Previous month:
February 2020
Next month:
April 2020


By Henry Lowenstein

Love Letter
I'm fond of you with all my heart,
but need to keep six feet apart,
for the duration
of the corona situation.
We can keep in touch, just as before,
but rather than by hugging,
by internet or semaphore.

The hundreds of hands I have not shaken,
the thousands of hand washings I have taken,
the embraces I've eschewed
the social distancing I've pursued
should make the corona virus aware
that I'm not ever to go there.

Help Needed
Our great technologies astound,
our rockets fly the moon around.
But, now we need,
with urgent speed,
technologies to inspire us
to subdue the corona virus
that threatens strife
to our way of life.

* * *

[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.]

THINKING OUT LOUD: Quarantine, Two Weeks In

It won't mean much to me, I thought, being quarantined at home. I'm old, I'm retired and I don't have the responsibilities or obligations of younger adults.

Many of my closest friends live far away so I am long accustomed to regular, lengthy telephone or Skype/Zoom calls. No big sacrifice with this quarantine, thought I. Little will change for me.


What I hadn't considered are the meetings and lunches and other social get-togethers with local friends that have stopped. Suddenly, I have a lot more free time than before quarantine. Enough for it to be abundantly noticeable now. Plenty of time now to think about things in a leisurely manner.

I picked up some more time for myself last week when I stopped watching the daily Trump team television show. There is never any trustworthy news and when there is anything worth knowing, it is widely reported elsewhere. So I don't subject myself to his petty self-aggrandizement anymore.

In one of last week's Trump TV shows, even Dr. Deborah Birx brought shame down on herself by elaborately kissing the presidential posterior in praise of his scientific acumen. So much for anything she says from now on.

On the other hand, there is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily report. The contrast to the president is stunning, leaving me to lament every day that Cuomo is not running the entire U.S. COVID-19 response. There are other governors and mayors, too, doing important work in their communities even while taking threats from the president.

Weeping comes easily to me now. I tear up reading stories about the shortages of protective gear for medical professionals who nevertheless keep risking their own lives going to work, doing everything possible to help the afflicted. Just a photo of an empty big-city street can set me off on a weeping binge.

Dreams have never stayed with me beyond wispy snapshots for a few seconds when I first awaken. During the past week or so, those wisps have been of me alone on a rainy, dark street, accompanied by an overwhelming sense of being alone.

I use up some of my new-found time wondering if others in lockdown are having similar dreams, and there is more of the time now to get back to reading books which I had recently neglected.

Oh, do I wish I had something more profound to tell you. Since my imagination is lacking in that regard, here are some small but not unimportant things related to the pandemic I think might be useful for you to know:

Gail S. Ennis, Inspector General for Social Security, is warning “about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19.”

”Social Security will not suspend or discontinue benefits because their offices are closed,” reports IG Ennis.

“...Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the U.S. Mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter.

“Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures.”

Although Social Security offices are closed, employees are working and no beneficiary will lose benefits, have them decreased or suspended due to the virus. Any communication that says so is a scam.

Read more here.

Supermarket chains and some other retailers have created special hours for elders to shop. Some designate these hours every day, others offer it for one or two days a week. What many have in common is that the hours are early in the morning - 7AM to 9AM or 8AM to 9AM, for example.

Some stores in my area are doing this but I wonder who decided that elders do not need fresh produce, fresh meat or cooked chicken which are not on shelves yet at that early hour.

Plus, my pharmacy is in my grocery story but does not open until 9AM making it difficult to do food and drug shopping in one go. Personally, I'm ignoring "senior hours" on my once-weekly trek away from home.

But if it works for you, AARP has done your homework for you with a long list of chain stores that are doing this and their hours. You will find that list here.

Be sure to check if your store participates.

I always appreciate your emails with ideas for stories or Interesting Stuff items and rely on them for a lot of what you eventually see in these pages. But apparently now, I am not the only one with extra time on his or her hands.

Your missives have been arriving in great bundles into in my inbox, sometimes four or five or more emails in a day from the same person. Multiply that many videos and article suggestions (often several in one email) from two or three dozen of you can imagine that I can feel defeated at trying to get through them all.

So if you wouldn't mind, please try to edit yourselves. And please forgive me if I do not reply to your email - sometimes I'm just too worn out to do that.

And how is the quarantine going at your place?

ELDER MUSIC: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

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.

* * *

(Part 1, Home is Where the Heart Is, is here.)
(Part 3, Homeward Bound, is here)

Last week I had songs about home, all in a rather similar style. More home today but in a completely different style, more jazz influenced. So if you didn’t like last week’s you might like these. Or both of them, as I did.

I’ll start with the classic song You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To. All the big names have performed this one but I decided to go for someone who’s not so well known, ANDREA MOTIS.

Andrea Motis

Andrea is a Spanish jazz trumpeter and singer who sings in several languages including, as is obvious from her version, English. She is really accomplished for someone so young, well worth a listen. If you’re interested, the album from which this is taken is “Emotional Dance”.

♫ Andrea Motis - You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To


Nat King Cole & George Shearing

That pairing (or sextupling, I suppose) would be just about right, but the record company had to add superfluous strings. You must be sick of hearing me say this about Nat’s records, but they really are better without all that adornment.

Anyway, they play and Nat sings Guess I'll Go Back Home.

♫ Nat King Cole - Guess I'll Go Back Home

Although a jazz singer, BARB JUNGR specialises in the songs of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and other such songwriters.

Barb Jungr

Indeed, the album “Shelter from the Storm” was named after a song of Bob’s. The song I’ve chosen from that album wasn’t written by him, it was yet another rather famous writer and singer of songs, Bruce Springsteen. The song is Long Walk Home.

♫ Barb Jungr - Long Walk Home

SUSANNAH MCCORKLE was another tragic figure in the history of jazz.

Susannah McCorkle

After throwing away a career in academia, she went and lived in Europe for a time. She was inspired into singing after listening to the music of Billie Holiday and returned to America to make a rather successful career of singing.

Alas, she suffered from depression and took her own life. Her song is Why Don't We Try Staying Home?

♫ Susannah McCorkle - Why Don't We Try Staying Home

BUD POWELL had many influences on his piano playing.

Bud Powell

His father was a jazz pianist, playing stride piano. Dad hired a classical teacher so that Bud learned proper techniques. He played at rent parties in his youth to earn some money, playing in the style of Fats Waller. Later he became a leading light in Bebop jazz, recording with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. His tune is Swingin 'Til the Girls Come Home.

♫ Bud Powell - Swingin 'Til the Girls Come Home

LOUIS JORDAN is probably best known these days as a jump blues singer and sax player, however, he began his performing career as a band leader in the swing era.

Louis Jordan

His style also prefigured rock & roll and even had some records in that vein in the mid-fifties. He could not be described as shy and retiring and he appeared in a number of films in the 1940s and was prominent in many jazz festivals and the like. Here he is in rather a mellow mood with Hurry Home.

♫ Louis Jordan - Hurry Home

DAVE BRUBECK needs no introduction from me, and even if you’re unfamiliar with him, there was a column about him only a few weeks ago.

Dave Brubeck

So, that self-serving introduction out of the way, here is Home at Last.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Home At Last

There’s still some hope for the musical world when someone as talented as DIANA KRALL can sell lots of records.

Diana Krall

Actually, anyone selling records these days is a bit of a novelty. I suspect that it’s mostly down to we people who still remember them. She’s also won Grammies and Junos and all sorts of other things. From her album “Wallflower”, here is If I Take You Home Tonight, written by Paul McCartney.

♫ Diana Krall - If I Take You Home Tonight

It wouldn’t be much of a jazz column that mostly featured singers without ELLA FITZGERALD, so here she is.

Ella Fitzgerald

Baby Won't You Please Come Home could be considered a jazz song or a blues song. Really, any style at all depending on who’s singing it at the time. Let’s not quibble about what it is and just listen.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald - Baby Won't You Please Come Home

Rather unusually for an early GERRY MULLIGAN recording, there is a piano present.

Gerry Mulligan

This is because at that time he eschewed the instrument, but I guess he got over that. It’s a good thing because it certainly adds some color to the recording. The tune they all play is You've Come Home.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - You've Come Home

There was no better singing group in jazz than LAMBERT HENDRICKS AND ROSS.

Lambert Henricks and Ross

Unfortunately for us, it was a rather short-lived affair as Dave Lambert was killed in a car accident only a few years into their career. There were various permutations of the group, but none was as good as the original. From early in their career is Come On Home.

Lambert Hendricks and Ross - Come On Home

I’ll be bringing you back home again next week.


Today's Interesting Stuff is heavy on pandemic-related items but maybe not the kind that you're thinking of. Things they are a-changing. But first:


TGB reader Page Day sent this video of a Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, a family physician in Michigan showing us how to clean the groceries we have bought.

Once a week, I venture out to the market and pharmacy (in the same building). My return routine is more strict than VanWingen's. One example, once I have cleaned everything I brought home outdoors, and taken it into the house, I go directly to the laundry room, undress, put all my clothes in the washer and take a shower.

I'm not convinced we need to be as strict as I am; not everyone has lungs as damaged as mine but we all need to do the best we can. Dr. VanWingen's video is a little longer than I usually run, but there are some good tips on keeping the virus out of your house off your hands and your food.


Kinsa is a company that makes connected smart thermometers and now they have posted a “health weather map” for the U.S. As explained on their website,

”The U.S. Health Weather Map is a visualization of seasonal illness linked to fever - specifically influenza-like illness. The aggregate, anonymized data visualized here is a product of Kinsa’s network of Smart Thermometers and the accompanying mobile applications.”


The map is, of course, limited by the number of the Kinsa thermometers in use and it makes no distinction among diseases that cause fever but it may be a herlpful indicator.

Go to the website to read more and see results for your Zip Code or county.

Those are two of the serious items for you today. Now for the fun part.

Our isolation from one another is changing how we interact, and what is posted to the internet. It is only just beginning with barely a few toes in the water yet but it's easy to see that our ever-creative ways are going to flourish with expressions of our thoughts and feelings on our viral predicament. Here goes:


A week ago on Friday, actor Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard of Star Trek) recorded a Shakespearean sonnet to his Twitter feed. His 3.3 million followers loved it, some saying that his voice calms their fears.

The next day Stewart posted another sonnet reading including a note explaining that his readings would continue:

You can follow Stewart's Sonnet-a-Day Twitter feed here and here.


Like so much of the world, the members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra are in lockdown. Yet, they have found a way to play together explaining on the YouTube page:

”We’re adjusting to a new reality and we’ll have to find solutions in order to support each other. Creative forces help us, let’s think outside of the box and use innovation to keep our connection and make it work, together. Because if we do it together, we’ll succeed.”


Peter Tibbles, who produces the Sunday Elder Music column, sent this, a drone video of locked-down San Francisco. Another friend I spoke with said that people who produce apocalyptic zombie movies are probably stockpiling enough such video for ten years worth of empty-streets video because who knows when we'll see cities this empty again.


Even if we could leave home, hardly anything is open, including museums. But here, on the internet there are 1200 – count them, 1200 museums with photographs of a lot of their collections on view.


Each number on the map represents the number of museums in that locale. Thank Google Arts & Culture for this. You can sort the list using the map or alphabetically. You'll find all 2,000 museums here with links to each one.


Don't forget Peter Tibble's Elder Music column tomorrow in which he continues his three-part Home series with Home Again, Home Again Jiggedy Jig, this time with a jazz theme including Nat King Cole, Bud Powell, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall and more.


A whole lot of TGB readers came of age with 78-year-old Bob Dylan so it is news for us when he releases his first new song in eight years. It hit the internet on Thursday evening and is not about our current pandemic predicament. It is titled Murder Most Foul and as with so many of Dylan's songs, it's about much more than John F. Kennedy.

It's long, 17 minutes. You can follow along with lyrics here. You can read more about it at Rolling Stone magazine. And you can listen to it right here:

What would Interesting Stuff be without animals? We always end with animals. And they don't know anything about viruses.


Thanks to TGB reader Marcia, Stella is making her second appearance on Time Goes By. It has been four years since last time she was here and she's still loving her leaf leaping:


I am sure I've mentioned in the past that I don't like compilation videos – they are almost always terribly edited and they leave too many questions unanswered. But this one is different. No explanations needed. Thank TGB reader Joan McMullen.

* * *

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.

Letting Elders Die to Save the Economy?

When I asked my palliative care provider on Monday what it would be like with my COPD lungs to die of COVID-19, he spoke directly. Drugs can help with pain, but it would not be fun.

He also mentioned that like everywhere, ventilators are in short supply here. I told him that if it comes to that, give any ventilator I might use to a younger person. I have lived almost eight decades; it's the right thing to do. For me.

Most definitely I did not mean that old people should do all the dying in this pandemic or that old people should be specifically targeted to die or that the economy should take precedence over whether anyone lives or dies.

But some people – well-known ones - do. Huffpost reports on one of them,

”TV and radio personality Glenn Beck is urging older Americans to return to work to keep the economy going despite the coronavirus infection risks.

“Younger people, he said, could stay home to protect themselves from the virus that causes COVID-19 while older people ― who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says are more prone to the most serious cases ― should keep working.”

Beck seemed to be following the lead of Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick who, earlier that day,

”...went on Fox News to argue that he would rather die than see public health measures damage the US economy, and that he believed 'lots of grandparents' across the country would agree with him”, reports The Guardian.

“My message: let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves,” Lt Gov Dan Patrick, a 69-year-old Republican, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night.”

Trump has been with these guys all week. You've undoubtedly heard that he wants to re-open the U.S. economy by Easter Sunday:

”Following his National Economic Council chairman’s [Larry Kudlow] declaration that 'we’re gonna have to make some difficult trade-offs,' i.e. we’re going to have to let some people die so the stock market can live, Trump told reporters during an evening press conference that while the death toll is 'bad,' and 'the numbers are going to increase with time, we’re 'going to be opening our country up for business, because our country was meant to be open.'”

I'm pretty sure there is not a scientist among us who believes we should return to the previous status quo anytime soon. Here's something else Trump said on Fox News:

”...more people could die by suicide because of stress and anxiety about the economy than would die from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

"'You're going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression,' Trump said. 'You're going to lose people. You're going to have suicides by the thousands. You're going to have all sorts of things happen.'”

As several people noted around the web, the president has limited power to stop the lockdown and reopen the economy. Those decisions mostly occur at the state level, made by governors. But little seems to be working as it has in the past since Trump became president so as he too often likes to say, we'll see.

It is a frightening precedent to hear well-known people such as Beck, Kudlow, Patrick, Trump and others (people who, whatever you think of them, are admired and believed by tens of millions) declaring who among us should live and who should die.

Hardly anyone has raised a voice against them for this.

The Alex and Ronni Show

A week ago day, I felt kind of funny. Not quite well, but not sick either. The next day, I knew something was definitely wrong. I checked the pharmacy and grocery store off my to-do list that morning, and when I got home, I went to bed.

Fatigue, body pains, temperature of 100.x and breathing difficulty. I have a home oxygen concentrator so I used that to help me sleep Thursday night and again on Friday night, a day during which my condition didn't change much.

In the world we live in now, of course, I had only one thing on my mind.

On Saturday, I telephoned my primary care physician's office. After a discussion of my symptoms, it was decided that I should stay home but if my breathing became more difficult, I should call 911 and go to the emergency room.

On Sunday, I felt slightly better and my temperature was almost down to normal but I was still tired and ache-y and mostly stayed in bed. My breathing was not not back to what it should be but it was better.

On Monday, feeling like I was back among the living, I had a previously-scheduled telehealth meeting with my palliative care provider. Of course, no one can be certain without a test, but he doesn't think I had/have COVID-19 and pointed out that beyond the seasonal flu, there are plenty of other bugs floating around.

At my instigation, we had a come to Jesus discussion about how I could expect to die if I did have COVID-19. It's not pleasant with lungs as deeply compromised as mine but there are drugs to help. The key point for me was that we didn't talk about IF I would die if I contract the virus, only how.

It's Tuesday as I write this. I did the Skype call this morning with Alex to record today's Alex and Ronni Show and was surprised how tired I was afterwards. But of course that makes sense after four or five days in bed.

Mostly, this interruption to my routine left me considering my personal end of days more closely than I have done for quite awhile and I'll bring that up another time.

The reason for this intro to The Alex and Ronni Show is that I was still tired, quite crabby and it shows in the video. So I'm making a public apology to Alex for my bad behavior.

And now that I've written this, I'm going to go take a nap.

A TGB READER STORY: Sometimes I Forget

By Ann Burack-Weiss

Sometimes I forget. Especially when the weather takes a turn toward chill and the store windows are filled with fall fashions. I see a well-cut plaid skirt in beige and black, note it would look smashing with a turtleneck in either color, and think, “Just what I need.”

I imagine that I will leave the shop with both the skirt and a beautiful beaded sweater that caught my eye. That although there is no gala occasion to wear the sweater coming up, there is sure to be one before long. And won’t I be pleased with myself for having thought ahead.

Sometimes I forget. Especially on a crisp October day like today. I imagine that I will get up tomorrow morning and decide what clothes best suit where I’m headed. A teaching day? A library day? Field visits to social agencies? Lunch with colleagues? Department meetings? A play or concert in the evening? That I’ll ponder the chance of rain before tugging on suede boots – taking my chances because they go so well with what I have on.

That I will brush out my long hair - pulled back straight from my forehead – before settling on chignon, French braid, or round bun. That V-neck sweaters worn with large hoop earrings (silver one day, gold the next) still look good on me.

So easy it is to forget – on this day that shouts “back to work ” - that the life I once had, the body I once dressed for that life, is no longer mine.

So hard to remember that a changed hairline dictates a curly, no- nonsense bob. That a shorter shape and diminishing waistline precludes many clothing choices and a reduced round of outside activities takes care of the rest. That yoga outfits, black pants, black skirt, and a few tops, are all the clothes I will need for the rest of my life.

Sometimes, I just forget.

* * *

[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.]

Not About the Virus

Believe it or not, there are other things besides the virus going on in public and in private that affect elders and warrant a mention. Here are a handful.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Friday that Tax Day has been delayed until 15 July 2020. In addition, he tweeted,

”All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.”

However, if you expect a refund, you can file your tax return anytime earlier and a check will be sent when your return is processed.

You can read more at Yahoo! Finance.

My Census form arrived on Friday. Well, it isn't a form. It is a letter with my census ID and a website where I could fill in my questionnaire.

I was amused when I noticed that the letter referred to my “invitation to respond” but the envelope states in bold print, “YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW.”

It was an easy questionnaire that I finished in under five minutes. Be sure to respond to your “invitation” by 1 April.

Some of you who have been around this blog for a long time might recall that when I was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2017, I instantly gave up the daily 45-minute exercise routine I had hated doing for many years.

From that moment forward, for two years I was diligent about not working out each morning. I never missed a day. Then I went to pulmonary rehab last October. In addition to some breathing techniques, it's all about exercise.

I graduated from rehab at the end of January but I was more hit-and-miss about exercise (a day or two a week) and didn't get serious about my new at-home routine (which I had devised for myself with the help of the nurses at rehab) until the end of February.

By then, I was having mild but increasing breathing problems of the kind I hadn't experienced since before rehab. So I got serious about morning exercise.

It is not nearly as hard as my old, years-long routine but it is difficult enough for this 78-year-old with two deadly diseases to benefit from. I could feel the difference in my breathing by the morning after the first workout and now, three weeks later, I am breathing as well as when I left rehab.

I pass all this on to say that while we are stuck at home we should make time every day, or every other day, to get in some mild exercise – something that your own body and condition allow you to do.

When I first went to rehab, I did not believe exercise while sitting in a chair (which is about 60 percent of my routine) could be useful. Wow, did those nurses prove me wrong from day one. But it sure does pay off.

TGB reader Karin L. Bendel asked on Friday how virus things are going here in Oregon. As of Saturday morning when I'm writing this, there are just over 100 confirmed cases of the Corona virus in Oregon and three deaths.

Governor Kate Brown, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury have been working together on an order to help limit new infections, reported Q13Fox:

“'This is not a lockdown. This will be a stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary order,' Wheeler said, adding that people can still walk their dog, go to the pharmacy, grocery store and get takeout.”

“The officials said they would draft the specifics over the weekend and would provide more details on Monday.”

Also, I received an email from Safeway supermarket (where my pharmacy is located) on Saturday advising that cash register aisles are being fitted with self-checkout counters.

I'm keeping in touch with friends everywhere by email and phone. How about you?

On Thursday, someone named anon and on Friday a person named Amanda Smith, left an identical comment:

”you boomers are shutting down the entire economy because you're afraid of a flu. Seriously, can you boomers kill yourselves? You are the most selfish generation to ever exist. You don't give a shit about climate change, why should we young people give a shit if you get sick and die of some virus? I HOPE the virus gets much stronger and kills you all.”

I left the two comments up until Saturday just so we know how some people are spending their time in regard to the virus. If I could say anything to them, I'd send both to all the video of, ahem, YOUNG PEOPLE crowded on beaches in Florida.

Besides being beyond the pale, the two comments led some readers astray from the day's topic, falls prevention, when I had hoped some would have more good suggestions for keeping safe from falls.

So on Saturday, I removed the two comments along with all references to them in other comments. So if part or all of your comment is now missing, you know the reason.

If there are more such drive-by comments in the future, I will delete them as soon as I see them.

ELDER MUSIC: Home is Where the Heart Is

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.

* * *

(Part 2, Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig, is here.)

I was overwhelmed with choices of songs about home or, more specifically, with home in the title. There were many I liked and initially it looked as if I was going to do a Doowop/Rock & Roll column, so I thought I’d continue in that vein. There were many songs left over, indeed, so many good ones that I ended up with three columns on the topic.

So, we’re going home…

ARTHUR ALEXANDER wrote and recorded some of the best songs from the late fifties and early sixties.

Arthur Alexander

The Beatles were big fans and recorded some of his songs on their early albums. Ry Cooder was another who performed some as well. As good as these were, Arthur was the best at them. One of those songs that Ry recorded, but the Beatles didn’t, is Go Home Girl.

♫ Arthur Alexander - Go Home Girl

On her song, NINA SIMONE really gets stuck into it.

Nina Simone

It shows she could have been a great gospel singer. Also a great rock singer. She made her name in jazz inspired soul music (or perhaps the other way round). It shows that talented singers can sing anything they set their minds to. In this case she sets her mind to I'm Going Back Home.

♫ Nina Simone - I'm Going Back Home

Possibly the most famous of the songs by THE DRIFTERS is Save the Last Dance for Me.

The Drifters

The song, I'll Take You Home is the antithesis of that one. We’re at the dance, but this time she’s gone off with someone else. Not deterred, our hero spies a likely substitute and the rest is history (we assume).

♫ The Drifters - I'll Take You Home

WILLY DEVILLE formed a number of bands before he settled on Mink DeVille in San Francisco.

Willy DeVille

Although rather successful there, it wasn’t until they went to New York and played at CBGBs, mostly a punk venue, that they first came to general notice. Later, Willy went out on his own and settled in New Orleans, which I think was his natural musical home.

From his days in Mink DeVille here is Just to Walk That Little Girl Home.

♫ Willy DeVille - Just to Walk That Little Girl Home

I thought that Take Me Home, Country Roads should be present, and I expect most would agree with me. A point of contention might arise when I say that I’m not playing John Denver. The version I like is by TOOTS HIBBERT.

Toots Hibbert

Home has shifted from West Virginia to West Jamaica. Of course, it all depends on where home is.

♫ Toots Hibbert - Take Me Home Country Roads

THE IMPALAS were a late fifties Doowop group from Brooklyn.

The Impalas

They had a couple of minor hits and one big one for which they are still remembered. That song is Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home). I really liked this as a young person, and I still do.

♫ The Impalas - Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home)

From her first solo album, MARIA MULDAUR gives us My Tennessee Mountain Home.

Maria Muldaur

If you’re looking for this album, and I recommend most highly that you do if you don’t have it already, it has the unremarkable name “Maria Muldaur”. The song was written by Dolly Parton, but I think Maria does it better.

♫ Maria Muldaur - My Tennessee Mountain Home

Here is the oldest song in the column. I wondered if I should include it here or put it in one of the other “Home” columns. In the end I went with inertia because it was already set up here. I give you JOHNNIE RAY.

Johnnie Ray

Johnnie is definitely the outlier here, but he really did point the way to the music we have today. His song is one of his most famous, Walking My Baby Back Home.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Walking My Baby Back Home

There’s a full tilt rock & roll version of Home Before Dark by TOM RUSSELL on his album “Road To Bayamon”. He later recorded a more interesting, gentler version on an album with BARRENCE WHITFIELD, and that’s the one I’m going with.

Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield

Tom and Barrence have recorded two wonderful albums together (so far – I hope there’ll be more of them). The one from which this song is taken is called “Cowboy Mambo”. I can’t recommend this album highly enough.

♫ Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield - Home Before Dark

One of the best songs (and that is a big call) that SAM COOKE recorded is Bring It on Home to Me.

Sam Cooke

It has been covered by many singers, but no one beats Sam.

♫ Sam Cooke - Bring It on Home to Me

I thought I’d end with someone who sings like a girl and sings like a frog. Those who know of whom I speak will expect CLARENCE ''FROGMAN'' HENRY, and they’d be correct.

Clarence Frogman Henry

When we were in New Orleans we walked past (and stopped outside) Clarence’s club, hoping he was there performing. Alas, not so. There’s still a chance if we’re ever back there. He sings Ain't Got No Home.

♫ Clarence ''Frogman'' Henry - Ain't Got No Home

I’ll take you home again next week.



If you ask someone in India if they’ve seen Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge or DDLJ for short, chances are you’ll get a yes. The movie is an iconic part of Indian cinema, and it’s so beloved that it has screened every day, for the past 24 years, at the Maratha Mandir theater in Mumbai.


Don't laugh. I almost did but it's not necessarily a joke. As the Global Times reported:

”In a lengthy and seemingly humorous yet serious article on its WeChat account, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of Tongzhou district in Beijing clarified that farts, normally, do not constitute another transmission route of COVID-19, unless someone takes a good and rather close sniff of gas from a pantless patient.”

So as long as someone farting is wearing pants, there is no danger of transmitting the COVID-19, they say. I'm pretty sure this is not a joke. More at Mental Floss and Global Times.


President Donald J. Trump announced on Tuesday that Medicare will now pay for telephone or video conferences with any physician including using such services as Skype and FaceTime.

Until now, this service had been restricted to Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas. Now, as STAT reported,

“'Medicare beneficiaries across the nation, no matter where they live, will now be able to receive a wide range of services via telehealth without ever having to leave home,' said Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“'And these services can also be provided in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, hospital outpatient departments, and more.'”

You can read more at STAT and at TechCrunch. I am having my first telemedicine visit on Monday.


This is a terrific short documentary (12 minutes) by filmmaker Chad Howitt about The Last Book Store in Los Angeles and its owner, Josh Spencer.


It's what they do. Here are some examples:



There are 38 more images of cats sleeping in odd places at Bored Panda.


With tomorrow's Elder Music column, Peter Tibbles begins a three-part series about home – in Sunday's case, “Home is Where the Heart Is” with music from Nina Simone, Maria Muldaur, Sam Cooke and a bunch of others. Do tune in.


This is simply amazing food artistry from pastry chef Luke Vincentini. Thank TGB reader Joan McMullen for it. (If you dislike the music as much as I do, just turn down your speakers, you'll still get all the information in the captions.)

There are more videos of Vincentini's creations at YouTube.


As the Youtube page explains:

”Okunoshima is a small island in Japan’s Inland Sea. It's called 'Rabbit Island' because of the thousands of feral rabbits that roam the land. No one knows exactly how they got there, but since the end of World War II, the rabbits have been doing what they do best...”


We live in frightening times these days but I've found a small respite. With this video, we can let go of our hyper-vigilance for a few minutes, breathe deeply and relax to the magnificence of nature.

This was shot at a cyprus swamp in Florida in early January 2020.

* * *

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.

Falls Prevention – March 2020

Long-time readers of TGB probably yawn when they see this headline about falls prevention. I do it twice a year because falls are so serious for elders but at the same time, relatively easy to prevent. It's that time of year again so here goes. Please take a moment or two to refresh your knowledge.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us, via,

”...falls among older adults are extremely common with an estimated 2.5 million older adults treated for fall injuries in the U.S. every year.

“An estimated 25,000 of those fall injuries result in death. Justifiably so, our research showed that 8 out of 10 caregivers are worried about fall prevention for their loved ones.”

Now that many of us are stuck at home due to COVID-19, we can make good use of some of that time be sure our homes are, as much as possible, fall-proof.

I'll repeat some of my usual suggestions and ideas below but first, here is a new item - a reliable, well-researched, up-to-date guide to the best medical alert systems for 2020 from As explained on the website,

”Medical alert systems allow seniors to retain their independence at home and in their communities, while minimizing the risk of further injury or death from falling [and] being unable to receive immediate help.

“While there are many quality, above-board companies in the home medical alert industry, there are also those that are overpriced, misleading or profiting from hidden fees.

“We’ve created this review to shed light on the top home medical alert options so that seniors and their loved ones can easily choose a reputable and affordable home medical alert company that works for them.”

Here are's top eight choices with reasons for their recommendation:

Medical Guardian – Best for Premium Features
MobileHelp – Best for Those Without a Landline
LifeFone – Best Standalone Mobile App
Life Alert – Best for Industry Experience and At Saving Lives
Bay Alarm Medical – Best for Low Monitoring Costs
Medical Care Alert – Best for EMT/EMD Certified Monitoring
QMedic – Best for Compliance and Activity Monitoring
BoomerAlert – Best For Advanced Fall Detection

It's not just a list at They provide initial prices for each service and monthly cost for monitoring, how and why they chose each service, pros and cons of each service and more.

So if you or someone you know is considering a falls monitoring service (or should), certainly check out

In last September's falls prevention story, several people mentioned the risk of falling that pets and small children can cause. I don't know a solution for people who have pets, but I have had a personal run-in with a kid running at top speed at the entrance to a hospital.

He nearly knocked over a man in wheelchair and almost crashed into me. But his mother did nothing to slow him down or stop him.

It's been about two years since that happened but when I'm in public, I am still warily watching for and nervous about free-range children especially since parents seem to take no heed of their kids' behavior in crowds. (I am well aware that I sound like a “get-off-my-lawn” old man, but I'm only reporting what is, in my experience.)

So, here is a general overview of the things you can do to help fall-proof your home.

There is an excellent website about fall prevention that I had not seen before last fall: Health in It is extraordinarily clear, concise and useful. Here are links to the main sections:

Basic Facts


Diagnosis and Tests

Care and Treatment

Lifestyle and Management

Unique to Older Adults

That is not the only good site on this subject - there is an abundance of information online about falls prevention. We should make good use of it because unlike cancer, dementia, COPD, heart disease and other conditions that affect so many elders, we can each have a direct effect on preventing falls.

Becoming More Emotional in Old Age

TGB reader Doug M., who blogs at ApacheDug's Teepee, left this comment on Saturday's Interesting Stuff post:

”I think the older I get, the more emotional I become. The video of the storks & that kind man tending to them and giving him a reason for living, left me a bit teary-eyed. Such kindness here.”

In another item in Saturday's potpourri, reader Kate Gilpin told us about how the musical flash mob similarly affects her:

”I have always found that [this flash mob] actually brings me to tears,” she wrote, “because of the amazing sense of community it illustrates.”

It is something that, like Doug, I have noticed about myself in recent years – that I become weepy easily at sad stories, inspiring stories or any other kind of story, it sometime seems.

There doesn't appear to be much research or information on this phenomenon (if it is one) and when there is, too often the undocumented assumption is that it is a medical problem. In addition, the few articles are mostly about men becoming more weepy in old age, but not women.

Do you think that might be due to the fact that most of our lives we have lived in a macho culture that discourages men from crying in public but allows women to do so? I don't know. But I immediately related to both Doug M. and Kate Gilpin when I read their comments.

In one article at the website, A Place for Mom, five of six given reasons for why old men cry are ones that are not unlikely to require medical attention:

Hormonal changes
Previous trauma
Depression, anxiety or mental illness due to aging
Social isolation
Health issues and medications

Since no one with any kind of expertise is cited in that story, let's ignore it and move on.

In an ambivalent piece in Psychology Today from 2011, the writer suggests that outsized reactions to important life events may increase with age:

”In circumstances in which strong emotions are aroused, older adults (of either gender) may not be able to regulate their emotions as well as younger people.”

Does the writer mean, do you think, that feeling strong emotions more frequently in old age is somehow a personal failure? Phooey.

Moving on.

Have you ever been so happy that you cried? I have. There seemed no other adequate response at the time and I think that is partly what Doug M. is getting at and Kate Gilpin too.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, writing in Huffpost in 2015, says that the older we get, the more complex our emotions become and the more we are willing to live with mixed emotions.

”There’s no reason, then, to worry if you have those feelings in which joy and sadness become intermingled,” she wrote. “It doesn’t mean that you’re getting more depressed or losing control of your emotions.

“Take pride in your capacity to appreciate the subtleties of your emotional life, a feeling that should only add to your happiness and fulfillment.”

Now we're getting somewhere.

Five years ago, psychiatrist James S. Gordon, writing in the Washington Post admitted that he sometimes starts the day weeping. It just happens, he said, maybe while reading the morning paper. He went on:

”Almost 40 years ago, anthropologist Gregory Bateson — a pioneer in cybernetics and architect of the double bind theory of schizophrenia — wondered aloud to me if he were becoming more sensitive and affectionate as he moved into old age, more prone to tears.

“A few years later, playwright William Alfred, my former Harvard tutor and long-time friend, said something similar: poems which had once touched him now brought him to tears...”

For all the less-than-edifying copy I waded through to write this post. James S. Gordon is the most thoughtful and interesting. Even though he is writing about men, much of what he says feels right for me. Let's allow him to continue:

”Gregory, gifted observer of patterns, may have put his finger on it. Men may, as they age, indeed become more sensitive. I’ve noticed the changes in classmates at high school, college and medical school reunions, and in the e-mails we sometimes exchange, as well as in myself.

“The competitiveness, the real or assumed toughness of our youth is, as we age, being balanced; our Yang tempered by Yin.

“Perhaps social scientists will eventually find a way to exhaustively quantify the changes. Right now, though, it’s important simply to know what I and other men are seeing and feeling.

“We are more willing to admit to and feel the terrible pain of our losses; to weep in celebration of our own and other’s loving connections; to know and feel the threat that individual and collective greed and selfishness, and the fear that feeds them, pose to all of us and to generations beyond us.

“That our tender emotions are hopeful signs, not of weakness or pathology, but of a necessary and welcome growth — in our compassion, wholeness and, perhaps, our wisdom.”

Although it is clearly a question that could use more research, I think Gordon and Bateson are on to something. What do you think? Do you relate to any of this?

A TGB READER STORY: A Pandemic in the Time of Pay Phones

By Trudi Kappel

In the fall of 1957, my senior year in high school, the Hong Kong flu became pandemic. At the small boarding school I attended, the infirmary was overwhelmed with sick students. Satellite infirmary rooms were set up in the dorms.

Healthy students ferried supplies between buildings. Nobody used masks or any other protective gear. More students got sick.

Then the school was quarantined - on MY BIRTHDAY!!! Bummer! In previous years, my parents would visit and take me out for a celebratory restaurant meal. This year, I was not allowed to leave campus.

As consolation, Mom baked me a big double-decker birthday cake and they delivered it in the afternoon. We lived 30 country road miles away from the school. My parents decided to take advantage of the trip so before returning home they went out for dinner (boo-hoo, without me) and then saw a movie.

At dinner that evening, school officials announced a meeting of all healthy students at 7PM. School would close for two weeks and everybody should go home as quickly as possible. Do-at-home assignments were handed out.

I raced to the pay phone hoping to locate my parents before they left the area. No luck. There was a long line behind me at the phone so I went to share out my cake.

The theater had paged my parents but mangled the pronunciation of our name so badly that they didn't respond. After the movie, Dad asked at the box office if anybody had responded to that page. No. And the girl who was calling seemed anxious.

Dad thought, could it be? With difficulty he managed to get a call through to that very busy pay phone, and said he would pick me up in an hour.

It was a very busy hour. I distributed the cake and packed books and clothes for two weeks and left. I spent those two weeks at home without so much as a sniffle.

One of my assignments was to read the Russian novel, The Brothers Karamazov. I put it off and put it off. Long Russian novels were and are not my thing.

The day before we were to return, I skimmed the first 50 pages. I figured when my English teacher started discussing the book, I would be able to keep ahead of her.

Ahem. I never read another page. She didn't mentioned it when classes resumed. I didn't ask.

Life returned to normal as I hope that it will soon for us now. Current status: I am not so bored to resume reading the Brothers but it could happen.

ON MY MIND: An Anniversary and the Virus

The anniversary in the headline is that of this blog. It was born on this date 16 years ago. In that first post, I answered a reader's question about the difference between being 40 and 62.

If you check it out, fotolog mentioned in the story was an early social media website although I don't think the phrase, “social media” had yet been coined. Way back when, I posted photographs there. As the captions got longer and I had read about a then-new platform called a weblog, I started Time Goes By.

If anyone had asked back then, I would never have believed it would still be going 16 years later.

It was Friday morning last week that the full impact of the Corona virus finally hit me. Before then, I thought I could wash my hands a lot, leave home as infrequently as possible and when I must go out, wear nitrile gloves while keeping a distance from others. Inconvenient, but not difficult.

Then an email arrived suspending my twice-monthly current affairs discussion group until further notice. Shortly after that, a friend canceled our upcoming lunch date and I read a news story online that grocery shelves are being emptied and not always restocked.

My freezer suddenly looked chillingly empty.

So I got serious about thinking through how the virus will affect me and by extension, those I come into contact with.

Here is an additional measure I have added to the list in Friday's post to help me try to avoid becoming infected.

On Saturday, I ordered a supply of four prescription drugs that are essential to my well-being. An unknown percentage of U.S. drugs and/or their ingredients are manufactured in China (and some other countries), much of which has been shut down for many weeks so I am concerned about a shortage.

Vox reported a week ago that due to the spread of the virus, manufacturing in China has been disrupted,

”...taking factories offline that are only now slowly ramping back up. That’s all increased fears of potential drug shortages in the United States.

“But how worried should we be? Experts say the answer largely depends on how long these disruptions continue in China and whether the outbreak becomes widespread in other countries critical to the drug supply chain, including India.

On the other hand, reports Vox, many drug companies have backups in place and the U.S. keeps a Strategic National Stockpile of some critical drugs and medical supplies.

I am not deeply worried (yet) but have ordered my drugs in an abundance of caution. Read the Vox story, which is excellently reported, to see what you think.

I made Saturday grocery day and, suited up in my nitrile gloves, went early hoping to avoid crowds. The first issue was missing carts – none in the usual storage area so I tracked down one in the parking lot. What was that about? Did someone tweet that the carts cure the virus?

Traffic inside the store was light. Still, it was hard to keep six feet of distance between me and other people. Repeatedly, other shoppers sidled up near me – within a foot or two – perusing the shelves. I moved on and if the item was important to me, I checked back when the aisle was empty.

Frozen vegetables were entirely sold out, freezer cases empty except for the veggies everybody hates like lima beans. I grabbed the last bag of broccoli and cauliflower and another of green beans.

The meat counter was empty. Nothing. There were no cooked chickens either. Fresh produce was hit and miss. Three cucumbers remained on the shelf but no blackberries and only four containers of raspberries. I checked four cartons of eggs before I found one without broken eggs.

Checking out, I used my new rule for payment: credit card only. I like to pay cash for most daily purchases because a quick glance at my wallet lets me know whether I'm on budget for the week. But now it's a card so I don't need to touch money which, even without a virus floating free, is one of the dirtiest things we handle.

There has been a lot of confusion about whether hand sanitizer is helpful against the virus with many false claims that it is not. The Centers for Disease Control says that if the sanitizer is at least 60 percent alcohol, it can be useful against contracting or spreading the virus.

You can read more about hand sanitizers at


Few of us have any experience at this and in the U.S., confusion and negligence within the federal government make it clear that we do not have a trustworthy leader.

The governors of individual states and mayors of cities seem to be stepping up well, however. Even so, to a large degree we are each on our own.

Oddly, at a time when we must separate ourselves from one another to help ensure the health of everyone as much as possible, we need one another more than ever. To protect ourselves is to help protect everyone and for the foreseeable future, we each have a moral duty to live by the recommended precautions while holding one another in our hearts.

Let us know in the comments how your community is coping and what you are thinking about this unnerving cataclysm.

ELDER MUSIC: Playing For Change

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.

* * *

Something a little different today.

PLAYING FOR CHANGE is a movement designed to connect people all over the world through the medium of music. They have organised dozens, maybe hundreds, of people throughout the world to perform, and have filmed and recorded them and put the results on Youtube and their own website.

These are wonderful and I have some of the ones I like best for you today. After seeing the results, I marvel at the editing job someone has done to create these videos.

I had originally selected twice as many as finally made the cut. Any of the omitted ones would have been worthy of inclusion, but I had to be brutal. The whole series is worth searching out – it’s quite easy, and I have included links for you at the bottom of this post.

There are several artists who appear in quite a few of these songs: Roberto, Grandpa, Chaz, Keiko, Mermans. I had fun looking out for the regulars.

My goodness, these are terrific.

Ripple was the first of the Playing for Change songs I discovered. I was a little apprehensive before I played it as I thought the song was the finest moment for the Grateful Dead on record (they weren’t much of a recording band, only two studio albums that are worth more than one or two listens. They were an excellent live band, however).

I was pleasantly surprised at its quality when I played it. There are a few famous musicians along for the ride – it was fun spotting them all. The song was written by regular Dead songwriters, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.

La Bamba is a Mexican folk song, originally from Veracruz. It was made famous in the English speaking world when Ritchie Valens had a (posthumous) hit with the song. Many have recorded it over the years, including Los Lobos, a couple of whose members are featured.

Rivers of Babylon is a little different from the other songs today, as there are only three players (Rocky Dawuni, Mermans Mosengo and Jason Tamba with some unseen backup musicians).

It was written and performed originally by the Jamaican group The Melodians, and it was featured prominently in the fine film The Harder They Come.

I imagine you all know this one (sorry about that). It was John Lennon’s most famous and popular song he wrote and performed as a solo performer. John gets a piece of the action in this video.

Bombino (Omara Moctar) is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Niger. His song translates to “I greet my country”, and he wrote it after being exiled from his country for years after extremists and the country’s leaders (they overlap) tried to ban the guitar (and probably music as well).

Bombino features prominently in the clip which will certainly get your toes a’tapping.

Dock of the Bay was the last song Otis Redding recorded and was a big hit for him, alas, after he died. He wrote the song with his guitarist Steve Cropper, also a member of Booker T and the MGs.

Today’s version was recorded to celebrate 50 years since the original (50 years! Where does the time go?) Included in the clip are Otis’s two sons.

What’s Going On was the name of a song from the album of the same name. It was recorded by Marvin Gaye and was written by Al Cleveland who first sent it to The Four Tops, but they turned it down.

The album turned into a concept album, a song cycle, the first of its kind on Motown Records. Berry Gordy, head of Motown, hated it and didn’t want to release it. It eventually saw light of day and was an immediate critical and popular success that eventually sold squillions.

The song Congo to the Mississippi probably sums up what Playing for Change is all about better than any. It was written by Mermans Mosengo and Greg Johnson. The song is aptly named, as you’ll see.

This isn’t the rather sappy Bobby McFerrin song that was a huge hit some time ago. This one was written by Pierre Minetti especially for the Playing for Change project. Pierre kicks the song off in fine form.

Everyday People was written by Sly Stone and first recorded by Sly and the Family Stone. It’s been covered by a whole bunch of people over the years. Its message fits perfectly with the aims of Playing for Change.

You will notice several famous musicians along the way as well as a few famous non-musicians.

Redemption Song, written by Bob Marley, was released on his album “Uprising”. Bob wrote it after he’d been diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed him. On the original, Bob sang and played with just an acoustic guitar. He appears in this clip as does as one of his sons, Stephen.

Robbie Robertson wrote The Weight and it was on The Band’s first album “Music From Big Pink”. It was his most Bob Dylan-like song. Robbie is present on this video along with a drummer who looks vaguely familiar.

If you want to find out more about Playing For Change, you can do that at their website. They also have all the videos, although some are blocked unless you become a member. If you prefer to go through Facebook, you can find them here.



This is Conrad Heyer. He was born in 1749 and served in the American Revolutionary War. It is believed, according to Snopes, that he is the earliest born American to be photographed.

The photograph was taken when he was 103 in 1852. You can read more at Snopes and at the Smithsonian magazine website.


The 2020 Census in the U.S. has begun. Forms started arriving in people's mailboxes this week.

Here is how Sesame Street is explaining the Census to their young audience. A reminder for all of us.

As the YouTube page tell us: It only takes 10 minutes to support kids for the next 10 years. Call, return your form by mail, or go to the Census website.


My friend Barbara Fisher sent this video of a relationship among two storks and a man that has lasted for more than a quarter of a century. Take a look:

Last August, Total Croatia News posted this sad update:

”Retired janitor Stjepan Vokić, who has been caring for Malena for thirty years, explained that his ''Klepo'' returned to the nest and his beloved Malena for the last time looking old, tired, and very unwell.

"'Four of them (birds) came and began making some very sad noises. I knew then that Klepo had gone, he had died. You know how they say that birds die singing,' Vokić sadly said.”


As you probably know, the entire country of Italy is in lockdown at home - no one is allowed out in the streets. In the past couple of days, quarantined Italians have been singing with one another across those empty streets and some people caught it on video. As one said, beautiful and haunting.


Peter Tibbles, who has been writing the TGB Sunday music column, Elder Music, for about 10 years, has put together a different kind of post for tomorrow, Sunday.

His choices are, as always, impeccable. All selections – all in video this time - are from a worldwide organization dedicated to inspire and connect the people of the world. A whole lot of musicians – famous and not – are involved. Don't miss it.


On Thursday, Late Night with Seth Meyers made the decision - along with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Show with Stephen Colbert - to suspend production of their shows until at least March 30th.

In Meyers' case, he and the staff had already written Thursday's “A Closer Look” segment and so they went ahead and recorded it, and posted it to YouTube. Here it is:


There is no reason for this item except that I ran across the word this week. I had forgotten about it since I first saw it a year or two ago. It's fun to say: KAK-is-TOC-ra-see.

It is a term that describes rule by the stupid, ignorant, lazy and profoundly incompetent. Sound familiar?


People don't seem to do musical flash mobs much anymore – or any kind of flash mobs. I miss them – not that I ever saw one in person.

TGB reader Kate Gilpin sent in this one from nine years ago. I might not have posted it today except her description in the email she sent makes it a must see:

”I have always found that [this flash mob] actually brings me to tears because of the amazing sense of community it illustrates - I mean, primarily, the orchestra members and the conductor, but also the observers, who sense something remarkable happening, and stop to experience it.

“They all gradually come together, start playing their part, while the conductor modifies his movements to accommodate the growing number of players surrounding him. The drummer begins, the flute comes in, a platform appears, a baton. Just a FABULOUS experience in cooperation and love—of the music, of each other, of the project at hand.”

Now how could you resist watching after that description.


I posted this live cam about a year ago, last time the two bald eagles were awaiting the birth of their brood. There are three eggs this year. So take a peek inside this massive eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa.

You can find out more about the Decorah eagles at along with a whole lot of other live wildlife cameras from around the world.

* * *

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 COVID-19 Pandemic

This is a longer post than I would usually do but I also think that we should not stop talking about COVID-19 and keep reminding one another what we must do to stay healthy.

So, here are some of those reminders from me, a poem about our predicament and the latest episode of The Alex and Ronni Show which is also about the virus this time. I know, it's a lot. Choose what you want and leave the rest.

But let's do talk about this below in the comments.

It's a pandemic now, says the World Health Organization (WHO). That doesn't change anything - it just means that the virus has been formally declared to be a worldwide problem.

Whatever the president says, this Corona virus is not a small thing. It will not, as he told us on television, fade away next week. It is here for the long haul. No one knows when it ends.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified in Congress on Wednesday in stark terms: “Bottom line,” he said, “it’s going to get worse.”


Every person must do their part to try to keep the virus at bay. But particularly if you are old or your immune system is suppressed or you have an underlying condition such as heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, cancer, diabetes or high blood pressure, you are at greater risk of dying from the virus than children and younger adults.

Because the U.S. government has so badly botched testing for the virus, all statistics are dubious but according to Fauci on Wednesday,

“The [seasonal] flu has a mortality rate of 0.1 percent. This [COVID-19] has a mortality rate of 10 times that. That’s the reason I want to emphasize we have to stay ahead of the game in preventing this.”


Here's another important thing Dr. Fauci has said: “Every infected person will, on average, infect two-to-three more people who each will infect two-to-three more people and so on.”

So you see how this goes and how quickly the number of infections multiplies.

Because I am 78 years old and have two serious conditions – cancer and lung disease – that make COVID-19 more dangerous to me than if I didn't have those conditions, I've gone full-tilt boogie on prevention.

Washing my hands constantly.
Close to succeeding at not touching my face.
Using hand sanitizer whenever, wherever it's available.
Not going to crowded places.
Not shaking hands.
Not hugging.
Keeping six feet away from other people, if possible.
Mostly staying home.


Doing all this is tricky. I am down to one travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer and can't find any (I trust) to buy online or off.

At the market one day this week, the sanitizer dispenser was empty so now I keep nitrile gloves in my car so I will have something between my hands and whatever I'm buying that an unknown number of people may have touched.


In his Oval Office speech Wednesday evening, Trump's big announcement was a ban on travel from a bunch of European countries. However, the U.K., where Trump owns three golf resorts, is exempt. There are other loopholes too.

But, really, what is the point of the travel ban even without loopholes and exceptions? The virus is already in the United States and most other countries with the number of infections growing daily from community transmission.

The most important thing the U.S. needs to do is test, test thousands of people as other countries do to give us an informed look at what we are up against. But Trump did not mention testing in his speech on Wednesday and the next morning, Vice President Mike Pence could not say how many tests have been done or what any results are.

I don't know about you, but I am now officially terrified.


Yesterday, both remaining Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, delivered addresses to the nation covering the policy proposals they would institute if they were president. Both behaved as a steady, normal leader would do facing such a pandemic.

My god I wish one of them were president.

It's hard to live without hugging or touching the people we love but we are stuck with that for the foreseeable future during which we will not be congregating at ball parks, theaters, museums and all the other places in the public square we like to go.

Daily life is dramatically changed now and, probably, for a long time to come.

What to me is obvious as we live through this virus is to help one another with all the care and love for one another we have within us.

TGB reader, Ann Burack-Weiss, who contributes to Reader Stories now and then, sent this yesterday from poet, Lynn Unger. It is titled, Pandemic.

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love-
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

As Ann said to me in her email, I find this comforting.

Now, here is the latest installment of The Alex and Ronni Show – also about the Corona virus. (I keep asking if he can't find a better still shot for the static image; he says he can't. Oh well.)


Study: Single Dose of Psilocybin Eased Anxiety Four Years Later

In a follow up to their 2016 study, researchers at New York University Langone Health (NYU Langone) announced in January that

”...cancer patients who were given psilocybin reported reductions in anxiety, depression, hopelessness, demoralization, and death anxiety more than four years after receiving the [single] dose in combination with psychotherapy,” reports CNN.

"'Our findings strongly suggest that psilocybin therapy is a promising means of improving the emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being of patients with life-threatening cancer,' said Dr. Stephen Ross, associate professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health.”

Wow. It was considered a landmark finding when those participants reported continued relief from symptoms at just six months after their psilocybin sessions.

As many of you know, in December 2018, I spent a day on a psylocybin “trip” with a guide. The purpose was directly related to my terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. You can read about that session here and here.

In recent years, multiple studies have found benefits of psilocybin (“magic mushrooms”) in treating not only people with terminal cancer but depression,

anxiety, PTSD and other psychological disturbances.

This follow-up study is the first to show long-term positive results.

”Fifteen of the original participants were then followed up 3.2 and 4.5 years later and showed sustained long-term improvements,” reports CNN, “with more than 70% of them further attributing 'positive life changes to the therapy experience, rating it among 'the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives,' according to the study published Tuesday in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.”

To be clear, this is was a small study with 29 original participants in 2016, and 15 of them in the recent follow up.

No one knows how psilocybin works in the brain yet but evidence that it does work is growing.

"'These results may shed light on how the positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin persist for so long,' said Gabby Agin-Liebes, lead investigator and lead author of the long-term follow-up study, and co-author of the 2016 parent study.

"'The drug seems to facilitate a deep, meaningful experience that stays with a person and can fundamentally change his or her mindset and outlook.'"

It has been only 14 months since my psilocybin experience but so far it has worked that way for me. The black, paralyzing fear of dying is no longer with me although I have recently been feeling a profound sadness when I think about leaving our world. But I've had a good life so I think that's appropriate and it's not debilitating.

Psylocybin is illegal, a Schedule 1 controlled substance and researchers must get permission for their studies with it. But a growing number of top institutions are doing so including the University of California, Johns Hopkins and the home of this study, NYU Langone.

People in several states in the U.S. are working to get local measures for decriminalization of psilocybin or its use in medical settings on the ballot in November. My state, Oregon, is among them. The Oregon Psylocybin Society has worked to develop the 2020 Psilocybin Service Initiative:

“The intent of the 2020 Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon is to advance a breakthrough therapeutic model currently being perfected in research settings at top universities around the world,” states the Initiative.

“The service model involves a sequence of facilitated sessions, including assessment and preparation, psilocybin administration, and integration afterwards. We envision a community-based framework, where licensed providers, along with licensed producers of psilocybin mushrooms, blaze trails in Oregon in accordance with evolving practice standards.”

You will find more information at the PSI-2020 website.

Here is a video from PSI-2020 of testimonials from people who have undergone psilocybin therapy.


By Nancy R.

The petals I picked in the summer
come to life in the cup.

I drink the morning
I first picked these blossoms with her along the road near the creek
I had to cross to reach her house.

I drink the afternoon last summer
with a mantle of blue covering me and
the summer breeze tousling my hair.

Pink, delicate and faint,
Bright and rosy.
I pick carefully, slowly in the mid afternoon
as the bees rush from bush to bush
also harvesting.
Sun still high and hot.

I drink the rose colour of flowers.
Familiar, too the cerulean sky and towering poplars
my first friends.
On a blanket
the sound of rustling leaves overhead
my mother nearby working in the garden.

She wrote that there were several doors
and death was no different than in life.
We pass through a doorway.
Is this the way home?

This morning I choose wild rose petals because I wanted to be near Baba who was a wise, kind and good woman who loved me. I drink this assurance and continue my day.

* * *

[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.]

A TGB Musical Interlude: Manhattan Tower

Peter Tibbles, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, has been handling the Elder Music section of this blog on Sundays for about 10 years, and doing a spectacular job of it. His knowledge and taste are peerless.

I don't like to interfere with such fine work but now and then, I have a little something to say about music. Today is one of those times.

This came to mind when I first met my new physical therapist who tends exclusively to feet. I wrote about that last Friday. It turns out she had lived, studied and worked in Manhattan for several years and loves it as much as I do.

Our conversation reminded me of a 1946 record album (remember 78s?) about New York City that I last mentioned here way back in 2009 – “Manhattan Tower”. I sent it to her and took a listen myself, which I had not done in several years. I found myself smiling throughout, while feeling all warm and fuzzy.

There is a back story to this.


I was a little girl of no more than five or six when my parents obtained the album at its first release. It made such an impression on me that I made it my own. I played those two 78s hundreds of times over many years and I am convinced it is what began my love affair with New York – nothing else explains my yearning, from earliest childhood, to live there.

The album is a love letter to New York City, a suite composed and conducted by Gordon Jenkins with the lead performances sung by Eliot Lewis and Beverly Mahr. Never heard of them? Me neither – except on this album.

There are four parts – Magical City, The Party, New York's My Home and Love in the Tower. The arrangement can sound overblown and schmaltzy nearly 75 years later and maybe it is. But there is something about music from our youth that persists.

In the 1950s, a new version of “Manhattan Tower” was released adding many more songs including what was a big hit for Patti Page back then, Married I Can Always Get.

I don't like all these extra tunes so I never listen to that version. The 16-minute original seems to me to be too perfect to mess with and I discovered that I still know every word of the lyrics.

Music from our youth tends to stick with us as we get old. And we can often recall events from our younger years more easily than what we had to dinner last evening. So maybe you, too, have some early music memories that you still love.

Here is the original ”Manhattan Tower” from 1946, the full 16-minute suite - for those of you who don't find it too treacly.

There is now a Wikipedia page with a background on the album and more recordings of the original and subsequent longer versions at YouTube.