Open Thread – 8 February 2013

INTERESTING STUFF - 9 February 2013

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Cynthia Friedlob, host of Experience Talks, a radio interview program with and about elders, tells me that the interview she and I did last year will be broadcast this morning on the KPFK-FM in the Los Angeles area at 9AM Pacific time. You can also listen on the KPFK website or in the archives at the Experience Talks website.]

The company that owns the Monopoly game has ditched an old token for a new one.

It's about time there's a cat since there has always been a dog, but I'll miss that little iron.

Hat tip to Steve Garfield and my recent house guest, Jim Stone for alerting me to this Doonesbury cartoon about hiring elders:

Doonesbury Elderly

While on her morning walk in Adelaide last week, Woo-Hyang Sun encountered a overly friendly koala:

"She kept looking at me and looked like she wanted something, so I poured some water in my palm, and the koala drank it at once."

“But that was not enough.”


Before long, the koala had drunk three bottles of water:

"'At times she grabbed the bottle to tip it higher, just like humans, and as if she's done it many times before,' Mrs Sun said. 'After she finished the whole bottle, she was waving her hand, I guess, for more water.

"'She followed me for an hour and ended up drinking three bottles altogether - definitely the friendliest koala I've ever seen.'”

TGB's Sunday musicologist, who emailed this item, also explained why this story is (beyond its cute factor) noteworthy:

”The thing about koalas is that they don't drink water. They get their water needs from the eucalyptus leaves that are their diet...The only times it's been recorded that they've drunk water is after major bush fires. It didn't seem to be the case this time so it's particularly unusual.”

You can read more here where there are also more way-too-cute photos.

My friend and neighbor Bill Pederson sent along this video made by Marc Brecy who is said to be a high school student. It is terrific:

This caught my eye this week, a subculture in Congo and surrounding countries that's been going on for more than a hundred years:

"It's the fetishization of fashion - they are the worshippers of fashion, it's their god, it's powerful," says Didier Gondola, author of "History of the Congo," who has extensively researched the Sapeurs.

daniele-tamagni photo 1

It's all about classic elegance to these men, many of whom work at menial jobs and the de rigeur haute couture labels don't come cheap.

”Once dressed in their finery, Brazzaville's Sapeurs will often head to Le Main Bleu, a favorite bar, where they have informal contests. Each tries to out Sap each other with their combination of style, comportment and designer labels -- known as 'griffes.'"

-daniele-tamagni 2

In today's small space I'm not doing this story justice. You can read more here along with more colorful photos. (Photographs by Daniele Tamagni)

The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that Saturday delivery will end later this year.

You may think this isn't important in the age of email, FedEx and UPS but surprise: rural citizens and business people often have poor or no access to the internet and get this: Fedex and UPS often farm out package delivery to the Postal Service because it's cheaper for them to do it that way.

The Postal Service is the only agency of the federal government established in the Constitution – in Section 8 of Article 1:

”Congress shall have the power...To establish Post Offices and Post Roads”

It is important that you know why the Postal Service is in such terrible money trouble. Although it is more complicated, this is the simplest explanation [emphasis added]:

” 2006 [Congress] passed a law that requires the Postal Service to pre-pay its health insurance fund by depositing an additional $5 billion a year for the next 10 years into the insurance fund to offset for the phantom accounting deficit under the unified budget. No other public or private agency is required to do anything remotely comparable.

You can read a longer and more detailed explanation here, and understand that this law is intended to eventually kill – read: privatize – the postal service if something is not done to stop it from happening.

Another federal agency Republicans want to privatize is, as we all know, Social Security. Here is a short, succinct video about all the things SSA does and how successful it is from the National Academy of Social Insurance. I'm pretty sure some of it will surprise you.

Garry Trudeau was on a roll this week. This one, sent by elderlaw attorney, John Gear, is about “illegal aliens” from last Sunday. Here are the first and last panels.




Go read the whole panel here. It's worth it.

Thank Bev Carney for keeping us up to date with the latest from Simon's Cat.

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.


Another good collection. I will have to come back to see the videos later. The koala is adorable. Maybe they need more water than they can get from eucalyptus leaves.

Good morniing and thank you. LOL

Adelaide has just been through the most extreme heat wave since the 1930s, with the temperature reaching 48 C (118 F). The trees are parched and the koalas are unable to draw enough moisture from the leaves to stave off dehydration. This one must have been so desperately thirsty she overcame her fear of humans in order to avoid dying of thirst. You wonder how many didn't make it to three bottles of water from a bemused tourist?

Ronni--How about that Mozart walking stick?!

Deb--Thanks for the clarification. Good point!

The new cat in the monopoly game could've been a little fatter, if you get my drift.

ALL--Ronni has alerted me to a blip in my comment. Ronni did NOT give the 270,000 figure. That figure came from the Doonesbury panels to which Ronni had given the link. Thus, I should have written: (I'm accepting the Doonesbury number without checking).
Ronni & ALL--Thanks, Ronni, for the notification. My apologies to Ronni and all who may have read my comment, above.

Re: the Marc Bercy video --
It's not U.S. History, it's world history.

Well, Deborah's correct - world history. Sometimes my fingers work faster than my mind.

Pedantry alert - sorry, but koalas are not bears. And I'm still wondering how the koala associated people with providing water. There was another famous example after bushfires several years ago.

Ronnie, I'm a 30-year Rural Letter Carrier, retired. You are entirely correct in your United States Postal Service comments. We appreciate your support.

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