Chuckles of the Day


Bob, a 70-year-old, extremely wealthy widower, shows up at the Country Club with a breathtakingly beautiful and very sexy 25-year-old blonde-haired woman who knocks everyone’s socks off with her youthful sex appeal and charm and who hangs over Bob’s arm and listens intently to his every word.

His buddies at the club are all aghast.

At the very first chance, they corner him and ask, ‘Bob, how’d you get the trophy girlfriend?’

Bob replies, ‘Girlfriend? She’s my wife!’

They are knocked over, but continue to ask. ‘So, how’d you persuade her to marry you?’

‘I lied about my age’, Bob replies.

‘What, did you tell her you were only 50?’

Bob smiles and says, ‘No, I told her I was 90.’

* * * * * * *

My Mom texted me the other day.

Mom: What does IDK, LY, TTYL means?

Me: I Don’t Know, Love You, Talk To You Later.

Mom: OK then, I will ask your sister.

* * * * * * *

One spelling mistake can ruin one’s life.

A husband sent this to his wife: I’m having a wonderful time. Wish you were her!

* * * * * * *

Marriage is like a deck of cards.

In the beginning, all you need is two Hearts and a Diamond.

By the end, you wish you had a Club and a Spade.

Peruvian-style Stuffed Potatoes


9 potatoes, about 2-1/4 lb, peeled
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus 4 cups for deep-frying
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Panca Chili Paste (See recipe below)
2-3 yellow chilies, seeded, membranes removed, and chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 lb 2 oz beef tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 pitted black olives
2 eggs, hard-boiled and cut into quarters
salt and pepper


  1. Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the potatoes, and cook until tender. Drain and mash thoroughly until smooth and free of lumps, put in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside for 2-3 hours in a cool place.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of the vegetable oil in a skillet or frying pan, add the onions, garlic, chili paste, and chilies and saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring, until the onion has softened.
  3. Pour in the broth, add the tenderloin cubes, and mix together thoroughly. Continue to cook for a few minutes until the beef is cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. To make the stuffed potatoes, knead and shape the cooled mashed potato into 8 oval balls, about 3 x 2 inches.
  5. Flatten the balls and place a portion of the beef filling, an olive, and a boiled egg quarter in the center of each. Close the mashed potato around the filling and reshape into ovals.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil for deep-frying in a large pan or deep fryer to 350°F/180°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Drop the stuffed potatoes carefully into the hot oil and cook for 8 minutes or until crispy and golden. Drain well and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Panca Chili Paste


1 lb 2 oz dried Panca chilies


  1. Thoroughly wash the Panca chilies to remove any dust or dirt. Cut in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins.
  2. Put the chilies in a bowl, cover with water, and let soak for 12 hours or overnight, changing the water 3 or 4 times during the soaking.
  3. Once soaked, drain the chilies and put in a blender with 1/2 cup boiling water. Blend together thoroughly for about 5 minutes, then strain the mixture.
  4. Transfer to a suitable container and keep refrigerated until needed.

Makes 1-1/2 cups.

Source: Peru – The Cookbook

A Jazz Drummer’s Fight to Keep His Own Heart Beating

Corey Kilgannon wrote . . . . . . . . .

In the 1960s, Milford Graves became a groundbreaking drummer in avant-garde jazz, but intertwined with his career had been his constant study of music’s impact on the human heart.

Now Mr. Graves, a 78-year-old who lives in Jamaica, Queens, has become his own subject: He has amyloid cardiomyopathy, sometimes called stiff heart syndrome.

Doctors have informed him that the condition, also called cardiac amyloidosis, has no cure. When he received the diagnosis in 2018, he was told he had six months to live.

Since then, Mr. Graves said, he has come close to death several times because of fluid filling his lungs. His legs too weakened to walk, he remains in a recliner in his living room with a tube feeding medicine to his heart and another draining fluid from his midsection.

But he has hardly surrendered to the illness. Although he is under the care of a cardiologist, he is also treating himself with the alternative techniques he has spent decades researching.

Since the 1970s, Mr. Graves has studied the heartbeat as a source of rhythm and has maintained that recording musicians’ most prevalent heart rhythms and pitches, and then incorporating those sounds into their playing, would help them produce more personal music.

He also believes that heart problems can be helped by recording a patient’s unhealthy heart and musically tweaking it into a healthier rhythm to use as biofeedback.

In recent months, Mr. Graves has been listening constantly to his own heart with a stethoscope and monitoring it with an ultrasound device he bought on eBay.

“It turns out, I was studying the heart to prepare for treating myself,” he said.

His diagnosis has only invigorated his research, musical explorations and creative output as a visual artist, said Mr. Graves, whose daily fight against the disease has become something of a performance art project.

He said he is rushing to further his research and organize it, so that it can be continued after his death by his students, who are fastidiously documenting and videotaping his daily activity, both for his archives and for an exhibition in September at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.

The show’s curator, Mark Christman, visits Mr. Graves and gathers his latest work, from sculptures to customized drums to new videos of Mr. Graves playing.

Mr. Graves has no idea how long he will live — “It could be three days, it could be a month,” or longer — but he is adamant that he will be strong enough to play live for the show, perhaps streamed from his recliner.

Where some might see cruel irony in being afflicted by heart disease, which he has studied for 45 years, he sees a challenge.

“It’s like some higher power saying, ‘OK, buddy, you wanted to study this, here you go,” he said. “Now the challenge is inside of me.”

He wonders if he has somehow “internalized” the subject of his study.

“I ask myself, ‘Why did I get something that, in my research, I’ve been trying to rectify?’” he said. “It’s a rare disease with very little research on it. The experts say there’s nothing to be done, so I have to look inward for answers.”

Mr. Graves has long said that a healthy heart beats with flexible, varying rhythms that respond to stimuli from the body. The rhythms, he said, bear similarities to some traditional Nigerian drumming styles, and he has fashioned some of his drumming approaches along these lines.

Because of the abnormal heartbeats caused by his disease, which stiffens the heart muscle and can lead to heart failure, what he hears now in his own heart is the “sound of survival,” he said.

It sounds less elastic and more plodding than before the diagnosis, he said, with a more metronomic regularity that he has called a rigid, unhealthy quality in a heartbeat.

He is practicing his biofeedback techniques by listening to his heart with a stethoscope and mimicking the rhythm and melody by singing and playing on a drum near his recliner. He also plays recordings of his own heart’s sounds on the drumhead with the help of electronic transducers, effectively turning the drumhead into a speaker.

That has helped him come up with drumming techniques, including adjustments in drumhead tensions and new stick styles. It’s still drum practice, but with higher stakes.

Mr. Graves has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, with exhibitions of his art and research, festival performances and an acclaimed full-length documentary, “Milford Graves Full Mantis.”

“Instead of going into despair, his response was, ‘I’ve been asked to look deeper at this,’” said Jake Meginsky, the film’s co-director and a longtime assistant of Mr. Graves. “He’s surviving this prognosis, and through his creative process he’s offering us a record on what that survival is like.”

Mr. Graves approach is no surprise to those familiar with his unconventional life path.

He grew up in the South Jamaica housing projects and in the 1960s played with such avant-garde musicians as Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, with whom he performed at John Coltrane’s funeral in 1967. He turned down offers from Miles Davis to join Davis’s band.

In more recent years, he has also collaborated with the rocker Lou Reed, the pianist Jason Moran and the avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn.

Mr. Graves became a largely self-taught musician and scientific researcher, delving into herbal medicine, holistic healing, acupuncture, martial arts and other disciplines.

With only a high school diploma and minimal formal medical training, he taught music healing and drumming classes at Bennington College in Vermont for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2012.

He developed a martial-arts style modeled after the movements of the praying mantis and dance traditions from West African styles and the Lindy Hop.

“He did pretty much everything on his own, and it’s very important that his work continue, so he wants to leave everything in the right places with the right people,” his wife, Lois, said. “He knows he has more work to do and he’s going to get it done.”

Since 1970, Mr. and Ms. Graves have lived in a home in Queens that he has decorated with a Gaudíesque mosaic of stones and colored glass. The Graveses have turned the yard into a lush garden, dense with citrus trees, herbs and exotic plants. He converted a free-standing garage into an ornate temple that was often used as a dojo for martial arts.

But it is the basement where his heart research was mainly conducted. The space is packed with African idols, anatomical models, herbal extracts, African drums and a hodgepodge of heart-monitoring equipment displaying intricate electrocardiogram readouts.

Here, he said, he has treated students, neighbors and colleagues, and since 1990 has recorded perhaps 5,000 heartbeats. Mr. Graves created programs to analyze the heart’s rhythms and pitches caused by muscle and valve movement. He found ways to amplify the more obscure patterns and complex melody lines in the vibration frequencies underneath the basic thump-THUMP heartbeat, and use them for both musical and medical analysis.

In 2000, he received a Guggenheim grant to purchase heart-monitoring equipment. And in 2017, he co-patented technology for using heart melodies to regenerate stem cells.

Dr. Baruch Krauss, who teaches pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and is an emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital, said Mr. Graves’s work “has a lot of potential and possibility” if it were to be furthered in a clinical setting.

“There’s a lot there to be studied and used as a basis for further research,” said Dr. Krauss, who follows Mr. Graves’s work.

“He’s continuously inquisitive and creative and interested,” he added, “and this condition really hasn’t slowed him down.”

In his living room on a recent Sunday, one of Mr. Graves’s students, Peyton Pleninger, 24, helped him set up a device to play heart sounds and assisted him with making an assemblage for the art show.

“I don’t want to leave the planet with things undone,” Mr. Graves said.

Source : The New York Times

Baby Boomers Show Concerning Decline in Cognitive Functioning

Jeff Grabmeier wrote . . . . . . . . .

In a reversal of trends, American baby boomers scored lower on a test of cognitive functioning than did members of previous generations, according to a new nationwide study.

Findings showed that average cognition scores of adults aged 50 and older increased from generation to generation, beginning with the greatest generation (born 1890-1923) and peaking among war babies (born 1942-1947).

Scores began to decline in the early baby boomers (born 1948-1953) and decreased further in the mid baby boomers (born 1954-1959).

While the prevalence of dementia has declined recently in the United States, these results suggest those trends may reverse in the coming decades, according to study author Hui Zheng, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“It is shocking to see this decline in cognitive functioning among baby boomers after generations of increases in test scores,” Zheng said.

“But what was most surprising to me is that this decline is seen in all groups: men and women, across all races and ethnicities and across all education, income and wealth levels.”

Results showed lower cognitive functioning in baby boomers was linked to less wealth, along with higher levels of loneliness, depression, inactivity and obesity, and less likelihood of being married.

The study was published online recently in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences.

Zheng analyzed data on 30,191 Americans who participated in the 1996 to 2014 Health and Retirement Survey, conducted by the University of Michigan. People over 51 years old were surveyed every two years.

As part of the study, participants completed a cognitive test in which they had to recall words they had heard earlier, count down from 100 by 7s, name objects they were shown and perform other tasks.

Other research has shown that overall rates of mortality and illness have increased in baby boomers, but generally found that the highly educated and wealthiest were mostly spared.

“That’s why it was so surprising to me to see cognitive declines in all groups in this study,” Zheng said. “The declines were only slightly lower among the wealthiest and most highly educated.”

Zheng also compared cognition scores within each age group across generations so that scores are not skewed by older people who tend to have poorer cognition. Even in this analysis, the baby boomers came out on bottom.

“Baby boomers already start having lower cognition scores than earlier generations at age 50 to 54,” he said.

The question, then, is what has happened to baby boomers? Zheng looked for clues across the lifetimes of those in the study.

Increasing cognition scores in previous generations could be tied to beneficial childhood conditions – conditions that were similar for baby boomers, Zheng said.

Baby boomers’ childhood health was as good as or better than previous generations and they came from families that had higher socioeconomic status. They also had higher levels of education and better occupations.

“The decline in cognitive functioning that we’re seeing does not come from poorer childhood conditions,” Zheng said.

The biggest factors linked to lower cognition scores among baby boomers in the study were lower wealth, higher levels of self-reported loneliness and depression, lack of physical activity and obesity.

Living without a spouse, being married more than once in their lives, having psychiatric problems and cardiovascular risk factors including strokes, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes were also associated with lower cognitive functioning among people in this generation.

“If it weren’t for their better childhood health, more favorable family background, more years of education and higher likelihood of having a white-collar occupation, baby boomers would have even worse cognitive functioning,” Zheng said.

There were not enough late baby boomers (born in 1960 or later) to include in this study, but Zheng said he believes they will fare no better. The same might be true for following generations unless we find a solution for the problems found here, he said.

While many of the problems linked to lower cognitive functioning are symptoms of modern life, like less connection with friends and family and growing economic inequality, other problems found in this study are unique to the United States, Zheng said. One example would be the lack of universal access and high cost of health care.

“Part of the story here are the problems of modern life, but it is also about life in the U.S.,” he said.

One of the biggest concerns is that cognitive functioning when people are in their 50s and 60s is related to their likelihood of having dementia when they are older.

“With the aging population in the United States, we were already likely to see an increase in the number of people with dementia,” Zheng said.

“But this study suggests it may be worse than we expected for decades to come.”

Source: Ohio State University

Could the First Drug That Slows Arthritis Be Here?

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

There are currently no medications that can slow down the common form of arthritis that strikes aging knees and hips. But a new study suggests a powerful, and expensive, anti-inflammatory drug could potentially do just that.

The drug, called canakinumab (Ilaris), is used for certain rare rheumatic conditions marked by widespread inflammation. They include juvenile idiopathic arthritis, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints.

The new findings suggest the drug might hold promise for easing the highly common type of arthritis that sets in with age: osteoarthritis.

The researchers found that among 10,000 patients given canakinumab in a clinical trial, the risk of having a knee or hip replacement was cut by at least 40% over four years. Those surgeries are generally done to treat severe osteoarthritis.

However, the trial — funded by Ilaris-maker Novartis — has a major limitation: It was not actually designed to test the drug for osteoarthritis. Instead, researchers wanted to know if it could prevent heart attacks in high-risk people.

The reduction in joint replacements was a fortuitous finding.

“We’re hoping that this will stimulate further research,” said Dr. Paul Ridker, the senior researcher on the study. “These data derive from a very large trial, and they’re pointing to a potential new pathway in the treatment of osteoarthritis.”

Canakinumab works by blocking interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) — a chemical produced by the immune system that helps regulate the body’s inflammatory response. Recent studies have pointed to a role for IL-1β in the inflammation that marks osteoarthritis.

“Back when I was in medical school, we learned that rheumatoid arthritis was an inflammatory condition and osteoarthritis was ‘wear-and-tear,'” said Ridker, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston.

But, he said, the wear-and-tear concept is untrue, as osteoarthritis does seem to involve systemic inflammation.

In fact, a few small clinical trials have tested various IL-1 inhibitors for easing the pain of knee osteoarthritis. And they’ve come up empty.

But that, Ridker said, may simply be because the trials were too small and too short-term.

Dr. Nancy Lane, a professor and arthritis researcher at the University of California, Davis, agreed.

She praised the new study as “groundbreaking.” Even though the trial did not directly test canakinumab for arthritis, Lane said, the reduction in joint replacements is major.

“Right now, we have no treatments that prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression,” Lane said.

At this point, she stressed, it’s not clear that canakinumab actually does slow joint degeneration. It’s possible it reduced people’s pain, which can delay hip or knee replacements.

So that’s one of the questions for future research, Lane said.

Lane co-wrote an editorial accompanying the study, which was published online Aug. 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The findings are based on a clinical trial that enrolled more than 10,000 people who’d suffered a heart attack. The hope was to cut the risk of a repeat heart attack by giving them canakinumab along with standard medications. Half of the patients were randomly assigned to take the drug, while the other half used a placebo.

Canakinumab was taken by injection, once every three months.

Ridker’s team found that over roughly four years, patients on the drug were 40% to 47% less likely to need joint replacement surgery, versus the placebo group.

There was one key element to the trial: All patients had elevated blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). Ridker said this is a marker of chronic, low-grade inflammation in the body.

According to Lane, that raises an interesting possibility. Maybe there is a group of arthritis patients — those with high CRP — who are more likely to benefit from canakinumab.

Because the drug inhibits an immune system chemical, the main risk is that it can leave people more vulnerable to serious infections. In the heart disease trial, patients given canakinumab had a somewhat lower heart attack risk, but they also had a higher rate of fatal infections — though the risk was low overall.

If canakinumab is proven to prevent joint replacements, there will be a practical issue — the drug’s huge price tag, at thousands of dollars per injection. In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected Novartis’s bid to have canakinumab approved for heart disease; some cardiology experts had concluded the benefit was too small to justify expanding its use.

Source: HealthDay

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