Friday’s Odds and Ends

Today I am over at Venture Galleries blogging about what it means to be famous, or maybe not so famous. 
Last month I read an article about the delay of the Ground Zero Museum in New York. It seems that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo can’t agree on whether the state or the city should pay the operating expenses of the museum. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also has to sign off on the agreement because the World Trade Center is in an area controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Complicated, isn’t it, and so disheartening because these entities have been deadlocked for over a year on this issue. This is just another example of how politics can take something meaningful and make a mess of it.

There’s a new term I heard recently – Superager. It is used to describe people in their 80s and 90s, and even older, who still have sharp minds and busy lives. They have no signs of dementia and often are very involved in comunity activities. Scientists are studying hte brains of these superagers as part of their research into Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. What is different about these folks and thos who enter into that murky mental state as they age?

One thing that has been discovered is that some parts of a superager’s brain – mainly the the left anterior cingulate cortex – are much thicker than thier peers, or even some middle-aged people in the study.

According to Emily Rogalski,  a professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, the anterior cingulate “is important for a lot of cognitive funtions, one of which is attention. It’s possible that the superagers have particularly keen attentional abilities and that tose attentional abilities could then support memory.”

Some of the superagers that were profiled in the story about this research had some common traits, primarily how they excercised their brains. Working puzzles, teaching classes, giving speeches, were all ways that they used their brains constantly. 

I hope writing and acting and directing work my brain enough. I want to be one of those superagers.

Speaking of acting, we open tonight in “War of the Worlds” a staging of the 1938 radio show starring Orson Welles. Some of you, who are also hoping to be superagers, may remember that drama that had so many people in the United States believing that Martians had landed in New Jersey and were about to take over the world.

Apparently, it was so realistic that people who had not tuned in from the beginning to know that it was the Mercury Theatre on the Air, thought all the news alerts were real. Here is a picture of one of our cast members, Mike Monk as the aviator hoping to save the world.

Photo courtesy of Michael Alford

 It has been so much fun putting this show together, and I get to have my acting fix for the year by playing one of the roles.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Alford

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