News of the Week: Hot Dog Eaters, News Junkies, and the Boy Who Hated Summer

In the news for the week ending July 8, 2022, are tennis dogs, eating competitions, selective news avoidance, watermelon recipes, and more.

NEW YORK CITY - JULY 3 2015: contestants participating in Nathan's Famous July 4th hot dog eating contest gathered at Brooklyn's borough hall for weigh in presided over by Eric Adams & George Shea

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That’s how many hot dogs (and buns!) super-eater Joey Chestnut ate in 10 minutes to win this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, a very American event held on the Fourth of July. It was his 15th victory.

And the 63 dogs and buns isn’t even a record for Chestnut. Last year he ate 76! Maybe he didn’t eat as much this year because not only was his leg in a cast from an injury, he had to fight off a protester who rushed  the stage.

In the women’s division, Miki Sudo won her eighth crown (or whatever a hot dog eating champion wins), downing 40. She missed last year because she was pregnant.

By the way, this isn’t the only eating competition that Chestnut participates in. There’s an official organization called Major League Eating (yes), and Chestnut eats more than hot dogs. Last October he won the Destination Outlets World Pumpkin Pie Eating Championship in Jeffersonville, Ohio. He ate 16.75 pounds of pie in 8 minutes. He also holds the world record for eating Big Macs; in 2020 he consumed 32 of them in 38 minutes!

Sudo is a champ in other food categories too, including ice cream, turkey, kimchi, and buffalo wings.

Are You Avoiding the News?

I used to be a news junkie. I would watch several hours of cable news a day, read several newspapers, surf the web, scroll social media, get push notifications of news, etc. I felt that if I consumed more and more and more news (I needed to be “in the know” ASAP), the better informed I’d be. But that’s not really how it works.

According to the latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report, people everywhere are turned off by the news, no matter what their political persuasion, and they’re instead doing something called “selective news avoidance.”

In other words, they’re watching just enough of the news they want to watch and avoiding everything else. This is also called “how everyone used to get their news before cable news and the web ruined everything.”

Everything’s exhausting now. Everything! People just aren’t made to live at the speed of 24/7 cable news and the internet, all this information and entertainment coming at us all the time. But there’s an easy solution.

Do what I do and pretend it’s 1975. I don’t mean you should wear ugly clothes. I’m talking about how you get your news. Watch about 30 minutes of TV news a day, maybe your local newscast or one of the broadcast networks at night, and read the newspaper or a news magazine and you’ll be all caught up on all the news you need. Don’t live on social media (or even visit, actually) and don’t watch cable news all day long, because on cable and the web, all news is breaking (or “developing”) now, and that’s no way to go through life. It’s exhausting and makes you tense.

Believe me, if anything major happens, you’ll hear about it.

Dogs Can’t Be Tennis Ball Boys and Girls

Because they want a treat every time they fetch the ball. Oh, and their slobber gets all over them too.

The Boy Who Hated Summer

Just a couple of weeks ago I remarked on how cool June had been and how I hadn’t even had to drag out my big floor fan yet. Well, those days are over, because when July made its debut, so did the sticky, gross humidity, crushing the air around me and wilting my soul. So I got out my fan and plugged it in and will keep it aimed at me until Labor Day comes around.

Every year — every single June, July, and August — I tell myself that I’m not going to complain about the weather, and every year I fail. It’s like a personal summer resolution that I can never keep. So instead of trying to be something I’m not, a person who loves summer or even tolerates it, I’m going to be the person I am: The Boy Who Hated Summer.

They could even make a movie with that title. It would be great if they got Clooney to play me, but they’d probably cast Jason Alexander.

Quote of the Week

“Get a life!”

—Martin Cooper, inventor of the cellphone, when told by an interviewer that she spends five hours a day on hers

RIP James Caan, Arnold Skolnick, Bradford Freeman, Peter Brook, Tommy Morgan, Jan Shutan Levinson, Joe Turkel, and Betty Rowland

James Caan starred in a ton of classic movies over his long career, including two Godfather films, Brian’s Song, Misery, Rollerball, Thief, Funny Lady, Elf, and many others. On TV he starred on Las Vegas, Back in the Game, and Magic City, and appeared on everything from The Naked City to Family Guy. He died Wednesday at the age of 82.

Arnold Skolnick designed the famous poster for Woodstock featuring a bird sitting on a guitar. He died last month at the age of 85.

Bradford Freeman was the last known surviving member of the World War II parachute infantry regiment known as “Easy Company,” depicted in the miniseries Band of Brothers. He died Sunday at the age of 97.

Peter Brook was an acclaimed stage director and the director of the 1963 film Lord of the Flies. He died last week at the age of 97.

Tommy Morgan played harmonica on over 500 soundtracks, including films like Cool Hand Luke and Dances with Wolves, TV shows like The Waltons, Roots, Sanford and Son, The Rockford Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and performed with everyone from The Andrews Sisters to The Beach Boys. He died last month at the age of 89.

Jan Shutan Levinson was a regular on Sons and Daughters and Room 222 and also appeared on shows like Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, Ben Casey, The Fugitive, and Charlie’s Angels. She died back in October at the age of 88.

Joe Turkel played the bartender in The Shining and also appeared in Blade Runner, The Killing, Paths of Glory, Valley of the Giants, and The Hindenburg, as well as many TV shows. He died last week at the age of 94.

Betty Rowland was one of the last of the burlesque dancers of the ’30s and ’40s. She died in April at the age of 106.

This Week in History

First Walmart Opens (July 2, 1962)

It was in Rogers, Arkansas, and was called Wal-Mart Discount City.

Declaration of Independence Ratified (July 4, 1776)

Here’s a complete transcription, from the National Archives.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Ice ad (July 8, 1950)

I was going to say the three-letter word was ANT.

How to Make Ice

Ha! Just kidding. You already know how to make ice. (Pro tip: use water.)

July is National Watermelon Month. Belle of the Kitchen has a recipe for Watermelon Lemonade, while Delish has one for Watermelon Sangria. Wide Open Eats shows you how to cook a chicken in a watermelon (if you ever wondered how to do that), and Yummy Healthy Easy has a recipe for Watermelon BBQ Sauce. You can make Smitten Kitchen’s Watermelon Cucumber Salad, and here’s a recipe for Watermelon Fire and Ice Salsa.

I knew I’d get ice on the list somehow.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Wimbledon Finals (July 9 and 10)

The women’s final airs on ESPN Saturday at 9 a.m. ET, and the men’s final airs on Sunday at the same time and place. Both finals will have human ball-retrieving people.

The Open Championship (July 14-17)

It’s also called The British Open or just The Open. Golf Channel will have highlights on Thursday and Friday night, and then on Saturday and Sunday NBC will have live coverage starting at 7 a.m. ET.

Featured Image: Shutterstock

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  1. I used to be a news junkie, also. Headline News back in the day was great. Don Harrison spoon feeding me the news in the morning followed by Bobbie Batista and John Roberts. No opinions or talking heads. Just straight news, sports and the Hollywood Minute and a feature at 25 and 55 past the hour. Now the only place to get real news is your local news at 5 or 6pm.

    Newspapers were once great to read until the papers changed their style of reporting. Now you have to read 4 or 5 paragraphs before you get to what the story is about.

    I miss the original Headline News.

  2. C.S. Lewis once said, “I have read a newspaper.” He went on to acknowledge that he rarely read one after the first. I have the impression from what I’ve read about him that Lewis wasn’t particularly a fan of radio, either.

    His idea was yours, that if anything important happened, his friends would tell him about it.

    I can’t resist relaying one of my favorite Lewis anecdotes: he, his brother, and several pals were “on holiday” in late August, 1939. When they heard the news in some inn that England was at war with Germany, Lewis said, “Well, now we have much less chance of dying of cancer.”

  3. You are SO right about the need to limit or be selective about the news in today’s world! Growing up, my family got the local newspaper everyday and we never missed the local and national news broadcasts after dinner. It was just so ingrained in me and I liked being up on the news and able to knowledgeably discuss the issues of the day. A few years ago, however, my daughter said “Oh my god, how can you watch this all the time?! It’s just so horrifying and depressing!” And I realized she was right – today the 24 hour news cycle is just so all consuming and manipulative that it affects your mind and soul. I now try to limit it and realize that if it’s something of great importance, we will all know about it. We all need to make space in our lives for some calm and serenity.


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