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News of the Week: Goodbyes to 2017, Resolutions for 2018, and Lost Letters from 1944

Published: December 29, 2017

A List of Lists

According to a scientific poll that I just made up, 99.4 percent of all people love lists. We love thinking about and debating the best this and the best that of all time, or the worst this and that, or the most overrated and underrated. And the end of a year makes us happy because that’s when we get an avalanche of lists, lists, lists.

NPR has a great interactive list of the best books of the year, and the staff of The Atlantic picks their favorite books too. The magazine also lists their 50 favorite podcasts of 2017. There are approximately 9 million best-of TV lists, including these from David Bianculli at NPR, The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum, and Vulture‘s Matt Zoller Seitz. The New York Times has its list of the best movies, and here’s USA Today’s list.

Looking for “worst” lists because they can be the most fun to read? The A.V. Club picks the 20 worst films of the year, Time has the 10 worst songs of the year, and TVLine has their picks for the 10 worst TV shows. Matt Zoller Seitz isn’t going to be happy that the show he picked as the very best of 2017 is one of the worst on TVLine‘s list.

We have some lists here at the Post too, including our most popular articles of the year, the best cartoons, and our most popular cover collections of 2017.

My favorite Post cover of the year is on the November/December issue, and it’s actually from 1957.

In 2018, I Will …

There’s only one thing more annoying than people who tell you what their New Year’s resolutions are, and that’s the people who tell you that they don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Apparently these people live golden, flawless lives and don’t need to make any changes.

I get it. You don’t want to make resolutions because it’s a lot of pressure, it’s too formal, too cliché, and besides, “everybody does it.” But isn’t it natural to take stock of your life at the end of a year, to look back at what has happened the past 12 months and think of what the new year holds? It’s the end of December and you’re organizing things for January, planning, hoping. Even if you’re not consciously thinking “these are my resolutions” and writing them down, you’re still thinking of making changes in the new year.

What do you think is the most popular resolution for 2018? You might think it’s to lose weight, save money, or exercise more (hey, those have been my top three every year since 1997!), but it’s actually something else, according to this Marist poll.

If you want to know how you can stick to your resolutions, Fast Company has some tips. Hint: It actually does help if you write them down.

The X-Files Is Back (Again)

The X-Files reboot from last year was met with a mixture of excitement and (ultimately) disappointment. A couple of the episodes were good, but I think overall, fans wanted something a little bit more or even different. Judging by this trailer for the new season that starts January 3 on Fox, the show knows that. Looks pretty good!

RIP Rose Marie, Dick Enberg, and Dominic Frontiere

Rose Marie was a star for 90 years (!), since she was a little girl, singing and dancing and acting on stage and in movies as “Baby Rose Marie,” but she’s probably best known to TV fans for her role as writer Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She had a critically-acclaimed documentary about her life released this year titled Wait for Your Laugh. She died yesterday at the age of 94.

Dick Enberg was a legendary sportscaster who covered 28 Wimbledons, 10 Super Bowls, Major League Baseball games, and endless college football games. He died last week at the age of 82.

Dominic Frontiere composed many themes for classic TV shows, including The Outer Limits, The Rat Patrol, The Flying Nun, The Invaders, That Girl, and Vega$, as well as many movie themes. He died last Thursday at the age of 86.

The Best and the Worst

Best: My favorite stories of the week both involve letters from World War II.

In Greenfield, Massachusetts, Francesca Passiglia found a love letter inside the walls of her home while it was undergoing renovations. It was dated April 19, 1944, from a man named Walter to a woman named Betty. Passiglia asked the Greenfield Police Department to help her solve the mystery of Walter and Betty and the department (of course) turned to Facebook. They found out who Betty was, but they’re still looking for Walter. It seems Betty dated two Walters in the ’40s.

And CBS News Sunday Morning had a great segment on Donna Reed and the letters that overseas soldiers wrote to her during World War II. After Reed died in 1986, her daughter found them. There were 350 in all and Reed had saved them for 40 years:

Worst: The worst (and oddest) news of the week? Nestl\0xE9 has announced they’re getting out of the chocolate business! That’s like McDonald’s announcing they’re not going to sell cheeseburgers anymore. The company has decided to concentrate on their other products, including bottled water, coffee, cereal, and frozen foods.

This Week in History

Vincent Van Gogh Cuts Off His Ear for Some Reason (December 23, 1888)

Why did the artist do that? Turns out, nobody really knows the answer. He could have gone crazy, been mad at a rival, or maybe he simply didn’t like having two ears. A more recent theory claims that Paul Gauguin (yes, the artist) lopped it off with a sword during an argument, and that van Gogh claimed to have done it himself to protect his friend. With friends like that …

Rod Serling Born (December 25, 1924)

Did you know that there’s a new Twilight Zone coming next year? You’re going to have to pay for it, though, as it will join Star Trek Discovery on CBS’s All Access streaming service.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: More Snow? (December 29, 1951)

Man and his son standing outside as snow is falling

More Snow?
George Hughes
December 29, 1951

We’ve all been there — maybe you are there this week — in that moment when we finally finish shoveling the walkway and we notice it has started to snow once again and we’re going to have to shovel again in a few hours. This George Hughes cover captures that moment.

A Lot of People Are Saying This Right Now

 

National Champagne Day

It makes sense that December 31, New Year’s Eve, is also National Champagne Day, since it’s probably the one day of the year that most people drink Champagne. In many countries, you can’t use the word Champagne on bottles unless the grapes were produced in the Champagne region of France, though there are some exceptions.

Esquire has a list of 11 great Champagne cocktail recipes, including the French 75, the Black Velvet, the Atomic Champagne Cocktail, and Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon.

If you do open a bottle on New Year’s Eve while watching the ball drop in Times Square, please make sure you point it away from your guests’ faces. That could just ruin the whole night.

Happy New Year!

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Hangover Day (January 1)

If you celebrated National Champagne Day just a little too much, here are some remedies for the way you’re feeling, including eating a big breakfast, getting plenty of sleep, and staying hydrated.

The top suggestion on that list is “limit your alcohol intake,” but if that were the case, you wouldn’t be reading that list.

College Bowl Games (January 1)

If you haven’t been watching college football the past couple of weeks, you’ve missed the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the AutoNation Cure Bowl, the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and the Starbucks Listerine National Bowl. Okay, I made up that last one, but the others are real.

Here’s a list of the games you can watch on New Year’s Day.

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  • I was saddened to hear that Rose Marie passed away. I had no idea until I read it here, seriously. She lived to be 94, and entertained millions since the ’20s. Her legacy will continue and endure.

    Donna Reed’s wartime letters feature by Jane Pauley is among her best yet. I love Donna Reed too, and put in comments a few months ago in the Post’s Donna Reed: Fire and Ice feature. This feature shows what a kind, loving person she was interacting with our soldiers putting their lives on the line, and giving them happiness and hope when they were undoubtedly so terrified just under the surface of a little male bravado to try and hide it.

    All the more reason anyone who gave her hard time in the ’60s or anytime, had no right to, and should be ashamed of themselves—really ashamed!

    Another ‘new’ Twilight Zone? Well, it can’t possibly be any worse than the the 2010-? ‘revived’ Hawaii 5-0 that’s literally the most unwatchable, horrible mess ever put on network TV. That’s taking A LOT of bad $#*+ into consideration!!

    Love the 1951 cover of the snow clearing. At that point I’d want to haul off and take a blowtorch to it, Farenheit 451 style! The only “champagne” I’m having is Martinelli’s.

    Sunday afternoon I’m probably going to have to hear my kind-of-mother-in-law announce how unhappy she is her daughter and I are “pet parents” or “dog parents” rolling her eyes. I’ll give her a hug, telling her she’s wonderful, but moving away fast enough to avoid her face slap. “Don’t you say such things to me, you selfish, smooth talking son of a b****!” Helen, you’re wonderful!

    Have a nice New Year’s indoors where it’s safe and sane. Be careful if you have to drive, and remember it’s the same shtick every year and got old a long time ago.