Category Archives: jus’ some writin’

Alone in a Park at Night

Last night, I went walking down by the river, looking for Pokémon (It’s exercise!). The sun had set a while before, so things were pretty dark except for the occasional working light in Keelboat Park.

From almost beyond the reach of the light, a man emerged from the parking lot. “Speak Spanish?”

I shook my head and said no.

Approaching me, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, opened an app and spoke into it. The autotranslation was a jumble and he quickly realized it so he tried again with something different.

The translation on the phone said, “look like a woman with a child”.

My first thought was, “Is he calling me fat?”

He was friendly so I dismissed that.

He then pantomimed pushing something at waist height.

Ah! Yes. I had seen a woman pushing a baby stroller down the walking path a few minutes earlier.

I nodded, copied his stroller-pushing movement and pointed the direction I saw her go.

“Five? Ten?”

“Five minutes, yes.” as I held up my hand and five fingers, because I’m a dork.

He said thanks and was walking back to his truck when he turned back around and asked, “Short?”

“Yes, short.” as I held up my hand to about my belly, because she was short and I’m a dork.

He said thanks again and headed off. Nice guy.

I’m glad that you don’t have to speak English to be in this country, because otherwise I would have even less of a story to tell.

Also, he made more sense than many of the English-speaking people I know.

Long forgotten, but not long overdue.

Last night, I remembered a book I stumbled upon but never checked out while researching ball lightning for a paper in the University of North Dakota geology library a quarter of a century ago. It didn’t quite belong in a geology library (or in the nonfiction section), but I’m glad it was there.

In the book, the author told of a hitherto undiscovered land where an assortment of fantastic little critters lived who had evolved adaptations a la Galápagos/Darwin. It had wonderful illustrations and seemed to be written in a very serious and scientific manner. That’s all I remembered.

After quite a few futile search stabs with ODIN (the Online Dakota Information Network), I added “satire” to the search and BINGO.

The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades by Harald Stümpke (1967)

The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades by Harald Stümpke (1967)

Found and bought a good-looking hardcover on eBay and it’s headed my way.

So… Thanks, brain?

Goodnight, Sweet Vixen


I wasn’t supposed to like her.

I had gone to Central Dakota Humane Society looking for a calico, and there were a few. It was great fun meeting them all.

And then I was told there was one more in quarantine along with a sister and two brothers. They had been abandoned during the night at the shelter.

The calico was Patchie — You know her as Cricket these days. There was a black and white boy with an impressive overbite named Sylvester. There was a tumbly orange fella named Nipper. And lastly, there was an adorable doof with orange and white fur and a single canine tooth named Sophia.

I wasn’t supposed to like her.

As I sat on a chair inside the quarantine, Sophia came right up to me, stood up and put her front feet on my leg to check me out, purred, hopped into my lap and then hopped on my shoulder like a parrot.

And then she hopped into my heart. Continue reading

Behold, the Asshole Lane.

Behold, the Asshole Lane (AKA the Testy Twat Triangle). It is found at the intersection of Main Avenue and 26th Street in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Home of the Asshole Lane

Home of the Asshole Lane

Its origin was probably one of good intentions, or at least an attempt to correct a mistake, but all that has long been forgotten. Continue reading

20 Righteous Republican Jokes for Republicans Who Think Republican Things Republicanly

Q: Why do Trolls live under bridges?
A: Obama.
Continue reading

You can’t lick this stamp collection (because someone else already did).

On January 2nd, 2016, I won an eBay auction for a lot of nine comic books from the late-60s and early-70s. Along with my winning bid price, I paid an additional five bucks for economy shipping.

When I received an eBay alert that they had shipped, I noticed that it didn’t include a tracking number, which is kind of unusual these days. Then when I received the package on January 7th, I found out why.

This dude didn’t just go old school, he went old-old school, meeting the $3.22 in postage with stamps. And I’m not talking Ingrid Bergman and Charlie Brown forever stamps from 2015; at least one of the stamps he used is over a century old. Incredible and crazy cool.

It was time to give my Google-Fu a workout, and the following is what I discovered. Continue reading

a toast

May your hearts all fill with love, hope and thrills.
May your dreams turn real and your past wounds heal.
May you find your voice and find cause to rejoice.
May evil turn frail and may goodness prevail.

“Well, that sucked.” — The Other Side of Branding

It’s happened to most of us at least once.

You’re at home watching television or some of your favorite skateboarding ferret videos on YouTube when a commercial comes on. It’s a pretty good commercial. It gets your attention and, after watching it, you form a positive opinion of the product and/or service it was advertising. In this instance, let’s say the ad was for a restaurant chain. The staff was friendly, the food looked great, the atmosphere seemed inviting and everybody seemed to be having a great time.

Hooray! The advertisement has worked and thanks to you forming an opinion, you are now part of the glorious branding experience. Continue reading

12 Important Subdemographics for Millennials

You hear a lot of talk about the Millennial Generation (“Generation Y” to those who don’t know how to spell “Millennials”) these days, and a lot of it is damned confusing. Well, to make matters even more confusing, did you know that there are thousands of subdemographic categories for these precious little snowflakes? Here are twelve of them: Continue reading

Let me tell you about this guy named Wayne.

Some thoughts on KK BOLD Chairman Wayne Kranzler and his impending retirement that took me way too long to write about.

Wayne Kranzler, circa 1997.

The year was 2009. It had been decided that our ad agency, Kranzler Kingsley, was changing its name. During one of the rounds in the process, a group of us met in the conference room to go over some of our ideas. During the exchange, our art director chimed in and suggested we should change our name to just Kranzler, because that’s what most people called us anyway.

This was true. That is, except for one vender who occasionally called us Kranzley Kingsler, because that was the way he was.

Of course, there was no way in hell we were ever going to become Kranzler (or Kranzley Kingsler), so we eventually became KK BOLD.

The Kranzler is implied.

Wayne Kranzler, our agency’s President, then CEO, then Chairman, is retiring this week, and I have been lucky enough to call him my boss for almost eighteen years. He isn’t just the type of guy you want to work for; he’s the type of guy you want to work with.

Here’s an example. Spring 1997. I had been hired as a copywriter a month or two earlier. We were a day away from our agency’s biggest film production to date. Our producer was on maternity leave. The account executive had just gone on vacation, but not before giving us a multi-day schedule that she had arranged with our healthcare client. The film crew was coming in from Fargo. Since I had done a little broadcast work at my previous gig, I was brought into the project.

Wayne and I walked over to meet with the client that day, as they were located pretty close to where we worked. We walked into her office, sat down, and Wayne asked if everything on the schedule was still a go or if anything had changed since our account executive had last talked with them.

“What schedule?”

Nothing had been arranged. Nothing. We were supposed to be shooting air ambulances, surgeries, baby deliveries and emergency room reenactments the next day and nothing had been arranged.

Needless to say, the walk back to the agency was interesting. That was the first time (and the only time) I saw Wayne get mad. Not in front of the client. Not at me, even though I was in convenient proximity. That boy was steamin’. But when we got back to the agency, we got some people together, formulated a plan and we got to work. And we pulled it off. We did the impossible. It became known as the Medcenter Miracle.

That day, I realized I wasn’t just working for a suit with a fancy title. Hot damn. I was working for an honest-to-God leader.

And I’ve been working for him ever since. That is, until this week is over. Dammit.

Getting a Wayne project was almost always awesome, and I’ll tell you why. He did his homework and was able to tell us what we needed to know. And when we came up with a concept that went beyond the norm or the client’s comfort level but still did what it was created to do, by God he sold it. He got it and he sold it.

Some of my favorite agency projects were Wayne projects. Main Street Tire’s first campaign with a Neanderthal concept. Fireside’s 25th anniversary with a disco concept. BMDA’s igloo ad with a… well, igloo concept.

When you worked on a Wayne project, Wayne let you shine. And if you weren’t shining, he worked with you until you did. Wayne knew the difference between shit and Shinola, and he made sure you did too.

When there were changes, they were small and never just for the sake of change. And when he didn’t know something, he didn’t make up an answer; he found out the answer. He was thoughtful and smart and good-humored and honest and I will sorely miss him at the agency.

What I’m about to say I’ve said before but I’ll say it again.

Wayne, you proved to me that respect and integrity can survive in this business. Thank you for that, and I will do what I can to ensure that your influence keeps shining on.

Now go enjoy that retirement of yours, because you’ve more than earned it.

And excuse me for a moment, as I seem to have something in my eye.

— Clayton Hove