Category Archives: Mickey

Fact or Opinion (It’s a Teacher Thing)

“Climate change is a hoax by the Chinese.” 

That, unfortunately, is not an opinion.  It is a fact.  It is a FALSE FACT.

Facts are statements that can be proven or disproven.  There are studies by government agencies and university science departments all over the world that provide evidence to back up the theory that the climate is drastically changing in ways that threaten our existence.  The studies are repeatable, peer reviewed, and thoroughly “vetted”, to use the new word that Republicans embrace so deeply and lovingly for immigration issues.  On the other side of the question, you have scoffing congressmen who bring snowballs into the capitol and say, “See?  The science is not proven.”   That is not a fact.   Where is the evidence which is not anecdotal and based on a misunderstanding of the difference between “climate change” and “weather change”?  That is by definition an opinion.  And it is not even an informed opinion.  Opinions are not equal to facts.  Comparing the two is like comparing apples to onions.  No, that is not even correct.  You can eat both of those things.  It is more like comparing apples to planetary moons.

After a long and heated Facebook debate about immigration between me, a Texas teacher, and an Iowa Republican Trump supporter I went to high school with who doesn’t even know if he ever met an illegal immigrant, I have pretty well proven to myself that a big share of the divide between liberals and conservatives stems from the unwillingness of one side to avoid equating facts and opinions.  Apples and moons.

So give me a moment to do what teachers do.

Here is a non-political lesson in Fact versus Opinion.

Who do you prefer?  Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny?  The answer doesn’t matter to me.

I can give you a quick and dirty lesson on fact and opinion using these two cartoon characters.  And it doesn’t even matter who you like more.

Here are some obvious facts about the two of them.

They are both cartoon characters.  They are both anthropomorphic animals.  They both wear gloves most of the time.  They both have a thumb and three fingers on each hand.

These things are observably true.  You can prove them by looking at the illustrations I have already provided.

Other things may not be as readily apparent, but no less provable.

Both of them are heterosexual and both of them have one main love interest.  Neither of them have ever been married, but neither of them really are playboys and even though there are no legitimate bits of evidence that either one has ever had sex with their respective girlfriends, Bugs has kissed Lola on more than one occasion and Mickey has kept company with Minnie for longer than most old married couples.

These things are provable by watching the cartoons and observing a preponderance of evidence.  There is no contradictory evidence.  But the possibility of contradictory evidence doesn’t change these things into opinions.  A disproven fact is still a fact.  It is merely a false fact.  Over time the relationship between Bugs and Daffy Duck may become clearer and the fact that Bugs is gay may pop out of the cartoon closet.  It does however, require proof, so it is a fact, not an opinion.

Here’s another fact you know the evidence supports.  Bugs Bunny is a nudist.  He almost always appears in cartoons naked.  Mickey, however, believes in wearing clothes.  Even when he gets out of the bath tub, he clutches the nearest towel, and you never get a look at whether he has cartoon genitals or not.  Mickey does hang out a lot with a duck who wears no pants, but that’s an irrelevant fact.

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The notion that Mickey and Bugs are very different personalities because they had very different creators, is an opinion.  It is a opinion offered by people who have studied the characters and their creators, and therefore can give you an informed opinion.  But it still can’t be proven.

Walt Disney made Mickey into more or less of an every-man sort of character whom audiences can identify with.  Things happen to Mickey Mouse, and the comedy comes from him trying to deal with those external forces, be they wind storms during music concerts, Donald Duck’s raging temper, or the evil plots of Black Pete.  Walt never said this was so to prove it, but it is not unreasonable to think it.

Bugs Bunny, on the other hand, was created by several great animators like Robert McKimson, Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett.  And Bugs tends to make things happen to other characters.  Think of how he plays Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and even his pal Daffy for laughs.  He is more of a Groucho Marx type character than an every-man.  We don’t identify with him.  We only laugh at his victims (because they always deserve what he gives them).  That too is an opinion.  And even if one of his creators were to say that this was the intent, it still is not proven until all of them agree.  And they all had very different ways of doing things.

But these are only informed opinions.  You cannot be proven wrong whether you agree or disagree with them.  You are entitled to your own interpretations and opinions because they are not provable facts.  There is no one way to view any opinion.

Opinions, even un-informed opinions and religious beliefs are never either wrong or right.  You don’t make a mistake when you have an opinion.  It only becomes a mistake when you try to use it as a fact, or mistakenly believe it is a fact.

So, there is my lesson for those Facebook arguers who never seem to know the difference.  It’s all color-coded and everything.  So try using this new knowledge when arguing with me, rather than calling me stupid, or making your point IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!

 

 

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Filed under angry rant, artists I admire, cartoons, commentary, education, Mickey, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching

Mickey Notes

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This is the purple-furred Mickey Icon done Don Martin-style.

If you are one of those readers who has taken to regularly reading Mickey posts on Catch a Falling Star ( a habit that is probably bad for you, but certainly not fatal), there are some things and random recent developments that you should probably be made aware of.

  • Mickey recently finished a rough-draft novel.  After giving birth to a massive 12-month-long-gestating thought artifact like that, there is bound to be some necessary recovery time involved.  He may be difficult to understand for a while as he puts the pieces of his psyche back together again.  Using mental duct tape for such things takes time and patience.
  • The novel is called Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  If that arouses curiosity in you (a condition that I also hope is not fatal… You are not a cat, are you?), there are instances of rants and delusional spoutings about this story to be found in recent posts on this blog.  Unfortunately, it will not be published immediately.  You will have to wait to actually read it until I or my heirs eventually get it published… by whatever means necessary (though I have my doubts about the plan involving kidnapped alien slaves and mimeograph machines.)
  • The novel I do have nearing publication is Magical Miss Morgan.  I recently submitted approval for final edits to my project manager for Page Publishing.  Since I am investing my own money in this publication project, I am expecting that it will get published before 2017 is done.  I will continue to relentlessly plug the thing here.
  • Page Publishing is a less expensive and less professional publisher than I-Universe that did Catch a Falling Star for me.  If you are reading this for ideas about pursuing publication yourself, I would recommend the more expensive publisher first, due to the quality of their professional editors, though I intend to continue publishing my books with less expensive self-publishing options like Amazon from here on.  As I finish the publishing process I am now involved in, I promise to complain about publishers and throw Mark-Twain-like insult fits in future blog posts.  No one should have to repeat the egregious mistakes that Mickey has made.
  • Catch a Falling Star, the blog, will continue to be a blog about my artwork, my story-telling, my teacher memories, and my generally confusing and bombastic opinions about life, the universe, and everything… including pies.  Mmm!  Pies are good.  You might even want to look at my essay on Gooseberry Pie.

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In case you were not aware of it, this purple mouse-man is Mickey, and Mickey is the writer-spirit within me.  Mickey is not actually me.  You know how Mark Twain is not really a real person?  The real person was Samuel Langhorn Clemens.  Mickey is not a really real person either.  Michael Beyer, cartoonist, writer, and former middle school teacher is the real person… if any former middle school teacher can ever be considered a real person.

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Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, Mickey, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing, strange and wonderful ideas about life, work in progress, writing, writing humor

The Many People That Are Me

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Yes, I am a wizard.  That is a complicated thing to say.  It is complicated because a wizard has to be a wise man, and wisdom has to begin with the idea that you know practically nothing about anything… but you can find out.  So one version of me has to be my wizard D&D character, the wizard Eli Tragedy.  This is because I know practically nothing about anything… but I am willing to not be stupid and look stuff up before I tell you anything and pretend it is a wise thing to say.

lil mickey

I have been thinking about who I am because I want to re-do my About the Author page.   And that leads to the difficulty of explaining who Mickey actually is.  You see, I am actually lots of different people in my head.  Mickey is the cartoonist, the humorist, the clown.  He is not the every-day me.  He is the goofy and foofy and lovey-to-drawie part of me.  And yes, I know some of those are not real words.  Mickey is like that.  He speaks Mickian Goof Speak.  I have no control over that part of him.  I am not certain where this Mickey-part of my soul originated, but it may be the result of too much TV when I was a kid.

And of course there is the Teacher-Me, Reluctant Rabbit, the person who stood in front of groups of twelve-thirteen-and-fourteen-year-olds for three decades and tap-danced, told stories, stood on my head, and begged them to internalize at least a lesson or two of what I tried to teach them.

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Teacher

And the wizard part of me was just barely wise enough to realize that a teacher can open doors, but you can’t shove a kid through.  They have to take the critical learning step themselves.  They have to want to learn something.  But even though they actually do the learning themselves, they will come back to me in later years saying, “Oh, thank you, you taught me so much!” when really all I did was be a guide on the side and stayed out of their way.

And, of course, there is the Cowboy Me.  I live in Texas.  I was a Belmond Bronco in high school, but I became a Cotulla Cowboy for 24 years of my teaching career.  I ended up as a Naaman Forest Ranger.  I have worn the hat a lot in my life, being as much of a straight shooter as the Shakiest Gun In The West can be, always trying to shoot the six-guns out of the bad guy’s hands rather than shoot people.

So how do I explain a thing like that?  Probably the way I just did it (ironically).  I should use Paffoonies I have created over time and waffle about stupid stuff that might make people laugh when they realize how self-contradictory it is.  And I should say it like I mean it… because I probably do.

 

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, humor, Mickey, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Uncategorized

Mickey and the Really Cool Car

As a former public school teacher, I have always driven a sensible car.  I was owner of a long line of Ford Tempos, Ford Escorts, and Ford Fiestas.  Cars on a teacher’s budget.  I was lucky to be at least one step above Hondas and AMC Gremlins, though Ford, as we all know, is the acronym for “Fix Or Repair Daily”.  Well, this week I have encountered a Really Cool Car for the first time in my life.  Oh, I have ridden in them before… had show-off-y friends who owned them and rich relatives.  (Did you know I’m related to Nelson Rockefeller?  It’s through the Aldrich part of his family, his mother’s side.  But distant enough to be totally out of the inheritance lottery.)  But never before have I driven one.

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The latest daily repair which involved hitting a pothole in my new Fiesta and destroying a front wheel, required a rental car.  But thanks to recent hail in the DFW area, Enterprise Rent-a-Car had no cheap ones available that the insurance would completely pay for.  Instead, I had to settle for a 2015 Dodge Challenger, a $95 a day expense that would’ve bankrupted me two months ago.  As it is, the cost is taking a big bite out of my newly restored credit standing.  But… hey!  A sports car!

Of course, the threat of more hail has been looming, and though my car insurance would cover the damage (minus the $500 deductible) I would have to continue to pay rent on it each day it spent in the shop… and that could take months.  It gives me pause because I do not have any place to shelter it beyond one live oak tree that spreads her mighty greens out over the street where my previous Fiesta was killed in a drive-by.  But… hey again!  A sports car!

It drives like a dream.  I never imagined a car could handle so easily and have so much potential power under the hood.  The rental people told me there was no mileage limit at this price level.  A weekend in Vegas?  Tempting, but I am a former school teacher.  The level of trouble I could get into as the country mouse in the big city is too scary to contemplate.  I would be some cat’s dinner for sure.  I have dared to drive the thing to pick up kids at school, and driving to Walmart where there are evil decorative rocks lurking everywhere.  But that is the limit of the daring side of me.  I might take my family to a movie at Cinemark later.  But that’s about as wild-side as I ever walk.

Will I ever drive a sports car like this again?  A sleek black Batmobile-looking thing that makes me feel powerful and potentially wild?  Of course not!  It’s Mickey we are talking about here.

 

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Filed under autobiography, humor, Mickey, photo paffoonies

Mickey Draws Mickey

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I learned to draw comics by copying the comics.  So how many times has Mickey actually drawn Mickey?  More than I can count.  I hate throwing a drawing away, even if I did it when I was ten.  But I cannot find all the drawings I have done of Mickey Mouse.  I know some have been given away, some have gotten lost, and some may have even gone up in flames in the garbage barrel out back of the house in the 1960’s.  I have posted pictures of Mickey before.  Remember this one?

Mickey

But I can basically do Mickey without looking at any references.  I can do him well enough that people often say, “You didn’t really draw that, did you?”  That’s why I included the simple pen and ink stage of today’s Mickey.  You can see it is really me drawing it.  But the absolute truth is, I draw Mickey because in so many ways I am Mickey.  Yes, I’m a talking mouse that drives a car and owns a dog.  And even though Disney sues right and left for any imagined copyright infringement, I can safely post this here because it is fan art… and I don’t get paid anything for this goofy blog anyway.  It is homage, not theft of intellectual property.

So, here is the final product, drawn this morning, the day after St. Patrick’s day 2016.

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Filed under cartoons, cartoony Paffooney, Disney, humor, Mickey, Paffooney

Crying All The Time

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The horrible truth is, life would not be very funny and filled with laughter if no one ever cried.  And I am not just saying that because saying something is its own opposite is a cheap way of sounding wise.  You honestly can’t be happy if you have never been sad.  Nothing makes you appreciate what you have more than the experience of pain and loss.  I call everything I write “humor” because I defend myself against the darkness with a wacky wit and an ability to laugh when I am in pain.  Some of the funniest men who ever lived were creatures of great sadness.  Robin Williams may have died of it.

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A beautiful portrait by artist Emily Stepp

And isn’t it true that the funniest movies are the ones that have at least one part of the story that makes you tear up?  I have been avoiding Downton Abbey even though my wife loves it, because I knew it was good enough to make me cry… a lot.  My wife makes fun of me when movies make me cry… or TV shows… or television commercials during the Superbowl.  She grins at me while tears are gushing.  And therein lies a connection between laughing and crying.  At least somebody gets a laugh out of the pain from a sensitive heart.

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So, you may have noticed that I confessed to avoiding Downton Abbey.  But I must also confess that I gave in.  She is watching every episode from the beginning in preparation for the final season coming up.  She made me watch it with her.  That goofy British soap opera set a hundred years ago is most definitely a comedy.  It is a comedy of manners.  Servants versus the upper class.  Scheming footmen like Thomas Barrows are almost cartoon villains as they plot their nearly infinite schemes of advantage and subterfuge.  You laugh when karma catches up to them, and they take a beating or lose their job.  And yet, like soap opera villains of the past, they never stay defeated.  Thomas found a coward’s way out of World War One and made his way back into the good graces of the Crawley family, achieving a higher rank in the staff than he had before.  And Dame Maggie Smith as Dowager Lady Grantham is the scathing-est of wits, surprising us with her shallow upper-class prejudices one moment, and showing a depth of humanity and compassion the next.  It is a comedy in that it plays off the soap opera form with exquisite self awareness.  But it drops the bottom out from under your feet constantly.  You fall directly into the tiger-traps of tragedy.  I cried when favorite characters died, like when Lady Sybil unexpectedly dies in childbirth, and when Matthew Crawley is killed in a car accident immediately after the birth of his long-awaited son.  When Valet John Bates goes to prison for murder though his first wife actually committed suicide, I became a fountain of gushing tears.  I cried again when he got out of prison.  I cried when his wife Anna was raped by a visiting lord’s valet.  And as that part of the plot works itself out in the next few episodes, I’m sure I’ll cry again.  My wife has been having a barrel full of belly laughs at my expense.  But because I have struggled through the depths of personal pain with these characters, and love them like they were real people, I laugh all the harder at their wit and ready comebacks and ultimate victories.  The only difference between a comedy and a tragedy is the comedy’s happy ending.

So I will continue to laugh and cry and call everything I write humor.  Forgive me when I’m not so funny.  And laugh with me sometimes, too.  Even laugh at me… because that’s laughter too.

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Filed under humor, Mickey, Paffooney, review of television, Uncategorized

Self Portrait and Mildly Broken Heart

DSCN5418  Hermoine, Vintage Ricky, and Vintage Skipper are inspecting my heart monitor in this silly Paffooney  Photo.  I have been wearing the thing since Monday to hopefully detect an irregular heart-beat problem.  It’s kinda like when you hear a knocking noise in the engine, but when you take it in to the car dealer, you can’t get it to make that sound even once.  Two trips to the doctor and two EKG’s have not been enough to fix the knocking in my engine, and so I am still on a heart-attack/stroke watch.  Four times in the last two nights I have felt the racing heartbeat and painful tugging sensation in my chest that could spell the instant end.  But I am not worried.  I now have the opportunity to lay in my bed all day and play with my toys… err… admire my collection.  I apologize for Ricky not putting on proper clothes for this post, but they haven’t made clothes for a doll like him since the early seventies.  They are a little hard to come by.  And they always sold Barbie dolls in bathing suits when he was new to the world.  So he goes about mostly naked and I have to apologize for him whenever we are in polite company.

“So, Mickey,” you are probably saying to yourself, “it’s a heart problem, not a brain problem, right?”

Well, if my hyperactive butterfly of a heart sends a clot the wrong direction, it could be a stroke, a brain-curdling, word-mincing, vegetable-making sort of brain problem.  If it’s all the same to God, I’d much rather have a heart attack, thank you.

I am really, honestly not worried though.  My career is ended.  I can no longer get up in front of a classroom, a basically captive audience, and inflict upon them a never-ending spiel of word-wit and vocabulary-bloating that made kids laugh and love my class (based on the fact that even though they thought they were avoiding learning to write and read and speak in my English Class, we were actually practicing those things bell to bell).  Though I miss it so terribly it probably isn’t helping my current condition, I really have done my job and taken my best shot at winning the ongoing War Against Ignorance.  I actually make more money now on my full retirement pension than I was making month to month as a teacher.  (Mostly due to deductions for health problems and absences from work).  I have the chance to draw some and paint some and write a lot now.  I can do more story-telling of the written-down variety, and not waste my tall tales in the very absorbent air of the classroom.  I get to joke about my condition more, and hide my rotted out hulk of a body behind a computer screen so no one has to cringe while looking at my fuzzy, spotty old form.  I can use words to be beautiful in the reader’s mind’s eye once more.  Oh, and I made the mistake of promising to show you a self portrait.  So, try to keep your lunch down, because here it is;

Self Portrait

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Filed under health, humor, Mickey, Paffooney, philosophy, photos