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A READER'S STORY: The World Is Such A Noisy Place

By Fritzy Dean

I waited as long as I could - longer than I should have, truth be told. I was tired of constantly asking people to repeat. I knew they were tired of it, too.

The hearing loss is so insidious, though. At first you think your ears are “stopped up,” allergies perhaps. Then you notice everyone seems to mumble. Everyone? Customer help lines are the worst. Mostly, you are speaking to someone whose first language is NOT English. Then add the technical jargon and poor phone line connections - it was torture.

So recently, I surrendered and purchased pricey little hearing aids. I was told they are “state of the art” - the reason for the high price tag, no doubt.

The nice (young) audiologist gave me a lesson in how to insert the dainty little devices into my ears. In fact, he had me do it twice while he watched. He passed me with flying colors, so I was surprised the next morning when it took a big chunk of time to get them right.

He told me to point my index finger, then push it against the ear bud. I couldn’t remember if my finger was supposed to be inward towards me, or away from me. I tried both. I feel sure I looked as if I was trying to drill a hole through my head from ear to ear.

I can tell you with complete authority there is a learning curve to wearing the tiny little devices. He told me to pay attention to new sounds. I truly can’t avoid it.

The “new” sounds are often sounds I just haven’t heard in a long time. How loud and proud the birds sing in the morning! I discovered my doorbell has a long, long echo. I learned to brush my teeth before inserting the ear buds. Otherwise, it sounded like Niagara in the sink, And the brushing!! Like a road grader over gravel in my mouth – ouch.

My lovely wood floors I had put in several years ago? They are so squeaky. It sounds like a moose walking across the room. Who knew?

Now you are wondering if I am glad I did it. The answer is absolutely. I can now hear the soft little voices of the children at the school where I volunteer. I no longer blast the TV so the walls vibrate and disturb the neighbors. My family seems less annoyed with me - always a good thing.

And guess what? There’s an “app” for that. Yes, these fancy little ear assistants have their own app. I can direct the sound, muffle the sound, adjust the direction of the sound, all while pretending to be a millennial checking my phone. I am amazed it took an old people's appliance to drag me into the 21st century.

I do confess to welcoming my quiet house back every night when I take the loud speakers out and drop them in their cute little padded box.

Ah, there. That’s better.




27 Percent of Elder Americans are NOT Online

There was barely a world wide web at all when I got my first computer in the late 1980s. No banks, no stores, no YouTube, not even any advertising and the phrase “social media” was years from being invented.

But among the few offerings were photographs of the Moscow subway stations. I can't find that original website now (with images that took several minutes to load on the dial-up connection we all used back then) but if you've never seen how beautiful those stations are, take a look here.

Later, I got lucky in terms being prepared for our digital future. A friend had convinced CBS News to give her a couple of millions dollars to build a website for the 1996 presidential election and she hired me as managing editor.

None of us knew how to build a website yet and there were no other news websites to help us get started. The closest was that CNN was building their first website too and we freely stole ideas from each others' sites.

Meanwhile, over the next year, our engineers, coders, graphics artists and the rest of us, made mistakes but we learned from one another how websites work and we even launched on time. Successfully too.

That was almost 25 years years ago and the web has since become essential to our daily lives. Personally, I bank by mail, pay bills, get automatic reminders of when they are due. Between in-person visits, all my communication with doctors and nurses is via the internet. The pharmacy let's me know when prescriptions are due for refill.

A growing number of physical stores no longer take cash for purchases and whether we like it or not – we won't be able to stop it – banks, employers and many others are checking our online presence before doing business with or hiring us.

Plus, many people work from home which is not possible without the internet, and for all of us, there is hardly a question known to humankind the web cannot answer.

(Please don't take that as a challenge.)

My point is that even if we are not quite there yet, more and more personal and other important business is done only online and that trend will do nothing but grow leaving old people behind and in some cases, unable to get ordinary, daily business done.

Plus, only a couple of weeks ago did I realize I haven't received a yellow pages book in several years. How can anyone, without access to the internet, find a store or service they need without the web?

Recently, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of who is not online, using several criteria, including age.

”For instance, seniors are much more likely than younger adults to say they never go online,” reports Pew. “Although the share of non-internet users ages 65 and older has decreased by 7 percentage points since 2018, 27% still do not use the internet, compared with fewer than 10% of adults under the age of 65.”

I was amused to see that no one between the ages of 18-29 is not online which helps convince me of my contention that babies are now born clutching a tiny, little cell phone in one hand.

NotOnline2

Those numbers tell us that more than one-quarter of old people in the U.S. have no access to what is fast becoming an essential tool – right up there with things like electricity, running water, transportation, etc.

I can think of reasons elders are not online. Some are too ill to use a computer. Others can't afford one. Old people are more likely to live in rural areas where internet reception is still sketchy.

If you've been online a long time, you may not recall how intimidating the web is to use when you know nothing about it. So many families live hundreds and even thousands miles apart these days that elder family members often have no one nearby to help them learn.

And just because we old people are old people, a whole bunch of us will tell you something like, “I've lived 75 years without the internet; I don't see any reason to change that.”

The local senior center holds regularly-scheduled, free computer classes as do some libraries around the country but we're not doing enough. Twenty-seven percent of the fastest growing age group is being left out the internet age and we should change that.




ELDER MUSIC: Do the Reggay

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.

* * *

Do The Reggay is the first song where the word reggay (which later became reggae) made an appearance. It was performed by THE MAYTALS.

Maytals

The song was written by The Maytals’ main man, Toots Hibbert. He said that he took the term from a scruffy or unkempt person. Wherever he got it, it certainly caught on. Here is that first song that rather lives up to his definition.

♫ The Maytals - Do The Reggay


Back in 1988, SHABBA RANKS (Rexton Gordon) recorded an album called “Rapping with the Girls”. One of those “girls” was KRYSTAL (Cherylle Ramdeen).

Shabba Banks

One of the songs they performed is Twice My Age. It seemed to me that Krystal listened very carefully to the song Seasons in the Sun, until I found out our song today was written by Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen (and a couple of others).

Jacques wrote the original French version of Seasons (called Le Moribond), and his friend Rod the English lyrics, so I guess they’re allowed to steal from themselves.

♫ Krystal & Shabba Ranks - Twice My Age


Before there was Bob Marley, before Toots Hibbert, even before Jimmy Cliff, DESMOND DEKKER was pretty much alone bringing reggae music to the outside world.

Desmond Dekker

Desmond performs the song 007 (Shanty Town), and of course, the writer Ian Fleming spent much of his life in Jamaica writing the James Bond (and other) books. I suspect he didn’t live in Shanty Town though.

♫ Desmond Dekker - 007 (Shanty Town)


Jamaican musicians originally based their music on American soul and R&B music. It wasn’t the only style of music that they used. ANNETTE (Annette Brissett) listened to American pop songs, quite obviously.

Annette Brissett

Annette’s song is Lover’s Concerto, which was a big hit for The Toys. The song was based on a minuet by classical composer Christian Petzold (not J.S. Bach as is often contended).

♫ Annette - Lovers Concerto


TOOTS & THE MAYTALS were the biggest selling reggae performers in the sixties and seventies.

Maytals

By the eighties, Toots (Hibbert) had left and has had a successful solo career. The Maytals had a couple of songs on the soundtrack of the film The Harder They Come, probably the finest soundtrack album of all time. From that they perform The Pressure Drop.

♫ Toots & The Maytals - The Pressure Drop


CHAKA DEMUS & PLIERS (John Taylor and Everton Bonner) have evolved from straight reggae performers into a sort of reggae/hip hop act. They had started along on that change on the song Gal Wine, (from their first album together), but weren’t very far advanced on that journey (fortunately).

Chaka Demus & Pliers6

They both had established careers before they teamed up to become one of the most successful groups in the genre.

♫ Chaka Demus & Pliers - Gal Wine


At last we get to my favorite reggae artist, JIMMY CLIFF.

Jimmy Cliff

I mentioned the film The Harder They Come above. Jimmy was the lead actor in that picture as well as contributing songs to the soundtrack album, including Many Rivers to Cross.

♫ Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers To Cross


PETER TOSH (Winston McIntosh) was a founder member of The Wailers, along with Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley. Initially, he was the only one in the group who could play any instruments (guitar and piano, in his case).

Peter Tosh

He later left The Wailers after a dispute with their record producer (who refused to release one of their albums). Later in his career he hung around with the Rolling Stones and made records with both Keith and Mick.

In 1987, Peter was murdered in a home invasion. From the album “Wanted Dread and Alive,” here is the title song.

♫ Peter Tosh - Wanted Dread and Alive


I guess people would be saying, “Where’s Bob?” if I omitted BOB MARLEY, so here he is.

Bob Marley

Although he’d been recording for a while, he didn’t become known in the outside world until Eric Clapton recorded a cover version of his song I Shot the Sheriff. If you’re familiar with Eric’s version, you’ll be even more impressed with Bob’s version, although he is a bit heavy on the wah-wah pedal.

♫ Bob Marley - I Shot the Sheriff


Just because I can, I’ve added a bonus track from JIMMY CLIFF.

Jimmy Cliff

Another song from the film is You Can Get It If You Really Want.

♫ Jimmy Cliff - You Can Get It If You Really Want




INTERESTING STUFF – 27 April 2019

THE DOGGIE SCHOOL BUS

As the Youtube page tells us:

”Arat Montoya might just be the happiest man in the world as he gets to drive the doggie school bus. He has five acres for the dogs to run and play on while they are at his doggie daycare.”

3D CROSSWALKS

3D crosswalks are becoming almost commonplace. Here is a student explaining why she lobbied for one near her school.

You can read more about 3D crosswalks at Mental Floss.

LIVE STREAMING BACK YARD CRITTERS

Animals spotted here are WhiteTail Deer, Turkey, Mink, Chipmunks, GroundHogs, Muskrat, Rabbit, Fox, Coyote, Hawks, Herons, Turtles, Snakes, Owls, Squirrels and a whole lot of birds.

America's Got Talent Twin Magicians

French twins, magicians, on America's Got Talent 2017. This is loads of fun - thank Darlene Costner for it.

DOG LOSES 100 POUNDS

Kai the Golden Retriever was neglected by his owners and bulked up 173 Pounds before being rescued.

More at Big Geek Daddy.

SYNCHRONIZED FIREFLIES

The YouTube page explains:
”For a few short weeks each year, Elkmont Ghost Town in Smoky Mountains National Park becomes the site of the most magnificent synchronized firefly (Photinus carolinus) gathering in the world.

“Resembling an odd forest rave party, male fireflies enter the mating season by flashing their lights brightly four to right times in unison for about ten seconds, followed by a eight to twelve second darkness in which females may respond with their lights.

“Overwhelmed by the tourist onslaught in the recent years, National Park Service now restricts the number of people who visit Elkmont during the peak of firefly season.”

WATCHING A DOG MOTHER TEACH HER PUPS TO BE CALM

From the YouTube page:

”Rosalie is an experienced dog mother. This is her last litter (she just had 4). She wants to enter the puppy room in peace but her puppies are too excited. She also wants to teach them to stop drinking milk anymore.

“When the puppies are getting calm Rosalie starts taking care of them. With this behavior she teaches them that the only way to success (in this case being together with the mother) includes a calm energy level.”

THE GOOD LIFE

Yes, it is a commercial for a book but I like contemplating the lesson.

* * *

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.




Do you Nap?

The first infusion of my new chemo regimen that began early this year left me bone-weary and exhausted. I slept pretty much around the clock and finally felt well enough to get out of bed for a short while on the third day.

Three-plus days out of 14 (the time between infusions) seemed unreasonable then but even though chemotherapy is known to be cumulative (the side effects get worse over time), I was willing to give it another shot.

And lo – it was easier the second time. I was in bed for only part of those three days.

Since then, each infusion has been incrementally lighter (last week's hardly affected me at all) and although I no longer stay in bed all day afterwards, I have adopted napping as a tool to help keep me healthy.

Just this week, AARP published a story about the benefits of napping:

”Research shows that a short snooze can boost brain power, improve your memory as well as your mood (including your ability to shake off daily frustrations), and make you more alert.

“NASA scientists discovered that a 26-minute nap improved pilot performance by a whopping 34 percent — and companies such as Google, Samsung, Procter & Gamble, and Ben & Jerry’s not only allow but actually encourage employees to take snooze breaks.”

Further, 36 percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 are not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night:

”'As we get older, it can become harder to get enough quality sleep at night,' says Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.”

That doesn't mean people older than 64 aren't sleeping enough too, it's just that AARP doesn't always include them. (Shame)

Now here's an interesting suggestion about napping:

”...if you can down a cup of coffee right before — yes, before — your siesta, all the better,” reports AARP. “A Japanese study found that doing so can amplify the benefits of a nap, helping you feel more alert and refreshed when you wake up.

“Caffeine usually takes about a half-hour to really kick in — which, coincidentally, 'is about how long your nap should be,' Grandner says.”

WebMD appears to disagree:

”If you’re feeling tired but have work or studying to get done, you may be better off taking a nap than sipping a coffee. Compared to caffeine, napping can bring better memory and learning.”

WebMD has a list of nap benefits. Napping can

Improve your memory
Lift your mood
Ease stress
Make you more creative
Help you sleep better at night

Further, WebMD tells us that

”To get the most benefits out of a nap, you need to time it right. Most people will find an afternoon snooze to be the most natural and helpful. Some say sleep is better between 2 and 3 p.m., when humans naturally have a dip in alertness.”

You can see the entire WebMD slide show of napping benefits here.

I've never been a napping kind of person until this cancer happened. I've slowed down during these two years (just about everything takes longer than before) and sometimes I just want to lie down for a few minutes. Although I rarely sleep, I feel more alert after 30 minutes.

Over the past decade or so, napping – not to mention a normal, eight-hour workday - got a bad reputation. The “cool kids” made it a fetish to work 12, 14, 15 and more hours a day and it is only in the past year or two that there have been enough reports about the detrimental effects of too little sleep that some people are beginning to take note.

Because I've been so lucky with few side effects from my chemotherapy, I'll probably not nap every day – it's not been a habit with me. But nowadays, I use it when needed and it helps a lot.

What about you? And if you nap, did that change as you've grown older?




Some Politics and The Alex and Ronni Show

With way too much on my to-do list yesterday, I never got around to writing a “real” blog post so let's try this.

My former husband and I recorded our bi-weekly video chat on Tuesday and unlike so many of them in the past, we hardly discussed health issues.

Instead, we talked mostly about something I hardly ever write about here, national politics: Trump, the Mueller report, crime in high places, and those 437 Democratic presidential hopefuls (at least it feels like that many).

Of all those potential candidates, I told Alex I have a leaning toward Mayor Pete Buttigiag. Still, it's a long way until the 2020 election and god only knows what will happen or what we'll learn about the candidates by then that will change our minds.

So, here is the video. Take a look and then have your go at the campaign so far, in the comments below.




A TGB READER'S STORY: The Question

By Carol Leskin

TheQuestionCaroleLeskin2

“What do you miss most from your old life?” she asked gently.

The woman was a stranger sitting next to me in the doctor's office. She looked to be about 50, pretty, with the body of an athlete - well muscled arms and legs.

She was in a wheelchair. I was holding my cane and back support. The question surprised me, but I was not offended. For some reason, I felt comfortable answering her. What did surprise me was how easily and quickly I was able to respond.

“Sailing”, I said.

“Oh, I think I can understand that. For me, it's running,” she said with a sigh.

We turned our chairs a bit so we could face one another. It seemed appropriate.

“What is it about sailing that you miss?”

I laughed. Everything, I thought to myself. “The smell of the salt water. The feeling of the wind. The colors of the sky. The sound of the sails as they capture the breeze. Or the ropes, when the wind subsides and they clang against the boat. The seagulls. The laughter of my mates as we flew over the waves. Or their grunts when a sudden storm required strength and skill to guide us safely back to port.”

I looked down at my hands, suddenly embarrassed by my flowery description.

She smiled. “For me, it's the silence. The only sound - my feet as they hit the ground. The feel of the earth beneath me. I used to run mostly on trails in the woods or mountains. Or on the beach. Usually alone. It's the only time I got to be truly me. To hear my thoughts. There are so many people most of the time - too many sometimes.” She sighed.

We grew quiet.

The nurse appeared from behind the door to the rooms where we would each face whatever news the doctor would have.

“I’m Linda, she said. It was nice talking to you”.

“Carole, “I replied. Same here”. And she was gone.

I've been thinking a lot about that chance encounter. I learned something surprising in those few minutes.

It isn't the many physical abilities or pain free life I led for so many years that I miss the most. I am learning to deal with their loss. Reluctantly. Sadly. Even angrily. Some days better than others. But determined.

What I miss is the feeling that there will always be more. More days of sailing, traveling, meeting new people, trying new things. Adventure. Freedom. Limitlessness.

Once again, I am reminded of time. The limits aging imposes in various ways. I hear the clock ticking, and I wonder, given my new health challenges, how can I make the most of the time I have left?

The ship is sailing, and I am not on board. But I'm still able to stand on the beach.

* * *

EDITORIAL NOTE: We have worked our way through the initial batch of reader stories and beginning next week, I will start publishing second stories from some of the same writers.

So – you may send new stories whether you have published previously or not. Instructions are here. Only one story. Please.




Creating Rites of Passage for Old Age

TGB reader Christi Fries sent a link to a Washington Post feature about how funerals are changing. Although there is discussion of green funerals and alternative burial choices, I've written about those at some length and will again at some point.

What I was most interested in is the information on how funeral rituals are changing.

”...end-of-life ceremonies are being personalized,” writes reporter Karen Heller, “golf-course cocktail send-offs, backyard potluck memorials, more Sinatra and Clapton, less Ave Maria, more Hawaiian shirts, fewer dark suits. Families want to put the 'fun' in funerals.”

Heller continues:

”Funeral homes have hired event planners, remodeled drab parlors to include dance floors and lounge areas, acquired liquor licenses to replace the traditional vat of industrial-strength coffee.

Katrina Spade of Recompose in Seattle, "considers herself part of the 'alternative death-care movement'”:

"Spade questions why death should be a one-event moment, rather than an opportunity to create an enduring tradition, a deathday, to honor the deceased: 'I want to force my family to choose a ritual that they do every year.'"

One interviewee wants her “'personal possessions...auctioned off,' the proceeds benefiting a children’s charity. Why can’t a memorial serve as a fundraiser?”

So: Put the fun in funerals, event planners, force my family.

Certainly everyone should celebrate their life passages and those of loved ones any way they want but the lengths many Americans go to deny and ignore the monumental nature of death and its sorrows appears to grow year by year.

At about the same time I received this WaPo story from Christi, I ran across a TED video from a man named Bob Stein. At age 71, he had been searching for a way to mark the passage into old age.

He settled on a ritual of giving away his stuff (he confesses to having 250 boxes of it collected through his lifetime!), wanting to make the observance “less about dying and more about opening a door to whatever comes next.”

Here is Stein's six-minute video:

As I wrote in these pages a few years ago,

”The big rituals of life – you know, religious, social, community, rites of passage, family, even some political events - serve to initiate, transform or reaffirm the philosophies and values by which we live.”

As years come and go, and the care and feeding of our culture passes to the next generations, old rituals may not apply comfortably anymore. I, as a member of the oldest generation, may feel a bit queasy at “putting the fun in funerals” and “end-of-life event planners” but that doesn't mean they are wrong for a different world than I have lived through.

None of this means that I haven't found need for a new ritual or two. Way back in 2006, I created a rite of passage for myself: signing up for Social Security. I turned what might otherwise have been a boring chore in a drab government office into a celebration of my official entry into old age. You can read it here.

What rituals do you observe?




ELDER MUSIC: 1948 Again

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.

* * *

Sometime in the second half of 1948 I turned three years old so I don’t actually remember any of this music from the time. I’ve since come to appreciate it.

Already by 1948 the seeds of rock & roll were starting to spring forth out of the ground and wave their hands saying, “Here I come, ready or not”. One of those shoots is WYNONIE HARRIS.

Wynonie Harris

Wynonie was known for amusing and risqué songs but he also sang straight blues and rhythm and blues material. One such is Good Rockin' Tonight, written and first performed by Roy Brown. Oh, course it was later famously covered by Elvis.

♫ Wynonie Harris - Good Rockin' Tonight


The other stream of music that contributed to the genesis of rock and roll is country music. One of the purveyors of this style was JIMMY WAKELY.

Jimmy Wakely

The song One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart) became a staple in the heartbreak country genre. Incidentally, the female harmony singer is Colleen Summers, who would later become better known as Mary Ford.

♫ Jimmy Wakely - One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)


Getting back to rhythm and blues, AMOS MILBURN was one of its major exponents.

Amos Milburn

Amos was a singer and pianist and he was a major influence on Fats Domino. He wrote and recorded the song Chicken Shack Boogie, which was originally the B-side of the record but outsold the putative A-side.

♫ Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie


Continuing the flip flopping between R&B and country, we have the biggest name in country music, HANK WILLIAMS.

Hank Williams

For someone who was so influential, it’s instructive to note that he had only two songs that made the main charts (as distinct from the country ones) in his lifetime and none that got anywhere near the top.

I could draw a parallel with Vincent Van Gogh, but that would be crass. This song didn’t even hit the top of the country charts (although his son’s version did), Honky Tonkin’.

♫ Hank Williams - Honky Tonkin


BOB HOPE is neither R&B nor country.

Bob Hope & Jane Russell

However, his song is from a western film he made, one of his more famous – “The Paleface” with Jane Russell. Bob laments that he should have stayed in the city, rather than traveling west in the song Buttons and Bows.

♫ Bob Hope - Buttons and Bows


DooWop music was starting to make an impression on the charts by now, especially thanks to one of the earliest and longest lived group THE ORIOLES.

Orioles

This was due in no small part due to their having one of the finest lead singers in the genre, Sonny Til. It's Too Soon To Know was their first song to make the charts, peaking at the very top. It was covered by many other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington.

♫ The Orioles - It's Too Soon To Know


Cajun music rarely makes the charts, at least not without being watered down somewhat. One performer who made it without dilution is IRY LEJEUNE.

Iry LeJeune

Iry brought the accordion back into Cajun where it’s been prominent ever since. For a couple of decades before that, the music mostly leant in the direction of western swing. Iry was killed at the age of 26 by a hit and run driver while he was changing a flat tyre on his car. He performs Evangeline Special.

♫ Iry LeJeune - Evangeline Special


Around this time EDDY ARNOLD had many songs on the charts; several that went to the top.

Eddy Arnold

He was managed by someone you may have heard of, “Colonel” Tom Parker. Old Tom might have had something to do with his success, but I’d like to put it down to Eddy’s talent (rather like Tom’s more famous acolyte).

Anyway, Eddy’s song in 1948 (or one of them) is Bouquet of Roses, a tear jerker if ever there was one.

♫ Eddy Arnold - Bouquet Of Roses


There are songs that were fine at the time, but aren’t particularly P.C. these days. This is one of them. The singer is PEGGY LEE.

Peggy Lee

I won’t say another word and just let you listen to Peggy singing Mañana.

♫ Peggy Lee - Manana


JOHN LEE HOOKER was definitely the real thing.

John Lee Hooker

He’s also quite unlike anyone else featured here today. His songs were often built around a single note and he relied on his singing and the lead guitarist to supply color and movement. So it is today on one his most famous early songs, Crawlin' Kingsnake.

♫ John Lee Hooker - Crawlin' Kingsnake


For a complete change of pace, here is BUDDY CLARK.

Buddy Clark

Buddy had a short but successful career after the war until he was killed in a plane crash in 1949. His wasn’t the first version of Ballerina to make the charts, or even the most successful, but it was very popular in its day.

♫ Buddy Clark - Ballerina




INTERESTING STUFF – 20 April 2019

HOW OLD GUYS STAY IN SHAPE

Thank Darlene Costner for this video.

THINGS YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT NOTRE DAME DE PARIS

Mental Floss has a nice list of things I mostly didn't know about the now-damaged cathedral:

All Roads Lead To Notre-Dame De Paris

NotreDame

Also: Bees live on its roof and its bells were once melted down for artillery. There are more, all with explanations, at Mental Floss.

DEMENTIA VILLAGE

Dementia is a terrible and growing affliction of old age with not many good options for the large numbers who will need full-time care. For 25 years, the the Hogeweyk dementia care center in Amsterdam has been developing a non-traditional type of caring that seems to be working well.

From the Youtube page:

“How would you prefer to spend the last years of your life: in a sterile, hospital-like institution or in a village with a supermarket, pub, theater and park within easy walking distance?

“[Here is] a glimpse at what a reimagined nursing home based on freedom, meaning and social life could look like.”

AOC SPEAKS FROM THE FUTURE

One of the new and youngest members of Congress, narrates a video that asks, What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez narrates a film investigating those questions.

There is more at The Intercept.

END GAME MOVIE

This Academy Award-nominated documentary, End Game, captures human nature, reports a NextAvenue story,

“...and the delicate dilemma doctors and patients face at the end of life, under the best circumstances.

“Filmed in the serene hospital rooms and corridors of the University of California San Francisco Medical Center and the recently-closed Zen Hospice Project, situated in a tastefully-appointed Victorian house, we see firsthand the inner workings of hospice and palliative care.”

This is longer that I usually link to, 40 minutes, but worth your time, I think. It is available to stream on Netflix, and you can read more at Next Avenue. Here is a trailer:

And now, our weekly collection of pet stories:

DOG RESCUED FROM OCEAN 135 MILES FROM SHORE

This story has been widely distributed so you've probably seen it. Still, it's amazing. How did she get there? My guess is the dog fell off a boat or was thrown by some awful person. Here is a video:

There is more information at the Washington Post.

ARE DOG OWNERS HAPPIER THAN CAT OWNERS?

According to a recent study, dog owners are happier than cat owners. From Mental Floss:

”The ranking goes like this: Dog owners are the likeliest group of people to consider themselves 'very happy.' People who don't own any pets came in second on the happiness spectrum, and people who own a dog and a cat rank third. Cat owners trail far behind them all, with only 18 percent reporting that they feel very happy.”

DogCatChart

”However...these findings don't necessarily mean that dogs are the sole source of happiness (even though pup owners might beg to differ). 'The General Social Survey data show that dog owners, for instance, are more likely to be married and own their own homes than cat owners, both factors known to affect happiness and life satisfaction,' the newspaper notes.”

You will find the full story at the Washington Post. Where do you stand on this?

KLEPTO KITTIES

I don't usually care for compilation videos but this one shows some spectacularly clever thieving kitties. Good laughs.

CAT SNEAKS IN TO NAP WITH NEIGHBOR

As the Twitter page notes:

”My Dad is recovering from an operation. Mum went out and left a door slightly ajar. My parents do not have a cat.”

FalloonAndCat

Bored Panda expanded on the story:

”...when the man awoke from a nap he was met with a mystery feline cuddler cozied up by his neck. It seems the pawed stranger had wandered in through the door and decided the recovering patient could use some extra love.”

More at Bored Panda.

* * *

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.




Crabby Old Lady, Sales People and Cancer

Earlier this week, in the mid-afternoon just as Crabby Old Lady's energy was beginning to wane for the day, there was a knock at the door. The conversation went something like this (paraphrased):

TALL YOUNG MAN WITH CLIPBOARD: I want to talk with you about renewable energy.

CRABBY OLD LADY: I could use some of that this time of day.

TYMWC: (blank look)

COL: Never mind. It was meant to be a joke but didn't turn out well.

TYMWC: Our records show that you have assigned only part of your electric bill to renewable energy and...

COL: (interrupting) Wait. Your “records”? Who are you? What company do you represent?

TYMWC: You wouldn't have heard of us but we've been hired to let electricity customers know...

COL: (interrupting) That's all? You could have phoned or sent an email, even a snailmail letter.

TYMWC: (word salad about how Crabby Old Lady could help save the planet just by changing her electric bill choices – sign right here, ma'am)

COL: Are you kidding? You won't even name the company you work for.

Varieties of people arrive at Crabby Old Lady's door with some regularity if not frequency. There are sales people like today's example, dubious charities and, at election time, political candidates.

Most try to make their point and they politely move on when Crabby gives them the brushoff. TYMWC was more determined than others and less polite too.

TYMWC: Are you sure you want to be left behind, to be part of the problem of climate change and not the solution?

Crabby isn't sure about this but perhaps desperate times require desperate means. If so, this still is not the way to do it.

Ticked off at TYMWC's attempt to shame her, Crabby pulled off the watch cap she keeps by the door to wear so that her bald head doesn't scare whomever is knocking.

“Let me tell you how it is with me,” she said. “Priorities change when they tell you you're dying of cancer and whatever it is you're selling doesn't interest me these days. So leave. Please leave. And take your self-righteous hubris with you.”

And without a word, he turned on his heel and walked away.

This is not to say that people with a deadly disease should use it as an emotional bludgeon. But there are some people who just deserve it. Crabby did that without any thought, on the spur of the moment and she's glad she did.




Who is Too Old to be President?

How old is too old to be president?

Wait, wait. Don't rush into this. Before you answer, let me remind you of what I have reported here dozens of times:

Babies' development can be predicted to the week. If she/he has not taken a first step or said a first word by a specified week of life, it's probably time to check with a pediatrician.

The other end of of life, however, is highly unpredictable. Some people's intellectual capabilities are compromised by age 50. Others sail into their eighth, ninth and even tenth decades while carrying on the work and interests they have always had, or taking on new ones.

So (discounting heavy physical labor), there is no date, no particular age at which a person can be labeled too old to work.

We complain about that here all the time, the rejection of job applicants based on whether they look like an interviewer's parent. It's called ageism and it begins to show up at a remarkably early age – about 40 for men and 35 for women and increases from there.

Nevertheless, growing old is not without intellectual consequence. We often laugh at ourselves about forgetting words – even whole concepts we were trying to talk about; aches and pains that wear down our mental and physical stamina throughout the day; and general slowing down we all recognize in ourselves.

Of the people currently in the running for U.S. president, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have been most frequently attacked for being too old for the job. As The Hill reported:

”Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday rebuffed criticism that he is 'too old' to seek the presidency, challenging critics to 'follow' him on the campaign trail.

“'It’s not whether you’re young, it’s not whether you’re old; it’s what you believe in,' Sanders said during a town hall event hosted by Fox News.”

Here are the ages of some of the people running for president. I've not listed them all because – well, it's just absurd how many think they are presidential material. Numbers are each person's age on election day 2020.

Bernie Sanders – 79
Joe Biden - 77
Donald Trump – 74
Elizabeth Warren – 71
Jay Inslee – 69
Amy Klobuchar – 60
Kamala Harris – 56
Cory Booker – 51
Beto O'Roarke – 48
Pete Buttigieg – 38

Those who want a younger president often argue that people keep growing even older year by year after an election and may die in office. Others like to argue that anyone can die unexpectedly at any age (just ask John F. Kennedy).

I'm with the second group on that question, but any old person knows intimately how much most of us slow down, tire easily, make jokes about our C.R.A.F.T. difficulties (“Can't Remember A Fucking Thing).

I want my president to be at the top of his intellectual capabilities.

Even so, I would vehemently oppose a cutoff age for presidential candidacy. They may be few, but people who maintain their mental acuity well into old age are out there and I don't see Bernie Sanders nor any of the other older candidates fumbling for words the way I do.

Now it's your turn. What do you think?




A TGB READER STORY: The Raisin-y Bite

By Sylvia Li

Granny often told this story from her childhood. She didn't approve – she made it clear she felt it wasn't right. Yet it mattered, and she wanted us to know it.

Victorian values: "Children should be seen and not heard." At the family dinner table, young Eleanor and her many brothers and sisters were required to be presentable, to sit quietly and to eat their dinner without interrupting the adults.

Afterwards they would be shepherded off to bed, nursery or schoolwork depending on their age.

Children being children, this didn't always work out.

In those days sweets were "bad for a child's digestion." Servings of dessert were small and eagerly gobbled up in no time. One evening, though, her younger brother Edgar decided to do something different.

On his fork, he carefully speared all of the raisins from his wedge of raisin pie. After everyone else's pie was gone, he left his chair and paraded around triumphantly, waving the luscious forkful of raisins under the whole family's noses.

"Look at my raisin-y bite!" he crowed. "Look at my raisin-y bite!"

Until he got to their father. CHOMP! In one quick snap, Papa ate the raisin-y bite.

Oh, the wailing, then! But it was too late. Those raisins were gone forever.

* * *

EDITORIAL NOTE: We have worked our way through the initial batch of reader stories and beginning next week, I will start publishing second stories from some of the same writers.

So – you may send new stories whether you have published previously or not. Instructions are here. Only one story. Please.




What Do You Do All Day in Retirement?

It's one of the most common questions we get in old age: what do you do all day? Working people who spend at least half of their waking hours trading expertise for money can't imagine how old people fill the time.

I don't recall specifically, but I probably wondered about that when I was working age. Now, after 15 years in retirement, I have a pretty good handle on how those former work hours (and more) easily get used up.

Cooking along with the accompanying shopping, storing, cleaning up, etc. fills a lot of time. I don't eat out as frequently as when I worked

Always a news junkie, I read it more thoroughly and carefully now – at least a couple of hours a day, often more

As the years pass, I've gradually become slower so it takes longer to do everything

These days, I tire more easily than when I was working and often indulge in an afternoon nap. An hour, sometimes two, disappear

Reading books and magazines I once had time only to skim. So do research and writing the blog, trying to keep up with email, and don't get me started on technology glitches that need attention

And so on.

A couple of facts about old people's health from the U.S. National Council on Aging (NCOA):

Approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Four chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—cause almost two-thirds of all deaths each year.

Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

The variety of federal, state and local agencies that deal with elder health issues have a lot of facts, some effective advice and thousands of pages of information on the internet.

What they don't mention is how busy those chronic diseases keep us, how much time they steal from our retirement.

In the two years since I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the care and feeding of my remarkably decent health (I'm grateful every day) takes more time than I would ever have imagined. Some examples:

Counting those damned pills into their little boxes. Ten days ago or so I rebelled, didn't sort them for the coming week and therefore had to do it three times a day. Stupid of me. Obviously. But I needed the break from routine even if it did cause more work

As the nurses and physicians told me way back in 2017 following my Whipple surgery, I must eat a LOT of food – the point being not to fall into frailty

Both cancer and chemotherapy drugs use up energy (and therefore, calories) faster than a body without cancer so “eat, eat, eat” they old me

Eat lots of protein, lots of fat and don't worry about lack of green food. “Food is medicine,” they said to me, and “The cancer will kill you long before this diet will”

I spend huge amounts of time preparing food to try to eat when I've lost my appetite for three or four or five days after chemo.

Simple household chores take what seems like forever particularly for a few days after chemo. I need to sit down to rest twice during those days while making the bed. Changing the bed? Don't even ask

Let's not forget two full days a month are gone – seven or eight hours each – of chemotherapy. Sometimes I'm exhausted enough for bed all day for two or three days afterwards and sometimes not, with no way to predict

Another five or six appointments each month with half a dozen medical specialists who seem to be required to treat cancer. It's a good thing I've come to like all these people – and the others, nurses, medical assistants, schedulers, etc. - and in a certain sense they have become friends

I wear out for the day by mid-afternoon which means I must get all the blog work and everything else in my life done by then. By 3PM, I can't even focus long enough to read anything longer than a short magazine or newspaper story

Enough. Any of you who have your own chronic disease(s) to manage every day know all about this.

Given that I have lived longer than the doctors imagined I would and who are predicting even more healthy time for me, I feel like a churl when resentment of the hours and days the maintenance involves overtakes me.

I try my best to get past it quickly. I can't be the only old woman (or man) who sometimes longs for the carefree, healthy life I lived for so long. What about you?




ELDER MUSIC: Taj Mahal

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.

* * *

Taj

TAJ MAHAL was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, and that’s such a splendid name I don’t think he should have changed it.

Unlike many blues musicians, he wasn’t from the south, he was born in New York and grew up in Massachusetts. Both his parents were musicians so it was almost certain that that would be his calling.

Taj was classical trained on piano but was also proficient on clarinet and trombone. However, it was the guitar and pretty much every other stringed instrument that became his preferred choice.

Besides being one of the foremost performers of both traditional and electric blues, Taj also likes to include elements of music from around the world, particularly from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Taj

Early in his career, indeed his third solo album, TAJ released a double album called “Giant Step / De Ole Folks at Home”. The Giant Step part was modern electric blues, and the Ole Folks part was early traditional blues, even some songs that predated the blues. I’ll start with one of the early songs, Annie's Lover.

♫ Annie's Lover


Taj

From the other record, here is its namesake Take a Giant Step, not as raucous as some in his repertoire.

♫ Take a Giant Step


Continuing on the theme of electric blues, TAJ was a guest on a concert by MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD.

Mike Bloomfield

This was recorded and released as the album “Live at Bill Graham's Fillmore West”. Here is Taj singing (and playing harmonica) with the unmistakeable sound of Michael’s electric guitar. The song is One More Mile to Go.

♫ One More Mile To Go


Taj

Returning to the “Ole Folks” TAJ performs a song called Fishin' Blues. Around the time of its release the song was rather popular with performers who liked to sing roots music. Few did it better than Taj.

♫ Fishin' Blues


Taj

As I mentioned in the introduction, TAJ likes music from all over the world. He seems to be taken by the music from Hawaii where he’s lived for some years. One of his albums that surveyed that topic is “Sacred Island”, and from that we have No Na Mamo, with the assistance of The Hula Blues Band.

♫ No Na Mamo


Taj

Getting back to nearly the beginning, to TAJ’s second album we have She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride. This song was one that featured in “The Blues Brothers” film, where they did a decent version. Not as good as the original though.

♫ She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride


Taj got together with David Hidalgo from Los Lobos, along with the group LOS CENZONTLES (The Mockingbirds) for the record “American Horizon”.

Los Cenzontles

The record had many styles of music, often in the same song as will be demonstrated here in Solo Quiero Bailar.

♫ Solo Quiero Bailar


Taj

Not neglecting his blues roots, TAJ performs Further on Down the Road, a song he’s recorded a couple of times. Not just him, pretty much every blues performer has had a go at this one.

♫ Further On Down The Road


Taj

And so back to Hawaii, we have The New Hula Blues. This really is an Hawaiian blues amalgam.

♫ The New Hula Blues


Taj

Delving into the music of Africa, TAJ gathered a number of famous performers to record the album “Maestro”. One of those is ANGÉLIQUE KIDJO, with whom he wrote and sang the song Zanzibar.

Angélique Kidjo

There’s some lovely African style guitar on this one.

♫ Zanzibar


Taj

Just because I can, I’ve included a couple of bonus tracks. These revert back to late rhythm and blues, or early rock and roll. Both are from his successful album “Phantom Blues”. The first is What Am I Living For written by the great Chuck Willis.

♫ What Am I Living For


The second is Let the Four Winds Blow, written by Roy Brown and made hugely successful by Fats Domino.

♫ Let the Four Winds Blow




INTERESTING STUFF – 13 April 2019

EDITORIAL NOTE: It's mostly animals again today. Perhaps it's my antidote to the awful things our politicians do very day.

* * *

RACCOONS

Raccoons always make me laugh. They made me laugh even when they were redistributing the trash at the weekend country house I once had. Here's a short compilation.

OUR CATS THINK WE'RE A MUCH LARGER CAT WITH GOOD TASTE IN FOOD

According to Dr. John Bradshaw, your feline friend likely thinks of you not as a parent, but as "a larger, non-hostile cat," reports Mother Nature Network.

”Bradshaw, a biologist at the England's University of Bristol, has studied cat behavior for 30 years, and he's constantly finding new insights into the ways cats interact with humans. For starters, it's always on their terms.”

"Cats are just as good as dogs at learning — they're just not as keen to show their owners what they've learnt," Bradshaw told Nature... https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01067-z#ref-CR1

Mother Nature Network continues:

”And when your feline friend brings you the occasional dead rodent or half-eaten insect, it's not a gift or an attempt to feed you.

“Your cat simply wants a safe place to eat his kill. When he bites into his catch, he realizes the food you provide tastes better, so he leaves the remains of the prey behind.

“So while you may think of yourself as your cat's parent, he sees you more like a large, friendly feline who's generous enough to share the canned food.”

More at Mother Nature Network.

FIRST PICTURE EVER OF A BLACK HOLE

If you missed this news, you've probably been hibernating.

”Researchers say this 'ground-breaking' discovery proves Einstein's theory of general relativity. The black hole is 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5 times that of the Sun.

Here's a short video about it:

More detailed information at The New York Times, at Technology Review and just about anywhere else on the web.

HIGH DIVING GIRAFFES

I published this video for the first time when it was originally posted in 2013, and at least once or twice again since then.

I never get tired of it – so weird and wonderful and odd and convincing.

OREGON FOR PERMANENT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME?

The state where I live, Oregon, has been dinking around about having all-year daylight savings time:

”Last week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 320, which would establish year-round daylight saving time,” reports oregonlive.com. The proposal, which has broad support from both Republicans and Democrats, now heads to the Oregon House.”

Further:

”Even if lawmakers in the Oregon House agree to the plan and Gov. Kate Brown signs off, the bill only takes effect if both California and Washington make the same decision.

“And our neighboring states are well on their way. California voters approved a daylight saving measure last November and Washington lawmakers already passed a bill that will put the issue to a vote in November 2020.

“If all three states agree to permanent daylight saving time, the region would still need to secure approval from Congress.

I had no idea this was going on. I don't think I care either way beyond the fact that I like not needing to change the remaining analog clocks I have.

STRAY DOGS ASK TEENS TO HELP SAVE THEIR FRIEND

The headline is all you need to know to enjoy this vid:

PATRICK AND GRACE – A MUTUAL RESCUE STORY

Yes, another rescue story. I'm such a sucker for these.

* * *

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.




Working Memory Boost for Old People?

When, in the middle of a conversation, I forget a word I need – usually a noun – I lament that I am not a comedy writer. If I were any good at that, there is fun to be had with a sketch of two old folks trying to have a chat while every third or fourth word won't come to mind.

(Some would call such a sketch ageist, but not me.)

It happens to me every day (while I write, too) and multiplies during three or four days following chemotherapy when “chemo brain” is at its worst. Sometimes the entire idea or concept of what I'm trying to say disappears.

Really annoying.

Recently, researchers at Boston University tested the memories of the brains of people older than 60 and those of a similar group of people in their twenties.

Unsurprisingly, the younger subjects did better,” reported MIT Technology Review.

“Then participants were fitted with an electrode-covered cap that stimulated two areas of the brain (the temporal and prefrontal cortex) with electricity for 25 minutes in a way that made the brain waves fall into sync.

“When the groups were tested again, the participants who had been stimulated were much improved in the tests—and were as good as the 20-year-olds. The effect lasted for at least 50 minutes, when measurements were stopped.”

BrainZappingBostonU

One of the researchers, Dr. Robert Reinhard, said they can bring back a more superior working memory function that the elder group had when they were younger:

"'This is important because the global population is rapidly ageing, and the elderly struggle with many real-world activities that critically rely on their memories,' Reinhard told the BBC.

“These included 'recognizing human faces, navigating the physical environment, remembering to take their medication and making financial decisions,' he said.”

Here's some really good news for us old folks: Reinhard told the BBC:

”...the largest improvements appear in the people with the greatest deficit at baseline...people who are struggling the most."

Another researchers have reported similar results including this one from a Fox News story:

”Dr. Barry Gordon, a professor of neurology and cognitive science at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore...

"It's a superb first step" toward demonstrating a way to improve mental performance, said Gordon, who was not involved in the new study.”

Others are not so sure:

”Dorothy Bishop, a professor of developmental neuropsychology from the University of Oxford, says: 'It would be premature to extrapolate the findings to everyday functioning in individuals with clinically significant memory problems.

"'There is no indication that any beneficial effects of stimulation persist beyond the experimental session.

"'Considerably more research would need to be done before concluding that this method had clinical application.'"

No doubt Bishop is right to be cautious with these preliminary findings, but as someone who reads a lot of reports of early research results, I wouldn't trash this one. It has interesting possibilities including uses for dementia patients.

Meanwhile, I'm sure interested. If the brain stimulation were available now, I'd be first on line because...

Well, damn. What was it I wanted to say???

What about you – would you be on line with me? You can read more details about the research by following the links above.




Cancer Update Plus The Alex and Ronni Show

Thank you for all your lovely birthday messages over these past couple of days. Friends, my son, grandson and neighbors came by on Sunday with lots of wine and food and a good time was had by all.

My apologies for the emails I have not answered. I've been extra tired this time from the chemo infusion last Thursday and I just ran out of steam. Know that I appreciate every one of you and read every message.

I never believed I would make it to this birthday, number 78, and that's not hyperbole. I didn't think I would live this long but here I am and I'm going to stop predicting – what will be will be.

And now I have some cancer news.

Remember two months ago when the CT scan showed that cancer cells had shrunk and some were not visible at all?

This time, last week, the new scan was almost as good as that one – so much so that the oncologist ordered up the next scan to be done in three months rather than the two we've been doing. And he said this too: “You're going to be with us for a good while yet.”

Woo-hoo.

Okay, I don't know the definition of “good while” and, probably, the doctor doesn't either. But it's good to hear anyway.

My former husband and I recorded our bi-weekly chat, The Alex and Ronni Show yesterday. It says some of what we've talked about in this post, but here it is.

It was a nice little vacation from blog work but I'm happy to be back in the groove.




ELDER MUSIC: Happy Birthday, Ronni

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.

* * *

Birthday Cake

Ronni said a little while ago that she probably didn’t expect to see this day, but I’m glad she has – and I know that everyone reading this will agree with me.

I selected some birthday music, none of which I imagine that she’d have chosen herself. That’s the fun of doing these columns.

The songs today are predominantly from the fifties, the only reason for that is that I’ve used most of the others in previous columns. A number of the songs are so sad you can’t help but laugh; a good thing to do on your birthday, a better thing to do than what I did on my last birthday, but we won’t go into that.

I’ll start with an exception to my opening statement, indeed here is a moment of couth from JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, J.S.’s youngest son, generally called the London Bach because that’s where he lived for the last couple of decades of his life.

Bach-JC4

Like his father, J.C. wrote some cantatas; that wasn’t his main gig as it was for his dad. This one is Cantata a tre voci (Birthday cantata). This is the first movement.

♫ Bach JC - Cantata a tre voci (Birthday cantata) (1)


That’s out of the way, let’s get down to the rubbish, starting with THE FLEETWOODS.

Fleetwoods5

Okay, The Fleetwoods are really pretty good, so ignore my previous statement. I also noticed that if you really listen carefully to the words, the song sounds a lot more R rated than is usually the case in songs from the fifties.

Maybe it’s just me. They sing It's Your Birthday.

♫ The Fleetwoods - It's Your Birthday


THE FOUR KNIGHTS formed all the way back in 1943 and continued with the same line up until the late fifties when the lead singer had to drop out due to his worsening epilepsy.

Four Knights

They had several hits in the fifties and appeared regularly on Red Skelton’s TV program. They seem really happy to sing Happy Birthday, Baby, a song closer to the forties than the fifties.

♫ 4 Knights - Happy Birthday Baby


Unlike all the other songs today, where the performer wishes someone else a happy birthday, it’s the singer’s birthday instead. That singer is HANK LOCKLIN.

Hank Locklin

He bought his present and sang happy birthday to himself because his sweetie seems to be otherwise occupied. She didn’t even bother sending him a card. Hank sings Happy Birthday to Me.

♫ Hank Locklin - Happy Birthday To Me


While I was searching for songs, I noticed that whenever an age was mentioned in a song, 16 was far and away the most common. So it is with the next song by THE CRESTS.

Crests

They sing, “You’re only sixteen, but you’re my teenage queen” which sounds a bit creepy these days. Let’s hope Mr Crest is himself only 16 or 17. Anyway, now I’ve had my jaundiced look at the song (and you’d agree with me if you ever hear Jerry Lee Lewis’s version), you can listen to 16 Candles.

♫ Crests - 16 Candles


Here’s a brief sojourn into the sixties with the most famous group from that decade, THE BEATLES.

Beatles

From the album called “The Beatles”, and if you’re scratching your head over that one, it’s universally known as “The White Album”, we have Birthday.

♫ Beatles - Birthday


I have to admit that the PIXIES THREE are unknown to me.

Pixies Three

To judge from the song they seem to be having a good time, unlike several others today. It seems that they’re having a Birthday Party.

♫ Pixies Three - Birthday Party


JOHN HARTFORD has some interesting advice for what you should wear on your birthday.

John Hartford

Of course, if you think about it for a minute or two you could probably figure where I’m going. I imagine there’d be few of my readers who’d be willing to go along with John. He sings I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit.

♫ John Hartford - I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit


You can tell from the introduction to the song that things aren’t going to turn out well for THE TUNE WEAVERS.

Tune Weavers

They want to wish their baby a happy birthday. Alas, said baby is with someone else. Oh dear, I imagine a lot of us went through this as teenagers. Anyway, Happy Happy Birthday Baby.

♫ The Tune Weavers - Happy Happy Birthday Baby


Okay Ronni, do you want to change your name to Cindy for two and a half minutes. That’s so JOHNNY CRAWFORD can serenade you.

Johnny Crawford

Johnny almost certainly got a recording career because of his acting in the TV show The Rifleman. He was guaranteed name recognition. After much coaching and singing lessons, it paid off with several hits, the biggest of which is Cindy's Birthday.

♫ Johnny Crawford - Cindy's Birthday


I’ll end as I began, with another moment of couth. This time it’s MR HANDEL.

Handel

Georg knew on which side his bread was buttered – he wrote music for all sorts of royal occasions. Due to that, he became extremely rich. He wrote an ode to Queen Anne who was the queen of Great Britain after the deaths of Williamandmary (they always seemed to be mentioned that way, as if it’s one word).

What Georg wrote is Eternal Source of Light Divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, HWV 74). Here we have some trumpet playing by WYNTON MARSALIS and some singing by KATHLEEN BATTLE.

Wynton Marsalis & Kathleen Battle

♫ Handel - Eternal Source of Light Divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne HWV 74)


Happy birthday, Ronni and I look forward to doing this next year. I hope I can find some better songs.

Champs




INTERESTING STUFF – 6 April 2019

KITTEN ACADEMY LIVE STREAM

Is there anything better than a whole mess of baby animals. Try this – a 24/7 life stream.

There is more about the kitten academy at the youtube page.

THE GREAT GREEN WALL

TGB reader Linda Burdick sent this video – a sensationally important idea that science might be able to replicate to fit other kinds of climate in the world.

There is a fuller story at Daily Kos.

SNIFFING OUT WILDLIFE CRIME

From the Youtube page:

”At this very moment, with their noses to the ground, four-legged heroes are actively defending our planet. With keen olfactory systems and an ability to read human behavior, dogs are not only [wo]man’s best friends—they’re indefatigable allies in the fight for conservation.

“Based in Montana, Working Dogs for Conservation trains rescue dogs to sleuth out everything from illegal poaching to invasive species.”

BOSTON DYNAMICS NEWEST ROBOT

How soon will they replace all the warehouse workers? Take a look:

Here's the bad news from Technology Review:

”Although the technology is impressive, we’re still a long way from it being deployed in an actual warehouse, especially around humans. That would involve a level of complexity that robots haven’t yet mastered.

“And while the Boston Dynamics videos are always fun, they’re not quite as effortless as they seem. Each one is created with carefully pre-programmed movements and will take many, many takes to get right before it’s shared.”

A HOBBIT HOUSE IN WALES

No explanation needed. Just take a look:

PIT BULL PUPPY REACTING TO THE LION KING

From the YouTube page:

”So Hannah and I were watching the Lion King while Luna played wildly with her toys. But right as Mufasa falls to his death, she stops and turns to the TV to watch.

“To see her crying at the TV was the sweetest thing I think I’ve ever seen. She even lays down right after Simba lays with his dad.

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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.