Last Week’s Links

You’re not ‘fully vaccinated.’ You never will be.

The phrase fully vaccinated has both annoyed and intrigued since I first heard it. In some ways it makes no sense, although I understand its origin and even the necessity for it. But surely we can come up with something better.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. So far, 1 in 7 have gotten a booster shot of vaccine

That 1 in 7 includes both my husband and me:

Woman with sleeve rolled up, syringe piercing the skin.

How Pickleball Won Over Everyone From Leonardo DiCaprio to Your Grandparents

Not long after we moved into a retirement community in Tacoma, WA, the obituary of one of the lovely friends we were lucky enough to make included the tidbit that he had contributed to the invention of pickleball. A brush with fame . . .

One of the Most Egregious Ripoffs in the History of Science

The feminist in me has been resentful ever since I learned how Rosalind Franklin has been left out of the story of the discovery of DNA.

The last time America broke apart: How author Kevin Boyle retold the 1960s

A review of the recent book The Shattering: America in the 1960s by Kevin Boyle. The book opens with a photograph of a group of men and women in front of a bungalow:

The nostalgic setup — July 4, 1961, on a “rising middle class” block in Chicago — is deliberate. But “The Shattering,” which intertwines the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the sexual revolution, is no saccharine account. Boyle uses the story of Ed and Stella Cahill, the owners of that bungalow, to frame the book, showing readers how much had been gained by people like them — a prosperity built on inequality — and how their world would be shattered by the ‘60s.

Super troupers! Abba on fame, divorce, ageing backwards – and why they’ve returned to rescue 2021

Not only was there a new album, Voyage, the first in 40 years: 10 new songs that brought the original band together in the studio for the first time since a split that had been precipitated by the couples in the band divorcing. Not only that, but there was to be a new “immersive live experience”, in a bespoke stadium in London – nobody seemed to have noticed the planning application being published online – featuring futuristic de-aged “Abbatars” playing a potentially never-ending series of gigs. In the depths of a miserable year, it seemed, Abba were coming to rescue 2021.

Merriam-Webster nods to pandemic by adding ‘ghost kitchen’ and ‘curbside pickup’

“Now, so many of the catchphrases we got to know while eating in the COVID era are making their way into the firmament of the lexicon.”

It’s Never Too Late to Climb That Mountain

“Dierdre Wolownick, whose son, Alex Honnold, is one of the world’s top rock climbers, ascended Yosemite’s El Capitan to celebrate her 70th birthday.”

I feel that I should offer a disclaimer here: Although I love collecting stories like this, stories of how older adults are stomping all over the stereotypes of aging, you won’t find me climbing any mountains or winning any weight-lifting competitions. But I admire those who do.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

What new research says about adding healthy years to your life

Matt Fuchs takes a look at “recent research [that] points to interventions in diet, exercise and mental outlook that could slow down aging and age-related diseases – without risky biohacks such as unproven gene therapies.”

Australian golfer makes hole-in-one just shy of 100th birthday

The story of Hugh Brown of Australia, who “made a hole-in-one on the 161-yard par-3 hole, just two months shy of his 100th birthday.”

7 Books About Older Women Behaving Badly

In my search for literature that presents older adult characters, particularly older women, who often feel themselves becoming invisible in a culture that fetishizes and focuses on youth, I came upon this list. Amy Lee Lillard presents “seven books [that] celebrate the older woman that defies logic and bias. They won’t go quietly into oblivion. They won’t disappear, and in fact, insist on being seen. Even if that involves letting their anger out. Even if it involves violence.”

Some—or perhaps all—of these books may not be your reading cup of tea, but I feel validated just knowing that some authors are still treating older women like functioning adults.

Parents were fine with sweeping school vaccination mandates five decades ago – but COVID-19 may be a different story

I live in a retirement community, and one topic of conversation that has come up quite a few times is “Nobody complained about their kids getting polio shots at school back in the 1950s.”

Here James Colgrove, professor of sociomedical sciences at Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University, discusses how times are now different: “As a public health historian who studies the evolution of vaccination policies, I see stark differences between the current debates over COVID-19 vaccination and the public response to previous mandates.”

The Friendship That Shapes Atlanta Baseball

If, like me, you’re a long-time baseball fan, you’ll probably appreciate this story involving the Atlanta Braves as much as I did. It’s about a lot more than just baseball.

Writing “Eleanor Rigby”

“How one of the Beatles’ greatest songs came to be.”

An informative reminiscence by Paul McCartney.

Seniors decry age bias, say they feel devalued when interacting with health care providers

“The assumption that all older people are frail and helpless is a common, incorrect stereotype.”

Judith Graham of Kaiser Health News reports on “ageism in health care settings, a long-standing problem that’s getting new attention during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed more than half a million Americans age 65 and older.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Remembering 9/11: 20 Years Later

There are so many dimensions to the memories of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. But I didn’t realize exactly how many dimensions until I began curating these links. I’ve tried to include links that cover the breadth of the dimensions of that day as we all sit with our own thoughts and remembrances.

Best 9/11 Books

Five Books is a website that features lists of recommended books by experts in many different fields. This page includes lists that cover many dimensions of 9/11 with topics such as literature, terrorism, and Osama bin Laden.

‘Get out now’ – inside the White House on 9/11, according to the staffers who were there

Anita McBride, Fellow in Residence at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, Department of Government, at American University, was in the White House that day. She describes her experiences here.

At the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, ancient Greece and Rome can tell us a lot about the links between collective trauma and going to war

Joel Christensen, now professor of Classical Studies at Brandeis University, was “in Washington Square Park at 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001 – less than a mile from the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers.” 

Today, as a scholar of Greek literature who studies narrative and memory, I see how this collective trauma shaped U.S. actions and has affected Americans’ vision of their identities and shared history – a feedback loop that is reflected in the myths and histories of ancient Greece.

Pascal Campion’s “9/11: Then and Now”

“The New Yorker’s art editor remembers twenty years of September 11th covers.”

 Dread, War and Ambivalence: Literature Since the Towers Fell

The events of 9/11 irrevocably changed the course of global affairs. They also changed culture. It will likely be easier to say how a century from now. But with 20 years’ hindsight, The Times’s book critics reflect below on some of the influence of that day on the writing that has followed.

“Sept. 11 accelerated a trend, already long in motion, toward opening American fiction to formerly marginalized voices,” writes Dwight Garner.

Jennifer Szalai says 9/11 produced “fictional treatments of identity that had to do with uncertainty, instability, precariousness — depicting ambivalence as an irreducible part of the human condition.”

How 9/11 altered the fiction landscape in 13 novels

Ron Charles writes in the Washington Post, “within a few years, it was clear that 9/11 would leave an impact on contemporary fiction as deep as its impact on every other aspect of our culture.” He discusses 13 novels that present “a sense of the wide variety of approaches writers have taken over the past two decades” to address the significance of the terrorist attacks.

20 ways 9/11 changed life, the U.S. and the world in the past 20 years

UPI looks at 20 aspects of ways in which the events of 20 years ago have affected our lives, including airport security, creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the shift in war powers toward the executive branch of government.

Tuesday, and After

New Yorker writers respond to 9/11.”

From the September 24, 2001, issue of The New Yorker. Entries by the following authors: John Updike, Jonathan Franzen, Denis Johnson, Roger Angell, Aharon Appelfeld, Rebecca Mead, Susan Sontag, Amitav Ghosh, and Donald Antrim.

I Talked to My Twin Brother Every Morning for 27 Years. Right Up Until 9/11.

Pamela Bittner describes the loss of her twin brother on 9/11. She was talking with her father on the phone when “we watched together in horror as Flight 175 crashed into my brother’s office building between floors 75 and 85. He worked on the 89th floor.”

Thousands suffer health effects of Ground Zero’s toxic dust 20 years after 9/11 attacks

A new World Trade Center stands in lower Manhattan 20 years after Sept. 11, 2001, but thousands of people who were there that day — from first responders hoping to save lives to people who were just on their daily commute — continue to feel health effects linked to the terrorist attack.

A Port of Seattle firefighter created a 9/11 memorial at Seattle-Tacoma airport to honor fallen first responders

I include this article from a local (to me) newspaper to emphasize the national character of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And the included story of the “set up a welcome center to connect Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban takeover of Kabul with resettlement resources and nonprofits when they arrive at Sea-Tac” Airport emphasizes the continuing need for global understanding and compassion.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Last Week’s Links

9 websites that will bring you back to the old internet

“The internet has been around for long enough — and shifted so drastically in that time — that it’s really easy to get nostalgic for past versions of online life.”

Costa Ricans Live Longer Than Us. What’s the Secret?

“In the United States and elsewhere, public health and medical care are largely separate enterprises. Costa Rica shows the benefits of integrating the two—it spends less than we do on health care and gets better results.”

Raw Granny Power: 100-Year-Old Woman Is the World’s Oldest Female Powerlifter

A portrait of “Edith Murway-Traina, who is heaving around major poundage at the age of 100—making her a Guinness World Record holder for being the oldest known competitive female powerlifter in the world.”

In ‘Rumors,’ Lizzo and Cardi B pull from the ancient Greeks, putting a new twist on an old tradition

Grace B. McGowan, a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Boston University, celebrates the return of Black women to “the classical tradition, a style rooted in the aesthetics of ancient Greece and Rome.” McGowan writes that artists like Lizzo and Cardi B are “adding their own twist” to this tradition.

Being chased, losing your teeth or falling down? What science says about recurring dreams

I periodically dream about losing my teeth, forgetting to go to class for an entire semester, or being unprepared for an exam. Here a professor of psychiatry and a doctoral candidate in neuroscience from the University of Montreal discuss recurrent dream motifs and their possible meanings.

Baby Boomer Bloggers: Are you out there?

Jane Trombley, a Baby Boomer herself, laments, “I don’t see enough of my peers initiating the conversation. And that’s a drag. Millennials and everyone else need to hear much of what Boomers have to say.”

She ends with a challenge: “Over to you, Boomers.”

So, whadda ya say?

‘No one wanted to read’ his book on pandemic psychology – then Covid hit

In October 2019, a month or so before Covid-19 began to spread from the industrial Chinese city of Wuhan, Steven Taylor, an Australian psychologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, published what would turn out to be a remarkably prophetic book, The Psychology of Pandemics.

The Guardian reports on Taylor’s psychological approach to understanding pandemics in general and, specifically, the current state of world affairs surrounding COVID-19.

The Best Part of Being 60-Something

Lorraine Duffy Merkl basks in the freedom that being in her 60s offers: “We can finally let go of the please-like-me baggage and secrets that have been weighing us down, as well as the insecurities based on what others think of us, and realize what really matters is being ourselves and letting the chips fall.”

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

30 Years of the Public World Wide Web

Flipboard has curated a collection of articles to celebrate the arrival of the internet 30 years ago.

Do you remember your first experiences with the internet? I remember joining CompuServe. As I remember it, the service was a huge conglomeration of text links. With our membership information packet, we got a huge fold-out paper menu that we taped to the wall—and it took up the whole wall—near the computer. It listed the nested hierarchy of how to navigate to whatever information you were interested in. It sounds unwieldy now, but back then it seemed like heaven to someone who loved research more than just about anything else. 

One of the most interesting sites to me among those linked on the Flipboard introductory page is Websites at 30 – how much has the internet changed?

I started my own web site, featuring book reviews, some time in the late 1990s. It started out on GeoCities, where anyone could register and put up a free site. GeoCities was eventually taken over by Yahoo!, who tried to take over copyright ownership of everything everybody published on their sites. That move drove most members, including me, to move to paid hosting services. The need to pay to put up and maintain a web site in order to keep copyright ownership of the content significantly changed the internet, as most people who produced hobby-centered content chose not to pay to keep their sites. 

Here’s another article about the evolution of the world wide web:

He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?

How About You?

I’d love to hear about your memories of your first experiences with the internet.

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

Ed Asner dead: Actor played Lou Grant on ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ – Los Angeles Times

Ed Asner, the versatile actor who starred on TV in ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and ‘Lou Grant,’ and movies such ‘Elf’ and ‘Up,’ dies at 91.

Source: Ed Asner dead: Actor played Lou Grant on ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ – Los Angeles Times

Happy 40th Birthday, IBM PC!

Do you remember this?

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

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

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

Happy 40th Birthday, IBM PC!

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

© 2021 by Mary Daniels Brown

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

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

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

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

John Lennon 80th Birthday Anniversary Essay – Remembering the Beatle, Abuse and All, 40 Years After His Death

How exactly do we remember John Lennon? In recent years, the legacy of this revered icon has gotten more complicated, and more problematic. This season will be presenting us with multiple opportunities to assess his current reputation: October 9 would have been his 80th birthday, with a tragic twin anniversary just a few months away, as this December 8 will mark forty years since Lennon’s murder. Alan Light unpacks Lennon’s legacy, which has only become as complex as it is staggering.

Source: John Lennon 80th Birthday Anniversary Essay – Remembering the Beatle, Abuse and All, 40 Years After His Death