How to Combat Ageism
ELDER MUSIC: Seasons - Summer Part 2

INTERESTING STUFF – 9 July 2015

90 YEAR OLD STRIPPER ON AMERICA'S GOT TALENT

Her name is Dorothy Williams, she is 90 years old and she appeared last week on America's Got Talent.

You might think this is a joke. Or maybe you think it is tasteless. Or maybe, like the audience and the panel, you think it's a great thing to fulfill a dream at any age.

"LOIS LANE" DIES AT AGE 95

When I was a kid, I loved going to Saturday afternoon movie matinees. What a smorgasbord: newsreels, coming attractions, usually two features and one or more serials. One of my favorites was Superman and of course, I identified with his coworker at The Daily Planet, reporter, Lois Lane.

Noel_neill_and_kirk_alyn_2

Noel Neill played Lois Lane to Kirk Alyn's Superman (pictured above) in one 15-episode movie serial and then moved on to the same role in the television show when George Reeves played Superman.

Later, she was cast as young Lois Lane's mother when Christopher Reeve debuted as Superman in the 1978 movie. You can read more about her life and career in The New York Times.

YOU PROBABLY DON'T NEED TO SHOWER – THEY SAY

Some people think we're too clean, that we bathe and shower too often and that it's making us sick. Take a look at this video from James Hamblin, a physician and senior editor at The Atlantic and see what you think.

You can read more about this at The Atlantic.

VOLTE FACE

Volte-face, loosely translated means “about face.” As the Bored Panda wesite explains, the photographer is Oliver Curtis:

“His inspiration came in 2012 when Curtis was visiting the Pyramids of Giza. 'In the mid-distance I saw a newly constructed golf course, its fairways an intense green,' he said on Creative Boom.

“'I found this visual sandwich of contrasting color, texture and form intriguing...because of the oddness of my position; standing at one of the great wonders of the world facing the ‘wrong’ way.”

Here's that Pyramids of Giza shot:

Pyramid at Giza

And here's another shot at the Louvre in Paris – the reverse direction from the Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa

There are a lot more of Curtis's' Volte-Face shots at Bored Panda.

WHY PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE SO EXPENSIVE

This is a pretty good explanation of drug costs from Bloomberg News. It leaves a lot of question unanswered but it's a start:

ELDERS BECOMING THE BACKBONE OF CONSERVATIVE POLITICS

Harry R. Moody is a widely respected thought leader in the area of ageing, the author of many books and articles on the subject, a teacher and, in 2008, he was named by Utne Reader Magazine as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.”

Not long ago, he wrote a piece titled The Elephant in the Room that “gerontologists and aging advocates don't want to talk about.” But, he says,

”...we must...talk about it. We need to recognize how far our own views (typically liberal or progressive) are opposed by the very same older people we claim to represent.”

No kidding. I've been noticing that for the entire 12-plus years I've been writing this blog. Moody goes on:

”...as we all know, opponents of the ACA [Affordable Care Act] spread misinformation (e.g. “death panels”). Sadly, many older people believed the misinformation. As a result, older voters, more than any other age group, favored repeal of the ACA...

Moody goes on to explain that 30 percent of members of the tea party were 65 and older in 2012. He includes more statistics of older voters in many states casting well over 50 percent of their cohort's votes for Republicans, again 2012 numbers.

”The aging, white electorate is dying off, but is fighting a battle as it goes down. The last-ditch response of the conservatives in power is voter suppression; essentially, working to destroy the Voting Rights Act and other measures to promote democracy in America.

“The other response is to pour vast sums of money into politics as the Supreme Court Citizens United decision makes easier. In 2016, we have already seen the impact of such 'dark money' in the political process...”

Moody continues, calling for open discussion among ageing advocates about the conservative values of so many older voters and stepping up efforts to educate them.

It's important insight to our age group. Go give it a read at Aging in Place.

SIR PATRICK STEWART SINGS COWBOY CLASSICS

My favorite Star Trek captain, played by Sir Patrick Stewart, has recorded a western music album. Or has he?

There is a video, a kind of parody of those cheesy, late-night commercials for compilation albums of long-ago hits. Stewart sings snippets of such cowboy classics as Rawhide, Buttons and Bows, Don't Fence Me In and a whole lot more.

But if you go to the website, you find that the album, priced at a discounted $29.99, is sold out – if it actually ever existed and I don't believe it did.

I think he's having us on but it's a load of delicious fun and he's pretty good singer, too. Take a look.

WHY OUR HAIR THINS AS WE AGE

It may be enough to know that our hair does thin as we get older and explanations don't matter. I suppose that depends on one's mindset.

Anyway, the STAT website explains that the mechanism that causes hair loss has not been known before.

”Now, two new studies point a finger at the scalp’s constantly-renewing stem cells. Mutations in these cells appear to make hair follicles shrink, causing regular hair to be replaced by thin wisps. Understanding the genes at work in this process may allow scientists a way to prevent such hair loss.”

Until then, remember: no matter what the snake oil salesmen tell you, nothing known to man regrows hair. If it did, believe me, we would all know about it.

There's a whole lot more about how the studies were done at STAT.

THE BIRD THAT FLIES FOR TWO MONTHS WITHOUT TOUCHING GROUND

The frigate bird (if I've heard of it before, I don't recall) is amazing. They fly for week and even months over tropic seas without ever touching down.

”Their large, lightweight wings...allow them to take advantage of the slightest breezes. They soar upward on thermals, much the way hang gliders do, and then glide back down gradually over the course of many miles.

“Unlike gliders, they also take advantage of the air currents within clouds to rise even higher when they need to; inside a cloud, they can ascend as fast as four to five meters per second. Few other birds and even most planes wouldn't attempt this because of the potential for turbulence.”

Here's the video:

You can read more about frigate birds 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” at the top 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.

Comments

Just what I needed to start my weekend. Thanks.

At the risk of sounding cheesy, Patrick Stewart is a treasure! So much fun. As a child, I remember my mother singing most of those songs.

My dermatologist told me not to shower every day, every other was good enough, he said I was destroying my skin, "it's not like you work in a coal mine," he said. Good enough for me.

Heidi is right, Patrick Stewart is a treasure. So is James Hamblin and his videos.

I don't understand why (apparently most) elders consistently support the political party that is trying to reduce/undermine/destroy Medicare and Social Security. All I can think of is the stereotype that elders are set in their ways and unwilling or unable to change. Or unable to recognize that the Republican party of today is not the same one they've known most of their lives.

Big Pharma can continue to talk about the costs of R&D, but I don't believe for a second that those costs justify the exorbitant price gouging we see so often. It's not like the prices are lowered after the drugs have been on the market a few years. They stay high until companies lose their patents. In the meantime the drug companies work to develop different forms of the drug (slow release, enteric-coated, liquid, etc. or combine it with another drug and call the combination "new") that they can market as a "new" drug so they can continue to charge high prices. One example: Ambien, Ambien CR, Intermezzo. They're all zopidem, just different forms and dosages.

Something I've seldom seen talked about, but which I have seen repeatedly among elders, is that the people available to give paid assistance to us as we age (especially, but not only if we are white) will almost certainly come from cultures we unfamiliar with. The US working class simply hails from different backgrounds than it did when we were young.

This doesn't always go well. And even a lifetime of cultural liberalism and attachment to racial equality doesn't sometimes overcome a reversion to almost juvenile childhood attitudes about how things should be done among far too many elders. I've seen this from family members ("how can she not know how to make mac and cheese?") etc.

I harbor a terror that I'll lose my cultural elasticity along the way. If there is anything I would like to research, this is it. Maintaining the ability to interact with people from different cultures is almost certainly a necessary skill for less traumatic aging in this country.

One of my pet peeves are the elders who cling slavishly to the Republican party and no amount of facts can convince them that the party of Lincoln now exists in name only. I guess if you have read my comments you already know how this offends me.

I can have a wonderful political conversation with my college age granddaughters, but I have learned to avoid politics with my age group. What's wrong with this picture?

Harry "Rick" Moody is one of the smartest people I've ever met. At ASA one year we were alone for about ten minutes, and I thought I was being cross-examined by Socrates.

Janinsanfran makes a good point about the diversity of those who most likely will be the majority of paid caregivers for elders. I like the term "cultural elasticity" and hope I can retain as much of that trait as possible as I continue to age.

Like others, I simply have a very hard time understanding members of my age cohort who support today's Republican Party. Although born into a hard-core Repub family, my first vote was for JFK and I've rarely looked back. I never was a Repub, even back in the days when they were at least somewhat in touch with the concept of sanity. They've gone way over the edge now (prime example: Donald Trump as a serious candidate).

One explanation may be that some elders cannot or do not want to acknowledge that it's no longer a "black and white" world--not that it ever was. Still, there are many more shades of gray in today's world. It takes no thought or effort and is less disturbing to deny change and remain stuck in the first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately for them, that over-idealized time is long gone and isn't coming back regardless of how many times Trump repeats his sound bites.

On hair loss for women --
My father and brothers all went bald in their twenties. When my hair started thinning in my sixties, the dermatologist said I had what was called "male pattern baldness" inherited from my father. It is now understood not to be limited to men, though it strikes women in a delayed and attenuated form.

Rogaine plus Nioxin (shampoo, conditioner and scalp treatment) used as directed have definitely helped slow and even stop this process. Not that my hair is what it used to be... I don't think either of these products can be called "snake oil"

Thanks, Ronni, for another interesting olio.

I wasn't sure I wanted to watch Dorothy display her 'talent', now I say good for her!... and was heartened to see how the audience as well as the panel treated her with respect and admiration. Always nice to see a dream fulfilled.

So now we know about hair in older years. But I'd like to hear if anyone has experience with voice changes -- weaker, cracky, hoarse, reedy, phlegmy, etc. I think my vocal cords actually started changing when I retired and stopped talking all day. Use 'em or lose 'em?

Did you know that the frigate bird video keeps on rolling? New videos of different animals?
The Patrick Stewart video was silly!
I thought that the Got Talent response to this 90 year old woman's foray into being a stripper was very tastefully done. It was sweet and the judges were sweet and the fellow who brought her on the stage clearly spearheaded her opportunity to fulfill a dream.
thinning hair: bah humbug!

re Dorothy's star turn, she is a most modest stripper, but sure gives it her all. I hope she dreams even bigger after this debut, and, even if only in the privacy of her own home, dances her heart out.

I danced as though no one was watching and now my court date is....

My mother died age 87 - bedridden for about 15 years prior. Her idea of old age was pretty much that. She encouraged me not to follow her lifestyle, remain active and live life. I love(d) my mother. I will try to fulfil her wish. The Dorothy video inspires me further (damn! she didn't have cellulite on her thighs). Thanks for including the video.

As for Seniors being Repugs ... their motto should be,
"Don't confuse me with facts ... my mind's made up!"

As usual, late to the party. Hi, Ronni. Does anyone else read a late post?

I was so glad to see the referrence to our being too clean. I've thought for a long time that it's unnatural to bathe daily in hot water and with soap. We surely didn't evolve with anything more than washing in a stream or rain storm, sans soap. Personally, I have learned since leaving the employed world, that daily showers are wasteful of water and energy and dubiously beneficial to one's social millieu. It also seemed wrong to deplete my skin of its natural oils. I didn't ever think about the sking biome issue.

Haveing virtually never, for any extended time, used cosmetics, creams, etc., I find at age 80 that, surprise!, I have old person skin like everyone else, perhaps more fragile on sun exposed arms than some, but not worse or better than the average 80 something old lady.

So, I feel vindicated in my abstension from the seductions of the cosmetic indestry to take my money (cosmetics are way over priced for what's actually in them) and to suck me into their propaganda that their products will keep me young (not, shudder, old) forever. I also continue to take two showers per week and now I think I'll leave out the shampoo.

PS I also wear my clothes more than once, way more than once, before laundering. No one has said I stink. Water, energy and labor saved.

I love Patrick Stewart and that's the funniest thing I've seen for ages.

Apparently it was done for charity (refugees and struggling families)

Well done Cowboy Pat!

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