Blog: 20th Anniversary Of Londons Times Cartoons. How Did That Happen?

 

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Today is the 20th anniversary of the launch of Londons Times Cartoons and the time has zoomed by most of the time, and felt like walking through thick molasses at other times.  It almost seems like a dream, sometimes mostly entertaining and at other times a vivid nightmare.  In many ways it seemed like yesterday that I was back on my hometown in Ms, broke, without a job and no government assistance. My only resources were my wits and they were running dry.

I had been helping my mom in her final days of  cancer and selling television ads for a small television station whose employees reminded me of the characters in the sitcom WKRP Cincinnati. I’m not sure which one I was but definitely one too.

A friend owned a tin shed on the outskirts oftown; sort of like a small warehouse full of rotting cans of vegetables on makeshift wooden shelves he’d built on the wall in sort of a rural spot between two counties.

A can would explode every once in a while due to its contents fermenting and it being way past its expiration date.  My friend had also installed electricity, plumbing (but no bath or shower) and a phone line.   I bathed in the cold-water only sink.  I washed my stray dog Thor in it as well. Within months Thor found a friendly calico kitten meowing from a low branch outside who I also adopted. Somehow we managed.

Friends would come by and bring me meals or take me out to eat.  Those were exciting, fun, and frightening times.  I was but a tin wall from the outside elements.  For most that time I had no car. I slept on a concrete floor in a sleeping bag.  I bought and way overspent for an IBM Clone PC from a guy near Hot Coffee, Ms who bought old computers and fixed them.

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His garage was full of computers, parts, and tools.  He was asking $800. We settled on $600. I know now it was worth about $150, but for back then it was a bit of a workhorse and I was so naive about technology I hadn’t a clue that he probably would have taken much less for it.

The tin shed had a fenced-in acre and a half yard that overlooked I-59, the main road to New Orleans or in the other direction about 20 miles from The Free State Of Jones.

It was March 19, 1997, and I was a very late bloomer due to a number of issues and events, but the main one being a lifetime of un-diagnosed Autism and punished for it, mainly by family but also by community.  The family press release was very much like Joe Kennedy’s of Rosemary “Severe issues,  she needs to be locked away.”  As we learned much later, she was probably Autistic with mild depression.  She was extremely bright as her brothers.

The big question was,  “Could I ever get past those demons?  Could I ever get past being unwanted and put away in an attic bedroom with each of my friendships parentally controlled” and my being unwanted? Could I get past the pTSD and low self-esteem it caused?  Who was I to think I could be at the helm of a cartoon project (or any project for that matter)?

They say time flies when you’re having a good time. I can remember most of those times not being so fun for me.  In fact I was not sure if I would make it. By then my heart was giving out but I didn’t know it.

I also had vanus (a severe form of flat feet) but had been a long-distance runner and even completed two marathons from Lafayette to Crowley, La. in 1978 and 1979. When finally diagnosed at age 60, the doctors said I had been running (and walking) on “a bag of bones”.  I was fitted for orthotics which I wear daily. Vanus is inherited at birth.  My dad had it, but I was never checked for it until age 60. Lee noticed it first and saw it on a doctor’s site poster when I was getting a brace for tendinitis. The orthotic inserts have allowed me to walk without hurting for the first time, and even do high-mountain hikes with Lee. I’ve learned to love nature and wildlife.

Dial-up Internet was slow.  There was no Google, no Twitter or facebook, nor was there any social media.  There were forums and Yahoo!  Since I was a novice at the Internet, I didn’t know.  I bartered my way through the whole thing.

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I contacted cartoonists who had paved the way long before me.  While I could draw, I couldn’t draw to the level of which I wanted to to project in this project.  I wanted it  to be a “Dali meets The Far Side”,  a cartoon which could be appreciated as art. Sometimes that worked, sometimes not.

I can remember the most generous people with their time were Charles “Sparky” Schulz,  Leigh Rubin (Rubes) and also helpful were Dave Coverly “Speed Bump”, Jon McPherson “Close To  Home”  and several others.   It seemed the bigger they were, the most generous with their help.

So as per Sparky’s suggestion, I wrote the concepts and dialogue, and assigned them to my illustrative partner who rendered them.   He only did black and white for a long time but within a year I talked him into color.  That year a California tee company paid us $10,000 for the rights to 12 color images. We thought we’d arrived.

Though I made a number of barters, I don’t think we made another sale for another 4 or so years so we just kept creating cartoons. I continued to write them and tweak several I’d written years before.  I had a shoebox full from early college days.  My parents talked me out of doing anything with them so I kept them hidden away and finally used them.

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We made a few sales to academic publishers which never paid much but every little bit helped.

I was living out of my suitcase, which was a good thing since every now and again I was evicted. Friend’s couches or extra bedrooms became “my best friend”.  I always had to pay something but never much. I never needed a lot of space; just enough to type and talk on the phone.  God bless those who gave me a chance.

By the year 2000, we had close to 3000 cartoons (mostly color), but the unpredictable and dangerous lifestyle was taking its toll.   I had my first major heart attack in 2001, and another one in 2010 with three surgeries.  In between that time I had a vagus nerve stimulator implant installed to assist my vagus nerve to work properly.

In 2008 I met my later-to-be amazing wife Lee Hiller. She was (and is) a constant support.  She was with me during the 2010 surgeries which were touch and go. All the while she has been developing her own line of designer gifts LeeHillerDesigns.com and taking incredible nature photos (many on gifts) in our National Park in her blog titled HikeOurPlanet.com.  She’s an incredible person and talent.

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Londons Times Cartoons had been the Google  #1 ranked offbeat cartoon for 3 years. It has now been for the past 12+ years (since Jan 2005).  It is usually Bing’s #1 ranked too (though it tends to fluctuate there down to #4 or so). I’m happy with that given that on both engines there’s about a half million competing offbeat cartoons.

We put a counter up on my cartoon site in Jan. 2005 after Google first named it #1.  We were eight years old.  It shows we’ve now had about 8.9 million visitors worldwide.  That boggles my mind still. It is very easy to say “Look what I did all by myself” but that’s not how it  has been at all.  I have been but a cog in the wheel of amazing illustrators, managers, tekkies, vendors and Lee all of whom took the time to contribute to a project that had but a slim chance.   Alone,   I would surely have walked away from computers and try to learn something that didn’t require them.

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This year I learned I also have type-2 diabetes and she has gone right to work on helping me figure out a lifestyle diet that works. While it continues to be vegan, the portions are different as is some of the food variety.  We’ve beefed up the exercise/hiking (or we’ve  “soyed it up” as we don’t “beef” anything).

Today we sit with a gorgeous view of Hot Springs National Park from our office.  We see just about every type of flora and wildlife imaginable outside our window. Hawks and falcons fly by often. Squirrels greet us at the window along with a variety of birds and insects.

All the while we create our gift ideas using digital design on our computers.  While my cartoons are fun to put on items so are my “Famous Historical Quote Designs” which came much later.

We are going hiking later today on our favorite trail known for its deer and woodpeckers (and much more).

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Nature has been very good to  us and provided healing, not always so available in cities (where we have lived most our lives).

A well-known quote in the Autism world  is “The Internet does for Autistics what Braille has done for the blind and sign-language has done for the deaf”.   So I accidentally also found my tool for living, by being a part of the cartoon industry.  I would probably have never learned the Internet; as the Interest wasn’t there.   I developed a bit of interest when I returned to college at age 50 at WGU.EDU.  I learned a lot and Lee has taught me a great deal also.  I would have never have known it to be “my lifeline” as an Autistic.

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I was trying to sum things up and our good friend, Sally Jane Paulson in Norway did so for us with a Harper Lee quote she happened to post today.   I believe it tells the whole story. It’s  at the top of this story.

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Rick London is an author, gift designer and founder of Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts Londons Times.  He is active with outdoors and environmental, animal, Autism and Veteran’s causes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Deep Dish Pizza The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

I like pizza and I like philosophy.  Not just any pizza and not just any philosophy.

I thought I liked Chicago Brick Oven Pizza until I tasted my wife Lee’s homeade vegan from scratch pizza and I know none other comes close.  A loving sharing part of me feels she should open a restaurant and its as if the devil on the other side of my shoulder says, “No, that’s just for the two of you”.

Fortunately, Lee’s run her own restaurant, and knows that if one wants to live ones golden years in happiness, at least in our case, one does not want to run a restaurant.  She used to tell me the same thing (about my Cajun dishes) and at times I entertained it, and then remembered, I’d worked in the food service business many times, and it was even a rough job in my youth, I can only imagine what it would be like today.

Besides both of us love being out in nature and waxing philosophical.

Over the years I have observed some interesting and exciting things about Lee (other than her uncanny ability to cook, particularly bake).  That part makes sense to me though she could have easily missed the gene.  One of her ancestors was a famous baker in England and there is no doubt she did inherit that gene.  I thought I knew how to cook; and spent many years in my youth in New Orleans kitchens, invited by famous chefs who “showed me their tricks”.  Of course I didn’t learn a lot, but enough to grow up to be able to cook okay, but nothing like what Lee knows how to do.

Lee is also (to me) eye candy.  I never get tired of admiring her beauty.  In the old days attractive women were titled “dishes”.  As years went by and the womens movement grew, so were men that were deemed attractive.  And of course pizza with thick crust is called deep-dish pizza.  Hence the above cartoon.

Another thing the two of us love to do is wax philosophical as I mentioned.  We can either be at our living room office desks and a topic will arise that just must be discussed at that very moment.  I used to not understand the urgency. Now I do. We’d forget the subject otherwise unless we wrote it down.

And though for the most part we both enjoy solitude and silence while hiking in the forest, both of our ADHD kicks into overdrive when we see some type of wildlife or plant/floral growth that is unique and just waiting to be photographed.  She’s been teaching me how to do that and I’ve learned to love photography.

We even love those “National Geographic Moments” that happen so fast, there’s no way to capture them in the lens.  One happened a few weeks ago; and it was funny as we’d not seen an owl in a long time.  Lee touched one of our big favorite oaks and as if to talk to the forest, asked it to show us a great big owl.  We walked another quarter of a mile and I wrote an “owl quote” about barn owls being stoked.  Then we heard a loud squawk.  We looked about 15 feet off to the left and there was a large blue jay squawking loudly on a tall rotten tree stump.  Lee started snapping photos of it.

I didn’t see the large bluejay but I saw an even larger bird, much larger on the ground.  I asked her, “Are you taking a photo of that crow? I think that might be the biggest crow I’ve ever seen…no wait, it’s got to be a hawk…too big for a crow..”. I looked again and it was an owl; am guessing between 40 and 50 lbs.  Watching it “take off” was astounding.  It had to “fly” about 50 ft along the forest ground before gaining enough wind to truly get into the air.

We were in great wonderment at the bravery of the bluejay.  Bluejays are the “warning signalers” of the forest.  They warn other birds and chipmunks etc of birds of prey.  Usually from a distance.  This bluejay was only about 10 ft. away from the large owl which could have devoured it in one gulp.

Then we remembered Lee touching the tree and asking to see an owl.  The forest responded.

Clearly, skeptical me thought it was a fluke.  Last week we were on another hike on the same trail.  We remembered we’d not seen a deer in about 5 or more months, and we used to see them all the time.  She asked the forest “for a deer”.  Suddenly there was one of the largest deer we’d ever seen right in front of us about 30 yards down the mountain.  It “modeled” for us so that we could take about 10 minutes worth of photos of it.

Nature is an amazing thing.  Since Emerson felt we (humans) were/are a part of nature, there is no reason it should not respond to our requests.  Emerson, though a college student in New England lived at Walden Pond in a home he built across the lake from Thoreau.  He loved it every bit as much as Thoreau and actually put up the money to buy it (it was not their first choice of properties).  Emerson’s parents, however had other plans and he was made to return to college.   But his love and fascination of nature never ended.

It is a philosophy that speaks in another language, yet one we all understand.  We are humbled and honored to be a part of it.

Deep Dish Pizza is available on all sorts of gifts and collectibles.  To see more view or……

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best known for Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons which he launched in 1997 and his funny gift shop Rick London Gifts.

Lost Dog In An Imaginary Fight by Rick London

     Social media is a lot of fun because we get to talk to friends we’ve never met (or probably will meet); mostly on Twitter, and on facebook we run into plenty of old friends that we did know a millennium ago in our cities of birth.  One also meet new ones from that same city, but perhaps they lived outside of our school district so maybe didn’t get to know them as well, but now we do.   And we meet new ones from being in groups “with similar interest” worldwide which is great fun.  And we get to send birthday wishes to each and every one of them without buying one stamp.

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     Now if facebook has done nothing else for us, let us be grateful for those incredible services.  Plus that imaginary feeling of importance  we all get when we update our status, and in our minds,  people are on the edge of their home/office chairs waiting to read what we are going to say next (when in reality they are playing Poker, Farmville or Mafia Wars).

     I try not to turn on the news but sometimes I can’t help myself.  This past week we learned the TSA feels it is a good idea to allow knives on commercial planes.  One thing we all surely learned in 2001 is that there simply aren’t enough sharp objects being taken onto planes.  I bet every TSA agent and exec gets vetted to make sure they have at least one ivy league degree….or at least has caught a terrible case of poison ivy at least once in their lifetime.

       We live in a dangerous world with a lot of people extremely sensitive about a lot of topics.  Some of them, they have every right to be, some of them have lost dogs in imaginary fights that aren’t even theirs; or, they haven’t a clue what the invisible fight is about.  One is the 2nd Amendment. Thank you Wayne LaScare for sending enough emails and letters to keep your gun manufacturer’s businesses very lucrative. They all salute you even though they feel you’re as loco as we think you are.

      I’m relatively neutral about guns per se; that is, I believe in the Constitution and that includes 2nd Amendment rights.  But unlike many (who truly believe they support the Constitution), I’ve studied it and I do have a clue what it says and means.  All the amendments are VERY conditional.  Let’s take the 1st Amendment.  Free speech is great fun and makes me proud to be an American.  What we can do and say here can’t be said in a very lot of countries on this planet without losing a limb or a head. But there are limitations.  We can’t and shouldn’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater anymore than we should make a racial statement that could incite violence or even a riot.  With the 1st Amendment comes a multitude of responsibilities, just like with the 2nd Amendment.  If someone doesn’t understand that, they believe in the NRA’s Wayne LaScare, not the 2nd Amendment. The two are as different as night and day.  

      I grew up around hunters and half or more of our little hamlet’s homes have a firearm for protection.  And that’s their business (the gun owner), not mine.  Handguns and rifles are (COMMON USE WEAPONS) in the U.S. hence protected by the 2nd Amendment.  Every other gun is conditional and is not even really a 2nd Amendment argument as extended magazines, AR-15s, Bushmasters etc etc. are not the common use guns of our country. 

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     They were all designed for military combat.  The very use of them by civilians in our country is a spit in the eye of every soldier in the battlefield who is fighting for us to have a country where we civilians would never have to confront such terror as they do on the battlefield.  It’s a spit in the face of every veteran who has ever experienced war.  They all fought so we could feel safe in our country and never have to worry about such weaponry.  Those are not guns; they are terror weapons and for military defense only.  They have no other intelligent usage.  

     We pay taxes that pay our local law enforcement’s salaries and buys their equipment (often including assault weapons).  Why?  So we won’t have to use them.  If you are unhappy with their service, and feel you can do better, why are you paying taxes?  They can do better, believe me.  The statistics of someone with a weapon in their home (whether it be automatic or not) is so dismal, as far as “getting the bad guy”,  you might as well have loaded guns at the front door with a sign that says, “Here…take one”.  The police are here for a reason.  And they are very trained to get bad guys with guns, a lot better than you or me. 

      I am proud of the Million Mothers For Gun Safety and The Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

     One friend made the stale old NRA Wayne LaScare statement that when/if we ever automatic weapons, only criminals will have automatics.

     Actually that has already been proven to be untrue.  When machine guns were banned on May 19, 1986 only criminals were using them.  They were not the “common use weapons” in America, and caused horrendous damage to those shot, very much like today’s automatics. 

      So tell me, when is the last time you heard or read about a crime committed by someone with a machine gun?   Me either.

     So I never purposely get into these meaningless debates because all they do is push someone with a strong opinion further into their strong opinion, and that’s okay.  At least they know the real deal whether they want to believe it or not.

   For law abiding citizens, no matter what Wayne LaScare spouts, nobody wants your guns. Not me, not Congress, not our military, not President Obama, nobody.  Only that scared little boy/girl paranoid voice that lives in your head that is absolutely positive someone is pulling a fast one.  Besides, admit it, you’ve been wanting to form or be a part of an organized militia since you studied military science in 1976.  Come on. Admit it. I won’t laugh.  At least not where you can hear me.

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Rick London is a writer, cartoonist and designer.  He founded Londons Times Cartoons (LTCartoons.com) in 1997.  By 2005 the project had become Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts and it has remained in that position ever since.  London also creates famous quote gifts which are unique to the gift market and sells them at such stores as RickLondonDesigns.com. He is married to popular wildlife/nature photographer Lee Hiller London who runs the nature blog HikeOurPlanet.com. 

“Bored & I’m Mild” (Song Parody By Rick London c2012) Sung To Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild”

Bathroom jokes aren’t funny,
And my hair is real gray,
Lookin’ for my dentures,
And Poligrip paste.
I get shingles relief with hot cayenne,
Glad I got the extra strength leg and arm brace,
My sleep apnea sounds like machine guns,

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My alarm clock doesn’t phase.

In the shower I try to remember,
  Who are my friends on facebook,
Gas X reduces wind,
   At least I’m not 6 feet under.
   Yeah darlin’ got a case of Depends,
Not quite Magic Mike’s love embrace,
I smoked medicinal pot once but didn’t inhale,
But the brownies sent me to space.

I play Lawrence Welk real loud,
We are bored, bored and we’re mild,
Wow Weren’t Golden Girls so wry,
I’m usin’ ammonia-free dye.

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Rick London is a parody songwriter, poet, author, cartoonist and designer.  He founded Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons & funny gifts & funny tees.  He is married to nature photographer and designer Lee Hiller-London who owns the popular LeeHillerDesigns which sells many online gifts at affordable prices.  Together they live in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas where they hike often and commune with nature.  Follow them on Twitter: @RickLondon and @LeeHillerLondon.

 

 

 

“Gamblin’ On Generic Soap” Song Parody by Rick London Sung To Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”


Tho my cell was ringin’ I was headed for the shower,
Decided not to answer it, a telemarketing creep.
I walked to the bathroom and stared at total darkness,
I opened the generic WalMart soap I’d bought that smelled so sweet.

I’d been in line at Walmart..so of course I’s still pissed,
Then stopped at McDonald’s ..they supersized my fries,
I returned my Coca Cola..because it didn’t have no fizz,
I checked around the establishment for any visible mice.

So I took a drink of Coca Cola and then had one more sip,
I looked to the sky and there’s no more sun,
So decided to head toward my shower, and call it a night.

We all know buying generic soap is dumb,
Makes some folks stay but most of ‘em run.
They say it has the same makeup of Dove, but that is just a fable,
And when you leave that shower, someone’s gonna grab their gun.

Anyone who showers knows it so enlivenin’
Better than a hot bubble bath that might make you go to sleep.
Whether you’re into abstinence or even if you’re a boozer
If you use Walmart’s generic soap, you’re gonna truly stink.

You’ll smell a bit like oven cleaner mixed with stale cookie dough
Makes you want to say some words that on tv would be bleeped
And so your girlfriend leaves you, and you’re on the floor grievin’,
You could have smelled so sexy, if you hadn’t been so cheap.

You gotta know how to shower, and smell like a flower,
Use a washrag on your chest & face and loofa on your buns
If you use that generic soap you won’t be attractin’ no Betty Grable,
You’re gonna smell like fresh dog doo I promise you my son.

 If you want your friends in hysterics then buy those cheap generics
But don’t expect the girls to say “Let’s go have some fun”
You could pile all Bill Gates’ money right up on your table,

And no matter who your goin’ with, that relationship is done.

So if you see generic soap and decide to buy it on a whim,
Understand those close to you are gonna have to run,
So spend seventy five cents more… that is if you’re able
So nobody’ll smell your bad intentions.

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Rick London is a goofy vegan mountain man who enjoys hiking, writing, cartooning, songwriting, designing and other stuff “that don’t hurt nobody”.  He founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts which have been # 1 ranked on the Internet since 2005.  His licensed collection of funny gifts is over 1/4 million.   A percentage of all his sales benefits animal, children and environmental causes. He is married to popular nature photographer and designer Lee Hiller-London who operates the blog Hike our Planet

Bullying, Politics, Herman Cain, Joe Paterno & You Name It..It’s Here by Rick London

              I just read a Twitter post about bullying written by a guy I know to be a bully.   The government of Iran wants to blow us up.  Herman Cain probably chases women, and is sort of sure who President Obama is and what Libya is.  Jerry Sandusky is very ill and a criminal.  Joe Paterno went from hero to great disappointment and possibly a criminal along with the ex President of Penn State.  Syracuse has come out with similar allegations.  Let’s not be surprise but there could be more.  Ironically I’m not that much of a news junkie and certainly not a political animal.  I love nature, hiking, and watching Netflix movies with my wife. I occasionally make people laugh with my cartoons.

        On the other hand…………………….

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      Our economy is on the skids, and politicians are circling the Presidental wagon. Rick Perry says “Whoops” in a cute way in which he does not pronounce his “W’s”, but we’re in big big trouble when Ron Paul has to give him the answer to an easy beltway trivia question.  The thirty year old Natalie Wood case is being reopened. Famous Hollywood Couples are announcing not only their divorces but “What the marriage meant to them” on Twitter.  Newt’s wife likes Tiffany’s.  Newt “did it with women” for our country.  One has to ask, did she yell “Oh Newt baby Sign me with you John Hancock” at, um…the end of the act?  Michele Bachman applauds our founding fathers for freeing the slaves.  She’s anti-socialism but got one of the largest social farm grants ever (then voted against it).  Romney passed a health care bill more socialist than Obamacare while in Ma. (but says now “that kind of bill only works in states). Oh.  LOL.  Uh, Mitt…this is the United States. 50 of them. Ok, never mind.  The whole thing, Democrat and Republican is the keystone cops we’ve come to expect

      My homestate  of Mississippi voted on a bill called Personhood. Fortunately it was unanimously voted down but had it passed something like a wet dream and one could have found oneself life in Parchman or even the chair. A miscarriage could have meant solitary confinement or something like that.  God knows what a menstrual cycle could have gotten ya.  I don’t even want to know.  Kudos for Mississippi for knowing better than insanity.  Much better.

John Huntsman is quiet….and sane; and is actually the only one of the candidates on either side who has stated publicly exactly what the job description of President is.  Can you imagine..a candidate that actually understands the job. I know, I know…he’s not exciting/charismatic enough but has cute daughters.

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     Obama is smart but not in the least when it comes to economics (excellent on snuffing out big time terrorists and my hat’s off to him for that).  Congress is dismal.  Occupy Wall Street is worldwide but can you imagine the greedy 1% suddenly begin throwing money to them out their high-rise windows in complete shame and guilt with tears running down their eyes? Ain’t gonna happen.  Life is compromise and both sides will one day learn that.  Maybe the hard way.  Hope not.       

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       I am a designer and write cartoons and blogs and am sometimes asked, “What goes through your head?” (see above paragraph).  And even when the items in the above paragraph (to borrow a phrase from Herman Cain “are twirling through my head”), there is always the chance of creative or writer’s block.

      When that happens, I have learned over the years never to mention it, at least not on social media or in public.  When I used to, I found myself surrounded by the dregs of society known as “life coaches” willing to sell it back to me (for a nominal fee starting at app. $5000), but I get a lot of their cool cd’s and workbooks).  So it’s a tough decision.  When questioned what they have done on a creative level etc.  I’m often led to their “free ebook”.  They have a similar demeanor of an Elmer Gantry or a moat of crocodiles surrounding a once creative human in a moat who could write and swim but suddenly has writers and swimmers block.  The only difference between a crocodile and a life coach is the crocodile has not learned to charge exorbitant fees for eating you alive.

         So I have these online shops you see and they sell my designs on products like tees, mugs, mouse pads, aprons, etc ., and its starting to get busy again.  I asked myself why, as I could tell many were buying gift items.  I never used to shop for Christmas or Hanukah gifts this early, but some started in the summer.  Why?  It’s simple.  Best prices and service (which still exists as I decided to keep it all the same all the way through the 2012.  But also many like to get it out of the way. Keep in mind these are usually folks who’ve not been bankrupted previously by the crafty lifecoach. 

        When (again thanks Herman) my mind begins twirling with all the things around me, I think of why I’m grateful. I have the most wonderful wife in the world.  Our home office eclipses the most beautifully mountain in the Ouchita Range (possibly the world). We hike it and others when we want to. Our quality of living is very high, cost of living very low.   We have no debt. Our cars are paid in full.  We both are published authors and have our own brand businesses. 

      Are we smarter, more talented, better than anyone else? Not in the least.  I mention that because people sometimes ask “our secret”.  Its far from being a secret.  I can only say, “Start where you are; even if its at the bottom. That is where I was.  Learn. Ask questions.  Stay persistent.  Keep working.  And when something sidetracks you (and it will); forgive yourself and go back to work.  On several occasions over the past year, Lee and I found ourselves entrapped in “helping someone else build their empires for slave labor”. We gave them every opportunity to offer some kind of compensation.  They totally ignored they were doing anything wrong….our answer?  We totally ignored them. 

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     We don’t mind helping others succeed, but help us back.  It need not be money. It can be promotion, co-branding, etc. but please, please, understand fully what that means.  It can’t be what you want it to mean, or what some life coach taught you.

     Otherwise, Lee and I design some of the most unique (we think) gift items on the planet. So its okay if we go it alone (we have a great deal of fun).

      That is the way it should be for you too, but please be advised,  chances are good it won’t happen overnight.  I’ve been at it 14 years and Lee has been at it 2 years.  There are many sleepless nights and lots of fires to extinguish and still much to learn (for us). 

And we both started at middle age.   So can you.  Now get to work but first visit our shops and buy things so you’ll know even better how its done.  J    See, I can act like a life coach too.    

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I’m just a goofy vegan mountain man who has developed a few talents (though that is a matter of opinion). I’m a freelance writer, cartoonist, and designer. I write music; and my wife Lee Hiller-London and I are active in childrens, animal, and environmental causes. I founded Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts in 1997 which have remained Google’s #1 ranked on the Internet since 2005.  I founded the world’s only famous love quote shoes & gifts called Shoes That Amuse (USA Today Like’s ’em), and Wisdom Quote Shoes & Unique Gifts at my Rick London Wisdom Shop. 

 

 

Hook, Line, And Thinker (World’s Worse Fish Pun Short Story) by Rick London c2011

Hook, Line, And Thinker (World’s Worse Fish Pun Short Story) by Rick London

Now reaching middle-age, reaching minnowpause, a good many folks think I’m mentally eel. My theory though is that I’ve haddock with life, not unlike Salmon Rushdie or Marlin Brando. Mahi oh mahi. Since I’ve always marched to a different drummer, you know, or sang like Tuna Turner. I live down on squid roe. and been a shad bit egocentric, people have tried desperately to save my sole. Holy mackerel, if I could count the times. Those bassturds. They just perch up on their high seahorse and talk down to me as if I’m pond scum. So what’s it all about, Algae? So you feel I’m shellfish and cruel but read between the line, swivel, and hook. Shellfish or sailfish I stood my ground.

For awhile I tried corporate America and I played a rather decent upwardly-mobile guppy. I made a great deal of money but always felt crappie. You may grunter at my humor but who are you to judge? Take your fathead elsewhere. I’m not just another John Dory writer, you know.

So soon, I was swimming with the sharks and swam back to shore. Nay, I was no angelfish, that is for sure, but I was sturdy as a rockfish. Like other baby boomer, I was striving to be an upwardly mobile guppy. I am certain a lot of my problems is that I listened to too many rock bands in my youth and don’t follow direction well due to my being hard of herring. I do have faith; I’m not one of those agnostic fish-types who ponders if Cod even exists up way up in the heavens. If things didn’t work out, I got in my gar and  onto the nearest turnPike and kept driving.  I’d turn on the stereo at top decibel and it didn’t matter if it was Vince Gill or bluegill.   You could say I lived by the sword..fish.  I was looking for new adventures. I would try just about anything…just for the halibut.  Was a bit of a driftfish, I s’pose.  This may all sound hoki but what else can I say?  The corporate world wasn’t for me so I thought I’d start a fish search engine. Wahoo did not last long.

More than once, in fact lox of times, I would start a project early in the yearling, and never finish it. This only served to bait the public into calling me a sucker(fish) or even worse!! I can stand the heat. Nobody can lure me unless I let them. I know how to take care of myself. I left home at age 15 and was an urchin ever since. The streets are hard for a fighting fish but I made it after all. Many times I was on the bream of success and blew it just like any blowfish would do. One time I even trout for major league football (no kidding) during the USA league. They laughed me off the field treating me in a clownfish manner. I didn’t like it at all. I say let them eat (crab) cake.  Bit I made it in the city even though I was a bit roughy around the edges.

There are plenty of fish in the sea. If one does not want to know me is “that’s their net loss”. It’s my own fish philosophy; well I actually plagiarized it from decarp “I swim therefore I am wet.” And to them I simply say “Caviar Emptor”, and yes, even Carp Diem (as obvious a fish pun as it may be…but I digress into deeper waters)…. But in my own way, the world is my oyster and nobody can take that away from me. I continue to have a porpoise in life and really, isn’t that what counts? I could have turned out evil like Jack The Flipper but noo. I became an outstanding citizen nevertheless. They will never make me walk the plankton. Some of my story may be sardinonic but that is the way it goes. It helps me cope through the rough seas. If they think I’m some kind of shrimpleton, they are just being crabby in my humble opinion.

And so the world evolves. And I will think of a new philosophy as soon as I have time to mullet over. But I will. Because I’m the reel thing more real to my mom than Maggie was to ROD Stewart. You can count on that. I may fail a lot but when I throw a strike, no catfish hunter has a thing on me. So when I change no neon tetra light is going to go off. It will be a gradual thing. And I’m not sea lion either. I am truthful; hook line and thinker. This is no moray-eel issue. It’s simply another bottom-feeder situation.

Footnote: No aquatic creatures were injured and killed during the writing of this article; at least not on porpoise.

Rick London c2011
Londons Times Cartoons
#1 Google Ranked Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts Since 2005

 

 

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