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Saturday, 03 September 2011

INTERESTING STUFF: 3 September 2011

Category_bug_interestingstuff Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog if you have one.


REAL LIFE UP HOUSE

Up House

Look closely now – that is NOT a still shot of the floating house from the 2009 Disney-Pixar animated film, Up. (Note the two living humans attaching balloons to the chimney.) It is a real-world facsimile – inside and out - built by Utah home builder, Blair Bangerter, who is an animation buff.

The house is listed for sale at $400,000 but has not found a buyer yet. Meanwhile, about 27,000 people have toured it at $10 a pop.

You can see more photos here and read the story at The New York Times too.

THE PARIS POST-IT WARS
According to The Guardian, Parisian office workers have (mis)spent the summer trying to outdo one another in the Post-It Wars – creating elaborate pictures in their windows with vari-colored Post-It Notes. Here's one of my favorites:

Paris PostIts

But that's nothing. You should see the Mona Lisa and Marilyn Monroe. You can do that in a slideshow here.

You can read more about the Battles of the Post-Its here.

CEO PAY
Last week, the Institute for Policy Studies released its research into chief executive pay for the top 100 U.S. corporations. At least 25 of them, say the researchers, paid their executives more than they paid in federal taxes. In fact, the companies averaged $304 million each in tax benefits (read: refunds) through shelters, loopholes and other strategies on average profits of $1.9 billion.

“'We have no evidence that C.E.O.’s are fashioning, with their executive leadership, more effective and efficient enterprises,' the study concluded.

“'On the other hand, ample evidence suggests that C.E.O.’s and their corporations are expending considerably more energy on avoiding taxes than perhaps ever before — at a time when the federal government desperately needs more revenue to maintain basic services for the American people.'”

Read more here.

RAIN ORCHESTRA
This is beautiful and amazing. That's all I'm going to tell you. (Hat tip to chlost of Just My Life)

WILLIE NELSON AND SUSTAINABLE FARMING
Country music icon, Willie Nelson, has been associated with Farm Aid, the organization that since 1985 has helped raise money for family farms. This year's concert was held last month in Kansas City, Kansas.

Chipotle recently commissioned a short, animated film titled Back to the Start about the life of a farmer who turns his farm into an industrial animal factory and then sees the error of his ways. On the soundtrack, Willie sings Coldplay's classic, The Scientist.

DISCOUNT FOR SUPERMARKET FLU SHOTS
For the past week or two, there have been online ads for a 10 percent discount on a grocery purchase if you get your annual flu shot at one of my local market's pharmacy.

flu shot sale

Yes, of course it is designed to get more customers in the store, but it's still a nice idea for the community's well-being. Other national chain stores are holding similar sales.

GULF OF MEXICO SICK FISH
Ever since the BP oil spill, when I buy fish and seafood I always ask its origin. I don't believe those millions of gallons of spilled crude haven't affected the health of the fish.

Last week, this CBS News segment, which is pertinent to the proposed construction of a pipeline to transport heavy crude from oil sands in Canada across the Great Plains of the U.S. to the Gulf coast, went viral. Note how one scientist (speaking from a research boat in the Gulf) oh-so-casually refers to future spills. Of course, there will be more.

THE VIRGINIA MONOLOGUES
Thanks to Chuck Nyren who blogs at Advertising to Baby Boomers, I have discovered Virginia Ironside, a 65-year-old British newspaperwoman who has begun a career now as a comedian. Here is a sample from The Virginia Monologues:

Virginia also has a book, You're Old, I'm Old, Get Over It. You can find out more about her, her performances and the book here.

GROWING OLD IN NEW YORK CITY
I had every intention of dying in my New York City home. Life didn't turn out that way for me but it is for other elders.

Not many cities are as well equipped for old people as New York. There is good public transportation and needed stores and services are within walking distance of pretty much everyone since businesses are located on the first floors of most apartment and office buildings making errands easy to do.

Plus, when necessary, just about anything can be delivered in New York; I'm pretty sure the corner bodega would deliver a pack of gum if you tipped the kid a couple of dollars.

Other elder-friendly improvements are being tackled by the city and elders themselves are getting creative about staying put in their old age. The New York Times has a good story about the current pros and cons.

CAN'T GET A WINK OF SLEEP
Watch how Ziggy the shar pei tries for a nap but his head keeps slipping off the armrest. I laughed at the first comment on this video's YouTube page: “I'm reasonably certain there's a metaphor for my dating life in here.”


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

"At least 25 of them, say the researchers, paid their executives more than they paid in federal taxes."

Of course! Think of all of the things that are deducted from gross income by businesses. Salaries are a deductible expense! (I recall conversations on the deductibility of huge corporate salaries, so it is possible that there is a cap on the amount of salary to an executive that is deductible. Would someone who knows, please step in to clarify?)

Ah, as usual you delight me with this weekly feature. A running commentary: Delightful house, great windows, but simply wonderful rain and great Willy as usual...tho I hide when massive pig farming is mentioned as there is a midwest, animal factory pig farmer with my last name out there. But I think I will get my flu shot at the doc's office.

I can identify with the Shar-pei. More nights than not I fall asleep sitting up on the couch only to waken with a stiff neck.

I have seen it before, but still love the rain orchestra. It is so soothing.

Loved the Shar-pei!!

Terrific Ronni,I posted a couple of these on my Facebook. Loved the "Up" house, the rain concert brought a tear to my eye (I'm a little tired this morning), and the farmer video was so wonderful, Willy his usual good self. My son raises pigs, chickens, and goats. They all have little houses they can go into if they want but they have the run of the fields otherwise, can't imagine locking everything up. The eggs he gets are too die for. I do get my flu shot at our Safeway, I usually give the coupon to my daughter-in-law as you have to buy $50 of groceries at a time to redeem it and I don't often do that. Being a small town we know the pharmacist and he's the one who gives the shot to us. I don't know if they get hired help in bigger cities.

I agree, many ceo's and corporations seem better at working the system than they do actually producing things of value. Perhaps we need a better and simpler tax system. Call your congressperson. And we need better supervision of corporate leaders -- although I haven't heard of any good way to do that ... don't give the job to a congressperson, whatever you do.

But (and I hate to say it)are the ceo's all that different from the Americans who go to great lengths to maximize their social security payments and minimize the taxes they pay; maximize their company benefits but minimize the hours they work; who try to get other people to pay their medical bills, who buy gass-guzzling SUVs and damn the consequences; and who spend a lot of time trying to get rich playing the stock market, or the real estate market, or the lottery?

(Wow, I'm not usually this cynical, but I've been reading the news lately.)

P.S. I don't live in NYC, but I'd think it'd be a great place to retire ... but only a very few wealthy people with rent-controlled apts. could afford to do it.

That shar pei's snore sounds eerily like my wife's, which is much less annoying than mine I am told.

"Back to the Start" is terrific. I also enjoyed the Virginia Ironside and Zippy the shar pei videos.

Thanks!

Poor Ziggy! He snores almost as badly as I do (according to mr. k)

I can identify with the Shar-pei. More nights than not I fall asleep sitting up on the couch only to waken with a stiff neck.

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