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.

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This was an interesting exercise. Could I fill a column with songs from 1910?

Well, that was easy, of course I could. The hard part was, could I fill a column with songs recorded in that year and have it sound acceptable to you? Well, as we have a column I imagine the answer to that question is obvious.

So, here are songs from back then and no one reading this would have heard them when they were first released. I hope you enjoy them; Norma, the Assistant Musicologist rather lacked enthusiasm for the whole idea, particularly after hearing the music.

The recording quality of some is a little problematic but remember these were laid down more than 100 years ago. It surprised me a little how many of these songs are still well known today. Of course, that could be due to my selection process.

GERALDINE FARRAR was an opera singer and movie actress.

Geraldine Farrar

She was good friend with Caruso and had a torrid affair for many years with renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini. Her marriage to film actor Lou Tellegen was torrid, ending in divorce and the suicide of her husband. Looks like the world of film and music hasn't changed in a hundred years.

Geraldine performed in opera until she was 40 and then performed recitals and sang on the radio. Here she is with the old Stephen Foster song, My Old Kentucky Home.

♫ Geraldine Farrar - My Old Kentucky Home

MANUEL ROMAIN was born in Massachusetts or Gibraltar or Spain.

Manuel Romain

Wherever he was born, he grew up in Boston where he initially sang in church but later branched out into the secular world singing on the concert stage. He also lent his hand (and voice) to minstrel shows but we'll just glide over that.

He wrote songs but I must admit I hadn't heard of any of them. Here he sings a song just about all of us would know, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now.

♫ Manuel Romain - I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now

JOHN MCCORMACK's name is still quite well known today.

John McCormack

He was an Irish tenor who sang in opera as well as performing popular songs. He toured Australia (and elsewhere) with Nellie Melba around this time to great acclaim.

I noticed when I looked him up that he died on the day I was born. Alas, his singing talent didn't transfer to me. He sings Annie Laurie.

♫ John McCormack - Annie Laurie

NORA BAYES started her career as a teenager in vaudeville, criss-crossing America.

Nora Bayes

She became friendly with George M. Cohan and during the first great unpleasantness, George insisted that she was the first to record his song, Over There. It became a huge hit for her.

Before that, though, she recorded the rather famous song Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly.

♫ Nora Bayes - Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly

THE PEERLESS QUARTET must have had tickets on themselves, as we say in Australia. It just means they were a bit up themselves to come up with that name.

The Peerless Quartet

They began their career as the Columbia Male Quartet and started out recording on wax cylinders in the 1890s. They went through a couple of name changes and several members before they got to the group we have today (today being 1910, of course).

There were even more changes after this. They perform a song you'll all know, By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

♫ The Peerless Quartet - By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Now for someone who will be familiar to every reader, one of the most famous singers in history, ENRICO CARUSO.

Enrico Caruso

Caruso was the model for every famous (and not so famous) tenor in the twentieth century and beyond. It's impossible from this distance, and given the primitive recording equipment at the time, to judge the quality of his voice. From the evidence of this track I prefer Pavarotti, and more especially, Gedda.

However, Enrico is who we have singing Il Fior Che Avevi A Me Tu Dato (the Flower Song) from Bizet's “Carmen.”

♫ Enrico Caruso - Carmen ~ The Flower

LUCY ISABELLE MARSH was a soprano who made a living making records for the Victor Talking Machine company. Most of these were anonymous, but she also recorded under her own name.

HARRY MACDONOUGH was a Canadian tenor who started out making cylinders very early on. He later also made some records for Victor including duets with Lucy.

Lucy Isabelle Marsh & Harry MacDonough

One of those was the song, Every Little Movement.

♫ Harry Macdonough & Lucy Isabelle Marsh - Every Little Movement

BERT WILLIAMS was one of the biggest stars of vaudeville in his day.

Bert Williams

He was also the biggest selling black artist before the 1920s. He was described by W.C. Fields, with whom he shared a stage several times, as the funniest man he'd ever seen, but also the saddest. Bert performs Play That Barber-Shop Chord.

♫ Bert Williams - Play that barbershop chord

Irving Berlin died in 1989, not all that long ago. He's present in the column as the writer of the next songs. That slightly boggled my mind. The singer of the song is BOB ROBERTS.

Bob Roberts

Irving's song isn't one of his best known; I hadn't heard of it before I found it. It's called Sadie Salome (Go Home).

Bob started out touring in his father's troupe of performers. He's also responsible for The Woodchuck Song. You know, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Deep sigh.

♫ Bob Roberts - Sadie Salome (Go Home)

When I first saw the name of this song, I thought it was the song Aba Daba Honeymoon under a different name. I was wrong, but I decided to include it anyway.

Besides, ARTHUR COLLINS AND BYRON G. HARLAN recorded that one too, and you'll be able to hear it in 1914 (if I ever get around to that year).

Collins & Harlan

The song from this year is called >On a Monkey Honeymoon.

♫ Collins and Harlan - On A Monkey Honeymoon

Whew, I made it. That was fun (for me, I don't know about you), but I don't think I'll be able to do any earlier years than this one; the recordings are really not worth listening to.

INTERESTING STUFF – 28 November 2015


There are gazillion ways these days to track our health stats like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature not to mention how many steps we've taken and who knows what else.

A new style of monitor, not yet available, can be “tattooed” right on our skin. Take a look?

I think this is going to provide a lot good uses for elders. You can read more here.


About 10 days ago, I told you about an interesting National Geographic special hosted and directed by Ron Howard about breakthroughs in longevity. I've seen it and it's fascinating whether you believe these developments will come to be or not.

The documentary will be broadcast tomorrow evening, Sunday, at 9PM on the National Geographic Channel. Check your local listings.


It has been two weeks now since the terrorist attacks in Paris killed so many. World leaders continue to meet about how to work together against ISIS and just about all cities in the west are on alert.

Last Sunday at the American Music Awards, Jared Leto spoke for many people and introduced Celine Dion singing Edith Piaf's wonderful Hymne à L'Amour. Here is that performance and thank doctafil for sending it.


My pennies go in the same jar with all the other loose change. Every few months, I load it up and drag it to the bank where I keep my checking account. They have a machine that counts it up.

That service used to be free, now they charge three percent of the total which for some reason irritates me beyond all reason. I felt a lot better after watching John Oliver's take on pennies in his HBO show Last Week Tonight.

On the same episode, Oliver also presented a terrific essay on presidential candidates' responses to refugees but HBO did not make that video available. Someone else posted it to Youtube. Check here to see if the non-HBO vid is still available.


Some researchers got together and analized 150,000 high school year book photographs through the 20th century.

”They then grouped the portraits by decade and superimposed the images to produce an 'average' face for each period. This process revealed other 'average' features for each period such as hairstyle, clothing, style of glasses...”

But what stands out the most is how smiling (or not) has changed. Take a look:


“'These days we take for granted that we should smile when our picture is being taken,' say Ginosar and pals.

“And the data backs that up. The team developed an algorithm for determining the degree of lip curvature in the photographs and this showed a clear trend in increasing smile intensity over time.”

There is more interesting information about this study at Technology Review.


During the 40 years I lived in Manhattan, I didn't often shop at Macy's but when I did I was always charmed by the wooden escalators.

In a story at The New York Times this week, I learned that Macy's has been undergoing renovation for four years but they preserved those ancient escalators. It was a popular decision:

“'When I would tell people about the renovation,' Steven Derwoed, the senior vice president for store design and merchandising, said, 'without exception, the first thing they’d say was, “Please tell me you’re keeping the wooden escalators.”’”

Inexplicably, the Times did not include a video of the refurbished escalator but I tracked down an older one at for you.(Is there anything at all that isn't no the internet these days?)


Unless you've been under a rock for the past two weeks, you cannot have missed the hysteria from Republican presidential candidates about the U.S. taking in Syrian refugees. Here is how they do it in Canada:

Canada expects to resettle about 10,000 refugees before the end of this year along with another 15,000 by the end of February. Although policy is still being developed, Canada may accept only families, not single men unless they are homosexuals fleeing persecution. You can read more about that here.

Additional information here and here.

Among Americans, Canada has a reputation for being boring. I'd take that kind of boring here in the United States. Please. (Another hat tip to Canadian TGB reader, doctafil)


It has been 45 years since we first heard James Taylor sing Fire and Rain. Recently on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Taylor updated the song to include some of the things he's seen since 1970 and Colbert helps him out.

Take a look and thank reader Marian Methner for reminding me that this is worth including today.


Every month, People are Awesome publishes the best viral videos of amazing tricks, skills and stunts. Here is the November 2015 video:

There is a website where you can submit a video.


Okay, Thanksgiving has come and gone and we, in the United States anyway, are deeply into our relentless holiday season. You might as well just go with it because without leaving the country there is no way to escape.

To get us started here is the traditional annual Christmas advert from the U.K.'s well-known supermarket chain, Sainsbury's.

* * *

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.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015, Everyone

A SHORT NOTE: Before I get to the holiday part of today's story, let me mention that I will soon be posting the annual gift ideas for elders column. If you have a suggestion or more, please forward them to me via the "Contact" link at the top of the page. I will consider them all but no promises that all will be included.

If you have a personal blog you want me to link to with your suggestion, include the name and URL in your message. Deadline is midnight Pacific time on Saturday 28 November.

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In 2013 I vowed that due to my delight at rediscovering Arlo Guthrie's epic Thanksgiving fable, Alice's Restaurant, after the decade or two it lay somewhere in memory limbo, I would make the song the annual holiday anthem of TimeGoesBy.

As I noted that year, I was equally delighted to discover that with a couple of minor lapses, I still knew the entire monologue by heart. I can't say why but it gives me a great deal of pleasure to sing along for the entire 18 minutes, which I took the time to do (with gusto again this year) before readying this post.

Maybe you want to try that too.

It's a fine ol' song, don't you think.

A couple of weeks ago, Peter Tibbles – he of the Sunday Elder Music column here at TGB – emailed an early version of this now venerable tune, recorded live by Guthrie on some unknown date at Gerde's Folk City in Manhattan. It's obviously a work in progress and quite different from the final version - a rare treat to listen in on the development of a classic:

♫ Arlo Guthrie - Alice's Restaurant live at Gerde's Folk City

Just because I can and it's a holiday, I am giving myself a vacation from posting not only tomorrow, Thanksgiving itself, but Friday too. But I'll be back here on Saturday with the latest list of Interesting Stuff.

For everyone who honors me all year long by reading, commenting and/or generally hanging out here,


Old Obama in Malaysia

Even many old people deny it exists but ageism is a serious problem. In just one manifestation of its impact, age discrimination in the workplace begins as early as age 40 and picks up speed from there.

Often, when workers many years younger than retirement age are laid off, they never work again in their field. They end up in low paying jobs unrelated to their area of expertise and some never find another job at all. Here are the common results of those events:

They lose their homes because they can no longer afford the mortgage.

The kids are on their own to pay for college.

They can no longer afford health coverage.

Stress ends marriages.

Retirement savings are emptied for living expenses.

In what should have been their highest-earning years paying off the mortgage, building up Social Security and other retirement funds, they are instead forced to make much lower contributions (if they can do that at all), dramatically cutting their income for the rest of their lives.

As a result, many who were previously solid members of the middle class are consigned to an old age of poverty that would not have happened if the culture had allowed them to work a normal span of time.

Ageism is the last acceptable prejudice. Even with the common tragedies as detailed above, derogatory references and jokes about old age are easy laugh-getters and exist in all media – movies, television, internet, books, magazines, newspapers along with everyday conversation.

It is so ubiquitous that many people don't even notice the nasty jokes or the knee-jerk denials of age so casually tossed off and when it is pointed out to them, they think it's okay because it's always been that way.

Don't be so sensitive, people say – even old people – when anyone (like me) points out the problem. Just ignore them, they tell me never seeing beyond themselves the harm that is done to all old people by the constant use of derogatory language.

Last Friday during his trip to Asia, President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting with the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative in Malaysia. During the question-and-answer period, a student began thusly: “Since you are ageing toward a very senior life...”

You don't need to be told this caused a lot of laughter in the room. Obama got off a one-liner or two with the kid about his gray hair and mugged for the audience about being insulted. Finally, the young man finished his question:

”What do you want to see from young people like us in the future when you are old?”

Watch now how our president who, at age 54, is eligible for 50-plus discounts and retirement communities, handles that:

There he is, the leader of the free world at his charming best. Obama doesn't get accused of being smooth for nothin' and he's hard to resist.

But he uses his gift, in this case, to perpetuate one of our worst stereotypes (worst because so many refuse to believe it exists at all): that there's nothing good about being old and that it's an insult to be truthful about it. Then he uses the young man's honesty to take some friendly-sounding umbrage.

Friendly-sounding, but making it clear that he doesn't want to be tagged as old.

What chance do old people have to gain any respect if even the president disparages their appearance.

As the video ends abruptly, I don't know if Obama goes on to address the student's serious and important question but I suspect he does – it's in his nature. Whatever he says, however, the only part that was broadcast around the world on television and made any impact was his disdain and disrespect for old age.

The town hall was 90 minutes long and if you are up for it (I was not) you can see the whole thing here.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs within Songs

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.

* * *

Okay, that title is not strictly true. It should be songs that reference other songs. I wondered how many there'd be. More than enough for a column, I'm happy to say. I'm sure you know more of them, probably ones I omitted.

The first of them today is by THE AMAZING RHYTHM ACES.

Amazing Rhythm Aces

The Aces are one of the finest country rock bands, with the great singer and song writer Russell Smith who pretty much got the band together and keeps it going after all these years.

Their song is Amazing Grace Used to Be Her Favorite Song. I probably don't need to tell you which song they reference.

♫ The Amazing Rhythm Aces - Amazing Grace Used to Be Her Favorite Song

HARRY CHAPIN is mostly thought of as a bit of a folk singer. However, his song veers into the heart of rock & roll.

Harry Chapin

It's interesting that he'd do that as his song is set in 1912 and the song he mentions is Nearer My God to Thee. His song is Dance Band on the Titanic.

♫ Harry Chapin - Dance Band on the Titanic

I have used the next one a couple of times before in these columns but it's such a good 'un that I'm happy to use it again. I'm shameless that way.

The singer is RODNEY CROWELL.

Rodney Crowell

The song is I Walk the Line (Revisited). I think it's not too much of a stretch to figure out which song is referenced in that one either. He doesn't just reference it, it's pretty much played all the way through. So, this one really is a song within a song.

♫ Rodney Crowell - I Walk the Line (Revisited)

Another one I've used before is Sweet Soul Music. Indeed, I've written a whole column dedicated to it. The singer is ARTHUR CONLEY.

Arthur Conley

He mentions quite a few songs. I won't list them all, but one of these is Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett. Any of the others would have been worth an attribution, but I'll let you pick them up.

♫ Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music

Right, here is a group of singers who got together in one of their garages and decided to form a band. They called themselves the TRAVELING WILBURYS.

Traveling Wilburys

I'd better tell you their names as they are a bunch of complete nonentities and they need the exposure. There are five of them and their names are Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

These music wannabes sing End of the Line and the song they mention is Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.

♫ The Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line

VAN MORRISON has mentioned several songs over the years. I could have pretty much filled the column with them.

Van Morrison

I restricted myself to just one. That one is Cleaning Windows where he mentions Rolling Stone by the great Muddy Waters. He also mentions a bunch of other performers as well.

For those who like a bit of trivia about the artists, before he became a professional musician, one of Van's jobs was cleaning windows.

♫ Van Morrison - Cleaning Windows

The next song contains a reference to one of my favorites. The referencing song is by JOHN FOGERTY.

John Fogerty

His is Centerfield from the album of the same name. The song reference is Chuck Berry's Brown Eyed Handsome Man.

♫ John Fogerty - Centerfield

After appearing in the Wilburys, BOB DYLAN turns up on his own next, in self-referential mode.

Bob Dylan

He wrote and performed this one about his first wife Sara Lownds and he called it Sara. In this one, he sings that he was "stayin' up for days in the Chelsea Hotel writin' Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for you.”

♫ Bob Dylan - Sara

DIRE STRAITS were another group happy to mention their influences.

Dire Straits

I had a choice of songs from them I could have used but settled on Walk of Life. There are a few songs in this one but I'll just mention Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent as it's the first reference. I'll leave it to you to check out the rest.

♫ Dire Straits - Walk of Life

I'll end with the one I thought of first for this column and the singer is JOHNNY RIVERS.

Johnny Rivers

This is probably his best known song, Summer Rain. It refers to Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There are some who suggest that is really the album of the same name but even if it is, the song is on it so I'm happy with that.

♫ Johnny Rivers - Summer Rain

INTERESTING STUFF – 21 November 2015


As has become evident in the past few days, the xenophobia, hatred and racism among a large number of our politicians and presidential candidates has moved on from prudence to hysteria. A small, sad example.

”A Syrian refugee family, after waiting for three years in Jordan to be approved to come to the United States, was finally set to land in Indianapolis on Wednesday,” reported The New York Times.

“Instead, after Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana said on Monday that he would no longer accept Syrian refugees in his state, the family of three will be starting their new life in New Haven.”

In a followup to that story, The Times further reported:

”Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut on Wednesday personally welcomed a refugee family from Syria who had been diverted from Indianapolis to New Haven.”

In the current political frenzy and fear, Malloy is brave man. More than half the governors in the United States have announced they will, like Pence, refuse Syrian refugees. So much for Emma Lazarus.

Keep in mind that every Paris terrorist carried a European, not Syrian, passport.

Nothing good is happening here: Chris Christie says not even Muslim orphans should be allowed into the U.S. Donald Trump wants all Muslims to carry special identification (heil, HItler). And Ben Carson compared all Muslims to rabid dogs.

This irrational, deeply uninformed hatred won't be going away anytime soon. I don't fear Syrian refugees; I fear for democracy at the hands of these hateful bigots.


Soon after the Paris attacks, a mosque in the small Texas town of Pflugerville near Austin was smeared with feces and pages torn from a Qur'an. A seven-year-old boy shamed every one of our xenophobic politicians:

”Faisal Naeem, who sits on the mosque’s board, told BuzzFeed News he was giving interviews with local media outside the building on Monday when he noticed a little boy and his mom looking on.

“'I just thought they were watching on. This isn’t New York, so when there are a lot of TV cameras, people stop to look,' he said. 'But when I finished, the kid came over and gave me $20.'”

The boy's name is Jack Swanson and here is the report from channel KXAN:


Yes, it's a commercial for Thai life insurance company but it's lovely and we need stories like this to counter all the other stuff. (Thank you, Darlene Costner.)


For decades, the movies and, occasionally, television programs have thrilled us with individual jetpacks (I want one, I want one), but they were never real. Until now.

The one is this video is controlled, stable and, they say, sustainable for flight. Take a look:

You can read more at Gajitz.


Perhaps you noticed on Tuesday here that HBO removed the John Oliver video from viewing on outside websites and sent readers to see it on YouTube. That seems to have been true for his short pieces each week for a long time.

I am so grateful to HBO for making Oliver's feature essays available for viewing outside of YouTube and HBO.com each week and I'm holding my breath that they won't change that policy.

Here, from last Sunday's Last Week Tonight program is Oliver's take on the recent growth of gambling on fantasy sports. If, like me, you are not interested in sports and/or gambling, you might think this is not for you. As always with Oliver, not true.


So simple. So low tech. So effective. I can tell you for sure that it would never occur to me on my own.


We all know how awful airline travel has become. It's so terrible that it needs to be a matter of life and death these days for me to get on a plane.

Koren Shadmi is a Brooklyn based illustrator and cartoonist. His graphic novels have been published in France, Italy, Spain, Israel and the U.S. Recently, he posted his take on what passenger airline flight will become by 2050. Here are two images to get you started:



Why do I think airline executives are taking a serious look at this innovation? See the entire story and other illustrations at al Jazeera.


It is coming up on that time of year when many of us make annual donations to the charities and projects we like to support. It is also the time of year when we are assaulted daily with requests for donations and not a few are scams.

The Tampa Bay Times has done a lot of hard work to help us sort out the good good charities from the bad with their database of America's Worst Charities.

”America's worst charities look nothing like Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs or thousands of other charities, large and small, that are dedicated to helping the sick and needy,” the paper reports.

“The Times/CIR list of worst charities, meanwhile, is littered with organizations that exhibit red flags for fraud, waste and mismanagement.

“Thirty-nine have been disciplined by state regulators, some as many as seven times.

“Eight of the charities have been banned in one state. One was shut down by regulators but reopened under a new name.

“The nation's worst charities are large and small. Some are one-person outfits operating from run-down apartments. Others claim hundreds of employees and a half-dozen locations around the country. One lists a UPS mail box as its headquarters address.

“Several play off the names of well-known organizations, confusing donors.”

And that's just for starters. This report is an exhaustive and important piece of work. You can find the overview here and the list of terrible charities is here. And you can scroll down herefor a good set of rules to follow before deciding to donate.


Recently, a new sculpture was installed on the Brooklyn side of the East River in New York. If you see it from that side, it says Oy. From the Manhattan side, it's Yo. I love it.

Here's a news story about the sculpture and the artist.

* * *

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.

An Old Woman's “Runner's High”

Well, not exactly but it's just as good as far as I'm concerned. Let me explain.

About three years ago, I set out to lose the 40 pounds I had allowed myself to gain after I retired in 2004.

That extra weight was affecting my ability to function in even the most ordinary ways. For example, I could not vacuum the house in one go without a rest part way through nor carry all the groceries up the walk from the car. Even taking the trash to the bins was an effort that left me breathing hard.

Losing the weight, I determined, involved not just a better diet – healthy while taking in fewer calories than I expended. It would also require regular exercise too because overall fitness to get me through the rest of my life in as good shape as possible was the larger goal.

I am no good at team sports. I don't like them, I have no interest and as you can imagine from that, I was always the last to be chosen for required high school gym teams. It didn't matter to me even then; it's not something I ever cared about.

But I was and am good at calisthenics, ballet exercises, gymnastics, tai chi and I am familiar with the principles of fitness.

So with the help of Dr. Google, I put together a routine that involves strength work, cardio, flexibility and balance/core exercises. Because I can't afford the prices gyms charge these days, it had to be a routine I could do at home with nothing much more than a resistance band, hand weights and my body itself.

Along with the weight loss, this has done wonders for me, for my body and how I live. I hardly notice vacuuming, I climb stairs with nary a huff or puff and I can carry many pounds of groceries from the car in one go.

Without John Oliver-level profanity, however, I cannot express how much I dislike doing these exercises four days a week.

I have maintained the schedule by regularly reordering the routine, changing out or rearranging the individual exercises, finding new ones and increasing reps or weights as necessary to keep it difficult enough and vaguely interesting for 45 minutes.

In three years, I haven't wavered because once having achieved the weight loss and the increased fitness became manifest daily in my stamina and well-being, I am afraid to lose it.(A little fear in this case isn't bad.) Now, however, a new reason to keep going has emerged.

As I explained above, I have next to no interest in physical activity beyond getting from point A to point B. (Too bad – all this would be much easier if I did.) But I have long been curious about the phenomenon of “runner's high.” Web MD reports that some runners experience a euphoria,

"'...a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of discomfort or pain, and even a loss in sense of time while running,' says Jesse Pittsley, PhD, president of the American Society for Exercise Physiologists.”

That's something I would like to know about but since it was not/is not in my nature to take up running, it remained a mystery to me.

Then, about six weeks ago, after my usual morning workout and seemingly for no reason, I felt sensationally good. Maybe not “invincible” but amazingly energized both physically and mentally. My mood was high and all seemed extra-well with my world.

Nice, but I didn't much think about it until I realized it was happening after every workout.

I asked a 77-year-old friend who does a much heavier workout than mine, at a gym three days a week, about it. He couldn't say if it is related to runner's high but suggested I tell other elders in the “aging well” program I was then attending. It might give them inspiration to begin or continue an exercise program, he said.

Another friend who regularly ran long distances when he was younger said whatever I am feeling is definitely not runner's high. But I know that it is also definitely something good.

So although I won't experience runner's high, this will have to do and for me, it is a wonderful thing I look forward to.

Now, on those mornings when I say to myself, “Oh, you can skip the workout; who would know” (which is every workout day), I remember the “high” and get on with the routine.

Why this would happen suddenly after three years of regular workouts without it is as much a mystery to me as runner's high itself. But I'll take it. In addition to healthy behavior that keeps my body strong and flexible, I now have this bonus, feel-good outcome that some people take drugs - legal and not - to achieve. But I get it without effort even if I dislike the exercise sessions as much as I always have.

I'm telling you all this because the aging well program is finished and I agree with my friend that I should share this experience with someone. Today, you're it.

Does anyone here have any first hand experience with this phenomenon?

Is a Breakthrough in Longevity at Hand?

At least as early as Herodotus's era in the 5th century BCE, there have been tales of a fountain of youth. If only we could find it.

Now there is a group of scientists who are convinced they are tantalizingly close to doing so or, at least, slowing down aging enough that mankind would have many more years of healthy life than we have now.

...we have a really solid science,” says one of those researchers, “which...is uncovering mechanisms which modulate aging. We know it is possible, at least in mice, and so that means it should be possible in humans if we put our minds to it...

“Enough advances have been made in aging science to lead us to believe it is plausible, it's possible, it's been done for other species and there's every reason to believe it can be done for us.”

The National Geographic Channel is currently broadcasting a six-part documentary series titled “Breakthroughs,” each one of the six individual episodes exploring remarkable scientific discoveries. There is one on brain science, another about water, along with energy, pandemics, cyborg technology and – smack, dab in my public bailiwick of interest – longevity.

The quotation above is from that episode, The Age of Aging, which is directed and narrated by a person National Geo identifies as a “Hollywood visionary” - in this case, actor/director Ron Howard. Here he is describing his longevity documentary:

The program shows us half a dozen or so research projects that mostly share the goal of making us less sick at the end of life. One of the scientists, S. Jay Olshansky, labels their discoveries “a public health revolution.” He says there is now proof that the aging process can be modified so that humans can have a longer and healthier old age.

One of the projects has been studying certain centenarians who apparently carry a gene mutation that allows them to age more slowly than the rest of us in spite of some poor health habits. Here is a clip about that from the show:

Other researchers are working on designing medications that can disrupt the effects of aging.

For the past hundred years or so, we have been relatively successful in treating such diseases as influenza, tuberculosis and a few others. Science has not been as successful with the “big” diseases – cancer, heart attack, stroke, dementia, etc. But if instead, as Olshansky explains, aging itself can be slowed, all those diseases can be delayed simultaneously.

The idea is to create drugs that interrupt the aging processes and they have shown this to be possible in mice. Now the scientists are ready for human trials and the only barrier to that is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which traditionally has not seen aging as something that can be addressed with drugs.

To try to get the FDA on board to approve the trials they want, the researchers have enlisted the help of Senator Claire McCaskill who heads the Senate Committee on Aging and she has become an enthusiastic supporter, easily seeing the economic advantages to individuals, to the nation and to the government.

It is understandable how giddy the researchers are shown to be. In the history of the world, this is the closest anyone has gotten to a fountain of youth and if they are on the right track, the results will truly be revolutionary.

However, as breathtaking as the possibility is, there is nary a mention in the entire hour of the problems that became apparent to me immediately – issues at least as important as the discoveries themselves.

Who will get these drugs? Who will decide who gets them? What will the criteria be? What will they cost? And the biggest question of all?

There are already more people than planet Earth can sustain and nothing is being done to curb further growth.

It is one thing to bestow on humanity the miracle of a predictably healthy old age and I welcome it. But it is quite another to further increase the population of Earth by extending healthy life spans (of everyone? for how else could it be decided?) beyond current limits. This is anything but a trivial consideration and no one, not a single person in this documentary, mentions it.

Even if the "population bomb" it would create were not terrifying enough, I haven't even gotten to the difficulty we discussed here last week about the widespread ageist contradiction of shoving people out of the workforce before their time while simultaneously delaying retirement benefits.

These are only a few of the important questions for what is a potentially world-changing event. The Age of Aging will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday, 29 November at 9PM eastern, 8PM central time. It is definitely worth your time.

Hat tip to Chuck Nyren who blogs these days at Huffington Post

LAGNIAPPE: John Oliver's Epic Paris Rant

Lagniappe seems much too much a lightweight designation for today's post but I never imagined when it was invented here a month or so ago that it would be required for such a painful circumstance.

So let's just call this today, a TGB Extra. (For newcomers, I don't usually post a story on Tuesdays and Thursdays unless it seems exceptionally important. This falls into that category.)

My first thought when I learned the extent of the unspeakable attack on Paris last Friday is that it is their 9/11, and others in the media have since concurred. You can parse that comparison 16 ways from Sunday if you wish but it's close enough.

For the past few days I have fiddled around trying to work out a way to give us at this little blog our own forum to talk about this tragedy.

My thought was that a generation of people who have lived the larger portion of their lives without knowing terrorism might have different kinds of things to say than younger people who have never lived without the threat of it. It took John Oliver to resolve my dithering.

At the start of his Last Week Tonight program on HBO Sunday, he launched into an epic rant about the Paris attack.

Oliver perfectly mirrors my own outrage and sorrow but I'm pretty sure you'll find Oliver's profanity-laced tirade more acceptable from him than you would have from me and anyway, he is much funnier (yes, funny even in this) than I am.

There is a lot to be said, in the face of such horror as Paris, for just venting one's rage until it dissipates before moving on to something more productive.

Passing the Cultural Torch to the Next Generations: Sex

When I was in my early twenties in 1964, living in San Francisco, a woman named Carol Doda made worldwide headlines for dancing at the Condor Club in the North Beach area of the city with her breasts exposed.

She was the first woman to do that. There was a lot of tsk, tsking among the then-older and more conservative set but Doda kept dancing half naked and the topless craze was here to stay.

Three years earlier, comedian Lenny Bruce, who often performed at the Jazz Workshop, located on Broadway near Carol Doda's club, was arrested there for using the word “cocksucker.”

I can publish that word on this blog nowadays but that wasn't always so.

Case in point: Actually, I lived in Marin County and commuted by bus to work in the city. The morning after Bruce's arrest on obscenity charges, the story was front page news in The San Francisco Chronicle.

In the modesty of the times, the paper referred only to “a 10-letter word” for which he was arrested and I have been amused ever since to recall watching as one bus rider after another silently counted to 10 on his or her fingers to work out what Bruce had said. Of course, I was among the finger counters.

I recalled these two incidents last week when I read that Carol Doda died recently at age 78, reminding me how much American attitudes toward sex itself and representations thereof have changed in half a century.

When Doda first took off the top half of her costume, I was still wearing a girdle that together with a industrial-strength bra left everything to the imagination. “Nice” girls were not supposed to jiggle anywhere in those days.

Nice girls didn't have sex either until we were married. That is, we didn't admit to it except in whispers with our closest girl friends although “the pill” was about to change that.

In movies, sex was still only hinted at behind closed doors and on television, the bedroom set of such programs as Father Knows Best was always dressed with twin beds. No hinting about where those kids came from allowed.

And it goes without saying that even in San Francisco back then, homosexuality was the love that dare not speak its name, not out loud.

It's been different for a long time. Gays and lesbians can marry now and the few who still object are as much outliers as those who think they can repeal Obamacare.

Hookup culture is firmly established, at least among the young. Sexting is an accepted thing even, sometimes, with kids as young as 13 or 14. People of all ages email naked selfies to one another. And sex scenes in movies and certain television channels are only this much short of what we used to call pornography.

With the usual disclaimer for not harming anyone, I believe people should do whatever they want sexually. I really don't care although I will admit to sometimes being unsettled at what goes on publicly.

But people grow up now with much more relaxed sexual attitudes and beliefs than what prevailed in my youth. It's not my world anymore and generally, I think what has changed is a good idea compared to the widespread secrecy and ignorance in my generation back in the “olden days.”