Updated 0510/05

It all started innocently enough when I picked up a DVD of the classic movie, A Christmas Story back in November 2003. Along with the DVD, I received a bobble head of Ralphie, the bespectacled main character in the story, who wants nothing more than a pump action Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. 

JB Doubtless noticed a striking similarity between the Ralphie doll and a well known nationally syndicated radio talk radio host named Hugh Hewitt. And if you check out the these pictures, you can easily image a young Hugh and Ralphie being mistaken for each other. 

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(Click picture to enlarge)

 

 
A Legend In The Making

Hugh was named the titular 'Hockey Commissioner of Minnesota' in the Spring of 2003 by Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. In December 2003, long-time Fraters reader James Phillips, taking inspiration from our Hugh/Ralphie separated at birth, combined a Minnesota Golden Gopher Hockey bobble head with a Ralphie bobble head. The Hockey Commissioner Hugh action figure a.k.a. Ralphie was born. And oh the places he would go. 

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Ralphie skates with the infamous Hanson brothers from Slap Shot

Somewhere in the Arizona Desert 

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After the flight, Ralphie is now sporting a crack in his visor and a crick in his neck.

February 2005: Ralphie has made Blog History by being the first blog mascot to be hurled to an altitude of almost a mile high. It was a thing of beauty. Ralphie survived -- for the most part -- but based on the spiral flight trajectory either Ralphie skipped out on some of his pilot training or he was cavorting with the official Sommelier of California prior to launch. According the on board flight computer (yes, really!) Ralphie reached an altitude of 5100 feet above ground level, as well being punished by over 4 g's of acceleration. Max speed for the flight was 0.6 Mach (He has some ways to go before becoming the Chuck Yeager of dolls). Ralphie's rocket ship also stuck a perfect 3 point landing. So all is well.

For the complete details on Ralphie's history making flight, including complete flight summary data, airspeed, and altitude graphs, check out the Ralphie Goes Ballistic Page  at the Rocket Team Vatsass site.  

Thanks to the Vatsaas Brothers for making the launch a success and of course to James Phillips for designing Astro Ralphie especially for the trip.  

 

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Ralphie finally gathers his wits about him and climbs out of his compartment.

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Ralphie peers out from the main parachute tube before the launch. 

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Careful, Ralphie - you'll poke your eye out!

Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul 

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September 2004: With United States Senator Norm Coleman. 
August 2004: Back in the good, Lynn Swan-like hands of Daddy Hugh. 

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Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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August 2004: Relaxing by the pool outside the Rijksmuseum, which houses an impressive collection of art masterpieces from the Golden Age of Dutch history. 
August 2004: In Amsterdam checking out the sites and sounds around the harbor area. You can see the city's main train station in the distant background. 

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August 2004: He also spent some time wandering through the pedestrian friendly streets of the city and its many picturesque canals.

Diamond Bluff, Wisconsin 

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July 2004: Ralphie enjoys the views from the Estates at Diamond Bluff during the NARN remote broadcast. 
July 2004: Ralphie hangs with David Strom, from the The Tax Payers League of Minnesota, and his wife Margaret. 

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Duluth, Minnesota

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July 2004: Ralphie boldly wears his Gopher colors deep in the heart of UMD Bulldog country. The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is in the background.
July 2004: The little bobble head they call Ralphie on the shores of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee. 

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Shanghai, China

June 2004: After an arduous journey there's nothing better than relaxing with a nice cold beer. 

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June 2004: Ralphie was worried that he would lose contact with his hero and mentor while in China. Fortunately, Hugh's site was easily accessible and Ralphie read every pearl of wisdom posted by the light of his life. 
June 2004: Thirty eight stories up, Ralphie takes in the cityscape of Shanghai. 

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June 2004: Ralphie is disappointed when he learns that this sign does not say Cheeto Factory in Chinese as he had hoped. 
June 2004: Ralphie, a humble Midwesterner at heart, is dazzled by the sites and sounds of the big city. 

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St. Paul, Minnesota

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June 2004: Although he was unable to meet Senator Norm Coleman or Governor Tim Pawlenty, Ralphie's day at the Xcel Energy Center attending the 2004 Minnesota Republican Convention was not a complete wash. For Ralphie was able to pose next to a tribute to one of his heros, Minnesota's own Herb Brooks: 

June 2004: Do you believe in miracles?

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Bloomington, Minnesota

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April 2004: Ralphie meets talk radio host extraordinaire,  Michael Medved at a Patriot Forum in Bloomington, Minnesota. Michael was stunned at the remarkable resemblance that Ralphie bears to Hugh Hewitt and was overheard saying, "That is is the best separated at birth on God's green earth."

Eagan, Minnesota

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April 2004: Ralphie makes an appearance at the palatial AM-1280 The Patriot studios in Eagan Minnesota. 
April 2004: While at The Patriot studio, Ralphie chills with the one of the funniest men alive, Michael J. Nelson, author and former star of Mystery Science Theater 3000.  

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Chihuahua, Mexico

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January 2004: Ralphie always wants to be in the action. And if it's not hockey he'll take the next best thing. In this case a soccer game in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Long Lake, Minnesota

January 2004: Lil' Ralphie meets Big Ralphie at a restaurant in Long Lake, Minnesota. Hindrocket from Power Line looks on.

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January 2004: Ralphie with the vaunted Northern Alliance, Hugh, and Generalissimo Duane (holding our bobble-headed hero).

St. Paul, Minnesota

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January 2004: By this time, in an eerie similarity to the movie,  Ralphie's glasses had taken a beating. The cold weather and constant jostling had broken his specs a couple of times. Repairs were attempted, but they were only partially successful.
January 2004: Ralphie in his element, surrounded by ice at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

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January 2004: Ralphie checks out the NHL skating rink at the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 2004: Ralphie on the ice covering  Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. The city skyline is barely visible in the foggy distance.

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

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January 2004: Ralphie, sans glasses, at Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis. The Sears Building on Lake Street is visible in the background.
January 2004: Ralphie between the pipes at Powderhorn Park.

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Eden Prairie, Minnesota

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January 2004: Ralphie does lunch with Captain Ed from Captain's Quarters at a restaurant in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
January 2004: Ralphie joins the Fraters team for yet another trivia victory at Keegan's Irish Pub in Minneapolis.

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Stay tuned for the further adventures of Ralphie, possibly coming soon  to a city near you.


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