Category Archives: wordplay

Auf Deutsch

Gingeyhousegg1n

Hier ist eine kleine Geschichte über die Verwendung von Deutsch, um eine Geschichte zu erzählen.  (Here is a little story about using German to tell a story.)  Ich habe es gelernt, Deutsch in der Schule zu sprechen.  (I learned to speak German in college.)  Aber natürlich habe ich es nicht sehr gut gelernt.  (But of course I didn’t learn it very well.)  Ich muss einfache Wörter wie “Schule” für “College” verwenden, weil mein Vokabular klein ist.  (I have to use simple words like “school” for “college” because my vocabulary is small.)  Ich habe echte deutschsprachige Leute gekannt. Meine große Tante Selma Aldrich kam aus Deutschland und sprach kein Englisch. Sie hatte noch einen dicken Akzent, als ich sie als einen kleinen Jungen kannte.  (I have known real german-speaking people. My great aunt Selma Aldrich came over from Germany speaking no English. She still had a thick accent when I knew her as a little boy.)  Die alte deutsche Dame, die in Rowan lebte, als ich ein Junge war, war ein Holocaust-Überlebender. Sie war eine echte Person, die es kennengelernt hatte.  (The old German lady who lived in Rowan when I was a boy was a holocaust survivor. She was a real person who I got to know.)  Aber auf deutsch zu schreiben braucht Google übersetzen, um die grammatik zu kontrollieren und die Worte zu füllen, die ich nicht schon weiß.  (But to write in German requires Google Translate to control the grammar and fill in the words I don’t know already.)  (Like “kontrollieren”)  Also, wenn Sie Deutsch lesen und meinen Deutschen mit meinen eigenen Übersetzungen vergleichen, werden Sie wahrscheinlich einige urkomisch falsche und falsche Fehler finden.  (So if you read German and compare my German to my own translations, you will probably find some hilariously wrong and misplayed mistakes.)  What can I say?  I am Iowegian.  Ich wuchs nicht auf Deutsch.

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, word games, wordplay

What the Heck is this Blog About?

I read a lot of other people’s blogs for a lot of reasons.  As an old writing teacher and retired Grammar Nazi, I love to see where writers are on the talent spectrum.  I have read everything from the philosophy of Camus and Kant to the beginning writing of ESL kids who are illiterate in two languages.  I view it like a vast flower garden of varied posies where even the weeds can be considered beautiful.  And like rare species of flower, I notice that many of the best blossoms out there in the blogosphere are consistent with their coloring and patterns.  In other words, they have a theme.

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So, do I have an over-all theme for my blog?  It isn’t purely poetical like some of the poetry blogs I like to read.  I really only write comically bad poetry.  It has photos in it, but it isn’t anything like some of the photography blogs I follow.  They actually know how to photograph stuff and make it look perfect and pretty.  It is not strictly an art blog.  I do a lot of drawing and cartooning and inflict it upon you in this blog.  But I am not a professional artist and can’t hold a candle to some of the painters and artists I follow and sometimes even post about.  I enjoy calling Trump President Pumpkinhead, but I can’t say that my blog is a political humor blog, or that I am even passable as a humorous political commentator.

One thing that I can definitely say is that I was once a teacher.  I was one of those organizers and explainers who stand in front of diverse groups of kids five days a week for six shows a day and try to make them understand a little something.  Something wise.  Something wonderful.  Something new.  Look at the video above if you haven’t already watched it.  Not only does it give you a sense of the power of holding the big pencil, it teaches you something you probably didn’t realize before with so much more than mere words.

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But can I say this is an education blog?  No.  It is far too silly and pointless to be that.  If you want a real education blog, you have to look for someone like Diane Ravitch’s blog.  Education is a more serious and sober topic than Mickey.

By the way, were you worried about the poor bunny in that first cartoon getting eaten by the fox and the bear?  Well, maybe this point from that conversation can put your mind at ease.

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Mickey is tricky and gets good mileage out of his cartoons.

You may have gotten the idea that I like Bobby McFerrin by this point in my post.  It is true.  Pure genius and raw creative talent fascinate me.  Is that the end point of my journey to an answer about what the heck this blog is about?  Perhaps.  As good an answer as any.  But I think the question is still open for debate.  It is the journey from thought through many thoughts to theme that make it all fun.  And I don’t anticipate that journey actually ending anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under humor, insight, inspiration, music, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life, word games, wordplay, writing, writing teacher

Hurtful Words

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about how words and the power behind words can actually hurt people.  They can you know.  Words like “brainiac”, “bookworm”, “nerd”, “spaz”, “geek”, and “absent-minded professor” were used as weapons against me to make me cry and warp my self-image when I was a mere unformed boy.  I do not deny that I was smarter than the average kid.  I also recognize that my lot in life was probably better than that of people assaulted with words like “fatty”, “moron”, “loser”, and “queer”.  Being skinny as a child, there was actually only one of those deadly words that was never flung my direction.  Words like that have the power, not only to hurt, but even to cripple and kill.

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We all stand naked at times before a jury of our peers, and often they decide to throw stones.

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I try to commit acts of humor in this blog.  Or, at least, acts of verbal nit-witted goofiness that make at least me laugh.  I have been told by readers and students and those forced to listen that I only think I am funny, and I am a hopelessly silly and pointless old man (a special thank you to Miss Angela for that last example, used to tell me off in front of a science class I was substitute teaching years ago.)  But those words do not hurt me.  I am immune to their power because I know what the words mean and I am wizard enough to shape, direct, and control their power.

I have stated before that I don’t approve of insult humor (usually right before calling Trump a pumpkin-head, or otherwise insulting other members of the ruling Empire of Evil Idiots).   And I don’t mean to shame others or make them feel belittled by my writing.  But sometimes it happens and can’t be helped.

This blog isn’t about entertainment.  I am not a stand-up comedian working on joke material.  I use this blog as a laboratory for creating words and ideas.  It is mostly raw material that I mean to shape into gemstones that can be used to decorate or structurally support my crown jewel novels.  I use it to piece ideas together… stitch metaphors and bake gooseberry pies of unusual thinking. I use it to reflect on what I have written and what I have been working on.  And sometimes, like today, I use it to reflect on how readers take what I have written and respond or use it for ideas of their own.  That’s why I never reject or delete comments.  They are useful, even when they are barbed and stinging.  I made an entire post out of them yesterday.

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I try hard myself to be tough in the face of hurtful words.  You have to learn that essential Superman skill to be a middle school and high school teacher.  It is there in those foundries for word-bullets that the most hurtful words are regularly wielded.  The skill is useful for when you need the word bullets to bounce off you, especially if you are standing between the shooter and someone else.  But I can never feel completely safe.  Some words are kryptonite and will harm me no matter what I do.  Some words you simply must avoid.

Anyway, there is my essay on hurtful words.  If you want to consider all of that being my two cents on the matter… well, I probably owe you a dollar fifty-five.

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Filed under angry rant, blog posting, commentary, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, William Shakespeare, wisdom, word games, wordplay, writing humor

Speaking in Iowegian

“We’re from Ioway…Ioway!

State of all the land…

Joy on every hand…

We’re from Ioway…Ioway!

That’s where the tall corn grows!”

Yep, I was an Iowa boy.  I sang that stupid song with pride, though we never once called our home State “Ioway” outside of that song.  I have driven a tractor, made money for pulling buttonweeds out of soybean fields with my own two hands, watched the wind ripple the leaves in the cornfields like waves on bright green ocean water, and hid in the basement when we believed a tornado might come and destroy our house.  Life in Iowa is made up of these things and many more, don’t ya know.

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And of course, I learned to tell corny jokes along the way.  That’s a must for a quick-wit-hick from the sticks.  Pepsi and Coke and Mountain Dew are “pop”, and when you have to “run down to the store” you get in your car.  You don’t have to do it by foot.  And other Iowans know this.  You don’t even get the raised eyebrows and funny stares that those things evoke when said aloud in Carrollton, Texas.  You have to explain to Texans that “you guys” is how Iowegian speakers say “y’all”.  Language is plain and simple when you speak Iowegian.  You have to follow the rule of “Only speak when you’re spoken to”.  Iowans are suspicious when somebody talks first, especially if you haven’t known that somebody for their entire life.  That’s what an Iowan calls a “stranger” .  “Frank is from Iowa Falls, and he’s only lived here for twelve years, so he’s still a stranger around here.”   So large portions of Iowegian conversations are made up of grunts and nods.  Two Iowegians can talk for hours saying only like ten words the entire time.  “Yep.  You bet.”

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But that only applies when you are outside the confines of the local cafe or restaurant or beanery or eatery or other nesting places for the Iowegian gossiping hens and strutting roosters.   Inside these wordy-walled exchanges for farm lore and lies there is no end to to the talking.  And because the mouths are already in motion anyway, there is also no end to the eating.  You are not too likely to see skinny farmers.  But farms and farmers definitely affect the quality of conversations.  In Iowa you have to learn how to stuff good grub in your pie hole in spite of the fact that farmers have decided to compare in detail the aromas associated with putting cow poop in the manure spreader (back in the day, of course) and mucking out a layer of toxic chicken whitewash from the chicken coop.  Perfect topic to accompany that piece of lemon meringue pie (which is the perfect color to illustrate the chicken side of the argument).  And, of course, if you have a family of health-care and service professionals like mine (mother was a registered nurse for forty years), you get to add to that discussions of perforated gall bladders, kidney resections, and mean old biddies that have to be helped on and off the bedpans.  You must develop a strong tolerance and an even stronger stomach, or you are doomed to be skinny and underfed.

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And since Iowegian is a language that is very simple, direct, and mostly about poop, they practically all voted for Trump.  Like him they never use transitions more than starting sentences with “And” or “But”, so they understand him mostly, even though there is no chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that he understands them.   It’s what allowed them to elect a mouth-breathing troglodyte like Steve King to the House of Representatives, and I can say that because they have no idea what “troglodyte” means, and will probably think it is a complement because it has so many syllables.  Insults have four letters.  Politics in Iowa is simple and direct too.  Basically, if you are not a Republican you are wrong.  Of course, somehow the State managed to go for Obama over Romney, but that was probably because, to an Iowan, neither one was right, and Mormons are wrong-er than anybody.

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So there’s my brief and beautiful bouquet of Iowegian words and their explanatory weegification.  I know there is a lot more to say about how Iowegians talk.  But I can’t say it here because my short Iowegian attention span is already wandering.  So let me wrap it up with one final weegification (yes, that is a made-up word, not a one-time typo mistake).

 

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Filed under autobiography, family, farm boy, farming, humor, red States, strange and wonderful ideas about life, word games, wordplay

Explaining the Words

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I used to have political arguments all the time with my father that would end only in frustration… for me.  He was happy to see his offspring boiling over ideas with smoke coming out of both ears.  Because no matter what I said, he would always take the opposite position just to oppose me.  I know this because I tested it.  I would counter an argument he had just made by rephrasing it so that it was in different words, but meant exactly the same thing he had just said to me.  Naturally he came up with opposing views immediately.  One time I even flat out stated, “I agree with you!”  Which naturally led to an immediate and complete reversal of the position on his part.  I think now that he was training me to think more deeply about things than just parroting talking points heard on television.  Either that, or he really really loved to argue.

The most important thing I learned in the endless arguments about Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, Two Bushes, and Bill Clinton was that you have to establish the meanings of the terms you are using.  Hence the reason for this post.

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The words that made the most difference in my discussions with my father were “liberal”, “fascist”, “conservative”, and “communist”.  When my dad used those terms, “conservative” always meant “good guys” and the other three words meant “bad guys”.  But when I listened to the policies and concerns he wanted to talk about, whenever he said the word “conservative” he was really saying “moderate”.    And because he was pretty much in the center of the political spectrum, he thought of fascists and communists as being the same thing.  If my father ever was truly wrong about anything political, it was when he followed Ronald Reagan’s affable, smiling “Morning in America” politics towards the far right and abandoned the moderate principles he held dear.  He had been deceived by Nixon, and regretted it… in fact, we all were deceived and we all regretted it.  But that did not prevent him from being deceived by later Republicans.  We both have had a long-standing admiration for President Eisenhower, Senator Bob Dole, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator John McCain.  They represent the moderate wing of the Republican Party.  But the GOP has marched relentlessly towards fascism and oligarchy of the rich, and we both feel that has tainted both Grassley and McCain.  My dad ended up voting for Barack Obama twice.  Obama, to him, is Eisenhower reincarnated.  The problem, we both agree, has come anytime American politics have moved away from the center.

So let me begin defining terms by ridiculing the Loony Left.c360_2016-12-26-23-19-35-929aa

Being liberal means promoting change.  Hence, the Marxist devotion to revolution and the desire to have an on-going revolution of constant change.  Unfortunately constant change is another way to define chaos.  That is the main reason that communist-socialist experiments have generally ended in violence, economic collapse, and fascist-type strong-man oppression.  The poor raggedy communist in my cartoon, standing on the left end of the spectrum is always doomed to poverty and violent death.  If you don’t believe that, just ask Leon Trotsky if it isn’t so.  Oh, wait, you can’t.  Stalin had him murdered.  Stalin ended the Russian experiment by cracking down on everything, making himself the antithesis of actual socialist ideas.  I included the ultra-liberal philosopher and hedonist Alistair Crowley on this end of the spectrum because he fought against all social norms and rules.  That sort of religion leads to sexual depravity, vice, and corruption to a degree that got Crowley labeled “the Most Evil Man Who Ever Lived” in a BBC documentary.

Sometimes being liberal is needed desperately.  Then you get the kind of liberal change agents that JFK was (and thankfully, LBJ carried out his liberal changes to an American society crippled by racism and xenophobia).  Martin Luther King Jr. was also that kind of agent of change.  Bernie Sanders is a parallel agent of change to JFK in that Barack Obama’s policies are almost a mirror image of Eisenhower’s in the 1950’s.  What the media today labels as a liberal is equivalent to moderate Republicans before Nixon.  Very similar changes are needed in social and economic areas today.  We have yet to see if Sanders can get elected in 2020 and then assassinated shortly thereafter.

You can probably tell that this article is not yet complete.  I have a lot more loony liberal pontificating to do (and please note, I said “pontificating” not “defecating”.  I am not a Trump voter.)    But I am well past the 500 word goal for today, and so, I must leave the rest of the crap to be said in a part two article.  Maybe also a part three.  Please stop me before I reach part twenty-six.

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I do so enjoy making fun of Trump and his tiny, tiny hands.  So here I am sharing another lampoon at the expense of the Great Orange Face of America.

 

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Filed under angry rant, autobiography, commentary, conspiracy theory, humor, insight, Paffooney, politics, word games, wordplay

Really Bad Jokes

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If you have the bad habit of reading this particular blog more than once, then you are probably aware that I used to be a public school teacher.  Even worse, I used to be a middle school English teacher.  Aagh!  Seventh graders!  It explains a lot about how life has warped my intelligence, personality, and world view.  It also explains somewhat where I found such a fountain-like source for some of the worst jokes you ever heard.

Now, as to the question of why I have chosen in my retirement early-onset senility to become a humor-blogger… well, that is simply not something I can answer in one post… or even a thousand.  But kids are the source of my goofball clown-brain joking around.

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Kid-humor, you see, is stunted and warped in weird ways by the time period you are talking about.  The eighties, nineties, two thousands, and the tens are all very different.  And those are the various sets of students that I attempted to learn moose bowling from by teaching them English.

Still, there are certain universal constants.

Potty humor really kills.  If you want to make a thirteen-year-old crack up with laughter, roll around on the floor, and maybe wet his or her pants, then you only need to work the “poop” word, or the “nickname for Richard” word, or the “Biblical word for donkey” word into the conversation.  Of course the actual words, even though we all know what they actually are, are magical words.  If you actually say them to kids in school as their teacher, those words can actually make you magically and permanently disappear from the front of the classroom.  All kids are big fans of George Carlin and his seven words, even though most of them have never heard of him.

And violent humor is popular with kids from all decades.  The most common punch line in the boys’ bathroom is, “… and then he kicked him in the Biblical word for donkey!” followed closely in second place by, “… and then she kicked him in the Biblical word for donkey!”  I am told (for I don’t actually go in such scary places myself) that in the girls’ bathroom the most popular punch line is, “…so I kicked him right in the soccer balls, and he deserved it!”   Why girls are apparently obsessed with soccer, I don’t know… or particularly care.sweet-thing

So my education in humor began with bad-word jokes, slapstick humor, put-downs, and rude noises coming from unfortunate places.  Humor in the classroom is actually a metaphorical mine field laced with tiger traps, dead-falls that end with an anvil hitting you on the head, or being challenged to a life-or-death game of moose bowling.  (Don’t know what moose bowling is?  Moose bowling is a very difficult game that, in order to knock down all the pins and win, you have to learn to roll a moose down the alley.)  Sounds like I spend too much time watching cartoons and playing video games, doesn’t it?  Well, there’s more.  And it gets worse from here.  But I will spare you that until the next time I am foolish enough to try making excuses for my really bad jokes.

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The Use of Magic Words

Eli Tragedy

Okay, Mickey, you have said you have confidence in science to the point of not believing in God… at least not the Christian imaginary sky-friend with the white beard and bad temper.  But your use of magic words then makes you a hypocrite.

What?  Magic words, you say?

You heard me.  You use words that give you special powers.  And you believe in them like some kind of anti-science religious zealot.

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                                                                                                  Thank you, Bruce Rydberg, for giving me this useful meme.

Okay, you caught me.  There are certain words that do have super powers.  I know because I have used them.  (And Science is not the opposite of faith.   Just ask Heisenberg.)

I first suspected that magic words really existed back in college.  I read the book Dune by Frank Herbert.  (Followed by every other book he wrote.  I became a Dune-dream believer.)  Remember the part where Paul uses the Bene Gesserit fear chant to get through the psychological test given to him by the Bene Gesserit witch?  You don’t?  You haven’t read it?  I sometimes forget other people aren’t hopeless Trekkies and Sci-fi nerds too.  I do know, at least in my head, that most people have real lives outside of their own heads.  But I did develop a magic word to deal with times of stress and fear.

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Really, Mickey?  You chant this out loud when you’re nervous?

I say it in my head over and over to focus my spirit on what is truly important.  Never out loud.  I used this word to get through my wedding day in 1995 when a blizzard in Iowa prevented all of my non-Texas family at the time from attending.  I used it the day my first son was born when the delivery had to be accomplished by c-section due to heartbeat irregularities.  I used it the day an irate student came down the hallway towards me with metal ninja throwing stars, saying he was going to kill a specific student that was hiding in the History teacher’s classroom.  Yes, it helped me think and act appropriately during some rather intense times.  Sometimes a bit of nonsense injected into the middle of a tense situation makes all the difference in the world.

But that isn’t the only magic word that you made up, is it?

No, there’s the word “Paffooney” which you may have seen before in this blog.  It stands for a picture of my own design put together with words I have actually written myself.  Remember this?

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It still works.  I tested it myself this morning.  It gives you a look at my artwork posted on this blog without risking the danger of going back through all my old posts and accidentally reading something that makes your head melt.

But, really, are your magic words only words you made up yourself?

No.  I think the word “Truth” is a magic word.  It can be used or misused for both good and evil.

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This is very likely the magic word we need to defeat the orange-faced monkey we elected president.  There are lots of words that have immense power.  And all you have to do is believe in it a little bit… and use it intelligently.

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