The Ballad of Matthew Buchinger and Lew Zealand

In honor of the release of The Muppets, I thought I'd finally post an epic poem I wrote circa 1999 about a duel between Lew Zealand, the Muppet who went around throwing fish, and Matthew Buchinger, an 18th century gentleman, musician and magician who was born without arms or legs (and did cup-and-ball tricks that have never been explained to this day).  I wrote it while bussing tables at a rib joint and someone managed to remember it all well enough to write it down when I got home.


Matthew had no hands or legs - he lived in Randall's hall.
He entertained the guests with tricks which used a cup and ball
He wore a powdered wig and he had fine calligraphy
He used to say "you'll never find a man as strange as me!"
Lew was fat and orange and  wore a Santa suit all year
Throwing fish at people was his way of spreading cheer
If you asked him why he threw fish,  he would say "because
I am the strangest human being that  there ever was!"

Now Lew he moved to Randall's hall one sunny afternoon
Matthew, with his bagpipe, was about to play a tune
The two saw one another and they both stopped in their tracks
They knew that there was trouble and there was no turning back

Lew he looked at Matthew and he said pretentiously
"You are a funny little man, but not as strange as me."
Matthew said quite angrily "You sir are very cruel.
There's no room here for both of us we'll have to fight a duel."

At first they spoke as gentlemen about the terms of play
The loser would get out of town the winner got to stay
They'd first march off  ten paces, and then each would do their worst
A roll of dice  determined that Lew would be going first.

So the rules were laid out and a referee brought in
said "gentlemen get to your marks And then you may begin"
Lew stepped off ten paces and he threw a fish at Matt
Who caught it in his cup and made it vanish just like that.

As soon as Matt began his turn his thoughts were rather clear
He meant to put Lew in the cup and make him disappear
And so he hobbled to the man and even though he tried
His cup was just not large enough for Lew to fit inside.

So then began the second round, a second turn for Lew
This time instead of just one fish he tossed a great big slew.
But though a minnow nicked his ear,  Matt's face remained a smile
For every fish besides the minnow missed him by a mile.

"You shall not survive this round" said Matt triumphantly
"For I have got a trick that's sure to scare you mightily"
He then took out his bagpipe and A new smile crossed his face
He said "upon this instrument I'll play Amazing Grace"

Lew was rightly terrified His hands began to shake
He said "I shall distract you into making a mistake!"
Matthew laughed and said  "I've never made one in my life
no, not a single one unless you count my second wife."

"If you play a note on that thing" said Lew with a scowl
"I'll throw out a secret weapon, which smells rather foul.
I know that you will run away If I throw some fish eggs."
"Now I wont," said Matt, "For you see sir, I have no legs!"

Matthew was about to play and Lew was terrified.
He reached into a little pouch which he kept by his side,
then pulled a ball of fish eggs out (the stench could kill a man)
before Matt played he threw them - and then he turned and ran!

Lew would later say he hadn't  really lost at all
It had been a draw that afternoon in Randall's hall
Matthew technically had won - but he had lost as well;
He won because he stayed but lost because so did the smell!

Now the story's over, it's time to say adieu
but before we get to that let's do a quick review.
Here's the story's moral, if there is one at all:
you don't need arms or legs to do tricks with a cup and ball

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Adam's New Book: Sept 2013