Friday, July 12, 2013

Celebrity Challenge 3: Submitted by Joshua Schmidt

Great songs coming through!  Keep it up, folks!  And stay tuned for news about a planned party at Lincoln Center!

In the meantime, our third prompt comes to us from Joshua Schmidt:

  George debates the pros and cons of his brand new surgically attached third arm.

Joshua Schmidt is a composer and sound designer whose off-Broadway musical adaptations of The Adding Machine and Candida (retitled A Minister's Wifeare two of the most exciting and challenging scores to have been performed in New York this century.  Schmidt is reportedly working with Disney on an adaptation of the movie, Father of the Bride.


  1. I tried to do music for this, with hopes that people will try lyrics. The music is on YouTube at:

    I gave it a VERY VERY tentative idea of patting yourself on the back if you had a third arm

    (You can email me at if you want an mp3 of this to try to work with it.)
    Or you can contact me at my blog which is at

    Thanks again, NYPL, for hosting this.

    Fred Landau

  2. It's certainly handy
    This extra new arm of mine
    And though you may argue
    That having just two was fine
    I'm much more productive
    In an assembly line
    That's lit'rally handy.

    It's perfect for playing
    Rachmaninoff's Fourth or Fifth
    Nearly virtuosic
    Improving by one hand's width
    Peripherally suited
    For turning the pages with
    While piano playing.

    It causes a stretch though,
    Counting in base fifteen
    An extra dimension
    When framing a camera scene
    I use so much soap now
    In scrubbing my fingers clean
    Some costs are a stretch now.

    My team is unbeaten when I am in goal.
    When speeding through rope lines in search of strong polls,
    I'm overly charming,
    If not quite disarming,
    A triply firm grip guarantees good control.

    So through I can juggle
    The need to scratch my nose
    When carrying boxes
    Or practicing touchdown throws
    I'm coming to realize
    An urgency for new clothes -
    Right now nothing fits
    Without being tight
    And technic'lly it's
    Not left and not right
    I find with alarm
    This transplanted arm's
    Just one more thing to juggle.

  3. My entire life I’ve thought,
    Everyone could use an extra hand.
    And now that I have one in reserve,
    I have to say it’s strange.

    But feeling strange isn’t the end.
    This arm has benefits I’ll defend.
    And although you may not understand,
    I glad I made this change.

    And yes, buying clothing sucks,
    And yes, it’s an extra arm to work out,
    And yes, people seem to run away from me.
    But I had no choice:

    I am a billionaire.
    So I had to do something crazy.
    I’m a billionaire.
    I had time on my hands, now I’ve got more hands than time!

    And I’m a loving guy,
    I’d like to give a big hug, to you and you and YOU!
    I’m billionaire, and I feel fine!

    With an extra arm,
    I don’t need a hands-free device!
    With an extra arm,
    Pushups are easy- Twister is your jam!

    If you’re a loving guy,
    Why not think of it as an extra peace sign?
    I’ve got three arms, and I feel fine!

    It might seem weird,
    But I’m a little attached to it.
    (rim shot)

    Who has three thumbs and a world record?
    This Guy!
    (rim shot)

    And imagine and three-armed
    Fosse Fosse Fosse!
    (8 bar Dance break)

    (Spoken) Phew. The world missed out.

    I know that you’ll see,
    Life is better with three!
    I’ve got some extra arms here
    You can have one for free!

    So please join me!
    There’s no reason not to.
    Please join me!
    I’ll count to fifteen!
    Please join Me!
    And Try. Being. Three!

    Anything you can do…
    I have an extra arm!

  4. Here’s a response to Celebrity Challenge 3. Is there a composer in the house who could set this to a Charleston?

    ARMA VIRUMQUE CANO: I Sing of Arms and the Man.

    By Jimmy Locke (

    “On the one hand, on the other hand”
    My Mom instructed me.
    “Take the pro-sies and the con-sies
    And treat them perfectly equally”.
    I still can hear my Momma’s voice
    Condemning me to equipoise
    So I never made a conscious choice
    Til well past puberty.


    “On the one hand, on the other hand”
    Was never enough for me.
    “On the one hand, on the other hand—“
    Trapped in a false dichotomy.


    Under the pain of perjury,
    The reason I had the surgery:
    From the one hand and the other hand,
    What else could rescue me?


    I consulted a doctor
    (Or at least he claimed to be).
    I couldn’t make my mind up,
    So he sedated me.
    When I woke up in great alarm,
    And I saw through clouds of chlorofarm
    I was short my wallet, and long an arm—
    He reconfigured me!



    “I’ve been ignoring your snoring”
    My girlfriend said to me,
    “But when you wake up, you’re boring!"
    Next week I had the surgery.


    One hand on her bottom, one hand on her breast,
    And one hand to do what she likes best,
    Now she’s feeling triply blest!
    And she’s quite fond of me.



    What’s the one hand and the other hand
    Of my physiognomy?
    Are you betting I’m regretting
    Having had the surgery?

    All my suits must be custom made,
    And I still have trouble getting laid.
    And no one really understands
    The life of a lefty with two right hands.
    That’s the one hand, but on the other hand,
    The third hand set me free!