Hmm Weekly for March 31, 2020

You can't spell Tuesday without TK

Hmm Weekly for March 31, 2020

Another Week, Another Hmm Weekly

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these sandwiches kill me

A.J. Daulerio, via the internet

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BECAUSE THE GROCERY crisis created a new problem, I decided to go ahead and solve an old problem. Our apartment has a sleek fancypants dishwasher that doesn't get along with most dishwasher soaps. There is one particular flavor of Cascade gel that we'd figured out, through trial and error, produces the least bad results; as long as we keep the rinse-aid reservoir from running low, we most of the time don't have to wash the dishwasher detergent residue off the drinking glasses by hand after the dishwasher has finished dishwashing them.

But the only place to reliably find the not-wrong kind of Cascade is in the soaps-and-cleaners aisle at the Fairway, and when I went looking for more—to make sure we wouldn't run out in the crisis—the crisis shoppers had stripped that aisle. They'd also cleaned out all the Levy's rye bread, and the whole cost-benefit analysis of braving the virus to make a grocery run was tilting the wrong way, but that's beside the point. The point is we're running at least two full loads a day in the dishwasher, and I did not want to hand-rinse the glassware (which is honestly old jam jars and honey jars, I just called them "drinking glasses" before because they're glass and they're what we drink out of) for the duration of the emergency.

So I did what I should have done long before and looked up the model of the dishwasher on the sticker on the inside edge of its door, behind the buttonless and information-free blank steel face of it, and typed it into Google to see what we should have been putting in the machine all along. The answer was pods, and so I ordered a giant bag of the specific brand of pod the dishwasher company website mentioned. I got the variety that has three different sub-pods in three different colors, to make sure the dishwasher didn't feel shortchanged.

The giant bag was one of those heavy-duty plastic ones where there's a strip at the very top of it you need to tear or cut off, and then below that, parallel to the edges of the new bag mouth you have created, there's a set of zipper tracks with which to reclose the bag. Theoretically. And necessarily, in the case of these dishwasher pods, which are wrapped in water-soluble skins, so that they have to be kept dry until they are fed to the dishwasher.

But these particular in-bag zip-reclosure systems never really work. It's absolutely baffling. The technology to securely reclose a plastic storage bag has been on the mass market for more than 60 years. It has been refined and perfected by the Ziploc® and Minigrip® brands. You put something in the bag, you squeeze the zipper part together at one end, you slide and press: zzzzip! You don't even have to look at it.
Somehow, though, these integrated tear-and-reseal product bags take this ubiquitous technology and make it unusable. Granola, chewing gum, dishwasher pods—whatever it may be, you can't lock it back in without a struggle. The tracks don't line up right at the ends, and they don't click together right when you pinch them, and they don't mesh right when you pull along them. They gap or dislocate or just never even begin to fit.

How did these things take over the market without actually working? Why can't the dishwasher detergent company or the granola company just get Ziploc® to make their bags for them? Every time I run the dishwasher now, it takes about five tries to close the bag up again. Eventually, because I couldn't trust it, I dug out a multi-gallon Ziploc bag left over from the school supplies and put the bag of dishwasher pods inside that. I still neurotically try to seal up the original bag, but at least if it falls open, it's inside something waterproof.


Whenever possible, wait until after 11 p.m. to grocery shop. It is a productive yet serene experience, and it seems like a certain amount of toilet paper gets put out late in the evening.


I HAVE AN intimate history with the TV game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and I was sad when I heard it was canceled a year or two ago, but the other day I saw that it’s coming back.

Set to bow Wednesday, April 8, on ABC, the new Millionaire will feature celebrity contestants playing for charity. Additionally, a new interactive game app will allow viewers at home to play alongside the stars and win the same amount of money the celebrities are playing for on the show. Contestants will be announced at a later date.

Celebrity contestants! Ugh! Millionaires are gonna be playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire! Ack! Dr. freaking Phil is going to be playing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire! I went to an ABC publicity site and scrounged some images and links to video that confirm all my worst nightmares about Who Wants to Be a Millionaire being taken away from regular people and becoming a celebrity-driven disappointment.

In one of these celebrity B-rolls, Dr. Phil says something about how sitting on your couch answering the questions is easier than doing it on the show. OK, thanks, Dr. Obvious! I am very disappointed in this mutation of my beloved Millionaire program.

The celebrities, who could each easily give a million to their favorite charity, are gonna be playing for their favorite charity, and also, for regular people, there’s gonna be some sort of app-type situation so you can play along from home, I’m thinking maybe kinda like the HQ thing that was a big deal a year or two ago until they fired their best presenter, Scott Rogowsky.

I guess a bunch of TV people sat around and decided the worst thing about Millionaire was the contestants, so let’s get some entertaining contestants, actual Entertainers, but I’d rather watch real people win money, you know? Also: Dr. Phil. Urgh!

Jimmy Kimmel is going to be on a behind the scenes warmup show Monday, April 6 with original prime-time host Regis Philbin on ABC, consult your local listings. I can’t hate on Mr. Kimmel for loving Television so much that he wants to ride this pony, but jeez, the celebrity thing totally destroys my dream of a comeback!


Spring, Part 4

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The papaya was immense. The papaya took up nearly seven columns of space on a six-column newspaper front. It was a papaya the size of a calamity.


WE DRAW NEAR to the time when we will cease presenting our selection of recipes for ancient but reproducible sandwiches, found in The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, by Eva Greene Fuller; 1909; McClurg and Co., Chicago, found in the public domain for the delectation of all.

One cup of boiled chicken chopped fine; one cup of almonds chopped fine; moisten with a little cream, season with salt and paprika, place between thin slices of entire wheat bread. Garnish with parsley, and an olive.

Between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread spread potted ham; remove crusts and shape then in triangular form. Garnish top with a radish.

On thin slices of lightly buttered graham bread, sprinkle finely chopped Canton ginger; press slices together.

If you make one of these sandwiches, before you eat it, please send a picture to


A WHILE BACK we posted this shot on the Hmm Weekly Instagram, and we never agreed on a satisfactory interpretation of the image. Is it a pair of goblets holding liquid? Breasts? Eyes? So far there are no right answers. If you have one, let us know.

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