Retirement Living Reality Check



One of the many terrific things about living in Manhattan is that there is no need to own a car, a possession I find annoying in the extreme. It always wants something – gas, tires, washing, tags, insurance – not to mention that it is unwieldy and expensive.

(I believed we would have the Star Trek transporter by now and I'm deeply disappointed that we don't.)

But when I got married in 1965, we bought one of the first then-new Ford Mustangs in a gorgeous deep green color. It is one of the best looking car designs in the history of automobiles and I cannot imagine why we got rid of it.

But here, on the 50th anniversary of the Mustang, is a video from a man who kept his 1964 Mustang all these years and he's still driving it.


Cows are big, lumbering lumps of animal flesh who never have seemed to me to have much personality. Now, thanks to TGB reader Jan Cooper, we have a glimpse of what they can be like when they are filled with joy.

And it's also a nice story about people who care for these cows.


The black death that killed a third or more of the British and European population in the 14th century was caused by infected rat fleas biting humans. That's what they've always told us. But now some researchers believe they have a different cause:

”...for any plague to spread at such a pace it must have got into the lungs of victims who were malnourished and then been spread by coughs and sneezes. It was therefore a pneumonic plague rather than a bubonic plague.

“'As an explanation [rat fleas] for the Black Death in its own right, it simply isn't good enough. It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw during the Black Death epidemics, said Dr Tim Brook.”

If this proves true, there will be a lot of textbooks to change. You can read more about this potential historical reversal in The Guardian.


According to the YouTube page for this video, Fred Astaire himself said it is the best dance number ever filmed.

Whether everyone agrees or not is beside the point. It is from the 1943 movie, Stormy Weather and and it is fantastic. That's Cab Calloway doing the lead-in song.


Tuesday 15 April is the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. A few weeks ago, Kevin Spacey told David Letterman about visiting recovering bombing victims and what puppies have to do with that.


Now don't go thinking this is icky or scary or something you'd rather not know. It a really interesting animation about literal dust to dust from Scientific American.


I found that Scientific American video because TGB reader Chic Barna sent a link to another story from that magazine: “How to be a better son or daughter.”

Usually, articles with such titles are a bunch pop psychology hooey but this one caught my attention for its ring-true simplicity. Just four smart, little rules we all should know but sometimes we need to be told:

Have a happy life
Accept help
Don't tell them what to do
Have patience

Now go read the short explanations that go with each rule. You'll be glad you now know these things. There are other places to apply them besides with parents.


You probably know all this. I do. But it is a good refresher course of facts to help explain to people who think they will lose 30 pounds in two weeks if they eat nothing but pineapple.


Just when I think Simon's Cat has lost his touch a good one comes along. Hat tip to Bev Carney.

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

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably 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 have one.


Another very interesting collection, Ronni. Especially the joyful cows--it touched my heart.

The cows; death: what happens after, materially; and being a better adult child: the rules and reasons (it's not too late for me to learn and act though my own parents have died). LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

A very nice "feel good" post. Happy cows, dancing, and Mr. Spacey's description of Cuddles-I needed that this morning. Thanks!

Thank you and Jan for sharing the cow video. Since childhood when I saw cows up close and personal in the summers I have loved these gentle animals with their soulful eyes and curious nature. As I grow older I have grown less and less of a beef eater, and often I thank the soul of the animal who give his life for my steak.

The cows! And the Nicholas Brothers! Great stuff.

My wife & I bought a new yellow Mustang in 1967. We saw a good part of California in it. It was a joy to drive but I have to call it the most mechanically troublesome car I've owned.

As an inveterate trivialist I enjoy your weekly collection of eclectic, seemingly unrelated items. You have to admit, going from Cab Calloway to cats in one blog is quite a stretch. In addition, I was happy to find out that one of the gases that we emit in to the atmosphere when we die is Freon. This means that, because of me, future generations of Americans will have air conditioning. Now you will have to excuse me, I have to go pet a cow.

be sure to watch both parts of the cow video. The second part, with that joy at the brush! --- is also so wonderful. This is more than "nice," this is informative and --ach, I don't know -- I was moved. Being a vegetarian, I also cheer such things. We do owe the cows.

I, too, have trouble eating beef after being around cows. When we were very young my husband took a job on a cattle ranch. During calving season it was an eye opener to me to see how the mother cows left one cow to baby sit the calves while the rest of the herd went down to the pond to drink. I have never felt like they were just dumb animals since then.

I loved the tap dance routine by the Nicholas Brothers and could watch it over and over. What happened to that form of entertainment?

Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors and I could listen to anything he has to say just to watch his face. His Cuddles story was so enjoyable.

Glad to see a good Simon's Cat. I liked the cow video too and I too have given up eating beef, and seem to be working my way out of meat in general. I used to take turns with the neighbor's kids riding their lead dairy cow home to her barn after school. She just put up with us, stopping so we could get on.

You should move into Portland. No need for a car here either.

I suggest that the four rules for "How to be a better son or daughter" would work equally well for "How to be a better parent."

Back when I took medieval history - 50 years ago or more - it was well known that there were two sources of the plague. One was spread via the bite of infected fleas and the other was airbourne via lung infections. The complete lack of medical knownledge during the medieval era enabled both to spread. That this is supposed to be news now is a sad commentary on what has happened to the teaching of history.

Wikipedia has an excellent article onthe three different types of Bubonic plague.

Sorry, once a history nerd, always a history nerd.

Yes, the cows! Best of another great Saturday treats.

Thank you, Ronni and friends ... and readers who post. Little left for me to say, but I second everyone, especially Jean, Bruce and Judy. I cried, I laughed, I thoroughly enjoyed and, once again, say thank you for being a part of my life.

Will never forget the sight of cows prancing like spring lambs in England when they were freed from their winter sojourn in the barn. Doesn't happen here in Australia where they are free all year round, but I still have a soft spot for cattle.

What a pleasurable, educational read this morning! Excellent on all counts, but oh, how I love the cows.

I loved it all, especially the Nicholas Brothers spectacular Tap Dance. I wonder how young they were when they started taking dance lessons. And also whether any two men--other than brothers--could have learned to dance together with such grace and style.

My Mom told us that she hoped to "come back" as a cow after she died. I sure hope she's one of those lucky German bovines.

I shared the article about how to be a better son/daughter with my 4 girls as a way to start a dialog, and it worked. I was inspired when my oldest, who lives nearby, got on my case about driving as my eyesight fades.

As a retired Dietitian, I was interested in the simple explanation of the math of weight loss, but disappointed that they stopped just short of the other big equation: 1 lb. = 3500 calories, gain it or lose it.

Thanks, Nancy, for echoing my microbiologist hubby about the not news about the spread of the plague.

I absolutely LOVED the tap dancing!!! Thanks so much for that, Ronni!!!

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