News of the Week: Bud Collins, Carbohydrates, and Casper the Friendly Ghost (Octopus)

In this week's column, Bob Sassone guides us through carbs and cigarettes, octopuses, dancing celebrities, TV chefs, and a host of other news.

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RIP Nancy Reagan, George Martin, and Bud Collins

Nancy Reagan
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons

So much has already been said about former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who died earlier this week at the age of 94, that I’m not going to repeat it. But Reagan did appear in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post many times over the years, including on the cover of our October 1985 issue. You can also view a gallery of photos from our 2004 memorial to Ronald Reagan.

I didn’t know that CNN’s Anderson Cooper was such a good friend of Nancy Reagan’s, as was his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt.

Producer George Martin was dubbed “The Fifth Beatle” because his work contributed to the sound and to the success of The Fab Four as much as what John, Paul, George, and Ringo did. Martin passed away Tuesday at the age of 90. The Beatles appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1964 — one of the greatest pictures of the group I’ve ever seen — and SEP Archives Director Jeff Nilsson writes about why The Beatles weren’t just a passing fad, even if early critics did hate them.

Other than the players themselves, there was no better ambassador to tennis than Bud Collins. Actually, strike that. Even if you count players, Collins was still the biggest promoter of the sport. He didn’t just cover tennis, it was a part of who he was. Known for the bow ties and wildly colorful pants he would often wear, Collins wrote about tennis for The Boston Globe starting in 1963, wrote Bud Collins’ Tennis Encyclopedia, was a member of the teams that covered tennis for NBC and ESPN for many years, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2015, the press center at the U.S. Open Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, New York, was renamed the Bud Collins U.S. Open Media Center in his honor.

Collins passed away at his home in Massachusetts last Friday. He was 86.

There was another death this week, but you might not recognize the name. It was Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with inventing e-mail back in 1971 when he was working on the ARPANET, which later became the system we now know as the Internet. When asked why he chose the @ symbol for e-mails, Tomlinson simply said it “just makes sense.” It makes sense for Twitter, too, as that same symbol is part of everyone’s Twitter handle.

And while we’re talking about e-mail, can we all agree that it’s e-mail and not email? It stands for electronic mail, and that dash needs to be there, doesn’t it?

[Editor’s note: SEP house style calls for the use of the unhyphenated email that Mr. Sassone dislikes. It is only begrudgingly that we allow Mr. Sassone this aberration from house style.]

Carbohydrates: The New Cigarettes?

Every day we hear about some food or drink that isn’t good for us. This week we found out that the thing that’s making us unhealthy is … well, most of the foods we eat.

For the past several years, we’ve been told that eating too many carbs — from pasta, rice, pretzels, potatoes, white flour, and sugar — can be as bad for us as foods high in fat and calories. But here’s a new twist: Those same foods might even be so bad for us they can give us lung cancer. According to studies at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, a diet of foods high in the glycemic index can trigger higher levels of blood sugar and insulin, which then increases the level of insulin-like growth factors. Studies on different groups showed that the people who ate a diet of high GI foods had a 49% increase in the possibility of developing lung cancer. This is all just a scientific way of saying that if you eat a lot of white bread, you’re going to die.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But it wouldn’t hurt you to eat a carrot once in a while.

Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced

I’m not a reality TV show fan, and I don’t like to write about them often, but since Dancing with the Stars is more of a fun, celebrity-oriented reality competition show — and no one is eating bugs or throwing chairs at one another — I can make an exception. And as a bonus, this season’s cast has a connection to the presidential election!

The new cast includes former Facts of Life star Kim Fields; football players Doug Flutie, Antonio Brown, and Von Miller; Fuller House star Jodie Sweetin; The O.C.’s Mischa Barton; deaf America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco; Wanya Morris from Boyz II Men; Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera; mixed martial artist Paige VanZant; and Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee.

Oh, that election connection? Marla Maples will compete, too. She was married to Donald Trump from 1993 to 1999. I’m sure that having her on the show during this election year is a total coincidence.

If Our Bodies Could Talk

If our bodies could talk, they’d probably say, “Stop eating a lot of carbs and eat a carrot once in a while!” Of course, our bodies can’t talk, but Dr. James Hamblin can talk for them. He’s the host of one of the very best video series on the web right now, titled (you guessed it) If Our Bodies Could Talk, over at The Atlantic.

Hamblin covers a lot of ground, from the very serious (like a quest to find the cure for serious diseases) to more fun (yet still helpful) segments on how some companies let you work remotely via robot double, how to cure a hangover, how to cook a real chicken nugget, and why you should never tell someone how old they look. And as you might have noticed from the videos, that segment has special significance for Hamblin.

And The New Host of America’s Test Kitchen Is …

Last year, we told you that Christopher Kimball, host of the PBS cooking shows America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country, couldn’t come to an agreement with the new people in charge and would be leaving the shows after their 2016 seasons (and the cooking magazines, though he will continue to do the weekly radio show). Now comes word that the new hosts have been named for America’s Test Kitchen, and regular viewers will recognize them. Cooks Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster will now take over as co-hosts.

This is a smart idea. Kimball is loved by fans, and a completely brand new host probably wouldn’t have been greeted too kindly. It will be good to see familiar faces at the helm. A new host for Cook’s Country hasn’t been named yet.

What’s White, Has 8 Arms, and is Currently Freaking Out Scientists?

There’s an old piece of wisdom that says we know more about outer space than we do about what’s going on deep in the ocean. I don’t know how that can possibly be true, but I think about that every time I read a story where scientists have found a bizarre new creature in the water.

This small octopus, probably a new species, was found at 4,290 meters in the Hawaiian Archipelago. It has only one row of suckers, the body is different from most octopuses, and it has such a white, ghostly look to it that it has been nicknamed “Casper.”

National Potato Chip Day

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Shutterstock

Sure, you could just buy a bag of Lay’s to celebrate this Monday, but can’t we do a lot better than that? How about making your own rippled potato chips? Or how about these potato chip–crusted chicken tenders?

And if you insist on just ripping open a bag of chips, the least you could do is take the time to make a dip, like the classic Lipton onion dip that’s been around for decades and remains one of best.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

U.S. Army creates K-9 Corps (March 13, 1942)

The National Police Dog Foundation helps to educate the public about police dogs and helps with the training and purchase of dogs.

FBI launches 10 Most Wanted List (March 14, 1950)

The list started in 1949 after a conversation between FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and International News Service Editor-In-Chief William Kinsey led to an article about the “toughest guys” the FBI was trying to capture at the time.

Beware the Ides of March! (March 15)

What exactly are “The Ides of March” and why should we fear them?

March Madness begins (March 15)

If you’re obsessed with the annual NCAA basketball tourney, here’s a complete schedule of which games will be played where.

St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)

You can celebrate the day by making Rachel Allen’s Irish Apple Cake or making this clever shamrock bookmark.

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