News of the Week: Quitting Twitter, Presidential Rankings, and the Great July Blueberry Extravaganza

In the news for the week ending July 9, 2021, are too many hot dogs, too many motorcycles, too many bad phrases, two Statues of Liberty, and more.

Arkhipenko Olga / Shutterstock

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Random Thoughts

Caitlin Flanagan has a great piece at The Atlantic on why you should quit Twitter. (Something I’ve been saying for years.)

Of course, if you wanted to tweet a link to this column, I wouldn’t mind.

Congrats to Joey Chestnut, who won the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest for the 14th time, downing 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes and breaking his own record. That’s more hot dogs than I’ve eaten in the past 40 years.

Fox has launched a 24-hour all-weather network, because there isn’t enough coverage of the weather on television.

I’ve found the Official Sound of Summer (TM). It’s not waves at the beach, birds chirping, lawn sprinklers, or the sizzle of a burger on a grill. Where I live, it’s motorcycles. All day, every single day, bunches of motorcycles riding by my apartment.

(I’m not sure if bunches is the correct term for a group of motorcycles. Maybe it’s a flock? A herd? A swarm?)

I don’t know if any doctors or psychologists read this column, but can someone explain to me why I can’t drink coffee in the cold months (I’m a tea guy) but I like drinking iced coffee in the warm months?

The Best and Worst Presidents

Every year, C-SPAN asks historians, writers, and educators their picks for the best and worst presidents. The 2021 list is out, and there aren’t many surprises, really. The top vote-getters are Lincoln, Washington, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, and Josiah Bartlett.

(Just kidding on that last one. That was Martin Sheen on The West Wing.)

Think you can guess the bottom three? I bet you can’t.

The New Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty, which you can see on the cover of the current issue of the Post, has a smaller sister now, as this CBS Sunday Morning report explains.

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

Words to Avoid

For CNBC, two grammar experts pick the 24 words and phrases we should remove from our vocabulary if we want to sound smarter and not pretentious. The list includes “actual fact,” “feel badly,” “postpone until later,” and “3 a.m. in the morning.”

I’d like to add a few more: “I saw it with my very own eyes” (as opposed to seeing them with someone else’s?); “ATM machine” (you know why this is odd); and “like” (a perfectly fine word but not when people insert it, like, several times when they’re talking).

Facebook has ruined that last word too, but in a different way.

Headline of the Week

“Cape Coral Man Wakes Neighbors by Screaming and Pretending to Be a Firework”

RIP Richard Donner, Robert Downey Sr., Ray MacDonnell, and Sanford Clark

Before Richard Donner directed such movies as Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Omen, Scrooged, and The Goonies, he directed episodes of TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Route 66, The Rifleman, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Wanted: Dead or Alive, and The Wild, Wild West. He died Monday at the age of 91.

Robert Downey Sr. directed such counterculture films as Putney Swope, Greaser’s Palace, and Pound (which featured his five-year-old son, Robert Downey Jr.), as well as Up the Academy, America, Hugo Pool, and episodes of the ’80s Twilight Zone reboot. He died this week at the age of 85.

Ray MacDonnell played Dr. Joe Martin on All My Children for over 40 years, and before that played Philip Capice on The Edge of Night for 9 years. He died last month at the age of 93.

Sanford Clark had a top ten hit in 1956 with “The Fool,” which was later covered by Elvis Presley, Roger Miller, The Animals, and other artists. He died Sunday at the age of 85.

This Week in History

Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Both Die (July 4, 1826)

And they weren’t the only presidents to die on the Fourth of July. James Monroe also died that day, albeit five years later.

The Bikini Introduced (July 5, 1946)

Though some version of a two-piece bathing suit was introduced years earlier, the first real bikini was designed by Louis Rénard and gets its name from the Bikini Atoll.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Go Two Miles, Turn Left …” (July 9, 1955)

Post cover
“Go Two Miles, Turn Left …”
Amos Sewell 
July 9, 1955

I was going crazy trying to figure out what the man on the right is holding (at first I thought it was a gas hose or pipe), but the issue’s helpful explanation says the man is a scyther, so that’s apparently a scythe (with the blade hidden).

I’ve Found My Thrill …

Sometimes the food holidays come in bunches (or swarms).

July is National Blueberry Month, Saturday is National Pick Blueberries Day, and Sunday is National Blueberry Muffin Day. So there’s no way I can avoid linking to recipes that include blueberries this week. Not that I would ever want to avoid linking to blueberry recipes.

AllRecipes has To Die For Blueberry Muffins (no actual dying is necessary), while Steph Gaudreau has this Sweet & Savory Blueberry Omelet. If you want something cool for a hot summer day, how about these Blueberry Ice Pops from Taste of Home?

Taste of Home also has this Blueberry Chicken Salad, which I’ve never had but I have had grapes in a chicken salad sandwich and it’s quite good and this sounds a bit similar. You can wash all of these down with Dinner at the Zoo’s Blueberry Smoothie.

Uploaded to YouTube by Official FATS Domino FANSITE

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Wimbledon Finals (July 10 and 11)

The women’s final airs Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN, and the men’s final airs Sunday at the same time and place.

MLB All-Star Game (July 13)

The 91st annual game will take place at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. It airs on Fox at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Featured image: Arkhipenko Olga / Shutterstock

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  1. I’ve had pretty good luck with Twitter, Bob. I largely use it on the Post here, and don’t feel the need to quit. Facebook is one I’d never start. NO thank you. Joey Chestnut and 76 hot dogs/buns in 10 minutes. Good grief once again. It can’t be healthy, but yeah, you go boy!

    As far as the weather goes, I think they underplay the heat. I google West Hills weather and it says 97 when I know it’s well over 100. Summer’s a bummer. I just keep my LADWP paid ahead. Keeping the a/c set to 80 degrees is perfect to go on/off as needed. Gee Bob, what the hell’s going on with all of the motorcycles in your neighborhood? All day, every day? That’s terrible. Yikes. I hope it stops soon. Sounds like a swarm.

    That historical fact of both Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson dying on the same day would be weird enough regardless of the date, but 4th of July exactly 50 years after 1776 is very bizarre. The Blueberry recipes sound good, and are great antioxidants.

    On a comical note, one of my first jobs at 17 was at a Sav-on (now CVS) drug store, helping to stock shelves. An elderly woman came up to me and asked if I could help her find some Blueberry douche. I took her over to the ladies aisle and looked, no luck. She didn’t know the brand. The manager was in the vicinity and I asked him. He thought I was pulling his leg, despite the customer backing me up (!) and I was let go not long after.

    Great cover selection this week! I wouldn’t have known what a scyther is either without that explanation. The couple looks very confused. I’m not great with maps either. I usually mapquest for written out driving instructions which I write out on notebook paper. Ironically, I can get to within a couple of miles of the destination THEN get lost. The GPS helps at that point, otherwise it’s just a big power drain. Nice car they’re driving. Looks like a ’53 Packard.


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