Category Archives: surrealism

Liars Run the Animal Farm

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Napoleon the PIG.

Napoleon the Pig makes himself ruler of the Animal Farm in Orwell’s 1945 book by lying about Snowball, his rival Pig, and blaming the destructive acts of the former human Farmer Jones on poor Snowball.  He is driven away from the farm by the farm dogs whom Napoleon has taught to think since they were puppies. This, even though Snowball was actually the hero of the animal rebellion that drove the humans away.  Collusion?  Perhaps.  But definitely a lie.  And the PIG Napoleon, once in power begins to keep all improvements to living conditions for the PIGs.  Other animals, he says, are happier with a simpler, hard-working life.  The PIGs begin to dress like men and walk upright and wear long red ties.

Keith Olbermann in the video is very much like Benjamin the Donkey, who is cynical and skeptical about Napoleon’s methods.  He also reads as well as any Pig.  When Boxer the workhorse is wounded defending the farm against neighboring farmers who attack and destroy the windmill, he shrugs off the the wound and works at rebuilding the windmill until he collapses.  Then Napoleon declares Boxer will only get better if he’s taken to the vet’s animal hospital.  But he calls the Knacker (the man who renders dead horses into glue) to take Boxer away.  Benjamin calls him out.  He points out that it says “Knacker” on the van that takes Boxer away, not “veterinarian”.   He points out that Russian Facebook trolls used targeted troll-posts to help get Napoleon his position of power.  But Napoleon gets away with his lies.  Boxer apparently dies in the so-called animal hospital.

Now, I am not sure which tiny animal on the farm Robert Reich is like, but he is pointing out in this video that once the PIGS got themselves into power on the animal farm, they lie in order to get their agenda operating, enriching all PIGs (or is that GOPs?) and their political donors.  They are doing it all by LYING.  Pigs lie.  We should have learned that lesson by now.  They don’t care who dies and gets rendered into glue.

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In 1945 Orwell intended Napoleon to be a satire of Joseph Stalin in communist Russia.  But I truly believe, as we are living on the Animal Farm now as the hard-working farm animals, that he has a bad wig on his head with whippy straw-yellow hair, and a distinctly orange face, with the same little piggy eyes he always had.  And he is in power because he tells lies.  And what’s worse, he gets away with the lies.  As long as the PIGs are in power, controlling both houses of congress and the Supreme Court, he will not lose his lying grip on the farm.  We are all doomed to continue being hard-working animals who eventually get rendered into glue.

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Filed under angry rant, book reports, commentary, farming, foolishness, humor, metaphor, Paffooney, pessimism, satire, sharing from YouTube, surrealism

Where We Go From Here

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The 1957 Pink and White Mercury of Imagination

I have so many ideas for posts that I have to pause for a minute and sort through them so I don’t get so busy writing I forget something that is a very good idea.  So, I intend to write today about things I am planning to post.

Sunday I wrote part one of “Why Do You Think That?”  It was specifically about the insane notion that “All kids are good kids”.  The kind of thing only a weird old retired teacher could believe.  There needs to be at least a part two.  I have some other weird beliefs to defend.  “Even we atheists need religion” is one.  “Everybody is a nudist under their clothes” is another.  “Conservatives and Liberals are different animals” is another that might get me killed.

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I wrote a blog post before about accepting entries in an inter-stellar bad-poetry-writing contest.  I have an insane urge to put some of my own ridiculously bad and morally indefensible poetry in that contest.  There is enough of that to seriously challenge for the worst poet in the galaxy title.

I have also been doing some colored-pencil artwork that I want to talk about the process of the making of it and show you the work in stages of progress.   That is a way a blogger can make more out of nothing.

Trump is trying hard to take over my blog with clownish buffoonery, but, of course, I am trying to get away from doing that all the time.  The Great Orange Face is certainly an easy mark for something to make fun of.  But I can’t keep up with other political humorists.  I am too dedicated to avoiding insult humor to deal with a clown that invites you so enticingly to throw pies at his face.  He does it so often, and I have already thrown so many pies… that my arms are about to fall off.

After a particularly bad night of vomiting and breathing problems, I am once again thinking about writing about death and the extinction of the whole human race.  Playing checkers with the Grim Reaper is an unusual source for humorous blogs, but I have enough inside information and first hand experience to turn it into a wild board game played on a roller coaster at midnight.

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                                                                                                                                                                     Yes, I am randomly re-visiting illustrations from my picture file.

I am currently writing a comedy horror novel called The Baby Werewolf.  It is a story I have been working on for twenty years.  It challenges my very skills as a surrealist. There should be plenty of things to complain about in this blog along the way.  I know you probably aren’t interested in that.  But I am. And don’t tell anybody this, but I don’t write this blog for you, the reader.  I write it for me.  It makes me laugh and it makes me cry and it gives form and permanence to the never-ending dialogue going on in my head.

So, as I approach the 500 word mark, this blog stands revealed as a writer’s road map.  If you are one of those readers who actually reads the whole blog and don’t just click “like” after looking at the pictures, then you know what sorts of things to avoid in the future with this goofy old blog thing.

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Filed under blog posting, humor, novel plans, surrealism

What Happens at the Castle, Stays at the Castle

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Part of being a dungeon master is the responsibility for creating the dungeon.  Now I do intend to fully explain the events of the siege of Castle Evernight in a future Saturday D&D post, but today I want to show you my dungeon setting, the Keep of the Duke of Passage, Dane Evernight.  This is me thinking like an insane architect to build a tall, spindly castle that no real-life king or duke would ever try to live in.  But insane as it was, it had to be drawn to scale and the inner workings had to be mapped out on grid paper where every little square represented a space of 5 feet by 5 feet.

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Level one shows the areas you would enter coming in through the front gate.  Colored-in areas represent the solid stone from which this castle is built as well as the rock spire it was precariously perched upon.   The usual dungeon-master map symbols apply.  The little empty rectangle thingy blocking passageways and interrupting walls is to be interpreted as a door.  You can also see that to visit on horseback requires your trusty steed to be able to climb stairs.  So, unless you have a verily dexterous and unusual horse, you should probably ride in griffin-back or dragon-back.

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Moving to Level 2 brings you to where the Duke’s Great Hall would receive you as a visitor.  There are also places you would like to get to, especially if you are a teenage boy, like the harem and the bathing pool attached to the harem, and maybe the Magic Lab, but you will most likely not be allowed into those places.  But you see the dark spots in the walls?  Those are the garderobes.  You probably will be allowed access there, because, when you gotta go, you gotta go, and that is the proper place to go.  Medieval castles have primitive plumbing.

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Level 3 is the level I would most want to see if I were touring this place myself.  Not only is it the place that has the library in it, but it houses the limner’s studio, and the limner is the resident painter, picture-maker, and white-washer of fences and garderobes.

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Level 4 contains the “Party Central” places that every highly social and only mildly psychotic nobleman seeks to spend his schmooze time.  There’s a ballroom for dancing, a solarium for getting sunburn when you drink too much wizard’s ale and dance naked in the sunshine for too long, and a hall of mirrors for admiring the way the sunburn makes your behind glow bright red.

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Level 5 is getting up to the top of the towers.  In a vertical dungeon like this one, this should be nearing the adventure climax.  That was not how it happened, however.  I will tell you more about that in another post.  This is where the belfry bats and the Duke’s treasures are stored.

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By the time you reach the Summit of the Keep, you are beginning to think that something is seriously and morbidly wrong with this Castle.  This is where you will find the Evil Doctor Zorgo and the animated remains of Duke Dane Evernight.   And golem labs next to sarcophagus rooms?  Something has gone terribly wrong here.   But don’t have nightmares about it, or anything.  Rest assured that Gandy Rumspot and Mira the Kalashtar have already solved this problem or I wouldn’t be telling you about it.  Dungeon masters, at least the good ones, never reveal a secret before the dice are rolled.

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, humor, making cardboard castles, maps, Paffooney, plans, surrealism

The Be-Bop Beat of Mickey’s Brain

Truthfully, when I look back at the string of posts in the picket fence of this daily blog, I fail to see the overall map of it in any semblance of pattern or order.  Honestly, I did not set out to be purposefully wacky.

I did, however, set out to be purposefully surreal.  I mean it, I consciously put bizarrely dissimilar things together in an attempt to find parallels and connections  in unlike things because, not only is it funny and surprising, but is a comic act that serves to keep the mind nimble and never numb.  I do think quite a lot.  And I try to see connections between things where others wouldn’t.  For instance, the Coppertone girl with her bare butt and Bullwinkle with his unicycle are both being threatened in a way that is both comic, and taking advantage of their inherent image of innocence.  Neither will lose anything by it.  The girl stands to brown her pale white behind in the sun, while Bullwinkle will probably land on his head and it will make a decent cushion to preserve him because of it’s empty and rubbery qualities.

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Pie makes everything better.  MMMM!  Pie!

I must also admit to a bit of the old telling of stretchers, the misrepresentation of the truth, the loquacious layer-onner of lies.  Not Trumpian lies that land on you like elephants dropping like bombs out of B-52’s.  Little fictions that entertain and elucidate.  It is the most likely reason I keep saying connecting words and phrases like “truthfully” and “honestly” and “I mean it”.  Those are words that liars love.

Yes fiction writers like me tell little white lies.

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I am now past the 40,000 word mark in my latest novel manuscript Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  It is a novel based on real people I have known and loved and listened to.  It is about an old German woman, a survivor of WWII concentration camps, who loves to tell stories to children and bake gingerbread cookies, especially gingerbread men.  It features a pair of teenage nudist girls who believe in going completely naked whenever you are indoors, even if you are in someone else’s house.  It features Nazis, both in flashback and ghostly forms.  It also features fairies from the Hidden Kingdom of Tellosia, a fairy kingdom filled with little three-inch tall magical people living under our very noses.  And it has a werewolf in it, though admittedly a very young one.  It is a comedy with its requisite sad parts, and it is definitely an example of surrealism.  It is also full of lies… err, I mean fiction.

But the real purpose of this supposedly be-bop brain fart in blog-post form is not so much to explain my blog (because how do you explain a blog that goes from Flashbacks and Foobah to telling about Madman Trump to Another novel part… #37 to Centaurs to a book and movie review, to this eccentric and eclectic thing, which probably exists more to make alliteration jokes in the most musical beat I can bang out?) but to prove that I do often think about thinking and how things fit together and what it all means… and how to write a run-on sentence that adds to the effect rather than simply annoys.  And, yeah, I’m doing that.  And it feels like a good thing to do.

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Filed under blog posting, commentary, foolishness, humor, imagination, metaphor, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

The Centaur

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The centaur… Kentaur, Κένταυρος, Centaurus, Sagittary… human from the waist up,horse body from the waist down… I hate to break it to you, but the damned things are only imaginary.  There are no real ones anywhere.  Not even in Thessaly.    The half-horse children of Ixion and Nephele are totally made up by goofy story-tellers in the distant past.

And yet, what they actually represent in poems, plays, stories, and myths is a very real part of what it means to be human and what it means to be alive.

There are many centaurs in literature, going all the way back to the Greeks.  But my favorite depictions of the man-horses of literature occur in what are basically children’s books.  In the Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis portrays centaurs as wise and noble, gifted at star-gazing, prophecy, healing,and warfare.  Aslan the Lion, the Christ-figure of the tales, relies on their steadfast faithfulness in his battles against evil and the White Witch.  In the Harry Potter books of J.K. Rowling, the centaurs live in the Forbidden Forest just outside of the Hogwarts grounds, always in hiding from the human world and shy, at least until Firenze comes Chiron-like to join the faculty, aid in the teaching of magic, and help in the struggle against the evil of Voldemort.  In the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Chiron himself of Greek myth teaches the young heroes, though the rest of the centaurs you meet in the stories are very Dionysian and basically a bunch of drunken party boys… err… party horses… err… horseboys.

So essentially the centaur has a dual nature.  On the one hand they are cultured and learned and wise.  On the other hand, they are directly connected to the earth and the natural world, liking the sensual half of the human experience.  And it might be important to note… centaurs never wear pants… in fact, could never wear pants.

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In Greek mythology, the Centauromachy, or war between the centaurs and the Lapiths, represents a central struggle in the human psyche.  The centaurs are pictured as being as wild as untamed horses.  They are sensual and willful and try to disrupt the wedding of Hippodamia to Pirithous, King of Lapithae by kidnapping Hippodamia and all the other Lapith women and girls.  It turns out badly for the centaurs because they represent unbridled sensuality without rules while the Lapiths (who are directly related to the centaurs as cousins) represent rules and rationality.  We all know how that is expected to play out in human society… so of course that is what happens in the myth.  The rational always rules in the end.

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So I identify strongly with the idea of the centaur.  The rational man-part guiding the sensual horse-part.  The whole teacher-y Chiron thing…  and getting to walk around naked… on four legs.  The centaur is a thing to draw and a thing to tell stories with and a thing to invade your dreams.  Part man, part horse, and totally unreal.

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Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (a review by the Uncritical Critic)

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I love musicals.  What can I say?  I am a surrealist as an artist, and so I am dedicated to combining the disjointed and bizarre to make something that makes you laugh, or makes you cry, or makes you go, “Huh?  I wonder why?”  So when, in the middle of a sometimes serious but mostly comic story of escaped convicts on the lam in the Great Depression Era South, people suddenly burst into song… I love it!

And this movie is filled with creative stuff and biting social satire about religion, politics, crime and punishment, love and sex, desire and disappointment, and, most of all, the need to escape from it all if only for a moment to share a good, old-fashioned song.

The main character is Ulysses Everett McGill (played by George Clooney), so naturally the sirens overpower him and turn one of his crew into a frog.  This is because this story is based on the Odyssey by Homer.  Only the Trojan War is replaced by a chain gang singing spirituals as they break rocks, the cyclops is a Bible salesman and Ku Klux Klan member with a patch over one eye, and when Ulysses returns to Ithica, he defeats his wife’s suitors with a song.  How can you not love a story as creative as that?

The whole movie is shot in color-corrected sepia tones to give it an old-photograph, old-timey feel.  John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson are masterful in the role of McGill’s two idiot hayseed friends.

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Again, I remind you, as a completely uncritical critic, I have no intention of trying to tell you what is wrong with this movie.  I loved it.  I will watch it again.  I am writing this review only because I feel moved to tell you how much I loved it and why.  So if you don’t approve of that, well, don’t shoot me.   Put me on a chain gang and give me a chance to sing.

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Filed under art criticism, commentary, humor, movie review, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism, Uncategorized

Tricks With Lazy Goals in Mind

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As a writer, my goal is to create wisdom and new ideas and stuff that makes a reader feel happy, or sad, or angry, or even slightly insane.  But thinking is hard when your head hurts and your body aches and your sixtieth birthday is just around the corner.  (Yes, this Mickey is nearly 60, but can you believe that that Mickey is going to be 88 on the day after I turn 60?)  Sometimes you just want to say, “Never mind that I wanted to post every single day for the past two years.  Just curl up in a ball and go to sleep.”  But there are ways to get something done even if your mind is full of the Sandman’s leavings and old, rotted dreams.

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You can always get by with posting somebody else’s wisdom… somebody else’s thinking.  You don’t have to work too hard to paste things together.  After all, why else did you have to look at so many cut-and-paste essays over the years in middle school and high school?

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And you can rely on the work you have already done collecting computer files full of colorful crap and stuff you like enough to steal to complete your cut-and-paste scrapbook post.  You don’t have to feel like you erred and are about to have your head cut off by an angry Groo.

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And you know you can get a lot of cheap likes on Facebook with some of the stuff you have available to put in this post.  You have been working at the “Be funny!” thing for a long time, and have gotten almost good enough at it to be funny on the fly.  And when you’ve gotten more than halfway to the goal, you can rest a bit.  Take a nap.  Regenerate the crazy things in your head so you can do this all again another day.

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And if you can have a laugh before you are finished, even if no one else in the world gets the joke… well, at least you will feel a little bit better yourself.

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Filed under battling depression, blog posting, empathy, feeling sorry for myself, healing, humor, illness, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism