News of the Week: Bad Weather, Too Many Selfies, and Did You Know There’s a Sequel to The Catcher in the Rye?

In the news for the week ending on July 21, 2023, are heat and humidity, fish chompers, the death of a dragon, old jokes, and more.


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My Biggest Fan

What’s that old saying, attributed to Mark Twain but he was actually quoting someone else? Something about everybody talks about the weather but nobody ever does anything about it?

Well, complaining is doing something about it! So here I am, once again, complaining.

As I type this, the atmosphere here can be described as “steamy.” Steamy and sticky and soupy, which makes me grumpy and sleepy and possibly dopey but certainly not happy.

And I bet you have complaints where you are too. Whether it’s the painful humidity or the devastating floods — some of us were lucky enough to get both — it has so far been a terrible summer. (Just wait until the hurricanes kick in.)

I heard a meteorologist describe this weather as “nice” the other day. I felt like calling the authorities.

I’ve been in this apartment for 30 years and I don’t have air conditioning. I can’t even put an air conditioner in the window because of the layout of the apartment and where the windows are. So every summer since 1993 I have had to get by with a clever mix of a big tower fan pointed directly at me at all times, open windows, a screen door (if I’m lucky the windows and door create a nice cross breeze), and as many Popsicles as I can put into my body.

Some friends and family have complained about the heat to me, but they all have air conditioning! What are they complaining about? They’re not construction workers or farmers or mail carriers. They don’t work outside, and they have a/c in their homes, their cars, and at their office. I work at home.

These are the same people who complain about the bitter cold in January. But they have heat and they own sweaters, don’t they? And so do I, which is why you’ll never hear me complain when it’s 19 degrees.

So please don’t complain about the humidity or how hot it is when you don’t actually have to experience it beyond the walk from your car to your front door.

School doesn’t start until after Labor Day here in Massachusetts, but a friend of mine who lives in Georgia says the new school year starts for his kids in two weeks. I don’t remember going to school in shorts and a tank top. I hope they have air conditioning.

The back-to-school commercials have already started. Now that’s just cruel.

If You Pay $750 for a Concert Ticket … Well, That’s Too Much to Pay for a Concert Ticket

I can’t name a Miranda Lambert song, but this week she is my hero.

50th Anniversary of Bruce Lee’s Death

The superstar died on July 20, 1973, at the age of 32. While there have been many theories about his death, it was caused by ingestion of the painkiller Equagesic or heat stroke, or possibly a combination of the two.

At the time of his death, Lee had not completed filming on Game of Death and the movie was finished by director Robert Clouse using archive footage, outtakes, and a stunt double.

Uploaded to YouTube by Retro Cinema Group

Headline of the Week

“Boy Reels In Freaky Fish with Human-like Teeth in Oklahoma. It Wasn’t Where It Should Be.”

RIP Tony Bennett, Andre Watts, Jane Birkin, Ellen Hovde, John Nettleton, Robert Lieberman, Nick Benedict, Daniel Goldberg, and Derek Malcolm

Tony Bennett entertained audiences for over seven decades, with songs such as “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Rags to Riches,” “Body and Soul,” “I Wanna Be Around,” and many other American standards, as well as Christmas songs and albums with Lady Gaga, who performed with Bennett at his last show at Radio City Music Hall in 2016. He died today at the age of 96.

Uploaded to YouTube by The Ed Sullivan Show

Andre Watts was an acclaimed classical pianist. He died last week at the age of 77.

Jane Birkin was an actress and singer (“Je t’aime … moi non plus”) who appeared in such movies as Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun, and Blow-Up. She also inspired Hermes’ famous Birkin handbag. She died last week at the age of 76.

Ellen Hovde co-directed the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens and won an Emmy for the PBS mini-series Benjamin Franklin. She died in February at the age of 97.

John Nettleton starred on the British series Yes Minister and dozens of other TV shows and movies. He died last week at the age of 94.

Robert Lieberman directed such movies as D3: The Mighty Ducks, Fire in the Sky, Table for Five, and All I Want for Christmas and episodes of The X-Files, Dexter, Thirtysomething, Haven, and Criminal Minds. He won several awards, including Emmys and many honors for his commercials (he directed thousands). He died earlier this month at the age of 75.

Nick Benedict appeared on several soaps, including All My Children, Santa Barbara, Days of Our Lives, and The Young and the Restless, as well as many primetime shows. He died last week at the age of 77.

Daniel Goldberg was a producer who co-wrote the comedy films Stripes and Meatballs as well as the TV movie about the David Letterman/Jay Leno feud The Late Shift. He died last week at the age of 74.

Derek Malcolm was a longtime columnist and film critic for The Guardian and The Evening Standard. He died Saturday at the age of 91.

This Week in History

Catcher in the Rye Published (July 16, 1951)

Did you know that someone wrote a sequel to J.D. Salinger’s book, which portrayed Holden as an old man? It was pretty much what we would today call fan fiction, and Salinger had publication of the book stopped in the U.S. It was made available in England though, under the title 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.

Truman Signs Presidential Succession Act (July 18, 1947)

A lot of people might not know this, but if the first 47 people on the list cannot serve, it goes to Taylor Swift.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Robbins & Myers (July 17, 1926)

Those temps aren’t far off from what they have been this week in these cities.

Monday Is Tequila Day

I’m not a big tequila person (though I am a “Tequila” person). I’ve had a margarita a couple of times, years ago, but that’s about it.

Here’s a recipe for a Spicy Margarita from Food & Wine. The spice comes from a jalapeño pepper, so if you’re making it this week you should probably make it in an air-conditioned home.

A Couple Cooks has the Ranch Water, also called a Tequila Highball, and Advanced Mixology has a recipe for a Mystic Marvel, which is a tasty cocktail and possibly the basis for a future superhero film franchise.

If you’re not a drinker but still want to celebrate the day, try this Tequila Lime Chicken from Ina Garten.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

British Open Final Round (July 23)

NBC will have coverage starting at 7 a.m. ET.

Tell an Old Joke Day (July 24)

A guy takes a seat at a bar and sees a bowl of peanuts. The peanuts start saying nice things to him like “you look great.” The guy asks the bartender, “Hey, what’s with these peanuts?” And the bartender says, “They’re complimentary.”


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  1. Taylor Swift as US President! Perish the thought! Our beloved country would definitely go to hell in a hand basket if that were to occur….I knew you were joking, but it was in bad taste…Use better judgement next time.
    Bruce Lee – now that was the man! I remember him playing Kato on The Green Hornet and when he and The Green Hornet locked horns with Batman and Robin. Kato kicked Robin’s ass all over the place. It’s so sad both he and son, Brandon died so young with their best years ahead of them.

  2. Bob, you’re doing the right thing looking into the Arctic Breeze per Donna’s comments. Let us know how it goes. Unfortunately, summer still has many weeks left. In Ca., school has started in early August for quite a few years now. I was lucky it started after Labor Day like Ma. still does. It was still plenty hot (even into October) back then.

    It has been a terrible summer so far, and any complaining is completely justified. Your readers like knowing we’re not alone in our discomfort. To that end, it’s one of the things I like best about the ‘Curious Cars’ YouTube channel.

    Justifiably so, Bill’s frequently complaining (“Oh, for the love of God”) about the hot, humid, sticky, sh—y, Florida weather makes his show very popular. Along with birds swooping down at the worst possible time, and other animals just lying in wait to strike at any moment, ruining his show.

  3. When you describe an apartment without a window to put an air-conditioner in, I thought for sure you lived in NYC! You might want to try one of the products on the market (there’s more than one, and one is called Arctic Breeze, I think) that you put water in, and they cool down a small room. I saw two kinds at Kohl’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia, almost sold out . . .so they probably work!


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