News of the Week: Summer Sounds, Roosevelt’s Watch, and Benjamin Franklin Goes Skinny-Dipping

In the news of the week ending July 5, 2024, are Teddy’s ticker, Franklin’s fanny, and Cleveland’s secret surgery.

Teddy Roosevelt’s recovered pocket watch (Jason Wickersty, NPS)

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I Still Hate Summer

I’ve complained about this before, but until there’s a solution (getting rid of summer completely) I reserve the right to complain about it over and over again.

I open the windows and doors during the months of June, July, and August (you have to when you don’t have air conditioning), and while this helps cool down my apartment it presents a whole new raft of problems that I don’t encounter in the good, normal seasons of fall and winter.

First there are the bugs, those that crawl and those that fly, getting in when we open and close the door. Second, and just as bad, are the array of irritating street sounds that I never hear when the windows are closed. I hear people walking by, talking loudly; I hear dogs barking manically (there’s a pet groomer next door); people have the windows down in their cars and they play music at a volume guaranteed to raise the dead (and it’s never good music); and then there’s the constant honking of horns and the occasional four-letter word screamed out, because I live at an intersection and many people don’t know how to drive.

And then there are the motorcycles. Oh, the motorcycles.

Between October and March, I never hear motorcycles. But when the warm weather comes around, there seem to be hundreds of them prowling the street outside my home. They are loud, they are constant, and the riders all seem to be going out of their way to annoy the neighborhood, as if the warm months are their time and they finally have their motorcycles out of the garage and damn it we’re going to rev, rev, rev!

So that’s summer: uncomfortable humidity, lots of bugs, and irritating loud noises.

If I were on Facebook, I’d start an “I Hate Summer” group.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Watch Recovered

The pocket watch was stolen from a Buffalo mansion in 1987. It was received by Blackwell Auctions in Florida and put up for sale last year before authorities got wind of it.

The Encyclopedia Project

In this day and age of Google and AI and misinformation on social media, maybe we need to go back to the good old encyclopedia for our information, as this family did.

Benjamin Franklin Swam Nude in the Thames

Picture it! Or better yet, don’t. He did it when he was 19 years old, and he was such a good swimmer he was practically the Esther Williams of Founding Fathers.

Headline of the Week

New Law Allows 14 1/2 Year-Olds to Drive to Work in Iowa

RIP Martin Mull, Robert Towne, and Orlando Cepeda

Martin Mull starred on the faux talk show Fernwood 2 Night (later America 2 Night) and appeared on RoseanneArrested DevelopmentThe Ellen Show, and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, as well as dozens of other shows and movies. He was also a musician and songwriter who toured with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Frank Zappa. He died last week at the age of 80.

Robert Towne won the Oscar for writing the screenplay for Chinatown and was nominated for Shampoo and The Last Detail. He also wrote Tequila Sunrise (one of my favorite films), The FirmDays of ThunderLove Affair, and the first two Mission: Impossible films. He also did uncredited work on The GodfatherHeaven Can Wait, and Marathon Man. He died Monday at the age of 89.

Orlando Cepeda was a Hall of Fame infielder for the New York (later San Francisco) Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals and several other teams. He was an MVP, a Rookie of the Year, and an 11-time All-Star. He died last week at the age of 86.

This Week in History

President Cleveland’s Secret Surgery (July 1, 1893)

It was for jaw cancer, performed on a yacht, and the country didn’t know the whole truth until 24 years later.

Andy Rooney’s First 60 Minutes Commentary (July 2, 1978)

It was the first of 1,097 “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” (originally called “Three Minutes or So with Andy Rooney”) segments that he did at the end of the CBS Sunday night show. (Sorry, it doesn’t seem to be online.)

Rooney had been with the show since the first episode. Before “A Few Minutes …” he was part of a weekly short debate segment called “A Digression” that was filmed rather oddly. You can see it at 7:34 of this last interview with Rooney after he retired:

Uploaded to YouTube by CBS News

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Foremost Ice Cream (July 4, 1959)

For some reason I’ve never liked ice cream on cake or pie.

July Is Ice Cream Month

Some food holidays don’t make sense. Why is National Hot and Spicy Food Day in the middle of muggy August? Shouldn’t National Candy Month be October instead of January? But having National Ice Cream Month in July feels exactly right.

In this video, Andy Rooney shows you how to make Classic Vanilla Ice Cream (don’t use eggs!), here’s a recipe for Very Chocolate from AllRecipes, and here are recipes for eight exotic flavors of ice cream, including Avocado, Roasted Garlic & Raspberry Preserve Ribbon, and Granny Smith Apple Sorbet.

And just because I don’t like it with cake or pie doesn’t mean you can’t have it that way.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Tell the Truth Day (July 6)

Actually, I lied. It’s the 7th.

Nude Recreation Week (July 8-14)

Celebrate like Ben Franklin did!

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  1. I overlooked mentioning that letting 14 1/2 year olds drive to school or work probably isn’t a good idea. We’ll have to see how this plays out in Iowa, and doesn’t spread to other states. I have to agree with you on not caring for ice cream on cake or pie either, but for those that do, enjoy. I prefer whipped cream on the pie, and frosting on the cake. Ice cream’s best in its own, separate dish.

  2. Thanks for the comments everyone, A few notes:

    I can’t have an a/c here because of the way the apartment and the windows are set up. I have screens on the windows, the bugs come in when we open and close the door. I don’t hate motorcycles or motorcyclists, I hate the noise the dozens of them make going by my house every day in the summer, speeding past the stop sign of the intersection. I’ve had ice cream on cake and pie, that’s how I know I don’t like it.

  3. You must be a real wimp to dislike Summer. First, any moron without screens in front of open windows deserves to be eaten up and invaded by the bugs. You are obviously not from nor do you live in the South. Second, I take exception to you dislike for motorcycles. I’ve been riding since 1971. I’m not a 1%er. I ride not only for pleasure but also to get from point A to point B. And if you don’t ride (which I presume you don’t) then you don’t understand the sense to pleasurable freedom being on a motorcycle gives. So don’t knock us (motorcyclists) or our rides (motorcycles). Only an ignorant, uninformed person would. BTW, my Honda Gold Wing is probably quieter than your automobile.

    Sorry to read about Martin Mull. I really enjoyed him in his movies and TV series. Very funny.

    Finally, the idea of picturing Benjamin Franklin skinny dipping is both repulsive and disgusting. Why in the hell bring it up?!

  4. In a melancholy essay a couple of days ago, Peter Hitchens averred that, among other things, the conservative temperament loves autumn but certainly not summer!

  5. Bob, I agree with Donna. Why don’t you try about a 5,000btu portable air conditioner to make the rest of your summer more enjoyable. I assure you that you will rest easier and as a bonus you will eliminate those annoying outside noises. Hard to believe you’ve never tried ice cream on cake or pie. Well, each to his own. Enjoy your week!

  6. Why on earth don’t you invest in a window air-conditioner (or two)? Or are you against A/C too? You will breathe better, sleep better, resent summer less. You don’t have to keep your apartment ice cold, just comfortable, cleaner and quieter! Sheesh!!

  7. Bob, you’re being much too hard on yourself, having barely complained about the summer at all here. It IS all the things you mention in the above paragraphs. Let’s face it, it’s a major drag, and still has a long way to go! I hear ya too on the motorcycle vroom-vrooms. Out here I have to contend with illegal fireworks explosion sounds leading up to July 4th that can be quite unnerving. Not sure if that’s a problem in your state too, or not.

    So Ben Franklin went for a nude swim once (or twice?) upon a time. Good for him! As long as he didn’t get caught by his mother-in-law getting out of the pool trying to retrieve his suit her Boston Terrier ran off with several years ago on a hot 4th of July day he subsequently couldn’t live down by her, he did better than I did; oh my goodness.

    This 4th was fun in the pool on a few floating pool lounges to rest on after swimming with a couple of cold caffeine-free Cokes. I brought Spanish rice, and my home made rice krispie treats with a little almond extract added while mixing the marshmallows. A great taste and a great scent together. It’s a good thing I made 2 batches!

    A nice gathering of about 8, it was just right. Oh, and I put a little peanut butter on the dog’s krispie treat. The President has just doubled-down on not going anywhere, and so has the VP. The Party best not push it either as we go deeper and steeper into the dark shadows of completely murky, unchartered waters ahead of the August convention.


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