News of the Week: The Noise of Typewriters, Tupperware Woes, and the Guy Buried with a Jar of Peanut Butter

In the news for the week ending April 14, 2023, are recommendations for books to read, peanut butter to eat, a new (old) way to use your phone, and more.


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Read This!

I’m going to start doing these lists every month, because there are always new books!

The Noise of Typewriters: Remembering Journalism by Lance Morrow. One of the world’s greatest living essayists has written a book that manages to be both a look at the history of 20th-century journalism and its main players (Morrow was a Time columnist for 40 years) and a kind-of memoir too. Morrow’s father Hugh was an editor at the Post between1946 and 1957.

It. Goes. So. Fast. by Mary Louise Kelly. This memoir describes what happens when NPR’s Kelly realizes that she only has a year before her oldest son leaves for college. It makes her realize how much she has missed by putting things off.

Where Are the Children Now? by Mary Higgins Clark. This sequel to Clark’s most successful novel features the children of Nancy Harmon, one of the characters from the first book.

48 Clues into the Disappearance of My Sister by Joyce Carol Oates. Oates is writing a lot of thrillers now, and this one centers on a woman who investigates the Upstate New York disappearance of her sister.

This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs. Yup, the same Susanna Hoffs who plays guitar and sings in The Bangles. Tom Perrotta describes this novel as “part British romcom, part Jane Eyre, and one hundred percent enjoyable.”

Power Up Your Fiction by James Scott Bell. Not only is Bell the author of several highly enjoyable novels and short stories, he’s also one of the best writing teachers. His latest guide collects 125 tips and techniques to take your writing to the next level. (Out on April 23.)

When You Lock in Freshness, You Set Yourself Free

Can you imagine a world without Tupperware? It would be like a world without Coke or Campbell’s Soup. It could become a reality as the company warns it may not be able to survive. Net sales were down 18 percent in 2022, and they might not file the required financial paperwork in time. As a result, the New York Stock Exchange may delist them. Layoffs and sell-offs of real estate could hit the company very soon.

This is how much I don’t know about business: last year they “only” had $1.3 billion in net sales. And that’s not good?

The company was founded in 1946. I’ll admit I don’t buy a lot of Tupperware, but I don’t buy a lot of other kitchen storage products either. It would be sad if it vanished, but the company says that Tupperware just doesn’t connect with young people.

Have they tried TikTok? I hear TikTok is popular with young people.

Posted to Youtube by Video Store 64

Are You a Voice Noter?

Actually, “voice noter” is a term I made up. Maybe it will catch on? I’m so hip.

According to a poll run by Vox and YouGov, an increasing number of 18-to-29-year-olds say they use voice notes, which are like texts only you use your voice.

That’s right, young people are finally realizing that they can use their phones to … use their voice to communicate!

Yet these same young people — and even people my age — refuse to leave voicemails. Maybe these voice notes are the first step toward people embracing phone calls again. Now, how can we get people to start writing letters to each other again?

Something I Learned This Week

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to learn during your innocent web surfing.

For example, while reading this review of the best creamy peanut butters at Wirecutter (hey, I was bored), I found out that William F. Buckley was such a big fan of peanut butter that he was even buried with a jar of the stuff.

(For the record, it was a jar of Red Wing, which is sold under labels such as Wegman’s and Price Chopper.)

RIP Michael Lerner, Al Jaffee, Bing Newcomb, Norman Reynolds, Bill Butler, Carl Fischer, Craig Breedlove, Elizabeth Hubbard, Mimi Sheraton, Neal Boenzi, and Harry Lorayne

Michael Lerner was a veteran character actor who appeared in such movies as Barton Fink, Elf, Harlem Nights, Eight Men Out, and The Candidate, as well as TV shows like Night Gallery, The Bob Newhart Show, MacGyver, Hill Street Blues, and The Good Wife. He died Saturday at the age of 81.

Al Jaffee was a cartoonist who worked at Mad for 55 years. He was the one who created the popular Mad fold-in on the inside back cover. He also did a syndicated comic strip, Tall Tales, for several years. He died Monday at the age of 102.

Mike Lynch has more on Jaffee’s career at his site.

Bernard “Bing” Newcomb co-founded E*Trade and even wrote the code that powered the technology. He died in January at the age of 79.

Norman Reynolds won Oscars for art direction for Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars. He was also art director or production designer on Empire of the Sun, Mission: Impossible, the 1978 version of Superman, and other films. He died last week at the age of 89.

Bill Butler was the cinematographer on such films as Jaws, Grease, Stripes, The Conversation, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He died last week at the age of 101.

Carl Fischer took the photos for some iconic Esquire covers, including Muhammad Ali with arrows in his body and Andy Warhold trapped in a giant bowl of soup. He died last week at the age of 89.

In the 1960s, Craig Breedlove set land speed records in his Spirit of America vehicle on the salt flats of Bonneville. The Beach Boys even wrote a song about him. He died last week at the age of 86.

Elizabeth Hubbard played Dr. Althea Davis for many years on The Doctors. She also played Lucinda Walsh on As The World Turns, appeared in movies like Ordinary People, The Bell Jar, and I Never Sang for My Father, and appeared on Broadway. She died Saturday at the age of 89.

Mimi Sheraton was a longtime food critic for The New York Times and the first to wear a disguise when eating at restaurants. She also wrote for Vanity Fair, Time, Condé Nast Traveler, and other magazines. She died last week at the age of 97.

Neal Boenzi was an acclaimed photographer who worked for The New York Times for 40 years. He died last week at the age of 97.

Harry Lorayne was a veteran magician who astounded audiences with his memory. He was one of Johnny Carson’s favorite guests on The Tonight Show. He died last week at the age of 96.

This Week in History

Webster’s Dictionary Published (April 14, 1828)

It’s amazing that the first issue of the Post came out seven years before the first Webster’s.

President Lincoln Shot (April 14, 1865)

He actually lived until the next morning, dying from his injuries at 7:22 a.m.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Royal Typewriter (April 10, 1954)

I’d check the classified telephone directory to find a local Royal representative, but I haven’t seen a telephone directory in years.

Today Is National Grits Day

I’ve never had grits. I think the closest I’ve ever come is couscous. But it’s something I’ve always wanted to try, so maybe I’ll make one of these.

Southern Living has a recipe for Deviled Grits, which has bacon and orange juice, while Taste of Home has Curried Chicken and Grits Casserole and Slow-Cooker Grits. Alton Brown tells you how to make Cheese Grits, and Quaker Oats has a recipe for Grits Cakes with Zucchini.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Tax Day (Date Varies — Check Your State)

I haven’t done mine yet. I’m like Homer Simpson.

Patriots’ Day (April 17)

The World’s Most Confusing Holiday™! It is celebrated only in Massachusetts, Maine (where it’s Patriot’s Day), Connecticut, Wisconsin (but on a different day, April 19), Florida (encouraged but not a legal holiday), and North Dakota. It’s not the same day as National Patriots’ Day, which is celebrated in Quebec in May, or Patriot Day, which honors September 11.

National Columnists Day (April 18)

This is the day to celebrate your favorite columnist. Maybe even one who writes for the Post.

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  1. Bob, give the grits a try when you can but the way you want. Bob Jr., your ex should not have let miss cutie pie off the hook that easily, at all. She should have been reported to Amway headquarters for that stunt the following day. That goes for any other organizations including Tupperware, with women like that.

  2. James, I can relate to your comments regarding some odd pieces of Tupperware I still use too on the kitchen counter to hold paper clips, post-it note pads, etc. but no food. I’ve had a few partially melt and misshaped due to the hot stove. Reaching out to the male demographic is a good idea as many guys do cook. I think it’s an overlooked, untapped market also.

    Donna, those parties can be a disaster. My ex-wife (looking for easy money) met a very cute, charming blonde Amway rep (Cassie) at the market who charmed her with her (then) new Seville and told her she’s just a few parties away of having one of her own. She told her to just leave it to her.

    My ex contacted all her friends that she was having this “fantastic party” which was close to July 4th. Cassie insisted it BE the evening of the 4th for “more fun”. She also now had $200 worth of products in our den. Most of her friends did show up but some wondered what was up with screen in the background. Cassie just gave her bubbly laugh and soon started her shtick of what wonders “could” happen.

    Once the name Amway was revealed, they were quickly out the door, angry with them shouting things to Cassie like “how could you”. “this is terrible”, “you’ve ruined my 4th” with Cassie herself quickly packing up what she brought, leaving too, saying “don’t listen to a word they’re saying, you’re going to be terrific at this!” Out the door she went. I got blamed for not talking her out of it; that was MY fault. Right. After making myself clear I didn’t think any of it was a good idea, period!

  3. Please write about your adventure with grits. Be sure to have them in Florida with shrimp. Enjoy!

  4. I always enjoy your column, but I wish you would do “Next Week in History”, so I can celebrate, contemplate, or aggravate while each anniversary is happening. I mean, darn, if I had only known yesterday that it was the birthday of Webster’s Dictionary!

    But I do always look forward to your Saturday newsletter!

  5. I can’t speak to Tupperware’s present day marketing (because once you have all you need, you have all you need, and the stuff lasts forever), but IF they are still selling through home parties, that might be one reason sales are off. I hate those parties where you are treated to a sales pitch and feel obligated to the hostess to buy something. (All except for Tupperware, which was a useful item not available in stores.) I can’t imagine that type of selling appeals to the younger generation . . . and as I say, we oldsters have been there, done that.
    You must try a good recipe for shrimp and grits! Truly yummy. And whenever you travel through the south, order grits with your breakfast; it’s always on the menu. Salt, pepper and butter is my go-to; but also good with ham gravy (another southern thing) or even syrup.
    Happy National Columnists Day!

  6. My current use of, and memories of Mom and Tupperware, take me to the earliest recollections of my Mom with her counter top canisters for Flour, Sugar, Coffee, and Tea. I still have her Flour and Sugar canisters. Tea and Coffee disappeared into the mists of time. My sweet wife, and my sisters had their own bits and pieces and I have several odd pieces that I still use. I have lost several pieces to careless kitchen habits, that resulted in melted, misshaped items from being too close to hot stoves.
    If it is not too late, Tupperware marketing people, should reach out to… guys. We can, and do cook, even with persons of the female persuasion in the house.

  7. Tupperware is probably suffering because many grocery items such as packaged deli meats now come in plastic containers. These containers can be saved and used to store food items in the same way as Tupperware. Tupperware still has the advantage of larger sizes but fewer people are cooking large meals.


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