News of the Week: Moon Trips, Martha Stewart, and a Machine That Dispenses Pizza

To the Moon, Alice! (And Other Loved Ones)

Would you like to have your ashes scattered on the moon? Well now they can be.

Moon Express, a private company based in (of course) Cape Canaveral, Florida, has gotten permission from the U.S. government to fly to the moon and play among the stars. The flights won’t be manned at first. They’ll launch a ship the size of a washing machine to land on the moon and get soil samples and send back high-def video. The first flight is planned for 2017.

You’ll even be able to pay them to take your ashes to the moon, if being buried on the moon is something you’ve always dreamed of. Please note that this dream will cost at least $5.4 million.

It’s not Apollo 11 or Buck Rogers, but it will do for now. The lack of emphasis on manned space flight and the space program in general the past several years has been kind of depressing. We don’t have manned space flights or space shuttles anymore, but luckily we can control our toasters from our smartphones.

This Is Going to Be One Interesting Cooking Show

If you could pick two celebrities you’d never think would team up for a cooking show, who would they be? Daniel Boulud and Carrot Top? Alice Waters and Howard Stern? Wolfgang Puck and whoever the latest Bachelorette is?

How about Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg? They’re teaming up for Martha and Snoop Dogg’s Dinner Party, a new series coming to VH-1 this fall. According to the show’s website, it will have the cooking/lifestyle icon and the rap star creating a meal for their celebrity friends.

Come on, like you’re not going to watch that.

The pairing isn’t as odd as it sounds. The two have been friends since Snoop appeared on Martha’s TV show a few years back, and they appeared together on Comedy Central’s Justin Bieber roast and The $100,000 Pyramid this year.

Presidential Soda

If we want to figure out who is going to be the next president of the United States, we should look to soda (or pop or tonic or Coke, depending on where you live).

Connecticut-based Avery’s Beverages has created two new drinks. One is called Trump Tonic (a bold grape flavor with the slogan “Make America Grape Again”), and the other is called Hillary Hooch (raspberry and strawberry with a hint of lemon). Consumers can “vote” with their taste buds.

Not that this is going to be a scientific poll — the results won’t be accurate in any way, shape, or form. If you love raspberry and hate grape, you’re not going to waste a couple of bucks on the one you hate just because it has a picture of the person you want to be president on it. You’re going to buy the one you actually like.

Though maybe it’s more accurate than we think. The company did the same thing in 2008 and 2012, and both times the Barack Obama beverage came out on top.

Max Rose

Jerry Lewis hasn’t been a regular in the movies for a while and hasn’t been seen on television since being unceremoniously dumped as host of the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon in 2011. (I have to admit I stopped watching the telethon after he left, and the MDA ended it for good in May of 2015.) But the actor and director has a new movie coming out (filmed in 2013), and it looks pretty great. It’s called Max Rose, and it’s a dramatic role for Lewis. Here’s the trailer:

Hey, That Lucy Statue Is Done!

We’ve been following the adventures of the Lucy statue, created to honor Lucille Ball, in this column since last year. The first statue was hated — possibly because it looked like Lucy was a zombie — and nicknamed “Scary Lucy.” So they decided to get another artist to make a new one. Well, the new one is done and it looks a lot more like Lucy than the first one did.

The statue was unveiled last Saturday during the celebration of Lucy’s 105th birthday in her hometown of Celoron, New York. She’ll stand in Lucille Ball Memorial Park. By the way, if you want to see Scary Lucy, you still can. They’re actually keeping that one, too, and it will stand in another area of the park.

I swear this is the last time I’m going to write about the Lucy statue. Unless the old one suddenly comes to life and seeks revenge on its enemies.

Insert Money, Get a Pizza

Imagine it’s really late at night and you’re hungry for pizza, but all of the pizza places are closed. What do you do? Sure, you could open up your freezer and cook some Elio or Freschetta, but now that’s not going to be your only option, at least if you live in Cincinnati.

That’s where the first pizza ATM has been installed, at Xavier University. The machine holds 70 pizzas. You put your money in, the pizza is heated and put in a box and then comes out the slot all ready to eat. The machines have actually been in Europe for over a decade.

I have a friend who works at Xavier. I should email him and ask him to try it.

Now all we need is a beer ATM and we’ll be all set, though I assume there would be some legal problems with that.

National Creamsicle Day

Popsicles are like Band-Aids. Let me explain.

Band-Aids is a trademarked name. All of the “band-aids” we buy aren’t Band-Aids at all, they’re adhesive bandages. But over time we’ve come to call them all band-aids. I think it’s the same for Popsicles. It’s a registered trademark of Unilever, as are Creamsicles and Fudgsicles, but I bet a lot of people aren’t aware of that and call all freezer pops on a stick popsicles and all orange vanilla desserts on a stick creamsicles.

Sunday is National Creamsicle Day, and it’s good to see a food holiday in a month where it makes sense. If you don’t have any in your freezer (the one that probably has that frozen pizza in it) you could make your own.

Upcoming Events and Anniversaries

President Roosevelt signs Social Security Act (August 14, 1935)

Here’s a timeline on how the Social Security Act came to be.

Lawrence of Arabia born (August 16, 1888)

The British author, military strategist, and archaeologist — whose real name was Thomas Edward Lawrence — died in a motorcycle accident in 1935.

Davy Crockett born (August 17, 1786)

Saturday Evening Post Archive Director Jeff Nilsson separates the myth from the man.

Orville Wright born (August 19, 1871)

The Saturday Evening Post interviewed Wright in 1928, on the 25th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ historic first flight.

Leon Trotsky assassinated (August 20, 1940)

The revolutionary was stabbed to death with an ice pick after being exiled to Mexico.

Viking 1 launched (August 20, 1975)

It was the first spacecraft to land on Mars, arriving on the surface on July 20, 1976.

Taking Back Halloween

jack-o'-lantern on table with lantern
Isn’t this holiday supposed to be for kids? Somehow, in our lifetime, parents have taken over and pretty much spoiled everything. (Shutterstock)

For nine years, my wife and I lived in the city, down a long lane, next to the Quaker meeting I pastored. Our first Halloween, we loaded up on candy, anticipating a horde of pirates, ghosts, and witches. But the lane was dark and spooky and not one kid showed up, so for the next month, we ate mini Snickers for dessert at every meal, even breakfast. Then we moved to a small town, and carloads of urchins mobbed our home at Halloween, swarming our front door like rats on raw meat. After the first hour, we were out of candy and began emptying our cupboard to beat back the mob, doling out squares of baking chocolate, sugar cubes, packets of Sweet’N Low. When we ran out of treats, they began TP’ing our trees, soaping our windows, and igniting paper sacks of manure on our porch. It was wonderfully nostalgic, reminding me of my childhood, and I went to bed happy.

We made the mistake of leaving our pumpkin outside, and woke the next morning to find it splattered on the street in front of our house.

“And they say the youth of today have no gumption!” I said to my wife, thrilled to be living in a town whose youth weren’t adverse to labor. If you’ve ever hefted a pumpkin over your head to smash it, you’ll know it’s no easy task.

It wasn’t as if I were out any money. I got the pumpkin free at the hardware store in our town. If you wait until Halloween to get your pumpkin, as I do, the hardware man will pay you to take it off his hands. Nor did I invest much time carving the pumpkin. Triangle eyes, a square nose, and a gap-toothed smile. I’ve carved every pumpkin the exact same way since I was 6 years old and my parents first entrusted me with a knife.

I remember that day well, because I still have the scar. While blood was spurting in a high arc from my forearm, my father said, “Yep, that’s a cut all right. Looks like you hit an artery.” My father exposed me to danger early and often so the lessons would stick. Sever an artery once, and you’ll think twice before doing it again, I guarantee it.

But things changed on the Halloween front. Parents horned in on what had been a kid’s affair. Children were no longer turned loose to find their own costumes, there was no more rifling through the attic for hobo clothes. Costume stores began sprouting up, and parents shelled out 50 bucks for their kid to be a ninja, a Spiderman, or a ballerina. Costumes became the measure of parental worth.

Text from Taking Back Halloween
Around the same time as the outbreak of costume stores, someone discovered there was money to be made selling pumpkin-carving kits. There were no kits in my day, by cracky. A steak knife from the silverware drawer sufficed. Gone were the pumpkins with perfectly good triangle eyes and noses and gap-toothed smiles. Then someone, Martha Stewart, I think, wrote a magazine article about decorating with pumpkins, and, before long, pumpkins were sculpted by adults, not carved by kids. That was when Halloween began floating belly-up in the holiday fishbowl. Martha Stewart was sent to jail, but for entirely the wrong reason.

Now, God help us, parents are accompanying their children door to door. I would have sooner stayed home than had my parents tag along the night of Halloween. What is a boy to do when, in the presence of his parents, he must administer a well-deserved trick to the grouch down the street? His hand dips furtively into the folds of the costume to withdraw a bar of soap, only to have his father, who has forgotten the pure joy of delinquency, give him the stink eye. What have we become?

Certain pastors I know get all worked up about Christmas losing its meaning. This pastor is fine with Christmas. I want to return Halloween to its former glory. So I’m starting a movement to reclaim Halloween. First, no more adults poking their noses in where they don’t belong. If a kid wants to go trick-or-treating, the kid will have to come up with the costume, not the parent. No more store-bought costumes. It will be against the law. Second, every fourth house will have to hand out popcorn balls. There is no candy bar in the world that compares with a popcorn ball, but no one hands them out anymore. My movement will promise a popcorn ball in every Halloween bag.

If this sounds good to you, I urge you to write in my name during the next presidential election so I can get these, and other, crucial problems solved.

Famous Midlife Career Changers

Changing careers in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60s can seem daunting or downright foolish to some. But for a Nobel Prize winner, a legendary female comic, and more, risky—and often multiple—midlife job swaps led to their success.


Toni Morrison

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beloved and the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Morrison started her professional career as an English professor in Texas, and then taught in Washington, D.C. In her 30s, she moved to New York to become an editor at Random House (first working on textbooks and then moving on to a senior editor position). She published her first novel, The Bluest Eye, at age 40.

Author John Grisham attends the Broadway opening night of 'A Time To Kill' at The Golden Theatre on October 20, 2013 in New York City.

John Grisham

Though he’s spent most of his adult life writing best-selling legal thrillers such as Sycamore Row and The Pelican Brief, Grisham spent the first part of his life as a lawyer and political figure. He published his first book, A Time To Kill, at 33, but the 5,000 copies printed received little-to-no recognition. His big break came four years later when he sold the film rights to his second novel The Firm to Paramount Pictures, before it was even published.

Actor Jim Carrey (right) with comedian Rodney Dangerfield at the world premiere of Carrey's movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, in Beverly Hills, California. March 9, 2004

Rodney Dangerfield

Salesman Jacob Cohen had been moonlighting as a standup comic since his early 20s. He finally “got some respect” after his debut performance—under stage name Rodney Dangerfield (left)—on The Ed Sullivan Show at age 46. After long-awaited success, he began acting in his 50s and opened Dangerfield’s Comedy Club, whose stage welcomed little-known comics such as Jerry Seinfeld, Roseanne Barr, and Jim Carrey (right).

Kathryn Joosten at Bridgetta's Cause Just 4 Paws Celebrity Charity Event, Sportie LA, Los Angeles, CA. 08-06-11

Kathryn Joosten

The two-time Emmy Award-winning actress decided to take acting classes at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in her 40s while she was working full-time as a psychiatric nurse. Joosten moved all the way to Buena Vista, Florida, for her first acting gig as a Walt Disney World performer.

Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant Sign on June 27, 2011 in Bucharest, Romania. It is a fast food restaurant chain headquartered in United States specialized in chicken.

Harland Sanders

Before he convinced the world that 11 is the prime number for a “finger lickin’ good” spice blend, the honorary Kentucky colonel was the ultimate career changer. Army mule-tender, railroad worker, and gas station operator were just a few jobs he held before buying a restaurant in his 40s. There he perfected his Kentucky Fried Chicken, but Sanders really got cooking at age 65 when he was put out of business and turned his recipe into a franchise.

Martha Stewart at The 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Kodak Theatre on April 28, 2006 in Hollywood, CA.

Martha Stewart

Although the homemaking mogul has experienced some legal trouble, Martha Stewart’s career-changing power is inspiring: The former model turned stockbroker in her 20s, and then homemaker to caterer in her 30s. After her catering company was established, she wrote her first book (on entertaining) and began selling her first line of home-goods in her 40s. Nearing and into her 50s, the famous merchandiser became a TV show host, an editor-in-chief, and the billionaire CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.

George Foreman at the Academy Awards.

George Foreman

The boxer-turned-minister made a heavyweight comeback winning the world championship at 45—after a 10-year hiatus. Following his win, Foreman was asked to endorse several products including the Lean Mean Grilling Machine (which he helped develop) and Meineke Car Care Centers. Since his midlife victory, Foreman has become an entrepreneur launching a line of cleaning products, shoes for diabetics, a restaurant franchise, and more, and he continues to preach at the church he founded in 1980.

Minnesota Senatorial candidate Al Franken speaks at a rally at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota.

Al Franken

After the former Saturday Night Live producer, writer, and cast member left the sketch comedy show, Al Franken went on to write three books of political satire that hit No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. And he moved to radio, hosting a progressive talk show on Air America. In 2007, Franken (in his late 50s) chose to leave talk radio to pursue (and later win) a U.S. Senate seat. Franken is up for re-election this year.

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan, 1981

Ronald Reagan

Another actor turned to politics, Ronald Reagan, is the oldest of our mid-life career changers, having been inaugurated at the age of 69. However, the 40th president of the United States took his first step from Hollywood limelight into the political spotlight in his early 50s when he became governor of California.

Ken Jeong at "The Way Way Back" Premiere as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival, Regal Cinemas, Los Angeles, CA 06-23-13

Ken Jeong

For comedic actor (and doctor) Ken Jeong, laughter won out over medicine. Jeong was a practicing physician performing medical checkups by day and standup routines by night in the early half of his life. He became a full-time actor in his late 30s when, oddly enough, he landed a role playing a doctor in the Judd Apatow film Knocked Up.

Phyllis Diller arriving at the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Memorabilia Collection Auction & Auction Preview at Paley Center For Media on June 7, 2011, in Beverly Hills, CA

Phyllis Diller

Legendary comedian, actor, and author Phyllis Diller quit her day job at age 37 to pursue standup before she had even performed her first comedy routine on stage. Two years after she handed in her notice, Diller appeared on The Tonight Show and became America’s first female comedienne on tour.