My God, the Pollen!
I’ve been coughing so much this past week I feel like I should sprinkle the word COUGH throughout this column just to convey to you how much I’m doing it. Endless yacking from pollen, which brings on headaches and a burning throat and just exhausts me, both physically and mentally.
There are remedies, of course, including medications and herbs. I always get a kick out of experts who tell you to avoid allergy triggers by staying inside and closing all the windows and doors. In weather that’s 80 degrees and humid? That’s like when they tell you to wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into your socks to avoid mosquito bites. Hey, why not walk around in June wearing a suit of armor and a hazmat suit? It’s logical, but not feasible.
I wouldn’t wish this coughing on my worst enemy. Well, maybe my worst enemy, because I don’t see the need for people I dislike to be comfortable. But not anyone else.
Humidity, bugs, sunburns, allergies. Tell me again why people like the warm weather months?
Ryan Gosling plays astronaut Neil Armstrong in the upcoming movie First Man, which of course refers to Armstrong being the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. Here’s the trailer. The movie opens on October 18.
Woman vs. NASA
I didn’t think there would be two stories about Armstrong this week, but there are, and one of them involves a moon dust lawsuit.
Laura Murray Cicco received a vial of moon dust from Armstrong himself when she was 10 years old. Her father and Armstrong were both members of an aviation club, and Armstrong gave the vial as a gift to the girl. She even received a handwritten note from him along with it. But NASA says it’s their policy that anything from the moon is the property of the U.S. government, so Cicco has decided to pre-empt any lawsuit that the space agency might bring to her by suing them first.
Oddly, this is the second lawsuit involving moon debris in the past year. In 2017, a woman won another lawsuit against NASA and got to keep a bag of moon dust from Apollo 11 that she won in an auction for $1.5 million. She auctioned off the bag at Sotheby’s.
Breaking News: The Raccoon Is Safe
If you’re not on social media and don’t have a Google Alert for “raccoons,” you may have missed the news this week that a raccoon was trapped on the side of the UBS building in St. Paul, Minnesota. There was even a live stream of the animal’s adventure watched by the entire world. I’m happy to report that the animal made it to the roof like Spider-Man and was taken in by wildlife experts, who fed it and then released it into the wild.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled non-raccoon programming.
Happy Birthday, George H.W. Bush
The former president hit a milestone that no other president in history has ever reached before: he turned 94 on June 12 (Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan both died at the age of 93). This was great to see after so many recent health problems for the 41st commander-in-chief.
The Bush family also celebrated the June 8 birthday of H.W.’s wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush, who died on April 17 at the age of 92.
He won’t be alone at that age for long, though. Former president Jimmy Carter turns 94 on October 1.
RIP Anthony Bourdain, David Douglas Duncan, Eunice Gayson, Danny Kirwan, Maria Bueno
There probably isn’t much left about food and travel writer/TV host Anthony Bourdain that you haven’t already read in the various obituaries, so I’ll talk about something that hasn’t been mentioned that much in all of the tributes written this past week: his fiction. Bourdain is known and rightly praised for nonfiction books like Kitchen Confidential, A Cook’s Tour, and The Nasty Bits, but he also released two crime novels that are worth reading, Bone in the Throat and Gone Bamboo. Bourdain also has a collection of short crime fiction titled The Bobby Gold Stories and co-wrote two graphic novels.
And here’s the 1999 New Yorker story that pretty much started Bourdain’s writing and TV career, “Don’t Eat before Reading This.”
David Douglas Duncan was an acclaimed photographer known for his iconic photos of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He died last Thursday at the age of 102.
Eunice Gayson was the first Bond girl. She was 007’s girlfriend Sylvia Trench in the first two films, Dr. No and From Russia with Love. She didn’t do any more Bond films after that, but went on to appear in other movies and TV shows, including The Avengers and The Saint. She died last Friday at the age of 90.
Danny Kirwan was one of the early members of Fleetwood Mac. He played guitar for the band’s albums from 1968 to ’72. He died last Friday at the age of 68.
Maria Bueno was a professional tennis player who won 19 Grand Slam titles and 589 tournaments overall. She was ranked No. 1 four times in her career and carried the torch for Brazil during last year’s Summer Olympics. She died last Friday at the age of 78.
This Week in History
Judy Garland Born (June 10, 1922)
The Post’s Cameron Shipp wrote a terrific profile of the troubled star for the April 2, 1955, issue, “The Star Who Thinks Nobody Loves Her.” If you do indeed love Garland, it’s a must-read.
Shipp, by the way, was dead himself only 6 years later, on August 20, 1961. He was 57.
President Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” Speech (June 12, 1987)
This week’s meeting between President Trump and North Korean president Kim Jong Un in Singapore took place on the 31st anniversary of Reagan’s speech in Berlin.
This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Bike Riding Lesson (June 12, 1954)
Several years ago, I was walking to the train station through a residential neighborhood. A group of kids on bikes rode past me, laughing and being generally boisterous. As I walked past a house a moment later, I noticed a young boy sitting on his front steps, his bike sitting on the ground next to him. He saw me coming and waved to me. I waved back and he asked me, his lip quivering, “Mister … can you teach me … how to ride a bike?” My heart broke, because I knew that the only thing in the world this kid wanted at that moment was to know how to ride a bike so he could go off and have fun with the other kids. I explained to him that I was late for the train and couldn’t stop, but maybe he could get someone in his family or a friend to teach him.
I thought of that after finding this cover by George Hughes.
Today Is National Lobster Day
I don’t understand lobsters. Actually, that makes it sound as if they speak and I don’t understand what they’re saying, so let me clarify: I don’t understand why people enjoy lobsters.
This makes me an anomaly where I live, a coastal town known for its seafood, water, and beaches. But at least I’m consistent, because I don’t like beaches, and I don’t know how to swim either.
I worked in restaurants for many years and often had to deal with lobsters and their equally gross cousins, shrimp. I hated dealing with and cooking lobsters when people ordered them, and I particularly hated cleaning shrimp. I couldn’t understand why people would want to eat these bug-like things that not only didn’t taste good to me, but were pretty disgusting in their pre-cooked form. (They’re pretty disgusting in the cooked form too.) Some day, remind me to tell you all about the veins of shrimp and how I almost sliced my finger off cleaning one.
But by all means, I hope you enjoy today, in whatever form you like your lobster: Newburg, bisque, roll, or lobster salad. You can even put lobster in your mac and cheese, or as I call it, “how to ruin mac and cheese.”
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Father’s Day (June 17)
If you really want to give your dad something special, and you don’t want to go the usual tie/cologne route, how about some baubles he can put in his beard, a yodeling pickle, or a membership to the Salami of the Month Club?
Of course, Father’s Day is this Sunday, so these gifts will arrive late, but as the old saying goes, I’d wait forever for a yodeling pickle.
Summer Starts (June 21)
If you hate summer, the countdown to fall begins now. Only 93 days!
National Selfie Day (June 21)