News of the Week: New Books, Thanksgiving Sides, and 50 Years of The Odd Couple

In the news for the weekend ending November 13, 2020, are books to read, stores to visit, dogs to congratulate, foods to pickle, and more.

Books arranged in a tunnel formation in a book store.
Kit Leong / Shutterstock

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Read This!

In the current issue of the Post, Amazon senior editor Al Woodworth has five fiction and five nonfiction picks for you. Here are seven more. Maybe someone on your Christmas list will like one of these (or even you, if you happen to be at the top of your Christmas list).

The Best of Me by David Sedaris. The humorist himself picks several of his favorite pieces, though if you’re looking for his breakout essay “The Santaland Diaries” (about his experience as a Macy’s elf), it’s not included here.

Eleanor by David Michaelis. The author of acclaimed biographies of Charles Schulz and N.C. Wyeth (both Post contributors!) has written the first single-volume, in-depth look at the life of Eleanor Roosevelt in decades.

The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg. Many may know Flagg as an actress and game show regular, but she’s also a writer. She wrote the novel the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was based on. This one’s about “the secrets of youth rediscovered, hometown memories, and the magical moments in ordinary lives.”

Garner’s Quotations: A Modern Miscellany by Dwight Garner. The New York Times book critic has a unique way of organizing this book of literary, art, and pop culture quotes. While most books of this type are organized by topic or author, Garner just wrote them down as they struck his fancy. It’s a fun, unpredictable read, and you’ll probably be writing down many of these quotes too.

Answers in the Form of Questions by Claire McNear. This is billed as “a definitive history and insider’s guide to Jeopardy!” and with Alex Trebek’s passing, its timing is rather bittersweet. Foreword by Ken Jennings.

People Who Love to Eat Are Always the Best People by Julia Child. This book of quotes from the acclaimed chef includes bits of wisdom on not just food and recipes but life and love too.

The Book on Pie by Erin Jeanne McDowell. It’s the holiday season, and if you love to bake, you should pick up this 352-page guide, described as “the only book on pie you’ll ever want or need.”

Independent Bookstores in the Age of COVID

Last month I mentioned the financial trouble the iconic Strand Bookstore in New York City is having this year because of the pandemic. CBS Sunday Morning has a feature about that bookstore and other independents and what the future holds for them.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

In other independent bookstore news, if you’ve ever wanted to smell like an old book, Powell’s has you covered.

The Election Is Over!

It’s been an intense week and a half, filled with controversy and confusion, but the votes are in and it looks like we have an official winner. That’s right, Wilbur the French bulldog has been elected the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

He beat 17 challengers, including a donkey.

Map-That-Isn’t-an-Election-Map of the Week

(Click on the pic to go to the tweet and then click again for a larger version.)

A few observations:

1. What’s going on in Maine?

2. Gravy is not a side dish.

3. The correct answer, obviously, is mashed potatoes.

On November 13th, Felix Unger Was Asked to Remove Himself from His Place of Residence

That request came from his wife.

It was 50 years ago today that neat Felix Unger moved in with his messy friend Oscar Madison for the TV version of The Odd Couple (which is the best version, don’t even argue with me about this).

The series itself premiered on September 24, 1970; I can only assume that the date of Felix’s ouster was chosen because in that year, like this year, it was a Friday the 13th.

Happy Birthday, Norman Lloyd

You may not know the name, but you know the face and voice of veteran actor Norman Lloyd. He’s been acting since 1939. He played Dr. Auschlander on St. Elsewhere and was the bad guy who fell from the Statue of Liberty in Alfred Hitchcock’s Saboteur. He also appeared in such films as Dead Poets Society, Limelight, M, Spellbound, and Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck in 2015. He was also a producer for such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Tales of the Unexpected, as well as dozens of TV movies. And yes, he has directed too, including episodes of Columbo and Omnibus.

He turned 106 this week!

RIP Alex Trebek, Norm Crosby, Tommy Heinsohn, Marguerite Littman, Elsa Raven, and Len Barry

You know that Alex Trebek hosted Jeopardy! since 1984 — he holds the Guinness World Record for hosting a game show — but that was hardly his only game show gig. He also helmed such shows as Classic Concentration, High Rollers, The Wizard of Odds, Pitfall, To Tell the Truth, and Double Dare, to name a few. He also appeared as himself in many TV shows, including Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, The X-Files, The Simpsons, and Family Guy, and in several films. His autobiography, And the Answer Is…, was released earlier this year. He died Sunday at the age of 80.

Trebek taped his last episode of Jeopardy! two weeks ago and it will air on Christmas Day.

The show’s executive producer Mike Richards paid tribute to Trebek at the start of Monday’s show, and Jeanne Wolf interviewed Trebek for the Post in 2016.

Norm Crosby was a veteran standup comic and master of the intentionally fractured phrase. Besides appearing on many TV shows, commercials, and game shows, he was a mainstay on the Vegas Strip and in Atlantic City and one of Johnny Carson’s favorite guests on The Tonight Show. He died Saturday at the age of 93.

Tommy Heinsohn not only played on eight championship Boston Celtics teams, he also coached them to two championships. He then went on to be a radio and TV broadcaster for the team for almost 40 years. He died this week at the age of 86.

Marguerite Littman was not only a literary muse and the person who knew everybody in society, she was good friends with Truman Capote, who used her as the inspiration for the Holly Golightly character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She later went on to create one of the first AIDS charities. She died last month at the age of 90.

Elsa Raven had a ton of small but memorable roles in many films and TV shows. She was the woman seeking funds for the watchtower in Back to the Future and the realtor who sold the house to the family in The Amityville Horror. She also appeared in Titanic and TV shows like Wiseguy, Amen, Seinfeld, and ER. She died last week at the age of 91.

Len Barry was the lead singer of The Dovells, known for their 1961 hit “The Bristol Stomp.” He also had a solo hit in 1965 with “1-2-3.” He died last week at the age of 78.

This Week in History

FDR Elected to Fourth Term (November 7, 1944)

A four-term presidency is unheard of today, though at the time the Post wasn’t very impressed.

Kate Smith First Sings “God Bless America” (November 10, 1938)

It was first sung on Smith’s CBS radio show, The Kate Smith Hour.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Grocery Line (November 13, 1948)

Man with one item in long grocery line
November 13, 1948
Artist: Stevan Dohanos

Looking at the poor guy at the end of the grocery line in this Steven Dohanos cover, frustrated that he has to wait just to buy his little bottle of milk, made me think that letting people cut in line at the store is something we’re probably not doing these days. Too many rules about social distancing and staying far apart at the register.

National Pickle Day

I knew that I had to find a theme for this week’s recipes, and I found it right in the cover above. See the pickles the clerk is placing in the bag? Saturday is National Pickle Day.

Here are eight quick recipes for things you can pickle, including cauliflower, watermelon rind, cabbage, and eggs and beets. If you’re not looking to pickle things yourself and are just looking for recipes that include pickles, Taste of Home has 27 recipes, including Dill Pickle Hamburger Pizza, Hot Ham Sandwiches, Deviled Egg Spread, and Judy’s Macaroni Salad.

It doesn’t say who Judy is, but it looks good.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (November 15)

There’s no better time to clean out your fridge than the week before Thanksgiving. You’re going to need the room.

Take a Hike Day (November 17)

You’re about to eat a lot of mashed potatoes and pie, so maybe it’s time to start getting some exercise.

Featured image: Kit Leong / Shutterstock

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  1. I LOVE (and just can’t get past) that incredible, mesmerizing Lewis Carroll-style top opening photo, Bob. Also have fond memories of the white quintessential sailor hat my mom got me as seen in this Dohanos cover, around 1965.

  2. I was ten when The Odd Couple premiered on TV! I think they picked November Thirteenth because it was the birthday of producer Gary Marshall. Love the Rockwell cover, there are a few small stores like that still in operation! And I can vouch that even at the large chain grocery stores, people still let customers cut in line. Of course, we do it very carefully these days!


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