All posts for the month November, 2013

The Power is in the Steam punk!
Written by Donald L Hughes, 2013

A popular genre today is referred to as “Steam-punk”. It is, I must admit, appealing in its attempt to recreate modern technologies to a more simpler function of steam-power. The retro-fitting gears and gadgets that make up guns, phones and computers are very imaginative, and fun. Even the clothing and hats create a longing for Victorian-era living, when life seamed more adventurous and exciting, with tales of yet-to-be wonders such as submarines, space travel and laser weapons. Even with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne characters far beyond the imagination of their times, there was something even more magic going on at the turn of the 19th century than science fiction, and the anachronistic technologies created in the steampunk world of today helps remind of what it was. The steam-power represents, in many ways, the magic that catapulted our lives into a whole new world, and that momentum hasn’t stopped since.

Take a look at a pot of water placed on a stove-top. We turn on the heat, and slowly the water temperature begins to rise. To 60, 100, 125, 150, 200, and then to 210 degrees! And at 211 we have… water! Pretty boring stuff, but at 211 it will make for cleaner dishes and hands. But then, and only by 1 small degree, something magical happens. The water begins to boil, and soon the pot is moving and hissing and popping. At 212 degrees, steam is created. And steam, as we know, can power a 200,000 pound locomotive. It moved the world from horse-drawn wagons to trains, cutting travel time from weeks to days. It changed hand-made items to factory-built production and it built cities over-night. With steam came the railroad, and with the railroad came infrastructure and growth, mass production and innovation. It was the magic in the air that inspired and motivated Edison, Ford and Rockefeller. And all this, by tuning up the heat only 1 degree.

Today, we see others that are inspired and move us, from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to robot-maker Dennis Hing and biologist John Rinn. The magic of the steam-era was the passion that the nation builders had for their particular talent, and so it is today. Once imagination takes hold, and a passion begins to fuel it, miracles and life-changing events unfold. If we only upped our passion by 1 degrees, we can realize amazing results.

So, my proverbial top-hat’s off to the makers of “steam punk”, for taking us back to a time when pioneers of industry and invention risked all to create something better, and for reminding us that the magic of steam lies within each of us to realize our dreams and fuel our passions. After all, who ever heard of “luke-warm” power? It’s in the steam, punk.

The Ultimate Sequel from Hollywood
Written by Donald L Hughes, Fall 2013

Plot: A post-apocalyptic world where the White House is destroyed, and zombies are roaming the country. An evil corporation is in charge of the government, and the lost masses must rely on a few beautiful people to save them and the planet, but not hurt any wildlife or the ocean, and only destroy the inner cities. The police are dispatched, but are totally bumbling idiots and in constant conflict with the FBI over jurisdiction, whom in turn are just as stupid. A secret government agency known as Section 6 is also dispatched to bring down the evil corporation, but their only job seems to be driving a fleet of black SUV’s speedily down the interstate, which has a bridge out, and shooting at and blowing up a semi tractor-trailer with some unknown, highly explosive and flammable substance, and can balance on 9 wheels for several miles. In the mean time, a father-daughter team is on the trail of an anti-virus, but the father is dim witted, slow and old fashioned, and the daughter is super intelligent with computers and knows karate and ninja techniques so she leads her silly dad thru complex mazes and street gangs that dance to see which gang has the best moves. The evil corporation is run by a vampire that needs an ancient relic to survive, and his minions have to fight off werewolves and Section 6 with robots that can turn into every day items and cool cars. The President of the United States, played by Morgan Freeman, is on Air Force One and is being protected by the Secret Service while talking to an MSNBC reporter about the importance of saving the planet, even though no one watches that network. The Washington Times, or Post, or something, is working tirelessly on getting the news out (which really illustrates this is a fiction movie) about the evil corporation and how we need the government to save us. The zombies eat Congress and some radio talk show hosts, and a super-hero team of beautiful people come together to create a time-warp and start the world over with the survivors all wearing robes, and having a picnic in a park in the ruins of San Francisco while feeding the dolphins and singing in perfect harmony.

Cast: Morgan Freeman, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock as the brilliant scientist/doctor, Ryan Reynolds, Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, Angelina Jolie, with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal as the un-edited zombies.