Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Die-cast P51, an Educational Toy?

How is a Die-cast P51 educational?  

I am glad you might not have asked yourself that question so please read on.  
Tuskegee P51 Mustang
The young man occupying the cockpit is Hunter Call, who works with us at JAKE's.  The man standing beside him is Bill Shepard and he works with the CAF Red Tail Squadron.  The photo was taken during the recent Rocky Mountain Airshow in Broomfield.  It was especially neat to watch Hunter and his colleagues learn more about the Red Tail Squadron before the show.  Both Hunter, and in particular myself, thought we already knew a little about the Tuskegee Airmen; however, neither he nor I would understand the full importance, not just because the sheer rarity of being allowed to sit in that plane, but because of who sat in it before him.

In great part to my Hollywood influences, I somehow missed the importance of not just the pilots themselves, but also the Tuskegee Air Core itself.  At one time representing over 13,000 men and women mostly comprised of what some said were "colored" people.  This was 1940's and segregation ran so rampant that many people mistakenly thought less than or inferior too simply because of skin pigmentation.  

Daniel L. Haulman, PhD Chief, Organizational Histories Branch Air Force Historical Research Agency 

As incredible are the story's of the Red Tail Squadron, is also how close they became to drifting into relative obscurity had it not been for the efforts of so many.  One in particular, a man named Don Hinz, the very mustang he helped to restore and fly while working with CAF is the one Hunter is pictured setting in from the beginning.  

I was able to learn a number of things about our history with applicable relevance today. Of equal importance to me was an opportunity to meet the coordinators behind the Red Tail Squadron's Traveling Exhibit.  As a result, they extended a rather unique invitation that I am so fortunate and thrilled to share with you.  

Unlike the abbreviated version used during air shows there is also a 30 minute film explaining in even greater detail the Tuskegee History.   They have already setup at many many schools nationwide.  QUESTION?  If we bring this to Jake's, say about this same time-frame next year, would you come a see it?  Would you bring a friend?

CAF RedTail Traveling Setup

The rig setup is somewhat like a transformer triple wide.  One side extends out to become the almost 180 degree curved screen and the other side extends out for small bleacher type seating.  Easily hold 20 - 30 kiddos at a time.  There would be no charge for this either.  All attendees would also depart with red alloy metallic dog-tag etched with:  Aim High, Believe in Yourself, Use Your Brain, Be Ready to Go, Never Quit and Expect to Win.  Please watch their video and learn more.

NO, not unless there is an adjacent runway, the Mustang does not or will not join us at Jake's or any other facility that is not an Airport.      

How can we make this a reality?  If you have enjoyed the information here and the links, please share this with others or add comment in support of the idea.  Simply for doing so, many of you will randomly be chosen in receiveing a FREE a Diecast Tuskegee P51 Mustang Replica pictured below.

Help with shipping costs, if applicable, requested.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pink and Dolls - A misplaced gender bias?

Circa 1800, Men's Suit

"We think of pink as such a girlish color, but it's really a post-World War II phenomenon." Michelle Finamore, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, interviewed by Susan Samberg, NPR about an exhibition from 2014 entitled Think Pink. 

4256 FREE w/Purchase, Ltd. <-CLICK
Near closing time one night a couple years ago, a family came to visit us after having dinner next door.  I specifically remember what seemed the grandfather almost taunting his grandson by repeatedly presenting him with what many people would identify as a toy meant for a girl.  I did my best to re-direct, but the old man seemed almost to enjoy the game.  The young boy was at not all amused and visibly became more upset with each successive toy the grandfather brought to him. The family was in from out of town and after purchasing a couple toys, they headed back to wherever.

Our founder loved the color pink.  One of his favorite things to do upon entering a Toys - R- Us was to make a beeline for the back of the store where they kept the motorized cars.  His personal favorite, the Barbie Pink Escalade of course.  The word PINK was one of his earliest sight words too. 

Ryans Room - Out of Production.
Another misunderstood gender bias is in dolls/play figures.  Both boys and girls gain valuable social skills from role-playing their home lives and more.  Some of the most humbling and positive feedback to our work as parents was in overhearing Jake play independently with his little fire department and more specifically the characters within it. Using that limitless toddler imagination, one became mommy, daddy, and, of course, Jake.  The 4th pictured is our good friend Gerald.  I recall also him saying kiss, kiss, hug, goodnight, good-morning, I love you, and more while he played independently with the figures.  

In this article from KQED entitled "Why it's Imperative to Teach Empathy to Boys" you'll find a thought provoking read how playing with dolls can be of tremendous importance later in life.  Both from observations as a parent and even some at our store, I have found that children seem to role play what they are around the most.  You should not be too surprised to hear exact copies of your most frequently used expressions or words.

Again, our son of four absolutely loved the color pink and he literally never once seemed to notice differences in skin color.  Everyone was "friend".  Jake reinforced in my mind that holding a bias about colors or dolls is a completely adult construct.  It also goes both ways in the branding we see associated with some toys and dolls/action figures "for boys".  

"Thanks to marketing, Disney princesses and profits, the color pink has spread like measles."  Susan Stamberg NPR.

As a child of the 70'/80's, it would go without saying that David Bowie's "Pretty In Pink" comes to mind as bumper music for this blog however, please take a listen to this 1955 Hit, Perez Prado  Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White.  Try it with a pink lemonade before summer's end too.  

So what has changed since that grandfather's visit? When a father's son picked out the Beanie Boo pictured right and he mentioned his perplexity in that, out of everything in the store his son of four chose something pink, purple, white...  I was able to share with him that pink has some interesting history behind it and it is after all only a color.  

If you enjoyed the read, please feel free to comment on my grammar and thanks for the feedback on the Links.