Tag Archives: irony

Writer’s Block on a Thursday

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The 1957 Pink and White Mercury of Imagination

I don’t have writer’s block.  I can write as long as I can think and move my fingers on the keyboard to crystallize that thinking into words.  The Pink and White Mercury of Imagination is always moving, either driving forward in the present and towards the future, or in reverse, rewriting the past.  It is never parked.

But somewhere along the way today, the route got sidetracked onto a looping detour.

Hence, this car-themed drive through the idea-capturing process.

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A picture of me reading painted long ago and not with me in the picture..

I started reading a new novel.  It is a 500-plus-pager by Kate Morton called Distant Hours.  It is a Gothic novel, but in a very different way from the one I am writing in The Baby Werewolf.   That book starts as a first person narrative, and then flashes back to the past as a series of third person narratives focused on single characters per section.  My novel is a first person narrative throughout, though told by three different narrators.  It would make an interesting writing analysis post, but I haven’t read enough of that novel nor completed mine to a point where I can compare and contrast them.  And those of you who get bored easily have already tuned out and just looked at the pictures by this point.

I also thought about writing a post about Uber-driving conversations and how that impacts the quality of my driver-service.  But the best stuff there can’t be revealed without breaking confidences.  Doctors, lawyers, bartenders, and Uber drivers are tasked with providing a touch of confidentiality.

I wanted to complain more about Trump and evil Republicans.  But that gets far too tiring.  And if the collection of my posts on WordPress is like a flower garden, the political rants I do are definitely the garden-choking weeds.

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A much better thing for my garden is to chase the flitting butterflies of near-perfect ideas with a butterfly net made of idea lists like this particular post.

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So, it is true that I never actually have writer’s block.  I do get writer’s detours, writer’s delays, and writer’s just-not-satisfieds- with-those-ideas sorts of things.  But not today.  I made the problems the topic and the topic wrote itself.

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Filed under artists I admire, artwork, imagination, irony, Uncategorized, writing, writing humor

Could Trump Actually Be Good For Liberals?

 

Yes, I did wash my mouth out with soap after saying that title out loud.  But I can’t help thinking such strange thoughts.  It is probably because Trump’s healthcare plans already have me off my meds.

I hear you screaming at your WordPress Reader saying, “How can you possibly be thinking such un-Democratic and really dumb thoughts?”

Well, if you think about it… I mean, hit your head three times near the reasoning center of the brain with a really hard rock… some of the greatest things that have happened to mankind have come from the very worst things that ever happened.

Because of World War Two and Hitler, we ended up inventing computers, and we ended up with a space program because beating Hitler gave us Werner Von Braun and some of the best rocket science minds in Germany.  Because LBJ felt guilty about helping the CIA murder Kennedy he enacted the Great Society and Civil Rights reforms that make up the best of Kennedy’s legacy.  (What?   You say that’s crazy conspiracy theory?  Well, I have been hitting my own head with a rock.)  In fact, the combination of Hitler and Kennedy’s assassination put men on the moon.

Yes, humanity needs really bad times to happen to force them to make changes for the better.  And Trump is really bad times.  He takes food away from school children and old home-bound people so he can play more golf at Mar-a-Lago on the taxpayers’ dime.  (Well, actually, it costs significantly more than a dime.)  He puts coal plant waste into rivers and the drinking water of millions.  He cuts regulations so corporate polluters are free to pour more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and keep us all so toasty warm with global warming that our faces will eventually melt.  (And can you imagine what beauty pageants will be like when the contestants no longer have faces?  Mr. Trump will no longer even be anxious to make those un-announced tours of the dressing rooms.)

The only choice we will have for survival if we are not Walmart heirs or Koch brothers is to fight back and correct the situation.  It is possible that enough people will wake up to the whole Trump trauma to take back the House of Representatives in 2018.  Then the investigations can really begin.  Trump is waking up a sleeping giant.  The public is ready to start fighting back.  Bill Nye the Science Guy is ready to throw some punches for science.

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Things that are necessary are never easy.  It is by making too many easy choices that we got ourselves into this mess.  There is a lot of stupidity and incompetence and badness out there to overcome now.  And we must face it or it will kill us.

And it may be a good thing that Trump won the election.  Hillary would’ve been a competent president and nothing would really have changed about the status quo.  We would’ve continued to complacently allow Republicans to run the House and Senate and oppose even the most mild and wishy-washy things that President Hillary would’ve tried to get done.  Now, the Trump backlash may propel us onward towards actual solutions to very real problems like climate change, excessive money in politics, ignorance among the voting public, and income inequality that is tipping us toward a new dark ages and a feudal-technological society.

So the big splash that Trump is sure to make might be a very good thing for liberals who hope to change things for the betterment of a majority of the people.

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Filed under angry rant, clowns, commentary, conspiracy theory, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink, politics

Shakespeare Knows Fools

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The fact that Shakespeare was a master of the art of creating and mocking fools does not really help decide the question of who Shakespeare really was.  A stage actor who owned a theater in Elizabethan times and apparently focused on being the bit player, the butler, the second man on the castle wall in the great plays, would certainly know enough of flim-flam, being a con man, or artfully throwing turds at kings and queens in ways that get rewarded rather than beheaded.  But a nobleman who has unpopular and unwelcome-but-probably-wise insights into the back-stabbing-goings-on of the royal court of England would equally be capable of putting the most memorable of critiques of humanity into the mouth of the fool or the clown in the great stage-play of life.  Even the most depressing and violent of the Shakespearean tragedies is enhanced and made pointed by the presence of the fool and the comic relief.  In some ways everything that Shakespeare wrote was a comedy.

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Whoever Shakespeare was, he shared Mark Twain’s overall assessment of “That damned human race” and often declared all men fools in the eyes of the playwright.  Puck’s observation on humanity is delivered about not only Bottom and the other poor players who carry on their vain attempts at performing Pyramus and Thisbe while Bottom magically wears the head of an ass, but also the easily fooled lovers who mistake their true loves for one another, and even the clueless mortal King Theseus of Athens.

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In the play within a play, Nick Bottom wants to be not only his own role, Pyramus the romantic lead, but argues that he should be Thisbe, the lion, and Pyramus all at once, making a satire of human nature and its overreaching ways that we could only pray Donald Trump will one day watch and magically understand.  In fact, Shakespeare’s entire body of work is an extended investigation of foolishness versus wisdom, and with Shakespeare, the verdict always goes to the fool.

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The plays of William Shakespeare are filled with fools doing foolish things… and fools being accidentally wise. (Think Jacques in As You Like It giving his famous “All the world’s a stage” soliloquy in which he elucidates the seven ages of man.)  There are fools too who prove to be wise.  (Think of the ironic advice given by the jester Touchstone in As You Like It, or the pithy commentary of King Lear’s fool).  The fools in Shakespeare’s work are not merely the comedy relief, but the main point that Shakespeare makes about humanity.

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Whoever the man was who wrote the plays of Shakespeare, he was someone who had a deep understanding of the basic irony underlying all of human life.  And someone with that vital sense of the bittersweet, a philosophy of life that encompasses the highest heights and lowest depths that a soul can reach, is someone who has suffered as well as known great joy, someone who has experienced loss as often as profit, and has known real love as well as real hatred.  It is the fool that Shakespeare shakes us by the neck with to make us recognize the fool in all of us which makes the plays resonate so deeply within us.  It is watching the path of the fool unfolding that makes us shake our head and say to ourselves, “Yes, that is what life is really like.”

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Filed under clowns, comedians, conspiracy theory, foolishness, goofy thoughts, inspiration, philosophy, strange and wonderful ideas about life, William Shakespeare

Bittersweet Irony

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“Mickey, you nerd!  Your jokes are not funny!

You’re not clever, you’re stupid, and not even punny!”

 

 

wisdom from a Twitter troll who admires Dr. Seuss

I will admit, I was not joking when I said the world ended when Trump won the election.  I believe climate change is beyond our control when stupid, vicious, greedy people control 100% of our government.  They are busy already, before Obama even left office, with sealing our doom.  They recently passed the REINS Act, which is intended to not only curb but roll back government regulations.  The Republicans will no longer simply allow regulatory agencies like the EPA to control which toxic chemicals go into our food and drinking water when it might cost the taxpayers (especially RICH taxpayers) money.  They passed a rule that if corporations want to inject batrachotoxin into hamburger meat to increase profits short term, the FDA can’t regulate and prevent that without first having a congressional committee in each of the houses of congress voting their approval of the ban.  This with the aid of Tea Party sandbagging and temper tantrums to grease the gears toward refusal to turn.  Batrachotoxin as every congressman surely understands is the chemical in poison dart frogs that will will kill you if you kiss them.  We certainly need more of that in hamburgers to make the meat look tastier.  So, they will quickly and efficiently ignore the issue and fail to allow the regulation.  We are doomed, dear ones.

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Turtle-boy, pictured here, shows off his favorite flat iron of visual-sarcastic irony which he uses to throw at the heads of dumbnutz who don’t get what irony is.

Irony is when everything you held in your heart as an expectation and looked forward to as something you could depend on for the rest of your life comes abruptly to an end and the opposite is what actually occurs.

Republicans now hold all power in the US government.  Again!  Eight years of Lonesome George the Rodeo Clown, a Wall-Street meltdown and resulting Great Recession, two nearly-endless wars fought over false intelligence about WMDs, and eight years of obstructing everything the other side tried to do to fix their mess was not enough to satisfy Lucretia Borgia’s party of poison and greed.

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Senator Turtle-man McConnell doesn’t get irony.  He doesn’t understand now why Democrats don’t get on board with all the legislation and confirmation hearings that the GOP wants to push through right away.  Why would they want to obstruct legislation that helps people by reducing their social security benefits and ending not only the Affordable Care Act, but doing away with medicare as well?  It’s what the people voted for, isn’t it?

I have instructed Turtle-boy to throw the flat iron of visual-sarcastic irony at Turtle-man’s head.  But he must do it quickly and accurately, or the slow-talking Kentucky Senator will pull that big turtle head back inside his shell, as he has done so many times before.  And even if the flat iron hits squarely, it will not change anything.  We have lost and the future is lost to us and all our offspring.

I do still have some hope of survival of the human race and life on Earth.  Ironically that is because I am just as soft-brained and hopelessly stupid as the rest of my kind.  And I believe in savoring the time we have left.  I intend to cast off political worries into a sea of forgetfulness.  We shall have to see what sharks that attracts.  But hopefully, the sharks that actually eat us will die of food poisoning.

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Filed under angry rant, humor, irony, Paffooney, politics, satire

The Irony of Regular Blogging

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This is an old artwork I have never shared before.

There are many things that I have noticed about being a blogger that are the opposite of what you might expect.  Let me list a few…

  • Listing stuff makes a daily post easier.
  • I have posted something on WordPress as a blogger ever day for twenty two and a half months.  I will soon hit two years without missing a day.
  • Writing every day makes the ideas flow more easily rather than running out of ideas.  The well refills faster than I can drink its waters.
  • My most popular post is Be Naked More , which gets views practically every day, but including artistic nudes randomly in a post does not increase its views and popularity even when I put “naked” and “nude” in the tags.

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  • Reproducing artwork on a blog is difficult when you draw things too big for your little scanner/printer.  No matter how good the camera and how bright the lighting, white becomes gray and the sparkle and luster of good colored pencil color is lost.
  • Good writing becomes more about writing less.  But it also has to be more carefully crafted.  The more I brew prose in my black cauldron of a blog, the more it seems to boil down to poetry.
  • Readers don’t seem to object to metaphors and purple paisley prose as much as editors and book reviewers do.
  • I like writing purple paisley prose (over-complicated grammatical structures with alliteration, metaphor, and asides that interrupt the flow like this one… taken to the extreme for humorous effect).
  • Art pieces can be manipulated and re-used or re-combined to make something new out of something old.  Computers make art-editing infinitely easier.
  • Most people don’t actually read your blog all the way through.  Some just like it for the pictures.  If you actually read this far, you can let me know with a smiley face in the comments.
  • There are many, many good writers on WordPress… as I am sure there are on other blog sites as well.  I despair of being able to find and read them all.  If you are reading this bullet point, you are probably one of the ones I have found and read and liked.  Blogging becomes a mirror that shows you your own self more naked than naked… not just what is under your clothes, but what you look like to yourself in your own head.  And the more you walk around WordPress naked like that, the more you want to show it all off.  (How’s that for an idea that will pull in the readers from the lonely parts of Siberia?)

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Filed under blog posting, foolishness, goofy thoughts, humor, insight, irony, Paffooney

Time For Wasting

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When I was still alive and still teaching, maximizing and managing time was an incredibly important part of the day.    You had to activate learners with an attention step, a lesson focus that grabbed them.  Usually that had to follow a warm-up, something you got them to do as soon as you had smiled at them at the doorway, offered to shake their hand, and then pulled them into the classroom to do some work for you.  fifteen minutes at the start of the class to rev up mental engines and get the gears turning… shake out the rust and the cobwebs that accumulate the instant the final bell rang in the previous class. I timed that part of class down to the second with my pocket watch… or phone in later years.  Then, once the engines started, the focus is in place, you introduce the learning objective.  Never more than ten minutes… timed to the second… you give the explanation, the road map of the day ahead, the instruction.  Then for the next ten to fifteen minutes you let them discover stuff.  In groups, with a partner, teacher to class, student to class, or (rarely) individually, they must apply what you pointed out and figure something out.  It could be complicated, but probably it was simple.  All answers are welcome and accepted… because all answers will be evaluated and you learn more from wrong answers than you do from correct guesses.  Evaluation comes in the five to ten minutes at the end when you evaluate.  “What have I learned today?”  You try your hardest to pin something new to the mental note-board hanging on the brain walls of each and every student.  Depending on how much or how few minutes you are given before the final bell kills the lesson for the day, you have to put the big pink ribbon on it.  That tightly-wound lesson cycle goes on all day, repeated as many times as you have classes.  In that time you have to be teacher, policeman, friend, devil’s advocate, entertainer, counselor, psychotherapist, chief explainer, and sometimes God.  And you time it to the second by your pocket watch.

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I miss being the rabbit holding the BIG PENCIL.  Now that I am retired, I am no longer on the clock… no longer subject to careful time management.  My pocket watch is broken and lying in a box somewhere in my library.  I live now in non-consecutive time periods of sleep and illness and writing and playing with dolls.  I have entered a second childhood now.  Not really a simple one because of diabetes and arthritis and COPD and psoriasis and all the other wonderful things that old age makes possible.  But a childhood free of school politics and mandates from the school board and from the State.  A childhood where I can once again dream and imagine and create and play.  That’s what this post is if you haven’t already figured it out.  I am playing with words and ideas.  They are my toys.  Toys like this one;

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This, of course, is Tim, the turtleboy of irony, holding his magic flatiron that he uses for ironing out irony.  He is flattening it out now with a cartoony Paffooney and wickedly waggled words.  Ironically, I have often taught students to write just like this, making connections between words and pictures and ideas through free association and fast-writing.  Have you learned anything from today’s retired-teacher post?  If you did, it is ironic, because you were never meant to from the start.

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Filed under humor, irony, Paffooney, teaching, Uncategorized

Reverse Humor

The Fallen AceHave you ever noticed how Disney animated movies try to make you cry after you have been laughing for a while?

It is ironic, but true, that you have to use a little bit of the opposite to make something seem more like what it is.  The sad moments in the Disney formula are there to make you see how light the lighter moments really are.  The brightest light needs to be contrasted with the deepest shadow.

So, ironically, I find myself talking about irony as a story telling tool.  You see it in today’s first Paffooney.  In World War I pilots were usually dead if their plane was shot down.   Parachutes were not invented until late in the war.  Yet the pilot is giving the thumbs up sign as he sees you watching him fall to his death.  Irony is the perceived twist on reality that overturns expectations and makes you severely think for yourself about what the meaning could be.  Is the pilot happy because he is not the pilot of the pictured plane?  Could he be the pilot who shot it down?  Is it the Red Baron’s plane, forever robbing Snoopy of the ultimate opportunity?  Is the pilot the Baron himself, happy to be done with his famously deadly career?  Ironically, he is wearing a parachute in the painting, because ironically I didn’t look up the fact that the Frenchman, Jean Pierre Blanchard tested the first soft parachute in 1785, dropping a dog in a basket safely from high up in a hot air balloon until after I wrote the sentence about them not being invented in WWI.  And ironically, they still were not commonly used by pilots in World War I because they were mostly flying a few hundred feet from the ground and parachutes rarely were able to save them that close to death.  (Also, ironically, I seem to be using the word irony or its derivative parts of speech so much that the irony is lost by being made too obvious.  Dang me!)

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The Moose Bowling Paffooney is another example of the kind of reverse humor that I am trying to explain and confusticate today.  If you can’t read the screwy legend on the swirl, it says, “Life is like Moose Bowling because… in order to knock down all the pins… and win… you have to learn how to throw a moose!”  Now I know that Bullwinkle-ized moose humor is naturally funny in itself, but I believe this Paffooney uses irony to make a funny.  You see, it is surprisingly the opposite of what you expect to happen when you talk about Moose Bowling (an obscure but well-loved sport in Northern Canada) and claim that you do it by throwing a moose at the pins at the business end of the bowling lane.  According to http://www.cutemoose.net/moose_facts.htm, an average adult male moose weighs about a thousand pounds.  He would be remarkably difficult to throw even if you could get the three finger holes successfully drilled into his antlers.

To sum up, you can plainly see that there is a real science to the use of irony in a humor blog… or maybe not… because I confess I dropped some excess irony on my left foot and nearly crushed it.  I know it was irony because I saw the rust.  Oh, and I forgot to add a whole nuther essay on why puns are a form of irony.  Well… maybe another day.

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Filed under humor, irony, Paffooney

Blog Happy

At the outset of 2015, back on January 1st, I made a plan to blog every single day of the year.  Now in June I am nearing the halfway point and I haven’t missed a single day.  I was worried at the outset that I would quickly run out of ideas or have to re-post a lot of old writing.  But I hammered out a goal of writing 500 words every day… not rough draft words, but polished words that were as near to finished writing as I can get without obsessive-compulsive editing and the post-traumatic stress syndrome that causes.  I found out that the more I write, the more the well refills with fresh prose needing to be drawn out in my daily bucket-full.

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I am supposing that it doesn’t hurt that I have been in poor health and spend a lot of my day in bed where I do the writing.  You have more time to write when you are limited in what you can do every day.  For instance, wasting a day water-skiing is not really an option.  Neither is mountain-climbing, tennis-playing, race-running. and acrobatic maneuvers in a space-plane.  Well, I actually do some of that last thing… but only in my science fiction stories.  Moose-chasing, pun-hunting, time-travelling, working elaborate voodoo spells, and swashbuckling are the things I really do… and I do them in my imagination.

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It also really doesn’t hurt my overall goals that I am a cartoonist and I draw constantly.  It gives me plenty of visual punch punch to fill up spaces between paragraphs, and I have real, honest-to-god professional writer friends that say the visuals are a key to good blogging now and in the near future.  People respond more to the pictures than the prose.

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I really can draw upon my life for topics.  I recently read an article that claims stress and uncertainty in day-to-day life fuels creativity and writing efficacy.  So that is good news for me.  The house is falling apart.  The weather has gone from a serious five-year drought to record spring rainfall.  The ground our house is built on is shifting with the transition from shriveled to soaked like a sponge.  So the foundation is cracking and the rafters will soon be landing on our heads.  The flower garden that is the yard is turning into more of a jungle.  I am in no condition health-wise to mow and maintain, but the city will fine us a lot of money I don’t have if I don’t do something to curb the jungle’s enthusiastic spread.  And of course the dog produces five times her weight in dog poop every day.  (Here’s that disturbing thing about poop references turning up in my posts again.)  But the exercise I am forced to get from dealing with those problems on a daily basis is probably keeping my heart going and keeping me alive.  And, besides, ranting about troubles is a source of humor and gives me something to write about.

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Now, I started blogging in 2013 because my publisher at the time, I-Universe, told me it was a necessary part of marketing my book.  They neglected to tell me that I would be the only one marketing my books and that I would probably never see a penny of profit in my lifetime from writing, but that’s the breaks, ain’t it?  There is a very good chance that, even though I have been published more than once, and though editors say my writing is good, my books will never be read widely during my lifetime.  I may get discovered along the way given enough time and endurance… but I may just be writing books for my own satisfaction and reading pleasure.  It is the nature of the beast in this day and age that being a good writer and a mediocre marketer is a recipe for failure, while being a poor writer and a good marketer yields success.  So, while irony is having its way with me, I would just like to say… blogging is now where I find my happiness… and thank you for reading my blog.

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Filed under humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Fantasy Worlds

If you saw my post yesterday, you have probably already noticed I am not in love with the real world (and for those of you who naturally assume every conspiracy theorist is a nut job, I don’t love the world as I perceive it through my goofy senses).  So what is the alternative?  How about the world of the imagination?

Like many youths of the late 70’s and early 80’s, I trained my imagination with the Dungeons and Dragons game from Gary Gygax and TSR.  I played first with my brother and two sisters, then with kids from the school where I first taught (middle schoolers when I taught them, but mostly high schoolers when they played in the vast worlds of my dungeon-master’s imagination).  I first started buying and painting metal miniatures.  Later I supplemented them with plastic figures, paper cut-outs, maps,  and dungeon tiles.

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I can now lay out a pretty impressive scene to play out the stories that I and my three goofy kids love to spin.  Of course, you know that, although I lay out the potential story as the dungeon master, the players each pick a character and input their own directions and choices through that character’s point of view.

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The characters face the monsters and problems they must overcome, and they must decide when to hit it, when to kill it, or when to try to charm her way through it.

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After the monsters are dead you have to choose again.  Do you cut up the dead Cyclops and eat it?  Do you accept the gold from the princess who is thanking you for saving her and her children?  Do you kill the bratty kids and take all their gold earrings and arm bands?  Of course, the DM tries to squelch option three.

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And then you gather up the group again in the castle courtyard, and away you go.  Another adventure.  Another problem to solve.  It is so much easier than car repairs and school schedules and dealing with a dog that is a walking poop and spare-hair factory.  Dungeons and Dragons life is so much more heroic and fulfilling than real life.

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And then Mom shows up and says the game is over for today.  Time to wash the dishes, vacuum the carpet downstairs, and walk the dang pooping dog.  “Go away, Mom!  We are busy learning about the important things in life.”

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Filed under Dungeons and Dragons, humor, photo paffoonies

Sanctuary

I am trying to hold everything together.  I have made my plans, including plans for dealing with irrational things that some people might do.  And so, it is time to go visit the rabbit people.

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The Rabbit people represent the people and personalities from my past, fortifying me with good memories and pleasant thoughts.  I depend on my interior mental life more and more as my body breaks down and my present life is more and more limited.

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The hero is a younger me, leading the way to places I have been before and ready to defend me with old truth.

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But there is no such thing as a perfect sanctuary.  No castle of willpower and mental toughness is ever impregnable.

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A thousand things now assail me.  Unpaid tax bills, surprise expenses, continued struggles with illness, and other horrible goblins of chance and bad fortune continue to hound me.

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The battle is not over.  I have not yet lost, though I have not won yet either.

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Filed under humor, Paffooney, rabbit people