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ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias (20-11)

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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Once in a while Australia's ABC Classical music station (networked throughout the country) has a listeners' poll on the favorite pieces of music in various categories.

This time it was opera arias and that gives me a chance to play some terrific singers and not worry about which piece of music to include as the selection has been done for me.

We're doing the Top 20, the first half today and the rest next week. Here we go, counting down from 20 to 11.

I could very well rename this "The Puccini Column" as he makes six appearances. He's also in next week (but only once). I'll start with him and one of his lesser known operas “Gianni Schicchi,” but hardly a lesser known aria.

20. GIACOMO PUCCINI - Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro

Puccini

This is one of a trio of one-act operas Gia released around 1917, is the only one of those regularly staged these days and that's probably only due to this aria which is more often performed as a concert piece.

Here is the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING performing O Mio Babbino Caro (or "Oh My Beloved Father").

Renee Fleming

Puccini - Gianni Schicchi ~ Mio Babbino Caro


19. PUCCINI - Madama Butterfly - The Humming Chorus

Puccini

Gia again with one of his famous pieces. Actually, all the ones included are famous because of the selection method. Just the chorus, no individual singers. The Humming Chorus or Coro A Bocca Chiusa.

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Coro A Bocca Chiusa


18. WOLFGANG MOZART - The Magic Flute - Der Hölle Rache

Mozart

Wolfie is sadly under-represented in these columns, only one today and one next week. If I were choosing... (yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you say).

Wolfie wrote this originally for his sister-in-law (Josepha Hofer) to sing in the premiere. She must have been quite the performer because those who have tackled the role of Queen of the Night since have complained about its difficulty.

This is the Queen of the Night aria or Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen, performed today by SIMONE KERMES.

Simone Kermes

♫ Mozart - The Magic Flute ~ Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen


17. GAETANO DONIZETTI - Lucia di Lammermoor - Mad Scene

Donizetti

There are a number of mad scenes in opera, some of them even on the stage. This is the most famous of them.

JOAN SUTHERLAND made this one her own over the years; she performed it many times. It's Il dolce suono or just "the mad scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Joan Sutherland

♫ Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor ~ Il dolce suono


16. PUCCINI - Madame Butterfly - Vogliatemi bene (Act I love duet)

Puccini

The love duet is performed early on in the opera by Cio-Cio San and the American Pinkerton expressing their undying love for each other. Poor old Cio-Cio is in for a big disappointment.

RENATA SCOTTO and CARLO BERGONZI play those roles today.

Renata Scotto & Carlo Bergonzi

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Vogliatemi Bene, Un Bene Piccolino


15. PUCCINI - La Bohème - Che gelida manina

Puccini

Now for two in a row from the same opera, La Bohème, one of the most famous in the repertoire and one of the most performed. First off it's the turn of LUCIANO PAVAROTTI who made a bit of a name for himself as a singer.

Luciano Pavarotti

He performs Che gelida manina (or "What a cold little hand").

Puccini - La Boheme ~ Che gelida manina


14. PUCCINI - La Bohème - O soave fanciulla

Puccini

There was a terrific production of this opera by the Australian Opera some years ago. Fortunately, it was preserved on DVD (and CD). The two singers are DAVID HOBSON and CHERYL BARKER.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist selected the photo of David as she's a bit of a fan.

David Hobson

I chose the picture of Cheryl as the same applies for me with her.

Cheryl Barker

The aria is O soave fanciulla (or "Oh lovely girl", the famous love duet).

♫ Puccini - La Boheme ~ soave fancuilla


13. VINCENZO BELLINI - Norma - Casta diva

Bellini

“Norma” is the A.M.'s favorite opera and it's not just because of its name. Or so she says. It's all to do with that final act where the singing just builds and builds and just when you think they can't do any more they up the ante.

The selection today, though, is from early in the opera and we have the incomparable CECILIA BARTOLI performing Casta Diva.

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Bellini - Norma ~ Casta Diva


12. PUCCINI - Turandot - Nessun dorma

Puccini

LUCIANO PAVAROTTI makes a return visit with almost certainly the most famous aria in opera, Nessun dorma ("None shall Sleep").

Luciano Pavarotti

He performed this as a stand-alone piece numerous times, however, here he is from a recording of the complete opera – that way we get all the extra background stuff usually missing when it's performed on its own.

Because of that, the ending is a bit abrupt as the opera continues without a break.

♫ Puccini - Turandot ~ Nessun dorma!


11. ANTONIN DVORÁK - Rusalka - Song to the Moon

Dvorák

Antonin is better known as a composer of instrumental music, especially symphonies, however, he wrote a few operas. Only one of these is regularly performed these days and it's this one.

From that we have the aria Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém (generally known as "Song to the Moon") performed by LUCIA POPP.

Lucia Popp

♫ Dvorák - Rusalka ~ Song to the Moon


The top 10 of Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias will appear here next week.


INTERESTING STUFF – 30 January 2016

ACTOR ABE VIGODA DIES - AGAIN

Remember Barney Miller? And remember the loveable Detective Fish on that show. His daughter announced this week that he died in his sleep at age 94.

But he had died once before – sort of – when it was erroneously reported and believed by many news outlets in 1988, that he had died. Here's how David Letterman handled that on his show.

And here's a little clip from Barney Miller with Vigoda as Detective Fish:

You can read more about Abe Vigoda here.

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR BODY IN SPACE?

As you may know, astronaut Scott Kelly's year in space will soon end. It's been an important trip to study, in preparation for future long trips to Mars, what happens to the human body when it lives in a weightless environment for a long time.

What's unique about this is that Scott has left an identical copy of himself back on earth, his twin and also astronaut, Mark Kelly. Researchers will be able to compare their bodies to when Scott returns.

Mark and Scott Kelly

That's Mark Kelly on the left and Scott on the right.

Meanwhile, a week or so ago, RawStory pubished a list of five things that are known to happen to the human body in space. The short version is:

  1. You get weaker
  2. So does your heart
  3. Fitness suffers
  4. You lose bone
  5. Your immune system suffers

Go to RawStory to read full explanations of those five bodily changes in space.

You can read more about the Kelly brothers twin study here.

GREAT BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN AD

Not being a resident of Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina, I probably would have missed this if not for reading Charlie Pierce's blog in Esquire magazine each day. Here's what he wrote:

”Call me an aging Boomer sap, but I think this Bernie Sanders ad is just about the best political commercial I've ever seen. The song is perfect. The selection of visuals is dead on—the little kid carrying the calf just kills me—and it's so welcoming and positive that it makes the old Reagan 'Morning In America' ads look like death-metal videos.

“If all the Sanders campaign does is inject the spirit of this commercial into our money-drenched, dead-assed politics, then it is already far more than merely a worthwhile endeavor.”

I sure don't disagree. See what you think.

THE RADICAL BROWNIES

Hey, my fellow elder woman friends here, were you a Brownie when you were a kid? With at least one troop of them in California, it ain't their mothers' or grandmothers' Brownies anymore:

”The Radical Brownies, a social justice-oriented version of the Girl Scouts, was set up only a few weeks ago to 'empower young girls of colour to step into their collective power, brilliance and leadership to make the world a more radical place,' reports the Guardian.

“The group of 12 girls are not affiliated to the Girl Guide movement and there are no badges for hostessing.

“Instead, the members, aged between eight and 12 years old, learn about black history, civil rights and social justice; their reward system includes a 'Black Lives Matter' badge and lessons in sustainable agriculture for a 'Food Justice' badge. 'Radical Beauty,' 'Radical Self-Love,' and 'LGBT Ally' badges are also on the curriculum.”

Fantastic. When my friend Jim Stone forwarded the story to me, he noted in his email, “This picture slays me.” Me too. Take a look:

Radicalbrownies

Read some more about the Radical Brownies here.

WHAT CONGRESS LOOKED LIKE AFTER THE BLIZZARD THIS WEEK

Washington, D.C. took a big weather hit with last weekend's blizzard and wasn't nearly as well prepared for cleanup as New York City. Even so, some Congress members turned up for work on Tuesday. And some did not. Can you guess who they were?

What happened to the men? Senator Lisa Murkowski told Huffington Post that

”...she spent much of her weekend shoveling and was ready to 'be back at work where it's a little less rigorous.'”

SNOWBOARDING IN MANHATTAN

As I think I mentioned last week, I still lived in Manhattan in 2006 when the last gigantic snowstorm hit town. Big blizzards make the city so beautiful and force everyone - everyone - to stop and take a break for a day or two. In my case, I can't resist behaving like a kid - last time it was making snow angels.

I suffered a bad case of envy for not to be in New York last weekend and I sure did enjoy watching these guys who defied the rules (and, apparently, paid the price) to have a great time in the snow, big city style.

AN EAGLE AT THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Peter Tibbles sent this story about Oorik the wedge-tailed eagle who “works” at the annual matches:

”With uncommon vision, an enviable wing span and an inbuilt killer instinct, he belonged in this place as much as any tennis player. Holding court on centre court, he walked slowly, claw foot by claw foot, exploring the now empty space where Daria Gavrilova​ had only just dispatched Petra Kvitovz.

“Then he sat still in the vacant stadium, perched on the net, feeding on a bit of fresh rabbit meat, like a dragon alone in his lair.”

Oorikonnetfromscooponest

Konrad Marshall, writing in The Age, continues:

”Such is life for the young rescued raptor, one of many birds raised in captivity and now a star. He is at the Australian Open under a pest control research program, with permission from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. It is the first major study of its kind locally.”

It's a fascinating story that you can read more of here. And this photo shows off Oorik's magnificent wingspan.

Oorikswingspanattennisopen

F/A HORNETS AND SUPER HORNETS

No, not the bugs. These are combat jet planes as they takeoff and land aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65).

“The video includes the aircraft flying in tandem formation at low altitude above the water, conducting banking and rolling maneuvers at high-speed, and making high-speed passes over the aircraft carrier. Filmed from the cockpit and pilot point-of-view.”

I'm not much fond of heights but this is amazing to watch. Maybe you'll think so too.

UNDERCATS

Betcha don't know what undercats are. I didn't but I do now. Photographer Andrius Burba explains that he was at

“...the international cat show which recently took place in Vilnius, Lithuania. The idea about taking photos from underneath came from the similar photo which I randomly found on the internet.

“I was fascinated by their cute little paws which were impossible to resist to look at. But the main idea which I wanted to express through these photos, is that cats feel embarrassed about this part of a body which people don’t get to see daily.”

Here are a couple of examples.

UndercatsGray

Undercatswhite

You can see a whole bunch more of Burba's undercats at Bored Panda.

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the 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.


The Scarcity of Geriatricians

As I had done when I moved to Portland, Maine in 2006, I looked for a geriatrician when, four years later, I moved to Oregon. With each inquiry in both states, I was told that the doctor's practice was full.

That put me off for awhile. I am lucky to be healthy and over a lifetime have spent little time with physicians. But the need for a physical before cataract surgery sent me on the hunt again.

The primary care physician I found is nice enough and apparently competent. As the clinic's staff certainly is. But I'm the one who leads the discussion of my exams, he spends most of our truncated hour together tapping at his laptop keyboard and I find myself wondering if he's paying attention at all.

If you have heart trouble, you need a cardiologist. Pregnant? An obstetrician. Parkinson's? Probably a neurologist. And so on. For old age, that would be a geriatrician but you're unlikely to find one in the U.S.

I have written about the diminishing number of geriatricians in the past and it came to my attention again earlier this week when The New York Times published some well done reporting on the situation. The basics:

”There are about 7,000 geriatricians in practice today in the United States,” writes Katie Hafner. “The American Geriatrics Society estimates that to meet the demand, medical schools would have to train at least 6,250 additional geriatricians between now and 2030, or about 450 more a year than the current rate.”

But the fact is, as Hafner reports, openings in medical schools for the specialty go empty. Further:

”People avoid the field for understandable reasons. Geriatrics is among the lowest-paying specialties in medicine. According to the Medical Group Management Association, in 2014, the median yearly salary of a geriatrician in private practice was $220,000, less than half a cardiologist’s income...

“Since the health care of older patients is covered mostly by Medicare, the federal insurance program’s low reimbursement rates make sustaining a geriatric practice difficult, many in the field say.

“'Medicare disadvantages geriatricians at every turn, paying whatever is asked for medications and procedures, but a pittance for tough care-planning,' said Dr. Joanne Lynn, a geriatrician and the director of the Center for Elder Care and Advanced Illness at Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research organization based in Ann Arbor, Mich.”

Certification in geriatrics requires one or two more years of training beyond completing study for family or internal medicine. In addition to clinical care, geriatricians are

”...skilled in navigating the labyrinth of psychological and social problems that often arise in the aging population.”

According to The Times and I've heard it before, some primary care physicians do not believe geriatrics, even as a specialty, is necessary, that their training is sufficient.

“'This is simply untrue,' Dr. [Elizabeth] Eckstrom, [a geriatrician] said. 'Just think about dementia, or delirium caused by a medication. Those are just two conditions you seldom see in middle-aged adults.'”

Exactly. While other kinds of physicians are accustomed to treating and curing individual medical problems one at a time in younger adults, elders often have multiple diseases, issues and conditions that make treatment more complex as they often can not be cured but can be managed. However, reports Hafner,

”Young physicians in training find it difficult to muster interest in the slow grind of caring for older patients, and days filled with discussions about medication management, insomnia, memory loss and Meals on Wheels deliveries.”

Even though there are not enough of them, some young medical students see it differently (and thank god for them):

”An old family member is often the inspiration for medical students who choose geriatrics. 'My grandmother was one of my best friends when I was growing up,' said Dr. Emily Morgan, 37, who recently joined Dr. Eckstrom in her practice.

“Dr. Morgan said that watching her grandmother’s decline after a car accident, followed by a terribly painful death, instilled in her a deep belief 'in the inherent dignity and worth of a life, especially towards the end.'”

One hopeful sign from The Times story is that some geriatricians think beliefs about their field are changing and that it

”...will soon receive the recognition it deserves. New payment models that hold doctors and health systems accountable for keeping people healthy are on the rise, and geriatricians foresee a day when they are better valued and compensated.”

Although there is nothing I can do personally to increase the number of geriatricians, I find myself feeling frustrated and resentful that at this time of life, even healthy as I am for the moment, I cannot have the kind of physician who could best keep me that way.

With the growing number of elders over the next 30 or 40 years, the shortage of geriatricians is a serious social problem. The Times story is a good explanation of where we stand on the issue as a country and you should give it a read.

With all that, the same newspaper just reviewed a new book, Remaking the American Patient, in which author Nancy Tomes, a professor of history at Stony Brook University, “outlines in a seamless and utterly fascinating narrative, [that] the good old days never really existed.”

Excerpts from the review:

”Do you feel dehumanized as a 21st-century patient because modern medical care is all about the technology? Sad to say, that process began long ago. It was back in the 1920s that doctors’ offices first loaded up with machinery in order to impress patients with 'new and improved' medical care.”
”Do you feel battered by the pharmaceutical marketplace, full of noisy ads masquerading as information? Ms. Tomes points out that it was always thus: Drugs have been enthusiastically hawked from the dawn of advertising.”
”Are you perplexed by our regulatory chaos, with layer upon layer of well-meaning but persistently ineffective efforts to guarantee the safety of medical services? It turns out we come from a long tradition of such inadequacy: Patient safety has been the holy grail for everyone, long sought, never achieved.”

The book sounds fascinating. You can read more about it at The New York Times.

Recently, a friend mentioned in an email that his primary care physician told him that he should get a geriatrician.

”I said 'ok',” my friend told me, “but I knew it was about as close to possible as me getting on the next moon shot. The people on the 'inside' are clueless [about] what...patients go through just to get competent care. Live hard, die young, is a positive message!”

Are you lucky enough to have a geriatrician? Or, are you comfortable that your primary care physician is informed enough about elder medical issues?


Alive! 55 Plus and Kickin' - Inspired and Inspiring

Ordinarily, I leave anything about music to Peter Tibbles in his Sunday Elder Music column at this blog. Peter's knowledge, with the aid of “assistant musicologist” Norma, is wide and deep. Mine, although I am an appreciator, is haphazard and thin.

But I have some music for you today because this particular music carries great significance for us elders beyond its intrinsic beauty.

I came across it accidentally while absently clicking around the television dial last Sunday – a rerun of 60 Minutes, a year-old episode from January 2015, titled “Alive and Kickin'”.

That's the name of a theatrical presentation of the stories and songs from people age 55 and older, each of them an amateur singer who has harbored a life-long dream to sing professionally. But life got in the way of that pursuit.

The production is the brainchild of a theatrical producer, Vi Higginson, who told 60 Minutes that her mission in developing the show is to preserve African-American music from gospel to soul to R&B that is rarely performed anymore in a world of hip-hop and its derivatives.

The 60 Minutes story unfolds nicely so I don't want to tell you too much up front. If you have seen it, you will understand that. But there are a couple of moments in the story to watch for – there will be a quiz on the other side.

I'm kidding about the quiz but these are pertinent to you and me and being old:

  1. When Ms. Higginson explains that she is not just indulging some old farts' dream. She's taking it the kids too.

  2. When one of the singers says, “It's never too late for anything.”

  3. The last line of the story - “I just love being an old man.”

This is a longer video that I usually post, about 25 minutes, so settle back and let it flow over you.

You know what? I just love being an old woman. I didn't have to overcome anything like that man did, although I have my sorrows and the look on his face when he says at the end, “I just love being an old man,” is exactly how I feel about being the age I am.

There are not many people in the world doing as inspired to do as much as Vi Higginson for the perception of old people and she's found a way to go so much further with it.

The scope of her project is profound. There is the personal redemption of the singers and a chance to live a dream. The staging of a show which is enough in itself for most producers. And the larger mission to preserve the music b passing it on to young musicians:

"The older people carry the music in their body, in their mind,” says Higgingson. “If they die, then that sound may be gone forever."

Amen. There are even more projects you can find out about at Higginson's Mama Foundation for the Arts website - “Musicials, Concerts and Education in Harlem.”

Not to mention that Alive! 55+ and Kickin' is an annual show and if you're in the New York City area, you're in luck. The 2016 season begins next month and runs until June.

You can find out all about it at the show's website and think about attending. If I were still in New York, I sure would.


Have You Been Dropping More Things as You Get Older?

It is hard to be sure but it seems to be so for me. And it is really annoying.

For example, one day last week, I dropped a spoon on the kitchen floor. I picked it up, rinsed it off and as I reached for the towel, I dropped in again. Damn.

A day or two before that, I had dropped the shampoo bottle in the shower – a new, full one that barely missed my toes. Later that day, I dropped the two-quart, plastic box where I store the cat's dry food, scattering it all over the kitchen. Damn again.

Not long ago, I dropped a nine-inch butcher knife – that one could have been disastrous – but on another day I was lucky to be standing on a carpet when I dropped my mobile phone so it didn't break.

None of these occurrences is important individually and probably not even in their proximity to one another. But they made me wonder if dropping stuff is a “thing” with old people. So I took to the internet.

There is a lot of unsourced and untrustworthy health information online and that is always dangerous for “low information viewers,” as it were. The first I found was a large number of forums where people with no expertise were freely offering their uninformed opinions.

In answer to inquiries about dropping things, many instantly went to fear-mongering: Based on nothing at all, they advised people to see a doctor right away because it could be an early symptom of MS, ALS, Huntington's disease and more.

That's nuts. Those were anonymous forums, for god's sake. I hope no one takes them seriously.

Digging deeper at more reputable websites, I found that sometimes dropping things can be among the symptoms of serious disease but only one symptom, a minor one among dozens of others anyone would notice long before worrying about dropping something.

Checking further, I found that dropping things is not a big enough issue with growing old to warrant much notice.

In fact, a webpage of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services for training elder home staff is the only direct mention of elders dropping things I found.

”The sense of touch changes,” they report. “In older adults the sense of touch may decrease as skin loses sensitivity. Pressure, pain, cold and heat do not feel the same as they used to feel. Decreases in touch sensitivity may cause residents to drop things.”

That reference to skin losing sensitivity reminded me that a few years ago, I discovered through personal experience that old people often cannot be fingerprinted, particulalry with electronic scanners, because their fingerprints are worn off.

When I wrote about that here three years ago, I quoted Scientific American magazine:

”...the elasticity of skin decreases with age, so a lot of senior citizens have prints that are difficult to capture. The ridges get thicker; the height between the top of the ridge and the bottom of the furrow gets narrow, so there's less prominence. So if there's any pressure at all [on the scanner], the print just tends to smear.”

That would certainly affect sense of touch and the ability to know if you are holding things tightly enough. A report from Oregon State University [pdf] concurs with Pennsylvania report supplying a bit more medical information:

”With aging, sensations may be reduced or changed. These changes can occur because of decreased blood flow to the nerve endings or to the spinal cord or brain. The spinal cord transmits nerve signals and the brain interprets these signals.

“Health problems, such as a lack of certain nutrients, can also cause sensation changes. Brain surgery, problems in the brain, confusion, and nerve damage from injury or chronic diseases such as diabetes can also result in sensation changes.”

I finally found the most pertinent answer to my question at The New York Times. Noting that fine touch may decrease in old age,

“Many studies have shown that with aging, you may have reduced or changed sensations of pain, vibration, cold, heat, pressure, and touch. It is hard to tell whether these changes are related to aging itself or to the disorders that occur more often in the elderly...”

This Times information is quoted from A.D.A.M., a private source of medical information for health professionals and other paid subscribers.

So what I have deduced from two or three hours on the internet is that barring injury or disease or, perhaps, waning strength that affects one's ability to grip strongly, maybe elders do drop things more frequently.

Maybe a diminishing sense of touch in general means that we cannot effortlessly perceive the appropriate strength of our grasp as automatically as when we were younger. At least, that's what I choose to believe for myself until someone enlightens me further.

Following on that, for the past few days I have been making a conscious effort to be sure I am holding whatever is in my hand tightly enough that it will not slip.

I want that to become second nature because the knife I mentioned was a close call and I certainly don't want to drop a cup of hot coffee on my foot or the cat.

Does any of this ring a bell for you?


ELDER MUSIC: 1951 Yet Again

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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This year saw the debut of the song The Thrill Is Gone that B.B. King made his own over the years. However, he wasn't the first to record it. That honor goes to ROY HAWKINS who wrote the song with some help from Rick Darnell.

Roy Hawkins

Roy was a blues pianist and his breakthrough record was Why Do Everything Happen To Me? that he wrote after his arm was paralysed as a result of a car accident.

Many of his songs were covered by other artists, unfortunately for him, mostly after he died.

♫ Roy Hawkins - The Thrill Is Gone


JOHNNIE RAY's professional career began this year with a couple of crying songs, a genre that he used to great effect over the years. Cry was probably his most famous song but I've used that in previous versions of this year, so we have the other one, Little White Cloud That Cried.

Johnnie Ray

Like a number of his early records, he was backed on this one by The Four Lads who had their own successful career over the years.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Little White Cloud That Cried


You could pretty much count on DORIS DAY being on the charts around this time and 1951 was no exception.

Doris Day

This isn't one of her best known songs, but it's one I remember. It must have played on radio in the country town where I lived at the time for that to be so. The song is (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to) Shanghai, a bit of a strange song.

Oh Doris, that's what you get for fibbing even if it was a little white lie. Why did you say you were going to Shanghai rather than just to the beach or somewhere? Now you regret it and he thinks you're on a slow boat to China or some such. What if he comes across you in the street? Cooked goose then.

♫ Doris Day - (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to) Shanghai


JOE LIGGINS started his professional career as a member of Sammy Franklin's California Rhythm Rascals.

Joe Liggins

When Sammy refused to record Joe's song, The Honeydripper, Joe went out and started his own band (called The Honeydrippers). That song became a huge hit, one of the best selling R&B records ever, spending weeks at the top of the charts.

I don't think Joe went nyah nyah nyah nyah (or some such) - he was too much of a gentleman. This isn't that song, it's another of Joe's called Frankie Lee.

♫ Joe Liggins - Frankie Lee


Ahh, now we have one of the best songs from the entire decade. Many people recorded this one but none did it better than TOMMY EDWARDS.

Tommy Edwards

This is just a beautiful version of the song It's All In The Game. Nothing more needs to be said.

♫ Tommy Edwards - It's All In The Game


There were a bunch of "four" groups around this time. We had the Four Lads up there with Johnnie, now we have the FOUR ACES.

The Four Aces

I'd have put in the Four Preps and the Four Freshmen but they were just a little later. Hmm, could be a column in this. Anyway, the Aces had a bunch of hits in the fifties, including this one, Tell Me Why. A bit strident for my taste.

♫ The Four Aces - Tell Me Why


BILLY WARD AND HIS DOMINOES perform Sixty Minute Man.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

The record was banned in a number of places at the time for its perceived naughtiness. Although graced with a couple of excellent lead singers over the years – Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson – on this song, the lead is sung by their bass singer Bill Brown.

A few years later the group recorded a tongue in cheek response called Can't Do Sixty No More. Tell me about it.

♫ The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man


PATTI PAGE had enough good songs that, although I've already used a couple of them in previous incarnations of this year, there are enough left over to feature her again. Besides, I really like Patti.

Patti Page

Detour was written in 1945 and a number of people had recorded it over the years. Patti gave it her trademark double tracking of her voice that she used successfully on a number of her hits.

♫ Patti Page - Detour


GUY MITCHELL is another singer who was really popular around this time.

<>Guy Mitchell

Guy's first half dozen or so records were flops and he was about to be dropped by his record company when Frank Sinatra decided not to record a couple of songs he had scheduled.

Guy was hastily substituted in the sessions and these became his first blockbusters. Not long after that, he recorded Sparrow in the Treetop.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Sparrow in the Treetop


With the on-going saga of what was the first rock & roll record, this next one often gets the nod. Of course, it was a slow evolutionary process and there's really no cut-off line – there were records before this one that could be considered as well, but people like tight categories.

Now I've got that off my chest I'm going to play JACKIE BRENSTON performing Rocket 88 because it's worthy of inclusion.

Actually Jackie's name is on the record pretty much because of the whim of Ike Turner whose record this really is. It was Ike's band that recorded the song, Jackie was the saxophone player and sang on this one.

Although this was released by Chess records, it was actually recorded by Sam Phillips in Memphis before he started Sun Records. Little Richard must have listened closely to Ike's piano intro to the song.

♫ Jackie Brenston - Rocket 88


INTERESTING STUFF – 23 January 2016

UPDATE 8AM PST

Certainly this has gone viral already but I can't resist posting it. While the east coast snow storm is still in full surge, Tian Tian, a panda at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., appears to be in panda heaven.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Interesting Stuff.

A WOODSTOCK MOMENT

Nick Ercoline and Bobbi Kelly had known one another for 10 weeks when, in August 1969, they went off together to the Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York. Someone named Burk Uzzle took this photograph of them:

Bobbi-Kelly-and-Nick-Ercoline-Woodstock-1969-631.jpg__800x600_q85_crop

You will remember that it rained for most of the Woodstock weekend – mud, wet and cold everywhere. Later, Uzzle recalled that on Sunday he left his makeshift tent with two cameras around his neck:

"'Gracie Slick of Jefferson Airplane was singing, bringing up the dawn,' he recalled to Smithsonian magazine... 'And just magically this couple stood up and hugged.'

“They kissed, smiled at each other, and the woman leaned her head on the man's shoulder. 'I just had time to get off a few frames of black and white and a few of color, then the light was over and the mood was over,' Uzzle says of what would become his best-known photograph.”

Best known because it became the cover shot on the Woodstock album. Many years later, Nick and Bobbi were still together, as you can see here in a photo taken in 2009:

WoodstockAlbumcouple

Thank TGB reader Tom Delmore for this item and you can read more here.

THE MOVIE KISSER STAND-IN

Apparently, not all actors, even big name actors, are good at kissing on camera or, at least, not good at making the right kind of kissy noises. Meet “kiss replacement artist," Glen Doshee, and try not to laugh too hard:

Thank you Alan Goldsmith for today's funniest item.

$7-$8 CAULIFLOWER

Last Monday or Tuesday, I was watching the video screen as the supermarket checker rang up my purchases when cauliflower appeared with the price of $6.78.

“Huh?” said I. “Wait a minute. That can't be right.”

But it was – something like $3.99 a pound that day. Whoever heard of such a thing. A couple of days later, a New York Times report on $8 cauliflower in Canada caught my eye. They blamed it on falling oil prices:

”The recipe for high-priced cauliflower starts with the currency.

“As prices for commodities have dropped, the value of the Canadian dollar has fallen, a direct link to an economy that is dependent on oil and other resources. It makes imports, like fresh American vegetables during the dark Canadian winter, look especially costly.

“Two years ago, one Canadian dollar was worth 93 American cents. On Wednesday, it stood at 69 American cents.”

I feel for my Canadian blog friends but it was remiss of The Times not to mention that cauliflower prices are equally prohibitive in their home country.

I'll be skipping that veggie until it is, maybe, a better price at the local farmers market in the spring. You can read more here.

OUR AMAZING WORLD

Here's another from TGB reader Alan Goldsmith, this one about a Leptocephalus larva. As the YouTube page explains:

”This large size leptocephalus must be a species of Muraenidae (moray eels), and probably the larva of a long thin ribbon eel, which is metamorphosing, not feeding, and is entering shallow water to finish metamorphosis into a young eel. (Larva identified by Michael J. Miller)

“Leptocephali are the unusual transparent larvae of eels and their close relatives. Because they are transparent they are so hard to spot and are hardly ever sighted. We were lucky enough to see one of them!! Filmed by Barry Haythorne and Rob Rutgers, HRF U/W Production.”

Unusual to see - also beautiful and eerie. Take a look.

STREET ARTIST

Sunday TGB music columnist, Peter Tibbles, sent this item about a French street artist known as Seth Globepainter whose real name is Julien Malland. He

”...creates colorful street art all around the world. His large scale murals most frequently depict children and are bursting with colors. Malland often collaborates with local artists, so his work tends to be contextual.

Here are some examples:

Street-art-seth-globepainter-julien-malland-46__880

Street-art-seth-globepainter-julien-malland-55__880

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Street-art-seth-globepainter-julien-malland-59__880

The Bored Panda story continues:

”The Paris-born artist has been active since the '90s. He released two books about his travels and street art. The last one is called Extramuros. It captures 3 years of his 'globepainting' when he was travelling and creating in such coutries as India, China, Mexico, Indonesia, and Vietnam.”

And he is especially prolific; there are hundreds of painting some of which you can see here and here and here.

ROBERT GATES ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

On MSNBC Tuesday to promote his new book, A Passion for Leadership, former Secretary of Defense discussed the attributes needed for effective presidential leadership.

It's always fascinating to listen to the people who were in the room when the big decisions were made when they are free, finally, to speak their minds. Here, he discusses the current president, past presidents and potential presidents. Whether you agree with him or not, gutsy fellow.

NECCO CANDY CELEBRATES 150 YEARS

Americans have known about Necco all our lives. Yes, the company makes Necco wafers but they also make those little candy hearts we have at Valentine's Day with sweet little messages of love and affection.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Necco is beginning a new ad campaign that, as Adweek reports,

”...seeks to give the brand a modern makeover by plugging into social themes, including marriage equality. That's a novel approach for the confectionery category and a new recipe for this historically conservative marketer, which produces some 2.5 billion—yes, that's billion—of the candies each year...

“Toward that end, Necco is inviting folks to visit a contest website and share their sweet stories 'of sharing, love, friendship and words from the heart' for a chance to win $5,000.

Here's the example Necco produced:

You can find that video on the Necco website along with others that have been submitted for the contest. You could submit your own story, too, if you want.

A big thank you to Chuck Nyren for this item.

ANOTHER WEEK, ANOTHER ELDER SCAM ALERT

Last week it was a Medicare email scam. This week, The Federal Trade Commmission (FTC) is warning about a Social Security scam:

”The subject line says 'Get Protected,' and the email talks about new features from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that can help taxpayers monitor their credit reports, and know about unauthorized use of their Social Security number.

“It even cites the IRS and the official-sounding 'S.A.F.E Act 2015.” It sounds real, but it’s all made-up.

“It’s a phishing email to get you to click on a scammer’s link. If you do, a scammer can install malware — like viruses and spyware — on your computer. Or, the link might send you to a spoof site — a lookalike website set up by a scammer to trick you into entering your personal information.”

More information and instructions on how to avoid this scam at the FTC website.

LIVING UNDERGROUND IN 125F DEGREE WEATHER

Australia is full of oddities – odd to me, anyway. This one is an entire town where most of the people live in underground homes dug out of stone. Plus, the town has a wonderful name, Coober Pedy, well known – in gem circles, I imagine – for its opal mines.

I can't think why Peter Tibbles hasn't mentioned this fascinating place to me. Take a look.

WILDLIFE IN WINTER

Politics are fractious, the economy is scary and the weather, at least in the eastern U.S., is awful. We need this lovely video, I 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” in the 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.


The Theme of an Old Woman's Life

The specifics of this story are unlikely to match any of yours but perhaps there is something in your life that provokes a similar longing.

It begins at Christmas 69 years ago. I've told this part of the story on TGB in the past and if you know it, well – too bad. It belongs here today too.

As a gift that season, my parents received a 78 rpm record set of Manhattan Tower, a musical suite about New York City composed and conducted by Gordon Jenkins.

I was only five years old that Christmas but I was captivated with it. I listened and listened and listened until I knew every word and then I listened some more over all the years of my childhood and youth, placing myself within the story of the songs, dreaming of living in Manhattan some day.

(You can listen to Manhattan Tower here in four parts. It's about 16 minutes long altogether.)

The recording stayed behind when I left home after high school in 1957 and I don't recall if I thought about it in the following years. I suppose I must have because I certainly didn't lose the idea that I would someday live in New York.

Life has a way of interrupting all kinds of dreams but eventually I married and over a few years, we moved from San Francisco to Houston to Minneapolis to Chicago and then, in 1968, to New York City. Manhattan.

My first grown-up magazine subscription ten years earlier had been to The New Yorker and that's how, through the years, I learned my way around the city even before I got there – the streets and avenues, names of the neighborhoods, the subway lines, Broadway theaters, museums, the main library with the lions, restaurants that came and went, what parts of town they were all in and more.

I also read biographies and autobiographies of well-known New Yorkers. I read histories of the city and politics, and pored over maps. I went to movies that were shot in New York whether I cared about the stories or not and generally absorbed as much of the sense and sensibility of the city as one can get from a distance.

You can read about my first day in Manhattan here. On second thought, no. This too belongs here today. I want it all I one place and if this gets to be too long for you, it's easy to click away. Besides, I'm writing this more for me than you.

So, from 12 October 2004:

On my first day in Manhattan 35 years ago, having just stepped off a bus, I stood on the corner of 50th and Broadway orienting myself as to east, west, north and south to determine which way to walk to my destination.

It was noontime and the crowd was the largest and busiest I’d ever seen, a whirlwind of bodies weaving in and out and around one another, each independently intent on their individual goal.

As I sorted out the street signs from the profusion of gaudy neon, flashing store front lights, and walk/don’t walk indicators, a single voice made itself apparent above the din of traffic and several hundred people.

When I located the source of the shouting, I was mortified to see a man in a propeller beanie yelling, “Pervert, Pervert, Pervert,” while pointing directly at me.

No one stopped as they passed, but they glanced at him and then at me, and I wished with all my might to be made invisible. In a panic, I took off in the direction I hoped was the one I wanted, with that pointing finger and his words, “Pervert, Pervert, Pervert,” following me across the street.

A few minutes later, as I waited for my friend in front of the entrance to Saks Fifth Avenue, taking in the amazing crowds of New York City at lunchtime, a well-dressed man of about 30 suddenly grabbed my arm and asked, “Are you married?”

Having escaped the verbal assault just 15 minutes earlier and shocked again at being singled out by a stranger in this strange, new town, I managed to stutter, “Uh, well, uh, yes.” The man looked at his companion as they walked on and said, “Damn, I’ll never find anyone to marry me.”

Welcome to Gotham, little girl.

Nothing like those two incidents had ever happened to me anywhere in my life and when the surprise wore off, I loved it. They made me laugh and what I learned was that anything, any amazing thing could happen at any time – even twice within an hour.

And over the next 40 years, they did, many times, and I made Manhattan my home as much as if I owned the island, as if I had been born there.

In fact, I came to believe (still do) that it was where I had always belonged, and it was just that the gods had maybe been busy on 7 April 1941; that they got the location mixed up a little on the day I was born.

Leaping ahead 40 years, after nearly 12 months of banging my head against an immovable wall trying to find work at age 64 following a layoff, I made the soul-searing decision to sell my apartment in Greenwich Village and leave Manhattan.

Although I knew I had no other choice, it took a three-day weekend home alone weeping and wailing to come to terms with it before I could start planning.

A short time later, Dr. William Thomas, in his book, What Are Old People For?, supplied an explanation for why it was so hard for me even in the face of financial ruin if I didn't:

“…far more powerful is the older person’s attachment to place,” he wrote. “This should not be confused with nostalgia or simple habit. A sense of place is woven into the being of an elder in ways that adults have a hard time understanding. A sapling can be dug up and transplanted with little difficulty. Uproot a mighty oak and it will die…

“The gift of place is the gift of meaning. Human beings possess a remarkable ability to unite meaning with the material world. This is how a person, place, or thing becomes sacred.

“Is a Bible, a Torah, or a Koran made of paper, ink, and glue? Yes. Is it much more than paper, ink, and glue? Yes, again. Holy books are different from telephone books because the former are enriched with meaning while the latter have none…

“For the elder, a loss of place carries with it a potentially lethal loss of meaning. Taking meaning away from a person or place is a form of profanity…”

Well, not lethal in my case but too strong an attachment to get rid of like a pair of worn-out shoes. New York is my home.

Now, at last we arrive, you and I, at what I've been leading up to all along.

A couple of days ago, in a long phone conversation with an old friend who lives in New York, we talked about how, sometimes, a certain song can perfectly capture an era.

Oh so correctly in that regard he named Billy Joel's New York State of Mind as being that perfect song for the city in the aftermath of 9/11 - that it did then and still does rip at your heart in the way that awful day did and makes you ache for that certain spot on the planet, for your home there that you love almost like a person.

We went on about New York songs a bit and I told my friend that I had once made a playlist for myself (I would never inflict it on friends) of the hundred-plus songs about New York that I own. He countered with the fact that he has a much longer list.

Yesterday morning, he emailed it to me. Oh my. Thirty-two single-spaced pages of New York songs. Okay, some are the same song by several different artists but still.

I have been gone from New York now for nine years. I miss it every day and I sometimes think this is how exiles (back in the days of ancient Rome and other olden times when exile was a punishment for crimes against the state) must feel.

From time to time, though not often nor for long, I allow myself to wallow in the depths of my yearning for New York.

I did that yesterday morning, and as I perused my friend's New York song list, I recalled what we had said about New York State of Mind while I let my fingers wander over the computer keyboard until I arrived at YouTube.

As it always is when I think too hard about New York nowadays, my heart was aching even before I clicked the play button. And the last 90 seconds of the song just about destroyed me - in the best and worst possible ways at once.

This was recorded live at Madison Square Garden in 2009, the concert for the 25th anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

I don't care if it's Chinatown or Riverside...

There wasn't any way for a little, five-year-old girl to know in 1946 that a Christmas gift to her parents would create a theme that has carried through her entire life.


An Elder Couple's Suicide – A Reasoned Choice

Five U.S. states including my own, Oregon, allow some form of physician-assisted suicide. Although some young people, usually when faced with a fatal diagnosis, have used the statutes to end their lives, most frequently it is old people who choose the time of their demise this way.

Recently, TGB reader Roger Ganas send me a link to a story in The Canberra Times about a couple in their eighties who, last October, chose to end their lives together.

Although legislation is pending in a few other countries, medically assisted suicide, each with its own rules, limitatins and guidelines, is available in only six countries. Australia, where Peter and Pat Shaw lived in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, is not one of the them.

“For as long as the blue-eyed Shaw sisters can remember, they knew that their parents planned to one day take their own lives,” wrote reporter, Julia Medew in <em>The Canberra Times</em>.

“It was often a topic of conversation. Patricia and Peter Shaw would discuss with their three daughters their determination to avoid hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care units - any institution that would threaten their independence in old age.”

In keeping with that determination, in 2007, Peter sent this letter to the editor of The Age:

ShawAReasonedChoice

To assure that outcome years hence, the Shaws had become members of Exit International, a pro-euthanasia group run by man named Philip Nitschke who teaches people peaceful methods of ending their own lives.

In the intervening decades, they pursued what their daughters have described as an ideal life; following their careers while raising those three daughters, skiing, mountain climbing, literature, music, good wine and many friends.

PeterandPatShow

Pat Show was a biochemist, Peter a well-known meteorologist who, on a 1955 mission with the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, conquered a mountain there that was then named for him.

After 2010 or so, their health began to deteriorate. Early in 2015, Peter wrote to his daughters:

“My head swims,” he wrote. “When I am reading, I can’t follow a difficult argument, so I give up, telling myself that it doesn’t matter, and I will read something else. I have just now been reading the history and politics arguments at the end of the latest Quarterly Essay and I am very disappointed that I can’t follow them.

“My condition is getting worse bit by bit, slowly week by week. On top of all this, my eyesight and hearing are no good, my pulse is occasionally irregular. So how long can it go on? Weeks? Months? As you all know, I am not afraid of dying but I am dead scared of incompetence.

“Pat was also troubled by her old age. Arthritis was corroding her joints and she was getting dizzy, putting her at risk of another fall. She had swollen knees and hands, and was finding it increasingly difficult to get out of bed and out of chairs.”

One daughter asked her parents if they would wait for one more Christmas together but, as Medew reports in her story, “...they couldn’t. Or wouldn’t.”

”They set a date. Peter said it was time and Pat agreed. They would enter the 'big sleep' together on October 27, the day after Pat’s 87th birthday.”

The family gathered on for a final meal together the night before, and after breakfast together the next morning. Then:

"Everybody knew the plan. The sisters were to leave around noon. They felt they had no choice. Assisting, aiding or abetting a suicide carries a penalty of up to five years’ jail in Victoria. Their mother would have liked them to stay, but not at the risk of prosecution.

”Just before noon, the sisters embraced their mother and father and left. There were no tears.

“They walked out of their family home and walked down to the cafe where Peter regularly sipped coffee during his 'morning totters' with his friend Frank. They wandered on the beach where they had grown up, and waited.”

There is much more to this loving, well-told story about one's couple's final choice. Read the rest of the story at The Canberra Times including a short video of the middle daughter, Anny, talking about her parents, their beliefs about dying on their terms and abou the family's final hours.

This is such an important issue for elders. In case the scenario I have requested for myself – to quietly die in my sleep – is refused, I too will make “the reasoned choice” of Peter and Pat Shaw. I'm eager to read your responses.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

It is sometimes said that old people have better memories for events that happened decades ago than for what they had for breakfast this morning.

As we have discussed here many times, old-age short-term memory difficulties certainly are annoying (the universal “why am I in this room” question). But at age 74, I have not yet noticed that old memories are stronger than recent ones.

However, today's holiday celebrating the life of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reminds me how much history we elders have lived through and that those memories make real many of the events that for young students are often just dry facts on a page they must memorize for a test.

Today, we are almost 53 years removed from Dr. King's astonishing “I Have a Dream” speech which he delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on 28 August 1963.

To repeat: 53 years ago. To a 10- or 12-year-old it might as well have happened in the year 1000. I know that when I was 12, in 1953, even World War II felt like ancient history, even though my father was a veteran. That's how it is when we are young.

But while we – you and I and the rest of our generation – are still here, we are living links to the history of our lifetimes and, today, to that historic moment in 1968.

I don't recall now if I listened to Dr. King's speech live on radio or television but I certainly saw it on the news that day, or more likely, the next. It was an immediate phenomenon.

Maybe someone reading this blog post today saw the speech in person. That's not as entirely unlikely as you might think; I know someone who was there. But even if you heard or saw it a day or week later, you were a contemporary witness to what still is the defining moment of the civil rights movement.

That makes you part of history and if you have grandchildren who are studying Dr. King at this time of year, or any other time, you can tell them what it was like in the United States back then when that speech raised the consciousness (or ire in some cases) of the entire nation.

That living connection matters. When I was a very young student – first or second or third grade, late 1940s – an old, old, old man came to our class on a day the teacher was telling us about President Abraham Lincoln.

I don't remember his name but I recall that he couldn't stand entirely straight, that he shuffled along slowly when he walked and was amazingly wrinkled.

He was there that day to tell us how, when he was a little boy, he had shaken the hand of President Lincoln. And when he was done telling us his story, he shook the hand of each student in the class.

I was thrilled to touch a person who had touched that famous president from a time so long ago I hardly understood it was real. History changed for me that day when I learned for the first time that those people really walked the earth once, just like me.

We, you and I, are old enough now that we, too, can pass on the reality of our historical moments to the next generations.

Just because it came to mind while I was writing this, here's another personal memory I have that is associated with Dr. King and what he stood for.

In 1968, I was married, living in Minneapolis and working at a small, industrial film production company.

First thing on the morning of 5 April, I heard on the radio that Dr. King had been assassinated the previous evening in Memphis.

At the office a short time later, I sat reading through newspaper reports of the tragedy as my co-workers arrived. The first one peered over my shoulder at the article and said, “I see they got another nigger.”

Each of my other colleagues, as they arrived, said something similar, using the same shocking word. To me, it was chilling that people, whatever their private attitudes, felt free to speak that way assuming, apparently, that I shared their feelings.

Unfortunately, all these years later, such beliefs hang on in some circles. We should remind ourselves and the young people we know how hard it is to fulfill a dream.

Here are the stirring final minutes of Dr. King's speech that day in 1963. The full speech is here.


ELDER MUSIC: Give My Regards to Broadway

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.

* * *

Broadway

I was collecting songs for a column on the Streets on New York and thought if I were short ,I could use Broadway songs. As it turned out, I had more than enough for that one and ample for a column on Broadway. Indeed, so many there could be another one.

Because of the embarrassment of riches, I could pick and choose and have a variety of styles of music today, from old time to funk to soul to jazz to country to pop and a couple of indeterminates. I like to mix things up a bit.

An obvious place to start is with the title of the column and the obvious presenter of that song is the man who wrote it, GEORGE M. COHAN.

George M Cohan

George could do, and did, everything in the theatre. He started in vaudeville as a kid with his parents and sister. He began writing musicals in 1904 with "Little Johnny Jones" in which this song appeared.

George directed the musical and appeared in it along with mum, dad and sis. So, remember me to Herald Square, and definitely Give My Regards to Broadway.

♫ George M. Cohan - Give My Regards to Broadway


A complete change of pace with WILSON PICKETT. I told you we'd be all over the place.

Wilson Pickett

Wilson was in the first rank of soul singers and could give James Brown a few lessons in the funk department. Here he is with Funky Broadway.

♫ Wilson Pickett - Funky Broadway


GERRY MULLIGAN gives us the first taste of jazz today.

Gerry Mulligan

Gerry was that rare player of the baritone sax. I'm not surprised others didn't play it as it looks pretty heavy to me. This is from his great early quartet and you can catch (rather briefly) Chet Baker player trumpet. The tune is simply called Broadway.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Broadway


JOHN PHILLIPS was probably best known as Papa John from The Mamas and The Papas.

John Phillips

After that he made a couple of really good solo albums. The other members of the group were somewhat miffed as they thought he should have used the material for group albums.

From one of those John performs Black Broadway and it sounds as if he's trying to amalgamate all the musical styles present today in the one song.

♫ John Phillips - Black Broadway


Some more jazz with someone who wrote tunes about all sorts of places, so it's not unreasonable that Broadway would be in there somewhere. I'm talking about DAVE BRUBECK.

Dave Brubeck

This is from an album called "Jazz Impressions of New York" which was an extension of Dave's work for the TV program Mr Broadway (starring Craig Stevens who will always be Peter Gunn as far as I'm concerned).

The track is Theme from Mr. Broadway.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Theme from Mr. Broadway


I first discovered DICK POWELL playing Richard Diamond on radio and a bit later on the Dick Powell Theatre on TV.

Dick Powell

I always thought of him as a serious actor and had no knowledge of his earlier career as a song and dance man and light comedian. I was a bit stunned when I saw him in those early films on the box.

Anyway, here he is in his earlier incarnation singing Lullaby of Broadway.

♫ Dick Powell - Lullaby of Broadway


BOBBY WOMACK could do it all.

Bobby Womack

He was a gospel singer, a soul singer, rock & roll, DooWop and country as well. He played guitar so well that he was an in-demand session musician. He wrote songs that were covered by the Rolling Stones, George Benson, Patti LaBelle and others. He wrote movie soundtracks.

He also had his own career and made numerous records and appearances. Alas, he died recently. He performs Broadway Walk.

♫ Bobby Womack - Broadway Walk


HARRY NILSSON produced one of the shortest songs I've used in any of my columns and this is it.

Harry Nilsson

It's called Marchin' Down Broadway and that's all I need to say otherwise reading this will take longer than the song (I've probably blown that already).

♫ Harry Nilsson - Marchin' Down Broadway


ALISON KRAUSS is mostly thought of as a bluegrass fiddle player. She does something different here.

Alison Krauss

It could be folk, it could be country or pop. Whatever it is it's not too bad at all. This is another song simply called Broadway.

♫ Alison Krauss - Broadway


THE DRIFTERS put everything into perspective with one of their most famous songs, On Broadway.

The Drifters

The song had two of the best songwriting teams responsible for it – Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Well, that four created a large percentage of the songs from around that time.

To add to that there is also Phil Spector playing lead guitar (but not producing – that was Jerry and Mike's task). It could have been top heavy, but they all produced a great record.

♫ The Drifters - On Broadway


INTERESTING STUFF – 17 January 2016

COW DUNG PATTIES SELL LIKE HOTCAKES

In The Asian Reporter, there was a story recently about the sale of cow dung patties in India. As you probably know, dung is an ancient form of fuel throughout the world.

Now, cow dung from India is selling, as the headline in the paper noted, “like hotcakes.” That wouldn't be news except for how it is being sold and snapped up these days [emphasis is mine]:

”The patties — cow poop mixed with hay and dried in the sun, made mainly by women in rural areas and used to fuel fires — have long been available in India’s villages.

“But online retailers including Amazon and eBay are now reaching out to the country’s ever-increasing urban population, feeding into the desire of older city folks to harken back to their childhood in the village.

Here's part of the Amazon page:

CpwDungFinal

It's not just that east meets west in this story but that the 21st century meets – oh, about 10,000 BCE. The Amazon page is here.

OREGON MILITIA GUYS GET PRANKED

A few days ago those militia “patriots” who are occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon for some reason or another, issued a hilariously long list supplies they want donated.

According to GQ, the list included shampoo, conditioner, oven cleaner, even French vanilla creamer for the tough guys.

Here's a report on how people responded to the urgent request list:

NO WONDER I'M PARALYZED TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT TO WATCH ON TV

I have no interest in sports. Nor do I care about reality shows. I don't have grandkids so I have no need to keep up with kiddie shows. I follow news and politics, some documentaries although with a few exceptions the quality has been slipping in recent years.

So what I watch when I want to veg out are mostly dramas and except for old favorites, I've been having a terrible time figuring out what to choose.

Now I know why: the number of original scripted shows on television has nearly doubled in just six years. Look at this chart:

OriginalTVSeriesgraph

From 211 series in 2009 to 409 last year. That's way too many reviews to read or promos to watch. At this rate, I suppose my viewing will just dribble away as my favorites are canceled one by one and I don't bother to find new ones.

You can read more here.

DOGS IN THE ICE AND SNOW

Dogs love to play outside in winter weather and it's a hoot to watch them having fun.

WHICH CANDIDATE DO YOU MOST SIDE WITH

I seem to recall doing this quiz during a previous election cycle with other candidates. It's a bunch of question on the usual issues with an opportunity in the left sidebar to choose how strongly you agree or disagree with the position.

It includes all the candidates, even the Republicans who have dropped out. I tried it and came in pretty much as I expected: I side with

Bernie Sanders 98% of the time
Hillary Clinton 96% of the time
Martin O'Malley 83% of the time
All the rest less than 30%

Darlene Costner sent this. Give it a try yourself at I Side With and let us know who you side with.

MEDICARE SCAM ALERT – IMPORTANT

There has been a sizeable uptick in criminals calling elders pretending to be Medicare employees asking for the person's bank account number. You would think anyone who got such a call would hang up, but apparently not.

This has become a big enough problem that not just Medicare but the U.S Federal Trade Commission has issued an alert. The first thing for you to know is that Medicare will never – as in never - ask your bank account or Social Security or any other number on the telephone.

If you get such a call, here is what the FTC says to do:

  • Don’t give out your bank account number — or any part of your Social Security number.

  • Simply hang up the phone.

  • Report your experience at 1-877-FTC-HELP or ftc.gov/complaint. Click on “Scams and Rip-offs,” and then “Imposter Scams.”

  • If you have questions about your Medicare benefits, call 1-800-MEDICARE.

You can read the entire alert here.

WILD COYOTE PLAYING WITH BALL

Apparently wild coyotes do not play ball games. But this one did. As evnissyen explained on his YouTube page:

“I saw this guy playing on the hill while I was getting ready for work. It's pretty rare to see a coyote this close to the house at all, and totally unexpected to see one playing with the neighbour-dog's ball in broad daylight!”

Thank doctafil for this video. You can read more about coyotes at the National Post if you're a subscriber. It doesn't allow me to open the full story.

AND THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY COMPAIGN ROLLS ON

As you probably know, Senator Ted Cruz has been running around this week on his presidential campaign disparaging New York City as a way of attacking Donald Trump. It came up at the Thursday evening debate:

"Moderator Neil Cavuto asked Cruz to elaborate on his statement that Trump 'embodies' New York values.

“'I think most people know exactly what New York values are,' Cruz responded. Well, Ted, there are a couple of implications there, reported Balloon Juice, "and he went with both. 'Everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro–gay marriage,' [said Cruz]. Check."

New York hometown newspaper, the Daily News wasn't going to let anyone get away with maligning their fair city. They ran with this front page on Friday:

DailyNews

If you set aside your disgust with the schoolyard level of debate performance from pretty much the entire Republican field for moment, you gotta enjoy the sideshow. (Hat tip to friend, Jim Stone)

MONKEY SEES MAGIC TRICK

My apologies for losing track of who sent me a still image of this monkey. I've since tracked down a video and it makes me smile every time I watch it. We're not so different from our monkey cousins at all.

(If this will not play, click here to watch on YouTube. It's worth the effort.)

* * *

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 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.


The Generations of NCIS

In last Saturday's Interesting Stuff post, I mentioned that Michael Weatherly, the actor who has played (very special) agent Anthony DiNozzo since NCIS began in 2003, is leaving the CBS drama when this 13th season ends in the spring.

Weatherly, in his role, brings an important spark to the program and more than some of the other characters, he has grown and changed in smart, interesting ways over those years (as any person ought to) and for these reasons, I wonder if there even is a show without him.

Be that as it may – we'll see - there is something bigger and more important about this program than just one character: how the several generations are represented and work together may be the most respectful of older people on series television without sacrificing an iota of storytelling nor making a big deal about it.

That – not making a big deal of old age (or any of the other ages represented) – is significant because when respect is the norm, it does not need to be noticed or commented upon.

Except that in life, it is not the norm so I am commenting today.

Certainly like me, many fans of the show miss Ziva David, the trained Mossad assassin played by the gorgeous Cote de Pablo. Sometimes it is hard to accept an actor so beautiful in such a deadly serious role but de Pablo convinced me and the chemistry between her and DiNozzo was a rare match on TV and in the movies, a joy to watch.

Her replacement when she left the show two-and-a-half seasons ago, Ellie Bishop played by Emily Wickersham, has not gelled with the rest of the cast nor been defined in any substantial way.

But both, at somewhere around age 30, are portrayed as smart, junior members of the team who are allowed over time to improve their skills as they gradually become more accomplished – pretty much as happens to all people at that stage of their working lives.

Sean Murray as Timothy McGee, the technology nerd of the group who is often the butt of DiNozzo's pranks, has had to struggle to earn DiNozzo's respect and in time found his footing as the years have passed. Again, not much unlike real life.

Mark Harmon as the supervisory agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs hasn't changed at all over the years. As an actor, he is often accused of being wooden and I can't disagree. But Gibbs is played as age appropriate (55? 60? 65?), and there are occasional intimations in recent years of his age, as happens to everyone, catching up with him a bit. Small, but realistic.

The only character who hasn't changed in the slightest is the forensic expert Abbie Sciuto played by Pauley Perette. She's the same 13-year-old she was in 2003; mostly I ignore her except for whatever plot points I need to catch.

Abbie is some kind of anomaly with the writers and producers who have done such an expert job growing the other roles in realistic ways.

And that brings us to the medical examiner, Dr. Donald Mallard, known as Ducky, played by David McCallum.

You might recall McCallum from half a century ago when he played Ilya Kuryakin on the TV spy drama, The Man From UNCLE.

(And if you are a weekly fan of NCIS, you might have caught the insider joke in an episode several years ago when one of the team asks Gibbs what Ducky looked like when he was young. Gibbs answers, “Like Ilya Kuryakin.”)

McCallum is 82 years old now and Ducky is played as the old man he looks like, even allowed to have some common idiosyncracies of elders, such as his propensity to tell long, involved stories from his past in lead up to whatever medical information he is reporting to Gibbs or DiNozzo or the others.

The writers can do this legitimately because Ducky is respected by all for his knowledge, skill, experience and wisdom. Even better, they have shown him over time learning a complex new skill – profiling – in his old age.

I don't mean to overlook Brian Dietzen as the assistant medical examiner Jimmy Palmer. When he first arrived at the show, he was so silly and juvenile that it was hard to believe he could have got through medical school.

But the writers and Dietzen have done a terrific job of showing his growth from childish 20-something to pushing 40 as a husband and father now, while retaining a more adult version of his inner dweeb.

In an excellent recent touch, Jimmy has taken on a bit of his mentor's penchant for long, meandering stories for which, of course, Ducky has no more patience than Gibbs does with Ducky's stories.

As it should be. As it would be in life.

Speaking of long-winded, my point is that there may be other TV shows that handle age, especially old age and its relationship with the younger characters with as much – well, character as NCIS. If so, I don't know about them.

But in the creation of NCIS, one or more developers made a choice to portray each character's age, especially the two elders, with respect and decency instead of the stereotypes and stupid jokes that almost always prevail. And they have held onto that choice throughout the years. This is not an accident.

So although I have my doubts, I hope the show can survive the departure of Tony DiNozzo. Even at 13 years and counting, NCIS stands as a beacon not only for how old people should be portrayed in movies, books and on TV, but real life too.


Becoming Stronger, Faster, Smarter in Old Age

On Monday's post about the newest old age suit, TGB reader Cathy Johnson commented that although the suits are probably a good thing,

”I wouldn't mind some breaking news that there's something that WILL make me stronger, faster and reverse some of the cognitive, visual and other sensory changes the past few decades have visited upon me.”

But there is, Cathy, there IS. I write about it here so often I worry I'm boring everyone into an early grave. It is called EXERCISE.

Here are the latest headline and blurb from one of the many elder health newsletters I subscribe to – this one from Harvard Medical School:

”WHAT’S THE ONE PRESCRIPTION THAT CAN LOWER YOUR RISK FOR 5 MAJOR DISEASES — WITH NO SIDE EFFECTS?

“Exercise has the power to keep you from developing high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. In fact, exercise can lower your risk of heart disease as effectively as medications!

“It can also help ease arthritis pain, sharpen your memory, trim your waistline, and preserve your independence.”

For the past year or two, not a week has gone by that I don't receive notice of a new study from somewhere in the world confirming these exercise outcomes. The results are consistent and if you are asking, many of them are longitudinal studies of hundreds and thousands of people who were followed and tested over many decades.

The connection between regular exercise and good health into old age is long past being speculative. It is established medical fact and I've been reading about it for so long, I don't keep as much track of specific studies any longer – just notes as reminders for times when I feel myself getting lazy.

Here is a short list of some information I've copied out from here and there that helps keep me motivated:

Your size affects some of the strain on your hips, knees, and back. Even a little weight loss can help. Every pound you lose takes 4 pounds of pressure off the knees.

“Get stronger to give your joints better support. Even a little more strength makes a difference.

“Stronger abs and back muscles help your balance, so you're less likely to fall or get injured. Add core (abdominal, back, and hip) strengthening exercises to your routine.

“Stand and sit up straight to protect joints all the way from the neck down to your knees. To improve your posture, take a walk. The faster you do it, the harder your muscles work to keep you upright. Swimming can also help.”

Regarding that last item, even slower walking is a big help, even if it is the only exercise you do. More is better but it is the moving itself that makes a difference.

In medical research circles, there is an ongoing conversation if not quite controversy about how much and how hard people of various ages should work out. Speculation varies from as little as 15 minutes three days a week to an hour and more a day.

Ignore all that and do what you can with the usual and important disclaimer: do not start any exercise (or diet) program without consulting your physician.

Even if you are mobility-challenged (as they say these days), there are seated tai classes, stretching classes and even weight training classes. You can use soup cans for hand weights. There are useful videos all over Youtube.

You don't need to join a gym or Pilates or any other program unless you want to. I can't afford those (not to mention that I'm unlikely to keep it up if I have to drive 10 or 15 or more minutes to get there and back) so I devised my own program by watching online videos, asking lots of questions of friends who have worked out for a long time and drawing on my own checkered life experience with calisthenics, aerobics, ballet, tai chi, weight training, stretching, etc.

Now I have developed a 45-50 minute routine for three days a week that combines all those types of exercise. On opposite days, I eliminate the weight-bearing exercises to give my muscles a rest and spend about 35 minutes or so with everything else. Sunday is my day off and I have kept up this schedule with minor, short lapses for almost three years.

Strength? You should see my silly, little, old lady biceps but I can lift those 20-pound kitty litter containers one-handed, and you sure wouldn't want me to kick you.

I am one of the most physically lazy people you know so if I can do this, anyone can. Besides a remarkable sense of well being, What motivates me are all those studies that are becoming boring in their repetition. Nothing else known to mankind keeps bodies and minds healthier than regular exercise.

Does that mean your vision will be come 20/20 again and reverse cataracts? That your senses of smell and tasted will be reinvigorated? That your wrinkles will disappear?

Of course not. But that should not stop anyone from going for the possible and after nearly three years of daily workouts, I don't recall ever feeling better – physically, mentally and emotionally.

The purpose of that Harvard Medical School newsletter I mentioned above is to advertise a guide, a booklet they sell about getting started with exercise.

They publish a lot of excellent booklets on a wide variety of health topics and infuriate me with every mailing that they are so expensive. Health nformation as important and good as theirs (and it is) should not be withheld for money.

I once emailed to discuss that issue with the Harvard Medical School publishers and received nothing but some public relations pap in return. Make what you will of that but after this post today, I should give you the option of getting the booklet if you want it – I can certainly vouch for the quality.

As the newsletter acknowledges and I personally know, the hardest part of regular exercise is getting started especially when you have never done it or have not done it for a long time. Titled Starting to Exercise, the guide helps

Exercise_E0315_cover
”...you choose the best, safest workout for you; shows you exactly how to do each move; and even helps you fit the routines into your busy schedule.

“You’ll also get photos and tips that explain how to do each move correctly, as well as ways to customize a move for your fitness level.

“Plus, you’ll get a special bonus section, 'Keys to staying motivated,' that will help you stick with whatever workout you choose.”

You can order the booklet here and choose print with free shipping for $20; an electronic PDF download for $18; or both for $29.

Even if exercise can't give you back your youth, it goes a long, long way to keeping you in good health and as our parents repeated to us, “As long as you've got your health...” Back then, I rolled my eyes when they said that; now I'm old enough to know they were right.


Darlene Costner: The Worst Diet Plan Ever

RONNI HERE: As you know, a long-time contributor of wise and pithy comments to this blog, Darlene Costner, spent the greater part of December in hospital and then rehab after breaking a bone in her back.

She returned home a week ago and this is her report from the field. Enjoy.

* * *

Medical scales don't lie. I lost five pounds on the "stop eating diet" and never suffered a hunger pang. It's easy - just become constipated. Six days did it for me.

I can just hear you groaning as you push your breakfast away. I apologize for starting the tale of my recent illness with a most tasteless subject. Now that I have your attention, I will relate the story of my recent visit to the rehab center.

It's a good thing that the young man who pushed my gurney had me strapped in because I might have died laughing as he asked everyone within earshot, "What's your name?" followed by a detailed explanation of the origin of the name.

Since most were Biblical, I can't speak for the accuracy of his information but he seemed knowledgeable. “Darlene” stumped him though and he lamely said it meant darling. I do question that.

My next encounter with a man of faith was an elder aide whose expertise was how laxatives work (Or in my case, didn't).

After a lengthy explanation complete with a strange demonstration, he touched my foot and repeated, "God bless you, God bless you, God bless you." At that point I had figured out that God had pretty much forgotten me.

Not only had God forgotten me but the aides did also. My bladder was tested often as I waited for my call button to be answered. I have yet to understand why the longest wait always occurred when the need was the most urgent.

Another indignity that plagued me was the temperature of my room. Next to being sick, I hate being cold more than anything. After all, why else move to Arizona?

When I shivered all night with only another thin blanket to warm me (it didn't) and after complaints failed to force the nurses to do anything about my discomfort (apparently it was beneath their dignity), I got up out of bed and pushed my walker to their station and said, "I can't sleep because I am freezing and that is unacceptable."

I tried to whirl about in a huff but I am afraid that I just looked foolish as I attempted to show extreme irritation and nearly fell down as I slowly maneuvered the walker in the other direction.

After reporting this incident to everyone within earshot, I was moved to a warm room. I was elated that I got results by standing up for myself.

Well, my elation didn't last because the next day I got a roommate. A poor little bird of a woman who was suffering from dementia. This was my first encounter with that tragic illness and it was a shock to see how a mind can be destroyed.

For some reason she seemed to be fascinated with me and stared at me with a puzzled look on her face. Not just once in a while but constantly every waking minute.

The second night she was there, I was awakened by someone touching me. She was sitting on my bed holding my hand and trying to uncover me. It was most unnerving. The night before I left, I found her standing next to my bed staring at me again.

I can't begin to count the number of times I heard, "Will someone please help me?" She just never seemed to understand that the only way to get help was to press the call button and I had to press mine for her because the concept of pushing a button to make a person appear was beyond her.

I began this narration with a most disgusting tale and am ending it with a sad one. If you have gotten this far, you may want to sue me but don't bother. After I pay the co-pays I will probably have nothing left.


The Importance of the Latest Old Age Suit

It was way back in 2005 that I first read that airplane manufacturer Boeing, using an “age suit,” was researching changes that could make airline travel easier for elders.

The company was probably using a version of AGNES (acronym for the clunky name, Age Gain Now Empathy System) then, invented by the MIT Agelab. Here is a 2010 MIT video explaining AGNES:

When I visited the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, in 2011, I learned that auto manufacturers were using what they call a “Third Age Suit” to find ways to make their cars easier for elders to use. Here's my photo of the age suit they were then using:

Age Suit

While I was in Dearborn, I had a chance to test drive a car with what was then a new feature, Park Assist," that helps with parallel parking. Some of you may recall the video of me:

The very first comment on that post confirmed the usefulness of the feature (which is now standard on many cars). Kenju wrote

”WOW!! I am a good parallel parker as well, but since I can't turn my head easily now either - that would be a great feature to have!!”

A lot of elders have that head-turning problem and now, only five years later, self-parallel parking is commonplace in new autos, proving once again that improvements initially meant for old people work for everyone. Always.

So how, I wondered recently, do people without old-age limitations yet respond to wearing these age suits.

Here's a video from last year that shows a reporter with the Winipeg Free Press trying out what he calls a “senior suit” while a local Ford representative explains some the auto's innovations that have come along since I test-parked that car in Dearborn:

And in this exellent 2014 video from the Guardian, a young reporter named Josh Halliday

”...tries out an age simulation suit designed to help healthcare professionals experience and empathise with conditions associated with elderly people. Sheelagh Mealing, director of the Institute of Vocational Learning at South Bank University, explains how the suit is used as a tool for improving healthcare.”

As you may know, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held its 16th annual gathering last week in Las Vegas where companies showed off all their latest technology inventions.

In many of the tech journalists' top ten and best-of-show lists was the Genworth R70i Exoskeleton ageing simulator. It was apparent, in more than a few of their reports, that using it for a few minutes changed minds about old people's world.

Let me quote one such at a bit of length because it is so encouraging. From Drew Prindle of Digital Trends:

”Of all the wild and crazy technologies we came across on the show floor this year, there was one in particular that stood out — not because it was revolutionary or game-changing, but because it changed our perspective on the world.

“The R70i, as it’s called, is an exoskeleton, but unlike most exoskeletons, it doesn’t make you stronger or faster. Instead, it actually makes you weaker and slower. It’s designed to make you feel like a crotchety old person.

“To do this, the suit leverages a myriad of different technologies. The motorized frame restricts your movements to simulate arthritis and muscle loss, while a special augmented reality headset induces things like hearing loss, tinnitus, and even the tunnel vision that comes with glaucoma.

“Individually, these technological tricks are disorienting, but when you experience all of them at once, it’s downright debilitating — and that’s the whole point. The R70i can’t make you stronger or faster, but it can provide the wearer with empathy and understanding for senior citizens and the challenges they face — and that’s pretty damn incredible.

“Can you think of any other technology that makes its users more empathetic? Neither can we.”

And that, of course - in addition to helping caregivers and the young people who are designing future cars, homes, stores and cities understand how the burgeoning number of elders interact with the world around them - is the point.

Here is a video from Genworth Financial (which sells long-term care insurance) with Bran Ferren co-founder of Applied Minds LLC, the company that built this latest high tech age similulator for Genworth:

As Mr. Ferren told the Wall Street Journal at CES,

“'I would like a new dialogue on aging,' said Bran Ferren, a former Disney Imagineer and president of R&D who co-founded Applied Minds. 'You can intellectualize these things all day long, but when it becomes an emotional first-person experience, it is very different.'”

Exactly.


ELDER MUSIC: Every Picture Tells a Story

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.

* * *

Here is a column of songs about pictures, mostly of the photographic kind but not exclusively. This was the idea of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, who probably just wanted to get JIM CROCE into another column.

Jim Croce

In his brief performing lifetime ,Jim came up with some of the most beautiful songs of his time. Other types of songs as well. The one that fits in today is Photographs and Memories.

♫ Jim Croce - Photographs & Memories


RAY PRICE was a country singer whose band was a breeding ground for serious talent – Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Buddy Emmons and Roger Miller are just some who started their careers with him.

Ray Price

Willie, especially, became a lifetime friend and Ray performed many of Willie's songs. This isn't one of them, Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold).

♫ Ray Price - Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold)


"You're going need some rock and roll," said the A.M., so here it is. I played this for her and she said, "I don't remember him taking so long to get to the point.” The point being the name of the song, and it took nearly five minutes before it got sung.

We had to have the song, though, as it supplies the title of the column: Every Picture Tells a Story, by ROD STEWART.

Rod Stewart

♫ Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story


I was pleased to see that MARTY ROBBINS had a contender for the column.

Marty Robbins

If Marty is a possibility, I'll usually include him. This was a song I wasn't familiar with when I first noticed it but I am now, due to repeated listening to it to see if it deserved a place. That's my excuse; I really just wanted to listen to Marty sing Only a Picture Stops Time.

♫ Marty Robbins - Only A Picture Stops Time


The next was another suggestion by the A.M. For a while we couldn't think what it was called or who performed it but with various search criteria we found it. It is JOE BROWN AND THE BRUVVERS, and their song is A Picture of You.

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers

I initially found the Kalin Twins performing the song and thought that was the one and stopped looking, but the A.M. assured me that there was another hit version from our younger days. So it proved, and here it is.

♫ Joe Brown & The Bruvvers - A Picture Of You


WILLIE NELSON recorded an album with Kimmie Rhodes called “Picture in a Frame.” They sang a song of that name on the album, not surprisingly.

Willie Nelson

It wasn't the first time Willie had recorded the song; it was also on an album of his called "It Always Will Be.” I've gone for that version rather than the one with Kimmie, as I didn't think the duet added anything to the original.

♫ Willie Nelson - Picture In A Frame


In concert once, JACKSON BROWNE introduced the song Fountain of Sorrow saying it was about an ex-girl friend. He'd taken some photos of her and some time later he pulled them out and wondered why they'd ever split up. Then he wrote the song.

We've all been there, except for the writing a great song part of it.

Jackson Browne

♫ Jackson Browne - Fountain of Sorrow


THE DILLARDS have always been an under-rated band.

The Dillards

They almost certainly created country rock years before all the others who are generally credited. Besides writing their own songs, they recorded some excellent covers, probably the best covers of Beatles' songs for a start.

There's some lovely harmony singing on this track, Pictures.

♫ The Dillards - Pictures


Before rock & roll hit us all, to my young brain there were only a few interesting singers. One of those was GUY MITCHELL.

Guy Mitchell

Of course, as I got older I came to appreciate all the others but back then it was a different matter. Guy's song is I've Got a Frame Without a Picture.

♫ Guy Mitchell - I've Got A Frame Without A Picture


The next was a mandatory inclusion. It's GUY CLARK with the song My Favorite Picture of You, the title song from a recent album.

Guy Clark

The "you" in this case is his wife Susanna who died not long before the album was recorded and he wrote the song, and named the album, as a dedication to her.

The story of the song is that Susanna had been away for a weekend and returned to find Guy and fellow singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt drunk (again).

She packed her bags and was going to leave. When she came out of the house, someone took that picture. She didn't leave, but things were a bit tense at the time.

♫ Guy Clark - My Favorite Picture of You


Here's an extra. I filled my quota but I decided this one had to be present so I've included it as a bonus. Don't say I never do anything extra for you.

I wanted it as I believe it's the highlight of today's column. Here's TINY TIM with the old classic, If I Had a Talking Picture Of You.

Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim - If I Had A Talking Picture Of You



INTERESTING STUFF – 9 January 2016

STUNNING AGEISM VIDEO

Take a look at this advertising experiment created by Australia's Apia Insurance. In some ways, it is shocking – in others, unsurprising.

It's also worth watching this short “making of” video that goes with advert.

Give a hat tip to Erin Read of Creating Results for finding this.

CANADA'S SOLUTION TO ENDLESS WINTER

It's been damned cold around here lately – especially for northwest Oregon. The temperature is above freezing (barely) now for the first time in a week.

Here is how Canada, tongue in cheek, handles cabin fever during their long winters.

BRAIN GAMES FRAUD

I have never believed that brain games work and the research has supported me. The best they can report is that brain games make you a little better at playing brain games.

Now, The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on Lumosity, the largest and best known of brain game snake oil purveyors, by fining the company $2 million. Lumosity

"'...preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads,'” [she said, according to Vox].'

Further, reports the Guardian:

”The company has also been handed a $50m penalty for harming consumers – but the fine is suspended because the company cannot afford to pay it, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).”

You will find much more interesting and useful detail at the Guardian website.

IT TAKES A BRAVE PERSON TO DO THIS

If you are faint of heart, you might want to skip watching this giant road grader being driven across a narrow swinging bridge. I watched it once and won't be doing that again.

How brave do you need to be, I wonder, to do this.

MICHAEL WEATHERLY LEAVING NCIS

It was announced this week that Michael Weatherly, who plays “very special agent” Anthony DeNozzo on the long-running CBS drama NCIS, will be leaving the show when the current season ends.

It's one of my favorite programs and I'm not sure there can be a show without Tony. Also, in one of the most brilliant casting moves ever, Robert Wagner was hired to play the recurring role of Tony's father. It is uncanny how much alike they look; they could easily be mistaken for real-life father and son.

WeatherlyWagner

And take a look at the two men side by side when Wagner was about the same age as Weatherly.

WeatherlyYoungWagner

Amazing, isn't it.

But even more amazing was the gratuitous ageism in the Washington Post story about Weatherly's departure by Justin Wm. Moyer. It started with the headline:

”Michael Weatherly (a.k.a. DiNozzo) leaves ‘NCIS': Seniors weep, snobs shrug,” read the headline.

Within the story, Moyer played down the significance of NCIS having been declared the number one drama in the world and saved his snark for the last sentence, writing that DeNozzo's

”...shenanigans — loving them and leaving them, serving as foil for the ever-dour Mark Harmon — helped make 'NCIS' a cornerstone of CBS’s procedural lineup geared to older viewers who actually watch broadcast television. Median age of the average 'NCIS' viewer: 60.”

Right, Moyer. And your point is?

You can read more here.

JOHN OLIVER ON NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight is still on hiatus until Valentine's Day but he took a few minutes to make a short, web exclusive to help us feel better about breaking our New Year resolutions.

AN ELDER AMERICAN MAN AND A YOUNG MUSLIM WOMAN

At 75, he worked in a big U.S. city as a mail carrier. She was a shy, 26-year-old Saudi woman, Anah, on his route. They slowly became friends. They even went to lunch together once.

”I tried to imagine their conversation,” the man's daughter writes. “a Muslim girl with limited English and my Italian-American father, Vinny, with his inimitable accent of dropped Rs, asking her if she wanted a 'cawfee' and a cannoli...

“In Anah, he also acknowledges, he saw a mirror of the struggles that his own grandparents experienced after they immigrated here more than 100 years ago.”

Then, sometime later, the mailman told his daughter that his young friend had returned home to Saudi Arabia.

”When he asked me to help him with Facebook to maintain their contact, I realized that his feelings for this friend ran deep. I had recently spent time overseas and had encouraged him to join Facebook to follow my travels; he had wanted no part of it. Now he requested his own account with a personal profile picture.”

You know what? Never mind this poor and impossible attempt on my part to summarize a beautiful story of a friendship that grew across generations, cultures and in spite of current international mistrust.

You should read the whole thing yourself, written by Lori Ayotte, at The New York Times.

THE MANY AMAZING SHADES OF RED

These days my preference is for shades of green but when I was a kid, red was my favorite color and I still have a fondness for it.

This video shows a whole bunch of ways the color can be breathtaking. Sit back for five minutes and enjoy what is, essentially, a meditation on the color red. (The background Christmas songs are incidental; it would be just as effective with different music.)

OREGON ATTACK OWL RETURNS

In late December, Reuters reported that an owl was attacking people here in Oregon:

”The barred owl has clawed at least three people outside the state Capitol in Salem in a series of attacks since late November, city parks department spokeswoman Tibby Larson said.

"It's silent. You're just walking along, minding your own business, and an owl comes silently at you from behind," Larson said.

This isn't new. It started a year ago. Here's a television report about the incidents:

There is another amusing report at Huffington Post about the first attacks in early 2015, with more detail about MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's involvement.

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the 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.


Why There is No Cure or Prevention for Cancer

More than half a century ago, when I was somewhere around age 20, I worried a lot about cancer. I was terrified of it in the way of people who are not old enough yet to have become sanguine about what they cannot control.

In those days, hardly anyone survived cancer but I was astute enough to notice that most of them were old, past 50 or 60 or 70.

So I tamped down my fear and consoled myself with the thought that by the time I was that old, there would be a cure or a vaccine.

That was not a pie-in-the-sky idea then. It had not been long since everyone in the United States had lined up for their polio-preventing sugar cube.

In addition, during my childhood and in the few years following, science conquered whooping cough, diphtheria, smallpox, mumps and chickenpox, among others.

We were on such a roll in eliminating disease that had previously killed hundreds of thousands of people a year, it seemed inevitable that cancer wouldn't be far behind, and certainly before I reached the average (old) age for it.

Yet here we are 50-odd years later without much advance in cancer research beyond a few poisonous drugs that ravage the bodies of victims before they die anyway.

Cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the U.S. (584,881 in 2013) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why should that still be?

In between my youthful fear and now, we have invented the pacemaker, had continued success with heart and other organ transplants, made laser surgery for cataracts commonplace, mapped the human genome, invented a variety of high-tech diagnostic tools along with robots that do precise, miniature surgeries and made interesting advances for the blind and physically disabled.

There is more but maybe you, as I, are suitably impressed by that small list. Except – what happened to cancer?

About 18 months ago, the New York Times launched a fascinating and informative new column, “The New Health Care” that they describe as follows:

“Informed by research, Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll explore and explain the changing landscape of health care.”

I've already learned a lot from these guys and a week or so ago, Mr. Frakt provided some daylight on cancer research in a story titled, Why Preventing Cancer Is Not the Priority in Drug Development.

If, before reading this article, I had ever put more than a second's worth of thought to why cancer is still such a scourge, I would have twigged to the answer immediately. It is what it always is in this country: profit. What else is new.

”There’s more money to be made investing in drugs that will extend cancer patients’ lives by a few months," writes Frakt, "than in drugs that would prevent cancer in the first place."

Frakt's story is reporting on a newly published study from Heidi Williams (and two others), an M.I.T. economics professor and recent MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant winner.

He provides a lot of wonky detail about the Food and Drug Administration drug trial requirements, patent extension, early and late stage drug effectiveness and this shocker:

”Use of surrogate endpoints with no known or strong relationship to survival is controversial. For example, the prostate-specific antigen [P.S.A.] test level — assessed with a blood test — is correlated with the amount of cancer in the prostate but has limited value in predicting prostate cancer survival.

“So, though they may be lucrative to drug companies, one would have little confidence that drugs approved based on P.S.A. test results would confer survival benefits.

“A recent systematic review found that most surrogate endpoints examined in cancer drug trials are weakly related to survival. Though most cancer drugs in recent years have been approved on the basis of surrogate endpoints, a majority of them have unknown or no beneficial survival effects.”

“No beneficial survival effects.” But drugs are nevertheless created, approved and sold at high prices based on them anyway. Instead of investing the time and effort to prevent cancer, big pharma repeatedly goes for the quickest bang for their buck. No wonder, as Frakt reports:

“Ms. Williams's study estimated that the commercialization lag's incentive to invest in drugs of shorter duration benefit led to 890,000 lost life-years among American patients found to have cancer in 2003 alone.”

Among Ms. Williams's suggestions for change, reports Frakt, are to pass legislation that will speed up drugs' path to market and/or to extend the period of “market exclusivity” before drugs go off-patent.

Yeah, right. Like big pharma will trip all over themselves to develop a cancer vaccine in exchange for another six months or year of patent protection.

What puny, useless solutions.

But the bigger question - the most awful-to-contemplate question - is why a society leaves the health and wellbeing - the fact of actual suffering and life or death - of its citizens to the whims of corporate profit?

What kind of government, corporate, philosophical monsters build such a society?

Let them charge anything at all for a television set - whatever they can get away with. No one will die. Who cares if a pair of shoes costs $5,000 (as some do). Fifty thousand for dinner at a restaurant? Why not? It isn't my - or society's - concern how billionaires spent their cash.

But it is unspeakable to withhold cancer research for no reason but to enhance profit. Read this grotesque sentence again:

”There’s more money to be made investing in drugs that will extend cancer patients’ lives by a few months than in drugs that would prevent cancer in the first place."

Frakt is writing about cancer. I suspect the same could be said about Alzheimer's, diabetes, Parkinson's, stroke, heart disease, etc. And because elders contend with these diseases and conditions in far greater numbers than younger people, we should at least understand how we are being killed.

As long as the United States applies the profit motive even to matters of life and death, nothing will change. Read the story in full at The New York Times.


There is No Holding Back Time

UPDATE - DARLENE'S HOMECOMING: Before I get going on today's post, let me give you this happy update.

As many of you know, long-time blogger and TGB participant, Darlene Costner, who turned 90 last year, fell in her home in early December breaking a bone in her back.

Good news now. Yesterday, Darlene wrote to say that after a second hospital stay and a stint in rehab, she returned to her home on Monday evening where both her son and daughter can help with her further recuperation.

”I must say,” wrote Darlene, “that holidays in Rehab was not in my plan and my family tried to make it enjoyable...they visited me several times and Mark and Gail were most attentive so I did have a nice Christmas.

“I wanted to write a humorous tale about this happenstance, but this morning I am not up to par so the funny side of re-hab will have to wait.”

Don't let anyone ever say Darlene is not a trouper. Just five hours later, she sent an animal photo collection of pets' trips to the vet. Here is one of them.

DogandVet

Welcome home, Darlene, and I know I speak for everyone – we're looking forward to your recovery and full-time return to this community. We have missed you.

* * *

Okay, here is today's other post:

No one can hold back time and that is how it should be. I'll get back to that in a moment...

It is at the end of each year when the media make their annual lists of well-known people we “lost” during the preceding 12 months that I most realize how much the people, events and things that define my life are fading away.

Here are some names we probably share. Frank Gifford died last year. So did Joe Franklin (New Yorkers will recall who he was), Oliver Sacks, Mario Cuomo, B.B. King, Louis Jourdan, Leonard Nimoy, Leslie Gore, Donald Featherstone and Gary Dahl among hundreds of others who populate my 74-year historical worldview.

You may not know those last two names but you surely will recognize what got them a mention on the 2015 death lists: Featherstone invented the pink lawn flamingo; Dahl invented the Pet Rock.

Yep. Our guys, our generation foisted that effluvia upon us. They were funny for a moment or two but way overstayed their welcome.

Time moves on, mercifully in some cases, but it is also merciless, blindly burying the touchstones of our pasts. That would be my personal past I am referring to today, the artifacts of the life and times of my years.

Not infrequently these days, I am baffled by the latest culture. I learned who Adele is only about three weeks ago but that's hardly new. It has been years since I recognized any young musician's name without effort.

Language trips me up too. By the time I had worked out what a “hookup” is, the younger generations had invented “Netflix and chill” which means, if you don't know yet, something approximate to hookup – the next iteration of it, apparently.

Even so, I felt a part of the mainstream culture for a long while. even on the bleeding edge in some cases. When the internet came along, I was still young enough to participate in its adaptation to everyday use. I took to cell phones fairly easily too although not as happily.

Now thanks to them and some accompanying innovations, the cashless society will arrive before long – maybe even before I die – and for some excellent reasons, I don't think that's such a good idea. (See more here)

But it doesn't matter what I think about technology, music, fashion, literature, art, the general zeitgeist or anything else. I'm 74 years old and it is the young who get to define them now.

We had our turn, you and me. Remember when the clergy denounced rock and roll as the devil's music? When long hair on boys annoyed just about every parent? When you had to be 21 to vote? We changed those things.

We can also claim forcing the end of the Vietnam war, big strides forward in civil rights for minorities and women along with creating the early environmental movement. I'm proud to have been part of some of that.

Now, time has passed and a new generation is making their changes. Just ten years ago, the idea of marriage equality hardly existed. Now it is fact. Today's young people made that happen.

In survey after survey after survey, it is the young who embrace inclusiveness of all people. It is they who lead the continuing technology revolution. And it is they who will have to contend with the twin disasters of terrorism and climate change while, probably, making even more music and new slang phrases that pass me by.

But that is as it should be. Rather than regret the dwindling of my generation's influence, I am eager to see what's next, to watch the changes and support them where I am capable of doing so.

Does that mean I'm retiring from my activism, backing off my pressure, for example, to end ageism and other threats to elders' wellbeing?

Not a chance. And maybe, with the help of others, we will get far enough that when it comes time for today's youth to relinquish their hold on the culture to the following generation, we will have gained some ground in that regard for them to build on.

(It takes a long, long time for cultural and political changes to come about. Fifty years ago, I naively thought the passage of the Voting Rights Act solved those problems.)

There is still a place for me and all interested elders to help make a difference – just not in the mainstream and there is some relief in letting go of that. Time moves on – there is no stopping it and no going back.