“So great was the noise during the day that I used to lie awake at night listening to the silence.” —Muriel Spark, A Far Cry From Kensington
It started four days ago.
At first it was just a minor rattle in the distance, and I didn’t give it much thought. I live in a very busy neighborhood — near a highway, lots of trucks driving by, lots of businesses and activity — and there’s always some sort of noise. In the summer it’s worse because I have windows and the front door open; I hear every vehicle that goes by and every obscenity shouted at the intersection right outside my living room windows. But the fall and winter are nice and quiet because the cold air means I can close those windows and doors.
Not yet though. It hasn’t exactly been warm, but it’s warm enough that I want the front door open so I can get some cool air circulating. And before you think this is another one of my endless rants about the weather, this involves a drill.
At least that’s what it sounds like, some sort of tool to crush concrete. They’re doing something to a wall outside the pizza place a couple of buildings down from mine. Drill, drill, drill. Rat-a-tat-tat. Chunka-chunka-chunka. Sometimes it sounds like a drill, sometimes it sounds like someone jammed a supermarket conveyor belt with rocks. Every day, from the morning to the late afternoon. It’s driving me insane. It’s one of those things where once you hear it you can’t not hear it.
This is why God created headphones.
So now I’m waiting for the really cold weather. Not just because I like really cold weather, but also because I’ll be able to close my front door and keep the noise of the outside world away. Come on autumn, do your thing.
Subway Bread Isn’t Bread, Says Ireland
Now why would an entire country say something like that? I mean, of course it’s bread, it’s right there in the name!
Not really, says an Irish judge. Seems the sandwich chain’s bread contains levels of sugar that actually put it in the “confectionery” category. This may seem like a minor thing — it’s not like the judge has barred Subway from selling their subs — but it means it’s not a “staple” food like bread or coffee or milk and is taxed differently. Ireland’s Value-Added Tax Act of 1972 says the amount of sugar in bread “shall not exceed 2% of the weight of flour included in the dough.”
The chain’s bread has five times that amount.
Lou Gehrig Speaks
Babe Ruth, who we featured several times in the Post during his career, was also the subject of a controversy, though it was one that didn’t involve yeast. Did he really point to the outfield stands to indicate that he was about to hit a home run?
The story goes that while at bat during the 1932 World Series between the Yankees and the White Sox, Ruth pointed to center field, saying that he was going to hit a home run to that very spot. Well, that’s exactly what he did. Eyewitness reports have always differed on the matter, with some saying he didn’t really point and others saying he did. There’s even a grainy photo that shows him doing something like pointing. It has always sounded like one of those sports stories that was too good to be true.
Now it looks like we have confirmation that Ruth did announce his home run, and it comes from Ruth’s teammate Lou Gehrig, in a recently unearthed radio interview from that same year.
Oh, and you want to hear something weird? This controversy actually does involve yeast. The interview was conducted on The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour.
Old Story of the Week
A new, semi-regular feature, where I link to a story that didn’t happen this week but is too interesting not to read. First up, this Entertainment Weekly feature from last year, “Who Killed the Masked Marvel?” It’s about the murder of actor David Bacon, who played the Masked Marvel in a 1940s serial, a crime that has still not been solved 77 years later. It’s quite fascinating and a Hollywood story I somehow hadn’t heard before.
RIP Eddie Van Halen, Bob Gibson, Johnny Nash, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, and Bonni Lou Kern
Eddie Van Halen was one of the great rock guitarists of all time and the leader of Van Halen, the band known for dozens of classic rock songs, including “Dance the Night Away,” “Jump,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Hot For Teacher,” “Panama,” and “Why Can’t This Be Love?” He also performed the guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” He died Tuesday at the age of 65.
Bob Gibson was a Hall of Fame ace pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals who won two Cy Young Awards and was a nine-time All-Star. He helped the Cardinals win two World Series, was the second pitcher to record 3,000 strikeouts, and even hit 24 home runs in his career. He died last week at the age of 84.
Thomas Jefferson Byrd appeared in Bulworth and Ray as well as several Spike Lee films, including Bamboozled, Clockers, Get on the Bus, and Red Hook Summer. He died last week at the age of 70.
Bonni Lou Kern was one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club from 1955 to 1956. She died last week at the age of 79.
This Week in History
The Andy Griffith Show Debuts (October 3, 1960)
The Andy Griffith Show is one of those shows where I think I’ve seen every episode 20 or 30 times (except the color episodes after Don Knotts left — let’s not even talk about those). You may think that’s a lot, but the number might actually be higher. I still watch several episodes a week (it’s on several times a day on various stations, including MeTV and TV Land). It’s celebrating 60 years on television this week.
Here’s the Back to Mayberry special that aired on CBS in 2003 and featured a conversation between Griffith, Knotts, Ron Howard, and Jim Nabors. You can sign up for the official newsletter of the Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club (and maybe start your own local chapter). And MeTV has a quiz you can take to see how well you know the various citizens of Mayberry.
If you remember the license plate number on Otis’s car, you probably watch the show more than I do.
The Great Chicago Fire (October 8-10, 1871)
Everybody knows that the fire that killed 300 and destroyed much of the city was started by a cow that kicked over a lantern in Mrs. O’Leary’s barn, but everybody might be wrong.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Election Debate (October 9, 1920)
There was an election 100 years ago too, as this Norman Rockwell cover shows. Republican Warren Harding and running mate Calvin Coolidge defeated the Democrat ticket of James Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt, 404 electoral votes to 127. Harding’s slogan was “A Return to Normalcy,” meaning a return to the way things were before World War I.
Now This Is Bread
I’ve never attempted to make bread. It’s one of those things that seems too daunting. It’s like a science experiment, one you have to get just right or everything goes haywire. But I’m going to try it one of these days, and probably one of these recipes.
AllRecipes has a recipe for Traditional White Bread, while Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has a recipe for Double Chocolate Quick Bread. Sally’s Baking Addiction has this Homemade Artisan Bread, and The Kitchn has a recipe for Sourdough Bread (along with an explanation of what makes it “sour”). Here’s our recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread, and AllRecipes has this Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread.
That last one is something even the Subway bread-hating officials in Ireland will like.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
French Open Finals (October 10-11)
The women’s final airs on NBC at 9 a.m. on Saturday, while the men’s final airs on the same network at the same time on Sunday.
Columbus Day (October 12)
It’s still a federal holiday, but it’s falling out of favor at the local level.
Second Presidential Debate (October 15)
If it really happens, it will start at 9 p.m. and air on all the major networks except Fox, which will have the Kansas City Chiefs/Buffalo Bills game.
Featured image: Nagel Photography / Shutterstock
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