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INTERESTING STUFF – 4 August 2018

THE MAYOR OF A GHOST TOWN

The town in question is Ballarat in Death Valley, California which has been abandoned for 100 years. The man is Rock Novak and he is the only resident.

Here is his story produced by Michey Todiwala and Monika Delgado.

You can read more at The Atlantic.

MARCEL MARCEAU'S SILENT RESISTANCE TO THE NAZIS

I've never been a mime fan – the art has always felt a little creepy to me but everyone – at least of our generation – has heard of Marcel Marceu and this is an amazing story about him I'd never heard. From the YouTube page:

”...before he cemented his place in performance history, Marceau’s knack for performing made him a unique asset to French resistance against Nazi forces during World War II. As the story goes, Marceau helped a group of children escape Nazi-occupied France by using his skills of mimicry to safely lead them into Switzerland.”

Learn more in this video:

RBG INTENDS TO STAY ON SUPREME COURT

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg - “Notorious RBG” - say she intends to stay on the Court for at least five more years.

After attending a performance of the play, The Originalist, about the late Justice Antonin Scalia, last Sunday, Ginsburg spoke to the press for a few minutes:

"'I'm now 85,' Ginsburg said on Sunday. 'My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years...

"'My dear spouse would say that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle - it is the pendulum,' Ginsburg said. 'And when it goes very far in one direction you can count on its swinging back.'”

You can read more at CNN.

THE PEACOCK CLOCK OF THE HERMITAGE

One of the great things about the internet that rarely gets mentioned is all the places and things we can see that we would probably never visit in our lifetimes. One for me is the Peacock Clock at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

”The clock was brought to Russia in pieces. At Potiomkin's request the Russian mechanic Ivan Kulibin set it in working order.

“From 1797 to the present day the Peacock Clock has been one of the Hermitage's most famous exhibits. It is, moreover, the only large 18th-century automaton in the world to have come down to us unaltered and in a functioning condition.”

There is much more to read at the YouTube page, and thank Darlene Costner for sending this.

JOHN OLIVER ON WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

It has been several weeks since host John Oliver has been at the desk of his weekly HBO program, Last Week Tonight. Last Sunday he was back and in his inimitable way, he examined workplace sexual harassment which has been such a prominent news story this year.

WARNING: CUTE OVERLOAD

A pet otter awakes. That's all you need to know.

TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WANT ROE V. WADE TO STAND

Much is being made of Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh's position on Roe v. Wade – that he apparently would like to see the abortion decision overturned. According to a July Gallup poll, Americans do not agree:

”Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide should stand...That is up 11 percentage points from 53 percent in 2012...,” reports Politico.

“Twenty-eight percent of respondents in the Gallup poll say the ruling should be overturned, down 1 percentage point from 2012. Nine percent said they have no opinion.

“The results showed partisan differences: Eighty-one percent of Democrats are against overturning Roe v. Wade compared with 41 percent of Republicans.”

You can read more at Politico.

A LIFE CHANGING WAVE

According to the Los Angeles Times, Koa Smith caught a once-in-a-lifetime wave:

”Perched precariously on his surfboard, the 23-year-old from Hawaii rode a wave off the coast of Namibia, on the western shore of Africa, for 120 straight seconds.

“He stayed upright for nearly a mile as he traveled through an unheard-of eight barrels — the hollow formed by the curve of the wave as it breaks over the rider's head.

“Smith and videographer Chris Rogers filmed the entire ride using both a drone that hovered overhead, and a GoPro attached to a mouthpiece that Smith wore while he rode.”

Even I, who doesn't give a whit about surfing, was spellbound watching this. Here are both views – first person and then the drone:

THE SMALLEST WILD CATS ON EARTH

I had never heard of rusty spotted cats until now. Native to India and Sri Lanka and endangered, full-grown they are kitten-size – 2.2 to 3.5 pounds (1-1.6 kg) which is 200 times smaller than a lion, they tell us.

Here is a video from a BBC1 program that aired in January:

That was so cute, I wanted more and tracked down this Twitter video of another clip from the BBC1 program showing the little black-footed cat of Africa. It is only slightly larger (1 to 2.5 kg or 2.2 to 5.5 lbs) than the rusty spotted cat.

Read more about these two tiny wild cats here and here.

* * *

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.

Comments

Love the videos! I wish I could take up surfing. That tiny cat is beautiful!

The surfing was amazing. What a gorgeous stretch of unspoiled beach and waves. And not another soul in sight. The surfer must have been ecstatic.

I'm a cat lover but had never heard of the tiny African cats. I hope their being filmed now doesn't lead to their exploitation. Tiny is adorable.

RBG looked so tiny and frail with Stephen Colbert last night. I hope she can last another five years.

Anita Hill's poise and restraint now, as then, is that of a fine teacher.

As usual, great Sat. post. Thanks Ronni. I saw Marcel Marceau perform many years ago & he was quite marvelous. Never cared for mimes until seeing him.
Long live Justice Ginsberg........she's my hero. Dee :):)

John Oliver really tackles the tough subjects and I am so glad he took up this issue. I vividly remember how angry I was with my Democratic Senator when he voted to put Clarence Thomas on SCOTUS. I believed Anita Hill then and I do now. Thomas has proven to be a bad Justice and was not qualified to serve then and should never have been confirmed.

Long live Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Please! She is the most intelligent Justice on the court now and without her all is lost.

I never cared for Mimes. I agree that they, along with clowns, are rather creepy. So it was nice to find that Marcel Marceau was a real hero during the terrible occupation by Germany. It changes my perspective for the better.

Many years ago I read a book called "Tarka The Otter" and have been beguiled by otters ever since. What darling faces they have! And those chirps! And I think those tiny cats are literally awesome with their combination of beauty and efficiency. Cats are wonderful animals in every way, and I firmly believe that they are related to otters! Both species love to play.

RBG!!!

Terrific conversation between John Oliver and Anita Hill! I liked it so much that I re-posted (with credit) the video on my own blog. Fortunately, among the thousands of men with whom I attended school and worked (as an engineer who began college in 1955, you can imagine!) very few of them treated women (or men?) so poorly. Most were considerate, thoughtful people.

Anita Hill possesses such grace, commitment and competence. I was heart-struck by John Oliver's facial and worded response to her last suggestion of how men might respond. And good on him for asking.

RBG, Marcel Marceau and John Oliver deserve awards for humanitarianism beyond the ordinary. Rather, beyond the extraordinary.

Also liked the peacock clock and can imagine the dedication and joy of he who made it.

That said, my reaction at first shot of St. Petersburg building and all it's gold was that the desire for those elaborate, "look at ME and mine!" trappings might reflect a superiority attitude that join the Mango Moron and Prickly Putin at the hip.

I vividly remember the Anita Hill testimony and the appalling behavior of the questioners. I was teaching an English class on research, which included identifying propaganda and reading between the lines. We spent a whole class on those hearings, and one of my students said, "They are naming a perjurer to the Supreme Court." I used to say that was when I lost my innocence about how government works. Hill made fools of them all, and they were so full of themselves they didn't know it. Only Ted Kennedy stood up for her, but his past behavior undercut him. And then there was Thomas himself, looking guilty as hell and claiming himself the victim of a "high class lynching."

All interesting "stuff". Being from California originally, I can appreciate great surfing, although I never had the ability to do it myself. Since I love most things cat (cleaning 3 litterboxes maybe not so much), the African tiny cats were fascinating.

Onward, RBG and Roe v. Wade, too!! Many of us on TGB can probably remember clearly when abortion was not legal. I am beyond furious to contemplate that women's reproductive health may end up in the hands of four right-tilting white males and one ultra-right Black male. Hey guys, this is NOT a male issue--but, of course, it is because it's a male power and CONTROL issue, isn't it?).

I love and respect John Oliver.....BUT...his barbs aimed at young people are ageist. We can't fight to end ageism towards older people while finding it acceptable and funny when it's aimed at others. The Gray Panthers have always known that generations working together is how change happens.
PS Baby otter yawning made my day.

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