Maya Angelou – On Aging
ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2019

INTERESTING STUFF – 28 December 2019


Lost amid Christmas hubbub and never-ending Trump chaos, was the death of Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert) last Sunday at his home in Maui, Hawaii.

He started out as a Harvard professor, shared 1960s fame promoting psychedelics with fellow Harvard professor Timothy Leary and after a trip to India, spent the rest of his life as spiritual leader beloved by millions.

In September, a biographical film, Becoming Nobody, was released. Here is the theatrical trailer:

The film will become available on DVD on 20 January 2020 here. His many books are available at most of the usual places.

I met Ram Dass once, briefly, in the 1970s, and greatly respect him. There are a bunch of good obituaries online. Here are three of them:

New York Times
Huffington Post
Rolling Stone


A couple of polar bear cubs rolling around in the the snow and crawling all over mama on a cold winter's day.


Take a look at this guy's hat – I want one:


Steve Ghan is a climate scientist. Here's what The Los Angeles Times says about him:

”He spent 28 years at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., building the complex climate models that — together with many other lines of evidence — helped confirm humanity’s role in warming the planet. Advocacy was not part of his portfolio.

“'We naively thought, Well, OK, we’ve done our job, now the politicians are going to make decisions,’ he said. 'But that’s not the way it worked.'

“So Ghan bucked tradition and began speaking publicly about the risks of climate change. And these days, more and more scientists are making the same choice.

“They are rejecting the idea that researchers should stick to the data and let others figure out what to do with it. Driven by the lack of climate action, they are marching in the streets, signing on to manifestos and even getting arrested — all in the name of avoiding the worst effects of global warming.”

The thing is, I really want one of those hats. I think every one of us who understands that climate change is anything but the hoax the president says it is should wear one of these blue hats. Imagine if they became an ubiquitous as those red hats. I wish I knew where to get one.

Your can read more – and please do – at The Los Angeles Times.


Or, as it is also called, handimals. TGB reader and Reader Story contributor Jack Handley sent this item and wait until you see what he is talking about.

The artist is Guido Daniele of Milan, Italy. (Just hit the pause button on your browser if you want more time with an image):

There is a lot more about Mr. Daniele at his website and still images of more handimals here.


Good question. Here is part of what Mental Floss tells us:

”Unlike baking chocolate, chocolate chips differ in that they tend to have a lower amount of cocoa butter, which makes them more resistant to heat. Some chips also have stabilizers and emulsifiers like soy lecithin to help them maintain their shape—the chips are essentially engineered to resist attempts to turn them into liquid.

“Chips like Nestlé's Morsels do, in fact, melt when baked. But because the cookie dough has firmed up around them, the chips retain their shape. After the cookie has cooled, the chocolate solidifies once more, giving the appearance of a chip that has been unaffected by the heat.”

There is more detail and some background on chocolate chip cookies at Mental Floss.


People who learn English as a second language often complain about confusing way it is spelled and pronounced.

A Dutch writer, traveler and educator named Dr. Gerard Nolst Trenité took the pronunciation complaint seriously and wrote a poem titled The Chaos about it. Mental Floss (again) explains:

“...a poem written in 1920 perfectly encapsulates the baffling nature of English. In fact, it's so tricky that even native English speakers with college degrees may struggle to get through it without botching a word...

“It starts out easy, then gets progressively harder.”

You can follow along in this video:

There is an even longer version written by The English Spelling Society published in 1990s – 274 lines compared to the original 146 lines in the video. You can read that here [pdf] – sorry, no audio or video that I can find.

More information at Mental Floss.


Apparently the weather this weekend on the east coast of the United States is more like spring than winter. On the other side of the world, Australia is suffering horribly with the hottest temperatures on record and accompanying wild fires.

Here is something to cool off to from TGB reader Cathy Johnson. (I found the music really annoying so I hit the mute button.)


I promise this is the last Christmas video of the season but it could take place at any time of the year. It's a bit treacly for my taste but I like it anyway.

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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.


Hi Ronni,

If you type "meca hats" into Google search, you'll find the blue Make Earth Cool Again hat right away.

An as ESL teacher and tutor, I love the chaos poem. Didn't know about it, but will now put it to good use. Thanks!

Make Earth Cool Again hats and t-shirts are available on

Also available on Etsy at shop "Inspired Rebellion", several colors, I am ordering today! Thanks for all the great information and insight, Jen

I also ordered my blue hat--thanks!

We are in the 12 days of Christmas! Just sayin'!

Greta Thunberg tweeted, in response to describe 2019 in 5 words, "Our house is on fire."

Once again I am grateful to have been born into an English-speaking country. I can't imagine having to learn English as a second language.

I've never worn baseball caps, but I think it's high time to start a "Make Earth Cool Again" movement.

Susan R...

The two or three times I ever put on a baseball cap, I looked like a dork. They don't do anything positive for my looks or "look". But at my age, who cares and I like both the message and the contrast to all those red hats.

Thanks again for all the Interesting Stuff. Those hand animals are incredible!

And it's good to know, after having baked countless dozens over the past 50 years, why chocolate chips don't melt in cookies.

I want my German-made small Steiff soft toy golden bear! This pair of snow-white newborn twins reawakened a long dormant happy childhood memory. Thank you!

Thanks for Interesting Stuff. always good.

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