FOR YOUR HEALTH: Being 55+ Has Its Advantages

New wireless phone plans mean money savings and include Netflix.

(NAPSI) — The 55-plus crowd is more active than ever, continuing to stay in the workforce longer, growing in numbers—to the tune of 73 million and counting—and exerting an even greater economic impact. In fact, 55+ers are responsible for over half of U.S. consumer spending, according to AARP, contributing to the huge upsurge in online spending during the pandemic.

If you are one of these lucky ones—as in 55 or older—you may not realize that you are actually the envy of many. People in this age group can save thousands of dollars a year on everyday goods and services so make sure you know about ALL of the discounts available to you.

Whether planning for long-term savings for retirement or for short-term expenses like a post-pandemic vacation, saving money is front and center in today’s world. The good news is that there are so many great discounts created just for you that it makes it easy to save tons by paying attention to where you’re spending your money each month.

Here are some “55 and over” discounts to be on the lookout for — that you might not know about:

• Auto insurance: Insurance companies sometimes offer discounts for good drivers over a certain age.
• Travel: It’s almost time to travel again so be sure to check for age-related discounts with major airlines, hotel chains, and rental car companies.
• Restaurants: Over 55? Ask about special days, nights or menu items at your favorite fast-food or fancy restaurant—even if it’s takeout.
• Wireless plans: Make sure you are on a discounted 55+ plan — a failsafe way to save money each month.

Given that 55+ consumers are spending 30 percent more time on mobile devices than they did a year ago, having an affordable wireless plan that provides unlimited text, talk and data with additional valuable perks is huge. Take a look at T-Mobile’s 55+ plans that it offers to customers across the United States. Verizon and AT&T, on the other hand, only offer 55+ plans for customers who live in Florida (even though 92 percent of people in the United States who are 55 and older live outside of Florida). And T-Mobile recently announced that customers on a Magenta 55+ or Magenta MAX 55+ plan can have up to four voice lines on their account.
Always pay attention to details when considering your choice in wireless plans.

T-Mobile’s Magenta 55+ and Magenta MAX 55+ plans offer unlimited text, talk and data combined with:

• A guaranteed monthly rate that includes taxes and fees in the plan price—your price stays the same each month.
• Netflix on Us — Magenta 55+ plan includes Netflix on Us for families and its Magenta MAX 55+ plan includes Netflix Basic with one line or Netflix Standard with two lines.
• Scam Shield that helps protect people from phone scams, hacks and robocalls.
• Free stuff and discounts every Tuesday with T-Mobile Tuesdays.
• Unlimited texting and 2G data without roaming charges in 210+ countries & destinations.
• America’s largest and fastest 5G network—which is like having WiFi on the road to send pics and stay connected.

Added bonus: the MAX tier includes unlimited premium data, so you can’t be slowed down no matter how much data you use.

It’s important to highlight that T-Mobile’s 55+ plans include Scam Shield because recently scammers have become even more aggressive, targeting people with phony COVID-19 vaccine information. Scam Shield protects its users against phone scams and robocalls—and it’s free for T-Mobile customers.

Learn More

For more information about the plans, visit

SOLON & BEYOND: A little knitting news

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

I’m going to start out with one of these 40 tips for a Better Life-2008.

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant. From time to time, I will use some of these suggestions to keep you happy in these troubling times. As you can see, I used this bit of news back in 2008, but I feel it is worth repeating. Number 2 is sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

Now for what little recent news I have received for this week… The Embden Community Thrift Shop will be open April 17, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Masks required. No donations will be accepted that day.

The only other e-mail I received to share with you is one that starts, Local Yarn Store (LYS) Day is coming up on April 17! This day was originally established so folks could show support for their local shops, but at Happyknits we’d like to show our gratitude to you for the support you provide us all year long. We’ll be giving away a $50 gift certificate to one lucky person who makes a purchase between Saturday, April 10 and Saturday, April 17. And Berroco Yarns is throwing their hat into the ring with an offer of a free 7-pattern ebook with the purchase of any of their yarns from our shop on LYSDay.

This week, I’m going back in time, again, this time in a bit of news I had written ( it doesn’t say what paper I was writing for at that time; but it starts like this: “Mary has been cleaning in her nursery school getting ready to open it again and when she took an old linoleum in a closet, underneath was an old Independent Reporter, dated July 21, 1921. In this old paper there was one article I had written entitled, “We All Have It”(this was written 62 years ago!). Then add on all the years since that paper came out.)

At that time, I wrote “We All Have It” and it goes on to say, We mean, of course , the speed mania, wish I could print it all but it rather lengthy – written by an editor who took a drive of 180 miles to observe the speed mania on the highways. It starts out like this …..”We all have it! We mean of course, the speed mania! No one can drive the public highways without being impressed that every man and woman and many children are afflicted with speed mania. It is a dire and dangerous disease . It is just as sure to lead to death as a cannon ball. This speeding is a disease just as truly as small pox is an affliction.

It ends with…”What’s the remedy?There is but one! That is for a law prohibiting the manufacturing of cars beyond a medium speed limit. The ordinary car one meets on a highway has a speed limit of 30 to 40 miles and many of them can tear along at the death-inviting rate of 60-70 miles per hour! We hold life so cheaply that unless these high speed cars are prohibited by law, not only hundreds but thousands of our people will die upon the public highways. Mangled and bleeding amidst the sand and dirt of the earth without an opportunity to arrange one’s business or say goodbye!

That was the end of that story, and I’m sorry to say it didn’t tell who had written the story that I copied there. It goes on to tell about the following: There was a headline that said, “Officers Capture Alleged Moonshiners In Woods South of Madison.”

Now here is Percy’s memoir written by John Greenleaf Whittier: from the Eternal Goodness: I know not what the future hath Of marvel or surprise, Assured alone that life and death, His mercy underlies: And so beside the Silent Sea I wait the muffled oar; No harm from Him can come to me on ocean or on shore. I know not where His Islands lift Their fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift Beyond His love and care.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: My latest lesson

by Debbie Walker

Yes, that’s right. I am going to pass along my latest lesson. I hope you will forgive me if it, in no way, is of use to you, but it goes like this: Last Thursday I was driving down a busy road and I heard a noise. It was my phone. Somehow my phone picked out and dialed a number. Fortunately, I saw the name on the screen before he answered so I didn’t look completely foolish, not knowing who “I” called.

The number belonged to my friend of many, many years. Truthfully, as near as I can figure, it’s about 46 years. George and his wife, at the time, were my daughter’s first teachers, pre-kindergarten.

Over these past 46 years we have always stayed in touch. We have traveled together, my family followed George and his family in moving to Florida, also.

We have been there for each other’s good times, especially for the worst times, when we really needed non-judgmental caring support.

What I didn’t explain was when I spoke to George that day he told me he was in the hospital thanks to Covid. We had stories we laughed about. Our conversation was just like so many we have had in the past. The only thing different was the Covid factor.

About 24 hours later I got one of the saddest calls ever. George had died. All that made him George was gone, left this world. His heart gave out. No one has a kinder, gentler heart than George. Now this world is missing that big, loving, caring heart that was there for 36 years of high school students.

There will be a celebration of life for him this weekend. Sadly, I have to opt out of going. I have tried to ignore this Covid mess, but I can’t attend. In my world there are three ladies, 81 years old, 87 years old and 90 years old. I spend a lot of time with them, and I don’t want to be responsible for causing them to worry.

One thing I didn’t expect was this has been an eye opener, the reality of life and in this case, death. In years past we would go home to Maine to visit and one year we lost a family member, a grandparent. Later it became aunts and uncles and parents, even a brother. And all the while daily life goes on, school, jobs, bills, etc.

Since George passed, I have wanted to gather all my friends and family to tell them how much I love them and even thought about begging not to ever leave. Short of that I guess all I can do is let them know I love them.

Before you have to say goodbye to someone be sure to tell them now. It will never seem enough but at least it will be said. Talk about real stuff, don’t text, meet in person whenever you can. I know we spoke of love often, George and my family.

Don’t get down in the dumps after reading this, just get busy. “I love you.” Just three important words, when you mean them, say them.

I’m just curious if you have found anything interesting in this column. If you want to share anything I am ready to read. Send your words to

Thank you for reading. Have a great week.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata

Eduardo del Pueyo

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata

In 1818, Ludwig van Beethoven composed the Hammerklavier Sonata, #29 of his 32 Sonatas for piano; it is the most technically demanding of the group, a genuine knuckle buster, and very powerful music that, like the composer’s other masterpieces, ranges through many moods. The third movement Adagio is one beautifully-developed 15 minutes in which the composer lets loose his deepest emotions.

Franz Liszt

The year of its composition had been a difficult one for Beethoven. He hadn’t composed much during the previous two years, his deafness was getting worse, his physical health was terrible, and he was constantly worrying about finances. Finally, it was not performed in public until 1836, nine years after the composer’s death, by composer/pianist Franz Liszt (1811-1886), whose own technical wizardry at the keyboard was unsurpassed; when he gave a concert as a child prodigy, Beethoven came up on the stage and kissed him.

Rudolf Serkin

I recently listened to two performances on YouTube. The first is a recent video link from this past year by the Romanian pianist Viniciu Moroianu. It was very understated and maybe lacked the volcanic drama of other pianists such as Rudolf Serkin, whose own recording of over 50 years ago is highly recommended. However, Moroianu’s musicianship was commendable and scored points.

The second YouTube was an audio of the late ‘50s Dutch Phillips LP by the Spanish pianist Eduardo del Pueyo (1905-1986) whom I first heard through a very powerful mid-’50s Epic LP of Manuel de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain in a collaboration with Jean Martinon conducting the Lamoureux Orchestra of France, Martinon being a subject for another day. Del Pueyo recorded several Beethoven Sonatas during the ‘50s and would do the entire cycle in later years.

His Hammerklavier was both exquisitely phrased for its poetry and dramatically shaped with its own intensity. Both pianists brought something special to this piece.

Space travel buffs

For those who find the activities of NASA of particular interest, the show For All Mankind on Apple TV is a compelling dramatization of the lives of scientists, astronauts, and others involved in the space program during the 1960s and ‘70s of the moon landings and first space station. Be forewarned that it is a combination of fact and fiction, the most glaring example being that Ted Kennedy succeeds Richard Nixon as president.

Robert P. Tristram Coffin

Continuing with paragraph three of Robert P. Tristram Coffin’s essay, Kennebec Crystals:

“The cold spell was a real one. Farmers had to beat their arms each side of their buffalo coats. Next sundown the wind fell. It got still as a pocket. You could hear the stars sputter over the valley. The shopkeepers sat sipping their evening’s lime juice and gloated over their newspapers. ‘The Hudson Valley: continued mild weather, southerly winds, higher temperatures and showers for next week.’ It was a different story up here in Maine. The kitchen window panes had white ferns at their corners. A knife handle would have to be used on the water bucket in the morning. Down Hudson, up Kennebec! In the morning, there were no more waves running on the river. The water looked like a long, dark looking glass dropped between the hills. In a hundred sheds the grindstones were humming.”

VETERANS CORNER: Those we used to depend on, now need our help

Gary Kennedyby Gary Kennedy

This has become a very difficult year for everyone but especially for our vets, as they age during these times of trouble and strife. Attitudes are going, without question, as our politicians are so divided it is scaring the heck out of everyone and pitting one group against another. Our southern border is being overrun and the homicide rate is the highest it has ever been. Some politicians are facing these obstacles head on while others are shying away from the fray.

Many very normal people are very, very fearful with domestic and world threat. I have aligned myself with veterans for many years, and I must say I haven’t seen this much PTSD in our vets than I do now. As we age those who use to be strong, energetic men and woman serving in our armed forces, protecting us all, have been reduced to today’s elderly with many in nursing homes viewing the USA with teary eyes. That which once was sweet, safe and home has become worrisome and coated with copious amounts of anxiety.

However, you don’t have to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or any other form of stress disorder to feel this way in today’s environment. In any case, the weak now among us are the ones we use to depend on for our safety and freedom. It’s always been understood that we would be there for them when the time came. What does it take for us to realize all the danger we are not only placing our beloved veterans in, but the children as well. We need to stop fighting over who did what or what history might say about us and look around. There are superior negative forces outside that are biding there time to pounce at our weakest moment.

As a humanitarian I travel all over the world and hear and see many things. Some of what is being said is not very nice. We are feeling too safe in our arrogance. In a visit to a local veterans nursing home, not too long ago, I saw some things that broke my heart. There were four of us together this day and as we walked around we saw one man laying on the floor saying, “help, help.” I cornered a C.N.A. and asked if she was going to assist this elderly veteran? Her reply was, “oh that’s John, he does this all the time just to get attention.” She approached him and looked down and said, “If you keep this up I will take you to your room!” (Punishment?) That didn’t set well with any of us. Then we passed a woman sitting in a chair crying. We were told she does that all the time. She just wants attention. Perhaps I am missing something but this didn’t seem right to me. My wife went over and touched her hand and asked if she was OK. She looked up and smiled and stopped crying. We visited with her for a while. She was fine when we continued on.

PTSD can come from many things but in all cases it is so very sad. We all need to be aware when someone is reaching out. Depression is not necessarily a part of aging although some of us have difficulty as the body becomes more and more limited. It can be very difficult for some who remember the day vividly. No one takes aging without some sort of a fight. In any case, depression, or PTSD, can begin at any age. We don’t necessarily come from the battlefield with it. It can start later in dreams, memories or from snapshots in time. This often occurs when an individual finds they have time on their hands and they have never been able to fill empty spaces. Examples: golf, music and other hobbies they acquired over time. It’s not uncommon to see an 85-year-old on the golf course. It’s even more wonderful if the wife/husband has the same longevity and does these things together. Others are not as lucky unless they have a support group which helps fill in the voids.

Advocating for a vet is a very rewarding thing to do. They have a need and you have something to contribute to their well being. When you deal with an open heart and do your due diligence to understand, you could be that vets redemption on this side of heaven. Every aging veteran with no significant other or support group are the ones at serious risk. It doesn’t take much at all to be an advocate. Veterans need a voice and companionship. It’s all a matter of attitude and the desire to fill your life by consuming the holes (voids) which lie with others. Also, it can leave you with a wonderful feeling.

The joy of giving ones time to another can become a life saving bond. I know it makes me feel great to aid another with something I possess. Some church groups are aware of this and do outreach. Often times the veteran doesn’t know how to ask for help. Being alone and feeling disenfranchised is a very lonely place to be. The Veterans Administration has access to many programs which can help heal and fulfill the veteran’s woes. It’s just a matter of the person in need arriving at the correct place at the correct time.

Yes, things are tough right now so that would make this a perfect time to lend a helping hand. The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255 if you find a veteran in distress. Don’t pass by. Remember, it is not what you take with you, it’s what you have left behind. God Bless and God Bless America!

SCORES & OUTDOORS: Cottontail population has direct affect on Canada lynx numbers

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Roland D. Halleeby Roland D. Hallee

Walking through the woods following a snowfall can show evidence of many wildlife tracks. This past winter, I did see tracks of the Eastern Cottontail rabbit.

The Eastern Cottontail, Salvilagus floridanus, is actually a New World cottontail rabbit, a member of the family Leporidae. It is one of the most common rabbit species in North America.

Here in Maine, its numbers has a profound affect on the Canada lynx population. The survival rate of the lynx is dependent on a healthy cottontail population.

The Eastern Cottontail is chunky red-brown or gray-brown in appearance with large hind feet, long ears and a short fluffy white tail. Its underside fur is white. There is a rusty patch on the tail.

Its appearance differs from that of a hare in that it has a brownish-gray coloring around the head and neck. The body is lighter color with a white underside on the tail. It has large brown eyes to see and large ears to listen for danger. In the winter, its coloring is more gray than brown. The kittens develop the same coloring after a few weeks, but they also have a white blaze that goes down their forehead. This marking eventually disappears. The average adult weighs between 2-4 pounds. However, the female tends to be heavier.

They can be found in the eastern and southwestern United States, southern Canada, eastern Mexico all the way down to South America. Originally, it was not found in New England, but it has been introduced here and now competes for habitat with the native New England cottontail.

The rabbits are active at night, and do not hibernate in winter. Predators include hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, wolves, the aforementioned lynx, bobcats, weasels, raccoons, and even domestic cats and dogs. Trace amounts of eastern cottontail remains have been detected in black bears. On farms and in gardens, they are considered pests and are often trapped or shot to protect plants.

Reproductive maturity occurs at about two to three months of age. The average period of gestation is 28 days, ranging from 25 – 35 days. The young are born with a very fine coat of hair and are blind. Their eyes begin to open by four to seven days.

Females can have one to seven litters of one to 12 young, called kits, in a year; however, they average three to four litters per year and the average number of kits is five.

The leading cause of mortality is probably by predators. The second highest number of deaths occur with automobile collisions. The peak period collisions is in the spring, March through May. The annual adult survival rate is estimated at 20 percent, and the average longevity is 15 months in the wild.

Mating occurs from February to September. Males will mate with more than one female. Females have 2 to 4 large litters of up to nine young in a year. After the female has given birth to her offspring, she can mate again immediately thereafter. The kittens are weaned after three weeks and leave the nest after seven weeks. The kittens then reach mating age after three months.

The Eastern cottontail is a very territorial animal. When running, it can jump from 15 feet, which can aid in avoiding predators. When chased, it runs in a zigzag pattern so the animal chasing it will lose its scent, making the rabbit harder to follow. They can run up to 18 miles per hour. The cottontail prefers an area where it can hide quickly but be out in the open. Forests, swamps, thickets, bushes or open areas where shelter is close by are optimal habitation sites for this species. Cottontails do not dig burrows, but rather rest in a form, a shallow, scratched-out depression in a clump of grass or under brush. It may use the dens of groundhogs as a temporary home or during heavy snow.

Typically, eastern cottontails occupy habitats in and around farms, including fields, pastures, open woods, thickets associated with fencerows, wooded thickets, forest edges and suburban areas with adequate food and cover. They are also found in swamps and marshes, and usually avoid dense woods. They are seldom found in deep woods.

I had one appear in my backyard a few years ago and seemed to have settled in very well. It apparently found a buffet of clover that grows wild around my garden area. It stayed around for about a week. Unfortunately, although it seemed content where it was, the constant attempt of neighborhood kids to capture it led it to run off in a desperate escape attempt on several occasions. I found it dead one Sunday morning, apparently the victim of a road kill collision with a car.

We once had one reside near our camp. Our neighbor had a patch of clover that it seemed to enjoy, but liked to raid the other neighbor’s garden. I think it met with an unfortunate demise – commonly referred to as lead poisoning.

Wild rabbits. Adorable little creatures, but they can wear out their welcome.

Roland’s trivia question of the week:

Which MLB team won the 1994 World Series?

Answer can be found here.

Give Us Your Best Shot! for Thursday, April 15, 2021

To submit a photo for this section, please visit our contact page or email us at!

HMMMM, GOOD: Pat Clark, of Palermo, photographed this Baltimore Oriole on one of her suet feeders.

NOT MUCH HERE: Michael Bilinsky, of China Village, snapped these mallards pecking in the snow last winter.

SIGN OF SPRING: Joan Chaffee, of Clinton, photographed these pussy willows by the side of the road, recently.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Cataract Surgery Saves An Avid Bowler’s Vision In Record Time

Better vision due to cataract surgery meant seeing lanes and pins clearly and so better bowling for one enthusiast.

(NAPSI)—If you ever have trouble seeing your way clear to getting your eyes checked, here’s a case to consider: Genida White could tell her vision was gradually getting worse, but she rationalized away the need to see an ophthalmologist—a medical doctor who specializes in eyecare. She could still do all the things she enjoyed, such as bowling every Monday. But mostly, she was nervous to hear what the doctor would say about her eyes.

Her daughter provided the encouragement she needed, telling her about a radio advertisement she heard about free eye exams with EyeCare America. No more excuses; it was time for an appointment. While, unfortunately, Genida did receive the diagnosis she feared—she would need surgery to remove cataracts in both eyes—the results were brilliant. The improvement in her vision was swift and dramatic.

“I’d never had eye surgery before,” Genida said. “Before I knew it, it was over.”

Cataract Facts

A cataract is when your eye’s natural lens becomes cloudy. People with cataracts describe it as looking through a foggy window; vision is blurred and colors are dulled. About half of all Americans over age 75 have cataracts. As you age, you’re increasingly likely to develop cataracts.

Fortunately, cataracts are treatable. An ophthalmologist surgically removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with an artificial one. Cataract surgery is the most effective and most common procedure performed in all of medicine with some 3 million Americans choosing to have cataract surgery each year.

Thankful for sight-saving surgery

Within two weeks of calling EyeCare America, Genida had cataract surgery in both eyes — just in time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. She was amazed at how simple it was to set up the initial eye exam with EyeCare America and at how quickly her vision was restored.

“Reading the eye chart was so bad at first,” recalls Genida. She could just barely read the last two lines of the eye chart during her initial eye exam with her ophthalmologist, Douglas Wilson, M.D. The day after surgery, Genida was able to read the whole way through the chart, top to bottom. “Dr. Wilson asked me, ‘Are you sure you couldn’t see before?!’ and I said, ‘Yes, I’m positive!’ It was amazing.”

Proof of her quick recovery was evident at the bowling alley, where Genida didn’t miss one Monday on the lanes.

Is EyeCare America right for you?

If the cost of an eye exam is a concern, the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program may be able to help. This national public service program provides eyecare through thousands of volunteer ophthalmologists for eligible seniors, 65 and older, and those at increased risk for eye disease, mostly at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.

Learn More

To see if you or someone you care for qualify, visit or follow @AcademyEyeSmart.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Babies bring memories

by Debbie Walker

That’s right. Since my granddaughter told us she was pregnant with a baby girl due in May 2020 the memories have taken over. I have experienced so many different memories. These memories include the little heart tugs and the laughs and there have been many.

I have to admit I was thrilled when they told us, “It’s going to be a girl!” While she was pregnant, I admit to having had a few giggles. When I was pregnant with her mother, my daughter, women were just “pregnant”, maybe morning sickness, and then the “birth”. That was it. No big discussions telling me the development stage of the baby. If I remember right, a nurse showed me how to bath her before we left our five-day visit in the hospital. That was it.

A co-worker and I had to deal with her sister, my daughter, And…….another co-worker, all pregnant at the same time. These women would go to the doctors and come back with papers to show the stage the baby was in and all the talking about morning sickness and something called a “mucus plug”. What in the heck is the mucus plug! I have lived this long without knowing what it is, I can live without knowing! We heard all the stages and details with all three of them.

Well now with Tristin it was all “mother’s” websites where you could learn all you ever could want to know. That is only the beginning of all we learned with her pregnancy.

Those are only the beginnings of the memories that have come out. So many differences. Some amazing things and some ridiculous ones. It is amazing to me that we can have video visits. The neatest thing is that the baby’s Momma can video those special moments that dad’s usually miss out on. So nice.

Think about it. It wasn’t that long ago if you lived out of their area you had to wait for pictures or possibly a video to arrive in the mail. Now you can video chat with them, in real time, as often as all agree.

There are times when Addi’s (Addison Grace) facial expressions remind me of her mother or grandmother, and I was even told she looked like me. The neat thing is how many times her features have changed. I love watching these changes every couple of weeks.

My grandmother had a ring that was mine from the first day she showed up with it. I must have been about seven or eight years old. I love that simple amethyst ring and as time went on, our relationship with that ring changes. Gram let everyone know that the ring was to be mine. About a year before she passed, I had a tiger eye ring that she liked, and we traded. Years of history there.

Addi and I seem to be bonding over my rings. She likes checking out the details on each one and I hope it continues. Since it was passed on to me from grandmother to granddaughter, I believe I will pass Gram’s ring down to my granddaughter, Addi’s mom.

I am sure we are in for many more choices and I will hopefully enjoy them all.

I am just curious what memories babies have brought to you over the years. Please pass on a few. You can contact me at with questions or comments. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week.

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Robert P. Tristram Coffin (continued)

Peter Catesby Peter Cates

Robert P. Tristram Coffin

Robert P. Tristram Coffin

Continuing the weekly series of paragraphs from Robert P. Tristram Coffin’s essay Kennebec Crystals:

“Then a sharp blue wind came up out of the northwest, the mercury in the thermometers tumbled. The pines roared on into the dark, the stars snapped in the skies like sapphires. Good weather for future soldiers, Napoleon once remarked. Napoleon be hanged! So thought the farmers along the Kennebec, who were up in history as they were down in their pork barrels. There were enough small pairs of pants running around their farms already. What they needed was nights to breed that life-giving ice which would keep the small thighs in the trousers going. Good freezing nights for starting the crop of the water.”

Third paragraph next week.

Paul Whiteman

Paul Whiteman

On December 15, 1922, Paul Whiteman (1891-1967) and his orchestra recorded a pair of fox trot arrangements of two songs — Ivy (Cling to Me) composed by James P. Johnson (1894-1955) and Isham Jones (1894-1956); and I Gave You Up Just Before You Threw Me Down, by Bert Kalmar (1894-1947) and Harry Ruby (1895-1974).

Whiteman was often criticized for the sameness of his dance music arrangements but I have found the piles of his shellacs and other records quite enjoyable. The musicians performed with perky rhythms, savory phrasing and, at times, imaginatively improvised detail within the sometimes constricted trotty parameters that might be lacking in the foxy element.

James P. Johnson was an African-American barrelhouse pianist from New Jersey. Isham Jones was one of the early ‘30’s big band leaders who left a number of very good 78s. Coincidentally, Jones was born January 31, 1894, one day before James P. Johnson.

Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby wrote such songs as I Wanna Be Loved By You which was immortalized by Betty Boop and Who’s Sorry Now, itself a megahit MGM 45 for Connie Francis in 1957. They were the subject of the classic 1950 MGM musical Three Little Words, starring Fred Astaire (1899-1987) and Red Skelton (1913-1997) as the songwriters.


ZeroZeroZero is a recent crime drama series that premiered on Amazon Prime February 16 with a package of eight episodes. It depicts the activities of Mexican cocaine dealers; Mexico’s semi-corrupt military fighting the dealers, often murderously, while taking cash as well; a New Orleans family who owns a fleet of container ships and acts as middlemen between sellers and buyers; and the elderly mafioso big scale buyer in Calabria, Italy, whose grandson is secretly planning to feed Grandpa to his sow and take over that family business while pretending to be loyal and loving.

I watched the first two episodes this past weekend and am now hooked.