How Comfortable are You Using the Internet?

And what about other elders you know? Are they all online?

About a month ago, the Pew Research Center for Internet, Science & Tech released their latest survey about internet usage, something they have been measuring regularly since 2000.

”For some groups, especially young adults, those with high levels of education, and those in more affluent households, internet penetration is at full saturation levels.” reports Pew.

You might have guessed that for low income and low educational achievement groups, internet adoption is much lower. And so it is for elders too:

”Older adults have lagged behind younger adults in their adoption, but now a clear majority (58%) of senior citizens [65 and older] uses the internet.”

Fifty-eight percent??? ONLY 58 percent? Up from 14 percent in 2000? Pew makes it sound like this is good news. Here's a chart from Pew to put that in perspective next to other age groups:

That's a dismal internet adoption rate for old people. Probably some elders are just stubbornly resistant but there are other reasons.

We are a privileged group of elders, you and me, because as Laurie Orlov, who runs the estimable Aging in Place Technology Watch blog, points out

“Broadband cost today averages $90/month for high speed and related services. Oh, and 12.5 million (29%) of the 65+ do not have a computer (see census) to bring to Starbucks.

“Buying a still-pricey tablet may soon become obsolete in the favor of newer smartphones. The data plan for smartphones that replace other gear is more than $100 from major carriers. Per month,” she writes.

That puts the hardware and/or internet service out of the reach of many old people. Ms. Orlov further explains the now crucial importance of the internet in everyday life:

”Access to the Internet in 2015 is an essential – like food, work and transportation. Find a job, search for a health problem like yours, learn a skill, locate a ride, buy a house, vacation, or used car. Book a trip, a restaurant, or find a repair shop. This is not your Internet of 2000.

“Today’s Internet has disintermediated nearly all other ways [to] find answers to any of those questions – including the library (except as an Internet access point). You see coffee shops crowded with WiFi users who can’t pay for broadband. Why are they at Starbucks? It's not for the coffee.”

I would add to Orlov's list of essential internet services, telemedicine. The numbers are still small but growing quickly. My dentist does all scheduling and reminders via email and/or text message these days. The office of my primary care physician emails a link so I can see my test results online.

It won't be long, I suspect before I will be able to book my first video appointment with my physician. I am eagerly looking forward to it.

No one had yet invented a graphical browser when I got my first computer in the 1980s. At first, it took the place of a typewriter for me but before long I was able to find other people online.

In 1995, I got lucky. I was hired as managing editor at cbsnews.com, one of the first two news websites and I spent the next ten years working with talented 20-something programmers, developers and designers.

The first browser, Netscape, was brand new. Amazon and Google would come along within a year or two but there wasn't much anyone could do online yet except read.

Things have changed a lot since then. Perhaps you have noticed that, as Ms. Orlov points out, more and more stores, banks and government agencies are closing their real-world locations giving us no other way to contact them except the internet or, possibly but not easily, the telephone:

”So what’s happening to get the rest of those seniors online?” asks Orlov. “Are you seeing broadband plan discounts for people aged 65+, let alone the 17 million real seniors aged 75+?

“If life expectancy at 65 averages 88.8 for women and includes those with significant chronic disease, how do they find resources needed to survive without a) access to the Internet or b) committed family who will act as their online proxy?

“What is the government policy proposal that addresses this audience? And what are the carriers, Google, Facebook, Apple, or any other large tech Peter Pan innovators doing about it?”

Good questions and as far as I can tell, the answer is nothing.

For all the reasons Laurie Orlov discusses, we must find ways to make the internet easily available to all old people. Like it or not, essential life services now take place online – sometimes only online.


ELDER MUSIC: Booker T & the MGs

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.


Booker T & the MGs

In 1962 BILLY LEE RILEY was scheduled to record a song at Stax records.

Billy Lee Riley

The bigwigs organized some house session musicians to accompany him on the song. They were keyboard player Booker T. Jones who also played with the group The Mar-Keys, guitarist Steve Cropper also a member of The Mar-Keys, drummer Al Jackson Jr and bass player Lewis Steinberg.

The song that Billy recorded was Flying Saucer Rock and Roll, an unusual choice of music for the folks at Stax. If you're interested in what it sounds like (or even if you're not, I'm going to play it), here it is.

♫ Billy Lee Riley - Flying Saucer Rock And Roll

After that session, as is the wont of musicians, the backing band hung around and jammed together. At one stage they were playing along to a tune that Booker T was improvising and the recording engineer thought it sounded all right so he hit the record button.

Hearing the playback, the musicians realised it wasn't bad and they thought they might release it as a single. So they recorded another proper tune for the A-side and their noodlings would be the B-side.

The record company didn't much like that but eventually they came around to the idea. That improvisation was titled Green Onions. It was released under the name of BOOKER T & THE MGS. MG stands for Memphis Group.

As we now know, that became the hit, the biggest of their career.

Booker T & the MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Green Onions

After a couple more singles, Donald "Duck" Dunn, a boyhood friend of Steve's and also once a member of The Mar-Keys, replaced Lewis on bass and the classic line-up of the group was in place.

A tune that wasn't the result of improvised noodling is Jericho, based on the old hymn.

Booker T & the ;MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Jericho

Steve co-wrote The Dock of the Bay with OTIS REDDING.

Otis Redding

Naturally the MGs played on that session along with a little help from the Memphis Horns. It was from the last session Otis recorded.

The whistling at the end was originally just a bit of a marker for some instrumental work to be added later but they all thought it worked well so it remained. This is Otis's biggest hit. Alas it was posthumous.

♫ Otis Redding - (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay

Naturally, as they were at Stax, the greatest soul duo SAM AND DAVE (Sam Moore and Dave Prater) were backed by our group.

Sam & Dave

The MGs not only backed them in the studio, they toured with them as well. Not just them but with many others from the Stax roster too.

Although their records were great and their live shows were among the most exciting of the soul era with them playing off each other in call and response.

Sam and Dave disliked each other to such an extent that they rarely spoke. Dave was killed in a car accident in 1988 but Sam is still performing. One of their big hits was Hold On, I'm Comin'.

♫ Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Comin'

Another song Steve co-wrote was In the Midnight Hour with WILSON PICKETT.

Wilson Pickett

Wilson's personal life was troubled to say the least but his musical life is second to few. He was one of the greatest soul singers, a songwriter and performer without many peers. He needs a whole column but for now here he is with Midnight Hour.

♫ Wilson Pickett - In the Midnight Hour

I don't know if the world needs another version of Summertime but nothing I say will stop that from happening. Anyway, here's a nice laid back version by BOOKER T & THE MGS.

Booker T & the MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Summertime

Yet another co-written song by Steve is Knock on Wood with EDDIE FLOYD.

Eddie Floyd

Early on, Eddie was in a group called The Falcons in Detroit with Mac Rice and Wilson Pickett. When Wilson left, the group disbanded and Eddie followed Wilson to Memphis and Stax records.

Initially, he wrote songs with Steve for Wilson and then later for himself. Here is one of those.

♫ Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood

Quite recently, BOOKER T recorded a solo album. Well, solo only in the sense that Steve (the other remaining MG) isn't on it. Many other musicians are.

Booker T Jones

He had some fine singers along for the ride, one of whom is ANTHONY HAMILTON.

Anthony Hamilton

Anthony switches between rap and real singing. Fortunately, it's the latter category on this track, Gently.

♫ Booker T - Gently (featuring Anthony Hamilton)

Although not unsung, Booker T & the MGs are certainly under-sung in their place in the musical firmament. Not just for their own recordings but also for their backing of some of the most important musicians in the second half of the twentieth century.

They also wrote songs, Steve Cropper especially, by themselves and in collaboration with others. Not just that, they were an integrated group in the early sixties in a southern city and made no fuss about it. They were also really good friends and remained that way throughout their lives.

In 1975, the group was recording a new album, when Al Jackson was shot and killed in his home by a burglar. Duck Dunn died in his sleep in 2012. Booker T and Steve are keeping the music alive.

Booker T & the MGs

After Green Onions, Time is Tight is probably their best known tune. I'll finish with that one.

♫ Booker T & The MGs - Time Is Tight



INTERESTING STUFF – 1 August 2015

1965 MEDICARE SIGNING ON TIMES FRONT PAGE

It's always fun to see newspaper front pages from important past events. (Hmmmm. With the internet and cell phones taking over news, will these historical artifacts disappear, I wonder?)

Anyway, I missed posting this on Wednesday when we discussed the 50th anniversary of Medicare, so here now is the front page of The New York Times the day after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare legislation. Lead story with a photo above the fold. It was a big deal then and it's a big deal still. (Note the price: 10 cents)

NYTMedicareSig83065

An image of the full page is here;


MOURNING ZIMBABWE'S CECIL THE LION

This story is probably not new to you but it is still worth spending some time with today. A dentist from Minnesota, Walter J. Palmer, paid more than $50,000 to kill a lion named Cecil in Zimbabwe:

“The first shot, which the authorities say came from Dr. Palmer’s crossbow, was not enough to kill the lion. Cecil was tracked for nearly two days before Dr. Palmer killed him with a gun,” reports The New York Times.

Two days with an arrow stuck in his hide. Imagine if it were you. Here's the story:

Palmer, who has many "trophies" of big wild animals, is now notorious worldwide. He has shut his dental office and gone into hiding. According to various news reports, Palmer may have broken laws in both the United States and Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is seeking his extradition.

In the way of lion culture, it is now likely that male lions in the area will vie to take over Cecil's pride and the winner will kill Cecil's cubs. Here is some video of Cecil before this terrible crime was committed.


HOW MANY TIMES HAS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION BEEN EXPOSED TO HACKERS?

It's a question many of us ask every time we read of a new hack at a bank, credit card company, financial institution or any other large corporation.

The New York Times has published a quiz that will give you an estimate of what personal information of yours may have been exposed and how many times.

In my case, the quiz tells me my address and credit cards have been exposed twice, my email address four times, passwords two times and Social Security number once.

You can try it for yourself here. The story includes some information on what you can do help prevent this kind of theft.


JON STEWART'S LAST SHOW COMING UP ON THURSDAY

Yep, just four Daily Shows with Jon Stewart remain until he signs off for the last time. He and the show have been a daily fixture in my life since I discovered them in the second year of the program's run. I never could stay up late enough to see it live and I'm grateful for the internet where it has been one of the first things I check in the morning.

Undoubtedly there will be something from next week's shows that I will want to include here next week but today I'm going to do something else - a Daily Show video without Jon Stewart because it's so funny and it concerns a man that Stewart so gleefully likes to skewer.

It is from one of the show's regular contributors (who will remain with the program when Noah Trevor (or is it Trevor Noah?) takes over - Lewis Black's “Back in Black” look at Donald Trump, as relevant today as when it was when first broadcast in 2012. And hilarious.


JOHN OLIVER ON MANDATORY MINIMUM PRISON SENTENCES

In the one-and-a-half seasons of HBO's Last Week Tonight show this, from last Sunday, is certainly one of the most powerful pieces John Oliver and his crew have produced.


ARE YOU MIDDLE CLASS?

There is a lot of information floating around these days about how the middle class is shrinking if not disappearing. But what is the middle class? How is it defined? Am I middle class? Are you?

Pew research has created a simple, five-question calculator to tell us, compared to others worldwide and within your own country what financial class you fall into as of 2011. Here is the quiz:

You can also try it online here where you can read more. The full study is here.


PHOTO MANIPULATION

Have you ever Photoshopped an image to make yourself look better or maybe removed someone in the background? When you and I do that with our private photographs, no big deal. But when photojournalists do it, it can and almost always is seriously misleading. And it is usually done deliberately.

There is a transcript of the video here. An interview with Michael Kamber is here. And if you are in the area, Kamber's exhibit will be up at the Bronx Documentary Center through tomorrow, Sunday.


AGE DISCRIMINATION IS OLDER WORKERS' FAULT SAYS FORBES

Forbes magazine has just published a classic blame-the-victim story and this time we are being told there is no such thing as age discrimination, that if you're 50 or older and can't find a job, it's your fault.

"...job hunters and workers in their 50s and 60s [are] holding themselves back because of their own limiting belief story about their prospects due to their age. (Limiting beliefs refer to thoughts or stories you tell yourself that don’t support you and impact your choices and behavior.)

"...It’s easier to assign blame than to take personal responsibility. As a life coach, I see this all of the time. Generally, people are completely unprepared to take a look at themselves, but have a ton of experience pointing the finger at someone else.”

Certainly I will get blowback on this, but all I need to know to dismiss this bogus psychology is that the writer is a self-identified “life coach.” Anyone can call him- or herself a life coach, even me. (Trust me, you don't want life advice from me). There are no regulations, no education, training or certification required. Just put out your shingle and start charging money.

Forbes is generally a respectable and respected magazine and some less-than-careful readers might believe this claptrap even though it is uncoupled from any known fact. The whole sorry article is here.


AMAZING KID WITH HAND TRANSPLANT

Did you hear this week about the amazing eight-year-old, Zion Harvey who got a dual hand transplant? Jim Stone sent me the video with the backstory. (Not counting John Oliver's weekly essays, this is a longer video than I usually post but I doubt you'll click out early.)

The surgery took place at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and here is a short followup from the Today show.


Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


A New Elder Playground in My Town

About two-and-a-half-years ago, I told you about elder playgrounds and that I was heading a small committee of the 50-plus Advisory Board of the City of Lake Oswego, to look into details of building one in Lake Oswego, Oregon.

They have been popular in Europe and Japan for years but were then, and still are, just getting started in the United States. One such playground has existed since 2010 on the grounds of the senior center in Rockville, Maryland:

A fairly large elder playground opened in Galveston County, Texas, last year:

So as I reported here in 2013, my little committee and I researched elder playgrounds and pulled together the information the city would need to make the decision to build one.

Among the people I spoke with was Michael Cohen, a professional designer of children's playgrounds, whose enthusiasm for elder playgrounds has made him a sort of godfather to the movement to build them. His website is here. As I wrote in these pages in 2013:

”I am personally convinced of Michael Cohen's vision and that there should be elder playgrounds in every city in the United States, particularly as the elder population explodes in numbers.

“The playgrounds promote general health, wellbeing, spread joy and go a long way toward warding off social isolation which, as we discuss here from time to time, can lead to depression, illness and even early death. With so much concern over health care costs, to me elder playgrounds – which are not expensive to build - are a money-saving no brainer.”

About three weeks ago, the Lake Oswego playground, built and managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, opened to the public in West Waluga Park. It is called FIT Spot which, while utilitarian, lacks appeal or sense of fun such a park provides and I am so sorry the word “elder” is not in the name. But that is how things go in a culture as terrified of ageing as ours is.

It's not that people of all ages can't or shouldn't use the equipment, but the point is to provide elders - many of whom, like me, can't afford a gym membership - a place to help maintain their well being, meet their peers and enjoy the outdoors. There are few enough such opportunities designed for elders' needs and capabilities.

(End of editorial. Moving on.)

Here is the sign about the playground at the entry to it. You can see part of the adjacent kids' play area which is a great idea – parents and caregivers can work out at FIT Spot while keeping their eyes on the kids:

ElderParkSignandKidsArea

The entire FIT Spot area looks almost exactly as I had imagined it would. Here is a wide shot of most, but not all, of the ten pieces of exercise equipment.

ElderParkWideShot

When I was there to take photos early Wednesday morning, three people were already working out. Here are close-ups of several machines:

ElderParkElliptical

ElderParkUnit

ElderParkShare

Three or four of the exercise units, like this one just below, are fitted out for people who use wheelchairs:

ElderParkWheelChairAccessible

Because this is northwest Oregon and it rains a lot (well, not in summer), this nearby covered area is a good place to wait out a surprise shower and there are clean rest rooms nearby.

ElderParkCoveredtableArea

Three times a week, I work out at home for 40 minutes or so in the early morning. Now I will add the elder playground into my routine on some other days. It works different parts of my body, gets me out of the house and I've already met someone I would like to know better.

FIT Spot is far enough away that I need to drive for 15-20 minutes to use it but I hear chatter that one is being considered for a park that is within walking distance from my home. I hope that rumor is true - that would be terrific.

Elder playgrounds are a big hit in Spain where, Huffington Post reports,

”The greater Barcelona area has about 300 elderly parks alone. That’s about one for every town in the district.”

Maybe you can work with your community to create your own elder playground.


Happy 50th Birthday, Medicare

Rejoice in our good fortune, my friends. Tomorrow, 30 July 2015, is the 50th anniversary of the day President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill into law. Take a look:

Until I was poking around the internet to prepare this post, I didn't know that President Harry Truman had anything to do with Medicare and actually, universal health care was first proposed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 but then it got benched for many years.

”...the idea for a national health plan didn’t gain steam until it was pushed by U.S. President Harry S. Truman,” reports Medicare Resources:

“On November 19, 1945, seven months into his presidency, Truman sent a message to Congress, calling for creation of a national health insurance fund, open to all Americans.

“The plan Truman envisioned would provide health coverage to individuals, paying for such typical expenses as doctor visits, hospital visits, laboratory services, dental care and nursing services. Although Truman fought to get a bill passed during his term, he was unsuccessful...”

Which is why Johnson included Truman, then 81, in the Medicare signing ceremony in 1965, and signed him up for the first Medicare card.

Note that both Roosevelt and Truman called for a national health plan for everyone. Getting one for old people is the best Johnson could do politically and even that was struggle to get through Congress.

However, there has been a nascent Medicare for Everyone movement for a number of years and there's no reason not to bring it to the fore again.

To do that, we will need to be extra careful not to elect a Republican president next year and it wouldn't help to move the majority of members in at least one house of Congress to the Democratic side.

Republicans have been trying to kill Medicare since long before President Ronald Reagan said the program would destroy American freedom. (You can decide for yourself if that is what has happened since he said that during his presidency.)

It is a perennial sign of seriousness among Republican presidential candidates to say that Medicare must be killed. Just last week, supposedly moderate candidate Jeb Bush called for phasing it out:

”I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits,” said Bush.

“But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something — because they’re not going to have anything.”

That last part isn't true. Medicare is in better financial shape right now than it has been in more than a decade. As Paul Krugman pointed out in The New York Times on Monday, passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

”...was immediately followed by an unprecedented pause in Medicare cost growth. Indeed, Medicare spending keeps coming in ever further below expectations, to an extent that has revolutionized our views about the sustainability of the program and of government spending as a whole...

“Medicare at 50 still looks very good,” Krugman continued. “It needs to keep working on costs, it will need some additional resources, but it looks eminently sustainable. The only real threat it faces is that of attack by right-wing zombies.”

It seems to me that if every western country in the world can supply universal healthcare for its entire population, certainly the United States – which Republicans keep telling is the best in the world at every- and anything – can do it.

Of course, the Medicare we have now needs work itself. That awful drug plan (Part D) is not allowed to negotiate prices. There is no dental coverage to speak of. Another big omission is hearing aids as the president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), Max Richtman, wrote about a few days ago:

”Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults. Yet an estimated 70% of Americans with hearing problems between age 65 and 84 are not using hearing aids.

“With an average cost of $3,000 - $7,000 and zero coverage from Medicare, it’s little surprise that for a senior collecting an average monthly Social Security check of $1,287, hearing aids are seen as a luxury they simply can’t afford.

“In truth, hearing loss which goes untreated can lead to depression, cognitive impairment, life-altering falls, social isolation and a lack of independence..."

Hear! Hear! (so to speak). You can read more about the need to add coverage for hearing loss [pdf] at NCPSSM.

These are not the only problems with Medicare, just a couple of the big ones but even as it stands now, I am grateful to have it because as healthy as I currently am (and grateful for that too), without it, I would not have been able to afford the healthcare I have needed in the past nine years. And I certainly could not afford private coverage.

Even though I know there are potential health issues that can cost me dearly even with Medicare, the peace of mind I have because of it is huge.

Shortfalls notwithstanding, since that day 50 years ago when President Johnson signed the Medicare legislation, the program has vastly improved the lives of elders.

”The elderly’s poverty rate has declined...from 29 percent in 1966 to 10.5 percent in 1995. Medicare also provides security across generations: it has given American families assurance that they will not have to bear the full burden of health care costs of their elderly or disabled parents or relatives at the expense of their young families.”

That paragraph is part of Insight #2 at Center for Medicare Advocacy website where, for the past 50 days, they have published one Medicare Insight per day – one for each year of the program's life. You can see and read the entire list here.

In the run-up to this anniversary, there have been a lot of news and opinion pieces about Medicare. Here are a few you might want to follow up with.

The brand-new, just published Medicare Trustee's Report - Overview here
Mother Jones coverage of the Medicare Trustee's Report
The New York Times editorial on Medicare and Medicaid
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich's birthday report on Medicare

And maybe you have a Medicare story to share.



The Misguided Lure of Anti-Ageing Products and Medicine

First off, it's that name - “anti-ageing” (or “anti-aging” if you prefer). Who hates themself so much that they would buy anything labeled “anti-ageing”?

The phrase is slapped on thousands of products but goes further than that. There is even The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (jauntily referring to themselves as A4M for short).

Yes, it is an organization that “certifies” physicians (and corporations) in the medical specialty of anti-aging.

One problem with that, however, is that there is no known medical specialty of anti-aging.

”...the field of anti-aging medicine is not recognized by established medical organizations, such as the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Medical Association (AMA),” reports Wikipedia...

“The activities of the A4M are controversial: in 2003 a commentary on the response of the scientific community to the promotion of anti-aging medicine noted that the activities of the A4M were seen as a threat to the credibility of serious scientific research on aging...

“Thomas Perls of the Boston University School of Medicine, a prominent critic of the organization, has stated that claims of censorship and suppression are a common theme in what he calls 'anti-aging quackery.'”

No one can spend as much time online as I do reading about ageing in all its aspects without running into the most outrageous “anti-aging quackery” almost every day. One ad led to a Burt's Bees page with this promise:

“Smooth Fine Lines. Erase All Doubt. 96% of women saw a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles after 8 weeks”

Oh, come on. If a word of that were true, don't you think we would all know about it? At least if you fall for Burt's Bees humbug it will cost you only about $10. And even slightly more upscale L'Oreal sells an anti-aging cream for only about $25. But their video ad is no less bogus:

Did you notice that word L'Oreal highlighted? Hyaluronic makes it sound all rigorously scientific. What it is, is the latest hot ingredient with the anti-aging charlatans. The most expensive one Crabby has run across lately - $90 for a one-month supply – is promoted by Oprah's favorite physician, the notorious Dr. Oz.

Ads around the web claim that the cream he touts will turn a 55-year-old into a 35-year-old. As with the other latest anti-aging products, Oz explains, his magic ingredient is hyaluronic acid.

(If you are tempted to try Oz's product, please do check out this page with dozens of complaints and accusations of overcharging, cancellation refusals and misrepresentations by the company, Bella Labs, that sells the cream.)

Here is what WebMD says about hyaluronic acid which is naturally present in the human body (emphasis added):

”There is also a lot of interest in using hyaluronic acid to prevent the effects of aging. In fact, hyaluronic acid has been promoted as a 'fountain of youth.' However, there is no evidence to support the claim that taking it by mouth or applying it to the skin can prevent changes associated with aging.”

Got that? It and other evidence won't stop any of the false promises to reverse the appearance of ageing but all those cosmetic potions are mostly benign fibs compared to the pseudo-scientific products – prescription and over-the counter – that suggest those who use them will regain the energy and vitality of their youth, and even extend their lives by many years.

In the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports, there is an update article titled “Treatments to Turn Back Time?” in which they report on what science says about the efficacy of such anti-aging products as human growth hormones (HTH), “low T” treatments, vitamin and mineral supplements, smart drugs and games, DHEA and coenzyme Q10 among others.

After explaining what these treatments can and cannot do, Consumer Reports chief medical advisor, Marvin M. Lipman M.D. says that

"...for now, any claim that a particular product or treatment can stop or slow down the aging process simply does not have the science to back it up.

“'There is as yet no evidence-based substance shown to extend life,' Lipman explains. 'Diet, exercise, and good genes are the best we can offer.'”

So save your money and wear your age proudly.


ELDER MUSIC: Run to Paradise

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.


Recently Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I saw Coldplay perform a song called Paradise on TV. Both of us mentioned that we could think of several better songs with the same name.

We pretty much simultaneously came up with The Choirboys, John Prine and Tony Bennett. Others weren’t far behind. Naturally, in the way of these things, it led to this column that I originally called Paradise but The A.M. thought that “Run to Paradise” was a more interesting name, and so it shall be.

Since the column is called Run to Paradise, that’s the way we’re starting. These are THE CHOIRBOYS.

Choirboys

The Choirboys are a rock band formed in Sydney in the tail-end of the seventies and still going to this day. Singer Mark Gable and bass player Ian Hulme are the constants throughout their journey and a dozen or more others have come and gone over the years.

This is the song, a huge hit in Oz.

♫ Choirboys - Run to Paradise

JOHN PRINE was another initial thought.

John Prine

The writer Simon Winchester told me (and all the others listening to the radio at the time) that there are 18 towns in America called Paradise. Due to John's song, the town in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky is probably the most famous.

Ironically, though, the town no longer exists as it was dug up by Mr Peabody's coal company.

♫ John Prine - Paradise

JOHNNY NASH is best known for his song, I Can See Clearly Now. That one has nothing to do with paradise so it won't be in today.

Johnny Nash

Johnny is more associated with reggae music which he recorded in Jamaica even though he's Texas born and bred. He was also a song writer and started a record company (that signed the Cowsills, if you can believe that).

His song is Halfway to Paradise, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

♫ Johnny Nash - Halfway To Paradise

If there’s a possibility of getting BUDDY HOLLY into a column you can pretty much be sure that I'll include him, and here he is.

Buddy Holly

This is how Buddy and the Crickets originally recorded this tune without the overdubs of extra instruments and voices that I think detract from other versions of the song. The song is Fool's Paradise.

♫ Buddy Holly - Fools Paradise

TONY BENNETT had to be present because his contribution is one that pretty much every reader of this column would know.

Tony Bennett

I really don't need to tell you anything about this one; anyone who reads this column would know Stranger in Paradise.

♫ Tony Bennett - Stranger In Paradise

Here is another Australian performer because there are quite a number of people, okay, a hell of a lot, who claim that Australia is as close to paradise as you can get on this planet.

You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment. I'll just give you GRAEME CONNORS.

Graeme Connors

I'll also just let Graeme tell it like it is On the Edge of Paradise.

♫ Graeme Connors - On The Edge Of Paradise

ELVIS, in contrast, suggests that Any Place is Paradise.

Elvis Presley

Well, if anyone would know whether that were so it'd be Elvis (except that he really didn't go anywhere much, so it may be a little problematic).

♫ Elvis Presley - Any Place Is Paradise

If CHARLES BROWN seems to be in the mix there’s no way he could be left out if the A.M. has any say in the matter. Which, of course, she does. With this column anyway.

Charles Brown

The song has the same name as the one by Buddy, but it’s a different one. Fool's Paradise.

♫ Charles Brown - Fool's Paradise

MARCIA BALL's background in Louisiana is obvious in the next song.

Marcia Ball

That's a good thing for fans of music from that area (of which the A.M. and I are two). She sings of yet another place that's paradise no longer – there are far too many of those. The song is This Used to Be Paradise.

♫ Marcia Ball - This Used To Be Paradise

I wasn’t going to include the next one but the A.M. insisted that it be present. The tune is an exercise in overblown-ness (if such a word exists – it should to describe this track). Here for your delectation is MEATLOAF.

Meatloaf

Mr Loaf's song is from his phenomenally successful "Bat out of Hell" album. It's called Paradise by the Dashboard Light. He has the help of Ellen Foley on the track.

♫ Meatloaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light

I trust that you all had a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
a flask of wine, a book of verse - and somebody or other
beside you singing in the wilderness,
and that wilderness was Paradise enow.


INTERESTING STUFF: 25 July 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NORMAN LEAR

Monday will be TV producer Norman Lear's 93rd birthday. Here is what he told Huffington Post on Friday:

"The top of my bucket list always included a desire to sing. My friend, actor, singer-guitarist and composer, Paul Hipp, wrote the happy birthday song when he turned fifty. I loved it and asked if I could lip-synch it as I turn ninety-three. This was the result and I don't care what you say, I love it."

I love it too. See if you do and thank Esther Harriot for sending it to us:


FDA NSAID WARNING

”Patients taking NSAIDs should seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, weakness in one part or side of their body, or slurred speech.

That is from the U.S. Federal Drug Administration's (FDA) new warning about NSAIDs. They are such drugs as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Celebrex and many others. As Harvard Health Publications explains:

• Heart attack and stroke risk increase even with short-term use, and the risk may begin within a few weeks of starting to take an NSAID.

• The risk increases with higher doses of NSAIDs taken for longer periods of time.

• The risk is greatest for people who already have heart disease, though even people without heart disease may be at risk.

Here is a good news report explaining the new warning further:

Read more at the FDA and the Harvard Health Publication.


WALLOWING IN NOSTALGIA

Every image in this video is an item, product or place that most of us who read this blog are familiar with, things that used to be commonplace in our lives but have mostly disappeared.


AGING.GOV

There are a lot more agencies of the U.S. Federal governments related to aging than just Social Security and Medicare. Until now, they have been scattered all over the internet but recently the Department of Healthy and Human Service (HHS) has rounded them up into a one-stop shop. Here's a screenshot of the home page:

Agingborder

Bookmark aging.gov and you'll have just one place to go whenever you need to check on something related to ageing that the federal government handles.


DEADLIEST ANIMALS

There's SharkWeek and Sharknado and almost every summer day a new shark attack on swimmers or surfers. My friend Jim Stone sent this video that shows sharks are the least of human problems from animals.


JOHN OLIVER ON FOOD WASTE

Hardly a fascinating title, Food Waste, but on his Last Week Tonight show on HBO, John Oliver makes it so – also shocking and funny too.


ELDERS V. 21ST CENTURY

Darlene Costner sent this little joke. Gave me a good laught when I needed it this week:

I was visiting my daughter last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

"This is the 21st century," she said. "We don't waste money on newspapers. Here, use my iPad.”

I can tell you this - that fly never knew what hit him.


THE ARK COMING TO JFK AIRPORT

According to Huffington Post, a new terminal will open at JFK Airport in New York next year. The Ark's “178,000 square feet of posh amenities"

”...will include everything from a resort with suites that have large flat-screen TVs, to climate-controlled stalls, showers, massages, a private space especially set aside for penguin mating, a paw-shaped dog swimming pool, a jungle for cats made of live trees that will give them a tantalizing view of the aquarium, and stables full of the finest hay a horse could hope for.”

Here are an artist's rendering of the dog area and the export stalls for quarantined horses.

The Ark dogs

The Ark horses

The Ark will be a first-of-its kind terminal at any airport with a price tag of $48 million. You can read more here.


DAD THE FLOWER GIRL

Reader Alan Goldsmith sent this charmer of a video that needs no introduction.


A GORGEOUS, FUN CHARLESTON

The dancer is named Ksenia Parkhatskaya and the video is from the 2012 Stockholm Tap Festival. Isn't she the cutest thing.


ANGRY SEAGULL MOM

After you see this news report about from Seattle about a seagull who won't let anyone park near her nest, I'm sure you'll agree with me that she should probably be added to that most dangerous animals video above.


Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


Surprise!

Welcome to the Time Goes By redesign. What do you think? It's certainly brighter and shinier around here.

There are bound to be glitches to fix and design decisions I'll rework over the next days and weeks, but this general look-and-feel will remain.

Time Goes By hasn't changed since it shyly dipped its toes in the blog waters in 2004. Because I'm lazy and it's a lot of work to redesign a site, this day might never have arrived. But then the Google blackmail showed up.

The company that still has more than 80 percent of search engine traffic announced that (their definition of) non-mobile friendly websites would henceforth be penalized in search results; that is, as of 21 April 2015, non-mobile-friendly websites would be ranked lower in search results than those that have been redesigned to Google's standards.

The bottom line from Google - make your website look the way WE want it to look, or else. Which is why most websites look alike these days.

Well, I'm too old to fight back on this one so here we are.

Various items have been moved around or, in some cases, discarded. Let me give you a tour.

The main site navigation is at the top of every page above the banner. The Archive is now by category only; nearly 12 years of date archives are not very useful to anyone.

Contact now opens your email program rather than a form if you want to send me a message.

About leads to a page with links to various information about this website. It's messy-looking right now; I'll improve it in time.

As you can see, there is only one sidebar now, on the right. The same Subscribe buttons are at the top and, as before, the Search form is at the bottom. In between, there are changes to several features. What remain are links to:

  • Best Books on Ageing
  • Elderblog List
  • Geezer Flicks
  • A Mother's Last Best Lesson

We all know that the Elderblog List and Geezer Flicks are painfully out of date. I'll get to both of those one of these days soon. I hope. The Photo Biography is now linked from the About section.

May they rest in peace, four features have been permanently removed. Elder Video was not one of my better ideas so it has been ditched. The Where Elders Blog feature has been discontinued. And Reverse Mortgages is no longer available because the federal government has made several rule changes resulting in some information in the series being incorrect. Maybe I'll fix it in time.

Finally, for a variety of reasons, it has been impossible to keep up In Memoriam so instead of that section, we will hold memorial services here as they become necessary. Not often, I hope.

Of course, The Elder Storytelling Place must also be “upgraded” to Google's specifications. I'm going to take a breather and then go to work on that.


American Politics, Donald Trump and Old People

Even though I am a political junkie, as much as I can recall, we don't do politics at this blog except as it relates to old people. But it's different this time. Or, maybe not. After all, Donald Trump is 69 years old, two years older than Hillary Clinton whom, some say, is too old to be president.

It is hard not to be embarrassed by almost any politician. With few exceptions, they are uninformed blowhards - venal, corrupt, self-serving, self-aggrandizing liars who disdain knowledge and learning and have had no intention of serving the public good.

Then there is a Donald Trump. He is not a politician which might explain why he is magnitudes beyond the professional ones in loathsomeness. I didn't intend to write about Donald Trump today but my planned post got sidetracked and it's hard to escape "news" of Trump these days.

I could carry on about how repugnant I find him but let's let Jon Stewart of The Daily Show do his wonderful, comedian-style Trump schtick – this one from Monday night.

When Stewart did that Trump segment, the man had not yet given out Senator Lindsay Graham's private phone number on television. That shocked me Tuesday more than his reprehensible statements about Mexican immigrants, Senator John McCain and all the rest.

As unimpressive as the entire Republican roster of presidential hopefuls is, Trump's lead in the polls says more about the American electorate, I believe, than the man. Who with an IQ of more than 75 or so believes this person could or should be the commander in chief of the United States.

Almost the worst of it for me is that apparently it is mostly old people who show up to support Donald Trump. That is embarrassing.

It would be easy to rant on but I'll leave it at that today and you may have your say below.

But first, to clear our collective palate, here is a lovely poem about growing old by Wendell Berry that TGB reader Tom Delmore emailed. It is titled, The Blue Robe published in “New Collected Poems” in 2012.

How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake

at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!