News of the Week: Turkey Insurance, a Scrabble Debate, and a Complete Guide to Holiday TV

In the news for the week ending November 20, 2020, are weird Thanksgiving, a Super Bowl halftime show, a Scrabble conundrum, and more Christmas movies and TV specials than you’ll actually be able to watch.

Scrabble blocks on a game board
calimedia / Shutterstock

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A Different Kind of Thanksgiving

There’s no denying that turkey day is going to feel odd this year. With the pandemic surging again and travelling and gatherings curtailed, we’re all going to be having dinner at home, in our bubbles, away from the parents and siblings and friends we usually see every year (at least I hope that’s what you’ll be doing).

But it’s not that bad.

I hope I’m not being annoyingly upbeat by saying that the holiday can be what you make it. Can’t have the big family gathering you usually have? Get those cooking skills working and create the best small gathering you possibly can for the people you live with. Stressed? Maybe this can be the holiday season where you can finally relax, have a small dinner, and watch TV and read, with no pressure to feed 20 people (and clean up after them). Feeling lonely? That’s why we have telephones and email and now Zoom (offering free calls and no time limits on Thanksgiving Day). There are so many ways to “get together” now without actually getting together. It’s nowhere near perfect, but believe me, you’re going to be fine. More leftovers and pie for yourself!

Hey, look at it as an opportunity to avoid eating dinner with your Aunt Jenny, the one who still can’t forgive you for the way you voted in the election this year.

And if you’re not sure about those cooking skills, don’t worry, Whole Foods and Progressive have you covered. They’ve teamed up to offer turkey insurance this year.

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree Has Arrived!

We’re all craving some normalcy as 2020 comes to a close, and we might just get it from the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City. The tree arrived earlier this week and … well, everyone on Twitter thinks it looks more like Charlie Brown’s tree than the majestic one we usually see, which is typical for 2020 (click on the pic for the video):

I guess it does look a little tired and sparse, but remember, so did Charlie Brown’s until the Peanuts gang waved their magic hands and made it beautiful.

There Will Be a Super Bowl Halftime Show (Even If the Game Is Canceled)

The way the pandemic is progressing right now, who knows if we’ll even see a completion of the regular NFL season, playoffs, or a Super Bowl. If there is a big game on February 7, it will be held at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Weeknd will provide the halftime entertainment. Actually, even if there isn’t a Super Bowl, The Weeknd will provide the entertainment.

The show’s sponsor, Pepsi, says that even if the game is canceled, there will still be a halftime show for the millions of fans who want one. I wonder what will happen to all of the expensive commercials if the game is canceled.

By the way, I have no idea who The Weeknd is (are?) and I don’t know why that “e” is missing.

Words with Wives

Let’s see what people are writing to Miss Manners about this week:

One of the letters to the advice columnist comes from an irritated husband who is having trouble with his wife. Infidelity? Financial problems? Bad in-laws? Nope. She’s too good at Scrabble.

He doesn’t like it when she uses words — especially those tricky two-letter ones — when she doesn’t even know their meaning. The nerve of this woman!

I’m not a Scrabble rules expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s why you agree on a dictionary to use during the game, no?

Choose Three

The correct answer is 10, 4, and 12.

Holiday TV

When can all of the Christmas specials and movies above be seen? Take a look at the very thorough Christmas TV Schedule 2020, which lists every holiday-themed special, movie, and TV episode that’s coming up in November and December. Keep checking back because it’s being updated all the time. The Mostly Christmas site is a good resource too.

MeTV is running Christmas-themed episodes every Sunday until the end of the year.

And yes, TBS is running their 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story again this year on Christmas Eve. It’s a good movie, I’m just not sure it’s “24-hour marathon every single year” good.

RIP Paul Hornung, Lucille Bridges, and Jim Tucker

Paul Hornung won the Heisman Trophy in 1956 as a student at Notre Dame and went on to be a Hall of Fame running back for the Green Bay Packers. He won three championships with coach Vince Lombardi in the 1960s. He died last week at the age of 84.

Lucille Bridges was the mother of Ruby Bridges, the little girl who with her mother walked past angry crowds to get to the New Orleans school where the girl would become its first black student. It’s an event portrayed in Norman Rockwell’s 1964 Look illustration, The Problem We All Live With. Lucille Bridges died last week at the age of 86.

Jim Tucker was one of the original members and the rhythm guitarist for The Turtles, who had such hits as “Happy Together” and “She’d Rather Be with Me.” He died last week at the age of 74.

This Week in History

First Wendy’s Opens (November 15, 1969)

Dave Thomas opened the first of his Wendy’s fast food locations in Columbus, Ohio. It closed in 2007.

Cuban Missile Crisis Ends (November 20, 1962)

This is known historically as an October event, but the crisis completely ended when the Soviets agreed to remove bombers from Cuba and the United States ended its quarantine.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Green Giant Green Beans (November 19, 1960)

Green Giant beans ad

They’re kitchen sliced! So are many fingers if you chop things that way.

The Thanksgiving Table

With that ad above, you know I’m going to start off this week’s recipes with Campbell’s Classic Green Bean Casserole. It’s as much a part of the season as the Rockefeller tree and Black Friday sales.

If you’d like to shake up your Thanksgiving dinner, here’s our article with that very idea, with recipes for Curry Deviled Eggs, Harry Truman’s Baked Ham, and Deep Dish Cranberry Pie. AllRecipes has the recipe for the Best Mashed Potatoes, while has these Maple Brown Sugar Baby Carrots, which I’ve made and are quite good. How Sweet Eats has a recipe for Buttery Herb Stuffing (though I’ve always been a Stove Top person myself).

Have a great Thanksgiving, no matter how you celebrate it this year.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (November 26)

It will still air on NBC starting at 9 a.m. but with a whole bunch of COVID-induced changes. It’s followed by The National Dog Show.

Black Friday (November 27)

Yes, apparently this is still a thing, even though many stores and sites have extended the number of sales days to create “Black November.”

Featured image: calimedia / Shutterstock

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  1. No day is guaranteed. Enjoy your family this Thanksgiving. If Grandma wants to come, knowing the risks, let her. What you do in your home is your choice, just as how she wants to spend Thanksgiving is hers. I don’t understand why everyone always talks about how stressful the holidays are. They don’t have to be. If you cook and clean all year, you just do a little more, and you don’t have to invite people you don’t like, even if you are related.

    On Scrabble: What good is knowing something is a word if you don’t know its definition?

  2. Thanksgiving isn’t going to be bad or sad (for me) at all. I need a year off from the Holidays completely. The stress, anxiety, not knowing what my ‘sort-of’ mother-in-law’ might do or say at the table after a couple of drinks? Will she blame me for her 48 year old daughter being a dog mommy because I’m a dog daddy to a Boston Terrier (that ran off with my swimming trunks at mid-decade) again? NEVER!

    I’ve been lucky lately (as a furloughed employee) in getting to make some good money lately (under the table of course) and have some jobs lined up for next week. I think I’ll SLEEP all day Thursday, but DVR ‘The National Dog Show! Thanks for helping me think that out. That’s it! When I’m up here and there, I can call or text my friends and family happy holiday messages safe and sound. No covid risks!

    Everyone making fun of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, STOP IT right now! It’s perfect for 2020! On the Twitter image choices I don’t understand, I pick 1, 5 and 7. I’m sorry to hear Jim Tucker of The Turtles passed away. I liked “She’s Rather Be With Me.” better than “Happy Together.” It’s waaay more mid-’60s sounding. Speaking of…

    I can’t believe my mom got me turtleneck shirts, straight-legged pants with Beatle boots and a Nehru jacket to wear to school in 1967, Bob! Another advantage of having her hooked on Dark Shadows weekdays! Orbach’s furnished the show’s clothing and that became HER department store of choice, with Robinson’s. OH! And we got to go to Expo 67 in Montreal that summer and she had her son Stylin’ 67 for the big event in Canada.


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