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Life Begins at 80...on the Internet
(Casting the Net from Au to Za)

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ARCHIVES - May 2007 TO October 2007

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Five ounces off a world record tomato
Canadian Gianfranco Sarin grew a huge, grotesque tomato in his Toronto backyard, hoping to break the long-standing world record of 7 pounds 12 ounces (3.52kg). It turned the scales at 7 pounds 7 ounces (3.175 kg). Nice try, but no cigar. 0710

Let's have a World Punctuation Day!
Nine out of 10 emails seem to contain at least one typographical error, better known as a typo. Never before have so many words been mangled. Is it caused by carelessness, keyboard clumsiness, or just plain ignorance? The U.S. celebrated its fourth annual National Punctuation Day on September 24. Let's make it a worldwide affair, when we name and shame offenders, and return faulty emails to their senders, with mistakes highlighted in red. 0710

Oysters and Guinness
My old friend Olive Riley, her helper Mike Rubbo and I enjoyed an Oysters and Guinness lunch at the heritage-listed Ye Olde Woy Woy Hotel the other day. Olive, who will be 108 on October 20, and is the world's oldest blogger, eagerly downed 14 Sydney Rock oysters, but shuddered when she sipped the Guinness, said it tasted too bitter, and then enjoyed a shandy (half beer, half lemonade). Millions of folk around the world with Irish blood in their veins believe that Guinness and oysters form a perfect meal. 0710

Is Olive's blob a blog or a blogalog?
Happy birthday to Olive Riley, "the world's oldest blogger," who will be 108 on October 20. All About Olive has touched the heartstrings of thousands of bloggers around the world, but a few carping critics have suggested that it's not a true blog, as Olive doesn't type it herself. 0710

Does Dord rhyme with Word?
To my great delight, Seattle wordsmith Anu Garg, author of the global newsletter A Word A Day, has just sent me an autographed copy of his latest book, The Dord, the Diglot, and an Avocado or Two. It's a bottler, a bobby dazzler, a cracker. Full of wonderfully weird words, with laughs on every page. It would make a great Christmas present. Read more about it HERE. 0710

Gordon Graham's humongous tomato
Twenty-one years ago Gordon Graham, an American painting contractor, grew a tremendous tomato weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces (3.52kg). It was as big as a lawn bowls ball and as heavy as a newborn babe. The Guinness Book of World Records certified that it was the world's largest tomato. And no one has grown a bigger one since then, although thousands have tried. 0709

No pullet surprise for the Z poets
Thirteen years ago, two American professors, Jerrold H. Zar and Gene Ziegler, separately composed brilliant poems about the internet, one called Candidate for a Pullet Surprise and the other beginning "If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port." More popular than any poem by Shakespeare, the witty verses were widely copied and often altered, but rarely attributed to the original authors. 0709

Blog plus Travelog equals Blogalog
Veteran international film maker Mike Rubbo has invented a new form of home entertainment. He calls it a blogalog -- a cross between a blog and a travelog. 0709

Olive Riley's Visit
To my great delight, Olive Riley (107), the world's oldest blogger, and her chronicler, filmmaker Mike Rubbo, paid me a visit one day last month. Mike recorded proceedings, and a few days later this entertaining and well-illustrated post (No. 31) appeared in Olive's "blob." 0709

Happy 94th birthday, Dad!
America's oldest blogger, Ray (Dad) White, of Knoxville, Tennessee, will be 94 tomorrow (September 2). It's a safe bet that (as usual) he'll rise before dawn, inspect his tomato patch, then tell his virtual family about his daily life as he sips a cup of coffee. His homely blog, Dad's Tomato Garden Journal, has chalked up 1200 posts and attracted more than 120,000 hits. Life Begins at 80 ... on the Internet has great pleasure in sending him a well-deserved Graypow Award. 0709

The printer's devil: Typo is his mane
Oldtime printers used to recite or sing an Ode to the Typographical Error back in the days when a printer had to set every word by hand, carefully picking out each metal letter one at a time "There was a convenient belief among printers that there was a special devil in every print-shop," says Chas. Jones, of Britain's WritersServices.com. "At night, or when the printer was not watching, this pesky demon would iuvert letters, mizspell a word or perhaps remove an entire or even a complete line... Mistakes were inevitable, and the printer's devil took the blame." 0708

Liverpudlia was a joke
Liverpudlians are agog. Their city of half a million people is buzzing with plans to celebrate its status as the European Capital of Culture for 2008. Never heard of Liverpudlia? No wonder. Its real name is Liverpool. One of Britain's largest cities, it's celebrating its 800th anniversary this year . Its citizens are popularly called Liverpudlians as the result of an ancient joke... and the Beatles were the most famous of all Liverpudlians. 0708

Olive Riley (107 years young) charms the world
Thousands of internet users from Iceland to Argentina look fondly on 107-year-old Olive Riley as their favourite grandma. In fact, she's a great-great-grandmother. She holds the title of the world's oldest blogger, being 12 years older than the previous titleholder, Maria Amelia, of Spain. Here's a story just published by our local monthly magazine, The Woy Woy Peninsula Voice. 0708

Wrong firemen given credit
Kindhearted bloggers around the world are eagerly copying and praising a heart-warming news story about Brisbane firemen granting a boy's dying wish to be a fireman just like them. It's a real tearjerker -- a two-tissue read. The story is true... except for two trifling errors unknown to the bloggers. 0707

World's oldest YouTuber is 107
Australia's Olive Riley, at 107 indisputably the world's oldest blogger, is probably the world's oldest YouTuber as well. The feisty great-great-grandmother stars in a new video that looks like attracting great interest. In non-technical terms, millions of web surfers can now see and hear this senior citizen with a remarkable memory, as well as read amusing and colorful posts from her blog (she calls it her blob). 0707

Too many camels? Let's eat them!
Can you guess which country is home to an estimated million camels? If you thought it would be Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan, China or Mongolia (the Gobi Desert), you'd be wrong. The correct answer is Australia, where wild camels have multiplied to reach plague numbers. 0706

Porkopolis a metropolis? In a pig's eye!
In a pig's eye is an American rhyming slang phrase meaning That's a lie, or I don't believe you. We Aussies have a similar phrase, referring to the rear end of the porcine anatomy. How would you like to live in a town called Pig's Eye? Some of its early settlers became so tired of being ridiculed that they changed its comical name to a far more respectable one - Saint Paul. 0706

Two oldest bloggers take flight
Anything you can do, I can do better; I can do anything better than you! That could well be the theme song of the world's two oldest bloggers, Australia's Olive Riley (107) and Spain's Maria Amelia (95). In her first post, in February, Olive described how she had just returned from an interstate flight to visit her great-great-grandchildren in Brisbane. Now Maria Amelia has trumped Olive, by flying to Brazil with her grandson, for a 15-day holiday. 0706

Mystery of the two Marisa Montes
Coincidences threaten to overwhelm us when we surf the Internet. We are continually confused by hearing about people with similar names, like the two talented Marisa Montes. 0706

Jane does the splits at 90
Despite their age - or probably bacuse of it - feisty seniors have just become national entertainers in the US and UK. Off with the new, on with the old! 0706

Why older people are jumping online
Australian freelance journalist Fran Molloy writes in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age about the way the world's senior citizens, with plenty of spare time, are becoming enthusiastic bloggers. 0706

YouTuber finds fame at 79
America's Time magazine calls Peter Oakley a superstar, and England's Saga magazine says that at the age of 79 he has become "one of the most famous Britons alive, with nearly five million fans around the world." Never heard of him? Nor had we, until the other day, when a neighbour's grandchild told us about Peter's "cool YouTube videos." 0705

You can't gather nuts in May!
For more than a century, generations of small children in English-speaking countries have mistakenly believed they could gather nuts in the merry month of May. Sorry to tell you, kids, you can't find any nuts to gather in May. 0705

Gary goes gruntin' for worms in Sopchoppy
Last September we wrote a story, Gruntin' for worms in Sopchoppy. Anyone who shares our interest in worm gruntin' may like to read about fourth-generation grunter Gary Revell, who "has been scaring up and harvesting worms for 50 years in the Apalachicola National Forest, the last 37 of them with his wife, Audrey." Just click on Monica Hatcher's story in the Miami Herald. Then enjoy Florida town celebrates worm grunters. 0705

Why do bloggers blog?
British author Andrew Hicks, a retired corporate lawyer and university professor living in Thailand, says: " I blog simply because I enjoy blogging. What can equal the buzz of clicking on ‘publish’ and then viewing my blog on screen, knowing that it can now be read by someone in Islamabad or Saskatchewan, Tunbridge Wells or Lisbon... The immediacy of the internet is extraordinary." Hear hear. Andrew. We get a similar buzz when we run the cursor over our GuestMap. 0705

All above articles copyright © 2002.  Eric Shackle

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