The Luck of the Irish

An Apple IIe Moment
By Ned Drinker

By 1990, I had heard a lot about Apple computers and their therapeutic use for people with learning and speech disabilities. I thought that such a machine with a touch-screen, muppet keyboard, joystick and speech synthesizer would be an extremely valuable aid in Dano’s development. Apple offered student discounts and often donated computers to charitable causes, so I wrote John Sculley, then president of Apple, requesting such a donation. Sculley politely declined so Grampy, Grandee, Diane and I decided to hold a yard sale to raise the money to buy an Apple computer.

We all had collections of old stuff so we had a lot of material for a yard sale. I had an antique photographic collection and darkroom equipment that I was willing to sacrifice. The sale was proceeding nicely, but it didn’t look like we were going to raise anywhere near enough for a computer. Then Grandee came over to me and said, “Mr. Dougherty, here, just donated a whole Apple computer system to us, with all of the accessories you want.” “What!” said I. “How can he do that?”. It turns out that Grandee had chatted him up, in that way that she has, and that he so admired what we were doing that he volunteered to contribute the computer system. He was purchasing a big lot of computers for the Catholic school system, and somehow he could give us one.

Mr. Dougherty delivered the Apple IIe and other components several weeks later and we were in business. I found a state agency near my office in King of Prussia that would lend all sorts of educational software. Dan was around 5 and Will, 4, when they both started using it. Both loved it, though the promise of speech therapy was never realized. Will has been a natural on the computer ever since.
Just as in this instance, good things always gravitate toward Dan and Gran. Dan is forever winning raffles or lotteries and Gran can schmooze her way through anything.


Dan's April Fools Joke (NEW COMIC)

Thanks so much to Mary Cancilla for getting a hold of us and volunteering her talents to our project. I really love how she drew Dan. I also cracked up at how she interpreted Helga as a traditional blonde braided, overall wearing German girl. Hope you enjoy it!

ALSO, don't forget to let us know if you or your friends have talents that might lend themselves to our project. We've had help from musicians, artists, graphic designers... could you be next? We'd love to hear from you.


Oh, Danny Boy! (NEW SONG)

This isn't the first song I've written about my brother but I really love to play this one. I've had the melody for a few weeks now and the other night Dan called to tell me he missed me and the lyrics came instantly. I recorded it this afternoon. I hope you like it. Click the pink circle to play.


An Evening With Daniel Drinker (You're Invited!)

Click image to enlarge

Chris Townsend co-chairs the Montgomery County Down Syndrome Interest Group. In January he wrote me asking if Dan and I would be interested in screening scenes from our documentary at one of MCDSIG's meetings. We gladly accepted and I'm pleased to report that it's officially happening next month. Click the flier above for more details. If you'd like to join us please RSVP HERE.

I'd like to personally thank Chris and his wife for this wonderful opportunity. Dan is going to be so excited to meet his fans. We've never shown any of our documentary to an audience before so it will be quite exciting to see how the scenes play.

I'd also like to thank Daniel Niblock for designing the flier above. Daniel's baby boy, Ozzie, has DS. He blogs about him at Down With Oz. He also just launched DowntownDS.com.

Thanks to everyone for the support. We look forward to meeting you in July!


Dan Stars in My Fair Lady (PHOTOS)

Last night, Dan was in My Fair Lady at the Arden Theater

Joanne Donovan, President of Melmark and Mayor Michael Nutter

Dan takes the stage with great fervor.

I must get me one of those hats.

I'm going to pretend this is a pre-backflip shot.

I'll guess this is where the crowd started clapping for the kick line.

He was so convincing Emily thought he was actually crying. Method.

Taking a bow.

The star.

I love this one.

Hat hair.

Dan the man.
(or as Emily put it, "Ugh, Dan's fake smile")

A very special thanks to my sister for the lovely photographs. I wish I could have attended myself. So far the consensus is that it was an incredible show and Dan was on his game. My dad also tried out his new HD video camera at the show so soon enough we'll post Dan's first scene in HD. Stay tuned.