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Post Week in Review: November 9-15

Published: November 14, 2014

President Obama Backs Net Neutrality


Net neutrality is one of those things that is really confusing to people yet will probably affect all of us, so we should try to understand it. It’s basically the idea that Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon should treat all Internet traffic speed and data the same way, without charging certain websites more for their customers to access them or charge customers more to access sites.

Sounds reasonable, but people who oppose net neutrality — like Senator Ted Cruz — are worried about the government getting involved and dictating what companies do. Now President Obama is urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler to stick to Internet rules and classify Internet service providers as “common carriers.”

Variety has a breakdown on what’s what, including reaction from the entertainment industry. And The New York Times has Obama’s full statement.

We’ve Landed on a Comet!

Rosetta probe and comet

Rosetta probe and comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

It sounds like the plot from a story you might see in a science-fiction magazine from the ’40s or ’50s, but on Wednesday a refrigerator-sized spacecraft from the European Space Agency landed on a comet. It’s even more impressive when you realize the comet was traveling at 84,000 miles an hour.

A reporter on NBC Nightly News described the landing as trying to drop a coin into a soda bottle from several feet above it. I’d add it would be a soda bottle that’s traveling 84,000 miles an hour.

The Top-Selling Drug in America Is …


Can you guess? It’s not a blood pressure medication or a pain medication or something for high cholesterol. It’s actually an anti-psychotic medication. Medscape reports that the top-selling medication is Abilify. You’ve probably seen the ads during the nightly newscasts. It’s one of those medications that has a thousand side effects.

Sales of the drug reach $7.2 billion (said with Carl Sagan-ish emphasis) every year. Wow.

Can Money Buy Happiness?


Yes. On to the next topic.

Oh, OK, a little more about this. The old expression is “Money can’t buy happiness,” but this was probably said by someone who already had money. But what does science have to say about it?

Researchers at San Francisco State University and Cornell University have found out that it’s not how much money you make but how you spend it, and they discovered that when people look back on what they’ve bought it’s experiences that had more “value.”

I find I’m a combination of the two. I love looking back and having the experience of having a lot of money to spend on things like DVDs.

Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na … Batman!


My first word wasn’t Mommy or Daddy or even binky. My first word was Batman, spoken as I sat on the living-room floor watching Adam West and Burt Ward fight crime and make corny jokes (I think I knew it was campy even back then).

Fans have been waiting for years for the show to come out on DVD, but legal wranglings have delayed its release. Now those wranglings are over, and a complete box set has been released as both a limited-edition Blu-ray Disc set and a regular DVD set.

Extras in the Blu-ray set include a Hot Wheels replica Batmobile, vintage trading cards, an episode guide, and special features, including interviews with the cast and crew. Christmas is coming soon, if you wanted to buy the set for one of your favorite Saturday Evening Post columnists.

The Newsroom Season Premiere

Jeff Daniels, Star of Newsroom

Jeff Daniels, Star of Newsroom

The Newsroom might just be the most divisive show in the history of television. People must have a personal vendetta against the show’s writer and creator Aaron Sorkin or an intense need to dump on the show because they don’t want to go against common opinion, or they simply have terrible taste, because it happens to be one of the best shows on television. The premiere of the third and final season happened on Sunday and focused on the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013.

There was only one problem with the season premiere: they pronounced the name of the Boston suburb “Watertown” as “Waterton,” not once but three times during the episode. I’m astonished that no one in the production caught it, not the writers or the actors who said the word or someone on the crew. It’s not like it’s an unknown small town. It was said quite a number of times while the manhunt was going on. Plus, you know, it’s even spelled WaterTOWN.

I just hope that they correct the mistake with an overdub when the DVD set comes out.

Radio Shack to Open at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving, Then Close, Then Open Again

Radio Shack

Radio Shack
Sergey Yechikov / Shutterstock.com

If you simply can’t wait until the day after Thanksgiving or even Thanksgiving night, how about shopping on Thanksgiving during the day?

Radio Shack has announced that they will be open at 8 a.m. That’s so early the Macy’s Parade won’t even have started yet. So put the turkey in the oven and pile the family into the car to go shopping for batteries and phone cords.

Radio Shack’s original plan was to be open on Thanksgiving from 8 a.m. to midnight. But after complaints from employees, they’ve decided to close between noon and 5 p.m. so employees can spend more time with their families. Is it just me or is this an even worse plan than the original? If they’re going to stay closed for most of the day anyway, why open at 8 a.m. at all?

Hey, at least you’re not already in line for Black Friday like some people are doing at Best Buy.

Doritos-Flavored Mountain Dew?


Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock.com

A while back, Doritos released a Mountain Dew-flavored snack chip. But then they got the great idea of reversing that. Now they’re testing out a Mountain Dew that tastes like Doritos! Mmmmmm, cheesy, spicy soda.

I just hope it just has the flavor of Doritos and not the texture. I don’t need a chunky-style soft drink.

National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day


Question: How long does mayonnaise stay in your refrigerator?
Answer: Until you take it out.

Tomorrow (November 15th) is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. Looking in my fridge right now I see I have for some reason two open bottles of barbecue sauce, a couple cans of Diet Pepsi that expired last spring, something in foil I think is cheddar cheese, and about 300 chocolate chip morsels that fell out of the bag about two months ago that I haven’t cleaned up yet.

I guess it’s time to clean out the fridge, though it’s sort of sad that I have to be reminded to do it by a national day instead of just doing it on my own.

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