Category Archives: pen and ink

Christmas Magic


Before now I have never talked about my childhood friend Jimmy Crafton.  It took a long long time to build up enough courage.  Writing this on Christmas Eve makes it easier.

It is not a terrible story.  I can’t think of anybody that fits the idea of a “hero” any more than Jim.  I remember him as a pale-faced little boy with a thousand Watt smile full of tiny white teeth.  He was two years younger than me.  He was in my sister’s class at Rowan Elementary.  He was outgoing and funny.  And he was a hemophiliac.  He had the rare condition of having too little of the essential blood-clotting proteins in the blood that the vast majority of us get to take for granted.  Every day for him was a risk of having an ordinary injury like a bruise or scrape cause him to bleed to death.  He missed great gobs of school days with injuries and crippling pain and the need to go to the emergency room in Mason City for life-saving blood transfusions.  We were told when I was eight that he probably wouldn’t last past his tenth birthday.  The teachers all gave us strict rules for playing with him on the playground… what not to do, what to immediately report, and what not to allow him to do.  I remember one time he decided to wrestle both Bobby and me at the same time.  He had a deep and passionate love for the sport of wrestling, big in the high schools of Iowa.  He aggressively took us both down and pinned us both with minimum effort.  And you should stop laughing at how wimpy that makes me sound.  Remember, I had to play the game by different rules than he did.  Bob and I both had to live with the consequences if bad things were to happen.

The miracle of Jim Crafton was that he did not die in childhood due to his genetic medical difficulty.  In fact, he grew up, went to college, and became a doctor all because of the gratitude he had towards the doctors and medical professionals who helped him conquer hemophilia in childhood.  He got married.  And he even had a son.  Those were things he accomplished in life that no one believed were possible back in the 1960’s.

But now we get to the part that I can’t write without typing through tears.  A hemophiliac relies on regular transfusions of blood to supply the clotting factors that he cannot live without.  And there was no effective screening technique for HIV in blood supplies before 1992.  Further problems arose from the blood bank practice of mixing blood donations together by blood type.  That meant that even clean blood donations were likely to become tainted through mixing.   Far too many of the hemophiliacs in America were given infected blood and became AIDS sufferers at a time when a diagnosis of HIV was basically a death sentence.  And worse, AIDS sufferers were often isolated and treated like lepers for fear of contracting the disease from ordinary contact with them.  You might remember the sad case of Ricky Ray in Florida.  He and his two brothers were all hemophiliacs.  They all were infected.  They were expelled from school.  They even had to live in hiding after loving members of their community burned their house down.  We were horrible to people who were dying of AIDS.

But I can’t leave this essay on such a sad note.  My friend Jimmy was a hero, a doctor, and a dad.  He lived a life worth living and worth knowing about.  His life was a gift to all of us lesser beings.  And this is the time of year for remembering those we have loved and lost.  Jim died of AIDS decades ago.  But he still lives in my heart and my memory.  And if you have read this little story, he lives in you now too.  That is a sort of magic, isn’t it?  I only wish I had more powerful magic to give.



Filed under artwork, compassion, heroes, Paffooney, pen and ink, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Doing Photos in Pen and Ink

Today I made an attempt to photograph some of my pen and ink stuff in ways that are less gray and gloomy.


This pen and ink scene is entirely from my imagination.  Both the gnarled tree and the castle were taken from doodles on throw-away newsprint.  The Buffalo was an exercise in capturing an animal from a photo in pen and ink.  The whole thing is much too big to fit on my little scanner.  Last time I photogged it, it came out as mostly a pool of murky gray with black tattoos all over it.  This time I used my 300 Watt light and bounced it at an angle to get this less murky pastel gray photo of the scene.


I am definitely not the world’s greatest photographer.  I am ranked somewhere in the top 3 billions, maybe, on a good day.  This blasphemy in pen and ink is Animal Town with its jarring forced perspectives and two-dimensional silliness.  Last time I photogged it, it came out looking pretty much the same as it did here.  Even photogging in natural Texas sunlight tends to make this composition into flat gray wallpaper.


Here is an even worse experiment.  This one is an unfinished drawing of a nudist beauty pageant being hosted in Toon Town.  Besides being stupid and in poor taste, the pencil lines tend to totally disappear in the gray fog.  But, truthfully, I probably should have thrown this thing away long ago rather than trying to photograph it.


This pen and ink is enhanced with colored pencil.  It looks better in many ways even though I didn’t change the light source, the filters, or the camera.  Color, I guess is the answer for me and my inadequate photography skills.  We shall see what we shall see as I continue to experiment and learn.  Maybe I can rise up to number 2,999,999,999… with about a million years of practice.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, colored pencil, humor, nudes, pen and ink, photo paffoonies, photos, studio

The Care and Feeding of a REALLY BIG DOG


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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Filed under goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink, pen and ink paffoonies, satire

Pen and Ink in Progress


This drawing is not done.  I have plans.  But this pen and ink Paffooney is a good example of a doodle-point I probably need to make.  The plan does not occur before the ink hits the drawing pad.  No, this one started with a circle.  And for no good reason, I had to draw the girl’s face in the circle.  But what was the face doing inside a circle like that?  I next drew the bird.  But if she’s so surprised to see a bird inside a birdhouse…  Well, you get the idea.  The story comes after the scribbling.

And here comes the controversial conclusion.  This is exactly how life happens.  Stuff becomes… and the reason why only becomes clear later.  Curse me for a doodling philosopher!

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Filed under art editing, artwork, foolishness, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink, philosophy, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Could Trump Actually Be Good For Liberals?


Yes, I did wash my mouth out with soap after saying that title out loud.  But I can’t help thinking such strange thoughts.  It is probably because Trump’s healthcare plans already have me off my meds.

I hear you screaming at your WordPress Reader saying, “How can you possibly be thinking such un-Democratic and really dumb thoughts?”

Well, if you think about it… I mean, hit your head three times near the reasoning center of the brain with a really hard rock… some of the greatest things that have happened to mankind have come from the very worst things that ever happened.

Because of World War Two and Hitler, we ended up inventing computers, and we ended up with a space program because beating Hitler gave us Werner Von Braun and some of the best rocket science minds in Germany.  Because LBJ felt guilty about helping the CIA murder Kennedy he enacted the Great Society and Civil Rights reforms that make up the best of Kennedy’s legacy.  (What?   You say that’s crazy conspiracy theory?  Well, I have been hitting my own head with a rock.)  In fact, the combination of Hitler and Kennedy’s assassination put men on the moon.

Yes, humanity needs really bad times to happen to force them to make changes for the better.  And Trump is really bad times.  He takes food away from school children and old home-bound people so he can play more golf at Mar-a-Lago on the taxpayers’ dime.  (Well, actually, it costs significantly more than a dime.)  He puts coal plant waste into rivers and the drinking water of millions.  He cuts regulations so corporate polluters are free to pour more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and keep us all so toasty warm with global warming that our faces will eventually melt.  (And can you imagine what beauty pageants will be like when the contestants no longer have faces?  Mr. Trump will no longer even be anxious to make those un-announced tours of the dressing rooms.)

The only choice we will have for survival if we are not Walmart heirs or Koch brothers is to fight back and correct the situation.  It is possible that enough people will wake up to the whole Trump trauma to take back the House of Representatives in 2018.  Then the investigations can really begin.  Trump is waking up a sleeping giant.  The public is ready to start fighting back.  Bill Nye the Science Guy is ready to throw some punches for science.


Things that are necessary are never easy.  It is by making too many easy choices that we got ourselves into this mess.  There is a lot of stupidity and incompetence and badness out there to overcome now.  And we must face it or it will kill us.

And it may be a good thing that Trump won the election.  Hillary would’ve been a competent president and nothing would really have changed about the status quo.  We would’ve continued to complacently allow Republicans to run the House and Senate and oppose even the most mild and wishy-washy things that President Hillary would’ve tried to get done.  Now, the Trump backlash may propel us onward towards actual solutions to very real problems like climate change, excessive money in politics, ignorance among the voting public, and income inequality that is tipping us toward a new dark ages and a feudal-technological society.

So the big splash that Trump is sure to make might be a very good thing for liberals who hope to change things for the betterment of a majority of the people.



Filed under angry rant, clowns, commentary, conspiracy theory, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink, politics

The Ixcanixian Interstellar Bad Poetry Challenge

A while back I transmitted a weird alien poetry contest through this blog to the people of Earth.  It was a contest for bad poetry.  And obviously we only write good poetry on this planet as no entries from the native clothes-wearing primates of this planet were submitted.  If you are unclear about the contest of which I speak, here is the link;

The Interstellar Bad Poetry Challenge


While no Earth primate entries were actually submitted (Magilla Gorilla’s entry was disqualified as he is a cartoon character and copyrighted by Hanna Barbera) we did get some entries from illegal aliens.  Their contest entries are submitted here for your perusal.  However, it is bad poetry.  By definition, if you don’t have your Galaxian bad-poetry-reading glasses handy, you should proceed with extreme caution.

This first entry is from a random Space Goon.  It is exceptionally bad poetry, and apparently the Goon who wrote it has no individual name.  He appears to be one of many dumped on this planet by interstellar authorities in order to prevent them from doing any real damage to planets that matter.

Goon Verse


Goon is good

Goon will come

And live in your house

Goon will come

And eat your mouse


Why you no like Goon?


The second entry I intend to inflict on you is a very weird entry I got in container that was apparently filled with radio-active foof gas.  While foof gas is apparently a deadly poison in most of the Milky Way, it is non-toxic to humans from Earth.  The perpetrator of this poem would only identify himself (or herself… or itself) as Bing-bing the Laser Guy.

I Will Kill You

Bing-bing is hiding on Earth!

How can you not understand this?

If you publish my writings,

And allow the authorities to discover my presence,

I will come to your house and evaporate your head!


The rhythm of that poem is very poor, and the rhyme scheme is non-existent.  But it is supposed to be bad poetry, after all.  So I suppose it has just as much chance of winning as the rest of them.

The Mookian Space Elf submitted not only a bad poem, but 8 X 10 glossies of himself.  He watches endless hours of PBS kid shows, educational cartoons, and inexplicable Boo Bahs and Teletubbies.  I think he’s convinced himself that this contest is somehow an audition for a kids’ show.  He claims to be able to sing and dance, as well as be funny, educational, and relentlessly cute.

Hire Me!!!

Ain’t I cute?

Ain’t I sweet?

I’ll give you diabetes so bad,

It will surely eat your feet!

Love me!

Dove me!

And give me so much money

That I’ll laugh so hard I pee!


Yes, if that is poetry, it is really bad poetry.

The final entry is from Ralph the Inexplicable.  This amazing being has been on Earth since before there were dinosaurs, so it is possible he is more of an Earthling than we are.  He is reputed to be incredibly wise, but his poetry was also hard to translate into English since it was all in ones and zeros.  And I don’t speak binary code.  So my translation may be less of a bad poem by Ralph and more of a bad poem made up by me.

Song of Slortcherill

Mee tok funni

Mee tok sloe

Leesen two mee

Ann emjoiy da show

Wheen Slortcherill sings

Da winners all brayk

Da kidoinks all screem

Anna moofins all bayk


I was warned that if I translated that poem with proper English spelling, it would fill your head with so much “wisdom”, your brain would melt.  So I present it here according to Ralph’s specifications.  I did read two of the lines with proper English spellings and felt my head grow distinctly hotter.  So I wouldn’t risk thinking too hard about what the proper spellings are if I were you.

None of these entries will probably win the contest.   They are all certainly bad poetry.  But I am fairly certain that given the competition from this part of the Milky Way Galaxy worse does, in fact, exist out there… somewhere.  And may you never be unfortunate enough to find it.

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Filed under aliens, foolishness, humor, irony, Paffooney, pen and ink, poem, poetry, satire, science fiction

Follow the Yellow Brick Road


For the past two weeks I have been battling the Wicked Witch of the Diabetes.  Her armies of flying blood-sugar monkeys have been snatching away my healthy hours and leaving me with pain, headaches, and depressing blues of worry.  I have been combating the disease up to now with diet and exercise only.  But even the miracle of a handful of peanuts filled with good diabetes-bashing niacin is apparently not magic enough to make me feel better.  I probably have to go back to the doctor and get put on insulin injections.  And that is probably more expense than I can afford.  Health insurance loves to collect ever-higher premiums from me, but they really hate to pay for anything.

In answer to my problem I have started a new art project.  Dorothy with a bit of attitude has flown in on the latest twister to start bashing heads and murdering witches.  It is probably the worst kind of magical thinking to believe drawing pictures can make health problems go away.  However, you don’t just let flying monkeys run wild.  The pen and ink will get a colored-pencil treatment and I will show it to you here on this blog as we proceed down that yellow brick road of life.  And I will get better somehow and someway, even if I have to pull that little con man out from behind the curtain and call him names until he cries.  He’s going to find something in that bag of tricks to help me.


Filed under angry rant, battling depression, feeling sorry for myself, illness, imagination, Paffooney, pen and ink, pen and ink paffoonies