Category Archives: Writings and Musings

A Sunday in the Park with Pigs

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I knitted a few pigs three years ago, and they were so fetching, that two ladies I work with very much  adored them. So I gave them as gifts to each of them, but not until I did this photo shoot story with them.

Click here.

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Enjoy!

Peanuts Gang: Where are they now?

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I had a nostalgic urge to revisit Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang. I especially was fond of using the old Fawcett Crest pocket book editions from the 1960s — that’s when I was most immersed with the group while being age 10 and on for a while.

While in a used book store, over a half dozen Fawcett editons were available and I treated myself to a blast from the past.  Starting with The Wonderful World of Peanuts, I binged with the group over the next few evenings. I noticed and compared how the earlier strips ‘ artwork was less refined, but more enduring and soft (like an old blanket?)

My partner Jo and I shared our favorite strips with each other, and both were highly amused by the strips that had less text and relied on just a picture (with an occasional exclamation point or question mark.)

To me, as the strips progressed through the years, the lines became less soft; Linus and Snoopy grew up too soon from baby and puppy. The strip defined itself more. and expanded the cast. Also, more neuroses and meanness became apparent.

The Peanuts Gang
The Peanuts Gang

All of this has led me to wonder: Where are they today?

From Lucy van Pelt’s bureau of misinformation, this is what I have surmised. So, with apologies to Charles Schultz and his estate, I present this satirical look at “The Gang”.

Disclaimer: If you are offended by satire, or if you would not enjoy this what-if concerning cherished Peanut characters, my apologies and PLEASE DO NOT PROCEED FROM THIS POINT.

From the underground files of “Screw Off, Charlie Brown!”, it appears that:

  • Charlie Brown: doing time for the massacre of fellow classmates who ‘pushed me just a bit too far, I guess!’
  • Lucy van Pelt: Lost her Clinical Psychology license due to prescription abuse for her anger management patients.
  • Sally Brown: unable to find a job with her biochemistry degree, Sally currently supports herself as a strip-tease artist under the name “Sweet Baboo-ie”.
  • Linus van Pelt: influenced by Cat Stevens’ life, Linus turned to Islam for peace, but has gone the route of Islamic Fundamentalism.
  • Snoopy is a rapper on the L.A. scene as Snoopy Doggie Dog
  • Woodstock is Snoopy Doogie Dog’s sidekick, known as DJ Woody S.
  • Pig Pen: junk dealer, also  well-respected found-objects artist.
  • Schroeder: of course, is a concert pianist, composer, and gay rights advocate concerning the  sexual abuse of others who pressure people into marriage roles.
  • Peppermint Patty: of course, a feminist lesbian.
  • Marcy: the Alice B. Toklas to Peppermint Patty’s Gertrude Stein.
  • Franklin: shot in Florida for walking through  a gated community on his way home from a convenience store.

Where do YOU think they are now? Please leave us a comment.

If you have any news about Violet, Patty, Shermy, Rerun, or any of the others, please let us know.

Icebreaker on Flight 157 (2011)

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Hey, since we have this new blog, I figured I should shamelessly  promote a novel I wrote in 2011: Icebreaker on Flight 157.

Icebreaker On Flight 197 revolves around the themes of faith and unconditional love that can emerge from listening to each others’ life stories.

Icebreaker on Flight 197
Icebreaker on Flight 197

Icebreaker has all of the heart and insight you would find in any Mitch Albom novel or any of Jack Canfield’s Chicken Soup For the Soul series. To view/purchase, see below.

The scenario is a plane flight heading from Chicago to Houston. Most of the passengers live in either city. The plane is stuck on the tarmac for a long time, and tempers are festering. Marion Lightcastle is a meditation coach and spiritual counselor who takes control of the situation through involving cabin members in a game from one of her many social icebreakers repertoire.

She receives an encouraging response from most of the passengers that include: Job and Jesse, who are returning from conferences; Mark, a minister; several university students; and people from all ages and different walks of life, such as a group of African-American ladies on their way to a family reunion.

Icebreaker is a novel that explores the results when strangers open up to each other and share life’s experiences. Cathartic moments of great insight occur; as well, lesser but no less meaningful experiences are interspersed throughout to balance the pace of the novel.

The novels builds to a grand crescendo at the halfway point; by the end, it resolves to a majestic conclusion.

Author James Ryan
Author James Ryan

This first novel unfolds from a number of vignettes. The overtones and subtext are gently woven within the related vignettes. Icebreaker would be an excellent airplane read. Those reading it on a flight might carry away some of its principals because of the setting in which they are reading the book. Or, it might used on a stranded flight to test the strength of these principals by those who have read it.

You can order or view sample pages at Amazon.com: www.amazon.com/Icebreaker-Flight-197-James-Ryan/dp/0557940281

FAQs

Q:  BY THE WAY: What is the meaning of the arch on the cover to the novel itself?

First of all, the photo is of  The Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in Utah. The photo was taken on my trip there is 2010. (The credit for the other elements at the top of these pages, such as the pen, are from Creative Commons, see bottom of page.)
Although not a part of the story, it does signify the strength and frailty of ALL of us throughout our life experiences. We are strengthened by others when they listen to us, as we empower them as we listen to them in turn. One day we, like the grand arch, stand strong and majestic; but some days we, like the arch, will naturally fall to the ground. But if we have the courage to fly through the arch before it crumbles, we will each arrive at a new level of experiential potential.
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Q:  WHAT IS NEXT FOR JAMES RYAN?

A new novel in the works for Summer 2014. It is a metaphysical mystery with the working title A Frond of the Aunties.