item 1 >>> In football, the “shotgun” formation went mainstream in 1975, with Roger Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys. Near the end of Joe Namath’s career in the early 70s, the Jets had used the shotgun to counter Joe’s immobility and bad knees. But in 1975, the Cowboys’ shotgun recalled 49er coach Red Hickey’s shotgun experiment in 1961, with a mobile young John Brodie beating out Y. A. Tittle. They started the season 4-1, until Chicago noticed the shotgun resembled the old single and double wing formations, and dusted off some old play-books. The Bears won 31-0, and that was pretty much that. See? Never throw anything out.
item 2 >>> Speaking of Roger Staubach, do you remember his nickname during his college days at Navy? Yup, Jolly Roger…and see today’s Wicked Ballsy…
item 3 >>> I never heard of the “Irish Riviera,” but they say it’s Duxbury, Hingham, Braintree, Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, and like that. I heard of the Irish Mafia, but that’s something different, right?
item 4 >>> Did you have the Funk & Wagnalls Young People’s Standard Treasury of Learning at your house when you were a kid? Available at your grocery store each week, first volume 29¢, the others 99¢. Plus, buy all 20 and get 1000 extra stamps!
item 5 >>> Dear Dr. Geography: Didn’t you once make fun of Manchester changing its name to Manchester-by-the-Sea in 1990? Well, yes I did, I wrote a sort of snarky letter to the Salem News several years ago, and I still think the name is a chichi affectation for a beautiful town that doesn’t need it to attract visitors. But I will say this: the gussied-up name does go back quite a ways, and had a very logical origin: like so many other things, it’s thanks to the railroad. The problem in the mid-1800s was, of the 6 states that comprise New England, 5 had towns named Manchester. (Rhode Island was the lone holdout.) Thus, it was customary for conductors to call out “Manchester-by-the-Sea,” and locals followed that lead. Sure, you might wonder why they didn’t just say “Manchester, Mass.,” but that ruins a good story, so cut it out.
item 6 >>> Yeah, “gussied up”…a good old-fashioned word you don’t hear very often these days. Along with…gumption, shebang, druthers, scram, nincompoop, conniption, hoi polloi, ornery, highfalutin’, hunker down, and arms akimbo. Use all in a sentence…
item 7 >>> And speaking of hoi polloi, from the Greek meaning the masses, the common people. That’s also the name of a great “Penny Lane” pastiche by Todd Rundgren. It’s on an LP called “Deface the Music,” came out in 1980, and it’s probably the best Beatles parody record of them all, Rutles included. Todd mixes and matches Beatle motifs in his own insane style, and the results are really boss. Check it out.
item 8 >>> And while you might miss Nabisco Crown Pilot crackers and Beechnut’s 5-Mint gum, one thing you don’t have to miss is Table Talk mini-pies…the Worcester company is still making them, has been since 1924…
item 9 >>> First woman to be elected to both the U.S. House and Senate? Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. First woman to defeat another woman for a Senate seat? Margaret Chase Smith, 1960, running for her 3rd term, defeated Democratic leader of the Maine House of Representatives Lucia Cormier. First woman to have her name placed in nomination for the Presidency by a major party? Margaret Chase Smith, Republican National Convention, 1964…she got 27 votes.
item 10 >>> You might be a Baby Boomer if…you once owned a pair of pajamas in a print that looked like newspapers. And one night you were so bored, you tried reading them…”Sleepy Time Gazette”…uh-huh…
The Midshipmen wore these helmets for only one game, their 1962 clash with Army. They were designed by Navy coach Wayne Hardin, and were intended to poke fun at opposing coach Paul Dietzel’s vaunted “Chinese Bandits” defense. The characters supposedly said “Navy” and “win.” And the Jolly Roger design was an authentic one, used by 18th century pirate Richard Worley. Well, he was eventually captured and hanged, but that’s another story. Navy won 34-14.
shameless plugsercise…and a 1-2-1-2-….
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi