Last Week’s Links

Reassuring, timeless, safe: how Angela Lansbury set the style for female TV sleuths

Lisa Dresner, associate professor at Hofstra University, New York and author of The Female Investigator in Literature, Film and Popular Culture, says that Fletcher, as an older woman, appealed to both male and female audiences. “She doesn’t explicitly deal with sexism so she is very reassuring as a desexualised character,” Dresner said.

5 Apps and Tech Skills That May Lead to a Healthier You

Pam Holland is the founder of TechMoxie, “which provides technology coaching and support for the tech-hesitant.” Here she shares some tips to help older adults “compensate for physical and cognitive decline using simple everyday technologies.” 

An Introduction to Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)

OATS is “a charitable affiliate of AARP.” Here are some testimonials and articles about how knowledge and use of technology can help improve older adults’ lives.

At 66, Elizabeth Strout Has Reached Maximum Productivity

“The Pulitzer Prize-winning author has written five books in six years and been nominated for a Booker Prize for ‘Oh William!’ What’s gotten into her?”

“I’m getting older, and I’ve taught myself how to get these sentences down, how to know when they’re worth getting down,” said Strout, 66. “It’s like I’ve been training for a marathon my entire life and now there’s an acceleration happening.”

Jamie Lee Curtis has aging advice: ‘Don’t mess with your face’

The “Halloween” franchise actress calls herself “pro-aging” and tells her own daughters “don’t mess with your face.” . . . Instead, she said, she tells her kids to focus on what they can contribute to help people.

Keepsakes and memories: Finding, in the clutter, a life well lived

Preparing to move from the United States to Italy, Bob Brody “sorted through every possession in our New York apartment belonging to our family of four.” What he found was a lot of paper. After describing what pieces of paper he chose to keep, he concludes: “In the end, my paper chase gave me tangible, irrefutable, verifiable proof of a life lived: a marriage navigated, children raised, business transacted, and struggles long since won or lost. It’s a life lived to the fullest.”

A Low-Pressure Guide to Make Strength Training a Habit

“For real this time.”

Danielle Friedman admits that strength training “not only lengthens life span but improves people’s quality of life and well-being,” including maintaining cognition and decreasing depression and anxiety. Yet she also admits that she, like the “majority of Americans struggle[s] to carve out time for strength training.”

So she “asked exercise psychologists, scientists, trainers and muscle evangelists for their best advice on launching a lasting strength-training routine.” Read what she learned. I especially appreciated a “20-minute starter routine.”

Opinion:  The Cuban missile crisis was 60 years ago, but it’s urgently relevant today

Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of Nation magazine, believes that the Cuban missile crisis—“the 13-day standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union widely regarded as the closest we ever came to global nuclear war”—can guide us in resolving the current threat of the war in Ukraine.

Geena Davis Is Ready for the Geenaissance

if your perception of Geena Davis boils down to “Beetlejuice” and “Thelma & Louise” and “A League of Their Own,” you’ve been missing a much quirkier, more eclectic, more persistent person. And yet, to hear Davis tell it, she’s spent a lifetime trying to build up inner conviction. “I kicked ass onscreen way before I did so in real life,” she writes in her new memoir, “Dying of Politeness.” “The roles I’ve played have taken me down paths I never could have imagined when I dreamed of becoming an actor. They have helped transform me, slowly, in fits and starts, into someone of power.”

Learn more about the eclectic life of actor Geena Davis, now age 66, in this interview.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Peyton Place’s Real Victim

Vanity Fair brings back an article from their archives, a piece from March 2006 about the infamous novel Peyton Place:

Fifty years ago, the novel Peyton Place shocked America with its tale of secrets, sex, and hypocrisy in a small New Hampshire town, becoming one of the best-selling dirty books ever, a hit movie, and TV’s first prime-time soap. It brought fame and misfortune to Grace Metalious, the bawdy, rebellious housewife who wrote it, and outraged the citizens of Gilmanton—”the real Peyton Place.” . . . MICHAEL CALLAHAN charts the tumultuous celebrity, emotional flameout, and sordid death, at 39, of an unlikely cultural trailblazer.

Callahan writes, “Fifty years ago, Peyton Place helped create the contemporary notion of ‘buzz,’ indicted 1950s morality, and recast the concept of the soap opera, all in one big, purple-prosed book.”

Do you remember Peyton Place? I’m pretty sure I never read the book, but I think I remember catching glimpses of the show on TV.

One thing Americans agree on? Our politicians are too old.

Despite all the public discord in the U.S., there appears to be broad agreement on one subject. CNN reports:

A new CBS News poll shows that almost three in four Americans (73%) think there should be some sort of maximum age limit placed on elected officials. Support for such an age limit is consistent across party lines. Seven in ten Democrats (71%) are on board, as are three quarters of Republicans and independents. Support is also remarkably consistent among age groups.

M*A*S*H, 50 years on: the anti-war sitcom was a product of its time, yet its themes are timeless

MASH seems to have aged better than Peyton Place. Daryl Sparkes, senior lecturer in media studies and production at the University of Southern Queensland, describes the TV series, based on the 1970 film as “a thinly veiled critique of the war in Vietnam raging at the time.” 

How to figure out what you want out of life

Most of us have absorbed, mainly unconsciously, an extensive list of achievements that we “should” pursue and attain. But how do we find out what we, ourselves, want out of life?

“What society expects of you and what you actually want in life can be different things.” This article offers some advice on finding our own way.

6 Ways to Level Up Your Daily Walk

All the research tells us that even a simple exercise like walking can help us age well. But walking the same route every day can just get so boring. Here are some suggestions for changing things up a bit.

circling the same humdrum sidewalk for thousands of steps can quickly turn from a daily treat into a repetitive chore. There are dozens of ways to change it up and put the sizzle back into your saunter, if you’re willing to think outside the box.

How the Trapper Keeper Shaped a Generation of Writers

A few weeks ago I included in these weekly round-ups news of the death of E. Bryand Crutchfield, inventor of the Trapper Keeper.

Here, novelist Jess deCourcy writes, “This September, I’m using my 5th-grade Trapper Keeper to organize my novel revisions.” She talked with several other writers and creative types from the “Trapper Keeper generation” and realized “When I was interviewing people about their school supplies, I was really asking how they felt about themselves during their vulnerable adolescence.”

2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

This blooper from ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ is still one of the funniest outtakes in TV history

Did you, like me, eagerly anticipate The Carol Burnett Show, which ran from 1967 to 1978, every week?

‘We choose to go to the moon…’ again: NASA marks 60th anniversary of JFK speech

As NASA once again prepares to set sail “on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure” on which humanity has ever embarked, the space agency’s leaders returned to the site where 60 years ago, to the day, President John F. Kennedy reconfirmed that “we choose to go to the moon.”

For links to more related articles, see this page curated by the Flipboard Science Desk.

Letting Go of the Past: Why It’s So Hard to Get Over Painful Memories

We’ve all experienced painful moments during our lives. But if the memories of such experiences become intrusive, here’s “some expert-backed ways to help you process and integrate painful experiences.”

Want to live longer? Influence your genes.

“By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can self-engineer genetic alterations to prevent disease and boost longevity.”

Michael F. Foizen, M.D., discusses the science behind his recently published book The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow

The basis of his argument is a process he calls genetic self-engineering: “Each healthy act switches on youth-promoting genes and switches off genes that cause you to age.” By making healthy lifestyle choices now, Foizen writes, “You have the ability to change how your body works and reacts—and ultimately how healthy you are and how long you may live.”

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

Big Changes Coming to Medicare Part D Plans

AARP reports on the changes coming to Medicare drug plans as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: “The new law makes other changes to the program’s Part D drug benefits, including putting a limit on out-of-pocket payments for insulin and making vital vaccines free.”

Why a ‘silver gap year’ can be a golden opportunity, and how to start planning your own

Laura Martin describes the “silver” or “golden” gap year: “often an extended break as opposed to a full year. Nearly a quarter of retirees had taken a year to go travelling in their retirement or would consider doing so, according to 2019 research from retirement accommodation provider Inspired Villages.”

I’m Retiring. Shouldn’t I Be Celebrating?

Michèle Dawson Haber has been planning for years to retire from her job as a labor advocate before age 65. But now, at age 56, she has reached the moment:

I feel on the cusp of loss, despite being certain that this is what I want. Sure, I’ll miss the work and my colleagues, but the anxiety I feel is bigger than that. I know I need to stop moping and pirouette into my blessed new life, but first, I want to figure out what it is I’m losing.

She’s afraid retirement might mean the loss of purpose or the loss of youth. But observing her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, makes Laura realize that her retirement won’t mean the loss of self: “I don’t need to worry about holding onto youth, being productive, or staying relevant for others, because that has nothing to do with who I am.”

How America’s ageism hurts, shortens lives of elderly

The Harvard Gazette features an excerpt from the book Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live by Harvard alumna Becca Levy. A social psychologist, Levy tested “the impact of cultural age stereotypes on the health and lives of older people”:

In study after study I conducted, I found that older people with more positive perceptions of aging performed better physically and cognitively than those with more negative perceptions; they were more likely to recover from severe disability, they remembered better, they walked faster, and they even lived longer.

She describes the purpose of her book this way: “In this book, I will show you how priming, or the activation of age stereotypes without awareness, works, what it says about the unconscious nature of our stereotypes, and how we can strengthen our ideas about aging.”

Can You Pass the 10-Second Balance Test?

“Balance training is an important but often-neglected skill, one that impacts both our longevity and our quality of life, beginning around age 40,” writes Hilary Achauer in this article for the New York Times. She describes some exercises to improve balance.

Yoga versus democracy? What survey data says about spiritual Americans’ political behavior

According to Evan Stewart, assistant professor of sociology at UMass Boston, and Jaime Kucinskas, associate professor of sociology at Hamilton College:

Today – the rise of a politically potent religious right over the past 50 years notwithstanding – fewer Americans identify with formal religions. Gallup found that 47% of Americans reported church membership in 2020, down from 70% in the 1990s; nearly a quarter of Americans have no religious affiliation.

At the same time, “other kinds of meaningful practice” and new secular rituals are on the rise. These sociologists studied whether the new focus on mindfulness and self-care is making Americans more self-centered. Here they discuss their findings, which are published in the journal American Sociological Review.

E. Bryant Crutchfield, 85, Dies; Gave the World the Trapper Keeper

Few objects evoke Gen X or millennial childhood as powerfully as the Trapper Keeper, essentially a large binder for your folders. Mead, Mr. Crutchfield’s employer, introduced it nationally in 1981, and by the end of the decade the company estimated that half of all middle and high school students in the United States had one.

I never had one of these myself (although I did sort of covet one), but I bought a few for my child. I understand they’ve been reintroduced in this year’s crop of school supplies, in some sort of ’80s nostalgia movement.

© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown

Olivia Newton-John, Pop Songstress Who Wowed as Sandy in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 73 | Vanity Fair

Olivia Newton-John, the British-Australian pop singer who dominated the pop charts of the 1970s and ’80s with mega hits “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Magic,” and “Physical”—and jolted audiences with her naif-to-naughty turn as Sandy in one of the top-grossing movie musicals of all time, Grease—died Monday at her ranch in Southern California, according to a message on her official Facebook page. Newton-John was fighting stage 4 metastatic breast cancer—she’d endured breast cancer on and off since 1992, but it had returned in 2017. She was 73.

Source: Olivia Newton-John, Pop Songstress Who Wowed as Sandy in ‘Grease,’ Dies at 73 | Vanity Fair

What made Nichelle Nichols essential to ‘Star Trek’ as Uhura – Los Angeles Times

Kiss aside, there’s no question Nichols was underused in the series . . . Uhura rarely joins a landing party. But even when she’s not the focus of a scene, she is regularly onscreen, even if just visible at her post on the bridge, completing the picture, contributing to the emotional tenor. (And when she isn’t there, you notice it.) As the communications officer, everything runs through Uhura: She’s the voice of what’s happening elsewhere on the ship, and what’s happening outside the ship, whether announcing the presence of some other spacecraft or relating what’s up with Planet X. Even reciting lines like “I’m receiving Class Two signals from the Romulan vessel” or “Revised estimate on cloud visual contact 3.7 minutes,” she is the picture of the professional. She builds exposition, asks important questions; wordlessly reacting to some bit of business on the viewing screen, she brings an emotion and energy into the scene different from that of her sometimes blustery male colleagues.

Source: What made Nichelle Nichols essential to ‘Star Trek’ as Uhura – Los Angeles Times

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


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

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