Elder Orphans – Part 1: Definition
ELDER MUSIC: Franz Hoffmeister, et al

INTERESTING STUFF – 1 October 2016


TGB's Sunday Elder Music columnist, Peter Tibbles, sent this Pearls Before Swine cartoon.


It seems to me that the older I get, the more obsolete objects from my younger life pile up. There are more Pearls Before Swine cartoon panels here.


There never was a time in my life that macaroni and cheese did not exist. (I refuse the modern habit of truncating the name to mac and cheese.) Anyway...

It never occurred to me to wonder where the warm, gooey comfort food comes from, who invented it and how long it's been around. Surprise! U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson had a hand in it. Take a look:


Good question – for me, anyway. The closest anyone has ever come to explaining it are near-death experiences (NDEs) and I question a whole lot of the reporting and the research. Which does not, for a moment, keep me from reading at least some of it.

”One thing is abundantly clear, though,” writes Gideon Litchfield. “Near-death experiences are pivotal events in people's lives. 'It's a catalyst for growth on many different levels—psychologically, emotionally, maybe even physiologically,' says Mitch Liester, a psychiatrist.”

Here is a short video from The Atlantic that asks what happens inside a dying mind:

There is a lot more information in an investigation of NDEs at The Atlantic.


Among the zillions of lessons we are learning during this endless presidential campaign is something about how the minds of rich people work. As Fitzgerald said, they “are different” and this story about the Trump family children is – well, see what you think:

Donald Jr. and Ivanka wanted a lemonade stand. Their mother would not allow it on Fifth Avenue so they had to set up in front of their mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut. Ivanka wrote about the experience in her 2009 book, The Trump Card.

As Raw Story reports, the kids' parents required them

”...to keep track of the lemonade cost and repay their parents from their proceeds.”

There's not much foot traffic in a rich suburb so the kids lost money. Here's what happened next:

”The pair persuaded their bodyguard, their parents’ driver and household staffers to buy enough lemonade to cover their costs.

“'We made the best of a bad situation, I guess — a lesson we’d utilize again and again as we moved on in business,' Ivanka wrote.”

I wonder where they learned to do that.


Most of the time I cannot bear to read news stories about our animal brethren disappearing into extinction so it raises my spirits when a story like this turns up.

Diego is a hundred-year-old giant hooded tortoise who lives in the Galapagos Islands and who, alone, saved his species from extinction. Here's the story:

You can read more about Super Diego at the Washington Post.


Remember Google Glass, the uber tech company's spectacles with a secret camera that flamed into oblivion over people's revulsion at the privacy intrusions?

Not only that, they were wildly expensive – US$1500 if I recall correctly.

Now Snapchat, corporately renamed Snap Inc., is releasing cheap ($129) sunglasses with a camera, calling them Spectacles. Here's what the glasses and the resulting video both look like:

Snap Inc. apparently believes this new version with become big with young people. We'll see. You can find out more at the product's website and at the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, Google Glass may be rising from the tech cemetery to new life as a conduit for long-distance transcribing of medical examinations and medical record-keeping:

”As the doctor examines Andrews, a new kind of medical scribe is watching the examination, transcribing everything he sees. The scribe, named Rahul, is thousands of miles away in India, and he is viewing the office visit live through the pint-size, WiFi-connected camera [Google Glass] attached to the doctor’s glasses.

“'When was his last physical?' the doctor, Albert Chan, asks as he listens to Andrews’s breathing and checks his reflexes. Rahul’s nearly immediate answer pops up in a text bubble display in the right corner of the doctor’s field of vision. 'June 3, 2014!'”

Knowing everything is being taken down and incorporated into his patient's record,

“...the technology is bringing health-care professionals back into the moment with their patients — returning a sense of humanity that has been lost as computers have become a fixture in the doctor’s office.”

Privacy is only one of the glitches that might get in the way of this technology and you can read more at the Washington Post.


According to the YouTube page,

”Media analyst Mark Dice offers random people their choice of a Hershey chocolate bar or a 10 oz silver bar (worth $150) in an experiment. You have to see what happened next!:


Last Wednesday, the Health and Human Services Department that controls Medicare and Medicaid funding issued new protections for nursing home residents.

Until this change, residents or their surrogates for forced to sign a document agreeing to private arbitration over issues of safety and quality of care.

”The system has helped the nursing home industry reduce its legal costs,” reports The New York Times, “but it has stymied the families of nursing home residents from getting justice, even in the case of murder.”

Until this ruling, arbitration clauses were often buried deep inside the contracts and people did not know what they were agreeing to.

”The new rule on arbitration came after officials in 16 states and the District of Columbia urged the government to cut off funding to nursing homes that use the clauses, arguing that arbitration kept patterns of wrongdoing hidden from prospective residents and their families.

“With its decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an agency under Health and Human Services, has restored a fundamental right of millions of elderly Americans across the country: their day in court.”

This is big and it is important. You can get more details of the ruling, expected impact and how it came about at The Times.


Here's a really nice animal story to end this Saturday's list. Youtube page:

”When Roderick Olsen's horse Zaxson went blind, he did not cast the animal aside. Instead, he embraced Zaxson, taking him for walks in the woods and acting as his eyes. Since then, the two have developed a close friendship built on mutual trust and love.”

* * *

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.


I call it mac and cheese now, but in my family when I was young it was always "Kraft Dinner." And if I were to fix it today, that Kraft boxed product is what I'd buy. Sure, all the newer products are fluffier and creamier, but they don't taste the same. And that taste is everything. Kraft used to sell separate cans of their "powdered American cheese food" (or whatever it was) so we could add as much as we wanted, but I think they discontinued it many years ago.

Another marker of old age: At a senior exercise class, the instructor asked how many had learned to drive on a stick shift. Everyone said yes, how many younger people could say that?

I loved the piece about the man and his blind horse. Super.

But as to the chocolate vs. the silver bar, that immediately bugged me. It was so fixed! Just listen to his language - the order in which he talks about the bars --- there is so much more at stake here aside from the idiocy of picking a chocolate bar over a silver bar. I mean, it would be fun to think of a world that was not obsessed with wealth/money/etc. -- and just chose the reliable chocolate. But the guy has completely shaped the outcome.

Wonderful story about Super Diego -- and how fine that he was taken to his real home and out of the zoo. No wonder he was then so prolific -

I am 71 years old, and have eaten macaroni and cheese only once in my life, about a year ago. It's not something we ate when I was young, and even though I'll eat almost everything, there's something about it that has always made it unappealing.

I always look forward to your Saturday stories, and you never disappoint! Thank you.

Humans are so fixated on the physical here and now we'll never explore or come close to understanding death/dying. Birth, death, inhale, exhale... It's all as normal as it ever was but "medical science" has sold us the fantasy/dream of living forever and because of it we're moving closer to destroying the planet and extinction. And that living forever? It results in weeks, months, and possibly longer of what can easily be called torture.

I'm betting on the universe continuing quite well without us...😎

Loved all the stories this week!

I do mac and cheese only if topped with lots of ketchup. Everything goes better with ketchup!

I didn't grow up eating mac and cheese! I like putting hot sauce on it. When I make it, I use Emeril's recipe. It's a little spicy.

I SO agree with Susan on that "living forever" thing. The older I get, the surer I am that I do NOT want to live forever--that is, not unless I could miraculously retrieve the physical and mental capacity I had 30 years ago at age 50. However, I also believe that if every -l lb. preemie is saved and most 100 year olds' deaths are prevented or delayed, the planet will come ever closer to destruction by surplus population in a much shorter time.

And as far as Google glass recording my doctor visits, NO WAY as long as I have anything to say about it! Electronic records (and our privacy) can be too easily hacked even without this "innovation" in medical technology. Why make it any easier? Some low-paid transcription company in a 3rd world country will have little incentive to protect my information if a higher bidder comes along.

As Joyce said, I always look forward to your Saturday posts, Ronni ... they, like your regular posts, always give me something to enjoy and reflect on. Have to confess that I was surprised to see Mark Dice at Time Goes By, though!

Keep well and thank you for all your contributions to my life.

Cultural markers----

Remember how one used to go about buying a new home?
Drive around ---or look for ads in the paper--

See that home for sale sign in front of the house? Go find a public phone and call the realty company. And there was no leaving a message. They answered or you got a busy signal--period.

And remember when you went on a trip and no one heard from you for two weeks. The postcard arrived after you were back at work.

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