News of the Week: Snowliage, Robot Layoffs, and Is It Too Early for Christmas Music?

In the news for the week ending November 6, 2020, are Halloween snow, Thanksgiving changes, a warm bowl of soup, and all the Christmas music you can stand.

Snowfall on an autumn road

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The First Snow of the Year

I learned a new word this week: snowliage. It’s that mixture of snow and fall foliage you can sometimes get in autumn. Or, as The Washington Post puts it, “an exquisite blend of flakes and fall.”

It snowed last week, which isn’t unheard of in New England at the end of October, but it was still a bit of a shock, especially since it snowed a lot more than most meteorologists thought it would. Some areas got over a half foot of white powder on their lawns and on their roads, a pretty but somewhat surprising Halloween treat — or trick, depending on your view.

You can put me in the “treat” column. I’m not really ready to shovel snow or have anything plowable on the roads, but I didn’t mind the dusting my town got. It reminded me that in a year of weirdness and upheaval, we can still count on the seasons to do their thing.

Nobody Talks about How Layoffs Are Affecting Non-Humans

I’m obsessed with the robots at my supermarket, as I’ve written about before. He — and the robot’s name is Marty, so I can call him he — goes around the store beeping, counting items on the shelves, and alerting the store employees (the human ones) to events that need attention, such as spills on the floor. I wouldn’t call Marty a friend, but it has gotten to the point where I would find it weird if I didn’t see him while I was shopping there. (For the record, he sometimes goes down the aisles the wrong way and doesn’t wear a mask.)

So this story got my attention. Walmart has decided to get rid of the robots that are working in their stores. Maybe this is specific to Walmart and other stores will continue to invest in non-human workers, but it could be a bad sign for robot workers and their families around the globe.

Talking Turkey

Thanksgiving is going to look different for many families this year. Because of the pandemic, most people won’t be getting together, and they won’t be traveling to other states. The turkey industry and supermarkets wonder what that could mean. Will they sell more turkey because everyone is staying home and will be cooking for themselves, or will they buy alternatives to turkey because they’re cooking for themselves?

I certainly still plan to buy a turkey, even if I will be eating it at my coffee table in front of the television. I’m thinking maybe 14 to 16 pounds. What, you think I’m going to make a tofu thing?

Is It Too Early to Listen to Christmas Music?

No. Next question.

Oh, okay, let’s talk about it a bit more. I’m a big lover and big defender of Christmas music, and as I get older I have less and less patience with people who don’t have patience for it.

The other day I was scrolling through the SiriusXM channels and saw that they now have 14 holiday music channels! This is great news. I still don’t get why the network’s “Holiday Traditions” channel runs all year long (isn’t it a bit odd to listen to “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow” while you’re in the backyard barbecuing burgers in July?), but the day after Halloween, the first of November, is the start of “the holiday season,” and I see no reason why we can’t put those songs on and enjoy them.

So put on your favorite Christmas music (I’m partial to Perry Como and Dean Martin and Peggy Lee and A Charlie Brown Christmas) and just ignore the humbugs and grinches in your life who complain about it. Or wear headphones so they can’t hear the music and you can’t hear them complain about it.

Police Blotter of the Week

“A Man Was Upset That His Soon-to-Be-Ex-Girlfriend Was Throwing Full Beer Bottles t Him and Not One of the Five Empty Ones Nearby”

RIP Sean Connery, Leanza Cornett, Herb Adderley, Jeremy Stevens, and Philip R. Lee

Sean Connery was, of course, the greatest James Bond, playing the British agent in six films (seven if you count the unofficial Never Say Never Again), but had a fine career outside of his work as 007. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Untouchables and appeared in movies like The Man Who Would Be King, The Rock, The Hunt for Red October, The Name of the Rose, Marnie, Finding Forrester, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He died last week at the age of 90.

Connery was also interviewed by Pete Hamill for the June 6, 1964, issue, and was the subject of our July 17, 1965, cover story, which delved into the popularity of the Bond films

Leanza Cornett was crowned Miss America in 1993 and went on to become an actress and a co-host of Entertainment Tonight. She died earlier this month at the age of 49.

Herb Adderly was a star defensive back who helped the Green Bay Packers win two Super Bowls and the Dallas Cowboys one. He was also a five-time Pro-Bowler. He died last week at the age of 81.

Jeremy Stevens was a writer or producer on many shows, including Everybody Loves Raymond, Coach, The Electric Company, The Richard Pryor Show, and Fernwood Tonight. He died last month at the age of 83.

Philip R. Lee was the health official in the Lyndon Johnson administration who introduced Medicare to the country. He died last month at the age of 96.

This Week in History

Charles Van Doren Admits He Cheated (November 2, 1959)

After a long denial, the college professor and writer finally admitted to Congress that he had been given the answers to the questions when he appeared on the popular NBC game show Twenty-One.

Abraham Lincoln Elected President (November 6, 1860)

With 180 electoral votes, Lincoln beat three challengers: Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas, Southern Democratic candidate John Breckinridge, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Campbell’s Soup (November 2, 1963)

Bowl of tomato alphabet soup
Campbell’s Soup ad from November 2, 1963

I picked this ad for two reasons. One, we’re officially in soup season! And two, it tells us the correct way to spell whoa. Every time I see it spelled woah or woh or woha online I want to pull out the hair I no longer have.

Soup Is Good Food

I’m not sure if that’s still the slogan for Campbell’s Soup, but it should be. It’s classic, it’s something comforting we remember, and it’s a statement that is undeniably true. It is good food.

Some might even go as far as to say it’s “Mmm mmm good.”

How about trying Curtis Stone’s Homemade-Chicken-Soup-Makes-Me-Feel-Better Soup, or Mary Ann Esposito’s Chunky Roasted Vegetable Soup? Martha Stewart has this Split-Pea Soup with Ham, and sticking with the green color scheme, Martha also has this Creamy Broccoli-and-Spinach Soup. You can also make Alton Brown’s Classic French Onion Soup or Rachael Ray’s Tomato Minestrone.

And since I mentioned Lincoln earlier, you can try Lincoln’s Inaugural Soup, created by the 12-year-old Illinois winner of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge in 2014.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Veterans Day (November 11)

Ever wonder why the day to honor military veterans is celebrated on this date every year?

Sadie Hawkins Day (November 13)

I don’t remember having any Sadie Hawkins dances when I was in school. Or maybe I’ve just blocked it out of my memory because nobody asked me.

Featured image: nattanan726 / Shutterstock

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Comments

  1. You really DO have quite the knack for picking out the best Shutterstock ‘opening’ pictures, Bob. Love that snowliage. Just the right, lite amount of snow to be fun, combined with the foliage. Don’t like too cold or hot. It WAS hot in northwest L.A., but started cooling down after election day, now it’s supposed to rain this weekend. I think I was wrong in my election prediction last week. They are still being counted though, so for all I know I may be right.

    Just as long as they keep Marty at your supermarket, and the others that employ him, I think you’re okay. Marty’s fun! He has pizzaz! The robot at Walmart just… doesn’t.

    Thanksgiving and Christmas are both something best avoided. Super spreader events with the daily rates now beyond terrifying??! Wouldn’t be surprised if the nation weren’t on another big lock-down fairly soon again. I like the idea of a vintage Airstream trailer (say) in Taos, New Mexico in light snow with a wreath and a strand of Holiday lights. That beautifully blends peace and solitude when needed most, in a time we REALLY need to social distance!

    I heard Christmas music this past Monday at the Vitamin Shoppe–2 days after Halloween! I like it too, but after Thanksgiving. Oh, it’s 2020–never mind. Yeah, it doesn’t matter anymore.

    Everyone, read Bob’s feature per link on the James Bond film series with 2 sets of great comments, so far. I’m sorry to read Leanza Cornett passed away at only 49. One of our most beautiful Miss America’s, when it still meant something in the very bygone early ’90s.

    That soup ad is something else. I’m surprised they used the word ‘whoa’ in any ad that long ago. I don’t recall ever saying it, much less writing it, until now!

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