News of the Week: Olivia Is Popular, Jetpacks Are Real, and the Best Cereal of All-Time Is …

In the news for the week ending May 14, 2021, are the most popular names, the best cereal, the coolest vaccination site, and more.


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What’s in a Name?

I don’t see a lot of new babies being named Robert these days. I used to have such a popular name. What happened?

The Social Security Administration is out with the list of the most popular baby names for 2020, and it’s pretty much the same list it was last time. The top male name is Liam and the top female name is Olivia. Other names in the top ten include Noah, Oliver, James, Emma, Ava, and Mia.

At that link you can see how the most popular names have changed over the years and even check lists by decade and by state. It’s interesting to see how names that were popular in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s — names like David and Steven and Mary and Patricia — barely register in an era of Elijahs and Harpers. William and Elizabeth are still pretty popular though.

I wonder how many of these baby names aren’t original. Meaning, how many babies are simply given the same first name as their dad and how that affects the numbers.

But seriously, Robert is a great name for a kid. You can call him Bob. It’s spelled the same backward! How cool is that?

A Classic Sci-Fi Prediction Is Coming True

Yes, jetpacks are real, and they’re spectacular.

Uploaded to YouTube by Gravity Industries

Dracula’s Castle Is Now a Vaccination Site

The landmark in Romania that inspired Bram Stoker’s novel is now a place where you can get your COVID-19 shots.

The slogan should be “Come Get Impaled … With the Vaccine!”

What Is the Best Cereal of All Time?

I came across a tweet that asked this question during one of my ill-advised looks at Twitter.

“Best” is often confused with “favorite,” and I don’t know if we can seriously say that the cereal we love the most is really the best of the bunch. We like what we like, and sometimes that liking is mixed in with what we’ve eaten our whole lives, with a big influence from nostalgia and comfort.

Having said that, we can all agree that we’re not going to pick All-Bran or something like that, right?

I’ve always loved Quisp (a choice that shows my age, but it’s still around!) and Cap’n Crunch, even if it does sometimes do something to the roof of my mouth. Frosted Flakes is always a good choice, as is Corn Pops. Froot Loops were always too fruity and sweet for me, but I like another sweet cereal, Lucky Charms. I used to eat Cocoa Puffs a lot.

If I’m going healthy, it has to be Cheerios.

How about you?

Headline That Wouldn’t Make Sense to a Time Traveler

“Hugs to Be Allowed in England as Part of Lockdown Easing”

RIP Norman Lloyd, Lloyd Price, Lucinda Franks, Tawny Kitaen, Pete du Pont, Frank McRae, Andre Maranne, Martin Bookspan, and Chuck Hicks

Norman Lloyd was a veteran actor and one of the last surviving members of classic Hollywood. He appeared in such films as Saboteur, Spellbound, Limelight, A Walk in the Sun, Dead Poets Society, Scene of the Crime, M, and Trainwreck, his last role in 2015. He had regular roles on St. Elsewhere, Seven Days, and Wiseguy, produced such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Tales of the Unexpected, directed episodes of Columbo and Omnibus, worked with Orson Welles and John Houseman, and appeared in many stage productions. He died Tuesday at the age of 106.

Lloyd Price sang such classic songs as “Personality,” “Stagger Lee,” and “I’m Gonna Get Married.” He died last week at the age of 88.

Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

Lucinda Franks was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, for United Press International. She also wrote for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and New York. She died last week at the age of 74.

Tawny Kitaen was an actress and model famous for appearing in music videos by such rock bands as Whitesnake and Ratt. She also appeared in such movies as Bachelor Party and TV shows like Seinfeld, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, and Santa Barbara. She died last week at the age of 59.

Pete du Pont was a former governor of Delaware who ran for president in 1988. He died Saturday at the age of 86.

Frank McRae was a former NFL player who appeared in such movies as Licence to Kill, The Last Action Hero, Rocky II, and National Lampoon’s Vacation. He died last month at the age of 80.

Andre Maranne was a character actor who appeared as Sergeant Chevalier in the Pink Panther movies and in many other films and TV shows. He died last month at the age of 94.

Martin Bookspan was the longtime announcer on PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center and The Guiding Light, worked several years at radio stations, and also wrote books and music reviews. He died last month at the age of 94.

Chuck Hicks appeared as an actor or a stuntman in way too many movies and TV shows to highlight here. He died last week at the age of 93.

This Week in History

Betamax Goes on Sale (May 10, 1975)

But in the battle against VHS, there could be only one winner.

Congress Declares War on Mexico (May 12, 1846)

The Senate vote was 40 to 2.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: Cheerios (May 7, 1949)

Cheerios ad
May 7. 1949

The original name for the cereal was Cheerioats, but it was changed after Quaker filed a lawsuit objecting to the use of “oats” in the name.

National Salsa Month

I was trying to decide whether to have some cereal recipes (because of the above ad) or salsa recipes because May is National Salsa Month. And then I thought, could there possibly be a way to combine the two? Are there actually recipes that combine salsa and cereal?

Yes! Yes there are!

Eating Well has this Bacon and Salsa Hot Cereal, while Kellogg’s has these Corn Flakes Chilaquiles and these Pork Strips with Salsa. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to eat Betty Crocker’s Cheesy Taco Cereal Nachos, but it looks tasty. And Spark Recipes has this Salsa Meat Loaf, which is made with Fiber One Cereal(!).

I couldn’t find any salsa/Cheerios recipes, but there’s no reason you couldn’t experiment and substitute different cereals in the recipes above. I mean, we’re talking salsa and cereal here, so all bets are off.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

National Pack Rat Day (May 17)

Not to be confused with Rat Pack Day, which is a completely different thing.

Tax Day (May 17)

If you truly are a pack rat, you probably have all of the receipts you’ve accumulated over the past year so you can do your taxes.

Featured image: Elena Veselova / Shutterstock

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  1. I know! What’s happened to our formal first name, Bob? I don’t know if you were named after YOUR Dad or not, but I was; and he had the last word on that. My Mom (for distinction) wanted Steven, Paul, David or Richard. He didn’t have a problem with the first two. He wouldn’t say why with David, but was adamant against Richard since that was Nixon’s first name. In the end, he wanted that Jr., and got it. I still keep it, of course.

    The irony is that mid-century baby names were actually more ‘modern’ than a lot of the names now. For the boys the names are often biblical, but at least they’re (mostly) first names. I don’t get giving what are obviously ‘last’ names like Sullivan as a first name. And a boy named Grayson? Girls named after deceased Presidents with first names like Madison, Harrison, Garfield? Grover is a first name, yes, but really? That would be bad enough for a boy, but a girl?! I’ve heard worse. I know a woman who has twins. The boy is Brownie and the girl is Muffin. They sound like dog’s names to me, but whatever. Some children’s names sound like pharmaceutical drugs!

    Whether you’re dead or alive, the whole thing is enough to mentally spin me round like a record on the topic. My grandparents for sure. In school I had classmates named Craig, Greg, Cliff, Roger, Steve then girls named Lisa, Cindy, Debbie, Marilyn, Leslie and Terri. Oh, since typing THAT the spinning’s stopped. Yay.

    LOVE the jetpack video! They’ve been around since the ’60s, and I’ve always wanted to ride one; still do. It’s the closest thing to feeling like you’re REALLY flying. Planes and jets don’t count. I’m sure Terri Hatcher would agree.

    On the cereals Cap’n Crunch is an occasional guilty pleasure, and so are Cocoa Pebbles. Usually it’s Toasted Oats, Kroger’s MUCH less expensive version of Cheerios. Same with ‘Pebbles’. There’s no cheaper brand of ‘Cap’n Crunch that I know of. It’s good to mix in with yogurt for a less unhealthy dessert. At $4+per gallon of gas now, ya gotta economize the best you can. It’s depressing to put in $20 and see the needle barely move.


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