News of the Week: Adult Happy Meals, Best TV Shows of All Time, and Christmas Trees Will Be Expensive This Year

In the news for the week ending October 7, 2022, are McMarketing, squeaky bums, expensive butter, pumpkin spiced trash bags, and more.

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Random Thoughts

Notes jotted down during an unseasonably cold week (which is a good thing).

McDonald’s is coming out with Adult Happy Meals this month. That sounds vaguely dirty, like they come with an age restriction and can only be sold at night. McDonald’s After Dark.

Went to the supermarket around 9 a.m. the other day. Not one of their 10 registers was open. Went to the courtesy booth (which also wasn’t open, at 9 a.m. on a Monday, three hours after the store opened) and the woman told me to go down to the person working the self-serve registers and she would help me. Soon we won’t have anyone working the registers or stocking the shelves. It will be all self-checkout and robots.

Went to a different supermarket two days later for the large weekly grocery run, and when I got home I found out … they forgot to load one of the bags into my cart. So I paid for shredded cheese, chicken, frozen pizza, and heavy cream but didn’t get them.

(It wasn’t my week for supermarkets.)

Every few years, Rolling Stone comes out with a list of the 100 greatest TV shows of all time. This year’s list (or this page, if you don’t want to spend hours clicking through several annoying pages) includes picks from not only TV critics but also actors, directors, and writers. But I’m sorry, any list of the 100 best shows of all time that doesn’t include The Andy Griffith Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, Perry Mason, or The Middle is not a list to be taken seriously. And The Dick Van Dyke Show is way down at number 62, The West Wing at 46, and I Love Lucy only at 36? Ridiculous (yet Fleabag is number five and I May Destroy You is number 19?).

I have no idea who’s right in the story about the NYU professor who was fired after more than 80 students signed a petition about his chemistry class, but it did give me horrifying flashbacks to the chemistry class I took in high school. The only class I ever dropped, and I think the teacher actually understood.

By the way, what is I May Destroy You?

Trees and Butter

Christmas trees are going to be expensive this year. I haven’t bought one in decades, but aren’t they always costly?

This year they’re apparently going to be particularly expensive. The silver lining is that there won’t be a shortage (unlike butter, which we’ll see a shortage of this holiday season, and prices went up 24.6 percent in August).

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: get a fake tree! They look great and you won’t have to worry about it drying out or having to clean pine needles off your floor into late January.

It’s Squeaky Bum Time!

And if you don’t know what that means and why the phrase was just added to the Oxford English Dictionary, read this.

Product of the Week

Hefty Limited Edition Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Trash Bags

RIP Loretta Lynn, Judy Tenuta, Bill Plante, Sacheen Littlefeather, Maurice Kanbar, Madame Wu, Robert Brown, Joan Hotchkis, Robert Ferrante, Douglas Kirkland, and Jack Thomas

Loretta Lynn was an acclaimed country singer and songwriter. She won three Grammys and had 16 No. 1 country songs, including “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” She wrote a memoir with the same title, which was later made into a movie starring Sissy Spacek. She died Tuesday at the age of 90.

Judy Tenuta was a popular, irreverent stand-up comic, known as “The Love Goddess” and “The Aphrodite of the Accordion.” She had several stand-up specials on cable, appeared on many TV shows (often with her friend Weird Al Yankovic), wrote two memoirs, and appeared in such movies as Material Girls and Desperation Boulevard. She died yesterday at the age of 72.

Bill Plante spent 52 years at CBS as a White House correspondent, international reporter, and news anchor. He died last week at the age of 84.

Sacheen Littlefeather became famous when she came to the Academy Awards in 1973 to explain why Marlon Brando wasn’t going to accept his award. She died Sunday at the age of 75.

Maurice Kanbar not only gave us Skyy Vodka, he also invented several important medical devices and a sweater defuzzer. He died in August at the age of 93.

Madame Wu ran the popular restaurant Madame Wu’s Garden, frequented by many famous Hollywood stars, from Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant to Carol Burnett and Johnny Carson. She died last month at the age of 106.

Robert Brown starred in the ’60s show Here Come the Brides and also appeared on Star Trek, Bewitched (he played the Fisherman’s Memorial statue brought to life in an episode filmed in my hometown), Perry Mason, Bonanza, Columbo, and many other shows. He died last month at the age of 95.

Joan Hotchkis starred with William Windom on My World and Welcome To It and played Oscar’s girlfriend Nancy on The Odd Couple. She also appeared on Bewitched, Barnaby Jones, Charlie’s Angels, and many other shows. She died last month at the age of 95.

Robert Ferrante was an influential news producer for NPR and CBS. He died last month at the age of 87.

Douglas Kirkland was known for his photographs of celebrities, including his famous shots of Marilyn Monroe. He was also a photographer on many movie sets. He died Sunday at the age of 88.

Jack Thomas wrote about everything for The Boston Globe for many decades. He was an editor, columnist, reporter, TV critic, and writer of many profiles and features. He died Saturday at the age of 83.

Last year he wrote a moving essay on his terminal illness for the Globe that’s a must-read.

This Week in History

“In God We Trust” Printed on Paper Money for the First Time (October 1, 1957)

Do you know which state also has that as their state motto?

Dr. No Released (October 5, 1962)

The first Bond film comes in at number 7 in my ranking.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Dormeyer mixers (October 2, 1948)

I don’t think I’ve heard of that brand but apparently they were the top of the line mixer. If you still own one, it would be perfect for …

National Cookie Month

Start with these Gingersnap Cookies with Lemon Icing. Or maybe you’re more the Bittersweet Orange Chocolate Cookies type. Martha Stewart has a giant Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie, and Taste of Home has these Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies and these Amish Sugar Cookies.

Chew Out Loud has a recipe for 4-Ingredient Pecan Sandies, and if you’re a Seinfeld fan, look to the Black and White Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Of course, I always link to the recipe for Norman Rockwell’s Oatmeal Cookies. For obvious reasons.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Canadian Thanksgiving (October 10)

Ever wondered if Thanksgiving in Canada is different from Thanksgiving in the U.S.? Almanac.com has the deets. (I’ve always wanted to say “deets.”)

Columbus Day (October 10)

Or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, if you prefer.

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Comments

  1. I’m shocked at what that young woman said to Bob McGowan Jr. in his comments. She had no business telling him what she did, even though that’s what was going on. As a man he let her off too easy, reacting in shock at what she said. He was kind and sympathetic which seems admirable, but I would have gotten her name and reported her to McDonald’s corporate office the next morning.

    As bad as these times are, that’s inexcusable. Another thing, with a cold she shouldn’t have been working with or preparing food. This isn’t to get her fired, but perhaps whomever made her leave her bed to work that shift being sick. If she made it clear she was sick and they made her come in anyway, she absolutely has a case against them. Get in touch with Bob and have him call corporate while this incident is still recent. He’ll need the date, time and exact location address.

  2. I’ve got some horror stories with only one register open at the supermarket myself, realizing it’s just best to use one of the self-serve registers from now on also. I put nearly $50 “worth” of gas in the tank, not moving the needle much. It doesn’t much at $5 per gallon, never mind it pushing $7.

    Speaking of McDonald’s I won’t be going out for that occasional late night Filet-O-Fish at the drive-thru for awhile. I had to wait a long time for someone to come to the speaker to take the order. At first it seemed normal, until I asked for no cheese.

    She got angry, and in tears shouted “They made me leave my sick bed with a cold to work tonight because they’re short staffed. I feel nauseous, I’ve got my period, I’ve got a headache, I just can’t make or take any more damn orders here all by myself!” I just said “That’s horrible; my goodness! You can cancel my order; no problem. You deserve a break today, so I’m just going to pull forward, right on out of here, darlin’! Feel better soon!”

    Bob, you need to disregard anything Rolling Stone says or does. They’re a joke, a relic, and haven’t had any credibility in years. I got dropped out of my chemistry class when I had that 2nd test tube explode. Thank God for goggles and gloves.

    Thank you for the link on Sacheen Littlefeather. I’m so glad she was honored just a couple of weeks before she passed. The Native American community has much to be proud of, and grateful for with her lifetime of accomplishments. Her speech at the 1973 Academy Awards ceremony (though soft spoken) was very powerful and classy. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Brando not saying it himself and putting her in an awkward position, but realize it wouldn’t have had the same impact otherwise.

    I didn’t know the Dormeyer brand either. Apparently they were too pricey compared to their Sunbeam rivals and folded in the late ’60s. My mom had a Sunbeam mixer that looked VERY much like this one, and their hand held Mixmaster Jr. for smaller projects.

    Both 1954 wedding presents, we used them A LOT. My sister has bigger one, and I have the hand held. It works as great as it did when new, but the beaters not so much. I’ve got to get replacements for that wonderful Sunbeam!

    Oh! In the top section you ask what is ‘May I destroy you?’ I believe that’s our government continually provoking wars, very close now to finally getting us all killed.

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