News of the Week: True Confessions, Pepsi’s New Logo, and 50 Years of Cellphone Calls

In the news for the week ending April 7, 2023, are politics that we won’t talk about, poetry that we will write, Furbies that will conquer the planet, and more.


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No Politics

I’m not going to talk about that very famous person who was recently in court. After all, the Gwyneth Paltrow case is over.

Kidding! You know what “very famous person who was recently in court” story I’m talking about (and if you’ve somehow missed the wall-to-wall news coverage and analysis, I envy you).

A confession: I don’t write about politics in this column. I might allude to something in a light way or mention an important election coming up, but I don’t get into the nitty-gritty details of the latest political news story, scandal, or controversy. Aren’t there plenty of places to read that stuff just a click away?

I don’t know why people want to write about or read about that stuff every single day, but that’s them. I’m not unaware of what’s going on, I just refuse to be a news junkie.

I’ve always looked at this column as a break from the more serious things in the world (well, except for the RIPs). As I get older, I find myself wanting to get away from politics, both in my writing and in the rest of my life. It has always been a divisive topic, but now it’s a Divisive Topic, and I want no part of it.

So let’s talk about soda.

Pepsi Has a New Logo

I’ve never had a problem with the Pepsi logo. Unlike a lot of logos I like or dislike, it has never made an impression on me. And maybe that’s the reason Pepsi is changing it (not to say they’re changing it because of me, just that it’s time for a change in general).

The current logo, which the company has used since 2008, is a globe with red, white, and blue swirls in it. The new logo keeps the colors and the circle but now the colors are more symmetrical and there’s a new font for the word Pepsi. They’re making the cans a darker blue too, the color of their Zero Sugar line now. It will make its debut in August, to celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary.

I like everything about it except the font. At least the P’s. They’re going for something like the logos of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, and it’s very close, but those P’s aren’t quite the same. Maybe I’ll get used to it. It’s better than the current one.

If they really want to hit the nostalgia spot, they should use the logo from the first half of the 20th century. That’s so retro it’s practically futuristic.

Here’s a Terrifying Sentence

“ChatGPT-controlled Furbies.”

Someone — I don’t know why — hooked up a cute Furby to artificial intelligence and … well, I hope you’ve made out your will.

At first I was only worried that someday programs like ChatGPT would take my job, now I have to worry they’ll take my life.

A Poem

Roses are red,
April is
National Poetry Month,
Sugar is sweet,
And I can’t think of anything that rhymes with month.

Headline of the Week

“Ancient Mummies from Mexico Might Be Infecting Humans”

RIP Mark Russell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sharon Acker, Seymour Stein, Brian Gillis, Keith Reid, Perry Cross, Judy Farrell, and Joe Giella

Mark Russell was one of the world’s best known political satirists, lampooning both the right and the left with his piano (and bow tie). He died last week at the age of 90.

Ryuichi Sakamoto was a composer (and part-time actor) who won an Oscar for The Last Emperor. He also did the music for such films as The Sheltering Sky, The Revenant, Snake Eyes, and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, as well as many TV shows and music videos. He was a founding member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra. He died last week at the age of 71.

Sharon Acker played Della Street on the short-lived New Perry Mason in the ’70s. She also had roles on Star Trek, The Bold Ones, Executive Suite, The Rockford Files, and Mission: Impossible, played Lee Marvin’s wife in Point Blank, and performed on stage. She died last month at the age of 87.

Seymour Stein was not only a veteran music industry executive who signed or worked with Madonna, The Pretenders, The Talking Heads, The Ramones, Lou Reed, and The Smiths, he was one of the people responsible for starting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He died Sunday at the age of 80.

Brian Gillis was the co-founder of the boy band LFO, known for the song “Summer Girls.” He died last week at the age of 47.

Keith Reid wrote “A Whiter Shade of Pale” as a member of Procol Harum. He died last month at the age of 76.

Perry Cross was Johnny Carson’s first producer on The Tonight Show. He left to produce the short-lived The Jerry Lewis Show and later produced Life with Linkletter, The Garry Moore Show, The Red Skelton Hour, Can You Top This, and the Emmys. He died last month at the age of 95.

Judy Farrell played Nurse Able on M*A*S*H and appeared on many other shows in the ’70s and ’80s. She was also a writer, working on Fame and the soap Port Charles. She died Sunday at the age of 84.

For 70 years, Joe Giella was a comics artist who worked on such DC characters as The Flash, Batman, Green Lantern, and Johnny Reb. He later went on to work on such comic strips as The Phantom and Mary Worth and spent many years as a commercial artist, creating illustrations for ads and books. He died last month at the age of 94.

This Week in History

First Cell Phone Call (April 3, 1973)

Depending on who you are, this is either the greatest 50th anniversary ever or the worst. Some days I lean toward the latter.

Uploaded to YouTube by TODAY.

USS Akron Airship Crashes (April 4, 1933)

Most people know of the Hindenburg exploding and crashing in New Jersey, but four years earlier in New Jersey, another airship crashed during a thunderstorm, killing 73 crew and passengers.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Kraft Phenix Cheese (April 6, 1929)

There’s no way I’m going to eat a salad that has grapefruit slices on a bed of lettuce covered in cheese and cherries, but I’m intrigued that at one time Kraft was called Kraft Phenix.

National Grilled Cheese Month

Everyone has their own way of making grilled cheese, and they stick with that way for their entire lives. But here are five different kinds of grilled cheese sandwich you might want to try, to shake things up. They’ll go great with Pepsi.

You probably thought I was going to give you some recipes for Easter, right? Throw some ham on one of those sandwiches if you want.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Masters Tournament (April 6-9)

The golf tournament held in Augusta, Georgia, actually started yesterday. CBS, ESPN, and The Golf Channel will have coverage.

Easter (April 9)

The Post has a terrific essay by Philip Gulley recalling the joys of a childhood Easter egg hunt.

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  1. Just as an FYI, the band is called Talking Heads, not THE Talking Heads. It was a DJ years ago who explained this.

    And thank you for the no politics. I’ve had enough, also.

  2. Pepsi’s new logo is fine with me. It’s basically making the name bolder (in black lettering) and more prominent in the middle of the round logo. I know they’ve been losing more market share to Coke; nothing new there really. Speaking of, I just saw and bought a 20 oz bottle of their NEW limited edition of Coke called ‘Move’ which is ‘transportation flavored’!

    I had to try it, even though it was nearly $3 with tax and the CA CRV costs. After leaving the Ralph’s I had some in the car on the way home. I knew right away it had a distinctive coconut flavor, and is quite delicious! I read it has a vanilla-strawberry flavor. Not to me, but whatever. Coconut is a favorite anyway. Didn’t care for the ‘Dream’ one last year.

    My Dad used to LOVE Mark Russell’s political satire. He had had to know every little detail about everything, while I do my best to tune it out. What Mark did was extremely clever and unique. Kraft-Phenix? Never knew about the latter part of the name before either. It looks like it’s misspelled, but apparently not. Continuing education with the Post is the best!


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