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Ageism, RIP Zacherle and Happy Halloween

A few weeks ago, freelance writer Debbie Reslock interviewed me about ageist language, particularly people's penchant for calling old folks “honey,” “sweetie,” "dearie," etc.

Reslock's story was published last week at Next Avenue:

”It is clear we need to speak up,” she wrote. “After her experience with the misinformed doctor, Halpin told the nurse supervisor about what had happened and let her know she’d never go to that hospital again. 'Please talk to me before you assume I have dementia and can’t take care of myself,' she adds.

“'Not a week goes by that someone doesn’t call me honey or sweetie,’ says Ronni Bennett, author of the popular blog Time Goes By. Her response is to pleasantly but firmly reply, 'My name is Ms. Bennett. You may call me that.'

“After a few seconds of silence, she says, they usually apologize. 'I like to think they realize how demeaning it is and change their behavior with other elders,' notes Bennett.”

You can read much more at at Next Avenue.

Does anyone here remember Zach? He had a long career beginning as a campy host of late-night horror movie TV shows in the 1950s and played the part brilliantly for the rest of life on radio, in some movies, in music, books, stage shows and more.

Here's some of what The New York Times wrote last week of John Zacherle, sometimes known as Roland in his earliest professional career in Philadelphia:

”...he added grisly theatrics and absurdist humor to the entertainment on offer, which more often than not was less than Oscar quality. He became a popular cult figure, making star appearances at horror conventions across the Northeast.

”Dressed in a long black frock coat decorated with a large medal from the government of Transylvania, Roland introduced, and interrupted, the evening’s film with comic bits involving characters who existed only as props in his crypt-cum-laboratory.

“There was My Dear, his wife, recumbent in a coffin with a stake in her heart, and his son, Gasport, a series of moans within a potato bag suspended from the ceiling. A large blob of gelatin tied up in cheesecloth was Thelma, a high-strung amoeba who cheated at checkers and responded to the command 'Heel!'”

The reason I'm telling you this is that in 1970 and 1971, when I was producing my then-husband's radio talk show on WPLJ-FM in New York City, Zach and I shared an office. He was smart, funny, kind and caring and it was always a hoot when he showed up at the office in full Dracula makeup and regalia.

Zach in Makeup

According to The Times, in a 2015 interview with The Philadelphia Daily News, Zach told the interviewer:

“I can’t imagine how it all happened. I look back on it and say, ‘My God, I’m 96 years old, what the hell have I been doing all these years?’”

Sounds exactly like the Zach I knew so many years ago. Here is a photo taken four years ago – at age 94, he doesn't look much different from what I recall in our shared office.


In honor of Halloween and especially of Zach, here is a video (with a few archival photographs) of what is probably his most well-known silly song - Dinner with Drac which was a big hit in 1958.

With all this, I think it is, possibly, destiny that he died so near Halloween on 27 October.

There is more about Zacherle at The Times, at Newsday, at Huffington Post and at an extensive fan website. In addition, there is a surprising number of videos at Youtube.

For the holiday tonight, here is what is still my favorite Halloween photo which I've published before.



ELDER MUSIC: Rodgers & Hart

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.

* * *

Rodgers & Hart

RICHARD RODGERS and LORENZ HART first met in 1919, when they were both at Columbia University. They were asked to write an amateur show, and just kept writing together after that.

Eventually they produced a couple of dozen musicals, a number of films and hundreds of songs until Lorenz died in 1943 at just 48 years old. Richard then teamed very successfully with Oscar Hammerstein but that's not pertinent to today's column.

This is a column of really mellow music. We need something like this every now and then.

My Funny Valentine is an odd sort of a song, a bit passive-aggressive if you listen to the words. Or is that just me being a bit up myself? Yeah, probably that.

It's been recorded by many over the years so others probably don't share my analysis of the song. This is one of the best of them by CHET BAKER.

Chet Baker

It was one of his biggest sellers.

♫ Chet Baker - My Funny Valentine

I was down to two versions of I Could Write a Book. Lovers of cool jazz will be disappointed that I finally threw out Miles Davis's version. People who know me well will be very surprised by that. The one that made the cut is by DINAH WASHINGTON.

Dinah Washington

There will be some who would think I made the wrong choice, but that's the way it goes in the music blogging business.

♫ Dinah Washington - I Could Write A Book

In contrast, there will be no argument about who should sing Mountain Greenery. Well, there may be but I will not listen to any. MEL TORMÉ is not only the obvious choice, he's the only one I considered.

Mel Torme

This is from his excellent album "Live at the Red Hill", and he had the help of one of the best in the business, as you'll hear.

♫ Mel Tormé - Mountain Greenery

Oh my goodness, what an array of talent we have today, and there's more to come. Next up in that category is TONY BENNETT.

Ton yBennett

This is a really nice laid back arrangement, suitable for late night listening, of My Romance.

♫ Tony Bennett - My Romance

I've already done a whole column devoted to the song Blue Moon so I thought I'd use a version that wasn't in that one. Rather surprising to me, I omitted NAT KING COLE. Thus, he's an automatic choice today.

Nat King Cole

I would have preferred that he had recorded the song with just his trio rather than having all those warblers in the background but you can't have everything I guess. Nat makes up for it. Just about.

♫ Nat King Cole - Blue Moon

An instrumental track next from JUNIOR MANCE who has played with all of the great jazz performers of the last 50 years. Not just them, you can add in Buddy Guy, Aretha Franklin and other such performers as well.

Junior Mance

Junior plays piano as well as anyone you can name and his contribution to our column is Falling in Love with Love.

♫ Junior Mance - Falling In Love With Love

BILLIE HOLIDAY performs I Didn't Know What Time It Was.

Billie Holiday

This is from the Ben Webster and Harry Edison Sessions that also had Barney Kessel along playing guitar. What a fine bunch of recordings this produced.

♫ Billie Holiday - I Didn't Know What Time It Was

When I noticed that JOHNNY HARTMAN had recorded It Never Entered My Mind I stopped looking further.

Johnny Hartman

There may be a better version but I'd find it hard to imagine. Besides, why would we want another?

♫ Johnny Hartman - It Never Entered My Mind

As with Johnny, if JULIE LONDON is in the mix I'll go with her.

Julie London

She certainly is today, with Where or When.

♫ Julie London - Where or When

ANITA O'DAY wasn't going to be the "girl singer" in a band, she was going to be one of the musicians.

Anita O'Day

She succeeded admirably and appeared with most of the great jazz bands of the time but alas, took to drink and drugs, especially the latter, like too many of her contemporaries.

In spite of that, Anita turned out a solid body of work that includes You Took Advantage of Me.

♫ Anita O'Day - You Took Advantage Of Me

Here is a bonus for you. I had selected all the songs and then remembered (or discovered) that I had forgotten about this next one. It's really a mandatory inclusion, but I didn't want to throw out any of the others. Besides that, I had already used MEL TORMÉ but having him twice is fine by me.

Mel Torme

The song Manhattan first appeared in the review "Garrick Gaieties" in 1925. Since then it's been in more than a dozen films and been recorded too many times to recount. As an extra treat, here's Mel again.

♫ Mel Tormé - Manhattan

INTERESTING STUFF – 29 October 2016


Times Square

As the Bradenton, Florida Herald reported this week,

”Some of the roughly 50 residents of the Windsor of Bradenton's assisted living community started walking Wednesday toward Times Square in New York City, where they hope to arrive just in time to see the ball drop for 2017.”

Well, sort of. Actually, it is a new health regimen to get staff and residents exercising more and they hope their pedometers will show they have covered the 1163 miles there are between Bradenton and Times Square by 31 December.

"'I love the whole idea of it,' said Faythe Askew, Windsor's life enrichment coordinator. 'Getting the residents to exercise is one thing, but to actually have them prove the program is working by taking their step record to their doctors and being able to tell them they walked miles is also great.'”

What do you want to bet that they'll all be watching the ball drop together this year too. You can read more here.


And the opioid epidemic on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight.

Besides always learning from John Oliver's essays and admiring the excellent research and writing that goes into them, I love how he finds the humor too – both silly and often sophisticated. John Oliver has become a national treasure.


I was surprised to learn that the Peanuts cartoon dog, Snoopy, has been shilling for MetLife for ONLY 31 years. I can't remember a time in my life without him doing that.

But now, the association is no more. This week, MetLife fired the little guy.

You can read more here.


Last Monday The New York Times published two-page spread of the (so far) 281 people, places and things Donald Trump has insulted on Twitter during the presidential campaign.

NY Times Trump List

Actually, the total is up to 282 as of this writing. You can see the full-size list here where the most recent insults – tracked within the past 30-odd days – are highlighted in yellow.


I think this is the absolute best video of our entire sorry election campaign. It features the wife of Gerald Daugherty who is running for Travis County Commissioner in Texas. Enjoy.


However much his ignorance helped sink Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, Aleppo is not a political joke. It is a tragedy.

Here is one before-and-after photo. You can see more here.

Aleppo Before and After

And here is a short drone video of the city:

What had been the largest city in Syria is in ruins. Many residents have fled but a quarter of a million people are trapped in east Aleppo. Last week, one of them, a student name Omair Shaaban wrote about what it is like for him and his wife to live in this war-ravaged city.

"If you want to stay alive in Aleppo, you have to find a way to keep yourself safe from explosions and starvation.

"Here’s how.

"First of all, to survive the many different kinds of airstrikes, shells, rockets, phosphorus bombs and cluster bombs, you’ll need to live on the lower floors of a building. They’re less likely to be hit than the upper floors are...

"Listen for scouting planes, which sound different from fighter jets on bombing runs. The scouts fly lower, and they make a constant buzzing sound. If you hear them, you’ll know that shells will be falling soon, bringing death with them...

"Staying cooped up at home all the time will get boring, and you’ll eventually want to try to live some semblance of your normal life — to see friends, to attempt to find food. People want to go out. But if you leave, remember that you might not make it back. Whenever I run into friends, I keep in mind that I might never see them again...

"It’s so easy to lose your mind here. You might go out one day to look for food and come back to find that your building has been destroyed and your family killed. I’ve seen people standing in front of bombed-out buildings, screaming and crying in disbelief."

Go read Shaaban's entire story at the Washington Post and remember how blessed you and I are to live where we do.


TGB reader John Starbuck sent me a link to this important story about elders and prescription drugs.

”The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 75 percent of Americans age 75 and over take at least five prescription medicines daily....

“Although taking multiple meds may be appropriate, it also can lead to problems such as interactions between drugs, difficulty following directions, problems communicating with health-care providers, and problems getting all the information patients need.”

The article also notes what I have, in past written about at some length, that most medications are not tested on old people and no one knows for sure what dosages are appropriate compared to mid-age people.

There is an important source for such information mentioned that I had forgotten about, the Beers List. It contains what little is known about the effects on old people of many well-known prescription medications and was revised most recently in 2015.

It is free for everyone. One source is at the American Geriatrics Society but if you can figure out how to see it, you're a better man or woman than I am.

However, I did track down two other sources. There is an html version here (scroll down to the chart). And a PDF format at Wiley. The Wiley charts are sideways on the screen so you may need to print it to check your drugs.


I want this so bad I can taste it. Take a look:

That pretty well explains it all but you can read more at the Gajitz page.

The goal of the original Kickstarter campaign was US$50,000 but they raised US$1,581,506 within the time limit. So many more people want in that the Indiegogo campaign is now live here. There is also a website and a Facebook page.

The price is US$150 plus shipping and the company expects to ship in February 2017. Even with all the amazing technology of recent years, it's been a long time since I wanted something new as much as this. Yes, I've put in my pre-order.


Veterans suffering from PTSD now have a variety of options other than traditional treatment and medication. One is wolf therapy. At Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, these veterans are getting back their nature.

Many more videos at the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center website.

* * *

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.

Deathpods and the Deathlab

For many years, decades if I'm honest, I've said I want to cremated when I die and have a friend distribute my ashes among two or three certain places in Manhattan. This is no longer a good idea.

In recent years, environmental concerns have militated against traditional cremation and as we have discussed here in the past, there is a growing number of new ideas for green burials that respect both the deceased and, particularly in avoiding embalming, the environment.

Nowadays, in many U.S. communities, you can be buried in a simple shroud, in a mushroom suit or in a pod from which a tree will grow - in which case you can even choose the type of tree. There are other choices too.

In addition to environmental concerns pushing new notions of burial, we are just plain running out of space to put dead people, not to mention how prohibitively expensive cemetery plots have become.

This week, Atlas Obscura published a fascinating story about some proposed innovations in burial.

”Imagine the Manhattan Bridge twinkling from underneath with hundreds of small pods filled with decaying biomass – the final resting place of many former New Yorkers, shining like stars in an otherwise dark sky.

“There, you might lay flowers near a pod containing the remains of a loved one, until decomposition finishes its course and all that remains is a container to keep as a remembrance.”

It's being called Constellation Park and the light results from “microbial digestion” of corpses in which microorganisms consume bodies without the need for oxygen, reducing them to light. Here is an illustration of how it might look:


This idea in the brainchild of the DeathLab, a trans-disciplinary research and design space at Columbia University. Here is a closer view of what the researchers have imagined for Constellation Park.


This project is nowhere near creation let alone conclusion. It hasn't even been presented to the city council. Even so, it is already

”...facing fierce opposition from the funeral industry,” reports A.M. Brune in Atlas Obscura.

“But like a lot of things in New York it might, eventually, come down to a numbers game: if built, Constellation Park, could accommodate around 10 percent of deaths in the city each year—a number that seems small until you start to think about the alternatives, which can be environmentally disastrous.”

And there is at least one precedent now. A similar idea is underway at the historic Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol, England, where lights will be powered by decaying biomass. Take a look at a rendering:

Arnos Vale Cemetery

I would be more than pleased to give up my long-held dream of having my ashes scattered in Manhattan in exchange for powering a light on the Manhattan Bridge for awhile. As Karla Rothstein, who is an architecture professor at Columbia and director of the university's Deathlab, told Atlas Obscura:

“Socio-cultural needs and desires are not static. Honoring our dead is a basic human endeavor, and there are many valid practices, including new models, that can support this need.”

You can read the full story at Atlas Obscura. There is a lot more information there than I've passed on here.

The Good Old Days

The theme on one side of this endless presidential campaign is a reminiscence for the good old days. Okay, the Trumpists refer to it as the days when America was great, but it's the same thing.

The anti-Trumpists like to say that America is still great but I'm not here to argue partisan politics today. I'm interested in how remarkable it is that whether our causes lean left or right, our individual cultural identities of the moment are so often determined by choices we made 30, 40, 50 or more years ago.

To stick with the campaign for just a paragraph or so, I first became interested in politics when I was quite young. The Eisenhower/Stevenson campaign of 1952 was my first presidential contest. I was 11.

On election night, my parents let me stay up to listen to the returns come in on the radio. (If television had made it to Oregon yet that year, my parents had not bought one yet.)

I settled into my mother's big, comfy Queen Anne chair with the side wings that made me feel like I was in my own private space. I scrunched myself up in a blanket with pad and pencil at the ready to keep track of the votes as the numbers were announced (until I fell asleep).

Pre-election day polling was a nascent science in those days and I have no memory of hearing about any horse race in the 1952 campaign. Of course, I was a kid and probably didn't pay close-enough attention to the news to notice but there certainly was not the amount or detail of polling we get today.

That means there was little in the lead-up to election day to indicate who might be winning and I have often thought, as an adult, how much more interesting and informative the presidential elections would be if polling were not allowed - particularly because they make it too easy for the news media.

Think about it: I'm guessing that about 90 percent of all election-related news stories are numbers and percentages. Without them, we all - candidates, media and voters - would be “stuck” with conversation about actual policy positions. Imagine that.

Or am I just being nostalgic for the good old days? Is it possible, do you think, that as social, cultural and technological changes come along for societies not to adopt them? Even when the fact of actual advancement is questionable? Probably not.

What I suspect, however, is that even when old people go along with the changes, we sometimes miss the old ways of doing things, the ways of our youth.

Let me take this general idea into another area of culture.

On Saturday, I posted Peter Tibbles' tale of a short conversation he had with a young woman at the fish market who told him her name is Bianca. Here it is again:

PETER: Oh, like Bianca Jagger.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

PETER: Mick Jagger's ex-wife.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

PETER: Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)


YOUNG WOMAN: That'll be $10.90.

It's a funny and doleful reminder that we're old and the pop world has passed us by. After all, the Rolling Stones have been around for half a century and there is no reason Bianca should know who one of them was married to for a short while more than 40 years ago however familiar the story is to many of us.

But when I thought about it further, I realized the same conversation could be had in reverse if Peter Tibbles were the same name as the lead singer in Bianca's favorite band. Most of us older than 60 or 65 wouldn't know who she was talking about.

And so it seems to go for each generation. One of the most important things we do in our youth to ensure that we can live independently as adults is to separate and distinguish ourselves from our parents and grandparents.

One big way we do that is to adopt new, up-to-date, cultural artifacts – music, fashion, movies, slang terms, types of entertainment, social and political points of view – many of them deliberately chosen to shock older people.

In time, of course, parental shock wears off but what Bianca and her contemporaries don't know – and we did not know when we were doing the same things at her age – is that they are forming tastes, opinions, preferences and sensibilities they will carry with them unto the grave.

Thus, the good old days - whether we define them by poll-free election campaigns, rock bands of our youth or back when America was great – change from one generation to the next to the next.

What is interesting about that as we work our way through the decades of life is how often – not always but often - we see those choices we made at age 18, 20 or 25 as preferable or somehow superior to what the “kids” coming up behind us choose.

And so it is with each generation. Everyone gets a few years to control the zeitgeist and then the privilege moves on.

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2017

It's amazing how much the presidential election has changed our lives this year. In the case of an important annual event for elders that I report on here every year, it got postponed due to the third Clinton/Trump debate.

So here we are today, 10 days late with the information you need.

October 15 marked the start of the Medicare Open Enrollment period which lasts until 7 December. During this time, people 65 and older may, if they choose, make changes to their Advantage programs and their Part D prescription drug plans.

Oh joy. It shouldn't be this hard to keep up one's health care coverage year to year and it wouldn't be with a single-payer system like most western democracies have. But for now we're stuck with Medicare - and I'm awfully glad to we have it - so here is what you need to know.

(This is a long post. I am hoping I have created enough bold headers that you can skip to the information you care about and ignore the rest.)

If you currently have traditional Medicare, you are allowed to change to a private Advantage plan – or vice versa. Traditional Medicare does not provide drug coverage so you need a separate plan (Part D) for that.

Some Advantage plans cover drugs and others do not, so if you choose a plan without drug coverage you will need a stand-alone drug program as traditional Medicare enrollees do.

• Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing, hospice and home health care. It is free.

• Part B covers preventive care, outpatient services and doctor visits. The monthly premium is deducted from your Social Security benefit.

Optional • Medigap (or Supplemental) coverage pays for the “gap” between what Parts A and B cover and your out-of-pocket costs. You MAY NOT CHANGE this coverage during this 15 October-7 December open enrollment period.

• Part C is another name for Advantage plans. These take the place of original Medicare (Parts A, B and Medigap). Premiums are usually lower, they often cover drugs but physician choice is limited to the company's network and physicians are allowed to drop out of the program mid-year.

• 2017 Medicare Costs
As we discussed last week, there will be a .3 percent increase in Social Security benefits in 2017 but we do not yet know if or how much that will effect the Medicare Part B premium that is deducted from the monthly Social Security payment.

For the past two years, without a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment, the Part B premium has remained at $104.90. The new premium will be announced in November.

Certain people pay higher Part B premiums. Medicare costs in general for 2017 are not yet available. You can see last year's costs at this webpage where next year's costs will be available when they are released.

Medicare is a gigantic, complicated program with many permutations depending on individual circumstances. I cannot possibly pretend I understand it all and if I did, I could not account for them all here. What I can do, is provide some good links to help you through this year's ordeal to making changes (or not) you might want.

Remember, even if you think you are happy with your current coverage, prices change, deductibles are added, subtracted, increased, etc., and drugs are added and deleted from companies' formularies. So it is just good sense to review your plans each year at this time.

The website is not perfect but it gets better and easier to use each year. You can check your current enrollment, premiums, drugs list and find all sorts of general health information.

When you get there, click on the line: “Medicare Open Enrollment starts October 15 and ends December 7 Review your health and prescription drug coverage options” near the top of the home page to get into the open enrollment area with both your current coverage and options for 2017.

One of the best things about the selection tool for drug coverage is that if you take the time to enter all your prescriptions and their dosages, you will get a list of plans that cover what you need and you can then compare other criteria to select the plan that works best for you.

In my case, I use no prescription drugs and since there is no way to guess what might happen to me and what kind of drugs I would need, I punt.

I choose the least expensive plan and hope (how's that for an intelligent healthcare program?) that whatever happens to me, I will be able to afford the drugs I require until next enrollment period when I can select a different plan based on my drugs.

This year, there are 27 prescription drug plans available to me. I'm lucky that my current plan has reduced the premium by 7.6 percent (whoever heard of this?). The deductible goes up by just over 11 percent but there is no increase in the in-network co-pays.

It's a no brainer for me this year; I stay with the plan I have.

The annual open enrollment period is open season for scammers. You will likely receive many snailmail advertisements for Advantage and drug plans, and phone calls too. Be smart.

Never give out personal information such as Medicare and Social Security numbers, account numbers, etc. to anyone who has telephoned you. Ever. Medicare representatives never call to ask this kind of information.

If you are due a refund for any reason from a private insurer, it will be sent to you via postal mail. If anyone calls asking for personal information to receive your refund, it is probably a scam. Hang up.

Many legitimate companies are offering a variety of health coverage plans during this period. But some are not who they say they are or will employ high pressure tactics to try to sell you coverage you don't need. Be aware.

Many offers of “free” medical supplies or checkups via postal mail are excuses to extract personal information from you. Check them out carefully before agreeing to them.

Medicare website.
Medicare telephone: 1-800-Medicare

Medicare and You
By now, Medicare enrollees will have received your annual Medicare and You booklet. If you have not received it, or misplaced it, there is an electronic version [pdf]. Note that only the print version has a list in the back of plans available in your state.

Medicare Find a Plan

Here is a direct link to the Medicare Find a Plan main page.

My Medicare Matters
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) maintains a good educational website with lots of trustworthy information about Medicare and how it works.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a national program that offers free, one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare, their families and caregivers. Find your state's SHIP here.

65 and Signing Up For the First Time
If you are new to Medicare, Kaiser Health News has a succinct one-pager to get you started with a lot of links to additional online information.

Don't Forget
Open enrollment ends on 7 December 2016.

ELDER MUSIC: Debut Albums

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.

* * *

There's an old cliché that artists spend 25 years or so producing their first album but have to come up with a second one in six months. There's a bit of truth to that as there are a bunch of really good first albums and considerably fewer good second ones (The Band is the great exception to that).

These are mostly from the sixties because before that time (except for jazz albums and people like Frank Sinatra) albums were mostly vehicles for a few hit songs and a bunch of filler.

I’ve excluded the first solo albums by John Lennon, Paul Simon, Lou Reed and George Harrison as they, quite obviously, had come to prominence earlier in other guises. I also mention several others at the end who really deserve a place as well, so this isn't really the definitive selection.

I'll start with one of the finest first albums, THE DOORS – that's both the group's name and the album's.


There wasn't a dud track on the album but let's go with their most famous song, Light My Fire, the song that had them banned from The Ed Sullivan Show because they didn't censor the words as Ed requested at their first and only appearance.

♫ The Doors - Light My Fire

I first came across JESSE WINCHESTER's first effort because of a rave review in Rolling Stone.

Jesse Winchester

They also mentioned that there were a couple of members of The Band playing along. That was enough for me to go out and buy it pretty much immediately. I wasn't disappointed and I have every one of his albums and I've seen him perform a number of times.

As with The Doors, the album was named after himself. The song is Yankee Lady.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Yankee Lady

I mentioned above that I’m excluding solo artists who had previously become known in earlier bands. To be consistent I should exclude the next artist but, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

Also, not surprisingly, Oscar Wilde said something similar some years later ("Wish I'd said that." "You will, Oscar, you will").

So here is JESSE COLIN YOUNG who came to our notice as the head honcho of The Youngbloods.

Jesse Colin Young

While we're on inconsistency, nitpickers might aver that “Song For Juli” was actually his fourth album. It depends how you count these things, and what you include – things get a bit murky.

I don't care, I'm using it anyway because it's a great album, and the first of his I encountered. This is the title song, Song For Juli.

♫ Jesse Colin Young - Song for Juli

When Columbia records signed THE BYRDS, they were told they had one chance only and that was to record a single and if it didn't do any good they were out the door.


The song they recorded, with the help of session musicians, was Mr Tambourine Man which went gangbusters. The record execs decided that they could record a whole album after all. That was named after that single of course.

Taken from album is I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better, written by Gene Clark who was their main songwriter in the early days of the group.

♫ The Byrds - I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better

I changed my mind several times about who should be included at this point. You can see some of those I considered at the end of the column. Finally I settled on ARLO GUTHRIE.


Most of you will be familiar with the song after which the album is named – Ronni features it every Thanksgiving. I won't use that song, but one of the others on the album (yes, there were others). The one I've chosen is I'm Going Home.

♫ Arlo Guthrie - I'm Going Home

Every song on MARIA MULDAUR's initial release would be worthy of inclusion. What a ripper this one is (that's Oz talk signifying approval).

Maria Muldaur

Maria had previously made an album with her husband Geoff but that doesn't count as far as I'm concerned. Besides, this one is a quantum leap in quality over that one.

Choosing a song is the hard part but I've settled on the beautiful I Never Did Sing You a Love Song.

♫ Maria Muldaur - I Never Did Sing You a Love Song

The FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS could be considered in the exceptions too as all four members were previously in The Byrds at one time or another, but I won't let that stop me.

Flying Burrito Brothers

It had two of the finest exponents of country rock in the group – Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman – and a couple of others who were, as mentioned, also in The Byrds. They carried on from where they left off on The Byrds' album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo".

The Burritos' album had the wonderful name, "The Gilded Palace of Sin". From that is Do You Know How It Feels (To Be Lonesome).

Flying Burrito Brothers - Do You Know How It Feels (To Be Lonesome)

ELVIS COSTELLO burst on to the scene with the name of one early rocker (Elvis, of course) and the look of another (Buddy Holly).

Elvis Costello

In spite of these blatant plagiarisms (if the word can be used in the context of name and appearance), he turned out to be a very interesting artist indeed. A song that Linda Ronstadt covered quite well is Alison.

♫ Elvis Costello - Alison

JAMES HUNTER is a major talent who hasn't really made an impact on the wider listening audience.

James Hunter

That's a shame and I hope to do my little bit to bring him to a slightly wider audience. His first album had the added boost of Van Morrison duetting on two of the songs.

I won't use those (as I've featured them elsewhere). Instead here is James with a little help from Doris Troy singing Hear Me Calling.

♫ James Hunter - Hear Me Calling

I first noticed RODNEY CROWELL's name as one of the musicians in Emmylou Harris's Hot Band.

Rodney Crowell

I next noticed him as the writer of several songs Emmy included on her albums. Naturally, when his first solo album was released I grabbed it. I wasn't disappointed.

Here is Rodney with a bit of help from Emmy and one of the songs she covered, Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.

♫ Rodney Crowell - Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight

Honorable mentions to The Band “Music From Big Pink”, Kris Kristofferson “Kristofferson”, Tom Waits "Closing Time", Leonard Cohen “Songs of Leonard Cohen”, Norah Jones "Come Away With Me", Dire Straits and The Pretenders. All these deserved a place.

I would have liked to have included James Taylor "Sweet Baby James", Emmylou Harris "Pieces of the Sky" and Warren Zevon, but they were second albums – their first ones were pretty obscure (so much for my rave on Jesse Colin Young).

INTERESTING STUFF – 22 October 2016


Our own Peter Tibbles, who writes the Sunday Elder Music column here, reports on a recent conversation at the fish market when a young woman who served him mentioned that her name is Bianca.

PETER: Oh, like Bianca Jagger.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

PETER: Mick Jagger's ex-wife.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)

PETER: Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones.

YOUNG WOMAN: (blank stare)


YOUNG WOMAN: That'll be $10.90.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Ronni here. In last week's Interesting Stuff, nearly half the items were about Donald Trump. This week, four good items related to books turned up. Here they are all bunched together. (Better idea than Trump, hunh?


Long before there was Google or even the internet, back in the 1970s, I started using the New York Public Library's telephone question service – mostly for work but for myself too.

It was a lot easier than a subway trip to the library itself when I was in a hurry and unless I'm fooling myself, I do not recall ever stumping the human Google service.

Recently I discovered that even now, in the age of Google, the telephone service still exists at the NYPL. Take a look at this little video about it.


Maybe you know about the Little Free Library movement in many communities in the United States and beyond. Sometimes it's referred to as Take a Book, Leave a Book.

Usually, the mini-libraries are built in someone's front yard or a neighborhood park and are quite fanciful. Here are some examples:


Who could object, right? Well, recently, CityLab reported that in Kansas, some curmudgeons did that:

”The Leawood City Council said it had received a couple of complaints about [nine-year-old] Spencer Collins' Little Free Library. They dubbed it an 'illegal detached structure' and told the Collins' they would face a fine if they did not remove the Little Free Library from their yard by June 19.”

The CityLab reporter, Conor Friedersdorf, closely represents my opinion about this:

”...a subset of Americans are determined to regulate every last aspect of community life,” he wrote. “Due to selection bias, they are overrepresented among local politicians and bureaucrats. And so they have power, despite their small-mindedness, inflexibility, and lack of common sense so extreme that they've taken to cracking down on Little Free Libraries, of all things.”

Friedersdorf documented a couple of similar churls in other cities who wanted to take down Little Free Libraries. This is an old story now, dated February 2015, and I don't know the outcome. But Little Libraries are not going anywhere.

You can read the CityLab story here. The Little Free Libraries organization has a website here. And this link will take you to their map where you can see if there are any Little Free Libraries near you.


The rise of Amazon and other online booksellers have killed a lot of bookstores in the past 20 years. Borders is gone, Barnes & Noble has closed a lot of stores but it's the independents that have been most harmed.

Now, however, things may be turning around for them.

”...after years of losses, they are emerging from the decimation,” reports The New York Times, “with the number of independent bookstores rising 21 percent from 2010 to 2015.

“In a twist of fate, it is the internet — the very thing that was supposed to wipe them out — that is helping these small stores.

“Retail sales of new books, which include chains but not online retailers such as Amazon, increased last year for the first time since 2007, according to Census Bureau data — and are up another 6 percent this year. By contrast, Barnes & Noble’s sales fell 6.6 percent last quarter.

“'Bookstores are being reinvented by taking advantage of how the world has changed,' said Oren Teicher, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, which represents independent sellers. 'The whole ability to put technology to work for you has changed everything.'”

“Some bookstores are investing in infrastructure, such as in-shop e-book printers and new back-end systems, while others are embracing social media as an inexpensive way to connect with new customers.”

Read more at The Times.


Not literally the last, although that might not have been obvious when Josh Spencer opened the store in downtown Los Angeles just over a decade ago. As the YouTube page explains.

”Against the closure of massive bookstore chains and the rise of eReaders, Josh has been able to create a local resurgence of the printed word.”

It's an uplifting personal story too. Take a look:


With the wall-to-wall coverage of this presidential campaign for the past 18 months, it's been easy to overlook the fact that President Barack Obama will be ending his two-terms in office in January.

But a week ago, The Late Show host Stephen Colbert did notice and helped the president prepare for upcoming job interviews. Enjoy.


Take a look at this: drivers stuck in traffic jams in Mexico City are being buzzed by drones carrying advertising signs:


In Spanish, some of the signs say, “Driving by yourself? This is why you can never see the volcanoes” — a reference to the smog that often hovers over the mega-city and obscures two nearby peaks, explains MIT Technology Review.

”It wasn’t exactly a plea for environmentalism, though—it was an ad for UberPOOL, part of Uber’s big push into markets across Latin America.”

I don't know about this; I think traffic accidents are the all-too-logical and dangerous conclusion to this experiment. More here.


As a TV producer, John Marshall has won nine Emmys. He is also an artist who says that as a kid, he dreamed of being a cartoonist.

He's done that now in a form he calls Sunset Selfies and they are a delight. Take a look yourself:

There is a slideshow of more sunset cutouts at his website.


All at once, all together and they are having so much fun.

* * *

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.

Measly Social Security COLA Increase for 2017

Anyone who reads this blog undoubtedly knows this already: on Tuesday, the Social Security Administration announced that the annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for 2017 will be .3%.

That's right, three-tenths of one percent.

If you apply that to the average Social Security benefit of $1,238.00, it amounts to less than four dollars a month. That is on top of no – read: zero – increases for 2015 and 2016.

Are we supposed to be grateful this year, do you think?

I just received a 4.5% increase in my Medigap premium, a more than 10% increase in my Comcast internet bill and a 5.1% increase in my auto insurance premium (and we won't know about the annual increase in the Medicare Part B premium until November.)

No extra services, of course, in any for these increases – just an additional $35 or so a month. You might say that's not much except that increases for other fixed expenses haven't arrived yet and, most important, it happens this way every year.

Here is a chart from USA Today showing the Social Security COLA changes for the past 10 years:


Pathetic compared to actual costs. I can't be the only person who, each year, cuts back a little here, a little there and wonders how long until all of life's little pleasures are gone.

The president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), Max Richtman, sometimes asks attendees at town hall meetings how much they believe the COLA represents the true cost of living:

”...laughter is always the response,” he wrote Tuesday in a news release following the COLA anouncement.

“We should move to a COLA formula that takes a more accurate measure of seniors’ expenses,” he continued, “which is a CPI for the elderly. The CPI-E has been in the experimental phase since 1982. It’s time to finish the job by fully funding the development of a more accurate COLA formula.”

The CPI-E is a much more realistic calculation of elders' expenses compared to working people but recommendations to change to it have been ignored in Washington for more than 30 years.

There are at least two bills to strengthen Social Security that have been sitting in the House and Senate for a year or more with no action from our do-nothing Congress. I cannot imagine that the bills will come to the floor before a new president is sworn in.

Which brings me to that tiny mention of Social Security and Medicare in the final moments of the Wednesday presidential debate. There was no real discussion to speak of. Here is Max Richtman's full statement after the debate:

“Rather than focusing on the candidate’s plans for improving Social Security and Medicare’s long-term solvency, strengthening benefits and tackling the retirement crisis looming for millions of workers and retirees, last night’s viewers were stuck with the same old crisis calls that ‘entitlements’ are bankrupting America.

“No doubt, Washington’s billion dollar anti-Social Security lobby was happy to have some life pumped back into their middle-class killing campaign to cut benefits; however, America’s voters deserved far more from this debate.

”Make no mistake about it, the choices between Clinton and Trump couldn’t be starker. Donald Trump’s Social Security shape-shifting leaves voters with no idea of how he plans to improve solvency and benefit adequacy. Doing nothing isn’t an option.

“Contrary to his insult last night, hearing Hillary Clinton tell the truth about how to strengthen Social Security's funding isn't ‘nasty,’ it's just reality. As long as America's wealthiest are allowed to avoid paying their share of payroll taxes, Social Security suffers. Period.

“While Clinton supports expanding benefits, Trump’s only policy promise last night was to repeal Obamacare. That cuts years from Medicare’s solvency and billions in preventive care, prescription drugs and cost-reducing benefits to seniors.

“Most Americans know that our nation faces a retirement crisis. Our economy depends on strong Social Security and Medicare programs and improving benefits is vital to keeping millions from poverty. Too bad voters weren’t allowed to hear any of that debated last night.”

Perhaps in a new administration some progress can be made in Congress on this kind of legislation. Stay tuned here after the January inauguration for ideas on how you and I can make a difference.

Meanwhile, don't spend your COLA all in one place.

Oh, wait. One more thing from our friends at the NCPSSM coming off Trump calling Hillary a "nasty woman" at the Wednesday debate:


The Day After the Final Presidential Debate of 2016

Like all previous debate moderators, Chris Wallace reminded the audience of thousands at last night's final debate in Las Vegas that they were spectators, not participants and he admonished them to withhold applause, laughter, boos and cheers. But he left one out of the forbidden list: gasp.

And that was the audience's spontaneous response when Republican nominee Donald Trump refused to say he will accept the outcome of the November 8 election.

“I will look at it at the time. What I have seen is so bad. First of all, the media is so dishonest and so corrupt, and the pile-on is so amazing.”

His refusal is so unprecedented, so shocking, so demeaning of precedent and our democracy itself that Mr. Wallace gave Trump a second chance to answer. Trump stood firm: "I'll keep you in suspense," he said.

Secretary Hillary Clinton called his answer "horrifying" and actually, it was much worse than it seems in print. Here is the piece of video that will undoubtedly live in infamy:

There is only one answer, a one-word answer, to that question and Trump blew it.

The analysts and particularly those who lean Republican will tell you that Trump performed better at this debate than the previous two but that doesn't matter in the face of his answer repudiating a bedrock foundation of America, the peaceful transition of power.

One other thing - minor in comparison. Chris Wallace saved his announced topic of "entitlements" to the very end when there were only a couple of minutes left in the debate and answers were sketchy. Secretary Clinton pledged to use tax increases on the wealthy to preserve Social Security and Medicare. Trump said his plan is to - well, it was hard to tell - perhaps "make America great again."

I won't quote all the morning news outlets for you - it's easy to find them online. But now, it's your turn to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment space below. Because it is the internet, space is unlimited – have your say at whatever length. Just, please, paragraph it if it's long so that it is easier for old eyes to read.

Final Presidential Face-to-Face Tonight


Here we go again - one last debate tonight just 20 days before the 8 November election.

Before I get to the nuts and bolts of what you need to know for tonight and a nice surprise at the end of this post, here's a short video from John Oliver on his HBO program, Last Week Tonight last Saturday with his own kind of recap of Donald Trump's previous week:

You probably don't need me to find all the information about tonight's debate - it's everywhere. But in the interest of completeness, here are the details.

• TIME: The debate begins at 9PM eastern U.S. time and lasts for 90 minutes. There are no commercial interruptions.

• MODERATOR: The anchor of Fox New Sunday, Chris Wallace, is the moderator.

• LOCATION: The debate is, of course, live and being held at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

• FORMAT AND TOPICS: Like the first debate, this one will be divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each with topics chosen by Mr. Wallace. They are:

Entitlements and debt
The Supreme Court
The economy
Foreign policy
Each candidate's fitness for the office of president

You can pretty well bet it will not go well for us older folks when the moderator refers to Social Security and Medicare as “entitlements.” I cannot wait to see how misinformed Wallace is about those programs. Wouldn't it be terrific if Clinton began her response by saying, “These are 'earned benefits', Chris, not 'entitlements'. Every recipient paid into them all their working lives.”

Don't hold your breath.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other.

The moderator will use any remaining time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

• WHERE TO WATCH: These television channels will carry the debate:


Fox News

The debate will also be streamed online at least at these locations and there may be others:

Most networks' websites

Also: Undoubtedly at a bar or two near you. As with the previous two debates, Time Goes By will be open tomorrow, Thursday, for discussion of this final confrontation between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Now for the treat:

Even though the latest polls look good for Hillary Clinton, I don't entirely believe them and I've been concerned all along that Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein will pull just enough votes from Clinton that she might lose.

As it turns out, that is precisely what John Oliver talked about in his main essay Saturday on Last Week Tonight: third parties. You're gonna love this.

Cooking at Home as We Get Older

Last week, TGB reader, Elizabeth Archerd contacted me with a topic suggestion for Time Goes By:

”...can we talk about how to manage home cooking as we age?

“...My eating habits are great, according to every medical person I know, but whole natural foods do take a certain amount of cooking time. I've been looking for ways to simplify the process to save my damaged hands from pain, which I feel after every holiday meal and increasingly from daily kitchen work.

“I'm curious about how elders are managing food, not just those with my own preferences. What can we preserve, what will we have to expect to give up?”

“Duh,” said I, slapping my forehead while reading Elizabeth's email. More than a dozen years at this blog and it had never crossed my mind that cooking could become difficult as we get older either from waning stamina and strength or something more specific like arthritis.

This fact escaped me even though a few months ago, I bought a mechanical apple peeler to use when I make my monthly batch of apple sauce to freeze because my hand had recently begun cramping from holding the paring knife in one position for too long.

My first thoughts were practical in a general sense: most old people probably shouldn't be climbing onto chairs or ladders so it would be important to move all food, tableware and cooking equipment to shelves that are reachable without a kitchen ladder.

Sometimes food preparation, particularly for special occasions that Elizabeth mentions, can takes longer than feet or legs are willing to hold up. Here is an “angled perching stool” I found at Elder Store that takes the weight off your feet and also supports your back.

It turns out there are dozens and dozens of kitchen aids and gadgets for people who are old, disabled or recovering from surgery or accidents. A few of my favorites:

This one-handed vegetable brush, also available at Elder Store, makes perfect sense. Why didn't I think of that.

Here is what they call a rocking T knife - also known as a mezzaluna to most cooks - that makes it easy to cut fruit, vegetables, herbs or anything else with one hand. It is available at Active Forever and other online stores.

I really like this pan holder that you can find at many shops for elders. It makes stirring with one hand easy and accommodates different sized pots and pans. You can find this at several stores including RehabMart.

I love this. I don't have arthritic hands (yet) but tearing off plastic wrap from the roll is always a war between me and the box. At $9, this is expensive but maybe it's worth it. It's available at Elder Store.

There are a gazillion kinds of gadgets to help open cans and bottles but one caught my attention because it works with pill bottles too. You can find it at the Elder Store where it is called the easy open pill extractor.

Many of these items and others seem to me to be more expensive that they ought to be and I recommend checking for similar ones around the web at such places as Amazon, Google Shopping, Walmart, etc. in addition to the specialty stores I've linked above.

For those of you not in the United States, I came across Arthritis Solutions (don't take all these name too literally) in Australia and Living Made Easy in the United Kingdom. I'm sure there are more.

A couple of other ideas:

Most supermarkets carry already-chopped garlic and onions, fruits and vegetables, varieties of ready-to-use salad greens, etc. Personally, I am leery of packaged fresh produce; although it's been many years ago now, I recall an outbreak of E. coli caused from packaged spinach.

The meat and fish departments of supermarkets where I live are increasingly providing dishes that are dressed, flavored and ready to cook – stuffed peppers, for example, marinated steak, Asian chicken breasts, stuffed salmon, shish- and fish-kebobs, and so on.

To cut down on the amount of cooking, you can also supplement with meal services. My next door neighbor, during the years he cared for his invalid wife, used the local Meals on Wheels program not because he couldn't afford to cook but because it took too much time and effort away from caring for his wife.

Nowadays, there are growing numbers of gourmet home cooking food delivery services with all the fresh or frozen ingredients and instructions for making delicious meals without a lot of effort.

I have no idea if these services are useful or affordable; I haven't tried them. They appear to be expensive but that may not be so when compared to what you spend on food shopping now and whatever value you place on less time in the kitchen.

If, like me, you enjoy cooking but you have to cut back for physical or other reasons, you could combine sometimes cooking with delivery services or meeting friends for lunch or dinner. All of this, of course, depends on what is affordable.

And don't forget cooking ahead. When you have the energy, set aside a morning or afternoon to cook and freeze ready-to-eat meals. I do this most frequently with soup in the winter. I really like seeing the rows of two-cup containers of home-made pea soup, tomato soup, squash soup and others lined up in the freezer. All I do is keep one in the refrigerator defrosting for when I'm too lazy or busy to cook.

Which brings me to you, dear readers. This is the perfect story for crowd-sourcing.

What kitchen gadgets and supplies do you find most helpful nowadays?

What changes in preparation and techniques are you making as you grow older?

What have you given up doing in the kitchen and what have you maintained?

Have there been accidents or other incidents that compelled you to change how you work in the kitchen?

And so on. Give us you best advice on this subject – and thank you Elizabeth Archerd for a terrific idea.

ELDER MUSIC: His Slight Muse Do Please These Curious Days

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.

* * *


William Shakespeare wrote songs into his plays. He also wrote poems and sonnets, some of the best ever. Naturally, over the years composers have put these to music. I'm going to feature some of these today.

There is a mixture of composers who actually worked with Will at the time, up to others who wrote the music just this year. This year is sort of important as it's 400 years since Will turned his toes up.

That most prolific of composers, Anon, starts the ball rolling today. To perform Mr or Ms A's composition we have ALFRED DELLER.

Alfred Deller

Alf was (and probably still is) the best known counter-tenor. This singing style replaced the previous castrato and is an improvement over that as the singer retains all the requisite parts of his anatomy.

Alf's contribution is O Mistress Mine, from Twelfth Night.

♫ Alfred Deller - Anon ~ O mistress mine (Twelfth Night)

Coming right up to date we have DAVID GILMOUR.

David Gilmour

Dave is best known for being a member of the group Pink Floyd which he joined as a replacement for founder Syd Barrett when Syd went off the rails in a big way.

Dave performs probably the most famous of Will's sonnets, number 18. That's the one that starts, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate..." and so on.

♫ David Gilmour - Sonnet 18

Speaking of "best knowns", BRYN TERFEL is almost certainly the world's best known bass-baritone.

Bryn Terfel

Bryn has sung in every famous opera house on the planet and a lot of other places as well. His song is It Was a Lover and his Lass from As You Like It. This was set to music by Gerald Finzi, who was a British composer best known for his choral works.

♫ Bryn Terfel - It was a lover and his lass

FLORENCE WELCH is the songwriter and singer for the English band Florence and the Machine.

Florence Welch

She (and they) has (have) had several albums that topped the charts but I'm afraid that I missed those. I haven't missed her Shakespeare though, and she performs Sonnet 29 (When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes).

♫ Florence Welch - When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes (Sonnet 29)

PHILIPPE SLY is another bass-baritone.

Philippe Sly

Phil was born and bred in Canada which is where he received his training. These days he's a member of the San Francisco Opera. He performs Hey, ho, the Wind and the Rain, a song from Twelfth Night.

♫ Philippe Sly - Hey, ho, the wind and the rain

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT recently released a complete album devoted to Will.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufe certainly has musical pedigree – his father is Loudon the third, mother Kate McGarrigle (making his aunt Kate's sister Anna). His sister Martha is also a singer and writer of songs (ones that bare her soul to a considerable degree). His step-mother is Suzzy Roche, and I'd better stop there as I'm running out of space.

I've selected Sonnet 20 from his album, that's the one about a woman's face.

♫ Rufus Wainwright - A Woman's Face (Sonnet 20)

The musical HAIR had some Shakespeare in it.


This might or might not surprise you. In my collection, whenever I collected this, I just labeled it "Hair" so I have no idea which version it is or who is singing (because that was quite a while ago). It's a chorus, so there are several people anyway.

What they perform is What a Piece of Work Is Man, from Hamlet.

♫ Hair - What a Piece of Work Is Man

IAN BOSTRIDGE and ANTONIO PAPPANO recorded an album of Will's songs.

Ian Bostridge & Antonio Pappano

Ian did the singing and Tony tickled the ivories. The song I've selected was again written by Gerald Finzi, who is a bit of a one for putting tunes to Will's songs. In this case it's Who is Silvia? from Two Gentlemen of Verona.

♫ Ian Bostridge - Finzi ~ Who is Silvia

Australian national treasure and most famous singer/songwriter PAUL KELLY was another who released an album this year devoted to the works of Will.

Paul Kelly

From that I have taken Sonnet 138. This one starts "When my love swears she is made of truth..." It sounds rather like one of Paul's own songs. He must have studied the master's works closely.

♫ Paul Kelly - Sonnet 138

I originally had this last song pencilled in first to be performed by Alfred Deller. However, on hearing EMMA KIRKBY perform it I knew she had to be the one, and Alf got a different song.

Emma Kirkby

Emma is one of the finest performers of early music and I can testify to her greatness as I had the good fortune of seeing and hearing her here in Melbourne.

From The Tempest, Emma sings Where the Bee Sucks, There Lurk I.

♫ Emma Kirkby - Thomas Arne ~ Where the Bee Sucks, There Lurk I

INTERESTING STUFF – 15 October 2016


On Thursday, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature was announced in Stockholm and it was one of our generation – the poet/troubador Bob Dylan, age 75.

Here is the moment when Sara Danius, the Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, announced the name of the winner:

It was reported that Dylan's selection was nearly unanimous and that he is the first American to win the Literature Prize since Toni Morrison in 1993. You can read more here.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Let me take a few lines here to say that, starting with the next item, nearly half this week are about Donald Trump. Normally I wouldn't do that but each one of these four are either so pathetic, outrageous or funny that I couldn't resist.

Needless to say, you may not want the kiddies in the room for these and keep in mind also, that these are a few days old and events develop quickly in Trumpworld, so much has happened since these were first published.

We are living through what is probably the most extraordinarily awful election campaign in history so we need our laughs – as lamentable as some may be – where we can get them. See what you think.


On his HBO program, Last Week Tonight, last Saturday, John Oliver opened with a four-and-a-half-minute take on that video tape we all now know by heart. Here it is:


Alleging that the Clinton campaign released the Access Hollywood video, Donald Trump's 32-year-old son, Eric, explained his father's lewd conversation with Billy Bush this way:

“I think sometimes when guys are together they get carried away, and sometimes that’s what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence.”

Yeah, right. You can read more at Raw Story.


You will recall from several years ago, the Russian contretemps over their punk rock protest group Pussy Riot. This week, when CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour was interviewing Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, this exchange took place. Commence laughing now:

This is the transcript:

AMANPOUR: Can I just try one last question? One last question. A bit cheeky but I'm going to ask you. Russia had its own Pussy Riot moment. What do you think of Donald Trump’s pussy riot moment?

LAVROV: Well, I don't know what this would… English is not my mother tongue, I don't know if I would sound decent. There are so many pussies around the presidential campaign on both sides that I prefer not to comment on this.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with his English. You can read more here.


There is no way I could avoid clicking on this headline:

NSW Parliament Officially Calls Donald Trump: “Revolting Slug”

The man who said that about Trump is MP Jeremy Buckingham as he introduced a motion in the New South Wales parliament officially calling Trump by that name. Here is Buckingham reading the motion:

The motion was agreed to – unanimously, according to Buckingham. You can read more here.


In keeping with yesterday's post on the benefits of even small amounts of exercise in old age, Harvard has published a list of what it calls the five surprising benefits of walking:

  1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes

  2. It helps tame a sweet tooth

  3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer

  4. It eases joint pain

  5. It boosts immune function

Go to Harvard Health Publications page for more details about the list.


My mother was knitter. A constant stream of sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats and more flowed from her hands.

She hardly ever sat down without picking up her current knitting project. She even read books while knitting. Knit, perl, knit, perl, knit, perl – turn the page. Knit, perl, knit, etc.

Tom Delmore sent this video about the importance of handwork in modern life.

Renata Hiller is the co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio at the Threefold Educational Center in Chestnut Ridge, New York. You can read more about her and handwork at On Being.


Most people I know use a credit or debit card for almost all their purchases these days, no matter how small. Not me. I withdraw an allowance of two hundred dollars every couple of weeks to use for groceries, restaurants, entertainment, a print newspaper occasionally and other small-ish purchases.

I live on a carefully worked-out budget and by just glancing in my wallet at how much cash remains, I know if my spending is on target or needs to be adjusted. I like it this way. It's what I've been doing all my life.

There are quite a few good reasons to switch from cash to cards or electronic payments with smartphones in today's world. I understand that. But I keep hoping it won't become widespread until after I die because it is way too easy to overspend when you don't handle the cash.

Last week, it was announced that in an effort to reduce traffic congestion, toll booths in New York State will eliminate cash options for payment.

”Instead of charging drivers who are stopped at toll plazas,” explains The New York Times, “the [Port] authority will use sensors and cameras to automatically charge cars that have been equipped with E-ZPass; those without it will have their license plates recorded by camera, and a bill will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.”

One more step in the race to eliminate cash money that I think will lead to widespread debt because it's so hard to track how much money you spent when it's just pixels on a screen.

Obviously I'm being a dinosaur about this. The world is passing me by.


YouTube explains that 24-year-old Frenchman Guirec Soudée is seeing the world in his 30-foot sailboat, alone at sea with only his pet chicken, Monique, for company. He says he is fulfilling a life-long dream.

It's a lovely, charming story. Take a look.

* * *

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.

Exercise, Even In Small Doses, Offers Tremendous Benefits For Elders By Judith Graham

RONNI HERE: Remember last month when I told you that my friend Judith Graham, a trustworthy and respected reporter on the “age beat,” had begun a new column at one of the most trustworthy and respected health websites we have, Kaiser Health News?

Yesterday, as I was pulling together links to include in blog post today to harangue you yet again with the latest information about how important even small amounts of exercise are for elder health, Judith's newest column materialized.

She had already written a great deal of what I intended that I don't see any reason to repeat all her good work.

So below is Judith's column in full as Kaiser encourages republishing. Also, Judith is always looking for older adults with aging and health stories to tell. If you’ve got one, send it to her at

One more thing. I realize that I probably write post stories about exercise way too often - that you've got the point by now - and asked myself why it keeps coming up for me. Here's what I think:

I am so astonished that repeated, independent studies from respected researchers all around world keep reaching the same conclusion, that it doesn't take much exercise at all to make an enormous difference in our health.

Most of my life I was told and believed that to have any benefit, exercise needed to be long and hard and lots of it. And that just wasn't in me. But the new studies - the number and continuing flow of them - must be believed and even I can do as much (and even more) than they recommend.

But it's one of those things that amaze me - real, measurable, observable health benefits without having to be a gym rat or marathon runner. I haven't gotten over my astonishment yet. In future, I'll try to keep my enthusiasm under more control

* * *

(Republished with permission from Kaiser Health News.)

Retaining the ability to get up and about easily — to walk across a parking lot, climb a set of stairs, rise from a chair and maintain balance — is an under-appreciated component of good health in later life.

When mobility is compromised, older adults are more likely to lose their independence, become isolated, feel depressed, live in nursing homes and die earlier than people who don’t have difficulty moving around.

Problems with mobility are distressingly common: About 17 percent of seniors age 65 or older can’t walk even one-quarter of a mile, and another 28 percent have difficulty doing so.

But trouble getting around after a fall or a hip replacement isn’t a sign that your life is headed irreversibly downhill. If you start getting physical activity on a regular basis, you’ll be more likely to recover strength and flexibility and less likely to develop long-term disability, new research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows.

This encouraging finding comes from a study of people at high risk of mobility problems: men and women between the ages of 70 and 89 who were sedentary and had some difficulties with daily activities but were still able to walk a quarter mile without assistance.

Half of the group attended 26 weekly health education classes followed by monthly seminars. The other half spent about an hour getting physical activity — primarily walking — at a clinic twice a week, followed by at-home exercises.

The goal was to have participants meet the government’s recommended standard of 150 minutes of weekly moderate physical activity and sustain that level over time.

Results confirmed the extraordinary benefits of physical activity, which has been shown in previous research to lower an individual’s risk of heart disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes, depression and some cancers.

The group that focused on walking and strength and balance exercises was 25 percent less likely to experience significant problems with mobility than the group that focused on education over a period of almost three years. Specifically, they recovered faster from episodes of being unable to walk and were less likely to have problems getting around after that recovery period.

The program “was a godsend,” said John Carp, 87, who didn’t make it a point to walk regularly before he joined the study. “There was an improvement in physical feeling and also my mental attitude.”

“If there was a pill that offered comparable benefits, it would be a billion-dollar product and people would be all over it,” said Dr. Thomas Gill, lead author of the new paper and a professor of geriatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, as well as director of Yale Program on Aging.

Gill hopes to convince Medicare and other insurers to adopt the intervention he helped create. But older adults don’t need to wait for that to happen. There are plenty of places — YMCAs and senior centers, for instance — where seniors can take classes. Experts’ practical advice:

It’s never too late. “Older adults may think ‘it’s too late for me — I’m too old or too sick for this,’” said Patricia Katz, a professor of medicine and health policy at the University of California, San Francisco. “The message from this study is it’s never too late.”

“Prescribing exercise may be just as important as prescribing medications,” Katz wrote in an editorial accompanying Gill’s report.

Focus on activity, not exercise. “Older adults, if you talk to them about exercise, will say that’s not for me, that’s for my grandchildren,” Gill said. “But if you talk to them about become more physically active, they’ll say ‘okay, I can do that.’”

“Basically, I walk in the park or around the neighborhood and move my arms and legs around at night in different positions, and try to flex my muscles,” Carp said, describing his daily routine. “It’s not hard, and it makes a big difference.”

Start slow. Some participants could barely make it around a track at the beginning of the study so “we started low and increased slowly,” offering remedial help along the way, Gill said.

“I recommend focusing on smaller and achievable goals, initially, and not trying to do everything at once because we know that tends to make people give up,” said Dr. Anne Newman, chair of the department of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh and co-author of a new study showing that people who eat healthily, maintain a normal weight and are physically active live longer and spend less time being disabled at the end of their lives.

Even small amounts make a difference. Newman’s study tracked more than 5,000 older adults over the course of 25 years. One conclusion: “There’s no threshold for benefit from physical activity,” she said. “Every little bit helps.”

“You don’t need to get on a treadmill, go to the gym, or wear Spandex,” Newman said. All you need to do is start walking for a few minutes every day and gradually build up your strength and endurance.”

Beware of becoming sedentary. The worst thing seniors can do is “sit down and take it easy,” said Susan Hughes, co-director of the Center for Research on Health and Aging at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Make a plan. Hughes helped develop Fit & Strong, an evidence-based physical activity program for seniors with osteoarthritis that incorporates health education.

Before participants go off on their own, coaches craft an individualized plan that covers three questions: What are you going to do and how often, where are you going to do it and who are you going to do it with? You can make a plan yourself, but make sure it’s enjoyable, Hughes said. Otherwise, it’s very unlikely you’ll follow it for any length of time.

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We’re eager to hear from readers about questions you’d like answered, problems you’ve been having with your care and advice you need in dealing with the health care system. Visit to submit your requests or tips.

KHN’s coverage of late life and geriatric care is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

What It Means to be Human

Isn't that a splendid story? It's barely a minute long yet it is filled with a world of love, understanding, grief, joy, compassion, insight and maybe some magic.

There isn't much of that these days. At least, not in public life. For the past 18 months, one person and his various enablers have been force feeding us a daily menu of hatred, ignorance, malice, lies, vulgarity and general thuggery that has tainted any whisper of human kindness trying to break through.

Yes, I'm bringing Donald Trump into this.

On Monday, the post updating some thoughts about elder loneliness I was trying to write for today was not going well. The words refused to come together, I was distracted and couldn't focus – instead surfing political websites and clicking on cable news to see who was saying what about Sunday's presidential debate.

None of it was uplifting in the tiniest degree. The more I saw, the more I read, the grimmer I felt. Let down. Kind of dirty. Craving a bit of patriotism maybe – words like freedom and liberty and justice that are missing from this horrible, endless election campaign.

I had wasted several hours unable to write about loneliness before trashing the piece and hoping for overnight inspiration.

That didn't happen but early Tuesday I ran across the above video clip that I had set aside some time ago for future use and had forgotten. Let me tell you about it.

It is from a movie released in 2015 titled Human directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, now age 70, who is a French photographer, filmmaker and environmentalist.

The film was produced over three years during which Arthus-Bertrand and a team of 20 others traveled to 60 or so countries where they interviewed more than 2,000 people, asking each one the same 40 questions.

All the subjects were shot on a plain, black background without any details about their identity and locale nor, during post production, any musical score. That way, Arthus-Bertrand explained to Wired magazine, he hoped to

”...concentrate on what we all share. If you put the name of a person, or what country they’re from, you don’t feel that as strongly".

Here is Arthus-Bertrand himself explaining his goal in making Human:

Now, a few more of the 2,000 stories.

Although I would hope so, it is hard to know if I am good enough to maybe, possibly, sometimes find the kind of forgiveness the man in that last video has. What I know with all my heart, however, is that Donald Trump cannot.

He is the opposite of love, devotion, kindness, understanding. And what he has done – or we have allowed him to do - with his non-stop bellowing of loathsome and repugnant speech is infect us all with his hateful view of life.

It is bad enough that with at least one-third of voters backing Trump, his abominable beliefs and behavior will not end with a Clinton victory. We are stuck with it for a long time.

Which is exactly why I need a break from it all and something uplifting to feed my soul. It took finding that video of this magnificent movie about all the many ways there are to be human for me to feel a little bit clean again.

You can watch Human yourself in a variety of places and formats. There is the official website or watch many short videos like those above at Google Arts & Culture. Or visit the YouTube page for more clips.

There is also a theatrical version and a TV version, among others (see here). Plus, there is this three volume version you can watch online:

Human – Extended Version Volume 1
Human – Extended Version Volume 2
Human – Extended Version Volume 3

I don't recall that I have ever in my 75 years felt as bad about my country and its future as I do now. This movie, Human - which shows us the family of man in all its glory, and misery too - is a good antidote.

The Day After the Second Presidential Debate

It was a small and pissy debate last night as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump badgered one another with attacks and slurs for 90 minutes. I think it was a disgrace and a degradation of public political discourse. Mostly, it was irritating. Ms. Clinton had lost her mojo from the first debate and although Trump apparently put some small amount of preparation for this one, the "facts" he flung around were, I would guess, about 75 percent wrong or fake.

Two or three moments stand out. In his misdirecting manner, Trump apparently confessed both to sexual assault and to not paying federal taxes for many years. But the most shocking statement was when Trump said that if he is elected president he would have the Justice Department investigate Clinton and would jail her.

Let me restate that as clearly as possible: an American citizen who is a candidate for the presidency threatened to jail his opponent if he is elected. Just like they do in third world countries. Do not minimize this as Donald Trump being Donald Trump. It is shocking, disrespectful of our country's values and, I believe, requires an apology to the entire nation. Which will not happen, of course.

I have a feeling the media will not see Trump's threat to jail Clinton if he wins as important as I do. That would be wrong. It reveals Trump's ignorance of everything the United State stands for as well as his inherent thuggery.

There was a nasty little bit of stagecraft an hour before the debate when Trump sat at a table in a drab hotel conference room with four women who, a couple of decades ago, accused then-President Bill Clinton of sexual misdeeds. The four women were later seated in the debate auditorium but there seemed to be no real purpose to charade.

Overall, Clinton held her ground and Trump did not lose any of his base voters. Neither moved the needle.

As with the first debate, I don't need to quote all the morning news outlets for you - it's easy to find them online. I've only read a couple of them so far and to give you a real feel of the debate from an expert who was there and who has followed the campaign from day one, I recommend Robert Costa at the Washington Post.

Now, it's your turn to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment space below. Because it is the internet, space is unlimited – have your say at whatever length. Just, please, paragraph it if it's long so that it is easier for old eyes to read.

* * *

In regard to this entire campaign, I want to share one of the most interesting things I read over the weekend about the rise of Donald Trump.

Stephen Greenblatt is a professor at Harvard and the general editor of The Norton Shakespeare. In The New York Times, he wrote about how Shakespeare took on the question of how a great country could wind up being governed by a sociopath.

”The problem was not England’s, where a woman of exceptional intelligence and stamina had been on the throne for more than 30 years,” writes Greenblatt, “but it had long preoccupied thoughtful people.

“Why, the Bible brooded, was the kingdom of Judah governed by a succession of disastrous kings? How could the greatest empire in the world, ancient Roman historians asked themselves, have fallen into the hands of a Caligula?”

Shakespeare tackled the question in his play, Richard III. Greenblatt identifies five enablers that made it possible for Richard to come to power and they are remarkably similar to what we are watching during this presidential campaign 420-odd years after Shakespeare's time.

”Shakespeare brilliantly shows all these types of enablers working together in the climactic scene of this ascent. The scene — anomalously enough in a society that was a hereditary monarchy but oddly timely for ourselves — is an election...

Richard III does not depict a violent seizure of power. Instead there is the soliciting of popular votes, complete with a fraudulent display of religious piety, the slandering of opponents and a grossly exaggerated threat to national security.”

Doesn't that sound familiar. As Greenblatt concludes:

”Shakespeare’s words have an uncanny ability to reach out beyond their original time and place and to speak directly to us.

“We have long looked to him, in times of perplexity and risk, for the most fundamental human truths. So it is now. Do not think it cannot happen, and do not stay silent or waste your vote.”

I think you will enjoy reading all of Stephen Greenblatt's essay here.


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.

* * *


That's some Australian money if you're wondering. I didn't take that photo; I don't have that much loot lying around (those green ones are $100).

We were the first to use plastic money and producing them for other countries has been a serious export earner over the years. There's only about one country left these days that still uses paper money.

KEVIN JOHNSON is an Australian singer/songwriter who would be a superstar if he'd been born in New York or Los Angeles.

Kevin Johnson

For we folks in Oz, he is just that anyway. It's a pity that most of the rest of the world don't know about him. I'll do my little bit to spread the news.

His song is Grab the Money and Run. He mentions in the song about going to Mexico. This may seem normal to Americans but for folks from these parts, that's a major trek. I love the tongue in cheek lyrics.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Grab The Money And Run

ERNEST KADOR was a minor musician from New Orleans who had a couple of minor hits, including this one.

Ernie KDoe

He changed his name to Ernie K-Doe and became a star. However, the song is from his initial period as a musician. It's called No Money.

♫ Ernest Kador - No Money

After Hank Williams, LEFTY FRIZZELL would probably be the most influential person in country music.

Lefty Frizzell

Even super-duper stars like Willie Nelson cite him as an influence. Like Hank, Lefty wrote a bunch of songs that have gone into the country music canon. Other genres as well. This is one of his more famous songs, If You've Got The Money (I've Got The Time).

♫ Lefty Frizzell - If You've Got The Money (I've Got The Time)

LOUIS JORDAN was an extremely popular band leader in the thirties and forties - probably only the Duke and the Count could beat him (I'm excluding all those bland band leaders).

Louis Jordan

Unlike those other two, Louis didn't take himself too seriously. He was later one of the leading practitioners of Jump Blues, one of the main precursors to rock & roll. Louis urges us to Put Some Money in the Pot, Boy, 'Cause the Juice Is Runnin' Low.

♫ Louis Jordan - Put Some Money in the Pot, Boy, 'Cause the Juice Is Runnin' Low

KEB' MO' was born Kevin Moore but thought he'd shorten his already quite brief name (actually, it was all his drummer's doing).

Keb Mo

At least it distinguishes him from all the other Kevin Moores out there. Keb's a fine blues performer but is not restricted to that genre. He brings in elements of rock, jazz and folk into his music. His money song is More For Your Money.

♫ Keb Mo - More For Your Money

I remember this song from MARGARET WHITING back in 1956.

Margaret Whiting

We all dreamed that this would happen to us. I'm still having those dreams. Okay, more daydreams, my real dreams are far more disturbing, but we won't go there.

I give you (and I bet you wish I could) The Money Tree.

♫ Margaret Whiting - The Money Tree

JIMMY JOHNSON had a couple of brothers who preceded him into the music business.

Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy worked as a welder and was over 30 by the time he made music his full time work. In spite of the late start (or maybe because of it), he quickly became a well respected blues guitarist and pretty good singer.

Jimmy performs I Need Some Easy Money.

♫ Jimmy Johnson - I Need Some Easy Money

Several tracks came and went in this spot. I'd put one in and then go, "Nuuuhhhh" and throw it out again. Finally, I just threw up my hands and went with the last one I included.

The last person standing when the bell sounded is TOM RUSH from New Hampshire.

Tom Rush

Tom had a couple I could have used, both from the terrific album "Take a Little Walk With Me". The selected song is Turn Your Money Green, an old Furry Lewis song.

♫ Tom Rush - Turn Your Money Green

Here is TINY TIM. No, don't move on to the next song quite so quickly. This isn't the way you're used to hearing him.

Tiny Tim

Tim is singing with his real voice, as it were. It won't hurt to have a quick listen to him performing I Ain't Got No Money.

♫ Tiny Tim - I Ain't Got No Money

WARREN ZEVON comes up with the ultimate power trio in his song.

Warren Zevon

Those familiar with his oeuvre will know of what I speak. Here is Lawyers, Guns and Money.

♫ Warren Zevon - Lawyers, Guns and Money

Okay, I imagine you were expecting Barrett Strong's Money (That's What I Want) or The Beatles' cover of the same song. Another that's missing is the various versions of Money Honey.

Yes, I know I could have bumped Tiny Tim for one of those. Sorry to disappoint.

INTERESTING STUFF – 9 October 2016


Today, 91-year-old Adolfo Kaminksy lives in Paris with is wife. A long time ago, during World War II when the Nazis occupied Paris, he saved hundreds of Jews from certain death by forging travel documents for them.

The New York Times produced a short (16 minute) documentary about Kaminsky's life. Watching it, I was transfixed:

The video was adapted from Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life, a book written by his daughter Susan and published last Tuesday. You can read more at The Times.


As long as I'm already talking about long-ish documentaries, John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight returned from hiatus last Sunday with his take on police accountability.

It is an important and timely story and Oliver delivers the high quality we now expect from him but I have a quibble this time: I wish someone had told him that the word “police” has not one, but two syllables. He is otherwise so well spoken.


It's that time of year again – when the Oxford English Dictionary folks announce the latest additions their compendium of words, phrases and definitions. Among the more than 500 new ones was this Brooklyn word immortalized on a sign at the Verazano-Narrows Bridge in 2004:


The word, according to Oxford, is "used indicate that a suggested scenario is unlikely or undesirable.” Close enough for this New Yorker. You can see all the words added for 2016 here.


One of the many attractions of the internet is the large collection of videos – useful, educational, silly and more. One of the many drawbacks of the internet is the large collection of videos – useful, educational, silly and more.

I've become a fan of the British Pathe collection which goes from 1910 to 1970. Sometimes they dig into their archive to create new videos with old footage with some interesting topics. This one shows the menus of meals at eight historic events.


Many years ago in a restaurant, a friend saved my life with the Heimlich Maneuver. I am eternally grateful but sometimes I wonder what would happen if I were choking at home alone.

Here is firefighter and paramedic Jeff Rehman with a solution:


Two weeks ago, a neighbor who was in her eighties died after a long illness. The day after her husband returned from the burial in another state, he fell in his home and broke two bones in his neck.

At first, the doctors were optimistic about the outcome of surgery, even at his age but as sometimes happens, it did not go well and my neighbor died. The couple had recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

It happens that way – that a husband or wife dies soon after the spouse – more often than I would expect except that the incidence of it among people I know of keeps growing. Who knows how the mysteries of life and death operate.

However, this week there was an interesting piece by the estimable Jane Brody in The New York Times about a new study that looked into resilience in the surviving spouse after one dies. It's worth reading the entire story, but here is the conclusion:

”Based on their data, the researchers concluded that 'it can take two to three years or even longer for some to recover from bereavement' and return 'to their pre-loss levels of functioning.'”

“What they found to help most was remaining socially connected and engaged in the usual activities of everyday life and knowing where they could turn for help and comfort and receiving support when they needed it.”



As you probably know, “Notorious RGB” is the wonderful nickname bestowed upon Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This past week, her new book, the only one since she was appointed to the Court in 1993, was published. My Own Words is, according to the Amazon page, a collection of

”...witty, engaging, serious, and playful collection of writings and speeches from the woman who has had a powerful and enduring influence on law, women’s rights, and popular culture.”

Last Sunday in The New York Times, Ginsburg published an essay titled “Advice for Living,” adapted from the book. Here is an excerpt from that essay:

”Another often-asked question when I speak in public: 'Do you have some good advice you might share with us?' Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day.

“'In every good marriage,' she counseled, 'it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.' I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court.

“When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

It crossed my mind that Hillary Clinton knows this and Donald Trump does not.

You can read Justice Ginsburg's entire essay here.


It has been two years since these grand reading rooms - the Rose Room and the Bill Blass Room - at the main branch of the New York public library were shut down for a total renovation. For all the years I lived in Manhattan, the main reading room (the Rose) was my favorite place to spend quiet time except, of course, at home.

Finally, last Wednesday, there was a ribbon-cutting to reopen the rooms. Here is a time-lapse video showing the re-shelving of thousands of books.

You can read more about the renovation here.


As the YouTube page explains:

”Zookeepers at Symbio Wildlife park, Sydney, create most adorable home video ever seen as they take you on their touching journey of hand rearing tiny Imogen, the Koala joey.”

Thank Darlene Costner for this.


Or, perhaps the headline should be "The end of a presidential campaign." I wrote this post before the astonishing events of Friday afternoon and evening.

In case you, being more sane than I about following this election and haven't heard the news yet, yesterday Washington Post reporter David Farenhold, who has done such a remarkable job tracking down the possibly illegal doings of Donald Trump's foundation, released a 2015 "hot mic" video of Trump making remarkably lewd comments about how he makes sexual advances toward women and how they allow him to grope them because he is famous.

Well, send the kiddies from the room. Seriously: send the kiddies from the room. This is such a big deal in a presidential campaign, that I'm going to post it:

It's hard to fathom, isn't it, not that Donald Trump would say these things but that a candidate for president of the United States ever would or did.

During Friday evening, some Republican big-wigs withdrew their endorsements of Trump, there was loose talk of forcing Trump to withdraw from the race and after hours of constant repeats of that video, at midnight Donald Trump released a 90-second non-apology. Here it is:

More fallout will continue through today and tomorrow and even if I had not already intended to watch the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump on Sunday night, I wouldn't miss it now. It is serious business to have proof of a candidate's vulgar mysogyny even if we did know in our hearts all along that it is who he is and has always been.

Now, here is the original last item I wrote for today's Interesting Stuff post:


The debate is being held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and will be moderated by reporters Martha Raddatz of ABC News and Anderson Cooper of CNN News.

This debate takes a town hall format in which half the questions will be asked by the moderators, the other half by uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

You can check an earlier posting about the debates for information about where to watch.

This is a crucial election. It is likely that the United States and the entire world will have an entirely different future depending on which of the candidates wins. For that reason, the day after the debate, Monday, will – as with the past two debates – be open for comment.

* * *

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.

How Age Discrimination Affects People of All Ages

Maybe some of you noticed a few typos and other mistakes in Monday's post. After Crabby Old Lady, a couple of weeks ago, wrote about how these errors have increased as she has grown older, I have been more diligent about trying to catch them before publishing.

That increased attention has, at best, resulted in marginal improvement – even when giving it a rest before editing. Worse, the mistakes I miss become glaringly apparent, somehow, once the story is posted online. I don't understand why that happens but it does. Frequently if not daily.

And sometimes, even my corrections need correcting.

Soon after I began this blog in March of 2004, I was fired from my job. It had nothing to do with my performance – it was “just business” and I wasn't the only one. The real difficulty came when I tried to find another job.

My younger fired colleagues, in their 20s and 30s, found work within a few weeks or a couple of months. In a year, I was able to get just two interviews.

One of those hiring managers, who had been enthusiastic enough on the telephone to invite me to an in-person interview early the next morning, suddenly remembered, after seeing me, that the job had somehow been filled since our late-afternoon phone conversation.

So sorry to inconvenience you, he said, etc. etc.

By then I was so deeply in debt that I was forced to give up the job search, sell my apartment in New York City and relocate to somewhere less expensive.

Here's another little story: I was in my mid-30s when the woman I worked for said during a staff meeting, “If you need Ronni to get anything done before the end of the day, be sure to ask her before 3PM; she's useless after that.”

We were a small group of friendly people producing a network TV show together and we all laughed – me too - because she was right. From mid-afternoon on my brain stopped working or, anyway, not as effectively as earlier in the day.

That doesn't mean I didn't pull all-nighters with everyone else, and travel for weeks on end living out of a suitcase and work on airplanes, in restaurants and cramped hotel rooms. But I was much slower after 3PM and made more mistakes, although in those days, they were easier for me to catch.

Here's a third little story – and revelation. For most of the time I've been turning out this blog, more than 12 years, I have believed and sometimes mentioned that had I been allowed, I was still capable of holding my own with colleagues, whatever their ages might be, at a full-time job.

And that was true for a long time. But now I must admit I can no longer do that, and have not been able to for two or three, maybe four years. Here is why:

Fixing the increase in typing errors (and who knows what else I can't do as efficiently as in the past) would eat up a lot of time that would otherwise be needed elsewhere

My intellectual fading by mid-afternoon happens even earlier nowadays. And recently, it is as much a physical impairment. I struggle daily to get both brain and body work finished before 2PM or so. After that I'm spent, and good for only more passive activities

My sleep difficulty – falling asleep in the early evening and waking in the middle of the night – would make a traditional job difficult and I have no idea, with somewhere to be every day at 8AM or 9AM, if the sleep schedule would right itself. So far, I haven't been able to change it

I'm 75 now, halfway to 76, still in good health but feeling the effects of the passage of time in not unexpected ways. Although people age at different rates - often dramatically so - eventually we must come to understand that we are less capable than we once were.

For me, that's now - admitting it to myself even though I've been trying to ignore it for a couple of years.

I am not surprised or much bothered by this realization but here is what does bother me – and I'm certain I'm not alone: if not for widespread age discrimination, I could have kept working for another eight or nine or ten years.

And look at what would have happened if our culture respected old people enough to not kick us out to pasture before our time:

I would have put away tens of thousands of more dollars toward my retirement

I would have paid tens of thousands of more dollars in federal, state and local taxes

I would have been able to postpone Social Security until age 70, leaving my contributions in the trust fund while also increasing the amount of my benefit

The timing would have allowed me to pay off the mortgage on my New York City apartment

All of which would have made it possible for me to remain in the city that is my home, my real home, the place where I belong.

I'm not alone. Think of that list in regard to the millions of people laid off after the 2008 crash who, thanks to the ageism of our culture, were then “too old” at 40 or 50 or 60 when the economy began to turn around, to work ever again in their field or at the salary they had been making when they were laid off.

Many also lost their homes, their savings and, of course, greatly reduced their Social Security benefit when they finally became eligible because old people, in our country, have no place in the workforce. This was not unique to the aftermath of the 2008 crash; it continues day in and day out in "normal" economic times too.

In the aggregate, age discrimination in the workplace is a tragedy affecting not only elders themselves who are fired or not hired, but all citizens due to hugely reduced tax revenue those elders would have contributed to the system if they were allowed to work. It affects our crumbling infrastructure, lack of public money to enforce regulations and laws, and diminishing support for education, among much more.

Those who perpetrate and perpetuate ageism are harming their country as much as they harm the individual workers they discriminate against.