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

 

 

spam FB

 

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.

 

Invasion From A Very Hip Planet The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoon by Rick London

facebook hip planet

Being a child of the 60s didn’t necessarily make me interested in popular culture.  But it turned out to be “one of my favorite hobbies”, that is, to look at each era, the 60s, the 70s, etc.

And though it appeared to us, even this many years later, those of us who were involved in “building the 60s” that is, the fun and creative side of it, the music, the art, etc. it was by far “the most hip” or at least the most original.

I say that without rose-colored glasses.  The 60s children, the hippies, the wanderer, the explorer etc. had plenty “of issues” that didn’t work, and some that were downright unhealthy.

Most of us were able to “get rid of the baggage” that didn’t work, and move in another direction.  And though I (still feel) the 80s and part of the 90s yuppie movement was also not without its flaws, it turned out to be a positive thing as, whenever a country, community, family, etc. turns out “too far left” or “too far right”, it is automatically going to be more flaws.  It swung the pendulum further right, and it continues to swing (left to right and vice versa) each decade or so.  That’s actually healthy for any country, though many don’t view it that way.

Too far (of anything) creates an unhealthy extreme, and it is virtually impossible, unless someone really examines their lives, impossible to see one’s own participation in helping steer it “too far left” or “too far right”.  The road in the center is the sanest, but often also the loneliest as there is a tendency to feel one is “abandoning their cause”. Not the case at all, however. It is a sign of maturity and healing. And yes it is the “Road Less Traveled” in real life.

So you might ask, “Who needs healing?”  Everyone does.  Anyone who has “made it” through these eras to the other side did not get through them without scars.  There was much confusion and disdain.   Babies are not born with hate or prejudice, yet we were able to pick that up along the way (yes whether on the left or right).  We learned along the way to be paranoid, to mistrust, and, as Rod Serling and later Scott Peck came to realize, scapegoat others (whether in groups, individuals etc).

One finally has to ask, “Did that ever serve me well”?  If so, “Is it still serving me well?”  My guess is probably not.   Have a great millenium and laugh a bit.  Say hello to your neighbor.   Learn to speak your mind.  Learn to draw healthy boundaries.  Learn to love.  We all deserve love.

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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.  He is involved in autistic/Asperger’s, children’s, animal, and environmental causes.

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

aug 444 bonzo FB

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.

Words People Places Things Combined The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoon

bezos

In the real world knowledge is power, and in the cartoon world, to a certain degree, that same principle holds true.  But specific knowledge seems to win the day.

I spoke about my love of the English language, due to all the fun play, that is work, but seems more like play can be done with it.  Puns are my favorite and Shakespeare called puns the “highest form of humor”.  I think they are too…as long as I write them, but don’t you dare 🙂   Am sure you feel the same.

If puns are the golden egg of offbeat cartoons, multiple puns are the Fort Knox of cartooning.  And if there is a way to get numerous word meanings in a cartoon using just a few words, you’ve done your job well.

This cartoon was my first experiment in multiple-punning.  It worked to a certain degree, but due to our culture’s attention span, most viewers might have only caught a few of the puns, when there’s actually about 3 or so…I’m not sure…I think I missed a few too.  🙂

…..Amazon.com, Amazon Rainforest, and Forest Gump (coming down from the sky as if he’s rain).  So maybe three 🙂

For those who want to see all the nifty gift items and tees I’ve designed at my Cafe Press shop, you can………..

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Slug Traffic Cop The Story Behind This Londons Times Cartoons by Rick London

new book slug hwy patrol

I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit to the fact that Gary Larson with his “Far Side” cartoon was the trailblazer (as far as I was concerned) at “making insects and other animals) more human (and vice versa).

Sure, plenty of cartoonists did this “fun cartoon trick” long before Gary did, and even during his cartoon, but nobody did it with quite the fervor that Gary Larson did.

Most know, but a few still don’t, Gary Larson majored and got his degree in biology.  He’d thought about teaching and then changed his mind, thank God.

Though I followed The Far Side it’s entire (nearly 15 year run), and it had a vital impact into my thinking process and which way I wanted my humor to turn (I was younger, more immature and “still exploring” at the time).  Then I was invited by some Ms. friends who lived on Capitol Hill in Washington at the same time I did to see a Far Side Exhibit at the Smithsonian.  They had to drag me there even though I loved the cartoon. I guess I didn’t think I was going to “see anything new” that I’d not seen in the newspaper.

Was I ever wrong.  Whomever put that exhibit together knew exactly how to whet and satisfy the appetite of any/every Far Side fan.  Each Far Side was blown up into an 8-10 ft poster on board and hung from the ceiling. It was as if one was walking around inside the Far Side Cartoon and even talking to the odd characters whether they be human, animal, bacteria or space alien.  That exhibit was 34 years ago and, aside from a trip to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fl., I can’t remember any collection of art that had such a life-changing impact.

However it is easy to “take for granted” people of whom have walked this crazy walk with me, many creating their own properties whether they be cartoons or other types of art.

Most know my story of being so naive at the start back around 1997, I contacted some of the biggest names in the industry.  And they were all good to me.   Dave Coverly of Creator’s Syndicate was particularly generous as was Charles “Sparky” Schulz (Peanuts).  Am back in touch with Dave, his cartoon (to me) easily rivals The Far Side but has a “different flair” that is clearly Dave’s own “fingerprint” in his Speed Bump Cartoon.  Dave was generous enough also to leave a positive testimonial on my latest book “Useless Humor” which is (for now) available at Amazon Kindle but soon will have it in other bookstores.  It is our best book I think; and my first to have a mix of cartoons and “useless quotes”.

I’d be amiss not to mention some of the people closest to me such as my beloved wife wildlife/nature photographer Lee Hiller London who is like a “human thermostat”. I can get an idea (often while we are hiking in the forest) and run it by her, and she gives an honest assessment immediately.  I have decided to make cartoons public or toss the ideas away based on her opinion.  Sometimes (on rare occasions) I go ahead with them simply because I like them (and her taste might be different) but she is generally right on target as far as “what is funny to the public” vs “what is funny to just Rick”.  🙂 Lee is also an amazing designer of both gifts and casual clothing and accessories.

Also my long time associate and co-creator Rich Diesslin has steered me in the right direction more than once.  He was with LTCartoons for over a decade and we still work on the occasional project together.  We’ve butted heads, made gains, losses etc together, and stayed friends. He has 3 excellent cartoon properties of his own. I’m in awe of his ability to both create and use left-brain management skills.  Thanks Rich for all you’ve done and continue to do.  Rich also managed LTCartoons the first (most vulnerable decade) and did it well and with integrity.

I’ve been fortunate over the past 3.5 years to work with Tom Kerr who many consider one of America’s finest caricature artists and editorial cartoonists as well as childrens book author.   His latest book is in Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Library and deservedly so.    Tom leans more right than I do, but it is that “slight friction” (I’m more to the center) that makes our collaborations work, and they work almost every time.  Tom knows how to make me look good and I appreciate that.  His blog Despicable Jerks is also well worth reading.  You will laugh. Guaranteed.

So what does all of the above have to do with this snail traffic cop cartoon?   Not a lot, but it may give you a subtle hint into how my mind operates.   As if you really wanted to know.  🙂

Thanks again for 18 years of support.  I am truly humbled and grateful.

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.

Can’t Beet Some Movies Or Music The Story Behind This Londons Times Offbeat Cartoon By Rick London

Words.

English language.

Don’t ask me what it is that fascinates me so much with the English language but it is more like “a friend” than “a thing to speak”.  Why is that?  I’ve theorized numerous reasons.

I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that when working in the arts, language is one’s finest arsenal.  The ability of ones work has a direct correlation with ones ability to master the English language (if the artist/or writer lives in America). 

I’d every bit as much enjoy spending a night reading a thesaurus or dictionary than Fitzgerald or Faulkner.  

The English language is extremely generous in its flexibility, its puns, its double entendres, etc.

Why does that fascinate me?  When I first began to learn the “cartoon business” if one can call it a business, I contacted some of t he greatest cartoonists on the planet; Charles Schulz, Dave Coverly, Leigh Rubin etc. I guess my autism came in handy in that I didn’t realize one was not supposed to do that.

I also contacted some others who were not quite as far up on the ladder wrung as they were. Most of them wouldn’t give me the time of day.

But Schulz, Coverly, Rubin, Jon McPherson and a few others chatted for hours with me.  How did I find them?  With some it was not easy. With others, their friends “gave them up” but it took some time talking to them before they came to the conclusion I was no stalker or worse. I simply wanted to learn the business. 

All of the great ones had vocabularies similar to Shakespeare.  I wanted that for myself.  They taught me that reading, (even dictionaries) was a way to accomplish that, or not necessarily accomplish it, but get better at it.  And if one was better at it, one had a leading edge over the competition in cartooning. 

I didn’t realize how important that was until I learned that on any given day, there are approximately 100,000 cartoon properties on the Internet competing with each other. 

So, though I can draw (a little), I cannot draw to the level of what I wanted my cartoon to be.  Sparky (Schulz) told me that about 30% of all the cartoons we see in papers are team efforts, and suggested I write them and “blueprint them”, that is, explain them in detail to the team artist.  If that team artist is good, he/she will understand your vision.  I went through about 100+ illustrators the first few years.  It went from “artistic differences” to “I want to own the entire cartoon; you only write it” etc.  But my mentors suggested I carry on and continue finding talent.  They told me the more cartoons I had, the more likely I was to find better talent.

And that became the truth.  

A funny thing.  Dave Coverly is syndicated by Creators Syndicate and considered one of the best if not the best offbeat cartoonist who draws his own cartoon (in the world). I always got along with Dave; and he knew I had launched Londons Times in an abandoned tin shed in my own hometown because nobody would rent or sell to me.  They thought I was nuts (and starting a cartoon at age 44 didn’t help deter that theory).  Dave didn’t care.  He loved talking about things I also loved to talk about….creative ideas, cartoons, humor, dogs, cats, nature etc.  We could chat forever it seemed.  

About 2 months ago, a familiar name appeared on Twitter.  It was Dave. I’d not talked to him in about 18 years.  We chatted online a bit and I told him about “Useless Humor” (our 18th Anniversary book) which contained quotes and cartoons I’d written.  On a whim, I asked if he’d write a testimonial for me to use on the book.  He wrote a beautiful quote which is on the cover.  

One of my favorite of our cartoons is “Beets”, not because I like beets so much, but because there are so many ways to use the word, which is what I demonstrate in this cartoon (above at the top).  I hope you enjoy it. 🙂 

SO……….Not bad for a tin-shed cartoonist who didn’t know better how to do it right (or wrong) who recruited several teams of some of the best cartoon illustrators available anywhere.  I still think that.  

Or better yet, there is no right or wrong way in cartooning.  Just stay the course, keep the faith, and never give up.     You will want to many times.  Just don’t. 

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and gift designer.  He is best known for his Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons & Funny Gifts which he launched in 1997.  It has been Google #1 ranked since 2005 and Bing #1 ranked since 2008.  

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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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.