News of the Week: The Quarantine Fifteen, Pac-Man’s 40th, and How to Give Yourself a Haircut

In the news for the week ending May 29, 2020, are weight gain, a hungry yellow disc, hockey and tennis, Betty White, and more.

Pizza made out to be the shape of Pacman

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This Week in Social Distancing

Time has little to do with infinity and jelly doughnuts.

That’s a line that makes sense only if you’re a fan of Magnum, P.I. I’ve been thinking about it during this quarantine because all time feels the same, as if the every day has been turned inside out. Mondays are Thursdays and Tuesdays are Fridays when work, school, and play are all done in the same place (at least for people fortunate enough to be able to work from home). The only thing that makes me know it’s the weekend is that the television schedule is suddenly different.

Here are some notes from this week.

The regular hockey season is officially over, and the NHL plans on going straight to the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer.

I watched live tennis this week on the Tennis Channel. How is this possible? They’re having small UTR (Universal Tennis Rating) tournaments where they play without fans and without ballpersons (ballpeople?). Each player brings their own tennis balls, which are marked, and there are no handshakes or hugs allowed, only racket taps. It was … interesting, but boy I can’t wait until regular tennis comes back.

Disney World will reopen on July 11, with safety precautions that will include masks, social distancing markers, and temperature checks. The people in the full body costumes might be the safest in the whole park.

I went to the supermarket on Tuesday (?) and saw that many people are throwing the disinfectant wipes provided at the front of the store into the carts and leaving them there. I’m curious to know the thought process here and how this happens, exactly. Are they wiping them down before they shop and then throw them into the cart and shop with it like that? Or are they wiping them down again after they shop — which would be nice of them! — and then throwing them into the cart for the next shopper to deal with, which would negate the nice “wiping them down after they shop” part?

It’s good to see that Betty White is doing well during all this. She turned 98 in January and would never leave disinfectant wipes in her cart.

Have you gained your “Quarantine Fifteen” yet? In a nod to the “Freshman Five” that new college students sometimes put on, this refers to the weight we’re all gaining by being inside and eating all the time.

If you eat four Lean Cuisine dinners in one sitting, is it still considered “lean?” Asking for a friend.

New Expedition to the Titanic

You might think there’s really nothing important left to salvage from the Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank 108 years ago last month (I don’t know why I felt the need to explain that the Titanic hit an iceberg because you probably already knew that). But there is at least one important artifact left, and a U.S. judge has just given a salvage team permission to go get it.

Judge Rebecca Beach Smith has given the green light to a crew from RMS Titanic Inc. to go inside of the wreck and take out the Marconi wireless radio. The radio was used to send distress calls as the liner sank and is believed to still be intact.

Salvage teams have long been prohibited from actually going inside the Titanic and detaching anything from the ship. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and many others oppose the removal because the site is seen as a memorial to the 1,500 people lost. The company plans to launch the mission later this summer.


I wasn’t obsessed with Pac-Man when I was a teenager in the ’80s like a lot of people were — I was more into Asteroids, Galaga, and Centipede/Millipede — but I enjoyed it enough. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the “wocka-wocka,” which means I am officially old now.

By the way, I’ve seen the classic Pac-Man sound spelled “wocka wocka,” “waka waka,” and “wakka wakka.” However you spell it, here’s the sound on a 12-hour loop to listen to today while you’re working or relaxing. You’re welcome.


Now You Can Take a Virtual Tour of the Statue of Liberty

When I was in sixth grade, my class went on a field trip to New York City. We got lost or stuck in traffic, can’t remember which, so we didn’t have time for our planned visit to the Empire State Building. We did go to the Statue of Liberty, though, and I was surprised at how long and cramped the walk up the spiral staircase was to get to the crown. It’s closed right now, of course, but you can take a virtual tour, as this CBS Sunday Morning report shows.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

Tonight: Haircut Night in America!

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, people are yearning for haircuts these days. Since most barber shops and salons are closed — though they’re starting to reopen, depending on what state you live in — you either have to live with your hair getting long or attempt to cut it yourself. If you’re interested in the latter but scared to do it, you might want to watch CBS tonight (and to be clear, “tonight” means Friday the 29th) at 8 p.m. EDT. Haircut Night in America will have barbers and colorists and various celebrities like Jerry O’Connell, Rebecca Romijn, and Lindsey Vonn showing you how do your own hair!

Yes, we are living in very strange times. Next week: Washing Your Hands Night in America, with hosts Gayle King and Drew Carey!

RIP Richard Herd, Jerry Sloan, Else Blangsted, Larry Kramer, Jimmy Cobb, Anthony James, and Wilson Jerman

You might not immediately know the name Richard Herd, but you know him from all the roles he had over the years. He was George’s New York Yankees boss Mr. Wilhelm on Seinfeld, the captain on T.J. Hooker, and had memorable roles on several Star Trek series, Seaquest 2032, and the ’80s sci-fi show V. On the big screen, you saw him in movies like All the President’s Men, The China Syndrome, Private Benjamin, and Get Out. He died Tuesday at the age of 87.

Jerry Sloan coached the Utah Jazz to two finals against the Chicago Bulls and was the third-most-winning coach in NBA history. He died last week at the age of 78.

Else Blangsted led an incredible life. She not only fled Nazi Germany as a teenager (after they lied to her and told her the baby she gave birth to had died), she came to America to become one of the great film music editors. She worked on such films as Picnic, The Color Purple, On Golden Pond, Tootsie, Ordinary People, The Goonies, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. She died earlier this month at the age of 99.

Larry Kramer was an AIDS activist and the Tony Award-winning writer of The Normal Heart. He also wrote the screenplays for Women in Love and the 1973 version of Lost Horizon. He died Wednesday at the age of 84.

Jimmy Cobb was a jazz drummer who played with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Stan Getz and played on the classic Miles Davis album Kind of Blue. He died Sunday at the age of 91.

Anthony James had roles in Clint Eastwood movies like Unforgiven and High Plains Drifter, as well as Burnt Offerings and The Naked Gun 2 1/2. On TV you saw him on Gunsmoke, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the first Columbo movie, Prescription: Murder. After retiring from acting in the ’90s he became an artist and writer. He died this week at the age of 77.

Wilson Jerman held several different jobs at the White House, from cleaner to butler to elevator operator, serving 11 presidents, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama. He died last weekend at the age of 91.

This Week in History

Ralph Waldo Emerson Born (May 25, 1803)

Emerson is the opposite of Richard Herd, a name you know but whose work you may not be familiar with. He was actually a fascinating guy.

“Hands Across America” (May 25, 1986)

The idea was a good one — people joining hands from coast to coast to show a unified country — but there were a few problems along the way.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Cookie Tester” (May 28, 1960)

According to the information from this issue, the cookies the student on this George Hughes cover is eating are Chocolate Dreams. I like the detail on the bulletin board, from the lone glove tacked on to the sign that says “Always ______ Facing ______.” I want to know what the rest of it says. Any guesses?

National Macaroon Day

I can’t find a recipe for Chocolate Dreams — at least not any that look like the ones on the cover above — but Sunday marks the celebration of another cookie, macaroons.

Here’s a recipe from Taste of Home for First-Place Macaroons, and here’s one for Chocolate Macaroons from

By the way, if you’re wondering what the difference is between macaroons and macarons, there are more differences than just the spelling.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Adopt-a-Cat Month Begins (June 1)

Last week I made an unnecessary attack on cats, so this week I thought I’d atone for that by spotlighting this month-long celebration.

Global Running Day (June 3)

You can go running to celebrate this day, but carry a mask just in case you need it.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. Hmmm, not familiar with that Magnum, P.I. phrase. I’m figuring it’s from the original ’80s Tom Selleck series, Bob. Only watched it here and there. However, I’m a big fan of the new version with Jay Hernandez and Perdita Weeks (as Higgins). The entire cast is very likable, it has a real story, and the ‘action’ sequences are actually appropriate and in moderation like comparable shows used to be, decades ago. Oh! And there’s very little use of pyrotechnics. In other words it’s great, and the exact opposite of the completely unwatchable Hawaii 5-0 FINALLY cancelled last month!

    I haven’t run into the wipes being left in carts. It still bugs me I can’t find Lysol spray or Clorox wipes in late May. I have a large (19 oz.!) can from my friends which is great, but only because of them. I’d be fine with one of the generics, trust me, but they’re nowhere to be found either. Anyone else having this problem?!

    I was just thinking about Betty White last week, then these positive updates about her started coming in. She’s a national treasure, and I wish her health and happiness for years to come. (She really wouldn’t leave disinfectant wipes in her cart. No!)

    The Statue of Liberty virtual tour was pretty neat. It would be nice to actually be there; we’ll see. 15 seconds of ‘wocka-wocka’ was enough! I don’t re-call this sound from the ’80s. Of course, my favorite was Ms. Pac-Man, and recall liking the sounds of it well enough.

    I’ll watch ‘Haircut Night in America’ in a few hours, followed by ‘Magnum P.I.’ Thanks for the ’60 Post cover. I just don’t remember it. I’ve been through every page of ‘Covers of the Saturday Evening Post’ book several times and still get surprised. I have 2 copies of the book. One is a mint condition surprise Christmas gift from some years back, and the other a “sharing” copy I bought on eBay. On the front inside page, in a black marks-a-lot, was the address 1100 Waterway Blvd. Indianapolis, IN. 46202! (The mint copy is kept safely on my living room table along with my beautiful ‘Art of Bob Peak’ coffee table book.)


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