10/26/2010

HALF  STOLF

item 1 >>> Masconomet Regional High School was built in 1959 to serve the communities of Topsfield, Boxford and Middleton. It is named after a Agawam sagamore or chief during the during early colonial times. Speaking of which, any Danversites remember living on Sagamore Drive? That was the name of the current Delaware Drive used on towns zoning maps at least from 1965-1973…research will continue, next time I’m in town. And not for nothing, but if schools, diners, and streets can be named after Indians, why not sports teams? Or is that a dead issue, sooooo 2000s?

item 2 >>> Probably the most famous graduate of Masco is Debra Jo Rupp, class of 1970, born in Glendale, Cal., raised in Boxford. Her best known role is Topher’s mother on That 70s Show.

item 3 >>> Truth is, I’ve only had clams at a handful of New England restaurants over the past several years, but so far best is Agawam Diner in Rowley on Rt 1. (And of course we’re talking about “native clams”…if you don’t know what that is, check Poutine-on-a-Stick at today’s Stolf’s Blog, at stolfg.wordpress.com)

item 4 >>> When I was a kid, one of the strictest rules at the dinner table was: don’t play with your food. The National Lampoon (or maybe it was Playboy) even had a cartoon where a kid was so admonished, and the family was eating from a platter of teddy-bears, ha ha. Obviously, some in the food industry are fighting back, now that they’re adults and in a position to do so…a few years ago, there were Lego-shaped Eggos…and now I see Scrabble-tile Cheez-It crackers from Sunshine (formerly its own company, but a sub-brand of Keebler since 1996.) Knock yourself out…

item 5 >>> Hallowe’en and Christmas Eve are generally celebrated as holidays not for a full day, but just in the evening hours, after sunset. Hallowe’en Morning sounds a little odd, and Christmas Eve Morning even weirder. This dates from the early European custom of starting a day at sunset, based on the ancient Jewish and Babylonian systems. To be perfectly precise, the day ended at sunset, as the Catholic Church had a series of prayers or “offices” to be said at specific hours, ending with vespers in the evening, and compline at bedtime. The sun went down, the day was over, so by default the next day began at that time. But this meant that the evening of a day came before the morning and afternoon of that day, not after as we reckon it today. Thus, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were the same day, not 2 consecutive days, likewise with Hallowe’en and Hallowmas, or All Saint’s Day.

item 6 >>> Of course, item 5 is just the tip of the titanic, when it comes to ways of reckoning days, weeks, months, years, centuries, etc. There seems hardly to be any time or place in history when folks weren’t juggling at least 2 different systems, and often many more. In the second half of the 20th century, one you may have forgotten was the TV Guide day…this was naturally enough geared to when stations signed on the in the morning, and off at night, generally 6am-midnite, but it expanded, ultimately settling into a “day” that began at 5am and ended at, well, 4am, 4:30, 4:45, whenever the last show before 5am started.

Item 7 >>> Now you might remember it differently, and even have an old issue of TV Guide to prove it, but according to most websites, here’s how our edition evolved: The earliest (the mag went national in 1953) was a New England edition…sometime around 1960, it split into Eastern and Western New England issues, renamed Boston/Boston-Providence and Springfield-Chicopee-Holyoke in the 80s…apparently a specific Worcester edition existed briefly in 1983, according to Uncle WIki.

item 8 >>> And yes, I like to spell it with an apostrophe between the double-E’s, as Hallowe’en…it appears the apostrophe spelling was used by North Shore newspapers almost exclusively, in headlines, stories, and advertising, thru at least the mid-1960s, but was gone by the early 1970. The apostrophe takes the place of the V in even, or evening.

Item 9 >>> Oh, and by the way (Ralph Kramden sez: By the way, huh? I knew there had to be a by-the-way in here somewhere!)…Little Iodine Tremblechin  and her folks lived at 23 Pistachio St….also, Miss Swivel, who lived in the same boarding house as Moon Mullins, had a red-headed boyfriend named Bulk…that is all…

item 10 >>> You might be a Baby Boomer if…this joke makes perfect sense to you:
She: Let’s get married and not tell anybody.
He: What if we have a baby?
She: Oh, we’ll tell the baby.


Wicked Ballsy


I was nuts about monster, horror, space, and sci-fi movies as a kid. Some, especially when I was younger, got to me  and actually creeped me out. Seeing them later as an adult, usually the response was: that scared me? Don’t see what the fuss was about. One exception is Invaders from Mars from 1953, which is still a finely crafted, wonderfully designed spooky feature, devilishly exploiting all the child-hood fears you can imagine: your parents going crazy, your house burning down, being locked in jail, on and on. It’s even one of the few from the 50s that I think actually benefits from color, versus the normally glorious black-and-white. One story has it that it was originally intended to be in 3D, which would explain some of the “separations” in depth you still see in some scenes. Watch for Barbara Billingsley, Milburn Stone, and in his first movie role as an MP, Richard Deacon (Mel Cooley on Dick Van Dyke.) You’ll also catch him in a cameo as a reporter the next year in Them. BTW, that big green guy in the poster was called a “mu-TANT.”

shameless plug-o-lanterns ii

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

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