Literal Schoolhouse Rocks In this music parody, we rewrote songs from educational children's cartoon Schoolhouse Rock to be about actual types of minerals and rocks.
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Literal Schoolhouse Rocks

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Literal Schoolhouse Rocks

Literal Schoolhouse Rocks

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JONATHAN COULTON: This is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thank you, Jonathan. Before the break, we met our contestants Allison and Joel. Soon, they'll play a game about rocks. And remember; there are four types of rocks - igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic and Dwayne Johnson.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Let's check in with our contestants. Allison, you were once a Jeopardy clue answer.

ALLISON KAVE: Yes.

EISENBERG: How did this happen? Tell us.

KAVE: I was in a cab on my way home one night. And I got a text message from someone that I hadn't talked to maybe since high school with just a photo...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

KAVE: ...Of the TV screen of my name as a Jeopardy clue. It was about a cookbook that I wrote. It was called "First Prize Pies." And the clue was Allison Kave's book of first prize - these things. I don't remember...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

KAVE: ...Exactly the phrasing. But it was definitely one of the most amazing things that's...

EISENBERG: Yeah. Did...

KAVE: ...Ever happened to me.

EISENBERG: Did your publisher call you or...

KAVE: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: ...Your lit agent?

KAVE: I did tell - I told my agent. And I told my editor. And they were both just - you know, mind blown.

EISENBERG: Yeah. And they were like, oh, we're going to sell more books.

KAVE: I mean, you would think. But I don't think that that's actually what happened.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Nothing sells more books.

KAVE: Yeah, right.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's the world we live in. Joel, our next game is inspired by the cartoon "Schoolhouse Rock!" So what's the most interesting thing you've ever learned from a cartoon?

JOEL KOTLER: What it's like to live in Brooklyn from "Hey Arnold!"

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And you think it's accurate.

KOTLER: It prepared me pretty well.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's awesome. So this music parody combines earth science with 1970s edutainment. Allison, stay in the lead, and you're in the final round. Joel, you need to get more points or you must ask Conjunction Junction what its function is and then coach it through its existential crisis.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This game is called Literal Schoolhouse Rocks. We rewrote famous songs from the educational cartoon "Schoolhouse Rock!" and made them about actual types of rock. So just ring in and identify the rock I'm singing about. If you get that right, you can earn a bonus point by telling me what the original song was actually about. All right. Ring in to answer. Here we go.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) Well, every teacher you can know at every pool hall you can go, it helps your grip and dry sweat so you don't fall down. For climbing rocks, it is preferred. Go up to the board and write a word. I find it quite interesting. This rock is used for many things.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Allison.

KAVE: Chalk.

COULTON: Chalk is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: And for a bonus point, can you tell me what the original song was about?

KAVE: I cannot, sorry.

COULTON: It was about nouns.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) Oh, what a thrill. If you could sculpt me with skill, I'd fill the buildings there on Capitol Hill. Right now I'm stuck in a quarry, so I'll sit here and wait for millions of years to metamorph (ph) carbonate. But I'll be a countertop some day.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Allison.

KAVE: Granite.

COULTON: I'm sorry. It's not granite - not what we were looking for. Joel, do you know the answer?

KOTLER: I was going to go with granite.

(LAUGHTER)

KOTLER: But...

COULTON: You still going to do that? You know the...

KOTLER: No, no, no, give me a second.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's also not granite. But that's a good guess, Joel.

(LAUGHTER)

KOTLER: Yeah. I'm going to pass.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: OK. We were looking for marble.

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE: Oh.

KOTLER: Yeah.

COULTON: And that was "I'm Just A Bill" about...

UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yay.

COULTON: ...Bills. Yay.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) The mud and clay and minerals that make up me were settled into layers sedimentary. With hydraulic fracking, everybody tried to mine the hydrocarbons I keep trapped inside.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Just a nice, upbeat song about fracking.

COULTON: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It's a sedimentary rock. It's the...

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: ...Rock you frack. Allison.

KAVE: Is it shale?

COULTON: Shale.

KAVE: Oh.

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

COULTON: I could see you pulling that from somewhere deep...

KAVE: Yeah.

COULTON: ...Inside your skull.

KAVE: And I don't know the song. I'm sorry.

COULTON: Well, then you don't get the bonus point.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: That was "Interplanet Janet" about the solar system. Here's your next one.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

COULTON: (Singing) This carbon lattice is shiny gray. That's its chromaticity, chromaticity. It's used in pencils, lubricates. It's got elasticity, elasticity - in electronics and batteries, talking about conductivity, conductivity.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Joel.

KOTLER: Graphite.

COULTON: Yeah, graphite. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: For a bonus point, can you tell me what the original song was about?

KOTLER: I'm going to say friendship.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Close, close.

KOTLER: But I've never seen any of them.

COULTON: Very close, very close.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It was about electricity.

KOTLER: So close.

COULTON: This is your last clue. (Singing) This stone's an igneous thing, formed in a volcanic ring, used as a shower scrub, lightweight and rough to rub, looks light and foamy with bubbles built in. It will slough off your dead foot skin.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: (Laughter) Allison.

KAVE: Pumice.

COULTON: Pumice is the answer. You got it.

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Any guess as to the content of the original song for a bonus point?

KAVE: I mean, all the words ended with in, so maybe winning? I don't know (laughter).

COULTON: Winning. A song about winning.

KAVE: A song about winning.

COULTON: Teaching kids that - how important it is to win.

KAVE: Yeah. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Sorry, that is incorrect.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It was called "Unpack Your Adjectives," and it was about unpacking.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: It was about adjectives.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Ophira, how did our contestants do?

EISENBERG: They were amazing. And after two games, Allison is moving on to the final round.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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