1/31/2011

item 1 >>> Now Playing…  Bad Little Actress Todd Rundgren, after a decade of one-man-band-ism, got a group together in the early 80s called Utopia, and did some of his finest work. This one is typical of his quirky chord patterns and interesting harmonies.

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†! Standells Hey, hey…it’s the Standells on The Munsters. Mind you, this was before they had any national hits…they were on the show because they were handy, a house band at a Hollywood club, the Peppermint West…which explains why they made a record called “Peppermint Beatle.”

item 3 >>> The Examined Blog…Today will be updates on things I’ve covered recently, plus some Deep-Fried reflections. The point of this blog? No point, I just write what I feel like writing about. My daily hits are small…I know there are ways to “drive” readership as they say, and if you know how to do that, please let me know. I chalk it up to over-saturation…millions of choices on the net…the odds are against you. But the strange thing is, 3 days last week, according to the stats WordPress provides, hits went up dramatically…10-fold. Then after 3 days, back down again…while at the same time, hits on my other blog (link below) starting shooting up. I don’t know what it means, maybe some sort of mindless pings generated by web-crawling robo-apps, who knows? I just say That’s Nice, and pretty much move on.

item 4 >>> A “Thanx So Much For Sharing” MomentI do some of my best thinking in the “Reading Room,” if you get my drift and I think you do. Turns out there may be something to that…the  enteric nervous system controls the digestive tract, and it’s sort of like a “second brain.” And actually, it evolved first…the “head” brain developed when things got too complex for the “gut” brain to handle. Mom always said, Don’t get your bowels in an uproar. And not for nothing, the ancient Greeks believed we did our thinking and emoting physically with our heart…the brain, as near as they could figure, was for “cooling the blood.” So the idea I had was this: Once before, and this will happen again,  I had a busy week planned…and decided I couldn’t do DFHC justice, so it took a brief vacation. Readership actually went up a tick during this hiatus, go figure. But a better way would be to suspend new posts, but each day go back to old ones and do 2 things: correct the typos and re-write for additional sparkling clarity…and also add pictures. Over the past several months, you may have noticed more items than not have something to look at as well as read..owing to the fact that I figured out how to do it. I even have a name for this retrofitting project: Refried Hoodsie Cups. Snazzy, no?

item 5 >>> Oh, and one more thing…Back on 1/22, I missed my deadline…punted the regular stuff…and just posted old comic strips, which BTW got an excellent response…made me feel a little less defeated. But at the time I made a decision…don’t hold yourself to 10 items…if you feel like writing less, write less…6, 7, 8, whatever. Have you noticed the number of items going down? Me neither…but it’s a weird thing…once you’re free to do whatever you want, doing what you’re gonna normally do anyway seems less of burden. Nothing changes, except in the mind. And it’s all in the mind, after all…but then again, what’s telling me that?

item 6 >>> Re Mr. Verdant Dungarees…Had a bit about Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum, Mr. Green Jeans…and I ended up posting some pictures of him on Facebook. I was surprised to find out that some people didn’t realize his jeans really were green. Which reminded me that not everybody back in the day had a color TV. Heck, dunno if my family ever would have had one if my Dad hadn’t won one in a raffle at a professional convention he attended. (Best guess tho: we probably would have.) The old big Sylvanioa set, with the glowing “Halo Light,” went downstairs in the cellar, and talk about luxurious living…2 TVs! I was the oldest of 5 kids…me and my next oldest brother would camp out down there and watch cooler stuff than the younger kids upstairs had on. This was I think around 1964 or 1965. But the fact that not every Baby Boomer was bathed in Living Color hadn’t occurred to me, and I’m glad it did. Nothing like remembering things the way they really were, sez me.

item 7 >>> The Prince of Haircuts…His weapon: The Singing Sword, mate to Excalibur. His horse: I had it, then lost it, sorry. But one thing about Prince Valiant that is true of very few comic strips, then and now, is that the characters age. Not in real time of course, but they do. Others? Doonesbury, Gasoline Alley, not many. I mean, after 60 years, Beetle Bailey’s parents are still at home fretting about their boy at boot camp. Several long-running strips aged at the beginning, then stopped. In Peanuts for example, both Linus and Sally were introduced as infants…and Schroeder was a lot younger…altho they all soon caught up with the other kids. In Blondie, Alexander Bumstead was born in 1934 as “Baby Dumpling”…his sister Cookie arrived in 1941. By the 1960s, they were teenagers, then froze. But did you know that Prince Valiant, who was a mere youth when the strip began in 1937, has been a grandfather since 1987? For the record, his progeny includes son Arn (born 1947), twins Karen and Valeta (1951) and sons Galan (1962) and Nathan (adopted in 1979). Arn and his wife Maeve, daughter of traitorous Mordred, had Ingrid in 1987…and I’m sure there’ve been more additions since. And here are some older views of Sir Gawain, and how he looks today…

item 8 >>> Against the Grain…Talking about grains…real ones like Wheat, Corn, Rye, and Millet….plus things used as grains, like Potato, Soy, Buckwheat…I came across one in the 2nd category: Hemp, which is to say, its seeds. Completely edible, supposed to be wicked good for you, and contains just the merest smidgeon of THC…not enough to stone even the most sensitive soul, but enough to cause a long-standing tug-of-war with the Federales. As best as I can reconnoiter, you can currently buy the cereal shown here from Amazon.com and I intend to, just to see. But it’s funny…just when I had decided not to include popcorn when mentioning de facto grains, Chip’ins popped up in the Sunday coupon section…yeah, popcorn chips. Don’t think they’ll ever replace good old Pork Rinds, but somebody thought they deserved a shot, and why not?

item 9 >>> Choca-Lotta…Many kinds of chocolate are called many different things: Baker’s, German, Dutch, Swiss, Bittersweet…turns out at least one, Dutch, whether or not the term is used accurately in all cases, refers to a specific process. It results in a smoother, milder-tasting product, with a richer color. Nestlé’s, while originating in the old country, is not considered “dutched,” nor is Hershey’s. But my cursory research uncovered that Hershey’s milk chocolate is also made with a special process, a trade secret to boot, that is less sensitive to the freshness of the milk used. Experts believe butyric acid is a byproduct, giving it what one site called “a particular sour, tangy taste.” I never noticed much difference, altho they say other manufactures simple add butyric ace to their chocolates, to mimic Hershey’s flavor. But then again, I don’t eat much of any candy these days…in fact, my sweet tooth is on display at the Alabama Dental Museum, where the Tuscaloosa.

item 10 >>> Sweeeeeeeet…Not!…But all this did prompt me to go out and buy some 100% unsweetened baking chocolate, just to see what the authentic chocolate taste really is. Sort of reminded me of my black coffee, which is not surprising. Can you buy completely unsweetened chocolate as a candy or confection, or do people just not have a taste for the bitterness for it? As it stands, the “darker” the chocolate, and the higher the % of Cacao, the less sugar. Tops out today at around 85%, altho a brand called Lindt’s has the  a “Supreme Dark” at an insane 90%. Watch this space. But speaking of dark, another thing to look into is near-black Oreo chocolate…I always thought it had a nice, distinctive flavor…recall they even spun off a breakfast cereal with it…and the ice cream cones are still available. Oreos came out in 1912, 4 years after it’s rival Hydrox. BTW, Baker’s Chocolate is a brand name…they began all the way back in 1765 in Dorchester, and a little morsel of company history will be turning up on next Sunday’s edition of Genealogy 4 Baby Boomers. Oh golly, can’t wait…but I’ll try to force myself, you just watch.

Wicked Ballsy

One of my favorite You-Might-Be-a-Baby-Boomer-If’s…and I swear this happens to me time and time again…is weight-loss ads, where you find you like the “before” better than the “after.” Here’s a similar comparison, from Sunday’s JCPenney flier. Now going strictly on physical appearance…and I know that’s not how you’d do it in real life, remembering the old Polish saying “You chose your wife with your ear, not your eye”…well, I’ll give you 3 guess which I prefer, and the first 2 don’t count. I like collecting images of 50s and 60s LP covers, and ones with models will sometimes show a, shall we say, emaciated sort of gal…pretty, but occasionally approaching skeletal. Today, you know what they’d say her problem was, but back then nobody thought in those terms. And I have to say, as someone who up until his early 30s was, while completely healthy, extraordinarily scrawny, it honestly isn’t always that. One of my brothers was also all pipe-cleaners growing up…my other brother was average in build…and we all ate the same stuff.

shameless XXXXXL 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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