Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Elementary Class Solves One Of The World's Biggest Mysteries In 10 Minutes"

Sometimes the stuff you see on the Internet -- and on Facebook, particularly (or it least so it seems to me) -- is pretty silly.

Okay, let's be frank -- sometimes it's just downright stupid, and leaves you scratching your head and thinking "Huh? What was the point of THAT?"

Before rolling out of bed this morning, I did my usual quick email check on the iPad I keep next to me, and also quickly looked at Facebook. There I saw a link from someone -- I can't remember who it was, some Facebook "friend" I barely know, most likely -- which had a very intriguing headline: "Elementary Class Solves One Of The World's Biggest Mysteries In 10 Minutes", followed by gushing praise from a number of people about how amazing it was.

So I clicked -- or rather, touched (this IS an iPad, after all) -- on the link, and watched the short video.

To spare you the few minutes you might otherwise waste looking at this thing -- time which might be better spent pulling lint out of your navel, or something -- here's what the video showed: 

It starts out with a message from some company stating "Our clients want us to do more work in less time. How do we make them understand that for new, effective ideas we need more time?"

Then an "experiment" is shown, in which a class of elementary school children are each given a partial drawing of a clock face and asked to complete it in ten seconds. As you might guess, that's only enough time to do a rudimentary finish, adding a round outline, some numbers, and so forth.

Following that, the students are given the same incomplete drawing again, but this time they are given ten minutes to finish it. The predictable result is that the drawings are much more elaborate and detailed, some even incorporating whimsical elements which have nothing to do with clocks per se but are fun to look at.

I watched this thing twice, trying -- and failing -- to see exactly which of the "World's Biggest Mysteries" was "solved" through the efforts of this elementary school class in ten minutes. What am I missing? -- PL

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mystery object

Jeannine and I just got back from a few days in Maine, and before we left for the drive home, we took a last walk on the small beach near the inn where we stayed. At one end of the beach, we came upon this object mostly buried in the sand.

It appears to be made of wood, probably pine. I'd estimate it to be roughly six or seven feet long. Any idea what it might be? -- PL

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bruce Laird open studio!

My brother -- painter/photographer/collagist Bruce Laird -- is having an open studio this weekend, May 18 and 19. Check out the details on his blog:

-- PL

Friday, May 10, 2013

"Upon a Fable - A Fairy Tale Strategy Board Game"

My friend and extremely talented illustrator Ruth Sanderson just told me about a Kickstarter project she's involved with -- a board game in the European style which features a lot of her beautiful painted artwork. Here's a sample of some cards which are an integral part of the game:

The project is called "Upon a Fable - A Fairy Tale Strategy Board Game". (As I write this on May 10, 2013, there are ten days left to go to get in on this one.) Check it out here: -- PL

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Living approximately

     A couple of weeks after the tragic events at the 2013 Boston Marathon, the airwaves were still buzzing with speculation about the two alleged bombers and their respective motivations. Much of what was said about the two, especially the surviving younger suspect, reminded me of commentary I'd heard following other unexpected and violent incidents. These comments might be fairly paraphrased in this fashion: "He was such a quiet kid, never caused any trouble… I can't believe he could do something like this."

     Having heard this refrain so often, it made me start thinking about the way we all live approximately, especially in relation to our fellow human beings. There are a limited number of things we can be absolutely certain about in our lives, and knowing for sure what is in the hearts and minds of other people -- even those near and dear to us -- is not one of them.

    Because none of us are mind readers (as much as some phony-baloney stage magicians and self-annointed "psychics" might like us to believe otherwise), we can only ever guess at what is going on in others' heads. Some of us are better at it than others, able to pick up on verbal and visual cues and "tells". To be sure, the closer we are to someone, the more time we spend with them, and the more we can observe their actions and compare those actions to their words, the closer we can get to a pretty good sense of what those people are truly thinking and feeling. Some people -- those who, as the old saying goes, "wear their hearts on their sleeves" -- make it a little bit easier for us to know their intentions. But… it will only ever be just a sense, an approximation in other words, and never a certainty.

    When you start thinking about it that way, it's somewhat... unnerving. 

    It's probably one of the reasons that the telepath (and, to a lesser extent, the empath) is such a beloved archetype in fantasy and science fiction. The idea of being able to be absolutely certain of what someone else is thinking -- and the corollary, as well (being able to make what one is thinking absolutely clear to another person via a direct mind-to-mind connection) -- must resonate with some deep, yearning, vulnerable aspect of our selves.

    But, much like the way we take our lives in our hands every time we drive our cars in traffic, where we depend on the general truth that most of our fellow drivers are actually going to obey the rules of the road and are not out to deliberately target us, we go through life accepting that we can only ever have a partial, approximate understanding of even the closest friend or mate… and yet we are able to move forward, even through that fog of uncertainty. I think it speaks volumes about the inherent flexibility, adaptability,  and resilience of the human animal, that we are not simply paralyzed by the sea of "maybes" we must wade through in our lives. -- PL

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fun at Free Comic Book Day

I had a great time this weekend appearing with Steve Lavigne and Eric Talbot on Saturday -- "Free Comic Book Day" -- at Steve's "Shellback Artworks" store in Wells, Maine. JIm Lawson was sick and couldn't make it, which was a bummer (hope you get well soon, man!), but otherwise it went really well -- lots of people, lots of signing, and free pizza (courtesy of Steve and Denise).

Two things stood out as quite memorable, the first of which was the sixteen-year-old girl who showed up with her parents, all the way from Florida. This trip to Maine to see us (and later Kevin Eastman, who was signing over at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH -- one town away from Somersworth, NH, where the first TMNT comics were printed) on "Free Comic Book Day" was her "sweet sixteen" birthday wish, and her parents (cool people, obviously) granted it. Here's Steve signing the back of her t-shirt, as he dad and mom look on:

I wish I could remember her name -- I think it might be Stephanie or Melanie, but given how bad I am with names, I'm probably wrong. (Maybe she'll see this and write in to correct me -- that would be nice.) We were all very touched by how happy she seemed to be in meeting us and getting her Turtle stuff autographed.

The second thing was the unexpected appearance of someone from our two years in the early 1980's in Dover, NH, someone that I thought I'd probably never see again… but, in one of those strange and wonderful "small world"-type of phenomena, she happens to be a friend of Steve's wife Denise. Here's a photo of the two of us which Steve took:

The woman in the photo is Carol Salava, who was a Justice of the Peace in Dover when we lived there, and in the summer of 1983, officiated at our wedding in the back yard of our house on Union Street. I was quite frankly flabbergasted that she showed up at the signing, but very, very pleased to see her again. As you can see from the following photo of Carol marrying me and Jeannine back in 1983, we've both changed a little bit:

… but I have to say that Carol still has the warm, friendly personality I remember from our dealings with her in those early days. What an unexpected treat! -- PL

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 4, 2013: Free Comic Book Day at Shellback Artworks!

I'm late with this post (sorry, Steve!), but better late than never, right? This Saturday, May 4, I will be appearing at Steve Lavigne's "Shellback Artworks" comic book/art supplies store at 1509 Post Road in Wells, Maine, for the annual "Free Comic Book Day" event. I'll be signing stuff along with Steve and Jim Lawson this Saturday from noon until 4PM. See you there! -- PL

P.S. And if you want to see the other TMNT co-creator, Kevin Eastman, he'll be signing at Jetpack Comics in Rochester, NH, on the same day. I think it's about half an hour's drive from one place to the other.