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News of the Week: Peg Lynch, Potato Chips, and the Post’s Debut

Published: July 31, 2015

Peg Lynch: 1916-2015

When you think of the sitcom, you think of Lucy, right? But there was someone before her, and her name was Peg Lynch.

That might not be a name that immediately comes to mind but she pretty much invented the situation comedy. And it wasn’t easy. As The New York Times reports, she was a woman who not only acted in her radio and TV shows (Ethel & Albert and The Couple Next Door, as well as sketches on The Kate Smith Hour and a radio show in the ’70s titled The Little Things in Life), she wrote 11,000 scripts herself! And many of the shows were done live. She was also a copywriter, wrote the scripts for tons of commercials, a half-hour daily show, news programs, and various other shows and sketches. Remarkable.

Peg passed away last Friday in Massachusetts at the age of 98. A huge part of the history of pop culture is now gone (and we’re losing more and more of these people every week it seems), but she lived a long, full, important life. Her story is, really, the story of radio and television itself.

Peg’s daughter, Astrid King, has set up a terrific website, where you can listen to and watch episodes of her shows and read a detailed bio of Peg. And James Lileks of The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, who got to know Peg over the past couple of years, has a nice remembrance of a fantastic woman.

Lay’s Contest Finalists Have Been Announced

I entered the Lay’s Do Us a Flavor contest several months ago. I thought I came up with some great flavors, but apparently they weren’t good enough, because the finalists have been announced and I didn’t make the cut. The finalists are New York Reuben, Southern Biscuits and Gravy, West Coast Truffle Fries, and Greektown Gyro. Three of the finalists get $50,000 and their names on the bag and the winner gets … $1 million! The chips are now in stores, and you can vote for your favorite at the official site.

For the record, I’ve tried all four and the chips I’d eat again are the Truffle Fries.

Earth’s Twin

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Pack your bags, it’s time to move to another planet!

Okay, maybe we’re not at that point yet, but NASA’s powerful Kepler telescope has discovered what they’re calling the most Earth-like planet yet. It’s called Kepler-452b, and it’s 1,400 light years away, so it’s not going to be something we visit while on a Sunday drive. But NASA scientists are quite excited. The planet is bigger than Earth, but its year, 385 days, lasts about as long as our year. It probably has water and mountains, and since its distance to a nearby star is similar to the distance between Earth and the sun, it would feel a lot like our planet. Hopefully we’ll come up with a better name for it though.

By the way, do people still go on Sunday drives?

Adult Coloring Books?

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

No, not that kind of adult coloring book. Get your mind out of the gutter!

According to bookstores and publishers, coloring books have suddenly become popular among adults, especially those born after 1980. They’re not really the types of coloring books your 5-year-old might color in; these are more based on designs and patterns. Maybe people are just looking for something that reminds them of their childhoods, or maybe they simply find it fun and relaxing. I just noticed that there’s an entire Amazon category dedicated to adult coloring books, and they sell rather well.

This makes sense to me. People love to doodle or scribble things down to either relax or figure things out, and who says that the activity of coloring has to be a kids-only thing? Hey, I like watching cartoons.

If You Make a Call With Your Butt, Don’t Expect Any Privacy

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Everyone eventually has cell phone problems. Maybe your reception drops right in the middle of a phone call or your battery dies, or maybe you’re a famous quarterback and you destroy it and have to get another one. But there’s also the common ailment of “butt-dialing.” That’s when you sit on your phone and accidentally call someone. It can be embarrassing because the person you call can often hear what you and your friends are saying and the caller doesn’t even realize they’ve called someone.

And now we have an official ruling from a Cincinnati federal appeals court: If you do butt-dial (or pocket-dial) someone you can’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

It’s funny how modern technology — whether it’s cell phones or drones or social media — has created all of these problems that we would have never thought of before. In the era of landline phones, you couldn’t butt-dial anyone. Well, you could, but it was very, very difficult.

Today Is National Jump for Jelly Beans Day

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Did you know that there are recipes for Jelly Belly jelly beans? I don’t mean a recipe to make the jelly beans, I mean mixtures of Jelly Belly jelly beans that create the flavor of something we all know and love? For example, if you mix two blueberry Jelly Bellys with a buttered popcorn Jelly Belly, you get the taste of a blueberry muffin. If you mix two draft beer Jelly Bellys (yes, there are beer-flavored jelly beans) and a red apple, you get Apple Cider Shandy. There’s a whole list of recipes at the Jelly Belly site, or you can experiment to see what you come up with.

There’s even a combination of jelly beans that will give you the flavor of a banana split, but I’ve seen less complicated physics equations, and you have to shove a half-dozen of them in your mouth at the same time.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

President Harding dies (August 2, 1923)

Here’s the story behind Harding’s infamous Teapot Dome scandal.

First issue of The Saturday Evening Post published (August 4, 1821)

Here’s a selection of some of our earliest covers.

Lizzie Borden’s parents found dead (August 4, 1892)

“Lizzie Borden took an axe …”

Anne Frank captured (August 5, 1944)

The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam has an official web site where you can learn all about her.

Hiroshima bombed (August 6, 1945)

An interesting article from the SEP archives: “How to Survive an A-Bomb Blast”.

Lucille Ball born (August 6, 1911)

Speaking of Lucy, that scary statue is still up, but it will eventually be moved and replaced with a new one.

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  • Charles Neumann

    Very interesting. I am very interested in your comments about Peg Lynch, I have to admit I never heard of (or don’t remember) her show but she sounds like a very talented writer and performer.