Home / Culture / Books / News of the Week: The Joy of Pencils, a Musical Lawsuit, and Burgers and Shakes for Labor Day

News of the Week: The Joy of Pencils, a Musical Lawsuit, and Burgers and Shakes for Labor Day

Published: August 31, 2018

No Siree, My Clue Was Good, I Can Prove It!

School has started — or will soon be starting, depending on where you live — and that means all of the kids and their parents are going to Staples and Target to buy their school supplies. I won’t pretend I loved school when I was a kid, but I certainly loved buying all of the notebooks and pencils and other things I would need for the school year. Funny how I never used a pen as a kid; it was always a pencil. Now I’m starting to get back into pencils, thanks to discovering the Blackwing line. I spend way too much money on writing utensils and paper products.

CBS This Morning’s John Dickerson is also a notebook and pen aficionado, and here he talks about his love of pencils, the memories they invoke, and how they can be a tool in the war against information overload and being in front of a screen all day.

By the way, bonus points to anyone who gets what I’m referring to with the “no siree” line. No fair Googling! If you give up, here’s the answer.

Breaking News about “Breaking News”

This hasn’t been a good month for Michael Jackson.

Last week I told you that the Eagles had overtaken the King of Pop for the No. 1 spot when it comes to album sales. Now we find out that some songs on an album released after Jackson died might not even feature his voice.

There’s a class action lawsuit going on involving Sony and fans, and many online news sources reported that Sony actually admitted the songs weren’t sung by Jackson but by an impersonator. But that’s not exactly what lawyers for Sony said. They were giving a hypothetical legal argument based on the merits of the case and said, “even if the vocals weren’t Jackson’s …” Of course, some people might think that just bringing up a defense like that means it’s possible the songs are sung by someone else.

This actually isn’t a new story. Rumors have been swirling since the album Michael came out in 2010 that the vocals aren’t Jackson’s, and while members of Jackson’s family at first said it was him, some of them now aren’t sure. You can judge for yourself. Music experts say it’s Jackson. Here are “Breaking News,” “Monster,” and “Keep Your Head Up.”

Booze News

Don’t drink alcohol.

That seems to be the results of a new global study published in The Lancet last week. In fact, experts are saying that no amount of alcohol is safe. It’s the type of news that makes you want to, well, take a drink.

This comes many years after all the experts told us that one glass a day of red wine is good for us. Now it seems that all alcohol has turned into battery acid or something. But hey! Here’s an expert who says that we shouldn’t panic. (I choose to believe this expert.)

But even if it turns out alcohol isn’t good for us, we can still eat meat and cheese and chocolate.

 

The Old Man and the Gun

Robert Redford announced recently that he is retiring from acting. Here’s the trailer for his last movie, The Old Man and the Gun, which will be released on September 28. Looks good!

Chicago, 1968

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, an event marked by riots, arrests, and CBS newsman Dan Rather getting punched on live television. It was just one of the many intense events of a very tumultuous year, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in the classic Post article “Has This Country Gone Mad?

RIP John McCain, Neil Simon, and Robin Leach

John McCain was a war hero, a longtime Arizona senator, and the Republican nominee for president in 2008. He died Saturday at the age of 81.

Here’s McCain’s farewell letter to the nation, and here’s what fellow senator and close friend Lindsey Graham had to say about McCain a few days ago.

Neil Simon was the acclaimed writer of such plays as The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Come Blow Your HornSweet Charity, Lost in Yonkers, and Biloxi Blues. He also wrote several screenplays and worked alongside Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner for the classic 1950s variety show Your Show of Shows. He died last week at the age of 91.

Robin Leach was the man who wished us “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” on the popular show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. He died last Friday at the age of 76.

This Week in History

Lyndon Baines Johnson Born (August 29, 1908)

Author Robert Caro has been writing a multi-volume biography of the 36th president, starting with 1982’s The Path to Power. He’s working on the final book in the series now. Late-night host Conan O’Brien, a huge fan of Caro’s, has been trying to get the writer on his show for years, to no avail. But he’s not going to stop trying.

Beatles’ Last Concert (August 29, 1966)

This was the last concert that John, Paul, George, and Ringo put on … unless you count the impromptu performance on that roof.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Postcards (August 25, 1951)

Old man selecting post cards from a rack

Postcards
Stevan Dohanos
August 25, 1951

What I love about this Stevan Dohanos cover is that it takes something rather mundane — buying postcards during a summer vacation — and makes it rather beautiful.

End of Summer Recipes

Sure, I can call this section “End of Summer Recipes,” but it’s hard to do that when I’m sitting here in 90-degree temps and dew points in the 60s. Just as I finished that sentence, the power went out for a few seconds. Now I’m typing this knowing it’s not going to be saved until my internet comes back. This is the second time the power has gone out today. Funny, I can go through an entire winter of storms, with wet snow and ice and intense winds and not have one power outage, but when it’s really hot, I can get two in one morning.

But Labor Day marks the official (or is that unofficial?) end of the summer season, and here are some recipes to try this weekend. How about these Sweet Hawaiian Mini Burgers or this German Potato Salad, which uses mustard instead of mayonnaise, so millennials will like it? For a refreshing drink, you can try this Vintage Lemonade, and for dessert this cold Hershey’s Chocolate Milkshake.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go turn my fan back on.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

V-J Day (September 2)

This marks the day that Japan surrendered to the Allies during World War II. It can be a confusing holiday because “V-J Day” can be a reference to the day that Japan’s surrender was announced (August 14 or 15 in the UK and other places, depending on your time zone) and September 2 in the US, which is the day that Japan officially signed the surrender papers.

Labor Day (September 3)

Here’s a gallery of Post covers that show how labor and the workforce have changed over the decades.

Read a Book Day (September 6)

Come on. You should read a book every day!

 

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  • Thanks for the latest report on drinking, even though I don’t ‘drink’. Thanks too for the trailer of ‘The Old Man and the Gun’. It DOES look good! Let’s hope it does well, and is NOT Redford’s last film.

    Sorry to read Neil Simon passed away. Tremendous talent. It’s best his works came out when they did. They’re too witty, intelligent and sophisticated for the majority today, but will remain a treat for years to come by those of us who appreciate his brilliance.

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