Ageing in Place – Or Maybe Not

In every survey taken over many years, about 90 percent of old people say they want to age in place – that is, stay in the home where they are now and have lived for many years.

In addition, it is almost gospel among the leading authorities, organizations and other experts in the ageing community that when health allows, remaining in one's home in old age is the better choice. It has certainly been my mantra in these pages over many years and I generally believe it.

Although I live in a NORC (naturally occurring retirement community), that was a mistake. When I bought my condo, I didn't know the population here is about 85 percent old people and although I can't afford to move again, I have believed over these five years that given the choice, I would prefer living in a mixed-age neighborhood.

Now, a professor at the University of Florida, Stephen M. Golant, who is a gerontologist and social geographer comes along with with some interesting arguments for elders living in what he calls “age homogeneous residential enclaves.” He is speaking, he says, about

”the 93% of Americans age 65 and older who live in ordinary homes and apartments, and not in highly age-segregated long-term care options, such as assisted living properties, board and care, continuing care retirement communities or nursing homes.”

We old folks, Golant's 93 percent, don't move much but when we do, he says, we often avoid living near young people.

”The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 allows certain housing providers to discriminate against families with children. Consequently, significant numbers of older people can move to these 'age-qualified' places that purposely exclude younger residents...

“Others may opt to move to 'age-targeted' subdivisions (many gated) and high-rise condominiums that developers predominantly market to aging consumers who prefer adult neighbors. Close to 25% of age-55-and-older households in the US occupy these types of planned residential settings.

“Finally, another smaller group of relocating elders transition to low-rent senior apartment buildings made possible by various federally and state-funded housing programs. They move to seek relief from the intolerably high housing costs of their previous residences.”

Golant also tells us that only two percent of elder homeowners and 12 percent of elder renters move each year so we are not talking about a large migration. But I am reminded that when we here have discussed housing, the preponderance of opinion is that readers want to live in mixed age areas and not be “stuck” with all those old people, as they often put it.

Golant argues that because throughout our lives we congregate mostly with people in similar stages of life, there is no reason not to do so in old age. In fact, he says, old people are happier with their own age group:

”...studies show that when older people reside with others their age, they have more fulfilled and enjoyable lives. They do not feel stigmatized when they practice retirement-oriented lifestyles.

“Even the most introverted or socially inactive older adults feel less alone and isolated when surrounded with friendly, sympathetic, and helpful neighbors with shared lifestyles, experiences, and values – and yes, who offer them opportunities for intimacy and an active sex life.”

Golant also has an answer for those who believe everyone benefits from communities where old people function as caregivers and nurturers of youth while the young learn respect for their elders:

”In question,” he writes “is whether these enriched social outcomes merely represent idealized visions of our pasts.

“A less generous interpretation for why critics oppose these congregations of old is that they make the problems faced by an aging population more visible and thus harder to ignore.”

And one more thing. Golant points out that it is much easier for home healthcare workers, nurses and other aides to serve more people when they are not traveling over entire cities or wide rural areas to reach their clients. And

” much easier it is for a building management or homeowners’ association to justify the purchasing of a van to serve the transportation needs of their older residents or to establish an on-site clinic to address their health needs.

“Consider also the challenges confronted by older people seeking good information about where to get help and assistance.

“Even in our internet age, they still mostly rely on word of mouth communications from trusted individuals. It becomes more likely that these knowledgeable individuals will be living next to them.”

Although Galant supports the Villages Movement for many of the above reasons, he gets it wrong in missing the important intergenerational aspect but that is not anywhere near enough reason to dismiss his work on age-homogeneous living for elders and the suggestion that it can help prolong independent living.

He is not saying that we should all rush off to join a NORC or 55-plus community. What we should do - those who, like me, have slighted such living arrangements - is to recognize them as viable alternatives and welcome them onto the list of choices we have as we grow old.

Much of Golant's article on this is taken from his book, Aging in the Right Place that I would like to read but it's too pricey for my book budget right now.

Nevertheless, the online article at The Conversation, where you will find more detail, is persuasive and worth a read.


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.

I know that when I finished my second lot of "years" I said that if I should ever contemplate doing any more of them you should take me out and shoot me.

Fortunately, I modified that and suggested that you should ply me with fine pinot noir so that my fingers would be unable to type any of more of these.

Fortunately, nobody has shot me, but alas, no one has fed me fine pinot either.

You should never take what I say seriously as I'm going to do more of these "years" but they won't be like the previous ones; they'll be intermittent and published when we feel like it, or more to the point, when I write them.

Also they won't be in any order, just what I happen to have finished on the day, or what music takes my fancy. So, let's get started with a year that occurred before I was born so I know nothing about it. At least, not first-hand.

When I was growing up, one of the big hits of the time seemed to be called MoonglowandthethemefromPicnic, or that's how it sounded to me. Before the film Picnic was released, that tune was just called Moonglow. This has been recorded numerous times, but the one we're interested for this year was by BENNY GOODMAN.

Benny Goodman

Benny did a terrific job of it, few have bettered it. It has the unmistakable sound of Lionel Hampton on vibes as well as Teddy Wilson playing piano.

♫ Benny Goodman - Moonglow

There have been quite a few good versions of Miss Otis Regrets over the years. The one for 1934 is by JIMMIE LUNCEFORD.

Jimmie Lunceford

Jimmie was born in Mississippi but the family moved to Ohio when he was very young. They then moved to Denver where Jimmie went to school and he studied music under Paul Whiteman's father. He learned several instruments but concentrated on alto saxophone.

He later led his own band and it's in that guise we have today's song.

♫ Jimmie Lunceford - Miss Otis regrets

TED FIO RITO sounds as if he could have come from Hawaii and his song My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii would add credence to that.

Ted Fio Rito

However, Ted was born Theodore Salvatore Fiorito in New Jersey. So much for that theory. He spent much of his working life in Chicago. Here he is with his orchestra and the song. The vocal chorus is by Muzzy Marcellino.

♫ Ted Fio Rito & His Orchestra - My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii

My mum was a big fan of GRACE MOORE, so this is for my old mum.

Grace Moore

That's Grace in the picture, not mum. I remembered Elvis performing a song called One Night of Love (or a very similar titled song). This one is very different from that one (which was based on an even more risqué blues song). I'm sure Grace wouldn't have anything to do with that sort of thing.

♫ Grace Moore - One Night of Love

Someone who would have something to do with that sort of thing is LOUIS PRIMA.

Louis Prima

I first knew about Louis when he was teemed with Keely Smith, his wife at the time, but he was active (in all sorts of ways) before that, and after as well. This is from before, Jamaica Shout.

♫ Louis Prima - Jamaica Shout

Unlike a lot of his tunes, DUKE ELLINGTON didn't have a hand in writing Cocktails for Two. The tune is the work of Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow.

Duke Ellington

The song made its debut in a film called Murder at the Vanities. Duke's version was the first committed to vinyl (or shellac, or whatever it was back then).

♫ Duke Ellington - Cocktails for Two

Around this time it was hard to escape BING CROSBY so I won't try.

Bing Crosby

My dad was a big fan of Bing's so I have both parents represented here today. I could have chosen a dozen or more of Bing's songs for this year, it was just a matter of which appealed to me on the day. That one was Two Cigarettes in the Dark, a tale of woe.

♫ Bing Crosby - Two Cigarettes In the Dark

I remember as a young thing the great version of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters. I knew it wasn't a new song at the time as the disk jockeys kept insisting on informing me.

The song was written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach in 1933 for a musical called Roberta. It was first recorded by Gertrude Nielsen with an orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra who was some sort of cousin to a slightly better known person with the same surname.

The version we want, though is LEO REISMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA who recorded it in 1933, but it became a hit in this year.

Leo Reisman

The vocal refrain, as they used to say back then, is by Sally Singer.

♫ Leo Reisman and His Orchestra - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

LUCIENNE BOYER was a French diseuse (I had to put that in, it just means talker, or more poetically, story teller) and singer.

Lucienne Boyer

In this song she's singing, not diseuse-ing (sorry, I'll stop now). It's her most famous recording, Parlez-Moi D'amour or Speak to Me of Love.

♫ Lucienne Boyer - Parlez Moi D'amour [Speak To Me Of Love]

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS had a really good lead singer by the name of Leonard Slye. Old Len is better known to us as Roy Rogers.

Sons Of The Pioneers

Roy joined the Pioneers and had a music career before he went into films. He also sang in those flicks too, of course. Here the pioneers perform one of their biggest hits, Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

♫ Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers - Tumbling Tumbleweeds

INTERESTING STUFF – 10 October 2015


Each month, the online Guardian selects a theme and invites readers from around the world to send their travel photographs depicting that topic.

As serendipity would have it, on Friday I wrote about rediscovering my solitude and in September, the Guardian's photo theme was solitude. Here are a couple of examples, the first photographed by Lee Pengelly, the second by Stanley A. Dellimore:



You can see more of the top solitude entries here along with the first-place winner at the bottom of the scroll. The theme for October is architecture. You'll find the announcement here in case you want to contribute.


Perhaps you recall that in last Saturday's Interesting Stuff I told you about how the State of Alabama is closing most of its DMV offices in areas where 75 percent of voters are people of color. The kicker, of course, is that no one may vote in Alabama without a government-issued identification.

On Tuesday, Larry Wilmore, host of The Nightly Show on Comedy Central took a look at that. Here he is:


There is more information about the DMV closings at


Teddy Bear is a pet porcupine. He's cute as a button and he obviously LOVES to eat pumpkin. He even spits out the seeds.


Last Monday, I told you about John Gear's idea to require gun owners to purchase risk insurance – an idea similar to car owners' requirement to have insurance.

Although there is no reference to Gear, on Thursday, a contributor to the CNN website, Jeff Yang, wrote a strong support for such a move.

”Legislation that requires mandatory insurance for gun ownership - liability protection parallel to that required for use and operation of every other dangerous object in our society, from motor vehicles to heavy industrial equipment - is the answer to that need,” he wrote, “giving victims of accident or intentional mayhem compensation for injury (and survivors, for loss of life), as well as a way to cover hospital bills and rehabilitation, and as is too often the case, funeral costs.”

And, as it turns out, Yang lets us know there is already such legislation lounging around in a Congressional committee going nowhere. The Firearm Risk Protection Act (HR 2546) was introduced in May of this year by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY):

”The Firearm Risk Protection Act, unveiled Friday, would require gun buyers to have liability insurance coverage before being allowed to purchase a weapon, and would impose a fine of $10,000 if an owner is found not to have it,” reported The Hill. “Service members and law enforcement officers, however, would be exempt from the requirement.”

The Hill's story drew more than 3,000 comments most, as far as I cared to look, in opposition to the bill – vehemently so and that's putting it mildly. You can read the full text of the bill here and read Congresswoman Maloney's short press release about the bill here.


The TGB Sunday musicologist, Peter Tibbles, sent this along. He found it at Kind of Normal:



Last Week Tonight host John Oliver on HBO looked into the mental health system in the U.S.

Hang on to your sanity because it's depressing information but if you use that as an excuse not to watch, shame on you. This is important. Oliver is in his usual excellent form, and the report should affect your votes for a variety of official positions.


For two years, Juanita the duck lived with a group of elders on the grounds of their senior living home. Now she is forced to live in a wildlife preserve.

Rather than do the explaining myself, here's a news video from KTVU that does a good job of it. As you watch it, keep in mind that it is long-established, evidence-based science that pets help elders in all kinds of good ways:

Did you hear that part about how the elders are welcome to visit Juanita at the wildlife preserve? Riiiight. They are in a care home because they get around so easily and love to drive.


Sleep has become such a difficulty in my old age that I have now spent years researching how it works, what it's for, how to get it. Or, in my case, how to get it when I want it and not vice versa.

This little video does a nice job of condensing a lot of up-to-date sleep knowledge into a short presentation. About halfway through, however, there is mention of “second sleep” (which I have recently stopped fighting and try to enjoy) as a foregone historical fact.

I'm not convinced from my reading that it is proven yet but even if not, it's an important clue to the intricacies of sleep and lack thereof.


From Carly Fiorina in late September quoted at Huffington Post.

"Somebody once asked me, 'What's the difference between business and politics?' And here's the difference: Politics is a fact-free zone. People just say things."

Does this put Ms. Fiorina in the same category as Kevin McCarthy in giving away the supposed secret?


Bev Carney keeps me supplied with the latest Simon the Cat vids.

* * *

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 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 IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

One Old Woman's Solitude

A couple of months ago, I stopped publishing this blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During several months prior, I withdrew from a couple of outside organizations I had been working with. And I made a new rule to turn off the computer no later than 4PM daily.

The reason for change to long-held routine is rarely simple – at least, with me – and most often, there is more than one although typically, they are confused or unclear at first.

Soon, I came to see that I had been chasing my tail for many years. For a long time not a day had passed that I did not feel pressured, behind in both necessities and desires as my to-do list regularly grew from a few lines each day to a page and even two pages.

Among three or four dozen Google Alerts, about the same number of email newsletters and RSS feeds and nearly an equal count of bookmarked websites I try to visit at least two or three times a week, I was always in a rush.

When something out of the ordinary arose – good things, mostly, like lunch or dinner with a friend, an afternoon movie, a day trip to the coast, for example – I pushed even harder in the time leading up to it so I would be ahead on the tasks. But that rarely made much difference.

In addition to publishing less frequently and reducing outside activities, I've cut back on the incoming news and information, sort of, by ditching the aggregators since by the time they arrive I've usually seen the originals. That way duplicated effort is down.

Several months into my more relaxed routine now, I have realized that there is a big difference between being 65 and 75. (My 90-year-old friends – you know who you are – will once again assure me, and please do, that I don't know nuthin' yet about getting old until I live through the differences between 75 and 85.)

If I had slowed down by age 65, it was not enough that I noticed. What I know now is that even having lost 40 pounds and being so disgustingly healthy that the only advice my physician has is to keep doing whatever I'm doing, is that I tire more easily now at nearly 75 than I imagined until I reached the point of being overwhelmed (see all of above).

It's not that I need to lie down to rest or to nap. It is more a psychic tiredness. At those times even the little things are too much. Heating a cup of soup for dinner seems an insurmountably difficult chore. Walking garbage out to the trash bin feels beyond the bounds of the possible.

There isn't nearly as much of that now.

What I had been missing is solitude. Quiet time alone to just be. Something I have needed a lot of since childhood but in recent years, even after retiring from the busy workaday world, I had too often forgotten.

For the record, regular meditation is no substitute for solitude – they serve different needs. Another distinction we often do well to make is between being alone and loneliness.

What is not enough noted, however, is that solitude is not the same thing as alone - it is a richer experience, more imaginative and satisfying than simple aloneness, a kind of stillness.

If I am not fooling myself, I made more time for solitude when I was working. I recall that I especially liked long airplane flights then, the six- or 10- or 12-hour ones – back when passengers were not sardined into our seats as now - and there was a sense of suspended animation, a separation from earthly matters and no one could bother you.

In those pre-internet, pre-mobile phone days, I also welcomed nighttime when interruption from others was less likely. Nowadays, having finally stopped fighting the sleep disorder that wakens me as early, sometimes, as 2:30AM or 3AM and most often at 4AM to luxuriate in the early morning darkness and peace, all to myself.

Solitude is suspect to many in the United States. Somewhere, sometime in the past, the novelist Erica Jong rightly described the consensus about it as “un-American." The writer and critic Marya Mannes agreed with Jong pointing out that it is the “great omission in American life” that should instead be understood as the “incubator of the spirit.”

It certainly is becoming so for me again. Solitude is my friend. It creates the space for serious thought and allows me to find out what I really believe neither of which can be done in short interrupted bursts.

My mind is sharper in solitude than in company. It deepens my connection with the present and gives me time to reflect on what living is and life is for. It intensifies my enjoyment of small pleasures.

Solitude, now that I have made room for it, seems uniquely agreeable with old age and leaves me to wonder if maybe it is part of what the late years are for.

Breeding Fear of Growing Old

As far as I can see there is a concerted effort, perhaps even a cabal when I am feeling fanciful, to scare the bejesus out of old people and keep it that way unto our graves.

There is no escaping it – it's everywhere you look: television, movies, books, magazines, internet, billboards and definitely the popular medical literature.

On the one hand, they remind us how wonderful it is that we are living decades longer than at any previous time in history. But that is exactly as far as the good news goes. After that, it is all about inducing terror, anxiety, distress, fear and dread.

You may think they are benign, those advertisements for things that some old people need – walk-in bathtubs, chair lifts for stairs, electric scooters and medical alert devices.

There would be nothing wrong with those adverts except that if you don't count dubious life insurance, they are all that is advertised in the AARP magazine and its ilk which is otherwise filled with stories about toe fungus, incontinence and smelly feet.

With such icky disorders as those, how are elders to go about all that online dating the same media tells us is all the fashion these days.

And it doesn't stop there. Everywhere you turn there are medications for yucky problems connected to every known body part: constipation, hair loss, low testosterone, insomnia, erectile dysfunction along with dry mouth and dry vaginas.

But these are the least of it. In recent years, Alzheimer's and the other dementias are the most popular scare stories. Something like 50 percent of elders, they daily surmise, will wind up in the back room of a care home staring vacantly into space as each body function slowly disintegrates.

Other reports warn that even that minor dignity, someone to change our diapers, may soon not be available for everyone who needs it. (I'm not so sure. Not so sure there will be that many of us in the dementia wards and not so sure there won't be enough caregivers. But we'll tackle that another day.)

Following dementia in the big-deal, diseases-of-age category are, of course, the old favorites that refuse to be cured or even treated with much success: cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson's, etc.

Old people have seen enough of these in family, friends and others to worry about them all by ourselves without the all-too-frequent reminders in the media.

And it doesn't stop with recitations of the diseases and decline. According to stand-up comics and the daily stream of ad hominem jokes in all media, old people are guilty of a range of sins from being ugly to walking or driving too slowly, eating dinner at 4PM, being tech ignorant and, of course, for having all those icky conditions mentioned above.

But humor is an age-old method of facing our fears and Crabby Old Lady* has trouble blaming those comedians and the audiences who laugh at their jokes when they hardly ever see anything except the most distressing portrayals of growing old.

The fact is that the majority of old people make it to their deaths living independently with (and without) afflictions they adapt to and manage while enjoying as great a variety of interests as young people have. Different, maybe. Less athletic in many cases. But just an individual.

The reason hardly anyone knows this is that the cultural fear mongers drown out the real story of growing old, breeding fear and making it harder for everyone, young and old alike, to know what a valuable and worthwhile time of life elderhood is.

* UPDATE: Ha! I originally wrote this in my Crabby Old Lady guise, then changed my mind but obviously missed removing this one Crabby reference. Oh well.

LAGNIAPPE: A Woman's Solution to Gun Violence

On Saturday I asked if readers would be interested In a single “interesting stuff” item on Tuesdays and Thursdays since I no longer write full blog posts on those days and I often have more interesting stuff than there is room for.

One person said no. Two others liked it. Simone suggested calling it “And Another Thing.” S.C. Jones suggested “Lagniappe” which is, as she noted, “Louisiana French for something given as a bonus or extra gift."

After some thought and a particularly wonderful thing I want to show you today, I have decided on a compromise:

When I have something that is especially worth it or is time sensitive, I will post a single item on Tuesday or Thursday. I might go weeks without a special post. Or it might be more frequently depending on when good “stuff” shows up. I'll play it as it lays.

As to title, “And Another Thing” certainly fits who I am. “Lagniappe” is a bit fancy for me but I like it equally; it doesn't hurt that it comes from one of my favorite U.S. cities.

Sometimes choices are made for pragmatic reasons and I am going with Lagniappe because it's short. There you have it and here we go.

* * *

In response to last week's horrific massacre in Roseburg, Oregon, yesterday we spent our time here responding to John Gear's suggestion for a sensible gun control program that just could be workable if anyone in power in the U.S. is serious about controlling gun deaths.

Here is another suggestion that I found Sunday at Digby's blog. She found it here. See what you think.


A Practical Gun Control Solution

Below is a repost from December 2012, right after the Sandy Hook shootings, and at first I hesitated to publish it again. Then I changed my mind.

With yet another god-awful massacre, I think that we in our little community surrounding this blog should have a chance to talk about this uniquely American kind of slaughter. That we elders may have a different kind of take - or not. We'll see today.

This time it happened in my own backyard or, anyway, state. Oregon is deeply divided on gun control. Urban populations mostly take the liberal view of more laws; rural areas like Roseburg where these latest shootings occurred generally reject any attempt to legislate gun ownership.

The proposal below is from another Oregonian, and TGB reader, John Gear. He sent me this that he wrote back in 1999.

John is a second-career attorney in solo practice in Salem, Oregon, who focuses on serving consumers, elders and nonprofits. He wrote this after a young man killed his parents and some classmates in Springfield, Oregon.

After each mass killing since then, he has tried to spread his idea in hope of breaking the stalemate on guns in America caused by absolutists more interested in argument than in reducing carnage.

I know John's essay is kind of lengthy, but it is highly readable and I think you will find the idea to be workable and worthy of wider consideration.

If you do, it would be good for you pass it along far and wide - even your legislators. You can link to it here or at this website.

* * *

We can fix the gun problem. We can make America safer without limiting our right to bear arms. And we can do it without an expensive, dangerous and futile "War on Guns."

To solve the real problem (keeping guns out of the wrong hands without restricting other people), we must use an idea that has worked to limit losses from many other hazards: insurance. That's right, insurance, the system of risk-management contracts that lets people take responsibility for choices they make that impose risks on others.

Insurance is what lets society accommodate technology. Without it, we would have few autos, airplanes, trains, steamships, microwaves, elevators, skyscrapers and little electricity because only the wealthiest could accept the liability involved.

When people are accountable for risks imposed on others, they act more responsibly. Insurance is what enables this accountability.

Rather than trying to limit access to or take guns away from law-abiding adults, we must instead insist that the adult responsible for a gun at any instant (maker, seller or buyer) have enough liability insurance to cover the harm that could result if that adult misuses it or lets it reach the wrong hands.

Who gets the insurance proceeds and for what? The state crime victims' compensation fund, whenever a crime involving guns is committed or a gun mishap occurs. The more victims, the bigger the payout. The greater the damage (from intimidation to multiple murders and permanent crippling), the greater the payout.

The insurers will also pay the fund for other claims such as when a minor commits suicide by gun or accidentally kills a playmate with Daddy's pistol. This will reduce such mishaps.

Insurance is very effective in getting people to adopt safe practices in return for lower premiums.

When a crime involving a gun occurs, the firm who insured it pays the claim. If the gun is not found or is uninsured (and there will still be many of these at first), then every fund will pay a pro-rated share of the damages based on the number of guns they insure. This will motivate insurance firms - and legitimate gun owners - to treat uninsured guns as poison instead of as an unavoidable byproduct of the Second Amendment.

Thus, insurance will unite the interests of all law-abiding citizens, gun owners and others against the real problem with guns: guns in the hands of criminals, the reckless, the untrained and juveniles.

Like other insurance, firearm insurance will be from a private firm or association, not the government. Owners, makers and dealers will likely self-insure forming large associations just as the early "automobilists" did. Any financially-sound group, such as the NRA, can follow state insurance commission rules and create a firearms insurance firm.

That's it. No mass or government registrations. Except for defining the rules, no government involvement at all. Each owner selects his or her insurance firm. By reaffirming the right to responsible gun ownership and driving uninsured guns out of the system, we use a proven, non-prohibitionist strategy for improving public safety.

Each insurance firm will devise a strategy for earning more revenue with fewer claims. Thus gun owners - informed by the actuaries - will choose for ourselves the controls we will tolerate and the corresponding premiums. (Rates will vary according to the gun we want to insure, our expertise and claims history.)

Some will want a cheaper policy that requires trigger locks whenever the gun is not in use; others will not. Hobbyists will find cheaper insurance by keeping their firearms in a safe at the range.

Newer, younger shooters and those who choose weapons that cause more claims will pay higher premiums. That way other owners with more training and claims-free history will pay less. (Insurance companies are expert at evaluating combined risks and dividing them up - in the form of premiums - with exquisite precision.)

Soon, the firms will emphasize cutting claims. That means promoting gun safety and fighting black market gun dealers which is where many criminals get guns. And every legitimate gun owner will have a persuasive reason – lower premiums -- to help in the fight.

We need to start discussing this now because it will take several years to enact. Gun-control advocates will hate this because it forsakes the failed prohibitionist approach. But the evidence is clear: there is virtually no chance that prohibiting guns can work without destroying our civil liberties, and probably not even then.

And the organized gun lobby will hate it too because most of their power comes from having the threat of gun prohibition to point to. But again the evidence is clear: we have the current gun laws - ineffective as they are - because we have neglected a right even more important to Americans than the right to bear arms: the right to be safely unarmed.

Naturally, many gun owners will resent paying premiums because they resent assuming responsibility for risks that, so far, we've dumped on everyone else. So be it. It is only by assuming our responsibilities that we preserve our rights.

Some will note that the Second Amendment doesn't include "well-insured." But just as the press needs insurance against libel suits to exercise the First Amendment, we must assume responsibility for the risks that firearms present to society.

The problem is real, even such prohibitionist strategies are doomed to fail, even if passed. Sadly, some pro-gun groups have already revved up their own mindless propaganda, blaming Springfield on liberals, TV, Dr. Spock, "bad seeds," you name it - anything but the easy access to guns that made massacres like Springfield so quick, so easy and so likely.

This won't work instantly but it will work because it breaks the deadlock about guns and how to keep them away from people who shouldn't have them without stomping on the rights of the rest of us. Thus it changes the dynamics of this issue and ends the lethal deadlock over guns.

It's time for everyone, people seeking safety from guns and law-abiding gun owners alike, to work together to fight firearms in the wrong hands, and it's time to fight with FIRE: Firearm Insurance, Required Everywhere.

ELDER MUSIC: More Classical Gas

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.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, named the original Classical Gas post and I thought I'd keep the title for this second round. This column, like its predecessor, is just some lesser known composers whose works I like that I'd like to share with you.

FÉLICIEN DAVID was a French composer who lived in the 19th century.

Felicien David

When I first heard this piece I was struck by how similar it sounded to the quartets of Alexander Borodin but on further investigation, I discovered that Félicien had died before Alex had written his so no hanky panky there.

Unless it was the other way round, of course, but I don't wish to imply anything. See what you think with the first movement of his String Quartet No. 2 in A major.

♫ Felicien David - String Quartet No. 2 in A major (1)

MADDALENA SIRMEN was born Maddalena Lombardini in Venice to a poverty-stricken family in the middle of the 18th century.

Maddalena Sirmen

She started studying violin at an orphanage and was noticed by the famous composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini who taught there occasionally. He was so struck by her talent that he paid for her tuition.

When she grew up, she toured with the noted violinist Ludovico Sirmen whom she later married.

Maddalena composed a number of works for violin: concertos, string quartets, sonatas and trios. She was a considerably better composer than her husband and reports from the time suggest that she played the violin better than he did as well.

Here is the first movement of her Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major.

♫ Maddalena Sirmen - Concerto No. 1 in B flat major (1)

FRANZ TAUSCH apparently was a great virtuoso on the clarinet, one of the first as it was a rather new instrument at the time. He was taught by his father starting at a very young age.

It seems that Mozart heard them both playing the instrument and was really taken by it. So much so, that he started using it in orchestral works including the most beautiful piece of music ever, his clarinet concerto.But we're not here to discuss Mozart, this is Franz's turn.

Franz Tausch

He wrote a number of concertos and quartets for the instrument including this one, a Double Clarinet Concerto, which I assume that means two people are playing the clarinets and not just a single person with two in his gob, Roland Kirk style.

The official title is Concerto No 1 for Two Clarinets, Op 27. It's the third movement.

♫ Franz Tausch - Double Clarinet Concerto No 1 (3)

ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK is mostly known for one thing (well, two, if you include having his name pinched by a sixties pop singer) and that is the opera "Hansel and Gretel.”

Englebert Humperdinck

There was more to old Engle, though. Besides a number of other operas, he wrote some string quartets but we already have some of those today so we'll ignore them.

I'm going with his Minuet for Piano Quintet in E flat major. I think he lent a close ear the works of Felix Mendelssohn.

♫ Englebert Humperdinck - Piano Quintet in E flat major, EHWV 18 ('Menuet')

JAN BAPTIST VANHAL was a pupil of Dittersdorf and a friend of both Haydn and Mozart. These four would get together and play string quartets – the first super group I suppose.

Jan Baptist Vanhal

Like the others, Jan wrote string quartets but as much as I like them, it's time for something else. I'll play a flute quartet instead.

It consists of flute, violin, viola and cello. I used not to like flutes but they're growing on me – they are still far from my favorite instrument but I can listen to them without grinding my teeth. I'm not alone, Mozart didn't like them either.

Anyway, here is the fourth movement of the Flute Quartet, Op. 7, No. 2.

♫ Jan Baptist Vanhal - Flute Quartet, Op. 7, No. 2 (4)

CARLO TESSARINI was born in Rimini and early on played violin in a chapel in Venice and taught that instrument as well.

Carlo Tessarini

He learned of the opportunity to make money publishing his compositions so he hightailed it to Paris and did just that. He also went to Holland and England to play and write music. He got around as he was recorded as doing the same in (what's now called) Germany and Belgium.

This is the third movement of his Violin Sonata in C Op.3 No.1.

♫ Carlo Tessarini - Violin Sonata in C Op.3 No.1 (3)

I see there's an international "Save the Bassoon" movement afoot. It seems that few new musicians choose the instrument to play and the ranks of bassoonists are thinning alarmingly.

So, to help inspire people to take up the instrument (assuming that there are any young players reading this) I'll play some bassoon music. There's actually quite a repertoire and I had fun playing them all. Well, not all. When I found this one I stopped, otherwise it would take days).

It's by JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH who was born towards the end of the 17th century near Weimar.

Johann Friedrich Fasch

He was important in that he was a link between the earlier baroque and the later classical periods. You can pretty much hear the transition between the two in his music but probably not in the single piece I've used today.

It's the third movement of the Bassoon Concerto in C major.

♫ Johann Friedrich Fasch - Bassoon Concerto in C major (3)

The brothers CARL HEINRICH GRAUN and JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN had such similar style of composing that these days it's difficult to determine who wrote what. A lot of their works are just attributed to Graun.

Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Gottlieb Graun

However, the probability is that Carl wrote this next piece as he was known to have written trio sonatas. We'll go with that but if any descendants of Jo are around and know better, please let me know. The second movement of Trio Sonata B flat major.

♫ Carl Heinrich Graun - Trio in B flat major (2)

ERNST GOTTLIEB BARON was a composer and a master of the lute and the theorbo, which is a member of the lute family and has bass strings as well as the normal ones.

Ernst Gottlieb Baron

He traveled a lot, he was always on the go, wandering from court to court (as that's where the paying customers were). He ended up being the head musician for Frederick the Great in Potsdam when Fred moved everyone there.

Ernst wrote a whole bunch of music for the lute but there were other instruments in the mix as well. It's one of those other instruments I've selected, the second movement of Oboe Sonata in D minor. This has some theorbo backing the oboe.

♫ Ernst Gottlieb Baron - Oboe Sonata in D minor (2)

GEORGE ONSLOW was born in France but his father was English and was rolling in money, it seems. However, dad was a bit of a naughty boy and had to flee to France.

George Onslow

George was educated in both France and England and as he had inherited all that lovely loot, he didn't have to work. He turned his hand to composing and he found he was pretty good at it.

He was very fond of chamber music and wrote many string quartets, quintets and the like. I've selected his Cello Sonata in F major, Op.16, No.1. The third movement.

♫ George Onslow - Sonata in F major, Op.16, No.1 (3)

INTERESTING STUFF – 3 October 2015

EDITORIAL NOTE: I try to keep this weekly links post to nine items or fewer because I believe that too much choice is no choice at all.

Even so, I've gone overboard today but there was just so much interesting stuff this week – and I omitted as many as I have included.

If someone would like to think up a good name for it, perhaps I could post just one Interesting Stuff item on Tuesdays and Thursdays – days for which I have stopped writing full posts. Or not – just a stray idea for now.

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Can you tell? Look closely at these Bostonians waiting to see movie stars arrive for a film premiere.


As Alan Goldsmith said in his email with this photo, “There is something to be said for analog born.” If you couldn't tell, catch the elder woman in the front row. She's the only one enjoying the moment without a cell phone in front of her face.

More at Huffington Post.


Actually, Grace Brett, at age 104, is the world's oldest “yarn bomber.” It's a thing, yarn bombing. You can look it up. Here's a little video of Grace – be sure to note the phone booth cover:

I first saw this at Senior Planet. If you are interested in knowing more, google “yarn bombing” for additional video and stories about this phenomenon.


In recent years, a worldwide meme has developed in the physical world to scare the pants off everyone with transparent walking areas. Here is one of the latest, a glass-bottomed suspension bridge in China. Take a look (if you dare):

There are more facts about the bridge at the YouTube page (scroll down).


According to the Wall Street Journal:

”...the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said it reached its goal of one million individual online contributions.

“He is the first candidate of the 2016 campaign to announce it had reached this number – and he reached it faster than President Barack Obama did in 2008 and 2012.”

Alternet notes that Bernie's campaign

“ not supported by dedicated Super PACs, as are all of his opponents on the GOP side and Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side.”

In addition, the amount of Sanders' contributions almost matches Clinton's. From Politico:

”Clinton’s operation raised more than $28 million in the third quarter after a grueling fundraising schedule, compared with about $26 million for the Vermonter — who raised his money largely from online donations, and few in-person fundraising events.”


Trevor Noah has weathered his first week in the Jon Stewart chair at Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Quite a number of critics were – well, critical. I watched all four shows. Sometimes jokes fell flat. He was obviously a bit nervous. But overall, I think he's doing fine.

Do remember that it took a good while for Stewart to get his groove when he took over the show in 1999, so let's give Trevor Noah room to grow. Here is his first opening monologue:


You can watch all Daily Shows online at Comedy Central.


Have you realized that four(!) alumni of The Daily Show are now holding forth on late night television? Stephen Colbert on The Late Show on CBS-TV, Larry Wilmore at The Nightly Show on Comedy Central, Trevor Noah also on Comedy Central and John Oliver on Last Week Tonight at HBO.

That makes Jon Stewart quite a successful talent spotter.

John Oliver returned from hiatus last Sunday. An immigrant himself to the U.S., he took at sharp look at the current migrant and refugee crisis:


Oliver's long essays are uniformly brilliant – or damned close. But he also produces a short video each week which I rarely post here. This one, however, is irresistible.

It was reported, without corroboration, that British Prime Minister David Cameron had an interesting episode in college between a private part of his anatomy and a dead pig.

Of course this is something that Oliver could not resist. Look at the video and if you're not laughing out loud as much from Oliver's delight with the story as from the segment itself, you are probably no longer breathing.

For the record, Cameron has denied the episode although it took him a week to do so.

MY APOLOGIES: that the short Oliver video has been removed. It was really funny. If you want to know what it was about, just google "david cameron pig" and you'll get the explanation.


On Thursday, the State of Alabama stopped issuing drivers licenses, which are required to vote, in counties where 75 percent of registered voters are black.

”Due to budget cuts,” reports Raw Story, “Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said that 31 satellite DMV offices would no longer have access to driver’s licenses examiners, meaning that residents will need to travel to other counties to apply for licenses. The move comes just one year after the state’s voter photo ID law went into effect.”

As John Archibald wrote at

”It's not just a civil rights violation. It is not just a public relations nightmare. It is not just an invitation for worldwide scorn and an alarm bell to the Justice Department. It is an affront to the very notion of justice in a nation where one man one vote is as precious as oxygen.”

I don't understand why this is allowed to happen – again and again and again.


Holograms are kind of strange and wonderful but in all the years we have had them, I've never figured out if they are good for anything besides resurrecting fuzzy images of Abraham Lincoln. Now comes a really good hologram idea from Russia. Take a look.

Thank my friend Jim Stone for that video.


My favorite astrophysicist (well, okay, the only one whose name I know but you have to admit he's a cool guy), Neil DeGrasse Tyson, interviewed Pepper the robot at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative last week:

There is more about Pepper at Technology Review and Gajitz. and you can find other videos from the Clinton Global Initiative meeting here.


Filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand said this:

“I dreamed of a film in which the power of words would resonate with the beauty of the world. The movie relates the voices of all those, men and women, who entrusted me with their stories. And it becomes their messenger.”

The film is titled Human and Mr. Arthus-Bertrand

”...spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries.

"Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.”

Of all the many choices, my friend Jim Stone sent the video below and that's the one I'm showing you too, Francine's Interview:

The goal of the filmmaker was to investigate

“...what it is that makes us human - that Human the movie – many interviews looking into what it is that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The question for discovery?”

There are three feature-length parts to this monumental, amazing, ambitious project. You can see them all for free on YouTube.

Human the movie Part 1
Human the movie Part 2
Human the movie Part 3

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Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” in the 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 IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

How Low (or No) Inflation Affects Elders' Income

Have you noticed that it's bill increase season? It is for me – the time of year when notices of an uptick in price arrive from the companies that provide products and services one cannot cancel or do without.

My auto insurance goes up 3.25 percent in November. If I stay with the Medicare Part D provider I have now, the premium will increase by 17.2 percent in January. The Medicare Supplemental premium goes up by just over 5 percent in November.

And one of those top two companies Americans love to hate the most has just increased my internet access fee by 6.6 percent – that would be without any additional speed (which is abysmal) or other services. It's just an arbitrary increase - they do it every year.

These percentage figures don't include the annual property tax bill that will arrive in a week or two. For the past year, the local news has overflowed with reports about how much housing prices have increased in the Portland area, so that assessment is liable to be a shocker this time.

3.25 percent and 6.6 percent don't sound like much but foreshadowing the point of today's post, 6.6 percent here, 3.25 percent there, another 17.2 percent – each of them every year – and pretty soon you're talking about real money.

The system is rigged, my friends, rigged to, over time, impoverish elders along with anyone else on a fixed income. It's the income that is fixed, but everything else is flexible – always upward.

Hang on to your hats: for those of us who rely largely on Social Security, it is all but official that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016. The announcement will be made in a few days.

The COLA is determined each year by comparing the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners) in the third quarter of the current year to the prior year's third quarter and this year (2015), it is below the 2014 inflation number.

(There is ample evidence that the CPI-W does not reflect elders' spending as compared to wage earners' spending and if inflation for elders were calculated more fairly, there would be a COLA increase because the kinds of items we spend more money on go up in price more each year than workers' average expenses. But that's an argument for another day.)

As I often note, I am not unique. If it is happening to me, it is happening to thousands, millions of other people and here is how it has been with me: even in past years where there has been a cost-of-living adjustment, I have lost financial ground. Every year since I became a Social Security recipient in 2006, the total increase in my expenses (however small each individual one is, sometimes) is greater than the COLA.

Since it has been that way now for ten years, I can't help but ask in what year the outgo line in my budget will overtake the income line. Especially since I have no way to increase other income. Where can I get a Walmart greeter application.

All right – that last sentence is an exaggeration (for now) but one still must ask how it is that in a year in which, according to the people who do that kind of bean counting, the price of so many items increases enough to cut into what little I have left after paying the monthly bills?

I don't think TGB readers have a right to know details of my finances, but here are some examples of what has changed since 2006:

Social Security benefit increased by 21.5%
Supplemental Medicare premium has increased by 70%
Condo HOA has increased 17.5%
Part D premium increases next year by 17.2%

I can look for a lower Part D premium when the tables are published later this month at Although the percentage is high, the increase is only two or three dollars but for me, it is the principle.

You will recall that early this year, I cut way back on cable television. In fact, I would have ditched it entirely except that (absurdly) it is cheaper to subscribe to internet AND the lowest-level, basic TV service than internet alone. That cut my monthly expenses by about 10 percent.

Plus, to indulge in a little black humor, the upside to global warming where I live is that it doesn't cost as much to heat the house in winter these days so that bill is down a little lately.

My point in this list of one person's expenses is that all elders except those lucky enough to have a reasonably good pension (that has not been taken away), in addition to Social Security, go through this same fiscal dance each year: where and what can I cut down?

How many elders live so close to the bone that they live in fear of – oh, say an old appliance finally dying (have you seen the prices on stoves and refrigerators lately?) or a big veterinarian bill or major dental work?

And in what year do the annual increases in premiums, utilities, food, homeowner's dues, household repairs, etc. cut so far into stagnant income, that there is no more room to dance?

In case you hadn't noticed, we are in an election year for president, all representatives and one-third of the Senate. Every year congressional Republicans try to cut Social Security and this year will be no different, including whichever Republican finally grabs the Republican nomination.

The Republican party has a long-term goal of eliminating Social Security by whatever means - privatization, reduction of COLA, cutting the benefit, raising eligibility age, etc. They have been trying to do so for decades and so far they have been beaten back by the Democrats in Congress.

Which is why it is crucial to keep at least as many Democrats in Congress as we have now.

Presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders [I-Vt], has spent years pursuing a change in the CPI to better reflect elders' expenses in Social Security COLA increases. This year, he and others are pushing for a straight increase in the Social Security benefit. (He also knows all the smart ways to raise Social Security revenue that is needed.)

But even on the off-chance Sanders is elected president, his only power to change any of this is the bully pulpit.

Because of Republican gerrymandering, it is probably impossible to elect a Democrat in Republican districts. But we can work to make sure that Democrats hang on to the seats the have and, possibly, increase them in the Senate.

Even if you're not all that interested in politics, please pay attention to whom you are voting for next year. I don't know about you but I can't afford to have the Social Security benefit we all paid for over many years chipped away at anymore than it has been.

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ADDITIONAL WONKY (BUT IMPORTANT) NOTE: Without a COLA, the Medicare Part B premium, currently at $104.90 (which is required to be deducted from the Social Security benefit), will not change for most of us.

But for certain individuals and couples in higher income brackets and for new Medicare enrollees in 2016, there will be higher Part B premiums. Substantially higher.

It's complicated and explaining it is not the point of today's post but if you think you fall into one of these categories, you can read a good explanation of what to expect here.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) has sent a letter to Congress urging them to block this massive premium increase. You can read it here [pdf].