item 1 >>> For those of you who don’t live in Upper Upstate NY, and don’t have access to the monthly newspaper Fourth Coast Entertainment, my November column is now up at one of my non-daily blogs http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com. It’s called “Meet the Beetle,” and marks the 60th Anniversary of the comic strip “Beetle Bailey.” Also see my other daily blog  http://stolf.wordpress.com for accompanying illustrations 11/9 thru 11/13.

item 2 >>> Those of you who watch the History Channel might wonder if Beetle Bailey was named after Ike’s Chief of Staff during WWII, Gen. Walter Bedell “Beetle” Smith. Tempting, but no. If you read my article, you’ll see that strip started with Beetle in college, and he enlisted when the Korean War broke out. In fact, his original name was “Spider,” but the publisher requested that be changed.

item 3 >>> BTW, “Traveling Cyst” was one of the names I came up with at college for our “pick-up” rock groups…seemed whenever we jammed, we never had all the instruments…sometimes no bass, other times no drums, etc. Other names included “Crust,” which I believe was a take-off on “Cream,” and “The Blue-Assed Bastards from Hell,” which was semi-autobiographical.

item 4 >>> A typical set? Well, since I played keyboards on a borrowed organ, and had a cheat-sheet with chords for each song, here we go, in no particular order: Sympathy for the Devil/Rolling Stones…Mr. Spaceman/Byrds…All Along the Watchtower & Hey Joe/Jimi Hendryx…Maybe I’m Amazed/Paul McCartney…Dear Mr. Fantasy & Here’s a Little Song/Traffic…St. Stephen/Grateful Dead…Silver Paper & Yasgur’s Farm/Mountain…Season of the Witch/Donovan…Who Do You Love?/Quicksilver Messenger Service’s version. No too bad, eh? Oh, and another Stones song…Stray Cat Blues, which I recently learned with Open-G tuning on the geetar…sweeeeeeet…

item 5 >>> Geez, doesn’t he throw anything out? Yeah, some stuff…like old letters. Remember writing letters? Nobody called one other on the phone, it was all done thru the post. I accumulated several boxes’ worth, and at some point, maybe 10 years after, when my parents got me to finally “clear out all my junk” at the old homestead, I just said the hell with this, and tossed ’em. I know many of you, mostly girls, probably saved some, but some guys did too, I’m thinking…after all, some of those epistles meant something, nez pah?

item 6 >>> Couple of updates from yesterday…yes, most people used to be born at home, even future Presidents. Jimmy Carter was indeed the first POTUS to have been born in a hospital, the Wise Sanitarium in Plains, Georgia. It still exists, as the Lillian G. Carter Nursing Center, named after his mother, who had been a nurse there. What might have caught your eye yesterday was the use of the word Sanitarium…or should that be Sanatorium?…or even the hybrid form, Sanitorium. As we Baby Boomers were growing up, all 3 of these already seemed old-fashioned, compared to Hospital, Clinic or Medical Center. And the sound of it, especially “sani-“, suggested that it had something to do with “sanity,” i.e. a mental hospital. But that was never true. In the late 1800s, a Sanitarium was a health spa for the wealthy, like the Battle Creek Sanitarium, or “San” as they were nicknamed, which ultimately gave rise to all those Kellogg’s breakfast cereals. The name came from the Latin sanitas, meaning health. In 1904, a tuberculosis clinic opened, and not wishing to be confused with a resort, called itself a Sanatorium. Or at least that’s the story you read…makes you wonder, why pick a name that’s so easily confused with the one you’re trying to avoid, to the point where the Sanitorium mash-up would inevitably come along to further the confusion. Anyway, all three terms have been used interchangeably for the past century, and if you’re a stickler, it’s enough to drive you….insane.

item 7 >>> But a point of order…you would think that “The First President to…” would be a pretty straightforward proposition, right? And indeed it is, if you’re talking about the present, meaning what the President is when he’s elected, or the future, meaning something he does as President that none before him had done. Examples of these would be “First black President” and “First President to ride in an airplane.” But if you’re talking about something that the President did before he was President, you can run into difficulties, and the classic case is the seemingly simple “First President Born in the 20th Century.” John F. Kennedy was born in 1917, and when elected President in 1960, all before him had been born prior to 1900. And that’s how most people, including me, understand the question. But interestingly, some people look at it differently…they say: list all the Presidents in order of their year of birth…who comes first after 1900? Well, that would be Lyndon Johnson, born in 1908. See the ambiguity? OK, “First Future President born in the 20th Century” and everybody’s happy. Well, no, everybody’s never happy…

item 8 >>> Also yesterday, I mentioned Columbia students Edwin Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky who invented “Trivia” back in the 1960s. Apparently their on-campus Trivia Bowl quizzes in 1965 were pretty big productions, complete with a vocal group the Kingsmen, not to be confused with the Kingsmen of “Louie Louie” and “Jolly Green Giant” fame. And members of the Columbia Kingsmen formed the nucleus of Sha Na Na…in fact Goodgold was their first manager in 1969. Sha Na Na really took off after their appearance at Woodstock that Summer, and arguably lead to American Graffiti, Happy Days, the whole neo-Fifties fad. Funny thing, they were the next to the last act to perform, on the third and final day of the Music & Art Fair. So why did anyone stick around to see them? Probably because the last act was the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

item 9 >>> I definitely saw Sha Na Na very early on, probably the Summer of 1969, and likely before Woodstock which was in August. The venue? Who knows, maybe the Boston Tea Party. But you know, talk about saving everything…I do have a wad of ticket stubs from that period. I wonder…. Anyway, I don’t believe Jon “Bowser” Bauman was a member yet, he joined in 1970. And here’s something I never knew about Bowser…for a about a year, from 1983-1984, NBC ran a daytime show called “The Match Game/Hollywood Squares Hour.” Naturally, Gene Rayburn was the host of the Match Game segment, but the Hollywood Squares part was hosted by…wait for it…Jon Bauman, not as Bowzer, but as “himself.” Huh? I’m tellin’ ya…It’s on YouTube if you don’t believe me, and he did OK, no great shakes…

item 9.5 >>> Nope…I got Kinks, Todd Rundgren, Aerosmith, Mott the Hoople, Steve Miller, David Bowie, others, but no Sha Na Na…see, I don’t keep everything…sheesh…

item 10 >>> And speaking of Sha Na Na, there’s an interesting controversy about where their name came from. It’s always been said it was from the doo-wop chant in “Get a Job” by the Silhouettes. But the lyrics are sometimes given as “sha da da” not “sha na na.” Leading the charge was rock critic Richard Goldstein, who went so far as to say their name came about because they “misheard” the lyric. Well, rock critic for the New York Times, and guess what? he didn’t like Sgt. Pepper either. I think they were right…but if you listen for yourself, just for giggles, check out the “answer song” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “Got a Job.”

Wicked Ballsy

I mentioned Leverett Saltonstall the other day, Massachusetts senator from 1945-1967. His successor? Edward Brooke, who as we can see from this bumper sticker, was tabbed for bigger things (VP) that never happened. Romney of course is George, Mitt’s dad.

sselemahs  sgulp…

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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