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INTERESTING STUFF – 26 August 2017

THE GREAT SOLAR ECLIPSE OF 2017

It's all over now but let's have one more go at the 2017 total solar eclipse. This video was shot from the shores of Palisades Reservoir, Idaho:

A COMIC ABOUT GROWING OLD

By comic strip artist Dan Dougherty, this series features a dad and his daughter growing up and beyond.It is charming. A sample:

GrowingOldComic1

GrowingOldComic2

GrowingOldComic3

Visit Bored Panda for the entire strip and keep scrolling for the full effect.

ENGLAND'S POISON GARDEN

I've seen this video before and can't recall if I've posted it so, what the hell. Maybe it's the second time around. Here's the intro from the YouTube page:

”Locked behind black steel doors in Northumberland, England, the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle grows around 100 infamous killers. From deadly nightshade to hemlock, the only way a plant can take root in this garden is if it is lethal to humans.

“Created by the Duchess of Northumberland, this is one garden where you won't want to stop and smell the flowers.”

THE SECRET OF LIFE

Although I've been reading the 16th century essayist, Michel de Montaigne for as long as I can remember now, I have discovered a marvelous companion volume I'm reading now.

In How to Live or A Life of Montaigne, Author Sarah Bakewell makes strides toward answering that universal question about how to live based on her years-long study of Montaigne's essays.

Montaigne isn't the only person to discover that paying attention to the present moment is the secret to a good life; he's just the first (if you don't count the ancients he studied).

Here is Alan Watts take on the same issue:

ALPHORN PLAYERS COMPETITION

I didn't even know there was such a thing as a alphorn, let alone an international competition. Here's what the YouTube page tells us:

”The Valais Drink Pure Festival in Nendaz, Switzerland, is an international meeting of alphorn players where the best of the best come to play the iconic elongated horn in its traditional Swiss setting.

“While 16-year-old Tim Lin might seem like an unlikely alphorn enthusiast, he is quite the prodigy. Born in Germany to a Chinese father and a Belarusian mother, Lin took home last year’s top prize in the youth category, and hopes to do it again this year.”

WHAT TRUMP HAS UNDONE

Although President Trump has no legislative accomplishments to brag about, he frequently insists that he has surpassed all previous presidents' accomplishments in his first six months. It is simply not true:

What Trump HAS done, however, is reverse a lot of important rules, tools and policies and it can make you cry. Washington Post reporter Philip Bump has compiled a comprehensive list of them. Here are a few of the most terrible:

⚫ Withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership

⚫ Repeal of a rule allowing states to create retirement savings plans for private-sector workers

⚫ Withdrew from the Paris climate agreement

⚫ Blocked the Clean Power Plan

⚫ Ended a study on the health effects of mountaintop-removal mining

⚫ Reversed an Obama ban on drilling for oil in the Arctic

⚫ Rescinded a limit on the number of sea animals that can be trapped or killed in fishing nets

⚫ Ended a rule banning dumping waste from mining into streams

⚫ Removed a bike-sharing station at the White House

⚫ Withdrew federal protections for transgender students in schools

There are many more that will break your heart and even if we could stop Trump now, it would be years before we could restore these important policies. Read the entire list here.

THE BRITISH POLITENESS POLICE

These are the Burlington Beadles which YouTube tells us is “possibly the oldest and smallest private police force in the world.”

”For nearly 200 years, the beadles have stood guard over one of London’s most exclusive shopping centers, preventing shoppers from committing brash acts of rudeness—such as whistling, singing and hurrying.

“Dressed in period clothing, head beadle Mark Lord still makes sure that people mind their manners in this most (proper) English way.”

SMALLEST TOWNS IN THE U.S

Mental Floss has compiled a list of the smallest town in each one of the 50 American states. A surprising number of them boast states with just one resident.

In my state, Oregon, the smallest town, with a population of two, is Greenhorn which also has the distinction of being at the highest city at 6,306 feet.

Greenhorn oregon sign

The town was founded during the gold rush and today

”...serves as a vacation retreat and hunting outpost for a handful of part-time residents. Two people, Joyce Pappel and Ron Bergstrom, account for the town’s entire permanent population. Greenhorn collects no taxes and has no sewers, power lines, or police.”

You can look up the smallest town in your state at Mental Floss.

FAINTING GOATS

Have you ever heard of these? Fainting goats? I never had until a house guest, my friend Jim Stone, showed me a couple of videos. Here's another video about them from National Geographic. They make me laugh every time.

* * *

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

Please start a Beadle tradition here. :-)

The article on the smallest cities of each state was one of the most interesting things I've seen in ages. The stories behind each one of those could generate a book in itself. My husband and I have just spent more than an hour reading the entries and following some of the links to learn more about many of the intriguing, but little known, stories from our country's history. Thank you so much for the entertainment and enlightenment this morning. It's so nice to have Interesting Stuff Saturday mornings back, and so good to know that you're feeling well enough to prepare them.

Yes, my heart is broken ... and the memo he signed and the pardon he gave are just weighing me down even further.

So thank you for all the lovely distractions from reality (not the reality Alan Watts described).

Take care of your precious self.

Those goats are still hilarious!

Longtime follower of Alan Watts, but haven't listened to him for a couple of years. It was almost shocking to realize how far we've drifted from his truths and observations for self-realization and to enhance the life experience for any person interested, to the vile, spirit-crushing world of Rump.

It made me feel full, yet light and eager to grasp the possibilities of the day. One of those laugh til you cry moments?

Thanks, Ronni and be especially and exclusively attentive to yourself this week.

The goats and your recovery and TGB and this very moment. Grand!

So discouraging about what The Orange Apparition has "accomplished"! I just hope that somehow We, The People, will be able to "accomplish" his removal from office sooner rather than later.

So glad to see the Saturday special of TGB back again this week. You're amazing!

That is a simply awesome video of the eclipse. I'm of two minds about all the yelling and cheering. A big part of me feels inclined to stand in silent reverence and awe in the presence of such a magnificent and rare display from the Universe. But I can also feel the urge to clap and cheer for the privilege of being a witness to such a wonder.

Now I have a new destination for a rather short road trip to Beaconsfield, IA, which is only a couple of hours south of me. I shop at the supermarket chain founded by a couple of guys from this tiny town. Also, I have a new heroine, astronaut Peggy Whitson, who has twice commanded the International Space Station. It's her hometown. Imagine that life journey.

Thanks, Ronni, for another very interesting Interesting Stuff. Good luck with the chemo experience coming up. I hope it's "a piece of cake".

Glad you discovered Bakewell's book on Montaigne. I have taught this book in a course on French social thought and students love it. Montaigne is also one of the great writers on death, and he was clear about the fact that people needed to die to let their heirs live.
His estate in south western France, outside Bordeaux, is really worth visiting, and was very much worth inheriting. He never saw his wife naked, though they had several children, most of whom died before he did. Montaigne died at 59 after an eventful life during the French Wars of Religion. That was a fairly standard life expectancy -- Machiavelli was 57, Rabelais 59, Charles V Hapsburg 58. The modern situation is decidedly not natural -- our lives are extended by medical interventions, and then people are not allowed to shuffle off even in the last stages of dementia.

What fun! (I'm not reading the Trump bit until tomorrow, it is Saturday night after all) And I will put Bakewell's book on my reading list. Montaigne too. I am ready to read any and all who champion living in the present moment and not fearing death.

So good to have the Saturday melange back again! All the best for your upcoming chemo, may it go well.

Interesting features you've shared.....
Living needs to garner at least as much time and attention as death though viewed an
interesting video recently on a green burial in South Carolina.
Spectacular solar eclipse video.
Poison plant garden intriguing for many reasons -- may appreciate having some of the
plants in the future.
Have been following with great frustration a similar summary of our illustrious leaders
actions that mostly whittle destructively away at items designed to benefit and
protect everyday people while the public is distracted by so much else.
Smallest cities interesting:
Buford reminds me of my only memory of kindergarten when a boy by that name with
a very large round head sat in from of me and soiled himself;
Recall visiting Jerome, AZ when the population was much smaller that what they
showed so must have grown;
Reminded of the sadness I felt when I read some time ago that Ellison had been able to
purchase that Hawaiian Island and his plans to commercialize it.

I love several of these videos, as I usually do, but I am horrified by the "fainting" goats. The goats are not 'fainting', but suffer from a neuromuscular disease called myotonia congenita. When startled or exposed to cold their muscles immediately contract into what is commonly called a "Charlie Horse". It's painful and not the least bit funny, though because very few understand what's happening to the goat, most people find it so.

As these goats age they find ways to protect themselves from falling, staying in the barn on cool mornings, leaning against the barn, trees, or other objects in their enclosures, seeking sun to warm their muscles. They still react to idiots setting off firecrackers or shooting a gun to startle them, or to a dog being set on them.

My husband has paramyotonia congenita, a closely related condition. His muscles seize up and he falls without warning too. He's broken numerous bones, fractured his skull, and became totally disabled at 45. I feel sorry for those goats, bred to be "funny".

Deb - good to know. While I could hide behind the "We need all the laughter we can get these days," your writing makes me cringe that I assumed there was a harmless reason for their falling, like sleepiness.

We're never too old to question and learn. And your husband's condition sounds very difficult for him and yourself. I hope you're able to find and have good health care.

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