Tag Archives: drawing

Little Red-Haired Girl (A Poem and Paffooney)

 

Little Red-Haired Girl

 

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children for old age

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

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Architecture for Clowns

Try not to be upset with me for drawing a naked lady. You see, she is not really a lady, she is a caryatid, a stone pillar for holding up a building.  Besides, I have been recently very ill, and drawing naked ladies makes me happy, even though it is a sin and means I will probably burn in hell.  I am a hopeless sinner in this regard.  I got kicked off Pinterest for liking an oil painting of a naked lady.  I think it was a painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau.  How could I be so terrible?  You should check out my post about his sinful, horrible paintings so you can see how terrible I am for yourself. (Bouguereau)  carytidOf course, This post is not about naked ladies at all, so why am I fuming and ranting and telling all my darkest secrets about that?

This post is about architecture, about giving structure to things, about holding things together and holding things up.  Is it clever that I drew this picture of an ornate pillar and placed it in this post so it looks like it is standing on later paragraphs and holding up the introduction?  I find weird surrealist things like that help me write stuff that makes a few people laugh.  It helps me because I can focus on nonsensical side-stuff like that (mixed up with obscure puns and alliterations like “pillar” and “placed” that, when cooked together with goofy rhythms in over-long sentences end up sounding funnier than they really are), and then I can say stuff that is actually funny because I don’t realize how wrong, or weird, or silly some of these words I am futzing it all up with truly are.  (And I am amazed that the Pinterest police haven’t come and kicked me off WordPress for using a word like “futzing”, even though they don’t know what it means.  Heck, even the spell-checker didn’t object to the word!)

But someone like me who is trying to be funny needs structure more than anyone else you can think of.  Why?  Because the sad-clown-crying-on-the-inside is so very true.  The dark dips of depression… pain, illness, and more pain… family stress from others in my family who also suffer…  That’s what makes the laughing so very necessary.  You need the lighter stuff to fill up the room (somewhat like a really big fart) because you depend on the sheer buoyancy of it to lift the entire house up and keep it from sinking to the very center of the earth.  (And the stink of it can also help keep you awake when otherwise you might never get out of bed again)… (But please don’t light any matches around my house.)

So, in conclusion, this stuff I write does have basic structures, basic rules.  It has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  It has a theme, a point that needs to be made,  And then it needs to end with some kind of a kicker line or punch line… because when that finally hits me square in the face (like a pie thrown by a pie-whacker clown), it helps me remember… I am still alive, and I can still laugh about it.

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Faery Tails

Faery Tails

Not all my Paffoonies are completely sane. The never-ending struggle of darkness and light can color things funny in a world of swiftly swirling imaginings. Lyrical joy opposed to malignant menace, devouring worlds in the palm of my hand.

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February 5, 2022 · 4:48 pm

Comic Book Heroes – A is for Aquaman

Today’s Paffooney is a tribute to a childhood hero, Aquaman.   I drew the picture from a comic book inspiration source coming from DC Comics in the 1960’s.  Aquaman is a B-level superhero with not nearly so many fans as the big three, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.   He was, however, my second favorite after Spiderman.  He was more important to me than the Avengers.  And this was strange, because I only had the chance to read the sacred comic books in the old barbershop in uptown Rowan.  I only remember about two different issues that I was able to read during the long wait for a haircut.  (Haircuts on Saturday took forever, because all the bald and crew-cut farmers would take forever getting their hair cut.  And they hardly had any hair!   I think the barber cut each hair individually.)

Aquaman and Aqualad would journey together in an incredible undersea world of sea monsters, giant fish, scuba divers, villains like Black Manta, and Mera, a real hot underwater babe.  Topo the octopus could play comic relief by playing musical instruments or getting drunk on old lost kegs of pirate rum.  I became a part of the adventure.  I’m not sure whether I imagined myself more as Aquaman himself, or Aqualad.  Aqualand was dressed all in red and blue, my favorite colors.  I liked his blue swim-trunks.  I myself could never wear swim trunks without a fatal case of embarrassment over my knobby knees and hairy legs.    I admired Aqualad’s smooth and muscled boy-legs, though not without some shame and embarrassment.  Some suggest that the relationship between Aquaman and Aqualad was a homo-erotic thing just like Batman and Robin.   But, hey… NO IT WASN’T!  It was a hero and sidekick that mirrored the complex relationship between a father and son.  My father and I could never talk at any deeper level than Aquaman talked to Aqualad.   Yet my father had super-powers for solving my problems and helping me do things and make things.  Yes, I think I loved Aquaman because he reminded me of my own father in his quiet competence.

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And I had a Captain Action Aquaman costume, a Christmas present and wonderful treasure.  I played with it so much that only the broken trident, mask, and swim fins remain.  The rest was all broken and unraveled and disintegrated from being played with.  The Aquaman in my Captain Action collection has replacement parts in it to make it more complete.  Yes, I spent time and money putting that toy back together so that I might play with it yet again.

So why is the super-powered King of the Sea so important to me?  After all, his super powers are to breathe underwater and telepathically talk to fish.  I think, reading back over this stupid little essay, that the most important theme is the father-son thing.    I never owned a single Aquaman comic book as a kid, but I watched him on Saturday morning TV.  He was one of the Superfriends.  And my father had been in the Navy on Aircraft Carriers.  Yes, Aquaman is my favorite because Aquaman is secretly my father.

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Paffoonies By The Numbers

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So, here is one secret recipe for baking a Paffooney with some humor in the process.

Step 1 : First you have to get a stupid idea and draw a witless drawing of it on a nice fresh piece of paper.  Here the Princess is holding step one, a portrait of what I believe Valerie Clarke, the main character of Snow Babies might look like.  She is supposed to be the most beautiful little girl who ever lived in Norwall, a small Iowa farm town.  

Step 2 : Then you must get a good digital picture of it.  Here I used the Princess as a makeshift picture stand and took the picture in sunlight muted by clouds.

Step 3 : I must then remove all clutter and background from the image using the big old eraser thingy on the Microsoft computer paint program.  sometimes I need to erase pixel by pixel until I am thoroughly pixelated.

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Step 4 : This gets me ready to use my handy-dandy cheap-o photo program (I always wanted to use both handy-dandy and cheap-o photo in the same sentence!  Item 128 on my bucket list.)  I can layer the image over any of a number of stolen and parolin’ background photos.

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And so, I thus become a pretend world-renowned unknown clown artist with a penchant for multiple uses of internal rhymes as well as multiple uses of the same boring, wretched sketches.

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Cartooney Paffooney

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A particularly pulse-pounding part of a post-able Paffooney is the Looney-Tooney side of cartoonies.

A good Paffooney, a wise Paffooney, a particularly Buffooney Paffooney…

Requires a certain something… an attention to detail

Scraggles here demonstrably demonsters, er demonstrates, the detail in the devil, er, devil in the details…

With inexplicable and despicable gloves on hands we never see…

And Looney eyes that at once appear wise and simultaneously devise the kind of satirical reprise that can surprise and infinitely infantilize…

He’s sorta creepy with eyes that aren’t sleepy and expressions not so deepy…

And his smile will spread a mile and is also infantile…

And the rat that he has caught has a shape that’s overwrought and full of little thought,

But never will he kill it and fill it full of millet, 

Cause a mouse can be a friend to the bitter better end.

And so this poem don’t rhyme… or does it?  And it has no theme or prime… or was it?

Just silly nonsense words on a canvas all unfurled in Paffooney Looney Language with each sentence stitched and curled.

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Sleeping Beauty (a silly poem of love and illusion)

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Sleeping Beauty

In the dark and in the light

In candle flame and purple night

The beauty sleeps and fails to heed

The young man’s life of lust and need

What happens next is often sad

The want, the hope, the love so bad

And fluttering faery wings of light

Carry life and love and fuel the sight

With never a thought to what could be

If only love would call to thee

And wake the sleeper from her dream

To make the two but one to seem.

Love poetry is basically nonsense.  Fueled by hormones and lust, dreams and assumptions, it is never real.  It is only a vision, an apparition, and fools you into believing what could never be real.  So why write it?  Because it is in our nature, in our stars, to love.  Just because something is foolish, or impossible to pin down, there is no reason to give up on it.  That’s what the Paffooney faeries are for.  They cast faery light on what you should never believe, but always, always do. 

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Teaching Los Vatos Locos

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I have spent the majority of my teaching career teaching Spanish speakers in South Texas.  So, believe me when I say that for a gringo like me, there has to be some kind of art to it.  I have taught so many surly, excessively macho boys and very feminine, but definitely aggressive girls, that I think I may have found an insight or two on how to do it.

First, you must be brave.  And you must recognize that bravery means remaining outwardly calm while on the inside your heart is pounding wildly and you are fighting not to wet your pants.  My first year we had to walk our eighth grade boys to and from the cafeteria four blocks away on another campus.  I, being a rookie teacher, was given the delightful job of forcing the two most evil vato locos (crazy dudes) to return to classes and schoolwork after lunch instead of wandering off for the afternoon.  I had to face down El Mouse and El Talan and convince them to catch up to the rest of the class without killing me.  I have to say, at that point I did not have a forceful personality and could not give the laser eye of death that all South Texas teachers need to develop.  I didn’t make the mistake of saying please, but implied I could actually do something to them to make their lives more miserable if they didn’t let themselves be herded along like cattle.  El Talan picked up a metal fence post as if it was a baseball bat, and I got the chance to review my whole short life for a few tense seconds.  But they relented.  I didn’t show fear, and they put down the post and sauntered on with their lives.  I got them back to the corral for afternoon classes.  Both of them went to prison after dropping out of school.  Both of them are dead now.  One was killed by a rival drug dealer.  I made the mistake of telling that tale to my mother.  At the time, she nearly submitted my resignation for me.

Second, I learned you must have a heart.  Veteran teachers told me that I should not smile before winter break, and even then, I should only smile at students’ misfortunes.   That advice turned out to be a vat of puppy doo.  I learned early on that students are people.  They have feelings.  They will return what they get.  Unfortunately they often dish out what they get from other teachers, from parents, and even from local law enforcement.  But more than once I was given a kid that everyone else said was a bad kid, and I treated that kid like a human bean… er, I mean being… and was forever after that kid’s favorite teacher, and someone that they would do anything for.  I was one of those teachers who kids return to visit.  Faces would appear in my doorway often like so many blooming flowers, blossoms lit up with sunshine.  They would be high school kids who came back to get an encouraging word, or graduates coming by to tell me how successful they were.  Often they came because of something they remembered from class.  They felt they had to share their sunshine.  Believe me, sometimes it was vital to me to be able to continue to get a little of that sunlight in the midst of daily darkness.

I have to confess, I did not reach every kid.  Some have made poor choices and died from them.  Some have turned to the dark side of the force and are unrepentantly Darth Vader.  Some I could not stand and did everything in my power to extinguish their bad behaviors with punishments that never worked.  Some that I could not stand were among the ones that came back to visit too.  Funny how you can do everything you possibly can to defeat a kid, and they will still come around, still tell you that you were their favorite teacher, and the only thing they remembered about middle school was something that happened in your classroom. It’s not even always something you want them to remember.

The kid in today’s Paffooney was not one of the bad ones.  Manuel was the son of a border patrol agent.  He was smart.  He knew what was right and what was wrong.  I don’t know where he is now, or what he is doing, but I believe in him, and I know he was worth every effort I ever put into teaching him.

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Jungle Boy

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When I was 12, my favorite novel was Rudyard Kipling’s First Jungle Book.  I loved it.  From page one to the last sentence of the story about the White Seal.  I owned a paperback copy that I still have 45 years later.  I bought it from the school book order form, Scholastic, I think.  I used my allowance money, earned at a nickel a week.  Along with the chapter books I had read previously, The Swiss Family Robinson, the White Stag, and Treasure Island, it guided my view of life.  Every grove and forest in Iowa became the jungle in the summer of 1968.  The windswept fields of corn and soy beans easily transformed into tropical seas.  I imagined pirates, natives, and buried treasures everywhere.  When I found a piece of a brass candlestick with the necessary curved part, which became the cursed Ahnk from The Jungle Book.  Midnight, Grandma Aldrich’s blue-eyed black cat, became my Bagheera.  I traveled with an invisible Baloo.  You know, it was only a year or so before that when I saw the Disney movie.  So, of course, dancing and singing was a part of being a jungle boy.

In the book, unlike the movie, Mowgli was naked in the jungle.  He didn’t wear clothes until the first time he submitted himself to the man village.  He took them off again when he escaped.  I had to try that too.  I went to the BinghamPark woods down by the Iowa River.  I found a tree where I could put my clothes, and I took everything off.  I figured roaming the woods like Mowgli would be great.  Boy, I was a stupid child.  Problem number one struck with my first naked step in the forest.  Dang!  There must not be any twigs or nettles in Mowgli’s jungle.  I tried hopping from place to place, but in minutes I was wearing at least my socks and shoes.  Hanging branches and brambles were a problem, too.  They clutched at me, striping me with welts and scrapes.  Certain parts you just don’t want pricked by a bramble bush.  It was like God suddenly planted those pointed things everywhere.  Okay, shoes and socks and shorts.  Well, then I began to get cold.  Iowa is never very warm even in the height of summer.  I had already defeated the whole naked in the forest thing when I put my shorts back on, so, what the heck!  It just didn’t work like I thought.

I still believed that the ways of the jungle were an essential part of my young life.  I read and reread what the Jungle Book says about the “Law of the Jungle”.  I tried to make sense of it as a credo to live by.  Of course, at twelve we are always among the wisest and all-knowing of God’s creatures.  We can make sense of the world in our own weird little way, and no one will ever be able to sway us from the philosophy we live by, no matter how silly it is.  I still think about my “Jungle Book Period” as an important part of my young life.  There are things about young Mowgli and Jim Hawkins and the Robinsons that formed a significant part of my character.  I would one day make use of those determined and resourceful qualities to stay alive in the classroom jungles of South Texas.  I tried to make others see it.  I shared Kipling and Stevenson with kids and hoped that I could make them learn, as I did, how to be that little boy facing and succeeding against the dangerous jungle around him.

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Little Red-Haired Girl (A Poem and Paffooney)

 

Little Red-Haired Girl

 

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

That little red-haired girl, so cute, so nice

You only looked and looked from afar

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

You could’ve held her hand

You could’ve walked her home from school

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

She never got your Valentine

At least, you forgot to sign your name

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

No hope of marriage now, nor children for old age

Happily ever after has now long gone

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

Now every love poem is a sad poem

And the world is blue and down

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her…

You never told her that you loved her, Charlie Brown

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