Tag Archives: inspiration

Daily Magic


Daily Magic

The world all around us is magic…

And magic encompasses all,

But sadly the world is not permanent

And tomorrow the darkness may fall.

So here is the magic of daylight

The sun has arisen from pall

And at least for a moment the true light

Is the sun as it voices its call.


Never Explain

You should never have to explain a poem…

It is there for all to see…

And whether ’tis sick, or happy, or bad…

It is its own reason to be.


Never Explain… The Sequel

You should never have to explain a joke…

Whether stupid, or ribald, or punny…

Because reasons all melt with explaining…

And, if you do, it’s not really funny.


Pearls in the Dark

Swim down into deepening darkness.

Do you truly want to find a pearl?

Fish around in oysters and dark places.

Risk your fingers, your hand… hold your breath.

The deeper you dive, the more you risk, the brighter the pearl.


Write This One Too, Doofus!

Where did these poems suddenly come from?

You are not a poet…

And you already know it…

You meant to write one…

You wrote five…

How was so much doggerel in you?

Goofy wisdom…

Silly rhythm…

Random rhyme?

You’ve been writing these poems all your life…

Every action…

Every footstep…

Every joke…

Is a pearl from the oyster of your soul…

Some are beautiful…

Some are ugly…

All have value…

So don’t question the magic, you fool.


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Filed under artwork, goofiness, goofy thoughts, humor, poem, poetry, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life

My Dreams Have Wings

Wings of Imagination

My Dreams Have Wings (a poem)

Sometimes when I fall asleep,

I don’t drift down to slumber,

I grow great red wings,

And I take to the air,

To soar…

To escape…

To live…

Or simply fly away.

Adolphe-William Bouguereau Paintings 50 (1)

Adolphe William Bouguereau

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Filed under Paffooney, poetry

A Sense of Wonder

Flower val memeI have told you repeatedly (if you are foolish enough to read more of my blog than is probably healthy for normal people) that I am a pessimist.  Like Benjamin Franklin, I believe it is best to always prepare for the worst that can happen and actually expect it.  With current gun laws in this nation, and the way corrupt politicians and businessmen continue to profit off the suffering of the rest of us, and people’s basic selfishness and cruelty to others in word, thought, and deed, we rarely get a glimpse of anything but the worst of human nature.  We are never disappointed when we expect the worst to happen.  And yet, since I am never taken by surprise by bad things, only by unexpected good things, all that is surprising is wonderful and made up of very good things.  Human beings are capable of amazing goodness and works of wonder, not in spite of their many failings, but because of them.  The miracle of life is how the lowly worm turns into a beautiful butterfly.  How the tiny brown seed becomes the brightly colored blossom in a vast field of other flowers.


When I tell others that I believe that people are basically good and that I believe all students can learn, I often get an argument.  Mass shooters like we had last week and wars and terrorists crop up by the multitudes in order to refute my belief.  People who think I am an atheist tell me i’m being a hypocrite to think we should operate our lives around facts and proof and then hold a difficult-to-prove belief like this.  Maybe it is an act of faith… but an act of faith that my theocratic friends call a belief in humanism, which they prefer to see as something from Satan.  Well, I do believe in God.  I just don’t believe in a god who waves a magic wand and intervenes.  I believe that God Jehovah (or possibly Allah or the godhead or whatever you want to name Him) made us like the flower seed, meant to grow and transform, and to be winnowed like grain by the winds and rains of life experience.  Not all flowers blossom.  But more of them do when you water and weed and nurture them.  And what is true for flowers is true for men and women.  What can I say more about human beings to convince you that I am not wrong to be in awe of them… even the weedy ones?  Probably nothing.  If you are not open to such ideas, you haven’t read this far.  But whether you read this far or not, I am fascinated by you, and will always want to know more.  And I am not going to start a new church or something.  I am merely going to continue to watch and to wonder.

Not Alone


Filed under humor, Paffooney, philosophy

A Silly Side-Note and Picture Paffooney

pink n blue22

I was trying to figure out a way to cheat today and post something that didn’t take a lot of time and effort, but appealed to an audience looking for humor, art, poop jokes, cute kids, or inspiration, or whatever the heck else people make the mistake of looking at my blog for.  I came up with this amalgam.  Amalgam is a good word.  It means different things all mashed up together to make something new.  You will note I took several old things I have already done and mushed them together into a single bizarre Paffooney picture of mostly pink and blue.  I promise that I will work harder tomorrow to do whatever it is that I actually do… and for today… well, it isn’t totally bad.  I usually do very similar stuff, but with way more words.

Here is a close-up of the prose-poem in case you don’t want to make the effort it takes to click on the picture and blow it up a bit;

pink n blue212

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Filed under humor, kids, Paffooney


I got the word that my mother’s surgery went smoothly and she is fine.  Hopefully she will be out of the hospital soon.  I can breathe again.  There are numerous moments in life that make a person’s heart quicken and the “fight-or-flight” security program in the brain kicks in, making us breathe harder… making us sweat…   We wait endlessly for the threatening conditions to pass, and minutes feel like hours.

11062801_558004507676172_3499292867024087071_nAlan Watts was a genius who took Eastern philosophies and meditation and brought them to Western culture in a way that offers light and hope and freedom from fear.  I discovered him on YouTube and learned that even though he is dead, his thinking reaches out to me and gives me comfort in my inevitable face-off with Death.  Do you know Death?  He was that funny. yet disturbing character in some of Terry Pratchett’s funniest Discworld novels… the one that talks in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS because the weight of his words are so serious.  That particular face-off in the Hockey Game of Life is one that sooner or later I am bound to lose.  Everybody loses that one sometime… but only once.  After all, as hockey players go, Death is a superior center.

I think that if I can get one message across to other people before I lose that face-off and the hockey game ends, it needs to be this, “All people are the same.  No matter what color, what sex, what belief system… they all have equal worth.  I am a part of them, and they are a part of me.  As Alan Watts says, I am connected to everything.”


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Filed under inspiration, Paffooney, philosophy

Baseball Season

Every Spring is a new beginning, a new hope, a new chance to win the pennant.

DSCN5273When the baseball season starts fresh each year, it renews me, makes feel like I have another chance to make things happen and conquer the world again.  It makes me feel alive again… even now when I am old and retired and in constant pain.

People say to me, “Baseball is boring and slow and not as great a game as…” and then they try to tell me stuff about football and soccer and NBA basketball.  I’m not buying it, even when it is my eldest son selling it.

Baseball became my sport when I was a child in the 1960’s.  Great Grandpa Raymond was a frail and ancient man then, too elderly to share much of anything with me as I was young and full of energy.  But on Sunday afternoons in Spring and Summer, we listened to the Minnesota Twins play baseball on the radio.  I heard Harmon Killebrew hit homers and Tony Oliva make game-winning hits.  I learned that the game was about numbers and strategy… a team game, yet filled with moments of man versus man, star of one team facing off against the star of another, skill versus skill, willpower versus willpower.  I learned that baseball was a fundamental metaphor for how we live our lives.

I remember when Bob Gibson was the greatest pitcher in baseball, and he played an entire career with my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals.  I remember Lou Brock setting the record for stealing bases in a single season, a monumental accomplishment.  I actually saw Lou Brock steal a base in a game against the Houston Astros, though not in the record-setting year.  I was there in person.  I listened to Bob Gibson’s no hitter of the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio, listening in a campground in St. Louis while the Cardinals actually played in Pittsburgh.  I didn’t get to see Stan Musial play ball.  He retired before I first became aware of the game.  But he was on TV quite a lot on game day, and I hung on every word.

970012_598081996889896_1749856650_n 10407396_841407729243846_8153033581544611964_n 252384_10151150805491840_424979047_nBaseball has gotten me through some very rough times in my life.  I used to play ball, baseball and softball.  I was a center fielder for our 4-H team and made some game-saving catches in the field, hit a home run once, and once saved a game for our side when I threw out a runner at home plate from center field.  And I have religiously followed the Cardinals year after year.  In 2011, when health problems and family problems and depression threatened to destroy me… the Cardinals won the World Series in seven hard-fought games.  When you reach a moment of crisis, with the game on the line, you can reach deep inside for that old baseball player magic… tell yourself, “I will not lose this day!” and find the power within you to make that throw, get that hit, catch that long fly ball…

Baseball is a connection to family and friends… teammates… everyone who has ever shared the love of the game.  If you don’t win it all this time… there’s always next Spring.  God, I love baseball.


Filed under baseball, humor, inspiration, Paffooney

Dickens of a Season!


I shared this Paffooney last year too.  I don’t really celebrate Christmas any more, but I do believe in the self-sacrificing love that informs Bob Cratchit, and is so obvious that it converts Ebeneezer Scrooge.  There in lies the “reason for the season”.

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Filed under artwork, Paffooney

Cardinal Points

166926_2922766384906_1370595126_n 205990_10151147941282298_2038421647_n 62722_574692719263587_14180130_n

The cardinal is a personal symbol of mine.  Cardinals, for those who only see them in the south where they live in relatively comfortable surroundings year around, are tough little birds of bright color.  When the winter comes, and the snow piles deep, the cardinal digs in and stays put.  I hope I am like that.  Six incurable diseases, financial problems, being forced to retire from a job I loved by poor health, are all winter things that have not driven me out yet.

And, of course, my favorite teams are Cardinals.  (Sure, you can argue that it’s a St. Louis thing, the Arizona Cardinals were once from St. Louis.)  The St. Louis baseball Cardinals just ended their season with a loss, but the loss was in the National League Championship Series.  They were in that series for the fourth straight year.  They have been doing well, a good sign for me.

The football Arizona Cardinals are at the head of their football division with a record of five wins and one loss.  They had a winning record last year, but were left out of the playoffs because they were in the same division as the Superbowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco Forty-Niners.  Things are getting better for cardinals everywhere.

So things are looking up.  I am happy, in spite of anything that stands in my way.


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At My Grandpa’s Knee

At My Grandpa's Knee

Although the child in the painting is definitely not me or one of mine (the dog is Queenie, and she was real), and although I grew up about as far from the sea as you can get, this painting reveals something critical about who I am. My Grandpa Aldrich was a singular man of wisdom and good humor. He could tell a funny story with the best of them. He was a farmer and inculcated in me a farmer’s work ethic, that get-up-before-dawn style of thing. He never got mad, even the time I broke the plumbing in his house by playing Tarzan in the basement, swinging on the bathroom pipes in the ceiling. Everything I know about how to love, and how to act, and who to be I got from him, or at least from him through my mother who was his child. My grandpa lasted into his eighties and was alive until I finally got married at 38. He lives in my heart still, guiding my actions… even the words I am writing now.

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April 20, 2014 · 7:28 pm

Chibi Exchange

My last post, “The Time is Coming”, was about as down and depressed as I am capable of getting.  I am better now.  Maybe I should explain how I did that.

I brought myself out of depression by grading papers.  I know, teacher cliché, right?  But there is much, much more to it than that.

In my last period class, I have one precious girl student who has been paying me for my many cartoon drawings on the dry erase board.  You see, I have for many years been using my cartoonist skills to illustrate things on the board and draw attention especially to the lesson focus and objectives.  Kids love these.  It inspires them to commit random acts of doodlery.  They imitate my toons and sometimes create their own.  I don’t do Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny any more, not because I can’t, but because the owners of those copyrights have become unreasonably litigious and have sued teachers for imitating their copyrighted work.  I only use cartoons of my own creation now.  I have developed my own cast of characters.  Some of my students have done the same.

The girl, whose name and identity I cannot here divulge (it is the law that protects student identities, but I thoroughly buy into the notion) turned in a paper yesterday with Chibis all over it.  She gives me drawings of her own creation because she likes to repay me for sharing my cartoons with her.  She also covers her papers with these things because of the laws of doodlery.  When you are in a high school English class, your life is at risk because you could easily become bored to death.  The first law of doodlery says that you must use every spare moment of the lesson to draw something.  This keeps both your mind and your hands active enough to keep you alive.  The second law of doodlery requires that you make maximum use of every blank part of your answer page.  The third and final law of doodlery is to draw things that are different.  If you  draw too mundane, or too much the same, your mind goes numb and death by boredom is looking in through the windows of your mind.



So today’s Paffooney, this offering of Chibis, is the same set of doodles that pulled me out of the darkness.  I copied the pencil Chibis from her paper, as precisely as I could in every way except size.  Then I inked them and colored them.   I won’t tell you what the Vietnamese word means or why it is there.  You are entitled to your best guesses.

A Chibi is a version of a manga or cartoon character that is child-proportioned or deformed by an exaggerated cuteness.  I gave the main figure blue hair because in manga language blue hair means youthful, energetic, cool, and introverted, a perfect description for my little Bishoujo, my little Chibi-doodler.  She is now officially a life-saver, a heroine in my book.

Yesterday’s post was dark and depressing, and I fear the issues that created it are real, and they are not going away.  But don’t worry for me.  I know how to handle such things.  And I do have help.

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