News of the Week: The Emmys, Email, and Ernest Hemingway

This week in pop culture: Emmy nods, email’s staying power, and a birthday wish for Hemingway.

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Emmy Nominations

Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

The Emmy nominations were announced yesterday. Here’s a list of the major categories and who’s up for trophies this year.

Some highlights: Jon Hamm was nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for his role in Mad Men, which was also nominated for Outstanding Drama. His costar Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) got a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, as did Christina Hendricks for her supporting role as Joan Harris. That’s fantastic to see. Two Friends alumni got acting nominations: Lisa Kudrow for The Comeback and Matt LeBlanc for Episodes. Netflix got 34 nominations, which would have been an odd sentence to write just a few years ago.

Snubs and surprises? Empire wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Drama (though Taraji P. Henson got a nom for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama). Justified wasn’t nominated in the Outstanding Drama or Acting categories. Also, it irritates me that The Middle is always overlooked. It’s the best comedy on TV right now — a beautiful blend of heart and humor — and someone from that cast should get nominated. Honestly, if Modern Family wins again …

And Hamm? If he doesn’t win in this, his last year of eligibility as Don Draper, the Emmys are officially a joke. He should have already won, probably more than once. The 67th Emmy Awards, hosted by Andy Samberg, will be broadcast on Fox on September 20 at 8 p.m.

Is Email Going Away?

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

No. Next topic!

It seems that every week we hear of something going away, something that isn’t used anymore, even if at one time everyone used it. Facebook? Teens are fleeing and the site is going to be just another MySpace! (Not true.) Television? People watch everything online now! (Plenty of people still watch television.) Voicemail? People hate voicemail and just text/use social media now! Okay, that last one happens to be true, in my experience anyway. I have people who call me on my landline and instead of leaving a voice mail message will just hang up. What, I’m supposed to magically guess that someone called?

Teddy Wayne at The New York Times says that people aren’t writing long emails anymore, and I’m not sure if I agree or not. I mean, the people who like email and use it to write long correspondence with friends and family (or use it as their main online communication mechanism) will continue to do that, right? I know I will. Besides, there’s no way that email can go away, whether it’s long, intimate emails or quick replies to someone. Email is part of our identity now, like phone numbers or social security numbers. It’s how we sign up for things online, and it’s even how we conduct business online. If people really want a paperless world, try signing contracts or paying bills online by just a text or a Twitter status update.

As for longer emails specifically, I think that will continue for the people who are going to do that anyway. I do find it funny that email, which once stoked fears that it would cause all of us to become ADD-afflicted and destroy phone and face-to-face communication, is now seen as “old school,” like handwritten letters, something I suggest everyone return to. It’s not as quick, but you’re more likely to save a letter you get via snail mail. What are you going to do, print out an email or Facebook “Like” and save it?

Pluto on Pluto!

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

Lots of exciting news for space geeks … um, enthusiasts (and I include myself in that group) this week. After almost a decade in space, NASA’s New Horizons probe finally reached the planet-that-isn’t-really-a-planet-anymore, Pluto, and sent back some stunning photographs.

But for my money, this is the most incredible discovery regarding Pluto on this mission. It’s Pluto … on Pluto!

The Air Conditioner Was Invented Today

The 1963 General Electric Porta-cart air conditioner. (Shutterstock)
The 1963 General Electric Porta-cart air conditioner. (Shutterstock)

I’m sitting here typing this in a pool of sweat.

I’ve lived in this second-floor apartment for over 20 years, and I’ve never had air conditioning (long story). July and August are often brutal. I have to get by with open windows and doors, praying for a cross-breeze, and maybe a fan. Popsicles help a lot too (I’m partial to orange, grape, and root beer).

But let’s celebrate the first electrical air conditioning unit, which was invented by Willis Carrier in Buffalo, New York, and made it’s debut this day in 1902. Of course, it wasn’t in many homes until years later. God, what did people do when you lived on the fifth floor of a New York City apartment building before air conditioning came along?

The history of air conditioning is actually quite fascinating, with tales of inventions and ideas stolen and even a plot by one man in the mid-1800s to get rid of air conditioning because it might interfere with his ice business. There was a backlash against the invention, and it pretty much went away for 50 years.

So if you do have air conditioning, either at home or at work or maybe even both places if you’re lucky, I hope you’re comfortable and happy. But this summer think of me stewing in my own juices, delirious and tired, hallucinating that there is such a thing as magical elves and, oh, I don’t know, National Caviar Day.

Hey, Tomorrow Is National Caviar Day

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

I can’t think of a food holiday that I would be less likely to celebrate than National Caviar Day (and I bet a lot of you feel the same way). Maybe National Haggis Appreciation Day? Caviar just doesn’t appeal to me, and I certainly wouldn’t want to spend the money on it. But if you do like caviar, there’s an official site for the holiday, so you and your friends can celebrate to your heart’s content.

I’m more interested in National Junk Food Day, which is Tuesday. You can bet your fish eggs I’ll be celebrating that.

As if I don’t already celebrate that every week.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

Neil Armstrong walks on the moon (July 20, 1969)
Earlier this year, the widow of the first man to walk on the moon found some moon artifacts in a closet in their home.

Ernest Hemingway born (July 21, 1899)
Did you know that the famed writer modeled his writing after fiction he read in The Saturday Evening Post (even if we did reject him three times)?

John Dillinger killed (July 22, 1934)
SEP contributor Lewis Beale on how mobsters such as Dillinger and Al Capone became sort of folk heroes because of the Depression and through films.

Raymond Chandler born (July 23, 1888)
The acclaimed writer will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later this year, along with Will Ferrell, Juliana Margulies, and Daniel Radcliffe.

First “test-tube baby” born (July 25, 1978)
Louise Brown, the first baby born through in vitro fertilization, turns 37.

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Comments

  1. As far as e-mails go, I’ve even been known to write some longer ones here and there. It’s interesting communications (like handwriting)that require extra time and effort, the ability/intelligence to even be able TO write in the first place, WOULD be put down as ‘old school’, that semi-recent replacement term for ‘old fashioned’.

    In the last issue of 2014 the POST did a feature on handwritten letters and how important they were and are, that shortly after that I wrote a few POST editors handwritten letters with a few ideas.

    As for Pluto, it is a real planet for all of the scientific reasons that still say so, and because… I say so. Pluto the dog is doing his happy dance in agreement.

  2. Good article. I too am tired of reading about items that nobody uses anymore – and I still use them. I guess I am a nobody, which isn’t far off I suppose. Emmys are a joke, most of the shows nominated are ones most people never watch and some I have never even heard of. I would feel sorry for you dying of heat in the summer, but you at least should get a fan or two.

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