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INTERESTING STUFF: 1 October 2010

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.


TGB NOW ON KINDLE
Last week, TGB reader Ruth Marchese emailed to ask if Time Goes By is available on Kindle so she could keep up while she is on holiday in Europe. It wasn't then, but it is now and you can subscribe for that device in the upper right corner of all blog pages. Just click the logo.

However, it costs $1.99 for a Kindle subscription – (Amazon sets the price, not me, and doesn't allow free subscriptions). If anyone does choose to read TGB on Kindle, I get 30 percent of the price. Email and RSS subscriptions remain available, of course, and cost you nothing, but for those who want the Kindle option, now you have it.

ELDERBLOGGERS REPORT FROM AARP's ORLANDO@50+
Last month, I served as a judge in a contest at AARP to select some elderbloggers to attend and report from the organization's annual member meeting. Two of the winners, Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles and Frank Paynter of Listics are old friends of Time Goes By and are now filing stories from the event through the weekend at their respective blogs and at AARP. Check out how they're doing so far.

GLORIOUS TEA PARTY RANT
Crabby Old Lady (you all do know she is my long-time alter ego, right?) went off on a tear this week about Stupid, Venal, Crackpot Politics. But she is an amateur compared to world-class ranter Matt Taibbi who unmercifully lambastes the Tea Party in the latest issue of Rolling Stone along with our generational contemporaries, who make up the majority of that loony political movement.

Attending a rally in Kentucky where Sarah Palin is speaking to thousands of Tea Partiers, all of whom are elders, a third of them on motorized wheelchairs, Taibbi reports:

"'The scooters are because of Medicare,' [an elder attendee] whispers helpfully. 'They have these commercials down here: You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay! Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.'

“A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.”

(Relatedly, in a recent Wall Street Journal survey, 71 percent of Republicans described themselves as tea party supporters. So if you have three Republican friends – well, you do the math.]

Taibbi attended Tea Party rallies from New Jersey to Nevada for this story. His indictment is devastating; his writing is as much gonzo fun as Hunter S. Thompson's used to be. You can read it here.

OBAMA AND DYLAN
Also in the current Rolling Stone, is a fascinating and lengthy interview with President Barack Obama by Jann Wenner. He asked the president about music and about Bob Dylan, who had performed at the White House in February.

“Here's what I love about Dylan,” said Obama. “He was exactly as you'd expect he would be. He wouldn't come to the rehearsal; usually, all these guys are practicing before the set in the evening. He didn't want to take a picture with me; usually all the talent is dying to take a picture with me and Michelle before the show, but he didn't show up to that.

“He came in and played The Times They Are A-Changin'. A beautiful rendition. The guy is so steeped in this stuff that he can just come up with some new arrangement, and the song sounds completely different. Finishes the song, steps off the stage — I'm sitting right in the front row — comes up, shakes my hand, sort of tips his head, gives me just a little grin, and then leaves.

“And that was it — then he left. That was our only interaction with him. And I thought: That's how you want Bob Dylan, right? You don't want him to be all cheesin' and grinnin' with you. You want him to be a little skeptical about the whole enterprise. So that was a real treat.”

You can read the entire Rolling Stone interview with Obama here. And this is Dylan's February White House performance.

TOXIC WEB SITES
I'm sure you are careful about the kind of websites you visit. You don't click links that might lead to sex or gambling sites that are likely to contain malware that can play havoc with your computer. But a new study by Websense reported in InformationWeek has some alarming news. These conventional websites are only two clicks away from dangerous content:

More than 70 percent of top news and media sites

More than 70 percent of the top message boards and forums

More than 50 percent of social networking sites

Here's a startling one: more than 60 percent of sites linking to games also contain links to toxic sites, while less than 25 percent of sex-related sites contain malicious links.

The report explains that this happens due to increased automation; often, no human is checking the links before they are posted.

So remember: one click is probably safe, but to click a link from a site you've landed on might be dangerous. Know what you're clicking on. You can read more here and as the sergeant used to say on Hill Street Blues - be careful out there.

AN 11-YEAR OLD EXPLAINS AGRIBUSINESS
Certainly you are familiar with the TED Talks, excellent educational lectures from experts in any field you could probably care about all for free online. I didn't know that there is a special TED conference for children.

In this one, an 11-year-old boy explains what he learned about our food industry, how it changed his life goal and does it all in just five minutes. (Listen closely because he speaks a bit too fast but hey, he's a kid. He'll get better.)

AN AMAZING SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT These days we hear nothing but bad news about student academic achievement, but this week The New York Times reported on a high school in Brockton, Massachusetts that has reversed itself from a 75 percent state exam fail rate to outperforming 90 percent of schools in the state.

“The committee’s first big step was to go back to basics, and deem that reading, writing, speaking and reasoning were the most important skills to teach. They set out to recruit every educator in the building — not just English, but math, science, even guidance counselors — to teach those skills to students.”

Even in gym class the students were given writing assignments. Read about how this school achieved their remarkable turnaround here.

SOME OLD-FASHIONED MUSIC FUN
Mostly, I leave music to Peter Tibbles on Sunday, but following links yesterday from one to another to another (I was careful), I came across this YouTube video of dancer/singer Ann Miller – remember her? I never paid much attention to Miller when she was a star, but I like this big, old-timey production number set to Shaking the Blues Away.

Stick around for the second half when I long string of male entertainers from our younger years comes out to take a bow and join the chorus line. The video is a bit fuzzy, but it's a hoot.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Ann Favreau: The Interview


Comments

Awww, gee, Ronni....that video is wonderful. I miss those glamour days & those men were/are so great looking. Thanks for the memories. Dee

Thanks for the news. I appreciate the items. But yes, that video was just what I needed to get my day started on the right foot.

What a priceless video! I loved seeing all those handsome and talented men.

Thanks for the memories.

I have spent a lot of time with you this morning. I loved the Ann Miller video, couldn't understand half what the kid said, loved Bob Dylan singing "The Times They Are A-Changin'", checked in with Patti and Frank at the AARP convention, but I spent the most time reading the Rolling Stones interview with the President. I wish every voter would read it; especially the ones who are thinking of sitting this election out and those who are disenchanted because he hasn't done enough. A good read and thanks for the link.

I just read the Rolling Stone story on the Tea Party.
Unbelievable.

What a fun and informative post you provided us today!

I followed your link to Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles and Frank Paynter of Listics and commented.

Imo they both could use more comments since they are doing such a good job of keeping us informed from the AARP convention.

I have a young friend, Joey Ellis, who is a TED fellow this year. It's a fabulous program and their web-presence is fascinating. Be warned - you'll go there and never come out!

Off to buy Rolling Stone and pretend I'm 20 again. Thanks, Ronni, for the trip down memory lane.
a/b

Thanks, TGB friends. I'm really proud to be part of this circle of good people.

You're the best!

Love the description of the old-but-not-wise folks who yell, "Get your government hands off my Medicare!"

Thanks for your feast of tidbits, Ronni.

I've always liked this "Interesting Stuff" column and am glad you resumed it.

Glad to hear you're on Kindle though I don't have one. In time maybe income from that will earn you enough to retire -- a little here, a little there -- it adds up -- if you live long enough! You oughta be good for another thirty years or so.

Yeah,I've been following Pattie and Frank at AARP -- sounds like a fun time. Am enjoying some of the streaming video live sessions i.e Mary Matalin and James Carville today. Whoopi Goldberg there tomorrow. 3 hr time difference for those of us on the West Coast, but the sessions are available again 24 hrs later for awhile.

This Ann Miller routine most enjoyable, Mitzi Gaynor did a great similar type number -- different guys, mostly.

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