“Monday is Upon Us (And We are Skeptical)” by Richard F. Yates

[Posted yesterday, 19 Aug. 2019, on my Steemit blog, but I think it’s still relevant, if for no other reason than I still like the drawing! —RFY]

Greetings folks, it’s Monday again… (Seems like this happens every damn week.) And it was a busy weekend…

Saturday, Mariah (the “Wife”) and Frankie (the “Older Daughter”) and Felicity (the “Baby”) and I drove to I Like Comics (a comic shop in Vancouver, Washington), and bought tickets to the upcoming Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon. We got Sunday, Sept. 15th passes…because Frankie’s husband works on Saturday. Plus, Sunday is the last day of the con, so maybe dealers will have some good DEALS that day! And, yes, while we were at I Like Comics…I was bad and bought more books!

After we finished shopping (and Frankie and Mariah took a bunch of photos of the baby in the store—it was her first visit to a comic shop!), we walked towards Mon Ami, the crepe / coffee shop, hoping to get some crepes…but the streets were all filled with fancy, vintage cars for some kind of car show. For reasons I don’t understand, the crepe shop was closed… I don’t know why they didn’t want to try to cash in on all the automobile fans being in the area, but…whatever…

Next, famished because we couldn’t get crepes, we went back to the car and drove to the Vancouver Saturday market, down by the waterfront. Mariah found some corn on the cob and some jam, and she bought a couple of cool, vintage-looking, cat themed Christmas decorations from a vendor lady who we met last year at the Camas Street Fair. (This year’s Camas Street Fair is next weekend. We are CONSIDERING going again. It was a lot of fun last time.)

Also present at this Saturday market was a street performer who had these cool, L.E.D. lighted speakers hanging from his body who was singing along to classic Soul and R&B songs in a loud falsetto voice. He roamed around the market, and eventually stopped for a long stretch of time to sing just a few feet from the table we sat at to eat our street vendor food. (My favorite food of the day: “homemade” cinnamon cake donuts!!!)

Eventually, with the baby hungry, (and me overstimulated) we headed for the car (so the kid could eat in private), then home!

Sunday!!! Mariah and I worked on laundry forever, until, in the early afternoon, Frankie brought baby Felicity over for us to babysit while she and her husband worked on their yard, which might have gotten a bit overgrown in the last few months…for some reason…

Babysitting was pretty fun, even though there were some fussy times. (She’s only two months old, ya know…) Then, when we were tired of being active grandparents, we called Frank and had her come get the Little Kid, and we sent her home!

Then we watched a Harry Potter movie. (We rewatch the movies every year or so. We’re up to Order of the Phoenix on this watch-through.)

In some sad news (I’m sure you folks appreciate all this personal shit, right?), Elise’s (she’s the younger daughter) fiance, Gabe, left this morning for New York for school. He got into a Ph.D. program for Physical Therapy, so it will be great once he’s done, but we live in Washington State, so NY is on the complete opposite side of the country… These two “kids” (they are 21 and 25—are they still “kids”???) won’t get to see each other again until Christmas. Luckily, with modern communication technology, they’ll be able to do video calls and talk to each other over their headsets while shooting people in Apex and Call of Duty and such.

Still, Elise will probably be a bit morose for a few days—and I get it.

What else??? Well…I’ve been doing a bunch of work on my NON-COM-ARTS site, adding my long reviews list to the main menu, and I started a crypto-art gallery there, as well. Speaking of crypto-art, I’m also working on an article ABOUT crypto-art: what I think it is, how I learned about it, and where folks who are interested can learn more… That will HOPEFULLY go up tomorrow, although I have to close at work tonight, so I might not be awake enough to finish until tomorrow afternoon, instead of in the morning…

AND I need to get back on my Spook Show 2019 movie reviews (if I’m going to finish 31 reviews before Halloween), AND AND I haven’t posted a new music playlist in about a hundred years… I really need to quit slacking!!! (Until I FINALLY review The Book of the SubGenius, then I’ll have to slack for a FEW days, at least, to pay tribute to Bob!!!)

Okay…that’s it fur now! Gonna be a BUSY week!!!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

[P.S. – The drawing at the top of this post was originally created while waiting in line for the George Clinton show. It was made with a big, fat, green Sharpie on reclaimed cardboard, with digital embellishments and color. 2019.]

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“The DUCK Speaks” by Richard F. Yates

A few weeks ago, Mariah and I went to a Korean barbecue joint for a birthday party, and I spotted this stained glass duck image in one of the restaurant’s windows. To ME (maybe not to everyone) there seemed to be a look in the duck’s eye that might be anger or even disgust… Thus, I pulled my phone from my pocket, captured the image in digital code, and let the picture sit in my phone’s gallery until I could figure out what to do with it…

This morning, the WORDS came to me, as if the DUCK’s message had been sent from 2-D Window Land to Longview, Washington, via Mega-Slow-Snail-Slime Psychic Telegram, and then got lost along the way… But it arrived today! And the DUCK says to be good, OR ELSE…

I’d listen to him… That look in his eye… Pretty sure he means business!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Read a Damn Book – 153: The Goon – Bunch of Old Crap”

It’s been over two weeks since my last book review, and I apologize for that! So today’s review, Eric Powell’s The Goon – Bunch of Old Crap, was sent to me by a good friend, Mark Counts (who can often be seen on my various sites doing “remixes” of my artwork—AND Mr. Counts is also a genius collage artist, who creates retro-futurist items out of found materials! Check out this website for some cool photos and a video about his work!) Anyway, I had read virtually nothing by Eric Powell before this book, and Mark thought that my ignorance was a crime against the universe, so he sent me not one but TWO Powell collections to read. So far, I am impressed by The Goon, and I can’t wait to crack into the next book! I can’t wait…but I’m going to have to—because I have three other books that I’m currently reading already PLUS about EIGHT stacks of books, not counting digital, that I’ve accumulated over the last year, either given to me by my kids or things I’ve picked up at library books sales or comic shop trips, or just classics that I keep meaning to review so that people don’t forget about them!!! The point is, I’ve got a LOT of stuff to read and review, but I am still MASSIVELY grateful to Mr. Counts for bringing this Goon feller to my attention! THANKS MARK!!!

[This is a photograph that I took of the actual book that I read. The image is included for review purposes only!]

Eric Powell – The Goon – Bunch of Old Crap (2019)

This book, Bunch of Old Crap – An Omnibus Volume 1, is a collection of four OTHER collections of Goon stories, going all the way back to material originally published (I believe SELF-published) by Powell in 1999. (WHICH was TWENTY YEARS AGO! Gawd I’m old…) Even though Powell says in his introduction to this early work that his art was “crude” and that “It looks like I inked some of this stuff with an electric toothbrush,” I’m going to respectfully disagree. From page one of the “Prologue” on, I was already getting a wonderful E.C. – Tales from the Crypt vibe. In addition, Powell PAINTS many of the covers for his books, and these works are FANTASTIC! His sense of light and shadow and his bold exaggerations remind me of some of the BEST in comics, folks like Simon Bisley or Brian Bolland. Maybe even (dare I say it) Frank Frazetta! I love the art. It’s dark, cartoony, and exaggerated, but Powell knows when to tone it down and look for emotion OR to go for the perfect slap-stick visual gag.

Okay, so what’s this Goon guy all about. For one thing, though “goon” is usually a snarky way to refer to a henchman or hired thug, in this book the main character’s NAME is The Goon. Even as a young kid working at the circus with his Aunt Kizzie, the circus STRONG WOMAN, she called him “Goon.” The Goon is a TOUGH GUY. He had a hard life, a tough childhood, and he LOOKS a bit worse for wear—scars all over, teeth like the top of a picket fence, eyes usually invisible beneath his “thug” cap. However, unlike the traditional, stereotyped “thug,” the Goon DOES have a brain. He’s maybe not as smart as Einstein (or this book’s brilliantly entertaining mad scientist, Dr. Alloy,) but he’s no dummy, either. And he has a great sidekick, Franky, who is short and scrawny, but wiry and also tough as nails, having built up his confidence fighting alongside the Goon.

The general premise of this series, and with FOUR collections worth of material between these covers Powell has a lot of time to explore this universe, is that the Goon works as an “Enforcer” for a crime boss, Mr. Labrazio, who nobody ever sees. The Goon does all the heavy work, and tries to keep the turf Labrazio controls safe from invasion. Meanwhile, as the inevitable turf wars and shakedowns take place (against odd folks, like Joey the Ball or Fishy Pete), there’s also a SUPERNATURAL element to the story, primarily in the form of a zombie invasion started by an unnamed Zombie Priest, who turns dead folks into thugs to bolster HIS gang. There are also ghosts and vampires and werewolves and giant spiders and interdimensional tentacle creatures and killer robots and…

Yeah…

So what you get with this series is something like a mash-up of noir, tough-as-nails gangster stories WITH H.P. Lovecraft and E.C. Horror comics! The stories are violent and bloody and sometimes a bit gross—but Powell tempers all the horror with a wicked sense of humor. This is HORROR-HUMOR, about a 50/50 split. The jokes are slap-stick and goofy and violent and bloody and sometimes a bit gross. I think a safe comparison would be things like Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness, or MAYBE Shaun of the Dead—if it were set in the 1930s in a weird swampy, southern bayou. Let me give you an example of what we’re dealing with here…

In one story, the Goon is asked by a guy to come help him with a child who is possessed by a demon. Goon and Frankie rush in to the guy’s house and start pounding and bashing and smashing a little girl, believing that the best way to deal with a demonic possession is with brute force. After a few seconds, the girl’s face all bloody and teeth missing, the guy says, “NOT HER, THE BOY!” And so the Goon and Franky start wailing on the boy, instead, while the little girl, in a little word balloon, says, “Mommie, I can’t feel my legs.” It’s sick and wrong and horrible… AND HILARIOUS, if you just ignore the reality of something like this happening and go with the joke. Some of the evil humor in this book ALMOST reaches Milk and Cheese levels of nihilism, but there is definitely a more human, more TOUCHING, almost REDEMPTIVE feeling underlying all the monsters and violence.

And, there’s a crossover with HELLBOY in one story, which was perfect. And did I mention that Powell has won FIVE Eisner Awards? Even so, there are still POOP jokes in this book… Go figure…

Overall, The Goon is a brilliant, complex character, and Powell has created a funny, dark, violent, satirical, entertaining book with him, which I will DEFINITELY be reading many, many times. Let me be FRANK, I LOVED this book, and I really can’t give it enough praise. It’s violent and disturbing and morally ambiguous enough that it’s definitely not going to be for everybody, but if you like GANGSTER stories, and HORROR, and MONSTERS, and tongue-in-cheek naughty humor, then FEW collections are going to make you as happy as this book will. It’s silly, but not TOO silly. It’s violent, but not TOO violent. It’s got moments of sentimentality, but they’re not TOO sentimental. As close to a perfect humor/horror hybrid book as I’ve ever seen…

THANK YOU, MARK COUNTS!!!! You knew I’d love this book, and you were right!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic @ The Oregon Zoo, 10 Aug. 2019” by Richard F. Yates

[All the photos for this post were taken by me with my phone camera. We are hoping, someday, (maybe once the kids are all moved out), to be able to buy a “REAL” camera, with which Mariah and I will take many wonderful pictures. For now, we use what we have! —RFY]

When Mariah and I got married (21 years ago), she was only 23 and I was 25. For our honeymoon, (cheap—we were poor…sure glad we’re not poor anymore…) …For our honeymoon, we got a room in Portland, Oregon, and our big entertainment for the weekend was supposed to be going to see George Clinton (the FUNK MASTER) in concert at one of the not-too-big clubs in the city. (Maybe Roseland Theater…or La Luna…or Crystal Ballroom. Neither of us can remember…) But, SADLY, Mariah forgot her I.D.!!! And because she was so young (and LOOKED so young), there was no chance that we could get her in without proof of her age (the show was 21 and over), so we had to skip the concert. (Neither of us can figure out why we didn’t just drive back to Longview and GET her I.D.—it’s only a 45 minute trip, 90 minutes both ways. But, for some reason, we didn’t. Young and foolish then. (Old and foolish now… Just like They Might Be Giants said…))

Luckily, a mere two decades later, we got ANOTHER chance to see the P-FUNK, this time on the ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE 2019 TOUR!

On Saturday, 10 Aug. 2019, Mariah got up early and went to help out with the Survivors’ booth at the local Relay for Life event (in Kelso, Washington.) I stayed home to work on frivolous junk because I believe that frivolous junk is incredibly important, even though it’s not always valued by society. (Much of the morning’s excitement is chronicled in my “Report” for the day. I like writing reports. They’re fun.)

At around 3:00 P.M., Pacific Standard Time, after Mariah returned from her civic duty, she and I got into a vehicle and began the arduous journey (via Interstate 5 southbound) to Portland. Ominously, it started to sprinkle—just a bit—on the drive, but we were optimistic, thinking it was just going to be a quick shower, and we kept traveling. Traffic was a bit touch and go, once we got TO Portland (it’s not a fun city to drive in, but a hundred times better than Seattle, and one THOUSAND times better than L.A. or Vegas, which are a bunch of SHIT to drive in), but even with the traffic, we still made it to the Oregon Zoo by about 4:00 P.M. (This was a full hour, maybe an hour and a half, before the gates were supposed to open for the general admission concert goers. With a general admission ticket, you just find a place on the grass in front of the stage (behind the roped off “assigned seating” spots) and sit on the ground to watch the show. It’s a very cool venue, and we were even closer to the stage this time than we were last summer when we saw Adam Ant and The Fixx!

We rented a couple of little lawn chairs; you have to have special, VERY SHORT, chairs to sit in at this venue so that the people behind you can still see. Or you could sit on the ground. We’re old. We rented seats. There are also a bunch of food carts and places to buy beer and that kind of junk all around the seating area, and Mariah took off to get some Mexican food and a beer, while I sat and watched our spot and finished a couple of drawings. (At one point, the competition for SEATING became quite FIERCE, with some serious border disputes and cussing and such going on right behind us. EVENTUALLY, apologies were made by the combatants, and the primary aggressor offered to buy drinks for the other folks, so all worked out well enough, but the situation was rather TESTY for a bit there…)

Eventually, after all the waiting and drawing and fighting and eating food, the ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE TOUR got rolling!

First up was a band called Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf… I’m not going to say too much about this band, (I was told that, if you can’t say nuthin’ nice, you shouldn’t say nuthin’ at all…), but they were a funk / hard rock blend, with some solid percussion, good horn work, and perfectly respectable musicianship all around—but the vocalist just didn’t quite work for me. She had a voice vaguely reminiscent of Janis Joplin, but she seemed like she should be fronting a metal or grunge or crust-punk band, not a funk group. Much of the crowd was grooving and shaking to the music, but the vocals just didn’t work (for me.) (And I heard at least one person behind me say something similar…) Moving on…

Next up was a band from New Orleans called Dumpstaphunk, and they were EXCELLENT! (I don’t remember hearing of Dumpstaphunk before this event, but the music seemed somewhat familiar—and several people in the audience were wearing their shirts, so I THINK they are a more popular band that somehow slipped outside of my field of awareness.) These guys were great. Horns were loud and strong, the songs were fun, and they could SERIOUSLY create a solid groove for the folks to bop along with. I’ll definitely be looking for a CD or two by these guys in the future.

The third band was, secretly, the one I was most excited to see: FISHBONE!!! Fishbone is a fantastic ska / punk / funk band out of L.A., who have been rockin’ the alternative / underground world since the early ‘80s, at least. (The Wiki says they formed in 1979.) High energy, lots of FUNK, and the lead vocalist, Angelo Moore, has a very “Cab Calloway” vibe (which is exciting to watch), AND the band was SHARP! They opened with the perfect cut, “Sunless Saturday” (on a sunless Saturday), but IRONICALLY, partway through their track, “Everyday Sunshine,” it started to rain!!! They powered forward, ending with the high energy, nearly perfect track, “Party at Ground Zero!” (If you’ve never seen the video, I can’t recommend it enough! Funny, kinda creepy…great stuff!) Fishbone are a brilliant band. Catch them if you can… AND, they had these t-shirts available with their skeletal fish logo, printed in bright colors on a stark black background, and big, thick lettering that said, “FUCK RACISM!” I TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, 100% agree with that sentiment. (If I weren’t a poor bastard, I would have bought one…) Even in the rain, it was worth coming to this concert just to see Fishbone…

By Fishbone’s final song, it was raining pretty heavily… Because this is the Pacific Northwest, you kinda have to EXPECT that it might start raining at any moment—even in August—so we weren’t completely surprised, but still… After a few minutes of heavy rain, I admit, I thought about leaving. My jacket was cotton, so it got soaked almost instantly, and it felt like I was packing around an extra 15 pounds of WETNESS. Still, we decided that we weren’t going to miss our LAST chance to see George Clinton, (this is supposedly his final tour), just because we were getting a little wet. Or a LOT wet…

And a lot of folks in the crowd ALSO decided to stay…

So it rained for a bit, and we all got wet, and then the rain started to slack off….

AND THEN….

We got to see GEORGE CLINTON, live and in person!!!

Now let’s get a few things clear. George Clinton is 78 years old!!! He’s been performing since the 1950s. He was a founding figure in the CREATION of FUNK music. His bands, Funkadelic and Parliament, have fundamentally changed the direction of music history, and the album artwork for some of his classics, like One Nation Under a Groove, are so iconic that they’ve changed VISUAL art, as well, showcasing the brilliant work of artists of color, like Pedro Bell!!! Clinton is an absolute LEGEND, and he deserves absolute respect and love.

With that said, he is 78 years old… Maybe he’s lost a bit of energy, and he didn’t sing as much as I would have liked, instead allowing the backup singers to carry much of the load, while he conducted the band… And he sat down through some of the tunes—but GAWD DAMN! He’s 78 years old! I’m 47, and I couldn’t have stood through the entire set… Still, it was pretty damn cool to finally see the LEGEND live in concert!

And there were some seriously magical moments, like when the band started to play one of Clinton’s signature tunes, “Flashlight,” and THIS happened!

[And notice, as everyone was waving their “flashlights” around, there seems to be a “visitor” up in the sky watching the proceedings. Now, I realize it’s probably just an airplane, but I like to IMAGINE that it’s the MOTHER SHIP keeping an eye on George, so they can come get him when the show is over!]

Of course, it did start raining again as the show went on, but most folks kept right on feeling the groove. I admit, we slipped out a bit early. I’m OLD, and I was wet and uncomfortable, and people kept bumping into me—everyone was sitting and grooving for the first three bands, but they got up to shake it once the P-Funk hit the stage—and I have serious, neurotic, proximity issues, so I talked Mariah into slinking away a few songs before the show wrapped up…

One of the best things about seeing a concert at the Oregon Zoo, though, is that it’s a very COOL place, VISUALLY—especially at night. As the concert lights flashed, the venue was also well lit by trees covered in various colors. It’s a pretty neat effect…

So, overall, it was a great show in a fantastic venue. More than anything ELSE, though, it was just a lot of fun spending time with my lovely wife, who puts up with a LOT of shit from me! (How many wives would be willing to spend hours, driving to several different stores, just to find SIDEWALK CHALK for their full-grown—well, 5ft. 3in., not QUITE full grown—ADULT husband??? Not too damn many.) That’s the trick, though, isn’t it? You find someone who is willing to be just as CRAZY as you are (and who can put up with some crippling neuroses, if the need should arise), and you try to enjoy being with them for as long as you can. Don’t fight, don’t be petty, just have a good time. And FUCK RACISM, just like Fishbone said!

Keep on funkin’!!!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

[P.S. – One dark note: Mariah and I discussed this a bit, and although nothing happened at the event that we attended, we were both very conscious of the POSSIBILITY of something horrible happening while we were out trying to have a good time—thanks to the many mass shootings and other awful things that have happened in the U.S. and other parts of the world in the last few years. It’s a fucking tragedy, and completely inexcusable, that the U.S. government—which seems to be consumed by GREED and a desire for more POWER—refuses to take the steps necessary to make the type of evening that we just enjoyed, or simple activities like shopping or going to school or going to a movie, SAFE for all people. WE were lucky, whereas the people who went to that one Las Vegas concert or the Ariana Grande show in Manchester, WEREN’T so lucky. It sickens me that nothing is being done to PROTECT PEOPLE FROM POLITICS… Sorry. This is a bit of negativity in the midst of all the fun, but Mariah and I BOTH had the same thoughts going through our heads at this show: “Could it happen here?” Yes. Yes, it could have happened there… A sobering reminder of how the world is now… I thought I should mention this… Carry on…]

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“New Crypto-Art! (Responses to the Times) [Warning: This One is a Bit Edgy]” by Richard F. Yates

[This piece was originally posted on my Steemit.com blog on 7 Aug. 2019. I post on Steemit EVERY DAY. No skipping. I haven’t missed a day in something like six or seven months…]

Howdy folks! Been doing my thing lately, seeing weirdo sights, working late nights, and pickin’ fights (mostly with myself…) Between the ups and down and ins and outs, I’ve managed to carve out a little time for ART! Thanks to the cool persons at MakersPlace, some of my art bits have been TOKENIZED on the Ethereum blockchain and can now be ogled and even collected by snazzy folks who like unique digital objects. (Did you catch all that?)

So I’ve got THREE new pieces this week, which I hope y’all will find amusing. Each of these suckaz is being released as a unique digital collectible in an edition of ONE. First come, first served. Once they’re gone, they’re GONE! If you’d like to take a gander at these pieces, or any of the dozens of other works that I’ve got up in my fancy virtual gallery, feel free to visity my MakersPlace store and see what’s happening! You can just look and laugh, or (if you click on the individual works) you can read MORE about each piece (as I usually write a little story to go along with each one), or if you have ETH (or a credit card) you can even walk away (or “click” away, since you’re only virtually visiting) as the proud owner of a unique work of crypto-art! (Imagine the BRAGGING RIGHTS!!! Confuse your friends! Amuse your enemies! Collect CRYPTO-ART!!! The ART of the FUTURE! (and the “RIGHT NOW,” actually…))

Anyway, here’s the new stuff, along with the explanatory text…

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“It’s Only Polite…”

BE LIKE US. It’s only polite. If we wear hats, you should wear a hat, too. BE LIKE US. It angers and confuses us if you’re different. It doesn’t make sense. Everyone knows WE are right. WE know what’s good. WE know what’s proper. BE LIKE US. It doesn’t matter if you’ve lived a different life than we have, grew up somewhere else, experienced different things, overcome different challenges, lived by different values. Those values are obviously WRONG if they’re not like OURS. BE LIKE US. And if you can’t be like us, if you won’t be like us, then you should leave.

[FUCKING BULLSHIT.]

[Sorry. I know this is a tender subject, but I don’t feel like I should be quiet and just let it go. I CAN’T just let it go. Bullshit must be called out.]

Don’t BE LIKE US. Be LIKE YOU. If you respect us, we’ll respect you, whoever you are. If you love us, we’ll love you back…. Unity. Acceptance. Working for mutual benefit. Fuck conformity. Fuck greed. Fuck hate. Fuck racism. Fuck homophobia. Fuck sexism. Fuck narcissism.

It’s only polite…

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool and Mad Hatter)

[P.S. – This bit is ink on reclaimed cardboard with digital embellishments and colors. 2019.]

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“Mr. Birdman Beast”

[A tiny drawing, ink on paper, photographed, blown-up, and digitally tweaked to give it that “dream-like” hazy quality. 2019.]

“Hey, Mr. Birdman Beast! How’s it hanging!” said Mr. Notpictured.

“Quite well. Thank you,” said Mr. Birdman Beast.

“You, uuhhh… You seem to be a bit slanted…” said Mr. Notpictured.

“Oh my, yes,” laughed Mr. Birdman Beast. “I gave up trying to live a rigid, ‘straight’ existence many, many years ago. It was much better for my mental health, AND I stopped murdering humans since I’d become so much more comfortable with myself…”

“Not murdering is pretty good, but by ‘straight’ are you talking about sexual identity or…?” Mr. Notpictured didn’t mean to be insensitive—he just wanted some clarity. Some understanding.

“No, no… I’ve always been comfortable being OUT. That’s not what I mean. It’s more of a philosophical position. When you come at the world from the expected angle—when you can only see things from the typical perspective—you lose the ability to be flexible in a psychological sense. I’ve decided that, just because most people walk down the street with their feet directly in contact with the sidewalk, this doesn’t mean it’s the ONLY way to walk down the street. I feel more like I should be proceeding in my journey at a 23 degree angle. The whole UNIVERSE looks different, just from the slant! I can always shift back to the standard perspective by rotating, or I can float completely upside down… Being a cartoon, I’m not bound by standard physical laws. Do you see?”

Mr. Notpictured nodded thoughtfully and furrowed his brow—but he didn’t get it. When he was in a drawing, his feet were ALWAYS right on the ground. Wasn’t that how a cartoon was supposed to be drawn?

“Well, I can see I’ve upset you,” Mr. Birdman Beast said and tried to pat Mr. Notpictured on the shoulder, but his arms were drawn far too low on his body, so he couldn’t reach that high, and patted Mr. Notpictured’s elbow instead. “I’m sorry. If it helps, you can just think of me as crazy.”

“Ah!” Mr. Notpictured brightened. “That does help! Thanks!”

“No problem,” Mr. Birdman Beast said. “I’d best be off. I have a long float ahead of me before I make it back to my tree house.”

“Of course,” Mr. Notpictured said. “Thanks for the chat! Have a good evening…”

And as the two figures drifted off the page, the Moon shook his weary head and mumbled to himself, “Assholes…”

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Tourist”

Tripty-248 thought he’d visit that little blue world he’d read about in ODDITIES OF THE GALAXY MAGAZINE. He’d been to that blazing hot methane world, and the world were rocks had developed intelligence and became the dominant species on the planet, and he’d even tried Comet Skiing (that ONE time when he was really drunk… The leg DID eventually grow back, so don’t worry… And now he has a cool scar!)

I mean how bad could a little planet covered mostly by hydrogen dioxide be?

After a mere two hours (Earth time), Tripty-248 had signaled for an emergency evac beam. His therapist believes he’ll be out of the ward in about a year, and he might even be able to fully reintegrate with society within a century. In the meantime, Tripty sits in his room writing Doom Poems about what he saw on that one little blue planet, which his doctors SAY they are publishing for him—but they are actually archiving his poems under heavy ENCRYPTION against anyone accidentally reading his work, except those creatures who have been thoroughly trained in trauma liaison methods, for fear that the terrors Tripty is recounting may cause OTHER sentient creatures to lapse into severe depression or outright panic.

If Tripty-248 knew that the creatures on that little blue planet were, at this very moment, preparing several different extra-planetary exploration missions, and might SOME DAY even reach beyond their own solar system, he’d probably die from the shock. Measures to build a hyperloop-space-curvature-shield around that horrifying system, which will keep the residents trapped inside, are currently underway…

After his release, Tripty has vowed to stick to Comet Skiing, which he believes is far less dangerous than spending even a few moments with the horrifying creatures of Sol-3… Get well soon, Tripty-248. Get well soon…

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Python and Member of the Outer Space Tourist Advisory Board, A.A.C.)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

And that’s IT for now… I’m hoping to have a new book review in the next day or two, and I’ve still got a slug of drawings that I haven’t shared (and WON’T be sharing until I’ve written some kind of text to go with them!) Thanks again to MakersPlace for being awesome. If you haven’t checked out all the cool art they’ve helped to make possible, go visit their site and see what you’ve been missing!

Thanks for stopping by! And KEEP ON TRUCKIN’!!!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Jake the Alligator Man’s Birthday Celebration (3rd Aug. 2019) in Long Beach, Washington, USA” by Richard F. Yates

[This photo, like all of the images in this piece, was taken by me. It’s an event poster for the Jake the Alligator Man Birthday Celebration, and it was in a shop window on the main drag—that ONE road, which is the heart of Long Beach, Washington… It’s not a big city… But I forgot to write down the name of the shop, and now I can’t remember it. Dang.]

First off, let me just say that Jake the Alligator Man probably isn’t that well known around the world, but he’s a cultural icon in the Pacific Northwest, and you can see people wearing Jake t-shirts or cars with Jake bumper-stickers all over Washington and Oregon. If you’ve never heard of the Alligator Man, don’t worry. I have actual PHOTOS of this extraordinary fellow below!

SECOND!!! This is a REALLY long post. (Like more than 2,000 words long. Sorry!) I almost considered breaking it into two posts, but I ultimately decided just to push on and get the whole thing done in one. There are a LOT of words here, so if you ain’t much of a reader, just scroll through the pictures, and maybe read the parts with images that catch your fancy!

Now, on to our TRIP. On Saturday, August 3rd, 2019, my wife (Mariah), younger daughter (Elise), and younger daughter’s then boyfriend (Gabe—I’ll explain what I mean by “then boyfriend” below), and I piled into our automobile early in the A.M. for the drive from LongVIEW, Washington, to Long BEACH, Washington. Due to some odd topographical features OR because of poor planning on the part of the designers of Washington’s Highway 14, which goes from Longview, where we live, all the way to the coast, it’s much quicker and easier to hop the Columbia River and travel west on Highway 30 to the coast, then turn right at Astoria and hop BACK across the Columbia on that one giant bridge—(which I didn’t get a photo of because I was driving), and then continue up Highway 101 to Long Beach. So that’s what we did.

We arrived in L.B. a few minutes after 10:00 A.M. and found a parking space, almost instantly, next to an old mini-amusement park. (By “old” I mean, so old that it’s been there since I was a kid—OLD!) Ellie remembered a bumper boat ride being near where we parked from when she was younger that didn’t seem to be there anymore, and in it’s place was a weird, spinning ride, with hand painted carts that looked like apples! Things change. That’s life. Regardless, and somewhat surprisingly, the parking lot was almost empty when we pulled in. (This would change within the next few hours as folks started to arrive for the festivities.) But we’d found our parking spot and could now BEGIN our Long Beach adventure.

Although I had grabbed a donut in Astoria, Elise hadn’t eaten anything yet and was beginning to exhibit signs of HANGER. What she WANTED was jo-jos, which she calls “Joseph-Josephs,” and I think that’s funny—but we couldn’t FIND any jo-jos, anywhere. We walked the few blocks that constitute Long Beach’s “downtown,” but none of the eateries seemed to have what the HANGRY ONE was looking for, so she finally just settled for a place that served chicken strips. We ended up at the Long Beach Tavern.

Service was pretty good. Atmosphere was a bit loud (had a bit of “locals” thing going on, which is fine—but there appeared to be folks drinking already at 10:30 in the A.M., and I don’t know if that’s too good. When my burger came, I made burger art. (I don’t know why.)

We got full. It wasn’t too expensive, and as I said, the service was pretty good. (One server in particular was very funny, which I appreciated.) I don’t know if I’d necessarily RECOMMEND this establishment, but if you’re just looking for some decent, kinda greasy, bar food, it weren’t too bad.

Just outside the tavern, however, I found some carved wood sculpture, which I thought was neat—in a very “quaint” sort of way. There is a ton of stuff like this all over Long Beach (probably all over EVERY beach community), and I didn’t catch the artist'(s) name(s), but I thought these were pretty cool pieces.

At this point, it was time to go visit Jake, who “lives” at Marsh’s Free Museum!

[Again, this image was snapped in a shop window along the main drag, and again, I forgot to get the name of the shop. I’m pretty shitty at this “reporting” thing! This particular poster is very popular in Long Beach and appears in several shop windows, AND Mariah bought one of the posters while we were at Marsh’s. I would take a photo of it, but it’s rolled at the moment. We’re planning to put it in a frame. Maybe I’ll take a photo of it then!]

[The Mighty Jake!!!]

[Elise and Gabe—maybe not completely impressed… But Mariah and I love that Jake exists and is close enough to our home that we can make the occasional pilgrimage!]

As I was snapping a few photos, about a hundred people came crushing up to the Jake tank to try and make sure I couldn’t get any more clear shots. (It’s an important part of being a tourist, making sure you crowd everyone who is already looking out of the way so that YOU can see…) I heard one little girl, maybe 7 or 8 years old, say she didn’t like Jake. Another girl, perhaps a bit younger, was complaining about how he didn’t look very REAL. I appreciate the skepticism (for SURE), but at some point a good skeptic knows when to go with the joke…

Anyway, we wandered around Marsh’s for quite some time. This place a MASSIVE treasure trove of antique novelties, gaffs, stuffed marvels, and just plain weird stuff, along with all the usual beach junk, like shells and incense and key chains… Still, here are a FEW of the great things you can find at this free museum:

There are a hundred other things inside and outside this cool building that I’d love to show, but I’m starting to realize that this post is getting super-long already… So let’s do some fast forwarding!!!

After Marsh’s, we went outside to a little mini-park on the corner near the store to wait for the Jake Birthday Parade to start. We saw a mermaid in a push-cart; a guy with a shirt on that said “Mermaid Security” (I thought that was funny); a dog in a colorful tutu; a marching band (with about four instruments); a woman with six foot tall, frilly, stilt-boots; a clown-lady conductor with a plunger for a baton—and that was about it. The entire parade. The woman who organized the event seemed a bit distressed by the smaller than expected turnout (she kept saying, “Where are the brides?”), but the band made a wonderful amount of noise (brass and drums might be all you really need for a marching band), and the small group headed off from the parking lot near Marsh’s Free Museum towards Veteran’s Field, where the car show and a few vendors and booths and a beer garden were already in full swing—about two blocks away.

The parade was small but sincere.

Following the parade route, we went back by the carnival rides I mentioned earlier (these are always in Long Beach, and although my kids haven’t been young enough to want to ride them in many years, I’m glad the park is still active. There USED to be a roller coaster in Seaside, Oregon, when I was a kid, but it was torn down before MY kids were born!) We walked past the carnival rides, stopped by the car to drop off our little bit of loot, and walked to the main celebration area, where the festivities were happening, with a stage all set up, and a DJ playing tunes, vendors, and folks walking around and chatting and having a good time.

Mariah, keen eyed and ready for adventure, spotted a trailer marked “Free Curiosity Museum,” so we headed straight for that! It was a cool “Oddities and Curiosities” type mobile set-up, with exhibits like various animal skulls, a giant hair-ball, old photos, various large bugs (pinned and framed), and a bunch of other cool stuff. UNFORTUNATELY, there were signs everywhere saying, “NO PHOTOS!” so I didn’t get any photos…INSIDE the trailer. Outside, I took several. Here’s some of the good ones!

I ended up buying three postcards from the guy running this little curiosity shop, and I hope his venture continues for many years to come! Even though I am inherently a skeptic and non-believer, I LOVE the stories of cryptids and folklore creatures and UFOs and ghosts and strange tales of most stripes. I’ve been to Bigfoot discussion panels, UFO conventions, the 24 Hour Church of Elvis (which is sadly gone now, but was once a majestic stop in Portland, Oregon), and various other weird destinations, and I’ll continue to explore these mysterious phenomena for as long as I live. I don’t have to BELIEVE in weird things to ENJOY them!

Moving on. My family watched the dog costume contest (Tribble took the grand prize, even though Growler, in the colorful tutu, was the odds on favorite to win! Do I smell a canine conspiracy afoot?), while I chatted for a few minutes with my friends Mike and Severin, who were manning a booth selling hand printed shirts and various other items of an indie nature.

It was decided, after the costume contest, that Elise and Gabe wanted to play some miniature golf, so we found an old, outdoor course, which was not quite as well kept as one would have hoped (several of the “holes” were slanted, so you had to smack your shot fairly hard to keep it moving straight—and on several occasions a quickly moving golf ball would hit a rock or piece of debris and leap out of the green area and into the surrounding gravel! Always good for a laugh!) Here are some of my favorite “course decorations”:

And then we stopped for ice cream at a store called SCOOPS, which was huge and ridiculously busy—but the ice cream was excellent, so I get it. Next was the obligatory go-kart race!

And….by the time the race was over we all decided that we were getting pretty damn tired. (As I’m sure you are. If you’ve read this far, congratulations! Your attention span is better than most.) We stopped at a local grocery store for a few supplies, then headed for our hotel—which we’d book back in February, or somewhere around then. It was a modestly priced, slightly run-down place, about half-a-mile from the main drag (maybe a bit more), which we’d stayed at several times before. (An indoor pool and only a short hike to the beach were the main selling points for us.) It wasn’t as—luxurious—as we remembered, but it served its purpose. We had a place to sleep. (I’m not going to name the hotel because I don’t want to give it a bad rap.)

We checked in, found our room, sat for a few minutes, and then decided to walk to the beach—and the beach was WINDY! I wrote a post about trying to draw in that wind, and while I was trying to keep the cardboard from blowing out of my hands… AGAIN… Mariah and the other two went and played near the edge of the water… Northwest beaches, for those who don’t know, have a LOT of sand—like half a mile worth of sand before you get to the water, sometimes, and the ocean is COLD here. Not “a little bit chilly” cold, but FREEZE YOUR ASS OFF—too cold to feel your legs after just a few minutes in it kind of cold. It takes a brave soul (or a wet suit) to go very far in the water here—plus we have rip tides and undertows, which will straight up kill you dead.

But it’s kind of pretty, if you know how to look at it…

And here was the view from our room:

After we got tired of the sand blowing in our faces, we went back to the hotel and hit the hot tub. That was nice. Mariah, who got out of the hot tub and into the (comparatively speaking) freezing swimming pool, tried unsuccessfully to lure the rest of us into a swim for about half-an-hour. But once the pool area started filling up with people, (it had been empty when we arrived), we ditched. Went back to the room, ordered a pizza, and relaxed for a bit. Ellie, naturally, turned on a “murder show.” (One of those forensics programs that talks about how people are brutally slain, but eventually the guilty party is discovered thanks to SCIENCE! I approve of the message, even though I don’t like watching the shows, personally.)

As the sun was setting, Gabe and Ellie went for a walk on the beach by themselves. (Remember how I said Gabe was Ellie’s boyfriend, “AT THE TIME?”) When they came back from the walk, Ellie was wearing a ring. And a mighty big smile.

It will be three more years before they can actually GET married because Gabe was accepted into a Ph.D. program in Physical Therapy in New York (a LOOOONG way from Washington State), and they’re going to wait until he’s done with his doctorate before officially tying the knot, but it was still a nice moment for those two (who have been dating for something like seven years already—since Ellie was FOURTEEN YEARS OLD!) (She’s 21 now. Turns 22 in less than two months.)

So that was our exciting adventure to Long Beach, Washington! We might not have had gourmet food or the fanciest accommodations or watched the most elaborate parade or sat on some lovely, white sand beach with clear, warm water—but BY THE GODS we had a great time!

The trick is to learn how to have fun WHEREVER you are. Enjoy the company of the people you’re with—and don’t let stupid, little, unimportant details consume you or drag you down. We WANTED to have a great time on this trip, and so WE DID! That simple.

Sorry the post was so long, but I felt like I should try to get the whole thing finished in one shot. Regardless, I hope the meaning was clear. We try to look for the fun in the simple, weird, everyday stuff. Try to make the people around us happy, and don’t fret when things aren’t perfect. Might I suggest that folks just roll with it. Take a few pictures. Draw something, even when it’s too windy. Take a walk on the beach. And stay off the moors when the moon is full! If you can remember this advice, I bet you’ll do just fine…

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“The Long Beach Pre-Show!” by Richard F. Yates

[What follows below are the three fairly short bits that I wrote building up to and during my and my family’s recent trip to Long Beach, Washington, USA. These little slabs of NON-COM, which include artwork and weirdness and complaints and possibly even some primitive humor, originally appeared on my Steemit.com blog on these days:

“Friday—-And (Once Again) I Got Nothin’…” on 2 Aug. 2019
“Trip Day!” on 3 Aug. 2019
“Not Quite Home Yet” on 4 Aug. 2019

Hopefully, these posts will prove entertaining on their own merits, but more than that, they set the stage for my BIG post about the beach trip (complete with lots of photos), which I published this afternoon on my Steemit blog, and which I will be republishing on NON-COM-ARTS as soon as I can (either tonight or tomorrow… Probably tomorrow because it’s REALLY long, and I have other things to do tonight!) Meanwhile, you can enjoy these THINGIES! (Think of them as appetizers before the main course!) —RFY]

1. “Friday—-And (Once Again) I Got Nothin’…” by Richard F. Yates [Originally published HERE.]

Wow… I try to be productive. I try to write and draw and create something every day, but SOME days, I just don’t have much in me. (Low motivation, poor energy levels…and I even have a bit of a headache…) And, overall, I’m just feeling LAZY.

I mean I HAVE finished a couple of drawings today, but I’m not (mentally) together enough to WRITE anything interesting to go along with the images. (“Thou shalt not present words without images, nor, contrary-wise, wilt thou publish an image—graven or otherwise—without words!” So sayeth the Winged Editor in the Sky!) But writing is HARD, and I want my words to be funny (sometimes scary) and clever—not boring. However, as the self portrait above clearly demonstrates, I’m just feeling FUZZY today. No good. Can’t seem to come up with any enjoyable nonsense.

I mean, the day isn’t over, yet, though…not completely… Maybe, later this evening or tonight, I’ll be struck by a BOLT of inspiration. (“Tickled by a Serpent’s Feather,” as we often say.) If so, if I’m granted the gumption to MAKE, I’ll share the fruits of that inspiration with all the good and kind and interesting people out there. If not, if the MUSES fail me, then just try to enjoy this fuzzy mess of a drawing (for a few seconds), and shed a tiny tear, then try to remember back to when I DID create something that was more entertaining… I’d appreciate that.

Maybe I need a candy bar… Or a popsicle… Somethin’…

(Meanwhile, tomorrow morning, the wife, the younger daughter, the younger daughter’s boyfriend, and I are heading to Long Beach, Washington, to experience the joys of the Jake the Alligator Man birthday celebration. [Car show, parade, musical performances, a dog costume contest, vendors, and something called the “Bride of Jake” competition!] I’ll try to post SOMETHING on Saturday and Sunday, either a quicky drawing/story combo or an update from the festivities. Keep an eye out on Monday or Tuesday for a complete write-up of the weekend’s adventures! Until then, stay klassy and super keen!!!)

Later skaters!

—Richard F. Yates (Lazy Holy Fool)

2. “Trip Day!” by Richard F. Yates (and Elise Colleen Yates) [Originally published HERE.]

I wanted to leave the house at 4:30 A.M. for our beach trip. It’s now 7:47 A.M., and we’re still at the house…

(Sigh…)

Anyway, we’ll be smurfing our way to the coast pretty soon—staying in a low-tier hotel (with an indoor pool, which is ginchy), and coming home tomorrow.

Elvis (aka “The Younger Daughter”) did some FOOT ART for the trip!

(I only did the digital drawing at the top of this page; nothing as fancy as Ellie’s toes.)

Anyway, I might post a few photos of the Jake the Alligator Man event later today, (if I get any good ones), but other than that, this is probably going to be IT for the day! Thanks for stopping by!!!

—Richard F. Yates (Traveling Fool)

3. “Not Quite Home Yet” by Richard F. Yates [Originally published HERE.]

Sitting at an indoor picnic table at a Costco (in Warrenton, Oregon) waiting for my family to finish shopping. I WAS playing the demo model for an Asteroids Deluxe 3/4 standup machine (like the Asteroids machine my kids bought me for Father’s Day,) but after I’d been there for 20 minutes, I thought the staff watching me on the closed circuit t.v. cameras were probably about ready to send the THUGS out to batter me a bit and toss me out of the building.

Now I’m chillin’ near the exits on a bench.

Yesterday, we had a lot of fun (full post to follow…probably on Tuesday), but for a little while yesterday afternoon we walked from our hotel down to the beach. It was nice, probably upper 60s (f) and only a little cloudy. (Much nicer weather than you usually find at a Northwest beach.) The only problem—AT ALL—was the sixty mile-an-hour winds!

The drinking straw on my water bottle was almost instantly covered in sand; I had to hold my sombrero onto my head at all times (lost it once and had to chase it down the beach); and when I parked in my folding chair and got out a chunk of cardboard to draw……it proved a bit difficult. One hand on my hat, the other trying to keep my drawing from blowing away (it escaped once) WHILE drawing… Yeah, I was lucky I got anything down at all!

Still, I managed a little modified seascape (Sharpie on reclaimed cardboard with digital embellishments and color, 2019), but I didn’t have the gumption to try for a second piece. Oh well…

I think, after we’re done shopping, the next stop is HOME. Good. I’m ready to be done!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

[And THAT was my Long Beach Pre-Show, a little warm up before the big, giant, 2,000+ word article about the entire trip. I’ll make sure I get that up on HERE tomorrow morning, first thing! So be sure to check back! Okay. That’s enough computing for me for the day! Nanoo nanoo!!!]

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Leap (Plus Banter)” by Richard F. Yates

So!!!! Today is Monday, 5th August, 2019—and I’m making this DAY ONE of my PRODUCTIVITY PLAN. I’ve been…SLOTHFUL…as of late, but I’m done being slug-like and instead going to be much more erratic and buzzy, like a drunken hornet with tons of energy and only a vague sense of direction. (I think this will pay off in the long run.)

I work the closing shift tonight, but tomorrow, I’m planning on producing a nice, lengthy post about my family and my adventures at Long Beach, Washington, over the last weekend. I took a great many photos, and as soon as I cut most of the blurriest ones, I’ll implant the remaining few into a BLOW-BY-BLOW account of our journey. Hopefully, it will capture some of the fun we had.

Meanwhile, so that you don’t just have these possibly empty promises to look at, here is the comic sequence I posted this morning on my Steemit.com blog! Enjoy! —RFY

“Leap” by Richard F. Yates

My superhero balloon guy spots a dastardly deed while standing on top of a building! Heroically, he leaps from his perch and dives towards the street below. At the last moment, he flips to land on his….let’s say “feet,” even though we know he’s only a stickman with a balloon head. BUT he miscalculates the angle of the landing, hits the ground a bit too hard…and suffers…consequences….

(Ooops.)

[Ink on reclaimed cardboard with digital embellishments and color. 2019.]

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool)

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“Read a Damn Book – 152: Cinderalla”

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately with too many big projects and lots of “going” and “doing.” (I’m a bit of a homebody.) So, to help counteract all my PROJECT ANXIETY, I thought I’d read something quick and fun and entertaining… Why, how about this lovely, little manga title based on a classic fairy tale. That should be a nice, relaxing, little read, right? (Maybe, if you’re a fan of horrific, psychedelic, creepy weirdness…)

[This is a photograph that I took of the actual book that I read. The image is included for review purposes only!]

Junko Mizuno – Cinderalla (2002)

Junko Mizuno’s retelling of the well known Cinderella story, (Mizuno’s version is spelled slightly differently—I’m not sure if that’s to avoid copyright infringement issues), was originally published in 2000 in Japan, came to the U.S., thanks to Viz Comics, in 2002, (translated by Yuji Oniki), and the version that I read was a 2006 FOURTH edition printing, so the book has done quite well. The original story, probably most well known in the U.S. from the Disney cartoon, is about a girl who is made a virtual slave in her own home by her wicked stepmother after her father dies, but is helped to gain her “happily-ever-after” by a Fairy Godmother and a magic glass slipper. But did you ever watch this wholesome family classic and think to yourself, “You know what this story needs? It needs a giant rat, and some zombies, and scenes of graphic bodily dismemberment (the original Grimm’s folktale was much bloodier than the Disney version), and lots of naked breasts…” If THAT is the version of this story that you’ve always wanted, then you’re in luck, because Junko Mizuno has got you covered!

Mizuno’s art style, as the cover would suggest, is extremely sweet and cutesy, not unlike American fare, such as The Powerpuff Girls or Strawberry Shortcake. However, there is a DARKER element to her work than most American storytellers would be willing to explore. Look again at that cover, closely this time, and you’ll notice that one of the little birds has a BITE taken out of its skull and that the little black creatures in the girl’s hair are RATS! As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, Mizuno also loves to depict her female characters topless (for some reason), and in almost every panel something (often a character’s mouth) will be dripping with some fluid. Creepy characters abound, with bizarre, often perverse, motives—and although there isn’t a LOT of violence in the story, there are a few scenes where different characters are grotesquely mutilated, and although the cutesy style masks the effects, somewhat, it’s still quite gruesome and icky when it happens. (In this sense the book reminds me, a LOT, of Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis, which was also very kidsy-looking but had scenes that were incredibly gruesome and violent along with the cartoon laughs.)

The basic plot of this version of the tale is that Cinderalla works, happily, at the restaurant that her father owns, and her father’s yakitori sauce is famous and draws huge crowds to their shop. Things are going great, until Cinderalla’s father dies. Given some advice from a rat, Cinderalla goes to the graveyard where her father is buried, after dark, and discovers that all the residents rise in the night as zombies. She brings her father home, so that he can continue cooking yakitori chicken, but they are followed by some other zombies, a mother and her two daughters, and Cinderalla’s father falls instantly in love and marries the zombie mother.

From here, things get weird…

Essentially, Cinderalla is enslaved in her own home, trying to keep up with the demands of her new zombie family, and the “Prince” from the original fairy tale is recast as a famous zombie singer, who Cinderalla falls in love with as soon as she sees him—but when she tries to go to his concert, she is told that only zombies are allowed in and that living folks aren’t invited!

Thus, Cinderalla’s wish from her Fairy Godmother is that she be turned into a zombie so she can attend the Prince’s show! And, instead of losing a glass slipper as she’s running home at sunrise (when she’s scheduled to become a living human again), she leaves behind an EYEBALL instead!

As I’ve mentioned, the book is cutesy, but VERY dark, sick, brutal, and unsettling. In other words, I LOVED IT! I’d read this story several years ago, but I didn’t remember just how weird and creepy it was until I reread it yesterday. The book is beautifully illustrated, Mizuno’s lines being somehow stylized and delicate, yet thick and grotesque and creepy all at the same time. And there’s probably some kind of jarring psychological effect that takes place when we see something displayed in the “STYLE” of children’s work, but reflecting these dark, demented, ADULT themes and occurrences. It’s unsettling—and extremely pleasing (to a dark, demented brain like mine.) The book is also incredibly funny and drenched in twisted folklore and mythological tropes.

It should be obvious that this book is not for kids (it does have a “mature readers” warning on the back), but I want to reiterate this fact. The book is DISTURBING. It’s full of nudity, sexual situations (Cinderalla’s new stepmother used to work in a strip club!), disturbing scenes of bondage and dismemberment, and freaky, nightmarish moments that will cause even the heartiest folks to cringe, (at least a little bit.) However, the book IS mostly played for laughs, and I get the impression that the extreme violence and weird nudity is meant to be chuckled at more than it’s meant to disgust. I appreciate when a classic story gets twisted and reinterpreted, and Mizuno’s take on this classic fairy tale is a real DOOZEY! In many ways, it’s closer to the darker, original Grimm’s version than the Disney take is, even if the details are more spooky, gothy, and supernatural in form. When I did a little research before writing this review, I noticed that Mizuno has written a BUNCH of stuff since this book came out, including a reinterpretation of Hansel & Gretel and something called Hell Babies! Yeah, I’ve got some new books to look for…

In the meantime, KEEP READING! It’s good for you… And if you read anything super-cool or super-creepy, let me know! I’m always looking for new books to review!

Later skaters!

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

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“Crypto Art for the End of July (New Work Available at MakersPlace!)” by Richard F. Yates

LET’S TALK ABOUT CRYPTO ART (WHAT IS IT?):

Some of you may be new to all this stuff (like me), so here is my quick attempt at explaining what Crypto-Art is all about. Crypto-Art is a neat new thing where artists can put their initials on a piece of digital art and make certifiably rare digital works that are provably theirs and provably unique, thanks to blockchain technology. Have you ever seen a hilarious meme and said to yourself, “This is brilliant! I wonder who made it?” With Crypto-Art, each work is “signed” by the artist, and the person who makes that piece of digital art not only gets credit for what they’re created, they can also make a bit of cryptocurrency for their work as well (if it sells—and so far, a lot of Crypto-Art has been selling to some forward thinking digital art collectors! Some pieces have even sold for OUTRAGEOUS amounts of money, including “The Forever Rose” by Kevin Abosch, which sold at auction in 2018 for a million bucks!) Crypto-Art protects a creator’s rights to their work, allows collectors to verify the authenticity of their collections, and let’s weirdos like me make strange things and get them in front of sympathetic audiences, even though that potential audience might be on the other side of the globe. (It IS a globe, by the way, not a goddam disk…) Yeah, Crypto-Art is great!

LET’S TALK ABOUT AESTHETICS (WHAT THE HELL IS THAT???):

Aesthetics is the philosophy of beauty (or, probably a more useful definition, the discussion around what makes one thing beautiful and appealing and some other thing ugly and unappealing or even repulsive.) My PERSONAL aesthetic has been influenced by my life experiences (as well as some of that predetermined, genetically programmed, mental bullshit—go read Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate for more information on this stuff. It’s thought-provoking and definitely worth a read.) I grew up liking monster movies and The Twilight Zone and comic books and video games and New Wave music videos and skateboarding magazines and punk rock art, and later on I got into Dada and Situationism and Fluxus and comparative religion studies and anthropology and magic and Postal Art and collage and zine culture, and I think ALL of these influences are reflected in the art that I make.

When you look at what I’ve created, it might seem ugly and cluttered and simplistic and child-like—because it IS all of those things—but that’s also intentional. I’m exploring the liminal realm between immediate production and deep concept—dream and memory and time and imagination and death. I’m collapsing my literary and artist urges together into these weird STORY / ART SKETCHES. (Think Dada Poetry meets Surrealist Automatic Drawing. Or, if you’ve never heard of these things, go look them up and read about them—they’re fascinating and weird and funny topics to discover—once you’ve got the gist of those concepts under your hat, THEN think about them while looking at my junk.)

I’m not precious about any of my individual works—they’re all momentary impulses, quick creations that reflect strange thoughts at the moment my hand produces those particular lines. Flash hypotheses. It’s all experiment. (Some are more pleasing than others, but they are ALL just explorations—a “thinking through” of a particular concept, sometimes a concept that’s half formed, but exploded once I put the WORDS with the IMAGES. Each piece (however bad or wonderful) is just another step on the journey through my headspace.)

Hopefully, that makes at least SOME sense!

RED TAPE:

Each of the works exhibited below is being made available in a single edition of ONE. First come. First served. Over and done and no reprints! Unless you love battling crazy collectors on the secondary market (who always charge a million times the original asking price), it would be in your best interest to snatch these pieces up while they’re still cheap! (I won’t live forever, and once I keel over, the prices are going to go into overdrive, perhaps even “Interstellar Overdrive”—you never know…) I have a great many (far too many to calculate—like over 50, I think—I lost count after ten when I ran out of fingers) pieces of crypto art for YOUR viewing—and perhaps COLLECTING—pleasure at MY MAKERSPLACE STORE (and, yes, I have sold several pieces already, including one design that is complete gone, SOLD OUT, and no longer available for purchase, unless you can sweet talk a collector!) Don’t be the only kid on the block without the hottest new toys! RARE DIGITAL ARTWORKS! (Cooler than a Yo-Yo!)

Below are my four most recent crypto-art crimes, along with some words of “explanation,” which are meant to enhance the viewer’s enjoyment of each piece. (That’s the plan, at least…)

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“tEChNiQuE” by Richard F. Yates

Do you recall our little wisdom seeker, Orion, who we met a few weeks ago attempting to acquire a bit of personal enlightenment on a busy mountain top? Well, he’s back, and this time, he’s decided that “SELF KNOWLEDGE” and enlightenment might come through artistic practice.

SELF EXPRESSION!

He’s attempted to FIND HIMSELF in his work—but his work is messy and confused and a bit ugly… Rather than think of HIMSELF as messy and confused and a bit ugly, Orion has made a classic blunder and chosen, instead, to believe that ART may be a dead end. (The fool… The poor deluded fool…)

(For a wisdom seeker, he sure can’t seem to find much wisdom, mostly because he can’t RECOGNIZE it when he finds it. Wisdom rarely looks like we EXPECT it to look.)

Luckily, Orion has managed to attract the attention of a Winged Serpent, who will hopefully be able to PUSH the intrepid internal traveler towards a rewarding technique to calm his internal turmoil.

I appreciate Orion’s distress. We seem to be living in a potentially EMPTY age, but as with all ages, there are worthwhile thoughts to be thunk (both born in the modern era and those remaining from antiquity) if he can just be persuaded to engage with them. If he’ll listen to the Winged One, he may come to understand that the goal he is pursuing isn’t an END in and of itself, a magic phrase or chunk of esoteric knowledge that once learned grants the possessor access to some COSMIC SECRET, but is instead a PROCESS—a PERSPECTIVE—which allows the traveler to enjoy the JOURNEY. (Winged Serpents are brilliant—but people tend to ignore wisdom if it doesn’t match their expectations, even when those expectations are flawed and incomplete.)

MORAL TO THE STORY: Always listen to the snake, and make art even if it’s ugly! You’ll be better off in the end…

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—And Fan of the Fang)

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“Notebook Ghost”

Oh, Notebook Ghost, don’t look so distressed. You’re DEAD! What could you possibly have to worry about? I mean, time, sure… Time is a tricky bitch. That’s absolutely for certain—and I’m willing to bet it’s even weirder once you’re spectral—but don’t be glum, chum! It may be July, still, in your drawing, but it won’t be July FOREVER. (In fact, for me, this is the LAST DAY of July. The FINAL day of July 2019… Probably, for many OTHER FOLKS, July is already long gone…)

But I suppose that isn’t true for you, is it… I suppose, FOR YOU, it will always be XX July, since you’re stuck on that page, stuck in that piece of dated artwork, perpetually, until the Sun gets mean and goes mad and turns SUPERNOVA and obliterates this entire section of the solar system… Then it won’t be July for ANYONE anymore (even if there’s still a few ANYONES left alive—or adead—floating away from the fiery cataclysm that was our home planet in whatever tin vehicles they’ve scraped together to flee the destruction…)

But, until then, I guess, it WILL always be July for you. Sorry. I’ve doomed you to FOREVER SUMMER… That means no Halloween… (Damn…) A ghost who never gets to experience Halloween ever again. GAWD… I’m an evil bastard—wielding my powers of creation in arbitrary slashes, like a kid with a samurai sword, without even considering the possible consequences… Heartless… Heartless… If I had any compassion at all, I’d tear your page out of my notebook and burn it, so as to release you from your imprisonment—but I’m a cruel creator. I’ve finished your page—I’ve written on the other side, already—and I NEVER (willingly or intentionally) throw away words or artwork. (However BAD or pointless they may be. You never know when some little bit of nonsense might come in handy!)

I’m sorry Notebook Ghost. I truly am. But you’re stuck in July for the rest of my life—perhaps for the rest of the solar system’s existence. But YOU’RE DEAD! Try to enjoy your spirithood. There are lots of other ghosts and monsters to chat with in my notebook, so you won’t be lonely… And, believe it or not, you’re even going to be put up onto the internet as a piece of crypto-art, (I’ll tell you what that means later), so maybe you can haunt your way around the entire world by creeping through the phone lines and cellular emanations, if you feel like it. It’s up to you, really. (Us creator types like to give our little creations a few obstacles to overcome. Makes you stronger, in the end!) Okay, little ghost, it’s up to you to sink or swim on your own from here, so—GO BE SPOOKY!

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—and Heartless Bastard)

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“The Mists of Time… (Or Weird, Spiraling Tunnel of Time…)”

[From the image itself]:
“The mists of time can’t be used to freshen the leaves of plants in the greenhouse of life…” [Whatever the hell that might mean…]

[The “sales pitch” from my MakesPlace store]:
Greetings Citizens! This here piece was originally drawn with ink on a piece of reclaimed cardboard. After a few nanoseconds of contemplation, the drawing was digitized, tweaked, and modified, then colored using standard electronic magic. The final version feels, to me (although who am I to interpret this—creators are usually woefully naive about their own works), …feels, to me, like a representation of the intersection of time and memory.

Time might be a spiral—or it might be a straight line that SEEMS like a spiral to most of us because we are spinning and tumbling down its infinite depths. Memory, which far too many folks believe works like a video tape that we can pause and rewind and play back at our leisure, is more like looking into a blender full of photographs. The bigger, more important images will float at the top, but they are constantly being chipped away at by the blades of time at the bottom of the mental mixing machine, which eventually makes a slurry out of all the bits and pieces of the experiences we’ve lived through. We can TRY to recreate individual memories from the torn and tattered remains of the images in our heads, but we’re probably going to get bits wrong and conflate, combine, and confuse shit, but CONVINCE ourselves that we’re remembering right.

I keep journals—journals going all the way back to the 1970s—and many of the things that I REMEMBER aren’t always supported by my written notes or the few photographs from my past that I still have. We don’t REMEMBER the past, so much as we RETELL it—we CREATE a new STORY of the past based on fragments and guesses and interpretations, often exaggerated, conflated, and sometimes just wrong—but we convince ourselves that these MEMORIES are true.

In my drawing, I have repetitions and fragments and creatures merging and splintering. This is time at work. I also have a “professor” (who believes he is somehow OUTSIDE OF TIME, but isn’t) telling us some funky piece of pseudo-wisdom (confused and corrupted) that almost seems to make sense, but also doesn’t—but that’s fine. We just need to know enough to keep moving forward….

Right?

Time is cruel. (Actually, worse than cruel: Time is INDIFFERENT.) Memory is incomplete and crumbles, quickly and irretrievably. ART, on the other hand, lets us MAKE FUN of our inadequacies, and it sometimes even has pretty colors and MONSTERS in it, which are cool. (Hopefully, I’ve depressed you in an entertaining way with this piece! To me, it’s pretty funny…or I think I remember it being funny… Now, I’m not so sure that I’m recalling that correctly… Oh well…)

—Richard F. Yates (Holy Fool—and confessed possessor of a terrible memory, hence his need for notebooks and journals!)

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“Lounging Fire Spirit (Menaced by Metal Skewers)”

It’s pretty rare to get photographic evidence of fire spirits (there were two in our fire pit when I grabbed my phone, but the second one saw what I was up to and disapparated just as I was snapping my pic—notice the very end of her tail above the other spirits’ head), but in this photo, we can clearly see a little fellow astride a flaming hunk of wood. He doesn’t seem overly keen on my daughter’s metal skewers poking at his guts—but I can understand that.

Always remember, when camping or enjoying a bit of the old bar-b-cue, to drop a bit of food INTO the fire for the hungry little fire spirits. (I don’t know if they can actually EAT human food, but they seem to appreciate the sacrifice, nonetheless. And, believe me, it pays to have an elemental or two on your side!)

This has been another Shamanistic moment with your host, Richard F. Yates (a Level SIX Holy Fool…) Thanks for stopping by!

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Okay kiddies, that’s all we have time for THIS WEEK! (Besides, my back is getting sore from sitting in this chair and typing. I need to take a break!) Don’t forget to visit my MakersPlace store to check out these pieces as well as the BUNCHES of other artwork and weird words I have plastered all over that piece of digital real estate! And make sure to check out all the OTHER artists who have artwork up on the site, as well. (Some of them are REAL artists and not just punk-rock-philosophers with too much time on their hands and not enough shame for their own good!) Right? Sure. Now get the hell out of here! (Ha!)

—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

SUPPORT INDEPENDENT FOLKS WHO ARE JUST MAKING STUFF BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT!!!

https://steemit.com/@richardfyates
https://primitiveentertainment.wordpress.com/read-a-damn-book-list/
https://makersplace.com/store/richardyates/

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