Category Archives: photo paffoonies

And The Rain Comes Down…


And The Rain Comes Down…

Through the wet broken window,

And a dark-colored screen,

I increasingly look down,

On a darkening scene,

On world without rainbows,

Feeling soon I will drown.

“Geez, Mickey,” you will say, “Why-ever would you write such a gloomy pessimist’s poem?”

“Because I prepare myself for the worst.  The worst in this case is that the President of the United States says the solution to school shootings is putting guns in the hands of teachers.  He wants those of us whose hands were made for using chalk on chalkboards, and hearts were made for talking to kids, learning who they are, and guiding them toward a better future, to pick up a gun and accurately take out a threat coming in with legally purchased weapons of war that can shoot more rounds faster than any weapon that the school system will be able to put in my hands.  It is a terrible idea, and he is going to make it happen just because he stupidly can.”


One time at a middle school I taught at, a child did bring a gun to school.  It was a handgun concealed in a back pack.  He apparently meant to shoot his former girlfriend.  But, as kids will, he told friends about it.  They told a teacher.  The principal called the police and confiscated the back pack.  Not only did the target survive without being shot at, the perpetrator, after his brush with the law and time served, was able to right his boat again and sail on into adulthood, a job, a wife, and kids.  He even told me later that he was grateful to have been stopped from ruining his life, even possibly ending his life.  The problem was solved without a shooting because of teacher skills, being able to talk to kids, being approachable to talk to about problems and unsettling rumors, and knowing where to turn for the proper help at the proper time.

Of course, we were lucky on that one.  Stopping that shooter was not 100% guaranteed.  And it happened in the 90’s during the assault rifle ban.  He was immature enough and excitable enough to have killed many with a more powerful weapon.

If it were up to me to become a weapon-toting defender of the innocent, I am fully aware of how little chance I have to be successful at such a thing.  I am a lousy shot.  If I had to face down an AR-15 with the cheap school-district pistol, I would become one more obvious target that any shooter will obviously take out in seconds.  That’s the best possible outcome for the school, because my missing shot would probably hit some poor innocent bystander.

And, of course, conservative Facebook friends won’t stop insisting that teachers need to be armed.  A good guy with a gun can defeat a bad guy with a gun, you know… assuming the SWAT team doesn’t shoot the good guy, mistaking him for the bad guy.

So, even though I don’t like it, I guess I have to be prepared for schools to become battlegrounds.  Every day a shootout at the OK Corral.  I just hope Wyatt Earp is on my side.

And it really is raining outside today.  Cold, February rain… and it depresses me.


Filed under angry rant, autobiography, Depression, gun control, humor, Liberal ideas, photo paffoonies, self pity, teaching

Little Metal Men I Have Made


Today’s post is basically a picture post.  Every metal (or Plasticine) figure displayed in this post was painted by me with Testor’s enamel.  Most of the figures were painted back in the 1980’s.  Most of them were sculpted by Citadel Miniatures Co.  The Indian boy I repainted as a young storm giant was made of an inferior quality Plasticine that melted a bit with the paint’s more caustic ingredients.  That’s why looking at him closely makes him appear like a burn victim.


Not all of the figures are from Dungeons and Dragons games.  These are figures I used in the Traveller RPG.    I also owned the Indiana Jones role-playing game, but the figure was used as a Traveller hero.


These figures were used to play Call of Cthulu as well as Traveller.  Cerebus the Aardvark made appearances in both the Dungeons and Dragons game and Traveller, which was fairly true to the character as he appeared in Dave Sim’s underground comic.


I am proud that my arthritic hands once allowed me to paint the tiny details on these miniature sculptures.  But the red dragon I wanted to display in this post, that I have pictured before in this blog, is missing for the moment.  I spent most of the morning trying to find him.  Oh, well…  I still got to show off my mini-painting skills.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, Dungeons and Dragons, heroes, humor, photo paffoonies

Fools and Their Money


I spent yesterday with the court appointed trustee, under oath, successfully declaring bankruptcy without losing the house or any other protected assets. I have sworn to pay off the amount owed to banks without further interest.  I will be aided by the court, protected from predators so that they don’t eat the corpse of my economic life.

Fools like me are soon parted from their money.  After all, this country’s government and this country’s economy are run by con men.  Cheats, criminals, grifters, thieves… they control the entire government now, and make the rules serve them and punish us.

And I suppose that’s the way it should be.  If money is your only source of happiness, you are going to become one of them.  A credit-manipulating predator and carrion-eater.  I had to go through this bankruptcy proceeding because I lost Bank of America’s lawsuit against me.  And if it weren’t for my bankruptcy case protecting me, they could come into my house and take whatever they wanted, including everything they wanted.  They could garnish my wages up to 100% for however many months it took for my pension check to pay off my debt.  Meanwhile my children would starve.  I would have nothing to live on.  It is within their rights to do it because they own the government and make the rules.  Charles Dickens didn’t even have it so bad.  At least in the debtor’s prison in Victorian London they fed you and kept you alive… mostly.


But I did learn some important lessons for the future.  Let me share that hard-won wisdom with you now.

  1. Never buy anything on credit.  Save the money first, and then buy what you need once you have the total price.  Only fools agree to never-ending cycles of interest upon interest, compounding and confounding your pocketbook for perpetuity.  (Say that one three times fast!)
  2. Only buy what you need.  If you really need that shiny blue doohickimus to keep from going insane, then buy it… but save up the cash to pay for it in full.  And if owning that doodadimus preposterosous isn’t going to provide you with the key to real happiness, then forget about it, and glory in your new-found self-control.
  3. Banks are run by pirates.  They are in the business of stealing your money.  They charge fees for holding on to your money, while at the same time spending your money, and fees for counting your money, even when it’s not really there, and fees for looking at your money, though your money is only blips on a computer screen, and even fees for eventually… very gradually so you will not notice… stealing your money.  You have to give them your money at some point, because you will die or be killed if you don’t.  But taking your money by force, leaving you with no other choice but death, makes them pirates.
  4. Save money wherever you can.  Bury some in the back yard (but only metal money… gold bars being the least likely to turn into worthless soil filler).  You are probably going to need it in the future.  So don’t forget where you buried it.  And making maps only helps groups of nerdy kids find it in the future after an unlikely series of fantastic adventures that all occur after you have become a one-eyed skeleton.
  5. And don’t get sick, whatever you do.  It costs too much to get health care.  After you’ve paid an arm and a leg for health care services more than once, you are not going to be dancing any jigs.  Maybe rolling around like a watermelon with a head, but that’s about it.

So, that’s the wisdom I gained from going bankrupt, for what it’s worth (and it isn’t worth much, or they would’ve confiscated it at the creditor’s meeting yesterday).

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, autobiography, battling depression, commentary, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, humor, insight, pessimism, photo paffoonies

Setting the Scene

As a rabid Dungeons and Dragons player, I have labored for years to build up my collection of miniature figures.  Now, like the action figures and the dolls, the collection is growing so fast it may eat the house.  So, in order to play with them and get some use out of them, I built a cardboard castle, complete with grid for playing D & D.  It is a scene that can be used to play the game, but it is also a place to display my collection.


Toy companies have recently started putting out collectible miniatures in an almost D & D scale.  They only cost about a dollar apiece.  That makes them cheaper than candy bars.  And I am diabetic, so I can’t buy candy bars.


I like to position them in my D & D background and take pictures of them, even though DC Superheroes are not D & D figures.  I can work them into the story of the next RPG sessions.  Batman is a paladin.  Aquaman is a sea-based druid.  Wonder Woman is an Amazon.


Adam West Batman is really, really cool.  Wham!  Pow!  Sock!


Killing a dragon is a big event in a D & D campaign.  And I can do that now with miniatures.



The Flash can rescue Jessica Rabbit from a mad goblin in the Skull Plaza.

So, I reached a point in setting the scene for the game that it has become almost cinematic.  And I like taking pictures of it as I continue to play with all  of it.  Forgive me.  I will forever be twelve years old in my head.



Leave a comment

Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, heroes, illustrations, making cardboard castles, photo paffoonies

Return of the Star Wars Figures

On a previous Saturday I admitted to the crime of using 12-inch action figures to play the Star Wars role-playing game.  The Dungeons and Dragons RPG world was horrified.  You are supposed to use scale-appropriate metal miniatures.  How can you simulate combat without small figures on a grid?  I have to confess.  It was via x’s and dots on graph paper.  But we didn’t use the action figures to represent ranges and lines of site in combat.  And one of my players was my niece, an actual girl.  So, I guess, to be honest, we were actually playing with dolls.

But it helps to have a lot of dolls.


Emperor Palpatine, Snow Trooper, Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, Quigon, Droid Soldier, and home-made Mace Windu

We started play after the first two movies in the Prequel Trilogy.


Wicket, Imperial Walker, Astroboy (What’s he doing there?) Darth Vader, Little Anakin, and Boba Fett.

We got creative with stories.


Jango Fett, General Grievous, and Admiral Akbar


Anakin Skywalker


Robot from Lost in Space, R2D2, Slave Girl Leia, and a Green Orion Slave Girl Dancer from Star Trek

So there is evidence available to my offspring to help them have me committed to an institution.  The truth is, these are not even all of my Star Wars Dolls.  So this morning’s confession session is now at an end, though all of the horrible truth is not yet revealed.


Leave a comment

Filed under action figures, autobiography, doll collecting, Dungeons and Dragons, goofiness, humor, photo paffoonies

The Old Man In Winter


Handling the cold of winter is definitely not my favorite thing.  House-bound more than usual, creaky in every joint, hounded by a nagging cough that sounds like the barking of a dog who is 140 in dog years and about to die, I just don’t love this time of year.  And in Texas, we don’t even get pretty white snow to use as a distraction.

You see me here with my long Gandalf hair and my bristly author’s beard.  I have been furiously writing about werewolves and naked teenage girls.  But don’t get excited. It is not a sexy sort of thing.  Rather, it’s a comedy about feeling monstrous because of physical and emotional differences you have no control over, and, of course, prejudice against those who are different.   So I am keeping my head warm in cold weather by thinking too much.

There is evidence all around me of this.  I have so much indoor time on my hands due to weather that I am caught up in silly old man ideas and obsessions.


I am taking pictures of frost patterns for cartoonish reasons.


I can’t help but spend time on the computer doing things like making use of the vast storehouse of useless knowledge that I keep in a back room inside my head.


20171231_150717It seems I am rather good at it, too.  Who knew that a life spent as a teacher would make you into the sort of Jeopardy genius that could earn a million dollars on a show that you will never ever have a chance to get on, and if, by some miracle, you did, you would get a first round question about the atomic weight of molybdenum and you’d say, “What is 42?” because that is the element’s atomic number (and the answer to life, the universe, and everything) instead of 95.94, the correct answer, which you knew, but you got nervous and went for the jokier answer.


And, of course, I can’t help but reflect on what I am missing out on as an ESL teacher, teaching English to kids who speak Vietnamese, Mandarin, Spanish, Farsi, and Tigrinya.  The world of languages that are not our own is fascinating, as well as frustrating.  We live in a time when communicating with others is the most critical life skill we could have, especially since the world is now run primarily by stupid people, and the evil people who love them.


This old man is scaring me.  And he has nuclear weapons.

So, I struggle through the winter of 2017-2018 with layers of old sweaters, jackets, undershirts and long-johns.  And I am not lovin’ it.  But I am keeping my head warm.

Leave a comment

Filed under autobiography, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, humor, photo paffoonies, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Reading Other Writers


Nobody who wants to be a writer gets by with just writing and never reading anything by anybody else.  It is too easy to devolve into some kind of human mushroom that way, thinking only thoughts a mushroom could think, all fungus-like and having no chlorophyll of their own.  You never learn to decode other people and other people’s thinking if you don’t read other people’s thoughts crystallized in writing.

And not every other writer is Robert Frost.  Or even Jack Frost who thinks he’s  Gene Kelly.  There has to be some interpretation, some digging for understanding.  What did that writer mean when she said political correctness was like a tongue disease?  And what does it mean when a commenting troll calls me a nekkid poofter?  Is that how he spells “exceptional genius”?  I think it is.  Trolls are not smart.


I know people have to make an effort to understand me.  When I write, I am writing under the delusion that I can produce literary quality off the top of my head.  In fact, I can barely produce hair off the top of my head, and it is gray when I do it.   See what I did there?  It is the kind of joke a surrealist makes, pretending the idiomatic expression you use is to be taken literally when it doesn’t literally make sense.  That kind of nonsense is what my readers have to put up with, and probably also the reason why most of them just look at the pictures.  If you have to think too hard when you read, your brain could over-heat and your hair could catch fire.  I like that kind of purple paisley prose that folds back in on itself and makes you think in curlicues.  But most people don’t.  Most people don’t have fire-proof hair like I do.

20180103_082404 Of course, there is the opposite problem too.  Some writers are not hard to understand at all.  They only use simple sentences.  They only use ideas that lots of other people have used before.  You don’t have to think about what they write.  You only need to react.  They are the reasons that words like “trite”, “hackneyed”, “boring”, and “cliche” exist in English.  But simple, boring writing isn’t written by stupid people.  Hemingway is like that.  Pared down to the basics.  No frills.  Yet able to yield complex thoughts, insights, and relationships.


Sometimes, it doesn’t even take a word to make the point.  For instance, why, in the picture, is Fluttershy trying to drink out of the toilet in the dollhouse bathroom?  For that matter, why does a doll house even need a bathroom?  Applejack doesn’t even fit in that yellow bathtub.  I know.  I tried to stuff her in there for this picture.  And, as you read this, doesn’t this paragraph tell you a lot about me that you probably didn’t even want to know?


When I am reading the writing of others, I am looking for a cornucopia of things.  I want to not only understand their ideas, I want to detect the limping footprints across the murder scene of their paragraphs and come to know the deeper things about them as well.  I spent years decoding and trying to understand the writing of preliterate kids in my middle school English classes in order to be able to teach them to write better.   And I learned that no writer is a bad writer as long as they are using readable words.  I also learned that very few writers are James Joyce or Marcel Proust.  Thank God for that!  And given enough time I can read anything by anybody and learn something from it. I read a lot.  And it may not always make me a better writer to read it, but it always has value.  It is always worth doing.



Leave a comment

Filed under commentary, education, goofy thoughts, humor, irony, photo paffoonies, photos, reading, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism, teaching, wordplay, writing, writing teacher