Pet Adoption and Old People

A few days ago, TGB reader Trudy Kappel emailed about elders and pets:

I am the same age as you and my beloved and aged cat died a few weeks ago,” wrote Trudy.

“Right now it is much too soon for me to adopt another one but I wonder if it is really too late. My most recent cats lived between 18 and 20 years. I think it is unlikely that I will live that long and worry about what would happen to kitty when I'm not able to care for her.

“My friends remind me of the benefits of pet ownership (not clear who owns who) and that 'The only reason Grandpa got out of bed was to care for Fluffy.' I'm not there yet but it could happen.”

I “think” I wrote about adopting senior pets in the past but if I'm right (I didn't check) it was long enough ago that it's worth a second go.

Puppy-and-Kitten

During the months I spent recovering from my surgery for pancreatic cancer and the followup chemotherapy, I thought a lot of about Ollie the cat (he is 13 years old) and what would happen to him if I died. He's not the friendliest fellow you ever met and a scaredy-cat too about anything new so that might be a stumbling block for adoption by a friend or stranger.

At other times I have wondered about adopting another cat if Ollie dies before I do. I've always had a cat and it wouldn't feel like home without one. But during that surgery recovery, I learned a bit about what the difficulties might be having a pet as we grow older.

For two months following the surgery, I was not allowed to bend over or twist my body. That made feeding Ollie and keeping his litter box clean a difficult endeavor. Fortunately, I have a wonderful neighbor who helped out every day.

But there are a lot of less deadly afflictions that could make it difficult or prevent an old person from the daily care of a cat or walking a dog and cleaning up behind him/her.

In addition, one of the hard parts of being old is that even if you are physically capable now, anything could happen tomorrow (and does from time to time) to change that. There is no way to know.

On the other hand, there are many positives to having a pet: companionship, stress relief, entertainment, unconditional love, and the sense of wellbeing that comes from being responsible for another living being.

So in addition to one's age, there is one's health to consider in adopting a new pet along with arrangements for a new home should we die.

Like a lot of other things in life, age and health are a crap shoot – mostly we don't know beforehand how healthy we are going to remain and how long we will live. If it's important enough to us, sometimes we just have to close our eyes and take the leap. I don't have a better solution.

One solution to the third question, however, is adopting an old pet. In doing so, you are probably saving a life because most people want kittens or puppies so abandoned elder pets are often euthanized.

In addition, older pets are calmer than kittens and puppies (they probably won't climb the curtains or tear up the sofa), and their personalities are set so you know what you're getting.

Old pets may also be less expensive to adopt – they have had the vaccinations that don't need repeating and reputable adoption services will know about any medical problems.

Speaking of that, there appear to be organizations that provide financial aid to pet owners in need of such assistance. The Humane Society has a list on their website.

There are other national (U.S.) websites to help with local pet adoption. Here are two:

Pets For the Elderly is a non-profit organization that promotes adoption of older pets and can help pay veterinarian costs if they are part of the adoption fee. There is a list of participating shelters alphabetically by state here.

Petfinder is another elder pet locator. Follow that link and then click “Find a Pet” at the top of the page. On the next page, when you enter your location and choose from other criteria (dog, cat, breed, gender, etc.), you will get a list of cats or dogs or other kinds of pets that are available for adoption.

Here are a couple of short videos about adopting an older dog or cat:

Do you have any experience with adopting an older pet?



Thank You. President's Day. The Parody Project.

Thank-You

Yesterday, the annual TGB donation drive ended. I'll bet you're glad to get rid of those notices at the top of last week's posts.

As in the past, I am dismayed at your generosity and there are so many of you, I cannot thank everyone individually so I must do it this way, collectively. It will be easy now to meet the expenses of the blog without having to hold my breath. You are more than kind.

Also, it was terrific to read the personal notes some of you included with your donations and it has been a load of fun seeing so many names from many different places worldwide that are new to me.

So I thank you all - those who donated and every one of you who didn't too. The community we have created here is unique among blogs and you, the readers, do that with your thoughtful responses, generously sharing your information, your knowledge, humor and opinions that make this web spot a special place on the internet.

PRESIDENTS DAY
Today is a holiday, Presidents Day which, if I recall correctly, replaces the two holidays for the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln that we celebrated in February when I was kid.

I choke on the idea of including the current president's name along with those two illustrious forerunners among the people who have held the highest office in the land. It feels particularly ludicrous following drama throughout this past weekend.

President Donald Trump's contemptible responses to the tragic school shooting in Florida and to the grand jury indictments for conspiracy, fraud, identity theft and other crimes in relation to the 2016 U.S. election against 13 Russian nationals make a particularly embarrassing conparison.

So I think it's time for a little parody. I only recently discovered a group that calls itself The Parody Project. It was founded, the YouTube page tells us,

”...in August of 2017 by film-maker/composer Don Caron, as a means of surviving the current political and social mire by laughing and helping others to do the same.”

What the group does is write and sing new lyrics to familiar songs we all know. This one was released in December, titled 12 Months of Trump's Mess (Parody of 12 Days of Christmas). Enjoy.

You can find out more about The Parody Project and see all their previous parodies (political, social, Trump, Christmas) here.



ELDER MUSIC: The Night They Invented Champagne

TIME GOES BY DONATION WEEK - LAST DAY
Hurray. This is the last day of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

* * *

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.

* * *

Champs

With a title like that, I'd have to start with that song. It's from the musical (and film in this case) of "Gigi". Throughout the tune you have the voices of LESLIE CARON, LOUIS JOURDAN and HERMIONE GINGOLD.

Leslie Caron etc.

However, the main singing voice, lip-synched by Leslie in the film, is BETTY WAND.

Betty Wand

The track is quite short. In the film it goes on for considerably longer but the second half of the song is instrumental with Leslie dancing around, pouring champagne for everyone, including herself. This would not be acceptable today as her character (Gigi) was quite young. That's okay with me; I was quite young when I first drank champagne.

♫ Gigi - The Night They Invented Champagne


EFFIE SMITH, like many of us, has a champagne mind with a soda water income.

Effie Smith

I know that's a problem for me. Effie's song had the backing of the vocal group The Squires, two of whose members went on to become the fifties rock & roll duo Don and Dewey, who weren't very successful, but the songs they wrote were huge hits for others. Effie's song, as you can possibly guess, is Champagne Mind.

♫ Effie Smith - Champagne Mind


Like Effie, ERIC BIBB has champagne habits on a beer salary. The same thought, different beverage.

Eric Bibb

If Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, has a say in it, Eric would be in pretty much every column where it was appropriate. It's a good thing it's appropriate today. He performs Champagne Habits.

♫ Eric Bibb - Champagne Habits


If I have any say in it, and of course I do as I write these things, OTIS REDDING would appear quite often.

Otis Redding

He's here today with Champagne and Wine.

♫ Otis Redding - Champagne And Wine


I suppose if you're only going to eat French fries you might as well drink champagne with them. At least, that's what THE HOT SARDINES think. Hmm, there's certainly a food thing going on here.

Hot Sardines

The Sardines are pretty much the brainchild of Evan Palazzo and Elizabeth Bougerol. They got their start when they were asked to sing some French songs for a gig on Bastille Day. That turned out to be at the Lincoln Center in New York and they were an instant success.

They perform French Fries and Champagne from the album of the same name.

♫ The Hot Sardines - French Fries & Champagne


WILLIE NELSON is well known for imbibing other substances, but I'm sure he's quite happy to get into the bubbly.

Willie Nelson

That's pretty obvious from his lovely, gentle song Drinking Champagne.

♫ Willie Nelson - Drinking Champagne


JOHNNIE RAY was a bit of an oddity in the music of the early fifties.

Johnnie Ray

He was obviously a proto-rock and roller while still performing music that harked back to an earlier generation. The song today could fit into both categories (if you consider Doowop-style music rock and roll), but probably closer to earlier music. The song is The Lady Drinks Champagne.

♫ Johnnie Ray - The Lady Drinks Champagne


Although usually lumped into the country camp, JERRY JEFF WALKER, just like his friend Willie, covers a far wider spectrum of music than that.

Jerry Jeff Walker

His song today mentions pretty much everything a person could partake of, both legal and illegal. However, he suggests that it's nobody's business but mine (well, his actually). The song is Champagne Don't Hurt Me, Baby.

♫ Jerry Jeff Walker - Champagne Don't Hurt Me Baby


Champagne Charlie is an old music hall song that goes back a long way. I could have chosen any of the old performers, however, I've always liked the way LEON REDBONE sings the old songs.

Leon Redbone

He manages to be true to the original while not being too slavish about that, bringing a modern spirit to his performance.

♫ Leon Redbone - Champagne Charlie


All the previous songs celebrated champagne to one degree or another. However, ROSEMARY CLOONEY gets no kick from champagne.

Rosemary Clooney

Anyone who has listened to music sometime in the last hundred years or so will know where I'm going with the final song. I had a plethora of choices, just about everyone sang it well. It pretty much came down to how I felt about the backing musicians. Although there's a lot going on in this one, I rather liked it. Even the vibes didn't offend me too much. I Get A Kick Out Of You.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - I Get A Kick Out Of You



INTERESTING STUFF – 17 February 2018

TIME GOES BY DONATION WEEK
Hurray. Just one more day left of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

* * *

MAN SURPRISED TO FIND OUT HE'S 99 YEARS OLD

A lot of people have gotten a good laugh out of this video from Jukin Media: It got more then 3.5 million views on YouTube in only 10 days:

JIMMY KIMMEL'S OLYMPIC COVERAGE

As he reminds the audience, NBC, where the Olympics is being broadcast in the U.S., does not allowed Kimmel to show clips on his ABC show. So he did this.

THOSE MAGAZINES JUST KEEP COMING

Thank TGB's Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles, for this cartoon from Pearls Before Swine. I know just how the guy feels and for me, it's about this particular magazine.

As much as I love The New Yorker, I'm always playing catchup with it.

PearlsBeforeSwineCartoon

Find more Pearls Before Swine cartoons here.

B.B. KING IN A DRESS

That headline is what a commenter said about Sister Rosetta Tharp on the YouTube page. A lot of people don't remember her or never heard of her but my mother was a fan so I grew up singing along with recordings of Ms. Tharp.

She is often referred to as “The Godmother of Rock and Roll” or “The Original Soul Sister”. This video is from 1964 in Manchester, England: Didn't It Rain. See what you think.

WATERFALL SWING

Wait 'till you see this: Swinging in the rain (ahem) without getting wet.

The Big Geek Daddy page explains how swingers stay dry:

”Sensors mounted on the swing set send data to a software program that determines when to release the water so it misses the person swinging beneath the waterfall. The water used for this is recirculated from the collection pool beneath the swings so it’s not using a lot of water.”

STUNNING REPORT ON COST OF SOLAR/WIND POWER

The U.S. president is doing everything he can to promote old, dirty energy production which, as it turns out, is actually more expensive that renewable energy.

”A widely-used yearly benchmarking study — the Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE) from the financial firm Lazard Ltd. — reached this stunning conclusion: In many regions 'the full-lifecycle costs of building and operating renewables-based projects have dropped below the operating costs alone of conventional generation technologies such as coal or nuclear,” reports ThinkProgress...

“Since power from new renewables is cheaper than power from existing coal and nuclear, it’s no surprise that the lifetime cost of new renewables is much cheaper than new coal and nuclear power. And that gap is growing.

“Lazard notes that in North America, the cost for utility scale solar and wind power dropped 6 percent last year, while the price for coal remained flat and the cost of nuclear soared.”

The cost savings are even greater in some other countries. Read more at ThinkProgress.

THE SNOW GUARDIAN

Gothic, Colorado is one of the coldest places in the United States. It is also been a ghost town since the 1920s. As the YouTube page further explains:

”For more than 40 years, current resident billy barr has lived in a small cabin, recording data about the snowpack to pass the time.

“In this short film, Morgan Heim of Day’s Edge Productions profiles the legendary local who inadvertently provided scientists with a treasure trove of climate change data.}

AT LAST, JOHN OLIVER RETURNS

Tomorrow night, Sunday, the inimitable John Oliver returns for Season 5 of his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. My god I've missed him. Here's the trailer for his new season:

If you don't subscribe to HBO, you can watch it on the YouTube page or see the best part here next Saturday.

SHE SAYS SHE IS NOT A CRAZY CAT LADY

Lynea Lattanzio is a certified cat lady who would "rather have 800 cats than another man." The founder of The Cat House on The Kings oversees a 12-acre sanctuary in California with close to 800 adults and 300 kittens.

* * *

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.


Crabby Old Lady and Kids' Names for Grandparents

TIME GOES BY DONATION WEEK REMINDER
We are nearly at the end of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the costs of maintaining Time Goes By. Just two more days to go. You can read the donation drive details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

* * *

The news this week has been loathsome (White House security-clearance scam), and also unbearably sad (Parkland, Florida, school massacre). Without disregarding either of those events, Crabby Old Lady thought that this might be a good week to give ourselves a break with something a lot less consequential.

For as long as Crabby has been writing this blog, about every year or two there has been a flurry of news stories about names grandparents want the grandchildren to call them.

They apparently take a different direction from days of yore when we were children. None of this grandpa or grandma stuff for today's elders. Not even the old-country traditions of bubbe, opa or nana.

Jane Brody, writing in The New York Times last month, tells us that a new book, Georgia Witkin’s The Modern Grandparent’s Handbook, lists 251 grandparental names,

”...divided by gender into three categories: Traditional, Trendy and Playful. I wouldn’t volunteer to be known as Sweetums, G-dawg, Faux Pa or Grandude, however playfully, but apparently some folks have,” writes Brody.

You can bet your booty that a grandchild of Crabby's (if she had any) would call her “Sweetums” only once.

Like most of the past stories Crabby Old Lady has seen on grandparent names, Brody blames the boomer generation for the untraditional new names, who will do pretty much everything possible to pretend they are not getting old, including this name silliness.

'...here’s my deeper suspicion:” she writes. “However mightily my peers may pine for grandchildren and adore them when they arrive, some don’t want to acknowledge being old enough to be dubbed Grandpop or Granny.

“Such names conjure up gray hair and orthopedic shoes, along with a status our society may honor in the abstract but few boomers actually welcome. We too often won’t use hearing aids, even if we need them. We may not claim the senior discount at the movie theater.

“We don’t want these wondrous new creatures calling us names that signify old age, either.”

This is where Brody – or, more specifically, the boomers she knows – goes off the rails: what is wrong with gray hair, Crabby wants to know? Or with orthopedic shoes? Or movie discounts?

Worst of all, if you don't wear needed hearing aids, you are too stupid for Crabby Old Lady to bother with you.

If Crabby were a grandmother, she'd go with Grandma or Granny. Both of them state a fact – always a good thing – and slide off the tongue nicely. What about you? Accusations of boomer ageism notwithstanding, let's see if there is a consensus about grandparent names around this blog.

What do the grandchildren call you? Do you like it? Who chose it? And what's the most inventive or interesting or odd name you've heard for Grandma or Grandpa?



Ivanka Trump, Social Security and Valentine's Day

TIME GOES BY DONATION WEEK REMINDER
This is day three of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

* * *

IVANKA TRUMP AND SOCIAL SECURITY
To create a fund for family leave, presidential daughter Ivanka wants to take the money from Social Security recipients, a move that would delay retirees' benefit start date.

Actually, it's Senator Marco Rubio's idea to which Ivanka has hitched her paid family leave proposal, the idea being to fund the program on the backs of old people who have spent a lifetime paying into Social Security.

It would work something like this: the bill would allow

"...people to draw Social Security benefits when they want to take time off for a new baby or other family-related matters, and then delay their checks when they hit retirement age." reports Politico.

"For instance, a person who would begin receiving full benefits when he or she turns 67 years old but wants to take six weeks of paid leave wouldn’t draw Social Security benefits until six weeks after his or her 67th birthday."

Long-time Social Security advocate and president of Social Security Works, Nancy Altman, released this statement after hearing about Rubio's Ivanka-approved proposal.

“It’s well past time for our country to join the rest of the world in providing workers with paid family and medical leave. But we should not undermine our retirement security to achieve it.

“In light of the decline of traditional pensions and the proven inadequacy of 401(k) plans for everyone but the wealthiest, Social Security’s modest benefits will be even more important in the future.

“We are the wealthiest nation in the world at the wealthiest moment in our history. Our country can afford to increase, not cut, Social Security’s modest benefits, while also adding paid family and medical leave.

“Other less-wealthy nations have those benefits. We can too if we simply require the wealthiest among us to pay more to our commonwealth (i.e., “common wealth”) from which they have benefited so enormously.

A admirable and reasonable approach but it won't gain a foothold during a Trump administration. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has exchanged email with Ivanka about a paid family leave program, has a different approach. She argues

”..that paid leave has to be national,” reports the Daily Beast, [it] must be structured as a social insurance program (i.e., have a finance stream that a wide swath of the population contributes to), must be gender neutral, and must cover not just the birth of a child but also time that workers spend caring for sick family members.”

That would get it off the backs of elders but if you believe a Republican Congress is going to buy it, you haven't been paying attention:

”Republican leadership has never wavered in their opposition to Gillibrand’s approach. [House Majority Leader Paul] Ryan has said he opposes any leave policy that requires employers to give their workers paid time off for the birth of a child—favoring, instead, legislation that would allow workers to bank overtime hours to use at a later date for comp time.”

Huffington Post reports that the Ivanka/Rubio plan is a disaster for women who generally make less money throughout their lifetimes than men, they are also the ones who would make most use of a family leave program:

"The plan’s backers suggest that a person applying for Social Security benefits would just have to wait six more weeks to collect, [former SSA analyst, Kathleen] Romig explained. In reality, the recipient would receive a lower benefit, she said.

“'It’s cutting your benefit for the rest of your life,' said Romig, who is now a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities...

"Perhaps most alarming: The very idea of using Social Security funds as a private piggy bank threatens to destabilize the very notion of a social insurance program.

“'If we start treating Social Security, really the bedrock of financial security for elderly people, as just another asset to tap, we are imperiling people’s financial security,' Romig said."

It is unlikely that there will be much, if any, movement on paid family leave legislation this year, but it behooves us - people who know how important Social Security is to retirement – to keep our eye on Congress.

Small sneak attacks like this one and other big-time privatization schemes such as President George W. Bush's failed attempt at that 10 years ago along Paul Ryan's almost constant barrage of attacks on Social Security are only the most recent assaults on old people's retirement income.

Republicans have been trying to kill Social Security since President Franklin Roosevelt signed it into being in 1935.

The problem for them is that Social Security is the most successful and most beloved program in the federal government. Hardly anyone in the U.S. supports cutting Social Security (or Medicare/Medicaid).

In a May 2017 Pew survey, only three percent of Democrats or those who lean Democratic support “decreasing federal spending on Social Security.”

Among Republicans and those who lean Republican, in the same survey, just ten percent support “decreasing federal spending on Social Security.” So the Trump administration and the current Congress need to be careful about floating ideas to cut any of the programs they too often refer to as “entitlements.”

Don't forget, Americans pay into Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid all their working lives – that's why it is called an earned benefit and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I would be alarmed by this latest attempt to chip away at Social Security but I don't think the plan to fund family leave on the backs of elders has a much chance of flying with the public. Nevertheless, it's important that we keep track of the attacks and who is trying to sneak them past us.

* * *

One more thing: perhaps you have noticed that this is Valentine's Day – a perfect time for me to again thank you all for your continuing support of this blog and especially your many good thoughts during the past eight months of my, ahem - medical interlude.

Happy valentine's day heart banner

Sending much love and hugs and good cheer to each and every one of you from Ronni, Crabby Old Lady and Ollie the cat.



Annual TimeGoesBy Donation Week 2018

Here I am having been annoyed all week by the constant drumbeat of NPR's winter donation drive and now find myself kicking off the annual donation drive for TimeGoesBy.

Inconsistency thy name is Ronni. I'll try to keep the irritation level as low as possible for the next seven days.

This year feels different to me from the two previous donation drives in 2016 and 2017. It may be that this time we have spent a good part of the past eight months discussing my journey through treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Your care, concern, support, good thoughts, personal experiences with frightening diseases, prayers, candle lighting and hard-earned wisdom have cheered me through the bad patches and there is no doubt in my mind that all your energy contributed to the positive medical outcome this week. “Go live your life,” my surgeon said.

The last two donation drives were big successes. Readers were amazingly generous which means I have not needed to sweat the always increasing blog costs.

For example, with a paid email delivery system, subscribers now receive the TGB emails ad-free - no small thing as the ad-supported version had become almost unreadable due to the clutter of advertising. It also pays for the #$%^&* increase twice each year in the price of internet access.

Donations also allow me to subscribe to the most important news and information sites as more of them put up paywalls, and to keep the TGB website itself an ad-free zone on the internet.

Which brings us to the third annual pitch for donations. As in the previous years, I will make this as unobtrusive as possible so let's get started.

How To Donate
The campaign consists of this introductory blog post (including a nice, little surprise at the end) with a link to the Paypal donation page and a MUCH shorter version of this invitation to contribute at the top of each post through next Sunday. The “rules” are these:

  • No one is required to donate. Nothing about TGB will change if you do not. This is entirely voluntary.

  • If you do choose to donate, no amount is too small. Whatever is comfortable for you is all that matters.

  • You do not need a Paypal account to donate. When you click on the link below, the Paypal donation page will open (it's a little slow sometimes) where you can donate via credit card, debit card or, if you have a Paypal account, by a money transfer - each in any amount you want.

  • The Paypal site works in the United States and internationally.

To repeat: Donations are voluntary. Nothing changes if you do not donate. Here is the Paypal link which you will also find near the top of the right sidebar.

Although the donation button is a permanent piece of the furniture in the right sidebar, you will need to suffer through this campaign only one week a year in February.

* * *

Having cancer certainly does rearrange one's priorities and I have thought hard about this extra time on Earth I have been granted. I've never been interested in a bucket list and unless you count my longing to live again in New York City, nothing I yearn for.

What I like these days is my quiet life with Ollie the cat in a comfortable apartment while making the main part of my days the production of TimeGoesBy. It has become much more to me than a blog; it is a gathering place for like-minded elders to talk about what it's like growing old, and I learn so much from you.

And now, because you have been so patient throughout this post, here is tiny, little treat for you. Banksy the German Shepherd and his best friend, Prince the prairie dog. TGB reader, Cathy Johnson sent this video so blame her for any cuteness overdose you experience.



ELDER MUSIC: LPs and EPs

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.

* * *

Way back when I was a whippersnapper, my dad bought a record player. Initially, we had no records but over the next few years we acquired some. Most of mine were because of birthday or Christmas presents (with a bit of gentle hinting on my part).

Anyway, we all managed to collect some records. Not too many as we couldn't afford a lot, but enough to keep us entertained. Also, we lived in a small country town, so there was only one place that sold records and they didn't have a big selection. Here are some of them.

I'll start with me as this is my column. In the fifties, I think I liked BUDDY HOLLY more than any other performer at the time.

Buddy Holly

The record company powers that be brought out the album "The Buddy Holly Story" very shortly after Buddy died. For once, they chose the songs well; every track on it was a classic so it was difficult for me to choose one of them.

I've decided to go with one that's perhaps not as well known as the others (unless you're a Buddy fan, of course). Early in the Morning.

♫ Buddy Holly - Early In The Morning


An LP we had was MARIO LANZA with the soundtrack for "The Student Prince".

Mario Lanza

I think this might have been mine, but it's a bit hard to remember. Mario didn't appear in the film due to a dispute of some sort but his voice did courtesy of lip-synching by Edmund Purdom. One of those songs is Serenade.

♫ Mario Lanza - Serenade


Another soundtrack LP was for "My Fair Lady". This was the Broadway cast recording, not the one from the film (that was quite a bit later than the time this column covers). Thus we had JULIE ANDREWS, not Marni Nixon.

Julie Andrews

There are many well known songs from the musical that were a hit at the time and are still played today. Rather than one of those, I'm going with one from when Eliza was somewhat cheesed off about the men in her life and how they liked to rabbit on at great length (just as I'm doing now). She sings Show Me.

♫ Julie Andrews - Show Me


Dad was a big fan of BING CROSBY, so there were several of his albums from which to choose.

Bing Crosby

For me to choose one of Bing it was almost a case of putting all the names of the songs in a hat and drawing one out. I didn't do that but it was almost the same. In the end I chose one of his most popular early songs, Please

.

♫ Bing Crosby - Please


I have a confession to make, a guilty secret: I quite liked PAUL ANKA when I was a teenager.

Paul Anka

Okay, he was a songwriter of considerable skill – he wrote Buddy Holly's biggest (posthumous) hit. He also co-wrote one of Frank Sinatra's biggest songs, so he has something going for him. However, I'm talking about when he was teenage idol, and writing and singing songs in that vein.

The album I had of his was the first of many of his called "Greatest Hits". From that one we have Put Your Head on My Shoulder.

♫ Paul Anka - Put Your Head on My Shoulder


Yet another musical - they were big back then and I guess some members of the family liked them. This time it's "West Side Story". One of the most famous songs from the musical is Tonight.

It was apparently sung by Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer in the film, but they were only acting. The real singers were MARNI NIXON and JIMMY BRYANT.

Marni Nixon

That's Marni, but the only pics I could find of Jimmy were for a guitarist with the same name. Anyway, it seems that Natalie was somewhat miffed when they didn't use her singing voice, but Richard was fine with it, going out of his way to mention and complement Jimmy at all opportunities in interviews.

♫ Marni Nixon & Jimmy Bryant - Tonight


I'm certainly not alone when I say that I had a bit of a thing for BUDDY HOLLY. I mentioned that above.

Buddy Holly

Besides "The Buddy Holly Story", I had volume 2 that was rushed out when it was discovered that the first one sold really well. The second one was mostly songs that Buddy was working on just before he died and had recorded with just an acoustic guitar. Naturally, a backing group was added for the record.

I now have the originals in my collection and prefer them that way, but that's not the way they appeared on the record I had back then. One of those songs is Peggy Sue Got Married.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue Got Married


My sister was a big fan of JOHNNIE RAY. She had a couple of his EPs, and one or two singles.

Johnnie Ray

Besides being a proto-rock & roller, he also harked back to an earlier generation of music. On one of the EPs he showed that with Walkin' My Baby Back Home (which, I think, is the song for which she acquired it) but it also had the old standard All of Me.

♫ Johnnie Ray - All Of Me


Between my sister and me, we had quite a few singles, and several EPs of ELVIS.

Elvis Presley

One of those EPs, and I don't know who lays claim to it, is "Jailhouse Rock". This had the five songs from the film on it, so it was good value. One of those songs is (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care.

♫ Elvis - (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care


We were friendly with the family next door. Alas, they moved away (only a couple of years before we did the same thing).

About a year after their move, the father made a return visit (he was with the Lands Department, a government body, that meant he moved around a bit for his job). He brought a gift for me, an EP of LITTLE RICHARD. He said his son (another Peter) really liked it.

Little Richard

This might be the best EP of all time as it contained Richard's four best known, and best, songs. One of those is Rip it Up.

♫ Little Richard - Rip It Up


Here is a late entry I've just remembered and the irony is giving me a smack around the chops. It's another EP and it certainly wasn't mine. It had four or five songs from the musical "Salad Days".

I have no idea who performed it as that EP has long flown the coop. I do have a version on my computer and I have no idea who performs on that one either. It sounds like the one we had, but I suppose it would. Anyway, as a final joke on me, We Said We'd Never Look Back.

♫ Salad Days - We Said We'd Never Look Back



INTERESTING STUFF – 10 February 2018

THE OLDEST RESTAURANT IN THE WORLD

Botin Restaurant has been open for business every day for the past 293 years. In that time, since 1725, the oven fire has never been extinguished.

”According to deputy manager Luis Javier Sànchez Alvarez, the oven is the crown jewel of the restaurant and the fundamental element of their most popular dish, the roast suckling pig.

“The recipes used today have been passed down from generation to generation, keeping the legacy of these traditional dishes alive. With the honor of being the oldest restaurant in the world, Alvarez hopes to keep the doors open for centuries to come.”

Take a look:

PLANT CONSCIOUSNESS

Remember 20 or 25 years ago or so when the idea that plants can feel pain, communicate with one another and respond to audio input.

Although the idea lost some of its cache over time, it's never gone away and now some scientists are saying that plants can count and can even communicate with caterpillers.

“'Plants are not just robotic, stimulus-response devices,' said Frantisek Baluska, a plant cell biologist at the University of Bonn in Germany and co-author of the study. 'They’re living organisms which have their own problems, maybe something like with humans feeling pain or joy. In order to navigate this complex life, they must have some compass.'

“Plants sometimes use that compass to deal with stress, competition or development. They take in information from their environment and produce their own anesthetics like menthol, ethanol and cocaine, similar to how humans release chemicals that dull pain during trauma. These may act within the plant itself or float off in the air to affect neighboring plants.

“Our anesthetics work on plants too, the study confirmed, although what exactly they’re working on is unclear.”

Read more at The New York Times.

COMEDIAN CHRIS ROCK ON DOCTORS AND DRUGS

In reference to Crabby Old Lady's post on Monday about advertising prescription drugs to elders, TGB reader Richard Lombard, sent this video from several years ago of comedian Chris Rock's take on the same subject.

The usual disclaimers about language apply.

NOW, DORITOS ONLY FOR WOMEN

Late night comedians have been having a fine ol' funny time this week with the announcement that Pepsico is developing a Dorito chip just for women.

The idea, apparently, is that women are not supposed to make audible crunching noises when they eat chips and Pepsico has taken a lot of heat for considering such a dumb product.

Here's a video about some other misbegotten women-only products. The voice at the beginning of the vid is Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico:

You can read more at the Washington Post.

PESSIMISM ABOUT OLD AGE AND DEMENTIA

It is all but established fact now that people who hold positive views of ageing and of old people live a lot longer – up to seven-plus years – than people who hold negative views.

Now comes a new study suggesting that negative attitudes toward ageing are a risk factor for dementia.

”The difference was hardly trivial: Study participants who had positive beliefs about aging were 44% less likely to develop dementia over the next four years than were their counterparts with negative beliefs.

“Even after the researchers accounted for other risk factors for dementia — including smoking, diabetes and cardiovascular disease — they still found that the odds for the condition were lower among those with a positive attitude toward aging.

“Also striking: The apparent benefits of positivity were even greater among the subgroup of adults whose genes put them at greater risk of dementia. In fact, the researchers said, a positive attitude toward aging could essentially erase the handicap associated with carrying a risky variant of the APOE gene.”

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

THE LAST PALESTINIAN KAFFIYEH MAKER

As the YouTube page tells us, the traditional Arab headdress, the kaffiyeh, is a symbol of the Palestinian struggle and an important part of Palestinian heritage.

”Unfortunately, the Al Hirbawi factory is the last remaining institution in the Palestinian territories producing the original kaffiyeh. Brothers Jouda, Abdelazim and Ezzat have been working in the factory since they were kids, inheriting the family business and continuing the proud legacy.”

Here is a video about them:

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO STEAL WORKERS' TIPS

Last December, the Editorial Board of The New York Times objected to a proposal from the Trump administration's Department of Labor. It would allow

”...employers to pool tips and use them as they see fit...Officials argue that this will free restaurants to use some of the tip money to reward lowly dishwashers, line cooks and other workers who toil in the less glamorous quarters and presumably make less than servers who get tips.

“[However,] a simple reading of the government’s proposal makes clear that business owners...would be free to pocket some or all of that cash, spend it to spiff up the dining room or use it to underwrite $2 margaritas at happy hour. And that’s what makes this proposal so disturbing.”

What it boils down to is allowing employers to pick the pockets of their employees. Legally. Since The Times editorial, the public has made its objection loud and clear, as reported at Daily Kos:

”The tip-stealing proposal is also unpopular with the public: a poll conducted for the National Employment Law Project found 82 percent of people opposed.

“None of this means that Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, is going to back down. But once again the Trump administration is making clear where it stands—definitely not with workers.”

You might think about joining the chorus and let that Labor Secretary know where you stand.

ANY ELVIS FANS HERE?

Elvis impersonators have been an entertainment fixture for about 40 years, nearly a dime a dozen. But I like this short documentary about one of them. As the YouTube page tells us:

”When Dave Groh began impersonating Elvis Presley, he felt it made him 'a sexier person than I had been just being Dave.' In the short documentary Cab Elvis, director Andrew Franks follows Grohl, a cab driver, across Seattle as he picks up passengers—some of whom describe the experience as the best taxi ride of their lives.”

Read more at The Atlantic.

BABY BEAR AT THE GOLF COURSE

This baby bear was having himself a grand time on the Mountainside Golf Course at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia, Canada.

Lovely to watch and a nice mini-vacation from the constant drumbeat of political news, don't you think?

* * *

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.



When You are Well Again

”...the thing is, once something goes wrong, forever after you know that something CAN go wrong. Up until then, we're all blessed with kind of an ignorant sense of invincibility...

“None of us know what's going to hit us out of the blue, or when, but once we get winged by something, I think, we are all a little bit more fearful...

“The passage of time helps, and with enough time, we regain some of that feeling of invincibility.

Think of today's post as an extension, a follow-up to Wednesday's which was little more than a jump-start for the many thoughtful, useful and inspiring reader comments about what comes after recovery from a serious disease.

The quotation above is one of them, left by TGB reader Patty-in-New-York who nailed my pre-cancer sense of invincibility. Until that diagnosis last June, I thought I understood what it is like to face a life-threatening illness.

Wrong. I didn't have a clue.

The long weeks of recovery from surgery taught me about disability. About giving over my independence to the kind people who helped me during that time with the everyday, ordinary necessities of living. About constraints on the physical things I could do. And about how those new limitations gave me a smaller world view than I had before or want to have.

Isn't it interesting how, when the doctor hands you a terrible diagnosis or an outside force, an accident for example, leaves you with a broken hip or worse, you are plunged into the world of the sick in no more than a minute, but it can take weeks and months after you have healed to recover your place in the world of the healthy.

Or, as Patty-in-New-York suggests, you arrive at a different kind of normal. I doubt I will ever feel invincible again but since I wrote Wednesday's post (on Tuesday), I received an unexpected boost toward whatever my new normal will be.

On Wednesday morning, I met with the surgeon who performed the Whipple Procedure on me in June. As regular readers know, on Monday this week, a CT scan had matched earlier blood tests in showing my body to be clean of cancer.

A good-sized part of me had never expected that and as I mentioned on Wednesday, I wanted to celebrate but somehow wasn't feeling it. That changed when the surgeon told me in person, face-to-face, that there is no cancer, “Go live your life,” he said.

Although I didn't know it until that moment, it was important to me to hear that sentence out loud, not in a written scan analysis. To be reminded again that the remarkable doctor who, with his great knowledge of pancreatic cancer and his excellent surgical team, spent 12 hours on his feet last June, 12 hours that saved my life.

After meeting with him, I wept and I rejoiced and I had lunch with a friend and then I went home and celebrated by dancing to Joe Cocker singing live in a 1992 concert, Cry Me a River.

It will take a little more time but now I know I'm going to be just fine.