Tag Archives: TV

Arsenic and Very Old Lace

Yesterday evening, after another exhausting day here at the retirement home, I dropped onto the couch for my after-dinner nap. I grabbed the remote and began surfing, looking for entertainment to while away the dark hours. “As usual,” I grumbled, “nothing to watch.” Channel after channel – bad news and worse news or basketball, snooker and soccer. What entertainment there was, is now all shooting mixed with car chases, more shooting and wrecking cars in the most diabolical fashion imaginable. And then, right in the middle of all the violence, a flickering black and white movie introduced by a moth-eaten lion. “Arsenic and Old Lace”. I reached for the chocolate and settled deeper into the couch.

Of course I had seen it before, long, long ago, but there is still magic in its old-fashioned actors, acting and technology. Everything about it is ‘olde worlde’ charming. I wondered if I would have to stand up for God Save the King at the end.

My wife walked in and sat down, watched for a couple of minutes and said, “What on earth are you watching?”
“Arsenic and Old Lace,” I replied.
“Gee! What year was this made?”
“1944.”
“What??”
“1944.”
“That’s 70 years ago! You’re watching a movie made 70 years ago? What’s the matter with you?”
“How many years?”
“70!”

I was 11 years old in 1944. I’m pretty sure that my mother never took her 11 year old son to see a movie called Arsenic and Old Lace in the year it was released but I probably saw it a year or two later and I have probably seem it a few times since then. It’s still a great movie.

It just goes to prove: Some things never age – they just get older.


Aah, the Golden Years Are Here At Last

Whoever coined the phrase “the Golden Years” clearly never reached his or her Golden Years, (from now on to be written in small letters only). Gold keeps its color and its shine. It doesn’t tarnish or go rusty. It not only maintains its value, it increases in value. No one tosses gold into a waste bin.

The “golden years”, however, are something completely different. They refer to worn out old folks with creaky knees, aching hips, leaky plumbing, and iffy memory and other parts, some of which have already been replaced. These old folks have lost their shine and their value. They can’t find jobs and worse, they can’t do a whole slew of things which used to come naturally to them. The Golden Years (written with capital letters) refer to the years between about 18 and 50. It’s time someone put things right.

However, there are many things that a Senior Member of society can do to justify his few square feet on the planet. Take writing for instance. A Senior has many memories. Write them down so that one day one of your descendants can read about you and more importantly read about the world you lived in. I have grandchildren who constantly ask me questions like: “Pop, you really had no computers when you were my age? What did you do all day?” I always want to tell him that we never even had calculators back then and did most of the sums in our heads, but I don’t want him to think I’m a liar…

So these days, we read the papers and books, watch the TV too much, talk a lot, and reminisce about the good old days too much as well. Yep, those were the Golden Years all right!


Are You Sleeping Now That You’re a Senior?

So how’s the sleeping going? Not the morning, afternoon or evening nap in front of the TV set – anyone can do that. All you have to do is lie down on the couch, switch on the TV, close your eyes and you’re asleep. No big deal. This is a senior’s specialty. A tot of whiskey or some other lubricant will make this sleep even smoother.

I’m asking you about the serious sleep, slumber, the one in the dark hours, the one where you prepare yourself; the warm shower, the toothbrush and the pajamas. This is the sleep that is going to get you through to tomorrow, so you go to a lot of trouble to make sure it’s going to be a great one. You lie down, close your eyes and… nothing happens. For half an hour, then an hour and then two hours and by then you are pretty sure it’s not going to happen at all.

What is it with us and sleep? Why, after years and years of perfect sleeping are we now confronted by sleepless nights? According to numerous articles on the internet, the sleep problem is common among older people for a variety of reasons, none of which apply to me.

What do you do? Steve tells me he goes and sits in front of the computer. I reckon that will wake up any part of him that did manage to doze off. Sam says he switches on the TV. Another mistake, I think. Have you seen the stuff they show at 3am? It’s designed to keep you awake – all blood, bullets and sex. I read, hoping that I will hit a boring patch in the book that will send me off. Oh, blessed sleep, where art thou?


Sleeping Through the News – A Senior’s Delight

It all goes back to the time when it was discovered that not all sleep is equal and that there are different kinds of sleep. Basically there are 5 different stages of sleep. I am now in a position to add 3 additional stages:

  • TV Sleep where one falls asleep at any old time while watching the TV.
  • TV News sleep when one falls asleep while watching the news on the TV.
  • TV Middle East News sleep when one falls asleep while watching the Middle East news on the TV.

There is nothing so boring, so motionless and so sleep-inducing as the Middle East TV news.  Nothing ever changes. The same struggles, which have been going on for thousands of years are still featured every single day on the newscasts. The fights and battles that raged thousands of years ago are still raging. It’s as though the newsreaders are reading excerpts from the Bible on a daily basis.

On the other hand, and this is the good news, the sleep you have during the newscast is unbeatable. It is quite the most refreshing of sleeps and in addition, if there has been any bad news you have missed it. Missing the news catapults you back into the Age of Innocence. “Is that a fact? First I hear of it!”

The connection between sleep and the TV set seems to be a strong one and is linked to age as well. The older you are, the more TV you watch and the better you sleep as well…

 


The Retirement Home TV Is Set To Winter Sports

We old, um… senior sports fans watch a lot of TV here at the retirement home; My mother would have yelled, “You’re watching too much TV! Go read a book instead!”

At the moment, Mom, I think I’m averaging about 16 hours a day TV. That includes the nights when I sleep. On my sleepless nights I can easily hit 20 hours. I watch any time, morning, noon and night… Luckily the earth is round so there’s always something on.

My main channel is the sports. We had a good summer of Tennis and Football, followed by a fall of Snooker and now we are in the depths of winter and winter sports. Nothing could be more boring. One of the old guys here in the retirement home voiced it: “If I have to watch another downhill race or ski jump I’ll start screaming…”

Unless the channels come up with another exciting sport soon I’ll have to turn to the crime channels where I can pick up yet another modus operandi for my unwritten murder novel. Have you watched some of these crime movies? Have you seen the depths that crime writers think normal humans can sink to?

This is just a gentle reminder to the folks back at the TV studios. We are seniors, we have been around a long time; we have seen and forgotten things you haven’t even thought of yet. If you are all out of sports and you want to spare us from watching crime or worse, take another look at the some of the old movies on Turner Classic Movies or MGM. We grew up in World War II – where are all the old war movies? And the comedies, the guys that made us laugh? Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, Walter Matthau? Those were the great movies from our own times and they had us rolling in the aisles all those years ago. We could use some of that laughter now that we are older, a lot wiser but still stuck with the TV you dish up for us.


The Elusive Mr. Sleep Doesn’t Call Here Any More

Seniors have problems with sleep. When I look out the windows in the dark hours I see lights on in many of the apartments here in the retirement home. I also see the glimmering of TV sets as the golden agers surf the channels hoping to find a movie that will send them off, even if it’s on the couch. That’s not how the TV or the sleep systems work. Only afternoon or early evening movies send one to sleep. Late night movies keep you awake.

The subject of sleep and seniors is so popular that the AARP issued a short list of tips to help us on our way to dreamland:

Use a sound machine to mask outside noises. This may be especially helpful for those in assisted living or other senior care settings.

Get the TV out of the bedroom, or at least turn it off an hour before going to sleep. Experts say the bright lights, sounds and images flickering across the screen trick your brain into staying awake and the nightmare-inducing crime dramas and news reports that are on late at night aren’t much help for relaxing into peaceful sleep either.

Dedicate the bedroom for sleep. If it would help, get new sheets, pillows and comforters that are warm and cozy, that you look forward to snuggling under at night.

Use an eye mask to block light – and improve your focus on the task at hand.

None of the above work. Whisky and sleeping pills work much better, but not taken together.


The Wide Awake Golden Ager

A bad night last night. We had a reasonably early night, got into bed, watched a bit of TV, read for a while and then put out the lights. At 2am I sat up, stretched and assumed I had had a good night’s sleep. It was when I stood up and saw the time that I suddenly felt tired. I wandered into the lounge and looked through the blinds, amazed to see that I was not the only one awake in the building. Of course it could be that some of the Golden Agers were still partying, playing poker of having fun, but more likely they are insomniacs, I thought. I wondered if I could get a few of the boys together and get a game of early morning cards going.

What is it with us and sleep? Why, after years and years of perfect sleeping are we now confronted by sleepless nights? According to numerous articles on the internet, the sleep problem is common among older people for a variety of reasons, none of which apply to me. In front of the TV on the couch I am a master of sleep. I can drop off in seconds, without any pills or other assistance. Bed is another story.

So, it’s 2am and I’m wide awake. What does one do? One friend tells me he goes and sits in front of the computer. I reckon that will wake up any part of him that did manage to doze off. Sam says he switches on the TV. Another mistake. Have you seen some of the stuff they show at 3am? It’s designed to help the night shift workers stay awake – all blood, bullets and sex. I read, hoping that I will hit a boring patch in the book that will send me off.


Who Says Seniors Don’t Know What’s Going On?

Any given morning will find upwards of 30 residents sitting in the lounges, chatting, busy with puzzles, gossiping and drinking coffee. Sometimes there are many more than that and the place becomes noisy and crowded. We sometimes drift down, grab a cuppa at the counter and look for friends. Then we sit down and join the action, or inaction, for an hour or so.

This morning was no different. I had some work to finish off and at about 11:00 I went to the lounge. I found one person sitting there: my wife, reading the morning papers.

“What’s going on?” I asked. “Where is everyone today?”

“I’ve no idea. Not a soul has come in here all morning.”

We scratched our heads and went up to our apartment. Only when I switched the TV to see the lunchtime news did the penny drop – “Superstorm Sandy!” I yelled. “That’s where everyone was this morning! They’re all glued to their TV sets watching the storm flattening New York!”

We were amazed at the level of interest.

Don’t underrate us old guys. We know what’s going on. We’ve been around so long we don’t make a fuss of these things. True, we haven’t seen a Hurricane Sandy before but we are old enough and wise enough to expect anything. We read the papers, listen to the radio and watch the TV – when we can keep awake, that is. In casual conversations with some of the residents I sometimes ask, “So what are you reading now?” And the answer I in variably get is, “Oh I haven’t the patience to read books any more. I stick to the papers these days, Time or Newsweek, you know…”

So we may miss out on the best sellers but we’re up on the news!


Are You Sleeping Now That You’re A Senior?

So how’s the sleeping going? Not the morning, afternoon or evening nap in front of the TV set. Anyone can do that. All you have to do is lie down on the couch, switch on the TV, close your eyes and you’re asleep. No big deal. This is a senior’s specialty. A tot of whiskey or some other lubricant will make this sleep even smoother.

I’m asking you about the serious sleep, slumber, the one in the dark hours, the one where you really prepare yourself; the warm shower, the tooth brush and the pajamas. This is the sleep that is going to get you through to tomorrow, so you go to a lot of trouble to make sure it’s going to be a great one. You lie down, close your eyes and… nothing happens. For half an hour, then an hour and then two hours and by then you are pretty sure it’s not going to happen at all.

What is it with us and sleep? Why, after years and years of perfect sleeping are we now confronted by sleepless nights? According to numerous articles on the internet, the sleep problem is common among older people for a variety of reasons, none of which apply to me.

What do you do? Steve tells me he goes and sits in front of the computer. I reckon that will wake up any part of him that did manage to doze off. Sam says he switches on the TV. Another mistake, I think. Have you seen some of the stuff they show at 3am? It’s designed to keep you awake – all blood, bullets and sex. I read, hoping that I will hit a boring patch in the book that will send me off. Oh, blessed sleep, where art thou?


What’s Next On TV At The Retirement Home?

We old and ancient sports fans watch a lot of TV here at the retirement home; “Too much,” my mother would say. “You’re not allowed more than 1 hour a day!”

At the moment, Mom, I think I’m averaging about 16 hours a day and that includes the nights when I sleep. On sleepless nights the average soars. I watch any time, morning, noon and night… Luckily the earth is round so there’s always something on.

In addition to watching what’s showing now, we seniors always look ahead. When it was the world cup football we knew athletics would follow in the run-up to the Olympics. This was followed by the US Gold open. Then came the Olympic Games themselves, with spectacular ceremonies and weeks of fascinating and exciting swimming and athletics. That ended and we hardly had time to catch our collective breaths when the US Open tennis final was upon us, providing some great entertainment.  It is now heading into the quarter-finals, meaning that it will end this coming weekend.

So what’s next on the box? If there is no more sports, and sports includes snooker, which has become a senior TV watcher’s favorite, we’ll be back to watching crime or worse, the romantic stuff they feed us. The best alternative when there is no decent sports are the old movies on Turner Classic Movies or MGM. But even these channels are stingy with what they dish up. We grew up in World War II – where are all the old war movies? And the comedies, the guys that made us laugh? Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, Walter Matthau? Those were the great movies from our own times and they had us rolling in the aisles all those years ago. We could use some of that laughter now that we are older, a lot wiser and too easily bored.