News of the Week: Summer Books, the Return of Stuckey’s, and How Do You Use a Knife and Fork?

In the news for the week ending June 17, 2022, are books and book debates, a Stuckey’s reboot, a knife (and fork) fight, bacon-wrapped chocolate-dipped onion rings, and more.

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Here are 6 summer books — or as I call them, books — you might want to pick up.

Directed by James Burrows by James Burrows. Jon Cryer was almost Chandler on Friends! Lucille Ball turned down the role as Diane’s mom on Cheers! A lot of people don’t like Rob Schneider! Those are just some of the stories told by the legendary sitcom director in this entertaining memoir.

James Patterson by James Patterson. The author, who made some controversial headlines this week, has written an autobiography that shows how he went from a top advertising exec (he wrote the ad line “I’m a Toys R Us Kid”) to one of the most successful writers of all time.

Be My Baby by Ronnie Spector. This is an updated and expanded edition of the late singer’s 1990 memoir, with a new introduction by Keith Richards.

On the Trail of Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Browning. This follows the career of Arthur Conan Doyle and how he came up with the idea for the iconic detective, who was based on a real person.

Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra. I’ll let the publisher describe this novel: “The epic tale of a brilliant woman who must reinvent herself to survive, moving from Mussolini’s Italy to 1940s Los Angeles … .On the eve of America’s entry into World War II, Maria is an associate producer at Mercury Pictures, trying to keep her personal and professional lives from falling apart.”

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney. This mystery revolves around a family reunion that takes place on an isolated island. Each family member is killed one by one. Book Riot’s one-word review for this is “BANANAPANTS.” (Not out until August 30, but that’s still summer.)

Amazon Is Not a Library!

Is it wrong to buy an ebook and then return it for a refund? That’s the debate right now, as authors are upset that Amazon gives people seven days to return an ebook. That means someone can read a book, either disliking it or not liking it enough to read it again, and return it for a full refund. (Amazon keeps track and will impose a limit on how many books you return if you’re abusing the policy.) This can actually cost an author money.

I don’t think this would happen with physical books. A person wouldn’t bother mailing it back to Amazon and would either give it to someone else or throw it away.

Stuckey’s

I’ve never been to a Stuckey’s — there aren’t any in Massachusetts right now and I wasn’t aware of any when I was a kid — but I’ve been aware of them through reading about road trips and American pop culture references. A lot of the locations (there are currently around 65, down from 368) aren’t in the best shape, and the new owner is trying to change that.

Actually, the “new” owner has an old name: Stuckey. Stephanie Stuckey knew she had to do something when she saw how far the chain had fallen during pandemic times, and with that last name she knows what has to be done.

Knife Fight

Let’s check in with Miss Manners and see what people are talking about. Ah, the “correct” way to eat with a knife and fork.

The LW (that’s “letter writer” in MM world — MM is “Miss Manners”) says that she has spent a lot of time in England and France and noticed that Europeans and Americans hold their utensils the same way when cutting food, the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right (I’m right-handed so I’m not sure how you left-handed weirdos do things).

But that’s where the similarity ends! In America, most people then put their knife down, transfer the fork to their right hand, and eat. In Europe, they don’t transfer the fork to their right hand, they just eat with the left hand, even if it’s not their dominant hand. (The LW says something about “spearing” the food with your knife and then “transferring” the food to the fork, which sounds bizarre to me — the fork is already doing the “spearing” for you.)

Is this true? I have to admit it’s something I never really thought about (the closest I’ve ever been to Europe is that Rick Steves show on PBS). I guess not transferring the fork to your right hand would save time but it seems unwieldy to me (especially if you’re not left-handed) and would probably make you eat faster, never a good thing.

Miss Manners says the American way is more civilized and explains that it was actually Europeans who brought it over.

Question: How do you use a knife and fork? Let me know in the comments below.

RIP Philip Baker Hall, Julee Cruise, Matt Zimmerman, Donald Pippin, and Baxter Black

Philip Baker Hall was an acclaimed character actor who appeared in many movies, including Magnolia, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, The Rock, Air Force One, The Insider, Midnight Run, and the one-man Nixon film Secret Honor, but may be best remembered to TV fans for playing Bookman the library cop on Seinfeld. He also appeared on many other TV shows. He died Sunday at the age of 90.

Julee Cruise was a singer and songwriter who worked a lot with director David Lynch, including providing vocals for the series Twin Peaks. She appeared on the show, its sequel, and the feature film and also released several solo albums. She died last week at the age of 65.

Matt Zimmerman was best known as the voice of Alan Tracy on the Thunderbirds series and movies. He died last week at the age of 87.

Donald Pippin was an Emmy- and Tony-winning conductor and musical director. He died last week at the age of 95.

Baxter Black was a cowboy poet and storyteller. He died last week at the age of 77.

This Week in History

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Released (June 11, 1982)

Did you know that Harrison Ford filmed a scene as Elliott’s principal that was ultimately cut out of the movie?

Watergate Break-In (June 17, 1972)

For the 50th anniversary, CBS Sunday Morning has a feature on how the scandal changed Washington, D.C.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

 

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Sunday Afternoon Callers” (June 17, 1950)

Do people still have family and friends come over on Sunday afternoons? We had visitors every Sunday when I was a kid, but I don’t remember my mother looking as irritated as the couple on this George Hughes cover.

National Onion Ring Day

June is National Turkey Lovers Month. But since there’s no way that day should be celebrated in June — turkey is more a November/December thing — let’s talk about onion rings (definitely a summer thing). National Onion Ring Day is next Wednesday.

Here’s a recipe for Old-Fashioned Onion Rings from AllRecipes, and here’s one for Oven Baked Onion Rings from the same place. Just a Taste has a recipe for Beer-Battered Onion Rings, and if you’re looking for something really healthy-sounding, try these BBQ Bacon Wrapped Chocolate Dipped Onion Rings from Scrappy Geek.

You can eat them with your fingers so there’s no utensil confusion.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Father’s Day (June 19)

Take a look at our cover gallery of classic dad moments.

First Day of Summer (June 21)

It officially begins at 5:14 a.m. EDT.

 

Featured Image: Shutterstock

 

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Comments

  1. Stuckey’s sounds like it could have a bright future again under Stephanie Stuckey. A woman with a vision and plan to make it happen. Maybe they’ll be some on the west coast with her expansion plans. It won’t be easy in these times of runaway inflation, and all resources going out of the U.S. in a new never-ending war now being “normalized”.

    I just use the dominant right hand to use the knife as needed, but leave the fork in my left after putting down the knife. Sounds like Miss Manners would be pleased. A civilized American man! Can she meet me for dinner at The Smoke House in Burbank or Monty’s Steak House in Woodland Hills? Have her people call mine to arrange it.

    The ‘Sunday Afternoon Callers’ cover is kind of puzzling to me. Is the irritated couple that way because of the family that just left, or the one’s coming up the walkway with the twin boys? Is it the timing, with no break in between? At a minimum it’s awkward. I foresee some kind of argument after the second family leaves, unfortunately.

    Don’t forget the additional Father’s Day link Bob enclosed at the bottom. More great covers with stories to go along with them. ‘Bike Riding Lesson’ on thst steep downward sidewalk has me worried father and son are about to have an accident. “Son, get your feet on the brakes—-NOW!”

    Then there’s one of my most favorites by Rockwell. I stand by my name for it, but maybe this ‘Sunday Morning’ dad just needed to zonk-out with the paper in his pj’s for some quality, quiet time after a tough work week, and maybe one ahead. Still, he does look like a guilty bad dad, especially with the contrasting background. Mom’s not happy, but holding it in. He’s just waiting for the sound of that front door to close.

  2. Honestly, I was not familiar with the Stuckey’s restaurant chain previously out here. They must be good or there wouldn’t have been so many. It sounds like they’ll thrive once again with Stephanie Stuckey at the helm. The pandemic continues to do damage to restaurants, nationwide. In Ca. we have a scant few Dickie’s Barbecue restaurants left. Google indicates most are permanently closed.

    3 close by to me in Northridge, Woodland Hills and Encino. So far so good on Monty’s steak house in Woodland Hills, and The Smoke House in Toluca Lake. An occasional treat only with the punishing, outrageous, runaway inflation on everything.

    On the knives and forks, I’ll cut the steak (always well done) with my right hand, put it down, then use the fork with my left with no switching. There. It’s now in these comments below as requested.

    I don’t fully understand the 1950 George Hughes cover. The host couple is clearly irritated. The couples (with children) were presumably invited, and look happy. Maybe it’s the 2nd couple, with the twin boys they’re upset with. It’s not good. Definitely awkward.

    Thanks for the 2013 vintage Dad covers link. ‘Hot Dogs’ is a Ben Prins classic. See how well the 6 dogs are behaved, at least at that moment? With ‘Father Figure’ it looks like the boy is gazing up at mom, while dad is actually taking a spoonful of this (terrible tasting) medicine. You can see the anguish in his face and left hand.

    ‘Bike Riding’ also by George Hughes, is pretty scary. That’s a VERY steep sidewalk where they’re about to have a bad accident (using your imagination) that’s best left unseen. In ‘Pillow Fight’ by Thornton Utz, those boys didn’t fool dad for a second. All the horseplay racket noise is what brought him in there!

    Finally there’s ‘Bad Dad’ I nicknamed Rockwell’s ‘Sunday Morning’ years ago. Maybe he had a hard work week, with another ahead and just wanted some alone, quality time to read the paper in his pj’s, uninterrupted. I’m sure he’s a good man, but in this instance (just look at his face) and his wife and daughter’s body language, he’s being a bad dad here, sorry to say. That’s my final decision and I’m staying with it.

    Happy Father’s Day, whether the children have 2 legs and/or 4. You’re their dad either way, and your day doesn’t get the same respect from society (barely a drop) compared to Mother’s Day. It’s shameful, but you do from The Saturday Evening Post, and that makes up for a lot.

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