Category Archives: Paffooney

Withering Heat and Naked Truth

The Texas heat is putting stress on me in more ways than one. Economically, I can’t make ends meet if I don’t earn extra money each month. And it is too hot for me to survive driving in the heat with passengers and food deliveries for Uber. My household air conditioning is laboring hard to keep the house livable. It could give out from old age. And if the electricity goes out during peak electrical usage hours, that could bring about the end for me.

I have, in the past, found some relief by being a nudist inside the house and behind drawn window curtains. But it is illegal to go outside that way. And if I do get a job at either the school district as a substitute, or at Walmart, I will most likely have to put on clothes to go to work and earn money. Unless, of course, the whole society decides to go clothing-free due to the oppressive heat effects of climate change in Texas. It could happen.

But when I joke about naked truth, I am not merely punning around about physical nakedness. I am talking about exposing what’s underneath, revealing the truth that was previously cloaked under something artificial. That’s why the truth underlying my 1990’s monster-movie poster above reveals a hidden thing that is truth about me as an artist and a writer. I am not only the mad scientist (admittedly a much younger version of me) creating a robot girl in my evil castle laboratory, but I am figuratively also showing you how I write or draw a character, using an underlying mechanical structure to give a semblance of life to an un-living thing, namely, a fictional character.

Unfortunately, there are others in this world who have used their own technical expertise to create the heat-extinction scenario we now have to live in. And that is not merely a figurative exaggeration of a very real truth.

Fossil-fuel profiteers like the Koch Brothers and Exxon Corporation have known what the consequences of their unbridled exploitation of a natural resource were going to be since studies were done by their own researchers back in the 1970’s. They made the conscious decision to take maximum profits from their non-renewable resource knowing that their own grandchildren would have to face the fire-breathing dragon they created after their own lives of obscene wealth and comfort were already over. (I do hope those evil people’s grandchildren at least taste good when the poor and deceived people eat them.) So, we face a world of flooded lowlands, intense heat, fires like the one burning out of control in the Amazon today, crop failures, food shortages, and societal.collapse a few short years from right now. Thank you, Charles and David Koch.

The naked truth is, like my backyard sunflower, we are all soon going to be collapsing in the unrelenting heat. But I have lovingly watered the root every other day since I got back from Iowa. And it has yielded far more blossoms than any other single sunflower I have ever seen. It grows and thrives horizontally instead of growing upwards. Just like when a nudist wears ugly clothes to work. He can take the clothes off again at the end of the work day. When the day is ending, there is beauty underneath. And that is also a naked truth.

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Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, flowers, humor, nudes, Paffooney

AeroQuest 1… Canto 1

Canto 1 – Escapade

When you look out the portal of a space craft, especially a large portal like the main view-port of the Leaping Shadowcat, you get a glimpse of the great orchestra of light and silence that has been playing its music in space since the dawn of time.  The diamond-bright stars glow with an electric melody in a great sea of black, littered with the silent notes of the Galactic Symphony written on the face of the universe, and being conducted by God himself.

Ged Aero stared at this silent music as he contemplated his brother’s plan.  Ham Aero had proposed the impossible.  How could it be the only solution?

“You can’t deny it any more, Ged.  The Galtorr Imperium is no place for a man like you.”

“…but the unknown, Hamfast?  How can you expect to get by beyond the edges of known space?”

“Others have done it in the past.  You know that civilization still has not absorbed even half the worlds that Martin Faulkner visited five hundred years ago.”

“Yes,” said Ged, pulling at the front brim of his dirty brown fedora as if to hide his eyes and the doubt that was in them, “but he was an explorer.  He knew how to live in space without any human contact for years on end.”

“What he can do, we can do.”  Ham pushed a fall of thick yellow hair out of his eyes.  It had been far too long since he had had a haircut, but only their mother had been allowed to do it, and she was now gone.  “We have to.  Prejudice against you has reached the point that it will be fatal.”

“Okay, I know that.  But I’m learning to control it.  I don’t have to change all the time.  I can stop it when I need to, and maybe even start it myself.  I don’t know why it happens, but I think I can make it work for me instead of against me.”

“Yes, well, mutations like yours are almost always fatal in the end.  You’ll slip at the wrong moment, and the Imperials will have your head on a platter.  What did they call your disease?”

“Lycanthropy.  Werewolf disease.”

“That’s my point exactly.  We both know it’s really something else, but the torches will come out to burn you the next time they see you change even a little bit.”

“Unknown space, Ham?  Does it have to be unknown space?”

“Yes, Ged.  Unknown space.  It’s my spaceship.  The decision is ultimately mine.”

It was a beautiful space ship.  It was a safari cruiser of the Xenomorph Class, a smooth airfoil shape with silver skin and a photon drive that could leap across parsecs of space in practically no time.  It could land on planets with atmosphere as easily as it could glide through the electric sparkle of space.  It had a good, sturdy ground ATV and accommodations for as many as twenty-five people.

“So how do you plan to navigate the unknown?”  Ged knew Ham was a capable starship captain, but they had no reliable navigator.  And the third member of their minimum crew of three, the engineer, was not even aboard.

“Goofy can do it.  He’s more gifted than you believe.”

“Don’t tell me your friend Trav Dalgoda is the engineer we’re waiting for!”

“Okay.  I won’t tell you.”

“Are you insane?  You’re going to jump out into unknown space with that Lunar Tick as our only means to fix the ship and set our course?”

“Yeah,” said Ham, grinning.  “It doesn’t sound too smart when you put it that way.  But he is an original thinker and a good problem-solver.”

“He’s also wanted on four planets and owes ten million Galtorrian credits to the biggest Vice Lord in the Thousand Planets.”

“Yeah.  It was easy to talk him into jumping out with us.”

“Oh, I’m so glad it was easy.”

The two brothers had started calling their boyhood friend, Travis R. Dalgoda, “Goofy” when, as an academy graduate, he started wearing an eye patch over his left eye even though he could see through it perfectly.  It didn’t hurt that he always wore that silly Donald Duck sailor’s hat that he got on his one and only leave on the Disney planet.  He also had a thing for ties with weird pictures or sayings on them.  Trav was one of a kind.

“I guess I understand your plan finally,” Ged said morosely to Ham.  “You’re going to bring an end to my suffering by committing suicide in deep unknown space.”

“Yeah,” said Ham staring out the view port at the silent music of the stars, “Something like that…”

At that moment, a blazing piece of space junk trailing sparking debris came fluttering toward them like a wounded sparrow.

“Oh, gawd!  Get to the co-pilot console, Ged!”

Whatever it was, it was maneuvering, using powered flight.  It was apparently seeking them out.

“Any bets that this burning space-ball is Goofy?” Ham asked as he strapped himself into the pilot chair.

As if in answer, Trav’s voice came over the ship-to-ship commo.  “Ham-boy!  You gotta help me.  I picked up a band of followers on my way out of system!”

“Yep.  That’s Goofy,” moaned Ged.

“I’m pickin’ up bad guys!” shouted Ham.  He flipped on the commo.  “Goof?  You got six of them on your tail?”

“Oh, is that all?  My sensors are out.  I figured it was more like fifty.  Pinwheel Corsairs, ain’t they?”

“Yes.  I make them to be Tron Blastarr and Maggie the Knife.  What’s your beef with them?”

“Oh, they’re friends of mine.  I helped them loot a cargo out of Mingo Downport.  They just didn’t like the ninety-ten split I left them with.”

“Typical,” muttered Ged.  “They got the ten, right?”

“Could I split it any less fair than that?” Trav answered. Ham launched the Leaping Shadowcat into an arching intercept course.  Ham had never done a high-speed docking maneuver before, that Ged knew of, but the young pilot was about to learn fast.

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Filed under humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

What Next?

So, now that I have finished another novel that I have been working on for more than twenty years, I have decided to turn away from the hometown novels and take up some science fiction/humor again.

And I, of course, am not smart enough by any stretch of the imagination to avoid choosing my disastrous first novel from 2007, AeroQuest. This particular novel is spectacularly in need of a serious overhaul and re-write.

First of all, it has too large of a cast with new characters introduced in almost every Canto (what I inexplicably re-name chapters). Likewise they are interacting in too many different settings and planets and spaceships without enough individual explication of each. It screams out in agony to be divided into smaller chunks and both expanded and simplified.

The first book, Stars and Stones, will be centered on the planet Don’t Go Here. That, of course, is a bizarre world populated entirely by sentient beings who were marooned on the planet by pirates and space wolves. Even more bizarre, the populous has responded to a growing population with limited resources by adopting a caveman culture based on a lone cartoon holovid of The Flintstones.

The characters and the plot-lines will be pared down and simplified.

And, having done some work on AeroQuest 1 already, I also got a headstart on AeroQuest 2 by creating a cover for it.

My daughter, the Princess, created this space background for me.

So, you can clearly see that my daft plan is to re-write that simply awful book as a trilogy. A Sci-Fi trilogy? Wherever did I get a foolish idea like that?

Well, I always claimed that the original was half-inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune trilogy, and half-inspired by Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. So, that should make for one seriously off-kilter mutant amalgamation of a book series.

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Filed under artwork, humor, new projects, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, Uncategorized

Novel Number 11

It is now published and available on Amazon.

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Filed under announcement, artwork, humor, novel, Paffooney, Pirates

A Mini-Comic for Art Day

Here is a brief and very surrealistic comic story that I have published before… but a long time ago.

I know it is a bit bizarre, and hard to tell what the theme really is… but isn’t that what art is really for? Telling highly personal stories that make you think hard about seeing things through the eyes of an artist.

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Filed under artwork, comic strips, foolishness, horror writing, humor, Paffooney, surrealism

Table Scraps

Jade Beyer, eater of trash, table scraps, and anybody fool enough to break into our house.

While the family dog was watching me intently as I was cooking the breakfast sausages, she decided to strike up a conversation with me.

“You know, beloved father and giver of people food, a lot of other dogs tell me that they get table scraps at meal time.”

“That’s a self-serving comment. And when do you ever talk to other dogs? You’re a house dog that stays inside all the time.”

“I listen to news on the nightly howl, and it’s been a fool moon lately.”

“You mean full moon, not fool moon.”

“That’s not what other dogs call it. It makes their people act like fools.”

“It doesn’t take a phase of the moon to make that happen.”

“So, you will give me table scraps more often?”

“Dogs who eat table scraps get fat and unhealthy and die of heart attacks.”

“Sausages would be worth it.”

“You get enough fat and cholesterol in your diet from eating the burglars that come into the house at night.”

“No burglars came in last night, or any other night that I can remember.”

“Well, that’s probably because in Texas, we elect our burglars to office, especially in the Senate.”

“Euw! I could never eat Cruz or Cornyn. I don’t like the taste of oil mixed with hairspray and arthritis cream. But I could eat Trump, probably. Of all the politicians, he’s probably the only one that looks like he’s made of cheddar cheese.”

“You’d never survive the fat content in the head. Instant myocardial infarction. “

“Well, I don’t know what those last two words mean, but I’ll bet I could survive it. So, when are you gonna start substitute teaching? You get rushed when you have stuff like that to do, and you drop more food on the floor.”

“Well, the school districts are in no hurry to hire me. They seem to have enough subs for the start of this semester, so I have to wait for them to schedule another sub orientation. We could be facing some tough economic times.”

“Oh, that’s not good. No money for even dog food?”

“If things get really bad, we may have to eat table scraps from the floor. And when those are gone, we might even have to eat the family dog.”

“What?! Even if she’s a talking dog and a valuable member of the family?”

“Dogs get eaten before the children do.”

“Oh, I get it. That’s supposed to be black humor. Not funny!”

“It got you to stop thinking about table scraps while I finished cooking the sausages.”

“We’ll see who gets what. I can still give the Princess the beg-eye and make her pity me enough to give me some.”

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Filed under autobiography, commentary, family dog, humor, Paffooney, politics, self pity

Facing the Sunrise

Unable to get well enough to drive for Uber without risk, I now face economic and health uncertainties that could bring about the end of everything for me personally.

I have submitted an application for substitute teaching in the local school district. They still haven’t offered me a job, which I am clearly qualified for, and which I did for the same district successfully more than a decade ago. School is starting Monday. And even if they give me the job, there is no guarantee that I will be well enough to do it.

So, do I panic now? Or wait and panic next week? Or give up already?

That, of course, is not my way. I always approached teaching as a swashbuckling adventure. I may die in the attempt, either at the cruel hands of little school bunnies, or possibly behind the wheel of my rusty, trusty Uber car, But, either way, I will go down fighting with my pirate boots on.

So, I will sign on with Zorah the Sea Witch, joining her pirate crew, and I will set sail towards the sunrise of a new and potentially dangerous new day.

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Filed under battling depression, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, Pirates