Guns

By Marilyn Zuckerman

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the PNA. Please feel free to comment and join the conversation.  

Glock 22

The Seattle Public Library Permits Concealed Guns

Nobody asked me
if I wanted to sit next to a guy
carrying a gun
he can pull out at any time
something triggers his paranoia—
a suspicious movement,
a foreign face
or the librarian who has asked him to be quiet.
It’s the moment he’s been waiting for
ever since he bought the gun,
learned to use it at the shooting range
banging away at a moving silhouette
wearing a sign that says
KILL ME.

·    ·    ·

Shoot ‘em Ups

In the old west
the shoot ‘em up takes place in town—
in the old saloon, the brothel
or the boardwalk outside the barbershop—

These days, it can be anywhere
the church
the synagogue
a shopping mall
post office
your office building
a college dorm
the library or on the road.
Not with a Colt 45
but an AR-15 blazing at so many rounds a second,
the shooter—your husband or the boyfriend you
dumped,
the neighbor whose lawn was soiled by your dog.
There’s the guy who killed his five children
because he was mad at his wife.

Or the quiet fellow you pass every day
who shot up the kids in the schoolyard with an arsenal
he picked up at the local gun show,
whom everyone said kept to himself and was so polite
you’d never imagine—

·    ·    ·

The Gun

Known as the AR-15
built in 1958
as a selective-fire weapon
for the military only
but sold to Colt
for civilian use
as a semi-automatic rifle
Popular among civilian shooters
due to their accuracy
light weight
auto-loading assault style
air-cooled
gas-operated
and magazine-fed
The most wanted gun in America,
there are  millions on the streets today.

·    ·    ·

Colt AR15A4

Orlando

A Plagiarism (after Jonathan Lethem)

Once again elegies, services, and memorials for the dead after yet another mass shooting in America brought about by the violent misuse of guns. The following is a collage of remarks about our “American Olympics of murder” from several voices around the country. Every word that follows has been said before in newspaper essays, speeches, sermons and addresses on the floor of Congress.

One person did that?
Yes…but with a weapon designed only for mass killings on the battlefield, a weapon so dangerous that soldiers keep their versions locked up when not actually training with it. …No one can ever eliminate violence in a modern society. …The success of the AR-15 has led to increasing militarization of the entire consumer firearms market in America. If we had gun laws like those of most countries that resemble ours we would have lower levels of gun violence. This massacre is therefore further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or in a house of worship or a movie theater or in a night club. Now there are speeches of condolences, the service for the dead, tears have been shed—and everyone goes home.

·    ·    ·

Acknowledgements:
Anonymous
Natasha Singer, The New York Times
The Guardian
Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
Tom Diaz, Violence Policy Center
Congressman Christopher Murphy
and at the last, President Obama

http://marilynzuckermanpoet.com

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Multigenerational homes are back in style, with more breathing room

Terry Cadd, center, walks over to her granddaughter, Josie, 2, as Barbara Spangler, left, Becky Cadd and Jim Cadd gather in the living room at their home in Bel Air, Md., March 30, 2016. As more American parents, their grown children and their grandchildren live together, homebuilders accommodate the demand with specially designed houses. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times)

By Janet Morrissey
The New York Times—April 13, 2016
(Republished in The Seattle Times)

The number of Americans living in multigenerational households rose to 56.8 million in 2012, about 18 percent of the total population. The homebuilding industry is responding quickly to this shifting demand by creating homes specifically intended for such families.

Bob and Myrna Conrad, both 65, share a house with their son Wade, 41, his wife, Dana, 42, and their grandson Bryce, 21. Isn’t it crowded? Don’t they cramp one another’s style? Actually, no.

“We just set some ground rules, and it’s been working great,” said Wade Conrad, who has been living with his extended family since late 2013 in a NextGen multigenerational home, built by Lennar in Spanaway.

The Conrads are among a growing number of families seeking specially designed homes that can accommodate aging parents, grown children and even boomerang children under the same roof.

Click here to read the rest of this article on The Seattle Times website. (If you do not wish to leave the PNA Village webpage, please do not click the link.)

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The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee

The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee II (pnavillage.org)
By Dick Gillett

Stephen bent over his loom, quiet, watchful and steady. A special contrast, as every man was, in the forest of looms where Stephen worked, to the crashing, smashing, tearing piece of machinery at which he labored.
—From Hard Times, by Charles Dickens

It’s 9:01 on a Wednesday morning as I enter Herkimer Coffee up on Phinney Ridge for my usual caffeine fix. Along the shop’s left wall, an array of people sit at tables, coffee cups within reach, laptops open, heads down—as if the factory whistle just blew and the working class had filed in and bent over their machines.

In contrast, as a “retired worker” I mosey in and take my “work station” in front of barista Chad, who sees me and reaches for the macchiato cup; he knows my drink.
In casual conversation, he and Sean, the other barista on duty, both reveal they grew up as only children, which was my also my situation. (Naturally we understand this makes us special).

This brief palaver serves to lighten me up a bit after reading the print edition (I’m afraid I’m a print news junkie) of The New York Times. The paper continues to tell us about the unending crisis of refuges flooding into Europe, Putin’s Russian jets now in Syria, and the latest special absurdity of much of our domestic political news.

The Working Class at Herkimer Coffee (pnavillage.org)

Of course the laptop “working class” image above is my fantasy. But in my mind, it serves to separate me from my fellow human beings of the succeeding generations. (For instance I don’t have a laptop and only clumsily use instant messaging.) But as it frequently does, the sight of younger people at Herkimer’s—busily working away (or goofing off)—fills me with a certain longing. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have an intergenerational dialogue? An honest-to-goodness dialogue about our insane world, inasmuch as we are all bound together as citizens traveling on Planet Earth?

On the other hand, there would be those who with much justification—seeing as how we of the older generations have screwed up pretty much everything—would say, “And what do you, old-timer, have to tell us to our edification?” My response might be, “And how do you, one or two generations removed from me, see yourself and your families, especially your children, in relation to our current and future world?”

Could a starting point be a reflection on Pope Francis’ recent visit to the U.S.? I hear that there are intergenerational dialogues going on here and there on such topics, some even within reach of our Phinney Neighborhood Association. Might our own PNA Village be a catalyst for such?

·    ·    ·

Author Dick Gillett is a Member of PNA Village and a retired Episcopal priest. He has written numerous articles for our Village blog including, “Martín’s Journey to the White House”“Johnny Cash & Global Warming”, and “Monthly Book Group at Couth Buzzard”.

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For an Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp

Paul Rogers - NYT

Paul Rogers – NYT

By Jane E. Brody
May 11, 2015 —The New York Times Well Blog

With people worldwide living longer, marketers are seizing on every opportunity to sell remedies and devices that they claim can enhance memory and other cognitive functions and perhaps stave off dementia as people age.

Among them are “all-natural” herbal supplements like Luminene, with ingredients that include the antioxidant alpha lipoic acid, the purported brain stimulant ginkgo biloba, and huperzine A, said to increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine; brain-training games on computers and smartphones; and all manner of puzzles, including crosswords, sudoku and jigsaw, that give the brain a workout, albeit a sedentary one.

Unfortunately, few such potions and gizmos have been proven to have a meaningful, sustainable benefit beyond lining the pockets of their sellers. Before you invest in them, you’d be wise to look for well-designed, placebo-controlled studies that attest to their ability to promote a youthful memory and other cognitive functions.

Even the widely acclaimed value of doing crossword puzzles has been called into question, beyond its unmistakable benefit to one’s font of miscellaneous knowledge. Although there is some evidence that doing crosswords may help to delay memory decline, Molly Wagster, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, said they are best done for personal pleasure, not brain health. “People who have done puzzles all their lives have no particular cognitive advantage over anyone else,” she said.

Read the full article in The New York Times

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Free Online Courses Keep Retirees in the Know

By Walecia Konrad
MARCH 19, 2015—The New York Times

Mary Lou Russell has a passion for learning. Since retiring 10 years ago, the 79-year-old former grant maker has taken more than a dozen classes on subjects including classical music and appreciating Andy Warhol. She has attended most of her classes from her Manhattan living room.

“I used to go up to Columbia, down to N.Y.U. and over to New School. I was all over the place with my MetroCard,” Ms. Russell said. “Then I learned about online courses and that has been so freeing for me. I call it the anti-aging vitamin for those of us over 60 who want to stay relevant.”

Taking courses online is well suited for retirees, according to John Blair, 85, a retired engineer in Wayland, Mass. He especially likes the accessibility to top professors at elite universities. He adds that online courses have given him a way to dive into subjects unrelated to engineering, like economics. “By jumping from Yale to Harvard to Stanford to M.I.T., I was able to sample economics courses in a broad way,” Mr. Blair said.

Colleges have been catering to online adult learners for years, often offering video lectures and courses on their websites and posting popular lecture series on YouTube and iTunes. Starting around 2011, the latest iteration of virtual education, massive open online courses or MOOCs, hit the scene. Often free, many of these classes take online learning a step further and provide interactive video features like mini quizzes and student discussion forums.

Read the full article here

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Finding Success, Well Past the Age of Wunderkind

Lucille Shulklapper started writing in retirement and has published poetry and a children’s book called “Stuck in Bed Fred.” (Ryan Stone for The New York Times)

Lucille Shulklapper started writing in retirement and has published poetry and a children’s book called “Stuck in Bed Fred.” (Ryan Stone for The New York Times)

By Abby Ellin
March 20, 2015—The New York Times

As a girl growing up in Jamaica, Queens, Lucille Gang Shulklapper dreamed of being a writer and “having a househusband like Edna St. Vincent Millay.”

Life didn’t unfold quite that way. Instead of having a literary career, she married, took a teaching job and raised three children. She wrote off and on, mostly for herself. But when she retired in her late 50s, “words came tumbling out of closets and drawers, leaking from rusty faucets and reappearing as character actors,” said Ms. Shulklapper, now 80. She began sending out poems and short stories, and published her first book of poetry in 1996, when she was 60.

Since then, she has published four chapbooks, which are typically small editions of 40 pages or so, and a fifth is in progress. And in January, Guardian Angel Publishing released Ms. Shulklapper’s first children’s book, “Stuck in Bed Fred.”

“We absolutely have to revamp this idea of a linear pattern of accomplishment that ends when you’re 50 or 60”

“I am living beyond my dreams,” said Ms. Shulklapper, a widowed grandmother of six who lives in Boca Raton, Fla. “I feel as though it’s my baby. A long pregnancy and now its delivery, all 10 toes and fingers.”

Conventional wisdom holds that if you do not write your “Farewell to Arms,” paint your “Starry Night,” start the next Twitter or climb Mount Everest by young adulthood, or at least middle age, then chances are you will never do it.

But that idea is becoming increasingly outdated as people are not only having successes later in life, but blooming in areas they never expected. Maybe they are not making millions, or wielding a brush like Rembrandt. Still, many people are discovering that the latter part of their lives can be just as (or even more) rewarding creatively, emotionally and spiritually.

Read the rest of this article here.

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Finding Communities That Connect and Nurture the Like-Minded

Photo Credit Katherine Taylor for The New York Times

Dorothy Adelman, 99, lives at Lasell Village, a retirement community run by Lasell College in Newton, Mass. She takes various courses and teaches a weekly art class. (Photo by Katherine Taylor for The New York Times)

By Abby Ellin
The New York Times— December 26, 2014

Jon Allen lived most of his life very much out of the closet. He didn’t want to go back in when he grew older.

“Baby boomers won’t want to move into typical ‘old folks homes,’ no matter how nice they look.”

“After you live in Key West for 20 years, you’re out comfortably every minute of every day,” said Mr. Allen, 72. “The fear is not that you’re going to move into a place that’s homophobic but that at some point you might become fairly helpless and that you’ll come across some random odd caregiver who makes it his or her purpose in life to make you miserable or to let you know you’re a sinner or whatever.”

So in May, he packed up his belongings and moved into a three-bedroom apartment at Fountaingrove Lodge, a continuing-care retirement community in Santa Rosa, Calif., in the heart of wine country.

Read the full article here

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Confronting the Inevitable, Graphically

A full-page panel from Roz Chast’s new memoir, featuring “cautionary” tales from her childhood. Credit Roz Chast

A full-page panel from Roz Chast’s new memoir, featuring “cautionary” tales from her childhood. (Illustration by Roz Chast)

Review by Michiko Kakutani
May 5, 2014—The New York Times

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

#1 New York Times Bestseller / 2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir
By Roz Chast
(Bloomsbury, 2014)

Roz Chast feels — and draws — our pain. Our neurotic worries and genuine fears, our mundane and existential anxieties, our daydreams, nightmares, insecurities and guilty regrets. Or, rather, she does such a funny, fluent job in her New Yorker cartoons of conveying the things that keep her up at night that many readers are convinced that she is somehow mapping their own inner lives.

It hasn’t been hard to discern the autobiographical impulse in Ms. Chast’s work. Though her earliest cartoons tended to be more conceptual, many of the later ones in her “selected, collected, & health-inspected” anthology “Theories of Everything” (2006) are clearly informed by her experiences as a daughter, wife and mother.

Her account is…by turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny.

In her latest book, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?,” Ms. Chast tackles the subject of her parents, writing with a new depth and amplitude of emotion. Her account of growing up with them in Brooklyn as an only child and her efforts, decades later, to help them navigate the jagged shoals of old age and ill health, is by turns grim and absurd, deeply poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. Her fondness for the exclamatory (expressed in capital letters, underlined words and multiple exclamation points) is cranked up several notches here, and her familiar, scribbly people go from looking merely frazzled and put-upon to looking like the shrieking figure in Munch’s “The Scream” — panicked and terrified as they see the abyss of loss and mortality looming just up the road.

Read the full review

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Find this book!

Seattle Public Library: http://seattle.bibliocommons.com/item/show/2974415030_cant_we_talk_about_something_more_pleasant

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781608198061

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18594409-can-t-we-talk-about-something-more-pleasant?from_search=true

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A Tiny Stumble, a Life Upended

Katherine Streeter | The New York Times

After a fall, life is upended in an instant — a sudden loss of independence, an awkward reliance on family and friends, and a new level of fear for those who fall, and their contemporaries. (Art:  Katherine Streeter for The New York Times)

AFTER THE FALL: Second of two articles
By Katie Hafner
The New York Times—November 3, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Joan Rees, 79, had hardly been ill a day in her life. Her biggest problem was arthritis, mostly in her knees, but at home in San Francisco she walked every day and she traveled frequently.

At dusk last November in Istanbul, on the final day of a cruise, she missed a step and lost her footing. When she couldn’t stand up, she knew something was terribly wrong.

In that trivial act of misplacing her foot and falling, she had fractured her pelvis in multiple places. “It was a complete shock,” she said, “that I did something so destructive to my body.”

Her life would change with cruel, unanticipated swiftness.

Read full article

Read Part 1 (“Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation”)


STEPS TO AVOID AN ACCIDENT
By Katie Hafner
The New York Times—November 3, 2014

Older Americans, Falling MorePreventing a fall, and the resulting injuries, isn’t simply a matter of being more careful. Indeed, experts who have studied falls wish that people would take measures to protect themselves much as they do against heart disease or viral infections.

Judy A. Stevens, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stressed the importance of exercise. Among those who do fall, she said, “if you’re in better physical condition, you’re less likely to be injured.”

Read full article

 

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Bracing for the Falls of an Aging Nation

Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times

As the population ages and people live longer in bad shape, the number of older Americans who fall and suffer serious, even fatal, injuries is soaring. (Photo: Ramin Rahimian for NYT)

AFTER THE FALL: First of Two Articles
By Katie Hafner
The New York Times—November 2, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO — Eleanor Hammer, 92, executes a tightly choreographed, slow-motion pas de deux with her walker during meal times at The Sequoias, a retirement community here. She makes her way to the buffet, places her food on the walker’s built-in tray and returns to her table.

Her small act of independence has not come easily. To eliminate trips that could lead to falls, management at The Sequoias required residents to have walkers valet parked once they reached their table, then remain seated while staff served the meal.

Click here for full article

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