Saturday, November 30, 2019

Pete Versus The Elf 2019

Nicholas: I say, what is that noise?  

Nicholas: It seems to be coming from behind the -- Richard the III's Ghost!

Nicholas: Peter!  Whatever are you doing back there?
Pete Dakota: Shhh!  He can't hear you.  I'll come around and tell you.

NicholasNow, what's all this then? Who mustn't hear you?
Pete: The Christmas Elf!  Daddy John and Daddy Steve will be letting him out soon--
then he'll get me over.
Nicholas: What? What elf? I don't --
Pete: Yeah, BR didn't believe me either.  I'm doomed.  Denali believes me, don't you girl?
Denali: Yip, yip!

Nicholas: But you can't spend the next month behind the divan.
Pete: Sure I can!  I've got a stack of comics, food, soda...I can last until New Years!
Denali will keep me better company than dumb ol' BR.  She believes me.

Nicholas: Oh my sainted aunt.  We'd better get that boy some help, hadn't we, girl?
..Or find that elf...
Denali: Woof!

To see Pete Dakota's first go 'round with The Elf, please visit this post: Pete vs The Elf (2018)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

A Thanksgiving Story, Part 4 (Finale)

Daddy Steve: It's Thanksgiving Day, and time for the puppet show!

Oliver: Isn't this exciting?
Wesley: I've been waiting for days!

Holly Belle: Come on you two, the puppet show is starting soon.
Mikko: But there's a big game on TV.
Holly Belle: Look, Thanksgiving is a time of family and love and togetherness so we're ALL going to watch the puppet show. NOW!
Tyler: Yes, ma'am!

Gavin and Rolf warm up the audience with a little music.

Gavin: Do you know anything by Benny Goodman?
Rolf: Nein.  All I can play is Lady ov Spain und der Beer Barrel Polka.

At last, the show begins.  Ann Marie serves as narrator.

Ann Marie: Once upon a time, there was a happy man who lived in the woods.  One Thanksgiving he decided to invite all of his woodland friends to dinner.

Mr. Turkey: People always have an ulterior motive when they invite me to dinner, gobble gobble.
Mr. Happy Man: Don't worry, Mr. Turkey.  You've been invited as a friend!  We're serving beans on toast for our meal.

Nicholas: Smashing!  I say, this is gripping drama.  It's just like being at the Old Vic!
Pete Dakota: Who's Vic?

The show continues to keep the audience in its thrall.  All too soon, the story comes to its end...

Ann Marie: And so the four friends enjoyed a lovely dinner of beans on toast, elderberry wine, and pumpkin pie, although Mr. Fox couldn't but help gaze longingly at Mr. Turkey and imagining the delicious dinner that might have been.
Mr. Turkey: Gobble, gobble; what are you staring at?!
Ann Marie: The end.

The puppeteers come out and take their bows.

Yay!  Woo!  >Applause, applause<  Bravo!

Holly Belle: Hmm, that last part was a little dark.  I'll bet that was your idea, Nathan.
Nathan: I was just trying to add some dramatic tension.  And set the stage for next year's show.
Holly Belle: And what would that be?

Nathan: Mr. Turkey's revenge.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A Thanksgiving Story, Part 3

Daddy Steve: The writing team is hard at work on the story for the Thanksgiving puppet show...

Holly Belle: Okay, so just to review, there are four characters in this story: Mrs. Hedgehog, Mr. Fox, Mr. Turkey, and Mr. Happy Man.

Nathan: Wait a minute.  How do we know that he's happy?
Holly Belle: We know it because of the hat he's wearing.  Only happy people wear hats like that.  Alright, if there are no more questions, I'll leave you to it.  And remember - holidays, love, togetherness - all that jazz.

And so the team begins writing.  They write and eat doughnuts...

...and re-write...

...and eat more doughnuts, and re-write some more...

Ann Marie: This is more challenging that I thought it would be.
Blake: I think the main problem with this story is that one of the Thanksgiving dinner guests is typically also the main course!
Frank: Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Thanksgiving Story, Part 2

Daddy Steve:  Preparations for the big Thanksgiving Day puppet show have kicked into high gear...

Holly Belle: I see my puppet making team is at work.  Hmmm...I kind of expected you would be a bit further along by now.

Patrick: Holly Belle, it's important to do this in an organized, logical manner.  We've laid out all of our supplies and tools, and we have carefully read through the instructions.  We are now ready to make the puppets.
Uli: Ja, I agree mit Patrick.  Ve must be methodical.
Holly Belle: Well, as long you have things under control, then I'm going to check 
on my writing team.

Ann Marie: Here's the list of writers and performers I've selected.
Holly Belle: Let's see: Blake - he has a real talent for writing.  Bowie - he's a natural performer.  And, hmmm, Frank?
Ann Marie: Thanksgiving is about food and Frank loves to eat.
Holly Belle That's certainly true.  Wait a minute, Nathan!?!  Oh, I don't know about him.  He gets some awfully weird ideas.  Remember last Christmas and the whole thing about Santa Claus not being real?

Ann Marie: I think Nathan could bring some interesting ideas to our story.  He's edgy!
Holly Belle: Well, he certainly puts me on edge.  >sigh<  Alright.

Friday, November 22, 2019

A Thanksgiving Story, Part 1

Daddy Steve:  Craft projects have become a Thanksgiving tradition in Gregoropolis.  The kids enjoy them, and they are a good way to keep them busy (and out of my hair) while the turkey cooks.  This year's project is a bit more ambitious; it involves a kit for making 4 puppets.  My idea was that the kids could assemble the puppets and make up and perform a little story.  This definitely called for some planning and an early start...

Because she fancies herself to be in charge of everything, I made Holly Belle the 'executive producer' of this production.

Holly Belle: Don't worry, Daddy Steve.  I've got this all under control.

Meghan: What exactly does an executive producer do?
Holly Belle: Well, I make all the high level decisions, and then I delegate the various tasks
 to other people.
Meghan: You're a true leader, Holly Belle!
Holly Belle: It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.

Holly Belle: Patrick and Ravi, I'd like you to be in charge of making the puppets.  Gather up some kids to help you.  And remember, I want a nice, neat job.
Ravi: Nice and neat is the only kind of work we do!

Holly Belle: Ann Marie, I want to you to be in charge of writing and performing the story.  You'll need to assemble a team of writers & performers.  Thanksgiving is a time of love and togetherness, so make sure you really pile on all that 'feel good' stuff.
Ann Marie: I'm on it!

Holly Belle:  >sigh<  All of this executive producing has worn me out!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lazy Saturday

Daddy John: It's a lazy Saturday in Gregoropolis.  Let's see what some of the residents are up to...

Looks like Nicholas Sahara is catching up on his literature.

Nicholas: Great Richard the III's ghost, these American comic books are smashing!

Pete Dakota is working on his next masterpiece.

Pete Dakota: It's missing something...a bit of blue, perhaps.

Stephen Orange discovered the quietest room in the house to be the kitchen!

Stephen Orange: Now maybe I can finish this article for Sasha National Aquatica magazine.

With his motorcycle garaged for the season, Benjamin Roy's attention has been taken by the video game in the basement.

BR: Chew electric death, ya filthy animals!

Well.  It seems as if everyone has found something to do today.  Maybe it's just Daddy John who's feeling lazy (he said from the couch).

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Frog Fun

Daddy Steve:  The other day I had to stop in at the post office to pick up some more stamps.  Normally I don't put much thought into the design of the stamps I buy, but on this occasion i spotted some that I knew would make a certain Gregoropolis resident very happy...

Frog stamps!

Daddy Steve: You may recall that Charles has been a huge frog fan ever since he received a pair as pets from his Aunt Marti.

Charles: Oh wow!  So cool!

When you're a kid and you're passionate about a particular thing, you just can't enough of it.

Daphne: These are very pretty stamps.
Charles: I'm gonna show them to Hopalong and Ruby.

Charles: Look how excited they are!
Hopalong and Ruby: Ribbit, ribbit!

Daphne: Hmm, I don't know Charles.  Don't they pretty much always look this way?
Charles: Oh, no, this is definitely their excited look.

Charles: I wonder how we'd find out what kind of frogs these are on the stamps.
Daphne: We could try looking on the internet.

Charles: Patrick says that if you search, you can find the answer to all of life's questions.
Daphne: He's pretty deep for a kid, isn't he?  Of course, we redheads tend to be that way.

Charles: According to the USPS website, the four different frogs represented are a Pacific tree frog, a northern leopard frog, an American green tree frog, and a squirrel tree frog.  It says here that more than 4,000 species of frogs are found on all continents except Antarctica, and more than 90 species are found in the U.S.  'Frogs play an important role, not only in their natural habitat, but to our daily lives.  As tadpoles they feed on algae, which helps keep the water clean, and as adults, they feed on insects, which helps control bug populations.'
Daphne: Wow!  They're pretty cool little fellows, aren't they?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Remembrance of Things Past

A recently overheard conversation between Sasha and new girl Katy...

Sasha: Pardon me, miss, but haven't we met somewhere before?
Katy: Well, that's hardly an original line!  Although, I must admit I'm enjoying the attention.  You see, it's been a long time since anyone paid attention to me.
Sasha: No, really.  I'm sure that we knew each other once, long ago.

Dayton's department store in the 1960s and 1970s

Daddy Steve: Katy came to me from an eBay seller very close by, in a suburb of Minneapolis.  In the listing, the seller mentioned that she had been her childhood doll; all of this piqued my curiosity.

After I won her, I messaged the seller and asked if she by chance remembered where her doll had been purchased originally. This was her response: "My grandma was an avid doll collector and purchased this doll for me and my sister at Dayton's in Minneapolis in the early 1970s."

Dayton's had a wonderful toy department

Daddy Steve: Just like my boy Sasha, Katy once lived in the toy department of the venerable Dayton's department store in downtown Minneapolis.  Although she found a home in the early 1970's, she actually dates from 1969.  This is just like my Sasha, a 1968 boy that I got in the early 70s.  Proof that back in the day, these dolls didn't exactly fly off the shelves.

Sasha: Once upon a time, we lived in a very grand palace in the center of town.  It had many floors and seemed to stretch on forever.
Katy: And it was filled with many beautiful things: china and crystal, and fancy furniture.  And clothes!  Lots and lots of pretty clothes!  Of course, they were all too big for us.

Sasha: We spent most of our time a big glass case with other kids like us; all waiting for someone to take us home.

Daddy Steve:  Sadly, Dayton's is long gone but the building that housed it still survives.  Happily, it is currently being restored and re-purposed for offices and shops.  Even the original Dayton's sign with its distinctive fancy script lettering has been resurrected!

The return of a beloved name

Katy: After all these years, I'm glad we found each other again.
Sasha: I am too.