Category Archives: commentary

Painting on the Rocks

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The Rowan Public Library has a storm sewer drain near the parking area on the west side of the building.   How do you prevent cars from parking on top of it and risking significant damage to two different things?  The librarian’s solution?  Make a rock garden around it so that only extremely stupid people would still consider parking there.  And what better summer activity than to invite kids and senior citizens to come in and paint the rocks for decoration’s sake.

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The goofy spotted frog and the Star Wars rebel flying goose are the rocks that I chose to paint.  You can see that I had more fun than I did artistic epiphanies.  But that is the thing about art.  Bob Ross says that it can bring good things to your heart.  And it does even more so when you share it with kids and other people.

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So I had a relatively good time just painting rocks for fun and cracking simple, stupid jokes to make little kids laugh.

Mom had fun painting flowers and smiling suns on a rock next to her good friend Annie and Annie’s great grandson.  You see them in this picture taken by the little boy’s grandmother.

And my daughter really got invested in the zen experience of putting paint on rocks.  She took the longest of anybody to finish her second rock.  And, of course, her little dragon-obsessed creation was easily the best one of the day.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, coloring, commentary, family, goofiness, homely art, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Morning Comes to Grandpa’s Farm House

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Superman has his Fortress of Solitude.  Batman has his Batcave.  Every Superhero needs a place of his own to reflect on the trials and struggles of the never-ending battle for truth and justice and the American way.  I achieved another dawn today, waking up at sunrise on Grandpa Aldrich’s farm place.   It is for me a place of safety and quietude where I can rest and regenerate, plan, plot, and create the story of my life.

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It is a place far older than me, a family farm that has been in the family for more than 100 years.  It connects me to the past and the people who’ve come before me, not only the family I have known and loved, but those who came before them that were gone before I was born.

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It is possible that it is unwise to reveal my secret lair and my connections to such an important place.  Will my enemies take advantage of the fact? No, probably not.  Most of my enemies are ignorant people who do not read, and so, will never uncover this secret I have now shared with you.

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, family, homely art, humor, Iowa, photo paffoonies, self portrait

Rewired for the Future

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Last night the Princess and I went to the Dollar Movie in Plano to see the new Spielberg epic, Ready Player One.  (Yes, I know the movie cost $2.70 apiece, but it is still called the Dollar Movie.)  We were blown away with unbridled enthusiasm.  (Enthusiasm takes the place of wind, right?)  For me, the story brought back everything I loved about the 80’s and early 90’s.  The movie is filled with cultural references to things like the Iron Giant,  Mortal Combat, Mobile Suit Gundam, and even the Ninja Turtles.  For the Princess it brought the gaming world and its online possibilities to a sort of fantasy reality that gamers are already beginning to step into.  She wants to be a maker of anime, a game designer, or an animator, and is already well on her way to becoming that.

 

The story is about a future dystopia where life as it actually is is so much worse than the life you can live inside the virtual game world, where life is what you want it to be in your wildest fantasies.

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And the plot revolves around gambling on your fantasy game skills to overcome the corporate cleptocracy with a magnificent all-or-nothing gamble to find the three keys and win the world.

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And in many ways, this techno-virtual-fantasy story is absolutely relevant to the lives we are living at this very moment.  Trump’s cleptocracy is determined to take everything away from us, healthcare, clean drinking water, freedom of speech, and many other things, so that he and his corporate villain-friends can squeeze more profits out of our decline and suffering.  We are living in a real world that will soon resemble the mundane real world of the movie.  And we need to be prepared to fight back in a world as foreign to the world of the 1950’s as the world inside a video game is to the world inside a Shirley Temple movie.  Things have changed.  And we need to change too to survive and thrive in the future.

readyplayerone-tributeposter-highres-breakfastclub-1520373880 There’s probably little hope left for me to make the massive adaptations facing the people of the near future.  I try to get rewired and ready.  I bought a new mouse today make the writing of this post possible.  But I have little doubt that my children will be up to the task.

This is a movie review.  And I think it is clear that I am suggesting you should see it.  I never write reviews on movies I don’t like.  And I liked this one immensely.  But don’t let my opinion sway you.  This is a movie you really have to experience for yourself.

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Filed under commentary, humor, movie review

Lyrical Lessons from Life

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I am still in lazy mode, not quite making the effort for 500 words…  But, in my defense, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words.  So, the picture above should count as 1,042 words because of the words in it.

Poetry is like that.  Even bad poetry.  This doggerel verse is capable of meaning far more things than it specifically, literally states.  But I shouldn’t point that out.  You should never explain a poem… or defend a poem… a poem should simply be.  Even a bad poem.

And there are those who will say it is not a bad poem.  It speaks to simple farmer wisdom, the kind I learned while yet a boy in Iowa 50 years ago.  Did you realize that I made this meme on a photo of my own unweeded flower garden, grown in the unforgiving Texas heat?

That’s all there is to today’s post.  A picture/poem… a tiny bit of wisdom… on the first hot Sunday in June.

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Filed under commentary, humor, photo paffoonies, poem, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The 13th Sense

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I know that you are probably thinking, “What the heck are you thinking, Mickey?  There are really only five senses!”

And I am probably thinking, (ignoring the fact that I should know for certain what thinking is present at least in my own stupid head), “Oh, I think you are probably wrong about that, considering carefully that I should only think this and not say it out loud, because people get mad when you suggest that you are smarter than they are.”

Besides the five senses we all claim of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, there is also that one people often refer to as “the sixth sense”, and by that phrase they don’t necessarily mean that you “see dead people who don’t know they are dead”.  Instead, that sense is kinda like a sense of intuition.  A feeling that you simply know what is about to occur, or you know something about something that you could only really know if you have ESP…   Or if you are Spiderman, it is your “Spider Sense”… wiggly lines radiating from your comic-book head.

And what about the sense of hot and cold?  Or the sense that you can’s breathe the air in the same room with your cigar-smoking Republican uncle, you know, the one with all the toxic opinions you are forced to listen to too often?  And there’s a sense of contentment.  Or the sense of happiness.  A sense of dread.  There are all kinds of senses that your magnificent stupid-old brain constantly responds to that you really haven’t been counting.

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Of course, I am not writing about any of those today.  I am writing about that old “Sense Number Thirteen”, the sense of certainty that every pessimist lives by, the sense that your natural daily bad luck won’t kill you today, but only because it would all be over and prevent more suffering if it did.

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Yes, it is Sense Number Thirteen that makes you prepare yourself for the worst, because you simply have the sense that it is destined to happen.  I dread going to the mailbox.  I know I will hate what I find there.  This week I found a letter from the IRS, who has already accepted my 2017 return and the first installment of my tax payment, suggesting that they may reopen my case in order to determine if I owe them more money.  And I got the hospital bill that I have been dreading because I cannot afford to pay it.

I dread walking the dog also because there are two pickup trucks, one black and one silver, that routinely roar through the 30-mile-an-hour neighborhood doing sixty or seventy.  One of them is going to run over my dog while she has me on the leash, or maybe even run over one of neighbor Frank’s grandchildren.  Anyway, we are preparing by organizing a neighborhood petition and complaining to the police. The Thirteenth Sense really screws with my life. But it forces me to prepare.

The hospital payment department told me that they are going to send paperwork that will help me pay the debt by forgiving part of it, since I am already bankrupt over medical bills.  I was taken pleasantly by surprise by that.  I have so far successful avoided thinking about the IRS.  Those jack-booted shock troops apparently aren’t going to show up at my door until next week.  And the police cruiser has been on our street twice already since I last talked to Frank, and they put out one of those speed limit signs that shows you in bright red lights how much over the speed limit you are going.

So, there’s the saving grace.  A pessimist gets to be happier in the long run than the optimist. By preparing for the worst, the pessimist is ready for the bad thing to happen, and either deals with it as it comes, or is pleasantly surprised at an outcome devoid of extra suffering.  A pessimist is never taken by surprise for the worse.  I’m glad I have a 13th Sense.  It helps me be a HAPPY stupid old pessimist.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, pessimism

True Treasures Take Time

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I now have six good books and one embarrassing one published.  They represent stories I have been crafting, revising, telling, and retelling for over 40 years.  They represent things that happened to me in real life and people I have known and loved in real life that have all been transformed in the wizard’s crucible and witch’s cauldrons of my bizarre imagination.  They contain some of my best magic spells and some of my most worthwhile wordsmithing, by which I mean writing in ways that give the spellchecker fits.

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I tried to tell you this story about telling stories yesterday, but my computer glitched and burped and spontaneously deleted more than half of what I wrote just as I was finishing it to publish it.  So the complex part I had planned to  explain this Paffooney was lost and the resulting tantrum I threw kept me from remembering and rewriting.

But it was fortunate that I delayed the repair of this post until today.  Because last night my daughter finished her end-of-the-year art project for school, and the snafu-demons have inadvertently given me the opportunity to include it here.

It is a soft sculpture dragon made of felt and hand-sewn.  She didn’t tell me what his name is, or even that it is a him, but one can imagine that it must be something like Rumple-Tum Sneezer,  or something equally awkwardly foolish like that.  One can imagine it because one has a slightly off-kilter and Disney-demented imagination.  But the whole project took a boatload of time, and you can see she crafted it with great care and skill.

Treasure takes time to create.  We who attempt to create it in the red-hot forges of our stupid little creative heads put all the skill we have acquired over time into it.  And the endeavor renders something of value almost every time.  Time… time… time… Treasure takes time.  And now I need to hurry and publish this before the computer tries to fart it all away again.

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Filed under artwork, Celebration, commentary, daughters, humor, imagination, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Way Mickey’s Mind Works

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If you’ve read any of the crap that Mickey wrote about before on this goofy blog, you probably already suspect that Mickey’s mind does not work like a normal mind.  The road map above is just one indicator of the weirdness of the wiring that propels Mickey on the yellow brick road to Oz and back.  He just isn’t a normal thinker.

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But having a few bats in the old belfry doesn’t prevent the man from having a plan.  If you read all of Mickey’s hometown novels, you will discover he hasn’t written them in time order.  Main characters in my 2016 novel weren’t even born yet in my 2017 books.  If you look at them in chronological order rather than the order written, you will see characters growing and changing over time.  A shy kid in one novel grows into a werewolf hunter in the next.  A girl who loses her father to suicide in a novel not yet completed, learns how to love again in another novel.

Multiple Mickian stories are totally infected with fairies.  The magic little buggers are harder to get rid of than mosquitoes and are far and away more dangerous.  And there are disturbing levels of science-fiction-ness radiating through all of the stories.  How dare he think like that?  In undulating spirals instead of straight lines!  He doesn’t even use complete sentences all the time. And they used to let that odd bird teach English to middle school kids.

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But there is a method to his utter madness.  He started with the simpler stories of growing up and learning about the terrors of kissing girls when you are only twelve.  And then he moved on into the darker realms of dealing with death and loss of love, the tragedy of finding true love and losing it again almost as soon as you recognize its reality.  Simple moves on to complex.  Order is restored with imagination, only to be broken down again and then restored yet again,.

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And, of course, we always listen Mr. Gaiman.  He is a powerful wizard after all.  The Sandman and creator of good dreams.  So Mickey will completely ignore the fact that nobody reads his books no matter what he does or says.  And he will write another story.

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It will be called Sing Sad Songs, and it will be the most complex and difficult story that Mickey has ever written.  And it will be glorious.  It will also rip Mickey’s heart out.  And I will put that ripped-out heart back in place and make Mickey keep writing it, no matter how many times I have to wash, rinse, and repeat. This statement of goals is the very spell that will make that magic happen.  So, weird little head-map in hand, here we go on the writer’s journey once again.

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