Beyond Schooling – Education #3


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Purpose of School

School, as wonderful as it can be, has a purpose. And it isn’t to make you educated. It’s to make you educated so you will be a contributing member of our society.  That means so you can hold a job that contributes, or start a company that contributes.  Some schools also want you educated in such a way that you are a positive influence in society. At least according to that society. That might mean you are a good consumer, or give to charity, or compete well on the athletic field.

In other words, the education want to educate you to fit in. And I don’t think that is that bad a thing. I don’t mind fitting in somewhat.

Purpose of Education

But fitting in has it’s limits.  If your goal is to only fit in then a good schooling works well for you and for your society. BUT if you want to  expand beyond that fit, then you need to be educated beyond school.  You need to keep learning on your own.  Because learning on your own is how you will reshape your society for the better. It’s how you will challenge and change worn out traditions and prejudices. It’s how you will illuminate and bring to fruition new visions of art, science, nature, ideas, morality, spirit, and more.

Purpose of You

Your purpose is not just to fit in.  Your purpose is to become you.  Part of you will fit in, and that is good. But another part, no matter how small or large, should aspire to break those bonds. That part of you should work to learn as much as you can in whatever area you want, apart from society’s purpose for you.

Because if you do that, you will not just fit in to society, you will at the same time shape it into something better, something that says you have been here.  That is a good thing.

Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Mark Twain, 1835 – 1910, American Humorist


Resolutions and the Road


Resolutions are best made regarding behaviors, not outcomes. In other words, don’t say “I will lose 25 lbs, that is an outcome. Instead say, “I will exercise 3 days a week”, or “I will reduce my meal portions by 1/3.”  those are behaviors.


Drawing © 2015 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Mark Twain


Remembering and Forgetting to Remember – Conscience #2


Let’s be clear and don’t forget, today is day #2 of our Conscience series!


Forgetting to Remember - Conscience #2


The virtue of a bad memory

This morning I happened upon a Facebook post by a muse and friend of mine, Angela Huckeby.  This is what she wrote:

Tonight’s reflection:

Dates and anniversaries of sad occasions.

Sometimes I wonder if it is a coping mechanism that I have acquired after a few small tragedies, but I have no idea what date ANY of my family members passed away on… Or the dates of my divorces… And most days I can’t even remember the date of my second marriage.
Selective memory, I’m sure.
Seem odd? Probably.
The thing is, I have become a master at NOT dwelling on the past. I’m sure a little bit of dwelling can be healthy, but I see so many people in absolute heartache each year over the anniversary of anything that caused them pain.
What’s the purpose of such torture?
I see no point. Remember the joy and live and love in the now.

Where We Store the Big Mixing Bowl

Angela’s reflections show a different side to the virtue of a bad memory than the one mentioned by the quote author, Mark Twain.  He is humorously pointing out that it’s pretty convenient to forget our ‘sins’.  But Angela is telling us how beneficial it is to also forget our sorrow, pain, resentments, heartaches.  

Now, the truth is we don’t really forget them. What we do is put them away in the far back of a lower cabinet, as we do a big mixing bowl we only use once a year.

We know those things are there, we know we can feel them and remember them again if we want. But we have done our constant remembering, our wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth.  We are wrung out and gnashed out.  Now we know we can put the memories way out of the way and we won’t lose them.  We know we can bring them out if we ever need to.

Not a Sin Excuse

There is a peace in that. If you haven’t felt that peace, maybe there are some memories you need to store away. Not so you can excuse your ‘sin’ in the present, but so you can live and love in it.


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Mark Twain

Reflection by Angela Huckeby.  Angela and I became friends when she agreed to pose for my ‘Velveteen Women’ project back in 2011.  A four panel photo-collage with her as the subject was included in the exhibition at Living Arts in Tulsa in 2012.   Scroll down to see all four panels.



Artist and Muse







The Deep and The Shallow – Compliments and Their Complications #4


It’s a compliment just to be nominated for Best Napkin Drawing of  Day #4 of Compliment Week!

compliments 4

Compliments – The Love Hate Tango

I started this series because I had a conversation with a friend in which she said she didn’t know how to take compliments very well. She thought she was alone in that regard and I assured her that is not true, that a LOT if not most people, especially women, are not at all comfortable or believing of compliments given to them.  

While I started to look for quotes and ideas relating to compliments I did indeed come across many who were also not comfortable with praise and compliments.  But I also came across many who love compliments, live for them, get sustenance from them and continually hope for them.  Mark Twain was one and this quote is an example. It seems egotistical but I think he meant it tongue in cheek, a self-deprecating comment about his own ego.

The Compliment Pool

But there is another way to take this quote.  Perhaps it can be interpreted not as wanting more ego stroking, but wanting more specificity.  The woman in my drawing is saying ‘nice font’ while reading a profound book. She is staying shallow and superfluous. noticing just the surface, when there is a whole world of depth she has completely ignored.  

The Deep End

What about you? When you give a compliment, do you really say what you truly admire, or do you say something generic and forgettable?  If you want your compliments to have more power the focus in on more than ‘You are handsome’ or ‘nice work’. Dig down a bit and see if you can’t be more specific.  Why is he handsome?  How about ‘You have a great jaw line.’  Why was her work nice? Can you say ‘You did a fantastic job negotiating with that client.’ instead?

I can imagine Mark Twain meaning it that way. Perhaps he wanted a compliment that dug down a bit deeper, that reflected a deeper understanding on the part of the person giving the compliment.


Drawing by Marty Coleman

Quote by Mark Twain, whom I compliment on his vast array of quotes about compliments.


Compliment of the Week

Judge Nicki Minaj’s compliment to American Idol contestant Tenna Torres (wearing the outfit below) – “I like your hair, I like your boobs, too.”

An Indecent Post

censorship 1


The New Yorker posted a funny cartoon online this week. It was taken off Facebook by its censors because it violated the terms of service. The violation was that it showed ‘nipple bulge’. In truth it showed a cartoon Adam and Eve sitting down leaning against a tree. They were naked, as you might expect. The drawing had 2 small ink dashes for Adam’s nipples. Those weren’t violations.  Then they had 2 ink dots for Eve’s nipples. Those were violations of the ban on ‘nipple bulge’ (their words, not mine).
Here are the offending and non-offending marks.

Not Offensive

It is the height of absurdity and The New Yorker wrote their own blog post about it that I think you would get a kick out of.


Then FB reversed it’s decision and decided to allow the cartoon. The New Yorker however did not trust them and so posted an even more inflammatory and provocative cartoon. You can see it if you dare.

NIPPLEGATE – The Exciting Conclusion

I meanwhile, in support of The New Yorker,  have posted my own offending marks. They are behind the tree in the drawing above.


Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman

Quote by Mark Twain



Fuddle, Upset and Debauch – How To Persuade #4

I promise you won’t be debauched if you read today’s napkin on day #4 of Persuasion week. Really.

Persuasion and Oratory - Persuasion series #4

I am a sucker for political speeches. Give me a great orator at his or her best and I will easily be persuaded.  I take them at their word, I believe they are sincere in what they say.  Then the speech ends and I compare their words to reality.  If they don’t match up, forget it.  But that doesn’t spoil my joy in hearing the speech. I just put the brakes on and stop myself from being a converted cult member by thinking through the ideas, claims, and goals to see if I really agree or not.

What about you, are you a fan of great speeches, even if you don’t believe a word they are saying once the speech ends?


Drawing by Marty Coleman

Quote by Mark Twain


Is History is a Fluid, a Solid or a Gas? – History Lesson #2

Historically speaking, it’s day #2 of History Lesson Week at the NDD.


Is History is a fluid, a solid or a gas? - History Lesson #2


Why are histories about the same era written again and again?  Gibbon’s wrote a multi-volume history of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Why isn’t that enough, why more books on the same topic?  Why so many books about Lincoln, World War II, the American revolution, China, technology, wars? Why is there such a long history of histories?  Because our prejudices are fluid over the generations and our histories will always be updated to fit our prejudices.

What are our historical and present day prejudices?  Just ask yourself what you believe in and that will tell you.  The belief might blind you to the truth, as is the case in certain branches of Islam or Christianity where they do whatever they can to keep women down.  They go so far as to create and then perpetuate gargantuan lies under the guise of history to validate and support their prejudices against women being equal. They are driven by fear and they call it ‘truth’.

I read a synopsis of Hegel’s idea of ‘the Dialectic’ yesterday. No, I don’t really understand it, and no I haven’t ever read his actual work. (Ask my daughter Rebekah if you want to talk to someone who has actually read it and understood it).  I read it in a book called ‘Eureka! – What Archimedes Really Meant and 80 Other Key Ideas Explained.’  It essentially is this: Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.  We start with an idea, the opposite of the idea comes up to challenge it and eventually the two ideas combine to some degree to create a synthesis, a new idea.  That idea/thesis in turn is the starting point for a new antithesis to challenge it and on it goes.

That is how we can see our fluid history.  A way of looking at a series of events is put forth, let’s say about the American Civil War.  Someone writes a book saying it was fought over slavery.  Then someone else challenges that it was about slavery and writes that it was instead about state’s rights.  A third person writes another book that says it was about both.  That leads to yet another book that says it was about neither but instead was about cotton. And on and on it goes. The positive side to the idea of the dialectic is that it should lead to ever increasing knowledge and understanding.  In practice, while I do believe we make some progress in society and life, I also believe that fear and vested interests keep society and individuals from moving forward towards a better life for all.

Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who would always choose ‘history’ on Jeopardy!

Quote by Mark Twain, who was born 4 years after Hegel died.

The Christmas Next Year

christmas next year

We had a different Christmas this year for a few reasons.  None of my three biological daughters were here, I have been crazy busy getting pieces finished and ready for my upcoming ‘Velveteen Women’ exhibition (opening January 6th at Living Arts of Tulsa) and just a sort of general fatigue about the ‘work’ of decorating for Christmas.  We did decorate, but not as much as usual.  We watched a Christmas movie and TV show or two, but not the usual dozen or so.  Caitlin, my step-daughter, had mixed feelings about this. She didn’t get into it quite as much, she felt bad, ok, resigned, relieved all at various times.  Linda, my wife, felt the same way.  But Christmas morning was wonderful, Christmas brunch with the family was especially fun, as was Christmas Eve.  In the end it was different, but it was good.

Here is what I felt.  Christmas does not occur exactly the same each year even if it seems to. It has mutations to the sameness that sometimes makes it brighter, sometimes a bit more melancholy, sometimes devastatingly different, sometimes virtually the same. But it is never really the same, is it?  Christmas rhymes with Christmases past, it doesn’t repeat them.

How do you feel about Christmas (or any holiday) changing in your life from year to year? How do the changes in you make those changes happen?

Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, owner of a really small car.

Quote by Mark Twain, who is now dead.

For The Bible Tells Me So

I saw a posting yesterday by a blogging mama friend of mine from Utah.  She was explaining that she caught her little daughter laying a big smackaroo kiss on some little boy in her class.  Her response when she saw it was to tell her daughter that wasn’t appropriate and that she was not suppose to kiss a boy until her wedding day.  She added an LOL after the statement but I was pretty sure, due to her Mormon beliefs, that she was being serious.

Being the demure, non-confrontational guy I am, I wrote in the thread under her story saying “Not kissing until married? You know that is setting up a really guilty girl in the future. You think it is realistic and do you think it is helpful to her?”  What followed was a pretty lengthy discussion about it, with most chiming in that they thought it was completely realistic and good to have that as a goal.  Most respondents were fellow Mormons along with the blogger.

I was not of that opinion.  It got a bit heated, nothing angry or mean, just some telling me to raise my kids how I want and she can raise her kids how she wants. It was all cool. But it got me thinking, what is in your scripture that you completely understand and it bothers you? Does it bother you because you disagree with it? Because you do agree with it but don’t want to follow it? Or something else? Tell me about it, ok?

Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily

Quote by Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American writer

Mark Twain – The Great Quotists #3

It’s day #3 of The Great Quotists – Mr. Samuel Langhorne Clemens if you please.
The words ‘mark twain’ are what the steamboat pilots of the 1800s would call out when the measurement of the water on the river was at least 2 fathoms.  It meant that the water was deep enough for the boats to travel safely.  Samuel Clemens was a steamboat pilot along the Mississippi River and took those words as his pen name in 1863.  It also is the case that an earlier Mississippi steamboat captain, one Captain Sellers, used that as his pen name before Clemens did.  Clemens supposedly chose the name in honor of that first writer and as a connection to his roots on the river.

Drawing by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily 

Quote by Mark Twain – NOTE:  While this quote has long been attributed to Twain, there is some reason to doubt whether he actually said it.  Record going back to early in his life attribute the quote to Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar.



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