All reading, of course, is selective.  If you see words, you read them or you don’t.  But this time be warned!


If you are under 36,

do not read this post!


Stay on this side of the DOOR.


But come back next time…




Some useful words

Factoid — a brief  item of news or info.

Now, for a factoid  about “myelin”…

Myeline — (my-uh-lin) a mixture of proteins and other friendly compounds that form a whitish insulating sheath around many nerve fibers, increasing the speed at which impulses are conducted.

2 (probably) new words…

Now you’re ready for a quote from “The Art Living,”  Time*

“‘We’re like a jumbo jet that’s always getting repairs and new parts,’ says [neurobiologist Dr. George] Bartzokis. The key to qualifying for that servicing, however, is remaining mentally active. Just as you can’t build muscle mass without working your body, you can’t grow new myelin–at least enough of it–without working your brain. ‘When you use your brain a lot as opposed to sitting around looking at a wall, you’re repairing things centrally,’ Bartzokis says.”

Time goes on to describe that while much–as expected–goes downhill with age, there is a positive side. As “the brain’s processing power does decline, it compensates in other ways–ones that actually enhance creativity….Studies with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), however, show that in the older brain, one hemisphere is not shy about calling on the other for help if it’s having trouble with a task. ‘There may be a decline in function, but it’s partly compensated for by a reorganization in function,’ says cognitive neuroscientist Roberto Cabeza of Duke University. ‘The brain shows these changes into the 80s.”

Time goes on to list, and picture many, of those special folks who unpredictably did well in their later years.

Frank Lloyd Wright  (died at 91 just before his Guggenheim Museum opened)

Benjamin Franklin  (negotiated the Treaty of Paris at 77 and signed the Constitution at 81)

Maggie Smith  (presently active as a primary actress in “Downton Abbey”)

Warren Buffett  (at 83 still sought after for financial advice.)

Grandma Moses  (who began painting at 76 and lived until 101)

(And several other older contemporaries still hard at work, are mentioned and pictured…)

Let me add my own recent discovery, my theology teacher’s teacher, Robert Culver, 96, who at 88 completed his 1200-page Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical.  As of this spring, he’s still alive, active and writing.

Oh…and one more: my own mother, Eleanor Allen Knapp Coates, who died at 100 not quite a year ago. Not long before her passing, she looked me (about the only one she still knew for sure) in the eye and said, “I read your book 3 times, and it’s the best book I ever read.” In her 50′s she went back college, took physics and chemistry and built herself a radio from a kit. Add that to her great literary taste.  Though it was time for her to go, I mourn her loss.

Just when I’m ready to cancel my Time subscription because it’s so thin (in more ways than one) that it gets mixed up with marketing flyers in my mailbox, it comes out with something like this. If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably enjoy the whole article. I recommend it although it comes in an antiquated communication wrapper. Perhaps you can find this Sept. 23 issue in your dentist’s office…


* Jeffrey Kluger writer, with photo essay by Eugene Richards, “The Art of Living,” (pp. 44-56), Time, Sept. 23, 2013.