News of the Week: The Blizzard of ’22, Moon Rockets, and Great American Pies

In the news for the week ending February 4, 2022: An SNL comedian ravages the East coast, Elon Musk makes a crater on the moon, dozens of fans try to save Tab, and more.

People in a city stuck in a blizzard

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This section is about the blizzard that hit the Northeast last week, and you’re probably wondering why I titled it after the name of a veteran Saturday Night Live cast member. Well, it’s because they name winter storms now (because naming hurricanes isn’t enough, apparently). This one was named Kenan (here’s a list of the names that are coming up).

The official definition of a blizzard, at least in New England, is a storm with blowing snow for three consecutive hours, sustained or gusts of wind of at least 35 mph, and visibility of a quarter mile or less. We met all the criteria, but when a storm is really big, I think we can casually call it a blizzard even if it doesn’t strictly fit the definition. If it’s snowing and windy for two and a half hours and you have several inches on the ground, I don’t think the weather police (with Captain Al Roker) will arrest you for using the term.

It seems odd to use the phrase “Blizzard of ’22” though. It looks wrong to me, like it should be a reference to a storm that happened in 1822 or 1922.

The best part of the wall-to-wall local TV coverage of these storms (besides the fact that the anchors wear sweaters instead of ties) are the spontaneous, random interviews the reporters have with people they find walking around. This might be the most Boston 33 seconds ever, as the correspondent and interviewees manage to work in mention of the storm, Tom Brady’s retirement, and … well, wait for the classic Boston reference at the end.

I got a foot and a half where I live. It took six sessions of shoveling to completely clear the stairs and carve a path through the white drifts. (It’s always better to shovel several times to keep ahead of things and not wait until the storm’s over and try to do it all at once.) This happened twice, only with a sidewalk entrance instead of a driveway.

The power never went out though. Didn’t even flicker. I did lose my cable and internet for a couple of hours. I had to — are you ready? — read a physical book. Best part of the storm, because it felt really great to get away from all the screens for a while.

Does Pink Floyd Know about This?

It sounds like the plot of an episode of a sci-fi show, but a rogue SpaceX rocket is going to crash into the dark side of the moon next month. The big question: Can Elon Musk be sued?

Washington’s New Football Name

It’s the Washington Commanders. I still say they should have gone with the Washington Denzels.

The Tab Superfans

I was never one of the beautiful people, but I remember liking Tab, the one-calorie cola drink popular in the ’70s and ’80s. Coke discontinued it in 2020 because of low sales, but fans of the drink are running low on the cans they bought up and are trying to get the company to bring it back.

They’ve started an online petition, if you remember the drink and want to sign it, but it’s going to take a lot of superfans to get Coke to change their mind.

Headline of the Week

“Homeowner Tries Melting Snow with Garden-Torch, Sets House on Fire”

RIP Howard Hesseman, Monica Vitti, Hargus Robbins, Ron Goulart, Cheslie Kryst, Morgan Stevens, Donald May, Carleton Carpenter, and Ron Bacon

Howard Hesseman was best known for his role as Johnny Fever on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and his role as Charlie Moore on Head of the Class. He also appeared on One Day at a Time, Dragnet, The Bob Newhart Show, and many movies. He died Saturday at the age of 81.

Monica Vitti was an iconic Italian actress famous for her roles in such Michelangelo Antonioni films as L’Avventura, La Notte, L’Eclisse, and Red Desert. She died this week at the age of 90.

Hargus Robbins was a session musician who played piano on thousands of songs, including Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces,” Kenny Rogers’s ”The Gambler,” Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and the classic Bob Dylan album Blonde on Blonde. He died Sunday at the age of 84.

Ron Goulart wrote 180 books over his career in many different genres and styles — everything from science fiction to romance novels to a series of detective novels featuring Groucho Marx. He also did comics, wrote nonfiction, worked in advertising, and even wrote tie-in books for movies and TV shows, including the sitcom Laverne & Shirley. He died last month at the age of 89.

Cheslie Kryst was a former Miss USA and a correspondent on Extra. She died Sunday at the age of 30.

Morgan Stevens had regular roles on Melrose Place and Fame and appeared on many other shows, including The Waltons, One Day at a Time, and one of the best episodes of Magnum, P.I. He died last week at the age of 70.

Donald May played Nick Drake on Edge of Night for many years and also appeared on The Roaring 20’s, West Point, Texas, The Magical World of Disney, Dallas, and L.A. Law. He died last week at the age of 92.

Carleton Carpenter not only had roles in many Broadway musicals, movies, and TV shows over the years, but he also was a songwriter and a novelist who wrote several mysteries. He died Monday at the age of 95.

Ron Bacon had a zillion credits over his long career as a director and producer of award shows, game shows, talk shows, sitcoms, soap operas, variety shows, and commercials. He died in December at the age of 91.

This Week in History

Chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs Debuts on Today Show (February 3, 1953)

I’m not sure what’s more stunning, that NBC’s Today show added a chimp to the cast in 1953 to increase ratings (and it worked) or the fact that J. Fred Muggs is still alive. He lives in Citrus Park, Florida, with a girl chimpanzee he met on the show.

Norman Rockwell Born (February 3, 1894)

Rockwell did over 300 covers for the Post. (I should start an online petition to declare February 3 “National Norman Rockwell Day.”)

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Crossword Puzzle” (January 31, 1925)

This is one of those Rockwell covers. I do a lot of crossword puzzles, but I’ve never had anyone sit next to me and look up answers in a book.

February Is Great American Pies Month

What exactly is an “American” pie? Is it a pie made with an ingredient only found in the U.S., or simply a pie that’s popular in the U.S.? Maybe both? I think these pies qualify as American pies.

The Spruce Eats has recipes for a Blueberry Custard Pie and a Banana Cream Pie. You can make this Pecan Pie from The Saturday Evening Post Fiber & Bran Better Health Cookbook or this Classic Pumpkin Pie from Food Network. Also from Food Network is this recipe for Apple Pie, probably the most American of Great American Pies.

If you squint, the lattice crust looks a little like a crossword puzzle.

Uploaded to YouTube by the Don McLean Official YouTube Channel

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Winter Olympics (February 4-20)

The Games actually start tonight, Friday, with the opening ceremonies on NBC at 8 p.m. ET. For the next two weeks, all the NBC channels (NBC, CNBC, USA, and Peacock) will have coverage.

National Weatherperson’s Day (February 5)

Meteorologist Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Wednesday, so that means six more weeks of winter. Also: Spring doesn’t begin until March 20, so that means six more weeks of winter.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. I had no problem with the “Redskins” name which was used for years by the Washington team. Most fans considered it a tribute of respect for Native Americans of all Indian Nations. It was sad the ownership bowed to “woke” political chatter deemed as pressure or otherwise from the “snowflakes” who were also riding this bandwagon. If I were the team management or ownership I would have responded to those yo-yos with this: “When you pay the bills and salaries, then you can have the opportunity to change the name of the team. Case closed!” But unfortunately, they didn’t have the balls to to just that and instead cowered to “political correctness.” Pretty sad.
    But I don’t believe the “Commanders” truly represent the team nor the spirit current residing in Washington, DC nowadays. Instead, why didn’t they call them “Swamp Creatures” which we all know Washington is loaded with?

  2. These ongoing blizzards/snowstorms/deep freezes have a horrible grip on the Northeast that’s just not letting go. So you got a foot and a half (18″) of snow where you live. It sounds like you’ve got a shoveling routine that works. Glad your electricity didn’t go out! I was just wondering what temperature you keep the thermostat at? I keep mine at 72 year-round.

    Geez that Boston correspondent and the two guys interviewed here are stupid. Judging Tom Brady about his retirement from football after 22 years?! Then we have people with nothing better to do than trying to get enough other people to sign a petition to get the Coca-Cola company to bring Tab back again. It’s a wonder it wasn’t cancelled 40 years ago. I haven’t seen it in L.A. supermarkets in years.

    Tab was started in 1963 as diet form of the drink (per market demand) without having to “tarnish” the Coca-Cola name or image otherwise, but that’s what Tab was. 20 years later it didn’t matter when Diet Coke was introduced. It tastes like what it is: a can of unpronounceable chemicals. I’m surprised more men haven’t set their homes on fire using garden-torches to melt stubborn snow out of desperation.

    The Blueberry Custard Pie looks great. May I have a slice with some Land O Lakes whipped cream from the can?



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