Category Archives: irony

Rabbit People

castle carrot

On days when I am still recovering from life-altering blows, I often try to find new realms, alternate realities to live in.  (Retreating into a fantasy world is one of the reasons she gave for leaving.)  And since, as a youth in Iowa, I raised rabbits for a 4-H project, I know rabbits better than I do human people.  Rabbits are people too.  So, I have been walking among the rabbit people.  Seriously, bunnies are better people than most human people.  They are not trying to profit off you.  They are not trying to get everything they can off you.  They are merely there to wiggle their whiskers, sniff for food, poop, gnaw on stuff, and make more bunnies.

Mr. R Rabbit

I often see myself as a rabbit person.  In cartoon form, I am the bunny-man teacher known to the Animal Town School System as Mr. Reluctant Rabbit.

As a teacher, I am always pulling out carrots of irony and gnawing on the ends of them in front of students.  If they complain that eating food in class is supposed to be against the rules, I ask them, “Do you want a carrot of irony?”

“Oh, no, thank you sir.”

“They are good for your eyesight as well as your insight.  You really ought to chew on healthier things like that.”

“Oh, no sir,” they say.  “We prefer Hot Cheetos.”

And so, I taught on like that… like a rabbit, fast and frumious (a Jabberwocky sort of word), and never really bit anybody.  Teaching is like that.  You offer the good healthy stuff to nourish their little animal minds, and they always choose the junk food instead.

Millis

And so life goes on like that.  Looking to rabbit people to ease my pain and need for good, wholesome carrots of irony.

I have  recently run a free-book promotion on The Bicycle-Wheel Genius.One of the main characters in the book is Tommy Bircher’s pet rabbit Millis.   During the course of the story about invading aliens, Secret Agent Robots from the CIA, and making friends when you need friends, Millis is turned into a rabbit-man by a lab accident.  He teaches Tommy that you don’t have to be human to be a good, caring, self-sacrificing person.  He also teaches him to eat his carrots and greens like a good boy should.

So, I will spend more time with the rabbit people and heal a little bit.  That is what you do with the tragedy that life brings you.  You spin it into whole cloth, making humor and poetry out of everything bad that happens… wrapping yourself up in a comforting blanket of lies (you can also call those fiction stories), and eating a little chicken soup on a cold day to heal your soul.  (Oh, I forget, rabbits often gag on chicken soup.  Let’s make that bean soup with carrot chunks.)

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Filed under Paffooney, humor, irony, rabbit people

I am Sick of Being Angry

I am sick of a lot of things. Right now, Covid Omicron is probably one of those things. Oh, it doesn’t seem like it is going to kill triple-vaccinated me. But it is not making my life easy right now.

It bothers me that States with idiots in charge of the government are trying to legislate school curriculum in ways that eliminate books about black culture and black experience, life experiences of gay authors and trans people, and anything else historical or factual that makes white guys feel guilty or uncomfortable about not feeling guilty. (Notice I haven’t mentioned any particularly stupid red States like Texas or Iowa or the evil kingdom of Florida, nor have I specifically insulted moron governors like Greg Abbot or Ron DeSantis. I am behaving myself just as I learned to do from FOX News.)

It also bothers me that States with rabid monkeys in charge of the government are rewriting voting laws to seriously make things more difficult for certain people to vote, and rearranging vote certification so that the Republican party does not have to put up with people winning elections when they don’t like them. Voting is easy for me because I live in a mostly white-guy voting district and I look like somebody who might vote for Republicans. But even I could get into serious trouble if I tried to give a bottle of water of to an elderly black woman waiting in line to vote. And my side probably can’t win in the upcoming election because the majority of the voters who vote for my chosen side don’t look like me, or more obviously think like me.

And I am definitely disturbed by the fact that somebody who looks like a badly fermented mango and used to be the President of the United States, obviously, and in front of the world, incited a riot at the Capitol which resulted in violence and death for some rioters, but more Capitol Policemen. He literally tried to overthrow the US government. And a year later, he still has not been arrested and imprisoned, in spite of the fact that in many other countries he would’ve been executed for his traitorous, failed attempt at a coup.

But what good does it do to be angry about these things? Evil, greedy crooks have been running the ov er-all show since at least the 1980’s, and maybe longer, since before then I thought and spoke and acted like a child. I probably wasn’t mature enough to recognize how easily evil comes to mankind. Perhaps we were always doomed to eventual extinction by the excessive evilness rampant in the human species.

If mankind is going to be inventive enough and resourceful enough to survive nuclear proliferation, human-caused climate crisis, and de-evolution into fascistic. authoritarian, criminal empires, it will be the positive, creative, and good-natured among us that will find the solutions. Not the angry men that dominate politics and television.

I have done my part already. I taught kids to read, and a few of them to write. I hope I taught the right ones how to think. And I didn’t give them reason to become hateful. And I tried to teach them lessons on higher morality.

I finished a novel yesterday. That means Aeroquest 4, and The Necromancer’s Apprentice are both only a good proofreading away from being published.

Will I have time before the end to finish another? This I do not know. But there exists enough published stories by me to secure my right to call myself an author. Still, it is a task that makes me happy and leaves more positive than negative behind me when this life is over. It is a better, more-useful thing to do than being an angry man.

I hope you will help me, when the time comes, to vote the evil out of the government… if they let us do so. But I also hope you worry far more about being happy and fulfilled rather than angry.

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Filed under angry rant, artwork, autobiography, humor, irony, Paffooney

Staid and Lucid Nonsense

Yes, the graduating class of 1975 is somewhat in power now. Tom Hanks and Mel Gibson are both big names in movie making, and both were born the same year I was. Larry Bird, Joe Montana, and Sugar Ray Leonard have all made their marks in the sports of Basketball, Football, and Boxing already. They were all three born in 1956 too. Bill Maher, the comedian/talk show host shapes lots of political opinions with his show on HBO. He is also the same age as me. Unfortunately, Matthew Garber (the little boy in Mary Poppins), Carrie Fischer (Princess Leia in Star Wars) and now Bob Saget (the Full House dad) haven’t made it to this date alive. And Marcia Brady (as played by Maureen McCormick) has faded into obscurity while LaToya Jackson’s career has definitely suffered from her brother Michael’s notoriety. Those are all members of the group born with me and having the potential to be in my graduating class. But they are not exactly running the world at this moment.

Joe Biden is, I think, a member of Fred Flintstone’s graduating class. The geriatric crowd with Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Hilary Clinton are still running the world, at least until they can no longer get the proper old-fashioned batteries for their pacemakers.

Mitch McConnell is pictured here with two of the things he fears most in life. The fact that he still rules the Senate in spite of being the MINORITY leader, is one of the biggest oxymorons I could ever hope to spot. I do believe he has been dead for longer than most of his Senate colleagues have been alive.

Life has become an oxymoron in 2022, and is now considered to be seriously funny.

Teachers are being valued just the way that corporations and economically-minded leaders like Governor Greg Abbott and Governor Ron DeSantis have always felt they should be valued… thoroughly expendable. We have passed laws against teaching actual social history in terms of racism, civil rights, and the evil deeds of former rulers who are rich white guys because learning about those things might hurt the feelings of white kids. And teachers should not be allowed to protest and leave their jobs just because the State Legislatures of Red States want to prevent requiring vaccinations and mask-wearing as necessary in schools. It is the violation of somebody’s rights somehow to make anyone get the proper shots before entering the teachers’ workplaces, because it is important that teachers teach in classrooms, but they cannot insist they have a right to be as safe as possible from dying of Covid variants or the bullets from a student’s AR-15.

People who aren’t rich enough to have opinions should all just be quiet.

And meanwhile, Mickey has put another one of his novels up for promotion as a free e-book until Tuesday, January 18th, You should click on the link and get yourself a free copy. It makes as much sense as anything does in these staid and lucid nonsensical times.

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Time For Wasting

wonderful teaching

When I was still alive and still teaching, maximizing and managing time was an incredibly important part of the day.    You had to activate learners with an attention step, a lesson focus that grabbed them.  Usually that had to follow a warm-up, something you got them to do as soon as you had smiled at them at the doorway, offered to shake their hand, and then pulled them into the classroom to do some work for you.  fifteen minutes at the start of the class to rev up mental engines and get the gears turning… shake out the rust and the cobwebs that accumulate the instant the final bell rang in the previous class. I timed that part of class down to the second with my pocket watch… or phone in later years.  Then, once the engines started, the focus is in place, you introduce the learning objective.  Never more than ten minutes… timed to the second… you give the explanation, the road map of the day ahead, the instruction.  Then for the next ten to fifteen minutes you let them discover stuff.  In groups, with a partner, teacher to class, student to class, or (rarely) individually, they must apply what you pointed out and figure something out.  It could be complicated, but probably it was simple.  All answers are welcome and accepted… because all answers will be evaluated and you learn more from wrong answers than you do from correct guesses.  Evaluation comes in the five to ten minutes at the end when you evaluate.  “What have I learned today?”  You try your hardest to pin something new to the mental note-board hanging on the brain walls of each and every student.  Depending on how much or how few minutes you are given before the final bell kills the lesson for the day, you have to put the big pink ribbon on it.  That tightly-wound lesson cycle goes on all day, repeated as many times as you have classes.  In that time you have to be teacher, policeman, friend, devil’s advocate, entertainer, counselor, psychotherapist, chief explainer, and sometimes God.  And you time it to the second by your pocket watch.

Teacher

I miss being the rabbit holding the BIG PENCIL.  Now that I am retired, I am no longer on the clock… no longer subject to careful time management.  My pocket watch is broken and lying in a box somewhere in my library.  I live now in non-consecutive time periods of sleep and illness and writing and playing with dolls.  I have entered a second childhood now.  Not really a simple one because of diabetes and arthritis and COPD and psoriasis and all the other wonderful things that old age makes possible.  But a childhood free of school politics and mandates from the school board and from the State.  A childhood where I can once again dream and imagine and create and play.  That’s what this post is if you haven’t already figured it out.  I am playing with words and ideas.  They are my toys.  Toys like this one;

turtleboy

This, of course, is Tim, the turtleboy of irony, holding his magic flatiron that he uses for ironing out irony.  He is flattening it out now with a cartoony Paffooney and wickedly waggled words.  Ironically, I have often taught students to write just like this, making connections between words and pictures and ideas through free association and fast-writing.  Have you learned anything from today’s retired-teacher post?  If you did, it is ironic, because you were never meant to from the start.

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Filed under humor, irony, Paffooney, teaching, Uncategorized

That Bluebird of Happiness

Blue birds

I often go back and re-read old posts, particularly when I discover that someone else has read them.  It is amazing to me how differently I perceive things from when I actually wrote the post.  As you write, squeezing huge, boulder-sized portions of hot, magma-like burning ideas and passions out through writing orifices not nearly big enough to accommodate, you usually hate what you wrote and are still writhing in pain from the creation of it as you try to edit it, trim it and brush its unruly hair.  (How’s that for a mixed metaphor to make you cringe?)  But given time and distance, you can really appreciate what you wrote more than ever before.  Things that you thought were the stupidest idea a man ever put in words suddenly have the power to make you laugh, or make you cry.  You are able to feel the things the writing was intended to make you feel.  You begin to think things like, “Maybe you are not the worst writer that ever lived, and maybe that’s not why nobody ever reads your books.”  But then, of course, your sister reads the post and tells you that you write like a really old, really crabby, really ancient old man.  And you use the word “really” too much too.  I know I deserve that, Sis.  Especially the “really” part.

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Here’s a post that I reread and liked today about Bob Ross.

This is the thing about happiness;  It is elusive and rare as a real-life blue bird. But capturing it for a moment is not impossible.  And as long as you don’t try to salt its tail and keep it prisoner, you can encourage it to sing for you.  (Much better metaphor this time, don’t you think?)  vintage-coca-cola-ad-1950s-1960s-clownb

When I am accused of being gloomy, old, and boring, I can happily admit it and make it into something funny.  I am something of a conspiracy nut, but not so serious that I believe all my own assertions.  For those people who took offense at this conspiracy theory of mine; Coca-Cola Mind Control, I would like to point out that “Hey, I was joking.  I actually like clowns.”  Even though there is a serious side to everything and there can’t be laughter without some tears, I am basically happy with the way things are.

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I started listening to “Live Happy Radio” on Sunday mornings on KLUV in Dallas.  They point out on their program of endlessly droning happy-talk that happiness is something that you can work at.  Like humor writing in blogs, it takes practice and practice and time.  They even asked me to share the word about their happy magazine and products, so I am doing exactly that right here.  Sometimes you simply have to put your cynicism in a jar on the shelf next to the lock box where you keep depression and self-loathing.  So you can find their Live-Happy folderol right here.

So I am bird-watching again with an eye out for the bluebird.  You know the one.  It is out there somewhere.  And I need to hear that song one more time.

Blue birds

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Filed under artwork, goofy thoughts, happiness, humor, insight, inspiration, irony, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

Being a fantasy and science-fiction writer with a considerable reputation for being totally ignored by the reading public, I often think about where society and science are taking this world as we continue to climb ladders towards the future and slide down the chutes of unexpected consequences.

And being a pessimist, the future I see is almost always grim. Of course, that’s not an unexpected thing from a writer who consumes a lot of very speculative ideas from other science-fictiony thinkers and proclaimers of gloom and doom.

But the War of the Worlds thing will not happen. Alien civilizations that are far more advanced than we are are already here, living among us and in secret enclaves in caverns and under the sea. We don’t have to worry about invasions from outer space. They could’ve akready taken this world from us if they had wanted to. Again, this is not a factual explanation. This is merely fanciful speculation based on things I think are probably true.

Of course, they are not going to solve our problems for us either. It is not in their own interest to save us from ourselves. No alien repairs to the environment reversing global warming.will ever happen. They have in the past intervened in nuclear crisis. There is considerable testimony from credible and qualified witnesses that UFOs have routinely messed with our nuclear arsenal, even disassembling warheads on rockets in mid-flight and neutralizing missiles in silos. They don’t care if we die. They just don’t want the planet wrecked.

The Democrat-bot continues to deliver haymakers to the Republican-bot, but notice who dominates the majority of the ring, no matter what happens.

One of the things that the alien residents of this planet might allow to occur, and even enjoy watching, is that the current two-year pandemic may prove to be the thing that makes homo sapiens go extinct as a species.

The political fight over pandemic responses threatens to turn the corona virus into a super-mega-killer virus. Already the Republican Deadly Propaganda Ministry of Lies over at FOX News has stirred their mindless minions to reject anything that could end the pandemic. Don’t shut down businesses. Don’t get the vaccine. Don’t wear masks. Don’t help people by creating green-energy jobs or stimulate the economy by giving money to people who need it and will spend it. Better to all die than to let Democrats get credit for doing something right and good. Ignore all the billionaires making record billions while their mindless minions die out allowing the virus to endlessly mutate and become more infectious and more deadly. Given enough mutation time, the virus could kill all human beings on Earth. Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates and Donald Trump can then have all the money in the world. Good luck eating that in a world with no farmers or grocery stores. They will then die out too, just like all the human beings did before them.

If these disturbing science-fictiony predictions worry you or make you afraid for life on Earth, then Good! You need to pay attention to these very things. But remember too that this is a humor blog. I am hot-cow-poop as a prophet of doom. What I say is very likely not right at all. And you can tell by the picture that Mickey is more often mistaken for Santa Clause than Nostradamus. Still, give these dark notions from a pessimistic fool a thought or two. Somebody has to solve these problems if we are to survive. And how do you know that this somebody is not YOU!

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Filed under angry rant, illness, insight, irony, philosophy

Really Bad Jokes

bozo

If you have the bad habit of reading this particular blog more than once, then you are probably aware that I used to be a public school teacher.  Even worse, I used to be a middle school English teacher.  Aagh!  Seventh graders!  It explains a lot about how life has warped my intelligence, personality, and world view.  It also explains somewhat where I found such a fountain-like source for some of the worst jokes you ever heard.

Now, as to the question of why I have chosen in my retirement early-onset senility to become a humor-blogger… well, that is simply not something I can answer in one post… or even a thousand.  But kids are the source of my goofball clown-brain joking around.

wally

Kid-humor, you see, is stunted and warped in weird ways by the time period you are talking about.  The eighties, nineties, two thousands, and the tens are all very different.  And those are the various sets of students that I attempted to learn moose bowling from by teaching them English.

Still, there are certain universal constants.

Potty humor really kills.  If you want to make a thirteen-year-old crack up with laughter, roll around on the floor, and maybe wet his or her pants, then you only need to work the “poop” word, or the “nickname for Richard” word, or the “Biblical word for donkey” word into the conversation.  Of course the actual words, even though we all know what they actually are, are magical words.  If you actually say them to kids in school as their teacher, those words can actually make you magically and permanently disappear from the front of the classroom.  All kids are big fans of George Carlin and his seven words, even though most of them have never heard of him.

And violent humor is popular with kids from all decades.  The most common punch line in the boys’ bathroom is, “… and then he kicked him in the Biblical word for donkey!” followed closely in second place by, “… and then she kicked him in the Biblical word for donkey!”  I am told (for I don’t actually go in such scary places myself) that in the girls’ bathroom the most popular punch line is, “…so I kicked him right in the soccer balls, and he deserved it!”   Why girls are apparently obsessed with soccer, I don’t know… or particularly care.sweet-thing

So my education in humor began with bad-word jokes, slapstick humor, put-downs, and rude noises coming from unfortunate places.  Humor in the classroom is actually a metaphorical mine field laced with tiger traps, dead-falls that end with an anvil hitting you on the head, or being challenged to a life-or-death game of moose bowling.  (Don’t know what moose bowling is?  Moose bowling is a very difficult game that, in order to knock down all the pins and win, you have to learn to roll a moose down the alley.)  Sounds like I spend too much time watching cartoons and playing video games, doesn’t it?  Well, there’s more.  And it gets worse from here.  But I will spare you that until the next time I am foolish enough to try making excuses for my really bad jokes.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, irony, kids, satire, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching, word games, wordplay, writing humor

I Love to Laugh

“Mickey, why can’t you be more serious the way smart people are?”

“Well, now, my dear, I think I take humor very seriously.”

“How can you say that?  You never seem to be serious for more than a few seconds in a row.”

“I can say it in a high, squeaky, falsetto voice so I sound like Mickey Mouse.”

“You know that’s not what I mean.”

“I can also burp it… well, maybe not so much since I was in junior high.”

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“I distinctly remember getting in trouble in Mrs. Mennenga’s third grade class in school for pantomiming pulling my beating heart out of my chest and accidentally dropping it on the floor.  She lectured me about being more studious.  But I made Alicia sitting in the row beside me laugh.  It was all worth it.  And the teacher was right.  I don’t remember anything from the lesson on adding fractions we were supposed to be doing.  But I remember that laugh.  It is one precious piece of the golden treasure I put in the treasure chest of memories I keep stored in my heart.”

Groucho

“I always listened to the words Groucho Marx was saying, even though he said them awfully fast and sneaky-like.  I listened to the words.  Other characters didn’t seem to listen to him.  He didn’t seem to listen to them.  Yet, how could he respond like he did if he really wasn’t listening?  In his answers were always golden bits of wisdom.  Other people laughed at his jokes when the laugh track told them to.  I laughed when I understood the wisdom.”

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“Laughing is a way of showing understanding.  Laughing is a way of making yourself feel good.  Laughing is good for your brain and your heart and your soul.  So, I want to laugh more.  I need to laugh more.  I love to laugh.”

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Filed under autobiography, comedians, commentary, goofiness, goofy thoughts, humor, irony, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, wisdom

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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The Snark Factor

One should never be snarky. All you can accomplish by being snarky is making Snark Smallberg mad. He doesn’t want to be called “Snarky” anymore. And we should respect him since he is a movie star and makes millions of dollars by making terrible movies. Don’t you get why he deserves respect? Did you not read the words, “Millions of dollars?”


Of course, I understand snark really well. I was a middle-school English teacher for many years. The answer to most teacher questions asked directly to students is made up of 50% teacher-pleasing and 50% needing to be translated from teen-speaking Snarkese. You have to understand that half the time the answer means the opposite of what is being said.

“You are such a good teacher, Mr. B, and you teach us really useful stuff. That’s why we throw spitballs at you when your back is turned, because we love and respect you so much.”

And I would see that same level of love and respect in my paycheck each month.

And of course, we are coming out of a golden age of good government right now. Under the greatest president we ever had (by his own testimony) we were treated to a healthy time of nothing but helpful tax cuts to the fortunes of the golden job-creators who continue to generously agree we can keep living this wonderful life if we just work hard enough. Pulling ourselves up by our boot straps because gravity doesn’t exist if you are rich. The problem of climate changed, though not real in any way, is solved by removing regulations from industries who want to enhance our waterways with chemical waste. And any crime committed by those in public office is to be forgiven because it is so good for the economy. And we should stop all witch-hunts because we have already caught too many witches, and we are not finding enough of them on the Democratic side.

Daffy is definitely angry because things are going so well, and we just aren’t appreciating it enough.

And why am I sparking with so many snarky sparks in today’s hitching post for horses of a different color? Well, my two sisters, my brother, and I recently inherited a 150-year-old family farm. In our parents’ will, nothing could be done to the property, including selling any part of it, without the agreement of all four of us. But little brother, by the unique privilege of being the youngest and most spoiled of us, has decided to contest the will. One out of four of us is aparently going to use legal means to split up and sell off a family legacy. Life is so wonderfully fair. God bless his Republican abilities to be generous, kind, and thoughtful… but before I can snark any further, I am getting a phone call. Caller ID says it is “Spam Risk.” That’s a Russian name, isn’t it? I am sure it will be an important phone call.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, irony, pessimism, satire, word games, wordplay