These don’t actually qualify as Paffooneys because there is no story to go with them today. Just Mickey doing ridiculous pictures again .
Category Archives: humor
The case has been made in an article by John Welford (https://owlcation.com/humanities/Did-King-Henry-VIII-Have-A-Genetic-Abnormality) that English King Henry the VIII may have suffered from a genetic disorder commonly known as “having Kell blood” which may have made having a living male heir almost impossible with his first two wives. The disorder causes frequent miscarriages in the children sired, something that happened to Henry seven times in the quest for a living male heir. If you think about it, if Henry did not have this particular physical conflict at the root of his dynasty, he might’ve fathered a male heir with his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Then there would’ve been no opening for the machinations of Anne Boleyn. It follows that Elizabeth would not have been born. Then no Elizabethan Age; no sir Francis Drake, Spain might’ve landed their armada, no Church of England, possibly no William Shakespeare, and then Mickey would never have gotten castigated by scholars of English literature for daring to state in this blog that the actor who came from Stratford on Avon and misspelled his own name numerous times was not the author of Shakespeare’s plays.
History would’ve been very different. One might even say “sucky”. Especially if one is the clown who thinks Shakespeare didn’t write Shakespeare.
Conflict and struggle is necessary to the grand procession of History. If things are too easy and conflict is not necessary, lots of what we call “invention” and “progress” will not happen. Society is not advanced by its quiet dignity and static graces. It is advanced and transformed by its revolutions, its wars, its seemingly unconquerable problems… its conflicts.
Similarly, a novel, a story, a piece of fiction is no earthly good if it is static and without conflict. A happy story about a puppy and the children who love him eating healthy snacks and hugging each other and taking naps is NOT A STORY. It is the plot of a sappy greeting card that never leaves the shelf in the Walmart stationary-and-office-supplies section. Dick and Jane stories had a lot of seeing in them. But they never taught me anything about reading until the alligator ate Spot, and Dick drowned while trying to pry the gator’s jaws apart and get the dog back. And Jane killed the alligator with her bare hands and teeth at the start of what would become a lifelong obsession with alligator wrestling. And yes, I know that never actually happened in a Dick and Jane book, except in the evil imagination of a bored child who was learning to be a story-teller himself in Ms. Ketchum’s 1st Grade Class in 1962.
Yes, I admit to drawing in Ms. Ketchum’s set of first-grade reading books. I was a bad kid in some ways.
But the point is, no story, even if it happens to have a “live happily ever after” at the end of it, can be only about happiness. There must be conflict to overcome.
There are no heroes in stories that have no villains whom the heroes can shoot the guns out of the hands of. Luke Skywalker wouldn’t exist without Darth Vader, even though we didn’t learn that until the second movie… or is it the fifth movie? I forget. And James Bond needs a disposable villain that he can kill at the end of the movie, preferably a stupid one who monologues about his evil plan of writing in Ms. Ketchum’s textbooks, before allowing Bond to escape from the table he is tied down to while surrounded by pencil-drawn alligators in the margins of the page.
We actually learn by failing at things, by getting hurt by the biplanes of an angry difficult life. If we could just get away with eating all the Faye Wrays we wanted and never have a conflict, never have to pay a price, how would we ever learn the life-lesson that you can’t eat Faye Wray, even if you go to the top of the Empire State Building to be alone with her. Of course, that lesson didn’t last for Kong much beyond hitting the Manhattan pavement. But life is like that. Not all stories have a happy ending. Conflicts are not always resolved in a satisfying manner. A life with no challenges is not a life worth living.
So, my title today is “Conflict is Essential“. And that is an inescapable truth. Those who boldly face each new conflict the day brings will probably end up saying bad words quite a lot, and fail at things a lot, and even get in trouble for drawing in their textbooks, but they will fare far better than those who are afraid and hang back. (I do not know for sure that this is true. I really just wanted to say “fare far” in a sentence because it is a palindrome. But I accept that such a sentence may cause far more criticism and backlash than it is worth. But that is conflict and sorta proves my point too.)
Canto 38 – Friashqazatla, “Freddy”
Ged, Junior, Tkriashav, Naylund, Sara, and Friashqazatla were all gathered in the office of Shen Ming inside Akito House.
“Honorable Ged Aero-sama, we are here to determine the course we must follow to honor the prophecy.” Shen Ming smiled his unnerving crooked smile.
“So, what prophecy are we talking about?” asked Ged.
“The prophecy of Shan,” answered Naylund.
“The prophecy of Xan,” answered Tkriashav.
Shen Ming chuckled. “Ah, so… a matter of spelling, ha? It is the wisdom of my ancestors that the two prophecies are the same.”
“How do you know this, Shen Ming-sensei?” asked Naylund.
“What does the prophecy of Shan say is the White Spider’s first task?”
“He will teach students the Way of the Spider.”
“And what does the prophecy of Xan say he will do first?”
“He will teach Psions to use their inborn powers,” said Tkriashav.
“Is this not a similarity rather than a difference?”
Neither Naylund nor Tkriashav was able to dispute that.
“Well, then, I will discuss this first with the Black Wolf.” Shen Ming smiled at Friashqazatla.
“Who is the Black Wolf?” asked Naylund. Ged looked confused as well.
“I am the Black Wolf,” admitted Friashqazatla quietly.
“And how do you know this to be true, little Freddy?” asked Shen Ming very patiently.
“I see the Black Wolf in my inner eye. He constantly tells me, Come and be me.”
“Do you know the process to become the Black Wolf?”
“I do not. It distresses me.”
Friashqazatla, or, more simply, Freddy, was a very comely and attractive child. His skin was a rich, reddish brown in color. His hair was jet black and shiny. His eyes were two glowing-blue sky-colored sapphires.
“The Way of the Spider is to look within,” said Shen Ming. “The Way of the Spider is self-fulfillment and the honing of personal skills and moral strengths. Can this Way not also mean the development of Psion powers?”
“Yes, honored Shen Ming-sensei. I understand how to teach shape-changing power like my own,” said Ged. “But how can I teach the Way of the Spider if I do not know it?”
“Have you a personal code of morality and honor, Ged-sensei?”
“Then teach that as the Way of the Spider, for the White Spider is you.”
“And is that all that I must teach?”
“I believe in the combat with Ginjiro, the Black Spider, you actually consumed his flesh, did you not?”
“Shamefully, I did.”
“And your Psion power allows you to change into any living creature you have tasted or otherwise genetically analyzed, yes?”
“Then the Way of Combat will be easy for you to teach, for Ginjiro, though evil, was a master of powerful martial arts.”
Ged was a bit stunned to learn that part of what he was to teach was knowledge he had gained by eating a teacher of martial arts.
“Who will I be teaching the Way of the Spider to?”
“I see three students here. Lovely Sara, the daughter of Naylund Smith-sama. Your own little blue nephew, Junior Aero. And, of course, the Black Wolf, whom I will always refer to as Freddy because of the lack of ease I have saying his birth name without bruising my tongue and cracking my few remaining teeth. And there is one other we must add to this dojo. We have reason to believe he is a Psion also, a telekinetic. His name is Shu Kwai.” “I accept this assignment, Shen Ming-sensei.”
Ged bowed to Shen Ming humbly. He had become a teacher, complete with the necessary class to be one.
Sometimes we need to get lost in the music of our lives and simply drift away.
My favorite baseball team won their division this year. And in the first round of the playoffs, well, they won the first game and lost the next two. They are not dead yet, but close… Will it be a matter of life and death for me? No. I have seen the Cardinals win the World Series four times in my life. I saw the Blues win their first Stanley Cup this year. I have even seen the hapless football Cardinals play in the Superbowl against the Steelers, and almost win, but lose in the final minute. Wow! I am fully satisfied. And my love has been requited. I can get lost in the song… and drift away.
Truthfully, I never thought that I would be able to teach again when I retired from the job I loved. Yet, the need for supplemental income was forcing me to work again. And as an Uber driver, I was risking my sanity and my life to make… well, not enough money. But now, I am going back to schools as a substitute teacher. The orientation for the CFBISD schools will be this coming Wednesday. And after I attend that, I can go back to classrooms and earn money by teaching, when I can. I don’t have to go in and work every day. I can pick and choose. So, times of illness are not a big whoop. Money worries are now dissolving a bit… and I can drift away.
In my writing quest, I have published all the books I identified as the ones I most needed to publish. I will soon be making the Kindle version of Sing Sad Songs free to click on and own via Amazon. I definitely have more stories to tell and more books in me, but if I died today, putting my stories out there in the world… I am satisfied with what I have already done. I am ready to let go, and get caught up in the never-ending song… and drift away.
So, what is this post actually saying? I love the song. And like the song says, the world out there is hard to live with. But if you give me the beat to free my soul… I can drift away. I am at peace. Life has been good.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking I have any advice to offer about how to do what I am doing. First of all, I can’t claim to be successful at it. Also, I am doing it all by instinct, not by study and planning. All I am really doing this for is to show you my favorite pictures.
I basically draw the pictures before I write the story down in paragraphs. The story exists already in my head, and the pictures help it gel in my mind before it comes out in fiction form.
I particularly enjoy drawing the characters, giving them actual, physical substance so that they exist not only in my stupid old head, but also on the page or on the screen to allow them to be in front of my eyes.
Being able to illustrate can be a way into producing covers for myself that have as much chance at catching the reader’s eye as anything else that I do.
People tell me that my artwork is enchanting and that they like it.
They are, hopefully, not all lying when they say that.
This will be used for several things. Most importantly it will become a part of the cover I make for my Work In Progress, The Boy… Forever.
The villain of this story claims to be an undead Chinese wizard. It is a claim that may be totally bogus, but it is a part of the idea of his villainy that needs to be illustrated to help me get to the roots of my theme; “No man lives forever. But if they accidentally do, it helps to be secretly a dragon in human form.”