Monthly Archives: February 2006

Katamari Blockacy by skinny coder

Flickr users are posting some really great LEGO creations lately. Brickshelf has some serious functional and technical limitations (folder descriptions can’t even include apostrophes, for example), and I’m starting to think that it might be worth posting on Flickr as well as Brickshelf (as several LEGO fans I know of currently do) — or even switching completely to Flickr. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.

Flickr user skinny coder has posted some totally sweet LEGO recreations of video games, including my current favorite game, Katamari Damacy for the PS2:

My wife and I have been playing nothing but the two Katamari games for the last three months or so. You know what’s funny (and a bit frustrating)? I have a King of All Cosmos minifig sitting next to a Prince minifig among my LEGO, waiting for me to create exactly what skinny coder made. Oh well…

Support Free Speech: Buy LEGO!

I’m conflicted and confused about the recent controversy (and violence) over a cartoon of Mohammed published last September in a Danish newspaper. I spent a summer during college working on an archaeological dig in Jordan, where I became good friends with many Muslims. I’m also a writer and card-carrying proponent of free speech.

But the boycotts are especially baffling. Here’s a quote from a recent article (via ILENN):

From Havarti cheese to Lego toys, Danish products have been yanked off the shelves of stores in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries around the Middle East as Muslims await an apology for the cartoons, which the Copenhagen government has said it cannot give.

I realize that this is a complex issue. (Political cartoonist Mikhaela Reid provides a fairly balanced perspective, identifying the racist and xenophobic overtones of the original cartoon.) But punishing unrelated Danish companies like LEGO strikes me as an overreaction.

Should those of us in “the west” take to the streets, burn down the embassies of Muslim countries, and counter-boycott goods from such countries? No, absolutely not! But perhaps we can show our support for the right to free speech of artists and writers everywhere by buying a little extra Havarti and LEGO.

Miyamoto Musashi

Name: Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵 みやもとむさし)
Dates: ca. 1584-1645
Biography: Musashi was a famous swordsman of the Edo period. He is said to have won sixty duels, the first at age 13. According to legend, he arrived late at his last battle, with another famous swordsman named Sasaki Kojiro. Kojiro was so angry that he threw away his sword’s sheath. Musashi then said, “You have lost, Kojiro. Those who need no sheath are those who will die!” Musashi was also an author and a painter.
Further reading: The Book of Five Rings, Musashi, The Lone Samurai.

Minamoto no Yorimitsu

Name: Minamoto no Yorimitsu (源頼光 みなもとのよりみつ)
Dates: 944-1021
Biography: Yorimitsu was a legendary warrior from the Heian period of Japanese history. Although famous for many real-life exploits, he appears in several legends, including one in which he defeats the ogre (oni) Shuten Doji, disguised as an ascetic Buddhist monk, or yamabushi.
Further reading: Wikipedia (English), Wikipedia (日本語).