ARCHIVES - MAY 2002 TO OCTOBER 2002
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BROOKS AS NOSTRADAMUS
A recent TV replay of Mel Brooks' satirical
1974 film Blazing Saddles reveals that in addition to sprinkling the 19th
century plot with dozens of hilarious 20th century anachronisms, Brooks
foreshadowed two events which occurred more than 20 years after the film was
made. Read all about it by clicking on MEL
THERE'S A GRAYPOW NETWORK!
WEBSITE AND WEDDING
We are pleased to see that several recipients of
GRAYPOW awards for the world's best websites for senior citizens have published
stories about this e-book. The daily news magazine Senior
Journal (San Antonio, Texas) ran a flattering article by editor Tucker
Sutherland, and selected stories are regularly featured in the monthly
Journal (Tennessee) and Canadian
Senior Years (Ontario). 0210
Every morning, as soon as we board
the magic carpet of the Internet, our first stopping place is the small town of
Hurricane, Utah, where we find Ian Scott-Parker's beguiling pictorial website, One
Day at a Time. After enjoying his daily offering for a week or so, and
noticing that many of his selections showed scenes of the English countryside,
we realised that Ian must be a homesick Pom (sorry, nostalgic Englishman) who
had somehow found himself living in desert country not far from Las Vegas,
Nevada. To read about Ian and his wife Beth, click on HURRICANE.
HEARTS MAY BE BITTER SWEET
Green M&Ms aren't the only candy calculated to promote young
love. Love Hearts may also do the trick. English sweetmakers (candymakers)
Swizzels Matlow Ltd. sold 80 million tubes of Love Hearts last year. In the
U.S., an offbeat company called Despair Inc, in Austin, Texas, makes
BitterSweets. Their simple logo says it all. It's :-(
Read about them in the
BARE INGREDIENTS. 0210
FRONT PAGES FOR FREE!
Thanks to the Newseum, the interactive museum of news in Washington
DC, we can now inspect the day's front pages of well over100 newspapers from
many parts of the world at the click of a mouse. It's a great free service,
although heavily U.S.-centric. Of the linked newspapers, by far the most are
U.S. publications, including the New York Times and New York Post.
The UK is represented by London's Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, while
Australia has only The Australian (Sydney) and the Courier-Mail
(Brisbane). Africa misses out altogther. See Today's
Front Pages. 0210
Shortly before Sydney's
2000 Olympics, we warned, tongue in cheek: "If you plan to visit Sydney,
Australia, be sure your reservations are for the right destination - there are
Sydneys (and Sidneys) all over the place (20 in U.S.) You could end up in a
South African big-game lodge, or near the scene of the legendary feud between
the Hatfields and McCoys." We had to wait two years for the payoff.
Last month, BBC News reported that an Internet booking mix-up had left a young
English couple holidaying in chilly Sydney, Nova Scotia, instead of on the
sun-kissed beaches of the Australian city of the same name. For their sad
story, click on WRONG
OLDEST REPORTER IS 96!
This month we salute Dina Sundby, who, at 96, is
probably the world's oldest reporter. Hard on her heels are famous international
radio commentator Alistair Cooke, who'll be 94 in November, and the Pentagon's
fabled journo, Raymond Cromley, who's 91. This article has been published by two
senior citizens' webzines, Vintage
Journal (U.S.) and Canadian
Senior Years. Read Oldest Reporter.
AND SYDNEY ARE EMERALD CITIES
It's easy to see
why both Seattle (Washington) and Sydney (Australia) are called Emerald City - just
compare their towering skylines with pictures of the Wizard of Oz's home
town. As everyone knows, after reading The Wonderful City of Oz or seeing
the 1939 film starring Judy Garland, a cyclone whisked Dorothy from her home
farm in Kansas to the imaginary land of Oz (not our real land of that name). She
and her friends followed the Yellow Brick Road to meet the Wizard, who lived in
the Emerald City - "a mass of towers and steeples behind green walls,
and high up above everything, the spires and dome of the Palace of Oz." For
story and photos, please click on EMERALD
JOURNAL WINS GRAYPOW AWARD
We have great pleasure in presenting a GRAYPOW
award (for the world's best gray power sites) to the Senior
Journal. It's a marvelous daily news service for senior citizens. Apart from
dozens of news stories, it contains many pages covering a fascinating range of
HAS BIGGEST BUGS?
You wouldn't think they would want to boast about it, but
the United States and Canada both claim they have the world's largest mosquitoes
and grasshoppers. The tiny towns of Clute, Texas and Komarno, Manitoba are
equally proud of their huge mosquito statues, while Regent, North Dakota and
Wilkie, Saskatchewan both claim to have The World's Largest Grasshopper. To
read the details and see the statues, click on BUGS.
MEAT PIES WITH SPICE!
Who would have thought the humble meat pie could be described as sexy? Well,
the people at Holland's Pies, of Baxenden, Lancashire, England, did so earlier
this year. "Want to check out your Valentine's appetite for love?" their website
asked. "Then clock what sort of pie they prefer to munch! We sponsored a
seduction survey, which claims the filling he chooses and the size of his
portion is a real giveaway." For further funny facts, click on Meat Pies.
THE GRAYPOW STAMP
Unfurl the banners, call out the band! ... And
now, ladies and gentlemen, we present for your edification and delectation (drumroll)
the GRAYPOW STAMP (boom, tish). It's a genuine personalised postage
stamp, printed for us oldies by Australia Post. It shows the logo LIFE BEGINS AT
50, which we awarded last month as a tribute to nine of the world's best Grey
Power websites for senior citizens. If you would like one of these unique
stamps, see the panel below the GRAYPOW STAMP story.
ENGLISH: WORSE THAN DOUBLE DUTCH!
English spelling is guaranteed to
confuse even those of us who have spoken the language all our lives. Sometimes,
when we find our mother tongue difficult to understand, we say "it sounds
like double Dutch." A Dutch school teacher and author, Dr. Gerard
Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), returned the compliment when he wrote a long
Chaos. For more quirky words, click on CANADIAN
SENIOR YEARS. 0208
WITH THEIR HEADS!
Here's a good question for a trivia quiz: What common
thread links Venus de Milo, Christopher Columbus, the Little Mermaid, Queen
Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher? ANSWER: Their statues have been beheaded.
Like the practice of burning people in effigy, statue lopping goes back a long
way. Osimo, in Italy (named not after Osama bin Laden, but in honor of San
Giuseppe) is known as "the city without heads," because of a
display of ancient beheaded statues in the Council Palace. To read on, please
click BEHEADED. 0208
GODDESSES IN TWO GARLIC CAPITALS
across North America may detect a familiar, pungent aroma which delights some,
but repels others. It's smoke rising from the Great Garlic Battle, being fought
by two U.S. rural communities nearly 3000 miles apart. Read
our story by clicking on
THE INTERNET NAMESAKES GAME
Who else shares your name? Anyone can play The
Namesakes Game on the Internet. It can be lots of fun and full of surprises. Our
introduction to the game occurred when we searched the Net to gather information
about a distinguished Australian, Dr Barry Jones, A.O. We discovered that Barry
Jones is the name of a politician, film star, baseball pitcher, professor,
hypnotist and crystal gazer. For the full story, click on BARRY
AWARDS FOR SENIORS' SITES
These days, millions of senior citizens enjoy
exploring the Internet, and hundreds of websites are offering them valuable
guidance. As publishers of the world's first multi-national e-book, LIFE BEGINS AT 80, we
believe we should encourage these admirable youngsters (hey, some of them are only in
their 50s!) So we have great pleasure in presenting the world's first GRAYPOW
awards to nine outstanding Gray Power websites listed HERE.
WOMBATS, Å, AND RAGGED ASS ROAD
hunters and camera-toting tourists visiting Australia are intrigued by
illustrated signs warning motorists to avoid hitting kangaroos, koalas,
hairy-nosed wombats, bandicoots, camels, emus, echidnas, lyrebirds, cattle,
horses and sheep. Souvenir shops sell thousands of replicas of these genuine
signs, which are also displayed on placemats, stickers and refrigerator magnets.
Roadsign collecting may well be the 21st century's version of stamp-collecting. To
read on, please click on WOMBATS.
FROM Å TO Y - BY INTERNET
Seasoned globetrotters may boast of
having toured the world from A to Z (Australia to Zimbabwe), but few, if any,
have travelled from Å (pronounced Aw) to Y (pronounced E). Those are two
little-known places with the world's shortest names. Å (population 150)
is a tiny fishing hamlet in the Lofoten Islands, north-west Norway, while Y
is an even smaller French village, with only 29 inhabitants. To read more
about them, click on Å TO Y.
ARE POLICE CALLED COPS?
No-one knows for sure. Some think that the term came
from the copper buttons on the uniforms of the first police force in London, or
from the copper badges carried by New York's first police sergeants (patrolmen
are said to have had brass badges and senior officers silver). Others believe
that COP is an acronym for Constable On Patrol. But word experts
poo-pooh those suggestions. For the most likely answer, click on COPS.
One of the popular "fun" messages which has been
bouncing around the Internet for years, and posted on a thousand websites, has
been updated, and now begins: For all of you who will never make "Who
Wants to be a Millionaire?" or even "The Weakest Link," here's
the World's Easiest Quiz. As happens all too often on the Internet, the
source of the original information is omitted, so its author receives no credit
for his efforts. All you are asked to do, is answer 10 simple questions. To
do so, please click on QUIZ.
THIS THE SOLUTION TO GUM POLLUTION?
Humphrey Squier, of Rochford, Essex (the
English county where webmaster Barry Downs and I were born) has a radical idea
to end world chewing gum pollution. "Now that EU directives make
manufacturers of, for example, cars and white goods responsible for their
disposal at the end of their worthwhile life, what about chewing gum?" he
asks, in a letter to The Times. Even the most placid characters are
infuriated when they accidentally step on a freshly-discarded wad of sticky gum,
and have difficulty scraping it off their shoes. To read on, please click on CHEWING
IS DANDY, BUT LOLLY IS FOLLY
"Don't do your lolly!"
I've sometimes been advised, in moments of righteous anger. That phrase is the
Australian equivalent of Don't flip your lid (US), Don't get your
knickers in a twist (UK) or simply Cool it! (universal). To
Australians, lollies are what others know as sweets (UK) or candy
(US). For most of my life I've wondered what possible connection there could be
between these two kinds of lolly. You can find the strange answer by
clicking on LOLLY. 0206
GREEN M&Ms TURN YOU ON?
teenagers around the world firmly believe that green M&Ms contain a
mysterious substance that promotes young love. It's an enduring myth, which has
boosted sales of the sugar-coated chocolate candy for 20 years. To read the
full story, click on Green
PAT SOLLEY, SOUPERWOMAN
More than a year ago, we posted an article in which we
said "Of the many thousands of food writers crowding the Internet, Pat
Solley is probably the wittiest. And what she doesn't know about soup, the
world's favorite winter food, just isn't worth knowing." Last month, a Washington
Post staff writer, Candy Sagon, wrote a great story about Pat, under the heading Souper
Woman - Mild-Mannered FBI Scribe by Day; Stockpot-Stirring, Recipe-Seeking, Soup
Enthusiast by Night. You can read it by clicking on WASHINGTON
POST. You can enjoy Pat's remarkable website by clicking on http://www.soupsong.com. 0206
ARE SO TOUGH FOR HITCHMOUGH AND ROUGH
Pity the plight of Peter Hitchmough, of Disley, Cheshire, England. "We
Hitchmoughs, Whatmoughs, Oughs and Roughs
find our names doubly cursed: you can't say it and you can't spell it,"
he wailed in a letter to The Times (London). For more about this
vexing problem, click on TOUGH!
Australia's Flying Pieman, English-born William Francis King.
was famous in the mid 1800s for his remarkable athletic achievements and
eccentric behaviour. He twice beat the Sydney to Windsor mail coach (35 miles)
on foot, walked the 18 miles from Sydney to Parramatta and back twice a day, for
six consecutive days, and walked from Campbelltown to Sydney (33 miles) in under
nine hours while carrying a 70 lb dog. For further details, click on FLYING
WASTE OF FOOD!
With millions facing starvation, there must be many
party-poopers who deplore the forthcoming Yorkshire Pudding Boat Race as a
senseless waste of valuable food, on a par with Italian farmers hurling tons of
ripe tomatoes for another annual TV event. To read on, please click on the UK
WELCOMES JIMMY CARTER
Former US president Jimmy Carter is sure to receive a
warm welcome from Granma when he visits Cuba later this month. "Carter, who
has been invited by President Fidel Castro, is a critic of the prolonged U.S.
blockade of the island," said Granma, when plans for the visit were first
announced. To find out about Granma, click HERE.
IS THE WORLD'S WALLEYE CAPITAL?
Anglers are notorious for stretching
the truth, so it's no surprise to find that several places in the United States,
Canada and the Netherlands are claimed to be the World's Walleye Capital. To
read the details, click on WALLEYE.
BRITS PAY A POUND FOR A POUND CAKE,
BUT DOLLAR CAKES MAKE MORE CENTS
usually cost two to three dollars in United States restaurants these days, but
pound cakes may still be bought for a pound in Britain. Pound cakes, of course,
weren't named after the English sovereign (pound sterling), but were called
pound cakes because in the old days cooks used a pound weight of each of four
basic ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs and flour) to make them.. What will
happen when we all have to get used to metric weights? Somehow Kilogram Cakes
wouldn't taste nearly as good. (How about calling them Cagey (Kg) Cakes?) For
more about Pound and Dollar Cakes, click on BARE
Here's a story from our local bi-weekly newspaper, the
Gosford Central Coast Express Advocate, a tiny dinghy in Rupert Murdoch's
News Corporation global fleet (whose London missile carriers, The Times
and The Sun, left their home port in FLEET Street years ago). To read it, please click on EXPRESS.
All above articles copyright © 2002. Eric