News of the Week: Label Reading, Bond Betting, and Retro Typing

Food for Thought

If I could choose one thing that I hate about the current nutrition labels, it’s that it’s not easy to figure out exactly how much you’re eating. Right now I’m looking at a bag of mini Kit Kats. According to the label, in a serving size of five pieces there are 11 grams of fat, and there are seven servings per bag. Wouldn’t it be easier just to tell me the amount of fat, calories, and so on in one piece, and then let me multiply the number by how many pieces I eat — which will probably around 20? (Side note: If you’re eating 20 mini Kit Kats in one sitting, the nutrition label is probably unimportant to you.) Other than that, I don’t think the labels are too confusing.

But the FDA is changing them. They’ve introduced a new nutrition label that is not only easier to read but has more information for you, including info on how much sugar is added to the product. But they’ve gotten rid of one or two things too. The Washington Post has a complete rundown on what’s new.

Here’s The Boston Globe’s side-by-side comparison of the old and new labels:


Will There Be a New James Bond?

I’m not sure of a lot of things. I can’t swim, I don’t know how to fold a dress shirt, and I’m still not certain how the stock market works. But there is one thing I do know for sure: Gillian Anderson is not going to be the next James Bond.

That’s one of the names being floated around by … well, people who float names around. They know it’s just a silly “wish.” She’s not actually going to be the next 007. You can be sure that the next Bond is going to be what all the other Bonds have been: a man.

But according to rumors and comments he made after SPECTRE was released last year, Daniel Craig might have already quit as the secret agent. Since these types of rumors always come up after an actor does a few Bond movies and is getting a little exhausted from making them, this whole story could be completely untrue.

But if it does turn out to be true, what names actually are being bandied for the role? At the top of the list is Tom Hiddleston, who is currently starring in AMC’s The Night Manager. He’s such a popular choice that bookmakers had to actually stop people from betting on him (yes, apparently you can bet on who the next Bond will be in England). Other people mentioned include Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell (he supposedly has met with the producers); Poldark star Aidan Turner; Damian Lewis, from Billions and Homeland; and Idris Elba, who a lot of people on social media have wanted to be Bond for quite some time. And for good measure let’s throw in all the names that were mentioned just before Craig got the role, such as Eric Bana, Goran Visnjic, Tom Hardy, and Henry Cavill.

Keep in mind that a lot of these “such and such is the new contender for the role of James Bond!” stories could just be rumors created by the publicists and managers of certain actors or something spread by fans on social media. We’ll find out more officially in the next few months if Craig is going to stay or not.

RIP Alan Young and Beth Howland

Young is probably best known as the human star of the classic sitcom Mr. Ed, but he had quite an interesting career beyond having conversations with a horse.

He was the voice of Scrooge McDuck in many Disney cartoons and appeared in such movies as The Time Machine (the original and the 2002 remake), Aaron Slick From Punkin Crick, Androcles and the Lion, and Tom Thumb. He also appeared in many TV shows, from The Alan Young Show and Studio 57 to Murder, She Wrote and The Love Boat. And before all that, he was a radio star. He had his own show when he was 17 years old, and it was rather influential, even if a lot of people don’t remember that part of his career.

Young passed away last week in Woodland Hills, California, at the age of 96. Some might not know that his real name was Angus Young or that he was born in England and raised in Scotland and Canada.

Beth Howland passed away from lung cancer on December 31, but her death is just now being announced, per her wishes. She played ditsy but kind waitress Vera on Alice. I didn’t realize that she was married to Charles Kimbrough, who played anchor Jim Dial on Murphy Brown.

Own a Piece of Mad Men

Mad Men is my favorite drama of all time, and my birthday is coming up. That’s the perfect combo at the perfect time because Screenbid and AMC are teaming up for another auction of official props from the show! It starts on June 1, and you can bid on such items as Roger’s Ray-Ban sunglasses, Pete’s globe-shaped bar, Don’s office chairs, and even Don’s 1964 Chrysler Imperial.

I’d love to have Peggy Olsen’s Royal typewriter. I would type these columns on it and then snail-mail them to my editor, who would then have to scan them to post them online. But it would be worth it! [Editor’s note: No, it wouldn’t.]

A Documentary About Rose Marie

If Mad Men is my favorite drama of all time, then The Dick Van Dyke Show is my favorite comedy. It’s like TV comfort food for me. One of the show’s stars, Rose Marie, is still going strong at the age of 92. She even has a strong presence online, with a web site and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

She’s also on Kickstarter! They want to put together a documentary on her life, so please give whatever you can (you’ll get gifts, depending on how much you donate). She’s had a long career (starting out as a child singer and actress), and I’m sure the documentary will be fascinating. She’s one cool lady.

The Qwerkywriter

I guess if I can’t get that typewriter from the set of Mad Men, this might be the next best thing. It’s the Qwerkywriter, a computer keyboard that looks like a manual typewriter keyboard. It looks well-made and has some really nice features. It even sounds like a typewriter when you tap the keys. It works with iPads, Macbooks, iPhones, Windows tablets, and all Android devices. Writer John Scalzi isn’t really a typewriter guy, but he likes it.

It costs $350, which is a little pricey, but it’s really sharp-looking and might be just the thing for the person who wants to have a little bit of the manual typewriter experience without losing access to their Facebook and email.

National Biscuit Day

I’ve never made biscuits before, and I have no idea what White Lily flour is, but if you’re going to make biscuits for National Biscuit Day — it’s this Sunday — then this recipe for the buttermilk version from Food 52 might be the way to go.

Or, if you don’t want to make a mess of your kitchen, you could wait 24 hours and celebrate National Mint Julep Day. Sounds like the perfect drink for a Memorial Day Monday.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

100th running of the Indy 500 (May 29)

The first Indy 500 was in 1911, but no races were run in 1917 or 1918 (because of WWI) or between 1942 and 1945 (because of WWII). This year’s race is sold out, which means Hoosiers get to watch the race on live TV for the first time since 1950.

Memorial Day (May 30)

Saturday Evening Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson wrote about the history of Memorial Day, which was once called Decoration Day.

Lincoln Memorial dedicated (May 30, 1922)

The memorial is part of the National Park Service, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Johnstown Flood occurs (May 31, 1889)

The Pennsylvania disaster killed 2,209 people and caused over $17 million worth of damage.

Brigham Young born (June 1, 1801)

The religious leader became the second head of the Mormon church after founder Joseph Smith was murdered.

Ken Jennings begins Jeopardy! streak (June 2, 2004)

Since his historic run of 74 wins, Jennings has written several books, became a columnist for Parade, and has an active Twitter feed.

Battle of Midway starts (June 4, 1942)

Did a science fiction writer predict many events of World War II, including Midway, two years before Pearl Harbor?