To All the Kids Who Survived - Redux
Old and Tired

Silver Threads - 2/19/2006

The number of bloggers in their ninth decade of life has recently been increased with the addition of 83-year-old Lucy, blogging at Golden Lucy’s Spiral Journal. "...this blogging thing has opened a world that has already taken me places I've never imagined,” she told me in an email. “I doubt anything more exciting to do will come up before I die." Please stop by and give her a big elder blogosphere welcome.

Grandmotherantiwar In Valentine’s Day anti-war protests in Oakland and New York (and perhaps some other cities), grandmothers offered up themselves to replace young soldiers as cannon fodder in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We grandmothers have had long, full lives. Our young men and women deserve the same. We are prepared to take their place…” Lots more good photos of elder women taking a stand against war from Jan at Happening-Here?

Dana Wilkie of the Copley New Service does an excellent job of pulling together in one place a lot of hard facts about how lobbyists for the big pharmas, with the cooperation of a majority of Congress, helped enrich those pharmas at the expense of elders with the Medicare Part D legislation. “It's a perfect example for lobbying reform, because pharmac[eutical companies] got everything and the customers got nothing,” said Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego.

Governments everywhere have long mastered the art of Newspeak. In England, which is facing record high unemployment, people without jobs are no longer unemployed, they are “economically inactive” - the better to hide the real hardships of losing one's means to a livelihood. Who makes up this stuff? (Hat tip to Sophy Merrick)

Critic Beth Mcarthur notes an encouraging phenomenon in 63-year-old Harrison Ford’s new film, Firewall: “…a thug who is about to pillage a wine cellar asks his companion how to recognize a good bottle of vino. ‘It’ll be dusty,’ comes the response. The exchange is no sop to sommeliers. This ‘older is better’ proclamation is the filmmakers’ clear attempt to filter out the insidious social virus, ageism," writes Macarthur, "from their movie early on.” And, she says, they do it well.

Steve Sherlock alerted me recently to a new service called By adding a small bit of code to your blog, you can show readers what you’ve been saying on other people’s blogs, or just track your comments on the cocomment site. I haven’t decided about its usefulness for TGB yet, but you can see it in action at Steve’s blog, Steve’s 2 Cents.

It is surprising how many elder poets there are among bloggers. I’m sure there are more, but just from the ElderBloggers list:

The Joy of Six
Dreamsinger (songwriter)
Dick Jones Patteran Pages
Limerick Savant
Old Gray Poet

Have I missed anyone?

As an advocate of show-and-tell in regard to our life stories, I was pleased to find, this week, Doc Searls extensive photo remembrance of his mother’s life which, necessarily, includes grandparents, cousins, a sister, father, aunts, uncles and assorted friends of each of those people. It’s a beautiful tribute. Take a look and think about doing it for you and your family. (Hint: blog readers would like to see it too.)

A minor milestone was reached at TGB this week when the ElderBloggers blogroll count reached 99. In the interests of symmetry, it would be nice to have an even 100 in time for the TGB two-year anniversary next month. You are welcome to submit suggestions of good blogs by people 50 and older who update at least once a week, design their sites to be easy on old eyes (no dark backgrounds) and allow comments.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: You are also welcome to submit suggestions for items to include in this weekly Silver Threads column posted each Sunday. They may be blogs or blog posts, news stories, cultural and political happenings, a personal experience, photos - anything notable that relates to elders and what it's really like to get older. Please email them to ronni AT timegoesby DOT net.]


People Like Lucy make the world a better place !

Thanks so much Ronni. I stopped in at Lucy's place...she's a very lovely lady. I hope you are well and warm...I already know you're wonderful.

Ronni, today's silver threads became a warm fuzzy for me. So many wonderful people, so many wonderful lives. Thank you for making my Sunday brighter. (One suggestion: more humor for silver threads. I keep my eyes open & perhaps forward them.)Dee

ronni, very gratifying to see your mention of the nationwide Grandmothers against the War action. bay area women had the idea about Valentine's Day, told new york city and others. and it happened! locally one of the grannies had to run to a store to buy kitty litter to sprinkle on the icy triangle at times square. so we had words, music, dancing grannies--plus aroma. whatever it takes! -naomi

I'm so glad Naomi informed you about the Valentine's Day De-Massacre, as I call it. We New York City Grandmothers who got arrested at the Times Square Recruiting Center on October 17 went back to the scene of our "crime" on February 14 and put on a show worthy of the Broadway location we were at. It is worth noting that one of the performers is undoubtedly familiar to Elderblogger theatregoers -- the great Vinie Burrows,actress and playwright, who just closed in the Pearl Theatre production of HECUBA, did a dramatic reading at the Valentine's Day show. And, we grannies danced as a high-kicking chorus line while we sang our version of THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS, re-titled THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE WAR BUSINESS.

Sorry to spoil a good story, but "economically inactive" doesn't mean unemployed. It is the technical term for everyone of working age who is left over after counting the employed and the unemployed.

More here and here

Ha! Ian. I love gotcha moments. It's too long to rant on at length, but according to your sources, among the "economically inactive" are people "looking after family and home".

It appears that like the U.S., the culture on your side of Atlantic also does not assign economic value to people who support the home while other members of the family earn money.

If they were not keeping hearth and home together, other family members would be obliged to pay someone. So how is it they have no economic value?

Something for another day...


If they were not keeping hearth and home together, other family members would be obliged to pay someone. So how is it they have no economic value?

That is another story of course! I recall a study in the UK a couple or so years ago attempted to set a value on all that work in the home. If I remember correctly the final figure was huge. The problem is of course that the culture in both the US and Europe is based on the idea that the only worthwhile activity is that we are paid for, depsite the fact that very few people define themselves by their work.

I'm currently writing some personal reflections om my approach to 60 - I think I might revisit some of it!

No one on their death bed ever said "I wish I had spent more time at the office"

So much to comment on today! As My Daughter the Petty Officer serves in the Navy in a primarily male rate (most girls don't want to be Aviation Techs), I do support our troops unequivocally. I also feel that this war is a wasted effort & that we're losing our children unnecessarily. I've asked many of my vet friends if this feels like another VietNam. Their answer? "Yeah--only worse." The only major difference appears to be is that our soldiers & sailors today are enlistees rather than mostly draftees. My daughter may be deployed soon. She says that she isn't afraid as, most likely, she will be relatively safe on an aircraft carrier. She also says that she knew when she signed on that she could go to war & must take that responsibility whether she likes it or not. That makes me proud of her. However, I remember the bombing of the Cole a few years ago & that makes me nervous & aware of the danger that awaits her. One of the signs I recall most from the VietNam era read: War is good business -- invest your sons. Now we're sending our daughters, too. Bush isn't going to back down no matter how much we protest & I can't help but feel this is going to get worse before it gets better. The Grannies are sending a message that's falling on deaf ears, unfortunately, but that's just my take. (I would have loved to have seen that chorus line! :))
Economically inactive? I was a full time mom for 20-something years & I was anything but inactive. Maybe some moms watched the soaps &
gossiped at coffee klatsches but I didn't. I was too busy! I worked harder being a mom than I did at any job I've had & I loved it! I did lots of free work -- volunteering in the schools, church, community, etc. in addition to taking care of my home, the exchequer, & monitoring my children's active lives. I took classes of various types & eventually decided to finish my B.A. which I received just after my 40th birthday on Mother's Day ironically enough!

Today I must work but I was laid off from a much-hated job over 2 years ago. The only income I have right now is a part-time job. I keep hearing that I'm either over-qualified or haven't enough experience. I suspect that
"young & pretty" is winning out over "old reliable." And the women's magazines lie when they tell you that volunteer work counts on your resume. No prospective employer yet has mentioned how great that is that I gave so much time to our community. I don't regret the years at home--my kids are decent responsible, productive people of whom I'm intensely proud. But I do resent that I have no value in our society's job despite my contributions. There will be a rant on my blog on this! lol

Ronni, thanks for the reference. CoComment will help tie the conversations together and allow the commentor to keep track of what was said when. We'll can enable the LongTail to do some wonderful things (not that we haven't already).

Excellent, Silver Thread!

You really have to stop this, Ronni. While you originally inspired me to take up blogging, I now spend so much time reading and commenting on other blogs I have found through comments here, that I no longer have the time to write my own. And now you've started this "Silver Threads" thing that will probably take me out of the practice completely!

(Just kidding, I really appreciate this new feature.)

Hi there,

Your mention of tributes was interesting -- I just finished one to my amazing grandmother who passed away in December at age 95.

If I accomplish half of what she did in her time, I will consider myself fortunate. I am more fortunate to have had her steady influence and strength behind me for 47 years.

Might be slightly off topic, but I've been edging to get this out. Okay who would win in a fight, Obama or Bush? :D
I'd say Obama would pull out with some slick moves he's got up his sleeve. :-p

Hello all,

I'm new to this community and simply wanted to say I love this forum!

I'm not all that sure what to talk about, so if there's anything you'd like to understand, ask me :)


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