The Impact Of American Pop Culture On My Life by Rick London c2016

I can remember what was probably my first, or one of my first record players (turntables), and playing my favorite records all the way back to age 5, though I had it several years before that, and I remember playing it, the details are not as clear.

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It was a brown standalone on a metal table about the size of a night table with one big gold and brown speaker mounted in the front.

I continuously played Elvis’ “Return To Sender”, “Honeycomb”, “Purple People Eater” any Alvin And The Chipmunks song and several others.  I didn’t often dance around the room or get a hairbrush and sing in the mirror as so many kids did, but watched the records continuously spin (as so many with Asperger’s/Autistics tend to do.  I watched in fascination for hours.

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I spent a great deal of time listening very closely to the singers and guitarists and wondering just how they “came to be”.  Some records I played all day.  When I taught myself to play the guitar in my teens, I could play a number of those songs (and later the Beatles, Stones etc.), of course nowhere as well, but I could not read music either.  I’d played the records so many times, to keep my mind occupied.

Of course many know I had un-diagnosed autism, lived segregated from my family in an attic; so had plenty of time to listen to music and grew to love it.

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Autism is a difficult condition to describe to others not familiar with it as it is a developmental condition. It is not a disease. It is not “a bad thing”, it is simply a different type of wiring with which science and education is just evolving to understand.

I was later blessed to have and play some beautiful guitars made by Martin (D28 and D35) and a Mossman, which was dual-backed and sounded every bit as good as my Martins but it was apparently a small indie firm which went under.   I now play the beautiful Crafter my beloved wife Lee Hiller-London gave me as a gift several years back.  It’s a long but fun story how she came to choose that gift and I’ll tell it one day if you’ve not heard it.

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As I grew into an adult, (as many Asperger’s are prone to do), I found a topic I liked and stuck with it.  Asperger’s often don’t care if the topic is a pragmatic shrewd moneymaker or not, and my choice of “American Culture” was most definitely not.  I spent nothing less than a fortune buying music, celebrity, rock and roll, and you name it memorabilia.

My favorite was music, including rock and roll, especially from my various eras; mainly the 60s, but also the 70s-the 90s.

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From age seven until age twenty-one or so, I guess I lived for, or to be like, the Beatles, The Stones, The Animals, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin and a host of other (mostly British Invasion Groups).  Later of course David Bowie and Al Stewart.  Ironically, it was the British Invasion that seemed to influence America with the most impact.

Upon hearing interviews with many of them however, it was (mostly) the Mississsippi blues and rock artists such as BB King, Muddy Waters, Jerry Lee Lewis and the usual suspects that made them tremble at the knees.  Nashville’s Roy Orbison was also at the to of their list; not to mention Tupelo’s Elvis.   Life is funny that way.

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The type things I wanted to collect did not exist; that is cartoons or caricatures of the famous musicians and sometimes actors featured and engineered onto gifts and tees.

I first came up with the idea of “Panel Hollywood” and created about 200 of them (cartoons only).  I sent each one to the actual celeb, business or rock star and asked for feedback or a review. Only a very few were resistant and/or threatened to sue, but the majority were tickled pink I was “keeping their name alive”.

Some of the most appreciative were the Roy Orbison Family, Mayo Hospital, Bo Derek and several others.  It was quite a surprise.

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So I got to work on creating fun memorabilia to keep all their fans happy.  Roy O.’s widow Barbara, who sadly died several years ago, used our cartoon of his as their annual Christmas Card and it is now featured in the Roy Orbison Archives.  Mayo Clinic features two of them on their library wall.

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To see some of the gift ideas I designed, please visit my “Celebrity Shop” at CafePress and first click on “Music And Musicians” and then try “Celebrities And Other Famous People”.  Throughout the store there are well-known American icons that are enjoyable and make fun memorable gifts.  They are also considered collectibles; and since they are affordable, continue to rise in price the moment they are purchased.

At the end of the day (a term I never use), I’d decided I wanted to be a “culture collector” like Andy Warhol; so I’d be sort of like an “Andy Warhol Lite”.   I never got even close to that elevation. However I do own some authentic Campbell’s Tomato Soups in the can for guests.  Lee and I don’t touch (or illustrate them).

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist. He is best known for the launching of Google #1 ranked Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts, Londons Times.  He is married to nature/ wildlife photographer Lee Hiller-London.  They are active in environmental, animal and Autistic causes.  Rick’s entire humor gift shop can be seen at Cafepress.

 

 

 

 

 

The Moomaid: The Story Behind This Londons Times Offbeat Cartoon by Rick London

moomaid

“My mind sees in pictures”.  If you’ve followed medical science regarding autism or Asperger’s, you will hear this.  Though I don’t know the exact reason, I imagine it is because many of us have reading disorders, and had to use visuals growing up to learn. I think, read, and even write “in pictures”.

Yes I still see the words, but a visual usually manifests at about the same time.  I guess that is why I used to love those “reading modules” that came out around the mid to late 1960s at school. Each plastic card also had an attractive photograph or graphic that pretty much “told the whole story”.

For instance, when in grades 1-12 when studying, I would first ask a friend to study with me and that was extremely helpful as he/she often would have read the assignment.  It took me a week or two to read what other students often read within an hour or two.

On occasions I was unable to find an available study-friend, I would look at the graphics and/or photographs in textbooks and read the short explanation under it.  That, for me, often “told the whole story”, and to that extent, that’s what I learned.

Needless to say, I did dismally in college in my early years but after several decades of “street experience”, I returned to school and did okay (until health issues sidelined me).  But I had learned to read using a ruler etc.  I had trouble retaining a good bit of it on some days (due to autism) but on others I could focus and concentrate as well as most other students.

There was an upside to my learning disorders and that is, I learned to “put things together” as I was so often “solving puzzles” (that is, life), much of what others took for granted, by putting together pieces of various aspects of a project.

At times this would lead to what some might call “flights of fancy” and, I imagine, the elusive moomaid is no exception for most.

I do love stories (still) about mermaids and other sea creatures and of course I’ve mentioned many times my love of cows (and all animals, really) but cows to me are gentle giants that I could “hang out with” forever.

Finally, I was raised in S. Mississippi very near the Gulf Of Mexico.  The sea creatures were my friend.  I spent hours on the beach or in the tide contemplating life. I still love that beautiful place.

For those interested in seeing the moomaid on some of my licensed gifts…………

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————————————————————————————————————Rick London is a writer, cartoonist and gift designer. He is best known for his Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts, Londons Times Cartoons.

 

 

 

 

 

Crawfish Preschool The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

Crawfish 101 The Story Behind The Cartoon

Though I’ve been a vegan for 3+ years, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve had (and made) some mighty good crawfish dishes in my lifetime.  It was probably my favorite food back when I was a carnivore.  I grew up about 100 miles outside of New Orleans and my maternal grandmother was born there.  Her mother was grandmother was French so I imagine we’ve got a good bit of Cajun blood flowing around in us.

They used to say the bravest man who ever lived had to be the first person to eat a raw oyster.   I’m not so sure about that.  I remember when a friend revealed to me at about age 12 or so that the best part of crawfish was sucking the heads (the brains actually).  Though that sounds particularly gross to me now, I’m sure most of my crawfish-loving friends understand that that is truly a fact (though the tails appealed to me more than lobster).

I wrote a lot of the Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons way back in my twenties and saved them in a shoebox in case one day I might use the writing for something. I didn’t have a clue as to what, but thought maybe tv or radio.  And though I worked in both, never once was there a demand for my “little captions.

One might think the topic of crawfish would be one of those captions but alas, I didn’t realize until about 2006 that I didn’t have one crawfish cartoon in my arsenal of work, and even then it took another 5 months for the artist to get around to it.  I’m glad he did as, though it is not necessarily one of our more popular offerings (a lot of the world still doesn’t know what a crawfish looks like much less tastes like), most of my friends back home near New Orleans often ask for this particular graphic.  Happy haute’ cuisine, Hebert!

To see this cartoon image on Rick London-designed products…….click on the blue box…….

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————————————————————————————————————Rick London is a songwriter, author, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best-known for his launching of Google’s #1 ranked Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons and Funny Gifts. He is active in autism/Asperger’s, animal, childrens, and veterans causes.

 

Spam Spam Spam The Meaning Behind This Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

 

 

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Before my discovery of the Internet, television was one of my greatest escapes.  I even worked in that “industry” for a decade or so.  For those who have not worked in it, please take my word, it is nuttier in real life than it appears on the tube.

But occasionally, there is a moment of sanity.  A slice of solace. A bit of serenity; that is, a part of television that not only mocks the industry itself, but all authority and anything of arrogance.

That something for me, in my young adulthood, was Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  To me, John Cleese was a genius (and still is).  In his prime, during this production of his show (and subsequent films), nobody could do it better.

Even Lorne Michaels, producer of SNL gives Cleese and Monty Python credit for being “the trailblazer to the absurd. Perhaps one of Cleese’s most popular sketches (aside from dead parrots and wearing women’s clothes) was the Spam Spam Spam skit.

And though his version was decidedly about the atrocious meat called spam, this cartoon attempts to take it a step further; predicting his behavior upon receiving unwanted email.

Hope you enjoy.

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer. He is best known for his Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons And Funny Gifts.

 

Fruited Plane The Story Behind The Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

 

I imagine I am not the only one who heard this as a kid…..I wasn’t sure what “fruited plain” meant, and since it seemed like everyone else did, I didn’t want anyone to think I was ignorant.  So through most of elementary school, I was fairly sure this was to what the song referred.  Sorry. I guess it wasn’t.  🙂 

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best known for his Google #1 ranked Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & #Funny Gifts.  He is active in autism/Asperger’s, environment, animal and children’s causes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bedtime For Gonzo Journalism The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

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I was a big Hunter Thompson fan, which also means, of course, I was also a big Ralph Steadman fan (the illustrator of his Fear & Loathing Series). 

As mentioned in earlier blogs, I had big reading problems, and never even read a book cover-to-cover until my late 20s.  One of those books was the late great Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear And Loathing In Los Vegas”.  It is an amazingly sardonic satirical piece 

The book is incredible. The film, though,  included one of my favorites, Bill Murray, was disappointing. 

Many “60s druggies” felt the book was glorifying drugs, but actually many scholars believe quite the opposite, that it mocks the very drug culture of which Thompson was a part. And I saw it as that as well.

Though the book is full of mocking; not just the drug culture, but the whole idea of “hippies”, journalism (of which Thompson’s
alter-ego, Raoul Duke who is contracted by “Sports Illustrated” drives with his attorney Dr. Gonzo to Los Vegas.

On the roadtrip, “Gonzo Journalism” is created. Until this day we’re still not positive of what Gonzo Journalism truly is, but we know it may just be a ploy to keep us curious throughout the book, and we discover early on nobody quite knows what the story angle really is (including the journalists). We do, however, stay curious all the way to the end. It has so many discombobulated twists and turns, it’s very difficult not to be at least a bit curious. 

There’s a lot more super hyper action in the book, but nobody bothers to share what it is. We just know the book is about human appetite and instant gratification; Maslow’s Heirarchy Gone Wild, if you will.

Even better news to my friends and fans, other than my reading skills being lacking (and I don’t say that proudly), a lot of heartache would have been saved had local schools and parents known enough or cared enough to help learn of and/or diagnose my condition (autism). But so it goes.

In addition, I couldn’t hear very well…or see very well. I have to hand it to one smart teacher who noticed that (when I was 13 years old) and I
was able to get glasses. But the hearing issues went on and on; and continue to.  I was fairly sure I read, and heard “Bonzo Journalism” for many years. 

And of course we all remember President Reagan’s “Bedtime For Bonzo” film from his early career as an actor. How the Academy overlooked that one, I’ll never know.

Kudos to illustrator Tom Kerr (our collaborations are always special to me) for recreating “a tribute of sorts” to Ralph Steadman.  If I’d not known of our collaboration, I know I would have thought this, in fact, was also one of Ralph’s creations.  

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best known for his Google #1 ranked Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons and Funny Gifts which he launched in 1997.  London is also active in various causes including autism/Asperger’s, animals, children, and the environment.

The Story Behind Brookus Brotherus Cactus by Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons (Rick London)

A little bit behind this cartoons:  See below it…………..

I was fortunate to have neighbors growing up whose parents had retail businesses.  So when I went away to college and needed jobs, I didn’t always have to wait tables, though I often did.  More often than not I found myself working in mens fashion in large department stores in Dallas or later in Washington, D.C. (when I was in between jobs).

One thing I didn’t expect after leaving my tiny little burg of my birth, was the seriousness in which people took their retail merchandise.  The proper mens shirt/tie combination was closer to a deity than “an outfit”.

Others looked at some of the more elaborate brands as if they were created in a lab by Einstein, Hawking or even Al Gore.

I don’t mean to sound haughty or erudite (and of course anyone who uses the word “erudite” obviously is; but I digress.

My point I want to make is, I was in my early twenties.  I liked nice clothes, but I didn’t see a big mystique in something that was made with polyester and/or cotton and a needle and thread.  Correct me if I’m wrong but things happening at NASA aroused my curiosity more so than things happening at Neiman’s.

I spent most of my days after school, or on days I didn’t have classes at Richland College at a downtown Dallas store called Saenger-Harris, which competed with Neiman Marcus, and I think is now defunct, but it was very nice.  But not NASA.

However, it was a Saenger-Harris that I learned about color and how to match ties and shirts and pants and even sports coats or putting them together for displays in suits and how to “pick up the colors and make them shine” in that display window.

I would crack a bit of a smile if I “did it right” as I knew that put my name on the list of possibly getting a raise (if I did it often enough).  Others (and I’m not making this up) would actually applause, as if the mannequin was a live actor who had just won an Emmy.

Needless to say, I did not end up working in a physical retail store in my adulthood (except on rare occasions when I needed jobs between media and/or writing jobs) which much closer matched my skills (what few I had).

Ironically, I actually am in retail (to a certain degree) though I don’t work with the public. I actually design clothes and gifts, using my imagines and/or concepts that are digitally designed onto clothing, mugs, etc and sold through online retailers.

And again ironically, much of what I learned 40 years ago, is useful today in dealing with wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers who sale my licensed goods.

I’ve come full circle and in many ways I am, again that 20 year old kid, wondering just how I was going to “conquer the world”, something I never quite fully did, but I’ve had a really fun time trying.

Though “Brookus Brotherus Cactus” is now about 15 years old, it remains a very popular gift and tee item for collectors or gift givers.  If you want to see how it looks on one of my items…..

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I Haven’t Finished My Book Yet Due To Procrastination By Rick London

 I’m not sure when I started procrastinating but if legend has it correctly it was around age one….one day old. I was born a few hours late….but I had “things to do”. 

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 Most people grow out of “the procrastination game”….I grew into it.  I try to be at least 5-10 minutes late to anything.  That way, I feel important, yet not too important. 

For the first time since I can remember, I am more than a few minutes late on an important project but it is due to circumstance beyond my control.  Londons Times Cartoons (my cartoon property) which I launched on March 19, 1997 turned 18 years old last week, oddly enough on March 19, 2015.  Man has time flown.  

I am not sure how many people have edited graphics and added text to a Kindle book, but if you have, you are aware that in the best of conditions, it takes patience, concentration, and such. 

Though I didn’t have those qualities in my youth, I did have parents, teachers and other caring adults who wish I did.  And I probably would have if they’d discovered some of the learning disorders that took me about 50 years to even get started fixing and/or treating.

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I had one high school teacher who made it a point to remind me that I didn’t have those qualities in front of the other kids.  While he was trying to embarrass me, he only made me laugh, often really hard as I was a regular fan of an 100,000 watt radio station in Little Rock KAAY-AM which featuring a show called “Beaker Street” at 11pm CST. It played such bands as King Crimson, Black Sabbath and other fringe musicians or songs over three minutes.

 This teacher however reminded me of a line in Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant when he was meeting his new “friends” at the “Group W Bench” at the draft board…., “He was comin’ over to me, and he was mean and Ugly and nasty and horrible and all kinds of things, and he sat down next to Me. He said, “Kid, what’d you get?”

I said, “I didn’t get nothin’. I had to pay fifty dollars and pick up the Garbage.”

I finally decided to tell my friends why I was cracking up every time the teacher did the “shame thing”.  They immediately started laughing as, they too had KAAY-AM on when they were supposed to be sleeping. 

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We all told how we were able to listen to it on our little transistor radios. I built a “bed tent” out of a lot of blankets that muffled the sound to where my parents couldn’t hear it; or so I thought.  Truth be told, I found out later they were glad I was at least listening to music rather than sneaking out and getting in trouble like a lot of other kids did.  Of course I only did that on weekends. 

Anyway, my friend Donzo, upon hearing of my injury earlier this past March and inability to finish my book and get it published by March 19th suggested I release it on April Fools Day. Since it is a book full of cartoons and silly quotes, I thought to myself, “Yes, yes yes”.  Okay maybe two yeses but it was a definite consensus between the left and right side of my brain.

I tried but the age-old “Procrastination-Process” settled into my brain and told me I had a million other things to do, and so I did those other things, while I worked on my book a little each day. 

The point is, the book is written, drawn…finished.

lt peanut surf goober

But I’m not. I have to organize it all onto the proper pages, fit the graphics to the standard that Amazon says I do, put the name of each page at the top left so the Table Of Contents will “see” it and print it, etc. 

Just writing about it makes me tired.  I think I’ll hike tomorrow with Lee and let you know how the book is going and my new scheduled date of release.  You will be able to see it on my Amazon Author Central Page (and later at Barnes & Noble).  If it sells well I’ll have it published into a paper coffee table book and it will be available also at other chains and indie book stores. 

The good news is that the finished product will be edited and uploaded by my beloved (and talented wife) Lee Hiller-London so all will work out fine.  Thank you baby.

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Rick London is a writer, designer, cartoonist, and musician.  He is best known for his Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons and Funny Gifts.   He is married to popular nature photographer and gift designer Lee Hiller-London (Lee Hiller). 

Cartoon Anniversaries, Obstacles, & Asperger’s Spectrum

Each year I tell myself I’m not going to get excited about anniversaries and other such milestones  (except my wedding one to my beloved wife Lee).  Londons Times Cartoons will be 18 years old Thursday, March 19th.  As most know, I launched it after several false starts in an abandoned aluminum warehouse.  It was not an easy time for me.  But I’ve discussed that often in my blog. 

It seems like every year I end up writing a blog about some of the (what I consider) unique experiences in the founding and eventual launching of Londons Times Cartoons.  That’s fun for me and it reminds me of all the “street education” that occurred (and still occurs) in the management and growth of such a project.  

This time I’m going to take a risk and talk about something a bit more personal.  For some, it may scare them away, for others, it might help them understand; and, hopefully, begin a new growth process, similar to one on which I’m embarking. It’s not what I expected but, that’s life, and I find every day to be a blessing. 

I consider it a compliment when people ask me “How did you know how to do that?”, or “How did you learn that business?”

Truth be told, there isn’t a degree in cartooning unless one attends Ohio State (which also has the largest cartoon collection in the world), and I think a few other colleges now. I didn’t have that luxury. In fact I was a dismal student in my younger days and got a bit better when I went back to school at age 47. But even then I didn’t study cartooning, but learned business and Internet skills that came in handy in the design and marketing of the Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons and consequential funny gifts and collectibles. 

I did not learn until about a month or two ago that what most likely helped me a great deal (besides the motivation of my wife Lee) was that I discovered I “most likely” have highly-functional Aspergers”, a form of autism (which I’ve had all my life, but didn’t know it).  To be sure, I took yet another test from the top autism testing centers such as at Psych Central and my score was in the “more than likely has high functioning Aspergers.”

The reason for the “most likely” is that it is impossible to diagnose any form of autism without the help of a trained professional M.D. specializing in the brain sciences.  However, the test will give you a clue if one should see such a trained professional, and also even if it turns out that one “most likely” or “more than likely” has basic autism or another form such as highly-functional Aspergers, they nevertheless may want to see a professional as there are a myriad of other disorders that can be obstructive that may not fall technically into that spectrum, but have similar symptoms and can create issues in ones life that can be less than comfortable. 

At first this scared (and embarrassed me).  Then I learned that often people with this type of autism spectrum can often focus in ways that others cannot.  To me, that kind of focus is “normal” or at times it feels odd that others (unless they have this spectrum) don’t often have that kind of focus).

Oddly it didn’t surprise Lee.  She knew from my vagus nerve stimulator that for my system to function properly, I need “mechanical assistance” (and no, not like Lee Majors).  Her guess was, in fact, high-functioning Aspergers because of my “High level focusing abilities”.  I took that as a compliment.

My embarrassment diminished when I started researching it and learned that the very man who gave me the most advice about the business and world of cartooning, Charles “Sparky” Schulz also had it, as did Alfred Hitchcock according to reports from autism/Asperger’s Asperger’s support sites

Upon further research I also  learned some other notable names who most likely have or had it during their lives are/were Stephen Spielberg, Bill Gates, Dan Aykroyd, Thomas Jefferson, Jane Austen, and Isaac Newton  Albert Lim Kok Hooi, M.D. Doctor of Oncology reported in the Feb. 24, 2011 issue of The New York Times that most historians believe others who had it were Beethoven, Mozart, Mark Twain, Isaac Newton, Michaelangelo, and Darwin.

Also on that list is Jim Henson, Isaac Asimov and Bob Dylan and many others.   It’s worth a view of the list.  If you find you have it, I believe you’ll realize you’re in good company. 

At this point, I can only imagine you thinking, “Is Rick so delusional he thinks he is in the categories of those master craftsmen and women?”

No, and that is the reason I am writing this blog instead of one of my gratuitous ones that repeatedly notes the most “fascinating history in my mind” of my story of entering the world of cartooning and product designing. 

Not in the least.  But I take the time to document them, to remind myself that the disease is not just a disease, but a blessing/gift as well, and, anyone can have it, and it is should cause no shame, in fact, if anything, one might even say it is something in which to take pride.

In 1995 or so, I read a best-selling nonfiction book titled “EQ – Emotional Quotient” by Dr. Daniel Goleman.  

He was diagnosed with autism back in the days when those diagnosed with it were kept out of school, I guess so as “not to infect others with it”.

When he reached adulthood, given his own research, he was able to prove IQ was not the only measurement of intelligence, and in fact EQ was not only another, but much more important than IQ in making ones way in the world.  It is the emotional process of using ones intelligence.

He took the GED with no education at all and aced it.  He later went to Yale and Amherst and finally received his PhD.

Goleman co-founded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at Yale University’s Child Studies Center which then moved to the University Of Illinois at Chicago where he co-directs the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers.  He sits on the board of the Mind & Life Institute.    Here is a very interesting TED Talk he gave on EQ not long ago. 

After reading “EQ”, I took a chance and called him and explained my life and fear of education because I was so dismal at it.  He chuckled and told me (in a nutshell) that it is possible in adulthood to work on one’s EQ and raise it to the level.

I stumbled through much of his direction and programs as I possibly could over the years and returned to college at age 47.   I did fairly well on scholarship and even aced advanced math (I had failed all math growing up and in early college days.  

I also had launched Londons Times Cartoons Gifts and later Rick London Quote Gifts, but several serious health issues hit (seemingly all at once) and I was forced to stop college as I was falling behind.  That was heartbreaking as I was finally enjoying the learning process.  By the same token, the college (and I) were a very good match, and I learned a great deal about running a business using the Internet.  I even learned how to digitally design products (which I still do on a daily basis).

I then got married to my wonderful wife, and we both spend days doing what we love, hiking, nature and wildlife photography (she’s teaching me) and growing our business.  I am what you might consider a happy person as is Lee.

Finally, there is a common thread, I can see, in all my “anniversary blogs”. That thread is, “It is never too late to begin chasing ones dream”; and “it’s a shame if you don’t when you really can”.  I don’t mean necessarily “quit the day job” and jump in.  I found great pleasure in chatting with various masters including Charles Schulz learning how the cartoon business works.  I got joy in reading books on the topic and as the Internet grew, reading websites that “taught” various aspects of it.

With the advent of the Internet, we can all chase our dreams, beginning as hobbies, as most of them do, and enjoy the ride and the path as it becomes more clear on a daily basis.  It grows and changes and so do we.  I wish you the greatest success in whatever journey you decide to choose (or have chosen). Nothing, really, can stand in your way, if you choose not to let it. 

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Rick London is an animal and nature-lover and supports both causes.  He is a writer, musician, cartoonist, and designer.  He is best known for his offbeat comic Londons Times Offbeat Comics & humor gifts.  He is married to nature wildlife photographer Lee Hiller-London who operates the highly-visited nature blog Hike Our Planet and designs her own line of designer gifts

Here are a few of our Londons Times Cartoons created over the past 18 years.  Hope you enjoy.  Sincerely, Rick

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Border Collies, Stocks, & Humor by Rick London

Border Collie Collectibles         Click To Enlarge

Border Collie Collectibles
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I love dogs.

I like to make money, though I doubt I’ll ever be a dot.com zillionaire. I have too much of a writer/artist’s heart (whatever that is), and am much more interested that certain details of a graphic are correct, than I am if one of my licensed t-shirts is displayed properly (though I do appreciate the importance of that part of business too). Let me reword that. I don’t like selling things.

I probably am fairly good at selling things (for instance I’m fairly good at bartering which takes a certain amount of sales acumen), and by the same token I understand the importance of the myriad of details that go into an entrepreneurial venture.

I have learned over the years that I have strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. There are several remedies for that. In the areas of weakness, I should surround myself with people who have strengths in those areas, and be the strength for them, if they have weaknesses in the areas (of which I have strength).

It’s business but it’s also physics. In basic physics one of the first lessons is “action/reaction”.
What people don’t understand is those physics apply to everything. When we empower someone, we become empowered. When we try to undermine or hurt someone, we become disempowered. Don’t believe me? Try it. It never fails to be true. So I try my best to try to empower those around me. I don’t do it perfectly, but that’s no reason not to keep trying. And I allow them to empower me, if they have knowledge in a matter of which I do not.

Which brings us to border collies and investments.
Rumor has it that art and art collectibles have outperformed Standard & Poors for the past 3 decades. That really doesn’t surprise me much, given the reasons people buy art or collectibles compared to the reasons people buy stocks.

I love art and photography collectibles and my wife Lee Hiller (Lee Hiller-London) who is a fine nature photographer and I have posters and prints of our work all over our home. We have some mugs, cards etc. too. We may, or may not ever sell them, but whatever we do, we’ll enjoy them, and have enjoyed them as the years have passed. We had several new ones to our collection each year. Our wall looks like a nicely stocked gallery.
One could do that with their stock certificates (if they wished) but the emotions that stocks and bonds paperwork seem to enhance are not in the same league with arts and letters collectibles on a print, mug, apron or even ornament.

That’s why I don’t “just design a T-shirt when we create a cartoon but a bulk of collectibles, because a lot of people are like me. They often don’t just want a T-shirt or an eco-friendly bag or a mug bearing that image, they want all three and maybe a key chain and/or button to match.

Which brings us to border collies. I love all dogs. But late in life I shared my home with a beautiful bearded collie mix (I think); and learned about a whole new breed. Most my life I’d had hounds, mixes, goldens labs etc.
One of my best friends had a border collie who reminded me very much of my bearded collie in many ways. Both were extremely bright, a bit hyper, goofy and a lot of fun.
My friend was/is also a sculpture. He has made numerous sculpted metal of border collies which are wonderful.

I’ve not kept up with Frank for several years (his late dad was one of my best friends though), but it gave me the idea of collectibles. If it worked so well on “serious items”, why couldn’t it work with cartoon collectibles?
So I created products, and put them in specific categories and pages, so that one could find a tee, keep shopping for the same design on other products, and not get lost.
Here is a “for instance” of my border collie page at one of my online shops. Enjoy and have a great week.

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Rick London is a writer, cartoonist, songwriter and designer. He is best known for Google #1 ranked Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts which he launched in 1997 in an abandoned tin shed in rural Ms.