News of the Week: Oprah’s Favorites, Mickey’s 90th, and Maybe You Should Make Spam for Thanksgiving

In the news for the week ending November 16, 2018, are Spam, Oprah’s favorites, a nonagenarian mouse, Spam, tea that isn’t tea, stuffing that is stuffing, Spam, and more.

Delicious chunk of spam on a wooden plate

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These Are a Few of Her Favorite Things

Oprah doesn’t have a TV show anymore — at least not a daily talk show — but she still has a magazine and her own network (actually called OWN) and she may run for president one day and probably has more power than anyone else in the media, so when she talks, people listen. And they buy things.

She and Amazon just released her annual Oprah’s Favorite Things list. I miss the days when she would announce the list on her show and the audience would have happy convulsions because they were getting everything on the list. YOU get a toaster, and YOU get a toaster! 

Sometimes I wish Oprah would adopt me. Wouldn’t that be great?

Like every year, there are some really affordable items on the list and also some “I guess I just won’t eat for a week” items. You can get winter socks for around $20, or you could get a Samsung 4K television for $1,300. In between, there’s a dog DNA test (yes, a dog DNA test) for $159.

I’d like a Carl the Drinking Chocolate Snowman, but $38 — plus $11.98 for shipping — for just a few servings? Spending too much money is not one of my favorite things.

What’s That in Mouse Years?

Mr. Mouse is 90.

Mickey Mouse debuted in a 1928 silent animated short titled Plane Crazy, but that was only seen at one test screening and never got an official release. Mickey’s official debut as the rodent we know now was in Steamboat Willie, released the same year.

Walt Disney created Mickey after losing rights to Oswald the Rabbit. He was given white gloves because he needed to look more human. Also, mouse hands are creepy.

ABC aired a 90th birthday celebration earlier this month, and you can buy official Mickey-Mouse-Turns-90 merchandise at the Disney Store.

On a related note, I have another mouse in my apartment. I find peanut butter works best in the traps. Wow, that turned dark rather quickly.

What’s the Tea?

I’ll admit that I’m way past the age where I should know (or even care about) internet slang, acronyms, and emojis. But being online all day every day, even I pick up things. Still, I had never heard of the phrase “What’s the Tea?” but it seems to be the new hip thing that everyone is saying. And by “everyone,” I mean probably not anyone that you know.

I did a little research (thanks, Urban Dictionary!) and found out that it’s what someone says when they want to know more details about something: the gossip, the real story. Sort of a “What’s the Skinny?” for the internet age. I’m not sure why it’s “tea,” but as a tea drinker, I don’t mind. (You can say “What’s the coffee?” if you want. Maybe that will catch on.)

It’s no “Where’s the beef?” that’s for sure.

’Tis the Seasoning

I was craving some stuffing this week — I know it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but I wanted it — so I bought a box each of Stove Top stuffing and Bell’s stuffing. I’ve always been a Stove Top person and haven’t bought Bell’s in many years, so it was odd when this suddenly became “Bell’s week.” Not only did I happen to buy the stuffing, two different news reports featured the company that makes the stuffing and the classic Bell’s seasoning, a holiday staple in many homes. They’re based in Massachusetts. Here’s the story from WCVB:

Best and Worst of the Week

Best: This tweet from author Claire Varley on the amazing instructions for her new fridge (click on the time stamp for the entire thread and some great replies).


Worst: This is a terrific piece at The Boston Globe, but it’s the quotes that bother me.

Last week we found out that only psychopaths drink black coffee, and this week we find out that only psychopaths listen to Christmas music in November? I think I speak for all of the ho-ho-psychos who have been listening to the SIRIUS-XM holiday channel for the past two weeks in this piece from a few years ago.

Don’t be a Scrooge. It’s only a month and a half. You still have over 10 months of Christmas-free music to enjoy the rest of the year.

Quote of the Week

“He might not agree that any of the correct responses are correct.”

Alex Trebek, on how President Trump would do as a contestant on Jeopardy!

RIP Stan Lee, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Douglas Rain, and Francis Lai

Stan Lee was the Marvel Comics legend who created or had a hand in creating such iconic superheroes as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. He died Monday at the age of 95.

Here’s the Post’s Troy Brownfield on Lee’s life and career.

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt was an influential literary critic for The New York Times for almost 30 years. He died last week at the age of 84.

Douglas Rain was an acclaimed stage and screen actor who is probably best known for being the voice of the HAL 9000 computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey and the sequel 2010. He died Sunday at the age of 90.

Francis Lai composed music for more than 100 movies, and his most famous music just might be his Oscar-winning theme song to Love Story. He died last week at the age of 86.

This Week in History

Route 66 Established (November 11, 1926)

Did you know that the song “Route 66,” performed by many artists including The Rolling Stones and Nat King Cole, was written by Bobby Troup, who played Dr. Joe Early on the TV series Emergency!?

Benjamin Franklin’s “Death and Taxes” Quote (November 13, 1789)

The exact quote is “Nothing is certain except death and taxes” and is from a letter Franklin wrote to French scientist Jean-Baptiste Le Roy. Franklin died five months later.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Spam (November 11, 1950)

Spam ad
Spam ad from the November 11, 1950 issue of the Post

You could make this next Thursday instead of turkey and surprise your family!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (November 22)

The 92nd annual New York City parade starts on NBC at 9 a.m. Eastern. Or you could watch it on CBS, where they have to call it “The Thanksgiving Day Parade” because NBC has had the official rights since 1952.

Black Friday (November 23)

I’d advise you to stay home and just eat some leftovers and shop online instead of battling other shoppers over that last on-sale Xbox, but you’re not going to listen to me, are you? Instead, here are some Post comics centered on Christmas shopping.

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  1. I love your magazine — so glad I found you this year, remembering Norman Rockwell and his painting of The Country Editor, made after he visited the Monroe County Appeal, in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri. My ancestor, Robert Braxton Bristow, owned that newspaper before the fire that destroyed the building that housed it back then. He lost $1,000, but sold the good name, and it lives on. That is my connection to Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post.

  2. I wouldn’t mind being adopted by Oprah either. Being one of her favorite employees would be the next best thing. God I wish I’d been in her audience in the mid 2000’s when EVERYONE got a new Pontiac!

    I have no doubt you can buy Mickey at 90 merchandise at the local Disney store. Make sure your checking account has plenty of money in it. There’s a new LIFE softcover book out on it now in the stores if anyone’s interested…

    You forgot to mention ‘The National Dog Show’ (which is a lot important) that follows the Macy’s Parade. Other than the Olympics and this wonderful annual dog show, be gone with NBC!


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