Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad and my obsession with authority

Ever wonder about my obsession with authority figures? It comes mostly from life growing up with my Dad, the ultimate icon of rules and regulations.
"OK, Johnny here are your very first baby rules. No slobbering or puking up mushrooms on your plate."

Look at that sharp blazer he wore to his wedding. See the cool crest? I wish they still made manly clothes like that. Of course they'd have to make real men like my Dad to fit in them.
check out this movie magazine style pic of my Mom and Dad

More authority figures I am obsessed with...
"Crawl like the filthy beast you are? Only man is allowed bipedal mobility!"

Many of my cartoons are inspired by real life.
"I work and slave, just so I can put clothes on your back! And what thanks do I get? BACK TALK!"
Not only did he put clothes on my back, he also slaved away at work every day so he could supply me with all the latest plastic weaponry, which is essential for the molding of every boy's character.

"When you bring home the bacon, then YOU can make the rules!" was a favorite sermon of his.
We had lots of rules at the dinner table.

For one thing we had to use the exact utensil and hold it just right or we'd be breaking a rule that would surely bring on the end of the world.There were thousands of utensils and we had to memorize what each one was for. "That's your pickle fork! Not your juice fork! A pickle fork has 2 tines, while a juice fork only has one!"

Every time I heard a rule, I asked "Why?" which drove him crazy. "The world is built on rules! Without rules we'd go to Hell in a handbasket!"

We also had to eat everything on our plates no matter how ugly - like big hunks of ham fat, gristle, creamed cauliflower - otherwise all the little Biafran babies would starve and it would be our fault for not choking down lard.I think this used to be pretty common with parents who had grown up in the depression, but it's still a pretty funny concept to those of us who lived a life of ease our tougher parents provided for us.I find authority something I feel I have an unremitting urge to rebel against, but at the same time find entertaining. Authority figures inspire my most intense cartoons because I have lived my whole life driving them crazy and studying the results of my mischief.

This is what I saw every day coming home from playing after school.
If I saw this action, it was an omen that I had done a bad thing and was about get what was coming to me.

This is what I found waiting for me if I came home with a poor grade in "Social Studies" on my report card. To this day, I still can't figure out what social studies is. Can someone explain it to me?In Summers, my Dad never wore a shirt and that was a scary sight.Especially at the cottage.
I combined some different real life events starring Dad into this Ren and Stimpy scene. This is partly reminiscent of a night me and my teenage friends stayed up all night partying and singing Beatle songs with a couple of the girlfriends at our cottage on Wolf Lake. He gathered the boys all together the next day to warn us we could get "7 to 10 in the big house" for having a "gang splash".Of course, it was OK for him to flirt with all our girlfriends.
"Whattaya hangin' around with these skinny wimps for? Ever see a man hit 4 horseshoe ringers in a row?" CLANG CLANG CLANG! Then he'd follow that up by walking on his hands for an hour and chopping a load of wood for them, while we felt pitifully wimpy
in our dirty hippie hair and cut off jeans with our scrawny legs sticking out. "Hey girls, wanna see how fast I can gut a fish?" Dad would ask. Mom would roll her eyes and go make us some delicious strawberry shortcake. She had seen all this bird of paradise display before.

I don't know about your Dad, but mine has the most magnificent meat stuffed fingers - about 4 times the circumference of modern day wimpy man fingers like most of us have. He must have built these up working 12 hours a day on his own Dad's farm during the depression.

These are the hands of a working man!Here's mine and my artist friends' hands.

"Listen funny boy...I know you think your old man's full of crap, but..." - these are all real lines I heard growing up.
You can't make this stuff up.
Here he is in retirement and he can still kick your ass. ...and catch a whole bucket of fish in the time it takes you to bait the hook.
I find lawnmowers, chainsaws, outboard motors and fishing equipment funny. Why? Because my dad collected them. He had a hundred lawnmowers. The only one I was allowed to use was the worst one -otherwise it couldn't be called "work". The electric one. "You know what gas costs these days?"

So I had to maneuver around all the trees on the front lawn and get the cord tangled around all of them (in my hippie clothes) while a shadowy image of Dad stood between the slightly open curtains in the front window staring at me, rolling his eyes with disgust. Finally when he couldn't take my amateur mowing skills anymore he'd burst out the front door yelling "You Idiot! You're doing that all wrong!" He'd come out and untangle the lawn mower cord, replug it in and show me the right way to maneuver the maze. "What the Hell do they teach you in school anyways??!"Here's the cottage we always went to every year for the summer. This is where we would relive the hardships of the depression by rebuilding the delapidated houses in the hot sun, before ging out to torture innocent fish and deplete the rainforest for relaxation. That's me and my sister Elizabeth below. I hadn't figured out how to rebel yet. You can tell by the haircut he gave me with the magic "Hair Whizz". I wrote a story about the cottage starring George Liquor and my Dad. George goes up to Canada every year to Mike's cottage to live the rugged life and drink real beer, not that watered down American rat-piss.

It's about how they don't make real men anymore, and how kids these days don't know how to enjoy the outdoor life or roughing it. "We're becoming a nation of WIMPS!"

George himself has a lot of Dad in him. Except Dad doesn't hunt. I suspect he actually has secret empathy for fur-bearin' creatures even though he pretends to hate pets.
Here he is feeding a chili pepper to our beloved epileptic poodle, Jocko.
(just kidding, it's probably the mutt's savings purse)

He thinks of them as freeloaders and lectures them about getting a real job. But whenever my sister brings her cats over he plays all kinds of tricks on them and laughs his head off. He likes to put a cat toy on the end of his fishing line and put the toy in the basement, then come upstairs with the rod. As he reels it in, it pulls the catnip mouse up the stairs and the cats do backflips and practically fly up the stairs , run around the kitchen and bump into the walls trying to catch the damn thing.Here's what happens when he makes a funny - or watches Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.

Y'know my Dad has hilarious stories of when he was a rebellious youth, and his Dad was much harder on him than any modern person can imagine - and he was a Priest! He REALLY believed in discipline and enforced it with an iron fist of God.

Grandpa and Grandma came over from the old country (Ruthenia) to escape ignorance, oppression, giant ornery bears and poverty, but carried with them the fear that if you didn't work your fingers to the bone 16 hours a day, you might lose everything you've gained. They were really nice to me. Grandpa kissed me (on the mouth!) every time we met and tried to convert me by scratching my lips off with his stubbly whiskers. I remember the only time he ever scolded me was when I grew long hair.He was sitting next to a picture of the greatest hippie (the guy Republicans love and ignore) in history and said: "The Lord meant for women to have long hair and men to have short hair, so I pointed to the picture and said "What about Jesus?" My dad started laughing his butt off "He's got you there Dad! You can't argue with that sonovabitch kid of mine." I could tell Grandpa wanted to make him kneel on rice kernels for 6 hours to punish him for his own back talk. Grandma, by the way made the most delicious Ukranian food and made you eat 15 helpings at a time. I never complained. See this church below? Grandpa and his friend built it themselves. Boy, men were men long ago.I combined my Dad and his Dad and turned them into Ren's Dad for "Ren Seeks Help". Double the authority in one ultra intense character and I got my Dad to do his voice.

You can't beat real life for story material. That's why I can't take modern animated features which seem to be made by people who have never met other people, and only get their ideas from other animated features.
Seriously. What is this crap?
Why do they keep making it over and over and over again??
It's unbelievable to me.
They must have a computer program that
clones other features and slightly mixes up the order of the plots.

They need some discipline from authority figures to beat some real life into their mushy backsides.
"Did I hear 'discipline'??"

Here's a fairly recent picture of my biggest inspiration showing off his collection of of my cartoon art through the ages.

Happy Birthday Dad! Have lots more!
The perfectly average nuclear family of the 60s
your disobedient son,

So I do not know why you hate discipline so much, and why I get frustrated for stupidness whether my kids or myself.

I realy beleive every child should have 2 yrs of military service, where they teach you discipline. cleanliness, respect for their superiors and put up with situations that might cost them their lives to protect the masses that laugh at respect and expect the world owes them a living.
Thanks again for my birthday tribute.