News of the Week: Summer School, Sorry Soaps, and the Wonders of the Space Sausage

In the news for the week ending August 12, 2022, are a swipe into third, the invention of pickleball, a scientist’s joke, Olivia Newton-John, and more.


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Time to Go to Staples!

I’ve known this for several years now, but it will never not be odd to me. Many schools have already started the new school year.

A friend of mine in Georgia mentioned that his kids started school the first week of August. Isn’t it hot in Georgia in August? I’m going to assume they have air conditioning and cold peaches.

When I was a kid here in Massachusetts, we always started school after Labor Day. August was “the summer” and September “the fall,” and I always assumed that every city and state did the same thing. I actually assumed this until I was in my 50s, which tells you how much I pay attention to what’s going on in other states.

I thought it was a uniform thing for kids in the U.S. Labor Day is the last hurrah and then kids and parents go into “school mode.” But I guess that everyone has to get into school mode at different times. I assume there are no school years that start in July.

Actually, I assumed wrong.

These Are the Streams of Our Lives

Don’t look now, but soap operas are vanishing from broadcast television. This has been a long time coming — All My Children and One Life to Live ended years ago, and even my beloved Guiding Light ended in 2009 — and right now there are only four soaps left on the air: The Young and the Restless (which started in 1973) and The Bold and the Beautiful (1987) on CBS, General Hospital (1963) on ABC, and NBC’s Days of Our Lives (1965). And now that last one is about to go to streaming.

After 57 years on NBC, the network has announced that it will be moving to the Peacock streaming service on September 12. It wouldn’t have been able to continue otherwise, which shows you how much money and time the networks really want to give to soaps these days. So now if you want to find out if Marlena is going to be possessed again you’re going to have to pony up some cash every month.

(I’ve never watched the show so I’m just guessing that Marlena is still on the show and is still getting possessed.)

It’s astonishing to think how many soap operas used to be on the networks and how popular they were. Now it’s  cheaper to go with talk shows, celebrity nonsense, and news programming (Days of Our Lives will be replaced by something called NBC News Daily, because we need more news on TV).

Don’t Tell Me We’re Not Addicted to Our Phones

Rodolfo Castro of the Pittsburgh Pirates slid into third base in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night … and his cellphone fell out of his pocket. If you’re keeping score, it was an iPhone.

This happened to Ted Williams once. He was at bat against the Yankees and when he swung his Filofax fell out of his pants.

Who Invented Pickleball?

I have to admit I didn’t know anything about Pickleball until a couple of years ago, and I didn’t see how popular it would become (or already was, in some places). CBS Sunday Morning has the story on how the game was invented and why it’s called “Pickleball.”

Posted to YouTube by CBS Sunday Morning

Headline of the Week

“French Scientist’s Photo of ‘Distant Star’ Was Actually Chorizo”

RIP Olivia Newton-John, David McCullough, Clu Gulager, Roger E. Mosley, Lamont Dozier, Judith Durham, Issey Miyake, Tom Urich, George Bartenieff, and Pat Rosson

Olivia Newton-John starred in the popular movie musical Grease and sang several hit songs in the movie, including “You’re the One That I Want,” “Summer Nights” (both duets with co-star John Travolta) and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Her other hits included “Physical,” “Xanadu,” “I Love You, I Honestly Love You,” and “Have You Never Been Mellow?” She died Monday at the age of 73.

David McCullough was an acclaimed historian and author of books on John Adams, Harry Truman, Theodore Roosevelt, the Panama Canal, and the Brooklyn Bridge. He also narrated several documentaries and TV shows, including Ken Burns’s The Civil War, American Experience, and Napoleon, as well as the movie Seabiscuit. He died Sunday at the age of 89.

Clu Gulager was a mainstay on TV westerns, including The Virginian, The Tall Man, Wagon Train, and Laramie, as well as shows like The Untouchables, Dr. Kildare, Ironside, Magnum, P.I., and Murder, She Wrote. He also appeared in movies like The Last Picture Show, The Killers, Return of the Living Dead, Feast, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He died last week at the age of 93.

Roger E. Mosley was best known for his role as T.C. on Magnum, P.I. He appeared in many other shows and in movies like Leadbelly, The Mack, McQ, and Semi-Tough. He died Sunday at the age of 83.

Along with brothers Eddie and Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier co-wrote many hits, including “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Jimmy Mack,” “Bernadette,” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.” He died Monday at the age of 81.

Judith Durham was the lead singer of The Seekers, best known for the songs “Georgy Girl” and “I’ll Never Find Another You.” She died last week at the age of 79.

Uploaded to YouTube by The Seekers.

Issey Miyake was a groundbreaking Japanese fashion designer. He died last week at the age of 84.

Tom Urich appeared in many soap operas, including Another Life, The Doctors, Search for Tomorrow, and TV shows like JAG, Kate and Allie, Vegas, and Spenser: For Hire (the latter two with his younger brother Robert Urich). He died in July at the age of 87.

George Bartenieff was not only a force in the New York City theater scene, he was also an actor, appearing on TV shows like Law & Order, Crime Story, 30 Rock, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as movies like Juile & Julia and Hercules in New York. He died Saturday at the age of 89.

Pat Rosson was a child actor. He was Opie’s runaway friend on The Andy Griffith Show and appeared on The Twilight Zone, The Munsters, The Young Marrieds, and many other shows. He died in April at the age of 69.

This Week in History

Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9, 1945)

The first bomb was nicknamed “Little Boy” and the second “Fat Man.”

First Betty Boop Cartoon (August 9, 1930)

It was called Dizzy Dishes, and it’s a trip.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: First Day at the Beach (August 11, 1956)

Obviously, school hasn’t started yet for these kids in this George Hughes illustration. Or maybe it has and they’re on the lam.

August Is National Peach Month

Peach fuzz. Just the thought of it sends a sharp chill up my spine. But I love how they taste. Here are five recipes to try.

I don’t mind touching nectarines. They’re peaches’ smooth cousin.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Tell a Joke Day (August 16)

Why do people in France eat only one egg for breakfast? Because in France, one egg is un oeuf.

Bad Poetry Day (August 18)

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Sugar is sweet

And sometimes poems don’t rhyme


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  1. I mentioned previously the only good thing about this time of year was NOT having to go to school for a few months between June-Sept. and going swimming/diving in deep water nearly every day, and the family vacations. Out in L.A. the return-to-school time has been early August for 10 years now, at least. A whole month earlier than after Labor Day.

    I liked the fact the first 2 or 3 days of school were half days to ease you back to the routine. I doubt that’s done anymore. I didn’t know any started in JULY though. Wow. They must be year-round, with more frequent breaks scattered year round. Still, the hot weather is when I preferred to be off. Even going back after Labor Day was still hot, because it was still summer. October was no prize either, by the way. At least not out here!

    NBC is the worst network as I’ve said many times. Moving Days of Our Lives to their crappy Peacock network sounds like a prelude to cancelling it. It’ll be interesting to see how long it lasts there, geez. Not good news. It’s pretty unprofessional for a “professional” ball player to have his damn phone on him there at all. What a moron.

    It’s been a sad week losing Olivia Newton-John; my goodness. One of my favorites for decades. A gorgeous all-around entertainer in the tradition of Ann-Margret. When she was first diagnosed with cancer in 1992, she bravely and strongly fought it with grace, class, dignity and hope. For herself, and anyone else going through it. When it returned she continued doing so, rarely complaining or feeling sorry for herself. Olivia was/is a true inspiration to us all.

    Thanks for the cartoon featuring Betty Boop’s first appearance for a needed laugh and smile this week. It also (kind of) had some ‘Soup Nazi’ overtones. You’re right, it’s definitely a trip. From this ’56 George Hughes cover, I’m figuring school has NOT started yet. 3 boys and the dog? You’re Dune Tootin’. The peach ice cream from the House of Nash Eats sounds wonderful. I know you can write a good poem that’ll really show ’em, right Bob?


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