News of the Week: New Books, Peggy Lee’s Cool, and Here’s What You Should Eat This Sunday (Besides Pizza)

In the news for the week ending February 11, 2022, are good books from grown-ups, a good book from an 8-year-old, Romper Room, Bill Murray, and maybe some football this weekend.

Valentine's Day Chocolate

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Read This!

In the current issue of the Post, Amazon senior editor Al Woodworth picks ten books you might want to check out. Here are five more.

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman. The prince of pop culture analysis examines the good and bad aspects of the decade that seems like a lifetime ago, before social media ruined everything.

Watergate: A New History by Garrett M. Graff. Sure, a lot has already been written about one of the biggest scandals in political history, but Graff’s book promises to go deeper than anyone has done before, with many never-before-told details.

Enough Already by Valerie Bertinelli. There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re interested in Bertinelli’s role on One Day at a Time, her marriage to guitarist Eddie Van Halen, or her recipes, many of which are included.

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari. You’ve probably noticed that because of the internet and your smartphone and social media, you can’t concentrate on … oh look I just got an email!

Fairy Tale by Stephen King. I could probably do a “new books” feature every month just on new work by King. This one is about a 17-year-old boy who “inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war.”

8-Year-Old’s Self-Published Book Is a Library Hit

Maybe I should add a sixth new book to that list, The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis, by Dillon Helbig. He’s the 8-year-old who wrote a novel, illustrated it himself, and then sneaked it onto the shelves of his local library. It’s so popular that 125 people are on the waiting list to check it out.

It’s about an exploding Christmas tree that sends our hero back in time.

Helbig is not only savvy at marketing, his rules for writing are pretty sound too. “Draw what your mind is thinking of” is simple but brilliant. Only 8 and he’s already gotten more publicity than most adults do for their self-published books. Good for him. I have a feeling a publishing company is going to see this story and publish it for real.

He’s working on another book, about a closet that eats jackets. He says it’s “based on actual events,” which is the funniest thing I’ve heard all week.


It’s just about the middle of February, so I think I can ask: How are you doing on your resolutions? Are you sticking to them? Have you abandoned them? Did you resolve not to make any resolutions this year at all and you’re sticking to that?

Let me know in the comments below. If you’re too embarrassed to admit you’ve already not stuck to your resolutions, you can always lie.

The Life and Music of Peggy Lee

A terrific interview with Lee’s granddaughter by CBS Sunday Morning’s Mo Rocca, about Lee’s music, her personal life, and the Peggy Lee Museum in Wimbledon, North Dakota.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

The Post featured an interview with Lee in our October 10, 1964, issue.

Sports Moment of the Week

It’s Bill Murray’s world, we just live in it.

RIP Douglas Trumbull, John Koss, Todd Gitlin, Jason Epstein, Sam Lay, Lata Mangeshkar, Bill Fitch, Robert Blalack, and Donny Gerrard

Douglas Trumbull was an acclaimed special effects artist known for his work on such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He also directed Silent Running and Brainstorm and created the opening for the ABC Movie of the Week, which people of a certain age will remember. He died Monday at the age of 79.

You’ve probably used the product that John Koss co-invented in the late ’50s, Koss headphones. He died in December at the age of 91.

Todd Gitlin was a respected writer, activist, critic, and political historian. He died in December at the age of 79.

Jason Epstein was an acclaimed editor at Random House and the person who came up with the idea for The New York Review of Books. He died last week at the age of 93.

Sam Lay played drums for Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and was the drummer for Bob Dylan when he went electric at the Newport Jazz Festival. He died last month at the age of 86.

Lata Mangeshkar was one of the most beloved singers in India. She died Sunday at the age of 92.

Bill Fitch coached the Boston Celtics to a championship in 1981 and was the NBA Coach of the Year twice. He died last week at the age of 89.

Robert Blalack won an Oscar for his special effects work on the original Star Wars and also did effects for Airplane!, The Blues Brothers, Altered States, Cat People, the TV series Cosmos, and the TV movie The Day After, for which he won an Emmy. He died last week at the age of 73.

Donny Gerrard was the lead singer of the Skylarks, who had a hit with one of the nicest songs of the ’70s, “Wildflower.” He later sang vocals for people like Bob Seger, Bette Midler, and Neil Diamond. He died Thursday at the age of 75.

This Week in History

Queen Elizabeth Takes Reign (February 6, 1952)

Yup, the Queen is marking 70 years on the throne. She (and her busy schedule) were featured in the November 8, 1952, issue of the Post, and she and her husband Prince Philip appeared on the cover of the April 27, 1963, issue.

Romper Room Premieres (February 10, 1953)

I watched this show — which had a national broadcast but also syndicated franchises on local stations around the country — when I was a kid, but the only thing I clearly remember about it is that, at the end of each episode, the host would hold up a magic mirror and say hello to all of the kids she could “see” watching the show.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Sunday Visitors (February 6, 1954)

Sunday Visitors

All the guy in this George Hughes cover wants to do is read the paper and watch the Super Bowl. Is that too much to ask?

The Big Game

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with ordering a few pizzas to eat while watching the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals (on NBC at 6:30 p.m. ET, with five and a half hours of pre-game coverage), but there are also a lot of other classic football-friendly foods you could put on the table, like avocado toast, quinoa salad, and watercress sandwiches.

Just kidding! You can start with Super Nachos from Food Network or Classic Buffalo Wings from Delish. The Pioneer Woman has Pigs in a Blanket, while Country Living has Fried Pickles. Chili is a good football (and winter) meal, and since Cincinnati is playing, try Copycat Skyline Cincinnati Chili from The Chunky Chef. And to be fair, we need something for the other team, so try Food & Wine’s Double Cheeseburgers, Los Angeles Style.

Dessert? How about Taste of Home’s Root Beer Cookies?

I’d make a prediction about the game, but I know nothing about football. I’m one of those people who watches the Super Bowl for the commercials.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Galentine’s Day (February 13)

This special day was started by Leslie Knope on an episode of Parks and Recreation, and now it’s a real special day for women to celebrate themselves. This year it happens to fall on the same day as the Super Bowl.

Valentine’s Day (February 14)

Or as I’m calling it this year, “Monday.”

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. The Sunday paper! What’s that? Our paper in Columbus Ohio has collapsed under Gannett ownership and is just a left wing rag now. Nobody on my block reads it anymore.

  2. Thanks for the Peggy Lee segment. I know people went crazy over her recording of Fever, but arrangement notwithstanding, I hate the song. On the other hand, she turned Richard Rodgers’ pleasant waltz, Lover, into one of the most thrilling recordings ever made. If I remember correctly, Rodgers hated it, which figures.

  3. No mention of the weather this week? It’s more bizarre than ever. Freezing (and below) in some parts of the country, abnormally hot in others. With tomorrow’s Super Bowl, the Bengals are going to be playing in February weather they’re not used to. The L.A. Rams either, for that matter.

    You might want to re-think looking forward to it for the commercials. At one time they were pretty awesome, but have declined over the last several years and have now largely degenerated into a ghettoized (and really stupid) mess. Super Bowl ads are among the WORST ads of the year now. Half-time will fit right in. In other words the game better be good, and not ‘lopsided’ with one team languishing throughout.

    I do want the Rams to win because they’re my football team, and California has to have SOMETHING we can be proud of. Still, I want the Bengals to get face-saving close in an exciting game, and not “crushed”. Same if it’s the reverse.

    The new book on Watergate is one I suppose I should read. Just very glad Woodward & Bernstein are both still around today and have openly admitted Nixon & Watergate was a gentle carnival ride for little children compared to the terrifying roller coaster of the outright democracy destruction of more recent years.

    Donny Gerrard was wonderful. I love ‘Wildflower’ too. He worked with some of the best in the business. Thanks for the Sunday Morning feature on Peggy Lee here!! Very proud to share the same birthday (5/26) with this incredible singer, and remarkable American woman otherwise. Her granddaughter Holly is a wonderful with her insights into her grandmother’s life.

    God bless Queen Elizabeth on her 70 years, and that she doesn’t have/get Covid. I’m sure she’s fine, but at 95 some prayers for good measure are in order. She may be England’s Queen, but by extension she’s ours too!

    The 1954 cover ‘Sunday Visitors’ featured here by George Hughes definitely commonalities with Rockwell’s ’59 ‘Sunday Morning’ cover and Thornton Utz’s 1961 ‘Unwanted Pool Guests’. All 3 feature men just wanting their quiet time reading the Sunday paper. Is that too much to ask?


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