ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a look at diversity in Star Trek. I'm particularly taken by Armin Shimerman's experience regarding perceptions of the Ferengi.

However, I must note that "having equality" is a white perspective on Lt. Uhura. Whoopi Goldberg's reaction was, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ Dr. Martin Luther King's description was, "You prove that we survive."  Those are very different values in the character.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was inspired by a prompt from LJ user Pocketnaomi. It has been sponsored by LJ user Lone_cat. It belongs to the Danso and Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Brothers, Equals"
-- Alcaic stanzas


You cannot name a people as ignorant
Who turn your language, basketlike, whispering,
Back running over self and substance:
Listen and learn or else fall to failure.

O Best Beloved, African history
Tells tales that Europe, envying, echoing,
Brings home to ponder weighty meanings nightly:
Honor us, join with us, brothers, equals.

* * *

NOTES:

This is a poem by  Danso, rather than about him.  One of his pet peeves is people who talk down to him because of his race, his background, and whatnot.  There's a saying, "No man can call you ignorant if you can beat him in a game of chess."  Every culture has things it respects as signs of sophistication; in America, chess is one and poetry is another.  If you can write poetry in Greek forms, you have disproven the argument that you are uneducated or unintelligent.

Alcaic stanza is a Greek form of poetry which relies on syllables.  It doesn't fit well with English, but I've made a capable effort here.

The Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling relate fables about why the animals are the way they are.  "The Elephant's Child" is one that explicitly mentions Africa.  "O Best Beloved" is a phrase from there.

African history is the wellspring of humanity, so pay your respects.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the August 2, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon and Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "accident" square in my 8-1-16 card for the Survival Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Shirley Barrette.

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This is the second freebie, courtesy of new anonymous donor. The poem was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart. It also fills the "marshmallow world" square in my 7-1-16 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a photo-essay showing the evolution of classic to modern cars.  Some show very little change, mostly a more streamlined form for less wind resistance.  Others are completely different.  That's a problem if you liked and could drive the earlier versions and now can't get a vehicle you can drive.  Same with the rush to electronics; people with a more mechanical approach are out of luck, as are people with low skill at computers and machines in general.  Earlier cars were much simpler. They didn't do the gee-whiz things but they were often more durable and easier to operate.  One of the few innovations I really like is automatic transmission.  Outside that, I have found that the drawbacks of new technology usually outweigh the benefits in cars.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a look at how history can predict the future.  It's not true that "nobody" ever sees it coming.  Somebody always does. The problem is that the people who can't see the obvious ignore the ones who can.  By obvious, I don't mean that an individual situation looks obvious; it's often obscure.  I mean that the pattern  is obvious, because human history contains many cycles, which makes it very predictable in certain ways.  So when you have studied history and you know the patterns of it, and you start seeing the early moves of a cycle, you know with pretty high accuracy what is going to come next.  If you are a sane person, you will try warning others, and they will either ignore you or punish you.

Welcome to the Cassandra club.  >_<
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
June 25 marked the 140th anniversary of the Battle of the Greasy Grass, aka the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  

I've long held a fascination for this one, and it got me kicked out of history class more than once -- one of those for bringing in personally collected photographic evidence that book and teacher were both wrong about a strategically relevant point of topography.  I mean really, that battleground has been mapped and modeled over every inch, you'd think people would be more careful.  There are whole shelves full of books about it, and I read a lot of them.  We had to do some serious hunting to find the ones written by Lakota authors, but they exist.

When I was in junior high, we made a couple of long summer trips out west.  One of the stops was the Little Bighorn, and we didn't realize it until we got there, but it was the anniversary of the battle.  It was an uncommonly cool, damp, foggy day for the middle of summer in the middle of the plains.  A low mist blanketed everything, stirring and stirring in the breeze.  Everyone else was huddled in the visitor's center, because apparently, this had a habit of happening and the ghosts would get restless, particularly around the anniversary.  Naturally this made us want to go out and hike around the site, since it wasn't broiling and wasn't crowded.  The staff all looked at us like we were crazy.  Well, we have houseghosts and some complicated distant connections to the folks on the Pine Ridge Reservation, so we were not deterred.  It was very exciting to see the battlefield up close and take pictures of the important places.  We saw a few of the ghosts, eddies in the mist, wisps of color seen through the corner of the eye.  They never bothered us.  Most of it was just sounds, whispers and hoof-thumps and such.  History, resurfacing occasionally to remind people that what is gone should not be forgotten.

Never forget.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This is the linkback perk poem for the June 7, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by DW user Dialecticdreamer.  It is spillover from the May 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from [livejournal.com profile] siliconshaman.  This poem also fills the "covert group with mundane front" square in my 1-1-16 card for the Spies, Secret Agents, and Noir bingo fest. belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics. So far 7 of 20 verses have been posted.

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[personal profile] chanter_greenie has posted a lovely poem in Polychrome Heroics.  "Stones in the River" focuses on the Corey family from 1692 to the present, exploring how superpowers have affected them.  This is a great addition to the poems that touch on historic events and people who might have had superpowers.  And yes, the inciting incident is real.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I've been thinking about Marvel's latest issue of fail. Clearly somebody ought to do something about this. Well, I'm Somebody.  If you want to do something about this nonsense too, I have a list of suggestions.

EDIT 5/31/16:  [personal profile] shiori_makiba has written two lovely poems that follow my story "Rotten Fruit." "A Good Man" shows Phil's musing about what makes a villain and what makes a hero, while waiting for rescue. "It Ain't So" features Tony helping to clean up the aftermath, in which he and Steve explain about bullies.

EDIT 6-1-16: I have added a scene about Hulk reciting social stories, and a new reference to kibbutzim.

This story fills the "caught in the act" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest.

This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk,""kintsukuroi," "Little and Broken, but Still Good," "Up the Water Spout," "The Life of the Dead," "If They Could Just Stay Little," "Anahata," "When the Wheels Come Off," "Against His Own Shield," "Coming in from the Cold: Saturday: Building Towers," "Coming in from the Cold: Sunday: Shaking Foundations," "Coming in from the Cold: Monday: Memorial Day," and "What Little Boys Are Made Of."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Steve Rogers, Phil Coulson, Hulk, HYDRA!Nick Spencer, Nick Fury, Clint Barton, Tony Stark, JARVIS
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Defamation. Betrayal. Anger management issues. Rebellion. Ethical dilemmas. RPF. #sayitaintso. #nickspencerishydra.
Summary: A more plausible explanation for that issue of Captain America in which Steve is portrayed as a HYDRA agent.
Notes: Heroism. Team as family. Competence. Friendship.

A note on feedback: While it's not necessary to comment on every post I make, remember that I don't know who reads/likes things if nobody says anything. Particularly on long stories, I've discovered that I get antsy if there's nothing but crickets chirping for several posts. So it helps to give me feedback at least once, even if it's just "I like this" or "This one doesn't grab me." First and last episodes are ideal if you rarely feel inspired to comment in the middle.

I also have a list of favorite photogenic scenes from the whole series for fanartists to consider, partly compiled from audience requests.

Read more... )
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I was appalled, but not surprised, by Marvel's recent storyline that Captain America is Hydra.  Yes, they're really paddling that douchecanoe for all it's worth.  I am pleased to find a post by a Jewish writer, who speaks with more cultural right than I could, explaining why this is so very wrong. 

It's not just about the current fetish for brutalizing and/or distorting heroic figures, this persistent desire to destroy all that is good and hopeful in the world, to convince everyone that they can't have  heroes.  It's that this twist hurts living people  as well as mocking the dead.  That is not okay.

Art is power.  You use it responsibly, because if you don't, you're a bully.

I really hope, in some just and well-deserved afterlife, the people who perpetrated this meet with Steve Rogers so can ... explain ... a few things to them.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem came out of the May 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by LJ user My_partner_doug, who prompted with a reference to the "three Rs."  It has been sponsored out of the general fund, based on an audience poll.


"3 Rs and 1 L"


The evolution of education
has been a long and winding road.

For a time, people thought in terms
of Recitation, Repetition, and Repression --
a focus on the techniques of teaching.

Then the litany switched to
Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic
(but not, evidently, Spelling yet)
and the emphasis changed to
the topics that were taught.

In the end, though, there is
only one fundamental thing
that students must discover --
not what to think, not how to think,

but how to learn.

They don't actually need
a school for this, or even a teacher.

It's hardwired.
It's built into the DNA
of every animal species,
albeit some more than others.

But success in school depends on
people not  knowing that   fact.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I found this article about city shapes and just ... had to laugh.  "Only" is a dangerous word.  

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three other city shapes: hexagonal, radial, and vertical.  

Now hexagonal was never common, so I'm not surprised they didn't include it.  It's super efficient for space but not very convenient for traffic, and humans figured that out fairly fast.  But I did find a hexagonal example on a search.  

Radial is a spiderweb, with straight crosslines and straight or curved perimeter lines around a focal point.  You see it in cities butted against an edge like a lake or mountain, or cities that grow up around a central point like a castle.  Here's a nice one with concentric circles, and a bigger one done all in straight lines.  This huge one is a bit more gridlike, but you can still follow the pattern of radial and perimeter lines.

Vertical cities go up the side of a mountain or cliff, such as pueblos.  Sometimes they have a vertical grid if they are built, other times a more organic pattern if they are stuffed into whatever holes people can find already there.  This cliff city basically has a front (the air) and a back (the cliff) and its access ways are mostly stairs and ladders  instead of streets.  This mountain city seems to have a central access for boats  and most of the rest is tall buildings jammed right next to each other.  Once again the prevailing direction is up/down and the primary transit is probably stairs, as it looks older and poorer than the kind of city that puts an elevator in every building.

And of course, not everyone cares about efficiency.  Here's one based on circles with houses in wedges, which totally do not pack well.  This one uses ovals around each house.  Very retro, that's what got people trying hexes and later square grids.  But if you want  that green space in between housing clusters, suddenly these models make a lot more sense.

Another division is between manmade and organic.  Grids are manmade, using straight lines and regular patterns.  Organic shapes are more random and curvilinear, like some subdivisions, and rarely work as well.  (See Stupid Street Design and Stupid Lot Shapes.)  In the article, the grids are over-represented in their set of four, and curvilinear shapes -- which do exist -- only somewhat.

Then there's the question of navigation.  Modern cities are pretty much built to be easily navigated. They want people to get in and out and around them easily.  This was not always so.  Once upon a time, cities were sometimes built for defense so that the streets were either a completely chaotic maze, or later on, deliberately designed to slow progress from the rim to the center.  It's how you discouraged invaders.  You got a similar effect if people just built stuff wherever they felt like it and/or followed natural features such as rivers.  Then the Romans popularized the grid.  Rome!  By firelight!  <3  You could charge an army right down those streets on a straight run.  For centuries, in fact, barbarian hordes had great fun doing that.  Here's a fascinating comparison of which cities have a regular grid and which are tangled.

Come on, math dudes, get your heads out of your cultural bias.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Alas, it is 21 volumes long, so not practical for me to read.  But I am happy that it exists.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 "Sport" is an episode of the very NSFW comic "Oglaf."  <3
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
 Using biology to study folklore to study sociogeography.  I love how science sticks to itself!  This is like a hot fudge brownie delight of scientific goodness.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Based on an audience poll, this poem has been sponsored by the general fund. It is spillover from the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] mdlbear, [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart, and Nsfwords.


"Looming Futures"


It was during the Industrial Age,
when machine looms were common,
and Zeus had gotten bored with mortals
ignoring him and gone off with his latest conquest,

when the Moirai quietly switched to a jacquard loom
with its silken threads of Fate laid out in patterns
determined by lengthy chains of paper cards
punched full of holes to control the hooks

and Ada Lovelace suddenly thought,
What a clever idea that is.

* * *

Notes:

The Fates are also known as Moirai.

A jacquard loom is actually a type of card-commanded computer.

Ada Lovelace is the mother of computing.

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