Inspiration for Our Resistance in 2017
ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2016 - Part 1

INTERESTING STUFF – 31 December 2016

THE NEW YEAR THAT IS UPON US

Here we are today at the end of another year. This is the final Interesting Stuff and the final post overall for the year of 2016, which passes into history tonight.

My first inclination was to collect information we will need to pursue our resistance next year. We have a lot of serious work to do in 2017 and need to keep ourselves well educated and up to date.

But then I had a second thought, a better one I think: How about some items that please or amuse me for a variety of reasons - nothing too serious; just a group of things I like that you might enjoy too.

Before we begin, however, here is a thought to keep in mind during all of 2017: It is possible to live in terrible, even frightening political times and still delight in the pleasures great and small of day-to-day life.

Happy New Year, my friends.

240 GREEN LIGHTS

When I first moved to New York City in the late 1960s, my husband and I lived in Riverdale, just beyond the northern tip of Manhattan, and he hosted an all night talk show at a radio station in midtown.

Sometimes, when I would need the car first thing in the morning, I would drive him to his job late in the evening and on my way home, in an almost empty city, I would play a game with myself: how many green lights could I get through on Park Avenue without being stopped by a red one.

The best I ever did was nine in a row.

Noah Forman, the YouTube page tells us, is now a New York City ride-share driver who previously drove a yellow cab. In this video, he attempts a record run at hitting consecutive green lights while driving in Manhattan.

He gets an estimated 240 of them. The video is, in its own way and unrelated to the game, quite mesmerizing. Take a look.

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE YEAR

Many publications publish the best-phofos-of-the-year at during this final week. The New York Times is no exception and they posted some stunning news photographs that together tell a pretty good story of the 2016.

WASHINGTON, D.C.
In January, the seat for Justice Antonin Scalia was draped in black at the Supreme Court after his death on 13 February. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

ScaliaChair

PALMYRA, SYRIA
In April, after nearly a year under the brutal control of Islamic State forces, the city’s celebrated ancient ruins sustained significant, irreparable damage. (Bryan Denton for The New York Times)

Palmyra

ALEPPO, SYRIA
In August. Can anyone forget this now-iconimc Omran Daqneesh, age 5, who was rescued after an airstrike. (Mahmoud Raslan/Aleppo Media Center)

Omran

You can see many more of the news photographs at The Times.

DR. HEIMLICH DEAD AT AGE 96

More than 20 years ago, maybe even 30, in a restaurant, a friend saved me from a choking death with the famed Heimlich maneuver. By now there are thousands of stories like mine, maybe millions. Surely we all know how to do it:

Earlier this month, Henry Judah Heimlich died at age 96. The New York Times explained in graphic terms how important his maneuver is:

”In the 1970s, choking on food or foreign objects like toys was the sixth-leading cause of accidental death in America: some 4,000 fatalities annually, many of them children.

“A blocked windpipe often left a victim unable to breathe or talk, gesturing wildly to communicate distress that mimicked a heart attack. In four minutes, an oxygen-starved brain begins to suffer irreversible damage. Death follows shortly thereafter.”

Not many of us get to make such an important contribution to the wellbeing of humankind. Hail Dr. Heimlich and godspeed.

You can read the full obituary here.

THE WORLD'S LONGEST TUNNEL JUST OPENED

In the Alps – 35.5 miles which translates to 57 kilometers. It is called the Botthard Base Tunnel. Here's the story:

If you want to know or see more, here for more video choices. And you can read more at the BBC.

THE ART OF ROCK BALANCING

This is from the Weather Channel and it is lovely. As it explained:

”In the placid creeks of Boulder, Colorado, you may find alien-looking stacks of rocks, seemingly defying gravity in their precarious carriage. These cairns could be the work of Michael Grab, a Yoda-like master of the art of rock balancing.

“Grab isn’t alone in his craft—a growing global community of like-minded artists are mastering rock balancing with a zen-like discipline that will surely boggle the mind.”

ICE SKATING IN THE STREETS OF MONTREAL

On Boxing Day last Monday, Montreal was hit with a freezing rain that left behind layers of ice coveriing the streets.

One of TGB's Canadian readers, doctafil, who blogs at Jive Chalkin', emailed links to some videos showing how people took good advantage of the rare street freeze.

(Be patient – this is an amateur video and there is a black gap beginning at 12 seconds that lasts until about 30 seconds. It's a nice video and worth the wait.)

THE SNOWFLAKE PHYSICIST

Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht was a consultant on the wildly successful movie, Frozen. He is also a physicist at CalTech who studies that most ephemeral of nature's beauty – snowflakes.

POLAR BEAR CUBS PLAYING IN THE SNOW

I no longer read beyond the headlines of stories about the ravages to nature of climate change. If I did, I would never stop weeping. Maybe I'll write about that here one day.

What I cannot avoid, however, are the oft-repeated photographs of polar bears stranded this winter with no snow in their ranges. They will die in this circumstance.

Here is something wonderful for us to keep in our mental library about these magnificent creatures:

”In March of 2010, nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen traveled to Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba to photograph polar bears and their young emerging from their winter dens. Watch as these tiny, months-old cubs play and wrestle while their mother keeps a close eye on them from the den.”

There is more video at Mengelsen's YouTube page.

WINTER: TONIGHT: SUNSET

The Writers Almanac website tells us that poet David Budbill

”...has lived on a remote mountain in norther Vermont for more than three decades writing poems, reading Chinese classics, tending to his garden and, of course, working on his website.”

Budbill's work has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac more than any other poet. TGB Reader Tom Delmore sent this one. Winter: Tonight: Sunset. which you can also listen to it at the website.

Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first

through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop

and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.

I pause in this moment at the beginning of my old age
and I say a prayer of gratitude for getting to this evening

a prayer for being here, today, now, alive
in this life, in this evening, under this sky.

(This poem is from David Budbill's 2005 collection, While We've Still Got Feet.) His website it here.

Happy-New-Year-Best-Wishes680

* * *

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

Thank you for including Budbill's poem. He is among those whose death in 2016 is to be mourned.

The best to you in the coming new year! And thank you for your wonderful blog. :) Dee

Happy New Year, everyone!

No resolutions here, only hopeful intentions. One being to endure well , thrive beyond reason and carry on, carry water, carry those tools that will energize and promote peace and activism, as needed, in 2017.

Thanks for this space of communalism, Ronni.

I missed the name of the book Dr. Libbrecht was holding. I have a love of snowflakes as well as clouds. Thanks for an interesting post, as usual.

Thanks for another year of great reading. (I love the rock balancing video.)

What a nice way to put a cap on the old year - from the thrilling ride thru Manhattan to the frolicking polar bears, and wonderful stops in-between.

Thank you, Ronni for this and all you do to keep us enlightened and informed. You are much appreciated.

Best wishes to one and all for a peaceful year ahead!

I'm captivated by the rock balancing. And to think it's taking place just 25 miles from here.

Happy New Year, Ronni!

Wow, rock balancing, polar bears, snowflakes, and traffic light ballet in one posting. My day is made!

Thanks to you and your blog for helping me get through the trials of this year and those to come. Ronni, it would be so much worse without you. I thank you every day. For your beautiful, fascinating videos, your smart, informative writings and research, your kindness, and the wonderful people you bring to this site. Happy New Year to you and your readers!

Page
North Bay, California

Happy New Year Ronni. Thanks for your work to help us make it so.

Happy New Year to you, Ronnie, and all of your readers! Blessings for a healthy, joyful and prosperous 2017!

Happy New Year, Ronnie. We shall overcome, my friend.

Thank you for all of your post's through out the year. I do appreciate all the things you bring to us. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Hope it's a happier New Year than any of us anticipate post-election! If wishes could make it so, it will be. I'll turn 80 in a few days, which is a h*** of a surprise to my body, which never thought it would have to last this long--and was treated accordingly in its youth. However, all things considered (even */tRump), I'm glad I made it this far.

Adding my thanks to you and best wishes for the happiest 2017 we can manage to put together!

I look forward to your blog every day, but especially on Saturdays for Interesting Stuff... which never disappoints and always enthralls. Today's was a 10.

May you find peace, health and happiness in the new year. May your loyal friends here continue their thoughtful, intelligent, insightful comments as well. Thanks to you all.

To Page in North Bay, CA, I could not have (today) thanked Ronni better than you. Just about everything in today's interesting stuff has left me with the sense that I'm dancing on air. A feeling of joy has eluded me just about every winter holiday season that I can remember (a long and boring story) but today feels super great ~~ something new and I have to assign it to today's TGB.

I will admit, a bit of chocolate from my secret candy drawer may have added to the feeling of euphoria (?) after viewing interesting stuff on this particular Saturday. Yet another thank-you for all you've said today, Ronni. Yes, we can, we will, we must find happy little moments for ourselves in 2017. Cyber hugs to all.


The highlight of my year was Footscray (aka the Western Bulldogs) winning the flag for the first time in many decades. Australians from the real football states will know what I'm talking about.
Americans can use the analogy of the Chicago Cubs winning the pennant to gain an inkling.
Those not interested in sport (hi Ronni!), just ignore this.

Thanks so much to you and your readers for important information, interesting ideas, and a good dollop of fun. Happy New Year to all, may it be filled with many peaceful surprises.

I'll add my thanks to this lovely long list of comments, Ronni, for your insightful and frequently amusing blog over this last year and those that preceded it.

Your column is one I look forward with great eagerness whenever it appears.

Thank you for a year of great posts. May you prepare many more in the New Year.

and still delight in the pleasures great and small of day-to-day life.

One of the delights that give me great pleasure is this blog and you! And never more than in the trying times in which we live. Such a wonderful way to kiss godbye to 2016. Happy New Year, Ronni! and all of us who love you!

Thank you, Ronni, for sharing your heart and mind with us all year long. Blessings!

You had a car---in New York City?

Thank you for your posts - greatly appreciated!

(I couldn't post the text below to your last post - IT problems with your blog. So I copied it, and now pasting it below (cross fingers it goes through this #3):
I *strongly* support the political comment of your posts, along with the elder-related information you provide. As you say, politics is an integral part of our life.

I really DON"T understand how people cannot see Agent Orange for what he is: a con artist. Especially after the revelations coming out in recent days about Russia, and his and family's pay-to-play antics. Why would a billionaire care about the working poor??! He and his cronies are out to make themselves richer, full stop. I give up - if people are that stupid, they deserve all they get.

Thank you for keeping up the good fight. Its important NOT to accept Agent Orange as a normal prez. He is affected by popular opinion - witness his family's drawback from the recent two pay-to-access the PEOTUS. My fondest dream is to see him get his comeuppance. I still rage inside when I see the idiot, unprepared conman win over an extremely well prepared and qualified candidate. )

Thank you, Ronni, for your good wishes and excellent work for us all ... today and all year long. As I write, it is now the first day of a new year, which always brings an element of hope with it (despite the news stories). As I read you, I always feel gratitude for your being here.

Wanted to add my thanks to this list from appreciative readers! I love the rock balancing (am sure I was a stone in a previous life :-)), and the David Budbill poem is so poignant, and I wish him a good journey.

This blog is one of the highlights of my week Ronni, and part of my ongoing education... 2017 will be a year of some of our most important work. You do an immense service - thanks again!

Thank you for the very uplifting post. I LOVED it--especially the polar bear cubs!!

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