Home / Post Week in Review / News of the Week: Digital Problems, Food from Oprah, and Why You Shouldn’t Be a Sucker

News of the Week: Digital Problems, Food from Oprah, and Why You Shouldn’t Be a Sucker

Published: August 18, 2017

Hell Is a World with No Print Books 

For a while there it looked like print books were the past and digital was the future. Soon, everyone would be reading books on their Kindles and iPads and smartphones and print books would die and we’d save all the trees and the world would be a digital paradise!  

Well, someone forgot to tell print books. 

As I mentioned a few months ago, sales of print books are up, and sales of ebooks are down. And it’s not just Amazon that’s selling a lot of them. We’re actually starting to see more brick-and-mortar bookstores opening. Yes, one of the companies opening those physical bookstores happens to be Amazon, but there are others too, and it’s a comforting feeling to know that we still live in a world where we can walk into a bookstore, handle all of the books and magazines on the shelves, and be part of something. Not everything has to be point and click. (By the way, please point your cursor at those links and click on them.) 

One way that bookstores can survive and thrive is by offering more than books. Barnes & Noble already as cafés, and they’re experimenting with full-service restaurants. Many independent bookstores hold author events and sell more than just books.  

Remember You’ve Got Mail? If it were made today, Meg Ryan would merge her Shop Around the Corner store with Tom Hanks’ giant Fox Books chain and take on Amazon. 

YOU Get a Bowl of Soup, and YOU Get a Bowl of Soup … 

Oprah Winfrey might not have a daily talk show anymore, but she has figured out a way to be in your life every single day anyway. 

Oprah is coming out with a line of “refrigerated comfort foods” in September called O, That’s Good! Right now the selection will just be four kinds of soup and four side dishes, all priced under $5.00. She’s teaming up with Kraft for the products, and since she already is an owner of Weight Watchers, this seems like the next logical step. 

I’m surprised more celebrities don’t do this. Kevin James could come out with a line of potato chips, and maybe Warren Buffett could have a line of “Buffett Table” foods. 

Don’t Be a Sucker 

This U.S. Military film from the mid-’40s has been getting some attention lately (I’d say that it has gone “viral,” but boy do I hate that word), and I present it here with no political commentary whatsoever. I just think that, as a historical and cultural artifact, it’s … interesting. 

Silent Ben 

For the next four years, no one in London is going to know what time it is. 

Big Ben is going to stop chiming (or is it bonging?) this Monday and won’t start up again for four years. It’s undergoing repairs and, well, the workers won’t like it making a giant sound every hour. But they still plan to chime in on special days, like New Year’s. 

Of course, this is already getting pushback from citizens, so officials are going to review the idea. Prime Minister Theresa May wants the chimes (bongs?) to continue. 

SMALT 

If you’ve been looking for a smart device for your home but have been disappointed in the choices you’ve seen because none of them dispense salt, you’re in luck. Introducing SMALT, the world’s first interactive salt shaker! 

At first I thought it was a fake commercial from Saturday Night Live or a satirical website, but it’s real. You put the device in the middle of your dinner table, and it plays music and delivers ambient light for you and your guests. Oh, and if you need salt, you don’t need a whole separate salt shaker crowding the table. 

I’m surprised they’re not releasing Smepper at the same time. You know it’s coming. 

RIP Joseph Bologna, Alan Peckolick, S.J. Harris, and Neil Chayet  

Joseph Bologna was not only an acclaimed actor, appearing in such films as My Favorite Year and Blame It On Rio and starring in the sitcom Top of the Heap, he was also an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated screenwriter. He died Sunday at the age of 82.  

Alan Peckolick was a designer who created logos for many companies, including GM, and font designs for companies such as Revlon, Mercedes-Benz, and Pfizer. He died August 3 at the age of 76.  

S.J. Harris was a stuntwoman who died on the set of Deadpool 2. She was 40. Harris is the second stunt person to die on a set recently. John Bernecker died filming The Walking Dead in July. 

Neil Chayet hosted the Looking at the Law radio show on WBZ in Boston and other radio stations for 41 years. He died last week at the age of 78. 

This Week in History  

Alfred Hitchcock Born (August 13, 1899) 

The master of suspense was born in Leytonstone, England, and died in Bel Air, California, on April 29, 1980. In this piece from the December 15, 1962, issue of The Saturday Evening Post, Hitchcock gives his opinions on a variety of topics, from Walt Disney and TV commercials to Hollywood stars and his weight. 

Elvis Presley Dies (August 16, 1977) 

Wednesday marked the 40th anniversary of the King’s death. Here’s how the media covered it back then, and here’s a look back on all the times Presley was talked about in the Post. 

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Where the Girls Are (August 17, 1957) 

Cover

Where the Girls Are 
Thornton Utz 
8/17/57 

If you didn’t know the title of this cover by Thornton Utz, you might think it’s Car Smashes into Motel. But the reason the male driver and his buddies make a sudden turn into the parking lot is because they see a group of young ladies lounging by the pool. The least the guys could do is park the car correctly. 

National Bacon Lovers Day 

Bacon and Eggs

Shutterstock

Francis Bacon was born in 1561 and died in 1626. Besides being the Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England, he was a scientist and author who some people believe was the actual writer of Shakespeare’s plays. He was … 

Oh wait, this Sunday is the day we celebrate bacon the food. All righty. Here’s a recipe for a Bacon, Cheddar, and Apple Bake, and here’s one in honor of Elvis — Chunky Elvis Ice Cream — which contains not only bacon but also peanut butter, honey, and bananas. 

Next Week’s Holidays and Events 

National Aviation Day (August 19) 

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared that Orville Wright’s birthday would be celebrated as National Aviation Day. 

Total Eclipse (August 21) 

Monday is going to be a big day, with the eclipse being witnessed by millions who will take the long journey to see it and live coverage on television by the news channels. Even jets are going to chase the moon’s shadow. The path of totality, which I think was the title of a Star Trek episode, runs from Oregon through the middle of the country and ends in South Carolina. You can see a partial eclipse in other parts of the country — just make sure you protect your eyes. And, of course, your heart. 

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  • Most excellent news on the bookstore front; one of the very few areas where there is any good news now.

    On a related note, ‘Don’t Be A Sucker’ is unfortunately more timely now than it’s been in years. Hopefully things can be halted in time to prevent a re-occurrence of the 1930’s and ’40s again. What’s happening in the U.S. now is building towards a new Civil War with each passing day though, and the continued attacks in Europe aren’t helping. If there’s a tech fix for this mess, by all means tell me about it.

    Big Ben sounds like he’ll be be getting some long overdue repairs. He’ll be appreciated much more once again, after the sounds of silence end in 4 years.

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