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Life Begins at 80...on the Internet
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ARCHIVES - MAY 2002 TO OCTOBER 2002

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MEL 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 BROOKS.  0210

NOW THERE'S A GRAYPOW NETWORK!
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 webzines Vintage Journal (Tennessee) and Canadian Senior Years (Ontario).  0210

HURRICANE WEBSITE AND WEDDING
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.  0210

LOVE 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 foodzines BARE INGREDIENTS.  0210 

HUNDRED+ 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 Pages0210

WRONG SYDNEY!
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 SYDNEY!  0209

WORLD'S 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.  0209

SEATTLE 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 CITIES.  0209

SENIOR 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 subjects.  0209

WHO 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.  0209

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.  0209

INTRODUCING 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. 0208

DOUBLE 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 poem, De  Chaos.  For more quirky words, click on CANADIAN SENIOR YEARS. 0208

OFF 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

GARLIC GODDESSES IN TWO GARLIC CAPITALS
Anyone flying 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 BARE INGREDIENTS. 0208

PLAY 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 JONES. 0208

GRAYPOW 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.  0207

WOMBATS, Å, AND RAGGED ASS ROAD
Souvenir 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. 0207

TRAVEL 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. 0207

WHY 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. 0207

WORLD'S EASIEST QUIZ
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. 0207

IS 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 GUM. 0206

CANDY 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

DO GREEN M&Ms TURN YOU ON?
Countless 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 M&Ms. 0206

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

NAMES 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! 0206

THE FLYING PIEMAN
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 PIEMAN. 0206

WOEFUL 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 foodzine BARE INGREDIENTS. 0206

GRANMA 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. 0205

WHERE 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. 0205

BRITS PAY A POUND FOR A POUND CAKE, BUT DOLLAR CAKES MAKE MORE CENTS
Dollar cakes 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 INGREDIENTS. 0205

UNSHACKLED BY COMPUTER
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. 0205

All above articles copyright © 2002.  Eric Shackle

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