Category Archives: humor

If I Thunk It, Then Wrote It, I Will Leave It In There

One good thing about being a humorist is, if somebody calls you out for an error you made in your writing, you can always say, “Well, it’s a joke, isn’t it?”  Errors are for serious gobbos and anal-retentive editors.  I live with happy accidents.  It is a way of life dictated in the Bob Ross Bible.

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Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be “oops” not “OPPS”, but after all, this isn’t even a list I made up myself.  I stole the whole thing from another writer on Twitter.

You have no idea what a cornucopia of ravings from knit-wit twit-tweets Twitter really is.

Oh, you waste time time on Twitter too?

Then you know already.

Twitter makes you want to shout at your computer, and has so many Trump-tweets and conservative blather-bombs on it, that it can seriously impair your editing skills.

So I look elsewhere and elsewhen to sharpen my critical English-teacher eye.

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Yes, the illustrator of that meme doesn’t get the blame for the content.  I wrote that violation of the sacredness of classic literature myself.  I think we should thank God for the fact that neither Charles Darwin nor Dr. Seuss decided to act on evil impulses.  The world is a better place for their decision on how to use their genius, and how to edit themselves.

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So, this is me writing today’s post about editing as a writer, and failing miserably to edit my own self.  I got the pictures from Twitter and edited them myself.  Or failed to edit them properly, as the case is more likely to prove.  But however I may have twisted stuff and changed stuff and made up new words, editing is essential.  It makes the whole world better.  Now let’s consider editing the White House for a bit, shall we?

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Aeroquest… Canto 14

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Canto 14 – Sorcerer 3

 

Trav thought this Dana Cole girl was hot stuff.  She seemed to like him.  She talked nice to him.  She made him feel at home in Slaghoople Manor.  She looked really sexy in a fake fur bikini.

“So,” she said, “your name is Trav Dalgoda and you seek the fabled Hammer of God.  Why do you seek it here?”

Trav slouched back comfortably on the synthetic rock sofa.  “My friend Frieda told me it was here.”

“Who is this Frieda?”

“Oh, she was my invisible friend in third grade at school on the planet Questor.  No one else could see her, but she was always nice to me.”

Dana took his hand and slipped an electronic ring on his finger.

“What’s this, then?”

“That is a little something to help me get to know you,” she said.  “Now, you say this friend was invisible?  Did others think you were crazy?”

“Well, yes.  Actually, I sometimes thought I was crazy myself.  It’s hard to believe anyone as handsome as me could be as truly wonderful as I tend to be.”

“He speaks truthfully,” said a tiny voice from the ring on Trav’s finger.  “At least he believes it is so.”

“How interesting,” said Dana.  “I know a man named Count Appleby that you must meet some day.”

“Is he wonderful too?”

“Oh, yes.  He believes he’s the reincarnation of Napoleon.”

“Who would that be?”

“Didn’t you study ancient history back on the planet Questor?”

“Oh!  Well, I…  You know, sometimes there isn’t enough time for study when you’re growing up to become one of the most important men in the Milky Way!”

“He is now untruthful,” said the ring.

“Well, isn’t that something!” marveled Trav, ogling the talking ring.

“Here comes the boss,” said Dana in a purr of dark intent.

“Oh, good!” said Trav.

Rocko Slaghoople was a balding, but massively-muscled cave man who looked quite dangerous.  His brutish face had but one thick eyebrow across his beady-eyed visage.  His powerful arms looked like they were dragging on the floor.  His arms seemed even longer than his legs.

Traveling next to Rocko on metal legs came a white-robed Synthezoid, or artificial man.  His soulless white eyes had no pupils and his head came to a point like some kind of conehead.

“Hello, boss,” said Dana Cole.

“Hello, my beauty,” answered the Synthezoid.

“Hello, Mr. Rocko,” said Trav.  “I understand that you might know something about the Hammer of God.”

“Whu…?” grunted Slaghoople.

“The Hammer of God!  The Ancient artifact!  Everyone says you’re the man to see about such things.”  Trav’s voice cracked with sudden desperation.

Rocko looked stupidly at the Synthezoid.

“Yes,” said the artificial man, “and my intel claims that you know something about the Crown of Stars.  Weren’t you with the infamous Tron Blastarr when he stole it?”

“Well, I…”

“I am even told that you came away with the item.”

“Who… who are you?”

“I am called Sorcerer 3, and I am your new partner in this little quest.”

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Mickey Viewed From the Inside

Yes, this post is a self-examination.  Not the kind you see Donald Trump enacting every weekend, where he says any crappy thing that occurs to his craptastical very good brain to cover what he doesn’t want us to believe about the truth on Twitter, basically for the purpose of continuing to say he is great and we are poop.   I do not like myself the way Trump likes himself.  I am an old bag of gas that is in pain most of the time, in poor health, and the subject of endless persecution from Bank of America and other money-grubbing machines that are convinced any money I might accidentally have really belongs to them.  But this is not a complain-about-crap fest either.

This is a self-examination that attempts to honestly examine where I am in my quest for wisdom and my affliction with being a writer.

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If I am being honest about the type of writer I really am, I guess I am most like the Weird Recluse in the bottom corner.  I can’t claim to be as good as Kafka or Dickinson, but I am definitely better than some of the crap that gets published and marketed as young adult literature.  The business of publishing is more interested in how many books they can sell, rather than literary merit or good writing.  Some of the crap that is out there and being made into bad movies (which I have not seen because I don’t go to movies that don’t pass the fiction-source smell test) is actually a form of brain poison that will mold young people into sexual predators and professional poop makers.  And people will take poison happily if it has been deviously marketed well.  So far, in the money test, I have made only $16.43 dollars as an author (plus whatever I have made from I-Universe that doesn’t cut a check until it reaches at least $25 dollars).  Nobody is buying my books because nobody has read them.  I have sold a few copies to friends and relatives.  Some of those books are just sitting on a shelf somewhere unread.  I have a couple of 5-star reviews on Amazon, and that is it.  I will die in the near future not having known any measurable success from my books at all.

I have entered novels in writing contests and done well enough to make it into the final round of judging twice.  I have not, however, made a big enough splash that anyone really noticed.  I have paid reviewers to review my books online.  One of those charged me money, and then reviewed a book with the same title by a different author, a book which was nothing like my book, and then, when forced to correct their error, only read the blurb on the back of the book to write the oopsie-I-goofed-last-time review.  They were not worth the money I paid them, money that Bank of America could’ve sued me for instead.

The only thing I have done successfully as a writer is, I think, this goofy blog.  By writing every day, I have managed to give myself considerable practice at connecting with readers.  I have practiced writing humor and written some laughable stuff.  I have plumbed my soul for new writing ideas, and found a creative artesian well bubbling up with new ideas daily.  I can regularly manufacture inspiration.  I am never truly without an idea to write about.  Even when I write a post about not having an idea to write about, I am lying.  Of course, I am a fiction writer, so telling lies is what I do best.  I am also a humorist, so that means I can also tell the truth when I have to, because the best humor is the kind where you surprise the reader with a thing that is weirdly true.  Like just now.

So, somewhere ages and ages hence, I hope there will be a trove of old books in a cellar somewhere that will include one of mine.  And some future kid will pick it up, read it, and laugh.  The golden quality of that laughter is the only treasure I have really been searching for.  It is the reason I write.  It is the reason I continue to be Mickey.

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Grandma Frozenfield

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In order to understand this story, you have to have a little bit of background first… a solid sense of context, in order to avoid anyone feeling that I might be ridiculing someone in an unfair or unloving way.  So here’s a bit of context.  I was a teacher for 31 years.  I was considered a good teacher, in fact, a master teacher by something like 28 different principals and assistant principals, while only 3 felt like I was an incompetent mess, and two of those were eventually fired themselves.  I only got fired once.  So it can be safely assumed I know what incompetence in teaching is and can reliably identify it in others.  Further, incompetence in teaching does not make you a bad person.  Far too many people who believe they could be a good teacher have traits that would torpedo their own boat if they actually set sail on the sea of education.  So, even though Grandma Frozenfield was a horrible teacher, she was actually a very nice and caring person, and makes a wonderful character for stories that lovingly make fun of bad teaching.  And I should remind you, I don’t use real names when talking about people from my past so that their privacy is not violated by whatever my artist’s eye might reveal about them.  The portrait I added to this post does not even look like her.

Grandma Frozenfield was a mid-year emergency hire who filled the position of 8th grade math teacher during my first year of teaching.   She was already sixty-eight years old when she came to Cotulla, Texas, and she had five years of previous teaching experience in schools up north.  How she survived five years in schools more competently run than Texas schools in the 80’s, I will never be able to figure out.  She was able to hang on in our school for several years only because we were desperately strapped for warm bodies to teach Math classes in Texas junior high schools.  Only idiots and coaches ever took on the job willingly.

Grandma Frozenfield had seventeen dogs and ninety-nine cats at home.  That right there tells you something about which stereotype she easily fits into.  But she was also a woman of great mystery.  Her father had been a famous college professor in Minnesota.  She had inherited a number of very valuable books from him, and kept them in random boxes stacked in dusty corners of the old run-down house she bought in town.  She was actually quite bright, and though she would have spells of foggy thinking and confusion, she could capably discuss mathematics and physics and other sciences with me.  She had a daughter who showed up during her third year of teaching at our school, and the daughter had a cute little son of about seven years old.  Neither she nor her daughter had ever been married.  In fact, rumor had it the daughter was telling people she was adopted.  And her daughter and grandson disappeared from her life about four years after they started living with Grandma.

But the old lady was a spectacularly bad teacher.  As bright as she was, she could never talk to kids or relate to kids in ways that kids could understand.  She seemed to sincerely hate kids, calling them bad names in the classroom and telling them in detail how they would one day die in prison (a prediction that unfortunately came true for a couple of them).  She would come into the teacher’s workroom after class plastered with spitballs on her back and in her hair.

A couple of the sweeter and more pro-active girls in her classes tried to protect her a bit from vandals and explained lessons to others in class to mitigate the chaos a bit.

She did not engage with students.  Other than a few of the sweeter girls, she did not talk to them about anything but math.  They didn’t understand her, and so they didn’t like her.  She did not know how to monitor a classroom, so the infidels were on a rampage all the time in her room.  It would definitely have felt like being in Hell to be her, teaching in that classroom.  Why she ever wanted to be a teacher, she never said.  I know it was in her family history.  I know she was a caring, lovely individual.  But when she died of throat cancer at 77 it was a lonely and sad thing.  She had been forced to teach until two years before the end because of medical bills.  She was never happy as a teacher that I observed.  But she never missed a day without good reason, either.  Good people don’t necessarily make good teachers.  But she taught me things far beyond the 8th grade math she tried and failed to teach to students.  I don’t think of her often.  But I do think of her.  She and her 17 dogs and 99 cats are all gone now.  But not forgotten.

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Filed under Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, humor, teaching, characters, autobiography, pen and ink paffoonies, Texas, education

Little Metal Men I Have Made

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Today’s post is basically a picture post.  Every metal (or Plasticine) figure displayed in this post was painted by me with Testor’s enamel.  Most of the figures were painted back in the 1980’s.  Most of them were sculpted by Citadel Miniatures Co.  The Indian boy I repainted as a young storm giant was made of an inferior quality Plasticine that melted a bit with the paint’s more caustic ingredients.  That’s why looking at him closely makes him appear like a burn victim.

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Not all of the figures are from Dungeons and Dragons games.  These are figures I used in the Traveller RPG.    I also owned the Indiana Jones role-playing game, but the figure was used as a Traveller hero.

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These figures were used to play Call of Cthulu as well as Traveller.  Cerebus the Aardvark made appearances in both the Dungeons and Dragons game and Traveller, which was fairly true to the character as he appeared in Dave Sim’s underground comic.

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I am proud that my arthritic hands once allowed me to paint the tiny details on these miniature sculptures.  But the red dragon I wanted to display in this post, that I have pictured before in this blog, is missing for the moment.  I spent most of the morning trying to find him.  Oh, well…  I still got to show off my mini-painting skills.

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Fools and Their Money

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I spent yesterday with the court appointed trustee, under oath, successfully declaring bankruptcy without losing the house or any other protected assets. I have sworn to pay off the amount owed to banks without further interest.  I will be aided by the court, protected from predators so that they don’t eat the corpse of my economic life.

Fools like me are soon parted from their money.  After all, this country’s government and this country’s economy are run by con men.  Cheats, criminals, grifters, thieves… they control the entire government now, and make the rules serve them and punish us.

And I suppose that’s the way it should be.  If money is your only source of happiness, you are going to become one of them.  A credit-manipulating predator and carrion-eater.  I had to go through this bankruptcy proceeding because I lost Bank of America’s lawsuit against me.  And if it weren’t for my bankruptcy case protecting me, they could come into my house and take whatever they wanted, including everything they wanted.  They could garnish my wages up to 100% for however many months it took for my pension check to pay off my debt.  Meanwhile my children would starve.  I would have nothing to live on.  It is within their rights to do it because they own the government and make the rules.  Charles Dickens didn’t even have it so bad.  At least in the debtor’s prison in Victorian London they fed you and kept you alive… mostly.

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But I did learn some important lessons for the future.  Let me share that hard-won wisdom with you now.

  1. Never buy anything on credit.  Save the money first, and then buy what you need once you have the total price.  Only fools agree to never-ending cycles of interest upon interest, compounding and confounding your pocketbook for perpetuity.  (Say that one three times fast!)
  2. Only buy what you need.  If you really need that shiny blue doohickimus to keep from going insane, then buy it… but save up the cash to pay for it in full.  And if owning that doodadimus preposterosous isn’t going to provide you with the key to real happiness, then forget about it, and glory in your new-found self-control.
  3. Banks are run by pirates.  They are in the business of stealing your money.  They charge fees for holding on to your money, while at the same time spending your money, and fees for counting your money, even when it’s not really there, and fees for looking at your money, though your money is only blips on a computer screen, and even fees for eventually… very gradually so you will not notice… stealing your money.  You have to give them your money at some point, because you will die or be killed if you don’t.  But taking your money by force, leaving you with no other choice but death, makes them pirates.
  4. Save money wherever you can.  Bury some in the back yard (but only metal money… gold bars being the least likely to turn into worthless soil filler).  You are probably going to need it in the future.  So don’t forget where you buried it.  And making maps only helps groups of nerdy kids find it in the future after an unlikely series of fantastic adventures that all occur after you have become a one-eyed skeleton.
  5. And don’t get sick, whatever you do.  It costs too much to get health care.  After you’ve paid an arm and a leg for health care services more than once, you are not going to be dancing any jigs.  Maybe rolling around like a watermelon with a head, but that’s about it.

So, that’s the wisdom I gained from going bankrupt, for what it’s worth (and it isn’t worth much, or they would’ve confiscated it at the creditor’s meeting yesterday).

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Aeroquest… Canto 13

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Canto 13 – Dino-Man

 

Fred 3576 was tied to one side of the tree, his girlfriend Wilma456 was trussed to the other side.  Their pet, Dino6476 was laid out dead and ready for skinning, much too dangerous to try to keep as a live captive.  The two cave youths looked at Ged with large, fearful eyes.

“I can’t wear that!” moaned Ham, looking at the fur loincloth young Fred was wearing.

The Nebulon Princess grinned at Ham.  It began to dawn on all of them that she now understood the words being spoken around her.  Ham blushed.

“We have to find that clown of yours before he can do some real damage.  Unless you think you can do the riding beast, you are going to have to use what that boy is wearing as your disguise.”

“Ged?  What are you going to do about the riding beast?”  Ham seemed nervous about the grim determination he obviously saw on Ged’s face.  Ged could tell just by looking that what came next was going to traumatize Hamfast Aero.

“I’m going to skin and eat this thing.”

Ged’s environment suit was laid aside.  Ged sat down next to the dead raptor with his lectroknife.  The blade shimmered with barely controlled energy.  He slit the beast open from throat to groin.  He quickly peeled back the hide, and then spent about half an hour stretching and preserving the hide on the gray ironwood frame he made from tree branches.  The meat he carved off was eaten raw with special cat teeth he grew in order to eat the meat.  Then he began to analyze and absorb.  Complex DNA patterns formed in his inner eye.  He had never gone further than imagining this process before, yet he knew he could achieve it.  He ate more as he began to change. The skin of his face split at the nose ridge and fell away to reveal scales.  The bones of his face began to elongate into raptor form.  The more he changed, the more he felt the need to eat.  As his own previous flesh sloughed off, he had to replenish his own mass with the flesh of the raptor.  After another twenty minutes, Ged Aero had become a dinosaur, a Dionysian velociraptor.

Just as Ged had imagined, Ham was nearly in shock over the transformation.  He’d seen Ged grow scales here and there, and change color a few times.  He’d even seen the fangs grow in once or twice.  But this was the first time Ged had let anyone else witness how completely his ability allowed him to change form.  He knew it was disgusting and awful to watch, but he felt the time had come to reveal what he could truly do.

“Ged?  How did you…?”

“Truly amazin’ Bucko!” Sinbadh gasped.

The Princess took Ham in hand and made sure he followed through with the plan.  She stripped the captured Fred of his Bam-Bam shorts and then undressed Ham, before putting the caveman disguise on him.  Ham was too far gone to protest or be embarrassed.

“Thaank you, Princesssss,” said the velociraptor that was Ged Aero.  “You and Sssinbadh ssstay and guard the prisonerssss.”

The Princess firmly shook her head no.  She stripped the girl of her Raquel Welch 1,000,000 B.C. bikini and put it on.  Her small son she stripped naked.  “We go,” was all she said.

Ham mounted on Ged’s saurian back and the Princess got up behind him.  The little blue boy was wedged safely in between them.

“What is to become of us?” cried young Fred3576.  “You killed our Dino.  You can’t just leave us here in the wild naked and tied up!”

“No harm will come to you,” hissed Ged.  “Sssinbadh will ssstay and guard you.”

“Blimey!  Ya kin count on me, Cap’n.  As long as ye don’t eat me.  I am yer faithful dog!  Space dog, that is!”

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