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News of the Week: Failed Resolutions, Big Asteroids, and the Right Way to Make Snow Cream

Published: January 26, 2018

Lose Weight! Exercise! Save Money!

So here we are at the end of January. Dumped your New Year’s resolutions yet?

According to one study, 80 percent of all resolutions fail by February. If you assume that number is a little on the high side, even 60 percent would still be a big number. I would guess that a lot of the failure isn’t because people are weak and don’t have willpower; it’s because they make unrealistic, vague resolutions (“I’m going to lose weight!”) instead of smaller, more concrete ones (“I’m going to stop eating cupcakes for dinner!”). I also think a lot of people don’t actually make a decision to stop their resolutions; they just forget about them or organically fall into old habits.

I’m happy to say that I’m still holding firm with my resolutions, which will remain a secret, because when February rolls around and I’ve abandoned them I can deny everything.

2002 AJ129

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but there’s a 0.7-mile-long rock traveling 67,000 miles an hour and it’s heading toward Earth.

The asteroid, with the catchy name 2002 AJ129, is going to pass really close to us on February 4. It will come within 2.6 million miles of Earth, and NASA, which has declared the asteroid “potentially hazardous,” says that’s actually too close for comfort. Luckily, it’s not going to hit us or cause any other problems.

Here’s what NASA has for a plan if an asteroid is going to make a direct hit. It’s not incredibly comforting, but at least it doesn’t involve calling Bruce Willis.

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In other near-apocalyptic news, remember a couple of weeks ago when the state of Hawaii sent out a false warning that missiles were headed toward the Aloha State? This week, it was revealed that the reason why it took Governor David Ige a while to correct the error on social media was because … he forgot his Twitter password. Other officials (and even ordinary citizens) had already tweeted a correction by that time, but it still took 38 minutes for an official correction to go out.

By the way, the lesson from this isn’t “Officials should remember their Twitter passwords,” it’s “Officials shouldn’t rely on Twitter to tell people of a possible nuclear war.”

RIP Bradford Dillman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Dorothy Malone, Naomi Parker Fraley, Hugh Masekela, and Connie Sawyer

Bradford Dillman was a veteran actor who appeared in movies like Compulsion and The Way We Were and many TV shows, such as Court Martial, Dr. Kildare, and Murder, She Wrote. He died last week at the age of 87.

Ursula K. Le Guin was an acclaimed fantasy and science fiction writer known for such works as The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series of books. She died Monday at the age of 88.

Dorothy Malone played the mother on Peyton Place and won an Oscar for her role in Written in the Wind. She also appeared in movies like The Big Sleep, the Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis comedy Artists and Models, and Basic Instinct. She died last Friday at the age of 92.

It was revealed in 2016 that Naomi Parker Fraley was the real model for Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, strong woman seen on WWII posters by artist J. Howard Miller, even though other women made the claim over the decades and confused everyone. She died Saturday at the age of 96.

Here’s the equally famous Norman Rockwell Rosie the Riveter cover from the Post, which featured another Rosie, a 19-year-old phone operator from Arlington, Vermont, named Mary Doyle Keefe. During the war, Rockwell’s painting and his “Four Freedoms” toured the country raising money for war bonds.

Hugh Masekela was an influential jazz musician and anti-apartheid activist from South Africa known for many solo albums, playing the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and touring with Paul Simon for Simon’s Graceland album. He died last week at the age of 78.

You’ve seen Connie Sawyer dozens of times on TV and in movies, even if you didn’t know her name. She didn’t start acting until she was in her 40s (she is often credited as “old lady”) and appeared in everything from The Andy Griffith Show, Seinfeld, and The Office to films like When Harry Met Sally, Out of Sight, and Dumb & Dumber. She died Sunday at the age of 105.

The Best and the Worst

The Best: My favorite story this week has to be about Clarence Purvis, who has lunch with his wife every single day. You say that doesn’t sound too special? Watch Steve Hartman’s On the Road segment below and you may think differently.

The Worst: Nielsen has stopped using paper diaries to gather its ratings information. Now, you may wonder why they didn’t stop using paper diaries a decade or more ago in this age of computers, but I was happy to see that they lasted this long. I’m sure no one else cares about this, but I’m a little sad that yet another paper thing is going away (paper can also be used to keep track of your Twitter password).

I’ve never met a Nielsen family before (and I bet you haven’t either), but my family was an Arbitron family for a week when I was a kid. They were another TV and radio ratings company. We got a paper diary in the mail and since I was the one who watched the most television, my mom told me to keep track of what we watched. I’m pretty sure I just put down all of my favorite shows, whether I watched them that week or not, because I didn’t want them to get canceled.

This Week in History

FDR Begins Fourth Term (January 20, 1945)

The inauguration for Roosevelt’s fourth term was a more low-key event than usual because of World War II. The ceremony took place on the White House’s South Portico lawn.

Roosevelt died just three months later and was succeeded by Harry Truman.

Apple’s “1984” Commercial Airs during Super Bowl (January 22, 1984)

Most people think the commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer aired only once, during the 1984 Super Bowl. However, it actually aired one other time, on a local TV station in Twin Falls, Idaho, a few weeks earlier — on December 31, 1983, so it would qualify for the year-end awards.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Snowy Ambush (January 24, 1959)

Snowy Ambush by John Falter

Snowy Ambush
John Falter
January 24, 1959

This cover by John Falter is one of my favorites, even if I didn’t understand what was going on until I saw the picture in a larger size (and even then it’s brilliantly subtle). There’s a reason the man with the briefcase is hesitating before going down the sidewalk, and it’s not fear of slipping.

How to Make Snow Cream

The Falter cover above features a lot of something you need to make the Southern and Canadian dessert known as Snow Cream: snow. No, not something that looks like snow or has the same consistency as snow; I mean actual snow that you probably have in your backyard or on your front stoop this very moment. This recipe includes sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.

I don’t know if I’m going to make it anytime soon, but you can’t help but love a recipe that includes as an ingredient “8-12 cups of fresh, white, new-fallen snow.”

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

60th Grammy Awards (January 28)

Neil Diamond, who this week announced that he was going to stop touring because he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, will receive this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award. It airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on CBS.

National Puzzle Day (January 29)

To celebrate the day, maybe you can try to crack these puzzles from the January 18, 1873, issue of the Post. Or maybe try to figure out copy editor Andy Hollandbeck’s Logophile Language Puzzlers. I just want to know why Diane stole a stereo.

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  • Remember when ‘Password’ meant a great game show, not something you have to have nearly a dozen of to log-in to this or that?! I’ve gotten to the point where (for better or worse) I’m having to use the same one for several, with only a minor symbol difference at the end for variation. So far, so good.

    The story of Clarence Purvis by Steve Hartman was wonderful. I wish his ‘On the Road’ could be a regular prime-time series that would be a fun, uplifting adventure meeting interesting, regular people (and pets) along the way traveling the U.S.

    Bradford Dillman was an extremely busy actor for decades, and appeared on some of my favorite shows like ‘The Big Valley’, ‘Barnaby Jones’ and ‘Falcon Crest’ to name 3. He had the kind of looks and personality to play the handsome ‘good’ guy, but also excellent villains—not unlike Patrick O’Neal.

    Dillman was once married to the beautiful Suzy Parker, a top mid century model and great actress as well.

    Thanks for running the ‘Snowy Ambush’ cover from 59 years ago. I learned the ‘secret’ of why this businessman is hesitating to continue walking from a feature you did on it a couple of years ago in your regular column.

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