News of the Week: Notes from the Couch, the Return of Perry Mason, and the Art of Zumping

In the news for the week ending April 24, 2020, are the earliest YouTube video, the latest Perry Mason, the oddities of quarantine, potatoes and chocolate, and more.

Dog laying on a couch

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This Week in Social Distancing

Quarantine, week … whatever it is.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on my couch. Well, I always spend a lot of time on my couch, but I seem to be doing even more of it. Everything seems to revolve around the couch. I eat there, I watch TV from there, I’m even typing these words from there. It’s my quarantine HQ.

You know that episode of Friends where Monica caters a party for her parents’ friend (Tom Selleck) and then starts dating him? I’ve seen it twice. (This week.)

I’m thinking about wearing my mask while I’m sitting around the house, so it doesn’t feel so weird when I go outside.

I’m often excited by the delivery of a book or movie or notebook or fun gadget, but these days I’m equally excited when I get a delivery of paper towels.

I need to order more contact lenses soon or I’ll be contactless. And I don’t mean “order from Little Caesars and get contactless delivery” contactless.

The other day a parade of cars came down the hill in front of my apartment, horns honking all at the same time. It reminded me of every June when the graduating seniors drive around town doing that, only this time it was probably people tired of being inside and wanting to get out. I thought getting together outside while staying apart in the safety of their cars was a sensible compromise.

The National Spelling Bee has been canceled for the first time since World War II. I always forget if it’s spelled cancelled or canceled.

Next year’s big word? Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E.

Goodbye, Indian Maiden

I’m not usually a fan of big changes made to classic product packaging, but I happen to like the redesign of the Land O’Lakes butter container.

Have You Ever Been Zumped?

People are using Zoom for many things these days, and they’re not all work-related.

There’s a new word we have to add to our lexicon. It’s zumping (or zumped). That’s when someone breaks up with you over the videoconferencing software. I guess it’s better than being dumped via a text. At least you’re seeing the person’s face and can talk to them. Unless, of course, it keeps freezing.

Or maybe it’s better to break up with a text. I mean, you’re being dumped; do you really want to do it face to face where it’s going to be even more awkward?

By the way, what if you’ve dumped over Skype? Have you been skumped?

Perry Mason Trailer

This might be a fine show but … it’s not Perry Mason. Not yet anyway. Maybe in season two?

Uploaded to YouTube by HBO

Erle Stanley Gardner wrote several Perry Mason stories for the Post, including “The Case of the Careless Kitten,” which ran in our May 23, 1942 issue.

RIP Paul O’Neill, Allen Daviau, Gene Deitch, Matthew Seligman, Peter Beard, Sirio Maccioni, Ann Sullivan, Tom Lester, Beryl Bernay, Robert Loomis

Paul O’Neill was secretary of the treasury under George W. Bush. He held the position before being fired by Bush at the end of 2002. He died Saturday at the age of 84.

Allen Daviau was the cinematographer on such films as E.T., Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple, and Bugsy. He died last week at the age of 77.

Gene Deitch was one of the masters of modern animation, leading such companies as UPA New York and Terrytoons. His work included creating Tom Terrific (seen on Captain Kangaroo), being an art director for CBS Radio, illustrating magazine covers, and directing many films. He also won one Oscar and was nominated for three more. He died last week at the age of 95.

Matthew Seligman was a veteran bassist who played with David Bowie, The Soft Boys, Thomas Dolby (“She Blinded Me With Science”), Sinead O’Connor, Morrissey, and the Thompson Twins, among many other bands. He died last week at the age of 64.

Peter Beard was an acclaimed wildlife and nature photographer. He died earlier this month at the age of 82.

Sirio Maccioni was the founder of the popular celebrity restaurant Le Cirque. He died Monday at the age of 88.

Ann Sullivan was a Disney animator who worked on such films as The Lion King, Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, and Lilo & Stitch. She died earlier this month at the age of 91.

Tom Lester played farmhand Eb Dawson on Green Acres. He died Monday at the age of 81.

Beryl Bernay was not only the creator and host of the ’60s children’s puppet show All Join Hands, she also held many positions at the United Nations, worked with anthropologist Margaret Mead, and also worked in fashion design and was a painter. She died last month at the age of 94.

In a half century as an editor at Random House, Robert Loomis edited the work of such writers as William Styron, Maya Angelou, Calvin Trillin, Pete Dexter, Shelby Foote, and Jim Lehrer. He died Sunday at the age of 93.

This Week in History

William Shakespeare Born (April 23, 1564)

They say the Bard wrote King Lear while he was in quarantine because of the plague, so you have no excuse not to finally straighten out that closet.

First YouTube Video (April 23, 2005)

It was called “Me at the Zoo” and was 18 seconds long. Today, 300 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute!

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Mother’s Little Helpers (April 18, 1953)

I bet a lot of parents can identify with this John Falter cover these days.

Mother’s Little Helpers

The Meals We’re Making Right Now

Food is one of the things that is keeping people sane right now. Food and TV (as long as it’s not the news). You’re stuck at home, so it’s the perfect time to either start cooking things you love but haven’t cooked in a while or try something you’ve never had before.

For some tried-and-true favorites, how about this Chicken Salad or this Cornbread? Deviled Eggs are a classic, as is this Apple Pie with Spiced Apple-Caramel Sauce. And you can’t go wrong with Buttermilk Pancakes, Macaroni and Cheese, or the Original Toll House Cookies.

Oh, you want to make something you’ve never made before? Something that combines hot mashed potatoes and cocoa? Then you’ll want to try this Potato Chocolate Cake.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Babe Ruth Day (April 27)

On this day in 1947, over 58,000 fans at Yankee Stadium celebrated the life and career of the baseball star, who was dying of throat cancer.

Great Poetry Reading Day (April 28)

Heading into the last week of the month seems like an odd time to tell you that April is National Poetry Month, but here we are. Jessica Salfia has composed a poem made from the first lines of emails she has received during the stay-at-home order.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. Tom Lester was the last of the Green Acres actors. That was a fun show. I was bummed when Eva Gabor passed in 1995. Another piece of childhood gone.

  2. I agree, it’s not Perry Mason. Hopefully it will be “… and how he became who he is today.”

  3. My favorite thing about the Falter cover is the woman across the street who is also going into her house. I don’t know why Falter included her, but I like to think that the mom with the laundry and her neighbor were talking to each other just before this scene.

  4. Bob, you’ve got to get off that couch to do at least some exercising. I’ve never been much of a ‘Friends’ fan. I did love ‘Caroline in the City’ and still do. Check it out. I’ve never tried contact lenses. My eyesight is good for distance, but not up close, so I’m not sure how that would work out. Probably should stick with my computer screen and reading glasses.

    I’m really confused why people don’t know the correct spelling is CANCELLED, which is with the double LL, trust me!

    The new take on ‘Perry Mason’ could be good, we’ll see. I loved Peter Beard’s nature and wildlife photography. At work I have a framed Xerox of a LOOK magazine cover from 1979 he took of Cheryl Tiegs when it was briefly revived that year. Sorry Tom Lester passed away. He added so much in his role on ‘Green Acres’. It’s a timeless classic and a great ’60s time travel show both.

    Poor Mom in this 1953 Post cover. She already looks tired, and now has to deal with this mess. Mother may need a little helper from her medicine chest after she sees what her 3 kids have done, and some sleep time. It’s 11:05 am, time for ME to go back to sleep for about 4 hours, speaking of.


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