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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Friday, September 04, 2009

And Now a Word From Our Sponsors...

I know... I know... already I'm distracted from writing Chapter 31. Think of it as a short commercial break.

Something happened in the archives that I missed until this week and it triggered these thoughts

Back in December of 2006, I wrote a post called "Toys of Christmas Past." In that post I talked about a back yard "toy" called a Hump-a-Jump. About the time of these "Unsettled" chapters, my brother Dave and I wanted a Hump-a-Jump for Christmas.

While writing that post, I googled "Hump-a-Jump," but there was simply no internet proof that the large toy had ever existed. I did my best to describe it, and moved on to other posts returning only once in two years.

But lo and behold, a while ago a dialogue started in the comment section of that post and I missed it until this week. Wow! Lots of Detroit-area Boomers remember Hump-a-Jumps. I reattempted a search and found a recent Youtube clip that substantiates our collective memory. (Though I must admit... in my mind, the Hump-a-Jump was bigger and threw kids much higher in the air.) Anyway, our first sponsor is Hump-a-Jump, a product that probably got yanked off the market due to a law suit.

And now a word from our second sponsor: Jarts, a toy that was likewise banned from production and sale in the U.S. in the mid 1980's. Remember this fun back-yard missile game? We had it--millions of American families played it for years. It was sort of like horse shoes...a cold-war, intercontinental ballistic missile version of horseshoes.

Imagine taking all the danger of real, poke-you-in-the-eye darts and making them ten-times bigger and heavier, capable of soaring high in the air and coming straight down to harpoon the earth. Imagine putting them in an attractive package with rules and safety precautions that no child bothered to read for ten years. Imagine leaving these colorful, inviting toys on beaches, picnic tables and front porches all across America. [Imagine John Lennon singing this paragraph.]

Do you see the thoughtful boy in the "banned" image above.? Well, I suppose my brothers and I looked like that sometimes, but typically we were not playing the game by the rules printed on the inside of the box. We played "Three-yard Jarts" (a version of the game where the rings are set up in front of two different houses with a "no fly zone" yard in between), We also played "Over-the-house Jarts" (needs no explanation but sometimes required a ladder), and last and most dangerous… we played "Deep Dirt Darts" where the Jart was hurled with a full-circle underhand swing high into the air only to see how deep the Jart would go into the lawn when it came back down.

My brothers and I were living proof of Fig Newton's Third Law: For every proper use of a toy there is an equal and opposite improper use.

Even more than the Hump-a-Jump, Jarts were the kind of toy that now makes grown Boomers scream, "What were they thinking when they invented that?" Libertarians would say, "Why didn't they ban the game of horse shoes. Throw a three pound Clydesdale cleat into the air and it could kill someone, too." But horseshoes is a "throw-back" (no pun intended) to frontier days and Amish ways. No kid was ever tempted to see how high he could throw a horse shoe.

Jarts, on the other hand, hit the market at the peak of the "jet age" and lunar landings. The same societal urge that prompted engineers to put fins on car fenders twenty years before had now replaced the old-man Coke-sipping game of tossing cast iron shoes with the Pepsi generation game of launching plastic rockets! The front end of a Jart was heavy; the fins guided it like a rocket; Jarts begged to be thrown high in the air. I for one could not resist (any more than I can resist tapping the top of a kettle drum when I pass one on an empty stage).

A month ago, we had an estate sale at my Mom's house on the other side of the state. When I saw our old set of Jarts on table in the garage, we pulled them from the sale since the official ban still reads: "Consumers who find Lawn Jarts still being sold, should contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission on the toll free hotline: 1-800-638-CPSC (2772)."

I brought the Jarts home and hid them, but someday when total anarchy breaks out in these politically divided times, at the peak of the civil unrest...I'm going to whip out my Jarts and start playing right in broad daylight. Try and stop me. I'll wear a photoshopped T-shirt of Charlton Heston holding a Jart overhead and saying "From my cold, dead hands."

This sort of civil disobedience has already begun. There are still tournaments held annually by rebels brandishing these banished missiles

But in all seriousness, I won't be joining any Jarts tournaments. I'm keeping these yard darts only as an example of "What were they thinking." Here is a news story about one of the deaths that helped bring about the ban of lawn darts. There is nothing funny about this topic when you consider how fortunate our generation was not to have caused even more sad stories about Jarts.

I need to wrap up this post. My wife and some friends are having a garage sale here today and she just asked me to come haul some of the heavy items closer to the street. Ah, garage sales...that's a topic I'll have to explore in a future post, but the next post will be Chapter 31.

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Anonymous Quilly said...

Tom, I know why these were made. They were made for the same reason that the elementary school I attended from 1st through 6th grade was built on a cliff. I have a blog that features many such things from my childhood. the title of the blog explains it all: The Grownups Wanted Us Dead.

4/9/09 2:27 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

It is good to hear from our Hawaii friend. If you come back put the "url" of that post here in the comments and we'll come read it.
The title alone is hilarious.

4/9/09 3:46 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

I'd rather face a company of commandos with lawn darts than 1 fool with a gun.

5/9/09 5:18 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

It's not always bad to be in the company of a gun, but it is always risky to suffer fools, so I agree, a fool with a gun is bad company.

I'm smiling at the image of commandos armed with Jarts. (I suppose they could be as effective as King Henry V's archers were with their long-bows against the French. It was Shakespeare's Henry V who first used the phrase "Band of Brothers")

5/9/09 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/9/09 12:05 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I'll have to look into that...
but welcome to POI.

5/9/09 1:58 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

Delete Tom it's spam (porn) that is popping up on google

5/9/09 5:12 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Mark. Can you read Chinese? I figured it was some sort of spam but didn't want to assume so because I do sometimes get some comments from those Thailand clips on Youtube.
I'll delete it.

6/9/09 8:58 AM  
Blogger the walking man said...

There is a sight called babelfish that is a language translator
this is the auto translation from running it through there.

Blogger two Tianjin said… The appeal thing, the appeal, the 85cc free movie, the free movie, the free small game, the free game, the small game, the game, the amusing game, plays amusingly the area, A piece, the appeal thing, the game area, Shi Laimu plays amusingly, Shi Laimu, the game base, on-line game, the pornographic game, plays the pocket, my game pocket, slightly plays the area, the handset game, pastes the chart, the pornographic chatroom, the chatroom, AV, the adult movie, A piece of downloading, the adult cinema city, love apartment, the sentiment color pastes the chart, the sentiment color, the pornographic website, the pornographic game, the sensation novel, the sentiment color literature, the pornography, aio makes friends love hall, the pornographic movie, Taiwan sentiment color network, expresses feelings builds the garden small game, the sentiment color forum, toot toot the sweetheart color network, the sentiment color video, the love story, the love story, a sentiment pastes the picture area, the appeal thing, the appeal, the pornographic cartoon, the sentiment color network, the sentiment color a piece, the sentiment color game, the 85cc adult piece, toot toot the adult net, the adult website, 18 adults, the adult movie, the adult make friends the net, the adult paste the chart, the adult picture area, the adult picture, the adult article, the adult novel, the adult disc, the breeze adult area, free adult movie, adult cartoon, adultThe literature, the adult plays, the adult movie, the adult forum, the adult, makes love, aio, the sentiment color novel, the ut chatroom, the ut chatroom, the bean bean chatroom, the chatroom, seeks the dream garden chatroom, 080 video chatrooms, the free video chats

6/9/09 3:34 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Thanks, Mark.
What a random string of words to come at us in Chinese. I don't want to be crass but I can think of a word (hyphenated name of one of the toys I mentioned) that may have attracted the spam. Just goes to show you that the internet is a crazy mixed up place no matter how safe we try to be.

6/9/09 9:22 PM  

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