The Political Wisdom of Elders
Learning To Navigate Medicare

Silver Threads - 4/2/2006

Marja-Leena Rathje posted a link to Wikipedia’s fine list of well-known April Fool’s jokes through the years. My all-time favorite is the famous (or infamous) Spagetti Tree piece the BBC ran in 1957, which I was lucky enough to catch somewhere on television on Friday. It's a hoot.

Not being a fan, I’ve never attended a Michael Jackson concert, but I heard a lot about the juggler who opened for him during his 1984 “Victory Tour.” This week, my friend Neil Thompson sent me this link and everything they told me is true: Chris Bliss is an astonishing juggler. If you’ve never caught his act, you’re going to love it. And if you have seen him - you’ll enjoy it again.

Deejay at Small Beer knows a lot about China and Chinese movies. Watching the Marlene Dietrich/Josef Von Sternberg classic, Shanghai Express recently, he was reminded of a similar real-life story which took place in China and which, in his telling, is every bit as dramatic and compelling as the fictional movie.

I like this that Donna Woodka posted at her blog, Changing Places.

Do not assume that you know all.
Notice nature and abide in the infinite.
Travel openly on uncharted paths.
Be all that you are, but do not make a show of it.
Be contented and remain empty,
and learn to sustain the Beginner’s Mind.

Go see the contemplative tao image that goes with the poem.

Susan Kitchens at 20/20 Hindsight posted a link to a map site that contains this:


Countries have been resized to show the world distribution of people 65 and older as of 2002 when seven percent of the population was that age. There are other resized maps at this site too: the distribution of children, the population in year 1, in year 1500 and much more.

Speaking of Susan Kitchens, she has recently inaugurated a new blog devoted to Family Oral History Using Digital Tools. We’ve discussed the importance of telling our stories here and here at TGB in the past and Susan kicks off her new blog with an excellent family story about “How It All Began.”

In a related vein, amba at ambivablog sent me a link to this chapter of a book by Robert Louis Stevenson in which he discusses elders of a previous era, but the truths are eternal:

“The best teachers are the aged...A flavour of the old school, a touch of something different in their manner…

“But their superiority is founded more deeply than by outward marks or gestures. They are before us in the march of man; they have more or less solved the irking problem; they have battled through the equinox of life; in good and evil they have held their course; and now, without open shame, they near the crown and harbour.

“It may be we have been struck with one of fortune’s darts; we can scarce be civil, so cruelly is our spirit tossed. Yet long before we were so much as thought upon, the like calamity befell the old man or woman that now, with pleasant humour, rallies us upon our inattention, sitting composed in the holy evening of man’s life, in the clear shining after rain.”

Reading the entire chapter is well worth your time.

Live webcams are generally disappointing, so often broken that it’s not worth the effort to follow links to them. But this one, posted by Betsy Devine at Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar is mesmerizing - a bald eagle nesting. Click the “Bald Eagle Nest, Hornby Island LIVE” link beneath the video frame.


Ronni, thanks for the mention! I'm most surprised that I haven't heard (or don't remember!) any of these major hoaxes when they took place.

Thanks also for this very generous 'Silver Threads' series.

Ronni, I just watched the Chris Bliss clip....he is TRULY AMAZING....WOW. I loved it. I also watched his comedy routines....he's great. I can't believe I haven't heard of him all this time. I watch a lot of comedians. Thanks so much.

Ronni, thanks for the pointer to the post with Worldmapper, I've been exploring with fascination. What a wonderful, but frightening, visual representation of what's happening.

I loved the Chris Bliss clip. How amazing this guy is, both a juggler and a standup comedian!

I don't know where to start, there are so many interesting links. They'll surely keep me busy checking them all out in the days ahead when I can grab a few minutes.

One of the hoaxer's I recall was a man by the name of Alan Abel who made the rounds of many talk shows promoting the clothing of animals, especially with a focus on covering certain parts of their anatomy, in the interest of decency, of course.

A lot of people took him seriously. Had he surfaced in recent years, he might well have been promoted to a cabinet level position in our government.


Happy Birthday and thanks for the link to my new site... Once my taxes are done, it should see more activity!

The comments to this entry are closed.