I Can’t Think Of A Name For This Blog, But It’s Important….By Rick London

I have such a good time on facebook.  I chat about music, humor, cartoons, animals, current events, The Constitution, my lovely wife @LeeHillerLondon and a variety of other topics. I also have a great time re-sharing Lee’s amazing photography and design work.

I love chatting with my old friends; many of them are back home in Hattiesburg, or are from Hattiesburg, grew up with me, and live in other parts of the country (or world).  facebook is like a barometer. It tells me where I was three to five decades ago, and real life and even Twitter tells me to a certain degree “where I am now”.

By Londons Times Cartoons (Click To Enlarge)

I love hearing of my friends both old and new successes, overcoming obstacles and illnesses, falling in love, and sometimes even out of love because they may have found themselves with the wrong mate. It happens, and it is not a failure (to break up or divorce); in fact I imagine it is a failure not to, if one is in the wrong relationship and makes it the status quo and surrenders to unhappiness.  That saddens me.

Divorce by Londons Times c2011 (Click To Enlarge)

But nothing saddens me more than running into old friends who I know to be very bright who have gotten stuck in some political dogma and it is basically all they can discuss.  I know they don’t mean it.  I know they do not even know they are more or less in a cult.  It can be “on the far left” or “far right”.  They are so predictable.  It is like being in a physics 101 class.  You can say one thing and they say the opposite. You can agree with them, and they’ll find a way to disagree and find a monster under the bed and describe it in rapid detail because it is only seconds away from taking over America.  Usually it is somehow connected to The President, some senator or congressman, a tv network, or you name it.  The conspiracy is as real to them as the glass of bourbon they have just downed to fuel it and keep it alive.


Osama Bin Banana In His Birthplace Of Lemon

I make light of it, but it is not funny at all. I have lived and worked all over this great country and I know the ending of people who are like old 45 records that get stuck because of a big scratch.  They talk about it and as the years go by the conspiracies get more real (they find real researched blogs and books to back it up) and they describe it louder and louder.  In Los Angeles, I was at the death bed of a man who I admired but he was like that.  He told me at the end he knew he was wrong but it was “like a gang”. There was no way out.  He would have become persona non gratis in his small town. He commuted to L.A.  I told him he had enough open-minded friends in L.A. who didn’t care what he believed and he could be who he wanted.  It was too late. He died while I was there.

Hemingway Cartoon

by Londons Times Cartoons

It was a lesson for me; one of the most valuable lessons I would ever learn.  Though I was then in my 30′s, it was time for me to get educated. I mean really educated.  That meant re-evaluating everything I learned from my teachers, my parents, my Sunday school, my college, and my experiences. It did not mean they were all wrong. It meant it was important for me to write them down and study them closely. Many of the ideas of which I hung onto are ideas I formulated decades before. Did they still serve me? Some did but most didn’t.  But that left “the great unknown”. If I let go of a lot of this political, religious and educational dogma that was no longer valid, but of which I identified myself and bonded me to my friends, and dropped it, what then.

I wasn’t getting any younger nor any happier. Nor were my friends. It was mandatory that I be honest with them.  I was changing. They may or may not like the changes but that was their issue, not mine. It took some bravery on my part, bravery I didn’t think I had.  But I had it, which led me to believe that most if not everyone has it if need be.

Nobody needs to die in their own toxic dogma.  They can change midlife.  The average college student is now in his/her 40′s and when I went back to college at 51, many of my colleagues were in their 60s-80s. As I got to know them, and my professors, I discovered they were going through healthy mid-life changes, as opposed to mid-life crises.

Chicken & Egg Cartoon

By Londons Times Cartoons

We never quit learning. If all we are doing is teaching, we might as well be dead.  Socrates and Aristotle even knew that.   Perhaps rethink your ideas.  Many of them may work for you, but many may no longer serve you well.  You can learn new things.  My wife and I do almost every day.

God gave us this beautiful planet to enjoy.   Yes, life can be a struggle but if all your doing is struggling, fighting, arguing, fighting, etc., I can almost guarantee you, its time to rethink your life.

Dance a bit, sing a song even if you’re alone.  Do something nice for yourself and/or someone else.  Smile.  Be yourself.  Experiment being your new self.  That does not mean letting go of  your moral or ethical principals. It is understanding and celebrating others opinions that might be different. It is re-learning tolerance. It is re-learning understanding.   It is celebrating life.  And do it often, even, no especially when you get the urge to flex your political muscles and “show them the light”.  We’ll never get perfect at it.  But we will make progress; and with that progress, love ourselves and others a lot more for it.  It’s scary at first..no absolutely frightening….then so sacred and positive, there’s really no going back.

Shirley Temple Of Doom by Londons Times Cartoons c2011 www.LondonsTimes.us


I am a mountain man from rural Arkansas. I founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 and it has been Google and MSN’s #1 Offbeat Cartoon since 2005. I founded numerous stores that sell over 1/4 million funny greeting cards, tees, mugs etc.  I design unique shoes and clothes at shops like Shoes That Amuse that sell the world’s only famous love quotes shoes & Shoeshies.com which sell Sushi Shoes, Clothes & gifts.


Life Coaches Vs Wisdom. Is There A Winner? By Rick London

“So what gives you the right to open a wisdom shop?”, asked an old childhood friend on facebook.     It is not that I am Confucius (or anything close), but it’s important to keep in mind that about 90%+ with whom I reconnect through social media have not seen me in at least 25 years; some as long as 35 years or more. I am 56 now and will be 57 in two days.  So, they are correct, I was not so wise in kindergarten, 4th grade, 8th grade or even early college.  I may not be that wise today, but probably a bit wiser than when we were friends in person at age three through twenty one.

Benjamin Franklin Mens Silk Tie from RickLondonWisdomShop.com

So am I a wise old sage now?  Not even close.  But I did open RickLondonWisdomShop.com (and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express).  Not to sound too much like early Steve Martin, “But you ask ‘Rick, why would you open a wisdom quote gift shop?’

RickLondonWisdomShop.com Logo

First, why not?  But there’s more to it than that.  In 2007, I launched ShoesThatAmuse.com. At first, I simply designed shoes that showcased masters of poetry, philosophy, politics etc. and on the side panels posted a famous love quote by each of them.  My inventory included (and still includes)  Shakespeare, Emerson, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Nietzsche, Helen Keller, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald and many others.  It worked so at the urging of my wife Lee Hiller-London also a designer and owner of what the media has heralded “Dazzling” LeeHillerDesigns.com, I added greeting cards and later other gifts and collectibles such as mouse pads, T-shirts, caps, mugs and such.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Mens Silk Tie by http://www.RickLondonWisdomShop.com


But I was putting myself in a corner.  Since ShoesThatAmuse.com became well-known for its famous love quotes, I was limited to famous love quotes, and they couldn’t be too new, or I would not be playing the copyright game fairly.  So I went for the old-timers and still do; all the way back to Socrates and Plato.

Shakespeare Lace Up Womens Designer Shoes by Rick London http://www.RickLondonWisdomShop.com

As I have entered my third year of Twitter, I notice one of the most entertaining parts is that people love to post famous quotes.  They are not all good. In fact some are dismal; but those are usually posted by life coach-types who take famous quotes, reword them a bit, and make them their own quotes. Some even “free-fall” not using even plagiarizing old quotes (and changing them up a bit) but trying their own.  We quickly take these thieves out of our Twitter stream and look for good wisdom and love quotes by the true masters, not “make believe life coach masters” who look silly at best.

Vincent Van Gogh Ladies Designer Shoes by Rick London http://www.RickLondonWisdomShop.com

That knowledge itself; knowing the difference between real masters and faux masters aka life coaches is a form of wisdom. Here is an example.  While most life coaches teach motivation and inspiration (generally taken from famous quotes, rewritten and packaged beautifully in books, CD’s etc) for hundreds and even thousands of dollars, William Wordsworth has one famous 3 word quote that sums it up and gives the same lesson; “To begin, begin”.

I started tweeting famous wisdom quotes and they were retweeted far more often than love quotes; though I must admit famous love quotes (especially by Shakespeare) get retweeted quite often.

So its a no-brainer.  Do you want a pretty package of re-written quotes that the life coach claims is there unique original saying (and pay a fortune) or do you want the true

Socrates IPad Skin by Rick London Designs http://www.RickLondonWisdomShop.com

master’s quote for free?  That’s a rhetorical question.  By the way, like alligators in a Florida swamp, life coaches roam the halls of Twitter seeking their “food”.  And you are usually in their jaws way before you are aware so caveat emptor.

Thomas Jefferson Womens Slip On Designer Shoes by Rick London http://www.RickLondonWisdomShop.com Which brings me to Rick London Wisdom Shop.  It does not take quotes and reword them.  I do not make products from my own quotes though I’ve written several hundred.  I create gifts, tees, mugs etc with graphics of the real masters with their real quotes and there are few items in the shop over $20 and many much less.  Now there’s a way to remind oneself of wisdom without having to mortgage the house.

Bottom line, life coaches, spiritual coaches, spiritual guides, and all the other names they call themselves thrive in this economy. Many (and many are elderly and poor) spend their last penny in hopes of “an opportunity”.  This same opportunity is available free by simply surfing the web and googling “famous wisdom quotes” and/or visiting your library and reading biographies of great accomplished wise men and women.  In no time, you’ll be running circles around these charletons.


Rick London, using no life coaches founded Londons Times Cartoons in 1997 in a tin shed in rural Mississipi. It has been the number one Google and MSN ranked offbeat cartoons and funny offbeat gifts since 2005. He recently founded Rick London Wisdom Shop the premiere shop for wisdom gifts. He’s founded other licensed image shop and offers an inventory of almost 300,000 items among all his cartoon collectible shops.  Both Sears and Amazon carry many of them.

The Life Of An Amazing Man; Dickey Randolph by Rick London


I first met Dickey Randolph when I was just turning nine years old in my hometown of Hattiesburg, Ms.    I was already a dog-lover by that time and had raised my first dog, a beagle named “Buster” from age 6-9.  I was heartbroken when my parents decided to give him away as he was a loud barker.  I thought for certain no dog could match the love and affection of Buster.

But Mom had something else in mind.  It had not been too long that Disney had released the blockbuster film “Big Red” and Irish Setters were becoming very popular. A friend of Mom’s Betty Randolph was raising them and had a new champion litter.  Betty’s son Dickey, five years my senior, had just picked “Lad” as his new best friend. I picked the one next to Lad and named him Rusty.   Unlike most situations back then, when friends were isolated by age, Dickey was very friendly and, like me, wanted to talk about Irish Setters. He knew a lot more about them than I ever did, and took the time to educate me of their tempermant, etc, and was very generous with his time; not something a snot-nose kid like me was used to back then from an older teenage peer, but grateful that he bent the rules of communication.

We went to schools about five miles apart and though we ran into each other occasionally at downtown (such as Coney Island Cafe or Belk-Whitley Store); I didn’t get to see Dickey often.    Though my parents were good about furthering my education regarding the care of pets,  I spoiled Rusty early, and allowed him to follow me to school; chasing me on my orange stingray bike down Mandalay Drive to Thames Elementary School. Rusty was so unique at that time, and so friendly, the teachers allowed me to bring him inside.

Rusty lived to be about six years old, and I still don’t know until this day whether he died of natural causes or my parents gave him away. Irish Setters were by then so inbred that some of them were getting a bit crazy. Aside from stealing milk from neighbors, Rusty allegedly bit a mailman, and one day when I was in bed recovering from an accident, Rusty was gone and my parents told me he “was at a very nice farm owners home”.   I was angry, of course, and it took me about six months to move on from the grief of losing him.

Fast forward about four years to a (mostly college) nightclub called “The Library”; aptly called so, I imagine, to please our parents.  “Mom, Dad…going to The Library”.  That always brought a smile to their faces. And off we went to party for the night.

Dickey Randolph was, also by then, older, and already knew his way around the joint.  He remained friendly and kind and showed me the ropes.  I was always grateful for that.

The Viet Nam War was in high gear.  I signed up for the draft. They still had the lottery system then.  My number was too high and I went one year to our local college USM, which didn’t fit me well, and then off to Dallas to Richland College.  I didn’t have another dog for about a decade.   I ran into some mutual friends of Dickey when I went home to visit who told me he had gone to Viet Nam and was back and at college (but I was unable to find him before I had to leave to go back to school).

I came back home in 1977 and sold residential real estate with the family business.  Dickey had married and moved to Florida and we lost touch again.

After four years I learned that the residential real estate business was not for me and I moved on to the northeast; living and working in New York City and later Washington D.C. and finally settled in Hot Springs, Ar. in 1999.

Fast forward about a decade…enter facebook.  My old friend Pamela Breazeale told me about it and showed me the ropes. Before long, mutual friends of hers were following me.  A familiar name came on the screen to friend me.  It was my dear old friend all the way back from my youth, Dickey.  I immediately took up the offer and we chatted on facebook daily for almost 2 years.  It was great to hear and he’d updated me with both information and photos of his service in Viet Nam. It was extremely impressive. Dickey never gave me details of his service, only that he’d served and what kind of experience it had been.

My transformation from the 60′s and 70s “hippie/rebellious” years to adulthood was never an easy one.  It still amazes me how easy it is to pigeonhole oneself into a label such as that.  I was already now in my fifties, and had volunteered with several military charities to help.  I learned the difference between being anti-war and anti-soldier.  Back in the 60′s it was easy to “paint a label on oneself”.  The hippie one never really fit but what was I?  Dickey, once again, took the time to show me some things.  It was okay to have been anti Viet Nam; in fact most from my generation were.  But as an adult, I now know that war is never “cut and dry”.   I have learned that though nobody wants to go to war, there are times it is inevitable.  One can hope and pray that wars end, but do everything to support the troops while there.

Dickey introduced me to a number of friends; some of whom I knew who they were, but didn’t know them as well as he did.  Some were in his age group.  I again was grateful.  About a year ago, I was glad to see some very good old friends.  Though I knew Dickey had served and he’d shown me some photos from there, I didn’t discover until 2 years later that he had more decorations than anyone I’d known who came home from there (including a purple heart) from the postings of another person on facebook.

My then girlfriend soon-to-be fiance, now wife Lee still lived in her home of Portland, Or at the time. She came from a WW2 military family and she and Dickey became good online friends as she reconnected to facebook as well and I introduced her to my friends.  Last year, Lee and I had planned to go to Washington.  We drove about halfway there, and a kidney stone was developing (I didn’t know it at the time but knew I was in tremendous pain).  We turned around and went back to Hot Springs (by then she had moved here as we were engaged).  Dickey knew we were going and she promised we would go to The Viet Nam Memorial and “get tracings” of several of his buddies who perished in VN.  We were unable to do so; due to my illness and I felt terrible about it.

But he understood, and we all went on with our lives (I eventually had the stone removed) but not without a lot of difficulties and discomfort.   Dickey was very understanding but of course I’m sure, disappointed as he’d been hoping to get this tracing which of course meant much to him.

Dickey, and several others in the military and/or interested in it were very accepting and open to my new love Lee; and she never forgot their warmth and kindness; nor will I.

Two nights ago at 8pm CST, sadly,  Dickey passed away peacefully in his sleep. I am 56, so am guessing he was sixty or so.  I had no idea I would feel so sad about his passing. After all, though we’d been friends since childhood, we never got to really know each other well,  until facebook, and though we talked every day; we also went exploring other people we knew, or had met, and most of our talk was either about old times or dogs (we still loved to talk about Irish Setters). He, in fact, had just treated himself to another one a month ago and named it “Lad”, same name as the one he had when we were kids.  He had to have felt well as by then I knew Dickey well enough to know he’d not get a dog if he felt ill or that he might become unable to take care of it.

This clued me as to how fragile life is.   I had just chatted with him several days ago and then not heard anything so I sent him a private message that was not returned. I figured he was busy with family matters so I didn’t think twice about it.  Then I saw the posting by Mitzi Geiger-White; a close childhood friend of my sister’s, of Dickey’s death.

It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I didn’t have a clue why. It was because Dickey was not just a childhood friend, he’d become a hero; not just to me but to many others.  Yesterday someone posted a pdf file of Dickey’s honors and medals.  I was floored…from The Purple Heart to The Silver Star and many in-between.  Dickey had risked his own life more than once, to save the lives of his fellow soldiers while serving his country.  I found out later through someone else’ posting of his service medals.

I was crying a good bit yesterday, and my wife Lee explained to me that maybe he would have wanted us to celebrate his full & good life. He had left behind a legacy of which to be proud.  He never turned bitter. He had a beautiful family and life in Florida and so many friends.  Dickey is gone, but I bet I’m not the only one who feels his kind spirit lives on.  RIP Dickey.


I am a writer, designer and founder of Londons Times Cartoons which is the Google & MSN #1 ranked webcomics on the Internet since 2005.






Twitter Friends Meet facebook Friends..When Worlds Collide by Rick London

hat do you do when your social medias get crisscrossed?  When cyber-worlds collide?   But you say, “Rick…you are confusing me. How can social medias get crisscrossed???  Who is colliding with whom?

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Let’s face it. For now, there are only two social medias (that really matter a whole lot anymore); Twitter & facebook.  Sure, there are plenty of others that are important to one degree or another, but not to me, so there.

When I started on Twitter, it opened doors to the world.  Though I grew up in the town of Hattiesburg, Ms,  I left and decided to explore the world.  Sometimes it was tough; sometimes very tough, and on lucky days and/or months or years, it was educational, revealing, humbling, and growth-oriented.  I learned within a few years, I was not necessarily “Little Ricky” as I had been molded into (in my hometown).  In small hometowns, people often get pigeonholed into certain roles.  It is not in bad spirit that this is done. It is often in the lack of tools and resources there.

I enjoyed learning “who I was” and “what I was becoming”.  I could never have learned that in my hometown.  It was actually forbidden and often punished; whereas in several (usually much larger) cities in which I lived, it was encouraged and rewarded, (to grow and change).  Let me preface the rest of this blog that I am not a person that demands change for change sake and change is not always good.  In my case, it was good.   I will forever be indebted to the friends I have met along the way, who taught me new ways of thinking, flexibility, tolerance, patience and acceptance, and so many things either I wasn’t taught, or in some cases was, but “didn’t get”.

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Twitter is a reminder of the growth and changes as more often than not, most of my followers, and the people I follow are from all parts of the world.  Why would one not take advantage of the “magic of social networking” when it is so readily available? One minute I am talking to “a friend” from India and the next minute Peoria.  I love exchanging culture within 140 characters.  However, facebook offers something special that Twitter doesn’t have.

One is not limited to 140 characters for one thing.  Secondly, one gets to reconnect with one’s childhood friends, and even people regionally who “I knew who they were” or “they knew who I was” but we’d actually never met.  But it is special to be in touch with childhood friends on facebook, and see their changes, how they live, what they think, and still have an affection that sometimes I am surprised I still have, even when I don’t always agree; as a few pontificate on (things I consider more personal) matters such as politics, religion etc.  Those are my private matters and there is really no reason for anyone else to have to know.  To share them is rather silly; as, when I look back ten years ago; my political and spiritual values were nothing like they are today. I hope they are much more evolved now, but who am I to judge.  This leads me to believe that in ten years from now, I will have learned enough new things that I will not necessarily even resemble (spiritually and politically) what I am today.  I am still a “work in progress”.

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A lot of people, such as me, use both social networks for different reasons.  I follow many of them on both networks and vice versa.  I enjoy introducing my new friends to my childhood friends when at all possible.

This is where “worlds collide”.   When I mention this collision, I mean, many of them are vocal; a few of them way-too-old-to-be political activists but still are at my age.  I mean let’s face it.  Do they not see that they have changed?  We all have.  But many still “judge” the person at the other pc or laptop by their political and/or religious views.  I sit back in amazement at it, and say often (Seriously)…”But for the grace of God, there go I”.

A few get into conflict and expect me to take sides. I won’t do that; and have even at times blocked those who insist.  It is unfair to draw others into one’s private conflicts. I will certainly defend a friend if I see an injustice done to him or her.  I refuse to let anyone be harassing or abusive to my wife; period, and though it may seem as if I am prejudiced, I have not seen her be abusive or hurtful to anyone.  The sternest she has been is “firm”.

I don’t care what your religious and/or political views are. I really don’t. I am happy you have them, but they are for YOU, not for me, and vice versa.  You will not see me demanding to you to share my point of view on either subject.  I so hope you will share that same respect.  Most do, a few don’t and whine a bit too much about it.  Until they resolve that issue, at times I am forced to block them.

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But I still often have to watch the old and the new, my childhood friends and my newer adult friends of whom I often introduce, either get along beautifully, or become “bitter enemies who never met”.  It’s like junior high school at times.

I heard someone once say, “facebook is where you go to connect with people you went to high school with.  Twitter is where to go to meet the people you wish you’d gone to high school with.  Though I don’t at all agree with that philosophy, I understand the meaning behind the expression.   I have learned that there are good and bad people everywhere.  Smart and not-so-smart people everywhere.  Loving and hateful people everywhere.   Though I, at times very much enjoy reminiscing about “old times”, I refuse to “live there”.  I didn’t go through all my trials and tribulations to be stuck in “the times of old”.  I generally am much more interested in what my friends are doing now and what they have planned for the near and far future, than what they did in 9th grade. Not always, as I like to “do cyber-time travel every now and again”; just not always.  Facebook is only a tool created by humans to reconnect and socialize; not a way to make time stand still.  It may give that illusion, but it just ain’t so Joe and please don’t kill the messenger. I believe it is healthy to “go back in time” once in awhile and “remember when….”.  And it is up to each user to set their own boundaries over how often they want to do that. My boundaries are “every now and then”.  You are much more likely to see from my posts what I am doing now, not what I was doing “then”.

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I am not so sure I could have learned that important social norm without having been exposed to it in social media; and, having met many of the people from different cities in which I lived and worked.

I find that social networking helps my business and creative output.  It has its plusses and minuses. I met my wonderful wife on Twitter while working on a campaign.  We love each other and share similar points of view in many areas.  By the same token, we both are keenly aware we are “works in progress” and are changing.  And that’s okay. In fact its encouraged and we support each other in those changes.


I am really just a glorified mountain man.  Out of boredom, I created Londons Times Cartoons which have been Google & MSN’s #1 ranked offbeat webcomics since 2005.   Then (out of more boredom) I created online stores that sell funny greeting cards, tees, and other merchandise, now with over 1/4 million funny gifts.  Since that time I’ve branched out and started designing shoes.  One of my shops is called Shoes That Amuse, the world’s only famous love quotes shoes. I also created ShoeShies which sells Sushi Shoes & Gifts.



The 1st Wedding Anniversary of 2 Arkansas Designers In Love

My beloved wife Lee Hiller-London who is a master nature photographer which one can see at her Hike Our Planet blog and I are celebrating our one year anniversary today.  We had the best time; got up early and walked on the mountain where we got married. We didn’t go all the way up to the wedding chapel as I’m nursing an injured ankle but that’s a whole other story.  We received best wishes and congratulations from many of the most important and wonderful people in our lives by phone, tweet and facebook.

It’s been quite a day and tonight we’re watching Ed Wood with Johnny Depp.  Lee has seen it but she’s seen now catching me up on all the films I missed when I went back to school in my latter years.  I’m 56 now and went back to school on and off through my forties to early 50’s; at times, full-time.  Much more fun in one’s youth. LOL.  I wish I’d paid more attention my first time in school in my late teens but I guess I forgot to pay attention after forgetting to listen to my dear late mom (who had a degree in education) say, “Pay attention!!!”.

Since my first job selling records at Pal’s Music Company in downtown Hattiesburg, Ms at age 12 in 1966 until the early 2000’s, I had so many odd jobs to support my “life as a writer”, I can’t even count them all.  Had a lot of false starts too.

Anyway, fast forward to June 18, 2010. I married the woman of my dreams (Lee) atop Hot Springs Mountain with a handful of guests.  It was a gorgeous indoor/outdoor nature wedding (if there is such a thing).  We had so much fun.   We still do.

Well, most people by now know that I founded my offbeat cartoons & funny gifts, Londons Times back in 1997 but I had a few near stops, real stops etc due to health, school, etc.  Then around 6 months into our marriage Lee suggested I’d probably be happier if I started a Londons Times Gen 2 cartoon reflecting all that has occurred in the world since my early cartoons, which a lot of people still thought were fine, but they didn’t reflect the changes of today. She was onto something (I later discovered).

Since I launched that cartoon came Google, blogging, 9/11, social media (Twitter, Facebook et al), med-resistant e-coli, tornadoes that went on for months, and so much more.   So I recruited a new creative team after reviewing several hundred portfolios. This new team was/is the tops. The new toons are much larger.  The text is more to the point, and hopefully the whole finished product is more productive.

We work as a team, as most cartoons you see in the newspaper do.  I write them, and do what is called “blueprinting them” which gives more detail such the expressions on the various persons faces, their body language, the pictures on the wall (if inside); what kinds of trees, dogs etc if outdoors.  I think blueprinting might be the hardest part of the process, but the most fun.  In a way it is like being an art director in a film. I’ve watched them work and it reminds me of that (only not so complex); I mean after all it’s only a cartoon.

I now have about 5000+ cartoons on my site and over a quarter million funny gifts. The funny t-shirts,  gifts & funny greeting cards by brand name sites such as Sears & Amazon.  Over 200 or the cartoons are new Gen 2 as are about 1000+ of the offbeat gifts & collectibles. Let me preface the rest of this paragraph with I dare not put myself in the same league with the master,  Gary Larson, but I remember when he took his all down from the net and demanded all others do the same. Finally he had to threaten suit and possibly sued, I can’t remember for those who would not remove them.  I loved Gary’s personality and his work.  I never understood why he had the cartoons removed (at first).  Then one day he said in an interview, “I had them removed because they are like my babies”.  I didn’t understand it at 1st.  5000 cartoons later, I don’t understand how anyone couldn’t understand it.

Cartooning and creating merchandising is work that can be difficult or easy; but its always fun, and sadly, it is work that most people don’t see you do.   Lee sees me work, and as a fellow designer, she knows how hard I do work. It seems like I’m always working though it seems like play.  Between all the crazy jobs I had to take to get to our little piece of paradise in the Arkansas Mountains, I can truly say it was all worth it.  But what a journey!! I have learned new digital design skills and am now making the world’s only famous love quote shoes at my shop Shoes That Amuse and a line of Sushi Shoes & Gifts at my ShoeShies Shop. I’ll feature them in a near-future blog.  Meanwhile please feel free to take a look.  About 400 of the items have also been picked up at Amazon.com and I expect Sears Marketplace to carry them this year.

PS: Since I wrote this blog my beloved wife Lee & I watched Ed Wood and it was brilliant and strange. I loved it. She loved it (again); she’s seen it many times. In the middle of the film, we received a phone call on Lee’s phone from a very close special person in our lives and she couldn’t get to the phone in time.  When we checked the message, our dear friend had sung “Happy Anniversary To You” in a voice as atonal as mine; but we absolutely loved it.  (Let me add she is a most talented woman and known around the world for various advanced skills….but like me, singing does not happen to be one of them.  But it surely was fun and we surely did laugh aloud the rest of the day.   It was a beautiful day with my amazing wife Lee on our 1st anniversary and I felt the love and support from everyone who wished us well, who have supported us in our business ventures, and been there for us. It does not go unnoticed.  We love you all.


Growing Up In Mississippi, Alcoholism, Dysfunction..Redemption

(Caveat) I will be posting Londons Times Cartoons and various products I design and even a pic of my gorgeous wife in case you get bored at any time reading my blog; you can take a visual break and start back when /if you’re ready. Thank you. The management.

When I lived in Washington, D.C. throughout the 1980s and early ’90′s I was lured to newly-formed self-help groups that taught victimization.  One was the “Men’s Movement” by Robert Bly & Sam Keen (Bly had been a protoge’ of Jack Kerouac and a former beatnik-turned extreme capitalist after his book “Iron John” was released). He did the speaking circuit to all men audiences and took us into the woods to “become men”. That consisted of dressing in Native American attire and yelling very loudly.  Each of us in the audience left several hundred dollars poorer, but at least we could now  yell like real men.  That meant a lot.  For a day or two. Who could have known being a man simply meant yelling loudly in the woods loudly while painted in traditional Native American war paint. hyenasm While that was occurring the 12-step programs decided on a new self-help group based on the victimization of having grown up in an alcoholic home called ACOA or Adult Children Of Alcoholics.  It taught us the fine art of whining about our tragic lives due to the effects of one or more parent that drank alcohol and found it more appealing than they found us. Don’t get me wrong. There were some terrible dysfunctions that, if not for interventions, could have turned into even more tragedy.  But this group never seemed to want to get to the core issue so it became a whining contest and a “My Mommy Or Daddy Was a Worse Alcoholic Than Your Mommy Or Daddy”.  I lasted there about 3 months.  I can’t say that I didn’t learn the fine art of whine.  I learned blame. I learned guilt. I learned all the emotions I had stifled for many years.  But I was not seeking these skills. I was seeking ways to bring serenity and a bit of happiness into my life.  This group was definitely not the answer.  I left the group and that was a positive thing to do. That was 17 years ago and I bet the same players are whining the same whines about their parents in the same chairs in the same rooms.  It was cathartic a few times, then rather silly, mainly because it was clear that it not only wasn’t effective, it was counter-productive; substituting whining for action to change one’s life.  I decided changing mine was a better idea than chronic lifetime whining. londons times logo final large Fast-forward  about a decade sitting in a coffee shop in Lumberton, Ms on Main Ave. I was sitting with my best friend an Episcopal Priest (Ed) discussing life; as we did about three to four times a week.  We could talk for hours about politics, religion, war, peace, movies, books, and (you name the topic).  He was an intellectual giant so I felt humbled that he would choose to spend that much time with me and apparently enjoyed our conversations. We both had come from childhoods that were far from exemplary.  But we both still had our senses of humor intact, and neither of us were chronic complainers or whiners. Yes, like any human we had our bouts, but it was not traits by which people identified us.  We were more known as creative productive thinking people.  Not necessarily great, in fact probably not. But good guys.  In other words we’d moved past our childhood. Faith and humor were two important factors for both of us in that “moving on” process. joel_chicken_or_egg I became a writer, cartoonist designer and musician. Ed earned two PhD’s and became (in addition to a priest in a wonderful church) and was also a professor at the local university.  He also often went on road trips on his “Harley-looking” BMW vintage motorcycle in mint condition.  He had two beautiful children in college.

Ed was a few years older (and a few centuries wiser).  One day I decided to ask him an important question. He had been the black sheep of his family and I’d been the black sheep of mine.   Some of the treatment (to both of us) was brutal at best, torture at worst. And that is a fact.  I asked Ed,  “Ed, why do you think my family treated me that way?”  He said, “I have theories, but I can’t be positive.” I couldn’t wait to hear his answer. queen elizabeth black bagsqueen elizabeth slip ons He added, “It was probably a combination of things Rick.  Your parents were in a war zone.  They had issues between them that were not working out.  Couplease counseling was not really an option in their generation. They were most likely very good people and cared about you the best they could with the tools they had, but when a couple is married and at war full time, their tools are not very functional.  Plus, if your Dad was drining 2-3 large martinis a night (and he was) alcohol played a major part in your Dad’s life.  You rebelled, as any bright child would, and consequently acted out (the only way a child or teen really knows how to make changes). The changes didn’t work, but you did try.  You had to be sacrificed and/or scapegoated.  It is sadly psychology 101. It happens more often than you’d wish to know. You were more or less “orphaned” emotionally by the time you’d reached about 18. How did he know? I never told him I worked for my dad’s real estate firm  for nearly 4 years and was only paid sales commission on  real estate sales in a department he was about to close. He paid not a penny beyond earned sales which, during the Jimmy Carter years with interest rates at their highest, was slave wages.

Years later, after Dad had closed the fledgling residential department my younger brother started in the commercial/apartment department and he was making a very nice salary from the start.  He now owns it.  I am happy for him, and he has a good life.  And even better new is that his oldest daughter has shown an interest and may take it over.  So that part of the family is happy, and I turned out happy. And the real estate legacy will continue which is very good news. The injustices were long ago.  But I’m alive today because of those injustices. I’m happy. I am doing just what I wish to do with my life.  If life had been fair, I’d have been dead a long time ago. Ed added, “You hated real estate.  You had this creative existence in a town (Hattiesburg, MS) which, at the time, had no outlet for my talents.  You were made persona non gratis and forced to live in a tin shed like an animal.  In reality, they thought I was crazy; but as it turned out, I had a dysfunctional vagus nerve, and thank God, in 2005, a procedure was approved, an implant that pretty much cured it; certainly controls what had appeared to be garden-variety depression, but was nothing more than a vagus nerve which didn’t function.  It functions with an implanted pacemaker now;  and I was one of the few lucky ones to get one. UALR Medical School in Little Rock was able to prove the Ms psychiatrists wrong; there was no depression or mental illness, simply a bad functioning nerve that runs up the chest to the top of the neck. I do not know if the procedure is available in Ms. but if someone has thought they had depression, tried at least 6 therapy and/or medicine modicums, and they did not work, chances are very good you are in need of a Vagus Nerve Implant.  See Cyberonics.com; the firm in Houston that invented it.   Don’t expect your psychiatrist or M.D. to go along with it; he/she is losing a patient and a lot of money.  But you are getting well.  It’s worth it, trust me. a sushi salmon roe mini

Finally Ed said, “Just think, Rick. What if they had treated you as you deserved to be treated?  What would you be?  A bored (probably mostly drunk) Realtor in a town that did not encourage you to be creative, probably drinking in some neighborhood bar every night.  But you probably would not have done it for long.” I asked why. He said, “Because you wouldn’t have lived to be fifty, that’s for certain”. He was so right; even if that long. And even those fifty years would have been pure misery.  God was looking out for me and sometimes it takes the free will of humans (acting badly) for the right thing to manifest in someone else.  Thank God for them. Back home to stay busy,   I had already started my offbeat cartoons with an inventory of over 1000 on a free website with popup ads which were quite aggravating, but I couldn’t afford a domain at the time. I had plans to move to Hot Springs, Ar in 1999 which I did (where I live now with my wife Lee Hiller-London, the woman of my dreams). We hike in the mountains often and commune with nature.  We do not smoke or drink. She is a master photographer and designer.  She teaches me a great deal of things I could never have learned in my hometown.  Hot Springs is only 1/5 the size of my hometown and is as progressive as any big city in the world.  We have millions of visitors annually from nearly every country in the world.  It is an amazing little place.  A fairly well-kept secret. Since my move, this is what has happened. I enrolled at age 46 at Western Governors University; one of the best colleges for business and IT in the country.  It should be.  The advisory board consists of Bill & Melinda Gates, Google, Michael Dell, HP, IBM and many others.  I learned a great deal, pragmatic knowledge that was easily transferable to run an Internet business.  I run eight Internet businesses; or for the most part they run themelves.  I mostly design products, create cartoon concepts and go hiking if I wish. I have the number one Google and MSN-ranked cartoon on the internet. My website has 5000+ cartoons which have lured 8.7 million visitors and my manufacturing plants have an inventory of over 1/4 million products carried by such outlets as Amazon, Sears and others.  I receive emails worldwide asking for my autograph. I just discovered my  autograph sells on Ebay for $45 by an authentic-autographer-finder firm. My first compilation cartoon book is published and will be in Barnes & Nobles & Amazon within a month.  I am working on my second one.  My signed cartoons sell for up to $200 at charity and other non-profit auctions.  It boggles my mind. Shirley Temple Now I also design shoes, clothes and gifts.  My shoes have been featured positively in USA Today. Last month I opened ShoeShies (Sushi Shoes & Gifts). Yes,  I am grateful and full of good cheer for the negative way I was treated. I am lucky to have been demonized.  I don’t whine. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  To live the life of one’s dreams does not often come easy.  It didn’t for me.   And I finally know the meaning of happiness. It’s an inside job…and outside…in nature . Ironically, sometimes others hate, fear or mistrust of you, is your ticket to paradise. And by the way, that kind of “treatment” does not happen in our little village.  Everyone knows everyone.  We know each other’s neighbor’s character as well.  Am sure there are the gossips and troublemakers but that kind of behavior does not stand, not for long, in a town like this, that believes in equality, liberty and justice for all.

My beloved wonderful wife Lee.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Rick London says he’s a natural mountain man.  He also happens to be a cartoonist who launched Londons Times Offbeat Cartoons which have been Google and MSN #1-ranked since 2005.  He has licensed image shops with over 1/4 a million funny gifts & collectibles. He founded the worlds only famous love quotes shoes ShoesThatAmuse.com and a shop that sells sushi print shoes & sushi gifts called ShoeShies.com

Heart Attacks, Surfer Dude Cardiologist, Curiosity & Cartoons by Rick London

I just got back from my cardiologist; he is my second one (my first one fired me…I’m not joking), but I like this one much better.  I am older than he is (I have 3 doctors and I’m older than all of them).  That feels kind of weird but I feel better with younger doctors as they feel they are keeping up better with the latest medicines and might be a little more jaded with “being educated about medicines” by big pharmaceutical salespersons. Besides, my old cardio was an SOB.

My current one saved my life a year ago this past April with two stents.  Three of my four main heart arteries had blown out; and the only one holding things together was one that was put in a stent back in 2001.

I had gone to the hospital because edema had set in and I noticed my feet swelling.  I thought I’d get a diuretic and go home the next day. It was not to be. It required two separate procedures.

Now every 6 months, I go see (“Surfer Dude”). That is what my wife calls him (my cardiologist) as he is young, good looking and always tanned and in good shape and wore a pooka shell neclace in both surgeries; a bit discomforting at 1st but I adjusted.  A little over a year later, today, he did an EKG and checked my weight, blood pressure etc.  Everything was perfect. I explained to him that my wife Lee has been watching out for my health prodding me to eat better and exercise more. I go hiking with her every other day. I drink 1/2 gallon of our “magic 2000 year old thermal water” every other day.  I eat salads, sushi, and other health foods.  Salt has virtually disappeared from my diet.

But my blog is not about heart disease and I rarely bring it up.  But its been a little over a year and but for the grace of God I have cheated death yet again.  Don’t get me started on all my near-death experiences…there have been quite a few more than the two heart attacks; most having to do with accidents, etc.  I am a klutz as well.

Today, I wore one of my cartoon caps to Surfer Dude’s Office. I think I’ve worn it there before but he never brought it up. He was rather chatty today and aske me where I got it. I told him the story of Londons Times Cartoons and gave him one of my business cards and then asked me if I had any medical cartoons. I assured him I do (in fact probably several hundred). That’s what happens to your psyche when you are klutzy all your life and later end up with heart disease.  But I digress.

I have always heart that attitude is half the battle and taking care of oneself is the other half. I am a nonsmoker and nondrinker.  Lee and I hike 2-4+ miles depending and they are mountain miles which means you can just about double that as far as the aerobic value of it.  Plus the miles are in the middle of the most beautiful National Park in America, Hot Springs National Park, which, like the water, is very healing.  It is impossible to be suspicious of a turtle, silly to feel hatred toward frolicking squirrels, and impossible to be angry at an affectionate mockingbird who is following you just for a collaborative melody. In other words it is a safe healing place.  And I’ll be damned if more often than not, I can look at all the beautiful wildlife and flora which surrounds us, and an idea for a cartoon doesn’t pop up. So I keep a pen and paper in my pocket on every hike (though that is not why I go).

My hope is to encourage everyone, especially younger people to take care of themselves *now*; in other words it is never too early to prevent heart disease. Eat right.  If you smoke, stop. If you’ve stopped and started back, not to worry. Stop again, and again, and again. It is that important. For many it takes 10+ times. It will finally make sense as you learn to re-enjoy the taste of fresh air.

Look at your diet.  Simple is better. Fresh fruit and veggies.   Less or no salt.  The lower the sodium the better.     Exercise!!!  If you are immobile you can still exercise.  You can learn tai chi on the Internet.  Lee & I do Tai Chi before every hike.

I hope I don’t sound preachy.  If you are reading this, chances are you are probably a Londons Times Cartoon & Gifts fan and I’d like you to be with us a long time.  Plus to be honest, I don’t want you to have to go through what I’ve gone through because you truly don’t have to. It is a choice.  Seems complex but it is simple.  Choose to be healthy.  That does not mean perfect; it means conscious of healthy things vs unhealthy things from food to emotions to exercise to career.  Choose what feels healthy and the younger the start, the faster habit becomes lifestyle.  Cheers, Rick London


Rick London is a writer, entrepreneur, designer, and outdoorsman.  He founded Londons Times Cartoons & Funny Gifts which have been the #1 offbeat webcomics & gifts on the Internet (MSN & Google ranked) since 2005.  He has founded numerous online shops which feature his cartoon images and also others which are unique fashion such as the worlds only love quote shoes, Shoes That Amuse, and ShoeShies.com, Sushi Shoes & Gifts.



Given Our Planet’s Situation, Can A Cartoonist Always Be Funny? By Rick London

I have been co-creating Londons Times Cartoons, the Google #1 ranked offbeat webcomics on the Internet, with my team for over 14 years.  We’ve created 5000+ cartoons and over 1/4 million funny gifts & collectibles; many carried by Amazon, Sears, and other established firms.  Again, I’m proud.

A few weeks ago, an old childhood friend asked me how I can always “be funny” & added “You are #1 on the Internet.  You live on a ridgetop mountain paradise. Do you ever feel empathy or sadness?  There are different types of humor and though it all “comes from the same place, different events or visuals might trigger it. Do I feel sadness and/or anger or grief.  Of course and often lately with all the world tragedies. Just because we are somewhat buffered does not mean we don’t care what happens in our world.  What happens five thousand miles away, affects us. We all now live in a global village called “earth”.

At first I thought back to the BP Oil disaster in the Gulf Of Mexico. I grew up on that Gulf and it was magic to me as a child even up into young adulthood.  I loved everything about it. I swam there, fished there, skied there, flirted with girls there, ran with my dogs there. It was my life in many ways. In the blink of an eye it was destroyed, and though the oil is out of sight, out of mind, we all know things are not okay but a lot of chemicals; oil and dispersants have sunk to the bottom or halfway down.  Baby porpoises are floating to the beach. Sperm whales are nowhere to be found.  I created a Tony Hayward  BP cartoon which has become popular.

I had been thinking about starting Londons Times Generation Two Offbeat Cartoons, and funny gifts, but the oil spill was the only thing on my mind.  So I made a pledge to write a parody song regarding the oil spill every day until it was plugged; and I did. If I could have found a band to record them, the funds were to go to various Gulf animal and environmental causes.  Sadly, I was unable to recruit a band on spec who could do song parodies. But I was able to purge, in a jaded sarcastic way, humor, as angry as I was. Anyone who knows Lee knows how angry I was, and I could not shake it. The songwriting helped.  Posting them on my popular well-visited blog helped even more.

Then I mellowed out a bit after a number of nature hikes with Lee and though I never forgot the event, and never will (both of us have pledged never to buy gas or other BP-owned products), we have in our own way, moved past it.  Lee is from Oregon and has never seen the Gulf and all its natural beauty.

Then came the uprising in the Arab world. Though I occasionally do socio-political cartoons, it is not the norm. Most are offbeat in the spirit of, some critics have said, The Far Side, which I consider a compliment, though my goal from the start was to attempt to continue Gary Larson’s absurd spirit, but create it with less text and a more “fine-art” look. For the most part, that has worked out fine.

So I decided to create ideas about the dictators which is always fun. It gives one a chance to be iconoclastic without hurting anyone but lampoon those who has not hurt many others.  A few of the cartoons landed in a major newspaper in the Middle East and though I find nothing about nations in turmoil funny, again, I was able to find comedy in fear and anger and it happened.

Finally, there was the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan and a lying company called Tepco.   I can’t explain how much it felt like watching the oil leak from Deep Horizon and Tony Hayward saying things weren’t so bad, and when busted by the media added, “I just want my life back”.  It reminded me of Yogi Berra’s great quote “Just like deja vu all over again”.   Now the citizens of Japan, one of our greatest allies if not our greatest, and good friend, was being destroyed, first by a natural disaster, which I know from Katrina can eventually be fixed, but then by a firm “Tepco” which seemed to play the game exactly like BP.  The sad thing is that the Japanese media seemed to go along with it; basically reading Tepco’s press releases as news, until evidence began showing what was being released as news, was not what was really happening.  Radiation was leaking everywhere.  Tepco was insisting it was not so bad.

Meanwhile radiation was covering the planet and it has now been found in nearly every country on the planet. It will go down in history as worse than Chernobyl.  My team created a two-headed frog cartoon lounging by the leaking plant reading a newspaper. The headlines read, “Nuclear Accident Safe, No Worries”. One frog head says to the other, “Looks like the media is telling us the truth. Nothing to worry about”.

Some mistook my jaded reaction to making fun of the event.  It was anything but that.  It was a message to Tepco and the complicit media that they have no right to hide the truth from their citizens (any more than BP had a right to do all they could to hide their disaster from us).    Again, there was nothing funny about this event, and it felt like BP was happening to them this time.  I was enraged.  But from that rage I was able to find a bit of humor. It was angry humor but humor nevertheless.

Then came the flurry of tornados. One hit our hometown of Hot Springs about 7.8 miles from us and we lost some of our Arkansas citizens.  This was a very sad time and even out of anger or fear, I found nothing funny, so I just stared at the news and went on hikes when I had the energy. I created a few items, but no cartoons.  It was a time of grief as the warnings kept coming and tornados were hitting ground and destroying cities and killing people and other living creatures.  I was too sad to get much done, but I allowed myself to be that sad.  Lee understood as she too was sad.

Neither of us had ever experienced anything like it, and I grew up outside of New Orleans, tornado and hurricane alley and went through the worst of them. It had been a way of life growing up. Now with global warming and climate changes, the tornado behavior was/is too.  All I knew is we were lucky to be surrounded my mountains, and though there is always a slight chance of one landing inside such a geographic area, it is very rare.  That did not take away the sadness I felt and still feel watching the people hit in Kansas, Alabama, Mo, etc try to pick up and put their lives back together.  No way to create cartoons (or much of anything) when you know people are experiencing such a tragedy.

I don’t enjoy creating cartoons out of fear or anger. To me, they are not as funny nor do they have the same feel of professionalism as do those that come out of my head when the world feels a bit stable and I am hiking/communing with nature.

So I founded Rick London Designs which include Sushi Wear (I kid you not) and love quote gifts (again no joke).  I don’t have to feel funny to create these gifts and collectibles.  I love sushi and I love shoes, so I make shoeshies (sushi shoes) at my ShoeShies.com. These are fun creation, but I don’t have to “be funny” to create them, yet I have a wonderful outlet.

The love quote gifts and sushi items also just got picked up by our main manufacturer who is not a traditional POD but a private organization who chooses talent they want (creators cannot simply sign up with them), which means they are already beginning to show at Amazon and should soon be at Sears online and other outlets. Some of the sushi gifts at Amazon can be seen here.  The famous love quote gifts on Amazon can be seen here.

This makes me not feel angry, but that life is good.  And it is.  The world is a good world.  We live in a very good place.  Lee and I get to create for a living and she gets to hike and take photos and design products. I get to design products and think up cartoons and make gifts that make people laugh.  I can’t think of anything for which we would trade our lifestyle.  And as you can see, we still are a part of the world, feel sadness, happiness and all the other emotions persons in Metropolis feel.


Rick London says he’s a semi-pro blogger, a designer of sorts, a cartoonist who doesn’t draw well, and a professional twitterer who doesn’t like social media all that much.  He and his wife Lee enjoy hiking, outdoors, nature and wildlife and they live in the heart of the gorgeous Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas.  Lee is a professional wildlife and nature photographer who runs the popular blog HikeOurPlanet.com. She designs beautiful designer shoes, gifts, clothing and home decor at her Lee Hiller Designs Gift Shop.




The Intimate Twitter Story Of Lee & Me by Rick London

My wife Lee (@LeeHillerLondon) and I (@RickLondon), started on Twitter about the same time; she in January 2009 and I started February 2009.  I didn’t have a clue how it worked.  While elementary students were running circles around me conquering facebook, I was busy studying articles about Twitter and was determined to tackle this mysterious social media site.

Click To Enlarge This Is Me

I bet I read 200-300 or more (mostly self-serving articles designed to get the readers to follow the author), but I started getting the idea of how it worked and as William Wordsworth once said, “To begin, begin”.  He always put a guilt-trip on my system of procrastination.

On the first day I think I managed to round up eight followers and I may have even doubled that my second.  People were posting messages to me, and I felt like I knew them; or at least the icons they portrayed to be them next to their name. I was told later most persons icons were ten to twenty years old and a lot of senior citizens were still tweeting away with their college sophomore yearbook pics.  That turned out to be true.

I also discovered that though many of Twitterers were interesting, and I still believe that, I was not only out of my league, I was out of my category, and a lot of that was my fault.  Though I had been posting for several months as an offbeat cartoonist who loved animals, that was about as much as I had in my profile.

When someone presents oneself in such an unfocused way, they are bound to attract a lot of unfocused people with unfocused agendas.  And agendas flew left and right and it would not be unusual to wake up one day and be “hated” by someone who “loved” you the day before, simply because you were friendly with someone who “done them wrong”.

My then friend Lee Hiller, now my wife Lee Hiller-London was quite a bit more savvy, more than slightly ahead of the learning curve than me.  She suggested I change my background which she happened to know how to do. I still have the same one up she installed, a wall of Londons Times Cartoons. She suggested I focus my short bio (Twitter allows about once sentence) and I did.

Click To Enlarge (Please Meet My Dear Wife Lee)

A month or so later three Twitterers opened accounts with my name claiming to be the founder of Londons Times Cartoons. That is my website and has a high visibility on the Internet. It has been Google’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoon since 2005 and MSN #1 since 2008 and remains so on both engines. It has had 7.8+ million visits.  At this time, Twitter was offering nothing aggressive to correct that, but did finally come up with a “verification system” that they provided for (mostly film, tv, and business celebrities) but also those with high-profile websites that could easily being cloned.

I filed my complaint and within three weeks, I woke up with a little blue Twitter verification next to my name.  This did not prevent “the clones”, but it did help my friends and fans to know who “the real me was and is”.

Then Lee, at that time my fiance, was building her own brand and a well-known Twitterer, not verified, used her good name to enable him to use it in his own complicated scheme.

Her brand was then at its very early vulnerable stage; not yet a few months old, but we could not provide the kind of proof (he had deleted it after we wrote him a scathing tweet), so she has continued without verification, but fortunately has such a huge following; nearly 25,000, people know they are really dealing with her, plus, she is a professional nature photographer and shares during her daily hikes the wildlife and flora that she encounters. So now, if someone tried to do a copycat scheme, they would have to re-create links to photos and merchandise she creates at her Lee Hiller Designs Shop that is distinctively part of the Hot Springs National Forest. Unless they live or move here, most would know they were “the wrong Lee Hiller-London”.

Below are some recent photos Lee took while hiking in Hot Springs National Forest for her Hike Our Planet Nature Blog. She is also a very talented gift and clothing/shoe designer where her nature pictures and original graphics appear on countless Lee Hiller Brand Products.






Meantime we Tweet along.  Our agent and syndication Great Southern Writers Syndicate @GSWSyndicate,  tweets famous quotes, and the occasional plug of one of Lee’s or my shops or Lee’s nature blog HikeOurPlanet.com. I have somehow accumulated 12,000+ followers (Lee and I call them my friends because actually they are).

Below are a few Lee Hiller Brand Products which she designed. Please click To Enlarge:

Today we are more focused.  We let our work and our products speak for us for the main part. We do work hard. We don’t just sit and tweet. It is very different than when we started on Twitter. We use a pre-scheduled Twitter client to get out information of our promotions and specific products and shops. It works, and leaves us time to create products and personally tweet with those with whom we prefer.

If someone is inappropriate, creepy, or both, (or shows signs of hate or bigotry),  we simply block them (we usually talk about it first and there has to be a very good reason). We try to give everyone a second and sometimes third chance if they “done wrong”.  Please don’t get me wrong. Most who tweet are normal people trying to get by in life, make a living and/or friends, and make a contribution.

Below are a few of my Londons Times Cartoons. You can see these and about 5000+ other full color cartoon at our main offbeat webcomics site.

Since joining Twitter I have branched out to open various types of online shops. My funny gifts shops also remain Google & MSN’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoon gift shops and have been since 2005.

All in all, Twitter is very fun. But it can be very hard work.  One has to create their own strategy for whatever reason they are there; whether it is to make friends, money, or find spouses.  Actually Lee and I were not there to find spouses. We were both promoting our Internet businesses.  We ended up spouses and glad we did.

We both have strengths where the other has a weakness (and vice versa).  Two heads, truly can work better than one, and get a lot more done, on or off Twitter.


Rick London is an Arkansas-based writer, cartoonist and designer living in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains where he regularly hikes with his wife Lee and is an avid wildlife and nature lover and active in those causes (including environment).  London founded the #1 offbeat cartoon on the Internet in 1997 titled Londons Times Cartoons.  He later founded the world’s only famous love quotes shoes, Shoes That Amuse, featured on APWire and in USA Today.  He has created four funny gift shops featuring his licensed cartoon images on gifts with an inventory of over 1/4 million sold by Google Shopping, Sears Marketplace, Amazon, and many other shopping channels.  London recently founded his own line of Sushi Shoes (ShoeShies.com) and has now expanded to sushi fine art gifts and clothing as well which he calls ABoyNamedSushi.com. To see Rick’s sushi gifts click here.

Ridding Your Home & Life Of Rodents & Life Coaches by Rick London

I particularly love to write a blog in which I haven’t a clue what the subject might be and this is for several reasons.  And when it is early in the morning like now, I tend to regurgitate experiences that have recently occurred. And what person who has been on Twitter more than a month (I’ve been on 3 years) has not encountered the deadly “Life Coach On The Town” aka “Bronx Zoo’s Other Cobra”?  They want your money and will go to ANY means to get it. Really.

Of course the first and main reason the gratuitous slap in the face to all the life coaches, social media experts, “wisdom experts” (who either lift quotes and/or articles and take credit) or edit them just enough to insult our intelligence with their name as the credit.  I love such “writers” who do not understand that we’ve been to college, because they certainly haven’t.  Most of those are what are known as “life coaches” who are nothing more than a “gang of literary thieves”.  What they do is often attractively package and sale mundane and sometimes exciting philosophy that we learned in college and is, of course, now free on the web. They charge a fortune for books, tapes and the like, leaving their victims (clients) bleeding in the streets, but with the opportunity to become such a “literary-thief-in-training” as well. So it has a “Donald Trump/Amway MLM feel to it”.

My wife Lee and I decided a long time ago that was not for us. Don’t get us wrong. Nearly every major life coach on and off Twitter has tried to recruit us…let me rephrase that..recruit our wallets, but we decided it might be safer to put what extra we have in savings and invest in our our clean businesses which involve designing and selling gifts and collectibles. Our business is very simple, very clean, and offers products of tangible value, no regurgitated philosophy or wisdom, simply usable and/or collectible gifts, clothes, etc.

Lee is an amazing nature photographer who writes a nature blog, Hike Our Planet, and I’m sometimes told I can turn a phrase and create a cartoon that goes on all our products.  Though we often deal with POD’s (Print On Delivery) manufacturing companies, our main factory for six years now is in Rhode Island and the majority of our products sell at Amazon.  Recently the Sears Marketplace picked up a good many of my cartoon gifts. Lee has taught herself not only photography, but how to take that photography and her own unique graphics and create products such as shoes, tees and gifts at her  Lee Hiller Designs Shop. Her items are also available at associate shops all over Amazon.com. She has no snake oil for sale. It’s the real thing.

Why do I make this “comparison story” between “life coach” and legitimate businessperson?  Early on, especially in social networking, it could have so easily gone the other way. The life coaches are artists. Con artists. They are friendly. They know all the right things to say. They can win one’s hearts and minds the way no politician or army even dreamed of doing.   And they have built in radar that heads straight for the pocketbook.

Life coaches often “build a name for themselves”, then start the process of writing books, making cds and tapes, having seminars, and talking nonsense that sounds somewhat like wise philosophy, and it should, as it is more often than not lifted from major names like Emerson, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and so many others, edited and/or watered down, and their own (the life coach’s name) placed on it. I’ve even seen them lift Biblical quotes, change them a bit, and wala, guess who the new author is?

If you’ve just started Twitter, you probably have many of them on your friends list who are following you. They seem to be predatory (the most) to newcomers who haven’t a clue.  Many of the wiser ones change their moniker to “spiritual coach”, “spiritual advisor” “life author” “coach/author”, and the list goes on and on.  In any case, watch for subtleties; the devil is in the detail and as I mentioned earlier, they are con-artists of the highest degree.

My wife Lee once quoted, “You are your own best life coach”, and she is so right.  The alleged purpose of the life coach of whom you pay thousands of dollars is to motivate.

I prefer the freebie by Walt Whitman who would laugh at any life coach. His great quote is, “To Begin, begin”.   Really, what more does one need to know?

Oh, look in the yellow-pages under “pest control” to rid ones home of rodents. I almost forgot that part of the story; but should note it since rodents and life coaches seem to be in the same category (sorry rodents, I know you’re better than that).

When I read an article, I don’t just want information, I want a remedy. A solution.

The solution is, when you find yourself being called and/or emailed by these “Oh, so nice life coaches”, and you will, cut off all ties.  Yes you will hear cries like a baby. They will “badmouth you” on Twitter, facebook and wherever.  Trust me, in the long-run, these are the types you DO want to bad-mouth you; for persons of goodwill know, that if these crooks think you are “no-good”,  you must be a person of substance.

And you really are if you were able to out-maneuver these cyber-whacky sharks by cutting them off and blocking them from your Twitter stream. It is as simple as that.  Oh and screen your calls. You may receive a few curse-word filled calls for your sinful betrayal.  That means “You Done Good”.  Congrats.  Now it’s time to play REAL Twitter. The riff-raff has suddenly disappeared and the drama and chaos has magically dissolved.  Oh, and you still have your money. Now, wasn’t that fun and easy?

On the side of the blog I’ve posted some recent products I’ve made from my various shops (the cartoon store, ShoesThatAmuse, and ABoyNameSushi) shops for your entertainment enjoyment. Oh, and please don’t be shy to purchase. If you don’t, I may have to have a life coach call you for an appointment. :)


Rick London is a writer, cartoonist, and designer.  He created Google and MSN’s #1 ranked offbeat cartoons, Londons Times in 1997. Less than a decade later he launched online shops which now feature over a quarter million licensed products which are featured at such shopping channels as Amazon, Sears, Shop.com, Shopping.com and many others.  He also has his own shops such as Rick London Collection where he sells his favorite cartoons on tshirts, mugs, greeting cards and other funny gifts.  London founded the world’s only famous love quote shoes in 2007, ShoesThatAmuse.com which have received the thumbs up from APWire and USA Today.  This year he launched ABoyNamedSushi, a division of his ShoeShies which are sushi artwork shoes and gifts.  London has published over 500 articles and his cartoons have appeared in the Jerusalem Post. His main Londons Times Cartoon site boasts 5000+ color offbeat cartoons which have lured 8.7 million visits.  Several of his originals are a permanent part of the Roy Orbison Collection and Mayo Clinic Medical Library.