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.

How the Pope Celebrated Older People Around the World

[View the story “Pope Francis Celebrates Wisdom of Elderly” on Storify]   Storify summary: With some 40,000 people gathered Sept. 28 in Vatican City to honor grandparents and the elderly, Pope Francis started with his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who made a rare public appearance. Benedict, 87, still lives at the Vatican, and Francis, 77, emphasized that Benedict’s wisdom and experience have been invaluable, like having a “wise grandparent” at home. Also of Interest Who You Callin’ Grandma? Cool …

This Week in Boomer History: ‘Joy of Sex’ … Disney World

Notable events from our shared experience Cheekily taking its title from The Joy of Cooking, The Joy of Sex is published Oct. 1, 1972. Although the first edition is sexist by today’s standards and concentrates almost exclusively on heterosexual activities, it popularizes the idea that whatever gives both partners sexual pleasure is OK. The Soviet Union’s launch of the beach ball-sized Sputnik I on Oct. 4, 1957, ushers in the Space Age. Just a month later, Sputnik II launches the …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Burger King in Japan sells a burger with all-black fixings (cheese, bun, sauce). (Learn more at USA Today) 2. It’s possible to rob a store armed with nothing more than a banana. (Learn more at Buzzfeed) 3. Four out of five heart attacks can be prevented. (Learn more at AARP) >>10 Strange Destinations to Visit 4. “Multidisciplinary analysis” tops a recently declassified list of the CIA’s most-hated cliches. (Learn more at Washington Post) 5. …

This Week in Boomer History: ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ … Warren Report

Notable events from our shared experience With a hand from James Bond creator Ian Fleming, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. premieres Sept. 22, 1964. Robert Vaughn stars as secret agent Napoleon Solo; David McCallum is Russian spy Illya Kuryakin. More TV premieres this week: The Munsters and Daniel Boone (1964), and Friends (1994). William Rehnquist is sworn in as chief justice of the United States on Sept. 26, 1986. He will preside over the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton in 1999 …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The world’s first 3-D printed car took about 44 hours to assemble. (Learn more at Mashable) 2. Ditching your cellphone? It’s best to scramble all the data (including nude selfies) before erasing it. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Delta has installed smaller toilets on some of its flights to squeeze in more seats. (Learn more at AARP) >> 19 New Fall TV Shows for Grownups 4. A funeral home in Michigan offers a drive-thru …

This Week in Boomer History: ‘Goldfinger’ … Camp David

Noteworthy events from our shared experience Comedian Bill Cosby launches The Cosby Show on NBC Sept. 20, 1984. “Behind the scenes,” writes commentator Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Cosby hired the Harvard psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint to make sure that the show never trafficked in stereotypes and that it depicted blacks in a dignified light.” Other TV premieres this week: Peyton Place, Flipper,The Addams Family and Bewitched — all began in 1964. >> Do You Remember These Boomer TV Shows? In the tennis “Battle of …