Category Archives: humor

Risky Pictures

picture title; “Once I feared the Griffon”

Drawing nudes is a risky business. People judge you more harshly when you draw a nude and don’t explain the context. What a pervert you must be. They forgive you a little when you explain that you are an artist and once you took an anatomy drawing class in college where you were drawing from actual nude models. But understand, artists probably take classes like that because they are perverts to begin with.

And you have the added complication of being a victim of sexual assault as a child, so you have a PTSD-sort-of fear of nudity and physical contact while at the same time having all the natural urges that flesh is heir to.

The nude above was drawn actually from a photograph, a Polaroid. The griffon (who represents the fear in your PTSD-inspired dreams) did not want to pose nude in real life. So, you were given a photograph in which she was actually holding on to her boyfriend’s shoulder. Oh, wait! You mean “he” not “she”. The griffon was a boy. But she smiled when she saw the picture. And she asked why there was an eagle in it.

“But that’s not an eagle, it’s a griffon,” you said. “It represents being afraid of being nude.”

Obviously you did not give her the version of the picture with the “eagle” in it. She was happier with the nude you did give her, though it wasn’t drawn as well as this one.

And you are always a little leery of posting nudes you have drawn over the years on your blog, but somehow they get more views than anything else you post, and while you have to wonder why these pictures are so popular among judgmental people who have told you that you are probably a pervert, you secretly know the real reason.

This picture of Karla gets lots of views. You have posted it three or four times before. (Of course, that is not Her real name.)

It is kinda the thing that started the college nude drawings. She was your roommate’s girlfriend, and she was looking at your drawings because Bill told her about your artworks and she was curious. She challenged you to draw her. It was the first nude model you ever drew outside of class. Bob sat in the room with the two of you and watched you draw. (Oh, wait. You called him Bill before. Change that. Bob Bill. There, that’s better.) You drew in pencil.

You did two versions of it. The pen and ink that you drew of it in 1996 was made from the one that you kept.

If you had never done that picture of Karla, the one of the griffon wouldn’t exist either. She had to go and show her picture off to her friends. After all the great cartoons you drew over the years, you might know that the biggest reputation you ever got as an artist came about because of a pencil drawing of a smiley nude girl. And she had a big mouth… both figuratively and literally. But she was nice, and you couldn’t be mad at her. She and Bob Bill got married, and she probably still has that picture in its little frame somewhere in her house.

My novel Snow Babies reveals things from my life that are only metaphorically nudity.

There was a time in my life, in fact, for a majority of my life, that all these things were pretty much secrets that I kept to myself. I didn’t show the nude pictures to others. I kept them in a portfolio in a closet. I never would’ve admitted to being a nudist at heart either. Or anything about being assaulted as a boy. Or told anyone about any of it in a blog post like this. I can only do that now that I am old and know that none of my sins are really that awful and need to be kept secret. There is a certain beauty in that. You don’t even really need to keep doing it in second person point of view, confusing the audience into thinking it’s about them and not about you. Sorry about the meta-messaging. I just find it funny that I can be completely open at the end of the essay of life, and no longer feel the need to hide all the things that we hide under our clothing. Sometimes there is beauty to be found in the depths of a risky picture.

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Filed under art criticism, artwork, autobiography, drawing, humor, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

That Damned Human Race

You have to wonder when you pay attention to what people are actually doing in this world, if the human race needs to be exterminated once and for all.

I know that as jokes go, that one is a little bit dark. But as we may actually be faced with a tipping point into the funnel of human extinction in only twelve years, it seems to me we are more likely to go down that awful rabbit hole at the bottom of the funnel than not. And that is not a very nice flesh-eating bunny we are going to find in that particular hole.

Remember, please, that I am, in fact, a pessimist, both temperamentally and philosophically. I look at the worst that could happen. But I am chagrined to see that people are actively either ignoring the climate change problem, or working to bring it on even faster by deregulating polluters in the name of making higher short-term profits. So, when the Midwest becomes an inland sea, the oceans rise to make New York and Miami into underwater bubble cities like the Gungans have, and we will have to learn to eat dirt in underground tunnels as drought and heat eliminate farming completely, we may very probably be getting what we deserve.

Obviously we are not taking things seriously enough when we continue to let the criminal orange monkey sit in the White House in pile of his own political poo and tell us things like “The Green New Deal is the radical Democrats’ attempt to turn us into a socialist country!” He doesn’t even understand that the Green New Deal is merely a strongly-worded resolution not to die in a blaze of heat generated by greenhouse gasses, and to be willing to do whatever it takes or pay whatever it costs to stay alive.

Maybe the whole question shouldn’t matter to me. I will, after all, probably be dead before the end comes for the rest of humanity. Like the Koch Brothers, I probably don’t need to fear the consequences of what industrialists like the Koch Brothers have done to our world just so they can have more money to stuff under their silk cushions to sit on.

But I do care about the world I will be leaving behind. I have many children in it. Three of my own and over two thousand that were mine for a school year or two or three to nurture and teach and shape into real human beings. I will be leaving behind a literate culture that I love and have tried desperately to add to. The worst part of that is all the wonderful books that I will never get the chance to read and own and share with others.

But there is an answer.

Motivational Quotes Human Race and Mark Twain Love Quotes | Quotehd – DAILY QUOTE IMAGE

If we can laugh about it as the ship is sinking, we will be alright, no matter what the outcome.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Mark Twain, Paffooney, pessimism, philosophy

I Only Waited 50 Years…

I got hooked by hockey in 1969 and 1970, winter of my eighth grade year in school. It was the year we first started getting NBC on the old black-and-white Motorola TV. WHO in DesMoines had finally boosted their signal to the point where our TV antenna in Rowan, Iowa could pull a signal in.

from Sports Illustrated, poorly scanned by me

The NHL was on every Sunday morning during football season and my friend Mark had one of those hockey game boards where you twirl players on metal rods to score goals in a plastic net defended by a metal or plastic goalie. We were 13 and deeply in love with a game we could only watch on TV and never play (No hockey rinks are generally available in rural Iowa).

Mark liked Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito and their Boston Bruins hockey team who battled through the division of six old teams that had been around forever and had all the good players.

I, like the fool I have always been, pledged undying loyalty to the underdog St. Louis Blues. The expansion division consisted of teams that had only played for three years, filled with young guys and old veterans nearing the end of great careers. Hall-of-Famer goalies Jaques Plante and Glenn Hall both played for the Blues. So did the Battling B-Brothers, Bill Plaeger, Barclay Plaeger, and Bob Plaeger. Along with Red Berensen, Frank St. Marseille, and Doug Harvey. I idolized those guys. In the 1970 Stanley Cup final, they lost every game except the last one, which they lost in spectacular fashion in sudden-death overtime.

Bobby Orr scoring the overtime goal that beat my Blues (and hopefully getting at least one bruise as he came down).

I was a Blues Fan for life. I was disappointed every single year as they lost somewhere in the playoffs or in the regular season, never making it back to the Stanley Cup Series. Until 2019.

Young boys’ dreams can come true, even if it takes a lifetime to get there.

Wow! Finally! Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Blues as a team finally get their names etched on Lord Stanley’s Cup.

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Filed under autobiography, hockey, humor, St. Louis

On the Flip of a Coin…

An African coin from Kenya worth 5 cents in 1969, a Sacajawea dollar, and a Bi-Centennial quarter.

How do you make a difficult and consequential decision? Me? I often flip a coin. Heads, yes. Tails, no. So, that makes me as crazy as Two-Face, the Batman villain, who decides everything not in terms of good or evil, but rather, heads or tails. This is not normally a good method of decision-making. Unless, of course, you wish to become a Batman villain.

My coin collection, kept in a 1940’s cigar box, consists of African coins my great grandfather left me in his will, Mexican coins, a Canadian Loony and a Canadian Twoney, an Andrew Jackson dollar coin, a Washington dollar coin, all the State quarters, and lots of other old coins and keepers.

But flipping a coin never actually makes the decision. If I get a yes, I often think about the consequences of yes and flip again… best two of three, three of five, four of six, and on and on until I have given it a thorough thinking-through… or until I get the answer I wanted from the beginning. It is not really the decider, but rather, the think-about-er.

My Space Jam collector’s coin on the cigar box lid.

On Sunday I made a coin-flip decision to not go out Uber driving in the afternoon. A half hour after making the decision, the damaging high winds hit the city. So, the coin flip kept me from being caught out in the storm.

Life is not random. It is merely ordered in really weird ways.

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

When the Captain Came Calling… Canto 23

Canto Twenty-Three – The Juju Man

“This is a very strange story,” said Pidney, blushing furiously.

“It’s practically pornography,” said Mary softly.

“I think the interesting part is where it tells about the juju man,” said Valerie.  “It tells us how to make it work.”

“Yeah, it does kinda, doesn’t it?” said Pid.

“It doesn’t say the order to tap them in,” said Mary, looking at the ugly wooden man with the even uglier wooden mask on his face.

“It doesn’t say they have to be tapped in order,” reminded Valerie.  “It just says to tap them each one time and say the magic words.”  She reached out her hand and tapped each of the twenty-eight tattoos only one time.

“Good gawd, Val, don’t do it!” whimpered Pidney.

“You mean say the magic words?” asked Mary.

“Yes!” said Pidney.

“Juju do dah goodah!” sang Valerie as if on cue.  Nothing happened.

“Don’t !” screeched Pidney.

“You must also have to say oojie-magoober,” said Mary.

“Oh, Mary!   No!” cried Pid.  At that moment a cloudy stream of purple smoke boiled out of the top of the wooden juju man.  The idol began to glow with an eerie greenish-blue neon light.  The smoke was sweet smelling, like burning sugar.

The little wooden man began to shake himself as if he was trying to wake himself up.

“Who are you?” Valerie asked him with a Cheshire Cat’s grin.

“Juju do dah!  Yaya!” cried the little wooden man.  “I am Oojie Magoober.  You have summoned me!”

“What?” said Mary.  “It was an accident.  Go back to sleep or something.”

“I cannot sleep again until my task is complete,”

“What’s your task, then?” asked Pidney.  “We will help you do it if we have to.”

“I must take a virgin back to my master, Mangkukulan!”

“Which virgin do you mean?” asked Valerie.

“You will do nicely, but my master asked for the other one.”

“No!” said Pidney.  “Not that!  You may not do that!”  The football hero drew himself up to his full height and towered over the little wooden man.

“Very well.  Be warned.  I shall cheat and use magic.  Oojie Magoober squirrelly doo dah!  Yaya!”

The little wooden man twitched his stubby wooden fingers at Pidney, and suddenly the football hero shrank down into his clothes, until nothing was left but a twitching pile of empty boy’s clothing piled upon empty boy’s shoes.

“What have you done!” cried Mary.  “Pidney!”

From out of the collar of the empty shirt, a reddish-brown squirrel popped his squirming, chittering body free.

“You turned him into a squirrel?” cried Valerie, distraught.

“Smaller and easier to deal with.”

“But there are still two of us against one of you,” said Mary menacingly.  “Both of us are bigger than you.”

“Oojie Magoober squirrelly doo dah, two dah, yaya!”  The fingers waggled at Valerie and Mary both.

Valerie felt a wave of nausea pass through her tummy and then the room swirled around her.  Everything went dark.  Except, it was a colored darkness.  Roughly the same color as the pink blouse Val had been wearing.  She pushed at the darkness around her and felt that it was cloth.  Her hands felt funny.  Not the kind of funny that makes you laugh.  It was a funny tingly feeling in the finger nails as she clawed at the cloth around her.  Then she found an opening.

As she freed her head and eyes from the darkness, she saw one of Mary’s saddle shoes.  In it sat a confused and forlorn-looking squirrel covered in about the same shade of auburn fur as Mary’s hair.  Then, horrified, she looked at her own two hands.  Squirrel paws.  Her arms and body were covered with a golden-blond fur that was not far from Val’s own hair color.

“We’ve been turned into squirrels!” she tried to say to the Mary-squirrel.  “Chee-chee chit-it-it-it!” was what actually came out.

“No one understands squirrel talk,” said Oojie.  “Now get into my sack.”

Valerie-squirrel rushed to the side of the saddle shoe where Pidney-squirrel had joined Mary-squirrel.

“Chit-it-it-it Chree-eek!” cried the Pidney-squirrel, leaping onto the wooden-head’s mask and sinking gnawing buck teeth into it.

“You can’t hurt me,” said the wooden man.  “You are just squirrels.  And I don’t even have to get you into the sack by myself.    That is the very reason I asked the cats to help.” Suddenly, at the top of cellar stairs, five cats appeared.  Valerie shuddered as she recognized flat-headed old Skaggs.  And he was leering evilly at her.

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Filed under humor, magic, novel, NOVEL WRITING

Sometimes When You’re Down, You Simply Need a Clown.

You’re basic clown knows how,

To turn your down to up.

And give your heart a wow,

To completely fill your cup.

But even clowns have rules,

And buttons that you push,

To make them act like fools,

And fool you in a rush.

And when you need a clown,

For smiles and laughs and things,

Because you’re really down,

And clown paint really zings.

But not all clowns are happy,

And neither should they be,

‘Cause life can be real slappy

And sticky, slapping me.

Thanks for all the random sources providing gifs of clowns.

So, when you need a clown,

To pick you up instead of down,

You should pick one fast and brown,

For a clown now rules the town.

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Filed under clowns, collage, goofy thoughts, happiness, healing, humor, poem, poetry, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Hurry Up and Worry, Murray!

Mary, the leader of the Pirates, with Squirrel Valerie and Invisible Captain Dettbarn

I am now writing every novel as if it will be the last one that I ever write. So it is with my current work-in-progress, When the Captain Came Calling. It is a story that comes before my best novel, Snow Babies, already written and published, but was actually formed in my head and in my libretto long before I began putting Snow Babies down on the page. It is a good novel, but not the best I have ever written. I am very near to completing it.

But, unfortunately, I am also very near to completing my whole life. Pain is a constant reminder that my health is so poor, that each new day could easily literally be my last.

The IRS is trying their best to help me on towards the grave.

While I am currently dealing with the tax burden from 2018, they dug up another unpaid bill from 2017, a late-payment penalty they forgot to tell me about last December. More than $200 dollars worth. I am flatter than broke.

So, I am forced to Uber drive once more. Yesterday and today I picked up fares again for the first time in the last ten months. And I am not really well enough to do it. The curse is heavy.

But this grumpy old man ain’t quite dead yet.

One more novel to finish, and maybe another one after that.’

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, commentary, humor, novel, novel writing, Paffooney