News of the Week: Olympic Shrugs, Lincoln Logs, and the Possible Return of Seinfeld

For the week ending February 16, 2018, Bob Sassone is underwhelmed by the Olympics, overwhelmed by emojis, confused about Lincoln’s cabin, excited about almonds, and much more.

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The Thrill of Victory, etc.

I know this may make me a bad sports fan or a bad American or maybe a bad person in general, but I have no interest at all in the Olympics. Not only do I find making a commitment to watch the coverage a rather overwhelming task, I have no interest in the specific sports themselves, the figure skating and the skiing and the luging. I thought in the back of my mind that I might just be a little irritated at all of the NBC coverage interrupting regularly scheduled programming, but then I realized I don’t watch anything on NBC’s prime time schedule.

Maybe if I actually sat down and forced myself to watch the coverage, I would get into the Olympics. But who has time for that when there are reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond to watch for the tenth time?

Of course, I’m well aware that the Olympics are an important story right now, and I certainly don’t want my Debbie Downerism to ruin your enjoyment of the Games. Here’s the official site, where you can keep track of all of the results.

Is This Really Lincoln’s Cabin?

Anyone who has ever played with Lincoln Logs knows that the 16th President grew up in a log cabin. But did he really? And if he did, which log cabin did he grow up in? CBS Sunday Morning tries to figure it all out:

New Emojis Are Here (Please Contain Your Excitement)

Have you ever been writing a Facebook post or an email, and you want to talk about a lobster, but typing out the word lobster just takes too long, so you say to yourself, “I really wish someone would create a picture of a lobster that I can insert here so the person I’m sending this to knows what I’m talking about”? Well, you’re in luck! The lobster is just one of 157 new emojis that have been released by the Unicode Consortium, which sounds like an organization James Bond would battle but is actually the people who make sure we have a universally agreed-upon series of computer code, software, applications, computer languages, and lobster pics.

If You Woke Up in 1918 …

Here’s a question posed on Twitter this week by Sirius XM host Eric Alper:

I’d go to Kentucky and try to figure out if Lincoln grew up in a log cabin.

New Books

Here are four new books that are well worth your time:

  • Feel Free, by Zadie Smith. The British writer has released another collection of terrific essays on everything from Brexit and Facebook to rap stars and libraries.
  • Damn the Naysayers, by Dr. Doug Zipes. The Post contributor has written a memoir on how the words “no, you can’t” shaped his life, and how they “challenged him to come to terms with who he is, where he wants to go, and what he wants to be.”
  • The Rub of Time, by Martin Amis. In this jam-packed collection of essays and reportage, the acclaimed writer aims a critical eye at President Trump, Saul Bellow, Las Vegas, professional tennis, and more.
  • The Atomic City Girls, by Janet Beard. This is the new paperback version of the book that came out last year. It tells a story you might not have heard before about the women who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

RIP Vic Damone, John Gavin, Marty Allen, John Perry Barlow, and Bill Crider

Frank Sinatra once said that Vic Damone had “the best pipes in the business.” The singer, famous for such hits as “On the Street Where You Live” and “Wives and Lovers,” died Sunday at the age of 89.

John Gavin is probably best known as the hero in the movie Psycho, but he also had roles in movies like Spartacus and Imitation of Life, as well as the TV series Destry. He was later Ambassador to Mexico under President Reagan. He died last Friday at the age of 86.

Marty Allen was half of the comedy duo Allen & Rossi, known for his catchphrase “Hello Dere!” He died earlier this week at the age of 95.

John Perry Barlow was not only founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a fighter for a free and open internet, but he also wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead. Barlow died last Wednesday at the age of 70.

Bill Crider was a beloved writer of almost 100 books, including Westerns, science fiction, mysteries, and action-adventure novels. He died Monday at the age of 76.

The Best and the Worst

The best thing I saw this week – or at least the thing that made me laugh the most – is this advertisement (not sure where it ran) from someone named Alex:

Alex, if you’re reading this, here are some tips on how to make up with Jodie.

The worst news came from Jerry Seinfeld, who told Ellen DeGeneres that it’s “possible” Seinfeld could join other sitcoms like Roseanne and Murphy Brown and stage a comeback. It’s not that I don’t love Seinfeld; it’s one of my favorite shows. But that’s why I don’t want to see it come back. It might tarnish the perfect memory that it is.

The way Seinfeld says “possible” makes me believe it’s probably never going to happen – it’s also “possible” I’ll win the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes – though if the cast wants to destroy every single copy of the series finale and redo that episode, I might be up for that.

This Week in History

Last Peanuts (February 13, 2000)

The final comic strip drawn by Charles Schulz ran the day after the artist passed away at the age of 77. Here are some comics that Schulz did for the Post, just before he started Peanuts in 1950.

Susan B. Anthony Born (February 15, 1820)

Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson has the story on how Anthony was arrested for illegally voting in the election of 1872.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Travel Agent at Desk (February 12, 1949)

Travel Agent at Desk
Constantin Alajalov
February 12, 1949

As I mentioned last week, I’m not ready to give up on winter (ask me again in three weeks), but I know that a lot of people are yearning for warmer temps, the bloom of flowers, and the ability to walk outside without wearing a heavy jacket. Like the woman in this cover by Constantin Alajálov. She’s looking at the cold and the snow outside of her office window, knowing she has to deal with people who are going to Florida and Hawaii and other warm locales.

Today Is National Almond Day

Bowl of Almonds
(Shutterstock)

They say (“they” are always saying something) that almonds are good for you and we should all eat more of them. That doesn’t mean we can eat a bag of them a day and still expect to fit into shorts when the warmer weather starts, but if you want a snack, they’re one of the better options in moderation.

To celebrate National Almond Day, you can add some almonds to this Red Rice Stuffing with Dried Fruit or maybe this Pan-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Almonds.

Okay, if you’re looking for something sweeter, you can make this Chocolate-on-Chocolate Tart with Maple Almonds or these almonds of the candied variety.

​Next Week’s Holidays and Events​

National Drink Wine Day (February 18)

I’m not really sure why this day is specifically called “Drink Wine Day” instead of just “Wine Day.” What else are you supposed to do with it?

Presidents’ Day (February 19)

The holiday is held on George Washington’s actual birthday, but Abraham Lincoln’s actual birthday was last Monday. So not only does Lincoln not get a cabin, but everyone forgets his real birthday.

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Comments

  1. Bob, you’re not being a bad person, sports fan or American by not having an interest in the Olympics. I’d like you to give them a chance, however. You may be saying ‘no’ to some events you’d enjoy. I don’t watch everything like the figure skating or luging, but really love the downhill skiing, freestyle aerial skiers, snowboarders and ski jumpers.

    Other than the Olympics, there’s almost nothing I like about or watch on NBC. I may be watching their new version of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ on Easter. It’s a brilliant rock opera, AND Alice Cooper’s going to be in it. I have to give it a chance even if it IS on the “Nothing But Crap” network otherwise.

    I never knew those facts about Lincoln’s cabin or birthplace. It would be great to visit this Kentucky town where everything’s Lincoln. If I had the money (and room) for two Lincoln cars, it would be one of the ’61-’66 Continental convertibles (the four door with the suicide doors) and a ’77-’79 Mark V coupe.

    As far as old sitcom revivals go, I think Seinfeld would be good. Murphy Brown has some interest for me as well as Roseanne because they did originally. Will & Grace, Full House—–not so much. Thanks for running the ‘Travel Agent at her Desk’ from 1949. It’s one of Alajalov’s (and the Post’s) greatest covers from both an artistic and ironic standpoint. Hopefully she got to go to some of those places later on.

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