Friday Afternoon Chum

It’s been such a busy week, and the news has been less interesting, that there hasn’t been much chum for the waters. But today’s perusal of the papers over lunch brought some interesting items:

  • From the “Does This Explain Donald *Trump*?” Department: An interesting article in the NY Times today explains why some senior citizens are sharp as a tack: they regularly play Contract Bridge, and the social and memory aspects serve to exercise their brains. It also notes that bridge players are quick to sense when mental faculties are going: you don’t want a partner who isn’t playing at the top of their game. This article caught my eye for a few reasons: it talks about the seniors in Laguna Woods*, where my step-mother lives; both of my material grandparents, as well as my mother, were strong bridge players, and my grandfather was a master; and bridge was a game we played regularly in the UCLA Computer Club, although I was never good at counting suit.
    *: Why does the NY Times have so many articles about Southern California?

  • From the “Life in the Funny Pages” Department: The LA Times has an interesting piece on how the comics page in newspapers is declining with the death of the papers, and how this affecting the cartoonists. I know there are only three traditional cartoons I still follow (“Get Fuzzy”, “Pearls Before Swine”, and “Funky Winkerbean”), and I read those all online.
  • From the “Take the Money and Run” Department: The NY Times News Blog has an article (although I heard it on KTLA last night as well) about a man and his girlfriend in New Zealand who took advantage of a bank error. An error by a bank worker in New Zealand changed a man’s overdraft limit from $62,000 to $6.2 million. When the owner of the account discovered this, they reportedly withdrew as much of that money as they could, locked the doors of their failing business and fled the country with about $2.3 million. The couple are thought to be armed with little more than a change of clothes, passports and an ATM card.
  • From the “Does Two a Pattern Make?” Department: The OC Register has an article on Danielle Fishel, who is one of those actresses I enjoy watching (not necessarily because of their acting). Valerie Bertinelli, who I’ve mentioned before, is another in that category. I am a little surprised to learn Ms. Fishel lives in Yorba Linda.
  • From the “Probably the Only Time They Will Meet” Department: Marvel comics is publishing a Supermodel Magazine. Featured on the initial covers: Millicent Collins, a.k.a. Millie the Model (born 1945), and Mary Jane (born 1965), the model-turned-actress who toyed with the heart of Peter Parker (Spider-Man). Look at the covers closely. Yes, there are insider jokes.
  • From the “Taking the High Road” Department: Two interesting road related articles, one of which I’ll put on the California Highways Facebook Page when I get home. First, a plan to widen a portion of Sunset Blvd in Brentwood has been shelved; this looks to be the segment from Barrington to Gunston, which would be roughly from the school near Brentwood Village to a few blocks away from the freeway. It was probably shelved because of the impact on the expensive houses in that area. Another local road in the news is Angeles Crest Highway (Route 2), which just reopened. This was a section in the mountains closed after a storm in 2005that caused extensive damage in 17 different sites along a 10-mile stretch of the highway, from Islip Saddle to Wrightwood. After the section of highway was closed, another storm in 2006 battered the road and delayed repair efforts. The entire repair project cost $10.5 million and was funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program.