News of the Week: Star Trek Favorite Returns, There’s a New Hemingway Story, and Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?

Bob Sassone discusses the return of Jean-Luc Picard, why a hot dog may not be a sandwich, and the rescue of the Brady Bunch house.

Jean-luc Picard
(Wikimedia Commons)

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Make It So (Again)

A friend of mine went to the annual Star Trek convention in Las Vegas last week. In addition to the speeches and autograph sessions and hobnobbing with fellow geeks … I mean dedicated fans … some big news was unveiled, and it concerns one of the franchise’s favorite characters.

Actor Patrick Stewart took the stage and announced that he will bring back his Star Trek: The Next Generation character Jean-Luc Picard for a new series that will air on the CBS All Access streaming service. The service currently airs another Trek show, Discovery, which takes place between the original series and The Next Generation.

There are no details on the plot or title of the show, but I’m going to assume that the new series won’t just feature a retired Picard reading books in a comfy chair while sipping Earl Grey tea. There has to be some action, some adventure involved, so I assume that Picard will either be an instructor at Starfleet Academy (which will give younger actors the chance to do all of the action) or maybe they’ll completely fool us and Picard will once again be captain of the Enterprise or a new ship.

Since I know what Starfleet is, and that Picard’s signature line is “Make it so,” and I know the history of all the shows, I guess I can lump myself into that “geek” category too, apparently.

New Hemingway

“A Room on the Garden Side” is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway in 1956, five years before his suicide. The narrator is an American writer, probably based on Hemingway himself, and the story is set days after the 1944 liberation of Paris. It’s one of five stories that Hemingway wrote that he didn’t want released until after his death, and now, 57 years later, it’s being published in The Strand Magazine.

The Strand should really release a new anthology of these recently discovered stories. Last year they published a new story by Raymond Chandler, and in 2015 they published one by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Pizza Guy Plays Piano

When you get a pizza delivered to your home, you don’t expect this:

I hope they gave him a good tip.

What Is a Hot Dog?

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg writes about politics and culture for a living, so he’s not a stranger to controversies and arguments. But nothing else he writes could ever be as controversial as his latest piece, where he declares that … are you sitting down? … a hot dog is not a sandwich!

It’s not a crazy assertion. After all, just because you have a filling and some sort of bread product doesn’t mean it automatically becomes a “sandwich.” But here’s why I hesitate on agreeing with him 100%.

A hot dog is just a hot dog. It doesn’t always go in a bun; it exists without anything else. It’s a “hot dog,” just like ham isn’t called a “ham sandwich” until you put it between two slices of bread. So I ask, if you slice the hot dog a certain way, so it fits between two slices of bread, why isn’t that a sandwich? You can argue that a hot dog put into a hot dog bun isn’t a sandwich, but if you put hot dogs in between two slices of Wonder Bread, why does that make it ineligible for sandwich status?

Goldberg says “a hot dog isn’t served between two slices of bread.” But … what if it is served that way? Doesn’t that change things? By that “one slice of bread vs. two slices of bread” logic, if you make a quick late night snack by taking some cheese or ham or even peanut butter and putting it on one slice of bread and then folding it, does that mean it’s not a sandwich? I would say no, of course it’s still a sandwich. And then there are open-face sandwiches …

But that’s not a hill I’m willing to die on. I’ve never really given any thought to the “sandwiches vs. hot dogs” debate. They (along with cheeseburgers) have always been naturally separate in my mind, and a case could be made either way. You can argue about it in the comments below.

The Winner of the Brady Bunch House Is … Not Lance Bass

Last week I told you that the Brady Bunch house was for sale. This week, *NSYNC member Lance Bass posted on social media that he had bought the house and was going to renovate the interior so it looked like the interior of the house on the show (which was just a studio set). But the next day, Bass posted a follow-up on Instagram which disclosed that his winning bid had been rejected and another buyer’s had been accepted.

The winning bidder? HGTV! The network says that they are going to renovate the house so it looks like it did in the early ’70s. I’m sure they’ll make a TV show out of the project, and if they’re smart, they’ll give it away as a prize in one of their “dream home” contests. I have no plans to move to North Hollywood, California, but if I win I’ll let you know.

RIP Charlotte Rae, Stan Mikita, Shelly Cohen, Joël Robuchon, and Robert Martin

Charlotte Rae was best known for her role as Mrs. Garrett on Diff’rent Strokes and The Facts of Life, but she was a veteran actress who played a variety of parts on TV and movies since the early ’50s. She was nominated for several Tonys and an Emmy. She died Sunday at the age of 92.

Stan Mikita was a legendary member of the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, who still holds the team record for goals scored. He was also an eight-time All-Star. He died Tuesday at the age of 78.

Shelly Cohen was the assistant musical director for every single episode of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. He died last month at the age of 84.

Joël Robuchon was an award-winning French chef whose influence can be felt throughout the restaurant world. He died Monday at the age of 73.

Robert Martin flew dozens of missions during World War II as one of the Tuskegee Airmen. He died last month at the age of 99.

This Week in History

DuMont TV Network’s Final Broadcast (August 6, 1956)

Even though a lot of people might not remember it, DuMont was one of the big TV networks from 1946 until its end in 1956. Many of the shows aired on the network are gone forever, but several still exist. Here’s a list.

Hiroshima Bombed (August 6, 1945)

The Enola Gay dropped the first of two atomic bombs at 8:15 a.m., instantly killing over 50,000 people and eventually killing over 100,000. The second bomb was dropped three days later over Nagasaki.

If you haven’t read John Hersey’s classic New Yorker article “Hiroshima,” you should. Some people have called the 1946 piece the best magazine article ever written.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Eighteenth Hole (August 6, 1955)

Eighteenth Hole from August 6, 1955
Eighteenth Hole from August 6, 1955

I’ve played golf around 20 times in my life, but I don’t understand this John Falter cover. Where’s the windmill and the clown’s mouth and the little bridge you putt the ball over?

Quote of the Week

“I won’t comment on that.”

—actress Kathleen Turner, on what she thinks of the acting abilities of the Friends cast, in a wide-ranging, controversial interview at Vulture. She also had choice words for Burt Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, and a “very famous Hollywood actress” who has “played the same role for 20 years” that I’m going to assume is Julia Roberts.

August Is National Sandwich Month

I’m not sure what I can possibly link to when it comes to sandwiches. The possibilities are endless, right? So I’ve decided to point you to some sandwiches you may not have heard of before, sandwiches you probably never thought of making yourself.

You can try this Baked Bean French Toast Sandwich, this Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich, or maybe you can travel to Treylor Park restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, where you can order this Grilled Apple Pie Sandwich. That actually sounds pretty fantastic. I’ve put apples into sandwiches before and they always seem to make things better.

And let’s not forget Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich, peanut butter, bacon, and bananas on white bread. The King also liked the Fool’s Gold Loaf, which is a loaf of Italian bread stuffed with an entire jar of peanut butter, a jar of grape jelly, and a pound of bacon.

Should you include hot dogs in your sandwich? That’s entirely up to you. Perhaps you can try them with some potato salad, graham crackers, and maple syrup on white bread.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Tell a Joke Day (August 16)

How do you catch a unique rabbit?

U nique up on him.

How do you catch a tame one?

The tame way!

Hey, I didn’t say it was called National Tell a Good Joke Day.

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  1. Thanks for the New Yorker link on ‘Hiroshima’. I want to read it tonight when I’ll have the time. I read the Kathleen Turner interview thanks to your link, and am mainly shocked with her comments on Elizabeth Taylor more than the others.

    She’s obviously very angry and unhappy at this time, in general. I’m sending her good thoughts for the inner peace she needs. For the record, I feel ‘Cat On a Hot Tin Roof’ (1958) and ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’ (1966) are two of Taylor’s greatest roles she played to perfection from all aspects.


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