News of the Week: President Trump, Presents from Oprah, and Pickles You Can Make Yourself

From this week’s news, Bob Sassone looks at election results, Oprah’s favorite things, and what to make for National Pickle Day. 


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Election 2016


I don’t know if you’ve heard, but remember the guy who used to host Celebrity Apprentice? We just elected him President of the United States.

Maybe you didn’t vote for Donald Trump, but he will be our President (even if students around the country voted for Hillary Clinton in a landslide). Trump stunned everyone by changing the electoral map, while it looks like Clinton won the popular vote.

Just as fascinating as the actual election results was the coverage of it on television and social media. I was up until 2 a.m., surfing around the various channels. You had CNN’s John King and his wondrous magic wall (at one point I think he wanted to strangle Wolf Blitzer for all of his interruptions), and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow looking rather perplexed. You had CBS’s Bob Schieffer not knowing what to make of the results, and over on Fox News they wanted to be more cautious after getting 2012 so wrong. The election was all that Twitter could talk about for 24 hours straight, and helped prove once again that maybe, just maybe, most of us shouldn’t be on Twitter.

To summarize this election: A lot of the “experts” didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.

One last thing about the 2016 election: Have you heard about the new web craze, The Mannequin Challenge? It’s when you stand still like a mannequin and film yourself. It’s one of those internet memes like the Ice Bucket Challenge and planking and the one where you smush bread into your face for some reason. Everyone on the Clinton campaign plane took part in The Mannequin Challenge the day before the election, and someone added an REM song to it after the results came in. I think it pretty much describes how Clinton supporters feel:


Here’s how the voting went down, though they might not be the final final numbers.

Oprah’s Favorite Things

Oprah Winfrey doesn’t have her daily talk show anymore, so she can’t freak out her audience by surprising them with so many Christmas gifts that many of them have heart attacks. But she still picks her favorite things every year, only now it’s in her magazine and online with help from Amazon.

There aren’t any raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but you can buy a William Faulkner Book Set, a Rabbit Wine Decanter, and Verloop Trio Gloves, which come in a set of three in case you lose one. If you want to spend a lot of money, you could get a custom dog blanket, or if you don’t want to spend a lot of cash, how about some potato chips?

I don’t know if you have any Saturday Evening Post columnists on your Christmas list this year, but if there are, I wouldn’t hate it if you bought me, I mean them, this Bialatti Pasta Pot.

Breaking Starbucks Coffee Cup News!

Last week we told you about the latest controversy involving the Starbucks Christmas cups. Turns out those weren’t the Christmas cups at all! They were unity cups, for the election (not sure if that worked out that well).

Yesterday, Starbucks made their cups for the holiday season available, and if you thought there wasn’t enough seasonal joy in last year’s plain red, green, and white cups, there’s plenty of that this year to make up for it. This season they have 13 different cups designed by Starbucks customers all over the world. There were 1,200 submissions to the contest on Instagram, which seems like a rather low number for a worldwide Starbucks contest. If for some reason you don’t like fancy designs on your coffee cups, those regular red, green, and white cups will be available too.

By the way, from now until Monday, if you buy a holiday drink at Starbucks between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., you get a holiday drink for free!

Courtesy Starbucks


RIP Leonard Cohen and Kay Starr

Leonard Cohen was one of the most influential and respected singer/songwriters of the past several decades. His song “Hallelujah” has been featured in many TV shows over the years and has been covered by dozens of artists, including Jeff Buckley:

Cohen passed away last night at the age of 82. No cause of death was given, but he told The New Yorker in a recent interview, “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

Kay Starr had one of the great voices in American pop music. She recorded many well-known songs, including “The Rock and Roll Waltz” and the Christmas classic “(Everybody’s Waiting For) The Man with the Bag,” which Target used in commercials a few Christmases past. But she’s probably best known for the No. 1 song “Wheel of Fortune,” which was used in L.A. Confidential:

Starr died last week at the age of 94 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

This Week in History

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Elected President Again(November 7, 1944)

It can’t happen anymore, but this was the fourth term for FDR.

Edmund Halley Born (November 8, 1656)

The comet named after Halley won’t be seen again until July 28, 2061.

Berlin Wall Opens (November 9, 1989)

At least 130 people were killed trying to escape East Germany from 1961 to 1989.

Monday Is National Pickle Day!

I would lump pickles into the same category as ketchup, mustard, pasta, and beer, and that category is “Things I’m Never Going to Make at Home — I’ll Just Buy Them from the Store, Thanks.” But if you’re ambitious, AllRecipes has a bunch of recipes for both dill and sweet pickles. Whether you make them yourself or just go with Vlasic, you can include them in this Cuban Sandwich from Bobby Flay or this meatloaf, or you could fry them.

You could also make pickle-infused vodka, which I don’t think is one of Oprah’s favorite things.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Sadie Hawkins Day (November 13)

I can’t remember having a Sadie Hawkins Dance when I was in school. If we did, I was never asked! I also didn’t know that it all started with Lil Abner.

Great American Smokeout (November 17)

Today would be a great day to quit smoking, even if it did help create some fun ads featuring giant packs of cigarettes.

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  1. It was good to see a calm and controlled Donald Trump on ’60 Minutes’ Sunday night with Lesley Stahl, but get ready for four years of rollin’ and ridin’ and slippin’ & slidin’ with the 45th President, like it or not.

    As far as Hillary’s loss went, the good news is that it was not because she’s a woman. It was this particular woman at this particular time. A female President will be elected sooner than later.

    The Mannequin Challenge is a lot different than one I participated in at 23 back in 1980 over in Venice on the boardwalk. Crowds gathered in front of this clothing store watching people wearing their clothes as ‘live’ mannequins. The co-owner came over to me, telling me I had the exact look she wanted for her next display. Of course I said yes when told it paid $30 for 30 minutes.

    I had to remain ‘frozen’ for 30 minutes on the store’s porch above, and was paired up with a Heather Thomas-like, cute blonde. No moving, smiling, anything. It was a fun ego trip, yes, but once was enough. It looked easy, but was difficult, trust me. I was invited back, but had to politely decline.

    Starbucks doing even more to maximize attention via their cups. As far as that ‘free’ Holiday drink goes Bob, you know you’re paying for it many times over.

    Arlene, I bet your limericks are great and would encourage you to keep sending them in. I haven’t had much luck (okay, none) in finding Ben Franklin’s key, but keep looking.

  2. I enjoy reading the news. Kay Starr’s Wheel of Fortune brought back many memories. I am a loyal subscriber now and really enjoy the limerick contest and will keep sending them in. Haven’t won yet, but I love the pictures and making them up. I share them at my Creative Writing Club. They love them. Thanks, Arlene Byers


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