News of the Week: Parking Problems, Barbiecue Sauce, and These Are the Voyages of the Starship Enterprise

In the news of the week ending April 26, 2024, are cashless hassles, an original Enterprise, and Barbie on your burger.


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It’s So Quick and Easy!

You know those commercials where they show helpless people fumbling with their cash? They have to dig it out of their wallet or purse and then it’s all crinkled and won’t fit into the machine, and the clerk is getting annoyed because they’re holding up the line? One commercial even illustrates how just how hard it is to use credit and debit cards, and then a really smart person comes along with their smartphone app and with a simple tap pays for what they’re buying and takes off on their merry way, shaking their head at the old-fashioned dolts who still use cash or coin or plastic?

Last Saturday I went to lunch with my best friend. Because this is 2024 and technology has taken over everything and towns simply can’t have a normal parking meter anymore, the street had those kiosks where you pay with a smartphone app or a card. So he takes out his phone and looks at the kiosk to see what app he needs. Then he has to go to the app site to download it, but because of bad service or something he can’t get to the site. He’s trying this for several minutes as we get wet from the light rain that’s falling. He finally gives up and decides to use a credit card, which of course doesn’t work the first time he puts it in. The kiosk doesn’t recognize it. Meanwhile, I’m standing there with a bunch of quarters in my hand (yes, I still carry coins) and there are also dollar bills in my pocket. The machine does take cash, but apps and cards are “quicker” and more “convenient.”

Is this progress? When did carrying cash become such a burden? There may be a day when every single store we go to only takes apps and credit cards. But we’re not there yet, and to paraphrase Charlton Heston, they’ll take my cash and coins when they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Someone needs to do a commercial where there’s a woman in a grocery line trying to pay for her diet soda with an app and it’s not working, and everyone in line is getting upset and the clerk is rolling her eyes. And then the guy next in line says, “hey, let me pay for that for you.” And he takes out a five-dollar bill and gives it to the cashier, who rings it up and then gives him his change and he and the woman who was trying to buy her drink leave the store smiling and laughing and they go on a date and eventually get married and have kids.

Slogan: “Cash. Use It Again for the First Time.”

Dick Van Dyke Just Got a Daytime Emmy Nomination!

I had no idea he did a stint on Days of Our Lives last year (he played Timothy Robicheaux, the amnesiac real father of John Black), and he just received a Daytime Emmy nomination for guest performance. At 98 he’s the oldest Daytime Emmy nominee ever.

Believe it or not, one of the actors he’s going up against is L.A. Confidential/Memento star Guy Pearce, who returned to the Australian soap Neighbours for a guest stint. He got his start on the show in 1986.

eBay, the Final Frontier

Star Trek fans noticed that a model of the Starship Enterprise was being sold on eBay and got curious. So many of them contacted the seller that he had to take down the listing. Turns out it’s one of the models from the opening credits of the original series! It has been missing for almost 50 years.

The model was returned to the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who is going to have it refurbished and displayed in a museum (the seller got a little something too).

What, Oppenheimer Doesn’t Get His Own Condiment?

Just in time for cookout season comes … Barbiecue Sauce! It’s a joint venture from Mattel and Heinz.

RIP Dickey Betts, Terry Carter, Terry Anderson, Bob Ellison, Mandisa, Carl Erskine, Bob Heil, Roman Gabriel, and Meg Bennett

Dickey Betts was the cofounder and singer/guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, known for such songs as “Ramblin’ Man,” “Jessica,” and “Whipping Post.” He died last week at the age of 80.

Terry Carter starred on such shows as The Phil Silvers ShowMcCloud, and Battlestar Galactica, as well as movies like BenjiParrish, and Foxy Brown. He also appeared in many Broadway plays. He died Tuesday at the age of 95.

Terry Anderson was the AP reporter kidnapped in 1985 and held hostage for seven years. He died Sunday at the age of 76.

Bob Ellison was a writer and creative consultant for such sitcoms as The Mary Tyler Moore ShowDear JohnBeckerRhodaWings, and Caroline in the City. He died last week at the age of 91.

Mandisa appeared in season five of American Idol and went on to have a Grammy-winning career as a Christian music artist. She died last week at the age of 47.

Carl Erskine was one of the great pitchers of the late ’40s and 1950s and one of the last surviving members of the Brooklyn Dodgers team. He died last week at the age of 97.

Bob Heil not only created large sound systems for The Who and The Grateful Dead to use on tour, but also came up with the Heil Talk Box, the sound effects pedal used by people like Peter Frampton. He died last week at the age of 83.

Roman Gabriel was a quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams, the 1969 MVP, and an All-Pro. He died Saturday at the age of 83.

Meg Bennett was not only a soap actress (she played Julia, Victor’s first wife on The Young and the Restless), but also wrote for several soaps too. She died earlier this month at the age of 75.

This Week in History

“In God We Trust” Appears on Coins (April 22, 1864)

It first appeared on the two-cent piece (yes, the two-cent piece) and was added to paper currency in 1957.

New York World’s Fair Opens (April 22, 1964)

Here’s a guide to the fair, hosted by Henry Fonda, Lorne Greene, Carol Channing, and others.

Uploaded to YouTube by Periscope Films

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Saturday Rain” by Earl Mayan (April 25, 1959)

This was how it was when I went to lunch on Saturday.

Salads, Salads, Salads

I know, you probably thought I was going to link to some barbecue recipes. But there’s plenty of time for that this summer. Instead, salads! Spring is the time for salads.

Like Curtis Stone’s Arugula Salad with Pomegranate, Persimmon, and Toasted Hazelnuts or his Heirloom Tomato and Mozzarella Salad. Martha Stewart has a Potato and Green Bean Salad, while EatingWell has a Chopped Power Salad with Chicken. Or if you want to try something that’s over a century old, how about these recipes from issues of the Post from the 1800s?

Just to be clear: It’s the recipes that are over a century old, not the ingredients.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Mystery Month Begins (May 1)

I wasn’t sure what this referred to – was there a thirteenth month I wasn’t aware of? – but it’s actually the month to read mysteries. I suggest Raymond Chandler.

National Day of Prayer (May 2)

While Thanksgiving is the National Day of Prayer for the fall, there’s also a spring National Day of Prayer, enacted by President Truman in 1952.

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  1. Replacing “paper” money with digital currency is part of the master plan to have better and more control over our lives. Step out of line and one could lose their ability to make transactions.. The fore mentioned commercial is proof the process has begun.

  2. It’s only “quick and easy” IF it happens to be working properly. The lady in the commercial happened to be lucky (of course), but what if her phone is telling her it’s ‘not connected to the internet’ or the ‘app’ isn’t working for whatever reason? The ad clearly implies she ‘doesn’t need/use cash or a debit card’, so she’s out of luck if there’s ANY problem with her phone.

    The ad is also manipulative and condescending, trying to funnel us all into being complete prisoners of that damn device; totally dependent on IT for everything per a large scale agenda for those making billions off our compliance.

    The young woman’s ‘phone app’ should be a payment OPTION only, not to the exclusion of cash or the debit card. That ‘app’ (hate that non-word!) is also making her vulnerable to her bank account being hacked into. So what might have been a split-second easy payment now, could turn into hours of hell later.

    What you describe with the kiosk is horrible, but I’m not surprised. Again, having to have a damn smart phone app just to pay for friggin’ parking?!! Then the kiosk “didn’t recognize” his credit card the first time, but apparently did the 2nd; how nice of it. Isn’t that special? Meanwhile you had to get somewhat rain soaked.

    As far as the people in the ad go, they should have been prepared with the proper debit cards and non smashed-up cash, ready to pay. Gotta love the dog probably thinking “And they’re supposed to a superior life form than I am??. Please explain!” Yes, do.

    Apps are largely gimmicks anyway. You’ll only get this price or that deal IF you have “the app”, otherwise no. I agree with you on the cash. and your slogan too. I’ll add mine: “Keep a stash of cash to have handy ahead of the coming Crash!”

    Thanks for the feature on the 1964 World’s Fair! Mid-century magic. The original Mustang made its debut there. It’s still my favorite model of Ford’s longest running car-line. Great 1959 Post cover. speaking of cars. The red car looks like a ’59 T-Bird minus the fins, and the blue car based on the ’56 Chevy.

    With our completely broken government ONLY intent on destroying the U.S. and making billions for themselves, every day needs to be National Prayer Day! I agree with Jerry Seinfeld’s comments on the movie industry.


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