These three songs were all written (and probably choreographed) by Germans within a couple of years at the end of the ’70s. The second two are, of course, by the same group, who give essentially the same performance both times. This stuff must have been pretty popular for that to have been worth doing. Why this, then and there? And why are there no songs about how great it is to live in, say, Bavaria? Do Bavarians just not have sufficiently interesting dances? Not enough capes? Or maybe there are plenty of such songs, and I just haven’t seen them yet (they’re probably all in Russian).
Can we make a meaningful distinction between the purpose of a particular organ or behaviour in the species and its purpose in a particular individual?
For instance, if the species of bear Ursus Schmursus has a special claw for peeling wild onions, is it a consequence of this teleological fact that, for any member B of that species, B’s special claw is for peeling wild onions? (I’m allowing for individuals that don’t have the claw, or are unable to peel onions for other reasons of poor health, as uninteresting exceptions.)
It strikes me that trees make it obvious which parts of them are potentially edible, even when they don’t want those parts to be eaten, especially their leaves.* They’ve had plenty of time to evolve leaves that don’t stand out from the bark; I think a mutation that caused leaves to look more like bark (e.g. that encouraged green bark or added a red pigment and/or rougher texture to leaves) could easily occur and could be a net benefit. So why do leaves still stand out, and get eaten?
*In fact, if leaves stood out less, then the parts they do want eaten – their fruit – might be easier for fruit-eating creatures to locate.
So, the lyrics were written, at the latest, in 1973 (if they’re the same as in the original studio version, which they seem to be). What would be the reason for including the pope- and wall-references at that time? Perhaps the ‘wall’ line is a genuine prediction on Stewart’s part, but I imagine the ‘pope’ line is just an off-handed attempt at suggestiveness, like the ‘two great men’ one (unless anyone can spot an obvious target for the latter for me), that happened to fall unhappily close to the truth.
Using Wikipedia, I can’t see any recent popes with ‘Paul’ as a birth or regnal name until Paul VI, the incumbent at the time the song was written. Perhaps that was reason enough to make the reference – after all, he had to die at some point, and for obvious reasons he was spending a lot of time near Rome. (On the accuracy of the prediction as sung, Wikipedia says Paul VI died about 15 miles from Rome, which is a bit more than 3 leagues – between about 4 and about 8, depending on whose league you’re using. The two subsequent (John) Pauls died closer than that, though. If you count a John Paul as half a Paul, then perhaps when you tot up the distances you can get 2 (1+0.5+0.5) Pauls dying a net distance of 6 leagues from the gates of Rome. Or if you count a John Paul as a full Paul, but use smaller leagues, you can get 3 dying a net 9 leagues from the gates of Rome. So there was a significant period of time over which the average distance of pope deaths from Rome was 3 leagues per Paul; when you also have to worry about rhyme, it seems quite reasonable to express that by saying: over this period, for a Paul, the distance of their death from the gates of Rome is 3 leagues.)
I know Haeckel was into drawing natural structures, not just actual beasties, but what does the thing in the bottom-right corner have to do with arachnids? Is it an organ? An egg? A cluster of eggs?
Also, can anyone give me a reason for the existence of the pattern on the abdomen of the spider at the bottom (which I’ve also seen in the live version). It’s like a cross between a cone shell and a tabby cat. Is it some kind of camouflage?