#194: Fresh Up Freddie Sez…

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194.1  So what’s Fresh up Freddie have to do with anything? He was a cartoon spokescritter for 7Up, created by the Disney studios for their prime time TV series Zorro…debuting in October, 1957. And it’s interesting to consider how our ideas about the past differ from the way things really were at the time. It’s fair to say that today Zorro is considered a children’s show…and for its 2 seasons it did air at 8pm, early enough for most schoolchildren. Yet the 7Up commercials, many of which you can see on YouTube, were aimed at adults and older teens…despite the fact that soft drinks were one of the few consumer goods kids could purchase on their own. Then again, one of the earliest sponsors of The Flintstones was Winston cigarettes!

194.2  But the reason Fresh Up Freddie pops up today is his catch-phrase…”Right now you’re probably asking yourself…” And right now you’re probably asking yourself if I’ve said all I care to about step-cousins…and the answer is: almost. Because when I was rooting around the Yahoo! Answers website, I found several posts worth commenting on…which is what we’ll do today…starting with…

inset 1194.3  Here we assume that the cousin grandpa married was his 1st cousin, giving us the diagram on the left side of Chart 693. Your grandpa’s 2nd wife B is your dad’s step-mother, so to that extent she is your step-grandmother. They state that B is also their 3rd cousin, which is wrong, but in an interesting way. It has been my experience that people who make the mistake of thinking the child of their 1st cousin is their 2nd cousin have not thought out the implication of this mistake…namely that this would also make your parent’s 1st cousin your 2nd cousin. Likewise, calling your 1st cousin’s grandchild your 3rd cousin makes your grandparent’s 1st cousin also your 3rd cousin.

chart 693

194.4  But this person here has grasped that concept…presumably considering C their 2nd cousin, along with D  of course their 1st cousin. It’s interesting simply to see this cousin mistake taken back to past generations…usually it’s made going forward to succeeding generations.

chart 694

194.5   And this person then carries the cousin mistake forward to his generation in a consistent manner…X, which he calls his “step-auntie,” would be his father’s step-sibling and also his father’s 3rd cousin, so his 4th cousin. And X‘s child Y would then be his 5th cousin. As I said, wrong but at least consistent! I took the trouble to draw all this out to emphasize once again that this cousin mistake gives you an even/odd cousin system…members of your dad’s generation, like C and X, are your 2nd and 4th cousins respectively…even. and Y are members of your generation, and as such are your 1st and 5th cousins…and C‘s child would be your 3rd cousin…odd. The point being that when somebody calls their 1st cousin’s child their 2nd cousin, they don’t realize that in one fell swoop they’ve established this awkward even/odd system…I’m just sayin’…

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194.6  So in Chart 695, multi-godzillionaire A wants to leave her vast fortune to Z…and wonders which of 3 ways to describe lucky Z would be best…answer: none of them!

chart 695

With something as important as a will, you want to identify beyond all possible doubt the exact person you’re talking about…full name, address at the time the will is written, and a detailed description of how this person is related to you. Anything less, and you’re asking for trouble in probate. Trust me, if you left everything to “my 2nd cousin,” intending that to mean your 1st cousin’s child, there isn’t a court in the land that wouldn’t give it all to your parent’s 1st cousin’s child. D’oh!

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194.7  “…nothing wrong with the face”…they almost certainly meant “fact” not “face”…back in the day there used to be such a thing as proofreading. Which is not to say a pleasant countenance isn’t always appreciated…let alone the minor detail that this isn’t your step-2nd cousin but your step-1st cousin once removed descending.

chart 696

The part I like is where they lose control of their pronouns, and have their grandfather marrying his great grandmother…replace “his” with “my cousin’s” and you’re back on track.

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194.8  What’s cool here is the mention of a brother who is on another side of the family…thus he can’t be a full brother, with the same parents as you, since in that case there is no other side of the family. Could he be a half-brother? Possibly, but then one might think he could be at least a little bit on your side, which he evidently isn’t.

chart 697

I’d reckon he’s your step-brother…and with step-brothers like that, who needs — oh, never mind. But you’re right…none of the steps are blood relatives of yours, so go for it, sez me.

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194.9  I’m commenting on this only to point out the superfluous use of the word usually…which you see a lot these days, along with its step-double half-2nd cousin generally. I came across this recently on Uncle Wiki, where is was said: Expletive infixation is a process by which an expletive or profanity is inserted into a word, usually for intensification.”  What they’re talking about, using mild oaths, are such constructions as “in-frickin’-credible” and “un-blasted-believable.”

194.10  One of the most famous comes from My Fair Lady, in the song “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”…”abso-bloomin’-lutely.” Now where Wiki says “usually for intensification” …this means sometimes NOT for intensification, but for something else…and I’ve wracked my brains trying to think what what that something else might be…and come up dry. Likewise, “step generally means married into the family” means other times step means something else…but what could that be? How do you get a step without somebody somewhere in your family being hitched? Search me.

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194.11 Sure, it’s easy to chuckle at people who don’t know what removed means…here they think removed can somehow move horizontally…which it can’t, only vertically. Let’s just call this an entertainingly mistaken shot in the dark.

chart 698

Now by “technical term” they mean, whether they know they do or not, the genealogical jargon or short-hand for a complicated (agreed!) relationship. And the suggestion in the box at the bottom is utterly sound…just spell it out for what it is and be done with it. I would make just one modification: “step-son of my cousin’s aunt on the other side of the family.”  Because after all, your cousin’s aunt could be your aunt, or even your mother, nez pah?

inset 7

194.12  okay, I’m not a 15 year old girl, but I can still draw pretty pictures. And I hope nobody minds that we assume cousin means 1st cousin…and further, her step-cousin’s cousin is a cousin by blood. Recall that there are 3 different things that can conceivably be called your step-1st cousin…

chart 699

…and here they are…X is the one you like. Notice that in Chart 699 I got sloppy and made you a boy instead of a girl…but then this is 2014, so I guess nobody is supposed to notice “that”…if you get my drift, and I think you do. Anyway, X is of no blood relation to you, so you’re in the clear as far as that goes. You’re being a minor, I dunno how far that should actually go, but there you go…

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194.13  And finally…one of the challenges in helping people with their kinship queries is in figuring out what they’re talking about in the first place. The “2nd cousin mistake” is so rampant that you have to watch out for it…still, I will assume they are using it correctly unless there is evidence to the contrary. Here, interestingly enough, there is evidence they are using “2nd cousin” correctly…it’s slim, but it’s there.

chart 700

It hinges on the wording “my 2nd cousin’s mom”…using 2C correctly, that would be your parent’s 1st cousin…incorrectly, it would be your 1st cousin. And in the latter case, why not just say that your 1st cousin got married while you were dating the new spouse’s daughter, whom you now consider some sort of step-cousin to you. So it suggests they’re using 2C correctly…but like I said, it’s slim. But correct or not, step-cousins no matter how you construe them are simply not blood relations and everybody ought to quit worrying about it…and that’s pretty much been today’s message. Next week, we rekindle the Coyfield and McHat Feud…woo hoo!


wicked ballsy


Back to Fresh up Freddie…above are the stars of the 1944 Disney film The Three Caballeros…Donald Duck…Brazilian parrot Jose Carioca…and Mexican rooster Panchito.  And as you can see below, the look of Freddie was patterned very closely after Panchito.


So why is it often said that Freddie is a combination of Panchito and another character from the movie, the Aracuan Bird? Altho he has limited screen time, Aracuan steals every scene he’s in. A frenetic cross between Daffy Duck and Robin Williams, he went on to star with Donald in 2 more short features…and see below, he looks nothing like the Brazilian speckled chachalaca, locally called the aracuana…nor does he bear the slightest resemblance to Freddie…so what gives?


Well, I had the presence of mind to actually watch the aforementioned cartoons, and the mystery was solved. The Aracuan Bird has a signature song that includes an infectious hoot which is similar altho not identical to Fresh up Freddie’s trademark “doot’en, doot’en, doot’en!”check here…and reinforcing the Disney connection, in this commercial Fred’s adversary is none other than Mickey Mouse’s old nemesis, Black Pete.


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


#193: Exploding Heads

193.1  Today’s blog is utterly gratuitous. You can skip it if you want to…come back next week…no hard feelings. I’m doing it just because I want to…and can. Actually, it’s an exaggeration…things will get rather complicated, but it’s all built up one steep at a time, piece by piece, relative by relative. I realistically expect all heads to survive intact.

193.2  But the thought I had was this: take the 3 types of step-1st cousins, put them all on one chart, then see how they are related to each other. Again, as I’ve been saying for the past several weeks, the idea of step-relations beyond the immediate family of parents/children/siblings is probably “taking it too far” for a lot of people…like calling your wife’s sister’s husband your brother-in-law-in-law or something. Still, what happens if we do take it too far..

inset 1193.3  To start, we’ll take the 3 kinds of step-1st cousins and label them X, Y, and Z.

X…your parent’s step-sibling’s child
Y…your parent’s sibling’s step-child
Z…your step-parent’s sibling’s child

193.4  And just to be absolutely clear, all marriages will be labeled as 1st or 2nd…Chart 688…then it’s just a matter of wending our way thru the branches. There’s an old-timey word you don’t hear much these days…wend.

chart 688

193.5  From X‘s point of viewY is his father’s step-brother’s step-son…Z is his father’s step-brother’s second wife’s nephew. And no, Z isn’t C‘s step-nephew…simply C‘s nephew by marriage

193.6  From Y‘s point of viewX is his step-father’s step-brother’s son…Z is his step-father’s brother’s second wife’s nephew.

193.7  And from Z‘s point of viewX is his step-uncle’s step-brother’s son…and Y is his aunt’s husband’s brother’s step-son. Again, C is in no way Z‘s step-uncle, since C is neither Z‘s parent’s step-brother…nor is C the brother of Z‘s step-parent. C is merely Z‘s aunt’s husband…nothing more.

193.8  That wasn’t so bad…or was it? Except to point out that we’re beyond steps here…on the one hand steps of steps…and on the other hand relationships that can only be described as “by marriage” since there are no steps directly involved…as with C and Z. Do we dare proceed with a mass diagram of step-2nd cousins? Yes, but for a different reason…recall the 5 kinds of step-2nd cousins…

1…your step-parent’s 1st cousin’s child
2…your step-grandparent’s sibling’s grandchild
3…your grandparent’s step-sibling’s grandchild
4…your grandparent’s sibling’s step-grandchild
5…your parent’s 1st cousin’s child

193.9  …yielding Chart 689, which might almost be described as magnificent, in its own lugubrious sort of way…

chart 689

193.10  But instead of relating  1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to each other…which you’re perfectly free to do if you like…I’ll instead use Chart 689  to demonstrate what I meant last week when I said that these types of step-2nd cousins compliment each other by pairs…they are opposite ends of one relationship. That is, if you have a type 1, to him you are a type 5…if you have a type 5, to him you are a type 1. Ditto with types 2 and 4…and 3’s are all 3’s to each other.

193.11 These charts spell that out…and to analyze one example, in Chart 690, what 5 is to you, you are to 1. Starting with you (green line) and 1 (orange line) you go up to a grandparent…then to the grandparent’s sibling…then to the sibling’s child…then to the child’s step-child. The green and orange lines don’t look exactly the same because in some cases I have diagrammed both parents, in other cases just one parent, but if you follow it along, you’ll see the paths are identical.

chart 690 chart 691 chart 692

193.12  And if this reminds you of how you are a spousal BIL to your fraternal BIL, and a fraternal to your spousal…well that’s as it should be. Next week, we wrap up steps with a collection of notions and sundries…back in 7…

wicked ballsy


Uncle Grandpa is the star of a bizarre animated TV series of the same name…he is described as being either the uncle or grandfather of everyone on Earth…a neat trick, but then it’s only a cartoon show, nez pah? And yes, one episode features his counterpart, Aunt Grandma. In a similar vein are…the title of the first Make Room for Daddy episode: “Uncle Daddy”…a concoction from the Pogo comic strip, Aunt Granny’s Bitter Brittle Root, said to cure the cold robbies and whim-whams…heck, even Uncle Junior from The Sopranos. 


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#192: Watch That Second Step…It’s a Lulu!

192.1  Today we get into some heavy-duty kinship analysis…but it will demonstrate a valuable point…that being, as you expand your family tree, you’ll find various relations can occur in more than one way, which might not be immediately obvious. For example, last week I mentioned double 1st cousins can exist in only one basic configuration on your family tree….double 2nd cousins, in 3 ways…double 3rd cousins, in 6 ways, etc. And that’s what will happen today with…

192.2  …step-2nd cousins…And TBT, I don’t recommend you try this at home…it’s merely an academic exercise, shall we say. Because as we saw last week, there is ambiguity in steps as you move beyond the nuclear step-family of parents, children, siblings. Step-1st cousins can occur in 3 distinct ways…it’s a connection between 2 people, no argument there…does it raise to the level of a relationship? In my opinion yes, but a tenuous one…all the more so for step-2nd cousins…and beyond.  

chart 680

192.3  But to give it a whirl…Chart 680 shows how we figure step-2nd cousins…and there are 2 interesting things to notice…

chart 681

In column B, I have re-written the definitions of step-1st cousin so that each contains the words parent, sibling, and child…the definitions in column A did not. And notice how “step-” (in yellow) migrates neatly down the 3 definitions. Now to get the definitions of step-2nd cousin in column C, we remember that 2nd cousins are the offspring of 1st cousins, just as 1st cousins are the offspring of siblings. So where it says “sibling” in column B, we replace that with “1st cousin” in column C…done and done…or are we?

inset192.4  The second definition of step-2nd cousin, highlighted to the left in yellow…does anything occur to you? If not, something would when you tried to diagram these out…step-1st cousin can mean 3 different things!  We now have 5 definitions for step-2nd cousin, not 3.


chart 682

192.5  So I’ve expanded the 3 to 5, and re-written the “new” 3 with grand- terminology. All that’s left to do is diagram them out…see them working in action! And just to be completely kosher, we’ll check that these really are step-2nd cousins. To do that, we’ll remove the step-relationship, indicated by the green arrow, and see what comes of it. In Chart 683  for example, we reconstruct the relationship assuming that the step-mother of YOU is actually YOU’s biological mother…and sure enough…

chart 683

chart 684

chart 685

chart 686

chart 687

192.6  Particularly nice to see how the green arrow indicating the origin of the step-relation migrates up one side of the tree, then down the other. This is simply mathematics’ way of telling us that the 1st type compliments the 5th type, the 2nd type compliments the 4th, and the 3rd type compliments itself…nice how we can all get along, nez pah? Next week, brains hurt and heads explode…don’t miss it!

wicked ballsy


BTW…based on the above reasoning, I believe there are 7 kinds of step-3rd cousins…I leave that as an exercise for you, dear reader…and if you care to tackle it, gold star for you, old school style...


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved

#191: Don’t Step on the Cousins

191.1   First off, we must ask if there is such a thing as a “step-cousin.” Just because you can say it…put the words “step” and “cousin” together…doesn’t mean you’re referring to anything real. I mean, take “step-spouse”…that would be the husband or wife of your —- your what? See, nothing comes.

191.2  But honestly, it’s reasonable to think that a step-cousin is something…after all, when you get a step-parent, that person has relatives…parents, siblings, children, uncles and aunts, grandparents, and of course, cousins…numbered and removed. So to get the lay of the land…to see what the hoi polloi  thinks…I went to Yahoo! Answers and searched questions mentioning step-cousins…which we will assume are step-1st cousins unless stated otherwise.

191.3 I looked at the first 10 “pages” of questions and answers…86 in total…and here are the results…

inset 1

It’s not surprising that almost half didn’t specific precisely what a step-cousin was supposed to be…most of the questions were about dating and/or whatever-ing a step-cousin. Only a few were concerned with what a step-cousin actually is…and they did manage to correctly identify the 3 kinds of step-cousins…altho none of the posters thought it could be more than just one single thing. Of the 10 others, each was different, and each was wrong…we’ll look at those, just for the fun of it, in a moment.

chart 674

191.4  type 1…Nephew of Step-Parent…This is pretty straightforward…you have a new mother, step-mother A…she has a sister, your step-aunt…and she also has a nephew, her sister’s son, your step-cousin. If A were your biological mother, her nephew would be your biological 1st cousin, so that checks, as far as it goes. The fact that there are 2 other kinds of step-cousins suggests we’re taking steps a little too far, but you’re perfectly free to.

191.5  In Chart 674 and the succeeding charts, your blood relatives are labelled in black, all others in yellow…also, people in green are not specifically mentioned in the original question and answers…I’ve put them there to further analyze the connections. Here, B is your step-sibling…and his 1st cousin is your step-cousin…just another way to define it.

chart 675

191.6  type 2…Uncle’s Step-Son…Again, if this person were your uncle’s biological son, he would be your 1st cousin…but he’s a step-son so your step-cousin. And he is also your cousin B‘s step-brother. Plus it’s complimentary…if somebody is your type 2, you are his type 1, and vice versa.

chart 676

191.7  type 3…Parent’s Step-Sibling’s Son…Finally, Chart 676  takes it back a generation. A is your father’s step-father…his son B is your father’s step-brother…and when brother’s have children, those children are 1st cousin. In this case, the brothers are not biological brothers but step-brothers, so the cousins are step-cousins. And unlike the other 2 types, type 3  is completely reciprocal….see today’s wicked ballsy.

191.8  At this point you might ask: if last week we found there were 2 kinds of step-uncles, and a step-cousin is a step-uncle’s son, why are there 3 types of step-cousins, not 2? Because types 1 and 2 are thru step-uncles…type 3 is thru a biological uncle. The moral is: as you extend relatives, both direct and collateral, you also increase the number of ways a given relationship can come about. For example, there is only one way you can have double 1st cousins…but for double 2nd cousins, there are 3 ways…and for double 3rd cousins, 6 ways.

191.9  As to the other 10 ways folks at Yahoo! Answers thought you could have a a step-cousin, they are a mixed bag for sure…and as I said, none of them are step-cousins….OK, one is a maybe…can you guess which?

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191.10 Spouse’s Cousin…Marriage creates 2 types of non-biological relationships…in-laws and steps. For example, if I were to marry a woman, her mother is my mother-in-law…her son is my step-son. Being a native speaker of English does not insulate you from getting these two confused, as we see here. Your spouse’s cousin is properly your cousin-in-law…altho why not just keep it simple and say: my spouse’s cousin. K.I.S.S.

191.11 …Mom’s BF’s Niece…Here they’re jumping the gun..no steps exist until somebody gets hitched. Were the Mom to marry the boyfriend, he would become your step-father…his children your step-siblings…and his nieces and nephews your step-cousins. The important thing is this: traditionally, you could not have a father and a step-father both alive…a step-relationship came about thru the death of a parent. Today of course, you can have both…and if you’re a child, the question of where you’re living becomes important. If you’re living with your father, your mother’s new husband is acting less as a step-father than if you were living with your mother. In other cases, one’s step-father might be the only father you’ve ever known, and to you be considered just your father, not really your step.

191.12  As things get more complicated, there are no hard and fast rules…at the very least many people would consider only your parent’s current spouse as your step-parent…but others would say no, you can have 3 or 4 step-fathers, depending on how things went, On the other hand, some people might consider none of their mother’s subsequent husbands as their step-father, including the current one…and how about husbands she had before your father? Can a live-in be considered as step-parent? They can certainly function as one. So you’re pretty much free to categorize them as you see fit.

191.13  …Uncle’s Adopted Son…In 191 blogs, I don’t think Related How Again? has ever touched upon adopted or foster children…for the simple reason that genealogy is primarily concerned with blood ties…and blood ties result when 2 different lines are united in an act of procreation. There is no procreation directly involved in adoption…even tho you can adopt a relative, obviously. Still, genealogy can trace other types of  family ties and connections.. “Step” is simply the wrong way to say it…”adopted” means adopted…and if you call your adopted brother simply your “brother,” that’s fine.

chart 677

191.14  …Uncle’s New Wife’s Nephew…which is to say, your uncle’s step-nephew. Now in Chart 677, X is your 1st cousin…Y is X‘s step-brother…and Y‘s 1st cousin Z could be considered X‘s step-cousin. The question is, could Z also be your step-cousin? Well, think of it this way: was the nephew of Uncle A‘s first wife also your step-cousin? They couldn’t be, because before the second marriage, there was no step-relationship between anybody! What’s more, some might argue that it’s a stretch to consider your Uncle A‘s step-son your step-cousin (as we are doing here), let alone Uncle A‘s step-nephew.

191.15  In the end, it’s how a question of how far you want to extend it…what if has a step-brother…or step-cousin, thru his father C or even thru his mother? They’re surely something to Z‘s cousin Y, but are they anything to you or to X? It’s the same sort of thing that happens with siblings-in-law. What for example would your wife’s sister’s husband be to you? Some people do extend brother-in-law out that far…the husbands of 2 sisters are brothers-in-law. But many people don’t. So what about your wife’s sister’s husband’s brother?…and his wife…and her sister? It depends on where you draw the line, but the line does get drawn, nez pah?

chart 678

191.16  …half-brother’s cousin…This one’s tricky…because if you compare Charts 678 and 674…one has your half-brother, the other has your step-brother…but your “step-cousin” in 674 is in exactly the same spot on the tree as B is in 678…so shouldn’t B be your step-cousin as well? And the truth is, he could be…yup, this is the one maybe…it would all depend on the order of your father’s 2 marriages. For example…

674 678

Now in Chart 674, with the order of your father’s wives specified, A is your “new” mother…your step-mother, and all her relatives in a sense your step-relatives…certainly her son is your step-brother. But now in Chart 678, A is nothing more than your father’s first wife…she is not your current, new, or step-mother…really, she isn’t even your “old” mother, since when you came along she was no longer married to your father. Yes, her son is your half-brother because he shares a father with you…but your half-brother’s cousin B is like your first cousin’s cousins on the “other side”…thru a side of his family to which you aren’t related. It’s a connection of sorts, but no relationship.

chart 679

191.17  …father’s half-sister’s nephew…This one is also kind of tricky…until you realize that if A is your father’s half-sibling, then the parent B of A‘s nephew D is also your father’s half-sibling…so D is not your step-cousin but your half-cousin, just as C would be…and of course both C and D would be your father’s half-nephews.

191.18   …sister’s step-son…Here they’ve got the generations wrong…your sister’s step-son would be your step-nephew, not step-cousin.

191.19   …half-cousin…Once upon a time, half- did mean the same as step-. That’s because what we would call half and full brothers were the same…if they had the same father, that was enough…whether their mothers were the same or different didn’t matter. It was kinship figured patrilineally, thru the father’s line only. But now, centuries later, we figure kinship thru both the lines of both parents….and half- means thru just one line…full means thru both lines…and half- no longer means the same as step-, which doesn’t stop people from saying one when they mean they other. And finally…

191.20  …step-brother…and…1st cousin…In these 2 cases, it was clearly a slip-up…what they described was a step-brother in one question, a 1st cousin in the other…and in each case they mistakenly called that a “step-cousin.” They weren’t paying close attention…and accidents can happen in the best regulated families, sez me. Next week, since we’ve gone this far, we might as well take a look at step-2nd-cousins…caution: not for the squeamish!


wicked ballsy


Like I said…reciprocity…


Copyright © 2014 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved