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News of the Week: Rich Americans, Retro Hotels, and the Right Way to Take a Shower

Published: October 20, 2017

Did You Make the Forbes List?

A pile of money

Shutterstock

Ah, it’s that special time of year, when the leaves start to change, thoughts turn to the upcoming holiday season, and you find out how much more money people make than you do. Yes, it’s the annual Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans.

Spoiler alert! You didn’t make the list.

Coming in at number one yet again is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, with $89 billion. At number two is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with $81.5 billion, and investor Warren Buffett is number three with $78 billion. But really, with that much money, aren’t they all pretty much number one? Is there a difference between $89 billion and $78 billion?

President Donald Trump dropped several spots on the list because his worth is now only $3.1 billion, down $600 million from last year. The woman highest on the list is Alice Walton, of the family that owns Wal-Mart, with $38.2 billion.

In related news, I just got a refund on something I bought because I paid too much. It’s almost three dollars!

 

Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1962

Hotel

By Acroterion (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

They’re building a new hotel in New York. That’s not big news; hotels open in New York all the time. But this one is pretty darn special.

The TWA Hotel will be built in the old TWA terminal at Kennedy Airport. It will have 505 rooms, an observation deck, and even a rooftop pool. But the best part is that the hotel will be designed in a jet-age, mid-century modern style, complete with Eames furniture, original TWA stewardess uniforms, and other features that will make it seem like you’re in an episode of Mad Men.

They’re even going to revive the TWA Flight Center, which will become the hotel’s lobby. The hotel opens in early 2019, and if you want to stay there, the prices start at $250 a night.

Stay there? I want to live there!

 

To Ban a Mockingbird

We’re living in a time when everything has to be examined closely, nobody can hear an opinion they don’t agree with, and “we should err on the side of caution!” is overriding common sense. That’s not a political stance, just an observation. Every week we hear about a college campus speech being canceled or a TV show being protested or a celebrity being pummeled so much for a tweet that they immediately have to apologize. It’s all very exhausting.

Last week came a new one, as a Mississippi school district pulled Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird from the 8th-grade curriculum. School officials in Biloxi say the book’s language “makes people uncomfortable.” To translate that, the school district got a handful of complaints, and because of the book’s racial theme, it was deemed too “hot” and was pulled. I would also say that if some of the language makes people uncomfortable, maybe the book is doing its job.

All I keep thinking is, if they’re going to pull To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the classic novels (and also a terrific film) that handles the subjects of race and equality in a thoughtful way, just imagine what other novels wouldn’t be allowed.

 

The Oldest Hardware Store in America Is Closing

It’s weird to think about, but the Elwood Adams Hardware Store in Worcester, Massachusetts, has been open since 1782. To put it in perspective, that’s 39 years before the first issue of The Saturday Evening Post was published and seven years before George Washington became president. The store is about to close, and CBS Sunday Morning did a story about it this week.

Are You Taking Showers Correctly?

This may seem like an odd question to ask, because how can someone take a shower “incorrectly”? By not turning on the water? Showering with their clothes on? Standing on their head?

The Today show did a poll last week, asking viewers (and the Today staff) which way they face when taking a shower. Twelve percent of respondents say they face the showerhead, 44 percent say they face away from the showerhead, and 45 percent say they rotate. I’m terrible at math, but I think that amounts to 101 percent?

A serious question: Isn’t “rotate” the only normal answer here? How do you take a complete shower if you only face the nozzle or only face away from it the whole time? Do people just wash and rinse one side of their body? I’ve never thought about it before, but after this poll I realize that, like most normal people, I rotate.

One away-nozzler (which I’m going to call them from now on), confused by the people who face the nozzle, asked how they breathe. Oh come on, it’s not like people who face the shower head stand in the stream the whole time with their mouths open.

Let us know in the comments below which way you stand (and I promise this is the last time I’ll ask you what you do without clothes on).

 

RIP Roy Dotrice, Richard Wilbur, Gord Downie, and Arthur Cinader

Roy Dotrice appeared in many movies and TV shows over the past seven decades. You may know him as Mozart’s father in Amadeus or as Jacob on the ’80s series Beauty and the Beast. His most recent role was on Game of Thrones. Dotrice died Monday at the age of 94.

Richard Wilbur won two Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry and served as the U.S. poet laureate in 1987-88. He died Saturday at the age of 96.

Gord Downie was the lead singer of The Tragically Hip, a band whose songs include “New Orleans Is Sinking,” “Ahead by a Century,” and “Highway Girl.” He died Tuesday at the age of 53.

Arthur Cinader founded J. Crew in 1983 and changed the way Americans dressed. He died last Wednesday at the age of 90.

 

This Week in History

P.G. Wodehouse Born (October 15, 1881)

I don’t know why I never knew that the P.G. stood for Pelham Granville, but you learn a lot reading the magazine you write for. That’s the name he used for his first story in The Saturday Evening Post in 1915, the first of many over the next 20 years.

I Love Lucy Premieres (October 15, 1951)

Did you know that the show opening we all know, the one with the big heart and the show/cast names in the middle, wasn’t the original opening? That was done later for daytime reruns. Here’s the opening from the very first episode.

 

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Picking Poindexter (October 17, 1959)

Image

Picking Poindexter
Richard Sargent
October 17, 1959

This Richard Sargent cover depicts the totally realistic scene of two beautiful college coeds swooning over the nerdy guy reading a book instead of the hunky football player.

Ten seconds after this scene was painted, the football player beat up the other guy.

 

October Is National Caramel Month

Caramel

Shutterstock

Though the warm weather that I’ve been complaining about in this column continues in the northeast, I do want to start highlighting some cold weather-ish recipes. Since we’re in apple season and it’s National Caramel Month, it seems fitting to make caramel apples. I went with the Kraft recipe because that’s the one I remember from my childhood.

If you’re not a caramel apple type of person, how about this Pear-Caramel Pie, or this Salted Caramel Banana Pudding?

Maybe I shouldn’t ask this until we figure out the answer to the shower question, but do you say “car-a-mel” or “car-mel”? I think I just started another controversy.

 

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

United Nations Day (October 24)

As the official site says, U.N. Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the U.N. Charter.

World Series Starts (October 24)

The team that will face the Los Angeles Dodgers hasn’t been established as I write this, so I’m just going to assume the Boston Red Sox found a way to turn back time, erase their losses, and make it in. First game airs on Fox at 8 p.m.

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  • Well I knew some of the names on the top 400; too bad the list cuts off at # 388. I’d never heard of THIS Gerald Ford (#278) before. Interesting.

    The TWA Hotel is pretty incredible. It has a strong design kinship with the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber more than something mid-century of Googie architecture. Of course we’re talking New York, not L.A., where it’s going to be 100+ all week long.

    I’m surprised ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ wasn’t banned in the earlier part of this decade, or the 2000’s. Is it racist? Well yeah, it is, and it’s not to glamorize it! It’s to show how bad it is. I suppose my 5th grade teacher was committing a crime reading the class ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Huckleberry Finn’. Gimme a break!

    Thanks for Jane Pauley’s report on the Elwood Hardware store closing. I’m glad it was open as long as it was. The REAL ‘I Love Lucy’ opening is both sweet and cringeworthy, Bob. In an unforeseen coincidence, the first episode 10/15/51 had to do with her unfortunate appearance of the cover of LOOK magazine in a backfired attempt to get back at Ricky. The last issue of LOOK was 10/19/71. Lucy was on the cover (for real) just the month before.

    Great cover by Richard Sargent. Definitely the ’50s, but the later section. All his covers are so great.

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