Saturday, 05 January 2013
INTERESTING STUFF: 5 January 2013
DOWNTON ABBEY RESUMES TOMORROW
A reminder for fans among TGB readers, Downton Abbey resumes tomorrow – Sunday – evening. Another American joins the cast this season, 78-year-old Shirley MacLaine.
For awhile, MacLaine was on my radar more than entertainers generally are because at a certain time in our lives, over a period of 10 or 15 years, I was often mistaken for her. If you're interested, you can read about that here.
In a New York Times story this weekend, Ms. MacLaine spoke about working with the other 78-year-old actor in Downton Abbey, Maggie Smith:
“Maggie and I don’t like to get up and walk around a lot anymore. So we sat and we reminisced about life and lovers and the business and directors. That was really interesting and so much fun.”
I like the part about “and lovers.” People tend to forget that we old women have that kind of personal history.
Here's a trailer for the new season of Downton Abbey.
CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS "WELCOME" THE TEA PARTY
You wouldn't know it most of the time but politicians do occasionally evince a sense of humor. As the 113th Congress was sworn in this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out these membership cards to the 25 freshman Republicans. (Click here for larger image)
Not to be outdone, the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee sent “official lap dog kits” to the incoming Democrats. It's too big to capture for this post but you can see it here.
YA GOTTA LOVE VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN
For the swearing in ceremonies in Congress, new legislators bring along good-sized contingents of their families and Joe Biden can never resist a good schmooze.
Here is a montage of his glad-handing, kissing, hugging and bantering with those families in the Senate last week put together by TalkingPointsMemo:
AND NOW, FINALLY, SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN
It seems to have taken eons to get this fine, smart woman an official place in the national political arena. She is among the few – less than half a dozen – politicians I believe in without question. Here's what she said soon after her election in November:
And this is what she told her home-state paper, The Boston Globe, this week:
“This chair, this particular Senate seat, was held by John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, [Charles] Sumner and of course Senator [Edward M.] Kennedy for half a century,” Warren said. “Men of principle, men who fought hard for the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and for this country.
“I come into this…knowing I’m not those men,” she added. “But I’m going to work my heart out.”
I don't think I'm foolish to trust her on that.
COST OF HIP REPLACEMENT IN SWEDEN
In the lead-up to the debt ceiling fight over the next couple of months, we will be hearing a lot about how old people's health care costs too much and must be cut.
From TGB reader Nikki who blogs from Sweden at From Where I Sit, a report on the price of a friend's hip replacement surgery:
"The whole time in the hospital, the surgeon, doctors, nurses, physio, meds, bed - the whole thing cost him less than 300KR. That's less than US$45.00.
“THAT'S what universal health care is. THAT'S what most of the rest of the civilized world already has. THAT'S what President Obama is trying to get through. That's what the Affordable Care Act is a stepping stone toward. I will NEVER understand why you don't 'get' that and support it with all your hearts.
"Maybe I should say, he doesn't have any additional insurance of any kind. He simply used the existing national healthcare services."
It really would help - individuals, government, national budgets, every person in the U.S. - if our legislators would bother to research how other countries have tackled problems and work out how to apply their solutions here.
GRANNY'S COOKING FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Thanks to TGB reader Joe Erlich, we now know about a project of Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti. He traveled the world photographing elder women and their special recipes – like this one from The Philippines:
There are a couple of dozen more photos at Mr. Galimberti's website, all of them in this style – the woman with her ingredients and the finished product. Nice.
MAMA CAT VERSUS DOBERMAN
I almost got through an entire Interesting Stuff without an animal video. We can't have that so here's one of a cat for whom standing off a Doberman is all in a – yawn! - day's work.
MAURICE SENDAK 1928 - 2012
Among the well-known people who died last year was a national treasure, Maurice Sendak. Midori Barstow was the first of half a dozen readers to let me know about this animation by Christoph Niemann set to a 2011 interview with Sendak conducted by NPR's Fresh Air host, Terri Gross.
CARLIN ON “SOFT LANGUAGE”
Speaking of the dead, comedian – well, truth-teller is more apt – George Carlin has been gone for more than four years but his riffs, even those that go back much further than 2008, remain pertinent; they could easily be presented for the first time today.
Here he is on stupid euphemisms and for us old folks, there is a particularly relevant section beginning at minute 4:45:
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.