News of the Week: Rockers Snubbed, the Grinch Arrested, and Chestnuts Roasting, Well, Everywhere

The week ending December 22, 2017, saw a slew of new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, incarceration of the Grinch, annoying words, a new Raymond Chandler story, and much more.

Chestnuts in a pot

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2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Of course, I mean the year 2018. It would be really weird if the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted that many musicians in a single year.

The inductees this time around are Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, The Cars, Bon Jovi, Nina Simone, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. All fine choices, I guess (don’t get me started on Bon Jovi), but it means that a lot of people didn’t make it again this year (musicians are eligible 25 years after the release of their first commercial recording), including Depeche Mode, Judas Priest, Eurythmics, the Zombies, Janet Jackson, Devo, New Order, Iron Maiden, Roxy Music, the Cure, Tina Turner, and the Smiths.

I would also add Marshall Crenshaw to that list. I don’t know if he’ll ever be nominated but he deserves to be there.

Stink, Stank, Stunk!

This is a great story. It involves a five-year-old boy from Jackson, Mississippi, who called 911. Why did he call? Because he was upset that the Grinch was going to steal Christmas.

The father got on the phone to assure the 911 operator that there was no problem. The police went to the house to check on things anyway, and the boy showed them a YouTube clip of the Grinch and what he had planned. The police assured him that they weren’t going to let the green guy steal anything, and to prove it, they invited the boy to the police station two nights later so he could actually lock up the Grinch in a cell.

Of course, now the family has to make sure the boy doesn’t watch The Grinch Who Stole Christmas again, or he may think the Grinch escaped. Or at least let him watch it until the end, when his heart grows bigger as he learns the true meaning of the holiday and gives all the gifts back.

It’s the Most Wonderful, Annoying Words of the Year

Every December, magazines, newspapers, and websites release their best-and-worst lists for the year. The best and worst movies, the best and worst albums, the best and worst political stories of the year. It’s a year-end tradition we look forward to as much as stuffing and the first snow.

I don’t know if this counts as a “best” or a “worst” — maybe it’s the best of the worst — but the list of the most annoying words of 2017 has been released by Marist College. For the ninth year in a row, Americans have declared the word whatever the “winner.”

Other annoying words and phrases of the year include fake news; literally; you know what I mean; ya know, right; and huge. Actually, I would add the words actually, like, irregardless, basically, selfie, hashtag, and viral.

Maybe Marist should declare that whatever can no longer be named an annoying word of the year. It’s won way too many years. It’s the Modern Family of annoying words and should take itself out of consideration.

New Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler is one of my favorite writers, so when I heard that there was a newly discovered short story about to be published, I was more excited than a salad in a paper towel factory (I have no idea what that even means, that’s how excited I am). The story is in the current issue of The Strand, and it’s titled “It’s All Right — He Only Died.”

From that title, you might be expecting a two-fisted Philip Marlowe detective tale, but it’s actually about … the U.S. healthcare system? That’s right, Chandler was thinking about that way back in the 1950s (he died in 1959). Luckily, in the six decades since the story was written, we’ve completely solved any problems we may have had with healthcare.

Last-Minute Gift Idea

Did you know that Christmas is this Monday? That means you only have this weekend to buy the rest of your gifts, unless you’re one of those people who goes to CVS on Christmas morning and grabs a box of chocolate or whatever perfume is on sale.

May I suggest something that can be enjoyed the entire year, something that’s like getting a new Christmas gift every other month? A subscription to The Saturday Evening Post! Right now you can get an entire year (six issues) for a savings of up to 49 percent. With that subscription, you also get discounts on car rentals, travel, entertainment, even insurance! It’s a great deal and a great magazine (and I’d say that even if I didn’t work here).

RIP Keely Smith

Keely Smith was an acclaimed singer known for her partnership with husband and bandleader Louis Prima. She is remembered for such songs as “I Wish You Love,” “That Old Black Magic,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” She died Saturday at the age of 89.

Here’s her version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

The Best and the Worst

Best: My favorite things this week haven’t even happened yet. They’re on TV tonight. CBS is continuing its annual tradition of showing back-to-back classic episodes of I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. It all starts at 8 p.m.

Worst: This also involves CBS’s airing of I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. As I mentioned just four seconds ago, it’s great that they air these episodes every Christmas. But do they have to be colorized? And do they have to be the edited versions of the episodes? That’s a travesty (the latter more than the former). These shows were both originally on CBS, so I don’t know why they have to show edited versions. And as for colorizing them, that was interesting the first time as a little historical pop culture curio, but colorizing TV shows and movies rarely works (the colorized Miracle on 34th Street I watched the other night looked awful). Really, viewers can handle black and white.

This Week in History

Wright Brothers Take Off (December 17, 1903)

Here’s an interview the Post did with Orville Wright in 1928 on the 25th anniversary of the historic flight.

A Christmas Carol Published (December 19, 1843)

The classic Charles Dickens novella has been filmed a gazillion times and the basic plot has been used in countless stories and TV shows. The first film made from the story was a 1901 short silent film titled Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost.

If you really enjoy the story, you could start a collection of various editions. This guy did, and he’s up to 1,000 of them.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Centering the Christmas Tree (December 22, 1951)

Centering the Christmas Tree
Stevan Dohanos
December 22, 1951

Remember I told you a couple of weeks ago that I like artificial Christmas trees because they don’t shed like real trees? Look at this cover by Stevan Dohanos. Just look at it! Pine needles all over the place.

Christmas Recipes

I was listening to “The Christmas Song” the other day — I’ve already heard it 100 times this month — and realized that it’s been 30 years since I’ve had chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Actually, I’ve never had chestnuts roasting on an open fire. My mom used to boil them.

But it did get me thinking about the foods that are mentioned in Christmas songs, so I thought I’d list some recipes for you to make this holiday season. Here are five vintage and delicious recipes for chestnuts, and if you enjoy “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” here’s a recipe for figgy pudding. Brenda Lee sang about pumpkin pie in “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and if you’re a “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” fan, here’s an eggnog recipe from Alton Brown (please note that it includes bourbon). And don’t forget, it’s a marshmallow world that we live in.

Merry Christmas!

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Boxing Day (December 26)

The holiday started in Britain in the 1830s as a day to honor “post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds.”

National Fruitcake Day (December 27)

Also known as “The Day Everyone Throws Away the Fruitcake They Got for Christmas” Day.

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  1. It’s interesting too how they (seemingly) didn’t butcher the ’56 Christmas I Love Lucy episode. Last year they did the two colorized Hollywood episodes about Grauman’s Chinese Theater & the John Wayne’s footprint debacle. Both of those seemed to be intact.

    I can’t find the Don Loper episode online right now otherwise, but aside from cutting out the other movie stars wives scene, they totally cut out the scenes where Lucy GETS sunburned and doesn’t know what to do. It’s very funny, deals with the dilemma of her having to wear the wool suit for the show despite the terrible itching. Those were probably the best scenes of the episode.

    Had I watched it more carefully yesterday, I would have caught that for sure before putting in my comments on it here. I was distracted by a phone call*, then didn’t re-watch until just now, uninterrupted. Even without finding the original to compare it to, my mind filled in the blanks being painfully aware of what was cut out instead of what wasn’t. That’s pretty bad indeed.

    Bob, since you know ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ better than anybody, which episode did they butcher worse, the one where she’s a blonde, or the one about the portrait?!

    (*Kids, this is why multi-tasking and being distracted is a bad thing!)

  2. The colorizing isn’t the thing that bothered me – in fact, the print looked really good, very HD-like, and I noticed some things about the Petrie home I’ve never seen before! – but the editing was atrocious. Tons of lines taken out, jokes, etc. Gah.

  3. (Part II) I agree with you on CBS’s colorizing of ‘I Love Lucy’ and ‘The Dick Van Dyke Shows’. I watched them this morning without the commercials, and they seemed like they’d been cut—–to make more room for commercials of people buying Jaguars on a whim. I hate auto ads the most, especially “Christmas” ones like that, because we’re all SO rich with money to burn!

    They’re colorizing them as a gimmick Bob, like everything else. I have to admit the color is much better (to me) than 2 decades ago when they first started it.

    The ‘Don Loper’ I Love Lucy episode was pretty neat, seeing the Hollywood apartment all lit up in color. I’m wondering if the colors were guessed upon, or re-created from color set photos taken in 1955? And what about $500 for a dress—back THEN?! Sorry, but that seems like a lot of money NOW, even though it’s so painfully worthless.

    It looked like they cut out part of the star’s wives modeling Loper’s dresses/gowns. It seems there were several more wives in the original episode that ‘went missing’ here, including Mrs. Dean Martin. It was also rotten how they ran the credits as a disclaimer and put down 2017 as the year produced! Not 1955/2017 or 196?/2017. The millennials MUST “think that it’s new” even though it’s vintage.

    You’re right about the real vs. artificial trees. Thanks for running this 1951 cover. The husband’s face says it all; pure Holiday agony!

  4. Bob, if it’s any consolation, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame isn’t what it used to be, and neither is rock music. It’s been essentially dead since about ’89 anyway, being kept ‘alive’ by ’60s-’80’s groups still performing in the decades since, like The Eagles and Tom Petty, Styx, The Smithereens and The Cars. The last two put out new albums of original material in 2011 that were excellent, employing a clever fusion of the fresh with the familiar.

    The Hall of Shame meanwhile has honored crap that has no business being there, but I guess do now; ugghk. I agree with you on Depeche Mode, Eurythmics and Tina Turner. Think twice though about feeling bad if they don’t get in next time. Is it even an honor at all now, really? Mmmm, not so much.

    The story of the little boy calling 911 was very sweet and heartwarming—even to a jaded guy like me.

    Without a doubt, the non-word use of ‘like’ has got to be the worst of the worst. If I’m co-interviewing someone and they talk like that, it’s over—right then and there. Another one not mentioned here that should is pronouncing the year as ‘Two Thousand and Seventeen’ rather than ‘Twenty Seventeen’. Fortunately overall, I’m hearing ‘Twenty’ being used instead of ‘Two Thousand’; it’s high time. We’ve been in the 21st century for a long time now. Hashtag is the latest name for the number or pound sign. Shouldn’t ‘hashtag’s’ time be about up? No? Whatever.


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