Important Films And Books On Narcissism (NPD Disorder And Scapegoating) by Rick London (Chapter 4)

Since posting 3 chapters of my book on my autism and being scapegoated, I’ve been deluged with questions. And that’s a good thing.

Snow White - Disney 1937

Snow White – Disney 1937

Some people are not sure, most feel fairly certain they are not on the autism or Asperger’s spectrum; a few feel they may and are getting tested. If planning to get evaluated, please make sure to “vet” the professional who does so. Not every psychologist or psychiatrist is trained in that area expertise.  Mine has chaired the Arkansas Autism State Board for 35 years and is well-versed in the topic.  Yours does not have to have that kind of qualifications, but it should be someone who is well-versed in, not just autism/Asperger’s but various disabilities and truly knows the topic “inside-out”,  and is not likely to make errors. You don’t want a wrong diagnosis.  You’ve gotten this far.

That is good too. I’m starting the book as “a novice”. No, not a novice at being scapegoated or having autism…have had that all my life (for 60 years). But I only discovered both through the help of some very experienced professionals; I could never have figured that out on my own; though I was able to finally put all the pieces together with the help of some very insightful professionals with over 100 years experience in this area of work. So I’m a novice at “knowing the issue at hand”.  For 60 years I knew something was not quite right, I simply didn’t know what.

Keep in mind struggling with the autism was/is challenging enough.  But add the struggle of a narcissist/scapegoating family who had, while abusing their community powers, also recruited other “flying monkeys” to march to their “hate Rick” campaign, the odds were pretty much stacked against me.   But now I have a chance to live my life, and live it well.  The point I’m making is that I am not unique.  Most disabled persons (born disabled) but rather than diagnosed and treated, are hidden away, abused and/or neglected, have a similar unique challenge.  They eventually have to decide to come to terms with what has happened to them, is happening now, and will continue to happen.  I was, and in some cases still am, punished by those who were supposed to love and help me, simply for having a congenital condition of which I inherited, and over which I had/have no control.  That condition is sad and quite a challenge.  Those who were/are abusive are, I’ve learned, much sicker, and much more cruel than I’ll ever be.

The fact that suddenly I have had a “eureka moment” does not change anything on the outside.  The family and the part of the community they have recruited are ill.  Very ill according to numerous top professionals.  They won’t be getting well anytime soon, if ever and their “We must hate Rick for our own self-esteem” will probably go with them to their graves. It is a much a part of them as breathing oxygen. It is their oxygen in many cases and has been all (of my life). I shouldn’t expect any support from them.  Is that painful?  Of course, but now I am getting support from healthy places, and I realize they will die ill and bitter.  That is what hurts.  The good news is the replacements.  Those who lost the chance to share my love, and there are many (former relatives, friends, etc. are actually the ones who have lost an opportunity).  No, I’m not anything particularly special or great, but I am strong.  Very strong.  None of them could have survived what I have. Not one single one of them. I could have taught them a bit about strength, about character, and about things they’ll most likely never know. Their loss.

People I once looked up to and trusted, never were trustworthy, and never will be, and as my doctors have suggested, in many cases it is best to ignore them, they don’t deserve the honor of my presence, and only address them (or let the government address them) if they continue to try any bullying or abuse (whether directly or through a third-party “flying monkey”.)    Still, I remain very optimistic simply based on the internal changes I have seen, as well as the external ones, that is, suddenly the type of healthy and loving people in my life, of whom I never felt I would have access. And they love, respect and support me back.  To me, that is success. Others may define success however they wish.

Arthur: The Film

Arthur: The Film

So there are plenty of questions of which I don’t have the answers (at this point) though I plan to study it for the rest of my life and learn as much as possible and I promise to share any and all pertinent information that may be helpful. Nobody, under any circumstances should endure scapegoating, and to scapegoat a disabled person is absolutely indefensible and repulsive  facilitated only by the most nefarious characters among us. Funny thing. The Brother’s Grimm in the early 1800’s had great insight on scapegoating and/or NPD (narcissism personality disorder).

If you’ve only seen Sleeping Beauty as a child, I strongly suggest to have an adult look at it.  No story I’ve seen explains the narcissist/scapegoating process like this story. It goes further into only those dynamics but “community/power/money” dynamics as well. Nobody wanted to “get on the bad side of the evil queen”.  After all, they could be her next scapegoat.  She “won by intimidation” (or almost did), but failed only because there was someone honest in the kingdom who could not kill Sleeping Beauty.  A lot of it is corny (it was written for kids), but it was also clearly written for adults.

Snow White is wonderful too with a similar theme to help both children and families of NPD disorder and scapegoating.  Of course Cindarella is also the epitome of the scapegoat child.

There is a tremendous moral to that story; how important it is to sometimes if not often “go against the tide”.  What one might be hearing is only rumors.  Not to put ones dog in a fight that doesn’t belong there.  How envy and hate can be omnipotent in some very sick people (as the queen was) and it happens in our towns, cities and communities all the time.  The other moral is “how one man fights the tide” and wins.  It’s an important story. Disney brought it back for a reason in 1937.  He knew the importance of something that he knew was epidemic if not pandemic.  He wanted the public to know.  And it became one of the biggest box office hits of all time.

If your esteem is down from being scapegoated, here’s the good news. You should pat yourself on the back for having survived. It is the narcissists and flying monkeys among us, who used our good name, who should hang their head in shame.  And if they continue doing it, and you are disabled, it will be worse for them than hanging their head in shame.  I’ll mention the disability webinar later in this blog.  Whether you have autism or any other disability, and you’ve been scapegoated (and/or still are), there’s some good news for you, and some bad news for the perpetrators.

Most of their children’s literature covered such topics. They deemed it important to write it in a format that both parents (reading to their children) and children could understand it, and, if their family dynamics were already in the middle of narcissistic parentel destruction, they could recognize it and get help. The Brothers Grimm knew only a few would, but even if it were only a few, consider the amount of suffering that would be avoided.

Original Sleeping Beauty ~ Brothers Grimm

Original Sleeping Beauty ~ Brothers Grimm

Fast forward several centuries. A novice filmmaker named Walt Disney also considered that topic high on the list of important educational topics. One of his first films “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs” (1937) was based on the same Brothers Grimm book and covered the topic of NPD disorder and in a way that both the layman, the child and the parents could understand it. Knowing most NPD families are in total denial (for a lifetime),

Disney also knew this important message may only help but a few suffering families. But to him, a few was a lot better than none. It meant lifetimes of avoiding needless suffering (of children who later became adults). Here is a list of other popular films from Arthur to Wall Street to A Streetcar Named Desire…that all dealt with NPD disorder and scapegoating.   Another one, highly recommended but not listed on Wiki is “Gaslight” which won numerous awards.  It is creepy though and very difficult to watch, but clearly explains some of the “crazy-making” in more extreme narcissistic/scapegoating cases.

I recommend to rent these films on Netflix or Amazon for a few dollars. They can much more clearly explain scapegoating and NPD disorder than I can. As I stated, as I write this blog I am still new at “knowing” this is my story.

Film: Basic Instinct

Film: Basic Instinct

Where does the autism fit in? That’s complicated in that the autistic child (and later adult) already has developmental issues. When parents, siblings and the community scapegoat that autistic child, it can be lethal. Fortunately for me, God was apparently looking after me. I wanted to improve. I longed to improve my life. And I kept my faith. If I can do that, anyone can.

If you suspect NPD disorder occurred in your family, chances are there are still “Flying Monkeys” in your stratosphere. There are now ways (legally if need be) to keep them at bay. I strongly suggest a webinar by the Autistic Network. By clicking the image below that says “IPMG” you can register for free.  It is important, and will educate you on your rights, and make your life a lot easier.  I’m looking very forward to it as is my beloved wife Lee.

Click To Register For July 17th Webinar For Free

Click To Register For July 17th Webinar For Free

And though this webinar is targeted toward persons with autism and/or Asperger’s, it will be helpful to anyone with a disability. One of the main focuses is going to be knowing your rights (and what to expect from the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) which is part of the Department Of Justice. They are not only interested in your disabilities, but your rights if anyone (whether they be family, friends, strangers, groups, lawyers, you name it, they want to know) if you are being injured,  stalked, or harmed in any way by anyone(s).

Magnolia: The Film

Magnolia: The Film

If you were raised with an un-diagnosed congenital disability, chances are very good you were scapegoated, still are, and there are “flying monkeys” in your life. Groups like this offer you resources and protection.  You only deserve the best. You’ve seen the parts of life that nobody should have to see.  It’s your turn to enjoy your life with no sociopathic “flying monkeys” interrupting in yet more attempts to hurt you via censor, fiscally, or whatever other dirty trick they have up their sleeve on any given day, and believe me they do have dirty tricks up their sleeves, always. They are sick and it doesn’t go away unless they come out of denial and get real professional help. Sadly, the majority don’t.  They are convinced they are well. Very well.

As for you….. Don’t just “Want it”, “Demand It”.  You deserve the best. You always did. And now it really is your turn.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is actively involved in autism/Asperger’s, animals, nature and children’s causes.  He is best known for his Google #1 ranked Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons and Funny Gifts which he launched in 1997 from an abandoned tin shed in rural Mississippi.

Retail Secrets From An Old Timer Internet ProSeller by Rick London

     Well buying season is just around the corner and…….wait a minute. Stop right there. What buying season?  Who am I trying to kid?  It’s March 8th and there’s two upcoming holidays, Mother’s Day and Easter and they can hardly be considered buying holidays unless you are a bunny, chocolate, a chick or a duck.  Okay, okay, mom gets flowers or a card, but really, that’s about it. 

Convenience Store Cartoon

By Londons Times Cartoons c2011 http://www.LondonsTimes.us

      I heard it said that Valentine’s Day has gone out ahead of Christmas as the heaviest buying season but you could have fooled Lee..or me.   Yes we made a fairly good amount of sales, and for that we are grateful, but not like it used to be.  The 2012 Christmas buying season had been very good but…..What happened?

      To my knowledge, never in the history of the USA has there been a Tea Party vs a very popular 2nd term African American President who will be backing a woman in 2016 who is more popular than every one of the Tea Partiers put together.   Add that to a sequester, a fruitless argument about debt ceilings, filibuster speech-giving regarding drones programmed to knock a Starbuck’s double soy latte’ out of your hand just because your 4th cousin once knew a 3rd cousin of Jane Fonda and might have known Gloria Steinem’s stepfather’s 8th cousin.  And we have the 1% “makers:” with their money safely guarded in The Grand Cayman or Switzerland or Newark (the IRS would never think to look there); and they are scheduled to find it when it finally does trickle down to the rest of us, or when hell freezes over, whichever comes first. 

      But seriously, no matter what, people do still shop and gift-giving is one of the great traditions in these United States as unique collectibles as a hobby. Lee and I sell both of those and in very large quantities. We even offer volume deep discounts and free personalization/customization within several of our lines of merchandise. 

      So why am I tell you this?  For a pat on the back?  To feel sorry for me?  To Occupy Hot Springs until I’m worth several million (then you can leave thank you very much).

      Nooooooooooooooooooo. 

      I mention it because having talked to colleagues, especially other cartoonists and illustrators, some of whom have worked for me, have reminded me that all of this is universal.

Zorba

By Londons Times Cartoons c2011 http://www.LondonsTimes.us

      Whereas in 2010 our average sale was $60-$80, today it is $9.99-19.99.   This tells me something important.  People continue to want to give, and give to a lot of friends and loved ones.  But they have budgeted down below the $25 mark for each person. 

      I really didn’t need a little informal focus group on the Internet to figure that out.  If I’m doing it, and I am, and Lee’s doing it, then most likely all our friends and loved ones are doing it. 

      Do you know who is having the hardest time with this new economy?  The “Neuvo Poor”.  You read it right.  The mighty who have fallen and never took some hard hits along the way up. I do not write that with any kind of comfort or glee. I don’t like to see anyone hurting whether they be rich, poor or in between.

     Those of us who have taken our hard knocks, and taken them for many years, almost have an internal thermostat of how to make it through the month, even if money is short a particular month.

     My sweet late maternal grandmother Ruth London used to try to drill it in to me many times, and I would just laugh and sluff it off.  After  all, I was moving upward and nothing disastrous could ever happen to me.  Wrong!   It all came tumbling down….more than once.  What seemed like the end of the world at the time, turned out to be the “street education” I needed to survive and even thrive.

     And though it is not the same every month, it goes a little like this.

     At the first of the month,  pay all the bills. If you cannot pay them all, then pay the basics like rent or mortgage, groceries for the first week or two of the month. Forget about eating out, that’s a luxury that seems affordable at the time but is a huge waste of money buying food that is usually not exactly as it was billed. 

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

     Pay the utilities, Internet, phone etc.  Once all that is paid there is a huge relief that transpires. One feels lighter.   Don’t pay with a credit card.  Cash or debit cards only.  Lee and I only use our debit cards and don’t even worry about checks and credit cards anymore. 

Shirley Temple Cartoon

By Londons Times Cartoons c2011

     You should have a little money left over.  Depending on your income it can be anywhere from $25 to around $400+ per month.  Stick as much of that in savings, knowing some of it might have to be withdrawn due to unexpected expenses which happen almost every month.  That’s okay. If you can save a few dollars every month you are doing better than most.

     I returned to college at age 48 and had some wonderful professors who taught pragmatic lessons that could easily be used the same day. One of my favorites said, “Credit cards are great…and I expect everyone to get as many as you can, that is if you own the company and you are the creditor”. Otherwise they are poison and will eat your soul”. 

     How did he know the story of my life?  And though I’d not used credit card for nearly 2 decades, I still remember the pain of the relentless calls when/if I was late, trying to juggle classes, running my own business, etc etc.  They showed no mercy.  Lee went through that too.  Now, we don’t go through that. 

  

   Oddly enough, the simpler life one creates, the less stress is involved.  The less stress that is involved. The less stress that is involved, generally the happier the person is.  The happier that person is, the stronger his/her immune system is.  The stronger his/her immune system is, the longer he/she will most probably live, and if it’s not a unusually long lifespan, the quality of life during a shorter lifespan makes up for it.  I love my life. I love what I do.  And though it is not as glamorous as some people may think, that’s alright with me.

may signs

      Doors opened for Lee and I several years back that might have made our lives seem most glamorous.  But the more we worked on the projects, the more we saw that while we were carrying the ball for these well-known celebrity entrepreneurs, the more they look at us as chums, slave labor of sorts, who should be grateful that we got to work with them at any capacity.  I think It was just wonderful that we had that opportunity, to be honest, (and try to be humble) we are that good, but in a free market system, there is this thing called a fair living wage.  They would have no part of that, so we continued to strike out on our own and build our own brands.

rick london 33333333333

        And though we’ve been at it for quite awhile, this March 19th will be 15 years for me and in November 2013 will be about 4 years for Lee, both are still growing and we still have a long way to go.  Competition is fierce worldwide, and one has to design something not just unique, but very different than what anyone else is offering.  One has to expect copycats. No, they usually don’t copy your total design. But one can look at it and there is no doubt they looked at it first for their “inspiration”.

      So we have focused a great deal on making a great amount of greeting cards for about $3.50-$3.75, tees from $17-$25 etc.  Things people can afford to give as gifts.  Each has one of our licensed graphics, all of which we have “tested” on both Twitter and facebook for feedback. If feedback is good, we move it up to the front of the shop. If not, to the back.  It’s  just like physical retail, without the bricks.

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

   Both of us got our start in business in retail shops. Real ones with physical buildings, awnings, and smiling faces.  That is one of the biggest downsides to online marketing. 

    People who shop online, do so for a myriad of reasons, but there are some basic ones that have a common thread.  They are seeking a gift or collectible that they cannot find at the local mall.  They are in luck at our shops and we’ve purposely kept them out of malls or large physical stores. And even though our merchandise appears at Sears.com, it is only at their online shops, not their retail stores.

     They visit Amazon in search of a large selection and discounted price.  They get both when they shop there. 

       They Visit Zazzle to look for both price and often personalization and lightening fast worldwide shipping. Again we give them both there.

       Please don’t get me wrong.  We are merely two merchants who have managed to digitally design thousands of products; about ¼ million between the two of us.   The secret? Again we love what we do, and we work hard and consistently.  Can anybody do it?  I believe anyone can teach themselves to do it or learn to do it watching others. 

      The best way to start is to go to the Zazzle page and sign up for a free account, and visit and talk in their forums.  Be honest. Let them know you are there to learn, and you will be surprised how many will take you under their wing and teach you.  Yes there will be naysayers, but the naysayers are an interesting study in human behavior.  Lee and I passed all the naysayers at warp speed years ago and they are still complaining that “things just aren’t right in online retail”.  And so it goes.

Rick London c2011

      I see posters on facebook and Twitter that remind me to remove negative voices and influences from my life.  I used to do so slowly but that is not necessary.  If I see a pattern now; even for a few hours, it is “block time” and they never come back.

     And my work gets done, miraculously.  And though I could be wrong, my guess is, there’s does not.

kindle po boy

     Finally, online retail is like real life retail.  The custom expects being treated with respect and dignity, they want a decent product, and second-to-none customer service.  

        It’s much easier to offer that than the opposite.  And at the end of the day, they get just that, excellent products, affordable prices, products too unique to be found in malls, and a 100% 30 day guarantee, no questions asked.  

Rick London c2011

Click To Enlarge

     How much more can one ask?  If they ask for more, we’ll do our best to give it. 

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Rick London is a writer, songwriter, cartoonist and designer who lives a quiet life in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas with his wife Lee Hiller-London.  Rick London founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts in March 1997 (15 years ago).  Since January 2005 it has been Google’s #1 ranked and Bing’s #1 ranked since 2008.  His wife Lee runs the popular nature photography blog HikeOurPlanet.com featuring many of her award-winning photographs.  Together thay spend a great deal of time in Hot Springs National Forest in search of wildlife and flora of which to take photos which they mat and showcase on their walls.  

America The Divided by Rick London

      Those who know me well, know I don’t judge a person by his/her politics, religion, race or any other petty nonsense.  I try my best not to judge anyone but the times I miss the mark, I just judge on character. And that’s okay. It’s not perfect but it’s human.   I learn to not only tolerate but celebrate differences of opinion.

    If everyone believed, voted or acted like me, we’d live in a very boring world (and my wife thinks “probably a bit immature one too”) I’m sure.  Most my posts are intended to be humorous. Occasionally I will create something I see as “a truth”; and test it here. Sometimes it ruffles feathers and that’s a good thing. I never personally attack anyone who visits my page.  I invite social discourse, disagreements are fine and if they play by polite rules of conduct, I don’t care what their philosophy is.  They are welcome to stay and debate until they are out of breath if they are enjoying it.

       I do not post it to be YOUR truth, I post it to see if you recognize anything in it that rings true to you also. If you don’t, it does not anger me in the least. If you do, I smile a bit.  Today I posted what I saw on several Osama Bin Laden videos and “his vision for America” when he was alive.  It appears 9/11 but was step one in a series of steps to “divide America” so that it would “implode from within”.  It would (hopefully) cause huge financial burden. It did; bigger than he ever imagined as we almost immediately went to war; where he wasn’t…in Iraq.

     But his evil instincts were correct. GW Bush bought right into them as did so many of us (me included; so I was not preaching from a high horse). But I’ve seen, researched and know enough now to know what he wanted. To create a far left and far right; so far apart (especially fiscally), that America would be the Un-United States Of America.  I tried far left and far right and saw the never-ending battle of pushing the other side further into their corner, and they pushing me further into mine.

      Then it occurred to me “the middle is where the fence is”; and there is no mending fences unless one is brave enough to move to the middle (they can stay Republican or Democrat or Liberal or Conservative) but drop the knee-jerk extremism that Bin Laden so much prayed for (and even joked about in his cave interview with Peter Bergen); and many of his solo videos (and audios).  I will now always be a centrist who loves America (all of America). I will not judge on accidents of birth, status, or any other ridiculous notion.  America is a very special country. Don’t believe it? Just read the Constitution. Do you think I could do what I do in any other country?  Not even close.

       Our brilliant Constitution guarantees that I can, and (ask my wife Lee) some of the most powerful lawyers in the country have tried to make me stop (on more than one occasion): the same lawyers who have tried to make SNL stop, Mad Magazine, and other barometers that remind us if we are still living in a free nation (or not).  When they are gone,  so are we (at least a free America).  Most of us don’t think of satire or parody that way.  But The Fair Use Act speaks of its importance.

        I don’t care for whom you vote. That’s your business. I would never go to your page and tell you how very wrong you are if you named a candidate for whom I did not care.  I would hope you would be mature enough to share the same respect.  However, I don’t necessarily want you to vote for my candidate.   He might not be for you.  Yours might not be for me. Never try to bully me into voting for yours; you can be assured I will give the same respect.  All I ask of you is to consider what Osama Bin Laden’s biggst dream for us was. A divided America.  And so far, he’s getting his way.  Let’s get less extreme in our views, whether left or right; otherwise,  Mitt Romney is right; his death is really no big deal to be celebrated…..his dream lives on.  Finally, Thank God for our U.S. Military; and we are particularly thinking of the US Navy Team 6 who took out the most evil man on the planet, the man who killed so many of our innocents and did a very successful job of dividing our nation. Now its our job to fix our nation.  We can never ever let him have his way, even in death…especially in death.  There is a tendency to kill the messenger.

       I encourage you to watch his videos on YouTube and you will see what I mean.  It’s not me you’re angry at. You are as angry at him as I am; as he created the environment to make a far left and far right exist, fight each other to the point where they each was/is the target enemy whether it is black, white, gay, straight, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Bhuddist, Wiccan, Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative and any other label people use to justify their differences.  

     The bottom line is that we’ve been taught over the years by well-meaninged teachers, parents, ministers, tv talking heads etc. that those who believed, voted, acted etc. different than us “were the enemy”. Nothing could be further than the truth.  But changing that is easier said than done.  We’ve been indoctrinated to believe that; and, it is not the case. 

      It may (as psychologists call it for many of us) take behavior modification.  That could mean therapy. It might mean simply changing your mind. It may take research.  It will take what it takes, but let’s do what it takes, so that Bin Laden does not get his way. 

     I have gotten to the point where I know that the person who votes differently than me is not my enemy.  The person who has a different faith or belief or philosophy than me is not my enemy. I know that a person who competes with me doing the same kind of business is not my enemy.  The irritable irrational weird uncle or relative is not my enemy.  Al Queida is my enemy because I am an American, like you, and they want to kill me, and you.  Those other people simply may be irritated at me, or you and that’s fine.  There’s a big difference.  Work on yourself as I am working on myself. I continue to head toward the center because that is where the fence that needs mending is.  And together, left, right, liberal, conservative, gay, straight, black, white, etc etc etc. working TOGETHER in a democracy that our Constitution provides is unbeatable.  In fact, even in “this imperfect union” if we begin to mend the fences that Al Queida almost successfully severed, that is perfect enough for me. It will be a process and there will be bumps.  I am okay with that.

     Nobody has to change what they are, in fact please don’t change what/who you are. That is sacred and to be cherished.  You are one of God’s children. But in some ways for America to work again, we may all have to change how we think and act; and not as dramatically as one thinks. Simply recognizing extremism from the far left and far right as it comes our way, and not fight back, simply let them know that sanity exists in the middle. In fact, those in the middle who accept everyone (and they have every right to stay left or right if they do not want to be part of the solution) and we can accept that. Not everyone is going to be a part of the solution. Life is not perfect nor do we live in a perfect world. But I truly believe there are enough good people out there who are sick of what we have seen over the past decade or so, the extremes (who are out for themselves, not the betterment or future of America) and its okay if they don’t to participate in the rebuilding of America.  What is important is that we do.

      Let’s no longer justify our differences by labeling each other and/or demonizing another human being who thinks or believes different than you or me as Bin Laden so desperately wanted and came so close with his evil but clever manipulative power to make happen.  Lets celebrate our same-nesses on this one year anniversary of our brave Navy Seals turning him into a rancid piece of sushi.  Goodbye to bad garbage. It’s time for America to heal.  Be a part of the solution, and I’ll do my best to do the same.  Thanks all….and I mean ALL. You are our neighbors and friends. And that’s enough for us.

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Rick London is a freelance writer, songwriter, designer, and cartoonist who lives and loves America and lives in the glorious Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas with his wife nature photographer Lee Hiller-London.  They are both active in environmental, animal, children and veteran causes.  Rick founded Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons in 1997 and Google’s number one offbeat cartoon gifts in 2006. His wife runs the popular nature wildlife blog HikeOurPlanet.com and LeeHillerDesigns.com. London recently launched his cartoons on funny hoodies at his PlanetHoodie.com shop. Follow them on Twitter @RickLondon & @LeeHillerLondon  Rick London’s facebook fan page is http://www.Facebook.Com/LTCartoons.

Just Another Dead Black Kid Wearing A Hoodie In Sanford, Fl? by Rick London

A little over a month ago in Sanford, Fl, a suburb of Orlando,  an unarmed minor named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by an armed self-appointed Neighborhood Watchman George Zimmerman.  Zimmerman called 911 before shooting Martin.  He’d called 911 “for suspicious-looking characters” 46 times this year before encountering and stalking Martin and “finding him suspicious too”.  The call before Martin was about a week earlier “Two black youths, about age 7 and 9”.  Martin had been at the neighborhood convenience store where he’d walked to buy Skittles and iced tea where he was described as “Not suspicious and just fine” and was on his way walking home. That was approximately 5 minutes before Zimmerman found him “suspicious” and began pursuing him in his SUV armed with a loaded Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm pistol. Zimmerman is the son of retired Judge Joe Zimmerman, whose career was in Va. but retired to the Sanford area of Florida where he was known to be “very well-liked”.

Now the U.S. Federal Department Of Justice has landed in Sanford and both Zimmerman and the Sanford Police Department are under federal investigation.

Here are some of the major items bothering the DOJ:

1. Trayvon weighed significantly less than George Zimmerman.

2. Trayvon was not armed.

3. George Zimmerman was armed with a semi automatic gun.

4. George Zimmerman admits he shot Trayvon Martin.

5. George Zimmerman was told by the 9-1-1 dispatcher not to pursue ‘Trayvon Martin.

6. George Zimmerman did not want to give the police dispatcher a location where the police could find him, but instead indicated that they should call him when they arrived, suggesting that he might be moving around, or that he wanted some warning before the police would see him.

7. Somebody was yelling for help before the sound of the gun shot.

Trayvon is not around to give his version of the events leading up to his murder. However George Zimmerman suggests that the killing was in “self defense” and that he was entitled to stand his ground, and protect himself. Here a just a few problems with his story, assuming only the undisputed evidence.

1. Why would George Zimmerman call out repeatedly for help if he had a gun?

2. Why wouldn’t George Zimmerman agree to wait for the police at an agreed upon location?

3. Why didn’t George Zimmerman go to the hospital to be checked out before going to the police station? If he had actually had his head beaten into the sidewalk, shouldn’t Zimmerman and the police be concerned about a bleed in the brain, or at a minimum a concussion? The broken nose and lacerations on the back of his head would have been sufficient reason to seek medical treatment. However the potential for a cranial bleed or concussion would have necessitated medical evaluation.

4.  If George Zimmerman was afraid for his life, why didn’ t he wait in the safety of his car or Mary Cutcher’s apartment until the police arrived?

 Ever wonder how George Zimmerman eluded court or jail in two cases of domestic violence, 1 case of resisting arrest w/o violence, and one case of resisting arrest with battery against a police officer?  And now after interviewing Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, (Sanford’s one honest investigating homicide officer) Chris Serino (who demanded charges of manslaughter against Zimmerman as he says none of Zimmerman’s story added up), was overridden by “friends of Zimmerman’s dad from the state attorney’s office”.  Serino fortunately knew something was rotten in Sanford City and wrote out an official protest and an Affadavit” anyway and which is on  record and why.

Had the state or DOJ not gotten involved, that would have been the end. Just like Syria. Just like Iran. No court case, no nothing; just a police state; exactly as is utilized in countries we are trying to teach how a civilized society operates. The DOJ, though hard at work,  must be having a field day with all these new discoveries coming in at almost an hourly basis. 

Every single honest police and/or judge in this great land, should be furious over the way this is playing out.  How would you like all your hard work to go down the drain because “somebody knew somebody’s dad (a judge)  4 times (at least 2 of them felonies with no court trials, one battery on a policeman!!!)”?  PS Zimmerman’s “best friend” Joe Oliver now admits they are only “casually acquainted and he knew nothing of Zimmerman’s past” but please “trust me based on my gut feeling”…..; so his major defender is now useless to him with zero credibility. 

But….again lets let the DOJ (Sanford’s new justice system) do their work.  But for those yelling that, it does not mean to censor or intimidate anyone posting news  and/or opinions as they happen.  That is the way its done in Iran, Syria etc. not America.  We all get to speak our minds here no matter our opinion.  Make sure of that, no matter how you feel about this case.  It’s our duty to let everyone with every opinion speak out; if they find it important to do so. 

By the way, I find it hideous that the “New Black Panthers” have latched  on to this tragedy and turned it into “their cause” to put their name in the limelight. They are not needed and impede the important work of the DOJ. It is clear their motive is not justice in this case, but to provide their own justice in this case. They already have stated publicly they do not follow U.S. law, which means they may try to impede it.  They have every right to be there, however, until/unless they do, and if they do, they too, should be arrested, and sent back home.  America will not let them impose their own “law” on a case this important, a case that almost didn’t even make it out of the morgue, except for a ringing cell phone that went unanswered for three days.

It is tacky that Sharpton et al show up but what does he not show up at? He never met a media event he didn’t like.  But that doesn’t change the facts of this case. I happen to find it important because it sets the bar for justice for everyone which is very important.  No case should end with a state attorney office opinion and no court trial. Sharpton and friends find it important because it makes them feel important. And that’s sad.

No matter what the outcome, that is, whether George Zimmerman is found guilty or not guilty, the fact that this case did not end at the morgue, and that there is now a chance that justice will be served because of one honest homicide police officer, a dead child’s cell phone that didn’t quit ringing, and a panicking coroner, the world now knows the story of Trayvon Martin’s trip to get Skittles and Tea.  And the case may or may not turn out the way we think it should.  But at least it will not end up as the corrupt Sanford Police Department and State Attorney’s Office Of Florida (who has now thank God been taken off the case) wanted it to turn out.  Just another dead black kid wearing a hoodie who ran out of luck in Sanford, Florida.

Click To Enlarge

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Rick London is a writer, songwriter, cartoonist, designer and Internet entrepreneur.  He founded Londons Times Cartoons (LTCartoons.com) in 1997 which have been the number one Offbeat Cartoons (Google & Bing ranked) and funny gifts since 2005.  He recently founded Planet Hoodie which sells funny hoodies featuring LTCartoons.  He also is fond of hiking with his wife nature photographer Lee Hiller-London, the founder of HikeOurPlanet.com.

“Trayvon” by Rick London c2012 to the tune of “Leavon” by Elton John

“Trayvon” by Rick London c2012 to the tune of Leavon by Elton John

 

Trayvon, Trayvon counts his money,
  For Skittles and Arizona Tea,
         Not a clue what he’d be encountering,
Down 7/11 way.

He had his iPod on on a rainy day,
And the next we knew he was dead,
And race wars begun,
     Zimmerman claimed self-defense in a fray.

chorus

            And we’ll miss Trayvon,
      Not even yet a man,
              All the world is grieving,
Twas a violent pattern of Zimmerman
            He’d even attacked a policeman.
Just 17 not yet a man,
His name was Trayvon.

The “police”of Sanford found Zimmerman innocent hands down,
Gave him back his gun and said “Goodbye”.
While in the morgue Trayvon lay,
      Enter Justice Department to defend Trayvon against “Law Enforcement” lies,

        What Zimmerman said on tape was f**ing c**n that’s hate to us,
      As he pursued Trayvon from behind,
This wannabe policeman really belongs in Sing Sing,
   And Trayvon quickly died.

He was born on the 5th of Feb to Gladys & Bob,  
And Geraldo says his hoodie shot him dead,
                  But there was rain there was no sun,
The Martins lost a son today.                 

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Rick London is a writer, songwriter, designer and cartoonist.  He founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts, Google’s #1 ranked.  He enjoys hiking and wildlife and often hikes with his nature photographer wife Lee Hiller-London who founded HikeOurPlanet.com

My Newlyfound Faith In America’s Youth by Rick London

   Today’s teens. All we see on the news is violence, drugs, and an arrogant refusal to obey laws that don’t fit their lifestyles.   Yesterday, I was proven that’s not always so. In fact, that whole stereotype was blown out of the water. 

Click To Enlarge

    A little history first which led to this pleasantly surprising experience.

      I need a new wallet. I know that. But like a favorite T-shirt, coffee cup, etc. (and it’s not that I’m some kind of “material guy”, I’m not. I just “get to know  it” and it feels comfortable), I still have my 3 year old wallet. Maybe that’s why I’ve kept my same Saturn for years because I fit well in it, it doesn’t break down, it’s paid for, and why make a new debt on a new car that I’d have to get to know, and it would have to get to know me back.

      So this old wallet I have is a bit shabby and I keep a lot of junk in it that I should toss out; but for some reason in the back of my mind, I am absolutely positive this July 11, 2010 receipt from Walmart or Kroger is going to be very important. 

       When I was in the hospital in 2010, my car tag sticker expired and it was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t drive for several months anyway. My wife Lee did.  So I drove around about a year with an expired sticker and finally was pulled over about 8 months ago (for a non-moving violation).  The police officer asked to see all my papers and license. I had to dig through my wallet (and of course there was no registration renewal etc) so my ticket was high.  But worse than that, I felt like I could have expedited that traffic violation (am sure the officer had more important matters than pulling over an old guy with an expired tag), by just being more organized.  I immediately took care of it the next day at the courthouse.  We live outside of a small beautiful Arkansas town in the Ouachita Mountains. It is like a paradise to us.  We feel like kids again.  That’s pretty fun stuff.   Here’s a pic from our office window in case you’ve not seen it.


     Lee had gotten a fanny pack which is fantastic; no longer even uses a purse, and wears it hiking or when we’re out running errands or shopping. She suggested I get one too. I did. That was after I paid the $160 ticket; and paid to get everything renewed. Ouch.

     She couldn’t talk me into getting rid of my wallet (which I keep in the pouch) but she did talk me into organizing things better.  I keep everything to do with the car in a plastic pouch aside from everything else so, that if I ever get pulled over again, I can whip it right out, get my ticket if I’m guilty of something, and the officer can be on his/her way. 

      Several days ago I was shopping at Kroger alone while Lee was hiking.  At some point during shopping, I noticed the zipper was open in my fanny pouch. I think I’d left it open while pumping and paying for gas and forgot to zip it back (or zipped it partially).  In any case, I took a close look into it) and everything looked fine. 

      Last night was the Jewish Holiday of Purim.  It is a festive holiday in which all dress up and be kids again.  I am not sure what it celebrates, as I rarely celebrated it as a kid, but Lee and I had fun dressing up.  She was a butterfly and played the part well.  I put a flashlight in my head, and my plan was to pull out my driver’s license and say, “I’m a minor, but I’ve got an ID”.  I did so because for some reason I’d removed my driver’s from my “everything pertaining to auto plastic packet”, but noticed the plastic packet containing my registration, birth certificate, registration, insurance card etc. were all missing. I called the state DMV but they were closed and of course the local one was too. Then I realized with my birth certificate gone, I’m going to have to reorder one online, take it in with me along with my license and by another registration and title etc.  It was going to be a big hassle.

But Lee kindly said, “Don’t worry baby. I’ll drive you there tomorrow and we’ll take care of it”.  She alerted me they’d probably complete the process with my license and social security card.  The pretty much know me there anyway so it would be silly if they didn’t.   We’re good citizens, don’t make a lot of noise, and don’t cause anyone any trouble.

Today my phone rang 3 times.  Two of the three were sales calls and I let them go to voice mail.  The third one came in at about 11:00 a.m.  It was a local number and though I didn’t recognize it, I figured it might be someone I knew anyway, so I answered.  Someone asked if it was me (mispronouncing “Stetelman” as everyone does) and I said “yes”. He was very polite. He said, “I was in Kroger yesterday and found a plastic pouch with a bunch of auto papers and found your number on one of them”.  

I had wondered why he had not handed it in to Kroger lost and found but didn’t enquire. I was just thrilled he’d found it.  I’d called Kroger lost and found to no avail. 

I looked out the window as he was telling me how he found it. It was by then pouring down rain and thundering.  I always think of Fleetwood Mac during such times. “Thunder only happens when it’s raining”, and wondered how many days, weeks or months it took them to come up with a line that rhymed with “Players only love you when they’re playin’”, as, in my “wannabe expert musical mind”, I felt certain they’d written the second line first, as it was the basic premise of their true lives, and the weather parallel was only of semi importance to the song…but not important in this story.

I figured the young man to be maybe an adult college student.  Maybe 30 by his mature but youthful phone voice.  Extremely polite, calling me “sir” more than I was used to be called “sir”.  In any case his manners and articulation was well beyond my abilities.  He even said he would bring it by this afternoon. 

I called him about 3:30 pm this afternoon and the rain was still coming down. I told him maybe it would be better to bring it tomorrow, and Lee had agreed if its not too far, we could pick it up today. The rain had slowed a bit.

He asked if it might be okay if he brought it by about 9:30 tomorrow morning and I said “fine” and thanked him again and hung up. I was not planning on going anywhere today anyway, and if I did, Lee is a great driver.

About 10 minutes later he called me back from his home; about 7 miles away off of Airport Road and said, “You know what? I forgot I’ve got to come downtown anyway to fill up my jugs (he wasn’t saying anything risqué. If you live here awhile you know what that means. The city has a free fountain with four taps where anyone can freely fill up as much as they want of the healthiest water in the world; water that has been running underground for 2000 years, has no chemicals, is full of heavy minerals from the crystal rock it runs over, and tastes so good.  You get a lite version of the real water if you ever buy Mountain Valley Water (in the green bottles with the red label). It’s tasty; and Elvis even had it delivered monthly all the way to Memphis as it was the only water he would drink, but it is nothing close to the real thing.  There’s has been sitting awhile. It’s still good, but not fresh out of the ground.  The difference is day and night and people come from miles around with truckloads of jugs to get the fountain water which is on the way to one of our hikes so we have easy access to it and always have jugs by our desk.

Alex, as I found his name to be, said, “I’ll call you when I get to your place”.  The phone rang about an hour later. It was Alex.  He was downstairs and I let him in.

Alex was a tall slim well-dressed African American male no older than 20 but probably closer to 18 or so.  He’d just gotten off work from Oaklawn (the local racetrack). He handed me my little plastic pouch which had every single paper, nothing missing.   I looked in my wallet and had one $20 and handed it to him.  He put his hands up as if he couldn’t accept it but I placed it in his hand and closed it and apologized.

He said, “Why are you sorry”.  I said, “Because $20 is all I have with me, and I’ve not been to the bank. If you have a Paypal account I’ll send you the balance of what you saved me or if not a snail address and I’ll mail it.”

He was still trying to give me the twenty back.  He  finally accepted it, but said, “You don’t owe me anymore, really”, and then thanked me again for being “so kind sir”.

I explained to him that he’d probably saved me double that, and, finally I talked him into his home address so I can send the balance there. 

He was so grateful for the $20 after he finally accepted it.  He said, “I really didn’t expect any kind of reward. It’s just the right thing to do”.  I could tell he had very good upbringing. His manners were not fake. He was warm, friendly and bright.  He was, as I guessed also working his way through school at the local community college.  The $20 meant a lot, but he still didn’t feel comfortable  asking for anything for doing the right thing. 

We chatted a bit more about school, since I don’t care for horse racing, I figured I’d chat about something we both found interesting.  He’s studying computer science and plans to be some sort of engineer.  (I’d forgotten what type), but he certainly knew all the buzz words and was still a freshman.

We finally shook hands, I thanked him again and he drove off.   Lee and I had been watching the news (we often do as we work) and anyone who is even a bit of a news junkie knows how much bad news there is out there.  And a great deal of it is about “today’s kids”, and it’s right; a lot of today’s kids have a lot of issues that perhaps we didn’t, but then again we didn’t have to face a lot of the same things they do today. 

This young man was optimistic, enthusiastic and honest.  He did not fit the mold of what the news has profiled today’s teens to be.  I thought to myself, “Just think of all the suffering I could have avoided through life if I had been as wise as he, at even twice his age.

And it was the best $20 I ever remember investing.

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I am known to be a goofy vegan mountain man.   I like to do creative things; and sometimes succeed, and sometimes not.   I founded LTCartoons.com in 1997 which have been Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts since 2005.  It is also #1 on Bing.   I also create Famous Love Quotes & Famous Wisdom Quote Gifts at several of my online shops such as RickLondonWisdomShop.com. I love hiking, animals, kids, nature, movies, reading, etc etc and Amazon Kindle Fire.  That’s about it.

How To Survive Depression When You Don’t Have It; & A Few Thoughts After 15 Years Of Cartooning & Design by Rick London

March 19th, 2012 will mark the 15th year of my “creative venture that couldn’t be done”.  Amazon Kindle just put up my 15th anniversary compilation book, but the 13th anniversary continues to sell better. That’s okay. It was never supposed to happen. In fact I wasn’t suposed to be able to do it.  So many said so. And that’s why I smile as I type this. 


My 15th Anniversary Book Cover (Click To Enlarge)

Walther Bagehot once said, “The greatest pleasure in life is in doing what people say you cannot do”.    

    Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Edison, Einstein, Thoreau, Emerson, Galileo, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Dali, and many other writers, artists, and, you name it, have similar themes that run through their most famous quotes that is, “There is great pleasure in doing what everyone said couldn’t be done”.

 I’ll preface the rest of this blog with, “I don’t put myself even close to a league of any of the aforementioned giants, please trust me on that..I’m not that grandiose”. I can honestly say, that most of them were “spiritual mentors” and/or were and continue to be influences.

I was born into a family in which I was expected to be “heir to the throne” of a family business; a family real estate business.

I used to joke that when I was born, the nurse put me in my mom’s arms and said, “Congratulations, Ms. London, it’s a Realtor.”

Slow Realtor (Click To Enlarge) by LTCartoons.com

That used to cause a resentment for me, but now that I see the whole picture,  and why God, the Universe or whatever caused it to happen, all I can say is “thank you, thank you, thank you.  I couldn’t have dreamed this life.  Is it perfect? No.  But it is very very good, and I really could not have imagined it.

I was no good at real estate (nor much else) as I had a rare disease that affects the vagus nerve and there was no treatment (had it all my life) in which the vagus nerve, the largest nerve in the body, does  not function, or barely functions.  It is often misdiagnosed for depression, mental illness etc.  It’s neither.

I was told I had garden variety depression for 28 years and treated for it.  I didn’t have it and no treatment was helping me improve.

About 1998, I read an article in New Yorker Magazine on clinical trials for a new implant called theVagus Nerve Stimulator or VNS made by a firm in Houston called Cyberonics.  It had been approved a decade earlier for TRE (Treatment Resistant Epilepsy) but was not yet approved for TRD (Treatment Resistant Depression) which is a misnomer as it is not depression at all, but merely mimics it.  It is estimated that about  20 million people have it who think, as do their doctors, that they have depression or schizophrenia or bipolar or “name your poison” but they don’t Most of them have never heard of VNS and very few of their doctors have either.

I had to wait another seven years to get the treatment and do a lot of pre-planning.  Some of it included contacting Cyberonics and getting a caseworker before FDA approval.  The other was let the doctors know the meds and talk therapy was not working so they would try a variation of many different ones, just to be sure it was not depression, as eventually (if it really is depression), it would improve with at least one of the variations. It never did.

On January 25th, 2005, I woke up from the surgery at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Little Rock.  A week later, all the “depression” was gone; mainly because it had never been depression in the first place.  I am not certain which was more painful while fighting the disease before having the implant, the disease itself, or the punishment from a very superstitious culture who felt people didn’t get such diseases unless they had distanced themselves from God.  I had to live with that pnishment from so many ignorant people on top of fighting the disease which was being incorrectly diagnosed and treated as such.  

I was very lucky. Not many in the U.S. received the treatment when the FDA opened a very short window for it.  The large pharmaceuticals and even the American Psychiatric Association, and insurance giants fought it vigorously, and with that much power, the FDA made it virtually impossible to get, unless someone can shell out $50,000.  So only a few of us got it when it was covered. It is still not impossible to get it (even covered if one needs it), but they must be willing to try nearly every modicum of treatment for depression there is and have a Cyberonics caseworker monitoring his/her progress or lack thereof.

I have no resentments from that though.  Had all that not happened, I would not have been able to “do the impossible”; all the things people, including family, said “he’ll never do”.  “He shames us” was the word I often heard from mutual friends of my other blood family.  “He’s lost his way. If he’d just go to the right church and really pray”.  Some of the armchair diagnosis was so ridiculous that they were almost funny, if they’d not been so sad. It made me wonder how they treated their own family who ran into issues in which the doctors did not have answers.  Thank God I had the common sense to move close to one of the top 12 research hospitals in America, University Of Arkansas Little Rock.  St. Vincent’s is on their campus.  Had I not, and not received the VNS implant, I am positive I would have left this planet at least a decade ago.  I am a very blessed man.

 

So what were the consequences of finally getting the right diagnosis and treatment?  I returned to school and learned a great deal about business information management, digital design, and IT marketing.

I took LTCartoons to heights that no other offbeat cartoon has even come close.  Of course in any case where someone starts “looking good” like I did, there were many others behind the scene. I will elaborate later.  In just eight years LTCartoons.com became Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts on the Internet.  Then MS opened Bing and within a week we not only were ranked #1 there too, but own the whole first and most of their second search page.  We have remained #1 on both ever since and it is now 2012; seven years later.

 

My main site LTCartoons.com now has 5500+ mostly color cartoons and my various online stores showcase app. ¼ million licensed gifts and collectibles bearing our imagines.  I say “our” because that was what I was talking about…others making me look good.  Most cartoons we see today in the paper are teams these days.  The lone cartoonist still exists, but the teams are just as prevalent.  I am the concept guy, writer and “blueprint guy..that is the designer of the cartoons, describing details etc and assigning each to the appropriate illustrator) who I know can render it best.  Then I begin digitally designing the products.  I have our main manufacturer 3Drose to thank, Zazzle, Amazon and Printfection to thank for that.  Also who would have thought Amazon and Sears Marketplace would be my primary partners? If you’d told me that even a decade ago, I would have suggested therapy (for you).

I have a very sweet kind wife who loves me as I love her. We have a mutual respect for each other too and many similar interests.  Yes we have issues on which we disagree but the positive far outweighs the negative.  We are in similar businesses (both design) and though she’s a nature photographer and mountain hiker, I am not a photographer, but an avid hiker and nature lover so we enjoy many long mountain hikes together.

My Beautiful Wife Lee

 

We both share a love of God and a similar perception of Him.  We don’t push that philosophy and/or ideals onto others, but that adds more bond to our bonding.  We both care about life, all life, human and animal.  We’re both vegan and eat organic foods most of the time.  We started mid-life (as well as hiking) but hey, better late than never.  And for it was after 2 major heart attacks and for her after surviving cancer.  So we are proof that it is never too late to start anything new.

I have two books out now. Londons  Times Cartoons 13th and 15th anniversary and both Amazon and Barnes & Noble sell them as well as many independent book stores around the world.  Lee has a beautiful photography book out “The Nature Of Love” with similar sellers.

Around 1994, I read a very good book on the psychology of creative entrepreneurialism that I think was called “Blue Thunder” or something like that.  I read something in it that I really didn’t believe at the time. I was forty years old. It said that almost anything you’ve done in your life and career up until age fifty doesn’t even count because the mind of modern man and woman really doesn’t develop enough (for the majority of people) until age fifty, at which time we are all infants in whatever path we  are taking), so take it slow, but take it surely.

I now not only believe that, I know that to be true.  I might add, many of my friends have either retired or semi-retired at age fifty or sixty; or, slowed way down. I look at life in an opposite way.  I believe it is a time to try what you were frightened to try when you were younger. I don’t mean be careless or reckless but try something different.

If you’ve always wanted to go back to school, there’s no excuse not to now.  There are plenty of grants, low interest loans and accredited online colleges now.  Skydive. Plant a garden. Start a business.  Have no money? Start an Internet business. Don’t know how to start an Internet business with little or no money?  Go to Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble sites and type into their search engines “How to start an Internet business with little or no money”.  There are plenty good ones written on the topic.

I started mine 15 years ago this March 19th with about $300, and no home or car.  I now have a home and car and don’t have any idea how much my Internet business are worth, but I imagine a good bit. My wife and I don’t have debt because we’ve paid for everything. We use debit cards rather than credit cards and save all the interest our peers are paying out each month.  We scaled down. We live smaller but we live a lot happier.

 

 

At first these changes were very difficult. All change is difficult, even positive, especially as we get older.  But as time went by, and we started seeing the advantages, there was and is no turning back.  Life is not about keeping up with the Jones’ anymore. What a sad waste of time. Life is about service, fun, learning to love oneself, and trying to live in the most spiritual way one can, and that part I can’t explain as that is personal between oneself and his/her perception of God.  Good luck everyone.  Whatever it is, if you take it a step at a time, and are okay with some obstacles and/or rejection, you are well on your way to whatever you ever wished or dreamed.  Really.

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I am a goofy vegan mountain man who loves life, my work, my wife, and the mountains of Arkansas. I founded Londons Times Cartoons (LTCartoons.com) & Funny Gifts in 1997 and it has been #1 on the Internet since 2005. I love to design. I don’t only design offbeat cartoon merchandise, but serious famous quotes gifts at my RickLondonWisdomShop.com and LoveQuoteGifts.com which contained my licensed images of famous persons with their famous quotes on gifts, tees, mugs etc.  My two cartoon books are available at Amazon.com (on both coffee table and Kindle) and Barnes & Noble.  I like dogs. I like cats. I love wildlife, nature, hiking and anything outdoors. My beautiful talented wife Lee (see above) is a talented nature photographer and has the blog HikeOurPlanet.com  I don’t have depression.  I’m very blessed Thank you G-d.

Grandma Was Right..The World’s Gone Mad…But…

 

It’s Wednesday and a gorgeous Autumn day in Hot Springs, Ar.  My wife Lee

surprised us on facebook with beautiful colorful leaves she snapped on our

main mountain a few days ago.  We’re going on a short lower-mountain hike today.

We’ve had the news on nonstop and it reminds me so much of watching my maternal

grandmother, Ruth London, watch Tom Brocow religiously in the 1970’s, and never

failing to tell us at the end of his newscast, “The world’s gone crazy”.  I used to laugh

so hard and finally recite it with her. I was about 21 or so and everything had always

been a bit crazy, so I thought that was “normal”.  To me, nothing had “gone crazy”, it

had “remained crazy”.  But she was right.

I reminded Lee of grandma’s quote last night as we watched the news.  Some, but not

all of it was a horrifying pedophilia sting at Penn State.  Sorry, there is no humor I can

find in that story. I was sickened to hear of what had happened there, and triple nauseated

hearing of the way it was handled (with a probable cover-up). It is good that the coach

and school president will be stepping down.  I hope those guilty are prosecuted beyond

their wildest nightmares.  Children and animals are the only beings

on our planet that do have rights but don’t know it.  In a true civilization, it is the

duty of the rest of us to speak up for them.

So shame on you Penn State (all involved). How very horrible and total moral

bankruptcy.

We expect you to clean it up, and for the legal system to  prosecute to the fullest extent

all involved.

Within the same hour the major contender for U.S. President in the GOP camp had a

criminal lawyer introduce him to give a 5-Flag Press Conference to defend himself

against alleged sexual harassment from 4 different women, and his claiming “They’ll

probably be more”…(Yikes), and that he’d surely take a lie detector test (if ever there was

a need to take one) Yikes again.

Click To Enlarge

I don’t get too wound up about politics and/or politicians anymore, but all I could think

was, “Scuse me, SCUSE me, SCUSE ME, Herman extra onions please and welcome

back to the 99%”.   His backers did the predictible “Let’s bully and shame Rick” thing but

(Yawn); I’ve got a lot more important things to think about than who someone wants

for President (like who I want for President), and I don’t tend to splash that all over

social media because it reminds me too much of high school, and, the only place

that really has any power is in the voting booth, not my blog, not on facebook, and

not on Twitter. Those places are ideal for…as I mentioned amateurs and high school

students. If I’ve offended someone, consider yourself one or the other (in high school,

or…an amateur. I didn’t make the rules so don’t kill the messenger).

I can’t please everybody. I  was surely willing to listen and give him a chance for my vote

(like I do every other  candidate, as I don’t vote party lines. I vote candidate.  But with all the horrors in our

country and world today, I don’t think a man who is his own distraction is in any position

to run our nation.

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Not long before that a microphone had been left on revealing a conversation between

our President and the President of France of the difficulties of dealing with Israel’s

Prime Minister Netanyahu.  I thought to myself, “They probably have a point; it wouldn’t

be much fun. He is a tough customer.  But when I think of the alternative, his nemesis

Ahmadinejad, Bibi ain’t that bad. The IAEA had just reported that it is definite that

Iran has reached a point of no return; that is, there is not even a slight chance that all

Their nuclear work has been for “peaceful purposes”. They are building nuclear weapons

And not far away. It appears Israel is most likely first in their crosshairs and the USA

next and who knows after that.  But to me, that’s enough.  Though I would like to believe

sanctions would do the trick, my instincts tell me either Russia or China or both will

not cooperate.  Maybe I’m wrong, and I do hope so.

At the end of the day, Lee and I looked out our office window at my favorite mountain

and the leaves are in all their glory.  We woke up today and it was still there.  We know

there is a peace up there that was described once by Sierra Club founder John Muir, “The

Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go”.

Is it a cop-out, an escape, a relinquishing of responsibilities?  In a way… yes.  But I

think it is important for everyone to have such a place they can go.  It need not be the

mountains. It could be a favorite pond, a beach, a river, a field, just anyplace “far from

the maddening crowd” where one can remove the cobwebs and be at one with nature and

God (and whatever your belief system may be), and know that in spite of network news

and all it entails, it is going to be alright.

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I decided to slow my pace of life down as I aged before I aged..in other words it was

already in the back of my mind when I was in my twenties; to live fast and furious, and if

I lived through it (and I did but just barely, I would retire to the most beautiful place on

the planet (that was within economic feasibility).  The two places I had found along the

way were Kauai, HW (too expensive and far away), and Hot Springs, Ar (Just right).  So

here we are.  I believe that by the time we reach a certain age, where we are or what we do is a choice.  To use the

excuse “But I inherited this” or “This is the only work and people I know” are true cop-outs if you think it through. A mature adult can

make positive changes (if one wishes) by merely taking steps and a risk.

Footnote: Lee and I hiked for about an hour and saw the most beautiful forest of

every color under the sun.  We stood there mesmerized; or at least I did.  She took as

many photos as Ansel Adams on a long hike, or at least I hope.

Now I just pinched my arm and I’m still here.  Now its time for me to assess myself

and notice with all my flaws, I’m still okay…and I’m on day thirty of the vegan diet. Not bad

for an old man eh?

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Rick London is a freelance writer, cartoonist and clothing and shoe designer.  He is active in children, animal and environmental causes. London founded Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts, Londons Times in 1997 and it has been #1 worldwide ranked across the web since 2005.

What Becomes A Legend Least? Fur, Dentistry, And Old Friends by Rick London

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  Lately, it seems, so much can happen in a week, sometimes monumental things that can turn one’s life upside down; one has to wonder if it is bad karma, rancid caramel, Cara Mia Why (you have to be old enough to remember that oldie song pun),  or just life.   As I talk to other friends who prefer their lives to be as drama-free as possible, I am convinced it is “just life”.

       Though I realize from the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, and some of the other masters, events “that happen to us” are really neither bad, nor good; but how we perceive the experience.  Emerson, possibly the first of the transcendentalists claimed we could more or less train our souls to “let go” of our bodies and look down at what occurs, both “good” and “bad” with amusement.  I admire Emerson’s writings greatly, but he wrote them before people got shot with sub machine guns in the streets, and mechanical dental care.

      Though I was not shot by a submachine gun, I was shot several times with Novocain, and even under the influence of nitrous oxide, I was unable to use Emerson’s little tricks and did not find it amusing in the least.  The pain was as I’d remembered the last time I had dental work. I had to wonder if waterboarding could be so horrid.

       Did I mention the fact two teeth had to be surgically extracted and the open wound became infected within a couple of days?  So I was back at the dentist last Friday to take care of that issue.

      Did I also mention that Dr. Eddy chews tobacco and spits when he works.  I keep thinking when he says “Spit”; he’s going to spit at the same time just to make the patient more comfortable.  Doesn’t work.   He is an excellent dentist and a graduate of the University Of Tennessee dental school back when it was the #1 dental school in the country. I guess he does the tobacco thing to “instill confidence” and “make the patient feel more comfortable”.  Perhaps if he’d added a bluegrass band in the background, I’d have bought into the “theme park dental room” but only top 40 pop and country hits played over the overhead speaker system.

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       That was not the worst of my week.  A very close friend suddenly informed my wife and I she was going into the fur business; which is a big no no with me, my wife, my friends, and hers.  We did everything possible to discourage her; that it involves animal cruelty beyond words, but to no avail.  Even the fact that the entire country of Israel has now banned the fur trade, Ireland is scheduled to ban it this year, and Harrods (owned by some guy from Qatar) is the only department store that sells fur in London. The market trend tells the story. In any case,  we didn’t quit loving our friend, or vice versa, and again, I can’t imagine floating through the air in an Emersonesque way, watching innocent creatures crammed in cages, often skinned alive, and taken to market; all in the name of vanity and hubris.  It hurts to discover a friend had such an agenda, didn’t give us a clue, and then went forward with it.  She plays the victim at every turn; and possibly is. She showed no signs of a need to be cruel to animals in order to profit until she started an association with a famous singer, now pretty much on her way down; she never made it that big, but now people barely remember her. Our friend is enamored by her and is very successful, for which we are proud. She’s a hard worker.  I imagine this will be her downfall, and it won’t be a pretty one. Karamel Korn, karma or whatever is a b****.

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       With so much negativity around someone what do they do?  One thing at a time. To nip the dental problem in the bud, it was simply a matter of going to the dentist, let him inflict his pain and spit his tobacco, take my prescribed meds, and relax in my living room. Oh, I can work a bit because its at my computer.

      How does one handle an animal-killing friend?  They simple let-go and grieve the loss of that friend.  In a lot of ways it feels like a death in the family, and in other ways it feels like a total betrayal that someone so close to us would enter such a dirty nasty business.  Fur is an outdated product and nobody has a valid reason to wear it in this day and time, except to pump up their very low self esteem and overblown ego, and is willing to do so at the expense of torturing animals that are mothers, babies, etc.  Aside from feeling like a death in the family, it also feels like such a relief, not having to deal with that kind of deception and insanity. And that is, what it is.  Animal cruelty for profit.

      My dentist is cruel merely by the accident of his profession and I have come to expect it.  He does his very best not to be and sedates me as much as he can while drilling, prodding, etc to make it hurt less.  A furrier is cruel merely on purpose, to skin the precious fur off that innocent animal that causes the same kind of pain as if a human had his/her skin peeled off. 

      A year from now, I will wonder what all the pain was about the week of September 28 through October 5, 2011.  I will have a whole new set of issues, problems, etc., and what I’m concerned about today will be but a vague memory.   But hopefully, if nothing else, I will have all my teeth intact and in good shape. 

      And I will be grateful that my beloved wife Lee Hiller-London and I live on the edge of the most beautiful park in the country, Hot Springs National Park, where, by law, not one single animal can be abused, touched, shot, skinned or anything else.  When Theodore Roosevelt created the National Park system, he was thinking of people like our ex-friend. He knew human hubris would always exist, and innocent animals with no voice did not have any legal rights or defense against them.  Thanks to him, now they do.  Our animals, who we consider our friends and neighbors, will have their fur intact for their entire lifespan.  And about a million people annually visit to see them and the gorgeous forest that is their home, and ours. 

      Have you ever heard of one person receiving that many worldwide visitors to see them wearing an animal fur?  I didn’t think so. A woman today, showcasing an animal on her body reminds one of a woman walking down the street smoking.  It is impossible to tell which is more gross; one just knows they are both very gross.  The woman in the fur is simply a woman with low-self esteem, overblown ego, and waiting for Godot.   The animals in our forest truly are “What Becomes A Legend Most”.  

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Rick London is a freelance writer and designer living in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.  He founded Londons Times Cartoons & Gifts which have been Google’s #1 ranked since 2005.  His offbeat cartoons site features 5000+ images and his stores featuring funny tees and gifts over 1/4 million items.  He also founded Shoes That Amuse, the world’s only famous love quotes shoes and gifts.