A Happy New Year Wish for all my readers :)

My dear blog-readers, caricature-lovers, and also the occasional-visitors,

May your new year be filled with happy surprises and may it bring along love, lucre, and laughter 🙂

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog and for commenting on my posts. One of my New Year Resolutions should be that I’ll spend more time blogging and visiting the blogs of my friends…and I vow to put that resolution on the list, (when I get around to creating it). Oh…and while I am at it, I the Master Procrastinator, must also resolve not to procrastinate the task of preparing the list.

I know I am not making a lot of sense. It must be New Year’s Eve fever!

See you later…in the New Year!

H A P P Y     N E W     Y E A R !

 

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A Toony Pretzels Cartoon – Defining Loneliness

Loneliness once was a real feeling resulting from lack of real friends and real family. Now…they say that the feeling of loneliness still is quite real, but its drivers have changed. I grew up in a time when there was no Internet and in places where there was no television, no telephone, and at times no electricity. There were times when my family stayed in places where there were no other families around. Was I lonely? I don’t think I was. I had so much to do. I’d bind my own books, make my own dresses (and my doll’s dresses too,) study, draw, grow vegetables in my mom’s kitchen garden, and even cook. I don’t remember feeling lonely ever.

But now, I hear of loneliness ever so often. I hear of kids not knowing what to do if they didn’t have their smartphones with them, I hear of young girls and boys jumping off the high-rises because they were depressed, and I read about women in apparently happy relationships suffering from anxiety and depression. I am sure that the feeling is extremely real for them, but I can’t really get a handle on the causes…

I just wonder whether we were a stronger lot before Internet shrunk our world into a ragged ball of tangled connections.

Presenting…

Loneliness!

A Toony Pretzels Cartoon - A take on Facebook Depression - Defining Loneliness - emails, facebook, twitter, blog - Depressed Woman.

Loneliness is the state of feeling sad or deserted due to isolation.

If you are troubled by this cartoon, you should click the following links:

PS: If your virtual life appears empty and meaningless, walk out of the door into the street. The real world too has a lot to offer. Give it a chance 🙂

Eurozone Debt Crisis – Part 3 of 3 – Caricature/Cartoon of Angela Merkel the Chancellor of Germany.

Updated: September 22, 2013 – Angela Merkel becomes the Chancellor of Germany for her third term.

View Merkel’s color caricature painted for this occasion.

Caricature, Cartoon, illustration of Angela Merkel - winning the 2013 Bundestag elections - Germany.

Click to view Angela Merkel’s Color Caricature

———————————————- Original Post follows ——————————————————-

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Now presenting the fourth most powerful person in the world today – Ms. Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germanywith the ropes that bind her.

Caricature and Cartoon of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor restrained from acting in the Eurozone crisis - A portrait and a sketch.

Angela Merkel and the Eurozone Crisis

Angela Merkel has been criticized for dragging her feet on the Eurozone Debt Crisis Issue. She’s been asking for the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) to curtail their expenditure and take other fiscal measures (that were criticized as draconian by many – as they’d put more pressure on the economies of these already weak economies.) She was also against the issue of the Common Bonds by ECB, perhaps because Germany being the strongest economy in the Eurozone would suffer the most by supporting the ECBs.

Recently, the French President Nicolas Sarkozy managed to convince her (and as Sarkozy and Merkel have been working closely on this issue, the paparazzi is affectionately calling the pair, Merkozy,) that the two have to lead the Euro and the Eurozone out of this crisis.

Angela Merkel’s Shortest Bio on the Web

Angela was born in a pastor’s family in Hamburg, on July 17, 1954. She studied Physics, earned a Ph.D. in Quantum Chemistry, and then worked as a Chemist (wow! And I thought that politics and scientific aptitude could never coexist. I mean how could you be diplomatic yet objective. Imagine a scientist saying “We are deliberating over the boiling point of water and if more than half the parliamentarian say that it’s 50 degrees centigrade, it shall be “constitutional-ized” as 50 degrees.)

In 1990 (after the Berlin Wall fell), she discovered her true calling and she joined the Christian Democratic Union (which is a political party and not a religious one,) and was elected to the Bundestag, thus she became the Minister for Women and Youth (what’s the difference – I mean, between women and youth…oh…oh. I get it. All women are young, but not all youth are women!) Then Helmut Kohl the then Chancellor of Germany lost (Merkel may have had some hand in his defeat, as she criticized Kohl and said that she favored a party sans Kohl,) in the 1998 elections and she became the Sec-Gen of CDU. Though she was made the party leader in 2000, but in the 2002 elections she couldn’t become the chancellor. Eventually, in 2005 she achieved her dream and became the first female chancellor of Germany. However, her popularity grew in the coming years, and in 2009 she was re-elected with an overwhelming majority.

Merkel’s Standpoint on Multiculturalism

In October 2010, Merkel said that the Germans are attached to the Christian concept of mankind and that it defines the Germans. She also said that the immigrants should either integrate with Germany’s culture and values or leave.

Angela Merkel’s Love-Life

(You know that your favorite caricaturist is ridiculously romantic!)

It’s clear to me (it could well be make-believe too – because I can hardly see anything that’s more than a few feet away from me,) that Angela Merkel’s first love is Germany. Next in line, asking for her love and finding it perhaps is the crystal clear logic of science. It’s only after having talked about these two loves that one must speak of her first husband Ulrich Merkel or her second husband Professor Joachim Sauer, who is a quantum chemist and if we are to believe the web-rumor-mill, who may get a Nobel prize for his work. Merkel’s got no children.

(I see about 90% of the women of this world screeching, “whaaat? no kids? what’s wrong with her? That poor mite. She’s not experienced the greatest of all joys that a woman can ever experience…” And I also see Merkel shaking her head in disbelief and saying – “Hey, I’ve known a few other joys – for instance, the joy of success, the joy of knowledge, the joy of power…” but then, even she’d lose her chancellor-ship in the next elections, if she dared to voice such an opinion – but then this entire thing that I’ve written here is fiction – isn’t it?)

Some Special Merkel-Bytes:

  • She was in “The World’s 100 Most Powerful women” in 2006, 7, 8, 9, and 11!
  • Believe it or not, she was even given the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for the year by the Indian Government.
  • She’s been called the Iron Lady, Iron Girl, Iron Frau…and has been compared to Margaret Thatcher.
  • She was personally present at the M100 Media Award handover to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who was criticized for making a cartoon that inflamed the Islamist sensibilities. She’s been praised for this brave move to support freedom of speech.
  • However, Merkel has also supported the introduction of islamic education in classroom.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Eurozone Debt Crisis – Part 2 of 3 – Caricature/Cartoon of Nicolas Sarkozy as Caesar

If you are an artist who is not a political cartoonist, chances are that you’d welcome a primer on the Eurozone Crisis. Your loving, caring, and ever-so-considerate caricaturist has cobbled up a story to help you understand the essence of this euro-excitement that refuses to settle down.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

And now…

Presenting Nicolas Sarkozy as the temporary Caesar of Europe (or more accurately of the European Union). It was a dream of many great leaders including Charles de Gaulle, Napoleon Bonaparte – and most of all Caesar. They all wanted to unite the entire Europe. Almost all his life Caesar waged war against other countries and once, even against Rome, to achieve his purpose.

For President Sarkozy, this honor came almost automatically, when the German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to budge from her stance of not making any concessions for those Euro zone countries who had allowed themselves to sink. Unfortunately everything including the fate of the Euro still remains shaky, and the Union still has huge cracks in it, which may allow any of every deal to fall through it. Alas!

A Cartoon on the Eurozone Crisis - The Caricature, or Portrait of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who managed to charm Angela Merkel into making a decision that could help sustain Euro.

Well…that’s that.

What are you looking for?

Oh. You are looking for the Shortest Bio of Nicolas Sarkozy and Caesar on the Web – right?
(Don’t read this – here I berate myself for becoming so predictable…you are still reading…I can see you reading. Okay, as you aren’t stopping, I’ll have to take my fight with myself elsewhere.)

But here are their biographies and also their caricatures…before I decided to roll them into one.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Eurozone Debt Crisis – Part 1 of 3 – Explaining the Crisis and Paving way for the new Tsars of Europe – Sarkozy and Merkel!

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Do you know what the Eurozone crisis is?
Of course it’s got to do with debt – but what’s the real story?

I know that a lot of people have tried to explain the Eurozone Crisis and have attempted to simplify it – but frankly, it’s just too convoluted to explain – unless of course, you use an analogy…or tell a story to explain the whole thing. I believe storytelling is the coolest way to explain anything to lay people like us. So here I go.

For Richer and For Poorer
(A Short Story – a Fictional Parallel of the Eurozone Crisis)

In the City of Plenty, there once lived a family. There was a man and he had many wives, and his wives had borne him many children. Some of them were daughters who were married off and were happy with their husbands, but others were sons. In the City of Plenty, there was never a problem of resources, and so all these sons were able to fend for themselves and their families; they lived in the city, they met one-another often, and they were happy.

Now three of these brothers worked hard, saved some money, invested wisely, and ensured that their families too did the same. So these brothers prospered more than the other brothers, who weren’t all that organized and whose families didn’t really follow many rules – in fact, some of the other brothers even gambled were always in debt. This went on for a while, but then the lenders became wary of them – so while the credit-rating of the three prosperous brothers was good, and whenever they needed some extra cash, people would happily loan it to them without even asking them for any interest, some of the other brothers would find it really difficult to borrow.

The father and his wives fretted about those other brothers…and so they came up with an idea and played upon the emotions of the prosperous brothers.

“Why don’t you all stay together, in the same house?” asked the father.
“But why?” asked one of the prosperous sons of this father.
“Don’t you know? If all of you live together, you’d be stronger and more powerful, and nobody would ever dare to mess with you,” answered the shrewd father.
“Okay, but why would they want to stay with us, won’t their families disapprove?” asked another of the prosperous sons.
“No. They’ve got something in it for them too,” answered the mother of one not-prosperous son.
“And what is that?” asked the most cynical of the three rich brothers.
“Well. People aren’t keen to loan them any money. If they stayed with you, people will assume that you are a family, and so they’d get the credit – and then they’d use that credit to do some business, and then they’ll become as rich and affluent as you are,” said the dad.
“Will they?” asked the wife of the most prosperous son.
“Of course, they would. They are as smart as you are – if they were given a chance, they’d prove it.”

Now one of the three rich brothers wasn’t convinced about the idea, so he said he’d wait and watch. The other two rich brothers agreed to it, and they all started staying together – in one big house, and they presented a united front to the whole city. The other brothers suddenly found themselves flush with funds. People would give these brothers money asking for little or no interest. People believed in the strength of the three rich brothers.

Unfortunately, those other brothers didn’t know what to do with the money. They hadn’t had such easy money before. So, one of the brothers took his family on a cruise, another bought a lot of apartment complexes hoping to sell them for a profit, and so on and so forth. They enjoyed the money until it was there, and then one day it was gone…and then one of the brothers defaulted on the loan that he had taken.

This wasteful brother went to the richest of all brothers and asked him for help. The rich brother helped, hoping that the brother would mend his ways. He didn’t. And then…in a few months…some of those other brothers defaulted on their payments too.

All hell broke loose when one of the rich brothers wanted some loan for a project, but he was shown the door by a lender who earlier believed in him. He was told that the city had lost faith in the family. The family now faced a collective crisis, with no simple solution in sight. Breaking up the family would result in loss of face and credibility for everyone, and financing the debt-ridden brothers would drain the resources of the rich brothers. After all, they had their own families to take care of, their own obligations to fulfill!

The richest brother who ran a tight ship, be it family or business; knew that his family will have to pay for the families of the other brothers, and he wasn’t happy about it. He was of the opinion that if the family got together and raised more debt, there had to be some sort of security that the other brothers would change their ways, work hard, be frugal, and start earning…but the other brothers felt that if they were made to do all this, they’d never have enough energy to start earning any way! Thus there was a deadlock…but then the other rich brother who had stayed in the family managed to broker a deal – whether the deal would work or not, is yet to be seen.

Now, here’s a quick quiz for you. If this story was about the Eurozone crisis, then:

  1. What’s the name of the family?
  2. Who are three rich brothers in the story?
  3. Who’s the brother who took him family on a cruise?
  4. Who’s the brother who bought the apartment complexes?
  5. What would be the name of the brother who bailed out the wastrel who took his family on a cruise?
  6. Which rich brother stayed out of the whole deal?

Here are the answers all jumbled up.
Ireland, Greece, Germany, France, Britain, the Eurozone

Important Note:

This is a fictitious story written to bring out the highlights of the Euro-crisis. I must state that the Eurozone crisis also has other roots. For instance, during 2002-8 credit was wonderfully easy to obtain, during the same period the world experienced the real-estate bubble burst (and it affected Ireland in the worst possible way), and recession hit us all – All this exacerbated the issue…and I have not drawn analogies for them in my story.

Read the other two parts of this story at the following links:

Caricature/Cartoon – Remembering the Great Indian Cartoonist Mario Miranda

There was a time when cartoons were made of squigglies put together…squigglies that won’t have meaning unless they were supported by oodles of text in form of captions. Then in 1926, a child was born in Goa and he was given the task of banishing the ugly squigglies from the world of publishing. This child was Mario Miranda, who didn’t need to go to an illustration school to master the art of creating riveting characters that spoke to you without words. The words merely embellished his already rich creations further.

With a heavy heart but with tons of gratitude, I present the caricature of Mario Miranda, one of the very few Indian artists who have left behind characters that will always remind us of him.

Mario Miranda (1926 - 2011) with his characters.

In this caricature, most of his fans will be able to identify B.C. Bundaldass, M.C. Moonswami (Bundaldass’s handyman or “side-kick” as Mario used to call him) (I wonder what the B.C. and the M.C. stood for? – Scatological…eh?!) Ms. Rajini Nimbupani (the voluptuous actress,) Ms. Fonseca (the polka-dots-dress-clad secretary with an hour-glass figure,) the loveable little dog.

I made a post about Mario Miranda on June 14th, 2011.  In this post, I also mention that the other Indian cartoonist who makes me feel like becoming a cartoonist, is Ajit Ninan.

The Times of India today carried Ajit Ninan’s tribute to Mario Miranda.

Quoting Ajit Ninan from TOI – Page 10 – December 13, 2011.

“Mario’s work touched the heart. His characterisation of people, particularly the weakness of the male of the species, was superb. He brought home to you the foibles of man through gloriously detailed illustrations of life in the office, on the streets and above all at parties.
In a nutshell, just as Bollywood brought India to the world, Mario brought Bombay to India. His mastery of architecture and of fashion trends was one of the keys to this. Mario’s ornate illustrations of the colonial structures of Mumbai wouldn’t have been possible for anyone with a less sound grasp of architecture.”

and

“He (Mario) was among the few who could use both black and white in roughly equal proportions in an illustration to create what is best described as a harmony of clutter.”

I am convinced that as I write this, Mario Miranda is busy attending parties in heaven, and that his illustrations will shortly be published in the Illustrated Weekly of Heaven.

The Time Machine: Asterix the Gaul by Albert Uderzo and Rene Goscinny

Time Machine Icon for the History of Comic Strips Posts

Introductory Gibberish – Skip it!

Last night when I got into my Time Machine for my umpteenth trip into the past, I forgot to check the fuel-meter. Only when the machine stopped whirring and began coughing and spluttering, did I realize what sort of idiot I had been! Thankfully, the machine stopped in the year 1955, and gasoline had already been discovered. I shudder to imagine what might’ve happened had the gas lasted up to the Neolithic or even the Paleolithic era.

However, the point that I am dying to make is that I turned lucky as the Time Machine materialized in the backyard of a house in France. I stepped out of the machine and looked around. There was snow all around me – and in fact, there was a snowman too. I did a double take when I looked at the snowman. Believe it or not, the snowman looked exactly like Asterix! I shuffled my memories…trying to get the timeline straight. In 1955, Asterix didn’t exist. The world (okay, France) first met Asterix the Gaul in 1959! Something just wasn’t right.

And then I saw a young man wearing earmuffs, a fur jacket, and a pair of snow-boots (No. He wasn’t dressed like Obelix, I assure you.) He was sitting on a log with an A3 Sketchbook on his knees. He was sitting there, drawing people with gigantic noses! That’s how I recognized him. His noses are the biggest in the world of cartooning – and if you tell me otherwise, you must not have read Asterix comics.

I asked the young man about the snowman, and he told me that the snow-guy was a figment of his imagination. Obviously I asked him for his name, and he told me that he was Albert Uderzo.

So, that’s how I ended up writing about Asterix.

Introductory Gibberish Ends 🙂

The Theme of Asterix Comics:

Asterix the Gaul lives in a little Gaulish village that remains unconquered despite rest of the Gaul having been captured by Julius Caesar. The secret of their invincibility lies in a magic potion that Druid Getafix fixes for them. After the villagers tank up on the magic potion, they bash up the Romans and pack them off.

The Characters in Asterix Comics:

While Asterix is the main protagonist, there are a lot of other important characters too, and each of them has his own distinct personality. The second most visible character is Obelix. Obelix is huge and dumb while Asterix is small and smart. Obelix has a cute little dog (a terrier, I believe) who is called Dogmatix (who was called Idefix in French). Then there are the others. There’s Chief VitalstatistixBard CacofonixDruid Getafix, the fish monger Unhygienix, and so on.

The main and the constant opponent is Julius Caesar who is unable to accept the fact that this little Gaulish village makes minced meat out of his able troops.

The Stories/Adventures of Asterix:

Each Asterix book tells a story. The stories are usually set in an around the Gaulish countryside, but sometimes Asterix, Obelix, and Dogmatix travel to distant lands.

The Unique Selling Proposition of Asterix Comics:

Why am I, the forever cynic, sold on Asterix comics?
Honestly, it’s because they are simply awesome. The characters, the action-lines that make the scenes come alive, the strength and the smoothness of the drawings, the composition of the scenes, the details of the clothes, buildings, and places – and the dialogs too!

The Creators of Asterix:

Perhaps every Asterix-lover knows that Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo created this little giant who’s loved the world over (perhaps not so much in America, though I wonder why not.)

Rene Goscinny did most of the writing while Albert Uderzo did most of the drawing…but both could draw extremely well. Unfortunately Goscinny died rather young – at the age of 51. In 1977, he suffered a heart attack while he was taking a stress test. This happened while Goscinny and Uderzo was working on Asterix in Belgium. This book was later completed by Uderzo.

After Goscinny’s death Uderzo continued as the sole-creator of Asterix comics. Thus, Adventures 25 to 34 were created by Uderzo alone.

And

A few other things…

for instance,

  • The Gauls are scared of the sky falling on their heads. (So are the Democrats!)
  • Obelix’s favorite war-cry is “These Romans are crazy!” (What’s not noted in the books is that Obelix’s concern was well-founded. Most of those Romans were tattooed and pierced in all the right and some wrong places.)
  • Dogmatix loves trees and he hates it when anyone attempts to harm the trees. (Obviously, because trees are important for dogs.)
  • Bard Cacofonix is often found tied up to a tree while the whole village feasts. (Apparently, this is to stop him from singing. Where were all those human rights people back then?)
  • Chief Vitalstatistix loves to gorge himself all the time, while his shield-bearers use every opportunity to topple him from the shield. (Thankfully there were no unions in the little Gaulish village.)
  • Obelix is invincible because when he was little, he fell into a cauldron of magic potion (Ewww…the potion has cooled down, I hope.)

I could go on and on…but I’d recommend that you read the real thing instead:)

Caricature/Cartoon of a Musician – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

Mozart, they say, was a musical prodigy. Even before he was five, he could play the keyboard and the violin, and he performed in front of the Royalty. Obviously such performances today will lead to protests by various organizations that safeguard the interest of children…so it was good that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in 1756 and not in 2006. With that little detail out of my way…
I present the caricature of the wigged musical genius, Mozart.

A Caricatured Portrait or a Cartoon sketch of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The 18th Century Musician and Composer who was a child prodigy.

Mozart’s Biographical Sketch by the Caricaturist (Obviously exaggerated):

Mozart was born on a cold wintry morning in the January of 1756, in a place called Salzburg. Mozart was born with the musical gene riding his y chromosome, which he got from his dad. Incidentally his dad also had the right connections (he himself was in the court orchestra,) and a teacher of music. With the right genes, the right guidance, and the right push, it wasn’t long before Mozart and his sister made their first court appearance as child-prodigies.

It wasn’t that Mozart’s childhood was a bed of roses. I can imagine a three-year old being tutored by his dad, and a six-year-old being made to perform in front of the royalty – it sends a shiver down my spine! I am glad I wasn’t his sister, who went through a similar ordeal.

In 1773, when Mozart was 17, he got the job of the court musician at Salzburg. Unfortunately, job-satisfaction evaded him. He also thought that he wasn’t paid well. Obviously then, he did what anyone would do in his position, he floated his resume in the market. In 1777, Mozart had enough of Salzburg. He resigned and moved to Paris. Unfortunately, nothing worked out for him and he fell into debt. His dad however was one of the sweetest dads ever (quite like the Bollywood Star Amitabh Bachhan, who did everything to establish his son in Bollywood,) and he found a job for his son,…once again in Salzburg – the place Mozart didn’t want to come back to. But he did – and then gradually the wheel of fortune began to turn for him.

Mozart’s Love Life:

  1. Mozart’s first love was a singer called Aloysia, who lost interest in him while he was struggling all over Europe. (Women – bah!)
  2. After Mozart had established himself in Vienna (1781), he took up accommodation with a certain Weber family. One thing led to another and it wasn’t long before Mozart and Constanze (one of the daughters of the Weber family) became an item.

As it happens with most artists, Mozart too suffered a lot many ups and downs in his career.

Other Stuff about Mozart:

  • There’ve been rumors that Mozart suffered from Tourette Syndrome.
  • Mozart loved to play practical jokes on people. As Mozart preferred off-color humor (called scatological humor – be careful while clicking the link…it’s got some off-color stuff), people who were the butt of his jokes weren’t too pleased with him.
  • He also played Billiards and kept pets.
  • Mozart did become a Freemason sometime in the 1780s.
  • Mozart loved to dress-up (check out the frill in front of his coat, and that neat little bow on his wig.)

If you are the musical kind, you may want to check out Mozart’s Music here 🙂