“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.

“¡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

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?

Cheer Up! Lots of People Didn’t Die in 2016 !

dumpster fireEveryone keeps referring to 2016 as the dumpster fire that never quit burning. It seemed like every few days someone who made a brilliant mark on this world died. But it wasn’t all bad… here are some folks who didn’t die in 2016 . (I waited until 12:01 AM, January 1 to post it just to make sure no one on the list died at the last minute.)

james stewart
James Stewart

catwoman joker
Cesar Romero and Eartha Kitt

bob denver
Bob Denver (Little Buddy!)

Abraham Lincoln
Abe Lincoln

helen keller
Helen Keller

This inflatable dinosaur and friends

kurt cobain
Kurt Cobain

lemmy motorhead
Lemmy from Møtørhead

ronald reaganRonald Reagan

ray nitschke
Ray Nitschke

styx albums
That Guy from Styx (No, that other guy)

charles schulz
Charles Schulz

matchbox flying bug
The Guy driving this car

jon lovitz
Jon Lovitz

Paul Newman
Paul Newman

nighthawks edward hopperJames Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and that guy behind the counter in that famous painting.

Doesn’t that make you feel better?

2016 Didn’t Totally Suck … Here’s Some Stuff I Enjoyed

dumpster fireWell, 2016 was not optimized for maximum enjoyment. But to prove that 2016 didn’t totally suck, here’s a bunch of stuff, mostly pop culture things, that I really dug this past year. I stand to not gain financially from most of these links, so this is my gift to you.

beck wow
So there’s apparently a new album from Beck forthcoming. In the meantime, this song makes me happy. Wow!!!

steve burnsDo you like unicorns? Do you like rainbows? Ever wonder what Steve from Blue’s Clues has been up to for the last 15 years or so? He’s been rocking out big time, that’s what. Here’s a clip from his upcoming psychedelic record that will be adult and kid friendly.

south of franceI went to a concert by one of my idols, Bob Mould, in April. I stood five feet from his microphone as he ripped the shit out of a vast history of his material from Hüsker Dü, Sügar, and his solo würk. Despite his terrific performance, I was even more entranced by the heretofore-unknown-to-me opening act, South of France, from Denver. They delivered shimmering, bright, reverb-filled pop songs that had the audience (most of whom also had never heard of them) singing along. I went home and downloaded their entire catalog.

yellowsubmarineThe Yellow Submarine lives on in Hot Wheels and Lego form! Collect all both of them!

deadpoolNot since Robocop and South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, have I seen a movie crack its knuckles and ask, “You wanna see some R-rated entertainment? Well, this is going to be big, naughty fun!” Deadpool delivered in so many ways, right from the opening credits.

zootopiaThen again, not every movie had to be raunchy… Zootopia was a smart, beautifully animated, lushly detailed, kid-friendly flick juxtaposing some dark plot twists and uplifting moments. And those dancing tigers! Grrrr!

samantha beeIn the absence of Jon Stewart and “Stephen Colbert,” I had to find new heroes as my news sources. John Oliver rose to the occasion. So did Keith Olbermann. The “real” Stephen Colbert is finding his groove. But the the most pleasant/angry surprise was Samantha Bee calling the Cheeto grifter a “crotch fondling slab of rancid meatloaf” among other things.

josh blueIf you don’t know him, comedian Josh Blue is unnervingly hilarious. Belinda and I saw him in Boulder testing new material for his upcoming tour. The disclaimers that it was only a test, no refunds, was unnecessary.

daft scienceDo you like the Beastie Boys? Do you like Daft Punk? If not, I don’t want to know you… so here’s Daft Science, a mix of both by DJ Coins. It’s a couple years old, but I just found it this past fall.

super bowl 50Trigger warning for folks in New England or Carolina… Super Bowl 50 was a lot of fun for folks in Colorado, at least. Never mind the following season quickly turning into a disaster, at least the Denver Broncos gave some hope to folks around here that 2016 wouldn’t suck completely…

spock leaning on a rivieraYou may be cool, but you’ll never be Spock-leaning-on-a-Riviera cool. And if you didn’t act fast this summer, you didn’t get your hands on this miniature version of that iconic photo.

pee wee hermanPee-wee Herman’s blog. Because being a grown up is overrated. This is where I get the rest of my news, by the way…

Now let us never speak of 2016 again!

This is a test of the Ron Blogcasting System

No, seriously, this is just an experimental post to see if this is working. Just testing to make sure links work, too. This is a test of the Ron Blogcasting System

Love that costume! Oh, good, the captions work!

Random thoughts I borrowed from somethere to test how well this works… Some ad wants me to enter my last name to discover its origin. It’s “Cockroach.” It’s a giant disgusting bug. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it. It’s just who I am. Oh, and I crawled all over your waffle iron last night. Hope you washed it before you made breakfast. Actaully, I am kind of proud.

I watched a lot of sports on TV this weekend. Such wonderful displays of physicality and athleticism. There was some good sportsmaniciousness and effortation as well. I felt a sense of excitementalotomy while witnessing the competitionosity.

Great. Now that “Starbucks’ December holiday festival of no particular denomination” have leaked, we can now speculate on whether the War on Christmas has begun. By the way, I hope they don’t really leak. That would be messy.

Thanks for not reading this post.