A List for Aging Wisely
ELDER MUSIC: Let's Face The Music And Dance



As the Harvard Medical School website reported in March, as we age,

”...your cognitive skills will wane and thinking and memory will be more challenging, so you need to build up your reserve.”

What helps to maintain a healthy brain are new activities that force you to think and to learn, according to Harvard. Further,

”Research has shown that regular physical exercise is one way to improve cognitive functions like memory recall, problem solving, concentration, and attention to detail.

“However, it is not clear if the physical aspect alone boosts your brain or if a combination of other factors — like the mental challenge of the activity, the frequency you do it, and the desire to improve — also contribute.”

And those expensive brain games? Give them a pass. As Dr. John Swartzberg wrote at Live Science, he was was happy to hear “that 70 leading cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists issued a consensus statement expressing skepticism about brain training.”

”If you want to exercise your brain," says Swartzberg, study Spanish, take up Ikebana flower arranging, or learn a new game like chess or bridge. You may strengthen those neural connections in your brain, and you’ll almost certainly have fun.”


On the eve of Trump's trip to Europe, late night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel, asked random people in the street to name any country in the world on a map he supplied.

Just when you are ready to give up on Americans (or, perhaps, the educational system), a kid saves the day. Let's hope, for our future's sake, there are a lot of kids like him:


Neskowin is located along the northern coast of Oregon. When the tide is low enough, the “ghost forest of Neskowin” emerges from under the Pacific Ocean:


”...this group of some 100 stumps and snags is all that’s left of a 2,000-year-old stand of Sitka spruce, once buried by an earthquake," explains The Oregonian.

“This past weekend, an extraordinarily low tide uncovered much more of the trees than is typically visible, a beautiful scene that attracted photographers, tourists and locals alike, all quietly exploring the remains of an ancient, cataclysmic destruction.”

A lot more photographs and more information are at The Oregonian.


Ninety-six-year-old Inge Ginsberg is a Holocaust survivor who, after the War, made her way to the United States where she became a lyricist, with her composer husband, for such well-known singers of the era as Nat King Cole, Doris Day and Dean Martin. But

As Ms. Ginsberg grew older, she kept writing lyrics and poetry, and realized she needed to find new ways to reach an audience. How was she going to gain attention in a society where older women are neglected, silenced and often cast off?”

She found a way, as documentary filmmaker Leah Galant, tells us, with death metal music “where you can shout your lyrics instead of singing them.” But let's let Ms. Ginsberg and Ms. Galant tell the story. (If the video does not play in a reasonable amount of time, try watching it here.)

Read more at The New York Times.


John Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, was on hiatus last Sunday but Oliver, as he explains, left behind this short video for our entertainment.

Oliver is his usual funny, profane self showing some show graphics that never made it to air.


Kaiser Health News reports that a large percentage of the 4600 Puerto Ricans who died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria were elders, many of whom died because of delayed medical care.

Now, there may be another disaster in the making:

”...projections show that one-third of Puerto Rico’s population will be 60 or older by 2020, even as the number of young people are increasingly fleeing to the mainland in search of employment, often leaving behind aging parents.

“'We have more [older adults] being left alone to almost fend for themselves, or being cared for by other seniors, instead of a younger family member,' said [Dr. Angel] Muñoz. In addition, Medicaid does not pay for long-term nursing home care in Puerto Rico.

Here is the PBS News report:

You can donate to relief efforts at Public Good or Google “donate to Puerto Rico relief” for more help options.


In a comment here last Wednesday, TGB reader Charlene Drewry mentioned Janis Ian's song from 1975 or so, Tea and Sympathy.

Ian was only a teenager when she wrote and recorded it but she has always been much older in her soul than her years. Surely she meant this for you and me at this time in our lives.

Here's the song, recently remastered. Lyrics are below the video:

I don't want to ride the milk train any more
I'll go to bed at nine, and waken with the dawn
And lunch at half past noon
Dinner prompt at five
The comfort of a few old friends long past their prime

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
Plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
For my true love is gone

And when the guests have done
I'll tidy up the room
I'll turn the covers down
And gazing at the moon
Will pray to go quite mad
And live in long ago
When you and I were one, so very long ago<

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days long gone
Let's drink a toast to those who most
Believe in what they've won
It's a long long time 'til morning
Plays wasted on the dawn
I'll not write another line,
For my true love is gone

And when I have no dreams
To give you any more,
I'll light a blazing fire
And wait within the door,
And throw my life away
"I wonder why?" they all will say
And now I lay me down to sleep,
Forever and a day

Pass the tea & sympathy
For the good old days are dead
Let's drink a toast to those who best
Survived the life they've led
It's a long long time 'til morning,
So build your fires high
Now I lay me down to sleep,
Forever by your side


Good friend Tony Sarmiento sent this story about an upcoming Washington, D.C. cat census that will try to determine how many cats are in the city.

”By spending $1.5 million over three years, a consortium of scientists and animal welfare organizations thinks it can find out with an initiative known as the DC Cat Count, which launches Tuesday.

“The cat census, organized by the Humane Rescue Alliance, the Humane Society of the United States, PetSmart Charities and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, will help animal advocates understand how many felines are in the city and how to cope with cats that don’t have a home.”

Even with the project's two full-time staffers, 50 cameras and questionnaires sent to homes, anyone who knows anything at all about cats might suspect it is a fool's errand. But I wish them luck anyway.

The project has its own website and be sure to check out the photo at the top of the story at Washington Post - it will make cat lovers smile.

* * *

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.


Really! Over a million $ to study the cat population in D.C. I thought I had heard it all in my 81 years, but this "takes the cake" as we use to say in the olden days. Oh how much better that money could be used for education, the homeless, those living below the poverty level....... I don't get it. Dee

Very few things make me cry these days, but Janis Ian's song got me right in the heart. The thing is, I am realizing now that I am likely to be the first to go.

Fifty-three years, come September. Oh, my darling.

Heh! I'm another who looked up, listened and enjoyed Janis Ian, who I'd totally forgotten. Spent some time rediscovering her work. Thank you, Charlene.

The map episode reveals something not sufficient about our education, assuming they went to US schools. If you don't know geography, how can current events make sense or be of interest, can history be understood?

Puerto Rico is a shame and stain. Write and complain, everywhere and to everyone you can in government, news sites, other blogs, etc. Makes the DC cat money look wasteful and frivolous, imo.

Feeling curmudgeonly, can you tell? It was another difficult political week, so today will be for rejuvenating.

Thank you for posting the song by Janis Ian. Her lyrics are hauntingly beautiful and as you said: "Surely she meant this for you and me at this time in our lives." She spoke directly to me.

Loved and shared Death Metal Grandma, Don't be like Sheep, and her concept of Heaven and Hell, and she's an inspiration, m

Kimmel, of course, edits his man-in-the-street feature to show only the laugh- or groan-inducing moments. But this one truly horrifies me. They actually found people who couldn't even point out the US!?

Puerto Ricans are US citizens. Our failure to help them is a national disgrace. But they don't live on the mainland and they speak Spanish. That's all Trump needed to hear to ignore them.

A cat census? Seriously? Why waste money trying to count them. Just give the money to the various shelters and rescue organizations.

Oh, Janis Ian, loved her in the 70s, especially "At 17". Still fresh after 40 years. Tea and Sympathy a masterpiece.

Yes, Janis Ian. I bought her "Between the Lines" album when it came out in the mid-1970's and played it over and over and over again, until every word was permanently engraved on my heart. I thought then that she was a brilliant poet and still think so. Thanks Charlene, for reminding us.

Death Metal Grandma, rave on, rave on!

The U.S. is a rich country. The Orange Baboon notwithstanding, we have enough money to help Puerto Rico AND study the cat population in Washington, D.C. , if funds were appropriately allocated. As a cat-mom of 3, I can see some value in knowing how many cats there are in a certain area. Resources--such as spay/neuter services--are vital to controlling the feline population and can be better sited if it is known where the cats are.

I agree with Elizabeth's comments about the benefit of this kind of information about any animals in a city. It serves many purposes and will matter as all populations (feline, rodent, and human) grow. Here in Portland, feral cats can be caught, neutered, and if possible, given homes. Otherwise released, and they truly help reduce the mouse and rat populations that are problematic in any city with parks and public lands where folks gather. This 1.5 Mil will be spread over a 3 yr. period and provide jobs for lots of people.

Knowing where solutions are useful doesn't waste the investment...unlike our Congress, where as Will Rogers said a long time ago, "We have the best darned Legislature money can buy." (not verbatim correct, just what I remember.)

I look at it this way. Several news sources put this out: The Pentagon released a report Thursday stating the military parade that Trump has requested to take place in D.C. in November would likely cost around $12 MILLION ! I will add...and likely more big bucks just to clean up the trash afterward.

Disclosure: We had lovely cats and dogs as necessary family members all through the raising of our 3 children and while my husband was alive. It seemed just natural to us.

That "can you name a country" segment actually made me cry.

The video about Puerto in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria made me weep with sorrow and frustration. I wonder if PBS is the only media outlet that would devote so much time to this little island. It is clear, at least to me, that despite its citizenship status, P.R. is given little attention by the mainland. It is as if Canada were to treat the French-speaking province of Quebec with disdain, and we all know that would never happen. Of all the acts for which I despise Donald Trump, I think the one that stays in my mind is his childish behavior on his short visit after the hurricane when he playfully tossed rolls of paper towels at a group of Puerto Ricans.

This is not the first time I have heard about the appalling lack of geographical knowledge among U.S. residents. Thank heaven for little boys. Of course it made me test my own knowledge, which is admittedly not as great as it should be. But although I can't point out every Latin American or African nation, I can at least identify a number of them as well as most Euopean and many Asian countries. It is shocking that the dummies in the video couldn't even I.D. the U.S, Canada and Mexico.

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