All posts by Jayhawkdano@comcast.net

Moving from Chicago to Kansas at the age of ten is bound to have some affect on a kid. I was a Polish/Irish boy in the land of Smith/Jones(s) . Humor became my go to coping mechanism and reading/science became my refuge. That is the recipe that created the person that I am today, an engineer who, um, shall we say “sees the world differently”. I am no longer in Kansas. They were done with me quite a while ago. I am currently roaming the wilds of Colorado but where ever I go people always tell me I’m “unique”. I am sure they mean it as a compliment.

Thoughts For Today

The pain has interrupted another lucid and perhaps amusing thought. Time to put aside the current work in progress with a promise I will get back to it. I probably should just keep writing and while the cloud parked between my ears reminds me of some times I had in the eighties, the occasional sparks of lightning remind me it is not really a fertile planting ground for creativity.
It may be fortuitous that I find myself writing this on the cusp of Father’s day.  A day that reminds me of a man that was the king of “Bucking Up.”

In the past I have strung together some decent sentences in a form that some may actually have termed prose*. In my current state of mind I will not taint any of those previous efforts. Instead I will leave you with a few thoughts that come to mind when I think of my Father.

Thoughts for today.

Buck up.
Tough As Nails.
Love.
Charles Bronson.
Sinusz. (Polish for Sonny).
Da Bears.
Sweetness.
Casey.
English Leather
Hunter Safety Instructor
Midnight Shift
Working Two Jobs
Diabetes
Taking the boys to work.
Convertible.
road flares
Scotch.
Hunting with Dad.
A Toast to Casey on Father’s Day.

Love Dan.

*Click on the Father’s Day Tag of the post to see those.

Marge 2.0 – The Alexa Your Parents Raised

High Tech Company TVParent announces the release of their new Alexa like product. The Marge 2.0.  Its being billed as the Alexa that your parents raised.

The companies makers are hoping to be the television for next millenial+ generation or whatever they’re calling kids these days.

Our interview with a company representative, who declined to be identified, revealed the companies vision.

“We hope to reach that section of parents out there that long for the days when they could set their kids in front of the television and forget them for hours, without the worry of which video games are teaching them to kill , curse or pop a cap in a ho.”

We’ve surveyed many of todays parents and we believe there is a large market for a product to keep their kids occupied without any parent participation. You know kind of like school but like when they get home.”

After being granted a court order, we were able to obtain some of the survey comments which showed that  participants  believe their lives would vastly improve with such a product.

Response #18 replied – “Wow it sounds like that Marge would change my life , my golf game would greatly improve.”

Response #11 – “Sure they have video games but it doesn’t talk long before they reach thermonuclear armageddon or level out or whatever the call it and I have to buy them a new game. This sounds like I could ignore them at least until dinnertime.”

Response #23  -“Oh, sorry we don’t have kids. What was that dear, three of them? Oh, I guess I don’t need this product. ”

#Response #42 – “Wow, this Marge 2.0 sounds like a Godsend. You say It would never get tired of answering the same old questions over and over again, and probably give them the right answer 9 times out of ten. Wow. I just make up shit and they don’t seem to know the difference. Where do I get it?”

The company representative also replied to many critics who say its just an excuse to ignore your children.

“Pish Posh. They have plenty of excuses to ignore their children but to reassure the skeptics we have build in many of the same responses your mother’s used on you to keep you in check.
I couldn’t do them justice here . The audio we sent you is a good example.”

When asked if there was a Marge 1.0  the company representative referred to their legal team. The only available quote from the legal team was “The reports of injuries are greatly exaggerated.”

Cubs Win World Series. For a Moment Therapists lose Millions of Clients.

Economic reports just in show that the many of the  nations therapists have suddenly lost millions of dollars.

One explanation favored by several economists is that this therapeutic downturn is a direct result of the Chicago Cubs winning the world series.

We have decided to investigate this particular angle and have sent our reporter in the street, Roy Hobbes, to investigate the possibility. Roy:

“Roy Hobbes here, I am on the streets of Chicago trying the get the pulse of the citizens in this city. I am particularly interested in the general mental well being of Chicago Cub fans. Here comes one now.”

“You sir are obviously a Cub fan can I ask you a question?”

“Uh, what makes you think I’m a Cubs fan?”

“Well, you’re wearing a Cubs hat.”

“Oh that, yea well I’m actually a White Sox fan but it’s more socially acceptable to be a Cubs fan.”

“Love the loyalty.”

“What was that Roy?”

“Nothing , have a nice day sir.”

“You young man, can I have a word with you .”

“Sure”

“Are you a Cub fan?”

“Uh, yea, I’m wearing  a Cubs cap, Cubs jacket and I have a Cubs tattoo on my face. What was your first clue?”

“Well, you just never know now do you? Can I ask you a few questions?”

“Why sure”

“So sir ..”

“You can call me Joe”

“Ok. Joe, how are you feeling these days?”

“Well , a little hung over and my knee is a little swollen from dancing but other than that I feel great.”

“Good but how about your psychological well being. Any anxiety these days/“

“Why no. Why would I? The future is looking bright and I feel I can tackle anything. I even threw away the number to my Psychiatrist.”

“How did you feel before baseball season?”

“Well, if I look back I have to admit I was full of anxiety like a beauty queen with Donald Trump hanging around. I was constantly on the phone with my therapist.”

“And what do you suppose is the reason for your new found tranquility?”

“Why the sudden loss of a 108 year old burden of course.”

“But sir, you can’t be a day over 50.”
“Ha, you flatter me but no I am talking about the number of years since the Cubs had won the world series don’t you know.”

“Why of course I know. I meant you yourself..oh never mind. Don’t you have more important things to worry about.”

“Like what?”

“Oh you know the outcome of the recent election.”

“Oh, yea. Um, you do have a point. Excuse me….”

“Hey , Joe,” yelled Roy as Joe ran swiftly away.

“Where are you going?”

“To my garbage before its picked up. I think I can get my therapist’s number back!”

Ray watched as Joe became a small dot before he heard the screaming.

“Reminds me of an old party balloon,” thought Roy.

“Well, there you have it. Further proof that a career in therapy is recession proof. I am Roy Hobbes your reporter on the street signing off.”
“

“Thanks Roy. Great to hear that you’re making sure that people don’t forget to worry. I think he’s in some kind of referral program with the APA. That reminds me, I need to give my therapist a call.”

Black Friday: The Fun Room Revealed

“Oh my what? Let me see,” said Yo as he rolled in to the Fun Room.

“Wow, what a fun room,” said Yo.

“Hence the name ,” said Larry.

“Vow, that looks like quite a lot of fun,” smirked Jan peeking around the corner.

Sprawled before them lay a large room bounded by several chests of toys. At the center was a large, plush and inviting area rug. The wall at the far end was made up entirely of uniformly spaced book shelves. The uniformity was broken up by the center shelf which framed a large television.

“If Xena is here she may not want to leave,” said Yo.

“You think so?,” asked Larry.

“You think she would leave this room-o-fun to come to back to the Big Box. What do we have to offer,” asked Yo.

“Well, I’m part of the package,” replied a forlorn Larry.

It’s tough to tell when a box is forlorn but his corners were droopy and his cardboard top was a bit damp.

From out of the darkness the gang heard a sleepy voice mumble “Hey, could you newbies find a place to crash so I can get back to sleep.”

“Xena?,” exclaimed Larry.

Shining the bat utility light in the direction of the voice, Larry found himself looking at gleaming black box on a shelf below the big TV.

“Is that you Larry?”

“Yes, it’s me Xena but I don’t recognize you. If it wasn’t for the sweet voice of yours I wouldn’t know who I was talking to.”

“That’s right you’ve never seen me outside of a box.”

“Well, we’re here to rescue you from , um, what is this place?”

“It’s a homeless shelter for families Larry. Families stay here while we help them get back on their feet.”

“Oh. Sounds like a good place.”

“Oh it is.”

“So, you wouldn’t want to come back to the Big Box with me, or us ?”

“Which is it Larry? You, or us?”

“Well, I miss you, so me. They want you back also, so us too.”

“Larry, I’ve missed you and I’ve missed the rest of the gang too but I finally feel that I have a purpose here. The kids need me. I bring joy to them and I think they really need some of that in their lives right now.”

“Oh. Yea that sounds much more important than anything at the Big Box,” said Larry as his drooping corners became more noticeable.“

“Don’t be sad Larry. I have an idea. Why don’t you and the rest of the gang just stay here.”

“Is that possible?”

“Of course Larry. All kinds of things are always getting donated here, clothes , books and obviously toys. No one will be upset if more toys suddenly just show up.”

“Well, I would like to free my inner lego set and bring joy to some kids. This 10,000 piece puzzle box disguise is harshing my mellow,” said Larry as he
looked at Yo and winked.”

“Yea, I see what you did their said Yo.”

“What do think guys,” asked Larry.

“Well, I guess I can put up with tossing my string more often if I can bring some smiles to some kids,” said a smiling Yo.

“Why not my fine chums,” said Batman. ” The Batmobile needs a charge anyway.”

In unison they all nodded their heads and said yes.

Stosh was a little too vigorous in his head shaking but with a click Jan had his head popped back into place.

“Well it settled then,” stated Xena.

“Wait a minute,” said a new voice. “No one asked me.”

“Is that you Robin my fine feathered chum,” asked Batman.

“Holy short term memory loss, of course it is Batman.”

“Well is it ok with you chum?”

“Of course I can’t stay mad at you.”

“Well, I am glad that’s settled,” said Xena. ” Larry, when we get some alone time we should talk. I think we both have some unsaid things to be said.”

“Oh, yes I suppose we do.”

“Where has our coiled friend gone to,” asked Batman.

Yo rolled to the doorway, “He’s stuck to the carpet again. I think he’s going to need all of us with hands this time.”

Larry shrugged his corners and smiled, ”I guess that leaves me out.”
He shuffled over to Xena. “So, lets talk shall we.”

Xena looked down and smiled. “Yes, I would like that.”

Black Friday: Inside The Fun Room

Larry hit the ground , let go of the rope and waited for Yo and the rest of the gang to climb down.

“What do suppose this place is Batman?”

“Well my boxlike friend it looks like a large house.”

“Yea, I , uh , figured that but I was hoping with your crime-fighting skills you might be able to come up with an idea of where to look for Xena.”

“Um, yea I got nothing.”

“Thanks oh winged one.”

“Hey guys, what’s the plan,” asked Yo and he rolled up with Jan and Stosh behind him.

“Well Batman and I were just wondering where you would keep an xbox disguised as a pong box in this place?”

“Vell, I have an idea,” stated Stosh.

“Don’t hold us in suspense big guy,” replied Yo.”

“How about that room over there, the von vith the sign that reads “Fun Room”.”

“I was just about to suggest that my rivet jointed friend,” said Batman.

“Vas that a crack,” asked Stosh.

“No, Batman doesn’t have a sense of humor,” replied Larry.”

“Well, Stosh’s head is on straight right now so I say lets check out the Fun Room,” added Yo.

The gang quietly creeped ahead, well all but Larry, he kind of clunked along, a box is not quite stealthy.

After unhooking Steve from the carpet several times they finally reached the fun room.”

“Well, Who’s going first,” asked Yo looking pointedly at Larry.

“My heart dragged my hear I guess it should leads us on,” said Larry.

“Your such a romantic. I think I’m going to be sick,” said Yo.

“Vertigo acting up Yo,” asked Larry.

“No , i’m allergic to sap.”

Larry peaked into the room and with a light from Batman’s utility belt illuminated the room.

“Oh My”

What has the gang discovered ?

What has become of Xena?

What will become of Steve?

Does the Batmobile run on batteries? Please can someone answer that question?

Black Friday: Up on The Housetop the Band is All Here

Up on the housetop Batman claws, out jumps good ol’ Yo Yo Claus

Down through the skylight with lots of poise
All to rescue Xena, Christmas Joy.
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go-o

Up on the housetop, don’t you Tarry
Down through the skylight with Lego Larry
Next comes the slinky, well call it Steve                                                            Don’t get attached He might just Leave
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go-o

Here Come the Robots, click click clack
Hey Im not a poet, just a writing hack
Down through the skylight here they drop
They’re just some toys don’t call a cop
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, who wouldn’t go-o

Down on the first floor with all the band
They’re here for Xena and to giver her a hand.
But just you wait she doesn’t want to go
Were missing the point, were not in the know.
Ho ho ho, she wouldn’t go,
Ho ho ho, she wouldn’t go-o
On to the next chapter to fill in the gap
Oh me oh my was it just a trap?

 

On a side note: We did our white elephant last night.

Black Friday: The House On The Hill

“Yo, Have you heard anything from Alfred?

“Well, his daughter just graduated from school and was accepted to Action Figure Law School.”

“That’s not exactly what I meant. Has he found Xena?”

“Yes and No”

“Hmm, that question usually results in a a Yes or No answer. Perhaps I am confused on the concept of finding someone.”

“He has located the building that she is being held in,” replied Yo.

“Great. I sense a but that you’re not sitting on though, out with it.”

“Well, you know that big house on Loman’s Hill.”

“The one that creaks in the wind and always seems to be bathed in darkness?”

“Yes, that’’s where Alfred has tracked her down to .”

“And?”

“We know nothing regarding the who, what or why of the building.”

“So the bottom line is that we don’t know what were getting into. Does that about sum it up?”

“You are correct Larry.”

“And that is different from our usual exploits how?”

“Um, well, um…..I sense that we have now come to the point that you are trying to make.”

“You are correct Yo. We have visited this kind of chapter several times in our life stories and what do we usually do?”

“We buck up and blindly charge into the abyss?”

“That’s an interesting way to put it Yo but yes that is what we usually do. Gather up the gang Yo. We need to strategize.”

“What about the blind charging part?”

“Hey I am all for the bucking up and charging but I would like to like to avoid stumbling over the furniture on the way to the abyss.”

“Fair enough.”

So on that fateful evening in December Larry stood before Yo, Batman, The Polish Boxing Twins , Major Mat Mason and Steve.”

“Who’s the Slinky asked Yo”

“Thats Steve replied Larry. He’s kind of like a red shirted Star Trek crewman.”

“Oh, please don’t tell me that,” replied Yo.

“Ok I won’t,” replied Larry before turning to address  the crew.

“People” announced Larry.

“Our goal tonight is to rescue Xena. We don’t know what danger lies ahead and what will become of us,” said Larry trying not to look at Steve.

“But I have confidence in each and every one of you. We will be taking both the BatMobile and the Major’s Moon Rover to the dark house on Loman’s hill. Jan and Stosh can only remove their heads so many times before it starts to cause permanent damage. Batman, using his various bat thingies on his utility belt will pave a way to the roof for the rest of us to follow. From there we will drop in to the fortress from the skylight. Once in we will spread out and locate Xena.”

“Then what,” asked Steve.

“Well, then we do what we always do, replied Larry ”

“We wing it?” asked the Major..

“Thats right, we wing it,” replied Larry. “To the BatMobile gang!”

“…and the MoonRover?, asked Yo.

“Yea, but I was going for a dramatic segue-way.

“Oh. To the Dark House On The Hill!”

Black Friday: The Band Comes Together

So Yo, What is the plan?

“Plan?”

“For getting the Band back together.”

“Oh, yea sorry the vertigo was kicking in.”

“Too much of the up and down again?”

“Yea, but I’m ok.”

“So whats our move .”

“Well, Ive taken inventory and we still have the Major and Batman.”

“Man we’re crossing toy companies again, we’re begging for trouble.”

“We’ll worry about that later. The key thing is that, between those two , we’ll have 
 transportation and intel.”

“Oh yea, the rover and that bat vehicle thingy.”

“You mean the Bat Mobile. We won’t tell Batman you called it a thingy.”

“So by intel I take it you mean information. Where are we getting that from?”

“Batman is still in touch with that Alfred dude .”

“Alfred still has that computer in his cave?”

“Well, not exactly. He  retired and traded in the computer and the cave for a smart phone and a condo  in Florida. The phone  is way more powerful than that old computer.”

“Sounds about right. So do we know where to find Xena?”

“No, Alfreds working on it .  We’ll need some muscle so we’ll have to rescue the Polish Boxing twins.”

“Jan and Stosh need rescuing? From what?”

“The WAFL.”

“Their trapped in a waffle?”

“Um, No. the World Action Figure League, they got tricked into a lifetime contract.”

“How do we break that?”

“I have a cousin who’s a lawyer-action-figure. If its written down and there are no 
 pictures involved he can get you out of it. He has pull with some judges and got us 
 a temporary restraining order against the WAFL. We just have to deliver it. “

“Lawyer action figure? What kind of action can they be involved in.”
“Oh filing lawsuits and vacationing in the Hamptons counts as action for some kids.”

“Not any kids I want to play with.”

“Jan and Stosh have a fight at the arena tonight and I gave Batman a heads up. To the Bat-Mobile Larry. I always wanted to say that.”

So for the second time in that day, Yo came down with vertigo. Dropping from the rafters in an action figure boxing ring can do that to a Yo-Yo.

It was worth it, thought Yo, as he , Larrry, Stosh, Jan and Batman sped back to the Big Box via the Bat Mobile. The Band was slowly coming together.

Yes, it  was a bit crowded in the the Bat Mobile but fortunately Jan and Stosh can remove their heads.

Will Yo and Larry be able to emancipate Jan and Stosh  from WAFL?

Can Alfred and his smart phone find Xena in time for him to make the next blue plate special.

Does the Bat Mobile run on batteries?

All this and maybe less in the next installment.

Confused? Perhaps you skipped the prequel. Black Friday: A Different Perpective.

 

 

Black Friday – The Band Gets Back Together

Larry the Lego Set was feeling a tad out of sorts, maybe even a biff*.

At first he thought perhaps he was missing one of his parts but a thorough check confirmed he seemed to have his stuff together.

Bricks , normal and duplo, check. Figures, check. Wheels, check. Lego train tracks, train, scenery and town, check. Larry considered himself a well rounded individual. Hey, it takes a village to make a fake village or a Larry.

It had been a few weeks since he last saw Xena before she finally was absconded with. Absconded is a bit of a harsh term for the event. It was a legitimate sale. They saw it coming and tried to thwart the sale. Well, as much as mildly animated inanimate objects could thwart anything but the author has a strange new found fondness for the word thwart. The sale could not be thwarted. The sale appeared to have a will of its own, thought Larry. “But, that’s just nuts.”
Larry sighed deeply and as he was about to go into another self pity fueled sadness bender his buddy Yo came swinging in.

Hey , he’s a Yo-Yo that’s what they do.**

“Snap out of it Larry. This pitty party of one is harshing my mellow.”

“Harshing my mellow?”

“Hey. I’m a Yo-Yo. I was born in 1970’s California.”

“I hate to go all Cliff Claven on you but you can trace your roots to the Philippines and before that to China. I’m not an expert but I find it hard to believe the term “Harsh My Mellow” could originate in any Chinese dialect.”

“Larry, are you the author of my story? That was rhetorical. The answer is “I think not.”

“Ok, Ok. I did not mean to harsh your mellow.”

“You have been moping around here ever since Xena was sold. Can’t you see whats happening here?”

“I’m sad, my mellow has been harshed?”

“Ok, now your just making fun of me. No. You my friend are heartbroken.”

“Heartbroken? How could I be why I never told ..we never talked…I mean, well, yea you are right. Pardon my expression but my heart seems to be at the end of string spinning forever with no hope of ever being ruinited with hands of comfort.”

“Ok now I just want to toss my string.”

“Sorry, but what am I going to do?”

“Well duh. Do I have to think of everything. You want to get advice from a Yo-Yo all of your life.  Just think about it.”

“We, should go get Xena?”

“There you go. And what else.”

“There’s something else?”

“Yes , who do we need to help ?”

“Um, The Major, Jan and Stosh, Batman. Yo-Yo’s little helpers?”

“Yes and no. That name never stuck. It doesn’t sound much like  a band of action heroes. Especially in an Austrian accent.”

” How about The Band.”

“Yes The Band. That works.”

” We need to get the Band back together?”

“Yes Larry, We need to get the Band back together.”

 

 

 

 

*Not a unit of measure but it should be.

**Perhaps you should stop trying to catch up and check out the original four part prequel. “Black Friday, A Different Perspective.” “Black Friday: Living On The Down Low“, “Black Friday: The Gathering” and the thrilling conclusion “Black Friday: Twas The Night Before Christmas”

 

That is the original name. I didn’t rename it once I decided it was a prequel. I’m not George Lucas. Maybe if someone makes a wildly successfully movie, the heavens open and gold flows down a rainbow into a sea of love, peace and tranquility I’ll think about it.

Jump On The Bandwagon

“When did you join the bandwagon?” I had been waiting for that question.
Let me look back and ruminate on the moment. Now as I recall….
I remember crying after some guy in a frock or something had just spanked my ass. Yea I know what you’re thinking , quite rude and at the time I thought uncalled for.
When I stopped crying another man , who I later found out was my Dad,  gave me a couple hats with pictures of animals on them, one of them even had a picture of feathers.

He lightly rested his big hand on my tiny head and said, “Son, from now on most of your crying will be done on the inside.”

I truly didn’t understand what he met until the summer of 1969 which I spent getting my heart broke within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. At the age of eight the world had said to me,”Sometimes what you love dearly will break your heart.”
From that moment on I spent my off seasons healing and baseball seasons preparing for heartbreak. In that regard my Cubbies didn’t disappoint. I have spent many a moment pondering my sometimes dysfunctional relationship with my boys in blue.

Often times its like your first love where either of you just can’t let go. “Come here darling. No, get away , get away. I love you but I just can live with you. When I need you, you just aren’t there.”

Over time we have come to an agreement, “Lets agree to try really hard and make this friendship work. Sometimes when times get tough we’ll want to lay blame but lets be bigger than that. Let us not say “Its not you it’s me”, we’ll just silently agree “It’s you but next year will be different.”

Well, next year has come and it’s joyously different. It doesn’t matter when you jumped on the wagon. The biggest parties are the best. So jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the party. It’s going to be a good one.

GO CUBS GO!