There are many things in this world we think we can count on. The sun will rise in the east. The checkout line we choose at the supermarket will move the slowest. Adam Sandler will make bad movies. We also know that every Valentine’s Day we’ll see those pastel-colored candy hearts with messages on them.
But that might not be the case anymore.
NECCO, which stands for the New England Confectionary Company, was the oldest continuously operated candy company in the U.S. I say was because it suddenly closed down last week, without any notice, leaving 230 employees without jobs. The company was sold to an unnamed candy company, and the new company hasn’t said whether they’re going to continue candy production. Some employees have actually filed a lawsuit. The NECCO website was still available until very recently, but it seems to have been taken offline.
The company also made NECCO Wafers, a candy I remember from my childhood that is always unfairly maligned. Sure, the black licorice ones were gross — black licorice candy is always gross — but there was something satisfying about having the others melt on your tongue. The company also made Clark Bars, the Sky Bar, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Mary Janes, my mom’s favorite candy, and for that fact alone I’d like to see the new company rehire all of the employees and continue to make all of the candies. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t want to.
This past week could have been dubbed “Space Week” because there was so much space-related news that I couldn’t keep track of it all. There was the story about NASA’s new spacecraft TESS that is searching for new planets; the news that NASA doesn’t have anything for astronauts to wear if they go back to the moon; and the story about the first eight NASA astronauts that will be flying on Space X and Boeing space missions (hopefully they’ll have something to wear).
And if all that wasn’t enough, it’s also NASA’s 60th anniversary, and the agency made a special video to celebrate the milestone.
Jones, Morris, Hoffman, Thome, Trammell, and Guerrero
That’s not the name of a law firm; it’s the list of the men inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, this past week.
If you’re already wondering who’s going to be on the 2019 ballot, MLB.com has posted its list of potential inductees. You’ll probably see Mariano Rivera but not Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds.
The Answer Is: Who Is Alex Trebek?
I have two questions about this story. The first one is: Why did Alex Trebek give an interview to TMZ’s Harvey Levin, of all people? Trebek told Levin that his contract is up in 2020 and there’s less than a 50/50 chance he’ll actually continue (he’ll be 80). He does offer two suggestions on who should replace him, though. (There was a rumor a few years ago that Matt Lauer might replace Trebek … but that’s not going to happen.)
Oh, the second question I have is this: Since the exclamation point is an official part of the Jeopardy! title, does that mean I need to put an extra exclamation point at the end of the title if the story is exciting or shocking? Like this: “Alex Trebek Might Leave Jeopardy!!”
These are the things that keep me up at night.
WWII Time Capsule Found
Mike Wimberley needs your help.
Wimberley is a contractor who was working on a home in Cleveland when he found a World War II–era time capsule. It was buried by a soldier named Richard Silagy and includes Silagy’s family pictures, his hat, and even an M14 shell.
Wimberley wants to return the time capsule to Silagy’s family. If he can find them, that is. That’s where you come in. Are you related to Silagy or know anyone who is? Wimberley searched on Facebook but so far hasn’t had any luck.
The Ice Cream Man
How long have you been at your job? I don’t know you personally, but I’m going to guess it hasn’t been seven decades.
That’s how long 81-year-old Allan Ganz of Peabody, Massachusetts, has been selling ice cream. Yup, he started when he was just 10, driving around in the ice cream truck with his dad, who also did it for many years. He says he might sell the truck after this summer, but would like to continue to work for the new owner one day a week. After all, selling ice cream is the best job ever.
I think the real story here is that he has listened to that ice cream truck song for 71 years and hasn’t gone mad.
RIP Patrick Williams, Bill Loud, Judith Appelbaum, and Doug Grindstaff
Patrick Williams was a prolific composer for movies and TV shows, including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Columbo, Lou Grant, and too many others to mention here. He died last week at the age of 79.
Bill Loud and his family were the stars of one of the first reality shows, PBS’s An American Family. The show was both praised and criticized for its depiction of a real family that always had cameras filming them. He died last week at the age of 97.
Judith Appelbaum wrote one of the classic how-to books for writers, 1978’s How to Get Happily Published. It was the first book I read about becoming a writer. She also wrote for The New York Times Book Review and was managing editor for Publisher’s Weekly. She died last week at the age of 78.
Doug Grindstaff was one of the people who came up with all of the sounds on Star Trek, including the transporter, the phasers, and even the doors opening on the Enterprise. He died last month at the age of 87.
This Week in History
First U.S. Patent Issued (July 31, 1790)
The first patent was issued to a man named Samuel Hopkins, who invented an improvement “in the making of Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process.” I don’t know what that is either.
MTV Is Launched (August 1, 1981)
The very first video shown was, appropriately enough, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Dripping Cones (July 29, 1944)
I don’t know why the little girl in this Stevan Dohanos cover thinks she can carry six ice cream cones and get them to her friends across the street before they melt or slip out of her hands. It might make for a fun video game, though — sort of an ice cream–oriented version of Frogger.
Today Is National Watermelon Day
Watermelon is one of those foods that I love but can’t eat any other form of. Meaning, I had a glass of watermelon juice one time and I thought it was rather unenjoyable, even though I’ll eat pieces of watermelon all day long (see also: peas and pea soup).
And if you don’t like watermelon in any form whatsoever, then get out your knife and make one into a keg, a football helmet, or even a shark.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (August 8)
I mentioned this last week, and it really is one of the stranger food holidays. It’s a way of getting rid of the massive amounts of zucchini that are grown this time of year. The best time to do it is at night when your neighbor is asleep.
Book Lovers Day (August 9)
If you have any zucchini left after the above celebration, you might as well combine that holiday with Book Lovers Day and buy the cookbook What the #@)*! Am I Going to Do with All These Zucchini???