Friday, November 29, 2013


There is an argument to be made that Thanksgiving should be re-named Jeffrey Day, because it contains all the things that he was most fond of. First, there is the Macy's parade, which he liked. All that holiday festivity with marching bands and balloons - who wouldn't?

Football - now, I still haven't figured out exactly how to work football into this story, because I am not a football person. Jeffrey, on the other hand, lived and breathed the Steelers. He liked the Pirates, but he LOVED the Steelers. It was Jeffrey's love of football that first convinced me just how smart he was. Jeffrey would always contend that he was terrible at math, blaming his learning disability. Then on Thanksgiving, we'd be watching a game, and someone would pop in and ask what the score was.

"Steelers are down by nine on their own 36" Jeffrey would say without taking his eyes off the game. "If they can make another 30 yards on this drive then Bahr can make a 45 yard attempt, which he's done before. Then they just need one touchdown to win. It's still the third quarter, so they can still do this." Once or twice I would point out to Jeffrey that this was, in fact, math that he was doing, and inside his head to boot, he would always reply with something like "that's not math, it's football, and you don't know that much about football - no offense!"

Oh, and turkey - give him a drumstick - two would be better - and he was a happy man indeed.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bar Mitzvah

Jeffrey became a Bar Mitzvah before I got to know him well, but I know he was very proud of this accomplishment. His commitment to his religion was one that he took very seriously, and he explained all of these to me many times. The idea of being a mensch, or man of character, was something he always tried to live up to.

Jeffrey had opinions about other religions and a curiosity that was natural to someone who was genuinely interested in learning things. We would talk about different faiths and what they meant, and I'd try to explain as best I could some of the broader points of Buddism, Christianity and being a Muslim. Sometime he had preconceptions, but most often he tried to understand the concepts and how they related o being Jewish. Finally, he would decide what he thought and make a pronouncement along the lines of " nobody knows for sure" and leave it at that.

It was these times, when Jeffrey's natural curiosity and open minded attitude presented itself, that I most appreciated what he could accomplish, given the chance.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Home Movies are Cute

Kind of grainy, but cute. Experts are still studying them (or at least they should be.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I'll Have a Paradox with a Side of Matter Occupying Two Places at the Same Time

That being said, I still like the idea. I came up with the concept of the "time dumbwaiter" in 1973, but this is the first time I've finally gotten to use it outside of a bar conversation. And, because it was a topic of bar conversations since 1973, I've heard EVERY argument as to why it wouldn't work, so don't bother commenting. Don't. I'm warning yah!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mom's favorites

My mom made great paella and flan, and she loved fresh figs and papaya juice. If you've never tried any of these, make it a point to do so soon. One warning - paella is the chili of Spain - no two people make it the same, and everyone knows their version is the best.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Little Change Will Do You Good

Another Rubicon was crossed this weekend; allow me to explain: this might also clear up some issues some of you might be concerned about, that I plan to handle in more detail later.

I always knew how to draw Master Jeffrey, because I spent so much staring at Jeffrey my brother-in-law and imagining how to draw him. So far it has been effortless; in fact, one of the reasons I decided to do this story is because the process came so easily. The character of Ms. Edelbrock is another story...

As I've said, this is a true made-up story. I'm drawing upon real events, and no, I won't tell you any more than that for every reason you can think of and several you can't imagine. Ms. E fills is a compilation of several "life forces" including myself. The 'sigh" in page 29 has special meaning on several levels--at the risk of destroying my foreshadowing, I will describe one.

Some people did not like to spend time with Jeffrey. I was one of a large group that did, and it was a source of frustration to me that I was congratulated for this by the former crowd. If you liked Jeff, it was not a chore, or charity, to hang out with him. If I tried to explain that, I was just being "nice." As I may have mentioned once or twice already, Jeffrey was often exasperating, so I can't fault the people who thought this, but it always made me sad to think that they could not see past his faults to the genuinely good guy that he was.

So, back to the Rubicon - if you are not a scholar of ancient history, look up your Julius Caesar. I had pondered long and hard on whether to keep Ms. Edelbrock in one outfit (her superhero "uniform") or to change her clothing and hair. There were a lot of arguments on both sides, but as you can see, I went with plan B. Right now drawing Ms. E involves consulting piles of sketches and references. As her different facets gel in my mind, this will hopefully come more naturally to me. Meanwhile, I will be reading back issues of Vogue an Military History Quarterly to brush up on my fashions.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I thought of it first...

I know what you're going to say.

"Joe-what a unique concept for overcoming the gyroscopic forces as they exert stress on the linkage and drive systems of VTOL aircraft, especially large rotor aircraft such as the V-22! But what about the impact on the airframe - how would you compensate without increasing weight prohibitively?"

I'm glad you asked! In fact, I'm guessing the basic forces involved would not be much different from a carrier launch. The real challenge would be to find a combination of alloys and hydraulics that would get the R2 high enough that the rotors would grab enough air to keep the thing from falling back down. At one point I even thought of tilting the entire airframe to almost vertical and letting the rotors power it up from a standing start, but then I got to thinking about how birds launch themselves in the air, and that seemed more fun. I know a few pilots who'd pay good money to do one of those takeoffs, if it ever gets built. You aviation engineers out there - get a prototype or even a computer model for me and I'll cut you in for, a third. I'll be waiting right here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Moving Right Along

Just want to take a moment for some shameless groveling. First, if you are a Facebooker (as opposed to a face booger, in which case, here's a Kleenex) please find Master Jeffrey - he has his own page - and like it. I'd like to get as many people in touch with the strip as possible.

Second, I am participating in this year's Moving Day Walk to help raise money for Parkinson's research. There are a lot of good causes out there, I know, but I have friends and family who are diagnosed with this and I know we can beat this one if (insert motivational statement here.) If only 25 people support me at one dollar each, I'll make my goal. My personal page is here: