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The First Time News Was Fit To Print, XVI

Every Monday, mental_floss wanders into the archives of The New York Times "“ and wanders out with first mentions worth mentioning. In this episode, we take a look at the first time The Times discussed Woody Allen, the Titanic, and many more. If you have a suggestion for next time, leave us a comment.

Woody Allen

March 19, 1962

Young Men's Hebrew Association Presents 2nd Jazz Concert
woodyallen.jpeg On the bill were two well-established jazz groups...and a relatively unknown comedian, Woody Allen. It was the comedian who walked off with the honors for the evening.

Mr. Allen, who describes himself as "short and unloved," looks like a somewhat unkempt Wally Cox. A monologuist in the Mort Sahl style who ranges over almost every area except politics...he wandered off into what he apparently found to be more diverting topics...[for example] the problem of getting a divorce in New York ("The Ten Commandments say 'Thou shalt not commit adultery,' but New York State says you have to").

Mr. Allen's quiet, underplayed style enabled him to get laughs with what might otherwise have been little more than casual remarks.

Barbara Walters

September 13, 1964

No More Girls
barbarawalters.jpg Al Morgan, producer of Today, said he would not engage another woman to succeed Maureen O'Sullivan. The actress had succeeded a long line of so-called Today girls, although the tag had not been attached to her. The era of Today girls apparently is ended. Mr. Morgan said he would make more use of women already familiar to Today viewers "“ Aline Saarinen for discussion on art and architecture, Judith Christ for motion-picture reviews and Barbara Walters for news reporting.

Keep reading for BoingBoing, The Lincoln Tunnel, Titanic, The Beastie Boys, 'A Tale of Two Cities' and Dog Biscuits.

BoingBoing

August 8, 1993

Seriously Wired
boingboing-logo.gifCan cyberpunk still be cool if it's on the Billboard charts? In fact, a minor hullabaloo did erupt when Billy Idol logged onto the Well, a computer bulletin board based in Sausalito, Calif., where people exchange information. He posted a computer address so that anyone could send him electronic mail. But apparently a bunch of cyberpunks felt that a pop star didn't belong in their rebel universe and started sending him nasty messages. One particularly self-righteous computer geek even takes pleasure in stuffing Mr. Idol's Well file with junk mail.

Mr. Idol has responded by saying they're elitist. Mark Frauenfelder, the former editor in chief of Boing Boing, a cyberpunk-oriented publication that calls itself "the world's greatest neurozine!" takes Mr. Idol's side. "It's stupid, because the whole cyberpunk thing is that information is supposed to be free," says Mr. Frauenfelder, who is now an editor at Wired, another computer magazine. "There are all these 16- and 17-year-old cyberpunks who are afraid that everybody's going to learn their secret handshake or something."

Titanic

March 7, 1909

Giant Ships That Promise 'The Last Word'
titanic.jpg These two vessels, the Olympic and the Titanic, are by far the greatest of any that have yet been considered, and as there is no near prospect of any future expansion of piers, these two giantesses will doubtless represent for many years to come the last word in marine architecture, particular that kind of architecture which runs to a tremendous bulk.
* * * * *
The new liners will be as complete in their safety devices as in their cabin accommodations....The bridge is thus instantly notified of any suspicion of danger, even in the most remote parts of the ship. The bridge will be like a great keyboard, ready at the officer's hands, by which he may control the vast complicated machinery of every part of the ship.

The Beastie Boys

December 29, 1986

The Beastie Boys, Rap-Metal Group
licensetoill.jpg On stage Friday at the Ritz, the Beastie Boys did their best to live up to ''Licensed to Ill.'' As they shouted rhymes, danced the ''Jerry Lewis'' and shambled around the stage, the Boys - wearing red, white and blue T-shirts - poured beer on one another's heads and spewed it into the audience. Meanwhile, two disk jockeys, Hurricane and Mr. Bill, played backup tracks (including a bit of the ''Mister Ed'' theme), a woman named Eloise danced in a cage, and unnamed bouncers repulsed the audience members who repeatedly climbed onstage.
* * * * *
The Beastie Boys aren't exactly original - they rap in the cadences of Run-D. M. C. - and compared to such calmly amoral rappers as Schooly D, they're virtually a comedy act. Yet for the moment, the Beastie Boys' crafty backup tracks and personal bravado promise to put sheer obnoxiousness back in the rock-and-roll spotlight.

Lincoln Tunnel

April 17, 1937

39th Street Tube Gets Name Of Lincoln
lincoln tunnel.jpg The new vehicular tunnel under the Hudson River between West Thirty-ninth Street, Manhattan, and Weehawken, N.J., will hereafter be known as the Lincoln Tunnel, the Port Authority announced yesterday.

The tunnel, now under construction, has thus far been called the Midtown Hudson Tunnel....Use of the name Midtown Hudson Tunnel, the Port Authority explained, has now become inadvisable because of confusion arising from the fact that work is now under way on a Queens-Midtown tunnel and plans are being pushed for a Midtown Manhattan Crosstown tube.

A Tale of Two Cities

March 9, 1859

dickens.jpgEnglish Literature and Art Gossip
The first number of Dickens' All the Year Round will be published about May 1. The title of his new story is A Tale of Two Cities and is considered felicitous. Since Little Dorrit, (which was a disappointment,) we have had only occasional interludes from Dickens' pen, and the curiosity evinced by the public in regard to the new story is an evidence that the popularity of the great novelist is at its height.

Dog Biscuits

June 3, 1883

Feeding Dogs
bailey_couch.jpg A dog should be fed twice a day. I purposely italicize the word "twice," for, although the breakfast should be but a light one, it is a necessity of healthful existence. If it be not given the bowels become confined; the bile is ejected into the stomach; the dog seeks grass, and relieves himself in a natural way of what nature designed as an aperient. A bit of dry dog-biscuit, or a drop of milk or a basin of sheep's-head broth, is all my own dogs ever have for breakfast. A dog should have his principal meal "“ with a run to follow "“ at 4 P.M. in the Winter and 5 in Summer. Variety and change from day to day are most essential. Dog-biscuits, dry or steeped, and mixed with the liquor that fresh meat or fish has been boiled in, with now and then oat-meal porridge, make a good staple of diet.

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Yes, You Can Put Your Christmas Decorations Up Now—and Should, According to Psychologists
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We all know at least one of those people who's already placing an angel on top of his or her Christmas tree while everyone else on the block still has paper ghosts stuck to their windows and a rotting pumpkin on the stoop. Maybe it’s your neighbor; maybe it’s you. Jolliness aside, these early decorators tend to get a bad rap. For some people, the holidays provide more stress than splendor, so the sight of that first plastic reindeer on a neighbor's roof isn't exactly a welcome one.

But according to two psychoanalysts, these eager decorators aren’t eccentric—they’re simply happier. Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told UNILAD:

“Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extend the excitement!”

Amy Morin, another psychoanalyst, linked Christmas decorations with the pleasures of childhood, telling the site: “The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many, putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.”

She also explained that these nostalgic memories can help remind people of spending the holidays with loved ones who have since passed away. As Morin remarked, “Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual.”

And that neighbor of yours who has already been decorated since Halloween? Well, according to a study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, homes that have been warmly decorated for the holidays make the residents appear more “friendly and cohesive” compared to non-decorated homes when observed by strangers. Basically, a little wreath can go a long way.

So if you want to hang those stockings before you’ve digested your Thanksgiving dinner, go ahead. You might just find yourself happier for it.

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11 Black Friday Purchases That Aren't Always The Best Deal
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Black Friday can bring out some of the best deals of the year (along with the worst in-store behavior), but that doesn't mean every advertised price is worth splurging on. While many shoppers are eager to save a few dollars and kickstart the holiday shopping season, some purchases are better left waiting for at least a few weeks (or longer).

1. FURNITURE

Display of outdoor furniture.
Photo by Isaac Benhesed on Unsplash

Black Friday is often the best time to scope out deals on large purchases—except for furniture. That's because newer furniture models and styles often appear in showrooms in February. According to Kurt Knutsson, a consumer technology expert, the best furniture deals can be found in January, and later on in July and August. If you're aiming for outdoor patio sets, expect to find knockout prices when outdoor furniture is discounted and put on clearance closer to Labor Day.

2. TOOLS

A display of tools.
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Unless you're shopping for a specific tool as a Christmas gift, it's often better to wait until warmer weather rolls around to catch great deals. While some big-name brands offer Black Friday discounts, the best tool deals roll around in late spring and early summer, just in time for Memorial Day and Father's Day.

3. BEDDING AND LINENS

A stack of bed linens.
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Sheet and bedding sets are often used as doorbuster items for Black Friday sales, but that doesn't mean you should splurge now. Instead, wait for annual linen sales—called white sales—to pop up after New Year's. Back in January of 1878, department store operator John Wanamaker held the first white sale as a way to push bedding inventory out of his stores. Since then, retailers have offered these top-of-the-year sales and January remains the best time to buy sheets, comforters, and other cozy bed linens.

4. HOLIDAY DÉCOR

Rows of holiday gnomes.
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If you are planning to snag a new Christmas tree, lights, or other festive décor, it's likely worth making due with what you have and snapping up new items after December 25. After the holidays, retailers are looking to quickly move out holiday items to make way for spring inventory, so ornaments, trees, yard inflatables, and other items often drastically drop in price, offering better deals than before the holidays. If you truly can't wait, the better option is shopping as close to Christmas as possible, when stores try to reduce their Christmas stock before resorting to clearance prices.

5. TOYS

Child choosing a toy car.
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Unless you're shopping for a very specific gift that's likely to sell out before the holidays, Black Friday toy deals often aren't the best time to fill your cart at toy stores. Stores often begin dropping toy prices two weeks before Christmas, meaning there's nothing wrong with saving all your shopping (and gift wrapping) until the last minute.

6. ENGAGEMENT RINGS AND JEWELRY

Rows of rings.
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Holiday jewelry commercials can be pretty persuasive when it comes to giving diamonds and gold as gifts. But, savvy shoppers can often get the best deals on baubles come spring and summer—prices tend to be at their highest between Christmas and Valentine's Day thanks to engagements and holiday gift-giving. But come March, prices begin to drop through the end of summer as jewelers see fewer purchases, making it worth passing up Black Friday deals.

7. PLANE TICKETS AND TRAVEL PACKAGES

Searching for flights online.
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While it's worth looking at plane ticket deals on Black Friday, it's not always the best idea to whip out your credit card. Despite some sales, the best time to purchase a flight is still between three weeks and three and a half months out. Some hotel sites will offer big deals after Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday, but it doesn't mean you should spring for next year's vacation just yet. The best travel and accommodation deals often pop up in January and February when travel numbers are down.

8. FOOD AND SNACK BASKETS

Gift basket against a blue background.
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Fancy fruit, meat and cheese, and snack baskets are easy gifts for friends and family (or yourself, let's be honest), but they shouldn't be snagged on Black Friday. And because baskets are jam-packed full of perishables, you likely won't want to buy them a month away from the big day anyway. But traditionally, you'll spend less cheddar if you wait to make those purchases in December.

9. WINTER CLOTHING

Rack of women's winter clothing.
Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash.

Buying clothing out of season is usually a big money saver, and winter clothes are no exception. Although some brands push big discounts online and in-store, the best savings on coats, gloves, and other winter accessories can still be found right before Black Friday—pre-Thanksgiving apparel markdowns can hit nearly 30 percent off—and after the holidays.

10. SMARTPHONES

Group of hands holding smartphones.
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While blowout tech sales are often reserved for Cyber Monday, retailers will try to pull you in-store with big electronics discounts on Black Friday. But, not all of them are really the best deals. The price for new iPhones, for example, may not budge much (if at all) the day after Thanksgiving. If you're in the market for a new phone, the best option might be waiting at least a few more weeks as prices on older models drop. Or, you can wait for bundle deals that crop up during December, where you pay standard retail price but receive free accessories or gift cards along with your new phone.

11. KITCHEN GADGETS

Row of hanging kitchen knives and utensils.
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Black Friday is a great shopping day for cooking enthusiasts—at least for those who are picky about their kitchen appliances. Name-brand tools and appliances often see good sales, since stores drop prices upwards of 40 to 50 percent to move through more inventory. But that doesn't mean all slow cookers, coffee makers, and utensil prices are the best deals. Many stores advertise no-name kitchen items that are often cheaply made and cheaply priced. Purchasing these lower-grade items can be a waste of money, even on Black Friday, since chances are you may be stuck looking for a replacement next year. And while shoppers love to find deals, the whole point of America's unofficial shopping holiday is to save money on products you truly want (and love).

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