Is that necessary?

Occasionally I need to zoom out enough to ask, “Is that really necessary?” Learning the difference between want and need is exactly the opposite of what Madison Avenue intends for you. The whole purpose of marketing is persuading you of the necessity of stuff. That’s reason enough to zoom out every now and then. The most expensive part of my hobby is time. There are plenty of adults telling you to get your schoolwork in when you’re young. The logic is ironclad. Your time will never be worth as little again. Once you get a first job, you have job experience. Suddenly, you have a kind of capital you’ve never had before. The longer you work, the more you’ll be worth per hour. Suddenly, spending

Bite My Waterbomb Base

I recently had a 45 minute conversation with a person who identified themselves as a college professor. They were interested in having me do demonstrations for their aerodynamics classes. They had found me through an agency listing, so it was obvious that asking me to work would involve paying me. After my conversation, I called the agency telling them to expect a call from this potential client. They got a call and spent 90 minutes on the phone with this professor. Finally, when the topic of fees came up, “Oh no. You’ve misunderstood. I’m not offering to pay anything.” What? Sink fold that where the sun don’t shine. I’m not a celebrity. A kid or two in every class I visit will ask me if I’m

That's not Art...

What’s one to do when someone insists you’re not doing art? One option would be to pepper their jowls with a glove and challenge them to a duel. Bad idea. I haven’t shot my rubber band gun in decades, so I’m sure to miss. I must confess to being baffled at most modern art. I realize the object or context is supposed to conjure some feeling in me, and that’s the point. If the feeling is confusion, they should declare victory. Not all modern art is so challenging, but enough of it is that I feel inadequate to the task. It sometimes seems the artists are having a laugh at us rubes who stand there trying to feel something. Still, I accept that it could be art; not to me perhaps, but to someone.

A Little Unprofessional

Usually I let it go. Most people think paper airplanes are infantile. It’s probably true that a lot of people make and fly them in a childish way. When people smile and shake their heads at what I do, I get it. I have the world’s best job. I throw paper airplanes for a living. My fellow humans frequently have a hard time processing that. So, yeah, I let the put downs blow past me. It’s actually kind of fun to see the confusion on their faces as I agree. When they go back to their job on Monday, are they thinking about changing gigs or following their passion? Maybe. A peevish man-child is at the top of tennis. Djokovic was 26-0 in 2020. Impressive. He was taken down by his temper. Sadly, thi

No Fly Zone

We’ve all had it happen. That brilliantly folded thing of beauty just won’t, just can’t, just refuses to fly more than a few feet. It stalls, it crashes, it rolls left, it rolls right, or simply twirls in a death spiral toward the floor. Maybe you’re not as good at this paper pilot stuff as you think? You rushed the pre-flight check, and who hasn’t? Now that the worst has happened, we can get down to the details. Start at the back of the plane. Trailing edges flat or slightly up? Check. Fuselage straight and true? Check. Winglets vertical? Check. Dihedral? Check. Moving forward we note overall symmetry. Wings match? Check. Wing thickness the same? Check. Moving on to the throw. Do the wings

Plane Truth

If there’s a pastime more suited to the loafer than paper airplanes, I’m sure I can’t name it. They have never been, nor are they likely to ever be, cool (hip, fresh, dope, sick, lit, off the chain, off the hook, or Gucci). It’s also a hobby suited to the loner, or the quiet, studious learner. For one who likes observing, testing, and experimenting, paper airplanes offer a home. For those who like the grey areas of knowledge, who are comfortable in the not knowing, who revel in discovery, who are willing to risk looking silly in pursuit of perfection, paper airplanes welcome you. The truth about paper airplanes? They are for everyone else but the cool people. The joy found in the perfect cre

So many people, so few predators-- in the sky

People are generally slow. And if fat is flavor, as great cooks have been heard to say, we’re probably pretty tasty. So, why no giant hawks that swoop down and carry us away? Didn’t there used to be giant pterodactyls? Yes. The largest one was as tall as a giraffe. Even then, it would’ve taken two of them to lift a whole human. So is there a biological limit to the size of a flying creature, and why would that be? For anything that flies, keeping those flapping muscles cool is a big deal. Flight is hard work. Hollow bones, multi-chambered lungs for constant flow, and very large chest muscles are among the evolutionary advantages. It’s those muscles that are the key. Surface area provides th

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