Tag Archives: Paffoonies

Nerd Class

Skoolgurlz

Back in the 1980’s I was given the gift of teaching the Chapter I program students in English.  This was done because Mrs. Soulwhipple was not only a veteran English teacher, but also the superintendent’s wife.  She was the one gifted with all the star kids, the A & B students, the ones that would be identified as the proper kids to put into our nascent Gifted and Talented Program.  That meant that I would get all the kids that were C, D, & F in most of their classes, the losers, the Special Edwards, the learning disabled, the hyper rocketeers of classroom comedy, and the trouble makers.  And I was given this gift because, not only was I not a principal’s or superintendent’s wife, but I actually learned how to do it and became good at it.  How did I do that, you might ask?  I cheated.  I snooped into the Gifted and Talented teacher training, learned how to differentiate instruction for the super-nerd brain, and then used the stolen information to write curriculum and design activities for all my little deadheads (and they didn’t even know who the Grateful Dead were, so that’s obviously not what I meant).    I treated the little buggers like they were all GT students.  Voila!  If you tell a kid they are talented, smart, and worthy of accelerated instruction… the little fools believe it, and that is what they become.Aeroquest ninjas

Even the goofy teacher is capable of believing the opposite of what is obvious and starts treating them like super-nerds because he actually believes it.  I soon had kids that couldn’t read, but were proud of their abstract problem-solving skills.  I had kids that could enhance the learning of others with their drawing skills, their singing ability, and their sense of what is right and what is wrong.  I had them doing things that made them not only better students for me, but in all their classes.  And I did not keep the methods to my madness a secret, either.  I got so good at coercing other teachers to try new ideas and methods that I got roped into presenting some of the in-service training that all Texas teachers are required by law to do.  And unlike so many other boring sessions we all sat through, I presented things I was doing in the actual classroom that other teachers could also use with success.  The other teachers tried my activities and sometimes made them work better than I did.

Teacher

Yes, I know this all sounds like bragging.  And I guess it probably is.  But it worked.  My kids kept getting better on the standardized tests and the State tests that Texas education loves so much.  And Mrs. Soulwhipple was still the superintendent’s wife, but she did not stay a teacher forever.  She eventually went to a new school district with her husband.  And guess who they started thinking of when the question of who would be the next teacher for the nerd classes was considered.  That’s right, little ol’ Reluctant Rabbit… that goofy man who drew pictures on the board and made kids read like a reading-fiend… me.

So, a new era began in Cotulla.  In addition to still getting to teach all the deadheads (because they weren’t going to trust those precious children to anyone else, naturally), I began teaching at least one edition of Mr. B’s famous Nerd Class every school year.  We actually assigned long novels and great pieces of literature for the kids to read and discuss and study in depth.  Novels like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt were read.  We began talking about “big ideas”, “connections to the wider world”, and how “things always change”.  We began taking on ideas like making our world better and how to help our community.  Kids began to think they were learning things that were important.  We did special units on Exploring Our Solar System, The World of Mark Twain, Finding the Titanic, and The Tragedy of Native American History.  And we spent as much as a third of the year on each.  I am myself cursed with a high IQ and a very disturbing amount of intelligence.  I am the deepest living stockpile of useless facts and trivia that most of my students would ever meet in their lifetimes.  And even I was challenged by some of the learning we took on.  That’s the kind of thing that makes a teaching career fun.  It kept me teaching and meeting new students and new challenges long after my health issues made it a little less than sensible to keep going.  And if I manage to tell you a few Nerd Class stories in the near future, then at least you stand a chance of knowing a little bit about what-the-heck I am talking about.  So be prepared for the worst.  I am retired now, and have plenty of time for long-winded stories about being a teacher.

 

2 Comments

Filed under humor, Paffooney, teaching, Uncategorized

Transportation by Imagination

How does one use the mind to move from one place to another?  Is teleportation by mental ability possible?  Can we find new ways to travel using only the mind?  New worlds to travel to?  Of course!  Anything is possible once you realize there are no barriers to human imagination.  It is possible to traverse even the beginning and the end of the universe itself.

My Art 2 of Davalon

Case in point, I have as a cartoonist tried to come up with novel ways to travel.  In Catch a Falling Star I imagined that an engineering prodigy and a scientific genius used recovered alien technology to turn an 1889 steam locomotive with a pair of Pullman passenger cars into a space vehicle using an old hot air balloon and Yankee ingenuity.  They used it to fly to Mars.

flying goldfish

A friend who read that book, Stuart R. West, who writes teenage horror story mysteries  (Here’s a link to Stuart’s stuff!) suggested an idea for an illustrated children’s book about three kids that feed bubble gum to a goldfish.  The goldfish urps up a bubble that ends up carrying them off on an adventure through the sky.  I drew a possible illustration for that book and killed the idea completely dead.  I have a secret super power for taking cute and funny ideas and turning them into things that are totally unmarketable.  I wonder if that makes me a super villain instead of a hero.  So, the cartoonist in me had to develop other ways to travel that are even more ridiculous.

20151022_100001

In Clowntown, a part of my Atlas of Fantastica cartoon, you travel the downtown Clowntown skyway by being flipped and flung along the Clowntown Trapeze-way.  It makes for a harrowing ride and it’s really heck to use for trips to the grocery store or coming home again with packages to carry.

Travelling in the part of Fantastica dominated by pirates is even worse.  Traveling by the science of Boomology means getting shot out of a cannon naked to get wherever you need to go.  It is not something I would want to try in real life, but the cartoon me seems to not enjoy it with only minor bumps and bruises.

20151022_100053

So, travelling by means of the mind alone, through imagination, is quite possible… and probably infinitely unwise.

Leave a comment

Filed under cartoons, humor, Paffooney

Sarcasm, a Super Power of the Future

It has come to my attention that the need for super heroes has reached a critical point in our history.  I have been watching television documentaries about Green Arrow and the Flash, and now there is a new one, Supergirl.  And I didn’t miss all the media attention when Robert Downey Jr. formed a super team of powerful people and destroyed a European country so thoroughly that I can’t find it on a map anywhere.  So, wanting to get in on the action, I decided I needed a super power of my own.  And I know what it is.  I am not strong.  I am not fast.  I am not as smart as Robert Downey Jr. who is both Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man.  So I have to settle for one of those second tier super powers.  Like sarcasm.

Sarcasto Fu

Unbeknownst to most who know me, I went away to the far oriental country of Kathman-dooki to study under an ancient master.  His name was Aiknowyooare Butwhattami, ancient master of the Shaolin art of Sarcasto Fu.  He was the one who taught me to meditate on the foibles of people I don’t like and the pet peeves that drive me to despise them.  He taught me that a well-placed sarcastic comment, like a well-thrown dagger, can cut right to the heart.

“You must focus your ire on the words you say, Grassstomper, to give the desired meaning to words that actually mean the opposite of what you mean to mean… in order to be mean,” said the ancient master.

“That makes perfect sense to me,” I said with a leftward eye-roll.

“Excellent, oh bug-headed one, you inflected that just right to hurt me fatally without revealing your witlessly shallow stupidity.”

I smiled at the praise as he wrote a big letter “F” on my report card.

Sarcastoman

But if I choose to use sarcasm as my super power, I have the unfortunate problem of competing with the super hero known as Sarcasto Man.  He has previously seized on this notion that you can defeat super villains by sarcastically shaming them into committing oriental ritual suicide… called Hairy Kurie, or something like that.  Or was that ornamental suicide?  You know, the kind that decorates the sides of your house with dark reds and crimsons.  I think you do it with a sword… or cut your own head off with a butter knife or something weird like that.  Anyway, Sarcasto Man has told me that he achieves his super-power effects by holding a very high opinion of himself and talking down to everyone else around him.  He was supposed to become part of a super hero team, but failed at the task because his sarcasm caused as many suicides among his teammates as it did amongst his super-villain enemies and their minions.  In fact, he could not use the power on minions very well because they are usually too stupid to understand that you actually mean the opposite of what you are saying.

“It was very discouraging after I defeated the Mangling Mingler,” Sarcasto Man told me, “because after he cut his own head off with a butter knife, his minions, the Mingle Men, blamed me for his death and started pelting me with rocks.  I got such a bunch of red welts on my buttocks.  Fortunately my head is rock-proof.” (Did I forget to mention that using sarcasm as a super power is greatly aided by having a very thick skull?)

turtleboy

I began to despair of ever achieving levels of sarcasm-ness to be in his league.  So I started looking for alternatives that were close in content, but different in application.  I briefly thought about using irony instead of sarcasm.  Tim the Turtle Boy (whom I interviewed as a potential boy sidekick… um, not trying to be gay or anything) demonstrates my irony skill by holding up his magical cast-iron flat iron with which he either creates irony or flattens out the super villain’s clothing wrinkles.  Well, maybe I am not all that clear on how one becomes a superhero, and I don’t want to make Robert Downey Jr. mad by trying to become Irony Man and crowding his personal shtick.  He might use sarcasm on me and suggest I would make a really great Pun-Man.  You know, killing villains with really bad puns and jokes that turn your head inside out.  That would be a truly shameful thing.

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, Paffooney, pen and ink

Weirdie Poetry

Mr. R RabbitThe Man Who Had Bird Knees

I once knew a man…

Who had knees…

That bent backwards, like a bird’s…

And this man…

Could only walk…

Like a limping, lame old duck.

The children all laughed…

And pointed at him…

When he passed them in the park…

And it made him smile…

And laugh to himself…

That his handicap made them happy.

Every single night…

He oiled his weary knees…

And tried to fight the pain…

And every single day…

He used his silly legs…

To do the Chicken Dance for kids.

And then there came a day…

When the bird legs came no more…

To be noticed by kids at the park…

And the parents all learned…

That the poor man had died…

And the whole world brought him flowers.

The next day in Heaven…

St. Peter saw a man…

Whose knees bent backwards like a bird’s…

And all of Heaven laughed…

As he did the Chicken Dance…

While angels clapped in Heaven.

dorin 001

dorin 002dorin 003

The thing I find to be most witlessly true about both poetry and life is that things can be funny, and make you laugh, and at the same time make you cry on the inside.  Humor is hard to write because it can be both happy and sad at the same exact moment.  How do you define that quality?  The bitter-sweet nature of nature?  That’s saying it in a way that is both contradictory and odd.  It can give you a wry smile at the same moment it both confounds and confuses you.  So better just to shrug your shoulders and tell yourself you know it when you see it… and this either is or isn’t it.  Sorry if I made you think too hard, cause I know that sometimes thinking hurts.

Mickey at the Wishing Well of Souls

I found a country well, and I thought I had a quarter,

But I fished in pockets hard, and found nothing for the warter,

And since I had to warp a line to make the poem rhyme,

I figured I would just look in, because I had the time.

I looked into the warty water which sat there still and deep,

And could not see the bottom, and I began to weep.

The water was clear and dark and black,

And the only thing I saw… was Mickey looking back.

And nothing of the wishing well, its magic could I see,

For only there just staring back, the secret thing was me.

Kops

I apologize for inflicting poetry on you when you probably came here looking for goofy stuff to laugh at.  But my poetry is just like all my word-mangling and picture-crayoning.  It tends to be goofy and weird and walking a tightrope over a shark tank between chuckle-inducing and tear-jerking.  You probably can’t even tell which is the poetry and which are the burbled brain-farts of commentary that pad this thing out to five hundred words.  Four hundred and ninety six, actually.

mANDY

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, Paffooney, poetry

Maxfield Parrish Pictures

Much of what I draw is inspired by Maxfield Parrish, the commercial artist who created stunningly beautiful work for advertisers in the 1920’s and 30’s, and went on to paint murals and masterworks until the 1960’s.  He is noted for his luminous colors, especially Parrish Blue, and can’t be categorized under any existing movement or style of art.  No one is like Maxfield Parrish.  And I don’t try to be either, but I do acknowledge the debt I owe to him.  You should be able to see it in these posts, some of mine, and some of his.

Mine; (In the Land of Maxfield Parrish)

MaxP

His; (Daybreak)

Daybreak_by_Parrish_(1922)

Mine; (Wings of Imagination)

Wings of Imagination

His; (Egypt)

Egypt

Believe me, I know who wins this contest.  I am not ashamed to come in second.  I will never be as great as he was.  But I try, and that is worth something.  It makes me happy, at any rate.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Paffoonies Still Working

This is actually a writer’s literary site meant to promote novels, and one day possibly earn money from writing instead of simply filling my closets with prose and old manuscripts (along with the wife’s many, many shoes).  But since I am also an amateur artist of the irradiated subspecies known as “cartoonist”, I also have many visuals to share.  I think in pictures as often as I think in words.  So one of the features of this blog is that I tag artwork with a made-up word I coined myself.  It allows the curious (or those immune to nightmares) to get an almost instant idea of how afflicted I am with cartoon-ism.

goopafootootoo

Yes, I tested it out.  If you do a picture search on Google using the words “Beyer Paffooney” you get a free gallery of my artwork, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  You might even find my picture of Clint Eastwood… but beware, he shoots first if you try to “make his day”.  If you are brave… or foolish enough to try it, it should come up something like this;

20160826_105214

So, there you have it.  A cheap and easy 200-word post from a bad idea that’s still out there working.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, cartoony Paffooney, goofiness, Paffooney, Paffooney cartoony, Paffooney Posts

Dog Thoughts

Jade Monster1

Now that she regularly steals people food from the pantry, Jade the dog is becoming more and more like the human race she wants to be a member of.  Recently she was reading my blog and got the idea that she could write poetry.  So, I was searching for an idea for today’s post and decided I would let her give it a try.  So all of this poetry today will be written by the family dog.

 Introducing Dog Thoughts 

Woof!  Grumph-hak-borph-borph… Rrrr.

Did you get that?  Or do I have to translate everything into your language?

Boofa-Rrrrr.  Bork bork grumph…. okay, we’ll do it your way.

But every time I need to add a tail wag,

Ima gonna go “*************” where each “*” is one wag.

Got it now?  People are so dumb!

Jade girl

The family dog after eating enough potato chips to become all people-y…

It Is a Stinky World!

Ooowow!  I go outside and I can smell dog poop in the park!

The rabbit that lives in the hedge leaves those little round brown things!

I want to put my nose in a pile of those *********!

I like to eat cat droppings, but you have to dig them up *******

And I am deathly afraid of the white cat… it kills and eats rats!

And it’s almost as big as I am

With breath that smells like dead rats

It is a stinky world! *******

Isn’t that great! ********

family dog2

Queen of the Couch

Why do you not understand

That the couch is mine all morning and all afternoon?

I will get off when it’s time to eat

And I will get off when it’s time to go outside

But the rest of the time the couch is mine

So don’t disturb me

Or I’ll pee in your shoes!

Dingledum dog.

Rats Are NOT Our Friends

I smell them more than see them

With rank and nasty sewer smells

And I never, ever catch them

They don’t come ringing bells

And my master puts out poison

Which they eat with garbage sauce

But it only makes them poison-proof

And I am at a loss…

All I do is bark at them

When I smell them in the walls

And my family’s mad at ME

When all the blame and curses fall.

20151224_190445

The Beg-Eye

Do you really not see me here? *****

Here right by your knee? ******

I know you’re eating bacon!  *******

I can smell every bite disappearing! ********

Look into my eyes!  *********

My big, sad dog eyes! **********

Don’t you want to give me some? **********

I  mean, it’s BACON!  ************

**************************************!!!

dogwalk1

I Do Love My Family

I take my beloved family members for walks

Four or five times a day

It keeps them healthy

With cold, wet noses

And shiny coats of fur

And I always make sure they are on the other end of the leash

How else can I guide them, and keep them safe?

From passing cars?

And other dogs?

But I wish they would be patient

when I stop to sniff all the tree trunks and posts

Where I check the messages  from boy dogs

Written in pee

Some of them sure do have healthy bladders!  **************!

8 Comments

Filed under autobiography, family dog, humor, Paffooney cartoony, poetry

Pirates Sell Insurance as an Act of Evil

Raygun RonnyIt is now official.  I hate health insurance companies more than I hate the high cost of health care.  I appreciate the emergency room that saved my son’s life a year ago in February.  But I am still trying to pay for it.  I am practically bankrupted by five ER visits in the last four years.  Only one of those was mine.  Health insurance does not approve ER costs for a whole list of health problems.  And that was a better insurance than we have this school year.

In order to get my son out of the Health Facility that the ER sent him to, I had to arrange a doctor and a therapist before they would even discuss releasing him.  I did that.  My son reached a level of recovery that they could have authorized his release after one three-day weekend, but of course, the kept him for ten days… all of which I had to pay for out of pocket at hospital rates.  The doctor I arranged for saw my son every three months after that to maintain his recovery and prescribe the best possible medicine.  He was one of the best doctors in his field and he helped immensely.  The therapist was even more helpful, being able to teach my son how to handle the symptoms and complications of his condition.  He was also worth his weight in gold.

But then the State of Texas decided the health insurance that teachers got through their school districts on State funding’s dime was much too good.  The wise and noble Emperor Perry of Texas decided to hand State employee health care over to Faetna ( a fake name that rhymes precisely with the corporation’s real name if you just drop the letter F).  Wonderful doctor does not even deal with the pirates of Faetna.  They swing into any and all health care situations on boarding ropes and slash at anything that moves with their cutlasses of problem-making.  So I had to get a new doctor.  The doctors in this particular field of medicine are not abundant to begin with.  Aetna… er, I mean Faetna, decided that we could only use doctors that were associated with the same hospital where we visited the ER.  Well, I asked them to give me names of the doctors who qualified.  I got three names.  I made an appointment.  We were filling out the paperwork in the doctor’s office twenty minutes before seeing the doctor.  The receptionist interrupted after I had half-way finished the mountainous paperwork to tell me the insurance had rejected payment.  This doctor that THEY had recommended to me was not a part of the approved network.  They took Faetna insurance, but Faetna refused to pay.  The same day I called the other doctors on the list.  No doctor recommended to me by the insurance company was part of the required plan.  There were no doctors in the city who did qualify.

Okay.  It can’t get worse.  We still had the therapist who was working miracles for my son.  He took Faetna insurance.  There was no problem there, right?  But wait.  The pirate captains of Faetna took another look.  They started rejecting his claims too.  Soon there was a huge yellow envelope full of demands for clinical records to justify the need for the therapist.  I went to the ER, to the wonderful doctor, to the hospital in Denton where they were still taking my money away from me, and to the therapist himself.  We gathered documents.  The lovely hospital charged me $50 for paperwork and made me drive all the way there to Denton twice to accomplish it.  I got all the materials compiled, overnighted them to the insurance company’s disapproval department, and everything should’ve been fine.  But. of course, it wasn’t.   The claims for services were denied.  I am expected to pay out of pocket.  They found no clinical evidence that the services were essential and they insisted I pay the bills without help from them.

So, I am left marveling at the ingenuity of the insurance-pirate racket.  Every month we pay for all five us, hefty premiums because we have health issues that need to be prepared for, and when the problems arise, and we ask them to pay their promised share…  we have issues, and we get denied.  I have been shanghaied by the pirates of Aetna… er, I mean Faetna.

pirates of insurance

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, humor, pen and ink paffoonies

Spacey Stories

Buster 3

I am usually considered a Sci-fi and Fantasy author when anybody tries to categorize me.  I learned to write during the 70’s when Tolkien and Michael Moorcock and Frank Herbert were growing bigger, and Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov were gods.  Of course, I also have the YA-thing hanging around my neck like a bell.  I learned to tell stories being a dungeon master for middle-school and high-school boys back in the eighties.  And because it was Texas with a deeply-held and violently-enforced religious fear of anything with demons in it, I was forced to change my role-playing games from sword and sorcery to science-fiction.  I played endless Saturday-afternoon Traveller games that could span parsecs and light-years in a single afternoon.  And I was one of those game-masters who used humor to build a campaign and keep the players engaged and interested.  We had epic space battles and conquered large swaths of the Orion Spur of the Milky Way Galaxy.  When I began turning my Traveller games into fiction, I used the personalities of the boys who played the game with me for characters in the stories.  I often used the same plots (applying considerable polish to portions of plot where… well, you know… teenage boys, not remarkably G-rated.)  I created things that made me and some of the players laugh, and even feel sad… with deep, cathartic effects, as if we had experienced those things in real life.  (The deaths of favorite characters and tragic failures of galaxy-saving plans come quickly to mind.)

DSCN4409

I enjoy practically everything Sci-Fi, from Flash Gordon, to Buck Rodgers,  to Star Trek and Star Wars…  I loved Mechwarrior books and comic-book Sci-Fi like Adam Strange, Hawkworld, and Guardians of the Galaxy (the old ones that came before Groot and Rocket Raccoon).  I let it warp and weave my imagination and the imaginary worlds that blossomed from it.
A
nd the ideas continued to morph and change and become stories that I really had to tell.

Phoenix1My first published novel, Aeroquest is a compilation of old Traveller adventures.  I published it well before it was ready for market and used a cheap-o publisher that wasn’t worth the free price-tag,  They gave me no editorial help and apparently didn’t even read the novel.  I will not defame them by name here, but if they sound to you like Publish America… well, there might be a reason.

I love stories about time travel and sci-fi gadgets…  trans-mats and starships and meson cannons and sentient plants… oh, my!

And now that I have revealed that I have such a massive nerd-head that I really ought to own Comicon by now, I hope you will not suddenly turn me off and read my blog no more.  I can’t help it.  I was born that way… and any child doomed to be born in the 50’s and a child in the space-race 60’s was bound to have George-Lucas levels of Sci-Fi nerdism.

4th Dimension BizzyandHarmony DSCN4725

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, Paffooney, science fiction

Wisdom from the Outsider

There is so much left to be said before my time runs out.  Wisdom, whether hard won or acquired entirely through wit, bears a certain responsibility in the possession of it.  We are duty-bound as wizards, the masters of wisdom, to pass it on.mrFuture

Now, you certainly have every right to protest that I am not wise and I have no wisdom.  You are certainly right to point out that I am a doddering old fool that sits around the house all day in the midst of his poor-health-enforced retirement doing little beyond writing silly stories and drawing pictures of mostly naked cartoon girls.  I get that.  But the beginning of wisdom is the realization of how big everything is and how little I really know about anything.

Take for instance the question of where we came from and what our purpose is?  (And the question of why I put a question mark on that when it really wasn’t a question.)

I originally believed in the God of the Christians and in the promises of Jesus… everlasting life and an eternity of sitting on a cloud with a harp and…  Okay, it didn’t take me long to see the logical holes in that line of reasoning.  So much of that is fear of death and the need to believe that I am the center of all things, the most important person in existence.  The truth is I am only a tiny part of a nearly-infinitely-large universe.  And the universe is conscious… self aware.  How do I know this?  Because I am conscious and self-aware.  I am an infinitely tiny piece of the whole… but there are untold trillions of others just like me.   Mai LingAnd when I die… when this body ceases to function, as it already has a great deal of trouble doing, the parts that make up the individual creature and thought patterns I identify as me will be scattered to the far corners of everywhere to be gathered up once again and be something new.  All of mankind passes away.  Human beings and the planet Earth will one day be no more.  But that is not what matters.  There is so much more beyond the boundaries of what my limited eyesight can behold, and what my limited mind can comprehend.   I am made of star-stuff (just ask Neal DeGrasse Tyson or Carl Sagan), and I am a part of the universe as a whole.  I am in no hurry to die.  Life is worth fighting through the pain for… but I do not fear death.  Like birth, it is only a stop along the way in a journey that, as far as I can tell, never ends.

1 Comment

Filed under Paffooney, philosophy, wisdom