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!
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.
¡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.
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 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!