Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Oh boy is it cold. It’s North Pole cold. It’s Swanson-TV-dinner-that’s-been-in-the-back-of-your-freezer-for-a-year cold. It’s cold like you read about in Cold Illustrated, the magazine for people who like when it’s cold. As I type these words, it’s 19 degrees in the Boston area, which is actually balmy, considering we’ve been dealing with single-digit temps and incredible wind chills the past couple of weeks. When you read this, we’ll probably be under a foot of snow, thanks to something called a “bombogenesis” or “bomb cyclone”, the entire region encrusted in layers of white and ice.
That’s how Niagara Falls looks right now, as these stunning pictures show. Erie, Pennsylvania has been buried in snow for days, breaking a record, and more is on the way. And the brutal cold in Minneapolis is making driving and walking really difficult.
This is the part where I make a contrast with the snow and tell you what it’s like in places like Florida and Georgia, but sorry, it’s snowing there too.
If you watch the Food Network at all, you’ll notice that Guy Fieri is everywhere. He’s trying to beat Bobby Flay for the number of shows hosted. That number currently hovers around 47. But one place Fieri will no longer be seen is New York City’s Times Square.
Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square closed for good after New Year’s Eve. The place opened in 2012 and was quite popular with tourists.
No word from Fieri on why he’s closing the restaurant. The devastating zero-star review from Pete Wells at The New York Times, where Wells asked Fieri a series of questions about the food and the service, probably didn’t help, but I can’t imagine that it’s the reason the place has closed. That was five years ago.
Fieri still has several other restaurants around the world.
Rockwell’s Door Opens
The door seen in the iconic Norman Rockwell Post cover Triumph in Defeat (some might know it as the Shiner or Girl with the Black Eye painting) is being preserved.
The Cambridge, New York, school that served as the setting for the painting is being renovated, and teacher Steve Butz wanted to make sure the principal’s office door seen in the painting would survive. It’s now part of a special exhibit, housed in glass near the school’s library.
By the way, the girl in the painting, the 11-year-old daughter of Rockwell’s lawyer, didn’t really have a black eye. Rockwell had to duplicate what a black eye looked like but was having trouble with the color. So he put out a call for someone who had a black eye, and a Massachusetts boy named Tommy just happened to have two of them. His dad drove him to the school so Rockwell could see what the eyes looked like.
The moral to this story is clear: Kids should get into fights so they can be part of American history.
How Do You Say “2018”?
Maybe my memory is wrong, but I remember when everyone used to pronounce a year like 2018 as “two thousand eighteen.” I don’t remember anyone saying “twenty-oh-four”; it was “two thousand four” (or maybe “two thousand and four”). But I’ve noticed that it’s now more common to hear “twenty eighteen,” and it’s something I don’t quite get. While you could make the logical argument that this pronunciation keeps it consistent with decades past (“nineteen seventy-two,” “nineteen ninety-nine,” etc.), I still refuse to do it. I’m not going to say “twenty eighteen.”
After all, what’s the title of that Stanley Kubrick movie about space?
Gone Away Is the Blue Bird
The Library of Congress has announced that it will no longer keep an archive of every single public tweet that is posted on Twitter. What, you didn’t know that the Library of Congress was keeping an archive of every tweet?
On January 1, the LOC began preserving tweets on a selective basis — only the ones they think are worth keeping as a historical record of the online service. But don’t worry, the picture you posted of that really great ham sandwich you had in the summer of 2013 will still be in the Library of Congress for future scholars to study.
People We Lost in 2017
A lot of publications and news shows do a year-end roundup of all of the famous people who died during the year, but no one does it better than CBS Sunday Morning.
As an addendum to that extensive list, I would add Maura Jacobson, who created crossword puzzles for places like New York magazine and The New York Times for more than 30 years. She died Christmas Day at the age of 91. And Peggy Cummins, the actress best known for her role in the classic crime film Gun Crazy — which was based on a MacKinlay Kantor short story published in the February 3, 1940, issue of the Post — who died last Friday at the age of 92.
The Best and the Worst
Best: I know we’re well into two thousand eighteen, but how about one more look back at last year? Dave Barry’s Year in Review is always a great, funny way to end the year.
Worst: I mentioned CBS Sunday Morning earlier, and former host Charles Osgood announced this week that he is retiring from his four-times-a-day radio show The Osgood Files. In this interview with Alex Silverman at WCBS, Osgood says that he’s not only dealing with two types of cancer, but his family has noticed he has slowed down a bit. He says he’ll still do a podcast now and then, but he’s no longer going to do a regular show. Osgood has been at WCBS for 50 years.
In the interview, Osgood mentions how great a country America is, and here’s a piece he wrote for the Post in 2009 that expands on that.
This Week in History
Hydrox Cookies Debut (January 1, 1910)
Did you know that Hydrox cookies are still around? I haven’t noticed them on my local store shelves in years — I would have bought them to refresh my memory on how they compare to Oreos — but you can still buy them in stores and online, thanks to a clever businessman who scooped up the Hydrox trademark for his company Leaf Brands when it became available a few years ago.
President George Washington Delivers First State of the Union (January 4, 1790)
It was originally called a Message to a Joint Session of Congress, and Washington made it from Federal Hall in New York City.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Hot Pursuit Turns Cold (January 3, 1959)
Hot Pursuit Turns Cold
January 3, 1959
I usually understand magazine covers, but this one has me baffled. It’s from Constantin Alajálov and depicts a winter skating scene. I get that the two men are trying to pursue the attractive female on skates in the first panel, but in the second panel, she’s behind the men and suddenly has a child. It’s almost as if there’s a panel of the painting missing. Or does the female skater have magical powers a la Samantha Stephens on Bewitched? Or maybe I’m just a dolt who doesn’t understand it? (Note: Me being a dolt is a distinct possibility.)
Later On, We’ll Conspire … As We Dream by the Fire
I had a post all set to celebrate National Whipped Cream Day, which is today. But then I thought, who the heck wants to think about frozen desserts when half the country feels like a frozen dessert? This is a time for cozy fires and comfort foods, so I decided to help you out by celebrating something I’ve talked about in past years: National Soup Month.
Chicken noodle soup is the ultimate winter soup, and here’s Curtis Stone’s recipe. How about something from Melissa d’Arabian, who isn’t on half as many Food Network shows as Guy Fieri? Here’s her recipe for Rich Roasted Tomato Soup. My mom used to love split pea soup, and here’s a recipe for a classic onion soup from Rachael Ray, with a good amount of golden cheese melted on the top of crusty bread.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Epiphany (January 6)
The Christian holiday “celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ” 12 days after Christmas. Don’t be surprised if you awaken to the sound of drummers drumming this Saturday, because recognition of Epiphany is the source of that incessant carol “The Twelve Day of Christmas.” It’s also the day that many families consider the official end of the Christmas season and take down their trees.
Letter Writing Week (January 7–13)
I’ve mentioned many times in this column how much I think everyone should get off social media and start writing letters again, so this is the perfect week to start doing just that. And if you need some reasons why you should keep writing letters, read Nicholas Gilmore’s excellent piece.