Ugly Bug Cars

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My poor little pony has a broken leg… er… wheel.  I was told by insurance to get a rental car to drive while it is getting fixed… or maybe shot in the head, because that’s what they do with ponies that have broken legs.   They don’t want me driving it with a wobble-wheel that may fall off at any moment.  Of course, if the insurance is paying for it, they expect you to go as cheaply as possible.  That’s how I ended up driving this little white roller skate that somebody inflated with a bicycle pump.  Truly, I could’ve designed a sturdier and better-looking car using the old Ritz cracker boxes I build castles from, and some chocolate donuts on sticks for wheels.  The thing does NOT have a Rolls-Royce engine.  When  it starts, the engine makes a winding-up noise like, “brrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRAHP!” that after three minutes finally gives a little kick and shifts into second gear.  The squirrel that runs in the exercise wheel that makes the engine go is surely both spastic and epileptic.  It has seizures going around corners.  I do not imagine myself driving anywhere in it faster than 35 miles per hour.  In Dallas suburban traffic it is going to get me honked at a lot.  Not just your ordinary “Go-faster-stupid!” honks, but real, LOUD honks of impending doom piling up behind me.

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Here you see it grinning its toothless fat grandpa-grin at me from the parking lot at Braums’ Ice Cream, the first place it successfully took me after getting it from Enterprise Rental Co.  It was obviously quite happy with itself.  My kids observed, while looking at it for the first time, that it has a smiley face on it that reminds you of a Japanese manga chibi character with little license-plate-gray Hitler mustache.  Let me see if I can enhance the effect so you can more clearly see what they meant;

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I truly believe that I am going to have fun making fun of this goofy little car.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, pessimism, photo paffoonies, Uncategorized

The Joys of Texas Roadways

Yesterday I was in a car accident that I wasn’t even a participant in.  Wait, is that the right way to say it?  I was in a car wreck when I wasn’t in my car.  No, that doesn’t sound right either.  Driving skills in Texas were definitely on display yesterday as I lay ill in my bed and a passing Texas motorist unintentionally held a mini demolition derby with my car on the street.

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As you can see from the un-funny picture Paffooney above, it was mainly the left hind leg of the old pony that took the hit.  The other car hit the rear driver’s side wheel with enough force to flatten the tire, wreck the rim, and bend the end of the axle so that, with an emergency spare in place, I could still pick up my kids from school, though it was with a definite wibble-wobble added to the experience.  It was an inconvenient accident for me.  But it was worse for the other guy.  His car bounced off mine and skidded down the street about 200 feet.  It came to rest against the curb with a front wheel so bent that the steering wheel could no longer move it.  It sat at a weird angle to the rest of the car.

The young guy driving was rather shaken up.  He had trouble calling for the police to come and make an accident report because his hands were still shaking, yet he felt guilty enough that he wouldn’t let me make the call.  I tried to be as calm and helpful as possible.  I found out he was also originally from Iowa.  He also moved to Texas for work after college.  He could easily have been me thirty years ago.  He said that he had just dropped a friend off in the neighborhood, and the friend had left a drink cup from 7-Eleven on the dash.  When the cup fell, he made the mistake of trying to catch it, and drove directly into my car.

The timing of the accident was miserable.  I was already feeling ill before it happened, and it caused me to have to stand outside to give and send information to his insurance, my insurance, the police officer, and AAA Automotive Assistance to make my car drive-able  enough to get my kids from school during the Friday afternoon rush.  The repairs are going to be extensive because of a bent axle.  But I survived it.  And it gave me something to post for today.  So let me end with a reprise of my cartoon homage to Texas city driving.

The Car Chase of Life

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney

Building Cardboard Castles

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The current state of my cardboard castle is pictured above.  I probably need to remind you that I am making this thing with my own hands.  It is made from old Ritz Cracker boxes with a layer of cutout skin printed from the computer.  It is put together with glue, tape, and a little bit of ingenuity… oh, and a lot of “insert tab A into slot B”.  It is shaping up into a very Elizabethan style of castle.  I originally started it to create props for use with the family Dungeons and Dragons game.  But it grows into a project existing for its own sake, a piece of artwork that is made just like so many others I have done before, in many small steps, one piece at a time.

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Here we are stepping back in time to what it looked like before, with fewer elements created.  You can see that the essentials are already added in here… the tavern and the outhouse… can’t live without either of those.

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It does, indeed, make a worthy addition and contribution to the ongoing D&D campaign currently journeying through the eastern cities of Aundair in the realm of Eberron.  We are seeking the stolen dragon eggs, and have recently conquered the castle of the Duke of Evernight, freeing it from its terrible curse.

But I do truly believe that the key to this art project, in fact, the theme of this whole post, is that big, impressive things are built our of one small step following another over time.  You build brick walls with a bricklayer placing one brick at a time.

Novels, too, are accomplished this way… one small step after another.  As are both the marriage and the raising of children in the life of a family.  Nothing worth building goes up in a flash… unless it’s built by the Flash… but he is only a character from a comic book and not real.  So, I continue to build.  One day soon, I shall have battlements capable of warding off goblins and orcs.  And for today, I have added another brick to the walls of my blog.

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Spending Money

Rainbow peacock

I went with the WordPress premium because even though I don’t have enough money to spend on medicine that is supposed to keep me alive (in theory), I need to be able to post new artwork to my blog.  Picture-people like me need purple-paisley posting privileges because we live for color, form, pattern, and composition.  I reached the three gigabyte limit  on pictures with my free blog site, so I had to, like a starving drug addict, spend precious resources on feeding my habit.  So expect me to play with the new toy in the coming month.  I have some experimenting to do.

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The Ghost Dog

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Before I begin this very confusing and confusticating tale, I need to start by stating clearly that I do not believe in ghosts.  I am firmly convinced that there is a rational scientific explanation for everything, and those things we may be tempted to see as a spirit living on after death of the body are really only misperceptions of other things… and wishful thinking.

In spite of all that, we have a ghost dog living in our house.

I know that contradicts everything I just said, but human beings are like that.  Practically everything about this life is shot full of contradictions and impossibilities.  So, let me lay out those contradictions as I encountered them.

This house we live in now was built in the 1970’s.  It was lived in by a middle-class white family.  A woman showed up here ten years ago wanting to look at the house because she grew up in it, and it had been sold when her parents died.  So this house is not young enough to be free of potential spirits of those who lived before.  But no tragic deaths, the kind that the lore says cause ghosts to walk, happened in this house.  Except for the possibility of a family pet hit by a car in this neighborhood.

The first time I saw it was when I got out of the bathtub one evening in early January.  As I opened the door to the bathroom, still not having my glasses on, I saw a dog sitting in the upstairs hallway, panting with its tongue hanging out.  Now, we do have a dog, but our dog, Jade, is a small yellow-and-white dog.  The dog I glimpsed out of the corner of my near-sighted, astigmatic eye with no corrective lens in front of it was a rather large chocolate brown dog.  I jumped a bit and looked directly at it.  It was no longer there with a speed that gave the lie to the notion that it was a real dog.  It had to be a trick of the eye and the goofy old brain.  Our mind is wired in a way that makes sense out of every visual stimulus-blob  in the best way that it can.  I must have misinterpreted some shadow or blob of color in a way that my brain instantly converted into a chocolate-brown Labrador-retriever sort of dog… with a goofy, open-mouthed dog-smile.

So, I didn’t really think anything more about it.  I investigate ghost stories and conspiracy theories all the time as a part of the kind of surrealist writing I like to do.  I always find those wedges of doubt that smugly allow me to dismiss the Don Knotts’ Mr. Chicken response.

Then, I saw it again.  I have to get up in the night to go to the bathroom at least three times every night.  About a week ago, I was making one of these necessary nocturnal treks when I happened to look down the staircase in passing.  I saw the tail end of a big chocolate-colored dog trotting past on the way towards the garage.  My heart leaped.  And then I reminded myself we have a dog and she lives on a very different schedule than we do.  I went to the bathroom, and then went down the stairs to investigate.  The family room door was shut and blocked with a clothes-hamper.  We have been trying to keep the dog out of the family room because she has a bad habit of trying to pee on the family room carpet in the middle of the night to mark her territory.  There are certain discolored spots on the rug that we have worked very hard to keep dry.  And I found our dog asleep on the foot of my son’s bed where she always sleeps.  Whatever I saw wasn’t her.  But again, I didn’t have my glasses on.  I began mulling over the possibility of this post at that point.

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Last night made this post a necessity.  While returning from my nocturnal pee-break after midnight, I distinctly heard a dog whimpering, coming from the landing of the stairs.  I stepped into the landing, and I still heard it.  If it was not a dream sound or a misinterpretation of my own stomach growling, then I was hearing an invisible dog whimpering.  It didn’t last for more than a minute.  Again, the dog herself was nowhere near the place.

Should I be scared?  Of course not.  Ghosts don’t exist, do they?  And even if this one does exist somehow, it was a beloved family pet, more likely to protect us than hurt us.  So I was able to get back to sleep easily.  But this post became absolutely necessary.  If you read in the newspapers that a family in Carrollton, Texas was eaten by wolves in the middle of the night some night… tell somebody about my unfounded suspicions.

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Gingerbread Recipes for the Future

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I have been suffering through bad day after bad day recently.  I had a fender bender.  My favorite football team got plowed into the turf in the playoffs.  I have been suffering a great deal from weather-induced arthritis pain, low blood sugar, and viral infections.  And I even reached the download limit on my WordPress account, meaning I will have to pay more money to post new pictures.

But this blog is percolating along at 30 views per day or more.  I am being read and exposed to the light more than I ever have in my whole writing life.  That doesn’t earn me a penny, in fact, it costs me money, but it has to be a very good thing.  I deal with pain and hardship through creativity.  I create things to make it better.

When I was a kid, there was a little old German lady that lived in our little town.  She had a tattoo on her forearm.  She had been in a concentration camp in Poland in the 1940’s.  But , living as an Iowan, she was the most cheerful and loving old lady I knew.  She gave me chocolate bars for holding the door open for her at the Methodist church.  She gave homemade cookies to all the kids constantly.  She did not have any children of her own for very sad reasons that no one ever talked about.  She loved it when children visited her at her little tar-paper-covered house that we nicknamed “the Gingerbread House”.  I vividly remember being there one cold winter night after choir practice when she gave us gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate.  She told us on that snowy winter evening, “Gingerbread makes everything better.”

I have to believe that philosophy is essentially correct.  My stories are like gingerbread.  If I cook them just right, they will have that good ginger taste that soothes all hurts and longings.  So, I started putting together a story in honor of her.  She is already a character in several of my stories.  But I needed one where Grandma Gretel was the main character.  And it has to be about baking gingerbread and telling stories.  In fact, I think I will bake a little magic into it.  The gingerbread men she bakes will actually come to life.  And I will put together a theme about overcoming the darkness with a smile and wink and a recipe for gingerbread.

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Filed under 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, autobiography, battling depression, humor, Paffooney, philosophy, Uncategorized

When Lizard People Win

Senator Tedhkruzh

Senator Tedhkruzh, the lizard-man from the doomed planet Galtorr Prime.

The Iowa Caucuses delivered a result that was, to me, not unexpected, but definitely dreaded.  Not that I am not happy that Bernie Sanders tied Hilary Clinton on the Democratic side.  Sanders is a gruff and determined old grandpa-man who says what he means and has been pursuing ideas that I truly believe will benefit everybody for more than forty years.  But my Iowa friends and Iowa family are more given to the conservative point of view.  As a result, they have a tendency to accept as truth the lies they are told by the lizard people who have taken on human disguises and become the leaders of the Republican Party.

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Apparently Grandpa Munster is the winner of the Republican half of the Iowa Caucuses.  Not to say that it is a bad thing that Mr. Donald Trump did not win, for he would be a very bad president if elected.  He does not represent all the people of this country, and does not even represent the interests of all the people who would vote for him.  He is a greedy, ruthless business overlord who favors the rich and has distinct and harmful prejudices against most minorities.  He has a terrible idea of what is good for all Americans.  But, as orangutans will when given the reins of the stagecoach, he will promptly drive us into the nearest ditch and be replaced with a better driver.
Senator Cruz from Texas, however, is another beast all together.  The noted conspiracy theorist, David Icke, insists many of the world leaders are actually serpentoid aliens able to take on human form, and are using their ability to control the world for sinister alien ends.  Now, I certainly don’t believe that David Icke is anything more than a kook and a charlatan making obscene amounts of money lecturing about his conspiracy theories and bizarre fantasy life.  Ted Cruz, in my experience, however, is a cold-blooded creature with nothing but his own appetites for power in his agenda.  He portrays himself as an opponent to Obamacare and orchestrated an unnecessary, expensive, and needlessly destructive government shutdown to demonstrate his power.  The fact that the Affordable Care Act is actually helping people with the nightmare of American health care and insurance access is irrelevant to him.  He is a child of immigrants, yet he is opposed to giving hard-working would-be immigrants easy access to citizenship and fully documented acceptance.  And the worst thing about the cold-blooded politician is that he has the power and ability to enforce his will if we make the mistake of electing him President of the United States.  As a humorist, it is tempting to merely call the enemy names and cleverly insult him.  You can probably tell that I enjoy doing just that.  But I hope you see too that I am choosing against him for myself because of his stated policy positions and past actions.  It is not the man… so much as the man’s potential for doing harm.  I admit to prejudice against him.  But sometimes you fear somebody for actual reasons… not just because he is a lizard man masquerading as a human being.

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Filed under aliens, angry rant, Paffooney, politics, satire