“I Want My ACA” Song Parody by Rick London c2013 To Tune Of “I Want My MTV” Dire Staits

“I Want My ACA” Parody by Rick London c2013 To The Tune Of “I Want My MTV”

march 999 money 4 nothing facebo

I want my ACA.   I want my ACA….I want my ACAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA………………………. 

Now look at all that dough I paid to go to St. Vincents ER while republicans threw a fit,

Now I see my own doctor if I’m in need,
I’m disabled I ain’t workin, that’s the way it is. Suck on that,  GOP.
Hang on a sec….In that jar I gotta pee,
Won’t hire me? I ain’t workin’ Aww the 1% mad. What’s wrong pals take a little hit?

They’s mad cause they can no longer throw me crumbs,
I used to come and go but now I linger
You keep votin’ tea party if you’re sure you’re that dumb.

You’re still angry at Obama but this is only the beginning,
Thinking maybe after Hillary you’ll get one shoe in?
We know we’re patriots but you call us traitors,
But there’s more than Fox on your color TV.

The Tea Party think we’re maggots but spray on dark skin 4 anyone networks that are Hispanic,
And they say they love us if we’ll opt-out of health care,
Is this a joke or are they really that insane?
When men or women hold hands they say “they love them” but “that kind of equality ain’t fair”

Oh good they love us they just hate our sins,
On equal rights they just want a short 5000 year freeeeeeeeze.
They need to get a…new orator,
The last one got taped quoting a percentage & in his pants he peed.

Now Mr. Cruz is the new GOP Czar,
He’s for enough haute GOP haute’cuisine like orange-glazed duck and a pack of TUMS,
What is it mama Michele Bachman’s sayin’ to the camera?
Man, SNL is going to have some fun.
She’s dancin’ with her hubby and they look so poised,
Somethin’ about him makes me think of “Glee”,
I’m disabled and I ain’t workin’, Your lies don’t move me one little bit,
We all pay our taxes and my health care’s free.

Come on guys its like a big 60s love in,
I get to choose my Obamacare for next to freeeeEEEEEE,
The GOP needs a new orator,
Ted Cruz acts like he thinks he’s the Lord,

Now that I ain’t workin’, I should get my ACA for free,
And a SNAP balance so my family I’ll feed,
I ain’t workin, you say “Food….You don’t deserve it”,
But Corporate Welfare is big bucks for freeeeEEEEEE,
You get money for bling but my tofu’s freeeeEEEE.

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Rick London is a songwriter, author, designer and cartoonist.  He is best known for Londons Times Cartoons (LTCartoons.com) which have been Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny tees and gifts since 2005. 

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Salad Bar Exam: The Story Behind The Cartoon by Rick London – Londons Times Cartoons

 

     If I had to pick salad bar examany one cartoon that is our “trademark image” it would have to be “Salad Bar Exam”.  Even though the cartoon is about 12 years old, it remains our most popular. We even put it for sale on all types of odd products, and some not so odd like tees and mugs and such. 

      The story behind the cartoon, truly is nothing that dramatic about “the story behind the cartoon”; at least the story does not seem that dramatic to me.

      I actually wrote the concept around 1974.  I was in college (my first time around) and had switched to about 3 different majors; one of them being political science, which seemed to be a great pre-law major at the state university I attended. 

     As a vegan now, I look back at some of the “things” I ingested and wonder how I ever survived that time.  Some of my staples included peanut butter, sardines, ramen noodles, Gatorade, more ramen noodles and white bread.  No wonder I was sick all the time with the flue one week, strep throat the next week, etc. 

     It was about that time salad bars became popular at restaurants and Shoney’s, an establishment near USM had a huge salad bar.   My friends and I would go in and just order the salad which was super healthy, but then load it with blue cheese dressing, making it as fatal as any ramen noodle could be even if it didn’t try (to be fatal).

       By the same token I was losing interested in the law, and getting pulled over and warned by it (the law) more than I was learning the logistics of the Constitution.  Besides, my shoulder length hair got in the way of my eyes when I was trying to study, and to me, that was “a good thing”.

       My friends started losing interest in school, and the law generally about the same time I did.  Maybe 80% of them ended up in liberal arts like me.  I was liberal and an artist so why not?

        I can remember many a night debating staying in college and maybe pursuing the law, or maybe becoming a chef, a salad chef at that.  The two sort of melded together and this is the image that evolved.  It didn’t mean a lot at the time. I rough-sketched it with the caption “Salad Bar Exam” and it sat in a shoebox  with several other strange concepts and rough sketches for nearly 35 years.  At the time, I felt one day I would dispose of the entire box of silliness.  I felt that many times since too.  Funny how some of the most mundane things can become a major part of ones life. 

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and designer.  He is probably best known for his Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts “Londons Times Cartoons” or “LTCartoons.com”.  London is an avid hiker, a vegan and lives with his wife Lee Hiller-London in the Ouachata Mountains of Arkansas where they hike often and commune with nature, only to go home and eat soy n’ stuff. London adds, “Hey, its better than ramen noodles, eh?”   London offers a variety of products bearing his award-winning cartoon “Salad Bar Exam” on funny tshirts, aprons, mouse pads, and much more. 

Kratom: My Safety Net From TRD & Vagus Nerve Surgery

I can’t count how many times the topic of conversation has turned to “Big Pharma”.  Often people ask me my thoughts about Big Pharma (or the drug manufacturing business).

I have a love/hate relationship with them. I’ll explain.

I think of them as extremists in a way.  When they do something right, they do it very very right (with the help of the medical community).  When they do something wrong, it is dismal.

Here are some examples in my life.

vagus 4 (2)

In 2001, I had a major heart attack in which I had no cardiologist.  So I was assigned one; and he happened to be the worst in town (I was told later before they ran him out of town).  He performed an angioplasty, and sent me home with a lifetime of drugs, not asking me much about my medical history and/or reaction to the drugs.

I guess since I don’t look like Bill Gates, he figured my education and/or ability to research was zilch, so it wouldn’t matter if he gave me the very worst cheapest of all the meds he prescribed.

I was waiting for my 6 month checkup in his office when he was called away to an emergency at the hospital and all of us in the waiting room had to go home.  He fired me in a “matter of fact” letter the very next week (gave no reason), and I learned that within a month later he was asked to leave the hospital for sleeping with too many married patients, many of whom were married.  His wife was not thrilled about that activity either (she discovered charges for two to the Caribbean etc. when he was “going alone to Chicago to a medical convention” and other such charges.  Oh well. 

Anyway, they assigned me a wonderful younger cardiologist in 2010 and he had to perform 2 surgeries.  He looked at my meds and tossed them, giving me the best in each category. Since my insurance didn’t cover Crestor for cholesterol, he made sure I got 6 weeks worth of samples whenever I needed them as did (and does) my wonderful GP.  They both look after me.  What a chance from a Don Juan has-been who fired me because he had to leave before the appointment.

The new drugs along with my own mixture of medicinal hearth-healthy immune boosting herbs helped me heal within a year, and in better shape than when I was in my twenties within three years.  It was no piece of cake, but I know the drugs helped a great deal.  I do blood tests every 4-6 months and can see the dramatic difference. I’ve switched to a mostly raw vegan diet.  I hike mountains 2-3 times a week.  Three years ago getting out of bed was a chore (for months).

On the other hand, 28 years ago, my mood dropped when I was in college and running my health food store and I went to the campus psychologist.  I told her I had depression so she didn’t test me to see if I might be wrong, she started what became a long term talk therapy along with psychiatric drugs from psychiatrist referrals. 

Though they all were great cheerleaders over the years of how much better I was getting, I knew I was not. In fact if anything, worse. 

I began to research. Maybe I didn’t have depression, but if I didn’t, what could it be.  One afternoon around 1996, I was at a friend’s house reading a New Yorker Magazine. In it was an article about something called “VNS Therapy” or Vagus Nerve Therapy.  It had been approved for a decade for TRE (Treatment Resistant Epilepsy) but studies were still being done for TRD (Treatment Resistant Depression) which is a bit of a misnomer in that it is not depression at all but a vagus nerve issue. The vagus nerve runs up the chest to the brain and is the longest never in the body. Until recently, not much was known about it.

Now thanks to worldwide research and clinical studies, much is known about it.  It is estimated that approximately 2 million of the estimated 20 million people who think they have depression, don’t.  They have a vagus nerve issue, and the only treatment is VNS (which is a magnetic implant installed In the chest and prompts it to function properly.

Big Pharma and the insurance companies fought it tooth and nail, as the studies showed it was getting much higher success rate than the older (and newer SSRI) depression drugs.

vagus 4

Big Pharma, with all the good it does, does not like something that is not a drug taking money out of their pockets.   They proved that with St. John’s Wort again a bit earlier.  Though major European hospitals and doctors prescribe St. John’s Wort as the primary treatment for even the most severe depressive disorder, the FDA let it stay legal in the U.S. if the vendors would label it, “May help minor depression”.  And of course, very few American doctors recommend it or prescribe it; though it has proven to work better than potential dangerous psychiatric drugs, but the traveling drug salespersons in America don’t sell St. John’s Wort, hence who would make the money.  Yes, sadly, bottom line is a very major force in American medicine. 

And it is not that it this is not so in European countries, it is that the medical community makes getting the patient well, even if it means less money (and it often does), a primary issue.  Hippocrates “Doctor do no harm” is taken very seriously there, and one does not have to be an Einstein to know that some of the most commonly prescribed drugs are killing and shortening the lives of people daily.

I am not against prescribing drugs when they are needed.  I am, like the Europeans, for the patient having a choice of what type of drugs, what type of medical modicum; such as allopathic or naturopathic, etc.  They are living better and longer and I imagine that might be one of the reasons.  It is also much more freedom than we have here in the good ol’ USA. And don’t get me wrong, I love America and don’t want to live elsewhere, there is much we can learn from countries that have been around centuries longer than we have (and learned from their mistakes). 

In September of 2004, VNS was approved by the FDA for TRD.  I contacted the manufacturer, Cyberonics in Houston, Tx. And immediately got a caseworker.  There were still some hurdles.  Many.  My current psychiatrist who was using drug and talk therapy told them I was doing 100%+ better in the past year (which was a lie).  Finally he had to provide proof and of course he had none. I was honest in therapy and simply said, This isn’t working”.  The doctor was certain it was my imagination.  Turned out to be his.

vagus 8

On January 25, 2006, I had the VNS implanted at UAMS in Little Rock.  I awakened 45 minutes later with no “depression”; none because I never had it in the first place. 

I spent seven years depression-free. Well, I say depression-free but a more precise diagnosis would be mostly depression-free. I awakened to days that were better than others; but none of the heavy “I can’t make it through this” existed.

Then last week I went for my quarterly “tune up” (yes a psychiatrist uses a magic computerized wand that he placed on the device in my chest (against my skin) and tunes it to how a working vagus nerve works in the body.

Now I’m facing another obstacle. The lithium battery in the device only lasts 6 years; I’ve been fortunate mine has lasted seven but it is time to get it changed.

Since the time I was blessed to have the surgery, Big Pharma and the insurance companies have changed the status of VNS for depression back to “experimental” from “approved”.  It is still approved if one wants to pay cash (about fifty thousand dollars for it), but not covered by insurance).  That includes accessories such as batteries. 

Big Pharma will do what it has to do not to lose money on its drugs.  And it did this to me.

vagus 6 kratom

I called Cyberonics who assured me they will donate the device/battery, if a surgeon will donate his/her time to install it.  I am working on that now, and will keep you updated to how it works.

I’ve been thinking about it this week, and I’ve also been fortunate enough to discover kratom this year.  How in the world would I make it without kratom; especially if it turns out I cannot get the battery for my device.

That sounds like “Rick must get high from that kratom herb”.  Anything but.  I suffer from chronic severe pain due to neuralgia and several other ailments, which is a pain so severe it would cause constant depression in the toughest of humans.

I’ve had two major heart attacks, three surgeries for it, and nothing, not those attacks, surgeries or anything else has come close to the pain this neuralgia causes.  With kratom, I cannot feel the pain after years of living with it. 

I hope and pray I get my battery for my device.  But if by some chance I don’t, I have a safety net. I know God is looking out for me, and I feel very blessed.  

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Rick London is an outspoken proponent to keep the medicinal herb kratom legal.  He tends to promote the best kratom  on the planet which, according to him is at Kratom-K.com.  If one enters the word “kratom” in the coupon code at checkout, they receive an extra 15% discount.   London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist.  He is best known for his Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoon, Londons Times Cartoons and Funny Gifts.

Story Behind The Cartoon: Twitter Moms by Rick London

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       When it came to the Internet, I was a bit late to the party.  By 1995, I knew how to Email and use Yahoo!   As a man who has had a long legacy of “starving writer”, I really didn’t bother to learn much about the web, as, in my mind, it was probably just another cool trend that would pass and we’d be comunicating via “vibes” with our brains while floating around the moon, where we’d buying craters and other mountainous property from Newt Gingrich, Realtors, complete with a deed of mistrust. 

      My luck he’d sell me several acres on the dark side of the moon.  Sure, sounds bad but think about all the free Pink Floyd 24/7 radio stations. My wife Lee told me she’d open the only tanning salon if we moved to the dark side.  

    So a few years after “the next big thing” came along which was Google and later MySpace, I had a feeling I better learn this stuff.

     So I signed up at one of the better colleges in the country that teaches how to do business using the Internet. I still feel blessed that I had that experience and learned things I probably could not have learned anywhere else.  It is called Western Governor’s University and is known to have some of the best professors and advisory board of any college in the country. And looking at other’ scurricula  I find it hard to disagree.

     During that time as a student in my late forties and early fifties, Twitter was born.  I was not sure what to think of it.  Could it beat MySpace? Probably so. But what about that other new one facebook?
Possibly.  But I decided to learn both of them and work hard to get my name out there. 

     Though I have no children of my own, I’ve worked with many kids teaching them the arts and martial arts.  This GenX (or whomever they are) are a lot smarter and more savvy than we were at their age.  As far as the birds and the bees, seems like they were born knowing that topic.

      They wanted to talk geek stuff, search engines and later SEO.  I knew a little of some of that stuff so they deemed me “cool” (for an old geezer). I was about 44 at the time. I’m now 59.

      When my workshop/classes ended each day, generally if they didn’t walk or ride the bus home one of their parents. Most of them were age 6-15.  For those of my generations if I told you the kinds of things they talk to each other about (and to their parents) you would screech on breaks.  When I first heard their favorite topics of conversations, I thought I misheard several things due to the fact that my hearing is not that great.

       Sadly, my hearing is fairly good and I heard what I heard.  I’m no prude, and frankly these kids were not rude, not misogynist, or hateful in any way.  They simply talked about topics that were very taboo, especially when I was their age, and even more especially in conversations with our parents.

      So rather than get all depressed and stuff about being an ancient dinosaur, I came up with this cartoon.  I think it explains how I felt, and how they think and talk.

       Not long after we completed this cartoon, my first cousin’s son asked her a question very similar to what was in the cartoon.  She got a very good laugh out of that, as I’d sent her a matted glossy copy. She hung it in his room, and told him he’d understand it one day….my feeling is…he probably already does….after all he’s 5 and a half. 

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Rick London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist.  He is best known for his Londons Times Cartoons which have been Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts since 2005. He is married to popular nature photographer /blogger Lee Hiller-London who owns numerous online shops of thousands of products bearing her licensed photography images.  She also creates art with a likeness to Peter Maxx/mixed with nature and sea world scenes. 

The Story Behind The Cartoon: Lady Liberty And Congress by Rick London

Londons Times Cartoons Click To Enlarge

Londons Times Cartoons Click To Enlarge

Every once in awhile, when my beloved wife, Lee sees me staring into space and tapping my foot against my desk, she chirpily asks, “Why don’t you write a blog”. 

     Though I can remember when writing a blog was maybe the most fun a human being could possibly have, there is a merciful part of the universe that helps humans forget most of the details of that part of our lives.

     Ok, sure, I still like writing blogs, but now I am tapped to remember the stories behind my cartoons.  At fifty-nine, I’m lucky to even remember what a cartoon is, much less the fact that I remember that I am a part of creating them.

     Not all cartoons are necessarily meant to be funny.  They can purvey irony, sadness, frustration and a myriad of other emotions (if they are good at all).

      Though I never know for sure during the creation of our cartoons, I do know how things feel to me when they happen.

       I suppose if I still lived in my birthplace when the government closed, I would barely feel it.  It has a few federal buldings, I think a federal court and a post office and since the post office is only quasi-governmental it stayed open.

      But I live in a small sleepy tourist town that relies totally on the National Park Service and when Congress closes it for nearly 15 days, you better believe everyone in our little hamlet feels it.

     Our water fountain was closed.  That doesn’t sound serious but it is the only free water fountain in the world (just a few blocks from our home) that serves the best and healthiest water in the world. 

     Elvis, who could afford any water in the world chose ours and had 50 gallon jugs shipped to Graceland every month.  The water is magnificent.  We were reduced to “spring water” from who knows what kind of stream at the grocery.  Our water we know stays under the ground at 2000 degrees and does not see daylight until the day it is retrieved.  It runs across thousands of crystals and precious gems, absorbing well-known and very rare minerals that heal the body’s ills.  We drink about a half gallon per day.  It’s that good.

      People drive from miles around, from different states in vans and pick up trucks and back them into the water fountain parking lot and get in line.  Thanks to the GOP Congress we couldn’t get our own water.  We were unable to hike our own National Park trails. 

      All our public baths/messages and such were closed.  Places every major celebrity and President visited often for healing.  More importantly the prices were kept low so everyone could afford it from any station of life.

      Our whole city with all its businesses rely on that park, those baths, that water etc.  To think that a few political loonybirds who happen to be public servants decided they felt the Affordable Care Act, already a law okayed with the quite conservative Supreme Court “was no good” that we the people needed to be punished.

      I hope they know we’ve got memories and our memories kick in the most lucidly at the voting booth.

     If its any consolation, there is plenty about Obamacare of which I don’t like, but…I’m an adult; I don’t like stop signs or traffic lights but I stop at them; and I don’t ask to close the government because they didn’t ask me first (of course I wasn’t born yet when that bill passed to put stop signs, then later traffic lights up) but had I been born, you better believe I’d be raising hell to get them off my street corner.  Stop signs look like anemic loitering ne’er do wells standing in cahoots with some traffic cop just waiting for us not to totally stop. How UnAmerican.

       Just a few months after the Statue Of Liberty was re-opened due to the destruction from Hurricane Sandy, which, by the way the southern red states voted not to help them, but a few months later when a brutal wedge tornado hit my hometown of south Ms, the northern blue states had the money there before they could even ask. 

        The Statue Of Liberty is special to me for a number of reasons.   The laws regarding immigrants are not working.  If anything, they should be the laws that do work the best, and committees and experts on it every day to make sure immigrants arrive safely and get into the system from the start. 

       We all came from immigrants, like it or not.  If we met many of our ancestors from 3,4,5 or even 10 generations before us, we’d have to speak a form of sign language unless we both understood each other’s language of their homelands.  

     My ancestors were early settlers from Spain and Portugal.  They worked hard, very hard and did well.

       One of them, a great great x10 or so maternal aunt or cousin was poet Emma Lazarus whose last verse of her poem “The New Colossus” appears above the door of Lady Liberty, “Give us your tired, your poor, huddled masses, yearning to….” Etc. 

      She meant that. It meant a lot to her.  She showed it to her mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson who thought very highly of it.

      Even then, they knew that if this country was going to be as special as our Founding Father’s vision of it was, we would have to insure that immigrants arrive and arrive safely, and treated well after their arrival.

       It appears many have forgotten what this country is all about. They surely don’t know what makes America special.  Some do know but pretend they don’t.

     They need to re-assess where they learned that, take a look at the Statue Of Liberty or even read the entire poem “The New Colossus”, and then let us know what they’ve learned.

       Lady Liberty sits on Ellis Island which is one of America’s most famous National Parks.  It was closed due to Congress’ shenanigans. 

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Rick London is an author, designer, songwriter and cartoonist.  He is best known for his Londons Times Cartoons by Rick London, which has been Google #1 ranked offbeat cartoons since 2005.  London has created dozens of products from funny tees to offbeat aprons bearing this Government Shutdown Cartoon.  London is married to popular wildlife/nature photographer Lee Hiller-London whose blog Hike Our Planet is visited often. 

Posters, Bullies, Success, The 60s, And “It’s A Wonderful Life” By Rick London

 

Click To Enlarge Londons Times Cartoons

Click To Enlarge
Londons Times Cartoons

       More than once I’ve been asked “Why did you get into the cartooning business”?  Soon it will be seventeen years and though I still love creating cartoon concepts, writing them and collaborating with our creative team, the business into which I’ve morphed is hardly the cartoon business (only) anymore. It’s still fun, but like most creative businesses, as it goes, there is more legal, administrative, marketing etc., than creative.  Don’t get me wrong, those are some handy skills I picked up along the way; some better, others worse than others, but all have turned out to be nifty to know and implement. 

      I had some terrific mentors, both real life and in books.  One of the real-life ones was Charles “Sparky” Schulz (Creator of “Peanuts”),  who warned me that as time went by and I was one of the lucky few who would still be in the business past one year, then I’d find myself more in some kind of accounting/admin/licensing business with a little time for creativity I’d have to find (or make for myself).  He was a real jokester so I imagined he was pulling my leg.  He was teaching me a “reality bites” lesson.

     On the other hand Walt Disney with whom I never got to speak or meet, taught me many things via books about him and his autobiography.

     Like me, he could draw, but not to the level of which he wanted his characters.  Plus he was into the new “special effects” called animation.

Rafael And Quote: Lady W/Unicorn Click To Enlarge. Designed by Rick London

Rafael And Quote: Lady W/Unicorn Click To Enlarge. Designed by Rick London

     In my case, I had loved cartoons like the Far Side, Speed Bump, Close To Home, and Rubes, and though I prefer that type of absurd offbeat humor in my frames, nobody, to my knowledge had ever used a type of “fine art” mixed with “the absurd”.  That was and remains my vision.

      I thought I was chasing windmills or had some pie in the sky idea (as most if not all in my hometown proclaimed) but Sparky told me that was not a problem whatsoever.  He said, “Find and hire fine artists who don’t mind rendering other people’s cartoon ideas.” Easier said than done of course. But in time, it was done.  

    I can’t count the number of illustrators who came and went, for a variety of reasons, but I awakened one day and sixteen years and 5000 or so cartoons later, not to mention ¼ million licensed items I was living a life owning the #1 offbeat cartoons and gifts in the world.  And I’m still here, to some delight’s and other’s chagrin. But, just like I was taught by Sparky Schulz and some lesser known genius/good men and women, “What other people thought of me was and is truly none of my business.   And I truly don’t care.  I’m a nice guy. Not a saint, but not a devil.  I clean my side of the street only.  I still respect the law.  I respect my elders and children. Both should have civil rights and cared for no matter what their family’s station in life.  In fact animals should have rights and fortunately in most states do. I’d like to be my friend if I wasn’t me, and those who don’t care for me, well their loss. 

Click To Enlarge Londons Times Cartoons c2013

Click To Enlarge
Londons Times Cartoons c2013

     I still shake my head and cannot believe all that has happened, has.  But it has.  Every day I wake up with items all over the world that say “Londons Times”.  It is like some kind of dream.  People email me for autographs. Large and not so large nonprofits, churches, charities, schools etc.  contact me for signed prints for their silent and regular auctions.

 

Ironically, I used to resent, so horribly being treated as an outcast in my own hometown for my way of thinking. Even from some family members (Especially so).   Now I thank the good Lord every day for those wonderful souls who thought I were so evil at th time None of this would have ever happened had they treated me humanely.  I had no idea they were jealous of my gifts and talents. I didn’t even know I had them and they dared not tell me as I might “actually move ahead”.  Of course they wanted me to move ahead; just not too far ahead. 

Still back home and reeling from caring for my ill mom, I was visiting a young friend who’d graduated from a nearby college. I was in the next room and I heard him tell his parents he wanted to “be free and try the things Rick is trying.  I felt terrible for him, when they responded “You can’t. You don’t have his talent”.  First of all, I was about 41 years old, and it was the first time I’d heard from anyone I had talent. That part felt wonderful.  But that part was squashed when I realize the way I had to find out was by some bad parents squashing their grown but troubled son’s dream by demanding that he not explore his own talent (everyone has some talent) and all it need be is developed.  What they were saying is, “We’ve paid for your college. We’re finished helping you.   Now go find yourself by putting on a suit and getting a boring 9-5 job that you’ll hate with a passion.

I truly thank God for creating all kinds of people, smart and kind, and even the mean, talentless, ignorant with whom I’ve had to deal. I used to wonder why they existed. Of course I’m grateful to Him even to be alive given all the health issues I’ve suffered and there have been a myriad of them; and yet He keeps me rebounding and creating. 

He brought the woman to me in my life who is my wife and has made me very happy.  We are regaining our health together communing with nature while hiking, enjoying the little things, forget keeping up with the Jones’ or Smith’s or even Mr. Potter. To us, anyone who “wants us to keep up with them”, might as well be Mr. Potter.  We no longer “go there”.  Our lives are much more valuable for that kind of junior high nonsense.  For us every day is “It’s A Wonderful Life”. 

Now I know of their great value; not just to me, but of nearly all the creative people with vision of whom I’ve been friends and/or friendly.  It seems to be a major motivator to prove “creative vision above ignorance”, and creative vision seems to win out every single time. They teach us our most valuable lessons (without even meaning to of course).

Sikh Golden Temple With Proverb Deisgned by Rick London c2012. Click To Enlarge

Sikh Golden Temple With Proverb Deisgned by Rick London c2012. Click To Enlarge

Which brings me to posters. I began to look at posters as more than just art around the late 60s and early 70s.  I can remember some of my earliest being by Peter Max. If I’m not mistaken one of them was Dylan with the rainbow hair.  Ironically my wife’s artwork very much reminds me of Peter Max; had Max combined nature with his musical expression.  Lee’s colors are similar but her characters are of her own creation from sea turtles and seahorses to birds and deep in the sea wonders.

When I was in college in the 70s, I lived in (what was then a very nice building) called Elam Arms in Hattiesburg, Ms at USM.  I loved that old building which I think now has either burned or was torn down.

Rick London c2011

Londons Times Cartoons
Click To Enlarge

While other kids were putting plaques, awards and such on their walls, I was adding posters.   This was one way we all learned who the other “leftover hippies” were so we could “hang out” and we did; and often admired each other’s posters.

Now, I find that some of the favorite items I sell, whether they are in my cartoon shops or famous quote stores are my posters.  I get a nostalgic thrill when they sell.  And so that everyone can afford them, I try my best to construct a deal with the manufacturer to mark them down as much as possible.

This is one of those weekends.  Until this Monday September 30th at 11:59pm Pacific Time, all posters are all 50% off in all my stores whether they have funny posters or serious posters or even my famous love quotes posters shop. Use coupon code FALLINTOSAVE at checkout for your 50% savings.   If I were a customer of mine, or a student back in college, I’d buy ten or more of them.  But that’s just me.  Rick London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist. He is best known for his Londons Times Cartoons which he launched in a tin shed outside his hometown of Hattiesburg, Ms in 1997. It has been Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoon and funny gifts since 2005.  London is married to popular nature/ Wildlife Photographer Lee Hiller-London and they both happily live as vegan hikers in the Hot Springs National Park Mountains Of Arkansas 

Johnny Depp Jack Sparrow Flies South Rick London Explains Inspiration For This Londons Times Cartoon

Click To Enlarge

Click To Enlarge

The more years I get behind my belt (even though I’ve traded in my belts for suspenders), the more I realize I do a lot of things in the course of a day (even though at times it may not seem so). When I returned to school in 2002, I had to work out with the university a schedule that allowed me to go full time, but at a slower rate than the majority of students.

I had to prove there was a reason for that privilege and was able to do so.  Aside from having CHF (congestive heart failure) and was just 5 months into recovery of a major heart attack and surgery, along with several other major health issues, they acquiesced.  I taught myself to study and the results were amazing (at first). The school is a very good one, and the professors some of the best I’d ever seen anywhere (and I’d been to public extension classes and lectures at Harvard, MIT, Yale and several others.  The curriculum was based on several departments from MIT and the Profs were from numerous Ivy League schools. 

That surely didn’t mean I was smarter than anyone else, but proved I could be intimidated with the best of them.  And I often was; yet I learned what college was really about and how pragmatic lessons applied in the real world; something I never learned in my early college life career at state and community colleges. Until this day I am not sure if it was me, and my own lack of direction and majority, or the ineptness of the professors working in state #50 in education for so many years it was every other state college’s favorite joke. I imagine it was a bit of both.  In any case, I was fortunate enough to have intervention with truly educated people who cared, and made sure I didn’t miss out on that opportunity. Like GW Bush who played video games at lunch time while President (really), I watched VHS that I rented from the video shop down the street. 

It was not a big chain so went under almost as fast as it opened. Then I got so busy in school; even made A+ in Advanced Matf and aced the final assessment. I only offer that bragging right because anyone who knew me over the years remember I thought it was indeed a day of celebration if I made a “D” or “C”  in any kind of math.  But it was proof to me what can happen when a professor who understands math-phobia students and, in fact prefer them.

  An A+ in the course and a 100 on the final test.  Aced that sucker. Yeeehahh. My parents were both deceased, sadly.  First thing I wanted to do was run to them and say, “See, I’m not as dumb as everyone thought…the teachers are though”.  But it was 40 or so years too late. So I’d show nobody but myself and a few friends that I could make good grades until 2 more surgeries occurred which knocked me out of school, and watch videos in between.  Then I stopped school and videos to recover; mostly watching Nickelodeon and the News.

I watched FOX, CNN and MSNBC.  Having worked in Washington News, I knew keenly that was the only way to even get close to any kind of accuracy; since all of them stuck to their slant; and generally somewhere in the middle of the 3 slants was “the truth”.  I still know that for sure; though everyone argues that their “favorite news is most accurate”.  I always shake my head and smile.  Very few of them have worked there, nor has a clue how Washington works; and it’s not like I’m an expert. But I do have a clue. So fast forward to 2009, and I met my beloved wife Lee Hiller. 

She knew I was missing something but not sure what.  We talked a long time and it occurred to her “Movies”.   I’d not watched a movie since the VHS video store closed.  I asked her if movies looked very different.  “Well sure, they’re invisible…they stream”. “Oh like trout. I love to fish” (I was not yet a vegan).  “No you’ll see”.  We started renting 1-2 films a week and some were wonderful.  I was in heaven and hooked.  Nearly four years later we still rent films from Netflix and Amazon.  Not as many as when we started but sometimes two a week. I still love it.  Not every film produces a cartoon in my head.  This one happened to.  We saw Harry Potter, The Narnia Series, Lord Of The Rings, numerous animated Pixar and Disney films, some romantic comedies and a series of very fun Pirates Of The Caribbean starring Johnny Depp. I feel certain my love for the film was for different reasons than my beloved wife, but that’s fine; what woman doesn’t have a crush on Johnny Depp.

I was much more impressed that Keith Richards was not just alive but full of energy. As my health improved after yet another major heart attack, Lee and I began walking and finally mountain hiking; not just small foothills, these are very steep gorgeous Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas which is 3 sides of our yard.  We still hike it regularly. The first animals to greet us out the door are generally a large flock of house sparrows which (have very good taste) and live in the bushes of the gorgeous Arlington Hotel.  Of course Johnny Depp’s name in the Pirates series was Jack Sparrow. 

I wondered during one hike if sparrows fly south for the winter.  Then the fleeting thought got sillier and I wondered if Jack Sparrow flew to the Caribbean for the winter. Then a cartoon was born.  That’s the way they happen sometimes and this was one of those times.  Before it was complete I explained it to Lee and she had a “Are you okay, Honey?” look on her face which she often does when I explain a cartoon concept I’ve just created  I don’t blame her. It must be a bit odd to hear that from a 59 year old man.  But an eleven year old man? Sure, a few times it would seem fairly normal but now? I should have gone to medical school like Mom wanted. But if I had I’d never know anything of sparrows, pirates, and the Caribbean. 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- Rick London is an author, songwriter, cartoonist and designer.  He is probably best known for his offbeat cartoons “Londons Times” and Funny Gifts which have been ranked number one on the net since 2005 by Google and 2008 by Bing.  He is married to nature and wildlife photographer Lee Hiller-London.  They spend a great deal of time as “Stewards Of Hot Springs National Park”; the 2nd oldest National Park in America.

The Real Story Of The Invention Of The Internet….As Told by The Real Inventor & Cartoons/& Their Inspiration by Rick London

By Londons Times Cartoons Click To Enlarge

By Londons Times Cartoons Click To Enlarge

     Sometimes people believe the story behind this cartoon and more often than not, they don’t.

     Perhaps the year was 1999. I was taking a sabbatical from cartooning but still talking about it with people because I was mainly looking for people who could lead me in the right direction.  My venture was only two years old and my site contained less than 1000 cartoons. Some of them were fairly good, but remember I was 44 and quite immature for my age, okay immature for a 25 year old’s age, but hey, I was becoming in my mind “The King Of Cartooning”.

     Along the way, online, I  met a very nice guy, a Dr. Vinton Cerf who lived in Washington, D.C as I had done for 12 years.  Vint was a Sr. VP at MCI when it was still open.

     Back then, if I remember correctly broadband was not available, or if it was it was in limited places.  Vint had AOL Online and he had my team draw a graphic of a skeleton with cobwebs sitting at his pc with an alert on his monitor “Welcome To America Online”.  Back then, that was very funny as AOL, Compuserve, NetZero and the  rest were quite slow at connecting, and felt even slower once broadband arrived.    A copy of it still sits on my site in the computer cartoon archives.

     I remember feeling a bit bad at the time because a childhood friend from 1st and 2nd grade, Bob Pittman, after founding and selling MTV, became CEO of AOL for a good many years.  I hope he never saw it but one never knows. I never got an ugly call from him and Vint was happy. He loved to joke about how long it took him to get on the Internet using his trustworthy, but very slow AOL.  

Custom Cartoon for Dr. Vint Cerf, Father Of The Internet by LTCartoons.com. Click to enlarge.

Custom Cartoon for Dr. Vint Cerf, Father Of The Internet by LTCartoons.com. Click to enlarge.

     Well there is more to the story.  Vint was just a sophomore at Stanford in 1969 when he came up with the idea of TCP-IP, the protocol which eventually became the Internet.  Professors and others talked him into selling the rights for awhile to the Pentagon and they called it “Arapnet”.  It was mainly an email communication device between different governmental entities.

     In 1974, Vint learned that will a bit of work, it could go public, but it would take a Congressional vote.  He approached a young (then Congressman from Tn. Named Al Gore who liked the idea and called it the Information Superhighway. 

     That same year he pushed it through Congress and the world had the Internet.  There was not a lot to it except email, bulletin boards and some domains.

     Ten years later an MIT professor named Tim Berners-Lee invented a software called the WWW which would drive the Internet into places we never dreamed imaginable. 

      Suddenly it became a major media and communication device.  The best features at that time were Yahoo!, Hotbot, email, and some bulletin boards.  There was no Google, online college, social media, or anything else that has driven it to become the most important media of our time. 

     Hence the silly little cartoon at the top of the page.  Compare it to the one we did for Vint, and you can see we’ve come a  long way baby along with that little invention of his The Internet. 

    And by the way all these years the joke was NOT on Al Gore. His exact words were, “I created the incentive to invent the Internet”, and in Washington political terms, that is exactly what he did.  Though I’m not a big Al Gore fan, I surely do get a good chuckle when some know it all jokes about Gore and the Internet and has snide know-it-all chesire grin to go with it.

By the way Dr. Vinton Cerf was selected as creative director for Google which is where he remains for about a decade now. Way to go Vint. 

It’s High Time To Laugh by Rick London (My New Line Of Watches) How? Why?

Before much recorded history, there was “fun fiction” called Greek mythology. 

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      One of the most read and famous stories was the one of Narcissus. 

      He was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Leiriope, was an extremely good-looking Greek youth. His beauty ultimately led to his death…if I remember my Greek mythology studies in college I believe he was staring at his reflection in a pond fell in and drowned. 

      I only mention that because, to me, today’s new narcissism is the blog.  Not as intense, but let’s face it.  We humans have a little bit if not a lot of vanity.  We buy products that make us appear younger, unless we are under eighteen and trying to buy beer.  But those fake mustaches look rather silly, and really not worth the trouble. 

     We also now blog.  When I started on the Internet, we all shared our thought’s and opinions on forums and in chat rooms owned and managed by others.  But it gave us our “vanity fix”.  We got the word out, at least our humble opinions right into mainstream media. Ok maybe right into Yahoo! Chat but it sure seemed big time.

      Now I’m like Narcissus staring into an empty page that tells me its a humor blog called “RickLondonSyndication”.  Now tell me that’s not impressive 🙂

     I used to blog a lot and then got busy designing products and writing cartoons and could never seem to find the time.  The other truth is I could never seem to find anything interesting enough to share publicly.  Though it may seem to others that what my very talented nature photography wife Lee Hiller-London and I do is quite glamorous, we are much more often running errands and spraying Deep Woods Off Spray on us before hiking because we tend to get bit a lot.

     But she told me I should blog about some of my cartoons and/or products (cartoon watches in this case)  and I like that idea, even though I don’t know that I will always be accurate as the impetus/motivation of a lot of them come from a series of events, and some from just sitting there, or even meditating in the bathtub.

     Last week she told me one of our main manufacturer/dropshippers “Zazzle” had added a number of new products and one of them was beautiful humorous unisex watches.   Lee and I had just experimented with stopping wearing our watches last month, and I was beginning to miss mine.

     Several events led to the end of my wearing a watch.  I like to buy cheapies because I tend to break or lose watches whether they are Timex or Piaget.  So WalMart watches it was. For awhile anyway, until I went “wrist-naked”.

      Then I saw what I could do with the vintage mens/womens watches provided by Zazzle.  I can add my cartoons on some, my love quote graphics and quotes on some, and even add some to my famous wisdom quote shop.  This could be hot.   So I was off to the races last week, creating at least 10-15 watches per day (I digitally design them on my pc and Zazzle provides the software).

      So here I am hyping myself, my watches and my talent as if it is something I just take for granted.  Please note that I believe God has been very very good to me. I live in a town that is paradise.  I have a wonderful wife.  My businesses make a living.  I’m fifty nine, but I’m not in bed all day.  I work, I hike in the mountains, I admire the beauty of nature and commune and actually talk to the animals in the forest.  But yesterday we were in the forest on a mountain far, far away, and I realized, “Hey Rick, no watch”.  Then I thought, “Rick, you could buy one of your own”.

     “Whoaaa, I thought to myself.  My watches admittedly look good (sticks toe in reflecting pond)….but would WalMart ever let me forget that I bought one of mine and not theirs?

      Does it really matter?  Am I the only person on the planet who feels guilt that long ago I told Walmart I loved their watches and would always buy them there.   Do I think they will now go under because Rick didn’t buy his next watch there?

     I hope you like my new Rick London watch I will be buying next week.  I will post a photo of it, but shhhhh….please don’t tell WalMart. 

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zazzle gift watches

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Rick London is an author, musician, designer and cartoonist.  He is best known for launching Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 in an abandoned Ms. tin shed/warehouse.  LTCartoons.com has since become Google and Bing’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts