Ernie Banks: ‘Mr. Cub’ Was Happiest Man in Baseball

Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks loved baseball so much that he once famously walked onto Chicago’s Wrigley Field before a game and proclaimed, “It’s a beautiful day, let’s play two!” It became his slogan. Banks, who passed away on Jan. 23 at age 83 in Chicago, was the first African-American to take the field for the Chicago Cubs, hit 512 home runs and won the National League’s most valuable player award twice. But it was his irrepressible ebullience, even when playing …

Social Security Expands Office Hours

Beginning March 16, Social Security field offices across the country will be open an extra hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This change is thanks in part to the agency’s new budget, which gave it the resources for the longer office hours. Previously, hours were reduced because of congressional budget cuts, along with a reduction in staff, amid a growing workload, the agency says. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter Social Security offices …

Prep for Safe Tax Filing … and for Scammers

There’s good reason — several, actually — why Monday kicks off Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. As the tax-filing season gets under way for 2014 returns, the Internal Revenue Service faces massive budget cuts while two widespread tax scams continue. In addition to the epidemic IRS impostor scam, in which scammers pose as agents of that agency or the U.S. Treasury Department to extort supposedly “owed taxes,” there is another threat in the coming weeks: early filing of bogus tax returns to …

Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Champ and Hunger Fighter, to Stop Competing

Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR champion and AARP’s ally in fighting hunger among older Americans, announced Jan. 22 that he is stepping away from full-time racing after the 2015 season. In a posting on the Hendrick Motorsports website, Gordon, 43, wrote: “I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the off-season, and I’ve decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won’t use the ‘R-word’ because I plan to stay extremely …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. The world’s richest 1 percent will likely control half of global wealth by next year. (Learn more at NY Times) 2. A cup of blueberries a day can help lower blood pressure. (Learn more at AARP) 3. Four in ten people report at least one incident of “sleep paralysis” — waking up and being unable to move. (Learn more at Discovery) 4. The golden orb-web spider can count. (Learn more at WIRED) Share Your New Year’s Resolution …

Tom Verna: He Invented Instant Replay

There was a time when sports fans watching a live game on TV had no choice but to play close attention throughout. If they missed a spectacular play while reaching for the bowl of chips, they didn’t get a second chance to see it. TV sports director and producer Tony Verna changed that. Verna, who passed away on Jan. 18 at age 81, introduced the instant replay in 1963, basically videotaping the game and rerunning key moments to fill time …