Whimsy: November 2003 Archives

The best paper airplane


Every semester, grade school students at Regent Preparatory School do a semester project. Students pick a subject that interests them, do some sort of activity related to that interest, and then put together a visual presentation about what they did.

Joseph is doing his first project this year, and he chose paper airplanes for his topic. When I was in Savannah, I found a great book called Amazing Paper Planes, by Edward Hui, and brought it home as a gift for Joe. A couple of weekends ago we built and tested most of the patterns in the book, all of which can be made from a single sheet of paper, and most of which require no cutting or taping. The book includes explanations of the aerodynamics of paper planes, and, crucially, how to diagnose problems with a plane's flight and make appropriate adjustments.

The star performer was the paperang, a craft that looks more like a hang glider than a traditional paper dart. Released (not thrown) from about 6 feet, the plane swoops down then glides along inches above the floor before coming to a landing. It can do some fancy flying when launched like a boomerang.

The author now has a website devoted to the paperang design, where you can view instructions and construction photos. For a fee you can download a printable version. All you need is a sheet of paper, a pair of scissors, and a stapler -- one staple in the middle to hold it together.

UPDATE 1/3/2006: Corrected author's name.

Elephant on the run


A reader writes:

I have heard more than one person comment that it is not surprising that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have not been found, considering the difficulty Oklahoma law enforcement has had in finding suspected killer Scott Eizember in Bristow. It occurred to me that the difficulty capturing Eizember not surprising when one recalls that it once took an entire summer to capture an escaped elephant in Oklahoma.

Does anyone else remember this? To the best of my recollection, it was the summer of 1977, or thereabouts. I don't remember if the elephant escaped from a traveling circus, or from the one that used to winter near Hugo. I do remember a summer of scattered elephant sightings. At one point the elephant was actually surrounded, then managed to escape and disappear again.

Anyone else recall this?

Thoughtful, humorous, nostalgic, ironic -- lileks.com is one of my favorite places on the web.

Some Lileks highlights I meant to link to last week:

On Monday, a tribute to Chernobog, the demonic figure in the "Night on Bare Mountain" sequence of "Fantasia". The links at the end about Chernobog's animator are interesting to follow, as is Lileks' explanation why "Night on Bare Mountain" is a more appealing piece of music than "Rite of Spring", another piece featured in the original "Fantasia":

Caffé Bona


Had lunch at Kim Long's today and as we were driving away I noticed a newly opened Internet cafe on the north side of 81st, east of Memorial, advertising free wireless Internet access. It's called Caffe Bona. I didn't stop in today, but will be interested to check it out at some point. It's hard to imagine an Internet coffee shop working as a place you reach by car -- perhaps they'll draw clientele from the apartment complex within walking distance.

With a name like Caffe Bona, I'm guessing the place is run by Julian and his friend Sandy, filling in between acting engagements.

(I'd be interested in knowing how many Tulsa readers have any idea what that last paragraph is all about.)

UPDATE: Since no one e-mailed to say, "I get it! Ha, ha!", I'll explain myself in the extended entry below.

Despite the wonder about a wireless internet cafe in a suburban context, I am thrilled that someone is opening such an establishment in Tulsa, and I wish them all the best. I really enjoyed the Internet cafe I frequented in Savannah, and I hope the idea spreads quickly to Midtown and Downtown.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from November 2003.

Whimsy: September 2003 is the previous archive.

Whimsy: December 2003 is the next archive.

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