News, Culture, Sights and Sounds

Steve Mencher writes about culture, politics, the news and other subjects for AARP. He's also a jazz musician with the Willis Gidney Quintet. He has worked for Carnegie Hall, NPR and the Library of Congress as an audio, video and multimedia producer.

3 Things You Didn’t Know About the Beatles’ 1964 North American Tour

The second time the Beatles invaded the United States in 1964, a month-long expedition that began Aug. 19, Art Schreiber was one of just two American newsmen on tour. He rode with their chartered planes, stayed in their hotels and night after night witnessed concerts where music was completely beside the point. Now 86 and on a 50th anniversary tour of his own, Schreiber recalls three things you may not know: At the hotel after the concerts, Schreiber’s phone would …

This Week in Boomer History: Me Decade … Ryan’s 5K K’s … ‘Prague Spring’ Ends

Notable events from our shared experience In the Aug. 23, 1976, issue of New York magazine, writer Tom Wolfe brands the 1970s as the Me Decade. Comparing it to two earlier religious awakenings in America, he concludes: “Where the Third Great Awakening will lead – who can presume to say? One only knows that the great religious waves have a momentum all their own. Neither arguments nor policies nor acts of the legislature have been any match for them in the …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. When a monkey takes a selfie, it raises complicated copyright issues. (Learn more at The Guardian) 2. A robot is hitchhiking across Canada. (Learn more at hitchBOT.me) 3. According to recent retirees, the average income you need to live comfortably is $58,000 a year. (Learn more at AARP) 4. It’s hard to hide $41,000 in your underwear. (Learn more at NBC10) >> Slideshow: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Rick James 5. A bite from the …

This Week in Boomer History: Woodstock … Berlin … IBM PC

Notable events from our shared experience “This year’s monster movie star,” Jack Nicholson, makes the cover of Time magazine Aug. 12, 1974, two months after Chinatown opened. The IBM Personal Computer is announced Aug. 12, 1981, with a price of $1,565. According to IBM: “Two decades earlier, an IBM computer often cost as much as $9 million and required an air-conditioned quarter-acre of space and a staff of 60 people to keep it fully loaded with instructions.” >> Photos: Famous …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. What do you get if you cross a sheep and a goat? A “geep.” (Learn more at People) 2. After 10 years and four billion miles, the Rosetta spacecraft will slow to the pace of a person walking to examine a 2.5-mile-wide comet. (Learn more at NY Times) 3. Your bag of potato chips can hear what you’re saying – and perhaps even let others eavesdrop. (Learn more at The Verge) 4. A tear, …

This Week in Boomer History: Nixon Resigns … Manson Murders … Voting Rights Act

Notable events from our shared experience Richard Nixon resigns the presidency Aug. 9, 1974; Vice President Gerald Ford takes the oath of office and says “our long national nightmare is over.” President Ronald Reagan fires more than 11,000 air traffic controllers on Aug. 5, 1981, two days after they went on strike and defied Reagan’s order to return to work. >> Sign up for the AARP Advocacy Newsletter Charles Manson followers murder actress Sharon Tate, heiress Abigail Folger, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski, hairstylist …