Elders Reading for Pleasure II
ELDER MUSIC: U.S. States, Alabama to Georgia

INTERESTING STUFF – 23 August 2014


One of the best things about having this blog is the interesting people I get to meet. Let me tell you a little story.

A few weeks ago I got an email from a TGB reader named Donna Jensen who will soon be 80, lives in a town near mine and, she wrote, owns a 1956 Thunderbird convertible named Ava. Could we have a photo in the car together?

Don't ask, she said, it's just a bucket list thing.

1956 Thunderbird convertible??? Named Ava??? Are you kidding? I'll be there in a New York minute. Finally, on Tuesday, we met at a local Starbucks, took a ride in her fantastic car, had a wonderful chat about life and the Villages movement and stuff and here's the photo:

Donna, Ronni and Ava

I am thrilled to have this photo of us in such a fantastic, beautiful car, and so pleased to have made a new friend.

Wait, this is not enough. For a car as gorgeous as this, you need to see the whole thing:



That's all I'm going to say – that and pay close attention. It happens fast. (Thank you to Jim Stone)


Remember a couple of weeks ago when I showed you how some Chinese retailers are dressing up peaches in panties? Now the Chinese are growing pears in the shape of babies. Look at this:


You can see more photos and find out how it's done at the designboom website.


That's the time of day an 85-year-old woman chose for her suicide last week rather than live through the indignity of advancing Alzheimer's disease. As the Vancouver Sun reported:

”On Monday morning shortly before noon, Gillian Bennett dragged a foam mattress from her home on Bowen Island to one of her favourite spots on the grass, facing a craggy rock cliff, the place she had chosen to die.”

This is a photograph of Ms. Bennett with her cat Cosmo last year.

Gillian Bennett 2013

Bennett...chose to take her own life with a draught of good whiskey, a dose of Nembutal mixed with water and her husband of 60 years by her side,” the Sun story continues.

“'I held her hand,' said Jonathan, a retired philosophy professor. His voice is reflective, resonant, measured. “'I agreed with her choice.'”

Read more here where you can also see a video about Gillian Bennett and more photos of her and her family. There is a website, Goodbye & Good Luck!, which Gillian wrote about her decision. (Hat tip to Cile who blogs at cilesfineline)


Millions of us are fans of the Netflix series, House of Cards which stars Kevin Spacey as the treacherous member of Congress, Frank Underwood.

Particularly given the current mediocre level of congressional behavior, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan let his sanctimony show last week when he said that House of Cards “disgusts” him. As Truthdig reported:

”According to Politico, Ryan said, 'I watched the first couple of episodes until [Frank Underwood] cheated on his wife with that reporter. It turned my stomach so much that I just couldn’t watch it anymore.'

“Really? You made it through canicide, but infidelity is too much to bear?”

For the rest of us who delight in Spacey's cathartic portrayal of Congressional chicanery and evil, here is a collection of clips from the series to help hold us until next year when season three opens. Watch Underwood as he breaks the fourth wall to tell us what he really thinks. Enjoy.


Here's a nice little map that shows the buying power or, actually, the relative value of $100 among the various 50 states.


That's way too small to read - here's a larger version. In my state, Oregon, I gain $1.21. Go see where your state stands.


With the 24/7 coverage of Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown, we have gotten a good look at what the militarization of a police force looks like. It ain't pretty and John Oliver had a go at the phenomenon on his HBO show last Sunday.


A beautiful, bittersweet little story about unexpected best friends and that life doesn't always turn out the way you want it to.


From Darlene:

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 include the name of the blog and its URL.


The 'What $100 is worth' chart is a little bit of a scam by a conservative source.
Take a look at income levels by state and you'll see that in most instances income level and 'value of $100' are inverse.
Your $100 in Mississippi, for example, may be worth more than $100 in Massachusetts, but you're likely to have $200 in MA for every $100 you'd earn in MS.

"Now the Chinese are growing pears in the shape of babies."

Hope this becomes apparent to those too ready to see religious figures in such things. One would likely try to convince us that it was the baby Jesus.

And thanks for story and link on Gillian Bennett's right to die blog. This personal choice should be available to all of us and not just those who think they see Jesus in pieces of toast and shadows on bridges.

Hi, Ronni:

My dad, who was a complete car nut, bought a 1956 Thunderbird roadster.

It was mint-green, and had a hard top. in addition to the soft top.

I have manyh fond memories ocvf that T-Bird.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ford decided it was not going to be a successful competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette, and production was stopped.

They then (these are the people who brought us the Edsel!)turned it into a four-passenger sedan, ruining the marque with an insignificant and extremely forgettable replacement.

The elephant mud bath was my favorite from this column but the House Of Cards clips have me intrigued enough to see if I can find the series on-demand TV which I didn't have until recently.

Wow on Gillian Bennett's story and blog. Now I need to go back and look more carefully at my Living Will/Directives to make sure I was as clear as I thought I was.

My mom died at 93 over a period of weeks, just stopped eating and "slept into death." Up to six months before this, she lived in her own home alone, with someone popping in regularly (assistant, family and a neighbor) to check on her and help her a bit.

My dad had a stroke and became so incapacitated and in pain that he talked it over with my mom and they decided he would stop taking his heart medicine. He died within the week of a heart attack, just like he wanted. This was in 1991.

One of our best friends back in the day had a '56 T-Bird. What a great ride it was!

The Thunderbird brought me smiles. I'm a car lady myself. Gillian Bennett brought me to tears. My grandfather died by just stopping food and water.

Not sure what this says about my life, but Interesting Stuff is one of the highlights of my weekend :)

Today's edition is greatly rewarding in terms of its breadth and depth, and the range of emotions it evoked.

Thanks to everyone who contributed.

I am deeply touched by Sarah Bennett's story. I made up my mind years ago that when the quality of my life had deteriorated or when I was a burden to others I would commit suicide.

We should all have the option about what to do with our own bodies. And we should have the option of getting assistance legally from our doctors. Oregon is the only humane state that allows that. I do wish that the other states would learn from their experience. None of the predicted horror stories have come to pass and very few actually take advantage of that option, but it is there.

Love, love, love John Oliver. He keeps on nailing it time after time.

You, Ava and, a new friend -- totally cool photos!

Just went back and watched John Oliver (fabulous, as usual) and THEN saw the elephants taking a mud bath! Worth a look, baby was so cute trying to get out!

"Interesting Stuff" is the perfect title for the Saturday blogs. This is where I find great things to send to family members with the tacit assumption that I found them all by myself. This and a couple of e-mags is also where I get my dose of John Oliver, who is sometimes too much when you watch his whole show, especially if it follows, as it often does, a deeply affecting drama such as "The Normal Heart," which I cannot recommend too highly.

As for the pears, I could not possibly bite into one of these without feeling like a pedophiliac cannibal.

Totally agree with Gillian Bennett's decision and Darlene's comment. It should be the right of each individual to die when and how s/he chooses. The right-to-lifers generally shoot doctors and harass women's health centers "to protect life" only up until the time of birth--going forward, "you're on your own"--young or old.

Suicide should not be a dirty word--it depends so very much on individual circumstances. I hope to be able to carry out my own life exit in a similar manner should I be confronted with conditions that render my life unlivable.

Sarah Bennet

Poor Dr. Kovokin had to die in a hospitol

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