News of the Week: Summer Vacation, Comic-Con, and How to Get Free Fries for the Rest of the Year

Dog Days

While the annoying commercials tell me at least 20 times a day that “it’s gonna be a Subaru summer” — I swear one of them just came on as I was typing that sentence — it’s also time to buy school supplies again.

That’s right, kids: Only three weeks after the Fourth of July and you already have to start thinking about math and social studies (is that still a thing?). I’ve started to see back-to-school commercials and store advertisements already. It seems rather cruel to expose kids to these things when it’s still 89 degrees and they’re in shorts. Can’t they at least wait until August to run these things? We’re still in the dog days of summer!

I always thought that the dog days of summer referred only to the month of August, but it’s actually a period that runs from July 3 until August 11. I also always thought it had to do with dogs not liking the summer heat, spending the day laying around the house panting and sleeping. But it actually has to do with Sirius, “the Dog Star,” which rises during the above dates.

But don’t worry, kids, there’s still plenty of vacation time left. Don’t let anyone tell you different. You can go to the beach and to the movies and to the mall and to your jobs to make spending money. Wait until mid- or late August to make your Staples run for notebooks and pens and anything else you’ll need for the new school year. You need to just listen to the car company. It’s gonna be a Subaru summer, and you might as well enjoy it while it lasts.


I won’t go into detail about what happened at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego, where fans gather to celebrate their favorite sci-fi/superhero/fantasy films and TV shows — io9 has a good summary of the good and the bad at this year’s show — but I do want to post one trailer that made its debut.

SHAZAM! (and yes, it has to be written all in caps and with an exclamation point) looks like it could be fun. It’s based on the DC comics character — he was also known as Captain Marvel — and it stars Chuck’s Zachary Levi. It looks like a mix of a superhero movie and the Tom Hanks movie Big.

Here’s the Story, of a House for Sale

I never missed The Brady Bunch when I was a kid — it was a Friday night staple, along with The Partridge Family — so I’d like to buy the house used as the exterior on the show. Unfortunately, I don’t have $1.8 million.

But if you have that much and need a second home (and you’re a fan of classic television), you can now buy it. It’s in North Hollywood, California, and looks quite different than it looked in 1970.

The inside, of course, looks nothing like it did on the TV show. Unlike the Brady house, the bathrooms have toilets.

Why Didn’t Somebody Tell Me There Was a New Philip Marlowe Novel?

Raymond Chandler is one of my favorite writers, so I get a little antsy when someone writes a novel based on his most famous character, detective Philip Marlowe. But I’ve been pretty happy with the Marlowe novels written by others, whether it was Robert B. Parker’s Poodle Springs or Benjamin Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde. They’re not exactly Chandler, but they’re good facsimiles.

I didn’t realize that there was a new Marlowe book released recently. It’s titled Only to Sleep, and it was written by Lawrence Osborne. And here’s a twist: It’s set in 1988 and features an older, retired Marlowe.

Though Chandler once complained to his agent that “slick” magazines like the Post would never publish him, he actually did have a story published in our pages. It’s called “I’ll Be Waiting,” and it appeared in the October 1939 issue.

Free French Fries? There’s an App for That

National French Fries Day was a couple weeks ago, but even if you missed it, you still have time to celebrate. McDonald’s is giving away free medium fries every Friday for the rest of the year! You have to make at least a $1 purchase and download their app, but that’s a pretty good deal.

It might be one of the last times you order from an actual human being at McDonald’s. By 2020, the company wants to put self-ordering kiosks in all of their U.S. restaurants.

RIP Adrian Cronauer, Shinobu Hashimoto, Jonathan Gold, Anne Olivier Bell, Elmarie Wendel, and Gary Beach

Adrian Cronauer was the real-life disc jockey played by Robin Williams in the movie Good Morning, Vietnam. He died last week at the age of 79.

Shinobu Hashimoto wrote several screenplays, including the classic Akira Kurosawa films Rashomon and The Seven Samurai. He died last week at the age of 100.

Jonathan Gold was the longtime food critic for the Los Angeles Times. The Pulitzer Prize winner died Saturday at the age of 57.

Anne Olivier Bell not only edited the diaries of Virginia Wolff, she was one of the members of the Monuments Men, the group that got together to find and protect stolen artwork during World War II. (The story was made into a 2014 George Clooney film.) She died last week at the age of 102.

Elmarie Wendel was best known as landlady Mrs. Dubcek on 3rd Rock from the Sun. She also had roles on The George Lopez Show, NYPD Blue, and many other shows. She died last week at the age of 89.

Gary Beach won a Tony for his role in the Broadway musical The Producers. He also had roles in Beauty and the Beast, La Cage aux Folles, and many TV shows. He died last week at the age of 70.

This Week in History

Ernest Hemingway Born (July 21, 1899)

It may be hard to believe, but the Post rejected all of the stories the writer submitted. But we did publish a story from his grandson John.

Debut of Bugs Bunny (July 24, 1940)

While a Bugs Bunny-ish character made an appearance in Porky’s Hare Hunt, he made his official debut in the Warner Brothers/Merrie Melodies animated short A Wild Hare.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Palefaces at the Beach (July 27, 1946)

Constantin Alajalov
July 27, 1946

I wonder if today this Constantin Alajálov cover would have to have a different title?

Sunday Is National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day

I talk about many different kinds of food holidays here, and I always thought the oddest-sounding holiday I’ve come across was National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. But now I think we have a new contender in that category: National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day.

No, it’s not some bizarre ritual where you sacrifice cheese to some god. It actually has to do with getting rid of mice in your home by sacrificing some cheese to a mousetrap. I’ve had mice, and I find that peanut butter actually works a lot better.

Come to think of it, Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day is still the oddest food holiday.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events​

National Day of the Cowboy (July 28)

This is the 14th annual celebration of cowboy culture and pioneer heritage.

International Beer Day (August 3)

If you celebrate the day a little too much, please note that August 4 is International Hangover Day.