Hilarious Political Limericks

National award-winning humorist and newspaper/magazine columnist, Madeleine Begun Kane, believes that “a limerick a day keeps Republicans at bay.”  Here’s a humorous political poem she wrote called Some Friendly Advice for McCain’s Veep Vetting Team:

McCain doesn’t use a PC
Or a Mac, so he needs a VP
Who can act as his tutor
In using a ‘puter
And help with the phone and TV.

You can view all of Kane’s humorous poems (including subjects other than politics) at her website called Mad Kane.

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Poem: Maya Blue (at Chichen Itza)

Read a fantastic poem over at the online literary journal, Strange Horizons (so you already know I’m going to like the site because it has “strange” in the title – haha).  Anyway, this poem is by Ann K. Schwader, called Maya Blue (at Chichen Itza), and it starts out:

Imperishable blue this bitter sky
that Chaak abandons, brighter day by day
until maize withers. Soon the rain-priests say
someone—or all of us—must go to die.

Read this entire poem about the Mayan Civilization.  Then tell me what you think!  You can also visit poet Ann K. Schwader’s official site where it looks like you can purchase one of her many books (I like the quote by Joshi on her homepage which talks about Schwader’s  “standing as one of the leading weird poets of our time.”)  She also currently has a hardcover book on amazon.com called Strange Stars & Alien Shadows: The Dark Fiction of Ann K. Schwader.

Book: The World Without Us

Alan Weisman’s book, The World Without Us, is described by The New Yorker as “a sort of pop-science ghost story.”  And we are the ghosts.  Ever wonder what the earth would be like were we all to disappear?  According to Weisman, much much better.

Nicholas Lezard, in his book review at The Guardian, writes:

“What Alan Weisman does, quite simply, is imagine what would happen to the world if we were all wiped out…The book is, moreover, designed to be readable. It really is quite hard to close it and get on with other things.”

Katie Q, in her book review at the blog Pen to Paper, writes:

“The World Without Us is a good read with an intriguing topic…The message is important, and there are plenty of “wow” statements that will keep the reader interested. For example, the length of time it will take to erase the faces on Mount Rushmore, the visual of a future ocean turned green with sea turtles, and the resistance of the Hoover Dam to crumble are all astounding talking points.”

This sounds like a really interesting book, and one that’s going on my amazon wish list.  If you want to put it on your wish list, too, go to The World Without Us by Alan Weisman at amazon.com.

Have you read this book? Do you want to read this book?  Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Zombie Haiku

If you think zombies can’t write poetry, think again.  In his book, Zombie Haiku, Ryan Mecum gives us insight into the inner workings and deepest feelings of the zombie mind.  Here are a couple of examples of what you can expect to find in Zombie Haiku:

blood is really warm
it’s like drinking hot chocolate
but with more screaming

Looking at my hand
Somehow I lost a finger
And gained some maggots

From here you can visit the Zombie Haiku homepage, read the Zombie Haiku blog (including author touring information — if you’re brave enough to go see him), or buy the book, Zombie Haiku, at amazon.com.

9-11 Urban Legends: Truth is Stranger than Fiction

September 11, 2001, is a day surrounded by urban myths and legends.  But some of those legends, as strange and unbelievable as they might sound, are actually true.  Here are a few.

According to the University of Hawai’i online newspaper, Ka Leo:

“The progressive rock band “Dream Theatre” released its three album set, ‘Live Scenes From New York,’ on 9/11. What is so eerie about the album’s release date is that the cover portrays the Twin Towers engulfed in flames, perched atop a massive fireball.”

The band immediately withdrew the album, and re-released it later with a different cover.

Per truthorfiction.com’s 9-11 article on the USS New York:

“A new navy ship, the USS New York, is partly built with steel from the ruins fo the World Trade Center…Twenty-four tons of steel from the World Trade Center have been recycled for the project. About seven tons were melted down and poured into a cast to make the bow section of the ship’s hull. The steel has been treated with reverence by the ship builders and several workers have postponed retirements for the honor of working on the USS New York.”

This next legend reminds me of that movie, Final Destination, where a group of teens is supposed to die but doesn’t, so death goes looking for them.  Per the snopes.com article on 9-11, titled Death on the Ferry:

“On 15 October 2003, a horrific [ferry] accident in the harbor of New York City claimed the lives of ten people and injured sixty-five others, three of whom lost limbs…Numbered among those killed…was 25-year-old Darius Marshall. This security guard for the United Nations…had been injured in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on America – he was knocked unconscious by debris falling from the towers and was missing for 13 hours until his frantic family found him aboard a ferry that had been converted into a first aid station. Another of the deceased, 44-year-old John Healy…worked on the 36th floor of one of the World Trade Center towers at the time of the attacks, but he was late getting to the office that terrible day because he was taking one of his daughters to school.”

According to that same article, a woman who survived the World Trade Center attack also died in an American Airlines plane crash 2 months later.

Read More 911 Urban Legends:

Illustrated Poetry Blog

Poetry Blog is the simple yet accurate name of a wonderful little blog I discovered today which features classic poems combined with pictures which compliment and add to the experience of the poem.  What a great concept.  Here are a couple of my favorite entries:

Poem by Robert Lee Frost, Once by the Pacific, which begins:

The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before…

Poem by Sara Teasdale, I Am Not Yours, which begins:

I am not yours, not lost in you, 
Not lost, although I long to be 
Lost as a candle lit at noon, 
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

Unfortunately, it looks like whoever was writing the blog both started and stopped in October of 2005, but there are a few pages of entries there, and it’s well worth reading through.

The World Owes Me a Robot

I have a phone small enough to carry in my pocket and strong enough to call someone on the other side of the globe.  I have a computer that can instantly access information from all over the world about any topic I can think of.  I have my entire music collection on a tiny device that is slightly thicker than a credit card.  Yet, I do not have a robot.

And I would just like to take a moment to say… why the heck not?!

I want my robot, and I want it now, people.  And I’m not talking about a stupid Roomba either.  That is not a robot, and they should stop calling it one.  It’s a machine that vacuums:  it’s a vacuum machine.  And a fairly crappy one at that, from what I understand.

I should be hearing the wonderful pitter patter (or clunk clunk) of little robot feet right now as it walks through the house, cleaning my dishes, folding my laundry, and feeding my cat.  Instead, all I hear is the heartbreaking silence of a robotless home.

While I will most likely be dead before my robot prayers are answered, here are some innovative projects that will perhaps lead to a bright, robot-filled future for generations to come.

  • Real-life Transformers:  Carnegie Mellon University, CMU, Intel, and the U.S. Air Force are working to create swarms of electro magnetic robots, each the size of a grain of sand, that can form and re-form different 3D shapes, including replicas of humans.
  • Kiddie Companion & Tutor, Zeno:  A cute character designed for kids (but I want one, too).  From Hanson Robotics, Zeno uses artificial intelligence software to carry on conversations.  He’ll also have his own moods and make his own decisions.
  • Thought-Controlled Robot:  The University of Washington is experimenting with controlling robots solely through the use of brain waves.
  • Anybots:  A company in California is working on developing my dream robot — household helpers.
  • PePeRo — Cutest of All Robots:  A personal and rather precious-looking robot designed to be a home companion.  It tells jokes, too.
  • Robot Chef:  The Technical University of Munich is developing a robot that can help out in the kitchen and even go online to learn new things and add to its knowledge and abilities.
  • Care-O-Bot:  This robot, being developed in Germany, is designed to assist the elderly with basic medical needs, such as monitoring vital signs, helping to lift and support the infirm, perform common tasks like setting the table, and more.

My love for technology, a childhood filled with sci-fi shows and novels, and my general laziness all combine to assure me of one thing — the world owes me a robot.