Saturday, 03 September 2011
INTERESTING STUFF: 3 September 2011
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
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.
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:
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.
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.'”
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.
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.”