Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mental Health Day 5

Tom Delmore of crowsperch sent this little image.

I think that for almost everyone it takes a lifetime to not only understand that what others think of us doesn't matter but to learn the greater truth, how you see yourself is everything.

Or, it is entirely possible that I am speaking only for myself and the rest of you are way ahead on this issue.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today,

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Mental Health Day No. 4 - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

[EDITORIAL NOTE: For the past two days, this blog and The Elder Storytelling Place have been unavailable for long periods of time due to a denial of service attack at the host. It is being worked on. Such is the way of internet these days.

Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez died last week at age 87. More important than his Nobel and other prizes, I believe, is that he was beloved by uncounted numbers of readers. For good reasons.

I was amazed to find out that One Hundred Years of Solitude has sold more than 30 million copies.

A long-time friend emailed about the master storyteller and included this excerpt from another of Marquez's novels, Love in the Time of Cholera:

“Contrary to what the Captain and Zenaida supposed, they no longer felt like newlyweds, and even less like belated lovers. It was as if they had leapt over the arduous calvary of conjugal life and gone straight to the heart of love.

"They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion; beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime and anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death.”

All elders should know this passage.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Water Witchings, Science and Voodoo in Bib Overalls

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

ELDER MUSIC: Triskaidekaphilia

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.

Or Triskaidekaphobia, take your pick.

I'm always amused by the number of buildings in the United States that lack a 13th floor (although the sensible Empire State Building is an exception I know of). Do the owners think that they'll get attacked by the boogie man or some such?

Thirteen is a rather ordinary number but it does have some interest. It's a prime for a start, one of an infinite number of those and there's an elegant proof of that statement that I won't bore you with today.

It's also one of a prime pair, sharing that with eleven. That is two primes separated by two. There is a conjecture that there is an infinite number of prime pairs as well but that hasn't been proved yet.

I'm not investigating it; I'm writing these music columns instead. Besides, maths research is a young person's game. Thirteen is also a part of the Fibonacci series. I'd better stop here before you all fall asleep.

It's not all 13 today because for the first time I did this the wrong way round. Normally, I collect the music and then write about it. This time I started writing, assuming I'd have enough to play, and found only four "thirteen" tracks and one of those I rejected as not good enough to include.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and a bit of a mathematician herself, suggested I use prime numbers. After all, I'd already been rabbiting on about them. So it shall be.

The first two thirteen songs I'm including probably came out about the same time, but they couldn't be more different. Leading off we have CHUCK BERRY.

Chuck Berry

Chuck's song sounds quite atypical of his usual style. It's as if it came from the Caribbean islands or a sea cruise around them or some such. It is Thirteen Question Method.

♫ Chuck Berry - Thirteen Question Method

Next up is JULIE LONDON.

Julie London

Julie is always welcome around these parts. This is from an album she recorded with a song for each month of the year, plus an extra one - this one in fact, The Thirteenth Month.

♫ Julie London - The Thirteenth Month

This is a much later thirteen song but by someone who was performing around the same time as Chuck and Julie and that person is JOHNNY CASH.

Johnny Cash

The song is from one of the series of albums Johnny made towards the end of his life with producer Rick Rubin. When all the other record companies had gone on to other glitzier, trivial stuff, Rick contacted Johnny and suggested he record him, usually with the simplest of backing.

Those of us who like good music can only applaud this. Even at the very end when Johnny's voice is gone, there's still power and dignity present. Johnny's song is just called Thirteen.

♫ Johnny Cash - Thirteen

Well, that's put paid to thirteen - now on to the other primes.

Here are a couple of seventeen songs, followed by a nineteen. Those two are another example of paired primes. First up is MARTY ROBBINS.

Marty Robbins

Marty's song was from fairly early in his career when he was trying to appeal to the teenagers. The song is She Was Only Seventeen.

♫ Marty Robbins - She Was Only Seventeen

The second seventeen is by THE CRYSTALS.

The Crystals

The song, What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen, was taken from their first album and their second album. After the success of the song, He's a Rebel, the Crystals' producer, the notorious Phil Spector, put out the same album again with that song and another in place of two on the original.

The song today wasn't the best song The Crystals ever did but it was far from the worst – that would be He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss).

♫ The Crystals - What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen

At least the age is increasing, up to nineteen now with MUDDY WATERS.

Muddy Waters

The song, She's Nineteen Years Old came from 1958 when Muddy ruled the roost when it came to Chicago blues.

♫ Muddy Waters - She's Nineteen Years Old

Seven and eleven are often associated together; I assume it's the influence of crap shooting. The next two songs have both seven and eleven in their titles so you get two for the price of one (or four for the price of two, technically).

It's been said (by the A.M. certainly) that all guitar music of the twentieth century comes from CHARLIE CHRISTIAN.

Charlie Christian

I like to throw T-Bone Walker in the mix as well. On the track, Seven Come Eleven, you have the added bonus of Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and Fletcher Henderson.

The tune has a nice loose feel, not usually associated with anything to do with Benny.

♫ Charlie Christian - Seven Come Eleven

Here's something quite different from the rest of music today. I give you AKI TAKASE.

Aki Takase

Aki is a Japanese jazz pianist and composer. These days she lives in Berlin with her German husband but tours all over the place. Here is Seven Eleven, a bit of reversion to big band sound. Well, sort of.

♫ Aki Takase - Seven Eleven

Now some seven on its own. There are lots of seven songs and I've selected two of them. The first is by GEORGIA GIBBS.

Georgia Gibbs

Seven Lonely Days has been recorded by many people, probably the pick of them is the one by Patsy Cline. However, Georgia's version isn't too far behind and that's the one I've included.

♫ Georgia Gibbs - Seven Lonely Days

CHARLES BROWN first made a name for himself musically in Los Angeles where a smoother style of blues singing was in vogue influenced, no doubt, by Nat King Cole.

Charles Brown

Charles was probably the smoothest of the lot and a fine pianist as well, very similar to Nat in fact. His seven song is Seven Long Days.

♫ Charles Brown - Seven Long Days

Finally an eleventh song and it's about eleven.

JESSE WINCHESTER hasn't included the song Eleven Roses on any of his albums.

Jesse Winchester

He sang it here in Victoria when he visited some time ago. Parts of his appearances were recorded and released as a CD for 50 very lucky people. I was one of them and I'd like to share it with you.

We've just heard that Jesse died last week.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Eleven Roses

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Saturday, 19 April 2014



Just about every TGB reader has sent this or shorter versions of it. Here's the whole thing.


Tom Delmore of crowsperch sent this story from PBS about a special housing project for foster children and low-income elders that is working out nicely for both groups. You can read a transcript of the video here.


There are parts of North America (and the rest of the northern hemisphere for all I know) where winter, this year, refuses to end. Bev Carney sent his parody of the Simon and Garfunkel classic. The YouTube page tells us

”Bartley Kives captures the sullen attitude of Winnipeggers towards the neverending winter,”


Let's stick with Canada for one more item. Darlene Costner sent this advertisement from Travel Alberta – shot, mostly, not in winter.


TGB reader Suz sent this video from a Thai insurance company. What if we all behaved this way all the time.


This is so silly and so much fun. I need three more people so I can try it. Oh, wait - it takes five people to do this.


Ken signs up for Frenchat.com thinking he's going to improve his language skills, but when his foreign exchange teacher Guy arrives, he's – well, take a look for yourself.

This is the second episode. Episode 1 is here and it's all for a good cause, produced by a cat adoption agency.

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” in the upper left corner of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I probably 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 if you have one.

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Mental Health Day No. 3 – Hand Wave

Remember two days ago when I said a minimal post might be just a handwave? Here's a high five for you.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz: Oh, No! Not Grandmom

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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mental Health Day No. 2

What an interesting and fruitful discussion we had on Tuesday on the post about retirement living preferences. If you haven't read the comments, you should. You will be enlightened.

Elizabeth left a comment that may or may not have been in jest:

”Rather than an eventual move to a nursing home or other type of care facility, I am thinking of a cruise ship where care is apparently available. When I die, just throw me overboard!”

A lighthearted discourse on cruise ship retirement has been published here twice in the past, most recently here. Go read it, you'll enjoy.

The cruise ship suggestion, I believe, is a sequel to an internet original, Let's Retire to the Hilton which has also been published here in the past. Since I am still on mental health leave, I am reposting it today for your pleasure.

It's quite old and prices involved seem to be outdated but just adjust the numbers in your head and don't let it impinge on your enjoyment and amusement. Here it is:

No nursing home for me! I'm checking into the Hilton Inn. With the average cost for a nursing home per day reaching $188.00, there is a better way when we get old and feeble. I have already checked on reservations at the Hilton. For a combined long-term stay discount and senior discount, it is $49.23 per night. That leaves $138.77 a day for:

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service

Laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies

Plus, they provide a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge, washer, dryer, etc. Most have free toothpaste and razors and all have free shampoo and soap. They treat you like a customer, not a patient. $5.00 worth of tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

There is a city bus stop out front and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a reasonably good limp).

To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays. For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there. While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise, the cash keeps building up.

It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Hilton will take your reservation today. And you are not stuck in one place forever. You can move from Hilton to Hilton, or even from city to city. Want to see Hawaii? They have a Hilton there, too - the wonderful Hilton Hawaiian Village and Spa.

TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem. They fix everything and apologize for the inconvenience.

The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks if you are okay. If not, they will call the undertaker or an ambulance. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip and Hilton will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you at the Inn and will probably check in for a few days' mini-vacation. The grandkids can use the pool.

What more can you ask for?

So, when I reach the golden age, I'll face it with a grin. Just forward all my email to the Hilton Inn.

Ronni here again. According to one of the emails I received years ago with this retirement idea, there was an addendum. Here it is:

Upon telling this story at a dinner with friends and too much red wine, we came up with even more benefits the Hilton provides to retirees:

Most standard rooms have coffeemakers, easy chairs with ottomans, and satellite TV - all you need to enjoy a cozy afternoon.

After a movie and a good nap, you can check on your children (free local phone calls), then take a stroll to the lounge or restaurant where you meet new and exotic people every day. Many Hiltons even feature live entertainment on the weekends.

Often they have special offers, too, like the Kids Eat Free Program. You can invite your grandkids over after school to have a free dinner with you. Just tell them not to bring more than three friends.

If you want to travel, but are a bit skittish about unfamiliar surroundings, in a Hilton you'll always feel at home because wherever you go, the rooms all look the same.

And if you're getting a little absent-minded in your old days, you never have to worry about not finding your room. Your electronic key fits only one door and the helpful bellman or desk clerk is on duty 24/7.

I told Stephen Bollenback, CEO of Hilton this story. I'm happy to report that he was positively ecstatic at the idea of us checking in for a year or more at one of their hotels. Stephen said we could have easily knocked them down to $40 a night.

See you at the Hilton. And not just for a "Bounce Back Weekend," but for the rest of our lives.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Clifford Rothband: How to Make Your Own Luck

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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mental Health Day No. 1

Do you ever just feel like throwing it all in for awhile? Don't get me wrong. I like doing this blog. A lot. Although at minimum it gives me a reason to get out of bed every day, that is the least of it.

Until 17 or 18 years ago, I never much thought about my age. Then came that day I realized I was old enough to be most of my colleagues' grandmother. Not even mother; grandmother. And then I got fascinated with what aging is all about.

It still interests me. We – scientists, the medical world, sociologists, psychologists, writers, thinkers, poets, etc. - don't know anywhere near as much about elders as we do children, teens and adults so there is a constant stream of new information to learn from – at least provisionally until further study comes along to support or refute new findings.

That's on the macro level. On the micro level, it interests (and amuses) me to watch my own aging – physically, cognitively, emotionally – and it is my good fortune to have so many who seem to want to read my meanderings about all this aging stuff.

Which reminds me - I don't tell you frequently enough, dear readers, how much I appreciate you every day. For your support, input, kindness and interest – among other attributes you have.

The first thing I do every day is check the computer to see what you've had to say overnight. It is as embedded nowadays in my morning routine as feeding the cat and starting the coffee. On the rare occasion the internet is down, I am at a loss.

But now and then, I need to stop. I feel brain dead. I'm behind in simple living – you know, wandering around without having something nagging at me that I need to do.

Hmmph. That's a lot of something to tell you I have nothing to say and that it might go on for a few days.

There will still be a word or two here each day (rerun? poem? a wave of the hand?) so that there is a page on which to link to The Elder Storytelling Place. I'll be back in full form when it feels right.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Maureen Browning: Another Way

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