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Stardusters… Canto 46


Canto Forty-Six – Outside the Bio-Dome

Harmony led her troops up to the front door of the Bio-Dome.  They waited quietly for her to signal the next step.

“Shalar?  This is the only mostly-intact building in the entire area.  Do you think this could be where they went?”

“If they are still alive, this looks like the kind of shelter they might be drawn to.”

Harmony went forward to the entryway and peered in.

“Oh, my goodness!  All their clothing and equipment is piled in there.  Their weapons too.  If they are still in there, they are naked and unarmed!”

Shalar adjusted her own breath-mask to reassure herself.  “If they are not still in there… or if the air in there is the same as it is out here… then they are already dead.”

“No!  Not my children!  We will enter here and go find them!”

Suddenly the metal man with a handful of spinning blades appeared on the ledge above the door.  His hand-blades whirred menacingly.

“Men!  Catch it in a crossfire like I taught you and take it out.”

The Telleron soldiers knew better than to disobey Harmony.  Four took the left flank and two went right.  The crossing skortch beams fried the machine man, and quickly reduced it to dust and vapor.  Shalar shuddered at the realization of how ruthless and efficient Earther humans truly were.  Her semi-incompetent Telleron soldiers were displaying an unusually high amount of self-discipline and military know-how which they had learned entirely on this mission by following the old Sunday-school teacher’s battle commands.

“That was impressive,” Shalar remarked.

“Of course it was,” said Harmony.  “Now let’s get inside.”

The Telleron soldiers filed in using the precise order and the sweeping-for-enemies maneuver that Harmony had taught them on the way to the Bio-Dome.  The soldiers secured the entryway and the hall beyond while Harmony and Shalar went through the pile of belongings that had belonged to the tadpoles and the Morrells.  Shalar noted all the items on her computerized notepad.   The inventory suggested that everything the tadpoles had taken with them from the crash scene was present.

“They were all here, Harmony,” Shalar said.  “And they don’t have anything with them wherever they’ve gone.”

“We will take all this gear with us so that the young scamps won’t be gadding about naked.   Why they took everything off here is a mystery.  But in my experience with human kids, it usually involves hormones and misbehavior.  We not only have to save their little lives, but save them from sin as well.”

“Sin, Harmony?”

“Well, it’s complicated.  But running around a dying planet stark naked can’t be pleasing behavior to a loving but righteous God.”

“Oh, of course… that.”

Shalar looked down the dark hallway.  She was worried about the children.  The mystery only seemed to deepen and the peril looked increasingly worse.



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Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

Cartoonists Trying to Save the World

Back in the 1870’s (you remember it as well as I do, don’t you?) a cartoonist named Thomas Nast basically invented the political cartoon.  Back then, a bloated New York politician and his gang of criminals were busy getting wealthy through corrupt business and government relationships.  Nast used his gift for scribbly-art satire to lampoon the buffoons and make the public laugh at the evil he exposed.  Of course, they knew about the corruption of Boss Tweed before they laughed at the cartoons, but the focus on the problem created by Nast’s magnifying glass focusing the rays of sunlight on the problem is often credited with helping to burn up the scandal.

Cartoonists had power back then.  Power over public opinion.  The power to help fairly uncomplicated (and sometimes stupid) folk to recognize the absurdity of the situation and the need for changing it.

So why haven’t cartoonists fried the Make-America-Great-Again orangutan running the country now with his brand of corpulent corruption already?  Believe me, they are trying.

They have already highlighted the way the Bozo Administration manipulates the focus of the mainstream media.  Every time media coverage begins to converge on one scandal, he creates another big, smelly media poop of a controversy to redirect their focus.

And while he is doing his big shoe dance on the tables in the spotlight, congress is doing his rich friends’ evil will in the back rooms.



The end result of this malevolent dog-and-pony show is patently obvious.


Unfortunately, in the 1870’s, the stupid people that Thomas Nast was enlightening had not yet achieved the profound levels of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot stupidity that Trump supporters have now mastered.  Poor and middle-class Republicans, Texans, and other dim folk continue to take the Great Pumpkinhead at his word and believe every utterance of his mouth to be sacred gospel truth.  I have had conservative friends arguing themselves into pretzel-knots to defend his policies and dastardly deeds.

But if cartoonists can’t succeed in shining sunlight on the bloodsucking vampiric old moneybags and kill him soon, his reign will become immortal and we are all gonna die.


Seriously.  We stand at the end of a long chain of greedy b*st*rds raping and pillaging the environment for profit and not caring about the impact of their actions.  We are dooming the planet to environmental collapse because the orange-faced name-stamper cares more about short-term profits for himself and his friends than he does about whether or no his own grandchildren will have water to drink, air to breath, and a place to live cool enough that metal doesn’t melt in the sunshine.


So, I hate to be a double-trouble downer about the whole thing, but the truth is if we are depending on cartoonists and humorists to save the world, we are in trouble.  It is not working the way it did in Nast’s day.  Cartoonists are doing their lampooning and doing it well.  But more is needed.  And if we don’t get that something more soon, then (to incorrectly paraphrase and misquote T.S. Eliot), “This is the way the world ends… Not with a whimper but a bang!”


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Why the Bad Guys Always Win


Donald Trump is picking cabinet members worthy of Goldfinger.

Now that the Cubs have won the World Series and Donald Trump is the next President of the U.S. and the world has ended, I want to take my time mulling over the meaning of this title and this essay.  I have to think it over carefully, because, after all, with the new leadership we have selected for ourselves (at least the only people whose votes really matter have selected) I will probably end up in prison or executed.  It doesn’t really matter how it all turns out for me.  If the Great Orange Face With Tiny Hands does away with Obamacare after everything he’s recently said to the contrary, I am doomed anyway because any health care I am going to need in the next decade I won’t be able to afford anyway.  Dying is the only option I will be able to pay for.  So, if they execute me, they will even be saving me that expense.


Mike Pence talks a lot about “religious freedom” when he proposes to take away LGBT rights.

I am not suggesting that Trump is like a Bond villain…  Oh, wait!  Yes I am.  But unlike a Bond villain, when he talks about the evil he is going to do and how the hero is about to die an excruciatingly horrible death, he isn’t necessarily telling the truth, or even knows the truth.  So we will not be able to pull an unlikely harrowing escape at the last second, because we won’t accurately know what to counter.  He’ll tell us about the anti-Muslim piranhas in the water, but it will be the nuclear-proliferation lasers that will boil our heads off our torsos.



                                                 The Trumpinator monologues a lot on Twitter, but doesn’t mean it or didn’t say it when you quote it later.

So, one of the most important factors behind why the bad guys win in real life while Bond villains always get their comeuppance by the end of the movie has to do with manipulating the story.  Telling the tale the way they want it told, even if it is a Limburger-cheese-smelling stinky-bad lie.


You can bet that whatever Putin is planning, it will be bad, but he is a KGB-trained spook, so you will not win even that bet.

This is only the first essay in a series of related essays I intend to write about the world situation as I see it.  So there is the first bit of terrible news I have given you, independent of the bad news swirling around our brand new Cinnamon Hitler.  I intend to inflict more things on you that you will probably not believe, but may give you a chuckle or two at how goofy and idiotic I can be as I try to explain the stinky-bad nature of reality in terms of my own paranoid delusions, hopes, and fears.  I can’t help this criminal explaining-the-world thing I try to do in writing.  You have to remember, I was once a middle school English teacher, which goes a long way towards explaining abnormal psychology in essay form.


Filed under angry rant, battling depression, clowns, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, humor, insight, politics, satire

Doom is Imminent, It’s Time to Sing!

Yessir, the Cubs have a chance to win their first World Series since 1908 tonight.  They have not won the title since Tinker to Evers to Chance was the double-play combo of poetic proportions.  They have never won in my lifetime, and I am quite old.  So, there is proof positive the world is about to end.


Yes, I can even describe the mechanics of the thing.  Donald Trump will be elected President of the United States thanks to Mr. Comey’s timely reveal of more scandalous emails that he has not read and chuckled about yet.  You know, the ones that he couldn’t have actually read yet because they come from potential pedophile Anthony Weiner’s computer, and he had to have a separate warrant from a judge to read anything that may have to do with Hillary, even though probably none of them contain nude pictures from Hillary, and she probably didn’t even write those emails.  The world had to know about that right before the election, especially members of the Republican House Committee for examining Hillary’s every boo-boo.  So, the Donald will win, because nobody is doing any press conferences on the FBI investigation on his ties to the Russian government through the biggest bank in Russia.  ‘Taint important, Pogo.


And once the great orange pumpkin-head is our next president, our health care will no longer be under the misguided protection of Obamacare.  Instead, it will will be taken care of by “something terrific” that will make high profits for somebody, and make certain that I will never be able to pay another medical bill (since those who are deceased rarely do).


And, of course, President Pompadoodle will be able to declare that we no longer have to believe in the climate change hoax.  The result being that we will soon be able to buy beachfront property in Iowa and Missouri, be able to purchase our breathable air in factory-made brick-form, and possibly grow a helpful third eye from the mutating effects of nuclear radiation.


And, lastly, I would like to thank the late great Walt Kelly for illustrating today’s post.  One wonders how a cartoonist can look so far ahead from the 1960’s to do such a fine job of illustrating the problems of 2016?  Will miracles never cease?  I mean, really, we could probably do with a few less of these industrial grade miracles made out of recycled elephant poop.

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A Bad Day for a Pessimist


A breakfast-table doodle done while waiting for kids to get ready for school.

The advantage in life for a pessimist is that you always prepare for the worst, and when the worst happens, you are ready to deal with it.  The only time you are taken by surprise, is when something good happens.

So, I was expecting the San Jose Sharks to beat the St. Louis Blues in their championship series.  And last night, the Sharks took them down 4 goals to none.

I owe Bank of America money, something that doesn’t go well with being retired and in poor health, and out of money.  I am putting my finances in order and preparing to have to pay them.  But I got a letter from a collection agency that has taken on collecting the debt.

So, bad things happen in tandem with other bad things.  And sometimes being prepared is just not enough.

As a science fiction writer working with apocalyptic themes, I have been researching the problems that could be the end of humanity, if not life on Earth.  As the video explains, the way we have used the Earth’s resources, wrecked Earth’s environment, and overpopulated the Earth to unsustainable levels have already left us at a point of no return.  We are doomed by our own hands.

So… sometimes being a pessimist is a real bummer.

But terrible things happening doesn’t leave us without resources.  Human beings are adaptable and resilient.  We may not all live happily ever after, but we are capable of preserving the species through chaos and catastrophe.  And if we don’t, it isn’t like we have lived in vain.

In fact, I have already taken steps to deal with the pirates of Bank of America.  And the Blues are playing a best-of-seven series which is now tied at one game apiece.   Doom looms.  But I am not worried.  I have already accepted that the very worst will probably happen.  Odds are I will be pleasantly surprised more than once.


Filed under autobiography, doodle, drawing, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, pessimism, Uncategorized

The Beasts of Armeggedon

Today may very well be the last day on Earth.  I laugh when I write that, but it could literally be true.  There is an asteroid approaching the earth and it is supposed to pass within 11,000 miles of Earth.  That is close enough for a minor math oops to fool us into not panicking about an extinction event.  The Dallas Fort-Worth area is being soaked in thunderstorms and potential high winds as I write this in a house that has foundation cracks made worse by a high number of fracking-induced earthquakes the last couple of years.  I woke up with chest pains this morning, and I have a family history of heart trouble.  (Although the last time I panicked and had the chest pains checked it was apparently arthritis in my rib cage… and the weather does make my arthritis worse.)  So, in very many ways, this really could be the last day.  And as I reminded everybody yesterday, I am a pessimist in all things.

So, I am girding up in armor as a pessimist always does, preparing for the worst.  If I am not going to be here tomorrow, then I need to prepare by counting my blessings today.  Number one, I have completed a successful 31-year career as a teacher.  I touched over 2,000 lives, made a difference in a lot of them, and screwed up only a handful of them.  I taught some kids to read, and I taught a lot of kids to write.  I was a good writing teacher.  I know how to build a theme and I can teach others to do the same.  I have lived a life of service, and though I have not been made money-rich by my efforts, I have wealth greater than Croesus (I know you don’t really know who that is, but I didn’t want that sentiment spoiled by using a name like Trump or the Walmart heirs.)

Senator Tedhkruzh

Senator Tedhkruzh, the lizard-man from the doomed planet Galtorr Prime.

Number two, I am a survivor who has seen an amazing amount of history roll past without ever being crushed under its wheels.  I was alive for John Kennedy’s Presidency and assassination.  I watched Neil Armstrong step foot on the moon.  I taught the day the Challenger exploded with the first teacher in space on board.  I also taught the day the twin towers fell on 9-11.  I have seen how the world was changed, and I, like most people, experienced the changes necessary to adapting to a new world.  As a pessimist, I am already planning for life under President Ted Cruz.  It will be the worst possible outcome for our nation of the election of 2016.  We really should not elect a Reptilian as our leader.  But I survived the Ronny Ray-Gun revolution, and eight long years under the Cowboy of Very Little Brain, so if I live to see it, I will adapt.  And so will you.  We have only rarely ever been truly free and prosperous, but in our minds, no one, no matter how tyrannical, can ever truly deprive us of our freedom.

Dansegawd 4

So, if these are the last words I ever write, then know that I am at peace with the world.  If the big space rock does us all in today, then at least we have to consolation that humankind has had its chance to live and love and laugh, and we didn’t do everything wrong.

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