A Meditation on Making New Friends While Old


NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Today's Interesting Stuff is longer than usual and there are no animals this week. But there are several campaign-related videos and a whole lot related to old age.

There was a large amount of good stuff this week that I've had to leave out or you probably would skip the whole thing. So I hope you enjoy the ones I've selected – just pick and choose what most interests you.

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What a great week for little girls:



When Jerry Emmitt was born, women had not yet won the vote. Last week, she was the oldest delegate at the Democratic Convention and she cast 51 of Arizona's votes for Hillary Clinton.

You can read more about Ms. Emmitt at CBSnews.com.


At a press conference on Wednesday, Republican nominee Donald Trump invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email. Treason, said some and if not quite that, certainly terrifying to think an American would encourage a foreign cyberattack.

The next day Trump and his surrogates tried to say he was being sarcastic, that it was a joke. Do you think it sounded like a joke?


During the convention last week, young people posted photos of their grandparents – people like you and me who have been waiting for a woman president for a long time.

I'm With Her


You can see more grandparents for Hillary here and thank TGB reader Momcat Christi for sending the link.


I know, I know, the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia just ended. However, John Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight returned from hiatus last Sunday, a week ago, and then the Republican Convention had just ended.

It may feel like ancient history now but what Oliver brings to his review of the Republican Convention is an important addition to what we need to understand about Donald Trump.

The Emmy Awards will be presented this year on September 18 broadcast on ABC-TV and this week, when the nominees were announced, Last Week Tonight received six nominations including Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series and Outstanding Variety Talk Series. I think they deserve to win both.


That first Oliver video is shorter than most of his righteous rants on HBO's Last Week Tonight and there was another on last Sunday's show about how candidates use anyone's music any way they want without permission.

Take a look at Oliver's solution: a new song, Don't Use Our Songs.

If you don't know all the singers – I didn't – here is a list:

John Mellencamp
Cyndi Lauper
Michael Bolton
Dan Reynolds
Sheryl Crow

You can read more about politicians' unauthorized use of music here.


It's fun to compare our increasingly digital automobiles with this video about driving a Model T. As the YouTube page explains,

”Starting in 1908, Henry Ford sold his novel Model T cars as the first to be really accessible to the masses. What's more, he marketed them as easy to handle for casual drivers and (gasp!) women since they started with a button rather than a crank. Thing is, those old Model Ts were still pretty complicated to drive.”


This video was produced by filmmaker Mantai Chow. It is heartbreaking and there are too many old people who are alone with no one to help except one other.

This video is from The Atlantic online which is increasingly producing interesting video work.


According to the Daily Mail, this oak tree that lives among a large stand of ancient trees at Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill, is 1,076 years old.

Thousand Year Old Oak

”The latest measurement, made four weeks ago,” explains the Daily Mail “means the oak started growing in AD970, a century before the Norman Conquest. It was more than 500 years old at the Battle of Bosworth and 700 years old when the first Duke of Marlborough began to build Blenheim in 1705...

“Like ageing humans, the ancient oak has got shorter in old age as its crown has ‘retrenched’, or reduced in size. ‘It starts to shrink and loses its outer limbs,’ says Roy Cox. ‘It goes back to its minimal form.’

“Again, like many humans, the tree has grown fatter and more squat, building up extra bulges of timber at its base to support the gangly mass of branches above.

“The rule of thumb for ancient oaks is that they grow for 300 years, mature for another 300 years and then ‘veteranise’, or decay, for another 300. And this king of the forest just keeps on veteranising, without dying.”

The newspaper reports that Blenheim is home to the greatest collection of ancient oak trees in Europe. You can find out a whole lot more here.


TGB Reader and poet Tom Delmore sent the link to this wonderful list of 50-plus old-fashioned insults that the webpage says we should bring back. They are from the 19th century but you will recognize a lot of them.

Here are a few I had never heard before:


Heathen Philosopher
One whose buttocks may be seen through his pocket-hole; this saying arose from the old philosophers, many of whom despised the vanity of dress to such a point as often to fall into the opposite extreme

An unsteady, volatile person

Pompous, haughty

Unlicked Cub
A loutish youth who has never been taught manners; from the tradition that a bear’s cub, when brought into the world, has no shape or symmetry until its mother licks it into form with her tongue; ill-trained, uncouth, and rude.

You can find a lot more at this website.


Maybe like me you feel hopelessly out of touch in regard to Game of Thrones. There is hardly a site on the internet that doesn't write about it almost every day with gazillions of videos, interviews, rumors, recaps and speculations.

But it is all a mystery to me and likely to remain so. I've never read the books or seen the TV shows.

That happens these days. We can get left way behind current pop culture because there is just so damned much of it.

Yesterday, a new movie, Jason Bourne, opened in theaters. I had to check Dr. Google to find out this is the fifth(!) in the Bourne series - I may have seen one but I can't be sure.

Anyway, it amused me that someone connected with the production thought it might suffer from the same kind of pop culture overload as Game of Thrones and that it would be useful for the actor who plays Bourne to make this one-and-a-half minute video explaining all you need to know to catch up to the latest chapter in the series.

It's a funny video, a terrific promotional idea and Damon carries it off well. Take a look.


I loved doll houses when I was a kid and I still love doll houses and miniature scenes of all kinds – the more detail, the more magical they are.

This Frenchman, Dan Ohlman, has been making miniature spaces for 25 years and in doing so, as he says at the end of this video, he has “contributed to the world of dreamers.” Take a look.

You'll find many more photos of Ohlman's work here and here.

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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” at the top 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.


I haven't read anything yet--you may want to change the date to July, Ronni--some of this is historically significant, so reference may be important.

Done. Sorry.

Very interesting blog today. Thank you.

BTW--there is a cute animal in the video "Don't Play Our Songs" Delightful morning coffee perusal, as usual.

Your Saturday blog always make Saturdays enjoyable.
Thank you.

Great post Ronnie. Really enjoyed it. And ditto for me on "Game of Thrones" and "The Walking Dead." However I am up on Jason Bourne, saw them all and will see the next one. Hope it holds up.

I was so thrilled with Hillary, cried during her acceptance speech. For the first time in years I sent in $ and got one of her Woman Cards in return. Great memento. And, what a fine word, rattlecap!

Simly wonderful. Thank you.

I was particularly fascinted by the story of the old oak. That led me to seach for the oldest tree on earth. It depends on your definition of "tree," according to Wikipedia. The oldest individual tree with a verified age is an unnamed Great Basin bristlecone pine in California's White Mountains. Est. age is 5,000 years. In second place is "Methusalah", also a Great Basin bristlecone pine, at 4,847 years. The exact location of the trees is kept secret to protect them from an "admiring" public. Mindboggling to think what these trees have "seen."

Amazed to learn that Ford advertised the starter as a plus for the Model T. Dad had a T (in the mid-1940s). The starter button usually worked four or five times before the mechanism broke and needed repairs. Finally, Dad just gave up on it and went directly to the crank. Other than the worthless "automatic" starter, the T was a great automobile.

The film depicting Ng and her life is almost unbearable. And I guess it is fitting that we do not learn what happened to her, beyond her being hit by a car. How many people, old and young, just simply disappear? I am full of desolation, and wish I could do something.

Pretty please, can you make the John Oliver video clips "available" worldwide? Thank you!

Ruth-Ellen, the story is not as grim as it sounds. I went to the Atlantic site which Ronni has linked. In the comments there I learned that yes, she was hit by a car, but she did not die. She suffered a fractured hip, spent some time in hospital, and is now back in her home, though less mobile than she was. Also, she has not been abandoned by her children. They visit her regularly.

I'd encourage anyone moved by the video to read those comments. One, in particular, is definitely worth reading. It's the one by 'ChinatownGirl' who was there when Ng was hit, and helped her.

Why does she pick trash for food to share with her friends? Perhaps it has something to do with 'not wasting'. If as a young girl in China she saw people starving in the street, if her own mother often went hungry so her children could eat... Bakeries and restaurants throw out perfectly edible food at the end of the day. From a certain point of view it only makes sense to put some of it to good use! If it's spoiled for people, then at least the birds will be happy.

But that's conjecture. What is true, is that she deserves respect.

Of course, licensing of YouTube (and other site) clips is controlled by the person or corporation that makes them available in the first place. I wish I could make the choice so people everywhere could watch but alas, it is not mine to do.

Learning about things I had never EVER heard about before...like these miniatures...is one of the great joys of growing old gracefully.

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