News of the Week: January Notes, Snow B Wan Kenobi, and Is Frozen Pizza the Best Pizza?

In the news of the week ending January 19, 2024, are the beauty of “bite-sized” candy, the preeminence of frozen pies, and best names for snow plows in 2024.


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Random Thoughts

Goodbye to Fruit Stripe gum, which tasted fantastic for approximately nine seconds.

Is there some sort of sugar shortage going on? Or, to be more specific, a sugar packaging shortage? I can’t find the little packets or plastic pour bottles or even the cubes; just those boxes of Domino sugar that I can never open correctly.

Remember Bobi, the oldest dog in the world that died in October? His Guinness Book of World Records award has been put on hold, and an investigation is underway to see if he was indeed 31 years old.

I accidentally got the Coconut and Sea Minerals scent of Lysol Wipes the other day. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to clean with them, rub them on my body, or eat them.

Tennis Channel has started a Pickleball Channel (PBTV). I’m a big tennis fan, but I just can’t get into pickleball. With its smaller court and different ball and racket, it’s like a Fisher-Price version of tennis.

“Bite-sized” candy bars are a genius invention because even though you might eat just one candy bar in the regular size, you eat three times that if you have a bag of the smaller candies, and for some reason it all makes sense.

They Didn’t Take My Suggestion: Snow More Mr. Ice Guy

Naming snowplows is a thing in many cities now, and Boston has chosen this year’s winning entries submitted by elementary and middle school students. The names include Snow B Wan Kenobi, The Mayplower, Sleetwood Mac, and Edward Blizzardhands.

Frozen Pizza Is Not the Best Pizza

There’s nothing wrong with frozen pizza. I’m a big fan of many of them – Freschetta Brick Oven, Mystic Pizza, Newman’s Own, and Stouffer’s French Bread – and they’re convenient. But who would have the audacity to say that frozen pizza is the best pizza?

That audacity belongs to Reason’s Peter Suderman, who argues that “the best pizza isn’t made in New York, Chicago, or New Haven. It’s made on assembly lines.”

Yes, it’s a click-baity headline, but Suderman does try to convince us. First, he gives us an example of a really great pizza he had at a beloved place in Brooklyn, and then declares that certain frozen pizzas are even better. So, this isn’t a case of Suderman thinking that frozen is better than fresh because he’s never tried fresh; he has actually tried the best fresh and still thinks frozen is better. Specifically, he says the best pizza in America is … Red Baron.

His reasoning? It’s the best because it “tastes merely indifferent,” “the sauce is a little too spicy and a little too sweet,” “the crust is a little too crispy and a little too brittle,” and it’s “vaguely competent” and “never memorable.”

I’m sure Red Baron is scrambling to use those quotes in their marketing.

Of course, he’s one of these guys who is trying to make some sort of larger point about business or America or … something? He concludes that Red Baron is the best because “it’s cheap, abundant, and always there.” Alrighty!

By the way, popular YouTuber Andrew Rea of Babish Culinary Universe ranks 14 frozen pizzas. A fun rundown, though he leaves out some major brands.

RIP Joyce Randolph, Tom Shales, Bud Harrelson, Bill Hayes, Peter Crombie, Terry Bisson, Ruth Ashton Taylor, and Larry Collins

Joyce Randolph was the last surviving cast member from The Honeymooners. She played Trixie, Ed Norton’s wife. She died Saturday at the age of 99.

Tom Shales was the Pulitzer Prize-winning TV columnist for The Washington Post and an author. He died Saturday at the age of 79.

Bud Harrelson was the shortstop for the New York Mets during their “Miracle Mets” 1969 World Series championship season. He died last week at the age of 79.

Bill Hayes played Doug Williams on Days of Our Lives for five decades. He also appeared on Your Show of Shows, was Florence Henderson’s partner in a nightclub act, and had a number one song (with his wife Susan Seaforth Hayes, who played his wife on Days of Our Lives), “The Ballad of Davy Crockett.” He died last week at the age of 98.

Actor Bryan Cranston left a nice comment on the obituary over at Deadline.

Peter Crombie played “Crazy” Joe Davola on Seinfeld. He also appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space NineL.A. FirefightersLaw & Order, and the miniseries House of Frankenstein, and in movies like Se7en and Born on the Fourth of July. He died last week at the age of 71.

Terry Bisson was an acclaimed science fiction and fantasy writer. He died last week at the age of 81.

Ruth Ashton Taylor worked with Edward R. Morrow at CBS and was also the first female TV correspondent on the West Coast. She died last week at the age of 101.

Larry Collins was the energetic guitar whiz kid who played a mean two-necked guitar. He performed with his sister Lorrie, billed as ”The Collins Kids.” He also co-wrote the Helen Reddy song “Delta Dawn.” He died last week at the age of 79.

Uploaded to YouTube by Heppest of the Hep

This Week in History

Benjamin Franklin Born (January 17, 1706)

We know about Franklin’s connection to the Post’s beginnings, but did you know the publication started thanks to someone named Charles Alexander, and there’s a specific reason why “Saturday” is in the title?

Happy Days Premieres (January 15, 1974)

It actually started as a segment on ABC’s Love, American Style called “Love and the Happy Days.” To mark the show’s 50th anniversary, the New York Times has a reunion chat with Ron Howard, Marion Ross, Henry Winkler, Anson Williams, and Donny Most.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Bundled Up” (January 14, 1939)

It’s cold out there.

National Pizza Week

It ends Saturday!

You can buy a frozen pizza if you want, but making one at home is very satisfying.

Our own Curtis Stone shows you how to make a Great Homemade Pizza (including how to make the dough), and All Recipes shows you how to make a Homemade Pepperoni Pizza.

If you don’t want to make your own dough, grab a pre-made Boboli pizza crust at the supermarket like I often do and make a Texas Touchdown BBQ Pizza, a Three-Cheese Sausage Pizza, or a Nacho Pizza.

And if you like pizza but in a different shape, try these Homemade Pizza Rolls from Taste of Home.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

New Hampshire Primary (January 23)

Every station in the country will have coverage, probably even Cartoon Network.

National Handwriting Day (January 23)

You can practice it when you write your angry letter about Fruit Stripe gum being discontinued.

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  1. Well, I had my doubts about Bobi REALLY being the oldest dog in the world. Keep us updated as more information on him comes out. Even 21 years is pushing the outer limits. Red Baron is a good frozen pizza. I haven’t tried Tombstone. Do like the fresh pizza from Dominos, Pizza Hut too; Papa John’s not so much. Numero Uno is really good also.

    DoorDash or any other delivery service isn’t worth the excessive expense; regardless of availability or not. Not with the cost of everything now. Forget it. I always liked Joyce Randolph from ‘The Honeymooners’. 99 years old, bless her heart. Another wonderful, classy, gracious actress from The Greatest Generation.

    I did a lot of handwriting in December, but no doubt I’ll need to jot something down on the 23rd. Oh, and speaking of the Greatest Generation, I saw the original 1960 ‘Psycho’ for the first time (swear to God) on Friday the 19th! Not just ‘scenes’ or ‘clips’. The whole thing. Very glad it was in black and white though! LOVE Janet Leigh. The one Hitch film I hadn’t seen; an absolute masterpiece.

    LOVE optical illusions, especially if they’re a cover of The Saturday Evening Post; like the one here from 1939.

  2. Regarding the frozen pizza brands. There are two I have found are really good: Tombstone and Red Baron. I purchase them regularly. While like everyone else I prefer fresh made pizza from Pizza Hut, Dominos, Papa John’s, etc. they do not deliver out where I live. Nor is DoorDash or any other delivery anything which exists in my rural area. But I would not change anything nor live anywhere near a city or town. That kind of living is not for me.


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