Monday, January 29, 2007

It's a MAD, MAD World.

It was bound to happen.

I am now officially an ancillary member of MAD Magazine's staff.

"You are now one of us," writes famed Willie Elder, creator of the now famous, MELVIN MOLE, A MAN OUT OF CONTROL.

But, warns Willie, Don't forget what Groucho Marx said, "I wouldn't want to be part of any club that would have me as a member :-)

Myself a man out of control for some time, I strongly identified with that truly underground comic book hero of the Ffties (file-toothed, rat-faced, bepimpled) whose sole (perhaps only) tallent consisted of tunneling his way with incredibly cunning underneath all obstacles, accompanying himself with obsessional mutterings: DIG! DIG! DIG! HUH! DIG! DIG! DIG!.

The scene, as I recall, opened with Melvin having dug himself into the Last National Bank.
But the omniscient police had placed waiting guards there. Melvin is dungeoned.

"You slippery little rat," his keeper grates, while having a KFC.

But the guard has discarded a toothpick, which Melvin seizes,and he is soon tunneling:

But Melvin can't see and he surfaces in the middle of a Policeman's Ball.

There's more, much more to the story of Melvin Mole, but I certainly identify, certainly when it comes to my quest for hardcover book publishing.


I seem to be surfacing not at some literary party on Madison Avenue, but the policeman's ball.

But there might be a spoon they would discard there and I would use that spoon.


My underground hero does eventually emerge just alongside and electric chair, atop of which a coffee is boiling merrily. "You've dug your last hole, Mole."

I am getting to the age where I should be thinking of my epitaph.

I am composing it.


I have had for twenty years a publisher himself recently fallen upon hard times.

People on the street would say, "There goes Ivan."

"Who is that man just behind him, so ragged and depressed?"

"That's his publisher."

My publisher, now homeless and staying with me, has brought in some of my remainders reviews, press clippings.

I am like an aging Hollywood starlet, poring over the clippings and photographs.

How grand the reviews.

But I stupidly used the fame to run for office.

What maginficent failure at politics! Politics is always a mistake for an artist, certainly me the comic artist.

Ah, but how grand it all was, the klieg lights, the spotlights, the tuxedo, the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd. Got nothing else to do? Feel insignifacant? Run through the streets, functionlally naked as a person. Run for office. You'll get your fifteen minutes!

Ten thousand dollars out, virtually dungeoned in my basement office, I started looking for a plastic spoon to dig myself out with.
The spoon came in the middle of the night. I still had some property-- no, not literary property, forget that!--I still had a nest egg.

Spending the nest egg. Taking $40,000 to make myself famous.

It worked.

On television all the time, pontificating, bullshitting. I was reselling my books.
Thank god for cable TV!

But it doesn't take long to spend forty Large.

Ah dungeoned again.

I could just se my alter-ego, Melvin Mole. "You've dug you last hole, Mole! You're under control!"

Lately, I have taken to mischief journalism.

The brickbats are now flying.

I can just see the future. "You slippery little rat," my keeper may keen, with some admiration. "You've dug your last hole!"

"Now we're going to make you chairman."

Thus might perish the last of the hardcore hardcover book aspirants.

But tragedy sometimes ends with a laugh.

"In the end, he was MAD."


EA Monroe said...

Ivan, I was wondering what sort of mischief you've been up to lately!

Josie said...

Ivan, a lot of people happen to think you're quite brilliant. I guess it's not what you know, it's who (whom?) you know. How on else can anyone explain Donald Trump? Ghastly, ghastly man.

I'll bet you were very cool in your day.


(P.S. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Mad Magazine. Have you ever noticed how Alfred E. Neuman, the What, Me Worry Kid, looks exactly like Ted Koppel?

ivan said...

...Up to no good, Liz.

ivan said...

Ted Koppel as Alfred E. Neuman
Now that's brilliant.

I was wondering about the resemblance, the eyes close together, slightly cross-eyed, the ears.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Anyone who turns away from security and takes risks is looked upon as somewhat "crazy." Being crazy more than likely won't get you to where you want to be, but if it does, then most folks become envious. Three cheers for the mole. Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!

ivan said...

Hey man!

Anonymous said...

Ottawa - Indian Affairs critic Anita Neville today criticized the Conservative government for neglecting the Residential Schools Agreement during the Speech from the Throne and for failing to implement and fully fund the Kelowna Agreement.

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government had the opportunity today to show the First Nations people of Canada, that he is concerned with, respectful of and committed to resolving their issues. He failed to do so," said Ms. Neville.

"For years, Canada's Aboriginals have waited for meaningful actions on improving their status of living and resolving past wrongs. The $2 billion Residential Schools Agreement acknowledged past injustices," she said. "The multi-faceted Kelowna Accord, negotiated and agreed to by the federal, provincial and territorial governments and Aboriginal leaders, provided a blueprint of hope for the future."

Ms. Neville also noted that during the election then Conservative critic Jim Prentice said the Conservative's supported the Kelowna Accord and that a Conservative government would honour all commitments made to aboriginal people at last year's meeting.

"Mr. Prentice promised Canada's aboriginal people results, and the Throne Speech was the Conservative Government's first opportunity to deliver results. Instead of results this Conservative government has produced absolutely nothing for Canada's aboriginals," said Ms. Neville."

Ms. Neville added that the new Conservative government is disregarding the commitments they made to aboriginal peoples.

"I ask Mr. Harper, 'why is the well-being of Canada's Aboriginals not one of his five priorities?" If the true test of a just society is how it treats its most vulnerable, why is Mr. Harper prepared to continue on a path that has resulted in Canada's Aboriginal community being disproportionately worse off then their fellow Canadians? "

ivan said...

Thanks, George.

Anonymous said...

Click onto Josie's site for pictures of "separated twins" Ted Koppel and Alfred E. Newman.
Too funny!

Anonymous said...

hi Mr. Prokopchuk :

you are, as always, a most engaging correspondent. as is Ms. Josie,.

first, my thanks for alerting Ms. Josie.

she says :

You know, readers have gotten very lazy in the last decade or so. People don't seem to like reading anything that takes any effort of brains. I'm amazed at how much money people like Danielle Steele make, and if someone like Somerset Maugham or John Steinbeck were writing today, no one would read them.


ivan said...

Thanks, Alfred.
The dialogue will continue.

Friends Are A Gift said...

I dropped in to say Hi.
I'm BJ Scoggins

ivan said...

To the anonymous Liberal Party suppporter.
The poor aboriginals got shafted
because the lawyer representing them wants $50,000,000 (sic) for his services.
Naturally the Conservative Harper government can't pay this outrageous amount. They have censured the lawyer and this has led to even more legal complications.
The now- adult aboriginal "kids" heretofore abused by teachers and administrators of the government-run schools will not get their $18,000 compensation per person for a long, long time.
What a low blow by the Liberal Party, the lawyer himself a card-carrying member!
I am not a Conservative but this is bad politics and it will certainly backfire.
And all this time, those poor socially and sexually abused aboriginals, now in middle age--will get nothing.
Thank you, Liberal Party!

ivan said...

I am waiting for the paper to come out tomorrow.
I have deeply insulted the head of Transportation around here. He has replied, saying I should not condemn an entire transportation system (shut down yesterday because
"the wheels can't go").

I have printed a Nyah, na-na- Nyah response, saying the transportations system sucks canal water (when it is not frozen).
Don't know why I do these things at my age.
...Going into my second childhood, I suppose.
Ah, what the hell.
I did it because I thought it would be fun!
When in doubt, clout!

Josie said...

Ivan, I just popped over to say hello. What a BUSY day I've had today. I am going to go home and blob...:-)


(The sun is shining...!)

ivan said...


Still a-building your blog, I see.

I was wondering where those hits from Florida were coming from!

Starting a new blog in January.
That's lucky, I guess. Start the new year right.


ivan said...


I see you're getting lots of traction in that meme, "Six Weird Things About Me."

I wouldn't even start, over here.

My poor ex- wife used to go around to the neighbours with her complaints
of her "weird Ivan." Heh.

It started with me pouring ketchup into Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup for flavouring.

...Guess I was trying to make borscht.

Trying ot satisfy mu ethnic quotient, I suppose.

Josie said...

Ivan, I have actually heard of other people putting ketchup in their chicken noodle soup. Chicken noodle soup is the most tasteless thing there is.


ivan said...

It is becoming my conviction that men are somehow weirder than women.

Maybe I have read too much of that weird Dane, Soren Kierkegaard, who says, among other things (like everybody's carrying something--you can actually see it!)--that the business of being in love is to actually make mountains out of mole hills.
Every time I am in love, I do make mountains out of molehills: "It has been fifteen minutes, and she hasn't called...Wonder what's wrong!"
Of course, all my lovers, many, admittedly carrying Hester Prynne's "A" on their right shoulder-front, would often say, "You are a pervert. All men are perverts."


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