World's Oldest Blogger Signs Off At Age 108
MIKE PESCA, host:
Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News, online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. And now for our daily discourse on that which is discursive. It is The Ramble.
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PESCA: With our own wild thing and BPP editor, Tricia McKinney. Hello, Trish.
PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Ow! Hi. How are you? I'm wild. All right. So, let me start with actually some sad news. This is always tough to do in The Ramble. We kind of have an unspoken rule that you don't kill people off in The Ramble, but we're going to do this in the spirit of celebration.
PESCA: Definitely not first. Oh, Lord.
MCKINNEY: The world's oldest blogger has signed off for good, logged off for good. Her name was Olive Riley. She was an Australian woman, and she just passed away at the age of 108. So, her blog, it was called the Life of Riley, the URL was allaboutolive.com.au, but we couldn't look at it this morning. It wouldn't load. Another related blog hopes it's a temporary glitch. But anyway, there were more than 70 posts on Olive Riley's blog. She called it a blob. That was a joke. She actually got that joke.
She didn't type those posts herself. She had younger helpers who posted for her, and she was also in YouTube videos singing happy songs all the time. In her last post, Olive Riley said she had moved to a nursing home. She had been there for a week. She had a great spirit. She said she'd never been treated so well, that she and her roommate took the time to sing a happy song. That's what she did every day. So, here's one of those happy songs from YouTube.
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Ms. OLIVE RILEY and Unidentified Woman: (Singing) Pick up your drumples (ph) and your own pimp bag, and smile, smile, smile. Why do you have to listen up to light your bag? Boy, was that the style...
MCKINNEY: So, rest in peace, Olive Riley, world's oldest blogger.
PESCA: So, have you seen this week's New Yorker cover? Well, have you, Trish?
MCKINNEY: I have, actually.
PESCA: Yeah. The July 21st edition by artist Barry Blitt is called "The Politics of Fear." I shall now describe it to you. It is an illustration of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, which is, you know, par for the course, except that Barack Obama is wearing Muslim garb. There is a picture of Osama bin Laden in the Oval Office, an American flag is being burned, and Michelle Obama is basically dressed as Angela Davis, black-power outfit, big afro, automatic assault rifle slung over his shoulder, and they're bumping fists. Turns out, it offended some people.
MCKINNEY: Yeah. That's hard to imagine.
PESCA: Turns out it offended everyone, which, I think illustrator Barry Blitt would say, that, my friends, is the point. The Obama campaign has decried it. The McCain campaign has decried it. The New Yorker says it's a satyr of Obama's right-wing critics. And Blitt, on the Huffington Post, says, I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic in certain sectors is preposterous. It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.
MCKINNEY: Does anybody really think that The New Yorker meant that without irony or satyr?
PESCA: You know, I'm sure that people will be spinning it for their own political gain, but this...
MCKINNEY: I have a prediction.
MCKINNEY: I think we're going to see it on cable news today.
PESCA: Yeah, maybe. There might be outcry and outrage, but if outrage is what he was going for, this is a huge, huge success.
MCKINNEY: Well, I'm outraged about something else, Mike.
PESCA: Is it something celestial?
MCKINNEY: Yes, it is. How did you know?
PESCA: I can read ahead.
MCKINNEY: Yeah. Me, too. There's an asteroid cruising past our planet right now. It's actually a pair of asteroids, and they're orbiting each other. They do a little celestial dance. And today, they're going to pass closest in their orbit to planet Earth. They're going to be 1.4 million miles away. So, they're not going to hit us.
PESCA: Yeah. We never get that worked up about close asteroids, and then they tell you how many miles away.
MCKINNEY: Well, and I think, you know, that's the first thing is, like, you think, oh, this is some story telling us we're about to meet our doom, and we've got to send Bruce Willis up into space, but no...
PESCA: Well, that wouldn't be a bad thing. If you get Ben Affleck out of our ionosphere, that might be a positive.
MCKINNEY: You know, I'm not going to weigh in on that. I'm just going to stay neutral here.
PESCA: You're pro-Affleck?
MCKINNEY: I am in certain situations.
PESCA: Probably a nice guy.
MCKINNEY: So, anyway, but what's interesting about these - this pair of asteroids is that they orbit each other, and it's going to give scientists something to study. I don't know why they're interested in studying asteroids that orbit each other, but they are.
PESCA: They're like the nesting birds of asteroids. It's kind of cute. Hey, you may have heard about referees being swayed by the color of players' skin. There was - we did this story on the BPP. Subtle and unconscious racism on behalf of referees in the NBA. Sometimes they're swayed by the fans or because, you know, the refs are just having a tough day, but research shows that the people judging the game can make calls based on the color of the uniforms that the players are wearing.
According to ABC News, getting right on a study that was published in 2005, two evolutionary biologists at the UK's University of Durham say red is a power color, possibly because of its association with aggression. The researchers showed referees video clips of martial arts duels, taekwondo matches, with one athlete in blue gear versus another in red. They found the refs gave 13 percent more points to competitors in red, even when the performances were equal. And a similar study in the United States shows that teams wearing black are penalized more often. Sorry Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders. That is your Ramble. You can find links to all those stories at npr.org/bryantpark. See you there.