News of the Week: Ranch Rings, New Books, and the Post’s Connection to a Superman Mystery

In the news for the week ending March 18, 2022, are a tasty diamond, a broken microwave, a piano-sized asteroid, a bad poem, and more.

Starbucks paper cups and bag

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Random Notes

Starbucks is going to phase out their disposable coffee cups. Customers will now have to go behind the counter and drink directly from their coffee machines.

A guy bought the last football that Tom Brady threw for a touchdown at an auction on Saturday. Or maybe I should put last in quotation marks, because the next day Brady ended his month-and-a-half long retirement. Maybe the auction winner can get his $518,000 back? Is there a clause in the contract that helps this buyer? I guess the guy has to hope that Brady somehow doesn’t throw another touchdown in his career?

I finally tried Coke’s new Starlight limited edition soda. It’s limited all right. I don’t really think it tastes that much different than regular Coke. (I bought the one with sugar — there’s a “zero sugar” option too.) Maybe it tastes like flat Coke? It’s not bad, just not revolutionary (except for the color, which is a pinkish/raspberry/cranberry red). The company says it’s space-flavored (?), and reviewers online have said it tastes like everything from graham crackers to Skittles to berry and vanilla, which I’m just not getting.

My microwave oven died this week, after 15-20 years of loyal service. I can’t even get the door open because the button doesn’t work anymore. I guess I could pry it open, but if I don’t, I need to give the recycling people in my town a heads-up that there’s a bag of Rice-A-Roni Herb and Butter Rice still inside.

An asteroid the size of a grand piano hit the Earth this week. Some say it was half the size of a giraffe, a measurement I’ve never seen used before, but giraffes are always fun. I’ve always been fascinated by how people use the size of one object to describe other objects. Golf ball-sized hail, a building as tall as two football fields, and now an asteroid the size of a grand piano.

Liberace played a grand piano the size of an asteroid.

There’s a diamond ring for sale on eBay, but it’s not just any diamond ring. It’s made from ranch dressing. The people at Hidden Valley Ranch heated powdered ranch dressing mix to 2,500 degrees and applied 400 pounds of pressure to create the two-carat ring. The auction will have ended before you read this, but as I write this, the bids have passed $13,000.

I don’t have any comment about it, but it does remind me that I need to pick up some peppercorn ranch dressing this week. And carrots.

New Books

In the latest issue of the Post, Amazon senior editor Al Woodworth picks 10 books you might want to read. Here are four more.

What’s So Funny? by David Sipress. A memoir by one of the great New Yorker cartoonists.

From Strength to Strength by Arthur C. Brooks. Brooks writes a useful column for The Atlantic on how to live a better, happier life, and this book is “a roadmap for finding purpose, meaning, and success as we age.”

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James. A true crime blogger gets in over her head when she befriends a woman acquitted of two murders in the 1970s in this novel of the paranormal.

Glamour Road: Color, Fashion, Style, and the Midcentury Automobile by Jeff Stork and Tom Dolle. This handsome book looks at car advertising of the 1950s and ’60s, with a particular emphasis on how women were portrayed in the ads.

Thanks, But …

If you needed more proof just how cool Dolly Parton is, here you go: She has refused to be considered as a nominee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because she hasn’t really done any rock music and hasn’t earned it.

Look, Up in the Sky!

Screen Rant has an intriguing story about the very first Superman painting, which has a Post connection.

National Allied Publications, the publisher of the Superman comic, hired pulp artist H.J. Ward in the early ’40s to create the first painting of the Man of Steel after the successful Action Comics #1 that introduced the character in 1938. He was paid $100, and the plan was to use the painting to promote the Adventures of Superman radio show.

Publisher Harry Donenfeld hung the painting, which shows a rather different Superman than we’re used to seeing, in his office right behind his desk. The office made an appearance in a photo published in the June 21, 1941, issue of the Post, and you can see the painting on the wall behind Donenfeld and his staff. And then … well, click on the story above, as it gets more interesting and involves the disappearance of the painting and the revelation that there was a second painting, which may have made an appearance in the 1981 Dudley Moore movie Arthur. And what happened to the original?

RIP William Hurt, Brent Renaud, Pierre Zakrzewski, Charles Entenmann, Emilio Delgado, Tova Borgnine, Donald Pinkel, John Korty, Johnny Grier, and Elsa Klensch

William Hurt starred in such films as Broadcast News, Children of a Lesser God, Kiss of the Spider Woman (for which he won a Best Actor Oscar), The Big Chill, Altered States, Dark City, and The Accidental Tourist, as well as TV shows like Damages and Condor. He died Sunday at the age of 71.

Brent Renaud was a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He was killed in Ukraine last weekend at the age of 50.

Pierre Zakrzewski was a cameraman for Fox News. He was killed in Ukraine earlier this week at the age of 55.

Charles Entenmann’s last name may be familiar to you. His family started the company that makes all of the baked goods you buy at the supermarket. He died last month at the age of 92.

Emilio Delgado portrayed repair shop owner Luis Rodriguez on Sesame Street for 45 years. He died last week at the age of 81.

In the 1950s, scientist Donald Pinkel created an incredibly successful treatment for childhood leukemia. He died last week at the age of 95.

Tova Borgnine created a cosmetics empire via her appearances on QVC. Her husband was actor Ernest Borgnine. She died last month at the age of 80.

John Korty directed such films as The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Go Ask Alice, Class of ’63, The Ewok Adventure, and The Crazy Quilt, as well as several episodes of Sesame Street. He died last week at the age of 85.

Johnny Grier was the first Black NFL referee. He died last week at the age of 74.

Elsa Klensch was one of the first stars of CNN, as host of the fashion show Style with Elsa Klensch. She died last week at the age of 92.

This Week in History

Andrew Jackson Born (March 15, 1767)

Jackson was the seventh president, in office from 1829 to 1837, when the Post was still young. He was also famously mentioned in a Groucho Marx song.

Henry Blake Dies on M*A*S*H (March 18, 1975)

This was one of the first deaths of a main character in a comedy series, and one of the most shocking surprises for TV fans. For the cast too. They weren’t told about the death until a short time before filming the scene.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: GE Fridge (March 15, 1952)

GE ad
(Click to Enlarge)

Two minutes later, everything in the hands of the kid on the left came crashing down, and Mom and Dad weren’t smiling anymore.

March Is National Frozen Foods Month

Frozen foods have always been a staple and something we can’t get by without in modern times (thanks, Clarence Birdseye!). I can’t wait to use my new microwave.

There’s also a theory that frozen vegetables are even more nutritious than fresh because more of the nutrients and vitamins are locked in during the freezing process, though some say the differences between fresh and frozen are minor. Just eat more veggies.

Taste of Home has a Crumb-Topped Broccoli Bake that uses frozen cut broccoli, while The Kitchn (make sure you leave out that e) has a Hot Corn Casserole that includes frozen corn. I Heart Recipes uses frozen strawberries for this Homemade Strawberry Cobbler, while AllRecipes uses frozen bread dough for these Cinnamon Rolls. And since I mentioned Birdseye above, the official site has recipes for a Quick Teriyaki Stir-Fry, a Pasta Primavera, and a Chicken Zoodle Soup.

And I bet you thought I was going to have ranch dressing recipes this week.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Spring Begins (March 20)

For those keeping track, it begins at exactly 11:33 a.m. ET.

World Poetry Day (March 21)

World Poetry Day

Is on the twenty-first,

And these here lines

I haven’t rehearsed.

I know one thing

As I type this down:

Poems sometimes

End in really unsatisfying ways.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. I wish you would stop linking to articles in the New York Times. Every time I follow one of those links I get a message that I’ve used up my ration of free articles and that I have to subscribe to see the article. I’m not going to subscribe just for an occasional article.

    You put those references out of my reach. They are useless to me and, I presume, many others.

  2. Too bad Starbucks can’t phase themselves out as quickly as their “iconic” cups. Cups that contained the most bitter, nasty coffee I’ve ever tasted. Are you sure it isn’t because it isn’t burning a hole in the bottoms? Had to ask…

    The guy who spent $518,000 for the “last” football Tom Brady threw for a touchdown is most likely out of luck getting this sum back, and will have to hope Tom doesn’t throw another touchdown as his career resumes. That seems unlikely. If this guy had THAT kind of money to indulge in this indulgence, I can hardly feel sorry for him; please!

    So you had a can of Coke’s ‘space-flavored ‘Starlight’ this week. I agree and don’t on the flavor. It doesn’t taste like a regular Coca-Cola at all (to me). I also bought the 7.5 can 10 pack of the regular. You’re right about the color. Maybe they mean Mars, kinda, sorta? This past week I’ve gotten more of the graham cracker flavor than s’mores. Possibly because I’ve had a stressful, weird week and for some reason got off on sniffing the can once empty, and that’s the scent coming through the strongest.

    Sorry about your microwave passing away this week; especially with a bag of Rice=A-Roni and Butter still inside. The button to open won’t even work with a little WD-40? It’s none of my business, but thought I’d ask.

    It’s nice to see the new additions added to the Post’s recommended new books. I love mid-century cars, Googie-inspired architecture and so much more. The ‘Glamour Road’ book authors are going to be at an auto book store about 15 miles from me next month where I can buy it and get it autographed. High gas prices (in this instance) be damned!

    Dolly Parton is so wonderful and gracious (to the total pooh pile the R&R Hall of Fame is) in her handling of them this week. Even THEY have to know at this late date, rock ‘n roll’s been dead since the late 80’s except for new music by vintage artists. They’re looking for any legitimacy and relevancy having neither, just like SNL, and never will again.

    Nice mid-century GE Fridge Post ad. I wonder if it could have been painted BY one of the many Post artists of the time. Very distinctly 1952; not from either of the two later sections of the decade. You’re right. The boy with everything stacked so high may look innocent, but he’s a smart-ass brat looking for trouble and is about to find it.


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