Category Archives: rants

Und So Weiter…


Page Publishing finally has my novel in page design.  I am hoping to actually seeing a physical book in print, though I am no longer in any way confident that such a thing will actually happen.  The more time that passes, the more I find out about Page being a scammer-type publisher.  The mistakes they made in my work in editing were apparently on purpose.  Now that I have threatened to sue them, I am hoping they will no longer try to sabotage my book to the point they can extort money out of me to fix it.  I think if I had more control over the publishing process, the book might actually sell.  So my resolve is to hereafter do only the cheapest possible self-publishing.


My art, my writing, and my life is basically organic, growing and changing in dynamic and unpredictable ways.  That is the biggest drag on living in this mechanized, grinding-wheels-for-profit world.  I don’t fit into their neat and perfectly stackable boxes of officially sanctioned society.  They have to chop the leaves and branches off my tree of creativity to make me fit.  I am thoroughly tired of saw blades and wood-choppers of the metaphorical kind.


My swimming pool is now a grassless space for reading in the sunshine.  I hope to grow flowers there.  There need to be more flowers in this life.


My work is more real to me now than reality is.  I intend to spend as much of my remaining time on Earth creating things, making the world of my mind tangible and viewable to others.

I finished a novel on my Tuesday blog posts.  I am debating what to plug in there next.  I discovered that the scammers at Publish America are being sued in a second class-action suit by authors.  I might be able to score some money, even though I never paid them for anything.  They have had the rights to my novel Aeroquest bound up in their publishing agreement since 2007.  But my contract is long over.  I can use that novel on Tuesdays with ample rewriting.

I have made peace with the idea of never having money enough again.  Life continues to cost more than I make.  I tried to sign up as an Uber driver for extra cash when I am well enough to drive.  Unfortunately I am only rarely well enough.  And even more unfortunately, my android phone refuses to download either the Uber or the Lyft driver apps.  So I am all signed up, but unable to receive even one driving assignment.  I just read a literary biography of Poe, though, and even though he was a better writer than I am, he lived in abject poverty for the majority of his adult life.  Who am I to do better than he?  For that matter, who is James Patterson?  I don’t claim to better than him, but he is definitely not better than me.  And that dude is a writing millionaire.


The TV Justice League from my boyhood.


That, then, is my “So on and so on…” for today.  Thanks for letting me complain.  If you read this far through my ramble-brambles, you are a noble and worthy reader.  I appreciate you.  And I promise you, it gets better from here on.


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Tumbling the Trumpinator

It has gone beyond the realm of credibility.  How can a pumpkin-headed orangutan with a belly full of racial hatred and Islamophobia still be nominally running this country?  Has he not committed enough irredeemable sins to be sent to Hell, directly to Hell, do not pass GO and do not collect $200!?  I think he stole all the “Get out of jail free” cards before the game ever started.

I have never called this Twitter twit-wit my president.  I never voted for him.  He did not win the popular vote.  He would not have won the electoral college without Republican cheating at voter suppression and Russian influence through email chicanery.  But the terrible things he has done so far have not gotten him removed from office.  Republicans still treat him as if he were a rational adult.  And Fox News is not only putting lipstick on the pig, they are covering him in red, white, and blue frosting and molding him into the shape of an American Eagle.  Why do we put up with these tactics?



Perhaps other cartoonists and I are the only ones who see him for what he really is.  He’s an ignorant con man put into a position of power by billionaires so they can foist their evil agenda on us and have him rubber-stamp it with faux legitimacy.


The betrayal of the DACA Dreamers was fifteen straws beyond the last straw for me.  Who is planning to remove him from office immediately?  I want to help.  I don’t believe in solving problems with guns, but I can throw a mean banana cream pie of satire and sarcasm.  I’m actually Hell at pie-whacking faces.   I can attempt to hurt him with rotten tomatoes of jokery and the silly string  of mockery too.  But even the image of this buffoon in cheap clothing with long red ties is immune to the assaults of mere humor.  He never gets the joke, and it is never on him.  It is on us instead.


He hurts too many good people by taking away things that they need.  He may have damaged the way sick people access health care to the point that many, including me, will die for lack of funds.  He de-values human life by pardoning racist criminals like Arpaio and praising malevolent dictators like Putin.  He puts human life at risk by taunting another irrational man-baby who also has nukes to play chicken with.

Steve Benson /

And no effort to remove him from office for crimes which he obviously committed and shows no signs of anything but guilt about will be made by the party now in power.


So what will you do to bring back our country and our supposed sanity?  Tell me.  I want to hear a plan.  I stand ready with foam rubber whack bats to take the best shots I am capable of to help.  And I am not the only one.  (Truly, I drew none of the cartoons in this post myself.  Good cartoonists are legion in this day and age.)

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Tweedle Beetle Battles Over Swimming Pools



I worked hard to repair the family pool and get it working again this summer.  I failed.  I am now resigned to having it demolished and already set up the demolition with a local company.  But last night we had to go to the city hall and sit in front of 6 of the 12 people who decide things about unsafe structures on residential properties.  Why?  So they could condemn us as useless bums who are apparently plotting to bring property values down for reasons unknowable.  Yes, we must certainly be evil.  The official ruling was, “If the pool is not demolished in 30 days time, the city will step in and demolish it and charge a tax lien against the property to pay for it.”  This was apparently necessary even though we have made arrangements for the demolition two weeks prior to the hearing.  What fun could the city commissioners have if they didn’t make us sit through the hearing and force us to explain ourselves for this hideous breach of social contract and then make us listen to a decision devoid of reference to any of the things we explained to them?  Their conclusion was, “These losers have done nothing to fix the situation, so let’s threaten and humiliate them!”  I took it fairly well, knowing the outcome was already settled and arranged at home.  My wife, however, launched into them with a rant about being unfair and unresponsive to the needs of homeowners.  Smoke was coming out of her ears as she finished.  They simply wrote us off as losers and went on to the next guy whose pool needs repairs for which he has no money due to recent surgery.  Him they made cry and plead.  Rich white folks and one guy from India make up that board.  Their function seems to be to make us feel miserable and grind us up over the fact that things continue to wear out and our incomes cover less and less of the replacement costs every single year.  No sympathy.  No mercy.  You argue, they just blink at you and pass harsh judgments.  So the pool problem is done with.  Double dips of dubious dog poop on them!


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Cartoonists Trying to Save the World

Back in the 1870’s (you remember it as well as I do, don’t you?) a cartoonist named Thomas Nast basically invented the political cartoon.  Back then, a bloated New York politician and his gang of criminals were busy getting wealthy through corrupt business and government relationships.  Nast used his gift for scribbly-art satire to lampoon the buffoons and make the public laugh at the evil he exposed.  Of course, they knew about the corruption of Boss Tweed before they laughed at the cartoons, but the focus on the problem created by Nast’s magnifying glass focusing the rays of sunlight on the problem is often credited with helping to burn up the scandal.

Cartoonists had power back then.  Power over public opinion.  The power to help fairly uncomplicated (and sometimes stupid) folk to recognize the absurdity of the situation and the need for changing it.

So why haven’t cartoonists fried the Make-America-Great-Again orangutan running the country now with his brand of corpulent corruption already?  Believe me, they are trying.

They have already highlighted the way the Bozo Administration manipulates the focus of the mainstream media.  Every time media coverage begins to converge on one scandal, he creates another big, smelly media poop of a controversy to redirect their focus.

And while he is doing his big shoe dance on the tables in the spotlight, congress is doing his rich friends’ evil will in the back rooms.



The end result of this malevolent dog-and-pony show is patently obvious.


Unfortunately, in the 1870’s, the stupid people that Thomas Nast was enlightening had not yet achieved the profound levels of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot stupidity that Trump supporters have now mastered.  Poor and middle-class Republicans, Texans, and other dim folk continue to take the Great Pumpkinhead at his word and believe every utterance of his mouth to be sacred gospel truth.  I have had conservative friends arguing themselves into pretzel-knots to defend his policies and dastardly deeds.

But if cartoonists can’t succeed in shining sunlight on the bloodsucking vampiric old moneybags and kill him soon, his reign will become immortal and we are all gonna die.


Seriously.  We stand at the end of a long chain of greedy b*st*rds raping and pillaging the environment for profit and not caring about the impact of their actions.  We are dooming the planet to environmental collapse because the orange-faced name-stamper cares more about short-term profits for himself and his friends than he does about whether or no his own grandchildren will have water to drink, air to breath, and a place to live cool enough that metal doesn’t melt in the sunshine.


So, I hate to be a double-trouble downer about the whole thing, but the truth is if we are depending on cartoonists and humorists to save the world, we are in trouble.  It is not working the way it did in Nast’s day.  Cartoonists are doing their lampooning and doing it well.  But more is needed.  And if we don’t get that something more soon, then (to incorrectly paraphrase and misquote T.S. Eliot), “This is the way the world ends… Not with a whimper but a bang!”


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I Do Not Love Thee, Mr. Trump

Okay, I gave the monster a chance to prove that he wasn’t as bad as I thought he would be.  But he has proven to be worse than I thought.  We always think that if we had lived in 1930’s  Germany, we would’ve stood up to Herr Schickelgruber.  (Fun fact; Alois Hitler, Adolf’s father, was born out of wedlock to Maria Schickelgruber and later took the name Hitler from the man who married his mother.  So legally, the Fuhrer was actually Adolf Schickelgruber… a fact that humorists of the day used against him to get themselves exterminated.)  Well, now is the time to test that resolve.  There are eerie similarities between that old Fascist dictator and the incoming one. (Another fun fact; Trump’s family name was Drumpf in the old country.  His grandfather, Friedrich Drumpf came to this country at the age of 16 and English-ified his name to Fred Trump.  This is a fact I learned from comedian John Oliver.  Proof at  You should remember the name John Oliver.  He is both informative and funny, and when Donald Drumpf changes the libel laws to include the death penalty, Oliver will be one of the first to go.)


I started this blog to promote my humorous science fiction novel, Catch a Falling Star, and to write humor in the gentle, toothless way I always admired in Red Skelton, George Goebel, and Jack Benny.  Self-effacing slapstick and subtle funny is funnier than insult and bite funny that is all the rage now… at least in my opinion.  But there are also things that happen that galvanize history itself, and you have to respond appropriately.  You have to take a stand.


My entire life has been dedicated to educating kids.  I sacrificed my youth and health… and part of my sanity to it.  And now, this re-heated Twinkie with delusions of grandeur and epically bad hair has put an enemy of public education in the cabinet as the Secretary of Education.


In fact, he has chosen cabinet officials specifically for the purpose of deconstructing their departments.


“What?  The EPA controls nukes?  I couldn’t even remember this danged department!

His transition team represents a total contempt for the democratic duties of government to protect and empower the people who voted him in.

So, I have resolved that I will never recognize this man as my President.  I am part of the resistance that stands against him.  I will not address him as anything but Mr. Trump.  He didn’t earn the title fairly under that cloud of Russian hacking, collaboration over oil between Trump and Putin and Exxon who now runs the State Department.  He didn’t earn that title fairly when the Director of the FBI wrote a letter announcing more emails to Congress right before the election, and then later revealed there was nothing important in them.  He didn’t earn that title fairly when he failed to denounce white supremacists who supported him and after the election win were emboldened to commit hate crimes while shouting his name.  He will be the worst president in history, though I think he will be an heir to the throne of world’s most pernicious dictator that Herr Schickelgruber could be proud of.

I Do Not Love Thee, Mr. Trump!


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Finale – Why The Bad Guys Always Win


There is ample reason to believe that rich guys always win because they have enough money and power to change what is true.  I don’t believe for a second that John F Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman.  But rich oil men, other politicians, CIA operatives who were fighting for their continued existence after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the FBI, and probably Vice President LBJ all wanted us to believe that, so it is still the official story today.  And don’t get me started on 9/11 with that whole bag of spiders and incongruous inconsistencies that Dubya refused to investigate further.


There are a lot of evil Bond villains out there, but the 007-type superhero agents don’t really exist.  No one is thwarting the things that seriously need to be thwarted.

Converting from oil and fossil fuels to solar and other renewable energies does not profit the Moonraker schemes that are going on out there.  Some rich folks have even talked loosely about schemes to reduce the population of the planet to make the damage to the environment into a more manageable mess.  After all, what are the Georgia Guide Stones really all about?  You can look up what is actually written upon them.  It is worrisome.  And who is advocating for us, the common people in these sorts of schemes?


The truth of it is, no matter what we do, or who is out there trying to advocate for us, the United States will not last forever.  Neither will humanity as a species. Neither will life on Earth.  Forever is simply not in the realm of the achievable.  Only destruction and renewal are guaranteed.  So, in some ways, it is okay if the bad guys ultimately win.  My life will end in the next few years no matter what.  And my children will not last forever either.  But the ending of the book does not take away all goodness and value to be found in the main text.  I have lived a good life, and not even God Himself can take that away.

That is not to say that we are without hope.  As I said, we don’t actually know who is out there standing up for us now.  There are some very good and noble people putting  immense effort into the task of securing our future.  We don’t know what adaptations and breakthroughs are yet to be made.


Here are some things to think about.  It is statistically almost certain, given what we know now about life science, that there is life on other planets in this vast universe.  And if there is life, there is almost certainly intelligent life, some of it far more advanced than we are.  And if interstellar distances can in any way be crossed, then they already have been.  If time travel is possible, then time travelers already walk among us.  The only reason we don’t have actual proof of these things is that someone doesn’t want us to know.  It is possible that they don’t want us to know for our own good.  Not all of the most powerful and wealthy among us are evil.


So, while it is true that bad guys always win because the system is rigged, and they are the ones who rigged it, that doesn’t mean that there will be nothing for the rest of us.  There is a limit to how much money you can actually benefit from owning.  There is also a limit to how much pain and suffering a single bad guy  can inflict upon us.  And even if they band together in large, powerful groups, there will always be more of us than there are of them.


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“Because I Said So!” (Why Bad Guys Always Win – Part 3)


Didn’t you hate it as a kid when Mom or Dad used to pull the royal decree maneuver on you rather than give you the real explanation?  “Why can’t we get a new dog to replace the one the junkyard dealer ran over with his truck?”  “Because I said so!” 

Yes, they pull rank or site ultimate power of authority or simply bully you into letting them win the argument.  Nixon said, “If it’s the President of the United States who does it, then it is legal.”  Remember, though, that Nixon was forced to resign shortly after that.

Now, Donald Trump says, “The President can’t have a conflict of interest,” by which he means that he doesn’t have to sell off his international real-estate holdings and put his assets into a real blind trust (not one run by Ivanka).

Does he get away with it?  It will mean, according to ethics lawyers from both the Obama and Bush administrations, that he will be in violation of the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution as soon as he takes the oath of office.  So, of course he will.  Just like Mom and Dad after we buried Scamper.

Obama, as President, was forced to do most of what he did by Executive Order because he was a Democrat, and to a Republican Congress, that means he is automatically in the wrong.  Still, he managed to enforce his will with the I said so’s at least until the righteously heroic Republicans achieved their miracle victory with President-Elect Babyhands Von Clownstick.  Now, of course, his overreaching abuse of the I said so power to do terrible things, like allow undocumented children fleeing from violence and persecution to take shelter in this country, will now all be undone.

Of course, when a Republican is President, that’s different.  Republican Presidents are automatically good and patriotic and protecting the people even when they are lying to create a profitable war in Iraq to benefit Darth Cheney’s Halliburton interests.  Lonesome George the Rodeo Clown when he was President issued all sorts of Executive Orders that were not questioned even by Democrats, let alone opposed or reversed.  In the hands of a Republican President, I said so power is more absolute than Emperor Palpatine’s use of the Dark Side of the Force.


So under President Donald J (for Joker, revealing his secret identity as a Batman villain) Trump, the “Because I said so!” will be absolute.  Rosie O’Donnell, Bill Maher, and Jon Stewart had better get used to the idea of waterboarding in Guantanamo.  We had all better get used to the idea of the White House being plated in gold leaf.  And I had better hope, having written an essay revealing the Cinnamon Hitler’s actual super power, that nobody actually reads this blog anymore.  If you would like to help ease my fears, you could always leave a comment in the comment section that includes the words, “I did not actually read this post.”


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