Ethiopia explained.

October 24, 2016

I must admit it took some courage to post some stories about a boy named after a country in Africa who enjoys killing his mother just by saying the word “Saturday”. Truly, it feels like I just took my blog way off the beaten path and well outside its comfort zone, in addition to mine. Actually this is something I’ve been doing for years but I’m just now beginning to share the details.

My Ethiopia character does have some very interesting origins. When I was a kid, I loved to draw. Many times I got in trouble for drawing cartoons in class but that hardly put a stop to my artistic ambitions.

I did a lot of experimenting with my drawing, including drawing entire comic strips and writing the letters of the dialogue upside down. When I was finished I just rotated the paper to admire the bizarre results.

It was from this upside down drawing style that I came up with the boy named Ethiopia, his bald mother and his mutant friends. The interesting part is how I just don’t see I could have created such unusual characters from drawing normally. I can’t help but wonder why. Maybe I’m utilizing a different part of my brain when drawing upside down as there’s more concentration involved, especially when writing the letters. I’m beginning to think that there’s a whole new source of ideas and a vastly different approach to creativity on this other side of the brain. This calls for further exploration and experimenting.

I close with a song from one of my comic strips that Ethiopia sings to drive his mother insane. It too was written with the letters upside down.

Oh mother of the mine
So heaven, so divine
I wish that I were nine
So I can at least grow a spine

You say, what’s it to you?
For I know it on the bayou
Stinky mud and closet kazoo
Does love reach out to you

But I pause and reflect
As one of nature’s rejects
Nothing planned, no special effects
Yet I pause for collect

Alas comes the day
Everything goes your way
What can I do
What can I say

Any given Sunday
Follows that day Monday
Then Tuesday and Wednesday
After which is Friday comes then…
(mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble)

And boom went his mother.

Jason and Robert discuss Ethiopia.

October 23, 2016

Radio personalities Jason and Robert recently had a discussion of the controversial comic strip character Ethiopia. A transcript of this discussion follows.

There’s this comic strip character named Ethiopia that’s one of the strangest characters I’ve seen.


He looks scary, his friends look like horrible mutants from outer space, and his mom’s mad and bald as a cue ball.


Have you seen this? Today’s strip, right from the comics pages. In the first panel, Ethiopia’s staring straight at us, with a smile on his face. I mean, have you noticed this? He’s always got a smile on his face. It doesn’t matter if he’s sad, scared or angry, he’s always got a smile on his face. That really spooks me out.


Anyway, in the first panel, Ethiopia’s saying, watch me kill my mom.


In the next panel, he goes up to his mom and says the word SATURDAY. And his mom says NO! In the panel after that, he says Saturday again and his mom yells NOO! In the last panel, Ethiopia says Saturday one more time and his mom explodes.


Into a million pieces. Where’s the humor in that? All because of this kid saying Saturday?


One would have to think, where’s the humor in this? How did this get started?


If we had a little background information on the circumstances surrounding the reason why his mom hates the word Saturday, if only there were an explanation for this, then we’d appreciate the humor more.

Much more.

My point exactly.


You can’t expect to land in the comics pages and expect to be funny when you present situations that are maddening to others without explaining why that is. But I got to hand it to this guy, he knows how to be funny in his own special way.


Did you get this guy’s name, by the way? The guy who draws this? His name’s Tooth Paste.

Tooth Paste?



What is up with that? It’s almost like, he doesn’t want the world to know his real name. It seems like he’s hiding behind something. I don’t think this strip is anything to be ashamed of. I think it’s cool, and really stands out from all the other strips on the comics page. Unless he’s adding on to the notoriety by using an alias that’s just as weird as the comic itself.


Introducing Ethiopia.

October 23, 2016


Ethiopia is undoubtedly one of the strangest looking comic strip characters ever created. He just stands there, wide-eyed and always smiling. Whether he’s happy, sad or scared, he’s always got that stupid grin on his face. One cannot help but wonder why. If it sends the message for one to be constantly optimistic regardless of the conditions of life, it sends a very strange one indeed.


His mother’s even stranger. She has no hair and is constantly mad. Never do we see her in a happy mood. One can’t help but wonder if she’s abusive. And what is it with her snapping every time she hears the word Saturday? Apparently it’s some type of gag.

Strangest of all is the cartoonist himself. We know absolutely nothing about him except his weird name. Ladies and gentlemen, this guy calls himself Tooth Paste. We never see him, never hear from him, but he’s there, giving us this bizarre and frightening cartoon character, hanging out with his freaky friends. That is, when he’s not at home trying to kill his mother. Yes, Ethiopia is the first cartoon character who enjoys killing his mom.

That’s got to generate a little controversy. Forget the falling anvils and farting jokes, what we really need is a little boy whom we never see go to school, fully intent on killing his mom. What does that put into the minds of millions of little kids as they read the comics pages? No wonder civilization is on the fritz. If newspaper editors allow comics about boys killing their moms, then it won’t be long before we see another comic strip mother putting live grenades in her son’s lunch bag.


Never fear, though. All it takes for Ethiopia to kill his bald-headed mom is to say the word “Saturday”. She goes into conniptions and explodes. Comedy gold! But somehow, she always manages to come back from the dead to continue nagging poor Ethiopia into some sense about what he’s doing.


We have to go back to Tooth Paste, the creator and cartoonist who draws Ethiopia. He (or she?) is a recluse, mailing in his (or her?) strips via mail from a post office box. With the advent of the Internet, Tooth Paste e-mails his strips from an anonymous e-mail service. We never know who he is. These strips have been coming out for decades and they’re still bizarre and as frightening as ever. Apparently, Tooth Paste shows no signs of slowing down.

He recently tried to make a full-length animated movie starring his beloved and controversial character. The studios wouldn’t venture into Paste’s vision for fear of bringing Ethiopia to a mass audience. His friends are so ugly they’re bound to frighten small children. And his killing his mom doesn’t exactly appeal to parents either. The movie was ditched, forever sealing Tooth Paste’s true identity.

The strips keep coming. Oh, do they keep coming. They never lose their appeal, regardless of the bizarre antics of Ethiopia and his friends. Like it or not, he’s here to stay, from here until Saturday.


The Man in the Attic.

October 21, 2016

Ron and Karen both sat sullen faced in the darkened living room as they listened to the howling winds of the hurricane outside. The boarded up windows blocked out much of the light along with the the terrifying sights of the storm. Occasionally they heard the sound of something breaking or something heavy falling but could only guess what that sound was.

Adding to the dreadful mood were the remnants of the fierce argument that took place days before the hurricane’s arrival. Okay, so their son Ian didn’t do anything to get his life going, but that was no reason to throw him out of the house and tell him not to come back. Little did Ron and Karen know, however, that instead of being forced out, Ian went back in through the garage, and through a series of well-timed events, managed to climb into the attic, where he had been hiding all this time.

Then Ian followed a strange hunch and discovered a ladder that descended behind the wall of his parents’ bedroom at the other side of the attic. After climbing down the ladder, Ian was amazed to find a hidden bedroom, complete with a bed, a bathroom and a small refrigerator, and there he was safe and sound while his parents worried about him and pondered his whereabouts.

Life was good for Ian until the bedroom’s lone occupant suddenly appeared, not at all pleased with Ian’s presence. An argument ensued along with a physical struggle that created a commotion Ian’s parents could hear from the living room. And then…


Ron and Karen jumped as they heard Ian’s screams from out of nowhere. Ron grabbed his flashlight and cautiously began tracing the source of the screams.

“Ian? Is that you?”


“Where are you?”

“Down here!”


“Down here! Next to your feet!”

Ron immediately shone his light down on the floor and was startled to see Ian’s face behind the air vent under the cabinet beneath the kitchen sink.

“IAN? What are you doing down there? How’d you get down there anyway?”

“Dad, there is a small bedroom under this house!”


“A small bedroom under this house! Just go in the attic to the space above your room and go down the ladder behind the wall! That’s where the bedroom is!”

“AND IT’S MINE!” a third voice suddenly rang out. Ron jumped back while shaking his flashlight.

“Who the hell is that!” Ron yelled.

“The guy who lives here!” Ian yelled back.

“So there’s someone living in a hidden bedroom under MY HOUSE?” Ron bellowed. “I’LL BE RIGHT THERE!”

So Ron and Karen quickly ran into the garage to climb into the attic and made their way to the hidden ladder, where they quickly climbed down to enter the hidden bedroom where Ian and the stranger continued their physical altercation. This room was very dark with the sole source of light being the battery-operated lantern shining through the air vent from the living room.

“STOP!” Ron yelled. “Will someone PLEASE tell me what the hell is going on? Who the hell are you?”

“Classified information,” the stranger said.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Information,” Ron replied. “What is this place?”

“Classified information,” the stranger repeated.

“What are you doing here?”

“Classified information.”

“You’re not telling me anything,” Ron sneered.

“All I can say is, this is government property, and you are trespassing.”

“Trespassing? This is a bedroom located under MY house and to get here we had to go through MY attic,” Ron said. “And besides, I take it my tax dollars are funding your presence here?”

“That would be correct,” the stranger said.

“Well then, I’d like an explanation,” Ron said. “unless this is another example of excess spending.”

“That’s classified information,” the stranger repeated, producing his gun. “Now please leave or I will have you arrested for trespassing!”

“My tax dollars at work,” Ron sighed. “Come on, Karen, let’s leave our vagrant alone. But we’ll come back. I still want to know what’s going on. Oh wait, that’s -”

“Classified information,” Ron and the stranger chimed together. Shaking his head, Ron climbed up the ladder with Karen close behind. Ian, however, did not follow his parents, instead he crawled under the bed to investigate what was going on.

Feeling he was alone, the stranger slid a metal plate over the air vent to completely darken the bedroom. Seconds later a small, flashing green light was switched on and Ian could hear the stranger’s voice.

“Agent Zero,” the stranger said.

“We’re waiting,” came the reply over what sounded like a radio.

Then there was a loud hissing noise, and Ian lifted the bedspread from under the bed to see the stranger begin to disappear under the floor in his seat as a hidden platform began to lower. Ian quickly scrambled out from under the bed for a better look and looked down the hole in the floor to see a dimly lit metal chamber with a door at one end. He could see the stranger begin walking towards the door as the platform began to lift the chair back up.

Ian immediately knew he had to get down to where the agent was if he was to find out what was going on, but how? The chair was now halfway back to the floor when Ian decided to just jump down the hole. Down he went, bouncing off the chair and down to the floor below for an inelegant but safe landing. By now the chair had reached the floor above and the machinery operating the platform shut itself off.

Ian made it. The only way now was in.

To be continued…

Introducing Stutz Slinghi.

October 19, 2016

Stutz Slinghi is a magician who performs at Binghi’s Market in Dadeland. His magic shows have always drawn large crowds of potential customers to keep the famed flea market in business.

Alas, Slinghi is no stranger to controversy. There have been several noteable events over the years that has stained Slinghi’s reputation as a wholesome family entertainer.

The Illusion City fiasco is a shining example. It started out innocently enough as a reward from owner Khatoosh Binghi for years of bringing crowds to his flea market. Originally the reward was to have taken form as a small plot of land for constructing an auditorium for Slinghi to perform his magic shows.

But Slinghi had other plans. To him, an auditorium was not enough, no, an entire city lined with trapdoors, secret passageways and mirrors to create an atmosphere of astonishment was sufficient enough to mark Slinghi’s legacy. He needed much more than the funds that were set aside to construct the auditorium, in fact, his proposed Illusion City brought the price tag up to the million dollar mark. Binghi balked and insisted on constructing the auditorium as planned but Slinghi didn’t want to hear of it. A feud ensued and after much bickering, Binghi ditched his initial offering, plans to build the auditorium were cancelled and land turned into an overflow parking lot. The friendship between Slinghi and Binghi was forever strained. Slinghi still performs at the market but his stage mannerisms have been far less enthusiastic as they once were.

And so, Slinghi continues performing to wary crowds unsure what to make of the man on the stage, but, you know what they say, the show must go on.

UPDATE: It appears that Slinghi has been sidelined due to injuries sustained during a recent magic show. Yes, Slinghi continues to perform in spite of controversy and allegation, but it looks like his magic days are over. He was demonstrating what he claims are his powers of levitation and had succeeded in floating several feet off the floor when his gimmicked chair broke and sent him crashing to the floor. He was so humiliated that he vowed to quit performing altogether and returned home to his native India. Since then Binghi’s Market has been struggling and may soon fold without the strong customer base it once had.

UPDATE: It seems that things have soured between Slinghi and Binghi to the point where Slinghi permanently fled the United States to the tiny nation of Punjab, where he became the next Ul Baga, spiritual leader of the Pushtas. Who knew that a mere flea market magician was really a half deity all along. What else will we unearth from the mystery surrounding Stutz Slinghi? Stay tuned.

UPDATE: It appears the joke is on Slinghi once again. It has been revealed that the Pushtas are fictitious nomadic tribe concocted as a means of preventing passage over the mountains leading to Punjab. Anyone attempting to cross the mountains were warned that the Pushtas were waiting with their swords at the ready, which was usually enough to scare them away. To further aid the scare tactics, a fake spiritual leader was chosen and positioned near the mountains to offer spiritual counseling to the Pushtas said to be camping nearby. And Slinghi was desperate enough to take this job as a means of cleaning up his image but only succeeded in staining it further.

Reality TV.

October 19, 2016

An angry response from Trump supporters.

October 18, 2016

As expected, the story I ran yesterday about Donald Trump throwing grapes at my car invoked a furious response from his supporters. In fact the response has been so fierce that I have had to check into a motel at an undisclosed location at the Red Roof Inn near the interstate.

This morning, these crazed Trump supporters showed up outside my house armed with catapults for firing crates of grapes at my windows. Fortunately I still have the windows shuttered up for the recent hurricane, but who knows how much longer they can withstand the oncoming assault of flying grapes. The barrage has been deafening and the pile of splattered grapes on my patio keeps getting bigger and taller by the minute. When will this end?

I am sure the supporters are demanding an apology from me, but I continue to stand by my story about Donald Trump pelting my car with grapes back in 2003, as it did in fact happen. The truth does speak volumes much louder than the sound of grapes splattering on my aluminium shutters right now.

UPDATE: A few hours after I wrote this post, I decided to stop by my house to see if things calmed down. The good news is that the Trump supporters are no longer firing grapes at my house. The bad news is that they are now firing bottles of wine. As of this writing I am currently checked in at a different motel at an undisclosed location, which is the Days Inn just up the street.

The day Donald Trump threw grapes at my car.

October 17, 2016

On August 17, 2003, I decided to go on a leisurely drive through Palm Beach. It was a clear sunny day and I thought this was the best time to go.

As I drove on the road that ran alongside the beach, I suddenly saw some small spherical objects splattering on my windshield and momentarily distorting my view of the road. I turned on my windshield wipers to clear the mess, but at that instant, my rear window was pummeled by more of the same soft objects that splattered on contact. I also caught a glimpse of someone disappearing into the nearby sea grapes, so I got out of my car for a better look at the perpetrator. He was dressed in a navy blue dress suit and had a peculiar combover, and that’s when I realized I just had an encounter with Donald Trump. The small objects thrown at my car were grapes. Why he did this, I may never know.

Similar stories have surfaced from people who had similar encounters as they too drove through Palm Beach, and that’s what inspired me to come forward with my story as well.

Charles’s revenge.

October 16, 2016

Finally. The hospital’s network was back up and running after its latest crash. After the servers were rebooted and the interfaces brought back online, the staff at the Information Systems department were ready to go home after a long Saturday night at work.

“What time is it anyway?” Charles the manager asked as he rose to his feet.

Robert, the network administrator, glanced at his watch. “It’s 10:30.”

“Wow,” Kevin, the department director, chuckled, “I didn’t think we’d be here this long.”

Charles was fuming. He had been called into work just as he was getting ready to go out to dinner and a movie with his wife for a rare evening out to try saving their marriage. He had spent way more time at work than he did at home because of all the problems with the network and those problems could have been remedied by simply upgrading the hardware, but Kevin kept allocating the funds to maintaining the antiquated network that everyone knew was on its last legs. And now here Charles was, at work again and watching his marriage dissolve. He was furious at Kevin and really wanted to hit him but doing so would result in an arrest and the end of his marriage. Surely there must be a better and more subtle way to inflict this pain…

Charles exhaled slowly to calm himself down and said, “I’m glad everything’s back up and running. Come on, I’ll buy you guys a drink.”

“None for me,” Robert yawned, “I think I’ll just go home.”

“Kevin? You up for a drink?’ Charles asked.

Kevin was surprised at Charles’s mild demeanor. “Sure,” he replied.

So Charles and Kevin went to Peninsula Paul’s, Charles’s favorite drinking establishment. They sat at the counter and had a few drinks to calm their frazzled nerves.

Then Charles said, “Let’s have some fun and get rid of this stress at the same time. Follow me.”

Kevin followed Charles to the back of the bar where they passed the billiards table and some video games before arriving at the punching bag game in the corner. After Charles put the money in to start the game, he said, “You go first.”

Kevin walked up to the punching bag and kept laughing as he changed positions and stances as he prepared himself to throw the punch.

“Just throw your punch already!” Charles bellowed impatiently.

Kevin threw a surprisingly weak punch, which registered a very low score on the game’s display.

Charles was shaking his head. “Here, let me show you how it’s done. Just stand right there and watch.”

Kevin stood with his head just inches away from the punching bag and watched Charles put in some more money before getting himself into position.

Then Charles threw his most powerful punch, striking the punching bag from the left side and causing it to swung to the right which hit Kevin’s head so hard that Kevin dropped to the floor in an unconscious heap. The other patrons briefly glanced at Kevin before returning to their drinks.

“Best two bucks I ever spent,” Charles said to himself as he paid the tab, “Revenge is sweet.”

I won’t ever park you in the mud.

October 14, 2016

I’ve always been a loving friend and know that I’ve been true
I’ve been giving thought to things I hope I never do
If somewhere down the road our friendship proves to be a dud
I’m never ever ever going to park you in the mud

If I park you in the mud then where are you going to go?
Moving on is hard especially when the moving’s slow
You’ll never make it far enough to put yourself ahead
Not while the mud you’re in has risen well above your head

If I ever park you it will be on solid ground
You may be devastated but at least you’re safe and sound
You can pick up all the pieces and then you’ll carry on
You won’t be stranded in the mud but you’ll be in the sun

Please don’t be mistaken and please don’t get me wrong
Our friendship isn’t ending, but in fact I think it’s strong
But if things should not work out and should we call it done
I’m never ever ever going to park you in the mud