News of the Week: The Last Dog Day, Lucille Ball, and Looking for the Loch Ness Monster

In the news for the week ending August 11, 2023, are a Magic 8 Ball taking center stage, an ironic headline, Creamsicles galore, a Nessie hunt, and more.

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Today is the last of the dog days of summer.

I’m sorry I didn’t mention it last week. You probably wanted to prepare for it so you could celebrate it. There’s always next year.

I didn’t realize until a few years ago that the dog days of summer were a specific period of time (July 3 to August 11). I also didn’t realize until a few years ago that it wasn’t just a phrase to describe the lazy, humid part of the summer; it’s actually tied to the dog star Sirius.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that it can’t also describe those lazy, humid days, and while the dog days of summer are officially over, unofficially they probably aren’t.

Monster Hunters Wanted

Do you need a job? Do you believe in monsters? Do you like wearing a kilt? Well, have I got the job for you.

The Loch Ness Centre in Scotland is looking for people to help them locate the Loch Ness Monster, or “Nessie” as he is known to locals, family, and close friends. The search will take place on August 26 and 27 and promises to be the most serious, intensive search for the creature in years, utilizing infrared cameras and drones.

What I don’t get is this: The Loch Ness Monster has been seen (supposedly) for well over 100 years. How can that be? Is he that old?

They’re Making a Magic 8 Ball Movie

This was inevitable. Now that Barbie has made a gazillion dollars, movie studios want to see what other Mattel products they can use for big-screen movies. Coming soon: a horror-comedy based on the Magic 8 Ball.

I can imagine the plot will revolve around an evil Magic 8 Ball that doesn’t have generic messages like “Try Again” or “Yes,” but has scary, specific messages like “You are going to die” and “The IRS is going to audit you.”

I was going to joke that maybe they can make a film based on Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots, but they actually are. With Vin Diesel!

Uploaded to YouTube by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television

Headline of the Week

“Zoom Orders Workers Back to the Office”

RIP William Friedkin, Robbie Robertson, Sharon Farrell, Mark Margolis, Charles Ogletree Jr, Gilles Gilbert, Carol Duvall, and Leny Andrade

William Friedkin directed such movies as The Exorcist, The French Connection, The Boys in the Band, The Night They Raided Minsky’s, and To Live and Die in L.A. He died Monday at the age of 87.

Robbie Robertson was the co-founder and guitarist of The Band, known for such songs as “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Weight,” and “The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down.” He also released many solo albums and worked on the soundtracks to many Martin Scorsese films. He died Wednesday at the age of 80.

Sharon Farrell appeared in such films as It’s Alive, The Reivers, Marlowe, and The Stunt Man, and in TV shows like Hawaii Five-0, The Young and the Restless, Gunsmoke, Saints and Sinners, The Name of the Game, and Matlock. She died in May at the age of 82.

You might not have known the name Mark Margolis, but you knew the face. He appeared on such TV shows as Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, The Equalizer (the original), and Oz, and in movies like Pi, Gone Baby Gone, Scarface, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He died last week at the age of 83.

Charles Ogletree Jr. was a prominent attorney, Harvard professor, and civil rights activist. He died last week at the age of 70.

Gilles Gilbert was a longtime goaltender for the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings. He died Sunday at the age of 74.

Carol Duvall did an arts and craft segment on the ABC show Home and then hosted the HGTV and DIY Network series The Carol Duvall Show. She died last week at the age of 97.

Tony Bennett once called Leny Andrade “the Ella Fitzgerald of Brazil.” She died last month at the age of 80.

This Week in History

Lucille Ball Born (August 6, 1911)

Rolando Pujol of the terrific Retrologist newsletter takes a tour of Ball’s hometown of Jamestown, New York.

She and husband Desi Arnaz were interviewed in the May 31, 1958, issue of the Post.

President Richard Nixon Resigns (August 9, 1974)

Nixon appeared on three Post covers: November 5, 1960, October 12, 1963, and the fall 1972 issue.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “No Chance to Be Alone” (August 8, 1953)

Labor Day is only a few weeks away, so you better get your beach time in while you still can.

National Creamsicle Day

It’s this Monday, and it celebrates the delicious frozen treat that has vanilla ice cream wrapped in orange sherbet. It’s part of Unilever’s Good Humor line.

Unilever also owns the Popsicle brand, which probably led to the invention of the Creamsicle and similar products. The origin story of the Popsicle is pretty great. In 1905, an 11-year-old named Frank Epperson accidentally left his soda water and powder drink outside with a stirring stick in it. When he came back it had frozen from the cold. He called it the Epsicle. He later changed the name and patented his invention in 1923.

But back to the Creamsicle. The original is best, but if you want to make your own, The Pioneer Woman has a recipe. And if you want something a little more adult, there’s also a cocktail called the Creamsicle, which is made with orange soda, vodka, whipped cream vodka, and Reddi Wip.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Vinyl Record Day (August 12)

What sells more copies, vinyl records or CDs? Well, it’s not National CD Day, so you know the answer.

Feast of the Assumption (August 15)

This holy celebration marks the day the Virgin Mary’s body rose to Heaven.

Bad Poetry Day (August 18)

The dogs days of summer
Have come to an end.
I’m done with this week’s column
So now I’ll hit “Send.”

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  1. I echo John’s thanks for the nod to the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Not because I have a personal story about it, but because we need more public acknowledgment of what is still traditional and holy in our broken culture.. For Catholics–and there are many of us–it is an important day! “Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun.”–Rev.12:1

  2. Thanks for the link to the dog star Sirius, Bob. It’s a real thing I seriously didn’t realize before. Mainly only heard the term over the years in what I thought was a more earthly reference to the season winding down. If only it were. Heat-wise, we have a long way to go. Out my way, the LAUSD starts up on Aug. 14th. Way back when, it was the week after Labor Day often with some of the hottest weeks left, going into October. Still, at least school wasn’t re-starting in August!

    I appreciate the link of Lucy’s hometown in New York. My computer is denying me access to the 1958 Post interview feature, unfortunately. This would have been exactly a year after their weekly (“I Love Lucy”) series had ended, and they were doing the less demanding occasional (13) hour-long shows, filled with stars. Otherwise working hard at Desilu, creating wonderful new television shows and spending more time with Lucie and Desi Jr.

    Great George Hughes cover by the way. I love your poem, even if you don’t care for it. We must all collectively pray for the people and animals in Maui that have died and lost everything due to the wildfires. While not minimizing our problems on the mainland, it does put them into a shocking, unexpected perspective.

  3. I read your column every week. Thank you for mentioning the Feast of the Assumption. In the early 1940’s when my Dad was 5 he was run over by a car. He was in a coma for a year. The doctors said he would never recover. My grandmother prayed to the Blessed Mother. On the Feast of the Assumption my Dad sat ii and said, “Momma.” Thank you for including this special day for Post readers to see.

  4. I make Creamsicle Jello shots. Make orange jello and let it cool before adding the vanilla flavored vodka (or use regular vodka and vanilla flavoring). By letting the jello cool, the alcohol will not evaporate. They are very tasty.


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