News of the Week: Summer Heat, Social Media Warnings, and a Suitcase Full of SPAM

In the news of the week ending June 21, 2024, are canned meat, high heat, and dairy treats.


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Random Thoughts

Tuesday was one of my least favorite days of the year: The day I dragged out my floor fan because the heat and humidity are here for the season.

The Boston Celtics clinched their 18th championship this week, the most all-time. One thing I’ll never understand is sports fans. After the game a reporter was interviewing excited fans and the fans kept screaming “Let’s go!” “Let’s go!” But the team had already won. Hadn’t they already “gone” and done what they had to do: Win?

I burned my arm a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those “exploding microwave dinner” accidents you never think will happen to you.

Garrison Keillor is 81 years old and still flying all over the U.S. performing his A Prairie Home Companion 50th anniversary shows. Meanwhile, this is the 30th anniversary of the last time I was on a plane.

I was watching The Andy Griffith Show the other night, one of my favorite episodes, “The Pickle Story.” Aunt Bee’s friend Clara is telling Andy how important the pickle contest has been to her since her husband died, and she says, “I suppose I’m just a foolish old lady.”

“Old lady.” I looked up her age and she was 59! That’s how old I turned last week!

Social Media Is the New Smoking

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wants to put warning labels on social media platforms, like the ones we have on cigarettes. My suggestion?

WARNING: THIS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. You could experience dangerous levels of distraction, frustration, anger, and exhaustion. People weren’t made to live at the speed and structure of social media. Scrolling never ends. You may find out things about your family and friends you don’t want to know, and your political differences may divide you. You may grow jealous of what they’re having for dinner, where they’re vacationing, maybe even that new dog they just got. Seriously, there’s no need to be on social media. How many years did we do fine without it? Use your phone to actually call someone, for Pete’s sake. 

Who Travels with a Suitcase Full of SPAM?

This Worcester, Massachusetts resident, for one.

He’s originally from Hawaii, so he loves the classic meat-in-a-can. He was visiting the SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota (there’s a SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota) while performing at a theater across the street from the museum and took home a bunch of souvenirs, including a case of SPAM given to him by a woman who works at the theater. You can guess what happened when he went to the airport.

A suitcase full of SPAM is pretty weird, but it would have been even weirder if it was a suitcase full of Mor or Bif, which aren’t made anymore.

Headline of the Week

“No Lie: Perfectly Preserved Centuries-Old Cherries Unearthed at George Washington’s Mount Vernon”

RIP Willie Mays, Donald Sutherland, Anouk Aimée, Mark James, Buzz Cason, Morrie Markoff, Kevin Brophy, Hiram Kasten, Tony Mordente, and Patrick Gottsch

Many consider Willie Mays — a.k.a. the Say Hey Kid — the greatest baseball player of all-time. He had a lifetime batting average of .302, with 660 home runs and 3,293 hits. He died Tuesday at the age of 93.

Donald Sutherland was a veteran actor who appeared in such movies as M*A*S*HKluteDon’t Look NowThe Dirty DozenAnimal HouseJFK, the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Hunger Games films, and many other films and TV shows. He died yesterday at the age of 88.

Anouk Aimée appeared in such classic films as A Man and a Woman8 1/2La Dolce Vita, and The Appointment. She died this week at the age of 92.

Mark James wrote or co-wrote such songs as “Always on My Mind,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Hooked on a Feeling.” He died Saturday at the age of 83.

Uploaded to YouTube by Elvis Presley

Buzz Cason founded Nashville’s first rock band, The Casuals, and co-wrote “Everlasting Love” and “Soldier of Love,” both of which have been covered by many artists. He also worked with Elvis Presley, Jimmy Buffett, and Roy Orbison. He died Sunday at the age of 84.

Morrie Markoff was America’s oldest person, probably the oldest blogger, and an author and metal sculptor. He died last week at the age of 110.

Kevin Brophy starred in the ABC series Lucan and the cult horror film Hell Night. He died last month at the age of 70.

Hiram Kasten was a veteran standup comic and actor who appeared in such shows as SeinfeldCurb Your Enthusiasm7th Heaven, and Everybody Loves Raymond. He died Sunday at the age of 71.

Tony Mordente was a Broadway choreographer who appeared in both the stage and film versions of West Side Story. He later became a prolific TV director. He died last week at the age of 88.

Patrick Gottsch started such networks as RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel. He died last month at the age of 70.

This Week in History

IBM Founded (June 16, 1911)

It was originally called the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, but that didn’t roll off the tongue like they thought it would so it became IBM in 1924.

Sally Ride Becomes First American Woman in Space (June 18, 1983)

She was a mission specialist for STS-7 on board the Challenger.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Stillicious Chocolate Drink (June 19, 1937)

I had never heard of this drink until five minutes ago. You can buy vintage bottles and caps on ebay.

June Is National Dairy Month

I can’t tell you how to make your own Stillicious chocolate drink, but I can give you recipes for 30 – yes, 30! – vintage dairy-related recipes from the pages of our sister publication, The Country Gentleman, including Cottage Cheese Jam Tarts, Frozen Pineapple Salad, French-Fried Cheese Sandwiches, Buttermilk Pancakes, and Spoonbread. And to cool down maybe you can make some Cherry Ice Cream from Serious Eats.

I’d use fresh cherries if I were you and leave George Washington’s to the archaeologists.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Typewriter Day (June 23)

This commemorates the day in 1868 that Christopher Latham Sholes was granted the first patent for a typewriter.

National Handshake Day (June 27)

Remember just a few years ago when many people were saying they were never going to shake someone’s hand ever again?

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  1. Spam! Treet! What’s so bad about these products? I love them and sliced and fried they go extremely well with scrambled eggs, gravy, and bisquits. I’d take a suitcase any of either product. Swift or Hormel…Are you listening? Very tasty.

    The Stillicious Drink…..Never heard of it…Until “Yoo Hoo” became identified as the go-to chocolate drink, in the South we had “Brownie” which I believe our nearest bottler was in Livingston, TN, but I am sure there were others around the South and other parts of the country as well.

    Finally, my hat is off to one of the truly greats of Major League Baseball, the “Say Hey Kid” Willie Mays. He instilled great character into yesterday’s youth and truly a model of what a great MLB player in the Hall of Fame should be. Rest easy.

  2. After 4:30, and still 102 out as I’m composing these comments. Not sure why the Boston Celtics fans were screaming “Let’s Go!” repeatedly either, Bob. Usually it’s followed with a euphemism for the current President’s last name. He who will be kept out of the public eye until the 27th.

    An exploding microwave dinner event. It can happen to the best of us. As long as your arm is okay, now. At a work (afternoon break) in 1990 or ’91, I bought an individual bag of microwave popcorn out of the vending machine, put it in under the ‘popcorn’ setting and sat down to visit with my co-workers. Big mistake. Burnt to a crisp, and everyone could smell it back in the office again. My suit jacket still reeked of it even the next day. There’s a potential ‘Seinfeld’ episode in there somehow. I’m sure of it.

    Charming clip from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’. I agree with you, she wasn’t ‘old’. She just forgot to add the ‘er’ at the end of the word. See? That makes all the difference. I think so. Love the artwork of the 1937 ‘Stillicious’ ad, with that beautiful cursive at the top, and for the product name. It makes such a friendly, charming difference; like the ad was personally written just for whomever might see it while reading The Saturday Evening Post.

    Speaking of popcorn, have it ready Thursday night for the big event, y’all. I hear tell it’s gonna be a real doozy.

  3. I’m still flying. Every time I take my seat, I take for granted that we will crash on takeoff. When we don’t, I’m surprised, and enjoy the flight.


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