Letting Elders Die to Save the Economy?
ELDER MUSIC: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig


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.


Have a great weekend Ronni! Thanks for some entertainment with those cage busting animals.

Ronni, thanks very much for this week's stuff. I'd say it was more great than interesting, I've been sitting here awash in goosebumps from the Rotterdam Orchestra video & that haunting one of San Francisco. Also so nice to see Patrick Stewart on here and Stella's leaps into those leaf piles were very... satisfying! :-)

Many chuckles here over Stella's leaps (I used to do that myself as a kid). And the animal escapes should be a lesson to any pet owner who takes their fur baby for granted. Our pets are a lot smarter than some people think.

The SF video was really spooky -- almost as though we're viewing the aftermath of the coronavirus.

As a child of the sixties, listening to Bob Dylan's song Murder Most Foul touched my heart and soul in the deepest of ways. It took me back to high school and hearing the news broadcast of the PA system, then being overwhelmed with grief and sadness. How could we ever go on or feel safe or believe ever again.
It was a pivotal moment and I believe changed the trajectory of my life journey. I don't dwell on those memories anymore but the haunting poetry of Dylan's song was a reminder of an event that shaped who we our today as a country and I am as a human being.

Nice to know Bob is still with us.
Thank you.

I just love the cat who goes back to its perch when Mom clears her throat!

Ah, the Rotterdam Orkest, that did it for me. And the way the birds helped each other to get out of the cage.

Loved the escape one. I have an escape artist dog too. He used his bed which I had foolishly stored on top of his crate as leverage to open his wire crate. He wrapped it around the back wire wall and yanked hard which got it out of the clips and then collapsed it inwards. The crate wasn't damaged, the bed was ripped.
It's amazing what some of those animals in the video did.

A good friend sent me the food safety video, and then had to follow up with two more emails apologizing for its alarmist nature and misinformation.

Don Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University, has been quite vocal on Twitter about vanWingen's suggestions. Below are some of his comments:

1. [vW] completely misrepresented the 17 days figure from CDC. This was based on finding viral RNA, not infectious viral particles.

2. Should I keep my groceries in the garage or on the porch for 3 days? This is patently ridiculous. Are you really going to keep your milk, your ice cream, your deli meats outside for three days? . . . This sounds like a recipe for disaster, or at the very least spoiled food.

3. Do I really need to scrub . . . fruits and veggies with soap before eating? This is the worst advice being given by this irresponsible MD. Soap should *absolutely* not be used to wash food. . . . This is not a good idea. Soap is known to cause vomiting and or diarrhea. It’s for washing hands not for use on food.

Joseph G. Allen, an assistant professor of exposure and assessment science and director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, writing in the Washington Post on March 26, offers this simplified advice regarding food handling:

"Shop when you need to (keeping six feet from other customers) and load items into your cart or basket. Keep your hands away from your face while shopping, and wash them as soon as you’re home. Put away your groceries, and then wash your hands again. If you wait even a few hours before using anything you just purchased, most of the virus that was on any package will be significantly reduced. If you need to use something immediately, and want to take extra precautions, wipe the package down with a disinfectant. Last, wash all fruits and vegetables as you normally would."

His article also talks about accepting package deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic and can be found by googling: Joseph Allen Washington Post

Well, from here in my confinement due to the Coronavirus, it was great to laugh out loud at Stella and the escape artist animals. The two bird co-conspirators were awesome. Thanks for the much-needed pleasure. Great collection.

Many thanks for a very full Interesting Stuff today, Ronni. We're still reeling from Bob's stunning lament - for the death of faith, hope and charity. Mary & Derek

Enjoyed Stella reminding me of leaf pile fun when I was a child. Other animals demonstrate their intelligence to us all the time as evidenced in these delightful videos, so we should pay attention. Love the contagion of group videos that has occurred such as the one shown here in these times of social separation. Seems there’s almost no end to the precautions we can take to avoid this current Coronavirus. I look forward to scientists further study of this particular bug to determine more definitive information about its life, transmission, etc. than we know now. Thanks again for this always interesting, often fun Sat. feature. Keep breathing easy and stay virus free.

We need to heed Alan's comment. That doctor guy in the video is ridiculous.
Common sense people!
But Stella is so adorable I sent her video to all my friends. Thanks for that.
Stay well Ronni.

I would love to hear stories about elders surviving covid19. The fatality rate is a at worst 20% ( from estimates I can find) so the good news is 80% or us survive!

I keep telling myself that every time I think my throat feels sore or I feel a little warm.

There are the miracle cases like the 100 + year old in Italy. But we aren't hearing about the others.

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