News of the Week: Peace and Quiet, Leaf-Peeping, and Folks Are Just Crazy for Black Coffee

In the news for the week ending November 9, 2018, are the long-awaited cessation of political ads, a 106-year-old Taco Bell lover, psychopathic coffee drinkers, and much more.

A voting inserts their ballot into a ballot box.
roibu / Shutterstock

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It’s Over

Can you feel it?

It started early Wednesday morning. Things just seemed a little calmer, a little more peaceful, didn’t they? There was a noticeable difference in the tension that’s been around for the past few months, a reduction in the irritation that we’ve all been going through.

The political ads stopped!

Honestly, as someone who watches more television than the next person, this year has been pretty terrible. Every other commercial was a pitch from a politician asking for my vote. Or an ad telling me why that person’s opponent hated America and wanted to kick puppies. Wait, you want me to vote no on Question 1? But just a few seconds ago there was an ad telling me to vote yes on that question!

It’s not that the political talk on cable news will stop, but you now have to go looking for it again. The past few months, whether you were watching NCIS or Modern Family or Sunday Night Football, you couldn’t escape the ads.

I got two phone calls this morning at 4:30 a.m. They didn’t leave a message either time, and I assume it was some sort of robocall from a politician or political group (even though the midterms are over). I don’t know who’ll get my vote next time, but I’ll probably lean toward the candidate who promises not to do any robocalls or air political ads on television.

Fall Foliage

To continue that peace-and-quiet theme, here’s a look at a man who spends the entire fall photographing New England foliage, from CBS Sunday Morning.

106 Years!

Myrtis Jewel Painter, a woman from Arizona with a terrific name, just celebrated her 106th birthday. Instead of doing anything fancy or expensive, she decided to have a small celebration at one of her favorite places: Taco Bell. Employees at the fast food restaurant decorated the place and gave her a cake. Myrtis was born the year the Titanic hit an iceberg. William Howard Taft was president.

And if you think going to Taco Bell is an odd choice, leave her alone. She’s 106 and can do whatever the heck she wants.

If I make it to 106, I don’t think I’ll even want to go out for dinner. Just order me something from my favorite pizza place and let me watch TV and I’ll be happy.

Do You Like Black Coffee?

I’m a tea person. I don’t like coffee. Actually, I like the taste, but let’s just say … coffee doesn’t like me. In the rare times that I do have it, I have to have it with milk and sugar. While I admire all the cool private eyes in old movies who order their coffee black, there’s no way I can drink it that way.

Now I have science to back up my opinion! A study from the University of Innsbruck in Austria has concluded that people who drink their coffee black might be psychopaths and sadists. It has to do with the bitter taste being liked more by people with bad personality traits. That seems unusually harsh, but hey, it’s a study, so it must be true!

I don’t think Julie London was a psychopath.

RIP Ken Swofford and Kitty O’Neil

Ken Swofford was a character actor in everything, from the TV shows Columbo, Ellery Queen, Fame, Dallas, and Murder, She Wrote to movies like Annie, S.O.B., and The Andromeda Strain. He died last week at the age of 85.

Kitty O’Neil was a groundbreaking stunt person, being a woman and deaf. She performed stunts in such movies as The Blues Brothers and Airport ’77 and TV shows like Wonder Woman and The Bionic Woman. She also set land- and water-speed records in the 1970s. She died last week at the age of 72.

Quote of the Week

“I can’t believe it’s already ‘but you’re ruining the holidays’ season.”

Slate’s Prudence, in advice to a reader about her family’s Thanksgiving chaos

This Week in History

“Dewey Defeats Truman” (November 3, 1948)


Yes, Dewey actually lost. Fake news!

HBO Launches (November 8, 1972)

It doesn’t seem like Home Box Office has been around that long, but it did indeed debut in 1972, after a test launch by Time-Life Television in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Zenith’s “Space Command” Ad (November 9, 1957)

Ad for a remote control
Zenith remote control ad from November, 1957

HBO wasn’t around when Robert Adler developed this incredible device in 1956. I still think this is a better system than what I have right now, which consists of three remotes and approximately 200 buttons, most of which I never use.

November Is National Raisin Bread Month

I have a confession to make: I like pumpkin spice bread more than cinnamon raisin. I know most people are sick of pumpkin spice invading all of our pastries, cereals, and drinks, but I just think it tastes better. I’ll have to go back to cinnamon raisin when the pumpkin spice bread mysteriously vanishes in a few months, but that’s okay.

If you want to make your own raisin bread (including the cinnamon or not, if that’s what you prefer), here’s a recipe from Taste of Home. And if you already have some raisin bread but don’t know what to do with it, here’s a Raisin Bread French Toast Casserole.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Veterans Day (November 11)

This is the day to remember the brave men and women that have served our country. I’m happy I remembered that there isn’t an apostrophe in veterans.

Sadie Hawkins Day (November 15)

The day was first mentioned in Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner in 1937. Capp wrote and illustrated for the Post, including the piece titled “They Don’t Make Millionaires Anymore the Way They Did in Betty Grable’s Time,” from our December, 1974 issue.

I don’t remember a Sadie Hawkins dance when I was in school. Unless there was one and nobody invited me, which is why I wouldn’t remember it.

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  1. I’m glad the political ads are gone too. More annoying and confusing than ever, there’s little this or that proposition can do to even begin fixing my REALLY messed up state at this late date; God almighty. On the robocalls, thou best leave thy phone off the hook before going to bed anytime nowadays.

    Love the Sunday Morning feature on the fall foliage. It’s the next best thing to the real thing, thanks. Good for Ms. Painter makin’ it to 106. She can do whatever the heck she wants, with my blessings as well.

    LOVE the Zenith ‘Space Command’ ad from when I was 6 months old. You’re right about the simplicity factor also. Back then you just pushed a button “and it does it all for you, automatically!”

    I’m more of a tea guy myself also, but do occasionally like a cup of decaffeinated coffee with Coffee Mate; French vanilla or hazelnut, please. Love the aroma of the occasional open coffee bin, but avoid the stink of Starbucks lousy, overpriced coffee; but you already knew that.

    I have to wonder if the 2 most recent national mass murderers took their coffee bitter and black. 2 more in under two weeks now. I just ate at the Borderline Grill last month, coming back from Santa Barbara. It’s much more than a ‘bar’ per the coverage. Their steaks are fantastic, and the high above view beautiful.

    It’s all so surreal and horrible. Losing loved ones on Thursday night, and now possibly your homes on Friday from the fires. No doubt California will continue leading the national news with Lester Holt, David Muir, for awhile once again, tragically. There are a lot more fires burning than in Thousand Oaks.

    Last week Stephen King asked everyone to stop using the word amazing, and I noted “issues” is a much bigger problem, and getting bigger just this week. The media electronic and print kept saying the shooter “had issues”, as always.

    As this COMPLETELY really hideous, degrading, patronizing, phony denial word for “PROBLEM” has replaced it entirely, the more horrific, terrible, PROBLEMS we have! All of these shootings have skyrocketed with denial and ‘political correctness’ overriding everything for the past 25+ years. Denial has to stop ’cause these shootings are accelerating faster and faster. It’s only a first step, but a crucial one I’ve been thinking for decades. It won’t, and the carnage will continue unabated. Will it get to the point where the shootings themselves will be denied they ever happened? I couldn’t say no with the way things are going at all, unfortunately.


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