News of the Week: Red Meat Is Good for Us, Skittles Are Popular, and Your Next Stop Is The Twilight Zone

In the news for the week ending October 4, 2019, are good meat, great dancing, weird candy, weirder TV, and much more.


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It’s Okay to Eat Meat Now (Maybe. Probably Not. But Maybe!)

This is a very food-centric column this week, so let’s start with something you might have a beef with: the consumption of red meat.

For years we’ve been told not to eat too much of it because it’s full of bad fats and cholesterol. We should be eating more heart-healthy foods like whole grains, salad, and good carbs (until carbs became bad for us, that is, and Atkins told us to eat more meat). Now there’s a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that says maybe — just maybe — the fears about red meat were a little overblown.

What do other medical organizations and nutritionists think of this study? You guessed it: They’re not happy. Harvard University professor and author Walter Willett says that the study “ignored major parts of the available evidence” and calls the findings “totally bizarre.” The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Cancer Society have also denounced the study, while the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has filed a petition with the FTC to rebut parts of the study.

What does this all mean? Well, until the facts are in, maybe you should hold off on that all-pepperoni diet you’ve been thinking about starting.

What’s Your Favorite Halloween Candy?

It’s that time of the year when we find out the most popular candy for each state. This year’s report from shows that the favorite candy of people in New York and Indiana is Hot Tamales. In Colorado it’s Twix, while in North Dakota and New Mexico it’s candy corn (gah!). Maine just loves Sour Patch Kids, and Utah fancies Jolly Ranchers. And the favorite candy in my state of Massachusetts? Butterfinger, which is ridiculous, because everyone knows it’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

But who am I to judge? Everyone should be free to eat the type of candy they like, even you weirdos with your Skittles, the most popular Halloween candy in the country for some reason.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

At least there are no kale-flavored Skittles (not yet anyway). But there are kale … candy canes!

Don’t worry, they won’t become a holiday staple. They’re actually from the great novelty gift site Archie McPhee, who last year gave us Mac & Cheese Candy Canes. If you’re adventurous enough to try those, then you’re going to want to try their Pizza Candy Canes and their Hamdy Canes.

Yes, they’re ham-flavored! If yours is a family that serves ham at Christmas instead of turkey, this would be the natural dessert to serve.

Submitted for Your Approval

There have been several reboots of the classic Rod Serling CBS series The Twilight Zone, including one that currently airs on CBS All-Access, but the original will always be the best. This week marks the 60th anniversary of the show that may be the greatest series in TV history.

RIP Jacques Chirac, Jessye Norman, Hazel Smith, Joseph Wilson, Linda Porter, and Wayne Fitzgerald

Jacques Chirac was the president of France from 1995 to 2007. He was also the prime minister of the country from 1974 to 1976 and again from 1986 to 1988, and was the mayor of Paris from 1977 to 1995. He died last week at the age of 86.

Jessye Norman was a popular, influential soprano who amazed opera house audiences around the world, including her 80 performances at the Metropolitan Opera House, for decades. She died Monday at the age of 74.

Hazel Smith was a country music legend who did just about everything, from writing songs to working as a publicist, and even hosting country cooking shows. She coined the term “outlaw country.” She died Sunday at the age of 83.

Joseph Wilson was the former U.S. ambassador who disagreed with the Bush administration’s findings that led to the Iraq War. He died last week at the age of 69.

Linda Porter starred on the NBC sitcom Superstore and appeared in many other shows, including Twin Peaks: The Return, The Middle, ER, and The X-Files. She also appeared in movies like Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday and Dude, Where’s My Car? She died last week at the age of 86.

Wayne Fitzgerald created the title sequences for many TV shows and movies in his six decades of work. I was going to list some of them, but it would take too long. Check out his astonishing list of credits. I guarantee he’s responsible for one of your favorites. He died Monday at the age of 89.

This Week in History

Jimmy Carter Born (October 1, 1924)

The 39th president turned 95 this week — he’s the longest-living former president — and he’s still building houses and teaching Sunday school.

East and West Germany Reunited (October 3, 1990)

One year after the Berlin Wall came down, the reunification of Germany officially took place.

October Is National Pasta Month

Lasagna is one of the things you can make for National Pasta Month. Here’s a recipe for Classic Lasagna from Delish, and here’s one for the World’s Best Lasagna from Allrecipes. Please note that this is not an official ranking. It looks really good though.

If lasagna isn’t the pasta dish you’re in the mood for, how about this Cacio e Pepe from Food Network? It sounds fancy, but it has only five ingredients. How about this Rigatoni with Chicken and Broccoli Bolognese from Woman’s Day, or this One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta from Taste of Home? If you’d like something lighter, try this Butternut Squash, Browned Butter, and Rosemary Fettuccini Alfredo from Bowl of Delicious.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Albuquerque Balloon Festival (October 5-13)

This nine-day event is one of the most beautiful of the year, with all of those colorful hot air balloons floating in the air at the same time. It’s always a great picture-taking event. It will also feature contests, chainsaw-carving displays, and fireworks.

Leif Erikson Day (October 9)

A lot of people think that Columbus was the first European to reach the Americas, but the Norse explorer got here first.


Featured image: Shutterstock.

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  1. So this week’s back ‘n forth contradiction is about red meat. Probably best consumed in moderation like coffee and alcohol, hmmm? Ouch on the Skittles diss! They’re great, especially the tropical, mixed berry and the original. The ‘sour’ Skittles, not so much. Starburst is great too, but they never include enough of the cherry squares. Too many of the orange, lemon and strawberry…

    Now I can put comments on the ‘Twilight Zone’ feature here; perfect! I love the eerie tune chosen after some trial and error tweaking. The writers and directors of the original five season were fantastic, just as the actors were the cream of the crop of the likes we’ll NEVER see again. This gives the original ‘TZ’ a commonality with the incredible ‘Batman’ series. Nothing can ever touch IT either, and never will. So true with nearly everything in the ’60s.

    The ‘Twilight Zone’ revival series attempts in the ’80s weren’t bad overall. They captured the essence of the original show pretty well, especially when viewed now. The openings were on a par with the original show too. Of course the 2002-’03 shows weren’t good, with the highly bombastic opening leaving no doubt they wouldn’t be, right up front.

    I agree too on the twists, incredible images, and the truths Serling always incorporated. As far as the 2019 ‘streaming’ series goes it’s about what I’d expect. After 9, 10 years of the hideously unwatchable ‘Hawaii 5-0’ and the treacherously awful 2017 ‘Twin Peaks’ revival/sequel shows, the ’19 ‘Zone’ is far superior by default. Still, it should be the last and left alone, but it won’t be.

    Thanks for running the links on President Carter here too, including Nicholas Gilmore’s. You can still wish him a happy birthday per his link. Bob, YOU’RE right on the pronunciation of lasagna, of course. Shame on those ignorant ad men back then. Arrivederci paesano!


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