item 1 >>> Have you ever wondered about the name of Capt. Hook’s left-hand man, Mr. Smee, from “Peter Pan”? Well, wonder no more my friend…a smee or smew (rhymes with few, not new) is a kind of Old World duck, also known as a white merganser or white nun. The male has distinctive black and white plumage, often described as “cracked ice,” and it’s thought that smew comes from ice-mew, mew being an old English word for seagull. No, no, don’t thank me, gosh, that’s what I’m here for…

item 2 >>> Wow! Was shopping at a supermarket in a neighboring town (up here, 35 miles away qualifies) and what did I find in the soft drink isle? MOXIE! Didn’t know it was still around? Well, it’s making something of a comeback at least in New England. I used to stock up once a year or so when visiting, till it seemed to disappear from the shelves, so I stopped looking. Monarch Beverage of Atlanta bought the brand in 1966, and sold it in 2007 to Cornucopia Beverage of Bedford, New Hampshire, a division of Coca-Cola Bottling of Northern New England hence the comeback. They in turn are owned by a Japanese company. Yes, it had that gentian root bite I remember, but after so many years of drinking diet tonic, it was too sweet, tasting like a Moxie loillipop, which isn’t altogether a bad thing, I suppose…I used to like root beer lollipops (never called suckers) when I was young…when unavailable, grape was my second choice. But hey, are Pilot crackers next?

item 3 >>> Which reminds me…you might be a Baby Boomer is you still have a lingering sense of your old childhood conviction that purple was a flavor and clear was a color…(Stephen Wright’s line about clear as a school color: “I’m not naked, I’m with the band!”)

item 4 >>> Moxie was invented in 1884 in Lowell, by Dr. Augustin Thompson, making it one of the first non-alcoholic carbonated drinks on the market. He claimed a Lt. Moxie discovered a rare herb in a South American jungle…well, none of that story holds up, but what the heck, if it was good enough for Teddy Ballgame, it’s good enough for the likes of me.

item 5 >>> When I moved to upper Upstate New York 36 years ago, I was surprised to find that some (altho not most) residents thought NY was included in New England. Well, Vermont was once technically part of the Empire State, altho New Hampshire disputed that. It was for a brief time known as “New Connecticut,” and early on as the the Vermont Republic. Many things New England migrated here, and a friend once bought me a wooden Moxie crate they found at a local yard sale. But they have basements, not cellars, and frown on the broad “a” in “aunt,” so I had to switch to the insect. Anyway, will I keep drinking Moxie? Yes, but sadly, only occasionally, unless they stock the Diet version…my sweet tooth got yanked ages ago.

item 6 >>> Do they still have paper drives, parents without partners, communion breakfasts, thimble bees, novelty sales, and stork quotes?

Item 7 >>> Posie was the best friend of the Jackson Twins, Jan and Jill…boyfriends were Nightowl and Wiffie, their parents Jim and Julia, they lived in Gardentown. Strip ran from 1950-79. Believe I saw it in the Salem News? And they had a pesky little brother, named Junior, but the twins always called him what? (hint: an insect…answer tomorrow, same time, same channel.)

item 8 >>> With the Pats shipping Randy Moss off to his reunion with the Vikes, he has the chance to become the 6th NFL player to participate in 17 regular season games in a season…that’s because when he switched teams, his old team hadn’t had its bye week yet, and his new team had. The others are: Chris Singleton 1993, Dexter Carter 1995, Jerry Rice and Micah Ross 2004, and Will Witherspoon 2009. The bye was introduced in 1990, and Mike Rozier became the first player to be on an active roster for 17 games, altho only played in 16, missing one with Houston before he moved to Atlanta.

item 9 >>> And it should be noted that when the NFL standardized their schedule in 1935, and all teams were playing the same number of games, the games were staggered over several more weeks, so that in 1945  Jim Poole played in 12 games during a 10-game schedule. And prior to 1935, schedules were uneven…the record for most regular season games played is 19, held by 3 players on the 1925 Frankford Yellowjackets located in Philadelphia. The team failed to finish the 1931 season, and the Eagles, formed in 1933, is technically a different franchise.

item 10 >>> Not for nothing, but in 1993 only, the NFL had an 18-week season with 2 byes per team, but no 18-game players.

Wicked Ballsy

There’s a Pict-o-Quiz over at Stolf’s Blog (see below) too…but look at her carefully and who is it?

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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

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