Category Archives: goofiness

Eberron

When you play Dungeons and Dragons the way we constantly do, it helps to have an over-all campaign, a world created by gifted imaginers to play in and use as the setting for all our adventures.

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There are good published campaign worlds to choose from.  We chose the Eberron world because it was so thoroughly magical and and steam-punk in nature and artwork.

This is a world where magic and alchemy have taken the place of science in the world’s technology.  Instead of airplanes, the magic-technicians known as magewrights in Eberron bind the living air and fire elementals to their ships and use elemental magic to fly.

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Even robot-like constructs called warforged are built by magewrights to become, not only warriors to fill out armies, but sentient individuals with personalities and complex problems and emotions.  Book in the illustration above is a warforged wizard.  Book is his name.  Warforged are very simple artificial people… but also complicated.  They name themselves after weapons, armor parts, and random things.

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A campaign world provides places and non-player characters to interact with.  As well as monsters to kill and exotic locations to kill them in.  Eberron has its unique peoples, like Shifters.  Shifters are a race of people who are the result of humans loving lycanthropes… you know, werewolves and weretigers and weresharks and other were-things.

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Our family game got involved from adventure number one with the secret service of the Kingdom of Breland, the Dark Lanterns, so Breland and it’s cities became something of a home base.

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The city known as Sharn, City of Towers, became a particularly fascinating home base.  The Broken Anvil Inn in the mid-reaches of Dura became a sometimes place to live and alwaystimes place to drink liquor and recruit weird friends.  And this is a vast city with a cluster of mile-high towers and a population of various peoples and monsters from throughout the continent of Khorvaire.

So if you have been reading any of my Saturday D & D posts, and found the place names confusing and hard to remember, now you have this post to read and confuse you even more thoroughly.  How do I, as dungeon master, keep it all straight?  I don’t.  I bought the books and I am constantly looking stuff up.  In fact, I often assign number one son the Player’s Handbook for Eberron to look up that stuff, number two son gets the Campaign Guide to look stuff up in, and the Princess handles the Monster Manuals.  (Really, I have spent a ton of pennies on the books and have too many to juggle them all myself.)

So we play the game in a world called Eberron and share the fantasies and stories of world where magic is science and science is magic.

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Classroom Clownery (Not to be confused with Sean Clownery… He’s James Blond)

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See Dick?

See Jane?

See Sally?

See Dick run?

See Jane run?

See Sally…?   Wait a minute!  Why don’t I remember Sally?

Did Dick forget to feed Spot and Spot was forced to kill and eat Sally?

No…  I had Dick and Jane books in Kiddy-garter and they did have Sally in them.  And Spot never killed anyone.  But with all the running she did, Sally did not do anything memorable.  If my teacher, Miss Ketchum, had told the Spot eats Sally story, I’m sure I would’ve remembered Sally better and learned to read faster.

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But I actually did learn to read faster because there was a Cat in the Hat, and a Yertle the Turtle, and because Horton the elephant heard a Who, and a Grinch stole Christmas.  Yes, humor is what always did it for me in the classroom.  Dr. Seuss taught me to read.  Miss Mennenga taught me to read out loud.  And in seventh grade, Mr. Hickman taught me to appreciate really really terrible jokes.    And those are the people who twisted my arm… er, actually my brain… enough to make me be a teacher who taught by making things funny.  There were kids who really loved me, and principals who really hated me.  But I had students come back to me years later and say… “I don’t remember anything at all from my classes in junior high except when you read The Outsiders out loud and did all those voices, and played the Greek myth game where we had to kill the giants with magic arrows, and the stupid jokes you told.”  High praise indeed!

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I think that teaching kids to laugh in the classroom was a big part of teaching them how to use the language and how to think critically.    You find what’s funny in what you learn, and you have accidentally examined it carefully… and probably etched it on the stone part of your brain more memorably than any other way you could do it.  And once it’s etched in stone, you’re not getting that out again any time soon.

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Humor makes you look at things from another point of view, if for no other reason, then simply because you are trying to make somebody laugh.  For instance, do you wonder like I do why the Cat in the Hat is trying to pluck the wig off of Yelling Yolanda who is perched on the back of yellow yawning yak?  I bet you can’t look at those two pictures positioned like that and not see what I am talking about.  Of course, I am not betting money on it.  I am simply talking Iowegian… a totally different post.

But the point is, humor and learning go hand in hand.  It takes intelligence to get the joke.  Joking makes you smarter.  And that is why the class clowns in the past… the good and funny ones… not the stupid and clueless ones… were always my favorite students.

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Daily Magic

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Daily Magic

The world all around us is magic…

And magic encompasses all,

But sadly the world is not permanent

And tomorrow the darkness may fall.

So here is the magic of daylight

The sun has arisen from pall

And at least for a moment the true light

Is the sun as it voices its call.

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Never Explain

You should never have to explain a poem…

It is there for all to see…

And whether ’tis sick, or happy, or bad…

It is its own reason to be.

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Never Explain… The Sequel

You should never have to explain a joke…

Whether stupid, or ribald, or punny…

Because reasons all melt with explaining…

And, if you do, it’s not really funny.

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Pearls in the Dark

Swim down into deepening darkness.

Do you truly want to find a pearl?

Fish around in oysters and dark places.

Risk your fingers, your hand… hold your breath.

The deeper you dive, the more you risk, the brighter the pearl.

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Write This One Too, Doofus!

Where did these poems suddenly come from?

You are not a poet…

And you already know it…

You meant to write one…

You wrote five…

How was so much doggerel in you?

Goofy wisdom…

Silly rhythm…

Random rhyme?

You’ve been writing these poems all your life…

Every action…

Every footstep…

Every joke…

Is a pearl from the oyster of your soul…

Some are beautiful…

Some are ugly…

All have value…

So don’t question the magic, you fool.

 

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Filed under artwork, goofiness, goofy thoughts, humor, poem, poetry, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Ultra-Mad Madness of Don Martin

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Born in 1931 and lasting in this crazy, mixed-up world until the year 2000, Don Martin was a mixy, crazed-up cartoonist for Mad Magazine who would come to be billed as “Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.”    His greatest work was done during his Mad years, from 1956 (the year I was born… not a coincidence, I firmly believe) until his retirement in 1988.  And I learned a lot from him by reading his trippy toons in Mad from my childhood until my early teacher-hood.

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His style is uniquely recognizable and easily identifiable.  Nobody cartoons a Foon-man like Don Martin.

The googly eyes are always popped in surprise.  The tongue is often out and twirling.  Knees and elbows always have amazingly knobbly knobs.  Feet have an extra hinge in them that God never thought of when he had Adam on the drawing board.

And then there is the way that Martin uses sound effects.  Yes, cartoons in print don’t make literal sounds, but the incredible series of squeedonks and doinks that Martin uses create a cacophony of craziness in the mind’s ear.

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And there is a certain musicality in the rhyming of the character names he uses.  Fester Bestertester was a common foil for slapstick mayhem, and Fonebone would later stand revealed by his full name, Freenbeen I. Fonebone.

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And, of course, one of his most amazingly adventurous ne’er-do-well slapstick characters was the immeasurable Captain Klutz!

Here, there, and everywhere… on the outside he wears his underwear… it’s the incredible, insteadable, and completely not edible… Captain Klutz!

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If you cannot tell it from this tribute, I deeply love the comic genius who was Don Martin, Mad Magazine’s Maddest Artist.  Like me he was obsessed with nudists and drawing anatomy.  Like me he was not above making up words with ridiculous-sounding syllables.  And like me he was also a purple-furred gorilla in a human suit… wait!  No, he wasn’t, but he did invent Gorilla-Suit Day, where people in gorilla suits might randomly attack you as you go about your daily life, or gorillas in people suits, or… keep your eye on the banana in the following cartoon.

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So, even though I told you about Bruce Timm and Wally Wood and other toon artists long before I got around to telling you about Don Martin, that doesn’t mean I love them more.  Don Martin is wacky after my own heart, and the reason I spent so much time immersed in Mad Magazine back in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, cartoon review, cartoons, comic book heroes, goofiness, humor, illustrations

Troll Time at the Local Doll House

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You know that old doll house that my wife rescued for me?  You don’t?  Well, about six or seven years ago she spotted it on the sidewalk with a pile of other trash waiting for the city garbage collectors.  She asked the homeowner about it.  It was a kit they had bought at Michael’s but never finished, so my wife immediately thought, “My goofy old husband collects dolls all the time, so he will love this.”

“Take it,” said the homeowner, “It’s a shame to have to throw it out.”

So she brought it home and gave it to me.  I of course, collect twelve inch dolls and action figures, none of which fit in a doll house of this particular scale.  So it had to sit practically empty for a space of about four years.  Then my daughter got tired of some of the small Happy Meal dolls that she had gotten from McDonald’s when she was a wee gamin.  (Yes, that’s a real thing… you can look it up.)  I acquired two mostly naked Mini-Barbies, and four other doll-house size dolls, two baseball players and a Lullaby League Girl from Oz, along with a small Winkie Soldier.  Then Dreamworks did the Trolls movie.

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They began moving in by two different routes, these trolls.  Teacher Troll and Baby Troll and Big Troll, whose hair in the back is the only visible part of him… or possibly her, moved in from where I found them in kids’ bedrooms and the garage while cleaning.  I used to keep a stash of them to give out as classroom prizes back in the 90’s.  I bought the movie Trolls from Walmart at $5 a shot over a bunch of weeks between Thanksgiving and last weekend.  The empty spaces where I didn’t even have appropriate doll furniture were now being filled by Trolls.

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In the downstairs bedroom you can see the little yellow Troll has joined Naked Mini-Barbie, the Lullaby-Leaguer, Ceramic Book-Lovin’ Bear and the Angel who used to hold my wedding ring.  (I could never wear it due to arthritis, and it eventually got lost in the move from South Texas to Dallas.)  (Yes, I know it is not a good thing to lose your wedding ring, but it is possible my wife sold it so she could shop for a better husband.  At least, that’s what she told me while she was really angry.)  (And yes, I know I’m supposed to be talking about Trolls taking over my doll house, but I actually like bird-walking while telling such stories.  It lends such every-day Mickey-ness to the story.)

c360_2017-02-24-13-18-52-533The baseball player in the upstairs sitting room where nobody sits, once spent an entire winter at the bottom of the swimming pool.  That’s why his blue uniform turned a bit putrid green.  He stays in this room with my Wish-nik Troll from 1967 and the Winkie Soldier from Oz, who is naturally green in the face and never took a swim.

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Also upstairs are my Troll-topped Pez dispensers, two more movie Trolls, and the former Teacher Troll who lost her apple and my daughter gave a modelling clay diaper to for modesty’s sake which has long since melted a bit (the diaper, not the modesty).

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And at the top of it all, in the attic, are the two movie Trolls that I bought first and started this whole Troll-collection nonsense.  So now the doll house is no longer empty.  But the Trolls are beginning to complain that there is no paint on the walls, and I really ought to do something about that before they take matters into their own hands.  You never know what they might do in the middle of the night when nobody is looking.

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Now You See Me… Now You Don’t

How does an artist know himself?  Now there’s a difficult question.  I spend all my time looking at the world with the eyes of imagination.  I don’t even seem to be able to take photographs in the normal way other people do.  Maybe I should consider this self-think through the medium of pictures I have made with captions added to them?

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Mickey is not actually me.  He is my “other” me, my pen name, my goofier self.

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                                                      I was born in a blizzard in Mason City, Iowa in the 1950’s.

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I have learned about dog poop five times a day since 2011 when we found Jade, our dog.

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                                                                                                                      I was a middle school teacher for 24 of my 31 years of teaching.  I love/hate 7th Graders.

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When things go wrong, I tend to make a joke about it.

I like to draw students as I saw them, not as they really were.

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I always see myself as the one with the BIG pencil.

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If there is goofiness around here, it is all my fault.

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                                                                                           In spite of the title, I don’t know how to disappear.

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I love everything Disney.

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I tend not to be very much like other people.  I don’t think like they do.

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                                                                                                                         In grade school, I was deeply in love with Alicia Stewart, though I never told her that, and that is not her real name.

My high school art teacher told me that when an artist draws someone, he always ends up making it look a little bit like himself.  That is because, I suppose, an artist can only draw what he knows and he really only knows himself.  That being said, this post should really look just like me.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, family dog, goofiness, happiness, humor, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Dancing Poultry Conspiracy Theory

You’ve heard of the sinister 9-11 tale of the dancing Israelis?  Some conspiracy theories are very concerning.  You have to be concerned about whether the conspiracy theory is true and aliens from Zeta Reticuli really have been cloning Elvis, or whether the conspiracy theorist is a nut-bag like Alex Jones who simply needs to be locked up to protect him from himself.

 

But no conspiracy theory worries me more at the moment than one about the existence of German ninjas who advance the neo-Nazi agenda by the use of the secret martial art of der Ententanz.  That’s right, they do violence to opponents (and possibly themselves) by aggressively doing the Chicken Dance. 

You really have to watch the video above to truly appreciate the perfidy of Ententanz Fu.  Notice how it starts with the pinching-fingers castanet attack, useful for grabbing the opponent’s nose or other sensitive protruding appendage.  It is followed by the flapping elbows move that can stun the enemy by its sheer ridiculous flappiness.  And then the bouncing butt attack, which can potentially paralyze the adversary by bouncing them around the room.  All of this is followed by the dancing in a circle maneuver which renders the viewer unconscious with insane levels of laughter.  Yes, the aggressive use of the chicken dance can literally make you laugh yourself to death.

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Now, if you truly believe I am not totally serious about the dangers of ninjas doing the chicken dance in order to assassinate ordinary tax-paying citizens, I should warn you…

I mean, most people think of Ententanz Fu as merely another way German-themed tourist traps like the ones in Fredricksburg, Texas make relentless fun and ridicule targets out of clueless white people during Oktoberfest, but in reality…  Yes, it is that, but it can be so much more.  Take it from somebody who narrowly escaped from a chicken-dance-induced coma fairly recently, it is possible not only to die laughing from this dancing-poultry scourge, or be embarrassed to death, but you can also accidentally tie yourself up into a German pretzel… at which point, chickens will dip you in mustard and eat you.

So be warned.  This is a danger not even Alex Jones on InfoWars has warned you about.  (Though, if you give him enough time alone with hammers to hit himself in the head with, he may come to the same conclusions soon enough.)

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