Category Archives: Paffooney

The Care and Feeding of a REALLY BIG DOG

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My neighbor, Wendy Wackyname, is the owner of a really big dog.  I asked her how she managed a dog that was bigger than a moose and weighed more than an elephant.

“You have to be able to solve problems you never thought you could have,” she said.

“Problems like what?” I stupidly asked.

“Well, a dog that big not only chases cars, he often catches the littler ones like yours.  It became a real problem when he finished chewing on them and wanted to bury them in the back yard.  When we lived in Oklahoma, our back yard just wasn’t big enough, and the local police kept wondering about what might be buried there.  I guess they had a lot of missing persons cases.”

“Oh, that does sound bad.”

“Yeah, but moving here solved that problem.  We now live next to this nice big park with lots of room for a dog to bury stuff.”

“So he isn’t cured of chasing cars?” I asked nervously.

“No.  But that isn’t the worst problem.  Feeding him is really expensive.  We have to buy a truckload of dog food every week.  That problem has gotten worse since we left Oklahoma.  There used to be a cattle ranch nearby.  At least until the last of their stock mysteriously disappeared.”

I decided I should probably change the subject a bit.

“How do you walk a dog that big?”  I asked.

“Oh, I don’t.  I climb up on his neck and hang on to the collar as hard as I can, and we go for a run.  We ended up in Waxahachie, Texas last week.”

“Does your mother ever let the dog in the house?”

“Oh, no.  Foozy is an outside dog.  If he wags his tail indoors, he breaks all the furniture in the room.  Besides, the doors in this new house aren’t big enough for him to fit through.”

“Wendy, did you ever read those kids’ books about Clifford the Big Red Dog?”

“Oh, sure.  But life with Foozy is nothing like that.  Giant dogs are a much harder pet to take care of than people think.”

I remembered then how my little dog somehow managed to make five poops a day.  Did Foozy do that too?  And how did poor little Wendy go about bagging it and depositing it in the trash?  I finally decided I didn’t want to know.

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Stardusters… Canto 52

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Canto Fifty-Two – In the Flower Garden

Shalar was amazed at the tadpoles’ reactions to Harmony Castille when they saw she had come to rescue them.  First Davalon and Tanith had hugged her and kissed her and then obediently put on clothing as Harmony directed, so that they might cover their sinful and shameful nakedness in the sight of God and everybody.  Then Menolly and George Jetson had done exactly the same when Harmony and Shalar wandered into the Arboretum to find them.  Only Brekka whined.

“I like being naked with my friends and family,” Brekka complained.  “You haven’t made Sizzahl get dressed!”  Brekka was lounging on a large leaf of a plant that seemed almost animated, and seemed to be cradling her like a loved one.

“I can’t get dressed,” said Sizzahl.  “I no longer have any clothing in the whole complex that fits me.  My clothing was destroyed by scabbies and the soldiers Gohmurt brought with him when he slew my father.”

The Galtorrian Makkhain was looking rather perturbed when Sizzahl mentioned her father’s death again.  At least, that was what Shalar thought as she looked at his inscrutable lizard-face.

“I will use my sewing skills to make you some, child,” Harmony said.  “We don’t want to have your soul lost to Christ either.”

Sizzahl frowned.  “I feel a lot the way Brekka does, human.  I have gone without clothing long enough that it doesn’t feel natural anymore.”

“How it feels is not the point,” seethed Harmony.  “Christian souls can’t be saved if they are still in a state of unforgiven sin just as naked Adam and naked Eve were.”

“I don’t see how your silly Earther superstitions apply to me,” Sizzahl replied heatedly.

“They apply to anyone whose soul I can save through Christian love and concern.  That is how you recognize a Christian… by their love.  Race, sex, creed… or species… makes no difference.  I love everyone and want everyone to be saved in Christ.  I can beat that notion into stubborn heads if necessary.”

“I think I see now what makes a church lady such a formidable warrior on your world,” interjected Makkhain.  “You have a single-mindedness of purpose that brooks no argument.  All great leaders can bend the masses to a single, over-riding purpose.”

Harmony looked at him with doubting eyes.  Shalar knew the old church lady, turned beautiful young woman, had no idea what the Galtorrian was talking about.  Harmony didn’t realize he was, in his own lizardy way, complimenting her.

Alden and Gracie Morrell had finished dressing themselves, and Gracie offered, “I can help you with the sewing, Harmony.”

“It isn’t really necessary,” Shalar pointed out.  “Studpopper is carrying a portable material synthesizer.  We can make clothing with any fibrous material you can gather.  There are lot of things in the rubble around here that will transform into cloth.”

“You can make clothing out of rubble?” Makkhain asked, surprised.

“Of course,” said Studpopper, putting the small portable synthesizer down on the potting bench where numerous withered flowers in flower pots were arranged.

“Two bad you can’t make food.  You could save a lot of Galtorrians.”

“Oh, we can make food.  If we round up all those dead scabbies, bones and all, and the dead plants, that will give us enough organic molecules to make good food for years.”

“Lester has volunteered to make plant shoots and runners for food too,” offered Brekka.  “George and Menolly were supposed to tell you all of that.”

“Who is Lester?” asked Shalar.

“My friend the man-eating plant,” said Brekka with a huge grin.

“We will definitely be making a lot of food, Makkhain,” said Shalar.  “And we will freely share it with your people if it will help your planet.”

“It really won’t make a difference,” said Makkhain.  “The atmosphere of Galtorr Prime is degrading at an alarming rate.  Soon we won’t have any air to breathe.”

“This Bio-Dome and the five thousand other sites that my father helped set up have working air-scrubbers that will convert the carbon dioxide and poisons into carbon blocks and trees,” said Sizzahl.  “My instruments have been showing that they are winning the air war since you war-guys destroyed all the factories and energy-making facilities.  We will have a fully restored atmosphere in five years.”

“Okay,” said Makkhain, “but we can’t solve the disease problem that turns us into scabbies.”

“That one is no problem,” said Sizzahl with a shrug.  “Any Galtorrian who is still alive is immune.  All the people susceptible to the virus have already succumbed to it.  I saw that in the genes we used to make the Human/Galtorrian fusions.  We have the same gene to battle the disease that the Tellerons and Humans have, otherwise we would be scabbies already.”

The old warrior seemed somehow deeply shaken by what he had just learned, which didn’t really make sense to Shalar.  It sounded to her like the evidence proved that Galtorr Prime and its people would survive after all.

“We… we can still save the planet!” gasped the old warrior.  “I… I have made a very grave mistake!”

All the others looked at Makkhain in wonder.  All but Brekka.  Shalar noticed the little naked tadpole had cuddled up against the plant-thing called Lester and fallen asleep.

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Saturday Night D & D on Sunday

Yesterday I forgot that it was Saturday.  But that doesn’t matter much in a D & D campaign.  You may not play at regular times… or at all, like this week.  But you do what you can when you can.  Just like in real life.  So let me share a character gallery, in order to give me my weekly dose of fantasy sword and sorcery nonsense.

These illustrations all come out of my D & D notebook.  They are done in colored pencil on colored paper.  Many are copied from models in catalogs, action movie stills, comic books, and illustrated Dungeons and Dragons products, but always interpreted in my own style and costumes.

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Stardusters… Canto 51

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Canto Fifty-One – On the Operations Deck of the Star Ship Bone Head

The forty-two Galtorrian soldiers stood at parade rest.  Tedhkruhz in his ghastly purple robes stood quietly watching as two more soldiers led Farbick, Starbright, Stabharh, and Bahbahr out into the operations deck in manacles.

“Ah, Bahbahr, my friend, we meet again… but for the last time,” said Tedhkruhz in an oily voice that was so oily you could lubricate six Earther car engines with the vowels alone.

“You have won…  I don’t deny it,” said a defeated Bahbahr with tears still rolling down his fat cheeks.

“Yes.  I have won.  And as the victor, it is my privilege to execute you now.”

Bahbahr hung his fat head and cried more freely.

“You know, it is my prerogative as his security chief,” said Stabharh, “to be executed before my master.”

“Oh, yes.  We will be quite happy to oblige,” said Tedhkruhz while swinging the gun around to point at Stabharh.

“Wait a minute,” said Stabharh.  “It is my prerogative.  Doesn’t that mean that I can also choose to not be executed first?”

“Well, now, maybe you have a point there, Stabharh,” said Tedhkruhz, leaking more oil out of his corrupted personality.  “What do you think men?  Do we let the security lizard make that particularly disloyal sort of choice?”

“Of course not, sir,” replied a junior officer.  “Execute him first.”

“Even though Stabharh is scrawny with far less meat on his bones?” wheedled Tedhkruhz.  “Remember, Bahbahr alone has enough bulk to feed us all for a few days before we have to kill and eat anybody else.”

“Okay, Farbick, help me out here,” said Stabharh.  “Surely there is something in all of that which you can use to start something brewing.”

Farbick was surprised.  Stabharh was throwing the figurative basketball to him now?  What did the lizard man expect him to do?  Talk the oily Grandpa Munster-lizard into killing himself?

“I, uh…”

“Surely you can point out to these warriors that Tedhkruhz once had a crew of hundreds aboard his flag ship, the Bone Head.  And then you could ask them what happened to all the rest?  Why are there only forty-four of them left?”

“Yes, what did happen to all the rest?” asked Farbick nervously.

“Some of them died in battle…” said a young warrior.

“And we ate them after they died,” said another lizard warrior.

“And we ate some of the rest because we were starving,” said a third.

“But who picked the ones to be eaten?” asked Farbick, beginning to form a plan.  “Did they volunteer?”

“Of course not,” answered another lizard-warrior.  “Tedhkruhz always selected them.”

The Senator’s dimpled smile had disappeared completely.  He grabbed a warrior’s weapon and fired a shot directly into Bahbahr’s head.  “I truly believe that that is enough thinking for one day.  You troopers do not want to tax your brains over-much.   Look at all the meat we now have.”

“Let’s cook him immediately,” said a lizard-warrior in an ugly hat that Farbick assumed must be a cook’s hat.

“Yes, let’s,” said Tedhkruhz, smiling again.  “And put the three prisoners back in the pit until the meat runs out.  No sense in letting anything spoil before we get to it.”

The lizard warriors dragged the no-longer blubbering mound of carcass that had been Bahbahr away.  He was obviously headed to the cook pots.

“That didn’t go like I thought,” said Stabharh to Farbick as the soldiers grabbed the manacles of all three prisoners.

“What were you actually thinking?” asked Farbick.  But before the small lizard-man could answer, Farbick noticed Tedhkruhz looking at him.  The Grandpa Munster grin was definitely gone.  And was that a look of fear in his eyes?  Fear as he looked at Farbick?

*****

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Why Do You Think That? Part 4

I had to think long and hard about this.  I don’t know how to go about it because I myself am really the opposite of a nudist or a naturist.  I cover up parts of me in public that most people don’t because of psoriasis and unsightly sores on my arms, hands, neck, and jawline.  But I used to know naturists.  I have walked among them, even though I was never brave enough to actually walk naked among them.  But I have this goofy thought that has been nagging me from a back corner of the upstairs filing rooms of my stupid old head.  All people are actually nudists under their clothes.

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Now, if a doofus is trying to argue something as crazily goofy as this, he better have some good main points backed up by real research.  I, of course, am probably not as sensible as that, so let me go with these three main points;

  1. Public nudity is not an invasion of privacy since the person pretty much has to be intentionally nude, and they are not revealing anything that isn’t true of all of us.
  2. Artists really need to draw and paint nudes because one can’t create realistic figures without discovering how to do it by practice.
  3. Naked people are generally happier and more sane than the rest of us.

 

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When I was visiting my girlfriend in the 1980’s at the clothing-optional apartment complex in Austin, Texas, I did not option for naked.  And I really couldn’t protest naked hairy guys strutting in front of me by the pool because I knew what was inside the gate when I knocked the first time.  Nudists are not really suffering from invasion of privacy.  They choose to be naked and choose to be in these places like nude beaches where other people are naked too.

You don’t accidentally become a nudist.  (Even though I wrote a novel about a boy accidentally becoming a nudist in Iowa in the 70’s.)  Even the nudists I have posted in these pictures are not having their privacy violated.  These images originate with old naturist publications purchased in the 80’s.   That means they intended them to be seen.  In fact, I am able to find ample nudism seeking an audience on Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter link to NeoNudist

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BBC Why All Artists Should Have Naked Ambition

And either drawing nude models is an essential part of art training, or all people who learn to draw are perverts and just make art so they can ogle nude models.  I wrote in this crazy blog before about my experience with college-level nude drawing class.  I got a “C+”, not because I wasn’t any good at drawing the naked female art students and naked exhibitionist hairy guys that posed for us, but because the teacher was hyper critical and probably anal-retentive just the way all really exceptional art teachers probably are.

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I am quite capable of drawing the delicate and exquisite nude figure without becoming a gynecological illustrator or even a crude, rude dude.  And there is art to it.  It is not meaningless.

But in the final analysis, we all have a bit of the nudist instinct in us.  We all secretly enjoy those times when we were able to naked, however briefly, in the warm enfolding light of the sun.  If you have not experienced that and don’t know what I’m talking about, then why have you read this far through the post?  Why have my posts about drawing nudes and being around naturists been my most popular posts?

We have that urge to go naked because that is how God made us.  Being naked in the company of other naked people is actually good for you.  At least, Scientific American thinks so.

Benefits of Nudity from Scientific American

Daily Mail Being naked makes us happier with our bodies

In truth, my time among the naturists helped me recover from the trauma of being sexually assaulted by another boy when I was ten.  That was a long, painful journey that deprived me for a while of being able to be naked.  For a while I was too damaged to be a happy naturist.  But I have come so far now; I can even make this admission in writing.  I would like to be a nudist, even if only for a very brief while.  In fact, I think we are all at least a bit like that.  Now, if only my skin would stop flaking and peeling off.

Naked Wanderings

 

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Learning to Reproduce Art Digitally

I began this journey in 2013 as author of Catch a Falling Star, using a blog to promote the book at the prompting of my publisher.  They basically set the blog up for me and then handed me the steering wheel.  And I drove right into the deep pool of creative liquid filled with my own writing, artwork, and goofy thinking.

One thing that was critical was adding pictures, especially my own colored-pencil art, to the blog.  And so, I had to start converting my portfolios full of colorful scribbling.  I bought a digital camera and started my quest to reproduce in digital form the most important parts of my soul.

Here is an example of one of those first reproductions done in sunlight with my digital camera.

In the Land of Maxfield Parrish

It was acceptable enough to post, but look at the unicorn’s muzzle.  Do you not see the glare?  And how about the overall graying of the picture even at the most careful aperture settings?  Not to mention the camera’s penchant for posting the date in the corner if I don’t ask it not to politely enough.

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This one is so much better, having managed the settings better, having bought a 100 watt and a 300 watt light to light it better, and having practiced repeatedly.

 

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This one is even a little better.  It is done on my cell phone camera with a carefully selected and tested app that retains and enhances color so much more easily than the digital camera.

It is entirely possible you are looking at these three digital images and not seeing any difference.  But the differences are noticeable to me.  And I am proud of the progress I have made in four years, even if it is all in my stupid old head.

 

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Stardusters… Canto 50

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Canto Fifty – The Control Center of the Bio-Dome

Davalon was surprised to see Sizzahl enter the control center with a large Galtorrian warrior.  Tanith noticed the intruder immediately too and shot Dav a worried glance.  But he had no idea what to tell Tanith.  Sizzahl was not worried by the lizard man’s presence at all, so he couldn’t be an enemy, could he?  Davalon shook his head slightly to tell Tanith he had no ideas.

“Davalon?  Tanith?” said Sizzahl with a beaming smile, “This is my uncle, Senator Makkhain.  My parents and I thought he had been killed by Tedhkruhz’s forces over a year ago.  He has been fighting with the resistance.”

“Tellerons?” said Makkhain skeptically.  “Please tell me you are not making Galtorrian frog-fusions too.  I don’t need grand nieces and grand nephews who are part Space Toads!”

“You have no right to use insulting language like that,” said Tanith in a quiet voice.  “We are a more technologically advance race than you are, and we have never invaded your miserable planet before.”

“Before now, you mean,” said Makkhain.  “I tracked a landing party of Telleron invaders coming this way.  They are lead by an Earther warrior the like of which I have never seen before.  She is ruthless and efficient and cut down an entire wave of angry and agitated scabbies.”

“Earther warrior?” asked Davalon.  “We didn’t bring anyone like that with us.”

“Blond woman with big muscles in her arms and a very authoritative voice?”

“Harmony Castille?” Tanith wondered aloud.

“She’s not a warrior,” said Davalon.  “She’s what the Earthers call a church lady.”

“Earther armies must tremble at the mention of church ladies,” said Makkhain, shaking his scaly head in a way that looked to Davalon like pure admiration.  “We could’ve really used her in the war against Tedhkruhz and Rekhpahree.  We finally defeated and killed Rekhpahree, but I am the only survivor of that battle.  Your church lady has not lost a single man during a very long and impressive march from their landing site and their initial battle with the scabbies.”

“They’ve come to rescue us,” suggested Tanith.  “We are saved.”

“If they are invaders,” said Makkhain dangerously, “perhaps I need to use you as hostages.  In fact, maybe I should kill you and use your bodies to dissuade them from invading further.”

“No,” said Sizzahl.  “These Tellerons are my friends.  They are the first friends I have had since Gohmurt killed my father.   I would sooner die by their hands than have to fight them!”

“Sizzahl?  You understand… it is not my way to go down without a fight.”

“We are not invading,” said Davalon.  “We only need a place to live until we can figure out how to get back to Barnard’s Star.  We were trying to help Sizzahl save your world.”

“Our world is doomed,” said Makkhain.  “We have let evil people do whatever they want for too long in the name of greed and self-interest.  If only we had gone to war sooner as I had suggested in the Senate, maybe the warlords who have destroyed our ecosphere and our world would not have been so devastating.  Now all we can do is hunt down the enemies we have left and wait for death to find us… either on the battlefield, or in some forsaken laboratory like this where scientists tried in vain to solve our problems by magic.”

“Maybe your mistake was in not trusting in the Lord your God,” said an entirely new voice.  Davalon and Tanith both turned to see Harmony Castille pointing her skortch pistol at Makkhain’s head.  The church lady was both confident-looking and formidable.  Shalar and the Telleron troops were behind her.  Dav felt as if the day were saved… at long last.

*****

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