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ELDER MUSIC: Bobby Darin

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.

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BOBBY DARIN changed a lot during his singing career – starting out as a rock & roller, then to a big band singer, a Sinatra wannabe, a jazz singer, a folk singer and blues performer.

I don’t think there are many of us who liked all aspects of his output, but I could be wrong. We’ll see today as that’s what I’m doing, at least to a degree. I prefer his early work.

Bobby’s folks knew him as Walden Robert Cassotto and he was from the Bronx.

Always in rather fragile health, he was motivated to succeed before he turned up his toes which happened at the too young age of 37.

Bobby started as a Brill Building writer, especially for Connie Francis, with whom he was romantically attached until her rather strict father ran him off with a gun. Connie has said that he was the love of her life.

He later married Sandra Dee, no accounting for taste. He also had a songwriting partnership with Don Kirshner, who was later responsible for the formation of The Monkees.

Bobby mentored such diverse talents as Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson, Wayne Newton and Jim (later Roger) McGuinn from The Byrds.

Bobby Darin

BOBBY wrote the song, Splish Splash, as a bet with the disk jockey, Murray the K. The bet was that he couldn’t write a song that began with the words "Splish Splash, I was takin' a bath". He not only could, he took it to the top of the charts.

♫ Splish Splash


Bobby Darin

Beyond the Sea was based on a song called La Mer, written and performed by Charles Trenet. They kept the tune and put English words to it, words that bore no resemblance to the original.

I think La Mer is the superior song, but Beyond the Sea isn’t bad, especially if you don’t have the original around with which to compare it.

♫ Beyond The Sea


Bobby Darin

The song Multiplication made the charts in 1961. It was from an album called “Twist with Bobby Darin”. Groan.

♫ Multiplication


Bobby Darin

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but in 1962 Leroy Van Dyke had a hit with the song If a Woman Answers. In that same year, really about the same time, BOBBY had one as well with If a Man Answers. Got everything covered there.

♫ If A Man Answers


Bobby Darin

Now we’re getting to some quality stuff. John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman did a wonderful version of the song Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise. BOBBY’s version is nowhere near as good as that one (nor is anyone else’s), but it’s not too bad.

♫ Softly As In A Morning Sunrise


Bobby Darin

One of his finest of the fifties’ songs is Dream Lover. It’s a song he wrote himself and was recorded at Atlantic Records, a company that knew how to get the best out of their artists. As a trivial aside, that’s Neil Sedaka playing the piano.

♫ Dream Lover


Bobby Darin

Bobby’s version of Mack the Knife is based vaguely on Louis Armstrong’s earlier hit. Both bear little resemblance to the original version from Kurt Weill’s “Threepenny Opera”. It doesn’t matter too much as they both earned a tidy amount for themselves.

♫ Mack The Knife


Bobby Darin

Back to the rather silly songs, this one from the early sixties, although it sounds as if it should be earlier. The song I’m talking about is Things, another he wrote himself. I could have done without the female singers on this one; it would have been better without them but that was the way to do things back then I suppose.

♫ Things


Bobby Darin

Black Coffee is an old song that he recorded on an album called “This is Darin” in 1960. It sounds as if it came from much later in his career, so I guess he was already thinking of a change of style.

♫ Black Coffee


Bobby Darin

During his folk period, BOBBY recorded several of Tim Hardin’s songs. Interestingly, the highest charting song Tim had was with a Bobby Darin song, in spite of the many terrific songs he wrote himself.

Anyway, I’m not using the obvious one, instead here is The Lady Came From Baltimore. He sounds rather like Tim on this one.

♫ The Lady Came From Baltimore


Bobby Darin

As well as Tim, BOBBY took a song from another singer/songwriter, in this case it was John Sebastian. The song is Darling Be Home Soon, which has been covered extensively over the years. It’s a good song on which to end.

♫ Darling Be Home Soon




INTERESTING STUFF – 30 June 2019

LEAD STORY OF THE WEEK

My friend Jim Stone sent this. The Tweet speaks for itself:

SLO-MO: DOGS SHAKING OFF WATER

It has always amazed me how fast dogs can move their bodies to and fro to shake off water. This video doesn't illuminate that question but it's sure fun to watch.

HOW THEY KEEP BIG BEN ON TIME

This is very cool – the method they use to keep Parliament's Big Ben clock on time. I didn't know this before.

You can find out more about Big Ben at Mental Floss.

BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR PATCH

Earlier this year, one of my doctors asked me to check and record my blood pressure every day for a month. What a pain in the butt. Then I read about this:

”One day soon, perhaps, you will just need a simple stick-on patch on your neck, no bigger than a postage stamp.

“That’s the goal of Sheng Xu and his team at the University of California, San Diego, who are working on a patch that can continuously measure someone’s central blood pressure—the pressure of blood coursing beyond your aorta, the artery in your heart that delivers blood to all the different parts of the body.

“It could make it a lot easier to monitor heart conditions and keep an eye on other vital organs like the liver, lungs, and brain.”

Not to mention making it a lot easier for this old lady. Here is what it looks like:

BloodPressurePatch2

It's a long slog before this patch passes all the necessary tests and is ready for physicians and patients, I hope it succeeds.

”The device can provide a lot more information than you can get with a standard blood pressure cuff. This information, Xu believes, can be useful for keeping an eye on patients with conditions like hypertension or a history of heart attack.”

You can find out more at MIT Technology Review.

WORLD'S UGLIEST DOG WINNER

Who knew the world's ugliest dog contest has been going on for 31 year. This year's winner is Scamp the Tramp:

”Scamp makes volunteer visits to schoolchildren and a local senior citizens centre,” reports The Guardian. The street dog from Compton was rescued by [Yvonne] Morones in 2014 after she spotted him on Pet Finder.

“'It was on the way home that I knew I made the right choice,' she said. 'There we were, two strangers in a car on the way home to a new start. Bob Marley was playing One Love and I looked over and little Scamp was bobbing his head. It was like he knew he had found his forever home.'”

Here is this year's winning moment.

RONNI'S READS

Being part way through three books this past week didn't leave much time for reading around the web. But I did find a piece from humorist Dave Barry about growing old with his dog. Here's a short excerpt:

”My dog, Lucy, turned ten around the same time I turned 70, so if you go by dog years, we're the same age. But I've noticed that Lucy seems a lot happier in her old age than I am.

“Everything makes her happy and excited. Like when it's time for her walk, I'll be like, 'Oh man, I gotta walk the dog.' But Lucy sees the leash, she's like, 'A WALK!! WHAT A GREAT IDEA!! HOW DO YOU THINK THIS STUFF UP??!!'”

You can read the entire column at cbsnews.com

PLAYER TWO – A GHOST STORY

This Saturday list of stuff could use a little culture, I think. Big Geek Daddy tells us:

“Player Two is a short film by John Wikstrom about a boy’s connection with his father through a video game. The short film is based on a comment the boy left on a YouTube video about a racing game called RalliSport Challenge he and his father used to play on their Xbox.

GIANT SOUTH AMERICAN SEA LION FEEDING WITH THE FISHERMEN

Wow – this is the largest sea lion I've ever seen. He's found an easy way to get breakfast with these soft-hearted fishermen. See how happy he looks at the end of the video.

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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.




The Unimaginable Becomes Real at U.S-Mexico Border

For 15 years, Time Goes By has reported on and contemplated aspects of age and ageing, expanding that topic two years ago to include a terminal diagnosis, something that afflicts elders in greater numbers than other age groups.

A month or two ago, I strayed from that topic for one day to give us a chance to talk about the horror that is the executive branch of the U.S. government. I've lost count of how many times I have thought Trump et al could do no worse. I was wrong.

According to a variety of sources, our government is currently keeping hundreds of children – infants, some of them – in cages without adequate food or water and without soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and showers. For days. To sleep, the children lie on concrete floors in their own filth covered only by alumfoil blankets.

This is so far beyond the pale, I think we who are old enough to remember and who know a concentration camp when we see one, need to have a say.

In case you missed it on the news this past week, this is a clip from a hearing in which a Department of Justice lawyer, Sarah Fabian, tries to argue that toothbrushes and soap are not required to be provided to detainees:

(It is worth noting that one of the judges at that hearing, A. Wallace Tashima, an American-born (1934) Japanese, spent World War II with his family in Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona. I suspect he has a reasonably good idea of what a concentration camp is.)

Earlier this week, a father and his two-year-old daughter were drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande River into the U.S. Here is a video with the story of what happened:

Is it possible not to weep watching that video? Every day when Trump unleashes another sadistic horror, is it possible not to weep?

When you're in your comfortable home, small or large, having showered, put on clean clothing and now sit reading news on your tablet, laptop or desktop maybe while drinking coffee or tea, is it possible not to weep?

There is a reason the federal government does not allow cameras, cell phones and, most of the time, reporters themselves inside the buildings and tents that hold these children in unspeakable conditions.

A week ago in The New Yorker magazine, Russian-American journalist, Masha Gessen, made note of Representative Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez's (OAC) tweet reference to the facilities holding these children as “concentration camps.”

Uproar ensued at the expense of OAC but she stood her ground. The next day, according to Gessen's New Yorker story, OAC tweeted that

”Andrea Pitzer, a historian of concentration camps, was quoted making the same assertion: that the United States has created a 'concentration camp system.' Pitzer argued that 'mass detention of civilians without a trial' was what made the camps concentration camps.”

What followed, for days, were editorials and op-eds on the subject of calling these detention centers “concentration camps” followed by more attacks and counter-attacks.

In her New Yorker piece, Masha Gessen has some interesting things to say about this:

”Ocasio-Cortez and her opponents agree that the term 'concentration camp' refers to something so horrible as to be unimaginable. (For this reason, mounting a defense of Ocasio-Cortez’s position by explaining that not all concentration camps were death camps misses the point.)

“It is the choice between thinking that whatever is happening in reality is, by definition, acceptable, and thinking that some actual events in our current reality are fundamentally incompatible with our concept of ourselves — not just as Americans but as human beings — and therefore unimaginable.

"The latter position is immeasurably more difficult to hold — not so much because it is contentious and politically risky, as attacks on Ocasio-Cortez continue to demonstrate, but because it is cognitively strenuous. It makes one’s brain implode. It will always be a minority position.”

“Never again” is now.




Old Age Word Play

It cannot be settled among old people (or anyone else) at what age we become old. Ask 10 people, you'll get 10 answers and the older the person being questioned, the older he or she says old age kicks in.

I find it a joke and pathetic, those who say people aren't old until they are 80 or 85.

Like me, a lot of people who read this blog are word mavens so today, let's play around a bit with some of them that relate to being old.

When I started this blog 15 years ago, I made a conscious choice to use the word “old” which was not done then any more frequently than it is now.

In the beginning, as much as I wanted to change the dialogue about ageing, I was still in thrall to the prevailing culture and it was jarring to write the word “old” when most other people used such words as senior, golden ager, oldster and worse.

But repeated use made it feel normal within a week or two. I never think about it now except to lament that most people shun it. The word and people who are old are hated so much that people will not even say the word.

Here are a few that fall into that “worse” category - general descriptions for old people. These are recommended in an online story the authors of which I won't embarrass by naming.

Older
(For wimps. Just use old.)

Experienced
(Really? At what?)

Wise
(Old does not equal wise. I know a lot of dumb old people.)

Seasoned
(Baked at 350 degrees?)

Sage
(Way too twee, and few achieve it anyway.)

Wizard
(What the hell does that even mean in regard to an old person?)

Mature
(Too obviously working overtime to avoid “old.” Just use old.)

Perennial
(You'll find them among the rows of daffodils.)

In addition to “old” itself, I like “elder” for general use but not “elderly.” A geriatrician once told me that she and others of her cohort reserve elderly for old people who are frail and sickly. I think that's a good choice; it makes an important and useful distinction.

Although it sounds derogatory, I like the British word “wrinklies” - it always makes me smile.

DEATH AND DYING
The most common euphemisms for “death” - that is, passed, passed on, passed away, etc. - annoy me almost as much as those descriptions of old people above. What's wrong with saying, “Aunt Jane died?”

If you'd like a good laugh, here's a long list at Wikipedia of euphemisms for death. You've heard some of them all your life. A few others are quite clever.

Which brings us to “death with dignity”. That's what Oregon and some other states call their assisted death laws. It bothers me every time I hear it not least because it is difficult to use grammatically but further, I haven't been able to work out why taking state-sanctioned drugs to die provides dignity that dying in any other way does not.

Death comes to us all. It is a profound event however it happens and whistling past the graveyard notwithstanding (see link above), it should not be dishonored by misguided political correctness.

Here are some reasonably good alternatives to “death with dignity.”

Physician-assisted suicide
Physician-assisted death
Aid in dying
Assisted death

Now it's your turn.




A Change Of Scene

By Carole Leskin

"What you really need is a change of scene", I said aloud to myself.

There was nothing new in those words. I have said them many times over the years. For the most part, during tough times. Divorce, an unhappy relationship, business difficulties, failures of one type or another. Occasionally, out of boredom - that feeling of being stuck.

And usually, it meant taking a trip. A weekend or sometimes much longer. Always someplace different. A chance to see a new view. Meet new people. Eat new food. Try new activities. There was always a sense of adventure. No real plan. Letting life unfold in whatever way.

For the most part, it worked. It was, after all, my adult version of a child running away from home.

But this time it was different.

This time, wherever I went I took "me" with me. There was no escape.

The reality is I am a 73 year old woman who recently had a stroke. My degenerative disc disease and neurological disorder have progressed and become more serious. My physical being is entirely different. My personal freedom significantly limited.

Adventure? My bucket list - zip lining, more hiking, travel to far away destinations, going cross-country in an RV and more - not going to happen.

How can I change my scene?

I am tired and annoyed, sometimes even angry at people, often well-meaning, who hardly know me and send me inspirational posters and quotes.

They remind me that it is all a question of "attitude". "Never say never! Buck up! Stop wallowing in self-pity. So many people have it much worse."

There is a lot of truth in what they say. I count my blessings every day. I have good medical care, a cozy apartment, access to classes and special events. Friends. I love to write and take photographs.

But here's what they don't understand. Sometimes, actually often, it takes a strong will just to get out of bed. Daily chores, things I used to do in a few minutes, take hours and are exhausting. Pain is a constant companion. Doctor appointments, tests, medications, complications.

And what is worse is FEAR. What if I have another stroke? What will I do when I can no longer walk? How will I manage? I have no family and live alone without a support system.

Suddenly, I realized what will change my scene.

A lot of people won't like it.

I will grant myself time to be dark for a bit. I will not feel as if I always have to smile. I will not feel I have to pretend to be optimistic when I get bad news. If I am grouchy - so be it! If I am sad - I can cry. If I am scared - it's okay. In other words, I will allow myself to be me - in all my dimensions.

Most important, I will reach out for help. Something I never do. My whole life has been one of independence and pride. I have to let that go.

I will continue to love writing and photography, nature, animals, learning new things, and meeting new people. I will love my friends and treasure their support. I will be grateful every day.

I will do all of this and more. But I will do it without pretending my declining health and related issues will all go away. I will look at my life from a different perspective and plan accordingly. I will make necessary changes and adjustments.

I will take all the pleasure I can from my change of scene. I will be me. Good, bad, happy, sad.

It's all part of my new view.

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[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]




Good god, A New Diagnosis

While I was celebrating the second anniversary of my Whipple surgery last week, I was handed an additional diagnosis: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) stage 4, the most severe.

I first noticed a shortness of breath last January and it has worsened since then. I had to wait a long time to see a pulmonologist and got in last week only because the doctor had a cancellation.

Because symptoms sometimes mimic old age, COPD often goes undiagnosed until it has advanced to later stages. With diligent application of certain medications and treatments, quality of life can be maintained and extended but I doubt a marathon – or even a hop, skip and jump - is in my future.

COPD is not curable but medications can stop its progression.

One of my other physicians had prescribed an inhaler that helped ease my breathing – sort of. The pulmonologist gave me a different inhaler and as I write this on Sunday, having used it morning and evening since Thursday, I'm already functioning much better.

I can now change clothes without stopping to catch my breath. Ditto walking to the car and if I take it slowly, I can even do small inclines without losing my breath. Not bad for three days of a medication, and I'm told the effect is cumulative. Hurray.

There will be some more tests and if indicated, there may be additional or different medications. My mind seems to have cleared of some fuzziness I'd had so I'm thinking better. Well, I think so, anyway.

As part of a longer message on Friday's post, Melinda left this:

”Ronni celebrate!! You are still here when some of the experts gave you a time frame. Life is random and the universe does with us as it pleases...I say it again: it is all random and when they turn the page on The Big Book and your name is on it, that will be goodbye.”

Although I tend to say it less elegantly (“shit happens”), Melinda and I are singing the same song in this regard. If there is a mind behind the universe, he or she is keeping reasons from the rest of us. We can have no effect on when our page is turned.

At least I will have some notice – when doctors determine I have fewer than six months to live, I can begin the procedure for physician-assisted death.

So, as Melinda advises, in my quiet way I am celebrating. Having two major diseases is hardly ideal but I'm upright when I want to be and if it doesn't involve speed, I can do most of what I need to do.

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not ask the name of the inhaler I am using. I never reveal prescription drug information. Also, do not recommend or name any treatment for COPD including stories of people who cured it by eating three raw onions (or something else weird) a day. Treatment is properly left in the realm of trained physicians and not a general-interest blog.]




ELDER MUSIC: Classical - The Usual Suspects

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.

* * *

In my general classical columns, I tend to feature lesser known composers who really need to be better known rather than those whose music fills the concert halls all over the world. Today it’s the turn of the big names.

I imagine you know all of these composers, they’re well known because their music is wonderful. Choosing something to include for each will be a tough, but fun, exercise. I’m particularly fond of quartets of various kinds, and several will be featured today.

I’ll start with the most famous composer in history, LUDWIG BEETHOVEN.

Beethoven

There are a lot of his works I could have included, but the one I settled for is the Rondo for Piano and Orchestra. I really like this one.

Ludwig had intended it as the final movement for his Piano Concerto No. 2 but he decided it didn’t fit so he removed it from that composition. It eventually surfaced as a stand-alone piece, the Rondo for piano and orchestra in B flat major.

♫ Beethoven - Rondo for piano and orchestra


Had I been doing this column 50 years ago, certainly one hundred, you’d have all gone “Who?” when I mention ANTONIO VIVALDI.

Vivaldi

That’s because most of his works were thought lost but vast amounts of it were rediscovered in the 20th century, and mostly the second half of that.

New (to us) compositions are still being found. If you live in Venice, check your attics, cupboards, trunks and whatnot; elsewhere as well – he moved around a bit. You never know.

Anyway, rather than use one of his instrumental works, I’ll go with some singing. The singer is the terrific CECILIA BARTOLI.

Cecilia

She performs Anch'il mar par che sommerga.

♫ Vivaldi - Anch'il mar par che sommerga


I really like the music of JOSEPH HAYDN.

Haydn

To my mind he’s up there with the more famous Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. Like them, he was an innovator, inventing the string quartet and (sort of) the symphony. Okay, that had been around before but he expanded it into the major form that we have today.

I’m not going with either of those, though. Today it’s his Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Oboe, Cello and Bassoon Hob I-105, the first movement.

♫ Haydn - Sinfonia Concertante In B-Flat Hob I-105 (1)


The concertos of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH have been tinkered with over the years; different instruments have been substituted for the original ones. Even Jo himself did that.

Bach-JS

I’m going to do the same. Okay, I’m not that clever, I’m going to include a version that has had that treatment. In this case it’s his Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, BWV1060R.

The violin and oboe got the flick and two guitars have taken their place. The guitarists are probably the best around at the moment, SLAVA AND LEONARD GRIGORYAN.

Slava & ;Leonard Grigoryan

The tinkerer is their father, who also knows a bit about this sort of music. This is the third movement.

♫ Bach - Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor BWV1060R (3)


FELIX MENDELSSOHN always contended that his sister Fanny was a better composer than he was.

Mendelssohn

That’s a big call, as he was one of the best. The more we hear of Fanny’s work, the more credence can be given to his opinion; however, so far, it’s her brother whose works are performed regularly.

I don’t know if this is one of those regular ones, but I like it. It’s the Piano Quartet No. 1, the fourth movement.

♫ Mendelssohn - Piano Quartet No. 1 C Minor (4)


My first opera composer is GIACOMO PUCCINI, my favorite (along with Mozart) opera composer.

Puccini

I have changed my mind about what to include half a dozen times. Finally, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, insisted on the piece of music that I (sorry, we) finally settled on.

It’s not from one of Gia’s best known operas; they were the ones I had originally considered before I was overruled. The opera is “Il Tabarro”, and it’s quite a short opera – it doesn’t even top an hour. Wagner should take note and learn a thing or two.

The singers are Renata Tebaldi and Mario Del Monaco. The duet is È Ben Altro Il Mio Sogno.

♫ Puccini - Il tabarro ~ È Ben Altro Il Mio Sogno


WOLFGANG MOZART was a fine writer of music for the clarinet; probably the best ever.

Mozart

His clarinet concerto is, in my opinion, the finest piece of music anyone has composed. I’ve used that several times over the years, so I’ll go with something else. The first movement of his Clarinet Quartet, K. 317d in B Flat Major.

♫ Mozart - Clarinet Quartet K. 317d in B Flat Major (1)


Franz Liszt and FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN were the big names in piano music in the 19th century.

Chopin

I much prefer Fred to Franz as the latter was too bombastic and over the top for my taste. Fred was born in Poland but spent the second half of his life in France. It’s surprising to me that for all that time in France he only gave 30 public performances (unlike Franz who would tinkle the ivories at the drop of a hat).

So, people at the time had to learn about Fred’s music via sheet music. Luckily for us there are lots of pianists who like to play his music. Here is a little bit of it, his Nocturne, Op. 9 No. 1 in B flat minor, a lovely gentle piece.

♫ Chopin - Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1 in B flat minor


MR HANDEL was better known to his friends as Georg.

Handel

His countryman George of Hanover, who had hightailed to Britain to become George One of that country, invited him over. George made Georg a citizen and then promptly died. His son, George Two, was also a friend and Georg wrote lots of music for him, for which he was paid royally (so to speak).

A lot of that was vocal music, but Georg wrote lots of instrumental stuff as well, including the Trio Sonata No 1 in B Flat Major for two oboes and continuo. This is the third movement.

♫ Handel - Trio Sonata No 1 B flat Major (3)


GIUSEPPE VERDI was a terrific writer of music for choruses and several voices.

Verdi

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist is particularly fond of these, so I played the contenders for the column and let her pick the one to include. After a bit of to’ing and fro’ing she settled on a piece from Nabucco: Io t´amava! Una furia è quest´ amore.

This is sung by Renata Scotto, Elena Obraztsova and Veriano Luchetti.

♫ Verdi - Nabucco ~ Io t´amava! Una furia è quest´ amore...


I don’t know if FRANZ SCHUBERT lived fast, but he certainly died young – just 31.

Schubert

There is a lot of music I could have included – symphonies (finished and unfinished), quintets (and other chamber music), songs (or lieder as they are pretentiously called), lots of operas that don’t get performed any more. A lot more I could have added to the list.

In the end I’ve chosen an interesting combination of instruments, his Quartet for Flute, Guitar, Viola and Cello in G Major, D96. The first movement.

♫ Schubert - Quartet for Flute Guitar Viola and Cello in G Major D96 (1)


GUSTAV MAHLER has only been in the repertoire of most orchestras for the last few decades, but what an impact he’s made. Gus is probably the most performed composer at the moment.

Mahler

His symphonies are long, really long; they make Beethoven’s seem like miniatures. That is, except for number 4, which, maybe coincidentally, is my favorite of his.

Like Beethoven’s ninth, this one has a vocal final movement but unlike Ludwig’s, it’s by a single soprano, not a choir. In the version I have today RENÉE FLEMING is that soprano.

Renee Fleming

So, here’s that movement of Gus’s Symphony No.4 in G.

♫ Mahler - Symphony No.4 In G (4)




INTERESTING STUFF – 22 June 3019

WORLD'S WORST SHEEP DOG

From Big Geek Daddy page:

”In his defense, he doesn’t exactly look like a sheepdog and probably hasn’t been trained to be a sheepdog. Nelson is 'part' Norfolk terrier and I would guess it’s a small part.

“I think the sheep are trying to help him out at first but then realize Nelson isn’t cut out for this line of work so they chase him off the job site.”

It's good for a nice morning chuckle.

PHOTOSHOP WARS

From the Bored Panda website:

”Every now and then, a photo so ambiguous emerges, it's just begging to be featured on the subreddit r/photoshopbattles. From the President of France celebrating a football match to a sleepy 2-year-old, Bored Panda has compiled a list of before-and-after pictures from the wackiest PS battles on Reddit...”A couple of examples:

PhotoshopWarsDuckling

DadandSonCat

Many more at Bored Panda.

AN INTER-ABLED COUPLE

Great Big Story explains:

”Charisma is able-bodied. Cole is quadriplegic. They’re an interabled couple. They live, love and laugh like the rest of us. But when people see them together, many assume Charisma is Cole’s nurse or caregiver. Some stare and whisper.

“Rather than retreat from public view, this Virginia pair began vlogging about their relationship, getting real about everything from intimacy to house hunting. They hope to educate people, and if they inspire other love matches, well, that’s a happy bonus.”

Take a look at this remarkable couple.

You can follow Cole and Charisma's vlog here.

JOHN OLIVER ON TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

On his HBO show, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver took on the impeachment issue. Take a look; you'll learn a lot. I did.

In addition, at The New York Review of Books Linda Greenhouse reviews five recent books about impeachment. It's worth a read.

ROSCOE THE RACCOON'S PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS

You don't need to know any more than that headline. I have no idea if Roscoe is a extra-talented raccoon but he appears to be. See what you think.

OPTICAL ILLUSIONS

Our Sunday music columnist, Peter Tibbles, sent me a couple of optical illusions which reminded me that I've been holding on to page of them.

First, here the two from Peter. How many black dots can you see?

Find out more about this here.

Here is another from Peter:

Zigzag_curve_illusion

As syfy.com explains:

”OK, no biggie, right? It’s just a bunch of alternating pairs of lines, where one pair is curved and the other zigzagged, right?

“Yeah, no. Here’s the fun bit: All those lines are smooth sine waves. In fact they’re all the same curve! There are two key differences between the lines. Look carefully at the smooth waves: The curves change shades from white to black, and the change occurs at the inflection point between them (halfway down the sloping curve). Now look at the zigzags: The shading change happens at the peaks and troughs.

Read more at syfy.com about both those optical illusions.

And here is one of my favorites. It's famous, you've probably seen it before – I've known it since I was kid. It is from Puck magazine in 1915, titled “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law”.

PuckMagazine

CAMP AMERICA RAP

I don't know anything worth knowing about rap music. I'm totally ignorant so don't trust a word I say. On the other hand, a week ago, a new group named 93PUNX, an alternative rock/rap group fronted by Chicago artist Vic Mensa released a provocative music video, Camp America.

It sure got my attention. Daily Beast reported:

”The video depicts white children in orange jumpsuits gleefully rejoicing as they’re being tortured and held in cages, with Mensa rapping, 'We’ll be living it up, not giving a fuck / Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs / Then we shipping you off / Yeah, you could get lost at Camp America.'

“It ends with a message in white type against a black background: 'There are over 13,000 immigrant children in U.S. custody today. What if it was your kid?'”

Take a look at the video. Lyrics are posted beneath it.

Camp America" Lyrics:

There’s a place
It’s the time of your life
No parents allowed and no playing in sight
You can laugh, until you cry, at Camp America

So much fine, you lose count of the days,
Playing hide and go seek inside of your cage
Daddy love you, so he sent you away, to Camp America

Chorus: I wanna have the best summer ever
I wanna have the best summer ever
I wanna have the best summer ever
At Camp America

It feels good, it feels great
Hey where you going, you gotta say
cant leave cant wait
to go to Camp America

Get on the floor, get on your bag,
lets have a drank on me, we’ll catch a wave,
pop a pill, don’t be sad,
you’re at camp America.

Chorus We’ll be living it up, not giving a fuck
Splitting you up, then we put you in cuffs
Then we shipping you off, yeah, you could get lost at Camp America
Take your clothes off baby, let me see what you got
We can have a good time if you’re legal or not
Its an ignorant, arrogant, terrorist, heritage
You can finally be an American

Chorus

BBC News has a detailed story about the American government trying to insist that detained children, separated from their parents do not need soap, a toothbrush or a bed, as does Daily Kos.

SAND CATS – PERMANENT KITTENS

Full-grown, they are as tiny as domestic kittens. They are the only cat to live in deserts and are native to north Africa and Middle East. Plus, they are the cutest thing.

* * *

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.




A Second Second Anniversary

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had reached the two-year anniversary of the day my physician diagnosed pancreatic cancer. Now, yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the surgery for it, the Whipple procedure.

Only about 10 percent of people with this diagnosis are eligible for the surgery. It took 12 hours. The Mayo Clinic explains in brief what it is:

”A Whipple procedure — also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy — is a complex operation to remove the head of the pancreas, the first part of the small intestine (duodenum), the gallbladder and the bile duct.”

There is more to it, but I've left out some of the information and I am asking you, if you know more, not fill in what's missing in that definition.

Almost always, I am a realist. In pretty much every case in my life, I have wanted to know what is real and true. But there are details I don't need until I need them. So keep any additional information you have to yourselves please.

I've published this photo before but for those of you who missed it, here is what I looked like the morning after the surgery, in intensive care.

WhippleDayAfter680

It is one of the great good things in life that, mostly, we are out cold during surgery and have no memory of what happened. Those shots in medical TV dramas of doctors and nurses mucking about inside patients' bleeding torsos are scary enough. I cover my eyes when they turn up.

[Related side-issue: I am impressed, however, with the props used in those surgery dramas. They're good enough to put me off from watching more.]

Following the surgery, I spent at least four months, give or take, recovering from it. It took a long, long time and I have realized that I'd not paid close enough attention when the surgeon explained what he would do and what the consequences would be for me.

I had no idea it would be as difficult as it was – it is the hardest thing I've ever done and not something you soon forget.

But. Undoubtedly, a big reason I am still here is due to that surgery along with the excellent care I have received since then.

We bake cakes for birthday celebrations, set off fireworks on the Fourth of July and New Years, give gifts to our spouses on wedding anniversaries and cook a big meal on Thanksgiving. But what about surgery anniversaries?

It's probable that most people want to forget them but I think I'll go buy myself some flowers today. The girl in that photo above could sure use some.




Old-Timers' Time. Plus, The Alex and Ronni Show

Pretty much all old people complain about how time moves faster now than it did when we were younger. An hour can, and frequently does, feel like 10 minutes to me. But if you compare your clock to a young person's, they match no matter what your subjective estimate of time's passage is.

Children are well known to have an opposite “wait” problem with time. Even when their birthday is due in a week, it feels to them like the day will never arrive.

I have my own theory about what makes time perception so different between children and old people. I doubt it's unique – I probably read it somewhere but here it is:

Children have short attention spans. They switch what they are doing more frequently than grownups. Coloring is fine until the dog wanders by and the kid wants a snuggle. Then she settles down with a new favorite book until that pales and she tracks down the movie, Frozen. And so on.

In that same period of time, her grandmother has probably read a few news stories – one activity compared to several of the child's. The child, obviously has many different and more importantly, often new experiences in that period which tends to stretch out their time perception, making the activity more memorable than an adult's with fewer new activities.

I've spent a lot of time in my life trying to figure out the slipperiness of time and I've accumulated a small but impressive library of books on the subject.

The website, Exactly what is...TIME?, has collected a lot of information about time too and made it easy for non-philosophers and non-physicists to understand.

People have been trying to figure out time since – well, time immemorial. According to that website:

”Nearly two and a half thousand years ago, Aristotle contended that, 'time is the most unknown of all unknown things', and arguably not much has changed since then.”

No kidding.

In general, time cannot even be adequately defined. Many years ago, I kept a fortune cookie fortune taped to my desk because its definition of time seemed to me to be as good as anyone else's and practical too:

”Time is nature's way of making sure everything doesn't happen at once.”

Works for me. And now I find out that definition is prominently listed on the Time website, where you can also read about black holes (where time began?), the big bang, deep time, space-time and many other theories of time.

Not to mention an excellent sources and references section if you want to dig further and deeper.

Since the mysteries of time are unlikely to be solved any time soon, I'll see if there is anything I can do about my personal difficulty on the subject:

My lament nowadays is how long it takes to do almost anything compared to the past. Apparently I move at about half the speed I once did and time itself seems to be moving at least twice as fast as it did back then. You do the math – no wonder I'm always behind.

What about you?

* * *

My former husband and I held our biweekly chitchat yesterday - The Alex and Ronni Show. We discussed my “new look”, parents, old age and related topics.




A TGB READER STORY: Hot in Houston

By Fritzy Dean

Frank Billingsley, Channel 2’s weather man, is worried about me. Every afternoon he looks earnestly into the camera and tells me it’s hot. He adds that the elderly are especially vulnerable to the heat.

If I happen to check in with Channel 13 or Channel 11, they say the same thing. All of them think the hot weather is bad for me because I am old. They warn me to stay indoors where it is cooler.

The Mayor is also worried about me. He had a press conference to let me know it’s hot. He is so worried he has opened up “cooling centers” for me, in case my house is hot, too.

In addition, the Mayor hired a “Robo Telephone Guy” who calls me twice a day to tell me its hot and I am old and I need to stay inside. The Robo Call Guy even insists that I press ONE on my telephone to let The City of Houston know I got the message…..just in case I hadn’t realized its really hot.

He sounds like the male cousin of Siri:

“This is The City of Houston with a heat advisory. Houston is experiencing triple digit heat and you elderly should take precautions.”

Then today, just an hour ago, I got an email from TXU, my energy company, and they are saying how happy they are that I dialed it up a notch. They complimented me on the fact that I keep my house a little warmer than Siberia and, thus, I have helped control energy usage.

I am trying my elderly best to comply with the instructions from Frank and Tim and David and Mayor Turner and TXU. It’s really lovely of them, all of them, to be so concerned. I am grateful they want me to know it is hot in Houston.

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[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]




Accepting the Fact of Growing Old

While I was actually cooking instead of just microwaving a couple of weeks ago, two of the three sets of fluorescent tube lights that nestle on top of the kitchen cupboards flickered and died at the same moment.

Later that day, having bought two new sets, I looked at my big ladder – the tall one I use for jobs near the ceiling - and had a second thought: Sometimes, these days, with chemotherapy and other treatments for cancer, I am a little wobbly in the knees.

“Perhaps,” I said to myself, “the last time I changed these lights should be the last time I used this ladder.”

Having taken my own advice, I'm waiting now for someone younger and more sure-footed to change them for me.

Sooner or later, if we live long enough, it comes to almost all of us: the day we must give up something we have easily done all our lives. Maybe the first time it happens, we dismiss it as we have have ignored most other signs of ageing through our mid-years. But that's not so easy the next time.

In an excerpt fromDisrupting the Status Quo of Senior Living: A Mindshift, a new book to be published in August, president and CEO of The Eden Alternative, Jill Vitale-Aussem, writes,

”It makes sense that we would avoid thinking about old age. We know that, unless things shift drastically in our society, getting old means we’ll likely be looked down upon, pushed aside, pitied, and perhaps even laughed at. That’s certainly not something to look forward to.

“So instead of facing reality, we spend exorbitant amounts of money, time, and energy in a desperate, and always unsuccessful, attempt to hold onto youth.”

It is, of course, called ageism and if you've been at this blog for awhile, you heard from me on this topic many times. Ms. Vitale-Aussem and I aren't far apart in our beliefs about and we've clearly studied the same research.

She continues on a related topic that drives me crazy – the media's total attention only to outlier elders:

”When we do honor aging, it’s generally in the form of celebration of older folks who don’t act their age and are able to keep up with the youngsters. We call them ‘rock stars’ and ‘successful agers,’ implying that the majority of older people, who aren’t running marathons or climbing mountains, are somehow deficient.”

Here is a recent example of how the media exhalts those elders:

Good for Gloria Struck that she is still riding. But stop holding up elders who are lucky enough to be free of debility as the gold standard of old people that proves, supposedly, the rest of us are doing it wrong - that it is, somehow, our own faults that we're not skydiving.

Vitale-Aussem continues:

”Beneath these pseudo-celebrations of age, at the core, is the message that value lies only in youthfulness. As my twenty-something trainer at the gym once said to me, 'It’s not bad to be old as long as you seem like you’re young.'”

What a shameful thing to say. I hope she fired that trainer.

It's not just young people who hold ageist views of elders. Old people themselves are, not infrequently, their own worst enemies. As Vitale-Aussem notes,

”As a nation, we spend billions of dollars on anti-aging treatments. In 2012, pharmacy benefit management service Express Scripts reported that Americans with private insurance spent more on prescriptions to fight aging than they did on medication to treat diseases.”

It pleased me to see that Ms. Vitale-Aussem highlights one of the most important research findings about the effects of ageism on old people that does not get mentioned enough.

Back in 2002, leading researcher in the fields of social gerontology and psychology of aging, Becca R. Levy, also Professor of Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and Professor of Psychology at Yale University issued the results of her findings about how what we believe about ageing affects how long we live:

”Those who hold negative self-perceptions of aging are likely to die a whopping 7.5 years earlier than those who have positive views.”

It's worth the effort to check yourself for ageist beliefs. Ageism is so deeply ingrained in American culture that it's hard to see sometimes – even our own prejudices. There are some tips for doing it in Ms. Vitale-Aussem's book excerpt.




ELDER MUSIC: 1923

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.

* * *

We’re now getting back before any of us can remember, and I imagine before any readers were born – if I’m wrong on that, please leave a message in the comments. So, I can waffle on and nobody can contradict me. Well, they can, but not from personal experience. So, on with the motley.

JELLY-ROLL MORTON (or Ferdinand LaMothe to his mum and dad) was really up himself (as we say here in Oz).

Jelly Roll Morton

He claimed to have invented jazz much to the derision of others at the time (and since). He was jazz pianist, band-leader and composer and was the first to publish a jazz composition.

He showed that the essentially improvised music could be notated without losing its verve and spirit. We’ll just glide over that “invented jazz” business and hear what he does with Kansas City Stomps.

♫ Jelly Roll Morton - Kansas City Stomps


CLARA BUTT was an English contralto who specialised in (then) contemporary composers like Elgar and Saint-Saëns.

Clara Butt

She also made records of popular music as well as her classical repertoire. One of those is the song Love's Old Sweet Song, these days better known as Just a Song at Twilight.

♫ Clara Butt - Love's Old Sweet Song (1923)


JOHN STEEL was an American tenor who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies several times.

John Steel

He was a regular performer on Broadway and on the vaudeville circuit. In spite of earning vast amounts of money (for the time), he went broke and finished his life as a singing instructor. He performs one of his hits, Lady of the Evening.

♫ John Steel - Lady of the Evening


Over the years, many people have had a go at the song That Old Gang of Mine. It was written in this year, 1923, by Ray Henderson, Billy Rose and Mort Dixon. Quite a few performers recorded it at the time, but the one I have is by BENNY KRUEGER AND HIS ORCHESTRA.

Bennie Krueger

There is a “vocal refrain” on the record, as was the thing back then. As far as I can tell it’s by Billy Jones and Ernest Hare, but I could be wrong.

♫ Bennie Krueger's Orch. - That Old Gang Of Mine


Any year that has a BESSIE SMITH hit is worth a listen, and so it is for this year.

Bessie Smith

Bessie was the most popular blues performer of her time, and she’s been a major influence on blues, jazz and rock singers ever since. Her music is still being recorded today. So, back to 1923 and Gulf Coast Blues, her very first record.

♫ Bessie Smith - Gulf Coast Blues


Unlike Jelly-Roll up at the top, KID ORY, or Edward to his mum and dad, may have been the most important person in the early development of jazz.

Kid Ory

That’s because he hired King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds amongst others for his band. Unlike many musicians from that era, he lived a long time, retiring to Hawaii in 1966 and dying in 1973 (he was born in 1886).

This is Ory's Creole Trombone with those musicians mentioned playing along with him.

♫ Kid Ory Louis Armstrong - Ory's Creole Trombone


ETHEL WATERS had a dreadful childhood and early life. I won’t go into it but it’s worth finding out about it, just to see what she had to overcome.

Ethel Waters

Quite early on she was performing in the same club as Bessie Smith who was the headliner. Bessie refused to allow Ethel to sing blues or jazz, so she (Bessie) wouldn’t be upstaged. So Ethel performed pop songs from the day.

Maybe that set her up to be the versatile performer she became. Here, and ignoring Bessie, Ethel performs Georgia Blues. This has Fletcher Henderson and cornet player Joe Smith accompanying her.

♫ Ethel Waters and Her Jazz Masters - Georgia Blues


BEN BERNIE AND HIS ORCHESTRA were the first to record the song Swinging Down the Lane.

Ben Bernie

Isham Jones wrote the song and he recorded it as well, but not until a few months later. Ben had quite a good singing voice but this track is an instrumental.

♫ Ben Bernie - Swinging Down The Lane (1923)


I remember Connie Francis singing Who's Sorry Now? That wasn’t in 1923, of course. The song was written in that year and several people recorded it at the time, including MARION HARRIS.

Marion Harris

She was one of the first white performers to sing jazz and blues. I have to admit that I can’t hear it in this song. There is a talkie bit in the song which Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, always contends that means it’s a country song. I bow to her insight, but I notice that later recordings eschew this bit.

♫ Marion Harris - Who's Sorry Now


BLOSSOM SEELEY was a vaudeville performer who helped to bring blues and jazz to a wider audience.

Blossom Seeley

For a white performer of the time she’s not bad. She’s no Bessie Smith, but nor is anyone else. She was one of the first to sing many of the songs we think of as classics today, including Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.

♫ Blossom Seeley - Way Down Yonder In New Orleans




INTERESTING STUFF – 15 June 2019

REST IN PEACE, DR. JOHN

It's been so long that I can hardly remember a time without Dr. John, the Night Tripper in my musical life. His death last week from a heart attack at age 76 (or so) was a shocker to me. Here is a short video obituary from CBS Sunday Morning program:

Rolling Stone magazine (among many others) posted a more comprehensive obit here.

Watch this space for TGB musicologist, Peter Tibbles', column on Dr. John coming soon.

BARBARA JORDAN'S STIRRING CONSTITUTION SPEECH

It's been a bad week for our poor old U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. The president has made it abundantly clear that he not only doesn't understand the Constitution, he also couldn't care less about what it says.

Some Congressional leaders have made the right noises about the president's conviction that only he knows what's right or wrong in regard to foreign intervention in our elections. But not loud enough and not with any meaningful follow-up.

My friend Jim Stone sent this speech from another era in our history when the rule of law was under attack by a president. Texas Representative Barbara Jordan, during impeachment hearings in regard to President Richard Nixon, specified in detail the articles of impeachment and the glory that is our Constitution.

This is audio only of Jordan's full speech and it is worth every one of its 13 minutes. President Nixon resigned his office on August 9, 1974. It is widely believed that if he had not resigned, he would certainly have been impeached.

The “1971” citation at top of video is an error – Representative Jordan's speech took place in July 1974 regarding a vote on articles of impeachment.

TODAY'S CAT COLLECTION

A toddler walks off with a mother cat's kitten and she doesn't waste much time snatching back her child.

WHY DO CATS LIKE CATNIP?

Here's an explanation from one veterinarian about why so many cats love catnip.

A BUNCH OF BADASS CATS

I may have mentioned that I'm not much fond of compilation videos but cats can be fearless (jerks, sometimes too) and it's really fun to watch them being so.

MAINE BECOMES EIGHTH U.S. STATE TO LEGALIZE PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED DEATH

Last Wednesday, Maine's Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill that allows physicians to prescribe medication for people with terminal diseases to end their lives. As AP reports:

”Maine’s measure will allow doctors to prescribe a fatal dose of medication to terminally ill people. It declares that obtaining or administering life-ending medication is not suicide under state law, thereby legalizing the practice often called medically assisted suicide.”

Read more here.

CHINESE WERE SMOKING POT 2500 YEARS AGO

High (pun intended) in the mountains of western China, archaeologists Yimin Yang and Meng Ren of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences examined 10 wooden braziers pulled from eight burial tombs.

ChineseCannabisbrazier

The Los Angeles Times reports that when the braziers were tested,

”...they found high levels of cannabinol, a metabolite of THC. Though the predicted THC levels would have been much lower than those in strains of cannabis cultivated today, they were still significantly higher than the levels found in typical wild cannabis plants.

“Beyond the THC levels, the braziers themselves supplied the smoking gun, Frachetti said.

“'It’s the difference between finding the residue of burnt cannabis versus finding an actual bong,' Frachetti said. 'That’s going to be the indication that these things are being deployed as smoke, and that’s what these braziers really are. They’re showing a whole technology of releasing cannabis smoke.'”

Read more at the L.A. Times.

WHY ARE THERE 96 MILLION BLACK BALLS IN AN L.A. RESERVOIR?

The reporter on this video tells us:

”I took a boat through 96 million black plastic balls on the Los Angeles reservoir to find out why they're there. The first time I heard about shade balls the claim was they reduce evaporation. But it turns out this isn't the reason they were introduced.”

The video is 12 minutes long and I didn't expect I would stick around to the end. But I did and enjoyed the whole thing.

WRESTLING GRIZZLY BEARS GET PUNKED

By their sister, according to the video. Thank TGB reader Simone for this surprise ending.

* * *

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.




Elders and Cannabis Use

A growing number of elders in the United States, including me, are using cannabis to treat their old age ailments.

For more than a decade, I couldn't sleep longer than three or four hours a night. After I woke, I'd lie in bed for a few hours, but I never fell into a real sleep again that night.

Once a week or so, survival (I'm guessing) kicked in and I'd manage a marathon sleep of six or seven hours before reverting to three or four hours.

When, two years ago, I had recovered enough from the pancreatic cancer surgery that my “normal” sleep pattern returned, I was concerned that without more sleep, my health would suffer while I try to live with this cancer predicament.

Over-the-counter potions have never worked for me and I didn't want prescription opioids. In the hospital, I had been given fentanyl for three days following my 12-hour cancer surgery and I learned then how insidiously wonderful it is. I understand completely how people get hooked.

Fortunately, I live in a state, Oregon, where both medical and recreational cannabis is legal. Dispensaries are scattered around the Portland area at about the same ratio as pharmacies and are easy to find. They are run by friendly, knowledgeable people.

While I was shopping for cannabis recently, a “budmaster” told me that most of the dispensary's customers are old people and the available research seems to bear that out.

Here is a statista.com chart showing registered users of cannabis in Oregon by age as of April of 2019. Of course, “registered” is moot now that recreational use is also legal so this is not an entirely accurate picture of elder cannabis use:

CannabisUseByAgeOregon2019B

If you add up all the users age 60 and older, just over 35 percent of are using cannabis.

Last fall, NPR reported on a free, regularly scheduled bus that takes elders to a local dispensary. Ninety-year-old Shirley Avedon uses cannabis to treat her carpal tunnel syndrome:

"'It's very painful; sometimes I can't even open my hand,' Avedon says.

“So for the second time in two months, she has climbed aboard a bus that provides seniors at the Laguna Woods Village retirement community in Orange County, Calif., with a free shuttle to a nearby marijuana dispensary.

“The retired manager of an oncology office says she's seeking the same relief she saw cancer patients get from smoking marijuana 25 years ago.

"'At that time (marijuana) wasn't legal, so they used to get it off their children,' she says with a laugh. 'It was fantastic what it did for them.'”

Some physicians are supportive of elders' cannabis use, others not so much mostly, it seems, because there is so little research due to the federal government's designation of it as a Schedule 1 drug. NPR again:

”The limited research that exists suggests that marijuana may be helpful in treating pain and nausea, according to a research overview published last year by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Less conclusive research points to it helping with sleep problems and anxiety.

“Dr. David Reuben, Archstone professor of medicine and geriatrics at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, says he sees a growing number of patients interested in using it for things like anxiety, chronic pain and depression.

"'I am, in general, fairly supportive of this because these are conditions (for which) there aren't good alternatives,' he says.”

A lot of elders report that their doctors are uninformed about the medical uses of marijuana and they, the patients, feel uncomfortable asking for a card in the states where only medical marijuana is legal.

Earlier this month, MSN.com reported:

”More and more older people are turning to cannabis for their ailments, because it can soothe the symptoms of problems like arthritis, Parkinson's, and chronic pain...

“A new study suggests that the number of people using marijuana is increasing faster for those aged over 65 than for any other age group, but they come up against many barriers when trying to access it.”

I'm fortunate that my doctors are knowledgeable and informative about patients' use of cannabis and we can discuss it openly. We also keep it on my list of medications so that when they are changed, we remember to check how the cannabis might interact with my other drugs.

It amuses me that something my friends and I saw as “cool” and rebellious when we started smoking pot in our teen years is now cool in a whole new way for us oldest folks.

One difference is that the largest number of elders to whom I've chatted with about cannabis tell me, “Oh, but I wouldn't want to get high.”

Really? I think it's fun to get high and listen to music now and then. But if that's not your thing, there are plenty of CBD products that treat a variety of ailments without the psychedelic effect.

I bring all this up because there are now 30 U.S. states that allow medical and/or recreational use of cannabis, and I wonder what your experience with and thoughts are about it – particularly since many of us elders seem to be taking to it with eagerness.

And god knows, it's cheaper than a lot of prescription drugs.

(Feel free to use an alias in the comments if you don't want others to know your name.)




Elders and Extreme Heat

I know, I know, this is one of those nuts-and-bolts blog posts that sounds like a snore. You think you know all you need to know and maybe it's just me but each year at about this time when I check what I wrote in the past, there are a bunch of things I've forgotten.

We are still a week away from the first day of summer and already there is a mini-heat wave going on here in the northwest corner of Oregon. Temperatures were in the 90s F yesterday and are threatening to reach that level today.

Then, according to the weather websites, we will have two weeks or so of mid-80s F degrees. This certainly is not as high as it can and does get here and especially in the southern tier of the United States, but it can still be a danger to old people.

So at about this time each year, I post a reminder about how to keep ourselves cool throughout summer and how to know when overheating is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Although everyone suffers, extreme heat is more often deadly for elders than younger people.

For example, in France in August of 2003, during an extreme heat wave, 14,802 heat-related deaths occurred, most of them elders. In the U.S., it is estimated that about 370 deaths a year are attributable to heat, half of them elders. Do not take extreme heat lightly.

HOW TO STAY COOL AND SAFE IN HOT WEATHER
Here are the best suggestions for staying cool and safe during extreme hot weather. Yes, I've published these before – pretty much every year - but it's good to review them again.

Even if, like me, you dislike air conditioning, when temperatures hit 80F, it's time to pump up the volume of that appliance. Fans, say experts, don't protect against heat-related illness when temperatures are above 90 degrees; they just push hot air around.

If you don't have an air conditioner, plan for the hottest part of the day by going to a mall or a movie or the library or visit a friend who has air conditioning.

If you have air conditioning and have elder friends or neighbors who don't, invite them for a visit in the afternoon. Some other important hot weather tips:

Wear light-colored, loose clothing.

Drink plenty of liquids and make reminders to yourself to do so. Elders sometimes don't feel thirst (another thing that stops working well with age). One way to know if you are drinking enough water is to check the color of your urine. Light-colored is good; dark indicates dehydration.

Do not drink caffeinated and alcoholic beverages – or at least keep them to a minimum; they are dehydrating. (Some people dispute this; experts do not.)

Plan trips out of the house and exercise for the early morning hours.

Eat light meals that don't need to be cooked. High-water-content foods are good: cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, for example.

Keep a spray bottle of cold water to help you cool down. Or use a damp, cool towel around your neck.

Close doors to rooms you are not using to keep cool air from dissipating.

Some medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and other conditions can inhibit the body's ability to cool itself, so it might be a good idea to ask your physician if you can cut back during hot weather.

Pull down the shades or close curtains during the hottest times of day.

In that regard, I have been quite successful in keeping my home cool during hot weather without the air conditioner. In the morning, when the temperature here in Portland, Oregon is typically in the mid- or high 50s, I open all the windows.

I keep my eye on the thermometer and when the outside temperature reaches 65F or 70F – usually by late morning - I close the windows and the shades. After several years of practice with this method, I only rarely need the air conditioner even on 90-plus degree days. It saves a lot of money, too, not using the air conditioner. But never, ever hesitate to turn it on when you need it.

SERIOUS HEAT-RELATED CONDITIONS
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body gets too hot. Symptoms are thirst, weakness, dizziness, profuse sweating, cold and clammy skin, normal or slightly elevated body temperature.

Move yourself or someone experiencing this to a cool place, drink cool liquids, take a cool bath or shower and rest.

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It can cause brain damage so get thee or the affected person to a hospital. It occurs when body temperature reaches 104 or 105 in a matter of minutes. Other symptoms include confusion; faintness; strong, rapid pulse; lack of sweating and bizarre behavior.

Don't fool around with heat stroke.

There now. That's pretty much the best of health experts' recommendations about protecting ourselves and others during extreme hot weather. If you have additional suggestions, please add them in the comments.




A TGB READER STORY: Singin’ All the Way

By Lyn Burnstine

We - my accompanist friend, her partner, and I - had been to a spectacular birthday party of a dear young friend whose request of the guests was to sing a song for her—preferably their own.

Almost every folk musician in the Hudson Valley who didn’t have a gig that afternoon was there. The music flowed for hours, with time out only for a fabulous meal, thoughtfully considerate of the needs of gluten free and vegetarian guests. It was a scorching hot day, but comfortable inside. We headed for home while still daylight.

A sudden flash of metal, of light coming toward us, caught our eyes just seconds before our windshield became something from a horror movie, as first we hit the car before us, in spite of valiant efforts on the part of our driver to avoid it, then CRASH!

The car coming toward us in the wrong lane at 100 miles an hour had come to a final stop up against our car after wiping out a truck and several cars, killing one mother of four and seriously injuring several others, himself included, between them and us.

I was sitting in the back - doctor’s orders since the pacemaker in my belly could be a killer if hit by the airbag. Fortunately, my friends in the front were saved by the airbags, with only minor burns on their hands. Not so, me.

The force of the crash and the pain in my chest were unlike anything I had ever experienced. My friend turned to ask, “Are you okay, Lyn?”

I could barely squeeze out a faint “no” with a shallow breath. I thought I was dying, then the real terror hit as the airbags deployed, releasing thick, chalky pink powder into the car’s interior.

We truly thought we were going to suffocate until finally my friends managed to open a door and window. It took all of my will power to breathe, even shallowly, with the injury to my chest, which I eventually realized was caused by my little three-wheeled walker flying over from the side seat and hitting me.

I had been bragging for some time that I was making it through my lifetime without any bone breaks other than toes. Now my record was broken, along with my sternum, and four other little bones in my neck and back that I never even felt, paling as they did to the pain in my breastbone.

In the three miserable weeks in the hospital and rehab, I was frequently reminded by my many visitors of how lucky I was. Who could ever have imagined that this “frail-elderly,” 84-year-old with bones weakened by 62 years of severe rheumatoid arthritis, with osteopenia, if not osteoporosis, could survive such a crash let alone recover so remarkably well and speedily that all of my friends are convinced I’m the Energizer Bunny.

I’m not a believer in heavenly intervention but I do know that I still have a job to do here. I’m often reminded of it by my younger cohorts at the open mics where I sing regularly.

They count on me to keep them knowledgeable about American traditional folk music, as, more and more, they turn to their own and others’ contemporary singer/songwriter music.

I am proud that many of them and the more-than-200 followers of my photography on Facebook tell me that I am their inspiration for “keeping on” despite multiple health issues and increasing fragility.

It was almost worth it to have my accompanist, a wonderful songcrafter, write a beautiful song about me called Singin’ All the Way, the title of my first book of memoir and audio cassette, as well as my mantra.

The ironic sequel to this story: when I had nearly recovered, after three months, I suffered injuries to my tailbone in a hard fall, ricocheting off a soft, squishy mattress onto a pile of hardcover books.

In the reading of the x-rays, the technician announced, “No breaks now, but I see you have an old break in your pubic bone.” DAMN! Four years ago I suffered another painful fall that put me in the hospital, where a near-sepsis infection, of which I was unaware, was discovered.

The fall saved my life but the price was high as I walked around in agony for weeks, insisting it had to be broken, despite what the x-rays showed. I wonder what future x-rays will say about my coccyx!

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]




Crabby Old Lady Tries to Manage Her Disease

TGB readers generate a lot of good ideas for blog posts, sometimes without knowing it. The latest that caught Crabby Old Lady's attention is pretty much a perfect fit with one of the tenets of TimeGoesBy – that we talk about old age things here that nobody ever tells us will happen. We discover them the hard way.

About a week ago, Patty-in-New-York left, in part, this comment:

”Reading this post,” wrote Patty, “I was struck by how complicated it is, managing your illness.”

No kidding. As soon as Crabby read that, she realized such thoughts have been rolling around in her head for some time, just slightly out of reach. Patty's note made them manifest along with instant understanding that Crabby is far from the only old person doing this.

MEDICATIONS
Start with medications. It's not just the pills themselves, it's how and when they are taken. Crabby has one that she takes first thing in the morning. Another – a double dose of two pills - to take 30 minutes before breakfast.

There are five or six more she takes at the beginning of that meal, and another pill that she must take before every meal and every snack she eats; it is crucial to replacing the enzymes her body can no longer produce on its own.

Then there are the evening pills. Some related to the evening meal, others not. Oh, and one more – Crabby takes cannabis in a variety of forms an hour before she intends to go to sleep to relieve the insomnia she lived with for many years.

Crabby counts out all these into little pillbox containers every Saturday for the coming week. She's been doing this now for two years. It's boring. Really boring. Crabby sighs a lot on Saturday when she counts them out.

Since the breathing problem appeared, Crabby has been on an inhaler four times a day which is now plugged into her schedule with the pills and altogether, they go something like this: 6AM, 7AM, 10AM, noon, 2PM, 6PM and so on. It means being in almost constant communication with a clock all day every day.

About a year ago, Crabby needed to inject a solution into the fat in her belly twice a day for two months. This is not fun and the longer it went on the fewer “clean” places there were to stick the needle. Thank god she didn't need to find a vein.

WEIGHT
As Crabby has undoubtedly mentioned, cancer and chemotherapy eat up energy (calories) faster than a healthy body and weight loss can quickly lead to frailty. Crabby is regularly admonished by the nurses and doctors to eat lots of protein and animal fat and if she is not eating enough, weight slips off her body like water after a shower.

So first thing every morning Crabby weighs herself, marks the number on the chart she keeps and adjusts her eating for any given day on whether her weight is heading up or down.

NORMAL ACTIVITIES
Start with the aforementioned shower. For reasons Crabby doesn't understand, showering leaves her breathing hard before she's halfway done. She is completely baffled as to why standing mostly still while lovely hot water falls over her body should do this.

Making the bed since the breathing problem appeared is a long procedure; Crabby needs to sit and rest two or three times when straightening the covers, and don't even ask how many times she rests while changing the bed.

Even getting dressed sometimes requires a rest period to get her breathing back on course.

Carrying groceries in from the car? Crabby used to just grab all the bags, even six or seven of them, and walk them into the house. With the breathing problem now, that many bags requires at least three trips with a 10 minute rest between each one.

Further – again, associated with the breathing difficulty - even standing still can be exhausting. It still surprises Crabby every time she washes the few dishes one person generates that she's breathing hard before she's halfway through two plates, a cup, silverware and a pot or pan.

Often, just bending over to pick up a dropped pen or pencil results in a few minutes of heavy breathing.

In comparison, laundry is relatively easy. Throw it in the washer with the soap, then dump it in the dryer. Crabby can manage folding with only a couple of rest periods.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
Mostly, Crabby can manage only one trip from the house per day (she has come to think of them as expeditions) to do the grocery shopping, a medical appointment, lunch with a friend, etc.

Nowadays, Crabby takes stairs slow and easy, trying to avoid them if at all possible. Even slight inclines in the pavement for a few feet leave her exhausted and breathing hard.

And it's more than just the physical activity and driving; there is a kind of psychic fatigue at being away from home that piles onto “normal” sluggishness resulting from what it takes to get through a day now.

TIME SLIPS AWAY
All of this, and more that she skipped over telling you, eats up hours from Crabby's day, especially when she's tired enough to need a nap. But she signed up for it and shouldn't complain – at least, not too much. She can ditch all the treatment at any time and let the disease take its course. No one is stopping her.

So far she is willing to live this way although what she lately misses most is personal time. She goes brain dead by about 3:30 in the afternoon which means that in addition to household maintenance for the day, she is done with books, magazines, the internet, email, writing the blog – anything that takes mental power.

Speaking of email, a goodly amount of it arrives daily with messages, questions, suggestions and other missives from readers that need at least a “thank you” if not a longer response.

But there comes a time in the afternoon – usually around that 3PM mark – when Crabby cannot sit at the computer for one more moment without crashing. Her body is done for the day.

When that happens, unanswered email is likely to go unanswered indefinitely as it gets mixed with all the new stuff that drops into the inbox and as Crabby just described, there are many fewer hours in her day than there once were. She tries, but she hopes you will understand if you don't get an answer.

YOUR TURN
One of the few things Crabby Old Lady has learned over time all by herself is that if it is happening to her, it is happening to a lot of other people.

Crabby isn't the only denizen of TGB who struggles with managing a chronic or deadly disease (or "just" getting older) and she wonders what you do to keep it all together. How do you deal with needs, limitations and surprises old age inflicts?




ELDER MUSIC: The Queenston Trio

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.

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Queenston

This was the joke name for a trio consisting of EMMYLOU HARRIS, DOLLY PARTON and LINDA RONSTADT. They recorded some albums together and occasionally performed in various combinations over the years. This column is merely an excuse to hear three of the finest singers of the last 50 years.

EMMY leads off with Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? Of course, as with all the songs today, the others are there in the background (or foreground).

Emmylou

The song was actually written by Dolly, and she has performed it both on one of her albums and another as a duet with Chet Atkins. However, it’s Emmy’s turn today.

♫ Do I Ever Cross Your Mind


Everyone together with Mr. Sandman, a cover of The Chordettes’ hit from the mid-fifties.

Queenston13

The song was written by Pat Ballard and was first recorded by Vaughn Monroe, of all people, before The Chordettes took it to the top of the charts.

♫ Mr. Sandman


LINDA is to the forefront of Lover's Return, an old Carter Family song, written by A. P. Carter.

Linda

♫ Lover's Return


LINDA sings a splendid lead on one of Jackson Browne’s finest songs, For a Dancer.

Linda

This first came to our notice on Jackson’s fine album “Late for the Sky”, maybe his best. Jackson’s version is hard to beat, but Linda just about equals it.

♫ For a Dancer


The song, I've Had Enough is mostly the trio, with EMMY out front now and then.

Emmylou

It was written by Kate McGarrigle, who was a writer of fabulous songs.

♫ I've Had Enough


Are You Tired Of Me was written by G.P. Cook and Ralph Roland, and first recorded by L.K. Reeder in 1925. Since then it’s been performed by many people including our trio. It’s mostly the three of them, but EMMY is slightly to the fore.

Emmylou

♫ Are You Tired Of Me


I’ve always been ambivalent about Neil Young. I don’t particularly like his singing. When I’m in the mood (not very often) I like his roaring lead guitar. However, he sure can write great songs. This is one of those, After the Gold Rush. DOLLY performs this with some help from the others in the background.

Dolly

♫ After The Gold Rush


DOLLY again, with the song, He Rode All the Way to Texas.

Dolly

The song was written by John Starling, and performed by him in his band, The Seldom Scene, a fine, progressive, bluegrass group. Others have recorded it as well, and it’s the trio’s turn today.

♫ He Rode All The Way To Texas


My Dear Companion goes a long way back but is attributed to Jean Ritchie. However, Jean’s sister Edna recorded a version before Jean tackled it. Jean massaged the song, scrubbed it a bit, made the language more poetic and recorded it herself. That’s the version we have today. EMMY sings lead on this one.

Emmylou

♫ My Dear Companion


To Know Him is to Love Him is a song written by Phil Spector, inspired by words on his father's tombstone. It was a huge hit for The Teddy Bears (which included Spector, the only group he was ever in). This is essentially a trio song, with EMMY occasionally singing lead.

Queenston

There’s some nice guitar work by Albert Lee.

♫ To Know Him Is To Love Him


LINDA takes the lead on this beautiful version of Across the Border, a song written by Bruce Springsteen. This is a superb song, and this is a wonderful version of it.

Linda

If you’d like to hear Bruce’s version, it’s on his album “The Ghost of Tom Joad”.

♫ Across the Border


Queenston

I’ll end with a religious song and that’s rather unusual for me as I’m not religious; indeed, if pushed I would say I was anti-religion, but we won’t go there.

The first three verses have EMMY and DOLLY trading lead vocals and that alone would make it a great song. Then LINDA comes in on the fourth verse and takes the song into the sublime realm, making it one of the finest songs ever recorded.

Surprising, Softly and Tenderly didn’t appear on their official trio albums; it was only when the complete sessions were released that we discovered it. See if you can remain unmoved by this one.

♫ Softly And Tenderly




INTERESTING STUFF – 8 June 2019

THE PEOPLE WHO HELP SAVE MAN'S BEST FRIEND

A week or two I posted a video of people who rescue animals from war zones. Here is another about those who rescue pets in trouble.

THE WORLD'S OLDEST LIVING LAND ANIMAL

Jonathan, a 187-year-old tortoise this video tells us, is Earth's oldest living land animal. Take a look:

Find out more at Mental Floss.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT ANTI-VAXXERS

I am about to offend some of you. There is nothing I can – or am willing - to do about that.

A week or so ago, I emailed my friend Jim mentioning that the U.S. may be about to lose its “eliminated” status as the measles outbreak continues to grow. Our conversation continued...

RONNI: I am no longer rational on the subject of anti-vaxxers. It's one thing to try to eliminate mass shootings like the most recent one in Virginia Beach. But measles? Easy peasy. Yet here we are. Grrrrrrrrr.

JIM: If only we could get the mass shooters and the anti-vaxxers together. Win-win.

If you're offended, I assume you will unsubscribe – so be it. Me? I nearly fell off my chair laughing, a good deal of it with chagrin that I did not see that joke myself.

HISTORY OF THE TOILET

As it turns out, Thomas Crapper did not invent the modern toilet (too bad for bad jokes) but he did make his name in the toilet business. Here's a short, little history of the toilet:

If you are interested in more detail about the history of the toilet (including Thomas Crapper's involvement), there is an hour-long documentary from the BBC here.

READINGS FROM RONNI

There is a growing body of long-form writing on the web, some of it quite good that would make it a disservice to only excerpt it. So I had a mini-brainstorm:

How about if, in this Saturday Interesting Stuff column, I include one or two or three such articles that I liked reading during the week and link to them from here. Then it would be up to you if you to decide to read or not. Let's try it for awhile:

These Millennials Got New Roommates. They’re Nuns
A project called Nuns and Nones moved religion-free millennials into a convent. Good things happened. Read it at The New York Times.

My Grandfather’s Secret D-Day Journal
Many of us at this blog had a family member who served in World War II. This is a grandson's discovery of a diary from D-Day. He writes:

”I knew his role in the invasion meant a great deal to him. But I never saw his haunting, heartbreaking diary until after he died.”

Read the story and the diary at the Washington Post.

If you like this idea, you are welcome to send suggestions – long-form web articles – but with no promise of inclusion. Please use the “Contact” link at the top of the page – no links in comments are allowed.

DOG TESTED, DOG APPROVED

Like me, you have probably seen the Suburu commercials starring the Barkley dog family. I ran across a treasure trove of them on YouTube this week and delighted in them all over again. Here's one:

Here's another:

There are more at YouTube:

MICK JAGGER IN REHEARSAL AFTER HEART SURGERY

Just a few weeks after heart surgery Rolling Stones lead singer, Mick Jagger, was in rehearsal for the rock group's new tour which begins on June 21 in Chicago.

Take a look:

Earlier this week, we showed you an old photo of my former husband and me with Beatle John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I was (am) a fan but I always felt just slightly more excited about Jagger and the Stones. God, I wish I could see them one more time before I die - just as I did the first time from row 3 at Madison Square Garden. Oh, well.

There is some more information about Jagger's heart surgery at AARP.

ILLINOIS LEGALIZES CANNABIS

The governor of Illinois. J.B. Pritzker, signed a bill this week making his state the latest to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use.

Here is a map of the current 11 U.S. states where cannabis is legal:

IllinoisLegalizesPot

You can read more at the Chicago Tribune.

Also this week, Oakland, California, became the second city, after Denver, to decriminalize magic mushrooms AKA psilocybin. You can read about that at APNews.

TASHA THE DOG PLAYS HIDE AND SEEK

Yet another doggie video this week. Can't resist 'em.

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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.