What the Music You Listen to Says About You
Even the Volume Speaks Volumes

The Emperor’s New Fabric of Space
Dark Matter Is Everywhere Though Nobody Has Ever Gotten Their Hands on Any

Headlines Torn from the Pages of History (and Thrown Away)
Things That Didn’t Happen in 2015

USA No Way
Fake But Accurate News

Compare & Save Big-Time
Are You Paying Exaggerated Prices for Exaggerated Differences?

How Not to Be Taken for a Ride on the Bus
Our Mass Transit Primer

Win Any Argument
Using Paralogic and Surreason

Quick and Easy Housekeeping
Or Sisyphus Unbound and Unkempt

Connecting the Dots
Uncharted Waters Charted

Periodic Table of Hollywood Plot Elements
Lights, Camera, Reaction!

How ESP Works
Mind Reading Diagramed and Explained

Mysteries of UFOs Revealed
They’re Here, They Are, They Are, They Are

Economic Jargon, Lingo, and Gobbledegook Deciphered
Your Guide to Money Mutterings

American History 101 2.0
The Fake But Accurate Story

A Shorter History of Everything and Nothing

Government Machinery at Work
How the Wheels of the Bureaucracy Grind

Star Dreck
Musings of a Semi Hemi Demi Trekker

Those Darn Cats
Our Deal With the Devils



The kind of thing you might have seen in Cracked magazine but didn’t

Gag Cartoon Gallery
Jokes Without a Lot of Reading

E-Z P-Z House Selling
Redirect, Repackage, Relabel

Airline Travel Made Stupid
Everthing You Never Wanted to Know About Air Travel

Winless Wear
2008 Detroit Lions Merchandise

Mythical Monsters & Covert Creatures
From the Silly File


The B-B-Q Pyramid  For the Cooking Unimpaired

Mythic Snowmen  And More Snowmen

Venn Again, Again  More of the Same, But Different

Venn Again, Maybe Not  Another Last Laugh

Quick and Easy Meals  For the Cooking Impaired


Baseball Stadia for the ’90s

Bizarre Business Cards We Hope We Never See

Complete Guide to Piercing

CRACKED's Plan to Balance the Federal Budget in ONE Year

The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be

History’s Least Successful Proto Humans

Just Plane Stupid

Landmark Remodeling

Personalized Remotes

Police Line-ups Around the World (and Beyond)

Roller Coaster Mania

Tanks, But No Tanks

Trojan Horse Designs That Didn’t Quite Make it

Umpire Outfitters Catalog

Ye Olde Transport Catalogue


Suck School of Comic Art –Graduate Course
How to Draw Funnier

Suck School of Comic Art
How to Draw Funny

Crash Course
Cartoon Motorcycle Accidents Versus Cartoonist Motorcycle Accidents



Great War Bloopers and Tactical Jokes
Tommy Foolery, Fritz Flops, Pierre-Balls, Atta-Turkeys and Igor-Blymies

Discovery of the Element of Surprise
Pathétic News Presents

Middle-Aged Mundane Made Over to Modern
A Video Guide

Animated Optical Illusions
Webio-Bot Gets Taken for a Ride

Webio-Bot Meets the Internet
Getting Into the Net With the Web-a-Tron 9000


Pointless Parade  Pointless Game

Getting Warmer  Pointless Game

Pirate Treasure Hunt  Pointless Game

Straight Out  Pointless Animation

Talking Hed  Goes on about Pointless Animation

Circling the Globe  With Pointless Animation

Clockwork Bot Works  Gearing up Some Pointless Animation

Newton’s Cradle  Pointless Animation


Play Webio-Bot Maze
A Lab Rat Game, Only With Your Mouse

Just What Kind of a Person Are You Anyway?
Take the Personality Test and Discover the True You

Happy Suckiversary
Play Art Director

Goodbye, Earthlings

Find the Elusiver, Mysteriouser Creatures
Another Search Game

Consult the Mystic 8 Ball
Ultimate Mystic Service Answers Any Yes-or-No Question

Play Whack-a-Bot
Quick, Get ‘Em!

Play Webio-Bot Rescue
A Game Where You're the Hero

Play Webio-Bot Invaders
Save the Planet

Tricky Geography Trick Quiz
How Well Do You Know the Map and Our Deviousness?

Find the Secret Message
A different Kind of Word Search

Hollywhat? Movie Trivia Challenge
A Movie Trivia Quiz of the Funny, the Obscure, and the Strange

I Will Read Your Mind Online
With Internetelepathy

Do you Know Your Chances?
Challenge Your Grasp of Statistics and Probability

Name That Nym Quiz
Some Fun With Words



Introduction to Flight in One Easy Lesson
Understanding How Planes Can Fly Without All the Messy Details

How Planes Can Fly
The Correct Explanation of Lift for Non-Engineers

Bad Lift Demonstrations Corrected
Putting Bernoulli and Coandă in Their Proper Place

The Trouble With Airflow Diagrams
Misleading and Incomplete Information


Counter-Steering Made Easy-Peasy
Balancing a Bike by Turning

Notes for Young Illustrators
Learn from My Experience, or Get Your Own

Folk Etymology Folks Invent From Whole Cloth
False and True Origins of Common Phrases

We Can’t Score the Easy Life Because We Moved the Goalposts
Why Being Middle Class Was Easier Fifty Years Ago

What Fabric Is The Fabric of Space Made Of?
Space Warps, Time Wefts and Bent Reality

Money Mistakes in Theory and in Practice
Bad Advice and Bad Ideas You May Have Encountered

Changes that Changed Everything
The 10 Greatest Inventions of All Time?

Better Than Sliced Bread
Uncelebrated Inventions Great and Small

The Story of Honey
The Processed Food Processed by Bees

Bikes Don’t Turn By Leaning
Proving Cones and Gyroscopes Are Futile

How I Nearly Ran Myself Over With My First Car
My Motoring Misadventure With a Jerry-rigged Jalopy

Optical Illusions You Often Run Into
Don’t Worry, They Don’t Hurt












There Aught to Be a Law


A 2014 “Brickbats” spot out of Reason magazine.

A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced Shezanne Cassim to one year in prison and a fine of $2,700 for posting a parody video to the Internet. Cassim’s video poked fun at local young people who have adopted American hip hop style. Authorities have refused to say exactly what law the video broke, but Cassim’s family say he was charged with endangering national security.

They don’t know what the law is but they know when you’ve broken it. As they say, show us the man and we’ll come up with the crime.

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 4/21/17

Possessing Ideas


“People don’t have ideas. Ideas have people.”  –Carl Jung

Think of an ideology. Then think of a true believer. Need we say more?

Filed under Words, Phrases, Sayings & Quotes 4/20/17

The Play’s the Thing


There hasn’t been anything on these pages from the Casual Sportsman for some little time. That’s casual enough to be mistaken for dead. So we roused him from his catatonia to add his two cents worth. Here are his two bits at a penny apiece and well worth the price.

If you suspect there’s a lot more replays, analysis and shilling of beer than actual play in your average three hour long football game on broadcast TV you suspect correctly. The ball is in play for a grand total of eleven minutes versus 169 minutes of non-play. What was it like to watch football on the tube before instant replay, we wonder.

America’s most popular sporting good outsells footballs, baseballs, and basket­balls combined. The Frisbee. Which only goes to show folks like playing sports with no rules and no score. Which we perfectly understand. Sort-of like how practice can be a lot more fun than the actual games. After all, we saw more of the ball and scored more goals in a typical single training session than in our entire soccer playing career. Heck, we’d have been just as happy to skip the games themselves altogether. But then that figures, we’re the Casual Sportsman after all.

Filed under The Casual Sportsman 4/18/17

It’s Pointless Animation Monday

Tmouse1 Tmouse2 Tmouse3 Tmouse3 wheel1 wheel2 wheel2 wheel3 wheel3 wheel3 wheel3 wheel3 wheel3 wheel3 wheel3 Bmouse1 Bmouse2 Bmouse3 Bmouse3

So the animation is pointless, but we thought we’d add some trivia value to it. While most animals cannot squeeze through a space smaller than their head, a mouse can. That’s because the multiple bones that make up its scull are not firmly connected to each other, as are human sculls for instance. So a mouse’s head is squeezable, it can elongate to squirm through holes smaller than you’d ever imagine.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 4/17/17

Mathematical Proof You Are More Than Possible


Infrequently Answered Question #113: Considering all the multiple millions of connections over the millennia which had to be made of people having kids having kids having kids et cetera, what are the odds I would have been born at all?

A: Exactly one hundred percent. If you’re reading this you exist, right? It’s the old I think therefore I am bit. The chance of something that happened to happen is one hundred percent. At any rate, there is no such thing as a force of randomness that causes things to happen willy-nilly. Randomness calculated as probability is a measure of our ignorance of what everything happening now will lead to. That’s all.

For instance in draw poker we’ll say the odds of drawing to an inside straight with one card is four in forty-seven. (Pack of 52 minus the five you hold.) But what if you know what the card you’ll draw is? In that case you’ll know the chance is zero percent or one hundred percent. Has some imaginary force of randomness changed? Nope, your knowledge has.

All the same, if you asked one of your distant ancestors the odds of you being born, they wouldn’t have a clue. It might strike them as pretty unlikely. After all, a lot of people lived and died without bearing offspring. But then, they’re not anyone’s ancestors, are they?

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 4/15/17

Mathematical Proof You Are Impossible


Unless you’re a clone you have a mother and a father. And your parents each had a mother and a father. So, you have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, sixteen great-great-grand­parents. We could go on but it starts getting confusing adding all those greats for each generation you go back. Instead of great-great-great-great-grandparents we’ll say four-great-grandparents. Got it? Good, let’s go on.

If you go back ten generations, that’s about three hundred years or so, you’ll have one thousand twenty-four seven-great grand­parents. So then, how many thirty-great grandparents do you have if you go back that far? Pause to imagine… Eight billion, five hundred eighty-nine million, nine hundred thirty-four thousand, five hundred and ninety-two. (8,589,934,592)

We’re talking about the year 1000AD roughly. You have more thirty-great-grandparents than people existed on Earth at the time. Without all those billions of ancestors having children having children having children and so on you wouldn’t have been born. The arithmetic says most of your ancestors are missing. Therefore, you are impossible. And the further back you go the less possible you get.

Filed under Odds & Ends 4/14/17

One From the Torah-Ha-Ha


Another old spot from 2000. Had something to do with comedians amongst the chosen people. Though one wonders what exactly the Jews were chosen for or whether that was such an honor. After all, you could be chosen for a suicide mission, eh what? Scapegoats are chosen, too. Still, a lot of comedians are Jewish. And a lot of them have German names. Though Germans aren’t generally considered to be all that funny. Groucho Marx, pretty funny. Friedrich Nietzsche, not so funny.

Anyway, those are the stereotypes. One supposes they wouldn’t persist if there wasn’t at least a grain of truth to them. Besides, folks only dismiss stereotypes when they’re negative. They embrace them when positive. Crafty Jew, bad. Funny Jew, good. So it seems positive bigotry is OK. We call that cultural heritage and ethnic pride.

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 4/13/17

Can Electric Glass Finally Make Electric Cars Sensible?


From the 94 year-old who brought you the lithium-ion battery comes a new glass battery. Possibly another game changer from the mind and hard work of John Goodenough. Now there’s a name that’s an understatement. The new battery holds three times the charge, is lightning quick to recharge and doesn’t self immolate. Perhaps that Tesla will stop doing it’s pyrotechnic Pinto imitation.

Will a New Glass Battery Accelerate the End of Oil?

Whether it actually saves any energy overall is not clear. Electric cars today don’t. Still, to get past the slow charging hurdle that dogs current electric cars it might be good enough. (You just knew that pun was coming.)

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 4/11/17

History Happens to Other People


“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”
–Friedrich Hegel

Seems we’re prone to believe “This time it’s different” and “That’s the kind of thing that happens to other people, not me.” Instead of looking to history for lessons, perhaps we should look to comedians…

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use in being a damned fool about it.” –W.C. Fields

Filed under Words, Phrases, Sayings & Quotes 4/6/17

Did the Splash Page Look Wrong to You?


Don’t know why, but the opening animation on the splash page doesn’t work quite right in every browser. Since it’s a throwaway bit we’re not going to sweat it. Still, it irks us. Though it does make two days running where we’re confused about technology. Be that as it may we’re chucking in an old art spot from PC World of 1998 which is only tangentially related, but kinda fits.

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 4/5/17

This Site Now Atomic Powered!


We say, everything electrical is atomic powered and terry colon dot com is electrically powered. This power isn’t from splitting atomic nuclei, but using the electrons of atoms. Electrons are atomic, eh? In DC they jump about from atom to atom. In AC they oscillate back and forth, or something. At any rate, when AC electricity enters your house, nothing actually gets in. Nothing flows through the wires, the electrons don’t zip about the house and go back to the electric company to be recycled or whatever. The whole business is like atomic vibes, man. We have no idea how it works, but we’re certainly glad it does.

We also know electricity must be a circuit, a loop. How big or how many loops there are in the house we can’t say. Toss in magnetism, which goes with electricity like white on rice, and we’re totally at sea. Magnetic fields are also loops without beginning or end, like little self contained bits of infinity made out of… what? Influence? It’s a mystery.

Filed under Odds & Ends 4/4/17

Let the Critter Cursing Begin


Here’s another old spot of art done in my prime, 1999. Or at least the year I was most busy as a beaver work-wise. Though that’s not a beaver in the pic. Might be a squirrel, the object of my ire as per the headline. For some reason the little buggers chose to dig about a hundred holes in the front yard over the fall and winter. Whether they were putting stuff in or taking stuff out I don’t know. Either way it’s now a patching the grass job for me. #%@&! squirrels.

Not much of a story, but at least it’s a change of pace for the reader from all those spinning bits of last week.

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 4/3/17

Webio-Bot Gets Osterized


mouseover buttons to change speed

If there’s one thing the staff at terry colon dot com likes better than spirals, it’s putting our stooge mascot, Webio-Bot through the blender to become one indistinguishable bot swarm as they go from stirred-not-shaken to frappé.

Notice how the outside bot seems to be bigger than the inside bot at “Fast” speed while the top bot is biggest of all. See how they bend at “Faster” speed. Watch the inner bot grow a tail at “Fastest” speed. Why? We can’t explain it. We only did it for the fun of it. And completed an entire week of material by milking a single idea for all it was worth and then some.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/31/17

Spiral Vision


mouseover buttons to change speed

You didn’t suppose we’d let go of this spinning business without tossing in some spirals, did you? Like they say, persistence is a virtue. Anyway, we love spirals. Spirals are funny. Sort of. Sometimes. Not so much here but in eyeballs they’re a laugh riot. Sort of.

A lot of this is more of the same, you can see what you see and make of it what you will. Notice, though, how the little outer straight line seems to get longer and narrower the faster it goes. Next, after watching the thing spin for a while, then going directly to “Stop” it doesn’t stop. That is, it seems to be shrinking or moving slightly. Of course it isn’t, but it looks like it. Sort of.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/30/17

Persistence of Rotary Visions


mouseover buttons to change speed

What, another one? The terry colon dot com reader might well wonder if we’ve gone completely round and round the bend at this point. If we have, would we know it ourselves? Whatever the case, there is a method to our madness. If it be madness.

This time we forego the goofy distractions in the disc, no ovals, bots, weird flower-like eyeballs and whatnot. Nothing but concentric circles all with exactly the same weight and style of dotted line. As you can see at “Stop.” So, even though every circle is rotating at the same rate, each has a different speed. The dashes of the outer circle cover a lot more ground per rotation than the inner circle dashes. They move progressively faster from the center circle outward. This is easily seen at the default speed.

Without the distractions you can tell one other thing. The persistence of vision thing is not only a possible effect of the screen display, it’s also how you see naturally. Your eyes scan quickly and repeatedly just like a camera. Here’s how you can show it to yourself. If you focus on the outer circle without moving your eyes you perceive a lot of short, blurry, purple dashes rotating slowly clockwise. If you follow the white dash around with your eyes you see what they really are: longer, more distinct dashes.

On the other hand, at the “Fastest” speed the green dashes just sit there and the yellow circle can be followed around with your eyes counter clockwise even though the disc is rotating clockwise like mad. Is that a result of the screen display or your own eyes? We don’t know. It is curious though, eh?

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/29/17

Rotary Aqua-Botics


mouseover buttons to change speed

We readily admit we did this rotary persistence of vision thing yesterday. Chalk it up to our persistence of pointless animation. All the same, notice how the Aqua-Bot starts to bend into the flow the faster it swims. Or circles the drain, or whatever. At top speed it gets squashed into a bug-like thing. Maybe it’s our lying eyes fooling us, but it seems to swim in a tighter circle at the fastest speed, too.

Goofy? Maybe so. We’re having fun anyway. As the man said, or sang in fact, “You can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself.” Or it could have been, “…you’ve got to…” Hard to tell with singing. There’s a word for that, but we’ll save that for another day in another department.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/28/17

Rotary Persistence of Vision


mouseover buttons to change speed

Here’s our little experiment on how to get seemingly complex motion from spinning one object. And different motions at different speeds. You might even perceive some slight color shift. All because of what they call persistence of vision. Which you might also call the wagon wheel effect. It all boils down to how we see motion as a series of still pictures running past rapidly in sequence. Rather than trying to explain what that entails, here’s a link. Less work for us.

Persistence of Vision

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/27/17

Another Movie Poster Via the Wayback Machine


Another old art spot from Fortean Times of 1997, an imaginary poster for an imaginary film that’s a combination horse and space opera. Though why opera when nobody sings in them? Who knows? Still, the outer space theme goes with the opening pointless animation splash page. Or does (did) depending on when you’re reading this because our splash pages have a habit of disappearing in short order.

All the same, don’t ask what this art spot was about, it ran twenty years ago. Also, don’t ask us how the moon got out to Mars. Nor why the alien is wearing a sombrero. These are questions we have no ready answer for. That’s just the way science fiction is. You start to question things and you get sidetracked into ideas that don’t really matter.

Like, why do you need to swing a light saber? Couldn’t you just point it and turn it on for a thrust at the speed of light? And couldn’t a light saber be 100 feet long? After all, being made of light it wouldn’t weigh much, would it? With a 100 foot saber you could wipe out an entire platoon with a single swing. Maybe. All the same, it’s not really a saber, it has a straight blade and no hand guard. It’s more like a really long, glowing switchblade.

To ponder more sci-fi imponderables, when people transport in Star Trek, are the disassembled bits temporarily dead during transport and brought back to life upon reconstitution? Could you store transporter reassembly information and transport yourself younger? In other words, revert to saved?

Despite our questions, sci-fi still makes more sense than opera. After all, who going through the trials and tribulations of life suddenly bursts out into song about it?

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 3/25/17


“No doubt about it, Harry. It’s the first sign of spring.”

Filed under Gag Cartoon Gallery 3/23/17

Ah-h-h, Spring Springs

Infrequently Answered Question #112: How did they know when spring began before they had clocks to tell the days were starting to be longer than the nights?

A: Oh, who cares? Maybe they watched the sunrise over a rock or used a triangle with notches or something. We don’t live in the past so we don’t have to worry about how they did a lot of the things they used to do. All that matters to us is spring is in the air. Perhaps it’s seeping into the ground and lakes, too. As long as a fair share comes our way we’ll not bother triangulating its precise location.

Once Mother Nature stops dithering around with the snowy cold, brushes off the overcast and gets into the full swing of spring it will probably mean fewer daily entries as the Terry Colon dot Com Gardening and Squirrel Cursing League starts in earnest. The Terry Colon dot Com Barbecue and Porch Lounging season kicks off shortly thereafter. Followed closely by the Terry Colon dot Com Scooter Touring and Flea Market Finders Club schedule of events. Not terribly ambitious or exciting by most standards, but it gets us out of the house. Good enough.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 3/22/17

Poster for the Movie You’ve Never Seen Though You Have


Doesn’t it seem like every movie is a remake? Or a sequel. Or a retelling of the same old story in a different time and place. Or, as in the case of the art you see, a rerun. From Fortean Times of 1997.

In a way, every story is a disaster story of sorts. Sometimes a small disaster looms, other times the end of the world as we know it is in the cards unless the protagonist averts it. If it’s a comedy they succeed. Which is the oldest meaning of comedy, a happy ending. If they fail it’s a tragedy. One or the other. That’s what the old Greek comedy and tragedy masks for the theater are all about.

Anyway, if there were no trouble brewing there’s really not much of a story to engage people. Why bother watching things happen that make no difference one way or another? So, while they say there are only seven basic plots, (or whatever the number is) maybe there’s really only one. Disaster looms and they escape or they don’t. Fin.

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 3/21/17

Those Magnificent Men and Their If-Only-Magnificent Flying Machines –Jet and Flying Wing


We close our Flight Week Extravaganza with what might have been magnificent flying machines. Early jets and flying wings. After all, what is more sleek and futuristic than the B-2 Stealth Bomber, a jet-powered flying wing?

The first jet, or proto jet, appeared much sooner than most might imagine. That was the Coandă 1910 we mentioned about ten years ago. Along the same lines the origins of the flying wing goes way, way back, too. The very first flying wing was a biplane built and flown in 1910 by Englishman John William Dunne. It was also likely the first variable aspect swept wing plane to go airborne.

J.W. Dunne’s Flying Wings
The First Jet –Coandă 1910

Coandă’s jet, what he called an air reaction engine, failed because they didn’t yet have the technology to construct engines that could withstand the high heat it produced in operation. Why they didn’t pursue developing Dunne’s flying wing is not really clear. We guess some ideas are simply too far ahead of their time.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/17/17

Those Magnificent Men in Their Not-so-Magnificent Flying Machines –Part Five


It looked like a small plane with its fuselage over-inflated with air, like a winged pufferfish. It was the Stipa-Caproni “intubed propeller” airplane of 1923. Also called, for obvious reasons once you see it, the Flying Barrel. Still, it wasn’t as crazy as it seemed, though it certainly looked the part.

The Stipa-Caproni was built to test a propulsion concept and not to develop its very peculiar airframe. The entire machine was a really big tube with a propellor inside and some airplane bits attached so it would fly. After a fashion. It could take off and cruise quite stably at low speeds. In fact, too stably as it was hard to turn. See and find out all about it here:

The Flying Barrel

The more we look at it the more we’re convinced it was something bought by Wile E. Coyote from Acme Industries. Only in real life, not a cartoon.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/16/17

Those Magnificent Men in Their Not-so-Magnificent Flying Machines –Part Four


Now for a change of pace. Not every plane with peculiar wing arrangements, or non-wings, was utterly nutterly. Some flew fine, but were deemed unnecessary. It’s like, you could build a working Rube Goldberg mousetrap, but why bother? Three examples: the Flying Flapjack, spinning wings, and the Custer Channelwing.

The Flying Flapjack’s entire airframe was a lifting body, something like a flying wing only shaped more like a pancake than a boomerang. Spinning wings came in various configurations (drums, paddles, tapered thingies) and rotated like mad on horizontal axes sticking out the sides or in front or sometimes over the pilot’s head. The channelwing’s engines drove air over a round trough which… we don’t know how the thing worked. Go to the links to see and learn all about them.

Chance Vought Flying Flapjack
Magnus-Robbins Effect Spinning Wings
Custer Channelwing

We imagine the big problem with both the spinning wings and channelwing is since they rely on their engines to create lift if there’s an engine cut-out the plane would drop like a rock. Turning an ugly duck into a literal blot on the landscape.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/15/17

Those Magnificent Men in Their Not-so-Magnificent Flying Machines –Part Three

By middle of the Great War standard airplane design was pretty well worked out. Wings, not tetrahedral cells, were the way to go. Limiting the number to less than you could count without taking your shoes off became standard practice. Wing warping also went by the board. Tails were at the tail and wings were up front, rigid and well braced. Well, most of the time.

Enter Dr. William Christmas, aviation innovator and either charlatan or crackpot. He built the Christmas Bullet, a plane with flexing wings to flap in the air like a bird. Not a controlled flapping, mind you, its wings had no struts or bracing and weren’t very rigid. They flapped from turbulence. Here’s the story:

The Dr. Christmas Bullet

A long story short, two planes, two flights, two crashes, two dead test pilots. Pretty dreadful, if not homicidal. The doc also had a plan to fly to Germany and kidnap Kaiser Wilhelm to end the war. Con-man or madman? Who knows? The most amazing part of the story, he billed the U.S. government $100,000 for this utterly miserable contrivance. And the Feds paid him!

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/14/17

Those Magnificent Men in Their Not-so-Magnificent Flying Machines –Part Two


As we saw in Part One, tetrahedral cells were not such a great alternative to wings to get a flying machine off the ground. Planes with actual wings, monoplanes, biplanes, triplanes, on the other hand, all worked admirably. How about a plane with a hundred wings? Fifty times as good as a biplane, right?

At least that seemed to be the thinking of intrepid London-born aircraft pioneer Horatio Phillips. His obsession with more is more took on ludicrous proportions. His 1907 two hundred wing multiplane (that’s right, 200 wings) looked like a crate made out of venetian blinds. Thing was, it worked. Barely. He used it for the first, though very short, powered flight in England. At least he limited his contraptions to a single engine, so we’ll give him that.

Horatio Phillips & Multiplanes

Despite how absurd these multiplanes appear today, Mr. Phillips wasn’t a completely round the bend eccentric. In fact, he helped pioneer proper airfoil design, though seemingly at the expense of everything else that would make flying practical. Such as his novel circular runways. We can only guess that was so everyone could have an airport in their backyard.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/13/17

Those Magnificent Men in Their Not-so-Magnificent Flying Machines –Part One


A lot of early airplanes and would-be flying machines look pretty goofy to modern eyes. What in blazes were they thinking, we wonder. Of course, these days we know what a working plane should look like, back then they didn’t. Two wings? Four wings? Ten wings? Tail in the front or back? Or front and back? What everyone did agree on was a plane needed wings to fly. Well, almost everybody.

Alexander Graham Bell had other ideas. Instead of wings like a bird, he’d use what worked for a certain kind of box kite. Tetrahedral cells. Hundreds of them in a ginormous triangular rack. Rather than describe what that is or how it was supposed to work, we suggest you go to the link where they show and tell all:

Alexander Graham Bell tries his hand at aircraft design

Needless to say it worked out badly. Which at least saved us from having the airways run by the phone company.

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/10/17

Not to Worry, It’s Protected by an Imaginary Box

Man, is it windy out there around here. Well, yesterday. 50-70 mph gusts. That’s getting up towards hurricane speeds. Category 1 hurricane winds start at 74mph. (Why 74 and not 75, I wonder.)

The reader might be wondering why I’m subjecting them to talking about the weather, of all things. Egads! Well, how else to explain the mime bot walking against the wind? Pointless, yes. That’s par for the course hereabouts. Though now you know the inspiration for it. Which falls into the category of news you can’t use. Sort-of the terry colon dot com motto.

Filed under Odds & Ends 3/9/17

More Wordplay Words


Humor is a funny thing. That’s some pretty silly wordplay, but I have to start somewhere. Yet it illustrates how switching between a literal and figurative meaning can be (possibly) amusing. You think it says one thing, but it says another instead. That’s how a syllepsis works. Or you might switch between a noun and verb meaning of a word. But enough of dubious dissection, let’s get to it.

aptronym: A name that is perfectly suited to its owner.

Here’s a real one from my hometown, an optometrist by the name of Ivan Doctor. That’s right, Dr. I. Doctor, eye doctor.

paraprosdokian: A sentence or phrase that ends in an unexpected way.

Pretty much a oneliner. For instance, “Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were.” Or, “As cooks go she can’t.”

Tom Swifty: A made-up quote followed by an adverbial pun.

“I think the lobotomy went well,” said Bob absentmindedly. “Oops. I just stabbed myself,” Jim said pointedly. That’s all there is, he wrote finally.

Filed under Words, Phrases, Sayings & Quotes 3/8/17

I Came, I Saw, I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes


Likely you know Julius Caesar’s famous line, “Veni. Vidi. Vici.” I came. I saw. I conquered. If you spoke Latin the way he spoke it, that’s, “Wenny. Weedy. Weekie.” Sounds kinda wimpy, but that’s how they talked. On the other hand the Pope would say, “Venny. Veedy. Veechie.” as that’s how ecclesiastical Latin is spoken.

We don’t imagine the Bishop of Rome would have occasion to speak the line as he doesn’t have much of an army these days. The Swiss Guard aren’t very likely to conquer anyone with their pikes. Or Swiss army knives, either. Still, a wargame scrimmage between Swiss pikemen and, say, Beefeaters might be interesting. Wonder if re-enactors or LARPers ever try that scenario? Bet they would if you tossed in Samurai. Or Vikings. Every battle is better with Samurai and Vikings. Or pirates. But we’re done with that.

Speaking of Samurai and Vikings, while we all know Vikings didn’t sport horned helmets, some Samurai did. Sometimes absurdly gigantic horns. But not for battle, on ceremonial parade and suchlike. Some of these helmets and armor were pretty outlandish, more art than armor really. Feast your eyes and maybe be amazed:

Samurai Bling from Medieval Japan
Wonderfully Strange Samurai Helmets

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 3/7/17

Coming Up Soon


It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s pointless animation. It’s a gag. It’s a pun. No, not a pun exactly. Maybe a syllepsis, where a word or phrase can have both a literal and a figurative meaning. Whatever it is it’s a rerun of old art, only animated this time around. Call it the art director’s cut. Yeah, that’s the ticket. A way to milk a little more mileage out of old work.

Filed under Snippets from the Art Archives 3/6/17

It’s Times Times Times Time


Infrequently Answered Question #111: Robby ran around the track two times. Bob ran around the track three times more than Robby. How many times did Bob run around the track?

A: Ah, a puzzler. Or is it a riddler? A stumper? Whatever it is, we ask the reader to answer the question themselves first, and then proceed… pause…

The answer is six. No wait, five. Or six. Maybe both. It’s another quiz you can’t get wrong. Or, to be devious, you can’t get right. The answer depends on what “three times more” means. Is that three times as many as two, six, or is it three times (instances) more than two times (instances), five? The language isn’t clear if we’re supposed to multiply or add. Times can mean how many multiples or how many instances.

Then again, Robby and Bob are both diminutives of Robert. So maybe it’s the same person who outdistanced himself by running the track seven times. Or eight times. Or, if Robert is a quantum particle, both seven and eight. Whatever. There is no right answer.

Or is there? The first sentence, “Robby ran around the track two times” establishes that times means laps, instances. To be consistent “Bob ran around the track three times more” must mean three laps more. Ergo, the correct answer is five. QED.

Filed under Infrequently Answered Questions 3/3/17

It’s February 30th


Why don’t we restore all thirty days to February? Do we need a Roman Emperor to do it? They’re all dead and gone, we can nullify their edicts if we want, can’t we? Let’s do it. Take the days back from July and August and even out the months better.

Let’s go even further. Make every month thirty days. Take the extra five days and put them between June and July. Call it Midyear. A five day break for everyone. A six day break during leap year. It would balance the week-long Christmas to New Year break at the end of the year. And who doesn’t want a week off during summer? Don’t like it? Just be glad there’s no Terrius Caesar or you’d just have to lump it.

And here you thought it was only the animation that was pointless.

Filed under Odds & Ends 2/30/17

Rebus Redux


Can you decipher the rebus? If not, perhaps it’s a poor rebus. Constructing a rebus is no easy task for many things. Have you ever played Pictionary? There you go. Of course, there is a time limit to Pictionary so there’s added pressure. Though there is some feedback amongst the players which helps.

Thing about a rebus, it’s easy to depict nouns, hard to depict verbs, adjectives, adverbs, anything that’s not a noun, really. That’s why rebuses tend to make non-nouns out of pictures of nouns. It helps that some words are both nouns and verbs. Can, fly, cook. Also that some nouns are adjectives. Orange, giant. And some nouns are homonyms of verbs. Cell-sell, pier-peer. Then again, some nouns aren’t easy to depict at all because they aren’t tangible things. Dream, summer, odor.

A game that’s sort-of like a rebus is charades. Only instead of drawing pictures of words or syllables you act them out. This makes depicting verbs easier, though nouns get harder. For instance it’s fairly easy to draw, say, a crib, how do you act out a crib? On the other hand it’s easy to act out lost, try drawing it. Without using a question mark.

This all hits home for me because I’m an illustrator. OK, I don’t do rebuses, but it’s somewhat along the same lines. I come up with images to depict what a story is about. Visual analogies, you might say. Believe me, some are easier to do than others for the very reasons outlined above. Stories aren’t always about some object, but some process, something happening or not happening. How on Earth does an editor expect me to draw things not happening?

Oh-oh, I seem to be slipping into a rant. Let’s back off and head elsewhere. Another thing that might be like a rebus, though I don’t know enough about it to say, is a pictographic script. Like Egyptian hieroglyphs. Or maybe Mayan. Chinese? Kanji? I really don’t know, but I wonder if those Egyptian cartouches aren’t very much like a rebus.

We return to the beginning, the opening rebus. I admit it’s perhaps not the most easily solved you’ll run across. For some of the reasons already mentioned. What it’s supposed to be is, tear E, (:) colon, dot, (comb-B) com, (B+log) blog. That’s it, blog.

Filed under Words, Phrases, Sayings & Quotes 3/1/17

Your Web-Wide Home For Pointless Animation

Ohead Obody
Gbody Goval Gfoot Gfoot
Ybody Ybody Ytrack
Wbody Wspiral Weyes
Rbody Rfeet
Pbody Pleg Pleg
Kbody Keye1 Keye2 Kpad Kpad Kpad Kpad Kpad Kpad
Bbody Barm Barm

As they say, what you see is what you see. And what you get is all we got.

Filed under Odds & Ends 2/28/17

The Eponymous State Name Game


We’re going to do something a little different for this time out. Since there’s going to be multiple answers, which might be tricky to keep track of and store in short-term memory, we’ve provided spaces for you to jot down your answers. The boxes can be expanded as needed. Afterward you can compare your wild guesses to the correct answers.

Sorry, we don’t have the tech savvy to check it for you like trivia quiz sites do, you’ll have to go old school and score it yourself.

Which seven states were named after kings or queens? One point for each correct answer.

Before moving on, who were the kings or queens these seven states were named after? Be sure to include any Roman numeral. There were eight Henrys and a slew of Edwards for instance. One point for each correct answer.

Mouseover for answers

Georgia: King George II
Louisiana: King Louis XIV
Maryland: Queen Henrietta Maria of France
North and South Carolina: King Charles II [Latin for Charles, Carolas]
Virginia and West Virginia: Queen Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen.”

Which three states were named after famous persons who weren’t kings or queens? Score one point for each correct answer.

As before, who were the three famous people they were named after? Score one point for each correct answer.

Mouseover for answers

Delaware: Thomas West, Third Baron De La Warr
Pennsylvania: William Penn
Washington: George Washington
(Score a point for getting Lord De La Warr. Knowing Thomas West and his being the Third Baron wins a bonus point and our undying awe.)

18-20 points: history nerd supreme
15-17 points: smarter than a fifth grader
11-14 points: lucky guesser
8-10 points: unlucky guesser
5-7 points: slacker
1-4 points: phys ed major
0 points: you didn’t keep track, did you?

Filed under Fun Facts & Trivia 2/27/17