News of the Week: The Cold Side of the Jet Stream, Rock Stars, and a February Canapalooza

In the news for the week ending February 12, 2021, are product name changes, rock ’n’ roll honors, pen pals, cat lawyers, the Beatles, and more.

A frozen thermometer in the snow.
Marian Weyo / Shutterstock

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It’s weird to think that this is the same winter during which I’ve complained about the lack of cold and snow and overall winter-ness. This week Mother Nature decided to show us that, yes indeed, winter is real and it’s spectacular. Not only have the temps been somewhere between Ice Station Zebra and freezing, we’ve had a parade of storms.

There’s another one due this Sunday, and then more on Tuesday. A few inches expected with each one, though the TV meteorologists haven’t been exactly on-the-nose with their forecasts. There’s so much technology, so many fancy mobile weather vehicles, so many computer models (European! American! That other one!) that it just confuses everything. When you give all of the possible weather outcomes, you’re really giving none.

I long for the days when meteorologists used just a sliding wall and chalk to draw on a weather map. Maybe a satellite photo.

One of the people on TV called the pattern we’re currently in “the cold side of the jet stream,” which has a certain poetry about it.

I’m not sick of it yet though. I don’t mind the cold and the shoveling. The extremes of winter beat the extremes of summer any day. But there will come a time when even a winter-lover like me will finally get sick of the biting wind, having to walk a half-mile to get the car out of off-street parking, and navigating the ice and snow as I bring in the groceries.

I call that time “March.”

Old Products, New Names

You may have heard last year that PepsiCo/Quaker Oats were planning to rename and rebrand their Aunt Jemima syrup because it was “based on a racial stereotype.” Well, they’ve thought about it for a while, and now there’s a new name for everyone’s favorite pancake topping: Pearl Milling Company.

The new design will make its debut in stores in June, so some of the old bottles will still be around until then. The boxes still say “Aunt Jemima” in the corner, though that’s probably something that will be phased out over time.

In other product name news, CBS All Access becomes Paramount+ next month. Streaming services and websites having a “+” in their name is all the rage right now. I’m waiting for a company to have a “-” in their name, because the only programming they have is episodes of Green Acres and old test patterns.

And the Nominees Are …

This week the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for this year’s induction. The list includes those that have been nominated before (Iron Maiden, Kate Bush, Carole King, Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, Devo, Todd Rundgren, LL Cool J, New York Dolls, and Rage Against the Machine) and newcomers (The Go-Gos, Foo Fighters, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Fela Kuti, and Dionne Warwick). Journalists and music industry pros will pick the winners, but you can go to the Hall’s site and vote for your favorite, and the top five artists will be included in a special “Fan’s Ballot.”

Some of the people nominated are already in the Hall but as members of a group or duo. For example, Turner was inducted with Ike Turner years ago, and Carole King is already in the Hall of Fame as a songwriter but has now been nominated as a performer. It makes things a little more confusing.


During this pandemic, people have been trying to connect to each other in ways other than face to face. Some are even sending letters again! Of course, this isn’t as widespread as I wish it were, but some is better than none. Maybe you can even find a new pen pal.

Penpalooza is a site set up to help people connect by writing letters to each other. Right now there are over 11,000 participants in 75 countries. There’s even a bimonthly newsletter that focuses on letter-writing and stationery tips. It’s all run by New Yorker writer Rachel Syme.

Video of the Week

This is the video everyone is talking about, and it’s pretty funny.

RIP Christopher Plummer, Mary Wilson, Leon Spinks, George Schultz, Marty Schottenheimer, Tony Trabert, Mike Henry, Trisha Noble, Larry Flynt, and Robb Webb

Christopher Plummer was the acclaimed actor who appeared in such films as The Sound of Music, The Spiral Staircase, The Man Who Would Be King, Murder By Decree, The Insider, Up, Knives Out, and Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country. He won the Best Supporting Oscar for 2010’s Beginners. He was also known for his work on the stage, winning Tony Awards for Cyrano and Barrymore. He died last week at the age of 91.

Mary Wilson was one of the founding members of the Supremes, the group known for several hit songs, including “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “My World Is Empty Without You,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “Come See about Me,” “Baby Love,” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” She died Monday at the age of 76.

Here are the Supremes on a 1966 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. My favorite part occurs around 2:04, when Diana Ross’s earring falls off and she catches it mid-song.

Uploaded to YouTube by The Ed Sullivan Show

Leon Spinks shocked the world when he beat Muhammad Ali in 1978 to become the new world heavyweight champion. He died last week at the age of 67.

George Schultz was labor secretary, treasury secretary, and budget director in the Nixon administration and then secretary of state for Ronald Reagan. He also served in the Marines in World War II, taught at MIT, and was a member of President Eisenhower’s senior staff. He died Saturday at the age of 100.

Marty Schottenheimer won 200 games as an NFL coach for the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Washington Redskins, and San Diego Chargers. He died Monday at the age of 77.

Tony Trabert was one of the greatest tennis players of all time. He later became the voice of CBS’s U.S. Open coverage and a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He died last week at the age of 90.

Mike Henry was an NFL linebacker-turned-actor who portrayed Tarzan in three ’60s films. He also appeared in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, The Green Berets, Rio Lobo, and The Longest Yard. He died last month at the age of 84.

Trisha Noble started as a singer in the ’60s and then turned to acting, appearing in such shows as Strike Force, Executive Suite, Columbo, Night Gallery, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. She also appeared in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. She died last month at the age of 76.

Larry Flynt was the controversial publisher of adult magazines who became a surprise champion of the First Amendment. He died Wednesday at the age of 78.

Robb Webb was the voice you heard on various CBS news programs, including The CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes, as well as in over 1,000 commercials. He died last week at the age of 82.

This Week in History

Ronald Reagan Born (February 6, 1911)

The 40th president appeared on our June 4, 1966, cover, when he was running for governor of California.

Beatles Appear on Ed Sullivan Show for the First Time (February 9, 1964)

They sang five songs that night: “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Uploaded to YouTube by The Beatles.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Expired Meter (February 10, 1951)

Saturday Evening Post cover

Forget the expired meter in this George Hughes cover, maybe the mom should get a ticket for leaving the kids in the car alone (it was a different time).


Maybe mom is in that store stocking up on canned goods.

February is National Canned Food Month. It was started in 1987 by the Canned Food Information Council, a.k.a. CFIC (soon to be a new action series on CBS!), to clear up all of the misconceptions about canned food not tasting good and not being as nutritious as fresher foods. Actually, canned (and frozen) foods are just as nutritious as what you’ll find in the produce aisle.

Here’s Peg Bracken’s recipe for Stayabed Stew, for those days when you just want to stay in bed and read. It’s from my favorite cookbook, 1960’s The I Hate to Cook Book, and includes a can of cream of tomato soup. Her easy Chilly-Night Chili also features a can of tomato soup, as well as a can of kidney beans.

Taste of Home has a Homemade Cherry Crisp that uses a can of cherry pie filling, and the magazine also has something called Banana Split Fluff, which also contains a can of cherry pie filling, along with a can of condensed milk and a can of crushed pineapple. AllRecipe’s Best Tuna Casserole features canned tuna and a can of sliced mushrooms, not to mention crushed potato chips, which I just mentioned.

February is also National Grapefruit Month. You can get those in cans too.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Valentine’s Day (February 14)

I wrote a poem about my plans for the day:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
It’s Valentine’s Day
I’m eating alone again

Presidents Day (February 15)

I agree with The Week when they say this is the most grammatically infuriating holiday of the year.

Featured image: Marian Weyo / Shutterstock

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  1. Be careful what you wish for Bob, indeed. This is now how many weeks of this freezing nightmare? The horrible pile-up freeway crashes are terrifying. It’s amazing there haven’t been more fatalities than there have been. The latest one even involved a big red Coca-Cola truck. I don’t know how (the hell) you’re able to get anything done outside at all for more than a minute, much less doing any shopping—even if it’s nearby. Holy smokes, folks!

    I’ve known for months that Quaker Oats was going to change the name of its syrup from Aunt Jemima to something else, just didn’t know what. Pearl Milling Company sounds corporate and not warm, but we’ll have to see how it sells. By the way, when the Aunt Jemima picture was updated in 1989, it was with idea of an image of a contemporary American woman. I think they did a good job. If they hadn’t, there would have been objections way before 2020. Oh well. As far as Mrs. Butterworth goes, I always thought she was an older white lady that represented love and home cooking kind of like a warm, old-fashioned grandmother. I can only wonder what they’re going to do to her?!

    Christopher Plummer was a great actor but because of his age, was less shocked of his passing. Mary Wilson’s was, definitely. Just last Saturday (2/6) she did a YouTube video about releasing solo material, Black History month and more. She looked and sounded great! So sad, and so wrong. Geez.

    Happy 57th anniversary of the Beatles spectacular Ed Sullivan show debut. Still, we mustn’t forget the great music they created individually after they broke up as a group. It happens a lot, not unlike people forgetting Lucille Ball made a lot of great shows after ‘I Love Lucy’.

    Good Post cover by George Hughes although I think the box above the store name should have been higher. As far as mom leaving the kids in the car, I hope it was locked. At least it was in the cool/colder weather. That would be child (or pet) endangerment today, which it should be. Fatalities still happen though, which is inexcusable.


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