Calaveras

Nov 02 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Today in Mexico is Day of the Dead, or Día de Muertos. Typically, people set up altars with various offerings to honor their dead, and this can either take place at the cemetery, at home or in public spaces. Growing up we never really celebrated the day of the dead since my family is Jewish, but we did eat the delicious pan de muertos (which my super-cool wife was fortunate enough to find yesterday at a local Mexican bakery in chilly New England!), and at school we set up an altar or ofrenda with little decorated  sugar skulls with our names on them, yellow cempazuchitl flowers, paper cut-outs and all sorts of other colorful decorations. In many small towns surrounding Mexico City you could see amazing ofrendas in the town squares and my favorite ofrenda was one in a place called the Anahuacalli, which was Diego Rivera's house and every year they would display all of the day of the dead decorations this artist made.

One of my favorite day of the dead tradition is writing calaveras. These are typically fake "obituaries", written in verse, which you write for your family and friends, as if they had died. Usually they satirize some aspect of the person and are accompanied by a caricature of the person in skeleton form. Newspapers usually carry calaveras of politicians and other national figures. This custom dates back about 100 years to the time of José Guadalupe Posada, who was a journalist and artist who pioneered the use of calaveras as a form of political satire.

So in honor of Día de Muertos, I decided to write some calaveras for some of my fellow science bloggers, particularly those who's blogs I read and commented on regularly, before deciding to start my own blog. So here it is, the first annual "Take it to the Bridge" calavera-fest!

Drug Monkey, R.I.P.

The ol' Drug Monkey has passed on.

He thought his fight was won.

But NIH said his grants were "Too descriptive."

And things like: "Marihuana's not addictive."

So his grants were all rejected.

And he was all dejected.

La Doctora Isis, murió en una crisis.

¡Pobrecita Doctora Isis!

Murió en una triste crisis.

El tacón de su zapato se rompió.

Su experimento fracasó.

Y en la cocina, la comida se le quemó.

Compañero PhysioProf

El camarada PhysioProf is dead.

Too much 'fucken' cursing it is said.

"But I've really been repentant

since the Yankees lost the pennant!"

Yet it was too late for whining.

With death he was already dining.


Poor Bora (and parrot dinosaur)

Poor poor Bora just as things were going so well.

He accidentally rang death's doorbell.

"Is this Scientific American?" Bora said.

"No it's not", said the reaper, and now he's dead!

16 responses so far

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Gracias Homes!

  • Seoane says:

    Hola!!! Leo que hablas español... muy buenas las calaveritas que has escrito en tu post... muchas gracias por escribir sobre las tradiciones de mi adorado y querido México!!! Y todavía te faltó hablar de la catrina y poner una enorme foto de tan agradable calavera...

    Este año ha habido diferentes exposiciones sobre las ofrendas del Día de Muertos... algunas dedicadas a periodistas, otras a los profesores, etc. pero una de las que más me gustaron fue una ofrenda dedicada al medio ambiente... todos estamos contribuyendo a la muerte de la fauna y flora de nuestro planeta y por eso es que le dedicaron una ofrenda para que concienticemos que estamos matando lentamente el lugar en que vivimos.

    Tengo un amigo que hace calaveritas a todos sus amigos, así que aquí transcribo unos versitos que él escribió hace algunos años...

    Con una vela encendida
    rezo y busco de a de veras
    dar mi rima entretenida
    en este día de calaveras

    Con ingenio picaresco
    y una alegre risotada
    charlaba en tono burlesco
    su decir que cotorreaba

    Así fue el buen Macano
    ignoro por qué así le decían
    Más hoy se nos fue al arcano
    y su cuerpo bendecían

    Ya en su ataúd acostado
    tiene un tronco como almohada
    un zopilote a cada lado
    y un perico en su quijada

    Su pelo ya encanecido
    con betún se lo pintaron
    y su rostro bien pulido
    con manteca charolearon

    Y una bola de cuates
    lo despidieron ya con cuetes
    y le avientan cacahuates
    dos chavales muy ojetes

    Pero yo muy entristecido
    con agachada cabeza
    me voy muy agradecido
    por su amistad y entereza.

  • Awesome! It's inflatable rubber Brontosaurus doll, though, not parrot 😉

  • This shitte would be a lotte funnier if it weren't written in that asutrobelgian gibberish. This is fucken america, dumbass!

  • Isabel says:

    Nice drawings.

    I never heard of this tradition: what a great idea.

    ps. Happy Guy Fawkes day!

  • [...] Um… there was another link I wanted to post, but can’t think of it right now. Instead here’s a link to Bora Zivkovic’s twitter feed where I probably got it from. Also, calaveras of science bloggers by Namnezia. [...]

  • Liz Ditz says:

    Love the sketches. The talent for light verse that runs in my family...skipped me completely, so much admiration.

  • [...] and other public figures. These fake obits are known as "Calaveras". Last year I wrote some calaveras of a few fellow science bloggers. To continue the tradition I'm happy to present a new set of calavers of some fellow bloggers I've [...]

  • [...] other public figures. These fake obits are known as "Calaveras". For the last couple of years, I've written some calaveras of a few fellow science bloggers. To continue the tradition I'm happy to present a new set of [...]

  • […] public figures. These fake obits are known as "Calaveras". For the last couple of years, I've written some calaveras of a few fellow science bloggers and then of a few more. To continue the tradition I'm happy to […]

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