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Unnatural blues

by Greg Crowther


Context

Who says fish never get the blues? This teleost is concerned that the water is getting too darn hot. After noting that his upper lethal limit is 42 degrees Celsius, he lists the three major mechanisms ectotherms use to minimize heat-induced damage to their bodies.

This song is a parody of "Natural Blues" by Moby, which itself is a remake of "Trouble So Hard," a traditional song popularized by Vera Hall. I wrote and performed my version for Biology 334 at the University of Puget Sound in the fall of 2002.


Lyrics

CHORUS:
Oh, Lordy, water so hot.
Oh, Lordy, water so hot.
Two different acclimation methods I've got.
Two different acclimation methods I've got.

I am adapted to life in the lake;
Put me in a lab, and I'll acclimate.
But there is a limit to the heat I can take;
At 42 Celsius, I surely will bake.

Some can keep cool with secretions of sweat;
I can't do that 'cause I'm already wet.
So I'll swim to the shade, where the water is fine,
And pray that HSPs keep my proteins in line.

CHORUS


Other Files

sheet music (with melody play-back)


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using the audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, or (B) designing kinesthetic movements ("dance moves") to embody it. The latter activity should begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) 42 degrees Celsius is how many degrees Fahrenheit?

(2) What three mechanisms for limiting heat-induced damage are listed in the song?

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)