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Post Week in Review: October 12-18

Published: October 17, 2014

Step Away from Your Screens!

Do kids spend too much time in front of screens? According to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, kids between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than 7.5 hours a day in front of screen media (computers, televisions, smart phones, etc). But some think that if kids and teens take week-long breaks (or a “tech cleanse”) from screens it can help their minds and their development.

Kid on computer

How much time do your kids spend on the computer?

There’s a terrific book by William Powers titled Hamlet’s Blackberry. In it he doesn’t say we should get rid of our technology, he just gives some common sense advice on stepping away from all of our screens once in a while. He and his family do a “tech sabbath” every Friday night until Monday morning. I too have cut down on the amount of time I spend online (even though I do a lot of work online), and it’s amazing how great it feels to not be in front of a screen for a day. And when you finally do get back online you experience it in a whole new way.

Yesterday, by the way, was Social Media Blackout Day. Though I wonder how many people tweeted about it.

Macy’s Will Be Open on​ Thanksgiving



​I don’t understand Black Friday. Why would someone want to battle crowds early in the morning just to save 40 percent on a big-screen TV and risk their lives? And I don’t mean “risk their lives” as a joke; people have been killed at Black Friday sales. I wonder if people know they can shop a week before Black Friday sales begin or a week after (or online) and still get great deals?

Macy’s disagrees. The chain announced this week that it is going along with many other retailers and extending their Black Friday sale, opening their doors at 6PM Black Friday Eve, Thanksgiving. So right after they put away the big Snoopy balloon, employees will have to rush over to the store to get ready for the crowds.

My advice? Spend Thanksgiving night at home with your family and eat another slice of pumpkin pie. There’s plenty of time for Christmas shopping.

John Oliver vs. Pumpkin Spice​

​Speaking of…pumpkin spice seems to be in everything these days, not just pie, and Last Week Tonight host John Oliver is sick of it:

Facebook ​W​on’t ​L​et 11​4​-year-old ​W​oman ​U​se ​Actual ​A​ge


PromesaArtStudio / Shutterstock.com

Usually when someone lies about their age on Facebook, it’s because they don’t want anyone to know their real age or it’s kids messing around. But what if you are 114 years old and you want to join the social network?

That’s the dilemma a tech-loving Minnesota woman faced. Anna Stoehr wanted to join, but Facebook wouldn’t accept that her age actually is 114. So she actually had to lie, because Facebook’s sign up menu only goes back to 1905.​

​Do You ​H​ate ​C​ooking ​D​inner?

​Do we put too much pressure on moms when it comes to cooking? That’s a topic Virginia Heffernan tackled in a New York Times Magazine piece titled “What If You Just Hate Making Dinner?” In it, Heffernan rails against many recent cookbooks that extoll the virtues of home cooking, which, Heffernan says, has made “a hideous comeback.”

Burnt TurkeyConstantin AlajalovNovember 29, 1947

Burnt Turkey
Constantin Alajalov
November 29, 1947

In the article, Heffernan asks, “Cooking!- Aren’t we past that?” And then she talks about how she longs for the 1980s, when moms didn’t cook for their kids; “They defrosted. They took children to diners and bars. They ordered pizza.” This strikes me as odd. Does she really think there is an epidemic of home-cooked meals (even if more home cooking could be seen as “bad”)? I look around, and I still see a lot of pizza being delivered or family members eating outside of the home. ​

​Several cooks (moms and dads) are against Heffernan’s views, including the author of one of the cookbooks that Heffernan mentions in the piece, Dinner: A Love Story. Heffernan has also received responses from chefs Michael Ruhlman and Katie Workman. You can guess how they feel.

What’s your take on cooking for your family?​

The Return of Jay Leno​

​We all knew that former Tonight Show host Jay Leno wouldn’t stay off television forever. This week came news that Leno has made a deal for a new prime time show on CNBC called Jay Leno’s Garage. Leno will share his passion for what he calls “all things automotive.” based on his Web series Jay Leno’s Garage.

Leno talks to Jeanne Wolf in the current issue of The Saturday Evening Post about cars and his 22 years on The Tonight Show.

Dick Van Dyke Has a Blog

Dick and Arlene Van Dyke

Dick and Arlene Van Dyke
Helga Esteb/Shutterstock

The Dick Van Dyke Show is my favorite show of all-time, so it’s great to see Dick Van Dyke online a lot. His wife, Arlene, set up his Twitter and Facebook accounts, and gets him to do things once in a while. But this week they started a blog because Van Dyke is “a long-form type of person.” He doesn’t understand how someone can condense their thoughts into a single tweet or in a Vine video, and he wants to be able to write about things that interest him.

Van Dyke says he gets “frustrated with this short attention span, low-quality entertainment.” I agree. It’s great to hear someone else think the same way. Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Van Dyke!

Friends Will Be There for You on Netflix​


Twin Design/Shutterstock

Netflix has made a lot of big deals lately. Not just creating original series but also picking up reruns of older shows. This week came news that they bought the rights to stream every episode of Friends. The sitcom debuts on January 1.​

​This is great news for fans, because up to now the only place to see Friends has been every single channel in the world several times a day.​

Trebek ​S​haves ​O​ff​ the​​ M​​ustache!

Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek

Jeopardy fans who loved the hair under Alex Trebek’s nose are sad this week: he shaved off his mustache! Fans of the show (including his wife) want him mustache-free.

One thing I don’t get: His mustache said good-bye this week, but isn’t the show taped several weeks in advance?

October Is National Pizza Month


October is national pizza month

​Of course, every guy reading this is probably thinking, every month is pizza month! But this is the official designation, started in 1984. And, according to pizza.com, each person in the U.S. eats 45 slices of pizza every year. I can confirm this is true (and that number may even be a little low).

By the way, October is also National Pretzel Month; but since I broke my front tooth on a pretzel several months ago and had to have it pulled, that’s one holiday I’m not going to celebrate. Beware of the pretzels!​

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