News of the Week: Snack Cakes, P.J. O’Rourke, and a Devastating Shortage of Moxie

In the news for the week ending February 18, 2022, are an abundance of world records, a shortage of cola, an upgrade to the post office, an end to a comic strip, and more.


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Random Notes

Notes jotted down during a week where it went from all-day ice and snow to 53 degrees in four days …

I watched the Super Bowl commercials. I don’t remember any of them.

I’ve reached the age where I pay closer attention to prescription medication commercials. “Ask your doctor if Lipitor is right for you.” I did. And it is!

The other day the clerk at the pharmacy said to me, “Could I have your name?” And I said, “Well, you could, but that would be an amazing coincidence.” She didn’t laugh.

Do people know how to set a proper table setting these days? Do they teach that in school? How about handling your finances, social studies, typing, or sewing?

Meta — aka Facebook — wants employees to call each other Metamates. The Post has rejected my idea that we be called Postmates. Besides, that name is already taken.

There’s a Bob Ross cereal. It’s toasted oats mixed with crunchy marshmallows in Bob Ross-inspired shapes like mountains and bushes.

I’m a little embarrassed that it took me until age 56 to realize that the Swiss Rolls snack cakes are the Little Debbie version of Drake’s Yodels (get the name similarities?), which debuted in 1962. (Swiss Rolls came out a year later). Ho Hos, the Hostess version of the cake, came out in 1967. Maybe I should do a taste test here at some point.

And maybe eating snack cakes is one of the reasons I now take Lipitor.

The New, Improved USPS

It’s about time something truly big happened to help improve the post office. It’s such a vital part of the country and always will be, even if one day we’ll be sending texts and emails and Facebook posts with our minds.

CNN has a guide to what the new reform act means for all of us. It could save the post office (which, by the way, doesn’t receive a penny of taxpayer money) $50 billion over the next ten years.

There’s a Moxie Shortage

I don’t mean that there’s a shortage of nerve and determination in people — we have a surplus of that — I mean Moxie, the official soft drink of Maine.

I tried Moxie years ago because I really love the logo. And … well, I still really love the logo. (The soda is an acquired taste.)

Man Sets 52 Guinness Records in 52 Weeks

His name is Dennis Rush, and he breaks records to help promote STEM education. He holds over 200 Guinness World Records. He isn’t the world’s fastest runner, but he is the world’s fastest juggler, and holds records for juggling axes, setting up a chess board, and balancing glasses on his mouth, among other things.

RIP P.J. O’Rourke, Ivan Reitman, Ian McDonald, Trude Feldman, Jim Angle, Bob Wall, and Stephanie Selby

P.J. O’Rourke was one of the great political humorists. He wrote more than 20 books and was a contributor to several publications, including Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The Weekly Standard, and The American Spectator. He appeared on such TV shows as 60 Minutes, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Charlie Rose, NPR’s Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!, and was editor of National Lampoon and American Consequences. He died Tuesday at the age of 74. Here’s an appreciation of O’Rourke from Matt Labash and here’s one from Jonathan Last.

Ivan Reitman directed such classic comedies as Ghostbusters, Stripes, Meatballs, and Dave, and he produced many more. He died Saturday at the age of 75.

Ian McDonald was a founding member of both King Crimson and Foreigner. He died last week at the age of 75.

Trude Feldman was a veteran White House reporter known for getting interviews with every president from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush. She died in January at the age of 97.

Jim Angle was one of the first correspondents and anchors when Fox News launched in 1996. He died Wednesday at the age of 75.

Bob Wall was a martial artist and actor known for fighting Bruce Lee in movies, most famously in Enter the Dragon. He died Sunday at the age of 82.

As a young ballet dancer, Stephanie Selby was the subject of a popular book by Jill Krementz. She became disillusioned with the dancing life and quit just a few years later. She died earlier this month at the age of 56.

This Week in History

Grant Wood Born (February 13, 1891)

The artist behind the iconic painting American Gothic did a cover for the Post in 1942.

Final Peanuts (February 13, 2000)

The last strip by Charles Schulz was published just one day after Schulz died at the age of 77.

Here are some cartoons Schulz did for the Post before Peanuts debuted in 1950, and here are some more.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Setting the Table (February 16, 1957)

Setting the Table

Seriously, do they still teach this stuff?

Sunday Is National Muffin Day

I haven’t had a muffin in quite a while. Maybe because I haven’t bought any and also haven’t made any? That’s probably why.

Here’s a Post recipe for Cranberry-Orange Corn Muffins, and here’s one for Double Chocolate Muffins from Sally’s Baking Addiction. That same site has these Apple Cinnamon Crumb Muffins, while Taste of Home has recipes for Basic Banana Muffins and Blueberry Cream Muffins (Maine is famous for blueberries and Moxie).

I couldn’t find any muffin recipes that actually include Moxie, but I did find this cupcake recipe that does. Close enough.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Hoodie-Hoo Day (February 20)

This is the day you’re supposed to go outside at noon, wave your hands in the air, and yell “Hoodie-Hoo!” (Or maybe you can yell “Ho Hos!” instead)

Presidents Day, or President’s Day, or Presidents’ Day (February 21)

The day began specifically to honor George Washington but now celebrates all presidents. It’s also the holiday with the most confusing punctuation.

Featured image: © SEPS

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  1. The ice skating in central park cover screams 60s to me.. I thought 60s before I saw the date. Love it. Illustrations in Readers Digest condensed books of the 60s had a similar style. Nice memories.

  2. Bob Dickie, you’re so right about classes in high school that teach the life skills to both sexes as you mentioned. This has always been true, but even more so today in a gender-neutral society where what used to be “men’s” or “women’s” jobs are done by both in a completely different socio-economic world.

    True on all the aspects of personal finance that are never taught in school. So many young people (especially college students) might think twice about that ‘easy’ credit card, going on spending sprees they can’t pay for and then having to turn to their parents to bail them out. A lot of companies go to campuses, set up tables with free hats, pens, etc. if they sign up, and they do. The companies know about 10% is going to go bad, with them spending like kids in their ‘candy store’ with the card. The loss, minimal in the big picture, is already factored in.

    They also know (in most cases) the parents ARE going to bail out their son or daughter so their credit score isn’t ruined for years. I worked at at a company that did just that. It’s not illegal, but it’s certainly unethical. Internally it’s known as ‘the tender trap’. Dealing with such accounts that would come to my desk kept me employed there a long time.

    I’d speak with frantic parents wanting to make it right, then had to advise them about 3rd party disclosure. If there’s a will, there’s a way and had them make guesses (higher, lower…) as to the amount so they’d be saying the amount, not me. I’d just confirm it as correct.

    That was probably unethical too, but if you want an omelette (make/exceed your quota) you have to break a few eggs. Such messes are further evidence of what is taught in school overall has little to no practical meaning in life, unfortunately.

    Home Economics! THAT’s what it was (is?) called. Just didn’t think of the name when commenting. It was only for the girls, so no wonder; plus it was a long time ago. As far as the Moxie goes, I definitely don’t want to try it now!

  3. Regarding the ‘57 Post “Home Economics Class” cover, I’ve always felt that now more than ever we should have a class like this in high school called Life Skills that teaches cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. ( for both sexes). Also a class on personal finances that explains savings, accounts, checking, credit cards, and the like. Too many of the youngest generations see such things as “magical” tasks (if they think about them at all) that are taken care of for them by others.
    P.S. – I tried Moxie on a vacation to Maine. Yuck! Bitter medicinal taste!

  4. Bob, cut back on those foods that have you on Lipitor. What would Dr. Zipes say? Next dump Facebook/Meta or whatever name it’ll be trying to hide behind next. I told you the Superbowl ads wouldn’t be good overall, and they weren’t. Halftime was about what I thought it would be. Very sad, but fitting for today. I enjoyed the game otherwise fortunately!

    The USPS seems to survive despite all of its troubles going back to the 18th century. I never knew Moxie was soft drink. I always thought it was kind of a description for someone with a lot of nerve, or a sassy lady. Maybe sweet, smooth and sassy—- before she slaps you across the face. Still I’d love to try a can of it. The guy in the picture kind of looks like a silent film star of the ’20s, or earlier.

    Thanks for the King Crimson video link Ian McDonald was a part of. A bit of The Rocky Horror Show meets Deep Purple and a few other choice sounds there. It’s too bad he was fired from Foreigner as they were working on their 4th album called ‘4’ since it then had 4 members. ‘4’ was a great album, but was also the end of their good run. Mick Jones decided to fashion the group after Journey, alienating millions of fans permanently including myself. The first 4 album though will always be wonderful. I’m sorry it wasn’t Mick in the above listings instead.

    ‘American Gothic’ is a great painting. It was cleverly incorporated into the plush opening credits of ‘Desperate Housewives’ in 2004. I doubt anything domestic as seen in this ’57 (Dohanos) Post cover is taught today at all. Possibly in a European ‘Finishing School’, if those are still around?


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