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.

Soccer: The Gift From a Younger Generation

A crowd of several hundred people has gathered in a town square between a church and a school in the colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador, where our family is vacationing. The World Cup has brought them together to follow the fate of their national team, competing in Brazil. Ecuador scores to even the game, and the crowd goes wild. I turn to look at my daughter, who’s the reason I know anything at all about this great sport. She was just …

This Week in Boomer History: Remember the Bicentennial?

Notable events from our shared experience On July 3, 1971, Jim Morrison of the Doors joins Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix as rock icons who die at age 27. Sam Walton and his brother, Bud, open the first Walmart store (called Wal-Mart Discount City) in Rogers, Ark., on July 2, 1962. Today, the company is the world’s largest public corporation and, with over 2 million employees, the world’s largest private employer. Ernest Hemingway, 61, shoots himself to death July 2, 1961, at his home in Ketchum, …

This Week in Boomer History: Stonewall … Sotomayor … Pong

Notable events from our shared experience Sonia Sotomayor is born June 25, 1954 in Bronx, New York. In 2009, she becomes the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles release “The Tracks of My Tears” on June 23, 1965; the song later resurfaces on the soundtrack of the films The Big Chill (1983) and Platoon (1986). On June 25, 1950, North Korea invades South Korea. In three years of battle, more than 36,000 American …

This Week in Boomer History: Sally Ride … Monterey Pop … Civil Rights

Notable events from our shared experience Astronaut Sally K. Ride becomes the first American woman in space on June 18, 1983. Passionately devoted to teaching science, technology, engineering and math to girls, she starts Sally Ride Science in 2001. Singer-actress Judy Garland dies at age 47 on June 22, 1969. Fred Astaire once called the star of The Wizard of Oz “the greatest entertainer who ever lived.” >> Sign up for the AARP Advocacy Newsletter President Richard Nixon signs a …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Brits are reviving an unusual hobby - stuffing mice and arranging them in human-like poses. (Learn more at NY Times) 2. Men’s faces evolved in a way that maximizes protection during fistfights. (Learn more at Washington Post) 3. A wool fitness mat with embedded sensors and LED lights can help you perfect yoga poses and record progress. (Learn more at Wired) >> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages. 4. Bulletproof blankets have been developed to …

This Week in Boomer History: Medgar Evers … Pentagon Papers … ‘Hee Haw’

On June 9, 1969, the U.S. Senate confirms President Richard Nixon’s choice of Warren E. Burger to succeed Earl Warren as chief justice of the United States. Though generally conservative, Burger will vote in favor of school busing and abortion rights, and will write the court’s unanimous decision upholding a subpoena for the Watergate tapes. Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc immolates himself on a Saigon street on June 11, 1963, in protest against the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem. After losing President …