The Great Wronskoni



Mr. Trump—you know him, the most famous man in the world, the one who is suspected of grooming his hair with a cotton candy machine (but really, it's a squirrel pelt)—discovered him.

Uncle Pervis (The Pelvis) Wronski, aka The Great Wronskoni. "The Pelvis" from his early stage days as an escape artist and contortionist. The legend is that he could pass through a key hole. His ex-wife called him a "little worm". So it might have some truth to it.

As homage to his benefactor The Donald, The Great One also styles his hair in similar fashion. The Wronski family is rooting for his stage success. It is heavily invested in cotton candy machine company stocks. 

The Great Wronskoni is an illusionist, a prestidigitator and a sleight of hand artist. He can't cook worth a damn, but he brings home the bacon. You may know of him from his star making trick of transforming the Leaning Tower of Pisa to all right and straight. It was a sensation, not the least for how badly the Pisanners took it. Who knew? Seems they don't want that tower put right after all. It's a money maker the way it is.

Uncle is thinking about disappearing the Taj Mahal as a next big effect. His manager is advising him against it. Seems Pervis is partial to the pakoras and pilafs. The fear is that he could be banned from Bangalore to Bangladesh if he pulled off the Taj Mahal trick.

Check the Arts section of you newspaper for appearances near you.  



Confetti the Clown
Uncle Whohacha (silent “c”) Wronski was, as you can tell, a clown. His parents were skeptical at first. His dad famously said (sarcastically), “Now there’s a career where you can really clean up”. That gave young Whohacha an idea.

First a little background. Whohacha is known as Confetti the Clown. His shtick is mass quantities of confetti for all occasions. Theatricals, conventions, and house par...ties. By mass quantities we mean, well, let’s just say that he makes boisterous and gay Rip Taylor look positively sad by comparison. We’re talking mountains of confetti. Confetti the Clown invented the confetti cannon and the “biblical” confetti shower. The latter to be used—if the stars so incline—at the Super Bowl XLVII. The 2012 Obama victory celebration . . . you guessed it.

As you can imagine, all that confetti just lying there like the proverbial lox at the end of the show is a bit of a problem. That’s where Whohacha brought his genius. He is booked up well into 2015 for events all over the world. You can always expect that mountain of confetti, no worries. In fact, he has a 90 page catalogue of confetti choices; colors, sizes, and shapes. Priced by the pond; 100 pound minimum.

What Confetti the Clown uniquely brings is a full team of expert cleaners to pick up the mess. So, if you’re having a party, book Confetti the Clown and end the soirée with a blast (of confetti). Go to sleep and the next morning the place will be spotless. All this for a price, mind you. But, hey, don’t put a price on love. Or, confetti.
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See all the other Wronski's by going to the sidebar "Oh! Wronski / All My Relations". 

Or, for the full bore hystericalicity CLICK to go to this this page.
Wronsk and Roll


Uncle ZaZlo "ZZ" Wronski was a kind of a Zelig character in the family. And that's saying something since the family resemblance is so strong throughout the Wronski line that you might get the notion that there's only one person putting himself in so many places and times. But, no; the Wronski gene is a stubborn one and it seems to be fated to be that all Wronski's will look alike. You decide if that's a good thing.

Not short on the hubris either. ZaZlo (his spelling) considered himself a star. Here he is seen after having insinuated himself with those straight on rockers who, in his mind anyway, created their stage name as an homage to him. Imagine!

 Maybe they did. They did get on famously.

Wronsk and Roll! 
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See all the other Wronski's by going to the sidebar "Oh! Wronski / All My Relations". 

Or, for the full bore hystericory CLICK to go to this page.
Uncle Bolivar

Bolivar "Big B" Wronski is a fierce fellow. As fierce as he is hairy. Hirsute, you say? And speaking of suits, he also likes to dress up a bit. Way up! We never have much to do with him (actually, it's the other way around if you should ask him) as he is just such a terrible fellow. Brooks no opposition. Treats the ladies like bon bons. Broken hearts and broken bones wherever he goes. The matriarch of the family, Grandmother Babuschka Wronska, once uttered in abject disgust and horror, "Yeni cohani, that man is discusting, horrible! Such a hair ball, too!"

You may being seeing him as portrayed by some British upstart impudent media personality, Sasha Baron what's-his-name, who is currently making funny business on the silver screen. If he and Bolivar come face to face, look out, the fur will fly.
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See all the other Wronski's by going to the sidebar "Oh! Wronski / All My Relations". 

Or, for the full bore hystericalicity CLICK to go to this this page.
All My Relations . . . OH, Wronski!

Ignatz Von Wronski


Of course, there was the obvious and flagrant nepotism in making his aspiring actor son Ed Wronski the lead. Then there was the complete misreading of the plot line of the script.

Ignatz Von Wronski, "Wrong-Way-Wronski", had a special take on things. But, when big bucks are on the line, Hollywood can be ruthlessly self-preservative. We don't need to tell you anything more about the outcome of those events. The iconic promotion piece for the final production of the film is familiar to everyone. Henceforth, Ed and Ignatz faded from public view.

Not to worry though, father and son were survivors. Wronski et Fils is a hugely popular small fried fish joint in Muskegon Michigan. Home of the all-you-can-eat muskalunge platter. But, if you know anything at all about those fresh water "muskies" you know they are one of the hardest critters to catch on a line. Sort of counterintuitive for an all-you-can-eat menu item.

But, hey, that's Ignatz. He has a way. Right of wrong, we love him.

See all the other Wronski's by going to the sidebar "Oh! Wronski / All My Relations". 

The Punster / PunMeister


1. The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class, because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

6. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

7. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

8. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

12. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'

13. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

14. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: 'Keep off the Grass.'

15. The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

16. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

17. A backward poet writes inverse.

18. In a democracy it's your vote that counts. In feudalism it's your count that votes.

19. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

20. If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.

21. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, 'I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.'

22. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says 'Dam!'

23. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

24. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, 'I've lost my electron.' The other says 'Are you sure?' The first replies, 'Yes, I'm positive.'

25. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

26. There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.
Me and My Bicycles

Some of the most cherished memories from my years growing up in Detroit, Michigan are about my relationships to my bicycles. My bike was an icon of my selfhood. On my bike I was free; powerful, moving on my own, in my own time, commanding my destiny.



In the late 1940s my older brother Arnold had a Schwinn Black Phantom. What the Red Ryder Carbine BB Gun was to guns for boys, the Schwinn Black Phantom was to bikes. A real Cadillac. Maybe even, the Duesenberg of bikes. This is what it looked like, except for the red; my brother’s was maroon. (It’s not for lack of trying, but a maroon Black Phantom picture did not turn up in my searches.)


White sidewall tires, plush wide thick leather seat with beefy chrome springs, shiny two-tone paint job, pin striping, chrome springer front shock absorber, a rear rack, electric light and a push button horn (see the button there next to the Schwinn logo on the "tank".).  And, lots of chrome; the real kind with high shine and mirror like depth. One day I inherited that behemoth. Mostly I remember that it was way too big for me, and that I could barely get my leg over. But when I was up, I was way up. Just a little concerned about stopping and the getting off. Watch out for the tender bits, young man.


When it came time to get my own bike, I chose a Schwinn also. It was a nice vibrant blue with cream trim. But I was so concerned then over the issue of bruising my bits that I insisted on a “girls” model. Took more than a little stiff upper lip to get over the teasing. Talk about conflicted. But, hey, maybe the boy I was then was a little ahead of his time. If you look at the latest designs of off-road bicycles now you see many models with major cutaway designs between handlebars and seat for good standover. It’s functional. 


As I approached my teen years it was time to upgrade. It was time to graduate from sidewalk to street. And I needed something with a better fit for my increasing height. There used to be a huge bike shop on the East side of Detroit; Earl's on Harper near Whittier. Bike shops have a smell all their own, just like when you go into an old timey shoe repair shop. To a young lad, it was held in the status of a perfume. I think it’s from all those rubber tires, but the smell is ingrained and even now when I smell it I am transported. It evokes feelin’ good, don’t you know. Since this shop was big, it had a big smell. I think I used to go there just for the olfactory treat.




That store had two great big show room spaces. The first when you entered from the street was for service, accessories, kids bikes and balloon tire models. Further on to the next showroom, English racers. 3-speed Raleigh’s, Rudges, Dunelts. This was the early 1950s and the 10-speed was still a rarity here in the USA. Schwinn made so-called skinny tire models, but they didn’t have the cache of the imports. Foreign was good. They were pioneered in Europe and those bikes represented serious cred. The big draw was the light weight and the gear selection.



My Raleigh Sports 3-speed was a gents. (In case you were concerned.) It was painted a metallic dark maroon with gold flecks showing through. And, it was loaded; thick leather Brooks saddle, Sturmey-Archer rear hub 3-speed transmission, trusty hand brakes, a headlight powered by a front in-hub electric generator, saddle bag, air pump. And, it was brand new! And, mine! I think my parents sprang $65 for that unit, a premium price at the time for a bicycle. But it was money well spent. I roamed Detroit many summers during school recess, exploring . . . everywhere. Belle Isle Park was a favorite destination.

My cousin Kenny got a Raleigh just like mine and we would meet up and go for rides around town together. One blissful summer day we were on our way to swim at a park in the suburbs on Lake Saint Claire. Besides bikes, fireworks were integral to our boy’s life. So, there we were, toodling along with burning punk incense sticks (mosquito chasers, we called them) tacked on to our handle bars and casually tossing lit ladyfinger fire crackers. The lady finger is 7/8” long and as thin as a knitting needle. So small, you get forty in a pack no bigger than a playing card. Just the right amount of fire power for casual pyrotechnics whilst pedaling through the tree lined streets of Grosse Pointe. Our fun was short lived. Unfortunately some do-gooder adult pulled us over and confiscated our illegal goods. It takes a village. Adults then seemed to be more authoritarian in their demeanor toward the youth. I can’t fault the fellow, but it was a conservative time in Detroit back then. (How conservative? Well take a look at the mass white exodus from the inner city not too many years later. And the results. Most of those folks are still conservatively comfortable in their suburban digs, but the blight in Detroit awaits attending. In any event, the pendulum has begun to swing and Detroit is coming back. Enough on the rag.) 

After owning that Raleigh for a few years I made some “youth modifications”. To lighten and speedify, I removed the fenders and installed drop handlebars. Once in that “racer” mode I went on a 50 mile evening summer ride with a bicycle club group. It was grueling on that heavy bike; all the others were riding lightweight 10-speeds and fixed gears. I got home late and exhausted. In bed, I could feel my legs still peddling until I fell asleep. It was that ride with some serious riders and racers that got me to wanting some really serious metal. 


As is my way, I researched the question thoroughly and found Gene Portuesi’s Cycle Sport Shop on the South Side of Detroit. That's him on the left. I remember him well for so many things. One notable comment he made about this young teen, "You're a noodle that hasn't been rolled yet". True. I didn't know it showed.


Mr. Portuesi then was a pioneer of finely engineered race and touring bikes and bike racing in the United States. He coached the Spartan Cycle Club and trained several champions. One I knew was Nancy Neiman, one of the first female competitive cyclists. She was several times in the mid-1950s a national women’s champion and is the first American, male or female, to have competed in a European stage race.

Mr. Portuesi hooked me up with a French Rochet Pista, a track bike. Here is as near as I could find in a search. The unit pictured below is a road racing model, with brakes and derailleur multi-gear shifters.

Photo Credit: David Harris, 2002

My track model had one gear that was fixed; no coasting. If you wanted to change to a higher or a lower gear you had to remove the rear wheel and flip it to the desired gear on the other side of the hub. And, no brakes. Your feet were strapped down to the pedals with cleats on the soles of your shoes that interlocked with the pedals to prevent unintentional pull outs. This arrangement is the same concept as today, except nowadays the technology is at a level that could not even have been dreamed of in the 1950s.  There was a quick hand release mechanism to slacken the hold down strap so you could pull your foot free when you stopped. For stopping you resisted the forward momentum of the bike with your feet locked onto the pedal. Plus a glove with an extra leather patch to act as a brake pad when pressed against the front wheel. You get real good at defensive riding and looking ahead down the road when you pedal a fixed wheel, a “fixie”. The bike was delivered with a set of every day tubular tires, and a set of lightweight high pressure silk threads (95psi!) for racing only. I was not that into the idea of racing, but Gene Portuesi was an advocate and tried to steer me in that direction.  

My parents coughed up $165 for that bike. That’s way high when you consider the average bike you bought your teen age kid was less than one-third that price. But again, I used the hell out of it. A lot of bang for the buck, for sure. I am appreciative that my hard working folks supported me with that purchase.


My Rochet was constructed with de rigueur Reynolds 531 tubing, finished in a brilliant candy apple blue with candy red trim on the head tube, down tube, seat tube. Chrome fork and chromed trailing ends of the chain and seat stays. The frame was joined with investment cast (lost wax method) lugs; very fancy art nouveau-ish.


Those at the head tube were chromed. Gold pin striping in all the curlicues around all the intricate edges of the lugs. Many of the parts were lightweight Duraluminum; the wide flange hubs, cranks, chain ring, and handlebar stem. The stem was also adjustable front to back. The seat was a narrow leather brooks model. That’s all. Very simple. You may know that the fixed wheel bike is in vogue these days. It gives a very satisfying ride with instant communication between rider, bike, and road. Just that it only operates in one speed. High gear you can get a lot of speed. Low for spinning, and certainly for slogging uphill. 


Speaking of a bang (of sorts), one eventful experience I want to share involves me on my Rochet and some angry truck drivers. A boy on a bike can be a cocky SOB. Think NYC bike messenger. You get to thinking that the world owes you the right of way. Well, one day I was pedaling down the road and a truck pulls out in the middle of my path and forces me to swerve sharply with very little notice. I looked back and flipped the driver the bird. Minutes later I’m going down another road when two burly fellas catch up with me and furiously tell me to pull over ‘cause they were. . . “Going to break your legs”. Talk about road rage. The thing about a track bike is that it has a very steep front fork angle which makes it highly responsive. I made it like a bat out of there, quickly scooting around several cars in heavy traffic, and managed to out maneuver my bad karma. Whew! Really. I rode humble from then on. 


So, you may ask, what about the racing. I gave it a stab, but it wasn’t for me. I just like to ride around on my bike. But I did put in some training time; laps around Belle Isle. Once a week my club, the Spartans, would meet up on a slow traffic stretch of road there and have training sprints. We had to have car spotters and more than a few times there were some close calls with careening cyclists and cars. 


The thing that you also do if you are a serious competitor is shave your legs. Here again, I got some good character building teasing from friends outside the cycle world. But the shaved legs are necessary for when you fall. Hair slows healing, and gets in the way on race day when you fall and want to get back up and race again. The treatment then if you fell and got your skin all scraped and bloody was a liberal douse of cleansing rubbing alcohol. 

On the one day when I entered an amateur track race I arrived to see a horrible sight. One of my teammates had fallen and had a serious road rash. Naturally, I was nervous to be in my first race, but the sight of him screaming from the sting of the rubbing alcohol bath put, shall I say, a little damper on my drive to compete. I didn’t do well that day. 


After that I kept to sport riding, which is my thing anyway.  


And, that’s about me and my bicycles.




Valentine's Day
Be sure to open your Valentine . . .


We are introducing you to the heart throb of the Wronski family, young strapping Cousin Valentine. Undeniably, the pinnacle of Wronski genetic potential. Men want to be him. Women want to be with him. He, he just wants to get on his pony and ride.

Excuse the photo, Val is seen here after just getting back from a long day in the saddle getting all sweaty and hot, searching hither and yon for a little lost baby lamb. Aw, shucks. How cute is that?

He was even thoughtful enough to go to town on his way back to pick up the biggest box of candies and a big red rose, just for you. That kitten in the photo is his constant companion, little miss Fluffy. And, as you may have guessed, he got Mom to bake something just for you. Mom's apple pie. (Val is, after all, the apple of her eye.)

Now, ladies, some words to the wise. Certainly Val has more than enough muscle for a good tussle. And he isn't near done sowing his wild oats. But, he is a sensitive New Age kind of guy. Maybe even a little bashful. So, please, be gentle.

All Wronski's are lovers. Val takes the cake. And, the girls too.









Introducing...

 LizarRockaMoonBeam®™©





NEW!

And, Only from the Cutting Edge R&D Laboratories of EmCoTech




EmCoTech already has a fortune 500 reputation as a pioneer at the cutting edge. Now, to the moon. Literally. (Newt Gingrich, take notice. EmCoTech is there first.)

By now you surely are aware of the “por favor” party favor of the rich and famous, the Bucket of Mud Kit®™©. Or, the cutting edge culinary kitchen tool, the Vulcomagic Kitchen Appliance®™©. (Click here to bone up on Bucket of Mud Kit®™© and Vulcomagic KitchenAppliance®™©, those amazing premier innovations from EmCoTech)

You may not be as familiar with iToast®™©, the 21st Century appliance that lets you put the image on the toast, instead of you waiting around like a schmuck wondering if the Jesus will show up on your breakfast table. On the toast, that is. Here is the skinny on iToast®™©.

So, EmCoTech, what have you done for us lately?

First a little background so that the avalanche of media scrutiny will have all the facts to work with. EmCoTech is the brainchild of someone who, in fact, is a child herself. The lovely Emma. Just, Emma; sort of like Madonna, Beyonce, Sting, or Prince. The mission she set for the company is emblazoned on the corporate logo, “The Best of Old & New”. Fulfilling that mission, Emma and her associates have a wide embrace. To wit, the LizarRockaMoonBeam®™©

Introducing the first venture of EmCoTech outside the culinary realm. When you understand the basic technology behind LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© it’ll be obvious how this new venture is truly a seamless extension of what has gone before. Think lizards and rockets. And, the moon as a vast underutilized promotional resource.

LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© technology will let anyone, for a price, plaster their message on the moon. Simple as that. Well, it’s not that simple, but the heavy lifting has been done by EmCoTech. Whether you are an advertiser of products and services or just young Larry Smith who wants to surprise his intended with a special proposal of marriage, it’ll sure to get noticed up there right on the moon. If you are thinking this might be offensive to some, like Emma herself says, “Well, silly, just don’t look!” The issues of full exposure owing to waxings and wanings have also been thought through. At times when the moon is not full, LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© will illuminate the entire orb to give the same effect. No worries.

Please contact the Customer Service Department for more information. Please, no looky-loo’s. This thing ain’t cheap; so if you have to ask, it probably isn’t for you. But, consider this: you know how pricey and scarce advertising time is during the Super Bowl television coverage? LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© gives several multiple factors more of impact and reach. You tell us what that’s worth. The cost per thousand is pennies.

Here is Emma in the early days. The photo was taken when she ran into the house with her inspiration for the Bucket of Mud.



And here, in her official corporate portrait.





Emma is a red carpet star. Here she is vogueing for the paparazzi. Notice the rocket ship, a hint early on prefiguring things to come.


Here are just a few treatments. All graphics customized to your own requirements.














Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

With the news that Hostess Brands has filed for bankruptcy protection and the Hostess Twinkie may become but a fond memory, our friend David Wronski sent this:

When I was an Ad Biggie the maker of Wonder Bread and Hostess Cakes was a client. Part of the assignment for advertising established brands was an ongoing project to develop new products. You should know that generally when a marketer has a #1 brand such as Twinkies there is reluctance to introduce a new variety of that proven format. The risk is a new version will only fragment the market share of the original; net, net, you lose money because your sales remain constant but earnings are reduced due to the additional marketing costs for the line extension. That’s the general rule of thumb, anyway. It’s not an immutable rule of marketing, and there is such a thing as test marketing to evaluate such ventures on a small, lower risk scale. Even so, when you have a brand such as Twinkies which is such a sales powerhouse in your company, there is a mythic aura of immutability to its status, often so much so that the idea of a line extension is virtually out of the question.  

The exception that I know of is the brand Chocodiles. It is simply a chocolate covered Twinkie. Butand this is importantit was not marketed as a chocolate covered Twinkie. It was a whole new brand identity in itself. I was not there as part of the discussion that led to Chocodiles, but it would probably be a good story by itself.


There also had been some limited time offers with flavored creams such as banana, strawberry, and chocolate. But, much later from when I was around, after the brand ownership changed from ITT Continental Baking. But nothing like what I had in mind. (If they only listened.)

Just after this was posted a former colleague added . . . "my experience: being sent . . .to Tokyo to introduce a healthy Twinkie, filled with raisins. I have no idea if [it was] a success."

I come into this because the recent Twinkie news reminds me of my own two new product suggestions. One was during the time of the Jimmy Carter presidency. How about a peanut butter cream filled Twinkie coated in chocolate? Let’s call them “Jimmies”. Maybe with a big toothy cartoon smile plastered on the packaging. Or, how about a jelly filled Twinkie? Call them “Twinkles”. I personally liked the idea of a fruity, juicy filling; but the name Twinkles probably was a little too close to home for comfort. Don’t mess with big #1 Twinkies.
But all that was back in the day. Nowadays, it seems the line extensions are introduced right on the heels of the original product debut, well ahead of the original having time to establish a market hold. That is an arguable point, but I do have a rather solid example in mind; one that I will talk about at a later time. 

So now we have Twinkies going bankrupt. I don’t know if Jimmies or Twinkles would have made a decisive difference. But, hey, they would have tasted good.
Bottoms Up
On a charmed day in New York City I bought a book from an unassuming man set up at a little stand on a street corner on the Upper West Side.

It turns out that Bottoms Up by Ted Saucier is a classic cocktail recipe book. The copy I bought for $10 is a 1951 first edition in excellent condition, with the dust jacket, and signed by the author.

There are twelve plates with exotic-erotic illustrations each by a different artist. There is a cocktail recipe named for each of the sexy images. Also, most pages feature small brush drawings of cocktail accouterments and more sexy ladies in delicious poses.