News of the Week: Best Places to Live, the Price is Right, and This New Beer Is Illegal in 15 States

In the news for the week ending September 24, 2021, are The Price Is Right, the greatest music, illegal beer, a mushroom dessert, and more.

beer bottle caps
Erin Cadigan /

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Chanhassen, Minnesota

That’s the best place to live in America, according to the annual list by Money.

The site comes to their decision by weighing many factors, including cost of living, income, education, diversity, health and safety, and “fun,” which they also call “amenities.”

Number two on the list is Carmel, Indiana, followed by Franklin, Tennessee, and Flower Mound, Texas. Alaska and Hawaii didn’t make the cut at all.

I can imagine the citizens in these towns screaming NO, DON’T TELL PEOPLE HOW GOOD IT IS HERE, WE LIKE IT THE WAY IT IS!

The last spot on the list is Paramus, New Jersey. But being the 50th best place to live in the U.S. is still really good, considering how many places there are in the U.S.

Chanhassen, Minnesota (Is a Place You Can Buy This New Beer)

Maybe this is another reason Chanhassen grabbed the top spot on that list (I think beer qualifies as “fun”). It’s in a state where you can buy the new beer from Sam Adams called Utopias. Its alcohol content is 28 percent, five times that of most beers, which means it’s illegal to sell in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.

It’s legal here in Massachusetts, where Sam Adams is headquartered, but it’s not going to be easy to find even in states where it’s legal. It’s pretty expensive, and they’re only going to brew 13,000 bottles.

A “Great” Debate

I looked up the word masochist in Webster’s, and the definition is: Noun. Someone who continues to read pop culture lists on the web even though they drive him crazy.

Here’s one I’ve been reading this week, Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Now, Rolling Stone hasn’t been relevant since the first Green Day album was released, but they still pump out these lists every now and then, probably because they know they’re going to get clicks and spark outrage and debate on social media and in the columns of writers of magazines currently celebrating their 200th birthday.

People have their favorites and we can disagree on the “greatest” songs, but that’s kind of the point. Someone’s “favorite” shouldn’t factor into a list that is supposed to be general and objective. And these lists aren’t just for the “greatest” anymore; they try to be all-encompassing by including songs that are “important,” “socially relevant,” “popular,” and, well, “recent.” Just because you need to appeal to all age groups doesn’t mean you have to include songs just because they were released two months ago. You won’t go to music critic jail by actually sticking to the “greatest.” Unless the critics who worked on this list actually believe these picks.

Seriously, Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” is the 8th best song? Of all time? I know I’m old now but … come on.

This list pulls off a neat trick. It manages to not only prove that 500 songs is way too many to include on a list like this, and at the same time it shows that there are 200 other songs they could have put on the list and that the list isn’t long enough.

Come on Down!

Last week’s season premiere of CBS’s The Price Is Right marks the start of the 50-year celebration for the show (a version with Bill Cullen aired in the late 1950s/early ’60s, but the current version debuted in 1972). I’d put it on the list of my five favorite game shows, even if I do wish the contestants wouldn’t scream all the time.

Next Thursday, September 30, CBS will air a two-hour special for the anniversary, which will include a tribute to Bob Barker, who hosted the show from 1972 to 2007. He turns 97 this December.

Quote of the Week

“Lock the doors. We’re not leaving until we find a new host for Jeopardy!

—Cedric the Entertainer, hosting the Emmy Awards

RIP Willie Garson, Jane Powell, Sarah Dash, Al Harrington, Melvin Van Peebles, Jimmy Garrett, Leta Powell Drake, and George Holliday

Willie Garson had many memorable roles in many TV shows and movies, including Sex and the City, White Collar, NYPD Blue, Mr. Belvedere, Friends, Cheers, and Hawaii Five-0, as well as movies like The Rock, Ruby, Fever Pitch, Groundhog Day, and There’s Something About Mary. He died this week at the age of 57.

Jane Powell appeared in such movies as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Royal Wedding, The Girl Most Likely, and Holiday in Mexico. She also had a recurring role on Growing Pains and appeared in such shows as The Love Boat, Law and Order: SVU, and Murder, She Wrote. She died last week at the age of 92.

Sarah Dash was part of the R&B group Labelle, known for the classic song “Lady Marmalade.” She also worked with The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, and many others. She died this week at the age of 76.

Al Harrington was an iconic singer and entertainer in Hawaii and also an actor, with a regular role on the original Hawaii Five-0 and appearances on Charlie’s Angels, Scrubs, and Magnum, P.I. He died Tuesday at the age of 85.

Melvin Van Peebles was an influential black director who helmed such movies as Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Watermelon Man, The Story of a Three-Day Pass, and Identity Crisis. He also wrote Broadway plays and was an actor, appearing on his son Mario’s NBC series Sonny Spoon. He died Tuesday at the age of 89.

Jimmy Garrett played Lucille Ball’s son on The Lucy Show. He died last week at the age of 66.

A few years ago, Leta Powell Drake went viral for the thousands of unique interviews she did in her many years as a celebrity journalist. She also hosted the morning show and the children’s show Cartoon Corral on KOLN/KGIN in Nebraska for many years. She died last week at the age of 83.

George Holliday was the man who recorded the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles. He died Sunday at the age of 61.

This Week in History

First Issue of The New York Times (September 18, 1851)

It was originally called The New-York Daily Times, with a hyphen.

F. Scott Fitzgerald Born (September 24, 1896)

The author wrote many pieces for the Post in the 1920s and ’30s, including the short stories “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” and “Head and Shoulders” and this essay about his rocky start in writing.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Hitchhiking to State U” (September 23, 1939)

Boys hitchhiking to State U.

I’ve never hitchhiked, but shouldn’t these two students be looking the other way?

September Is National Mushroom Month

A confession: With these food holidays and recipes that I mention every week, I usually pick food or drinks that I might enjoy, recipes that I would probably make, yet something I think you’ll enjoy too. Once in a great while the stars align (plus I don’t like to repeat myself two years in a row) and I have to pick a food I actually hate. This is one of those great whiles.

The dreaded mushroom.

Here’s a recipe for a Bagel, Egg, and Mushroom Brunch from Curtis Stone, and here’s one for Creamy Mushroom Chicken from Salt & Lavender. Serious Eats has an Easy Stir-Fried Beef with Mushrooms and Butter, while Jo Cooks has this Italian Roasted Mushrooms and Veggies dish. And if you’ve been wanting to try a dessert with mushrooms, how about these Mushroom Cupcakes from Cupcake Project?

That last one is on my list of 500 Greatest Mushroom Dessert Recipes of All Time.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Johnny Appleseed Day (September 26)

This is one of those confusing/controversial holidays, because people celebrate it on two different days. Some choose September 26 because that’s the day he was born in 1774, and others choose March 11 because that is (believed) to be the day he died in 1845 — and because it falls during planting season.

The former sounds much more festive.

Ask a Stupid Question Day (September 28)

Maybe people who live in the states where Sam Adams Utopias is illegal can walk into a liquor store and ask, “Hey, do you carry that new beer that’s illegal in this state?”

Featured image: Erin Cadigan /

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  1. The one list in Rolling Stone that made sense was the 100 best guitar players of all time. That list was voted on by other guitar players from well known bands.

  2. The 2 students are looking the other way at the car that just passed them by (experienced hitchhiker). Though, these days, I wouldn’t think of doing it.

  3. Chanhassen, Mn., Carmel, In., sound great. The whole list, really. Maybe that new beer thing had something to do with it. I wouldn’t know. Don’t even drink any of the old ones. No alcohol. To go through Rolling Stone’s undoubtedly ridiculous 500 list here would be enough to make me consider it mentally.

    To be kind, Rolling Stone has little credibility, and even less relevance. This is another of their bids for attention. Their new larger (again) monthly format isn’t likely to last. Even in the 90’s and 2000’s I (mainly) only subscribed to it for the ads. This week I HAVE had a song stuck in my head, big time. Especially that awesome, synthesized opening of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry”. I’ve also had interview visions of Nancy Grace giving vicious snake fang bites into 3 pieces of very slippery, dirty Laundrie. Get the winner on the set.

    Those two students SHOULD have been looking the other way on that 1939 Post cover, but they’re young and stupid. The Italian Roasted Mushroom and Veggies dish sounds amazing. I’m going to have to try that. Getting back to the cover, it’s NOT a Rockwell everyone; despite the similarities.

  4. Had the Smith Act been in existence in 1776 Thomas Jefferson would’ve been arrested for claiming not only the right but the duty to overthrow the government and the Declaration of Independence would have been deemed seditious.


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