Apr 27, 2022

Remembering Precursors of Taco Tuesday and Throwback Thursday

Saturday spaghetti supper, anyone?

By Ed Goldman

The concepts of Taco Tuesday and Throwback Thursday make me simultaneously hungry and nostalgic. 

When I was a kid, and before my middle brother Stuart left home (the U.S. Army insisted on it), and our eldest brother Jerry was either working or dating, my folks would grant Stu and me two special at-home nights that included getting to eat remarkably mediocre dinners off TV trays.

Edgy Cartoon

Stairway to heavin’ 

Friday was Frozen Pizza Night, during which we watched the ABC-TV private-eye show, “77 Sunset Strip.” My Mom would thaw out and bake the pizza during the commercial breaks so she wouldn’t miss a single moment of glam actors Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith and Edd “Kookie” Byrnes compete to see who had the coolest hair. 

Byrnes always won but he had the on-air advantage of always being seen combing it. This was what TV shows in those days considered character development. These days, the back story for even a minor character can include various forms of suffering—from an Electra or Oedipal complex to being an alien life form or having a plethora of bionic body parts. And these are just the comedies.

Then there was Saturday Spaghetti Supper. My parents often attended what they called “a function” (which I’ve always done in private) and would serve us an early dinner and movie.

My Mom would make what she labeled spaghetti marinara (the key ingredient in her sauce being generic ketchup from Fedco, the long-shuttered nonprofit consumers’ cooperative started by Post Office employees). Around 5:30 p.m., the CBS affiliate would then run old Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller, the former Olympics aquatic champion who, as an actor, was a really good swimmer.

These films were, in retrospect, somewhat racist and somewhat sexist:

  • Somewhat racist: The African natives were depicted as inept unless the transplanted upper-crust white guy, Tarzan, swung his way into a melee on vines that couldn’t support the weight of a housecat; and
  • Somewhat sexist:  As the upper-crust Jane—initially kidnapped by Tarzan and soon his Stockholm-victim common-law wife—Maureen O’Sullivan, Mia Farrow’s mama, wore the kind of loin-cloth ensemble that even the Victoria’s Secret catalogue might have found “a tad daring.”

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But Stu and I loved our Saturday Spaghetti Supper, especially because our folks would leave after the movie ended around 7:30 p.m. (most of the films were barely 65 minutes long but their running times were lengthened by the intrusion of from 20 to 30 commercials—and in those days, very few TV spots were shorter than 60 seconds).

Once they were out of the house, Stu and I could commence doing what brothers who were 14 (Stu) and 10 (moi) really enjoy—like wrestling and playing non-contact football in the living room, using as flags the dishrags and towels we were supposed to be using to wash and dry the dinner plates.

So say what you will about the seeming regimentation of Taco Tuesday or Throwback Thursday. I still cling lovingly to the memory of Friday Frozen Pizza Night and Saturday Spaghetti Supper—possibly because as we age, our forthcoming schedules are likely to consist of Sinusitis Sunday, Migraine Monday, Tums Tuesday, Weary Wednesday, Thrombotic Thursday, Flatulent Friday and Sagging Sunday.

Besides, you can make a pretty good marinara sauce with olive oil, garlic, oregano and Fedco ketchup.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

Before it gets away from us, I wanted to celebrate April as community bankers month! It’s time for us to acknowledge the spirit of banking in our local communities.

I’m a huge advocate of community banks, having spent most of my career in that field, either as a bank executive or a Federal bank regulator. I still believe in community banks that focus on relationships with their customers, and how they can embrace their communities.

In our 2022 world of financial complexities, including cryptocurrency and a rapidly digitizing world, the question comes up: “How do we embrace growth and innovation while protecting consumers and instilling confidence?”

The answer matters more than ever. Thriving economies require well-run, well-regulated and well-understood financial systems. My diverse experience—ranging from leadership in small communities to consulting in international capitals—has given me a unique perspective on business and the economy.

As you may know, this year, the small community bank of which I happened to be President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank, was acquired by a large, successful fintech company, SoFi, Inc., and became a new federally regulated SoFi Bank, National Association.

Banking is a dynamic, vibrant and challenging industry—maybe that’s why I find it so fascinating. But at the heart of it all is also a purpose. Banking means a lot to the community, and community means a lot to me.

I now am personally experiencing the answer to my opening question—How do we embrace growth and innovation while protecting consumers and instilling confidence? Maybe it’s by embracing change, new products and services, and the community that allows us to grow with it.

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