News of the Week: Shorter Days, Ike Gets Statues, and the Macy’s Parade Goes On (with Big Changes)

In the news for the week ending September 18, 2020, are a toned-down parade, an amped-up monument, the return of vinyl, the end of long days, and more.

Watercolor painting of clouds over a country river at dusk
El Svukikrasok / Shutterstock

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Bring on the Night

I have a timer that makes the outside stairs light go on and off automatically. During the summer, it’s set to go on around 8:15 p.m., when the light of the long day finally drains away and the darkness arrives. Everybody likes it when it stays light past eight o’clock, right?

I hate it. I want the days to die and the nights to come early. There are morning people and evening people, and I’m certainly the latter. It’s not that I can’t get up early, it’s that my favorite parts of the morning are the really early parts, before the sun rises, when it’s still black as an Oreo cookie.

This week we had to change the timer to an earlier time, around 6:30 p.m., and it’s one of those annual events that marks the beginning of the good time of year. As September turns to October and October to November and December and January, we’ll have to keep changing the timer to an earlier and earlier setting. You can go on and on about the warmth of the sun, but I can’t wait until it starts to get dark around 4 p.m.

There’s nothing better than a crisp, cold autumn or winter night. It’s the time of year when things seem most normal, most positive, most comfortable. And I think this year more than any other in recent memory we need some normalcy, positivity, and comfort. It’s great to curl up with a hot meal or a hot cup of cocoa and sit on the couch as the darkness arrives and it gets colder, wrapped inside a blanket, maybe nestled in the pages of a good book.

What are you going to curl up with during the hot days and nights of summer? A salad? Please. You can’t “curl up” with a salad.

President Eisenhower Monument Unveiled

The memorial for the 34th president was dedicated yesterday in Washington, D.C., and you’ve never seen a presidential monument like this. There’s even a smaller statue depicting Ike as a kid, looking over the other statues.

Yes, Virginia, There Will Be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade This Year

I’ve been worrying about the holidays lately. I don’t mean Arbor Day and National Rice Month — though I have nothing against those celebrations. I mean the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas. What will COVID-19 do to them? Sure, we’ll still have them, but how will they be changed? Will families get together for turkey and pie and touch football? Will people go to the stores? Or will everyone just stay home and order gifts online while watching It’s The Great Pandemic, Charlie Brown?

I was hoping that Macy’s would still have their big parade on Thanksgiving morning, a little tradition and normalcy to help us get through the end of the year, and this week we found out that they will. Well, you can take the word big out of that sentence, though. The show will go on, but it will be shorter, there will be no crowds lined up on New York City streets, no volunteers holding the ropes for the balloons, and it won’t be live. The show will go on, though, with those changes and a few more.

Postcard Arrives 100 Years After It Was Mailed

It’s not like it actually took 100 years for the postcard to be delivered to Belding, Michigan, bouncing around to every house in the country, never delivered to the right place. What happened is a lot more complex and interesting than that.

People Are Spending More Money on Vinyl than CDs (!)

How do you listen to music? I’m going to assume that if you’re younger, it’s via a digital streaming service like iTunes or Spotify or Amazon Music or SiriusXM, because who wants a clunky CD player or turntable taking up space (and many computers don’t even have CD/DVD drives anymore). Of course, this is The Saturday Evening Post, so I bet we have a lot of readers who still like CDs and vinyl.

Would it surprise you if I told you that for the first time in over 30 years, vinyl now outsells CDs? Probably not, since it’s right above in the headline, but this is something I never thought would happen. CDs were the future! Vinyl was the past! You can store CDs easier! CDs sound better than vinyl! Vinyl aficionados don’t agree with that last statement, but still!

I’m sure this isn’t because people are wondering whether to buy CDs or vinyl and deciding to go with vinyl. It’s more the case that digital music and streaming have taken over everything, and for the people who still want physical media, vinyl is now their top choice.

Video of the Week

Every political ad ever:

Uploaded to YouTube by ReasonTV

RIP Stanley Crouch, Toots Hibbert, Jack Murphy, Shere Hite, Malcolm Nettingham, Stevie Lee, and Edna Wright

Stanley Crouch was an influential and controversial music and culture critic, teacher, and poet, writing for publications like The Village Voice and the New York Daily News. He also wrote several books, including Kansas City Lightning: The Rise and Times of Charlie Parker; the essay collection Notes of a Hanging Judge; and a novel, Don’t the Moon Look Lonesome? He died Wednesday at the age of 74.

Toots Hibbert was the leader of the popular reggae group Toots and the Maytals, famous for such songs as “Funky Kingston” and “54-46 Was My Number.” He died last week at the age of 77.

Jack Murphy was the mastermind behind the famous theft of the Star of India sapphire from New York City’s American Museum of Natural History in 1964. He was played by Don Stroud in the 1975 movie Murph the Surf. He died Saturday at the age of 83.

Shere Hite wrote the controversial 1976 female sexuality book The Hite Report. She died last week at the age of 77.

Malcolm Nettingham was one of the last surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen and a Congressional Gold Medal winner. He died Monday at the age of 101.

Stevie Lee was a wrestler and actor. He appeared on TV shows like Jackass and American Horror Story as well as movies like The Babe and Oz the Great and Powerful. He died last week at the age of 54.

Edna Wright was the lead singer of Honey Cone, known for the 1971 hit song “Want Ads.” She died Saturday at the age of 75.

This Week in History

First Official Hole in One (September 16, 1869)

It was accomplished by golfer Tom Morris Jr. at the Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland. Oddly, there’s been much confusion (especially online) about what year the feat took place because someone altered the year on the official scorecard from 1869 to 1868.

Jimi Hendrix Dies (September 18, 1970)

Like many other rock stars (Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Brian Jones), Hendrix died at age 27.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Commuter Pickup (September 15, 1956)

Commuter Pickup

That’s not social distancing.

Yes, Virginia, It Really Is National Rice Month

How about some Lemon Brown Rice Pilaf, or this Chicken and Wild Rice Stew? These Arancini di Riso (Sicilian Rice Balls) look fantastic, as does this Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Bake. If you want to go the dessert route, try this Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Rice Pudding.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Emmy Awards (September 20)

Here are the nominees for the 72nd Emmys. The ceremony will be live but it will be all-virtual this year: no red carpet and no audience. It airs on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. (Some of the statues have already been given out.)

Fall Begins (September 22)

If you’re a stickler for these things, the autumnal equinox is officially at 9:31 a.m. EDT.

National Centenarians Day (September 22)

Hopefully if you send a postcard it won’t take another 100 years to get to them.

Featured image: El Svukikrasok / Shutterstock

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  1. It looks like you’ll be getting your wish on the shorter, cooler days (not having to wear shorts) fairly soon with this being the final weekend of summer. Wish I could look forward to better weather too, but likely not. Look at all the fires we’ve had out here and it’s not even fire ‘season’ yet. The air (as you know) has been bad, so I’d want to be wearing the mask even if there was no C-19! Has the bad air traveled back East? I heard it had.

    I’ll take the occasional 5.0 L.A. based earthquake (like last night’s) over fires anytime. It was around 15 seconds, and helps relieve the pressure to hopefully prevent a serious one. I’m not a scientist, and that idea is probably wishful thinking, but I’ve heard that may have some merit. We have enough problems now without a major one. A ‘5’ though IS just on the threshold of starting to be serious.

    Thanks for the monument links for President Eisenhower. They’re long overdue, definitely. That story of the 100 year old postcard is outrageous. Truth as we know, is often stranger than fiction! Vinyl is now outselling CD’s. Interesting. Today’s whatever music seems more suited to iTunes, Spotify, etc. Vinyl with their beautiful album covers, for that of bygone eras. We’ll see how long this trend lasts.

    Thanks for the ‘Commuter Pickup’ Thornton Utz cover. By the way, is it just me, or does the man in the bottom section have a fairly strong resemblance to JFK?


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