News of the Week: Saving Bookstores, Star Wars, and Some Guy Ate 30,000 Big Macs
Barnes & Noble
I’ve mentioned here before that if You’ve Got Mail were made today, The Shop Around the Corner would team up with the Fox Books superstore and go up against Amazon (I smell sequel!).
I thought of that after reading this New York Times op-ed by David Leonhardt on how we need to save Barnes & Noble. It seems like only yesterday when B&N (and other big chain bookstores) were seen as the bad guy. Now, with Amazon taking over everything, and the major chains going away, we’re getting nostalgic for the big chains. And well we should be. I want brick-and-mortar stores to survive, even if I love Amazon at the same time. (It’s interesting how the number of indie bookstores is increasing in this age of online book sales.)
The only problem I have with Leonhardt’s piece is a paragraph near the end, where he mentions that “publishers are focusing on big name writers” and “the number of professional authors has declined.” Publishers have always put their money and energies behind the bigger name authors, and I think there are probably more writers right now than ever; they’re just doing more on their own.
Now, a Story about a Family That Wants to Rule the Galaxy
Solo, the new Star Wars movie directed by Ron Howard, comes out on May 25. It was announced this week that the fifth season of Arrested Development launches on Netflix on May 29. Since Howard is the narrator of Arrested Development, it makes sense that there would be a way to combine the two. And here it is.
In other Star Wars news, a set of twins born on May 4 (aka “Star Wars Day”) was given the names of characters from the series to celebrate the day they were born. They were named Jabba the Hutt and Chewbacca (just kidding — they were given the middle names Luke and Leia).
Come, Let’s Mix Where Rockefellers Walk with Sticks
How much would you pay for an original Matisse? How about $80 million? That’s just one of the sales in this week’s auction of the David and Peggy Rockefeller art collection at Christie’s in New York City.
The three-day auction wasn’t even finished yet when they broke the record for the most money brought in from an art collection. On the first day, the total was at $650 million.
A lot of the winners were anonymous bidders. I can promise you I wasn’t one of them, though I did once own an album that had Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks on the cover.
And the No. 1 Rock Artist of All Time Is …
You wouldn’t think that someone would take the time to rank all 214 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from best to worst, but you’d be wrong. Bill Wyman did it for Vulture.
It’s a massive undertaking, so kudos to Wyman for even attempting it. He even gives his list of the artists that aren’t in the HoF but should be. Now, all lists are subjective, but this one is especially so, and I’m sure it will lead to a lot of arguments. Wyman says a lot of things about certain artists that fans of those artists are going to hate, and in some cases, his arguments are inconsistent. I mean, picking Chuck Berry over the Beatles? The Ramones over Buddy Holly? Jeff Beck and Hall & Oates should be higher on the list, and I know Bon Jovi fans aren’t going to be happy at all (though I think they should be number 215 in this list of 214). Let me know in the comments below what you think of the list.
You Want Fries with That?
I once stopped at a Burger King and was informed that I couldn’t have a cheeseburger because they were all out of buns. I was rather stunned. A burger place that runs out of buns? That’s like Dunkin’ Donuts running out of coffee.
Don Gorske broke a record recently for eating burgers, not at Burger King, but at McDonald’s. He finished his 30,000th Big Mac last Friday at the same Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, location where he ate his first one in 1972. I guess this answers the eternal question, “How many years does it take to eat 30,000 Big Macs?”
With all of the publicity that Gorske’s eating has garnered, McDonald’s should give him free meals for life.
And if you’re wondering what it has done to him, note that Gorske has run marathons and probably has better cholesterol than you or I.
IMHO, This Controversy Is Ridiculous
I had no idea there was a debate going on about what that the abbreviation IMHO stands for. Many people think it stands for “In My Honest Opinion.” It actually stands for “In My Humble Opinion,” as this piece from The Atlantic explains.
BuzzFeed is conducting a poll to find out what readers think is right, and like most of the things that BuzzFeed does, the results are wrong. As I type these words, “In My Honest Opinion” has 57 percent of the vote, and “In My Humble Opinion” has 43 percent. Either BuzzFeed readers don’t know what they’re talking about, or they’re just clicking the wrong choice on purpose to mess with the results. The latter would be funny, but I sense it’s the former.
For the record, “LOL” stands for “laugh out loud,” “BRB” is “be right back,” and “tl;dr” stands for “this article is too long so I didn’t read it but I have an opinion on it anyway.”
RIP Art Paul, George Deukmejian, Anne V. Coates, Dick Williams, and Gayle Shepherd
Art Paul was the first art director for Playboy and created the famous bunny logo. He died last Saturday at the age of 93.
George Deukmejian was the governor of California for two terms, from 1983 to 1991. He died Tuesday at the age of 89.
Anne V. Coates edited many classic movies, including Lawrence of Arabia, The Elephant Man, Murder on the Orient Express, and Out of Sight. She received several Oscar nominations and was given an honorary award in 2016. She died Tuesday at the age of 92.
Dick Williams was a singer in the Williams Brothers singing quartet, which included his brothers Bob, Don, and Andy, who later went on to solo success. He died Saturday at the age of 91.
Gayle Shepherd was a member of another famous sibling group, the Shepherd Sisters, best known for their hit song “Alone (Why Must I Be Alone).” She died Monday at the age of 81.
Quote of the Week
“Movie reviews, they’re not even movie reviews anymore, they’re just ‘how come you made the movie you made and not the one I would have made?’”
—Bill Maher, ranting about how everyone seems to get so easily offended these days (warning, some salty language!)
This Week in History
Alan Shepard Becomes First American in Space (May 5, 1961)
Shepard went into space aboard the Mercury spacecraft Freedom. He made a second trip into space in 1971 as part of Apollo 14, along with astronauts Stuart Roosa and Edgar Mitchell.
Three Stooges Debut (May 5, 1934)
The very first Three Stooges short was titled Woman Haters, and the entire thing is done in rhyme and song. It’s one of the few Stooge shorts where they don’t use the names Moe, Larry, and Curly. Their names here are Tom, Jim, and Jackie.
Look for Walter Brennan as a train conductor. Co-star Marjorie White, who plays Larry’s bride, was killed in an auto accident just a year after Woman Haters was released.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Father’s Homework (May 7, 1960)
Have you ever had that dream where you’re back in school and you have a big test, and if you don’t pass it you won’t graduate? I haven’t had a dream like that in many years, but I did have it throughout my 20s and 30s, and it disturbed me each time. During the dream, I could actually feel the dread of being stuck back in school. I’d wake up relieved that I wasn’t actually back in school but worried about going back to sleep, because I didn’t want the dream to continue. I guess I assumed my “waking up” was like a commercial break in the story.
Anyway, here’s a cover by John Falter depicting two dads trying to help their sons with algebra homework. I had to repeat algebra.
How to Make a Big Mac at Home
Did you know that there are several websites and books dedicated to the art of replicating restaurant food at home? One of the most famous is Top Secret Recipes. Here’s their attempt at copying the recipe for a McDonald’s Big Mac. Besides ground beef and a seeded bun, you’ll need dill pickles, iceberg lettuce, and their copycat recipe for the Big Mac special sauce.
And after you eat it, just think: only 29,999 more to go!
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Mother’s Day (May 13)
Here’s a Post article on Anna Jarvis, known as “the woman behind Mother’s Day.” Make sure you get something nice for your mom this Sunday. And by “nice,” I don’t mean something you find at the last minute at the CVS checkout counter.
But when you do buy her something, remember: Mother’s no mechanic!