A Podcast in Which I am Interviewed – Part 1

That is, interviewed for my “wisdom and wit” according to the podcaster. She's very kind but if you believe that...

My vacation continues - made easy as items keep turning up for which others have done the heavy lifting leaving me to just point you toward them.

About a month ago, I received an email asking if I would agree to a Skype interview for a podcast that features only people age 65 and older. Of course, pretty much anyone would be flattered at being asked to talk about herself for an hour, and I agreed.

Now, Part 1 of our conversation is available to listen to but first, here is what Amber Singleton sent when I asked for a short biography so you would know something about her when I posted the interview:

”Amber is a 36-year-old writer and podcaster (who moonlights as a flight attendant). She's based in Chicago, and when she's not flying, she's exploring topics like fear and wisdom through her podcasts at the Rock Your Genius network.

“One of those podcasts is Del Mar Social Club, which started from a simple idea, that the older generation (the 65 and older crowd) has a lot of wisdom and wit to share, which makes for good conversation (and insight, if you're listening).

Amber and I spoke for more than an hour and I had a terrific time. She is smart, articulate, funny and I felt like I had made a new friend.

She has divided our conversation into two parts. You can listen to Part 1 here and she has gone the extra mile by also providing a transcript here.

Part 2 of Amber's interview with me will be available in about a week. I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, you will find previous interviews Amber has done with other elders at the Del Mar Social Club website. Her other podcast, Chicken Shit Conquers the Planet, is at her Rock Your Genius website.

Consider the Quarterstaff

My mini-vacation continues for a while this week, but there is new stuff here for you that I prepared in advance. Last Friday, in the comments on Ann Burack-Weiss's story, Consider the Cane, Jean Gogolin commented that she uses a "hiking stick" instead of a cane. That reminded of this post from 2008.

It was written by renowned geriatrician Bill Thomas who was then a columnist on this blog. He has since gone on to bigger things - his website is Changing Aging and he hosts his ongoing Age of Disruption Tour that you can find out about here.

Here is Bill's quarterstaff column from 2008.

* * *

In 1992, The New York Times took a look at the research AARP was doing on walking canes:

”Many people who use canes injure themselves because they don't do the necessary research before buying one. That is an early conclusion of a continuing study on canes sponsored by the American Association of Retired Persons.

“According to Dr. Margaret Wylde, vice president of the Institute for Technology Development in Oxford, Miss., which is conducting the study, the conclusion is based on a review of recent medical and rehabilitation literature and on more than 1,000 letters solicited from A.A.R.P. members who are regular cane users.

“Some of the most serious damage, Dr. Wylde said, can result from the cane's grip. Carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful ailment, can result from any repetitive motion like typing or using a cane.”

There are two reasons people use walking canes.

  1. To improve balance by providing a third contact point with the ground

  2. To redistribute weight away from an injured or arthritic lower limb

As a physician, I have never really liked walking canes. Here is one patient's experience:

”I noticed several problems within the first five minutes. My triceps were quickly fatigued as they worked to hold my weight up.

“As a result, my scapula elevated to relieve the triceps, putting strain on my rotator cuff. This "shrugging" effect could be somewhat offset by lowering the height of the handle below my waist, which served to extend the arm and reduce the amount of elevation in the shoulder.

“The handle of the cane was designed in such a way that the grip increased in broadness from the neck of the handle to the end, providing a wider, flatter surface where the palm would rest.

“Unfortunately, the result was not a more comfortable feel, but rather a terrible dorsiflexion combined with ulnar deviation in the wrist and a bruised hamate bone where the weight was concentrated. I felt tweaks of pain all day long in my wrist and shoulder which continued into the night, long after I had ended my experiment.

“Aside from design problems, there were several functional problems as well. For instance, each step was accompanied by a jarring vibration which was transferred up the entire length of the arm every time the rubber cane tip struck the concrete. The swing of the cane often had to be initiated by a flick of the wrist, resulting in a constant repetitive oscillation between ulnar and radial deviations.

“Furthermore, adjusting the cane to the correct height was difficult due to a simultaneous push of a button and pull of the shaft requiring relatively dexterous fingers; arthritic hands would be pitifully ineffective.”

PREDICTION! Elders of today and tomorrow are going to give up on the cane, abandoning it in favor of the quarterstaff.


"Gandalf the Grey carried about with him a spike brown staff which served partly as an agency of his power, as can be seen when he faced the Balrog in Moria. Besides functioning as a useful walking stick, it was also thought to symbolize what he was and his position in the Istari."

There are three reasons I think elders can and will retire the old-time walking cane and embrace the quarterstaff:

  1. The cane places the greatest strain on the smallest muscles and joints (the wrist and forearm). Repetitive use can easily lead to wrist and forearm injury.

  2. The quarterstaff transfers the weight into the shoulder girdle itself. The shoulder joint and its surrounding muscles are much better prepared to handle the load than are the wrist and forearm.

  3. Imagine a scene: an older woman using a bent-top walking cane crosses a building lobby, trying to reach the elevator before the doors roll closed. Now imagine the same scene with the older woman striding across the lobby with the aid of a seven-foot, oak quarterstaff. People hold the door open not because of chivalry, not out of a desire to help little old ladies, but rather because she just looks so damned cool.

Elders are obligated to give younger people clues about how deep and mysterious elderhood can be.

I'll close my appeal with a quote from one of America's greatest walkers...

"Although the vast majority of walkers never even think of using a walking staff, I unhesitatingly include it among the foundations of the house that travels on my back. I still take my staff along almost as automatically as I take my pack. It is a third leg to me - and much more besides.

“On smooth surfaces, the staff helps maintain an easy rhythm to my walking and gives me something to lean on when I stop to stand and stare. Over rough going of any kind, from tussocky grass to pockety rock, and also in a high wind, it converts me when I am heavily laded from an insecure biped to a confident triped…

“It may well be, too, that the staff also gives me a false but subconsciously comforting feeling that I am not after all completely defenseless against attack by such enemies as snakes, bears and men."

- Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker III, 1984 (page 78)

[AFTERWORD from Ronni: For about the last six or seven years of her life, until she died in 1978, Margaret Mead and I lived across the street from one another in Greenwich Village. I didn't get to know her well but we sometimes walked several blocks together on our errands around the neighborhood.

She always used a quarterstaff, although I didn't know it was called that. She looked magnificent and powerful striding down the block, especially in the colder months when she wore a full-length cape.

I've known since then that when the time came, I would use a staff and not a cane if at all possible. Now, with Dr. Thomas's permission for us to do so even if we don't require one yet and the Colin Fletcher quote, I may start sooner.]

UPDATE: In the comments below, Wendl asked how to choose the correct size of quarterstaff or walking stick. Here is a short video that makes it easy to know:

And if you'd rather not hunt for my answer below to Wendl's question about how to search online for quarterstaffs - here's what I wrote:

"Quarterstaff is a kind of medieval word that Bill Thomas likes and I do too but most people don't know what it means. So search "walking sticks" instead. There are many different kinds sometimes called a hiking stick, walking pole, walking staff and various combinations of those words.

"Search those and you'll find a large variety of choices."

ELDER MUSIC: The Song Whisperer

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.

* * *

Since the book and the film The Horse Whisperer appeared, there seem to be all sorts of "whisperers" out there so why should I be left out?

Naturally, I would call myself The Song Whisperer. I figure all the rest just made it up, so why shouldn't I? Besides, I have a little bit of substance to my claim – all these songs about whispering.

Let the music commence (but too loudly, of course).

I'll begin with one of the first songs I thought of in this category, one written by Vivian Gilbert and Mary Hadler who were husband and wife in spite of Viv's funny name for a bloke.

He was often referred to as Jack (I don't know if that was in the country or in the town).

Anyway, this couple came up with The Shifting, Whispering Sands. This one's been recorded by a bunch of people and choosing one was difficult.

Back when I was a whippersnapper, Rusty Draper had a hit with it round where I lived. Somewhat later, Johnny Cash recorded an excellent version on his "Ballads of the True West" album. He also recorded it with Lorne Greene, but we'll skip over that one.

Roy Rogers' old group The Sons of the Pioneers had a go at it too. I listened to all those, and more besides, and decided the one I found most interesting today was by LES GILLIAM.

Les Gilliam

Like most versions, he has a talkie introduction – that's the way to tell it's a country song according to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist. Les is often billed as the Oklahoma Balladeer. This is the way he performs it.

♫ Les Gilliam - The Shifting, Whispering Sands

THE DEL-VIKINGS (or Dell-Vikings, both spellings were used over the years due to a split in the group early on producing two of them) were one of if not the best of the DooWop groups in the fifties.

Dell Vikings

They had quite intricate harmony as was shown most strikingly in their song Come Go With Me. Their song Whispering Bells isn't quite up to that one, but it involves whispering, so it's the one we have today.

♫ Del Vikings - Whispering Bells

This morning, quite out of the blue, I wondered if I had the song Whispering Hope among my collection for no discernable reason. I have these odd thoughts now and then.

Turns out I did have it, a couple of versions in fact, and it is this that prompted the column. The one I chose, as I'm sure it's the one from way back when I first heard it, is by JO STAFFORD.

On this one she has the help of GORDON MACRAE.

Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae

They made a couple of albums together over time. This was from one of those.

♫ Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae - Whispering Hope

WILLIAM HAYES was sort of contemporaneous with Mr Handel, born some years after the great man, but they were writing music around the same time.

William Hayes

Old Bill looks rather splendid in those robes and I especially like the early headphones.

Anyway, although influenced by Handel, Bill often wrote music in styles that Georg neglected, smaller vocal works and the like. This is an example of that called Still It Whispered Promised Pleasure from a larger work, simply called “The Passions.” The song is sung by EVELYN TUBB.

Evelyn Tubb

♫ William Hayes - Still it whispered promised pleasure

THE INK SPOTS were a huge influence on DooWop music.

Ink Spots

There are about 100 different groups going around calling themselves The Ink Spots but the one I have today is the original (and I won't say the best – they are the only ones who should be considered).

They started in the early thirties and kept performing into the fifties. One of their many hits is Whispering Grass.

♫ Ink Spots - Whispering Grass

Nino Tempo was a musical prodigy on clarinet and saxophone and made his first appearance at age four. He also acted in a number of films before he was a teenager. He later worked as a session musician, most notably as one of the Wrecking Crew, the musicians who worked for Phil Spector and others.

April Stevens began singing professionally when she was 15 and has been doing so ever since. At one stage they recorded together as NINO TEMPO & APRIL STEVENS, not too surprisingly as they are brother and sister.

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

They had a huge hit with the song Deep Purple (that Nino didn't like). They also did well with the old song Whispering.

♫ Nino & April - Whispering

I won't do my usual rave about how great THE BAND were because you've heard it all before.

The Band

I'll just play their whispering song, Whispering Pines, from their eponymous album. The tragic Richard Manuel sings this one.

♫ The Band - Whispering Pines

We in Australia have known about RENEE GEYER for decades.

Renee Geyer

When she ventured out into the rest of the world, she was often billed as "The greatest R&B singer in the world that you've never heard of". Too bad for the rest of the world, is all I can say.

I won't even mention the famous musicians' records she's graced with her presence as there are too many. Her contribution to the column is one that was a hit here, Stares and Whispers.

♫ Renee Geyer - Stares and Whispers

PATTI PAGE does her famous thing of double tracking her voice on her song (well, if you're on a good thing...)

Patti Page

It sounds like quite a few of her other songs but that doesn't bother me as I like them all (well, apart from that Doggie one). Her song today is Whispering Winds.

♫ Patti Page - Whispering Winds

I'll end with the best of the songs today, but I'm biased as it's IRIS DEMENT.

Iris Dement

I mentioned the film The Horse Whisperer in the introduction. This is from the sound track of that movie. It's Whispering Pines, a different song from the one with the same name by The Band.

♫ Iris DeMent - Whispering Pines

INTERESTING STUFF – 27 August 2016


Legalization of marijuana is on the ballot in several states this election year and recreational use is already legal in four states and Washington, D.C.

Singer Willie Nelson has never made a secret of his love of weed and now he has his own brand, Willie's Reserve, which is available at 14 weed retailers in Colorado and Washington state. Here's a little promotion video:

You can find out all about Willie's Reserve at the website.


Breakfasts can be healthy or they can be stuffed with excess fat, sugar and salt. Here's a video of comparing the nutritional value of breakfasts from around the world:

You can read more at the The Washington Post.


A big reason the U.S. government has not done as much to deal with manmade climate change and global warming as either President Barack Obama or the sane citizens of the country would like is the large number of idiots (not to mention a certain presidential candidate) who say they don't believe Earth is warming.

These deeply stupid people often cite the fact that there is still snow so there couldn't be any global warming.

Sometimes the truth is so simple. I like this one:



As the YouTube page explains, Peter Bellerby's future began when he could not find the perfect handmade blog for his father's 80th birthday.

”He spent the next few years learning and perfecting the lost art of globemaking, which turned out to be a difficult, detailed process. Today, he runs Bellerby & Co Globemakers out of a small London studio with a team of 15 skilled craftsmen who create every masterpiece by hand.”


Well, this video is five years old so maybe you have but I hadn't and I'm betting you'll laugh just hard the second time around. Christian motivational speaker, Andy Andrews.


TGB reader Alan Goldsmith sent this video about a robotic suitcase from NUA Robotics. Take a look:

Having one of these might make me reconsider my personal ban on flying. Well, probably not. You can read more about it at Mashable.


Sunday music columnist Peter Tibbles found this story in one of the Australian newspapers. Here's how he told me about it in his email:

”In The Age today it was reported that some nefarious character, some rotter, some ne'er-do-well has released the ingredients in the 'Eleven Secret Herbs and Spices' that coat Kentucky Fried Chicken. I always thought that ten of them were salt and the other one MSG.

“It turns out that I wasn't too off the mark – there are three different types of salt, and although MSG isn't officially in the mix, apparently it's used anyway. Incidentally, the rotter was the nephew of that appalling piece of shit, "Colonel" Sanders.”

It turns out The Age was reporting not just the release of the ingredient list, but a story at the Chicago Tribune about trying it out to see if does, indeed, taste like the corporate product. The tasters decided that yes, “Our chicken was virtually indistinguishable from the batch bought at KFC.”

It is a long and winding story. You can read it at The Age where you will also find the recipe – real or not real, I have no opinion.


This one is from Darlene Costner about a Brit named Colin Furze and his backyard, 360-degree swing. Here's how he explains it:

”Yes of corse i had to power this in some way and i know the first suggestion is a pulse jet but my neighbourly relations are being tested enough with just the sight of this thing so then shaking their house's with the raw of a jet seemed a step to far so i've settled for the calming noise of a 2stroke paramotor.

“Now not sure how much faster this looks but I can tell you it felt a lot faster, so much so that holding on was less about falling down to the ground but being thrown to the sky, the consentration needed to move finger to shut of engine was even a task.”

Here you go – see how you feel watching it. Mr. Furze seems to have a lot of crazy inventions as noted at the end of the vid.


Another from Tibbles today. A collection of wonderful acts of vandalism almost all of which are fantastic. Sometimes I had to pause the video for a few seconds to really enjoy the cleverness.


When authorities find sick or illegally obtained turtles, Lorri Cramer is one of the first people they call. As a wildlife rehabilitator, Cramer nurses the little guys back to health until they are ready to be released in the wild.

In New York City of all places.

Over the past 30 years, she has taken care of thousands of turtles from her Manhattan apartment.

* * *

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.

Consider the Cane by Ann Burack-Weiss

I will be back from my mini-vacation tomorrow with Interesting Stuff but today I have an excellent treat for you.

Ann Burack-Weiss turned up in my life last April when she penned a comment at The New York Times chastising a reporter for assuming that wearing an old-age suit gives younger adults a good sense of what it is like to be old.

It does not, explained Ms. Burack-Weiss, and when I finished reading, I had to agree. So since I had in the past cheered the age suit, I posted this mea culpa that included Burack-Weiss's entire letter to the editor.

Even before that, her recent book, The Lioness in Winter, Writing an Old Woman's Life, had been sitting in my to-read pile for a month or two so I pushed it to the top of the stack.

WeissLionessCoverIt is an extraordinarily good read – a smart, personal reflection on a collection of writings about growing old from three dozen or so of the best women authors of the 20th and into the 21st century.

Like me, you have probably read the works of many of these women – Maya Angelou, Colette, Doris Lessing, May Sarton, Diana Athill, Simone de Beauvoir, Joan Didion among them. But perhaps, also like me, you have not paid the kind of close attention Ms. Burack-Weiss has.

Now I have started over with some of these writers because Burack-Weiss, a more thoughtful reader than I have been, shows me how much I missed in my first go-round.

It is not a simple or quick read, The Lioness in Winter. Nearly every page is packed with ideas and revelations that demand quiet time to sit and think and consider the vast array of ideas about this period of late life Ms. Burack-Weiss has pulled together for us.

If you are interested, it is at Amazon and other online book sellers.

Which brings me to today.

Since our April encounter via The Times, Ann and I have become email friends. A couple of weeks ago she sent me a short story she has written and after I pushed her allow it, she agreed to let me post it here for you.

It is titled, Consider the Cane. By Ann Burack-Weiss. Please welcome her to our pages and enjoy.


The cane is the universal symbol of age and frailty. Road signs alert motorists to the possibility of encountering deer or children by blackened cutouts of their shapes leaping high in the air. Since 1981, "elderly crossing” signs in the U.K. show a bent woman leaning on a bent man leaning on a cane.

(Spirited objections - even contests to suggest cheerier alternatives - have surfaced from time to time.) The signs remain. In fact, they have been spotted at various sites in the U.S. and other countries as well.)

* * *

Long before there were walkers or wheelchairs, even before the wheel itself, there must have been the cane. It might not appear on the Lascaux cave walls. (The one human figure, reportedly “a bird-headed man with an erect phallus,” is not carrying one). But there were trees – and it’s hard to imagine that one of the first hominids to stand upright didn’t pick up a limb, lean his weight against it as he walked and heave a satisfied sigh.

Thousands of years passed. Wood to enamel to plastic. A curved handle and a rubber tip! Holes to adjust to the walker’s height! A carrying strap! A folding device! All the colors of the rainbow!

My cane arrived with great hype: “It stands by itself!” Which is true. Unless the floor is uneven. Or there is a carpet. Or a stray waft of air. It is no longer a concern of mine. I do not now need a cane.

* * *

I used to need a cane. After the pelvic fractures. Before and after the Total Hip Replacement. The cane transformed me. I was one who could brandish! Taxis summoned with a lunge. Cars - inching up on me as I crossed the street with the light - halted with a flourish. I discovered the power in dependence. And its hidden cost.

It was easier to slump into a stooped posture than to extend the effort to walk tall. Gratefully accepting first dibs on the front seat of the bus or offered a chair while others stood in long ticket lines, I was aware of a diminishment – in the eyes of others, in my own sense of self. So I was glad to be rid of the cane. To fade into the throngs of New Yorkers who crowd its streets, a small chip in the “glorious mosaic” fitting neatly into its niche.

* * *

I manage just fine without a cane. Unless there is ice on the ground. Or snow. Or slippery leaves. Or it is windy. Or it is raining and the temperature is expected to dip below freezing. Or it is very dark.

I check the weather report. It will be “breezy.” When does “breeze” turn into wind? When is wind strong enough to knock down a skinny 80-year-old lady? I consider the cane.

Ronni Bennett's and John Oliver's Vacation

The two people in that headline, John Oliver and me, don't really have anything to do with each other except that I think he is a national treasure, and we are both taking some time off.

Last Sunday's episode of Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, was the last before the show takes a month's hiatus. Me too. Not a month like John, just the rest of this week (unless I decide on some more). But I will not leave you with empty web pages.

Oliver sometimes records short web-only essays when the show is off air and taking his lead, I am filling in with some items that require little time and effort on my part but are still worth your time.

Today, it is John Oliver's essay from last Sunday.

Sometimes things happen that make you wonder if computers are not just tracking our digital travels around the internet but that they are also capable of reading our minds right through the screen.

Last weekend, for unknown reasons – particularly since I have no children or grandchildren to worry about - charter schools came to mind. I understood pretty well how they operate, or are supposed to operate, but I also had a sense that they are big-time failures and ripoffs - for the parents and students, if not the for-profit operators.

I didn't know that for a fact so I made a note, a real note on a piece of paper at my desk, to look into those schools to see what's up with them.

Before I could do that, John Oliver's most recent program turned up in my inbox Monday morning on, amazingly, the topic of charter schools. That sure saved me a lot of work and anyway, he has a whole bunch of researchers and writers to do it. I don't, so I'll let him take it from here with the brutal truth of what I suspected.

A new installment of Interesting Stuff will be in this space on Saturday as usual, but be sure to tune in on Friday too for an excellent story you are certain to enjoy.

Good and Bad “Entitlement” News From Congress and Trump World

Good News on Medicare Observation Status

Many readers have emailed about this issue - one that is boring to read about but crucial to understand. First, a short background:

Medicare Observation Status has been a frightful bugaboo for beneficiaries for years. Patients can be treated in hospitals under “observation status” - often for days – without being formally “admitted.”

Hospitals do this, explains Robert Pear in The New York Times, “for fear of being penalized by Medicare for inappropriate admissions.”

What it means for patients is that they become liable for substantial hospital bills and nursing home care. Medicare payment requires three consecutive days of admission as an inpatient. As Pear tells us:

“Time spent under observation does not count toward the three days, even though the patient may spend five or six nights in a hospital bed and receive extensive hospital services, including tests, treatment and medications ordered by a doctor.”

The good news is that on Saturday, 6 August 2016, a new Medicare law went into effect. Named the NOTICE Act, it

”...requires hospitals to notify patients that they may incur huge out-of-pocket costs if they stay more than 24 hours without being formally admitted...

"Under the new law, the notice must be provided to 'each individual who receives observation services as an outpatient at a hospital for more than 24 hours.' Medicare officials estimate that hospitals will have to issue 1.4 million notices a year.” [emphasis is mine]

Notification will begin in January and as positive as that is, it still falls far short of protecting elders from life-crushing costs because hospitals can still keep patients under observation status as long as they notify them.

Like me, you may wonder how notification is possible if, for example, a patient arrives at a hospital in pain, bleeding or even unconscious. If I were in dire physical condition, I'm fairly certain I'd nod agreement to pretty much anything to get some relief and treatment.

Judith A. Stein, the executive director of the non-profit Center for Medicare Advocacy, agrees. She says this new law is a good first step but does not go nearly far enough.

To that end, another bipartisan bill is under consideration in Congress. Pear of The Times again explains for us:

”Twenty-four senators and more than 120 House members are supporting bipartisan legislation to address that concern. Under that bill, time in a hospital under observation would count toward the three-day inpatient stay required for Medicare coverage of nursing home care.”

When Congress returns, we will keep an eye on how that legislation is moving forward although it would not be a surprise if it stagnates until the new Congress is sworn in next January.


Republican nominee Donald Trump has several times said he would, as president, leave Social Security and Medicare as they are.

That is not really good enough but it is a step forward from the opponents he defeated in the primaries who all wanted to cut “entitlements,” as Republicans always do.

One morning last week, 16 August to be precise, MSNBC was droning in the background as I caught up with email.

Host Stephanie Ruhle was speaking with a former Navy Seal and current Trump surrogate, Carlie Higbie, about Trump's call for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, what the phrase means and how it would be carried out.

As Higbie explained it, our current law enforcement agencies are incapable of vetting immigrants and the country needs a commission of experts to find the kind of people who can do extreme vetting.

Here is the transcript from that point [emphasis is mine].

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Who are these people that aren't currently doing it for us?

CARL HIGBIE: What we will have to do is you have to look outside of the law enforcement agencies that we have that our hands are tied so tightly they're worried about being profiled, you know, being called a radical or any type of profile, that we need to bring people in here, intelligent people from the private sector that understand this threat and that can actually operate without the fear of bureaucracy.

SR: But, Carl, what are you gonna pay them with? Donald Trump at the same time has made it very clear he's going to reduce our debt. If you're looking to get experts from the private sector, these boys and girls get paid a lot of money.

CH: They do. But you know what? There's plenty other places to cut. If we're expanding our vetting process here, we probably can get border security somewhere else. We can probably cut a number of federal programs. I mean, heck, we give trillions of dollars away in entitlements every year. We can cut some of those.

Well, heck, why not get rid of those pesky “entitlements” - you know, Social Security and Medicare that recipients paid into all their working lives? Just dump them.

Do we think Mr. Higbie is speaking for Donald Trump? I haven't paid close attention to this idea, but do surrogates lay out policy positions that candidates' don't want to say out loud themselves?

As long as Mr. Higbie is being described publicly as a Trump surrogate, I'm going to assume he speaks for Donald Trump. What about you?

(You can watch the exchange between Ruhle and Higbie here.)

ELDER MUSIC: Top 10 Jazz Albums

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.

* * *

As with my previous Top 10, my criterion is a single album per artist although I rather stretch that somewhat today (almost to breaking point, some might say) as will be seen later.

This is a purely subjective list and I can't imagine anyone else's being the same (although there could be several in common). These tend to be older albums, ones I remember from when I was young.

I'm sure I could compile a column from more recent albums, and I might do that some time.

THELONIOUS MONK is THE bebop pianist.


He is represented by "Monk's Dream" but also "Criss-Cross" and others could be considered. A lot of others. But from Monk's Dream here is the title track.

♫ Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

MILES DAVIS could fill in the top 10 all on his own.


Naturally, "Kind of Blue" has to be present. I would also include "Someday My Prince Will Come", "Sketches of Spain", "In a Silent Way", "Bags' Groove", "Milestones" and his rock & roll album "A Tribute to Jack Johnson". Many more could also be considered.

Although I recognise that "Kind of Blue" is the great jazz album, I've decided to go for the very first Miles album I ever owned, and that is "Someday My Prince Will Come" and I'll go with the title track. Coltrane is present as he is further down.

♫ Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come

My favorite JOHN COLTRANE album remains "Live at the Village Vanguard.”


This has been released in several versions over the years from the initial single album to a later double album release. Then various CD versions until it finally saw the light of day in a terrific 4 CD set of his complete 4 day stay at the venue.

Complete-ists like me had to have that one, of course. The track I've chosen is rather long, but that pretty much goes without saying. There's a quote in Miles's autobiography where he says something along the lines of, "John, not every tune has to be two hours long.”

This isn't quite that long, it's called Spiritual.

♫ John Coltrane - Spiritual

The DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET is present with their best known album, the second biggest selling album in jazz history, "Time Out.” Miles pipped them.


I will also suggest "Time Further Out", "Time Changes", "Son of Time Out" and "Grandson of Time Out" (okay, I made up those last two). Several others deserve to be included as well.

Here is one of the lesser known tracks from the album, called Kathy's Waltz.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Kathy's Waltz

It was difficult to decide whether to have a vocal or instrumental album from CHET BAKER.


Either would be acceptable but I've gone for the all instrumental album "Chet". This shows off his considerable melodic skill playing the trumpet. It also has Pepper Adams on baritone saxophone sounding awfully like Gerry Mulligan.

Chet's tune is If You Could See Me Now.

♫ Chet Baker - If You Could See Me Now

I played Coltrane earlier, but he's here under a different guise when he made an album with JOHNNY HARTMAN.


It's hard to imagine anyone who had a better singing voice than Johnny. It's not too surprising as he was classically trained as a singer but like many who did the same he turned to jazz.

Speaking of classics, this album certainly was one, and from it we have the Lush Life.

♫ Johnny Hartman - Lush Life

While we're on a Coltrane kick, here's another album he made with one of the greatest musicians in the business, DUKE ELLINGTON.


This is such a fine album I wish they'd done another but as far as I know they didn't. With all the complete releases that the record companies come out with these days, it's probably all there is. Oh well, let's be happy they made this one.

The tune I've selected is In a Sentimental Mood, written by Duke way back in 1935. It was turned into a song when Marty Kurtz wrote some words for it, but it's just the tune today.

♫ Coltrane & Ellington - In a Sentimental Mood

BILL EVANS was yet another jazz muso who was classically trained. In his case it was the piano.


Bill first came to my notice as the piano player on Miles's "Kind of Blue" album. Miles held him in high regard and built a number of his tunes around Bill's playing.

When Bill left Miles, he mostly played as a trio with bass and drums accompanying him. From his most popular and best selling album "Waltz For Debby" this is the title tune.

However, this isn't the version on the vinyl release; when the CD came out there were extras and this is one that I prefer to the original.

♫ Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby (Take 1)

I discovered this album by MEL TORMÉ because the track I've chosen was played quite often on the jazz program on radio station 3XY here in Melbourne back in the sixties.


I didn't ever have a vinyl copy of the album (but I discovered that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist did). However, I have it on CD. The album is "Mel Tormé at the Red Hill". The track is Mountain Greenery.

♫ Mel Tormé - Mountain Greenery

I only had one album by GERRY MULLIGAN when I was growing up and that was "Jeru".


This album came after the fine work he did in his original quartet with Chet Baker. I've since acquired a multi-CD set of those and they're terrific but my rule is original albums (The A.M. thinks I'm too inflexible, but I like to follow my own rules. That is, until I don't).

The track from "Jeru" is Blue Boy, and it has Tommy Flannagan playing some nice piano on it.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Blue Boy

INTERESTING STUFF – 20 August 2016


Think about this as you watch: Someone, probably stoned out of his mind one evening, thought this up. But instead of having a laugh the next morning over the silliness of weed-induced ideas, he ran with it and, apparently, thinks it's a moneymaker. It is called Toasteroid.

There is a Kickstarter campaign to raise $150,000 dollars of which $109,000 has been raised with a month to go. Shipment is expected in July 2017. You can read more here but -

They're kidding, right?


As you probably know by now, Comedy Central cancelled Larry Wilmore's Nightly Show. Thursday was the final episode but on Wednesday night, one of my top three or four favorite comedians, Louis Black, sat down with Larry's panel. They discussed the presidential campaign.

(Be patient – the video takes a few seconds to load.)

And then, THEN - on Wilmore's final show Thursday, John Stewart showed up for a heartfelt send-off. Take a look:

We need Larry Wilmore and I hope he will settle somewhere new with as much success as John Oliver is having now after, like Wilmore, his many years in a supporting role at The Daily Show. John Stewart is returning to television on HBO in the fall.


This item is from the Sydney Morning Herald via TGB Elder Music columnist Peter Tibbles. Here, in part, is how the story begins:

”Up on the fifth shelf of the kitchen pantry, in the back corner where all the sweet stuff was kept, a team of ants were hard at work. They were the 18th Workers' Division of the Sugar, Syrup and Jam Foragers (Nightshift Unit H)...

“One ant was working particularly hard: her name was Trish and she was scraping crystalised sugar from the rim of a Golden Syrup jar – a highly specialised task known as Golden Rimming.

“It was tough, thorax-breaking work, and suddenly she stopped, rested her aching pincers, and thought, 'This is ridiculous. I'm 65 days old today! I'm entering the twilight days of my 90-day lifespan and I'm getting tired. But as a sterile female ant, I'm supposed to keep working until the day I drop dead and my fallen corpse gets eaten by my cannibalistic compatriots.

“'Sophisticated ant society? – my posterior rectal hindgut!'”

Go read the whole thing here. It's not long and it is a delightful story written by Danny Katz.


The YouTube page expains:

”Locked behind black steel doors in Northumberland, England, the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle grows around 100 infamous killers. From deadly nightshade to hemlock, the only way a plant can take root in this garden is if it is lethal to humans.

“Created by the Duchess of Northumberland, this is one garden where you won't want to stop and smell the flowers.”

Wikipedia has a long list of poisonous plants.


Yo-yo tricks have come a long way since I was kid. As the YouTube page explains,

”Ben Conde is a professional competitor in offstring yo-yo and has been practicing yo-yo tricks since he was four years old. See how this trick master prepares for a global competition.”


Auto lenders can steer vulnerable people into crushing debt and there are business news stories lately worrying that car loans have become as toxic and dangerous as the housing market was before the crash of 2008.

On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight last Sunday, John Oliver invited Keegan-Michael Key and Bob Balaban to help him show how that has come to be and at the end – they give us what a used-car dealer’s TV commercial might look like if a little honesty were thrown in.


Amid the rolling sand dunes of a Peruvian desert, an oasis with a magical backstory. Let's let the video explain:


Just to show that Olympians come in all sizes. These are volleyball player David Lee and acclaimed gymnast, Simone Biles, back to back:



This is great. It's real. The squirrel stole the GoPro camera and turned in a video that is the envy of many a human photographer.

It is from Viva Frei who explains that his YouTube channel started as something else and and became “an outlet for me make funny videos, and to do fun, crazy, zany, and occasionally helpful things.” Enjoy.

* * *

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.

Does Ageism Contribute to Donald Trump's Appeal?

As I have explained here in the past, I didn't know 20 years ago when I began studying ageing that I would become an advocate for elders. A large part of what led me to that is ageism – what the late geriatrician who coined the term, Robert N. Butler, described in his foreward to the Encyclopedia of Ageism as being “pervasive, gross and subtle, and omnipresent.”

”It is found in the reduced delivery of services,” he continued, “time limits to mortgages, depiction in the media and by Madison Avenue, poor nursing homes, passed over promotion, and other prejudices in the workplace.

“Age discrimination is present in our language and even in our families.”

Earlier this week, I ran across a short essay at Daily Kos written by someone identified only as Soprano who thinks ageism has a lot to do with Donald Trump's popularity among baby boomer men. Let him explain:

They (“We” I should say; I’m 64) have changed our society as we have gotten older, to our advantage.

“We’ve hit a wall, though. America’s love of youth. Notice how the elder members of any cast on t.v. are, at the most, in their 40s, usually in their 30s. Models for clothing advertisements are almost always young — not too many models of my age and size out there.

“Even AARP has embraced youth; now, their magazines are full of people in their 50s, not so much with older folks.

“The articles addressed towards them are usually about how they are falling apart and need help; not so much about the positives of growing older (and yes, there are positives). People over 70 are pitiful victims, doncha know?”

Soprano goes on to explain that he thinks this is why Trump supporters, mostly men in their 60s and 70s, are so irate. It is not the economy or immigration that has made them true believers so much as it is the cultural attack on their self-esteem.

”They have been emasculated,” Soprano continues, “and like little children, are throwing temper tantrums because no one is paying attention to them anymore.”

Soprano blames the predicament these men find themselves in on media in particular and society in general that are geared only toward young people (“We have sacrificed the wisdom of our elderly for the beauty of youth.”)

The prestige and power these men had in their middle years has been snatched away, says Soprano, and

”They don’t know where to lash out because of this societal problem.

“The real answer lies somewhere in giving these people their autonomy back and helping them find a sense of purpose. People who only worry...about themselves will never be happy people.

“Oh, and god forbid, if a WOMAN were to be elected President, that would just send them over the edge.”

I think there is some merit to this explanation – at least, in part. Boomers ruled the American world for so long – all the media told us so again and again – and none of them ever believed it would end.

What do you think?