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INTERESTING STUFF – 21 January 2017


This is a video about what happened when the U.S. Department of Labor stepped in to enforce their employment regulations against piece workers in a retirement home.

It was produced last year by students in The Academy of Integrated Humanities and New Media (AIM), a two-year film program for juniors and seniors at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, California, which happens to be my alma mater.

What do you think?

Each semester AIM students produce short documentaries and other projects. You can find a collection of their videos at their YouTube page.


We have been hearing about antibiotic resistance for years but until now, the variety of antibiotic medicines we have seemed to keep us from catastrophe. No more.

”Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection,” reports STATnews.

“Testing showed the superbug that had spread throughout her system could fend off 26 different antibiotics.

“'It was tested against everything that’s available in the United States...and was not effective,' said Dr. Alexander Kallen, a medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of health care quality promotion.'”

After being treated for a broken femur in India where drug-resistant infections are more common than in the U.S., the 70-year-old woman was found in Nevada to be infected with

”CRE — carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae. That’s a general name to describe bacteria that commonly live in the gut that have developed resistance to the class of antibiotics called carbapenems — an important last-line of defense used when other antibiotics fail,” explains STATnews.

“CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden has called CREs 'nightmare bacteria' because of the danger they pose for spreading antibiotic resistance.”


There is additional information on this deadly infection at Huffington Post.


Maybe you've seen that phrase during movie credits. They are the sound artists, an amazing and important part of all television and movie crews.

When I was producing television shows, it was one of my favorite parts of the process, getting together with men and women who tweak and even create needed audio, sometimes from nothing.

Once, I needed to add the missing sound of two tap shoes hitting the floor simultaneously – one each for Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire - to punctuate the end of their dance routine in a movie clip. The Foley artists didn't have anything appropriate in their library so they set about inventing the sound.

They tried slapping a piece of metal on wood. It didn't sound right. They tried the various shoes among all of us in the room, each one on different surfaces. All wrong.

After about an hour, one of the guys went into the sound booth and tried slapping his hand against his thigh. Amazingly, it was close but still short of what it should be. So another guy, wearing denim jeans instead of whatever the first guy was wearing tried. Voila!

We had a good tap sound for Crosby and Astaire that had somehow been lost from the clip.

As the YouTube page for this video explains, when you are immersed completely in a movie much of that is due to the magic of Foley artists. When the work is done right,

”...you won’t be able to tell that the 'natural' sounds on screen are manufactured with studio props. That's the challenge for Warner Bros. Foley artists Alyson Moore, Chris Moriana and mixer Mary Jo Lang. Theirs is a practice in recreation, one creative element at a time.”

Enjoy this little little documentary about how they do their work.


And a great, good laugh, too.


Long before he became a founding father, young Ben Franklin went into the printing business.

What appears to be his first piece of printing at age 17 went on exhibit this week at the University of Pennsylvania after not being seen for nearly 200 years.

”Penn Libraries recently acquired the only known surviving copy of a 1723 Franklin broadside, showing an elegy for a Philadelphia poet and printer named Aquila Rose, and topped with a bold skull and crossbones motif.”


The scrapbook in which the broadside was found will also be on display at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center until February 10 – if you happen to be in the area. You can read more at The New York Times.


I've known that for most of my life. When I've stubbed my toe or cut my finger in the kitchen – particularly anything that hurts, a long string of #$%^&*() always makes it feel better.

Now there may be some scientific backup for my belief:

There is more than you ever wanted to know about how and why swearing is good for you at the BBC.


According to Us magazine, the White House will be renovated to include what they call a “glam room.”

"'There will absolutely be a room designated for hair, makeup and wardrobe,' [Nicole] Bryl, who has worked with [Ms.] Trump for more than a decade and helped 'soften' her look during her husband Donald Trump's presidential campaign...

"'Melania wants a room with the most perfect lighting scenario, which will make our jobs as a creative team that much more efficient, since great lighting can make or break any look,' she said.”

Bryl also tells the magazine that

”...that each makeup session takes 'about one hour and 15 minutes of uninterrupted focus. If you want the look to be flawless and have it last [throughout the day], you do have to take a little extra time to make that happen.'”

Oh please. These next four years are going to be even harder to get through than I had imagined.

If you must, you can read more here.


As you might have noticed from my photos in last Saturday's Interesting Stuff, we had a big snowstorm in the Portland, Oregon area about ten days ago. Much more than happens in most winters.

That made some of the animals at the Portland Zoo really, really happy. Thank my friend Jim Stone for this video:

* * *

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.


@#$%*^. Wow, I do feel better.

Great p0st

Great post! You are sooo predictable, Ronni, especially on Saturday mornings! LOL

Anyway, I'm dumbstruck re the makeup room for the first lady. On one hand, perhaps she'll bring back some class & style to the way women dress today. However, one can only hope she is about more than her appearance. This is going to be very interesting. Because whether we like it or not we have a new president or perhaps a reasonable facsimile........have you noticed the lines around the eyes from the tanning booth & the various shades of his hair? Perhaps he should use the makeup/lighting room. I know that's catty, but I couldn't resist. Dee:):)

Ok, I am fascinated by the amount of time that the new first lady will invest in her makeup. I must confess that I am 72 years old & don't wear makeup (my skin breaks out like a teenager and my eyes get red & irritated), & I'm not bragging, and I am sure that if someone made me up that it would be an improvement, but.... An hour and a quarter a day (and being *'s wife & the first lady means she probably does this every single day of the year) times 365 days in a year is 456.25 hours. Divide this by twenty-four hours in a day and that makes 19 days in a year, or 76 days in four years, almost two and one-half months! I cannot imagine! Just think how many books you could have read in that time!

And Dee, maybe that makeup/lighting room will be shared! He certainly is vain enough.

To give you a comparison for Ms. Trump's 75 minute makeup routine, for 20 years I worked with big name celebrities and movie stars for television shows. Sometimes we were asked to hire their personal makeup artists who often were celebrities themselves in their world or sometimes the stars used our makeup artists who, too, were well respected in the show business industry.

The stars ranged in age from Brooke Shields when she was a 15-yeear-old to Katharine Hepburn in her mid-70s. It never took much longer than 15 or 20 minutes for them to look gorgeous.

(Hair is another matter.)

As to perfect lighting in the "glam room" - that's stupidly spent money since Ms. Trump will never be anywhere in public or any other place in the White House with perfect lighting.

Enjoyed this post. I had linked to the one on Medicare SS and was told by a lady that's just the Huffington Post liberal left. Well OK she said do research from other places.

btw didn't quite get the desk stuff as I'm not advanced enough to put it all on the computer. lol

Ronni, I bet that isn't the only stupidly spent money in the next four years!

And that's interesting to hear the contrast in time spent to do the makeup. Besides, I wasn't even thinking about the time to do the hair, nor pick out which outfit to wear!

Your desk looks quite tidy to me. Remember if a messy desk is the sign of a messy mind, then what is an empty desk a sign of? (A little humor, depending on the state of your desk.)

The only makeup I wear is a little eye shadow and some mascara. Any more than that takes way too much time. Sitting in a chair for an hour every morning is wasting our tax payers money.

I haven't seen the top of my desk in years. But it was abruptly abandoned when I switched from the big computer there to a laptop in the living room. Someday I'm going to clear out that room and make it a guest bedroom. Someday ...

Poor Melania. As noted above, her lighting will only be perfect in her glam room. When she leaves it, then what. Oh, horrors! Imperfect lighting! Donald will be so upset!

Foley artists most intrigued me back in the days of radio, when I listened to footsteps on all kinds of surfaces, galloping horses, gunshots, thunderstorms, etc. No visual aids then. Only the sounds.

Great Saturday post Ronni, thank you. "Glam room" oh barf.

Love the Foley piece and was especially interested in the video on the Purlettes. I wonder if the knitters could form some kind of co-op and "sell" their product that way, as contractor and not an employee.

Sitting in that makeup chair for an hour and a half will also be a waste of Melania's undoubtedly fine mind.

About the retirees and piecework video – I wonder if this is a result of ‘unintended consequences’. That is, was this law enacted to protect workers who were being underpaid? I am picturing immigrants sewing many hours for little pay. Unfortunate that some compromise hasn’t been reached.
As for the spouse’s argument, not so funny to me. It is the reason I am (happily) divorced.
Thanks Ronni for a break from the elephant in the room.

I'm also a bit confused about the senior knitters. Were they unpaid or not adequately paid? Could they not be paid and continue to do this work? I'm guessing the purses sold for a healthy amount (handmade items like this usually do) and I don't see why the people producing items should not have been properly paid. There seems to be something missing here.

Having worked for a few years in a program that housed and provided supportive services to adults with mental illness and developmental disabilities, stories such as this tend to raise a red flag for me. Sheltered workshops for developmentally disabled individuals are monitored, but still are not always the best places for the workers. Administrative staff typically vastly more than that of a person doing piece work in such places. The entire world, the U.S. included, has a long dark history of paying people lousy wages to work in awful conditions and we need to remain vigilant to make sure this doesn't happen again. Although, in fact, it does. I recently heard an interview on NPR with a man who had just come out with a book about a group of developmentally disabled men who had been exploited for decades and made to work on turkey farms. They were fed and housed deplorably. It was heartbreaking, but somehow managed to go undetected, or at least unreported and uninvestigated for thirty or forty years. Some folks apparently have no conscience about such things.

That should have read "administrative staff are typically paid vastly more. . .'

The devil is in the details on the Purlettes story. It could have been an over-zealous DOL agent or an unhappy or rejected Purlette (or family member who thought it was exploitation). Seems odd that a govt agency would investigate a case like this.

I wonder if the company owner and Purlette rep could pursue it with a pro bono labor atty or county or state labor rep to redefine how the work is billed.

Great "stuff" today, Ronni. Before I morphed into the administration of university grants and research, I directed a statewide jobs program in the public sector. We frequently had to go to bat against the unintended consequences of labor laws that threatened to unravel the good we were doing. We gave jobs to the jobless, through which we provided services that would not otherwise have been available. To do that, we often needed to come up with some very creative workarounds.

I loved the video about disappearing laundry and household litter. In my first marriage I had to explain again and again that it wasn't magic.

I was shocked to learn that there was a real live Melania Trump who needed a "glam room" plus more than an hour to make herself into the flawless creature we see in photos. I had previously thought it was a wax image that had been designed to fit perfectly on his arm as he entered and exited events.

And of course I have known the power of swearing for many years. It works far better for relieving anxiety and has fewer side effects than medication. It requires learning to identify the swearing police, but their tendency toward disapproving facial expressions makes them easy to spot.

Finally, that super neat desk gave me the creeps.

Antibiotic resistance was inevitable! We'll see more and more of it in the future.

The Foley artists was so cool with a great video. I had to share that one with my husband.

Another great video was the one about swearing. I completely agree.

And the White House Glam Room -- "Oh please." I agree completely.

And I loved the adorable video of Snow Day at the Portland Zoo.

My book club recently read "The Boys in the Bunkhouse" by Dan Barry. It was about intellectually disabled men who were exploited their whole entire lives to pluck 18,000 turkeys a day, first in Texas and then in Iowa. Even tho they did the exact same work as non-disabled workers, they were not paid the same rate.

I never used a Rolodex but it was an organizational wonder. I use a 30 year old Filofax for my calendar and address book. The computer calendar is a back up because it syncs with my iPod touch. Plus I like looking at time in big chunks.

I participated in the women's march today. It made me feel good.

I should add these men just didn't pluck, they also eviscerated these turkeys. It was very hard work. It ruined their hands.

NatashaM. -- "The Boys in the Bunkhouse" is the book to which I was referring. I haven't read it, but heard the author being interviewed recently on NPR. It sounded like an odious job, not only plucking and eviscerating, but "milking" the turkeys which meant getting their semen, I suppose for artificially inseminating female turkeys kept elsewhere. As if this were not bad enough, their living conditions were appalling, they were not adequately fed or provided with medical care, and they were supposed to have had money set aside for them, which apparently did not happen. There should be a special place in Hell for people who are responsible for such treatment.

A make-up room?! It takes over an hour? I doubt I have spent a whole hour on makeup over the last 40 years. What can they possibly be doing to Melania with makeup that she really needs that much of? The whole thing is so disgusting.

It's great that high school students get practical experience producing video reports, just as they once did putting out the school newspaper. However, there can be problems when we take training exercises to be legitimate news reports. A glaring one in this case is that nobody from the Department of Labor appears to explain the government side of the story. That's poor journalism.

I think the best make-up-- for anyone-- is a sincere smile, one that goes to the eyes. A firm handshake and robust laugh are perfect accessories. See how much time we just saved you, Melania?

Great entry, great desk, looks like mine....but glam room? OMG

Like most, I am appalled at the idea of spending 75 minutes even once each day on appearance (it would take much more time for a magician to make me look good!) I'm sure that touchups would require additional time - especially on those evenings when State affairs are mandated.

However...it set me back to read "Sitting in a chair for an hour every morning is wasting our tax payers money." I doubt that any US President's wife has ever been paid a penny for serving as First Lady; thus, I don't understand the sense of the comment.

P.S. Good show, NatashaM.

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