Happy 40th Birthday, IBM PC!

Do you remember this?

photo of original IBM PC: keyboard, CPU, and monitor
Photo from Wikipedia Commons

We had one of these in the basement office, which my husband used for his business records. 

Flipboard has assembled a collection of articles about the IBM PC, which was first released on August 12, 1981:

Happy 40th Birthday, IBM PC!

Doesn’t all of this bring back memories? I especially like the article about the earliest software programs and where they are today (nowhere except in our memories) and the piece on the evolution of the early web browsers. We used Netscape and still reminisce fondly about it.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

On This Day, Aug. 26: 19th Amendment goes into effect – UPI.com

On Aug. 26, 1920, eight days after it was ratified, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect — giving women the right to vote.

Source: On This Day, Aug. 26: 19th Amendment goes into effect – UPI.com

Charlie Watts dead: Rolling Stones drummer passes at 80 – Los Angeles Times

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watt has died at the age of 80, according to his publicist.

Source: Charlie Watts dead: Rolling Stones drummer passes at 80 – Los Angeles Times

Don Everly, Older Brother in Groundbreaking Rock Duo, Dies at 84 – The New York Times

Last Week’s Links

What We Think We Know About Metabolism May Be Wrong

Generally accepted wisdom about metabolism and weight gain used to tell us that people began to put on weight in middle age as their metabolism slowed down. But new research suggests that we need to rethink that hypothesis. 

“By combining efforts from a half dozen labs collected over 40 years, [investigators] had sufficient information to ask general questions about changes in metabolism over a lifetime.” As for metabolism in middle age and after: “From age 20 to 60, it holds steady,” and “after age 60, it declines by about 0.7 percent a year.”

For Seniors Especially, Covid Can Be Stealthy

“With infections increasing once more, and hospitalization rising among older adults, health experts offer a timely warning: a coronavirus infection can look different in older patients.”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE FOREVER?

“Today, as humans continue to lust after any number of material and immaterial objects, scientists are researching radical life extension technology like never before. Amazing, right? Let’s see. Read on to learn about the great, the weird and the downright costly behind our quest for eternal existence.”

The usual caution pertains here: Be careful what you wish for.

“It’s Your Funeral!” So Throw Yourself the Best Going-Away Party Ever

book cover: It's Your Funeral! Plan the Celebration of a Lifetime--Before it's too Late

Gevera Bert Piedmont—who apparently hasn’t taken to heart the previous article—begins this book review with the statement “— sorry to break it to you — everyone is going to die.” The book under review is It’s Your Funeral! by Kathy Benjamin. The book’s subtitle is “Plan the celebration of a lifetime—before it’s too late.”

“If that sounds sad and depressing, I assure you, it is not,” Piedmont continues. “Benjamin makes it entertaining, educational and even funny at times.” She says the book contains a section where readers can “make notes on how they want to handle their own demise.”

4 Simple Phrases to Stop Anxious Thoughts

Everything I’ve been reading about the surging delta variant of COVID-19 suggests that we’re having to revise our earlier hope that we were emerging from the pandemic. If you’re experiencing anxious thoughts, licensed clinical social worker Hilary Jacobs Hendel has some advice for self-care.

Please do not hesitate to seek professional help if anxiety begins to overwhelm you.

Podcast: Traveling While Aging

Admission: I don’t listen to podcasts. If I’m going to spend time listening to something, it’s going to be an audiobook.

So I haven’t listened to this podcast. However, the subject may interest you. I’m pretty sure you can listen right from this webpage, without having to download anything.

Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory continues to be a hot news topic. Here’s a succinct explanation of what it is, how it developed, and how the term is currently being used “as a Procrustean epithet that can be made to fit any argument.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

The Sad Story of Nichelle Nichols

photo: Nichelle Nichols
Nichelle Nichols in 2013 (photo from Wikipedia)

For the past several weeks, my husband and I have been watching the original Star Trek series (1966-1969) on Netflix a few episodes at a time. We had watched it back in the early 1970s and loved it. I still occasionally recite this motto: “Everything I need to know about life I learned from the original Star Trek.”

The show was ground-breaking in so many ways, not the least of which was the character Lt. Uhura, portrayed by Nichelle Nichols.

I recently came across this article, and it broke my heart:

Inside the heartbreaking conservatorship battle of a ‘Star Trek’ legend

Last Week’s Links

Take Control of Your Home Screen

I don’t know about you, but my phone’s home screens have gotten out of control. I know this is mostly my own fault, but it also seems that whenever the phone’s OS upgrades, things get changed and moved around. So when I come across an article like this, I read it carefully.

Former Seattle classmates — friends for nearly a century — reunite in a pandemic

You know I just love stories like this. Eight men, all now 88 or 89 years old, got together for their annual reunion recently. Well, almost-annual reunion, because COVID-19 forced them to miss last year’s get-together.

Beware Free Wi-Fi: Government Urges Workers to Avoid Public Networks

Back when we used to be able to travel, I was always surprised at people who, in a foreign country, said they found a restaurant with free wi-fi so they could check their bank account.

I grew up thinking being Asian detracted from my masculinity. Here’s how America tells me and other Asian American men they’re not attractive

Jade Yamazaki Stewart, an intern at the Seattle Times, writes, “old stereotypes about Asian men persist.” Here he explains how those stereotypes affected him throughout his life and examines how they continue to show up in popular culture.

70 years ago Walter Plywaski fought for atheists’ right to become citizens – here’s why his story is worth remembering

Kristina M. Lee, a Ph.D. candidate in rhetoric at Colorado State University whose area of interest is religious and political rhetoric, tells the story of Walter Plywaski: “Almost 70 years ago, Plywaski fought for the right of atheists to become U.S. citizens – and won.”

Love, courage and solidarity: 20 essential lessons young athletes taught us this summer

I must admit that this year’s Olympics (really last year’s Olympics, as they were referred to as Tokyo 2020) had a surreal feel to them. Everything swirling around the games seemed to have so much more importance than the sporting events themselves. “More than anything, though, this summer has thrown a spotlight on the inspiring and surprising strength and character of young people like never before.”

‘Vaccine passports’ are taking off. How to prove your Covid-19 vaccination status on your phone

Here’s some information that might prove useful as proof of vaccination against COVID-19 “is increasingly becoming a ticket of entry into restaurants, gyms and indoor performances.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

After a Hard Youth, Mom Found Beauty in Making Art

“Here’s proof that it’s never too late for dreams to be realized.”

Candy Schulman recalls how her mother, a self-educated traditional 1950s housewife, “discovered her true talent in her 60s, leaving behind a permanent vision for the next two generations.”

At an extraordinary Olympics, acts of kindness abound

The only Olympic sport I truly enjoy watching is swimming. Other than that, more than the medal counts I care about the kindness counts:

A surfer jumping in to translate for the rival who’d just beaten him. High-jumping friends agreeing to share a gold medal rather than move to a tiebreaker. Two runners falling in a tangle of legs, then helping each other to the finish line.

The Surprising Benefits of Talking to Strangers

In the past decade and a half, professors have begun to wonder if interacting with strangers could be good for us too: not as a replacement for close relationships, but as a complement to them. The results of that research have been striking. Again and again, studies have shown that talking with strangers can make us happier, more connected to our communities, me

My Phone Doesn’t Realize My Mother Is Dead

Karolina Waclawiak expresses an understandable ambivalence over the painful memories and emotions that her phone’s algorithms churn up when they bring up her past photos. Waclawiak’s thoughts move beyond the case of her mother’s death to incorporate all the jumbled emotions we all felt over the past 18 months or so.

Who Invented the Pencil?

Here’s the answer to a question I didn’t know I needed answered until I saw this article: “According to NPR, a Swiss naturalist named Conrad Gessner created the first depiction of a pencil in 1565.”

‘Grandmother, Where’d You Get So Smart?’ ‘Living, Baby. Living.’

“A woman with little formal education taught her granddaughter an important lesson.”

Mandy Shunnarah marvels over how quickly and confidently her grandmother from rural Alabama, without a college education, continued throughout her life to conquer the daily newspaper’s crossword puzzles.

Nervous about getting back out there and making new friends? Here are some tips

The pandemic not only kept us from interacting with family and friends; it downright made us afraid to do so. Now that our world is beginning to open up once again, “how do you overcome these anxieties, get back out there and make new friends?”

Madalyn Amato, an intern at the Los Angeles Times, consulted some experts and offers their advice.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Rewriting My Mother’s Legacy of ‘Skinny Is Beautiful’

Lori S. Marks asks, “How do you learn to love your body when your mother hated her own? How do you gain a clear perception of yourself when your very thin mother studied herself in the hall mirror sideways several times a day?”

And perhaps even more important: “How do you value yourself outside of a number on the scale when your mother routinely weighed you, starting in early childhood, and that number dictated whether she was pleased with you? Or in my young mind, whether she loved me?”

Read how Marks has broken this pattern in raising her three daughters.

When Americans recall their roots, they open up to immigration

Four professors of political science and one of social science report on their research: “Our research suggests that reminding Americans of where they came from . . . creates empathy for immigrants, generating more favorable attitudes toward immigration.”

It seems so obvious. 

Mirrors Tell the Truth, but Not the Whole Story

“To take myself seriously as a writer, I had to embrace my age”

When she was younger, poet, novelist, short story writer, and essayist Stephanie Gangi thought of her writing as a hobby. Now she’s in her 60s and has embraced writing: “First novel at 60, forthcoming novel at 65, third in the works.” She now accepts that writing is no longer a hobby: “It is what I do and who I am.”

The result is that “In my work, my women think a lot about how to age gracefully even as they learn to recognize themselves in their new old faces.”

Casual relationships matter for older adults

Family relationships are important for everyone. But casual relationships are also important.

These relationships with people we hardly know or know only superficially are called “weak ties” — a broad and amorphous group that can include your neighbors, your pharmacist, members of your book group or fellow volunteers at a nearby school.

This CNN article reports that “Multiple studies have found that older adults with a broad array of “weak” as well as “close” ties enjoy better physical and psychological well-being and live longer than people with narrower, less diverse social networks.”

Why Older Women Are Opting for Longer Hair

“The shift signifies something larger than just a beauty trend.”

The pandemic kept us from visiting the hair salon. The result was that a lot of women, including us older ones, ended up with hair a lot longer than it had been in many years. Ann Zimmerman reports that many women who rediscovered the long hair of their youth and young adulthood “liked what they saw, [and] they decided to keep it that way.” 

Zimmerman writes, “the pandemic and a burgeoning new take on what aging means to a generation of women who have been pioneers in everything they have done has given them license to experiment.” Although she focuses on hair length here, I’ve talked with many women (I live in a retirement community) who stopped coloring their hair during the pandemic and have decided to continue to wear their gray hair proudly.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Northern lights: Alaska teen shocks with Olympic swim gold | The Seattle Times

Source: Northern lights: Alaska teen shocks with Olympic swim gold | The Seattle Times

I had been having mixed feelings about the Tokyo Olympics, but this story has changed my mind and reminded me why I watch sports. There’s a heart-warming follow-up story here.

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