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Posts Tagged ‘Wile E. Coyote’

I probably would never take any hints for doing anything from watching Wile E. Coyote cartoons but when I see films of people in wingsuits stepping off sheer cliffs and soaring like rockets at 150 MPH only several feet from the face of the mountain, all I can wonder is Where did they get this idea?

Were these guys sitting around, eating bowls of cereal at four in the afternoon,watching cartoons and when the image of Wile E. in his 1950’s wingsuit came on the screen, thought, “That is so cool!  Let’s try that!” ?

I kind of hope so.  That means there’s still a possibility for rocket-powered rollerskates out there.

The first time I saw any video of these fearless fliers, it was a guy buzzing by the Giant Jesus on Sugarloaf down in Rio.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The guy was a streak going nearly horizontal across the sky.  Amazing.

Currently, the flights generally last a little over a minute until the flier opens his chute and sails easily to the ground but there are many who trying to develop suits that would enable them to glide to the ground without a chute.  That would probably allow for longer flight times.  Zowie!

I can’t even imagine standing at the precipice of a cliff, looking over at a couple of thousand feet of a sheer granite wall, let alone wanting to step off it with only a nylon suit and a giant set of cajones to take me to the bottom.  I am enthralled by their daring and ability to overcome the primal fear that must be present when they raise that first foot before the leap.  I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced anything near that burst of adrenaline that must be throbbing through them at that point and as I watch them from the safety of  my chair, I am both excited by their adventurous spirit and disappointed by my own.

It make me wonder.  Are these guys crazy? Or are  many of us too bound to this earth by our own fears?  Could I ever take that step?

Take a look at this before you decide if you’re willing to take that step.  It’s from the film, The Sharp End, which documents this type of flying and other extreme rocksports such as free-climbing without ropes and which comes highly recommended by my nephew, Jeremy, who dabbles in rock climbing out West.



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Marvin the Martian and DaffyI have often cited artists who have been influences on my work , people who are often giants in the world of art and sometimes lesser known but equally talented artists.  Sometimes you overlook the obvious.

What's Opera DocLast night, TCM honored the great cartoonist Chuck Jones by showing a documentary and some of his landmark cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck.  He also did the Roadrunner/ Wile E. Coyote cartoons as well as the seminal holiday favorite, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  His work was and is a vivid part of an incredible number of people’s childhoods.  His What’s Opera Doc? with Bugs and Elmer in a Wagnerian setting with a tragic ending is classic and might be the only exposure to higher culture that many viewers may get.chuck_jones-opera-set

For me, I was always so drawn to the color quality that Jones had in his cartoons as well as the way he interpreted the landscape with a form of artistic shorthand that cut out extraneous detail yet never took away from the feeling of place, unlike some of the lower quality cartoons from Hanna-Barbera in the early 60’s.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved those cartoons as well but even as a kid I was really distracted by the poor quality of the landscapes that scrolled continuously behind their characters.  With Chuck Jones, it always felt fresh and real, as though there was thought given to every detail in every frame.  Who else could put imagery like this set from  What’s Opera Doc? before the eyes of impressionable children?  Probably only the artists from Disney can match Jones’ work at Warner Brothers, but that’s another post.

His work also treated you, as a kid, like you had intelligence.  They were smart.  Clever and nuanced.  They never talked down to you.

For a kid this was potent stuff.  Scratch that- it’s just potent stuff. Period.

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