News of the Week: New Books, Charles Schulz’s Other Strip, and the Rudest State Is …

In the news for the week ending February 5, 2021, are good books, bad citizens, unexpected cartoons, starchy Super Bowl snacks, and more.

A pile of new books on a coffee table.
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Read This!

I usually tell you about new book releases every two or three months or so, but I said to myself the other day, why not do it more frequently? After all, books are released all the time; I could do it every month. And then I stopped talking to myself before someone became alarmed and called the men with the straitjackets.

Here are three new books I think you’ll like:

Mike Nichols: A Life by Mark Harris. This biography of the comedy partner of Elaine May who later directed such movies as The Graduate, Silkwood, Working Girl, Carnal Knowledge, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is getting great reviews.

The Sharpest Needle by Renee Patrick. This is the fourth novel in the series in which Lillian Frost and Edith Head (yes, that Edith Head) solve mysteries in late ’30s Hollywood. This one involves poison pen letters being sent to actress Marion Davies. I hope they make a TV series out of these books.

Truly Like Lightning by David Duchovny. Did you know that The X-Files star was also a writer? This is his fourth novel, in which a former Hollywood stuntman turned Mormon who lives in the desert with his three wives makes a bet with an ambitious developer concerning his kids, the local school, and his valuable land.

More Jeopardy! Hosts

I’m really not trying to turn this column into “all Jeopardy! news, all the time,” but they seem to be announcing new guest hosts every week. The latest batch of fill-ins until they find a permanent host will include Anderson Cooper, Today’s Savannah Guthrie, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

500 Years of Pockets

You’d think that a history of the pocket — the pocket! — wouldn’t be very interesting, but you’d be wrong, as this CBS Sunday Morning segment shows.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

The Rudest State in the Country Is …

… not the one you might be thinking of. The rudest state is actually the smallest state, according to the people who live there.

Many of the rudest states are located in the northeast. Make of that what you will. The people of Hawaii think they have the nicest citizens, but you’d probably feel pretty good too if you lived in Hawaii.

Something I Found Out This Week

As a big fan of cartoonist Charles Schulz, I thought I knew everything he did, including the comics he drew for the Post before he started Peanuts. But I had no idea he did a cartoon series involving teenagers.

The Lost Classics of Teen-Lit blog has a post about Teen-Agers, Unite!, a 1967 paperback collection of the cartoons Schulz did in the ’50s and ’60s for Youth, a magazine put out by the Church of God.

Several of the characters look like Peanuts characters, only older (they’re not), but I have to disagree with the writer when she says the comics are unfunny and disappointing. I think they’re actually pretty sharp. They’re certainly not Peanuts-level memorable, but they’re clever, and it’s a fascinating look at another side of Schulz.

Mike Lynch has more on the collection.

RIP Cicely Tyson, Hal Holbrook, Allan Burns, Sonny Fox, Dustin Diamond, Jamie Tarses, Hilton Valentine, Barry Lewis, and Captain Tom Moore

Cicely Tyson was a Hollywood and civil rights icon in so many ways. She not only won Emmys for her work in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, a Tony for The Trip to Bountiful, and an Oscar nomination for Sounder (as well as an honorary Oscar), she also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. She was one of the first prominent black actresses to have a regular role on TV, in 1963’s East Side/West Side. She just released an autobiography, Just As I Am. She died this week at the age of 96.

Though she had a few acting roles in the late ’50s and early ’60s, Tyson appeared as one of the imposters on a 1963 episode of To Tell The Truth.

Hal Holbrook had great roles in many movies over the years, including All the President’s Men, Lincoln, That Certain Summer, Midway, The Fog, and Murder by Natural Causes, along with TV shows like Evening Shade, North & South, Sons of Anarchy, and Designing Women. He was also known for his work on the stage, including his 63-year portrayal of Mark Twain. He died last month at the age of 95.

Did you know that the person who co-created The Mary Tyler Moore Show also created the character Cap’n Crunch? That would be Allan Burns, who also co-created Rhoda and Lou Grant and wrote for shows like Get Smart, The Munsters, and The Bullwinkle Show. He died last weekend at the age of 85.

Sonny Fox hosted the popular WNEW-TV Sunday-morning kids show Wonderama. He also hosted the quiz show The $64,000 Challenge for a while, was a guest host on shows like To Tell The Truth and The Price Is Right, and even produced several movies. He died last month at the age of 95.

Dustin Diamond was best known for his role as Screech on Saved by the Bell. He died this week at the age of 44.

Jamie Tarses was the first woman to run a network entertainment division, developing such NBC shows as Friends, Frasier, Mad About You, and NewsRadio, as well as ABC shows like Sports Night and The Practice. She died Monday at the age of 56.

Hilton Valentine was the guitarist for The Animals, who had such hits as “House of the Rising Sun,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” He died last week at the age of 77.

Barry Lewis was a popular New York City walking guide and historian who did a PBS show with David Hartman, Walking Tour, that started with A Walk Down 42nd Street. He died last month at the age of 75.

Last year I told you about Captain Tom Moore and his raising of millions of British pounds for COVID-19 relief. Now comes word that the British World War II veteran has died of the disease at the age of 100.

This Week in History

What’s My Line? Debuts (February 2, 1950)

Here’s that very first episode of the long-running game show, with mystery guest Phil Rizzuto.

Uploaded to YouTube by What’s My Line?

Greensboro Sit-Ins Start (February 1, 1960)

The first of many peaceful protests at the Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, occurred after four black men were denied service at the department store’s lunch counter.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Mom’s Helper (January 31, 1921)

This Norman Rockwell cover is sometimes titled Peeling Potatoes, and he did a similar cover in 1945. Maybe the guy on that cover is this kid grown up?

Super Bowl Recipes

Let’s stay with that potato theme and tie it into the Super Bowl, as Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Bucs take on Patrick Mahomes’s Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. (There will also be commercials.)

We have to start with these Potato Skins from Simply Recipes. Taste of Home has these Cheese & Herb Potato Fans, which you’ll become a fan of (sorry). Cooking Classy has a recipe for Potato Soup that includes sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon. If you want a different kind of chili, try this Chili with Potatoes from And you can’t have a Super Bowl without nachos, so get a taste of these Potato Chip Nachos from Kraft. They’re made with crunchy kettle-cooked chips.

Oh, I should probably tell you where you can watch the game. It airs on CBS at 6:30 p.m. ET, though the pre-game starts several hours before that. It might even be on right now.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Australian Open Starts (February 7)

It’s going to be weird to once again see thousands of fans in the stands at a tennis tournament, but that’s what the officials at the first Grand Slam of the year have planned. Coverage starts on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET (which is actually the morning of February 8 in Melbourne), with replays airing later on Tennis Channel.

Super Sick Monday (February 8)

Some people want to make the day after the Super Bowl, known as being a Monday when a lot of people are either tired and/or hungover, a national holiday. I think “some people” just don’t want to go to work.

Featured image: Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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  1. It looks like MA is right down there on the bottom Bob, just above RI. I knew CA had to be low, but was surprised at Nevada. Hawaii should be first in friendliness. If you can’t be happy there, then where? Even its very name says HI.

  2. I just checked the 10 day weather forecast for MA and IN and can only say YIKES!!! To me that’s as bad as the extreme heat, and much more likely to make you sick, having nothing to do with Covid. Speaking of that, there has been positive (as in good) news the cases have been starting to decline. Why? Because we’re more than a month past the Christmas & New Year’s super-spreaders. Watch the numbers go waaaay up again in the days following Sunday’s Super Bowl!

    The pocket report video was pretty interesting. I know that sometimes I have so many pockets it can drive me crazy. By that I mean have you ever reached into your pocket for something important and it’s not there, then you try it again later and it is?

    Has anyone else had computer and/or tech device problems this week? I’ve heard it’s really problematic when Mercury is in retrograde which is 1/30-2/21/21. My hard drive needed work after getting hacked Sunday, which I brought to the repair shop on Monday. Wednesday I had to go back to my computer guy again due to my iPhone. It wasn’t functioning right Tuesday night saying my server isn’t connected to the internet.

    My iPhone! It’s never BEEN connected to the internet. He got it to work again and backed everything up telling me my phone has about 30 days left to live. I told my boss and he’s ordered me an iPhone 7 Fed-Ex will deliver Tuesday to the office. I’ll then take it to Verizon and get the old info transferred once it’s activated. So glad I’m on their plan. I really have no idea what the monthly cost is. They can write it off, so we all win.

    What more can be said of Cicely Tyson. I worked at the Bio-Energy natural healing center in 2004 when she would come in for treatments to help her feel her best. I spoke with her several times and aside from being the epitome of class, graciousness and kindness, she had a magical quality to her I can’t explain. It was almost ‘other worldly’. To have been hugged by her was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Truly a woman touched by God in this life, and that’s where she is now.

    I checked out a good many of the new Super Bowl commercials per your link. The only ones I really liked are the Dr. Squatch deodorant/soap ads. Otherwise I’ve only seen them while watching YouTube. While the ones for the Game are ‘PG’, the ones aimed at men online are usually ‘R’ rated. definitely.

    The day after Super Bowl should be a national holiday knowing what we know. Americans are among the most stressed-out people of any nation. I feel sorry for people that call in sick that Monday that really ARE sick. I’m sure that will be the case in another week due to the Covid they’re going to catch this Sunday!

    Everyone, enjoy the Super Bowl but stay at home with healthy snacks, right Bob?


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