Maybe not such a good idea…

Szpylbert cartoon of a Natter rocket plane

Your cartoonist ist a big aviation enthusiast. One particular design that’s always fascinated him is the German WW2 era Bachem Ba 349 Natter (“Adder”), developed just before the end of the war. It was a tiny, vertically-launching rocket plane designed to shoot down incoming bombers. Constructed mainly of wood it was designed for speeds of up to 1,000 km/h. It was also partially disposable, with the main rocket engine and the pilot returning to the ground by parachute. It only flew once, immediately crashed, killing the unlucky test pilot. It’s designer went on to build caravans after the war – probably a bit less dangerous.

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The shortest distance…

Szpylbert cartoon about Milton Keynes roads

… between two points is a straight line. This doesn’t seem to apply in the town of Milton Keynes in the UK, however. Here, the town planners have decided to build pointless roundabouts every 200 meters or so. Very difficult in a rental car when balancing a smartphone on knee for navigation.

Oh yes, and while we are at it, Vauxhall, that 1.0l three cylinder you put in your Astra is ludicrous.

The cigarette of the 21st century

Cartoon of a currywurstThe sausage will be the cigarette of the future, says a guy from a major German sausage factory (Ruegenwalder). He ought to know.

Despite it being so unhealthy (your cartoonist read recently that a sausage has almost no nutritional value whatsoever), Szpylbert misses the occasional good Currywurst. This is essentially a fried sausage with curry sauce, traditionally served with chips and mayo. You’ll get this if you order a “CPM” (Currywurst-Pommes-Mayo) or an “Asi-Teller” (something like “idiot’s plate”) at a German fast food place.

 

 

Blunderbuss

Szpylbert cartoon of a ridiculous gun

According to this commentary, many Americans will want to own guns because of deeply ingrained cultural myths. As someone who thinks about the evaluation of stuff, Szpylbert might have something, well… unconventional to add to the gun control debate. Here goes:

As every boy knows, firearms have a special aesthetic to them that makes them appear functional, dangerous and cool. That’s because they literally are precision engineered killing instruments. But what if guns were to appear ridiculous rather than dangerous? Think sex toys… Szpylbert imagines that far fewer crimes would happen with ridiculous looking guns. Maybe there’s an approach here. Make guns look like what they really are: absurd, pointless objects that should be embarrassing to own.

Hoard Instinct

Szpylbert’s favourite lefty rag, the Guardian, today featured an older article (“Blame the ‘bank of mum and dad’ for Britain’s growing inequality“) on their website. In the article, the columnist complains about the supposed unfairness of parents supporting their children financially.

To get things started, the columnist suggests we should get rid of terms such as “bank of mum and dad”. Instead, we are to acknowledge that this money really is unearned wealth and that passing it on is an act of rentier capitalism. Ugh! Szpylbert is allergic to being told what to say, so here’s a little comment.

First, this wealth will be quite the opposite of “unearned” in the majority of cases – it’s been earned by parents who choose to save it for their kids. Supposedly, this wealth has been built up from taxed income, so some redistribution has also taken place. Unequal? Tick. Immoral per se? Certainly not.

Second, to the ridiculous claim that giving money to children equates to rentier capitalism: here we have the usual objection from the hardcore left that having money allows people to make more money through “rental income”, supposedly without hard work – however that is defined.

The classic all-investment-is-evil argument ignores a key point, though. Since most people have access to funds through the financial markets, i.e. borrowing in one way or another, most people can also, if they have the skill (… and with hard work, perhaps?), generate returns from money. So really the criticism is that mum and dad put their kids in a better position to invest. Also no screaming injustice here, so Szpylbert’s opinion is: of course giving money to the kids perpetuates inequality. But lamenting it on moral grounds is misguided.