11/30/2010

item 1 >>> I was talking about the last names of Archie characters yesterday…can’t believe I neglected to mention Jughead’s full name, since I daresay it’s not common knowledge, unless you’re a true Archie aficionado. Anyway, its Forsythe Pendleton Jones III, so there. Remember back in the 60s when they all turned into Super Heroes? Archie was Pureheart the Powerful…Jughead was Capt. Hero…and Betty was Superteen. Reggie stood in as their arch-enemy Evilheart. These characters were revived in the 90s, adding Veronica as Miss Vanity and Moose as Super Moose, makes sense to me. And of course, this was after they’d gone thru their Secret Agent phase…The Man from R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. versus CRUSH, as I recall…

item 2 >>> I noticed there was some sort of toy guitar out there called Paper Jamz, either a step up or sideways from Guitar Hero, not really sure which. I thought that was a reasonably clever name, but I didn’t realize they mean it literally…these guitars are made of cardboard, with imbedded sensors that respond to touch and make some sort of music. I still think this is fine, especially if it serves as a “gateway drug'” to real guitars. But I suppose kids today do run the risk of growing up thinking that a Paper Jamz guitar is what a guitar really is. I know it happened to me…my Mom had a couple of plastic ukuleles, maroon and cream as I recall, pretty spiffy looking. But of course I naturally thought that’s what ukes actually were, until I eventually bumped into a real wooden one. Oh…I get it…will you look at that…heh heh…

item 3 >>> The Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup championship was won by the Montreal Alouettes (Larks) Sunday, beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-18. You might recall that during the strike-season of 1982, NBC tried replacing NFL football with CFL games, with their regular NBC announcers, for 3 consecutive weekends. A 4th was planned, but cancelled, as the ratings were simply too meager to continue. Canadian football is similar to its American cousin, the main differences being: a longer field, 110 yards, also wider…12 men on the field…3 downs for a first down…and there’s a 1-point scoring play, a rouge or single, that involves a kicked ball not being returned from the end-zone, under certain circumstances…it’s complicated, as it should be.

item 4 >>> Ten years after the “scab” telecasts, the CFL mounted an all-out effort to expand into the US, targeting cities not served by the NFL, and eventually hoping for an all-American “Southern” division. They tested the waters in June 1992 with an exhibition game in Portland, Oregon. A year later, the Sacramento Gold Miners were added, followed by the Las Vegas Posse, Baltimore Stallions, and Shreveport Pirates in 1994. The Memphis Mad Dogs, Birmingham Barracuda, and San Antonio Texans (relocated from Sacramento) were on board in 1995, but attendance was sparse, except for football hungry Baltimore, who lost the Colts to Indianapolis in 1984. They tried naming the new Baltimore team the Colts or Kolts, but were forced to settle for CFLers until Stallions was chosen. They even won the Grey Cup in 1995, but the American experiment dissolved, and Baltimore relocated to Montreal the following year.

item 5 >>> The final nail in the coffin was the announcement that the Cleveland Browns would be moving to Baltimore starting in 1996. Well, technically that’s really what happened, but fans in Cleveland raised such a ruckus, a unique arrangement was worked out, unlike anything before or since in American professional team sports. The Browns didn’t actually “move” anywhere…the franchise was deactivated for 3 years, and the Baltimore Ravens (remember, with all the old Browns players) were to be considered an expansion team. In other words, for 3 years the NFL had 31 teams, altho only 30 actually played, get it? Now when the Ravens began their 1st season, as an expansion team remember, the record for best finish by a first-year expansion team had been set just a year before, 7-9 by Carolina. What if Baltimore had gone 8-8? Fortunately they didn’t, finishing 4-12. Likewise, had the new Cleveland Browns gone 8-8 in 1999, their “first” season, they wouldn’t have set the record, but they went 2-14. Around this time I think, the saying “It is what it is” began to get popular…well, it pretty much had to, the way things were going…

item 6 >>> Your reaction might have been “Oh, no, please God, no!” when you heard there’s a remake of “True Grit” coming out this holiday season. Well, it may not be as bad as all that, owing to the fact that it’s the Coen Brothers doing it. Advance word is they put a darker spin on the story, which apparently is closer to the tone of the book it was based on, altho I never read it. Jeff Bridges is Rooster Cogburn, Matt Damon is Glen Campbell (you know what I mean), Josh Brolin is the guy they’re after. The buzz is that Hailee Steinfield as Mattie Ross steals the picture. So, as my Grandma used to say, we shall see what we shall see.

item 7 >>> Maybe one of you young horsey folks, or old achy folks like me, can tell me what gives Absorbine Veterinary Liniment its wonderful aroma. It’s sort of minty, but with a special tang that I just can’t place. Back of the package says it contains Menthol, Calendula, Echinacea, and Wormwood. Whoops, isn’t that last one the active ingredient in Absinthe, the “Green Fairy”? Ah-firmative. A time-honored herb, used to rid you of worms, naturally enough. It supposedly has hallucinogenic properties, but that seems to be an urban myth. Wormwood is of the Genus Artemisia, closely related to Tarragon, and of the Aster family. Absinthe was banned in the US in 1912, but whether that’s still in effect today, let along enforced, is a matter of much debate. I’ll just smell my liniment and be satisfied about it. Don’t take much to make me happy.

item 8 >>> As I write this, I’ve once again got the TV on for “company,” and the best I can find, until football comes on, is the Boomerang Channel, which is OK, since I always loved Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and many of the earlier ones are quite entertaining, despite the “limited” animation that was so criticized back in the day. Earlier than what? Well, I’d say pre-Magilla Gorilla…somewhere after that they got pretty lame, altho I still liked following what new characters they came up with, “Funny Animals” as comic book collectors call them. “The Impossibles” are on…interesting, but painfully juvenile, no attempt to appeal to an older crowd. Remember, “The Flintstones” started as a prime-time show aimed at adults, sponsored at first by Winston cigarettes. This was a 3-man rock group who turned into Super Heroes…Coil-Man, Fluid-Man, and Multi-Man. Their rallying cry, “Rally-Ho!” Puh-lease. But you do get intriguing bits of fossilized Pop Culture, like when a train is bearing down on Coil-Man and he exclaims “Holy Holocaust!” Yes, you could use that word as a synonym for “disaster” without offending anyone, unlike today…Jeez, today you can’t even call someone a “Hitler” without being accused of trivializing something…

item 9 >>> Later, “The Jetsons” came on…OK, when Elroy says that on the Little Dipper baseball team he plays “left sky,” this wouldn’t qualify as exactly witty, but it did bring a smile to the face of an old sour-puss like me. That can’t be all bad, right? And hey, the next time the Wilma-versus-Betty debate comes up, throw ’em for a loop by choosing Jane Jetson! No, I don’t know if Judy is 18, and thus eligible for consideration, but I seriously doubt it. In the premiere episode, Jane says she’s 32, which would mean she had Judy when she was 14. Seems unlikely. Uncle Wiki says Judy is 16, and George is 38.

item 10 >>> One other follow-up…I see where the “Hut Sut Song” is supposed to be playing on the radio in one of the kitchen scenes in the movie “A Christmas Story.” They say it’s Sammy Kaye’s version, and only the instrumental part is heard. Do you think that’s gonna be on again this year 😉 😉 Not for nothing, but it’s too bad they didn’t come up with a more exciting title than “A Christmas Story.” I mean, this time of year, they all are, true? Well, most people just say “Hey, Ralphie’s on!”

Wicked Ballsy

Sure, when we were kids, crayons were Crayolas…some of us even called any crayon a “crayola”…if we didn’t call crayons “colors.” But despite Binney & Smith’s seeming monopoly, there were other brands out there, the most prominent one being Milton Bradley. Originally out of Springfield Mass., it’s now owned by Hasbro, like just about everything else, it seems…

shameless plugTionary…

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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