Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Herding cats (and other assorting animals)


I actually owned a "Dogs Playing Poker" print at one time. It was back in a time when I would pick things up at thrift stores and antique malls thinking they were really cool kitsch and would make me seem cool, too. Eventually I realized it just made me seem like someone with questionable taste and borderline hoarder tendencies. I think I ended up giving the print to a friend of mine who was polite about accepting it. Funny, but he is no longer a friend. 

But I don't think it was the "Dogs Playing Poker" print that made that happen.

Anyway, I saw a t-shirt design today with a dogs playing poker on it and I thought it would be funny to ask Artie to create a cats playing poker design. And it did. But at first it looked just like the dogs playing poker print but with cats. A Google search showed that there are a shit load of those out there, too. So I asked Artie to show cats the way they would actually look if you put them around a poker table. And a few iterations later and some cutting and pasting and I found what I think is the quintessential "Cats Playing Poker" design. Because none of the cats really give a shit about the cards other than to bat them around a bit. 

Now that's really what cats playing poker would actually do.  

Then I started thinking maybe it would be cool to show what other random animals would look like playing poker. First I chose armadillos (which I know nothing about other than they are like opossums in Texas and rarely make it across a road without getting hit.  

In retrospect I should have had the Armadillos playing Texas Hold 'Em. But what I really like about this image is the cactus plants in the middle of the table.  

And since I think armadillos are like opossums, I decided to have them play poker, too.

What I like about this design is that all of the opossums are pretending to be dead (or playing opossum as the saying goes). It just seems like something opossums would do instead of bluffing if they had to play poker. They all have their poker faces on. They just look like death grimaces.

Oh well, I just thought I'd put all my cards on the table.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mars Rocks!


I caught an article today about how excited some scientists were that one of the Mars Rovers discovered what they described as a boulder unlike any rock they have seen before on Mars. First the rock was 18" wide and 14" tall which isn't what I would think of as a boulder. I've found bigger rocks in my backyard.

They named this one Atoco Point after a landmark in the Grand Canyon. And they were really jazzed about this rock.  

It just looks like a rock to me. Sure it is on Mars. And it is a different color than the other rocks but it is still a rock.  I can only imagine what the scientists said when they went home and their family asked them what they did today and they replied, "Well we found a different colored rock on Mars and we named it Atoco Point." To which the person's significant other probably replied, "I hope you aren't planning on bringing it home. We don't need another rock. Maybe you should just take it to a shelter. You shouldn't have named it because now you'll become attached to it."

I suppose it is a bit more interesting than my normal day, but still. It is a rock. But I turned it to a rock star in my t-shirt store anyway.  Just wait until the Mars foamers find out about that. It could rock my design world.

Unless they are all stoned.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Breaking Dad


Of course, I think of this the day after Father's Day. And of course, I discover that there is a British television series called "Breaking Dad," that is about a son and his father traveling on a coming of age road trip. The title was inspired by "Breaking Bad." 

Once again I confirm there is nothing original left in the world.

But I do like this image of a broken, aged version of Heisenberg who I have called Heidelberg. The whole thing was inspired by a Goodwill find of a "Breaking Bad" beaker mug that came out in 2013.

I thought it was extremely clever. I hope someone on eBay finds it just as clever and scarce and wants to pay what it is worth. There was only one other one for sale so there is hope. Nothing is more depressing than trying to sell the same things as 50 other people are selling on eBay and there are always several assholes who sell them at ridiculously low prices that can't possibly make it worth anyone's time to bother selling, packing and shipping.

I went through my inventory on eBay and culled several things that weren't getting any traffic and had very little chance of selling. Ironically I took them back to Goodwill where some other schmuck will pick them up and trying to sell them. Good luck to you. I'm learning the key to success in flipping thrift store crap is concentrating on the stuff that has good resale value and very few others are selling 

I've also learned not to let eBay's AI write the descriptions of products. It writes like it is using Google translate to translate a Japanese description into unintelligible English. And it always urges everyone to add the item to their collection.  Because we all know that is all the encouragement we need to buy something on eBay. It would make an great addition to our collection.

So I've been trying to craft the types of item descriptions I used to write during COVID when I was liquidating several of my accumulated collections that had been languishing in plastic bins in the garage for more than a decade. Sometimes I was quite successful.  Though I never did sell this Egyptian tapestry that I described using only Carol King references to her highly successful album called Tapestry. One person messaged me that they enjoyed the description. But they didn't enjoy it enough to buy the stupid tapestry. It ended up at Goodwill where someone like me snapped it up thinking they had found a treasure to resell. 

I am still learning the ins and outs of what to buy and sell and what not to buy and try to sell. At first I went buy taking a photo and running it through Google search. Of course Google is a cruel bastard and always pops up images of the thing you took a photo of being sold for hundreds of dollars. Then when you get it home you find it is one of those items 50 others are selling and it is only going for $8.95.

Now I screen with the photo, but try to confine myself to things I know are desirable either to collectors or people without any taste. I've learned the names of things like Murano glass and other high priced but often imitated items. I've also learned to really try to remember to inspect and glass item before I buy because a chip or crack are kisses of death to collectors of glass items and figurines. 

Souvenirs from Hawaii and third world countries aren't big sellers either. Too many people bought them, brought them home and then wished they hadn't. Too often they held onto them, died and then forced their children to take them to Goodwill. 

I've mentioned in earlier posts that Disney or Harry Potter mugs are also the kiss of death unless you get something from the park early years. You have to remember that millions of people go to the Magic Kingdoms every year and buy this shit.

Don't get me started about Starbucks "You are here" mugs. Cruise ship etched crystal commemorative items are much better. Souvenirs of any kind just don't sell unless they are turn of the century. And paperweights truly suck. Who has paper anymore to need a paperweight? And I may have mentioned before don't buy anything that came from the Bradford Exchange or Publishers Clearing House.

But still I enjoy the thrill of the hunt and the rush when you find something that is marketable. 

It beats trying to get people to read your random writing on the Medium. And it has been more profitable than my t-shirt sales. Though I haven't given up on that either. Business will pick up the same time that my blog is discovered and starts trending. 

And yes I am laughing, laughing, laughing...

Sunday, June 16, 2024

I won't worry about it yesterday


My daughter's orchestra played a concert today at a local arts festival. They played a short medley of Beatles songs and one of them was "Yesterday." Well, they played "Yesterday" today. I love the song regardless. It is one of those bittersweet songs that Paul McCartney is famous for, kind of like "Eleanor Rigby." Paul used to write a lot about things that were past or passing.

But I don't quite buy the "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away." It seems sometimes like all of the troubles were yesterday. Though they do keep coming it seems. 

I'm not one of those old people who think everything in the past was so much better than it is today. It's not true. There is very little of my past that I would choose to repeat. There is much of it that I would love do overs for. 

It's not so much regret as wanting to make things right. It seems easy to look back and think this is what I should have done or said or not done or not said. But you wouldn't know that you should have done something differently unless you did it wrong in the first place. Much of it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, even for a fleeting moment.

Oh well. Father's Day is almost over. And it was for the most part nice. I don't really remember what we used to do for my father on Father's Day. It is kind of sad. And it is even sadder that I didn't really think about him today. I saw some people posting about their father's who have died and saying how much they miss them. So I feel a twinge when I just now thought about him.

It isn't that my father wasn't a good person. I do remember that he would play card games with me when I was a kid. He taught me how to play cribbage. And we'd play Chinese Checkers (which I never lose...and it would make him so made when I kept beating him). 

But my father never really talked to me about anything important. He didn't tell me how he felt or what his dreams were or what his regrets were. I suppose you don't really want to burden your kids with your regrets anyway. Mine don't seem to want to hear much about my life.

The thing is that I did want to hear about my parent's lives and childhoods. Maybe I was different. It just seemed important to me to know where they came from and why they were the way they were. But neither one of them seemed comfortable talking about yesterday.

And I've come full circle. Funny how that happens.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Never give up


There is a classic cartoon with a larger bird trying to swallow a frog but the from is holding onto the bird's throat to keep it from swallowing him. I decided to try some role reversal and give the frog the upper hand and make the bird fight for its life. Artie had trouble with the concept so this was the best I could do. It kind of makes the point.

As I search for new ideas for my designs I look at what other people are doing and try to put a twist on it. I saw one today that just had an image of a salt shaker and the word SALTY. So I decided to give pepper it's due.

I was more salty today than peppery. I woke up at about 4 a.m. to the sound of a hail storm and heavy rain. Here it is the middle of June and we have ice on the ground. It wasn't a great weather day for the Annual Arts Festival they hold nearby every Father's Day weekend. All of the artists were hunkered down in their tents looking miserable.  Though I'm not sure all of them were the actual artists. They were hawking the usual images of hummingbirds, Orcas and flowers. 

I did see a cool funky print of Elvis on a 12" x 12" wood panel. I may have to snag it for a Father's Day gift to myself tomorrow. It $80 though.  But what the hell, my kids will think I'm worth at least $80 (especially if it is my $80). You have to love the holiday. My son told me that it isn't really a holiday unless you get a day off for it.  I told him it always falls on Sunday. He said that didn't count. 

Oh well, maybe I'll feel peppery tomorrow. I should be grateful I only hawk my designs online and don't have to watch hundreds of people file past my art as they concentrate on the brick of seasoned curly fries they are eating. 

One must take solace in the small things. 

Friday, June 14, 2024

Get back


As you might have guessed, I have been listening to the Beatles channel on Sirius radio a lot lately. I used to listen to the Jimmy Buffett channel all the time, but when the poor dead man's intellectual property goons came after me for using the phrase "it's five o'clock somewhere," I got a bit jade about Jimmy and how laid back he pretended to be and at the same time trademarking anything he possibly could that was related to any of his songs. It's a wonder you can say "shaker of salt" without being attacked.

I'm not sure the Beatles own the phrase "Get Back" or "JoJo." 

I did learn something new today listening to a Paul McCartney interview about how he wrote the song "Let it be." Back in the 1960s he was apparently feeling down about something. His mother had died a few years before that. And he had a dream where his mother came to him and said, "Don't worry, it will be alright. Just let it be."  Paul woke up and wrote the song. Paul's mother's name was Mary. So the line about "Mother Mary came to me" was about his mother, not about Jesus' mother. 

And to think I thought it was an oddly religious song for Paul to have written.

Get back.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Blog


You would think I would get used to the sound of crickets when I attempt to view how many people have viewed my blog posts for any given day. Even when I remind myself it doesn't matter, I'm writing or blogging or designing for myself part of me still seeks that affirmation. It would be nice to think someone appreciates the effort.

One of the things I have become acutely aware of as I age is the vast difference in which I view things. When I was young (younger), there always seemed to be the sense that, in the words of Little Orphan Annie, "The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun." But as I get steadily older there is a much stronger sense that there just might not be sun, tomorrow. Especially if you know you are eventually going where the sun don't shine.

There are a lot of realizations when you push past retirement age. You aren't going to get a better job, get better looking, win the lottery or run a marathon (not that I ever had any desire to. And you aren't really as young as you feel (unless you feel really old). 

I am not sure what any of that has to do with my blog other than it reinforces my growing belief that it never will be discovered or be trending or be acknowledged or whatever it is that makes people pay attention to what you do (in a positive way).

I don't know what I expect. I don't read anyone's blog either. I don't really read most people's social media posts if they go beyond two sentences. There is just too much out there. There is too much news and too many photographs and too many products and too many television shows and too many movies. Hell, I'm not sure what any of us will read after the election if Trump doesn't get elected. Though I imagine he won't go quietly into that dark night.

It's not like I want the pressure of having to do this on a daily basis to entertain people. I don't think I would like the scrutiny of being famous. So I must simply resolve myself to being a prolific unread blogger and designer of bad pun shirts. I own that niche.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Hair of the shark


I don't imagine this will have jaws dropping in surprise.  Sharks like to unwind, too after a hard day of eating garbage and people. 

And speaking of  "just when you thought it was safe to go back in the park, we bring you...Squirrel, too!"

Artie took exception to the phrase "Protect Your Nuts" when combined with the image of an angry looking squirrel with scissors. I finally had to leave off the "protect your nuts" part and add the text myself.  It was the first time I got a message from Ideogram that they had any community standards let alone that I might be violating them. 

They didn't seem to have a problem depicting guns and roses a couple of weeks ago, though. So I don't know if it is a violent squirrel thing or the word, "nuts." Or Artie was having a bad day. 

Meanwhile, my ebay sales have begun to take on a regular cadence and I'm clearing out a bit of the inventory I was worried I was going to have to return to Goodwill (with the off chance that I might accidently buy the items again).  It does stress me a bit, however, to have to wrap, pack, buy postage and drop off the packages at the post office. I'm starting to get an appreciation for what the people at an Amazon warehouse must feel like. 

I do have a deep appreciation for Amazon boxes, too. They have been a godsend in shipping most of this stuff. And to think I used to just recycle all of their boxes. This seems to be more environmentally friendly (and cheaper).

I'm quite the selling machine though.

Just a hobby though. It does satisfy my urge to go to thrift stores and keeps my hording potential somewhat in check. 

I think that is a win win situation. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Gums and roses


Sure enough, the Guns N' Roses intellectual property people tracked down my design for a gun shop and florist called "Guns and Roses." I posted it on June 1, and ten days later the dogs sniffed it out and had take it down. 

So I can't just let it go so I posted Gums and Roses today. Let's see if they claim it is too close to Guns and Roses and try to get it taken down too. Or I'll have offended the Periodontist profession and they'll come after me. No one seems to be able to take a joke anymore. 

I didn't really create too many designs today except for this one:

There are 20 pages of pea designs on but I'll be damned if my peas sign design didn't make the first page of them! I think I've arrived

Peas out!

Monday, June 10, 2024

Like ugly on an ape


I always wondered what apes thought about this idiom. I certainly have seen lots of humans that I would say are much uglier than an ape. But it is one of the conceits of humans to label other creatures ugly because they are different.

ChatGPT reminded me that there are other expressions like "on you like white on rice" or "all over you like a cheap suit." I suppose I will experiment at some time to see what Artie would do with those.

In the meantime this ape doesn't appear too happy and may in fact be on you like ugly on an ape (or an ape on ugly." To which I would briefly respond, "Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

I guess that probably doesn't mean that much to most of you.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Your are only coming through in waves


I imagine some of you are experiencing a wave of nausea after seeing this pun.  It was actually inspired by a Queen Elizabeth Waver I found at Goodwill.

She is supposed to do the Royal Wave when she is exposed to sunlight because there is a solar panel built into the top of her purse. I listed it on ebay after bringing it home before I realized it was supposed to be solar powered. Unfortunately her solar power doesn't seem to work (which is why she likely ended up in Goodwill) so I pulled her off ebay while I assess the situation.  I do kind of like her. She goes well with my Pope Francis Bobblehead (though she is quite a bit taller than him).

Regardless, she inspired a t-shirt design. And creating a Royal Wave t-shirt inspired this one as well.

As you can see, my puns are multiplying just like rabbits. I'm going to try to avoid creating one about splitting hares because I think it could be too gross.

I also created a design for Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders who I posted about dying the other day.

I did discover that Frank Borman didn't actually die the day before Anders. ChatGPT showed me once again that you can't always trust what it spews (much like the press these days). Borman died in November of 2023. So there went my theory that Anders ditched his plane into the Puget Sound because he was despondent about Borman dying the day before.

Regardless, I think Anders deserved a t-shirt of his very own at the very least. May he rest in peace wherever he is orbiting now.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

All my dogs aren't barking


This isn't a phrase you usually use for yourself. It is more often said with a long drawn out country drawl to the effect of, "Not alllll thatttt boyyyyy's dawgs are barkin', if you know what I mean."

But I like to toy with the idea that some people would wear this t-shirt because they are proud they are a few cards shy of a full deck or someone gave it to them as a gift and they are too stupid to realize it is pretty much an insult.

On a totally unrelated topic, I find it a weird coincidence that I posted yesterday about spacemen and astronauts and I find out today that Apollo 8 astronauts, William Anders, died on  June 7th. Anders was 90 and crashed the airplane he was piloting into the waters off from Roche Harbor in Washington's San Juan Islands. 

Apollo 8 was the first manned flight to orbit the moon and Anders took this famous image of the Earth rise on the horizon. It is one of the most famous space photos from that era.  When I heard about Anders dying after crashing his plane into the Puget Sound, my first thought was why was a 90-year old flying an airplane (former astronaut or not). I kind of wondered if he did just crash it on purpose.  

It does kind of weird me out that I created the spaceman design and wrote that post on the day Anders died. It also makes me kind of sad if Anders chose that way to go out. Of the other two Apollo 8 astronauts, Frank Borman died at age 95 in November of 223 and James Lovell, is still alive. He is 96 years old. Who knows what happened on that mission that let to all three men living into their 90s.

 But still, after having done what they did, they must have had a hard time adjusting to just living normal lives.

Guess that's the problem of a spaceman.