The Bricks

I guess it's about time that I broach this subject.  Of course I'm referring to LEGOS, or LEGO bricks as the LEGO Group prefers they be called.  Well, I've done the "LEGO dance" enough times after stepping on one of those pointy little bastards that I'll call them whatever I like.  Not to mention I've known them as LEGOS since I knew what LEGOS were, as does everyone else in the free world who's not employed by the LEGO Group.  Plus it's easier and more fun to say LEGOS, and every time I do I'm reminded of waffles.  So LEGOS it is.

While doing research for this post I found that the LEGO Group was founded in Denmark in 1934 by Ole Kirk Christiansen (oh yah, sounds like a good Minnesotan - you betcha).  Good ole Ole took the first two letters from each of the Danish words "leg" and "godt", meaning "play well", to form the name LEGO.  It's just an amazingly cool coincidence that the word "lego" in Latin means "I put together".  Another neat coincidence that you might not be aware of is that the word "viagra" in Latin means "Erector Set".  Among LEGO fun facts listed on the company website are the following:
  • Approximately 19 billion LEGO elements are made every year, equivalent to approximately 2 million elements an hour or 36,000 a minute.
  • Laid end to end, the number of LEGO bricks sold in a year would encircle the Earth more than five times.
  • Approximately seven LEGO sets are sold each second.
  • Approximately 54,658 LEGOS are hidden in the carpeting of my house waiting to be stepped on.
I loved playing with LEGOS as a kid.  I remember playing with them for hours in my room, where I was frequently (and may I add unfairly) sent by my mother after having allegedly committed various transgressions reported by my sister.  I had a couple of the universal sets as well as sets for an air ambulance, go-kart, and moon base.  After I grew up and moved out of the house, my parents stored those LEGOS in their basement for many years, and when I bought my first house they were all too happy to give them back to me.  The poor LEGOS again sat unused for quite a while until I passed them on to the boy when he was about 3.  At that time he was already a LEGO expert after having played for a couple years with the Quatro bricks (really big and easy to see on the floor) and then the Duplo bricks (smaller than the Quatros, but still readily visible when set as traps by naughty children trying to cripple their parents), which are designed for the tiny, fumbling hands of toddlers.  The boy's favorite thing to do with the Quatros and Duplos was to have me repeatedly build giant towers for him to destroy like Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo.

Yet another LEGO fun fact states that on average there are 62 LEGO bricks for every person on earth.  If that's true, then I'm certain the boy owns as many LEGOS as the entire population of Luxembourg.  That's because over the years, the boy's infatuation with LEGOS has only grown.  I'm fairly confident that his mother and I could get rid of all his other toys and he wouldn't even notice.  I'm also fairly confident that he could survive several years of solitary confinement in a Turkish prison unscathed if he were allowed to bring a couple LEGO sets with him.  It's ridiculous how many sets he owns - I'd guess there are around 25 or so.  Every Christmas, birthday, and visit from the grandparents results in the acquisition of a new set or sets.  In fact, the wife and I made a pact with the boy last month.  He is already an avid reader, but to spur him on even further we promised to buy him a $50 LEGO set if he reads 300 books before the 4th of July.  At this point it looks like he's going to make it - little bugger.

One thing bothers me about the boy's use of his LEGOS - he fails to respect the integrity of the individual sets!  When he first opens a set, he humors me and builds the model according to the instructions.  After that, all bets are off.  He mixes up the pieces from different sets and builds all manner of mutant projects.  Good guys' heads are put on bad guys' bodies and vice versa, Star Wars clones are melded with Space Police, Bionicles mingle with Toy Story guys, he attaches blue bricks to yellow bricks, pieces get lost (and then are sometimes found when I step on them).  When I handed my old sets over to him, they still contained all of the original pieces, each in the original box and including instructions (so I was a bit anal in my younger days - sue me).  These sets and many of his own now cannot be completed because pieces are missing.  But you should see his Darth Lightyear.  As long as he's having fun (I guess).

In true LEGO-loving fashion, the boy's favorite place on Earth is Legoland.  We've been to the California theme park twice, once before the girl's arrival and once afterward.  It's actually a full-blown amusement park and, in my opinion, beats the hell out of Sea World (especially now that Shamu is killing people).  While there are roller coasters, water rides, shows, and LEGOS for sale everywhere, my favorite section of the park is Mini Land or Tiny Town or LEGOville or whatever they call the area that contains the scale model LEGO replicas of actual places, such as the Las Vegas strip, New York City, the Taj Mahal, the White House, New Orleans' French Quarter, etc.  I could hang out there for hours.  And I'm sure I'll have a chance to do just that in the near future as I recently read that a brand new, biggest-ever Legoland will open in Winter Haven, Florida at the end of 2011.  Opening day, here we come!


On April 7th, the August Schell Brewing Company is releasing a new beer, Grain Belt Nordeast, which is named after our old stomping grounds, Northeast Minneapolis!  I'm a tad miffed that after living there for 10 years and having no beers to our name, this momentous event is occurring only 7 months later and I'm missing it.  And apparently there is some debate over the name of the new beer.  You see, Northeast Minneapolis is often referred to as "Nordeast" because that's how the Eastern Europeans who settled there in the early 1900's used to pronounce it.  While many folks view the term as a tribute to the history of that part of the city, other politically-correct ninnies consider it a pejorative.  I find this similar to when people oppose and protest the naming of sports teams after Native American tribes, when the actual Native Americans themselves consider it an honor.  The way I see it, most of the people who said "Nordeast" in the first place are probably long gone, so they won't be offended anyway.

Na zdrowie!


Ted said...

I like that NYC in Legoland has a public restroom with Lego urinals and a guy sitting on the pot. Classic.

Also, New Orleans in Legoland has a woman topless for some beads as well as some Lego pigeons hanging out. A true classic.

Nice post, bringing back some good memories.

Erin said...


Our sons would get along wonderfully. Cameron has boxes and crates of legos. I also get a bit frustrated that he will build a set and then a blink of an eye those pieces are now mixed in with other lego sets. He received a great deal of lego sets from my cousin and he was a lot like you. Every set was put in one box with instructions included, it killed me to see them all mixed up. But like you said as long as they are having fun.

Eric said...

I missed the topless woman Ted. Guess we'll have to plan another trip to SD in the near future.

Eric said...

Erin, our sons have the same name and apparently the same LEGO attitude.

Reservoir Dad said...

"Another neat coincidence that you might not be aware of is that the word "viagra" in Latin means "Erector Set"."

I wasn't looking forward to the day when I would have to use Viagra but now that I can call it my 'Erector Set' I'm almost keen to bring on my 80's so that I can have a play!

Eric said...

Good stuff RD. I wish you luck on not needing it until at least your 80s. ;-)

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