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INTERESTING STUFF – 21 October 2017


Rocky Taylor has been a movie stunt man for 54 years, he's got the Guinness Record for it length of time at the job and he's not stopping any time soon.

”He’s been in over 14 Bond films, set sail (and sunk) aboard the Titanic, and swashbuckled alongside Indiana Jones,” the YouTube page tells us.

Even a near-death accident while shooting a stunt for Death Wish 3won't stop Taylor. Here's more of his story.


On Monday, 16 October, I saw a TV Christmas commercial for

Halloween is still two weeks away, Thanksgiving a month later and Christmas more than two months away. It makes me so tired. Can't we have one holiday at a time?

Has anyone else seen or heard a Christmas commercial yet?


The workers are finally gaining control over much of the wildfires in California but there has been a horrible loss of life, of property and the forests themselves.

The families of those who died will live with that all their lives. Hundreds of others have lost their homes and everything they owned. The forests, although they will recover pretty much on their own in time, are gone for now too.

Here's a look at how magnificent they can be.


The Harvard Gazette this week published a story about how checklists, boring old checklists, can and do save lives.

In the medical world, they started a few years ago at the urging of Atul Gawande, the Harvard professor, surgeon and writer for The New Yorker. He even wrote a book about value titled, The Checklist Manifesto – How to Get Things Right published in 2009.

As the Harvard Gazette reports:

”Checklists, smartphone apps, or other interventions are penicillin-like in their life-saving potential, said Gawande, who spoke Friday at Faneuil Hall as part of HUBweek.

“His checklist takes aim at preventable surgical deaths, the estimated cause of as many as half of all surgery-related deaths. Recently published research on a checklist trial in South Carolina hospitals showed a reduction of 22 percent of all surgical deaths.”

I've been using checklists pretty much every day of my life – for less that life-threatening reasons – and they have saved my bacon many times. So I have no doubt they save thousands of lives in medical situations. You can read more here.


As you might imagine, this question is of greater interest to me these days than in the past. In fact, it was more than 50 years ago that I recall thinking cancer would not be an issue in my old age.

Yeah, right. This is a TED-Ed video that explains some of the intricacies that make curing cancer so difficult.


That was the message from my friend Jim Stone who sent along this book image he found somewhere online which seems particularly approprate this week as President Trump seems to be entirely off his rails.



This video details how Leonardo Da Vinci made the Mona Lisa interactive using innovative painting techniques and the physiology of the human eye.

The video is adapted by The Atlantic from the new book, Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson and his story about it in the magazine:

Read more at The Atlantic.


Just so you know my friend Jim Stone is good for so much more than a quick profane laugh as above, he also sent a link to an essay by John Cole published at Balloon Juice following the horrific murders in Las Vegas. Here is a pertinent paragraph:

“It’s a fragile and short and wonderful thing being alive, and your life is really, truly, the only thing you have in this world. And that’s what is so damned maddening about these shootings.

“All of those people had the only thing that mattered stolen from them, literally robbed at gunpoint, just so a few people retain their unfettered right to own a little hand-held killing machine that makes their dick hard or gives them a grin for ten seconds at a firing range.”

Read the entire essay, titled The Selfishness of It All, here.


In recent years, the monarch butterly population has been declining while scientists try to work out how to stop it.

Meanwhile, however, they are still “the largest insect migration in the world which ends each year in Michoacán, Mexico.

”Millions of monarch butterflies travel from the United States and Canada to pass the cold months in the towering trees of this beautiful forest. On their incredible journey, the butterflies travel around 2,800 miles.”

Take a look.

* * *

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.


Home Depot decorated for Christmas a week ago..ornaments, trees, the works!

Hobby Lobby had Christmas stuff out in mid-September.

Another great selection of articles. The butterflies of Michoacan remind me of the novel by Barbara Kingsolver--Flight Behavior--which I highly recommend.

Who really knows about politicians, but I do feel that (on some level at least) Hillary truly cares about this nation and the people in it. So while I don't think she's inclined toward schadenfreude, man, I'd love it if that book were real.

I was really surprised when I read Dr. Gawande's book the "Checklist Manifesto." When I was a student nurse "in the olden days," at a teaching hospital where the OR did several major cases a day, it was a requirement for students to spend 3 months rotation there assisting in those surgeries. It was called "scrubbing" & we even took 24 hr. "call" for surgeries...........we were all of 18 yrs old!! Anyway, checklists abounded!

I assumed it was all a part of running an OR that suffered few mistakes. The nuns there were so strict and all staff never deviated from structure. It was a mortal sin to forget any checklist for all that went on there. I encountered the same in other departments as well as in other hospitals for the next 40 yrs. that I did clinical nursing. Amazing what has happened in the 18 yrs. since I've retired.
Another change that saddens me is the loss of nuns who taught so many students (my 3 children & me)& ran so many hospitals. They expected nothing short of perfection. I miss them............the old fashioned ones! Have a great w/end. Dee:)

It must be incredible to see all those butterflys come into those forests. I wonder what they sound like all those little fluttering wings.

Stores here had their Christmas stuff out in late September and T-day too. I don't like it and don't buy it.

I saw my first Christmas commercial (2, actually) on October 15 and wrote about my outrage at the time. For all the good it ever does. I remember even as a college student, when we U. of Okla. students drove to Dallas in early October for the big game with Texas, we encountered Christmas stuff in Dallas (big marketing center).

I thought monarchs were the only notable butterfly migration until a cloud of painted lady butterflies came through Denver earlier this month. They showed up on radar and at first no one knew what the mysterious cloud was. Who'd have guessed butterflies could show up on radar? Amazing as it was, I was a bit disappointed they weren't monarchs.

What a great collection of interesting stuff today. Thank you, Ronni and Jim Stone for his contributions.

I read John Cole's essay and he speaks for me. He is more humane than all of those right-wing Christians who speak the loudest for their right to bear arms as enshrined in the second amendment. First, they don't have a clue as to how and why it was written or how the NRA misinterpreted it to mean every man had a right to own as many guns as he wanted. But that's a soap box issue for me and this post is on Interesting Stuff so I apologize for an inappropriate comment.

I had a Pyracantha hedge and one morning I went out to find it covered with Monarch Butterflies. They only stayed part of that day so I assume they were taking a rest stop on their journey. Of course there were only a few so maybe they got lost.

I saw the Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre and was surprised at how small it is. Leonardo Da Vinci was incredibly talented. I would say he was a genius.

Already got my first Vermont Country Store Christmas catalog, also Metropolitan Museum, also....

Excellent essay by John Cole. Too bad a good third or more of the country doesn't have the depth to see it that way.

John Cole, yes..........I feel a new low, understanding that many in power are okay with their country men and women being murdered (Las Vegas, etc) so that they may continue to line their pockets. Get richer. It's so very sick. Am also beginning to understand why Buddha counsels compassion (not allowance) for the perpetrators.........because they are, from the shooter to the person lining their pockets from the sale of automatics and bumpstocks........very sick.

john cole has been writing his blog who knows how long, but i started reading him about the time that the great terri schiavo debacle was gaining momentum. he was, at that time, a dyed-in-the-wool republican, but one who thought about issues, and had something intelligent to say even if you disagreed with him. that incident, though, is what finally drove him from the dark side to the light. he is now an unapologetic liberal, with nothing whatsoever good to say about the right. he has some top-notch front pagers and commenters have held high positions in government as both civilians and military.

Very powerful (and Interesting) Stuff today.

Checklists were first developed for use in aviation to avoid common (often deadly) mistakes. Atul Gwande popularized their use in medical procedures for the same basic reason.

In his book, he cites a number of egregious mistakes which a checklist would have avoided. They included such errors as removing the healthy kidney in a patient and leaving the failing kidney intact.

John Cole's post, "The Selfishness of It All" is a brilliant response to the usual statement that "our thoughts and prayers" are with the families of those shot. I've printed out the 70 page document to refer to whenever my husband or I wish.

I spent my youth in the California Bay Area and knew the wine country well--perhaps a bit too well at times. What a tragedy that so much of it is now sticks and ashes. People have indeed lost their homes and everything they owned. I'm not sure how many of those affected are elders, but I cannot imagine facing the need to start over in my 80s! I really try not to worry about disasters such as earthquakes, fires and floods, but it's hard not to be concerned when they're front and center somewhere in the world on almost a daily basis.

Surely, climate change played a part in the California destruction, The Orange Apparition and his science-denying minions notwithstanding. The state had just endured a 5-year drought, which turned the entire region into a tinder box. It rains a lot more in the Puget Sound area, where I live now, but years ago northern California got its share of fog, mist and even rain, which helped to mitigate fire danger.

What a powerful essay by John Cole. I don't understand anyone who can read his words and not be moved to support better gun control.

I would read that book by Hillary if I could find it, too.

A few years ago Ken Burns produced a documentary called "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies," which relied heavily on Dr. Mukhurjee's book. I think all the episodes may be available on YouTube now. I know the first one is. In that one, the narration begins with the grim words: "Cancer is a worldwide scourge -- the fastest growing disease on earth. By 2030, there will be as many as 22 million cases worldwide. Cancer afflicts 1.7 million Americans each year and kills 600,000 of them. More will die from cancer over the next two years than died from combat in all the wars the U.S. has ever fought, combined. " Certainly puts things in perspective. Will it every be conquered? Can it ever be conquered? It seems to know how to do that, we would need to understand all the answers to the questions about the source of life itself. Is this knowledge we really want or should have? I'm pretty conflicted about that these days.

The monarch migration is a good topic the topic to lift me out of those doldrums. I have commented here before about raising monarchs and planting milkweed to try to help them out. In two weeks I will be in Texas with a dear friend, attending the North American Butterfly Association annual conference, and visiting a variety of ecosystems in search of butterflies. After that, we are heading further down into the valley closer to Mexico in further pursuit. We are not able to go to Michoacan this trip, but maybe some day. And I second the recommendation made by Nana Royer, of the book, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver. A good story and lots of information about the monarchs.

Thanks, Ronni, for another entertaining episode of Interesting Stuff.

Thanks Ronni for another day of odd and different stuff.

I liked the butterflies and the Mona lisa.

I LOVED the "Fuck Y'All" book idea....and so wish she would have done just that instead of the politically correct book Clinton is now touring with.


Hillary isn't coming back, and though the right would have shouted "Sour Grapes" an "I told you so" would have meant so much more than the current book. Ot dod not meet my expectations-how about you?

Ronni-hope you are nice and warm's very windy here in Beaverton and I fear for the pine trees in my back yard..they have shallow root systems and wind like this can tip 'em over and make a huge mess. Plus I have a creek in the back yard and it's above the banks right now...

Take care gal, thinking of you.


Today's offering is a real gift for these strange times. Especially the beautiful redwoods. Thanks, Ronni.

10/10 John Cole.

Halloween and Christmas are competing for shelf space here.

One house has Christmas lights, another has Halloween lights.

Meanwhile, Canada geese are making a fast exit south..

Saw Christmas refeerences on TV here in So Cal several weeks ago triggering my usual disgust since they started appearing each year some years ago.

For years I’ve thought of taking a trip up our Calif. coast to the locale where the Monarchs travel after their winter migration to Mexico. Maybe i’ll make it in 2018. I recall several years ago driving home west on Route 66 suddenly encountering a sky filled with small white butterflys. I slowed as best I could, but there was no way to avoid some the erratically fluttering creatures colliding with my car and that of others.

Years ago I learned of a local general practioner who had participated in the surgery of a patient of his. Eventually, after the patient had been sewn up it was learned one sponge had not been removed, so they had to go in again to make that extraction. If they had a check list, they didn’t use it soon enough. This would have been long before Gwande’s book. His writings are really excellent and favorites of mine.

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