News of the Week: President Trump, Presents from Oprah, and Pickles You Can Make Yourself

Election 2016


I don’t know if you’ve heard, but remember the guy who used to host Celebrity Apprentice? We just elected him President of the United States.

Maybe you didn’t vote for Donald Trump, but he will be our President (even if students around the country voted for Hillary Clinton in a landslide). Trump stunned everyone by changing the electoral map, while it looks like Clinton won the popular vote.

Just as fascinating as the actual election results was the coverage of it on television and social media. I was up until 2 a.m., surfing around the various channels. You had CNN’s John King and his wondrous magic wall (at one point I think he wanted to strangle Wolf Blitzer for all of his interruptions), and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow looking rather perplexed. You had CBS’s Bob Schieffer not knowing what to make of the results, and over on Fox News they wanted to be more cautious after getting 2012 so wrong. The election was all that Twitter could talk about for 24 hours straight, and helped prove once again that maybe, just maybe, most of us shouldn’t be on Twitter.

To summarize this election: A lot of the “experts” didn’t know what the heck they were talking about.

One last thing about the 2016 election: Have you heard about the new web craze, The Mannequin Challenge? It’s when you stand still like a mannequin and film yourself. It’s one of those internet memes like the Ice Bucket Challenge and planking and the one where you smush bread into your face for some reason. Everyone on the Clinton campaign plane took part in The Mannequin Challenge the day before the election, and someone added an REM song to it after the results came in. I think it pretty much describes how Clinton supporters feel:


Here’s how the voting went down, though they might not be the final final numbers.

Oprah’s Favorite Things

Oprah Winfrey doesn’t have her daily talk show anymore, so she can’t freak out her audience by surprising them with so many Christmas gifts that many of them have heart attacks. But she still picks her favorite things every year, only now it’s in her magazine and online with help from Amazon.

There aren’t any raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens, but you can buy a William Faulkner Book Set, a Rabbit Wine Decanter, and Verloop Trio Gloves, which come in a set of three in case you lose one. If you want to spend a lot of money, you could get a custom dog blanket, or if you don’t want to spend a lot of cash, how about some potato chips?

I don’t know if you have any Saturday Evening Post columnists on your Christmas list this year, but if there are, I wouldn’t hate it if you bought me, I mean them, this Bialatti Pasta Pot.

Breaking Starbucks Coffee Cup News!

Last week we told you about the latest controversy involving the Starbucks Christmas cups. Turns out those weren’t the Christmas cups at all! They were unity cups, for the election (not sure if that worked out that well).

Yesterday, Starbucks made their cups for the holiday season available, and if you thought there wasn’t enough seasonal joy in last year’s plain red, green, and white cups, there’s plenty of that this year to make up for it. This season they have 13 different cups designed by Starbucks customers all over the world. There were 1,200 submissions to the contest on Instagram, which seems like a rather low number for a worldwide Starbucks contest. If for some reason you don’t like fancy designs on your coffee cups, those regular red, green, and white cups will be available too.

By the way, from now until Monday, if you buy a holiday drink at Starbucks between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., you get a holiday drink for free!

Courtesy Starbucks


RIP Leonard Cohen and Kay Starr

Leonard Cohen was one of the most influential and respected singer/songwriters of the past several decades. His song “Hallelujah” has been featured in many TV shows over the years and has been covered by dozens of artists, including Jeff Buckley:

Cohen passed away last night at the age of 82. No cause of death was given, but he told The New Yorker in a recent interview, “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

Kay Starr had one of the great voices in American pop music. She recorded many well-known songs, including “The Rock and Roll Waltz” and the Christmas classic “(Everybody’s Waiting For) The Man with the Bag,” which Target used in commercials a few Christmases past. But she’s probably best known for the No. 1 song “Wheel of Fortune,” which was used in L.A. Confidential:

Starr died last week at the age of 94 from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

This Week in History

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Elected President Again(November 7, 1944)

It can’t happen anymore, but this was the fourth term for FDR.

Edmund Halley Born (November 8, 1656)

The comet named after Halley won’t be seen again until July 28, 2061.

Berlin Wall Opens (November 9, 1989)

At least 130 people were killed trying to escape East Germany from 1961 to 1989.

Monday Is National Pickle Day!

I would lump pickles into the same category as ketchup, mustard, pasta, and beer, and that category is “Things I’m Never Going to Make at Home — I’ll Just Buy Them from the Store, Thanks.” But if you’re ambitious, AllRecipes has a bunch of recipes for both dill and sweet pickles. Whether you make them yourself or just go with Vlasic, you can include them in this Cuban Sandwich from Bobby Flay or this meatloaf, or you could fry them.

You could also make pickle-infused vodka, which I don’t think is one of Oprah’s favorite things.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Sadie Hawkins Day (November 13)

I can’t remember having a Sadie Hawkins Dance when I was in school. If we did, I was never asked! I also didn’t know that it all started with Lil Abner.

Great American Smokeout (November 17)

Today would be a great day to quit smoking, even if it did help create some fun ads featuring giant packs of cigarettes.

News of the Week: Chicago Beats Cleveland, Dewey Defeats Truman, and Jimmy Kimmel Makes Kids Cry

To Quote Harry Carey: “Cubs Win! Cubs Win!”

If a Hollywood script writer wrote the plot of the 2016 World Series for a movie, it wouldn’t have been believable. Two teams that haven’t won a championship in decades playing against each other? The series goes seven games after one team is down three games to one? And the seventh game goes into extra innings?

The last time the the Chicago Cubs won The World Series, in 1908, Henry Ford produced his first Model T car, the Titanic hadn’t even been built yet, and a loaf of bread was five cents. Jimmy Stewart was born in 1908 and Mark Twain was still alive.

Here’s what was on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on October 10, 1908.


Cover of The Saturday Evening Post
November 4, 1908


I’m happy for Bill Murray and all of the other Cubs fans. As a Red Sox fan who went through a lot of pain for a lot of years until they won in 2004, I know how they’ve felt.

I Didn’t Win $250,000

Quaker Oats had a contest earlier this year where the public could go on their web site and create a new oatmeal flavor. If they picked your recipe you’d win $250,000! I didn’t win, so I guess I’ll cancel that order for a Lamborghini.

The three finalists have been announced. It’s down to Vanilla Chai, Lemon Ricotta Pancake, and Apple Cheddar Rosemary. My choice is Vanilla Chai. Voting ends November 19.

And no, I’m not telling you what my flavor entry was. There’s always next year.

Starbucks and the Coffee Cup Wars: The Sequel

Green Starbucks cup
Courtesy Starbucks

Remember last year when people got upset because the coffee cups at Starbucks weren’t Christmas-y enough? It’s happening again this year. This is becoming an annual Christmas tradition, like watching It’s A Wonderful Life, decorating your house with colorful lights, and punching people in the face as you fight over the last toaster on sale on Black Friday.

Here’s the new Starbucks cup. It’s a green and white cup with a drawing of several faces all close to each other in a big circle, and while Starbucks doesn’t specifically say it’s the cup for the holiday season, it’s November 4 and you’d think the holiday cups would have been unveiled by now. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says that “during a divisive time in our country, Starbucks wanted to create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values.” Oh, if only a coffee cup could solve our nation’s problems. I was really looking forward to this election being over concentrating on the Christmas season – a non-politicized Christmas season.

Maybe next year Starbucks can go back to snowmen and trees and angels and Santa?

Hello Bye Bye Birdie

I think that the live events that NBC has been producing the past few years are one of the great things on television right now. So far we’ve seen Peter Pan, The Wiz, and Grease (with Hairspray coming next month and A Few Good Men in the spring) and while we can say that not all of them have worked 100%, it’s great that someone is doing something that harkens back to the live performances we saw in the 1950’s during The Golden Age of Television (the first Golden Age of Television).

Next up is a new version of Bye, Bye Birdie. It was first a Broadway musical in 1960, with Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera, and then a 1963 film with Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, and Ann-Margret. This version will star Jennifer Lopez and will air some time during the holiday season of 2017.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s about the craziness that occurs when rock star Conrad Birdie visits the president of his fan club in a small Ohio town. Mad Men did an episode about it. They were going do a tie-in with Patio Cola:

RIP Tammy Grimes, Michael Massee, Hazel Shermet, Don Marshall, and John Zacherle

Tammy Grimes
Tammy Grimes
Photo by Philippe Halsman

Tammy Grimes passed away this week at the age of 82, and you can read Saturday Evening Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson’s feature on early ’60’s idol and the 1964 profile we did of her. Here’s her New York Times obituary. I didn’t realize that she was once married to actors Christopher Plummer and Jeremy Slate and later to musician Richard Bell.

Michael Massee was in a ton of movies, including Se7en, The Game, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, along with TV shows like The Blacklist, The X-Files, Alias, House, Rizzoli & Isles, and 24, but he will probably be remembered as the man who accidentally shot and killed actor Brandon Lee on the set of The Crow in 1993.

Massee died of cancer. He was 64.

Hazel Shermet was one of those people you’d see on TV and say “I know her!” even if you didn’t know her name. She appeared on shows like I Dream of Jeannie, That Girl, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Facts of Life, as well as over 100 commercials. If you were a kid in the ’70’s you heard her voice as Henrietta Hippo on a really bizarre show called New Zoo Revue that I watched every single weekend for some reason:

Shermet, an actress and singer who also appeared on Broadway, was 96.

Don Marshall played one of the crewmen trapped in the Land of the Giants on ABC in the ’60s. He also appeared in the series Julia and several other TV shows and movies. He passed away last weekend at the age of 80.

John Zacherle? He was one of the first horror movie hosts on television, appearing as Roland/Zacherley on local stations in New York and Philadelphia in the 1950’s. He even had a hit song in 1958 called “Dinner with Drac.” He passed away on October 27 at the age of 98.

You can thank Zacherle for opening the door to other horror movie hosts like Svengoolie, who hosts his own show every Saturday night on Me-TV.

This Week in History

“Dewey Defeats Truman” Headline (November 3, 1948)
Why didn’t Thomas Dewey actually win that election? Maybe it was his mustache.

Walter Cronkite Born (November 4, 1916)
That’s right, the CBS newsman would be turning 100 this year. Here’s Jeff Nilsson with a look back at his influence.

Abraham Lincoln Elected President (November 6, 1860)
The Republican candidate defeated Democrats Stephen A. Douglas and John C. Breckinridge and John Bell of the Constitutional Union party.

It’s National Candy Day

Didn’t we just celebrate a candy day, on October 31? Seems like we should just combine National Candy Day with Halloween. It seems more efficient and we can spend our energies celebrating Love Your Lawyer Day (which is also today). But I guess we shouldn’t dismiss any day that helps give us two candy holidays in one week.

To celebrate you could just eat the leftover Three Musketeer and Snickers bars you stole from your kids’ bags because Jimmy Kimmel told you to, but if you want to actually try to make your own candy, how about these recipes for Peanut Butter Fudge and Pumpkin Walnut Fudge?

And yes, before you ask, fudge is considered candy. It’s science!

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Daylight Saving Time Ends (November 6)
Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour before you go to bed Saturday night/early Sunday morning!

Election Day (November 8)
Finally, the day has arrived. Some voters are angry, but this might not be the worst election in history.

Veteran’s Day (November 11)
Here’s a look at America’s early attempts to honor our veterans.