This Is January
I’m looking out my living room window to a park directly across the street from my apartment. It’s not a park in the sense that a lot of people actually go there to relax or play with their dogs or toss a Frisbee around. It’s a small park, next to the water, and it more or less acts as a shortcut for people walking from the industrial section of the town to the busier downtown area.
In the summer it’s an area I don’t usually pay attention to, unless I’m jostled out of my sleep by someone trimming the trees using a device with the decibel level of a Boeing jet engine. But in the winter it turns into something else. The snow covers everything in white, the ground and the benches and the barren trees, and creates a seasonal landscape of uncommon beauty. It’s nearly a picture print from Currier & Ives.
You may love the lush, humid days of July and August. I’ll take winter. I’ll take the common cold over sunburn, long pants over shorts, hot tea over iced. Sure, when late February/early March comes around and there’s still snowbanks everywhere, blackened by weeks of dirt and sprinkled with trash, a sad reminder of what once was, I long for a couple of months of warmer weather. But right now it’s January. It’s cold and comforting and beautiful. I love it and I just felt like mentioning it.
I’m sure this device will come in handy, but there’s no way they won’t look ridiculous using it.
The names on U.S. aircraft carriers include such well-known figures as Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Ford, and Reagan, among others. You can now add Doris Miller to that list. You don’t know who he is? Watch this CBS Sunday Morning feature for the story.
As a fan of the Robert Parker Spenser novels and the 1980s TV show starring Robert Urich and Avery Brooks, let me just say … this isn’t Spenser. It might be a good movie, but it’s not Spenser. He was in prison? There’s no Susan? Henry Cimoli runs a boarding house? Honestly, it looks interchangeable with 20 other movies that have come out recently; they just happen to be using the character names.
This Week in Dumb Viral Challenges
RIP Terry Jones, Jim Lehrer, Christopher Tolkien, Marion Chesney, and Gary Starkweather
Terry Jones was a member of the legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python. He also co-directed (with castmate Terry Gilliam) 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail and later directed Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. He died this week at the age of 77.
Jim Lehrer was a veteran journalist and host of PBS’s NewsHour for 36 years. The show started in 1975 as The Robert MacNeil Report and was renamed The MacNeil/Lehrer Report a year later, with Lehrer co-anchoring with Robert MacNeil. The name was changed to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer when MacNeil retired in 1995. Lehrer also moderated 12 presidential debates from 1988 to 2012 and authored dozens of novels, memoirs, and plays. He died Thursday at the age of 85.
Christopher Tolkien was the son of Lord of the Rings creator J.R.R. Tolkien and executor of the late author’s estate. He also kept his father’s writings alive by editing and publishing other works based on the series of books and characters. He died last week at the age of 95.
Marion Chesney was better known as M.C. Beaton, the creator of the characters Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin, who solved mysteries in two different series of books and TV shows. She also wrote over 100 historical romance novels. She died last week at the age of 83.
While working at Xerox in the 1970s, engineer Gary Starkweather had an idea. That idea turned into the laser printer. He died last month at the age of 81.
Quote of the Week
“Now, milk may seem weird, but that’s just so senators from Wisconsin can bring in their emotional support cows.”
—Stephen Colbert, on news that senators are only allowed to drink water or milk during the impeachment trial, on The Late Show
This Week in History
Edgar Allan Poe Born (January 19, 1809)
Did the writer of such classic stories as “The Raven” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” write for the Post? He did! “The Black Cat” was published in our August 19, 1843, issue.
The Post also published several of his earlier stories and poems. There is some mystery about one story titled “A Dream,” which might be the work of Poe, but was published with a byline of only the letter P.
Apple’s Macintosh Introduced (January 24, 1984)
Steve Jobs started the now-common tradition of unveiling new technology via large media events. I don’t know if that turned out to be a good thing or not, but here’s video of his introduction of the Macintosh, which changed computing forever.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Two Points (January 24, 1942)
Today Is National Peanut Butter Day
There are many classic debates. Mac vs. PC, Coke vs. Pepsi, end of the toilet paper going over the top vs. underneath. You can add smooth peanut butter vs. crunchy to that list. When I was a kid I only ate the smooth stuff, but as an adult I prefer chunky. I don’t know why these things happen in life, but here we are.
You probably know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to your liking, so I won’t go into a detailed recipe (just make sure you use a sturdy bread), but how about making these classic Peanut Butter Cookies from Simply Recipes? Maybe give this Peanut Butter Cake from Allrecipes a try, or these No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars. If you want to go all out and make something that combines all of your favorite things, try these Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Any of these would be great with milk.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
NHL All-Star Game (January 25)
The annual game will be played at the home of the St. Louis Blues, the Enterprise Center. It airs at 8 p.m. on NBC.
The Grammy Awards (January 26)
I haven’t been interested in the Grammys since I had a full head of hair, but I think we should all root for Lana Del Rey’s Norman F***ing Rockwell! to win “Album of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” The show airs at 8 p.m. on CBS.
National Puzzle Day (January 29)
Think you’re smart? Try solving these puzzles from the February 8, 1873, issue of The Saturday Evening Post.
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