item 1 >>> Gosh, I haven’t thought of “American Chop Suey” in a long time, boy. Elbow mac, with ground beef, onions, green peppers, in a thick tomato sauce…talk about comfort food, whoa…

item 2 >>> On July 21, 1959, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green became the Red Sox’ first black player. A week later, pitcher Earl Wilson made his debut. If management had only pulled the trigger earlier in the decade, it could have been: Jackie Robinson, Marvin Williams, Sam Jethroe (the first black Boston Brave), Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, Willie Mays, Charley Neal, Vanity “Van” Rushing, or Larry Plenty (from Somerville.) Lots of interesting stories there, for another day…

item 3 >>> The Dark Hose always get bashed for being the last…but of the 16 teams, the NY Yankees were 13th to integrate, with catcher Elston Howard in 1955…I’m just sayin’. And speaking of might-have-beens, how about an outfield of Yaz, Amos Otis, and Reggie Smith. Otis was drafted by the Red Sox, as a shortstop, and spent 2 seasons in their lower minors, before moving on to the Bigs as a Met in 1967.

item 4 >>> And while I’m thinking of it, while Jackie Robinson did break the color-line with Brooklyn in 1947, by the end of the season, there were 4 other black Major Leaguers: Larry Doby with Cleveland, Henry Thompson and Willard Brown with the St. Louis Browns, and pitcher Dan Bankhead also with the Dodgers. Bankhead came from a baseball family…he and his 4 brothers, Sam, Fred, Joe and Garrett all played in the Negro Leagues, altho Dan was the only one to play in the Majors. Sam became the first black manager in the minors, with Farnham, Quebec, in the Class C Provincial League in 1952.

item 5 >>> You might be a Baby-go-Boomer if you know the difference between a treadle, a trundle, and a trestle…not to mention a Morris chair and a Murphy bed…

Item 6 >>> Anybody remember “red measles”? It was one of the many names for regular measles, I remember it being called “7-day measles.” As opposed to German measles, a different virus. The weird part is, the scientific names are so similar: Rubeola for regular measles, and Rubella for German measles, which is why regular measles is sometimes erroneously called Rubella.

Item 7 >>> After doing the research, it appears I am the only person who grew up on the North Shore and never said or heard “Light dawns over Marblehead” or its fraternal twin “Dawn breaks over Marblehead.” (Substitute “on” for “over” and get 2 more variations.) Except, that is, for people who actually live in Marblehead, who apparently act like they never heard it. OK, so maybe I didn’t get out much, sue me. One informant claims the nuns in Waltham used the phrase to berate students. Priceless… (Also, it’s supposedly said of Tom Cruise in the movie “Cocktail”…I never watched it.)

Item 8 >>> Back in the day, Tonka was a Disney Indian pony…Tonka was also the premiere line of metal toy trucks…and in 1954, Tonka was one other thing: banned…the beans that is. Tonka Beans are the seeds of a South American tree. They have a vanilla-like favor, and are currently the culinary rage in Europe, but still illegal in the USA, due to the present of coumarin, an anti-coagulant. Fatal in high doses, but chefs argue, so is nutmeg, and many other common spices. Consensus in the toxicology community seems to be that tonka beans, in ordinary use, pose zero health risk. FDA enforcement is apparently less than lax, and you can get them thru the mail.

item 9 >>> And speaking of Tonka, it’s strange to think that as a kid, I knew the difference between front loaders, skip loaders, track loaders, backhoe loaders, and knuckleboom loaders, not to mention excavators and earthmovers. Today, not so much…

item 10 >>> Said Senator Edmund Muskie: “In Maine we have a saying that there’s no point in speaking unless you can improve on silence.”

Wicked Ballsy

Based on the graphics & type-face, I’d say this is from 1950s, earlier rather than later. Several years ago I inherited a swizzle stick collection, and I’m gratified to report I have 4 of the 8 slogans: JOY JUICE, RUST RETARDER, LETHAL LIKKER, and HAPPY HOOCH. The others are SPECIAL SPIRITS, MOUNTAIN MASH, DEVIL’S BREW, and BATHTUB BOOZE. BTW, having no great sentimental attainment to this collection, I’d certainly be willing to entertain offers. Answer at this blog, and I’ll let you know what I have…couple of Wayne Gretzky’s in there…

shameless plugtastics…

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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