Music

Moving the Bones

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Moving The Bones
by Dr. Jane Robinson; used with permission

The head of our museum sent a memo down one day
They’ve named a stegosaur for him, he wants it on display
He wants it in the foyer where its bulk will catch the eye
It’s heavy, ugly, cumbersome, and seventeen feet high!

We can do it, nothing to it…
Just move the least colossal fossils out from under the rotunda
Make ’em all room in the ballroom if we have ta
Put the forty fitted cases into not-so-fitted places
Hang a skeleton from every joist and rafter, and we’re

Moving the bones, moving the bones, moving the bones again!
Just to appease the director’s whim, just this once and just for him
With breaking backs and aching limbs, we’re moving the bones again!

The ambassador from China sent a gift most fine and rare:
A towering Shangtungasaur exquisitely prepared
The foyer is the only place appropriately high
So get the cranes and scaffolds, kiss that stegosaur goodbye

We can do it, nothing to it…
Bring the less colossal fossil out from under the rotunda
Making floor room in the forum bit by bit
Put the cases by the casement in the corner of the basement
And the skeletons wherever they will fit, and we’re

Moving the bones, moving the bones, moving the bones again
Just to please the ambassador, just this once and nevermore
I think we’ve heard this line before, but we’re moving the bones again!

The wife of the director came to view the new bequest
She sniffed, “It doesn’t match the tiles; besides, it’s so undressed!
“You need a diorama to add drama to the place
“These lizard bones are boring and the dust is a disgrace!”

We can do it, nothing to it…
Move the most colossal fossil out from under the rotunda
Then we’ll coil it near the toilet in the forum
Eradicate all traces of the forty fitted cases
Better pack the plaques and stack ’em in the storeroom

And we’re moving the bones, moving the bones, moving the bones again!
Just to suit a lady’s taste, all that headroom gone to waste
And fifteen weeks of work erased, but we’re moving the bones again!

A congressman came calling as our funds were getting low
He spied the diorama and he cried, “It’s gotta go!
“It’s full of foreign fossils and if I’m your candidate
“You’ll fill the flamin’ foyer full of fossils from our state!”

We can do it, nothing to it…
All the less colossal fossils we’ll deposit in the closet
Then we’ll cram the diorama ‘neath the stairs
The skeletons can dangle in the stairwell at an angle
In the foyer, there’ll be smilodons and bears

And we’re moving the bones, moving the bones, moving the bones again!
Just to please some bureaucrat who wouldn’t know T-Rex from a cat
But we need his vote and his wallet is fat so we’re moving the bones again

The chairman of the board decreed, “It’s time to modernize
“Let’s can this California stuff and go for scope and size
“Uncoil that big Shangtungasaur and mount it tall and proud
“Ignore the politicians, it’s out job to please the crowd!”

We can do it, nothing to it…
Bring the less colossal fossils from the storeroom to the forum
Put the cases in their places on the floor
Use the wall room in the ballroom for the families of mammals
And we’ll… HEY, THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT WAS BEFORE!!!

But we’re moving the bones, moving the bones, moving the bones again!
Chairman of the board knows best, pays my wage so I’m impressed
And after an hour or so of rest we’ll be moving the bones again
Moving the bones, moving the bones, moving the bones again!

Print Notes Notes

When I was in college (a long time ago!) at Cal Berkeley, a favorite uncle invited me to join him at a science fiction convention called BayCon. It was my first science fiction convention and a weekend that changed my life.

One high point of BayCon was seeing a show by a band called Doctor Jane And The Primordial Oohz. They wore tie-dyed lab coats and sang crazy songs about science. “Moving The Bones” was one of my favorites: I love the fast wordplay and the behind-the-scenes look into the lives of working scientists. My thanks to Jim (Dr. Jane’s successor, and there's a story about that) for allowing me to use some of Jane's wonderful songs in my own mission to entertain and educate.

I don’t think this song really meets any of the content standards of the NGSS, the Common Core, or the state of California. I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway just because it’s fun.

Chords for the verses: G, A, D, D7; for the slow bit (we can do it...) C, B, B7; for the quick part (just move the...) Em, D, C, B; for the chorus (moving the bones...) Em, C.