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News of the Week: Men of Late Night, the Monopoly Musical, and a Moon of Strawberry

Published: June 24, 2016

What Letterman Said About Colbert

This week’s stupid internet controversy involves David Letterman and Stephen Colbert. When a preview of Letterman’s talk on Dateline with Tom Brokaw (which was postponed to last Sunday because of the shootings in Orlando) made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, social media and the web in general FREAKED OUT because Letterman supposedly said some bad things about Colbert. CBS shouldn’t have given him the show! They should have given the show to a woman!

You know what happened next, right? We found out that, actually, Letterman didn’t say anything bad about Colbert or “blast” him, as many outlets reported. He simply stated that he wondered why CBS didn’t give the show to a woman (more an observation than “they made a mistake” opinion) and that he didn’t watch late night television anymore and it’s no longer his problem. The “controversial” lines in question lasted for a total of less than 20 seconds, but hey, at least it gave people on social media and pop culture blogs something to have a “hot take” about.

Here’s a snippet from the interview (and here’s the entire episode):

Monopoly: The Musical Coming To Broadway

This could be a complete disaster or the most bizarre, brilliant thing ever seen on stage.

The Broadway production company Araca Group is putting together a musical based on the classic board game Monopoly. It’s still a few years away, so for now we’re just going to have to do with the board game.

You know what’s going to happen. Every actor in the production is going to want to be the car.

Could be great, could be terrible, but it will certainly be interesting. They’re aren’t many Broadway shows that can say they’re brought to you by Hasbro. I can’t wait for songs like “Pass Go (And Collect $200),” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “The Secret Marvin Gardens,” and “I’m Just a Thimble.”

RIP Anton Yelchin

There’s a theory online that 2016 has been a horrible year for celebrity deaths. I think every year seems to be that type of year when you go down the list of famous people who have passed away, but I’ll admit that 2016 does seem to stand out.

Anton Yelchin, a really talented actor, passed away this week when his SUV somehow pinned him against a security fence at his Studio City, California, home. The death has been ruled an accident. He was 27.

His most famous role was as Anton Chekov in the big-screen Star Trek movies. The third in the series, Star Trek Beyond, will open on July 22. Yelchin also starred in several movies including Alpha Dog, House of D, Hearts in Atlantis, Fright Night, Terminator Salvation, as well as TV shows like Huff, ER, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and The Practice. Here are messages from JJ Abrams and Star Trek star Zachary Quinto:

Yelchin’s 2015 Grand Cherokee Jeep was actually recalled because of roll-away concerns.

Strawberry Moon

We had a strawberry moon this week. No, it’s not the name of a dessert or a new rock band – though it could be and probably is — it’s the name we give to the full moon in June, around strawberry harvest season:

https://twitter.com/nypost/status/745458007895511040

This one was unique because it was the first time in 49 years that it happened on the same day as the summer solstice. That won’t happen again until 2062.

Remembering Pay Phones 

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been at the supermarket, just minding my own business shopping, when I’ll see someone talking really loudly on their phone. They’ll be arguing with someone or talking about a boyfriend they broke up with or about some medical problem they have. I also see a lot of husbands talking to their wives, making sure they get the right product the wife asked for. When I hear these conversations, my first thought is “I wish phone booths still existed.”

Ian Frazier misses them — or, pay phones in general — too. In a 2000 essay that’s included in his new collection, Hogs Wild, Frazier writes about how they gave us a cultural commonality, and how “they belonged to anybody who had a couple of coins.” Now most of them have gone away because we carry phones with us all the time. And even the ones that still exist aren’t the “booth” type, so there’s no privacy anymore.

But maybe they’re coming back, in a way. Some restaurants and office buildings are starting to put them in again. And New York City is starting to turn some booths into Wi-Fi hotspots. I think there’s an argument to be made that because everyone has their own phone now, phone booths are needed more than ever. And let’s keep pay phones around too for the people that don’t use smart phones, even if the number of those people are vanishing faster than pay phones are.

Starbucks Being Sued

Does Starbucks underfill their lattes? That’s the basis of a lawsuit against the chain brought by two California customers. The plaintiffs say that the company changed their recipe in 2009 and they now use less milk, which makes the drinks 25 percent smaller, which makes them overpriced.

Starbucks tried to get the suit dismissed but a judge disagreed, saying it could go forward.

I always have the opposite problem at Starbucks or the cafe at Barnes and Noble. They always fill the cups up too much, with excessive amounts of ice, and it overflows when I try to put the straw through the hole. I hate when that happens.

This Twinkie is 40 Years Old

In 1976, a high school teacher in Maine unwrapped a Twinkie. He ate one and kept the other under glass so his students could see how long it lasted. Here’s what it looks like today:

That’s odd and fascinating, and I guess we could look at it two ways. We could say, “My God, if it’s still around, what is in those things? Maybe we shouldn’t even be eating them!” Or maybe we should be eating more of them, if it can stay around, intact for over 40 years. Forget daily vitamins or Ensure, just eat a Twinkie a day.

The Twinkie is now owned by one of the teacher’s students, who is the dean of students at the very same school. She has it in her office.

The “Internet of Everything” Has Gone Too Far

This is how people used to shop for Twinkies and other groceries: You’d open up your fridge and cupboards, see what you needed, and you wrote it down. Or maybe you just went to the store and bought what you needed without a list. Now, apparently, if you have to figure out what you need, you take out your smartphone:

Yup, that’s right. Instead of just remembering what you need or taking a guess or having your wife — who is standing right next to the fridge balling a melon — check to see, you push a few buttons and an app shows you what’s in your fridge. Thanks, Samsung! How did we ever get by without this?

I can’t wait until the day I can open an app on my phone and see if I have clean socks or not. Don’t laugh. That day is coming.

National Chocolate Pudding Day

It’s this Sunday. Here’s a recipe for the ultimate chocolate pudding from Betty Crocker. Here’s one from The New York Times using dark chocolate. Or, if you want something a little healthier, how about this recipe for chocolate almond pudding?

Throw some chopped up Twinkies in there and tell us how it tastes. Just make sure you check the expiration date first.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

The Berlin Airlift (June 25, 1948)

The crisis, which involved Soviet troops blocking Allied access to parts of the German city, lasted for almost a year, ending on May 12, 1949.

Wimbledon starts (June 27)

The grass court tennis tournament is one of the very few things I like about summer.

Jayne Mansfield dies (June 29, 1967)

The actress died in a car accident along with two others in Mississippi. Her children, including Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, were in the car but survived.

26th Amendment ratified (July 1, 1971)

The constitutional amendment lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

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  • Much ado about nothing are those ‘freaking out’ over Letterman’s innocent remarks, but not surprising. What IS surprising is ‘Dateline’ doing something other than a murder mystery. Remember when it was actually a newsmagazine with Jane Pauley some two decades ago?!

    The Strawberry Moon photo is fantastic. I’d love to frame it and have it in my home. I miss phone booths too, but they’re still alive and well on one of my favorite shows from the ’70s, Barnaby Jones, and other vintage gems.

    Stay out of $tarbucks Bob, and keep the Twinkies for unusual moon celebrations.
    As for this ’76 Twinkie, it actually looks like it morphed into a current (and fresh) cinammon treat. You don’t need a phone app for the grocery store, your pen and paper is fine. The “phone” won’t go too far for those who don’t let it.