News of the Week: April Showers, Tipping Arguments, and How Twinkies Were Invented

In the news for the week ending April 12, 2019, are strange weather, bad tippers, new stamps, spiral ham, Doris Day, and much more.

Rain on flowers

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Let’s Talk about the Weather

“April showers bring May flowers.”

I don’t know how scientific that line is, but it’s one we all remember from our childhood. It really depends on where you live, according to this video, which explains where the saying came from and what areas of the U.S. get the most rain and when. In some areas of the country, like here in the northeast, we do get more rain in April. In other parts, March is the wet month.

It’s been rainy here in Massachusetts. Rainy and raw. The Red Sox played their home opener with temps in the 40s. While it’s supposed to be in the 60s this weekend, the runners in Monday’s Boston Marathon are going to run through more rain and raw temperatures. It could be worse. There are still blizzards blowing through the Midwest!

As for those flowers arriving in May: I’m pretty sure they’re going to, no matter how much it rains the next few weeks. They always do. But what do those May flowers bring in June? Allergies, probably.

The Tipping Point

I remember being a waiter. I did it for a few years at a pizza place when I was in my late teens and early 20s. I think I got paid a little over $2 an hour, and the rest came from tips (I got a lot of free pizza and beer too, so it all worked out).

I vividly remember waiting on two tables of customers. One was a large group of people who spent a ton of money and gave more than $50 as a tip. The other table I remember was the one with two drunk guys who walked out on the check. When I realized what happened, I actually chased them down the street and made them come back to the restaurant to pay their bill (“I thought the other guy paid!” they both said). It won’t surprise you to learn they didn’t leave me a tip.

I don’t think I could even do it today. I’m older and I can’t imagine waiting on tables. All that standing and walking around for hours, having to keep track of several tables, carrying trays and plates, doing all that math. But I can still argue about tipping. It’s amazing that in 2019 there are still people who don’t tip, don’t believe in tipping, or leave paltry tips that would embarrass their mothers.

The guy in this CNBC video says that he has a “tipping trick” that could save you $400 a year. I think he’s overthinking it. If you’re putting that much time into figuring out how much money you should leave as if it’s part of your yearly income or stock portfolio, I’m sure you’re just a joy to be around! I don’t know how you can come up with a figure of $400 that you’ll “save” when tipping is a pretty consistent thing. Maybe he’s eating out too much?

How much should you tip? At least 20 percent. Don’t sit there and figure it out to the penny, and I don’t want to hear about this 15 percent stuff. Leaving more than the minimum is the right thing to do (and if it’s a place you go to often, I guarantee you they’ll remember).

New Stamps

I wish I had gotten into stamp collecting when I was younger. I really don’t want to start now, but whether you’re a seasoned philatelist or just happen to like either Marvin Gaye or George H.W. Bush, you’re in luck. The United States Post Office has just released Forever Stamps with the likenesses of the 41st president and the iconic soul singer.

Just to be clear: George H.W. Bush was the president and Marvin Gaye was the soul singer.

Doris Day Is 97!

Don’t worry, you are not a terrible person just because you thought Doris Day had died several years ago. She hasn’t given many interviews in the past 30 years and pretty much keeps to herself. She turned 97 recently and was interviewed by The Hollywood Reporter. She also shared a recent photo with her fans.

RIP Charles Van Doren, Ernest Frederick “Fritz” Hollings, Seymour Cassel, Vonda McIntyre, Dan Robbins, Nadja Regin, and Richard Cole

Charles Van Doren was an accomplished professor and writer before he went on the game show Twenty-One and won over $100,000 by getting the answers in advance. The investigation into Van Doren and many other contestants on various mid-’50s game shows was the basis for the 1994 Robert Redford film Quiz Show, in which Van Doren was played by Ralph Fiennes. Van Doren died this week at the age of 93.

Ernest Frederick “Fritz” Hollings was a Democratic governor of South Carolina and served in the U.S. Senate for 38 years. He died last weekend at the age of 97.

Seymour Cassel was a veteran actor who appeared in many films by Wes Anderson and John Cassavetes, including Faces, for which he was nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. He also appeared in many TV shows, including Star Trek: The Next Generation, Combat!, The Twilight Zone, ER, Under Suspicion, and the criminally underrated FX series Lucky. He died Sunday at the age of 84.

Vonda McIntyre was an influential and award-winning science fiction writer known for the novel The Moon and the Sun, an original Star Trek novel titled The Entropy Effect, as well as several novelizations of Star Trek movies. She died Monday at the age of 70.

Did you like to paint-by-numbers when you were a kid (or now, for that matter)? You have Dan Robbins to thank for that creation. He died Monday at the age of 93.

Nadja Regin was a Bond girl in two different 007 films, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. In the latter, she sets Bond up in her hotel room but ends up being knocked out herself. She died this week at the age of 87.

Richard Cole was the last surviving crew member from James Doolittle’s raid on Japan during World War II. He died this week at the age of 103.

This Week in History

Twinkies Invented (April 6, 1930)

The snack cake was invented by James Dewar, a baker for the Continental Baking Company in Schiller Park, Illinois, who came up with the idea to fill the cakes with banana cream using the machines that usually filled them with strawberries. The company had to switch to vanilla cream because of banana rationing during World War II.

The name was chosen after Dewar saw an ad for Twinkle Toe Shoes. We may never know why he didn’t name them Twinkles.

Yuri Gagarin Becomes First Man in Space (April 12, 1961)

The Soviet cosmonaut made one orbit of the Earth in the Vostok spacecraft.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Wilson’s Ham (April 9, 1949)

This company was started by Thomas E. Wilson, who also founded Wilson Sporting Goods.

An ad for Wilson's Ham

Monday Is National Glazed Spiral Ham Day

You might not be cooking ham this Monday, but there’s a good chance you’ll be cooking it for Easter in a couple of weeks, so here’s a recipe from Allrecipes for Tangy Honey Glazed Ham. Here’s one for Sugar-Glazed Ham from Taste of Home, and if you’re cooking for a lot of people, here’s a dry rub recipe from a 1950 issue of the Post. It’s enough for 100 pounds of meat.

The entire process takes over a week, so you better start right about … now.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Scrabble Day (April 13)

Here are 20 ways you can beat your opponent the next time you play the board game. And no, one of them isn’t “make up fake words.”

Patriots’ Day (April 15)

This is the holiday that’s officially celebrated in only three states: Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut. Kids in Wisconsin have the day off from school, but it’s not an official holiday there.

Tax Day (April 15)

Thanks to Patriots’ Day, taxpayers in Massachusetts and Maine have until the 17th to file their taxes (sorry, Connecticut).

The 15th is also That Sucks Day, which seems appropriate.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. I am touring Japan where tipping doesn’t exist not even for servers in restaurants or taxi drivers.

  2. I’m sure you’ll have wonderful weather before you know it Bob, back in MA. Here in L.A. it’s kind of like traditional autumn weather, minus the falling leaves, usual heat and (so far) the fires! But, it’s being offset with skyrocketing gas prices. Solid $4+ per gallon, expected to likely hit $5 before too long. Higher than HI.

    Very important to always leave a decent tip. I didn’t know you were a waiter back in the ’80s. The free pizza and beer were good, but more $$$ would have been better, I know. I agree with you on what CNBC said. Remember though, you must consider the source—-NBC.

    Happy 97th birthday to Doris Day. A great singer, movie star, TV star, animal rights activist (especially for dogs) and classy lady!! I’m sure she’d LOVE a copy of the Post’s new ‘Celebration of Dogs’ book. Let’s get her one!


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