News of the Week: New Books, Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, and How to Make a Better Breakfast

In the news for the week ending September 11, 2020, are the posthumous adventures of Dorothy Parker, our rusting moon, a sky-high lawn, Spam for breakfast, and much more.

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Read This!

You can read Amazon senior editor Al Woodworth’s picks for new fiction and nonfiction titles in the latest issue of the Post, and here are a half dozen more you might like.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The classic weather and farming book has been published every year since 1792. The hole in the upper left corner is for hanging it in your outhouse!

Lavender in Your Lemonade by Chris Erskine. Erskine, one of the wisest, funniest writers in the business, recently ended his Los Angeles Times column after 30 years. This new book is a collection of essays he wrote during the current pandemic.

The Ultimate Spam Cookbook by the Hormel Kitchen. This is described as “100+ recipes from traditional to gourmet.” Yes, you can make gourmet recipes with Spam.

Shills Can’t Cash Chips by Erle Stanley Gardner. Of course, Gardner was famous for his Perry Mason novels (many of which were serialized in the Post), but he also wrote several books featuring the duo of Cool and Lam, private investigators. This one hasn’t been in bookstores in 45 years.

Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk by Josh Katz. The New York Times graphic editor created a popular dialect quiz several years ago and now there’s a whole book that focuses on regional differences in American language. It looks wicked smaht.

The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. This is every recipe from every episode of the PBS show. The 13th season starts this week.

Dorothy Parker Returns to New York

What happened to writer Dorothy Parker after her death in 1967 is just as interesting as anything that happened when she was alive.

She was cremated, and her ashes were housed in a crematory for six years, then they were kept in a filing cabinet in her lawyer’s office for 15 years, and then in a garden at the Baltimore headquarters of the NAACP (Parker had left all of her belongings to Martin Luther King Jr., and the NAACP upon his death) since 1988. Now, after many years and the signing of many legal documents, they’re finally back in New York, at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, according to The New Yorker.

That summary really doesn’t do the story justice. It’s a lot more fascinating than that. Most of her family never even knew what had happened to her ashes.

By the way, Parker did write for the Post, including several short stories, essays, and poems.

News from the Moon

“Rusty Moon” sounds like it could be the name of a country music star, but actually it describes what’s happening to our nearest celestial neighbor.

Lawn & Order

The part of this CBS Sunday Morning story about a guy obsessed with mowing lawns is interesting, but I want to know more about that $24.5 million penthouse in Chicago.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

Headline of the Week

“California Wildfire Started Because of Pyrotechnics at Gender Reveal Party”

RIP Diana Rigg, Lou Brock, Kevin Dobson, and Mike Sexton

Diana Rigg was best known for her starring role on the ’60s spy series The Avengers, playing Emma Peel. She also had an important role on Game of Thrones and played the only woman James Bond ever married in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She was also an acclaimed stage actress, earning four Tony nominations, with one win in 1994 for the title role in the play Medea. Rigg died this week at the age of 82.

Lou Brock was one of the greatest of the St. Louis Cardinals, the National League’s all-time leader in stolen bases, a six-time All-Star, and a Hall of Famer. He also had over 3,000 hits in his career. He died Sunday at the age of 81.

Kevin Dobson starred on Knot’s Landing, Kojak, Shannon, and F/X: The Series, as well as many other shows and movies. He died Sunday at the age of 77.

Mike Sexton was the host of the popular show World Poker Tour as well as being a professional poker player himself. He died Sunday at the age of 72.

This Week in History

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Declares Neutrality in World War II (September 5, 1939)

The FDR Presidential Library has an hour-by-hour guide to what Roosevelt did that day, including original documents.

Speaking of World War II, Tom Hanks wrote a terrific piece for The New York Times Magazine marking the 75th anniversary of the war’s end. It’s about the three “acts” that define the war and how the last act still resonates today.

Blondie Debuts (September 8, 1930)

Chic Young started the comic strip 90 years ago this week, and it’s still going, drawn by his son Dean and John Marshall.

Here’s a profile of Chic Young that appeared in the April 10, 1948, issue of the Post.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Kellogg’s Pep (September 10, 1949)

Magazine ad for cereal
Ad for Kellogg’s Pep cereal from the September 10, 1949 issue of the Post

I remember getting those variety packs when I was a kid. I was always disappointed they didn’t have more of the cereals I liked.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I don’t know what officially constitutes a “better” breakfast, but it sounds like something that involves kale.

September is Better Breakfast Month, and at first I thought it means you’re supposed to eat a healthier meal in the morning than you usually do. And maybe it does. But I did some checking, and September is also National Breakfast Month in general, so I say you go ahead and eat what you want. How about his hearty Sheepherder’s Breakfast, these Scrambled Egg Tacos, or this Berry Nutty Breakfast Parfait? French Toast is always good, or maybe you’re in the mood for some Breakfast Pizza. If you feel ambitious, you can even make your own granola. That will give you some pep too.

There are 18 pages of breakfast recipes in that Spam book.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

U.S. Open Finals (September 12-13)

The women’s final airs Saturday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN, and the same network will have the men’s final on Sunday at the same time.

National Grandparents Day (September 13)

This is actually an official day and not just a “fun” holiday someone made up, according to a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978.

U.S. Open Starts (September 14)

Wait, I just told you that the finals are happening this weekend, so how can the Open be starting again? This is golf. It airs on Golf Channel and NBC.

Featured image: stockcreations / Shutterstock

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  1. Thank you for mentioning the Ray Bradbury book of crime fiction (in his own style). I immediately rushed out and got a copy!
    Bradbury is one of my favourite authors.
    However, I am slightly worried as all of my favourite authors are dead!!

  2. I’ll have to get that ‘Speaking American’ book. Sounds like an interesting read. My own accent is ‘non-specific’ or the way news anchors speak, so I guess it’s a ‘generic’ accent. I call Cokes, Sprites etc. either by their specific names, or ‘soft drinks’. I do use ‘soda’ for (say) seltzer water or sparkling water sometimes, but not for something sweet.

    You’re right, Bob. I’d like to know more about that $24.5 million high rise apartment in Chicago too, but this is probably about the best we’re going to get and it’s not a half bad look. Frankly, this is the VERY place I would expect to see a ‘faux’ lawn or high-grade astro turf. No, they have the real deal. The whole thing is astonishing, surreal and way out of my league. That is NOT to say I don’t love it and wouldn’t appreciate living there, at all. If they’d had a full on swimming pool up there instead of the lawn, I would have been totally bug-eyed!

    I could get accustomed to it right quick, especially after that outrageous, record-shattering 121 degrees last Sunday in Woodland Hills, about 3 miles from West Hills. It was as bad as you heard on the national news, but the fires were far worse as you know. I’d never heard of of a ‘gender reveal’ party before. Setting off a pyrotechnic device that emits pink or blue smoke is stupid, selfish and dangerous under normal circumstances, much less during extreme heat and the already existing fires of last weekend. Frankly the concept of such a party in the first place is kind of ridiculous, but could hang with the idea minus the pyro I suppose.

    So could I come up with a better ideas? Ummm, YEAH! Anything would be better than causing yet another major California wildfire, I’d say. How about a ‘Zoom party’ where the guests can take wild guesses to see if they’re right in guessing the gender. 50% chance of being correct!

    After awhile the mom-to-be can do a new year’s eve style countdown with a flashing pink or blue screen with some safe noisemakers at the moment of reveal. This way when she has the baby shower they’ll bring gifts based on knowing. Of course the mom-to-be also could have (duh) just PHONED her friends and told them that way to accomplish the goal. ANYTHING would have been better than what these people did. It’s not rocket science, but since we ARE talking about California, I guess it is.


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