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Post Week in Review: July 20–26

Published: July 25, 2014

That’s One Small Step for …

July 20 was the 45 anniversary of the moon landing. Where were you? Well, if you’re under 45 you’re probably saying to yourself, what do you mean, where was I? What a stupid question! I was four years old and probably watching the television coverage. I can’t be certain–this was before the Internet made everyone post on social media what they’re doing and eating every hour–but since I practically lived in front of the television and my first word was “Batman,” it’s a safe bet.

On Monday, NASA and Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 crewmates Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, and Michael Collins paid tribute to the first man to walk on the moon at a special ceremony at The Kennedy Space Center.

Don’t Forget the Zip Code!

Speaking of big anniversaries, July 26 is the 239th anniversary of The United States Postal Service, established by the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin was the first postmaster general.

The anniversary makes this news even sadder: the Postal Service lost almost $2 billion in the second quarter of its 2014 fiscal year. According to Time, the organization owes about $100 billion in benefits to its employees, its liabilities exceed their assets by $42 billion, and they still need money for new equipment and to run daily operations.

I guess what this means is this: the next time you’re going to send a note to someone or pay a bill, don’t do it online. Maybe once in a while you can grab a pen and some paper and lick a stamp? And don’t forget the zip code!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Chandler

July 23rd was the late Raymond Chandler’s birthday. He’s not only one of America’s great mystery writers, he’s one of our greatest writers period. Some great Chandler quotes from his essays and novels:

“There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art.”

“I have a sense of exile from thought, a nostalgia of the quiet room and balanced mind. I am a writer, and there comes a time when that which I write has to belong to me, has to be written alone and in silence, with no one looking over my shoulder, no one telling me a better way to write it. It doesn’t have to be great writing, it doesn’t even have to be terribly good. It just has to be mine.”

“The dilemma of the critic has always been that if he knows enough to speak with authority, he knows too much to speak with detachment.”

“The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring.”

I think that last one can be updated for the web, eh?

Chandler once wrote a letter to his agent complaining that he’s not the type of writer who gets published in The Saturday Evening Post. But he was! His story, “I’ll Be Waiting,” appeared in our October, 1939 issue. But after that he decided the “slick” magazines weren’t for him (he did it for the money, and because his agent wanted him to), so I think we’re lucky to have had Chandler in our pages.

RIP, James Garner

When I was a kid I wanted to be Jim Rockford. I even looked for the same kind of car he drove (a Pontiac Firebird) when I bought my first car. Alas, I couldn’t find one and bought a Camaro instead.​

It was sad to hear of the passing of James Garner earlier this week at the age of 86. Such a good, solid actor you couldn’t help but like. Turner Classic Movies will run a special marathon in tribute to the actor on July 28 starting at 6a.m. They’ll be showing several of his films, including Toward The Unknown (his first movie), The Great Escape, Grand Prix, The Americanization of Emily, Victor/Victoria, and Move Over, Darling. Here’s the full schedule. They’ll also be showing Marlowe, based on the novel The Little Sister by, that’s right, Raymond Chandler.

Upcoming Anniversaries

July 28
1914: 100th anniversary of the start of World War I
1929: Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, AKA former first lady Jackie Kennedy, was born.

July 30
1863: Automaker Henry Ford was born.
1975: Jimmy Hoffa disappears.

August 1
1779: Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key was born in Frederick County, Maryland.