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INTERESTING STUFF – 8 September 2018


As Laughing Squid explained recently:

”When hoodied musician Dr K (Brendan Kavanaugh) of Badass Boogie encountered a couple of teenagers who had never heard of Boogie Woogie, he sat down at the Yamaha Platform 88 public piano and rocked a mean Boogie Woogie tune to school them musically on the finer points of the genre.”

There is something about impromptu public music that is such great fun:

That reminds me of one of my all-time, top favorite boogie woogie tracks. I must have posted this in the past but it is more than worth a rerun. From the late, great Long John Baldry, Don't Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll.


As the dictionary company explains in their introduction to those new 840 words,

”A dictionary is almost like a glossary of life: peek inside and you see descriptions of everything around you. The addition of new words to a dictionary is a step in the continuous process of recording our ever-expanding language.”

I was intrigued right away by this one: TL;DR. Maybe you know it already. I didn't:

”Too long; didn't read — used to say that something would require too much time to read”

Speaking of too long, 840 is a lot of words to wade through. Fortunately, MentalFloss chose 25 of them to highlight. Two examples:

“Hangry (adj.) Irritable or angry because of hunger. People have been hangry (or at least using the word) since 1956.

“Rando (n) According to Merriam-Webster, this 'often disparaging' slang means 'A random person: a person who is not known or recognizable or whose appearance (as in a conversation or narrative) seems unprompted or unwelcome.'”

There are another 23 at MentalFloss, and the whole 840 at Merriam-Webster.


In this short, little video, John McWhorter, a professor of linquistics at Columbia University, talks about how texting and other electronic shorthand has changed how we speak – for the better, he says.

(Apparently, putting annoying, nonsense music behind the speaker's audio is, to the producer, a feature, not a bug. Sorry I can't delete it for you.)

What do you think? Does he have a point?


The Two Ronnies was a BBC television comedy show that aired on BBC One from April 1971 to December 1987. All these years later, their sketches hold up – just as funny now as then. Our good friend Darlene Costner sent this:


Do you recall reading Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates when you were a kid? Do you remember the part in the story about the kid who plugged a hole in the dyke with his finger?

Now, there is a modern-day, real-life version:

”It may sound like something straight out of a cartoon,” reports Mother Nature News, “but on the morning of Aug. 30, it was the only thing astronaut Alexander Gerst could think of.

“After receiving word from NASA that the International Space Station was very slowly leaking air, Gerst and five other astronauts starting scouring all over for the source. Upon finding the 2-millimeter (0.08-inch) hole in the docked Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft, Gerst did what many of us would likely do — he stuck his finger over the opening.:”

In what must be one of the most massive understatements ever spoken (well, at least about space), NASA's Mission Control noted:

"'Right now Alex has got his finger on that hole and I don't think that's the best remedy for it.'”

There is follow-up reporting with more detail and new information at The Guardian.


Ancestry.com did some digging and came up with the most common surnames in each of the individual United States.

Here's a map with the top three in each state. (I'm pretty sure Ancestry misspoke: certainly they meant to say the most common, not most popular since no one is choosing their surname.)


Well, that's way too small to try to read. Go see a readable version here.

The top three in my state, Oregon, are Smith, Johnson and Miller – which is close to true for almost every state.

You can also search for the origins and meanings of your own or anyone's surname.


Living spaces smaller than the dimensions of a parking space. This is incredibly sad. You should watch it anyway.


If you mostly watch cable news or read the front pages of newspapers, the only news happening this week were the Supreme Court nomination hearings and that unknown person who wrote an anonymous Op-Ed description of chaos in the White House published in The New York Times.

Even if it is not widely reported, other news does happen. In this case, one item is about American citizens who are being denied passports by the Trump administration:

"Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question,” reports the Washington Post, among other news sources.

“The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown.”

Juan's U.S. birth record shows he was delivered by a midwife. “He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard,” continues the Post.

“But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen...

“In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States.”

The story is too long to copy here. You should know more about this – most of those affected have brown skin - more at The Post.

Don't ever forget Martin Niemoller's poem: “First they came for the socialists, but I wasn't a socialist...”


As the YouTube page explains:

”A custom-made contraption has catapulted the Oregon Zoo’s cheetahs toward a new level of fitness. Dubbed the 'cheetahpult,' it’s an 8-foot wooden device that flings a ball far enough for a cheetah — the fastest land animal on earth — to chase.

“After more conventional ball launchers fell short, the cheetahpult was designed and built by staff members with the zoo’s speediest residents in mind.”

My god, these animals are beautiful.

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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.


That was some great toe-tappng boogie woogie! Haven't heard any in decades.

What surprises me about TL;DR is that the originator knew enough to use a semicolon, and it has remained. I didn't realize LOL had devolved from anything less than Laugh Out Loud. I guess I'll have to find another response. But ROFL and ROFLMAO are too much if it isn't really hilarious.

Ahh, the big cats. All beautiful, but tigers have always been my favorites.

I highly recommend a "video" Google of the Two Ronnies. Not only were they hilarious together but solo as well. Ah memories, memories!

The cheetahs are so elegant and graceful, delightful to watch. Thank you.

Had heard the cheetah was very dog-like. The video confirmed....dropping the ball in a bucket for another go!!

This was a particularly interesting "Interesting Stuff." Thank you, Ronni

Some years ago I had the pleasure of hearing Bob Seeley perform in East Lansing -- he was IN.CREDIBLE Detroit Boogie Woogie.

Check it out.

When I read that Alex Gerst Used his finger to plug the Space Station leak, I thought out loud, "next comes the duct tape". Sure enough, upon reading the Guardian's piece, there it was: "tape" . When I lived on a sailing boat and later, in an RV, I never went anywhere without a role of the duct tape.

The name distribution piece had few surprises but after checking out Iowa's names (there are two unrelated Williams among our 50 surnames in our Coop). I jumped to California, my native land, and had a giggle over the three Hispanic names in that huge state.

One wonders how the population of Hong Kong can keep growing amidst the lack of space and privacy. People will always find a way.

Thanks for the Boogie Woogie and the cheetahs.

Got to see Long John perform that; he was a generous performer, one of a kind.
and not the only cool cat in this assortment!

Dr. K. can really boogie down. Wonderful. Was that an airport he was in, no one stopping to listen really??

That name map was interesting, we have a family branch of Browns (my maternal grandmother) in Oregon that came from New York originally and it was interesting to see how the Browns were clustered there and nearby.

The living situation in Hong Kong is a nightmare, how long before that happens here? Scary in a country with so many minimum wage job holders who can't afford even a 1 bedroom apt. alone, not to mention the elderly poor.

Seeing how they are crammed into such tiny spaces makes me guilty for living alone in a 3 br house with two bathrooms. I am grateful that I wasn't born someplace else and think I would have a massive case of claustrophobia if I had to live in a closet.

Boogie Woogie really took me back to my teenage years. I had my own boogie beat and made up the treble to go along with it. Each time it was different and that's the fun of boogie.

So by 1971 books were already being disrespected. Not surprising. To me, the best thing about the boogie-playing video is that there are still young people who know about music written before yesterday.

Citizen Juan’s passport dilemma is horrifying, but that whole sorry episode in U.S. policy seems to have been forgotten by the media because of the newest Trump fiasco. But that is one way he might win in the end—it is simply impossible to keep up with his daily offenses against humanity.

Boogie woogie always makes me want to shake my (now quite expansive) tail feathers!

Every day I read the news about trumpie and wonder how this could possibly be happening in my country. I guess the Age of Aquarius is well over.

I've heard cheetahs are tamable - how wonderful it would be to have such a beautiful creature sit by you, and stroke it!

Next up, denying passports and citizenship to political enemies.

On LOL -- does anyone remember when this meant Little Old Lady, especially one driving a car too slowly or otherwise not up to speed (so to speak)?

Yes! Cassandra. But I'd forgotten until this moment and now your reminder has brought to mind the phrase "little old lady in tennis shoes" from decades ago when no one (except LOLs) would be caught dead wearing tennis shoes as a fashion item.

LOL always meant Lots of love to me until I learned texting had turned it into lots of laughs. Remember when postal service mail, we sometimes wrote SWAK on the envelope after sealing? I had great fun with my granddtr writing that on a letter to her. Even my dtr was stymied for a time, then she remembered.

I don't agree with McWhorter on writing. Expect those growing up without being expected to write as we know it, simply won't know any difference so writing won't matter to them. Also, I understand actually learning cursive writing is no longer being taught to young students. I'm constantly amazed when I see video of so many young children and the laborious awkward-appearing manner in which they are grasping a writing tool. Technological progress moves on!

Passport issues come as no surprise to me. Wise people made sure to at least get one while they could, immediately after the administration change, if not before. We might wonder if obtaining one in the future might become more difficult -- even if we simply want to travel for pleasure out of the country.

Also, so much of the comedic hoopla can be very entertaining, but serves to distract citizens from what we might well be better focused on -- all the alterations, changes, cancellations of policies adversely affecting our lives being promulgat


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