News of the Week: Fake Fans, Red Sands, and 80 Years of That Wascally Wabbit

In the news for the week ending July 31, 2020, are pics of Mars, state rivalries, Bugs Bunny, odd sandwiches, and more.


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This Week in Social Distancing

The social distancing news this week revolves around sports. Actually, a lot of that news has revolved around sports since this nightmare began, as various leagues attempt to make their way back to fans in the safest way possible. Baseball may have taken a few steps backward just when it had taken a giant leap forward.

Only days after Major League Baseball started its 60-game season, 19 Miami Marlins players tested positive for COVID-19. And some reports say they may have caught it after “hitting the town.” (Sometimes the town hits back.) They’ve suspended their season for now, and there’s no way to tell whether this will affect the seasons of other teams.

Over at the National Football League, several players are choosing not to play the season at all, including Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung of the New England Patriots. They’re either worried about getting infected themselves or live with people who are at a high risk and don’t want to chance it.

Speaking of pandemic-affected sports, can we talk about the fake fans we have at sporting events now? Not just recorded sounds like cheers and boos (weird when done badly but oddly comforting when done well), but what Fox Sports is doing for their baseball coverage. They’re taking things one step further by having digital images of fans (for both teams) in the stands. I haven’t watched one of those games yet, so I’m curious how that will look in ground-level close-up shots. The faraway camera angles look okay.

I can’t wait until we see the first digital fight over a home run ball or the first digital wave. They need something to liven up the games for all the sad mascots.

The Red Planet

These images from NASA don’t exactly form a real “video” of the Martian surface, but it is a 4K rendering of many photos painstakingly put together, and the result is pretty incredible.

Mars in 4K (Uploaded to YouTube by ElderFox Documentaries)

Black Friday (in July!?)

I feel funny talking about Christmas shopping when it’s currently 95 degrees and humid, but there’s Black Friday news. I saw a commercial for a Macy’s “Black Friday in July!” sale the other day.

I refuse to shop anywhere that insists on calling a sale in July a “Black Friday Sale.”

Samsung is having a big sale too, on everything from refrigerators to TVs. You can also find deals at Crate & Barrel, Home Depot, and Best Buy. Since today, July 31, is the last Friday in July, I would guess that some of these deals end today, though I’d check with the individual stores just to make sure.

In related news, Target, Walmart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have announced that they’re actually going to be closed for Thanksgiving this year. In recent years several stores have extended their Black Friday sales to include Black Thursday, because people have to rush out to the mall before they even digest that last piece of pumpkin pie, but the two chains have decided that for 2020, closing on a major holiday is the right thing to do. They’ll be open the next day, though, so you’ll have plenty of time to fight another human being for that last coffeemaker.

State Hate

Here’s an interesting map of which states hate other states. I knew that Massachusetts has always had a problem with New York (the Red Sox/Yankees feud is a good example of that), but I didn’t realize that everyone in Florida hates Florida.

RIP Olivia de Havilland, Regis Philbin, Herman Cain, John Saxon, Reese Schonfeld, Dean Randolph, Jacqueline Scott, and Shirley Coates

Olivia de Havilland won Best Actress Oscars for her roles in To Each His Own and The Heiress. She also had memorable roles in Gone with the Wind, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Snake Pit, Hold Back the Dawn, Captain Blood, and Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte. She died Sunday at the age of 104.

Turner Classic Movies has a nice video look back at de Havilland’s career and will run an 11-film tribute to her on August 23.

Regis Philbin had a long, varied career as an entertainer, from being the announcer and sidekick to talk show host Joey Bishop and guest hosting The Tonight Show to hosting his own local morning shows in Los Angeles and New York. He then went on to host Live with Regis and Kathie Lee! (and later with Kelly Ripa) for over two decades. He was also a singer, releasing many albums, and was the original host of the wildly popular nighttime game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? He also holds the Guinness world record for being on television the most number of hours, with 16,746.5. He died last week at the age of 88.

Herman Cain was a vice president at Pillsbury in the 1970s who went on to become a successful executive at Burger King and chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza in the ’80s. He was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and later president of the National Restaurant Association. He also ran for president of the United States in 2012. He died Thursday at the age of 74.

John Saxon appeared in such movies as Enter the Dragon, Black Christmas, The Appaloosa, Joe Kidd, The Electric Horseman, and three Nightmare on Elm Street films, as well as TV shows like The Bold Ones, Dynasty, and Falcon Crest. He died Saturday at the age of 83.

Reese Schonfeld helped Ted Turner start CNN and was the network’s first president. He later co-founded The Food Network. He died Tuesday at the age of 88.

Dean Randolph — real name Frank Pescatore — had a few hits in the early ’60s with various bands, including “False Love,” “This Girl,” and a catchy tune called “Fair Weather Friend.” He died in April at the age of 73.

Jacqueline Scott portrayed Dr. Richard Kimble’s sister in several episodes of The Fugitive and also appeared on shows like Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Route 66, and Have Gun, Will Travel. She also appeared in the films Charley Varrick and Duel. She died last week at the age of 89.

Shirley Coates was in several movies as a child actress but is best known for playing Muggsy in several Little Rascals/Our Gang shorts. She died Sunday at the age of 92.

This Week in History

SS Andrea Doria and MS Stockholm Collide (July 25, 1956)

The Italian ocean liner collided with the Stockholm off the coast of Nantucket, which caused it to list on its side, killing 46.

Bugs Bunny’s 80th Anniversary (July 27, 1940)

The clever rabbit first made an unofficial appearance in the 1939 short Porky’s Hare Hunt, but he had a different name and look. A Wild Hare marked the first real appearance of the character we know as Bugs Bunny.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Margarine Ad (July 30, 1949)

Margarine ad
Margarine ad from July 30, 1949 (Click to Enlarge)

I can honestly say I’ve never put butter or margarine on bread before (except for toast, of course), but putting it on sandwiches has always been a thing to do.


You can try that butter or margarine on the following sandwiches to celebrate National Sandwich Month, which begins August 1.

Food & Wine has a Bacon-and-Butter Sandwich, which sounds incredibly … healthy. The Spruce Eats has a Traditional Jambon Buerre, aka a Ham Butter Sandwich, and The New York Times has a recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches with Herb Butter, which sounds like a very summer thing to make.

And if you remember eating butter and sugar sandwiches as a kid (I did that, only without the butter), try this Bread, Butter, and Sugar Sandwich from Pastry Chef Online. It’s butter and sugar on a slice of white bread.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Mustard Day (August 1)

Hey, mustard goes great on a sandwich…

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day (August 2)

…but not this type of sandwich.

Splashdown! (August 2)

Discovery Channel will have live coverage of the return of astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken after their historic NASA/SpaceX mission, starting at 1 p.m. ET. I assume the cable news channels will break in with the news too.

Featured image: “Yankee Stadium” by John Falter, published April 19, 1947. (©SEPS)

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  1. Well, I have little doubt the 19 Miami Marlin players tested positive for it after “hitting the town” most likely with none wearing the mask. Good luck fellas. I think the two players up in New England are wise to sit the season out. The digital images of fans is a great idea. We should have the technology to make it look like the real thing—minus any rude behavior or violence.

    How are you doing with the heat this week?! It’s 104 out here as I write this. Shaking and baking. I’m surprised the 4.2 made the national news. Not to dismiss it, 4.0 is the threshold of it starting to become serious, and my first thoughts are always will be a 7+ like the Northridge quake 26 years ago. That one was also at 4:30 am. But I’m all for periodic quakes of 4.0 and less more frequently to relieve the pressure, truth be told.

    Very interesting new video on Mars. Some scenes are pretty. If there was ever life on Mars, there’s no evidence of it now, being dry as a bone. The whole ‘Black Friday’ thing period is pretty played out. The always terrible sounding name now has an extremely bad vibe, particularly since Memorial Day I would say!

    Thanks for the map on which states hate each other. I’m surprised there aren’t MORE states that hate California than the solid block of western states. Northern Ca. hates southern in case anyone was interested. This is why the issue of dividing the state in half comes up every so often. My question is—where does that leave central Ca.?!

    It’s too bad Olivia de Havilland passed away the same day (or within a day) as Regis Philbin. She didn’t get the loving tributes she deserved. The fact ‘Gone With The Wind’ has become a hot potato recently surely didn’t help.


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