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News of the Week: Saturn’s Moon, Summer Reboots, and the Search for the Perfect Cookie


Ask Your Doctor about Enceladus

Enceladus is not the name of a new cholesterol medication. It’s the sixth-largest moon of Saturn, and it might be habitable.

NASA says that the Cassini spacecraft has sent back data that indicates Enceladus is releasing hydrogen, which means it could be habitable (hydrogen is an important ingredient for the life of microorganisms). And this isn’t the first signs of life the mission has discovered. Several years ago, Cassini found water on the moon’s surface.

Soon we’ll probably see a movie where a spacecraft from Earth lands on Enceladus and is attacked by one those microorganisms. It will probably be a summer movie, starring Miles Teller as “Jake” and Emma Watson as “Sara,” two astronauts who have to stop the creatures before they reach Earth. Naturally, they fall in love (Jake and Sara, not the creatures).

Summer Movies

I don’t get excited over the summer movie season like I used to. I don’t go to the movies that much anymore. I’m more of a wait-until-it’s-out-on-DVD-or-on-TV guy now, so I usually see “summer” movies in the winter or following spring. This means either that I like to save my money or that I have a terrible social life.

But summer movie season is about to start. Actually, it kinda has already with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 last week. Vulture has a list of the big blockbusters we’ll be seeing, along with a helpful list of movies that aren’t sequels, reboots, or remakes.

I’m more interested in Baby Driver than I am Spider-Man: Homecoming. I mean, how many times can they reboot that franchise?

You Can Rent Friends and Family in Japan

Are you lonely? Do you want people on Facebook to think you have a lot of friends? Do you live in Japan? If so, you might be interested in this segment from last weekend’s CBS Sunday Morning:

I don’t know if this will catch on in the U.S. in a big way, but I want to say I find it rather odd. I also want to say that I’m willing to be rented for the right price.

Create an Oreo, Win $500,000

Food companies really want your ideas for new products. Lay’s has an annual contest where people can invent a new potato chip flavor, and Quaker asks what new oatmeal flavor they should make. Now Nabisco wants you to come up with a new Oreo cookie. The winner gets a half-million bucks and the honor of saying, “Hey, I invented a cookie!”

Here’s my idea: Place a Norman Rockwell Oatmeal Cookie into the middle of an Oreo. Call them “The Ultimate American Cookie.” I’d say to call them a “Noreo,” but apparently that cookie already exists.

American Idol Is “Back”

Question: Can a TV show be rebooted if it never really went away?

It seems like American Idol was canceled by Fox only a minute and a half ago, but ABC is bringing it back. No word on when it will be back or who the judges or host will be, though it’s interesting that former host Ryan Seacrest was just hired by the very same network.

RIP Don Gordon, Michael Parks, Julius Youngner, Adolph Kiefer, Steve Holcomb, Stanley Weston, Edwin Sherin, Quinn O’Hara

Don Gordon was a veteran actor known for movies like Bullitt, Papillon, and The Exorcist III, as well as dozens of TV shows. He died April 24 at the age of 90.

Michael Parks was a veteran actor too, appearing in such films as Kill Bill, Argo, and Django Unchained; starring in the TV series Then Came Bronson; and appearing in many other shows and films. He died Wednesday at the age of 77.

Julius Youngner was one of the medical researchers responsible for the polio vaccine. He died April 27 at the age of 96.

Adolph Kiefer was America’s oldest living Olympic champion. He won the gold for the 100-meter backstroke at the 1936 games in Berlin. He was also a World War II veteran. He passed away at the age of 98.

Steve Holcomb was an Olympic medal winner too, winning gold and bronze for bobsledding in 2010. Holcomb died in his sleep Saturday at the age of 37.

Stanley Weston came up with the idea for G.I. Joe action figures. He died last week at the age of 84.

Edwin Sherin was a Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning theater director as well as a TV director. He died last Thursday at the age of 87.

Quinn OHara was an actress who appeared in the ’60s cult classic comedy The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini and several Jerry Lewis movies, along with TV shows like Dragnet, Dallas, Trapper John, M.D., and many others. She died last week at the age of 76.

This Week in History

Lusitania Sinks (May 7, 1915)

The British ocean liner, traveling from Liverpool, England, to New York City, was torpedoed by a German submarine, killing 1,198 people.

Irving Berlin Born (May 11, 1888)

The composer and lyricist penned dozens of classic songs, including “God Bless America,” “Happy Holiday,” “Easter Parade,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Blue Skies,” “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” and, of course, “White Christmas.”

This Week in SEP History: Shopping for Mothers Day (May 10, 1947)

A young girl peers through a store window, looking for a nice gift for Mother's Day.

Shopping for Mother’s Day
Constatin Alajalov
May 10, 1947

The woman in this great cover by Constantin Alajálov doesn’t seem too happy at the gift options in this store window. Come on, what woman wouldn’t be pleased to open a meat grinder on Mother’s Day?

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Monday is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. With apologies to Oreo (and Norman Rockwell), chocolate chip remains my favorite cookie, so here’s the recipe for the classic Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie. If you want to mix things up a bit, here’s one for White Chip Chocolate Cookies.

By the way, Toll House Cookies were invented in 1930 by Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Restaurant in Whitman, Massachusetts. According to this New Yorker article, Wakefield sold the recipe to Nestlé for one dollar. She got a job with Nestlé and free chocolate for the rest of her life, but I’m thinking that was a pretty good deal for Nestlé.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Mothers Day (May 14)

This Sunday, take your mom out to lunch. Maybe buy her a nice gift and a card. Or if you’re busy or out of town, at least call her and talk to her. But under no circumstances should you text her “Happy Mother’s Day!” with a smiley-face emoji.

Armed Forces Day (May 20)

This day that celebrates our military members and their families was announced in 1949, replacing Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force Days.










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