Waking From The
There is no need of a way out of the dream!

Don't you see that a way out is also a part of the dream?

 All you have to do is see the dream as dream.

The very idea of going beyond the dream is illusory.

Why go anywhere?

... Just realize that you are dreaming a dream you call the world, and stop looking for ways out.

The problem is not the dream.

Your problem is that you like one part of your dream and not another.

Love all, or none of it, and stop complaining.

When you have seen the dream as a dream, you have done all that needs be done.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Saved Things

My daughters made this small sack for me when they were very young. Just like every boy often does, I save little mementos from the past. The sack comes in handy for all my treasures after all these years.

My younger daughter Kristie made this patriotic coaster for me when she was in grade school. The Marine insignia comes from my Uncle Henry who was a combat veteran of WWII.

My dad always wore a fedora hat with a fancy feather decoration in the band. These were his. Also, his badge when he worked at the Dodge Main automotive assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan. He always proudly wore his UAW retirement pin in his suit coat lapel.

My father was a Polish gentleman. I remember how when driving past a Catholic church, without fail he would doff his hat in respect.

My daughter's handy work for my Christmas tree. And, a jade heart. 

It seems that anyone who has anything critical to say about capitalism is branded a "Socialist." It is used pejoratively in current political discourse. Now along comes an excellent article in the May 13, 2012 New York Times: Capitalists and Other Psychopaths by William Deresiewicz. Let's add this grist for the mill. It's a must read.

I am not a graduate of the Chicago School of Economics. By my own reckoning though, Adam Smith with his so-called "invisible hand" [of the marketplace] is full of it. It is still, however, divinely received truth in some quarters. Surely there are those of good will who hold to this idea for their own good reasons. But, in a culture where profits come first, it's not unreasonable to conjecture that there might be some who adopt this laissez faire approach purely for self interest; either to pander to a constituency, or to brush away scrutiny and controls to reap ever more for themselves, and at others' expense. 

The next big idea that will finally dawn will be concerning cost accounting. This isn't new, but it will I believe become a large topic fairly soon. We're talking full cost accounting. Businesses of all stripes have for too long been shifting costs onto the public sector. A fairly obvious place to look is the environment. Look into the impact of plastics on the ocean eco-system. It's already beginning to bite us in the you know what. It's just one aspect of the impacts on the eco-system from production by-products and waste materials from packaging. Then there's the air, and the land. A while ago I noticed this undercurrent shifting of costs to the public sector with the invention of the so-called disposable glass bottle. Lighter weight means less cost. Not having to process returns, significant cost reduction. The public pays the garbage bill.

So Mr. Adam Smith, if capitalism is based on profits first, what's to keep some malefactor or just plain old dumb ass from mucking things up? As in, what we've been seeing in the news recently.

The argument is miscast as regulation (the Left) versus laissez faire (the Right). Simply put, as you can read in the recommended NY Times article, capitalism has no truck with democracy. Who was it that said, " . . . the chief business of the American people is business"? Calvin Coolidge. Who then went on to amplify: "Of course the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence." And, "We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things that we want very much more. We want peace and honor, and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization. The chief ideal of the American people is idealism. I cannot repeat too often that America is a nation of idealists. That is the only motive to which they ever give any strong and lasting reaction."

Encouragingly, there is a growing realization among the enlightened in the commercial and political spheres that "profits first" may not be all it's cracked up to be. We've been seeing new models of enterprise where social values, for both the consumer and employees, are being incorporated into the business plan.

Socialism. The word may still have some negative charge among the great unwashed masses. But, really, what's wrong with social concern? Even Mr. Smith knows that if you load up your own boat with too much stuff, it's going to sink. Or, the ship of state, if it's not more evenly distributed it's not very seaworthy.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Afterward we feasted on bananas, and then tossed feces at the tourists.

Covert Ops at J. Walter Thompson

I began my meteoric ascent to become an Ad Biggie in 1968 with the venerable advertising firm J. Walter Thompson in New York City.  At around the same time I was active in the US Army Reserve program. My specialty was in Counter Intelligence. As in, keeping the bad guys away from and out of your stuff and personnel. My NYC Reserve unit's mission was Top Secret; let's just say, as the commanding officer Major Santiago once put it to us, "James Bond kind of stuff."

One fellow in my military company was a New York City detective. He once took me aside and privately told me that he had learned from a reliable source that my company's offices were bugged. Either telephone taps and/or in-office listening devices. I had no reason to doubt him; if it were true, management should be informed. 

I was a junior executive at the time. As in all such undertakings anywhere, informing management that there was possibly some sort of corporate espionage going on could turn back on the informer. Suppose you approach the culprit himself? I decided to do the right thing, and approached a gentleman high up in the organization who I felt was solid to trust. I went to his office and was invited in, but asked him to step outside to talk. He stepped out and I quietly told him the story. He asked me what should be done.

I suggested a meeting at an out of the office location where the detective could come and give his information. I was put in touch with one of the old timers in upper management. We scheduled a meeting at Schrafft's across the street in the Chrysler Building.

I introduced the JWT senior executive and the detective. Remember, I had no first hand knowledge in any of this. I made sure the detective presented his bona fides (badge and ID) so my JWT man would know who the heck he was talking to. Then, I high tailed it out of there. There was no reason for me to be further involved. Or, as they put it concerning sensitive confidential information, there was no need [for me] to know. What, if anything happened, I don't know. Never heard a thing about it ever again.

Now I look back at my early years as an Ad Biggie working for J. Walter Thompson wistfully. So many rich experiences.

In my time the three martini lunch was winding down. Wine spritzer, please. My drink of choice, Campari and soda, big squeeze of lemon.

As for the sex, well some things don’t change. (And never will.) I’ve had my own memorable taxi rides. Nothing to report, just some delicious temptations.

That's No Way to Treat a Lady!

The Shoes Tell the Story

First I look at the purse. But, the shoes tell the story. In more ways than one, it turns out.

A friend of mine recently reported that she went to the doctor in pain and came back diagnosed with a kidney problem. She got a prescription for some pharmaceutical drug. If she is reading this, then let me say this is in no way an ad hominem. I'm using the situation as an example. But, if the shoe fits, you'll wear it.

As you may know, I've been hammering for years on how poor body posture and structure are either causative and/or somehow implicated in chronic pains and stress. Yet the prevailing mentality is, "Give me a pill, doc!" The medical/pharmaceutical industry is so firmly enfranchised that I enter this where angels fear to tread. I am in no way suggesting or recommending that people stop going to doctors, or taking pills. Some of my best friends are both. Also, I don't have the science in on it (yet), so I can't make any definitive claim, except to appeal to that old thing; you know, it's called common sense.

[Which gives me the occasion to make the point on the politicization of science. Depending on what side of the case you're on, it's either 1) we can't do that because there's not sufficient scientific evidence, or 2) we can do that because there's no scientific evidence not to. In other words, lack of scientific evidence is a straw man for doing what you want or being against somebody else doing what you don't want. Does anybody see the problem with that?]

Back to our gal pal. Coincidentally, the lady likes those high heel shoes. Just before announcing the kidney issue only a day before, in fact —  she firmly stated that she is aware of health warnings about wearing high heels, but frankly doesn't mind the cheat, presumably in exchange for showing up looking good. (I once had a client who was a professional dance instructor. She always wore high heels. Even though her instep on the top of her foot was necrotic black. No further comment on that one. My mistake was keeping her as a client even though she "dug her heels in" on the recommendation to wear more sensible shoes. I have stopped waiting for folks to change their minds. No looking back. Follow if you want. Me and Mr. Dylan. We . . . Don't Look Back.)

Listen. I like to see a lady with a nice leg, in high heels. Very captivating aesthetically and sensually. There's nothing like that fine tapered line. Also, that she's easy to chase. But on this occasion we're talking about chronically wearing those heels; and, especially, what a grievance that is when one's career requires standing for long periods of time. 

Now, let's get down to it; just us girls. It's about getting the guy. In marketing there is such a thing as trial. But the clincher is something called "repeat [purchase]." If you're looking good wearing those heels and he notices then what? Well if you reel him in, what's in the pretty package should deliver on the promise. The thing about heels is that they crank your pelvis. That's fine if you're a young thing with a well lubricated and swinging mojo. As you mature and keep wearing those high heels, it does something to the "nether region." To put it straightforwardly, it tightens up the whole thing. Tight is good, but not the whole thing. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing is not an idle notion. So, bottom line girls, you wear those pretty pumps long enough and all you can do is lay there like a lox. As we said, maybe once. But it don't make him want to keep coming back for more. Again, please spare the feminist protests. Not until the entire culture gets off marketing and promoting the ubiquitous promises of attractive sexual youthfulness.

The point I am making is about having a firm grasp of the obvious. It doesn't take a scientist to understand that high heels modify one's posture. Literally, if all you did was to put on high heels, and not make any adjustments upstairs, you would fall flat on your face. So, you automatically make adjustments, whether consciously or not. One area of prime effect is the pelvis. But, there are other compensations all up and down the body structure. Even all the way up in the keppe. Capisci? Think hydrostatic pressure on the brain. Again, maybe us gents like the ladies in those high heels because they not only slow you down on the move, but also in the head. No comments from the feminists, please. I kid, on that one.

The one that may not be so obvious is the strain that occurs at the level of the juncture between the lumbar and thoracic spine. That would be where the kidneys are located. So, while I can't prove this is so in the lovely lady's situation, it's not that unlikely that high heels could cause some discomfort or pain in the kidney region. Even that there is some connection. Hey, throw me a bone here. Surely you see it that much? Most medically trained folks may not look at the more global factors such as body structure balance; instead, they go to the local issue. In other words, pain in the kidney region means something's wrong with the kidneys. May be. But maybe just it's the dogs down there barking.

I'm not a doctor. But even when I played doctor as a kid, my usual advice was that if it hurt when you do that, then stop doing that.

Just saying.

Just like all Polacks (it's not discrimination if it's true) have flat foreheads and round shoulders. (I'm of Polish descent, so I know from what-what.) You ask them a question, they shrug their shoulders. Give them the answer, they slap their forehead. Over time, this sets in. As for high heels, the image above shows what's setting in there. Verbum Sap Sat.

Aunty Some Like It Hot
Back in the day Aunty Tiffany Wronski was a flapper. A flapper's flapper, was what they called her. She was a man's woman, if you know what I mean. When she entered a room, conversation would stop, heads would turn. She never wore perfume, her natural scent alone was aphrodisiacal. And yes, as you can tell from the picture, Tiffany was a natural blond; the carpet matched the drapes. Men bought her jewels just to get a moment's face time. Also, quite the dancer. But, only outdoors or in a well ventilated large auditorium (for reasons which shall be revealed later). 

While she was attractive to all men, and attracted to most herself, she was a practical gal. Any guy who was going to get around the corner with her had to have the moola and prospects for more. Tiffany had a heart though. She would say, "You might as well fall in love with a rich guy, honey. So set your hook for the kind of fish you want on your plate."

The thing about Tiffany, however, for all her allure and kavorka, she was, well, a gas bag. Not a gas bag, as in she was talkative. But a bag of gas. As in, "Who stepped on a duck?" Fortunately for her, she naturally took to the outdoors and it was never a problem until she married and the hapless fellow had to contend with the harsh reality of living in close quarters with his offputtingly scented paramour.

As eager as they were to wed her, they were just as eager to escape. That cost them. She married several times and in her later years had amassed quite a fortune in her own right.

In her dotage she was quite the philantropist. Huge amounts donated toward research; air quality issues. Her body couldn't be buried underground; instead she rests eternally in a sealed crypt with an eternal flame at the door, powered by Aunty herself. As the pun goes it was in her genes, and in her jeans. RIP Tiffany.

Here she is at her best . . .

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Of course everyone is familiar with the role of Dracula so famously interpreted by Bella Lugosi. Before Bella's Dracula, there was Uncle Frankie Wronski's Wronskula.

Frankie created the mold for the character which, in his words, "That hunky bit player sonofabitch Lugosi stole [it] from me." Historically, and factually, the real Vlad the Impaler was just some sociopathic mofo with too much adrenaline and time on his hands further complicated by an overly developed sense of entitlement. Frankie brought in the mystery; Lugosi, the larceny (if you believe Uncle about the part being usurped from him).

Nevertheless, Uncle Frankie lived the part. Bats, high ceilings, pretty pale-skinned beauties waiting on him hand and foot. He also preferred the night time hours. He wasn't a real vampire; he had some crazy penchant for siphoning gasoline, and the cover of darkness suited his purposes better. We can't explain it. We suspect the gas vapors bent his personality just a little. More that a little, if you ask his wife Pórcia La Pórtanté Vera Escabesh De Portagó Eflóreñcé Güñderson (the name is unpronounceable; aka, Trixy), the Carioca beauty queen and Cachaça heiress with the "South American Way."

I know this sounds ridiculous; but, hey, that's the way the Wronski wrambles. I didn't invent this stuff, folks. It's in the genes. Sort of like how you can tell a female chromosome from a male chromosome. You pull down their genes.

Always be closing and always leave them laughing. That may have been Uncle Frankie's problem. Even his Wronskula was too gloomy and grim for the movie-going audience. As you watch this clip, just amp it up by a factor of ten and you'll have a taste of Uncle Frankie as Wronskula. To put a point on it, Frankie was a pisser.

But, beware. One taste . . . may not be enough.   

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Uncle “Getalong” Kazimir Wronski

This is Uncle “Getalong” Kazimir Wronski. He was a friend to all (hence the nickname), except ornery bushwackers, rustlers, dirty rotten varmints, cheatin' gamblers, crooked bankers***, or any other miscreant to set foot on the pecos. He aspired to a film career and, after a slight name change, went on to fame and fortune as a cowboy hero of the silver screen. Check your attic, you may have an old lunch box with him on it.

***We be needin' some Kazimir up in here.

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Rich Uncle Benjamin Wronski

Rich Uncle Benjamin Wronski. BenjiBoy, as he was called in the family, was what they term "Made of Money". Rich rather poorly describes his financial status. Let's just put it this way, he was the 1% of the 1%. And, truth be told, 1% of that!

He wore bling before there was "bling". He was the orginal Shiznit, before . . . He had his exlusive aftershave custom ordered from Penhaligon's London. He would never say whether in fact it was so, but it is said his aphrodisiacal scent was composed of the essence expressed from crisp new $1,000 USA gold standard notes. Got that? Gold standard! If it is true, then you know the secret of how money attracts money.

And, the ladies. On the town most evenings Uncle could reliably be seen with at least two top show girls in tow. Or, some newly arrived starlet, or two. Once, again unconfirmed as to its veracity, the story is he escorted the entire cast of the Rockettes to a lavish champagne drenched feast. Breakfast the next morning on his private yacht, circling Manhattan at daybreak. Whether anyone got any sleep; well, that's something we can only wonder about. BenjiBay was The Man, you know. It wasn't just the moolah, hoolah. He had the kavorka, for sure. All the girls went home with diamonds and minks. It sounds like rather tall a tale; but if you knew Benji, it wasn't at all something far from the usual.

He was backgammon buddies with Nubar Sarkis Gulbenkian and Prince Ali Solomone Aga Khan. As he said, "Hobnobbing with the Euro Trash keeps me humble." It was quite the scandal when he tried to steal Rita Hayworth away from the Prince. That's just one of many stories; and maybe not even the best one.

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Myrna Louisa Sparcalina Pellegrina Wronskoni

The longstanding discussion over who posed for the Mona Lisa should remain a perennial question. We are not going to reveal any identities. But . . . we will only give you the facts in our possession, and you can draw your own conclusions.

In the Renaissance times the Italian branch of the Wronski family was quite prominent in Florence. Their lovely ingénue daughter, Bellissima Myrna Louisa Sparcalina Pellegrina Wronskoni, was spotted one afternoon out and about in the town square by none other than Mr. Leonardo da Vinci himself. The story goes that she posed for him. But whether she was the model for the famous painting, well, we can’t rightly say. Just that this is the painting that hangs in the family villa to this day. Notice the haunting, enigmatic smile. The Mediterranean facial hair.

Da Vinci was famous for his imaginative creativity. License, she said. A letter written in Myrna Louisa’s own hand survives. In it she vents her hot Italian affronted rage over a perceived slight by the mighty Leonardo. “Faccia brutta!” “Stronzo!” Let me translate the rest: “I sitta for you so longa; it colda, no fooda. And what do I see. Her! She getta all the attentione! Mama Mia! All your paintings should gathera dusta in some large, out of the way place forever! Ah!” That’s what she said.

Those Wronskoni’s. Spicy Italianne.


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Uncle Wojzsczek Wronski

Let me tell you the tale of Uncle Wojzsczek Wronski. Everyone called him Woody. That nickname wasn’t from his given name Wojzsczek, but from his penchant for being quite the boychik with the ladies; a real “woodsman” if you know what I mean. Woody was a seafaring man, plying the China Trade in the late Nineteenth Century in the Tall Ships.

Once he was Shanghaied and woke up in Rangoon, only to be whisked off and left for dead in a penal colony in Macau. He escaped Papillion-style and in a lost weekend of drugs, drink, and “woodsmanship” in an obscure port city of Qingdao he met his match and fell in love. Unbeknownst to Wojzsczek, a baby boy came into the lonely world. That little bastard would grow up to become none other than the famous Charlie Chan of the movies.

Father and son were reunited at long last. Funny story, but true. Charlie Chan always got his man. He tracked his biological father down one day in his tackle shop, Woody's Woims, on City Island in the Bronx.

Still heartbroken after so many years the jilted mother sued Woody in court for breach of promise. “Your honor he promised to take me to America, Florida in fact.” In his defense Wojzsczek rebutted, “Honest your honor, I never promised to take her to Florida. All’s I said was that I wanted to go tamper with her!” That Uncle Woody, true to form every time.
I could go on but you can rent the movie and see for yourself. Wojzsczek is given a “producer” credit, if you know what I mean.

[Say the name Wojzsczek quickly tree times loudly in public and you’re sure to get some “gesundheits” and “God bless you’s”.]


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Ignatz Von Wronski

My Hollywood Uncle Ignatz von Wronski back in the day. (The "von" is an old family usage which most of us have dropped, the better to fit in with the hoi poloi. Even Iggy shortened it from the official "von Schlepudnick und Wronski".)

Uncle Ignatz is my Godfather, so I dig where he is coming from.

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Cousin Rastislav Wronski (‘RR’)

Cousin Rastislav Wronski (‘RR’), for obvious reasons, went by the moniker ‘Railroad’ during his all too brief association with the Fab Four. Alas, if not for a change to Daylight Savings Time and a broken alarm clock, an historic groundbreaking session would have been laid down, and it would be the Fab ‘Five’ that we all would come to know and love so well. Rastislav slept through Sergeant Pepper. Making a play for the wife of one of the group also didn’t help; just to say that it was an Oh, No!

When he was working with the boys, Railroad was brought in for specialty effects. He was a virtuoso on the early Moog Synthesizer; you know, the one with the spinning speaker in a refrigerator size cabinet. On cowbell, few were his equal. And, of course, all the other stuff: bells, chimes, whistles, cymbals, triangle, uga horn, not to mention all those exotic type drums that the ‘regular’ drummer was too busy to put his hands on. It was never called for, but he could bring a rockin’ accordion, any of the wind instruments. If it played with a bow, he was your guy.

While he couldn’t sing worth a damn, vocally he could produce any soundanimal vegetable, or mineral. A full range, from grass growing to The Big Bang. Need we say more.

But, there is more. With Rastislav, there always is*. He had quite the career. As Time Magazine coined it, ‘ubiquitronic’. Too many to mention; just a few. Emerald prospecting in Brazil. Cashew farming in Tuscany. Wind miller in The Netherlands. Perfumer in Paris. Life guard in a mikvah (impeccable integrity, that one). It would come as no surprise to the family Wronski to learn that he was even a deck hand on a submarine.

That’s Railroad. Chugging through life.

*Cousin Rastislav is enjoying his retirement these days at a rustic cabin on some isolated island in New Hampshire. He has taken up big scale sculpture, carving out larger than life sized bears out of old fallen trees. We hear that one is on order for the Rose Garden; you know where.

Is there any stopping that freight train?

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Billy Ray Bob Wronski

Billy Ray Bob Wronski. Spreading joy and laughter wherever he goes. We don’t talk much about Billy. What you see is what you get.

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Uncle Poncho Wronski

You've heard of Poncho Villa. Meet Uncle Poncho Wronski. He was in the early days of the 20th Century kind of what Elvis impersonators are these days. But, he was wanted in 12 states. He took the role seriously. (Sorry for the picture quality, ressurected from the family shoe box collection.) 

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Uncle Frank Steiner Wronski MD, PhD
Uncle Frank Steiner Wronski MD, PhD was a scientist, working in seclusion in his mountain castle laboratory back in the early years of the 20th Century. He was an early pioneer in what is now (finally) an emerging field in Human Biology called Fascia Studies. His theory was that since the connective tissue of the body binds things together, it must also be true that it can be reworked to reintegrate the body . . . from found parts. He also dabbled in reanimation, but was unsuccessful due to unforeseen consequences.

Interesting story — funny really, but true — Mr. Mel Brooks did a bio-pic based on Uncle’s life story. Brooks intended the film to be his first foray into serious film making, but Uncle Frank’s life story was so preposterously hilarious that the movie turned out to be a comedy.

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Frankie (“Skanky Frankie”) Wronski
Frankie (“Skanky Frankie”) Wronski seen here outside his Broadway office. He was what they had in mind when they coined, “Don’t mess with him, he's the wronskain of the city!!” [Translation: One who is pimped out beyond any reasonable means; King of all pimps held in highest regard by other pimps.]

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Uncle Clyde Hercule Wronski
If you’ve lived in the Big Apple for a while you will no doubt recognize this iconic scene that graced the Broadway streetscape for several years. Uncle Clyde Hercule Wronski—“Smokey” to all who knew him—was a hand model by profession. He was such a heavy smoker though, that at a career turning point an art director discovered him and he became the face of Camel cigarettes; until they moved on to Joe Camel.

Blowing the smoke rings was actually Smokey’s pièce de résistance parlour trick, and the advertising folks worked it into the billboard. They originally were entertaining having the animated billboard flick ashes onto the street. Not real ashes, but confetti ashes. With a five dollar bill falling down every so often to really get the folks on the avenue worked up. “More interactive” is what I hear they were thinking. But, smoke rings it was . . . the rest is history. Actually, HIS story; Uncle Smokey’s, that is.

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Argenon (Argy) Wronski was, not to put too fine a point on it and to come right to the point (which is what he himself would want to do—the point of his needle sharp hook, that is), a pirate. Think Jamaica, rum, booty, Booty, plunder, treasure, and Booty (regarding that last item, it is reputed that he had a “Jolly Roger”).

Also, think dastardly, conniving, ruthless, cheating, bloodthirsty, unrepentant, backstabbing, philandering, unredeemable; in short, all the typical Wronski family traits. There are some good things deep down in those genes too; but Argy (pronounced “Ahrrrr-gy”) was the penultimate expression of those darker qualities, top of the line if you will.

Most proud was he to be such a vile purveyor of villainy. He was first in the historical record to be cited as one who “If you got it, flaunt it”. He lost his hand to a sneaky alligator in the Florida Everglades. (Reportedly that’s where he buried his treasure. I have an old parchment map and am collecting funds for an expedition. Write your checks to C.A.S.H.)

If you're thinking Peter Pan reference, don’t. Though in the 1954 Broadway play Cyril Ritchard did manage to get Argy’s signature chortle down pat—it goes a fast “Huh-huh-huh-huh”. The flamboyant style was also pretty close to the real deal. Click this to see for yourself. 

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Cousin Rocky Wraunchy Wronski
Cousin Rocky (Wraunchy Wronski, aka Wronski the Wrapscallion) Wronski was an “early adopter” of the Playboy life style. Hefner got the idea of wearing silk pajamas out on the town FROM HIM. Also, the pleasures and benefits of having more than one lady friend at the same time . . . that’s at home, mind you, not just in that little black address book.

Rocky is a cool cat, despite the heat he obviously had to be bringing to the party to earn his undisputed success with the ladies. He recently oh, so casually said this: “7,500 give or take, and counting.” We are not sure what exactly that number represents (there’s an intense but well hidden speculation in the family, as you can imagine); but Aunty Genevieve Wronski—who was as prudish as Larry was, ahem, a rapscallion—once said, “That boy should keep his family jewels in the attic.” 

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Uncle Vinnie "Duché" Wronski
Not every movie made gets seen. Uncle Vinnie "Duché" Wronski could have had quite the Hollywood career, but he was die hard and true blue to the State of New Jersey come what may. In the original version Vinnie was the obvious choice; his accent and all.

Alas, "Hackensack" didn't get past audience testing. When he was tapped for the redo, Vinnie was a real duche and held firm to the original script. He would have gone for "Casablanca" but he insisted on keeping it "The Clam Broth House" of Hoboken, not "Rick's Cafe Americain". Also, he insisted the line should be, "We'll always have Lake Hopatcong." And, "give me another cup of that broth, Sam." And, "I can see you just fine. I said, I'm looking at you!"

Poor Vinnie, if he could have just compromised a tad. Instead they got another deadpan face to fill in. When you see the movie, remember Vinnie Wronski. He could have been a contender.

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Uncle Tazio “Speedy” Wronski
Uncle Tazio “Speedy” Wronski, shown here pre-race back in the day. He was quite the flamboyant figure and top road and track racer. Competing successfully against the likes of Juan Fangio, Sterling Moss, and Phil Hill. As you can see he liked the bling, before bling was “bling”. Arguably, he was the Shiznit before there was a Shiznit. 

Story goes that he once stopped mid-race to comfort a sobbing young ingénue he happened to spot en route to what was a certain victory. The interesting thing is that, even with the unscheduled and rather lengthy stop, he went on to win the race handily. In his words, a "Win, win". The young lady and her sister were so taken with Speedy (that appellation was for race day only; in the matter of affairs of the heart he was gentle and took his time) they became what is arguably the first set of groupies and cheerleaders in the history of Gran Prix racing.

Tazio had his flaws. He was an unabashed publicity hound and would take on any and all comers for corporate endorsements. Totally without discrimination when it came to making a buck. That notwithstanding, Uncle was arguably the first to presage what would become the fashion trend to festoon oneself with logos for all the world to see.

Grandmama did not approve, “Media Whore!” and "Sell Out!" she would call out from the spectator booth at the track. Nevertheless she was a fan of him as a racer. She explained, “That Euro trash little bastard! But, he is family. What can you do? Besides, the money’s not bad.” That old lady did not mince her words. And you wouldn't want to argue with her.

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Cousin Zigismund Wronski
This photograph arrived anonymously in the mail one day. It is the last extant image of our beloved Cousin Zigismund Wronski, the original Gonzo journalist and peerless exposer of hidden mendacities, wherever they might be; fearless to doggedly pursue relentlessly any and all stories of hidden chicanery and malefaction. Specialized in clandestine investigative operations. Think Inspector Clouseau, and you have a pretty good handle on our boy.

The arrival of the photo is the last known anything about Dear Ziggy. We speculate that given the nature of the photo’s contents and its apparent setting it is not too subtle a message to keep away and hands off certain areas of investigation sent by powerful entities probably in black operations in some “non-existent” governmental agency.

(We can all breathe easy knowing that those in charge at the highest levels can be trusted and relied upon to do the right thing without any of the public having the need to pry or ask for transparent accounting.) Ziggy, if you are reading this . . . “Verbum Sap Sat,” old chap.

Also, and just to mention, Zigismund’s home is locked tight as a drum. But some nights there is a reported glow coming from his office window. If the picture provides any clue, let’s just say that he may be undercover and not aware of his super charged condition; as the song goes, “Don’t stand too close. You might catch it. Radioactive.”


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Shady Slim Wronski

Here we have the one and only Shady Slim Wronski, the original Shiznit before the word was even coined. This is not a “Got Milk” advertising photo. It is an “Oh, Mein Got!” moment caught by a paparazzo on set in that classic “The Girl Can’t Help It” starring Jayne Mansfield (as the girlwoof!) and Tom Ewel.

Shady Slim was the better looking of the two males auditioning for the role, but he was one to keep his eyes on the prize. Mr. Ewell got to hold them on camera; Slim was more a back of the house kind of guy. All he wanted to do was hang out outside of Ms. Mansfield’s trailer in hopes ofto use his solipsistic diversionary euphemism“I nice glass of milk, and maybe a plate of warm cookies.”

Cousin Slim’s famous line when caught red handed . . . “WHAT?” That’s called the Polish defense; i.e., acting clueless. Clearly, shady.


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Uncle Nigel Wronski

Our great, great Uncle Nigel used to regale the assembled Wronski family whenever he could with his wistful reminiscences of his time in the sub-continent during the Raj.

Breezy monsoon nights, the scent of jasmine wafting in the gentle swaying night air, chilled Gin Gimlets on the veranda, the occasional Bengal tiger strolling through the garden, impulsive high speed midnight forays into the countryside in the Rolls Shooting Brake, shocking the staff with the whole crowd of them stripping naked and cannonballing into the pool, hits off hastily made mango bongs, peeled grapes, reckless liaisons with the governor's wife, awakened at the first of dawning and watching the day's Rangoli being lovingly applied at the front gate with hand ground semi-precious gem powders whilst relaxing with a hot cup of spiced Chai and a fresh hand rolled bidi, the morning bath scented with rose water and exotic perfumes.

And, speaking of those Rangolis, with all those gem stone powders.

Every evening that day's lavish hand applied art piece would be washed away. Either by the monsoon rain or buckets of water to slush it away onto the roadway just outside the front gate. 

It happened that the property entrance was located at the crest of a hill. When the Rongoli was washed away the fine gem pigments would spead onto the road and down on either side from its crest. The effect was magical, day or night. In sunlight or lit with the beams of an automobile, the road on either side leading to Uncle's plantation looking like a sparkling rainbow. If his casa was your destination, no mistaking that landmark.

Those were the days.

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