Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Good Carmen


I suppose riffing on the Culture Club song Karma Chameleon with a Carmen Miranda theme dates me. I want to go on the record though that I never could stand Culture Club, Boy George or any of the ear worm songs they inflicted on the world.

I remember laying on a beach at a Club Med in Martinique and the French club host kept playing Culture Club ad nauseum. I can still hear Boy George  singing over and over, "Do you really want to hurt me?" And I kept thinking, yes, I really want to hurt you for this crappy music.

The kicker was Culture Club was popular in the mid-1980s and I was at the Club Med in the late 1990s. The music at the Club sucked. Every night after dinner they would play "YMCA" by the Village People. It was almost as bad as having to dance to the Macarena over and over again on cruise ships. 

But I did.

The Club Med wasn't a good experience for me. I was rapidly approaching 40 and I think it was a mid-life crisis thing. I was older than most of the people at the Club. A good portion of them were European (mainly French) and didn't like Americans. I had sprung for a single room (which is frowned upon at Club Meds). They didn't have televisions in the cabanas. All they had were these twin beds and sparse furnishings because they assumed you wouldn't spend any time in the rooms. The room looked like something I would expect to find in a convent. 

The booze was also horrifically expensive so you couldn't really drink enough to stumble back to your room at night and pass out. So I spent many long, sleepless nights. Alone. Some of the younger people were probably hooking up, but I wasn't. 

I did meet this Pharmacist from Detroit who I hung out with. I do believe he did hook up.

I do remember the Club Med hosts spent lots of time trying to get us to participate in things called "Whacky Olympics." All we really wanted to do was lay on the beach until lunch and then lay on the beach again until dinner. Oh, there was a happy hour where you could get two for one beers that we worked in there. And there was free wine at dinner but you couldn't leave the dining room with it.

There was a disco but it didn't get started until midnight or so and it played more music in the Culture Club genre. 

In retrospect, Club Med sucked swamp water.

Oh well, I got a great t-shirt that lasted me a few years and made me look like I was semi hip.

Monday, April 29, 2024



I partially read another article on Apple News today that texting people the single word "Hey" creates anxiety in people. This surprised me because I get these types of texts quite often from telephone numbers I don't recognize and if I respond with my usual witty responses like the one above, they usually respond with an offer to send me photos. This is where I block them and report them as scammers because I'm assuming they aren't going to send me photos of their cat and whatever I respond the next request will likely be for cash.

But hey.

This design started out with the idea to quote Dory from Finding Nemo about "Just keep swimming." But then I Googled it and found out a shitload of people have already done that shirt. So I messed around with Art AI and a design for "Just keep treading water" and it was having trouble with the concept and kept giving me images of what looked like synchronized swimming teams (which really didn't make any sense even for someone with artificial intelligence). Finally I prompted it (it hasn't shared any pronouns with me so I need to refer to Art AI as it)  to give me a design for "Only dead fish go with the stream." It came up with some goods ones. I half expected images of dead, bloated fish bodies bobbing along on a stream but Art was being a bit more creative.

I like that this fish is contemplating the whole concept of going with the stream. Because at some point in your life you need to choose the path you are going to take.

Which will you choose?

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Fairy Godfather


I'll post this design here because I figure it is only a matter of time before the Intellectual Property Police (or the IPP for those of you who crave acronyms) swoop in and complain that I am infringing upon Marlon Brando's or Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather Intellectual Property. To which I would like to reply, "I didn't see the no trespassing sign."

In all fairness, Art AI gave me a more generic Vito Corleone but I wanted someone who looked like Don Corleone and not Don Pardo. Art AI created the Fair Godfather title that really looks like the Godfather movie title all on its artificial intelligence self. 

I think it is hilarious myself. But lawyers have no sense of humor.

Art AI seemed to struggle with my design suggestions today. Maybe it was the topics I chose. 

I want to go on record that this design looks almost nothing like the one Art AI gave me. I asked for a balloon animal made out of inflated condoms with reservoir tips. It gave me something that looked more like a balloon float in the Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade. So I borrowed the background and the title and pieced together the Trojan Horse I pictured.  I am pretty frickin' proud of it too.

Though it strikes me that if the Godfather people come after me the Trojan Horses head may end up on my pillow some night.

Still, wouldn't it be great to hire a killer clown for a bachelor's party and have him create balloon animals with inflated condoms?

A clown like this perhaps:

 This is pretty esoteric. It is supposed to be a cross between Bozo the Clown and Zippy the Pinhead. Art AI interpreted "Pinhead" to be a clown with actual pins sticking out of his head. The "Hey kids, are we fun yet" is a combination of Bozo's catchphrase "Hey kids, let's have some fun!" (which is kind of creepy in itself) and Zippy the Pinheads catchphrase "Are we having fun yet?"

I seriously doubt if anyone who hasn't read this post will have clue what I was going for with Zippo the Clownhead. The lighter is an homage to Zippo lighters.

Ironically I read a portion of an article on Apple News today about how traumatic it is for people to set themselves on fire to protest things. The article was written by a guy whose mother set herself on fire in her kitchen when he was a little kid and how it still bothers him

I wanted to write a comment on the article to the effect of, "Don't get all fired up over it."

I have to say that I am pretty disappointed in the quality of the articles Apple News showcases for the $12 a month I shell out to participate in their largely click-bait journalism. First most of the articles are about Donald Trump and I am pretty sick of reading about his latest bout of narcolepsy and flatulence in the courtroom. 

I wouldn't mind reading an article about him setting himself on fire, perhaps in an effort to light up his farts with a Zippo lighter and then falling asleep.

That's clickbait I could wrap my brain around.

Oh well:

I may just give up writing and speak in punny t-shirt designs from now on.


Saturday, April 27, 2024

It's not the heat


I've been saying this every time it gets hot for years. And almost every time, I get looks like the one on the (apparently stupid looking) person in this design. I think AI Art interprets stupid looking as how the person is dressed as opposed to an obvious lack of intelligence. 

I just rolled with it. It does have a creepy factor I kind of like.

This next one just came out of the blue.  It is kind of stupid even by my standards. 

Which is why I like it. 

I envisioned it more with the hand squeezing the actual artichoke and not the stem. But Art AI is a bit to logical to think that could work. So it kept giving me these Olympic Torch looking images of a hand holding an artichoke.

I'm a bit too tired to fight about it this evening. At least it didn't misspell artichoke incessantly (though I did just misspell misspell which has to have a t-shirt design in it somewhere.

Friday, April 26, 2024

Chain reaction


For some reason flagged this design for review. I can only surmise that it triggered some algorithm for a movie or program called Chain reaction.  

It wasn't the reaction I was expecting.

This one got no reaction. Nor did this one:

I'm thinking it will take a bit of thinking to get the pun. 

If anything was going to be flagged, I thought it would be this one. Though I kind of like the image of the Pillsbury Doughboys in trenches. 

We'll see. I didn't set out to start a war.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Stop me before I pun again


I was at the office in person yesterday and it dawned on me that I couldn't seem to help myself when it came to using puns. Okay, this isn't the first time I realized this, but I used to think it was charming. And maybe in limited doses it is. But I have come to the inevitable conclusion that it is just annoying.

I think part of it was being around people in person. Just talking was something novel for me and I just started talking in puns the way I keep cranking out t-shirt designs. But in person people don't have the luxury of just groaning and clicking to a different webpage.

That is kind of where Paul the Punster came from. He is a parody of Jack the Ripper. Instead of a knife he uses the written word (thus the pencil). I realize he looks a lot like the Joker. But that is Art AI's take on it and I kind of like the image.

I also created one based on Fuzzy Wuzzy the bear from the kid's tongue twister (Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair, Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy was he?). We drove by a Fuzzy Wuzzy Dry Cleaner today that inspired me. Though I for the life of me have no clue why Fuzzy Wuzzy is associated with dry cleaning. 

ChatGPT tells me Fuzzy Wuzzy was originally an unflattering name for the Hadendoa,  a group of warriors from the eastern Sudan who fought the British during the late 19th century. They apparently had fuzzy hair. Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about them.  How that got to be Fuzzy Wuzzy the bear is a mystery. But it still inspired me.

I took a bit of my usual literary license. I originally envisioned a bear totally devoid of bear. Art AI couldn't seem to fathom that. So I settled for a bear who looks a bit like Smokey the Bear after being caught in a forest fire as a cub. Still it makes for a unique t-shirt design that no one would likely buy or wear (or understand).

I find it unbearable.

See, I can't help myself.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Maybe D.B. Cooper didn't act alone...


I'm kind of proud of this one because I did it all myself without AI Art pitching in.  I have been going through other t-shirt companies to see what designs they are coming up with and it sometimes gives me new ideas.  This one came from a t-shirt design that just had the single image of D.B. Cooper with his name (or the fake name he gave on his ticket).  I started thinking about things you could do with the name Cooper (not a lot). But it did trigger the concept of AB, BB, CB and DB.

After I finished the first one I had this idea to go even more Andy Warhol.

Again, it was all my work. Not Art AI. I've got a new version of Photoshop that is a little less cumbersome than the version I had before. It helped. 

Now I would wear that t-shirt.

One of the things I struggle with creating these designs is the nagging voice that tries to tell me that I'm not really an artist.  Its because I have identified as a writer for so many years even though I've dabbled in Photoshop for years as well.

I just have to tell myself that I am an artist and my ideas are part of that art. 

I need to ignore the voice. Because it occasionally reminds me that I've written a blog for two decades and it has never caught on. So maybe I was never much of a writer either. 

Screw it. I haven't had this much fun in years.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Don't go away mad...

I got a new laptop at work today. And though it was nice to have a brand spanking new computer, it was stressful. My old one had all of my files, passwords and bookmarks the way I was used to. So it required a bit of adjusting.

I guess I have my own OCD issues. I don't really like change. Plus I had to go into work instead of working remotely. It is amazing how much I have gotten used to being in my home office and having the luxury of being in my own environment. 

Even the train ride in was a bit stressful. It is amazing how much a commute eats into your morning. Whereas when I'm at home I just roll out of bed, get dressed and go to my computer. 

I think my dog missed me being home as well. Thus the Cheshire Dog design. It's pretty much the only one I came up with. But here are a couple from my Greek Mythology kick from yesterday.


I can especially relate to the Sisyphus one. Mowing the lawn is one of those endless tasks I can't seem to get away from. I chose it instead of Sisyphus making the bed. I just thought the lawn one would be more interesting. Sisyphus and the Endless Bed Making just didn't quite have the same ring to it.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Old man down the road


Tell me that's not a cool image. It is inspired by John Fogerty's solo song "Old Man Down the Road." John Fogerty was part of Creedence Clearwater in case you live under a rock. Love the song and the guitar riffs. It's swamp rock. It's something I had never heard of until ChatGPT helped me out.

That led to this image. Love that he is playing the blues sitting in a swamp. You can almost hear the guitar.

I was all over the map today with design ideas. Like this one.

It started with the concept of just a t-shirt with egg all over it like you had been egged (which is apparently where the term "egging me on" comes from). Art AI threw in this great face with egg on it. Got to love it. 

I thought it was eggstra special. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Believe you can fry


Just add some fairy dust and a little oil, and you can fry, too. 

I just hope the Disney thought police don't try to quash this design because they somehow own the trademark to Peter and Pan. If they do say that I'll say nuts to them.

I think the nut on this design looks a bit like Howard Hesseman (he played Dr. Johnny Fever on the the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" in the late 70s early 80s. Hessman also had a small role in the cult film Billy Jack. He died last year. He may or may not have shown people his nuts.

Again I have evoked the woke gods and used the term nuts to imply someone is crazy (or encourage them to show their testicles)  It is the joy of creating t-shirt designs and writing on a personal blog. Not enough people see them to be offended. And if they are offended, I don't give a shit.

I was inspired today by random cliches that a former work colleague of mine used to utter quite frequently.

I think they all make pretty nice t-shirt designs that will have most people scratching their heads. But they make me proud to be a dad and a purveyor of obscure puns.

Nuts to you, too.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Yes, me worry


I am not sure who remembers Alfred E. Neuman and his famous "What me worry?" line from Mad Magazine. He always had this optimistic dumb grin on his face (which looked suspiciously like Howdy Doody). I decided to picture Alfred E. Neuman in the current environment looking worried.

It's a niche design I know. But I think I am going to corner the market on obscure designs that few get or remember the references who are still alive.

I was a bit less profound with designs today. Partially it was a nice day and I took a break to mow my lawn.  But I still managed a few including this one which I really hope doesn't set off the fringe nut jobs.

I suppose it can be interpreted a few different ways. But it has an American flag on it so it should appeal to some out there. If someone calls me on it, I can just pretend to be French and laugh a guttural laugh while scrunchin gup my face. 

Then I will just say, "Pardon my French," and walk away.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Small talk, little brain


I remember posting years ago about how much I despise small talk. I especially don't like small talk that is supposed to be funny. Like last weekend I mowed my front lawn and was about to put my lawnmower away in my garage. I had ear buds in and was listening to music but I heard someone shouting at me. I pulled an ear bud out and heard my neighbor shouting, "Don't put it away yet, you still have to mow my lawn."

I smiled politely and muttered something about leaving it out so he could do it. But I was picturing him on the Plague Chiropractor's rack being realigned for uttering stupid small talk gibberish and trying to be funny. I was grateful I wasn't holding a bouquet of flowers or he would have screamed something about, "Are those for me, you shouldn't have."

I've discovered creating t-shirt designs that express my pet peeves are very cathartic if not profitable. 

I did manage to crank out 14 new designs today and increase my inventory to more than 500. I was able to express myself several times. For example, I don't like vegans.

And although it didn't start out to be a dump on Trump design, I did manage to create a zinger for the man based on the movie Sunset Boulevard with Gloria Swanson.

It does capture the essence of the man.

Thursday, April 18, 2024



I have to admit that until tonight, I never knew the song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" by Iron Butterfly was supposed to be "In the Garden of Eden" but lead vocalist Doug Ingle was so drunk when they rehearsed it all that came out was "Inagaddadavida." The band actually like that better than the original lyric and it became the title of the son and the album released in 1968 (when I was 10 btw). 

I thought this design was a fitting tribute to that song. Though for the life of me I can't remember any of the other lyrics other than "Inagaddadavida."

I was all over the map with designs today. I started with Puss in Sneakers.

Then I threw in a little Lawn and Order.

And I got a bit dark with Plague Chiropractor.

This was the least disturbing of the images Art AI spit out for Plague Chiropractor. It went a bit medieval on the designs and had some serious torturing going on (which is what I assume modern chiropractors do, too).

To compensate, I got a bit simplistic.

Watch, this one will sell like hotcakes. 

Or peppers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Step aside slender man


The Internet conjures up more bogeymen then we could ever imagine as kids. The Slender Man is one of them. He is that tall, think, shadowy figure lurking in the edge of darkness. Like the bogeyman and the thing under our beds as kids, he abducts kids. 

So I created the Portly Man. He doesn't work out as much as Slender Man and looks a bit like Uncle Fester from the Adams Family. Somehow I find him creepier than the Slender Man. He gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Though I doubt too many people under 50 have heard of the phrase "gives me the Heebie-Jeebies." It means to give someone a sense of unease or creepiness.  It's little wonder most younger people haven't heard of it. It apparently originated in a comic strip called Barney Google that debuted in 1919. And it had nothing to do with Google the search engine.  I only knew about Barney Google because my grandmother had a gramophone and a record called Barney Google with the Goo-goo Googly Eyes. The song kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies when I was a kid.

And speaking of the Roaring Twenties, I came up with this idea randomly tonight that I really like.

Ironically, I never read the Great Gatsby or had any desire to sit through any of the movie adaptations. There were five beginning in 1925. I was only aware of the 1974 version with Robert Redford and the 2013 version with Leonardo DiCaprio. 

None of the movies starred cats. Go figure. I bet if they had the movies would have been the cat's meow.

I'm really not as old as all of this makes me sound.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The glass is half empty


I would say I'm more of a pessimist than an optimist. I do throw up tiny little bit when someone says something in an artificial sweetener kind of way.  I don't think you always have to look for the brighter side of a situation. Sometimes it just sucks. 

I do think saying the the half empty glass is filthy and acknowledging that someone drank out of it is being more pragmatic. You wouldn't have seen too many people drinking out of half empty or half full glasses during the height of the pandemic. 

In all fairness to me, one of my favorite philosophers, Lao Tzu, was pretty practical, too.

I'm not sure practical sells t-shirts if you know what I mean. But I try to cater (or pander) to a variety of interests. Not everyone appreciates puns and dad jokes. 

It sticks, I know.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Where the heart is


I know it is dark humor. Maybe not as dark as the mime getting his mouth sewn shut, but in the same ballpark. I'm thinking I could create another version of this for Valentines Day next year with the headline, "I give you my heart." 

Seriously who would buy that?

Okay I probably would, but I don't think it would be a good idea to give it to your Valentine (unless you are one of those people who choose Valentines Day to break up).

Note to self: Come up with a series of break up designs. Why text someone when you could send them a t-shirt?

I tell you these are million dollar ideas I'm coming up with. 

Though I still struggle a bit with Art AI. This morning I wanted it to create a Don Quixote design with the headline "They might be giants." I wanted him to show Don Quixote on his broken down horse charging a windmill that looked a bit like a giant. First Art AI puts Don Quixote on this magnificent horse and makes him a young man in a nice, stylish set of armor. I tried getting very specific and told Art AI to make Don Quixote in his mid 60s with gray hair and a beard and put him in armor that you'd see in the early 1600s. It gives me the Don Quixote with gray hair and a beard, but still puts him on a nice looking horse and shiny armor. It also give him sword. And it has Don Quixote running away from the windmill (which looks nothing like a giant BTW). 

I finally gave up. Maybe it was because there was no corny Dad joke pun involved and Art AI didn't know how to handle it. After all, I did a whole series on sandwiches.

Art AI came up with the islands of ketchup and mustard on its own, too. I thought that was a nice touch for a disembodied designer who can't deliver a decent image of Don Quixote. 

It nailed my request for a pen pal design.

I thought that was spot on for income tax day. 

It was write on.

And that's all I have to say about that.