Memorial Day 2016

Today, we honor the men and women who have died while serving in America's armed forces. Today, there will be parades in thousands of cities and towns throughout the country. Today, there will also be the annual National Memorial Day Concert on the west lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Check your local CSPAN listings.)

The Indianapolis 500 auto race is also a Memorial Day weekend tradition – this year is the 100th running. (I don't understand why these two events are related but then, I'm not a sports fan so what I do I know.)

Most of all, we Americans spend the holiday with family and friends often at backyard barbecues, and many will also visit the graves of loved ones killed in our wars. In that regard, I ran across a poignant story about two U.S. airmen who went missing in action in Laos in 1969 during the Vietnam War. At last, in 2012, the crash site was discovered and the men's remains identified.

A dual burial was held at Arlington National Cemetery in 2013, but due to budget cuts, the Air Force could not perform a flyover during the funeral. That's when some civilians stepped in to make the flyover happen. Here's the report from a local TV news program:

In addition to the remembrances and barbecues, we have one more Memorial Day tradition: nighttime fireworks displays. This one from last year at Wolf Trap.

Enjoy the holiday, my U.S. friends.

For readers in other countries, tell us something about your holidays that honor your war dead.


ELDER MUSIC: 1958 Yet Again

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.

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1958 was a really good year for music as you can tell by checking the previous two times I've featured the year. There are still enough good songs left over for another column. You never know, there might be a fourth.

It's Only Make Believe was written by CONWAY TWITTY and Jack Nance.

Conway Twitty

Conway recorded it and took it to the top of the charts around the world. Before all that, Harold Jenkins didn't think his name was show biz enough and got out a road map where he spied Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas. He really should have looked a bit further for a surname but it seems to have served him well over the years.

♫ Conway Twitty - It's Only Make Believe


BUDDY HOLLY was at his peak this year.

Buddy Holly

If you've been reading my column for some time you knew that Buddy would have to be present today. Yet another of his fine songs for the year is Maybe Baby.

♫ Buddy Holly - Maybe Baby


THE FOUR PREPS were renowned for their comedy records where they impersonated singers of the day.

Four Preps

However, they acquitted themselves admirably on serious songs as well. This is one of their biggest and I still don't really understand what it's about. It doesn't matter, it's a good record. Big Man.

♫ The Four Preps - Big Man


Many people recorded this next song, usually under the name Volare. The big hit in Australia, although some of the others were also on the charts, was by DOMENICO MODUGNO and he called it Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, which he wrote with some help from Franco Migliacci.

This is, of course, the original version of the song.

Domenico Modugno

I think Dom's version was successful in Australia as we had (and still have) a really large Italian community, particularly here in Melbourne.

Besides being a singer, songwriter, actor and guitarist he was also a member of Italy's parliament where he championed human rights, particularly in Chile under the egregious Pinochet who banned him from that country.

♫ Domenico Modugno - Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)


JANE MORGAN attended Juilliard intending to be an opera singer. To make ends meet, she performed in clubs and the like to earn a little loose scratch. Discovering that this actually paid better than opera, she decided on a pop career instead.

Jane Morgan

A French impresario caught her act and he took her to Paris where she became a big success. She was also popular in Britain. Upon returning to her home country she recorded a song by Gilbert Becaud called Le jour où la pluie viendra.

Actually, hers was an English language version of the song called The Day the Rains Came.

♫ Jane Morgan - The Day The Rains Came


Westerns were popular around this time, especially on TV, and of course they were still making Western Movies as THE OLYMPICS had a wont to tell us.

Olympics

The band got together when they were still at school in Los Angeles. They recorded a song under a different name that didn't do much at all. This was their first as The Olympics. It was a big hit around the world.

♫ The Olympics - Western Movies


According to his song, JIMMIE RODGERS is a ring-a-ding daddy. Oh my. I think he listened to too much Frank Sinatra.

Jimmie Rodgers

Anyway, the song in question isOh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again. Uh oh, uh oh.

♫ Jimmie Rodgers - Oh Oh, I'm Falling In Love Again


RICKY NELSON was at the height of popularity in 1958.

Ricky Nelson

He had half a dozen or more songs that hovered around the top of the charts. One of them is Believe What You Say. This one has the unmistakable sound of The Jordanaires as backing vocalists and the great James Burton playing guitar.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Believe What You Say


THE ELEGANTS seem to symbolise the ethos of DooWop music.

Elegants

They were from Staten Island and used to practise their harmonies under the boardwalk near their homes. They hit it big while still in their teens with their first record, Little Star but couldn't repeat that one's success.

♫ The Elegants - Little Star


There's a touch of irony in that the most successful record by CHUCK WILLIS is called What Am I Living For? This is because he died from peritonitis during an operation shortly after recording the song. He was only 30.

ChuckWillis3

All that aside, in his short professional career he wrote and recorded a bunch of fine songs, many of which have been covered by other artists over the years. Here he is with that song.

Chuck Willis - What Am I Living For


INTERESTING STUFF – 28 May 2016

MAN DRIVES SAME CAR FOR 77 YEARS

It was a happy day for me when, having moved to New York City in early 1969, I could sell the car. It didn't please me when I left Manhattan and needed a car again, and I have sworn that I will drive the one I have until one of us dies, preferably me.

But there is not a chance I'll catch up in years of use with Allan Swift who drove the same car for 77 years – until he died in 2005 at age 102. (The video is longer than it needs to be. You can stop at the two minute mark and not lose anything.)

Some people think the story of Allan Swift and his Rolls Royce isn't true, but this website has confirmed the general idea with a few minor factual fixes.

Thank Darlene Costner for this item and you can read more here.

SOME EXCELLENT KITCHEN HACKS

No need for an explanation – just a good collection to help make some things a little easier in the kitchen.

MAYBE BREAKFAST ISN'T SO IMPORTANT AFTER ALL

In all the nearly 50 years I worked full time, I hardly ever ate breakfast. Coffee? Always. A doughnut? Yes – when I was still young enough to have a measurable metabolism. Standard American breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast and hash browns? Yes to that too but only once a month or so on weekends, usually with friends.

Since retiring a decade ago, I have eaten a healthy, tasty breakfast every morning in the belief that, as I was told most of my life and ignored, it is the most important meal of the day.

Now “they” - well, one guy anyway – say there is nothing magical about breakfast. In fact, he explains, the science behind our belief in the importance of that meal is weak:

”Few randomized controlled trials exist. Those that do, although methodologically weak like most nutrition studies, don’t support the necessity of breakfast.”

The writer, Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics who says he is never hungry before noon, explains the research and then concludes:

”If you’re hungry, eat it. But don’t feel bad if you’d rather skip it, and don’t listen to those who lecture you. Breakfast has no mystical powers.”

You can read the entire piece at The New York Times.

JOHN OLIVER: PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES

On his HBO program Last Week Tonight last Sunday, John Oliver hilariously considers the stupidity of the primary election process in the U.S. So mark you calendars for next February 2. Watch the video to the end to find out why.

BENDY BIKE CALLED TROCADERO FIXIE

A professional bicycle racer named Johan Le Bon is the co-developer of a strange, new kind of bicycle:

”[It is a] single-speed city street cycle that pivots in the middle of the frame, allowing the back wheel to twist and swerve in ways that, at a glance, make it look like it is about to fall apart...The result: users can turn in ultra-tight circles and slalom urban street obstacles with ease.”

Take a look, see what you think:

You can find out more at Gajitz.

BOOK SOFA

There is no reason for this item except that I think it is the cutest thing – and maybe other book lovers will too. If I needed a sofa – too bad I don't and it's probably more expensive than I can afford – I would buy this:

Redbooksofa

It comes in a whole lot of other wonderful colors too. You can find out more Prospettiva Design.

NEXT STEP TOWARD CASHLESS SOCIETY

I may have mentioned here (or maybe I've just discussed with a friend) that I will not welcome the cashless society we will have probably sometime soon. You can call me Luddite all you want – too bad, it's just how I feel.

That said, this experiment by Buzzfeed writer Charlie Warzel is fascinating. He went for a month without cash and then went one step further having a payment chip implanted in his hand.

What else is amazing is this video racked up more than two million views in its first four days:

Read more about Warzel's experiment at Buzzfeed.

DAVID LETTERMAN EXPLAINS HOW RETIREMENT AFFECTS SELF-ESTEEM

Former Late Show host, David Letterman, came out of retirement last week when he was given a Peabody Award for his work on that program.

During his acceptance speech, Letterman told the audience what happened when he attended a recent White House State Dinner that explains how retirement can be a blow to one's self-esteem:

”So I'm seated at dinner next to a man who is the assistant chief of staff to the prime minister of Norway. And I'm feeling like a big shot. And we're chatting, and we're chatting, and we're chatting.

“And when it comes about dessert time, and the guy says to me, 'Excuse me. Why are you here?'

“And I said, 'You know what? I think I picked up somebody else's mail.'

“And he said, 'So you're here by mistake?'

“And I said,'Yeah.'

“And he said, 'Oh.'

“So there you go — you get invited to the state dinner, nobody knows why. That's the sum total of being retired.”

Read the rest of Letterman's Pulitzer speech at Vulture.

INJURED TORTOISE GETS 3D SHELL

It's no secret how excited I am about the thousands-and-growing-fast number of applications for 3D printing and here is another that will break your heart in the best possible way.

Some veterinarians, 3D designers and a local artist got together to create a new shell for Freddy the tortoise after she lost most of her own in a terrible forest fire. Watch:

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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” at the top 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.


Expectations Versus Reality About Old Age

Not too long ago, my Canadian blog friend, doctafil, emailed a story from the Montreal Gazette that contained a lot of statistics and information about how people are growing old in Canada.

The serendipity is that it arrived when I had wondering for awhile if we – you and I, other old people, younger people and the media that report on ageing (who are rarely old themselves) – spend too much time worrying about all the terrible things that can happen to us in our late years.

The thing that worries us all, of course, is an awful diagnosis or the accident – a broken hip, for one example - that can turn us instantly from living in competent independence to helplessness from which we may or may not recover. There are plenty of other things that can wreck our old age plans too.

We are reminded of this from a lot of angles. Discussions of nursing homes – often horror stories. Reports on ageing in place and its alternatives - sometimes, recently, with warnings about the dangers of living alone. Articles reminding us to see our physician at least once a year even if there is no immediate reason. Warnings about drugs interactions and so on.

Pretty much the only good news about growing old are reports of the outliers who climb Mt. Everest at 85 and run marathons at 90 which infer that the rest of us, the 99 percent, aren't keeping up and are, therefore deficient.

(That Montreal Gazette story anchors its report with an interview with an active elder who refuses to give her age but is described by the reporter as having “passed the biblical allotment of three score years and 10 a couple of decades ago.”)

The overview of elders health in the Montreal Gazette story repeats the typically negative way statistics on our group are reported.

”In the 85-and-over age group, 35 per cent of women and 23 per cent of men lived in nursing homes or other care facilities.”

Really?! I think the more honest news is that 65 percent of women and 77 percent of men in that age group do not live in nursing homes or other care facilities.

Here's another example:

”Among Canadians 80 and older, 37 per cent had four or more chronic conditions in 2009, from a list that includes arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, effects of a stroke and Alzheimer’s...”

That means, if you look at it differently, a large majority, 63 percent of Canadians 80 and older do not have four or more chronic conditions.

Geriatrician Bill Thomas has been saying for years that old people have standing in the United States (undoubtedly Canada too) only as far as they behave like young people – and the widely-believed stereotype is that old age is a terrible time of life filled with disease, debility and decline, a belief that automatically marginalizes elders from participating in society.

It's certainly not untrue that our bodies slow down in all kinds of way as the years pile up but it's not all of us by any means and not even a majority. Take a look at what a wide-ranging, 2009 Pew survey discovered about how elders really live versus younger people's expectations for their own old age:

”About one-in-four adults ages 65 and older report experience memory loss. About one-in-five say they have a serious illness, are not sexually active, or often feel sad or depressed.

“About one-in-six report they are lonely or have trouble paying bills. One-in-seven cannot drive. One-in-ten say they feel they aren’t needed or are a burden to others.

“But when it comes to these and other potential problems related to old age, the share of younger and middle-aged adults who report expecting to encounter them is much higher than the share of older adults who report actually experiencing them.”

Here's the Pew Research chart comparing young expectations to elder reality:

Real v expectations chart

While working on this post, I've been trying to remember what I believed, in my childhood and young adulthood, what old age was like. It's not so easy to do, in my case. There are hardly any elder relatives.

My great Aunt Edith retired from full-time work at age 70 and lived on her own until she got sick at age 89 and died within a few weeks. Until then, she did quite well with some help during the last few years with house cleaning and shopping. She had a wonderful sense of humor about the physical surprises that snuck up on her in old age.

Both my parents died relatively young - my father died in his mid-60s from cancer that had been diagnosed while he was still working so he didn't get to grow old. My mother, even with two hip replacements, lived well on her own until she died at age 75 of cancer.

A couple who were sort of adopted grandparents I knew throughout my childhood were active, healthy and lived on their own until they died. For awhile we thought Ray had become deaf but then realized he only pretended so when he wanted to ignore his wife who always had one more household chore for him, then one more and so on. It became a family joke that he was so selectively deaf.

Friends' parents I knew were healthy and living on their own until into their late 70s and 80s and beyond in a couple of cases so discounting disease, which seems to me to be happenstance over which no one has much control, my personal experience with advanced age is it works out pretty well for most people.

And two of my best online friends that I've known for a decade, Millie Garfield and Darlene Costner, will both be 91 years old this year. They are wonderful role models for any of us who are lucky enough to grow as old as they are.

There is, of course, no way to know with certainty if our expectations affect how our old age turns out to be. But mine are all positive and without being too stupid about it, I think I will just continue to believe that I'll get old similarly.

What about you?

SPEAKING OF LIVING WELL INTO OLD, OLD AGE: On Sunday, our own Darlene Costner will celebrate her 91st birthday. Happy Birthday, Darlene!

HappyBirthdayDarlene


Facts and Figures About the U.S. Elder Population

Back in 1963, President John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month. Two years later, Congress passed the Older American's Act to deal with a lack of community services for elders.

The Act established the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) that administers grant programs created by the Older Americans Act and is the primary federal agency concerned with elders in the U.S.

May is still celebrated as (renamed) Older Americans Month and before May gets away from us, we at TGB should make note of it. To give us a general idea of who elders in America are, here are some statistics - gleaned mostly (but not entirely) from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Although the numbers will be off if you are not in the U.S., the general sense will likely hold for you if you are in another developed country.

HOW MANY OF US ARE THERE?
46.2 million people were 65 and older on 1 July 2014. That's 14.5% the population.

It is projected that there will be 98.2 million people 65 and older in 2060 – nearly 25% of the population. Of this number, 19.7 of them will be 85 or older.

It is also projected that in 2060, the number of baby boomers still alive will be 2.4 million, the youngest of whom will be 96 years old.

OUR EDUCATION LEVELS
81.9% of people 65 and older have completed high school or some higher education.

Nearly a quarter of the group, 24.8%, hold a bachelor's or higher degree.

MONEY AND POVERTY
The median income in 2014 of households people 65 and older was $36,895.

97 percent of retirees receive Social Security benefits.

For 36 percent of people 65 and older, Social Security provides 90 percent or more of their income.

For 24 percent of those people, Social Security is the sole source of retirement income.

About 9.5 percent of people 65 and older live in poverty (incomes below the poverty line).

Without Social Security benefits, more than 40 percent of Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line. The program lifts 14.7 million elderly Americans out of poverty.

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS
57.6% of people 65 and older were married in 2015.

24.4% of people 65 and older in 2015 were widowed.

As of the fourth quarter of 2015, 79.3% of householders 65 and older owned their homes.

The state of Florida has the largest population percentage of people 65 and older: 19.1%. The state of Maine comes in second with 18.3%.

Chattahoochee County, Georgia has the lowest percentage of elders at 4.1%.

Sumpter County in Florida has the largest percentage of elders of any county in the U.S., a whopping 52.9%.

The state of Alaska is home to the lowest percentage of people 65 and older, 9.4%, followed by Utah with 10%.

HOW WE SPEND TIME
15 million older persons 65 and older volunteer in some form.

In 2013, about 536,000 grandparents aged 65 or older had the primary responsibility for their grandchildren who lived with them.

21.5% of men 65 and older participated in the labor force in 2014. The rate for women 65 and older was 13.7%.

MISCELLANEOUS

It is estimated that in 2014, 9.4 million 65 and older Americans were veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

71.9% of the 65-plus population voted in the 2012 presidential election. That was up from 70.3% in 2008.

Elders are just over 14 percent of the population but consume 40 percent of prescription drugs and 35 percent of over-the-counter drugs.

On average, individuals 65 to 69 years old take nearly 14 prescriptions per year. Individuals aged 80 to 84 take an average of 18 prescriptions per year.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I strongly dislike media stories that extol old people for physical achievements that are unexpected in their age range. You know, the ones who climb Mt. Everest at age 80 or water ski barefoot at 75 or bungee jump off bridges.

Those are nothing more than one-off stunts but are widely reported with a whiff of blame aimed at the rest of us who are not behaving like people 50 years younger than ourselves.

Lately, you could get whiplash from the cognitive dissonance caused by reports of 60- and even 50-somethings who can't get hired due to age discrimination versus politicians who want to raise the retirement age to 70 for the full Social Security benefit.

So while we are putting together a description of old people today via statistics, let's also look at a list of accomplishments, important achievements that instead of aping youth, depend on education, experience and understanding that are gained only with age.

ELDER ACHIEVEMENTS
Alexander Graham Bell was 75 when he received a patent for his work on a hydrofoil boat.

Susan B. Anthony was past 80 when she formed the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

At 88, Michelangelo created the architectural plans for the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli.

At 89, Arthur Rubinstein performed one of his greatest recitals in Carnegie Hall.

At 90, Marc Chagall became the first living artist to be exhibited at the Louvre museum.

At 94, comedian George Burns performed in Schenectady, New York, 63 years after his first performance there.

Grandma Moses received her last commission as an artist when she was 99.


Donald Trump and Social Security

Back when there were still a whole lot of people running for the Republican nomination for president, Donald Trump was the only one who did not want to cut Social Security benefits.

His opponents had the usual variety of methods to reduce the benefit they always erroneously call an “entitlement” (along with Medicare) as though it is not an earned benefit we all pay for throughout our working years.

Raise the retirement age, say some. Others want a “means test” that would remake Social Security into a welfare program instead of the insurance benefit it is. Still others want to reduce the cost-of-living adjustment or go the George W. Bush route and let people invest those monies in stock market.

Donald Trump was different. In December 2015, he said,

“'We’re not gonna cut your Social Security and we’re not cutting your Medicare,' he said," according to a story in Huffington Post.

“Trump has insisted that economic growth and cutting waste, fraud and abuse in the system would solve entitlement spending issues.”

You may recall that eliminating “waste, fraud and abuse” is pretty much Trump's solution to everything except building that wall he says Mexico will pay for. As the HuffPo writer, Matt Fuller, reminded readers,

”He neglects to mention that the incidence of incorrect overpayments is typically under 1 percent, according to the Social Security Administration’s estimates. (Combined administrative costs for both the retirement and disability programs are also under 1 percent.)”

You don't find those kinds of administrative numbers in the private sector.

That was in December. In an April 2016 debate, Trump reaffirmed his support of Social Security:

"'Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And it's not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut.' reported Alternet. “He made clear, I'm not gonna do that!'"

Since political coverage by the news media has become all Trump, all the time, you may have noticed that the now presumptive Republican candidate frequently changes his positions, denies he ever said things he did say and contradicts himself, often several times within a day and even an hour.

That flexibility showed up a couple of weeks ago when Modern Healthcare reported:

”On Wednesday, Sam Clovis, Trump's chief policy adviser, signaled to a Washington group that strongly favors a major overhaul of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that Trump is open to their agenda.

“'After the (Trump) administration has been in place, then we will start to take a look at all of the programs, including entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare,' Clovis said, according to the Wall Street Journal (firewall).

“That statement came just before Trump met with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday to try to make peace with the top Republican policymaker...”

(Speaker Ryan is long on the record with proposals to cut Social Security.)

Last week, Social Security expert Nancy Altman who is co-author of the 2015 book, Social Security Works!, followed up on those comments from Sam Clovis in a Huffington Post story:

”To those who have carefully studied Trump’s record on Social Security, this seemingly abrupt turnaround does not come as a huge surprise.

“Back in 2000, Trump wrote a book in which he referred to Social Security as a 'Ponzi scheme', proposed increasing the retirement age to 70, and claimed, 'Privatization would be good for all of us.'

“As recently as 2011, he said he was on board with plans to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — but that Republicans should be very careful 'not to fall into the Democratic trap' by doing it without bipartisan support, or they would pay the price politically.

“Trump’s position on Social Security appears to be whatever he feels is most beneficial to Donald Trump at any given time.”

It seems pretty certain to me that it will not be long before Donald Trump announces his explicit support for the Republican position of cutting Social Security along with Medicare and Medicaid.

They never stop. These people will never, ever stop trying to impoverish elders. Remember, even when they say their cuts will not harm current retirees, they are nonetheless perfectly willing to do that to your children and grandchildren.


ELDER MUSIC: Songs of the Gershwins

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.

* * *

George & Ira Gerswhin

I feel as if I'm announcing a category on a quiz program, "Pointless" specifically, for those who know that one. So, these are songs that were written by both George and Ira Gershwin.

George also wrote longer works and Ira wrote many songs with others after George died, but this column isn't about those.

There were many versions of pretty much all the songs today. That's not really surprising as they wrote good ones. So, these are my choices. (I didn't tell Norma, the Assistant Musicologist I was doing this column so she didn't get a say in choosing what to include.)

BILLIE HOLIDAY is no stranger to my columns and here she is again.

Billie Holiday

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off first saw the light of day in the film "Shall We Dance" which, it probably comes as no big surprise, featured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

They sang it in the film while scurrying around on roller skates. This is Billie with her take on the song. I don't think she was wearing skates when she recorded it.

♫ Billie Holiday - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off


JULIE LONDON is another regular.

Julie London

‘S Wonderful came from the Broadway musical "Funny Face" and was performed in that by Adele Astaire and Allen Kearns. Adele was Fred's older sister and they performed together for many years in vaudeville and theatre.

I'm not using either of them, it's Julie's turn to sing the song.

♫ Julie London - 'S Wonderful


CHET BAKER sang like an angel, was a great trumpet player and was one of the handsomest men in show biz.

Chet Baker

However, he seemed determined to destroy all those gifts with long-term hard drug use. He didn't quite succeed, apart from losing his looks, but imagine what he could have achieved had he not indulged.

Enough editorializing, let's hear him perform and sing But Not For Me.

♫ Chet Baker - But Not For Me


"Judy at Carnegie Hall" was a commercial and critical success and won awards all over the place. The double album sold squillions. The concert at which it was recorded marked the comeback of JUDY GARLAND to performing after a hiatus recovering from alcohol and drug abuse.

Judy Garland

The album is interesting and Judy sings well but it's a bit bombastic for my taste. Fortunately, the Gershwins' track is not like that. Their song is How Long Has This Been Going On? I faded the applause at the end as it went on for far too long.

♫ Judy Garland - How Long Has This Been Going On


Fans of Fred Astaire will be disturbed to hear that I originally had him penciled in at this spot and removed him in favor of FATS WALLER.

Fats Waller

Fats doesn't take the song too seriously, which was a bit of a change from all the other songs today. I think that was why I chose it. So, here he is with I Got Rhythm.

♫ Fats Waller - I Got Rhythm


I had quite a few options for the next song, including a few blokes which surprised me. In the end I thought that ETTA JAMES had the most interesting version.

Etta James

Etta is more noted singing rhythm and blues and rock & roll, but she shows here she can perform jazz with the best of them. Here's her take on The Man I Love.

♫ Etta James - The Man I Love


Ah, Nat, in the guise of the NAT KING COLE TRIO which is the way I like him best.

Nat King Cole Trio

Embraceable You was written for an operetta called "East is West" that never saw the light of day.

It first popped its head up in a Broadway musical called "Girl Crazy" sung by Ginger Rogers. It probably won't come as too much of a shock to learn that Fred was in that one too. However, I'm going with Nat.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Embraceable You


ELLA FITZGERALD and LOUIS ARMSTRONG made three albums together and from the second of these we have They All Laughed.

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

There were several tracks on this one (a double album) and from the first I could have used. Then there's the third album, "Porgy and Bess," but I've done a whole column on that topic, so I left it out.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - They All Laughed


DUKE ROBILLARD is at home playing both blues and jazz. He also makes a good fist at rock & roll when he sets his mind (and fingers) to it.

Duke Robillard

Today he is in jazz mode with The Duke Robillard Jazz Trio playing They Can't Take That Away From Me.

♫ Duke Robillard Jazz Trio - They Can't Take That Away From Me


Although the A.M. didn't have a say in the selections today, I'm sure this next is one she would have picked. It's LINDA RONSTADT.

Linda Ronstadt

Linda recorded several disks with Nelson Riddle featuring the great American songbook. It really caught on with rock & rollers and others have done the same over the years.

Today Linda sings Someone to Watch Over Me.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Someone to Watch Over Me


INTERESTING STUFF – 21 May 2016

ELDER-FRIENDLY SUMMER FESTIVALS IN THE U.K.

For U.K. TGB readers, there is an extensive list online of upcoming summer festivals – an amazing variety of them. I'm sorry I missed the mussel festival earlier this month but on 25 and 26 June, there is the first Gin Festival.

CornwallGinFestival

It takes place in Cornwall celebrating, they say, the gin of the United Kingdom – a two-day event of live music and gin appreciation. Yeah. Right. But I have always preferred gin to vodka.

On 2 and 3 July, there is the South Devon 1940's Festival at the South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh.

SouthDevon1940sFestival

You can, the website says,

”Experience the true 1940's life with entertainment, food and games all inspired by the 1940's period. Expect a really fun day and evening and you won't be out of place if you dress up in the period.”

One more example: From the 3rd to the 22nd of August, the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival presents performances by the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company with such classics as Pirates of Penzance and Mikado.

It takes place at Harrogate Royal Hall, Ripon Rd, Harrogate. Click here for the interactive webpage, sponsored by Sunlife Financial organization, with details on at least a dozen more interesting festivals.

MT. WASHINGTON WIND

The Mt. Washington Observatory in New Hampshire is nickname World's Worst Weather and you're going to see why in this video.

Weather Observers Mike Dorfman and Tom Padham took a brief break earlier this week to “enjoy” the windy and wintry conditions on the observation deck where gusts, they said, “topped out at 109 mph.” Wow.

More video at the Observatory Facebook page.

IN EAR INSTANT LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR

In our digital age, if you have traveled to countries where you don't speak the language, you may have become familiar with smartphone translator apps. They can help a lot.

Now there is about to be something amazing. Take a look at this video:

You can see still shots and read more details at Bored Panda. There are answers to questions you may have at the company that is developing this upcoming product, Wavery Labs.

DEAR GOD – WHAT ARE THE ELITES COMING TO?

In Hollywood, there is an actor named Gwyneth Paltrow. Ms. Paltrow keeps a website she calls Goop where, among other things, she sells stuff. This is one of those items:

24caratgolddildo

If you had trouble figuring out what it is – I did, at first – it is a 24-carat gold dildo. It costs US$15,000. I am speechless.

LSD: WHAT A LONG STRANGE TRIP IT'S BEEN

Back in the day, I took several LSD - “acid” - trips. I've always been careful about my drugs and I partook only when it was still manufactured by Sandoz Laboratories. After the U.S. government outlawed and there was only homemade acid, I stopped.

But I want to be clear that I thought then – and still do – that it was both fun and fascinating and would have some useful medical applications.

Now, as The New York Times reports in a Retro Report, researchers are working on that idea with some potentially important results.

JOHN OLIVER – OUT-OF-DATE 911 SYSTEMS

On his HBO show, Last Week Tonight last Sunday, John Oliver reported on 911 emergency systems in the U.S. that are hopelessly out of date.

Of course, he is devastatingly funny about this deadly serious problem.

CHUCK NYREN ON MINDFULNESS FAD

Serendipity is a fun and amazing thing. As the so-called “mindfulness” fad seems to have reached peak popularity recently, I've been thinking of it as meditation for lazy people and ruminating on how I might write about that for this blog.

Well, if you wait long enough, a like-minded friend might do it for you. That's what happen when Chuck Nyren published a piece titled The Path to Bodily Enlightenment at his Huffington Post column.

Because he's funnier than I am, he took it in a direction I hadn't thought about and explained how growing older provides all the bodily mindfulness he needs:

”My innards are likewise enlightened. Example: that alimentary canal. Years ago I would just eat something. Then I’d eat something else. That was that. No satori attaining.

“Now, every morsel is mindful, especially if doused in sriracha sauce. Not a moment goes by without me knowing exactly where it is on its epic journey. Even during and immediately following extrusion it leaves an afterglow of awareness! Sometimes I think I’m the most enlightened person in the world.”

Go read the whole column. Chuck is a funny man, often about serious things.

MUSLIM/JEWISH MARRIAGE EXPERIMENT

The possibility of resolving conflicts that separate Muslims and Jews seems hopeless and it's for that reason that I admire and respect the people – writers, thinkers, diplomats and, in this case, an internet star – who keep trying.

Karim Metwaly is the American-born son of Egyptian immigrant parents who is a singer, actor and vlogger well known on YouTube for his parodies and other videos about Muslims.

In this one, his camera follows two Muslim/Jewish couples as they walk together through Manhattan ethnic neighborhoods. Take a look:

You can read more at the Jerusalem Post.

DANA MILBANK EATS HIS WORDS – LITERALLY

Sooner or later, almost all of us say something like, “If that's not true, I'll eat my hat.” We usually don't.

In this case, it is Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank who, last year, promised that if Donald Trump became the Republican Party nominee for president, he would eat his entire print column – and his colleagues in the press held him to it.

I've seen this in the past – someone chews up and swallows an actual piece of paper. But Milbank found a chef who cooked the column into a fancy meal of several courses that also included wine.

I think that's cheating. Take a look and see what you think.

You can read more at the Washington Post.

* * *

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” at the top 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.


Me, Myself and I in Old Age

A friend who lives on the east coast mentioned to me last week that his wife, at an age when they are both coasting toward retirement, says she feels more and more like being a homebody these days.

Me too. Even in childhood, I had no trouble being with myself but in the years since I retired in 2004, I have gradually become more appreciative of my own company, to even crave it when life sometimes feels too busy.

This does not mean I don't want to be with other people. I just seem to want a bit less of it these days, of shorter duration and to give myself more time between each encounter.

Scheduling can get tricky because my weekly visit to the farmers market during the season seems to count as visiting time for me as do long telephone conversations – an hour or two each – that I regularly have with friends who live far away.

Not often but now and then, up to three days can go by when, not counting a short greeting with a neighbor at the mail box, I don't see or speak to anyone. And that doesn't bother me.

But it sure does bother people whose jobs are in the field of ageing. Old people are lonely they tell us. Their social circles dwindle as they age leading to more time alone and the isolation that results can be deadly:

”Isolation has been associated with people developing more chronic illnesses and facing a higher risk of death. Hypertension, less physical activity, worse mobility and increased depression have been tied to loneliness and isolation,” reported U.S. News & World Report last year.

“Not too surprisingly, mental abilities can suffer as a person's world shrinks. Cognitive decline and dementia may become more likely with isolation.”

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that “among participants who were older than 60 years, loneliness was a predictor of functional decline and death.”

Some have called elder loneliness in the U.S. and in the U.K. an “epidemic” but how many old people are lonely is highly questionable. An AARP Foundation study [pdf] published in 2012, was unable to quantify it:

”...current estimates indicate that isolation could impact up to 17% of Americans aged 50+.”

Estimates? Could?

What is not hard to know is that wherever the health of old people is being discussed, loneliness and isolation are hot topics and the remedies suggested are always the same:

Volunteer
Take a class
Join a club
Move to a retirement community
Get a pet

(ASIDE: You can always tell when someone who is not old yet is writing about being old. It doesn't occur to them, for example, that for many elders, a pet might be too expensive, too difficult to care for or that concern it would outlive you and maybe not have a new home is too hard to contemplate.)

It is not unreasonable to assume that some people who are lonely don't want to admit it to people they know and we should all try to be sensitive to that with those we know, to do what we can to help.

But what I don't like is the sense conveyed by the ageing media that all elders are at “risk” for isolation and loneliness. Some of us, probably more than those experts realize, find increasing comfort in being with ourselves as we grow older, and being alone is not synonymous with loneliness.

This idea has come up in the past at this blog and a lot of us are on the same page with it as shown on Monday's post about Jung's seven tasks of ageing.

“I have learnt to enjoy my own company much more than I ever did before,” wrote Chillin.

“Solitude is not a sin--far from it. And it's good to use it for writing, including writing remembrances or memoir. Toward the end of life I think it's natural to experience occasional loneliness. We can survive it!” said Barbara Young.

“I'm 69 this year and I'm already tired of AARP reminding me to stay connected, wear high heels, get another job and stay busy! I was very very busy, employed, and connected for 55 years and now I'm going to embrace my essential introvert and explore these tasks in depth,” wrote Susan.

“I love to park my car at the pier, turn on some satellite music, eat my lunch, contemplate life and write. It's peaceful,” said doctafil.

It is a good thing in old age, I believe, to spend some time with me, myself and I. In that regard, here is a lovely little poem I found on the internet some time ago titled The Secret Place by Dennis Lee.

I suspect it was written for children but you and I are old enough to know that doesn't matter.

There's a place I go, inside myself,
Where nobody else can be,
And none of my friends can tell it's there -
Nobody knows but me.
It's hard to explain the way it feels,
Or even where I go.
It isn't a place in time or space,
But once I'm there, I know.
It's tiny, it's shiny, it can't be seen,
But it's big as the sky at night.
I try to explain and it hurts my brain,
But once I'm there, it's right.
There's a place I know inside myself,
And it's neither big nor small,
And whenever I go, it feels as though
I never left at all.


A TGB Extra: Tech Support Fun

Darlene Costner emailed the following joke that had me laughing all day. Anyone who has ever had computer problems and relationship issues will get it. I suspect this one has been around the web for many years and you may have seen it in the past. Doesn't matter. It's still funny and it's still true on so many levels.

Enjoy.

* * *

A young woman wrote to tech support and their reply is a stroke of genius. She wrote a letter as a joke and only remembered about it when she unexpectedly received their responding email.

Dear Tech Support:

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slowdown in overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewelry applications which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as: Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NBA 5.0, NFL 3.0 and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs and House cleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems but to no avail. What can I do?

Signed,
Desperate

Dear Desperate:

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package while Husband 1.0 is an operating system. Please enter command: I thought you loved me.html and try to download Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewelry 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5, Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.

Whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, install Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.) In addition, please, do not attempt to re-install the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend: Cooking 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck!