Onto Mediocrity

Up The Germans The Norwegians I Arrive The Early Years Onto Mediocrity


from Mediocre to Mediocrity

The genetic stock

Mom&Pop '48 "up north"

Dad was a post-WW2 fighter pilot, Mom was a farm girl: these are solid ingredients for genetic potential...let's see how I waste this dominate DNA...in the following panels.

Late 60's

Ruthless Norwegian gang member

The Sno-Cones gang

Norwegian gangs never made the news; the Scandinavian gangs of Minnesota were tempered by the so-called 'Minnesota Nice" syndrome. Gang activities including hanging around bowling alleys and city parks, acting out Jerry Lewis movie scenes, telling Sven and Ole jokes or the even more blushingly risqué Ole and Lena jokes. Sometimes, if they were really angry, they were known to 'push people down' ~ but only to help them up again.

right to left: The late Steve Helmer, me and the late Bob Helmer

1969 Roller Garden

"The Ultimate Babe Factory"

It was 1969 and we came to hustle: we preened, we gleaned and we challenged each other in prancing the latest of colorful threads and attire to attract ANY attention from the opposite sex in the roller skatin' days at the Roller Garden in St Louis Park, then the "Largest rink in the Northwest". We displayed enough budding chest-hair to carpet a small two bedroom apartment. Roller Garden to this day, remains the sole titleholder of "The Ultimate Babe Factory" - awesome chicks and studs kept packing the doors and kept fickle heads turning. Pictured above, a moment with my courtly nemeses', the late Helmer brothers: Steve (left) and Bob (right) who were later to be cast into early graves by the insidious scourge of Huntington's Chorea....however thankful to have lived even a short time. These two gentlemen were a privilege to know.

left: S. Helmer; right: D. Daniels

photographer: Jeanne Anderson

Surviving '72 Blood Ball

The post '65 neighborhood I lived in played a version of football known for its daring concept of bodily injury, obviously called "Bloodball" and based loosely on Australian football and that goofy "pro-wrestling" seen on TV. The core motivation was for one team to kick off and the action was to proceed until somebody scored - regardless - if you had fear of pain, you lost - because the concept was one of dare. Punching, kicking, throwing, hitting, tripping, pushing might throw a penalty flag in sportsmanship but here, in this game, the 'score was mightier than ethics - anything and everything went towards the pursuit of the moving the ball over the opponents goal line (see: war ) Pictured above, the lone survivors of one of these games being myself, Steven Helmer and what remains of our clothing - usually players wore 2 sets of clothing to the 'games' to insure they might leave with suitable coverage...as you can see, we were down to our last layers.

Debbie's '74 Prom

Washburn, Central & Southwest High Schools

A Paisley/Velour/Disco Fashion Disaster:

The only one missing from the credits of this mega-production disaster was George Kennedy.

Debbie was a premium top shelf item from the Ultimate Babe Factory (see above) and I was a swift shoplifter - she would eventually forgive me of my many and innumerous sins, saying 'yes' to my endless and annoying proposals for marriage 17 years later in 1991 after she scored in the business world.

Skiing The Drollish Midwestern "Hills"

My eco-stylish urban guerilla '70's Designer Line for Ski Wear fails to 'gel' from the local midwest Afton Alps to the Grand Teton Village ski market. Colorful ripstop nylon and GoreTex would eventually win out over my drabish German fashion functionality.

The Mellowtones

In the mid-70's, I remain an unknown, sometime jazz-funk drummer knocking on the Ludwigs with a prominent local cover band of invention called "The Mellowtones".

Left to right: Don Woodhull (lead guitar, singer), Debbie Bendel [behind Don] (tambourine, harmony), Gayle Ipsen (melody singer), Dino -DEEno- Daniels (drummer); Rob Therien (keyboard, bass, rhythm); Jim Rodness (manager); Jeanne Bleu (front vocal presence) and Rick Woodhull (keyboard, singer).

Scandalously caught in a "security female frisking-scam", 'I was forced out as the premier drummer and replaced by the superior and eloquent Pete Frenz, a far more academically precise and competent rock drummer...nonetheless, The Mellowtones continue descending into the basement charts of musical mediocrity. Meanwhile, I went onto endless interviews for "adult work".

Chip 'n Dale Training:

Looking for other avenues of seedy steady income, I tried-out for male-dancing but soundly failed "unbuttoning", "unbecoming glances" and "buck-tucking"...finally and unceremoniously, I am kicked off the Chip 'n Dale squad.

I will forever be thankful that "I wasn't good at everything".

John (left) / Dean (right) circa 1976

The Birth of Color: Proofing for perfectionists

After music, I entered graphics. Becoming a prototype graphics repro guy was very near my greatest dream. My duty was to produce the cutting edge creations of major corporate designers day in and day out. It was an honor to be "called upon" - to me , it was never a job, but a "duty". It was here I was to meet my future business partner, John Nissen. We cut our graphics teeth at the below-minimum wage grinding wheel of Headliners/Identicolor of the Twin Cities, then a subsidiary of the super-prestigious typesetting company of Dahl&Curry. While we were loved by our customers, our union coworkers defaced this photo. We were hated by moronic union mindsets because: a) we loved our work, b) we loved our bosses, c) we loved our customers and d) we never uttered the word, "No". Eventually, we went on our own and become known as The Color Guys. The union morons went into the halls of oblivion, waiting for someone to do something for them.

77'-81: Rt66 Trucker's Ministries

During this time, I joined a "cutting-edge" Love Commune known as Rt.66 Truckers Ministries...we only had one gal at the time...luckily, Trish was at the top of her game. Oddly, we were nowhere near Rt66.


post-12hr-party...1986...10:30am...Oxnard...(U.S. Navy Base), CA

Into the 1980's I enjoyed the full, ripe fruits as a graphics professional and the endless excitement of amusements like death defying west coast surfing road trips...which eventually translated into listless, dull, unimaginative and pointless excursions into vacuous definitions of "fun" fueled by concoctions of alcoholic chemistry.

Left to Right above: "Dah'oud", "Kool-Jelly" and "DEE'no"

1986...11:30am...Spanish 'Locals Only' Oxnard Surf Beach, CA

...before knifing the H2O

After a breakfast of Tequila shots (native juice of Oxnardians) Dah'oud, KoolJelly and I venture out into the jaws of the knife wielding Hispanico's at the 'Locals Only' Oxnard Surf Beach...a life risking beach BUT my chubby display of dark 'Germanico' genes camo-in nicely and inconspicuously here where silver blades flash wounds and sometimes fatal welcomes for non-Hispanico newcomers.

Luckily, my balderdash and profound mastery of 27 hip words in Italian and 32 from the Greek language were "close enough" to complete our blend into the wave lineup. We wet our toes...n' go. What a blast!

Debbie set the 'hubby-hook' late but hard, catching a 222 pound hubby in 1991. She should have just had me mounted as 'another kill' on her mantle but...she chose instead to promenade me about in public as a "catch" - left to pushing grocery carts behind her at direction and maneuvering the auto into absurdly tight parking spots at shopping malls (the futile absorption of all males)..

BUT, let it be known,

I will forever thank the Lord for her...

but not without a quick nod to

the amazing anatomical cutting work of artist Frank Frazetta.