Category Archives: Pirates

Being Bankrupt

I am swiftly turning into a detestable human being.  I have admitted already on this blog that I have not only known nudists in my lifetime, but I have recently visited a nudist park and become one… for a few hours.   Today I am admitting to being a bankrupt individual.  I am taking steps to declare a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

3a1bf775a53fe7a4764eadb74ac6eda8--student-loans-law-school

As with nudism, bankruptcy is really probably not what you think it is.  It is embarrassing and stressful to be bankrupt, at least if you are not Donald Trump and able to gleefully rob workers and creditors and investors by manipulating bankruptcy laws.  But it is not immoral.  In fact, with my Chapter 13 bankruptcy, I will end up paying back everything I owe to credit card companies and especially Bank of America whose lawsuit caused this bankruptcy.  It will just be a managed pay-off with no further interest charges, managed by a court-appointed executor over the next five years.  It will drop the bottom out of my credit rating initially, but may actually bounce it back up better than it was because my debt-to-income ratio will be dramatically improved.  I will not lose my house or my car.  I simply will have no more credit cards.  That can’t be all bad, can it?

powell

So, filing for a bankruptcy of this type has done a good job of teaching me where I fit in modern society and how the idea that you need to pay back what you owe to those you owe it to applies more to me than it does to rich folks.  I will let you in on a big secret.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, even remotely defined as rich.  I haven’t really been poor before now, either.  But I am sinking into that swamp quickly, and the crocodiles smell blood in the water.  It is expensive to become poor.  You have to pay a lawyer to help you get rid of all your money.  You have to plead with them to allow you to continue to buy food and, with luck, necessary medication.  But as long as you continue to hemorrhage money into their money-sucking vampire fangs of profit-making, the rich ones who own everything and control everything and make all the laws will allow you to continue to live… unless it becomes more profitable for them in the short term to let you die.

bankrupt-city

Now that I have driven over the bankruptcy cliff, I will probably try to enjoy the view and the exhilarating rush of air on the way down.  Maybe I will do it naked.  I could go back to the nudist park for the Labor Day weekend.  I would save on clothing budgets.  And when I get to the bottom of the cliff, there is a possibility that I will bounce back up.  After all, if I don’t the bankers and the lawyers won’t be able to get any more of my money.

 

8 Comments

Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, humor, pessimism, Pirates

Writing a Canto

dscn5093 (640x480)

“Canto” is what I idiotically call a chapter in my hometown novels.  Writing a chapter in a novel is a much more complex and difficult thing than you might  realize.  I just finished rewriting Canto 23 of the novel I am working on for the third time.  I will share that chapter here as an example of what I am blathering on about.

Canto Twenty-Three :  Scaling the Wall of the Werewolf House 

“So, you figured out how to get across the gap between the branch and the window?”  I asked Milt.

“Of course.  Look up there at the peak of the roof directly above the window.”

“What exactly am I looking at?” I asked.

“Don’t you see that knob thing on the top corner?”

Straining my eyes, I did see a tiny silver ball thing on the centerboard of the roof, right at the very peak of the corner.  It looked microscopic from the ground.

“Yeah.  So?”

“Well, that’s the answer,” said Brent, pulling a coil of rope out of his backpack.I swallowed hard.

“You mean…”

“Yeah.  I’m gonna throw the rope over the knob thing and then you can swing in through the window like Tarzan.”

I began to feel ill in the pit of my stomach.“I don’t know…”

“You aren’t gonna chicken out now?” asked Superchicken.  “This is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for a Norwall Pirate.”

“And I’m gonna be the only one swinging in?”

“Naw.  If you don’t die swinging in first, we’ll all do it.”  Brent grinned with the confidence of somebody who never experienced accidents the way the rest of us had at one time or another.

“Why do I have to do it first?” I complained.

“Because Andrew decided not to come.  We always make Andrew do the life and death stuff first.  But he’s still mad about the dilly-whacking party going bad, and nobody being willing to go to it.”  Milt was grinning that lop-sided grin of his, like a Cheshire cat, only more snarky.

“So if I die, you will tell my folks how it happened?”

“Of course,” said Brent.  “We’ll make sure they know the whole thing was entirely your idea.”

“And we’ll say you forced us to do it,” added Milt.

I looked up at the tree.  Branches for hand-holds were not too far apart.  I had climbed worse trees before that particular tree.  Then I looked at Milt.  He was nodding “Yes” and grinning.

I looked back at the tree and swallowed hard again.  Then I looked at Brent.  His grin was even more fake than Milt’s.

I looked over at Superchicken, probably the most sensible member of the Pirates.  He looked kinda grim and just shrugged at me.

I figured the time had come to decide.  I started to walk away from the base of  the tree.

“Whoa, there, buddy,” said Brent, grabbing me from behind and turning me around to face the tree again.  He gave me a push towards the tree.

Gingerly I tested each branch before I used it to pull myself upwards.  And then I got a foothold on the lowest branches.  As I climbed higher, Milt started up right behind me.

“Keep going, Todd,” Milt said.  “You can’t just stop climbing.  You stop climbing while I keep going, you end up sitting on my head.”

I looked down at him and frowned.  He grinned up at me.  When he was on the third branch up, Brent began climbing after us.  Superchicken brought up the rear guard.  If I didn’t keep going, Superchick might end up with three guys sitting on his head.

Then I got up high enough to be on the branch that was about even with what we believed was Torrie’s window.  Ooh, did that look narrow out towards the end!  But I bucked up the old courage and slid out towards the little end.

“Guys, this branch is bending down!”

“Be brave.  We’ll tell your parents you died heroically if you fall.”

“Um, yeah.”

So I ended up sitting on the narrow end of the branch, sagging down about two feet below the bottom of the window.  There was about four feet of empty space between where I sat and the window.

“Now what?” I complained.

“Now the rope!” said Brent.  He tossed it outwards and upwards, the coil carrying it up over the knob on the roof peak just as slick and as cool as Roy Rogers ever did during one of those singing cowboy shows.  The rope uncoiled back down until it dangled in front of me, just out of reach.

“So, how do I get a hold of that?” I complained again.

“Lean out and grab it,” Brent said, like that was nothing.  Like that was the easiest thing in the world.

“Yeah right.”  I leaned out as far as I could.  I could just barely touch it with the tips of my fingers.  I tried twiddling my fingers to get hold of it,  That just made it wiggle and dance out of reach.

“Lean out further,” Brent said.

“Easy for you to say.”

I leaned out an inch too far.  And suddenly I was airborne.  My feet were hanging over nothing.  My heart was trying to escape by coming up out of my throat and bursting across into the side of the house.  Or maybe that was my stomach.  My flailing hands snagged the rope.  I bashed into the side of the house with a loud thump, but I had saved myself from falling to my death like the Andrew stick figure in Milt’s diagram.

“Hang on!” said Milt and Brent together in hoarse voices.

“You hang on!” I said to Brent.  He was anchoring the rope with both hands and his legs were wrapped firmly around the branch.Just then, the window went open and the baby werewolf was looking out at me with a scared expression that was probably at least the equal to the one on my face.

“Wha-what are you doing there?” Torrie stammered.

“We came to visit you,” I said, breathlessly.

“Oh, wow!”  Torrie seemed to catch his breath.  Then he caught hold of the rope and helped Brent pull me up to the window sill.  He grabbed me by the seat of my Levis and hauled me into his attic bedroom.

Then, as I sat disheveled on the floor and looked at Torrie, his hairy face blossomed into a huge white-toothed smile.

“I can’t believe it!  I mean, I hoped you would come, but I never imagined…”

“Hey, werewolf!  Swing the rope back to us so we can come in too,” commanded Brent.  Torrie quickly moved to the window to comply, but never for a moment dropped that huge happy smile.

*****

So, there you have it.  A single filigreed puzzle piece in stand-alone form.  In the previous twenty-two cantos you would’ve learned that Torrie suffered from a genetic disorder called hypertrichosis, the werewolf-hair disease.  Because of that genetic anomaly, he was living his life in isolation and imprisonment due to his family’s shameful secrets.  Todd, the narrator-character, has vowed to befriend the secretive boy werewolf.  He is even willing to climb a tree to get to Torrie.  It kinda helps to know that stuff before you try to read and understand this canto.  But a canto has to have its own beginning, middle, and end.  There needs to be rising action, a climax, and a conclusion.  And yet, it has to link to the cantos both before and after.  And in a comic fantasy novel like this one, it helps if there are also funny bits.  You can see, then, why this canto was a struggle for me.  But I think now the hurdle is finally crossed.  So, on with the story!

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, Pirates

Battling Pirates and Losing

Black Tim

I have been boarded and scuttled by the pirates of Banko Merricka.  Yes the blood-thirsty buccaneers have won their lawsuit against me and forced me into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  You see, they ambushed me.  When I was undergoing a debt reduction plan, the evil banker buccaneers of Banko Merricka not only refused to answer all calls from my lawyer, they quietly sold my debt to their ruthless debt collecting assassins, who waited until I had paid off all my other creditors, and then launched a lawsuit against me.  They normally get away with this kind of ambush because people in general don’t know how to respond.  I hired a lawyer and fought back.  I would’ve been able to pay a settlement if it had occurred when I wasn’t dealing with a big financial hit from the city over the derelict swimming pool.

20150916_190529

My Banko Merricka debt was boosted by a couple thousand dollars due to their court fees which I must also pay.   It is a very expensive process for the average American to become bankrupt and poor.  The kind of bankruptcy I will undergo bundles all my unpaid unsecured credit card debt into one huge pile and then, supervised by an account manager, I will pay it off in manageable chunks for the next five years.  It wipes out all my credit accounts except car payments and reduces my ability to secure loans to zero.  The pirates have won.

20160621_224655

But I am not despairing.  I haven’t been able to afford medicine and going to the doctor since I retired, so I will probably not live to pay it all off anyway.  And money is not the focus of my life.  The people who care about money more than life itself do not lead happier lives than I do.  If we lose our house and have to move to an apartment, we can do that.  If I have to get by on less each month, well, I’ve done that before.  Money worries will not be the cause of my heart attack or stroke.  And who knows, if I eat enough spinach, maybe there is super-power to fight back with in my future.  Pirates don’t win every battle.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, monsters, Paffooney, Pirates, satire, self pity

Yes, There Are Pirates in Our World

What is a pirate?  A privateer?  A buccaneer?

There are people in this world who are driven by greed and a sense that they have nothing to lose by risking everything to take what belongs to you.  They swoop in on their fast pirate ships, swing on board your little boat, hurt you, steal what you have, and eventually kill you.  Movies romanticize swashbucklers as somebody who takes from the rich and the villainous as a sort of cosmic comeuppance.  But the reality is they are criminals and murderers.

But they don’t carry swords any more.

They are the CEOs of banks.

black-tim

Bank-o’ Merricka is an excellent example who sailed their Jolly Roger right up to the gunwales of my little boat.  I underwent a debt reduction program because of five hospital stays in five years that drained my personal treasury.  $35,000 in credit card debt reduced and paid off in three years.  But Bank-o’ Merricka, after they learned I would not be able to pay all the interest I owed, immediately stopped calling.  The debt disappeared from my account.  They had sold the debt to a debt collector and quietly sat on the bill as I paid everything else off.  Then, they filed a lawsuit for the entire amount I owed, plus interest, and plus legal fees.  If I hadn’t hired a lawyer and fought the lawsuit, they would’ve won the entire amount by default.  That’s how they clean out most of their victims and prey, because people generally surrender to pirates who come over the rails with swords in their teeth and burning cannon fuses in their beards.

I  may still lose the battle in this boarding action, but at least I haven’t simply surrendered.  But there are other pirate ships circling my little boat as well.  My evil health insurance company are also buccaneers, and they demand higher and higher premiums and co-pays, and routinely deny all claims.  Diabetic supply people keep calling me and offering free meters and stuff the health insurance pirates are supposed to cover one hundred per cent.  I just paid them $260 dollars of a $500 dollar scam bill that hit my little boat like a cannon shot.

raygun-ronny

So, the pirates are out there.  I am still fighting off the boarders.  But I think my little boat is sinking.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, autobiography, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, Pirates

A Day for Battling Monsters

Long John Silver

Today I must see a lawyer about preventing Bank of America from taking all the money in my accounts and seizing some of my non-exempt assets… which may or may not include my house and car.  And all of this basically for unpaid interest payments.  Yes, I had the account maxed out for a few years, paying only minimums.  So I have basically paid back more  money than I spent, but they intend to collect more than merely the unpaid amount.  The lawyer I am going to consult says they are gambling that I won’t hire a lawyer and fight it.  So he is either going to be a great help, or another bloodsucker draining my resources.  We shall have to see.  But in this modern world where everything is about debt… debt they don’t really want you to pay off, sometimes you have to roll up your pant legs and wade through the sea of shallow cow poop.  If I fail to win this fight, I may end up bankrupt and homeless, so it is pretty important that I take on the beast.  It will be something more to laugh about in any case… in the future when the wounds heal.

1 Comment

Filed under angry rant, autobiography, commentary, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, humor, monsters, Paffooney, Pirates

Captain Klunk

20160621_224655

My newest cartoon is a double portrait of Squinteye the Sailor and Captain Klunk the aficionado of horrible-tasting  cereals made from klunkberries.  No… there are no copyright violations here… just satire.

Besides being a cereal aficionado, Captain Klunk is a pirate hunter, at least in his own mind.  Which is ironic since both he and Squinteye, noted pirate hater, live in Fantastica’s Pirates’ Nest.

Pirates nest

Captain Klunk claims to live on Klunkberry Island.  But he doesn’t.  The HMS Sloppy Puppy, his ship, is made of klunkberry cereal nuggets, so it gets soggy and sinks.  He makes up for his lack of ship-ness by being the master of the Science of Boomology.  He gets anyone to their desired destination by loading them into a cannon and shooting them there.  You can sometimes live long enough to try a second trip.

So, that is a brief description of who Captain Klunk really is.  (Oh, yeah, the “C” on the Captain’s cap does not stand for “Captain”.  He is just a Chicago Cubs fan… poor, misguided soul!)

4 Comments

Filed under artwork, cartoons, characters, Fantastica, humor, Paffooney, Pirates, satire

New Pirate Picture

Pirates nesaaat

I continue to believe bankers, health insurance companies, and corporate leaders are all pirates.  The gentleman of the sea dressed all in red in this picture is Black Timothy, bombastic and barely comprehensible leader of the pirates of Fantastica.

The truth is I am a bit of a cartoonist.  Don’t worry.  It is not a completely horrible and detestable thing to be.  Not like being a pirate… or a banker… or worse, a pirate banker.  It leads me to do cartoons like you will find in my vault, here…

The Atlas of Fantastica, Chapter 1

It is a basically incurable disease, and yet… I can live with it.  It will not kill me like some of my other incurable diseases eventually will.

So today’s post, keeping alive an unbroken string of daily posts that now goes back 16 months, is a picture post.  I hope you like it, but if you don’t, another one will come along soon enough.

4 Comments

Filed under artwork, cartoons, cartoony Paffooney, Paffooney, Pirates, Uncategorized