Significant

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The Vedantist at the Diner
 
There’s no zeal like that of the newly converted.
 
Did you hear the one about the new initiate to Advaita Vedanta?
 
This fella stops by a local diner for a bite to eat. The waitress comes over to take his order. While she patiently stands there he goes over the menu and at each item he comments, “Not this,” “Not this,” “Not this,” “Not this.”

After he goes through the entire 6 page menu like that, the waitress asks: “So, what’ll it be?”
 
He responds, “I don’t know.”

She: “Well, if you don’t know, who should?”

He: “Precisely!”
Thumb in His Food


Breakfast at a cafe the waitress brings the man his coffee. She sets in on the table, but her thumb is right in the coffee. The man is concerned, but says nothing.

Then she brings his scrambled eggs; and, once again, now her thumb is in the eggs.

The man says, “Hey, what’s the deal? You served my coffee with your thumb right in it, and now your thumb is in my eggs?”

She replies, “Yes, sir, I know. I have arthritis in my thumb and the doctor said I should keep it someplace warm.”

 He says, “Try this. Why don’t you put your thumb where the sun don’t shine!”

And, she, “I do, I do. But, only when I'm in the kitchen.”

While You are Waiting
 
A disconsolate woman is waiting for the train. She is cradling a baby.  The train station is empty and it is late at night.
The station attendant sees her most miserable weeping and crying and approaches to offer some comfort. “There, there. What seems to be the trouble?”
“I have to leave my town, may family, and all my friends. They all keep making fun of my baby. I have to take my sweet darling baby to another place to live.”
“I’m so sorry for you. May God see you both to a happier place. Perhaps you would like a nice cup of tea while you are waiting?”
“Yes, that would be nice. You are most kind.”
The station attendant thanked her for the compliment, and added, “I’ll go and get your tea. And, maybe a banana for your monkey?”
Waiter, Bring Me Coffee Without Cream


Raisin?
 
 
More for the file of Jokes Where Someone Walks In:

An old gent comes into a bake shop to buy a loaf of raisin bread. The pretty young thing waiting on him has to climb a small ladder to reach for that item on a high shelf.
 
When she is poised high aboveher skirt is rather short, and the fellow is enjoying the view—she turns to confirm, “Is it raisin?”

“No, but it tingles a little.”
Integration

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Careful Not to Offend the Brussels Sprouts


From Cooky Cat . . .

When our friend David Wronski was coming up in his errant youth he attended the top rated University of Detroit High School in Michigan. It is a Jesuit institution situated in what was then a neighborhood of predominantly Jewish families. As one of the ever irreverent Jesuit teachers put it, "The land of the Hebees and the Jebees." This mention is not just a clever bit to mildy shock. It turns out to be an important part of what will ultimately become  if you can hang on through it all an excellent Brussels Sprouts recipe. And, suitable for Kosher cooks.


David spoke about his Biology classes in his senior year at his alma mater. Mr. Jim Lotze was his teacher there. As you may know the Jesuits are a teaching order. At that time Mr. Lotze was at the "Scholastic" level in his training toward the priesthood, and all Scholastics are addressed as "Mr." Well, Mr. Lotze (plain "Lotze" when we guys spoke of him) was not only an inspired and excellent teacher of science. Every day his students would show up for class and the blackboard(s) would be completely filled with amazing colored chalk drawings of what was being covered in that day's lecture.  

Mr. Lotze also taught the Chemistry class. That class was held in a room with amphitheater style seating and multiple blackboards at the front, the kind that could be raised to reveal another chalkboard surface just behind. Now Mr. Lotze took full dramatic advantage of this system of blackboards and was fond of shooting one board quickly upward to reveal the new material behind. Boys being boys, one day someone secreted an obscenity behind one of his boards and the class got quite a laugh when Mr. Lotze stood there with a satisfied grin as he revealed with his usual flourish the amazing new information. The board came down just as quickly.


Mr. Lotze also shared from the breadth of his experience with his students; sometimes far afield of the core curriculum. David remembers during one Chemistry class session being engaged in a lively discussion on the question "What is Art?"; a conversation he (claims) continues to develop to this very day.  It was during the Biology course that David was exposed to Philosophy by way of Paleontology when Mr. Lotze recommended The Phenomenon of Man by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.  You should know at the time de Chardin's works were severely criticized by the Catholic Church, some even banned. Those Jesuits! But, in recent times both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have spoken favorably.

The Wikipedia entry for The Phenomenon of Man calls it, "a sweeping account of the unfolding of the cosmos". Pope Benedict "praised Teilhard's idea of the universe as a 'living host'". The idea of a scale of consciousness embedded throughout creation in every blessed thing. Rocks, even. And a progress in evolution to a point of Oneness, de Chardin's "Omega Point". As the qoutes ascribed to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin following this will show, clearly they have stayed with our Mr. Wronski in his own development in this here God's Creation.

Huh, you ask? So what does this have to do with Brussels Sprouts? 

Recently David came upon the first Brussels Sprouts of the season at a nearby Farmers Market. A traditional (usual?) recipe is to pair them with cooked chestnuts. For a big flavor boost, browned lardons of smoked cooked Polish bacon (Boczek Gotowany - Wedzony).

But, David also likes to cook vegetarian style dishes and it occurred to him that Tempeh (a fermented soybean food product, typically sold in 8 ounce packages) would be a good substitute for both the chestnuts and the bacon, texture-wise and flavor too. An idea he could also share with his Kosher cooking friends.

Regarding Tempeh, the late Marcella Hazan, in correspondence with David, made this blunt and direct comment: "Forget about tempeh, please."

The concern, however, owing to David's understanding of the nature of things in the cosmos that there is consciousness in all things  was about shocking or offending those Brussels Sprouts by introducing such a non-traditional accompaniment as ... Tempeh.

It is a delicious alternative and here is the work-around for any fussiness from those easily offended Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts with Tempeh . . .

(One package of Tempeh is enough for four servings when used as an accompanying ingredient.)

First cut the Tempeh loaf in half at the middle, then slice each half (carefully) in half again from the edge to create thinnish slabs. Fry until golden brown on both sides in butter or a vegetable oil. Important: as soon as the tempeh sheets are browned douse them with a good tamari. (What is a "good" tamari? Peruse the aisles of any well stocked Jananese food store and you will see "good" tamari. It also costs more.) Cut the finished tempeh in cubes sized to your liking and combine with steamed buttered Brussels Sprouts. Whole, halved, or chiffonade. (The chiffonade style can also be prepared uncooked into a cole slaw type salad.)

As Mrs. Wronski used to say, "None the wiser." That is the people who are used to always having the chestnuts and bacon. Even the Brussels Sprouts themselves. Not to mention the Tempeh which the addition of Tamari should keep it from any fussing on account of the cultural affinity.  

This little step of adding Tamari to browned Tempeh seems to produce a transformation which, to our palate anyway, competes with that bacon gold standard. If you have a hard time accepting this, then prepare the Tempeh as above and cut into thin strips to add to a spinach and mushroom salad. Oh, Boy! Umani!

Also, the recipe above is a "basis" recipe. You can add garlic and/or browned fresh bread crumbs to bring the fancy.
____________________________________________

Now, let's get philosophical . . .

 Quoting Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S. J.



Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist and forever will recreate each other.

The most satisfying thing in life is to have been able to give a large part of one's self to others.


Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.

In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.

You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.


Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven't committed.

The world is round so that friendship may encircle it.

Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world ... Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.


Love is a sacred reserve of energy; it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.

Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come to being.

It doesn't matter if the water is cold or warm if you're going to have to wade through it anyway.


It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist.

He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend must have a long head or a very short creed.

The universe as we know it is a joint product of the observer and the observed.

Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.


Source Brainy Quote









I Laid an Egg at the Farmers Market


This season we have been regular and enthusiastic customers at a local Farmers Market. Not the kind that comes to your suburban town in some vacant lot one day a week. They're fine too, I suppose; but what's with the "boutique" pricing? No, I'm talking about the kind that I remember from my youth where my mother and father would shop on weekends. The kind with a dedicated central location with a permanent roof, open at the sides, with spots for the growers to back up their trucks loaded from which they sold their fruits and vegetables. I even remember tagging along with mom and dad and seeing kittens and the occasional puppy for sale. Think, Old School.

Occasionally on my weekly religious visit to the Paterson, New Jersey Farmers Market I would see something that was pretty big compared to what's usual. Radishes, for one. Beets. Recently arugula with leaves as big as my hand. More than a few times when I saw such over large items I would ask, "And where do you keep the really big ones?" (That's a joke, or an attempt at one, if you must be told.)

It must be that I'm an urban sort and not living the simpler rural life. Unfailingly my question would be met with either a blank stare or, "this is all we got." I knew I had laid an egg when the poker faced farmer lady said to me, "We only have big ones. I don't know what you're talking about." Evidently irony is not everyone's cup of tea.

With jokes, as in all of life, not everyone is your customer.


Follow That
 
Walk - Wise
 
walking
                                                          therapist
 
 
Even though we do not condone the charming lady's wardrobe choice, we cannot but help but admire her gait.
 
In particular, notice how the hips move forward slightly following each step forward. This movement is not only naturally sensual it is tonifying to the entire pelvis. And, also that movement carries upward and brings ease into the lower back. Not to mention how that gliding motion of the stride is easy on the legs and feet.
 
In short there are ways of moving and using the body that are healthful. Obviously, in this case, it shows.
 
Follow that lady! In how you yourself walk, that is.

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Eh-ph-ster Et THE Epfted ... Or, Did She?

(Very) Original Bedtime Story By David D. Wronski

Some business things first. "Eh-ph-ster" is the little girl’s name. Really! So to not to as to make the little darling teary eyed and down in the mouth and all mopey-dopey we will be saying her name right. OK? Right!

Let’s break it down: The “Eh-” you pronounce like the sound of a big loud inhale of air. The “ph-ster” you say kind of quick, but not too quick or it will sound like a sneeze and your mother will be putting you to bed and giving you chicken soup and taking your temperature every fifteen minutes. So, not so fast as a sneeze, but not so slow that you could fit a slice of pizza between the “ph-” and the “ster”. Eh-ph-ster, just the way it’s spelled. Say it right. Don't be a silly.

What kind of name is that, "Eh-ph-ster", you might ask?

Here's the skinny. Her Mom wanted to name her Ester, and her Dad liked Ephegene. Like their parents’ parents’ parents’ parents before them they compromised. Dad’s name is “Edfold” and Mom is “Eustancia”. His folks settled on a compromise over “Edsel” and “Efold”. Her folks got together over “Eusticia” and “Etonisca”. You could say it was a marriage made in heaven. Or you could say, "E-gads!"

Who could have even imagined that two people from families with a penchant for not only naming every dern one of their offspring with a name beginning with the letter “E” and would, historically down the line from the time of the first recording of their family histories — and presumably even before that down the eons and mists of prerecorded history to a time who knows when; but who knows since its before recorded history, silly — have a mom and a dad where each would have different ideas of what to name the kid but would always come to some compromise that all agreed was even better than the sum of the parts. 

Now that’s cleared up let’s proceed.

Eh-ph-ster was an inquisitive little girl. One day gazing at the fishies etcetera in her fish bowl, which was set on a small but sturdy table in one corner of her room . . . then it hit her. Not the fishy bowl, silly. But a great idea. “I’ll go to the local deep sea divers shop — one "Diver Dan's Diverse Diving Divertisments" — and learn how to dive and then I can go deep down into the sea and see what there is to see, in the sea. For sure. I think.”

The next thing you know there’s one little Eh-ph-ster walking around in a specially designed diving suit in the ocean at what one person who was there swore must have been the deepest part of the ocean. The dive suit was designed by her, mind you. This girl also had a head on her shoulders. But now, also a huge waterproof bubble thingy on her shoulders too. (That’s so she wouldn’t get her hair all wet. Which had a tendency to frizzle even on a rainy day, let alone down in the ocean.) “If you’re going to all the trouble to walk around on the deepest ocean floor you might as well look your best,” Eh-ph-ster would say. Let that be a lesson to you too.

Anyhow, there’s little Eh-ph-ster strolling around on the ocean floor when what does she see but that it looks like a hot dog. Not a dog that is hot, but a hot dog. The kind you eat in a soft bun with a squiggle of yellow mustard.

Really! Why would we fib about such a thing anyway, silly?

Who doesn’t like a hot dog? Eh-ph-ster not being an exception, naturally picked it up and put it into her collection net along with the gold doubloons and large precious jewels she got when just a little before she discovered a pirate's chest that was hidden away some time ago. By a pirate, silly. Who else?

After her dive when she was back on board the boat it was time for lunch and Eh-ph-ster knew what she would be having. That little hot dog.

Funny thing though. That little hot dog was nice and warm and ready to eat even just after emerging from the icy cold dark ocean depths. What’s going on there, huh? If you ever have yourself eaten a hot dog in a pool, or in the bathtub, or in the rain you know that they get all soggy and mushy and the mustard slips off and you have a mess and your parents weren’t all that happy to find you doing something silly like that. Come on, admit it. Don’t be embarrassed, we’ve all been there.

Well, little Eh-ph-ster, unbeknownst to her at the time, was making history. In fact that weren’t no hot dog after all. It was an Epfted. It was in rare fact the very first and only Epfted anyone had ever seen, let alone brought up from the ocean deep and got close enough to put on a plate, let alone think that it could make a nice lunch. But, who knew? Certainly not the lovely unpresupposing little Eh-ph-ster.

We know it was an Epfted only after this very incident which is unfolding even as you read this here story. Because, before little Eh-ph-ster came upon this little beastie, it was never known in the entire history of the entire world. Really!

And, oh, yes. The thing about the Epfted is that it can talk. And, in whatever language the person who is near it happens to speak. So right away little Eh-ph-ster is in a fix. By this time she is getting pretty hungry, what with and after all that moseying around under the ocean depths on the ocean bottom. But, just as she is about to eat what she thinks is a delicious hot dog, what does she hear?

“Hey, kid, hold on a minute. Put me down! Now!” If you were the world’s only Epfted you wouldn’t be mincing your words either. Did we mention that it was not only the first Epfted anyone had ever laid eyes on, but it was the one and only Epfted in existence? Seems that the Epfted was such an evolutionary oddity that once it came into existence Mother Nature closed the gate on it right away. Unceremoniously shut it down. One Epfted is one too many. Apparently.

So that’s why it would be a problem to eat one of those critters. Not that it would be the end of the Epfted, mind you. The Epfted has a way of reconstituting itself even it was chopped up into the tiniest pieces. Blended into a smoothie. Mushed to mush. So, if someone were to eat the Epfted, they’d wind up with a real live Epfted in their belly, and it doesn’t take a whale of a lot of imagination to figure out the kind of trouble it is to be living inside someone’s stomach. Ask that fellow Jonah if you don’t believe it.

There’s not too much to tell after that. Eh-ph-ster out of sheer fright put that Epfted down, and fast. Whereupon the critter sprouted legs that looked very much like potato sticks and scrambled off the plate, as fast as scrambled eggs would fall off the plate if you had a mind to do such a silly thing. And, don't do such a silly thing. Eat your scrambled eggs. Then jumping off the table and with a running jump the Epfted returned to the sea from whence it came, though the sea itself wasn’t all that pleased either that once again the lonely and solitary Epfted would be prowling around on the seabed deep. Noisy little buggers, those Epfteds.

As it leaped to its safety that little Epfted could be heard to say, “You can’t have your Epfted and eat it too.”
So kiddies. Let that be a lesson to you all.

And, if that's not enough . . .

Take this! Then go to sleep.

But first a quiz: How many times did the "Epfted" show up in this story?

(Answer: There's only one Epfted.)
 
Cousin Harry ("Horny Harry") was, well, a horn dog. His endowments were considerable, but in terms of smarts Grandma used to say, "That boy's brains might as well be just painted on." Quite a turn of phrase, that Grandma, don't you think? Alas, fitting in Harry's case. No complaints otherwise, though.

Horn dog / Hound Dog . . .
See all the other Wronski's by going to the sidebar "Oh! Wronski / All My Relations". Or, for the full bore hystericory go to this this page.

Oh! Wronski.

ALL MY RELATIONS . . . OH! WRONSKI

Every damn single one of the Family Wronski has endeavored to make a unique "mark". Some on the world stage. Others, just on the spot where they were standing. Some lasting. Others, you could get it out with a little soda water and salt.

Nonetheless, all exemplars of the quintessential Wronski greatness. Which, some say, you have to be a Wronski to appreciate.

Nevertheless, here they all are. You be the judge!



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.



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.



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. BenjiBoy 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.





My California Uncle Szchelekzso Wronski, seen here early in his show business career. The story goes that he was the original “Hollywood Heart Throb” and was first in line for the romantic leading role in The Sheik. Alas, the eyeglasses were the deal breaker. We all know about what that role did for that wimp Valentino. But Uncle lived the life of The Sheik for real. The lovely Barbara Stanwyck (seen in this dusty old photo admiring him from off stage) was reputed to have been just one of his legions of conquests.

Leaving a failed film career in Hollywood, Dear Uncle became the "Sensation of the Catskills" after changing his name to Shecky. His trademark was the pants pulled up way too high and the plastic pocket protector with too many pens. And, of course, who doesn’t know even now about his signature opening line, "Heeeere's Shecky!" The lawsuit with Johnny Carson over stealing that line was settled satisfactorily. Shecky bought the hotel where he played for so many years and died on stage to a full house. Big finish, don't you think?


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.



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”.]





My Uncle Reginald Wronski was a Doughboy in WWI. American by birth, he chose to stay on in Europe after the Armistice, settling in Italy. There he sired quite a brood with his dark beauty of an Italian wife, Gina Lola. My Cousin Salvatore—“Salski” was his nickname—was their first born and the apple of his father’s eye. An adventurous but wise lad, Salvatore excelled in school and in just about everything else too. Yet, given his Italian genetic heritage, he was always one to first follow his heart. Uncle Reginald was a forward thinking man—as are all Wronski’s — and he encouraged young Salski to march to his own drummer.

After brief failed careers, first as a gondolier in Venice and then as an oyster shucker in Trieste, Salvatore settled down in Rome. There he opened what is arguably the very first, and therefore oldest, Pizza joint in the Eternal City. Superiore Pizzaria Quondo Romanissimo, “Home of the Cheesiest Crust.” With a claim like that the Vatican soon took notice and SPQR was delivering pizzas to none other than His Holiness Himself, Pope John XXIII. (They say some of John's famous girth was on account of Uncle’s pizza.)


Cousin Salski had this gig for some time; in fact, he became fast friends with Pope John Paul II, hanging out eating pizza and drinking the Vatican’s best wine, exchanging Italian jokes. Being both of Polish descent you can understand the connection they had. Little known gossip, Pope John Paul would say to him, in Polish, "Jestem tak samotny jak Pollack w Roma" (translation: “I’m as lonely as a Pollack in Roma.”) Kind of like being as lonely as a Gentile in Miami.


Alas, it all came to an end when, as Salvatore says, “THAT German came to town.”


Today you still can find him happily flipping his thin, really thin crust pies in his original location. Look him up when you’re there. Walk one block east from the Fontana Trevi, turn left; walk half a block, then right onto a quaint mews. You can’t miss the spot. It’s got the only neon lights on the block; in fact, I believe it’s the only shop officially permitted to flash neon lights in the entire town.


If you’re there, mention me. You will have to pay for your pizza, but Cousin Salski will treat you to a big tumbler full of his own house made Chianti. Salut. (Try the pie with the kielbasa instead of pepperoni. You won’t be disappointed. Don’t, however, opt for the extra kapusta [sauerkraut] topping.)


PS It occurs to us that father and son were in fact very much alike. Like, one was a Doughboy; the other, a dough boy.



PPS Currently in this Anno 2013 we have your Pope Francis I. Not confirming, not denying, but the down low is that a certain personage resembling The Man himself has been seen in the late evening hours peddling his bicycle to Superiore Pizzaria Quondo Romanissimo from a direction that looks like he's coming from Vatican City. The tale goes 
on. 

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.



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.)



Uncle Frank-Onsteiner 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 storyfunny 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.


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.]



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.



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 baser 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 said “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.




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.”




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.


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. 


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.”



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? Huh?” That’s called the Polish defense; i.e., acting clueless. Clearly, shady. (But maybe not so. You know why Polacks have round shoulders and flat foreheards? Because, when you ask them a question, they shrug their shoulders. And, when they get the answer, they slap their forehead.) I can say this since I'm Polish.



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.
Those were the days.




Cousin Josef “Speedy” Wronski, shown here “at speed” lazily drifting into a hazardous hairpin mountainside turn during the demanding Grand Prix de Monaco of 1956. He drove for the Cyclops factory racing team as their top driver, campaigning for many successful seasons on the glamorous European Circuit.

Off track Josef was a gambling man. Baccarat was his game, but he was quick (“Speedy”) to place a bet whenever, and wherever, there was some action. He once bet Donald Trump, daring The Donald to go out in public with a squirrel pelt on his head. Speedy lost that bet, but Mr. Trump liked the results so much he made it a trademark look.

Cousin is alive today and living his golden years in the family villa on Lake Como, enjoying watching the lovelies cavorting at George Clooney’s place down the hill from our's. Spending his days at backgammon with his entourage of gorgeous live-in “nannies”. Life for our Speedy is an unending flow of champagne, spicy Cuban cheroots, and foot massages. At least that’s what I’ve heard.



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?


We were rummaging in the attic and in an old box of snapshots there was this long forgotten portrait of the great man himself. Uncle Snaptuczek Wronski, known as “Snappy” in the old Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell-Sherman Billingsley-Toots Shor Broadway days.

Snappy was, as the photo attests, “The Genius of the Camera”. Henri Cartier-Bresson, however, he wasn’t. He did have that man’s knack for getting the image at the right moment; how they say, the “decisive moment”; just that Snappy usually got the awkward moment: the guy with his pants down, and the girl adjusting her underwear. There is supposed to be a whole collection of famous celebrities and political bigwigs shown in the act of picking their noses. When those turn up we figure we can quit our day jobs and retire to live the leisure life in a rustic cabin on Lake Tahoe.

You know that shot from the Seven Year Itch with Marilyn Monroe and her skirt lifted by the air from a subway train running below? No, he didn’t take that one. He was there though. He got the one nobody ever saw; and we are still hunting for it. It’s supposed to be a doozy. Rumor has it that it features the blond bombshell “pouring out” of a Duesenberg Phaeton.


Here you have Great Uncle Wrencek Wronski the original 99%-er what got robbed by the Man. It can’t be proven for sure (If it could, I’d be driving a Lincoln limousine. Driving? Ha! Being driven in . . .) but the story goes that that first tier 1%-er Henry Ford I-st got the idea for his historic Model T mostly from Uncle Wrencek; admittedly, adding the fourth wheel was HFI’s own inspiration. John D. Rockefeller lifted Uncle’s Pegasus flying red horse logo and slapped it on his Standard Oil Company. Even Harvey Firestone had a piece of him. See those studded tires; Wrencek pasted on licorice drops and arguably invented the first off road tire. Harvey was a fan of the licorice. (Didn’t you ever wonder why automobile tires a black?) He lifted the idea without attribution.

Our dear Great Uncle Wrencek couldn’t catch a break. Even his ex-wife Ethel referred to him as that “Wretch with a Wrench”. Ouch!

Yet, we remember Wrencek privately in the family for all his groundbreaking firsts. There’s—like Al Gore is credited with the Internet—for envisioning the economy car and the hybrid vehicle. Wrencek lowered the weight on his first production vehicle coming out of Wronski Motors by keeping it to only three wheels and by using his wife’s girdle as the skin for his famous 3-wheeler. Look closely and you can see the clip garters. His old lady was, ahem, rather a gas; he devised a method to collect her prodigious effluvia from under the covers and used it to power his automobile. Sounds like a tall tale. Like propane does today, it burned clean.

Well, he might have been the “Wretch with a Wrench”, but a few others were the real stinkers.



Uncle Elaviesczhek D. Pelvischezek (call him Ed) in his prime. I know what you may be thinking, what a cheesy pun on Elvis The Pelvis. But, we can’t rewrite history. It’s not the Wronski way. He himself was not a Wronski, only associated by marriage; to Aunty Hipszwingcheska Wronska.

Aunty was a story herself, what with her cabaret career, and once a featured act at the Moulin Rouge. Not the famous one in Paris, but in Hamtramck, Michigan; the Riviera of the Midwest and home to many an expat Pole. It was love at first sight; they were married on a tug boat in New York harbor with fireworks. It is told that the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges were fully lined with well-wishers. The US Navy sent a flotilla. Surely, you’ve read about it?

Anyway, Uncle Elaviesczhek, Ed.  He was a dancer by training and trade. If the pose looks familiar, it’s because he was for a time the dance coach and understudy for the real Elvis The Pelvis. The King, himself. So now you know where that guy got his bustin’ moves. Hairdo also. Alas, on looks, that’s were Elvis and Ed parted company.

If you think that this tale doesn’t hold water, you are free to call the Belle Isle (Detroit) Aquarium and ask to speak to Uncle yourself. He will be happy to answer all your questions. The facility as an aquarium no longer itself holds water. It closed in 2005 due to budget cuts (with a community advocacy working to reopen this historic “America’s Oldest Aquarium”.) Uncle Ed operates what is arguably the best fish and chips and pierogi stand in Detroit. It’s called "The King’s Stance" (?). Mention me and get a nice helping of kapusta on the house. So you will be like me as my mother used to say, “Your head is full of kapusta”. Sometimes, "Kapusta for brains". I'm not sure she was referring to the delicious Polish braised cabbage dish or to my eccentric, but lovably rich, Uncle Kapusta. Anyway, more about him some other time.


Uncle Masqua R. D. Wronski and Albert Einstein were party animals together. But uncle had no clue for mathematics; and it is no doubt because there was no chance of talking shop that Dr. Einstein friended him. Uncle, as you can tell, was a good looking chap, and Albert plainly admitted that he needed a good wing man.

Fate does, however, have a hand in things. Though their relationship was strictly social, Uncle had a knack for saying the, how they say, le mot juste. Here in a paparazzi candid we overhear part of an exchange in which the great man is asking Uncle if the plaid overcoat was working with the tuxedo. Uncle was a master of tact. Who knew, though, that it was to lead to that?


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 XLVI.


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.


Father, by the way, is proud.


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.


 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.

 


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, just wants to get on his pony and ride. No pun intended.

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 kitten. Aw, shucks. How cute is that?

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



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 disgusting, 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.


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.


Here is Cousin Pjotr Jalisco ("PJ") Wronski back in the day when everyone who was anyone in Glamtown turned up for his annual birthday bash. No cameras after the opening cocktail time. Just let us say that there was a mountain of wet clothes and scattered car keys by party end. Pre-paparazzi, you know.

Cousin "PJ" was quite the pick up artist. And, himself also, quite a handful. His memorable line when meeting a damsel of potential conquest, "I could spend my life in your arms, dazzled and bewitched by the beauty of a lovely lady like you." Bees to honey, that line. It's not just the words though, you have to believe it. And then, sell it. Which, of course, he obviously did. He had chutzpah, before they had a name for it.


As the photo image clearly demonstrates "PJ" got results. He was "in" in Hollywood. Ms. Monroe was said to have gushed, "That boy sure knows how to straighten my seams."


"PJ" was on the set for this scene. Marilyn insisted. "He's my inspiration!" If you have to know, she was singing the song just for him.


He famously pleaded, "broaden the spot light!" As usual, spot on "PJ".



Kiss me, you Fool!


Uncle Kizachek "Kissy" Wronski was, as in the family tradition, a lover. Here he is with Aunty Mona. He kept her, as he would say, lean. That is, he played hard to get. But Mona didn't have to moan-a for long. She knew the gambit too. All she had to do was demonstrate her undivided interest in his affections, and in short order the beast in him would awaken and things would take their natural course.

Kissy had several offspring. Aunty Genevieve once said, "That boy should put the family jewels away in the attic." Both Mona and Kissy were not amused with the metaphor. They would often show up at Genevieve's door early Sundays with the whole brood in tow and stay on to sample the cocktail bar and enjoy the pool while Aunty dear rustled up an impromptu Sunday meal. I don't know if her crack about the family jewels came before or after, but you can understand the sentiment either way.


  

Dad was (arguably) the first Hippie. The term "Hippie" was a coinage derived from his nickname, Hipnuchek Pionchek Escavado by birth; friends called him "HPE" for short, and that is the way he signed his checks.

As was his usual way, H.P.E. was at the leading edge of almost everything he was near the edge of. A die-hard Republican conservative, after an encounter with an errant lightning bolt whilst fixing a flat tire on the night he so boldly took our dear mamma out on the date where he coined the phrase, "My way or the highway", Daddy had a complete change of heart and was the first to enter the counter culture 1960's with a bang. That night Mom and Dad inaugurated the sexual, free love, revolution. Paradise by the dashboard light, indeed! Just that Dad didn't need no dashboard light after that shocker of a kiss from mother nature. It must've been a double whammy, cause Mom had a pretty cute kisser.



Cousin Harry ("Horny Harry") was, well, a horndog. His endowments were considerable, but in terms of smarts Grandma used to say, "That boy's brains might as well be just painted on." Quite a turn of phrase, that Grandma, don't you think? Alas, fitting in Harry's case.


No complaints otherwise, though.




Uncle Wolvechek Mitzevsczelenke Wronski went by both "Wolfy" and "Mitzy". I don't think it's too hard understand why from this 1957 photo at Romanoff's in Beverly Hills. Here he is hobnobbing with two local beauties. Hob-nobbing. Indeed.

He was a special friend of Jayne's since it was Wolfy who came up with the bright idea of calling the bumper extensions seen on the Cadillacs during most of the 1950s decade, "Jayne Manfields". According to Mitzy it was him what gave GM the idea in the first place. He claimed that they brought him in to size check their design. Did I mention he had legendary large hands, hence the nickname. Anyhow, he was finally satisfied with their larger rendering. "It's just right." He found the lovely Ms. Mansfield ''just right" also, but he didn't elaborate.


Sofia Loren that evening was reported to have cornered Uncle Wolfy and put her jealous question to him hotly, "Whata she got, I no have!?" Mitzy was a "hands on" man, and after a little first hand observation, he replied, "Nottin'".




Never to forget Great, (Really!) Great Uncle Alexie Vronsky. . . AKA: The Crimean Killa, the Ukraine Heart Throb, the Boychick of the Balkans, the German Germinator, the Polish Prick. (That last one . . . that's what she said). 

Uncle covered a lot of ground back in the day. He left, as they say, "a girl in every port". The appelations go on, and on. I don't think he ever picked his feet in Poughkeepsie, though. He was, for sure, a class act. And, a real contender. As you can see, drop dead handsome. Smelled like a million bucks. All in change. He was a little fond of the eau de cologne. Buckets full. Word is he wasted a fortune on fragrance. Metrosexual, I think would be the contemporary moniker.


When he entered the room, heads turned. (Nostrils would flare.) All the men wanted to be him. All the women wanted to be with him. On the latter front he was the Will Rogers of the Eastern provinces. You know that Will Rogers line, "I never met a man I didn't like". Uncle was fond of saying, "I didn't meet a lady I didn't . . . " Enough said. He had more than enough of The Kavorka to go around.


Rumor has it that he was the model for the Count Vronski in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. They, he and Leo that is, were drinking buddies. Alexie was his wing man on more than one occasion. Tolstoy could write, alright; with the ladies, however, he needed a interlocutor. And our Vronsky was a smooth talker. Things like, "I could spend an eternity looking into the depths of your beautiful eyes". That one was a sure fire winner. The lady at hand would swoon and fall limp into his arms. That's when he would haul her over to the waiting Tolstoy and whisper in her ear, "That's what he said." It worked more often than not. Especially after several rounds of wódka shots.




Someone quipped, asking who is that chick in the middle? That is not a "chick" in the middle in the photograph. (By the way, most people just assume because the fellow looks like me, that it's me.) That, in fact, is Cousin Chickie. It’s not his real given name, a nick name. Just let's say dear Cousin had a certain way with the opposite sex. His real given name is being withheld; on request. Presumably lest certain legal actions aren't continued.

Notice the undeniable Yin glow our Boychick there is clearly evincing in that backstage photo. I say backstage — hopefully not revealing too much of the true and complete story — because Chickie was Mr. Malkoviak’s coach for those torrid scenes con amore el flagranto. He did have to demonstrate for the Actor. In this particular scene taken after one of his “demonstrations” both those lovely women, as you can see, are themselves aglow.



A chick? No, Chickie. And, as per usual.

Uncle Vinnie Vronski

You should know Uncle Vincent "Vinnie" Wronski [pronounced Vronsky] was as sweet as the sound of his name. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But, hey, what works. No complaints from the ladies, that's for sure.

Also, referred to by a knowing few as "Triple X". How come? Who knows. One can draw inferences, though.

Not saying if, and not saying not; but he is often cited as the Father of the Lap Dance. That is, in conversations among the cognoscenti in that Babylon of the West. That would be ... Hollywood C-A.

And, the girls back in those Golden Hollywood Days loved to call out his name in the most cherry-on-top flirtatious sing-song way. And, of course, he ate it up. A lot of cherries were, ahem, consumed.

Here he is seen with an aspiring starlet in an intimate moment ... "el flagrente dilecto"(?). Just also to say Old Vinnie had quite the magic touch. No double entendre intended, please. If you are up on popular goings on you may recognize that fulsome cutie. She would later become a world famous cultural icon. Yes, Uncle had a hand in that. Again, no double meaning there either. It might apply, but the full list recounting the depth of his devilish doings did not survive the destruction of Casa Vincenzo which was due owing to a mudslide one dark and rainy evening in the Hollywood Hills. So we won't say what we can't prove. Just to add, his ill fated autobiography had the working title, "I Got the Whole World on My Lap".

As much as he had the Kavorka, he wasn't too much in the keppe. Great Grandmother — we called her "Vooycheey Booycheey" [why, I don't know] — said, "That idiot might just as well have his brains painted on."

As you can tell from the photo, that was not much of a problem for Vinnie.


That would be our beloved Cousin Jake Wronski. Aka, "Jake the Wrake."

He insisted on telling his own story ...

His words ... "Hey, Girl. How ya doin'. See anything you like? Do you? Well, that's just the tip of the iceberg. And, by "tip" I would be referring to ... "

OK. OK. I have to interject. That was going to go way out of line.


Let's just say if that's where you want to go, Girl, Jake is your ticket.



Cousin Rosco


Second Cousin Rosco Wronski was a recording artist. Quite famous actually. Looks-wise, he took after his dad: Harry, aka, "Horndog Harry". While pater wasn't much upstairs ("Brains painted on", per Grandma Wronski) — downstairs, if you get my drift, was his metier — fils, while similarly endowed, hung his shingle in the music biz.

You may have heard of him, but doubtful. He was wildly popular among a certain segment of the listening audience. The girls in Hollywood couldn't get enough of Rosco. Oh, to be sure, he got enough. Plenty. We offer an old family photo as proof of what otherwise would seem like a piece of pure fiction. You can't make stuff like this up, folks.




Here we have Polish Great Great Uncle Wronski — spelled in his adopted motherland of Russia thus: Vronsky — with his buddy Leon Tolstoy. Rumor had it that friend Leon gave one of his famous fictional characters the name Vronsky after his buddy. My Great Great Uncle!

Interestingly, Uncle did have some similarities to the fictional Vronsky. What with all the hanging around with Tolstoy, the missus would make a big fuss about how he was never home; and she with the chores, and all. Back then the clothes were dried outside on a sting.

Lore has it Uncle and Leon liked to meet up regularly, whiling the hours, dicoursing over strong coffee and the occasional snort. Of snuff, that is. Oh, yes. And the more than occasional snoot. Of vodka, that is. 

Uncle made his own snuff from leaves grown in his Grandmother's dhaka. Babcha would harvest the leaves in their prime in late summer and hang them to dry and ferment through the bucolic fall days in a well ventilated barn with just enough dappled sunlight to give her leaves a pleasant chocolaty hue. Then to mature over the winter packed tightly in oak barrels Dzadza had made by hand just for that tobacco.

Come spring the pungent leaves would be cracked out of the barrels and broken by hand into as small pieces as possible. Then ground painstakingly to a fine powder in a huge natural stone mortar with a heavy marble pestle.

Why, you might wonder, all the emphasis on the snuff. Well, it was pretty, pretty, pretty good stuff. And, as a matter of fact, you should also know that originally Vronsky was indeed the namesake for the feckless nobleman in one of Tolstoy's yarns. He was a Count, in fact. Wronski liked the idea of his name in a novel. He insisted on being called ... Count. Until, that is, he read the tale. What a cad the one in the story was. So, Uncle took it back and it was some time before he lived that one down. He opted to be known for his snuff.

Fortunately, he is fondly remembered — to this day — for that snuff. Some vintages survive and fetch staggering sums. In his home town of Yasnaya Polyana even today when someone sneezes the custom is to say "Vronsky!" It's like a "God Bless You" or a "Gesunheit". If you've ever taken snuff, you know what I'm referring to. 

Here's a very obscure fact about Uncle Vronski. You probably know well the Battle of Vienna. It was at that skirmish where one General Sobieski defeated the invading Ottoman hordes. The victors demanded the vanquished also divulge the secrets of their legendarily famous cuisine. Wronski was honored — the General liked the snuff — with the secret recipe for Baba Ganoush. Which, the Wronski family to this day continues to prepare according to that delicious Uncle's original recipe. 

And, which Sobieski happens to be the name of one pretty, pretty, pretty good Vodka. Drink it as ice cold shots with a beer chaser; or, better, a homemade dill pickle.



All My Relations Uncle Zapski

Behold Uncle Zapski. "The Juice." He's related to me through marriage to my Aunty Sparknishzevska Wronski. Zapski, as you could imagine, was one with the so-called exciting personality. Electric. Some would say.

The image of him is not some sort of theatrical pose. That's him on any given day. Eccentric. Sure. Electric. Don't stand to close. You might catch it. Good man to have on a cold day when the car won't start. Come to think of it he did in fact work part time there during a few winters for AAA.

If you see a Wronski family resemblance, it's because of his Zelig-like ability to morph into whatever social situation he found himself.

Also, it should come as no surprise that the Zapski's saved a ton on utility bills. "Just hook me up" was his catch phrase. And, he was a good neighbor. I believe the whole block ran on Zapski's juice.





Say hello to Jon Ron "Don Juan" Wronski. My father's younger brother. Lived in Hollywood during what his set called the "swell" years. 
J

Reliably he was out and about, every night. Never without a leading lady or a promising starlet on his arm. Arm! Heck! He had two arms; and, like I said, he was never without company. He popularized the Ménage à Trois among the glam set. Two! Heck! As he would put it, "The more the merrier".

Uncle Don was also a high roller. He would charter a DC3 many weekends and fly a bevy of beauties with him to Vegas. A high roller, for sure. You've heard of the "Mile High Club"? He brought that one too.


Yes, he was quite the guy. He never made it in front of the camera though. Not so much that he couldn't act, or that he didn't have the right look. He was just too much of a piece of work off camera. Here he is caught in the act between takes. His quick retort, "Gimme some cookies to go with that".


Even so he was ever popular with the fair sex.



There's so much more. His son Rosco — a dead ringer for his Pop — followed in Dad's footsteps. But, that is a story for another time.


ll my relations ... Aunty Edna
Seasons Greetings from Our Aunty Edna ...

Merry Christmas ... Goddammit!
Merry Christmas

I don't care whatever the f#*k holiday you or any other dumbass motherf#*ker like you may be celebrating this time of year.
Merry Christmas
I celebrate the Birth of our Lord! 

So ... Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas
Now go f#*k yourself for making folks feel peevish to say it, and instead feel compelled to say "Happy Holiday!" (Or, even if you didn't force anyone to, but went along with it. Like a sheep!)

Wronski Moonshiner

Say howdy to my Uncle "Corny" Wronski. 

There's some debate as to about how he got that name, Corny. Some say it be on account of his being a moonshiner; turnin' out some of the sweetest — and strongest — corn liquor delivered by him in his hot rod truck under the light of a moon shining across the border in the Louisiana sky. Moonshine.

Also, so he claimed, that he invented the Corn Dog. We have no reason to dispute his veracity. Think what you will. 

And, others remember him fondly as the king of the corny joke. You know the kind of groaner that be funny in your head, but somehow doesn't get you in the gut. For example: "I like Bananas 'cause they have appeal." Or, "What do you get when you cross a submarine with a tangerine? ... A Navel Orange."

One of his better: 

An old gent comes into a bake shop to buy a loaf of raisin bread. The pretty young thing waiting on him has to climb a small ladder to reach for that item on a high shelf. When she is poised high above — her skirt is rather short, and the fellow is enjoying the view — she turns to confirm, “Is it raisin?” “No, but it tingles a little.”

Interesting interplay, don't you think. On one hand his hooch certainly did get you in the gut. His humor, not so much. Get it. It's called irony. Used to be a thing not all that long ago. And, that Corn Dog, if it does gets in your gut, you wish it didn't.

And ... since this is, after all, Wronski's Wramblings ... 

This is the week President-Elect announced his choice of Governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy. Perhaps you will remember how in the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee debates it was Rick Perry who vowed as President to eliminate three federal agencies: Commerce, Interior, and ... what is the third one? I forget. Oops! Well, it was Energy. Speaking of ironic, that has to be way beyond ironic. Don't you think? He is now going to head up the very agency he said he wanted to abolish. (Is that the subtext for his appointment?) Perhaps they are counting on the electorate to not remember either.

We wait to see it all unfold. Pray.

Now, listen to this ...



Woytek Kohotec ... Wronski


Have you heard of the Wronski gene. It's been isolated. Ones who have it all look alike. Dead ringers. Similar mentality too. To some extent. 

This will go far to explain how long lost ancestor Woytek Kohotek Wronski, who hails from way back to the Dynastic Period in Egypt, could be assumed to look like all the recent history Wronski's.

Believe it or not, above is an actual photo of ancestor Woytek Kohotek. If you think that it's impossible that they could snap a photo in the Dynastic Period, then the building of the Pyramids and all those other mysteries should not be all that impressive to you. The snap was found sandwiched between two slabs of perfect Lapis Lazuli planed to an exquisitely perfect tolerance to mate with one another, one etched precisely enough to hold the photo. In other words, air tight. Which photo itself, by the way, was on papyrus. How we in modern Wronski time have come to possess such a relic, I am bound to not reveal. Let's just say ... 

No! 

I can't!

In the family he is referred to as The Egyptian. Some put it, That Egyptian. Seems our W-K was a bit of a rapscallion. Totally against the Wronski genetic grain. The story is that he ran away with the secret to the Pyramids. Probably other stuff too. There's a barn on the Wronski Family compound in Upstate Michigan where all the brick-a-brack, ephemera, and what-not of the whole Clan Wronski from day one of the Wronski history is kept. Where Babcha Wronski insists, "It's [all] there somewhere in all that mess." Maybe one day some one of us will rummage around and then the world will know how they did it.

Don't hold your breath, though. A Wronski would go to the ends of the Earth for a good Pączek or a plate of Mama's homemade Pierogi. For such as what the Woytek Kohotek might have left ... not so much. Don't ask. It's a Wronski thing. We favor small endeavors. Particularly tasty ones.

Uncle Voycheczevknieskczik Wronski


Uncle Voycheczevknieskczick Wronski had aspirations to be a heart throb of the silver screen during the Hollywood Golden Age. 

His fatal flaw — alas, isn't it for us all — was pride. He insisted on being called by his full, given name. "Voycheczevknieskczick" was not only nearly unpronounceable, it was a mouthful. The director of his first movie in which he was only an extra had him fired claiming it took away several minutes of the shooting schedule just to utter his name. And, half the time he was off somewhere off set doing who knows what with who knows who.

So he was relegated to the role of blocker. As such, he would stand in for the male lead and patiently pose while the cinematographer got his lighting and camera settings adjusted properly. Seen in the above photo from Casablanca. Ingrid Bergman was taken with him. In fact she thought he would have been a much better choice, looks-wise, than that smug Bogart. Voycheczevknieskczick couldn't have agreed more. But, then there was that name, the scourge of every Hollywood film director. Every! He settled for the unrequited love of Ms. Bergman instead.

Oh, don't feel bad for Uncle. It seems that the girls in La-La Land were much amused by the challenge of pronouncing his name. It was like an open-sesame puzzle for them. He had killer good looks, of course. He was quite the prize. Too many to count got their Voycheczevknieskczick on in the day.



Maczhsamillionenen Wronski was the original lounge lizzard. There he is — can you spot him? — at Maxim's in the gilt days. The "Shiznit" before there even was such a thing as a shiznit. The "Man About Town" in Gay-Paree, as it were.

That's when "gay" was "happy and exuberant"; not like today. [Though, from all outward appearances, it's still all happy and exuberant.] And, that's alright.

And, you can be sure of that, he lived up to his name. He had a million — at very least! — at a time when that denomination had some real spending power. Around Uncle Max the Champagne flowed like water. A totally unsubstantiated rumor had it at the time that he used the bubbly to flush his toilets. Truth be told, it was the bidet; but, only when and just before l'amour toujours. If you get the meaning. The guy knew how to please. 

And, speaking of pleasing, it was none other than our own Maxy Baby who coined the term ... "The more the merrier." Seems he was also the one to, maybe not invent, but most certainly put the ménage à trois on the map.

His famous trope, advising on the secrets of oral pleasure ... "You get in there and make sounds like a Frenchman speaking into a bowl of Kapusta!" That reference was the Polish in him coming out. Kapusta is cooked cabbage. And, arguably, more dear to a proper son of Polonia than even the charms of one such as even that Mata Hari. With whom he may or may not have had an acquaintance.



Here we present for your edification one Ploczekianewicz Johorszczevietczhek Wronski. The "Most Polish" of the Polish Wronski's. Owing to the rather complexity of his given name(s) his friends simply addressed him as "PJ". Others, mostly, stayed away.

PJ was a simple dude. A simpleton, some might say. Great Grandma said his head was full of Kapusta. That winter staple Cabbage dish in Old Polonia.


As you can tell from the archival Wronski Family photo, was one stylish Pole. Fond of limericks, we've been told.


Here's one of supposed favorites:


The boy stood on the burning deck / His feet were all a blister / The fire burned / His pants burned off / And now he wears his sister's.