Happy Thanksgiving 2016, Everyone
ELDER MUSIC: Classical Gas Goes Forth

INTERESTING STUFF – 26 November 2016


There are all kinds of reasons to feel ambivalent about Amazon.com but this is not one of them.

TGB reader Tom Delmore sent this Amazon television commercial – images and an idea we need more of in this time of troubles we live in.


When I was a kid and for years beyond, the universal bad news about health was cancer. In fact, for a long time, people whispered the word.

Times change and so do fears. For quite awhile the equivalent terror has been dementia and I have mentioned here more than once that I wonder, when I forget why I walked to the bedroom or have misplaced my keys, if that was indicative of incipient dementia. I know I'm not alone in those thoughts.

Now, a new nationwide study from the University of Michigan involving 21,000 people 65 and older reports that between the the years 2000 and 2012, the dementia rate dropped by 24 percent.

And nobody knows why. A greater amount of education may contribute to the drop but there are plenty of other possible reasons:

”Interestingly, the researchers noted that the drop in dementia prevalence occurred despite increases in the rates of certain conditions that can increase the risk of dementia: diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity...

“Still, more research is needed to identify all the factors contributing to the decline in dementia prevalence, the investigators said," reports Live Science.

The study is here. You will find reporting on the study here and here.


When Disney announced it would produce a live-action movie of Beauty and the Beast, the critics came out in droves – no, no, no, only animation can work with such a story, they said.

For several years when I was a young girl, Beauty and the Beast was a favorite. I must have read it several dozen times, word for word and I still remember it fondly. From this trailer, I think the live action version looks marvelous.

Read more about the production here.


Here is a shocker. A 2016 Pew Research study turned up the information that 26 percent of American adults have not read a book in the past year – barely changed since 2012.

Groups more likely to read books are college graduates, women and young adults. 67 percent of people 65 and older had read a book in the past year compared to 80 percent of young adults.

Here is a demographic breakdown of readers:


Although people are reading in many formats these days – tablets, ereaders, cell phones, desktop and laptop computers – the largest group, 38 percent, read print-only books. 28 percent read both print and electronic (as I do) and just 6 percent read in digital formats only.

There is a whole lot more information about American book reading habits at Pew Research.


Books are good things, but these days, even as a lot of embarrassingly awful crap is published online, there is also an abundance of great thinking and writing being done.

This week's contribution is from The New York Review of Books, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Serbian/American, Charles Simic. He is acclaimed as a poet but I particularly like his prose (he has been writing essays for the NYRB for many years) which in his hands, on any subject, is poetry too.

His latest is titled, “Expendable America,” which captures in the most horribly beautiful way what I have been feeling but not capable expressing - at least not this well or as emphatically. Simic:

”The basic requirement for democratic governance – that the majority of the population agrees on the parameters of what is true and what is false – has been deliberately obfuscated in this country...

“To mislead one's fellow citizens on such a vast scale is evil. We've seen it before. Never the good old days, of course, but the vile stuff we imagined we'd never see again...

“Once the new president settles in and brings the dregs of our society into his administration and they appoint other corrupt and worthless men and women to other positions in the government and start settling scores with their political and personal enemies and keeping their most rabid following happy by deporting, persecuting, or physically abusing some minority, we won't need a crystal ball to tell us what's in store for us.”

It is unfair to quote these three out-of-context paragraphs. Read Simic's essay – as it should be, in full - here.


There is a lot of support for intergenerational living projects but for the most part it doesn't get beyond research studies and TED talks.

One important exception is Judson Manor, a retirement community in Cleveland that since 2010 has been giving college music students free housing in exchange for the occasional concert. Here's short video about it:

The idea is slowly growing and now, New York University in Manhattan will be trying a pilot project next year. Here's a short radio report:

As the Washington Square News reported,

”Ellen Lovitz, the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy Analysis, explained via email that the pilot will initially consist of about 10 students.

“'During the first year we will assess how the program is working, and make any necessary adjustments, with the expectation that we will be able to scale up to larger numbers by the fall of 2018,' Lovitz said.

“'Our planning process will include consultation with students and with residents of the housing complex identified by University Settlement.'”

There are students and others who complain that the project isn't useful enough (of course they complain; it's New York). I think it's a great start at expanding elder/senior shared living.

You can read more here.


A TGB reader pointed this page out to me: The Healthcare Administrator website's list of top 50 ageing blogs for 2016.

It is published by an Alabama public school health teacher. I am not sure I understand the five criteria and the majority on the list target professionals in ageing services and businesses rather than old people themselves. Still, you might find some of them useful. The list is here.


All eyes are on the president-elect these days as though President Barack Obama doesn't have another two months to go in his term.

But The Atlantic is on the case in the loveliest way. A fantastic collection of selected photographs covering eight years of the Obama administration from the official White House photographer, Peter Souza. (Souza was also official White House photographer during the Ronald Reagan years.)

In this one, a temporary White House staffer, Carlton Philadelphia, had brought his family to the Oval Office for a farewell photo with President Obama. Carlton’s son softly told the President he had just gotten a haircut like President Obama, and asked if he could feel the President’s head to see if it felt the same as his.


Here is Obama visiting with victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.


And this is Obama working past dark in the Oval Office.


There is a large collection of even better photographs at The Atlantic.


Residents of three apartment buildings successfully petitioned to have *'s name removed from their New York City dwellings. Here is short video report.


...scratch in the woods?

Apparently so. A lot. Thank reader Momcat Christi for this video.

* * *

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.


You've got this blog down to a science & thank you for another great start to the w/end! The list of resources for old people didn't make much sense. It gives the impression that all of us are decrepid folks who need lots of help & people to look after us...........not good & not true.

With * on the horizon as our new pres, I'm feeling worried & a tad frightened. Are there enough voices out here that some in DC will listen to? Also Ryan is a big concern when it comes to Medicare............LBJ is probably rolling over in his grave.

What's also sad is that there is no one out there in either party who looks like they are prepared to lead in the future. I guess I won't see a woman president in my lifetime. We are still populated by misogynistic males who still want us to be barefoot & pregnant. Sad, but I'm going to ignore as much as I can in order to keep my sanity. Thanks Ronni. Dee:)

I enjoyed these posts this morning, and look forward to them every week. The diversity, truth, humor, diversion and a dose of reality, reminding me we are all in this together. Nice offering, Ronnie. Thanks so much.

I think I'll go scratch myself on my tree.

Grizzlies pole dancing - who knew?!

Thanks for another gathering of interesting stuff Ronni. It's something I look forward to, especially in these times of *.

We are going to miss Obama more than we know. How puzzling that such a wonderful and gracious president will be followed by a crude crook.

I loved the Amazon commercial. I will do most of my shopping from them and am now glad that's the case.

The bears sure have the moves. It reminds me of the resident cat who scratches his jaw on my computer shelf. Lola's pole dancing comment made me laugh.

Good for the residents protest in removing *'s name. When I am forced to type his name in I type it this way: -rump. Some may get it, others may think it a typo, but I refuse to type his entire name - my small protest.

Have to save most of this for tomorrow ... but WHERE THE H... ARE YOU ON THAT LIST? What the H.... KIND OF LIST IS IT???

I really love the idea of the elder apartments giving free living space to students! I hope that idea takes off all over the country! And don't limit it to music students - how about culinary students or artists?

I'm with Laura !!!

I use to read a lot more than I do now....three reasons for me. My husband died a few years ago and I can't focus yet, I'm so use to my iPad and the ease of blogs, news articles..all short reads and perhaps mostly, I get so darn sleepy when I try to read!
Also I look forward to you finishing the Elder Orphans part two and more blogs on friendship without the long history you mentioned in a past blog. I'm tired of politics and miss these other insightful posts.

I have been reading and re-reading and mulling over the Simic piece - written brilliantly, and a great joy to read [although "joy" is hardly the right word].

At the same time - and in a way I am adding on to Dee's first comment above - I find myself increasingly torn asunder, my insides agitated, by what has become the pro forma way of seeing this past election - the need to find a scapegoat, and how handy Hillary is for that. True, it is the Dem party that is being blamed here, but I cannot tell you how I feel such a deep despair and anger at the easy condemnation and blaming of Hillary Clinton. Just look at these words:

"Having a candidate as uninspiring as Hillary Clinton, whose weaknesses ought to have been obvious to the party that nominated her and even more so after she lost the white working classes and the young people to Bernie Sanders in the primaries, as it was to many other Americans, including those like me who voted for her, turned out to be a catastrophic error."

I suspect if you could ask that vast and wildly enthusiastic audience at the Democratic convention or the many huge audiences she spoke to in her various speeches and lectures --- that "uninspiring" would hardly be the word to come to mind. The deep, maybe even innate misogyny here and in so many other places, with so many other people including some of my closest friends - is so offensive to me. She is our scapegoat, I suppose - she who is to be blamed. A woman. A highly impressive woman. That seems to have been enough for her to be seen by many as a threat, I suppose.

For me, the fact that this country chose a man like dt -- moreover, that he subsequently won! ---- will leave me aghast for the rest of my days.

I wonder if that would have happened in Germany - whose election of Angela Merkel was seen by those of us connected with Germany as a disappointment, primarily because she is a member of a party that the social democrats are against. But just look at what she has become, the voice of morality, the person who is not afraid of sticking to the unpopular view that Germany, as well as all of the countries to which refugees are trying to go, has a moral responsibility to dedicate its/their energies to doing all they can to help.

Her party may not win the next election. But she will not be blamed because she is a woman - and, in the eyes of some, therefore weak, "uninspiring." etc.

No matter that no other than our current president was one of many who emphasized Clinton's enormous knowledge, her utter preparedness - more than anyone else, past or present - to take on this massive unwieldy task -- she is responsible for losing the election. I feel just sick. I too will probably never see a woman president in the US. But to find another who is as experienced and as intelligent as Hillary Clinton - no matter which gender - is unlikely.

Great fun! I love the bears.

Darlene's mind and mine seem to coincide fairly often. I had looked at the photo of *'s building and thought how much money he would have saved if they just removed the "t"s and left up the "rump"s.

I enjoyed all today's posts, but find the news of the drop in rates of dementia especially heartening. I'm hoping that this trend continues, picks up momentum and the condition soon disappears entirely.

I have not read the article about the blogs on aging, but they seem to be heavy in the categories of health and physical needs and caregiving. I hope I haven't missed something, but I've seen no reference to the fact that you, Ronni, and TGB were the FIRST source cited in an 11/22 article in Utne Magazine titled, "Now What? Eric Utne on the Election of *" (the article uses his full name, but I'm sticking with the preferred referent for this site.

The Obama Years photographs are very affecting. They make me tearful. All the way from Australia, I am gutted by what has happened in your country. Thank you for Interesting Stuff. I wish we weren't about to live through such interesting times.

Very satisfying to see those buildings denamed.

A wonderful and interesting selection Ronni. I've saved the Silic piece....it is so spot on and has relevance, again, with UK's crazy Brexit lot, imo. I've circulated it to friends.

Obama pics and grizzly bear clip so heart-warming and, did you know, that the priest and imam in the Amazon ad are real-life religious people who are now friends. Lovely ad.

Thanks Ronni. xx

I so very much agree with Ruth-Ellen's comments regarding the Simic article's bashing of Hillary. My husband and I (and our daughters and friends) never saw her in the negative terms Simic espouses! I also thank Darlene for a better way of not-typing youknowwho's name! I have been using his ancestral name, Drumpf, but -rump is faster & suits so well.......

I love the referring to the one whose shall not be named as *, at least in writing. But what can we call him in conversation, that would have the same result. Maybe just staying mute on his name, might be the best result.

Thank you...I really needed some good news today.

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