News of the Week: Fall TV, 800 New Words, and Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes!

In the news for the week ending September 7, 2018, are couch potatoes, potato potatoes, and zoodles, plus prepositions, ruby slippers, and the “unofficial official” end of summer.

A retro CRT television showing an autumn scene in the woods

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!


A Couch Potato’s Favorite Time of the Year

Hey, it’s post-Labor Day! I hope you’re not wearing white. I am, but I don’t think socks count.

This is the time when the new fall television season starts. Sure, we now have a lot of new shows during the summer (unlike years when summer was the realm of repeats and specials), but the fall season premieres are still a big deal.

Some syndicated shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! start their new seasons this Monday, and the networks will be premiering their new (and new seasons of returning) shows later this month. This column isn’t long enough to list all of the new and returning shows, so I’ll point you to some great resources so you can get your TV schedules ready.

Vulture has a guide to 33 new and returning shows they say you should watch, including trailers. Metacritic has all the premiere dates for all the shows. TV Guide still does its fall preview issue (I bought the print version for the first time in years — it’s not the same), and NPR has its guide to the new season too.

Please note that Murphy Brown, Charmed, and Magnum P.I. are all on this fall. Don’t worry. It really is 2018.

Hangry Fintech Zoodles

You’re probably wondering what those words mean, and maybe you’re even worried that there’s something wrong with me. No, it’s just that time of the year when various dictionaries unveil the new words they’ve added.

Merriam-Webster is adding more than 800 words to their tome, including hangry (a combo of hungry and angry), zoodles (noodles made out of zucchini), and adorbs (which is adorable for people who don’t have the time for two more syllables). They’re also adding rando (slang for random) and guac (short for guacamole). Side note: I really hope that “Rando Guac” is the name of a new character in the next Star Wars movie.

Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of these new words irritate me, and they do every year. Language evolves, of course, and I’m sure I could find examples of new words added to previous dictionaries that are commonplace now. But it seems like the words are becoming sillier and they’re getting added more quickly now.

Fintech is also a new word, apparently, and it means someone that talks about financial services a lot. I’m pretty sure no one has ever used that word.

Prepositions, Not Propositions

Speaking of words and grammar (and since school has started), I thought I’d post this video tutorial on prepositions, courtesy of Marie Barone:

There’s No Place Like Home … There’s No Place Like Home

I don’t want to turn this into a column that just gives nonstop Wizard of Oz news — I’ve mentioned the movie a dozen times at least over the last few months — but there’s an update to the story about the ruby red slippers that were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in 2005. They’ve been found!

The FBI, after a lengthy investigation, found the shoes in Minnesota. They’re one of only four pairs that were made for the movie, and experts authenticated them after comparing them to a pair at the Smithsonian.

A New Take on Rockwell’s Four Freedoms

A few months ago, I told you about the new tour that features Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms series. The paintings are going around the world before ending the tour at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 2020. There is also a new exhibit at Hunter College in New York City inspired by the paintings, in which artists give modern interpretations and updates for the four freedoms. Here’s the CBS report:

Also, the Norman Rockwell Museum will be holding a Four Freedoms Festival Day tomorrow from 1 to 4 p.m.

Scroll-Free September

It seems that we have a lot of “don’t use social media!” days, those times when the Facebook and Twitter-addicted log off (as if that’s hard to do for only one day?). But now we have an entire month. Scroll-Free September is a movement that encourages people not to use social media until October. Seems to me like it should have a different name, since we “scroll” on almost every page online. You’re probably scrolling right now to read this.

By the way, studies show that women are more likely to quit social media for the entire month, which proves that women are smarter than men.

Post Noir

The Saturday Evening Post has published many great stories and articles by a wide array of writers over the years, and many of those stories and articles have gone on to become movies. Tonight starting at 8 p.m., Turner Classic Movies is having a marathon of films noir based on stories that were first featured in the pages of the Post.

The night starts off with one of my 10 favorite movies, The Big Heat, a noir featuring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, and Lee Marvin, with Ford as a detective out for revenge. The other movies are Too Late For Tears, recently restored by the Film Noir Foundation, and Dark Passage, with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, which Bogart doesn’t even appear in until we’re well into the movie. The camera is shown from his point of view, and it’s one of the more effective uses of this technique in movies.

Grab the popcorn. These are three terrific films.

RIP Burt Reynolds, Vanessa Marquez, Carole Shelley, Kenny Shopsin, and Susan Brown

Burt Reynolds had a long career as an actor in such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard, Boogie Nights, Cannonball Run, Semi-Tough, and the Smokey & the Bandit movies. He started out on television in the 1950s on such shows as Gunsmoke and Riverboat and later starred in the dramas Hawk and Dan August and the sitcom Evening Shade. Reynolds died yesterday at the age of 82.

Vanessa Marquez appeared as Nurse Wendy on the first three seasons of ER and also appeared in movies like Stand and Deliver and Twenty Bucks. She was killed last month after pulling a BB gun on police. She was 49.

Carole Shelley played Gwendolyn, one of the Pigeon Sisters, on all three versions of The Odd Couple: the play, the movie, and the TV series. She also worked on Broadway in Wicked and The Elephant Man, for which she won a Tony. She also appeared in the movie Billy Elliott and lent her voice to the animated Disney movies The Aristocats and Robin Hood. She died last week at the age of 79.

Kenny Shopsin was the opinionated, irascible owner of the popular New York City restaurant Shopsin’s General Store. He died earlier this week at the age of 76.

Susan Brown played Dr. Gail Adamson Baldwin on General Hospital for many years and also appeared in other soap operas and TV shows. She died last week at the age of 86.

This Week in History

Edgar Rice Burroughs Born (September 1, 1875)

Here’s Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson on how the creator of Tarzan did everything wrong yet still did everything right.

Beetle Bailey Comic Strip Debuts (September 3, 1950)

Mort Walker, who passed away in January, had cartoons published in the Post two years before the introduction of Beetle Bailey that featured a character named Spider, who eventually became the lazy Army private.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: School Bus (September 2, 1944)

School Bus by Stevan Dohanos
School Bus
Stevan Dohanos
September 2, 1944

Can you imagine being a dog when the new school year starts? Here you’ve been all summer hanging out with your best friend, and suddenly they go away for several hours every day. This cover by Stevan Dohanos shows dogs watching as the kids go off to school, but since they’re dogs, they don’t know why they’re leaving.

Quote of the Week

“I’d like to apologize to Wolf Blitzer’s beard for copyright infringement. I’ll see you in beard court.”

Late Show host Stephen Colbert, who returned from summer vacation with a white beard.

National Potato Month

I think I would be happy if I could eat only mashed potatoes for the rest of my life. Just give me a giant bowl and a spoon and I’d be all set. It wouldn’t be the best diet, but obviously if I only get to eat one food, something really horrible has happened to the food supply in the world and we have more important problems to worry about.

September is National Potato Month. Here’s a recipe for Cheese & Herb Potato Fans from Taste of Home; here’s a recipe for Scalloped Potatoes from Allrecipes; here’s how to make Crispy Hash Browns; and, of course, I can’t forget mashed potatoes!

By the way, when you boil potatoes for any of these recipes, don’t be like Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

U.S. Open Finals (September 8 and 9)

The official end of summer doesn’t come until September 21, and the “unofficial” end of summer was Labor Day. I’ve always considered the end of the U.S. Open as the “unofficial official” end of the season. The women’s final airs on ESPN Saturday at 4 p.m., and the men’s final is Sunday at 4 p.m.

Football Season Starts (September 9)

Actually, it started last night with the Falcons/Eagles game, but this Sunday is the real start of the new season. If you’re a football fan, you can download a complete schedule of games here. If you’re not a football fan, you can still download it.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now


  1. Yes Bob, I’m definitely wearing white ‘golf’ shirts because anything darker is too hot with the heat, plus I like the color. I put comments in on my disgust with regular TV in Troy Brownfield’s recent ‘Streaming TV’ feature on the site, along with some eye popping other thoughts. I will repeat the new ‘Magnum PI’ (duh) looks like it’s done out in the same ‘Hawaii 5-0’ and newer ‘MacGyver’ mode of beyond absurd unwatchability. New here is I’m looking forward to the new season of ‘Bull’ with Michael Weatherly, ‘The Rookie’ with Nathan Fillion, and hopefully the return of ‘Take Two’ with Rachel Bison and Eddie Cibrian on ABC’s schedule a little later. ‘Murphy Brown’ (again) should be good, and I will visit ‘The Connors’ out of curiosity, if nothing else. I’m sure everyone’s very nervous. A lot of people have a lot ($$) riding on it. Let’s hope it’s successful. Sorry about Burt Reynold’s passing; he was a true original. I put comments about him in Nicholas Gilmore’s excellent feature earlier today. Check it out. Thanks for running ‘School Bus’ by Stevan Dohanos. Your commentary on it really says it all. The dogs DON’T know why they’re leaving, and their body language suggests confusion, sadness, and feeling abandoned. What I don’t get though is why the children aren’t looking sad also. Seriously! In closing I’d be amiss NOT to mention the whole ugly, Les Moonves disaster of disgrace! Finally fired as CBS’s CEO, he’ll be getting around a $100 million ‘severance’ package because he’s not undeservingly rich enough, kids! Where does this leave his embarrassed and (really) equally disgraced wife, Julie Chen? Well, I would think very well off in what HAS to be a divorce forthcoming, with their lawyers are busy ’round the clock until further notice.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *