The toy formerly known as Mr. Potato Head is the latest outrage for so-called conservatives who always look for the latest affront to keep their apoplexy level up. When Hasbro, Inc. announced that after nearly seventy years they were dropping the honorific “Mr.” and “Mrs.” from their venerable toy’s name, Fox News took the story as another example of liberal cancel culture.
Mr. Potato Head was born in controversy.
Continue reading “Non-Binary Potato Head”
In my college days, decades ago, I was a regular napper. Usually in the afternoon, before dinnertime. Or if there was a break after an early-morning class following late-night socializing. My sleep patterns were more irregular and bed time—often after midnight—was generally later than now. The only consistency was sleeping until late on a Saturday or Sunday morning.
It’s good to learn that my erratic sleep habits, well, the afternoon nap anyway, were beneficial to good health. Recent research concludes that a regular afternoon nap helps mental agility, memory and verbal fluency in adults.
- Studies show that a “power nap” of ten-to-twenty minutes is the most beneficial. This provides restorative sleep without drowsiness after waking.
- Nap early in the afternoon. A late nap may be counterproductive, affecting your ability to sleep during the night.
- Try to let go of stressful thoughts. Instead, reflect on why you’re napping.
Keep in mind that all these good things result from an afternoon refresher snooze of twenty minutes or so. Napping for an hour or more will likely leave one groggy for a while after awakening. So set your alarm if you need to.
Coping with sheltering-at-home or quarantine by trying to sleep the day away likely makes things worse and may result in difficulty sleeping at night. Long naps have been linked to increased susceptibilities to diabetes, heart disease and depression in older adults.
As with many things, a little is good; a lot, not so good.
The Nat King Cole Show premiered November 5, 1956 on the NBC television network. Cole’s popularity as a singer—he had sold millions of records—would have seemed to assure success as host of the eponymous variety show.
The fifteen-minute variety show, later expanded to a half hour, featured the suave and personable Cole hosting A-list guests such as Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr. and Harry Belafonte. Nat Cole himself had performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, Cavalcade of Stars, and other popular TV variety programs.
Cole’s was the first nationally-broadcast program hosted by an African American. The Nat King Cole Show was canceled after thirteen months, unable to attract a national sponsor.
Continue reading “Nat “King” Cole – TV Pioneer”
Veterans of American Expeditionary Forces in the First World War (known simply as the Great War until we had the Second World War) were promised a bonus. Such bonuses were instituted in the Revolutionary War, when soldiers were given additional compensation of money and land. (The tradition goes at least as far back as Roman times.) Its purpose was to make up some of the difference between a soldier’s military pay and what he may have been earning at a civilian job.
WWI veterans were given a paltry $60. The American Legion, formed in 1919, led the movement for an additional bonus.
Continue reading “Laying Siege to the Capitol”
Bob Dylan has sold his songwriting portfolio for somewhere in the neighborhood of $300, maybe $400, million. That means that whenever “Like a Rolling Stone”, “Blowin’ in the Wind” or any of six hundred other Dylan songs is sold, streamed, played on the radio or used in a commercial, the songwriting royalty payment will go to the Universal Music Publishing Group, not Bob Dylan. This includes songs covered by other artists, such as “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds or Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower.”
Could it be that Mr. Dylan, now seventy-nine years old, decided it was time to take the money? With nobody buying CDs or records any more, and no live performances in this era of COVID 19, and Spotify and other streaming services paying infinitesimal royalties, an upfront lump-sum payment is the reverse-mortgage of the music business.
Continue reading “Take the Money When You Can”
Richard Nixon departed the White House in ignominy after resigning the presidency on August 9, 1974. The Watergate scandal had finally done him in. (Even today, a political scandal is labeled “-gate.)
Since Nixon’s leaving, the Electoral College has given the U.S. several Republican presidents. With an exception or maybe two, each was lazier and oversaw an administration more corrupt than his predecessor.
But I digress.
President Nixon signed into law the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on New Year’s Day, 1970.
Continue reading “Richard Nixon’s Other Legacy”