12/10/2010

item 1 >>> In case you thought I was pulling your leg about Moose versus Elk, here are words for “elk” (their Moose) in French, Spanish, Italian, and German: élan, alce, alce, Elch. And here are their words for “moose” (our Moose): élan du Canada, alce de America, alce Americano, amerikanischer Elch. Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, Scandinavian “elkhounds” chased down their Moose, which tend to be smaller than our Moose. Honest to Bullwinkle.

item 2 >>> But wait…hold on a sec…what’s their word for “elk” (our Elk)? Excellent, question, Bubie. The North American Elk was seen as a larger subspecies of the Eurasian Red Deer, which would be cerf elaphe, ciervo colorado, cervo rosso, Rothirsch. Latin name: Cervus elaphus. These names have been commonly used, but currently, and very sensibly, all 4 languages are turning to Wapiti. This is because our Elk is now known to be a separate species, Cervus Canadensis…thank you, DNA.

item 3 >…Whether it’s a “real” baseball rule, I don’t know…but in 1964 I learned it for myself and it’s always stuck with me: never trade a position player, let alone a slugger, for a pitcher. This was when the Red Sox swapped Dick Stuart to the Phillies for Dennis Bennett, who turned out to be a compete washout…as they said at the time, “He had a sore arm and a sorer head.” Again, I don’t know if anyone would agree with me, but Stolf’s Law #2 is this: always trade prospects for established stars. No matter how highly touted the kid is, you just never know how the thing will play out. A bird in hand is worth 2 in the bush, and all that. Which is why I fully endorse the Sox picking up A-Gon for 3 prospects, Hanley Ramirez notwithstanding…yeah, it can go the other way too, but I still say do it. Does this mean curtains for fan favorite Mike Lowell? And Casey Kelly is an interesting case, unique really. He spent the 2008 season split between Rookie League and Class A, as a shortstop. The next year, he really split the year: the first half as a pitcher, and second half as a shortstop. He excelled at both positions in high school, and was a quarterback as well. The verdict: pitcher…and he’s apparently progressing nicely, altho his control is slipping as his velocity is increasing. Best of luck to him, anyway…and you know how baseball is…he might be the 2014 World Series MVP…for the Red Sox!

item 4 >>> The word “lock” has several meanings…a device that secures a door or object, obviously. Also, a section of a canal. An older meaning is: the part of a gun where the charge detonates. That is why they called it a “flintlock,” but there were lots of others…wheellock, matchlock, etc. And that’s the origin of the phrase “a flash in the pan.” As shown below, the pan was where the primer was placed. The flint struck the steel or frizzen…sparks, actually tiny bits of melted iron, ignited the powder in the pan, and the resulting explosion propelled the projectile. If not, all you got was a flash in the pan. No, it has nothing to do with a bit of gold in a 49er’s pan that presages more but doesn’t “pan out.”

item 5 >>> Here’s another one…”one fell swoop.” It comes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, where Macduff says “All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chickens, and their dam, at one fell swoop?” Altho he’s speaking metaphorically here, a kite is a bird of prey, a small hawk, known to make dramatic falcon-like dives. And the word “fell” is an adjective meaning evil…it shares its linguistic origins with felony, felon, felonious. “Fell” as the past tense of “fall” has a completely different origin, as happens with such a mongrel language as English. “One swell foop” came later, I believe…

item 6 >>> BTW, re seeing Sha Na Na in 1969…I found a list of all the acts that played the Tea Party, and they weren’t there that Summer, altho they did pop in in October and November. Either I’m wrong about the time or the place…I’ll keep digging. The Boston Tea Party was originally located at 53 Berkeley Street, a former synagogue, converted into a underground film theater, then a rock hall. It opened in 1967, eventually moving to 15 Landsdowne St., location of a former competitor, The Ark, and closed in 1971. Acts included The Who, Santana, Cream, Sly and the Family Stone, Fleetwood Mac, Allman Brothers, Joe Cocker, Led Zeppelin, Velvet Underground, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, of course J. Geils…and the Grateful Dead 6 times.

item 7 >>> When I was a kid, we made an interesting distinction at Christmas…toys were from Santa, clothing was from our parents, or grandparents. For real.

item 8 >>> So where exactly did Woodstock take place? If you say Sullivan County, you can’t go wrong. If you say Woodstock, NY you’re 43 miles off. If you say Bethel, you’re closer…Max Yasgur’s dairy farm was 3 miles from the hamlet of White Lake, and that’s as far as you can dissect it. The trouble with saying Bethel, as those of you familiar with Empire State geography can appreciate, is that it designates 2 different entities…the township (or “town”) of Bethel, and the hamlet of Bethel, one of many unincorporated communities within the township. Big deal, you say? When you want sewer service, which infrastructure, if any, can deliver it is a big deal, I can tell you. And no, I didn’t attend. It was my turn to mow the lawn that weekend, plus there was something good on TV I didn’t want to miss.

item 9 >>> But who else wasn’t there? Invitations were declined by Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Tommy James & Shondells, The Doors, The Byrds, Spirit, The Moody Blues, and, allegedly, The Beatles. Roy Rogers was asked to sing “Happy Trails” to close out the festival, but passed. Geez, they should have asked Buffalo Bob Smith! But the strangest no-show was Joni Mitchell. On the advice of her manager, she was in NYC to appear on the “Dick Cavett Show.” She wrote the song while watching coverage on TV in her hotel room, bummed as you might imagine. Hope the TV was free…

item 10 >>> Andy and Barney come back to the house to find Aunt Bee playing video games.
Andy: You beat all, you know that, Aunt Bee?
Bee: Hush, Andy! One more pickle jar & I get an extra life.
Andy: Well, you’re a bird in this world.
Barney: I think she’s a NUT!

Wicked Ballsy


It’s just a wild guess, but I’d venture to say we only clearly remember 10% of all that happens to us…maybe it’s as low as 5% or even 1%. Of course, much of that can come back if our memory is “refreshed.” So did I ever receive a gift wrapped in aluminum foil, as was suggested in 1956? I want to say yes…I do remember getting gifts wrapped with Sunday funnies or vintage newspapers…would that qualify as “scrapcraft”? I’m guessing this wrapping foil idea sunk like a Led Balloon, but the aluminum industry had another card up its sleeve, if you catch my drift, and I think you do. Anyway, I’m thinking that if I had received a Christmas gift covered in aluminum, I probably would have put it in the oven…

sHaMeLeSs pLuGs…

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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