Class Act

three disturbing characters

Disturbingly cool. Or, at the very least, disturbing.

I've been away for a while, including spending several days at an aikido "summer school." I am protecting the anonymity of Roy and the others in this photograph by not mentioning any names. You might be reassured to know that this is not how people normally dress for aikido, but is in fact a troupe of highly trained artistes having come offstage (well, out of the bar) after delivering the world premiere of Madonna's aikido version of Vogue. With the words changed, obviously.*

I can't help noticing that the girl looks uncannily like the one in the how to fold a hakama movie. 


* There were five of us them in the group (known collectively as Quality of the Dojo) but I've only come back with a photo of three. So if you were there and took a photo of the whole bunch, please let me know, so I can put that up too. I don't want Penny and Louise, who will also remain anonymous, to feel left out, obviously.


State of the art of Origami

Fish + Paper, Japanese style

Fish + paper, Japanese style.

Fish + Paper, western style

Fish + paper, western style
(actually this one is from Don's Fish & Chips in Brockville, ON).

It's a matter of record that Fudebakudo was responsible for revealing the forgotten martial origins of origami. Fudebakudo even gave the world downloadable slippers by combining the awesome twin-technologies of origami and internet.

But there are other people pushing back the folded envelope. Robert Lang's recent TED talk shows some state of the art origami that frankly makes the slippers look a bit clunky — the fish shown here is an example.

I particularly like his observation that, "The secret to productivity in so many fields is [. . .] letting dead people do your work for you".

If Lang's approach is all a bit too academic and impractical, just learn to fold paper the way the instant origami masters do it.


Out of the Way, You Swine

Like most cartoonists, when I was a child I was fascinated by cartoons. Specifically, I liked to see how they were drawn — for example, although I enjoyed Asterix books because they were funny, I also scrutinized the hands because they were so well drawn. Sometimes I'd look though a book just to compare all the hands, say, or the horses. Or the consistent way the buildings were drawn.

T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics

T-Rex. Sweet.

So Dinosaur Comics is something of an enigma: I read it more or less every day — and laugh out loud at T-Rex and his friends. Part of the amusement is that the drawings never change. Every day different words, but the same pictures. People who aren't into Dinosaur Comics (I was such a person, once) don't get how that works, how that can possibly work. Of course, the reason it does is because the characters' ideas are so smart and funny. But still, there's something disturbing, and amusing, about the implication that a cartoon doesn't need its pictures as much as most cartoonists think it should. Heh. Thanks T-Rex for pointing that out, every time.

Ryan North, the guy who does (I can't easily say "draws" there) Dinosaur Comics  gave an interview last week. This quote is a little out of context, but he said:

"…if there were three otherwise-identical people in a room, one holding a big placard that read "CARTOONIST" while the other two had "ENTREPRENEUR" and "WRITER" signs, I'd really want to talk to the cartoonist."

Heh! Me too! That reminded me of the fabulous Kliban cartoon below. I had this cartoon on my door for many years, cut out from Kliban's obituary in a British broadsheet — "Out of the way, you swine! A cartoonist is coming!"

Kliban cartoon

Cartoon by the late, great B. Kliban.