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Mickey the Wererat

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October 15, 2021 · 7:36 pm

Rooster Riding

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Do I believe in the little people?  Of course not.  If Tinkerbell depends on me, she is dead meat… or maybe dead fairy dust.

But if they do exist, then they are like the rooster riders in my picture, exploiting the world in the same way the big old slow ones do.  

They are not our inferiors or our superiors.  They are us.  They mirror us and our beliefs, our dreams… our nightmares, and all the things deep within us that could ever possibly go bump in the night.

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The Road Home Changes

I am not technically going home when I leave Iowa for Texas. Home will always be behind me in Rowan, Iowa.

But now my sister will live on the family farm place. My parents are together again, but no longer there.

It is not a sunset situation, but a new sunrise.

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My Mother’s Funeral

Dad died on my birthday in 2020. The pandemic kept me from attending his funeral in person.

Mom’s funeral came almost a year later. Today, October 1st, 2021.

Sad as we are, there is finally a sense of closure. We celebrated both of their lives today. It was a beautiful service. And loads of people were there.

It was also a time to mourn. Grief at such a time is proof of love. And the evidence was there of how much both of them were loved… by neighbors… by friends… And by family.

We will all heal, but we will also never forget.

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Struggles in Technological Stew

Have you ever gone swimming in a giant bowl of beef stew? No? That’s what I am doing at the moment.

I am in Iowa right now. My laptop computer is in Texas. I am writing this on an old Samsung Android that royally screwed up my WordPress editor in the last software update.

While desperately trying to add pictures to the first attempt at today’s post, I randomly reposted two old posts by accident.

Ànd I still can’t add a picture.

Ah, life! Swimming in stew. Running head-first into the potato chunks of misfortune.

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Doing the Necessary Work

Yes, I am a writer. I write poems. I write novels. I write and draw comics and comic-book-style stories. And that isn’t me in the first picture of this post. Although it is pretty close. But today, I am once again merely sitting down to the keyboard to monkey around and tap out something in writing to get the old writing practice over with. There is no over-arching plan to follow, no theme already in mind… just little old me sitting down and working at it to get ideas on paper.
And soon, unless the school district I applied to rejects my application for no foreseeable reason, I will be doing the work of a substitute teacher. Of course, that’s not me in the fuzzed up background of the picture. That is not even a real classroom. No classroom contains that many left-hand raisers. And if you could find one, no real classroom has that many hand raisers without having asked the question, “Who wants ice cream?” And a mere sub cannot possibly afford to ask that expensive question.
But that isn’t even the kind of work I meant when I lamely wrote that title. Lamely writing a title is work I have to force myself to do. And that is even harder when you write it first while having no earthly idea what you are even going to write about in the essay. I always told writing classes (the ones who actually never raise either hand about anything) that the best way to do it is to leave writing the title til last so you will already know what you wrote about and what to call it. But forcing yourself to follow through on a title you just pulled out of the air is one way to force yourself to get the necessary work done.

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On the Road to Iowa

We will be on the road starting tonight and driving till probably some time in the afternoon tomorrow. Six of us in one RV Motorhome. My mother’s funeral starts just after midday on Friday. I am sad. But looking back on a life of 86 years and eleven months, it was definitely a rich, full life worth celebration.

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Still Reeling…

My mother is gone. And I will recover from it… eventually. But today I am still sad.

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When There Aren’t Enough Words…

My mother died today at 5:30 in the morning. Of course, she was in hospice care in Iowa, and I was stuck in Texas. Covid and my poor health stopped me from being there at the end. Fortunately, my two sisters were there. She wasn’t alone at the end.

My mother was an amazing person. She was born in the 1930’s in a little farmhouse in Iowa. She grew up on a farm. She and her two brothers grew up with Jack Benny, Arthur Godfrey, and President FDR’s fireside chats on the radio. It was a time before indoor toilets, television, and fluorescent lights were anything but a rare novelty in Iowa. She attended a one-room schoolhouse with grades one through eight taught by the same teacher. High school occurred in the brick schoolhouse built by the WPA and she played basketball in the building’s basement court for the Rowan Trojanettes.

She attended nursing school in Marshalltown where Aunt Jean was her classmate, and she was introduced to my father when he was fresh out of the Navy during the Korean Conflict.

They were married in January, 1956.

I was born in November of the same year. Nancy, my sister was born two years after that. Mary came along after another two years. David is eight years younger than me.

Michael
Nancy
Mary
‘David
Mom is here in this picture with her surviving brother and her older brother’s wife.

She was a registered nurse for more than forty years. She was married to my father for 64 years until he passed away in 2020. And she was always there for me, my entire life, until today.

God bless you and keep you, Mom. I love you. And I will love you still when this whole world is no more.

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Harvey Comic Books


“Joker”, a harlequin jack-in-the-box logo for Harvey

When I was a kid old enough to begin to see and interact with the real world in the tragic and magical 1960s, the first comic books available to me, long before my parents would allow me to pick up and buy Spiderman and Batman and (shudder) comics with monsters in them, were the kid-friendly comics of the Harvey Brothers.

Now, you have to understand that Harvey Comics had been around since the 1940s and made their money on characters licensed first from the Brookwood Publications company that Alfred Harvey bought out in 1941 to provide the building, equipment, and publishing personnel to start producing comic books.

Robert B. Harvey and Leon Harvey joined the company to help produce titles they now owned the rights to like Black Cat, the Shield, Shock Gibson, and Captain Freedom.

…………………………………………Of course, most of those characters didn’t last very long. Black Cat was the only title still being published by Harvey in the 1950s.

They would go on to license characters from Famous Studios, the animated cartoon works of Max Fleischer and his brother Dave. That’s when the kid- friendly, parent-approved comic books of Fleischer creations like Casper the Friendly Ghost opened up the world of comic books to seven-year-old Mickey circa 1963.

In spite of this cover art, Casper rarely wore clothing.

Now, it is probably obvious that there are many ways that Harvey Comics influenced me as a storyteller later in life. It goes without saying that my dedication to childish humor in stories derives from this comic-book source. The cuteness of characters is another necessity of comic storytelling gleaned from these ripe fields of baby faces. And stories advanced by magical means and absurd sidetracks also come from here. But did you ever notice that Casper and the other ghosts all perform in the nude? Yes, I think my childhood longing to be a nudist began with Casper’s naked adventures. But unlike Casper, my urges along those lines were suppressed and repressed by parents and society as a whole. So watching Casper and Spooky and Pearl (Spooky’s goilfriend) romp naked through comic book hijinks were a sublimated substitution for that childhood desire. (Sure, none of them had genitals, but it wasn’t about that.)

…………………………………………….Of course, there were many other Harvey characters to enjoy that actually did wear clothes. I was particularly fond of Hot Stuff because he made such an art out of burning things and being a bad kid and roasting the backsides of fools and hypocrites with his trident. And he only ever wore a fireproof diaper, so he was almost a nudist too.

There were many other characters licensed by Harvey as well, including Felix the Cat, Little Audrey, Baby Huey, and the characters from Walter Lance Studios like Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, and Chilly Willy.

Dell would later take over the comic book rights to Walter Lantz Studios creations.

So, now you know the true story of how my innocent childhood was warped and woven and corrupted by the characters of Harvey Comics.

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