Classic Covers: Welcome, New Year

Happy New Year!

Welcoming in the New Year is a welcome break from homework. Miss Teen-babysitter has her glass of milk ready and is watching the revelers in living black and white. Even the little guy in the crib is awake for the excitement. This cover by artist Ben Prins is a quintessential 1950’s illustration: the home décor, the rolled-up jeans, and oxfords with bobby socks. Happy 1958!

Now, if that doesn’t sound like an exciting New Year’s celebration to you, consider the poor waiter on the December 31, 1949 cover by artist Constantin Alajalov. Not only does he have to work New Year’s Eve, but everybody except him has someone to kiss.

Okay, that’s sad, but at least he is in a festive environment. The same artist did a cover showing a “scrubwoman” waiting for the midnight countdown. All alone, maybe in the whole darn building, she hangs out the window, waiting to toot her horn when the clock does its thing. Now that’s sad.

Norman Rockwell shows us another waiter in a cover titled The Morning After. The setting is the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The slump of the guy’s shoulders can only mean one thing: “Where do I begin?” Wherever you begin, make it a great year!

To browse our collection of covers or purchase your favorite, visit ShopThePost.com.

<em>New Year's Eve Babysitter</em><br />Ben Prins<br />January 4, 1958
New Year’s Eve Babysitter
Ben Prins
January 4, 1958

<em>Midnight and Nobody to Kiss</em><br />Constantin Alajalov<br />December 31, 1949
Midnight and Nobody to Kiss
Constantin Alajalov
December 31, 1949

<em>Giant Clock on New Year's Eve</em><br />Constantin Alajalov<br />January 1, 1949
Giant Clock on New Year’s Eve
Constantin Alajalov
January 1, 1949

<em>The Morning After</em><br />Norman Rockwell<br />December 29, 1945
The Morning After
Norman Rockwell
December 29, 1945

How will you welcome 2010? Post a comment below to share your experiences and expectations.

Top Medical News Stories of the 2000s

The Post’s seven health features of the 2000s.

1. “For Dr. Craig Venter, Discovery Can’t Wait!” [PDF]

Sequencing the human genome signals one of the greatest biological accomplishments of our time.

2. “Tobacco: Making a Killing” [PDF]

Anti-tobacco forces wage war against the powerful tobacco lobby and the rising pandemic of cardiovascular and other smoking-related diseases in the world.

3. “An Emergency Room in Your Chest” [PDF]

Dick Cheney is protected by one, as are thousands of other Americans. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators reduce the risk of having sudden cardiac death to almost zero.

4. “The Other Stem Cells” (See the Jan/Feb 2010 issue on newsstands) and “Breakthroughs on the Brink: Turning the Tide on MS”

Adult stem cells may represent the future of regenerative medicine—minus the controversy.

5. “The Post Investigates Cancer Vaccines”

Cancer researchers are working on “personalized” vaccines that prime the body’s immune system to go after a unique biological tag found only on tumor cells.

6. “Women at Risk” [PDF]

Findings on hormone replacement therapy bring clarity to a longstanding debate, but for the millions of women on hormone therapy, questions remain.

7. “A Cutting-Edge Surgery for Prostate Cancer” [PDF]

Robotic procedures are revolutionizing surgery and rapidly becoming the gold standard for minimally invasive surgery.

Appetizing Ideas

3 … 2 … 1 … Happy New Year! Ring in 2010 with a trio of spiced-up appetizers.

Chinese Five Spice Edamame

Chinese Five Spice Edamame

Shrimp in Sherry-Garlic Sauce

Shrimp in Sherry-Garlic Sauce

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

Seed Sources We Love

For gardeners, it’s the warmest moment of the coldest season: when your first seed catalog arrives in the mail. You can almost feel your green thumb twitching in anticipation as you leaf through the pages and imagine the possibilities.

Seed Sources We Love

Seed catalogs have captivated gardeners ever since Englishman David Landreth produced the first American mail order seed catalog in 1784. The D. Landreth Seed Company is still going strong as our love affair with seed catalogs continues. Only, today, there are hundreds of catalogs and thousands of seeds to choose from. Here are some of our favorites sources.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is an extensive collection of heirloom vegetables.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds has everything you’ll need for Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden and more.

Renee’s Garden Seeds contains a selection of seeds of heirloom and cottage garden flowers, aromatic herbs, and gourmet vegetables from around the world.

At Richters, you’ll find a variety of herbs and a nice selection of vegetables.

Seed Savers Exchange is the largest nongovernmental seed bank in America and keeper of thousands of varieties of heirloom seeds—known for its heirloom vegetable collection.

Select Seeds is where you’ll find old-fashioned flowers, just like Grandma grew.

Thompson and Morgan is an extensive selection of both vegetables and ornamentals straight from England since 1855.

For more than 500 varieties of tomatoes and peppers, visit Tomato Growers Supply Company.

For more information about growing your own seeds, see “Growing Your Own” in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

Classic Covers: The “Post”-Holiday

As we all know The Saturday Evening Post is famous for memorable holiday covers. But what about the “post”-holiday covers? After the many exciting days of anticipation and preparation, all we can say is, “Thank goodness that’s over!”

This is your house, right? Not the top panel in the 1958 cover, with the kids running to open their gifts (that was yesterday). Not the middle panel, where everyone is enjoying the process (ditto). Admit it, your house looks like the bottom panel with gifts, wrapping paper, and ribbons strewn everywhere. The sound of reindeer hooves on the rooftop is a distant memory. This cover by artist Ben Prins sums it up: It’s all over but the clean-up.
This is your house, right? Not the top panel in the 1958 cover, with the kids running to open their gifts (that was yesterday). Not the middle panel, where everyone is enjoying the process (ditto). Admit it, your house looks like the bottom panel with gifts, wrapping paper, and ribbons strewn everywhere. The sound of reindeer hooves on the rooftop is a distant memory. This cover by artist Ben Prins sums it up: It’s all over but the clean-up.
“You’re not going anywhere young man, until you thank Grandma for the ice skates,” Mom seems to be saying in the 1960 cover by artist George Hughes. “Geeze, the pond might melt before I finish these letters,” the boy thinks. These days, you might hear: “You’re not playing any video games until you e-mail Grandma and thank her for the Wii games.” Maybe a sweet Tweet will do.
“You’re not going anywhere young man, until you thank Grandma for the ice skates,” Mom seems to be saying in the 1960 cover by artist George Hughes. “Geeze, the pond might melt before I finish these letters,” the boy thinks. These days, you might hear: “You’re not playing any video games until you e-mail Grandma and thank her for the Wii games.” Maybe a sweet Tweet will do.
It ain’t over till it’s over. Not yet able to breathe a sigh of relief is the harried clerk in the exchange department that appeared on our January 11, 1941 cover. This young lady is due for a day off.
It ain’t over till it’s over. Not yet able to breathe a sigh of relief is the harried clerk in the exchange department that appeared on our January 11, 1941 cover. This young lady is due for a day off.

Scrooge in the form of the IRS? Finding a notice from the Treasury Department among the Christmas cards is just not right. The editors didn’t want to be accused of creating “an image of the abdominal postman,” but hey, he did leave a special delivery package in the snow. width=

Who Will Shape the New Decade?

Predicting has become more difficult than ever. Consider the decade that arrived in 2000, and how few hints there were for the coming changes: the terrorist attacks, the Bush presidency, the collapse of major corporations, and the vanishing middle class.

The signs might have been there in 2000, but we were overshadowed by the news of the day. That year, Time magazine named George W. Bush as its person of the year. But how many of its “Newsmakers of 2000” are still making news: Vojislav Kostunica, Mohammed Al-Durra, Robert Mugabe, Kim John IL, Vincente Fox Quesada, Cathy Freeman, George Speight, or John Roth?

It has always been difficult to spot the newsmakers who will eventually make vast changes. The first Post issue of 1910 is a good example. Its top story covered the British Prime Minister’s battle to curb the legislative power of the House of Lords. There is no mention of the World War that is a mere four years away.

A long, comic poem The World, the Flesh and 1909: A Galloping Epic in Six Canters and a “Whoa!” reviews the important topics of the previous year: President Taft’s first year, William Howard Taft, Turkish slaughter of Armenians, and Wilbur Wright’s record flight, Commodore Peary and the arctic-exploring fraud, Dr. Cook.

If the Post editors of 1910 had our knowledge, they would have devoted much more space to their weekly department, “Who’s Who—And Why.” The article concerns Gifford Pinchot, a forestry expert from North Carolina, who was to make a vast impact on American society.

To be fair to the editors, Pinchot had not yet taken the actions that changed global politics in the 20th Century. Before we describe these actions, we will quote from the Post article, which introduces Pinchot to its readers.

“When Colonel Roosevelt came into our humdrum lives as President, Pinchot, who had been dealing mostly with statesmen who had only one idea about trees, and that was to keep up the tariff on lumber, found a person after his own heart. The Colonel was a sort of tree-sharp himself. He had known Pinchot when he had lived in Washington previously, and had absorbed some of Pinchot’s ideas, as well as contributed a few of his own — a thing he never failed to do as he had a large of stock of idea on almost every subject.

Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot

“Pinchot lived trees, thought trees and talked trees. Beginning with the broad, general preposition that we must conserve our forest if we would continue great as a Nation, he had developed a conservation theory that included all our natural resources. He saw that Colonel Roosevelt was sympathetic … and the way he froze to that eminent gentleman was the wonder of Washington. Every time T. R. turned around he found Pinchot at his elbow, saying, “Well as we have a few minutes, let me explain again to you the necessity of forest reservations, of the conservation of our water power and the safeguard of other resources.

“When they were playing tennis and the Colonel had banged the ball, or all the balls, out of the lot, Pinchot would walk over and begin: “While we are resting let me point out to you the advantages — ” and so on. Any time there was a lull in the conversation at luncheon Pinchot came to bat with a few well-rounded sentences about conservation. He didn’t think about anything else or talk about anything else. He was as single-minded about it as a June bug trying to butt through a window-glass.

“Pinchot was one of the White House Steadies. He counted that day lost when he didn’t produce something new for the Colonel to reserve or conserve. Moreover, being an earnest person, and scrappaghous (sic) withal, he butted in every place he could. He had Jimmie Garfield on his staff, when Jimmie was Secretary of the Interior, and he ran various ends of that department as well as the Forest Service. There was no stopping Pinchot… until R. Achilles Ballinger came along as Mr. Taft’s Secretary of the Interior. Then Mr. Ballinger, being somewhat red-corpuscled himself, organized a clash, which is clashing yet.”

The writer concludes with a few observations of the Forest Service director:

“He is a quiet, effective man, intensely in earnest and on the job every minute of the day. He has a highly specialized intelligence and he is doing a big work for the country. He is an extremist, of course, as every man is who gets great results, and there are those who go further and call him a fanatic.”

Among those applying the “f” word to Pinchot was President Taft.

To pick up the story, we must add a little background on Taft and his mentor, Theodore Roosevelt. In 1904, flushed with victory, Roosevelt promised not to run for re-election in 1908. So in 1907, he personally selected his successor.

William Howard Taft had worked closely with Roosevelt, and had been his Secretary of War. Roosevelt believed Taft would continue his Progressive agenda: punishing the “malefactors of great wealth,” ensuring opportunity, launching social programs, and protecting the country’s natural resources.

President Taft from a Post cartoon. Weighing over 300 pounds, Taft is remembered as a man of great weight but little impact.
President Taft from a Post cartoon. Weighing over 300 pounds, Taft is remembered as a man of great weight but little impact.

Taft won the election of 1908 with Roosevelt’s support. Once in office, though, he proved more cautious, but probably more thorough than Roosevelt in furthering Progressive reforms.

From the first days of his presidency, Taft indicated he would be less abrasive and more deliberate in his approach, which the Post editors applauded. They also praised his support for the Payne-Aldrich tariff bill, which would protect American industry from competition in the world market. On the editorial page, the Post proclaimed “Taft Opens the Door of Hope.”

The Progressive Republicans who had voted for Taft at Roosevelt’s urging were dismayed by this betrayal. The former president could not be reached for a comment; once he had won the election for Taft, Roosevelt set off for an extended African Safari.

Taft had compromised, but not fully betrayed the Progressives. He simply would not be rushed.

Pinchot had retained the Forest Service position that Roosevelt had given him. Taft didn’t like Pinchot’s activism, but he didn’t dare remove this close friend of Teddy. He did, however, remove Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, James Garfield, son of the assassinated president, and replaced him with Richard Ballinger.

Ballinger had earned a reputation as a reformer when he was Seattle’s mayor, but he was never a Progressive. The old-guard Roosevelt Republicans saw replacement as yet another example of Taft betraying the Progressive legacy.

As the Post article hinted, and as Taft probably intended, Interior Secretary Ballinger and Forest-Service Director Pinchot soon came to an impasse, particularly when Ballinger began making public resources available to businesses.

Pinchot urged Taft to investigate the new Interior Secretary, alleging that Ballinger was selling coal and water from national lands to private companies. Taft ordered an investigation, which found no proof of Ballinger’s corruption.

It was at this point in the story that the Post published its profile of Pinchot. What the Post, and the administration, didn’t foresee was Pinchot’s next move.

Shortly after this issue of the Post hit the newsstands, Gifford Pinchot brought his allegations against Ballinger before Congress. He criticized Taft and demanded that Congress conduct its own investigation into the Interior Secretary. Pinchot believed that Taft would have to get rid of Ballinger. The alternative was impossible: Taft could not fire Pinchot. He was too popular with Progressive Republicans and too close to Roosevelt.

But Taft did fire Pinchot and, consequently, lost the last of his support among the Progressive Republicans.

News finally reached Teddy Roosevelt, along with a report of the affair delivered by Pinchot himself. Furious, Roosevelt broke with his successor and formed his own Progressive Party in the 1912 election to pitch Taft out of the White House. The two friends ran against each other — Taft without much enthusiasm and Roosevelt without enough Republicans willing to cross over to his Bull Moose Party.

Pinchot had hoped he could force Taft to choose between his supporters in conservation and commerce. When Taft chose a more moderate, more business-friendly approach, he destroyed the last of his popular base. He also enabled the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson, to win the next election.

Had Roosevelt won the Presidency, the history of World War One would have been far different. As it was, Wilson’s approach to global policing led to an unstable Europe, which led to the Second World War, which led to the Cold War, which led to…

You can draw conclusions forever. The longer you draw them, though, the thinner they get, until you can ultimately argue that anything led to anything else.

Yet it’s not too much of a stretch to say that Gifford Pinchot’s dedication to conserving natural resources affected the course of American, and European, politics. We can state, with assurance, that he had a profound effect on the decade beginning in 1910.

All of which raises the question: Is there a government employee, working in a Washington agency, whose principled stand might upset the political establishment? Ultimately a man or woman of conviction will take a stand and, by a surprise move, turn the national power structure on its head.

Cream of Wheat advertisement, 1910
Cream of Wheat advertisement, 1910

Shrimp in Sherry-Garlic Sauce

The sherry-garlic sauce in this appetizer offers a delicious change of pace from the usual cocktail sauce.

Shrimp in Sherry-Garlic Sauce

Shrimp in Sherry-Garlic Sauce, courtesy of The Food Channel.
Shrimp in Sherry-Garlic Sauce, courtesy of The Food Channel.

(Makes 24 servings of 3 shrimp)

Spread shrimp on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and garlic over medium high heat until the garlic begins to sizzle. Add 1 pound of shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp is opaque. Transfer shrimp to a container.

Return skillet to heat. Add another pound of shrimp to the skillet and additional olive oil as needed. Transfer cooked shrimp to container. Cook the final pound of shrimp, leaving it in the skillet when done.

Add reserved shrimp to the skillet and lower heat to medium. Add sherry and reduce until sauce slightly thickens. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and salt to taste.

Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of The Food Channel.

Spanish Tortilla Recipe

This classic Spanish tapa is delicious and filling—a marvelous choice for a party hors d’oeuvre.

Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla, courtesy of The Food Channel.
Spanish Tortilla, courtesy of The Food Channel.

(Makes 12 servings)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably nonstick). Add sliced potato and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook potatoes, turning gently, until softened but not browned, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

Add remaining oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic to onions and cook 2-3 minutes, until softened and aromatic. Return potatoes to skillet, gently stir to combine, and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Beat eggs with parsley. Pour eggs into skillet over vegetables and shake pan to evenly distribute eggs. Cook, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and cook 10 minutes, or until egg is set.

Cool to room temperature. Remove from pan and cut into 12 thin wedges or squares.

Recipe courtesy of The Food Channel.

Chinese Five Spice Edamame

Create a light Asian-inspired treat with only three ingredients.

Chinese Five Spice Edamame, courtesy of The Food Channel.
Chinese Five Spice Edamame, courtesy of The Food Channel.

Chinese Five Spice Edamame

(Makes 12 servings)

(Chinese Five Spice powder can be found in the seasoning aisle of your local grocery store. Though frozen edamame is available shelled, purchase edamame with the shells on for this recipe.)

Combine Kosher Salt and Chinese Five spice powder in small bowl.

Place edamame in microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave for approximately 4 minutes, or until edamame peas are tender.

Rest covered for 1 minute. Remove plastic wrap and toss edamame with Chinese Five Spice mixture.

Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of The Food Channel.

Smithsonian: Within These Walls

Through its exhibition, Within These Walls…, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History showcases 200 years of American history as seen from the doorstep of one house that stood from Colonial days through the mid-1960s in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Opened May 16, 2009, the 4,200-square-foot exhibition highlights five ordinary families whose lives within the walls of the house became part of the great changes and events of the nation’s past.

“Ordinary people, living their everyday lives can create extraordinary history,” said Spencer R. Crew, director of the National Museum of American History. “This exhibition will inspire our visitors to look at history in a new way, a history that begins at home,” he added.

The exhibition is sponsored by the National Association of Realtors®. “This truly is a historic event for NAR to be able to bring “Within These Walls…” to millions of visitors, said NAR President Richard A. Mendenhall.

The exhibition’s curatorial team researched nearly 100 occupants who once lived in the house. Their stories show some of the ways Americans have made history in their kitchens and parlors. Inside this house, American Colonists created a new genteel lifestyle, patriots set out to fight the Revolution, and an African-American struggled for freedom. Neighbors came together to end slavery, immigrants made a new home and earned a livelihood, and a woman and her grandson served on the home front during World War II.

For more details, visit the exhibition Web site. Curious about your own home?

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of American History.

St. Augustine Travel Tips

 

Ageless St. Augustine Bonus

(Bonus material from “Ageless St. Augustine,” in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Click here to subscribe or buy the issue online at ShopThePost.com.)

The Kessler calamari at 95 Cordova in the Casa Monica Hotel is so popular that the restaurant plans to sell it in go-cups for travelers wandering the streets. Even nonsquid lovers fall for this semolina-crusted version, served with a Moroccan pesto of sweet olives, tomatoes, and asiago cheese. “We haven’t convinced them to let us walk and drink here like you can in New Orleans and Key West,” said Casa Monica’s Joni Dooley Barkley, “but we can walk and eat.”

For dessert, there’s Key Lime Pie in every possible permutation, but for my calories, I’ll take Claude’s Chocolate. Former New Yorkers Claude Franques and his wife, Nicole, have gotten into the Southern groove, making little white chocolate mimosas, flavored with orange and champagne, and pandering to University of Florida fans with dark chocolate gators.

However, there are scarier things than gators in St. Augustine. All you need to feel a chill up your spine is to eavesdrop on the locals. The Casa Monica Hotel and adjoining condos were built on an old Indian burial ground, they say, and were so haunted that the new owners called in ghostbusters from England.

Henry Flagler, the Standard Oil magnate who transformed Florida with grandiose hotels and railroads, died in 1913 and was lying in state in the rotunda of the building that is now his namesake college. Local legend holds that during the service, the casket lid slammed down, a puff of smoke flew up to the top of the dome, flashed down like lightning and seared a portrait of the man himself in one of the inch-square floor tiles. Just ask a local where to look in this sea of mosaics.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse, recently restored, has its own tales to tell. It’s a huff-and-puff climb up 219 stairs. (Just imagine being a keeper carrying 30-pound buckets of hot pig lard up to fuel the flame.)

Tragically, three little girls were killed during the lighthouse construction when they hopped into a railroad car for a ride and couldn’t stop it before it dumped them into the waves.

In the 136 years since, ghosts seem to have stacked up upon themselves at the lighthouse. When the SciFi Channel’s Ghost Hunters came to tape, they saw faces leaning over the stair landings and tracked plenty of psychic activity.

But you can hardly blame spirits for haunting St. Augustine. I didn’t want to leave either.

Adult Stem Cells

Delivering on the Promise?

Regenocyte—an independent biotechnology firm—is exploring the potential of adult stem cells for cardiovascular and severe lung disease. For more about the experimental process from lead researcher Dr. Zannos Grekos and for patient stories, visit Regenocyte – Adult Stem Cell Therapy or call The Heart and Vascular Institute in Naples, Florida, at 866-216-5710.

News Worth Knowing

With so much adult stem cell research underway, it can be tough to keep track of it all. Here are more breakthroughs that are worth keeping an eye on.

Crohn’s Disease: Resetting the Immune System

For sufferers of Crohn’s disease, everyday life can feel like a never-ending bout of food poisoning. The disease arises when the immune system attacks the stomach and intestines, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. No cure for the condition has yet been found, but Julian Panes, a gastroenterologist at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, thinks he may have hit on the most effective treatment yet: giving chronic Crohn’s patients an infusion of their own adult stem cells to “reset” their immune systems, ending the body’s misguided efforts to attack the digestive system.

The procedure Dr. Panes uses is a straightforward but grueling one. First, patients receive a round of chemotherapy to depress their immune systems, then blood is drawn to obtain a critical mass of adult stem cells. “We check that there is a sufficient number of cells to complete two procedures, just to make sure we are on the safe side,” Dr. Panes says. “After another round of chemotherapy, we infuse the cells into the patient, and the cells populate the bone marrow.” So far, he adds, the treatment seems to result in quick and effective healing of patients’ damaged digestive tissue. “We already have four patients that have been transplanted for more than a year, and three of them are completely without any symptoms. The disease made them miserable, and now they have a normal life.” Dr. Panes plans to begin large-scale clinical trials of the treatment within the next few years.

Reconstructive Surgery: The Next Level

Jeremy Mao, director of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine, thinks he’ll someday be able to do lasting reconstructions of the breast and skin using soft-tissue implants studded with adult stem cells.

In a 2007 animal study, Dr. Mao demonstrated the viability of his technique. First, he inserted adult stem cells that generate fatty tissue into minuscule channels etched in hydrogel implants. He added a growth factor known to promote the development of blood-vessel tissue. Then he transplanted the hydrogel cylinders into mice. He observed that fatty tissue grew in the region of each cylinder—and that it stayed healthy because networks of blood vessels formed to support the new tissue. “When you put micro-channels in the hydrogel, they become a conduit for the blood vessels,” he says.

If Dr. Mao’s technique works in humans, surgeons may be able to perform successful breast reconstructions without silicone and design facial soft-tissue implants that actually hold their shape. Dr. Mao also thinks his method of engineering tissue with its own blood vessel supply will eventually help researchers who use stem cells to build replacement kidneys and livers. “The work we are doing could be informative for more complex organs.”

For more, read “The Post Investigates: The Other Stem Cells,” in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, on newsstands through February.  Subscribe online or purchase the issue at ShopThePost.com.

Firsthand America: “I Was a Game-Show Champion!”

An excerpt from our new “Firsthand” column, which premiers in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of the Post.

I’ve been a know-it-all since I was a kid, but last year I found a way to make it pay.

I’ve watched Jeopardy! for years, calling out my answers to host Alex Trebek, as if he could hear me. My wife, Danielle, watching with me, would sometimes say, “You know, you could clean up on this show.” I shrugged. How do you get on a game show, anyway?

Then one day, Jeopardy! announced an online qualifying test. It seemed like a good opportunity to put up or shut up. I was interested mostly in satisfying my curiosity, and—let’s be honest—in the money, too. So, on the appointed night, I sat at the computer, calm and focused—until the phone rang, dogs started howling outside, and the kids began crawling on my lap. I made a good effort—or tried to. I won’t say I forgot about the test; but I downplayed it ruthlessly and got on with life. Then, two months later, I got an unexpected e-mail: Could I come to Boston for a live tryout in six weeks?

At the audition, everyone was personable and good-looking, while I felt crushingly ordinary in my discount-store necktie and cracked glasses. We all took another quiz, got our pictures taken, then played some practice games. I didn’t freeze up or babble—but neither did I dominate in any way. They thanked us, told us that our applications would be held for up to 18 months, then they let us go. It was late. I raced across town to catch the outbound train back to my family, but missed it. Alone in the empty station with no money to take a cab, I entertained unkind thoughts about Jeopardy!

Spring passed. Summer was a haze of late shifts and reheated dinners. When autumn came, I had not watched Jeopardy! in months. And then, just before Halloween, I got the call inviting me to California as a contestant on the show. Already I was calculating airfares and hotels, thinking, Can I afford to do this?


To read the full article, see the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, on newsstands throughout January and February, subscribe now, or purchase the issue at ShopThePost.com.

Want to be a game show contestant? Check out our exclusive tips only at saturdayeveningpost.com.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

Did you witness a historic event? Enjoy a moment in the spotlight? Experience the adventure of a lifetime? We want to hear your firsthand stories! E-mail your personal accounts to [email protected] or mail them to:

Firsthand Story
The Saturday Evening Post
1100 Waterway Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

We look forward to hearing from you!

You Could Be the Next Contestant! How to Get on Your Favorite Game Show

Ever wondered how to get on to your favorite game show?

Jeopardy!
Take a practice test and register for the e-mail alerts for the next online registration opening. jeopardy.com/beacontestant/contestantsearches.

Wheel of Fortune
Apply for your chance to spin the wheel at wheeloffortune.com/contestantsandtickets/beacontestant/adult.

The Price Is Right
Come on down! All you need to get on this show is a ticket and a little luck, as the contestants are randomly picked from the audience. For ticket info, visit cbs.com/daytime/the_price_is_right/tickets.

Family Feud
Let your family feuding pay off! Visit familyfeud.tv/beonshow.shtml for show tickets. To apply for your family to be on the show, call (323)-762-8467.

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?
Think you have what it takes to outsmart an elementary school kid? Find out how you can be on the show at fox.com/areyousmarter/showinfo. Maybe you should try the online trivia game first, fox.com/areyousmarter/features.

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
Who doesn’t! Find out how at millionairetv.com/info-contestant.html. Or play online at millionairetv.com/playonline.html.

Deal or No Deal
Ready to take a chance with the odds? Click here to find out how to apply for this special deal. Or play online at nbc.com/Deal_or_No_Deal/game/flash.shtml.

New England Fish Chowder

New England Fish Chowder

New England Fish Chowder
New England Fish Chowder

(Makes 8 to 12 servings)

Cook bacon in deep heavy pan over medium heat as directed. Remove and place on paper towels. Do not drain pan. Cook onion in bacon drippings until soft. Do not brown.

Peel and cut potatoes into small chunks. Add to onion with enough water to cover. Cover pan and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Add fish fillets cut in 1 1/2-inch pieces and simmer 10 minutes longer. Add clam broth and milk. Stir well, taste for seasoning and set aside.

Reheat in top of double boiler just before serving. Cut bacon into tiny pieces. Add butter and bacon pieces to soup and serve with crackers.

Healthy Bones for Life

Most of us will never compete in the Senior Olympics, but surprising research on those who do may change the ways we try to protect our bones for the future. According to Dr. Vanda Wright and her colleagues who tested the bone strength of 560 athletes ages 50 to 93 at the 2005 National Senior Games, running, jumping, and playing sports such as basketball and volleyball may lead to greater strides against bone loss than other types of exercise and taking calcium supplements alone.

“High-impact sports, while not for everyone, can play a significant part in healthy bone aging,” explained Dr. Wright, assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Our study represents the largest sample of bone mineral density (BMD) data in mature athletes to date. We were surprised to see that active adult participation in high-impact sports had such a positive influence on bone health, even in the oldest athletes.”

To compete in the next Senior Olympics—tentatively scheduled for June 19-July 5, 2011, in Houston, Texas—athletes age 50+ on December 31, 2009, must qualify at local events that are held in 2010 and sanctioned by the National Senior Games Association.