The Limits of Longevity
ELDER MUSIC: Several Symphonies

INTERESTING STUFF – 14 December 2019


Through many of my working years, I often needed to be up at 4:30AM or 5AM. No big deal. I hit the floor running in those days and was out the door on schedule.

These days, in my dotage, I wake up more like this poor guy. I know exactly how he feels.


People all over the internet have been discussing (arguing about?) this nativity scene all week so you may have seen it. As the Wire Service reports,

”The Claremont United Methodist Church, about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, posted the photo on its website showing [Jesus, Mary and Joseph] held in separate cages topped with barbed wire. The baby Jesus is wrapped in a silver foil blanket.”

Here is some video about it from the local ABC News affiliate including an interview with Lead Pastor Karen Clark Ristine.

You can read more here.


In 2017, two weeks before the enrollment period ended, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent out letters to more than 3.5 million households suggesting they sign up for health insurance coverage. Then they watched what happened.

As HealthCareDive explains:

The study shows that with a simple nudge in the form of a letter, people were more likely to obtain coverage, which highlights the positive effect outreach can have on increasing insurance enrollment...

“This new evidence raises questions about the wisdom to cut outreach efforts. President Donald Trump's administration previously has slashed advertisement and outreach budgets that were meant to spur enrollment in health insurance coverage through the ACA exchanges.”

The Los Angeles Times continues with additional news from the research:

”’s the most statistically valid study showing that mortality rates are lower for people with coverage. Indeed, the study found that among those 49 to 64 years old, acquiring health insurance showed up in lower death rates within a year or two.”

Big government does important things for the people of the United States, but the Trump administration continues to cut funding for many federal agencies.


I was poking around the website of the medical center where I have been and continue to be treated for cancer and COPD. Here is a short video with the surgeon, Brett Sheppard, who performed my Whipple procedure at the Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU).

He's every bit as smart, dedicated and caring as he appears to be in this video.


There are lots of complaints lately about what a scary place YouTube is but I spend more time there than I would like to admit and haven't run into anything objectionable except too much awful video production among the good stuff.

Just this week I discovered some videos about the oldest pharmacy in the United States - in New York City, Sixth Avenue between Eighth and Ninth Streets in Greenwich Village – MY pharmacy for the 40 years I lived there.

Here's one of those videos:


That headline is the title of a 2017 CG animated film directed by Illogic Collective, six French 3D artists during their studies at MoPA, animation school in France.

This short film (7-plus minutes) – another of my random discoveries on YouTube this week - is their graduation film. Think of it as a froggy horror movie that takes place in a deserted villa. The film won a slew of awards and was nominated for an Academy Award.


Remember last Monday when I told you about H.R. 3, a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives meant to reduce the price of drugs for Medicare subscribers?

Amidst their marathon impeachment sessions, the House passed the measure on Thursday. As The Center for Medicare Advocacy explained afterward:

”Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, The Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, by a vote of 230 to 192 [along party lines]. This bill, if enacted into law, would lead to a significant reduction in prescription drug costs.

“The resulting savings would be reinvested into a critical expansion of Medicare benefits (vision, hearing, dental), low-income protections, and Medigap rights expansion.”

That is, if it passes in a Senate vote. For awhile, President Donald J. Trump publicly supported the bill but seems to have backed off now.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a strong history of burying bills he doesn't want to pass.

Read more at the Washington Post.


Meet an almond milk farmer – whose tongue is firmly in his cheek.


This is the best story you'll see all day. Maybe all week.

”Michael Orlando Clark Jr. [age 5] invited his entire kindergarten class to attend his adoption hearing,” reported 13 on Your Side, in Grand Rapids, Michigan...

“Thursday marked the 23rd annual Adoption Day in Kent County. The event is put on by the Family Division of the Circuit Court in Kent County...”

Let's go to the video tape – prepare to have your heart warmed.

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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.


What a great bunch of videos today!

Your surgeon seems very compassionate and wise. Combined with his surgical skill, I think you must have hit the trifecta when you found him!

The Garden Party video is an interesting perspective from amphibians' point of view. The bullet holes, disarray and floating dead body didn't bother them a bit' in fact, they probably appreciated the additional flies it attracted.

The explanation of the production of almond milk was very illuminating. I suppose that explains the higher cost of organic almond milk -- so labor intensive!

And that apothecary -- what a great place to have lived close to! And what an escape going there today would be -- just to look around, hang out and forget about the existence of so much of what's going on in the world.

Thanks for another interesting Saturday morning! I hope you're having a comfortable, slow start to the day today and not crying in the shower.

You're lucky to have such a good doctor. Lots to chew on here. But the message I get from "morning routine" is ... go back to bed!

Oh the almond milk video! Priceless. Thank you. The belly laughs felt so good.

I copied the video on the farmer who milks almonds and reposted it on the Alpha-Gal FB page. We love jokes but there aren't enough of them.

Mary and Joseph weren't migrants at the time of the Nativity, but they were in their flight to Egypt to escape Herod's infanticide. I think the point is that we don't do what we do because of who they are. We do what we do because of who we are. Blaming the victims is just an excuse.

This post definitely lives up to the title.. . .so many Interesting Things today. But the one that stuck me most was the video of you doctor. I am not sure exactly how Karma works but it must have been Good Karma that put you two together. You got a kind, compassionate, skilled surgeon. Dr. Sheppard mentions how he learns so much from his patients---Wel, he could not have a better instructor than you. You are the perfect match. Karma or the Universe or whatever did a good job there.

That man sobbing in his shower made me laugh so hard! (Hey, I wish I could sit in MY shower…) Very nice to see your surgeon, Ronni… and that amazing pharmacy you patronized for so many years. Reading about Trump’s cuts to spreading the word about health insurance (namely, Obamacare) & the probable bill burying for lowering Medicare drug prices… sickening and so not surprising.

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