A TGB READER STORY: Attachments

By Ann Burack-Weiss

Remember the Kubler-Ross stages of grief? Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance? We first heard of them in 1969. Did you know that the original five stages were later added to by Kubler-Ross herself? (shock before denial, testing after depression).

Since Kubler-Ross felt free to add to her model, I’m pretty sure that if she had lived 'til Covid-19, she might have added one more - attachments.

My inbox runneth over - sender’s names preceded by paper clips.

Clicking on the links, I find music, dance, theatre videos, solos and groups. Rooms at home, empty sidewalks, parks, rooftops. School children, amateurs, professionals playing, singing, dancing and acting their hearts out.

Cartoons, singly or in long threads. My favorite: a Seder plate (Passover on April 8th). In place of ceremonial objects to remind us of past sufferings are those that in years to come will remind us of today - rolls of toilet paper on one section, masks on another, gloves on another

Poems, stories, essays and quotes by published authors. Or written by the senders themselves.

Yoga and meditation mantras.

Netflix or Prime Time or Hulu programs I must watch, books and articles I must read.

Pleas for social action from academic, health care, social service, political and religious organizations.

HD and online offerings from arts organization (museums, operas, concert calls, theatre companies, lecture sites).

I am a serial offender, BCC my favorite address line.

Attachments reflect my life. The senders are members of my tribe. I imagine that if I were a bridge or chess player, I’d be receiving games to play. Gamblers surely receive lineup of odds in every race and lottery, as those interested in team sports must trade statistics and review potential trades.

Email attachments are virtual life lines reminding us of who we were before and may one day be again. They pull us up as we are about to drown in the swirling waters of fear and grief. Gripping tightly to our ends, we feel the answering pull that says “Just hang on. I’m still here. I won’t let you go.”

Attachments. Definitely an Eighth Stage. Projecting us into a future when we step out of our caves and into the arms of those emerging from theirs.

Our hugs will be tight and long. Then we’ll walk off together. For coffee or lunch at our favorite place, the one where the tables are so close that you can overhear every conversation.

Or to a concert where we turn our heads to shush the whisperers behind us.

Maybe walking and talking as we stroll through the park or along the river, find that bench under a tree where we can hear the music from the jazz trio, watch the parade of babies, lovers, old people, everyone in between.

“What a time that was!” we will say.

* * *

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]


A Sliver of Hope in Terrible Times

Last week, protests erupted in dozens of U.S. cities over the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd. They have continued for days - buildings have been burned, people injured, several killed and thousands have been arrested. As I write this on Sunday, it continues and has even spread to Europe.

President Trump publicly gloated over the quality protection he received when demonstrators, on Friday night, gathered across the street from the White House. It's worth noting how he said it:

"The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That's when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.”

America is burning. The national shame of dead black men and women at the hands of police over many years has come to a boiling point. (It appears to also be an opportunity for provocateurs with other agendas to join the demonstrations, but that's a story for a different day.)

It cannot be incidental that this explosion of unrest is happening as a global pandemic has kept people in most of world under lockdown in their homes for more than two months.

And the president appears eager to have protesters attacked by “vicious dogs”? But that's the way he rolls. On Thursday, he warned the governor of Minnesota in another tweet,

“Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

And so on. You have undoubtedly seen the wall-to-wall coverage of the protests on television and online.

For people our age, it must immediately bring to mind the summers of the late 1960s and early 1970s: Newark, Detroit, Orangeburg, Dr. Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Columbia University, Democratic National Convention, Stonewall, Kent State.

And those are only the ones I can recall off the top of my head. There were dozens, if not hundreds more. It is unnerving now to see it happening again.

It seems to me that something is building now toward a level of violence fueled by ignorance, lies, misinformation, stupidity, fear along with justifiable revulsion and frustration at the number of dead black people year after year for whom no one pays a price.

Is it just me, or is there a sense in the air that something more terrible than what we are seeing now is going to happen?

But then this came along - a sliver of hope.

Over the weekend, The Guardian published an essay by Dorian Linskey about W.B. Yeats poem, The Second Coming which was published 100 years ago.

The entire essay is interesting and you would probably enjoy reading it but here is the salient part to my thinking today:

”As the world is wrenched out of joint by the coronavirus pandemic,” writes Linskey, “many people are turning to poetry for wisdom and consolation, but The Second Coming fulfills a different role, as it has done in crisis after crisis, from the Vietnam war to 9/11 to the election of Donald Trump: an opportunity to confront chaos and dread, rather than to escape it...”

If you think you don't know the poem by it's title, just notice all the astonishing number of phrases within it that you have heard and read in reference to many situations throughout your life.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Maybe this helps a little. You can read the full essay here.


ELDER MUSIC: Together at Home 2

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.

* * *

Starting with a few people performing at home and putting their songs out on the internet, it’s now become a flood of music. There are so many people performing in all sorts of genres of music that it’s hard to keep up. Here are just a few I’ve found and really liked.

I’ll start with LUKAS NELSON with one of his songs, Just Outside of Austin. He’s joined by his brother MICAH and his father, some little-known journeyman named WILLIE who I believe he is also a singer and songwriter of some renown himself.


BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and his good lady wife PATTI SCIALFA get into the act with two songs. The first of these is one of Bruce’s, Land of Hope and Dreams.

The second is one of Tom Waits' that Bruce has performed regularly over the years, Jersey Girl. It really sounds like one he could have written himself.


BRIAN MAY makes quite a few of these videos. I originally had him with Shuba (down below), but then I discovered this instrumental he did with master double bass player, BOŽO PARADŽIK.

They perform one of Queen’s songs, usually sung by Freddie Mercury back in the day, Love of my Life. Back then Brian usually played a 12 string acoustic guitar, but here he plucks an electric.


THE DEAD SOUTH is a blue grass band from Canada. They perform the traditional song, This Little Light of Mine. This will get your toes a’tapping.


A feature of this venture is discovering musicians I didn’t know about; there are several in the column today. Another couple of those are SIERRA BOGGESS and JOSHUA DELA CRUZ. They perform the song, One Day from the musical “Dancers at a Waterfall”, written by Richard Maltby and David Shire. Brad Haak plays the piano.


JACK JOHNSON performs his song, Better Together on his front steps. This is a nice gentle piece with Jack playing acoustic guitar. The song first appeared on his album “In Between Dreams”.


Here is the talented and gorgeous MISSY HIGGINS accompanied by TIM MINCHIN on the piano performing one of Tim’s songs. Missy said that she put on her wedding dress for the occasion just because she could.

I don’t think that’s Tim’s wedding outfit, but you never know with him. The song is Carry You.


I featured NEIL FINN on the first of these columns, but I thought he deserved another go. Here he is accompanied by his sons LIAM on guitar and ELROY on drums.

They perform the Crowded House hit Better Be Home Soon. Of course, Neil was the founder and leading light of that group.


Until today. I hadn’t heard of SHUBA. She has certainly bored into my brain after discovering several of her videos, especially the ones she performed with Brian May.

Here she is on her own with something completely different from what she does with Brian, Samjhawan, written by Sharib-Toshi, Jawad Ahmed, Kumaar and Ahmad Anees.


It doesn’t get any better than this. This being the METROPOLITAN OPERA ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, performing Va, pensiero from Verdi’s “Nabucco”.


No matter what governments might say, this thing isn’t over and won’t be for a long time. Here are a bunch of Australian musicians and comedians telling you what you should do.

There is a serious language warning for this one so if you’re offended by that sort of thing, don’t watch. For others, take their advice: Stay at Home. This song will really cement the perception of Australians held by others. It even has a Wiggle, for those who know about such things.


INTERESTING STUFF – 30 May 2020

FUN FACTS FOR KIDS

And grownups too. Reddit user MoonBaboon asked readers for some simple but mind-bending facts for a three-year-old who asks for one fact a day at bedtime. Reddit folks came through. Here are three to get you started:

TigerSkin
If you shave a tiger you’ll see striped skin.

PinDolphin
There are pink dolphins in the amazon river.

Spider
There is a species of burrowing tarantula that lets tiny frogs live in their burrows. The frog eats pests that are too small for the spider to get, and in return, the frog is kept safe by the big ol' spider. This is pretty much how the domestication of cats went. Tiny frogs are tarantula housecats.

There are more at the Reddit link above or at Bored Panda.

A DAY IN THE E.R. BATTLING COVID-19

Dr. Craig Spencer is director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia University in New York City.

He fought Ebola in West Africa while working with Doctors Without Borders and now he’s an emergency room doctor in New York City. This animated video is a day in his life on the front line of the battle against COVID-19.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PHYSICIAN IN THE YEAR OF A PANDEMIC

David Young is another front-line COVID-19 doctor, this one in downtown Chicago. He tried to find some humor among all the conspiracy theories, misinformation and falsehoods floating around about the virus. He succeeds. [Finish reading on the Facebook page - it's worth your time.]

CANCER AND COVID-19

If I contract the virus, I am already at more risk of dying thanks to COPD. Now, a new study tells us that cancer, too, is a dangerous mix with the virus:

”Patients whose cancer was getting worse or spreading were more than five times more likely to die in the space of a month if they caught Covid-19, researchers said this week during the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“Even if the patients' cancer wasn't spreading, coronavirus infection nearly doubled the risk of dying, the researchers found.”

Just what I needed to know. Read more at cnn.com.

AN ILLUSIONIST WOWING PEOPLE IN JAPAN

It's an old video and I may have published it in 2012 when it was new – I don't recall. But it is, nevertheless, terrific fun.

TINIEST CAT IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE FIRST ODD, INTERESTING VOICE

I had never heard of this tiny cat called the Chilean güiña or Leopardus guigna. It weighs under six pounds and is about half the size of a usual house cat. Bored Panda tells us the cat is classed as a vulnerable species, their numbers decreasing due to loss of habitat.

The kitty has a most odd and interesting voice. Here's the National Geographic video of it.

Read more at Bored Panda.

WHY TIME SEEMS TO GO FASTER IN OLD AGE

Time has always been weird to me. It often does not seem to behave in way it ought to and over the years I have collected a minor library of books and articles exploring theories of time's strange behavior.

Here's another theory about why time appears to go faster as we get older, this one from neuroscientist David Eagleman.

J.K. ROWLING PUBLISHES THE ICKABOG ONLINE

Were you a Harry Potter fan? I sure was/am. Occasionally, I still watch one of the movies.

Now, Potter author J.K. Rowling is publishing, for free, a new children's book not about Harry Potter titled, The Ickabog. As the BBC reports:

”It's for 'children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times', [Rowling] said. She had previously referred to it only as an unnamed 'political fairytale'.

“Chapters of The Ickabog are being published daily until 10 July on The Ickabog website. The first two chapters, which went online on Tuesday, introduced King Fred the Fearless, ruler of Cornucopia, and five-year-old Bert Beamish.”

There is also a competition for children to create illustrations for the story. Some will be chosen to be included in the physical book when it is published later this year.

You can read more about it here and here. Or you can read the book as it is published online here.

BUILDING THE PERFECT SQUIRREL-PROOF BIRD FEEDER

This video turned out to be so much more than I expected. Former NASA engineer, Mark Robert, tells us on his Youtube page:

”Squirrels were stealing my bird seed so I solved the problem with mechanical engineering :)”

That sideways smiley face at the end of his sentence is key. No one should be surprised at how good, funny, wonderful, enlightening and more this experiment is when you note that it has been viewed more than 17 million times since it was published just last Monday.

Not to mention that Robert has almost 12 million followers on YouTube. 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.


Happy 95 Years, Darlene Costner

Today is Darlene Costner's 95th birthday. Imagine – she was born in 1925 when Calvin Coolidge was the U.S. president and she has seen 16 presidents.

Darlene

Darlene and I have never met in person, but we have been internet friends since at least 2007. For a long time she ran her own blog, Darlene's Hodgepodge, where she held forth on whatever crossed her mind – always smart, frequently funny and where she never pulled any punches about how she felt regarding politicians and their behavior.

Darlene stopped writing her Hodgepodge blog in 2012, but it is still online if you would like to check it out.

Among her interests are music – she has played piano since she was three years old - reading, photography and travel. Oh, how she loved travel and often wrote about how much she misses it.

Back in 2008, I published a series of guest posts here that I called the Oldest Old Project – stories from readers who were at least 80 years old. Darlene was too busy elsewhere to contribute but I republished a story from her blog about her final trip abroad and how life was different at age 83 from 60.

In part, she wrote,

”I no longer care if my house is spotless. It used to be a matter of pride that my furniture was polished, the floors clean, the windows washed and all was in order. While I was never a Mrs. Felix Unger I did try to retain my image. No more.

“I think that might be a matter of self preservation because I am aware that I am unable to do the hard work necessary. I shove it onto my list of things that I won’t worry about. Now I am more like Phyllis Diller who joked, 'I clean my house twice a year whether it needs it or not.'

“My mental closet is full of things that I will think about tomorrow. I have become a regular Scarlett O’Hara.”

When I first read that in 2008, my life hadn't caught up with Darlene yet. Nowadays I know exactly how wise she was being. You can read that full essay here.

It is 12 years later now and the truth for all of us that if you live long enough you are likely to need more help day to day. A few months ago, Darlene moved into an elder care home and is not as active online.

Her daughter, Gail, said in an email recently that Darlene's physical health is good “but everything that's going on is taking a toll on her emotional health – like all of us,” and that the TGB community means the world to her.

Darlene is a remarkable woman – and not just for her many years. I've learned so much from her over the years about life, about enduring, about adapting. Oh, yes, about adapting. And we have also laughed and laughed together across the ether of the internet.

This is a story she sent for the Tuesday Reader Story feature that is posted here on Tuesdays. This one, from 2018, is titled, “The Elusive Monster.” It begins:

”There's a specter living in my house and his main purpose is to drive me insane. He is an evil prankster bent on making my life miserable.

“I first noticed his presence when he made all of my kitchen cabinets higher so that I can no longer reach the top shelf and even reaching the middle shelf forces me to stand on my toes.

“Then he must have howled with laughter as he knocked things from my hands, forcing me to clean up the ensuing mess. That wasn't enough fun for him so he lowered all the floors in my house.”

You can finish reading it here.

So let us celebrate the indomitable Darlene Costner on her 95th birthday. She is my friend, my old age mentor and I cannot imagine my life all these years without her friendship, her wisdom and her sense of humor.

LilacsDarlene95


Fearing Old Age plus The Alex and Ronni Show

It has been seven or eight years now since I last did this, but there was a time when I regularly clicked around the web to read Facebook and blog posts by young people - late teens and twenties interested me the most.

The one that got me started was from a young women lamenting the approach of her 30th birthday. She was so distraught that I could almost see the tears running down my computer screen as she wrote about being over the hill, losing her looks and her sorrow that men, she believed, would no longer be interested in her.

These were always women - I didn't find any young men writing on this topic - and it was a surprisingly large number who wrote about being afraid to get older with lots of agreement from others in the comment sections.

There was no talk of dying, that was not the issue. It was about how awful growing old is - getting wrinkles and gray hair, becoming “ugly” (that word turned up a lot).

That 30-year-old I mentioned? She was the oldest I encountered on this topic. Most were 23, 24, 27 or so. Where do you suppose these young women get the idea that turning 30 – or, in a couple of cases, 25 - might as well be a death sentence?

How about living in a profoundly ageist culture. That would probably do it.

Last week, a long-time TGB reader and friend, Laura Gordon Giannozzi, sent me a link to an interesting story in The Guardian> by Australian novelist Charlotte Wood asking, “What are we really afraid of when we think of old age?”

After ruminating on the question, Wood, who is 55, comes down on this:

”I think the deepest dread is of being reduced, simplified. We’re afraid that, to paraphrase British psychologist and writer Susie Orbach, we’ll be 'robbed of the richness of who we are' – our complexity stripped away by forces beyond our control.

“This reduction is already happening with the cheerleaders on one side, the catastrophisers on the other. Ours is an all-or-nothing, black-and-white-thinking culture; we picture ourselves as either relentlessly active, plank posing and Camino walking and cycling into our 90s, or dribbling in a nursing-home chair, waiting for death.”

In general, we don't have much say as to which kind of old age we have. Nobody knows how to prevent dementia, cancer and many of the afflictions of old age. And even if different choices when we were younger might have changed our old age outcome, it's too late, once we're there, to do anything about it.

Of Wood's two types of old people, I find the cheerleaders more annoying than the doomsayers. They are usually the young-old who have won (so far) the disease and debility lottery who exhort us, as Wood points out, to go, go, go as if we were still 27.

These days I know all too well how foolish that is and I have found, even before cancer and COPD reduced my capabilities, that the best any of us can do in old age is adapt.

And that's not so bad. I've been doing it by listening to all the old people I've run into while studying aging for this blog over 16 years, and to the many smart people who leave comments here.

Woods appears to have discovered the imperative to adapt at a younger age than many of us:

”...maybe we don’t have to choose either extreme to dwell on...,” she concludes. “Perhaps, instead of capitulating to reduction, we can keep adding to our concept of how to age – turn our thinking about oldness into an art, and keep exploring it. Doing something to it, and doing something else.”

There are other interesting ideas in Charlotte Wood's essay and as I said above, worth your time to read. Let us know what you think.

There should have been a new Alex and Ronni Show last week but my latest medical prognosis, which I wrote about here, was still new and weighing heavily on my mind so Alex let me off the hook.

Now, here is the latest episode of the show, recorded yesterday, talking about the virus. (Is there anything else to talk about these days?)


A TGB READER STORY: Not Here

By Carol Nadell

We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.
And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.
That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.
O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.
        - Encounter by Czeslaw Milosz

“Wonder” indeed. That is the feeling I experience more and more often now that I have reached the three-quarter century mark and find myself grappling with the inevitability of my own mortality.

It’s not a morbid thought – not, as this poet says, “sorrow.” It’s more like a childlike curiosity. What does it really mean to die, to end this life, to - in Shakespeare’s words - “shuffle off this mortal coil?”

I cannot seem to get my mind around this eventuality which will, of course, come to us all. After my husband died following years of ill health, I remember saying to my friends, “I was prepared for him to die. I wasn’t prepared for him to be dead.”

It was what I called the “non-hereness” that was the hardest reality to understand and accept. How was he not just in the next room, watching TV? How was it that we wouldn’t be sitting down to dinner together? How was it possible that after almost 40 years of sharing a bed, his side was now empty? Forever.

That was almost five years ago and still today something in me balks at the permanency of the loss. I’ll never see him again? How is that possible

These days, I am often brought up short by the recognition that someday I, too, will be gone. In those moments, I frequently envision my grandchildren – all young adults now – around a table regaling each other with stories about me.

“Remember the time Savta took us to the theater for the first time? Remember how she always made us linguini because we didn’t like the angel hair pasta we got at home? Remember how she always corrected our grammar?”

Because I have been blessed to share many sublime memories with my grandchildren, these imaginary conversations go on and on. They include the fun times together in New York City, the special 10th birthday trips out of town, the advice sought (and often heeded), the special secrets shared between grandchild and grandmother, the tears and the laughter.

I eavesdrop on these conversations and they make me smile. But what is most striking about these imagined family scenes is that I am not in them. Just as they have recounted memories of their grandfather, my husband, so lovingly and longingly since his death, so it will be with their thoughts of me.

There will be a time when I’ll be only a memory to those people in whose lives I am today a powerful and dependable source of love and strength. Perhaps my grandchildren will someday share their memories of me with their children, to whom I may well be no more than a name.

Will they roll their eyes as their parents try to tell them of their beloved Savta? Or will they yearn for more information about the woman they’ve heard so much about and have, perhaps, seen in photos their parents have managed to save on whatever futuristic digital devices their heads are buried in? Will they feel my presence and wonder at my “non-hereness?”

I read an essay recently by a newly-widowed woman who, in listing all the “facts” of her new existence, cited buying a car, donating to non-profit radio, and paying property taxes. “These are now the facts of my life, a few among many,” she continued, concluding with a simple, declarative statement: “Alan is not among those facts anymore.”

What will it look like when I am no longer “among the facts?” I wonder.

* * *

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]


Memorial Day 2020

From TGB reader Henry Lowenstern on the unofficial beginning of summer:

Tomorrow, as we've done before,
we'll commemorate those we lost in war.
This year, we'll also pause to grieve
for those who have taken leave
after succumbing to a virus that
we don't yet know how to combat.
As we celebrate Memorial Day.

Over the weekend, there were none of the usual previews leading up to Memorial Day parades that have taken place in towns large and small throughout the United States since just after the Civil War.

That's because they were canceled - even the national parade on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. Blame the virus.

In place of all those marching bands (I love marching bands), the American Veterans Center is producing a television program:

”The National Memorial Day Parade: America Stands Tall is an original television special featuring the story of our shared history through newly-produced celebrity engagements and narrative pieces, along with memorable moments from the National Memorial Day Parade including historical reenactors and active duty military personnel, musical performances and celebrity greetings.”

It will be broadcast nationwide on the affiliate stations of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox at 2PM EDT.

Just in time for the holiday, the president managed to coerce all 50 governors to open their states to one degree or another – restaurants, bars, nail parlors, hair salons, national parks, beaches, etc. - even as virus statistics continue to climb.

What will this open holiday do to the number of virus deaths? I wonder if the country – or perhaps the entire world – will need a new holiday to commemorate the people we have lost and are still losing to the COVID-19 pandemic when it is finally over.

Here is a Memorial Day tribute to the fallen men and women who gave their lives to protect the United States.


ELDER MUSIC: Good Evening

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.

* * *

If you’re reading this in the morning or the afternoon, just squint your eyes slightly and pretend it’s evening for that’s what we’re on about today.

Although a blues singer, CHARLES BROWN is more akin to Nat King Cole than Howlin’ Wolf.

Charles Brown

Charles was classically trained on the piano but couldn’t get any work in that field. After a time as a chemistry teacher and jobs in the chemical industry, he took up music as a profession, initially with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers and then as a solo performer.

Charles is a particular favorite of Norma, The Assistant Musicologist. He opens proceedings with In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down.

♫ Charles Brown - In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down


ARLO GUTHRIE’s album “Alice's Restaurant” had other songs on it besides the famous one.

Arlo Guthrie

One of those is Chilling of the Evening. Arlo rerecorded the album with all the same songs 30 years later. I think that the later versions are superior. It’s not too surprising, he had all those years to hone his craft and if you listen to the songs side by side as I did, it’s quite obvious.

♫ Arlo Guthrie - Chilling of the Evening


BING CROSBY teams up with JANE WYMAN for his contribution.

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman

You all know that Jane was once married to Ronald Reagan until she saw the light and divorced him. That has nothing to do with the song, it’s just some filler type stuff. Here is In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.

♫ Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman - In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening


DEAN MARTIN was also a contender for the previous song but I preferred Bing’s. Besides Dean has another evening song.

Dean Martin

Dino has yet another ditty about Rome. It’s also about evening, which is useful for us. It is On an Evening in Roma (Sott'er Celo de Roma). There are a few dodgy rhymes, but we can’t blame him for that.

♫ Dean Martin - On an Evening in Roma (Sott'er Celo de Roma)


I remember DON RONDO from the fifties for just one song - White Silver Sands.

Don Rondo

It seems he recorded others as well (well, of course he did). One of those is Evening Star.

♫ Don Rondo - Evening Star


PAUL SIMON has written a bunch of songs so it’s not too surprising that there’s an evening song in there somewhere.

Paul Simon

Late in the Evening was a hit for Paul and it was on the album “One Trick Pony”, sort of the soundtrack album of the film in which he appeared. I say “sort of” because there were songs in the film that weren’t on the record and vice versa.

♫ Paul Simon - Late In The Evening


JUDY GARLAND hasn’t appeared often in these columns. Nothing to do with her, it’s just her songs didn’t seem to fit the various criteria I used. She’s here today though.

Judy Garland

In the Valley (Where the Evening Sun Goes Down) was written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer and first came to public notice when Judy sang it in the film “The Harvey Girls” in 1946.

♫ Judy Garland - In the Valley (Where the Evening Sun Goes Down)


Rather uncharacteristically, THE SUPREMES sing a blues song.

The Supremes

The song was first performed on record by Leroy Carr in 1928. It was a big hit and has since been covered by many blues performers. Not just blues, as you’ll hear today when The Supremes sing How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone.

♫ The Supremes - How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone


The actual title of this song is St. Louis Blues. However, it fits today because the first line of the song is “I hate to see the evening sun go down”. That’s good enough for me. Many people have recorded this song, but the pick of them that I have is BILLY ECKSTINE.

Billy Eckstine

Here is part 1 and 2 of the song. I assume when it was originally released they were on separate sides of the record. These days they get smashed together, and on the second part Billy does some scat singing to rival the best of those who did this (about three or four of them, apart from those most weren’t very good at it).

♫ Billy Eckstine - St. Louis Blues (Parts 1 & 2)


The INK SPOTS started in the early thirties and kept performing into the fifties.

The Ink Spots

You can still catch “The Ink Spots” as there are about a hundred groups going around claiming to be them. I wouldn’t bother with any of these imposters, the original is still the best, and here they are with A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening.

♫ The Ink Spots - A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening


Recently I featured a video clip of BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL from a concert version of the musical “South Pacific”, playing Emile De Becque. I’m sure many of you went on to Youtube to find more of him.

For those couple who didn’t, here he is again from the same concert with the most famous song from the musical, Some Enchanted Evening. It’s worth it just to see Reba McEntire’s reaction at the end.


INTERESTING STUFF – 23 May 2020

DARLENE COSTNER'S 95TH BIRTHDAY

For many years, Darlene Costner ran her own blog, Darlene's Hodgepodge, and we became internet friends a long time ago. She often commented on this blog and she was a regular contributor of items for this weekly post of Interesting Stuff.

A few months ago, Darlene moved into an elder care home and is not as active online. However, this coming week she will celebrate her 95th birthday and her daughter, Gail, send an email around asking for “some thoughts for mom from her loved ones and present them as a birthday gift.”

”If anyone wants to contribute,” wrote Gail, “please send me anything about what you admire/appreciate about her, treasured memories, that sort of thing. Please use any format you like: prose, poem or just a simple list.”

Gail also says that Darlene's physical health is good “but everything that's going on is taking a toll on her emotional health – like all of us,” and that the TGB community means the world to her. “She would be thrilled beyond!” to hear from us.

You can send your notes, poems, greetings or whatever else to Gail at this email address: gail.costner@gmail.com and PLEASE use Darlene's name in the subject line so your messages won't get lost among Gail's other email.

Let's make this a really special 95th birthday for Darlene.

HONEST GOVERNMENT AD: THE MACHINE

The Juice Media is at it again with another video – this one about the global response to the pandemic. It is a delight and you can think Peter Tibbles, who writes the Sunday Elder Music column for sending this:

VIRUS JOKES

There are a lot of pandemic jokes going around. Here are three of them:

Friday13

Thelongerthisgoesonjoke

Lysoljoke

There is more at Bored Panda.

PENGUINS VISIT A MUSEUM

Due to the pandemic, most museums are closed as are most zoos. Someone had the good idea to put the two together:

”While we've been closed,” explains the YouTube page, “we've still been actively caring for our animals, including adding enrichment experiences to stimulate their minds. Our friends at the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art invited our Humboldt penguins for a morning of fine art and culture.”

NOW THAT'S AN OBIT

My friend John Gear, who is a consumer and elderlaw attorney, has a fine eye for worthy Interesting Stuff. Click the image to see the full obituary on Twitter. It's worth your time.

OLIVE AND MABEL EPISODE 3

I showed you two videos last week of British sports commentator, Andrew Cottle's two dogs, Olive and Mabel. He sounded a bit reluctant then to keep make these vids, but here he is with more play-by-play in episode 3:

FILMS ON AGING AND ELDERS

Gloria Starling works at Terra Nova Films in Chicago, Illinois. She also reads TGB and she emailed to tell me about the company's executive director, Jim Vanden Bosch, who reviews film on aging for the journal of The Gerontological Society of America.

Those films are listed at the the Terra Nova website where you can follow links to the reviews. Check it out here. I hope you will.

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2020

Last Saturday, former President Barack Obama gave a televised commencement address for 2020 U.S. high school graduates most of whom had no formal commencement ceremonies this year. I tuned in for the speech and was thrilled by the eloquence, caring and thought that has been missing from presidential public statements for what seems now like eons.

If you didn't see it, here it is:

BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS OF CHILDREN WITH ANIMALS

The photographer is Andrea Martin of West Virginia. She tells us,

”There is something magical about the connection between children and animals, so I focus on capturing the innocence of the bond between them.”

And so she does and the images are adorable.

Girlanddog

Girlandlamb

Boyandduck

There are more at Bored Panda and at Andrea Martin's website.

* * *

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

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