News of the Week: Openings and Closings, Carl Reiner, and Baking with the Red, White, and Blue

In the news for the week ending July 3, 2020, we’re losing Minor League Baseball and Broadway but getting Beavis and Butt-Head, NASA renames its HQ, Sherlock Holmes is mired in a lawsuit, and more.

A pie arranged to look like an American flag

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This Week in Social Distancing

“A person could get used to this,” said no one in the last four months.

I guess we’re all getting used to social distancing in one way or another, because we’ve been forced to, but I refuse to think that way. You could say that, as a writer who has worked from home for the past 20 years, self-isolation is my wheelhouse. But this whole “stay at home as much as possible” thing has officially gotten to me. At least when I stayed home all the time before there was the possibility of going out.

The last time I went out anywhere that wasn’t a supermarket, a pharmacy, or a bank was the day after Christmas. I spent the day with my best friend. We went to see The Rise of Skywalker, ate lots of roast beef sandwiches and Mexican food, and downed a lot of alcohol while catching up on each other’s lives. I had a fantastic time, not knowing that seven months later I’d be referring to it here as “the last time I went out anywhere.”

Sure, we can go out, but not 100 percent freely. Something is always holding us back from living our lives like we lived them in February. We have to wear a mask, or even if we don’t we have to stay a certain distance from each other. Restaurants are opening, but with strict limitations. You can go to stores, but there’s a limit to how many people can be in the place at once (or you have to get curbside delivery). You can go to a record store but it might be alone and you have a time limit. Deliveries are “contactless” and meetings are “virtual.”

But you can also feel that things are loosening up a bit. Maybe it’s the warm weather, which can make you forget the bad things or at least give the illusion that the bad things are gone. Higher temps and the shine of the sun have that effect. The coronavirus is sooooooo April 2020. I’m over it. It’s time for summer fun!

Yeah … no.

I have friends and family who want to come over, but I’m not doing that yet. I don’t feel completely comfortable. I’m staying in all the time and just going out to the aforementioned supermarket, pharmacy, and bank and maybe a walk now and then to burn off all of the Hood Chocolate Chip ice cream I’ve been enjoying (their secret is all of the little chips they put in with the bigger chips). But I’m not doing anything else. Sorry! I’m probably being a little overly cautious, but that’s better than not being cautious enough and finding us back to April. We just don’t “know” yet.

Some notes from the past week.

Did I say things were loosening? They are, but maybe a little too quickly in some states. And New York, which has actually seen a decline in cases, is stopping plans to reopen indoor dining because of the increase of cases in other states.

Broadway won’t be reopening anytime soon. It will remain closed for at least the rest of 2020.

Minor League Baseball has been canceled for the first time since its debut in 1901, even as Major League Baseball ramps up a 60-game season.

Movie theaters — both independents and chains — will start to reopen in a few weeks, but expect empty seats, fewer food options, and mandatory mask-wearing.

Comedy Central has announced that Beavis and Butt-Head are coming back. Yeah, I can picture those two stuck in the house on the couch during a pandemic, watching TV and laughing at everything.

My local supermarkets now have plenty of toilet paper and paper towels but are still completely out of disinfectant wipes. I think this is the fourth straight month. You’d think those would be back on the shelves now, but they seem to be lost in the ether. Maybe they’re lost in that internet “cloud” I keep hearing about. But I guess you can’t put toilet paper in the cloud (unless it’s White Cloud).

That was a long way to go for a lame joke, but like I said, this isolation is getting to me.

NASA Names H.Q. After Mary Jackson

This is a nice decision. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced that they’re naming their Washington, D.C., headquarters after Mary Jackson, the first black female engineer at the agency and one of the more important figures who helped U.S. astronauts get into space.

Jackson was played by Janelle Monáe in the acclaimed 2016 film Hidden Figures. She died in 2005.

Arthur Conan Doyle Estate Sues over Sherlock Holmes Film

Did you know that the character of Sherlock Holmes is now in the public domain? At least the stories written before 1923. That means you could write a new Holmes adventure right now. But you have to be very, very careful.

That’s what Netflix, Legendary Pictures, Penguin Random House, and author Nancy Springer are finding out. They’re being sued by Doyle’s estate over a new movie based on the life of Holmes’s sister Enola. The movie is based on a series of novels by Springer, and the lawsuit contends that the books and the movie infringe on elements of the last 10 stories that Doyle wrote between 1923 and 1927, which aren’t in the public domain yet. The estate is suing for copyright infringement and trademark violation.

I think this is the first lawsuit I’ve heard whose main complaint revolves around “emotions.” It should be a really interesting case to watch.

What Is Doomscrolling?

You probably do it every single day, and Wired says it’s eroding your mental health.

Hamilton Premieres Today

It’s on Disney+, just in time for the Fourth of July. Here’s the trailer.

RIP Carl Reiner, Milton Glaser, Johnny Mandel, Charles Webb, David Perlman, Linda Cristal, Joe Sinnott, and Arnie Ginsburg

Carl Reiner created what is arguably the greatest sitcom in history, The Dick Van Dyke Show (where he played egotistical boss Alan Brady), but he did so much more in his long career. He wrote and performed on the ’50s sketch show Your Show of Shows; directed such films as The Jerk, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Enter Laughing, and Oh God; co-created The 2000-Year-Old Man with Mel Brooks; received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Ocean’s Eleven; and wrote several books of short stories and a memoir. He even did voice work in Toy Story 4 and Family Guy and found a new career dispensing wisdom on Twitter. He died Monday at the age of 98.

One of my favorite stories about Reiner is that he and his best friend Brooks ate dinner together and watched Jeopardy! every single night, and even continued to do it on the phone during the current pandemic.

Tonight at 8 p.m., CBS will run colorized versions of two classic Dick Van Dyke Show episodes, “Coast to Coast Big Mouth” and “October Eve.”

You may not know the name, but Milton Glaser was the man who created the “I ❤ NY” logo and co-founded New York magazine. He died last week at the age of 91.

Johnny Mandel composed such songs as the M*A*S*H theme, “The Shadow of Your Smile,” and music for the aforementioned Your Show of Shows. He also composed music for Caddyshack, Being There, Harper, Deathtrap, The Verdict, and other films. He died this week at the age of 94.

Some trivia: Mike Altman, the then-14-year-old son of M*A*S*H director Robert Altman, wrote the lyrics for Mandel’s theme for the movie, “Suicide Is Painless.” He has received over $1 million for the song, more money than his father made for directing the movie.

Charles Webb wrote the novel that the movie The Graduate was based on. He died in June at the age of 81.

David Perlman started as a copy boy at the San Francisco Chronicle in 1940 and went on to become one of the country’s great science and tech journalists, retiring in 2017 at the age of 98. He died last week at the age of 101.

Linda Cristal was best known for her role as Victoria Cannon on The High Chaparral. She also appeared in movies like The Alamo and Mr. Majestyk. She died Saturday at the age of 89.

Joe Sinnott was an influential comic book artist at Marvel who worked on such classics as The Avengers, Captain America, and The Fantastic Four. He also worked on the Amazing Spider-Man comic strip up until last year. He died last week at the age of 93.

Arnie “Woo Woo” Ginsburg was a popular Boston disc jockey in the ’50s and ’60s, and is known as the man who introduced the Kingsmen song “Louie Louie” to America. He died last week at the age of 93.

This Week in History

Sony Walkman Introduced in Japan (July 1, 1979)

Long before iPods and smartphones, people carried around this device to listen to music on cassettes. It was introduced in the United States a year later.

President James Garfield Shot (July 2, 1881)

The 20th president was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. He died on September 19.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Statue of Liberty (July 1, 1986)

Statue of Liberty

This was originally the cover of the July 7, 1934, issue. It was tweaked a bit, with the “Liberty 1886-1986” line added to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. It’s a striking cover drawn by J.C. Leyendecker. Newsstand copies of this 1986 issue featured a hologram version of the Statue of Liberty in the corner, which subscribers can see here.

Oh, and the cover price was tweaked too, from 5 cents to $1.95.

The Red White and Blue (Desserts, That Is)

Sure, you’re probably going to have burgers and hot dogs and potato salad at some point this weekend, but the look of those foods themselves isn’t especially festive. You need something that actually has the colors of our flag, something to show both your patriotism and your baking skills, like these desserts.

How about this recipe from Food Network for a Flag Cake? Delish has these Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake Strawberries, while Pillsbury has these Fourth of July Mini Pie Bites. Just a Taste has these cool Red, White, and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies, or you can make this Firecracker Milkshake from Delish. It looks pretty easy; you only need vanilla ice cream, some food coloring, and some sprinkles and whipped cream.

Have a happy and safe Fourth!

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Sidewalk Egg Frying Day (July 4)

You can try this, but I really think it’s better if you cook them in a pan.

International Town Criers Day (July 8)

In a way, with Facebook and Twitter, we’re all town criers now.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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  1. I’m glad you’re continuing to stay inside, and wear the mask when going out. Unfortunately, enough people are NOT, and many businesses that have just re-opened are having to re-close again (some likely permanently). One example (in Ca.—of course) is the ‘mom & pop’ business Hugo’s Tacos in Atwater Village. So-called “fans” anxiously waiting its re-opening last weekend after being closed for months had the gall to give the owner and employees a hard time about wearing the mask! You’d THINK they’d be only too happy to comply (which they should have been doing anyway, outside) but no; of course not. So, he’s had to close it down indefinitely!

    See Andy Hollandbeck’s new feature ‘Hostel to Hotels’ for more scathing comments on Ca. With a very hot weekend now here, the beaches closed, illegal firecrackers popping and trouble makers likely to do a repeat of last month’s destruction (I hope not!!) Garcetti and Newsom will have to crack down like never before out here.

    I heard about NASA renaming their Washington headquarters after Mary Jackson. She deserves the honor, without question. Certainly an excellent piece of good news in an on-going situation that could certainly use some.

    I was shocked that Carl Reiner passed away. He may have been 98, but didn’t seem it. His legacy in television is unmatched by anyone in the industry. His closest counterpart I’d say would have to be Lucille Ball. Both were pioneers of early television, both comedians and savvy business people as well.

    Thanks for running the 1986 (’34) Statue of Liberty Post cover. It’s a true Leyendecker classic (of course all his covers are). I remember getting my subscription copy of it, but also buying an extra copy at the newsstand for that great hologram!

    Just wondering Bob, have you been able to find any Lysol or generic version anywhere? I haven’t. I’m lucky I have that large can I got through my friends awhile back. Clorox wipes either. I seriously wonder if I’ll see either one EVER again. What about Mr. Clean?


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