The Long, Slow Winding Down of Old Age

INTERESTING STUFF – 14 January 2017


Between an old person and a four-year-old kid.


On 6 January at the White House, Michelle Obama gave gave her final speech as First Lady. In case you missed it, here it is:

You will find the full 20-minute version here.

Then, on Tuesday 10 January, President Barack Obama gave his farewell speech in Chicago. You can watch that at full length here.


When the words “feather,” “dinosaur” and “baby” are in the same phrase, how can you not pay attention.

There is additional information at NPR.


My friend Jim Stone sent this video from a TV series titled Trackdown that was broadcast in 1958. See what you think:

The video doesn't look tampered with to me but I didn't quite believe it either. So I checked around to web to see what I could find. Here's what Snopes says:

”The television series Trackdown really did produce an episode featuring a 'Trump' character who came to town claiming that only he could prevent the end of the world by building a wall (and also sold special force propelling umbrellas to deflect meteorites).

“The episode (S1, E30) aired on CBS in 1958 and was titled 'The End of the World,' featuring actor Lawrence Dobkin playing the role of 'Walter Trump.'”

Weird, huh?


With threats from the Republican Congress and president-elect Trump to repeal Obamacare and voucherize Medicare there are a lot of questions. AARP answered five of the most important. Here is one:

“Q: I’ve heard about the voucher-type plan that House Republicans hope to implement soon. How would this plan change Medicare?

“A: (in part)...opponents — including AARP — say the amount of the voucher may not be enough to keep up with health care inflation, so older adults could end up paying more for care and for insurance that has fewer choices of doctors and other providers>”

You can read the entire answer to this question and the other four questions and answers at AARP. They are clear, concise and to the point.


I'm late to this story. It first turned up last September when a new show from Italian artist, Maurizio Cattalan opened at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan. According to a page at the museum's website, it is

”...the first piece the artist has exhibited since his 2011 retrospective at the Guggenheim...a working toilet cast from gold that has been installed in a bathroom on the museum’s fifth floor.

“Cattelan intends visitors to use the toilet just as they would any other facility in the building.”


The artist gave his piece the title, “America”, and explains that

“'...the title came after [the work], and it was a matter of trying to deconstruct the object,' says Catallan. Separately, he said, the title and piece didn’t mean anything. 'Together, it has meaning.' Come spend a little alone time with 'America,' and you can ponder that meaning for yourself.”

More information here.


Bumper stickers are a long-time American communications medium – most frequently, I think, for political statements. You see a lot of them during election seasons.

Sometimes, however, a good pithy statement is still too long for a bumper sticker as my friend Jim Stone pointed out about this one so let's give it a day of life on this blog post.



It has been more than six years since I last woke to that special kind of hush there is after an overnight snowfall. But that happened Wednesday morning. Here is the first photo I shot in the dark.

Snow 1

It was a big-deal snowstorm which doesn't much happen in this part of Oregon. Depths ranged from three or four inches to more than a foot in some places. About seven or eight inches in my neighborhood.

This was the first snowfall worthy of the name since I moved here in 2010, and I hadn't realized how much I miss a "real" winter storm as in New York and Maine where I lived before. This is what it looked like as I was leaving my apartment.

Snow 2

It was still snowing at that point so I decided to wait before sweeping my walkways but when I suited up to do that, I was amazed to see that some good Samaritan had got there before me and done a beautful job. Here is the gorgeous winter wonderland from another window.

Snow 3


Monday the 16th of January is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. My friend Richard Lombard sent this video a couple of days after the holiday last year so I saved it for this year.

Certainly you know that Lin-Manuel Miranda is the genius behind the ground-breaking and fantastic Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical. Manuel attended Hunter College Elementary School in Manhattan when he was a kid and as he explains on the YouTube page:

”Our elementary school music teacher, Barbara Ames, wrote THE BEST Martin Luther King song so that her students would have something to sing in January, in addition to We Shall Overcome.

“It's a crime that the world doesn't know this song. So I put out a call, and over 50 alums spanning 15 years showed up to sing it with me.

“Huge thanks to Arthur 'The Geniuses' Lewis on piano, Lisa Siegmann and Danny San Germano at Hunter, and Jennifer Raab, president of Hunter, for letting us go back home to make this.”

I'm pretty sure you will want to clap along with them. That's Lin-Manuel Miranda in the lower right of the screen giving the introduction.

* * *

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.


Great stuff today. I saved it for my granddaughter who can watch the Obama speeches, and MLK song in 10+ years' time, as a teen.

The bumper sticker says it all.

My Portland friends have been whelmed and overwhelmed by the snow and ice. But it dazzles, yes? Being in CA for 45 years, I miss it, too. Used to wake up in Idaho college with snow on my bed blanket (college regulation for open windows).

Another "cigar" this Saturday, Ronni! I watched the president's last address in Chicago. I was overwhelmed by his tribute to his about real love. The expression on his face as he looked & spoke to her was so endearing & brought me to tears. I wonder how many men got that message & women as well.

I'm going to miss him so much. Dee:)

I love your snow pictures; they could be on a calendar or a card. I say this from Florida, where I am wearing shorts & a tank top, just back from the Farmers' Market where I bought some locally grown Heirloom tomatoes & Mineola tangelos. I wouldn't know what to do with snow, but I love looking at it from afar. Stay warm! Put a shot of brandy in your hot chocolate!

Your snow pics are beautiful. One of the best parts of being retired, I think, is being able to sit inside and admire beautiful snowfalls without having to get out and drive in them to get to work. Of course, I still have to get to an occasional doctor appointment, so the snow can occasionally be an obstacle.

I've been in tears all week watching the Obamas say their farewells, suprising Biden with his medal, etc. Such warm, wonderful people. They've conducted themselves with dignity and class. Then I think of what's coming and cry even more.

Here in Georgia we got 1/16" of snow so I loved looking at your snow photos.

I'm heavy into marches and rallies and phone calls to local Congressmen and Rep's. My brain is fried. Yesterday I started to pick up a phone which was really a PHOTO of a phone in a book I was reading. Two minutes after I finished laughing at myself, I DID IT AGAIN!! Instead of going to a talk on community activism I went to bed.

The old person and the four-year-old! Thank you little one, older one, mama, CBS, Ronni. I wonder, how did the CBS series find these angels?

You'd have to ask CBS, I have no idea.

As we enter this new, untravelled era, I'm wondering, amidst the interesting, did we grow up during a time of innocence or ignorance.

Interesting and wonderful stuff --especially after reading the newspaper this morning. I especially loved

Something Special Happened at the Supermarket,

The video about missing Barack and Michelle Obama,

The 99 million year Old Baby Dinosaur, and

the outstanding Martin Luther King Day song which I've watched twice s0 far.

Oh my -- i don't know what to make of the clip from the Trackdown episode. As it is, it's astonishing, but the other weird thing about is the uncanny resemblance between the actor who plays Walter Trump and Donald's father, Fred Trump. I picked up a book at an estate sale just yesterday, a big fat paperback titled "The Trumps," about Donald and his father and grandfather and it was sitting right here on the desk next to me as I watched this video. I kept looking from the book's cover, with Fred Trump's photo in the middle, to the actor on the screen. Both were partly bald with a little ring of dark hair and mid-ear sideburns, a dark, smarmy looking mustache, dark, slightly heavy eyebrows and other similar features-- it was pretty astonishing (queue up the Twilight Zone music).

The photos of your snow are beautiful. Our snow that we got lots of early in December is now mostly melted, grey, gritty and icy, and as it melts is revealing all the garbage captured by it over the holidays. I like yours much better.

In the "Trackdown" clip, I was amused when the Trump character said to the Robert Culp character, "Be careful, I can sue you".

Hi Ronni, I seem to have been dropped from your mail list. I thought I better check and make sure everything was okay with you, since the last email I received spoke about a virus you had picked up. Anyway, please put me back on.
Loved the story of widower and four year old!
Also incredible clip from TV show Crackdown. Posted it on my FB page.
Nothing like a winter wonder land (particularly if you have had some snow angel clear your walkway!)
Lin-Manual Miranda is a wonderful human being!

Hello, glad to have found your blog as you have a lot of great posts. Enjoy the long weekend and have a wonderful week.

Thanks again for "interesting stuff." I loved our snow and the break from norm which it caused for a few days. Just a week ago we were told to stay off the roads. And today I awoke to 56 degrees. North Carolina doesn't get as much winter weather as you'd expect, but I love the seasonal changes.

I really enjoy your blog - best elder blog I've found so far.

You always find such interesting and novel bits.

I'd like to repost the bumper sticker on my FB page. Not does this type of thing before what are your "rules" for doing this. How do I attribute it, etc.

You're welcome to post anything from here. It is customary to mention where it's from with a link bank to that page.

Good videos, especially the Trump one. I wish I could put it on Facebook.

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