355 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 14 October 2017

HOW ELDERS ARE GETTING BY IN PUERTO RICO

This week, President Donald J. Trump tweeted that he is ready to abandon the American citizens of Puerto Rico.

TrumpTweetPuertoRico

When he said this on Tuesday, FEMA estimated that 36 percent of the people still have no access to safe drinking water, food is scarce and 90 percent of the island lacks electricity.

On October 6 and 9, U.S. News reporter, Lisa Esposito, spoke by text and iffy phone with Paul Stearns who happened to be visiting his 81-year-old mother on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques when the hurricane hit and is still there caring for her.

Some excerpts from Esposito's conversation with Stearns:

”Since the storm I am surprised [at not seeing] any special attention being given to older adults and other vulnerable populations here on the island.”
”We are eating and [the] grocery store is open but [with] limited options for a healthy and balanced diet. Fresh vegetables have been nonexistent and [we] mostly count on canned foods. Our home and many others have electric stoves so it is difficult for me to make a balanced meal for her. I am currently using a single Sterno with a hibachi grill supported by two cans of corned beef.”
”After the storm there were people who could not get medicine such as insulin and inhalers because they had no cash. The pharmacy refused and it took a local hotel to front the cash. We are an all-cash society now.”
”On the day Maria arrived landline phone service was cut and we had no way to dial 911 and still don't since cellphone service doesn't reach every part of the island.”
”Some people have already left and more are planning to leave until the electrical infrastructure has returned…It is hard for [my mother] to get a good night's rest without [air conditioning] and some days she is overly hot.”
”One other item I'd like to add is with older adults and their pets: The Humane Society is here and I volunteered with them yesterday. I asked what was specifically being done to help these older adults with pets. There seems to be [nothing].”

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and others have tried to walk back Trump's tweet about abandoning Puerto Rico. We'll see. We'll see.

Read the entire story at U.S. News.

TRUMP “DISGUSTED” AT FIRST AMENDMENT

That tweet (above) was Tuesday. On Wednesday, Trump said in the Oval Office, “It’s frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever they want to write. People should look into it.” Here is a report about that:

As several reporters have since noted, a 71-year-old native American should know by now that the First Amendment ensures freedom of the press. More at Vox.

TOM TOLES' ON ENDING THE WAR ON COAL AND...

Washington Post editorial cartoonist, Tom Toles, did a masterful job of combining the president's various hints about possible war with North Korea (or some other country, depending on the day) and EPA chief Scott Pruitt's declaration that the “war on coal” is over:

Tometolescoal2

Amanda Marcotte at Salon has a good analysis of the war on coal pronouncement. Some excerpts:

"'The war against coal is over,' [Donald Trump's EPA head] Scott Pruitt announced with great fanfare at an event with coal miners in Hazard, Kentucky, on Monday. 'No better place to make that announcement than Hazard, Kentucky.'

“Pruitt's ostensible reason for this attempted rollback is that the Clean Power Plan was not crafted 'carefully, properly, and with humility,' but he hasn't taken any great pains to hide the real reason he opposes it: The plan encourages states to shift away from coal and towards natural gas or renewable resources to generate electricity...

“'Continuing to prop up the coal industry is bad for the economy, just as it’s bad for the environment,' Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, told Salon.

“As Brune explained, the Sierra Club has invested immense resources — 160 of its employees — in the task of monitoring the nation's coal-burning power plants. What they've discovered, he said, is that coal plants are shutting down as other energy sources become 'more accessible and more affordable.' Since 2010, in fact, almost half of the coal-burning plants in the country have either been retired or have a planned retirement date.”

Breathing may become optional thanks to Pruitt.

Whew! That's a lot of hard-to-take stuff. Following is your reward for getting through it starting with

OH NO – HAVING ANOTHER A BAD DAY?

When I check the headlines each morning, I know just how the panda in this gif feels: (Via giphy)

BIRTH OF THE ISRAELI AIR FORCE

Almost every day now I need to find something uplifting or inspirational that restores my faith in the human condition. Here is one.

When Israel declared statehood on May 14, 1948, they had no air force. World War II pilots, mostly Americans, were secretly recruited and trained to help Israel defend itself from the Arab nations and were eager to do so.

The documentary Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force was produced to tell the story. This is an excerpt.

FALL COLORS PHOTOS

Where I live, the fall color spectacular is in full, gorgeous swing. My friend, Darlene Costner, sent a series of stunning fall foliage photos.

As with most forwarded photo exhibits, there are no credits. This is, of course, no fault of Darlene's. For those of you who do not live near desiduous trees or do live in places on the globe where it is spring, here is a sampling of them.

FallPhoto1

FallPhoto2

FallPhoto3

THE 1940'S/1950'S UK RADIO STATION

An email arrived this week from Jay Lawrence telling me about having found my story on the 1940's recording of Manhattan Tower which will be playing on his U.K. radio programme, The M&M Show soon. (Note my spelling of that word in deference to the origin of the show.)

It is actually two radio stations, referred to collectively as the UK 1940s and 1950s Radio Stations. I had not known of this website before and have been having a fine ol' time listening to songs of my childhood and teen years.

I'm telling you because I'm pretty sure a lot of the people who read this blog would like it too. You can listen live here.

Jay's THE M&M SHOW is broadcast at 6AM & 6PM GMT on the 1950s site. He also hosts a programme titled From Stateside that is heard daily on the UK 1940s Radio Station at 8AM AND 8PM GMT which is where the Manhattan Tower will be broadcast in rotation beginning today.

You can find out what time to listen where you live at this GMT time converter.

CHICKEN FARMER'S SIDE-SPLITTING LAUGH

Frederik van Wijk is a chicken farmer in the Netherlands. Both he and a reporter broke into uncontrollable laughter on camera when the reporter realized that Mr. van Wijk's laugh sounds a lot like a chicken. Take a look:

SAND CAT VIDEO PROBABLY THE FIRST EVER

Sand cats look a lot like your house cat but they are wild cats who live in the extreme weather of the African desert. They are also shy and are hardly ever photographed. This is believed to be the first-ever video of them.

So cute.

The footage was shot by the Sand Cat Sahara Team. There is more to read at the group's Facebook page.

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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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 7 October 2017

CHART OF MASS KILLINGS 2013-2017

It's been a terrible week for several reasons, the saddest of which is the shooting in Las Vegas. It may seem like it's a unique event but that is so only in the number dead.

There is a mass shooting in the United States almost every day.

Here is a graphic showing the horrific number of mass killings in the past five years. The gray are people injured in each incidence. The red are the number who died.

MassKillings

SHAG TEAM FROM CAMP HOLLYWOOD

They call it a shag team – that just means swing dancing and it's so much fun. Thank Darlene Costner for this.

CAT LEGENDS THROUGHOUT HISTORY

Pretty much during all the ages of humankind, cats have been mysterious beings, loved or reviled – depending.

Mental Floss gives us 14 ancient legends about cats. Here are some examples:

”A certain sect of Buddhism once practiced in the former kingdoms of Siam and Burma believed that when you die, if you’re holy enough, your soul is transferred to a cat for safekeeping. In this way, special souls lived in a sort of feline purgatory, and when the kitty died, the chaste soul would ascend to paradise.
”In a few different areas of Europe, it was thought to be ill-advised for a pregnant woman to pick up a cat or let it sleep in her lap. In Portugal, it was once said the cat will afflict the baby with a wart or mole, usually a hairy one, and in England, it was thought the baby will either be born with a cat-shaped birthmark or with the face of a cat.”

Kingcat

”Medieval people thought that cats were the Devil’s personal soul courier, ferrying spirits to Hell. The three hairs on the tip of a cat’s tail were said to be 'the devil’s hairs,' which compelled the cat to stay up all night, prowling, when all Christian creatures should be asleep.

“In the American South, it was thought that anyone who drowned a cat would be punished by the Devil himself (for the lesser crime of kicking a cat, he’d just give you rheumatism).”
Many more cat legends at Mental Floss.

HOW SONGS BECOME EARWORMS

A Harvard Medical School psychiatry professor explains a bit about earworms. A couple of excerpts:

"Certain songs are catchier than others, and so more likely to “auto repeat” in your head. When music psychologist Kelly Jakubowski and her colleagues studied why, they found these songs were faster and simpler in melodic contour (the pitch rose and fell in ways that made them easier to sing)."
"In order to get stuck in your head, earworms rely on brain networks that are involved in perception, emotion, memory, and spontaneous thought. They are typically triggered by actually hearing a song, though they may also creep up on you when you are feeling good, or when you are in a dreamy (inattentive) or nostalgic state."
"Some people try to distract themselves from the song, and it works. In one study, the most helpful “cure” tunes were “God Save The Queen” by Thomas Arne and “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club. Others seek out the tune in question, because it is commonly believed that earworms occur when you remember only part of a song; hearing the entire song may extinguish it."

You can read more about earworms here.

RIGHTS V. PRIVILEGES – ONE REPUBLICAN SENATOR

Watch one U.S. Senator, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, explain that Americans have no rights except to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Everything else - food, shelter and certainly health care, he says - are privileges reserved for those who can afford them. Take a listen as a high school student asks him this question:

Of the 25 wealthiest nations, only the United States does not recognize health care as a right. Read more at Think Progress.

TREES EATING ARLINGTON CEMETERY HEADSTONES

Arlington Cemetery is hallowed ground, the burial place of more than 400,000 military service people. Recently some of the magnificent trees at the cemetery have been absorbing some headstones:

ArlingtonCemeteryTreeheadstone

Find A Grave puts the count at 11 afflicted markers,” explains Atlas Obscura, “with most of the entombed having served in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II.”

Read more at Atlas Obscura.

ARE WE, HUMANS, A MIND WITH A BODY OR VICE VERSA?

Here is a fascinating TedEd talk about what philosophers have had to say about this mind/body problem.

HOW FLYING MESSES WITH OUR MINDS

Airline flight takes a toll on our minds and bodies in more ways than I would have thought. According to a story at BBC.com:

”The reduced air pressure on airline flights can reduce the amount of oxygen in passengers’ blood between 6 and 25% (hypoxia), a drop that in hospital would lead many doctors to administer supplementary oxygen. For healthy passengers, this shouldn’t pose many issues, although in the elderly and people with breathing difficulties, the impact can be higher.”
”The combination of low air pressure and humidity can reduce the sensitivity of our taste buds to salt and sweet by up to 30%. A study commissioned by airline Lufthansa also showed that the savoury flavours in tomato juice taste better during a flight.”
“'Anxiety levels can increase with hypoxia,' explains Valerie Martindale, president of the Aerospace Medical Association at King’s College London. Anxiety is not the only aspect of mood that can be affected by flying. A number of studies has shown spending time at altitude can increase negative emotions like tension, make people less friendly, decrease their energy levels and affect their ability to deal with stress."

And that's just part of the bad news about flying, especially long distances. Read more here.

DOG AND JAGUAR BEST FRIENDS

This Jack Russell terrier and jaguar are best friends, together 24 hours a day at the Akwaaba Lodge in South Africa. Take a look:

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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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 30 September 2017

HENRY LOWENSTERN ON FALLING

A week ago, I posted an important story about falling prevention. That prompted TGB reader, Henry Lowenstern to email this follow-up ditty titled, Vanishing Vanity:

I constantly think about forestalling
my ever present fear of falling,
but, am as yet too vain
to use a walker or a cane
and may some day end up crawling.

WHAT A REAL LEADER LOOKS AND SOUNDS LIKE

For two years, Americans – nay, the world - has been subjected to the vulgar, offensive, misleading, incomprehensible utterances and fairly constant lies from President Trump.

He can hardly open his mouth without revealing his ignorance, stupidity and lack of interest in anything but his own aggrandizement. The “leader of the free world.” Yeah. Sure.

On Thursday, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, superintendant of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, in no uncertain terms, took on an incident of racial slurs at the institution in front of all 4,000 cadets. This is leadership. Take a look:

To reiterate General Silveria: “If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.”

EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS TO TIME GOES BY

Several messages arrived from readers this week notifying me that their email blog posts were not arriving as usual. This is because they are subscribed through Feedburner which hiccups every now and then, throwing people out of the system.

Google owns the email distribution system, Feedburner. They stopped servicing it five or so years ago and it has been deteriorating every since. So from time to time, it stops working for some people.

When it was announced that Google was abandoning Feedburner those several years go, I contracted with a paid email and rss distribution service, Feedblitz. (Yes, the two names are confusing.)

So, if you are still subscribed via Feedburner and want to ensure email delivery of Time Goes By, go to the top right of any page here, fill in your email address under the header “Subscribe” and your delivery problems will be solved.

TWO NAKED GUYS WITH TOWELS

I'm pretty sure I've posted this before – a few years ago – but I can't find it and anyway, it's really funny. Thank Darlene Costner.

AN AMAZING GARDEN GROWN FROM RESCUED PLANTS

This is gorgeous, a 30-year labor of love. Here's what the YouTube page tells us:

”In Bishopville, South Carolina, Pearl Fryar is a local gardening legend. When he first moved to the small town in the 1980s, he was almost unable to build his house because neighbors feared that as an African American, he wouldn’t keep up his yard.

“Determined to dispel that stereotype, Fryar went on to win 'Yard of the Month' from the local garden club. Since then, he’s created a world-renowned topiary garden with more than 300 plants, most of which were rescued from the compost pile of a local nursery.”

GINORMOUS DATA CABLE

This week a gigantic, new trans-Atlantic data cable between the U.S. and Spain was finished. I mean huge: it can transmit 160 terabits of data per second which means, according to USA Today:

”To put that in perspective, when you break it down into the gigabytes we're familiar with, 160 terabits equals 20,000 GB of data. So, let's say you're downloading movies that are 2 GB in size, you could download 10,000 movies in one second.”

Marea

The cable was funded by Microsoft and Facebook. You can read much more about this cable named Marea (Spanish for wave) at USA Today, MIT Technology Review and Engadget among other sources.

THE DUBIOUS FRIENDS OF DONALD TRUMP – PART 3, THE BILLION DOLLAR FRAUD

Zembla is a Dutch public television program. The show has been tracking Donald Trumps questionable financial connections to Russia and other sources. The third installment of the series was released on YouTube this week titled: The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump – Part 3, The Billion Dollar Fraud.

You can watch it right here or at YouTube.

The first two installments, both published last May, can also be seen at YouTube:

The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians
The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: King of Diamonds

Read more about these documentaries at Alternet.

WHY DOUGHNUT BOXES ARE PINK

It's not so at my favorite doughnut shop where I live now, but pink doughnut boxes are pervasive in a lot of other places like New York City and Portland, Maine, where I lived before.

Here's the story about why so many are pink.

WOODPECKER TEACHERS SQUIRREL A LESSON

No explanation needed; just watch.

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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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 23 September 2017

SAFETY FEATURES FOR ELDERS IN NEW CARS

Writing in The New York Times, long-time health reporter Jane Brody tells us that contrary to popular belief, elders are generally safe drivers:

”When a crash occurs involving an older driver, it tends to garner media attention, whereas the same accident with a younger driver would not. 'That’s unfair to the general population of older adults, who are among the safest drivers on the road,' said Jacob Nelson, the director of traffic safety advocacy and research at AAA.'”

That doesn't mean old drivers can't use some helpful safety features and these days Brody, now arrived at elderhood, often writes about our issues. Like me, she sometimes takes her cues from what is happening in her life.

Recently, she bought a new car:

”...driving home from the Subaru dealer with the lane departure feature activated, I immediately saw one benefit: The car beeped me and displayed a visual image every time I got too close to either side of my lane when I wasn’t signaling a turn.

“Backing out of a parking lot, the dashboard backup camera assured me that I wasn’t about to hit another car or pedestrian, though I also used my eyes and mirrors as added insurance.

“...As someone with arthritic hands (among other body parts), I’m aided by power seats that can be preset two ways: one for my best driving position and the other to ease entry and exit from the car.

“Other useful features include power windows and mirrors, a thicker steering wheel that is easier to grip, keyless entry, an automatic tailgate closer and a push-button to start (and stop) the engine.”

I would like to remind us all that safety features of any kind originally meant with elders in mind are always, ALWAYS equally good for younger people.

JIMMY KIMMEL ON THE LATEST REPEAL OBAMACARE BILL

You've undoubtedly heard all the back-and-forth on the Republicans' latest attempt to repeal Obamacare - you know, the Graham-Cassidy bill that will strip coverage from millions of ordinary folks so that rich people can have the huge tax cut candidate Trump promised them during the election campaign..

The Graham-Cassidy bill which Republicans want Congress to vote on without debate or discussion just might repeal Obamacare this time.

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel this week revealed Cassidy's horrendous hypocrisy on the subject. The video is a little longer that I usually post but it is important:

As the week has gone by, more terrible details from Graham-Cassidy have been released - or leaked. Such as this:

Graham

Much more information, including a larger version of that graph, about Graham-Cassidy at Esquire. (Thank you John Starbuck.)

MORE JIMMY KIMMEL

I usually record the monologues of a couple of the late night hosts to watch the next day and it is recently becoming obvious that I have not paid enough attention to Jimmy Kimmel.

He's not always as serious as in the clip above. Sometimes he's pretty funny and in this one, Kimmel identified what he calls “The most uncomfortable display of affection between a husband and wife this year.” It is good to lighten our mood in the midst of Congress's ongoing determination to leave a vast swath of Americans with health coverage.

IT'S JUST A TV COMMERCIAL BUT WOW

It is an eye drops commercial from Germany. You would think, no big deal. Not a word is spoken but you won't miss the amazing point at the end of the 45 seconds. Really clever.

GIVING INJURED STRAYS A SECOND CHANCE

For many years when I lived in Greenwich Village, I regularly saw a man walking his dog who got around in a wheelchair to support his paralyzed back legs. Nicely done, I thought.

Then, a week or two ago I found this video about a man in a town on Taiwan, Pan Chieh, who makes similar wheelchairs for injured stray dogs. Take a look at his inspiring story.

AMAZING 15 THOUSAND DOMINO LINE

It's been awhile since I've posted a domino line. This is not the longest one I've ever seen but I like it anyway. And it has garnered more than 40 million views in one year on YouTube.

NEW DICTIONARY WORDS FOR 2018

Every year, the Merriam-Webster people announce the latest words they have found worthy to be included in their dictionaries. There are 250 new ones this year including:

bibimbap, a Korean dish of rice with cooked vegetables, usually meat, and often an egg, either raw or fried

sriracha, the pungent hot pepper sauce now appearing on even diner counters

Some words get additional meanings. Front is now also used informally to mean "to assume a fake or false personality to conceal one's true identity and character."

Terms like alt-right and dog whistle are from the world of politics. The latter began, of course, as something only for canines, but in political contexts it now refers to an expression or statement with a secondary meaning that only a particular group of people is intended to understand.

You can find out all 250 new words at the Merriam-Webster website. (Warning: a man starts talking as soon as you land there so you might want to turn off your audio.)

THE TRUMP SONATA

TGB friend, Chuck Nyren, who blogs at Advertising for Baby Boomers, sent this item that

”...makes use of Trump as 'raw material' and portrays him from an artistic perspective. The only considerations made by [composer and artis Avnere Hanani] were musical and aesthetic, with a touch of humor.

“Important to notice that no manipulation was made to Trump's speech. I did not touch the pitch or rhythm of his speech (just to make him suit the piano more easily), but rather left Trump's talk natural - "let Trump be Trump".

RARE WHITE GIRAFFE AND HER BABY IN KENYA

You may have seen this – it's been all over the feature news this week but these two exotic animals are so elegant looking that it's worth a repeat here.

They are two rare white giraffes — a mother and a baby — filmed in early August in Kenya after being spotted repeatedly since June in the Garissa County area.

They are white because of a genetic condition called leucism, which causes a loss of pigmentation. Leucism is different than albinism because multiple types of pigment are reduced rather than just melanin.

There is a detailed story about them at The New York Times.

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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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 16 September 2017

PETER TIBBLES' BIRTHDAY

Today is the birthday of TimeGoesBy's inimitable Sunday musicologist. I'm not sure which one exactly but it's in the area of early 70s. His musical knowledge is phenominally wide and deep, and he's funny too.

Let's start the celebration singing along with a short version of the standard birthday song sung, in this case, by The Beatles, supposedly before they were well known.

Peter and I have known one another now for at least nine years; he and his assistant musicologist, Norma, have visited me twice. In between internet chitchat about his columns, Peter is wont to send me funny or messed up news stories from his local, Australian press.

This is his most recent from the Sydney Morning Herald. It's a serious story about a sex offender but someone screwed up the image beside it big time:

PeterCowSexOffenderStory

I have a fondness for fireworks on birthdays so here, Peter, is a video of one of the most creative and beautiful ones I've ever seen:

But no birthday is right without the obligatory cake and I found one that Peter will defintely approve of:

Birthdaycake

So wish Peter a HAPPY BIRTHDAY and don't forget to visit his music column on Sundays.

PARTHENON OF BANNED BOOKS

In Kassel, Germany, at the very site where Nazis once burned over 2,000 books by Jewish and Marxist writers, one artist has built a colossal tribute to free speech.

“The 'Parthenon of Books', YouTube tells us, is a giant temporary replica of the famous Greek temple in Athens. The installation is covered by more than 100,000 books that have been banned at various stages throughout history.

“Created by Argentine artist Marta Minujín, the exhibit is meant to spark debate over censorship in literature. Once the exhibition is over, these books will be handed out to allow the banned to enter literary circulation once more.

As far as I am concerned, there is no book that should ever be banned. Even the hateful and incorrigible should be retained to impart an understanding of evil and as warnings.

SPYING ON WILDLIFE WITH ANIMAL ROBOTS

As YouTube explains:

”Filmmaker John Downer has spent much of his life capturing footage of wildlife, but it wasn’t until he and his team created robotic animals with built-in spy cameras that he was able to record rare footage of animal behavior in the wild, essentially from the perspective of the animal.”

The robots are so realistic that at first I thought it wasn't nice to fool animals this way but then I changed my mind. Take a look:

UNALASKA BELL RINGERS

Remember when I posted a video about eagles in a tiny town in Alaska called Unalaska a few weeks ago? Apparently, for such a small place, a lot of things of interest go on there.

Here is a video about Unalaska's bell ringers:

TRUE NEW YORKER

It has been 11 years since I left New York City and as I tell anyone who is willing to listen to me, I miss it every day. This week, I ran across a website called Women that held a little quiz titled, “Can You Finish These 16 NYC Phrases West Coasters Just Don't Get?”

Of course, I took the challenge and here's my result:

TrueNewYorker

I'm pleased to know I haven't lost my New York chops. You can try the quiz here.

CAT CAFE ON A MOVING TRAIN IN JAPAN

It has been more than a decade since Japan's first cat cafe opened and they are so popular, many countries have adopted the idea. Just recently, one stationary cafe in Japan expanded to include a cat cafe on a train:

You can read more about this cat train at Atlas Obscura.

THE NEW YORKER COVER IF CLINTON HAD WON

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been all over television this week talking up her just-published book about the 2016 election campaign titled, What Happened. Here is the cover the The New Yorker had ready if she had won the presidency.

NYorkerisClintonhadwon

EXTENT OF OREGON'S EAGLE CREEK FIRE

With all the horrendous hurricane damage thse past two weeks, there has hardly been any reporting on the many large and terrifying wild fires throughout the western United States.

One of them in Oregon, named the Eagel Creek Fire, has taken out much more area than I'd realized from local new reports. As of Thursday, it had been confirmed that the fire was started by kids setting off fireworks. Here's what the YouTube page says:

”This Google Earth flyover integrates infrared scanning data to highlight the Columbia Gorge landmarks threatened by the Eagle Creek fire including the Bull Run watershed, the source of the Portland area's drinking water.

“Areas shaded in orange are inside the fire perimeter; red spots indicate intense wildfire heat. The approximate ignition point has been confirmed by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and eyewitnesses.”

The fire is still raging.

TRIBUTE TO RESCUE DOGS

Last Monday was the 16th anniversary of 9/11 when terrorists (successfully) drove airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and a field in Pennsylvania killing everyone aboard all three planes.

Here is a tribute to the rescue dogs that helped recover the injured and dead at the Twin Towers.

All working dogs, but especially rescue dogs, awe me with their selflessness and eagerness to help humans.

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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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 9 September 2017

ALEX BENNETT INTERVIEWS WIFE No. 2: ME

From 1965 to 1971, I was married to Alex Bennett, a radio talk show host who now does an interview program on the internet and on Wednesday, he interviewed me.

This is a screen grab from the interview; I'm posting it because I don't like most photographs of me and I do like this one.

Ronni with Alex2017_09_06_680

Below is the full interview, about 30 minutes. We recorded it with Skype and had trouble with the audio/video sync so my voice lags a bit; I hope it doesn't bother you too much. Plus, I know the length at the bottom of the video reads 1:56:36, but the video stops at 32.25 where my interview ends.

If you would like to see Alex's entire two-hour show with other guests after me, you can do that at Facebook or Gabnet on Facebook or YouTube or Vimeo.

SHRINKING THE WORLD 87 TIMES SMALLER

Something called Gulliver's Gate are creating miniatures of the world's most famous sites. Here is a short video about them from The New York Times 360 series. (Hold down your left mouse button and scroll around to view the images from other angles.)

You can see much more about the miniatures of Gulliver's Gate at the website.

ANARCHIST ANIMALS

As the Bored Panda site tell us, these are “bad-ass animals that won't follow your stupid rules” and it's really funny how they fool us humans. Two examples:

Bird Repellent

This second one needs a bit of explanation: Someone tried to fool a squid by putting it in front of a background that its camouflage can't possibly handle. No problem, said the squid, and just made itself transparent. So there!

Squid transparent

More at Bored Panda.

HOW FOOD AFFECTS OUR BRAINS

You probably know most of the information in this video about what we should eat but I was interested in how each kind of nutrient affects our brains and, therefore, our bodies.

JEAN ROBERTSON ON HAVING A SOUTHERN ACCENT

Now be honest: all you northerners, like me, think that southern accents sound kind of funny and signal that the person speaking might be none too bright. We're wrong, of course, but it happens.

Here, then. is comedian Jean Robertson on how her southern accent went over in Lansing, Michigan:

FOR OLD PEOPLE ONLY

TGB's Sunday TGB musicologist, Peter Tibbles, sent this Nonsequiter cartoon:

Nonsequiter Cartoon

ECO-FRIENDLY HOBBIT HOMES IN WALES

As the YouTube page explains:

In Pembrokeshire, Wales, the cutest, handmade houses have been popping up around the county. These wee homes, made of natural, locally sourced materials and scavenged bits from the surrounding countryside, embody low-impact living.

“What exactly does that mean? It means that the inhabitants who built these houses, like Simon and Jasmine Dale, grow and cultivate the vast majority of what they consume.

“The two have been living in their very own hobbit-sized house since 2003. And now, they're helping others build similar homes in the Lamma community—the country's first eco-village.

HOW WILL HISTORY JUDGE PRESIDENT TRUMP?

Six historians each take a whack at answering that question in the current issue of Vanity Fair.

It's a long read but worth your time plus the caricatures by Barry Blitt, Edward Sorel, Ross MacDonald, Darrow, Andre Carrilho and Steve Brodner are delightful. Here's one of them, by Carrilho:

Carrilho Trump

You'll find the full story at Vanity Fair.

MAGIC WHEELCHAIRS

Ryan and Lana Weimer celebrate Halloween all year round: The couple from Keizer, Oregon, runs a nonprofit called Magic Wheelchair which the two founded in early 2015 to build elaborate—and free—costumes for kids in wheelchairs.

503613-Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair—which is funded by individual and corporate donors—relies on teams of local volunteers around the country who work together to build costumes for children in their communities. To be considered for a costume, families fill out an online application, which provides the nonprofit with a kid's biography and a description of their desired ensemble.

Here is a video about the organization:

You can read more at Mental Floss and visit the Magic Wheelchair website.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 2 September 2017

About half of this week's items are about animals. Maybe after such a horrendous political and weather week, it was just time to enjoy the sweet innocence of our furry and feathered friends.

* * *

HURRICANE HARVEY PET RESCUES

A lot of websites posted photos of people and their pets in the watery mess of Hurricane Harvey. Here are a couple of examples.

PetRescue1

PetRescue2

You can see more at The Atlantic and many other places around the web.

WINE MAKING IS 3,000 YEARS OLDER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT

In terracotta jars in a Sicilian cave, researchers have discovered what may be the worlds oldest wine, made in Italy more than 6,000 years ago.

”Previously scientists had believed winemaking developed in Italy around 1200 BC, but the find by a team from the University of South Florida pushes that date back by at least three millennia,” reports The Guardian.

“'Unlike earlier discoveries that were limited to vines and so showed only that grapes were being grown, our work has resulted in the identification of a wine residue,'” said Davide Tanasi, the archeologist who led the research.”

The article also reports that some people believe winemaking goes back as much as 10,000 years. You can read more at The Guardian.

WHY ARE SLOTHS SO SLOW?

As the YouTube page tells us:

”Sloths spend most of their time eating, resting, or sleeping; in fact, they descend from their treetops canopies just once a week, for a bathroom break. How are these creatures so low energy?

The video explains:

STUMP REMOVAL OPTIONAL

Some people are just amazing at what they can do. Thank TGB reader Darlene Costner for the video of this tree stump sculptor.

WEGMAN'S WEIMARANERS

Many decades ago, I produced a short-lived TV program hosted by Matt Lauer long before the Today and when he still had hair. One of the best interviews we did was with William Wegman who was just then gaining renown for his photographs of his pet Weimaraners being oh so human.

Many books, gallery shows, calendars and more followed and now there is a new Wegman book of his Weimaraner photos through the years. A couple of examples:

Wegman1

Wegman2

Wegman's dog images are always haunting, sometimes disturbing and definitely fascinating. There are more images in a story at The New York Times.

The new book, William Wegman: Being Human, contains photographs going back decades and will be available at the usual book outlets early in October.

SKYWRITING

When I was a kid growing up in Portland, Oregon, I frequently saw skywriters – usually advertisements but sometimes personal messages.

I don't recall seeing skywriting airplanes in any city where I've lived since then but last week I ran across this video about a company that has been skywriting all these years. If you want someone to do that for you, as the YouTube page explains,

”...Greg and Steven Stinis are the guys to call. The father-son team run the Chico, California-based company, SkyTypers, where they pilot airplanes to "write" messages and advertisements in the sky using specialized smoke.”

DOLPHINS CREATE A “NET” TO TRAP FISH

Sometimes it's just amazing how smart animals can be and it's not only crows. Darlene Costner sent this fascinating video from the BBC.

WHY WE CALL OUR PARENTS MOM AND DAD

For TGB word lovers, here's a terrific video about the origins – or, rather, possible origins - of what we call our parents, which is amazingly similar across cultures. Take a look – from Mental Floss.

A HUMMINGBIRD POOL PARTY

It's hot here in northwest Oregon and it's been a hot summer all over the place. Here's a refreshing video of how hummingbirds deal with it. As wildwingsla, who posted this at YouTube, explains,

“A record 30 hummingbirds bathe together at one time during this morning’s wash! You’d never know they will be harassing each other in five minutes’ time...”

If this video has piqued your interest in hummingbirds and you want to know a whole bunch of interesting facts about them, Darlene Costner (yes, she's been busy watching videos this week), sent this additional video you can watch here.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 19 August 2017

EDITORIAL NOTE: After my surgery in June, I stopped publishing Interesting Stuff on Saturdays. I couldn't spend as much time playing around online for good items nor did I have the energy to write it.

I'm slowly coming back and so we have an Interesting Stuff today. I don't promise to do this every week for awhile so let's just see how it goes.

* * *

LONDON'S BIG BEN TO GO SILENT FOR FOUR YEARS

The BBC tells us that the London's iconic Big Ben clock will be shut down for repairs until 2021:

Parliamentary authorities said stopping Big Ben - the commonly used name for the Palace of Westminster's Elizabeth Tower - would protect workers carrying out the repairs. It will still sound for important events including New Year's Eve and Remembrance Sunday.”

Here's a little video about the shutdown:

ATTENTION CROSSWORD PUZZLE FANS

If you are like crossword puzzles, you'll love this excellent profile of Will Shortz who edited The New York Times crossword puzzle for nearly a quarter of a century. He is also a lifelong collector of puzzle memorabilia:

”Mr. Shortz’s collection includes more than 25,000 puzzle books and magazines, dating to 1534, along with pamphlets, small mechanical puzzles and other ephemeral items. It overwhelms the décor of his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., where he lives and works.

“A clock in his office is — well, its face is a crossword puzzle. (The hands? Two stubby pencils.) A display case in the living room holds, among other treasures, the first crossword puzzle ever published — in a 1913 Sunday 'Fun' section of The New York World.”

Shortzprimary

If you like puzzles, you won't be disappointed by this story at The New York Times.

RARE WHITE MOOSE

As the Washington Post reported:

Hans Nilsson has spent three years trying to spot an elusive white moose in the town of Eda, in western Sweden. Last week he got lucky and crossed paths with the ghost-colored herbivore two days in a row.

“When Nilsson saw the moose the first time, he was amazed. On the second day, he was ready.

He whipped out a camera and shot video of the moose, well, being a moose. It waded into a nearby stream. It shook off water. It nibbled on some plants.”

Here's the video:

BUTTER CREAM FLORAL CAKES TOO BEAUTIFUL TO EAT

Bored Panda published these photos of astonishing cakes make by Atelier Soo in Seoul, Korea. Take a look at a couple of them:

Blueflowercake

Cutcake

You can see many others at Bored Panda.

TINY DOG RESCUE

With his crooked nose, large overbite and humped back, Tiny Cletus Spuckler was destined to a difficult start in life. Then a couple fell in love with him. The video tells the story:

HAPPINESS OF LIVING ALONE IN 10 ILLUSTRATIONS

I've lived alone for most of my adult life – decades – and generally I'm happy that way. Bored Panda recently published ten illustrations about the joys of living alone.

The are created by Los Angeles-based painter, illustrator and occasional animator, Yaoyao Ma Van As. Here are three of them.

Happinessalone2

Happinessalone6

Happinessalone8

You can see the whole series of ten in order at Bored Panda.

THE BALD EAGLES OF UNALASKA, ALASKA

I've always liked bald eagles but haven't seen more than a couple of them in my life for real and therefore rely on Youtube videos. As the page explains:

"...on this Alaskan island, our national symbol is as common as a beachside seagull. You can find them everywhere—lurking above the post office, inspecting the trash, waiting patiently for the local fishing boats to return with the day’s catch, even hanging out in front of the town church. In Unalaska, Alaska, everyone has an eagle story."

PS: Who new there was a town named Unalaska.

LETTERMAN RETURNING TO TV

It has been widely reported that retired Late Night host David Letterman will be returning to television before long:

”...for a limited Netflix series. Premiering in 2018, the as-yet-untitled program, which will come out as six, hour-long installments, will find the host interviewing one guest each episode, as well as comedy and 'curiosity' bits outside of the studio.

"'I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,' the host said in a statement. 'Here's what I have learned: If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first.'"

There is more at Rolling Stone.

NUGGET THE CROW TEACHES HERSELF TO FLY

I've been reading stories lately about how smart crows and their avian relatives like ravens are. Nugget the crow, who couldn't fly, spent several months devising an exercise program and teaching herself how to do it. Take a look.

There's a lot more to know about Nugget at Atlas Obscura.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 17 June 2017

A PERSONAL NOTE

My surgery is coming up fast and this will be the last Interesting Stuff for awhile. Like last week, it is shorter than usual - I've been kind of busy.

On one item, you don't need to rely on me while I'm absent. You can always see the main essay from John Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight, on the program's YouTube page which is here.

Click the header “Video” to get the page that lists videos with the most recent first. The Sunday night video is posted there by early Monday morning.

TROLL CAKES

My friend Kirsten Jacobs sent this along. I love it – such a funny, terrific idea. As the website tells it, the sayings on each cake are copied word for word from an internet comment or social media post. Here are a couple of examples:

Trollcake2

Trollcake3

Read more here and order your own Troll Cake here.

JOHN OLIVER - BREXIT II

Once again, the week in politics has been taken up with something other than Oliver's most recent topic. That's a problem in timing - his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, is broadcast on Sunday night so it is a whole week until I post it here.

Even if it seems old, you should watch this one anyway. As the YouTube page says: “In the wake of a divisive election, the UK will begin the process of leaving the European Union. John Oliver and an intergalactic space lord propose a plan.”

Do stick around for the end...

COMING TO AMERICA – HENRY LOWENSTERN

Last week, Henry sent a get well poem for me. Now, this week, he is celebrating 80 years (!) since, as a boy, he arrived in the U.S. from Nazi Germany. The title is Remembering.

Eighty years ago this month,
my parents and two minor sons,
after their way of life was banned,
managed to escape from Nazi-land,

and, with tumultuous emotion,
traversed the Atlantic Ocean,
and, in a rendezvous they'd planned,
landed in the promised land.

Here we began our lives anew,
and as our English speaking grew,
learned how to relate
and appreciate
the transformation we had come through.

I know how fortunate I have been
to have come to and be living in
this land of opportunity
and a be part of this community
together with my next of kin.

Let me give thanks to all of you
whose helpfulness has seen me through
these 80 years in the USA.
I'm glad I came and I think I'll stay.

RICK WILSON'S MONUMENTAL TWEETSTORM...

...“against trump fellators fanboys grunting maga mouthbreathers” goes on for 25 individual tweets. The conservative Daily Beast columnist's rant is not to be missed. Here's your start:

RickWilsonRant

That's just the beginning. The rest is here and it is a magnificent catharsis.

BARRY DYM'S BLOG

In recent months, I've gotten to know a relatively new elder blogger, Barry Dym, via email. He writes on a wide variety of topics but keeps a special section titled, Letters on Aging which are good solid essays and strong thinking.

Here is part of a recent example about the “freshness” that aging brings:

”In a previous essay, I wrote young people seek independence. For older people, freedom comes almost unbidden when the ties that bind us to activities, relationships, and communities take flight.

“Let me begin by counting some of the ways, small and large, that that freedom comes to our doorsteps. There is the freshness of each, unscheduled day.

“I can ask: What shall I do? What do I want to do? At last, the weather plays a role as it hasn’t since childhood. If it’s sunny, I’ll take that walk. If rainy, I may read more, or call a friend. Or a friend might call me, and I can usually respond positively. Spontaneity is my friend again.

Barry's bio is here where you can also read his other blog posts – on aging and other subjects.

A MAN AND HIS DOG

I'm fairly certain I've posted this in the past but you'll understand why it hits home hard at this moment in my life. It's an advert for organ donation and it is lovely.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 10 June 2017

As you may imagine, since the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and preparation for the coming surgery, I have not had a lot of time to collect material for this weekly compilation of “stuff.”

But here is a shorter-than-usual list of items you might enjoy, as I have.

* * *

YOUR LIFE IN JELLY BEANS

This video is four years old and has been seen by more than 7 million people. See how you have and are spending your days in these bits of candy.

I'm astonished at this guy's patience in creating the video. I would have gotten bored and given up after the first two time periods or so.

JOHN OLIVER ON THE PARIS AGREEMENT

I know, I know. This whole week has been taken up with the Comey hearing in Washington – and compelling it has been.

However, last Saturday on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on President Trump's withdrawal from the Paris accords on climate change. It is Oliver at his best and worth your time.

THE REAL DEAL IN SOY SAUCE

I eat a lot of Japanese food and, of course, use soy sauce with it. As the Youtube page explains about this video:

”Japanese shoyu, or soy sauce, was traditionally brewed in vats over two years in a process that dates back to the 7th century. On the island of Shōdoshima, Yasuo Yamamoto ferments soy beans traditionally in bamboo barrels similar to the ones his family has built for the past 150 years.”

I sure do wish I could taste this soy sauce.

I Am Rooting for You, Ronni

When I was still publishing The Elder Storytelling Place, Henry Lowenstern was one of the most prolific contributors. He specialized in limericks, doggerel, light verse and such - often on current political events and always lovely and/or funny or both. He sent this yesterday titled as the headline for this item, and I love it:

I am betting my last denarius
that your about-to-be excised pancreas
will leave you with an even better hold
on what its like to be getting old
and I hope your recovery is instantaneous.

Thank you, Henry.

KITTY WATCHING HORROR MOVIE

In the comments on one of last week's posts, a TGB reader reminded us of journalist and political activist Norman Cousins who, back in the 1970s, devised his own recovery program that included laughing himself well from a serious, obscure disease.

He recounted his personal laugh treatment in a book, Anatomy of an Illness, later made into a movie starring Edward Asner.

Without taking a whit away from my own upcoming treatment that I completely believe in, I figure a lot of laughing (if the stitches allow) couldn't hurt and might help. Besides, it always feels good.

So I've been looking for stuff I've laughed at a lot in the past. I've posted this one here before but so what. On each re-viewing, I have laughed harder than the last time. I never get tired of it.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 3 June 2017

UPDATE: 4PM PDT: I am overwhelmed with your love and good wishes. I so appreciate them and all of you. There is a rule, apparently, at Typepad that there can be no more than 100 comments which we have now surpassed. I have written to them and asked if they could forgo the rule for this blog post but will probably not have an answer yes or no for awhile. Meanwhile, know that I can read the additional comments offline. I'm so sorry - I apologize for this inconvenience.

* * *

Believe me, this is not what you were expecting today.

Not your normal Saturday Interesting Stuff column. And it is something I never imagined dealing with on TGB. But there you are – shit happens in life. No one ever promised you a rose garden. And all of that.

Yesterday afternoon, I returned home following three nights in hospital, a bunch of tests, an endoscopy procedure to set a stent and having met more new people – professional caregivers of many stripes - in that short time than I've ever met in a whole year before. Diagnosis: pancreatic cancer.

Oooph. That's a kick in the gut. I can't pretend otherwise.

So I wasn't home to write today's Interesting Stuff and Peter Tibbles, the author of the weekly Sunday music column agreed that it's best to “tell readers what's going on,” he said. “They're a smart bunch.” And so you are.

Next Wednesday I'll meet with the surgeon again. He's in his mid-50s, I'm guessing, and get this: his entire specialty his whole career has been the pancreas and only the pancreas. It makes me wonder if there are physicians who treat only one leg or the other, one arm at a time, etc. (That's a weak joke, folks.)

Surgery will follow soon after that meeting – a week or more in hospital and then rehab for a week or two, they say. Of course, details are subject to change but now you know why posting may be spotty for awhile.

Anyone who has sent an email, please forgive me for not answering. I arrived home from the hospital to more than 800 new messages and just hit delete – too tired to sort them.

This isn't going to be easy and I could probably benefit from a crash course in patience about now. Is that an oxymoron, do you think?


INTERESTING STUFF – 27 May 2017

BEFORE WE GET STARTED TODAY

Yesterday, I posted instructions for John Oliver's direct link to the FCC comment page on the agency's net neutrality changes. In case you missed it, here it is again:

To get to the page, go to this URL, click on the word, “express” at the far right of the page. At the next page, you can fill in the form and let them know that you support net neutrality and Title 2.

Here is the procedure – Oliver has made it so much easier than the FCC does:

  1. Navigate in your browser to gofccyourself.com
  2. Click the word “express” on the right side of the page
  3. Fill in the form to support net neutrality and Title 2

It will take you only a few minutes to do this and if enough people do, we can save net neutrality – like last time, three years ago. (If you need a refresher about this issue, click here and scroll down about halfway.)

* * *

THIS IS THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT

This is my president at the NATO meeting in Brussels this week. That's Dusko Markovic, prime minister of Montenegro, he's shoving aside. Watch:

That wasn't Trump's only moment of boorishness in Brussels. I am so embarrassed these days to be an American.

TECH USE INCREASES AMONG ELDERS

Pew Research released its latest survey of technology use among Americans age 65 and older. Although elders' adoption of internet, broadband, tablets, smartphones, etc. is still slower than younger people, it is growing – at least among the youngest old:

ElderTechUse

It doesn't thrill me the way Pew uses such language as “especially limited” among the oldest cohort, particularly when referencing individual devices. Maybe some people aren't interested or don't believe they need a tablet, for example. I don't. And a “dumb phone” may meet the needs of some.

But that's a small quibble in a fairly extensive survey.

Unsurprisingly, many say they need help using technology. All the more reason to have the terrific young women we talked about this week who started GTGTech to help elders get the hang of it.

There is much more the Pew survey than I've covered. You can find it here.

WHY SMART PEOPLE HAVE FEWER FRIENDS

When we discuss loneliness versus being alone here, a large number of commenters – me too - insist they like their alone life. According to this video, that may be because we are among the smartest.

I'm not sure we should take any of this video seriously but it's fun and there is some interesting information.

LEARNING THE CHINESE LION DANCE

According to this video, lion dancing is a demanding a sport. It is also

”...an age-old Chinese tradition meant to ward off evil spirits and welcome good ones. The dance—with its giant, dual-dancer costumes and kung fu-based movements—dates back to the Tang Dynasty of the 7th century.

I enjoyed the lion dancers dozens of times in New York's Chinatown. Here's a video that shows how they are trained:

THE O WORD

Pretty much all media refuses to use the “O word” when referring to “old” people. There are more euphemisms than can be counted and I've written here about how it took me awhile, when I started this blog, to be comfortable attaching the word “old” to myself and to others. Now I barely notice.

Recently, reporter Mary Jacobs wrote an excellent piece (I would have said that even if she hadn't quoted me) titled Getting Old, Getting Loud: Be Proud of the “O” Word. A taste:

”Age may just be a number, but 90 is a really different number than 40, no matter how good you feel. And if it was 'just' a number, California legislators wouldn’t have felt compelled to pass a law last year requiring IMDb.com [the online movie database] to remove ages of actors and directors who don’t want the numbers published on the website.

“Supporters described the law as an effort to combat age discrimination, because actors, especially females, get passed over for roles as they get older. (A judge recently blocked the law.)

“But think about that for a minute. The way to stop age discrimination is to pass a law to enable older people to go underground? Old age is so embarrassing and shameful that we need to legally protect the right to hide it?”

Regular readers of TGB will instantly understand that Mary Jacobs is a woman after my own heart.

Before I link to Mary's website, I must show you the Dumbledore quotation from the Harry Potter books that she uses – it's my new favorite so you'll probably be seeing it here in the future more than once:

“Call him Voldemort, Harry,” he said. “Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

Listen to Dumbledore, and read the rest of Mary's story at her website.

109-YEAR-OLD WORLD WAR II VETERAN

That's how old Richard Overton, America's oldest veteran, was when this video was shot. He turned 111 this month and returned home from the hospital just this week after a bout with pneumonia.

In this video shot two years ago in and around his home in Austin, Texas, he gives up some of his secrets to long life. Presented by National Geographic.

GLOBAL SEED VAULT FLOODED

As The Guardian explained last week, the Global Seed Vault, near the Arctic Circle, was flooded recently due to global warming:

“The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide 'failsafe' protection against 'the challenge of natural or man-made disasters.'”

None of the water gushing in reached the seeds. This time. Here is a short video of the vault:

You can read more at The Guardian and at The New York Times.

WEATHER SERVICE CUTS ARE SERIOUS

On a similar subject, the Trump administration wants to make further cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), of which the Weather Service is a part, even though the United States already lags behind European weather prediction models:

“'It’s gotten to the point that most meteorologists are just discounting the American models, especially for more than three days,' says Doug Kammerer, chief meteorologist at NBCUniversal’s WRC-TV in Washington, DC.,” reported in Wired magazine.

“Weather pros like Kammerer sometimes have to make a judgment call when the American and European models disagree. That’s no biggie when it comes to planning a backyard cookout or soccer game, but it has bigger implications when this year’s hurricane season starts on June 1.

“'When you are looking at a storm, a nor’easter or a hurricane coming up the coast, you need that lead time,' says Kammerer. 'The American models aren’t giving us the lead time we need to properly forecast storms.'”

This is serious stuff, folks. You can read more at Wired.

MITCH LANDRIEU'S AMAZING, MOVING, IMPORTANT SPEECH

A week ago, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered an address about his city's efforts to remove monuments that prominently celebrate the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” and promote white supremacy.

I would weep to have a president who thinks and speaks like this. (Thank my friend Jim Stone for this video.)

A BUCKET OF WATER IN THE DESERT

A guy put a camera in the bottom of a bucket of water, stuck it in the desert and waited to see what would happen. The YouTube page explains further:

”I was pleasantly surprised during the edit to see that George made an appearance. I know him from all the other rabbits because of the tiny notch in his ear. A burro just happened to come by in time to be included...Note: The swimming bees were rescued.”

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 20 May 2017

PORTRAITS OF A CENTURY

As Senior Planet explains it, Czech Republic photographer, Jan Langer

”...has spent some time comparing images of people when they were young with their 100-year-old selves. His meditation on age is the basis for a thoughtful, impactful and deeply moving photo project, Faces of Century.

First example is Antonin Baldrman at age 17 and 101:

AntoninBaldrman

And here is Marie Baresova at age 23 and 101:

MarieBurwsova

See more at Senior Planet and even more at Mr. Langer's website.

HISTORY OF THE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE

There aren't many of us who have not eaten chocolate chip cookies or even baked them too. Mental Floss recently published a history of the chocolate chip cookie. Apparently, they say, there are many versions of the origin story.

But I thought the story screamed for video and I found several at YouTube. Here is one of the many I found on this topic.

A more detailed story is at Mental Floss.

VERTICAL FARM IN NEWARK

Vertical farms aren't new but this one, AeroFarms, is said to be the largest in the world that grows produce indoors without sun, soil or pesticides. Here's a short video:

There is a much more thorough story about it at The New York Times.

NET NEUTRALITY UPDATE

Last Saturday, I posted John Oliver's essay on Net Neutrality along with a link to the website he had set up to make it easy for all of us to tell the FCC what we think about the director, Ajit Pai's intent to kill equal access to the internet.

The response of viewers of the essay on Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight, broke the FCC website which then announced it would not accept comments until after the FCC commissioners vote on the proposal. They did that on Thursday, voting 2 to 1 to end net neutrality.

"The agency is now inviting public comment on whether it should indeed dismantle the rules," reported the BBC yesterday. "Americans have until mid-August to share their views with the FCC.

"This call for comments is likely to attract a huge number of responses. Prior to the vote, more than 1 million statements supporting net neutrality were filed on the FCC site."

As I told you last Saturday, Oliver posted a web-only update which is well worth your time to watch – it's shorter than his usual essays, about six minutes:

As of late Friday, the Oliver link to the FCC comment page was not yet functional. I'll update here when it is. Meanwhile, here again is the procedure to leave your message to the FCC. Even if you left a comment before the website broke, please do it again as the FCC has announced that it will not count those earlier comments.

Again, here is the procedure – Oliver had made it easy:

  1. Navigate in your browser to gofccyourself.com
  2. Click the word “express” on the right side of the page
  3. Fill in the form to support net neutrality and Title 2

When the comment page is available, do it, please, to help save the internet for everyone.

SOME GREAT ROCK AND ROLL DANCING

I used to be able to do this. Quite well. Many decades ago. This video calls it the lindy hop but when I was young, we called it swing dancing. It seems to me to be the same thing or close enough. Enjoy.

This video was recorded at International Lindy Hop Championship in 2014. The Lindy Hop Championship organization has a Facebook page here.

PRETTY, BIG AND DANCING

Oh, let's go ahead and have two dance stories this week. This one is a whole different kind, 21st century dance, with an important goal beyond the joy of dance itself. The YouTube page explains:

”Akira Armstrong started dancing at 8 years old and never looked back. She even landed a featured appearance in two Beyonce music videos, but when she decided to pursue dance professionally, she faced rejection from agencies because of her body type.

“She didn’t fit the physical mold of a typical dancer. So, Armstrong took matters into her own hands and started a plus-size dance company, Pretty Big Movement. “

Take a look – it's a terrific mini-documentary about what Ms. Armstrong is doing.

AHCA: HOW DID YOUR REP VOTE?

You wouldn't know it from the news coverage of all things Trump this week but the Senate Republicans insist they are working on a rewrite of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

If you don't already know how your representative voted on the House version of AHCA, AARP has posted a list showing how all 435 member voted laid out alphabetically by state.

You'll find the list here.

DIALYSIS – JOHN OLIVER

As John Oliver admits at the top of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, you might think you don't care about a 24-minute video essay about dialysis.

He says – and so do I – that you would be wrong. This is an stunning expose of the for-profit dialysis business, deadly serious but as he always can, Oliver finds a way to make us laugh while educating us.

NATURE'S GREATEST ARTIST

Okay, it's not as cute as the animal videos I usually post at the end of each Interesting Stuff column but it sure is amazing.

Thank TGB reader Joan McMullen for this one.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 13 May 2017

REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE DISSOCIATION

Jonathan Chait in New York magazine tried to explain the reasons many Republicans believe women should pay more for healthcare than men:

”Women have, on average, higher lifetime medical costs than men, which means a market-based insurance system, where every individual plan is priced based on that person’s expected medical costs, will charge women on average higher premiums.

“Republicans have been dancing around this implication for years with their argument that people who don’t need prenatal care should not have to buy insurance that covers it.”

And, of course we all know men having nothing to do with the reason women need prenatal care. Right?

You can read more here.

THE MOST EXPENSIVE SPICE IN THE WORLD

You can probably guess which spice it is but even if you can, the video is still enlightening.

OWLS AND THE NAPA VALLEY VINEYARDS

According to the YouTube page, one of the best-kept secrets of Napa Valley wineries is that they rely on barn owls rather than chemicals and pesticides to keep rodents at bay.

”Wildlife biologist Carrie Wendt has spent years learning how these majestic nocturnal creatures can have productive, working relationships with winemakers. So the next time you take a sip of that California pinot, take a moment to thank our feathered friends who helped make that glass possible.”

217 REPUBLICANS REFUSE JOY REID'S INVITATION

I realize that the firing of James Comey has buried news of the Republican healthcare bill this week but that hadn't happened yet last Saturday – it was still hot news then.

MSNBC weekend host, Joy Reid, reported that she and her staff contacted all 217 Republicans who voted in favor of the execrable American Health Care Act (AHCA), asking each one to appear on her program. Not a single one said yes.

Could it be, maybe, shame?

SHOULD WE REQUIRE INTELLIGENCE TESTS FOR CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES?

Moving right along on the subject of Congress, on 5 May, Republican Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho had this to say at a town hall meeting with constituents:

If you missed that or can't play the video, Representative Labrador said, "Nobody dies because they don't have access to healthcare."

Who ARE these people who supposedly represent American citizens?

MELISSA MCCARTHY'S SEAN SPICER SINGS I FEEL PRETTY

Actor Melissa McCarthy began her impossibly wonderful impersonation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday Night Live in February. Tonight, she is hosting that show and here is how the producers are promoting her appearance.

Don't skip this. It is funny, wonderful (and short):

SOCIETY AT ITS BEST AND WEIRDO PARFAIT

For the past week there has been severe flooding throughout Canada. Although I expect Canadians everywhere are good Samaritans, this story from reporter Tyler Dawson gives new faith in humanity:

”There were no soldiers filling sandbags or heaving them into trucks on rue Saint-Louis on Monday morning. Just regular people, of all sorts and of all ages, shoveling from two big piles of sand into green bags and hefting them into the backs of pickup trucks.

“Civil society at its best.

“Before I’d even got my boots on, someone drove by, asking if this was the spot to help out. A steady stream of people, some lugging shovels, made their way to loading area to help. An efficient passing line had sprung up to lift the bags into the trucks, a sort of organized chaos that seemed absent any particular leader or organizer.

“Somehow, everyone seemed to know where to go.”

You can read the rest of the story at the Montreal Gazette and view the video there.

Thank doctafil of Montreal for sending this item. You probably recognize her moniker, as she has been a frequent contributor in the comments at this blog for many years.

Weirdoparfait2But today I have the pleasure of revealing her real name – Brenda Henry – as she has just published her third book of short stories which is titled Weirdo Parfait.

Almost all of Brenda's short stories are based on incidents in her life in Montreal and her frequent travels to Florida and other points of the world. She has a wonderful way with words - when she writes about how much her feet hurt, you feel it too.

”I removed the bonfires. I mean shoes...” she writes in The Shoes the Bus and the Music. “I should have snapped their necks like stale bread sticks, tossed them into the a dumpster, and gone home barefoot...But I had to squeeze the monstrosities back on...”

Of course, she had me with her story, New York City Walk, in which she perfectly describes the energy of the city that I miss so much:

”...New Yorkers doing their usual walking, shopping, looking, buying, arguing, laughing or playing. The city is crazy busy with people wearing oddball outfits, weird hats.”

Brenda volunteers a lot, especially with old people, so there are several stories about that including a lovely one titled, Everything Nothing Something, about a 90-plus year old woman that will break your heart in the best possible way, and reveal the best of Brenda too:

“'The truth is [says Bella], I don't want to leave my home, but you think I have options, huh?'

“'Bella' [says Brenda], 'as long as you have your marbles and can afford to live in your home, you've got this covered.'”

Weirdo Parfait is available at Amazon in paperback and a Kindle edition.

JOHN OLIVER ON NET NEUTRALITY

On May 1, I wrote about the newest attack on net neutrality and what it means for internet users (less access, higher charges). Now, the brilliant John Oliver and his staff to the issue.

When he did this last time net neutrality was threatened three years ago, so many of his audience followed his instructions to tell the FCC to keep net neutrality, they broke the FCC website.

That happened again this week (this episode was broadcast last Sunday night). Take a look at it – Oliver is serious and as always, so funny about it.

As Oliver explained in the video essay, the FCC made it so difficult and obscure to navigate to the page where citizens can leave their thought, he bought the URL, gofccyourself.com.

It is up and running as I write this on Saturday. To get to the FCC comment page, go to that URL, click on the word, “express” after which a new page will open where you can fill in the form and let them know that support net neutrality and Title 2.

Again, here is the procedure – Oliver had made it easy:

  1. Navigate in your browser to gofccyourself.com
  2. Click the word “express” on the right side of the page
  3. Fill in the form to support net neutrality and Title 2

Do it, please, to help save the internet for everyone.

UPDATE: 7AM PDT: As Nana Royer notes in the second comment below, the FCC is not taking comments for a week or so. Here is the explanation from Oliver at that URL:

Hello!

​Because of a procedural quirk, the FCC will not be considering any comments on the issue of net neutrality that are submitted over the next week or so.

​ We'll update you when the comments are officially open again. In the interim, you’ll have to find something else to be mad about on the internet.

Best of luck with that.

Ronni again: I'll remind you when it's up and running again.

FRANKIE, THE TRUCK DUCK

This video is nearly 10 years old so perhaps you've seen it. I hadn't and it is so cute, so funny and so nice that it is worth resurrecting.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 6 May 2017

PRESIDENT OBAMA ON CRITICISM AND FERVOR

Shortly before he left the presidency, Barack Obama sat down for an extensive interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates to discuss what it is like to be a symbol of power and the recipient of people's anger and excitement.

This short excerpt stands out, in contrast to our new president, for its thoughtfulness, charm and intelligence.

Read Coates's full interview at The Atlantic.

HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON 5 TRAILER

The latest season of House of Cards starts streaming at Netflix on Tuesday 30 May. Is it possible that Kevin Spacey's president is scarier than the one we have? It seems so in this trailer.

AGRICULTURE ROLLS BACK SCHOOL LUNCH NUTRITION GUIDELINES

Most of you, and certainly I, are old enough to remember the guffaws when the administration of President Ronald Reagan tried to name ketchup a vegetable in nutritional regulations for school lunches.

Now there is the Trump Department of Agriculture under Secretary Sonny Perdue lowering nutritional requirements put in place at the behest of First Lady Michelle Obama:

”As his first major action in office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the Agriculture Department will delay an upcoming requirement to lower the amount of sodium in meals while continuing to allow waivers for regulations that all grains on the lunch line must be 50 percent whole grain.

“'By forgoing the next phase of sodium reduction, the Trump administration will be locking in dangerously high sodium levels in school lunch,' Wootan said.”

You can read more at the Washington Post.

In other political food news, a Republican Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama offered an amendment to the American Health Care Act that would ”...require sicker people to pay more in insurance costs than people 'who lead good lives,'” whatever that means.

Who ARE these people? Talking Points Memo has more detail.

IT'S NOT JUST OLD PEOPLE – THE DOORWAY EFFECT

Pretty much everyone complains about walking into a room and forgetting why they are there. It's mostly old folks who get tagged with that shortcoming but this research contends that memory isn't the difficulty, doorways are. See what you think.

Thank laura and her daughter Sara for this item.

FINLAND'S WEIRD HOBBY HORSE REVOLUTION

My friend Wendl Kornfeld sent this – a very strange teenage girl fad from her ancestral homeland. Take a look:

Did you watch until the end? Did you see that his video is a trailer for the a full-length movie? There is even a whole website about it – the fad, not the movie. I do not know what to say about this. You can read a little more here.

TRICORDER BECOMING A REALITY?

If you were and/or still are a fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, you certainly recall the tricorder, a hand-held medical instrument used by those future fictional physicians to diagnose disease and collect health information by just waving it over ther patient's body.

Now, there may be something similar for us in the not too distant future. It's called DxtER (pronounced Dexter) and is, according to a story in Salon,

”...a tablet-based system that uses several biological sensors and analytic software that can track vital signs and uncover medical conditions — 34 in all, from diabetes and pulmonary diseases to tuberculosis and Hepatitis A.”

The inventors, a seven-member team of friends and relatives from Pennsylvania, just won a Qualcomm international contest that gives them

The “tricorder” is even more impressive than I have indicated. Take a look at this:

You can learn a lot more about it in the Salon story.

LAST SILENT PLACE ON EARTH

As the YouTube page explains, Gordon Hempton, a “soundtracker” is on a personal quest to preserve silence in nature. Twelve years ago, Hempton resolved to find the quietest place in Washington's Hoh rainforest, itself a haven of silence. Take a look:

THE DEPRIVATIONS OF THE PRIVILEGED

You may have noticed that a book by First Daughter Ivanka Trump was published this week. It has been pretty well trashed in many reviews and this item was every critic's favorite revelation:

"'During extremely high-capacity times, like during the campaign, I went into survival mode: I worked and I was with my family; I didn’t do much else,' Trump writes.

"'Honestly,' she continues, 'I wasn’t treating myself to a massage or making much time for self-care. I wish I could have awoken early to meditate for 20 minutes and I would have loved to catch up with the friends I hadn’t seen in three months, but there just wasn’t enough time in the day.'"

You can find the quotation all over the web including here.

BABY LAMBS AND BUNNIES AND PIGLETS

What could be better, especially after that last item:

Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit sanctuary in Australia for rescued farmed animals that seeks to create a humane and just world for humans and non-humans.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 29 April 2017

AGEING TO THE BEAT OF THEIR OWN DRUM

From one to 100. Let me quote Aeon page:

”An extraordinarily simple premise deftly executed, this video arranges a diverse group of 100 people in ascending order from age one to 100. With a snare drum to mark the progression, the resulting short film, People in Order: Age, is imbued with humour and humanity.

“In the words of the filmmakers, the project is ‘like a list of government statistics where the citizens […] have broken out from behind the figures on the page. The people on the screen stop us from seeing them as numbers. Even in single-second bursts there are worlds of personality stretching out in front of us.’”

Thank reader Tom Delmore for this. More information on the Vimeo page.

TRUMP'S ONE-PAGE TAX PLAN

It was just one page with no explanations (see it here). This is how AP broke down some details:

TrumpTaxPlanGraphicAxios

Nobody knows what the “plan” means except one obvious point - that billions in taxpayer money will flow to rich people like President Trump. On Friday, Paul Krugman had this to say in his New York Times column:

”So why would the White House release such an embarrassing document? Why would the Treasury Department go along with this clown show?

“Unfortunately, we know the answer. Every report from inside the White House conveys the impression that Trump is like a temperamental child, bored by details and easily frustrated when things don’t go his way; being an effective staffer seems to involve finding ways to make him feel good and take his mind off news that he feels makes him look bad.”

If you're keeping score, here is some more of the opposition commentary: Axios. Reich.

THE BEST SQUARE SQUARE IN NEW YORK CITY

Australian Matt Parker is a math obsessive and comedian and in this video he goes to extremes to measure such places as Times Square, Washington Square, etc. to see if they are as actually square as publized by their names.

Parker is funny and so is his obsession. This may be a bit too New York-centric for many readers but I had a good laugh and if you do, thank Peter Tibbles (another Aussie) who is in charge of TGB's music Sundays for sending it.

NEW MEDICARE CARDS DUE IN 2018

As anyone old enough to have a Medicare card in the U.S. knows, our Social Security number is right there in the middle of the card, not something that does a lot to curb identity theft.

Finally, in 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be issuing new cards with different kinds of numbers:

”The new cards will begin being shipped out in April 2018, [and will reach] approximately 60 million beneficiaries by April 2019.”

Security experts have been warning us for years not to carry our Medicare cards in our wallets which can be an inconvenience. It will not be too long now before that warning is unnecessary. You can read more here.

A FABULOUS NEW WILLIE NELSON ALBUM

Today is Willie Nelson's 84th birthday and it must be to celebrate that event, don't you think, that he has released an album titled “God's Problem Child” this week. And look at this, there are three fantastic songs that are all about growing old.

Here is one called It Gets Easier. (If the video does not play, you can listen to the entire album at NPR.)

Thirty-odd years ago, I produced an interview with Willie Nelson for The Barbara Walters Specials at his then-home in the Hill Country near Austin, Texas. I had many weeks to do the research and what I discovered - that others who followed Willie's work confirmed - is that if you could string together all the songs he has written in their proper order (that's the hard part) you would have a close chronology of his life. No need to write a biography; just listen to lyrics and know what he has been going through at those times.

So it makes sense, at age 84, that he is writing and singing about growing old. Here is another track, called Still Not Dead. (As above, if the video doesn't play, you can listen to the entire album at NPR.)

I was alerted to this new Willie album a couple days ago by my good internet friend, Erin Read, who is director of strategic planning at Creating Results where she spends her days advising corporations how to not insult old people they market to.

The third song about being old is called, Old Timer and Willie is as wonderful as he has always been on the rest of the 13 songs too.

There is a track-by-track guide to the album at Rolling Stone.

ENGLAND'S FIRST EVER COAL-FREE ENERGY PRODUCTION DAY

At a time when the new administration in Washington, D.C. is rolling back environmental protection regulations, this is a bittersweet milestone: On 21 April, Great Britain recorded its first ever coal-free day of energy production.

”The UK has had shorter coal-free periods in 2016, as gas and renewables such as wind and solar play an increasing role in the power mix,” reported The Guardian. "The longest continuous period until now had been 19 hours – first achieved on a weekend last May, and matched on Thursday.

“A National Grid spokesman said the record low was a sign of things to come, with coal-free days becoming increasingly common as the polluting fuel is phased out.”

Here's the graph:

GreatBritainEnergyProduction

POLAND'S FOREST OF CROOKED TREES

This short video offers three explanations (guesses is more realistic) for the trees with unnaturally crooked trunks in a Polish forest. Pay special attention to the third possibility for a small giggle today:

Read more at The Times.

A CROW BEFRIENDS A KITTEN

This is a really old video that I recall watching years ago. According to Youtube it was shot in 1999 and posted to their pages in 2007. Whatever its provenance, it's fascinating look at cross-species friendship. I loved seeing it again and thank reader Nana for that.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 22 April 2017

HOW SMALL WE ARE IN THE SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE

Of course, you have intuited how small we are on the scale of the universe. But this TED Talk brings it home is a big – uh, make that small way.

A CHEESE BANK – SERIOUSLY, A REAL BANK

For cheese farmers, there's a bank in Italy that will literally accept cheese as collateral for loans. Take a look:

BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH SPORTS

A few weeks ago, the Washington Post reported that Museum of Natural History of The University of Louisiana at Monroe must move its collection to make room for an expanded sports track:

”The curators were given 48 hours to find a new place on campus to store the collection — something they weren't able to do. Now they must get another institution to take their several million specimens.

“Their hard deadline is July, when the track renovations are slated to begin. And if the collection isn't moved by then, curators said, it will be destroyed.”

As the Post further reported, the collection

”...includes some 6 million fish collected by ULM ichthyologist Neil Douglas, one of the leading experts on the fish of Louisiana, as well as half a million native plants. It is an important record of biodiversity in northern Louisiana — a region that stands to see significant environmental impacts as a result of climate change.”

What can possibly justify this move by the university.

You can read more at the Washington Post. The university's museum website is here.

THE TRUMP KLEPTOCRACY ROLLS ON

On 6 April 2017, Ivanka Trump was sitting next to the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife at a formal state dinner at Mar-a-Lago. That was the dinner, as you no doubt know, where chocolate cake was served as President Trump told the Xi that the U.S. had just fired a bunch of missiles at Syria.

Or was it Iran? Trump wasn't certain which country had been targeted when he discussed it on a TV news program later. The interviewer had to correct the president.

You probably also know that on the same day, as the AP reported,

”Ivanka Trump's company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world's second-largest economy...

“The scenario underscores,” reported the AP, “how difficult it is for the president's daughter, to separate business from politics in her new position at the White House.”

Difficult? Or just deliberately flouting the law, custom, the Constitution and countless conflicts of interest? The Trump family kleptocracy rolls on.

OOHO – WATER YOU CAN EAT AND MUCH MORE

Ooho is the name of an edible substance that can eliminate plastic pollution. The website says The aim of Ooho is to provide the convenience of plastic bottles while limiting the environmental impact. Take a look:

Although being used in some small venues, the inventors are still developing the container:

”Their goal isn’t to add another brand of water to an already crowded market but instead to offer a new packaging technology. They envision a range of products so, for example, there would be one version with a very thin membrane suitable to hand out to runners in a race,” explained The Independent.

“For the retail market, there would be another with a thicker outer layer that you could peel off and discard, making it more durable and hygienic.”

Read more about this hopeful possibility at the website and at The Independent. It might help save the Earth.

JOHN OLIVER ON TOMORROW'S FRENCH ELECTION

Don't go thinking tomorrow's election in France doesn't affect you or the United States or the future of the world because it does.

In fact, the election has shaped up to look almost eerily like the U.S. election last November – the same kind of candidates opposing one another.

On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver shows us the similarities and what is at stake as only he can. The end is brilliant but can't be appreciated if you fast forward – you need to see the entire lead-in.

DID YOU KNOW PIZZA IS A SPORT?

Neither did I. Take a look at the World Pizza Games. Go ahead – it will make you laugh.

AMAZING DRAWINGS ON DIRTY VEHICLES

Here is what they tell us about this at Bored Panda:

”Where one person sees a dirty car, the other one sees a blank canvas. And if you live in Moscow, your car can also become the ‘target,’ doesn’t matter if you want it or not!

“It’s thanks to the Russian illustrator Nikita Golubev, who brings out the full artistic potential of dirty cars by turning them into amazing pieces of art.”

Here are a couple of examples:

Dirty-car-art-proboynick-nikita-golubev-9-58f45eaae219c__880

Dirty-car-art-proboynick-nikita-golubev-8-58f45ea8c3122__880

You can see more at Bored Panda and even more at the artists' Facebook page.

THIS SQUIRREL LOVES HER ICE CREAM CONE

Ice cream shop owners Scott and Pam Martin have adopted a squirrel named Putter as a mascot who seems to love vanilla ice cream enough to show up nearly every day for her scoop. They even make squirrel-size cones for her.

* * *

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 15 April 2017

TRIBUTE TO DAVE LETTERMAN'S MOM

Surely you remember how Dave Letterman made his mom a star during the 30-year run of his Late Show. Dorothy Mengering died Tuesday at the age of 95. Here is a montage of some of her appearances on her son's show.

Read more at the Tampa Bay Times.

WI-FI SEX TOY YOUR NEIGHBOR CAN OPERATE

This was the best “oops laugh” I had all week. You've heard of IoT, the Internet of Things, right? Your refrigerator will order milk for you, start the toaster or turn on the lights and so on.

Well, someone may have gone a mite too far with this idea – a Wi-Fi sex toy AND it can be hacked:

”This week, U.K. cybersecurity services provider Pen Test Partners shed light on a particularly prurient internet of things vulnerability in the Svakom Siime Eye, a $250 sex toy equipped with an internet-connected camera that lets users stream a dildo’s eye view of masturbation via the internet to another person’s smartphone.

“Because of the way the Siime Eye’s software was designed, anyone within Wi-Fi range could potentially hack his or her way into the system and watch footage right along with the person the feed was intended for.”

And here is the kicker that sent me into gales of laughter:

”With a little extra work, a hacker could also take control of the firmware and even broadcast the feed to the web for anyone to see.”

Read even more about this at Salon. Tee hee.

OLIVER ON GERRYMANDERING AND DEMOCRACY

As you undoubtedly know by now, the Republicans have so deeply gerrymandered the voting districts of the United States in the past decade that in many places it is, without some gigantic change of political leaning of millions of voters, impossible for Democrats to increase their numbers on the Senate, the House and in state houses.

The wonderful John Oliver looked into that on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight. As with almost all his video essays, this one, too, is not to be missed.

BOSTON TYPEWRITER ORCHESTRA UPDATE

Remember last week when I showed you a video about the Boston Typewriter Orchestra? Friend and well-known videographer, Steve Garfield (who is also the son of our own Millie Garfield), emailed to let me know that he had interviewed these guys way back in 2008.

So here's Steve's video with the orchestra members and some additional information we didn't get the last week's item.

You can find out about all kinds of other video work Steve does at his website.

WHEN I DIDN'T CLICK THE LINK

Sometimes when people demean elders with their words, they are just ignorant; there is a good chance they can be educated.

Then there are organizations whose actions are so deviant from their stated purpose, are beyond the pale. Take this headline from, of all places, an AARP newsletter.

“The inspiring women of Allure's ageless beauties video series prove that growing up doesn't have to mean growing old.” [emphasis is mine]

I immediately hit the delete button. Let us say this all together now: There is nothing wrong with being old.

DAVID FARENTHOLD WINS PULITZER PRIZE

Perhaps, last year, you followed the work of Washington Post reporter David Farenthold who, over many weeks spoke with more than 300 charities that then-candidate Donald Trump said he had contributed money to.

Farenthold couldn't find any that Trump had actually given money to while also discovering illegal use of his foundation funds for personal purchases.

That kind of investigation, telephone call after call after call, is deeply tedious and deeply important to keeping public people honest. This week, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his effort and here's a video of the celebration with his colleagues at the paper.

Congratulations on a well-deserved award. You can read more at the Washington Post.

CONGRESS MADE IT OKAY TO KILL HIBERNATING BEARS

Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump signed a bill that had been passed by Congress making it legal to kill bears while they are hibernating and other wild animals too.

Orso-bruno

The law also allows people to kill cubs in their dens and target animals from helicopters. The Humane Society had condemned the law before it had passed the Senate and was sent to the president's desk.

“'What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America,' said Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle in a statement. 'If the Senate and president concur, we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens [and] bears chased down by planes.'

“Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who introduced the measure, argued that states’ rights were being infringed upon by the rule.

“'We have to recognize this is not about the little polar bears, the little grizzly bears or wolves on television, this is about the state’s right to manage — not allowing the federal government to do so.'”

Unh-huh. But the animals are just as dead. Find out more at Huffington Post.

THE MAN WHO CREATED MICROSOFT WINDOWS SOLITAIRE

Unless you're an Apple/Mac kind of person, you have undoubtedly played Microsoft's solitaire game that was included with every computer running Windows for many years.

Someone created that video game and it was an intern at Microsoft in 1988, named Wes Cherry. As the Youtube page explains:

"...out of sheer boredom, Cherry created Solitaire. With the approval of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the company decided to include the game as part of its Windows program. And thus commenced countless hours of wasted time. From procrastinators everywhere, thanks, Wes.”

Yeah, Wes – thanks a lot. Here's the story from Wes Cherry himself and wait until you see what he's doing these days, nearly 20 years later.

LITTLE GIRL MISTAKES DISCARDED WATER HEATER FOR A ROBOT

And it's this week's most adorable thing.

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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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 9 April 2017

FIRST A PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you all for your many birthday greetings yesterday. They came through all kinds of sources - Facebook, LinkedIn, the blog and email - well, until the power went out at about 9:30AM and didn't return for nearly 10 hours. So I still have more to read this morning. You are the best and let me give one more shout out to the TGB music guru Peter Tibbles for his delightful column just for my birthday. I am now officially 76 years old.

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WILLIE NELSON IN 1965

In 1965, I was 24 years old; Willie Nelson was 32 and as far as I can recall, I hadn't heard of him yet.

Back then, he was a long way from what we've come to know and love - at least in terms of presentation. Take a look at his medley at the Grand Ole Opry that year.

Anyone who heard him then would have no trouble knowing he'd be around for a long, long time. Then and now, I always end up smiling when I'm listening to Willie.

HOW TO CONTACT YOUR CONGRESS PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK

We haven't discussed it for awhile but I assume you are regularly contacting your senators and representative in Congress to let them know your opinions and thoughts.

Now there is an additional way to do that – Facebook. Here are the basics:

Visit facebook.com/townhall by looking under the "Explore" section of your News Feed on a desktop, or by looking in the menu of your Facebook app on your phone.

“After submitting your street address (will be used only for civic engagement – not advertising – purposes), you will get a list of your local, state and national representatives...”

“From there, Facebook will let you contact your elected representatives directly with a single click, by calling the first number listed on the official's Facebook page (if you're on the social network's mobile app) or by sending an email or a Facebook message.”

There are more instructions and explanation as the Washington Post.

JOHN OLIVER ON MARIJUANA LAWS

A whole lot of U.S. states have legalized or decriminalized the use of marijuana in various forms. But there is that pesky federal law against any use of it.

President Barack Obama and his Justice Department chose to ignore that law as more cannabis dispensaries opened across the United States. Now, our new Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has indicated that the federal law will be enforced. Given the billion dollar industry cannabis has become, that should be interesting to watch happen.

Last Sunday, on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on that topic in his usual brilliant and funny way.

UNDERGROUND DESTINATIONS

I couldn't tell you why but I have a fondness for the amazing underground living and working spaces people have created. Here is one in Fresno, California.

Around the turn of the 20th century, a Sicilian immigrant named Baldassare Forestier didn't like the heat in Fresno so, explains Mental Floss:

”...he began digging himself underground caverns in which to stay cool, and kept digging for the next 40 years. Along the way, Forestiere developed methods to deliver enough sunshine so that he could grow fruit trees and grapevines in his underground home.

“The result of his digging is now Forestiere Underground Gardens, where some of his original trees are still thriving 100 years later.”

1forestiere_underground_gardens_at_5021_west_shaw_avenue_fresno_california_lccn2013634995

The Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland produced salt from the 13th century up until 2007. Now it is a national historical monument.

“The natural resource has figured prominently in Poland's history over the centuries, and miners created an underground world that includes chapels and artworks carved into the walls, with more added by modern artists.”

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You can find out more about the Wieliczka Salt Mines here. More about the Forestiere Underground Gardens here. And you can see a dozen or so more underground destinations at Mental Floss.

REMARKABLE OWL RESCUE

A Great Horned Owl was stuck sitting on a dead tree trunk in the middle of what looks like a swamp. He/she had been there all night and into the day because a wing was caught in fishing line.

Enter a perfectly named guy, Craig Loving, who took matters into his hands when no wildlife rescue professionals were available. This is – well, loving.

HE PLAYS THE TENOR SMITH CORONA

For some people of a certain age – like me – it is fun, in our computer age, to recall the “click,” “clack” and “ding” of the mechanical typewriters on which we learned to type. Now, The Boston Typewriter Orchestra is, as the YouTube page says, “making these old machines “sing” again:

”Since 2004, this six-man ensemble has been playing a range of covers and original songs on both desktop and portable machines from years past. And if you thought all typewriters emitted the same sounds, think again. This orchestra's sonorous symphonies have captivated crowds all over New England.”

Perhaps you noticed at about six seconds from this top of the video a certain style of typewriter under the opening credit, “The Typewriter Orchestra.”

I love that old typewriter style – those particular keys - so much that about three months ago, I splurged on a treat for myself, this computer keyboard:

Keyboard

It's called a Qwerkywriter. It is a fully functional Bluetooth keyboard that does everything a standard plastic computer keyboard does but it uses old fashioned keys, is made of sturdy metal like the old-timey typewriter I learned on – with those same keys - and is gorgeously designed. Here's a little video:

I use mine mostly with my desktop computer but it also works well with a tablet that you can slip into the slot where we once rolled paper into the machine. You can find out more about it at the Qwerkywriter website and read a review at Engadget.

LA TIMES EDITORIAL SERIES ON TRUMP DISHONESTY

Last Sunday, The Los Angeles Times began a daily series written by the editorial board that pulls not a single punch in regard to President Donald Trump in his first 70-something days in office. From the first installment:

”What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation.”

Whether you are fan or foe of the 45th president, this is a must-read series. It begins here.

MELTING CANDY AND CLASSICAL MUSIC

All the YouTube page tells us is that Erwin Trummer made this short compilation video of melting candies set to classic music. It's quite beautiful.

COCKATOO LOVES HIM SOME ELVIS

Thank my friend Jim Stone for digging out this two-year-old video for us. I promise you will laugh out loud.

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 1 April 2017

GOOD DAY, EVERYONE

This is April Fool's Day. God knows I tried but I couldn't come up with any jokes to play on you that I actually like so instead, here is a small departure for Interesting Stuff – an all-animal show.

I read somewhere that watching cat videos (meaning all cute animal vids) is good for our mood and well-being. True or not, I hope you'll enjoy these. If not, at least it clears out a bit of the backlog for me.

UPDATE at 7:30AM: I just ran across Amazon's 2017 April Fool's Day video - about a special Amazon Echo skill for your pet:

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BACK FROM EXTINCTION

The North American River Otter – a cute little bugger – has been brought back from the edge of extinction.

There is a lot more information about the North American river otter at the National Wildlife Federation website.

A SMALL REPRIEVE FOR ELEPHANTS

According to a story in The New York Times this week,

”...the ivory boom may be over. According to Save the Elephants, the wholesale price of an elephant tusk was $2,100 a kilogram in 2014. Last month, it was $730.

“This may be a sign of how a sustained global advocacy campaign can actually work...Last December, China responded, announcing it was shutting down all ivory commerce by the end of 2017. It seems the price of ivory has dropped in anticipation of the ban; many analysts believe it will soon drop further.”

Here's the video and you can read more at The Times.

THE AMAZING TARDIGRADE

This microscopic creature with a bunch of cute nicknames such as water bear, moss piglet and pudgy-wudgy are found everywhere on earth from the tippy-top of the highest mountains to the bottom of the seas and they are remarkably resilient. Take a look:

A GOOD DAY FOR HANK THE DOG

Cats are terrific but when you need a laugh or want to be reminded of what fun life can be, it's a good thing to watch a dog at play.

DIRTY DOGS

Cats are fastidious creatures. They spend a great deal of their waking hours “doing the laundry” and in the case of my Ollie, just a short pet on my part requires 10 minutes of licking to clean up whatever mess he thinks I've made of his fur.

Dogs, on the other hand, think getting dirty is one of the joys in life:

SOME FERAL CATS GET A JOB

TGB reader Cathy Johnson sent this video about how some feral cats got a job and with it, a safer life:

And everyone is happy. Read more at the I Heart Cats website.

AMAZING MIMIC, THE LYRE BIRD

Somehow I never heard of this bird before. About halfway through the video, he gets really amazing in his mimicry. The human in the video is the wonderful Richard Attenborough.

ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL – YOU AND ME TOO

As the YouTube page explains:

”RSPCA is and always will be for all creatures great and small. However, we thought it important to remind us all that humans are included in the 'creature' list. So to create more empathy for our animal friends, it's integral we remember we are not so different!

“Thank you to Engine Group for helping to make this ad happen and a huge thank you to Geoffrey Rush, who is the voice for animals on this clip.”

More about the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland is here.

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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.