News of the Week: Sweater Weather, James Dean’s New Movie, and the Happy Meal Turns 40

In the news for the week ending November 8, 2019, are a new pinball record, an old subway station, the return of James Dean, our favorite Happy Meal toys, and SPACE.

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“This is one of the three things in the world I like. Ina Garten, sweater weather, and when Muppets present at awards shows.”

—Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

I’ve always had a crush on Tina Fey, who I think is a lot like her Liz Lemon character. I know they both love Garten (a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa) and the Muppets, so I have to assume she also loves something that I love: cold weather.

(This is the part where you roll your eyes and sigh because I’m going to talk about the weather yet again — feel free to scroll down to read about subways and Daniel Boone.)

I finally put in the storm window this week. That’s late for me. I had planned to do it a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t quite cold enough. Sure, it was “chilly,” but there were days here and there when it was actually warm enough in my apartment to leave the door open for an hour to let some cooler air in. Not hot or humid by any means, just not cold enough to put the glass in and leave the door closed all the time. We turned a corner this past week though. Temps in the 40s, wind, and the sun going down at around 4:30 thanks to standard time all conspired to make things comfortable and 100 percent autumn-like.

It’s supposed to be in the 30s today and tomorrow. Unlike some Novembers, which have the air and look of September, it actually feels like Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. It doesn’t feel “weird.” Sweaters and hot chocolate for everyone!

Before you know it, we’re going to be walking in a winter wonderland.

Pinball Wizard

Not even a cyberattack could stop Ryan Clancy from breaking the world record for the longest time continuously playing pinball. He played the same game for 32 hours and 2 minutes, breaking the old record of 30 hours and 10 minutes.

The game was Black Knight: Sword of Rage, which features the voice of Barenaked Ladies singer Ed Robertson, who happens to be a huge pinball fan and was cheering for Clancy to break the record.

Subway Secrets

I have an irrational interest in all things that involve historical underground places in New York City, so I was fascinated by this CBS This Morning story about the city’s very first subway station, which opened in 1904 but has been closed since 1945.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS This Morning

Digital Rebel

As if landing a movie role weren’t hard enough already, now actors and actresses have to compete with ones who died years ago.

James Dean, the iconic star of Rebel Without a Cause and Giant who died young in a 1955 car accident, has a new movie coming out. He’s going to be “digitally re-created” for Finding Jack, a Vietnam War-era drama based on the novel by Gareth Crocker. Dean will “play” the character of Rogan, with the help of special effects artists and digital wizardry.

This is something that has been predicted by people for a long time: old celebrities returning from the dead to give new performances. We’ve already seen Gene Kelly in a TV commercial and other dead music stars “touring” again via hologram, so this is the next logical step. Soon we’re going to see a film that is completely composed of deceased people.

I wonder if they’ll have a computer-generated Dean promote the movie on The Tonight Show and Live with Kelly and Ryan?

Space Cookies

NASA sent an oven to the International Space Station last week.

It’s not because they’re opening up a restaurant or an appliance store; they’re going to make chocolate chip cookies. It’s actually for a good, scientific reason. They want to figure out the how zero gravity and high heat affect the preparation of food.

Boy, that space station is going to smell fantastic. I bet the cookies will go great with Tang.

We’re (Still) Lovin’ It

McDonald’s is celebrating 40 years of the Happy Meal by bringing back some of the toys we played with back in the day. Of course, I say “we” even though I never bought a Happy Meal. I was a little too old when they made their debut. Yesterday the fast food chain starting putting retro toys like Grimace, the Hamburglar, Power Rangers, and Furby into Happy Meal boxes.

They’re only available until November 11, so if you want to show your kids just who the heck Grimace is, you better hurry.

RIP Ernest Gaines, Bernard Slade, Ann Crumb, Brian Tarantina, and Rudy Boesch

Ernest Gaines was the author of the classic novel of the South before the civil rights movement, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, later made into an Emmy-winning TV movie starring Cicely Tyson. He also wrote Catherine Carmier, Of Love and Dust, and A Lesson Before Dying. He died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Bernard Slade wrote the stage and screen comedy Same Time, Next Year and created The Partridge Family, The Girl with Something Extra, Bridget Loves Bernie, and Love on a Rooftop. He also developed The Flying Nun and wrote for Bewitched and other shows. He died last week at the age of 89.

Ann Crumb was the Broadway star of such shows as Anna Karenina (for which she received a Tony nomination), Aspects of Love, The Goodbye Girl, Les Miserables, Chess, and Nine. She died last week at the age of 69.

Brian Tarantina costarred on the acclaimed Amazon Prime show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and was a regular on The Gilmore Girls. He appeared in many other shows in his long career, including Miami Vice, ER, Oz, NYPD Blue, and Heroes, along with movies like Summer of Sam. He died last weekend at the age of 60.

Rudy Boesch became famous as one of the three finalists on the very first season of Survivor. He was also a Navy SEAL. He died last week at the age of 91.

This Week in History

Daniel Boone Born (November 2, 1734)

Some people might think that Daniel Boone was a mythical American character, but he actually existed. He was a pioneer, a frontiersman, and was even a member of the Virginia General Assembly, representing three different counties.

Meet the Press Debuts (November 6, 1947)

It’s the longest-running TV show in history, currently in its 72nd year. The second longest is the CBS Evening News, which started in 1948. Do you know what the third longest is? Scroll down for the answer.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: New T.V. Set (November 5, 1949)

Maybe the guy on this Norman Rockwell cover got a new set so he could watch that Meet the Press show he’s heard so much about.

Saturday Is National Scrapple Day

Scrapple is one of those foods I’ve never had. It’s a Pennsylvania Dutch dish made with pork scraps, corn meal, wheat flour, and spices and fried in a pan. That description probably doesn’t do it justice, so here’s a simple recipe from Taste of Home you might want to try. This recipe from Food52 adds garlic, onions, sage, thyme, and other spices. It’s often topped with maple syrup.

By the way, this is not to be confused with National Scrabble Day, which is April 13. Probably not a good idea to mix the days up.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Chaos Never Dies Day (November 9)

No, it’s not the name of the next James Bond movie, it’s the day we acknowledge that chaos is an everyday part of life, so we should just embrace it and not worry about it.

Veterans Day (November 11)

The day was first known as Armistice Day, created to celebrate veterans of World War I. Congress changed the name to Veterans Day on June 1, 1954, to honor all veterans.

Answer to trivia: The third longest-running show is Music & Spoken Word, the TV and radio religious program that has been broadcasting from the Salt Lake Tabernacle in Salt Lake City since 1949!

Featured image: enchanted_fairy /

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  1. If you love underground New York legend, you’d like Steven Millhauser’s great novel, “Martin Dresser.”

    The Onion had a very funny piece a couple of days ago about the effects of CGI on the celestial James Dean.

    Why do I think CGI careers are destined to go the way of 3D? The good thing is that if it happens, the washed up former stars are less likely to go plummeting into depression, alcoholism, suicide.

  2. I’m so glad you’re getting the weather you love so much; God knows you’ve had to wait long enough. It’s too cold for me, but the 91 degrees out here is too *** **** hot, Bob; seriously! At least it’s cool-cold at night. Gotta love that electric blanket!

    Thanks for the CBS special report on the secrets of the 1904 New York City subway station. Quite a story, and quite elegant and regal in its heyday.

    As for James Dean, he was too fast to live and too young to die; therefore deserving of this ‘digital re-creation’ to let him realize his fuller acting potential. I’m all for bringing back other deceased stars, as long as the new films are worthy of them. That’s where it gets tricky. The new crop of “stars” are generic Australian clones, but go with the films of today, just like the generic transportation appliances do. I don’t want the ‘real’ movie stars digitally put into garbage.

    When I have the occasional yen for McDonald’s, it’ll be the Happy Meal I’ll stick with. Last week I bought the limited-time honey barbecue chicken sandwich and a small (white bag) of fries. It came to $8.96 with tax. I thought I’d be saving money not getting the ‘meal’. Wrong, obviously!

    Bernard Slade was brilliant, not unlike Sherwood Schwartz. Thanks for the Norman Rockwell cover to re-study and enjoy! So 11/9 is basically National Chaos Day. Isn’t everyday (unfortunately) in America though?!

    Everyone, don’t forget to read “Why I Don’t Drive” (new this week) by the Post’s own, incredible Gay Haubner for a wonderful chaos and dark humor fix, folks!


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