Previous month:
January 2015
Next month:
March 2015

ELDER MUSIC: Sympathy for the Devil

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.

Some time ago I did a column on Angels so now it's the loyal opposition's turn.


I believe it was William Booth who asked the rhetorical question, “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” Old Bill went on to form the Salvation Army and the devil went on to start jazz, blues, rock & roll and all the best music of the last century.

Today it's the devil's music, not Bill's.

The first two selections certainly are the devil's music. Given the title of the column today, the ROLLING STONES had to be present.

Rolling Stones

Legend has it that they were playing this song at the infamous Altamont concert when a Hell's Angel murdered a member of the crowd. I'm sorry to bring reality into this but it is not the song they were performing. It's just that it makes for a better story.

Here is Sympathy for the Devil.

♫ Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil

Early in his life and career, STEVE EARLE took Townes Van Zandt as his hero and role model. Uh oh, I'm surprised Steve's still alive.

Steve Earle

Besides being a fine songwriter and good singer, Steve is an activist, campaigning against capital punishment (still necessary in some uncivilized countries), landmines and for Vietnam veterans. He regularly performs for free for these causes.

His songs have been recorded by many notable artists but naturally I'm going with the real thing. Here's Steve with The Devil's Right Hand.

♫ Steve Earle - The Devil's Right Hand

CHET BAKER brings us a complete change of pace from the first two songs.

Chet Baker

Chet was both a singer and trumpet player of the first rank however, on this one he only sings. Old Devil Moon.

♫ Chet Baker - Old Devil Moon

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels had a hit with the song Devil with the Blue Dress. However, they weren't the first to record it. That honor goes to SHORTY LONG, who wrote the song with Mickey Stevenson.

Shorty Long

Shorty was the first artist on Motown's Soul label, a subsidiary established for more blues based artists. He was a multi-instrumentalist playing piano, organ, trumpet, drums and other instruments. Alas, he died at only 29 in a boating accident.

♫ Shorty Long - Devil with the Blue Dress

ELVIS is usually on the side of the angels with his song choices, but there was one notable devil song.


I imagine you're way ahead of me. Here is Devil in Disguise.

♫ Elvis Presley - Devil In Disguise

To no one's surprise, the GRATEFUL DEAD have a song about the devil.

Grateful Dead

It appears on their finest album, “American Beauty.” The song is Friend of the Devil.

♫ Grateful Dead - Friend Of The Devil

GENE VINCENT was one of the pioneers of both rock & roll and rockabilly.

Gene Vincent

Race with the Devil was Gene's second record after the success of Be-Bop-a-Lula. However, it really only tickled the bottom rungs of the charts. It doesn't matter, it was still a fine piece of rockabilly music. Good rock & roll too.

♫ Gene Vincent - Race With The Devil

The GUN was a rather obscure British power trio around the turn of the sixties into the seventies.


They were influenced by others of the same type like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The influence went in both directions as Jimi quoted their most famous song in his tune Machine Gun.

That song, a minor hit in Britain and Australia, is Race with the Devil, a different song from Gene Vincent's.

♫ Gun - Race with the Devil

DANNY KALB and STEFAN GROSSMAN recorded an interesting album back in 1969 called “Crosscurrents.”

Danny Kalb & Stefan Grossman

Danny first came to my notice as the lead guitarist for the Blues Project but with the album I mentioned, he and Stefan decided to record it with rock & roll rhythm instruments but they played acoustic guitars.

It sort of worked and there were a couple of fine tracks on it. This is one of them called Devil Round the Moon. Stefan does the singing.

♫ Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman - Devil Round The Moon

A good way to end this is with the man himself. The devil takes an active part in the next song by CHARLIE DANIELS. At least, that what Charlie says.

p>Charlie Daniels

I imagine you know this one, a great hit for Charlie in the seventies and a real toe-tapper, The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

♫ Charlie Daniels - The Devil Went Down to Georgia

The devil wrote so many good songs there's going to be another column in two weeks' time.

INTERESTING STUFF – 7 February 2015


Alan Ginocchio who blogs at Some Final Thoughts let me know about the documentary, My Love, Don't Cross That River, that has broken all attendance records in its native country, South Korea.

It tells the lifelong love story of 89-year-old Kang Kye-Yeol and 98-year-old Cho Byeong-Man who have been married for 76 years:

"I tried to shoot the love of the couple without affectation," [director Jin Mo-Young] told the Korean Times. "I would like to say [something] about endless love through this film."

I have looked behind every rock and I could not find anything on the interwebs for the full-length film in any form – theaters, rent, purchase, stream, etc. - so I created a news alert and will report back if/when it turns up.

When you see this trailer, you will know why I'm eager to see it:

You can read more about the film here.


Right now, tomorrow, Sunday is the second season premier of John Oliver's HBO show and this time, there will be 35 weekly episodes instead of just 24 as in the first season. That will take us all the way to 4 October. Hurray.

To my everylasting gratitude, one story you won't see Oliver covering is the 2016 presidential election.

"I truly believe that the 2016 election is what the news likes to think about when it doesn't want to think about anything,” he told reporters. “There's no merit in it. Unless you're in the same year as the thing you're describing, it's a complete waste of breath.

“It's like a subject screensaver for the news. You know that if they're saying 'Oh, look, Jeb Bush is running,' you know that's the equivalent of just, nothing is happening in the newsroom, or we were tired...I have no interest whatsoever in the 2016 election at the start of 2015.”

There is a lot more in that interview you can read here.


This is such good news and, at the same time, such bad news – that so many people are wrongly convicted and packed off to prison often for decades.

Put yourself in their places: You didn't do it but you're locked up pretty much without recourse. Almost always, the only thing standing between you and rotting in prison are such organizations as The Exoneration Initiative and The Innocence Project.

Last year, 125 people were exonerated, the highest number ever. There were 91 exonerations in the years 2013 and 2012 – the previously highest numbers.

Exonerations are tracked by The National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan Law School. You can read their 2014 report at Mother Jones and the news story about it at the same magazine.


I doubt, at my age, I'll ever again be in a situation where I would need most of these hacks but I sure do admire their ingenuity and like knowing them.

And, come to think of it, the mosquito repellent could come in handy. Take a look.


My apologies up front for subjecting you yet again to even the words “Super Bowl.”

Has there ever been anything more overhyped than this year's game? As far as I can tell from online and television news, nothing else – not a single thing - happened in the world during the two weeks leading up to the 49th Super Bowl.

Nevertheless, there is one commercial from Dodge worth mentioning. It is titled 100 Years of Wisdom and it was such a refreshing thing to see to so many old, old faces in prime time.


I discovered a cache of short videos at YouTube from BBC Radio 4 titled, The History of Ideas.

Actually, the little animations are about BIG ideas – things like facing death, what makes us human, the big bang theory and - The Free Will Defence: A Good God vs The Problem of Evil. Take a look at that last one. It's narrated by Harry Shearer and scripted by Nigel Warburton.

Nifty, huh. Actually, the animations are short clips from the much longer radio programs on each topic – about an hour. Rather than YouTube, it's easier to sort through them at the BBC 4 History of Ideas website where you can listen to full shows or watch the animations.


Big literary news this week when it was announced that in July, a sequel to the iconic and beloved novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee will be published.

The new book, titled Go Set a Watchman, features a grown-up Scout returning home to Alabama to see her father, Atticus. Apparently, although there is some mystery developing around the circumstances of the new book, Ms. Lee wrote it first but the publisher wanted something different:

“'I was a first-time writer, so I did as I was told,' she said [to The New York Times].

“'I hadn’t realized it had survived, so was surprised and delighted when my dear friend and lawyer Tonja Carter discovered it. After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.'”

I've already put a copy on hold for me.


Hmmmm. I just realized this makes two South Korea stories in one post. How likely is that?

Last week in, of all places, Seoul, at what YouTube says was an Authentic Jazz Weekend there was a lot of lindy dancing going on. We danced this way when I was young. It was fun then and it's fun to watch now. It will make you happy to see this.


Peter Cohen, who is a homebuilder, designed his whole house for the benefit and pleasure of his 15 cats. We've seen this done before but, I think not quite so elegantly.

Read more here and 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” in the upper left corner 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.

Elders Recall Life Before Immunization

UPDATE 9AM: This is fantastic, all your stories collecting in the comments below - so many already at 9AM. Keep them coming. We can quote statistics all day long, but stories are powerful persuaders; they make a difference.


See that state over there on the left, the single one that is red? That's where I live these days, Oregon, and the color does not reflect political affiliation.

It is red because in 2014, Oregon was estimated to have both the highest percentage and the highest number of unvaccinated school children of all 50 U.S. states. That would be 7.1 percent or 3,331 exemptions for religious reasons and 62 for medical reasons.

(To see other states' numbers, click here.)

Measles was declared eradicated in the United States in the year 2000 so it is staggering to follow the current “debate” over measles (and other disease) immunizations – particularly, I think, if you are old like me. But first, let me digress.

The looniness of the anti-vaccination crowd is astounding – some of them are even physicians, even physicians who want to be president like Dr. Ben Carson and opthalmologist, Senator Rand Paul.

But the anti-vaxxers are not all conservatives like those two; many are liberals. Politically, vaccine denial is an equal opportunity insanity and tolerating them for more than a second endangers the health – even the lives - of the entire country.

I'm not going to explain the origin of the anti-vaccine movement. You can find that and all their crazy arguments – from quasi-medical to religious to political - all over the internet.

Instead, let me give you just one comparison fact then I will get to why I'm flogging the anti-vaccine stupidity today.

According to Centers for Disease Control quoted in Wikipedia, the death rate for measles infection is 2 in 1,000 cases. Encephalitis occurs from measles infection at a rate of 1 in 1,000 cases. And pneumonia occurs in 6 of 100 cases.

The measles immunization shot is called MMR for “measles, mumps, rubella.” The complication rate for MMR immunization is 1 in 1,000,000 injections.

“Debate” over.

If you are older than about 55 or 60, you can recall a childhood filled with terrifying diseases: diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, rubella, chickenpox, smallpox, scarlet fever, polio and others that until the current madness, we had almost forgotten. Let me remind you.

Smallpox scars on school mates' faces were common.

I was required to remain in bed with shades drawn and no reading allowed during my bout with measles because it can cause blindness (although I don't know why a dark room would prevent that).

Quarantine notices were posted on the homes where some kids were sick (I've forgotten which diseases). They were so contagious we weren't allowed to go near them.

Sometimes we heard that a kid had died from one of the diseases.

Every fall, one or two school mates didn't return to school due to polio. Some of them died. A few eventually returned to school wearing huge braces on one or both legs.

These diseases are now preventable.

Personally, I believe the government should mandate universal vaccination for the general welfare of the public. Isn't that what government should be for, the public good?

Remember, in the 1950s, when the government innoculated the entire country – every single person – against polio? In my town, everyone lined up at one of the local schools where we were each handed a sugar cube to eat.

You haven't heard much about polio since then and how is that not a vast public good?

Most people who read this blog are old enough to recall life when those childhood diseases ran rampant. So spend some time, if you will, in comments today, telling us your recollections of those days gone by. Maybe some younger parents sitting on the fence about vaccines will read them.

As for Oregon, perhaps immunization rates are about to get better. On Wednesday, The Oregonian reported:

”By state law, all children in public and private schools, preschools, Head Start programs and certified child care facilities must have up-to-date vaccinations by Feb. 18 or have an exemption.”

Of course, that raises the obvious question of why any kids are in school now without those documents, a crucial bit of information left out of the news story. (I'll undoubtedly take flak from Oregonians for saying this but living here leaves one weeping daily for lack of competent news reporting.)

One of the many things that amuse me about Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is the number of ways he can find to digress from whatever topic he is discussing.

Earlier this week he digressed about 10 times in 10 different directions in his coverage of the vaccine “controversy” – of course, hilariously - while making his serious points. Take a look.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today is – nothing. No story. It is on hiatus for two weeks. Please read more here.

Choose Wisely: Excellent Healthcare Information For You

There is growing belief – and evidence - that Americans get too much healthcare, that they are over-tested, over-diagnosed and over-prescribed. But that is beginning to change and one the most important change agents is a program called Choosing Wisely. As the website states:

”It is urgent that health care providers and patients work together and have conversations about wise treatment decisions.

"That means choosing care that is supported by evidence showing that it works for patients like them; is not duplicative of other tests or procedures already received; won’t harm them; and is truly necessary.”

Better decisions are urgent for better care for patients and to help lower healthcare costs. As U.S. News reported two years ago:

” a [2012] report entitled Best Care at Lower Cost, the Institute of Medicine found that 30 percent of American health-care costs, or $750 billion, was squandered in 2009 on needless tests and services, administrative excess, fraud, and other failures that new technologies can help redress.”

$750 billion in 2009 – imagine what it must be now, six years later.

Choosing Wisely is an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation (ABIM) in partnership with Consumer Reports and other organizations. ABIM asked each medical specialty to develop “five things providers and patients should question.”

”So, for example,” reports U.S. News, “the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advised against antibiotics for routine sinus infections, which are rarely caused by bacteria and usually clear up within two weeks.

“The American College of Cardiology said the use of annual stress tests in asymptomatic patients doesn't help and can hurt—leading to invasive procedures and radiation exposure.”

The Choose Wisely website is packed with easily understandable health information and chief among it all are two great lists. One, Specialty Society Lists of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question, is labeled for physicians but is mostly readable and fantastically useful for us patients too.

In each of 63 specialties, the professional organization for that group lists at least “five things providers and patients should question” with clear explanations. Among the 10 on the list under the American Geriatric Society are these:

Don’t use benzodiazepines or other sedative-hypnotics in older adults as first choice for insomnia, agitation or delirium.

Don’t recommend screening for breast or colorectal cancer, nor prostate cancer (with the PSA test) without considering life expectancy and the risks of testing, overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Avoid using medications to achieve hemoglobin A1c <7.5% in most adults age 65 and older; moderate control is generally better.

You can see why it is labeled for physicians but you can figure out what most of it means by reading the explanation under the those headers.

The second list, however - Patient-Friendly Resources from Specialty Societies and Consumer Reports - is designed and written for us non-medical types.

Here is the lead-in to “Antibiotics for urinary tract infections in older people:”

Antibiotics are medicines that can kill bacteria. Doctors often use antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). The main symptoms of UTIs are:

A burning feeling when you urinate.
A strong urge to urinate often.

However, many older people get UTI treatment even though they do not have these symptoms. This can do more harm than good. Here’s why:

More information about antibiotics and UTIs follows along with an informative sidebar about how to avoid UTIs.

The lists are updated as needed. You can download the entire physicians list as a PDF (109 pages). That option is not available for the patient list but the individual reports can be downloaded as PDFs (as can the individual physician questions reports) – handy to take with you to doctor appointments.

There are uncountable healthcare websites. Some are useful. Some are questionable. Many, I find, are out of date. And some are frauds designed to look like authentic health sites.

Choose Wisely, however, is the real deal – reliable, smart and trustworthy. It gives you the information you need to have informed conversations with your care providers and make intelligent decisions with them.

Here are the links you need:

Choose Wisely home page
One page description of Choose Wisely program [pdf]
Choose Wisely Provider and Patient Lists

There is much more worth reading at the website – some other resources and videos, a blog and more.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today is – nothing. No story. It is on hiatus for two weeks. Please read more here.

More Old Mean Girls

A couple of weeks ago I told you about some old mean girls in a retirement community freezing out a 97-year-old new resident. Now comes a report of not only more old mean girls but of retirement community officials supporting them.

In the independent living area of her continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Alabama called Redstone Village, Ann Clinton had long enjoyed the weekly bingo game with her friends. She has had Parkinson's disease, then last fall she underwent back surgery requiring a stay in the skilled nursing wing.

When she had recovered, it was easy to use her motorized scooter to rejoin the game in the independent living section of the same building.

“'I have many friends over there,' Mrs. Clinton told [Paula Span of The New York Times]. 'We had a lot of fun together.'

“But in October, the bingo wars began,” writes Span. “First, the activities director told Mrs. Clinton she would need a 'sponsor,' an independent living resident to invite her and accompany her to the game. No problem: Her buddy Lynn Mielke agreed to play host.

“'I had a ball,' Mrs. Clinton said. She had missed the camaraderie.”

It wasn't long, however, before the director of the CCRC said that Mrs. Clinton could not be in the independent living section for any reason, an order Mrs. Clinton ignored until -

”One night, the staffer said, 'Ann, you’re not supposed to be here, because you’re up in skilled nursing,' Mrs. Mielke recalled. 'Ann said, I’m staying.”

“At which point perhaps half the women in the room walked out in protest of her playing.”

Read that last sentence again (emphasis mine): “At which point perhaps half the women in the room walked out in protest of her playing.

Mean old girls.

This is where Paula Span's story gets really interesting. She reports that some CCRCs set up exclusionary policies, “mandating separate facilities and activities for those requiring different levels of care.”

(You may recall a similar kind of retirement community story involving use of the dining room I told you about in 2012.)

Apparently, this kind of segregation is not uncommon. CCRCs market their communities as “active” because they know that healthier elders do not want to associate with those who require more care. But some people believe the separation of activities and use of facilities may not be legal:

“'...that’s why we have anti-discrimination laws,' said Eric Carlson, a directing lawyer for the National Senior Citizens Law Center. 'You don’t want to capitulate to people’s prejudices.'

“He and Ms. [Susan Ann] Silverstein of AARP believe that Redstone’s policies may violate the federal Fair Housing Act, which outlaws discrimination based on disability, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

“'Businesses should make accommodations for people with disabilities, and that goes double or 10 times for facilities that care for older people,' Mr. Carlson said."

Mrs. Clinton's adult son, Kin, tried to work out a solution with the CCRC but then they just shut down the bingo game altogether. One of the mean-old-girl contingent from the independent living section told Ms. Span:

“'I’m very upset because I lost a game that I enjoyed,' said Fran Woodard...She blames Mrs. Clinton, because 'she broke at least three rules in order to come to an independent living activity to which she was not invited.'”

Yes, broke the rules that are mean, nasty and possibly illegal.

Since then, the independent living group has restarted the bingo game as a club that requires membership by invitation only.

Unto the grave, I guess, there will be people who will find ways to set themselves up as better than others and find ways to discriminate against them.

Way too often, my tribe embarrasses me.

There are more interesting details to this story which you can read here.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today is – nothing. No story. It is on hiatus for two weeks. Please read more here.

A School and Assisted Living in One Space

[Apologies to whomever sent me this interesting story. I've lost your email.]

People in the small town of St. Francis, Maine, are considering saving their elementary school from closure by turning half the building into assisted living apartments for elders.

The school is down to just 31 students and slated to be closed, writes Cassandra Dowell in Senior Housing News:

”The district was to vote on the possible closing last year, but agreed to table the vote to allow community members more time to come up with ideas.

“'We needed to find a way to keep costs down and keep the school open,' [teacher Colleen McBreairty] says. 'We turned over every stone, even considering converting some of the space into a trucking school.'

“But Jonathan 'JJ' Roy, an owner of two existing assisted living communities in Maine...took a look at the one-level, 10-classroom building and expressed interest in operating an assisted living community there.

“'Half of the classrooms would be turned into apartments for assisted living,' McBreairty says, noting the school would then serve about 26 students pre-kindergarten through second grade.”
This is nowhere near a done deal. Funds are needed, ownership of the building must be sorted out and some laws need to be revised but the community appears to be behind the idea.
“'This is such an exciting opportunity,' [Ms. McBreairty] says, noting that if St. Francis Elementary closes its doors students will need to travel 72 miles round-trip to attend the nearest school.

“'The kids could read to the elderly, and the elderly have so many great skills that they can share with the kids,' she says about the prospect of students and seniors under one roof.”

What I like about this idea is how organic it is, if it is done well. I'm no psychologist but it seems to me that it is hard for such disparate age groups to find common ground if the setting is too formal or if there are too many ground rules which sometimes happens in the efforts.

In a different kind of way, I'm reminded of the project I showed you last year of elders in retirement communities in the U.S. helping students in Brazil learn English via video chat:

Many people promote the benefits of bringing elders and young people together but I haven't seen many good ideas. Youngsters and elders seem to have a natural affinity for one another, particularly when left to their own devices.

This school with assisted living apartments feels just right and I hope the town of St. Francis can pull it off. It could be a good model for others.

Do you have any experience with such situations? Or, can you think of different kinds of circumstances that would be favorable for elders and young ones to discover and know one another – especially conditions where an easy synergy could to develop between them?

At The Elder Storytelling Place today is – nothing. No story. It is on hiatus for two weeks. Please read more here.

Cutting “Fixed” Retirement Expenses

Well, cutting ONE of them. There are, no doubt, readers who will tell us that cable television is not a fixed retirement expense, that they don't bother with it.

My colleague here at TGB, Crabby Old Lady, has an answer for that: any TV snobs in the audience can leave Time Goes By to us Philistines today.

I like television. I produced network television shows for 25 years. I maintain a continuing professional interest in television as a medium. And I enjoy it for both its informational and entertainment quality of which, if you are discerning, there is plenty.

Moving on.

Late last year, my cable provider of both television and internet, jacked up my monthly charge by 39 percent. Yes, you read that correctly: 39 percent without providing a smidgen of additional service.

They have done this in the past - if not by as large a percentage - and when I phoned to complain, they lowered the increase a lot. This time they refused.

You might have been able to discern the steam coming out of my ears via this webpage and I determined to cut the cord.

It took a lot of research and pondering trade-offs to figure out how much money I could save and how best to do it, but I came up with a plan and spent the past several days putting it into effect.

Actually, I didn't entirely cut the cord but close enough for now. Let me explain.

I had to maintain my relationship with Giant Cable Company (hereinafter GCC) because it is the only broadband game in town. Then I discovered that if I dropped all TV, the price of that intermediate-speed internet connection (GCC offers five speeds) would jump 25 percent.

For slightly less, I could subscribe to the lowest level, most basic TV service which would give me the local channels and a few others while maintaining the current charge for internet access. Done.

Also, by keeping that small amount of TV service, I avoided the need of rabbit ears for over-the-air reception which, where I live with a lot of surrounding hills, is a difficult proposition.

Let me back up for a moment.

The best piece of luck I had was that while doing my research I wound up at a local RadioShack store to look at antennas (antennae?). I don't often mention the names of commercial enterprises on this blog but the owner saved me hours, maybe days, of work and certainly several headaches while talking himself out of a sale to me.

He's the one who suggested keeping the lowest level of television service and he is the one who explained that I didn't need to revert to watching all TV in real time – that there are affordable DVR boxes and services like Roku and Tivo.

That had been my biggest disappointment, losing the best-ever television technology, the DVR (digital video recorder) so I can watch show on my schedule, not the broadcast schedule.

The RadioShack owner also told me to be sure to purchase an M-card when I returned my equipment to GCC. It would make it possible for me to use the new DVR with the GCC service.

It is far from a big deal in price - $1.00 – and knowing in advance that I need it (it had not been mentioned in any of my research) saved a whole lot of time with repeat driving.

The lowest end Tivo box (all I need) sells for $199 at their website but I found a sale at an electronics store for $149 that I could purchase in person rather than waiting for delivery and I already owned an extra HDMI cable so there was no need to buy that.

Plus, of course, I had to subscribe to the Tivo service for $15 per month with a required subscription of one year. (There are a choice of prices.)

I spent a total of six or seven hours on Saturday putting all this together. It involved unplugging and plugging in a lot of stuff behind books shelves, reading instructions that are never entirely clear, clicking through a lot of tedious setup menus and several phone calls to Tivo helpers (universally terrific) and to GCC (reluctantly useful).

Here is the bottom line: I already subscribe to Netflix so that doesn't enter into my savings calculations. My GCC subscription dropped by 47.5 percent and even with the added $15 per month for Tivo, my budget is reduced by just over $700 per year and the Tivo box will pay for itself in three or four months.

What I lose in this deal is not much: four or five cable channels with shows I like but I will be able to watch them online or wait until they show up on Netflix or other services in a year or so for binge watching.

What I gain is the money savings – a big deal (these days in retirement) for me. I could have squeaked by with the higher price but I didn't want to do that anymore.

I know elders who are close to being priced out of cable TV services altogether. Ours, in the U.S., are more expensive than other developed countries - particularly, their broadband services are much cheaper than ours and at the same time, much faster.

Both cable television and internet access are becoming so expensive that I believe they need government intervention of some kind because neither TV nor internet are fripperies any longer – they have not been for a long time.

As we often mention here, technology refuses to stand still long enough to actually understand it which is why I am grateful to the RadioSchack owner who made a lot of confusing choices easier for me. I would like to mention his name but I don't have permission.

Maybe I'll do that another time because I am certainly going to stop by sometimes this week to thank him.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today is – nothing. No story. It is on hiatus for two weeks. Please read more here.

ELDER MUSIC: 1969 Again

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.

What happened in 1969?

  • Jakob Dylan was born
  • Rod Laver achieved a second Grand Slam. No one else has ever come close
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus was shown for the first time
  • PBS was established
  • The Boeing 747 made its first passenger flight
  • Easy Rider was released
  • Richmond were premiers

Like many singers of his ilk, JOE SIMON started out singing in church, actually his father's.

Joe Simon

He later joined a gospel group and later still, influenced by Sam Cooke, turned to secular music. He cut his first record in the dying months of the fifties, but his main success didn't begin until the mid sixties and stretched through to the eighties and beyond.

One of the songs from that era, from 1969 of course, is one that's been covered by others quite successfully. It is The Chokin' Kind.

♫ Joe Simon - The Chokin' Kind

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD recorded her groundbreaking album "Dusty in Memphis" the year before and the first single from that was released this year.

Dusty Springfield

That song is Son of a Preacher Man. It was first offered to Aretha Franklin but she turned it down. After hearing Dusty's version, Aretha decided to record it after all. After hearing Aretha's version, Dusty wished that she had performed it the way Aretha had done it. She didn't do a bad job of it though.

♫ Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacher Man

PETER SARSTEDT had an older brother in the pop music industry named Eden Kane (Eden had changed his name). Pete used to play bass in Eden's band.

Peter Sarstedt

Peter went out on his own as a sort of troubadour and wrote the song, Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) apparently to sound like a French boulevard type song.

The record company didn't want to release it as a single initially; they said it had no drums, was too long and there were only three instruments, but they eventually relented.

I've included the even longer album version. The song is about the best ever for name-dropping, place-dropping and (up-market) product placement.

♫ Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

PEGGY LEE was still out there making a dent in the music charts in 1969.

Peggy Lee

She was using the new folks – Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote songs for just about all the pop and rock singers of the fifties and sixties, gave her Is That All There Is.

Peggy wasn't the first to record it but it's her version we remember. Randy Newman wrote the orchestration and conducted the orchestra as well.

♫ Peggy Lee - Is That All There Is

And When I Die was written by Laura Nyro and first recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. Laura then had a go at it herself. Later on it was BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS' turn.

Blood Sweat & Tears

BS&T went through several eras, as it were. The first was when the band was formed by Al Kooper who was the driving force behind it. There were ructions in the band and Al and some others were tossed out.

The second era had David Clayton-Thomas as lead singer. This was the most successful for the group and it is from this time that the songs we remember, including And When I Die, came. There was a third incarnation that we'll just skip over.

♫ Blood Sweat & Tears - And When I Die

The CANNED HEAT song Going up the Country pretty much epitomized the hippie ideal of going back to nature. Just an ideal, of course, I doubt if many really wanted to do that.

Canned Heat

The song was played over the credits of the film of the Woodstock festival. The Heat played there but weren't featured in the film. Usually, Bob Hite ("Big Bear") sang their songs, but on this it's their lead guitarist Al Wilson ("Blind Owl") who did the honors.  He wrote the song, very much influenced by an early blues tune called Bull Doze Blues.

♫ Canned Heat - Going Up the Country

JERRY BUTLER first came to notice as singer for The Impressions (along with Curtis Mayfield).

Jerry Butler

Only the Strong Survive was Jerry's most successful record. However, he had some earlier, terrific songs I prefer – He Will Break Your Heart and I've Been Loving You Too Long which he wrote with Otis Redding who turned it into one of the records of the sixties especially.

However, this one isn't too bad at all.

♫ Jerry Butler - Only The Strong Survive

DESMOND DEKKER's song Israelites was the first time that reggae impinged on my ears.

Desmond Dekker

I don't think the music was called reggae at that time but that's certainly what it was. Desmond said that the song came to him while he was sitting in a park one day. Fortunately, he still remembered it when he got home so he could write it down and sing it into his tape recorder.

♫ Desmond Dekker - Israelites

Someday We'll Be Together was the last hit for THE SUPREMES with Diana Ross singing.

The Supremes

Diana had trouble initially getting the song right. The songwriter, Johnny Bristol, sang along with her, ad-libbing all the time, as encouragement. Berry Gordy liked it so much he kept Johnny's comments in the finished record.

♫ The Supremes - Someday We'll Be Together

I'll end with probably the ultimate hippie anthem. It's THE YOUNGBLOODS with Get Together.

The Youngbloods

I saw the group at the Family Dog in 1970 at what they announced was their final ever live performance. It turned out not to be so, thus I lost my bragging rights. Oh well, they were pretty good as was Jesse Colin Young, the lead singer, who did a solo set as well.

When they did eventually split, he put out a terrific first (or third or fourth, depending on how you count them) album ("Song for Juli") and several ordinary ones.

♫ The Youngbloods - Get Together

You can find more music from 1969 here. 1970 will appear in two weeks' time.