Reluctant Rabbit

Mister R. Rabbit is a school teacher.  He is not the scariest animal in the world, but he is quick and eats carrots, and for thirty-one years he started off the first week of school as the one holding the BIG pencil.  He was the one that planned and carried out the lessons.  He was the one with the carrot of irony in his pocket and the carrot of good humor tucked away in his desk drawer.  For thirty one years he stood in front of the class just as you see him here.

Teacher

But tonight, he is contemplating the end of the first week of no school.  This week, this school year, Mr. Reluctant R. Rabbit has no class.  He is now retired.  No more F’s and no more A’s.  No more students standing on desks to get a different perspective a la The Dead Poet’s Society.  No more giant pencils.  No more carrots of irony in the pockets.

Hilda

This bit of a classroom rules poster is from 1982.  The old rabbit had it on his classroom wall for most of the first five years that he taught.  She didn’t know it at the time, but this girl is a colored pencil portrait of one of the quietest little mice that he ever taught.  She didn’t know it was a picture of her, but many others recognized her.  When he taught her son twenty two years later, the boy asked because he thought he recognized her.  Mr. Rabbit lied and said it was somebody else in the picture.

Mr. R. Rabbit has stopped crying about it now.  You can’t plant carrots of wisdom in your garden forever, and sooner or later the carrots of irony get chewed.  But he still misses it mightily.  He still wonders if he couldn’t have lasted one… more… school… year…

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Being and Artistry

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Being an artist is a matter of genetics, luck, and loads of practice.  I began drawing when I was only four or five years old.  I drew skulls and skeletons, crocodiles and deer on everything.  My kindergarten and first grade teachers were constantly gritting their teeth over the marked-up margins of every workbook and worksheet.  I drew and colored on everything.  I eventually got rather good, drawing in pencil, crayon, ink, and as you see here, colored pencil.  I loved to draw the people and things around me.  I also drew the things of my imagination.  I drew my best girl, Alicia, and I drew the half-cobra half-man that lived in the secret cavern under our house.  I drew a picture of the house across the underpass from Grandma Mary’s house.  I drew cardinals, and I drew Snoopy cartoons.  I drew my sports heroes in football and hockey, Donny Anderson and Gordie Howe.  I drew monsters with fangs and fuzzy animals with huge soulful eyes.  I still draw and it’s mostly the same things that I drew when I was a child.  I will post more of the drawings here in the near future to dazzle you with my talents and ridiculous sense of the absurd.

Scand

I inherited art talent from my father’s side of the family.  He could always draw fairly well, though he only used the talent to draw things he meant to build or create in his workshop.  He was a practical man who loved to tinker and make things work in a useful manner.  He had no love or need for that which is fanciful and fantastic.  I suspect, though, that he encouraged my artistical flights of fancy because it spoke to an unfulfilled portion of his own creative instinct.  My Great Aunt Viola was also an artist.  She loved to paint flowers on porcelain and create delicate beauty in items like plates and vases.  Her art was more fanciful than my Dad’s art, but it still had a certain Midwestern practicality at its roots. 

I hoped early on to be a cartoonist or comic-book artist.  I loved to draw wildly imaginative things.  The first cartoons I created were all about outer space.  I wrote stories and drew pictures of Zebra Fleet, a Star-Trek-like space force that kept peace in an area of space inhabited by dog-headed humanoids.  It was fanciful and goofy at the same time.  Since then I tried my hand at a Cowboys and Indians cartoon strip, built around the massacre of Custer’s command at the Little Bighorn.  I researched the Indians of the Dakotah, Crow, Shoshone, and Hidatsa Tribes for my cartoon.  I learned to love drawing feathers, totems, magic men, shamans, shirt men, and lovely Indian girls.  Nowadays I draw the adventures of weird little Toons from Animal Town and the various strange places in Fantastica.  Teenage Panda Girls go out for cheerleading and fail, seeking to wreak revenge on Animal Town.  Hairy Bear is a Grizzly with a tiny body and a huge reputation earned by fantastical hair growths and the ability to make large hair-pieces.  The Four Bares are a family of bears who live at Newt’s Naturist camp and turn Animal Town upside down when they insist on their right as top-of-the-food-chain predators to go anywhere they like naked.  If you are lucky, I will never be a published cartoonist.  I made a serious stab at it.  I came close in two different job interviews and one major submission, but I have arthritis, and it attacked my hands at just the right time to make me a school teacher instead of a cartoonist.

Drawing has become for me a hobby and a lifestyle all about the color and the symbol.  I try to cram as much story and meaning into every figure or picture I do.  Each drawing is precious, and I must squeeze as much as I can from each one, because drawing has become so hard to do and is such a rare thing.  I lean towards the blue in my cartoons.  There is a certain Blue Period about my melancholy work and life.  Things turn out wrong at the end of my stories and there is no happily ever after.  When the nighttime comes, I have to go to sleep with the urge to draw more.  I’ll draw more in the next life, or maybe in my dreams.

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Monkey-head Musings

chimpater1

I am not what you would call political.  I have some friends that I care about who are very conservative.  And when I say conservative, I mean Obama-is-Hitler-and-illegals- are-taking-over-our-country-and-keep-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare-sort of conservatives.  The loony, Fox News-watching, crazy sorts of conservatives.  How could I be from Iowa and not know lots of those types?  They would probably be really offended by this post if they actually bothered to read it.   But no worries, most of them don’t read in complete sentences.  I also have some more sensible, care-about-poor-people-and-worry-about-education-and-try-to-save-the planet sorts of people who used to be called moderates, but now are looked upon as loony liberals.  I think I side more with them.  I have to admit though, a Facebook commenter recently upset me by accusing me of misrepresenting the facts when I commented that Texas has privately operated for-profit prisons (I saw one up close when I lived in Cotulla) and that they have taken money away from education (my district by itself had State money reduced by a million dollars in order to help Emperor Perry balance the Texas budget without touching his billion dollar rainy day fund).  I am not usually one to fuss up the facts.  That’s more of a conservative thing.  I know it is pointless to argue on Facebook about politics.  I definitely don’t need to get upset about people who, no matter what evidence or reason you give them, will never change their mind.  But I have discovered that politics do affect me.  Take the health care issue.  I have six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor since 1983.  If healthcare reform had resulted in socialized medicine, government paid-for healthcare, that would benefit me the most.  As it is, the Affordable Care Act (perjoratively known as Obamacare) helps me by insuring that I won’t pay insurance premiums for a lifetime and then die from a life-time maximum payout instituted by the insurance companies.  Banker and Insurance Representative are actually two new names for pirate.  They are in the business of collecting premiums and refusing to pay claims.  They don’t need to be de-regulated so they can make more money and deny me health care more easily.  They need more regulation, not less.  But conservatives in Texas want Obamacare repealed.  Senator Ted (Monkey-face) Cruz even shut the government down to try to destroy Obamacare.  Texas conservatives refuse to take government money to help them make the Affordable Care Act work.  They resist the administration of a program that provides insurance via Medicaid (a Bush program) to people who can’t otherwise afford it.  They don’t realize that it would actually benefit everyone (except the insurance companies) to have poor people be able to do something besides go to the emergency room and let taxpayers pay for it.  Conservatives would actually vote against their own best economic interests to support the conservative party line.  So here is the absolute worst thing about all these Monkey-head Musings, conservatives, some of whom I care a lot about, are not helping themselves.  They are riding the bicycle over the cliff at the fastest pace their legs can manage, and no matter how much I yell and point at the cliff, they keep on peddling.  And there is a tether on my ankle tied to the backs of quite a large number of bicycles.

Math Monkey

 

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A Poem Is…

When you try to create a poem,

You find out that it is…

A cry of rage…

From your very soul…

Or a deep-bellied laugh…

From your very soul…

Or an untamable sadness and tears…

From your very soul…

And you cannot help but put it into words…

From your very soul.

Poem Is

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A Poem Is…

When you try to create a poem,

You find out that it is…

A cry of rage…

From your very soul…

Or a deep-bellied laugh…

From your very soul…

Or an untamable sadness and tears…

From your very soul…

And you cannot help but put it into words…

From your very soul.

Poem Is

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Dr. Evil Invades Mickey’s Library!

Earlier I alluded to the plan of the super scary villain, Dr. Evil with the removable brain.  He was planning on invading Mickey’s library with malice aforethought… er, anger about all the books in there… or something.  Anyway, today he attacked.  He showed up with several of his evil minions.

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He brought some of the most evil minions I could afford on a teacher’s salary.  Ming the Merciless is his most evil adviser, a real whiz with the evil plans, even though I suspect he really doesn’t like looking at the Doctor’s exposed removable brain so much.

Evil2

So, once convinced, Dr. Evil put on his Dr. Normal-Guy mask.  It was a disguise he often used, and was successful while wearing it, because he could sneak past his enemies while they were laughing and rolling on the ground.  The laughter often started inexplicably after an enemy would ask what nationality a name like “Normal-Guy” really was.

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Besides fooling the foolish Action Hero guys, Dr. Evil relied on a secret weapon.  GRAMMAR NAZIS!!!  He would use them to relentlessly correct the spelling of the Action Hero guys until they cried like little babies.

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Will the Grammar Nazis prevail over the Action Heroes?  Would they take over Mickey’s wonderful library?  Would they notice how many times the villains misspelled the word “removable”?

Stay tuned next time… Same Bat Station!   Same Bat Channel!  For the next thrilling episode of Doctor Evil Attacks Mickey’s Library!!!!!

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Native Americans Invade My Artwork

I don’t know if you’ve seen enough of my colored-pencil Paffooneys to tell this, but for an old white guy, I draw a lot of Native Americans and am rather deeply in love with American Indian images.  You may have seen this dream painting I posted before.

Magicman

The girl in the painting is a combination of this warrior’s daughter and myself.  I was naked in the dream and a female, facing this huge ghost-stag.  The dream came while I was reading Hanta Yo by Ruth Beebe Hill.  Maybe that book was the beginning of my Native American obsession.  Who knows?  I am a crazy dreamer.  But that wonderful book turned me on to the rich spiritual life that the Dakota people lived.  I identified with it so completely that I dreamed myself into their culture.  I was also struck by the manner in which a Native American culture handles education.  The grandfather is in charge of the boy’s learning.  He teaches by story-telling.  Here you see the grandfather in Sky Lodge teaching his grandson.  The girls would learn very different things from their mothers and grandmothers.

Skye lodge

I am also entranced by the life of the people expressed in dance and ritual.  Dance has deeper meaning than we white guys normally assign to it.  Dances could be magical.  Of course, the notion of a “rain dance” is the result of too much simplification in movie scripts and ignorant popular white culture.  Dance could connect you to the Earth, the Sky, and the Spirit World.  That’s what this most recent Paffooney shows.

Pueblo Bonito

So, you can see, I don’t really understand the concept of moderation when it comes to my obsessions in the world of colored pencil art.  Hanta Yo!  Clear the Way!  In a sacred manner I come!

child of fire

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