Category Archives: photos

Generations Gone Before

Of the people in the school picture from Rowan Rural School #4 (a one-room schoolhouse from Midwestern history and lore) all the ones who survive are octogenarians. Three of the survivors were at our family reunion for Great Grandma Hinckley’s descendants. My mother and uncle were there. Their cousin was also there. The school house stood on the Aldrich corner, near the house where my Grandpa and Grandma Aldrich lived, the farm house of a farm that’s been in the family for over a hundred years. My mother and Uncle Don and Uncle Larry could easily walk there. The rest came from country miles around by horse-drawn wagon.

This is not a school-bus wagon, but rather, an oat-seed spreader. So, almost the same.

Uncle Larry is now gone, but they have survived from the time of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the time of Criminal President Doofenschmertz Jehosephat Trumpennoodle. Things have changed. The house I now sit in was, back then, a place with a windmill and hand-pump for water, an outhouse for bathroom chores, and a radio for entertainment.

If they hadn’t endured through World War Two, and Joe McCarthy’s Red Scare, and the assassination of JFK, we wouldn’t even be here. We are the children of hardship, endurance, and conviction of the rightness of life on Earth.

We saw progress through the creation of Disneyland, landing the first man on the surface of the moon, Bugs Bunny cartoons, Scooby Doo, and the Pink Panther… Nixon and his Watergate break-in, Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk, Laugh-in… President Ford falling down stairs, Saturday Night Live, the Peanut-farmer President, Reaganomics… the Iranian hostage crisis… Saved by the Bell, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones… The invasion of Panama… Operation Desert Storm… the second war in Iraq… the downfall of Saddam Hussein… Thundercats, Jerry Seinfeld, Friends, the Wonder Years…

I am especially impressed that they lived through all those Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethons. And Leisure Suits… Aagh!

Mother’s entryway table with pictures of Grandpa and Grandma Aldrich in the back

And their time is not completely up. Mother and Dad and Uncle Don still move on and go to reunions and bury loved ones… and tend to the needs of grandkids and great-grandkids… And pass on the good things to the next generation… and the next. So it goes, towards times not yet dreamed of.

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Filed under autobiography, family, humor, Iowa, kids, photos

Essential Sorting

The internet is a golden treasure chest with an attached bag of holding for me.  In other words, a lot of the writing I do depends heavily on a resource that didn’t really exist until I was almost 40 years old.  I save stuff from my eclectic surfing forays in computer files that tend to become amazingly complex garbage dumps.  So today, I decided to sort one of them to go through stuff I thought might make an interesting blog post.

So, let me show you some of the treasures I have found that could become upcoming blog posts.   I will go through the sorted files from July of 2018.

The Dragon Prince

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This is a funny, fascinating, D&D-type adventure series from Netflix and the creators of Avatar, the Last Air Bender.

I have recently watched the entire first season, and love this show enough to write a gushing love-review.

Fresh Off the Boat

This is a show on regular TV, the ABC network.  It is about an immigrant family originally from China.  I think I am married to the spiritual twin of the lead female character, an obsessively controlling Asian wife who has to have her fingers in every single pie in the neighborhood.

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It is chocked full of little things that are both bizarre and funny about Asian cultures being assimilated in this country.  And the kids are cute and extremely talented.

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Gene Colan

Gene Colan was one of my favorite comic book artists in the 70’s and 80’s.  I will probably do a more in-depth biography post on him in the future because he really helped me learn to draw in pen and ink.  I copied his work from Daredevil, Howard the Duck, and Tomb of Dracula.  But all of the work I will show you is done not by me, but by Gene.

Miscellany

This is the stuff that didn’t need its own folder.

 

Twitter Nudists

This is one I might not be able to use and still maintain a mild R-rating.  But I am, in fact, a member of the online nudist community.

Theodore Roethke

This one was already turned into a good blog post.

The Wizard of Ozz

It goes without saying, nobody can have too many Wizard of Oz pictures.

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Filed under blog posting, collage, photos

Dealing With Falling Apart

2017 was not a good year for me financially. And nuclear winter could also be referred to as, “an unfortunate change in the weather”. I was sued by Bank of America because I had the audacity to try to reduce my debt with the aid of a debt reduction company. The lawyer originally assured me that I would probably get a reduced settlement bill. Instead, I lost the case and had to declare bankruptcy. The city was objecting to the swimming pool needing repair and forced us to have it removed at our own expense at the same time the BoA lawyers were eating my whole pie. And then, when so many were getting at least some tax relief from Trump’s tax cut for rich folk, I had to pay over a thousand dollars because of retroactive accounting errors.
I also got a week’s vacation in the hospital that cost lots of money because it was a an emergency room visit under heart attack conditions, but determined that I wasn’t actually having a heart attack without the added benefit of telling me what went wrong that put me in the hospital in the first place. I am now suffering numerous warning signs of heart attack or stroke without the confidence that I can go to the doctor without another hospital vacation I can’t pay for.
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I deal with it by biting the bullets, paying the bills, and buying myself bargain toys. The Astronaut Barbie play set came from the Walmart post-Christmas Clearance Sale shelves. It cost me less than half of its original price.


The Captain Cassian Andor action figure with barely pose-able inaction joints cost me less than $4 at Ross Dress For Less while I was waiting for my wife to do her shopaholic thing. And Goodwill Barbie got repaired and dressed, even though I had to borrow G.I. Joe pants to keep her from being a bottomless bare semi-nudist. Toys don’t make the headaches go away, but I am a little bit less grumpy and foul-tempered when I play with them. Plastic toys tend to treat you a whole lot better than bankers or Trump or city pool inspectors do.

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Filed under angry rant, collecting, doll collecting, feeling sorry for myself, humor, photo paffoonies, photos

Monster Mashing

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One of the side “benefits” of having diabetes is that it often comes with an extra helping of diabetic depression.  I had the blues really bad this week.  I am not the only member of my family suffering.

So, what do you do about it?

Or, rather, what does a goofy idiot like me do about it?

Especially on a windy day when the air is saturated with pollen and other lovely things that I am absolutely, toxically allergic to?

Well, for one thing, I used the word toxically in this post because it is a funny-sounding adverb that I love to use even though the spell-checker hates it, no matter how I spell or misspell it.

And I bought a kite.

Yes, it is a cheap Walmart kite that has a picture of Superman on it that looks more like Superboy after taking too much kryptonite-based cough syrup for his own super allergies.

But I used to buy or make paper diamond kites just like this one when I was a boy in Iowa to battle the blues in windy spring weather.  One time I got one so high in the sky at my uncle’s east pasture that it was nothing more than a speck in the sky using two spools of string and one borrowed ball of yarn from my mother’s knitting basket.  It is a way of battling blue meanies.

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And I bought more chocolate-covered peanuts.  The chocolate brings you up, and the peanut protein keeps you from crashing your blood sugar.  I have weathered more than one Blue Meanie attack with m&m’s peanuts.

And I used the 1957 Pink and White Mercury of Imagination to bring my novel, The Baby Werewolf, home.  I wrote the last chapter Monday night in the grip of dark depression, and writing something, and writing it well, makes me a little bit happier.

And I have collected a lot of naked pictures of nudists off Twitter.  Who knew that you could find and communicate with such a large number of naked-in-the-sunshine nuts on social media?  It is nice to find other nude-minded naturists in a place that I thought only had naked porn until I started blogging on naturist social media.  Being naked in mind and body makes me happier than I ever thought it would.

And besides being bare, I also like butterflies and books and baseball and birds, (the Cardinals have started baseball season remember) and the end of winter.  “I just remember of few of my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad!”  Oh, and I like musical movies like The Sound of Music too.

The monsters of deep, dark depression are being defeated as we speak.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, battling depression, cardinals, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, imagination, nudes, Paffooney, photos, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Reading Other Writers

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

 

 

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Becoming a Nudist

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I have been to a nudist park and taken all my clothes off one time and one time only so far.  Yesterday was supposed to be visit number two.  On a Saturday there were supposed to be more visitors to meet and get to know… and I mean really get to know.  But it didn’t happen because of weather and poor health.  It rained.  And my blood sugar was a long way from perfect.  In many ways it was a relief not to go.  I was nervous about being with a crowd of naked people.  I was nervous about how to act and where to go, and especially, “What are the most embarrassing mistakes that beginning nudists make?”

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Because I figure I will probably make them.  And will it be extra embarrassing because I am walking around naked?  Probably.

But I do think it is not going to be a mere one-time experience that I will never do again.  I think I am committed to going back, not just because I am supposed to be writing for a nudist website, but because it benefits me health-wise, both physically and mentally.

To be specific, I have visited the Bluebonnet nudist park near Alvord, Texas. It is a beautiful campground and clubhouse facility.  I borrowed pictures from their website to post on this blog and give them a bit of extra advertising.

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Here’s the things that benefited me the most.  I got to meet some of the most welcoming and accepting people you ever want to meet.  They are polite, interesting to talk to, and just as naked and vulnerable as I am.  You can’t get much more socially equal than when you are talking to naked people.

The sunshine was also a very good thing for me.  The problem I have with psoriasis in old age is that the plaques and sores that result are never quite dry enough to heal when you are wearing clothes in the Texas heat.  But in the nude in the midst of nature, I felt cool and dry and hadn’t even a hint of the old itch that made me want to tear my skin off.

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They have a beautiful pool there, which I had all to myself during that first visit.  The picture with people in it is from their website.  It is one of two pools that they have there for weekly water-volleyball.

I didn’t believe it would be so relaxing and fun the first time I went, but I can safely say the feel of it, the sense of accomplishment of it, the feeling of self-acceptance it gives me, was worth all the risk of embarrassment I faced.  It was a stupid thing to do.  But I am not the only idiot drawn to it.  There are actually thousands of nudists in the United States.  There are even more  in Canada too.  I am actually glad I did it.  And though I didn’t make it back there on Saturday as originally planned, I do think I will be doing it again.

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Filed under goofiness, healing, health, humor, nudes, Paffooney, photos, strange and wonderful ideas about life