Better Brain Health
ELDER MUSIC: Answer Songs



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.)


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.


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.


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...?

There is more information here and the letter is reproduced here [pdf].


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


Can't wait to try that mango tip!

Thanks for the walk down Memory Lane with the Gene Kelly clip. At one time I wanted to marry him when I grew up.

Ginsburg is great!

Good morning Ronni,

May you have a "perfect for you" weekend.

I can't agree more with that woman who called about the deer crossing signs. Deer should know better than to cross busy highways even if it does appear to say it's alright. But what about other animals. Some of them can't even see the signs because they are too high. Should these smaller animals be allowed to cross just be case a sign tells them to? I think not.

Great as always. He didn't get into the quality of fabrics tho. I hate the new, thin, throwaway fabrics. And don't we all boycott Walmart? The dances were great, the Prince EA video went private, and you can use a serving spoon instead of a glass. It made my Avo peeling go away for ever. :)

Another good Saturday offering.

Love the deer crossing video. And, yes, they do live among us and voice their opinions and ideas.

Ronni, I had problems getting connected this morning. I got 402 problems? Then I got something about a cloud something.

The third window that popped up a bit later said to try later.

Finally, at 10:00 AM central time, I was able to access this site.

I'm not complaining, just wondering if others have had the same experience or

Great post! No problems viewing from here. I don't buy many clothes, spend a little more and have garments that are 10-15 years old, not trendy just basic. Those companies make so much money those people could be paid twice as much as they are not show if the owners could scrape away the middlemen. There's a whole business structure there that would need to be remodeled.

Bless Ruth Bader Ginsberg, may she prevail.

Love it! Oliver outstanding as usual.
But I gotta' tell you the deer crossing post was first I thought it may be my "cognitive" gizmos getting bad, but then I realized how serious she was.......are we Americans that S*****? I guess she failed her critical thinking
Of course, Ginsberg is the ultimate elder role model. And I agree, may she prevail. Have a great w/end. Dee

BTW, I too, like SC Jones had the same problem with TGB this morning around the same time. I had a separation anxiety attack.....but now all is as it should be. Dee

When you lived in Manhattan you could buy cut mangoes on just about every street corner? That blew me away. All I'll say is, my life has been different than that in the midwest.

"But what about other animals. Some of them can't even see the signs because they are too high."
Posted by: Bruce Cooper

You're right Bruce, those poor turtles will never be able to see that sign, posted up high amongst the trees like that! Tsk. Clearly this reeks of discrimination. Maybe we can get the Deer Lady to tackle it in her spare time.

PS Thanks for the laugh!

Another high five excellent Saturday

I've just picked myself up off the floor after the deer lady story (and checking it wasn't an April Fools' Day stunt). Forget the cat vids, Ronni, people are funnier. And thanks Bruce - another funny road sign to add to my little collection.

Thank you for all the laughs ... and pregnant pauses. I really wish I could believe that the deer crossing clip was a prank call but I do know that they live among us and vote.
John Oliver never fails to blow my mind ... and make it reflect.
Student loan debt is a far more serious issue (one also tackled by John Oliver) than is generally recognized. One of the bills my sister got through her state legislature was on that very issue.
Thank heaven for Ruth Bader Ginsburg ... and heaven keep her safe.
May Prince Ea convince many to stand for trees and facts!
Does the mango tip (glass or large serving spoon) work for the half with the seed, too?
And thank you for the videos of Alice Cooper and Gene Kelly: their joy in dancing is glorious to witness and his talent was immeasurable.

Wow, this really was so much interesting stuff!

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