item 1 >>>  Now Playing…  salt lake city From 1965, this is one of the Beach Boys’ oddest cuts…I mean, they are singing about Mormons, right?

item 2 >>>  LQQK @ †h∆†! Dropped Head Like many great illusions, this one is really quite simple. If you think about it, you can probably come pretty close to figuring it out…notice near the end, around the :30 mark, there’s something moving around under her robe on her right side…that’s her right hand! Still, this is one impressive illusion, I don’t care what parts fall off…

item 3 >>> The Pickle Story…Past few days I’ve touched on Li’l Abner and Dick Tracy, 2 of my all-time favorites, and boy do I miss them…and like maybe 3 dozen others. Today, most comic strips either aren’t funny or don’t make sense. But…for some reason I did start reading one called Pickles. Now that I think about it, probably because it’s physically slotted between the ones I do read…Mutts and Classic Peanuts. And it’s not bad…funny…sweet, even…give it a shot. It’s been around since 1990, drawn by a guy named Brian Crane…and it was named best newspaper strip in 2001 by the National Cartoonists Society. Here’s the back-story: It’s about a retired couple in Sparks, Nevada…Earl and Opal Pickles. They have a sheepdog Roscoe and a cat Muffin. The kid is their grandson Nelson Wolfe. His mom is Sylvia Pickles Wolfe-Rainwater and his step-dad is Dan Rainwater, a nature photographer. Nelson’s best friend is Emily Parker-Hanson…and Opal’s younger sister Pearl Redhouse runs an emu ranch. There, I believe you’re caught up. And notice how he gets it right in the 2nd strip, cats always sticking their butts in your face…

item 4 >>> “Oldies” is just what we call them…I say that because really there’s nothing “old” about the music. To me it’s as fresh and vibrant and tuneful and enjoyable as the day it was newly minted, and why not…we enjoy “old” movies, hang “old” paintings,” go to “old” plays. It’s all part of today, as far as I’m concerned. I always come back to that great quote: The oldest book is only just out to those who haven’t read it. I’m discovering “new” oldies all the time…and I am struck with how many younger people have picked up on it…sort of like how I picked up on my Dad’s  jazz, big band and swing music, once I gave it a chance. So that’s why I say one of today’s best comic strips…yes, today’s…is Classic Peanuts. Altho a caveat: apparently the syndicate gives newspapers a choice of 2 strips each day…one from the 60s and one from the 90s. I read 2 local papers, and they each pick one…the 60s is so much better. But you have to ask, when did Charles Schulz “jump the shark”? I’m thinking maybe around the time the character Rerun was introduced?

item 5 >>> The Truth About Chocolate…
Here’s what happens…the cocoa beans are shelled, fermented, dried, and roasted. They are then ground into a paste, which can be melted and shaped into blocks. This basic product is called by the industry cocoa liquor, kind of an odd name to the layman, not to be confused with “chocolate liqueur.” Cocoa liquor has 2 main components: 47% cocoa solids or powder, which gives chocolate its bitter taste and brown color…and 53% cocoa butter, which is essentially the fats. And here’s the Truth About Chocolate: if it don’t have both cocoa solids and cocoa butter, it isn’t chocolate! Myriad government labeling requirements spell it all out in gruesome detail, but that’s basically it. Semi-sweet or Dark Chocolate contains sugar to make it palatable…add milk, you have Milk Chocolate…add butter, and it’s time for Fudge. And not for nothing, but the Three Musketeers bar was named that because it was originally designed to break into 3 pieces.

item 6 >>> Un-Chocolate Num-nums…So here’s the deal: substitute vegetable fats for the cocoa butter, while retaining the cocoa solids, and you have what the industry calls Compound Chocolate. It’s used to coat many candy bars…what they call enrobed…dontcha just love these guys? Almost as bad as doctors. And it isn’t chocolate! It’s what you hear referred to as “chocolatey.” Now go the other way…remove the cocoa solids, leaving only the cocoa butter, and you have White Chocolate…which again, isn’t chocolate…in fact, they sometimes go one step further and make White Chocolate with vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter, resulting in what I would call White Nothing. I’m not saying it can’t taste wonderful, I’m just laying it out for you. Always look on the label for the % of Cacao, the fancy-pants name for cocoa liquor…and notice that White Chocolate doesn’t mention it…cuz it simply ain’t there, bub.

item 7 >>> Everything Old is New Again…Headline in the paper: SNOWSTORMS HELP TV RATINGS SOAR. Well, duh…same thing happened back in 1947, in New York City. Christmas was a Thursday, and Friday night it started snowing. By Saturday afternoon they had over 2 feet, everybody stayed home and watched the first broadcast of Bob Smith on Puppet Playhouse. This was actually intended to be a rotating trio of kiddie shows…the others hosted by Paul Winchell and Ed Herlihy (born in Boston.) But when they saw the ratings for the first one, due in no small part to the white stuff, thank you very much…they decided to go with Smith and Howdy every Saturday…and of course, eventually every weekday. Many moons later, Ed and Paul would appear as guests on The Howdy Doody Show, to survey what might have been, I suppose…

item 8 >>> Baaaaaaack….The rest of today’s items feature old technologies…first, some eye-opening memories from a Radio Shack ad dated January, 1991. And to give you an idea about the storage space on that old Tandy computer, you’d need 12,000 of them to equal 250 Gigs…at a cost of almost 18 million dollars…but man, would Radio Shack love you!

item 9 >>> Even further….Next, going back to June, 1980…and since I never had any rhythm to speak of, I guess I didn’t have any biorhythms either, when you think about it…

item 10 >>> Further still….And finally, 20 years earlier than that, the grandaddy of all video games…

Wicked Ballsy

pritti cat sez: thot me herd sumthin…R U sumthin?…

shameless chocolate-point plugs…

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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