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Internet Blows It Again: Patty Duke and Quaternary Cousins

Last week, I laid into the Internet for not containing, in the open stacks, a note that Walter Cronkite stood up from the anchor desk for the first time while delivering his Watergate reports.

I do not live in the land of reality shows, so I hadn’t seen or heard of Extreme Sisters until it was pointed out to me by the Washington Post. It is a show which features a pair of identical brothers married to identical sisters, with one boy each, 8 months apart in age. Theirs is a quaternary marriage, of which only about 250 exist in the world. Their boys are quaternary cousins.

This has probably already rung a bell for most of the readers of PSACOT. In case you can’t quite put your finger on it, the setup of the Patty Duke Show (1963-66) was a quaternary marriage that produced quaternary cousins: Kathy and Patty.

In the way of 60s sitcoms (eg. Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan’s Island) the theme song reminded you of the setup each week. In case you’ve forgotten it, here’s a blast from the past:

But they’re cousins
Identical cousins all the way
One pair of matching bookends
Different as night and day
Where Cathy adores a minuet
The Ballets Russes and crepe suzette
Our Patty loves to rock and roll
A hot dog makes her lose control
What a wild duet…

Since all practicing journalists are children, there is not a single mention of The Patty Duke Show in any article about Extreme Sisters; not even a mention in any culture blog that has been crawled by Google. Probably shouldn’t be a surprise since most of the writers’ parents hadn’t been born yet when the show was on the air, and it has never been big in reruns.

Memory Lane with Daniel Dern

Daniel Dern writes: “I thought the Cronkite stands up item would be how he was actually  wearing pants, which the sitter (I gather) often didn't,  due to heat from the lights, etc...  [that was certainly true at KGW-TV in 1970 and 1971 when I worked there]” Separately, speaking of the  Many Pauls  (or perhaps simply a Paul anecdote), my favorite is from when I started at CMP, working for you as's ME [summer of 1999], and when I was walking around  the Waltham, MA office (the most local to me, although I was going  to be working from home), and said hi to a woman and told her my new CMP gig, she  said, ‘I'll bet there's not a lot of dead air when you two get  together.’ -- not said unkindly or critically... and not wrong.”

No, it wasn’t wrong. Two more loquacious people would be hard to find, then or now.

My 70th/Biblical Promise

My 70th birthday is this week. I am not deeply religious (I was raised Episcopalian, which is Catholicism without the sin and with birth control), but I recall being told as a child that God promised us three Score and 10 years (70).

Given that my grandfathers died at 49 and 62, I was not optimistic.

Turns out 70 wasn’t exactly a promise. I am not a bible thumper in any sense, but found this an interesting rabbit hole.

The “promise” is in Psalm 90:10.

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Elsewhere, however, the big guy promises 120 years:

When mankind had become corrupted in the period preceding the flood, God said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh; his days shall be a hundred and twenty years' (Gen. 6:3).

Not to mention the good book warns us that old age is not for wimps (this from an Internet site):

Our earthly bodies become weary as we age, and you may also notice aches or pains. Take comfort in knowing the Lord shall renew your strength, according to Isaiah 40:31.

Also: Then they'll soar on wings like eagles; they'll run and not grow weary; they'll walk and not grow tired.

I’d write more, but it’s time for my nap.

All The Different Me’s: 2020 Paul

By the grace of God, I entered the fifth decade of marriage and fatherhood with a happy wife and two happy daughters.

On top of that, I was blessed with a mystical experience (an exchange of forgiveness, the start of a gratitude practice, daily meditation) that changed my life to one of poetry, mindfulness and gratitude. Details:

My heart chakra opened on Saturday January 18, 2020. This is what I wrote in my journal that day: “Wow! I woke up this morning to another amazing moment. Treatment and prayer work! There was love in my heart, for those who I once felt "wronged" me. We are all children of God, and share one soul; I forget at my peril that we’re not going to Heaven because we never left it, and that this physical life is an illusion.”