Saturday 25 February 2012

The Trouble With Klingon

Why learn Klingon?  Eurotalk offer a course in how to speak the fictional language Klingon developed with the help of Marc Okrand who was originally commissioned to come up with a proper language for Star Trek the Motion Picture.  There are some people who can converse in Klingon but it's mainly useful if you want to talk about starships and warp drives and other aspects of the Star Trek universe and is less adept at more mundane chit-chat.  The reason for this is canonicity only words and grammar invented by Marc Okrand are considered proper Klingon so you can't make up your own words for smart-phone or takeaway.

So back to my original question why learn Klingon?  Fictional languages are fun and no less valid than any other form of communication but the only way you would properly get to use Klingon is if real Klingons existed and came to Earth somehow.  Attempting to use Klingon for it's intended purpose is what I was trying to convey in this week's CCGB caption competition.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Indiana Jif and the Lost Citris

I'm not sure if this works outside the UK but the oldest item in my fridge is an out of date bottle of Lemon Jif that is brought out for Pancake Day and then put away again.

For Indiana Jones fans there is no way he could have survived a nuclear blast inside a fridge see this article from MythBusters

Saturday 18 February 2012


The one thing everyone knows lemmings for is a common misconception they do not commit suicide by jumping off cliffs.  The story about how people came to believe that is worth repeating here.

Lemmings are small rodents who inhabit the polar regions whose population varies immensely with population booms followed by sudden population collapses.  These population fluctuations are mainly down to a high reproductive rate, food availability and prey but it has lead human observers to make up stories such as a belief that they fell from the sky during stormy weather and died off in the spring when the grass grew.

The myth about Lemming suicides came out of Disney in the 1950s.  First Disney illustrator Carl Banks drew an Uncle Scrooge comic entitled 'The Lemming with the Locket' which showed masses of lemmings jumping off a Norwegian cliff.  Banks was probably inspired by an article in a magazine the American Mercury but then Disney went on to further perpetuate the myth with the film Wild Wilderness.

The story of lemming suicides in Wild Wilderness makes the furore over the BBC's polar bears born in a zoo controversy look like rather tame.  The footage of lemmings jumping to their certain death was both staged and faked.  The filmcrew went to landlocked Alberta Canada  which is not the lemmings natural habitat so first they had to procure their own lemmings from Inuit children and then staged a migration using a dozen or so lemmings on a turntable and clever camera angles to make it look like a mass of migrating lemmings stampeding towards their doom.  To film the sequence of the lemmings jumping from the cliff it has been suggested that they were pushed, propelled or herded over the edged just to get the footage required.  As the narrator says they are casting themselves into the sea they are in-fact plunging into a river.

The truth is that lemmings can swim and they will jump into water to cross rivers.  It is possible that some will drown if enough of them attempt it at once or the river is wide or particularly fast flowing but this isn't that different to what happens to other species.

So basically what I have drawn for this week's CCGB competition on the theme of 'Hope' is wrong.

For more background and debunking the following articles make interesting reading:

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Singles Cruise

Having missed the chance to do a Valentine's cartoon I have drawn up an old idea about being single when everyone else is coupled-up which pretty much summed up Valentine's as a single person.

Saturday 11 February 2012

This one is for all those with small children on February 14th.  Your window for romance is somewhere between when the children are fast asleep and when they start acting up again during the night.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Death Star Builders

I've just had my birthday where it seems (according to my presents) that I'm a serious Star Wars fan but the truth is I haven't watched any of the movies for a while.  This week's CCGB caption entry puts me in mind of the first (ignoring the prequels) Star Wars movie and questions surrounding why the Evil Empire let their armoured Death Star get blown up for a lack of a simple thermal vent cover.

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