#81: She’s NOT Your What Again?

Dear Stolf: I found your explanation of why Andy Taylor is Aunt Bee’s 1st cousin once removed…Andy’s father is Bee’s 1st cousin, not brother…very interesting. But aren’t you assuming that when Andy calls Bee’s niece Martha his “2nd cousin,” he is using that term correctly? After all, in common parlance, lots of people don’t.  …from Hershey, out on the Highway…

81.1  Dear Hersh: Yes, I am absolutely assuming that…and that’s how the Fan Logic Game is played. You can assume anything you want, so long as it jibes with the facts gleaned from the show…then you can argue with those who assume differently. That’s pretty much the whole point of the game…arguing. 😉 😉 Excuse me if I choose to think that the simplest and best interpretation of the facts is to assume that everyone means exactly what they say…that they are using kinship terms correctly.

81.2  The article you’re referring to is here: #41: She Ain’t Your Aunt. What I call the “smoking gun” episode is “A Baby in the House,” the 25th show of the 6th season, originally aired on March 7, 1966. Bee, Andy, and Helen are chatting when Bee gets a phone call. It’s her “niece” Martha calling from Jacksonville…BTW, there is a Jacksonville in North Carolina…in other episodes, the cities of Cleveland and Nashville are mentioned, and they too exist in NC…no doubt the writers meant the “bigger” cities, but who knows? Anyhow, Martha is traveling with her husband Darryl up to Jersey City for her sister Grace’s wedding, and she wonders if Bee could baby-sit her infant daughter Evie Joy. Also BTW, we see both Darryl and Martha…she is portrayed by an actress named Candace Howard…but no relation as far as I can tell to Ron and his acting family.

81.3  The point is, when Bee says it’s her niece Martha on the phone, Andy says to Helen “My second cousin.” And this establishes Bee as Andy’s father’s 1st cousin, not sister as most assume. After all, if Bee were Andy’s father’s sister, and Andy were literally her nephew, then her niece would be his 1st cousin…and Helen would certainly know that, understanding how aunts, nephews, and nieces work. It is quite telling then that Andy says what he says…altho again playing the Fan Logic Game, could you argue that he merely meant to emphasis that it’s a relative on his side of the family? Nope, because since Bee is unmarried, she has no other side…i.e. Martha can’t be her husband’s niece. Would she call her sister’s husband’s niece her niece? Seems unlikely.

81.4  You could even go so far as to suggest that Andy misspoke when he said “2nd cousin,” and he really mean “1st cousin”…but then who misspoke? The character Andy Taylor or the actor Andy Griffith? Pretty far-fetched if you ask me. Assuming they mean just what they say is more near-fetched, but I suppose that’s just me… 81.5  But let’s examine your idea. If Andy is making the typical “2nd cousin mistake,” then he and Martha would actually be 1st cousins once removed…that is, one is the 1st cousin of the other’s parent. They will say “My father’s 1st cousin is my 2nd cousin”…or else “My 1st cousin’s son is my 2nd cousin.” Chart 280a assumes the correct meaning of “2nd cousin.” In Chart 280b, Andy turns out to be Bee’s 1st cousin! He calls her “aunt” presumably because of the difference in ages…completely plausible. Then in Chart 280c, Andy is Bee’s grand nephew…she  abbreviates that to “nephew” and that’s also common usage.  After all, she calls father and son…Andy and Opie…both her “nephews.” 81.6  But continuing along those lines, what if Bee doesn’t literally mean Martha is her “niece”…that is, her sibling’s daughter. Maybe Martha is Bee’s 1st cousin’s daughter…they are 1st cousins once removed, or in the Spanish system, Martha is Bee’s 2nd niece. Or Martha could be Bee’s grand niece, again abbreviated to simply “niece.”  Charts 281 and 282 examine these possibilities, coupled with whatever the heck Andy might mean by “2nd cousin.” 81.7   The reason Martha is colored pink in all of these diagrams is that she is the “linchpin”…the formula goes: If Martha is X to Andy…and Martha is Y to Bee…what is Andy to Bee? I have summarized all the possibilities below in Chart 283…with “meaning literally what they say” highlighted, Chart 280a. It might be a worthwhile exercise for you to check my conclusions…you’ll notice that for Chart 281a, there are 2 possible relations for Andy…there may be others that I missed. And in fact, there is one other, which is why “1st cousin” for Andy for Chart 281b is marked with an asterisk*…in this case, the given relationships would still be consistent if Andy were Bee’s brother!  So help me, I couldn’t bring myself to include this possibility on the corresponding chart…can you blame me? But talk about skeletons in the Taylor family closet…

283 rev.png

81.8  But it is interesting to see that in 2 cases…Charts 281a and 282b…Andy would indeed be Bee’s nephew, as everyone supposes. Still, in the first case, that’s only if Bee is not being literal in what she says about Martha, and in the 2nd case, only if neither she nor Andy is being literal. That’s your call of course…believe what you like…and long live the Fan Logic Game!

Dear Stolf: At the beginning the 2012 “rebooted” Three Stooges movie, a duffle-bag is thrown from a speeding car, landing on the steps of an orphanage. Up pop 3 toddlers who are baby versions of the knuckleheads, implying that the trio are brothers. Were they in real life? … from Cartesia, in New Nyuck-Nyuck

81.9  Dear Cartesia: Maybe the Farrelly Brothers who made the movie had brothers on the brain…but here’s the scoop: 6 actors were Stooges down thru the years, and while 3 of them were brothers in real life, those 3 were never in the group all at the same time…it was 2 brothers and 1 others [sic]…that being Louis Feinberg, known professionally as Larry Fine. Shemp, Moe, and Curly were indeed brothers, the 3 youngest in a family of 5 boys…their parents were immigrants from Latvia. As an aside, you’ll sometimes see it said they were from Russia, but that’s “Soviet Union thinking,” because along with Estonia and Lithuania, the annexation of the 3 Baltic states was never recognized by the US…all thru the Cold War, each had an accredited representative in Washington D.C., albeit in exile. 81.10  At any rate, I read several places that little was known about the 2 older brothers, least of all their names…well, somebody wasn’t remembering that we now have online access to all the census data! Sure enough, I found the family right where it should have been, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn…that unusual spelling of “Isidore” persisted thru 2 censuses, so presumably it wasn’t just the census-taker’s error. In Chart 284 above, I’ve included the name “Jerry” because before he became an official Stooge in 1932, Curly appeared in several movies as Jerry Howard.  Altho now that I think about it, in Soup to Nuts Moe was billed as Harry Howard. This was one of several film they made with Ted Healy…they were considered his films at the time…today they’re marketed as just more 3 Stooges movies.

81.11  Chart 285 shows the evolution of the trio, starting as sidekicks of vaudeville performer Ted Healy, then on their own. Interesting to note that the lineup us Baby Boomers are most familiar with…at least what I thought of as the 3 Stooges…Larry, Moe, and Curly Joe…lasted almost as long as the “classic” Larry, Moe, and Curly…seeing old shorts, it was like “Hey, there’s a different bald guy!” 81.12  And yes, we ought to mention the mysterious “7th Stooge.” He was comedic actor Emil Sitka, and he appeared in various roles in 3 Stooges shorts and movies starting in 1946. When Larry suffered a stroke in 1971, plans were to have Emil take over as “Harry”…but nothing came of it, short of the publicity photo you see here, with him on the right. And not for nothing, but did you know that in real life, Jerry “Curly” Howard was a redhead? And while I’m thinking of it, it was sometimes spelled “Curley”…and he was considered the most popular…lobby posters would often read “Curly, Larry, Moe”…hence Larry’s nickname “the Middle Stooge.”


81.13  Here’s a new query from that wiseGEEK Cousins site…my answer went more or less like this: Call this cousin “Zelda.” For Zelda to be your 2nd cousin, you and she must be of the same generation. Are you? Your grandmother and her brother (your grand uncle) are of the same generation. Zelda is 1 generation down from them, but you are 2 generations down from them…so you and Zelda are not 2nd cousins. Zelda belongs your parent’s generation…she is your parent’s 1st cousin, because THEIR parents are siblings.  Since Zelda is your parent’s 1st cousin, you and Zelda are 1st cousins once removed. If Zelda has children, those children would be your 2nd cousins, because you and they would be of the same generation…their parent (Zelda) and your parent being 1st cousins. It’s easier to see if you try drawing it out on paper!

81.14  The interesting thing here is how more and more it seems, families are confronting the traditional way they always reckoned kin…with the correct way. Some balk at admitting they’ve been wrong their whole lives, but they should think on this: whether you admit it or not, you’re still wrong…so you might as well. But next came this: 81.15  OK, so somebody else is picking up the ball…that’s fine by me, as long as they get it right, which in this case they have. The fact that the answer here is so basic just goes to show the degree to which people on the one hand don’t know…but on the other hand, want to know…which is a good thing, certainly. That’s why Related How Again? exists after all…and in keeping with our policy that every question gets a chart, check out Chart 287 to the right…I just happen to have all these silver discs lying around…chow 4 now…

________________________________________ Copyright © 2012 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s