Elder Fashion – Still an Oxymoron



People have long complained (correctly) that Social Security numbers displayed prominently on the U.S. Medicare card makes identity theft easy.

It's right there in the middle labeled “Medicare Claim Number” with a letter following it and everyone knows that, including the bad guys.


At last, that is changing. Last week, President Barack Obama signed a bill that removes the number from Medicare cards and Congress has provided $320 million to pay for the change. (Don't hold your breath – it's going to take four years to accomplish but it is still a necessary and good thing.)

You can read more at The New York Times.


Last week, Jon Stewart announced at the end of his show that the fine episode will be broadcast on Thursday 6 August. Here's the clip:


Star Trek Wars and Indiana Jones creator George Lukas wanted to build a movie studio on his 1,000 Marin County acres in northern California. His rich neighbors who live in large mansions refused to approve. So Lukas turned the tables on them. Here's the local TV story:

So far, according to reports, it looks like the neighbors can't do anything to stop Lukas's plan for low-cost housing.


John Oliver's show, Last Week Tonight, is way too important to be buried on HBO. I would be happy to pay for it; just not as much as HBO charges to subscribe, particularly since there is hardly anything else on the channel I care about.

Speaking of care about, I am so eager for Oliver's video essays that this is where you can find me first thing Monday mornings checking out the show before anything else I do that day:

Oliver on laptop 20150420

What has become increasingly obvious about the program is that Oliver is committed to taking the most boring sounding-but-important artifacts of American culture, politics and government and make us pay attention to them - and love doing it.

Last week it was patents and you will be fascinated.

I am so grateful HBO makes the show available online.


Unlike many other red states, last weekend, the voters of Montana passed a bill expanding Medicaid. They did this even after the Koch brothers spent a fortune trying to kill the measure. It's not a perfect law but important for the defeat of the Kochs and their minions.

Reporter Eric Stern at Salon explained how that happened and some of the mistakes made by the opponents of the bill are hilarious:

”For the Medicaid battle the Kochs tried a new strategy, one that never works in the West.

“They flew in a bunch of high-priced young politicos from Washington to get the job done. These held 'town meetings' in rural communities at which they showed up in slim-fit suits and pointy shoes, looking like they were heading to a nightclub, lecturing farmers and ranches on politics and the dangers of 'more Obamacare' and publicly threatening moderate Republicans.

"It didn’t take long for them to get booed off the stage by their own partisans.”

And this:

”At the height of the debate two months ago, former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a rancher, wrote a letter to his local newspaper pointing out that Koch Industries owns a ranch in Montana that has taken $12 million in public grazing subsidies while spending their fortune to prevent someone who makes $11,000 a year from getting public help for medical care.

“The Koch team leader reacted by penning an angry opinion piece, attacking Schweitzer but leaving his accusation unanswered, thus spreading the bad news. It was a serious blow.”

It's funny to read how badly the community was misread and it's also an important object lesson Democrats and progressives should heed as partisans in other states ramp up opposition to Medicaid expansion.

Read more here. It's informative and amusing.


Last Tuesday was 4/20 – the annual maijuana holiday. Singer and stoner extraordinaire, Willie Nelson, took the occasion to introduce his branded weed, Willie's Reserve, that will presumably go on sale in the states where it is legal. Here's his laid-back announcement:

Possession becomes legal in my state, Oregon, in July; sales will begin sometime in 2016. You can read more about Willie and Willie's Reserve at Rolling Stone.


TGB's Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles, has a thing for domino chain reactions and he's made me a fan too. But what a surprise when he sent me this one which recently won the Guinness world record for largest stick bomb.

What does that have to do with a domino chain reacation? And for that matter, what's a stick bomb? Hang around for this entire video (it's not that long) to find out:

According to the YouTube page, the Tullin Domino Team of Austria set the new world record just four weeks ago on March 30, 2015,

”...for the largest stick bomb, also known as a popsicle stick chain reaction.

“The total: 30,849 sticks in less than 30 seconds. The chain reaction was built by 21 people in around 12 hours, beating the previous record of almost 18,000 sticks.”

You can read more here.


That video above from John Oliver's show last week was shorter than most of his comedy essays. Maybe that explains why he also included this item.

Oliver and his crew discovered that Ted Turner of CNN once made – honest, for real – a video to air only when the network received a confirmation that the end of the world was nigh.

That was a long time ago so Oliver and company created a new one and gave us this preview - the world will not end if you watch it.


You know what Google Doodles are, don't you? They are the alterations made to the Google logo on their main search page in honor of holidays, anniversaries and any other reason that intrigues them. Google explains it all here.

21 April was the 81st anniversary of the publication of that iconic photograph of the Loch Ness monster. We all recognize it instantly even if the image was revealed to be a fake in 1975, according to the U.K. Telegraph.

Loch Ness Monster

For the anniversary this year, instead of a static reworking of the logo, this is the moving gif Google made for the Doodle:


What it represents is the Google Street View crew mapping Loch Ness.

”“The firm has, with the help of divers and local experts, used its Street View cameras to capture parts of the Scottish loch, the reputed home of the famous cryptid.”

Have they found any evidence of Nessie? You can find out more about the project here.


We can't end an Interesting Stuff post without an animal. I mean, it's a weekly tradition now and I don't think the Loch Ness Monster counts.

I'm pretty sure I've posted this video in the past but that doesn't make it any less funny and it still makes me laugh.

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 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.


Thank you, Ronni, for all the great "stuff" ...
May I just boast a minute by saying that my sister, a Democrat and a representative in the Montana State Legislature, was part of the team that helped pass the Medicaid bill? I am so proud of her and the other Democrats and the brave Republicans who stood up against the "Americans for Prosperity" attacks.

I love how the adult dog tries to show the puppy how do go down the steps. I never tire of that video.

Great stuff again, as usual.

Hurray for your sister, Laura. I love having even this tenuous connection to someone who has done such a great, good thing.

I have always considered myself to be a Capitalist. I owned a small business and have worked for large corporations and believe that anybody should be able to make as much money as possible (legally) as they can. It's the American way. However, when I hear stories about money grabbing, good for nothings like the Koch brothers and those "patent trolls" I wonder if being a Capitalist is the way to go anymore. There has to be some happy medium that will permit people to make gobs of money while at the same time, preserving the dignity of the poor.

Somehow I found your invite for October 15th but now I can't
find it again, so I must post here. Since you added that last sentence including elder blog readers. Of course I would love to come and bring whatever is needed that is within my skill set or is available locally to be purchased.

Good stuff throughout. But that piano-playing saloon cat made me laugh to the point of tears.

Economist Dean Baker has carefully explained how both businesses and people could do better without patents. He even wrote a book about it and made it available free.

You couldn't resist, eh? You just HAD to remind me of that icy snow hill in the schoolyard, that day when I pulled my ten year old carcass up , inch by inch to the top.. and cautiously prepared myself for the glorious slide down..

Little did I know, my worst enemy and school bully Sam was right behind me, like the ghost of Christmas past.

I heard a shuffle, looked back.

Sam reached out and pushed me hard.

"BOOM," I took a rip snorting backward somersault down that hill, got up all twisted, hot and ready to punch Sam's lights out.

Guffaws all around from my so-called friends.

Never trust a cat and never trust a snow hill.

I now have both a cat and dog living with me and I can laugh long and hard at the difference between cats and dogs.

Dogs aim to please and cats aim to make you please them. So true and so funny.

Future vacation plans will definitely include the states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington

Being the mother of sons who grew up with Indiana Jones and Star Wars, I have to take exception with your referral to George Lucas with Start Trek. He was involved in one of the Star Trek movies, but mostly he is known for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films.

Sidney Thompson...
I mis-spoke the Star Trek reference. Of course, I meant Star Wars. Sometimes the fingers are faster than the brain.

Mea culpa and thank you for the correction.

FYI, at this blog, a more polite tone is required when pointing out errors of writer or other commenters, and we take care not to assume, as your note sounds, that the transgressor is an idiot.

Wal, I was wondering if Lucas had changed his name ... finally figured if out. ;-)

Terrific post, loved everything, especially the end of the world video. Hilarious.

Regarding the cat versus oh-so-loving-dog discussion, I once heard a wise and learned veterinarian explain the behavioral differences this way: dogs are pack animals and they see their human companion as the pack leader. Cats are basically solitary animals except when they are raising their young and they see their human companion as their substitute mother.

What follows from this is that dogs ingratiate themselves with humans, because that's how subordinate animals within a pack behave, to ensure cohesion and peace within the pack structure.

Cats on the other hand "demand" from their human because that's how all baby animals behave in order to have their survival needs met. It doesn't imply that they love their human any less than a dog does, but it does mean that the dynamic between the pet and the human is quite different in each case.

Having lived with both cats and dogs all my life, this rang true to me and I've been aware of it ever since in my interactions with them. I adore cats (yup, crazy cat lady...and did anyone else ever wonder why nobody ever calls anybody a "crazy dog lady" or for that matter a "crazy cat guy"? And quite often it's "crazy OLD cat lady", just so we can work in both sexism and ageism at the same time). But anyway, I've found that you generally get back from cats as much as you're willing to give them. And if you love them a lot, they love you right back, in their own unique "I'm my own person" kind of way. Which seems like a pretty healthy relationship to me.

The video of the dog helping the puppy learn to navigate stairs is adorable and laugh-inducing. And the cat whapping the other cat is really funny. But if the inference, as with most of these cat versus dog videos, is to imply that cats are somehow less loving and less trustworthy, I ain't buying that.

As evidence, I'd remind everyone of Scarlett, the feral cat from New York, who walked through fire, not once but five times, to rescue her kittens one by one from a blaze that was consuming the building where she was raising her litter. With her eyes blistered shut from the fire, her ears and paws burned, her fur singed off, she kept going back through the fire until she had brought them all to safety. As the story goes, a New York City firefighter named David Giannelli, watched in amazement as she sniffed each one to make sure she had them all and then she collapsed, unconscious. She and her kittens were then brought to safety and she became famous around the world for her unswerving devotion and courage. Top that, all you adorable, trustworthy dogs ;-)

Sorry this is so long. I get a bit carried away when I'm talking about animals...

In spite of all the viral stuff on the Internet these interesting stuff posts of yours are enjoyable and new for me. Thanks.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)