News of the Week: Goodbye Jon Stewart, Hello F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Happy Birthday to You

Goodbye Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on October 20, 2009 s_bukley /
Jon Stewart at the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on October 20, 2009

s_bukley /

Wait, that makes it sound like he died. I just mean that last night’s episode of The Daily Show was the last one for host Jon Stewart, after hosting the show for 16 years. Stewart’s final guests were Amy Schumer, Denis Leary, and Louis CK, along with some surprise guests to celebrate Stewart’s tenure on the show, the show that made Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell household names.

Everyone is celebrating the departing host this week, with retrospectives and best-of lists and essays. Time’s James Poniewozik reveals what he’ll miss most about Stewart. The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog has a rundown of some of his more odd guests. Newsweek delves into the comic and crusader parts of The Daily Show , and and the show itself showcased some of the craziest interviews earlier this week. Note: some NSFW moments in that last link.

What will Stewart do now? Don’t expect him back on television anytime soon. I would think he’s going to write more, direct more, and maybe even do more standup. He did a surprise gig at Comedy Cellar in New York City last week with Louis CK. I was just going to call him “CK” but that doesn’t sound right.

Trevor Noah takes over as host of The Daily Show on September 28. I think it would have been funny to have Craig Kilborn return as host. He hosted the show before Stewart, and on Stewart’s first night he said that Kilborn was on assignment in Kuala Lampur. It would have been great to have Kilborn finally come back from that assignment to resume hosting duties again.

New F. Scott Fitzgerald Story Published

Click to view the current issue of The Strand Magazine.
Click to view the current issue of The Strand Magazine.

The discovery of new works by writers continues! Now we have a long-lost short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s called “Temperature,” and it’s about a writer who drinks a lot and then finds out he’s sick. And before you even make a joke about how art imitates life, Fitzgerald beat you to it. He says at the beginning of the story, “And as for that current dodge ‘no reference to any living character is intended’ -no use even trying that.” He wrote it in the summer of 1939, when he was hospitalized twice for alcoholism. (According to a letter Fitzgerald wrote his agent, he submitted the story to The Saturday Evening Post, and it was rejected. Sorry, Mr. Fitzgerald!)

The story is in the current issue of the magazine The Strand. The managing editor of the magazine, Andrew Gulli, found the manuscript while he was looking at the Fitzgerald archives at Princeton.

So besides Fitzgerald, we’ve also had new works from Harper Lee, Dr. Seuss, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Orson Welles, and probably a few others I’ve forgotten about. Quick, someone check Dorothy Parker’s attic!

Happy Birthday to You


Have you ever sang “Happy Birthday to You” at a party? Then you probably owe someone some money.

Yup, that’s a copyrighted song, even if it is sung 57 bajillion times a day (a conservative estimate). Like every other “cover song,” you’re supposed to pay to sing it. Warner/Chappell is the publisher and they make around $2 million in royalties from it every year. The song, originally titled “Good Morning to You,” was written by two sisters in 1893.

But now there’s a lawsuit (there’s always a lawsuit) brought by a filmmaker who wanted to use the song in her movie but was told she had to pay $1,500. She wants everyone to be able to use the song free of charge because it’s in “the public domain” and everyone sings it. It all comes down to when the “happy birthday” lyrics were added to the song. A federal judge will rule on it later this month.

By the way, even if you’re singing the song only in your head right now, you owe some money.

It’s Official: Kermit and Miss Piggy Have Broken Up

Kermit and Miss Piggy Jaguar PS /
Kermit and Miss Piggy
Jaguar PS /

This has been a big couple of weeks for celebrity breakups. Reba McEntire and her husband are divorcing after 26 years of marriage. Country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are also going their separate ways, as are rockstar couple Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. But the most shocking split comes from two celebrities that aren’t even human.

Kermit and Miss Piggy are no longer dating. The frog and pig announced the breakup during a Q&A session at the annual Television Critics Association get-together, where they were promoting ABC’s update of The Muppets, which will debut this fall. Kermit said that Miss Piggy made his life “a bacon-wrapped hell on Earth.”

If these two can’t make it work…

And the Highest Paid Actor in the World Is…

Robert Downey Jr. Featureflash /
Robert Downey Jr.

Featureflash /

…Ian Ziering, star of the Sharknado movies. I know, I was surprised too!

Okay, that’s not true. The highest-paid actor in the world – for the third year in a row – is Robert Downey Jr., according to the annual list compiled by Forbes. Thanks to all of the superhero movies he’s doing, he raked in $80 million last year. Second on the list is Jackie Chan, with $50 million, followed by Vin Diesel ($47 million), Bradley Cooper ($41.5 million), and Adam Sandler ($41 million).

Adam Sandler. One of the richest movie stars in the world.

August is National Sandwich Month


I usually provide a few links to recipes in this section, but how do you do that with sandwiches? There are literally thousands, if not millions, of different sandwiches a person can make, depending on the bread you use, the filling, whether you toast it or not, etc. So instead why don’t I provide a link to something and you can all get into an argument?

Here’s a list from Thrillist that lists the 50 best sandwiches of all-time. Let me just say that number 36 should be a lot higher. And I’m sure that some people are going to question why a hamburger wasn’t considered – because it’s not a sandwich – but “hamburger sub” is on the list because they took the burgers and shoved them into a sub roll. And peanut butter and jelly, one of the classic sandwiches of all-time, should be in the top 10, not 26.

By the way, as we all know, the sandwich was named after the man who invented it, Alexander Hoagie.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

The Smithsonian Institution established (August 10, 1846)​
A lot of people might think the Smithsonian is just one museum, but it’s so much more.

Victory Day (August 10)
Did you know this once federal holiday is now only celebrated in Rhode Island?

Alfred Hitchcock born (August 13, 1899)

The BBC recently released their list of the 100 Greatest American Films and Hitchcock grabbed several of the spots. But come on: everyone knows North By Northwest is better than Psycho.

Berlin Wall construction begins (August 13, 1961)
USA Today has 9 things you might not know about the fall of the wall.

Steve Martin born (August 14, 1945)
Check out the scary hand on his official site.

Woodstock opens (August 15, 1969)​
The official title for the event was The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, though no one really talks about the art.

Classic Covers: A Salute to Teachers

We really feel sorry for this kid. An artist named Worth Brehm illustrated the March 19, 1910, cover, depicting a boy with a rather unflattering portrait of his teacher. Said schoolmaster is standing right behind him looking very much like a man one does not want to anger. And he looks really angry. With no principal’s office in those days, we can only imagine what happens next (although we’d rather not).

The teacher is obviously not happy about a slacking student on Robert Robinson’s October 1918 cover. This boy’s unpardonable sin is falling asleep and daydreaming in class. Boys in 1918 probably often dreamed of fighting in the Great War to end all wars. He might be safer “Over There,” judging from the look on the teacher’s face and the firmness with which she’s holding that ruler.

A kinder, gentler teacher emerges in Fanny Young Cory’s May 1906 cover. The charming schoolmarm is helping one of the pupils tie her hat, making sure each adorable kid is properly turned out to go home.

It isn’t hard to figure out what the mother is saying in Amos Sewell’s December 1959 cover. “How can someone as smart as Johnny bring home such poor grades? Why, the boy is the brightest youngster we have ever seen!” The weary teacher shows signs of having heard the story more than once before.

<em>Separation Anxiety</em><br />by George Hughes<br />September 11, 1948
Separation Anxiety by George HughesSeptember 11, 1948

If you identify with artist George Hughes’ September 1948 cover, you may not want to admit that you were one of those clingy kids who threw a royal fit when dropped off that first day of school. Showing one more reason why her job is not easy, the teacher is kindly trying to wrench the traumatized little girl from Mommy, while the expressions on the other kids’ faces are everything from laughter to “oh, dear.” Artist Hughes was something of an expert, having five girls and “the one who is crying on the cover is, of course, mine.”

Our salute would not be complete without the classic teacher cover, Norman Rockwell’s Happy Birthday, Miss Jones. Just when the teacher thinks she’s had enough of cramming figures and words into unreceptive little minds, they do something like this: scrawl “Happy Birthday, Miss Jones” on the chalkboard. As we’ve often said, Rockwell is all about faces, and Jones’ face says it all.

The boy in Stevan Dohanos’ September 1946 is bringing the teacher flowers. These were actual students from the fifth grade of Bedford Elementary School in Westport, Connecticut. We love the editors’ note in this issue: “At one point the artist asked their teacher to brush her hair back a little more severely. When she came back from the cloakroom with the new hairdo, the kids raised such a clamor of disapproval that Dohanos had to yield to overwhelming public opinion and sketch her as they like to see her.” The lesson? Don’t mess with our teacher!