Intelligent Life – The Universe #2

Science Fiction

Funny how Science Fiction always shows aliens coming here who are way more advanced than we are.  But if they were so advanced so as to be able to get here, wouldn’t they be advanced enough to know they would be wading into a big mess and avoid us? I am being funny but for a purpose.

Our point of view is always that we are the most intelligent thing around. But in science fiction we often assume more intelligent beings out there somewhere. But doesn’t that assume they are learning the same things we are in roughly the same order? But how do we know that? And, more importantly, how do we know what it is we don’t know yet?

Intelligent Predictions

The answer is, we don’t. There are predictors that sometimes can be somewhat accurate in the short term (meaning 10-100 years) but beyond that time frame the organic evolution of our science, technology, society, etc. is simply not predictable with any level of certainty.  I mean, think about it, who could have predicted 500 years ago that we would have communication devices in our pocket that could send pictures through the air? Or that we would discover that other animals on earth have very complex and sophisticated social and communication structures coming close to our own in many ways? Or that there are microscopic life forms in and on our bodies that we can’t live without?

So, yes, there might be ‘intelligent’ life forms out there, but how and why they are intelligent is probably not something we have even guessed at yet. And that allows us to keep thinking creatively about it, but it should also keep us humble about what we think might be out there as well.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Arthur C. Clarke, 1917-2008, British Author


The original drawing or a print are available for purchase.  Matte and frame are also available.

Allowing Our Purpose – Universe #1


Purchase the original drawing | purchase a print | available framed!


The Immature Purpose

The immature among us like to divide things into extreme categories.

A simplistic religious person wants to see anyone who doesn’t believe in a personal God as having no purpose. They want to feel sorry for them because it meets their need to feel enlightened and special. They have  a purpose from God and these other people don’t.

A simplistic non-religious on the other hand wants to see a religious person as living under an illusion of purpose. They want to feel sorry for them because it meets their need to feel intellectually superior.  Their existence and happiness is enough of a purpose and those other people are woefully deluded.

The Mature Purpose

The mature among us are willing to admit that the complexity of life doesn’t lend itself to dividing things up so neatly.

A complex religious person will admit that while they believe they have a purpose directed from God there are many times they don’t know that purpose. They also will admit that that purpose is constantly evolving as they grow. It might be growth in terms of age and experience or perhaps growth in their spiritual relationship with God.  They will also admit that not knowing their purpose in life at every single moment is not critical to their success in life. There are great mysteries they admit to and are willing to live with that.  They also will learn that to judge others’ journey of finding purpose (or not) is not one of their purposes in life.

A complex non-religious person will admit that while they are often satisfied with their purpose simply being to exist and be happy, there are other times they doubt and wonder about that, and are sometimes drawn to see if their might be more than that. They will also admit that they sometimes admire the surety with which a religious person feels their purpose so strongly. They will realize that just as they are on their journey of finding purpose (or not) so others are as well and it’s not their purpose in life to judge other people’s journeys.

Where are you in your search for purpose (or not)?


Drawing, quote and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

Time for Friends – Friendship #6

friendship6-2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


The Napkin Kin

I do a lot of live streaming video. I have a regular group that views and contributes. They are called the Napkin Kin.  New people come in every day as well. Many of them become part of the group.  But there is a particular brand of person who comes in to the broadcasts who never become part of the group. Who are they? They are the ones who demand I connect with them immediately. They tell me to follow them on Instagram and on Snapchat and on Facebook and on whatever other social media site they can think of.  The insistently demand I go take a look at their portfolio or pictures or stories and get back to them.  They also might be the type who wants to know my opinion on something like the recent election.

Self, Self, Self

I am immediately put off by these people. I will be nice to them but if they continue I call them out.

I speak directly to them and say, “You haven’t taken one second to get to know me or the others in this broadcast. You haven’t contributed to the conversation. You haven’t asked questions or listened to what is being said. You have no idea who we are or what we are about and yet you want me, and the rest of the group, to immediately drop what we are doing and go look at your sites.  You want us to be your friend and yet you haven’t done anything to warrant us wanting to be that for you. Let’s start over. You come in again and pay attention. Find out what is going on in this broadcast, introduce yourself, and in general get to know us.  Then, as that is happening, we will naturally get to know you as well. It won’t take long since we are a friendly and curious bunch.”

And that little speech actually works sometimes.

Mutual, I’m Sure

And isn’t that true in our in-person lives as well?  I certainly am wary of someone who befriends me just for the purpose of getting something from me or wanting some attention from me. But, as just happened this morning while I was writing this, if someone I already know comes to me requesting a favor or asking a question, I am enthusiastic about helping them out. I am not talking about helping a stranger. I am talking about investing in someone who is obviously only pursuing the friendship for their own gain.

Building mutual care and concern is how friendships grow, not by sucking a virtual stranger’s attention for selfish ends.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Ethel Barrymore,  1879-1959, American Actress


 

The Poem About My Senses

poeminherhead-2016_sm

The Poem About My Senses

I have a poem in my head,
Not fancy or complete.
Actually pretty basic,
mundane but pretty sweet.

Don’t know what it’s all about,
That’s the point of it I think.
But I know It’s sort of funny,
And includes the color pink.

It includes the smell of coffee,
And maybe the passage of time.
I don’t really remember,
But it’s simple in it’s rhyme.

It has an image of windows,
With sun filtering the air.
That flows all around me,
And lands on my hair.

There is a taste of a croissant,
Somewhere in the verse.
And the texture of an almond,
as it falls into my purse.

That’s all I remember,
Of the poem within my head.
It makes me glad to to be alive,
Instead of being dead.


Drawing and poem © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


This drawing was done at the Glenpool, Oklahoma Starbucks.

It is available for purchase, either the original for $100.00, or a print for $25.00


 

Making and Keeping Friends – Friendship #5

friendship5-2016_sm

Purchase the original drawing | purchase a print | matte and frame available.

The Other Thing I Did

While I was drawing on napkins for my daughters back in the 90s I also was doing something else. I was saying goodbye to them at the door. Each day I would say pretty much the same thing. I would say I love you then I would say “Don’t forget, Make good friends and keep good friends.”  Why I came up with that particular phrase, I don’t know. But I would say it every day.  And I meant it.

Community

What I wanted for them was a growing, vibrant community. A community doesn’t happen without friendships, a growing community doesn’t happen without new friendships and a vibrant community doesn’t happen without diverse friends. That is why I said that to them.

The Purpose of Diversity

When I say diverse, I don’t mean you have to have a rainbow of skin colors to prove it. I think that would help but only insofar as it’s an outward visual of what is an internal diversity. In other words, the important thing isn’t that your friend has dark brown, red, orange, alabaster or freckled skin. What is important is that you are experiencing, at least some of the time, a person with a life experience different than yours. A life experience you can learn and grow from knowing AND that your friend can benefit from by knowing you.

Courage Over Fear

How do you gather such friends? Yes, by going out into the world. But that isn’t enough. You have to go out into the world with courage and an open heart or else you will simply be carrying your fear around with you and will miss meeting those new friends.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Yours Truly


 

Fate and Choice – Friendship #4

friendship4-2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available

Xenophobia

One of the reasons people are xenophobic (fear of foreigners, people of other cultures) is because they only have friends who are exactly like them. Maybe they are the same color, maybe the same economic status, maybe from the same town or city, maybe the same religion, maybe the same age or the same gender.  They may look a little different on the outside, one is bald, one like bright clothes, etc. But in truth, their friends are actually just themselves in other bodies.  People who are outside this homogenous group are the ‘other’ and since you don’t know them and they seem so different, they are feared. This can easily be the case with the refugee or immigrant, the person from the north side of the city, the person who speaks another language, the retiree, the person from another religion.

Periscope

The question is, how do you get to be friends with those people?  Astonishingly, one of the best ways is online. You can find everyone online, and if you join groups, chances are the group will have all sorts of people. Get to know them.

One of my favorite things about doing live streaming on Periscope app is I never know who is going to come into my broadcast. Sometimes it’s a dreadlocked African-American from Chicago, next moment it’s a Putin-loving person from Russia. Then in comes an Australian housewife living in Germany, a Latina actress from LA, a stay at home dad from St. Louis, a single mom from Paris with a bi-racial son, a teenager from Spain, a hardworking artist from Philadelphia, a famous blogger from the UK,  an intellectual from Hawaii, a Native American from Oklahoma.  They may be online, but they are all my friends and I get to know them and do my best to understand them.

Of course that is not the only way to know people different than you are.  Joining an interest group in your town might be a way to do that. Volunteering for a cause could work as well.  There are many ways, but it takes a decided effort in many cases to make it happen.

Knowing

The point is, we live in a diverse world. It’s more interesting and fun to embrace it. It is healthier to embrace it as well.  Because when you have friends who really ARE different than you, then you will come to see them as multi-faceted people, just like you are.  And that in turn will allow you to think about all other religions, races, ages, genders, orientations, etc. with the sensitivity that comes from seeing them as real people, just like your friends.

 


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Jacque Delille, 1738-1813, French writer and poet


 

The Blue Woman and the Red Bird – a Friendship Story

sadgirl_2015-2016_sm

The Blue Woman and the Red Bird 

One day the blue woman was walking to the edge of the volcano so she could jump in and kill herself. On the way she came across a red bird standing on a dead branch near the trail she was on. The red bird started talking to the blue woman and what she said made her cry. They weren’t tears of sadness but tears of joy because what the red bird said was that she was lonely being the only red bird in the area and wanted someone to talk to who would understand her. She saw the blue woman walking by and since she had never seen a blue woman before she figured she had to feel pretty lonely as well. She was right. The blue woman felt very lonely.  But thanks to the red bird noticing her and saying something she didn’t feel that way anymore. The red bird and the blue woman became great friends and accompanied each other everywhere together until the end of their days. And they were never lonely again.

The End


Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

Sharing Your Blessings – Thanksgiving 2016

thanksgiving1-2016_sm

Sharing Your Blessings

I hear ‘I am so blessed’ often here in the bible belt. I say it myself sometimes. I say it to others when I hear them talk of something good happening. But until I read this quote I had never put blessing and thanksgiving together like this.

Of course at Thanksgiving you bless the meal.  But do we think about how each person’s individual blessing has contributed to the meal?  Did we consider Uncle Bob’s amazing ability to impart joy to the kids by playing with them is his blessing he is sharing?  What about sister Eleanor who has spent a lifetime cooking the best damn pecan pie in the world? She didn’t hide her abilities, she shared them.  And what about that young precocious son of your brother, who is funny and sharp as a knife with his wit?  He probably doesn’t know it yet but he is sharing that which has been given to him.

Even more importantly, once we step away from the Thanksgiving meal, do we share our blessings with the wider world?  I hope we do. Because the truth is if you really want to show your thankfulness for the blessings you have been given, whether by God, the universe, genetics, the capitalist system, wherever you believe they came from, then there is only one way to show it and that is to share it, right?

Lets share our blessings in love. Happy Thanksgiving!


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by W. T. Purkiser, 1910-1992, American Preacher


Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


 

The God Complex – Friendship #3

friendship3-2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


Being God

You know what is great? To have a friend who will fish you out of the water when you fall in. That is great. But what is not great is if they threw you in the water in the first place.

Have you ever had a friend like that?  I call this the God Complex. They thrive when they are helping someone but to do so they need to get that person in danger first. So they set up a scenario where they nurture drama in a person’s life, maybe by encouraging them to date someone they know is not right for them, or maybe to take a job they are not suited for. It could be anything. All that matters is that they work it so they are able to come to the rescue and seem to be the hero or shero.

My Hero Fantasy

I have known one or two in my time. And even though the quote refers to a woman (Mme De Stael), I have noticed it just as much, if not more, in men. I think this might be because men grow up told it’s the highest accomplishment to be a hero.  I remember in Jr. High I had my first and only hero fantasy. I imagined the bus I took to school getting in a crash and me coming to the rescue of Julie, the most beautiful girl in school (in my opinion). I helped her out of the bus and took care of her as she lay on the ground.  As an adult I respond as best I can to circumstances where my help is needed. But I don’t ever want to desire or cause something bad to happen just so I can do good.

Here’s the point. It’s not wrong to be a hero or shero. It’s a good thing. But it’s not if you are manipulating people and situations so that you can be one.  That’s a bad thing.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, 1754-1838 French diplomat and politician

talleyrand

The quote refers to Mme. De Staël (Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baronne (baroness) de Staël-Holstein), 1766-1817, French-Swiss author and politician.  She is definitely worth reading about!

mme_destael


 

Friends Through Life – Friendship #2

friendship2-2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


The New Friend

Last year there was a woman who came into our running group. She was enthusiastic, positive, friendly and caring.  I thought from the first that she must have already known a number of the other runners. But no, she told me she had just moved here by herself only recently. She told me she had done it many times before and had learned that if she was to enjoy her life as a single woman in new locations she would have to make a deliberate effort to go out and meet people. She did this by joining groups, in this case our running group. And sure enough she gathered a group of good friends in short order.

The Gone Friend

Then she moved.  Just like that she was gone. Now, in the social media world people aren’t really ever gone, right? So, neither is she. I read her Facebook posts from her new location and guess what she is now enjoying?  She is now a hiker and a climber in the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver. And there is photo after photo of her with new friends she met in a hiking group she joined.

The True Friend

One other aspect of her appearance on the scene that I noted. She did not join our running group just to make friends, she also joined so she could be a friend. It wasn’t just her getting her friendship needs met, it was also about what she could offer others. In other words she gave as much as she got.

The Courageous Friend

Now, she is an extrovert and makes friends easy. I know not everyone is like that. But everyone still has a need for friendship and everyone still has to take responsibility for finding those friends, now matter what your personality type. If you move to a new place, get a new job, or enter a new phase of life, chances are people are not going to come out of the woodwork to befriend you. Even if they do, you have to decide to accept and contribute to that friendship.

It takes some courage to go out and make friends, but the results are worth the challenge.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by me, adapted from one by Samuel Johnson


 

Four That Took a Decade – Sketchbook History Tour

I’ve been drawing in sketchbooks for many decades now. I sometimes go back and revisit older books just to see what I did or to show others. Recently I did this with a series of sketchbooks from 2000 on.  I discovered a number of drawings I wanted to work on more, mostly in coloring and shading. Here are 4 drawings from this endeavor.

If you know my recent work you know I often write short stories to accompany my drawings. In these drawings though the stories or observations were written directly on the page.  I specifically went for stream of consciousness oriented narratives with long run-on sentences that imitated the way I actually experienced and thought about the moment.


HOOPS

hoopearrings-2016_sm

‘Hoops’ 2003-2016

The classy student studying with the grey eyeshadow and glimmery lips while her boyfriend who looks young and too young for her reads a magazine with three bug bits on his ankle in a row looking like a constellation and she uses a blue and red pen & huge hoop earrings, the biggest i’ve ever seen with her left hand and very small delicate fingers with no polish in Norman, Oklahoma on a summer’s night that threatens to rain while the two girls behind her wear red Sooner shirts and read & talk about the young star who is too thin and I draw instead of read the manual on the class I am here for while I catch a bright pink purse pass by a tall guy sitting with yellow.


 VEINS

veins_2003-2016_sm

‘Veins’ 2003-2016

The tall thin woman at Panera with great veins reading her bible and taking notes and eating a bagel and ignoring that I am drawing her while she drinks coffee and contemplates divorce on a hot summer morning in Tulsa.


SPLOTCHY

splotchy-2016_sm

‘Splotchy’ 2003-2016

The woman looked like she had been crying; splotchy skin, red eyes & nose but she had not.


RUBY LIPGLOSS

rubylipstick-2016_sm

‘Ruby Lipgloss’ 2004-2016

The woman with the ruby lip gloss and zig zag parted hair looking at the person in the door and wondering if he noticed her perfume when he passed as she made a call to her boyfriend to ask if he picked up mascara for her.


Drawings and stories © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

Apathy – Democracy #3

democracy3-2006_sm

44% of the electorate did not vote in the Presidential election of 2016. That is over 90 million people who were eligible to vote but didn’t.  The percentage was even higher in the primaries.

I believe as Dwight Eisenhower did:  “Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.”  This includes voting down ballot, off year, primaries, bond and education issues, etc. They all matter.

Remember, it doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because we vote.


Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote is mine. It is a variation on one by Charles de Montesquieu


Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available

My Hope

myhope

 

My father and my mother taught me a very important thing about electing our President.

That is always, no matter if your side wins or loses, hope the best. Hope that the new President is better than what you think he is. Hope that the actions aren’t as severe as his rhetoric has been. Hope that the gravity of the office will infuse this person with a conscience you don’t believe he possesses. Hope that our system of government, with its checks and balances, will wear down the rough edges so people aren’t hurt by his actions and words.

I hope these things, not because I am naive, but because I believe it’s the best way for me personally to move forward as a citizen of the United States.

What do you think?

You Are Democracy – 2016

voting-2016_sm

It’s Simple

This is simple enough, right? We had a revolution unlike any in the history of the world so we could have control over our own government and those who do the governing. It’s never been perfect but its always been arching towards a more inclusive and complete democracy.  This 240 year old truth has been rare in the ongoing world of greedy autocrats and dictators.

We have a system that allows us to peacefully choose our leaders.  Don’t take it for granted, no matter what your political inclination. It doesn’t happen by accident.  It happens because we vote.

Make no excuses, get out and vote.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote is mine, an adaption of one by Walter H. Judd


Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available

Two Women Talking – 2004-2016

twowomen-2004-2016_sm

Two Women Talking – A Short Short Story

Chapter One

The woman with more hair who could do flamenco curls on her jaw if she wanted talking hesitantly to the friend with the thin eyes and arched eyebrows and lower lip that jutted out who was judging her friend’s mascara as too thick and dark (but I liked it) about why her boyfriend won’t commit and not knowing what to do and how she wakes up at night sure that someone is breaking in and she wonders if she should get a boob job to be more sexy for him and if that would help and her friend said maybe.

The End

Note: original ink drawing was done in 2004.  Color added in 2016.


Drawing and Story © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

Promises vs Performance – Promises #4

promise4-2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


Surgery

Today I am going to have surgery to remove a nasty bone spur on my left heel. It’s affecting my Achilles tendon to the point where it’s not just painful to run but is painful all the time. The surgery is major and I will be in a cast for a month and then an extensive period of rehab before I can run again. How long? it depends but 4-6 months is the estimate I have heard.

Hippocratic Oath

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s all about promises and performance. The Dr. promised to do the surgery as best he can when he took his Hippocratic Oath upon graduating from medical school. The nurses did the same when they took their oath and the hospital staff all promise to do their best when they get hired.  They all promise.

But none of those promises matter if they don’t deliver in their performance.  If the Dr. does the surgery wrong, if I get the wrong procedure done, the wrong amount of drugs, or have bad aftercare, then those promises weren’t worth very much.

My Promise

This is an outpatient procedure. I am in their hands for maybe 6-8 hours. Then I am going home. Of course I will be dependent on Linda, my wife, to fulfill her promise of help. But I when it comes to rehab I will primarily be depending on one and only one person to fulfill their promise, and that is me.

I can promise all my friends, family and all my fellow runners, those I coach and those who coach alongside me this: I promise to do what my physical therapist says. I promise to follow my Dr’s orders. I promise to not take too many drugs (or not enough, depending). I promise.

My Performance

But my promises won’t heal me. They won’t build my muscles. They won’t get me back to running. My performance will. So, I can think about it all I want. I can persuade and convince whoever will listen. But, in the end a promise is only something you depend on in advance of something. The performance is what you depend on in the middle of something. I have to perform to get better. Do I think I can do it? You bet. But have I done it yet? No, I have not.

Your Promise

So, promise you will keep a watch on me. Promise to encourage me if you think I need it. Promise to kick my butt if you think I need that. But mostly promise to bring by cookies if you decide that is a critical necessity.

I promise I will eat them (slowly)!


Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by James Howell, 1594-1666, Angl0-Welsh writer


 

The Orange Promise – Promises #3

promises3-2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


The Orange Promise

The Orange Man promises. The Orange Man knows promising things is easy. He promises to pay people and they believe him. He promises to build things like walls and people believe him. He promises he can fix things for people and they believe him. He promises to make things great and people believe him.

The Orange Promise

The Orange Man doesn’t care about what happens after the promise is made. He doesn’t care because he knows how to blame other people for him breaking promises. He is very good at both breaking promises and blaming others for the breaking. He is good at it because he believes it. He believes nothing is his fault. He believes he has never done anything wrong. He believes he always knows what is right to do, even when he doesn’t know anything about the topic he is dealing with.

The Orange Brain

The Orange Man knows this because he has a good brain. He knows this because he thinks smart things. He knows he doesn’t need to study anything because he is so smart. He knows he doesn’t have to listen to others’ ideas about things because he is smarter than they are.  He knows this because he has good DNA.  He knows he was born smart, as well as good looking.

The Orange Attraction

The Orange Man knows women find him attractive. He knows they can’t keep their hands off of him because he is the most famous orange man in the world.  He knows it is his right to do whatever he wants to whatever woman he wants because he is so smart and so good looking and so rich and so famous. He knows this because he does it and he doesn’t get in trouble.

The Orange Matters

The Orange Man knows he is the only person who matters in the world.  He knows this because the only person who matters in the world told him so.

The End 


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by George Santayana, 1863-1952, Spanish born Philosopher, Essayist and Poet


 

Forcing Vows – Promises #1

promises_2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available


What it Doesn’t Say

I had a conversation about this among my live streaming followers as I drew it. Someone said, so you can’t trust anyone’s promises? My response was to point out the wording, “when you MAKE someone promise”.  This is about coercing a promise, like coercing a confession.  When you do that, you are setting them up to lie to you.

Involuntary Vows

When the vow is voluntary, as it should be in say a wedding, then you should expect they are not under duress or being coerced and will abide by the vow.  Of course if it is an arranged marriage against the will of one of those betrothed, or a shotgun wedding due to pregnancy or some other supposed scandal, then it is by it’s very nature coerced and the vow is suspect.  That doesn’t mean the person is going to cheat or lie or anything else. It simply means the vow is probably getting in the way of them being honest, not helping them to be.

It’s something to watch out for in our own behavior when we try to get people to be honest with us.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Molly Ringwald, 1968 – not dead yet, American actress and author (When It Happens To You, 2012)

molly_ringwald_book_rect


 

Words vs Action – Promises #2

promises2_2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame are available


Promises

It’s so prevalent that it’s become a cliche many times over: Put your money where your mouth is. Put a ring on it. Show me. Prove it. Watch what they do, not what they say. What it means is obvious. Promises mean nothing if you don’t back it up with actions.

Big Talkers

Those are the hard lessons for big talkers to learn. It’s also hard if you are prone to enthusiastic responses to inspirational speeches.  I know, because I am both.  I have my father’s Irish gift of gab, can propound on any number of things. In the past, I have taken that so far as to say I will or can do something.  This is especially flagrant if it was after someone has inspired me to volunteer for something.  But I often fell down on the job afterwards, inspired enough to promise something, but not dedicated enough to follow through.

Maturity

Now I am less like that. I am still tempted but years of realizing the difference between promising something and delivering has made me much more cautious about making promises, especially of the grand and exalted kind.  Now I really try to work through whether the promise is something I can deliver on AFTER the inspirational moment has passed.  It means I promise less, maybe even do less. But it also means I what I say I will do I am better at actually doing.

I think we all want to get to that point, right?


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote is a Russian proverb


 

I Draw in Church – Four Violinists

I draw in church.  I used to draw the pianist quite a bit but then the orchestra got so big I am no longer able to see her.  Now I draw other members of the orchestra, most often the French Horn player and the Violinists.  They sit where I have a good view of them and many of them stay during the sermon so I can draw them longer.

Here are 4 drawings from my violinist collection.


theviolinist3_2016_sm

I have been drawing in church since I would say about 1981 or so, hard to say exactly. I go between drawing something or someone I see as accurately as I can, as in this drawing and making something completely up in my head having nothing to do with what is in front of me.


theviolinist2_2016_sm  ‘

I don’t worry to much about getting the background exact. Sometimes I get most of it, sometimes just part of it and make up the rest.  In this case only the steps leading to the alter are accurate, with the donation bags full of school supplies sitting in front.


theviolinist1_2016_sm

The style I have in each drawing usually depends on the pen I am using. If I use a brush pen the style is simpler, calmer.


theviolinist-2016_sm

Sometimes I will get only a portion of a person on the paper before he or she leaves or moves. In that case I will completely makeup the rest of the drawing.


Drawings and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


 

The Coward – Power #3

power3_2016_sm

Purchase the original | Purchase a print | matte and frame available

Creating a Coward

This quote starts with an assumption. It assumes we are all cowards. It’s just that some are more cowardly than others. Now, I don’t think in most cases that means intrinsically some are more cowardly.  I think it means circumstances, both internal and external, have made some turn and run. And it some cases it’s made people stay and fight but use really stupid and ineffective strategies in that fight.

So, if you want power in these situations one way to do it is to not just imagine someone is a greater coward than you are, but actually create the conditions where the other person has reached the point where they must turn and run. Or, if they do stay and fight, they are so overwhelmed that they fight ineffectively.

In either case, one of the best ways to do it is to have overwhelming force.  In other words, 3 pussy cats are better than one when fighting the orange man with the yellow cotton candy on his head.  30 is better than 3 and 300 million are better than 30.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Ludwig Börne, 1786-1837, German journalist


 

Fighting Back – Power #2

power2_2016_sm

Purchase the original | purchase a print | matte and frame available

How Power Works

Here is an example of how power works. Let’s say an orange man with yellow cotton candy on his head attacks you. Since this is how he feels powerful (instead of actually BEING powerful) you should assume he will continue to attack you until you either can get out of the situation or you attack back.  You can also assume he will attack others since this need for the feeling of power is not going to go away.

How to Respond

If you are a pussy cat, you should have your claws sharpened in advance and not be afraid to use them. If you are a human you should also have your claws (verbal and physical) ready. Having your phone recording the interaction might be a good idea as well. If you can, you should tell someone immediately about the attack so that you have a record of it.  You should also write it down and record the date so the information is fresh.  Tell a reporter friend of yours about the attack. If you don’t have a reporter friend, get one.

Oh, and if he has his orange snake with him and uses it in the attack, you should be sure to claw it as well and call the police.

Power vs Power

In other words, power responds to greater power. This is especially true in the example of the orange man since his bullying and assaulting power is a facade hiding deep insecurities and hurts.  Gather all the resources you can to fight, especially if the man is orange.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Malcolm X, 1925-1965, American Muslim leader and activist


 

Cat Fights – Power #1

power1_2016_sm

Purchase the original | Purchase a print | matte and frame available


Cat Life

We have a new cat named Ninja. He is a great cat and we love him, so much fun and so silly. But he is feral in nature. Often when I put my hands out towards him to play he responds with teeth out, ready to defend.

We had another cat, Mayru, who was not like that at all. She barely ever fought or bit. She was fun, and loved to play, but just wasn’t that type of cat.

Ultimate Power

But what type of cat we have doesn’t really matter. What matters is my response to the cat.  I am the one with the ultimate power (even though a cat can bite and scratch pretty well).  I might play a little harder with Ninja than I did with Mayru but in both cases I am not going to force them to play when they aren’t interested, I am not going to attack them and I am not going to hurt them.

If I did that I would be guilty of animal cruelty.  My morals and ethics tell me that is not right and I wouldn’t do it.

Satisfaction and Conscience

If I came across someone who did abuse a cat (or any other animal or human) I would do my best to stop it. I also have to admit I would get some satisfaction seeing the cat attack back and get in a few bites and scratches.

One thing I know for certain, My conscience would not allow me to reward that abuser with my affection or support.

 


Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Elizabeth Janeway, 1913-2005, American novelist


 

 

Discovering Your Ignorance – Education #5

education5_2016_sm

Purchase the original | Purchase a print | matte and frame available


Knowing Everything

Ever notice how a person who has just learned something new about a topic is often very adamant that they have learned everything about that topic? I see it happen often in young people BUT it really has no age. I see it in myself and I am not a spring chicken. I am less like this now than when I was young, but there are so many topics and so much to learn that it never completely goes away.

Knowing a New Everything

For example, I became a Christian at age 21 and I will have you know I knew everything about it in short order.  Fast forward 30+ years and after a long intellectual and spiritual journey I decided I was still a Christian, but was now a Christian Atheist. What does that mean? It means I no longer believed in the existence of spirit beings but I believed in the teachings of Jesus on how to live in this world.  I will have you know I knew everything about it.

Unknowing Everything

Fast forward another 10 years and now I am a Christian Agnostic.  What does that mean? It means I still believe in the teaching of Jesus on how to live in this world but I have studied enough about science to realize that the discoveries science has made in almost every field would have been so unbelievable just 20-100 years ago as to be claimed as preposterously absurd.  That tells me the mysteries still out there are also preposterously absurd according to our present understanding of things and might change our understanding all over again.

Peaceful Unknowing

What that means for me is that while I don’t see direct evidence of spirit beings and I don’t see direct evidence of of a God, especially a traditional God that has his/her fingers in the human pie on a minute by minute basis, I just know there is too much we don’t know for me to say it definitely.  And that put me in the most peaceful place I can be in, a place where I am open to learn and not threatened by new ideas in any area.

Coda: Dark Matter

If you are wondering what exactly it is in scientific ideas of recent years that makes me say all this, simply look up ‘Dark Matter’ and try to wrap your head around what it is.  That should convince you.  The book ‘Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs’ is a good book to read if you are willing to dive deep into it.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Will Durant, 1885-1981, American Author. His most famous contribution was the 11 volume ‘Story of Civilization’ written with his wife, Ariel Durant.


 

Teamwork is an Individual Sport – Teamwork #5

teamwork5_2016_sm

Purchase the original | Purchase a print | matte and frame available

Individual

Here is the most ironic thing about teamwork is that each individual has to do their own individual job for it to succeed.  Now, it is true that each individual doesn’t have to perform perfectly at every moment.  And it is also true that on a team individuals pick up the slack for one who isn’t able to perform. Nonetheless, no team succeeds if all the individuals fail.

In Concert

What that means is there isn’t some magical potion that transforms all the individuals into one entity. They remain individuals with their own thoughts, their own drives, their own motives.  BUT, if the leader is doing things right then those thoughts, drives and motives, while still belonging to the individual, are in concert with the other teammates.

Examples in Life

Being an example is another successful element of teamwork that often goes overlooked.  The individual on the team who successfully sweeps away fear motivates his or her teammate (or neighbor) to do the same.  The individual who keeps anger under control helps others on the team believe they can do the same.  And the individual who does not descend to hate inspires the teammate to do the same.

These individuals can be doing it for themselves but they are also doing it for each other.  This is how teams win, this is how societies become better.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote is a Polish proverb


 

Subscribe and Join TheNapkin Kin

Get on the mailing list and get The Napkin Newsletter once a month and get a review of the months postings, with extra resources and features that will make your brain bigger and your day better!

 

Thanks, You Are Now A Napkin Kin!

%d bloggers like this: