343 posts categorized "Interesting Stuff"

INTERESTING STUFF – 31 December 2016

THE NEW YEAR THAT IS UPON US

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year, my friends.

240 GREEN LIGHTS

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

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

The best I ever did was nine in a row.

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

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

PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE YEAR

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

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

ScaliaChair

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

Palmyra

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

Omran

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

DR. HEIMLICH DEAD AT AGE 96

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full obituary here.

THE WORLD'S LONGEST TUNNEL JUST OPENED

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

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

THE ART OF ROCK BALANCING

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

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

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

ICE SKATING IN THE STREETS OF MONTREAL

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

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

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

THE SNOWFLAKE PHYSICIST

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

POLAR BEAR CUBS PLAYING IN THE SNOW

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

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

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

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

There is more video at Mengelsen's YouTube page.

WINTER: TONIGHT: SUNSET

The Writers Almanac website tells us that poet David Budbill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy-New-Year-Best-Wishes680

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF: 24 December 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEPHEN COLBERT CHRISTMAS SHOW

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

SAINSBURY'S 2016 CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL

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

A TRAVELING CHRISTMAS FROM H&M

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

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS

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

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

YET ANOTHER PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Penelope Keith - And Yet Another Partridge in a Pear Tree

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS COMMERCIAL

This one from Temptations cat treats.

FRANKIE'S HOLIDAY COMMERCIAL

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

THE STORY OF HANNUKAH

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

A DRY BONES HANNUKAH

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

YaakovHannukah

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

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

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

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

PragueClock

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

ChiangMaiThailand

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

OxfordStLondon

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

HELEN MIRREN'S CHRISTMAS WISHES

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

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

Happy-holiday680

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 17 December 2016

POLISH GRANDFATHER LEARNS ENGLISH FOR CHRISTMAS

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

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

PROTECT AND STRENGTHEN SOCIAL SECURITY

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

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

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

MONKEYS COULD TALK IF THEY WERE SMARTER

Or so says at least one researcher.

Celebes_crested_macaque680

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW LONDON'S BIG BEN CLOCK WORKS

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

HOW YOUR BODY KNOWS WHAT TIME IT IS

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

According to the YouTube page,

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

PHONE CALLS BETWEEN PRESIDENT OBAMA AND *

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

There are several more “recordings” here.

EARTH AT NIGHT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION

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

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

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

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

There is a list of locations at the YouTube page.

ANONYMOUSE

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

Malmorestaurant1

Here is another of the same mouse restaurant in closeup.

MalmoRestaurantCU

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

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

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

Mousesizemenuposted

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

MalmoMousePoster

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

SIMON'S CAT'S GUIDE TO WINTER

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

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

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 10 December 2016

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – EPISODE 1

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

OAKLAND GHOST SHIP PHOTOGRAPHS

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

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

GhostShipWarehouse2

Ghostshipwarehouse1

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

NOW THEY'RE CHARGING FOR OVERHEAD BINS

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

Overheadbin

As the Washington Post reports:

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

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

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

OH NO. AND NOW THIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

AirplanePhonesCartoon

JEANNE ROBERTSON ON THE STYLE IN NEW YORK CITY

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

FAKE NEWS FOOLS MAJORITY OF AMERICANS

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear god, how will our country survive.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – EPISODE 2

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

DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANDROID APPS OUTSIDE OF GOOGLE PLAY

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

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

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

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

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

You can read more here.

A MURMURATION OF STARLINGS

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

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

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

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 3 December 2016

* HAT TREE ORNAMENT

Maybe it's not enough, all those red Make America Great Again hats. Now you can have a miniature one as a Christmas ornament at a whole lot more than a miniature price:

If you need to know more about it, you can read it at The Hill. Merry * Christmas.

WORLD'S OLDEST PERSON TURNS 117

The standard reporter question when old, old people are interviewed is always about what they attribute their longevity to. A whole lot of men mention whisky and cigarettes and there are often other funny answers – I always think they're pulling our collective leg.

The current oldest person in the world is Emma Morano of Rome, Italy, who turned 117 last Tuesday and is, according to the story, the last person alive in the world born in the 19th century. She lives at home helped by a niece and two other caregivers.

Marano at Home

Ms. Morano attributes her longevity to eating three raw eggs a day since her teen years (she recently cut back to two a day) and also to the fact that she has been single for most of her life.

”On Tuesday, Ms. Morano took it all in good stride. She blew out the candles, posed graciously for countless photographs and accepted cheek kisses galore.

“Then at one point she said, ‘Hey, isn’t there anything to eat here?’ and she ate,” said [her physician] Dr. Bava, who honored her Tuesday morning.

“Then she took a nap.”

Sounds like a smart idea to me after a big birthday party. You can read more about Emma Morano at The New York Times.

THE 2016 SONG FROM FLO AND JOAN

My friend Jim Stone sent this video song which is a raucous recap of the events of 2016. It's wildly funny and all too true so I sent it to a couple of other friends wondering if I should post it today (it is a whole, hell of a lot more crude that other stuff I post).

The friends said yes so here it is. You've been warned. Also, this is a disclaimer from Flo and Joan on their YouTube page: “We got our facts wrong and it wasn't a bombing in Nice. We're sorry for any offence this may have caused.” Enjoy.

FANTASTIC 3D STREET ART ILLUSIONS

I really like 3D street art and usually Darlene Costner sends them to me. I found this one all my own and the entire first half of the video is new to me.

I've seen the second half - “the making of” - before but it was just as interesting to see again. I hope it delights you as much as it delights me.

There are more “best of 3D street art” videos at YouTube.

A GOOD READ: THE ELECTION OF *

Utne or Utne Reader has been around in one form or another since the 1980s when it was founded by Eric Utne to reprint the best of the alternative presses on politics, culture, and the environment along with some original stories.

Although Eric sold the magazine 10 or so years ago, he still writes for it now and then and a few years ago I was privileged to have lunch with him and his wife when they visited Oregon.

It's one of the magazines I check in with regularly online and last week I was surprised to find this at the top of the third paragraph of one story:

”Let’s start with Ronnie Bennett...who puts out a must-read blog on aging called Time Goes By. She writes...”

I'm abashed to be included with the likes of Rebecca Solnit, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibbon among others that Eric quotes in his essay of a sampling of post-election ruminations.

Utne's essay is this week's “Good Read” (which it would be even without me in it) and you will find it here.

STEPHEN HAWKING DECLARES NEW THREATS TO HUMAN RACE

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, age 74, has had a couple of busy weeks predicting disaster for humanity – first in November, as reported by Raw Story, during a speech at Oxford:

“'We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity,' he said. 'I don’t think we will survive another 1000 without escaping beyond our fragile planet.'”

And then this:

More about the second prediction at Esquire.

NYC SUBWAY ELECTION CATHARSIS

The shock of the election result was still new and raw when, on November 9, Matthew “Levee” Chavez came up with Subway Therapy in Manhattan's Union Square subway station to help people cope:

The idea quickly spread to other subway stations in New York and to other cities. See more about it and more photos at Chavez's website.

COCKATOOS MAKE TOOLS

I've read a lot of stories about how certain kinds of apes make tools to get to otherwise unreachable food. But birds? YouTube explains:

”Researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna and the University of Oxford report that Goffin cockatoos can make and use elongated- tools of appropriate shape and length out of amorphous materials, suggesting that the birds can anticipate how the tools will be used.”

LANAI CAT SANCTUARY

Why not two animal stories in week. There are never enough animals, right?

More than 500 cats(!) live together at the Lanai Cat Sanctuary in Hawaii. This video is three years old but the sanctuary is going strong and if you happen to live in Hawaii, you might want to adopt one of their cats.

Find out more at the sanctuary website.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 26 November 2016

TWO FRIENDS FIND SOMETHING IN COMMON

There are all kinds of reasons to feel ambivalent about Amazon.com but this is not one of them.

TGB reader Tom Delmore sent this Amazon television commercial – images and an idea we need more of in this time of troubles we live in.

DEMENTIA RATE DROPPING IN ELDERS

When I was a kid and for years beyond, the universal bad news about health was cancer. In fact, for a long time, people whispered the word.

Times change and so do fears. For quite awhile the equivalent terror has been dementia and I have mentioned here more than once that I wonder, when I forget why I walked to the bedroom or have misplaced my keys, if that was indicative of incipient dementia. I know I'm not alone in those thoughts.

Now, a new nationwide study from the University of Michigan involving 21,000 people 65 and older reports that between the the years 2000 and 2012, the dementia rate dropped by 24 percent.

And nobody knows why. A greater amount of education may contribute to the drop but there are plenty of other possible reasons:

”Interestingly, the researchers noted that the drop in dementia prevalence occurred despite increases in the rates of certain conditions that can increase the risk of dementia: diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity...

“Still, more research is needed to identify all the factors contributing to the decline in dementia prevalence, the investigators said," reports Live Science.

The study is here. You will find reporting on the study here and here.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST TRAILER

When Disney announced it would produce a live-action movie of Beauty and the Beast, the critics came out in droves – no, no, no, only animation can work with such a story, they said.

For several years when I was a young girl, Beauty and the Beast was a favorite. I must have read it several dozen times, word for word and I still remember it fondly. From this trailer, I think the live action version looks marvelous.

Read more about the production here.

DID YOU READ A BOOK IN THE PAST YEAR?

Here is a shocker. A 2016 Pew Research study turned up the information that 26 percent of American adults have not read a book in the past year – barely changed since 2012.

Groups more likely to read books are college graduates, women and young adults. 67 percent of people 65 and older had read a book in the past year compared to 80 percent of young adults.

Here is a demographic breakdown of readers:

WhoHasNotReadBookChart

Although people are reading in many formats these days – tablets, ereaders, cell phones, desktop and laptop computers – the largest group, 38 percent, read print-only books. 28 percent read both print and electronic (as I do) and just 6 percent read in digital formats only.

There is a whole lot more information about American book reading habits at Pew Research.

A GOOD READ: FROM CHARLES SIMIC

Books are good things, but these days, even as a lot of embarrassingly awful crap is published online, there is also an abundance of great thinking and writing being done.

This week's contribution is from The New York Review of Books, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Serbian/American, Charles Simic. He is acclaimed as a poet but I particularly like his prose (he has been writing essays for the NYRB for many years) which in his hands, on any subject, is poetry too.

His latest is titled, “Expendable America,” which captures in the most horribly beautiful way what I have been feeling but not capable expressing - at least not this well or as emphatically. Simic:

”The basic requirement for democratic governance – that the majority of the population agrees on the parameters of what is true and what is false – has been deliberately obfuscated in this country...

“To mislead one's fellow citizens on such a vast scale is evil. We've seen it before. Never the good old days, of course, but the vile stuff we imagined we'd never see again...

“Once the new president settles in and brings the dregs of our society into his administration and they appoint other corrupt and worthless men and women to other positions in the government and start settling scores with their political and personal enemies and keeping their most rabid following happy by deporting, persecuting, or physically abusing some minority, we won't need a crystal ball to tell us what's in store for us.”

It is unfair to quote these three out-of-context paragraphs. Read Simic's essay – as it should be, in full - here.

NYU STUDENT/ELDER HOUSING

There is a lot of support for intergenerational living projects but for the most part it doesn't get beyond research studies and TED talks.

One important exception is Judson Manor, a retirement community in Cleveland that since 2010 has been giving college music students free housing in exchange for the occasional concert. Here's short video about it:

The idea is slowly growing and now, New York University in Manhattan will be trying a pilot project next year. Here's a short radio report:

As the Washington Square News reported,

”Ellen Lovitz, the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Analysis, explained via email that the pilot will initially consist of about 10 students.

“'During the first year we will assess how the program is working, and make any necessary adjustments, with the expectation that we will be able to scale up to larger numbers by the fall of 2018,' Lovitz said.

“'Our planning process will include consultation with students and with residents of the housing complex identified by University Settlement.'”

There are students and others who complain that the project isn't useful enough (of course they complain; it's New York). I think it's a great start at expanding elder/senior shared living.

You can read more here.

2016 TOP 50 BLOGS ABOUT AGEING

A TGB reader pointed this page out to me: The Healthcare Administrator website's list of top 50 ageing blogs for 2016.

It is published by an Alabama public school health teacher. I am not sure I understand the five criteria and the majority on the list target professionals in ageing services and businesses rather than old people themselves. Still, you might find some of them useful. The list is here.

A MARVELOUS COLLECTION OF PETE SOUZA PHOTOS

All eyes are on the president-elect these days as though President Barack Obama doesn't have another two months to go in his term.

But The Atlantic is on the case in the loveliest way. A fantastic collection of selected photographs covering eight years of the Obama administration from the official White House photographer, Peter Souza. (Souza was also official White House photographer during the Ronald Reagan years.)

In this one, a temporary White House staffer, Carlton Philadelphia, had brought his family to the Oval Office for a farewell photo with President Obama. Carlton’s son softly told the President he had just gotten a haircut like President Obama, and asked if he could feel the President’s head to see if it felt the same as his.

ObamaandSmallKid

Here is Obama visiting with victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

HurricaneSandyVictime2012

And this is Obama working past dark in the Oval Office.

Workinglate2013

There is a large collection of even better photographs at The Atlantic.

*'S NAME REMOVED FROM APARTMENT BUILDINGS

Residents of three apartment buildings successfully petitioned to have *'s name removed from their New York City dwellings. Here is short video report.

DOES A BEAR...

...scratch in the woods?

Apparently so. A lot. Thank reader Momcat Christi for this video.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 19 November 2016

EDITORIAL NOTE

Wow – it's been a hard slog to get through this past week, hasn't it. As a result, I wasn't paying as much attention as usual to collecting items for this post.

Given what I was spending most of my time on, about half today are related to our great political upheaval. If you're tired of that, well there are a handful of others that will, I believe, brighten your day.

RESTORATION OF U.S. CAPITOL DOME FINISHED

Whew – work restoring the interior and exterior of the U.S. Capitol dome has been going on since 2013. Surely you've noticed the scaffolding during these three years every time the news used a shot of that building.

Apparently, the project came in under budget at about $60 million dollars. Here is a video about it:

There are a lot of before-and-after photographs at The Atlantic website along with some terrific historical photos dating to the dome's original construction in the 1860s. Worth your time.

WORD OF THE YEAR

On Tuesday, the Oxford Dictionaries announced the international “word of the year.” It's a hyphenated word this time, “post-truth,” an adjective. The official definition as it will appear in the dictionaries:

”Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

You can read about why it was chosen at the Oxford Dictionaries website where you can also find out about the other words on the shortlist – alt-right, Brixiteer and coulophobia among them.

INCREASE IN HATE SPEECH

There is a lot of reporting like this these days:

”On Sunday night, Hadas Gold, a Politico media writer, began receiving threats on Twitter. One image superimposed a yellow star of David on her shirt and a bloody bullet hole in her forehead. Another photoshopped her face on a corpse in a concentration camp oven.

“The message that came with the photos: 'Don’t mess with our boy Trump, or you will be first in line for the camp.'”

Horrendously explicit anti-Semitic images and pamphlets are being snailmailed to Jewish journalists. I won't post examples on my blog; you can see some here.

In addition, there are many incidents of anti-Muslim attacks and slurs. One of the most heartbreaking is Muslim mothers trying to keep their daughters safe by imploring them to not wear hijab out of the house.

And of course, our country's old standby - many more aimed at African Americans. There is a long list of examples from Twitter here that will make you cry.

This is how it is now for non-Christians and people of color in the United States.

MORE ON THE SAFETY PINS PROTEST

Remember last Monday when I told you about how Americans are wearing simple safety pins to show their solidarity with people of color and immigrants who are too often now in danger? I explained that it had begun last June by people in Briton who disagree with the Brexit vote.

Now it turns out that the history of wearing simple pins as protest is even older than that. In case you missed the comment from 83-year-old Patricia Read on that post, here is what she wrote:

”I had the enormous good fortune to live in Uruguay and Argentina in the early 1960s. One of the stories I learned from my British, Australian and other expat friends was that during WWII the custom was to wear a straight (common) pin.

“Generally it was worn in the lapel. This was also being done in England. The reason was to 'prick Hitler's balloon.'

“Imagine how happy I was to see that same spirit come out of England again. But how unhappy that it has to be so.”

So for people who say the safety pin trivializes the issue, instead of that we now know - thank you, Patricia Read - that it carries a powerful, historical precedent.

HAMILTON CAST SPEAKS TO MIKE PENCE

Vice president-elect Mike Pence attended last night's performance of Hamilton in New York City where the audience loudly booed him as he entered the theater.

After the final curtain call, Brandon Dixon who plays Aaron Burr, addressed Pence directly from the stage with the cast gathered around him

Some of the audio is muffled so here is a transcript of the main point:

"We have a message for you, sir. We hope that you will hear us out. Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton American Musical, we really do.

"We, sir, we are the diverse America, who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights.

"But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

"Again, we truly thank you for [inaudible] this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women, of different colors, creeds and orientations."

DO MEN FEAR A WOMAN PRESIDENT?

That's the contention of this video. What do you think?

HUM

A solitary dish washing robot living out his life in the back room of a restaurant is enlightened to the world that exists beyond his four walls and with the help of a small friend he breaks free of confinement.

A lovely, little short film by student Tom Teller which was produced on a budget of $2,000 in the spring semester of 2015.

You can see more of Teller's work at Vimeo.

A GOOD READ

TGB reader Katie send me a link to a story about * that ends like this:

”When the levers of power are seized by the small hands of hateful men, you work hard, you stand with those who are most vulnerable, and you don't give up until it's morning again. The rest is commentary.”

That's not giving anything away because the story that gets to that final paragraph is haunting, smart and compelling. It is called, What to Do About Trump? The Same Thing My Grandfather Did in 1930s Vienna.

There are important things to learn between the title and the ending. You can do that here.

SCOTTIE PINWHEEL

What's a Scottie pinwheel? It's so cute your smile will break your face. And thank Darlene Costner for that.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 12 November 2016

80-YEAR-OLD CHINESE FASHION MODEL DESHUN WANG

The New York Times tells us this guy, Deshun Wang, is known as “China's hottest grandpa” and, indeed, he is a charmer, hard to resist. Take a look.

Read the rest of the story at The Times. It will make you feel good.

CHUCK NYREN'S MOUTH HUNTERS

Chuck Nyren, who calls himself writer, gadfly, troublemaker is, more soberly, an international creative strategist, consultant, copywriter, columnist, author, and speaker who also keeps a blog called Advertising for Baby Boomers.

I've “known” Chuck online and via email for at least a decade, admiring his insight into boomers and and his humor about old age. A short while ago, this appeared on his Huffpost page titled Mouth Hunters. Given my two-year, ongoing odyssey with teeth, I understand entirely:

I’ve been thinking about buying this house. Then I was told that it might be time to buy a new mouth.

I can’t afford both.

Let’s say I go with a new mouth. I don’t know if I should buy a mouth that’s move-in ready or a fixer-upper.

A move-in ready one would have great curb appeal. And of course an open floor plan is a must.

The downside: It would be way over budget – and even though brand-new, would have no resale value.

A fixer-upper would be much cheaper, at least on paper. But I’d be taking my chances. Digging into drywall could expose mold and rot. I might have to demolish the whole thing, except for the front. The front might have good bones but I’d probably have to replace a few boards and give it a big-ticket weatherproofing paint job.

Or I could go with the house. The problem would be that after a cleaning, check-up and X-Rays, no honest contractor would guarantee their work because the place is so rickety. A sneeze would knock it down.

It’s all part of getting old. When I was younger all I had to do was move into some place and not forget to floss and brush it twice a day.

Chuck's blog is aimed at marketers who target boomers but even if you're not one of those, you'll enjoy this blog post about how marketing people are too ready to ignore old people and hey, a lot of them actually have money to spend. It's worth your time to take a look.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Here are four short items related to our recent election I have saved up for us. The results of this vote are not going away for a long, long time, folks. We need to be aware.

VAN JONES AND THE WHITELASH

During an election-night discussion on CNN, author, political activist and well-known influencer Van Jones schooled a Republican surrogate about the meaning of the outcome of this campaign. Take a look:

MOST PEOPLE WORLDWIDE WOULD TRADE FREEDOMS FOR SECURITY

On the precipice of a new regime in the White House that has revealed little in the way of serious policy positions, I was reminded of this recent survey involving “about 1,000 respondents in each of eight countries — the United States, France, Britain, Turkey, Egypt, China, India and Indonesia." Emphasis is mine:

”The survey, commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), showed that many people think their governments are not doing enough to combat violent extremism.

“And a majority in every country polled, including the United States, overwhelmingly approved all 21 options presented to them — among them, requiring identification cards for citizens and visitors; rigorous screening of immigrants; bans on incendiary religious speech; and monitoring of phone calls, emails and social media.”

The last item was the least popular idea. Nevertheless, “overall, 7 in 10 people deem it a good idea. Even in the United States, where the idea had less support, 6 in 10 back it.”

It took a much lower percentage than that to choose the new president-elect. You can read more at the Washington Post.

GET IN TROUBLE – GOOD TROUBLE

Like the item directly above, this one is a bit dusty, a month or two old, but is pertinent now. It involves a beautiful interview by Late Night host Stephen Colbert with civil rights icon and U.S. Representative John Lewis.

Listen to him and take heed about stirring up trouble. Also, don't miss the ending; it's a delight.

NEW ADMINISTRATION TRANSITION WEBSITE

The new administration has already launched a transition website. Note the .gov URL combining a campaign slogan with an official governmental web address.

The idea, apparently, is to provide regular updates on what the new administration is doing during this interim period or, at least, what they want us to know about what they are doing.

And look at this: you too can aspire to work in the the new administration. Information is here and you will find the online application here.

JOHN OLIVER – MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING

I know, it sounds like a yawn. But as is now routine with John Oliver on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, there is no such thing as dull. You laugh, you cry, you learn and it is always fascinating.

THE ANCIENT JAPANESE ART OF CANDY SCULPTING

Apparently, “amezaiku” - or candy crafting - is an ancient Japanese art of carving and painting lollpops into intricate edible sculptures that is in danger of disappearing.

Twenty-seven-year old Shinri Tezuka is, according to the YouTube page, one of only two amezaiku artists remaining in Tokyo. Tezuka hopes his elaborate goldfish, frog and octopus designs will inspire the next generation of candy crafters to keep the tradition alive.

THE PIANO GUYS AT PETRA

Petra, in Jordan, is the number one place in the world I would like to see. I have missed it on each of my trips to Israel and I'm not likely to get there again. It is an astonishing place.

There is a short overview of the ancient city on the YouTube page of this video. In part, it reads:

”Petra is home to over 800 monuments, buildings, halls, tombs, temples, and gateways sculpted from kaleidoscope sandstone. Its access is guarded by a narrow, protracted 1,000 ft high (300 meter) canyon.

“This remote desert city thrived in its prime because of an intricate, ingenious aqueduct system that carried water over great distances to store in cisterns. Arab tradition believes that Petra was the site where Moses of the Old Testament struck the rock to draw forth water.”

Recently, two men who call themselves The Piano Guys, John Schmidt on piano and Steven Sharp Nelson on cello, went to Petra to perform including, at about 50 seconds into this video, one melody from Rimsky-Korsakov's musical telling of the ancient Middle Eastern tale, Scheherazade.

If you would like to know more about Petra, just type the name into your favorite search engine – they is plenty of fascinating stuff to know about it.

DNA SAVES SERVICE DOG FROM DEATH SENTENCE

In September, a two-year-old Belgian Malanois service dog named Jeb was sentenced to death.

”The Michigan judge who ordered the dog be euthanized said he had no choice,” reported the Washington Post.

“A neighbor had testified that he saw Jeb standing over the lifeless body of his Pomeranian, Vlad. And state law requires that dangerous dogs — ones that cause serious injury or death to people or other dogs — be destroyed.

“But Jeb’s family did not believe he was capable of killing Vlad, said Kandie Morrison, who had given Jeb to her disabled father for use as a service animal.

“This was a dog whose body 80-year-old Kenneth Job relied on to hoist himself up when he fell, she said; a dog that ignored the rabbit he lived with.

So the body of the Pomeranian was tested for Jeb's DNA and like too many mis-convicted (is that a word?) humans, Jeb was exonerated and is now back home working as canine caregiver to 80-year-old Kenneth Job.

Jeb

Of course, the story is more complicated than I have told you and if you go read the whole thing here, it will make you feel good.

* * *

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 – 5 November 2016

DAYLIGHT SAVNGS TIME

It's that ti-i-i-i-me again – fall back. In most of the United States, we turn back our clocks one hour tonight. It hardly seems worth the effort these days when “standard time” lasts only about four months until 12 March 2017.

The Boston Patch website has some facts and a short history of this semi-annual ritual. (Hint: it's not just the United States.)

EDITORIAL NOTE: Once again this week, I find myself with enough items on one subject to take up nearly half the column. We're winding down to the culmination of this awful election period so I'm sure you can guess the topic.

”WE NEED A TOUGH BITCH MOTHER”

From EmmaJay and several other readers, it's comedian Louis CK on Conan O'Brien's late-night show on Tuesday explaining why he is voting for Hillary Clinton. Very funny.

GROWING UP TO BECOME PRESIDENT.

This is from a list at of 17 signs that deserve a medal or, as they put it, a fucking medal. After this past 18 months, I couldn't agree more with this one.

Growuptobeprez

DONALD TRUMP BUS AD IN COPENHAGEN

Someone in Copenhagen shot this video mocking Donald Trump and urging Americans in Denmark to vote for Hillary. As he writes on the YouTube page:

”Hi my friends. Look what I saw in Copenhagen today! Here in Denmark we are very focused on what’s going on in USA. We believe our children deserve to grow up in a safe world ! Please vote!”

JON STEWART'S TRUMP STORY

Last Tuesday evening, former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, appeared at a fundraiser for military veterans: Stand Up for Heroes in New York City. He told this amazing, funny story about a run-in with Donald Trump:

You can read more here.

HE GAVE HER HALF HIS LIVER AND THEN THEY GOT MARRIED

Twenty-seven-year-old Heather Krueger was out of options. It's hard to find organ donors. Chris Dempsey heard that a co-worker's cousin, a woman he did not know, was dying of liver disease. He did not hesitate to have the blood test which showed he was a match.

And last month, they were married. This is their story:

You can read more here.

WHEN OLD FOLKS WERE PEOPLE

TGB Reader Pat said in her email with this cartoon, “Some days, not hearing so much from my 'adult children,' I feel I'm not 'people'.”

PicklesBrianCrane

More Pickles here.

JOHN OLIVER ON SCHOOL SEGREGATION

I never get over how brilliant and compelling the HBO program, Last Week Tonight, can make any topic. They have never failed me.

I might skim over a newspaper think piece on school segregation; “Yeah, yeah, I'm aware of it.” But not John Oliver and his staff who never fail to make it riveting. Last Sunday's feature is a don't miss.

BUY MORE CHOBANI YOGURT

Turkish immigrant to the U.S., Hamdi Ulukaya, the owner of the Chobani Yogurt company, hires a lot of refugees at his two factories, one in New York state and the other in Idaho:

”...he and his company have been targeted with racist attacks on social media and conspiratorial articles on websites including Breitbart News,” reports The New York Times.

“Now there are calls to boycott Chobani. Mr. Ulukaya and the company have been taunted with racist epithets on Twitter and Facebook. Fringe websites have published false stories claiming Mr. Ulukaya wants 'to drown the United States in Muslims.'

“And the mayor of Twin Falls has received death threats, partly as a result of his support for Chobani.”

Here is a short news story from a year ago about Ulukaya, his factories and his refugee workers:

There are not enough people like Hamdi Ulukaya in the world. Read more about his refugee efforts at The New York Times and buy more Chobani. May the gods keep this good man safe from the haters.

2016 COMEDY WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY FINALISTS

Until this week, I didn't know there was anything called the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. It appears to have begun in 2015 and this is it second year.

This finalists for this years awards have been posted at the website and yes, they are really funny – mostly appearing to do human things. Here are some examples:

Leopardfinalist

Birdconductorfinalist

Lizardfinalist

Take some time to go see all the finalists at the Comedy Wildlife Photo website where you can also see the 2015 winners. You won't be sorry.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 29 October 2016

ELDERS WALKING FROM FLORIDA TO TIMES SQUARE FOR NEW YEARS

Times Square

As the Bradenton, Florida Herald reported this week,

”Some of the roughly 50 residents of the Windsor of Bradenton's assisted living community started walking Wednesday toward Times Square in New York City, where they hope to arrive just in time to see the ball drop for 2017.”

Well, sort of. Actually, it is a new health regimen to get staff and residents exercising more and they hope their pedometers will show they have covered the 1163 miles there are between Bradenton and Times Square by 31 December.

"'I love the whole idea of it,' said Faythe Askew, Windsor's life enrichment coordinator. 'Getting the residents to exercise is one thing, but to actually have them prove the program is working by taking their step record to their doctors and being able to tell them they walked miles is also great.'”

What do you want to bet that they'll all be watching the ball drop together this year too. You can read more here.

JOHN OLIVER TAKES ON BIG PHARMA

And the opioid epidemic on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight.

Besides always learning from John Oliver's essays and admiring the excellent research and writing that goes into them, I love how he finds the humor too – both silly and often sophisticated. John Oliver has become a national treasure.

METLIFE HAS FIRED SNOOPY

I was surprised to learn that the Peanuts cartoon dog, Snoopy, has been shilling for MetLife for ONLY 31 years. I can't remember a time in my life without him doing that.

But now, the association is no more. This week, MetLife fired the little guy.

You can read more here.

ALL THE PEOPLE TRUMP HAS INSULTED ON TWITTER

Last Monday The New York Times published two-page spread of the (so far) 281 people, places and things Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter during the presidential campaign.

NY Times Trump List

Actually, the total is up to 282 as of this writing. You can see the full-size list here where the most recent insults – tracked within the past 30-odd days – are highlighted in yellow.

PLEASE RE-ELECT GERALD

I think this is the absolute best video of our entire sorry election campaign. It features the wife of Gerald Daugherty who is running for Travis County Commissioner in Texas. Enjoy.

HOW PEOPLE SURVIVE IN ALEPPO

However much his ignorance helped sink Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, Aleppo is not a political joke. It is a tragedy.

Here is one before-and-after photo. You can see more here.

Aleppo Before and After

And here is a short drone video of the city:

What had been the largest city in Syria is in ruins. Many residents have fled but a quarter of a million people are trapped in east Aleppo. Last week, one of them, a student name Omair Shaaban wrote about what it is like for him and his wife to live in this war-ravaged city.

"If you want to stay alive in Aleppo, you have to find a way to keep yourself safe from explosions and starvation.

"Here’s how.

"First of all, to survive the many different kinds of airstrikes, shells, rockets, phosphorus bombs and cluster bombs, you’ll need to live on the lower floors of a building. They’re less likely to be hit than the upper floors are...

"Listen for scouting planes, which sound different from fighter jets on bombing runs. The scouts fly lower, and they make a constant buzzing sound. If you hear them, you’ll know that shells will be falling soon, bringing death with them...

"Staying cooped up at home all the time will get boring, and you’ll eventually want to try to live some semblance of your normal life — to see friends, to attempt to find food. People want to go out. But if you leave, remember that you might not make it back. Whenever I run into friends, I keep in mind that I might never see them again...

"It’s so easy to lose your mind here. You might go out one day to look for food and come back to find that your building has been destroyed and your family killed. I’ve seen people standing in front of bombed-out buildings, screaming and crying in disbelief."

Go read Shaaban's entire story at the Washington Post and remember how blessed you and I are to live where we do.

INAPPROPRIATE DRUGS FOR ELDERS

TGB reader John Starbuck sent me a link to this important story about elders and prescription drugs.

”The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 75 percent of Americans age 75 and over take at least five prescription medicines daily....

“Although taking multiple meds may be appropriate, it also can lead to problems such as interactions between drugs, difficulty following directions, problems communicating with health-care providers, and problems getting all the information patients need.”

The article also notes what I have, in past written about at some length, that most medications are not tested on old people and no one knows for sure what dosages are appropriate compared to mid-age people.

There is an important source for such information mentioned that I had forgotten about, the Beers List. It contains what little is known about the effects on old people of many well-known prescription medications and was revised most recently in 2015.

It is free for everyone. One source is at the American Geriatrics Society but if you can figure out how to see it, you're a better man or woman than I am.

However, I did track down two other sources. There is an html version here (scroll down to the chart). And a PDF format at Wiley. The Wiley charts are sideways on the screen so you may need to print it to check your drugs.

MAKE PHONE CALLS WITH YOUR FINGERTIP

I want this so bad I can taste it. Take a look:

That pretty well explains it all but you can read more at the Gajitz page.

The goal of the original Kickstarter campaign was US$50,000 but they raised US$1,581,506 within the time limit. So many more people want in that the Indiegogo campaign is now live here. There is also a website and a Facebook page.

The price is US$150 plus shipping and the company expects to ship in February 2017. Even with all the amazing technology of recent years, it's been a long time since I wanted something new as much as this. Yes, I've put in my pre-order.

RESCUED WOLVES HELP HEAL VETERANS

Veterans suffering from PTSD now have a variety of options other than traditional treatment and medication. One is wolf therapy. At Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, these veterans are getting back their nature.

Many more videos at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center website.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 22 October 2016

INTIMATIONS OF AGEING

Our own Peter Tibbles, who writes the Sunday Elder Music column here, reports on a recent conversation at the fish market when a young woman who served him mentioned that her name is Bianca.

PETER: Oh, like Bianca Jagger.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

PETER: Mick Jagger's ex-wife.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

PETER: Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

...pause...

YOUNG WOMAN: That'll be $10.90.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Ronni here. In last week's Interesting Stuff, nearly half the items were about Donald Trump. This week, four good items related to books turned up. Here they are all bunched together. (Better idea than Trump, hunh?

HUMAN GOOGLE AT NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

Long before there was Google or even the internet, back in the 1970s, I started using the New York Public Library's telephone question service – mostly for work but for myself too.

It was a lot easier than a subway trip to the library itself when I was in a hurry and unless I'm fooling myself, I do not recall ever stumping the human Google service.

Recently I discovered that even now, in the age of Google, the telephone service still exists at the NYPL. Take a look at this little video about it.

TEARING DOWN LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES? REALLY?

Maybe you know about the Little Free Library movement in many communities in the United States and beyond. Sometimes it's referred to as Take a Book, Leave a Book.

Usually, the mini-libraries are built in someone's front yard or a neighborhood park and are quite fanciful. Here are some examples:

Little-Free-Libraries

Who could object, right? Well, recently, CityLab reported that in Kansas, some curmudgeons did that:

”The Leawood City Council said it had received a couple of complaints about [nine-year-old] Spencer Collins' Little Free Library. They dubbed it an 'illegal detached structure' and told the Collins' they would face a fine if they did not remove the Little Free Library from their yard by June 19.”

The CityLab reporter, Conor Friedersdorf, closely represents my opinion about this:

”...a subset of Americans are determined to regulate every last aspect of community life,” he wrote. “Due to selection bias, they are overrepresented among local politicians and bureaucrats. And so they have power, despite their small-mindedness, inflexibility, and lack of common sense so extreme that they've taken to cracking down on Little Free Libraries, of all things.”

Friedersdorf documented a couple of similar churls in other cities who wanted to take down Little Free Libraries. This is an old story now, dated February 2015, and I don't know the outcome. But Little Libraries are not going anywhere.

You can read the CityLab story here. The Little Free Libraries organization has a website here. And this link will take you to their map where you can see if there are any Little Free Libraries near you.

MAYBE INDEPENDENT BOOK STORES WILL SURVIVE AFTER ALL

The rise of Amazon and other online booksellers have killed a lot of bookstores in the past 20 years. Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble has closed a lot of stores but it's the independents that have been most harmed.

Now, however, things may be turning around for them.

”...after years of losses, they are emerging from the decimation,” reports The New York Times, “with the number of independent bookstores rising 21 percent from 2010 to 2015.

“In a twist of fate, it is the internet — the very thing that was supposed to wipe them out — that is helping these small stores.

“Retail sales of new books, which include chains but not online retailers such as Amazon, increased last year for the first time since 2007, according to Census Bureau data — and are up another 6 percent this year. By contrast, Barnes & Noble’s sales fell 6.6 percent last quarter.

“'Bookstores are being reinvented by taking advantage of how the world has changed,' said Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, which represents independent sellers. 'The whole ability to put technology to work for you has changed everything.'”

“Some bookstores are investing in infrastructure, such as in-shop e-book printers and new back-end systems, while others are embracing social media as an inexpensive way to connect with new customers.”

Read more at The Times.

THE LAST BOOKSTORE

Not literally the last, although that might not have been obvious when Josh Spencer opened the store in downtown Los Angeles just over a decade ago. As the YouTube page explains.

”Against the closure of massive bookstore chains and the rise of eReaders, Josh has been able to create a local resurgence of the printed word.”

It's an uplifting personal story too. Take a look:

STEPHEN COLBERT HELPS PRESIDENT OBAMA POLISH HIS RESUME

With the wall-to-wall coverage of this presidential campaign for the past 18 months, it's been easy to overlook the fact that President Barack Obama will be ending his two-terms in office in January.

But a week ago, The Late Show host Stephen Colbert did notice and helped the president prepare for upcoming job interviews. Enjoy.

ADVERTISING DRONES IN TRAFFIC JAMS?

Take a look at this: drivers stuck in traffic jams in Mexico City are being buzzed by drones carrying advertising signs:

Trafficdronesmexico

In Spanish, some of the signs say, “Driving by yourself? This is why you can never see the volcanoes” — a reference to the smog that often hovers over the mega-city and obscures two nearby peaks, explains MIT Technology Review.

”It wasn’t exactly a plea for environmentalism, though—it was an ad for UberPOOL, part of Uber’s big push into markets across Latin America.”

I don't know about this; I think traffic accidents are the all-too-logical and dangerous conclusion to this experiment. More here.

SUNSET SELFIES

As a TV producer, John Marshall has won nine Emmys. He is also an artist who says that as a kid, he dreamed of being a cartoonist.

He's done that now in a form he calls Sunset Selfies and they are a delight. Take a look yourself:

There is a slideshow of more sunset cutouts at his website.

16 GOLDEN RETRIEVERS GO FOR A SWIM

All at once, all together and they are having so much fun.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 15 October 2016

BOB DYLAN WINS NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE

On Thursday, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced in Stockholm and it was one of our generation – the poet/troubador Bob Dylan, age 75.

Here is the moment when Sara Danius, the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, announced the name of the winner:

It was reported that Dylan's selection was nearly unanimous and that he is the first American to win the Literature Prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. You can read more here.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Let me take a few lines here to say that, starting with the next item, nearly half this week are about Donald Trump. Normally I wouldn't do that but each one of these four are either so pathetic, outrageous or funny that I couldn't resist.

Needless to say, you may not want the kiddies in the room for these and keep in mind also, that these are a few days old and events develop quickly in Trumpworld, so much has happened since these were first published.

We are living through what is probably the most extraordinarily awful election campaign in history so we need our laughs – as lamentable as some may be – where we can get them. See what you think.

JOHN OLIVER ON THE TRUMP/BUSH VIDEO TAPE

On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, last Saturday, John Oliver opened with a four-and-a-half-minute take on that video tape we all now know by heart. Here it is:

ERIC TRUMP MANSPLAINS ALPHA MALES

Alleging that the Clinton campaign released the Access Hollywood video, Donald Trump's 32-year-old son, Eric, explained his father's lewd conversation with Billy Bush this way:

“I think sometimes when guys are together they get carried away, and sometimes that’s what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence.”

Yeah, right. You can read more at Raw Story.

RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER COMMENTS ON THE VIDEO

You will recall from several years ago, the Russian contretemps over their punk rock protest group Pussy Riot. This week, when CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour was interviewing Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, this exchange took place. Commence laughing now:

This is the transcript:

AMANPOUR: Can I just try one last question? One last question. A bit cheeky but I'm going to ask you. Russia had its own Pussy Riot moment. What do you think of Donald Trump’s pussy riot moment?

LAVROV: Well, I don't know what this would… English is not my mother tongue, I don't know if I would sound decent. There are so many pussies around the presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment on this.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with his English. You can read more here.

MY FAVORITE HEADLINE OF THE WEEK

There is no way I could avoid clicking on this headline:

NSW Parliament Officially Calls Donald Trump: “Revolting Slug”

The man who said that about Trump is MP Jeremy Buckingham as he introduced a motion in the New South Wales parliament officially calling Trump by that name. Here is Buckingham reading the motion:

The motion was agreed to – unanimously, according to Buckingham. You can read more here.

FIVE BENEFITS OF WALKING

In keeping with yesterday's post on the benefits of even small amounts of exercise in old age, Harvard has published a list of what it calls the five surprising benefits of walking:

  1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes

  2. It helps tame a sweet tooth

  3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer

  4. It eases joint pain

  5. It boosts immune function

Go to Harvard Health Publications page for more details about the list.

HANDWORK AND THE UNIVERSE

My mother was knitter. A constant stream of sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats and more flowed from her hands.

She hardly ever sat down without picking up her current knitting project. She even read books while knitting. Knit, perl, knit, perl, knit, perl – turn the page. Knit, perl, knit, etc.

Tom Delmore sent this video about the importance of handwork in modern life.

Renata Hiller is the co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, New York. You can read more about her and handwork at On Being.

ANOTHER SIGN OF THE FUTURE CASHLESS SOCIETY

Most people I know use a credit or debit card for almost all their purchases these days, no matter how small. Not me. I withdraw an allowance of two hundred dollars every couple of weeks to use for groceries, restaurants, entertainment, a print newspaper occasionally and other small-ish purchases.

I live on a carefully worked-out budget and by just glancing in my wallet at how much cash remains, I know if my spending is on target or needs to be adjusted. I like it this way. It's what I've been doing all my life.

There are quite a few good reasons to switch from cash to cards or electronic payments with smartphones in today's world. I understand that. But I keep hoping it won't become widespread until after I die because it is way too easy to overspend when you don't handle the cash.

Last week, it was announced that in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, toll booths in New York State will eliminate cash options for payment.

”Instead of charging drivers who are stopped at toll plazas,” explains The New York Times, “the [Port] authority will use sensors and cameras to automatically charge cars that have been equipped with E-ZPass; those without it will have their license plates recorded by camera, and a bill will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.”

One more step in the race to eliminate cash money that I think will lead to widespread debt because it's so hard to track how much money you spent when it's just pixels on a screen.

Obviously I'm being a dinosaur about this. The world is passing me by.

A MAN AND HIS CHICKEN SAILING THE WORLD

YouTube explains that 24-year-old Frenchman Guirec Soudée is seeing the world in his 30-foot sailboat, alone at sea with only his pet chicken, Monique, for company. He says he is fulfilling a life-long dream.

It's a lovely, charming story. Take a look.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 9 October 2016

PARIS – WORLD WAR II – A TEENAGE FORGER

Today, 91-year-old Adolfo Kaminksy lives in Paris with is wife. A long time ago, during World War II when the Nazis occupied Paris, he saved hundreds of Jews from certain death by forging travel documents for them.

The New York Times produced a short (16 minute) documentary about Kaminsky's life. Watching it, I was transfixed:

The video was adapted from Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life, a book written by his daughter Susan and published last Tuesday. You can read more at The Times.

JOHN OLIVER ON POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

As long as I'm already talking about long-ish documentaries, John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight returned from hiatus last Sunday with his take on police accountability.

It is an important and timely story and Oliver delivers the high quality we now expect from him but I have a quibble this time: I wish someone had told him that the word “police” has not one, but two syllables. He is otherwise so well spoken.

OXFORD DICTIONARY ADDS ICONIC NEW YAWKER WORD

It's that time of year again – when the Oxford English Dictionary folks announce the latest additions their compendium of words, phrases and definitions. Among the more than 500 new ones was this Brooklyn word immortalized on a sign at the Verazano-Narrows Bridge in 2004:

Fuhgeddabouditt

The word, according to Oxford, is "used indicate that a suggested scenario is unlikely or undesirable.” Close enough for this New Yorker. You can see all the words added for 2016 here.

MEALS EATEN AT EIGHT HISTORIC EVENTS

One of the many attractions of the internet is the large collection of videos – useful, educational, silly and more. One of the many drawbacks of the internet is the large collection of videos – useful, educational, silly and more.

I've become a fan of the British Pathe collection which goes from 1910 to 1970. Sometimes they dig into their archive to create new videos with old footage with some interesting topics. This one shows the menus of meals at eight historic events.

IF YOU'RE CHOKING AND NO ONE'S THERE TO HELP

Many years ago in a restaurant, a friend saved my life with the Heimlich Maneuver. I am eternally grateful but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I were choking at home alone.

Here is firefighter and paramedic Jeff Rehman with a solution:

RESILIENCE WHEN A SPOUSE DIES

Two weeks ago, a neighbor who was in her eighties died after a long illness. The day after her husband returned from the burial in another state, he fell in his home and broke two bones in his neck.

At first, the doctors were optimistic about the outcome of surgery, even at his age but as sometimes happens, it did not go well and my neighbor died. The couple had recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

It happens that way – that a husband or wife dies soon after the spouse – more often than I would expect except that the incidence of it among people I know of keeps growing. Who knows how the mysteries of life and death operate.

However, this week there was an interesting piece by the estimable Jane Brody in The New York Times about a new study that looked into resilience in the surviving spouse after one dies. It's worth reading the entire story, but here is the conclusion:

”Based on their data, the researchers concluded that 'it can take two to three years or even longer for some to recover from bereavement' and return 'to their pre-loss levels of functioning.'”

“What they found to help most was remaining socially connected and engaged in the usual activities of everyday life and knowing where they could turn for help and comfort and receiving support when they needed it.”

THE NOTORIOUS RBG WRITES A BOOK

GinsburgCover150

As you probably know, “Notorious RGB” is the wonderful nickname bestowed upon Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This past week, her new book, the only one since she was appointed to the Court in 1993, was published. My Own Words is, according to the Amazon page, a collection of

”...witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture.”

Last Sunday in The New York Times, Ginsburg published an essay titled “Advice for Living,” adapted from the book. Here is an excerpt from that essay:

”Another often-asked question when I speak in public: 'Do you have some good advice you might share with us?' Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day.

“'In every good marriage,' she counseled, 'it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.' I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court.

“When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

It crossed my mind that Hillary Clinton knows this and Donald Trump does not.

You can read Justice Ginsburg's entire essay here.

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY READING ROOMS REOPEN

It has been two years since these grand reading rooms - the Rose Room and the Bill Blass Room - at the main branch of the New York public library were shut down for a total renovation. For all the years I lived in Manhattan, the main reading room (the Rose) was my favorite place to spend quiet time except, of course, at home.

Finally, last Wednesday, there was a ribbon-cutting to reopen the rooms. Here is a time-lapse video showing the re-shelving of thousands of books.

You can read more about the renovation here.

BABY KOALA WILL MELT YOUR HEART

As the YouTube page explains:

”Zookeepers at Symbio Wildlife park, Sydney, create most adorable home video ever seen as they take you on their touching journey of hand rearing tiny Imogen, the Koala joey.”

Thank Darlene Costner for this.

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE ALERT

Or, perhaps the headline should be "The end of a presidential campaign." I wrote this post before the astonishing events of Friday afternoon and evening.

In case you, being more sane than I about following this election and haven't heard the news yet, yesterday Washington Post reporter David Farenhold, who has done such a remarkable job tracking down the possibly illegal doings of Donald Trump's foundation, released a 2015 "hot mic" video of Trump making remarkably lewd comments about how he makes sexual advances toward women and how they allow him to grope them because he is famous.

Well, send the kiddies from the room. Seriously: send the kiddies from the room. This is such a big deal in a presidential campaign, that I'm going to post it:

It's hard to fathom, isn't it, not that Donald Trump would say these things but that a candidate for president of the United States ever would or did.

During Friday evening, some Republican big-wigs withdrew their endorsements of Trump, there was loose talk of forcing Trump to withdraw from the race and after hours of constant repeats of that video, at midnight Donald Trump released a 90-second non-apology. Here it is:

More fallout will continue through today and tomorrow and even if I had not already intended to watch the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump on Sunday night, I wouldn't miss it now. It is serious business to have proof of a candidate's vulgar mysogyny even if we did know in our hearts all along that it is who he is and has always been.

Now, here is the original last item I wrote for today's Interesting Stuff post:

image

The debate is being held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and will be moderated by reporters Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN News.

This debate takes a town hall format in which half the questions will be asked by the moderators, the other half by uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

You can check an earlier posting about the debates for information about where to watch.

This is a crucial election. It is likely that the United States and the entire world will have an entirely different future depending on which of the candidates wins. For that reason, the day after the debate, Monday, will – as with the past two debates – be open for comment.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 1 October 2016

CULTURAL MARKERS OF OLD AGE

TGB's Sunday Elder Music columnist, Peter Tibbles, sent this Pearls Before Swine cartoon.

PhoneBookCartoon

It seems to me that the older I get, the more obsolete objects from my younger life pile up. There are more Pearls Before Swine cartoon panels here.

HISTORY OF MACARONI AND CHEESE

There never was a time in my life that macaroni and cheese did not exist. (I refuse the modern habit of truncating the name to mac and cheese.) Anyway...

It never occurred to me to wonder where the warm, gooey comfort food comes from, who invented it and how long it's been around. Surprise! U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson had a hand in it. Take a look:

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DIE?

Good question – for me, anyway. The closest anyone has ever come to explaining it are near-death experiences (NDEs) and I question a whole lot of the reporting and the research. Which does not, for a moment, keep me from reading at least some of it.

”One thing is abundantly clear, though,” writes Gideon Litchfield. “Near-death experiences are pivotal events in people's lives. 'It's a catalyst for growth on many different levels—psychologically, emotionally, maybe even physiologically,' says Mitch Liester, a psychiatrist.”

Here is a short video from The Atlantic that asks what happens inside a dying mind:

There is a lot more information in an investigation of NDEs at The Atlantic.

INSIDE THE MINDS OF RICH KIDS

Among the zillions of lessons we are learning during this endless presidential campaign is something about how the minds of rich people work. As Fitzgerald said, they “are different” and this story about the Trump family children is – well, see what you think:

Donald Jr. and Ivanka wanted a lemonade stand. Their mother would not allow it on Fifth Avenue so they had to set up in front of their mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Ivanka wrote about the experience in her 2009 book, The Trump Card.

As Raw Story reports, the kids' parents required them

”...to keep track of the lemonade cost and repay their parents from their proceeds.”

There's not much foot traffic in a rich suburb so the kids lost money. Here's what happened next:

”The pair persuaded their bodyguard, their parents’ driver and household staffers to buy enough lemonade to cover their costs.

“'We made the best of a bad situation, I guess — a lesson we’d utilize again and again as we moved on in business,' Ivanka wrote.”

I wonder where they learned to do that.

SEXUALLY ACTIVE TORTOISE SAVES HIS SPECIES FROM EXTINCTION

Most of the time I cannot bear to read news stories about our animal brethren disappearing into extinction so it raises my spirits when a story like this turns up.

Diego is a hundred-year-old giant hooded tortoise who lives in the Galapagos Islands and who, alone, saved his species from extinction. Here's the story:

You can read more about Super Diego at the Washington Post.

THE NEWEST GOOGLE GLASS

Remember Google Glass, the uber tech company's spectacles with a secret camera that flamed into oblivion over people's revulsion at the privacy intrusions?

Not only that, they were wildly expensive – US$1500 if I recall correctly.

Now Snapchat, corporately renamed Snap Inc., is releasing cheap ($129) sunglasses with a camera, calling them Spectacles. Here's what the glasses and the resulting video both look like:

Snap Inc. apparently believes this new version with become big with young people. We'll see. You can find out more at the product's website and at the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Google Glass may be rising from the tech cemetery to new life as a conduit for long-distance transcribing of medical examinations and medical record-keeping:

”As the doctor examines Andrews, a new kind of medical scribe is watching the examination, transcribing everything he sees. The scribe, named Rahul, is thousands of miles away in India, and he is viewing the office visit live through the pint-size, WiFi-connected camera [Google Glass] attached to the doctor’s glasses.

“'When was his last physical?' the doctor, Albert Chan, asks as he listens to Andrews’s breathing and checks his reflexes. Rahul’s nearly immediate answer pops up in a text bubble display in the right corner of the doctor’s field of vision. 'June 3, 2014!'”

Knowing everything is being taken down and incorporated into his patient's record,

“...the technology is bringing health-care professionals back into the moment with their patients — returning a sense of humanity that has been lost as computers have become a fixture in the doctor’s office.”

Privacy is only one of the glitches that might get in the way of this technology and you can read more at the Washington Post.

APPARENTLY BARNUM WAS RIGHT

According to the YouTube page,

”Media analyst Mark Dice offers random people their choice of a Hershey chocolate bar or a 10 oz silver bar (worth $150) in an experiment. You have to see what happened next!:

NURSING HOME RULING

Last Wednesday, the Health and Human Services Department that controls Medicare and Medicaid funding issued new protections for nursing home residents.

Until this change, residents or their surrogates for forced to sign a document agreeing to private arbitration over issues of safety and quality of care.

”The system has helped the nursing home industry reduce its legal costs,” reports The New York Times, “but it has stymied the families of nursing home residents from getting justice, even in the case of murder.”

Until this ruling, arbitration clauses were often buried deep inside the contracts and people did not know what they were agreeing to.

”The new rule on arbitration came after officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia urged the government to cut off funding to nursing homes that use the clauses, arguing that arbitration kept patterns of wrongdoing hidden from prospective residents and their families.

“With its decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency under Health and Human Services, has restored a fundamental right of millions of elderly Americans across the country: their day in court.”

This is big and it is important. You can get more details of the ruling, expected impact and how it came about at The Times.

A BLIND HORSE AND HIS BEST FRIEND

Here's a really nice animal story to end this Saturday's list. Youtube page:

”When Roderick Olsen's horse Zaxson went blind, he did not cast the animal aside. Instead, he embraced Zaxson, taking him for walks in the woods and acting as his eyes. Since then, the two have developed a close friendship built on mutual trust and love.”

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 24 September 2016

THIS 90-YEAR-OLD PROVES I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT DEDICATION

From the Youtube page:

”For 53 years, Justo Gallego has been building a cathedral by hand on the outskirts of Madrid almost entirely by himself. Gallego has no formal architecture or construction training, but that hasn't stopped him from toiling on this herculean task.

“At 90 years old, Gallego knows that he will not be able to finish the project in his lifetime. But he keeps at it anyway, day after day, driven by his faith.”

WHAT IN THE WORLD TEST

Most newspapers and many news websites have weekly quizzes where we can test our knowledge of what happened during the week. I'm not much interested in those but this one intrigued me. As The New York Times explains the latest update:

”A few months ago, we started a new feature of short, surprising items from all corners of the globe. We've now published 100 of these items, and we hope they have made you smile and maybe even taught you something about another culture.

“To celebrate, we offer this quiz, where you can test your new knowledge of peculiar facts about faraway places — or learn some new ones.”

Of the 10 multiple choice questions, I got only three right, she said with chagrin. You can check how you do here.

THE NEW AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM

You have probably seen news stories about the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. Most of us will probably not get there but this week, the Washington Post published images of some fascinating artifacts. Here are two:




Slaveholders could earn money by hiring their slaves out as workers. A slave badge identified the slave by his or her profession and the date.


During the segregation era, caricatures of African Americans were an ubiquitous part of American life that ornamented household items, from candleholders to coin banks to these salt and pepper shakers, made in the 1950s.

The variety of items, from slave collars and leg irons to Michael Jackson's fedora and much more, is remarkable. You can see more in the Post story here.

And you can explore the entire museum “through an African American lens” at the museum website.

JOHN OLIVER TAKES HIS EMMY TO JIMMY KIMMEL'S SHOW

The night after John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight won an Emmy for outstanding variety series last week, he and his Emmy dropped by the Jimmy Kimmel Live late night show. Take a look:

This was the first Emmy for Oliver and his HBO show. He has three others for his work on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. Also this week, Oliver appeared on CBS This Morning. The Emmy was mentioned but he also discussed his Edward Snowden interview in Moscow and the "dispiriting" presidential campaign.

At last, Oliver and his HBO show return from hiatus tomorrow night.

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY LIVE EVENTS

TGB reader Amanda reminded me about the live events of the New York Public Library that are then available to watch for free online. The range of guests is wide – from Nicholson Baker recently to Alan Cumming, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Helen Mirren. Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and many more.

Tickets to attend an event at the Library can be as much as $40. But after the live events, usually by the next day, you can stream them on your PC, tablet, phone or download them as podcasts. All for free. Find them here.

AN AMAZING IDEA – SOLAR ROADWAYS

All you have to do to understand this idea is hear or read the name: solar roadways. It solves an enormous number of important problems and if anyone in charge is smart, we'll move forward with this immediately. Take a look – you will be impressed.

Find out more here:

MADELINE'S GINORMOUS TEDDY BEAR

Madeline Gonzales is only five months old. Her grandfather, who works at Costco, couldn't resist buying one for her when a load of humungously large teddy bears arrived at the store. Take a look at Madeline with her new plush toy:

Bigteddybear

There are more photos with the whole story here at Buzzfeed. I'm pretty sure this is the cutest thing you will see all day today.

A GAY LATINO COVERS AN ALT-RIGHT NEWS CONFERENCE

During this presidential election campaign, a certain candidate's dog whistles have made him a darling the white supremacy/neo-Nazi movement which, renamed the "alt-right," is having its moment in the media sun.”

Here is a report about their recent conference from a gay Latino reporter:

PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY OBITUARY

This has been floating around the webisphere for several years but I was reminded of it this week after a long while and it's as much fun to read again, especially for pun lovers, as the first time around.

Chi-pillsbury-dough-boy-creator-dead-20150402

”Sad news today, so please join me in remembering yet another great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Dough Boy died yesterday of a yeast infection and traumatic complications from repeatedly being poked in his belly during his lifetime.

“The veteran Pillsbury spokesman was 71. Dough Boy is survived by his wife, Play Dough; three children, John Dough, Jane Dough, and Dill Dough; plus they also had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart. Services were held yesterday at 350 for about 20 minutes.

“Dough Boy (DB) was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours.

“Longtime friend, Aunt Jemima, delivered the eulogy, describing DB as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. DB rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers.

“He was not considered a very 'smart' cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, but was thought of as a roll model for millions. Toward the end, it was thought he would rise again, but alas, he remained unleavened.”

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 17 September 2016

WHY RULINE IS WITH HILLARY

Now don't go getting all up about this being a list of women's firsts or tell us that it's not right to vote for Hillary just because she's a woman.

Forget that for a moment and just look at this campaign video. Being a woman is part of who Hillary is too.

Thank Jim Stone for sending this.

SAMANTHA BEE IS BACK

She and her TBS show returned from hiatus this week in top form. Here is her opening survey of what happened in politics during the time she was gone from the TV screen.

Remember – Samantha is not always safe for work and small children. But she sure is funny.

VOCAL FRY

In our discussion of hearing loss and hearing aids this week, reader Wendl Kornfeld left a comment about how difficult it is to understand young women who practice “vocal fry” which, believe it or not, is the professional term.

I had never heard the phrase so I tracked down some information on the interwebs. Here a video from CBS Sunday Morning about it:

The affectation seems to be closely associated with the Kardashians about whom I know almost nothing. If you are interested, click here for many more videos about vocal fry.

COVERING THE CAMERA ON YOUR COMPUTER

Remember when it was revealed that Mark Zuckerberg, who made his billions collecting personal information about Facebook users, taped over the camera on his desktop computer.

Zuckerbergwebcamtape

Now we learn that FBI director, James Comey, does the same thing. As reported in The Hill:

“Comey was pilloried online earlier this year, after he revealed that he puts a piece of tap over his laptop camera to keep away prying eyes. The precaution is a common one among security advocates, given the relative ease of hacking laptop cameras...

“Comey was 'much mocked for that,' he acknowledged on Wednesday. But he still uses the tape on his laptop.

“'I hope people lock their cars,' he said. 'Lock your doors at night… if you have an alarm system, you should use it.'”

Not that I believe anyone is interested in hacking into the webcam of an old woman but just to be safe, I tape over the camera on my computer too, as you can see in this photo.

MyTapedWebcam

LIGHT POLLUTION AND THE NIGHT SKY

According to this video, 88 percent of the world's population has never seen the Milky Way due to light pollution.

You and I are old enough that even in most cities when we were kids, we could still see the stars but it's doubtful we've been able to do that for many years. In fact, I remember the last time could see them - in the mid 1970s in upstate New York.

Now, two towns in Colorado have brought back the night sky. Take a look:

THE TRIPLE SPIRAL DOMINOS CASCADE

TGB Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles (who just had a birthday), sent this amazing triple spiral. It's gorgeous:

And just for some added fun, here is the same triple spiral in reverse:

ANSWERS ABOUT THE HAJJ

Every Muslim is required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, called The Hajj, at least once in his or her lifetime. This year's Hajj ended last Wednesday.

Diaa Hadid, a New York Times correspondent at the newspaper's Jerusalem bureau, attended the Hajj this year returning several videos of the religious event where two million people show up each year. This one is an excellent story filled with explanations and answers for people like me who are mostly ignorant of it beyond the fact that it exists.

You can read The Times story here and see more of Ms. Hadid's Hajj videos here.

RIDING IN UBER'S SELF-DRIVING CAR

Uber began testing its self-driving car in Pittsburgh this week with real riders.

Washington Post reporter Brian Fung got a demo a few days earlier and says that it works “at least under ideal conditions.” Here's the video:

Read more about it here.

A GUY AND HIS GOOSE

Reader Richard Lombard sent this video. This man and his goose are well known where I live in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and last week they were featured on the CBS Sunday Morning show. It's so cute. Take a look:

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 10 September 2016

TO VOTE IS TO EXIST

Graphic designer extraordinaire Milton Glaser created the iconic and ubiquitous I ♡ NY poster in 1977. He says he was never paid for it and didn't realize it would last as long as it has:

GlaserILoveNY

Last spring, the 87-year-old created a poster for this year's election with the hope

”That someone, somewhere will be affected by it and vote. And if it’s 10 people, that’s better, and if it’s 1,000 people, that’s even better.

The election poster is an echo of Descartes' “I think, therefore I am” and, explains Glaser, challenges voters to prove they are among the living. Millie Garfield and her son Steve, sent me this story. Here is Glaser's election poster:

GlaserVotePoster

There is a good interview with Milton Glaser at Bloomberg and you will recognize many of has famous posters at his website.

WASHING MACHINES IMPROVE SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

Sometimes it's little things that solve big problems.

”Dr. Melody Gunn, the former principal of Gibson Elementary in St. Louis, couldn’t figure out why student attendance was on the low side. All of Gibson’s kids were provided free or reduced lunches, and the school facilitated transportation.”

When Dr. Gunn investigated she found that the kids didn't have access to washing machines or couldn't afford detergent and didn't want to go to school wearing dirty clothes. Gunn contacted Whirlpool and here's what happened:

Read more at Citilab.

A HAWK, A SNAKE, A PICNIC LUNCH

Thank TGB's Sunday's music columnist, Peter Tibbles, for this video which was shot at a park in his home city, Melbourne, Australia. Maybe the hawk just wanted the park to himself. See what you think:

OLIVER SACKS LAST INTERVIEW

The renowned biologist and writer Oliver Sacks died of cancer in August 2015 at age 82. A few months earlier he gave his final interview to documentarian Ric Burns.

”My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself.” says Sacks. There will be nobody like us when we are gone, but then there is nobody like anybody ever...

“It is the fate, the genetic and neural fate of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.””

Take a few minutes for this. You will be glad you did.

Thank you to Senior Planet for bringing this to my attention.

ON AGE AND AGEISM

In this video, The Atlantic's senior editor, James Hamblin, who is a medical doctor and looks like he is 12, discusses aging and age discrimination with an older colleague, James Goldberg.

Be sure to catch the sequence early on when some off-camera voices talk about Hamblin's youthful appearance the way too many people feel comfortable talking about how old people look. It's fun, funny and enlightening.

BAN ON ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP

A week ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is banning 19 ingredients commonly used in over-the-counter antibacterial soaps and washes. As the Washington Post reported,

"'Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,' said Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research...

“'In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.'”

Manufacturers have one year to comply with the ban. Further, reports The Post,

”The FDA's final rule does not affect consumer hand sanitizers, wipes or antibacterial products used in hospitals and other health-care settings. In June, the agency requested data on the safety and effectiveness of certain ingredients in those products, but emphasized it was not barring any of the items at that time.”

You can read the FDA release at their website.

THE PAPER AIRPLANE GUY

John Collins is called the Paper Airplane Guy. He studied origame and aerodynamics to be able to design the sophisticated paper projectiles he makes. The YouTube page tells us that

”His record-breaking plane flew 226 feet. To Collins, paper airplanes aren't just for making a ruckus in class, they can teach us a lot about science.”

Take a look. You'll love his enthusiasm.

INJURED MOCKINGBIRD GETS ADORABLE SNOWSHOES

As Bored Panda explained, some good-hearted fellows at the California Wildlife Center (CWC) came to the rescue of a mockingbird with a foot condition that made it difficult for the poor thing to walk around, perch or grasp objects. Take a look:

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 3 September 2016

THE VOICE OF AOL

Didn't we all have an AOL account at one time? Here's the guy who greeted us every time we opened the program with “You've got Mail.”

Actually, from the email addresses TGB readers supply for identification or subscriptions (only I ever see them), quite a few of you are apparently still hearing, “You've got mail.”

GIULIETTA'S CLUB

The most famous love story in history, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, was first published 419 years ago in 1597.

For at least the past 100 years, Giulietta's Club, located in the city where the play is set, Verona, Italy, has been answering letters that arrive from all over the world asking for advice about their love lives. Take a look:

THE KLM AIRLINES LOST AND FOUND DEPARTMENT

I know I've seen this before but I don't recall if I posted it. Doesn't matter – I'm as charmed this time as before. Thank reader Nancy Leitz for sending it.

BIG VEGETABLES FEED BIG FAMILIES

Wow – wait until you see these zucchinis. And other great big veggies. Philip Vowles of Llanharry, Wales has been supersizing the ones he grows for more than 30 years.

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ADVICE JUST LIKE OUR OWN

I can still hear my mother's voice repeating the aphorisms and sayings of which she seemed to have one for every situation.

One of them was “There is nothing new under the sun” and this story backs her up on that one. A new book, Writings From Ancient Egypt, is an anthology of millennia-old papyri, letters and stone carvings translated from hieroglyphs.

”In addition to glamorous accounts of war and royalty, it’s packed with extraordinarily personal tales of life and the social anxieties of the time,” reports Quartz.

”The 1147 BCE will of a twice-married mother dictates leaving three adult children out of her inheritance because they took her for granted.

“A 2300 BCE memoir by a desert scout recounts traveling across Africa in search of new goods and novelties.

“And one particularly instructive text, titled Teaching of Ptahhotep, invites comparison to other ancient 'how to get ahead' teachings by the likes of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli.

Mom was right – this is same kind of stuff we read today. The book is available in the U.K. now and at Amazon in January 2017. Meanwhile, you can read more about it at Quartz.

THE SCIENCE OF CUTE

It's not that I didn't know humans are inherently attracted to soft round things like babies of any kind. But it is fun in an odd way to see the idea presented as science.

You can read more here about what makes us ooh and aww at anything cute but like me you probably already know this stuff.

A VILLAGE OF HUMAN-SIZE DOLLS

The village of Nagoro, Japan, has been losing population and is now down to about 30 people. One woman is turning the town into a memorial for the people who have died or have moved away by sewing life-size dolls of them.

It's eerie and fascinating, and we can thank Wendl Kornfeld for sharing it with us.

You can read more here.

HIDDEN VALLEY RANCH IS A REAL PLACE

I make all my own salad dressings and didn't realize until this video that one of my recipes is pretty much the same as this commercial dressing that is ubiquitous in U.S. supermarkets. Here's the backstory:

CAT WATCHING HORROR MOVIE

This doesn't need any explanation. It's from Gillian Noble and I'll bet you can't watch it just once.

* * *

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 – 27 August 2016

WILLIE'S RESERVE

Legalization of marijuana is on the ballot in several states this election year and recreational use is already legal in four states and Washington, D.C.

Singer Willie Nelson has never made a secret of his love of weed and now he has his own brand, Willie's Reserve, which is available at 14 weed retailers in Colorado and Washington state. Here's a little promotion video:

You can find out all about Willie's Reserve at the website.

COMPARING NUTRITION OF BREAKFASTS AROUND THE WORLD

Breakfasts can be healthy or they can be stuffed with excess fat, sugar and salt. Here's a video of comparing the nutritional value of breakfasts from around the world:

You can read more at the The Washington Post.

SANITY POSTER

A big reason the U.S. government has not done as much to deal with manmade climate change and global warming as either President Barack Obama or the sane citizens of the country would like is the large number of idiots (not to mention a certain presidential candidate) who say they don't believe Earth is warming.

These deeply stupid people often cite the fact that there is still snow so there couldn't be any global warming.

Sometimes the truth is so simple. I like this one:

SciencePoster

HANDMADE GLOBES IN LONDON

As the YouTube page explains, Peter Bellerby's future began when he could not find the perfect handmade blog for his father's 80th birthday.

”He spent the next few years learning and perfecting the lost art of globemaking, which turned out to be a difficult, detailed process. Today, he runs Bellerby & Co Globemakers out of a small London studio with a team of 15 skilled craftsmen who create every masterpiece by hand.”

AMAZING GRACE LIKE YOU'VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE

Well, this video is five years old so maybe you have but I hadn't and I'm betting you'll laugh just hard the second time around. Christian motivational speaker, Andy Andrews.

A SUITCASE THAT FOLLOWS YOU LIKE A PUPPY

TGB reader Alan Goldsmith sent this video about a robotic suitcase from NUA Robotics. Take a look:

Having one of these might make me reconsider my personal ban on flying. Well, probably not. You can read more about it at Mashable.

KFC SECRET RECIPE REVEALED?

Sunday music columnist Peter Tibbles found this story in one of the Australian newspapers. Here's how he told me about it in his email:

”In The Age today it was reported that some nefarious character, some rotter, some ne'er-do-well has released the ingredients in the 'Eleven Secret Herbs and Spices' that coat Kentucky Fried Chicken. I always thought that ten of them were salt and the other one MSG.

“It turns out that I wasn't too off the mark – there are three different types of salt, and although MSG isn't officially in the mix, apparently it's used anyway. Incidentally, the rotter was the nephew of that appalling piece of shit, "Colonel" Sanders.”

It turns out The Age was reporting not just the release of the ingredient list, but a story at the Chicago Tribune about trying it out to see if does, indeed, taste like the corporate product. The tasters decided that yes, “Our chicken was virtually indistinguishable from the batch bought at KFC.”

It is a long and winding story. You can read it at The Age where you will also find the recipe – real or not real, I have no opinion.

360 DEGREE BACKYARD SWING

This one is from Darlene Costner about a Brit named Colin Furze and his backyard, 360-degree swing. Here's how he explains it:

”Yes of corse i had to power this in some way and i know the first suggestion is a pulse jet but my neighbourly relations are being tested enough with just the sight of this thing so then shaking their house's with the raw of a jet seemed a step to far so i've settled for the calming noise of a 2stroke paramotor.

“Now not sure how much faster this looks but I can tell you it felt a lot faster, so much so that holding on was less about falling down to the ground but being thrown to the sky, the consentration needed to move finger to shut of engine was even a task.”

Here you go – see how you feel watching it. Mr. Furze seems to have a lot of crazy inventions as noted at the end of the vid.

GENIUS ACTS OF VANDALISM

Another from Tibbles today. A collection of wonderful acts of vandalism almost all of which are fantastic. Sometimes I had to pause the video for a few seconds to really enjoy the cleverness.

MANHATTAN'S TURTLE LADY

When authorities find sick or illegally obtained turtles, Lorri Cramer is one of the first people they call. As a wildlife rehabilitator, Cramer nurses the little guys back to health until they are ready to be released in the wild.

In New York City of all places.

Over the past 30 years, she has taken care of thousands of turtles from her Manhattan apartment.

* * *

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

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


INTERESTING STUFF – 20 August 2016

THEY'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?

Think about this as you watch: Someone, probably stoned out of his mind one evening, thought this up. But instead of having a laugh the next morning over the silliness of weed-induced ideas, he ran with it and, apparently, thinks it's a moneymaker. It is called Toasteroid.

There is a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000 dollars of which $109,000 has been raised with a month to go. Shipment is expected in July 2017. You can read more here but -

They're kidding, right?

LOUIS BLACK ON LARRY WILMORE

As you probably know by now, Comedy Central cancelled Larry Wilmore's Nightly Show. Thursday was the final episode but on Wednesday night, one of my top three or four favorite comedians, Louis Black, sat down with Larry's panel. They discussed the presidential campaign.

(Be patient – the video takes a few seconds to load.)

And then, THEN - on Wilmore's final show Thursday, John Stewart showed up for a heartfelt send-off. Take a look:

We need Larry Wilmore and I hope he will settle somewhere new with as much success as John Oliver is having now after, like Wilmore, his many years in a supporting role at The Daily Show. John Stewart is returning to television on HBO in the fall.

RETIREM-ANT AIN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE

This item is from the Sydney Morning Herald via TGB Elder Music columnist Peter Tibbles. Here, in part, is how the story begins:

”Up on the fifth shelf of the kitchen pantry, in the back corner where all the sweet stuff was kept, a team of ants were hard at work. They were the 18th Workers' Division of the Sugar, Syrup and Jam Foragers (Nightshift Unit H)...

“One ant was working particularly hard: her name was Trish and she was scraping crystalised sugar from the rim of a Golden Syrup jar – a highly specialised task known as Golden Rimming.

“It was tough, thorax-breaking work, and suddenly she stopped, rested her aching pincers, and thought, 'This is ridiculous. I'm 65 days old today! I'm entering the twilight days of my 90-day lifespan and I'm getting tired. But as a sterile female ant, I'm supposed to keep working until the day I drop dead and my fallen corpse gets eaten by my cannibalistic compatriots.

“'Sophisticated ant society? – my posterior rectal hindgut!'”

Go read the whole thing here. It's not long and it is a delightful story written by Danny Katz.

DEADLIEST GARDEN IN THE WORLD

The YouTube page expains:

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

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

Wikipedia has a long list of poisonous plants.

YO-YO MASTER

Yo-yo tricks have come a long way since I was kid. As the YouTube page explains,

”Ben Conde is a professional competitor in offstring yo-yo and has been practicing yo-yo tricks since he was four years old. See how this trick master prepares for a global competition.”

JOHN OLIVER – USED CAR SALESMEN

Auto lenders can steer vulnerable people into crushing debt and there are business news stories lately worrying that car loans have become as toxic and dangerous as the housing market was before the crash of 2008.

On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight last Sunday, John Oliver invited Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban to help him show how that has come to be and at the end – they give us what a used-car dealer’s TV commercial might look like if a little honesty were thrown in.

DESERT LAGOON WITH A LOVELY LEGEND

Amid the rolling sand dunes of a Peruvian desert, an oasis with a magical backstory. Let's let the video explain:

TWO U.S. OLYMPIANS BACK TO BACK

Just to show that Olympians come in all sizes. These are volleyball player David Lee and acclaimed gymnast, Simone Biles, back to back:

SimoneBilesDavidLee2

NOT YOUR AVERAGE SQUIRREL VIDEO

This is great. It's real. The squirrel stole the GoPro camera and turned in a video that is the envy of many a human photographer.

It is from Viva Frei who explains that his YouTube channel started as something else and and became “an outlet for me make funny videos, and to do fun, crazy, zany, and occasionally helpful things.” Enjoy.

* * *

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.