News of the Week: Book Battles, Controversial Baby Names, and There’s a Big Question Mark in Outer Space

In the news for the week ending August 18, 2023, are a weird geographic failure, a tax quiz, a question of galactic proportions, lemonade, and more.


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Copyrights (and Wrongs?)  

I’ve always been torn about The Internet Archive 

On one hand, as a writer, I feel like books shouldn’t be scanned and available for free on a web site, unless there are deals in place that make it legal. On the other hand, hey, free books! 

The Internet Archive, which not only has a historical archive of books but also audio, video, and games, has existed for many years without much of a problem. But they created a National Emergency Library during COVID and increased the amount of books available to the public. Instead of just one or two copies being available to borrow, they made several copies available, and that irked many publishers. Several of them sued for copyright infringement and recently won their case 

The case has even divided writers, with thousands signing a petition supporting the publishers and thousands of others supporting the Internet Archive.  

While this particular case only involved a certain number of books, it could lead to many if not all of the copyrighted books in the Internet Archive being removed. 

It would be a shame to see the Internet Archive disappear or be rendered useless. At the same time, there should be some sort of fairness given to publishers and writers. Hopefully something can be done so online libraries can be treated like brick and mortar libraries and everyone gets what they want. 

But don’t count on it. And this ruling might affect how digital/scanned books are lent out by regular libraries, which is already a dicey process. 

Space Punctuation 

The Webb Telescope has made some great discoveries, including what looks to be a giant question mark. 

Sorry Rex 

If your name is Adonis, Candy, Harvey, or Rex, have I got some bad news for you. 

According to the Nameberry site, those are some of the most controversial baby names, for different reasons. A name like Adonis might be difficult for a boy to live up to; Candy is too sugary and inconsequential for a modern girl; Harvey conjures images of bad hurricanes and famous sex offenders; and Rex sounds too much like a dog’s name. Here Rex, come on Rex. That’s a good boy! 

Barbie and Ken are becoming popular names this year, though I don’t know what would make the name Barbie a positive if Candy isn’t.  

Of course, many of these explanations as to why certain names are bad are rather silly, but I’m still happy that Bob and/or Robert aren’t on the list.  

Headline of the Week 

“Many Americans Don’t Think Maine Is Actually a State” 

RIP Jerry Moss, Shelley Smith, Johnny Hardwick, Frederick Eberstadt, and Dan Rosandich  

Jerry Moss was the “M” in A&M Records (Herb Alpert was the “A”), home to The Police, The Carpenters, Peter Frampton, Squeeze, Supertramp, Janet Jackson, and many other artists. He died Tuesday at the age of 88. 

Shelley Smith was a model and actress who appeared on such shows as The Associates, For Love and Honor, Magnum, P.I., and Murder, She Wrote, as well as hundreds of game show episodes. She died last week at the age of 70.  

Johnny Hardwick was the voice of Dale Gribble on King of the Hill. He died last week at the age of 64. 

Frederick Eberstadt was an acclaimed photographer whose work appeared in Life, Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, and Town & Country. Before becoming a photographer, he founded the investment bank Eberstadt and Company He died last month at the age of 97. 

Dan Rosandich was a cartoonist whose work appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, Better Homes & Gardens, and many other magazines and newspapers. He died in January at the age of 65. 

This Week in History 

Alfred Hitchcock Born (August 13, 1899)  

My favorite Hitchcock films, in order: North by Northwest, Saboteur, Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock’s personal favorite of the movies he directed), Foreign Correspondent, and Dial M For Murder. How about you?  

Dotto Canceled by CBS and NBC (August 15, 1958)  

While Dotto (which had a daytime version on CBS and a nighttime version on NBC) wasn’t the first game show implicated in the quiz show scandals of the 1950s (The Big Surprise contestant Dale Logue and Twenty-One contestant Herb Stempel had come forward with allegations earlier), it was the one that got everyone to take the cheating seriously. Standby contestant Edward Hilgemeier Jr. found the notebook of fellow contestant Marie Winn backstage while she was on the air, and the notebook had the answers to the questions she was being asked. 

Here’s Winn on Dotto. Host Jack Narz didn’t know any of this was going on and was cleared. 

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Tax Quiz (August 17, 1957)  

Of course we’d be able to answer those questions if we got them in advance! 

National Lemonade Day 

It’s this Sunday. Do kids still have lemonade stands? 

This will be one of the last full weekends of the summer to enjoy a cool, refreshing drink. (Not that you can’t enjoy one when the fall comes, but lemonade seems like a summer thing, no?) 

Simply Recipes has a recipe for the Perfect Lemonade, while Small Town Woman has the Arnold Palmer, the classic drink that mixes lemonade with iced tea.  

And I’ve linked to this Vermontucky Lemonade before, but you have to try something called Vermontucky Lemonade (the “Vermont” part is maple syrup, and the “tucky” part is bourbon). 

As if Maine, Vermont, and Kentucky are really U.S. states. 

Next Week’s Holidays and Events 

National Radio Day (August 20)  

Live 365 has the 10 biggest radio moments, including Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds broadcast and FDR’s first fireside chat, and here’s a nice essay about radio from Frank Theodat. 

Iconic American Restaurants Day (August 24) 

Cheapism has a list of the 57 U.S. restaurants to try before you die (because trying them after you die wouldn’t be as enjoyable). 

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  1. Weird/stupid children’s names are the last thing they need considering their future (putting it charitably) is anything but bright anyway. Their parents and millions of others don’t even know Maine is a state. They don’t even know which end is up, so the thread of stupidity runs through EVERYTHING now. And more people than EVER have college degrees, of course. Gotta love that.

    My favorite films by Hitch are ‘Rear Window’, ‘North by Northwest’, Dial M for Murder’ and ‘Vertigo’. Shockingly I’ve never seen ‘The Birds’ beyond clips and trailers, and do want to soon. The ’57 Tax Quiz ad is kind of out there. The photo seems designed to capitalize on the quiz show popularity for attention. It worked. I read the whole thing.

    The American restaurants are VERY varied, and overall seem wonderful. At least I’ve been to one here, Spago, and do love it as an occasional treat. Our “no comment” President is apparently going to Lahaina on Monday. Here’s hoping he gets exactly what he deserves, and then some!

    “To all the victims of this intentional destruction and loss of life, I just want you to know, and take comfort in the fact Janet Yellen and I just had another 24 billion sent over to Ukraine, and will be sending billions more over there, indefinitely, I promise. So don’t worry, we’re knifing out mainland citizens in the back too, 24/7.”


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