An Unexpected Gift 

thor-ragnarok-end-credits-avengers-infinity-war-870508

This post is a movie review for Thor : Ragnarok , though I don’t really plan on talking about the movie very much.   It was an excellent comic book movie in the same tongue-in-cheek comedy tradition as Guardians of the Galaxy.   It made me laugh and made me cheer.   It was the best of that kind of movie.  But it wasn’t the most important thing that happened that night.

20171128_142504

You see, I spent the weekend in the hospital thinking I had suffered a heart attack during the Thanksgiving holiday. I thought I was facing surgery at the very least.   I knew I might have had an appointment to play chess with the Grim Reaper.   It is a lot to worry about and drain all the fun out of life.

Well, one of the things that happened that day, Tuesday, my first full day out of the hospital and, hopefully, out of the woods over heart attacks, was that I received my new replacement bank card because my old one had a worn out, malfunctioning chip in it.  So, I took my three kids to the movie at the cheapest place we could find.  I tried to run my bank card for the payment, and it was summarily declined.  I had activated it previously during the day, and there was plenty of money in the account compared to the price, but it just wouldn’t take.  So I had to call Wells Fargo to find out whatever the new reason was for them to hate me.  It turned out that it had already been activated, but a glitch had caused it to decline the charge.  While I was talking to the girl from the Wells Fargo help desk, the lady who had gotten her and her husband’s tickets right before us put four tickets to the movie in my hand.

The middle-aged black couple had lingered by the ticket stand before going in to their movie just long enough to see a sad-looking old man with raggedy author’s beard and long Gandalf hair get turned down by the cheap-cinema ticket-taking teenager because the old coot’s one and only bank card was declined. They were moved to take matters into their own hands and paid for our tickets themselves.

That, you see, was the gift from my title.  Not so much that we got our movie tickets for free, but that the world still works that way.  There are still good people with empathetic and golden hearts willing to step in and do things to make the world a little bit better place.  The gift they gave me was the reassurance that, as bad and black as the world full of fascists that we have come to live in has become, it still has goodness and fellow feeling in it. People are still moved to pay things forward and make good on the promise to “love one another”.  I did not have a chance to thank them properly.  I was on the phone with Wells Fargo girl when it happened.  The only thing that couple got out of their good deed was thank-yous from my children and the knowledge that they had done something wonderful.  I plan to pay it forward as soon as I have the opportunity.  Not out of guilt or obligation, but because I need to be able to feel that feeling too at some point.

I do have one further gift to offer the world.

20171129_085142

After we got home from the movie, I opened an email that contained the cover proof for my novel, Magical Miss Morgan.  Soon I will have that in print also if I can keep Page Publishing from messing it up at the last moments before printing.  It is a novel about what a good teacher is and does.  It is the second best thing I have ever written.

Sometimes the gifts that you most desperately need come in unexpected fashion.

5 Comments

Filed under commentary, compassion, happiness, healing, humor, illness, movie review, NOVEL WRITING, strange and wonderful ideas about life

How To Avoid Dropping Dead Like a Dunderhead

I have recently been revisiting my obsession with Mark Twain. So, inevitably I had to re-post this old post and pretend it is good. I even edited it so that it no longer claims that Twain died before he was born. (I sometimes get my 8’s and 9’s mixed up.)

Catch a Falling Star

Pony party

If it is inevitable that I will surely drop dead some day, and if it is likely that it will come sooner rather than later, then I hope to go out with a bit of style and leave something behind that speaks not only to my own children, but to anybody searching for truth and beauty, people of the future that I will never know who are living beyond the confines of my little life.  What makes me think that I can do it?  Well, I’m a writer… and Mark Twain did it… and I don’t have to be vain or loopy or maniacal or delusional to make the same thing happen.

On this day one-hundred-and-five years ago, April 21, 1910, Mark Twain left the world of the living.  He caught a ride on Halley’s Comet (It deposited him on Earth in 1835, appearing in the sky when he was…

View original post 501 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mark Twain

Catch a Falling Star

Mark TwainMark Twain, real name Samuel Clemens, is my hero. He lived a long and difficult life, but he lived it with grace and humor… most of the time…well, some of the time. I would very much like to be just like him… ‘cept I ain’t dead yet and have no plans on that score… but I would like to also be like him in having something important to say that can be said to somebody who isn’t even born yet, a hundred years or more from now, the way that Mark Twain spoke to me.

View original post

Leave a comment

September 20, 2018 · 2:07 am

Aeroquest… Canto 37

Aeroquest banner a

Canto 37 – On To Dancer

      Arkin Cloudstalker was a natural-born starship captain, the way Ham Aero was a natural-born pilot.  Their abilities and sensibilities meshed in ways Ham had never thought possible.  Arkin took command of the mission without needing to be asked.  Aboard the Leaping Shadowcat Ham had always had the say, but since he retained the captain’s cabin, he had no trouble yielding command.  Arkin was berthed in Ged’s stateroom, a suitably Spartan and undecorated place.  Duke Ferrari took over the Madonna’s stateroom since she moved in with Ham as his wife.  The Duke was made Astrogator and Navigator since he knew the way to both Dancer, and Coventry beyond.  Sinbadh was relegated to ordinary crewman and cook.  Trav was still nominally the engineer.  The young Lupin, Sahleck Kim, was taken on as the cabin boy.  His job was to clean the air systems, wash the freshers, and generally swab the decks.

mthxx1a

The Shadowcat had two decks, an upper deck with the control pit and bridge, computer access room, six staterooms, and three storage lockers.  The lower deck had the trophy lounge in front, under the bridge, and two more staterooms.  It also had a skinning room, a galley, and two large capture tanks which hadn’t had a xenomorph in them since before reaching Don’t Go Here.

Duke Ferrari stood over the Astrogator’s holo-pit on the bridge, studying the route from White Palm to Dancer.  The jump would take them thirty hours over 16 parsecs and nearly exhaust all of the Shadowcat’s fuel.  “Who will take care of your corsair fleet, Cloudstalker, while you’re away?”

“They take care of themselves, Duke,” he answered from the Captain’s chair.  The chair itself had hardly been used the last ten years, since Ham always used the pilot’s seat.  “Besides, we’re allied with Tron Blastarr now.  There aren’t many pirates you can really trust, but I know my Lady Knights are safe with him.  He’s a good man underneath.”

“I sensed that too,” said the Duke.  He twirled the right end of his moustache between thumb and forefinger.  “I know he set me free and offered to help me, but beyond my desperation, I could sense that the man is a hero.”

“He’s a bit boring at times,” offered Trav.

“Explain what you mean to the nice gentlemen, Goofy,” warned Ham.  “They don’t understand your sense of humor.”

“Ach!  I’m just saying, Tron never takes advantage of opportunities the way a good pirate should.  That old jester just doesn’t have it in him to steal the way a pirate should.”

“Sir, I see why they call you Goofy,” said the Duke.  “You are something of a cad yourself.”

“We’ll see who’s goofy when we find the relic on Dancer!”

“Remember, sir,” warned Ferrari, “this is a critical diplomatic mission intended to forge a planetary union to fight against the Imperium.”

“Oh, I haven’t forgotten.  I will use what I gain from the ancient device to help fight the lizard-men of Galtorr.”
“That’s assuming you can get it out from under the nose of old Razor Conn,” laughed Arkin.  “He’s a corsair that knows how to hold onto something that’s valuable.”

“I’m not afraid of the old pirate,” said Trav.  “He’s just another spacesuit full of gas and hot air.”

Ham looked at Goofy hard.  The dumb nut was wearing a bright yellow tie with a screw and a baseball pictured on it.  It was little wonder Trav was willing to put both feet in his mouth at once.

“You will belay such talk, Mr. Dalgoda,” said Arkin.  “If I am to be captain here, then you must show respect to other spacers, especially the ones I most respect.”

“Yes sir, old Jester captain, sir!”  Trav saluted mockingly.

“What do we actually know about Dancer, Duke?” Arkin asked Ferrari.

“Well, Captain, it is a water world.  No land masses exist anywhere.  The limited civilization there dwells in undersea domes.  The Blackhawk Corsairs own and operate out of a domed city called Castle Orpheum.”

“Do we have an underwater vehicle aboard?” Arkin asked Ham.

“No sir, but the Shadowcat can travel underwater herself.  She’s air tight and streamlined.  We can scoop up water for fuel and just extract the hydrogen from it.”

“How cool is that!” said Trav.  “I bet this old girl is more rugged than any of your corsairs.”

“I have to hand it to you there, Mr. Dalgoda.  No White Sword or Pinwheel I ever saw could travel in space, air, and water too.”

Ham’s breast swelled at the unexpected compliment to his space ship.  Few realized how worthy a safari ship could be.  It was designed to get into and out of exotic environments with both the game and the game-hunters alive.  It had to be quite different from the run-of-the-mill space craft.

“I am hoping this mission goes smoothly,” said their new Captain.  “A lot is at stake here.  If we are going to make things work, we are going to have to be more tricky and adaptable than our enemies.  That means we have to out-think the likes of Admiral Tang and the Generals of the Galtorr Imperium.”

Ham nodded in silent agreement.  What he’d taken on was daunting, more daunting than merely jumping out into unknown space.

Leave a comment

Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

The Wolf in My Dreams

wolfgirl

Rosemary Hood was a bright, blond seventh grader who entered my seventh-grade Gifted English class in September of 1998.  She introduced herself to me before the first bell of her first day.

“I am definitely on your class list because my Mom says I belong in gifted classes.”

“Your name is Rosemary, right?”

“Definitely.  Rosemary Bell Hood, related to the Civil War general John Bell Hood.”

“Um, I don’t see your name on my list.”

“Well, I’m supposed to be there, so check with the attendance secretary.  And I will be making A’s all year because I’m a werewolf and I could eat you during the full moon if you make me mad at you.”

I laughed, thinking that she had a bizarre sense of humor.  I let her enter my class and issued her copies of the books we were reading.  Later I called the office to ask about her enrollment.

“Well, Mr. Beyer,” said the secretary nervously, “the principal is out right now with an animal bite that got infected.  But I can assure you that we must change her schedule and put her in your gifted class.  The principal would really like you to give her A’s too.”

So, I had a good chuckle about that.  I never gave students A’s.  Grades had to be earned.  And one of the first rules of being a good teacher is, “Ignore what the principal says you should do in every situation.”

But I did give her A’s because she was a very bright and creative student (also very blond, but that has nothing to do with being a good student).  She had a good work ethic and a marvelous sense of humor.

She developed a crush on Jose Tannenbaum who sat in the seat across from her in the next row.  He was a football player, as well as an A student.  And by October she was telling him daily, “You need to take to me to the Harvest Festival Dance because I am a werewolf, and if you don’t, I will eat you at the next full moon.”

All the members of the class got a good chuckle out of it.  And it was assumed that he would. of course, take her to the dance because she was the prettiest blond girl in class and he obviously kinda liked her.  But the week of the dance we did find out, to our surprise, that he asked Natasha Garcia to the dance instead.

I didn’t think anything more about it until, the day after the next full moon, Jose didn’t show up for class.  I called the attendance secretary and asked about it.

“Jose is missing, Mr. Beyer,” the attendance secretary said.  “The Sherrif’s office has search parties out looking for him.”  That concerned me because he had a writing project due that day, and I thought he might’ve skipped school because he somehow failed to finish it.  When I saw Rosemary in class, though, I asked her if, by any chance, she knew why Jose wasn’t in class.

“Of course I do,” she said simply.  “I ate him last night.”

“Oh.  Bones and all?”

“Bone marrow is the best-tasting part.”

So, that turned out to be one rough school year.  Silver bullets are extremely expensive for a teacher’s salary.  And I did lose a part of my left ear before the year ended.  But it also taught me valuable lessons about being a teacher.  Truthfully, you can’t be a good teacher if you can’t accept and teach anyone who comes through your door, no matter what kind of unique qualities they bring with them into your classroom.

 

4 Comments

Filed under education, horror writing, humor, Paffooney

The Surrealist

Catch a Falling Star

Yes, I admit it.  I am a Surrealist.  I also hope that it is not too terrible a thing to be.  Because I truly think that everyone who was raised by television, and lived through the revolution where computers took over human life, is one too.

definition from Merriam-Webster;

Simple Definition of surrealism;

a 20th-century art form in which an artist or writer combines unrelated images or events in a very strange and dreamlike way

Full Definition of surrealism;

the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations

  • rooster riding
  • There is a certain satisfaction to be had in knowing for certain how to define oneself.  I learned about Surrealism in high school art class back in the early 70’s.  I saw and admired the works of Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and…

View original post 457 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Predictions Using Mickey Math

Dr Phool

Mickeys are by their nature pessimists.  When mostly bad things happen to you in your life, you learn not to expect good things, only be pleasantly surprised by them.  And bad things happen only when you are prepared for them if you are expecting only bad things to happen.  In fact, the bad outcome will probably seem good in comparison to the terrible thing you were planning on happening to you.

For example, my car is in the shop being fixed for accident damage that prevented me from earning extra money through Uber for a month and a half.  I was told on Thursday that the car doors were fixed and it was in the paint shop.  It was possible I was going to get it back Friday afternoon.  I was not upset or surprised that I never got the call Friday.  In fact, I fully expected somebody had dropped the car off a lift or painted it neon puce or something and that it will take another two weeks to fix the new damage.  So if it turns out to be ready tomorrow, which I sincerely don’t expect due to Mickey Math, I will still be pleasantly surprised.  I might even go into happy shock.  After all, I clearly remember one time watching a tow truck operator load my malfunctioning car onto a flatbed tow truck, only to see it roll off the front of the truck to further damage it because he had not properly secured it.  That yielded happy shock because the body shop owner who also owned the tow truck ended up repairing my car for free.

4th dim hoops

What is the science behind Mickey Math, you say?  Oh, you didn’t say anything?  Well, I will tell you anyway.  In a world where 2 + 2 = 4, if Mickey desperately needs the answer to always be at least 4, you can be certain by experimental proof and past experience that it will surely come out as 2 + 2 = 3.  Life and physics always disappoint Mickey one way or another.  So the science tells Mickey to always be prepared for the worst.

That being said, here are some predictions for the near future figured out via Mickey Math.

  • Since Trump’s tax cut last year retro-actively re-figured withholding deductions on my pension and I owed $1300 in tax penalties for 2017, I will surely pay twice as much in additional penalties this year in spite of the letter from last December telling me readjustments were being made for 2018.
  • Trump is in all kinds of legal peril and the scandals of his presidency will probably lead to the Republican loss of control in Congress.  Therefore the Republican Party will have a governmental coupe (in case Russia fails to swing the elections to them) which seizes absolute power for them and makes Trump President for life.
  • If hurricanes don’t wipe Texas as clean as a marble tabletop, then we will experience our first day of 200-degree temperatures in early January.
  • The baseball Cardinals will not make the playoffs, and the football Cardinals will return to having endless losing seasons.
  • Termites will eat our entire house, and mosquitoes will drink every last drop of my blood.

Now, it is quite possible that things will fall short of most of these dire predictions, but that is how Mickey Math secures happiness from a miserable life.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, autobiography, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, pessimism, self pity

Things You Probably Ought to Know about Mickey

I reblogged this because the world needs more warnings about the incredible dangers we face in the near future. And also because I thought it was funny.

Catch a Falling Star

As Mickey’s go, the one who is writing this is a moderately interesting example of the breed.  Still, there are things you probably ought to be made aware of.  A sort of precautionary thing…

First of all, this particular Mickey is an Iowegian.  That means he comes from Iowa, the State where the tall corn grows.  It is a prime reason why his jokes are corny and his ears have been popped (oh, and he does actually have two, unlike the picture Paffooney where only one is showing).  His fur is not actually purple.  If anything now, it is mostly silver-gray.  But the Paffooney is a magical portrait, and purple is the color of magic.  He has a goofy, and sometimes fatal grin.  You may not be able to prove that he has ever actually grinned someone to death, but it is likely he could always dig somebody up.

Another…

View original post 379 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized