item 1 >>> As Hallowe’en approacheth, I get a chuckle when I see, among the grown-up costumes available, “hippies.” Peace, man. Keep the baby, Faith. Fact is, despite how we may have looked, few of us were real hippies. But the true lifestyle lingers even today, sometimes among those who were, at the time, just a gleam in their Daddy’s eye, as the old phrase goes. Many of us were “Sears” hippies, like Frank Zappa’s comment in a song, I forget which: “Is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho?” In fact, his brilliant LP “We’re Only In It For the Money” got it exactly right, even while it was all happening…give it a spin. (Yes, even CD’s spin…)
item 2 >>> Speaking of Hallowe’en, when I meet someone who knows that the Salem witches were hung, not burned, I make it a point to give them mucho props, like: You! You have a gift, my friend!
item 3 >>> And yes, as a stylistic quirk, I spell it with an apostrophe, a contraction of All Hallow’s Even, or evening. Did you know the original Hallowe’en was on November 1st, All Saints’ Day? That’s because the day did not begin at midnight, but at sunset…a day’s evening came before its morning, not after. So the night of Oct. 31 for us was actually Nov. 1 back in the day. And when you think about it, how can something start in the middle (mid-night)?
item 4 >>> Woody Woodpecker has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His girl-friend was Winnie, and his niece and nephew, Splinter and Knothead. See tomorrow’s Wicked Ballsy for more…
item 5 >>> I know kids today still say “wicked,” but do they drink “tonic”? One of the joys of my early days was discovering the bitter-tasting Moxie, flavored with the dreaded gentian root. When I visited home, I’d always buy some, but years of drinking diet tonic made regular Moxie taste too sweet, and Diet Moxie just didn’t seem to cut it. Couple years ago they turned Moxie into an “energy drink.” I’d rather not think about it…
item 6 >>> Manchester officially added “By-the-Sea” in 1990…Singing Beach, right? I must have been there, but I can’t remember, wasn’t much of a beach person. Altho I do remember bringing a live horseshoe crab to high school as part of my biology collection project. We turned it lose later. In the parking lot. No, just kidding, back to the sea, jeez…
item 7 >>> You wanna laugh? Try “Old Jews Telling Jokes” on YouTube, with punch-lines like “My goodness, don’t you have a vase?”, “To tell you the truth, we’re waiting for a train”, and “So he sez to the horse: Shmuck, I said posse!”…I’d especially recommend Lou Charloff and his stories about Herschel the Magnificent Jew, the Question for the Nurse, and Sex to the Church Bells.
item 8 >>> Every Sunday, my grandparents from Salem would come to the house, and they’d bring the Lynn Sunday Post and the Sunday New York News, both of which I’d devour…I still have clippings from that wonderful Coloroto magazine, always with a nice big picture of a celebrity on the front. It was years later, 1975 in fact, that the Daily News ran that classic front page headline: FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD.
item 9 >>> Speaking of which, actor Mark Slade was born in Salem, family lived for a while in Danvers. Best remembered as Billy Blue Cannon on “High Chaparral.”
item 10 >>> They called them other things at other times, in other places, but we called them “wiggle-pictures.” See the cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Their Satanic Majesties Request.” The Beatles faces are hidden there, 2 one way, 2 the other…have to try to post a picture of that sometime.
Here’s the story I’ve pieced together on batting gloves. Is it all completely true? Dunno for sure, but here goes: when Ted Williams came back from Korea, he took extra batting practice to get his coordination back. He’d swat balls till his hands were raw. A friend who golfed (Ted didn’t) suggested a golf glove. Ted used one, it caught on with other players, but only for batting practice, never in an actual game. First to do that is said to be Hawk Harrelson, and first to use one in every game, Rusty Staub. I believe the first player to appear on a Topps baseball card wearing one was Indians’ Hal Jones, 1962, card #49. Know of any sooner?
shameless plug stuff…
Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and http://thewholething.podbean.com
Daily blogs at http://stolf.wordpress.com and https://deepfriedhoodsiecups.wordpress.com
More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi