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Category_bug_interestingstuff Interesting Stuff is an occasional column of short takes and links to web items that have recently caught my attention – some related to aging and some not.

All readers are welcome to submit items for inclusion. Just click Contact in the upper left corner of any TGB page to email them. There is no guarantee of publication and I won't have time to acknowledge receipt.

I cannot recall a midterm election that has so dominated the country's and my own attention. So engrossed am I in the day-to-day campaigning that I'm barely keeping up with any news or information related to aging.

Perhaps it is my astonishment at the painfully high number of obviously unqualified candidates that keeps me glued to my computer and television screens. In keeping with that, lets begin today with a video from titled, Elect the Willfully Ignorant:

Yes, I know I've told you that I recently bought a Kindle, but that is a supplement – it does not supplant my interest in paper books and apparently I am not alone. Even college kids, a generation weaned on electronics are, according to The New York Times, recognizing advantages:

”In two recent studies — one by the [National Association of College Stores] and another by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a national advocacy network — three-quarters of the students surveyed said they still preferred a bound book to a digital version.

“Many students are reluctant to give up the ability to flip quickly between chapters, write in the margins and highlight passages, although new software applications are beginning to allow students to use e-textbooks that way.”

That “flipping quickly between chapters” is a difficulty I've already discovered with the Kindle along with a lack of page numbering I can understand.

You can read more here.

Someday I'll tell you why I have a soft spot in my heart for Hell's Angels. For now, here is another set of bikers who are doing something that endears them to me.

Certainly you know about members of the Westboro Baptist Church who appear at military funerals, where families are burying their sons and daughters killed in our wars, carrying signs and shouting such slogans as “Thank god for IEDs” and “Thank god for dead soldiers.”

Recently, members of the Patriot Guard Riders placed themselves between the shouting Westboro contingent and a family funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

“The riders — many of whom are veterans — revved their motorcycles to drown the protesters out.

"'There's very few things on Earth louder than a V-Twin Harley Davidson,' said Dylan Waite, an Army first lieutenant and Patriot Guard volunteer who used his car alarm to contribute to the noise.”

Good for them, I say. Westboro may have a right to free speech (the Supreme Court is reviewing Westboro's activities), but so do the bikers and they have put it to compassionate use. Read more here.

WALK FOR BRAIN HEALTH Researchers at the University of Illinois say that in adults age 59 to 80, moderate walking for 30 minutes three times a week can do more for keeping brain circuitry working than an equivalent amount of toning and stretching.

“At the end of the year, DMN connectivity was significantly improved in the brains of the older walkers, but not in the stretching and toning group, the researchers report.

“The walkers also had increased connectivity in parts of another brain circuit (the fronto-executive network, which aids in the performance of complex tasks) and they did significantly better on cognitive tests than their toning and stretching peers.”

This does not mean toning and stretching aren't good for people too; but it does give us another reason to get out and move around. Read the complete story here.

Pharmaceutical companies often pay physicians to deliver talks about their drugs to other physicians, and hundreds of those doctors have questionable backgrounds as ProPublica has discovered.

“Drug companies say they hire the most-respected doctors in their fields for the critical task of teaching about the benefits and risks of their drugs.

“But an investigation by ProPublica uncovered hundreds of doctors on company payrolls who had been accused of professional misconduct, were disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists.”

Propublica has put together a database of more than 17,000 doctors who have received payments from seven of the largest pharmaceutical companies. Read the whole story here and you can check for your own physicians in the database here.

Darlene Costner of Darlene's Hodgepodge sent along this video that's sure to make you smile and maybe even produce a bit of envy. That's all I'll say – just watch this.

Mary Jamison sent along this poem she found at The Writer's Almanac. It is by David Budbill.

When I was young, I cut the bigger, older trees for firewood, the ones
with heart rot, dead and broken branches, the crippled and deformed

ones, because, I reasoned, they were going to fall soon anyway, and
therefore, I should give the younger trees more light and room to grow.

Now I'm older and I cut the younger, strong and sturdy, solid
and beautiful trees, and I let the older ones have a few more years

of light and water and leaf in the forest they have known so long.
Soon enough they will be prostrate on the ground.

We started with politics today and let's end with it too. My friend John Brandt forwarded this astonishingly well-done spoof about President Obama set to a song from The Pirates of Penzance.


Thanks, Ronnie! A great way to start a Friday.

Lovely, charming....both videos. Sometimes that sort of thing, that sort of book in hand is what one needs to get the day going.

Politics. Here in California, that word has fallen to a new matter how much the candidates spend.

Excellent post Ronni, I have reposted the Obama skit being the uber fan of G&S that I am with h/t to you.

Oh MY! I do love that Gilbert & Sullivan Obama video! I'm smiling and remembering to keep my sense of humor through all of this stress of trying to keep up with a country in constant turmoil! I think I shall forward that video on to Facebook and share the wealth. Thanks, Ronni!

This was great, I posted two of the videos on my Facebook page, thanks Ronni!

Thank you Ronnie and Darlene for that Radio Flyer Car video. Can't wait to show my husband. I realized I was still smiling a little while longer after the video was done!

And love those "Knights of the Road!"

The thing about this year's politicians that never ceases to amaze me is that the most ignorant candidates seem to take the greatest pride in their ignorance. Weren't intelligence and education once attributes to be desired in one's representatives? As far as I'm concerned, they still are!

I risk sounding sexist, but the voice of one female celebrity non-candidate (so far) reminds me of nails scratching on a blackboard. I reach for the MUTE button the minute she starts to squeak (sorry, I mean speak), especially since she has yet to make an intelligent statement.

Thanks Ronnie. Westboro came demonstrate at the school where I teach. Weird and unpleasant people.

Meant to say thanks, Ronni. Great collection of interesting stuff! I got started on imcompetent candidates and lost track of my initial reason for responding.

I LOVE the "Candidate Ignorance" video! Have sent your blog on to everyone I know or could even think of ... especially to some who will either be puzzled by it or personally offended! Lordy, I hate ignorance ... sighhh.

What a fun and interesting post!!!!

Ignorance seems to abound this election. I contend that it started when we started watering down education in this country. There was a time when the likes of these candidates couldn't raise bus fare much less campaign funds. The ignorance of these people is astounding.

My brother, an Iraq and Desert storm veteran, is an active member of the Patriot Guard and other organizations who support our troops. When his outfit left and returned from his most recent tour in Iraq, the Patriot Guard was there for him, his men, and their families at the celebration rally. And yeah, he will be returning the honor to others.

The Hell's Angel's vets also began the annual ride to the VietNam Vets' annual Ride to the Wall, i.e., The VietNam Veterans' Memorial.

My Congressman, John Boccieri, (D-Ohio) -- a Iraq veteran himself -- introduced a bill to keep protestors at
a distance at Veterans' funerals and I applaud him.

And yeah, the Radio Flyer ad is a hoot!!!!!

Good point, Kay, about the watering down of our education system. I agree that the two are connected. I sometimes watch the first few minutes of The Jay Leno show and get a kick out of the Jaywalking segment. I'm continually appalled at the lack of basic knowledge among the average citizens he interviews on the street. I'm a pretty average person myself and am far from being an intellectual, but there are fundamental historical and civic facts that (I used to think) most people knew. Wrong! I guess we shouldn't be too surprised by the quality of those who are running for office.

Hooray for the Patriot Guard Riders! That religious group making the rounds demonstrates the worst characteristics of organized religion.

My son sent me a link to the Dr. Database a week or so ago. Found a Dr. new to me with whom I had contact months ago and may again after the first of the year who I've had questions about. This raises even more questions in my mind about her. The reimbursement she received is for what may be providing continuing education, unlike other charges, so would need to know more.

Also recognized the names of a couple who bought my years ago now deceased long time Dr. Had actually seen one of them one time, and then based on some actions unrelated to my care I told my Dr. I'd never go back, among other things we discussed and he agreed, regretting having sold them his practice.

In these physician listings I note a significan decline in the money rec'd so far in 2010 compared to 2009.

Yes, I've been paying careful attention to political contests across the country, but especially here in Calif. Just when I think all the crazy comments that could happen had and I was ready to write about it, even more happened.

I'm delighted to hear yesterday and today that things are looking up according to the pundits statistics. Will likely get really wicked now. From my point of view I think what has to happen is to get voters to vote -- ranting, railing, and name calling isn't going to change anyone's mind, they'll just dig in more. The key is to get people to listen, then maybe there's hope they'll give second thought to what they hear.

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