Banter Bites

Music – The Best Medicine?

Tony's Bennett's legendary singing has touched millions of people, and now his singing's helping him battle Alzheimer's disease … proving the power of music.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Every weekday morning Red has "CBS This Morning" on in the background as she starts her workday by going through emails...

Yesterday, the announcement that Tony Bennett has been battling Alzheimer's since 2016 caught her attention as news of any legendary celebrity battling something so serious would. Red was aware that the disease steals people of their memories and cognitive abilities but was touched by the upbeat nature of Gayle King's interview with Tony Bennett's wife, Susan.

Just as the interview was ending, Red saw an email from Black that linked to an AP announcement about Tony's Bennett's diagnosis and it referenced a newly released feature article in AARP, The Magazine. Although the AP piece was short, it had a quote that made Red stop and smile.

He's not the old Tony anymore," his wife, Susan, told the magazine. "But when he sings, he's the old Tony.

Tony Bennett's singing has touched generations of music lovers, but whether you're familiar with his music or not, this chapter of his life's an inspiring one – of family, of hard work, of joy in what you do, and of the power of music. If you want to learn more about Tony Bennett and his amazing journey – as a musician, as a painter, as a father, as an Alzheimer patient – the AARP article may have everything you want and more.

Black can’t help but think backward (more on that below), but Red always thought being told that you do things backward was an insult, not a compliment. Except, maybe, on National Backward Day, when everyone is encouraged to have a bit of fun, shake up the “normal” way of doing things, and maybe even find a better way of doing some things. Or at least to try a different perspective. And if nothing works, you can follow Black’s advice to Red and say, “Dammit, I’m mad”! Which she quickly pointed out is a palindrome – a word, sentence, verse, or number that reads the same backward or forward.

Since when does doing something backward mean you're doing it wrong?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, still that straight-A student, has always tried to do things the “right” way, which has meant looking at things in a very traditional way; while Black, who doesn’t think like most “mere mortals” (as Red's fond of telling her) looks at things in a very different, or perhaps even “backward”, way.

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Empowering girls – one cookie at a time. Ok, maybe one box of cookies at a time.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s that time of year when many people’s New Year’s resolution of eating better is challenged by the arrival of Girl Scout cookies; something that poses a problem for Red, while for Black, it's an opportunity.

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Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.

For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There's so much one can say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968, and whose leadership was fundamental to the ending of legal segregation in many parts of the United States. But regardless of your position on segregation, it's almost impossible not to acknowledge, yet alone appreciate, how incredibly powerful and inspiring his words were and the impact they continue to have on the civil rights movement. But don't believe us. This goodreads post provides more than just a good read, it's a seemingly endless list of inspirational quotes while a great "refresher" course on Dr. King is available at History.com.