Oh, yes. It is almost complete… but for the final edit. It will hopefully be published very soon. It is filled with essays written for my blog, Catch a Falling Star. And, hopefully, I have chosen only the good ones.
But the book is not a stand-alone. It is a sequel to Laughing Blue, published earlier this year. I actually hope to reach 20 books published by early in 2021. Of course, it still requires that I don’t die too soon from the pandemic, or from any of my other problems that the Covid problem could interfere with getting medical treatment for.
Both of these books are essay collections, but the majority of the stories and explanations and comedy in each are based on my thirty-one years of experience as a Texas public school teacher, my nearly forty year association with nudists (though I can’t honestly claim to be one). my silly attempts at writing seriously bad poetry, my belief in flying saucers, and nearly ten years of being a wacky wizard. How’s that for a sentence that violates every run-on-sentence rule I ever taught any young writer?
Book number 18 is still pretty new too.
Anyway, now that you know, I better get started on that final edit. A writer has to keep his promises to himself. And maybe to the rest of you too.
There is considerable evidence that I am not a totally normal human being, or as Danny Murphy used to say “A normal human bean”. Danny is, by the way, a character in several of my novels, including Snow Babies and When the Captain Came Calling. He did the complete Circle Streak (running around the entire high school campus buck naked in a huge and chilly circle) more than once. And he was based entirely on one of my high school classmates and friends. That bird-walk about streaking is an example of the kind of quirks I am guilty of when I am being totally not-normal. I am now entirely off topic and must pull it back to defend myself by saying, “Nobody else is a totally normal human bean either!”
Among my many quirks and oddities is my love of baseball and slavish dedication to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. My favorite World Series memories are from 1934, 22 years before I was born. Dizzy Dean was a 30-game winner pitching for the Cardinals. Joe “Ducky” Medwick was their star hitter, and in the 6th inning he hit a triple and slid hard into the third baseman with his cleats up (a trick learned from former Detroit Tiger Ty Cobb) and the Tiger fans lost their cool in a big way (they were behind 9-0 at the time in the deciding 7th game). They began throwing things at Joe as he tried to play left field. He nearly missed an easy fly ball because somebody threw an orange and almost hit his glove. It is the only time in baseball history that a baseball commissioner had to eject a player from a World Series game for his own protection. (Needless to say, I love to hate the Tigers.)
I also love all the other ten times the Cardinals have won the Series, and I am proud of the eight times they nearly won besides.
Another of my odd quirks is a love of nudity in spite of my skin condition that prevents me from comfortably being a nudist. I first encountered nudism in a clothing-optional apartment complex where my girlfriend’s sister lived in Austin. I went from being shocked almost to apoplexy, to my girlfriend’s overwhelming amusement, to rejecting a chance to try nudism in the late 80’s, to actually spending a day at a Texas nudist park in 2017, and really enjoying the experience. My children are mortified.
And this quirk affects my fiction. I have some characters in a few of my stories based specifically on nudists I have known. I also wrote an entire novel, A Field Guide to Fauns, about a boy learning to live with his father and step-mother in a residential nudist park. Additionally, I have irrationally tried to use the word “penis” in every novel I have written. I only failed to do so when some editors insisted on its removal. So, I believe I may be 12 for 16 on that score.
But this particular quirk, no matter how totally embarrassing my children find it, is not a sexual perversion. I don’t write porn. And, as a survival matter after being sexually assaulted as a child, my nudity fixation has helped me to accept that I am not evil and unworthy when I am naked. My attacker had me convinced otherwise for more than twenty years.
I am also an aficionado of science fiction, classical music, and a faith that tells me rabbits make better people than people do.
My books are divided, for the most part, into Cantos instead of Chapters. This is because of my love for Classical Music and my dedication to the weird notion that novels should be more like epic poetry. Not necessarily written in verse, though if I ever get to write Music in the Forest, that one is written as poetry.
But paragraphs need to be written as purely poetically as perfect white pearls are poetically pearly.
But as poetry, my tendency towards comedy rather than drama or tragedy, leads me to write purple paisley prose (like all this p-word nonsense) which makes my paragraphs more Scherzo than Nocturne, Sonata, or Symphony.
While researching alien invasions for the novel Catch a Falling Star, the story of when aliens from deep space tried to invade Iowa, I came across internet information that ignited another quirky passion of mine, studying conspiracy theories. And it isn’t all just a plot to embarrass my children in front of people we know in real life. Although that is a definite side benefit. But conspiracies are an excellent source material for making humor. Comedy gold. Knowing who people like Alex Jones, David Icke, and Jesse Ventura are, gives me not only easily ridiculed personalities to make fun of, but also windows into thinking habits that may or may not turn up some real anomalies in the world of science and so-called historical fact. For instance, I can credibly argue that there is more to the Roswell Crash story than the government is willing to tell us about, and Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill JFK by himself, if at all.
And besides, my boyhood friend Robert was part of my small-town gang when we fought off the alien invasion in the 60’s, and he told me on Facebook that he remembered when that happened. Good old Bobby. He really likes beer and alcohol.
And I could go on like this for an entire book’s worth of silly jabber. But this post has to end for today. This blog, after all, isn’t the only quirky and crazy thing I have to attend to.
The viruses are winning. And why are they winning? Because of people who say, “I don’t believe it,” and mean it, because they are either stupid (not the majority) or because they are too afraid of the obvious consequences to admit what they know in their hearts to be true.
We are not handling the pandemic well. The disease is out of control because so many carriers of the disease feel well enough to go out and have a good time while infecting everyone around them. And testing is not occurring to identify all of these happy, restaurant-going and green-beer-swilling Typhoid Marys. They are unknowingly (and more alarmingly, uncaringly) infecting the elderly, compromised, and vulnerable people in their lives. The Governor of Oklahoma took his family out to a restaurant to celebrate their obliviousness and later tweeted about it to tell us we should do the same. Congressman Devin Nunes of California went on television to tell his true believers that they might as well go out to bars for St Patrick’s Day. He said it wasn’t crowded. He ignored the potential consequences completely. There ought to be a law.
And we won’t even talk about Happy-Talk Trump, the moron criminal president, because… What’s the use?
There is no reason to believe that quarantines will cause problems with the grocery-store supply chains. There should not be shortages. People are having fist-fights to be able to hoard toilet paper. There’s almost no meat, bottled water, or bread at Walmart. Thank you, stupid people.
The worst of it is that this stupidity is exploitable. People don’t want to admit that they have to do hard things that they don’t want to deal with, not only Coronavirus, but also climate change, wealth inequality, racism, terrorism, or even such things as the browning of the American population demographics. They let the Koch Brothers and other evil billionaires convince them that money-making exploitations of the environment (that actually only make money for the billionaires) are in their own best interests. Those exploitations will doom us all.
But I am facing the end of my life no matter what complications I do or do not have ahead of me. It has been a good life. But everybody else in the world has a right to have the same sort of good life. And that will not happen on the paths we now tread.
So, I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe that we, the people, are stupid enough, or callous enough, or lacking empathy enough to continue down these paths. And I am, by the evidence alone, a fool to not believe it. But there it is… the reason for my title and the theme of this rant.
Self-reflection is the bane of stupid people. Essentially, they don’t want to risk encountering evidence that they actually are stupid. It would shatter their world to learn that they are idiots and most of what they believe is true is actually wrong. This fact goes a long way towards explaining why the Republican Party in its current form even exists, let alone the actions of the current mutant Cheetos monster that pilots their agenda and hates healthcare, the Special Olympics, and Puerto Rico.
So, if I am doing a self–reflection piece today, then that proves I am not a stupid person, right? What do you mean you agree with that? Yes, I can actually hear you mentally answering my questions as you read this. And if you believe that, then you have proven that even relatively smart people like you and I are capable of stupid thinking.
I believe in some stupid things, even though I think I am not stupid.
An example of this stupidity factor is my lingering belief that I am a nudist. I mean, I am rarely ever nude any more. I keep most of me covered up constantly because when my psoriasis plaques dry out they tend to flake and itch and force me to scratch to the point of infected bloody sores.
Obviously this is not totally a photograph from the 60’s. That does not make it a total lie either, though.
I have been pretty much accepted as a member of the nudist community on Twitter. I enjoy the artful pictures of nude people they share with me. And since I did a couple of blog posts for nudist websites, there are actually completely nude pictures of me available on the internet. I can be found on Truenudists.com for one, if your eyes can stand the horror. But I have only been to a nudist park, the Bluebonnet Nudist Park in Alvord, Texas. one time as an actual nudist. I can tell you, it was a very hot day even though I was not wearing clothes. I am comfortable with nudity. I am comfortable around nude people. I fully accept it all as a non-sexual thing. But am I really a nudist? Or am I only playing at it? If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I don’t retweet pictures of naked people. I engage a lot with other writers there, and most of them are not also nudists, or even open-minded about naturism. I write about nudists in some of my books, but they are not about nudism, and most of them don’t even mention it. So, what good does it do me to think I am a nudist? Well, the very idea of it does a heckuva good job of embarrassing my wife and daughter. So, I do get some crazy-old-coot satisfaction out of it. Otherwise it simply proves that rational and otherwise intelligent people can be committed to irrational ideas.
I am also of the often mocked and ridiculed opinion that not only are alien beings from other worlds real, they are capable of space travel and have been visiting us for as long as there has been an us. I did not always believe this, however. Before I wrote my novelCatch a Falling Star I believed as Carl Sagan said on the original Cosmos that it is wrong to accept things without proof, and true results are testable. My novel was about aliens who watched a lot of Earther TV and learned to speak English from watching I Love Lucy reruns, I wanted to make the aliens different from humans, but at the same time, alike with humans in the most fundamental ways that translate easily into humor and relatability. Not all of my hero-characters were Earth humans.
As I did research on the internet (a tool I didn’t have when I originally created the story in the 1970s), I found a ton of researchers and writers and con men and MUFON and the Disclosure Project and nuclear physicists and astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell who were all believers and mostly not stupid. Wow! What a huge and complicated hoax! Why would anybody believe , based on so little tangible evidence, and so much contradictory evidence, that the government’s position could possibly be right? I learned that I now believed, until significant further proof comes along, that I believe stupidly in alien visitors.
Today’s self-reflection post has now proven that I am a stupid old coot who thinks he is a nudist and an insightful conspiracy theorist. But the results of my look into the mirror have not made me upset about my stupidity. Maybe I am simply satisfied nudism is healthy and the universe is more complex than I am capable of understanding. Whatever the case, that’s enough with the mirror for today. You have to keep such dangerous weapons out of the hands of clowns.
I gave you a list of places where my ideas for fiction come from, and in the end, I failed to explain the thing about the bottle imp. Yes, I do get ideas from the bottle imp. He’s an angry blue boggart with limited spell powers. But he’s also more than 700 years old and has only been trapped in the bottle since 1805. So, he has about 500 years of magical life experience to draw from and answer my idea questions. Admittedly it would be more helpful if he were a smarter imp. His name is Bruce, and his IQ in human terms would only be about 75. But, then, I don’t have to worry about misfired magic. If I asked him to, “Make me a hamburger,” he wouldn’t immediately change me into a fried, ground-beef patty because he is not smart enough to do that high of a level of magic spell.
But he is just barely intelligent enough to tell me a truthful answer if I asked him a question like, “What would happen if I put an alligator’s egg in a robin’s nest as a joke, and the robin family decided it was their own weird-looking egg and then tried to hatch it?” The answer would be truthful according to his vast knowledge of swamp pranks. And it would also be funny because he’s too dumb to know better. In fact, he told me about a mother robin who worked so diligently at hatching an alligator egg that a baby alligator was hatched. She convinced it that it was actually a bird. And when it came time for the baby birds to learn to fly, the baby alligator couldn’t do it… until she talked it into flapping madly with all four legs. Then, a mother’s love and faith in her child got an alligator airborne.
Yeah, that hasn’t proved to be a very useful story idea. I put it into a story I was writing during my seven years in high school, and then lost the manuscript. (I was a teacher, not a hard-to-graduate student.) But it was proof that you can get your writing ideas from a bottle imp.
So, if you decide to use bottle imps as an idea source for fiction, the next step is to find and acquire the right sort of bottle imp. I got mine from Smellbone, the rat-faced necromancer. I bought it for an American quarter and three Canadian loonies more than a dozen years ago. I found it at his Arcana and Horse-Radish Burger Emporium in Montreal. But I am not sure how that information helps you. Smellbone died in a firey magical-transformation accident involving an angry Wall-Street financier and a dill pickle. The whole Emporium went to cinders in an hour.
If you are going to try to capture the bottle imp yourself, which I strongly do not recommend, you are going to need a magical spell-resistant butterfly net, a solid glass jar, bottle, or brass urn. A garlic-soaked cork to fit the bottle. A spell scroll ready to cast containing at least one fairy-shrink spell. And an extremely limited amount of time to actually think about what you are doing.
Now I have told you how I get writing ideas from a bottle imp. Aren’t you glad I did not include this idea in the post about where ideas come from? After all, I am a fiction writer. I get my jollies from telling lies in story form. And bottle imps, especially angry blue bottle imps named Bruce, or Charlie, or Bill, are more trouble than they are worth. They can curse you with magical spells of infinite silliness and undercut your serious nature for a lifetime.
The Russians decided the election in 2016 and put a criminal in the office of the President of the United States. Enough concrete evidence and testimony of expert investigators now exists and is freely available enough to make a clear case for the truth of it.
They will probably get away with it. Republicans control the government even though they get fewer votes than the other party. This is because they cheat. They use voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other dirty tricks to stay in power supported by a base that is controlled by fear, prejudice, and partisan tribalism. They ignore the rule of law when it favors them getting what they want. This country is no longer a democracy.
9/11 is a terrible event, but it was not perpetrated by terrorists. It was done by government organizations working together to hide the truth and cover the wealthy elite who made money and gained power from this horrible event. The airlines that were hijacked made money for Wall Street investors who bet the stocks for those specific airlines would make a sudden fall in value. The airplane (or possible missile) that hit the Pentagon hit the budget offices that were investigating the missing trillions of dollars, and the money was never found.
Aliens are real and routinely visiting our planet. Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan all knew this for a fact, and the rest of the presidents since Truman may have known it as well… Though probably not Trump. He would attempt to steal from the aliens or find some other way to make money from them. The evidence is there in the form of testimony, artifacts, whistleblower testimony, photographs, and documentation that sometimes slips out of the government’s grasp. The very real cover-up of the truth of it is also evidence of the reality of it.
The human mind is an incredible thing, with bizarre capabilities that we are only beginning to understand. Synesthesia and savants with mysterious brain powers are also a documented reality. Remote viewing and other mind powers have not only been studied by the government but used by them.
Bizarre things are often more true than the ordinary mundane things we all believe in every day. You are welcome to argue with me. I wish many of these things were not true. But I know better. And that sick feeling in your stomach is evidence that you know better too.
Here is a notion that I find disturbing, compelling, and totally fascinating. The world portrayed to us through history, current media, and what is assumed to be common knowledge of the facts is all warped and incorrect. The people who make the world go round, like Glinda the Good Witch, Dorothy, and the Wizard in Oz are all lying to us.
What? You thought I was talking about something more than the Wizard of Oz? Well, you were right. You cannot consider the real meaning of the story Frank L. Baum wrote without realizing that it has more than one meaning.
You understand that in this story we are talking about a girl who becomes an interdimensional traveler. She visits a dimension which contains the Land of Oz (a place you cannot find anywhere on a map of the Earth) first by means of an interdimensional Kansas tornado, and later, after learning how to use them properly, finds her way back to her own dimension by magic-heel-clicking ruby slippers.
Not only that but after she learns of the whole rulership of Oz by witches and wizards, she allows herself to be recruited as an assassinator of evil witches by a supposed “good witch”. Again, she kills the first one by accident, then learns by trial and error how to kill the second one despite the witch’s winged-monkey minions.
Nothing in Oz is, of course, really what it seems to be. The Scarecrow, representing the rural farm worker, has been convinced he is an idiot know-nothing who doesn’t even have a brain. Yet, in the story, his were the plans that led the group to successfully overcoming obstacles. The Tin Man, representing the modern factory worker, has been told he doesn’t have a heart. Yet he is the one with the most empathy, willing to make any sacrifice necessary for the benefit of those he loves. And the Lion, symbolizing the military, is told he is cowardly, and he believes it, though he is willing to face grave danger and bravely takes on Dorothy’s enemies in spite of his paralyzing fear.
And we all know the Wizard, the man behind the curtain, is a humbug and a con man, trying to deceive others to stay in control of every situation and potential problem. (I am actually surprised his face is not orange and he doesn’t have tiny hands for signing executive orders,)
So I believe I have definitely shown there is a conspiracy behind the whole Wizard of Ozthing. It becomes obvious if you match up the signs, symbols, and clues. But the biggest thing of all is the obvious evidence of making everybody wear green sunglasses in the Emerald City. The cover-up is the greatest giveaway that there is when something odd is going on in Oz that they don’t want you to know about. It is the biggest clue that George W. Wizard is actually the instigator behind 9/11. The Scarecrow is also behind the back-engineering of alien spaceships at Area 51. The Tin Man is behind the chemtrails in the sky that are trying to undo the damage of global warming. And the Lion led the assassination team of CIA shooters who killed Kennedy. I know it all sounds crazy. But still… if we are willing to believe little Kansas girls can ride tornadoes into otherworldly dimensions…
And we all know who really voted Trump into office in 2016.
Notice the white beard? No, it is not really made of yarn and paste. It means Mickey is old.
I was born in November of 1456. That year Vlad the Impaler (yes, the guy who inspired Dracula) killed the Prince of Wallachia and took over his throne, ruling the part of Eastern Europe that includes Transylvania.
Halley’s Comet made an appearance that year, just as it did the year Mark Twain was born, and well before Donald Trump became President of the United States. Before even the comet itself was named by the Astronomer Halley. So if it was truly an omen of the end of the world, it came more than 500 years too early. Maybe that’s why it has to keep coming back around
The Ottoman Empire tried to march into Albania and take it over, but the outnumbered forces of Skanderbeg defeated them at the Battle of Oronichea, proving that bullies don’t always win.
And codpieces were in fashion, proving that men lack any sort of fashion-sense whether it was back then or even now, more than 500 years later.
But, of course, you knew all of that without me telling you. It was an eventful year.
So Mickey is now 561 and 1/2 years old. You’d think by that age he’d have learned not to tell lies or exaggerate things by 500. No such luck. But perhaps I can explain how this particular purple hoo-haw came to be.
You see it began in a classroom back when I was about 40 years of age. That’s right, in 1496. I was lecturing young Will Shakespeare about not putting his name on other people’s writing (which was doubly ironic, because the plagiaristic lad would not be born himself until 1564).
Young Will responded, “You are old, Schoolmaster Mickey. Shouldn’t you have retired already?”
“Just how old do you think I am?” I responded.
“I dunno, seventy or eighty maybe.”
I practically wet myself from shock. I have long looked older than my actual years. But I never let a chance for a good comeback with a slow burning sizzle added to it.
“Well, actually, I am 540 years old. I have been considering retirement for quite some time.”
“Really?” He looked shocked. So, either he really believed me, as thirteen-year-old English students readily will, or he was a much better actor than he was an original author of school essays.
And ever since that fateful day, I have always exaggerated my age to sound truly impressive. I even went back in time and did the math, figuring out what my birthday had to have been to make what I said to the class sound true.
Now, be warned, this is a story full of lies. But as with any work of fiction, it does bear significant relationships to the truth. I will leave it to you to try to discern what those relationships are.
I am diabetic. I am not supposed to have donuts for breakfast any more. Hence the obsession with donuts. I am only guessing here, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that the very name of donuts tells you what to do.
“What?!” you say. “What goofiness are you talking about now, Mickey?”
Well, I’ll tell you. I had a donut for breakfast this morning… with nuts.
The name “donuts” is literally a command. It tells you to “Do nuts”. So I had nuts with my donut this morning. Peanuts to be precise. Of course that’s what is wrong with the whole scenario. It doesn’t mean “peanuts”. It is commanding you to do something nutty. Maybe more like eating a donut when you have diabetes. No matter how good that particular donut tastes when you eat it, an hour later you are going to suffer.
So here’s the result of my being nuts this morning. I have come to the conclusion that the root of all evils in the modern world is “donuts”. Especially when it is pronounced “doo nutz”. Yes, eating a donut subjects you to the command, “Do nuts!”
And we all know how bad Trump’s diet is. Could he be imbibing donuts? Horrors! That explains Twitter, cabinet firings, tariffs for the fun of it, random protestations of “No collusion!”, and even “Covfefe”. Although Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary is an evil beyond even the power of donuts.
And how did Trump even get elected? Do people in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan glory in eating donuts before voting? How about disgruntled Bernie Bros? And one also suspects that middle-aged white women can’t resist a good donut… or an evil one either.
Could it be that I am down on donuts because I ate one and now I am writing this with a pounding high-blood-sugar headache? Well, yes. Eating one inspired this post. It was a chocolate donut with green, mint-flavored frosting. And it was evil. It is taking out its evil revenge on the blood vessels in my brain.
So, I implore you if you are reading this… no, I’m not going to tell you not to “Do nuts”… I am going to tell you, “Please, for the love of God, keep donuts away from me! Eat them yourself if you have to. But be warned! They have a secret meaning.”
I spent yesterday with the court appointed trustee, under oath, successfully declaring bankruptcy without losing the house or any other protected assets. I have sworn to pay off the amount owed to banks without further interest. I will be aided by the court, protected from predators so that they don’t eat the corpse of my economic life.
Fools like me are soon parted from their money. After all, this country’s government and this country’s economy are run by con men. Cheats, criminals, grifters, thieves… they control the entire government now, and make the rules serve them and punish us.
And I suppose that’s the way it should be. If money is your only source of happiness, you are going to become one of them. A credit-manipulating predator and carrion-eater. I had to go through this bankruptcy proceeding because I lost Bank of America’s lawsuit against me. And if it weren’t for my bankruptcy case protecting me, they could come into my house and take whatever they wanted, including everythingthey wanted. They could garnish my wages up to 100% for however many months it took for my pension check to pay off my debt. Meanwhile my children would starve. I would have nothing to live on. It is within their rights to do it because they own the government and make the rules. Charles Dickens didn’t even have it so bad. At least in the debtor’s prison in Victorian London they fed you and kept you alive… mostly.
But I did learn some important lessons for the future. Let me share that hard-won wisdom with you now.
Never buy anything on credit. Save the money first, and then buy what you need once you have the total price. Only fools agree to never-ending cycles of interest upon interest, compounding and confounding your pocketbook for perpetuity. (Say that one three times fast!)
Only buy what you need. If you really need that shiny blue doohickimus to keep from going insane, then buy it… but save up the cash to pay for it in full. And if owning that doodadimus preposterosous isn’t going to provide you with the key to real happiness, then forget about it, and glory in your new-found self-control.
Banks are run by pirates. They are in the business of stealing your money. They charge fees for holding on to your money, while at the same time spending your money, and fees for counting your money, even when it’s not really there, and fees for looking at your money, though your money is only blips on a computer screen, and even fees for eventually… very gradually so you will not notice… stealing your money. You have to give them your money at some point, because you will die or be killed if you don’t. But taking your money by force, leaving you with no other choice but death, makes them pirates.
Save money wherever you can. Bury some in the back yard (but only metal money… gold bars being the least likely to turn into worthless soil filler). You are probably going to need it in the future. So don’t forget where you buried it. And making maps only helps groups of nerdy kids find it in the future after an unlikely series of fantastic adventures that all occur after you have become a one-eyed skeleton.
And don’t get sick, whatever you do. It costs too much to get health care. After you’ve paid an arm and a leg for health care services more than once, you are not going to be dancing any jigs. Maybe rolling around like a watermelon with a head, but that’s about it.
So, that’s the wisdom I gained from going bankrupt, for what it’s worth (and it isn’t worth much, or they would’ve confiscated it at the creditor’s meeting yesterday).