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

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

‘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

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

Last Week’s Links

Michael Lang, a Force Behind the Woodstock Festival, Dies at 77

“He and his partners hoped their weekend of “peace and music” would draw 50,000 attendees. It ended up drawing more than 400,000 — and making history.”

Even if you weren’t there, you probably remember this.

Ronnie Spector, ’60s girl-group icon who sang ‘Be My Baby,’ dies at 78

We’ve lost another voice from those heady music days of the 1960s:

Ronnie Spector, whose towering voice propelled indelible early 1960s hit records including “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain,” died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer. She was 78.

A taste for sweet – an anthropologist explains the evolutionary origins of why you’re programmed to love sugar

I have a notorious sweet tooth. But apparently it’s not my fault.

Medicare Proposes to Cover Aduhelm Only for Patients in Clinical Trials

Here’s a follow-up to a news story included in last week’s links (the second story down).

Your attention didn’t collapse. It was stolen

In an excerpt from his book Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention, Johann Hari explains: “Social media and many other facets of modern life are destroying our ability to concentrate. We need to reclaim our minds while we still can.”

Your biological age may be different from your real age. A new institute at Northwestern plans to explore the issue.

The Potocsnak Longevity Institute, a new organization at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Illinois, U.S.A., is opening this month. It “will focus on research related to aging, and on treating patients suffering from its effects.”

New Research Reveals How Alzheimer’s Progresses in the Brain

This article reports on an October 2021 study from the University of Cambridge that “sheds new light on how Alzheimer’s disease progresses in the brain, with implications for future treatments and prevention strategies.”

COVID-19 causes mobility, physical declines in older adults, study finds

News from United Press International (UPI):

Many adults age 50 years and older sickened with COVID-19 experience declines in mobility and the ability to perform day-to-day physical activities up to eight months after infection, a study published Wednesday [January 12, 2022] by JAMA Network Open found.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Students’ Right to Protest at School Was Affirmed By Tinker v. Des Moines

This piece from Teen Vogue is from a series “in which we unearth U.S. history you may not have learned in school.” Most of us who hang out on this blog also probably didn’t learn about this topic in school—because we lived it. 

This look at “the landmark Supreme Court decision, Tinker v. Des Moines [1969], which affirmed students’ right to free speech,” includes some reminiscences by Mary Beth Tinker, the student originally suspended from school for wearing a black armband in protest of the Vietnam War.

Decision Looms That Could Determine Fate of Alzheimer’s Drug

Federal officials are wrestling with a decision that could go a long way toward determining the future of the controversial new Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, and whether significant numbers of patients use it.

In January, Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people 65 and over, plans to issue a preliminary decision on whether it will cover the expensive medication. The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Aduhelm in June has drawn fierce criticism because clinical trials showed the drug had significant safety risks and unclear benefit to patients.

Abducted son finds family by drawing map of village he last saw aged four

Here’s another one of those amazingly heartwarming stories I find so satisfying:

Thirty years ago, when Li Jingwei was four years old, a neighbour abducted him from his home village in China’s Yunnan province and sold him to a child trafficking ring.

Now he has been reunited with his mother after drawing a map of his home village from his memories of three decades ago and sharing it on a popular video-sharing app in the hope that someone might be able to identify it.

Kraken fan Nadia Popovici lauded for pointing out Canucks equipment manager Brian Hamilton’s cancerous mole during game

And here’s yet another such story. This one got a lot of publicity in my local area (Seattle, WA, USA), but in case it didn’t make the news where you live, you can read about it here.

 8 Google Maps Hacks to Use on Your Next Trip

I always enjoy learning helpful ways to use current technology, so this article caught my eye. One point to note: You can use Google Maps to find where you parked your car, even if you’re right in your own neighborhood rather than on an actual trip.

THE STORY OF: The Cabbage Patch Kids Dolls

Do you remember scouring store shelves back in the early 1980s hoping to snag a Cabbage Patch Kid for your child? Here’s the complete history of the phenomenon, which is way more complicated that I could have ever imagined.

And you might be truly surprised, as I was, to learn that there is STILL an official Cabbage Patch Kids website, where, for a significant investment, you can order one for your very own.

Does Wisdom Really Come from Experience?

Rachel Syme, a staff writer for The New Yorker, discusses the podcast 70 Over 70, which aims to feature 70 people who have passed their 70th birthday.

“As with any interview show, the strength of each episode depends on the guest. It’s not enough that someone is simply long in the tooth; he or she must also be self-aware about what being “old” means, attuned to the delicate interplay between aging and regret, mortality and joy, irrelevance and freedom.”

I haven’t listened to the podcast myself, but there’s enough written description here to let you decide whether you want to track it down.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

The Year in 41 Debates

From The New York Times:

Is America no longer governable? Can psychedelics cure us? What’s in a Subway tuna fish sandwich? This December, Times Opinion is looking back at the most important — and absurd — debates of 2021.

Serious cognitive problems see abrupt drop among older people, study says. Here’s why

Katie Camero reports on the results of a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease:

There was an “abrupt decline” in the percentage of older Americans reporting serious problems with concentration, memory and decision making over a decade — particularly among women, according to a new study. . . .

From 2008 to 2017, the percentage of adults ages 65 and older in the U.S. with serious cognitive issues dropped from 12.2% to 10%, researchers from Canada found. In a hypothetical scenario without the decline, about an additional 1.1 million older people in the U.S. would have reported experiencing mental congestion.

Betty White Shares Her Secrets Ahead of 100th Birthday: “I Always Find the Positive”

Vanity Fair shares a portrait of Betty White, apparently prepared before her death on December 31.

In Good Taste: Marilyn Stasio on a Lifetime of Book Reviews

“The legendary critic talks about how she got her start, how crime fiction got taken seriously, and what she’s reading now.”

For many years Marilyn Stasio was the crime columnist for The New York Times: “A rave or pan from Stasio could float or sink a novel.” She was “unceremoniously fired from her position (a move falsely announced as a retirement) in February.” 

But at age 81, she’s still going strong. Read this interview “about how reviewing has changed, when to find beauty in the ugly, and why Agatha Christie is still the greatest.”

Lost perspective? Try this linguistic trick to reset your view

Social psychologist Ariana Orvell describes distanced self-talk, the “process of reflecting on one’s self using parts of speech that are typically used to refer to other people – ie, second- or third-person pronouns, or even one’s own name.” 

In particular:

When using the second-person pronoun ‘you’ to reflect on ourselves, we can move beyond our default, egocentric perspective, and consider our thoughts and feelings from the stance of a more objective observer. This distanced self-perspective then opens up new ways of thinking, which can make a difference for our feelings and behaviour in a variety of emotional situations.

How We Make Sense of Time

“January 2022 arrives as our methods of keeping time feel like they are breaking. Calendar pages turn, yet time feels lost. In this year of all years, what does it mean for a year to be new?”

Colorful fireworks against a night sky. Overlay: 2022
Photo by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash

But this year of all years, what does it mean for a year to be new? How do we measure our lives? The past year began with the promise of mass vaccination and the hope that life as we had known it would return. The year is ending with unmet expectations — Omicron’s spread, people lighting candles for their third Covid birthday cakes, and meager jokes that 2022 could really be “2020, two.” How do we make sense of time when calendar pages turn, and yet time feels lost?

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Understanding Doomscrolling

The enduring pandemic continues to affect our lives. Here’s a look at doomscrolling, “the habit of scrolling through an excessive amount of news stories on the web and social media.” Find some explanations for why we do it and suggestions for controlling it.

‘Shaggin’ Wagons’: A Rolling History of Van Murals

This nostalgic article is worth a look just for the photos. Did you have a van like this?

This is 67: Lucy Sante Responds to The Oldster Magazine Questionnaire

I include this article not just for its content, but because it’s the first I’ve heard of Oldster Magazine.

Why I Started Surfing at 61

In the latest story of older adults taking up new activities, especially sports, Kerrie Houston Reightley describes her recently acquired passion for surfing.

The top 10 health and medicine breakthroughs of 2021

Popular Science reports on some good news as we approach the end of the second year of COVID-19.

Seattle’s Julian Priester helped create jazz as we know it. Now he’s teaching the art of listening

Taking up a sport isn’t the only way to pivot in later life. Here’s a local-to-me story of how a musician is using his talents to benefit his community.

These Are The Most Mispronounced Words Of 2021

Learn how to say correctly the most mispronounced words of 2021 in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Michael Nesmith, the Monkee for all seasons, dies at 78

“Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees”

After the group broke up in 1970, Nesmith moved on to a long and creative career, not only as a musician but as a writer, producer and director of films, author of several books, head of a media arts company and creator of a music video format that led to the creation of MTV.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Medicare Advantage is cheaper for a reason — beware

“There is no clear-cut right or wrong choice. The key is to make an informed choice,” writes Carla Fried. I remember feeling absolutely overwhelmed by having to make the choice when signing up for Medicare (in the U.S.). Here’s some information to help you make an informed choice.

Before signing up for Medicare I took an explanatory class at the local community college. It offered the necessary basic information, including definitions of key terms, to help me understand everything else. But choosing appropriate plans was still an enormous project. I recommend that you look for some classes or workshops at a community college or community center near you and that you take full advantage of your 6-month sign-up period.

How the TV Dinner Revolutionized American Life

I wouldn’t touch one of these now, but I do enjoy reading the history of items like this, which “revolutionized middle-class life in the mid-20th century–especially the lives of the women who were expected to put dinner on the table.”

Can you reduce your Alzheimer’s risk with diet and behavior? It’s not that simple

As with all articles of this type, digest the information but be sure to consult other sources as well, especially your own health-care providers.

‘Vax’ is Oxford English Dictionary publisher’s 2021 Word of the Year

Last week we had Merriam-Webster’s new additions to its dictionary. This month we get the story on the Oxford English Dictionary.

A woman convinced her husband that he had Alzheimer’s. Police say she stole $600,000 from him over time.

I sure hate to see reports of incidents like this, but it’s probably good for us, as well as families and caregivers, to be aware of how this can happen.

Burn, baby, burn: the new science of metabolism

Attach the same caveat—“be sure to consult other sources as well, especially your own health-care providers”—to this as to the previous article about diet. In fact, attach the caveat to the article below as well. 

This is an informative article about how science’s understanding of how metabolism works is evolving, including research published this summer that challenges previously accepted wisdom about how aging affects metabolism.

How to maintain a healthy brain

Kailas Roberts, an Australian psychiatrist and specialist in brain health, has some advice on not only how to avoid dementia, but also “optimising brain function throughout your lifespan.”

Richard M. Ohmann, 90, Dies; Brought Radical Politics to College English

“Inspired by the antiwar movement of the 1960s, he helped transform humanities by making room for subjects like women’s studies and Marxist criticism.”

In December 1968 Richard M. Ohmann orchestrated the passage of antiwar resolutions at the annual conference of the Modern Language Association. “ The very notion that a scholarly organization should take a stand on nonacademic issues was practically unheard-of.”

Ohmann was ahead of his time with insights that are in the news today:

starting in the 1970s, Dr. Ohmann turned his gaze inward, writing a series of books exposing what he saw as the complicity of higher education, and in particular the study of English literature, in the perpetuation of class, gender and racial hierarchies.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

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