HTML"
THAT is friggin funny.

Thanks for bringing so much attention to MuFi/MeMu. This song is a stroke of genius. My hat is off to you!
posted by snsranch at 4:43 PM on February 15, 2007

Mind blowing.
posted by peewinkle at 4:44 PM on February 15, 2007

jaw dropping! Cortex, that was spectacular! I can't wait to include it in a mix cd just to get non metafilter people's expressions.
posted by dhruva at 4:47 PM on February 15, 2007

lyrics to the original, for those who don't know it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 PM on February 15, 2007

oh, and utterly great, btw!
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:41 PM on February 15, 2007

Isn't there some MeFi history thing? This has to go wherever that thing is. Thanks!
posted by trip and a half at 8:25 PM on February 15, 2007

This went on my iPod today and got a 5 star rating, joining only about 10 other songs with a 5 star rating in my 'ultimate' play list with just under 1000 songs.

It's that good.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:37 AM on February 16, 2007

you're awesome.
posted by shmegegge at 2:49 AM on February 16, 2007

I for some reason didn't expect that to be good, but it was fucking great.
posted by Tlogmer at 5:44 AM on February 16, 2007

posted by dmd at 7:00 AM on February 16, 2007

i <3 cortex.
posted by Menomena at 7:02 AM on February 16, 2007

Brilliant. I like the way you pronounced "liBRARY science".
posted by matildaben at 9:21 AM on February 16, 2007

I can't believe no one has made a video yet.
posted by peewinkle at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2007

posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 PM on February 16, 2007

Awesome... Next time someone asks who the members of the cabal are that rules MeFi, I will point him or her to these lyrics.

/jealous and bitter
posted by psmealey at 1:37 PM on February 16, 2007

that is class. gutted my brush with media didn't help me make the cut, but didn't see Dong Resin in there, so I know the bar was high.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:18 PM on February 16, 2007

gutted my brush with media didn't help me make the cut, but didn't see Dong Resin in there, so I know the bar was high.

Impossibly high. Most of the people who made the cut are not merely recognizable but infamous, for one reason or another: flameout, cult thread, admin, super-high contribution index, contentious politics, etc. At least a dozen of them have been timed out, banned, or to some degree or another shunned into leaving.

Not making the list is, in one sense, a testament to one's well-balanced nature.
posted by cortex at 5:58 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't have broadband, so the next hour of my internet existance will be dedicated to downloading this thing on the strength of its lyrics alone. My hat's off to you, Cortex. Not that I was wearing one in the first place, but you know, if I were . . . .
posted by Alterscape at 6:06 PM on February 16, 2007

It's a testament to balance in many more senses than one, mister.
posted by cgc373 at 6:07 PM on February 16, 2007

Not making the list is, in one sense, a testament to one's well-balanced nature

Hey, wait a minute!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2007

The sad thing is that I understood all of the references in this song. I think that I spend too much time on this site.
posted by octothorpe at 6:41 PM on February 16, 2007

(Which is not to say that they aren't lovely people whose presence on the site I appreciate deeply. And, hey, I'm on the list, and, even more damningly, constructed it.)
posted by cortex at 6:55 PM on February 16, 2007

totally fab! thanks! (we're so famous now--immortalized even!) : >
posted by amberglow at 8:20 PM on February 16, 2007

this is absolutely amazing! Kudos
posted by darsh at 1:36 AM on February 17, 2007


i wanna be in a song

The sad thing is that I understood all of the references in this song. I think that I spend too much time on this site.

yeah, same here. although the footntoes are a nice touch. pretty impressive that you cited all that. did you just do it as you went along? or do you keep those bookmarked? :)
posted by spiderwire at 10:59 PM on February 17, 2007

More the former than the latter, spiderwire. I wrote the whole thing first and then annotated after; for most of the annotation, I used google searches along the lines of "site:metafilter.com username keywords" to find relevant citations and than narrowed in via user posting history, favorites pages, etc. Most of the searching was done based off of recall of specific incidents or key phrases—it's with both pride and embarrassment that I tell you that very little of what I linked was unfamiliar when I found it.

The copy of (or access to) the raw database that I have fantasized and once or twice asked about would have made the searching faster and more thorough, but the lyrics as presented show that a lot can be accomplished with just some focused googling and a little bit of follow-up legwork.
posted by cortex at 11:26 PM on February 17, 2007

hey, i have the code for a general purpose latent semantic indexing engine i wrote laying around -- we could feed all the mefi data into it and see if, in an n-dimensional user/keyword space, dios really is the center of metafilter.

really, we could do that. why, i don't know. but we could.
posted by spiderwire at 4:46 PM on February 18, 2007

I am continually amazed and greatly heartened by the love and care you give back to each other in this community.

Cortex, thank you for another wonderful example.
posted by django_z at 1:45 AM on February 20, 2007

That was freakin' awesome! I tip my hat to you, sir. Well done!

I literally busted out laughing at "hurf durf butter eater" ... didn't think you'd be able to stick that in there.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 2:21 PM on February 20, 2007

Close your eyes, cortex, and listen closely. You can here me applauding from far, far away. This was great!
posted by chairface at 7:28 PM on February 22, 2007

cortex does it again!
posted by nthdegx at 5:12 AM on March 31, 2007

This Day In History update: Stan Chin's star gone again.
posted by cortex at 1:07 PM on May 17, 2007

Wow. Just...wow. This just made my day.
posted by ErWenn at 8:44 AM on March 6, 2008

Jesus, how was this ten years ago.
posted by cortex at 9:46 AM on March 29, 2017 [10 favorites]

Lots of disabled accounts in there.
posted by octothorpe at 4:10 PM on March 29, 2017

I'm still here. (Not one of the 44, not very active, but I still exist at least.)
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:33 PM on April 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

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