Archive for 'Improbable TV'

Improbable TV: “The Tay Bridge Disaster” group reading at Central Square

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Here’s a new episode of the Improbable Research TV series. It’s the 3rd of many episodes featuring the bad poetry of William Topaz McGonagall. Fans of consecutive numbering will undoubtedly remember the previously-posted 4th episode.

William Topaz McGonagall, who died in 1902, is widely regarded as the worst poet ever to write in the English language. “The Tay Bridge Disaster” is his most famous bad poem. This is a group performance at the Central Square Theater, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA, as part of the 2011 Cambridge Science Festival. The readers are: Dafydd ap Rees, Debra Wise, Robin Abrahams, David Kessler, Ig Nobel Prize winner Patricia Priest, Daniel Rosenberg and Roberta Gilbert.

Improbable TV: Tay Bridge Disaster recited on a train on the bridge

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Here’s a new episode of the Improbable Research TV series. It’s the 4th of many episodes featuring the bad poetry of William Topaz McGonagall. (For no good reason at all, we are releasing this 4th episode before we release the 3rd episode.)

William Topaz McGonagall, who died in 1902, is widely regarded as the worst poet ever to write in the English language. “The Tay Bridge Disaster” is his most famous bad poem. This is the first group recitation of the poem done on a train while crossing the bridge. (The train departed from Dundee railway station. The train celebrated in the poem, in contrast, was headed towards Dundee railway station, but did not complete the journey.)

The performers on the train include several Ig Nobel Prize winners and many of the poetical citizens of Dundee, Scotland.

BONUS: Terry Jones recites McGonagall’s long-overlooked poem “Stirling Castle”

BONUS: Dr. Elena Bodnar performs the first known translation of “The Tay Bridge” into Ukrainian, accompanied by Terry Jones.

BONUS: Billy Connolly’s definitive reading of “The Tay Bridge Disaster” on a hilltop in Dundee, with the bridge visible wayyyyyyy down below.

Improbable TV: “The Tay Bridge Disaster” in Ukrainian

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Here’s a new episode — #McG-002, “”The Tay Bridge Disaster” with Dr. Elena Bodnar — of the Improbable Research TV series. It’s the 2nd of many episodes featuring the bad poetry of William Topaz McGonagall.

William Topaz McGonagall, who died in 1902, is widely regarded as the worst poet ever to write in the English language. The poem “The Tay Bridge Disaster” is his most famous work. Dr. Elena Bodnar won the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize in medicine for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks. She later performed the first known translation of “The Tay Bridge” into Ukrainian. In this video, Dr Bodnar recites a portion of that translation, assisted by Terry Jones, an original Monty Python.

BONUS: Terry Jones recites McGonagall’s long-overlooked poem “Stirling Castle”

 

Improbable TV: ‘Stirling Castle’ with Terry Jones

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Here’s a new episode — #McG-001, “Stirling Castle” with Terry Jones — of the Improbable Research TV series. It’s the first of many episodes featuring the bad poetry of William Topaz McGonagall.

William Topaz McGonagall, who died in 1902, is widely regarded as the worst poet ever to write in the English language. On March 19, 2011 his poem “Stirling Castle” had its first public performance in more than 100 years, in a ceremony at the University of Dundee, Scotland. In this video, Terry Jones, an original Monty Python, gives the poem its first public reading outside Scotland.

If you like, go to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube, where you can subscribe, free, to the series.

Improbable TV: The Coffee Diet

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Here’s a new episode — #131, “The Coffee Diet” — of the Improbable Research TV series.

“The Coffee Diet” is the concluding song from the mini-opera “The Atkins Diet Opera“. This video shows the debut performance, which was part of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony held in Sanders Theatre, Harvard University. The opera starred Jason McStoots (as Dr. Atkins), Margot Button, and Jane Tankersley, with pianist Greg Neil. The coffee kickline included: Nobel Laureates William Lipscomb, Dudley Herschbach and Rich Roberts; and several Ig Nobel Prize winners; and several of the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony organizers; deep sea explorer Sylvia Earle; and Dr. Barry Sears, inventor of The Zone Diet. The libretto is by Marc Abrahams.

If you like, go to the Improbable Research channel on YouTube , where you can subscribe, free, to the series.

BONUS FACT: In the days after the live webcast of the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, the pigtailed young lady in the pink frock and the coronet was said to be, at least briefly, the most downloaded woman on the Internet.