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A Podcast in Which I am Interviewed – Part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Consider the Quarterstaff

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

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

Here is Bill's quarterstaff column from 2008.

* * *

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

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

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

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

There are two reasons people use walking canes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gandalf2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELDER MUSIC: The Song Whisperer

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Les Gilliam

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

♫ Les Gilliam - The Shifting, Whispering Sands


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

Dell Vikings

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

♫ Del Vikings - Whispering Bells


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

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

On this one she has the help of GORDON MACRAE.

Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae

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

♫ Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae - Whispering Hope


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

William Hayes

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

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

Evelyn Tubb

♫ William Hayes - Still it whispered promised pleasure


THE INK SPOTS were a huge influence on DooWop music.

Ink Spots

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

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

♫ Ink Spots - Whispering Grass


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

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

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

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

♫ Nino & April - Whispering


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

The Band

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

♫ The Band - Whispering Pines


We in Australia have known about RENEE GEYER for decades.

Renee Geyer

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

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

♫ Renee Geyer - Stares and Whispers


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

Patti Page

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

♫ Patti Page - Whispering Winds


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

Iris Dement

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

♫ Iris DeMent - Whispering Pines


INTERESTING STUFF – 27 August 2016

WILLIE'S RESERVE

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

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

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

COMPARING NUTRITION OF BREAKFASTS AROUND THE WORLD

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

You can read more at the The Washington Post.

SANITY POSTER

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

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

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

SciencePoster

HANDMADE GLOBES IN LONDON

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

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

AMAZING GRACE LIKE YOU'VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE

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

A SUITCASE THAT FOLLOWS YOU LIKE A PUPPY

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

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

KFC SECRET RECIPE REVEALED?

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

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

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

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

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

360 DEGREE BACKYARD SWING

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

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

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

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

GENIUS ACTS OF VANDALISM

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

MANHATTAN'S TURTLE LADY

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

In New York City of all places.

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

* * *

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


Consider the Cane by Ann Burack-Weiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to today.

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

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

Eldercrossing400b

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

* * *

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

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


Ronni Bennett's and John Oliver's Vacation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Good News on Medicare Observation Status

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRUMP BAD NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ELDER MUSIC: Top 10 Jazz Albums

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

* * *

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

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

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

THELONIOUS MONK is THE bebop pianist.

Monk-Dream

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

♫ Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream


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

Miles-Someday

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

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

♫ Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come


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

Coltrane-Village

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

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

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

♫ John Coltrane - Spiritual


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

Brubeck-Time

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

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

♫ Dave Brubeck - Kathy's Waltz


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

Baker-Chet

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

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

♫ Chet Baker - If You Could See Me Now


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

Hartman-Coltrane

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

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

♫ Johnny Hartman - Lush Life


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

Ellington-Coltrane

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

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

♫ Coltrane & Ellington - In a Sentimental Mood


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

Evans-Waltz

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

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

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

♫ Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby (Take 1)


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

Torme-Red

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

♫ Mel Tormé - Mountain Greenery


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

Mulligan-Jeru

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

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

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Blue Boy


INTERESTING STUFF – 20 August 2016

THEY'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?

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

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

They're kidding, right?

LOUIS BLACK ON LARRY WILMORE

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

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

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

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

RETIREM-ANT AIN'T ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEADLIEST GARDEN IN THE WORLD

The YouTube page expains:

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

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

Wikipedia has a long list of poisonous plants.

YO-YO MASTER

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

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

JOHN OLIVER – USED CAR SALESMEN

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

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

DESERT LAGOON WITH A LOVELY LEGEND

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

TWO U.S. OLYMPIANS BACK TO BACK

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

SimoneBilesDavidLee2

NOT YOUR AVERAGE SQUIRREL VIDEO

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

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

* * *

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


Does Ageism Contribute to Donald Trump's Appeal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?


Happy Birthday, Millie Garfield

91 Rocks

My oldest friend on the internet, Millie Garfield, is rockin' 91 years today. Well, her actual birthday is tomorrow, Thursday, but I publish on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays so we'll just have to celebrate for two days.

Millie began blogging in 2003, even before I started, and although she isn't doing as much of that lately, there is plenty of rich content to explore at her My Mom's Blog.

For a long time, Millie's son, Steve, produced two video series with Millie for her blog: I Can't Open It and Millie's Yiddish Class.

Here's a sample of I Can't Open It - which most of us old folks can relate to and it's is also a great example of Millie's infectious laugh:

And here is one of Millie's Yiddish videos:

Millie is still teaching Yiddish – now with fellow residents at Brooksby Village in Massachusetts where she has lived since 2012. To help you keep up, here's how to say Happy Birthday, Millie in Yiddish:

A Freilekhn Geburtsog, Matel.

Many of us, when we were kids, played Pin the Tail on the Donkey at our birthday parties. Last year on Millie's birthday here, we played an age game – adding up the number of all our years to see what our cumulative total is. Let's try it again this year.

Take Millie's years, 91. Add my years, 75, and we've got 166. Now, the next one of you, in the comments, should add your age to that, then the next of you add to that total and then the next and so on.

Of course, because more than one will comment at a time, the total will get all screwed up – but that's part of the fun at birthday parties, just being silly. Last year, the final count was 6,414. Let's see if we can outdo that this year.

So, Millie – know that I treasure our friendship, it is a privilege to know you and I wish you a rockin' great 91st birthday. Oh, and here are a few of your favorite flower – actually about a billion of them.

Sunflowers 12

Birthday greetings for Millie can also be left at her blog.


A TGB EXTRA: Good News About Social Security...

...and you helped make it happen.

Remember two weeks ago when I told you about a new requirement at the Social Security website? Here it is as explained in an email from that federal agency [emphasis is mine]:

When you sign in at ssa.gov/myaccount with your username and password, we will ask you to add your text-enabled cell phone number."

Because only 27 percent of people 65 and older own cell phones, this was idiotic; it locked millions of people out of their own information. I gave you a couple of email addresses where you could send your objections, including the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Now look at what has happened.

Yesterday, a press release arrived from that Committee. Let me quote some of it to you – again, the emphasis is mine:

”Following efforts from U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Claire McCaskill, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Aging Committee, seniors will once again be able to access their Social Security accounts online without needing to have a cell phone.

“Senators Collins and McCaskill sent a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) last week urging immediate action to roll back a new policy that required text message authentication for seniors to access their “my Social Security” account online.

“While noting the need for enhanced security, Senators Collins and McCaskill were concerned that using text message authentication as the only means of guaranteeing an individual’s access to their account put an undue burden on seniors, many of whom do not own a cell phone.

“Following the letter from Collins and McCaskill, as well as feedback from customers around the country, the SSA announced it is rolling back the policy that would have limited access for some users."

Just two weeks from implementation of a bureaucratic folly to resolution. When was the last time, I wonder, the federal government worked this quickly.

You can read the letter Senators McCaskill and Collins sent to the the acting director of Social Security here [pdf]. And here is the pertinent blog post at the Social Security website.

If you are one of the people who wrote letters, take a bow. Sometimes, now and then, occasionally and once in awhile speaking up works.

It matters not that this was an easy one for the Committee. Far less goes undone in Washington for years at a time. Hurray for us.


Getting Elder Sex Out of the Closet

One of the pleasures of writing this blog for so many years - more than a dozen so far - is watching how issues affecting elders sometimes get better.

When I began doing this, the general attitude toward old people having sex was “ick” and in fact, nursing, assisted living and other care homes had rules against sex between residents - even, sometimes, married couples.

Those rules have been widely relaxed in recent years, but I recently ran across this report about how such personal rights of residents in some assisted living residences are restricted:

”...these facilities share a mission of providing a homelike environment that emphasizes consumer choice, autonomy, privacy and control” reports Medical News Today of the research done in several care homes in Georgia...

“The study found that staff and administrators affirmed that residents had rights to sexual and intimate behavior, but they provided justifications for exceptions and engaged in strategies that created an environment of surveillance, which discouraged and prevented sexual and intimate behavior.”

Contrast that to a well-known care home in New York City, that has had a rational, life-giving, respectful attitude toward the sexual desires of its residents for more than 20 years. As Bloomberg News reported it in 2013:

”'The nurse was frantic,” as Gruley relates the story. “She’d just seen two elderly people having sex in a room at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York. She asked Daniel A. Reingold, then the home’s executive vice president, what she should do.

“'Tiptoe out and close the door so you don’t disturb them,' he told her.

“In 1995, the home adopted a four-page policy - considered the first of its kind - stating that residents 'have the right to seek out and engage in sexual expression,' including 'words, gestures, movements or activities which appear motivated by the desire for sexual gratification.'”

Notwithstanding complications in such a policy that must be addressed for people with varying degrees of cognitive difficulty, having anything less than a policy closely resembling the one at the Hebrew Home not only breaches elders' human rights, it infantilizes them.

It takes a long time for long-held beliefs to change (see civil rights, women's rights, religious bigotry, etc. etc.) and although I can't be sure, reports of repression of sexual activity in assisted living seems to be declining fairly quickly now.

A recent story in The New York Times reveals that the Hebrew Home has further expanded its liberal attitude toward sex among residents:

”The Hebrew Home has stepped up efforts to help residents looking for relationships. Staff members have organized a happy hour and a senior prom, and started a dating service, called G-Date, for Grandparent Date. Currently, about 40 of the 870 residents are involved in a relationship.”

You can read the Hebrew Home's now six-page Residents Sexual Rights policies and procedures here [pdf].

The Hebrew Home has been ahead of many others on the issue of residents' sexual rights but stories like this one about a recently released research study of 6,800 people age 50 to 89, from Coventry University in the U.K., can help change even more minds:

”In our analysis, we took into account many factors that might influence either sexual activity or cognition – age, education, wealth, levels of physical activity, cohabiting status, general health, depression, loneliness and quality of life.

“Even after adjusting for all of these factors statistically, we established that there is indeed an association between sexual activity and higher scores on tests of cognitive function in people over the age of 50 years.”

Obviously, the next question is whether sex improves brain power or vice versa. Either way, it couldn't be a bad thing.

Sometimes it appears that the business and creative communities are ahead of science. There is a growing number of movies about love between old people, including sex scenes. I wrote about some of them last year that you can find it here.

The website Stitch has been helping elders find love - or just companionship and new friends - for two years now, and there is a movie from 2015, The Age of Love, about an evening of speed dating that was held in Rochester, New York, exclusively for people age 70 to 90. As the producers explain:

”Faced with feelings 'even our own kids never ask about,' each dater’s intimate confessions blend with revealing vérité to shed light on the intense and complex feelings that still lurk behind wrinkled skin and thinning hair.”

Here is the trailer:

The Age of Love is not playing in theaters but there is a list of about two dozen screenings in cities throughout the U.S. at the film's website along with a page where you can find out how to host a screening in your area.

Undoubtedly, there are young people who still don't want to know anything at all about old people having sex (ewww!) and that's fine. They will be glad when they're our age that our generation helped make it okay for them to be sexy.


ELDER MUSIC: Australian Favorites - Mozart (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 in the countdown from 20 to 11, Australia's ABC Classical station had a listeners' poll on their favorite Mozart works. These are the top guns, the big kahunas, so counting down from 10 to 1.

Mozart

10. Exsultate Jubilate K165 – Allelujah
Wolfie didn't write many motets; this would be the best known of them. It was written for a castrato but as there are few of those around anymore, a soprano usually takes over.

In this case it's MARGARET MARSHALL with the Allelujah.

Margaret Marshall

♫ Exsultate Jubilate K165 - Allelujah


9. Piano Concerto No.23 in A K488 – Adagio
The first of two piano concertos today. This was written about the time he wrote the “Marriage of Figaro.” It was part of a subscription concert where Wolfie played the piano at the premiere of the concerto. Here is the second movement.

Piano Concerto N° 23 ~ II. Adagio


8. Serenade 'Gran Partita' in B flat K361 – Adagio
The Serenade number 10 has gained the nickname "Gran Patita", although Wolfie didn't call it that and it's misspelt anyway. There are seven movements but we're not going to sit through them all, just the third.

♫ Serenade No. 10 KV 361 ~ Gran Partita - Adagio


7. The Magic Flute K620 - Der Hölle Rache kocht
The Flute was the second last opera Wolfie wrote. At this time he was seriously involved in the local opera company and he wrote this one for them. He also conducted the first performance.

Emanuel Schikaneder, who wrote the words for the opera, played Papageno in that first production. Wolfie took note of the skills of the singers on offer and tailored the music to suit them.

The singer who performed the Queen of the Night (Josepha Hofer, Wolfie's sister-in-law) must have been a prodigious talent as performers since have complained about the difficulty of the role. LUCIANA SERRA plays the Queen here with Der Hoelle Rache.

Luciana Serra

♫ The Magic Flute - Der Hoelle Rache


6. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339 - Laudate Dominum
The complete work was composed for liturgical use in the Salzburg Cathedral. However, Laudate Dominum, the fifth movement of this work, is often performed as a stand-alone piece for soprano and choir.

I swoon for we have both Mozart's music and CECILIA BARTOLI to perform it.

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Vesperae solennes de confessore K339 - Laudate Dominum


We had a bit from the Requiem last week and here is another. As I mentioned then, Wolfie didn't complete this work but this was another that is undeniably his, Lacrymosa or A Day of Tears.

♫ Requiem K626 - Lacrymosa (A Day Of Tears)


4. Così fan tutte K588 - Soave sia il vento
Così is a favorite of opera goers and is often performed. I had another singer pencilled in for singing this but I did a further search of my music and found CECILIA BARTOLI performing it.

Cecilia Bartoli

Naturally, she gets the guernsey today (or any day). Lella Cuberli and John Tomlinson lend a hand (or a vocal cord) with Soave sia il vento.

♫ Così fan tutte K588 - Soave sia il vento


3. Piano Concerto No.21 in C K467 – Andante
This piano concerto became very well known after it was featured in the film "Elvira Madigan". I'm rather ambivalent about classical music in films but when they play it straight it's not too bad.

Sorry, that's sounds as if I'm up myself, forget I said that. The second movement.

♫ Piano Concerto N° 21 ~ II. Andante


2. Ave Verum Corpus K618
I wasn't familiar with the Ave Verum Corpus before I wrote this column although I had it in my big box set of everything Mozart wrote (there's a lot of music in those CDs, and it takes a long while to listen to them all).

It was written very late in his life and it sounds to me very reminiscent of his not too much later Requiem.

♫ Ave Verum Corpus


1. Clarinet Concerto in A K622 – Adagio
For once, I'm in complete agreement with the voting masses - well those masses who listen to Oz classical music radio. The Clarinet Concerto is the most beautiful piece of music ever written, and the second movement the jewel in the crown of the composition.

This was the last piece of music that Wolfie completed, the Requiem (above) was not finished. Just sit back and take this in.

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Adagio


INTERESTING STUFF – 13 August 2016

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Today's Interesting Stuff is long on animals – all but two items. I didn't plan it that way but there just were a lot of them this week so why not go with it.

Enjoy.

* * *

CLEVER DOG

Not all dogs like water. This one lost his tennis ball in the swimming pool. What to do, what to do when you don't want to get wet?

Take a look:

BABY OWLS

Sunday TGB music columnist Peter Tibbles sent this one. From the YouTube page:

”Watch as a family of three adorable owls curiously investigate a GoPro camera left running outside of their tree hole home. Credit to Sebastien Barrio.”

A PUPPY FOLLOWS A MARATHONER FOR 77 MILES

Dion Leonard is an extreme marathoner who, earlier this year, was participating in the seven-day 4 Deserts Race Series in China when this happened:

“'At the start of day two, Gobi [named for the desert] was on the start line next to me looking up at me,' Leonard told The Independent. 'I didn’t speak much to her that day thinking she wouldn’t stay with me, but at the finish line she followed me into the tent and we slept next to each other. That was it then.'”

Gobi Desert

Gobi had followed Leonard for 77 miles and he decided to adopt her but there was a glitch:

”Mr Leonard set up the crowdfunding page to raise funds towards organising for Gobi to be transported from China to live with him in Scotland.

“The process will take up to four months and cost £5,000, with the dog having to be medically checked and quarantined before she can be cleared for entry.”

Leave it to the internet to help. The funding page has raised three-and-a-half times the goal and Leonard says he will “spend any leftover money on a dog shelter charity or dog rescue facility.”

Gobi End of Race

Gobi's Facebook page is well visited as she waits release from quarantine.

THE DUCK SQUAD

This is great. Wait till you see this. As the YouTube page explains:

”They’re short, they waddle, and they’re coming to eat the snails. Meet the quack squad, nature’s very own pest control.

“Every morning, duck farmer Denzel Metthys releases over 1,000 Indian Runner ducks on the Vergenoegd Winery in South Africa. Trained to march in a long line en route to the vineyard, these ducks mean business.”

THE WORLD'S BIGGEST ASSHOLE

Now don't go getting all upset about that headline – just give it a moment. This the oddest public service announcement I've ever seen but it sure got my attention.

The link at the end of the video goes to a real organ donation registration website, registerme.org.

REPAIRING AN ICONIC GLOBAL LANDMARK

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, New York the Statue of Liberty, San Francisco the Golden Gate Bridge. And Rio de Janiero, where billions of pairs of eyes are trained these two weeks for the Olympics, has Christ the Redeemer statue high up on a hill.

When lightning damaged the statue a few years ago, repairs had to me made. Here is a video about that (if heights are a bother, you may want to skip this).

There is more to read about the repair here.

THE CAT OLYMPICS

First this week, Peter Tibbles sent a story about an imaginary Pet Olympics as animals would devise the games, "reported" in The Mercury News:

”Any pet can compete in track and field, but one special event will be reserved for small dogs only - the Ego Vault. In this event, a small dog will go for the gold by challenging larger dogs, heavyset cats and imaginary monsters, showing off their ferocity. Biting is not allowed, but barking and growling are permitted.”

Then, this feline Olympics video turned up in my inbox from Furball Fables.

”Every 4 years Cathletes from nations world wide compete in a test of strength and prowless in the Cat Olympics!” explains the YouTube page.

“The Furball kitties are taking part in the games for the US team. The pressure is on for these American mewcomers, they are cute, but can they win the gold? How pawsome can they be? Dreams can come true! Winners believe in greatness! Hear them roar! Celebrating the Summer Cat Games 2016!”

PIPING PLOVER BABIES

In this short, little video, the kiddies just want to keep warm but it gets crowded under Mom whose patience is tested. Thank TGB reader Ruth-Ellen B. Joeres for this.

DOLPHIN SNATCHES IPAD

Caught on video at Seaworld: a dolphin snatches an iPad right out of a woman's hand. And then he (she?) splashes the spectators and seems almost giddy (can a dolphin be giddy?) at the success of his/her game.

THE PERFECT COUPLE

This turned up on Buzzfeed. It makes me laugh but it's kind of sweet, too.

BeardedDragonToy

* * *

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.


John Oliver on the Importance of Local Newspapers

On Monday's post about AARP and ALEC, a reader complimented me on my investigative reporting. It's good to know that what I write here is appreciated but in this case and almost all others, I cannot take credit for the information I pass on.

Just your ordinary, everyday, original reporting takes more time that I have to keep up this blog; investigations take days, weeks and years (see Watergate) so I don't do much of that. I rely on the hard work of others.

What I do most of the time is gather existing information about a topic, evaluate it for quality, reliability and interest, edit as makes sense and pass it on in story form and always citing sources.

This is pertinent today because the main video essay on John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight last Sunday was about what America is losing as its local newspapers are cutting back and shutting down.

I understand from the many polls that journalism is one of the least liked and least respected institutions in the United States and I disagree with that public condemnation.

Yes, I worked in various forms of journalism for most of my career and some would say that makes me prejudiced. I disagree with that too. I know the mistakes that are made (as are made in every kind of business and industry) from the inside; I also know that the largest percentage of news gets it right most of the time; and I know that our democracy, under attack for years from many sides, cannot survive without journalists and without local newspapers.

Our best-known founding father, Thomas Jefferson, apparently never stopped talking about the necessity of a free press to the survival of democracy. There are dozens of quotations about it from him. Here's one:

”Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

We are losing too much of our free press, particularly at the local level, and Oliver's essay last week is so true as to make one weep at the end. But not David Chavern, CEO of the Newspaper Association of America.

He's a churlish sort of fellow who can't see the gift Oliver presented to the newspapers his organization represents. Instead, he saw insults, accusing Oliver of

”...making fun of experiments and pining away for days when classified ads and near-monopolistic positions in local ad markets funded journalism is pointless and ultimately harmful...he spends most of the piece making fun of publishers who are just trying to figure it out.”

Not a word of that is true but let me quote Margaret Sullivan, media columnist at the Washington Post, rebutting Mr. Chavern – she does it so well:

”What Oliver did was precisely nail everything that’s been happening in the industry that Chavern represents: The shrinking staffs, the abandonment of important beats, the love of click bait over substance, the deadly loss of ad revenue, the truly bad ideas that have come to the surface out of desperation, the persistent failures to serve the reading public.

“Oliver — who is, after all, in the comedy business — did indeed make fun of Tronc, the renamed Tribune Co., whose incomprehensible corporate jargon thoroughly deserves the drubbing it’s been getting in recent months.

“And he took some well-deserved shots at media’s addiction to content that generates digital traffic, particularly ever-weirder stories about cats.

“And Oliver’s final sequence was a brilliant send-up of the movie Spotlight as it would be in the new newspaper environment.

“In short, Oliver’s piece...was pretty much a love letter to newspapers.”

Now, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, put up your feet and revel in a brilliantly produced appeal to save America's free press.

Newspaper reporters throughout the United States are paddling as fast as they can under increasingly restrictive circumstances. We should be praising them for the work they can manage to accomplish, not vilifying them.

I will leave you with another quotation from Thomas Jefferson with which I heartily agree:

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

End-of-Life Doulas

Dr. Susan Cohen is director of the palliative care program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. In this video, she talks about the volunteers of the Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort who work with her medical group's patients. Note the age range of the volunteers in the training program:

A doula (pronounced DOO-la) is an ancient Greek word meaning a woman who serves other women. Most often through the centuries, doulas have helped care for women just before, during and after childbirth.

Doulas still exist for that purpose but in recent years another kind of helper has adopted the name: doulas who provide emotional, spiritual and practical comfort for people who are dying.

End-of-life doulas are not all women. Here is a description of one of the earliest doula programs from The New York Times in 2004:

”He was a retired corporate lawyer in his mid-60's, recruited into a new program that paired volunteers somewhat enlightened in the particulars of death (they were called 'doulas') with terminally ill people alone with their mortality.

“After all, there's no rental agency for friends, for when you're sick and staring death in the face. Bill Keating belonged to the program's first full crop of volunteers, nine strong...”

In 2011, Baylor University reported on their doula program that they had developed after reading The New York Times story:

”Out of a firm belief that no patients at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas should have to...die alone, Baylor's Supportive and Palliative Care Service developed and implemented the Doula to Accompany and Comfort Program...

“For the last 5 years, members of the palliative care team have screened and selected volunteers for the doula program. Volunteers are asked about their views on death and their motivation for taking on the role of doula.

“Once selected, volunteers are trained by professionals in the stages of death and dying, grief and grieving, advocating for patient needs, comfort touch, compassionate presence, active listening, communication strategies, and spiritual and cultural beliefs at the end of life.

“The doulas provide comfort and companionship to those patients who do not have family support, who feel lonely or abandoned, or whose caregivers are exhausted and desire respite.

Baylor's carefully developed volunteer doula program notwithstanding, anyone can call her- or himself a doula and hang out a shingle. Some have had careers as registered nurses before becoming doulas and some of those have worked in hospice. Most have not.

There are at least two doula certification programs in the United States that are unaffiliated with hospitals and other medical groups. One of these for-profit businesses charges $75 for 22 hours of training for certification. Another charges from $970 to $1650 for various levels of certification, although there is no organization outside hospitals' end-of-life doula programs that sets professional standards.

One highly respected non-profit, Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort, in New York City (which may be the origin of the Baylor program) trains end-of-life doula volunteers who then provide end-of-life to individuals at home, in hospitals, other care facilities and through such organizations as the Visiting Nurses.

As their website states:

”The Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort's mission is to minimize the isolation and loneliness experienced by individuals with life threatening illness who are facing the end of their lives alone. Individuals are known beyond their diagnosis, through special relationships with a doula volunteer.”

This is one of the earliest doula organizations, dating from 2001. Volunteers range in age from 20 to more than 80. The Doula Program provides their volunteers for free, supported by foundation and individual donations.

Here is another video – this one of Gus explaining how being a Doula Program volunteer is important to him:

You can find out about the history and mission of the Doula Program to Accompany and Comfort here. And this print interview with a freelance end-of-life doula in the United Kingdom is a nurse's point of view.

Almost all old people, when asked, say they want to die at home but a lot of us have no have family or close friend, or no one whose circumstances allow them to accompany an elder on this final journey.

End-of-life doula programs are not the same thing as hospice but are there for people in addition to it - perhaps we could say side-by-side with hospice - another, newer choice for people who would otherwise have no one at the end of their lives.

It is a life-affirming, selfless mission in which everyone benefits.


AARP to Drop ALEC After Membership Outcry

IMPORTANT UPDATE: When I wrote it late last week, this post was titled, "AARP Sponsors ALEC Conference." As you can see above, circumstances changed quickly but I have decided to publish the story as written then because AARP looms large in the lives of all American elders, including those who are not members.

Because it is better funded than many lobby groups and long entrenched in Washington, D.C., when AARP speaks, Congress listens, and that has not always been to the benefit of the people AARP represents.

Here is what happened. On Friday, after receiving enough complaints to make an impact, AARP issued this message on their Facebook page:

"After hearing from many of you, we’ve decided not to renew our membership to ALEC. We would never work against the interests of older Americans and our engagement with ALEC was NOT an endorsement of the organization’s policies, but an opportunity to engage with state legislators and advance our members’ priorities.

"AARP is and always has been non-partisan. We meet with legislators from both sides of the aisle in order to do our job: fighting to improve the lives of people 50+. We will continue to explore ways to serve our diverse membership and fulfill our responsibility to engage with all legislators on the issues important to older Americans and their families."

It was unclear last week that AARP was MEMBER of ALEC as referenced in their withdrawal statement, only that they were a Trustee-level sponsor of the ALEC conference. The best information I could find is that AARP had withdrawn their previous membership in 2011, so it was a bit of a shock to read that they were, until last week, still a member. That gives me further good reason to run the story as I originally wrote it.

To repeat: the story below was written before AARP announced its decision to not renew its membership in ALEC.

* * *

From 27 July through 29 July 2016, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held its annual meeting in Indianapolis. Here is a page from their printed program listing the Trustee-level sponsors. Take a good look in the upper left corner:

ALEC Indianapolis 2016 sponsors list full

That's right, AARP – you know, the service organization that lobbies for old people (or so they insist). Not only did they pay for that listing, attendees at the ALEC conference were each given an AARP-branded portable USB power pack, so AARP was making certain their involvement was noticed by all.

TGB reader, Jackie Davis, alerted me to the sponsorship, and The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) was the first to report the AARP connection to the ALEC conference.

If you are unfamiliar with ALEC (also known as Satan's Jesuits in America by one TGB reader), here is a short explanation from the excellent Los Angeles Times columnist, Michael Hiltzik:

”The Koch-affiliated ALEC...operates by offering model legislative packages to its members, who typically are conservative Republican state legislators. They introduce the bills at home, allowing their legislative concepts to metastasize into statehouses across the country.

“A prime example is 'stand-your-ground' laws. The original measure was enacted by Florida in 2005 with the support of the National Rifle Assn. It provided a defense to anyone using 'deadly force...if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.'

“The law was a key to the successful defense of George Zimmerman against a murder charge in the 2012 shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. After Florida enacted its measure, it was translated into an ALEC model and passed in 16 more states.”

ALEC also supports privatization of parts of Social Security, a Constitutional Amendment to require a balanced budget, restriction on limits of prescription drug prices among many other right-wing initiatives. You can read about those and others in more detail here.

Some of the biggest corporations and non-profits in the United States were members until a backlash began a few years ago and more than 120 of members cut ties with ALEC. You can see a list of them here including AARP.

So it is a surprise to see AARP sponsoring the ALEC conference. At first AARP responded by saying that the sponsorship was part of a general political outreach. Columnist Hiltzik followed up further by contacting AARP. He reports:

”...AARP gave a bit more detail on its relationship with ALEC while reiterating, AARP’s engagement with ALEC is NOT an endorsement of the organization’s policies either past or present.

“It specifically disavowed support for ALEC model bills seeking a constitutional amendment for a balanced federal budget, which is a direct attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; the repeal of the Affordable Care Act; nor the other model legislation posted on ALEC’s website.

“'AARP has advocated in opposition of these proposals in the states and in Congress,' said AARP, 'and will continue to do so.'”

Hiltzik further quoted AARP's response to him about engaging with ALEC:

“...given that Republicans control one or more chambers in 39 of the nation’s 50 state legislatures,” wrote AARP, “we believe having a seat at the table at the ALEC annual meeting was necessary to our mission of representing the interests and needs of people 50-plus and their families.”

Hiltzik is having none of that (nor am I). Noting that a Sierra Club executive, in withdrawing from ALEC, stated that “It's increasingly obvious that you can not run a successful 21st century company while associating with ideologues from the stone age,” Hiltzik went on:

”AARP may feel it’s in a different position from a company. But it’s on dangerous ground. One can’t change an organization like ALEC from the inside, and one can’t hang around its annual meeting as a sponsor and avoid at least some association with its policies.”

Do recall that AARP supported the Medicare Part D prescription drug legislation which specifically disallows Medicare from negotiating drug prices as, for example, the Veterans' Administration does.

People have been resigning their memberships over that and other AARP positions for several years. Many of us, however, are stuck with AARP because we buy our supplemental medical coverage from them. Every year during the enrollment period, I look for an alternative but they are always more expensive than AARP.

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has launched a petition asking AARP to separate themselves from ALEC. The petition reads as follows:

”AARP has no business supporting an organization that has worked to make it harder for Americans to vote, sought to take revenues out of Social Security, and aided the financial interests of big drug companies with 'model' bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporate lobbyists voting as equals with legislators behind closed doors at meetings where lawmakers are wined and dined by special interests.

“If your organization is sincere in pursuing its mission statement, if AARP is legitimately fighting 'for the issues that matter most to families — such as health care, employment and income security, and protection from financial abuse,' you will dump ALEC immediately and apologize for misusing member funds to support such a discredited pay-to-play organization.”

You can sign that petition here.

* * *

That was the original post about AARP's involvement with ALEC, and you are now up to date. You can read more details about AARP's withdrawal from membership in ALEC at The Center For Media and Democracy.


ELDER MUSIC: Australian Favorites - Mozart (20-11)

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

* * *

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

This time it was the music of Mozart and it's a little different from the other polls inasmuch as compositions as such weren't chosen but individual movements from them.

Thus, in the top 20 his complete clarinet concerto is included as all three movements were selected. I've grabbed the top 20 to play (there was an official top 100, and an unofficial lot more). This way I won't have to think about choosing music, although they omitted several I would have selected, and naturally there are others I wouldn't have included.

However, I shall play them as selected, today counting down from 20 to 11 (as we used to do back in the day with pop music).

Mozart

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (or Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart as he was christened) died far too young; he was only 35, but he wrote his first pieces for piano when he was five.

Mozart

In that short life he produced the most beautiful music that anyone has ever written. Today and next week you'll hear some of the best of it.

Wolfie was good friends with Johann Christian Bach (J.S.'s youngest son) and they influenced each other considerably. He also admired Haydn and was friends with Dittersdorf and Vanhal. He often played music with those last three.

Enough waffling, let's start with the last thing Wolfie wrote.

20. Requiem K626 - Dies irae
Count Franz von Walsegg commissioned a requiem (anonymously, he was a bit of an eccentric, the old Count) from Wolfie who set to composing it. Alas, illness intervened and he died before he could complete it.

The Requiem we know today was finished by one of his pupils, Franz Süssmayr. Most of the Dies Irae was completed by Wolfie.

♫ Requiem - Dies Irae (Day Of Wrath)


19. Symphony No.40 in G minor K550 - Molto allegro
I would have put this much higher than 19, in the top 3 or 4. This is a great symphony, the best of Wolfie's, although numbers 39 and 41 are both knocking on the door.

These three really set the bar high for later composers to emulate. Beethoven is one such who managed to achieve that, as did Schubert a couple of times and Mahler once. This is the opening movement.

♫ Symphony No.40 in G minor K.550 ~ I. molto Allegro


18. Eine kleine Nachtmusik K525 – Allegro
The title, naturally, literally means "A Little Night Music.” Wolfie though considered it "A Little Serenade.” Whatever you call it, it's one of his most famous compositions. Here is the first movement.

♫ Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K 525 - 1. Allegro


17. Clarinet Concerto in A K622 - Rondo. Allegro
The first of three appearances of the clarinet concerto and we're jumping all over the place with this one as this is the third movement. Goodness, this is a beautiful work in whatever order you play it.

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Rondo_ Allegro


Mozart

16. Concerto for Flute and Harp K299 - Andantino
This is one I wouldn't have bothered with, not being a big fan of either instrument. Having said that, I admit that Wolfie is such a talent that he makes even them sound pretty good.

Make up your own mind, don't let me lead you astray. Here is the second movement.

♫ Flute and Harp Concerto in C major, K299 - 2. Andantine


15. Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola K364 – Andante
The viola is considered a bit of a joke by orchestra members (other than viola players, of course). I don't know why, I prefer it to the violin. I'm not alone; Wolfie loved it and played the instrument when he got together with his friends (mentioned above).

The other one mentioned, J.C. Bach was a master of the Sinfonia Concertante and he taught Wolfie all about it. Naturally, he went off and wrote his own things in this form. This is the second movement.

♫ Sinfonia Concertante E flat major KV 364 ~ II Andante


14. Piano Sonata in A K331 - Alla Turca. Allegretto
This is easily the most famous of his piano sonatas, that's probably why it's on the list, especially the third movement that's been named Alla Turca (or "Turkish March").

For a change, Wolfie named it thus. Usually, these names get tacked on to pieces of music without the writer's permission or knowledge, mostly after they're dead.

♫ Piano Sonata N° 11 in A Major KV 331- III. Alla Turca, allegretto


13. Zaïde K344 - Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben
In contrast to the previous tune, Wolfie didn't name this piece Zaïde. It's an unfinished opera that's set in Turkey, continuing the theme.

He decided to give this one the flick and started work on the opera Idomeneo, something from which I'd have selected for these columns. Oh well.

SANDRINE PIAU sings Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben.

Sandrine Piau

♫ Zaïde - Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben


12. Marriage of Figaro K492 – Overture
From probably the least known opera (or part thereof) to one of the best known. Alas, there's no beautiful singing, the voting public decided on the overture instead.

♫ Marriage of Figaro K492 - Overture


Mozart

11. Clarinet Concerto in A K622 - Allegro
Some more of this wonderful work, this time it's the first movement. Sit back and enjoy.

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Allegro

The ten biggies will appear next week.


INTERESTING STUFF – 7 August 2016

BEST HOSPITALS IN UNITED STATES

U.S. News & World Report has published its annual rankings of U.S. hospitals. The top three in the honor roll for outstanding performance over multiple areas of care are Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Mass General.

The website is divided into adults' and children's hospitals. You can also check by specialties and by procedures. The hospital rankings for geriatric care are here.

U.S. News also has a doctor finder which, they say, covers nearly every physician in the United States.

25,000 SKYDIVE WITHOUT A PARACHUTE

When TGB reader Alan Goldsmith sent me this item, I hadn't heard about it yet. I soon did and by now, you can't possibly have missed it.

Luke Aikins jumped out of an airplane at 25,000 feet without a parachute and landed in a net the size of a football field. Not an easy target from five miles up. My favorite comment on the stunt (except for "He's a crazy person") came from late night talk show host, Jimmy Fallon:

“The jump was nothing new for Southwest Airlines. They just call it business class.”

Here's a video of the jump:

You can read more here and find out about the physics of the jump at wired.com.

A TINY-HOME HOMELESS VILLAGE IN SEATTLE

I am as fascinated with the tiny home movement as I am with miniatures like the ones I showed you last Saturday. Now, some people near Seattle have built a tiny home village for homeless people.

Take a look. This seems like a sensationally good idea to help the homeless get back on their feet and also help some young, not homeless people too.

OUR FELLOW AMERICANS.

A bunch of New York Times reporters have been following Donald Trump's campaign around the country and attending his speeches and rallies for more than year. They have witnessed

”...so many provocations and heated confrontations at them,” they write, “that the cumulative effect can be numbing: A sharp sting that quickly dulls from repetition.”

So they put together a video of epithets tossed around by Trump supporters at those rallies that they call, “Unfiltered: Voices from Trump's Crowds.” (NSFW)

Numbing indeed. You can read more about this at The Times.

JON STEWART HAS A NEW TV SHOW

Yep. That's right. It's true. The man who is brilliant in his own right and also brilliant enough to find John Oliver and give him a platform is returning to television soon.

The reports tell us that the show – no name yet - will begin airing on HBO in time for the November election. HBO programming president Casey Bloys says it is a multiplatform project:

"'The idea is it will be an animated parody of a cable news network with an Onion-like portal,' Bloys [told Variety]. The project will be structured to allow Stewart to release multiple pieces of short-form content—video and text—through HBO's digital platforms, but will also include a linear-television element, likely in the form of a half-hour series.

"'He is establishing an animation studio,' Bloys said of Stewart. He added that he is hoping that Stewart could begin releasing content as soon as September or October, though possibly not until later in the fall.”

Hurray. Hurray. You can read more here and here.

100 PERCENT RECYCLING IN A SMALL JAPANESE TOWN

As CityLab reports,

”At the waste collection center in Kamikatsu, Japan, there are separate bins for different types of paper products: Newspapers, magazines, cartons, flyers. Then there are separate ones for cans: Aluminum, spray, steel. There are even individual bins for plastic bottles and caps.

“But that’s only a handful of the 34 categories that Kamikatsu residents have to sort their trash into...”

It's an astonishing achievement. Take a look:

THE MIRROR DANCE

This video is from the Fox TV competition show titled So You Think You Can Dance. In it, J.T. And Robert dance to The Mirror by Alexandre Desplat.

As someone wrote at the Big Geek Daddy website where I found this:

”As I watched I was wondering if the little boy was seeing himself as a man or if the man was remembering himself as a little boy.”

Me too and probably you. This is lovely. Enchanting.

HOLLYWOOD STARS AT HOME FROM THE 1940S AND 1950S

Remember movie magazines when we were young? (Well, I think they're still with us; just called People now.) I particularly recall Modern Screen but there were plenty of others.

Someone at today's Vanity Fair magazine has been plowing through the archives of these old issues at the U.S. Library of Congress and put together a slide show of the movie star stories of that era.

Here's one with Gene Kelly, his wife and kids:

Gene Kelly

And another with Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and their children:

TonyCurtainJanetLeigh

You can go through a slide show of many more old-time pages here.

DEAD RINGER

As you will see, that headline is the most wonderful pun – certainly not my own – of this cinematic farewell to the New York City phone booth from The New Yorker magazine.

It's charming and sad and pretty damned close to being a perfect production.

Many of New York City's phone booths are being turned into WiFi hot spots. Read about it here.

* * *

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.