339 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

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.

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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 – 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.”

800wieliczka_kopalnia_soli_xiii

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.


INTERESTING STUFF – 25 March 2017

ODE TO FORGETFULNESS

This is all too familiar to me and probably to many of you too.

Comedian Mack Dryden, who used to write for Bill Maher, has a whole lot more videos and his website is here.

SURPRISINGLY COMPLICATED PROP MONEY

Not just anyone can make fake money for movies and TV shows. As the YouTube page explains, it is a

”...highly regulated endeavor that is closely watched by federal authorities, so Rappaport has to be extra careful to ensure his fakes never make it into circulation. Still, when your prop money is the go-to for rap videos and has been featured in over 175 films and shows, we think it's safe to say that your cash is king.”

Take a look:

THREE NEW MONOPOLY TOKENS ANNOUNCED

Remember last month when I told you that Monopoly planned to kill the thimble token and a couple of others. Now they have done it. Here's the story:

The T-rex, ducky and and penguin tokens will be available in a new release of the game in the fall. In a statement, Jonathan Berkowitz, a senior vice president at Hasbro Gaming, said,

“The next generation of tokens clearly represents the interests of our fans around the world, and we’re proud to have our iconic game impacted by the people that feel most passionate about playing it,” according to The New York Times.

ELMO GETS FIRED

It's a long time – probably fall – until President Trump's budget will become final and many changes can happen between now and then. However, in the first draft, funding for PBS is being cut which means - Sesame Street's Elmo would be fired:

WHO SAID IT – STEVE BANNON OR VOLDEMORT?

Buzzfeed recently published a little quiz: Ten quotations about which you are asked to choose whether White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said it or if the Harry Potter character, Voldemort, said it.

BannonVoldemort

I've read all the Harry Potter Books, I closely follow American politics in Washington, D.C. and I thought this would be slam dunk for me. But nooooo. I correctly identified only four out of ten.

You can test yourself here.

EXPERT INTERRUPTED DURING LIVE TV INTERVIEW

This video took the internet by storm last week. Watch what happened when Professor Robert Kelly was being interviewed by a BBC reporter about South Korea:

It was too delicious for Jono & Ben not to wonder what would have happened had it had been a mommy who was interrupted instead of a daddy. Here's their take:

Thank my friend Jim Stone for sending this.

THE PHYSICIST WHO MAKES AMAZING ORIGAMI

As the YouTube page explains:

”Twenty five years ago, physicist Robert Lang worked at NASA, where he researched lasers. He has also garnered 46 patents on optoelectronics...

“But in 2001, Lang left his job in order to pursue a passion he's had since childhood: origami. In the origami world, Lang is now a legend, and it's not just his eye-catching, intricate designs that have taken the craft by storm.”

I think you'll enjoy this:

EATING FOR A HEALTHY OLD AGE

One of the major cuts in President Trump's budget is to the National Institutes on Health of which the National Institute on Aging is a part.

The website has a terrific section on healthy eating in old age, what changes are needed and how to make them.

“...as you age, some foods may be better than others for staying healthy and reducing your chance of illness,” they explain.

NIH healthy eating old age

There are sections on important nutrients, shopping, changes in healthy choices as we get older. And much more. Take advantage of this while you can. Such information is likely to be the kind that is canceled and disappears with the Trump budget.

You'll find the NIA healthy eating in old age section here.

THE CUTEST THING: QUOKKAS

I only recently heard of quokkas – a marsupial native to Australia (home of Sunday's music columnist, Peter Tibbles). And it is the cutest thing you've ever seen. They call it the happiest animal in the world. Apparently it's friendly too. Take a look:

Bored Panda recently published a whole batch of cute quokka photos. Here's a mama with her baby:

Quokka with baby

And another:

Cutequokka

How's that for leaving you today with big, warm hug? You can see more cute quokka photos at Bored Panda.

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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 – 18 March 2017

IMPEACHABLE

Remember the music group, Peter, Paul and Mary? They were important protest singers back in the Sixties. Now, Peter Tibbles, who writes the Sunday music column here, has forwarded a new song from Noel Paul Stookey.

Stookey's musical colleague, Peter Yarrow, wrote this about his new song:

Impeachable is an example of Noel’s extraordinary ability to write a super-funny, very surprising yet also, highly nuanced, lyric. He is, and has always been, an amazing songwriter.

“In its first public performance last weekend Impeachable brought the audience at our concert in Thousand Oaks, CA to its feet with a prolonged standing ovation. There were screeches of delight the likes of which I have never before heard at a Peter Paul and Mary concert.”

Read more at Reader Supported News.

CHOCOLATE MUSEUM

Mmmm. Yummmm. There are chocOlate museums in such places as Orlando, Cologne, Barcelona, Bruges and more. For quite awhile there have been Jacques Torres chocolate museums in other boroughs of New York City, but finally one opened in Manhattan recently.

The Manhattan Jacques Torres Chocolate Museum is located around the corner from where I lived for 25 years. It is the single good reason I have found to not still be living there – way too easy to overindulge.

Here's the Chocolate Museum website and you can read more here.

COLBERT MOCKS MADDOW - DESERVEDLY

It's been several months since I stopped watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. Far too regularly, she stretches 20 minutes of information into 60 minutes of program by repeating everything she says five and even six times. I'd had a enough when I stopped tuning in.

A friend who knows I ignore Maddow called on Tuesday evening to tell me to tune in – that she had some Trump tax returns.

Nothing different happened. She spoke about what she was going to show us for more than 30 damned minutes before holding up the paltry two pages that mean next to nothing in terms of new information. It was a total waste of my time and of her show's time.

Plus, she took credit for them landing at her show when the pages actually had been sent anonymously to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, David Cay Johnson.

The next night, on The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert performed a near-perfect parody of that Maddow show and her well-known mannerisms. Thank you, Colbert – she deserves calling out on this. Here it is.

HEINZ USES MAD MEN AD IN REAL LIFE CAMPAIGN

If you were a Mad Men fan, you might recall an episode in season 6 when Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), serves up a proposal for a deceptively simple ad campaign for Heinz ketchup. Here is the scene:

Now it is about to become a real-life print advertising campaign almost entirely as it was shot for the TV show:

”Per Adweek,” reports Vanity Fair, “Heinz just greenlighted the ads—and will run them almost exactly as Draper intended, beginning today, in print and out-of-home executions in New York City.”

Adweek reports that 'the ads are officially being credited to Heinz’s current agency, David Miami, and to Don’s fictional 1960's firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.'”

What's that old saying about life imitating art? You can read more here.

CAN YOU GUESS THE VOICE of THE YELLOW M&M?

As long as we're talking about commercials, listen to this one starring the yellow M&M:

Do you know which popular actor has been the voice of the yellow candy for 21 years? Scroll to the bottom of today's post for the answer.

IMPEACHARA

Here's a tongue-in-cheek "commercial" about a drug for what ails you, maybe all of us. Journalist Irene S. Levine was the first of several readers to send it to me. It's subtle – be sure to stick around for the ending.

MOST SEARCHED FOR OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKS

OldBooks2

Online used book seller, Abebooks, published the Bookfinder list of most searched for out-of-print books for 2016.

What came in first? The 1974 novel, Westworld a companion book to the movie starring Yul Brynner, both written by Michael Crichton. Abebooks explained that the sudden interest in the 43-year-old book was due to

”HBO's revival of Michael Crichton's science fiction thriller Westworld was one of the best things on TV in 2016...The 10-part series premiered on October 2 and concluded on December 4.”

Here are the rest of the top five most searched for out-of-print books:

Sex by Madonna
Permaculture: A Designer's Manual by Bill Mollison
Unintended Consequences by John Ross
Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns by Barbara Brackman

You coulda fooled me. See the entire top 30 list at Abebooks with links to those that are available at their website – including a few that you'll recognize.)

JAPANESE CONFECTIONERY KNOWN AS WAGASHI

The art of wagashi goes back hundreds of years in Japan. As the YouTube page explains:

”These ornate sweets, meant to reflect the delicate beauty of nature, were traditionally created to accompany the Japanese tea ceremony. They are often shaped to resemble traditional flower motifs, and change with the shifting seasons.

“At Fukushimaya, approximately 200 different types of sweets are created throughout the year, with daffodils and camellia blossoms ushering in spring.

Take a look:

WHY ARE CATS THE WAY THEY ARE?

Like me, you may know a lot of what is explained in this TED-ed video but I learned a few things and maybe you will too.

Full lesson is here:

ANSWER TO THE VOICE OF THE YELLOW M&M

JK_Simmons_2009 It is the likeable actor, J.K. Simmons, star of stage, screen, television and even video games. Not to mention the ubiquitous Farmers Insurance commercials: (“We know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two.”)

There is more than you probably ever wanted to know about him 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 – 11 March 2017

FIVE-YEAR-OLD WINS SPELLING BEE

I would have lost to young Edith Fuller, at my age now, on the word she spelled correctly to win. As it is, she is the youngest spelling bee winner ever and she won against some students three times her age.

You can read more at the Washington Post.

CLEVER EXHIBIT OF FICTION GENDER GAP FOR WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

Loganberry Books in Cleveland, Ohio, made an important statement about the gender of fiction writers by reversing all the novels on their shelves written by men so we cannot see the titles and names. Take a look:

Loganberrybooks

Here's a close up:

Loganberrycloseup

You can read more at Huffington Post and you can visit the Loganberry website where there are more photos.

THE MAN WHO MAKES MAZES

Adrian Fisher is, they say, the world's pre-eminent maze de signer. In his career, he has created more than 700 mazes in 40 countries.

”...like all skillful mystery-makers,” notes the YouTube page, “Fisher's greatest talent in maze-making is knowing how to perfectly blend the intrigue of exploration with the satisfaction that comes from finding your way.”

HUD SECRETARY BEN CARSON SAYS SLAVES WERE IMMIGRANTS

You may have heard that last week, in his first speech to employees of the Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD) where he is now secretary, Dr. Ben Carson announced that slaves were immigrants. Here's the video with some Twitter reaction appended:

You can read more at the Washington Post and I'll have more to say about Dr. Carson's speech in these pages on Monday.

IT'S DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME AGAIN

Why don't we just give up daylight savings time; it's not like it has a purpose anymore and even with computers, WiFi and Bluetooth that do it automatically, I still have way too many clocks to change tonight.

Dst2

Tonight's the night – move your clocks AHEAD one hour. It will be darker when you wake on Sunday.

HOW SMALL ARE WE IN THE SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE

While we're considering the sun and daylight in relation to our clocks, how about this – human size compared to that of the universe. Here's a Ted Talk designed to make us feel deeply insignificant.

DRAGON'S BLOOD

Scientific journals have a penchant for publishing “maybe breakthroughs” that are no doubt of interest to fellow scientists but are not much so to the rest of us since it will usually be years (if ever) before discoveries are translated into useful results.

But sometimes they are just plain interesting. This is a komodo dragon, the largest reptile on earth. (Image from remotelands.com)

Komodo_7B

As an article in The Economist explained last week:

”Komodo dragons, which are native to parts of Indonesia, ambush large animals like water buffalo and deer with a bite to the throat. If their prey does not fall immediately, the dragons rarely continue the fight.

“Instead, they back away and let the mix of mild venom and dozens of pathogenic bacteria found in their saliva finish the job. They track their prey until it succumbs, whereupon they can feast without a struggle.”

As you undoubtedly have read, antibiotics are becoming less and less effective putting humans at risk we haven't encountered for decades. And that is where, perhaps, komodo dragons come in to save the day – as a “promising source of chemicals on which to base new antibiotics.”

Working with fresh komodo blood, a team of scientists in Florida,

”...identified 48 potential [antimicrobial peptides] that had never been seen before. Their initial tests were equally promising.

“Dr Van Hoek exposed two species of pathogenic bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, to eight of the most promising peptides they had identified. The growth of both species of bacteria was severely hampered by seven of the eight; the remaining peptide was effective against only P. aeruginosa.”

A lot of Latin but with apparently good news although it may take years to see results for humans. Still worth knowing if only to read the phrase “dragon's blood” in real life, not a horror movie.

You can read more at The Economist.

A MOST SATISFYING VIDEO

This is a great video to watch when everything seems to be going wrong – in your personal life or in the world at large. It feels so good when things are done amazingly well, just right and, sometimes, even perfectly.

If you liked this here are two more: One. Two.

BALD EAGLES IN DUTCH HARBOR, ALASKA

Once almost extinct, bald eagles are back from the brink. So much so that there can be videos like this one of a fisherman sharing his catch with a whole, big flock of eagles.

* * *

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 – 4 March 2017

THIS GIRL (OF ALL AGES) CAN VIDEO

Sport England just released a new video for the This Girl Can campaign which, they explain,

”...encourages women to challenge cultural assumptions about femininity that prevent them engaging in sport and exercise. The ad uses extracts from Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Women poem alongside real women taking part in sport

Including, please note, old women too.

Thank lilalia who blogs at Yum Yum Cafe for this.

HEALTH CARE IS COMPLICATED

Apparently, President Donald Trump was surprised to find out early last week that healthcare and coverage for healthcare is not easy. Take a look:

Here's a response to Trump's surprise, a haiku by Michael Belodeau posted at Kaiser Health News:

Health care policy
Complicated. Huh, who knew?
I did. Didn’t you?

JOHN OLIVER ON OBAMACARE

To create a theme, here is the main essay from John Oliver on his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight” last Saturday. God, I missed him while the show was on hiatus. Here he is at his funniest while being deeply serious too.

TURNING CREMATED ASHES INTO VINYL RECORDINGS

I've been known to write, from time to time, about burial innovations from simple shrouds to mushroom suits, green cremations to biomass pods that let a decomposing body power lights. You can read about those here.

Now, a company in the United Kingdom can turn your loved one's cremated remains into a vinyl recording:

”Ask Studio is an offering of British company Andvinyl that involves pressing your cremains into a series of musical discs...

“Each record has 24 minutes of audio (12 per side) and a single person’s cremated remains can be turned into up to 30 such discs...

“Music is not the only option, either — the user supplies the sound, so it can be a song or simply a message to a family member, spouse, friend or other loved one.”

Find out more at Gajitz.

LEONARD COHEN'S DEMOCRACY

When poet/musician Leonard Cohen died last year, most people had his Hallelujah on repeat for days.

But given this election campaign that was distorting our politics at the time, a better memorial for Cohen might be his 1990 Democracy. Canadian TGB reader Gillian suggested that to me in an email that is is almost perfect for our 2017 circumstance.

So here it is with the lyric below the video so you can follow along.

It's coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there
From the wars against disorder
From the sirens night and day
From the fires of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming to the USA
It's coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here
And the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

It's coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst
It's here the family's broken
And it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming from the women and the men
O baby, we'll be making love again
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
Imperial, mysterious
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
This little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the USA

AMAZING NEW BOSTON DYNAMICS ROBOT

I've told you about Boston Dynamics' robots at least twice and they just get better. Boston Dynamics explains that its latest,

”...called Handle...stands 6.5 feet tall, travels at nine miles per hour and jumps four feet vertically. It uses electric power to operate both electric and hydraulic actuators, with a range of about 15 miles on one battery charge.

“Handle uses many of the same dynamics, balance and mobile manipulation principles found in the quadruped and biped robots we build, but with only about 10 actuated joints, it is significantly less complex.

“Wheels are efficient on flat surfaces while legs can go almost anywhere: by combining wheels and legs, Handle can have the best of both worlds.”

Mashable describes Handle as moving like a “world-class athlete." Wired says it is an “evolutionary marvel.” Take a look for yourself:

JUST IN TIME FOR SECRETARY BETSY DEVOS

As soon as the completely unqualified Education Secretary Betsy Devos adjusted her opinion of transgender bathrooms to match the White House point of view, this new report about school vouchers, which she strongly supports, was released:

”...wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them,” reports The New York Times. The results are startling — the worst in the history of the field, researchers say...

“Researchers examined an Indiana voucher program that had quickly grown to serve tens of thousands of students under Mike Pence, then the state’s governor. 'In mathematics,' they found, 'voucher students who transfer to private schools experienced significant losses in achievement.' They also saw no improvement in reading.

“[In Louisiana's voucher program]...Public elementary school students who started at the 50th percentile in math and then used a voucher to transfer to a private school dropped to the 26th percentile in a single year. Results were somewhat better in the second year, but were still well below the starting point.”

More about Secretary DeVos's squishy transgender politics here and the voucher research findings here.

EARTH SHIPS

As YouTube explains,

”The New Mexico desert is a landscape of harsh extremes: brutally hot in the summer, frigid in the winter. It was the perfect testing ground for architect Mike Reynolds' "earthships"—houses of unconventional design material and utility that are completely self-sustained.

“They're built with used tires and empty glass bottles and produce their own electricity, water, and food. For Reynolds, sustainable houses are the key to making a home in a better future—and now, the rest of the world is catching on to Reynolds' genius eco-friendly designs.”

Take a look:

There is another video and more information at The Atlantic.

JAPAN'S ALL-NATURAL MONKEY SPA

I keep thinking I've featured this spa that warms Japanese macaques during their cold, four-month, snowy winters but I can't find it. I've seen various video and am always charmed. The YouTube page explains,

”The Jigokudani Valley in Japan's Joshinetsu-Kogen National Park is a high altitude, snow-covered landscape of cliffs and chasms that holds a surprising secret: naturally occurring hot springs that bubble with subterranean heat and fill the air with steam.

“However, we humans aren't the only primates who have discovered the hot springs. In the early 1960s, Japanese macaques moved down from the higher forests above the valley and made themselves right at home in the warm waters. These snow monkeys have been using them as a warm-up spot ever since.

* * *

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 – 25 February 2017

There is such an abundance this week of “interesting stuff” that I hardly knew where to begin. Here are some of them.

MONOPOLY KILLS THE THIMBLE

Yes, it's true. Last month, four million Monopoly fans voted on which game tokens to keep and which to get rid of:

You can read more about the changes in this classic game here and here.

What's your favorite Monopoly token? I've always liked the top hat.

NEW EARTHLIKE PLANETS DISCOVERED

Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, raising the prospect of life.

This is such exciting news that there are already hundreds of places online to read more about the newly discovered planets. Here is one.

”DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS”

For half a century or more, my go-to newspaper as been The New York Times and I doubt that will change in whatever lifetime is left to me.

But more frequently in the past year or so, I spend an equal amount of time with the Washington Post and that is attributable to the “new” editor since December 2012, Martin Baron.

If you saw the movie Spotlight, you know who he is and he has so improved the Post journalistically, that it is now about as far a you can get from the dreary little rag it used to be.

This past week, something new turned up on the front page nameplate of the paper. The New York Times has always had its motto: “All the news that's fit to print” and now the Post has added one:

WapoHeader

Did you see that slogan just under the paper's name? “Democracy Dies in Darkness” seems to me to be a perfect choice for our times that will carry well into whatever the future brings.

"WELCOME REFUGEES" BANNER ON STATUE OF LIBERTY

A 3-foot by 20-foot banner reading "Refugees Welcome" was hung last week just below the observation deck of the Statue of Liberty. It happened on the day that the Department of Homeland Security announced expanded immigration enforcement policies.

You can read more about it at Talking Points Memo.

A WEEK WITHOUT TRUMP NEWS

One reason the new president is so ubiquitous is that all other news seemed to have stopped and there is nothing to know unless it involves Trump.

For a week, The New York Times technology columnist, Farhad Manjoo, avoided as much Trump news as possible. Here are some of his observations:

”My point: I wanted to see what I could learn about the modern news media by looking at how thoroughly Mr. Trump had subsumed it," Manjoo wrote. "In one way, my experiment failed: I could find almost no Trump-free part of the press...

“President Trump is inescapable...

“I spent more time on international news sites like the BBC, and searched for subject-specific sites covering topics like science and finance. I consulted social news sites like Digg and Reddit, and occasionally checked Twitter and Facebook, but I often had to furiously scroll past all of the Trump posts...

“During my break from Trump news, I found rich coverage veins that aren’t getting social [media] play. ISIS is retreating across Iraq and Syria. Brazil seems on the verge of chaos. A large ice shelf in Antarctica is close to full break. Scientists may have discovered a new continent submerged under the ocean near Australia...

“In previous media eras, the news was able to find a sensible balance even when huge events were preoccupying the world. Newspapers from World War I and II were filled with stories far afield from the war.

“Today’s newspapers are also full of non-Trump articles, but many of us aren’t reading newspapers anymore. We’re reading Facebook and watching cable, and there, Mr. Trump is all anyone talks about, to the exclusion of almost all else...

“There’s no easy way out of this fix. But as big as Mr. Trump is, he’s not everything — and it’d be nice to find a way for the media ecosystem to recognize that.”

If you're not a subscriber to the Times and you haven't used up your monthly story allocation, you can read all of Farhad Manjoo's article here.

JOHN OLIVER ON PUTIN

It's good to have John Oliver back at his weekly perch on the HBO program, Last Week Tonight. Most recently, he took on the man who appears to be President Donald Trump's new best friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

HOW THE TOILET CHANGED HISTORY

This is a fascinating little documentary on the commode, throne, privy, latrine, potty, whatever you want to call it. It is not as new an invention as you might think and no, it was not invented by Thomas Crapper (isn't that too bad.)

NEW YORK'S RESTAURANT SALT RULING

Just about every time I eat in a restaurant – any kind of restaurant – my bathroom scale shows me two pounds heavier the next morning.

It's not that I overeat in restaurants, it is that everything is salted beyond any reasonable amount that a human should consume in one day, let along one meal. So my body bloats with retained water, although the two pounds are gone by the following morning.

For some time, New York City restaurants have been required by the Department of Health to let customers know when menu items exceed recommended limits of sodium. The restaurant industry sued over that requirement and they lost.

Here is what the medical website STAT reported about that:

”The restaurant industry will have to stay salty about a New York City mandate imposed on high-sodium items on menus. An appeals court has affirmed that the city’s mandate — which requires menus to stick a salt-shaker symbol next to dishes that contain more than a day’s worth of sodium — was legal and well within the limits of the health department’s authority.

“The restaurant industry said that the menu symbols violated their right to free speech and could run the risk of confusing customers.

“The recommended daily limit of sodium is 2,300 mg [less that 1,500 for people 50 and older]. The CDC has estimated that around 90 percent of Americans, both adults and children, take in too much sodium.”

I wish restaurants where I live would let me know on the menu what the sodium amount is.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY COMMERCIALS THIS DOG HAS BEEN IN

The Oscars are coming up on Sunday night and as MTV News online told it in a feature story last year, this dog will never win one but he seems to be the smartest dog on television:

”The most talented movie star in America is two and a half feet tall, 7 years old, and 39 pounds. He has brown eyes, a natural black vest and tail, and his pale chest, arms, and legs are dotted with tan freckles. His name is Jumpy.”

Take a look. You'll be amazed at how often you've seen him.

* * *

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 – 18 February 2017


TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK REMINDER
It's almost over – just one more day of the annual TGB donation week. If you have been AWOL this week, you can learn more here. If you have donated, I thank you. If you have not, that's fine too.

If you do want to help support the work that goes into this blog, click the Donate link just below. If not, nothing will change for you here and you can just scroll down for today's Interesting Stuff.

* * *

NOTE: It is getting harder to find non-Trump-related items for this Saturday post. I'm sure the explanation has something to do with Trump fatigue that increasing numbers of people are writing about.

With that caveat, I've done my best this week to make the list as interesting as possible. Like everyone, I have not yet adapted to this new Trump world. Please bear with me.

ELDERS PROTESTING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

Fifty women in the 80s, 90s and 100s, took part in the women's march without leaving their Seacrest Village retirement home in Encinas, California. And it wasn't a one time thing for them. Now they spend their time writing their representatives:

“'You can’t leave it up to someone else,' said Bertha Fox, 91, who raised four sons in Los Angeles and dedicated much of her life to volunteering,” reported KPBS News. “'If something is important, you have to do it.'

“They have witnessed a lifetime of historic protests and movements, from Civil Rights and anti-war to abortion and labor rights. Some of the women, including Appleby, have done a lot of marching through the decades.

“'In college I was for solidarity and I came home and I thought my father was going to throw me out of the house,' said Appleby, who also marched for union rights in the 60s, and Roe v. Wade in the 70s.

“Immigration is also on the mind of Rudolph, who said she can’t stop thinking about the uncertain future of Syrian refugees. The crisis echoes the Holocaust, she said. 'There’s no place for them to go in this world,' Rudolph said. 'My God, it just brought it all back.'”

Watch the entire video report frm KPBS-TV and thank Darlene Costner for letting us know about this. We should all be working this hard to resist.

You can read more about these women here.

WALL STREET JOURNAL CLOSES GOOGLE HACK

The Wall Street Journal for many years has had a tighter paid firewall online than many mainstream newspapers but there was a way around which I've sometimes mentioned to you.

If you landed ona WSJ page where most of the story was grayed out, you could copy the headline into Google search and the resulting link would take you to the full, readable article. No more. They turned it off last Monday:

The Journal tested turning off the feature with 40 percent of its audience last year. But the eye-popping moment was when the Journal turned it for off four sections for two weeks, resulting in a dramatic 86 percent jump in subscriptions. The Journal said the full turnoff is a test, but didn’t say how long it would last, reported Digiday.

I'll miss the hack but I can't afford to subscribe to everything I want to read. I'm at my limit now. You can read more here.

WHAT THE FUCK JUST HAPPENED TODAY

It's only about three weeks old but Matt Kiser's new blog is already wildly popular. As Poynter explains:

WTFheader

”The concept of his blog was pretty simple: Matt simply wanted to log what he called 'the daily shock and awe in Trump’s America' and make it easy for others to consume.”

He's right that it's hard to keep up these days and to help us out, Kiser spends six hours a day on the blog in addition to his paid job. He explains further:

”There was no grand plan or vision. I'm winging it here. I kind of made a blog, shared it on Facebook, and then it went nuts. Like many, I'm a news junkie, and I was having a difficult time keeping up with the cadence of news coming out of the White House...”

Read more about Matt at Poynter and check out his WTF blog here.

LAUGHING TOGETHER ON THE METRO IN BELGIUM

Let's break up today's list with good laugh. It's a letdown to find out at the end that it's just a Coca Cola commercial but until that's revealed I had fine ol' time laughing at people laughing together.

NO BABIES ARE ILLEGITIMATE

How is it that some idiots don't know that? A bill currently in the state legislature of Tennessee would, if passed, make children born by artificial insemination illegitimate.

”The text of the new bill,” reports Raw Story, “says it immediately 'repeals statute that deems a child born to a married woman as a result of artificial insemination, with consent of the married woman’s husband, to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife.'”

I have no idea what it means in day-to-day life for a child to be named “illegitimate” but it doesn't sound good. You can read more here and here.

THE DEPARTMENT OF SO GLAD I'M RETIRED

Big brother is getting smarter and watching workers more closely than ever before. Technology Review reports

”...that an increasing number of companies are outfitting offices with sensors to keep track of employees. These sensors are hidden in lights, on walls, under desks—anywhere that allows them to measure things like where people are and how much they are talking or moving.

Among many other things, the surveillance can track keystrokes, card swipes and what software employees are using on their computers. Or

”...maybe an employee looks at a lot of sensitive data and schedules a large number of external meetings, so the system flags them as a potential security risk. These are, after all, the problems that keep senior management awake at night.”

“Of course, the such schemes can also be read as creepy, Big Brother-style surveillance.”

Ya think? How far, I wonder, will surveillance go in the future. You can read more here.

KEITH OLBERMANN: TRUMP'S WAR ON IMMIGRANTS

Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has been holding forth on GQ's YouTube channel since early in the election cycle and he continues now. I hesitate to post his monologues sometimes due to how hyperbolic he can get but even so, he is smart, politically observant and his arguments are cogent.

Here he is a couple of days ago on how Trump's “deportation obsession” will help cripple our economy.

HOW CABINET SECRETARIES ARE VETTED

Thank Elder Music columnist Peter Tibbles for this:

NonSeqiterCartoon

HELPING A MOOSE STUCK IN THE ICE

Did I ever tell you my moose story? During my first month living in Maine, I looked out the window and saw a moost sauntering down the street. He strolled up a driveway across the street, strolled back down, walked a bit further and turned the corner.

Moose are weird looking – prehistoric. And I had no idea if a moose on a city street was an event or if it happened all the time. The photo on the front page of the morning newpaper the next confirmed that it was an event and it's one I never forgot.

Here's another moose story. As the Youtube page explains:

”...we saw the moose make several attempts at getting out of the water, but it could neither get up nor break the ice to get into shore. My partner, Sigrid Sjösteen, eagerly started to chop a pathway to shallower water, where it could reach the bottom and get out.

“We took turns chopping for about 30 minutes before the moose was out of danger.”

Here's how the moose good Samaritans did 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 – 11 February 2017

PHIL OCHS – A VOICE FOR OUR TIME

A couple of days ago, Rolling Stone magazine published a story about a new era of protest music for the age of Trump.

Perhaps anticipating something like that, two or three weeks ago, the Washington Post published a lengthy story about a protest singer/songwriter who has been dead for 40 years – Phil Ochs – a story I'd missed but Peter Tibbles and Norma sent me.

(Disclosure: I knew Phil Ochs. We weren't close friends but I produced some radio shows with him, my then-husband and I had dinner with him a few times and we hung out at some of the Greenwich Village music venues when Phil was playing.)

A lot of Phil's music is suddenly “new” again. As the WaPo story reports, one of his songs,

The War Is Over, suggests how political resistance in any age can be enlivened, refreshed and perhaps even galvanized by jarring notes of artistic creativity. Yet it isn’t close to being Ochs’s most philosophical work.

“Take, for instance, There but for Fortune, the most beautiful song ever written about the natural lottery...

“It’s a succinct reminder of the ethical basis of modern liberalism: that in a world with no level playing field, we have sizable obligations to those who are less lucky.

“And it’s an overarching message that Democrats, after a campaign in which their nominee tended to favor discrete policy proposals over sweeping moral vision, would be wise to rediscover.”

Phil's most familiar song is undoubtedly Outside a Small Circle of Friends, but I'm going to play There But for Fortune today.

You can read the Washington Post story here and there are a lot of Phil Ochs' songs here on YouTube.

LATEST NEW WORDS FOR THE DICTIONARY

Merriam-Webster this week announced more than a thousand new words for its dictionary.

”It was a bumper year for the hyphenated or two-part phrases you have most likely used, or perhaps spotted pasted over a photo of Captain Jean-Luc Picard,” explained the Washington Post.

“Welcome the face-palm (the act of covering one’s face with a hand, out of dismay or embarrassment, as demonstrated by the good Starfleet captain), along with binge-watch, side-eye, weak sauce, wayback machine, chef’s knife, town hall, throw shade, ride shotgun and safe space.”

I guess dictionaries wait a long time to accept new words because none of those are new to me in the past year.

What the list lacks in surprise for me, it made up in what The Post called this “cheeky” infographic:

2016-09-08_17-08-24---9f5b7eb6d80d30b688fa9e8f622fef5a

Find out more about all the 1,000 new words at Merriam Webster.

JOHN OLIVER'S HBO SHOW RETURNS TOMORROW NIGHT

And thank god for that. We need this man in our new political time of need.

Yesterday, I showed you Oliver's interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Today, I have a short video from that Rolling Stone interview I mentioned, “Five Things We Learned Hanging Out With John Oliver.”

Oliver is back hosting the Last Week Tonight season premiere tomorrow night on HBO. Since I don't subscribe I am deeply grateful that the network makes the main essay each week available on YouTube and you'll be seeing a lot of Oliver here during this season.

JACKSON HOLE

You've all heard of Jackson Hole, right - the winter destination, celebrity watchers tell us, of the rich and famous that is in Wyoming?

Well, you would be wrong about the location, if like me, you assumed Wyoming. Today we're talking about Jackson Hole, China. Yes, China.

Over the past decade, the video page tells us, more than a thousand families have settled into this community two hours northwest of Beijing. There’s everything an aspiring cowboy could wish for, including timber-frame houses with spacious backyards and a town church straight out of Little House on the Prairie.

I guess it's not much different from having an Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas.

MELANIA TRUMP CASHING IN

Apparently it runs in the family – conflict of interest, I'm talking about. Several news organizations are reporting Melania Trump's attorney let slip that the reason she is suing a newspaper over a questionable report about her is that it gets in the way of making a bundle now that she is first lady.

Here's the short version from the Washington Post:

Did you get that part directly from the lawsuit?

"The suit...said the article published by the Daily Mail and its online division last August caused Trump’s brand, Melania, to lose 'significant value' as well as 'major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her,' reports The Post.

"The suit said the article had damaged her 'unique, once in a lifetime opportunity' to 'launch a broad-based commercial brand.'"

Is this legal? If it is, it is still in deeply bad taste. More detail at the Washington Post.

INSPIRATION ON HOW TO RESIST TRUMP

As the YouTube page explains, this video is an adaptation of a talk given by Glenda Russell, PhD, focused on using Trump's election as a springboard to activism and to individual and community growth.

The TV producer in me says that it's longer than it needs to be but there are some useful thoughts, ideas and points to dwell upon for how to deal with our new political era. Thank you to several TGB readers for sending this.

MAKE AUSTRALIA NUMBER TWO

President Trump wants to make America First. Some other countries have followed up on that idiotically tone-deaf declaration with some wonderfully funny videos lobbying to be named number two (see the first from The Netherlands here) and now Australia has joined the contest.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist at the Elder Music column that is published here on Sundays, sent one of the funniest from an Australian television show called The Weekly with Charlie Pickering which she describes as in the style of Jon Stewart and John Oliver. Enjoy.

STUPID THINGS KIDS CRY ABOUT

It's a good thing for the wellbeing of any children I might have had that I didn't have them. I'm pretty sure the first time a kid of mine tried any of these tantrums, I'd have walked away for good.

Yeah, they're funny in this collection but I wouldn't have laughed for a second if they were my kids.

KidISaidGoodMorning

KidCan'tMarryDad

FootballCryingFootball

I think I'm indulging in more than bit of shadenfreude when I laugh at what the mothers of these kids have to live with. There are more of them at Bored Panda.

WILD BISON RETURN TO BANFF

This is not funny cats or silly dogs or monkeys making us laugh by being too human that I usually post in this spot. Instead, it is a triumph – or the beginning of one - over a dreadful mistake our immigrant ancestors made in wiping out the North American bison.

Let us rejoice in this small improvement. You can read more about the return of the bison at the CBC.

* * *

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 – 4 February 2017

DON'T EVER AGAIN DOUBT WHAT YOU CAN OVERCOME. EVER

It's been several months since Darlene Costner sent this video and I've waited too long to show it to you. It's a promo for the Rio Paralympics last year. Not the Olympics; the Paralympics.

This is one of the most awesome but even more important, joyful music videos you've seen. Most of us can probably do more than we think we can and I don't mean just physically. Enjoy. Be inspired.

COLORADO'S MOUNTAIN RESCUE DOGS

The YouTube page explains that the Breckenridge Resort in snowy Colorado has its own canine rescue team, the first line of defense for people when an avalanche or other disaster strikes.

32 PERCENT SAY REAL AMERICANS SHOULD BE CHRISTIAN

Christian-crossNew research released on Wednesday by Pew Research asked people in a bunch of countries what it takes to “truly belong” in their countries.

”Thirty-two percent of Americans said one should be Christian to really be American, compared to just 13 percent of Australians, 15 percent of Canadians and 15 percent of Europeans who felt the same way about belonging in their homelands,” reports the Washington Post.

“The same number of Americans — 32 percent — said that being born in the United States is key to being an American. More Americans — 45 percent — said that sharing 'national customs and traditions' was important, and many more — 70 percent — said being an American meant speaking English.”

One third of Americans says these things. I am so embarrassed. You can read more here.

AMERICANS HAVE ALWAYS REJECTED IMMIGRANTS

A week ago, President Trump issued the now-infamous executive order banning Muslims from entering the U.S. For all the protests, many Americans agree with the president.

According to Pew Research last fall, a majority of Americans say that the U.S. does not have a responsibility to accept Syrian refugees and there is a lot of additional evidence that America's xenophobia is nothing new.

Huffington Post reports:

In 1938, 65 percent of Americans told Gallup that the persecution of Jews in Europe was at least partially their own fault, and nearly three-quarters opposed allowing 'a larger number of Jewish exiles from Germany to come to the United States to live.'”

In 1939, according to HuffPost's research, 67 percent of Americans disapproved of taking in 10,000 refugee children from Germany.

1039Germanchildren

In 1984, 62 percent of Americans said the number of refugees entering the U.S. should be lowered either “a little” or “a lot”:

1984refugees

There is much more such evidence through the years that you can see in more charts at Huffington Post.

LIVING OFF THE LAND IN NEW ZEALAND

According to the YouTube page, Warrick Mitchell lives with a small community of others in one of the world's most remote locations: a national forest in Fiordland, New Zealand.

His home is four day's walk from the nearest road and is otherwise accessible only by boat or small plane. But it is gorgeous, so gorgeous. Take a look.

HOW TO BUILD AN AUTOCRACY

If you watch cable news channels, you might have seen David Frum. He is a long time journalist, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine.

He has written a long cover story for the magazine's March print issue titled, “How to Build an Autocracy” in which he explains “how it can happen here.” This is a video lead-in to the story he recorded:

You don't need to be a subscriber to read the piece. The Atlantic released it early to everyone. You will find it here.

STRESS TESTING CALIFORNIA'S REDWOODS

The redwoods are Earth's oldest trees and due to California's years-long drought, they are stressed. As the YouTube page explains, to save them,

”Anthony Ambrose and his team of researchers climb several hundred feet into the canopy, braving (sic) life and limb in the name of conservation.”

That and the photography is breathtaking.

THE RELEVANCE OF DR. SEUSS TO OUR CURRENT POLITICAL TROUBLES

Did you know that Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss, worked as a political cartoonist for a couple of years during World War II? I didn't. In particular, he opposed the “America First” movement.

The Atlantic (yes, again – you really should be reading this magazine; they do good work) recently published a story about that episode in Geisel's life and resurrected a few of those cartoons. Here is one:

Seuss WWII

Amazingly relevant now, don't you think? You can read more here where there are also a few more of Geisel's World War II cartoons.

FELINE RESISTANCE MOVEMENT

The resurrection of the word “resistance” is perfect for what is required of us in the times we are living through now. But cats don't need to be reminded; they are born knowing all about resistance.

* * *

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 – 28 January 2017

CAROLE KING'S UPATED VERSION OF ONE SMALL VOICE

In 1971, I got through the first horrible weeks of separation prior to my divorce by listening to composer Carole King's “Tapestry” album over and over and over and over again . She has been a favorite ever since.

Last Saturday, 74-year-old King took part in the Women's March in Stanley, Idaho, in a snowstorm with 29 other people, almost half the population of that town where she now lives.

She also released a video of her 1983 song, One Small Voice. Here it is:

You can read more about the song and her small-town march in Rolling Stone magazine.

TOM TOLES' WOMEN'S MARCH CARTOON

Our political cartoonists are doing a better job than many news pundits of capturing the zeitgeist, day-to-day, of what is happening to our country under the new president.

And then there is this lovely one from Tom Toles about the Women's March.

Womens-march2Toles

NINE FOOT NOODLES

There is a tiny village in China, just 300 residents, where they continue a centuries-old tradition of making nine-foot, thread-thin noodles by hand. One maker, 51-year-old Lin Fagan, worries that only the old people now know how to do this and when they die, the art will be lost.

Here is how it is done:

THE NETHERLANDS WELCOMES TRUMP

It will not save us from the worst developments to come out of the Trump presidency and the Republican-majority Congress, but our terrible predicament has given rise to a widely varied universe of comedy perpetrators who, along with the cartoonists (see above), help us laugh through our resistance.

TGB reader Joe Zeee was the first of at least 50 readers (the most ever for a single item) to send this fantastic video made in The Netherlands. Tens of millions of people have watched it now so you may have seen but it's so good that I keep going back to it and you might like to also.

H.L. MENCKEN'S REMARKABLY PRESCIENT 1920 QUOTATION

TGB reader Peggy B sent this quotation from the “Sage of Baltimore” that could have been written yesterday.

Mencken1920

BAD LIP READING THE INAUGURATION

Certainly by now you know of the folks who turn out the Bad Lip Reading videos and if you don't, their name tells you all you need to know.

This one, Bad Lip Reading the Inauguration, is one of their best:

RARE HEAVY SNOWFALL IN KYOTO

TGB reader Bob Fenton sent a link to this collection of photographs from a recent big snowstorm in Kyoto, Japan. They are gorgeous:

Heavy-snowfall-kyoto-japan-pagoda

Heavy-snowfall-kyoto-japan-cats

More photos from the Kyoto snow storm at Bored Panda.

OBAMACARE V. AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

I'm pretty sure Jimmy Kimmel is the last late night talk show host who regularly does the once-ubiquitous (back in the Steve Allen days) man-in-the-street interviews on topics of interest and, always, comedy too.

In the past week or so, you may have read that there are people who voted for President Trump because he promised to repeal Obamacare but who are surprised now to find out that their own recently-acquired health coverage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is the same thing.

Kimmel's crew went out into the streets of Los Angeles to ask people whether they prefer Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.

OLLIE THE CAT

Not too long ago, TGB reader Trudi asked for an update on Ollie the cat. It's hard to tell anyone about him because he doesn't actually do anything these days.

He will be 13 years old later this year. He is lazy, has no interest in toys and although we talk to one another several times a day, Ollie has hardly any interests beyond food and sleep.

This is where he takes his major daily nap, after breakfast and until early afternoon:

OllieUnderCover

Did I mention that he doesn't like to have a camera pointed at him? He is amazingly adept at avoiding it:

OlliesBack

You might have noticed that he's quite fat. That might be because sleep his favorite activity. Also, if there is not enough food forthcoming, he bites my ankle - sometimes hard enough to draw blood - which is a powerful motivator to keep at least a few nibbles in his bowl.

OllieEating

He's so fat that he's looking a bit like a furry beached walrus these days:

FatOllieontheFloor

If it doesn't involve food or getting to a favorite napping spot, he doesn't like to move around but after many attempts, I did catch this rare (and fuzzy) shot of him strolling through the living room.

OllieWalkingLR

He doesn't like to be wakened from any of his various daily naps. This shot pretty well expresses his attitude about that – although not as grumpy as he can be:

PosingonBed

And now you know why there hasn't been much to say about Ollie in recent years.

He has a lot of rules about how our household should be run and I break them at my peril. But somehow we have come to accommodate one another and we're good friends, good roommates.

My father-in-law, half a century ago, explained that he and his wife often went all day, from breakfast to dinner, in different parts of their house without running into one another. But, he said, “you know there is another heartbeat in the house.”

Yes. That's Ollie and me. If you are interested, here is an adventure tale about how Ollie the cat, ten years ago when he was three, lost his outdoor privileges.

* * *

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 – 21 January 2017

A SENSE OF PURPOSE

This is a video about what happened when the U.S. Department of Labor stepped in to enforce their employment regulations against piece workers in a retirement home.

It was produced last year by students in The Academy of Integrated Humanities and New Media (AIM), a two-year film program for juniors and seniors at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, which happens to be my alma mater.

What do you think?

Each semester AIM students produce short documentaries and other projects. You can find a collection of their videos at their YouTube page.

WOMAN DIES WHEN NO KNOWN ANTIBIOTIC WORKS

We have been hearing about antibiotic resistance for years but until now, the variety of antibiotic medicines we have seemed to keep us from catastrophe. No more.

”Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection,” reports STATnews.

“Testing showed the superbug that had spread throughout her system could fend off 26 different antibiotics.

“'It was tested against everything that’s available in the United States...and was not effective,' said Dr. Alexander Kallen, a medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of health care quality promotion.'”

After being treated for a broken femur in India where drug-resistant infections are more common than in the U.S., the 70-year-old woman was found in Nevada to be infected with

”CRE — carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae. That’s a general name to describe bacteria that commonly live in the gut that have developed resistance to the class of antibiotics called carbapenems — an important last-line of defense used when other antibiotics fail,” explains STATnews.

“CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has called CREs 'nightmare bacteria' because of the danger they pose for spreading antibiotic resistance.”

Terrifying.

There is additional information on this deadly infection at Huffington Post.

FOLEY ARTISTS

Maybe you've seen that phrase during movie credits. They are the sound artists, an amazing and important part of all television and movie crews.

When I was producing television shows, it was one of my favorite parts of the process, getting together with men and women who tweak and even create needed audio, sometimes from nothing.

Once, I needed to add the missing sound of two tap shoes hitting the floor simultaneously – one each for Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire - to punctuate the end of their dance routine in a movie clip. The Foley artists didn't have anything appropriate in their library so they set about inventing the sound.

They tried slapping a piece of metal on wood. It didn't sound right. They tried the various shoes among all of us in the room, each one on different surfaces. All wrong.

After about an hour, one of the guys went into the sound booth and tried slapping his hand against his thigh. Amazingly, it was close but still short of what it should be. So another guy, wearing denim jeans instead of whatever the first guy was wearing tried. Voila!

We had a good tap sound for Crosby and Astaire that had somehow been lost from the clip.

As the YouTube page for this video explains, when you are immersed completely in a movie much of that is due to the magic of Foley artists. When the work is done right,

”...you won’t be able to tell that the 'natural' sounds on screen are manufactured with studio props. That's the challenge for Warner Bros. Foley artists Alyson Moore, Chris Moriana and mixer Mary Jo Lang. Theirs is a practice in recreation, one creative element at a time.”

Enjoy this little little documentary about how they do their work.

AN AGE-OLD ARGUMENT BETWEEN SPOUSES

And a great, good laugh, too.

BEN FRANKLIN'S FIRST PRINT JOB

Long before he became a founding father, young Ben Franklin went into the printing business.

What appears to be his first piece of printing at age 17 went on exhibit this week at the University of Pennsylvania after not being seen for nearly 200 years.

”Penn Libraries recently acquired the only known surviving copy of a 1723 Franklin broadside, showing an elegy for a Philadelphia poet and printer named Aquila Rose, and topped with a bold skull and crossbones motif.”

BenFranklinFirstPrintJob

The scrapbook in which the broadside was found will also be on display at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center until February 10 – if you happen to be in the area. You can read more at The New York Times.

SWEAR MORE, FEEL BETTER

I've known that for most of my life. When I've stubbed my toe or cut my finger in the kitchen – particularly anything that hurts, a long string of #$%^&*() always makes it feel better.

Now there may be some scientific backup for my belief:

There is more than you ever wanted to know about how and why swearing is good for you at the BBC.

WHITE HOUSE GLAM ROOM

According to Us magazine, the White House will be renovated to include what they call a “glam room.”

"'There will absolutely be a room designated for hair, makeup and wardrobe,' [Nicole] Bryl, who has worked with [Ms.] Trump for more than a decade and helped 'soften' her look during her husband Donald Trump's presidential campaign...

"'Melania wants a room with the most perfect lighting scenario, which will make our jobs as a creative team that much more efficient, since great lighting can make or break any look,' she said.”

Bryl also tells the magazine that

”...that each makeup session takes 'about one hour and 15 minutes of uninterrupted focus. If you want the look to be flawless and have it last [throughout the day], you do have to take a little extra time to make that happen.'”

Oh please. These next four years are going to be even harder to get through than I had imagined.

If you must, you can read more here.

SNOW DAY AT PORTLAND ZOO

As you might have noticed from my photos in last Saturday's Interesting Stuff, we had a big snowstorm in the Portland, Oregon area about ten days ago. Much more than happens in most winters.

That made some of the animals at the Portland Zoo really, really happy. Thank my friend Jim Stone for this video:

* * *

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 – 14 January 2017

SOMETHING SPECIAL HAPPENED AT THE SUPERMARKET

Between an old person and a four-year-old kid.

MY GOD, I WILL MISS BARACK AND MICHELLE OBAMA

On 6 January at the White House, Michelle Obama gave gave her final speech as First Lady. In case you missed it, here it is:

You will find the full 20-minute version here.

Then, on Tuesday 10 January, President Barack Obama gave his farewell speech in Chicago. You can watch that at full length here.

99 MILLION YEAR OLD BABY DINOSAUR TAIL FEATHER

When the words “feather,” “dinosaur” and “baby” are in the same phrase, how can you not pay attention.

There is additional information at NPR.

TRUMP ODDITY FROM 1958 TV SHOW

My friend Jim Stone sent this video from a TV series titled Trackdown that was broadcast in 1958. See what you think:

The video doesn't look tampered with to me but I didn't quite believe it either. So I checked around to web to see what I could find. Here's what Snopes says:

”The television series Trackdown really did produce an episode featuring a 'Trump' character who came to town claiming that only he could prevent the end of the world by building a wall (and also sold special force propelling umbrellas to deflect meteorites).

“The episode (S1, E30) aired on CBS in 1958 and was titled 'The End of the World,' featuring actor Lawrence Dobkin playing the role of 'Walter Trump.'”

Weird, huh?

ANSWERS ABOUT POTENTIAL CHANGES TO MEDICARE

With threats from the Republican Congress and president-elect Trump to repeal Obamacare and voucherize Medicare there are a lot of questions. AARP answered five of the most important. Here is one:

“Q: I’ve heard about the voucher-type plan that House Republicans hope to implement soon. How would this plan change Medicare?

“A: (in part)...opponents — including AARP — say the amount of the voucher may not be enough to keep up with health care inflation, so older adults could end up paying more for care and for insurance that has fewer choices of doctors and other providers>”

You can read the entire answer to this question and the other four questions and answers at AARP. They are clear, concise and to the point.

AN 18-CARAT GOLD TOILET

I'm late to this story. It first turned up last September when a new show from Italian artist, Maurizio Cattalan opened at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan. According to a page at the museum's website, it is

”...the first piece the artist has exhibited since his 2011 retrospective at the Guggenheim...a working toilet cast from gold that has been installed in a bathroom on the museum’s fifth floor.

“Cattelan intends visitors to use the toilet just as they would any other facility in the building.”

Cattelan-America_ph003_870

The artist gave his piece the title, “America”, and explains that

“'...the title came after [the work], and it was a matter of trying to deconstruct the object,' says Catallan. Separately, he said, the title and piece didn’t mean anything. 'Together, it has meaning.' Come spend a little alone time with 'America,' and you can ponder that meaning for yourself.”

More information here.

TOO BIG FOR A BUMPER STICKER

Bumper stickers are a long-time American communications medium – most frequently, I think, for political statements. You see a lot of them during election seasons.

Sometimes, however, a good pithy statement is still too long for a bumper sticker as my friend Jim Stone pointed out about this one so let's give it a day of life on this blog post.

Quotation2

MY WINTER WONDERLAND

It has been more than six years since I last woke to that special kind of hush there is after an overnight snowfall. But that happened Wednesday morning. Here is the first photo I shot in the dark.

Snow 1

It was a big-deal snowstorm which doesn't much happen in this part of Oregon. Depths ranged from three or four inches to more than a foot in some places. About seven or eight inches in my neighborhood.

This was the first snowfall worthy of the name since I moved here in 2010, and I hadn't realized how much I miss a "real" winter storm as in New York and Maine where I lived before. This is what it looked like as I was leaving my apartment.

Snow 2

It was still snowing at that point so I decided to wait before sweeping my walkways but when I suited up to do that, I was amazed to see that some good Samaritan had got there before me and done a beautful job. Here is the gorgeous winter wonderland from another window.

Snow 3

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

Monday the 16th of January is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. My friend Richard Lombard sent this video a couple of days after the holiday last year so I saved it for this year.

Certainly you know that Lin-Manuel Miranda is the genius behind the ground-breaking and fantastic Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical. Manuel attended Hunter College Elementary School in Manhattan when he was a kid and as he explains on the YouTube page:

”Our elementary school music teacher, Barbara Ames, wrote THE BEST Martin Luther King song so that her students would have something to sing in January, in addition to We Shall Overcome.

“It's a crime that the world doesn't know this song. So I put out a call, and over 50 alums spanning 15 years showed up to sing it with me.

“Huge thanks to Arthur 'The Geniuses' Lewis on piano, Lisa Siegmann and Danny San Germano at Hunter, and Jennifer Raab, president of Hunter, for letting us go back home to make this.”

I'm pretty sure you will want to clap along with them. That's Lin-Manuel Miranda in the lower right of the screen giving the introduction.

* * *

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 January 2017

HOLLYWEED

What a great New Year's Day prank. Someone in Los Angeles changed the giant Hollywood sign. Take a look:

You can find out about who pulled this off at Buzzfeed.

HOW AMAZON WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD

In case you think they've already done that, this video from nerdwriter is here to disabuse you of that belief but show you how the company WILL do so.

You can read more about this on the YouTube page.

IN REGARD TO TRUMP'S BELIEF THAT HE'S KNOWS EVERYTHING

Donald Trump regularly tells us how smart he is, how he knows things other people don't know and that he knows how to do everything. TGB reader EmmyJay found this cartoon that takes him down a peg or so.

New yorker Plane Cartoon

A PLANET IN OUR SYSTEM CALLED NIBIRU?

Some scientists believe there is a gigantic planet in our solar system that we cannot see and it might obliterate Earth in October. Take a look:


You can read more about this at the Washington Post.

A LITTLE BOY AND HIS HUGE SHAGGY DOG

Isn't this the happiest thing you've seen all day?

Little-kids-big-dogs-friendship-photography-andy-seliverstoff-18

You can see more photos of this kid and his dog along with other small children and their great big dogs at Bored Panda.

WHEN I DIE

Philip Gould, who was an adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, a visiting professor in media and politics at the London School of Economics and a member of the House of Lords, was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2008.

In the summer of 2011 he was given three months to live. This video titled When I Die, made during the last two weeks of his life, “reveals his quest to find meaning in what he called 'The death zone.'

“Gould believed that for the terminally ill and those close to them, there can be moments of joy, resolution and inspiration just as intense as those of fear, discomfort and sadness.”

Thank TGB reader Tom Delmore for this joyful - yes, joyful lesson about both life and death.

CHARLES BLOW'S LAST 2016 COLUMN

Since 2008, Charles Blow has been an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times writing about politics, public opinion and social justice.

His final column for 2016 was titled “Donald Trump, This is Not Normal!” In it, he wrote:

“...the election of Donald Trump poses such a significant — and singular — threat to this country that for me all other issues are unfortunately, temporarily I hope, subsumed by the unshakable sense of impending calamity he presages...

“The next four years could be epochal years in the history of this country. They could test the limits of presidential power and the public’s passivity.

“I happen to believe that history will judge kindly those who continued to shout, from the rooftops, through their own weariness and against the corrosive drift of conformity: This is not normal!”

Yes. But there is so much more to this column that is worthy of your attention. Please take the time to read it all. You can do that here.

WHO DO YOU THINK THIS SINGER IS?

Peter Tibbles, who writes the Sunday Elder Music column here, sent me this audio. Take a listen and see who you think the singer is:

Stardust

If you didn't guess correctly, it is Willie Nelson's son, Lucas. It sent chills down my back, the first time I listened, at how much he sounds just like a young verion of his dad. Here's a video of the same, live performance of Lucas singing Stardust with Red Young on keyboards.

SHIPPING THE INTERNET ARCHIVE TO CANADA

You know the Internet Archive, right? It is a massive and amazing online, digital, searchable library that includes text, audio, video, software and images totaling, at the moment, 279 billion web pages.

One section of it is called the Wayback Machine where you can view images of websites from “wayback” in the past. In fact, you can even see one of TimeGoesBy's first iterations before the photo banner.

Not long ago, Internet Archive founder, Bewster Kahle (who is a true hero of free speech) announced that in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, he is moving a copy of the vast archive to Canada.

Recently, he explained the reasons to host Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!:

You can read more about the move at Alternet and you can explore the Internet Archive for yourself here.

THE DRONGO BIRD VERSUS THE MEERCATS

Watch the drongo bird of the Kalahari Desert take advantage of the local meerkats. From the BBC:

* * *

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 – 31 December 2016

THE NEW YEAR THAT IS UPON US

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year, my friends.

240 GREEN LIGHTS

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

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

The best I ever did was nine in a row.

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE YEAR

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

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

ScaliaChair

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

Palmyra

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

Omran

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

DR. HEIMLICH DEAD AT AGE 96

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full obituary here.

THE WORLD'S LONGEST TUNNEL JUST OPENED

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

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

THE ART OF ROCK BALANCING

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

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

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

ICE SKATING IN THE STREETS OF MONTREAL

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

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

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

THE SNOWFLAKE PHYSICIST

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

POLAR BEAR CUBS PLAYING IN THE SNOW

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

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

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

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

There is more video at Mengelsen's YouTube page.

WINTER: TONIGHT: SUNSET

The Writers Almanac website tells us that poet David Budbill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy-New-Year-Best-Wishes680

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


INTERESTING STUFF: 24 December 2016

SHORT IMPORTANT UPDATE: On Wednesday I linked to an excellent guide for resisting the Trump agenda. Now, the group producing the the guide, all former Congressional staffers, have posted a "prettier" version in pdf format at their brand new website, Indivisible Guide.

You can download the full document here and you can enter your email address there to receive updates as they are added.

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Most of the western world uses the Gregorian calendar based on the solar year. Because the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar year, Hannukah can occur almost anytime between the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday in late November and early January. More or less. It's complicated.

But this year, 2016 on the Gregorian calendar and 5777 on the Hebrew one, Christmas Eve and the first night of Hannukah (which begins at sundown), fall on the same day. This is only the fourth time this has happened since 1900.

An excellent reason to wish everyone both Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah as they both begin this evening.

So here is a combined Interesting Stuff today for the two holiday celebrations including a couple of old favorites and some new stuff too.

STEPHEN COLBERT CHRISTMAS SHOW

Let's start with a Christmas reality check specific to this year from Stephen Colbert – I promise, it gets better from here.

SAINSBURY'S 2016 CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL

I mentioned in last week's Interesting Stuff that I have come to appreciate Christmas commercials from some large advertisers. Not all, but most seem to be from Merry Olde England. I wish they were as creative at telling good stories the rest of the year.

A TRAVELING CHRISTMAS FROM H&M

The Swedish retailer engaged actor Adrian Brody and director Wes Anderson for this terrific Christmas tale.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

This wonderful story was first published too late (1956) to be part of my childhood holiday memories but I've read it many times so it's fair for me to pretend that it's part of my youthful history.

This time it is read by NBC News correspondent Keith Morrison with plenty of great and familiar drawings from the book.

YET ANOTHER PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

This is the fourth year I have featured Penelope Keith's marvelous reading, as Miss Cynthia Bracegirdle, of And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree: A Cautionary Tale for Christmas Showing That it is Better to Give than to Receive.

In the comments on last year's posting of the story, the writer, Brian Sibley, left a note for us about the recording:

”You might like to know that I wrote this piece and that it was first broadcast on the BBC (Radio 4) on 25 December 1977.

“You can hear the original recording on my Soundcloud page here. You can read the script here.

And it seems only fair to let you know that Mr. Subley blogs here.

He also let us know that Timothy Bateson appears as Mr. Graball of Graball, Twister and Fleesum, and it was directed by John Theocharis. Here then is the marvelously funny Penelope Keith “Partridge.”

Penelope Keith - And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL

This one from Temptations cat treats.

FRANKIE'S HOLIDAY COMMERCIAL

And one more, this from Apple: Open Your Heart to Everyone.

THE STORY OF HANNUKAH

It really is a terrific story of a wonderful miracle and like so many holiday stories, it doesn't matter if it is true. Here's a short version from the History Channel:

A DRY BONES HANNUKAH

My Israeli friend, Yaakov Kirschen, has been writing and drawing his Dry Bones cartoon for more than 40 years. (You can follow him at The Dry Bones Blog.) This is his entry for Hannukah from last year.

YaakovHannukah

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Hannukah is also called the Festival of Lights. The Atlantic magazine this month has published a gorgeous series of photographs of Christmas lights from cities around the world.

The title, Festivals of Light gives the presentation a nice ecumenical feel for the double holiday this year.

The illuminated Christmas tree stands at the Christmas market behind the Astronomical Clock at the Old Town Square on November 28, 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic.

PragueClock

People release floating lanterns during the festival of Yee Peng in the northern capital of Chiang Mai, Thailand, on November 14, 2016.

ChiangMaiThailand

Christmas lights are seen illuminated on Oxford Street in London, Britain on December 9, 2016.

OxfordStLondon

These photographs are much more beautiful full size. See them and many more at The Atlantic.

HELEN MIRREN'S CHRISTMAS WISHES

We began up top with Stephen Colbert and let's end with my most favorite elder actor, Dame Helen Mirren. On a recent Graham Norton Show, she was asked to deliver an inspirational Christmas message of hope for the audience. Here is what she said:

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, Ronni, Crabby Old Lady and Ollie the cat wish you

Happy-holiday680

* * *

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 December 2016

POLISH GRANDFATHER LEARNS ENGLISH FOR CHRISTMAS

Here is another of those heartwarming holiday television commercials. Thank TGB reader Heidi for this one.

Too bad TV advertisers aren't this good at storytelling year round.

PROTECT AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY

Last Monday, I posted a story about the latest Republican attack on Social Security. You'll be hearing a lot more about this but for now:

One of the people I quoted is Nancy Altman who knows more about Social Security than almost anyone and has fought fiercely to secure and expand it for many years. She is relentless in working for all American old people.

This video is from September where she is speaking about a nation-wide coalition that works to protect the program. There is nothing new in this video; I just thought you should see a few moments with this tireless, fine woman – a hero to all Social Security recipients.

MONKEYS COULD TALK IF THEY WERE SMARTER

Or so says at least one researcher.

Celebes_crested_macaque680

You probably know the story of the the gorilla Koko who is so proficient at sign language. That is remarkable but the ultimate would be to actually speak with another species, to have a real conversation.

Now, according to The New York Times, it has become known that various kinds of primates have the vocal equipment for speech, but their brains are not up to the task:

”The two researchers argue that the key to the acquisition of speech lies somewhere in the brain.

“'If they had the brain, they could produce intelligible speech,' Dr. Ghazanfar said.

“Our ancestors may have evolved special brain circuits that allowed them to learn new sounds as babies. Humans also developed a special set of nerves for the fine motor control of their vocal tracts.”

Other researchers disagree, believing that primates do not have the necessary vocal equipment to speak. You can read the whole story here if you are interested.

HOW LONDON'S BIG BEN CLOCK WORKS

Everything you every wanted to know about the inner workings of London's Big Ben clock on the Parliament Building. From Darlene Costner.

HOW YOUR BODY KNOWS WHAT TIME IT IS

For most of my life, you could wake me from a deep sleep and I could tell you within a few minutes what time is was. I'm not so good at that in my old age. But during waking hours, I don't often need a clock to know what time it is.

According to the YouTube page,

”Being able to sense time helps us do everything from waking and sleeping to knowing precisely when to catch a ball that’s hurtling towards us. And we owe all these abilities to an interconnected system of timekeepers in our brains....Marco A. Sotomayor details how human bodies naturally tell time.

PHONE CALLS BETWEEN PRESIDENT OBAMA AND *

Late night talk show host, Conan O'Brian, says he somehow obtained audio recording of telephone calls between President Barack Obama and the president-elect. TGB reader Alan Goldsmith who blogs at Pixietera, sent us this:

There are several more “recordings” here.

EARTH AT NIGHT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

This video is a gorgeous time lapse of earth as seen at night from the Internatiional Space Station. Here's what NASA says about it:

“Many wonders are visible when flying over the Earth at night. A compilation of such visual spectacles was captured recently...and set to rousing music. Passing below are white clouds, orange city lights, lightning flashes in thunderstorms, and dark blue seas.

“On the horizon is the golden haze of Earth's thin atmosphere, frequently decorated by dancing auroras as the video progresses. The green parts of auroras typically remain below the space station, but the station flies right through the red and purple auroral peaks.

“Solar panels of the ISS are seen around the frame edges. The ominous wave of approaching brightness at the end of each sequence is just the dawn of the sunlit half of Earth, a dawn that occurs every 90 minutes.”

There is a list of locations at the YouTube page.

ANONYMOUSE

Tiny, little mouse-sized stores and restaurants have been popping up on the streets of Malmo, Sweden. Here is one to give you the scale:

Malmorestaurant1

Here is another of the same mouse restaurant in closeup.

MalmoRestaurantCU

According to Huffington Post, these are being created by an artists' group called Anonymouse:

“'It’s just too darn charming to imagine a world where mice lives parallel to ours but just slightly out of sight,' said one representative of the artist group Anonymouse MMX, who wishes to remain anonymous. (The group has no connection with Anonymouse.org, a site devoted to online privacy.)”

There is even a mouse-sized menu on the wall next to the restaurant:

Mousesizemenuposted

And here is another photo of a mouse-sized charcuterie with a movie poster on the wall.

MalmoMousePoster

You can find out more and see additional mouse-size locations at Huffington Post, Bored Panda and the Anonymouse Instagram page.

SIMON'S CAT'S GUIDE TO WINTER

A large portion of the United States is living in frigid temperatures this weekend with piles of snow. We even got a small amount of snow here in northwest Oregon.

Simon's Cat is here to show us how to survive winter.

* * *

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 December 2016

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – EPISODE 1

Yes, it's a television commercial. Yes, it's sentimental and it's sappy. But it's really cute too.

OAKLAND GHOST SHIP PHOTOGRAPHS

Undoubtedly you know of the terrible warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 of the artist residents last week. It is an unspeakable tragedy.

From news descriptions, I thought it must have been a sort-of indoor homeless encampment but then I saw a group of pre-fire photographs of the interior in Rolling Stone magazine. Here are a couple of them:

GhostShipWarehouse2

Ghostshipwarehouse1

Apparently, the fire was the result of unsafe electrical wiring but it certainly was a thousand times more beautiful than I imagined. There are more photos here.

NOW THEY'RE CHARGING FOR OVERHEAD BINS

Yes, you read that right. United Airlines intends to start charging for space in overhead bins.

Overheadbin

As the Washington Post reports:

"As part of the company’s new pricing tier, Basic Economy, passengers who purchase the airline’s cheapest fares will only be allowed one personal item that must fit under a seat...

"The move marks the first time a large U.S. airline limits low-fare customers to one carry-on bag that fits under a seat, Reuters reported. The company expects such fare initiatives to add $1 billion to its annual operating income by 2020, as more customers pay to check luggage or select higher fares for two carry-on bags."

You know if one airline invents a new charge, others won't be shy to copy it. I think I'll stay home from now on if it involves a commercial airplane. You can read more here.

OH NO. AND NOW THIS

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed Thursday that the ban on using cell phones on airplanes be lifted. Another agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been making efforts to allow phone calls in flight since 2013. As USA Today reports:

"FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argued the ban is obsolete because planes essentially carry their own cell towers, preventing cellphones from interfering with ground-based relay stations, which justified the original ban. But the availability of voice calls via Wi-Fi prompted the FAA's action."

If phone calls become permitted in flight, the prospective rules require that passengers be told if calls are allowed on flights before they purchase tickets. The DOT is soliciting public comment on whether this notification is sufficient or if calls should be banned on airplanes within, to or from the United States. You can do that here for the next 60 days.

Since I no longer need to fly for work this, along with fees for the overhead bins, is pretty much enough to keep me out of airplanes for the rest of my life because here is how I think it will go:

  1. Phone calls will be allowed on airplanes
  2. The requirement to tell passengers before they purchase tickets will stand
  3. The airlines will charge extra for flights will no phone calls

(The cartoon is by Bill Bramhall of The New York Daily News.

AirplanePhonesCartoon

JEANNE ROBERTSON ON THE STYLE IN NEW YORK CITY

It has been too long since I've included comedian Jeanne Robertson in these Saturday lists. This one came from Sunday TGB music columnist, Peter Tibbles.

FAKE NEWS FOOLS MAJORITY OF AMERICANS

According to a report in Buzzfeed about a new survey from Ipsos Public Affairs, fake news headlines fool Americans about 75 percent of the time:

”The results paint a picture of news consumers with little ability to evaluate the headlines that often fly toward them without context on social media platforms,” explains Buzzfeed.

“They also — surprisingly — suggest that consumers are likely to believe even false stories that don’t fit their ideological bias. And the survey calls into question the notion — which Facebook has reportedly begun testing — that consumers themselves can do the work of distinguishing between real and fake news.”

Perhaps I'm fooling myself, but I don't think I've ever believed a fake news story. But then, I rarely go far afield online from traditional news sources and well-known alternate news sources.

This new data comes from an online survey of 3,015 U.S. adults conducted between November 28 and December 1. You can read more about it at Buzzfeed.

Here's a video example of what some American grownups believe. This is an interview with some * voters conducted by CNN's Alisyn Camerata this week:

Dear god, how will our country survive.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – EPISODE 2

Yes, another sappy holiday commercial, this one from the German supermarket chain Edeka. But this old man is really clever about getting his family home for Christmas. (I think this is from 2015 and I may have posted it last year, but who cares.)

DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANDROID APPS OUTSIDE OF GOOGLE PLAY

As I alluded to above, I don't stray far from mainstream websites of any kind and I certainly don't download from anywhere that I don't believe is 100 percent safe. Not everyone is as careful as I am:

”For criminals, the malicious Android app business is booming,” reports Wired. “It’s easy for a hacker to dress software up to look novel, benign, or like the dopplegänger of a mainstream product, and then plant it in third-party app stores for careless browsers to find.

“Once downloaded, these apps may even seem normal (if a little janky) but they can spread ransomware or types of malware that exploit system vulnerabilities to steal data or take over a whole device.

“Don’t want this drama on your phone? The key to protecting yourself is staying away from sketchy app stores, and only downloading software from Google Play.”

Wired further reports that Google vets all the products in the Play store for safety. A few slip through but are usually caught quickly. Although the Apple store is much less severe, malware does sneak through sometimes.

You can read more here.

A MURMURATION OF STARLINGS

Once in my life I saw this phenomenon in person and it is awesome – in the best sense of that word. It is stunning to see.

This one was filed by wildlife cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter. When he shot this five years ago, says the YouTube page, he was sailing around the United Kingdom in an 18-foot boat. You can find out more about his journey here.

Meanwhile, besides being amazing and beautiful, I find this murmuration wonderfully calming to sit back and watch.

* * *

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.