News of the Week: The Time 100, Time Travelers, and 21 (Supposedly) Overrated Books

Influential People

For the 14th year in a row, I just missed making the Time list of the 100 most influential people in the world. This year I came in at 107, and so was not invited to the big party they had Tuesday night announcing the list. I was busy that night anyway. I had pasta and watched Jeopardy in my sweatpants.

The list is divided into different groups: “Pioneers,” which includes the kids who survived the Parkland school shooting; “Artists,” which includes Roseanne Barr and Jimmy Kimmel; “Leaders,” which features President Trump and Meghan Markle; “Icons,” which includes Jennifer Lopez and Kesha; and “Titans,” a category that features Roger Federer and Oprah Winfrey.

I’m not sure why Cardi B is considered a “Pioneer” and not an “Artist,” but I’m sure Time has its reasons. Also, I thought Cardi B was a prescription heart medication.

The Grandfather Paradox

Speaking of time…

I’m not a scientist (or an Icon or Pioneer), so maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think that time travel can exist. Let’s say you went back in time to stop yourself from accidentally drinking some expired milk. If you stop yourself from drinking the milk, then it didn’t happen, and if it didn’t happen, then how did you know about it in order to go back in time to change things? Of course, this can be explained by alternative timelines and other things that we’ve heard about in science fiction, but it still doesn’t seem to me that it could logically work.

But it’s a fantastic narrative device that movies and TV shows keep using, from Star Trek and Quantum Leap to one of my favorite current shows, Timeless. And according to Slate’s “Watch Smarter” series, there are movies and TV shows that get time travel right and some that get it completely wrong. They say that Back to the Future gets it wrong, while The Terminator gets it right.

But their examples, to me, seem a bit contradictory or open to opinion, insomuch that nobody knows how time travel would work (and wouldn’t we be visited by time travelers right now if it does exist in the future?). Read some of the comments on the piece and you’ll see how some readers disagree with Slate’s findings.

If I had a time machine, I’d go back to a certain Tuesday night in 2003 and prevent Mark Zuckerberg from getting drunk.

Nancy Is Back!

Actually, the comic strip Nancy never really went away. It was drawn by Ernie Bushmiller until 1982, and then by other artists until earlier this year. A new artist, with the pseudonym Olivia Jaimes, took over the strip a few weeks ago, and a lot of fans aren’t happy at all with the new direction the strip has taken.

Nancy and Sluggo are now a little more modern and hip. They’re always on their smartphones, watching Hulu, and dealing with social media and video games. There seems to be a change in the tone of the strip as well. Luckily, they’re still dressed the same, Nancy with her skirt and the bow in her hair and Sluggo dressed like a 1930s hobo.

I’m just happy that newspaper comic strips still exist and people are actually invested enough to argue about them.


Every day, there are dozens of terrible, inaccurate, misguided, and just plain dumb articles posted online. This, from GQ, is one of them.

It’s titled “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read,” so you know right away that it’s going to make you grit your teeth. It’s a list of overrated books, with helpful suggestions on what you should read instead. Don’t read Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, read Olivia: A Novel by Dorothy Strachey instead! Forget about that lame Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and dive into Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass! The Bible? That’s sooooo several centuries ago. Instead, read The Notebook by Agota Kristof!

It’s a weird, clickbait-ish piece, because it not only dumps on a lot of classic books, explaining how they’re “overrated” and/or not well-written, but also discourages people from reading them in the first place. As if the philistines at GQ know what you “should” read.

I happen to live in a world where you can actually name 21 books that everyone should read without also listing 21 that you shouldn’t. More reading, not less.

Who Was Mister Peepers?

I don’t talk about politics a lot in this column (that seems like the road to madness), but President Trump did allegedly do something recently that I thought was worth mentioning in a pop culture context. Reports say that he has nicknamed Attorney General Jeff Sessions “Mr. Magoo” and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “Mister Peepers.” Most of us know who Mr. Magoo was, but I bet a lot of people under the age of 50 aren’t quite sure about this Mister Peepers guy. I heard one anchor this week call him a cartoon character.

Actually, Mister Peepers was a character in the NBC comedy of the same name, played by Wally Cox (later the voice of Underdog). Mister Peepers aired from 1952 to 1955. Here’s an episode:

RIP Verne Troyer, Bruno Sammartino, Avicii, Reid Collins, Lee Holley, and Bob Dourogh

Verne Troyer was best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films. The actor also appeared in other movies, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He died last week at the age of 49.

Bruno Sammartino was a Hall of Fame professional wrestler who later became an announcer. He died last Wednesday at the age of 82.

Avicci was a DJ and electronic dance music star known for his song “Wake Me Up.” He died last week at the age of 28.

Reid Collins was a veteran newsman and anchor who worked for CBS News from the mid-’60s to the mid-’80s and then joined CNN as an anchor. He died last week at the age of 88.

Lee Holley was a cartoonist known for his strip Ponytail, which focused on the life of a teenage girl. He also worked on the Dennis the Menace strip, and drew many classic characters for Warner Brothers. He died March 26 at the age of 85.

Bob Dorough was a jazz musician who composed and performed the classic Schoolhouse Rock! songs for ABC. He died Monday at the age of 94.

Quote of the Week

“I’m perfectly willing and happy to step aside or help transition it into something new.”

Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria, on the controversy over the cartoon’s depiction of convenience store owner Apu

This Week in History

Red Baron Shot Down (April 21, 1918)

He wasn’t just a frozen pizza or Snoopy’s arch-enemy. He was a real World War I German flying ace named Manfred von Richthofen. He was killed in battle over northern France.

“New” Coke Debuts (April 23, 1985)

The new soda formula was launched with a massive ad campaign that included TV commercials featuring Bill Cosby and Max Headroom. Coke fans quickly let the company know that they didn’t want Coke changed, and just a few months later, the company “reintroduced” the original formula as “Coke Classic.”

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Weatherman Was Right (April 27, 1946)

Weatherman Was Right
Stevan Dohanos
April 27, 1946

The meteorologists on this Stevan Dohanos cover seem very happy that their prediction of rain and lightning came true. April showers bring May flowers and all that.

Antiques Roadshow and the Post

I watch PBS’s Antiques Roadshow every week. I’m not only interested in the history of the items that people bring to be appraised; I also look for items that might be connected to something I own, a place I’ve worked, or where I was born. Just last month, they featured a painting of an area that’s about two blocks from where I live. The funny thing about it was, even though the area looks completely different now and didn’t feature anything I recognized, I knew it was my town the second they showed the painting.

On this week’s episode filmed in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a man brought in a bugle (in this video at the 38:30 mark) that was owned by his great-great-great-grandfather Seth Flint, who was General Ulysses Grant’s escort bugler. Flint actually wrote an article for the Post back in 1930 about his adventures, titled “I Saw Lee Surrender,” which you can read here.

Raisins, Raisins, Raisins!

This is a very exciting time to be a raisin. Not only is this Monday National Raisin Day, next week is National Raisin Week. So here are some recipes that feature pickles.

Just kidding! Here’s a recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread, and we also have a whole page filled with retro pie recipes from the ’50s, including an Orange-Raisin Pie.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Older Americans Month begins (May 1)

The Administration on Aging heads this celebration every May. This year’s theme is “Engage at Every Age.”

Bird Day (May 4)

This is a confusing day, because while Bird Day falls on May 4, International Bird Day is on April 13. And if that wasn’t enough to remember, International Migratory Bird Day is held the second Saturday in May.

None of these celebrations should be confused with Larry Bird Day, which was announced by Indiana’s then-governor Mike Pence on November 9, 2013.