Saturday, August 30, 2008


As we age, there appears to be certain things we do. And, as a disclaimer, I dislike the expression, "getting older" as it inevitably becomes a part of our mantra, i. e., we read the obituary and give special attention to people younger than us who have gone on to their rewards. There is often a "pain of the week/day." And, we are tempted to ascribe most things to age. Well, without charging into an overwhelming philosophy, let us say, simply, WE AGE. And, for most of us, quality of life issues are first and foremost the important issue. One of the problems with us is that we want to continue to do what we've always done but simply cannot and facing this is no easy prospect.

Into this mix is an interesting book, Age Well, which basically spells out what we already know: we are indeed getting older. DUH! What was useful especially was the naming of the aging process which was helpful; 60-74 is the young old. At this stage, we are attempting to stay as healthy as we can. Then it is 75-84 which is the old old; often illnesses are multiple; then the last category is the very old, 85 plus. The secret according to the book is that we work to stay healthy and as we do, our growing older years become more of a fade to darkness rather than the lights being turned off.

The book is chocked full of good stuff and cited studies. I especially liked the approach that much of how we age becomes a function of personality. It really is a "glass is half full as opposed to half empty philosophy.

Dr. Robert Palmer is the head of the Geriatric Medicine Section at Cleveland Clinic which according to the cover is ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country. I don't know about that but I can fully endorse this book: it especially fits someone who loves to see things by the "numbers"--If you do these things, your chances of remaining healthy are better. Good, good guide for growing older.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Frozen River is one of those movies I chose on the basis of a review. I don't usually do this as reviewers like Ebert and Roepert are way too clever for me but whoever this reviewer was described the lead character in such a way that I had to see the movie. And, I was not disappointed, either. She was great as were all the actors, none of which I had seen before.

A compelling story in the hard scrabble life of people in upper state NY. I saw the license tag. Weather is cold and miserable, relationships tenuous and troubled. Not a scene in the movie to make one smile; although one
of an ethical dilemma made me sigh in satisfaction.

I can't tell much more about the movie less I give it away but in an odd sort of way, a celebration of Motherhood. What I came away with was a renewed realization of the haves and have nots; the chasm is enormous as this movie so aptly displays. An underbelly of survival which should make us "haves" somewhat ashamed or at least reflective. If I were to say that anything in our country had changed over the last several years, this would be it: the disappearance of pluralism in my terms: not a strict definition, rather a belief that it is the responsibility of the Haves to make sure that the have nots are not abandoned.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Finding Nouf is one of those books that I am thinking about weeks after I've read it which speaks tons for a book as far as I'm concerned. Reading a book such as Finding Nouf is a great way to learn history and culture and this one did it for me. And, without badmouthing Saudi, well, I guess I am; but being joined at the hip with a country socially mired in the Middle Ages in light of our own culture and dependence on them for oil is disheartening to me. The author appears to be more kind to the Saudi culture than I would have been, i. e., I just read where the religious police now are confiscating people's pets as this might force men and women to acknowledge each's presence. Please! All that aside, I found this book delightful. A page turner that taught me a great deal. It sounds a little snobbish but when this book appeared on the San Francisco best sellers list, it confirmed my belief that when I read the books on the list, I an not disappointed.

I would be less than candid if I failed to admit that the scalding review on this site actually encouraged me to read the book. My experience on Amazon is that the readers are never as personal as this reviewer appears to be. I had to think, "what is this reviewers agenda?"

Since I always order more than one copy of a book, one went to my adult daughter. A voracious reader, she thought it was simply grand and kept calling me trying to entice an answer of "who was the killer?" Now, this is what a book is suppose to do. I've learned history, confirmed my prejudices about how backward Saudi is, shake my head that we have invaded probably the most secular country in the Mid East and all of this insight because of a really super book. I love this book and cannot recommend it enough.