Back From the Fire

Mother Earth‘s image appeared on Near Absolute Hero‘s phone. To get his attention she tripped the Emergency Alert feature on it.

Reluctantly Near Absolute Hero answered it. “What do you want? I just got back and I am eating. I burned a lot of calories tonight.”

“I just want to congratulate you on a job well done. Saving that man and his cat from the eighth floor was impressive. Remember to thank me for your wings. And cooling key points in the fire really helped the firemen. Kudos.”

“Did someone film me?” Near Absolute Hero asked between bites of his food.

“I imagine someone managed to film parts. But really I got my info from the radios the fire department uses. Again, Kudos.”

Near Absolute Hero took a long swig of his iced tea. “Well you had it pegged from the start. I’m a natural superhero for fighting fires.” He returned to gulping his food down quickly.

“Well, you invented the cold gun. It’s not so good at getting criminals because you’d kill them if you froze their chest. But it works wonders on putting out hot spots and protecting things like propane tanks from explosions. The experimental winged exoskeleton I provided does save lives, too.”

Near Absolute Hero managed to take his last bites of food on his plate after Mother Earth was done speaking. He asked, “Do you want something in particular?”

Tail said you had some questions for me.”

“Can’t that wait till tomorrow when I’m all rested up?”

“Tail wouldn’t tell me exactly what it was. I’m dying of curiosity.”

Near Absolute Hero sighed. “Fine. I was talking to the captain after it was all over and he said we can tell what room the fire started in and that it seemed to be ignited a meter up the wall. He wasn’t sure but believed it was a methane ignition source. That fits in with the new arsonist that has started 5 different fires in the last month.”

“What does that have to do with me or even Tail?”

“The rest of Mother Earth Force has long discussed the man you unequivocally denied a spot on our team. Apparently you had him try out separately from the rest of us. A certain would be hero known as Flame Tosser.”

“Of course,” said Mother Earth. “I just looked it up. Methane is what burns in farts. Ha, ha. Did I tell you that he wouldn’t wear a cape! It would be in the way of his flames.”

“It’s not so funny anymore.”

“I’m just saving the Force from the horrible, horrible smell.”

“You can just see and hear so how would you know? And I bet you know exactly where he lives and can look up where he might have been when all 5 fires were set.”

“Good detective work, Near Absolute Hero. Do you want to go get him right now? Your power should be able to put out his flames.”

“I need sleep. I’ll get him tomorrow.”

“I’ll gather evidence till you’re ready, tomorrow.”

“Thank you.”

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The Apocalypse is Boring

With theaters shuttered, almost all TV productions now halted, most sports on hold, libraries closed and you can’t go out to a restaurant or nightclub or live show, it is patently obvious that if COVID-19 is the apocalypse then it is boring.

Thankfully we can still go online and most news shows are going. Still the era of nonstop entertainment has definitely flown the coop. Some are resorting to board games and learning as a form of entertainment.

But I guess we should have known that the apocalypse would be boring. Notice how the whole genre of post apocalyptic story telling can basically describe their various apocalypses in about a sentence or long phrase.

There was a nuclear war… The machines rose up… The dead began to rise… or The virus reached pandemic proportions…

All of these manage to avoid the very boring apocalypse itself. The interesting stuff comes later and that’s what makes a post apocalyptic story good.

So excuse me while I wait for reality to change drastically and become much more interesting. It is now my belief that society changes for the worse because we so miss high stakes fiction and the rivalry of sports that we start to put that stuff into reality.

So expect society to totally shift. There should be various factions and from what we know about post apocalyptic societies in fiction is that it will undoubtedly involve cannibalism from one of the factions. And there always seem to be lots of bullets left over even though the factions use them like crazy and the factories that make them are probably long destroyed or at best closed.

Anyhow, I am getting ahead of myself. I only know for sure that the apocalypse is boring. But hopefully not this blog which attempts to make something interesting about a topic that is literally boring.

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Superhero Practice

It was a busy warehouse that morning as the whole Mother Earth Force was there. Modern Ninja and Near Absolute Hero were sparring – Modern Ninja without using her invisibility and Near Absolute Hero without using his cold gun. Mother Earth was explaining to Tail and Flying Squirrel that Tail needed to learn how to break in and hot-wire a car. Flying Squirrel knew all about that kind of thing and could show Tail.

“But what’s in it for me? You say I’m still not part of your team. Perhaps I shouldn’t show Tail so you’ll need me in the future.”

“We are willing to make you an alternate. You could be a sometimes member of the Mother Earth Force. Besides, don’t you want to see Tail fend for himself? If he had been able to do this before, his getaway from Varmint might have been easy and he never would have been taken by the suspicious government.”

“An alternate? What good is that? I want in on the glory.”

“As an alternate you will get your own Top Secret powered exoskeleton. That’s the gift that I gave the other three. And that is largely the reason they spar so well. You will also get access to this warehouse to train.”

Flying Squirrel (who got his name from his wing suit) looked over to the sparring between Modern Ninja and Near Absolute Hero. It was impressive. With their exoskeletons they were able to fight better than ordinary humans. “I’ll do it.”

Modern Ninja and Near Absolute Hero were relaxing for a few moments so Mother Earth appeared on the computer nearest the pair and listened.

“I just think your name is so awkward,” Modern Ninja said.

“Well right now, you’re the absolute hero and I’m near you,” said Near Absolute Hero.

“Oh, so you’re a charmer,” stated Modern Ninja.

“No flirting, you two,” Spoke up Mother Earth.

The pair looked askance at the screen.

“First it’s flirting and before you know it, Modern Ninja is pregnant. Then we’ll have to go with the alternate of Flying Squirrel. Do you want that? Does anybody want that?”

There was silence in the warehouse for a moment. Then Flying Squirrel said, “Hey!”

Still, no one came to his defence.

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The Return of Tail

Modern Ninja jumped about the one room warehouse, drop kicking a punching bag, leaping a pile of equipment then doing a roundhouse on a full body punching bag.

Unfortunately she had used too much force with her roundhouse amped up by her powerful exoskeleton, that she split open the punching bag. That still happened much too frequently. She mustn’t use full power all the time as she seriously would kill too many opponents. She had promised Mother Earth that she wouldn’t. Indeed, she had agreed that one of her ‘modern’ features, which was her using silenced guns, would only be with rubber bullets. Apparently modern ninjas were less lethal than their traditional counterparts.

She had just thrown the ruined punching bag on the pile of equipment when a buzzer sounded from the main door.

She thought about it for a second. Maybe it was a supervillain and although she might not be ready to incapacitate them, she could still kill most potential enemies.

She saw someone in full costume, complete with a cape. “I’m here to see Mother Earth,” said the strange man. Modern Ninja read his chest. That said ‘Tail’.

“The superhero tryouts were last month,” she said looking out through the reinforced glass of the door.

“Are you saying that she never mentioned me?”

“She mentioned a partner she used to have. But she also said she really needed more than one partner. She had been shown that.”

“We lost touch but I’m back with something to say to her. Please. I believe you can signal her. I used to be able to.”

Modern Ninja mulled that over for a minute. Then she hailed Mother Earth.

It took a full minute for a grumpy looking Mother Earth to answer. “To what do I owe the pleasure of being woken up?”

“Do you know this man?” Modern Ninja asked pointing her phone up to the other superhero.

“TAIL! I was beginning to think that I would never see you again. It’s been almost two months. Where were you all this time?”

“I tried to come back but our own government agents got me first.”

“Oh my god! Did they hurt you?”

“No that would be blue collar torture. Like being water boarded or having your nails ripped out. They used white collar torture on me. Like putting me in a cell with bright lights all the time. Then waking me up at odd times and using psychological tricks. It takes longer but it is just as effective as blue collar torture.”

“You don’t have PTSD?”

“No. I think I’m alright but I let them know all I knew about you. Which isn’t much.”

“I’m not worried.”

“I think I ended up knowing more about you. The government thinks you are the maker of the world’s biggest and best quantum computer. They say that this and this alone is how you manage to break into computer systems in less than a second. No ordinary hacker could match that.”

“So my superpower is out. You could at least have waited till we were alone to out me, Tail.”

“I’ll keep the secret,” said Modern Ninja.

Tail said, “You seem to trust her as much as you trusted me in the past. I didn’t think it would be a problem.”

“Well at least keep it hidden from Near Absolute Hero.”

“Are all four of us going to become a team?” asked Tail.

“Just when one of us gets stuck,” said Mother Earth. “I dub us Mother Earth Force.”

“You’re taking top billing?”

“Of course. I’m the one being hunted by the biggest powers on Earth.”

Modern Ninja asked, “Isn’t mother earth force just gravity.”

“Exactly,” said Mother Earth. “When we’re forced together it should be a mission of gravity.”

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Rush Limbaugh Again

I promised to publish this political cartoon of Rush Limbaugh if he ever said something that was so stupid and vile that it made it to my ears up here in Canada to a person that doesn’t seek out right wing slants.

He called the novel coronavirus a plot and that it’s just the common cold. So wrong and so vile just like the last time, Rush.

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Jokes of Billionaires

Let’s start locally with this one. Mike Lazaridis of Blackberry fame is still a billionaire. He started and named the Perimeter Institute which is the premiere physics institute in Canada. He used the name Perimeter because he expected that the science to be done there would be on the edge of known science. It’s acronym is PI which brings fond memories of the first constant we were likely to know. To me this sounds like a Dad joke but it is a joke nevertheless.

Mike Bloomberg is at a very high risk of being the joke Democratic candidate. Even if he pulls himself up by the bootstraps, he has already made a joke out of most of the rules that candidates have to live by. It’s surprising how much a few millions can actually buy in politics.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame made the same joke politicians have been making for the last few decades. Instead of delivering quality jobs, he had virtually every large metropolitan area vying to be the second Amazon headquarters with about 50 000 new jobs on tap. This would be wonderful if Amazon was known for creating only good jobs. But they are not. Some jobs might indeed pay well but I heard the majority of the jobs would be poor paying.

The quantity of the jobs appealed to the politicians of almost every large city in North America. After all they’ve been promoting jobs, jobs, jobs for decades even if they end up being temporary or part time. Politicians know the quantity not quality joke, too.

Elon Musk’s recent joke is calling the spaceship part of his rocket/spaceship, Starship. Even with some improvements in longevity, we won’t be alive to see Starship reach the closest star. Indeed all the plans for Starship currently involve the Sun and its environs – not other stars. His name overreaches quite a lot.

To my mind the funniest joke of any billionaire is the one that Bill Gates made when he said he was now going to give most of his wealth to charity. Ha! Why does Bill Gates’ wealth continue to grow then? Granted he’s let other billionaires surpass his wealth but he aims to be super rich for the rest of his lifetime and I’ll bet that his kids will inherit billions of dollars if he ever dies. Not the 10 million dollars he alluded to leaving them some years ago.

But the biggest joke of a billionaire is, no surprise, Donald Trump. That is of course if he even is a billionaire.

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Fun With Flag Burning

Hate is so common in the nation of Iran that the country supports a business that makes American, Israeli and British flags just for burning.

Iran regularly holds protest days in the year so the business is quite steady and not the angry against the US one day and then back to business as usual the next day.

I say sweet. How are we going to get in on the action of hate and make a profit while making our carbon footprint bigger?

First of all I thought we should do this with the flag of Iran. A natural reaction, some might say, and a bit of retaliation for how they view the west. But when we burn the Iranian flags, how are our fellow patriots going to know we are burning the flag of Iran?

I am fairly literate in countries and flags of the world. But despite being able to point out Iran on a map of the world, I’m not sure what their flag looks like. I have this vague idea that Muslim countries have moons on their flags so I might guess that. Except I know most Muslim countries are Sunni Muslims and I know this is not true of Iran. So what do they have on their flag? I don’t know.

I just looked up the flag of Iran. It is a horizontally laid out tricolour flag of green, white and red. In the middle of the white is a red symbol and there is Iranian writing on the borders of the green and white and the red and white, also. I would never have recognized this as the flag of Iran.

Oh we could burn Iranian flags alright it’s just that we would have to explain to everyone old and young that it is the Iranian flag we are burning.

“What flag?!”

“The Iranian flag!”




But we don’t have to just burn the flags of countries we are currently on the outs with. As a flag making enterprise, we could just make up reasons to be angry with any country.

But some burnings might cause confusion. While burning the Liberian flag some might ask, “Isn’t that the flag of a US state?” It sure does look like it could be with its solitary, white star in a blue square on a red and white striped background.

Still hate is easy. And now that I know it can be a moneymaker, I don’t think anyone could deter me from making a buck off of burning flags.

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Superhero Tryouts: Near Absolute Hero

“I see an AH on your outfit. So what superhero name are you using?” asked a curious Mother Earth.

“It dates from a time when I thought I had the most kick ass power. That was before the testing phase began. I have since been humbled. And I found the name was not original, too.”

“What was your name?”

“Absolute Hero.”

“Is that the power of cold? Surely it must be from absolute zero, the science term for the lowest temperature possible.”

“Yes. This is my cold gun and notice that it is attached by a hose to my backpack. With this I thought I could cool things super quickly. But you see I am stuck at the lowest setting for my gun.”

“Yes, well what can you do on this lowest setting? Surely there is some hope for your power.”

“Well this is a giant warehouse room with nothing that looks flammable behind me, so perhaps I can demonstrate.”

“You certainly can.”

“I have your permission then in case anything goes wrong?”


“Look at this cup of water. If you had a real finger here I would ask you to dip it in and see that the water is at room temperature. I’m sticking my finger in and it is a comfortable temperature. Now I’ll go back 10 feet and shoot my gun at it on its lowest setting.”

Would be Absolute Hero did exactly as he said and shot the gun. There was a cracking sound almost instantly from the cup and it almost immediately looked different.

“It’s all ice now,” he said walking up to the cup and then dumping the ice onto the floor. It stayed cup shape. It was indeed ice.

“But look,” said would be Absolute Hero. “Behind me heated up so much that when I throw the ice back there it becomes water again.” He threw the ice by itself and it arced up and then down creating a splash on the floor.

“So your invention creates more heat than cold?” asked Mother Earth.

“Yes, that’s its downfall. Though I am pleasantly surprised that I didn’t burn anything behind me. I guess nothing behind me was flammable.”

“Welcome to the laws of Thermodynamics,” said Mother Earth. “Every air conditioner or fridge creates more heat than it cools.”

“Wha? I didn’t know that.”

“You must use your powers outdoors and just make sure there is nothing flammable behind you. Then you might be able to turn up the strength of your power.”

“Hmmm. That’s right. I did all of my testing indoors. That’s how I was maintaining secrecy before finally unleashing my secret on the world. But it gets so hot that I think grass would burn and asphalt would melt.”

“I’ve been playing around in US government computer systems and I have found a top secret mechanical exoskeleton with wings. I believe it could make you fly and let all that heat escape to the open air. Plus the wings beating would fan the heat away from you resulting in you being able to use even higher settings. Plus flying’s not a bad bonus.”

“You’d really give me the exoskeleton or at least plans so I could try it? I’m in.”

“I so hope testing is successful,” said Mother Earth. “I imagine you as a super fireman who could put out hotspots in roaring fires, keep heat away from explosive materials and fly to rescue people who previously had to jump from flaming buildings. I’d be all in if it wasn’t for the name. I might have a fix.”

“Do Tell.”

“Also in thermodynamics we’re told that absolute zero is impossible to reach. So how about Near Absolute Hero?”

“It’s a bit awkward. Still, I could tell everyone I was a nerd but that might not scare the criminal element.”

“Think fires. If you’re working alongside firemen you could be near their absolute herodom. And I would like you to work with other superheros so you could be near their absolute herodom, too. It’s settled.”

“I don’t know.”

“If you want the wings it’s settled.”

“You are a hard bargainer.”

“Plus you could say your modesty prevents you from referring to yourself as an absolute hero.”

“Er – okay. I really want to fly!”

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Superhero Tryouts: The Flying Squirrel

“Let’s get right to the point Flying Squirrel. Just what are your powers?” asked Mother Earth unsure of the costumed man in front of her with webbing between the legs and under his arms.

“I’m not sure if I have powers so much as I am skilled in a variety of ways.”

“Well explain your skills.”

“Firstly I am a BASE jumper. That’s when skilled skydivers jump off of still footings like a tall Building, a high Antenna, a big Span (or bridge) or very high Earth (like a cliff). Then they successfully open their parachutes on time so as not to kill themselves.”

“How does that stop criminals?”

“I am excellent at aiming the parachute. I could easily land on and kick the criminals.”

“But they’ll see you coming and get like 20 shots at you before you land.”

“Alright. Well maybe I could land in a walled compound and thus let my superhero friends inside.”

“Well that at least has some usefulness. How low of a building can you jump from in order to land safely?”

“Caution dictates that I should leap off 30 floor and higher buildings. There are many of them in The Big Smoke.”

“Do you have more useful skills?”

“Well I can pick almost any lock in seconds.”

“Where did you learn that?”

“A lot of BASE jumpers can. It’s rare that a tall Building or Antenna will allow you to jump off of it. The owners worry about being held responsible for a death. Even with a successful jump they will throw you under the ‘no trespassing’ bus.

“Well I’m glad to see you might understand the vigilante superhero game. Is that your official Flying Squirrel suit?” It had the man’s mouth exposed but the rest was made to look like an actual flying squirrel. There were flaps under the arms to look like wings or webbing and one flap between the legs which had the image of a bushy tail.

“Yes, but I won’t use it for just BASE jumping. I just use a mask for BASE jumping. In actuality it is a wingsuit. With it I can fly 3 feet for every foot I drop. That’s my third and final skill.”

“Now that would be a speedy way to knock down a criminal.”

“It’s not like that. Once I get low enough I use the parachute to get to the ground again.”

“We’ll think about using you sometimes. But really don’t call us. We’ll call you.”

They left each other on that annoyed note. But all was not lost, Mother Earth realized with a smile. BASE jumpers were the cooler, badder element of skydivers. Seeing Flying Squirrel want so much to be a superhero just meant that superheros were cooler than BASE jumpers.

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Superhero Tryouts: Modern Ninja

“Alright, Modern Ninja, you have shown me your martial arts skills and your use of a couple weapons. But those are just traditional ninja stuff. Explain to me why you call yourself modern,” said the image of Mother Earth that was on a screen with various cameras pointed around the empty warehouse that the testing was taking place in.

“Okay,” said Modern Ninja, dropping the sword she had been using and reaching in her clothing for something. “Traditional ninjas eschew modern improvements like guns.” She pulled a handgun out with a silencer. “Even when they’re ninja friendly like this gun with this silencer. Stealth is a priority for the ninja. I am modern because I use guns with silencers.

“The second reason I am modern is because I use point invisibility. That’s where a sensor detects what my eyes are looking at. My clothing is made up of video pixels controlled by a tiny computer enmeshed in the clothes. Cameras see behind me and extrapolate what my clothes should look like from the point I am looking at. The computer then makes me look like the background I am up against. It’s invisibility except for my eyes. Do you wish me to demonstrate?”

“I would love to see that,” said an eager Mother Earth.

“Which camera should I become invisible to?”

“The one above my image.”

Modern Ninja did something and suddenly only her eyes and the skin between them were visible to that camera.

The eyes approached the camera quickly and Mother Earth ordered, “Don’t touch the buttons! I can see you in the other cameras!”

Modern Ninja appeared again to all cameras. “I’m showing you one of my greatest powers. Is it not right that you reveal more about yourself?”

“I think I will shortly. I just don’t want to skip steps. Are there any other reasons that you are modern?”

“I’m a modern ninja because I’m a woman,” she said, arms akimbo.

“Well I just have to ask. If you are a modern ninja can’t you take the assassin thing down a notch and say you are going to detain the criminal element and not kill them outright.”

“I think I could do that. But at the start you promised that you could add to my powers. I’m curious as to how.”

“I’m a cracker who has broken into the Chinese government’s most top secret security systems. There I found an exoskeleton designed to increase the strength and power of the wearer. I was surprised because I had seen similar ones from other countries and they were not the same. The Chinese one would be superior for those who had mastered martial arts because it gave the wearer more range of motion and agility.

“Are you prepared to spend a few more months practicing with this before you are let on the streets as a new superhero?”

“I have trained my whole life. A few more months should not bother me.”

“Then we will have five reasons why you are a modern ninja.”

“But mostly because I’m a woman!”

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