In her poem, “Superpower”, Jade M. Wong asks (probably rhetorically):
If you could have any superpower,
What would your superpower be?
And because I’m one of those contrary people who immediately has to answer rhetorical questions, I thought I would answer in verse!
Source: [Poetry] Superpower
If I could have a superpower
A power of any kind
Without a doubt, I think I’d pick
The power to read your mind
I’d use my power for selfish reasons
To get ahead in life
Win millions on TV gameshows?
Hell yes, I’d do it blithe
But I think, as well, I’d use my gift
To try and do some good
That coma victim, now her family know
How she sends them all her love
Fiction’s greatest crime detectives
Would have nothing on me
“Miss Scarlet with the axe, your Honour?
She thinks we didn’t see”
And come to me for help rehoming
Unwanted dogs and kids
“No sir, they wouldn’t treat ’em right
Don’t listen to their fibs”
Then I would make a name for myself
Tell folk what they already know
“Of course he’s cheating, look at his face!”
On the Oprah Winfrey show
At the end of the day I’d go to bed
Knowing I’ve done my best
Sure, I can lead a horse to water
But change is up to the rest.
Themes: Horror, Documentary, Mythology
Season 1, Episode #8: The Wild Life
Co-hosted by Dr. Cynthia Wessler and Dr. Dave Kydel
Cynthia: Ask a man to name a fearsome animal, and you’ll likely hear Great White Shark or Box Jellyfish, perhaps Funnel-web Spider or some variation of Bear. Admittedly, they’re all great contenders for the world’s top spot in the fearsome animal category. However, Dr. Kydel and I have travelled all the way out to the depths of the Amazon Rainforest to introduce you to a creature that’s sure to start featuring quite heavily on that list.
Dave: As you may know, habitat loss in the Amazon basin is responsible for forcing animals into conflict with humans. Once, jaguar sightings were rare, but now the predatory large cats prey daily on children from local villages. However, there is one creature that has only just begun to emerge from the depths of this south American jungle, and that creature is the Cannileech.
Themes: Noir, Crime, Detective, Parody
Word Count: ~550
Detective Kitty Salva ran a manicured fingernail across her bottom lip as she contemplated the pile of char steaming on the bed in front of her. Some enterprising junior investigator had drawn a white chalk line around the pile, and every few seconds a few fragments of charcoal would trickle down in a black avalanche, blurring the white chalk to grey.
The sole witness to the… incident? Crime? Kitty wasn’t sure yet. But the sole witness, the baker’s wife, was currently exercising her right to be a crumpled, sobbing heap. Kitty couldn’t blame the woman. Hard enough to see a man burned alive. Harder when that man was Mayor of Yew Nork City. Harder still when the mayor was your lover, and your husband didn’t know about your affair. Kitty’s sympathy ended right there. As soon as Box News got wind of this, Mrs. B. Aguette would become famous for all the wrong reasons.
In 1966, James Brown sang “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”—a song which goes on to detail the various accomplishments of men, such as inventing the electric light and making toys for unhappy children. Women and girls get a mention too, but only as a prop for supporting man’s ego whilst he does all of his inventing.
We’ve come a long way since 1966. Though sexism is still a global issue, and women are in some places and cultures considered inferior in many ways to men, considerable progress has been made. In many countries, women can—and are actively encouraged to—study subjects which would previously have been denied to them; subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Time to take a look at James Brown’s song and see how it holds up 51 years after it was originally recorded. Let’s take a look at some of women’s accomplishments over the years:
“You see, man made the cars to take us over the road”
Sarah Guppy made the suspension bridges which carry the cars (and the roads on which they are driven) over the gaping chasms.
“Man made the train to carry the heavy load”
Marie Curie. Need I say more?
“Man made electric light to take us out of the dark”
Serious illness can put you in a dark place, but those dark places are a little brighter thanks to Gertrude Elion advancing drug treatments for leukemia and organ transplant rejection.
“Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark”
Ellen H. Swallow Richards was a pioneer in water sanitation standards. Think of her the next time you’re pouring yourself a cup of delicious germ-free tap water.
“Man thinks about our little bitty baby girls and our baby boys
Man made them happy, ’cause man made them toys”
Chemistry was child’s play for Rosalind Franklin, the woman who discovered the double helical structure of DNA.
“And after man make everything, everything he can”
But is man as prolific as Dr. Giuliana Tesoro, who held 125+ patents in her lifetime?
“You know that man makes money, to buy from other man”
No list of remarkable women in science would be complete without Stephanie Kwolek, whose Kevlar keeps men (and women) safe on the streets and in war zones, so that they can come home and continue the cycle of purchasing!
International Women’s Day is about celebrating the successes of women, raising awareness of gender inequality, and pushing towards greater equality in all aspects of life. Remember, women aren’t just 49.6% of the world’s population; they’re also mothers and grandmothers, sisters and daughters, cousins and friends. They’re teachers and innovators, doctors and and soldiers—you name it, women are doing it.
Even if you’re not involved in IWD activities in your local community, there’s still plenty you can read online. Check out the official IWD website and #BeBoldForChange, and have a look at some fascinating statistics related to gender inequality on the UN’s IWD homepage. If you’d like to learn more about women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, check out any of the links in my list above. You might be surprised by some of the stories you read.
Personal Log: Captain Aloysius Wren
There’s a saying my great-grand-pappy liked to churn out when things weren’t going his way: Up shit creek without a paddle. It’s a saying I’ve only had to use three times in my life—until today. As figures of speeches go, it’s a pretty damn apt one right now.
I’ve nobody to blame but myself. Shouldn’t have tempted fate by taking a shortcut through the Voltire Nebula. Ten days off our journey versus the possibility of crossing paths with pirates. Sounded like a no-brainer at the time. Figured we could sneak past any smuggling ports or listening posts. Avalon’s small and quiet. Should’ve been easy, but I guess someone looked out the window at the wrong time and made a visual on us.
In the depths of the forest he toiled for hours, sweeping his stage of errant leaves and broken twigs, preening each magnificent tail-feather to perfection.
A beautiful symphony warbled and trilled and cooed from his throat, an harmonious and heartfelt plea of come close and admire me. The other birds listened, awed and confused as he sang the Kookaburra and the Bristlebird, the Honeyeater and the Wren. He accepted their silent encore again and again.
But no female came to applaud his efforts. As the sky darkened, he finished with a swansong, unwitting ode to his own destruction.
Every other Sunday I’ll be publishing a drabble about, or from the perspective of, a bird. This week’s bird is the amazing Lyrebird. A native of Australia, the males of this species are the world’s most talented mimics, and attract a mate by performing songs comprised of the sounds they hear around them. Usually this comes in the form of the songs of other birds, but as can be seen in the following David Attenborough clip from his series, The Life of Birds, the Lyrebird can also mimic the sounds of humanity encroaching on its territory—including the sound of chainsaws and handsaws which accompany the slow loss of the bird’s own habitat.
The Youtube clip is © The BBC. The featured Lyrebird image is © Fir0002/Flagstaffotos (source) under the terms of this CC 3.0 non-commercial license.
Personal journal of Dr. T. Miller
They cut funding. Again. Beginning to think they want us all to die here.
Survival of the fittest. Those that can’t adapt, die. I’m not ready to give up on Lazarus yet. They cut funding. I adapted.
Dr. Chen came by for a progress report. I get the feeling he wasn’t impressed by what I told him. Tried to give him a demonstration, but couldn’t get the nanites to function in cohesion. Problem lies in the positronic uplink… I think.
Ever wondered how to write captivating prose? Cathleen Townsend explains it beautifully in poetry!
If you want to write meaningful fiction,
You’ll need a setting that forces your characters to grow.
Shall it be modern, Edwardian, or antebellum?
Which conflict will nurture the plot elements you sow?
You need a hero to carry your readers’ hopes,
Trusted friends on whom he or she can rely,
And a villain or rival to bar the path of ease,
Leaving a trial by fire your protag can’t deny.
And don’t neglect to add a twist at the end,
An improbable fruit of an earlier seed,
Or perhaps an unlooked-for result,
A reflection of your character’s most deep-seated need.
Stir that melody of elements together inside you,
Water it with tears, give it all that you are–
Write and rewrite until only the story remains,
And publish with the hope that your tale will go far.
Weathered stone markers
Guide the way to Grandma’s house
Silent paws follow
Today’s haiku is written for Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to download the photo from Sue’s site (Failed – Path too long… a very fitting error message for my poem?) but you can click the link above to see the picture which inspired this poem. I hope you enjoy the Pixabay featured image instead.
The small convoy rolled up to the foot of Gunslinger Ridge as the stars winked their way across the darkening sky. A half-dozen cars and trucks were already parked haphazardly among the scrub. The newcomers joined them, abandoning their vehicles with little care for locking doors and enabling alarms.
Wilbur Blake pocketed his keys and tagged onto the back of the chain of people hiking up to the summit. As the sun finally gave up its claim on the sky, Wilbur dug into the inside pocket of his Eisenhower jacket and pulled out a small flashlight. Others followed suit, and soon a small group of yellow and white beams danced their way up the mountainside.