Friday, August 18, 2017


Eighty-six year old dancer and chorerographer 

Carmen de Lavallade is honored by the Kennedy Center

She will forgo the related reception at the White House.

“I am truly honored to receive the Kennedy Center Honors Award and look forward to attending the ceremony at the Kennedy Center. In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our existing leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House.”
– Carmen de Lavallade

Our parents, and even some few of us who remain, fought the Nazi's and Fascists. 

In our time we fought the racists and bigots who stood in the way of racial equality in our nation.

None of them -- the Nazi's, the bigots -- were 'very nice people,' as our President would have us believe.  

To follow our President in believing this is to dishonor ourselves, our parents, and the proud history of the United States. 

Carmen de Lavallade could not do this. For this I honor her/

Sunday, August 13, 2017


That old sponge is a Petri dish!

We use two sponges in our kitchen. One, the little one with the rough and smooth sides, we reserve for  dishes. The other larger one has a less defined purpose. It gets used for cleaning the sink and performs occasional counter duty. 

The wet sponge is a perfect place for bacteria to live and prosper. The bacteria in the sponge get regular  feedings as we clean up the crumbs on the counter or the lasagne in the casserole, and so on. Bacteria love it!

It helps to  let the sponge dry between uses because bacteria do need moisture, but eventually the big one gets stinky. Washing it out  with Chlorox, abates the nasty smell left on my hands from the old sponge for a few days. Some microwave their sponge, some run it with the dishes or in the laundry. Actually, recent research has shown that attempts at cleaning household sponges can only make the matter worse. It turns out that none of these methods of cleaning is all that effective in getting rid of the most noxious bacteria. We might get rid of a lot of the bacteria in these cleanings, but those bacteria that remain are resistant and can prosper in the absence of  competition.

For most of us whose immune  systems are in good working  order a little bacterial contamination is not a problem. So we can hold off on replacing that sponge for a while longer. Overlook that funky smell. It's a different story for those whose immune systems are stressed, for example from a cancer or maybe somebody fighting a serious infection. At these times our bodies are not well defended and opportunistic bacteria, like some of those that can live in funky sponges, can be dangerous.

Economics aside, you would be better to think of using paper towels (if you are a gardener, paper composts at home very nicely), especially when cleaning up, for example, vomit or 'cat urp.' Restaurants use cloth towels that are frequently washed, and a restaurant must maintain a strict standard of cleanliness if it hopes to pass a health inspection. At a minimum, don't use the kitchen sink sponge to clean messes on the floor. 

The overarching recommendation is that you replace that sponge frequently, even weekly, or more often if somebody in the house is ill (think about cross contamination in the kitchen). 

There is no virtue or economy in keeping a kitchen sponge that fails the sniff test. It's a reservoir of bacteria -- your own kitchen Petri Dish. Ditch it!

Want to read more? Here are two articles from the New York Times for you: and

Saturday, August 5, 2017



 Lots of things going on for us seniors!  

 How about the annual chicken barbecue on August 24th, at noon, at the Deering Community Church? Bring a plate to share and get a break of a buck off the $5.00 price of admission: a salad if your family name ends in A-L and a dessert if you're an M-Z. To reserve your chicken, call Marie Merrow (464-3067) before 17 August.

There will be several shopping trips in August and on  21 September GHSS is heading for Foster's Clambake in York, Maine. There's a whole bunch of things on the menu in addition to clams. Check it out in the newsletter and then give Marie Mogavero a call (464-4726) to reserve your place. The all inclusive price is $38.00 to get you there, fed, and safely back home again.

One of the best vacation deals in the country is going to disappear before long!

The price for a lifetime America the Beautiful -- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass is going to jump from $10.00 to $80.00 on 28  August. Now, mind you, at $80.00 this pass is still a bargain and the additional funds will go toward 'enhancing the visitor experience' at our national parks and other lands (even though it could be said that we seniors have paid our dues and this is just one more way to stiff seniors.) Even if you are only sort of, kind of thinking that you  might one day visit a national park sometime in what we hope will be a very long life, it would behoove you to buy the pass while it's still only $10.00. You can get your National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass application at Hillsborough's Fuller library or, on line, at t

Your application must be postmarked no later than 28 August 2017.