Saturday, 17 August 2013
INTERESTING STUFF – 17 August 2013
JOHN OLIVER ON AUSTRALIA ELECTION
On Thursday, John Oliver finished his summer gig filling in as host of The Daily Show while Jon Stewart directed a movie in the Middle East. There will be a two week hiatus and then the program returns with Stewart in the host chair and Oliver back to being a second banana.
And what a shame that is. To take nothing at all away from Jon Stewart who is brilliant, Oliver's star went supernova during his two-month stint. Of course, he had all the same writers as Stewart (including himself) but he is his own comic person with his own comic take and delivery and I was glued to the program every night - I didn't miss an episode.
The funniest, best piece, for me, was last Monday's comparison of Australian and U.S. election campaigns. It is off the charts funny, one for the record books that should be framed and kept forever. Here it is:
AUGUST AND THE RETURN OF THE SCREECHING TEA PARTY LOONS
I had begun collecting the links to the batshit craziest things that pop out of the demented Congressionals' mouths when they arrive home for the summer but it got away from me – there are too many to track.
Then I got lucky and found this cartoon. I don't have copyright permission to post this and I shouldn't so it may disappear, but I couldn't resist.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY
This video arrived a day too late for me to include in the Social Security anniversary post on Wednesday. (Liberal and progressive organizations are too often a few steps behind their Republican counterparts in advance planning.)
But it is full of important survey information that you'll want to know when Congress returns from its summer recess and the “entitlement” hawks start trying to cut the program again.
IRISH VERSION OF THE CUP SONG
From my friend Jim Stone who said in his email that he found this strangely soothing to hear. Or was it, strangely relaxing that he said? Either way I felt similarly when I watched it.
You may be wondering what The Cup Song is. Me too, so I looked it up. You can find out here.
AND I'M LEFT DEEPLY ALARMED
I may have mentioned that I don't read climate change and other environment disaster stories. I can't do it. They scare the crap out of me and they make me weep for all of us and our little, blue planet.
Then John Starbuck of For a Dancer sent this story about a small town in Texas called Barnhart where fracking for oil is sucking all the water from the land. This time I read it most of the way through:
"'The day that we ran out of water I turned on my faucet and nothing was there and at that moment I knew the whole of Barnhart was down the tubes,' [Beverly McGuire ] said, blinking back tears. 'I went: “dear God help us. That was the first thought that came to mind."
“Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted...
“In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.”
Did you read that last part - "by the end of the year"? And no one is doing anything about it. I feel utterly helpless and totally frightened for us all. The rest of the story is here.
Although it is probably too late to matter, this is the kind of environmental and power decisions our country and the world should be racing to make:
In a related story, solar panels are being installed on the White House this week. Read about it here.
AGAINST THE LAWS OF THE UNIVERSE
Late night TV host Craig Ferguson's explanation of, in his words, “why everything sucks” isn't as fresh as he appears to believe and it won't be new to you. People our age have known this forever.
But it can't hurt to repeat it now and then and bring everyone else up to speed. (Hat tip to Norma Hall).
4000 YEARS OF HISTORY IN ONE HUGE CHART
This “histomap” of history was created by John B. Sparks in 1931 but don't let that date put you off. The map takes the long, long view of the broad strokes of history so not much is missing without the 80 years since it was published.
THE FIRST 25 DAYS IN ATLANTA ZOO'S BABY TWIN PANDAS
They were born on 15 July and the Atlanta zoo shot a little bit of video every day for nearly the first month. With a hat tip to Tamar of Only Connect, take a look at the cuteness:
If that's not enough for you, ZooAtlanta has installed a pandacam so you can watch at any time.
Not to be outdone, the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China has also installed a 24/7 pandacam. So if one set of pandas is sleeping or off doing baby panda things elsewhere when you want to check in, the ones on the other side of world are probably awake.
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.