Monday, November 13, 2017

Hag-Seed: Book Review

Published October 6, 2016. 
Reading Hag-Seed (2016) by Margaret Atwood is a 2-for-1 treat since her novel is a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest.

Her novel is part of the Hogarth Project, a series of novels retelling Shakespeare plays as part of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's works.

This novel's protagonist is Felix, a long-time director of a community theater in Canada.

Because Felix is in late midlife, the novel addresses themes such as working through relationships with younger professionals, confronting memories of past decades, and trying to shape one's own legacy.

Published the year Atwood turned 77, the novel contains a richness in depicting midlife and late life that novels with mature characters often lack.

The start of the novel begins with Felix foolishly handing over a lot of the control of financing and politicking to an assistant director, Tony, who uses that power to usurp Felix, who believed he could maintain power by focusing only on the creative aspects of theater.

During his "exile" from the theater, Felix must decide how to rebuild his career and decide how to address Tony's treachery.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Lady in the Van: Film Review

Release date: December 4, 2015.
Maggie Smith--yet again--gives a stellar performance.

This time, Smith plays Mary Shepherd, the titular character in the 2015 film The Lady in the Van.

This film is based on real events experienced by author, playwright, screenwriter Alan Bennett. Readers are probably most familiar with his work as a screenwriter on The Madness of King George (1994), based on his play.

Bennett first knew Shepherd in the late 1960s as a vagrant who would park her broken down van on the streets of his neighborhood in Camden (outside of London).

Bennett's character is played by Alex Jennings, and the film is shot on the same street and the same house where the events took place.

In order to prevent her van from being towed, he let her park in his driveway.

She stayed for 15 years.

Over those many years, Bennett and Shepherd have an uneasy relationships. She is moody and irrational. She's not clean. She exhibits signs of paranoia. She's bossy and argumentative.  Nevertheless, Bennett ends up helping her in significant ways. However, he protests that he does so not out of kindness but because he's timid.


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Dr. Bill Thomas: Is Evansville the One?

Rating culture change ideas on 3x5 cards.

If you live in Evansville, Newburgh, Henderson, Owensboro, you are in for a treat!

On Friday, September 22, 2017, internationally renown geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas asked two groups of people from the Evansville region, "Are you the one?"

He was asking if we have the desire to pioneer new housing, a new community that promotes wellness for older adults by better integrating them with other generations and by creating specialized housing that adopts cutting-edge technology.

Our region has the resources, he discerned during a visit in August this year. But do we have the drive?

Who Is Dr. Thomas? 

Describing Dr. Bill's Thomas' work proves challenging.

He's a geriatrician by training. However, watching him interact with others, he presents himself more as an artist and an advocate than a scientist (but he does know his science).

Dr. Thomas, catalyst for change.
For years, he has worked to create a culture change for how older adults relate to society at large. His ideals include the integration of all generations, so the scope of his work exceeds the boundaries of geriatrics.

See Changing Aging for more information about him and his team of aging innovators.

Dr. Thomas also takes an interdisciplinary view because he values the world views of the social sciences and the humanities in addition to the perspectives of allied health professions and sciences.

He also communicates his ideals through a variety of modes, ranging from scholarly articles to performance art. Consequently, his methods also exceeds the boundaries of his training in medicine.

He's iridescent.

I had the opportunity of participating in two events where he was the catalyst for the action.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Older Americans 2016 Federal Report

Image by Paul Weithorn.
In June of 2016, the Federal Interagency Forum on Age-Related statistics published a report entitled Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well-Being.

The Forum refers to it as a "chartbook" because it contains a lot of data about older adults in the US, formatted into charts for ease of reading.

The full report is available here.

I spent a lot of time looking at the 2012 report, which I found valuable. Consequently, I am reviewing this more current report, too.

The 2016 report lists 41 indicators of well-being, which are divided into the following six groups:

  • Population
  • Economics
  • Health Status
  • Health Risks and Behaviors
  • Health Care
  • Environment

Here is the Forum's press release that includes highlights from the 179-page report.

This is the seventh report from the Forum.  The Foreword points out some of the additions, which reflect the dynamic nature of aging in the US:

"Among these additions are an indicator describing the changing demographics of Social Security beneficiaries and an indicator describing transportation access for older Americans. Indicators have also been added to describe dementia rates (including Alzheimer’s disease rates, among the non-nursing home population) as well as to examine the number of older Americans receiving long-term care by different types of providers. Finally, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) for Americans age 65 and over has been added." 

If you would like to read a summary of the full report, here are three options: