A lot of things happened this week that I don’t quite understand. I don’t get why people would want to run with bulls in Spain; I am baffled by Roger Federer’s Wimbledon loss to Kevin Anderson after being up two sets to none; and I am surprisingly irritated that more and more restaurants are getting rid of straws. I never knew I’d be so nostalgic for straws.
But I did figure out one thing, and I’ll make a prediction.
The kids and rescuers involved in the dramatic cave rescue in Thailand are going to be named Time’s “Persons of the Year” at the end of 2018. I mean, they have to be, right? Unless something really major happens in the next five months, it’s a pretty safe bet they’ll get the honor.
Also: This is the most interesting story I’ve ever heard that involved soccer.
Whenever You’re on My Mind
With iTunes, streaming services, and YouTube, I’m going to guess that a lot of people don’t listen to the radio as much as they used to. But I try to as much as I can (mostly Sirius XM), and I’ve noticed there are certain songs they play in the summer more than in the winter. It can’t be a coincidence that there are many songs — I’m talking mostly about rock and pop of the ’80s and ’90s — that don’t get much airplay in the colder months, but are played a lot during the warmer ones. I don’t know if these songs were originally released during ’80s and ’90s summers, but the programmers and DJs at the stations know that they conjure up the feel of summer.
I’m a bit of a weirdo when it comes to when and what I listen to. There are certain artists and songs I listen to only in the summer, and certain artists and songs I only listen to in the fall and winter. It has nothing to do with when the songs were released. It’s just that I have separated the artists into groups and even separated different genres. At first I thought it might be a young/old thing, that I play the music of my youth during the summer because it reminds me of summers when I was a teen. But that doesn’t really explain it. I listen to standards — Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, Vic Damone, Peggy Lee — only in the fall and winter. I’ll never listen to them during the summer, and I haven’t quite figured out why. It just makes sense to me. Maybe I associate my favorite style of music (standards) with my favorite cold seasons (fall and winter) and don’t want my favorite type of music to be played in my least favorite season (summer)?
Anyone else do this, or am I just strange? Forget I asked that question. You’re listening to WSEP, and here’s Marshall Crenshaw with “Whenever You’re on My Mind”:
Might as Well Jump (Jump!)
For a six-month period when I was a kid, I played with my Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle every day. I got it as a Christmas gift and became obsessed. It never worked quite as well as the commercial showed, but I remember one stunt I did that came off flawlessly. I set up two ramps (album covers) on each end of a bunch of books. I revved up the cycle and it went over the first ramp and landed perfectly on the other ramp. It was so perfect that I wish I had a way to film it back then. If it happened today, I’d put it up on YouTube and get a million hits.
That memory is one of the reasons I watched Travis Pastrana’s attempt to replicate three of Evel’s classic jumps on the History Channel this week. Sure, the live, three-hour special was 177 minutes of hype, gabbing, and fluff, but the jumps were still exciting. Here’s the video. Spoiler alert: He made all three.
For a brief moment this week, it was like watching ABC’s The Wide World of Sports circa 1974.
So What’s the Deal with This Lawsuit?
The new season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee just premiered (it’s on Netflix now). The guests this season include Jerry Lewis, Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chappelle, John Mulaney, Tracy Morgan, Zach Galifianakis, Kate McKinnon, Brian Regan, Neal Brennan, Hasan Minhaj, and Dana Carvey.
But it’s not a completely happy time, because Seinfeld is being sued over the show. It seems that a friend of Seinfeld’s who directed the pilot episode of CCC (which is easier to write than the name of the show so let’s just go with that) says that he created it and now wants a cut of the money. Seinfeld has responded by saying the guy is suing just because he saw how much Netflix paid for the show.
Georgia vs. South Carolina
Did you know that there’s a peach war going on?
When you think of peaches and you think of a state, you think of Georgia, right? It’s not called “The Peach State” for nothing.
But South Carolina (for the record, “The Palmetto State”) wants to change all that. They want to be known for their peaches too and have started a war. And since this is 2018, it started where most wars now start, on Twitter.
Here’s the whole story. I never really thought that Georgia was called “The Peach State” based on how many peaches are harvested. Rhode Island is called “The Ocean State,” but there are other states on an ocean.
Would You Try a Carrot Dog?
People are mad about hot dogs.
I don’t mean they’re mad in an “I love them so I’m going to eat 74 of them in 10 minutes” way. I mean people are angry about them. Specifically, they’re angry about carrot dogs, the new vegan alternative to whatever it is they put in regular hot dogs, from The Washington Post’s Joe Yonan.
They’re basically just charred and flavored carrots, and the “hot dog-ness” comes from the bun and the toppings. Seems pointless yet harmless, but that’s not how they’re being received. Golf Digest calls them despicable and horrid, and comedy writer Ashley Nicole Black says that if you make them, “I will cut you.”
In other hot dog news that people are angry about, Costco is taking Polish dogs off their menu.
How about Pickle Ice Cream?
We’ve reached the point in food creation now where they’re just combining foods at random. Case in point: pickle ice cream.
You’ll find it at the Lucky Pickle Dumpling Company in Manhattan. It’s probably just a temporary trend: a fad for the summer. I don’t think you’re going to see Baskin Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s going all-in on pickle ice cream.
The most adventurous I get with ice cream is combining two normal, established flavors. My current obsession: chocolate chip mixed with coffee — you have to go with a chocolate chip ice cream that has small bits of chip throughout as well as the big chips.
Pickle ice cream sounds like the perfect food for women who are expecting a child. Apparently all I know about women being pregnant is what I’ve learned from old sitcoms.
RIP Tab Hunter, Steve Ditko, Eugene Pitt, and Alan Diaz
Tab Hunter was a major movie star and sex symbol in the 1950s. He appeared in such movies as Damn Yankees, Battle Cry, and That Kind of Woman, and starred in his own TV show, The Tab Hunter Show, in the early ’60s. He later wrote his autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential (with Turner Classic Movies host Eddie Muller), which chronicled his life and career as a closeted gay man in Hollywood. Hunter died Sunday at the age of 86.
Here’s a remembrance of Hunter from one of his good friends, Robert Wagner.
Steve Ditko was an artist and illustrator who co-created such iconic comic book heroes as Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. He died June 29 at the age of 90.
Check out Nicholas Gilmore’s piece on superhero movies and Infinity War in particular.
Eugene Pitt was founder and lead singer of the doo-wop group The Jive Five, famous for such hits as “What Time Is It?” (also covered by the aforementioned Marshall Crenshaw) and “My True Story.” The group may actually be even better known for writing the theme song for the kids cable channel Nickelodeon. Pitt died in June at the age of 80.
Alan Diaz was responsible for some of the more famous photographs of the past 25 years, including this picture of Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez and this photo of the man looking for “hanging chads” during the recount of the 2000 presidential election. He died last Tuesday at the age of 71.
Quote of the Week
So now that Hardiman has been second place two times in a row, he’s the next Bachelor, right?
— Evan Siegfried (@evansiegfried) July 10, 2018
—writer Evan Siegfried on Judge Thomas Hardiman being passed over for a second time after President Trump picked Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
This Week in History
Satchel Paige Born (July 7, 1906)
The pitcher played for several Negro league teams in the 1920s and ’30s before debuting with the Cleveland Indians in 1948 at the age of 42.
Sliced Bread Sold for First Time (July 7, 1928)
Otto Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, invented the first bread-slicing machine, and the first slices were sold to the public at the Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri.
Boy, when this was introduced to the public, it must have been the best thing since … well, whatever we compared best things to before this.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Sweating Man Reading (July 9, 1910)
The man on this Robert Robinson cover illustrates what a lot of people around the U.S. have been going through the past couple of weeks. If he’s really that hot, he should lose the vest. Also, why is the notice from the Weather Bureau levitating?
Today Is National French Fries Day
Do people actually go to the trouble of making french fries at home? I may sound lazy, but it seems to be one of those foods that is more of a hassle than anything else, especially when you can go out and buy McDonald’s fries (even Julia Child loved them!). But if you want to make them at home, here’s a recipe from Ree Drummond.
They go great with carrot dogs.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
National Nude Day (July 14)
I want to be a bit of a rebel, so I’m going to celebrate the day by wearing clothes.
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