The Amateur Cancer Patient
ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Frank Loesser

INTERESTING STUFF – 2 December 2017


Last Saturday I mentioned that Marianna Sheffer, proprietor of Hattie's Web, was in hospice. Today the news is no less sad for not being unexpected – Hattie died on Tuesday. Her daughter Alice wrote:

My mom died peacefully in her sleep last night with my sister Julia and my father Terry by her side. There will be details about a memorial gathering to take place some time in December. I will post those details here once I have them.

“I don't have any eloquent things to say but I do know that you all and this blog were an important part of her life.”

Many of the same people read Marianna's blog and this one and we will all miss her. You can leave messages at Hattie's Web.

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Do you remember the dancing baby? That strange, horrid, creepy dancing baby?

It was the first meme to take over the internet and it first appeared – I would never have guessed it was this long ago – more than two decades ago. Here is its history:


Research tells us that 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and I doubt the statistics are much different in other countries.

That means if it's not you, it will be someone you know – probably more than one over time – and, also probably, someone who is close to you.

Jan Adams, who blogs at Where is the Way Forward?, sent a link to this story by Malkia Cyril, with some “real talk” about how friends can help friends through chemotherapy. A couple of examples:

”Support the agency and self determination of those battling cancer. Sometimes you may feel you know best, but the person fighting for their life and those closest to their care are the ones who know best what is needed. Make offers to help in ways that feel right to you, but don’t pressure survivors or their caregivers to accept help they may not want or need.

Wash your damn hands. No, really, personal hygiene is the most important part of helping your loved one survive chemotherapy. Chemo can kill some bone marrow, lowering the body’s resistance to infection...And, don’t just rinse them, wash the shit out of your hands and carry some hand sanitizer around. Especially if you are coming to my house. Do it, often.

The entire list is worth reading and committing to memory. You'll find it here.


The U.S. has some excellent editorial cartoonists. I greatly enjoy them especially when they are on my side of the political divide.

But you haven't seen nuthin' until you've seen some Australian editorial cartoonists and their harsher takes on President Trump. A couple of examples, the first by freelance cartoonist, Judy Nadin:


This one if from David Rowe of Australian Financial Review:


The Washington Post has collected about a dozen more Australian editorial cartoons about Trump here.


As the Washington Post reported recently:

”An insidious fungus known as fusarium wilt has wiped out tens of thousands of acres of Cavendish plantations in Australia and Southeast Asia over the past decade. And the fungus recently gained a foothold in Africa and the Middle East, hitching a ride on the boots of workers helping to establish new plantations.

“Scientists say Latin America, the source of virtually all the bananas eaten in the United States, is next.”

I've been reading these warnings for at least a year. Bananas are my favorite fruit. Besides how good they taste and how they go with so many other foods, they come in their own nice, neat packaging, they don't drip down your chin or arm like peaches, oranges and some apples, and they are as sweet as any fancy dessert.

Cavendish is the name for the banana most of us know, the one banana producers have grown almost exclusively for many years and the one that is succumbing to disease:

”William Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole Food, one of the largest producers and importers of bananas, said in an email that the company is 'looking at how to develop a disease resistant banana through crop improvement and plant breeding methods,' but he didn’t go into specifics.

“Requests for comment from the three other top banana producers went unanswered,” reports the Washington Post.

There is additional information about how we have come to point of possibly losing bananas altogether at Wired.


You can't have missed the news that an American actress, Meghan Markle, is engaged to marry into the British royal family, Prince Harry to be specific.

For the past five years or so, Markle has played Rachel Zane on one of my favorite TV dramas, Suits. I got a good laugh at what her co-star Patrick J. Adams (who plays her TV fiance, Mike Ross) tweeted when he first heard the engagement news:


Later Adams sent this further message on Twitter and Instagram:

“Playing Meghan’s television partner for the better part of a decade uniquely qualifies me to say this: Your Royal Highness, you are a lucky man and I know your long life together will be joyful, productive and hilarious. Meghan, so happy for you, friend. Much love.”

Here is a very short vid of the official engagement announcement:


Here is part of one answer to that age-old question, and it's been a long time since I've heard anyone have as much fun with wordplay:

”How would I tell you, for example, that one of my chickens seems depressed? I might say she’s brooding, that she’s cooped up because she’s no spring chicken. Same thing I might say about your or me of course, but with my broody hen getting her feathers ruffled there is no metaphor involved. When I tell you I get up with the chickens, I mean it!”

You can listen to or read the transcript of Dan Libman's full answer here.

Reed Scherer made a rebuttal to Libman's argument. Here is part of it:

”The classic question you claim to answer was directly stated: 'Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" The question is not, "Which came first, the chicken or the chicken egg?' Given the explicitness of the language, there is in fact an unequivocal answer.”

You can read or listen to Scherer's entire rebuttal here. I find Libman's answer much more persuasive - or, anyway, more fun.

Thank TGB reader Cathy Johnson for this edifying debate.


Time was that I was fairly good at figuring out what had gone wrong when my email or web browser wasn't working.

In recent years that has changed – I'm not as good at techie things as I used to be - and I think this Wizard of Id answer, which TGB's Sunday music columnist Peter Tibbles sent, is as good as any other when computer things go wrong.


Many more cartoons at GoComics.


The name of the construction workers in this iconic photograph are not known, nor is the name of the photographer who was brave enough to get the shot.

Here is the story behind the famous image of these men having lunch 800 feet above the ground.


Here we go again - I cannot resist cross-species friendships.

As the YouTube page tells us, a dog and a pigeon might seem like unlikely friends, but Oscar and Pipi are inseparable when they go for walks by the beach.

That's because Oscar the pigeon was hand-raised by documentary maker Barry Ion and now thinks he's a human, even treating his own kind with “disdain.”

There is more to know about Oscar and Pipi at the Daily Mail, and thank Cathy Johnson again today for this item she send in addition to the one above.

* * *

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.


Another terrific Saturday post! Thank you Ronni and Cathy for the enjoyable and interesting subjects you presented today.

A reread is in the works for later in the day, but NOT for the one with *Rumple-stilskin (whose disappearance would be fitting for current trickster in the BigHouse), as he's allowed only one appearance a day in this old brain.

And boy, does that take determination and awareness. A new version of Mind-full-mess.

I'd never heard of Meghan Markle, but Prince Harry is my favorite royal. I hope they'll be very happy together.

So in order to save bananas, we may soon be getting hybridized or GMO bananas? Doesn't bother me in the least, but there are a lot of folks out there who wouldn't touch GMO bananas if they were the last bananas on earth, and they may be.

We sure owe those early steelworkers a lot. I've always been awestruck by their seeming nonchalance up there with no safety rigging or anything.

A moment for Hattie. In remembrance of her, question everything today. Be curious.

So sorry about Hattie.
Another good post toad ti my w/end which I dearly need these days. My true love is gone 3 months today & your blog helps me in so many ways. After reading the wonderful tips on how to respond & care for friends/family on chemo, I got the notion that perhaps one should be written for those of us left behind after long marriages (56 yrs here) who don't know how handle this grief. You really learn what being alone is all about & no one else seems to realize the pain. Oh well, have to find something to keep me busy.........have a great w/end everyone & do something nice for someone. Dee:)

Sad news about the death of Hattie. My heart goes out to her daughters and husband.

Bananas going extinct? Say it isn't so. I need my daily banana to avoid leg cramps. They are loaded with magnesium which helps the relaxation of muscles. So many benefits from that yellow fruit.

The cartoonists from Australia gave me a laugh and I needed one today. However, seeing those insane guys with a death wish on that girder again will produce a nightmare for me. I have a phobia about heights and two fears - drowning and falling.

Those Aussies do have a strong and relevant sense of humor.
And all the other fine reads.
As always, a fun way to start a Saturday. Thanks.

I loved everything!
Saddened about Hattie, though. Hugs to her dear family

So sorry to hear about Hattie, and I echo Simone's suggestion to question everything and be curious in her remembrance.

All the articles today were interesting and entertaining, and the one on the dancing baby meme still has me both laughing and cringing, at the same time.

Glad to see you chose a pigeon-related Wizard of Id cartoon. My friend, the pigeon whisperer, who rescues ones who have been hurt, would appreciate that pigeons are featured twice here today. She's constantly fighting the stigma about pigeons being 'rats with wings,' when they are actually very intelligent animals which have performed many services for humans over the centuries.

Thank you for another entertaining Saturday, and I hope you're having a good weekend!

Sorry to hear about Hattie.

Excellent tips about how to do the right thing for friends undergoing cancer treatment. My sibling is on the same path. There is a local cancer wellness center where cancer patients can take yoga, meditation, counselling, etc. It's a beautiful place to spend a few hours.

Do you have something similar where you live?

One day at a time.

You are progressing well, Ronni. Respect.

I like that show "Suits."

And I love bananas.

Those OZ cartoons..

HOLY €£^%# imagine waking up beside *?

Based on his alleged junk food diet, his gas attacks must be ...

Oh no.



My condolences to you for the death of your husband.

The grief must be considerable given the years you were together and your expressed feelings about moving forward without him.

For now, take extra-good care of yourself and know you have friends here.

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