As a writer, my goal is to create wisdom and new ideas and stuff that makes a reader feel happy, or sad, or angry, or even slightly insane. But thinking is hard when your head hurts and your body aches and your sixty-sixth birthday is just around the corner. (Yes, this Mickey is nearly 66, but can you believe that that other Mickey is going to be 94 on the day after I turn 66?) Sometimes you just want to say, “Never mind that I wanted to post every single day for the past two years. Just curl up in a ball and go to sleep.” But there are ways to get something done even if your mind is full of the Sandman’s leavings and old, rotted dreams.
You can always get by with posting somebody else’s wisdom… somebody else’s thinking. You don’t have to work too hard to paste things together. After all, why else did you have to look at so many cut-and-paste essays over the years in middle school and high school?
And you can rely on the work you have already done collecting computer files full of colorful crap and stuff you like enough to steal to complete your cut-and-paste scrapbook post. You don’t have to feel like you erred and are about to have your head cut off by an angry Groo.
And you know you can get a lot of cheap likes on Facebook with some of the stuff you have available to put in this post. You have been working at the “Be funny!” thing for a long time and have gotten almost good enough at it to be funny on the fly. And when you’ve gotten more than halfway to the goal, you can rest a bit. Take a nap. Regenerate the crazy things in your head so you can do this all again another day.
And if you can have a laugh before you are finished, even if no one else in the world gets the joke… well, at least you will feel a little bit better yourself.
It is the goal of those who write humor to reveal truth and make you laugh about it. Unexpected truth is funny. It is also the main reason that far-right political kooks have no sense of humor Simply put, for the evil and stupid people who are taking over this country, truth is not funny. It is the enemy.
The fact that so many who are quick to argue cannot be quieted by a joke anymore means that the conversation can’t end until they’ve owned the libtard, or punched him in the face… or worse, shot him dead with their beloved Second-Amendment Rights.
And a source of that evil is the whole conservative-bubble propaganda wheels that never stop turning on Fox News, Breitbart, One America News, and Stormfront publications.
They take up arms against the things they fear. And they fear those people that their propaganda wheels identify for them as the “other.” That means people of color, Democrats, liberals, ANTIFA (which stands for anti-fascists, and as far as I can tell are mostly fictional… which prevents me from joining them,) and intellectuals (meaning anybody that is smarter than they are… specifically me.)
The most frustrating thing about the armies of evil is that they are made up of good, basically God-fearing, fine-hearted people who would do anything for you if you are identified as a member of their group by the color of your skin or your support of their glorious leader Don Cheetoh Trumpaloney. Unfortunately the consumption of propaganda from their fear-centered and conspiracy-theory-prone propaganda wheels stimulates the fear centers of their amygdalas (also known as their lizard brains) and suppresses their natural empathy to the point of being able to do violence in the name of leaders who are basically robbing them, conning them, and laughing about it behind their backs.
And the leaders who are doing all of this, they are the primary beneficiaries of corporate greed and control of politics to the point that they can make more profits than ever from fossil fuels at a time when the planet is dying from green-house gasses that cause fires in the western States and the ferocity of Hurricane Ian in Florida.
So, what are people who would rather see good happen than have the world die in fire and a hail of bullets going to do about it?
We can vote. Here are the names of some people who support evil ideas and have made lots of money in their respective offices; Ron DeSantis (Mickey Mouse’s new nemesis), Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Greg Abbott (Evil Emperor of Texas,) Marco Rubio (enemy of immigrants everywhere,) and basically anyone who rules with a Maga hat on, or calls himself a Trump Republican.
We have to keep fighting for public education, fair and equal and well-funded, free of book banning in school libraries that target classic works of black authors, gay authors, truth-tellers, and authors of science books that include climate change and evolution as scientifically established, and willing to treat kids as valuable learners no matter what color, religion, ethnicity, culture, or sexual orientation they are blessed with. Kids are kids and deserve love and respect (even the naked ones, though I am not advocating for nude schools… that’s just a joke.)
We have to treat the aggrieved and fearful members of the evil armies not as evil, but as our misguided brothers and sisters, neighbors, useful members of society, and people who can be reminded that they do have good hearts, and only cold-hearted lunatics and despots are truly evil.
And I will continue trying to open eyes and hearts with humor. Hopefully the kind that brings smiles and laughter. But also the kind that brings tears and self-examination as necessary. (Of course, I can’t promise to be good at it. Funny is in the brain of the laugher after all.)
It is, of course, one of the most powerful, masterful, and best-known pieces of music ever written.
Mozart completed the “little serenade” in Vienna in 1787, but it wasn’t published until 1827, long after Mozart’s untimely death.
The Serenade is incorrectly translated into English as “A Little Night Music”. But this is and always has been the way I prefer to think of it. A creation of Mozart written shortly before he hopped aboard the ferryman’s boat and rode off into the eternal night. It is the artifact that proves the art of the master who even has the word “art” as a part of his name. A little music to play on after the master is gone to prove his universal connection to the great silent symphony that is everything in the universe singing silently together.
It is basically what I myself am laboring now to do. I have been dancing along the edge of the abyss of poverty, suffering, and death since I left my teaching job in 2014. I will soon be taking my own trip into night aboard the ferryman’s dreaded boat. And I feel the need to put my own art out there in novel and cartoon form before that happens.
I am not saying that I am a master on the level of a Mozart. My name is not Mickart. But I do have a “key’ in the name Mickey. And it will hopefully unlock something worthwhile for my family and all those I loved and leave behind me. And hopefully, it will provide a little night music to help soothe the next in line behind me at the ferryman’s dock.
Sometimes it seems the stars are simply set against us. But the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars.
It was in a pothole in Scott Mill Road, actually. We hit it at thirty miles an hour near the roped-off road construction as we were going to the CVS to pick up my glaucoma eye drops. I immediately thought we had probably popped a tire, as we did on monster-canyon in a Dallas street a few years ago. But no warning lights were on. And later inspection showed no visible damage.
Still, the next week saw a check-engine light coming on and then going off again… And a few days later the engine began coughing and spitting like a fat man having a heart attack. I had to wait for Monday for the Five Star Ford service department to be open. But Monday I got ill during the weather change and the onset of intermittent rain. So, Tuesday, I barely got the car started, and we limped down to the service center, the car chugging and farting all the way.
So, we get there and immediately find out that the service department was already booked well into October. And the car was too dead to get it anywhere else.
Dang! What lovely bad luck!
And I am going to absolutely need a car at the very least a half-dozen times in the next week. The Princess has to get to the junior college campus in Richardson a couple of times. We need to get to the store and back enough not to starve. And my wife gets back from a wedding in the Philippines on September 12th. She will then need a car of her own too.
I can’t get by for two months without a vehicle of some kind. And getting a new car before the old one can even be looked at is tricky at best.
But I have navigated worse setbacks in my 65+ years on this planet. I don’t actually remember how it was on the planet before this one. I am fairly certain, though, that there is a way to get across this crevice in the rugged path of life.
You reach a point after a hard month has lingered long where you have to eat the leftovers and accept what is. I face challenges in the new year at least as large as the challenges of 2017. When faced with such a situation, I need pie.
So here are some of the things left in my January file for use in this blog. The only reason they are here is because I haven’t used them yet and the ideas have not been knitted together for any rational purpose.
This will be a crazy quilt blog post. But crazy quilts keep you just as warm in winter as any other kind.
My newest Facebook friend is the daughter of my wife’s cousin. I have only known her as the sweet-faced little smiler at Filipino-American family gatherings who sometimes gets my attention by squirting me in the ear with a water gun. Her father is from Greece and teaches Math in San Antonio. Her mother, like my wife, is from the Philippines. I won’t tell you her real name, but we used to call her “Sweetie” because of her resemblance to the little pink Tweety-bird character from Tiny Toons Adventures.
I have also spent considerable time writing to and for nudists I have connected with through their various websites and on Twitter. These two lovely works of nude art were shared with me on Twitter. I have collected a number of nude pictures from Twitter nudists that I can’t use on WordPress because I am still entirely too modest to be the unrestrained naked person that some nudists are. I can’t really claim to be a complete nudist myself. But I do have stories to tell about naked people, and I have been working on them diligently.
Of course, I still miss being a teacher. I was a teacher of English for 31 years. I taught reading and writing in English to over 2,000 kids. I also learned how to stare in Klingon. It is a useful skill for keeping students in line and keeping them from becoming a disappointment to the empire. I miss teaching kids, especially talkative kids. Far fewer people talk to me during a day of retirement than used to talk to me in a single class at school. Those interactions were precious.
And several things are just too confusing for my old brain to explain.
But I do like this picture I found on Facebook of Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor, playing with multiple kittens. I don’t know why, but it makes me happier.
Mickey prefers to be red. In fact, during baseball season, Cardinal Nation Red. But on this day when he has reached 550 days in a row with at least one post, Mickey is blue. Blue with the rain and the pain and the failure to gain, not Toronto Blue Jays blue.
Mickey is lost at sea when it comes to the question, “What should I write about today, tomorrow, and the day after that?” He had some big ideas to write about… but they seem to be too big for his little head to really get around.
He wanted to write something about sex and sexuality and sex education. But you already know why he’s a clueless idiot on this particular topic. His sex life was screwed up at ten and further messed over by religious teachings, and even more religious teachings when he tried to change his religion. So, he really has no wisdom to share on the matter. He is better off sticking within his innocent little pre-pubescent mindset where he can be perpetually no more controversial than a twelve-year-old. But by now you have probably learned enough about Mickey to know that he is enough of a real writer to not be able to stay within the safe zone. You will probably be pretty upset with him over some post in the near future. (I know that is partly wrong too. Being upset is never pretty.)
This weekend he actually had an uptick in views on WordPress, probably due to making the Twitter Nudists aware of his post called, “Why I Need to Be Naked.” They went and read it and looked at the pictures and told Mickey via Twitter that it was good (apparently not realizing you can Like things on WordPress.) And they also looked through his old posts for the other nudist things on Catch a Falling Star. “Free to Be Naked” and “Nudist Notions” got dug up and read again and again. And I should warn you, more nudists than ever are following Mickey on Twitter now. He will probably bore you with more nudist-friendly stuff.
Now that Mickey is finally clear of bankruptcy, he started buying and collecting dolls again. Chilly Willy is not a plastic doll, but the rest of these are new since the bankruptcy ended. There is a good chance he will write about this subject again too, though clearly, it is a sign that his mental stability is going South fast. Old coots on Medicare should probably not be playing with dolls so much.
But Mickey is still blue, though he longs to be red. Arthritis pain, diabetic problems like sores, memory loss, and low blood sugar all work on his mood in very bad ways. But you never know when the sun will come out again. And, since we have been scorched by hot weather for more than a month, a little cool blue might be better than red hot anyway.
If you have come to my blog in hopes of gleaning some key advice about how to write novels or tell a story, then the wisest advice I can give you is, “Do not take any advice Mickey gives seriously.” He used to be a writing teacher in public schools. That is true. But he is also the writer of weird surrealistic novels full of purple paisley prose. And he is not a successful novelist like Steven King or J.K. Rowling. His writing advice is probably only worth ca-ca poo-poo.
So, let me tell you how NOT to write a novel.
Each of the novels I have written and displayed here took me more than twenty years from the moment I conceived of the idea, through plotting, rough drafts, revisions, re-plotting, expanding the story, to finally publishing them in 2017, 2018, and 2019. I developed the stories from real people, real events, and real themes that were a part of my life and added to each of the stories as time passed. So, obviously, you should never take too long a time writing a story. It is true that Snow Babies is the best novel I have ever written, and I count Sing Sad Songs, The Baby Werewolf, and When the Captain Came Calling among my best work. And I only spent one year in the writing of Aeroquest, which is, ironically, the worst thing I have ever written. So, you can see that following any advice Mickey might give you about taking your time with writing is obviously worthless. I took too long writing and publishing my best books, and that is why I will die a penniless, unknown writer.
But I admit to having even more bad advice to warn you not to take. More, I think, than I can put into this one post. So, I will Part-Two this particular essay and take up the topic again in the very near future. Or forget all about it completely. It has to be one of those.
Schools are starting this school year with too few teachers to adequately do the job. I got a call asking if there was any way I could come back to work, even as a substitute teacher. But it just isn’t possible. I am still alive, but far short of well enough to teach for even a single day. And I have spent the entire week watching teachers on YouTube telling the world why they have quit. It’s complicated. I have watched teachers tell angry stories. I have watched teachers cry. I have watched teachers make jokes to keep from crying. And this isn’t just the same old thing about low pay for an extremely difficult job. Chuck Todd says the problem is a 280,000 teacher shortage nationwide.
Kids’ behavior is surly, rude, and out of control, but nobody explaining why they quit as a veteran teacher named this as the reason for leaving . They still love the kids. Nobody who becomes a teacher and lasts for more than five years does the job without at least secretly loving their students more than money, fame, and peace of mind. Realistically, if the kids don’t eat a teacher alive by the time five school years have passed, they secretly love that teacher too.
The biggest roadblock to veteran teachers in red States is interference from the radical MAGA governor who wants to burn some of their school library books and edit what words come out of the teacher’s mouth over things they have basically made up like, “Critical Race Theory,” “Don’f Say Gay ,” or “Sex is something that exists.” And this comes with additional threats at school board meetings, school assemblies, or sometimes even surrounding the teacher’s or administrator’s home with torches, signs, and AR-15s because MAGA parents don’t just get angry, they do something about it.
Another huge factor comes from the way that schools are funded… or not funded as is increasingly the case. Back when Rick (I’m smarter with glasses on) Perry was Emperor… err… Governor of Texas, he had a multi-billion-dollar rainy day fund at the same time when school districts in Texas were all suffering from a lack of funds. Rainy day, right? Not according to the Emperor… err… Governor. While he fiddled with presidential-run preparations, he let schools cut arts programs and lay off teachers and increase class sizes. Teachers were encouraged to pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets. Teachers were required to do more with less.
And then there was the pandemic. My time as a substitute teacher came to an end as teaching became potentially a death sentence for me. My wife got the opportunity to teach kids by Zoom calls, and then teach both in the classroom and by Zoom calls at the same time… for which no additional pay was offered, though the added requirements for the teacher’s efforts were all mandatory.
So, education in America is in extreme crisis. You can go be a teacher if you have some college hours in any subject area. and you can be a substitute if you are still alive. I don’t know if they would accept a zombie or not.
And it looks like everybody is soon going to get everything they deserve… except teachers, of course.
The world is not all black and white… at least, not since the late 1960s.
But many among us would rather have it that way. In fact, they think life would be simpler if white was always right and black was always wrong. The good guys wear white hats. The bad guys wear black. The good guys shoot the guns out of the villain’s hand. The villain ties the lady up on the railroad tracks, and then he explains in detail his evil plan, whilst the guy in the white hat unties the lady… or stops the train.
Then in the 1970s, everything started to be in living color on the television. Children and their teachers began to think the world was full of vivid color. Many shades of both the primary colors and the secondary colors differentiated red-headed Ronald MacDonald from blond Farrah Fawcett and blues-singing Diana Ross.
Luke Skywalker starts out Star Wars looking at the twin suns wearing white clothes, and Darth Vader wore only black. But the Storm Troopers all wore white and they shot poorly like bad guys while Luke was wearing black by the third movie and Darth Vader was saved from the Dark Side by the end of the trilogy.
It seems to me it is really up to us… each of us… to make our own color in life. We can limit ourselves to easy black-and-white living, or we can reach for the yellow stars, red hearts, green clovers, and blue horseshoes… if the Leprechaun doesn’t try to hoard the Lucky Charms for himself.