News of the Week: Heat Waves, Tony Dow, and Something You Don’t Know about Major League Baseball

In the news for the week ending July 29, 2022, are hot animals, cold tacos, sinking ships, chocolate lasagna, and more.


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The Dog Days of Summer

For someone who doesn’t like warm weather, every day of the summer is a dog day. But the dog days of summer are officially July 3 until August 11, so we’re in the middle of it right now.

It has been unbearably hot and humid here on the coast of Massachusetts, and I’ve been trying to keep cool using a strategic mix of fans, open windows, and frozen treats on a stick. It’s probably the same where you live too. Portland, Oregon, hit 102 degrees, Europe is experiencing temperatures they’ve never seen before, and roads everywhere are melting.

And summer is supposed to be the “fun” season.

If you simply go by the numbers — mid-80s temps and a slightly lower dew point — the past few days have been “cooler.” But if you go by the fact that my fan is still on and the windows and doors are still open and I have to wear shorts and I’m sweating, it’s still too warm.

It would be great to report that the heat and humidity will vanish completely when the dog days of summer are over on August 11, but I’m sure the season still has a few more barks in it.

How Zoos Keep Animals Cool During Heat Waves

It involves air conditioned bedrooms, mud showers, and bug Popsicles.

Goodbye, Choco Taco

In other delicious frozen treat news, is it weird that I’ve never had a Choco Taco? They’re being discontinued after 39 years, and people are up in arms. I feel bad that they’re looked at as some sort of classic American treat but that I had never even heard of them until a few years ago. I’ve had ice cream sandwiches and Klondike Bars and Drumsticks and even Hoodsies, but the Choco Taco has somehow escaped my mouth. Maybe I can find one before they’re gone forever.

Unless they’re saved by Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian!

The Mud Man

Both CBS and The New York Times have the story on the man who supplies the mud that goes on the official MLB baseballs. What, you didn’t know they rub a special mud from the Delaware River on them before they’re used in games?

Headline of the Week

“Drunk Florida Man Calls 911 Because ‘Girlfriend Wished to Eat Sour Patch Kids’”

RIP Tony Dow, David Warner, Paul Sorvino, Bob Rafelson, Kevin Rooney, Rebecca Balding, Taurean Blacque, Aaron Latham, and Carleton Varney

Tony Dow played Wally Cleaver on the classic sitcom Leave It to Beaver. He also directed episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Coach, Babylon 5, and other shows, and was later a respected sculptor. He died Wednesday at the age of 77.

MeTV will air a 10-episode marathon of Wally-centric Beaver episodes this Sunday starting at noon ET.

David Warner appeared in many films over a long career, including Time after Time, Titanic, TRON, Time Bandits, The Omen, Tom Jones, two Star Trek films, and the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol (the best one, in my opinion). He also appeared on Broadway and at the Royal Shakespeare Company and in TV shows like Wallander, Lois & Clark, Twin Peaks, and Murder, She Wrote, as well as doing voices on dozens of cartoons. He died Sunday at the age of 80.

Paul Sorvino appeared in such movies as Goodfellas, That Championship Season (he also received a Tony nomination for the stage version), The Gambler, Nixon, Dick Tracy, and The Firm, as well as starring as Chris Noth’s partner on Law & Order. He also appeared on shows like That’s Life, Still Standing, The Oldest Rookie, We’ll Get By, and Bad Blood. He died Monday at the age of 83.

Bob Rafelson was a producer, writer, and director who helmed such films as Five Easy Pieces, Head, The King of Marvin Gardens, and Black Widow, along with the Lionel Richie video for “All Night Long.” He was also co-creator of The Monkees. He died Saturday at the age of 89.

Kevin Rooney was a standup comic and writer who wrote for Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, and Bill Maher. He also produced the sitcoms ’Til Death and My Wife and Kids and acted in When Harry Met Sally… and The Couch Trip. He died earlier this month at the age of 71.

Rebecca Balding appeared on shows like Soap, Charmed, Makin’ It, Paradise, ER, and Home Improvement. She died last week at the age of 73.

Taurean Blacque received an Emmy nomination for his role as Detective Washington on Hill Street Blues. He also appeared on the groundbreaking soap Generations, Taxi, and Good Times, and in movies like Rocky II and House Calls. He died last week at the age of 82.

Aaron Latham was an author and journalist who wrote the article the movie Urban Cowboy was based on. He also wrote for such publications as Rolling Stone, Esquire, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He was married to CBS journalist Lesley Stahl. He died Saturday at the age of 78.

Carleton Varney was an acclaimed interior designer whose clients included Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, Ethel Merman, and even the White House and New York City’s Checker cabs. He died earlier this month at the age of 85.

This Week in History

First Public Live Transatlantic TV (July 23, 1962)

It happened at 3 p.m. ET courtesy of the Telstar I satellite and featured CBS’s Walter Cronkite, NBC’s Chet Huntley, the BBC’s Richard Dimbleby, President John F. Kennedy, and scenes from various locations around the world.

“Telstar” was also the title of a cool instrumental by the Tornadoes released a month later.

S.S. Andrea Doria Sinks (July 25, 1956)

It collided with the Swedish American Line ship Stockholm off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. In all, 46 passengers and crew died while 1,660 were rescued.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Feeding the Elephants” (July 25, 1953)

This John Clymer cover shows that at least the elephants have a pool to keep cool in.

National Lasagna Day

Lasagna: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

Okay, so my work on a potential lasagna ad campaign isn’t going so well, but today (Friday) is National Lasagna Day, so how about some recipes?

AllRecipes has the World’s Best Lasagna, and with 20,000 votes and a 5-star rating, maybe it is. Inspired Taste has a recipe for Easy Vegetable Lasagna, while Cooking for Keeps has one for One Pot Deconstructed Lasagna. And for dessert, Southern Living has a recipe for Chocolate Lasagna. Yes, Chocolate Lasagna.

I know it’s hard to turn on your oven during a heat wave, but they do sound good.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Mutt Day (July 31)

It’s also known as National Mixed Breed Dog Day.

First NFL Pre-Season Game (August 4)

It’s still the dog days of summer and they’re already playing football. The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Las Vegas Raiders at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

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  1. Great opening photo, and you have every right to complain! I’ve seen how hot it is up in New England and everywhere else on the national news. I appreciate the links included here on all the damage the excessive heat is causing. At least (and this is important) the fires up by Yosemite haven’t been caused by arson. That section of Ca. is some of the most beautiful in the state, and indeed the entire world. To have to see it through all that smoke is terrible, and unhealthy.

    Summer actually was the “fun” season once upon a time. A boy getting to see Expo ’67 in Montreal via a first stop to see Williamsburg, Va. and Washington, D.C. Then the next year western Canada, 2 years later Acapulco, Taxco and Mexico City. Then 2 summers of a week up in Yosemite National Park via a YMCA (Y-Camp) caravan ride with my sleeping bag. (When you’re 14 and 15, it’s fine.) The first time was when they’d just put in trams that ran on natural gas that smelled a tiny bit like pot; just a touch. Nothing to sniff here!

    Once those summers were over, all I’ve had since (pretty much) is the awful heat. Summer stripped bare without secondary distractions like no school, vacations, mom taking us to the Sherman Oaks Park pool 7 days a week. I’m glad zoos have implemented the proper measures to keep animals cool. It’s not just the kind thing, but the right thing to do. They can be overcome with the heat too. Serious and scary for animals and people.

    I’d never heard of Choco Taco either. Maybe it’ll be bought out by someone else with the right ad campaign. The drunk man needs to sober up before he gets into worse trouble. Thanks for ‘Telstar’ by the Tornadoes link. I can hear how they would have influenced The Chantays (Pipeline) surfer instrumental the next year, and the Beach Boys. Kraftwerk too, years later.

    Well balanced, middle of the road, general-interest magazine reporting in the long standing Post tradition. For where else would we have learned about the first transatlantic TV event, the sinking of the Andrea Doria, Sunday is mixed-breed dog day, and why (and how) you use a typewriter; all in one place? Nowhere else!

    Nice remembrance of Tony Dow here. I enjoyed the ‘New Leave It To Beaver’ of the ’80s too. You really could go home again, and have it be a success. My favorite seasons of the ’57-’63 original are probably ’60-’61 and ’61-’62, when the emphasis was on the Wally character more, along with Eddie and Lumpy. The final season focused on his going off to college and wasn’t as good. Still, it did stop in time to be exclusive to the Eisenhower/Kennedy years only.


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