News of the Week: 2020 Sights, Snowball Fights, and Hot Meals for Cold Nights

In the news for the week ending January 3, 2020, are the promises we make for next year, the people we lost last year, soup and snowballs, and more.

Border collie wearing a party hat

Weekly Newsletter

The best of The Saturday Evening Post in your inbox!



There are two types of people in the world: those who make New Year’s resolutions and liars.

Doesn’t everyone make New Year’s resolutions, even if they say with a slight smirk, “I don’t make New Year’s resolutions?” I’m not saying everyone officially proclaims, “My New Year’s resolutions are …” out loud or on paper, but isn’t it natural to think about your life, relationships, health, and career at the end of the year? The holidays are over, the ball has dropped, and the calendar is turning to a new number, so it’s normal to think about what you’re going to do differently as a new year begins, the changes you have to make, and the things you want to do better, even if you don’t call them “resolutions.”

I have several resolutions this year — 75 percent of them are the ones I made this time last year. I’m still working on them.

What are yours?

It’s Now Okay to Throw Snowballs in Wausau

When I was a kid I got in trouble for throwing snowballs at cars. Looking back, it was an intensely stupid thing to do, though I guess I could have committed worse crimes.

Speaking of crimes involving snowballs, for decades there has been a law on the books in Wausau, Wisconsin, saying that snowball fights are against the law. To be specific, the ordinance said “no person shall throw or shoot any object, arrow, stone, snowball or other missile or projectile, by hand or by any other means, at another person or at, in or into any building, street, sidewalk, alley, highway, park, playground or other public place within the city.” So it really looks like they were trying to cover everything just to be sure.

Of course, the law was rarely enforced, as officials pointed out this week when they let everyone know it’s okay to have a snowball fight this winter.

Here’s Something Else You Can Toss

Christmas is over, but that doesn’t mean the fruitcake jokes are. There’s an old joke that says there’s only one fruitcake in the world, and people keep passing it on to each other every year because nobody wants it. Fruitcake is the Rodney Dangerfield of holiday foods.

So toss it! Literally! Today is National Fruitcake Toss Day. Throw it away, throw it to your dog, or throw it over your neighbor’s fence. But if you got it as a gift, don’t tell them you’re tossing it. Just say, “Hey, that fruitcake was great!” And then be prepared to get it as a gift every single year from now on.

Those We Lost in 2019

Even though I keep track of the famous people who have died every week, it still amazes me when I watch these year-end round-ups and see just how many have left us in the same year.

CBS always does one of the best montages (video below, but click here if it vanishes, as they tend to do every year for some reason):

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

And for the people CBS didn’t have time to mention, we have TCM’s excellent look back:

Uploaded to YouTube by Turner Classic Movies

RIP Lee Mendelson, Jack Sheldon, Sue Lyon, Neil Innes, and Syd Mead

Lee Mendelson was the producer of dozens of the Charlie Brown TV specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. He also wrote the lyrics to the classic holiday song “Christmastime Is Here.” It’s appropriate that he died on Christmas Day, at the age of 86.

Jack Sheldon was an acclaimed trumpeter who played in Merv Griffin’s TV band and also with everyone from Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee to Benny Goodman and Rosemary Clooney. He was also an actor, appearing in the ’60s comedy series The Cara Williams Show, The Girl with Something Extra, The Simpsons, and Run, Buddy, Run, as well as many movies. He also did voices for ABC’s Schoolhouse Rock! segments. That’s him singing “I’m Just a Bill” and “Conjunction Junction.” He died last week at the age of 88.

Sue Lyon was the young actress who played the title role in the Stanley Kubrick movie Lolita. She also appeared in movies like Night of the Iguana and Tony Rome, as well as several TV shows. She died last week at the age of 73.

Neil Innes was the co-founder and singer for the Beatles-inspired comedy band the Rutles and a longtime cohort of the Monty Python crew. He died Sunday at the age of 75.

Syd Mead was the conceptual artist responsible for the look of such science fiction movies as Blade Runner, Aliens, Tron, Tomorrowland, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He died Monday at the age of 86.

This Week in History

Betsy Ross Born (January 1, 1752)

The Philadelphia upholsterer probably couldn’t have predicted that the flag she sewed would one day have 50 stars.

Warnings Appear on Cigarette Packs (January 1, 1966)

Maybe your resolution is to stop smoking. The original warning on the side of cigarette packs read: “Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” The FDA now wants to put more graphic wording and images on every pack.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Alka-Seltzer Ad (January 2, 1960)

Ad for Alka-Seltzer, made in 1960. Features a man holding out a cup of the medicine to a woman who is holding her head in pain.

Maybe you needed some of this on New Year’s Day. Maybe you still need it a couple of days later?

Cold Nights, Hot Meals

I saw someone buying ice cream the other day. I can’t even think about that in winter. I also don’t turn on my stove in August. (It’s a seasonal thing with me.)

Here are two soups you might want to try for these cold, dark winter nights: Winter Country Soup and Curtis Stone’s Homemade-Chicken-Soup-Makes-Me-Feel-Better Soup, which is that rare recipe that has the word soup twice in the title. If you’ve had too much soup lately, how about some comforting Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese or this Simple Meatloaf with a ketchup/maple glaze topping? If the only thing that will warm you up is a hot drink, try this Mulled Wine or this Spiked Nutella Hot Chocolate.

Any of these foods would be great after a legal snowball fight.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Trivia Day (January 4)

Here’s a question to stump your friends on this day: Who was the first person to play James Bond?

If they say “Sean Connery,” say “Nope!” It was actually American Barry Nelson, who played the spy in a 1954 live adaptation of Casino Royale on the CBS anthology series Climax!

NFL Playoffs (January 4)

The post-season begins at 4:35 p.m. when the Buffalo Bills meet the Houston Texans on ABC and ESPN. At 8:15 on CBS, the Tennessee Titans play the New England Patriots.


Featured image: Shutterstock.

Become a Saturday Evening Post member and enjoy unlimited access. Subscribe now


  1. This is the first year I’m going to say as “Twenty _______.” I’ve resisted saying “Twenty 08” or “Twenty 19” because it didn’t seem right to me (the name of the classic movie is “Two Thousand One: A Space Odyssey” not “Twenty 01”) but saying “Twenty-Twenty” seems right.

  2. Sorry bro, I’ve been kind of sick this week as a result of the Holidays and am on a round of amoxicillin which is greatly helping, thank God, but have a few days to go before I’m done. I resolve to do even less (if that’s possible) during the Holidays later this year as the whole thing is SUCH an out of control nightmare, the only thing TO do is nothing.

    That’s funny about the snowballs. Just don’t throw any at the windows of that weird new Tesla model; you just might shatter the glass. The fruitcake. I’m not sure giving it to the dog is healthy if they should choose to eat it. I wonder if the President had any prior to January 2nd?

    I’m sorry about a least several people we lost this past year, especially Doris Day, Ric Ocasek and Syd Mead. A few lucky people I sent Christmas cards to recently received envelopes adorned with Mead’s artwork. I did not know he passed away last Monday until now. Thanks Bob.

    Bill Macy of “Maude” fame was great. Betsy Ross got a nice mention in the opening theme song of Norman Lear’s masterpiece sitcom. Chicken noodle soup is just the best in winter, isn’t it? Getting back to the resolutions. I resolve to keep track of my online Post comments, because I have NO idea how many I have. It’s at least 5 or 6 for 2020. I also resolve to say “Twenty-Twenty” to those still saying “Two Thousand and Twenty” this far into the century. The only place for that is on engraved wedding invitations, and most of us fortunately know.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *