11/19/2010

item 1 >>> A while back, I promised myself I’d write shorter “items,” make it easier on the casual reader. I’m not doin’ too good at that, am I? Anyway, re yesterdays stuff on Popeye Doyle, Popeye the Sailor-Man, and Popeye Chicken…I forgot to mention that “The French Connection” hints at yet another origin for the Doyle nickname: Near the beginning, after his parter Cloudy gets stabbed, they’re back at the station-house, and Popeye suggests that if he’s not going home, “whaddya say we popeye down to Chez for half an hour…one drink, one drink…” This suggests maybe the Popeye dance, along the lines of “boogie down to…”

item 2 >>> If you’re a collector of vintage crayons, do I have good news for you…Ed from Portland OR has an incredible website at crayoncollecting.com. He has absolutely fantastic coverage of the history of Crayola, 1000% better than Binney & Smith’s own website, but information on many, many other brands and companies as well, tons of pictures, just a top-rate site in every way. Ed really is the Crayon King and I’m told more exciting features are on the way.

item 3 >>> Danvers of course played a big role in the history of crayons, with Standard Crayon being one of the first US manufacturers…it was eventually absorbed by Crayola, and gone by the 1960s. Then there was native Charles A. Bowley, whose pioneering work lead to the American Crayon Company of Sandusky, Ohio. Much more on these in the weeks, months, years ahead here at DFHC. And speaking of things to come, I haven’t forgotten about the Fighting Puritan…he’s coming next week, Thanksgiving week.

item 4 >>> Whatever happened to the Interobang, that punctuation symbol that combined ! with ?, to be used in place of the multiple marks in a statement like “She said what?!” It was introduced in 1962 by Martin K. Speckter, an advertising executive, and I well remember the announcement in the Boston Sunday Herald’s “Young Folks Club” column. I thought it was pretty cool, altho it was a short-lived fad. Still, Uncle Wiki claims some typewriters in the late 60s had a key for it, and it’s included in some computer fonts today. There’s even an upside-down one for Spanish?!?!??!???!?!? Other names considered included “exclarotive” and “exclamaquest.” The “bang” in interobang is printers’ slang for an exclamation point. See today’s Wicked Ballsy

item 5 >>> You might be a Groovy Geezer if…anyone has ever said to you: “When I was in college, I experimented with sex,” and you replied: “Oh yeah? Who was your lab partner?”

item 6 >>> Dear Professor Geography: Whatever happened to Rhodesia? Well, if you’re a stamp collector, specializing in the British Empire, it’s right where it always was, in the R’s. For the rest of us, there were actually 2 of them, separated by the Zambezi River. Northern Rhodesia became Zambia in 1964, Southern Rhodesia morphed into Zimbabwe in 1980. Both are named after Rhodesia, a village in Nottinghamshire, central England, itself named after a prominent citizen, G. Preston Rhodes.

item 7 >>> And while we’re on the subject, Nyasaland is now Malawi, Ubangi-Shari is Chad, the Trucial States are United Arab Emirates, Transjordan is of course Jordan, and nobody knows what happened to Corea or Jugoslavia…

item 8 >>> By the way, Professor Geography’s half-second-cousin Dr. History wanted me to remind you that about 20% of the American colonists were “Loyalists,” and fought alongside the British during the American Revolution. In fact, the battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina was a chilling prequel to the Civil War,  Americans versus Americans, and the rebel victory doused the British hopes for an all-native fighting force. More in a new book called “Tories” by Thomas B. Allen. Up here on the St. Lawrence River where I live, across in Ontario, they have Loyalists Days every year, that’s where a lot of them went after the war ended. Yeah, these days we’re pals…

item 9 >>> And since I brought it up, if you think you know what a second cousin is, you’re probably wrong, based on the common usage I’ve observed over the years. And it doesn’t matter really, except if you’re a Baby Boomer starting to do serious exploration of your Family Tree, as many of us apparently are. You’re going to get very bollixed up if you don’t know what they’re talking about. I had forgotten I had a page that explains it all here: hubpages.com/hub/Geneaology-without-Tears. As to the “half” part, that derives from half-siblings. For example, your father’s half-brother is your half-uncle, and his son is your half-first-cousin. Not something we say everyday, but you’ll see it in genealogy research, so now you’re prepared.

item 10 >>> A personal note…I’m absolutely loving this Apple MacBook Pro…my old Toshiba craptop just came back from the shop for the 2nd time, dunno whether I’ll even bother taking it out of the box. What I’m writing with now, TextEdit, is a bare-bones word-processor that’s fine with me, except for one niggling detail. It tries to correct misspelled words as they happen, and does a fairly decent job, but there’s one really annoying quirk…when typing the word “in” I’ll sometimes bump the b-key and TextEdit will change this to either “nib” and “bin,” usually “nib.”  Like, why would I be using the word “nib” 5 times in one paragraph? I don’t use it 5 times in a half-century. But otherwise, can’t complain…I like still being smarter than my computer…for now…

Wicked Ballsy


Left to right: an honest-to-goodness interobang…a Young Folks Club Pin, I still have mine, but this was off the net, easier…a modern version…and finally the Spanish version, and why not sez me…

shameless plug-a-rebop…

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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