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Post Week in Review: August 10–16

Published: August 15, 2014

Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall

They say that celebrity deaths always come in threes. The truth is celebrities die every day, but they’re just not “A-list” celebrities (who get everyone’s attention), so people think that it’s weird when three big-name celebrities die around the same time. For example, Ed Nelson from Peyton Place and Arlene Martel from Star Trek passed away this week, but their deaths were overshadowed by the news about Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

Lauren Bacall

Here’s a 1966 Post interview of Lauren Bacall (pictured above) by Thomas Meehan.

 

You ever get the feeling that a certain era of pop culture is going away? That all of the classic, iconic stars we love are leaving us at an alarming rate? It’s not that we don’t expect someone like Lauren Bacall to leave us (she was 89), but when a performer that we love goes away, a part of our lives do too. Pop culture is personal, and it’s sad to see it disappearing. Soon, the veteran stars we’re going to be left with are people like … who, Madonna?

 

As for Robin Williams, here’s a scene from Mork & Mindy, where Mork talks about the pressures of being a celebrity:

Amazon vs. Hachette

Not to sound political, but I really have no idea what I think of the battle between Amazon.com Inc and Hachette Book Groups. One day I’ll say, “Hey, Amazon has a point!” and then the next I’ll be all, “Why is Amazon doing this to Hachette?” Maybe you’re thinking the same way, so here are some links to various things people are saying about the war, to help you make up your mind:

Feeding the Buzz

If this column was published at Buzzfeed, I would have made a “10 Incredibly Awesome Things You Didn’t Know About the Amazon vs. Hachette Battle” listicle filled with wacky GIFs and horrible grammar, and I wouldn’t have provided attribution. The popular site got a $50 million investment earlier this week, bringing its current valuation to $850 million. So I guess all those clicky headlines are working.

All the News That’s Fit To Be HTML Coded and Uploaded

The newspapers’ march of death picked up some speed in the last two weeks when the Tribune Co., Gannett Co., and E.W. Scripps Co. announced that they had separated from their print properties. (Even The New York Times’ David Carr — a strong supporter of all things print — has a column with the headline “Print Is Down, and Now Out.”)

I hope print never goes away, for reasons so numerous it would take an entire column to talk about. But I’m doing my part to keep print — and the post office! — alive.

92-year-old Typewriter Repairman Still Going Strong

Some days I think I’d like to see the return of typewriters. Those are the days when I’m trying to get writing done but distracted by something online that demands my attention now. Some people think a typewriter’s inability to get online is a bad thing — I happen to think it’s a feature. Also, you can use typewriters when the power goes out, you don’t have to recharge them, and they won’t be obsolete in two years.

Bob Montgomery understands this. He’s 92 years old and he still repairs typewriters. (We’re losing way too many people like him too.)

In related news, noted typewriter collector Tom Hanks has released Hanx Writer, a free app for the iPad that mimics the look and sound of typewriters!

Today Is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day

Sometimes I wonder why certain food holidays are celebrated when they are. Sometimes it makes sense. For example, National Iced Tea Month is in June. Though maybe August would be better; it’s hotter… But why is lemon meringue pie celebrated today? Were lemons discovered on August 15? Was the inventor of lemon meringue, Andrew Meringue, born on this day? (Note: There is no Andrew Meringue.) Anyway, have some lemon meringue pie before the day is done.

Upcoming Anniversaries

August 17
Smashing records. Michael Phelps becomes first person to win eight gold medals in one Olympic Games in 2008. (The same games in which Dara Torres becomes the oldest swimmer to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team at age 41.)

August 18
Pomp and Circumstance. James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi in 1963.

August 20
Reunification. The bloodiest conflict in American history officially ends in 1866 as President Andrew Johnson formally declares the Civil War over with Proclamation 157 — “Declaring that Peace, Order, Tranquillity [sic], and Civil Authority Now Exists in and Throughout the Whole of the United States of America.”

August 22
Love for Miss Dottie. Dorothy Parker, American poet, short-story writer, critic, satirist, screenwriter, and Post contributor, was born on August 22, 1893.

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