News of the Week: New iPhones Are Coming, Nude Restaurants Are Closing, and Stephen King Saves Book Reviews

In the news for the week ending January 18, 2019, are people eating naked, driving blindfolded, saving book reviews, and eating oatmeal, but not all at the same time.

An iPhone and a cup of coffee on a wooden table

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Dear Apple,

I’ve been a big fan and user of your products since the mid-’80s — I used the SE and Classic models, that cool Bondi Blue iMac, and I’m typing this on a MacBook Pro. I owned an Apple mug, I’ve owned Apple hats and shirts, and my favorite type of pie is apple. But I don’t really care that you’re coming out with new iPhones in the fall.

I’m sure there are Apple fans who will blog about them endlessly and even camp out at your stores overnight to get one (even though they can just go online and buy them in the comfort of their homes), and I’m sure those new phones will be nice and shiny, but in the end, they’re phones. You can make the screen bigger and brighter and have the camera make every photo look like Ansel Adams took it, but it’s just a phone.

If you make one that comes with an invisible cone of silence that envelopes the user so I don’t have to listen to their phone calls at the supermarket, let me know. Actually, if you come out with a line of landline phones in black that plug into the wall and have a rotary dial, I will buy 50 of them.

Thank you.

Dining in the Buff Will Never Catch On

Yes, there was a nude restaurant in Paris, which raises a lot of questions. Where did people carry their keys and phones? Where did they keep their money and credit cards to pay? If you wanted to eat there in your clothes, would they have let you?

It’s a moot point now, since O’naturel (which of course it was named) is closing its doors because there haven’t been enough customers. Patrons were asked to remove their clothing after they came into the restaurant, and then they were charged $57.50 for a meal of foie gras, lobster, and (because it’s France) snails. It sounds uncomfortable to me, but I bet it cut down on people who dine and dash, because they wouldn’t want to run out without their clothes.

I would never go to a nude restaurant. I mean, I’m rarely nude in my own home, so I’m certainly not going to go out to a restaurant and eat that way.

The Bird Box Challenge

Have you heard of the new Netflix movie Bird Box? It stars Sandra Bullock and is about a world where people are forced by creatures to kill themselves if they look at them, so everyone goes around with a blindfold on. Could this movie possibly inspire people to do some really dumb things? Yes it could!

People are testing if they can perform various tasks while blindfolded, including driving, which is what a Utah 17-year-old was doing when he crashed his car. Who could have known that you might not be able to drive while blindfolded? They probably don’t teach that in high school anymore. Thankfully he and his female passenger weren’t seriously injured.

So please add “driving your car while blindfolded” to the list of internet challenges you shouldn’t participate in, along with “eating Tide pods,” “jumping out of a moving car to dance,” and “downing so much cinnamon you make yourself really sick.” In fact, if you see something online that has the word “challenge” in it (and it’s not this one), just say no.

Stephen King Really Does Control Publishing

We keep hearing that print newspapers are dying, that reporters are being laid off, and that entire sections are being reduced in size or cut all together. More often than not it’s the arts coverage that gets killed, because newspapers usually see those sections as the most expendable (which seems odd to me, but that’s a rant for another day). The Portland Press Herald recently sent out a tweet saying that they were getting rid of local freelance book reviews, and it caught the attention of a certain Maine author named Stephen King. He wasn’t happy about it, and the paper sent out another tweet saying that if 100 of his fans bought digital subscriptions, they would change their mind. You can guess what happened next.

If 100 readers of this column buy a print/digital subscription to the Post by the end of this weekend, I will dine nude at a restaurant. Even if it’s not a nude restaurant.

Maybe Emily Blunt Can Play Della Street?

I’ve been watching a lot of Perry Mason lately, every night on MeTV. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a reboot of the show, since every other show has come back, and a lawyer-whodunit drama seems like something that could be popular. Apparently Robert Downey Jr. thinks so too, as he’ll be producing a new take on the character for HBO.

It will be a limited series that takes place in 1932, with Mason on his first case as an investigator before he becomes an attorney. And because there apparently aren’t enough American actors for the role, this time he’ll be played by a Brit, Matthew Rhys of The Americans.

I’ll make a prediction right now that even if this show is fantastic, it won’t be Perry Mason. Raymond Burr is so identified in the role, playing him in such a specific way, that this can’t be anything but a show — maybe even a great one — about an attorney who happens to have the name “Perry Mason.” Networks don’t seem to understand that it takes more than just plugging another actor into a role to make it the same thing (see also: the Magnum, P.I. remake, the Charlie’s Angels movies, and the MacGyver update).

Or maybe I’m just being overly protective of the character, as Erle Stanley Gardner wrote several Perry Mason stories for the Post throughout the ’40s and ’50s, including “The Case of the Careless Kitten” from the May 23, 1942, issue.

First page of the story, "The Case of the Careless Kitten"
Read “The Case of the Careless Kitten” from the May 23, 1942 issue of the Post. Become a subscriber to gain access to all of the issues of The Saturday Evening Post dating back to 1821.

RIP Carol Channing, Verna Bloom, John Falsey, Mel Stottlemyre, and W. Morgan Sheppard

Carol Channing was a Broadway legend and three-time Tony winner who starred in such shows as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Wonderful Town, Show Girl, and Hello, Dolly. She was also nominated for an Oscar for her role in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Channing died Tuesday at the age of 97.

Verna Bloom played Dean Wormer’s wife in Animal House and appeared in many other films, including Medium Cool, High Plains Drifter, and The Last Temptation of Christ. She died last week at the age of 80.

John Falsey created two iconic TV shows, St. Elsewhere and Northern Exposure, and wrote for and produced many other series, including The White Shadow, Amazing Stories, and I’ll Fly Away. He died earlier this month at the age of 67.

Mel Stottlemyre was an All-Star pitcher for the New York Yankees and later a pitching coach for the Yankees and the New York Mets. He died last week at the age of 77.

W. Morgan Sheppard was a veteran character actor who appeared in such TV shows as MacGyver (the original one), Mad Men, Frasier, Seaquest 2032, Max Headroom, and Doctor Who. He also appeared in many of the Star Trek movies and shows. He died last weekend at the age of 86.

Picture of the Week

0 for 3? This kid should get an A+.

This Week in History

Andy Rooney Born (January 14, 1919)

The essayist and 60 Minutes commentator would have turned 100 this week. Here’s an interview the Post did with Rooney in 1984, and here’s the terrific DVD set that CBS put together which showcases some of his best TV essays.

Great Boston Molasses Flood (January 15, 1919)

This week also marked 100 years since one of the more bizarre accidents in U.S. history. A giant steel tank exploded in Boston’s North End, sending a 15-foot wave of molasses down the street, killing 21 and injuring many others. The Boston Globe has a fascinating look at the accident.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Wrong Week at the Ski Resort (January 14, 1961)

Wrong Week at the Ski Resort

Sometimes I’m hesitant to admit that I don’t understand one of our magazine covers. I’m afraid that I’m just being a dolt and what the cover means is completely obvious to everyone in the world except me. Having said that … I don’t get this cover by James Williamson. Why is it the wrong week at the ski resort? Why are the women looking at the man like that? It’s not like he’s carrying golf clubs. He’s carrying skis.

Let me know what the cover means in the comments below so I’ll feel like an idiot.

National Oatmeal Month

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat more oatmeal. I know that seems like an oddly specific resolution, but judging from the ads, it’s better for you than penicillin and will cure any kind of ailment you have. The people who make up the food holidays must realize that a lot of people resolve to eat healthy oatmeal in January because it’s National Oatmeal Month.

You could go the easy route and just buy a box of Quaker packets (that’s usually my go-to), but you can make your own too. And after you make that, you can make these Apple Oatmeal Squares, this Irish Guinness Oatmeal Cake, or Norman Rockwell’s Oatmeal Cookies.

And do me a favor: Eat them with your clothes on.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 21)

After the March on Washington in 1963, many people thought that change was coming too quickly to the country, so King gave this response in the Post.

Academy Award Nominations (January 22)

I am woefully behind in my movie-watching. Every time I read Bill Newcott’s column, I say to myself, “Oh, I have to see that movie, and that one, and that one …” I don’t think I saw any movies in the theater last year, though I finally saw The Shape of Water, from two years ago, on HBO recently. If you watch more movies than I do and plan to watch the Oscars, the nominations will be announced on the Oscars site and their social media channels at 9 a.m. ET. They’ll probably be announced on some TV networks as well, but that’s usually somewhat random.

The 90th awards show will air on ABC on February 24 at 8 p.m.

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  1. I’ve been ‘asked’ to make a correction here to a quote from paragraph 4 that is incorrect due to being incomplete. It even ties in with paragraph 3. Anyhow, I took Lisa to Le Petit Cafe in Santa Monica last night for dinner before heading off to the Styx concert in Beverly Hills. I’ve never needed reservations there before, but did last night, so there was a wait shortening the time cushion I needed. First mistake of the evening with a full moon.

    While waiting, I showed her THIS column where I mentioned ‘the incident’ knowing she wouldn’t mind. She didn’t, but told me the upset store owner told her “that’s no way to sell a dress, without your clothes on, and you know it! Now get out of my shop!” She wanted it corrected. I told her my ‘misquote’ was actually a little nicer, more discreet, even if technically inaccurate, and I wanted to leave it alone. She insisted, so now the extra words are there. (I should NOT have shown her…) The dinner was great (including the escargot) and the concert was incredible.

    I didn’t have the extra time on my hands I needed, and missed the opening song because the wonderful parking lot on Wilshire across from the Saban was closed and I had to use the other one. Ya might know the ONE damn time I’m running late to a concert, it started on time; at 9 pm, no opening band just winding up.

    The parking punishment continued afterward, taking over 40 minutes to leave the multi-leveled lot.

  2. Apple really should call you Bob, having been loyal to their products since the mid-80’s, including having had the hats and shirts at one time! I’m fashionably late to the Apple party since I only got my slice 4 years ago in the form of their 5-S model as a work perk, along with an ARCO gas credit card.

    I’ve heard the monthly costs are pretty high. That phone does everything I need it to, and has many extra features I never use or will. I seriously doubt there are many people whose needs have changed (at all) that they need to keep dropping $1k on the “latest” model other than their false belief other people “care”. It’s the same mentality of ‘having to have’ a new car frequently. Both Apple and the auto makers are in cut throat competition with each other. Ignore their debt trap, money pit ads and pleas if you to get ahead financially.

    With the way things have been in Paris (ISIS) the past few years, I’m surprised such a restaurant would still be open recently at all. The food prices seem high, but technically I can’t say. Bob, I take it you’re NOT a fan of the wonderful escargot; calling them snails instead? Anyone at the Post with me on the escargot?

    On a (kind of) related note, I know a young woman who was fired from a small, ladies dress shop after she was overheard by the shop owner laughing in the try-on room. The door was flung open and Lisa was busted (along with her female customer) for their/her nudity. The lady told her “that’s no way to sell as dress, and you know it! Now get out of my shop!”

    I agree with you on re-making ‘Perry Mason’ or the vast majority of everything else. The upside of this though, it that it’s set in 1932, 25-34 years before the ’57-’66 series, AND it’ll get Downey doing something other than the comic book shtick, the way he did way before that.

    The ‘MacGyver’ remake is nearly as bad as the horrible ‘Hawaii 5-0’, but ‘5-0’ is still the worst. There are enough bird box re—– out there keeping it afloat. In all fairness here, the new version of ‘Magnum P.I.’ isn’t only not bad, it’s downright good! It has a cohesive storyline, the action is restrained and appropriate, it features the Dobermans and the two lead actors are very likable. I expected to hate it, but have been pleasantly surprised! It even has a ‘Castle’ flavor to it I like.

    Thanks for remembering the deceased, especially Carol Channing, and the link. The whole feature is a great tribute to this wonderfully unique entertainer.

    You’re not being a dolt on this January 1961 cover. I don’t understand ‘the story’ either. It could be the two women just found out (too late) that the skiing/snow conditions they thought would be good at said destination, now aren’t, but they’ve paid for the trip and the train tickets. Oh no!

    As for the Academy Awards, I’ll say something another week.


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