News of the Week: The Distance Between, Turner Classic Movies, and All You Need to Know about Soap and Triscuits

In the news for the week ending April 3, 2020, are soap, Triscuits, a modified film festival, beer, cellphones, Winston Churchill, and more.

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This Week in Social Distancing

March 1 seems like a lifetime ago. I’ve never been happier to see a month end. 

A woman behind me in line at the supermarket was practically hitting me in the backside with her cart, clearly violating the store’s SIX FOOT RULE (and the ordinary, everyday rule of not hitting someone with your grocery cart). Then she put her reusable bags on the conveyor belt after being told not to (you can’t use reusable bags in Massachusetts right now), and then she didn’t get behind the Plexiglas partition they’ve set up between the registers and the customers. So basically she hit the moron trifecta.

By the way, “Moron Trifecta” is the name of the lead character in the Star Wars fan fiction I’m currently writing.

Going to the store right now has become a strategic adventure. I get my cart and try to get my groceries as quickly as possible, avoiding people and other obstacles and getting to the register quickly so I can just get out of there. It’s like the game show Supermarket Sweep, only with a dash of pandemic.

I want to say I’m being really good about not touching my face, but I honestly don’t know at this point. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about before. I probably touched my face twice while typing this paragraph.

There is some good news to be found for those stuck at home (that’s pretty much everyone). SiriusXM is free until May 15, even if you’re not a subscriber. You can listen on their site or via the app. And for more good news, check out Some Good News, a new YouTube show hosted by John Krasinski from his home. He’s joined by a very special guest in the first episode.

Everyone’s watching game shows it seems. The ratings for Let’s Make a Deal and The Price Is Right are up. That’s how I’ve been passing the time, watching TV shows. Mostly older shows and movies and music so I don’t have to constantly think about what’s going on right now.

I saw an article that said it’s great that there are a lot of reality shows already filmed so we won’t run out of them while we’re quarantined. And the author said this like it’s a good thing, even calling the shows “cozy.” I don’t think this is the time to watch reality shows and be reminded that people can be terrible.

Something else you shouldn’t watch? The 24-hour news channels. They’ve become exhausting and depressing. Well, they’ve been that way for a while. Everything is BREAKING NEWS. It’s easy to get overwhelmed (or at the very least whelmed). Just watch the network news at night, like we did in the ’40s and ’50s and ’60s and ’70s and most of the ’80s. You’ll get all the news you need without the added stress and anger.

Speaking of, The CBS Evening News recently redesigned their set, and it looks like a cross between an Apple store and the bridge of the starship Enterprise. An antiseptic mix of glass and metal. Why do all the channels do this? 

I want to see one of the networks go back to what Cronkite had when he started: just a wooden desk and a microphone, with papers scattered all over and a rotary phone, maybe an ashtray.

The History of Soap

Everyone’s thinking about soap these days. If you’re not washing your hands you’re thinking about washing your hands. Here’s CBS This Morning on the history of the thing that until recently we all took for granted.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS This Morning

The TCM Film Festival Comes to Television

Like hundreds of other events — the latest being the Wimbledon tennis tournament — the 2020 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival has been canceled. But that doesn’t mean they’re not trying to have one anyway. They’re doing the festival on television and calling it the Special Home Edition.

TCM will air movies and highlights from the past decade of the film festival. In addition to interviews with people like Faye Dunaway, Peter Bogdonovich, Peter O’Toole, Luise Rainer, Eva Marie Saint, Norman Lloyd, and Debbie Reynolds, the TV festival will include some fantastic movies, including North by Northwest, Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca, A Star Is Born, Sounder, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, as well as the films of Harold Lloyd and various shorts. 

Of course, TCM always runs great movies, but with the interviews and other special events planned online it should be fun. It runs from April 16 to the 19th.

How Did Triscuit Get Its Name?

Who would have thought that one of the most interesting history lessons of the week would involve a whole grain wheat cracker? Click on the time stamp in this tweet to find out how Triscuit got its name (and no, the “Tri” has nothing to do with the number 3).

RIP Fred “Curly” Neal, Adam Schlesinger, Ellis Marsalis, Richard Reeves, Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, Phil Phillips, Mark Blum, Joe Diffie, David Schramm, and John Callahan

Fred “Curly” Neal played for the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team from 1963 until 1985. He died last week at the age of 77.

Adam Schlesinger was the co-founder and bassist for Fountains of Wayne, the pop/rock group known for the song “Stacy’s Mom.” He received an Oscar nomination for writing the theme song to the Tom Hanks movie That Thing You Do! and did music for various TV shows, including A Stephen Colbert Christmas (for which he won a Grammy), Crazy Ex-GirlfriendSesame Street, and the Tony Awards. He died Wednesday at the age of 52

Ellis Marsalis was an acclaimed jazz pianist and teacher. He was the father of musicians Wynton and Branford Marsalis. He died Wednesday at the age of 85.

Richard Reeves was an acclaimed newspaper columnist and author of several books on the presidents and history. He died last week at the age of 83.

The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He died last week at the age of 98.

Phil Phillips sang the classic ’50s song “Sea of Love.” He died last month at the age of 94.

Mark Blum was a stage and screen actor who appeared in movies like Crocodile Dundee and Desperately Seeking Susan, as well as TV shows like Mozart in the Jungle, ER, Law & Order, Miami Vice, and Billions. He died last week at the age of 69.

Joe Diffie was a country music star who had several hits in the ’90s, including “Home” and “Pickup Man.” He died Sunday at the age of 61.

David Schramm was a veteran stage actor but is probably best known for his role as Roy Biggins on Wings. He died recently at the age of 73.

John Callahan appeared in many soap operas over the years, including All My Children, Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives, and Falcon Crest. He died Saturday at the age of 66.

This Week in History

Pony Express Begins (April 3, 1860)

The service that delivered mail, newspapers, and other messages from Missouri to California actually only lasted until October 24, 1861.

First Cellphone Call (April 3, 1973)

Little did Motorola employee Martin Cooper know that one day our cellphones would never leave our hands when he made that first call from midtown Manhattan.

It seems appropriate that the Pony Express and the cellphone call both debuted on the same day.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: National Biscuit Company (April 1, 1905)

Ad for the national biscuit company

There isn’t anything about Triscuits in this ad, but you can see the antenna logo that the National Biscuit Company (now Nabisco) still uses today


I made nachos with Triscuits a while back. I didn’t plan it that way, it’s just that I realized I was out of tortilla chips and didn’t want to go to the store. And you know, they were pretty good!

How do you make them? The same way you make regular nachos, only with Triscuits. I put chicken on mine. Pretty easy. If you want a variation on the basic recipe, try these Triscuit Pizza Nachos or these BBQ Triscuit Nachos.

One time I tried to make nachos with tiny Cheez-Its. That was a mistake.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

New Beer’s Eve (April 6)

If there’s a New Beer’s Eve there must be a New Beer’s Day, right? Yup, it’s the next day. So … drink a lot of beer, I guess?

Winston Churchill Day (April 9)

Raise a glass (of beer) to the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, who became an honorary citizen of the U.S. in 1963.

Featured image: BWM Infinity /

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  1. Glad your mad-dash shopping worked out as well as it did. With my home-made mask and knit gloves (can’t find the rubber ones…) I went to U.S. Bank last Friday (located in the Ralph’s) and was very grateful to be able to buy Ronzoni veggie spaghetti, bags of baby carrots, Granny Smith apples, 4 cartons of Minute Maid Juice ($1.29 each!), several 1 gallon bottles of Crystal Geyser also $1.29 each, other basics AND a bottle of Soy Vay Asian Honey BBQ sauce.

    I watched John Krasinki’s good news video. It’s a sweet idea, especially now. I’m tired though of John being in my face too much otherwise lately, and not surprised his special guest was Carell from ‘The Office’. No doubt they’re planning to do a ‘reboot’ of it. I watched it regularly the first season in the 2000’s but found the characters too irritating to watch regularly after that. Ironically, John’s character was about the only one that WAS tolerable.

    Very sad to hear about the gifted Adam Schlesinger dying from this horrid virus. “That Thing You Do” is at the top of my favorite songs of the ’90s. The film, one of favorites too. Adam was spot-on perfect with creating a song that genuinely sounded like it really was from 1964 and would have been a major hit had it come out then for real. The mid-sixties is a very specific section within the ’60s, unlike the earlier or later years. The tune, the arangement, the bridge, everything. He absolutely nailed it!

    On YouTube there’s also a version of it by the Bubbles that’s excellent. It’s completely faithful to the ’96 version but is just slightly harder-edged. I saw them at The Mint on West Pico some years back around the same time I saw The Chris Price Band there. I got the chance to meet them all, and give plenty of praise.

    ‘Sea of Love’ was a great song by the late Phil Phillips, and always will be. It is extremely rare a remake is better that the original, but Robert Plant’s 1984 version really is. I’m a Led Zeppelin fan, but a huge Plant fan aside, and am SO glad he did that incredible Honeydrippers album to satisfy his need to do rhythm and blues, Doo wop and jazz. To hell with the haters then and now for criticizing (and pigeon-holing) him for exploring a different aspect and dimension of his talents! The same applies to Glenn Frey with ‘You Belong To the City’ song and video.

    This is also true with the Beatles. So-called fans not accepting their solo work. Some of their BEST works were after ’70 when they officially broke up. George and Ringo in particular. Ringo’s “Only You” is another example of his ’74 Doo-wop besting the Platters 1955 version. John Lennon’s ‘Starting Over’ is heavily steeped in Doo-wop too. I’ve had to explain to people that the FAB 4 all being born in the early ’40s, listened to Doo-wop a lot as teenagers, and it was always a part of them. They went outside the box, but then went back in. Listen to Ringo’s version of ‘Only You’ for a ’50s/70’s treat–right now. Even today you can’t break those two decades up.

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