News of the Week: Heat Waves! Zip Codes! Jerry Seinfeld Loves Pop-Tarts!

In the news for the week ending July 2, 2021, are a heat wave, a postal earworm, a Flintstones home, UFOs, and more.

Vintage stamp from 1972 advertising the zip code
John Kropewnicki / Shutterstock

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It’s Not the Heat …

I was reading this article over at Click Americana about how we used to beat the heat in 1911. I guess we have it pretty good now, with air conditioning available in our homes, in our cars, in our offices, even around our necks.

I don’t have AC, so I have to beat the heat using a combination of open windows and doors, a fan, and Popsicles (orange and grape). I have a new floor fan. It looks like a cross between a modern stereo speaker and that floating computer from Star Trek. Seems to be working pretty well. I have it positioned about three feet from me and I have the speed on the “blow you across the room” setting.

This is the second heat wave in the past month here in Massachusetts. The past four days have been over 90 degrees. That’s better than what they’re experiencing in the Pacific Northwest, with their record-breaking temps, though I’m not sure what the dew points have been like there. Here they’ve been around 70. That’s like trying to walk through hot soup (and I mean the chunky kind from Campbell’s).

I guess the best thing about it already being July is that after this weekend we’re in the back nine of summer. It’s still summer, but the Fourth is over and the days are getting shorter by 30 seconds to a minute every single day. Before you know it, we’ll be buying school supplies.

The other day I was drinking a bottle of iced tea and I noticed the expiration date on the cap was October 25. I smiled to myself and started to stare off into the distance, getting all dreamy, imagining what the temperatures are going to be then. I can’t wait.

Is the Truth Out There?

Happy World UFO Day, which is July 2. It’s perfect timing, since the Pentagon just released its report on various UFO sightings (some by the military) from the past several years. It’s one of those reports that has something for everybody, whether your thinking is “the truth is out there” or “I’m skeptical.” Though I guess a report that doesn’t rule out aliens 100 percent is a fairly big deal.

So What’s the Deal with Pop-Tarts?

I don’t know why Jerry Seinfeld would want to direct and star in an entire movie about the delicious breakfast/snack treat, but when you’re Seinfeld you can do things like that.

Was She Represented by Perry Masonry?

The owner of a home that looks like the house on The Flintstones got their yabba-dabba-due process and has settled the lawsuit brought by the city of Hillsborough, California. She’ll get her legal fees paid for and will be able to make changes and additions to the home as long as she fills out the proper permits.

The city was fine with the house at first but objected when the owner started to add dinosaurs, signs, and Fred and Barney statues.

RIP Donald Rumsfeld, Mike Gravel, John Langley, David Wisnia, Frieda Fritzshall, Stuart Damon, Robert Sacchi, Jon Hassell, and John Erman

Donald Rumsfeld was secretary of defense for both President Gerald Ford and President George W. Bush. He died Tuesday at the age of 88.

Mike Gravel was a former Democratic senator from Alaska who ran for president in 2008. He died Saturday at the age of 91.

John Langley created the long-running docu-series Cops. He died Saturday at the age of 78.

As a teenager, David Wisnia was imprisoned and tortured at Auschwitz and learned to survive his ordeals by singing opera for his captors. He sang there again in 2020 when he returned with his family. He died earlier this month at the age of 94.

Frieda Fritzshall was at Auschwitz as a teen too, survived, and went on to create the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. She died earlier this month at the age of 91.

Stuart Damon sang on Broadway in the ’60s and played Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital for over three decades. He also starred in The Champions and appeared on shows like Space: 1999 and Yanks Go Home. He died this week at the age of 84.

Robert Sacchi was an actor whose resemblance to Humphrey Bogart got him roles in the movie The Man with Bogart’s Face, TV shows like Fantasy Island and Cybill, and the stage shows Bogey’s Back and Play It Again, Sam. He died Tuesday at the age of 89.

Jon Hassell was an influential trumpet player and composer. He died Saturday at the age of 84.

John Erman directed episodes of many TV shows, including Star Trek, M*A*S*H, Roots, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, Peyton Place, My Favorite Martian, and Marcus Welby, M.D. He died last week at the age of 85.

This Week in History

President Lincoln Signs Law Forming Bureau of Internal Revenue (July 1, 1862)

Yeah, thanks Abe.

ZIP Codes Debut (July 1, 1963)

Stay until the very end of this promotional video for a song that will stay in your head for the next month.

Uploaded to YouTube by the U.S. National Archives

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: July Fourth at the Beach (July 2, 1921)

Don’t mess with this kid. He looks like a young Popeye. He wants to go to the beach and he wants to go now.

Toddler ready for the beach

The Dog Day of Summer

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will be held this Sunday at Maimonides Park in Brooklyn. Thirteen-time champion Joey Chestnut will be defending his title. And while I don’t think you’ll be eating 75 hot dogs (and buns!) in 10 minutes like Chestnut did last year, there’s a good chance they’ll be served this weekend, so I thought I’d give you a few recipes, along with a few non-hot dog things to try.

If you’re bored with the typical way to eat frankfurters, Dinner Is Served 1972 has this recipe for Pine Valley Red Hots and this one for Vincent Price’s Hotchpotch of Curly Kale (yes, they’re both hot dog dishes). Delish has these Grilled Cheese Dogs, while Taste of Home has these Chili Dog Baked Potatoes (topped with corn chips!).

If you’re going the burger route, here is Dean Martin’s really simple recipe. An accompanying side? How about Roseanne Cash’s All-American Potato Salad?

And if you’re looking for a snack, there are red, white, and blueberry Pop-Tarts.

Have a great Fourth. Stay cool.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

The Dog Days of Summer (July 3–August 11)

I always thought this was an August thing, but apparently it starts in early July.

NBA Finals (July 8)

They shouldn’t still be playing basketball while we’re already deep into baseball season, but the first game starts at 9 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

Featured image: John Kropewnicki / Shutterstock

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  1. Click Americana is a GREAT site I never knew about before, and will be exploring frequently. People did find clever ways to beat the heat in 1911. Glad 94 was the hottest, which was bad enough. Apparently the first home refrigerators were on the horizon that very year. Not sure if that included the freezer though to make ice cubes.

    I’m glad you’ve found inventive ways to beat the heat, and like your positive attitude in paragraphs 4 & 5. I hope it’s as nice as you envision. I’ve got a long haul of heat (and fires) ahead that will likely extend up to Thanksgiving. It was FAR hotter in the Pacific Northwest this week than L.A. So insane. What about the Atlantic Northeast; up in your section of the country? Portland, OR. 108-116 this week, Portland, ME. soon? I hope not!

    When it comes to UFO’s which are increasingly being legitimately acknowledged, I can’t help but wonder if they weren’t around in 1911, the 19th century or even in Ben Franklin’s time. “Thou hast indeed raised a good question for thee to explore further.”

    From the ‘Pop Tart’ clip of Jerry Seinfeld you enclosed, it should be very good. Remember, ‘Seinfeld’ was about nothing, and this is about something. Let’s see what he’s got up his sleeve. The brown sugar cinnamon (and cherry) are still the best, as an occasional treat.

    Not happy Lincoln signed the Internal Revenue into law either Bob, since we pay more in taxes than the multi-billionaires. Moving on (!) thanks for the ’63 Zip Code video. Sooo wonderfully mid-century old fashioned; I watched the whole thing. The song hasn’t stayed in my head. The ’90s Mentos ‘staying fresh, staying cool’ ads though are another matter. They check out for awhile but never leave.

    I’d never heard of that ‘Flinstones house’ up in Hillsborough before. Well, it’s located in the right state! You’re right about the kid on the ’21 Post cover. Better get him down to the water’s edge right quick to start building.


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