Friday, March 1, 2013

Your Mike: The winner of our Lincoln/Oscars cartoon caption contest!

Eric Toth is this week’s big winner, as selected by readers. There were a number of funny entries this week, here are a few of my favorites:

"Honest" Abe, as I am sometimes called, could never be president now! - David Nosotti ·

And you thought there was only one guy with big ears who could play a convincing role acting as president! - Woody Stidham

I want to thank the Senate for finally breaking the filibuster on my nomination, it only took 150 years! - Dan Fox

Don't worry. My acceptance speech will even be shorter than 'The Gettysburg Address'! - Lew Goshorn

And most of all, I'd like to thank Kanye for letting me finish.... - Larry Taylor

And I'd like to thank the Academy for voting a bipartisan ticket this year! - Dennis R. Green

We are all equal no matter how much gold we have. - Denise Maynard

Come back on Monday for another rough sketch and another shot at fame, if not fortune!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sahitya Akademi President Sunil Gangopadhyay dead

Eminent litterateur and Sahitya Akademi President Sunil Gangopadhyay died at his South Kolkata  residence in the early hours on Tuesday following a massive heart attack. He was 78.

Gangopadhyay's body will be kept in a mortuary till his son arrives from Boston for performing the last rites, family sources said.

A prolific writer and winner of several awards, Gangopadhyay was the founder editor of 'Krittibas', a seminal poetry magazine that became a platform for a new generation of poets experimenting with many new forms.
Author of over 200 books Gangopadhyay excelled in different genres, but declared poetry to be his "first love". His Neera series of poems are popular.

Gangopadhyay also excelled in short story, novels, travelogues and children's fiction.

He had won the Sahitya Akademi Award (1985), Ananda Puraskar (1989) and the Hindu Literary Prize (2011).
After serving five years as the vice president, he was elected the president of the Sahitya Akademi on February 20, 2008.

He used the pen-names of Nil Lohit, Sanatan Pathak and Nil Upadhyay.
Gangopadhyay is survived by wife and son.
On hearing the news of Gangopadhyay's death, several writers, including Nabaneeta Dev Sen, rushed to his house in the morning.

Eminent writers, including Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Samaresh Majumdar, Nirendranath Chakrabarty and Abul Bashar mourned his death.

Condoling his death, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay said, "It will be extremely difficult to fill the vacuum in Bengali literature after his death as Sunil had heralded a new style in Bengali literature".

"Bengali literature has lost its guardian", writer Samaresh Majumdar said.

Recalling his long association with Gangopadhyay, veteran poet Nirendranath Chakrabarty said though he was senior to Sunil by ten years in age, he had high respect for his style of writing.

"I saw a sapling when Sunil started writing and keenly observed how it grew into a big tree with thousands of branches", Chakrabarty observed.

Abul Bashar said Gangopadhyay was inimitable in all respects. "We had entered the world of poetry with his guidance".

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yoga tips for beginners

Yoga isn’t just a fitness regime,it’s a way of life. Beginners shouldn’t start off a course looking to lose weight or get into great physical shape. The most important thing for beginners is that they should keep an open mind and be ready to experience positive changes in their mind and body. Never feel discouraged by lack of flexibility or other health issues. Any specific medical issues should be discussed with the teacher prior to beginning the class. This will help the teacher tailor the lessons to suit the medical condition and specifications of the student. Here are some tips they should keep in mind:

Maintain consistency
As Swami Sivananda once said, one doctor gives you a prescription, the other gives you an opinion and the third gives you your cremation. It is not advisable to jump between different schools and styles of yoga or even different teachers as this will create instability in the self and nullify the benefits.

Be patient
 Progress is not immediate but gradual – beginners should not expect results immediately and keep moving on even if the progress is slow. It is imprudent to compare one’s own progress with that of others as every person is at a different stage in the practice and in life.

Find the right guru
Choose a good teacher who is knowledgeable about the subject in order to gain the maximum benefit from the practice.

Wear loose clothing and maintain proper hygiene 
Beginners should preferably wear loose, cotton clothing as it aids the circulation of pranic energy within the self. Lycra material, tight clothing and dark colours constrict the flow of energy and do not allow one to benefit fully from the practice. It is advisable to shower before the class as it cleanses the body and makes it more receptive to positive energy. If there is no time to shower before the class, there should be a 30 minute gap between the end of the class and the shower.

Some other pointers include: 
  • Only fruits can be consumed 30 minutes prior to the class or 15 minutes after the class.
  • Avoid wearing perfume disturbs the breathing exercises and is therefore not advisable.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices should be switched off or on silent and kept at a considerable distance so as to avoid distractions.
  • Preferably, one must not practice under an electric fan.
  • Every person should carry his or her own mat. This is not only for hygienic purposes but also to avoid mixing one’s personal vibes with those of another student.
  • Students should make the most of every minute in the yoga class by arriving on time to avoid disturbing the teacher and the students. They should always be thankful to the teacher at the beginning and end of each class.
Like I mentioned before, yoga is not a fitness regime. It’s a way of life, a spiritual quest to find oneself. Try to realise that and don’t think of it as an alternative to gymming.  When a person practises yoga, he or she embarks upon a journey of self-discovery and spiritual growth and experiences both physical and mental changes over time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How to: Make animations on your iPhone or iPad

Want to make your own cartoons on your iPhone or iPad? Install Dink on your iOS device and you’re just a few steps away from becoming the next Walt Disney or Tim Burton.

Dink, available for 99 cents in the App Store, is a surprisingly powerful animation app that allows you to make your own cartoons quickly and with little effort. Dink’s user interface is a bit confusing to start with though, so I’ve put together a quick guide to help you get started in this fun application.

Step One: Create a new animation

Dink’s front screen doesn’t make it completely clear where to start. What you actually need to do is to click the ‘+’ button to dive into a new animation.

Dink One

Step Two: Open the project window

Click on the blank image at the bottom of the main page and you’ll open the project menu. Give your production a name by clicking on the text at the top of the screen. In order to start drawing and animating, you need to tap the middle of the square in the center of the screen.

Dink Two

Step Three: Draw your character

Begin by drawing your character on the screen. This is just a case of dragging your finger around the screen. You’ll find all of the drawing tools in the toolbar on the right. Aside from the brush tool, there’s Fill, Eraser, Selection tool and a Circle tool. Dink even supports layers, if you’re feeling really creative!

Dink Three part one

Dink Three Two

Step Four: Create a new frame by copying from the previous one

The simplest way to animate with Dink is to create a copy of the current frame and use it to make the next one. Just tap the copy frame icon from the pull-out on the left to create a new frame with your original drawing.

Dink Four

Step Five: Edit the next frame

Using a technique called ‘onion skinning’, you can now make changes to the character in the second frame to produce the first movement of the animation. Use the selection tool from the right-hand menu (the dotted line square) to draw around your image. Now slide it with your finger in the direction you want the motion to go. You can change various aspects of the image between frames. Notice that the previous frame is displayed in gray behind this one to help you reposition things successfully.

Dink Five

Step Six: Continue editing

Repeat this process of using the copy frame tool, selecting the image, then repositioning the next frame until you've reached the point where you want the animation to stop. Make good use of the pinch to zoom function for your creations, because it helps you be more precise.

Dink Six

Step Seven: Preview your animation

Clicking the film strip in the top-left corner of the screen will take you back to the project screen, where you can preview your cartoon by clicking on the play button.

Dink Seven

Step Eight: Share it with the world

If you think your creation is good enough to share with the world, you’ll find a number of ways to publish it from Dink. Besides posting it to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, you can export the finished cartoon to your device’s library, as a GIF animation or a movie file.

Dink Eight


Friday, July 29, 2011

The Animation Of Entomology Due This Fall

"Well, it's been a long, arduous process but we're finally seeing light at the end of tunnel", states Jarzombek enthusiastically. "Hannes has been done for a few months, Alex finished up his tracks in early June, and I'm now in the home stretch with my solos. I’m so psyched about what the reaction will be once fans hear and see what we’re doing. If you can imagine a cross between Cannibal Corpse, Spastic Ink, and a Bugs Bunny cartoon - that’s pretty much what’s going on."

The Animation Of Entomology takes Jarzombek's fascination with animated cartoons and creepy crawlies to a whole new level. After having experimented with writing complex pieces of music to sync up with classic movie sequences with Spastic Ink on 'The Wild Hare' and 'The Cereal Mouse', respectively, the concept has now been applied to Blotted Science over the course of 7 songs and a total of 24 minutes of music.

"I totally busted my ass syncing things up, carefully orchestrated music to film, bug movies actrually, and nit-picked notes to death on this material until my fingers bleed and my brain nearly exploded. We wanted to follow up Machinations along some of the same lines of science and gore, and came up with a killer concept and some great material with yet another 12-tone system. How everything all falls into place I think is beyond incredible! Whether this is the heaviest or most technical thing I've ever done, I don't really know or care, but no other band/project is pulling off what we are doing with this EP."

The Animation Of Entomology tracklisting is as follows:

'Ingesting Blattaria'
'Cretaceous Chasm'
'Vermicular Asphyxiation'
'A Sting Operation'
I. 'Human Barbequed'
II. 'Cessation Sanitation'
III. 'Seeing Dead People'
IV. 'Omitting Eye's

The folllow-up to the band's 2007 The Machinations Of Dementia full-length album is being produced and mixed by Ron Jarzombek and recorded in San Antonio, TX, Tampa, FL, and V. Santura's (OBSCURA, TRIPTYKON) Woodshed Studios in Landshut, Germany where the drums were cut. Mastering duties are once again being handled by Jacob Hansen (VOLBEAT, DESTRUCTION) at Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Cost-saving tips to keep your fur kids in kibble

The ASPCA estimates that the average cost of food, basic supplies, medical care and training for a dog or cat is between $700 and $875 a year. Over the lifetime of a 14-year-old dog or cat, the cost of pet ownership can total more than $12,000. Depending on the health of your animal and other factors, some estimates are as high as $38,905.

Luckily, there are several smart ways that you can help reduce pet expenses without skimping on your furry friends health and well-being. Consumer savings expert, Regina Novickis, shares these purr-worthy tips:

1. Buy in bulk (without bulking up your pet) - To maintain the health of your pet and the health of your wallet, avoid overfeeding, but do purchase larger quantities of food. Usually the larger the bag, the less expensive the item is per unit. Consider buying in bulk and splitting the costs of food and treats with a friend or neighbor. Purchasing more may also qualify you for further discounts.

2. "Paws" to find a promotional code before you buy - Prices for pet supplies are often cheaper online than in stores, and many sites offer promotional codes to increase your savings. If you leave the promotional code box blank on a retailer's checkout page, you could be paying more than necessary. Check out, and, which all organize thousands of online coupons for pet retailers like PetSmart, PetCo, and others.

3. Do your homework: The key to saving money is comparing prices. When shopping for flea and tick medications, for example, always compare money-saving codes among brands that offer the same or similar products to find the best value. features a unique coupon-comparison tool called the CouponScout that allows you to easily compare coupons from up to five retailers.

4. Avoid buying pet prescription products from your vet: Buying prescriptions at the veterinarian's office can bite into the budget, particularly if your pet has a chronic condition or requires ongoing treatment. Unless your pet needs immediate medication, shop for prescription medications online. Visit sites like 1-800-PetMeds and PetCareRX.

5. Groom your own pets: A one-time investment in a few high-quality grooming tools can pay off in the long-run. Professional grooming can run upwards of $50 per visit, so a do-it-yourself approach can amount to significant savings. Some pets that are more sensitive to being handled (i.e. rescued pets) may also fare better with a hands-on approach at home instead of a being exposed to a potentially stressful, foreign environment.