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The Gift of Life - Elder Organ Donation

Did you know that old people can be organ donors? I didn't. Until recently.

I had just assumed that after a certain age (I never put any thought to what the cutoff would be), one's heart, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, corneas, liver, skin and other parts would be too old and worn out to do any good for another person.

But it just is not so. As explained at the organdonor.gov website, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS),

”People of all ages can sign up to be donors. In their 50s, 60s, even into their 70s and older. And, people over 50 can be transplant recipients as well.”

According to HHS organ donor pages, you do not have to be in perfect health, even people with certain medical conditions can donate and usefulness for donation is determined at death.

Obviously, the decision to take organs and tissue for donation must be made quickly after the time of death so if you are inclined to do this, it is smart to let your family and physician know, and to include that wish in your end-of-life documents such as your will, living will, health proxy, advance directive, DNR (do not resuscitate), etc.

If you have never thought about becoming a donor, consider these facts:

more than 120,000 people are waiting for an organ

22 people die each day waiting for an organ

1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives

What an amazing amount of good we each can do by becoming a transplant donor. Here are some more reasons from the organdonor.gov website [emphasis is mine]:

Organ and tissue transplants are needed by people in every corner of America.

People of all ages, infants to grandparents, are on the national transplant waiting list.

Two thirds of the individuals waiting for an organ transplant in 2014 were 50 years old or older. That year 2,371 deceased donors were between 50–64 years of age. Six hundred and fourteen deceased donors were 65 or older.

In 2014, 18,182 of the 29,532 - or 61.6% - of the people transplanted were 50+.

As of May 2015, according to OPTN, there are 55,282 people between 50 and 64 years old on the national waiting list and 25,908 people over 65 years old on the national waiting list.

For all my adult life, I have checked that box on my driving license to be a donor without much thought; we never think seriously about dying when we are young. But at the age I am now, 74, I'm as likely to die in a hospital of something related to age as in a car accident so while researching this story, I signed up as a donor in my state.

You can do that too at the organdonor.gov website. It's easy.

  1. Choose your state of residence from the box in the right side of the green banner and click Go
  2. Fill in the form with name, address, date of birth, etc.
  3. Follow instructions to print the confirmation
  4. File it with your end-of-life documents

The signup process may differ slightly from state to state. In mine, I could choose to not allow my organs or tissue to be used for medical research. I can't think why I would care but the choice is there for people who want it.

The organdonor.gov website covers just about every question I could come up with and some that hadn't occurred to me such as that “most religions” do not object to organ donation.

There is a good and short brochure especially for elders about organ donation from Health and Human Services Department [pdf].

Additional information for age 50-plus donors here.

The sign-up page is here.

Organ donation is such a good thing to do. It doesn't cost you or your family a dime. Organs are removed as in live surgery so there can be an open-casket funeral and consider this: what better legacy can you leave behind than the gift of life for another person.


ELDER MUSIC: The Oscars

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.

* * *

Oscar

I've not always agreed with the songs that won the Academy Award for best song. That's really an understatement, there are very few with which I'd concur and that will probably be evident again tonight when this year's Oscar awards are given out in Los Angeles.

Most of the ones I think deserved it didn't even get nominated. The Grammies are even worse – they're supposed to be about music.

Now that I have that off my chest, I'll present some of the songs that did win the Oscar. These will be in order of the year they won. The envelope please...

1934: The Continental from "The Gay Divorcee"
FRED ASTAIRE and Ginger Rogers performed it in the film. However, Fred rerecorded it years later and I think that this later version is far superior. Here it is.

FredAstaire

♫ Fred Astaire - The Continental


1936: The Way You Look Tonight from "Swing Time"
More Fred and Ginger; Fred sings the song playing the piano rather than dancing. We've had Fred, so I thought I'd check the other versions I have. None of the other singers were a patch on Fred, so I've gone for an instrumental treatment of the song by GERRY MULLIGAN.

GerryMulligan

It doesn't sound much like the original, but that's okay.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - The Way You Look Tonight


1939: Over the Rainbow from “The Wizard of Oz"
Okay, no messing around with this one. There's only one I could have chosen here and you know who it is. Here is the original from the film by JUDY GARLAND.

JudyGarland

♫ Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow (MGM Soundtrack Version)


1949: Baby It's Cold Outside from "Neptune's Daughter"
The song was performed twice in the film, first by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the second by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton (roles reversed in the second version).

In a more modern version here is WILLIE NELSON and NORAH JONES with tongues firmly in both their cheeks.

Willie Nelson &Norah Jones

♫ Willie Nelson - Baby, It's Cold Outside (featuring Norah Jones)


1950: Mona Lisa from "Captain Carey, U.S.A."
The song was performed in the film by Charlie Spivak but everyone who is reading this knows that this is NAT KING COLE's song. Nat recorded this several times, but they are pretty similar. This is one of them.

Nat King Cole

♫ Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa


1951: In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening from “Here Comes the Groom"
This song was the product of a couple of great songwriters - music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. In the film, BING CROSBY and JANE WYMANperformed the song and they are doing it here as well.

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman

♫ Bing Crosby - In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening


1952: High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin') from "High Noon"
Most people think of Frankie Laine when this song is mentioned, however, he didn't perform the song in the film. That honor went to TEX RITTER.

Tex Ritter

Tex also recorded it a couple of times but this is the way it sounded in the film.

♫ Tex Ritter - High Noon~Do Not Forsake Me~Film Soundtrack


1961: Moon River from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
The song was written by HENRY MANCINI and JOHNNY MERCER and performed in the film by Audrey Hepburn.

Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini

Numerous others have also recorded it. I won't use any of those. In 2014, Henry's son found an acetate of a demo that Henry and Johnny recorded just after they composed the song. Here it is, Henry playing piano and Johnny singing.

♫ Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer - Moon River [1961 Demo]


1971: Theme from Shaft from "Shaft"
It seems that the producers of the film promised ISAAC HAYES the lead role in the film if he'd write the score for the film.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac kept his side of the bargain but the producers reneged on their promise. The song and the album from which it was taken sold millions.

♫ Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft


2000: Things Have Changed from "Wonder Boys"
This isn't a film with which I'm familiar but checking on Mr Wiki it seems to have a fine cast. Not just that, the music in it meets my approval – Tom Rush, Buffalo Springfield, Tim Hardin, Little Willie John, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, John Lennon and, of course, the song that won the Oscar by BOB DYLAN.

Bob Dylan

♫ Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed


INTERESTING STUFF – 27 February 2016

PRESIDENT OBAMA WRITES A POST FOR SCOTUS BLOG

You cannot have missed the fact that even before Justice Antonin Scalia's body was cold, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate will not fulfill its constitutionally-required duty to “advise and consent” on the president's nomination of a replacement for Scalia.

A couple of days ago, President Barack Obama wrote a post for the highly-respected Scotusblog about the criteria he is using to select his nominee. In part, he writes,

“...the third quality I seek in a judge is a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.

“It’s the kind of life experience earned outside the classroom and the courtroom; experience that suggests he or she views the law not only as an intellectual exercise, but also grasps the way it affects the daily reality of people’s lives in a big, complicated democracy, and in rapidly changing times.”

You can read the president's entire post at Scotusblog.

Does anyone know if there is a legal remedy when elected federal officials refuse to comply with the requirements of their job? I know what would have happened to me if I had refused to do my job back when I was working.

106-YEAR-OLD FULFILLS DREAM TO VISIT THE WHITE HOUSE

Virginia McLaurin is so excited to meet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama that she can hardly contain herself. She's just delightful.

WHAT GLOBAL WARMING LOOKS LIKE IN YOUR STATE

In reports released this week, scientists confirmed that the seas are likely rising faster than at any time in 28 centuries. That's 28 CENTURIES in case you were reading too fast.

The findings,” reports The New York Times, “are yet another indication that the stable climate in which human civilization has flourished for thousands of years, with a largely predictable ocean permitting the growth of great coastal cities, is coming to an end.”

Meanwhile, where I live the crocuses and daffodils have been in bloom for at least two weeks and Climate Central reports

”...that winters are warming fastest from Montana to Florida, springs are cranking up the quickest in the Southwest, and...there are only three instances of cooling. The Dakotas and Iowa are cooling ever so slightly in summer.”

Climate Central has provided this interactive map on which you can check out how your state is doing:

JOHN OLIVER ON ABORTION

Abortion is theoretically legal in the United States, but some places make it, in any practical sense, impossible. Here is John Oliver on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight on that very topic:

What would we do without John Oliver.

FOUR BITCHIN' BABES SING OH NO

That's what they call themselves, Four Bitchin' Babes and you'll quickly realize that they understand exactly what you and I go through each day.

The Four Bitchin' Babes have been touring and releasing CDs and DVDs for 25 years and I never heard of them until now. Find out more here.

DANNY AND ANNIE

This week, TGB reader Tom Delmore emailed the StoryCorps animation titled Danny and Annie, a real-life couple who narrate the film about their 25-year marriage. I had posted this video way back in 2010, but I loved watching it again so here it is a second time.

Stick around; I've got more for you about it afterward.

As I poked around the StoryCorps website looking for information I might want to pass on to you, I discovered there is a bittersweet Part 2 to Danny and Annie. Here it is:

CONTEMPLATION

Before I shut down The Elder Storytelling Place website, Henry Lowenstern was among the regular contributors – in his case, limericks or what I always thought of a “ditties” which, apparently, fall out of his mind onto paper or screen at the slightest motivation.

He recently sent this one, titled Contemplation, with a “Hi, how are you, Ronni” email.

Each memorial service I attend
for a neighbor or a friend
makes me wonder what will be
my legacy
when my life comes to an end.

Ain't it so for all of us at our age.

HOUSE OF CARDS RETURNS FRIDAY 4 MARCH

Any Netflix subscribers out there who are House of Cards fans like me? Whether you are or not, you may recall that this series starring Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood was the first to make all episodes available at once.

If binge watching was a minor passtime before House of Cards came along, it became a big-time meme after the release of the first season. I was less enthusiastic about the most recent season but I'll certainly give a try next Friday or Saturday.

Here's the trailer for the new season:

AIRPORT K9

The Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan, employs a dog named Piper. Yes, employs him to keep the birds away from aircraft.

”The Cherry Capital Airport’s operations director Dan Sal told Mlive that Piper has been better than pyrotechnics at keeping wildlife away since the snowy owls he chases 'seem to remember' him and stay away.” reports Travel+Leisure.

“'Though rare, dogs are one of the most effective methods of wildlife mitigation at airports...'”

Here is a compilation video of Piper on the job at Cherry Capital:

There's a lot more about Piper at the airport's website.

* * *

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.


An Elder Bites the Apple

Applebasket150Yesterday, I bit into an apple and heard that satisfying “crack” that happens as the fruit's skin breaks and a bit juice dribbles down the chin. Now, some of you are undoubtedly thinking that this is nothing to write home (or a blog post) about but you would be wrong, and I suspect many old people agree with me.

For nearly a decade, I wore an old-fashioned, conventional upper denture that, as they all do, covered the entirety of the gum and roof of my mouth. Even though the fit of my denture was extraordinarily good, biting an apple and eating corn on the cob have been nothing but a memory.

Also, for all these years, I felt that I alone supported the Sriracha hot sauce company so that I could taste at least something.

Many people do not know there are taste buds located on our upper palate, fewer than on the tongue for sure, but they are there and they contribute to our ability to taste. With the denture, along with normal decline in taste buds with age, most food has been a weak shadow of its previous self to me. Strong hot sauce gave mild-tasting food some oomph.

There's a boring, old joke among elders: If I'd known I would live this long, I'd have taken better care of my teeth. All too true although god knows I put thousands more dollars in my mouth over the years than the rest of my body required to keep it in working order.

Fifteen months ago, I wound up in a dentist's office with a huge infection in my upper gum. Of course, I couldn't wear my denture during the week it took to heal so I was stuck at home for the duration because nobody – NOBODY gets to see me without it.

Afterward, the denture never fit right again and I needed to use that disgusting “glue” to keep it in place, something I'd never required before. I asked the dentist if there wasn't some other solution for me.

Sure, he said, implants. Except the number I would need for an entire upper gum is so far beyond my means that it might as well be labeled Trumpian. When I explained that, he suggested an “overdenture.”

OverdentureDefinitionImage

In my case, it would involve implants, but only four saving me tens of thousands of dollars. It turned out, however, there was a snag. Because I'm old and have some bone loss, before implants could be made we had to grow me some new bone in my upper gum.

This was an entirely new idea to me and I consider it a miracle. The dentist drilled several holes, inserted powdered human bone from which the DNA has been removed so my body would not reject it and then we let it sit for several months until x-rays showed that it had hardened and grown together with my own bone. Like I said, a miracle.

(There are other kinds of bone grafting that might be used in this procedure depending on individual circumstances.)

More drilling came next to insert the titanium implants. They too sat there for several months until the metal had fused with bone. By this time, a year had passed but like most long-term projects, in my old age I no longer have the impatience that plagued my youth.

Or maybe it was that well-known elder phenomenon of time passing so swiftly now that we hardly notice a year gone by.

Molds were made of my gum with the implants and of the teeth in my old-fashioned denture to create the overdenture. There is a great deal miniature engineering involved, but there is art involved too.

For example, compared to my real teeth, the bite was slightly off kilter in my old denture and the dentist has corrected it now to be reasonably close to what I recall it had been with my original teeth.

Here is a drawing I found online of what an overdenture – my kind, anyway – looks like (this shows six implants; I have four).

Overdenturedrawin250b

The “wire” between the implants, like the implants themselves, is made of nearly indestructible titanium. On the inside of the overdenture, not shown here, are tiny "clips" to match the wires so that the denture snaps into place on the wire and is unsnapped each day for removal to clean it and the wire.

Finally, there are a series of minute adjustments over a few weeks to alleviate any painful areas on the gum and shave any thick spots on the denture. In my case, the cut in the denture above the two front teeth had to be lengthened so it would not rub against the frenulum (also frenum) - that little fold of tissue that connects the gum to the inner lip.

These and some other final fixes will be done in one or two more visits and I will be a much happier woman. Well, I already am if you don't count that I choke whenever I think of the price.

The total came to just over $18,000, about half the average price for a full set of implants although prices vary widely from place to place, dentist to dentist and specific procedures required.

I am deeply aware of how lucky I am, that many people cannot afford this. One of the great failings of Medicare is that except in very few, very specific (read: hardly any) circumstances, it does not cover routine dental work and certainly not implants or dentures.

The money for my overdenture and the work involved came out of my end-of-life fund intended to pay for my care for a couple of years if I become completely disabled.

It took a long while to decide to go forward but in the end it came down to the fact that sometimes you just need to close your eyes, take a leap and hope for the best.

It's not rational but I'm hoping to live long enough before I need the end-of-life fund for it to be replenished from some careful, safe investments. It's worth the gamble to me to once again fully enjoy one of life's greatest pleasures - food in all its glory of amazing tastes.

Now there will be a lot more apples eaten as they should be (crunch), much tastier food in general and come summer, I'm looking forward to my first corn on the cob in a long time - no hot sauce needed.

Corn-on-the-cob2


What Have You Learned at This Blog?

Now and then some of us mention how much we learn from one another at Time Goes By.

On the lightest level, without your suggestions, there might not be an Interesting Stuff list on Saturdays. I also wouldn't know that so many others share with me the changes that come with growing old – the good and the not-so-good. And you have no idea how many blog posts are suggested by your comments - if not always directly, by piquing my curiosity due to something you said.

Also, let me call out two 90-year-olds I've known through this blog for at least ten years. Millie Garfield and Darlene Costner, 16 years older than I am, remind me regularly – each in her own way and with great kindness – that I'm still a youngster at this ageing game and have a lot to learn about becoming one of the old-old, as they are.

Readers often tell me they learn so much here but they rarely mention specifics. During the past week, several commented about what specifically they had learned here and I'm going to quote three of them today.

Not uncommonly, I forget a lot of things I've written in the past. Patty-in-New-York reminded me about an important one.

”Can I tell you how I found your blog?” she asked. “I was house-hunting (not really, just as a pastime) online and came across a post you'd written about things elders should consider when purchasing a home or moving.

“Primary among them was to consider a one-storey house or at least to get a bedroom on the ground floor, because if you didn't have that, sooner or later you might find yourself sleeping in the dining room as illness or age overtook you. (I paraphrase, but that was the gist.).

“This resonated with me deeply as that exact circumstance happened with my Dad. Anyway, I've been reading ever since.”

That was a big consideration when I was shopping for a new home here in Oregon in 2010. I skipped over a couple of attractive places due to stairs and all old people should take this into consideration if they relocate.

Because they don't get much comment response, I sometimes hesitate to post what I think of as nut-and-bolts stories – hard information and facts about health, Social Security or Medicare, new services for elders – that kind of thing.

Last week, reader Scotti let me know they can make a real difference.

”I found myself this last weekend in the unfortunate position of having my Medicare Part D plan refusing to cover a medicine. I was unhappily thinking about paying cash because I had run out of my medicine and was beginning to feel sick.

“Calling all the pharmacies in town I found only one that actually had the medicine I needed on hand. But it would cost me $150 to pay cash (my copay would have been $40). Then I remembered your article and looked up my Rx on GoodRx.

“They provided me a coupon to allow me to get the medicine for $70. Still a lot - but I was relieved to be able to get my medicine and start feeling better.

“It may be several weeks for my MD and the insurance company to work out their negotiations - but I can get through that since I have a month's Rx for now.”

When I write about ageism – fairly frequently because I believe it is a major impediment to all elders' well being – I know a good-sized contingent of readers will dismiss it as unimportant - “names can't hurt me,” etc.

That doesn't dissuade me from continuing to bang the ageism drum and here is reader Elle Hayes telling us that reading Time Goes By

"...has made me more aware of ageism. Funny how I accepted ageist comments prior to your postings opening my eyes - and also funny how friends and family reacted, at first, when I tried to tactfully explain the similarity between ageist remarks, weight related comments, racial and religious bigotry.

“Now my grandkids are much more aware of what's acceptable to the mature citizens of our community and what is not. I also like that I speak out now; when someone calls me 'young lady,' 'oldster,' 'Honey,' 'sweetie' and other patronizing names, I say, 'Just call me by my name, Elle, and leave it at that.'”

And every time she does that, she makes a difference. More people, like her grandchildren for example, will come to respect old people and give them the same dignity they give younger people.

Aren't those three stories terrific? Let's see how many more we can share.

Today, tell us in the comments what you have learned about navigating this last era of our lives. It can be something I've posted or what someone passed on in the comments or just as likely, something turned up elsewhere in your life you would like the rest of us to know.

After all, among all of us TGB denizens we have hundreds of thousands of years of experience and knowledge.


LAGNIAPPE: The Raging Grannies

Last fall, I inaugurated a new, occasional blog section called Lagniappe which, as S.C. Jones who suggested the name explained, is “Louisiana French for something given as a bonus or extra gift.”

I don't usually publish on Tuesdays and Thursdays but this video about The Raging Grannies reappeared yesterday after an absence of several weeks. I had intended to post it back in January but it just fell off my radar somehow. Chalk it up to old age.

You may have heard of The Raging Grannies - they've been around for 20 or 30 years. The loosely related groups exist in cities around the world where members, all old enough to be grandmothers, campaign for social justice causes.

They are also colorful (in several senses of the word), dedicated, funny, entertaining, smart and often wise.

As one of the grannies explains in this short documentary, they are also disorganized, have no officers or dues and they pretty much like it that way.

From what I can work out, this documentary has been re-edited from a version released in 2009 which makes it sound dated, but it is so informative and so much fun that it doesn't matter.

The group covered in this film calls itself The Raging Grannies Action League, San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula. I don't recall how it came to my attention in January (apologies to whomever contacted me). Here it is now and I'll have some other information on the other side.

There is an out-of-date entry about The Raging Grannies at Wikipedia and there are a couple of recent news stories about their protests here and here and if you Google “raging grannies” - or just click here - you will find a lot of pages about them, their songs and perhaps find a group near you.


Thank You, Time Goes By Readers

When the donation drive began last week, I would have dismissed the idea – if it had occurred to me - that I would be writing about it today. I thought I would email a personal thank you note acknowledging each contribution and get on with publishing Time Goes By.

But you, dear readers, changed that. So many have donated that it would take me weeks to write everyone individually so I have resorted to this public appreciation.

Let me start with this: I know that people all over the internet hold various kinds of fund raisers for many different reasons so no one is unfamiliar with it. Nevertheless, I am dismayed, confounded and abashed (lovely, old-fashioned word that is perfect in this instance) at the generosity of Time Goes By readers.

Some contributors are people I consider friends, others I recognize from comments and email over the years but mostly, amazingly, the majority of donations are from people whose names I have never seen before. I didn't count but I estimate that last group at 75 or 80 percent.

So to those whose names are new to me, hello. I am pleased to “meet” you finally.

Also, it is a load of fun to see how far flung TGB readers are. Again, I didn't count, but I'm pretty sure you cover most if not all 50 U.S. states and quite a few other countries – Australia, Canada, Germany, India, France, Israel and England among them.

A lot of you left the nicest notes with your contributions. They are private so I should not quote them here but there is one from Arnold Sivakoff I hope he will not object to my sharing because it is spot on:

”The donation is worth the upgrade to ad-free email.”

No kidding! Me too. I subscribe to my own email feed to be sure it is delivered properly and on time each day. For many months (years?), it has been a mess of ugly advertising scattered all over the page making it painful to try to read.

No more. The online version of Time Goes By has always been ad-free and as of last Wednesday, thanks to your contributions, the email version is also without advertising. That makes me so happy.

Another note I'm going to take a chance with publishing is from Mary Gerritsen because – well, how could it not make me happy:

”You have helped me in my journey to old age innumerable times,” she wrote.

The feeling is mutual. If not for all of you, I would just be blowing smoke here, writing for myself. Your thoughts and suggestions and jokes and presence and support help educate me too in this late-life journey we all must make. I am grateful for each of you every day.

And now, because of your generosity, I can breathe so much easier when the TGB bills come due during the year. Thank you all.


ELDER MUSIC: Lipstick, Powder and Paint

TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK ENDS TODAY
This is the final day of the 2016 donation campaign to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free for everyone with never a membership fee or paid firewall.

* * *

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.

* * *

Lipstick Powde r& Paint

This column comes from the song of that name that has been recorded by many artists over the years. There are songs about all three, powder being the hardest one about which to find good songs.

I'll start with the name of the column; my favorite version is one of the oldest by BIG JOE TURNER.

Big Joe Turner

Joe, almost single-handedly, changed rhythm and blues into rock and roll. This is from an earlier period when he was performing jump blues (but wouldn't be out of place at a rock concert), Lipstick, Powder and Paint.

♫ Joe Turner - Lipstick, Powder and Paint


So, that's the track with all the elements present. Now, we split them up. In order I'll start with lipstick and who better than BENNY SPELLMAN.

Benny Spellman

His song has been recorded often by others but no one that I know of does it better than Benny. Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette).

♫ Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)


I know that you'd be expecting this one and I don't want to disappoint you. Here is CONNIE FRANCIS.

Connie Francis

In the late fifties, early sixties Connie had many hits. This is one of them, Lipstick On Your Collar.

I always wondered what Mary-Jane was doing kissing his collar but maybe I'm just lacking in imagination. Also, he was going out for a soda pop and didn't invite Connie along. She's well rid of him.

♫ Connie Francis - Lipstick On Your Collar


By rights, JOHN HIATT should be a superstar.

John Hiatt

Naturally, the various media prefer "celebrities" rather than talent. I could go on (indeed, I did for some time, but I removed it as just too boring and ranty, a word I just made up). John performs Lipstick Sunset.

♫ John Hiatt - Lipstick Sunset


Not much in the way of powder songs. Apart from the title track, I only have one and that is by STEFAN GROSSMAN.

Stefan Grossman

Stefan is a really fine acoustic guitarist and not a bad singer but today, he just lets his fingers do the talking. Here is Powder Rag.

♫ Stefan Grossman - Powder Rag


To the paint songs. There are far too many of these to fit into this column, so I have the luxury of selecting the best of them. The one that stands out from the others is by THE BAND.

The Band

Levon Helm is the singer on this song which is from their "Cahoots" album, not their best but a pretty good one nonetheless. The song is When I Paint My Masterpiece, a song written by Bob Dylan.

♫ The Band - When I Paint My Masterpiece


Old Bill Jones had a daughter and a son. One went to Denver and the other went wrong. His wife, she got killed in a poolroom fight. My goodness, the Jones family led a colorful life.

Those who have been singing along already know that this is from the song, I Ride an Old Paint (or variations on that theme).

In some versions there are two daughters and a son and the wife is nowhere to be seen. There are many twists on the story out there and it's my job to pick one. So, here goes: MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY.

Michael Martin Murphey

Michael's version segues into another song just so you won't get bored. He calls it I Ride an Old Paint etc.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - I Ride an Old Paint etc


Back in the first incarnation of the ROLLING STONES, Brian Jones liked to bring in various instruments to add color to their records. This is one example of that.

Rolling Stones

He really was a prodigy. Give him an instrument and he could play it really well in no time at all. All of that leads me to Paint It Black.

♫ Rolling Stones - Paint It Black


After all the songs for which he is known, GORDON LIGHTFOOT kept recording albums, and really good ones at that.

Gordon Lightfoot

Some of us (well, me at least) kept collecting them. One of those later albums was called “A Painter Passing Through” and here is the title song.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - A Painter Passing Through


TAJ MAHAL yet again ends one of my columns.

Taj Mahal

I know that because I write them. Readers may not realise this as the columns could be months apart when they see light of day on TGB. Taj is doing some painting, nothing major like a house.

He's Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue.

♫ Taj Mahal - Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue


INTERESTING STUFF – 20 February 2016

TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK REMINDER
You have to put up with this donation drive announcement for only one more day, then it will be done.

If you missed it, you can read the details of the drive on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always be advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes into this website, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down past the donate link for today's Interesting Stuff.

* * *

KEEP DANCING

Legendary dancers, Marge Champion and Donald Saddler became friends while performingon Broadway in 2001. When the show closed, the then-90-year-olds rented a private studio together to be able to keep dancing.

Filmmaker Greg Vander Veer made this documentary with archival footage of their long careers and it is beautiful. Take a look:

The film was made in 2010. Donald Saddler died in 2014 at age 96. Marge Champion, now 96, lives in California. Thank Roger Ganas for sending this video.


WARP DRIVE

You might not care about this visual pun unless, like me, you are a Star Trek fan from day one. It seems about time to me that someone named a street after the TV and movie series:

WarpDrive2

WarpDrive

You can read about how the street in Dulles, Virginia, came to be named Warp Drive at Atlas Obscura.


JOHN OLIVER IS BACK

And aren't we glad. I am, anyway. After way too long on hiatus, John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, Oliver takes on the United States voting system In this first video essay of the new season.

It is so fine to have John Oliver back with us.


HISTORY OF MACARONI AND CHEESE

I've never taken to the shorthand name, "mac and cheese." I like saying the whole thing.

There was a tiime I liked Kraft macaroni and cheese but about 15 years ago I found an elaborate recipe involving four cheeses and about 15 other ingredients that just might send one's cholestrol level permanently off the charts. I make it only once a year.

Meanwhile, It had never occurred to me to wonder where the dish came from or who invented it until I found this video at Epicurious a week or so ago at Epicurious.


WHAT IF A FORUM ABOUT ELDERS WAS HELD AND NO PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES CAME

That's what happened when the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) held a forum on caregiving at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia last Wednesday. Only Bernie Sanders and John Kasich attended but not in person.

Sanders spoke via Skype and Kasich sent former Congressman Tom Davis to the forum in his place.

Too bad it wasn't in person but Senator Sanders did touch on a couple of important issues:

“'Clearly we should be doing everything that we can to provide resources to keep people in their own homes,' Sanders said...

“Staying in their own homes is what most people would prefer and we should 'respect that,' Sanders said. 'It is a civil rights issue.'”

Sanders also said he supports access to physician-assisted suicide:

“'If a human being is in a situation where they are going to see their life end in a short period of time, where they are suffering, where they choose no longer to be alive, I think they have the right to make that decision for themselves,' Sanders said.”

Elder issues have been so little addressed in this campaign so far that is might as well be none. The candidates should do this in their stump speeches but a larger part of the blame must go to the news media that do not ask elder-related question in town halls and debates.

All the candidates still in the race on 24 November 2015 were invited to attend this George Mason University forum. Except for Sanders and Kasich, all declined. You can read more here.


BUTT EMERGENCY

Meet MollyAnn Wymer. She has one of the strangest and quirkiest senses of humor I've ever seen. You won't get her at first but stick with it. You will and be glad you did.

You can find out more about MollyAnn at her website (warning: DVD for sale). And thank Jim Stone for finding this weird and wonderful comedian.


2015 THE HOTTEST YEAR ON RECORD

Before that, 2014 was the hottest year on record. Here's a video about how the record has been manifested in various places around the world.

Increasing temperatures are causing health problems too. As the World Health Organization reports:

“'We have a public health emergency in many countries from pollution. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with horrible future costs to society,' said Maria Neira, head of public health at the WHO, which is a specialist agency of the United Nations.

“'Air pollution leads to chronic diseases which require hospital space. Before, we knew that pollution was responsible for diseases like pneumonia and asthma. Now we know that it leads to bloodstream, heart and cardiovascular diseases, too – even dementia.

“We are storing up problems. These are chronic diseases that require hospital beds. The cost will be enormous,' said Neira.”

There is the tiniest smidgen of good news about climate. Scientists have long believed that when jungles are clear cut, the soil turns into such a dense, thick layer that roots cannot get through it. However,

”In recent decades, researchers have found that tropical forests are remarkably resilient. As long as some remnants are left when the forest is cleared to provide seeds and refuges for seed dispersers, tropical forests can grow back with astonishing speed.

“In a paper published this week in Nature, lead author Lourens Poorter and a team of international collaborators, including me, found that forests in Central and South America can quickly rebound without human intervention on land that has been cleared for cattle grazing or growing crops.”

You can read more here.

One more thing on this topic. Yesterday The New York Times published an interactive feature where you can plug in the name of your city and see how much warmer it was in 2015 than before. Do that here.


A DOG AND A BABY TIGER, BEST FRIENDS

Well, best friends for now. This is a bittersweet story, friends but no less joyous for that.

* * *

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.


Being Old is Time Consuming

TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK REMINDER
Only two more days until you are past this one-week donation drive. At least it's shorter than the pledge drive at my local PBS station.

If you missed it, you can read the details of the drive on Monday's post.

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

* * *

Being Old is Time Consuming
Have you noticed how much more time it takes to be old than it did to be young?

One of the things I've done since beginning this blog is to monitor myself as I move through years of growing old (using myself as guinea pig, if you will) because one of the few lessons I've learned that I trust is that if it is happening to me, it is happening to thousands, maybe millions of other people.

So, from the start, I have been working to find out “what it's really like to get old” - as the subtitle of the banner above says – because hardly anyone notices or if they do, hardly anyone writes about the day-to-day things that change as the high-number birthdays pile up.

It's easy to find out more than you ever wanted to know about the big-five, most common diseases of age, the ones that will either kill you or be a pain in the ass to live with. It's the little stuff that no one talks about that steals my time.

I'm not there yet but an obvious example are common errands. Ten or twenty years ago, it was a short, brisk walk to meet friends and neighbors at a local coffee shop, pick up a newspaper or retrieve the postal mail from the box at the curb. No big deal then.

Now it's a slow trek for many elders, perhaps involving a cane or walker, taking care with curbs, watching for dips or cracks in the sidewalk, stopping to rest as needed. What was once five or 10 minutes has been transmuted into half an hour now and you still need to get back home when you're done.

Not all elder time thieves are as obvious. Here are some others I've been noticing:

ITEM: A couple of weeks ago, I was spending a good part of a day preparing dinner for a friend, cooking a couple of more elaborate dishes than I bother with for myself alone.

After an hour or so, my feet felt so achy I had to sit down to rest them. Then later, it happened again. This is new – undoubtedly connected to my impending 75th birthday. If you live long enough, this stuff will happen.

ITEM: There is, of course, the standard irritation of looking around a room wondering why you walked in there. Yes, I know that happened when I was younger but be honest now, it is much more frequent in old age. More time down the drain.

ITEM: A related issue involves leaving the shopping list at home. The intention was a quick trip for a handful of items but I wind up wandering the market aisles for half an hour hoping to jog my memory.

ITEM: Not long ago, we talked about how much more frequently we drop things now. Depending on what has slipped from my fingers, it requires nothing more than bending over to retrieve it all the way up to spending half an hour cleaning a gawdawful spill.

ITEM: Right now, I am grateful to be healthy; I'm lucky to see a doctor every other year or so. Believe me, I am enjoying this while it lasts.

But even those with good health have been there when plagued with medical issues: multiple trips to one kind of doctor, then another who sends you to a third and they all have one or more test facilities to keep you busy, not to mention the pharmacy and follow-up visits usually to figure out how many more visits to different places they can devise.

It's easy to lose days, even weeks that way. Sometimes I wonder how much worse our health problems get just from the time-consuming, travel hassle the medical professionals put us through.

ITEM: How easily thoughts slip from my mind. One moment I know exactly what I need to write next in this blog post but it disappears even as my fingers are trying to move forward with it.

So I sit. Or I pace. Until the Aha! moment arrives and I can get on with it. So far, I have always recovered the thought. But the time is gone.

ITEM: That is, of course, an issue related the hole in your brain you bump into when you're explaining something to a friend and a person's name or whatever the hell that thingie you've used every day of your life is called gets lost in a tangle of neurons somewhere. Gone, as you struggle for it, never to return until it's no longer relevant.

ITEM: Although math has never interested me much beyond being able to add, subtract, multiply and divide as needed, I'm competent at those functions. But recently I'm slower when I work with numbers because I no longer trust myself with them.

I feel the need to double check more frequently, to run a list of numbers through the calculator a second time in case I mis-entered one, even though none of that has happened. Yet. Time slipping away in many kinds of repetition.

ITEM: In a related issue, I know that for awhile now I have been thinking more slowly. I can almost watch thoughts meandering through my mind, dawdling here and there apparently without direction or intention from me.

ITEM: In addition, I lose my train of thought (at whatever speed it's going) when I'm interrupted and it takes much longer now to find the thread again.

Having been studying a variety of aspects of ageing pretty much full time for 20 years now, none of this is a surprise to me. I can't run for the bus like I once did, why shouldn't my intellectual functions change to.

And I do mean “change,” not “decline” (at least for the time being) because there are other changes that are positive, useful and gratifying - even some related to slowing down - that we'll talk about another day.

What ticks me off most about all this is how much valuable time it takes to be old especially when there's not all that much of it left. And further, no one warns you this will happen. I don't know what I would have done with the information but I would like to have known before now.

No doubt you can tell that one characteristic some people attribute to old age, serenity, has not made much of an appearance in my life. Oh well.

As I seem to be asking lately, does any of this sound familiar to you? And if so, does the the loss of time bother you?


Lowering Prescription Drug Prices

TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK REMINDER
For the first time in the 12 years of this blog's existence, we are conducting a donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

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

* * *

Lowering Prescription Drug Prices
As required by law, last week President Barack Obama submitted to Congress his proposed budget for fiscal year 2017. Even before the release, reports the editorial board of The New York Times,

”...the Republican chairmen of the budget committees announced they would not even hold hearings with the White House budget director to discuss the proposal.

“Their decision is more than a break with tradition. It is a new low in Republican efforts to show disdain for Mr. Obama, which disrespects the presidency and, in the process, suffocates debate and impairs governing.”

If anything more has been said about the executive budget proposal since then, it has been lost in the Republican presidential debate brawls and early clashes with the president over a nomination to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died over the holiday weekend.

What a mess our national institutions are in when elected officials pre-empt even the lawfully mandated business of government out of partisan spite. Is this high school?

Fortunately for us elders, the Center for Medicare Advocacy laid out the impact the president's proposed budget, if passed, would have on Medicare drug policies. The short, short version of those proposals are these:

Restore drug rebates for brand name and generic drugs to beneficiaries who do not receive the Part D Low-income subsidy (LIS)

Greater transparency in drug pricing

Negotiate prices with drug manufacturers for biologics and high-cost prescription drugs covered under Part D

Close the Part D doughnut hole in 2018 – two years earlier than under current law

Of course, these proposals are more complicated than I am indicating and I have listed fewer than half of them.

You can read the details at the Center for Medicare Advocacy but as mentioned above, according to The Times, the relevant Congressional committees are refusing to even discuss the entire budget, let alone the Medicare drug proposals contained within it.

Let us move on to something more promising about prescription drugs, something not involving recalcitrant Republicans in Congress.

Private Online Businesses Lowering Drug Prices
On the same day the president released his proposed budget, The New York Times reported on two new online businesses that appear to be providing dramatically reduced drug prices.

It apparently works for Medicare beneficiaries as well as those with private coverage. While noting that prices for the same drug can easily be all over the map, even among pharmacies in the same zip code, and that patients often don't know the price of their drug(s) until presented with the bill at the cash register,

”...a few entrepreneurs say they are aiming to fundamentally change the way people buy drugs, bringing the industry into the digital age by disclosing the lowest prices for generic prescriptions to allow comparison-shopping.”

Unfortunately, the new online drug services cannot help with brand name drugs sold by one manufacturer:

”However, nearly 90 percent of the prescriptions dispensed in the United States are for generic drugs, according to IMS Health, a consulting firm.”

Here is how the two services The Times investigated operate:

”One company, Good Rx, collects drug prices at pharmacies around the country and connects consumers to [online] coupons to help them pay.

“Another, Blink Health, takes the process a step further by allowing customers to pay for their drugs online, then pick up the prescription at nearly any pharmacy.”

And the prices can be shockingly (in the good sense) low:

”The listed price for a 30-day supply of the generic version of Lipitor, for example, is $196 at Kmart, according to GoodRx, and $61 at Kroger. With a coupon obtained through Good Rx, the drug is about $12. Blink Health is offering Lipitor for $9.94...

“Blink Health said many of its customers saved hundreds of dollars a year, pointing to Wendy Comerford, a business owner in Florida, and others. Ms.

Comerford, who has lupus, said she was saving about $500 off her $1,000 monthly drug bill for 11 prescriptions.”

As The Times further reports, corporate drug benefits managers they spoke with don't see much of an advantage to these online services saying that they, the managers, already negotiate low prices on generics. But consider that

”Ten of the country’s 15 most commonly prescribed drugs, for example, cost less than $10 on Blink Health, including generic versions of drugs like Lipitor, which manages cholesterol, and the diabetes drug metformin.”

Good RX has been in business since 2011; Blink Health is just a few weeks old. Both have easy-to-use use websites and it is certainly worth checking their prices for generics against what you pay with your standard, Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage.

If their price is lower than your copay, just pay cash with the coupon from Blink Health or Good RX.

The Times story is clear and well written. You can check out Good RX here and Blink Health here.


First Annual Time Goes By Donation Week

I was still working full time when I began developing the idea for Time Goes By. Then, when I unexpectedly withdrew from the workforce in 2004, I simply transferred the energies I had devoted to my (mostly fascinating) jobs over nearly half a century to exploring out loud on this blog, what it's really like to get old.

What I did not know at the start was that TGB would become so much more satisfying than those jobs. Even after all these years, it remains a labor of love that while I wasn't looking, also turned me into an advocate for elders.

Surprising to a woman who had been a paripatetic generalist all her life, this ongoing interest in all things ageing is as enjoyable today as when TGB was new.

That includes not just the work I turn out but the thoughtful, knowledgable and often funny contributions from the community of readers who post their observations in the comments and send suggestions for future posts or Saturday's Interesting Stuff.

All that said, here comes the pitch.

From its debut, Time Goes By has been a free and ad-free zone on the internet. As it will always remain. But now I am asking that if you find value in what is turned out here, you might consider donating to the upkeep of Time Goes By.

It takes at least as many hours per week as a full-time job for me to produce Times Goes By and the costs keep increasing.

The immediate impetus for this new “feature” is that the daily email delivery of the blog has become so cluttered with messy and intrusive advertising that it is nearly impossible to read. That is the free version from the third-party service.

To deliver an ad-free email to the thousands of subscribers costs hundreds of dollars and that is, of course, in addition to the other costs required to maintain TGB.

So today I am instituting an annual donation drive that will take place for one week somewhere near Valentine's Day each year.

The campaign consists of this introductory blog post with a link to the Paypal donation page along with a MUCH shorter version of this invitation at the top of the blog page through next Sunday.

First and foremost: no one is required to donate. Nothing about TGB will change if you do not. This is entirely voluntary.

If you do choose to donate, no amount is too small. Whatever is reasonable and comfortable for you is good.

You do not need a Paypal account to donate. When you click on the link below, the Paypal donation page will open (it's a little slow sometimes) where you will have two choices:

  1. You can donate via credit card or, if you have a Paypal account, by a money transfer both in any amount you want.

  2. You can make a one-time donation or choose a recurring monthly donation.

All this works in the Unites States and internationally.

Let me reiterate. Except for email subscribers who will begin receiving an ad-free version of Time Goes By as soon as donations reach the price of purchasing it, nothing will change.

Here is the Paypal link which you will also find near the top of the right sidebar.

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

And to not depart from the blog's purpose completely today, here is a lovely little clip from a recent Bruce Springsteen concert proving that no one is ever too old to rock out.

“A woman down in the pit area has a sign asking Bruce to dance with her 88 year old mother, and Bruce happily obliges her.”

Thank you for that clip, Tom Delmore, and thank you all for your interest in Time Goes By.


ELDER MUSIC: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

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.

* * *

CSN

Regular commenter Larry suggested I do a column on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. My old friend Tony once said the same thing. I hadn't considered them before because, although I liked them well enough, I was never a huge fan.

However, with those four, separately and together, there's a lot of material to work with, so here goes.

Each of the members came from successful groups that have reached (and forgive me for using this word) iconic status over the years.

Indeed, a couple of the bands were considered that way while they were still around as functioning units. I'm going to include something from these groups before we get to CSN&Y.

First off, DAVID CROSBY.

David Crosby

He was a founder member of The Byrds, one of the finest rock groups from the sixties. They were better than any band from that time except for a couple whose initial letter is also B.

He wrote a song called Triad which is about the pleasures of threesomes (and even more-somes). The rest of The Byrds were uncomfortable with the song, and although they recorded it, it didn't appear on any album until decades later when they released their excellent box set.

David did perform it with Grateful Dead at least once, and Jefferson Airplane also recorded it.

♫ The Byrds - Triad


Buffalo Springfield weren't together long - just over two years, around 1967 and 1968 - and they only made three albums. Any group that contained STEVE STILLS and Neil Young was bound to be volatile, as was also born out in their later group.

However, that volatility was a spur to both of them to produce even better music than they thought was possible.

Steve wrote and performed Everydays for the group.

Steve Stills

♫ Buffalo Springfield - Everydays


GRAHAM NASH came from Birmingham, England, by way of The Hollies, a group noted for their harmony singing.

Graham Nash

Graham became rather dissatisfied with the music his group was recording and went on vacation to America and caught up with David whom he'd met when The Byrds toured England a few years earlier.

They found they sang well together and one day Steve joined them in some harmony singing and the rest is history. Before that though, there were The Hollies with What's Wrong With The Way I Live.

♫ The Hollies - What's Wrong With The Way I Live


As mentioned above, NEIL YOUNG was also from Buffalo Springfield.

Neil Young

However, by the time their final album was released, he really wasn't with them. He did contribute a good song to it though. It is On The Way Home.

♫ Buffalo Springfield - On The Way Home


Before there was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young there was CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH.

CSN

Their first album was an instant success and has sold squillions. Although a trio, Steve played pretty much every instrument on the record (except for the drums). They all contributed songs.

One of Steve's was Suite ~ Judy Blue Eyes, about Judy Collins.

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - Suite ~ Judy Blue Eyes


It seems to me that Steve's songs from that album have aged better than the others have. Here is another of his, You Don't Have to Cry.

CSN

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - You Don't Have to Cry


By the time of their second album, "Déjà vu," with the addition of Neil to the group, they were barely speaking to each other. All but a couple of tracks were essentially solo performances with the others coming in (separately) to add to the tracks. Pretty much the same as some of the Beatles' last albums. Nonetheless, it produced a fine record.

CSNY

Before Neil came on board, Steve tried to convince Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and George Harrison to be their fourth member. They all refused.

From that album (that they actually managed to complete and it turned out to be not too bad at all), is another song of Steve's, 4 + 20.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - 4 + 20


CSNY

We probably have to have their big hit, Teach Your Children, a song written by Graham. They slid into country mode here with that pedal steel guitar, played by the old Deadhead himself, Jerry Garcia.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Teach Your Children


Neil added some grit to their sound. He wrote the song Ohio in a white hot fury when he heard that the Ohio National Guard had shot four students at Kent State University. The group recorded the song, mastered it and released it in a very short time, even though their previous song was still on the charts.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Ohio


NEIL YOUNG was easily the most successful of the group as a solo performer.

Neil Young

He also wrote songs that have been covered by many other artists (who perform them a lot better than he does them, in the opinion of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist).

I'm a bit perverse; I rather like it when he straps on his Les Paul Gibson, cranks up the amp and blasts out his long distorted guitar solos. Cortez the Killer is a prime example of this on record, however, that might be a tad too much for a Sunday morning.

Neil has also always been a rather perverse performer, going his own way completely disregarding his audience. In that spirit, I'll do something similar and have him perform a song he didn't write.

This was by fellow Canadian, Ian Tyson, maybe Ian's most famous song, Four Strong Winds. Neil had some help from Nicolette Larson on this one.

♫ Neil Young - Four Strong Winds


As of my writing this, they are one of the very few top groups from the sixties whose members are all still with us (a bit of a surprise in the case of David).

CSNY


INTERESTING STUFF – 13 February 2016

WHAT JOHN KASICH TOLD ELDERS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

The Ohio governor is not the mild-mannered moderate the media has been promoting since his surge into a second-place win in New Hampshire last Tuesday. Clare Malone, writing at fivethirtyeight.com is representative:

"With the ascendance of Trump, the Republican Party is facing a simmering anger in its electorate, and as it turns out, Kasich is connecting fairly well with those who aren’t full-on raging but are more civilly disagreeing with the state of the nation."

What the pundits and reporters who see Kasich as mellow-yellow to Trump's red-faced rage are not telling you is what Brad Wright of the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) stopped by here to let us know in the comments last Tuesday:

"...John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio...has said to seniors in New Hampshire that they 'will have to get over it,' when it comes to his plan to cut Social Security benefits. "Everyone who thinks this guy is pragmatic should keep this in mind," wrote Wright.

Aside from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has now dropped out of the race, Kasich is the hardest hard-liner in the Republican campaign field.

It's hard for me to spit this out but among the Republican candidates remaining in the primary race, only Donald Trump has said unequivocally that he opposes both raising the retirement age and any cuts to Social Security.


THE BALLAD OF THE MALHEUR PATRIOTS

After six long weeks, the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon came to a close this week. My friend Jim Stone sent this song which I think puts the perfect button on what was a confused, stupid and hateful protest.

Listen for the wonderful line at about 1:15 - "stormin' a building surrounded by ducks."


BORED ENGINEERS

This video has racked up nearly 51 million views on YouTube so some of you may have seen it. I hadn't and I thank Darlene Costner for sending it.

As you watch, it gets sillier and sillier and funnier and funnier and “bored engineers” is a perfect label. I'd say stoned and drunk too except it took some meticulous thought and carry-through to get this right.


HIDING BANK ACCOUNTS FROM SPOUSES

According to a survey by CreditCards.com reported in Fortune magazine, an estimated 13 million people in the U.S. have bank accounts they keep secret from their significant others.

”...19% admitted to spending more than $500 without telling their significant others, but men are almost twice as likely to have done so. Twenty-four percent of men said they had spent over $500 without telling their partners, compared to just 14% of women.

“...seniors felt the most strongly about complete disclosure when it came to spending money. Almost a quarter of those over 65 years old—24%—said their partner should spend only $25 or less without telling them, the highest percentage among all age groups.”

You can read more and see how other age groups responded at Fortune magazine.


LAST WEEK TONIGHT – THE SERIES RETURNS TOMORROW

After a long hiatus, John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight returns in a week, on Sunday 14 February. Here is the new season show promo:

As in the past, I will post Oliver's essays here in Interesting Stuff on Saturdays.


STATE OF THE STATES 2015

Last week, Gallup Analytics released its annual State of the States report with hard numbers covering data on political trends, the economy, religion and well-being all sortable by individual topic and state.

Here's a glance at the Nation map on the topic of Obama approval:

GallupNation

And here is the same map for my state, Oregon:

GallupOregon

Of course, all the maps and information are interactive at the Gallup Analytics website and all of it is easy-to-use, clear and informative. You can do it all here.


3D DRAWINGS OF STEFAN PABST

The 3D drawings I've featured in the past have been chalk on streets and buildings. These are on paper and are at least as equally amazing. In this video, artist Stefan Pabst shows how he does it:

Thank Darlene again for this one and you can see many more Pabst videos at his YouTube page.


PENGUINS – LOTS OF WONDERFUL PENGUINS

In celebration of Penguin Awareness Day which was 20 January, Bored Panda posted an excellent collection of penguin photographs.

Peter Tibbles who writes the Sunday Elder Music column let me know about this and he says penguins are way cuter than kittens. Here are a couple of examples:

Penguin-awareness-day-photography-101

Penguin-awareness-day-photography-21

You can see all the rest of the terrific photos at Bored Panda.


FOR CROSSWORD PUZZLE MAVENS

For many, many years I worked The New York Times crossword puzzle every day and came to know many of its quirks and secrets. I've long since given that up but I know many TGB readers do these word puzzles.

Last week, The Times published an interesting story about how their puzzle clues have changed – mostly simplified – over the years.

”Since the 1990s, puzzlers were occasionally asked to recognize “Burkina ____” but over the last few years, they were given additional help, “Burkina ____ (African land)” and “Burkina ____ (Niger neighbor)” (the answer is “Faso”).

There have been a lot of shifts among languages over the years too:

“'Dit' used to be clued as French for 'said'; since 1974 it refers almost exclusively to telegraphy. 'Hora' shifted from Latin (hour) to Spanish (hour) to Hebrew (dance). Uber (a car service) is no longer clued as a German preposition (over or above).”

There is a whole lot more of interesting information here about how the clues have changed over the years since The Times crossword puzzle first appeared 74 years ago.


DONALD TRUMP MEETS THE HONEYMONERS

Even though today's Interesting Stuff list is already longer than it should be, this is too good to leave out. As with Malheur above, Jim Stone found this one. The YouTube page explains it is

"a fan-made parody imagining if Mr. Trump was running for the 1952 Presidential Election."

And well done it is. Enjoy.

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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.


Contest Winners and Crabby Old Lady

WINNERS OF THE WHAT WE GAIN BOOK GIVEAWAY
What an amazing response to the Wednesday drawing for a copy of What We Gain as We Grow Older: On Gelassenheit by the well-known German philosopher, Wilhelm Schmid.

We heard from a lot of people who have never commented before and one woman asked if she, living in Scotland, is eligible. Yes. About 20 percent of TimeGoesBy readers reside in countries other than the United States and everyone has an equal shot at winning.

There are five books available and therefore five winners. I'm listing the names you used to sign your comments, not email names. Here goes:

Terre
Nana Royer
Arby
Wendl Kornfeld
Carol Killian

Each of you should use the “Contact” link at the top of this page to send me your name for snailmailing and your postal address. I will then get the books out to you forthwith. If, perchance, I do not hear from a winner by noon Pacific standard time on Monday 15 February, another winner will be chosen.

Congratulations all. I know you will enjoy the book.

This was fun. I wish we could do it more often but that's up to publishers and to my willingness to read a bunch of books to find ones I believe are worth recommending. Also, thanks to so many of you for your kind words about this blog. I feel abashed when I read them. Now to today's post...

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There's a rumor going 'round – well, it's been around for as long as Crabby Old Lady can remember – that with old age, men get grumpy. You know, the “get off my lawn” stereotype.

Some people blame this phenomenon on lower testosterone that comes with age. Crabby questions that theory since in other circles, testosterone is said to be the cause of much male belligerance. But for the purpose of Crabby's next sentence, let's just go with it. Two recent events lead Crabby to wonder if women suffer a similar affliction for the same reason – low estrogen in their case.

Two venerable old women - both worthy of our respect and admiration for groundbreaking accomplishments that have paved the way for all women - strayed into grumpy old man territory last week.

First, Madeleine Albright, the 78-year-old who served as the first female U.S. Secretary of State, tried to shame young women into voting for the second female former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton:

“Special place in hell for women who don't help each other?” Hunh? She has angered this Crabby Old Lady and embarrassed herself.

The clamor over that had not settled when, according to Katie Dreyer at Huffington Post, 81-year-old, feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, told HBO talk show host, Bill Maher,

”...that younger women were selling out by supporting [presidential candidate] Bernie Sanders, a sad phenomenon that can apparently be explained by young people's desire to impress the opposite sex: 'When you're young, you're thinking: “Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie,"' [said Steinem].

In Crabby Old Lady's view, that contradicts everything Gloria Steinem has stood for over the past half century and is nowhere near, to Crabby's knowledge, how young women today behave on issues as important as who the next president will be.

Crabby understands that these two strong, committed, hardworking women who have done more than most to improve women's rights would like to see a woman president in their lifetime. So would Crabby. But not by belittling young women.

Following near universal condemnation for her outburst, last Sunday Ms. Steinem took to Facebook to publish what has become the standard-issue political apology - “misspoke” - of anyone who lets slip what he or she really thinks. She wrote, in part,

”In a case of talk-show Interruptus, I misspoke on the Bill Maher show recently, and apologize for what's been misinterpreted as implying young women aren't serious in their politics.”

Misspoke? Misinterpreted? How? It was hardly a nuanced argument that might be difficult to make clear, and Crabby doesn't believe it for a moment. Here is Steinem's full Facebook statement:

SteinemFB

Crabby Old Lady feels betrayed by these towering feminist pioneers. Ms. Albright and Ms. Steinem have diminished themselves which may diminish their legitimate and important accomplishments for those young women they have maligned who were not, like you and me, there when the earliest hard work for women's rights was being done.

Worse, this is not only a setback for women but for old people, adding crabby old woman to the long-time grumpy old man stereotype. Elders don't need this.

Crabby is giving Katie Dreyer, the young woman from Huffpost quoted above, the last word today. She says it well:

”If I ran for President of the United States, I would want people to vote for me based on my views, my experience, my approach to debates and negotiation, and not because I happen to have been born a certain sex.

“I am a woman, but I am also a human being. This is what Steinem and Albright have taught me in their admirable fight for gender-equality.

“Whether I support Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is ultimately unimportant; what is important is my right and ability to choose in the first place. Of all people, Steinem and Albright should have understood this.”

[EDITORIAL NOTE: It has been a long time since Crabby Old Lady has made an appearance in these pages. For those who are unfamiliar with her, she is the third-party alter ego I use to give me some distance when I'm really angry and sometimes (not this one) when I'm trying to be funny about something irritating but not necessarily significant.]


What We Gain as We Grow Older - Book and Contest

That is the title of a new book by German philosopher Wilhelm Schmid. I quoted from it last June when I wrote about the value of habit; Schmid includes an entire chapter on that.

I was reading an advance copy then and told you that when an English translation became available in the U.S., I would let you know. That time has arrived.

WilhelmSchmidCover150 The subtitle of the book is “On Gelassenheit” and the definition of that word is critical to enjoying this lovely little book. Schmid begins by explaining that there is no directly equivalent word in English. It combines, he says, such meanings as serenity, equanimity, mellowness, calmness, tranquility and other related ideas.

The goal of his book, translated into English by Michael Eskin, is to show us how to bypass the ageist, forever-young culture that diminishes every one of us (yes, in Germany too) when we cross that invisible threshold into old age, and by aspiring to gelassenheit, live with and embrace growing old.

”It may actually be the case,” writes Schmid in the preface, “that gelassenheit only becomes possible as we grow older.

“After all, it is easier to be gelassen when no longer everything is at stake, when our hormones are no longer raging, when we have a lifetime's worth of experience, a broadened outlook and a time-tested sense for people and things to rely on.”

Toward this end, Schmid provides us with 10 lessons in 10 chapters that are thoughtful, inspiring, enjoyable, educational and fun.

I wouldn't be writing about this book if it were not all those things and more - Schmid and I agree on almost everything about ageing and I'm eager to share some of it with you.

As old hands at this blog know, I do not review books. I write about ones I like and this time, it makes sense to let Schmid do the talking.

He quickly walks us through the first three quarters of life and then discusses the final one, pulling no punches. Like me, many of you will be familiar with items in this passage:

”I myself tend to impatiently hurry past the elderly on the street, they are simply too slow for a 'junior senior' like me...I simply cannot imagine that before long I will be one of them...

“But I have also noticed of late that I have taken to keeping my hand close to the banister when walking up and down stairs, on the off chance that I might trip...

“I fumble in my pockets for keys that I never put there...I now have to hold the newspaper at arm's length...

“A hearing aid? Never! I don't mind no longer hearing everything – in fact, it is a relief not to have to respond to everything all the time.

“What is annoying though, is the impatience of those around me, who begrudge me this newfound freedom.”

There are joys in old age, explains Schmid, humble pleasures we hardly took time to appreciate in the hubbub of youth and middle age. The smell of freshly mown grass, a good cup of coffee, a glass of wine. Memories to be indulged in too and written down for oneself and others. Along with sex and conversation:

”...our libido changes with age: the length we used to go to placate our raging hormones is something we no longer understand, jumping each other doesn't happen that often anymore...

“...which means that sex could finally be purely a medium of communication, inspiration and exultation. More and more, though, conversation takes over that role.”

Yes. I didn't know that has been happening to me until I read that passage. Schmid continues:

”Our waning potency can be elegantly glossed over: 'I'm just not interested in it anymore!' Certainly there are pills that will reignite desire, but do we really want this if it doesn't happen on its own?...

“Sex becoming less important may even contribute to more relaxed friendships between the sexes.”

I'll attest to that.

In another chapter, Schmid takes on the related issue of touch, that although we don't discuss it much, it is a source of energy and strength throughout our lives but the opportunity for it diminishes in old age.

”The truth is: our culture, which promotes and idolizes the fragrant and unblemished complexion, turns old people into 'untouchables', as though touching them would lead to 'contracting' old age and consequently, death.”

Hardly anyone touches old people and as I related here in the past, touch is so powerful that when I booked a massage to help alleviate the lack of touch in my life, it was all I could do to not burst into tears in relief - it felt so good.

Schmid suggests massage as an antidote to so little touch in elders' lives along with the company of pets and paying attention to the touch of water in the shower or when swimming, etc. But he returns then to conversation, to enriching our spirits and our souls with this other kind of touch that contributes to gelassenheit:

”... the touch of minds in thought. When we engage in conversation, for instance, we are touched by others' thoughts and can in turn touch them with our thoughts.

“And not only in conversatioin, but in silence as well: thoughts can be exchanged without a single word being uttered.”

I have hardly scratched the surface of this engaging and, I think, important little books. “Little” because it measures only about four inches by seven inches but is packed with intelligence, compassion and learning.

What We Gain as We Grow Older: On Gelassenheit is available at bricks-and-mortar book shops, the usual online book purveyors and the American publisher, Upper West Side Philosophers, Inc., has made five copies available to give away to TGB readers.

As in the past, we will do a random drawing. Here's how it goes:

Leave a message in the comments section below (no emails). That's it. If you have something to say about What We Gain as We Grow Older, that's good – we like lively discussions here - but not required.

The only requirement is that you state your interest in winning one of the books. “Please enter me in the drawing,” works. Or typing, "Me, me, me" will do it, too. I'm not fussy.

The contest will close tomorrow night, 11 February 2016, at midnight U.S. Pacific standard time. The five winners will be chosen in a random, electronic drawing and their names will be announced on this blog on Friday 12 February 2016.


The 2016 Election and Social Security

As stated clearly in a new, 2016 report from the Economic Policy Insitute (EPI),

Social Security is a pillar of the American economy. It is the most effective anti-poverty program in the United States. For more than half of the over-65 population it is more than half of their income.”

Throughout this year – that is, the remaining nine months of the election campaign – you will hear a lot of talk about how Social Security is broken, bankrupt and needs to be cut or ended. None of that is true. Here is the short version of why from that EPI report:

”Social Security is self-sustaining and solvent; it is neither broken nor bankrupt. It faces a manageable shortfall over a 75-year actuarial window that is a reflection of long-term trends in the economy, whether they be good (increased life expectancy), bad (increased inequality), or simply a change from the past (declining fertility rates).”

As the campaign moves forward, first the primaries and then the general election, Social Security will become a debate football, as it always is. So, to begin, here is what the major Republican candidates have said about the program so far:

Jeb Bush wants to raise the retirement age and “encourage” 401(k) plans for young people.

Ben Carson appears to be in favor of raising the retirement age for Socia Security.

Chris Christie would raise the retirement age, cut Social Security for the wealthy and otherwise institute means testing for anyone who makes more than $80,000 per year. He says Social Security is bankrupt.

Ted Cruz would raise the retirement age and cap cost-of-living (COLA) increases. He has also suggested allowing workers to save up to $25,000 a year in special accounts.

John Kasich hasn't said much about Social Security but in a book ten years ago he appeared to believe that Social Security was insolvent.

Marco Rubio would gradually increase the retirement age, reduce the rate of growth for upper income recipients and “strengthen” the program for low income elders, but no details yet.

Donald Trump opposes both cuts to Social Security and raising the retirement age.

Just in case you don't trust me in regard to the viability of Social Security or that EPI rerport, here is another statement, this one from an expert on financial security of elders who writes for CBS Moneywatch.

”Doomsday statements about never receiving anything from Social Security or calling it a Ponzi scheme are simply off base and don't reflect the reality of how Social Security is financed.”

As you might imagine, the two remaining Democratic candidates for president have a stronger grasp than many of the Republicans on the realities of Social Security:

Hillary Clinton, on her campaign website says she opposes “closing the long-term SSA shortfall on the backs of the middle class, whether through benefit cuts or tax increases.” Some progressive groups believe this is not a strong enough statement against cuts or increases.

Bernie Sanders stands in long-time opposition to any and all SSA benefit cuts and has proposed legislation in the Senate to expand Social Security across the board.

Undoubtedly, as the field of candidates in winnowed down, the candidates will all be asked to provide more detail about their proposals on Social Security, and Medicare too.

What often amazes me – and many of you, also, if comments here over time are an indication – too many elders vote against their own best interests. So as we move deeper into election year, here are some resources for you to keep informed on Social Security. (I'll add information on Medicare in time.)

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) has just launched a new campaign website called Senior Vote 2016 where they will keep readers up to date on all candidates' positions and other news in regard to Social Security and Medicare.

They are convering not just presidential contenders, but congressional races in all the states. You can also sign up for a regular email newsletter from them. This looks to grow into a good, one-stop-shop for Social Security and Medicare election information.

Here is the home page of Senior Vote 2016.

As a couple of the Republican candidates' statements reveal, there is still a lot of belief that Social Security is on its last legs. President George Bush started this rumor back in 2005 when he barnstormed the country trying to “privatize” Social Security.

Whoever the Republican presidential candidate is, along with many Republican (and some Democratic) congressional candidates, will try to convince voters that privatization or something similar is necessary to “save Social Security,” as they like to say.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If you would like to create your own list of talking points about that, I have two more excellent sources for you.

That Economic Policty Institute report I mentioned at the top of this post is specifically written to explain and demystify Social Security to young people – too many of whom believe it won't be there for them. You can read and download it here for free (PDF). It's just as good for old people who need a refresher.

My old friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Saul Friedman, who died in 2010, wrote for this blog twice a week during the last couple of years of his life. I'm so proud to have hosted his words and thoughts and his posts are as relevant today as they were then.

Here is one from Saul about Social Security that tells you in easy-to-digest chunks everything you could want to know.


ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias (10-1)

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

* * *

As I mentioned last week in the countdown from 20 to 11, Australia's ABC Classical station had a listeners' poll on their favorite opera arias. These are the big cheeses, so counting down from 10 to 1.

10. RICHARD STRAUSS - Der Rosenkavalier - Hab' mir's gelobt, ihm lieb zu haben

StraussR4

Rich isn't related to the Strauss family who wrote all those waltzes. He's probably best known for the tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra because the initial part of that was used at the beginning of the film "2001, A Space Odyssey.”

“Der Rosenkavalier” was wildly successful when it was premiered in 1911 and has remained popular ever since. The trio Hab mir (etc) is towards the end of the opera when the main bloke has to decide between the two women in his life (one of them saw the light and left him to the other).

Today we have ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF, ANNELIESE ROTHENBERGER and SENA JURINAC playing those roles.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf&Anneliese Rothenberger&Sena Jurinac1

♫ Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier ~ Hab mir's gelobt, ihm lieb zu haben


9. CHRISTOPH GLUCK - Orfeo and Euridice - Che faro senza Euridice

Gluck1

“Orfeo and Euridice” belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale. Ah ha. Dr Google informs me that that means an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. Okey doke, it looks as if everything is covered there.

From that we have the contralto MAUREEN FORRESTER performing Che Faro Senza Euridice or What shall I do without Euridice?

What he does is to decide to top himself – a lot of that goes on in opera – but his mate Amore talks him out of it. In spite of Orfeo being a bloke, his part is usually sung by a woman. Strange things, operas.

MaureenForrester2

♫ Gluck - Orfeo and Euridice ~ Che Faro Senza Euridice


8. GIUSEPPE VERDI - Rigoletto - Bella figlia dell'amore (Act III quartet)

Verdi7

We have the big guns now, Giuseppe with the opera, and JOAN SUTHERLAND and LUCIANO PAVAROTTI as Gilda and the Duke. Sounds like a TV program from the eighties.

Luciano&Joan4

They perform Bella figlia dell'amore, which is called a quartet on the CD, but I don't know who the other two are.

♫ Verdi - Rigoletto ~ Bella figlia dell'amore


7. RICHARD WAGNER - Tristan and Isolde – Liebestod

Wagner2

Rules are meant to be broken and I'm about to break one of my own self-imposed rules that has held sway for the entire life of this column until now. That is, I wasn't ever going to play any Wagner. Oh well, the good burghers of Australia have ensured that that's gone by the wayside.

The only thing that has made this palatable to me is that I have the incomparable JESSYE NORMAN performing Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde.”

Jessye Norman

♫ Wagner - Tristan and Isolde ~ Liebestod


6. GIACOMO PUCCINI - Madame Butterfly - Un bel dì (One fine day)

Puccini9

Just about every soprano worth her salt has had a crack at this one. I have quite a few versions of this particular aria but I'm rather fond of RENATA SCOTTO's version.

RenataScotto1

Okay, I'm rather fond of them all but Renata's is the one you're getting (just to vary the singers a bit).

It's mostly known as One Fine Day, or Un Bel Dì Vedremo in Italian. Cio-Cio San sings about how Pinkerton is going to return one day and take her back to America as his wife. Is she in for a surprise.

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Un Bel Dì Vedremo


5. HENRY PURCELL - Dido and Aeneas - Thy hand, Belinda… When I am laid in earth (Dido's Lament)

Purcell4

Dido and Aeneas was Henry's first opera and one of the first operas written in English. It was initially performed around 1688 at a girls' school in London.

It is based on Virgil's Aeneid (or part of that work, anyway). JESSYE NORMAN is on hand to sing Thy hand, Belinda, When I am laid in Earth.

Jessye13

♫ Purcell - Dido and Aeneas ~ Thy hand, Belinda - When I am laid in earth


4. WOLFGANG MOZART - Così fan tutte - Soave sia il vento

Mozart

My favorite operas of Wolfie's weren't selected but I can't quibble because any from him is worth listening to.

Actually, this aria is sublime and it's performed by MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ, JANET BAKER and RICHARD VAN ALLAN. It's Soave sia il vento (or May the wind be gentle).

Montserrat&Janet&Richard1

♫ Mozart - Così fan tutte ~ Soave sia il vento


3. LÉO DELIBES - Lakmé - Sous le dôme épais (Flower Duet)

Delibes2

This aria is hugely popular so it's no surprise that it came in at number three. It's been used in other settings – in films, TV and (alas) advertisements.

The opera is set in India and all the bigwigs go off to the temple to do whatever they do leaving Lakmé behind. She goes down to the river to gather flowers with her servant and they sing this as they collect them.

Performing those roles are ELINA GARANCA and ANNA NETREBKO who sing together quite a lot.

ElinaGaranca &AnnaNetrebko1

♫ Delibes - Lakmé ~ Sous le dôme épais


2. VERDI - Nabucco - Va, pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew slaves)

Verdi4

Va, pensiero/dm (or Chorus of the Hebrew slaves) gives choral music a good name. It makes you want to sing along or conduct along as I was doing as I played this piece of music.

The choristers are the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Be warned: there are three really loud chords about 30 seconds in.

♫ Verdi - Nabucco ~ Va pensiero


1. GEORGES BIZET - The Pearl Fishers - Au fond du temple saint

Bizet1

The voting public got this right. There are many duets in opera but none of them are better than this one.

Georges is better known as the creator of "Carmen" (which was a total flop when first performed) but I prefer “The Pearl Fishers” as does the listening public here in Oz it seems.

Again, I had several versions from which to choose, and settled on JUSSI BJÖRLING and ROBERT MERRILL performing Au fond du temple saint (or In the depths of the temple).

JussiBjörling&RobertMerrill3

♫ Bizet - The Pearl Fishers ~ Au fond du temple saint



INTERESTING STUFF – 6 February 2016

THE ULTIMATE CAT LADY

Except when I was married for awhile half a century ago and we had four cats, I have always had one cat at a time. There is a reason for that: I'm pretty sure if I starting taking in more cats, I wouldn't stop and I'd become the crazy cat lady on my block. I have never wanted to be that.

But this lady, 67-old Lynea Lattanzio, does. She has 1100 cats (that is not a typo). This is her story:

Learn more about the Cat House On The Kings at the website.

JOHN OLIVER ON THE TONIGHT SHOW

John Oliver's HBO program Last Week Tonight returns next weekend.

Meanwhile, a week or so ago, he visited Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show to explain why interviewing Edward Snowden in Russia was much less legally safe than founding his own church - both of which he did last season:

FASTEST RUBIK'S CUBE SOLVING ROBOT

”They” keep telling us that the robots will conquer the world, take over everything and eventually rule humanity.

Perhaps a step toward that outcome happened a couple of weeks ago when, for the first time, a computer solved Rubik's Cube faster than any human has.

Two friends, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose, built the robot that solved Rubik's Cube in 1.04 seconds. The human world record is 4.904 seconds.

Here's the video. I don't understand a word these guys are saying but it's worth sticking around to the end to see the speedy robot solve the cube.

CIA RELEASES SECRET “X FILES” DOCUMENTS

Maybe you know that after 25 years or so, The X-Files TV show has returned for a six-episode reprise.

I watched the old series now and then. I was not a diehard fan in those days but for some reason, I've made this go-round a must watch and I am thoroughly enjoying the update. It may be that the CIA is also enjoying it. As Raw Story reports:

”Prior to the relaunch of Fox’s supernatural and conspiracy series The X Files, the normally secretive Central Intelligence Agency became less publicity shy, releasing documents and photos detailing their own top secret investigations into UFO sightings.

“On their blog, — yes, the CIA has a blog — the agency invited the world to 'take a peek into our X Files,' providing photos and links to documents dating back to the early 50’s.”

For some reason I find this charming. You can read more at Raw Story and check out the CIA documents here.

THE U.S. ELECTION FROM ONE EUROPEAN POINT OF VIEW

There was a lot of response here last Monday when I broke with precedent and wrote about our presidential election campaign.

A few commenters said they were not paying attention, or not close attention. On Thursday, a TGB reader in Germany, Freya, explained why she wants all Americans to keep a close eye on the campaign. A couple of excerpts:

”Believe it or not, I followed the Iowa caucus live on TYT Network online, staying up all night till 5 in the morning. I found it very exciting. My heart goes out to Bernie Sanders.

“Why would I be interested?

“Who will be the next POTUS is relevant and important to the whole world, not only to the US alone.

“Enough is enough, quoting Mr.Sanders, appears to be right on so many fields, not only wealth distribution, but also regarding messing up the Middle East and up to a certain extent, the whole world...

“Please do not walk away from being interested in politics, your decisions matter for all of us. Greetings from good old Europe!”

Freya has a lot more good reasons for wanting us to pay close attention to the campaign. You can read her full comment here.

UPDATE: After preparing this post, Freya left another note about the importance of political news coverage and compares U.S. (she lived in the U.S. in the past) and German news. It's interesting to have an informed European perspective and worth your time to click over and read.

BERNIE SANDERS ON RELIGION

Speaking of our presidential campaign, last Thursday evening CNN held a Democratic Town Hall with candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Personally, I don't believe a candidate's religion should be anyone's business, including voters, but that's not the way the U.S. works these days.

So CNN anchor Anderson Cooper asked Mr. Sanders this question:

“You’re Jewish, but you’ve said that you’re not actively involved with organized religion. What do you say to a voter out there who says - and that who sees faith as a guiding principle in their lives, and wants it to be a guiding principle for this country?”

You can't ask for any better answer than Bernie Sanders gave – better than any politician of any party or religious leaning I've ever heard:

“I believe that, as a human being, the pain that one person feels, if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs, you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me.

“And I worry very much about a society where some people spiritually say, it doesn’t matter to me, I got it, I don’t care about other people. So my spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feeling.”

Yes. We are all in this together, folks, and I don't understand why so many political candidates and voters, too – often the ones who proclaim their faith most vociferously - don't believe that.

100 YEARS OF CARS

You would think that I, as someone who didn't own a car for nearly half a century and sees them still as nothing more than a means to get from here to there, wouldn't care but this video. But you would be wrong.

The producers of this video have chosen one glorious auto design example for each decade of the last hundred years and lovingly photographed them. Beautiful.

FIRST U.S. AIRPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has won approval to build a new terminal. But you'll never get to use it. The plan is

”...to redevelop a cargo hangar into the US’s first terminal dedicated to the rich and famous. The airport said the Los Angeles Suite, which will allow celebrities and diplomats to avoid paparazzi, or protesters, by allowing cars to drop off guests behind closed doors...

“It will cost [passengers] $1,500-$1,800 per trip to use the new terminal, which will include exclusive lounges, dedicated catering and separate security and border checkpoints.

“Deborah Ale Flint, executive director of Los Angeles World Airports which operates LAX, said allowing celebrities a private route through the airport will also make travelling more pleasant for the general public, who have often been caught up in media scrums.”

Yeah, right. You can read more at Raw Story.

TEEN CLIMBS GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA

Eighteen-year-old German tourist Andrej Ciesielski got a view that few people ever see - Egypt from the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Climbiing the ancient pyramids is forbidden and he was caught by police when he reached the bottom. It took only eight minutes to get to top, says Ciesielski, but 20 minutes to get back down. Here's part of the video he shot.

The police released Ciesielski after questioning. You can read more at Gizmodo and the full eight-minute video is here.

THE ELEPHANTS THAT CAME TO DINNER

As the YouTube page explains,

”At [Mfuwe Lodge] a five-star lodge in Zambia, a bizarre phenomenon is stumping wildlife experts and delighting tourists. An elephant family, led by a matriarch named Wonky Tusk, is overtaking the lobby.

“Though elephants can be violent in the wild, here they climb the stairs of Mfuwe Lodge and grace past reception without bumping a chair.”

You'll see immediately why the matriarch is called Wonky Tusk and it is a fascinating story. (I keep thinking I've posted this before but it's such a good story, who cares.)

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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.


Reporting From the Country of Old Age

As I've told you ad nauseum here, I started studying ageing 20-odd years ago because the received wisdom everywhere in those days was that getting old is awful, the worst thing that could happen to anyone.

It consists, they all said, of decline, debility, disease and death but I just couldn't or wouldn't believe it and I still don't.

So in addition to keeping up with ageing as it relates to health, medical research, social issues, discrimination, politics, entertainment, news reporting, humor and more at Time Goes By, I have also made it a point to discuss the everyday indications of growing old that no one younger (you know, the people who do the most writing about age) have any experience with.

We don't shy away here from frank talk of female baldness, incontinence, memory lapses, muffin tops, disappearing butts, sex in old age, becoming invisible to the world, losing old friends, fear of dementia, plus the biggest one of all, facing death – and that list doesn't begin to cover it.

For today's post, I had been fussing with an essay about the difficulty of telling the difference between age-related slowness versus laziness. I was getting nowhere useful or worthwhile until an email arrived from my friend, Ken Pyburn, with this quotation from British writer and Booker Prize winner, Penelope Lively, who is currently 82 years old:

“One of the few advantages of age is that you can report on it with a certain authority; you are a native now, and know what goes on here...Our experience is one unknown to most of humanity, over time. We are the pioneers."

- From Dancing Fish and Ammonites – A Memoir (2013)

Exactly! I thought. That is exactly what I do here, “report on old age with a certain authority” - as do other elders, you in the comments, for example – because we are living it, this country of elderhood, as no one can until they get here.

In regard to that reporting, a large part of what I do to produce this blog is keep an eye on myself as the years pass, to watch the changes and compare them to what I read and hear from others about this experience of growing old.

Ms. Lively's quotation being a native now of this land clarified my thinking on the original topic I had planned so I can now shorten it from 15 or 20 rambling paragraphs I was working on to three or four. It boils down to this:

Whether it is household chores like vacuuming and dusting or outside events – a meeting, lunch or dinner with a friend, a movie, a day trip to the coast or a winery – I seem to be doing fewer of these.

It breaks down to one planned event a day that I find tolerable. If I have a dental appointment - come on, it's only an hour - I won't book a social engagement. If this is the day I choose to clean the bathrooms, vacuum, do the laundry and scrub floors, I won't go to lunch.

And, whenever I do plan a day with others, I go to great lengths to be sure I am free of engagements on the days before and after to be alone.

Compared to most people I've known, even in youth and middle age I needed more time alone. But I seem to need much more now of what I think of as a psychic renewal period after being with others before I'm ready to face the outside world again.

Since I've noticed this phenomenon, the puzzle has been whether desiring more quiet time is common to growing older or if I am just being lazy. Or maybe I want to slow down life itself – that is, even if my walking pace doesn't appear to have changed, perhaps my life pace might be slowing, taking more time to move from one activity to the next.

Most of the literature on age and social life is concerned with people who are isolated and lonely which doesn't shed much light on what I'm talking about.

So today, let's take Ms. Lively's assertion that we are pioneers in this country of old age, that we know a bit of what we speak, and take a crack at this question of laziness or natural slowing of daily life. Have you noticed this? What do you think?