News of the Week: Random Notes, the Great Cereal Boom, and the Soothing Paintings of Bob Ross

In the news for the week ending March 5, 2021, are a Dating Game, cerealism, a day without ebooks, a week of all ebooks, a 300-year-old letter, and more.

Cereal in a supermarket aisle
Din Mohd Yaman / Shutterstock

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Thoughts and Links

Random notes for the first week of March …

All of the local meteorologists keep talking about how March 1 is the start of “meteorological spring.” Okay, fine, but the rest of us won’t be putting our snow shovels away for a few weeks.

Just in time for the annual Read Across America celebration, Dr. Seuss Enterprises has decided to stop publishing six of the author’s books that they consider “racist and insensitive,” including And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, The Cat’s Quizzer, and If I Ran the Zoo. I have nothing to add to this story, but it gives me the chance to link to the interview the Post did with Theodor Geisel in 1957.

The world can be divided into two groups of people: those who use their phone to see what time it is and those who still wear a watch.

I’m going to start a site called For Some Reason. It will feature news about new TV shows and movies and albums and other things happening that no one really asked for and most people probably won’t care about. ABC has announced that they’re bringing back the classic cringey couples game show The Dating Game, only this time a celebrity will be the lucky (?) date companion. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the celebrities won’t be Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts. It will be hosted by actress Zooey Deschanel and singer Michael Bolton. FOR SOME REASON.

I’ve been watching MeTV’s Toon In with Me cartoon show every morning and it’s the best decision I’ve made since deciding not to watch the new version of The Dating Game. Not only are the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies and other cartoons brilliant (of course), but I’ve found that even though I haven’t seen most of them in years, I still remember all of the scenes, the dialogue, even the song lyrics. If you’re looking for pure entertainment and a great way to start the day, I highly recommend it.

Comfort Food

A while back on these very web pages I told you how millennials weren’t eating cereal because they didn’t want to clean the bowl after eating. That might be one of the reasons why cereal sales have been going down the past several years. That and the changing eating habits of consumers. But 2020 — a year when we all needed a little comfort for many reasons — saw not just a little uptick in the amount of cereal being purchased, it saw an increase of 26.9 percent.

I’ve started eating cereal again after taking a few years off. It’s one of those things that I just drift away from for a while. I was a big fan of Quisp when I was a kid. And hey, it’s still around!

Everybody Loves Bob Ross

I watched Bob Ross paint his fantastic landscapes on PBS years ago, always astonished he could create something so beautiful in such a short amount of time, and it’s great to see he’s still wildly popular, as this CBS Sunday Morning feature shows.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

National Day of Unplugging

Hopefully you’re reading this before sundown on Friday, March 5, because from then until sundown on March 6, we’re supposed to turn off everything and get away from our screens. So hit the Off button and go read a book or get outside or write a letter to someone. The internet and your phone will still be here on March 7.

Technology Is Really Weird Sometimes

If you do write that letter, maybe the person who receives it will one day be able to read it without even opening the envelope.

NPR has the story about a letter from 1697 (!) that was recently opened and read without “opening” it. Using medical scanners, computer algorithms, and other technology — probably Gore-Tex or Flubber — scientists now have a way to read ancient texts without actually unfolding the paper.

Joke of the Week

RIP Vernon Jordan, Irv Cross, Bunny Wailer, Rajie Cook, James Burke, Geoffrey Scott, Margaret Maron, and Gene Summers

Vernon Jordan was a civil rights leader and an influential counselor to both political leaders and business leaders. He died Monday at the age of 85.

Irv Cross was a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams who later became an analyst on CBS’s The NFL Today pregame show with Brent Musberger and Phyllis George. He died Sunday at the age of 81.

You know all of those little symbols and icons you see everywhere, from airports and restrooms to restaurants and bus stops? Rajie Cook co-created those. He died earlier this month at the age of 90.

Bunny Wailer was one of the founding members of the reggae band The Wailers, along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. He died Tuesday at the age of 73.

James Burke was co-lead singer on the classic Five Stairsteps song “O-o-h Child.” He died recently at the age of 70.

Geoffrey Scott appeared on such shows as Dynasty, Dark Shadows, 1st and Ten, and The Secret Empire, as well as movies like Hulk and The Morning After. He also did over 100 commercials, appearing as a Marlboro Man and the sailor in Old Spice ads. He died last week at the age of 79.

Margaret Maron was an award-winning writer of two mystery novel series as well as many short stories. She died last month at the age of 82.

Gene Summers was the first person to record “School of Rock ’n Roll,” which has since been covered by many artists. He also had such songs as “Straight Skirt,” “Big Blue Diamond,” and “Nervous.” He died last month at the age of 82.

This Week in History

The Peace Corps Founded (March 1, 1961)

The executive order that established the volunteer organization was issued on this day by President Kennedy and authorized by Congress the following September.

Watch Mr. Wizard Debuts (March 3, 1951)

The show was created and hosted by Don Herbert and ran until 1965. It came back as Mr. Wizard in Canada for one season in 1971, and then a new version, Mr. Wizard’s World, ran on Nickelodeon from 1983 to 1990. Herbert died in 2007.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Shredded Wheat (February 28, 1948)

An ad for shredded wheat from the February 28, 1948 issue of The Saturday Evening Post
February 28, 1948

I’ve never understood what the term “shredded wheat” means. Does it mean that these giant cereal blocks are considered “shredded” already, or is “shredded” what happens to them when you pull them apart with a fork or spoon? They don’t seem very “shredded” to me in this form. (On a related note, see this discussion of what “fork-split” means.)

National Cereal Day

It’s this Sunday, March 7, and to celebrate you could just open up your cupboard and grab a box of whatever you have available, or you could actually take that cereal and make something new, like these recipes (yes, there are cereal recipes).

Let’s start with breakfast, when you can make this Cinnamon Toast Crunch Encrusted French Toast from Lauren’s Latest. For lunch, how about these Cornflake Chicken Tenders from Dinner at the Zoo or Cheerios-Coated Grilled Cheese Sandwiches from Serious Eats? For dinner, try this twist on the Green Bean Casserole, which includes cornflakes on the topping, or these Crispy Meatballs, which includes crisp rice cereal. Both are from Taste of Home.

For dessert, you can have a bowl of cereal, but spice things up a bit by combining two cereals. It’s sometimes called Frankensteining.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Read an Ebook Week (March 7-13)

I’ve always hated words like ebook and email when they’re used without a hyphen. The e stands for “electronic,” so “e-book” and “e-mail” look more right to me. And now we have a holiday that capitalizes the e?

Girl Scout’s Day (March 12)

This marks the day in 1912 when the first 18 Girl Scouts were registered in Savannah, Georgia.

Featured image: Din Mohd Yaman / Shutterstock

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  1. So now, as of this week, Dr. Seuss books are suddenly somehow “insensitive” or “racist”? I don’t have much to add to that because it’s so ridiculous and absurd. It reminds me of how in California (a number of years ago) a woman wanted it to be illegal for people to walk male dogs without putting underpants on them first! Female dogs would be exempt, but for how long? That didn’t make it into becoming a law and hopefully this nuisance nonsense will also go away soon. Unbelievable!

    I’ll have to check out the ‘toons on MeTV. They sound great. I just have to FIND the station doing a TV scan. For awhile I lost CBS (channel 2 in L.A.) but have it back again. It’s just that it’s now on channel 5, which is KTLA, which I don’t get now. There. 2 paragraphs of things that don’t make any sense!

    Thanks for the feature on Bob Ross. I’d love to take an art class sometime. I love arts & crafts, but it’s usually making something new and fun out of existing images. I HAVE tried painting, and feel I’m as good as Jackson Pollack in some of his really simple stuff. Well, it’s better than nothing!

    I’m sorry to read Geoffrey Scott passed away—a week after Chris Pennock! Both men were great new additions to ‘Dark Shadows’ in 1970 and kept things interesting even if the show was beginning to run low on gas that year. He played Angelique’s husband ‘Sky’ during the Leviathan storyline which was pretty creepy indeed.

    I’m glad the Girl Scouts are still around even if the Boy Scouts also have Girl Scouts now. I’m wondering about the cookies. I haven’t seen them (yet) outside any of my grocery stores, probably due to the situation. Maybe they’ll still be out, or have moved it online for now. What’s the name of the peanut butter sandwich cookies again? I’ll buy a box of those.

  2. I think a lot more days should be unplugged like tomorrow. Technology makes me uncomfortable and having to worry about my privacy. I’m not sure if a woman is even safe being online. I’m getting off of the computer now.


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