A Cancer Surprise

INTERESTING STUFF – 18 November 2017


Eileen Wilkinson's grandson set up a laptop on an upper west side corner in New York City so that his 100-year-old grandmother could give out free advice to strangers. It seems everyone is getting something good from this. (Thank Jim Stone for sending the video.)


I haven't featured clips from John Oliver's HBO program Last Week Tonight recently because the show is broadcast on Sunday nights and by the following Saturday, when Interesting Stuff is posted, it's old news. That's how news goes these days.

This, however, is the last show of the current seasons in which Oliver discusses the year that has passed since the election of Donald Trump. Then he enlists the catheter cowboy to teach Trump what he should have learned by now but has not.

Last Week Tonight returns to HBO in February 2018, exact date to be determined.


Nowadays, “deadline” refers to a time or date when a task must be completed, but it started out much more literally.

Heinrich Hartmann Wirz rose through the ranks of the Confederate Army during the U.S. Civil War to oversee one of the most notoriously awful prisoner of war camps, Fort Sumpter, near Andersonville, Georgia.

During his tenure running that camp that house up to 30,000 Union soldiers, Wirz created a “dead line”. As the Secretary of War reported in October 1865:

”...a line around the inner face of the stockade or wall enclosing said prison, and about twenty feet distant and within said stockade; and so established said dead line, which was in many places an imaginary line...

“he...instructed the prison guard stationed around the top of said stockade to fire upon and kill any of the prisoners aforesaid who might touch, fall upon, pass over or under or across the said “dead line...”

For that and other gross transgressions, Wirz was found guilty of violating the rights of wartime prisoners and hanged on 10 November 1865. More details of the story at Mental Floss.


They are amazing to watch and they'll make you smile too.

ALERT: After I posted this, I found that some piece of video is not cleared for replay on some websites (this one, apparently). You can watch on YouTube. It's still fun.


A man installed a camera aimed at one tree for a year. Here is some of what happened.

You can find out more here.


Someone went to a lot of trouble to find all this. Here are a few samples:

REMOVE GUM STUCK IN YOUR HAIR: The oils in peanut butter make gum less pliable and sticky, therefore easier to massage out of hair. The quick fix also works to free gum from other surfaces like clothing.

COOK SAVORY DISHES: Peanut butter shines in sugary treats, whether in a cupcake or a candy bar. But peanut butter works just as well as a savory ingredient. If you have a jar in your pantry, you can add a dollop to punch up your instant ramen, or use it as a thickener in sauces or stews.

SHINE LEATHER: Your dull leather is only a few dabs of peanut butter away from looking as good as new. Rub it into the material you want to shine by making tiny circles with your fingers, then use a towel or washcloth to wipe it off. The polishing hack also works on leather shoes.

Or so they say at Mental Floss where there are 22 more things to do with peanut butter. I haven 't tried any of them so no guarantees.


It has always made me nuts that too often really nice people are not good at what they do. And, that the reverse is also too often true – that unlikable people are really talented.

Here's a sort of explanation :


They've always told us that dogs (and cats also) don't see as many colors or as vividly as humans do. Now “they” are saying that may not be true:

”The finding suggests that, 'if you are planning to train your dog to fetch a ball that fell on the green grass of your garden, think of using a blue, and not red, ball,' said study lead researcher Marcello Siniscalchi, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bari, in Italy...

“It's a common misperception that dogs see only in black and white. Rather, research shows that dogs' eyes have two kinds of cones, the photoreceptor cells responsible for color vision. One cone type is sensitive to yellow and another to blue, Siniscalchi said. This suggests that dogs can see yellows, blues and their different combinations, he said.”

Read more details about this study at Live Science.


This isn't a new service. Certainly you remember the first animal clone, Dolly the sheep. A few companies have been cloning people's pets for a decade or more and it is almost common practice now to clone farm animals such as cattle, horses, pigs and sheep.

Recently, TV station KDKA reported on pet cloning at a Texas company that charges $50,000 for dogs. Cat owners get off for half that price. Here's the video.

You can read more at the Washington Post.

* * *

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.


Good ones, Ronni, especially the fast workers, the unique and helpful uses of peanut butter, JOliver as usual and the enthusiastic centurian woman.

Of the last one, I laughed at the young boy's estimation that she didn't " look 100, " rather "in her early 80s or late 80s," sooooo - he looks like from 10 to 19!?

Cloning pets? Just say NO. $50,000 that could have been donated to an animal shelter, or other worthwhile animal charity to help with the overwhelming surplus of neglected, abandoned pets. Argh.

So glad you are feeling better after the fatigue episode!

Loved the fast workers. Also the peanut butter tricks, although I'd be hampered by the fact that I always buy chunky. The one about incompetent people ... try as I might, only one person kept coming to mind ...

Deadlines. When I was working, we had normal deadlines (usually with a bit of flexibility) and "drop dead deadlines" which were absolutely immutable. Missing the latter would cost somebody ... big time.

Completely delightful collection today!

Peanut Butter. Ah, yes. I remember being served this substance in a sauce over Peruvian potatoes high in the Andes. It was a very long time ago. I'm still chasing the recipe, but to be authentic, it probably needs to be eaten in its mountain of origin.

Amazing incompetents. Yes, I've known a few, including the one I look at in the mirror. I really liked the graphics on that one. What talented artistry.

Thanks again for starting off my Saturday in a fun and thoughtful way.

Keep 'em coming.

I loved the quote "When arguing with a fool make sure the other person isn't doing the same thing."

I guess I will never be another Centarian giving advice because when I offer any it is always ignored.

Like Susan R., I , and I am sure any others, thought of the fool in the White House. He is so stupid he doesn't know that he is, in fact, very stupid. Now I guess I should refer myself back to that quote.

Very entertaining and informative post. I just heard on NPR that at one time Jif put cold cream and/or crisco (about 20%) in their offering. No wonder it removes things. John Oliver is going to be greatly missed on their program's hiatus. Ye gods, no pet cloning. What a waste of money and there is no end of critters out in the world that could use a good home.

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