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” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably 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 have one.
SHORT SHEEP SHORTAGE IN AUSTRALIA
This item comes to us via email from our own Peter Tibbles of Sunday's Elder Music column:
”It seems there’s a short sheep shortage (try saying that three times quickly) here. Now, you may wonder about that (as did I when it was mentioned on the ABC).
“It seems there’s a breed of sheep that only grows to 60cm (two feet) tall. Again, how’s that useful I wondered when I heard it.
“Apparently wine growers love them. They let them loose among the vines and they keep the weeds down but they’re not tall enough to reach the grapes. Even I didn’t know this and I have a keen interest in these things (well, mostly the wine).”
Here's a photo of a short sheep and you can read more about them from a vintner who, as in Peter's story, uses them to keep down the weeds.
THROWING GRANDMA OFF A CLIFF
The Agenda Project, a liberal activist group, released a video this week in opposition to the Medicare privatization portion of Representative Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget proposal. The point of the video, Erika Payne who is founder of The Agenda Project told Fox News host Neil Cavuto is that it is meant to
"...highlight that we have got a lot of senior citizens who are going to be in a really bad spot if we don't make the right moral choices in this budget debate."
There is no doubt the man pushing the wheelchair is meant to represent Paul Ryan. Take a look:
Although I agree with Ms. Payne's point and I always like a good metaphor, I'm uncomfortable seeing the phrase, “throw grandma off a cliff,” portrayed with such violent reality. What do you think?
OH, TO BE IN NEW YORK CITY
Over nearly 40 years, I must have racked up the equivalent of at least a couple of months at the main branch of the New York Public Library. It is a magnificent place both in its intended purpose and its architectural glory.
I wish I could be there now. The library is currently presenting an exhibit of some of its holdings including a Gutenberg Bible:
The New York Times reporter takes a dim view of the exhibit, but that's mostly from a curating point of view. At least he gives some sense of what's is displayed which you can read here. And you can see a slide show of a few items here.
TAKEDOWN OF A CELL PHONE BOOR
During my last three-and-a-half working years, I commuted 90 minutes each way on a Metro North train. It was amazing how frequently some ill-bred cretin screamed into his or her cell phone for the entire trip.
Last week, a woman was ejected from a train and charged with disorderly conduct after talking loudly into a cell phone for 16 hours in a designated quiet car on an Amtrak train traveling from Oakland, California to Salem, Oregon.
Although I cheered when I ran across the news item, I still think her punishment is not enough. But the real question is how the Amtrak conductor allowed the disruption to go on for the entire trip. Couldn't he have thrown her out of the quiet car? Read more here.
THIS IS WHAT'S WRONG WITH TECHNOLOGY
At the risk of sounding like a Crabby Old Lady (where has she been lately?) who can't keep up with modern gizmos, this week Microsoft announced their new Windows Phone 7.1 Mango WITH 500 NEW FEATURES.
Notice that the noun is “phone” but MobileCrunch reported this event without once mentioning voice communication. Doesn't anyone developing these toys understand that too many choices is no choice at all? Grrrr. Read more here.
MAN SAVES DOG FROM “NUISANCE ALLIGATOR”
I have a lot of trouble thinking of an alligator as a mere nuisance as mentioned by the reporter but the story from the dog's owner of what happened is extraordinary:
THE MOST AWFUL MEMBER OF CONGRESS?
Undoubtedly you have seen and read about the near-total destruction of Joplin, Missouri due to a killer tornado.
Now comes House Majority Leader and wannabe Speaker, Eric Cantor (R-Va), who said last week that federal emergency funds to help the destroyed community would not be released until spending cuts are made in other federal programs to pay for them.
Republican colleague, Representative Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, disagrees:
“'...quibbling over how we’re going to offset it, and you look at the devastation and tragedy these people are facing? They just want help right now,'” she said.
Not just “want" help; they desperately need it.
Did you know the average income in Joplin is about $30,000 and many people who lost everything could not afford insurance on their homes. Certainly there must be one of those special rooms in hell reserved for any person as heartless as Cantor.
OBLIGATORY CUTE ANIMAL IMAGE
During the week, there is not much opportunity to post cute animal videos at TGB and somehow none appeared on my radar for today's Interesting Stuff. So instead, here is a photo of an adorable chipmunk I found somewhere online a while back.