10/31/2010

item 1 >>> Dunno why I was thinking about the Boston Red Sox top farm teams, but I was, so here’s the chronology: Minneapolis Millers 1936-38…Louisville Colonels 1939-55…San Francisco Seals 1956-57…Minneapolis Millers 1958-60…Seattle Rainiers 1961-64…Toronto Maple Leafs 1965-67….Louisville Colonels 1968-72…Pawtucket Red Sox 1973-present (“Rhone Island Red Sox” 1976 only.) I caught the “sports geography” bug in college, and could never shake it…not for nothing but in 1964 the American League voted down Charles O. Finley’s proposal to move the Kansas City A’s to Louisville…

item 2 >>> During the Vietnam War, no active roster Major League ball-players were sent to Southeast Asia. Those drafted spent several weeks on active reserve duty, sometimes off-season, but sometimes during the season, as did Red Sox Tony Conigliaro, Dalton Jones, Jim Landis, and Jim Lonborg in 1967. Several cup-of-coffee Major Leaguers saw active duty, but only Roy Gleason went in-country. And of those, only Bobby Mercer had a substantial baseball career after his tour of duty. Many minor leaguers went to Vietnam, some returning to successful Major League careers, altho a handful were killed there.

item 3 >>> I see that if All Saints’ Day falls on a Saturday or Monday, the Holy Day of Obligation is transferred to a Sunday, as happens this year. Don’t recall that when I was growing up. Also didn’t know that different countries have different Days of Obligation. In Germany, Mass is required on St. Stephen’s Day, Dec 26,  the “Second Christmas,” and in the UK, June 29th, the Feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. In 1911, Pope Pius X reduced the number of Days from 36 to 8, then settled on 10 in 1917.

item 4 >>> In Ireland and Scotland, Jack-o-Lanterns were carved out of turnips or potatoes. The pumpkin is a New World plant, but proved perfect for the tradition, and spread world-wide. In Japan, they grow square pumpkins, in boxed enclosures made of large glass bricks.

item 5 >>> I got into reading H. P. Lovecraft in college, and I guess I must have realized it then, but have recently re-discovered the strong New England connection. He was born in Providence, and according to an internet list, real Massachusetts towns mentioned in his stories include Boston, Salem, Newburyport, Ipswich, and Bolton. It’s also believed that the town of Arkham, Mass. is based on Salem, and its insane asylum patterned after the Danvers State Hospital.

item 6 >>> Besides recording 2 LPs of songs in the early 70s, tunes that have Wolfman Jack’s voice include: “Wolfman Jack” by Todd Rundgren, “Clap for the Wolfman” by Guess Who, “Did You Boogie (With Your Baby)” by Flash Cadillac & the Continental Kids, and “Hit the Road, Jack” by the Stampeders. All of these, and many Wolfman Jack air-checks, are on YouTube.

Item 7 >>> An important document in tracing our Hallowe’en traditions is “The Book of Hallowe’en,” written by Ruth Edna Kelly of Lynn, Mass. in 1919. She mentions the transplanted English custom of “souling,” and the similar Scottish & Irish “guising,” but the phrase “trick or treat” apparently developed in western North America, and slowly moved east. The custom was encouraged beginning in the 1930s as an alternative to other “Hell Night” mischief, but some parents and even children objected. As late as 1948, a boys club in New York City held an “American Boys Don’t Beg” rally.

item 8 >>> Count Chocula and Franken-Berry cereals debuted in 1971, followed by Boo-Berry in 1973. Fruit Brute joined the monster cereal lineup in 1974, and was replaced in the 80s by Yummy Mummy. Altho not strictly speaking monsters, the 2 flying ace cereals are usually included in this group, Sir Grapefellow and his nemesis Baron Von Redberry, from 1972. Their marshmallow bits were star-shaped, called on the box “starbits.”

Item 9 >>> And indeed, General Mills did and does call them “marbits.” They were inspired by company executive John Holahan, after he tried eating Cheerios mixed with orange Circus Peanuts. (I tried this too, and it’s pretty good, but considering Circus Peanuts are now fat-free, it must have been a whole lot better in Holahan’s day!) The result was Lucky Charms in 1963, but until the monster series, they had trouble following up on it’s enormous popularity…perhaps you remember banana-flavored Wackies? Well, there you go…

item 10 >>> Carl Stokes was elected the first black mayor of a major US city in November, 1967…which city? (answer tomorrow…)

Wicked Ballsy


And here’s our Hallowe’en Queen, Laurel Goodwin from 1966 on the left, and on the right, how she looked as Yeoman Colt in the first Star Trek pilot, filmed in 1964.

attack of the 50-foot shameless plugs…

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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