News of the Week: Best Places to Live, Good Health Habits, and Some Great American Pies

For the week ending February 10, 2017, Bob Sassone explores the best places to live, considers new words in the dictionary, celebrates a singer’s centennial release, and looks forward to pie, wine, and more pie.

The Golden Gate Bridge

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What Do San Francisco and Boise Have in Common?

Every year, U.S. News & World Report issues a list of the best metro areas in the U.S. to live in, based on a survey of readers. The list is based on many things, including cost of living, jobs, crime statistics, access to good education and healthcare, and other factors. Here’s this year’s list of the top 25.

Number 25 is Omaha, Nebraska, for its affordability. Number 15 is the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area, for the growth and job market. And number one? It’s not Boston (which comes in at number 8 for the low unemployment rate and high salaries) but it does rhyme with it.

The worst place to live in America? For the 30th year in a row, it’s Cabot Cove, Maine. Everybody gets murdered there!

Don’t Eat at Midnight

The common wisdom has always been that if you eat the right kinds of foods (vegetables, fruits, low-fat and low-carb foods) and avoid the bad stuff (too much pasta, too much saturated fats, boxes of Ring Dings) and get some exercise, you’ll be all set. Now we find out that we have to be aware of when we eat foods, too.

Researchers at the American Heart Association say that people who eat breakfast are healthier in general than people who skip it; they have less heart disease and are less likely to have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Even their blood sugar levels and metabolism are better. Yeah, the “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” saying comes to mind.

Research also suggests that if you eat most of your meals and calories earlier in the day, you’ll be healthier. In other words, try to skip that leftover pizza or that bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups while you’re watching The Tonight Show.

I’m not saying I ate a bag of Reese’s Peanut Cups last night at midnight, but I’m sure somebody somewhere did.

RIP Richard Hatch, Professor Irwin Corey, and Alec McCowen

Richard Hatch was best known as Captain Apollo on the original Battlestar Galactica. He also took over for Michael Douglas on The Streets of San Francisco when Douglas left the series in the last season, and had roles on All My Children, Hawaii Five-0, Murder, She Wrote, Dynasty, Santa Barbara, and many other shows and movies. He wrote three Battlestar Galactica novels and tried to get an updated version of the show on the air in the late ’90s but it didn’t happen. A different version did become a hit show in 2004, and Hatch appeared as a different character, Tom Zarek.

Hatch died after a battle with cancer. He was 71.

Professor Irwin Corey is a rather hard–to-describe personality. He was a comic famous for long riffs that included weird wordplay, but he was also an actor, appearing in such movies as Car Wash, I’m Not Rappaport, Jack, and Woody Allen’s The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, as well as TV shows like The Phil Silvers Show and Doc. He also appeared on stage with Richard Dreyfuss in Sly Fox and Marlo Thomas in Thieves. And he had appeared on many variety shows and game shows since the 1950s.

Corey was 102. Here he is on Late Night with David Letterman in 1983.

British actor Alec McCowen had many acclaimed roles on the stage, including in St. Mark’s Gospel, Ivanov, King Lear, Equus, Waiting for Godot, The Philanthropist, and Kipling, but he was a film actor as well. He played the inspector in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller Frenzy, and even played gadget-guru Q in the unofficial James Bond movie Never Say Never Again. He was also in Gangs of New York, A Night to Remember, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, and Hanover Street, along with dozens of British and American TV shows.

McCowen passed away Monday at the age of 91.

Throwing Shade at Arancini in Your Safe Space

Back in September I told you about the new words being added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Now Merriam-Webster has released its list of new words too.

The list released this past week includes ghosting, which is when you suddenly cut off contact with a friend; throwing shade, where you insult someone in a subtle way; microaggression, a term we heard a lot during the presidential election that means (supposedly) a discriminatory action or comment that hurts another person or group; binge-watch, where you watch several episodes of a TV show in a row, thereby getting caught up and probably ruining the experience for you; and safe space, a term popular on college campuses now that Merriam-Webster defines as “a place intended to be free of bias, conflict, and criticism.” In other words, a place that doesn’t or shouldn’t exist.

They’re also adding arancini, which are rice balls. I have no idea why that wasn’t a word already or why it’s suddenly in vogue to the level that it needs to be added in 2017. Was there an arancini meme or hashtag I missed on social media?

Do we even need new words in the dictionary? I don’t think we’ve used all the old ones yet.

Vera Lynn to Release Album for 100th Birthday

I’ll be completely honest and say that I didn’t even realize Vera Lynn was still with us. Not only is she still going strong at 99 (she turns 100 on March 20), she’s going to release an album! The British singer’s Vera Lynn 100 will feature her original vocals — on songs such as “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “Auf Wiederseh’n, Sweetheart” — set to new orchestral arrangements.

The London Palladium will also hold a special concert in honor of Lynn on March 18.

This Week in History

Aaron Burr Born (February 6, 1756)

The Broadway musical Hamilton is massively popular. But does it get Aaron Burr wrong?

The Boy Scouts of America Founded (February 8, 1910)

Here’s a great essay from Jeff Csatari, who modeled for Norman Rockwell’s last calendar painting for The Boy Scouts of America, “Spirit of 1976.”

February Is Great American Pies Month

Apple PieI have a weird confession to make: I don’t really like homemade pie. It’s not that I dislike it, it’s just that I find that it’s often too flaky, and the apples aren’t what they should be. And I absolutely hate hot pie. I can’t eat a pie hot (or warm). It has to be ice cold. I’m pretty sure this is because I used to eat store-bought Table Talk pies when I was a kid, and they’re still the pies I go to when I buy pies. I just think they taste better.

But most people like hot, homemade pie, so don’t let me stop you from making them!

Apple pie is probably the most American of the American pies, so to celebrate Great American Pie Month in a real American way, here’s a classic recipe from the most American of magazines. Here’s one from Curtis Stone, Spiced Apple Pie. And if you’d like to put apple pie in some historical perspective, here’s an interesting piece from the July 25, 1942, issue of The Saturday Evening Post, “The Decline of Apple Pie.”

Just make sure you don’t make eating pie at midnight a regular habit.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Valentine’s Day (February 14)​

Sure, you could look at all of the great love-related Saturday Evening Post covers or spend a special night out with your significant other, but what if you don’t have someone? You can celebrate Singles Awareness Day, which is officially February 15 but often celebrated on Valentine’s Day. And please note what the acronym is.

National Drink Wine Day (February 18)​

If you didn’t drink enough wine on Valentine’s Day, you can do it today. There’s even an official web site for it. I suggest a nice Cabernet Sauvignon.

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  1. I was pleased to see Los Angeles wasn’t in the top 25, it doesn’t deserve it. Whether it should even be in the top 50 (or 75) would be highly questionable. I have to agree with several of their choices regarding other states though, including San Diego and San Jose in Ca.

    On the eating thing, the ‘experts’ are always contradicting themselves. If you really want something that late at night, Red Vines are damn good every now and then. They’re low in sugar and calories but taste great. No more than 10 though, then brush and floss before hitting the pillow.

    Ghosting is an interesting word, and so is throwing shade. In the case of the latter (if you remember) my boss paid me to throw a drink in an enemies face sometime back in a restaurant booth to look like an accident. I’d say that went beyond throwing shade, but this sounds nicer, and definitely is. There’s no disguising the other as subtle.

    Sorry on the Arancini; never heard the word before now. It sounds more like a fancy Italian surname than rice balls, wouldn’t you agree?

    I loved the Vera Lynn link. She sounds great and the song takes me back to before my time. God bless her on turning 100 next month! It’s a shame the musical Hamilton is such a massive hit, because future history books are going to be completely overhauled to represent this as fact, and bury the real truth we’ve always known regarding our Founding Fathers.

    Thanks for the links on the apple pies. Although French apple is my favorite, I LOVE the nice and simple one today’s great POST Editors came up with best—-no slight to Curtis Stone. Bob, it’s been a slice once again this week, no question about it.


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