Last Week’s Links

A brief history of Esperanto, the 135-year-old language of peace hated by Hitler and Stalin alike

I’ve heard of Esperanto but know very little about it. This article explains how and why it was created as “a way for diverse groups of people to communicate easily and peacefully.”

Pop Culture’s Problem with Middle-Aged Women

“Women of a certain age are still largely invisible and left out of our narratives—or else, she’s a very particular type of middle-aged woman.”

“I never expected that turning fifty would bother me,” writes Lisa Whittington-Hill. She admits that, recently, television and movies have begun to portray more roles for women in middle life. However:

pop culture still has a problem with middle-aged women—something I discovered when, in an attempt to avoid my midlife crisis, I decided to look more closely at this fraught relationship. They are still largely invisible and left out of the narrative or are depicted as wives and moms who are not worthy of their own story lines. Sometimes they are career women, but that also becomes their only identity, and their story line is focused on how they can’t have it all—whatever that all is. When middle-aged women are well represented, it also tends to be a particular type of woman: She is married or divorced and has kids. She is also typically white, straight, cisgender, and thin. All of these trends suggest there is a certain set of expectations of what women must have achieved by the time they reach middle age, and those who don’t conform are largely left out of our stories.

How a Mormon Housewife Turned a Fake Diary Into an Enormous Best-Seller

“‘Go Ask Alice’ sold millions of copies and became a TV movie, but its true provenance was a secret.”

Casey Cep tells the story of Go Ask Alice, first published in 1971. The author was listed as Anonymous, and the story described how the narrator (also unnamed) spiraled down a drug-hazed life after unknowingly drinking a bottle of Coke spiked with LSD at a party.

Cep describes how the book became a best seller, its popularity fueled by the war on drugs as well as by the very controversy its publication created. 

25 Places to Catch a Bit of Baseball History

“Pick up some peanuts and Cracker Jack for a trip through stadiums, museums, and other sites celebrating the old ball game.”

If you live in or will be traveling to anywhere in the eastern half of the United States, here are some suggestions for sites to visit if, like me, you’re watching the build-up toward the postseason. Go Mariners!

How Polio Crept Back Into the U.S.

“U.S. public health agencies generally don’t test wastewater for signs of polio. That may have given the virus time to circulate silently before it paralyzed a New York man.”

I remember being ushered out of my second-grade classroom and lined up along the hallway, where the school nurse progressed up the line giving each of us a shot. I also remember the chilling photographs of rooms filled with iron lungs, each housing a patient paralyzed by polio: “At its peak in 1952, polio killed more than 3,000 Americans and paralyzed more than 20,000.”

Because of those memories, this report from ProPublica terrifies me. Its implications go well beyond a small threat of polio. The emergence of new viruses such as COVID-19 as well as the controversy over vaccination itself have created a situation that could well affect how we deal with the possibility of future worldwide epidemics. 

One last trip: Gabriella Walsh’s decision to die — and celebrate life — on her own terms

After learning that cancer, which had spread from her breast to bones throughout her body, left her with six to eight months to live, Gabriella Walsh didn’t want to extend her life, “but to prioritize the quality of the time she had left.” She decided “to pursue California’s End of Life Option Act, a law that took effect six years ago.”

According to the article, “California one of only 10 states, as well as the District of Columbia, to permit medical aid in dying.” But, author Marisa Gerber acknowledges, “the measure still has many vocal detractors.”

After discussing Gabriella Walsh’ personal history along with medical and legal issues, Gerber covers Walsh’s final month. I’ve never read a more sensitive, touching narrative.

Alexa Could Diagnose Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Conditions—Should It?

“Digital personal assistants could be equipped to diagnose cognitive issues using speech, though the ethics are debatable.”

Joanna Thompson writes:

We can all agree that Alexa’s tendency to eavesdrop is, at times, a little creepy. But is it possible to harness that ability to improve our health? That’s the question that researcher David Simon and his coauthors sought to answer in a recent paper published in Cell Press.

Simon says, “Technologies like this are coming. And I think they’re coming faster than the law is equipped to address in a complete way.” He urges policymakers to start now weighing the legal and ethical issues of privacy and consent alongside the possibile benefits of early diagnosis.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Tony Dow, Big Brother Wally on ‘Leave It to Beaver,’ Dies at 77

Tony Dow, who became a star at 12 as Wally Cleaver, the barely teenage older brother on the popular 1950s and ’60s comedy series “Leave It to Beaver,” died on Wednesday at his home in Topanga, Calif. He was 77.

Joni Mitchell Reclaims Her Voice at Newport

Lindsay Zoladz writes in The New York Times that “the past two-plus years of seemingly unending illness, sacrifice and loss have left so many people hungry for stories of resilience, hard-won strength and new beginnings.”

Joni Mitchell, 78, stunned attendees of the Newport Folk Festival (and the countless people who have since watched viral cellphone videos of the event) when she performed in public for the first time since her 2015 brain aneurysm, playing her first full-length live set since 2000.

Once again, Joni Mitchell gives us all a reason to live

Los Angeles Times columnist Mary McNamara writes:

Mitchell, 78, who has spent years recovering from a brain aneurysm, sang, played guitar and proved there is a reason for social media to exist. Most of us were nowhere near Rhode Island when this miracle occurred, but thanks to video posted to YouTube and shared widely through every media platform available, we all got to start our week watching Joni Mitchell live, performing “Summertime,” “The Circle Game” and most especially “Both Sides Now.”

Here’s why Joni Mitchell’s performance at the Newport Folk Festival is so incredible

And Vanessa Romo, reporting for NPR, marvels at Joni Mitchell’s performance because is remarkable because, after the brain aneurysm, Mitchell had to learn to speak, walk, and play the guitar all over again. 

 The Case for Age Limits in American Politics

“We’ve always had a minimum age to serve in Congress. How about a max?”

“It’s not that older folks, who make up a significant chunk of the American population, shouldn’t be properly represented in the halls of power. It’s that they’re way overrepresented, and it is bending the trajectory of our national life. The American story has been crowded out by the story of the baby-boomer generation,” writes Jack Holmes for Esquire

At 79, Biden Is Testing the Boundaries of Age and the Presidency

In The New York Times, Peter Baker looks specifically at President Biden concerning the question of age and politicians: “If he mounts another campaign in 2024, Mr. Biden would be asking the country to elect a leader who would be 86 at the end of his tenure, testing the outer boundaries of age and the presidency.”

Lynne Tillman’s Solitary, Raw Memoir of Caring for Her Mother

“53 million Americans are caregivers to a family member. How can an experience so common so often remain in the shadows?”

Anna Altman looks at the situation of “the sandwich generation”: “as a culture, in spite of the fact that, as of 2020, some 53 million Americans consider themselves caregivers to a family member, we continue to have a fairly paltry understanding of what it looks like to care for one’s aging parents.”

Altman focuses on the memoir Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence by Lynne Tillman, “a book-length essay about the experience of caring for her intelligent, frustrated, withholding, competitive, sometimes cruel mother who, at 86, is suddenly and mysteriously changed and utterly dependent.”

Tillman, Altman writes, “wants anyone in this predicament to be given grace and compassion: ‘I want to say about this situation: It is impossible to get it completely right.’”

The Aging Student Debtors of America

“In an era of declining wages and rising debt, Americans are not aging out of their student loans—they are aging into them.”

In The New Yorker, Eleni Schirmer reports “Americans aged sixty-two and older are the fastest-growing demographic of student borrowers. Of the forty-five million Americans who hold student debt, one in five are over fifty years old. Between 2004 and 2018, student-loan balances for borrowers over fifty increased by five hundred and twelve per cent.”

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

How the Sony Walkman changed everything

Sarah Todd looks at the legacy of the Sony Walkman personal cassette player, which was introduced on July 1, 1979: “the Walkman had a lasting impact, precipitating the rise of MP3 players, and accompanying headphones that allow us to revel in our own auditory worlds anytime, anywhere—for better and for worse.”

Sony cassette recorder

TCM-100B

Cassette Recorder (1978)

“Pressman.” A model that was popular among businessmen as the cassette recorder enabled them to take voice memos and operate it with one hand: record, playback, fast forward, rewind, cue, review, and pause controls were all logically arranged. It also incorporated a skim reading function that played back at 1.5x normal speed. This model was the basis for the first Walkman®— released a year after the launch of this product.

Source: Sony

She Inspired ‘A League of Their Own.’ At 95, She’s Far From Done.

“Maybelle Blair is still dedicated to including women and girls in baseball. And she still loves the “clicketyclack” sound of baseball cleats on her feet.”

From the New York Times, a profile of Maybelle Blair, “one of more than 600 women to join the baseball league, created in 1943 in response to World War II.”

The league folded in 1954 and was brought back to life in the 1992 movie “A League of Their Own.” Amazon Prime will have its own version in a new TV series under the same title in August.

Vietnam ‘Napalm Girl’ gets final burn treatment in Florida 50 years later 

“‘I heard the noise, bup-bup bup-bup, and then suddenly there was fire everywhere around me and I saw the fire all over my arm,’ Kim Phuc said Tuesday about the 1972 bombing.”

Known around the world as “Napalm Girl,” Kim Phuc was just 9-years-old when she was photographed running away after a napalm bomb struck her village in Vietnam in June 1972.

Now 50 years later, Phuc has received her final round of treatment for the pain and scars she suffered that day.

One protein seen as ‘critical factor’ in development of Alzheimer’s disease

It’s always encouraging to see a story such as this one: “A new study suggests how a protein called tau drives the development of Alzheimer’s disease, and researchers anticipate this could lead to more targeted treatments and earlier diagnoses.”

The Six Forces That Fuel Friendship

One of the issues older adults face is the loss of friends caused by moving for retirement and by a decreasing circle of contemporaries. In this summation of The Friendship Files for The Atlantic, Julie Beck writes, “I’ve spent more than three years interviewing friends for “The Friendship Files.” Here’s what I’ve learned.”

Lawmakers consider a residents’ ‘bill of rights’ for seniors in independent living facilities

Independent living facilities for older adults are not subject to the same regulation as assisted living facilities.

A disagreement between residents at a Lacey senior living facility and their management has led some state lawmakers to consider legislation that would create a residents’ bill of rights for senior citizens living in independent facilities. 

“The number of seniors is like a silver tsunami and as you look around, there are new facilities being built everywhere,” Rep. Laurie Dolan, D-Olympia, said. “But because there’s no coordination that facilities have to do the same kinds of things, it’s sort of like the Wild West right now.”

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Old not Other

Kate Kirkpatrick, tutorial fellow in philosophy and Christian ethics at Regent’s Park College of the University of Oxford, and Sonia Kruks, Danforth Professor of Politics Emerita at Oberlin College in Ohio, write “In Western societies, the shocked realisation that we are growing old often fills us with alarm and even terror.”

The two scholars examine Simone de Beauvoir’s “magisterial study of the topic [old age], La vieillesse (1970) – translated in the UK as Old Age, and in the US as The Coming of Age (1972)” for answers to the question:

What, then, should a society be like, so that all may flourish in their last years of life?

Creating an Aging-Friendly Space

We hear a lot about “aging in place,” a movement to help older adults remain in their homes as long as possible. Here AARP offers offers some advice on how to prepare your home “for your senior years.”

What Good Are Our Memories If We Never Share Them?

“Esther Cohen considers the importance of preserving the experiences we recall, by writing them down and sharing them.”

Scholar and activist ANGELA DAVIS has spent more than 50 years working for social justice. This summer, society started to catch up

This moment is a conjuncture between the COVID-19 crisis and the increasing awareness of the structural nature of racism. Moments like this do arise. They’re totally unpredictable, and we cannot base our organizing on the idea that we can usher in such a moment. What we can do is take advantage of the moment.

Angela Davis

Paul McCartney turns 80: a look back

A pictorial review of the musical career of Sir Paul McCartney in celebration of his 80th birthday.

Dorothy E. Smith, Groundbreaker in Feminist Sociology, Dies at 95

“Starting in the 1960s, she sought to re-center her discipline on the experiences of women, people of color and other marginalized groups.”

I had not heard of Dorothy E. Smith, “a feminist scholar and sociologist whose extensive criticism of her own field led her to establish groundbreaking theories and sub-disciplines that pushed sociology away from its foundations as a male-dominated, male-centered endeavor.” 

11 Romances Featuring Older Couples

I haven’t read any of these novels, but I appreciate the fact that someone—anyone—is interested in focusing on the topic of Older Adults in Literature.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

‘Napalm Girl’ at 50: The story of the Vietnam War’s defining photo

Though officially titled “The Terror of War,” the photo is better known by the nickname given to the badly burned, naked 9-year-old at its center: “Napalm Girl”.

50 years after ‘Napalm Girl,’ myths distort the reality behind a horrific photo of the Vietnam War and exaggerate its impact

W. Joseph Campbell, Professor of Communication Studies at American University School of Communication, examines the legacy of the famous photo.

Microsoft to retire Internet Explorer browser and redirect users to Edge

Microsoft has announced it will kill off its much-maligned legacy internet browser Internet Explorer close to 27 years after it graced desktop computers in 1995.

From 15 June, the desktop app will be disabled and users will be redirected to Microsoft’s Edge browser instead.

The More I Wrote, The More I Remembered: Q & A with Laura L. Engel

In 1967, a teenager’s parents drop her off at a home for pregnant unwed women in New Orleans, heartbroken and ashamed at the scandal their daughter has brought upon them. In You’ll Forget This Ever Happened: Secrets, Shame, and Adoption in the 1960s, Laura L. Engel movingly recounts her unsuccessful struggle to keep her baby against the implacable social forces of the era.

I’m nearly 60. Here’s what I’ve learned about growing old so far

“What have I learned about what it’s really like to get old? Not a lot, but here it is. I thought I’d better write it down before I forget it,” writes Tim Dowling.

An endearing mixture of humor and wisdom.

Watergate at 50: System worked in ousting Nixon, but lack of reform led to Trump

UPI examines history and how Nixon lead to Trump.

A Fast Way to See If You’re Wise

We’ve all heard some variation of “with age comes wisdom.” What exactly is wisdom, and how do we know if we have it?

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

 It’s Pride Month. Here’s what you need to know

From CNN, a look at the origin and history of Pride Month.

What’s It Like?: Joining the Peace Corps at 80

“Veta Jacqulin Talmadge recalls her time as a volunteer in Lesotho, Africa.”

Got long Covid? Seniors should prepare to go slow

“Identifying long Covid in older adults with other medical conditions is tricky,” said Dr. Nathan Erdmann, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Heersink School of Medicine. Failing to do so means older Covid survivors might not receive appropriate care.

Here are some suggestions for older adults who “don’t feel well weeks after becoming ill with the virus.”

Can Protein Powders Help Aging Muscles?

“Older adults typically need more protein than younger people. Here’s how to ensure you’re getting enough.”

Advice from the New York Times.

During the Omicron Wave, Death Rates Soared for Older People

“Last year, people 65 and older died from Covid at lower rates than in previous waves. But with Omicron and waning immunity, death rates rose again.”

Ann Turner Cook, original Gerber baby, dies at 95

The Associated Press reports “Ann Turner Cook, whose cherubic baby face was known the world over as the original Gerber baby, has died.” The famous drawing of her “became the company’s trademark in 1931 and has been used in all packaging and advertising since.”

Reviewer Melissa Wuske Interviews Gillian Ranson, Author of Front-Wave Boomers: Growing (Very) Old, Staying Connected, and Reimagining Aging

According to Gillian Ranson, “there’s no such thing as a fail safe plan to growing old, but there’s a few adjustments you can make that will have a positive effect.”

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

‘You can fake anything on the internet’: Professors host day to teach WA students to combat misinformation

Seattle-area students participated in learning to examine information found on the internet. Some of the lessons they learned could benefit us older folks as well.

Excessive napping could be a sign of dementia, study finds

CNN reports on research results recently published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association: “Elderly adults who napped at least once a day or more than an hour a day were 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who did not nap daily or napped less than an hour a day.”

Love, Loss, and Sensory Memories

This article on the several different types of sensory memory helps explain how “sensory memories of a lost loved one may become activated during everyday activities.”

Our Brains Want the Story of the Pandemic to Be Something It Isn’t

Two years of living with the coronavirus has been spirit-depleting for obvious reasons, but this weariness has been compounded by the fact that the pandemic has defied our attempts to snap it into a satisfying story framework. . . . The coronavirus’s volatile arc has thwarted a basic human impulse to storify reality—instinctively, people tend to try to make sense of events in the world and in their lives by mapping them onto a narrative. If we struggle to do that, researchers who study the psychology of narratives told me, a number of unpleasant consequences might result: stress, anxiety, depression, a sense of fatalism, and, as one expert put it, “feeling kind of crummy.”

These Ripped-From-the-Headlines Dramas Are Taking Over TV This Spring

“a surprising number of this season’s dramas are based on real events and real people,” and some of them even feature getting-older actors.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

The new Golden Girls: Baby boomers are moving in together to save money

In 1987 Betty White told an interviewer for NPR that the older women in the hit TV show Golden Girls lived together not for economic reasons but for social ones, namely companionship. Although loneliness and social isolation remain crucial problems as people age, economic necessity is now forcing many to look for a roommate.

Soo Youn reports for The Washington Post:

Faced with escalating home prices and rents in tight housing markets, as well as careers or earnings curtailed by age or the pandemic, some boomers are looking to share their homes. Enter the boommates.

The article includes references to nonprofit, commercial, and municipal programs that help older adults looking for shared housing.

Margaret Atwood is not your ‘elderly icon’ or ‘witchy granny.’ She’s better than that

Carolyn Kellogg profiles Canadian author Margaret Atwood: “Audiences want to hear from the 82-year-old author whose fiction foresees the rise of a patriarchal fascist state and cataclysmic environmental collapse.”

The piece centers on Atwood’s recently published book Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces, 2004 to 2021.

Eleven Over Sixty: A Reading List of Later in Life Debuts

Kathleen Stone recently published her first book, They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men. “With a career in law behind her and over 60 herself, she was thrilled to discover 11 other writers who debuted between 60 and 93 years of age.”

Al Pacino on ‘The Godfather’: ‘It’s Taken Me a Lifetime to Accept It and Move On’

“Fifty years later, the actor looks back on his breakthrough role: how he was cast, why he skipped the Oscars and what it all means to him now.”

In this interview with Dave Itzhoff, Al Pacino, now 81, recalls “making ‘The Godfather,’ the weight of its legacy and why he never played another film character like Michael Corleone after it.”

Denzel Washington tackles Shakespeare and life’s fourth quarter with grace

Denzel Washington has been one of my favorite actors for a long time. I regret that I haven’t yet seen him and Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of Macbeth, which is still available only on the streaming service Apple TV+.

I don’t read many celebrity-lifestyle pieces, but I’m glad I read this one, in which the 67-year-old Washington talks with Glenn Whipp, film and television critic for the Los Angeles Times. They talk about the Bible, Shakespeare, music, and preparing for life’s fourth quarter:

The only way to get overtime is doing the work now. If life has four quarters — zero to 20, 20 to 40, 40 to 60, 60 to 80 — you’re about to enter the fourth quarter. Anything after 80 is overtime.” He pauses, then reconsiders. “This is a sliding scale now that I’ve passed 65. Let’s say, 65 to 85. But the principle remains: You prepare for war in times of peace.”

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Older people in Ukraine want peace

HelpAge International has been working in Ukraine since the conflict began, providing support to older people in the east of the country. There are 17 HelpAge staff in Ukraine, most of whom are in the east. Almost all the locations where HelpAge operates are within the five-kilometre demarcation line in Ukrainian government-controlled territory. Some communities are located on the very line of contact.

After talking to older people in Ukraine, HelpAge International reports that they “all want one thing – peace, and to see their children and grandchildren from whom they have been separated for so long.”

At 83, Here Are Things I’d Like to Do Before I Reach 100

Annie Korzen just turned 83. Since “Living until 100 is no longer an impossible dream,” she here offers her “bucket list of things I am raring to do and things that I would never, ever do.”

How lockdown loneliness is still impacting our mental health

“The worst of the pandemic might be over, but we’re still learning about the effects of lockdown on mental health.”

This article reports that “loneliness has hit young people the hardest,” but social scientists have long known that social isolation can also have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of older adults. 

Niellah Arboine reports that “now nearly two years on since the first nationwide lockdown [in the U.K.], and even with restrictions lifted, we’re still feeling the consequences.”

You Are Not Your Traumas. But Here’s How to Write About Them

Many people use the time available after retirement to write about their lives, either for their families, for publication, or for themselves. But most people’s lives contain some kind of trauma.

Traumatic experiences can be so intense they hijack the brain. Some defy language. Sitting with them for too long can trigger responses that feel a lot like pots boiling over. Do this often, and you might snuff out the passion fueling your project.

Here Lisa Cooper Ellison, an editor and writing coach with an Ed.S. degree in clinical mental health counseling, offers some advice on how to approach the difficult task of writing about trauma.

How to support a struggling friend

We’ve all had the experience of sitting with a friend who’s experiencing a problem—“from a friend burning the food at their dinner party, to struggling with the loss of a loved one”—and not known what to do, what to say, how to react, how to help. 

Elise Kalokerinos, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Melbourne, advises that providing support is a skill that can be learned. Moreover, giving social support benefits both the recipient and the giver. Here she explains :five strategies to help you provide more effective emotional support to those who are struggling.”

Watergate: The Scandal That Never Goes Away

Douglas Brinkley examines the Watergate era in a review of the recently published book Watergate: A New History by Garrett M. Graff.

Words: Technologies of Power

In the face of censorship efforts in China and here in the United States, Flynn Coleman, international human rights lawyer and author of A Human Algorithm writes:

Words are technologies of power. They are life rafts in the seas of a terrifying, miraculous, complex world. They can be earth-shattering, hilarious, and uncomfortable. Books are the conduit to what Atticus Finch tells us in To Kill A Mockingbird (a frequently banned book) about people: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Op-Ed: The first treatment for Alzheimer’s taught us some hard lessons

The Food and Drug Administration’s surprise approval of Aduhelm for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease last year was a mess on practically every level. Three agency advisors resigned, and skeptical doctors such as myself were left to advise patients — all desperate for hope — that, yes, it is a treatment option but, no, we have no idea whether it will work.

And by the way, it is extraordinarily expensive.

In this opinion piece Keith Vossel, director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA, argues that “Because this was the first drug ever prescribed to fight the progression of Alzheimer’s, it revealed just how much work the medical community still needs to do to prepare itself to treat Alzheimer’s patients, not just study them.”

Vossel explains the need for the creation of a large network of clinicians qualified to treat Alzheimer’s patients and of facilities where those patients can be treated, along with support systems such as transportation to and from those facilities. He also emphasizes that it’s important to work on those preparations now if researchers are to adquately evaluate the “new drugs on the horizon” for treatment.

The Surprising Science of How Feelings Help You Think

Recent developments in neuroscience have revealed how little we really know about what’s going on in our brains. In particular, new research is highlighting the role that our feelings play, often subconsciously, in affecting our behaviors. No matter how rational or objective we might think we’re being, we’re always under the influence of how happy, or sad, or anxious, or even hungry we are. . . . a better understanding of the emerging science of emotions can help us become more aware of just how much our emotions affect our thinking.

GQ features an interview with Leonard Mlodinow about his latest book, Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

New technologies, treatments could slow vision loss from macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration remains a leading cause of vision loss in the United States, but new advancements could help manage and, in some cases, prevent its devastating symptoms, experts told UPI recently.

The article discusses possible improvements in treatment for the 13 million Americans, most of whom are older adults, who suffer from the disease.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

The COVID Strategy America Hasn’t Really Tried

“The clearest way to reduce deaths is to push to vaccinate more of the elderly—yes, still!”

Sarah Zhang reports in The Atlantic: “even though America’s vaccination and booster rates look better in the older groups compared with the young, they are still too low. As a result, deaths in the United States are still too high.”

Category: Health

How to get better at making every type of decision

Allie Volpe describes certain human biases that can complicate the making of decisions, particularly decisions about complex or life-altering questions. She also offers concrete suggestions about how to deal with these biases and how to manage the decision-making process.

Category: Mental Health

The Dog Breeds That Are a Woman’s Best Friend

“Especially when one lives alone.”

Because men generally die at a slightly younger age than women, many women face a period of widowhood. Social scientists have long known that having a pet to care for can reduce feelings of loneliness or depression for widowed people, either male or female. 

When my husband and I were looking at various retirement communities in preparation for our retirement relocation, something I noticed was the number of older adults out walking their dogs. This article, though emphasizing women, provides some advice appropriate for either men or women looking to take on a pet.

I have one consideration to add that this article doesn’t mention. Most retirement communities I’m familiar with allow “small pets.” If you anticipate moving into such a community, I’d advise you choose one of the smaller breeds described here. A boxer, golden retriever, or mastiff probably won’t be welcome in a much down-sized living situation.

Or maybe you’d rather consider a cat?

Category: Assisted Living, Retirement

There Will Be No Post-Covid

Charles M. Blow, an opinion columnist for the New York Times, expresses something I’ve thought for quite a while now: As much as we’d all like to get back to normal, normal won’t ever be the same again, and we are going to have to learn to live with that reality.

Or, as Blow puts it: :the America we knew ended in 2019. This is a new one, scarred, struggling to its feet, dogged by moral and philosophical questions that on one hand have revealed its cruelty and on the other have forced it into metamorphosis.”

Category: Health, Personal

Activist Learning: How Anti-Vietnam War Academics Reinvented the Strike

The escalation of the Vietnam War in 1965 brought about the creation of a new form of protest—the teach-in. It was so effective a vehicle for dissent that the academic community quickly became the main source of opposition to the war. Though it was later eclipsed—notably in the media and, thus, the popular mind—by younger noisier protests, for about a year and a half the nation’s faculties, with the assistance of graduate students and some undergraduates, provided the leadership and the intellectual framework for the growing challenge to the escalating conflict. An initially small group of professors literally taught the rest of the country why the war was wrong.

This excerpt from The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s by Ellen Schrecker brought back memories for me. I was a student at Boston University, a very politically active campus, from 1966 to 1970. 

Categories: History, Personal

Her dad died. So her favorite NFL star took her to the father-daughter dance.

“Philadelphia Eagles player Anthony Harris flew across the country to escort his 11-year-old fan to the event”

Amid all the incivility and protest, I hope we take a moment to appreciate and publicize stories such as this.

Category: Personal

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

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