2016 Top Ten Time Goes By Blog Posts

INTERESTING STUFF – 10 December 2016


Yes, it's a television commercial. Yes, it's sentimental and it's sappy. But it's really cute too.


Undoubtedly you know of the terrible warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 of the artist residents last week. It is an unspeakable tragedy.

From news descriptions, I thought it must have been a sort-of indoor homeless encampment but then I saw a group of pre-fire photographs of the interior in Rolling Stone magazine. Here are a couple of them:



Apparently, the fire was the result of unsafe electrical wiring but it certainly was a thousand times more beautiful than I imagined. There are more photos here.


Yes, you read that right. United Airlines intends to start charging for space in overhead bins.


As the Washington Post reports:

"As part of the company’s new pricing tier, Basic Economy, passengers who purchase the airline’s cheapest fares will only be allowed one personal item that must fit under a seat...

"The move marks the first time a large U.S. airline limits low-fare customers to one carry-on bag that fits under a seat, Reuters reported. The company expects such fare initiatives to add $1 billion to its annual operating income by 2020, as more customers pay to check luggage or select higher fares for two carry-on bags."

You know if one airline invents a new charge, others won't be shy to copy it. I think I'll stay home from now on if it involves a commercial airplane. You can read more here.


The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed Thursday that the ban on using cell phones on airplanes be lifted. Another agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been making efforts to allow phone calls in flight since 2013. As USA Today reports:

"FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler argued the ban is obsolete because planes essentially carry their own cell towers, preventing cellphones from interfering with ground-based relay stations, which justified the original ban. But the availability of voice calls via Wi-Fi prompted the FAA's action."

If phone calls become permitted in flight, the prospective rules require that passengers be told if calls are allowed on flights before they purchase tickets. The DOT is soliciting public comment on whether this notification is sufficient or if calls should be banned on airplanes within, to or from the United States. You can do that here for the next 60 days.

Since I no longer need to fly for work this, along with fees for the overhead bins, is pretty much enough to keep me out of airplanes for the rest of my life because here is how I think it will go:

  1. Phone calls will be allowed on airplanes
  2. The requirement to tell passengers before they purchase tickets will stand
  3. The airlines will charge extra for flights will no phone calls

(The cartoon is by Bill Bramhall of The New York Daily News.



It has been too long since I've included comedian Jeanne Robertson in these Saturday lists. This one came from Sunday TGB music columnist, Peter Tibbles.


According to a report in Buzzfeed about a new survey from Ipsos Public Affairs, fake news headlines fool Americans about 75 percent of the time:

”The results paint a picture of news consumers with little ability to evaluate the headlines that often fly toward them without context on social media platforms,” explains Buzzfeed.

“They also — surprisingly — suggest that consumers are likely to believe even false stories that don’t fit their ideological bias. And the survey calls into question the notion — which Facebook has reportedly begun testing — that consumers themselves can do the work of distinguishing between real and fake news.”

Perhaps I'm fooling myself, but I don't think I've ever believed a fake news story. But then, I rarely go far afield online from traditional news sources and well-known alternate news sources.

This new data comes from an online survey of 3,015 U.S. adults conducted between November 28 and December 1. You can read more about it at Buzzfeed.

Here's a video example of what some American grownups believe. This is an interview with some * voters conducted by CNN's Alisyn Camerata this week:

Dear god, how will our country survive.


Yes, another sappy holiday commercial, this one from the German supermarket chain Edeka. But this old man is really clever about getting his family home for Christmas. (I think this is from 2015 and I may have posted it last year, but who cares.)


As I alluded to above, I don't stray far from mainstream websites of any kind and I certainly don't download from anywhere that I don't believe is 100 percent safe. Not everyone is as careful as I am:

”For criminals, the malicious Android app business is booming,” reports Wired. “It’s easy for a hacker to dress software up to look novel, benign, or like the dopplegänger of a mainstream product, and then plant it in third-party app stores for careless browsers to find.

“Once downloaded, these apps may even seem normal (if a little janky) but they can spread ransomware or types of malware that exploit system vulnerabilities to steal data or take over a whole device.

“Don’t want this drama on your phone? The key to protecting yourself is staying away from sketchy app stores, and only downloading software from Google Play.”

Wired further reports that Google vets all the products in the Play store for safety. A few slip through but are usually caught quickly. Although the Apple store is much less severe, malware does sneak through sometimes.

You can read more here.


Once in my life I saw this phenomenon in person and it is awesome – in the best sense of that word. It is stunning to see.

This one was filed by wildlife cameraman and travel journalist Dylan Winter. When he shot this five years ago, says the YouTube page, he was sailing around the United Kingdom in an 18-foot boat. You can find out more about his journey here.

Meanwhile, besides being amazing and beautiful, I find this murmuration wonderfully calming to sit back and watch.

* * *

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.


Lots of "Interesting Stuff" this morning!
I too was surprised to see the before pictures of the Oakland building. The artists that lived certainly made their areas personal and creative. Good example of "bloom where you are planted"

Love The Jeanne Robertson clip and the murmuration!!

Oh, the starlings made my morning - and I would never have guessed I'd type that line!

The Starlngs clip was so soothing. I loved the Heathow ad because I am still kid enough to love teddy bears.

Starlings are actually nasty little birds.
The great humorist and radio personality Jean Shepherd once said about starlings "If Starlings were human, they would be walking around smoking cigars, spitting and cursing all of the time."
But getting back to the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, this is a perfect example of why we need more affordable housing in this country and how greedy real estate interests would rather allow buildings to fall into disrepair than lease it at a reasonable price.
There must be thousands of similar warehouses in this country that, for little money, could be made safe and livable.
I remember that in NYC, artists and artisans could legally live in a loft in a commercial building by applying for an A.I.R. (Artist in Residence) permit.
Unfortunately, as soon as real estate investors found out that these lofts could be sold to rich people for millions, out went the artists and in came gentrification. And all of a sudden neighborhoods like SOHO, NOHO, LES and DUMBO sprung up and priced ordinary people out of the market.

Wonderful stuff this Saturday. Thank you very much....especially for the Ghostship pictures. Some of us lived just like that in the 60's, but I have no photographs.

We've a place in Denver called Rhinoceropolis, similar to Oakland's Ghostship, that the authorities are shutting down as being too dangerous. Housing is sky high in Denver. I don't know what the city expects these people to do.

Starlings are ugly, raucous birds that like to roost with other starlings and create a huge nuisance wherever they gather. But their murmurations are absolutely fascinating to watch. (I can say that because I have no starlings in my vicinity.)

The airlines haven't seen my face for 13 years and I dread ever crossing their path again. I doubt I have the stamina and patience to endure it, and of course now I know none of the security regulations about packing. Worse of all, if I do have to fly again, it will be because of a death in the family. I can't imagine worse circumstances -- short notice, ignorance of the rules, and none too healthy myself. Hard to imagine that when I was young, one dressed up for a flight because it was a special deal. The seats were big and luxurious. The attendants were gracious and accommodated your every need. The meals were something you looked forward too. The airports were uncrowded and easy to navigate ... ack, I do ramble. Sorry!

Spare me from the stupid people who get news from. Ignorant Trump supporters, please. Too depressing!

If you must travel ... I have two suggestions:
First, next time try the railroad ... I've always loved to travel on trains.
Second, if you really have to fly, ship your luggage a week or so before your take-off via UPS or another shipper. They pick it up, tote it across country and drop it right at your destination. I had the mini-locks on my 2 big suitcases and wrapped a lot of duct tape around them to assure safety. I kept a list of the contents and I insured it. Did not have to haul luggage to the airport or drag it after me when I landed. I carried one small bag on the plane my kindle and other valuables. And you'd be amazed, luggage did not cost that much to ship if you ship it early via land.

Was very depressed by the Fake News piece (though it explains a lot) but enjoyed Jeanne Robertson and was uplifted by Pachelbel and the murmuration. Thank you, Ronni.
And thank you, Miki, for the suitcase suggestion ... will definitely look into what the costs might be for transatlantic pre-shipping!

Oh that murmuration! What a joy! Thank you! And thanks to Miki for the tip on sending luggage ahead. The fake news goes hand-in-hand with the amount of screen time for adults, which is huge. If we all can't go out and read a newspaper, where there's some fact checking going on, how do we work a democracy? Dang. Think I'll go watch that murmuration again.

Re the clip on fake news, I swear the lady in front row, centre, comes across as a carticature (but believable!) of an ignorant, well off American (R), with the others close behind. Life imitating Art.

If I didn't know that the interviewer was a real life TV journalist, I'd readily accept that the clip was an advertisement with actors, and not real life people.


I've given up on * supporters. I simply cannot figure out their "thought" processes. My husband says they don't have any; they just follow the leader (any leader!) and that's as good an explanation as any. That doesn't bode well for the survival of democracy or, actually, humans as a species when you realize that the *eteers mostly believe climate change is a hoax and Sandy Hook was an inside job. OMG!

The Ghostship fire was indeed a tragedy. That it was substandard (but affordable) housing aside, the photos clearly show how creative many of the tenants were. I live in a suburb of Seattle, at least for now, which is the fastest-rising and one of the highest priced housing markets in the nation. It feels like developers and investors won't be satisfied until they've priced all the low-to-moderate income people out, and almost no one in government can or will stand up and say "NO!". I'm not opposed to businesses making a profit, but wasn't there once a concept known as "reasonable" profit?

Although * voters don't know it yet, he's NOT on their side and never was! In the name of making America great again, the *eteers want to triumph over labor, "win" the race to the bottom ($6/hour minimum wage?), eviscerate Social Security and Medicare, repeal (but not replace) the ACA and price ordinary people out of housing. Question: will there be anyone left to buy products, whether they're made elsewhere (like everything sold by the * family) or in the U.S.?

Thx for the vids! I reposted 3 of them on my FB.

I am a UAL customer because their home base, O'Hare, is near where I live. I am disappointed about the change in their economy seats. No overhead bin? Jeez.

I had a HS teacher who assigned extra credit for newspaper stories so I've been reading a newspaper every day since I was 16 yo. I don't watch TV news. Another HS teacher gave us an assignment where we clocked the number of minutes spent on each news story on TV. The results always stayed with me.

DT depresses me so much I tend to avoid stories about him. We are in for a bumpy 4 years. Let's hope our democracy and economy are strong enough to withstand the his administration.

I'm glad I don't have to fly any more! Can you imagine trying to sleep and someone talking on the phone beside you?

I'm doing my best to avoid news about DT appointments etc. I'm still in grieving mode.

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