Tag Archives: philosophy



It is a difficult thing to be an atheist who believes in God.  Sometimes it takes an oxymoron to find the Truth.  And you often have to go heavily on the “moron” portion of the word.

The thing I find most distressing about faith is the fact that those who have it are absolutely convinced that if you don’t agree with them and whatever book of fairy tales they believe in and interpret for you, then you are not a True Believer and you do not have real Faith.


I remember being told by a Mormon girl in one of my classes that I was her all-time favorite teacher, but she was deeply distressed that, because of my religion (I professed to be a Jehovah’s Witness at the time) I was doomed to burn in Hell forever.

Hey, I was raised in Iowa.  I have experienced minus 100 degree Fahrenheit windchill.  I am among those who think a nice warm afterlife wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

But I am no longer actually a Jehovah’s Witness.  So I guess that helps with the whole Hell-burning thing.  The Witnesses are a religion that claims to understand the Bible is full of metaphorical truth, and yet insist that it is literally true.  They don’t believe in Hell, which, honestly, is not actually mentioned or explained in the Bible as we have it now.  But they do believe your prospects for eternal life on a paradise Earth are totally contingent on knocking on doors and telling other people that they must believe what you believe or experience eternal destruction.  I have stopped being an active Witness and knocking on doors because I got old and sick, and all the caring brothers and sisters in the congregation stopped coming around to visit because number one son joined the Marines, and the military is somehow evil hoodoo that cancels out any good you have done in the past.  Being a Jehovah’s Witness was really hard work with all the meetings (5 per week), Bible reading (I have read the entire Bible two and a half times), door-knocking, and praying, and you apparently can lose it all for saying, thinking, or doing one wrong thing.


According to the Baptist preachers, Jehovah’s Witness elders, religious zealots, and other opinionated religious people I have known and dealt with in my life, if I do not believe what they believe and agree with them in every detail, then I do not know God and am therefore an atheist.  So, okay, I guess I am.   If I have to be an atheist to believe whole-heartedly that everyone is entitled to sincerely believe whatever the hell they want to believe, then I’ll wear that label.

On a personal note, my favorite verse of the Bible has always been 1 John 4:8,  “He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.”  That is why I claim to be an atheist who believes in God.  I know love.  I love all men, women, children, animals, sunrises, artwork, paintings of angels by Bouguereau… everything that is.  And I even love you if you exercise your freedom to tell me, “Your ideas are totally wrong, and you are going to burn in Hell, Mickey, you bad guy, you!”  Mark Twain always said, “I would choose Heaven for climate, but I would prefer Hell for company.”  I am not going to worry about it.  I will be in good company.  Some things are just bigger than me.  And trying to control things like that is nonsense. Sorta like this post.


Filed under artists I admire, artwork, autobiography, finding love, foolishness, humor, philosophy, religion, strange and wonderful ideas about life

The Right Words

I discovered a new artist today.  I was reading posts in the Facebook writer’s group, 1000 Voices for Compassion.  And there in a post by Corinne Rodrigues was a YouTube video by Andrew Peterson.  And it was a miracle.  I clicked on the video and he sang my soul.  Here is the original blog post.  And here is the video.

Yesterday I posted a self-reflected goopy bit of nonsense about how I write and draw.  Today, I realized I haven’t explained why I write and draw.


You can capture it in words.  You can capture it in pictures.  Like Andrew Peterson did, you can capture it in music.  It is deep and profound and eternal… and you can’t really explain it, but it is the singularity… the right word… the way to caress the very face of God.


This music from Andrew Peterson is musical poetry that expresses love in terms of romance and religion.  Love of the significant other is equal to and intertwined with the love of God.  There is a truth in that, and a fundamental reason why despite how religion has let me down, I will never be an atheist again.  Through the right words I have come to know God.  I speak to him daily.  I spent twenty years as a Jehovah’s Witness, even to the point of knocking on doors and sharing the little pamphlets that are supposed to contain the capital “T” Truth.  I can’t do that any more, though.  The thing is, they believe the chosen of God, the only people who can reach paradise, are the people who all say and do and believe the very same thing, the very same words.  Anyone else is left to destruction.  No paradise.  No life after death.  And they clearly tell you what the words are, and you must repeat them like a magic spell.  Peterson’s music is forbidden.  JW’s don’t want you to listen to anyone’s words but their own.  So, since this is Christian music, but not JW Christianity, it is the work of the devil, trying to lead you to destruction.  What kind of selfishness is this?  And yes, I have repeatedly been shown the words in the Bible that say that this is so.  But I have stopped believing that all words in the Bible are the right words.  When the Bible speaks of love… those are the right words.  When the Bible speaks about what you must hate and who is condemned… those are not.


You may have noticed that I have obsessively searched out and shared this Andrew Peterson music.  I do that when I find the right words… good words… I obsessively want to find more and more.  I did that once with butterflies.  When I was a boy, I chased them down with nets and collected them.  But you have to put butterflies in killing jars and then mount them on pins and Styrofoam boards to collect them.  I realized too late that this was not the right way to treat them.  You have to let them flutter in the sunshine and float on the breeze.  You have to let them live.  And so must you do with the right words when you find them.  You must use them and share them and let them live.


Yes, the reason I write is because my life has been lived and it is coming to an end.  But it is a good life.  A life filled with wisdom and love and the very best of those words I have collected in butterfly nets over time.  And I must share those very right words… and let them live because they are beautiful and true… and it is simply who I have to be.




Filed under artwork, insight, inspiration, Paffooney, philosophy, religion, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Uncategorized

Stuff That Works

What makes people visit your blog and maybe even click “like”?  I should tell you up front, I have no idea how best to navigate the crazy internet.  I want to.  I have a book to promote.  I have ideas and experiences to share.  I am a writer and I would like to make something more than excessive heartache out of being one.  But how you actually go about it is still a mystery.

Ima mickey

I know what I surf the internet for.  I like artwork, especially original artwork.  That is why I try to post as much of my own stuff as I can.  I am an amateur artist, self-taught with a little bit of college art classes, contact with real artists, and a lot of TV Bob Ross.  I surf to find other artists whose stuff catches my eye.  I post about artists like Loish, Maxfield Parrish, Paul Detlafsen, and Norman Rockwell.  I go to sites like DeviantArt (Example at this link) and follow artists like James Brown and Shannon Maer on Facebook.  I help promote their work by sharing as often as I can.  Do I worry about copyright violation with my artwork?  No.  I am long past the point of making a profitable career as an artist.  I like having people see my work and if someone decides to claim they are the artist instead of me, I have the real originals and even some pictures of work in progress.  The Big Eyes thing will not happen to me.


So sharing pictures seems to matter.  I got lots of hits from the monster picture post because I used a lot of monster-movie images that people normally search for on the internet.  Pictures of pretty girls work too.  It doesn’t seem to matter if I drew them or if they are a picture of a relative, those pictures pull people in too.


Pictures of photogenic nieces aid my blogging popularity in a rather noticeable way.

Yes, I do believe I have just intimated that Minnie Mouse is my niece, a daughter of my sister-in-law.  Lying is part of blogging.  You have to put spin on things and make people understand the things they want to understand more than you need them to see what is really true in the empirical sense.

Jungle Girl

Being able to put the words “nude” or “naked” in titles or in the tags brings in more views too.  Those words get lots of hits on search engines and some of the people who visit my blog looking for that actually read what’s posted.  Just because an idea is a little bit naughty, it doesn’t mean only perverts and bad people respond to it.


This is a picture of Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean. It is NOT a picture of me.

And it doesn’t hurt to be a little funny now and then.  Humor is something I look for in the posts of others.  I try to be funny in my posts too… though whether they are hah-hah funny or merely eeuw! funny is debatable.  Much of my humor is only intended to raise a smirk or half a smile.  I am most satisfied when I make you think, “heh, that’s right, isn’t it.”


This is Millis, not me. He was an actual rabbit that was turned humanoid by a scientist’s experiment with alien technology.

So why is this post called Stuff That Works if, as I am claiming, I really don’t know anything about how blogging works?  I may have been a little less than truthful when I made claims.  Or maybe I was claiming with a little bit of “tongue in cheek”?  I hope I have demonstrated that I do know how.  The thing I have yet to wrestle with is WHY.  So now I have to get busy and work on that.




Filed under artwork, autobiography, blog posting, commentary, humor, nudes, Paffooney, surrealism

The Doorway Straight Ahead


I just finished watching the last episode of the ABC dramatic television series, Lost.  I watched every single episode of every single season they ever made of that show.  And here’s a major spoiler.  Everybody dies.  Yes.  No one gets through that TV series, or through life itself, without facing death at least once.  And everybody has a last encounter with it where they don’t win.  Except they do.

In my Paffooney above, the door straight ahead is the doorway home.  This Paffooney oil painting is called Poppa Comes Home.  I am hoping that is how it will be for me.  I painted this picture before I had a wife and three kids.  So how did I know?  Or did I simply make it come true?  Is that what the final doorway is all about?  You make it be the doorway you want it to be?  The truth is, I will probably find out before long.  I retired from teaching in rather spectacularly poor health.  I’m not sure I really expected to last this long.  And I may live another twenty years.  But probably not.  The thing is, when the door is finally directly in front of me, I will fear not.  I will simply open it and pass through.  I am at peace.  I have lived a good life.  I was a teacher.  I touched more than 2000 separate lives through my various classrooms over the course of 31 years.  I succeeded some, I failed some, I cried some, and I laughed a lot.  It all means a lot to me.


As I write this now, I have spent most of the day sealed up in my room, on my bed with my laptop, suffering quite a lot with arthritis pain.  Most of my days since retirement have been very much the same.  My body, especially my joints, is wearing out.  But endurance brings wisdom.  Overcoming pain and the depression caused by pain provides me a deep, abiding faith and confidence in myself.  I don’t know if I believe in Heaven, but I am sure there is no hell.  God does not punish for a life completed, no matter how badly you may have lived it.  And if I die, if the human race goes extinct, if our planet is destroyed, even if our entire galaxy winks out in the never-ending darkness of eternity, we have all accomplished a miracle just by the fact of our existence.  The final doorway is the door home.  I have no doubt.

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Filed under autobiography, Paffooney, philosophy

Apple Blossoms Return to Texas


There are certain things that keep me going when my connection to the mortal coil begins to chafe and itch.  Apple blossoms are one of those things.  The apple blossoms have bloomed in our two Texas apple trees in April of 2016.  As I was raking endless live oak leaves out of my yard, making it harder for myself to breathe and continue living because I am allergic to live oak… and most of the rest of Texas to boot, I saw that the apple blossoms had burst forth from their buds.  Between coughs and gasps for breathe, it made me smile.  I ended the raking of endless live oak leaves after only thirty minutes and one sack of leaves.  I am laboring in the face of impending doom, but I am not stupid.  I needed to live to rake another day.  Otherwise I’ll never get it done.

But apple blossoms are worth the heartache and pain and toil of life.  They are not only something to remind me why I keep going.  They are a reason for being.  So I used my phone camera to take a picture of an open blossom.  Then I photo-shopped in a picture of my novel character, Valerie Clarke, the character I created as an amalgam of my lovely daughter and the pretty little girl in my third grade class that I fell madly in love with when I was a little boy.  Like most artists, I am quite capable of slapping beautiful things and ideas together haphazardly to make something that is either a huge pile of kitschy crap, or even more beautiful.  And like most artists, I am entirely too close to the feelings and memories and realities that make up this work of art to ever know for sure which of the two things it really is.  Forgive me if I chose the opposite one that you did. I try not to offend with my Paffoonies.  I try not to be a creep or a bore or a Philistine… but those things are not always possible to avoid.  But there are apple blossoms, and sunrises, and a number of other things as well that, in the end, balance out the equations quite nicely.

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Filed under artwork, feeling sorry for myself, finding love, humor, illness, Paffooney, philosophy, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Uncategorized

Thinking Differently

Buckminster Fuller is an intellectual hero of mine.  As he said in the video, if you bothered to watch it, “I was told I had to get a job and make money, but would you rather be making money, or making sense?”  Bucky was always a little bit to the left of center, and basically in the farthest corner of the outfield.  That’s why we depend so much on him in times like these when the ball is being hit to the warning track.  (I know the world doesn’t really work on baseball metaphors any more, but my life has always been about metaphors from 1964 with the St. Louis Cardinals playing and beating the New York Yankees.  Mantle was on their side, but Maris was playing for us.)  You have to live in the world that fits into your own mental map of reality.  And if you’ve been whacked on the side of the head one too many times… it changes the way you think.  You begin to think differently.  


If you don’t know who Bucky is, as you probably don’t because he revolutionized the world in the 60’s and died in the 1980’s,  Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, and inventor.  He is credited with the invention of the Geodesic Dome.  But he was so much more than that.  He wanted to build things that made better sense, in a practical sort of way, than the way we actually do them.  He built geodesic homes because he felt a home should maximize space and use of materials and minimize costs and amounts of materials as well as environmental impacts.  He is the one who popularized the notion of “Spaceship Earth”.  He wrote and published more than thirty books, and gave us a variety of truly wise insights.  He promoted the concept of synergy.  He said, “Don’t fight forces, use them.”  He also pointed out, “Ninety per cent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.”  He was a man full of quotes useful for internet memes.


So, lets consider an example from the mixed up mind of Mickey;


Here are three dolls from the Planet of the Apes part of my doll collection. (Two different movies are represented here, the 1968 original, and the Tim Burton 2001 remake.)

The world we now live in is increasingly like the movie, The Planet of the Apes.  In that film the world the astronauts set down upon is ruled by talking apes.  The human beings in that film are relegated to the fields and forests where they are no more than speechless animals.  Much like the Republican Party and the wealthy ruling elite of this day and age, the apes control everything and, led by Dr. Zaius (seen on the far right) reject science and evidence as a way to explain things.  They rely on the rules set down by the Lawgiver in much the same way that modern day Republicans swear by the U.S. Constitution to determine the truth of all things.


Here we see the apes capturing and enslaving Marky Mark… er… Mark Wahlberg rather than Chuck Heston from the original movie.


In the original set of movies, Charleton Heston, playing the astronaut Taylor, discovers that through hatred and warring, the human beings of Earth have bombed themselves back into the stone age and enabled the evolved apes to take over.  How does Mr. Heston deal with that problem?  He discovers an old doomsday device and blows up the world.  Chuck Heston has always approved Second Amendment solutions to modern problems, so it is no wonder that he lays waste to everything, the good and the bad.  I think we can see that old orangutan-man, Donald Trump doing exactly the same things now as he runs for President, or Great Ape, or whatever…

In both the previous series, and the current remake, salvation from the rule of the monkey people comes in the form of a leader among the apes.  Caesar, whether he be played by Roddy MacDowell or by Andy Serkis, is able to solve the problems of apes and men by reaching out to those of the other species, assigning them value, and ultimately doing what helps everyone to survive and live together.  Diversity is power and provides a workable solution through cooperation.  The forces of hatred and fear are the things that must be overcome and threaten the existence of everyone.  Donald Trump needs to learn from the lesson of The Planet of the Apes, and be less like General Ursus.   We need Bernie Sanders to embrace the role of Caesar and show us how we can get along with our Muslim brothers… after all, they are more like us than the apes are, and Caesar builds bridges between apes and men.

So, there you have it, my attempt to build a new model based on an old movie… or on the remake… whichever you prefer.  And if that doesn’t work, well, there’s always…


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Filed under doll collecting, humor, insight, inspiration, metaphor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Uncategorized



It is difficult to look at the sky and not feel that the power of Heaven is real.  As I approach the halfway point of my sixtieth year, and the darkness of the future draws ever nearer, I am forced to think about what I really believe.  Being smarter than the average bear has its drawbacks.  I understand why most of the writers I most admire were atheists, and all of the philosophers I have read and found agreement with are decidedly atheist.   Science, rationality, and reason all suggest that there is nothing beyond the physical realm.  Should that matter?  Faith, according to Mark Twain, is fervently believing in your heart what your mind tells you ain’t so.  In fact, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.”  Even the Bible is saying you have to believe it even though you shouldn’t believe it.

So, will I go to Heaven when I die?  For me, the question is meaningless.  I look up at the miracle of a blue sky on a partly cloudy day and see the life-giving sun.  I am alive… here and now… and nothing else is really relevant.  I am a part of the great, vast universe of reality.  My existence is real and cannot be unmade… even by God, if He were inclined to do such a thing.  I am a small, insignificant part of reality, and I can be gone in the next instant like a puff of smoke in the wind.  But I am here and I am alive and I took the Paffooney picture that I used to illustrate this post.  And I face whatever comes with a smile on my face.  I am alive… and life is good.


Filed under insight, inspiration, philosophy, photo paffoonies, Uncategorized

Wizarding Ain’t Easy


A wizard selfie taken at Mad Ludwig’s Castle in Bavaria.

My quest to become a wizard began when I was but a kid reading comic books.  It got a boost when I became a middle school English teacher and realized the fundamental truth of the universe, human beings know practically nothing at all… about anything.  The only path to wisdom is the way of the fool.

So, I embraced it.  It made it so much easier to teach and manage a classroom full of teenybumpers to realize the only thing that works when they laugh at you and make fun of you, is to be able to laugh at yourself and make fun of them right back.

I learned along the way that things that hurt you and make you suffer cause wisdom to happen.  You walk under a ladder and the painter accidentally drops a paint bucket on your head, and you realize that walking under a ladder is a bad thing to do in the future… not simply because of superstition either.


Drawing and painting wizards is something I began to do too.  I find it fascinating to try to draw a wrinkly old face and attempt to put some kind of intelligence in the eyes.  I can get vapid and stupid really really well.  I think I know what that looks like in the eyes of another far better than I know what wisdom looks like.  And how do you know it is wisdom, anyway, and not merely constipation?  Can you see understanding and intelligence in the eyes of another?  I think you can.  But looking into the eyes of young learners for so many years and searching for those things, I realized that the best you can do is guess.  You could easily be wrong.

That is what wisdom is.  Make your best guess, but remember that you are probably wrong.  It is possible to do great and powerful magic in the world if you are a wizard and you have wisdom.  But it will not be easy.  And you must work hard.  And when you have to decide whether to speak or stay silent, the wise man is always silent first, giving himself time to think before he speaks.

“Are you a wise man, Mickey?” you ask.

“…” Mickey says.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, wisdom, wizards

Left is Right


The finished portrait of Marla

With numerous health problems, I have difficulty with sleeping every night.  One of the worst problems I have is nocturnal acid reflux.  It makes me wake up in the middle of night with fire in my throat, like some sort of dyspeptic acid-spitting dragon.  I have to vault out of bed, arthritis and all, and go toss the contents of my stomach into the toilet.  Sorry to be so gross, but it is important to this theme to get a sense of just how bad it is to be on the wrong side.  What do I mean by that?  Well, I learned from a doctor recently that which side you lie on to sleep makes a big difference.  If you sleep on your right side at night, your stomach is oriented in a way that the top opening angles down towards the esophagus.  This leads to an unfortunate ooze of stomach acid that sets off the reflux crisis.  If, however, you sleep on your left side, the stomach is angled in a manner that allows gravity to work for you instead of against you.  I have been intentionally lying on my left side every night for a month.  It works.  No acid reflux.  Until last night.  But when I woke up gagging, I had unconsciously rolled onto my right side.  So it has become obvious to me,  the left side is the right side.



The latest additions to my collection, January & February

Life has to be in balance.  But, unfortunately, it constantly shifts back and forth, up and down, and all around.  Keeping life in balance is a juggling act that may involve lying only on your left side while you sleep.

I worry too about the balance affecting the world as a whole right now.  We are very deeply mired in a time when political right and left are out of balance and have been for too long.  In politics, the right is the conservative belief that things should remain the same.  Since the Reagan administration, that has meant deregulating in the name of profits, free market capitalism, and letting Wall Street profit-makers do anything and everything they want to do to make higher profits.  The left is in favor of change.  When I was a kid, I can remember the left being a very bad thing.  They wanted communist-style revolution.  They robbed banks and blew things up.  But most of those leftists are now dead.  They still exist, but the far right is just as dangerous, the KKK, the militias, and they are far more numerous in this day and age.  The leftist agenda now is more what used to be the moderate position.  Senator Elizabeth Warren and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders want to re-regulate the Wall Street trends that caused the economic meltdown in 2008.   They want to promote progressive tax systems that move the money out of corporate profit-funnels and back into the hands of the middle class, and the institutions that benefit them.  There is a need to shift to the left.  There is need to restore balance.  Once again I think it is proper to say, the left side is the right side.


Here is some of that leftist thinking from the socialist Public Television initiative.


Filed under humor, Paffooney, philosophy, politics, self pity

Building Cardboard Castles


The current state of my cardboard castle is pictured above.  I probably need to remind you that I am making this thing with my own hands.  It is made from old Ritz Cracker boxes with a layer of cutout skin printed from the computer.  It is put together with glue, tape, and a little bit of ingenuity… oh, and a lot of “insert tab A into slot B”.  It is shaping up into a very Elizabethan style of castle.  I originally started it to create props for use with the family Dungeons and Dragons game.  But it grows into a project existing for its own sake, a piece of artwork that is made just like so many others I have done before, in many small steps, one piece at a time.


Here we are stepping back in time to what it looked like before, with fewer elements created.  You can see that the essentials are already added in here… the tavern and the outhouse… can’t live without either of those.


It does, indeed, make a worthy addition and contribution to the ongoing D&D campaign currently journeying through the eastern cities of Aundair in the realm of Eberron.  We are seeking the stolen dragon eggs, and have recently conquered the castle of the Duke of Evernight, freeing it from its terrible curse.

But I do truly believe that the key to this art project, in fact, the theme of this whole post, is that big, impressive things are built our of one small step following another over time.  You build brick walls with a bricklayer placing one brick at a time.

Novels, too, are accomplished this way… one small step after another.  As are both the marriage and the raising of children in the life of a family.  Nothing worth building goes up in a flash… unless it’s built by the Flash… but he is only a character from a comic book and not real.  So, I continue to build.  One day soon, I shall have battlements capable of warding off goblins and orcs.  And for today, I have added another brick to the walls of my blog.


Filed under artwork, humor, photo paffoonies, Uncategorized