368 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 19 August 2017

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

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

* * *


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

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

Here's a little video about the shutdown:


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

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

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


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


As the Washington Post reported:

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

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

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

Here's the video:


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



You can see many others at Bored Panda.


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


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

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




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


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

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

PS: Who new there was a town named Unalaska.


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

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

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

There is more at Rolling Stone.


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

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

* * *

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

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



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

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

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


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



Read more here and order your own Troll Cake here.


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

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

Do stick around for the end...


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

* * *

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

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


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

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

* * *


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

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


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

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


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

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

I sure do wish I could taste this soy sauce.

I Am Rooting for You, Ronni

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

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

Thank you, Henry.


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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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


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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

* * *


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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

* * *

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

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



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

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

First example is Antonin Baldrman at age 17 and 101:


And here is Marie Baresova at age 23 and 101:


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


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

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

A more detailed story is at Mental Floss.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

You'll find the list here.


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

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


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

Thank TGB reader Joan McMullen for this one.

* * *

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

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



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

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

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

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

You can read more here.


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


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

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


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

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

Could it be, maybe, shame?


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

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

Who ARE these people who supposedly represent American citizens?


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

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


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

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

“Civil society at its best.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Best of luck with that.

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


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

* * *

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

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



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

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

Read Coates's full interview at The Atlantic.


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


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

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

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

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

You can read more at the Washington Post.

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

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


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

Thank laura and her daughter Sara for this item.


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


What could be better, especially after that last item:

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

* * *

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

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



From one to 100. Let me quote Aeon page:

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Here's the graph:



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

Read more at The Times.


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

* * *

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

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



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.


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


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.


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 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.


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.


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


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:



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


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

* * *

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

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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

* * *

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.


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.

* * *


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.



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:

* * *


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.


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.


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:


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.

* * *

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.



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.


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:


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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:


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

* * *

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.)


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:


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:


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.



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.


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:


Here's a close up:


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


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.”


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.


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.


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


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.


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)


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.


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.


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.



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.


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?


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.


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.


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


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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


”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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Thank Elder Music columnist Peter Tibbles for this:



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


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.


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:


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.




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.


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.