102-YEAR-OLD FORMER DANCER SEES HERSELF ON FILM FOR THE FIRST TIME
Back in the 1930s and '40s, Alice Barker was a chorus line dancer at such famed venues in Harlem as The Apollo, The Cotton Club and the Zanzibar Club.
She appeared there with such headliners as Gene Kelly, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Frank Sinatra, and she appeared a number of movies of the era and later, in TV commercials and shows.
What with one thing and another in life, Alice had never seen herself on film until Mark Cantor of Sound Improvisations website, finally made that possible. Take a look:
(Thank you to many TGB readers who emailed this story.)
JOHN OLIVER ON THE PRICE OF CHEAP FASHION
When I was writing last Monday's post about the oxymoron of elder fashion, I had intended to include a couple of paragraphs about the awful labor practices of the fashion industry, but it felt like too much and like mixing apples and oranges.
As soon as that story was published last Monday and I checked John Oliver's HBO show, Last Week Tonight (as I do every Monday morning), I wondered if I had acquired the psychic ability to channel the program's production meetings.
Last Sunday, Oliver took on the fashion industry's reprehensible practices.
SONG AND DANCE MAN, GENE KELLY
No one makes real musical movies anymore. Even on Broadway, they are almost entirely revivals. Yes, many were silly, but there was a lot of singing and dancing that was fun to watch.
Here's a song from the 1955 film, “It's Always Fair Weather.” Obviously, from the title, not one of the classics but Gene Kelly's song and dance – on roller skates! the old-fashioned, four wheel kind – is amazing.
Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the script and lyrics. It was scored by Andre Previn. It starred, in addition to Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Michael Kidd and Dolores Gray. The song is I Like Myself.
REQUEST TO STUDY ELDERS' STUDENT LOAN DEBT
Did you know that two-thirds of elders depend on Social Security for most of their income and that one-third rely on the program for 90 percent of their income?
Even so, the U.S. Treasury Department allows the federal government to garnish the Social Security benefit of elders who have defaulted on student loans. The average Social Security payment is about $1164, so it not difficult to imagine the hardship this imposes.
“'Garnishing Social Security benefits defeats the entire point of the program - that’s why we don’t allow banks or credit card companies to do it,' [Claire] McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, said in a statement."
Another member of that committee, Elizabeth Warren, joined McCaskill in sending a letter to the comptroller general of the Government Accountability Office asking for a new study to answer such questions as:
• How do offsets affect incomes for those older Americans with outstanding student loan debts?
• What is the average income for seniors after their benefits are offset?
• What is the typical duration of offsets of individuals...?
THEY LIVE AMONG US AND THEY VOTE
I can do no better than reproduce in that headline the note that accompanied this video from Darlene Costner. Watch this video about deer crossing signs and you'll see what I mean:
KITCHEN TIP FOR MANGOS
When I lived in Manhattan, I could buy already cut mangos on just about any street corner so I never learned how to do it myself. After I left there in 2006, I found that stores where I've lived don't do that and I've struggled. (Yes, I know the main technique but it's still messy and cumbersome.)
Then I discovered this a week ago and wow. Fantastic. It's so easy:
I've tried and it works equally well with avocados and kiwis. You might need to fuss around the size of the glass for each fruit, but you'll work it out. I did.
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG ON SAME SEX MARRIAGE
Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in a case about the constitutionality of same sex marriage.
There still are no cameras allowed in that court, but transcripts are released and reported in the media. Predictably, the four conservative justices were skeptical if not outright hostile to the idea but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had it all well in hand.
When the lawyer for the states seeking to preserve their ban on gay marriage, John Bursch, “tried to argue that the sole purpose of marriage was to ensure a stable relationship for procreation,” Ginsburg quashed that argument with irrefutable logic:
“'Suppose a couple, 70-year-old couple, comes in and they want to get married?” remarked the 82-year-old Ginsburg, to laughter, after a protracted debate over whether it was fair to ask couples if they wanted children before allowing them to wed.
“'You don’t have to ask them any questions. You know they are not going to have any children.'”
And one more excellent moment:
”In the end, her bottom line – rejecting the notion that extending marriage rights would somehow weaken the institution – was persuasive enough that even chief justice Roberts appeared sympathetic.
“'All of the incentives, all of the benefits that marriage affords would still be available,' said Ginsburg. 'So you’re not taking away anything from heterosexual couples. They would have the very same incentive to marry, all the benefits that come with marriage that they do now.'”
God, I would love to have been in that court room last Tuesday. Let's give a big cheer for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. You can read more here.
DEAR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Ruth-Ellen B. Joeres was first among many TGB readers to send this video. It was made for Earth Day, 22 April, by American rapper and activist, Prince Ea.
He's talking to his generation, much younger than ours, but we can help too. Take a look.
A MAN AND HIS – UH, TORTOISE
From Cathy Johnson comes this little video. Wait until you see the costumes.
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.