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News of the Week: Earhart’s Fate, Emmy Nominations, and the Easiest Iced Coffee

Published: July 14, 2017

What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?

Photo allegedly showing Amelia Earhart on a dock

National Archives

That’s a silly question for many people, because they think the answer is rather simple: Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan tried to go around the world in 1937 and crashed into the ocean. But there have been many theories that Earhart and Noonan actually landed their plane in the South Pacific and survived, at least for a while, and either they perished on an island because they were injured and hungry or they were captured by the Japanese and abandoned by the U.S. government. The latter theory got a big boost from a new History Channel special that aired on Sunday.

The evidence that’s getting the most hype is a (supposedly) newly discovered photograph that might show Earhart and Noonan on a dock after their plane landed, and it might even show the plane being towed by a Japanese ship. The special goes through the usual interviews with experts, photo analysis, face and body recognition tests, and interviews with eyewitnesses and officials, but it’s really hard to say if it makes sense or not. While you can watch the special and think that they make a good case, you also have to pay attention to evidence that came to light this week that (might) show that the photo was either taken a couple of years before Earhart and Noonan made their flight or maybe a few years after. And if other experts can’t decide on when the picture was taken, it’s going to remain a mystery for many people.

I’ve gone back and forth on this over the years. I thought I was going to find the History Channel special ridiculous, but a lot of it was convincing. And it wasn’t just that photo. It’s really just another piece of evidence the show presented along with other government documents and eyewitness accounts. But at the same time, the evidence that the photo was taken at a different time is rather compelling too, and no one can really tell who is in the photo anyway.

So, to summarize: Did Earhart and Noonan survive but die of starvation on an island? Yes. And no! Did Earhart and Noonan survive but get captured by the Japanese? Yes. And no! Did they crash into the water and were never found? Possibly!

Emmy Nominations

The nominations for the 69th annual Emmy Awards were announced yesterday morning. You can read a complete list of the nominations here, so let’s talk about what wasn’t nominated.

The biggest snub for me is the same snub that happens every year: The Middle got ignored. I don’t understand how the show and its cast get no love while Modern Family is fawned over every single year (and it got another Outstanding Comedy nom this year). It’s truly one of the great Emmy mysteries of the past 69 years.

Other people and shows not nominated include The Tonight Show (even though The Late ShowThe Late Late ShowFull FrontalJimmy Kimmel Live, Last Week Tonight, and Real Time with Bill Maher were all nominated), Richard Dreyfus for playing Bernie Madoff (Robert DeNiro got a nomination for the other Bernie Madoff movie), and no Outstanding Drama nomination for The Leftovers.

I will mention two people who were nominated because we talked about the show they were nominated for just last week. Both Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange were nominated for Feud: Bette and Joan. Even in 2017, Bette and Joan are going to battle each other.

The Emmy Awards will be broadcast September 17 at 8 p.m. on CBS.

Be a Coffee Achiever!

Every week, it seems that something that was shown to be bad for us is now good for us. This week it’s coffee! Coffee has been shown to be bad for us because of all the caffeine but also good for us because certain compounds in coffee may have an effect on everything from Alzheimer’s to cancer. The latest research shows that people who regularly drink coffee live longer, in general, than people who don’t.

This will be good news for people who actually can’t even function without having at least one cup on the morning, though it must be said it’s not a license to suddenly suck down more Venti Mocha Frappuccinos from Starbucks.

Evil Villains, Fun Stamps

The United States Postal Service is releasing 10 stamps tomorrow featuring villains from various Disney animated films, including Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians, the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Scar from The Lion King, and Captain Hook from Peter Pan.

The Farmer Who Cloned Wimbledon

I thought I was obsessed with tennis because I have been watching every second of the Wimbledon Championships that are currently going on in England. I do this with almost every tennis tournament, but I don’t think I love it so much that I would take the time to re-create a tournament in my backyard.

But that’s what this guy did. He has fond childhood memories of listening to Wimbledon matches via shortwave radio with his grandfather, so he decided to build a Wimbledon replica on his Iowa farm. And as you can see from the video, he’s not the only one who uses it.

RIP Sheila Michaels, Spencer Johnson, Kenneth Silverman, Nelsan Ellis, Randy Schell, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, and Joe Robinson

Although she didn’t invent it — it was being used in steno books for a while — Sheila Michaels was the person responsible for bringing Ms. into our vocabulary. She died June 22 at the age of 78.

Spencer Johnson was an author who wrote the bestselling business books Who Moved My Cheese? and The One-Minute ManagerHe died Monday at the age of 78.

Kenneth Silverman was an author as well, having written biographies of Cotton Mather, Edgar Allan Poe, Samuel Morse, Harry Houdini, and composer John Cage. He died last Friday at the age of 81.

Nelsan Ellis was a regular on TV shows like Elementary and True Blood and was in movies such as The HelpHe passed away last week at the age of 39.

Randy Schell was an actor whose voice you heard on shows like BlindspotLife in Pieces, and Fear the Walking Dead (a prequel series to The Walking Dead), and in commercials for McDonald’s, Geico, Coca-Cola, Nike, and many other companies. He died Saturday in a skydiving accident. Schell was 64.

Ji-Tu Cumbuka was an actor who had roles in movies like Harlem Nights and Bachelor Party as well as in TV shows like Roots and A Man Called Sloane (he played Robert Conrad’s friend with the steel hand). He died Tuesday at the age of 77.

Joe Robinson played the bad guy that James Bond beats up in the elevator in Diamonds Are Forever. He also had roles in A Kid for Two Farthings and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, and he also taught fighting to many actors. He died July 3 at the age of 90.

This Week in History

Henry David Thoreau Born (July 12, 1817)

Here’s a great piece by Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson on the Massachusetts philosopher and poet and how he was an unlikely hero in the fight for personal liberty — plus a funny piece about how Thoreau might have responded to the publishing industry of the 1960s.

Live Aid Concerts Held (July 13, 1985)

I’ve always felt a kinship with musician Phil Collins. On the same day he was doing double duty in the all-star mega-concert for charity, taking the Concorde so he could perform in both the London and Philadelphia venues, I was working a double shift at a pizza restaurant. We watched it on the big-screen TV with the customers.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: “Billboard Painters” (July 13, 1957)

Billboard Painters
Stevan Dohanos
July 13, 1957

This cover by Stevan Dohanos could be called the sequel to the February 14, 1948, cover Dohanos did for the Post, which depicted the billboard painters working in the middle of winter, dreaming of an escape to a warmer place.

Summer Drinks

According to the weather widget on my computer, it’s only 76 degrees as I type this. But with the humidity factored in, things can only be described as … “gross.” I need something cold.

Here’s a drink named after someone I mentioned above. No, not Phil Collins (I’m not aware of a drink named after the singer); it’s The Amelia, named after Amelia Earhart. I actually found two different recipes for cocktails named after her, but this one seems to have more history behind it, and it’s a variation on the classic Aviation.

And since coffee is so good for us, how about a recipe for an easy iced coffee? You know it’s the truth because it’s actually called Easy Iced Coffee. It’s just a little warm water, instant coffee, sugar, and milk.

I don’t know if this coffee drink will actually help you live longer, but you’ll live long enough to hear the inevitable news that coffee is once again bad for us.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Game of Thrones Season Premiere (July 16)

I don’t watch the show (for the entire first season I thought it was called Game of Thornes), but it sure is popular! The seventh season starts Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

World Emoji Day (July 17)

This is the day the world celebrates emojis (also known as “every day”). If I cared enough about them to actually use them, right here there would be a little picture of a globe, a calendar, and maybe a yellow smiley face.

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  • It’s always interesting how ‘new evidence’ seems to show up on special anniversaries of unsolved mystery events. This month we have the 80th anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, and more maybe this or maybe that theories. They certainly make interesting ‘what if’s’ though.

    It’s unlikely to ever to be solved. I believe most strongly Sam Giacana was behind JFK’s assassination, but there are others (in our own government) that are likely candidates too. It too will remain unsolved in 2043, 80 years later as well.

    Thanks for the 1984 link! As far as coffee goes, I think if you drink de-caf in moderation you’ll be okay. Most people load their caffeine-laden coffee from Starbucks with cream, sugar and more at least once a day, every day.

    Drinking quality (de-caf) green tea that IS healthy should help you be healthier, and therefore live longer. It also has antioxidants that help with anti-aging coffee doesn’t. Tea, like moderation itself, obviously isn’t embraced by the masses.

  • Colette Sasina

    Really enjoyed Bob Sassone’s ‘News of the Week’ article. Noted his observation about researcher vacillation on coffee consumption. Been around long enough to survive a few of the yay-nay cycles. Juan Valdez is still alive and kicking in my memory. Think I’ll toast him with my third cup today

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