HANGING PORK

(WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS CONTENT BORROWED FROM GOP DEBATES.  PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY GOP DEBATE CONTENT!)

Back home in America, the highway traffic stop is probably the greatest display of power a state like New York, New Jersey, Hawai’i (or any of the 47 others and 1 district) can exert over an unfortunate traveler.  There is an additional risk of nastiness if you happen to be driving while intoxicated, black, or as an American in the backroads of the USSR.  I fell solidly in the last two categories.

Back home, the cop car that pulls you over on I-95 (or H-1) is typically a blazing high performance Ford Crown Victoria festooned with the great seal of the state under whose laws, you, the hapless driver have apparently transgressed.  You get the whole show, complete with stylized hat, jack boots, ribboned trousers, shoulder brushes, leather pistol holster, handcuffs, the works.  Every state has its own variant of this uniform.  Be a very wary bear.

Dancing Bears cropped

Russian bears do dance, but these ain’t Russian!

Wrapped in the aforementioned trappings of authority, US States perform traffic stops with overdone celebratory unctuousness.  But everyone considers Connecticut or Alaska or the District to be relatively toothless.  We know, for example, that Connecticut is not going to build a wall around itself or deport everyone of Rhode Island descent. Not that there aren’t criminals from Providence stealing algae from the Connecticut River.  But I digress.  The states flash a lot of power by way of shiny patrol cars and uniform embellishments (big bark), but rank low on the holocaust scale (little dick).

IN SEARCH OF… MY FATHER’S MOTHER!

Before I cover the apparently sudden demise of my father’s mother Patricia in Queens, NY, on August 22, 1943, let me backtrack a bit and take a look at her origins.  At least the little that is known.  So I go in search of…  my paternal grandparents!

For that, my story today starts off on one beautiful bright Saturday morning in May 1985.  I was in a rental car rolling through verdant countryside.  The birds were chirping, the sun was streaming, and my Al Green cassette tape was cranking through the sound system; Al crooning “Love and Happiness.”  It was a happenin’ morning!

Yet this was not your normal stretch of New Jersey Turnpike, say between Elizabeth and Rahway.  Nor was I in a 1984 Buick LeSabre.  This road trip was distinctive for many reasons!

Well for one thing, the player’s fast forward was broken so when I got to the end of the last song on side 1, I had to eject the tape, stick my finger into one sprocket, and twirl the tape around my finger until I got to the end of side 1 (which was the beginning of side 2).

But that was just a nit.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was rockin’ a recent vintage Volga sedan like the one pictured below.

MHV_ZiL_117_01

Switch out I-95, and sub-in the fact that I was rolling southbound on the A4, a rural two lane highway in Soviet occupied Lithuania.

MING AND DARTH

Aside from World War II and the War of the Worlds broadcast, there were other haps in the 1930s and 1940s that informed my Dad’s interests and personality.  For example, as he told me numerous times, his favorite comic strip of the era was Flash Gordon.  Flash was big at the time.  Dad loved Flash so much, it was even his college nickname!

As I reviewed the original comic strip in preparation for this post, I was struck by how much it resembles Star Wars of my generation.  The action takes place on the planet Mongo, locale of kingdoms like Arboria (forests) and Frigia (ice).  Kings and Queens galore!  And the villain?  A bad guy with interesting headwear!

Ming the Merciless

Meet Ming the Merciless!

When looking at the above image of Ming, I am not sure if Darth Vader was ever so similar a lady killer.  Well, the young Jedi Anakin certainly was, in the prequels.  Unfortunately, he lost his man parts — GOP Presidential candidates please take note — on the lava planet (or moon, whichever) after losing the sword fight to Obi Wan.

On the other hand, what Flash didn’t have was the tiresome drama of Luke and Leia playing “who’s your daddy?”  Who needs parents anyway?  That’s right, you heard it asked here on the Bernard Olcott Story blog!

THE BIGGER IDEA (AND ME AS WINGBOY)

So Dad got the idea for a fantastic business related to patent filings and infringements, kind of an amalgam between legal and IT but not a legal practice, strictly speaking.   As I am able to remember it, he had become friendly with Ed Greer, who was head patent counsel for the Union Carbide Corporation. Union Carbide was one of the biggest chemical corporations of the day and was headquartered in their own magnificent skyscraper two blocks up Park Avenue from the Pan Am Building.

It was a probably a simple matter for Dad to put it together that large corporate patent owners could benefit from some form of computer calendaring.

Keep in mind that a large company like Union Carbide owned a large portfolio of patents. They would initially file patent applications in the home country, USA for Union Carbide. And as they were a large multinational corporation selling their wares everywhere, once the patent applications were accepted here at home, they would then engage in an international filing program elsewhere, typically the largest 15 countries in Western Europe and then Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and maybe Brazil and South Africa to boot.