TWISmas Tales

December 22nd, 2009

This year, we had a contest on This Week in Science. We gave prizes to the best holiday science poems, songs, or tales that minions created and sent to us. The winning entries are below:

A Visit From Kirk Cameron by Jason Quade
‘Twas the night before Twis-mas, when all through the lab,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a rat;
Post it notes hung by the monitor with care,
With hopes that my efforts would soon come to bear.

I drove home my car, while clearing my head,
My children were nestled all snug into bed,
Robo-wife in charging dock, I had a night cap,
And settled into bed for a long winter’s nap-

When out in the garden there arose such a clamour,
The Mrs. warm-booted and asked, ‘What’s the matter?’
Ran to the window and I could have sworn,
There was a tiny sleigh pulled by unicorns.

Cell phone in my hand as I dialed Nine – One – One
I knew in a moment it must be Kirk Cameron.
Creationist tunes seemed to play from a band,
But they came from Ray Comfort, a banana in hand.

More rapid than the progress of science they came,
They whistled, and shouted, and call’d unicorns by name:
“Now! Young-Earth, now! Old-Earth, now! Ussher, and Malign,
“On! Blinders, on! Pseudo, on! On Intelligent-Design;

A shovel my wife produced, I asked, “Why?”
She said that weak arguments would soon pile high.
“Scientific proof they claim to come by,
When they meet with an obstacle, they point to the sky”;

So up to the house-top Kirk Cameron he flew,
Propelled by hot air from the conclusions he drew.
As I put down my phone, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Mike Seaver came in with a bound:

A bundle of books was flung on his back,
And he look’d like a peddler just selling some crap:
His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry;

A wink of his eye soon gave me to know
This mid-night visitor would not readily go.
He tip-toed across, like a man who is mad,
And proffered a book which he laid in my hand.

His Hollywood mouth gave me the Heeby-Jeebies,
The book that he gave was ‘On the Origin of Species’
“Don’t worry he said”, with a sideways look,
“There’s nothing to fear in my little book.

We’ve prefaced the thing with lies near to treason
Sometimes you have to circumvent reason.
We took out the worst parts that put holes in our theory.
A chapter ….. or four. They were rather dreary.”

My hackles were up, but Violence wasn’t the solution
The poor Man-Boy needed an education in evolution.
And I said:
“Tis true Darwin’s book is of public domain,
To mar it with fairy tales, for that I say SHAME.

Individuals are variable, Variations are inheritable
Some offspring within a species are naturally perishable.
Survival and reproduction is for the apt and the strong,
And the history of the earth is very very long.”

When I finished he pulled his fingers promptly from his ears,
First I thought he didn’t listen, and then I saw the tears.
And it was at that moment that he had a choice,
He could embrace the science, do good with his voice.

Would his brain stay three-sizes-too-small that Twis-mas Eve
Or would he get excited, understand and believe?
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And ran out the window; it shattered, What a jerk!,
And laying his middle finger aside of his nose
He flipped me the bird, Ray Comfort was a-doze.

He sprung to his sleigh, children still in their beds,
His pony unicorns lost the cones from their heads.
But I heard him exclaim, ere they drove out of sight-
“Just because it’s not true doesn’t mean it’s not right!”
Dashing through Kigoma by Angela Heinz (sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Dashing through Kigoma
Chasing after chimps
Trying to find a fecal sample
So I can gather it.

Collecting all my data
Each minute that tick tocks
Man it can be grueling
But science really rocks!

Oh grad student, grad student
Making science waves
Working on some new research
For this TWISmas day.

Grad student, grad student
Future science nerd
Making sure the messages
Of evolutionary biology are heard.  YAY!
Darwin of TWISmas Past by Justina Pupkaite
I didn‘t want a lot for TWISmas,
There was just one thing I dreamed about,
I didn‘t care about the fossils
Or anything that science found –
I just wanted the red-bellied Claus
To slide my chimney at night
And turn me into a flying unicorn!
So I could join his deers in flight.

To my defense it can be said
That it was many years ago,
And nothing much was yet in my head.
But I had the desire to grow
Into a shiny flying unicorn!
And so I went to school to learn how
Only in the new light to be born
Into a scientist-to-be somehow.

And then the glorious star of education
Started shining like energy-save bulb.
I started following it with no vacation
For my hungry brain. I joined the club –
I followed Newton, Mendell and Einstein;
But still my dream lived on –
While all the knowledge was fine,
I wanted to be a unicorn!
But everyone would say
(Less and less patiently to a varying degree)
That there was no way!
But I needed the argument explained to me!
I was told that it was how people were created,
And nothing would ever change.
I thought that there were things to be debated,
But the bell rang TWISmas break.

And so I went home on the night before TWISmas,
Snuggled up in bed, and was fast asleep,
When I heard a whooshing sound, and sitting up
I saw the Grandfather Darwin from the deep
Of Christmas past. He explained
How species come to be and evolution works.
And I listened, my breath bated,
Waiting to find out if I could be a unicorn!
But Grandfather Darwin went on to tell
How every individual is born with slight variations,
And they survive more or less well.
Those that reproduce pass on their adaptations,
Which takes years and years and years.
And that is how species change and form.
The evidence is all around out there!
To survive you have to be strong
And to adapt to the conditions.
That is how useful traits remain:
Some have the predisposition
To become another‘s prey…

And so a new picture appeared
In my mind: species fell in their places
On the huge Earth family tree.

Grandpa Darwin vanished without traces.
I cuddled up and fell asleep,
Happy that it was all in my head.

3 Responses to “TWISmas Tales”

  1. Jason R on December 22, 2009 3:54 pm

    Ha! Merry Squidmas too!

  2. DataJack on December 23, 2009 10:46 am

    Very cool, and very clever. Happy holidays all!

  3. rezyde on June 29, 2010 12:25 pm

    Great one I am gonna have to rememeber this one for the upcoming holidays.

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