2/14/2011

SPECIAL BONUS!!!…For those who got thru yesterday’s Genealogy for Baby Boomers, I posed a problem, to be answered next week. But you know what I should have done? I should have supplied you with a Parental Tree Tool Kit. So here it is…now you can cut and paste till you’re blue in the face…


item 1 >>> Now Playing…  Day After Day In 1969, reggae was just starting, and these guys were doing calypso…this song was big in LA, elsewhere, zilch..but who cares? Cool tune by Shango, A&M records.

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†! Here Comes Your Man From 1989, the Boston band The Pixies…they called this their “Tom Petty song.” A dumb video IMHO, but a fantastic song…

item 3 >>> When Years Really Were Shorter…Today will be a Follow-Up Monday, touching on items from the past several weeks. Back on on 2/8 I talked about shorter years…did you know that the year was once just 10 months long? And the clue is the fact that the names of our current months don’t match their number…September is the 9th, not 7th…October is the 10th, not 8th…November is the 11th, not 9th, and December is the 12th, not 10th. Here’s what happened…up until around 700 BC, Winter-time did not have months! The year started in March and proceeded as follows: Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Iunius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, December.  After that came a monthless period of about 60 days…this was eventually split into January and February…and of course, Quintilis was renamed July for Julius Caesar…and Sextilis became August for Caesar Augustus.

item 4 >>> Insert Month Here…Actually, the ancient Roman calendar was terrifically complicated due to something called Intercalation. It’s what we do every 4 years by inserting a leap day into February. But to keep the dates aligned with the solar and lunar cycles, the Romans had an entire leap month! When it was to be inserted, and how long it would last, was up to the priests, who also functioned as astronomers. Plus their week had 8 days, not 7…this was the “market week,” the 8th day being market day, when outlying farmers would bring in their produce, and Romans would buy a week’s worth. Trouble is, they never did anything the easy way. Since the number of days in a year was not divisible by 8, which day of the week was market day would change from year to year. So if I’m reading this right, the last week of the year would have fewer than 8 days, due to the market day changeover. In their conquests, the Romans encountered other systems, and for whatever reason, the 7-day week caught their fancy. Emperor Constantine made it official in 321 BC.

item 5 >>> 9 Days a Week…Of course, the Romans called their old 8-day system “nundial,” after the number 9…the idea being the 9th day re-started the 8-day cycle. The technical term for that type of mathematical thinking is  “inclusive.” It explains the Bible’s odd dating of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection…how something that happened 2 days later is said to have occurred “on the 3rd day.” And really, we still do something similar…for example, how many days does it take to go from Sunday to Monday? One day. So from Sunday to Sunday takes 7 days…altho the period of Sunday to Sunday comprises 8 days…Sunday to Saturday is 7 days…get it? Take a deep breath.

item 6 >>> Excuse Me if I Don’t Believe You…But what started this whole business was Smithsonian Magazine’s snarky disclaimer “…is published 11 times a year, but occasionally publishes combined issues, which counts as 2 issues.” Sure looks 10 physical issues a year to me…so I emailed them to ask and got this reply… Uh-huh. But then what does “counts as 2 issues” mean exactly? These guys are too weasely by half, and you can quote me.

item 7 >>> Breezeway To Go…On 2/12 we mentioned breezeways…they came on Mercuries all thru the 1960s…that’s what they called this style roof-line… Other cars tried it too…this one is French…sacre breeze…

item 8 >>> That Living Doll Will Be the Death of Me…Back on 1/3, we saw the actual doll the Twilight Zone’s Talky Tina was based on. They’ve made bobble-heads (!!) of her for some time, now you can buy the real thing…for $139.99…um, let’s round that off to $130.00, shall we?

item 9 >>> The UnChocolate…As a follow-up to my “Truth about Chocolate” from 1/29…in this day and age, when product labeling laws become more cumbersome and niggling by the hour it seems, it’s strange to think that in at least one case, they are today less restrictive than in the past. Strange but true, when it comes to “White Chocolate.” Recall that real chocolate consists of 2 basic components…cocoa solids, giving it it’s color and taste….and cocoa butter, which is the fat, adding taste and positive “mouth feel.” You have to have both parts to call your product “chocolate.” Thus White Chocolate, developed in the 1930s by Nestlé, containing cocoa butter but no cocoa solids, could not be called “chocolate.” This changed in 2002 when the FDA revised the “Standard of Identity”…”White Chocolate” was now a permitted term for a confection with at least 20% cocoa butter. And indeed, this improved the product…prior to this, the name prohibition prompted manufacturers to substitute vegetable oils for cocoa butter. This left no chocolatey taste whatsoever…it was mostly vanilla, which is still used in many white as well as brown chocolate formulations. But in the old days, heck…white meant coconut, right?

item 10 >>> Why I Didn’t Think of It as a Bulb up His Butt…Remember that Howdy Doody night-light I had as a kid, as featured on 1/8? Made by Nor’east Nauticals of Cambridge. Here’s what it looked like with the light on…and a pair of salt-and-pepper shakers made from leftover heads. The box said “Useful and Ornamental”…roger that…fine-dining-o-doodle, sez me.

Wicked Ballsy

On 1/21, I had 3 pictures of Howdy Doody Look-a-like Contest winners…actually, the one of the left was the winner…the other 2 were just funny-looking kids I threw in…sorry. As far as I know, there was never a Heidi Doody contest, but if there had been, here are my 3 finalists…voting closed 50 years ago yesterday…

shameless Pluggy Doody…

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 at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com

Audio samples coming soon…or just check the podcasts…twc-rr blows…

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