older AmericansSome of my friends, who have hit threshold ages (55, 60, 62 or 65, depending on the venue) at which they can receive items /services at reduced rates, refuse to accept the discounts. I think they are crazy to reject the benefits of being an older American.

It’s not just the monetary savings. It’s that I’ve gone this far and I deserve to accept the perks when they’re offered. Life can be hard, and one should take advantage of whatever makes it easier.

When I took Amtrak to Washington, DC for a conference, I was eligible for a 10 percent discount on train tickets. On the return trip to New York City, however, something even more important took place.

I had been waiting at the K gate but had to go all the way to the A gate to use the men’s room. By the time I returned, the train had been called, and the line was at the E line when I got in.

Then one of the personnel asked for people with children and senior citizens to preboard. At first, it didn’t register. But about ten seconds later, I thought, “WAiT a minute. That’s me! I can join them!” The young woman standing behind me, noting my vacillation, said, “Go for it!”

Still, I wonder if these senior perks are sustainable. Here’s a fun Census statistic: “The year 2030 marks an important demographic turning point in U.S. history according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections.

“The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history… By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18.”

I was thinking about retiring one of these days. “As the population ages, the ratio of older adults to working-age adults, also known as the old-age dependency ratio, is projected to rise. By 2020, there will be just over three-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. By 2060, that ratio will fall to just under two-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person.

“The median age of the U.S. population is expected to grow from age 38 today to age 43 by 2060.” Yet another reason to encourage immigration. Most immigrants skew young, adding to the vitality of the nation.

From ABC Wednesday

How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t

How America Became the Incredible and Jaw-Dropping Laughingstock of the World

Brace for Impact, as the Climate “End Game” Has Arrived

This guy doesn’t know anything’: the inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team

The regime announced it would no longer give diplomatic visas to the same-gender domestic partners of UN staff or diplomats unless the couples are married

Are Men Victims Now?

Fitbit Data Ties 90-Year-Old Man to Murder

The Coders Programming Themselves Out of a Job

David Cronenberg: I would like to make the case for the crime of art

The Parable of the Perfect Pot

Justine Bateman Has Some Thoughts on the Fame Cycle

Eric Idle discusses many of the characters he’s played

How Will Police Solve Murders on Mars?

Our blind dog finally has a seeing eye dog

Table for one?

Oddities and anomalies from the second half of the 2018 Minor League Baseball season

Now I Know: The Queen’s Secret Code and The Tomato Plant Versus the Volcano and Hawaii’s Spam Scam

What’s My Line? – Edgar & Candice Bergen (Sep 12, 1965) at 18:50

MUSIC

Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin), Arthur Rubinstein School of Music Symphony Orchestra with the young Polish pianist Maja Babyszka. Conductor: Henryk Wierzchoń. June 21, 2015

Rodgers and Hammerstein music at the BBC Proms

Thirty Seconds to Mars – Brooklyn Duo (Cello & Piano Cover of The Kill song)

All My Lovin’ – Amy Winehouse

K-Chuck Radio – Upstairs with Yaz

Someone to Watch Over Me – Sleeping At Last

MOZART Symphony No 40 in G minor KV550, LEONARD BERNSTEIN, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra

A Reason To Fight – Disturbed

Evil Ways – Willie Bobo

Outside the trains don’t run on time – Gang of Four

Mary Poppins rag

Coverville – 1235: Cover Stories for Olivia Newton-John and The Mamas and The Papas

Giacchino Rossini’s overture to his opera William Tell

Vinyl records hit all the right notes

Dora, from Having Coffee With Peppy, has the tag “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” By Edgar Alan Poe

I know her from ABC Wednesday. She writes:

What do you find the hardest and easiest thing about blogging? Coffee is on.

For me, the easiest thing about blogging is finding topics to write about. If one is reasonably observant, subjects find you. What are you reading? I skim a LOT on the Internet: left and right-wing politics, for instance. I’m an old political science major, so that’s interesting to me.

What are you doing? I listen to music, see movies, read books, live in an ever-changing America.

I see these questions in Quora, some of them sent directly to me: “What should I blog about?” they plead. How the heck do I know? I have no idea because I’m not them.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I really like to know what the topics of my posts are going to be.

For instance, I know that in November, I already know I’ll do something about Veterans Day and Thanksgiving and the Great American Smokeout and my mother’s birthday. In fact, I’ve already written the post about Veterans Day, because I realized it was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Something came to me, and I wrote it.

I can be very patient. I probably wrote that 11/11 piece in July, because it told me to be written. Far be it from me not to listen to a piece when it wants to be created.

Another thing in November is the 20th anniversary of when I first appeared on the game show JEOPARDY! The subconscious is working on that now, and when I see something related to the show, I throw it in the draft for November 9. Some point soon, I’ll put something together. I really do hope it writes itself because I’ve tackled the subject in the past and don’t want to rehash.

The hardest thing about writing a blog is time. Work, church, meetings, helping the Daughter with homework, mowing the lawn all take chunks of time. There was a point less than a year ago that I had 70 posts written and scheduled. Right now, it’s 29.

You might think that’s a lot but they’re not all for the next month. On September 23, I thought, “What am I going to write for October 4 or 5?” And I was actually pleased that I found a piece I had written on 9 July but curiously had not published; I changed two sentences and scheduled it.

I was then set for the next two weeks, except for the linkorama post at the end of the month, which I tend not to finish until two or three days before it posts. Now, if I don’t write something for the next two days – entirely possible – I don’t get anxious.

Whereas I HATE creating on a deadline, even a self-imposed one because it’s much harder for me to write. My way-too-long piece on John McCain I had to write and then post in a day or two because it would be of much less value a few weeks later.

Seals and CroftsI was in a used CD store in western Massachusetts this summer. Another customer told her husband that she had just found a greatest hits album of Seals & Crofts. Suddenly, I wished I had discovered it myself.

The very first concert I ever attended was seeing Jim Seals & Dash Crofts in New York City with my college girlfriend. It was November 12, 1971, at Philharmonic Hall, which is now Avery Fisher. Boz Scaggs was the unappreciated opening act.

I remembered the date because it was the anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith, in what is now Iran in 1817. The girlfriend was very interested in the faith and joined about a year later.

Seals & Crofts were/are Baha’is, which was evident from some of their music. And we had ALL of their music for a time. Seals & Crofts (1969) and Down Home (1970) were on some minor label. It’s now available as Seals & Crofts I and II.

Year of Sunday was their first Warner Brothers album. It’s evidently out of print because it’s going for about $90 used on Amazon.

The next several albums are available as an import package at a reasonable price and contain the hits. But it’s some of the deeper cuts that intrigued me. None more than It’s Going To Come Down on You, which rushed to my consciousness during the contentious Supreme Court debate.

It’s a real schizophrenic song, with nice ballad parts interrupted by wicked guitar lines by album producer Louie Shelton.

You said you had it figured out in your pretty little head.
Politics and tricks and all them things you said
But I told you then and I’ll tell you now
It’s gonna come down on you.

All songs written and performed by Seals & Crofts, unless otherwise indicated

Ridin’ Thumb
Ridin’ Thumb – Sam Moore with Travis Tritt and Robert Randolph

Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth – Doobie Brothers

When I Meet Them, #104 in 1972

Sudan Village (1972 version)
Sudan Village (1976 version)

Hummingbird (album version), single #20 in 1973

Say

Summer Breeze, #6 in 1972

Yellow Dirt

Diamond Girl, #6 in 1973

We May Never Pass This Way Again, #21 in #73

It’s Gonna Come Down (On You)

Wisdom

Dance by the Light of the Moon

Deborah MendsThe envelope was in a box of unsorted miscellany, rather than in the mail drawer. I discovered it about a month after the May 2 date on the letter. It came from MetLife.

“RE: Case Number…

“DEAR ROGER GREEN:

“We are trying to locate ROGER GREEN regarding an important insurance matter. They last resided at [my address in 1999-2000].

“If you know ROGER GREEN…” Do I! Calling the 800 number, I was told I would get some form to fill out.

Three weeks later, the Identification Questionnaire letter came. Section I was easy enough, Insured’s Information.

But Section II was nigh unto impossible. “Insured’s address when policy was issued.” I didn’t know THAT the policy was issued. “Date”? Dunno. “Name of agent who issued the policy” – seriously?

I ASSUME this was some sort of policy that was arranged by my parents at some point, though they never told me about it. Back in the 1990s, I started receiving these minuscule dividend checks every quarter from MetLife. $2.64 or $2.97 or $3.18, which I thought was a function I set up from something I must have set up.

In any case, I spoke to a different customer service representative. HE told me that I shouldn’t have needed to fill this form out, since I had an account with them. Long story short, I received a check for about $4,400 in early August.

It’s not life-changing money, but it’s life-made-easier money. We had one laptop among three of us; now we have two. And when it’s lacking software protection I assumed incorrectly that would be included, I acquired it.

I took a trip for work to Washington, DC, and the credit card bill came due before the reimbursement check arrived; not a problem. My trip to Yankee Stadium was affordable. I purchased tickets for an upcoming concert.

Most spontaneously, I could take a train to Poughkeepsie one morning to see my friend Deborah. I had not seen her in decades because she lives in Europe. She drove 90 minutes from Connecticut. We share hot drinks and a muffin at the nearby coffee shop for a couple of hours. Then I took the train back so I could go to work in the afternoon.

To be sure, some of these – the Yankees game and seeing Deborah, for sure – I would have done WITHOUT the extra cash.

BTW, the JT reference is to Suite for 20 G. From Songfacts: “This song was an amalgamation of several bits of songs/melodies/lyrics/themes that Taylor had laying around as kernels for three future songs that hadn’t yet come together. He and his producer, Peter Asher, had a deadline to meet for completing the Sweet Baby James album, and they needed one more song to do it. Asher had him string these loose themes together to make a single ‘Suite’ and get the $20,000 (20G) they were promised by Warner Bros. Records for completing the album, which is how it got the title.”

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