Easing End-of-Life Pain
ELDER MUSIC: Seasons - Spring

INTERESTING STUFF – 25 June 2016

DO YOU LIVE IN OR AROUND WASHINGTON, D.C.

Annys Shin is an editor at the Washington Post. She is working on a story for the newspaper's magazine about ageism and is looking for real people's stories about their experiences with ageism and their observations about it.

If you live in the Washington, D.C. area and are interested in being interviewed for the story, email Ms. Shin at annys DOT shin AT washpost.com (change the DOT to a period, change the AT to the @ sign and remove spaces. Remember, you need to live in the environs of Washington, D.C. The deadline is end-of-day on Monday 27 June.

BACON AND GOD'S WRATH

Tom Delmore sent this short film showing 90-year-old Razie contemplating defying the rules of her religion to eat a bacon sandwich for the first time in her life.

As the YouTube page notes, “Bacon, atheism, the internet, Julia Child and Christopher Hitchens all converge in the Razie's intellectual awakening.” The documentary premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

And they say old people can't change. Hmmph.

A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION ENDS ON 1 JULY

After more than four decades, Garrison Keillor is retiring from Prairie Home Companion. The last broadcast will be performed at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Friday 1 July.

As The New York Times reported, Keillor, who is 73, has retired before but this time he said

”...he means it. He has named a successor and lined up meaty post-Prairie projects, among them columns for The Washington Post, a screenplay and a book.”

He also has a solo tour planned through this year, along with a Prairie-esque Labor Day weekend show at the Minnesota State Fair.

If you're a fan, check your local listing for the final broadcast because some public radio stations delay the show. Mine will air it on 2 July.

The New York Times published a terrific profile of Garrison Keillor last week. After more than 40 years, it really is the end of an era.

IT'S OFTEN LITTLE THINGS THAT GIVE AWAY A PERSON'S UNDERLYING CHARACTER

There are hundreds of more substantive reasons to dislike Donald Trump but this one, a spur-of-the-moment, “diamond and platinum” wedding gift, exposes bedrock character.

It's actor Charlie Sheen telling the story on a recent Graham Norton Show:

It's such a stupid, little lie that any fool could guess would be found out and I wouldn't have featured it today except that two days after I watched the video, a story in The New York Times about Donald Trump's relationship with his late attorney Roy Cohn, turned up this nugget. Mr. Fraser was Cohn's long-time companion.

”After one Cohn coup, Mr. Trump rewarded him with a pair of diamond-encrusted cuff links and buttons in a Bulgari box...Years later, Mr. Fraser had them appraised; they were knockoffs, he said.”

Anything further I would like to say is probably actionable.

WHITE HOUSE LIVING IS NOT FREE FOR PRESIDENTS

A link to this story appeared in an email Darlene Costner forwarded so I checked it out.

You would think the White House comes free for a president, but no. He (or she) is billed for private meals, personal items such as toothpaste, cologne, etc. and “use of waiters and servers and setup and cleanup crews” for private events.

Each month, the president is provided with an accounting and bill to reimburse the government for such expenses.

”Gary Walters, who was chief White House usher for many years, said the payment rule dates back to 1800 when the White House was first occupied by President John Adams and there was no staff. Presidents brought staff with them and paid for everything.

“Congress gradually began spending money to maintain an official White House staff to oversee operations and maintenance, but presidents continued to pay for personal expenses.”

There are more details at The Guardian.

60 PERCENT OF READERS FORWARD LINKS WITHOUT READING THEM

Maybe we really are heading into a post-literate era. As the Chicago Tribune reported last week,

”On June 4, the satirical news site the Science Post published a block of 'lorem ipsum' text under a frightening headline: 'Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.'

“Nearly 46,000 people shared the post, some of them quite earnestly — an inadvertent example, perhaps, of life imitating comedy.

“Now, as if it needed further proof, the satirical headline's been validated once again: According to a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked: In other words, most people appear to retweet news without ever reading it.”

More at the Chicago Tribune.

THE NEW YORKER COMMA QUEEN

I'm pretty good at grammar and more than a bit of a nitpicker about it. For example, sometimes I think I am the last English speaker on Earth know knows the difference between fewer and less – and I'll leave it at that for today lest I start ranting.

Mary Norris, who is a long-time copy editor at The New Yorker magazine, appears in a regular video column about grammar called “The Comma Queen” and recently she explained the answer one grammar problem that I have never been able to keep in my head; I always have to look it up.

Here is Ms. Norris on the difference between which and that.

If you are interested in more grammar advice from the Comma Queen, there is a collection of such videos at her YouTube section.

JOHN OLIVER – BREXIT

On Thursday, Britain voted to leave the European Union and you cannot have missed news of the ongoing turmoil since then along with concern about the many ways the exit will affect the rest of the world (as if a big-time, world-wide drop in the stock markets is not enough in itself).

But before that happened, on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver made his case for voting against Britain's exit from the European Union. That makes this video way out of date now but let me state my case to you for spending 15 minutes watching it.

It will make you smarter. You will learn a lot about Britain's relationship with Europe. It will give Americans plenty to think about our own foreign policy as Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump vie to be elected president.

Oh, and thanks to Oliver's best comedy style, you will laugh like crazy over the song at the end.

AMAZON'S BRICKS AND MORTAR BOOK STORES

Amazon opened its first bricks-and-mortar book shop in Seattle last November. The second will open this summer in San Diego. And guess what? The third will open come fall at Washington Square, a mall that is about a 20-minute drive from my home.

And I can't wait to have another book store nearby to wander around in. And get this:

”None of the books have prices listed. This forces customers to download the Amazon app to look up prices, or to use an in-store scanner, Business Insider reported.

“Amazon has said it will charge the same price for books in-store as it does online, but the lack of physical price tags could enable Amazon to change prices for the books at any time.”

You can read more here.

A MAN, A DOG, A HUMMINGBIRD

Darlene sent this April news report from a CBS affiliate in California about a strange and heartwarming friendship.

* * *

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” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I 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 include the name of the blog and its URL.

Comments

My expectation was that the bacon sandwich video would be about a lighthearted breaking of a taboo. Instead, it was a deeper discussion of our values and how fear, being handed down from one generation to the next, is used to form our personal opinions and decisions.
An uplifting part is that Razie is still questioning and challenging, which brings on changes and personal development well into our older years.

The hummingbird was a delight to watch. Interesting that the dog seemed to know, or sense on another plane, that the bird was alive. Yes, a good story on how we all live on this planet and can enrich and help one another.

Now I'm going to watch J.Oliver, whom I already know will be entertaining and informative. I hope none of the Brexit spills onto our own election as it's not the same, but imagine it will for awhile.

I watched the Comma Queen video and I STILL don't understand the difference between which and that.

I watched the Comma Queen video, which is supposed to help us understand the diff....wait....THAT is supposed to help us understand....wait....oh, never mind, I really don't need to understand.

Re "less" and "fewer," my local ShopRite in Clark, NJ, has signs at its Express lanes that read, "12 items or fewer." I smile every time I see them.

Loved the Comma Queen. Reminded me of my early days as a copy editor when we were reminded constantly to conduct "which hunts."

I've never worried that my readers forward links (maybe I should). I do have to remind myself that most readers don't read the linked material, so I have to write with that in mind. I have to summarize what was said so that what I write makes sense even if the linked material isn't read or, as often happens with videos in particular, disappears entirely.

I honestly don't understand why Amazon thinks it needs to open brick-and-mortar stores. Maybe it's in anticipation of drone deliveries never being allowed (which is fine by me).

Any beautiful story about animals brings peace to me.

I was surprised to find that myself laughing with (not at) Charlie Sheen on the Graham Norton Show.

A Man, A Dog, A Hummingbird was profound. The man was so patient and persistent in caring for his rescue dog, and both were amazingly patient in caring for the rescue hummingbird.

John Oliver on Brexit was definitely worth watching, even knowing the outcome of the vote.

Great Blog !

Love the Brexit bit ... reminds me of the current mishugas in America over the PT Barnum wanna-be, second rate showman named Trump!
Do you think that some of this insanity could be a result of the non-existent climate change problem? Hmmmmm

Miki - maybe you're onto something - we don't always have all the answers, do we? The culprit might be the worry, fears and frustrations over our world being overwhelmed with present and future problems, even when we're not directly affected.

Sometimes I get up after reading online or with paper and briefly feel downright battered and bruised, emotionally. I'm not certain from which that comes.

I will miss the Prairie Home Companion, having listened to it for years. Have even driven to Minneapolis twice with my sisters to see the show live. I've read that he admits his tales from Lake Wobegon are really based more upon how life was in a small town for his parents generation; I enjoy it because it's so familiar to me, having grown up in a small, rural town in Nebraska. But that way of life is now as gone as that of the Plains Indians.

I loved the video about Razie's moral dilemma and how the Internet opened her mind. I hope she enjoyed the bacon as much as I do. Funny how we can go an entire lifetime denying ourselves of something because we were told it was forbidden by our mothers or Rabbis or other persons of influence.

The Internet has changed the minds of many of us on a variety of subjects.

The video about the bacon? I really, really could have done without the little 'razor' sequence, but I did appreciate hearing about her 'evolution', having gone through some of the same myself...including Christopher Hitchens' books.

For those who love hummingbirds, let me suggest a delightful little book...FASTEST THINGS ON WINGS: RESCUING HUMMINGBIRDS IN HOLLYWOOD by Terry Masear.

...and John Oliver is, of course, always thought-provoking and delightful!

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