FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
Confectionary condundrum
July 8, 2014
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

A Northern Ireland bakery has come under fire for refusing to bake a cake depicting Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, saying the cake ran counter to its Christian faith. The cake would also have featured a slogan supporting gay marriage.

The Ashers Baking Company said in a statement the cake was "at odds with what the Bible teaches," and that it had refunded the prospective customer. However, the bakery could still face legal action for refusing to do the work. Northern Ireland's Equality Commission, acting on a complaint, is looking into whether the refusal amounts to unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation. Jon Terbush

Pay up
3:40 p.m. ET
Yuri Gripas/Getty Images

Nearly a third of moviegoers surveyed by research firm C4 agree that they want customers' bags and purses checked for weapons before they enter a theater, Variety reports. The study asked the opinions of 250 moviegoers on July 28 and 29, less than a week after a shooter opened fire on an audience during a screening of Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana, killing two and injuring nine. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed favored having armed security guards in theater lobbies while 14 percent called for armed security in every individual theater.

Despite the recent high-profile shootings in movie theaters — the 2012 massacre of 12 during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado among them — Americans do still seem to believe that movie theaters are among the safest public spaces where they can spend their time, according to the study. Even despite wanting armed guards and metal detectors installed, customers didn't want to have to pay more than $3 per ticket for the additional security, and only 85 percent of 124 moviegoers surveyed said their theater habits had actually changed since the attack in Louisiana. Jeva Lange

A beer a day keeps the doctor away
2:59 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

A 110-year-old woman credits her longevity to the simple things: God and Miller High Life. New Jerseyan Agnes Fenton says she has been drinking a few Millers a day for the last 70 years, a habit she started after a doctor told her that her only health problem was a benign tumor.

Though Fenton no longer drinks as much as she did when she was a youthful 105 (her caregivers have told her that three Millers and a glass of whiskey a day is too much now that she eats less) Fenton says other than being faithful to God and a loyal imbiber of the champagne of beers, there isn't really a secret to her longevity.

"Just keep in touch with God and do the right thing," Fenton told ABC 7. "That's all I know." Cheers! Becca Stanek

This just in
2:36 p.m. ET
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

The first Republican presidential debate on Thursday, which is capped at 10 candidates, is now expected to include Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, The New York Times projects. Fox News, the host of the debate, will announce the official slate of 10 candidates after Tuesday's 5 p.m. polling deadline, but according to the network's criteria, it appears that Christie and Kasich will have firmly made the cut. Rick Perry, who had been neck-and-neck with them in earlier polls, fell to 11th place after he secured support from only 2.0 percent of those polled.

Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki likewise did not make the cut, and are expected to be designated to the earlier 5 p.m. debate on Thursday for those polling outside the top 10. Trump, meanwhile, leads the top 10 contenders with 23.2 percent support, and will appear on the debate stage in Cleveland on Thursday at 9 p.m. alongside his fellow presidential hopefuls. Jeva Lange

Trump mania explained
1:56 p.m. ET
Matthew Busch/Getty Images

Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes finally answered the question that political pollsters have been struggling to answer: Why is Donald Trump so popular across so many demographic groups? His theory is that while "everybody is trying to be the kinder, gentler, you know, the compassionate conservative," that's not what the "average American" actually wants.

He broke it down further, using a dog analogy. "The average American," Starnes explained, "they don't want one of those metrosexual purse dogs, they want a pit bull in the White House." Donald Trump, presumably, is the pit bull. A candidate such as Jeb Bush, in Starnes' opinion, is the "metrosexual purse dog."

In polls that came out this week, Trump led the GOP presidential field by a 2-to-1 advantage, garnering support from 26 percent of respondents in both the latest Monmouth University poll and the latest Fox poll. While political pundits were at first leery of Trump's staying power, Starnes said he knew all along that Trump's support would only continue to grow.

"I might not be the brightest bulb in the lava lamp," Starnes said, "but I came out with a commentary that aired all across the country that said 'do not underestimate Donald Trump.' This is the guy who is saying what the American working man and the American working woman want to hear." Becca Stanek

rip cecil
1:39 p.m. ET
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

People will try to make a dime off of anything, including, apparently, Cecil the lion. Killed last month in Zimbabwe by a dentist, Cecil has been all over headlines recently (Was Jericho the Lion also murdered? What about this other lion?), and his likeness could soon end up stores, too. Motherboard reports that there have already been four trademark applications filed to the United States Patent and Trademark office, all of which are vying to claim Cecil for themselves.

The four applications were all filed for "paraphernalia," meaning the companies are looking to claim the rights to Cecil in order to make T-shirts, stuffed animals, and home decor. A travel agency, the maker of Beanie Babies, and the toy company responsible for plush toys of One Direction band members all filed for trademarks.

If these companies are really going to cash in on the Cecil craze, though, they may have already missed their window of opportunity: Motherboard points out that the Cecil the lion hype is unlikely to last the duration of the lengthy legal process required to acquire a trademark. Jeva Lange

nose knows
1:01 p.m. ET
Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images

Being blind or deaf poses some very serious problems to living a normal life. But what about losing your sense of smell?

Sure, you would be blissfully unaware of some of the more unpleasant smells in the world (shout out to hot garbage) — but what must it feel like to not experience the aroma of delicious barbecue wafting from the grill, or the scent of an asphalt driveway after the rain, or that indescribably delicious smell of a newborn baby?

Our sense of smell is deeply intertwined with our memories and emotions, meaning that those who lose their ability to smell through accident or illness experience "a strong sense of loss," writes Emma Young at Mosaic. Young spoke with Nick, a 34-year-old who lost his sense of smell after a hockey accident last year. While Nick is thankful to be alive, it's clear that losing his sense of smell (doctors suspect his olfactory nerve cells were damaged or totally destroyed after he sustained a head injury) has come with an enormous emotional toll.

While the tongue can still taste sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami flavors, "more complex flavors — like grapefruit or barbecued steak — depend on smell," Young writes. Nick, who works at a craft brewery, says that without his sense of smell, his favorite beer is "a shell of its former self" to him now. He knows that the hops should give off notes of pine, citrus, and grapefruit, but he can no longer confirm that. He has also begun to rely on salty and spicy foods to whet his appetite now that the subtleties of flavor that come with foods' aromas are lost on him.

But the saddest part of Nick's ailment may be how once visceral experiences have now lost a dimension. As Nick puts it:

"I walk into my parents' house or my wife's family's house — and it doesn't have that smell. And I miss the ambience and the smells when there's an Eagles game, and everyone sets up grills in all the parking lots in south Philly, and grill up all kinds of crazy food items, and drink beer, hours before the game starts. Stuff you are used to... it's just gone." [Mosaic]

Read the full story at Mosaic. Samantha Rollins

nice try
12:33 p.m. ET

It's official: You can't out-Trump The Donald.

In response to GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump releasing his competitor Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)'s personal phone number during a very on-brand speech last month, Gawker retaliated in kind by publishing the real-estate mogul's own digits. But Trump is Trump, and he will take your best barbs and turn them in his favor. Behold, The Donald's new voicemail greeting, courtesy of NBC's Frank Thorp:

Your move, America. Kimberly Alters

See More Speed Reads