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Lily Tomlin in "Spiderman." Julie Andrews in "Aquaman." What gives?

I never would have expected that Peter Parker's Aunt May would be voiced by Lily Tomlin. Somehow, Julie Andrews was not the first actress I thought of for a role in "Aquaman." (Okay, I was okay with Meryl Streep as Mary Poppins's cousin in the latest Mary Poppins movie. Meryl seems to pop up just about anywhere she pleases. And Angela Lansbury as the balloon lady at the end of that movie was welcome.)

But I'm not saying I didn't like the unexpected casting. Aunt May never seemed all that spunky. Lily Tomlin has changed all that, in a refreshing way.

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Latest reply: Jan 4, 2019

Some thoughts about the ":Hunzas"

I've been reading "Healthy at 100" by John Robbins.

He gives brief descriptions of three or four "blue zones" in which above-average numbers of centenarians seem to be clustered. (It was published in 2007, so there are 11 years of more recent research studies that the author did not have access to. I will try to be charitable for this reason.)

This thread will focus on the Hunzas, a remote community near the Pakistan-India border, where the Himalayas reach 20,000 feet or so. Its remoteness was an advantage for some of Alexander the Great's soldiers who went rogue, bringing their Persian brides there so as to get away from what must have seemed like a crazy world. Obviously, the Hunzukut peoples have not been totally cut off, since 300 B.C., or Islam would not have found them. English and Urdu are understood by some of them, another reason to suspect at least a little bit of contact with the outside world.

People have been marveling about long-lived people since time immemorial, a human trait that makes many of us gullible enough to believe falsified ages. I don't think the Hunzukut peoples deliberately try to deceive people about their ages; they just express the accumulation of years in a different way than we are used to.

In any event, the gullibility of us outsiders has spawned some strange myths about them. Take "Hunza bread," for which there are numerous reciepso n the Internet. here's one example:

Note that cinnamon, soy milk, buckwheat and molasses are among the ingredients. I know that in recent times Hunzukut has had a little more contact with the outside world, but where would they have gotten molasses, buckwheat, and soy products. I don't think they even had soybeans originally. They had lentils, sure, but soy? And their diet uses no sugar at all. This would have be a false recipe.

The myth of the HUnzas spotlights the beautiful scenery, mineral-rich water, and clean water, but it doesn't mention the starvation in late Winter, when stores of last year's harvest are gone, and no new food is available yet. The locals call this "The land of never enough."

I will come back with some more thoughts in a later post.

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Latest reply: Dec 28, 2018

100 things to avoid if you want to live to be 100

1. Stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device
2. Saying "yes" if your wife asks if she looks fat in her outfit.
3. Trying to kill flies by shooting at them -- in an airplane in flight.
4. Choosing money when a robber asks you to choose between your money and your life.
5. Toasting marshmallows over an active volcano (hint: your stick may need to be longer -- by about five miles)
6. Eating mushrooms that you *thought* were safe.
7. Investing your Mafia cousin Guido's money in Florida swampland.
8. Trying to pet the cute panda.
9. Assuming that Shakespeare would have wanted you to use a real sword for your portrayal of Hamlet.
10. Putting oil and vinegar on your salad -- motor oil, that is.

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Latest reply: Dec 27, 2018

December journal: comments on nothing of any consequence

I was going to call this thread the Christmas Rat Race, but there are some things that even rats won't do.

The year is almost over, so I have an increasingly more limited amount of time in which to make tempests in teapots, mountains out of molehills (or the reverse), silk purses out of sows' ears, and similar matters that would be considered unproductive during the earlier part of the year.

2018 is so close to being finished that I can coast on my laurels (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). Or not. I ran the good race, fought the good fight, lugged tons of water to pour over ungrateful (and unneedy) landscape plants, and concocted very long, complex sentences beside which even this one will seem short by comparison.

I amazed myself with the fecundity of the zucchini plants that flourished in my front yard. The green beans that grew beside them also produced bumper crops. I savored every bite of this cornucopia, but alas they are ll dead now, and in their place I have sunk 18 flower pots planted with Coneflowers and cold-hardy azaleas. Next Spring then plants in these pots will be ready to take over the world, assuming that the rabbits can be coaxed into not eating their leaves before they get a chance to bloom.

Some of the posts in this thread will be conversations between me and figments of my imagination. Never underestimate such figments. They will give me enough material to fill thirty long Winter nights....

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Latest reply: Dec 1, 2018

Thankful for unsung heroes of the forest floor

i live in a part of the world where no one has to plant forests. Just leave your fields and wetlands alone for thirty years, and Nature will do all the work. Then you just need to not intrude very often.

When my father built our family home, the land was an abandoned orchard between two swamps. The house went on the highest point of land, propped up on a man-made four-foot rise so that our cellar floor would be above the water table. We had very few floods over the years.

Some of neighbors owned land that had reverted to forest, or were on their way there. In the 1960s I would follow our brook upstream and find a whole area filled with Lady Slippers

Imagine hundreds of pink and/or yellow flowers bunched together on grassy knolls. Sadly, these flowers are long gone. I suspect climate change has pushed their preferred habitats farther north. smiley - sadface A few years ago I saw some on the slopes of the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

One species that is still going strong on my family's land is skunk cabbage. Desopite the skunklike odor, I am rather fond of these plants
The cabbage-like leaves are attractive, and the flowers are nice as well.

One woodland plant that seldom gets much notice is the Maianthemum (the literal English translation is Mayflower).
You have almost certainly seen a cousin of the Maianthemum Canadense:
Either plant can be verlooked, as the leaves are so low to the ground, and the berries don't stand out. You can find them in deeply shaded areas like the ground around evergreen trees. They never stay lonely for long, though. If they like their habitat, the rhizomes sprerad underground and produce new shoots. One plant can cover an area 30 by 40 feet this way.

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Latest reply: Nov 20, 2018

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