11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun 1. Some Japanese islands have more cats than people. (Learn more at The Atlantic) 2. The length of a man’s fingers might signal how nice he’ll be to women. (Learn more at AARP) 3. EGOT — a word for someone, like Whoopi Goldberg, who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony — is in the Oxford Dictionaries Online. (Learn more at Time) 4. Stem cells from wisdom teeth can grow tissue that might lead …

This Week in Boomer History: Che … ‘Cats’ … ‘SNL’

Bolivian soldiers execute Ernesto “Che” Guevara on Oct. 9, 1967, a day after capturing Fidel Castro’s collaborator in the Cuban revolution. In an attempt to win back territory lost during the Six-Day War of 1967, Egypt and Syria launch a coordinated surprise attack on Israel Oct. 6, 1973, during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The fighting ends in less than three weeks; five years later, Israel and Egypt normalize relations. Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical …

5 Pet Scams You Need to Know

The dog days of summer go beyond just rising temperatures – at least for pet lovers. Pet scams are also heating up, and here’s what you should know about the most common schemes: Dognapping Born during the economic downturn of recent years, dognapping involves stealing dogs from unattended backyards and cars – and, more commonly, even in the company of their owners. Some are then held for ransom. In one recent well-publicized case, surveillance video captured a dognapping in progress at …

11 Things We Didn’t Know Last Week

News, discoveries and … fun. 1. A 16th-century German military expert believed that weaponized cats could burn down enemy fortifications. (Learn more at National Geographic) 2. A door handle dispenses hand sanitizer to kill germs in hospitals. (Learn more at Gizmodo) 3. Barbara Walters’s most flirtatious interview took place in 1982 with actor Clint Eastwood. (Learn more at AARP) 4. The rap group Wu-Tang Clan will make one copy of its next recording and hope it sells for millions of dollars. (Learn …

A Family Commune, One Year Later: Laughing, Barking, Crying, Shrieking…

The shriek of a 3-year-old can crack glass, shift a house on its foundation and register on earthquake scales 100 miles away. If you doubt that, come on over while Gracie, my granddaughter, pierces the air with a sound that is somewhere between a siren and a scream that will leave you vibrating for days. She is the primary addition to the merging of two families into one household, the smallest human member in a home that grew overnight a …

A Deer in the Garden, a Cat in the Box

These are the gentle years, beyond the rages of youth and the desperation of middle age, seasons of summer warmth, and skies so intensely blue that it hurts the eyes to gaze upon them.  Only God and the artist Magritte could paint such skies and implant such peace on a softening day in July. I was sitting on a bench in our garden, a half-acre spread that my wife has transformed into Eden, when it occurred to me how much …