News of the Week: Balls of Cheese, Books on Grammar, and the Brontosaurus Is Back

Hello Again, Brontosaurus


For years, scientists have been telling us that the brontosaurus, the gigantic dinosaur with the long neck we’ve all been familiar with since grade school, never really existed, no matter what TV and the movies told us. Seems that a paleontologist wasn’t quite right a century ago and somehow messed up the prehistoric family tree. It’s actually the same thing as an apatosaurus, and I’ll stop there with the explanation before your eyes start to glaze over.

But hold on! Researchers in the U.K. and Portugal say that there might be just enough evidence to apologize to the brontosauruses (brontosauri?). The researchers say that there are enough differences between the brontosaurus and the apatosaurus to make them distinct.

Of course, now there might be a little backlash to the correction, with some paleontologists telling everyone to just hold on a moment before we bring the brontosaurus back. These dinosaur geeks and their infighting! Whenever I hear the word brontosaurus, the only thing I think of is the Flintstones eating brontosaurus burgers and ribs.

Now, did we ever settle the “is Pluto a planet” argument?

New Books: “Between You & Me”

I have a thing for grammar books. I don’t officially collect them, but while going through my books the other day I realized own eight of them (the books by The Washington Post’s Bill Walsh are some of my favorites). I don’t know how much more you can learn about grammar from reading yet another one, but Mary Norris’s Between You & Me sounds wonderful. Norris has been the copy editor at The New Yorker for more than 30 years and Between You & Me isn’t a straight how-to grammar book; it’s also a memoir. Norris is known as the Comma Queen and has an official site with that name.

The title of the book, of course, refers to a question people often have: Should you say “between you & I” or “between you & me”? Actually, they’re both wrong! The correct phrase is “between I & U.”

We’re off to See the Wizard (Again)


NBC announced that they’re going to do The Wizard of Oz. No, not a movie remake or one of their live specials, this is going to be a TV series based on the books by L. Frank Baum. It will be called Emerald City. The official network press release says that a tornado transports 20-year-old police officer Dorothy Gale and her K9 partner to “a mystical land of competing kingdoms, lethal warriors, dark magic, and a bloody battle for supremacy.” Sounds more like Game of Thrones than L. Frank Baum.

I’ll make a prediction now: In this version, Dorothy will be really sexy, an expert at karate, and will know how to use a sword.

RIP, Percy Sledge

When a man loves a woman, he can’t keep his mind on nothing else.
He’ll trade the world for the good thing he’s found.
If she is bad, he can’t see it, she can do no wrong.
Turn his back on his best friend if he put her down.

Those are memorable (and probably accurate) lyrics to a song that has become iconic after it was recorded in 1966. Just think of all of the TV shows and movies that have used “When a Man Loves a Woman.” The song was sung by Percy Sledge, and he passed away earlier this week at the age of 74.

Sledge wrote the song after his girlfriend left him. He was working at an Alabama hospital at the time. A producer liked the song, originally called “Why Did You Leave Me Baby?,” but asked him to work on the lyrics, which he did with two co-writers.

Letterman’s Final Guests Announced

David Letterman’s final Late Show will be on May 20, and CBS has released the list of celebrities we’ll be seeing on the show for the next month. The list includes such Late Show mainstays as Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, Julia Roberts, Jack Hanna, Tina Fey, Michael Keaton, Steve Martin, George Clooney, Martin Short, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Don Rickles, Ray Romano, Elvis Costello, and Oprah Winfrey. You can probably throw in a few surprises here and there too, and I’m really hoping that at some point longtime friends of the show like Regis Philbin, Tom Brokaw, and Teri Garr are added.

I’m surprised Amy Sedaris won’t be on one of his final shows. She was on earlier this week, but you’d think that Letterman would have her on the final week since she was one of his favorite (and best) guests over the years. We’ll probably see her when Stephen Colbert takes over for Letterman this fall, since he and Sedaris are good friends. It will be nice to see her Late Show appearances continue.

It’s National Cheeseball Day


Speaking of Sedaris, today is National Cheeseball Day! No, I’m not insulting her; she makes her own cheeseballs and sells them at a shop near her home (at least she used to — not sure if she still does).

Now, you could go out and buy a cheeseball at your local supermarket, but why not make your own? Rachael Ray has “6 Amazing Cheeseball Recipes”, while Kraft has several more cheeseball recipes and tips. I’m in charge of the cheese and cracker tray during the holidays, but I have to admit I always buy them instead of making them. The idea has never occurred to me, but I think this year I’ll try making them this year.

By the way, I’m not sure why cheeseball is sometimes spelled as one word and sometimes as two (“cheese ball”). Maybe I should read that grammar book and see if the answer is in there.

Upcoming Anniversaries and Events

The Boston Marathon (April 20)
The 119th running of famous road race is this Monday.

Manfred von Richthofen killed in action (April 21, 1918)
Read more about the German fighter pilot you might know better as the Red Baron.

Earth Day (April 22)
This year marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day.

William Shakespeare born (April 23, 1564)
Did you know you can read the complete works of Shakespeare online for free?

Library of Congress created (April 24, 1800)
The LOC site is one of those places you probably never think of checking out, but it really has some great stuff.

Ella Fitzgerald born (April 25, 1917)
You can check out the singer’s official web site and listen to one of her best songs, “Someone To Watch Over Me”.