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Saturday, 17 May 2014

INTERESTING STUFF – 17 May 2014


MOVIE: A SHORT HISTORY OF DECAY

It is easy to think at first that this is a quiet little family comedy in which nothing much happens. But under the surface it is roiling with the difficult dynamics common to many families as the parents age.

A struggling New York writer (played by Bryan Greenberg) whose girlfriend has just dumped him rushes to Florida when he learns his cantankerous father (Harris Yulin) has suffered a stroke. Complicating everyone's feelings is his mother's (Linda Lavin) off-and-on memory loss that isn't going to get any better.

Here's the trailer:

There have been a lot movies in the past few years about aging parents and Alzheimer's and how people cope with it. Or don't. Some of them are pretty good. This one is the least slick, least movie-ish and the most real I've seen. And it's funny too.

Odd that it seemed to be slight when I was watching it but it keeps coming to mind even more than a week later.

A Short History of Decay opened yesterday at the Village East Cinema in New York City. No word yet of where else it might play or when but you can check the website here. If it turns up in your vicinity, I recommend it.


THE 9/11 MEMORIAL DEDICATED IN NEW YORK CITY

It took a long time but on Thursday this week, at last, the 9/11 Memorial was dedicated and it will open to the public next week.

Live television did a good job of showing some of what is on display in the museum and I was touched by a video in the The New York Times about one item in the exhibit. Take a look.


BEN'S WISH LIST

Ben Pierce, a young boy from Texas, is gradually going blind. His family doesn't know how long it will be until his vision is gone but they are trying to make every moment until then count for him.

He has a kind of kid bucket list they have been fulfilling and earlier this month, Katie Couric made sure Ben got to cross "tour of New York City" off the list.

Here's the video of his visit to the big apple. Watch carefully at about 5:20 minutes at Midtown Comics and note the man who greets Ben with a shopping bag of goodies. After the video, I'll explain why I've pointed that out.

Nancy Leitz, a long-time contributor to TGB's companion blog, The Elder Storytelling Place, alerted me to this video because the man with young Ben is Nancy's grandson, Andrew Cohen, the marketing director of Midtown Comics.

Nancy specializes in telling us the many wonderful, funny stories about her family and two of them are about a much younger Andrew. If you'd like to catch up, one is Andrew's Eulogy and the other is The Ring - both definitely worth the read.


DON'T PUT OFF CATARACT SURGERY

Anyone reading this blog regularly knows that the first big item on my 2014 agenda was cataract surgery, that I was thrilled with the result then and still am. It is like having brand new eyes.

One of the things I harp on regularly is how to prevent falling which can devastate elders' lives. Now I can bring these two things together for you due to a research report presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

”In a study of more than 400 Vietnamese patients who were 50-plus years old with cataracts in both eyes, the number of falls patients suffered before and after cataract surgery was monitored.

”Researchers found a 78% decrease in the risk of falls the year after patients had cataract surgery on one eye.”

Imagine how high the percentage of risk decrease would be after surgery in both eyes as I had. Don't be tempted to put off cataract surgery. You can read more here.


BARBARA WALTERS RETIRES

Yesterday, Barbara Walters made a final appearance on her daytime ABC-TV program, The View, and throughout the week leadiong up to that, she had been making the rounds of print, internet and television outlets to discuss her official retirement at age 83.

I mention this because for 11 years between 1977 and 1988, I worked for Barbara on her Specials and produced stories with her on 20/20. It was the longest I ever stayed at one job and I had a wonderful time.

It is only fitting that on the occasion of her retirement ABC has named one of their buildings in New York for Barbara because she paved the way for women in broadcasting. People forget, I think, that before her there were hardly any female reporters, certainly no female anchors and few female producers.

It is Barbara Walters who changed that for women. Undoubtedly including me.

There is stuff all over the web this week about Barbara and her 53 year career. Go here for a slide show referencing a few of her memorable interviews. I worked on some of them.

Through the years, Barbara has often been accused of not having a sense of humor about herself. Wrong! I know that from personal experience, and here she is last weekend on Saturday Night Live having fun with a few of the more amusing digs she's suffered through the years.


YOU'RE NOT TOO OLD TO...

It has been conventional wisdom for my entire life that all the great inventions, writing, innovations, etc. were made by people in their youth, mostly before they turned 30 or so. “Everyone knows” old people can't be creative anymore.

Oh yeah? Take a look at this video, the winner in a contest a couple of years ago from SAGA, the British organization similar to the U.S. AARP.


GOOGLE FIBER

It is – or should be – well known that compared to the rest of the developed world, access to the internet in the United States is both slow and expensive.

Some while ago, I read that Google Fiber intends to bring 1,000Mbps (megabites per second) internet to a few test cities in the U.S. (That's 100 times faster than current broadband – essentially instantaneous.)

My so-called broadband connection is so pokey it nearly brings tears to my eyes sometimes so I was ecstatic when I discovered awhile ago that my little town, Lake Oswego, is under consideration for Google Fiber.

Then, on Thursday, an email arrived from Google Fiber with this message and image:

”We’ve been impressed by how enthusiastic the City of Lake Oswego has been as we’ve worked with them over the past few months — so let’s take a moment to thank them for everything they’ve done so far.”

GoogleFiber

Kansas City residents can already start signing up for the service and there are about nine other cities under consideration.

Google Fiber service may be fast but it ain't cheap - $120/month for internet and TV; $70 for internet alone. I'll have to think hard about that if my town is selected but I suspect I'll figure out how to afford it.

You can read all about Google Fiber and the test cities here. See if your city is on the list.


SURGING SEAS RISK FINDER

No matter what Senator Marco Rubio believes, I'm convinced that the Antarctic shelf will melt and the seas of the world will rise as a result. Of course, other events will contribute to further rise of the oceans.

Climate Central is an organization that does sea level rise analysis and has unveiled a U.S. map showing what will happen to all 3000-plus coastal towns, cities and counties in the lower 48 states of the U.S. if the sea rises 10 feet.

RisingSeas

According to the map of my Zip Code, even my town – about 85 miles from the Pacific Ocean - will see a rise in height of the river of one foot.

You can find out about your city here. Scroll down below the map to enter your town name or Zip Code. Amazingly, you can expand the map clear down to your own house.


CAT SAVES KID FROM DOG ATTACK

Alan Goldsmith and Nancy Leitz are just the first two readers who sent video of this event and it's gone so viral that you may have seen it but what the hell, you'll enjoy seeing it again.

Watch closely - the dog ambushes the kid only to be immediately bodychecked by Tara the cat. One of those things you don't often see in life.


MADELINE'S TRAIN DELIGHT

To round out a Saturday that may have overdosed on saccharine (why stop now), here's little Madeline who's dream to ride a train, YouTube tells us, came true on her third birthday. I promise, you'll kvell.


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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably 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 have one.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

My Movie and Lunch Club will probably pick the Short History of Decade to see when it comes out, but after 17 years of dealing with "old people issues" as a caregiver to my husband and father, I usually fail to see movies like this as comedies. They say there is such a thin line between tragedy and comedy. I guess I'm still too battle scared to find and jump that fine line.

I have seen that video of the cat jumping the dog a half dozen times and I never tire of it. Simply amazing!

Glad you published the Barbara Walters appearance on SNL! I missed that. What a ground breaking career she's had. She's earned her place in broadcasting history.

The number one thing that I have on my to-do list this summer is a trip downtown to 9/11 museum. I haven't been to the site in 5 years an I am anxious to see what the place looks like. I worked about a mile away, in Greenwich Village on that day and I saw one of the towers come down, a site that will be stuck in my mind forever.

"Google Fiber service may be fast but it ain't cheap - $120/month for internet and TV; $70 for internet alone."

That about the same price I'm paying (internet only) for Verizon's FIOS and I wish I could find something cheaper

One of the things I especially love about the cat video is that Tara not only chases the dog away, but apparently returns to the injured boy to make sure he's OK.

The young man who appreciates that older people still do 'stuff' is the sort of person who we need to associate with and appreciate back. I ignore the others.

On the Oregon coast it appears all the $600,000 homes on the ocean may have wet carpet. Oh my! I'm apparently far enough up the road, but after Japan - who knows?

Hopefully the under-appreciated tabby cat will be adopted in greater numbers after Tara's display of courage.

How nice to see Andrew (Nancy's grandson) at last after reading her stories. I re-read them this morning and you just knew Andrew would be somebody someday. Thank you for sharing this Nancy and Ronni.

I remember when that pundit was so nasty and made fun of Barbara Walters slight lisp and called her Barbara WA WA. I thought it was really mean then and was glad to see she has a sense of humor about it. She doesn't look like she is 83 years old. My gosh - I look like her grandmother.

How nice to be reminded that Grandma Moses wasn't the only creative elder who became famous.

The cat on the video is amazing. I have never seen a cat that was protective of a child. We had a dog like that once and had to tell visitors, "You can take anything in the house, but don't touch the kid."

Very interesting stuff! I still have hopes of discovering my later life muse, may not become famous but delighted would be good enough. I admire Barbara Walter's sense of humor, I can only imagine the stuff she's dealt with in her long career.

Nancy, what a sweet grandson!
Ronni, your time working with Walters surely gave you plenty of memorable experiences - care to share some of them? I remember well when she was given the first anchorwoman position, much to her co-chair's chagrin and open disapproval.
I imagine she was one tough, charming woman and learned quickly how to get what she wanted.

I always admired Barbara Walters--she was a "first" in so many ways back when women on TV in any kind of "serious" role were essentially nonexistent. I am also totally impressed, Ronni, that you worked with her for 11 years. WOW! Back in my early 20s, I had journalistic dreams, and she was my guide star, as you probably would have been as well. Unfortunately, I chose a "wrong path" and didn't get back on track until 20 years later, at which point I needed to earn a living--pronto.

Long live Tara, Hero Cat! Cats are amazing creatures. As I've mentioned, I volunteer for a no-kill cat shelter and am constantly surprised by how resilient, intelligent and lovable they are.

Thanks for all your diligent
work, Ronni!

A great read, Ronni.

Am going to watch for that movie.

Imagine having that cat the next time a fake roofer salesman knocks on your door..

"ding dong."

You don't answer.

Scammer walks around the side of your house.

ZIng!!!

Cat shoots out of the hedge, puffs up three times bigger, chases scammer off your property.

Fake roofer runs like his butt is on fire.

Never to return.

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