Category Archives: foolishness

Tom Sawyer Abroad (Book Review)

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Yep, I read about being an “erronort” traveling in a balloon while sitting in a parking lot in my car.

Believe it or not, I read this entire 100+year-old book in my car while waiting for my daughter and my son in school parking lots.  What a perfectly ironic way to read a soaring imaginary adventure written by Mark Twain and mostly forgotten about by the American reading public.

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My copy of this old book is a 1965 edition published for school libraries of a book written in 1894.  It tells the story of how Tom and Huck and Jim steal a ride on a balloon at a town fair from a somewhat mentally unhinged professor of aeronautical science.  The balloon, which has space-age travel capabilities due to the professor’s insane genius, takes them on an accidental voyage to Africa.

Of course, the insane professor intends to kill them all, because that’s what insane geniuses do after they prove how genius-y they really are.  But as he tries to throw Tom into the Atlantic, he only manages to plunge himself through the sky and down to an unseen fate.  The result being a great adventure for the three friends in the sands of the Sahara.  They face man-eating lions, mummy-making sandstorms, and a chance to land on the head of the Sphinx.

The entire purpose of this book is to demonstrate Twain’s ability to be a satirical stretcher of the truth, telling jokes and lies through the unreliable narrator’s voice of Huck Finn.

Here is a quoted passage from the book to fill up this review with words and maybe explain just a bit what Twain is really doing with this book;

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Notice how I doubled my word count there without typing any of the words myself?  Isn’t the modern age wonderful?

But there you have it.  This book is about escaping every-day newspaper worries.  In a time of Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, global warming, and renewed threats of thermonuclear boo-boos with Russia, this proved to be the perfect book to float away with on an imaginary balloon to Africa.  And the book ends in a flash when Aunt Polly back in Hannibal wants Tom back in time for breakfast.  I really needed to read this book when I picked it up to read it.

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Filed under book reports, book review, foolishness, good books, humor, imagination, Mark Twain, old books, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Wrapped in Sunshine

Wrapped in sunshine, things are always better.

Artificial light simply does not compare.

Nudists like me are happiest when the only clothing we are wearing is sunshine.

Kids are prone to love being naked outdoors,

But they do tend to think what their parents teach them to think.

And their parents usually think nudists are dangerous…

Or just plain crazy.

But Sunshine can be an idea. What we former English teachers call a metaphor.

Today’s Lesson on the first day of Kindergarten… because Mickey is in his second childhood.

Having sunshine in your mind is a way of thinking that can benefit you better than you know.

Sunshine in your mind can simply be happy thoughts. And, remember, happy thoughts could make Peter Pan fly!

So, wrap yourself in Sunshine… And light up the world!

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Filed under battling depression, foolishness, goofy thoughts, healing, health, philosophy, poetry

Mickey’s Secret Identities

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Yes, there is very definitely a possibility that there is more than one me.

If you look carefully at the colored pencil drawing above, you will see that it is titled “The Wizard of Edo” and signed by someone called Leah Cim Reyeb.  A sinister sounding Asian name, you think?  I told college friends that my research uncovered the fact that he was an Etruscan artist who started his art career more than two thousand years ago in a cave in France.  But, of course, if you are clever enough to read the name backward, you get, “beyeR miC haeL”.  So, that stupid Etruscan cave artist is actually me.

It turns out that it is a conceit about signing my name as an artist that I stole from an old episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show and have used for well over two decades through college and my teaching career.

And of course, the cartoonist me is Mickey.  Mickey also writes this blog.  Mickey is the humorist identity that I use to write all my published novels and blog posts since I published the novel Catch a Falling Star.

Michael Beyer is the truest form of my secret identity.  That was my teacher name.  It was often simplified by students to simply “Mr. B”.  I was known by that secret identity for 31 years.

Even more sinister are my various fictional identities occurring in my art and my fiction.  You see one of them in this Paffooney.  The name Dr. Seabreez appears in Catch a Falling Star as the Engineer who makes a steam engine train fly into space in the 1890’s with alien technology.  He appears again in The Bicycle-Wheel Genius as a time-traveler.

The young writer in the novel Superchicken, Branch Macmillan, is also me.  As is the English teacher Lawrance “Rance” Kellogg used in multiple novels.

So, disturbing as it may be to realize, there is more than one name and identity that signifies me.  But if you are a writer of fiction, a cartoonist, an artist, or a poet, you will probably understand this idea better.  And you may even have more than one you too.

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Filed under autobiography, foolishness, humor, irony, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Skyscapes of the Cloudy Mind

I admit it.  Even though I collect pictures of sunrises to glory in the fact that I still have another day of life in this world, I rarely snap a picture of the cloudless sunrise.  It is very possible that this has something to do with what ultimately gives life value and makes it worthwhile to live one more day.

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If there is no pattern, no color-changes, no contrast, no variation… then why bother?  And this doesn’t only apply to living your life.  It applies to taking pictures of the sky too.  Solid blue or solid yellow are about as interesting as a minimalist painting.  (Have you ever seen the big beige squares and red squares that fill entire walls of the Dallas Art Museum?  Like a picture of a polar bear in a fierce blizzard or an extreme close-up of the side of a tomato.)

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Yes, sunshine and happiness are all well and good… but you don’t get a satisfactory skyscape without some clouds in it.  In fact, rain clouds provide the most fascinating patterns and colors.  What would the picture be without a little drama splashed here and there to make a center of interest or a counterpoint to the happy ending?  They say that variety is the spice of life.  And when they say that they probably mean cayenne pepper rather parsley or oregano.  If that’s not what they mean, then why the hell did we bring food into the discussion?

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So, I am thinking, there have to be clouds.  (Notice, I said “clouds”, not “clowns”, because… according to the song, there “ought to be clowns”, not “have to be clowns”.)

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It is true that clouds can mean sadness… that the rain is coming, that your vision is obscured, that something has come between you and God’s eye.  But without clouds, the sky would be plain and boring.  Better to burn bright and explode in a short amount of time than to linger over a plain pale blue.

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Kerpopple That Dinglebunny!

I have always loved using weird, wild, and goofy words to describe things when I am trying to be funny.  But recently I was saddened to learn that a word I have liked using in the past, “dingleberry”, is actually a poo-poo word.  I am very much on the Red Skelton side of the question of using bad words.   I mean, I don’t find direct use of obscene language and harsh Anglo-Saxon swear words to be very funny.  Shock humor and gross-out humor do not appeal to me the way more whimsical word-play does.

Betelgeuse is a funny word because it is the name of an actual red-giant Star in the Milky Way Galaxy, while at the same time sounding like juice made from beetles.  And, of course, there is the little matter of a hilarious Tim Burton movie about a gross-out ghost with an evil agenda.  The parts of a word can make or break the comic gravity of the word.  As much as I previously liked “dingleberry” as a goofy insult word, the “dingle” part is giving me pause.  I have discovered that a “dingle” is not only the v-cleft in a valley between two mountains, it is also derived from “dung”.   A “dingleberry” describes a dangling “berry” of poop like the ones sometimes found on the fur of my dog’s behind.  Yetch!  I can’t even use a label like that on a detestable buffoon like Donald Trump.  It bothers me that it suggests the color brown rather than the proper orange.  Trump requires a word that translates to something more like “flaming orange Kool-aid man”.

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So, I guess I need to focus on other weird, wild, and goofy words as I continue to try to be funny.  The dinglebunnies of my comic fantasies need to be “kerpoppled”… the act of “poppling”, to move in a tumbling, irregular manner, as in boiling water.  Do away with poo-poo humor, Mickey, old lad!  You need some new goofy words.

 

 

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Filed under clowns, foolishness, goofiness, humor, strange and wonderful ideas about life, wordplay

Leftovers From the January File

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And several things are just too confusing for my old brain to explain.

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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.

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Filed under artwork, blog posting, Dr. Who, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, goofy thoughts, humor, nudes

Irreverence

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It is a difficult thing to be an atheist who believes in God.  Sometimes it takes an oxymoron to find the Truth.  And you often have to go heavily on the “moron” portion of the word.

The thing I find most distressing about faith is the fact that those who have it are absolutely convinced that if you don’t agree with them and whatever book of fairy tales they believe in and interpret for you, then you are not a True Believer and you do not have real Faith.

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I remember being told by a Mormon girl in one of my classes that I was her all-time favorite teacher, but she was deeply distressed that, because of my religion (I professed to be a Jehovah’s Witness at the time) I was doomed to burn in Hell forever.

Hey, I was raised in Iowa.  I have experienced minus 100 degree Fahrenheit windchill.  I am among those who think a nice warm afterlife wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

But I am no longer actually a Jehovah’s Witness.  So I guess that helps with the whole Hell-burning thing.  The Witnesses are a religion that claims to understand the Bible is full of metaphorical truth, and yet insist that it is literally true.  They don’t believe in Hell, which, honestly, is not actually mentioned or explained in the Bible as we have it now.  But they do believe your prospects for eternal life on a paradise Earth are totally contingent on knocking on doors and telling other people that they must believe what you believe or experience eternal destruction.  I have stopped being an active Witness and knocking on doors because I got old and sick, and all the caring brothers and sisters in the congregation stopped coming around to visit because number one son joined the Marines, and the military is somehow evil hoodoo that cancels out any good you have done in the past.  Being a Jehovah’s Witness was really hard work with all the meetings (5 per week), Bible reading (I have read the entire Bible two and a half times), door-knocking, and praying, and you apparently can lose it all for saying, thinking, or doing one wrong thing.

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According to the Baptist preachers, Jehovah’s Witness elders, religious zealots, and other opinionated religious people I have known and dealt with in my life, if I do not believe what they believe and agree with them in every detail, then I do not know God and am therefore an atheist.  So, okay, I guess I am.   If I have to be an atheist to believe whole-heartedly that everyone is entitled to sincerely believe whatever the hell they want to believe, then I’ll wear that label.

On a personal note, my favorite verse of the Bible has always been 1 John 4:8,  “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.”  That is why I claim to be an atheist who believes in God.  I know love.  I love all men, women, children, animals, sunrises, artwork, paintings of angels by Bouguereau… everything that is.  And I even love you if you exercise your freedom to tell me, “Your ideas are totally wrong, and you are going to burn in Hell, Mickey, you bad guy, you!”  Mark Twain always said, “I would choose Heaven for climate, but I would prefer Hell for company.”  I am not going to worry about it.  I will be in good company.  Some things are just bigger than me.  And trying to control things like that is nonsense. Sorta like this post.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, autobiography, finding love, foolishness, humor, philosophy, religion, strange and wonderful ideas about life

As If It Weren’t Enough…

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THE WISDOM OF THE LITTLE FOOL

A fool can’t really sum up all of life in a sentence.

But a fool tries.

A fool can’t really say something in immortal words.

Because a fool dies.

A fool can’t really do the job of the wise.

But never-the-less, the fool applies.

But a fool can write a really dumb poem,

And let it sit to draw some flies.

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Toys From My Second Childhood

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(This is a post from 2017, before the swimming pool had to be removed, before  it caused my heart trouble,  and before  I  had to declare Chapter  13 Bankruptcy.)

Being retired for health reasons and unable to work, I would be dead already without my writing and art endeavors to fill my time and keep me sane.  I can do some work, as proven by my attempts to patch and repair the swimming pool this summer.  But my limitations drive me crazy, as proven by the fact that I did about half of the work on the pool wearing only sunscreen and a hat.  My kids are not married yet, and two of them are still in high school, but they are not much interested in toys any more.  And I don’t yet have grandkids to spoil.  So when I go the Resale Store or Goodwill to shop for old toys, I am basically buying them for myself.

The Princess of the Korean Court Barbie was lying on the bargain shelf for $3.49.  I bought the ceramic wishing well behind her for $5.00.  So the bargain-hunting gene I inherited from Scotch ancestors was duly satisfied.  But I had to do more with things like these than merely own them.  Toys are for playing. And what does a 60-year-old man do with dolls when he is playing?  Besides being a bit creepy, I mean?  Well, this photo is the answer.  I use my toys to create pictures and artwork.

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Here’s a creation using the ceramic wishing well again.  It is apparently, on closer inspection, actually a candle holder.  But it serves to make my Walmart Clearance Sale Disney toys happy.  Here you see the pony-brushing party held by Minnie Mouse with Daisy Duck and the gay snowman from Frozen.

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Here you see the metal miniatures I got in a pack from Walmart as they visit the cardboard castle.  Two of the lead figures on the ground are hand painted by me in days long ago.  The entire cardboard castle was printed and glued on cardboard, cut out and put together entirely by me.  Mickey, Minnie, Alice, Stitch, and Kermit are the metal miniatures not painted by me.

So, my days have not been overwhelmed by boredom and frustration and problems with city pool inspectors (he doesn’t even know about doing the repair work in the nude, so he can’t give me a ticket for that.)  I have been filling my time with toys and creative play.  I have been mostly a good boy… err… old man.

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Filed under action figures, Barbie and Ken, doll collecting, foolishness, goofy thoughts, making cardboard castles, Mickey, photo paffoonies, playing with toys, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Coca-Cola Mind Control

If you’ve read very much of my goofy little blog, you’ve probably run across the fact that I am something of a conspiracy theorist and strange-twist believer… sometimes referred to as a tinfoil-hat-wearer, or that old uncle you don’t want your kids sitting next to at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  And I’ve got another one for you.  I discovered while obsessing about nostalgia and old ads in the Saturday Evening Post, that the Coca-Cola company is probably  responsible for warping my mind as a child.

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My plan in revealing this hideous conspiracy is to take a look at ads and illustrations that I saw as a kid addicted to reading Saturday Evening Post every week at Grandpa and Grandma Aldrich’s farm.  I will scour them for hidden meanings and try to reveal to you the insidious plot underlying these mind-altering illustrations.  Keep in mind that you should probably take everything I say in this article with a grain of salt.  No, really, salt can protect you from subtle mind-control messages.

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And, yes, I realize that not all the messages are that subtle.  Sometimes they shout at you, “Drink Coke and you will have more sex!”  And you have to remember we are trying to avoid that kind of mind control.  We have to fight every instance of ad companies trying to take control over us by exploiting our baser animal urges.

So, let me take a momentary interlude, a break if you will.  I have this big glass of Diet Coke I just bought at QT, and…

Well, that was good!

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Coca-Cola has been at this for a while.  This ad from the  1940’s is apparently attempting to win World War II through choice of soft drinks.  Look at this feisty brew the soldier is about to quaff.  It is actually struggling in the cup to get out and go bite some German soldier’s face off.  Any American soldier who can choke this stuff down is tough enough to take on the Axis powers, Napoleon after Hitler dug him up and used Frankenstein’s scientific breakthroughs to re-animate him, and even several countries we weren’t actually at war with.  Even Rush Limbaugh and his weird lesbian-farmer-subsidies theory can’t compete with Coke on this level of propaganda wars.

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I also think Coca-Cola ads may have something to do with why I became a Cardinals fan when I lived in a place full of Cubs and Twins fans.  I admit, I added the dialogue and the commentary, but I used to do the same thing in my head when I was eight and the Cardinals went to the World Series… and the Cubs could not win it all even with Ernie Banks on their team.  The Cardinals beat the Yankees in 7 games!

I blame Coca-Cola.  Especially their ad department.  Cause the generic manager is telling the generic Oubs player to “Relax… take it easy.”  But the Cardinals won because Bob Gibson had that laser-intensity stare that bored holes through Mickey Mantle’s bat!  (It is Oubs, not Cubs, by the way.  Look at the big “O” on his jersey.)

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And you can’t tell me that the Coca-Cola ad seen here, the one with the white-haired goblin child casting a spell on you with his crazy eyes and pointing at your dark, delicious master isn’t seriously trying to mess with children’s minds.  There used to be a big five-foot-tall metal sign with this very picture on it in the one and only alley in Meservey, Iowa.  The one time I went to the barber there to get my hair cut I had to sit in that barber chair and stare at this evil thing staring back at me from the alley across the street.  It warped me.  For one thing, I never went back to that barber shop again… at least until I was in college and the sign was gone.

So, I seriously believe Coca-Cola was messing with my mind as a child.  They did it through subversive ad illustrations in Saturday Evening Post Magazine.  And if I’m completely crazy now, I blame them.  You don’t see that kind of thing going on today, do you?  Well, I mean, we should be very worried.  Because it probably means they have gotten better at it.

 

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Filed under autobiography, baseball, baseball fan, commentary, conspiracy theory, foolishness, humor