Tag Archives: cartoon

That Silly Old Writer, Me!


I was invited to take part in the “My Writing Process” blog tour by a fellow young adult fiction writer, Stuart West.  (https://stuartrwest.blogspot.com)  Stuart is the author of the Tex, the Witch Boy series of paranormal YA thrillers.  He is something of a mentor to me, and easily the best published author I am personally acquainted with.  Before you take me seriously, you should definitely check out his blog.

For this little exercise, I have to answer four questions, then invite three other authors to do the same.  I’m a little slow on getting others to agree to this plan, but I am shameless when it comes to opportunities to talk about my own writing.  I will post the three authors later this week, after I am done begging and bribing.  

Step 1: Acknowledge the person and the blog site that invited you to take part.

As you can see, I’ve done that above, but here is the second mention; Stuart R. West .  (https://stuartrwest.blogspot.com

Step 2: Answer four questions about your writing process.
1)      What am I working on?
2)       How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3)       Why do I write what I do?
4)       How does your writing process work?

  1. What I am working on now is a story that is sequel-requel-prequel to my novel Catch a Falling Star.  That means that it uses characters from that novel, a bunch of new ones, and some from other stories of mine as well to tell what happened before that novel, during that novel, and after that novel.  Silly plan!  Believe me, I realize that while sweating over re-quel details (a phrase that here means a retelling of parts of that novel – I do also realize I stole this particular conceit from Lemony Snicket).  The book will be called The Bicycle Wheel Genius about a scientist who is a super-genius inventor trying to live incognito in a little Iowa farm town after leaving government service.  He is trying to live down a family tragedy while at the same time befriending the boy next door, avoiding government agents and assassin robots, dealing with an alien invasion by invisible alien frog people,  juggling time travelers, creating rabbit-men, and engineering old-fashioned high-wheel bicycles. 
  2. How does my work differ?  You have to ask?  Unlike all the careful plotters, step-by-step writing crafters, and picky editor types out there, I put words and ideas in a blender, mix on the “Are you insane?” setting, and then let it all come pouring out into pages and scenes and chapters (although I call them cantos for some bizarre reason).  I also have to admit that I base a lot of my characters on real people that I either grew up with in Iowa, or met over my thirty plus years as a mostly middle school teacher.  And these stories have percolated in my head for twenty to thirty years.  Did I mention already that I am not a person who thinks in straight lines?  You can tell by the shifts, reverses, and loopty-loops in this paragraph that much of what I call humor comes from my purple paisley prose (a phrase which here means overly ornate, wordy, and down-right convoluted sentences and paragraphs).  (Thanks again, Lemony).
  3. Why do I write it?  Let me think.  Could it be because teaching middle school students for too long leads to insanity, and if the insane are going to be useful in society, they have to do something at least mildly interesting for people who live in the real world?  I mean, if I just sit in a room all day drooling and counting and re-counting my Pez dispenser collection, that wouldn’t be entirely helpful.   Writing honors all the people I have known, alive and now departed, who touched my life and made a difference to my heart.  It also helps me make sense of things that have happened to me over time and shaped me as person… hopefully a person you might like to get to know.  And you can know a person through their writing long after they are personally worm food.  How could I live without Mark Twain or Charles Dickens in my life, and both were dead long before I was born?  And I know you’re going to ask yourself what makes me think that other people couldn’t live their lives better without knowing me?  But don’t ask.  I have developed a certain amount of wisdom over the course of my life, and I know I really don’t want an answer to that question.
  4. How does my writing process work?  I have taught the writing process in the classroom so many times, that the only answer I am still sane enough to give is that everyone’s process is entirely different.  I can, however, drop an insight or two on you.  First of all, everything I have ever written is still a part of what I call Prewriting… with a capital P.  Everything ever written can be rewritten and improved.  Secondly, it is important to re-read what you write.  I hate typos and mistakes in what is supposed to be “finished” writing.  It is the reason I hate the entire experience of my first published novel, Aeroquest.    That writing will never be okay until I have a chance to re-write it and re-tell it and re-everything it.  Dang it.  Thirdly, you must carefully consider who to allow to have input on your rough draft and re-worked copies.  Even some professional editors don’t bother to try to see things in a way that reflects the fact that they care about what you have written.  You need someone on your side to share it, and love it, and cherish it the way you do.  Only that person will give you input that is worth listening to.  Fourthly, if you reach fourthly your list is too dang long.  And finally, publish it.  Share it.  Don’t put it away in a drawer for the mice and spiders to read when you are long gone. 

So, Stuart, how did I do?  I hope at least it proves what you have known all along.  That Mickey guy writes like his hair is on fire and his pants are unraveling… in front of girls.

(Three writers to be named later will take up this same blog tour… I hope.)

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fuddy duddy

“Dad?” asked the Princess, “I heard a funny word in school today.  What does Fuddy-Duddy mean?”

“Oh, that’s a good word,” I said.  “It means an old fogey… a stick-in-the-mud.”

“A what?”

“A fussy old guy who likes to have everything his way.  Like, if you accuse your father of being one… which you often do… he’s a fuddy-duddy daddy.”

“Ooh!  I get it!” said Henry, chiming in.  “And if your father is evil, then he’s a fuddy-duddy baddie daddy!

“Yes,” I said, “and if it makes him sad to be evil, he’s a fuddy-duddy saddie baddie daddy!

“If you are not sure he’s really your father,” said the Princess adding a one-up, “he’s a fuddy-duddy saddie baddie maybe daddy!

“Yeah!” said Henry.  “And if you suspect he may have fallen into a time machine and been turned back into an infant, he’s a fuddy-duddy saddie baddie maybe baby daddy!

“Now that he’s a baby again he will surely want to watch his favorite TV show again,” I said with a tear of nostalgia in my eye, “he’ll be a fuddy-duddy saddie baddie maybe baby Howdy Doody daddy!

“What’s Howdy Doody, Daddy?” asked the Princess.

“No,” said Henry, “now you’ve spoiled it.  It just ain’t funny any more.”

“Yes it is!  He’s become a funny bunny fuddy-duddy hoo-dad doo-dad saddie baddie maybe rabies hoo-dah doo-dah…”

“Just stop,” said Henry.  “You always carry things too far.”

“Right you are!” I said.  “See this grin?  It means I win!”

“AW, Daaad!” they both said at the same time.


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Filed under humor, Paffooney, pen and ink, Uncategorized, word games

A Letturr to the NRA

(This is satire… so, all you redneck friends of mine… don’t holler “YES!  He finally sees the light!”  Because I am being ironic, and trying to make fun of all the sensible and right-thinking things you believe, and cannot ever give up trying to make me believe also.)

rubber gun duel

Dear Mr. Wayne LaPierre,

You has done got the rite ideer about guns.  I agree whole-heartedly with all the love in my little black one-hunnert per cent ‘Merican heart that the only answer to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a bigger ‘n better gun.  My name is Lester Winchuk, and I is a good, God-fearin’ Texas good-ol’-boy.  And I have bigger ‘n better guns.  Now, my main guvvenner, the great an’ honorable Rick Perry of the grand State of Texas (may God ever bless her little black one-hunnert per cent ‘Merican heart) has suggested on the Fox News that since some of them insane mass-shooter dudes likes to go inta movie theeatters and shoot them up some innocent people, we all otter be takin’ our beloved guns to the movies with us so we can pertekt ourselfs and the other folk too.  In fact, I like the ideer of taking my bigger ‘n better guns to the movies with me.  I jes’ might need to shoot some folks when that there Minions movie plays at the dollar movies in Laredo.

We still has three of these here dis-integrator gun thingies left from the last alien invasion of South Texas, for sale cheap!

We still has three of these here dis-integrator gun thingies left from the last alien invasion of South Texas, for sale cheap!

I does has one question, though.  How does you aim proper at the bad guy’s haid or heart in a dark ol’ movie theeatter?  Does you has to wait for a daylight scene in the movie so you can draw a proper bead on the monkey-flipper?  (I doesn’t mean to actually say monkey-flipper, but I doesn’t know how to spell whut I actually mean, and thass the best the spell-checker thingy can do for me.)  I would like to suggest a common-sense solution to this problem.  I find that if you plug two or three… or six of the folks in the dark where you heard the first dang-old gun shots coming from, you will probably get him.  And gettin’ that old perpetraitor is the main and most important thing, right?  My brother Wayne (not actually named after you, but you is welcomed to be flattered by it) says maybe you shouldn’t plug any of the littler ones in case they may be innocent children or something… but I says, well, the shooter might be a midget, right?

I does has one old idjit English teacher, Mr. Beyer, who tole me I has gots to be more careful with my beloved guns.  He seems to think that whut I thinks about guns is somewhat downright immoral or some such nonsense.  But I tells him, I is always veeery careful with my beloved, bigger ‘n better guns.  In all my years of carrying my guns everywhere I goes, even into the showers at the campgrounds we uses for our Confederate Social Club meetin’, they ain’t never gotten one ding-dang little ol’ rust spot or scratch on any of ’em.

This lettur was lovingly and carefully writ to you by,

Lester D. Winchuk, son of South Texas…


Filed under humor, Paffooney, satire, Texas

The Dangers of Knowing Female Pirates

When last I was cartooning about Fantastica, I had fallen into a dream about pirates and had been taken prisoner…





On that cliffhanger note…  To be continued…

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Dr. Evil’s Removable Brain

Last time, after months of me waiting to play with my X-Box Baseball ’04, Captain Carl Action and the Action Super-hero-guy Team had actually found where in the Library Dr. Evil and his minions had been hiding.


It took an unbelievably long time for my Library to be liberated, but finally liberation was just around the corner…


So Dr. Evil threw a monkey wrench into the liberation plans with a carefully timed real-identity mix-up ploy.


Captain Carl had to stop and think for a moment… something that he only did when forced to do it,,, because, well, thinking is something that hurts quit a bit when you have a hollow plastic head with only a plastic armature for a brain.


Max Steele, the most practical member of the Hero-Guy Action Team, put Dr. Evil/Ming the Merciless down on the Dr. Evil mint-in-box box and began to saw with his Captain Action Lightning Blade.


Max sawed and whacked and hacked and smacked, and nothing seemed to even put a dent in the non-removable brain of Dr. Evil/Ming the Merciless.


Soon the Action Hero-Guy Team had to give up.  The dumb plastic brain was all one piece with the rest of the plastic head and was not coming out.  Dr. Evil/Ming the Merciless was simply NOT the answer.


Captain Carl was fed up.  He couldn’t take any more of this thinking… There was only one thing left to do.


So Dr. Evil removed his removable brain and handed it to Carl, allowing me to repeat enough silly phrases and stupid words to get to the 500 mark for today.



Filed under action figures, cartoons, humor

Visiting Tellosia

In the novel I recently entered in the Chanticleer Reviews YA Novel-Writing contest, I used the fairy kingdom of Tellosia to be the land of the little people integrated into hometown Iowa.   As part of my cartoon stories page, I intend to take up the tale of The Hidden Kingdom once again and expand and complete it.  I will post it as a web comic on Word Press.  I know I can’t make money giving it away for free… but I hope to have my stories and cartoons read a little bit more through the buzz I hope this generates.  And perhaps Petit Zam can come up with some fairy magic that will help… so I can cast a spell on you.

Here is installment one of The Hidden Kingdom;


HKx2 HKx3 HKx4 HKx5 HKx6

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Grandpa Futty Drives Again

In Fontaine Fox’s Toonerville Trolley comics there is one old flivver-driving fool named Grandpa Futty.  He is the slowest driver on the road.  Rarely does he go over the breakneck speed of two miles per hour.  He is so overly cautious, that if there are two lanes going his way, he takes the middle of the road and effectively moseys along in his putter-banger taking up both lanes.  What is that you say, young whipper-snapper?  You don’t know what a putter-banger is?  Great galloping goat galoshes!  It’s a car, dang it!  You see them all over the metroplex.  They are so ancient that when you start it up with the hand crank, the engine coughs and the muffler falls off in back.  They were purchased as a used car two decades ago.  The only thing more miraculous than the fact that the car still runs is the fact that the old goat driving it is still alive (though the local police routinely have to stop him to check and see if his heart is actually still beating.  If it isn’t they have to fight with him about dropping him off at the nearest funeral home.)


So, if you haven’t guessed already, this post is about the generically named drivers I refer to as a Grampa Futty, and they are the exact opposite of the Texas Killer Grandmas I wrote about yesterday. Believe it or not, I think I have graduated into the Grandpa Futty class of driver.  I can still see more than three feet in front of my car, but I do have a dumpy-lumpy body that hobbles around with a cane, and I do smell like Ben Gay Ointment and Vick’s Vapo-rub.  (…And no, you can’t say Ben Queer Ointment and have it mean the same thing, young whipper-snapper!  That joke is nearly as old as I am!)  I am not entirely in that category of driver, though, because I still curse them with gusto and interjections like “dang it!” whenever I am behind one of that breed.  And besides, the last time the cop stopped me to check my heartbeat, it was going strong.

Grandpa Futtys are a real road hazard in the obstacle-filled world of Texas city driving… if it were a video game like Super Mario Brothers, they would not be Bowser, but rather that annoying Koopa Troopa that you just can’t bounce on hard enough to get past.  They are in the way, endearingly cute in an ugly-old-fart sort of manner, and potentially deadly as they put you in line for the easy kill by the nearest Texas Killer Granny.  So I am seriously studying now how to avoid Grandpa Futty on the road next time I see him, and I am definitely studying how not to become him.

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Cartoonist Super Powers

I call myself a cartoonist because I draw stuff and use it for crap that makes a point about stuff or makes people laugh at other stuff… and maybe qualifies as a super power.cartooner me

I really am not always sure about the super power stuff… but my dog and I got into an argument yesterday about doggy duties.  I was insisting that a dog should earn her keep.  Work for her food and the obedience of all the humans in the house when it comes to following her commands about taking her for walks, picking up her poop in the park, and allowing her to chew up my car keys without punishing her because they smell like me, and make her think about me, and so she has to chew the electronic automatic un-locker-thingy until it is in plastic shards because… well, she loves me so much.  I wasn’t asking for much.  I just ask that she help the security in the household by eating any burglars that come in to steal our precious stuff (precious in the sense of sentimental value only… unless thieves have developed a market for VHS tapes and television sets fifteen years out-of-date.)  So she was sulking.

When the burglar came in… burglars always come in when they have something going for them like the dog sulking… the dog didn’t eat him.  So he came upstairs to the room where I was working on cartoons.

“Gee, you have a lot a worthless crap,” the burglar said.

Startled by the fact that the burglar thought all my worthless crap was nothing more than worthless crap, I turned to my drawing table and quickly drew a gun.

“Okay, you have the drop on me,” said the burglar, using an old TV cliche.  When he raised his hands over his head, I could clearly see that he had boobs.  He was a she!

“You are a woman!” I said, displaying my quick and wily wit… rather slowly.

“Don’t shoot!”

“Oh, I wouldn’t shoot a woman.  It ain’t the honorable thing to do.  Now take off all your clothes.  We will make a little whoopee and then I will let you go.”

“But I’m not a woman!  I am a guy burglar who likes to wear dresses and fake boobs.  Besides, this is open-carry Texas where every house has an NRA member with semi-automatic weapons and a law that allows you to shoot anyone of any age if they step on your property… but they generally don’t shoot women.”

I didn’t believe her… so I took the eraser end of my pencil and erased her clothes.  She was, in fact, a man!

“I don’t believe this,” I said.  “Do you get away with this trick often?”

“I never seem to get away with it,” he said sadly.  “In fact, there was a house full of Bubbas that I tried to rob unsuccessfully two months ago… and now the pregnancy test kit says I’m pregnant.”

I gave him all the money I had (about $0.37), some spare clothes I had meant to give to Goodwill, and sent him on his way.

The dog bit him on the way out.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, pen and ink

Comic Strips Can Make Me Cry

characters-2 logo1

I have been a cartoon nut for a long, long time.  I think it goes back to a time before I really have memories.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know who Cat in the Hat was, or that Pogo was a possum and Albert was an alligator, or that Daisy Mae constantly had to chase Lil’ Abner afore they could git hitched.  And I have always known that cartoons and comic strip characters weren’t real.  But there were a few times in life when comic strips made me cry.  Am I really that much of pansy that I wilt in the face of cartoon tragedy?  Yes.  Whole-heartedly!


Take for instance Tom Batiuk’s long-running spoof of teenagers and life in high school, Funky Winkerbean.  One of the first things that makes this comic special is that the characters have lives that expand into the deepening depths behind the daily gag and four-panel strip.  They grow and age.  Les Moore (the geeky kid with the dark hair and nerd glasses, the character I most identified with) grew up to become an English teacher in the same high school where he had to deal with the issue of teen pregnancy.  Lisa, the girl he liked, was pregnant.  Les helped her go through the pregnancy and give the child up for adoption, and then eventually married Lisa.  Les would go on to raise his daughter with Lisa and then have to live with the fact that the child Lisa gave away wanted to find his real mother.

The strip added layer after layer to the over-all story, making me feel like I knew these people.  Funky turned his after-school  job at Montoni’s Pizza into a partnership and a career as a restaurateur.  Les would. like me, become a teacher and a writer.  Crazy would go on to be a postman and… well, Crazy.  And then the story added more layers by not always being funny.  I cried when Wally Winkerbean stepped on the mine in Afghanistan and I thought he was dead.  I cried again when Wally’s wife, Becky, moved on and married again.   And then, there was what happened with Lisa…

The artist himself had a bout with cancer.  He. like me, was turned into a cancer survivor.  It chills the bones and changes you on the inside to have a doctor tell you that you have cancer and it is malignant.  And it became a part of the story.  Lisa became first a breast cancer survivor, and then… sadly… a victim.  She died of cancer.  Her husband, Les, took up the cause and started the Lisa’s Legacy Walk for the Cure which he pursued religiously every October.  And Tom Batiuk made it real.  You can donate real money to the real Lisa’s Legacy Fund.  It is a cancer fund and fund-raising event that honors the struggle and death of a fictional character.  It makes me cry again at this moment.  They are real people to me, too, Tom.



…And it doesn’t end with Funky Winkerbean.  Today’s re-blog of Stories From Around the World’s post does an absolutely wonderful job of encapsulating the essence of Lynn Johnston’s family comedy strip For Better or for Worse.  This engaging story of a family who also grows up, changes, and shifts from one generation to the next also tore my heart out with the un-funny episode where the dog, Farley, saves youngest daughter April from drowning and then expires from the effort, dying a hero’s death.  Another memory that causes me tears even today.

I do not regret reading comic strips.  My life is richer for all the second-hand and third-hand experiences they have given me.  Not just Popeye and Pogo and Beetle Baily making me laugh, but comic strips that make me weep as well.


Filed under cartoons, comic strips, humor

More Powerful than a Locomotive

There is an old saying… “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.”

I have an addendum to add… “If what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, then I must be Superman!”

Lying here now in pain after having surgery this morning, that is exactly what I have been telling myself.  No more Kryptonite today, thank you.

Superman 1

I may have mentioned before on this blog that I have six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor since 1983.  (If I haven’t mentioned it before, then it was only because I mistook complaining loudly and relentlessly about it for mentioning.)  I have arthritis, diabetes, COPD, hypertension, psoriasis, and benign prostatic hyperplasia.  Two of those diseases ganged up on me recently.  I had a sebaceous cyst on my lower back that had gotten infected because psoriasis had flaked skin off the top of it until there was an ulcerated infected hole there and it caused me enough pain to prevent sleeping.  (I know you didn’t really want to know about that… but. then, neither did I).

I got the thing surgically excised (whacked off with scalpel and scissors) and had the hole sewn back together with a few butterfly Band Aids slapped on the top.  I had been given a topical anesthetic that deadened the nerves while I was being carved up, but wears off shortly after and then all the pain that has been saved up comes rushing back to fill the void.  The doctor said I could take aspirin, but I have a big bottle of Aleve next to the bed for arthritis, and my body is so used to the medicine that I might just as easily have taken a sugar pill for the same effect.  (Of course then my diabetes would come knocking on my brain.)   So, I am in pain.

But less than an hour after surgery, I had to go in to the counselor’s office at school and discuss for 45 minutes the life-and-death future consequences of the schooling of one of three kids.  It is no kind of chicken barbecue or country fair to have to explain to a school official everything you have been doing to solve the life-or-death problem for the kiddo while pain medication is wearing off and anesthetic is wearing off and patience is wearing off and mental acuity is disappearing faster than a rabbit-man can teach irony to middle-schoolers…. wait, what?  Perhaps I should rest now and let the medicine do its work.

Naw, can’t do that.  I’m Superman.

But, wait… wasn’t I Popeye just yesterday?  Who the heck am I really?  A goofy old writer-guy, most likely.

Superman 2


Filed under cartoons, humor, Paffooney