News of the Week: Asteroid Adventures, Hallmark Movies, and the Dangers of the Five-Second Rule

In the news for the last week of September 2022 are 100 Christmas movies, Jetsons technology, out-of-this-world cereal, the queen’s pancakes, and more.


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Space Rocks

I played Asteroids a lot in the mid-’80s, at the mall arcade and at the local bowling alley. The goal is to maneuver your little triangle-shaped ship through space while zapping and breaking up the many asteroids that are coming toward you. Miss one and the asteroid will smash into you, breaking your ship into three or four pieces.

NASA did something similar this week, sending a vending machine-sized spacecraft named DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) into the large Dimorphos asteroid. It wasn’t to destroy it like a video game, it was simply to push it. It was a test to see if knocking an asteroid that might be on a collision course with Earth out of its orbit would work. And it looks like it worked.

This probably isn’t going to be the last time we’ll have to do something about space rocks coming toward Earth. Because if you’ve ever played Asteroids, you know there are a lot of them out there.

100 New Christmas Movies Are Coming This Year, and I’m Not Kidding

The TV networks will have 100 new Christmas movies for you to watch this holiday season, bringing the total number to 1,000,100.

Here’s the breakdown: Hallmark Channel will have 40, Lifetime 26, and 17 each from Great American Family and UpTV. CBS and Netflix have noticed how popular the films are and are producing several too.

Those are the numbers in this surprisingly fascinating piece in Variety about the world of Christmas TV movies. It focuses on Candace Cameron Bure, the queen of Hallmark Channel holiday flicks who recently departed the network to become the queen of Great American Family holiday flicks.

I’m not saying I watch a lot of these films, but I am glad they exist. They’re like the TV version of comfort food.

Did you know there are annual conventions for these Christmas dramas and other TV movies, called Christmas Con and RomaDrama? Me either.

The Boston Accent Is … Disappearing?

If this is true, it’s wicked troubling.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Boston

Food That Falls to the Ground Should Stay There

Even under the best of circumstances — you’re at home and you know how clean your floor is — the five-second rule is still a dicey thing. It’s particularly dicey at a baseball stadium. You don’t know what’s on the ground there. But that didn’t stop this dad from just cleaning off the ice cream his son dropped and giving it back to him.

What’s next, eating a slice of pizza that you dropped on the floor of a mall men’s room? (Note: I have no idea why you would have a slice of pizza in a mall men’s room.)

Meet George Jetson!

Last week marked the 60th anniversary of The Jetsons. How accurate was the show in predicting the future? Well, we don’t all have flying cars or robot maids, but they did pretty good with communication devices like video phone calls and TV watches.

Uploaded to YouTube by Warner Archive

RIP Louise Fletcher, Coolio, Hilary Mantel, Anton Fier, Dale McRaven, Ray Edenton, Pharoah Sanders, Venetia Stevenson, Ilse Nathan and Ruth Siegler

Louise Fletcher won an Oscar for her role as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She also appeared in movies like The Cheap Detective, Firestarter, and The Player, as well as on TV shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Maverick, ER, Picket Fences, Joan of Arcadia, and Shameless. She died last week at the age of 88.

Artis Leon Ivey Jr., professionally known as Coolio, had such hit hip-hop/rap songs as “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage.” He died Wednesday at the age of 59.

Hilary Mantel was the acclaimed writer of a trilogy of novels based on the life of Thomas Cromwell: Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light. She died last week at the age of 70.

Anton Fier was the drummer in the bands the Golden Palominos, the Lounge Lizards, and the Feelies and also played with people like Herbie Hancock and Mick Jagger. He died last week at the age of 66.

Dale McRaven co-created Mork & Mindy and Perfect Strangers, was a producer and writer for The Partridge Family (and produced some of their albums), and wrote for series like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Odd Couple, The Joey Bishop Show, and The Texas Wheelers. He died earlier this month at the age of 83.

Ray Edenton was one of the top session guitarists, playing on thousands of songs, including Patsy Cline’s “Sweet Dreams,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” Kenny Rogers’s ”The Gambler,” the Everly Brothers’ songs “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Bye Bye Love,” as well as songs by Elvis Presley, Rosemary Clooney, and Sammy Davis Jr. He died last week at the age of 95.

Pharoah Sanders was an acclaimed jazz saxophonist who played with John Coltrane and released several albums of his own. He died last week at the age of 81.

Venetia Stevenson was the woman featured on the cover of Oh LaLa in Back to the Future II, but before that she was in such movies as Darby’s Rangers, Horror Hotel, and The Sergeant Was a Lady, as well as shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and 77 Sunset Strip. She was later a script reader for Burt Reynolds’s company, was once married to Don Everly of the Everly Brothers, and used to be Axl Rose’s mother-in-law. She died Monday at the age of 84.

Ilse Nathan and Ruth Siegler not only survived the Birkenau concentration camp during World War II, they were sisters who went on to marry two other Holocaust survivors and live near each other in Alabama. They died 10 days apart, Nathan at the age of 98 and Siegler at the age of 95.

This Week in History

Truman Capote Born (September 30, 1924)

The writer of many short stories and books (he wrote about the filming of the film version of In Cold Blood for the Post in 1968) died in 1984 at the home of Johnny Carson’s ex-wife Joanne.

Cheers Premieres (September 30, 1982)

Yup, it debuted 40 years ago. Here’s an interesting story from writer/producer Ken Levine on why Jay Thomas, who played Carla’s ex Eddie, was suddenly killed off. It had to do with something he said on his radio show.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Kellogg’s Cereal ad (September 24, 1949)

I remember getting the Kellogg’s multi-pack when I was a kid, though by that time they had replaced Pep and Corn Soya with more “fun” cereals. I ate a lot of Quisp back then. Now I’m older so I eat a lot of Cheerios.

Uploaded to YouTube by VintageTVCommercials

September Is National Breakfast Month

There’s nothing wrong with a bowl of cereal for breakfast (or dinner, as Jerry Seinfeld would tell you), but if you’re feeling more ambitious …

Let’s start with a pancake recipe from Queen Elizabeth II. Yes, it’s the actual recipe she gave to President Eisenhower in a letter she wrote to him in 1960 when he visited Balmoral Castle.

I don’t have any other royalty-inspired recipes, but how about this Breakfast Fruit Pizza from The Saturday Evening Post Antioxidant Cookbook? Also from the Post comes Curtis Stone’s Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Chives. and Cheryl Forberg’s Huevos Sofrito. Taste of Home has this hearty Sheepherder’s Breakfast (eggs and bacon and hash browns with cheese), while Yankee has the original recipe for Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins, long a favorite at the now defunct Boston department store chain.

I’ve had those muffins and they’re wicked awesome.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Kale Day (October 5)

Studies show that babies in the womb introduced to kale actually grimace, compared to the smiles induced by carrots. Glad to see researchers are doing the really important studies.

Baseball Playoffs — Wild Cards (October 7)

The teams haven’t been set yet but the games will air on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET, ABC at 2 p.m., and then again on ESPN at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

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  1. In light of what happened, I hope the little boy at the baseball stadium had a new ice cream purchased for him; preferably in a cup with a spoon. He definitely wanted it, but was wisely conflicted and wary once it had fallen on the ground, despite dad’s efforts to clean it up. He’s right. It would have been both gross and unenjoyable to eat.

    The Jetsons should continue to be viewed and enjoyed as what is was and still is: a mid-century retro-futurism cartoon comedy that was a product of that time and not meant as a measuring stick for the present day, even if there are progressive coincidences here and there.

  2. With all that’s wrong in this country, maybe this isn’t the best time for NASA to be spending God knows how many (?) billions on asteroid/outer-space dodge ball. Especially with hundreds of billions already sent to Zelensky in Ukraine with no accounting for it, of course. Charity begins at home, in the dire straits United States!!

    Sounds like the overdrive in Christmas movies represents the only Merry Christmas millions of Americans are going to have. Who cares if they’re not actual friends or family? I should know from awkward situations my ‘almost’ mother-in-law has brought up at the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner table in the pre-covid, mid-late 2010’s.

    It’s serious enough to have conventions, and the times we live in are a perfect storm for this type of idealized comfort-food entertainment. I can see why losin’ the Bawston accent is an impawtant pawt of the city’s identity, Bawb. “AY! Use ya binka when ya gonna be toynin’ a coyner afta this. I betta NEVA see ya not usin’ it. Now go on, get outta he!”

    Sorry to hear Louise Fletcher passed away. Great actress. I somehow frequently got her confused with Ellen Burstyn. Love them both! I want to try Queen Elizabeth’s pancake recipe. It sounds great. Before that, let’s all pray for the victims of Hurricane Ian that have lost everything, that their lives will be restored and those in the hours and days ahead who will experience it, will be okay. Even if it (frankly only) means being reunited with a missing pet, that’s still a lot. THESE are the people that need billions of dollars; right here in America, first and foremost.


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