News of the Week: Random Notes, Indiana Jones, and Let’s Make This Christmas a Pilk Christmas

In the news for the week ending December 9, 2022, are an ancient tortoise, a dial of destiny, another word of the year, an odd drink mix, and more.


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Random Notes

Notes from a week when I spilled a cup of tea on my kitchen counter not once but twice …

I think I’m addicted to my blood pressure medication. I take it every single day and I can’t stop!

Everyone seems to be getting into the Christmas movie game now, after the success of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday rom-coms. Discovery+ has films that feature people like Food Network’s Duff Goldman and HGTV’s Hilary Farr, and now Coca-Cola has short holiday films on Amazon. We need a Saturday Evening Post rom-com, where a single writer goes to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to do a story on Norman Rockwell and finds love with a woman who owns a coffee shop that is about to be taken over by a mean conglomerate. Lots of snowy scenes and Rockwell illustrations scattered throughout. Maybe a cute dog?

Jonathan the Tortoise just celebrated his 190th birthday. That’s not a typo. He’s really 190! Born in 1832, and believed to be the oldest land mammal ever. Andrew Jackson was president, and the Post was only 11 years old.

Random fact I came across: David Stollery, who played Marty on Disney’s Spin & Marty show in the ’50s, designed the Toyota Celica.

If you can possibly avoid it, don’t get hit by a meteorite.

Yet Another Word of the Year

Last week I told you that Merriam-Webster had picked gaslighting as their word of 2022, and the week before that I told you that Cambridge had picked homer for theirs. This week we have the pick from Oxford Dictionaries, and … I don’t get it. I’ve heard of the word (though to be accurate, it’s two words, Oxford Dictionaries) but I don’t remember it being used that much this year.

I must really be out of touch.

What we need to do at the end of the year is to take all of these various words of the year and make a sentence out of them.

The Greatest Films of All Time

Every 10 years, Sight & Sound polls people in the film industry to see what they think are the greatest films ever made. For the past several decades the top spot has been taken up by either Citizen Kane or Vertigo, but this year … let’s just say that not only have I never heard of the movie, I’m not even sure what the title means or what the exact title is. (Here’s the whole list in an easier-to-read format.)

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

I don’t know if this will ever be on a list of the greatest films, but from the trailer it looks really good!

It’s Pilk!

Pepsi wants you to add their soda to your milk this holiday season. Apparently it’s something they posted to their social media accounts, which itself was a response to another viral thing on Tik Tok about “dirty soda.”

I’m not sure why this is being touted as a new thing. Laverne DeFazio was famous for mixing Pepsi and milk over 40 years ago.

Christmas Gift of the Week

I know it’s not beach weather right now, but get ready for next summer with your very own float shaped like a cassette tape! You’ll wow the older beachgoers and spark a conversation with the younger ones when they ask “What’s a cassette tape?”

RIP Kirstie Alley, Gaylord Perry, Nick Bollettieri, Bob McGrath, Brad William Henke, Shel Macrae, George Newall, and Mills Lane

Kirstie Alley won Emmys for her role as Rebecca Howe on Cheers and for the TV movie David’s Mother. She also starred on the sitcom Veronica’s Closet and in movies like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Summer School, and the three Look Who’s Talking films. She died Monday at the age of 71.

In his 22 years as a pitcher, Gaylord Perry won two Cy Young Awards and appeared in five All-Star Games. He’s also a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died last week at the age of 84.

Nick Bollettieri was the influential tennis guru who coached such players as Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova, Boris Becker, Monica Seles, Jim Courier, and Serena and Venus Williams. He died this week at the age of 91.

Bob McGrath was one of the original cast members of Sesame Street and stayed on the show for 47 years. Before that he was a singer on the TV show Sing Along with Mitch and on other shows, commercial jingles, and several albums. He died Sunday at the age of 90.

Brad William Henke was a former NFL player who went on to be an actor in such TV shows as Orange Is the New Black, Lost, The Stand, Justified, Nikki, and October Road, as well as movies like Jobs, Space Jam, and Fury. He died last week at the age of 56.

Shel Macrae was the lead singer of The Fortunes, known for such songs as “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again” and “You’ve Got Your Troubles.” The band was also the first to sing the “It’s the Real Thing” jingle in a 1971 Coca-Cola commercial. He died last week at the age of 77.

George Newall was one of the creators of ABC’s Schoolhouse Rock. He died last month at the age of 88.

Mills Lane was the referee in the infamous boxing match where Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield’s ears. He was later the judge on his own courtroom show, Judge Mills Lane. He died this week at the age of 85.

This Week in History

11 Fans Killed at Who Concert (December 3, 1979)

It happened at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio, when the crowd pushed forward because they heard the band’s sound check and thought the concert was starting early. The band was not told what happened and the concert went on as scheduled. A class-action suit brought by the victims’ families was settled in 1983.

James Thurber Born (December 8, 1894)

The humorist is known for his work in The New Yorker, of course, but he also wrote for the Post. “You Could Look It Up” (PDF) is from our April 5, 1941, issue and features illustrations by Norman Rockwell.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Department Store at Christmas” (December 6, 1952)

If you zoom in on this John Falter cover (which you can do when you subscribe!), you’ll see the little kid in the front is really bored and blowing a bubble.

Monday Is Ambrosia Day

Not only is it food, it’s a forgotten food. It’s also an underrated ’70s band. (But let’s talk about the food.)

It’s a pretty easy dish to put together, and here’s a classic recipe from the Post. Here’s one from Daily Dish Recipes that adds canned cranberry sauce and yogurt, and here’s one from 12 Tomatoes that has sour cream and pecans.

Apparently you can add just about anything to ambrosia to make it your own, so may I suggest a dash of Pilk?

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Nobel Prize Day (December 10)

The awards are announced on this day because it’s the anniversary of the death of scientist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.

World Monkey Day (December 14)

Guess what this holiday celebrates?

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  1. Bob Jr., I know from various comments you live in Northwest L.A. I live in Encino, same vicinity, and it’s been cold and wet in a way we’re not used to out here versus other parts of the country who will likely say “what you have is nothing compared to what we have.” I’m sure that’s true, but doesn’t make it any less true for us and I totally get what you’re saying. I’m fighting a cold too. It’s never this cold except for a little in the actual winter. So you have my sympathy, and a hug! Always love your comments online and in the magazine.

  2. Indy and The Dial of Destiny looks worth going to a movie theater to see! My dad drank Pepsi and milk (or was it Coke and milk, whatever we had) in the ’50’s and ’60’s and I have tasted it (it’s okay), so “pilk” definitely isn’t as new as its name.

    As for ways to cope with cold weather, fellow reader, a nice cuppa that doesn’t end up on the kitchen counter is a place to start. Cheers!

  3. So Coca-Cola now has short films on Amazon. Hmm. I like your idea of The Saturday Evening Post having one better. It could also incorporate Norman Rockwell praising today’s Post which I’m sure he’d love if he were here. Through movie magic he is, with his pipe!

    I can’t get over Jonathan the Tortoise. He needs to be well protected at all times being the precious animal he is. 190 years old. Dividing his life into thirds (so far) 63 years each would be 1832-1895, 1895-1958 and 1958-2022. Way beyond mind-boggling, to say the least.

    I’m glad you like the new Indiana Jones trailer, Bob. It has all of the same familiar ingredients/elements all done to death for years, so no thank you. I always enjoyed Kirstie Alley. I first saw her in the mid-80s mini-series ‘North and South’ Books I and II that also starred Patrick Swayze, Olivia de Havilland and many others. Kirstie was hilarious in ‘Veronica’s Closet’ 12-15 years later.

    Shel Macrae was a distinctive and gifted singer. The 1971 Coke ad/ads he did with the Fortunes have stayed with me for life. I also love the ‘Have a Coke and a Smile’ ads from 1979. Different sections and styles from within the same decade, not unlike the ’60s; just not as drastic. Ambrosia was a band that was pleasant, but was indifferent towards. I do appreciate them more now.

    Beautiful John Falter Christmas cover. He definitely captures the most stressful time of the year. No one looks very happy here. I love the floating reindeer with Santa’s sleigh. Can’t imagine that extra effort being taken today. Everyone in a phone stupor now to even notice.

    You haven’t complained about the cold weather at all! It’s as much of a bummer as the excessive heat, only with that I’m never sick having to fight off a cold. Sick OF the heat, but not from it. It’s still not even winter yet, either. I might be getting my Christmas cards out in January, if the fates allow. December’s been a disaster for that anyway. Any cold weather coping advice or a little sympathy? I’m begging.


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