News of the Week: Fall TV, Lana Del Rey Sings Rockwell, and It’s Just About Time for Some Bourbon

In the latest “News of the Week,” fall TV season arrives with a fizzle, Tennessee is the place to be, and Norman (F***ing) Rockwell gets a musical name-check.


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Stay Tuned

Remember when the new fall TV season was a big deal? That was when summer TV was somewhat boring, filled with repeats, specials, and TV movies, so it was exciting that new episodes were coming and new shows were launching in September. But now we have 7,000 channels and streaming services (watching TV is exhausting now) and the entire year is filled with new programming. The launch of the new fall shows doesn’t grab the attention of viewers like it once did.

It’s still a thing though, as you have probably noticed from the many previews of new shows that have been running for the past couple of months. I feel like I’ve seen the new CBS show Evil already, I’ve seen the preview so many times.

I could go down the list of every new show from every network and streaming service, every old show returning on every network and streaming service, every cancellation and recast role, but there isn’t enough room here for all that. Besides, I don’t keep track of the shows as much as I used to. Luckily there are plenty of magazines and sites that do that for us. Entertainment Weekly has “everything you need to know” about the new TV season, while TVLine has their picks for the best and worst of the new shows. CNN/Variety writer Brian Lowry has his own picks for what to watch and what to skip, and The Wrap has a handy guide that lists the premiere date for every single new and returning show.

Norman F***ing Rockwell!

No, that’s not me being disrespectful to the Post’s most beloved artist; it’s the title of Lana Del Rey’s new album and the title of one of the songs on the album. I wasn’t familiar with Lana Del Rey before listening to some of these songs. They’re ballads, somewhat sad, rather autumnal.

And if you’re wondering what the Norman Rockwell Museum thinks of the album title, they’re actually okay with it, as is our own Abigail Rockwell. At least it’s getting young Lana Del Rey fans googling “Norman Rockwell.” If you’ve come here after doing that, hello!

Take the Last Train to Clarksville

What’s the best place to live in America? You’re probably going to say “where I live,” but Money magazine says it’s actually Clarksville, Tennessee. The city of 160,000 people grabbed the number one spot in the annual Money list of the 100 best places to live in America.

Second place goes to Round Rock, Texas, while Fishers, Indiana, the Fulton River District in Illinois, and Country Club Heights in North Carolina round out the top five. The magazine judges the cities and towns on cost of living, housing, education, health and safety, amenities like restaurants, museums, and sports, and other factors.

By the way, Clarksville, Tennessee is not the Clarksville in the Monkees song, but I couldn’t resist using it in the title.

A Smartphone Is Not a Toy

It’s that time of year again, when the National Toy Hall of Fame nominates candidates to be inducted into their museum of toys and games. This year’s finalists are Risk, Care Bears, coloring books, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Jenga, Magic: The Gathering, Matchbox Cars, Masters of the Universe toys, Nerf Blaster guns, My Little Pony, tops, and smartphones.

Only two or three will make the cut.

Don’t Have a Bookmark? Use Soup!

There are many “don’ts” we should all live by. Don’t stand outside in the middle of a lightning storm. Don’t cross the street without looking both ways. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow (thank you, Fleetwood Mac).

Here’s another one: Don’t use food as a bookmark.

That seems to be a meme (hey, that rhymes) started on social media, where nothing good ever starts. People are being creative with what they use as bookmarks, including tacos, cats, and action figures. Even national brands are getting into the act, including Chex Mix, Oreo cookies, and Steak-umm. At least the Steak-umm is flat.

I guess I should be happy that apparently so many people are still reading print books. But if you don’t have a bookmark, may I suggest just using a piece of paper or bending the corner of the page? No, don’t do that. That’s just as bad as using soup.

RIP Eddie Money, Ric Ocasek, Cokie Roberts, Sander Vanocur, Charlie Cole, Mardik Martin, and Phyllis Newman

Eddie Money was the singer of such songs as “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Shakin’,” “Baby Hold On,” and “Take Me Home Tonight.” In his younger days he was a police officer in New York City. He died last week at the age of 70.

Ric Ocasek was the lead singer of the Cars, who had such hits as “Just What I Needed,” “You Might Think,” “Drive,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” He also released solo albums and was a painter. He died last week at the age of 75.

Uploaded to YouTube by RHINO

Cokie Roberts was an influential veteran political journalist. She started out on various local stations and became a correspondent for CBS Radio. She then went on to have a long career at ABC (where she hosted a weekly show with Sam Donaldson), NPR, and PBS. She died this week at the age of 75.

Sander Vanocur was another veteran journalist who had a long career at both NBC and ABC. He was one of the questioners during the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon debate. He died Monday at the age of 91.

Uploaded to YouTube by JFK Library

Charlie Cole was a photographer who took one of the most famous pictures in history. He died last week at the age of 64.

Mardik Martin wrote or co-wrote The Last Waltz and Valentino, as well as several of Martin Scorsese’s films, including Raging Bull, Mean Streets, and New York, New York. He died last week at the age of 84.

Phyllis Newman won a Tony for her role in Subways Are for Sleeping in 1962. She also appeared in many films, including Bye Bye Braverman, Mannequin, and The Human Stain, as well as TV shows like The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Coming of Age, Thirtysomething, and 100 Centre Street. She died Sunday at the age of 86.

This Week in History

Writer Robert Benchley Born (Sept. 15, 1889)

The Algonquin Round Table humorist is known for his work in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and The Harvard Lampoon, but he was also an actor. He appeared in several “How To” short films, including How to Sleep, which won an Oscar for Best Short Film in 1935. He also had roles in dozens of other films including Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent, The Major and the Minor, and Road to Utopia. He was profiled in the October 7, 1939, issue of the Post.

Columbo Debuts (Sept. 15, 1971)

Who was the first person to play the rumpled detective? Nope, it wasn’t Peter Falk. It was actually Bert Freed, who played the role in a 1960 episode of The Chevy Mystery Show. Columbo was then played on stage in 1962 by Thomas Mitchell, whom you know as the angel Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life. When time came to cast the role for TV, producers wanted Bing Crosby, but he turned it down because it would have interfered with his golf game. The series ran on NBC until 1978 and then returned on ABC in 1989.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Window Washer (Sept. 17, 1960)

This classic cover by Norman F***ing Rockwell inspired this 2014 cover by Sharif Tarabay, which featured the cast of Mad Men.

September Is National Bourbon Heritage Month

Did anyone on Mad Men drink bourbon? I’m sure everyone did at some point, though Don Draper was a Canadian Club and Old-Fashioned man. But to celebrate National Bourbon Heritage Month — declared an official U.S. national day in 2007 to honor America’s “Native Spirit” — how about a few recipes? Soon it will be cold enough for the brown liquors sitting on your shelf.

Here’s a recipe for Bourbon Chicken from Allrecipes, and here’s one for Brian’s Bourbon Chili from Delish and Brian Miske. Delish also has this recipe for Grilled Cheese with Bourbon Melted Onions, which sounds fantastic.

Oh, you want drink recipes? Okay, here are 26 from Town & Country, including The Libertine, The Optimist, a Casanova, and one for Autumn Leaves, which is appropriate for reasons that will become clear if you scroll down a bit.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

The Emmys (September 22)

The 71st Emmy Awards airs on Fox at 8 p.m. Here’s a list of nominees so you can make your own predictions.

Fall Begins (September 23)

If you keep track of such things, the autumnal equinox begins at 3:50 a.m. EDT. If you don’t keep track of such things, it still begins at 3:50 a.m. EDT.

National Punctuation Day (September 24)

There are, many ways; you can celebrate the day? You (could) read one of the many books on grammar and “punctuation.” You could promise to use correct! punctuation and spelling when you send texts and emails or [post on social media]. Or you could — – try to figure out what those *** stand for in the title of that: Lana. Del. Rey. album.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. (Part III) It’s too bad Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek both passed away this past week, too young. I’ve mentioned at various times I’m a HUGE fan of The Cars. I saw them twice in concert (1979 and ’84) then again in 2006 and ’07 in the ‘revived’ version with Todd Rundgren as the lead singer. He did a great job which convinced Ric there was still life and interest in the fantastic-futuristic, unique New Wave group.

    In 2011, The Cars with Ric once again after a 23 year hiatus, released ‘Move Like This’. Absolutely brilliant fusion of the 1978-’79 sound updated for the 21st century. ‘Candy-O’ may still be my most favorite, but ‘Move Like This’ comes very close. Check out the ‘Sad Song’ (Vevo) video AND ‘Blue Tip’ from this final album!!

    If you’re just finding out about this amazing album from ME, NOW, it’s because it never got any airplay. One of the tragedies of The Cars is that the radio stations (and other music media) would only play ‘My Best Friend’s Girl’. ‘Let the Good Times Roll’, ‘Just What I Needed’ and ‘Drive’.

    Bob mentioned ‘You Might Think’ and I wished he’d selected that link instead. You might think I’m delirious, but I declare it the greatest rock video ever made. If you’d like a freelance staff writer for music of this never-to-be-repeated era, feel free to get in touch me, and we’ll talk.

  2. (Part ll) I’m really sorry that Lana Del Rey chose to use any variations of the vulgarest of words for her album title. I’d love to know the legalities that allowed her to get away with something so disgusting, defaming, and disgusting particularly for Norman Rockwell, of all people.

    As far as Del Rey’s singing abilities go, she’s passable except for her use of the ‘f’ word in her lyrics otherwise. It’s a shame she doesn’t have the class of Sheryl Crow, Jewel or many of her predecessors who did NOT feel it necessary to resort to such bottom feeding ‘tricks’ to garner attention to their albums. It’s shocking, sad, but mostly pathetic this woman felt she needed to do this, isn’t it?

    Unfortunately, the links included here for both the Norman Rockwell Museum and Abigail Rockwell came up initially, but immediately were blocked. I would have to read for myself what both had to say on this, and cannot comment (on that) without knowing. I would think and hope The Saturday Evening Post itself otherwise, would find the cringe-worthy and defaming word used in association with Rockwell as horrifying as I do!

    The ‘f’ word’s been around a very, very LONG time, but it wasn’t until around 1987 or so that the overkill usage of it became SO prevalent in movies (like ‘Lethal Weapon) and then all the rap crap ever since as this country has declined to the extremely sick nation it is today. All thanks to corporate America ‘mainstreaming’ their poison. Billionaires with mansions all over the world, private jets, yachts and so much more, largely built on THAT word, other obscenities, and the violence; the violence of course.


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