You Don’t Care About This One Bit. Which Is Why You Should Watch It.

John Oliver Last Week R=TonightI’d like everyone I know to watch this clip. (Spoiler Alert… it contains some salty language…) In this video, John Oliver from HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” explains the latest developments in the United Kingdom, a “snap election,” most importantly in regards to Brexit.

BORING!!!!!

Yes, folks, this is a video about something that largely does not affect most Americans on a daily basis. Most of us could not honestly state what we have at stake regarding Brexit, including me. And that’s precisely why I want you to watch it. I wasn’t sure what to think going in. Chances are, you weren’t, either. But it’s an opportunity to look at how some of us get our news and analysis, and it’s illuminating.

Please I beg of you, watch this.

The right wing in the US talks about “fake news” and complains that the left gets its information from fake, silly sources. Condemning major news sources like CNN, MSNBC and others is ridiculous, especially given the blatant, obvious, blatantly obvious, obviously blatant conservative slant of Fox News. But I can sort of see, a tiny bit, how you can toss off our love for Keith Olbermann, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, or Tom Tomorrow, and (finally what took him so long???) Stephen Colbert. They’re just making a bunch of jokes, right?

So, here is John Oliver explaining something you know or care very little about. It’s funny, it’s ridiculous, and it is… very informative. Deeply informative. You will actually learn a lot from this clip while being entertained. But in the end, it is a thoughtful, in-depth analysis of a news story, one that can’t be summed up in a Tweet. And you might even end up caring about this issue one way or another.

We get the same thing from Olbermann, Bee, Noah, Meyers, Tomorrow, and Colbert. I’d rather sit through a 12-to-20 minute segment of news analysis with jokes than to claim to get my news from 140 characters of incomplete sentences and dubious sources. The takeaway is that an entertaining news source with some jokes and entertainment added can still be a valid, smart, informative place to get your news. And by the way, Olbermann isn’t even trying to be funny anymore. It’s that serious.

I’ve mentioned this before… I do check in with Fox News on a daily basis to see how they spin any major story (spoiler alert… it’s usually the opposite of just about any other source). It hurts my head to do it, but I do it. I really want to understand how some of you came to believe the reality that you sincerely think is real. I’d like you to do the same for me.

Dig deeper. Look at the other side. Spend time thinking instead of being told what to think.

john oliver walrus porn

“Make Hay While the Sun Shines?” No, You Do It, I’m Busy!

hay bales“Make hay while the sun shines.”

No. I’m not falling for that. I do not have the mechanisms nor the facilities to make hay regardless of whether the sun is shining or not. I don’t live on a farm, pal. So get lost with that inspirational quote.

What you’re really trying to do is sucker me into the haymaking business, which is a total pyramid scheme, and a scam. A pyramid scam. A pyramid made of hay. Do you know what happens when you build a pyramid out of hay? The big bad wolf blows the whole thing down with one puff, that’s what happens!

“Oh, well, make small amounts of hay for your own use then.”

“Horsehockey,” I say! I don’t even need hay, except maybe one or two bales a year for my chickens. What am I going to do with all that extra hay? Oh, right I can sell it?

fight clubI don’t need artisanal boutique hay, and you’re not going to buy it from me at the farmers market, either. It’s the same reason I don’t make my own soap. You know what happens when you make your own soap? You end up in a Fight Club, that’s what! Do you have any idea what goes on in a Fight Club? Do you have any idea how much capital investment you need to get into the haymaking business? Let’s take a look…

Big farm machine

• Big plot of land
• Thresher/Combine/Harvester contraption. Is that one machine, or several?
• Hay seeds.
• A committed work force of respected, fairly-compensated workers.
• Pesticides. Horrible, horrible pesticides. Those aren’t free unless they blow over from your neighbor’s farm.

See, it’s a business scam.

I mean, the storage alone, if I wanted to get into the haymaking business, (which I don’t by the way) would be expensive and take way too much space. And how much time does it take? Normally, I would feel inspired to draw comics while I have the opportunity, but now I’m stuck in the haymaking business all day? This is the worst business advice ever. It probably came from some stupid money making system video on VHS that you have to pay for… which is the real way the dude in the video makes money, by selling you these stupid tapes. Do you even have a VCR? You just got played.

With all that’s involved, you might as well say “Refine your own oil products for fun and profit while the sun shines.” Or “Get rich quick by building your own interstellar spaceship.” Bah!

I can just hear the lobbyists from the Haymaking Industrial Complex in Washington, D.C.:

Mr. Big Hayseed: We need to find a way to increase sales of our seeds!
Mr. Big Farm Equipment: And our farm machinery. Sure, our machines look cool and every six year old wants to drive them, but that doesn’t pay the bills!
Mr. Big Farm Real Estate (Yes, they’re all white, male, cigar-chompers… did you expect otherwise from the people who are trying to sell you out?): And I need to sell more land, especially the kind with hay storage facilities!
Mr. Bigly “President”: I just invented this expression, this hugely big expression, “Make hay while the sun shines.” Have you heard it before? I just made it up. I used the best words.
Mr. Big Hayseed: Perfect! We’ll use that as our slogan! Here’s our checks!
Mr. Big Pesticide: Can I pay slightly less than you guys? I’ve already spent a lot on contributions, and I’m kinda tapped out at the moment.

And there it is. You have been bought and sold and processed and consumed by Big Hay. Well, I’m not falling for it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to kick back and binge watch Netflix all day. Those shows aren’t going to watch themselves.

Sorry I haven’t been blogging. I wrote a book instead.

Yep, that’s right. I wrote a book over the last six weeks or so. It’s called “Awful Activities: A Jumbo Compendium of Stuff to do for Immature Adults.”

awful activities ron ruelleWhat did you do during that time?

Oh, you didn’t write a book? Well, then, shut yer yap.

To say I “wrote” a book is a bit of a stretch… I wrote and drew a book. Does that diminish or enhance your views of my accomplishment? Well, let’s frame it this way… Did you write/and/or/draw a book in that time? Okay, then.

So it’s an activity book with one big illustration and a caption on most pages… you, the reader, are supposed to fill in the rest. Wow, so one big doodle and a few words, and suddenly I’m William J. D. Shakespallinger? Of course not. Let’s be honest, this book is rotten and naughty and lowbrow and kind of stupid. I admit, I aimed pretty low here. Does that mean I’m embarrassed by it? Hell no. It was still a lot of work, and I’m supremely proud of this thing. Despite the low ambitions, I think it’s pretty dang funny. And it should bring a lot of snarky happiness to folks worldwide. In fact, I expect it to by my best seller to date. Is that something to hide from? No. It is not.


why did daddy become an atheist


Here’s how it came to be… In December, I was thinking about attending an upcoming comics show in Denver, DINK, the Denver Independent Comics Expo (Most of the letters in “DINK” appear in that title, just roll with it…). So I psyched and prepped myself to finish a graphic novel that had been in hiatus in time for the show. I was… INSPIRED!

what is betsy buryingAnd then… I didn’t get accepted to the event. Crud. But do you think I threw a pity party? Hell, yes, I did! It was a multi kegger of a party with taquitos and many pizzas!!! But eventually I got over it. Then a few weeks later, they announced the next round of folks who could get into the show, and I was in! Woohoo! Except I had lost all momentum as well as a few weeks of drawing on the book, and had to weigh the costs of buying a table. And in even the most optimistic scenarios, I was unlikely to finish the book I had been trying to finish with the quality of art and storytelling that I had hoped for. So, screw it.

Dang. Enter Charles Brubaker, one of my cartoon pals who I have known for a long time despite not actually ever meeting in person. He’s from Tennessee, y’all, and needed a place to stay for the show, and long story long, I agreed to share his table in exchange for room and board and transportation (bonus… on the way to Denver, we get to use the HOV lanes for free with an extra rider in the car!).

offensive cereal spokescharacterSo yay, I was still excited about the show, but had lost several weeks of drawing time for the book. Now what? Well, when they aim low, I aim even lower… I had been toying with the idea of an adult coloring book for awhile, and thought I could make that happen in short notice. The idea evolved into more of an activity book, which requires fewer crayons so that’s a good thing.

Important note… quickly cranking out a piece of work does not fully equate to shoddy production values, half-assed creativity or cynical exploitation. Sure, my new book has all of that, but I actually cared deeply about giving the reader the best lowbrow entertainment I could manufacture in a month. And I’m damn proud of it.

awful activities ron ruelleSo let me ask you again… what fantastical piece of art or pop culture did you create in the last couple of months? I believe everyone… EVERYONE… has one at least good book inside them. One novel, one comic book, one cookbook, one manifesto, one collector’s guide to the world of Stretch Armstrong toys (I would sooooooo buy that book!). Or maybe one album or one painting or one poem. It can be something heartbreakingly beautiful that will bring the world to tears, or something that makes us all slam on the brakes and confront the lie that is our reality face to face, or something lowbrow and stupid that sells a lot of copies and makes people happy for a few minutes. Whatever.

Awful Activities” is my latest offering from my canon of excellently crafted and/or hurriedly scribbled comics. What’s yours?


trailer trash talkAnd now for something truly inspiring… I dedicated this book to some friends who are writers, but who haven’t quite gotten around to publishing that first book. Hopefully this will provide a motivational boost to get over that hump. Here are links to their blogs and/or other online creative outlets.

Tina Foster Caldwell writes from a vintage camping trailer parked on the back nine of her fabulous estate. Sometimes the trailer ventures out into the world. Do not cut her off in traffic.

Sally Holland is a journalist who lends her sense of truth to assorted fables, fairy tales, and fantastical stories.

Joe Wolfe-Mazeres is a music writer, radio host, and novelist who prefers writing acoustically on an old IBM Selectric because it makes his words sound warmer and more authentic.

Renee Gordon writes mostly about her two sons: smart, creative little firecrackers who tend to find the loopholes in any instruction or logical argument provided to them.

Every one of these folks now owes me a signed first edition of their books.


“Awful Activities” is available on my website. But you figured that out, right.

Super Bowl Preview: The Devil and Tom Brady

It’s been reported that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady eats a super strict diet of very boring food every day, which is perhaps the key to him playing at the peak of his talent as he nears the age of 40. I have a different theory…

tom brady devilScene: Patriots training camp, 2001: A young Tom Brady sits on the bench admiring the starter, Drew Bledsoe practicing. A shadowy, menacing figure sits next to him.

Shadowy, Menacing Figure: That could be you someday.

Tom Brady: Gosh, I don’t know. He’s pretty good.

SMF: I could perhaps help you to become the starting quarterback.

TB: That would be… hey, who are you?

SMF: Let’s just say I can make anything happen for a small price. You want to be the starting QB for the Patriots?

TB: Sure, that’d be neat.

SMF: Great, I can arrange for a little “accident…”

TB: Whoa, you can’t kill Mr. Bledsoe!

SMF: No, no, no…. I would never do that. Well, actually, I could do that sort of thing, but maybe he could get a little injury, just enough to put you in the game. Just to give you a chance to shine. Then you do the rest. Fair enough?

TB: I dunno…

SMF: Look, he can’t play forever! He’s had a great career! Time for him to let you have a crack at it!

TB: I guess so… Wait, if he can’t play forever, then I can’t play forever, either. I want to play forever! Can we make that part of the deal?

SMF: Hmmm… How ’bout you play into your 40s, as one of the all time “elite” quarterbacks? And then you gracefully retire when you’re ready, at the top of your game! Bunch of titles, lots of records, Hall of Fame…

TB: Okay, but I want to make lots of money, too!

SMF: Ouch. That’s tricky… You can get paid pretty well, but there’s a salary cap. Hard to circumvent that sort of thing. Unless…

TB: Unless what?

SMF: How ‘bout  your supermodel wife gets to make as much money as possible?

TB: Wait, I get to marry a supermodel?

SMF: Sure, why not? And she’ll be really cool with a great personality.

TB: Wait, is she attractive?

SMF: She’s a supermodel!

TB: It’s just that you said she has a “great personality.” Anytime someone first says, “she has a great personality,” they’re usually suggesting she might not be that attractive. I don’t mean to be shallow…

SMF: She. Is. A. Super. Model. Amazingly good looks kind of goes with the territory. You have my word. Anyway, she can be the breadwinner, to skirt around your salary cap issue. And you can make commercials and stuff, too.

TB: Okay. But I want us to be happily married the whole time.

SMF: Dang, that’s where I usually get everyone! That’s where I got Tiger Woods!

TB: The golfer?

SMF: Yep! He forgot to ask me about getting along with his supermodel wife forever. Just wait, that is gonna be a doozy!

TB: There’s always a catch, right?

SMF: Well, that’s how it works. Anyway, what do you think? Long, fantastic career as a football player, more money than you can ever spend, supermodel wife with a good personality, what could possibly go wrong?

TB: Do I get to win all the time?

SMF: Not all the time. First, that would look highly suspicious. Second, it would get boring. Third… other people have wishes that need to be fulfilled too. But you get to win a lot.

TB: Makes sense. Mister, you have a deal! Where do I sign?

SMF: HA! Gotcha! Here’s the catch… you never get to eat pizza again! Or Mexican food! Or beer! You will subsist on a diet of quinoa, simple grains, boring vegetables and lean meat! Bwahahahahaha!

TB: But I love quinoa!

SMF: Aw, crud. Oh well, a deal’s a deal.

TB: Cool, what’s your name?

SMF: Just call me “Coach.”
————–

As for my Super Bowl Preview… Patriots 38, Falcons 31. Enjoy the game!

Too Soon! I Told the First Challenger Explosion Joke

For a lot of Americans, we share a bond of “Where were you when…?” and fill in the blank for some nation-altering event. Where were you when you heard Pearl Harbor was bombed? When you heard JFK was shot? When Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar lander? When you first heard 9/11 was happening?

space shuttle challenger

Depending on your age, maybe you weren’t born yet, or not yet cognizant of certain national tragedies and triumphs. At some point in college, I decided I should not date anyone born before the JFK assassination or after the first moon landing, the rationale being: I debuted about halfway between those events, and if we never have anything else in common, at least we both were around (or not around) for those events.

If you are of a certain age, the question is, “Where were you when you heard the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded?” I was a sophomore at the University of Tennessee. Specifically, I was in the entrance lobby of Clement Hall, my dorm, standing near the Ms. Pac-Man game (it was the sit-down version where two players sat opposite each other waiting for their turn.) I ran into my friend Mary, someone I had known since grade school. She asked me if there were any current events that were worthy of mentioning in her journalism class that she was running late for. Someone nearby offered, “Hey, isn’t there a shuttle launch today?”

And here’s where it gets surreal. I, completely unaware of what had actually just happened, jokingly said, “Yeah… and it crashed and blew up!” Mary didn’t believe me, so I urged her to walk around the corner to the TV lounge where a group of students were watching the launch… or rather, they were watching the horrifying aftermath. And my jaw dropped further than it ever had before. Some joke.

I felt a pang of guilt for several hours after, wondering if I had caused the disaster with my flippant remark. I decided that it was way too egotistical of me to assume I had that kind of power, and got over the guilt. In retrospect, it may have been the first joke ever told about the Challenger explosion.

So that’s where I was 31 years ago today. Funny how you remember stuff like that.

¡Punctuation and Grammar Need Work!

symbol swearingI had an idea while I was writing late last night; the middle of the night is my most productive creative time; I’m sort of like Batman that way but without going all vigilante; so behold the Oxford semicolon! Cool, it’sn’t?

Another thing you may have noticed; I was also wondering why the double contraction is not a thing; because it is not. It isn’t. It’s not.
Why not “It’sn’t?”
That’s fun to say out loud, it’sn’t?
Whyn’t try using that? Yes, “whyn’t” should be a legal contraction as well.

¡Henceforth, let’sn’t write without correcting these oversights! ¡And we should start using those upside-down exclamation marks at the beginning of sentences like they do in Spanish!

¡See, when Mexico sends us punctuation, they send us the best punctuation! ¿Don’t you love knowing ahead of time if the words you’re reading are a question, or if you’re supposed to yell them? ¡¡¡We should start using those upside down warning pucnts immediately!!!

!That’sn’t an exclamation mark at the beginning of this sentence; it’s an upside-down semicolon; I think you should have the right to know if a semicolon is forthcoming in a compound sentence. !Sadly, there is no “upside-down semicolon” button on the keyboard; someone should work on that posthaste.

lovely night¡!Now I’m yelling at you; with my new punctuation rules everyone should have seen the yelling and the semicolons in this sentence from a mile away! ¿See how well that works?

¡$%^&¢*€‹›‡! Sorry… That was just me “symbol swearing” at you. ¿Did you notice I had the courtesy to use the Mexipunct at the start of all that profanity? !:Note to reader: I haven’t figured out what to call those upside-down prepuncts yet; “prepunct” seems like a good word; this sentence also featured a completecolon, hence the upside-down completecolon preceding this sentence. In Spanish, they just call this “inverted punctiation”. If you say it like a soccer announcer, and in Spanish, it sounds more exciting.

:Observe:
“¡Estoy utilizando la puntuación invertida en esta sentencia! ¡¡¡¡¡Goooooooooooooooooal!!!!!”

But in English, “inverted punctuation” sounds lame. ¡I’lln’t sleep until this is corrected!

bartolo colon
¿Cómo usted dice los “dos puntos” en español? ¡Bartolo Colon! ¡¡¡¡¡Goooooooooooooooooal!!!!!

¡!: Re: “completecolon”: There should be a word for “colon” that’sn’t easily confused with that thing in your body up in which they shove a camera to look for lumps when you turn 50; happy birthday to me! /The whole colon/semicolon thing suggests that one is superior to the other. ¿BTW, did you notice I used an upside-down slash to warn you that a slash was coming? ¡You’re welcome!

!There’s a North Dakota and a South Dakota; there’s a North Carolina and a South of the Border; they sound equal. ¡!/But the whole Virginia/West Virginia dichotomy suggests one came before the other and is more important; sources inform me this may indeed be the case! /We should fix that for colon/semicolon. ¡Henceforth, I shall call it the completecolon!

South of the Border
¡Pedro le acoge con satisfacción al sur de la frontera!

:There is an upside-down completecolon at the beginning of this sentence and it means one thing: a completecolon will be used in this sentence.

!There’sn’t a button to make an upside-down completecolon forepunct; if there were, it would just look like a regular completcolon. Let’sn’t waste any more time before getting on that task.

):¡(Note to self: get on that whole “upside-down completecolon” thing; while you’ren’t sleeping, you should also invent a warnpunct for an upside-down parenthesis that doesn’t just look backwards; we’re going to need those too; this sentence used one, and it looked awful in hindsight and foresight.)

¡And we should all start speaking with hashtags!

#weshouldallstartspeakingwithhashtags #letstalkabouthashtagsinanothercolumn #Poundsign #octothorpe

Which Chocolate Chip Cookie, Sausage Ball, or Rock Are You? A Quiz

rock sausage ball cookie

Here’s a Quiz to determine once and for all… Which Chocolate Chip Cookie, Sausage Ball, or Rock Are You? Answer as honestly as you can, and check to see which one you are. You can only be one!

A man leaves New York by train at 7:00 am local time. How long until he is in Philadelphia?
Time is irrelevant to a rock.
The train is in Europe, so he needs to go to an airport first.
He has been in Philly the entire time.

Do you have any pets? What are their names?
Pepper, Love and Stunt.
Charles, Rudy and Nigel.
I have pet rocks named Checker, Mint, and Checker II.

dave matthews rocksDo you think “Are you into Dave Matthews?” is a safe conversation starter for hitting on a stranger, and if so, why?
Yes, way awesome.
No, N’awesome pas.
I love Dave Matthews. He rocks. But you shouldn’t talk about him.

What is your favorite movie spoiler ending?
Harry Potter dies in all 8 movies.
Luke finds out Princess Leia is a rock.
Rosebud turns out to be the real killer.
SPOILER ALERT! THE PREVIOUS QUESTION HAS THEM!

Can you follow instructions?
Check the box below this one.
Do not check this box if you are a rock.
Check this box if you agree boxes should remain unchecked.

If you were on a table at a party, who would eat you?
Everyone (unless they have gluten allergies).
Vegetarians (but only on a cheat day).
Someone who keeps kosher (but only when no one is looking).

survey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey buttonsurvey button

Goodbye to Some of My “Friends”

trump bibleI said goodbye to some old friends in the past few days.

By “friends” I mean they were friends on Facebook. And by “said goodbye,” I mean I just hit the “unfriend” button and moved on. No explanation needed, although in the unfriending process, the explanation becomes invisible anyway.

I only joined Facebook reluctantly several years ago, when my high school graduating class was planning a reunion. By joining, I was instantly reconnected with a lot of folks from my past. Some were dear friends I hadn’t talked to in years. Some were people I barely knew, but that was cool. Many reminded me of why I had moved on with my life and not looked back much in the first place.

As it turns out, I didn’t even go to that reunion. I haven’t been back to my home town in over ten years, in fact. Hmmm.

It seems that after looking at their posts and seeing their photos and arguing over things both petty and important, I saw the need to begin culling some of them from the list. It’s a wonder more of them didn’t unfriend me first. I can be somewhat… abrasive, I’ll admit. But in getting to know them again, it became obvious… They had changed. I had changed, too. After while, I hate to say it, it became too much work to hang onto what was left of the strings that once tied us together. It’s nothing personal. But I have things I need to do and so do they. It’s okay to move on.

On the other hand, some of them turned out be kindred spirits in ways I never would have imagined, and I came to regret not knowing them better along the way. That’s been fun.

The election of 2008 happened just before I jumped on the Faceblogs. But by the time the election of 2012 rolled around, it brought irreconcilable differences to light. Major friendship test right there. And yet, I stayed friends with a lot of people who voted differently from me, who believed differently from me, because at least they weren’t gloating tools about it.

Sadly, the election of 2016 was the last straw. After eight years of putting up with the unrelenting barbs against what I believed in, I did some final fine tuning. I unfriended a lot of folks during the primaries for both parties (and several dispatched with me as well). And as election day approached, I could not believe what some of these folks were posting (and vice versa, I’m sure). The day after the election was sheer carnage. But today, as the orange one was officially sworn in, I could not take it any more. I thought the purge was complete from both ends. I tried to stay off the Faceblogs. And yet… there were arguments. There were people telling me to get over it, people telling me to ignore all that animosity towards the last president, people telling me to suck it up and be nice.

Nope, sorry, that’s too big a fence to mend at the moment. Might even be a border wall, if you think about it.

I can have respectful conversations with people if that respect goes both ways. But more and more, that’s not been the case. (And again, I must reiterate, I have become less tolerant of those who are not tolerant of my tolerances. Sorry.) If I ever see some of these folks again in the real world, maybe we’ll sit down and talk. Maybe we’ll laugh at old times. We can still be friends in real life. But I don’t want to be friends with your online persona. I don’t want to see your unresearched memes or your links to parts of the web that make my skin crawl.

Just because we have a history doesn’t mean we need to have a present. Or a future. It’s nothing personal. Maybe we’ll be friends again. Or at least “friends.” Dunno. (“Shrug” emoticon.)

This is where I get off. This is where I leave you. You know how to reach me, but do you know how to reach out to me?

Postmodern Postmortem: “Waffles and Beer” by Ron Ruelle

An exciting new art retrospective has opened at the Museum of Ron’s Basement, called “The Acrylic Art School Images of Ron Ruelle.” Today we will focus in depth on his signature piece from the “Painting and Mimosas” phase of his career, Waffles and Beer as seen below:waffles and beer

This is believed to be the only copy in existence of this painting, though other interlopers have attempted to recreate it, retroactively and proactively. To say whether any other version is better is a moot point. This is the one and only version done by Ron.

Overall, this is a tremendous departure for an artist primarily known for his cartoon work. Generally speaking, Ruelle has traditionally utilized black lines to separate areas of color in his art, as well as clear areas containing words that represent “spoken” utterances from the characters (or in some cases, objects) in the art.polar bear eating ice cream in snow

None of these techniques were used in Waffles and Beer, with the artist bravely reaching outside his comfort zone (or area of competence) by even attempting such a piece.

The sheer size of the piece, 457.2 by 609.6 (mm), is a theme borrowed from his comics era, in which original art has been created at such large sizes but ultimately intended to be viewed from great distances such as to minimize flaws. An earlier phase that began in the early 1990s reversed this trend by rendering small comics in very large, blurry, sketchy lines that magnified the flaws; even with mixed reviews, art from the “very large, blurry, sketchy lines that magnified the flaws” phase of his career can sell for large sums. Observe how the piece looks when viewed from farther away:

waffles and beer

The necessity to shrink the art or see it from a distance is a technique that has been used throughout history to help viewers better understand art. One is reminded of “The Mystery of the Shrinking House,” a fictional adventure featuring Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators (or more controversially, Hector Sebastian, a name Hitchcock apparently used when he wished to disown his works.) A look at the cover of this book at normal size reveals little. However, shrinking it down, and in turn, shrinking the house even further sheds new light on the story, as the red and white awning on the house becomes increasingly obvious with the shrinkage. Observe this book cover at two different sizes:

three investigators

As the awning on the house becomes the only distinguishing feature, it’s apparent that a sideways chunk of the awning is the clue that holds the secret to a hidden art masterpiece. An article about a piece of art that needs to be shrunk to be appreciated, contains a reference to a book with a cover that needs to be shrunk to appreciate a hidden piece of art.

By the way, SPOILER ALERT!!!! THE PREVIOUS TWO PARAGRAPHS CONTAIN THEM. NEXT TIME, I WILL WARN YOU IN ADVANCE. MY APOLOGIES, ALTHOUGH IT’S LIKE A 40 YEAR-OLD BOOK, SO YOU SHOULD HAVE READ IT BY NOW. I CAN’T AVOID THE INTERNET FOR YOU!

I also apologize for yelling in the spoiler alert. It’s hard to take back what I said and how I said it, because it’s hard to uncapitalize something once you’ve read it.

As for “Waffles and Beer,” this piece jumps off the controversy bridge with its name, as the original inspiration for the beverage in the painting was orange juice, or possibly a mimosa, but the title of the painting suggests it was changed to beer at some point. Observe the hyperrealistic bubbles, not seen in orange juice, possibly seen in a mimosa.beer or orange juiceThe painting also goes off the perspective rails at first glance with the giant, hovering fork and knife, which suggest they are at great height, unable to cast a shadow over what must be a very large waffle. fork and berriesAlso, the details buy a ticket on the hindsight train, with the berries seeming like they should be bigger, unless they are the size of, say, large dogs, and the waffles are the size of a house, if that house were not shrinking like the one on the book cover..waffle and berries

Things also spin off course from the textural merry-go-round when looking at the golden flakiness of the waffles… will syrup be added, or would a pat of butter, some powdery white substance, and cow-sized fruit be enough to make this an important part of your nutritious breakfast? If you look closer..waffle and berries

Closer…waffle and berries

Too close!waffle and berries

Then, the artist’s good manners leap off the judgment pier when it becomes clear that he is already eating, but has not placed the napkin on his lap.napkin

Finally, the reader is run over by metaphorical bumper cars, by the simple question: Do the waffles and beer signal a literal desire to have waffles and beer for breakfast, or something deeper, such as the desire to consume these delicacies for a later meal such as lunch, dinner, or even tomorrow’s breakfast?

The artist leaves that interpretation to you, as he has reached his total required word count and wishes to be left alone with his late night snack of beer and waffles.