12/31/2010

item 1 >>> Boston had a Yaz, but we could have also had a Jaz. I’m talking about Steve Jastrzembski, yes spelled with a “b.” He was a football standout at Pitt, an End, drafted by the Patriots in 1962. Instead he went on to a career as an Army dentist, retiring as a Colonel, then spent the next 10 years working as a pediatric dentist for Aramco Oil in Saudi Arabia. He died in 2009 at age 69.

item 2 >>> Here’s an interesting tale clipped from Readers Digest in 2001.

item 3 >>> The internet is like a ginormous encyclopedia, only it covers things any proper encyclopedia would never touch. I love looking up stuff from back in the day, to see if we had the right story or not. But sometimes, I stump the net, and that’s the case here, probably because the topic is so ridiculous…I know, you’re thinking, too ridiculous for the internet?!?! Well, it’s something I believe I saw as a kid in a Sunday “Believe-It-or-Not” comic strip…the existence of a “dorse,” which was the hybrid offspring of a horse and a deer. Sounds impossible, yet I was surprised to find, several years ago, that there are college-educated people in this world who honestly believe a tailless Manx cat is that way because it has some rabbit blood running thru its veins. But so far, I’m finding nothing…today on the net, “dorse” refers to a Photoshop mash-up of a dog and a horse. Best I could find was a Quebec rancher who in 2006 claimed a colt was born whose mom was a horse and pop a moose. Experts who examined it said there were some heavy draft-horse genes at work, nothing more. Unconvinced, he named it Bambi…

item 4 >>> Speaking of that, on my to-do list is to figure out how Bambi became a girl’s name, when in the movie it’s obviously a boy, and he in fact grows up to be a reasonably masculine-looking stag. Yet have you ever heard of a boy named Bambi? The Disney film was based on a novel by Austrian author Felix Salten called “Bambi, a Life in the Woods,” published in 1923, translated to English in 1928. In it, Bambi is a roe deer, not a white-tailed, and Faline, his eventual wife, is his cousin. Both these details were changed for the movie. Oddly enough, American author Marjorie Benton Cooke wrote a novel called “Bambi” in 1914, about a young girl nicknamed Bambi, for bambina, in Italian “baby girl.” You mean like Babe Ruth was the Bambino? Yeah, exactly what I mean, good for you. The original Bambi book had a strong conservationist message, again played down in the Disney version. Still, before Smokey Bear was the national spokes-critter for forest fires, it was you-now-who…but the deer was “on loan” to the Forest Service for only one year, hence the switch to the bruin…see today’s Wicked Ballsy

item 5 >>> Did you confuse Faline with Filene’s, the department store chain? I’m sure you weren’t the only one. The first store was founded in Boston in 1881 by William Filene, a German immigrant. The “Automatic Bargain Basement” opened in 1909…”automatic” referred to the price decreasing on a set schedule, based on how long an item remained unsold. So what happened to Filene’s? Eaten up by Macy’s in 2006.

item 6 >>> But the flip-side of Bambi is Bimbo, derived from bambino, “baby boy,” and originally used in English to refer to a dull-headed young man. Now it’s a ditzy young woman, but as recently as the early 1950s, the song “Bimbo,” as recorded by Jim Reeves and also Gene Autry, was about a boy. I first heard the word when Jackie Gleason on his Saturday night TV show mentioned “Bimbo’s 365 Club,” a nightclub in San Francisco. First opened in 1931 as a speakeasy by Italian immigrant Agostino “Bimbo” Giuntoli, it’s still around. And no, the name doesn’t mean it’s open every day of the year…it was originally at 365 Market St., before moving to its present location at 1025 Columbus Avenue in 1951.

item 7 >>> If you can stand a little more pro football history…the American Football League held its first college draft on Nov. 22, 1959. Participating were representatives of the 8 charter franchises: New York, Buffalo, Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston, Houston, and Minneapolis. While the NFL was cordial in public, wishing the new venture luck, behind the scenes they were working feverishly to derail the new competition. All the owners were reportedly approached and offered either an NFL expansion team, or part-ownership in an existing franchise…only the Minneapolis group bit, becoming the Vikings in 1961. This defection happened soon after the draft, and while I’m speculating here, I imagine frantic phone calls went out to many cities, including Seattle and Miami, which had previously rejected invitations to join up. But the solution came from Los Angeles Chargers owner Barron Hilton: he suggested they pick another California site to set up a rivalry with his team, or he would bolt too. So despite its lacking a suitable stadium, Oakland was announced as the “new” 8th franchise in January of 1960…the “old” 8th franchise had been the Boston Patriots, awarded just days before the draft in November.

item 8 >>> The Oakland Tribune held a contest to name the new team, and the winner was…the Señors. Amidst general derision, and accusations of ballot-stuffing, since one of the owners was famous for calling people “señor,” the name was changed several weeks later to one of the other candidates, Raiders…see below, and note the weird spelling. For their first 2 seasons, they were actually the San Francisco Raiders, splitting home games between Candlestick Park and Kesar Stadium.

item 9 >>> Like so many “one-hit wonders,” the Trashmen, that surfing group from Minneapolis, recorded lots of records…the “Bird Call” CD collects 80 tracks, both studio and live, of which only half are un-released “bonus” tracks, so that should give you some idea. “Dancing with Santa” is a Christmastime favorite, and there are tons more on YouTube, including “New Generation,” which contains one of the all-time great “Did I really hear that?” moments. The lyrics talk about partying on the weekends…”Saturday night, we’re doin’ it right, we couldn’t wake up Sunday with a hydrogen bomb” and then there’s the sound effect of…well, go listen to it yourself if you don’t believe me…no musicians were instantly vaporized during the making of this record…

item 10 >>> And for the complete story behind the story of the Trashmen’s fabled masterpiece “Surfin’ Bird,” see  http://thewholething.podbean.com episode #9. One of the best 25¢ I ever spent was on their only LP on Snuff Garrett’s Soma label in a record store in NE Ohio, Summer of 1971. They were practically giving it away, I couldn’t believe it. It’s a boss album, lemme tell you, vocals and instrumentals, but one puzzled me for the longest time. It’s called “Kuk”…you mean like yuck? Muck? Kuck? Trouble is, that word isn’t mentioned in the song, which is about a newbie trying to learn all the current surfing slang. Many years later, come to find out that “kuk” is pronounced “kook,” and meant a surfing newbie, like I just said…kul…

Wicked Ballsy

So it’s Ok for women to…well, this was 1944, after all…

shameful unplugs…

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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