Old and Happy
Quarterstaff Revolution

This Week in Elder News: 21 June 2008

In this regular weekend feature you will find links to news items from the preceding week related to elders and aging, along with whatever else catches my fancy that I think you might like to know. Suggestions are welcome with, however, no promises of publication.

Our own Claude Covo-Farchi of Blogging in Paris has opened her ElderExercise blog to anyone interested in joining. The emphasis is on supporting one another in maintaining their exercise programs and not on dieting, but weight loss is a fortunate side effect. Since February, Claude has lost 8 kilos (17.6 pounds).

Peter Tibbles alerted me to a terrific Australian chat show called Enough Rope hosted by Andrew Denton. He recently did a series with older women that is funny and true and real. Don’t miss this excerpt with Miriam Margolyes and Germaine Greer talking about sex (3:46 minutes). And do poke around to watch some other excellent interviews. Unfortunately, embedded video isn’t offered so you must visit the website.

Scientists have had to the rare opportunity to study the brain of the then oldest living woman who died of stomach cancer in 2005, at the age of 115. There were few signs of disease commonly associated with mental decline, and when she was tested at age of 112 and 113 by researchers, “she was alert and performing better than the average 60- to 75-year-old.” More here. (Hat tip to Kate Winner of Kate Thoughts.)

As Scott Fitzgerald wrote, the rich are different from you and me and often, in our new gilded age, contemptibly so. But this renovation of a New York City apartment is magical and I think, if the rich must overdo, this is a charming way to go.

Alarming bankruptcy data in regard to elders has been released from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project. Although bankruptcies were down overall between 1991 and 2007, among those aged 65 to 74, they are up 125 percent, and jumped a whopping 433.3 percent among those 75 to 84. More here.

There is a short QandA with a marvelously cantankerous Gore Vidal at Time magazine.

It amused me to learn that in Japan there is a popular porn star who is 74 years old. “The market for elder porn has doubled over the past decade,” reports film director Ryuichi Kadowaki in Time magazine. "In view of [Japan's] aging society," he adds, "I think that in the future, we will see a steady increase in demand." (Hat tip to Donna Woodka of Changing Places)

In an op-ed piece in the Buffalo News, an anonymous elder writes of the joys in her younger years of listening to the stories of an elder friend.

The NCPSSM – the National Association to Preserve Social Security and Medicare - has released video of the acceptance speeches from the two recipients of their 2008 Excellence in Media awards – Saul Friedman of Newsday (5:23 minutes) and moi (5:26 minutes), posted below.


First of all, thanks for mentioning ElderExercise, in this column. And kudos to you for your 2008 Excellence in Media awards. I enjoyed watching it, both because of what Barbarah B. Kenelly said about you, but I also enjoyed seeing you and listening to what you had to say. Well done, Ronni!

Congrats on your award, Ronni. It is well-deserved. Your post today is a font of knowledge and entertainment.The apartment story is worthy of a movie script! Love Gore Vidal, the cantankerous old guy, and I (sort of) applaud the 74 year old porn star. Long may he reign!

Congradulations, Ronni, on your well deserved recognition & award. You "did good!" & I'm so glad you're our spokesperson for Social Security. BTW, you look wonderful on the video, speaking with the collective passion of elders. Way to go!! Dee

Congratulations on your award and it seems to me well deserved for the research you do and give to readers. You made full use of your time accepting the award to give that information once again. Good for you.

Thanks RB for the tip on elder exercise. I joined up and posted a couple comments. Not very many people in there yet, but a few fellow bike riders.

Just finished an hour on my indoor bike trainer. Whew! Think I'll take the rest of the day off!

Best good wishes from sunny Kansas,


Congratulations on your award. Your acceptance video was wonderful.

I'm so proud that I know you...

Allow me to join in with the others Ronni and give you kudos for your award. And, anent the meaningfulness of the award, let me make my own comments.

Although coming from a social milieu which ordinarily might make me support the idea of privatization of social security, I have been firmly against it. You have no doubt covered my reasons in your earlier blogs(which I haven't read because this is my FIRST reading of ANY blog) but they may be worth repeating.

1. the markets are too complicated for the average - and above average-- person to navigate safely; even I, who has two undergraduate and one graduate degree,do not feel competent to handle my own investments. Fortunately, I can afford managers.

2. the markets are too volatile for the average joe - you and me - to time investment payoffs to retirement.If one has doubts about this statement I encourage them to read "How to Bulletproof Your Nest Egg" in the WSJ,June 14-15,page R1 (coincidentally the same edition that on R12 has your essay which tuned me into this blog).

As to the thoughts of young people let them ponder this: in Romania, where my wife and I lived for 27 months as Peace Corps volunteers after my intial retirement, "elders" have little to live on. They must either live with their children who support them or if they live alone they "garden" for they daily food and sustenance. Young(er) people might want to think about that. Without the social security system they could end up in the same boat.

All that said, I am convinced that there must be a fix to the system. Too many professionals have determined that there are substantial and systemic economic problems. As a former elected official ( a state legislator) there is no doubt in my mind that it is only the lack of courage of our current officials to fix the problems.

Way to go Ronni!! What a well crafted acceptance speech: such a great reminded of a program that has helped so many (including me presently).

Now to check out some of your other links for today.

Congratulations on the award Ronni! It recently stuck me that Eleanor Roosevelt's My Day column was in many ways like a blog. You should think of yourself as following in her foot steps.

I, too, wish to congratulate you again, Ronni, on your award and the wonderful acceptance speech.

I hope your comment about Universal Coverage gets lots of attention. We need to push it now that more people are aware of the possibilities.

The apartment puzzle was interesting and the videos on Enough Rope were priceless.

After looking at a few of the Enough Rope videos, I've now subscribed to the show. Lots of fun. Thanks for the tip.

I also very much enjoyed your speech. Congratulations. What a fine thing it is.

I'm also a fan of Enough Rope and I saw the full interview with Miriam Margoyles. She's an interesting woman and it was a great interview. Andrew Denton always does good interviews!

Congrats on your Excellence in Media award - it's definitely well deserved.

High Five from Chattanooga...great acceptance speech....and thank you for writing such a great blog...I never miss a post...

LOTS of interesting links in this post. Thanks! And congrats again on the award. What a fine speaker you are. And funny, too!

Congratulations, Ronni!
Well deserved recognition.

Very well done, Ms. Ronni. You make giving public speeches look effortless! (Though, I know a lot work and thought did go into this beforehand.)

Me? I fly by the seat of my pants far too often, and suffer the chapped consequences...

It is wonderful to see the greater elder community take notice of our terrific friend!


I offer my congratulations, too, Ronni. I agree with previous commenters; you do make public speaking appear effortless, while also very professional. Well done.

And thanks, too, for all the other interesting things you bring our way.

Whoooohoooo! 'Bout time them dang youngin's found out what we've known all along. Congratulations! When do we get to see the award?

Really good video with your acceptance for the award. Surely do need to keep touting the need to keep Social Security and fix Medicare. Hope lots of people see the video -- content is enough to make me want to show it to every group I encounter -- so succint on the issues. Wish I could feel confident that the incoming President would move ahead with these ideas.

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