News of the Week: Graduation, Google Pants, and the Grabbing of Drones

Advice for Graduates

Mother takes photos of college graduation

College Graduation
Thornton Utz
June 4, 1960

It’s graduation season, with lots of young people leaving college and going off into the “real world.” It’s also the season for advice to those graduates and commencement speeches.

CNN has a rundown of the celebrities and politicians who have made commencement speeches the past month, including Robert DeNiro, who spoke at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts; Anthony Hopkins, who spoke at Pepperdine University; and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who spoke at William & Mary.

My favorite commencement speaker this year just might be Stephanie Courtney, who spoke at the Binghamton University in New York. You might know her better from these commercials.

Google Glass Is Sooooooo 2014

l i g h t p o e t /
l i g h t p o e t /

If you’re like me, you often find yourself sitting on your couch, watching television, wearing your ordinary pants, and you look down at those pants and wonder: Why aren’t these digital?

Google is developing what they call “smart fabrics,” clothing that can actually function in the same way a touchscreen does. So with just a touch or a swipe of your fingers you can control your laptop, your phone, maybe even the music or lighting in your house or other appliances. I’ve been hoping one day that someone will make a sweatshirt that will help me control my toaster remotely.



Could the earthquake and tsunami depicted in the current box-office champ San Andreas actually hit California? Yes, say scientists. So run, run away to Maine, Californians!

Okay, it might not happen exactly the way it happens in the movie, with utter and complete destruction of everything, everywhere. But scientists say that not enough attention is being paid to faults that lie offshore of Southern California and the faults should be taken more seriously. It’s not just the famous San Andreas Fault that people have to worry about.

Part of me would love to experience an earthquake. Is that weird? Not a big one, of course, just something that would make me feel the shaking a bit. On a related note, I got this for Christmas one year when I was a kid. After the first couple of times it wasn’t really fun to play with anymore.

Drones: 1, Pop Singers: 0


You can put this in the same category as “don’t stick your foot down a garbage disposal” and “don’t stick your tongue in a fan.” Singer Enrique Iglesias tried to playfully grab a drone that was filming his concert performance in Tijuana, Mexico. He promptly got his fingers sliced and a very bloody shirt and had to go offstage to get bandaged up. He came back and played for another 30 minutes and then stopped the show because he was still bleeding. He later had surgery on the hand to repair the damage and will continue his tour on July 3.

What’s remarkable is that you can see in the video that Iglesias grabs the drone a first time and gets hurt, but he still decides to grab it a second time. The moral here? Never grab a drone.

Don’t Go on Waikiki Beach at Night


I went to Hawaii in 1989. I’m not a warm weather person at all, but I really enjoyed it. A few nights we walked along Waikiki Beach (one night encountering a bunch of guys in their underwear swimming in the water), which is something I’m sure a lot of people do, especially if you don’t like the heat of the sun during the day.

Or should I say “used to do.” Police are now giving citations to people who go on Waikiki Beach and nearby parks at night. It’s an effort to crack down on homeless people who have gathered in the area in large numbers.

It’s not really the amount of the fine, it’s the fact that some of the people being fined are actually tourists who are unaware of (or don’t care about) the law. The fines go on your permanent police record (which could be a problem if you’re from out of the country and want to come back in the future), and if there’s a court date set for a hearing, you have to be present for that. If you don’t show up — which some tourists might not be able to do because they live out of state —there might be a criminal warrant issued.

I guess what I’m saying is if you want to hang out on Oahu at night, maybe you can try the Magnum, P.I. house. You’ll have to make arrangements with the new owners though.

National Ketchup Day

Yes, today is the day we celebrate ketchup! Also: catsup! Though I’m not sure if anyone spells it that way anymore. Not sure if ketchup is something I would bother to make myself, but if that’s something that strikes your fancy, Epicurious has a recipe. I don’t know, it seems like more trouble than it’s worth.

Did you know they sell ketchup in stores now?

Upcoming Anniversaries and Events

The Belmont Stakes (June 6)
American Pharoah, who has already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, goes for the Triple Crown. The race starts at approximately 6:50 p.m.

Secretariat wins the Triple Crown (June 9, 1973)
The last horse to win the Triple Crown did it 42 years ago.

Judy Garland born (June 10, 1922)
Did you know there is a Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and an official international fan club endorsed by Garland herself?

John Wayne died (June 11, 1979)
The Duke has his own official web site (not to mention his own small batch bourbon).

President Reagan’s “tear down this wall” speech (June 12, 1987)
Here’s a transcript of the historic speech the President made in West Berlin, Germany.

Anne Frank born (June 12, 1929)
This is the site for the official Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam.

The Record That Saved Johnny Cash

“I’d love to hear some of your favorite songs.”

Johnny Cash with two dogs
Resurgence: By the 1990s, Cash felt his best work was behind him. American Recordings (album art pictured) would bring his career roaring back to life, winning a generation of fans and a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1995. (Photo courtesy American Recordings)

Those were Rick Rubin’s first words to Johnny Cash when they sat down in the producer’s spacious home high above Sunset Strip in Los Angeles on May 17, 1993, to begin exploring the process of making an album together.

The only child of an upper-middle-class family from Long Island, New York, Rick Rubin grew up on hard rock and punk, but his entry into the record business was via hip-hop, a genre he became obsessed with while a pre-med student at New York University in the late 1970s. He especially loved the way DJs in clubs came up with dynamic sounds by “scratching” — rapidly twisting and turning vinyl recordings on spinning turntables. When he noticed that rap recordings lacked that club energy because producers used real musicians instead of turntable DJs, Rubin began making records in his NYU dorm room employing “scratching” and other bits of turntable wizardry. The difference was immense.

After gaining attention around New York City when the first record he produced was a huge club hit, he teamed with a bright young entrepreneur named Russell Simmons to start Def Jam Recordings, which they would build into the Motown of hip-hop. At Def Jam, Rubin produced such hit acts as the socially conscious Public Enemy and rap ’n’ punk rockers the Beastie Boys. In the early 1990s, wanting to expand his musical terrain, he moved to Los Angeles, where he won even more success and acclaim working with rock and heavy-metal acts, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slayer, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The path to Cash grew out of a desire to set new challenges for himself. Instead of working just with youngish rockers, he wanted to connect with someone who was “great and important, but who wasn’t doing their best work. I wanted to see if I could help them do great work again.”

Cash was skeptical when he was told that a rap producer wanted to make a record with him, but he figured, what the heck. He invited Rubin to come to his show at the Rhythm Café, about an hour’s drive south of LA. When the burly young man with the long, unruly beard and gentle, Zen-like manner walked into the dressing room, Cash didn’t know what to make of him. Cash later described his first impression of Rubin as “the ultimate hippie, bald on top, but with hair down over his shoulders, a beard that looked as if it had never been trimmed and clothes that would have done a wino proud.”

To read the entire article, pick up the November/December 2014 issue of The Saturday Evening Post on newsstands or …

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