item 1 >>> Now Playing…  star You remember Stealers Wheel…that Scottish group featuring Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. Every oldies station plays “Stuck in the Middle with You”…the more adventurous ones might throw in “Everything’ll Turn Out Fine.” But like just about everybody else, they did a lot of great stuff, including this one with a Beatle-esque sound.

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†! I\’m Free What’s a shmastika? It’s a corporate logo that resembles the dreaded S-symbol. There are more around than you might think, and this video shows one…actually, the company itself shows it thru inadvertent animation. More at Stolf’s Blog (see link below) in the Poutine-on-a-Stick section.

item 3 >>> Dick Tracy Calling Manuel Tijuana Guadalajara Tampico “Go-Go” Gomez, Jr…Well, that’s from the dopey cartoon show, sort of…but Chester Gould’s comic strip was must reading when I was growing up. I even liked when he started taking drugs (how else to explain it?) in the 60s and started that Moon People story-line. Remember, Diet Smith invented the magnetic Space Coupe, they went to the Moon and found people there. Tracy’s son Junior even married the King’s daughter Mood Maid and they had a baby named Honeymoon, born wearing thigh-boots…that must have been some DNA, boy. Gould eased out of that when we really landed on the Moon in 1969…Mood Maid was even killed in a car explosion, rigged to get Tracy. But see how many of these outlandish villains you recall…I remember them all…and that Pouch was the most disturbing…able to tote things around in the folds of his neck…yuck…

item 4 >>> A Flesh Wound the Size of a Bowling Ball…I also liked Al Capp’s Li’l Abner, and my favorite part was the strip-within-a-strip…and Li’l Abner’s favorite too…”Fearless Fosdick,” a crazy Dick Tracy spoof. His boss was The Chief, his sidekick Shmooser, and he battled such criminals as Eagle-Eye Fleegle, Sen-Sen O’Toole, and Any Face. Capp even parodied Chester Gould as Lester Gooch, who toiled for the Squeezeblood Syndicate. It’s said that behind the scenes Gould was annoyed by the satire, but never publicly criticized Capp…and the one time they met, thanked him for the free publicity. Capp for his part always praised Gould as a “magnificent’ cartoonist…and of course, he poked fun at everyone and everything, including many other comics…Peanuts, Mary Worth, Superman, everybody. Fosdick was so popular that for a time he endorsed Wildroot Hair Tonic, as seen here with with his fiancee Prudence Pimpleton…geez, the chins their kids would have had!

item 5 >>>  Greasy Skid Stuff…But then, it wasn’t just Fearless Fosdick hawking the hair goo. Al Capp got in on the fun…another of the 20th Century’s greatest hucksters.

item 6 >>> Stringing Along…There was even a marionette Fearless Fosdick show that ran for 13 episodes in 1952. It was created by puppeteer Mary Chase, and when Al Capp saw the puppet’s fedora hat, he realized it really did look a lot like the real thing. He changed it to the bowler, no doubt out of respect for Chester Gould.

item 7 >>> Who Delt This Mess?…Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result each time. And one insanity that never seems to go away…and I’m strangely fascinated by it so I don’t mind…is the people who think they can “improve” a standard deck of playing cards. Either buy adding more suits, or extra ranks to the existing suits, or both. Now to be fair, maybe some modestly believe that cardplayers might like their new decks for an occasional change of pace…but I suspect the majority hope people will throw away their outmoded, old-fashioned cards and snap up the new improved ones. As if. Never happens, but they keep on trying, God bless ’em. Here are 2 that are currently available. This one adds a new suit, Stars, adds 2 more ranks…a 1 that’s different from an Ace, and a Princess ( P) between the Jack and Queen…and colors all 5 suits differently for good measure.

item 8 >>> This Isn’t a Hand, It’s an Octopus…This astonishing deck adds 4 more suits…doubling the size of the deck…left to right we see Tears, Moons, Stars, and Clovers…everyone’s after me Lucky Charms!

item 9 >>> How about a friendly game of Stolf Poker?…But listen, I’m not immune to the “improve what works” bug. My poker variant would be standard 5-card draw, no wild cards, regular deck…but several new hands, especially at the lower end, to make things more interesting. Well, it’s interesting the way it is, I know…but my way, you get “junk” less often…here’s the hierarchy of hands…and laugh if you must, but I think it’s more like “real” poker than that Texas Hold ’em nonsense…and BTW, the ranks of these hands are based on Uncle Wiki’s math…altho they seem right to me.

item 10 >>> Yesterday’s item 2… I had the Led Zep James Brown spoof “The Crunge,” from their 5th record, Houses of the Holy. Now even back in the “innocent” days of 1973, the sight of naked kids on an LP cover raised some eyebrows. In fact, if stores wanted it, there was a version of the shrink-wrap with graphics that covered up the kiddies’ po-pos. But did you know that the entire cover consisted of just 2 children…a brother and sister who were child models, Stefan and Samantha Gates.


Wicked Ballsy

TV Guide magazine went national April 3, 1953 with that famous cover of Lucille Ball and her new baby…but it existed for several years before that in major markets, and this cover is one of them…with the above mentioned Fearless Fosdick puppet show.

fearless plugdicks…

Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (the legendary Stolf’s Blog)

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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