item 1 >>> Why do so many of us Baby-go-Boomers say, or write, “hey” instead of “hi” or “hello”? I lay it squarely at the doorstep of Andy of Mayberry, not that I’m complaining, cuz I think it’s cool. Tell Mavis Neff I said hey! You know, she’s a bird in this world…

item 2 >>> 1963 was the year it started for Ocean Spray, Lakeville, Mass. The cooperative began in 1930, but 1963 was the year they started on the path of “line extension,” with the introduction of Cran-Apple juice. Today, they have a dizzying array of different juice drink products, but I’m talking about the core group, the Cran-Whatevers. It’s been 2 years since I checked their web-page, and it appears Cran-Pomegranate (big surprise!) has replaced Cran-Mango. Cran-Apple is still around, along with Cran-Grape (introduced as Grapeberry in 1968, renamed in 1970), Cran-Raspberry from the 80s, and Cran-Strawberry, Cran-Cherry, and Cran-Tangerine from the 90s. Who’s missing? Read on…

item 3 >>> Actually, 2 of the earliest extensions, after Cran-Apple, are no longer with us, and judging from the buzz in the blogosphere, they are sorely missed. Cran-Prune and Cranicot both debuted around 1966, and seem to have disappeared sometime in the 80s, tho my research is ongoing. BTW, Cranicot appears to be one of the few times they tried that particular type of product name…no Crangerine, Crango, Crune or Crapple, thank goodness. 2 missteps from the 90s are long gone: Cran-Currant and Cran-Blueberry, altho they do currently have a plain Blueberry drink, and one mixed with the obligatory Pomegranate. Apparently there was at some point a Cran-Peach, but it seems allusive so far, altho…

item 4 >>> The White Cranberry Cocktail, introduced in 2001, is going strong, along with stable-mates White Cran-Peach and White Cran-Strawberry. White cranberries are not a different type, simply normal ones harvested before they become red and tart. In a bag of fresh cranberries, you might find a few pink or white ones. One interesting sidelight is to check the trademarks on the official government webpage. Some were registered but never used, others have a “first used in commerce” date, but that could refer to the test-marketing of a product that never went national. There you’ll find Cran-Punch, Cran-Lemonade, Cranseng, Cran-Kiwi, Cran-Ruby (as in grapefruit), and Cran-Orange, which appears to have been a juice in the 60s, more recently a sauce, altho apparently discontinued. There are also such exotic juice concoctions as Snowberry, Megamelon, Crimson Ice, Plumberry, and Sunfruit, plus Crangria wine, Crantasia Schnapps and Cran-Maple syrup. Ai-yi-yi! We’re gonna need more cranberries…

item 5 >>> The word “woe” cropped up here the other day. One of those old-timey words that you still hear from time to time today, like what I call the I-sisters…ire, irk, and ilk. Then you have such beauties as woe begotten (born with woe), woe betide (betide means to happen to), woe begone (i.e. full of woe), and vale of woe, which has morphed over the years into tale of woe, in the same way peerless leader is today thought to be fearless leader. Woe is me…

item 6 >>> A follow-up on Root Beer…less common, but still tasty is Birch Beer, flavored with extracts from various trees, the most common according to Uncle Wiki, being Black Birch. It also says there that in parts of Pennsylvania, a float made with vanilla ice cream and Birch Beer is called a Blue Balled Ape. Good old wiki, boy…is that a story too good to check?  And again, originally, and still occasionally today, you have a slightly alcoholic version of Birch Beer. In that wonderful Dr. Seuss movie from the 1950s, “The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T,” I thought many years ago I heard in one of the songs a reference to something called Bark Beer, but I saw it again recently, and they were probably saying Bock Beer, altho it is a kid singing about it, after all…

item 7 >>> Wanna feel old? 67-year-old Paul LaCamera is retiring as manager of WBUR radio. Before that he was an executive at Channel 5 for 33 years. He is the son of famed Record-American TV critic Anthony LaCamera. For some reason, when I was growing up our family got the Globe on weekdays, the Herald on Sundays, so typically I’d see what Percy Shain had to say about a new show, then wait for the weekend to see if LaCamera agreed. I believe at the time I just thought it was so cool there was a real person named Percy…

item 8 >>> A humorous computer note…I am typing this on Apple’s bare-bones word-processor TextEdit, which is completely fine for the likes of me. I type pretty wildly, and this program will attempt to correct my spelling, often with some mighty bizarre results. In Item 7 above, it decided what my flurry of key-stokes intended was “…is retiring as jangler of WBUR radio.” Well, WBUR employees, does that sound about right…?!?!

item 9 >>> For the record, back in the 1950s, there were 5 (at least) daily newspapers in Boston: the Globe, Herald, Record, Traveler, and American. Mergers resulted in the Record-American in 1961, the Herald-Traveler in 1967, and the Herald-American in 1972. So where did the Advertiser come in? That was the Record-American on Sundays. And you know what? Had I been an adult back then, I would have read them all, every freakin’ day.

item 10 >>> Speaking of newspapers, headline in one of our local ones here in Upper Upstate NY earlier in the week: “Unknown running back plays key role in Pats’ win over Colts.” Yeah, well I heard of Danny Woodhead. I mean, you don’t become the all-time all-Division NCAA single season and career rushing yards leader by being chopped liver, if only for one year. He was injured all of 2008, and played just briefly with the Jets in 2009, a call-up from the practice squad, despite 158 yards and 2 touches in a pre-season game against the Eagles. So I was happy when the Pats snatched him up, but didn’t see this coming…what a great story!

Wicked Ballsy

OK, I know what you’re thinking….but stop it! This here is the Cushaw squash, what’s used in much of the pumpkin pie products you buy at the grocery store. The big orange ones, not so much, they’re better for carving. Libby’s uses a close relative, the Dickinson Field, developed by a Kentucky family in the 1920s, and now their proprietary variety. Geez, grow up…

strictly plugabaloo…

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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