YOU'LL BE GETTING A NEW MEDICARE CARD
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.
JON STEWART ANNOUNCES DATE OF FINAL DAILY SHOW
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:
GEORGE LUKAS VERSUS HIS RICH NEIGHBORS
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 EXPLAINS THE PROBLEM WITH PATENTS
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:
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.
HOW THE KOCH BROTHERS WERE DEFEATED IN MONTANA
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.”
”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.
STICK BOMB WORLD RECORD
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.
END OF WORLD VIDEO FROM JOHN OLIVER
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.
GOOGLE DOODLE FOR 4/21 LOCH NESS ANNIVERSARY
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.
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.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CATS AND DOGS
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.