The Baby Boomer Generation is a source for trends, research, comment and discussion of and by people born from 1946 - 1964.
Covering issues on the Boomer Generation including original content for Boomers, bulletin boards, user comments, Sixties and Seventies music, Baby Boomer culture, health and coverage of issues for "Aging Hipsters."
An article in the Times features an exhibit by photographer, Vicki Topaz, of magnificent silver-haired women. Women who also have something to say about their gray.
I go back and forth on the issue. I love my natural-born color and would be sorry to see it go. But going it is and I've artfully hidden the gray strand by strand. But it's a pain in the neck. It's time-consuming. And it reminds me of my grandmother, who died an improbable shade of blonde in her 90's.
So, ladies, what's your stand on silver? Men, let's hear your take, too.
Each year when my birthday rolls around, I do a little accounting, or, as the Indigo Girls say, "every five years or so I look back on my life and have a good laugh." 60, 61, 62, 63...big freakin' numbers. Some of us struggle with it, some celebrate it. What are your coping strategies--or joyful noises--as these birthdays tick by? In the meantime, my favorite birthday song.
Wondering what to do with new-found time? You don't have to be an Appalachian Trail through-hiker to experience the American Discovery Trail. The 6800 miles of cross-country trail is designed to allow hiking, biking or horseback riding for small chunks of time, linking up to small town, parks, cities and wilderness areas.
One Boomer couple did 5,000 miles over a year, with the simple cause of Kindness. describes the many acts of kindness they experienced on their journey.
There were --quoted here as saying:
"Baby boomers form a new demographic for those experiencing financial difficulties," writes Sinclair. "Many baby boomers have lost their jobs to a younger work force and can no longer find comparable employment...Tap into your passion. Maybe you won't regain the same level of economic success, but you just might stumble on the key to happiness...or kindness."
Baby Boomers are breaking up late in life--it's a growing trend, according to this Wall Street Journal essay. Which reminds me of a terrible old joke:
An elderly couple...well into their 90's informs a friend that they plan to divorce.
"But why now, after so many years?" asks the friend.
"We were waiting for the children to die."
Are boomers more tech savvy, more literate or just more paranoid? A British study has shown that that older we are, the better our passwords. My passwords are so arcane, I have to look them up almost every time I log in somewhere. My partner uses some sort of decoder ring to set his. So, if your password is your birthday, your spouse's birthday, your kid's name, your dog's name, don't embarrass us. Go change it now.
As I move into the over-60 decade, I've been thinking a lot about the quality of my days, consequences of my decisions and a legacy, no matter how modest. For those who think that 60 is the new 40, I say that's denial at its best. I ran across a quote from Nietzsche recently that I'd make into a refrigerator magnet if I could, "The consequences of our actions take hold of us, quite indifferent to our claim that meanwhile we have improved."
So, given a realistic timeline for those of us of Boomer age, which do you think makes for a better philosophy? To live as if this was your last day on earth or to live as if you're immortal? What works for you?
I was reading something or other about whatever and remembering some of my life's high points. Then I realized that some of them (but most definitely not all) were decades ago. If the last amazing thing that happened to you was 30 or 40 years ago, it's time to wake up. Americans are known for great second acts; have you re-invented yourself and, if so, how?
According to this article on the Huffington Post, Millennials--our kids, in other words--"study harder and more often, engage in more community service, participate in greater numbers of extracurricular activities, and hold a more optimistic outlook on the future than any other generation in modern history. "
Considering all the crap Boomer parents took for 'helicopter parenting,' over-involvement in our kids lives, and stressing self-esteem above much else, it looks like perhaps we did something right after all.
We were alerted to this documentary by a friend of AgingHipsters on Facebook. Here's what we know:
KINGKENNEDY is a unique feature film that tells the story of John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy and Martin Luther King. It has been made entirely from archive material with no narration or talking heads. The film speaks for itself. Watching KINGKENNEDY is a powerful and moving experience. Its message of freedom, dignity, equality and hope is as important today as it was in the sixties.
Check out their website to learn how you can help funding to facilitate the film's release: KingKennedy.com
If you haven't seen Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style blog yet, you're in for a treat. Older women rock--but we already knew that. One of the best parts of getting older just might be giving a giant finger to fashion trends that favor 15 year-old anorexics and letting our fashion flag fly. Perhaps it just takes a certain accumulation of experience to pull off such individual and exceptional style.
The kids are gone, pass the joint. Recent studies indicate that baby boomers support legalizing marijuana in greater percentages than younger cohorts, especially more than the 30-40's--the generation most likely to be in the midst of family building and child-rearing. In the past year or so, pot use among those 55-59 tripled to about 5%. A whopping 72% of AARP members support medical marijuana, possibly because we have a pretty clear first-hand understanding of the benefits.
Many who stopped smoking pot while raising children and advancing careers now have returned to pot to "soften the pains of aging" as the article points out. And many of us would rather turn to marijuana than to pharmaceuticals. This applies to non-medical drug use as well. Boomers are more likely to indulge in pot than pharmaceuticals for recreational use.
So, empty nesters, if you put off pot during the family-raising years, you won't be alone should you decide to light up once again. Let's just hope these arthritic old fingers can remember how to roll a joint.
Are baby boomers finding fulfillment in less material, less consumerist ways because we want to...or because we have to? Are you buying a Porsche or learning how to throw pots? This article in the Leader-Post explores how baby boomers are fulfilling ourselves these days. We're quoted, by the way, which is possibly how we at AgingHipsters find our fulfillment.
I came across a lovely website today--one that celebrates youth and hope and joy and no...it's not about the next generation or the next-next generation. The site, My Parents Were Awesome, consists entirely of photographs of couples when they were young...submitted by their children. There's something moving and full-circle about seeing a parent as a discrete human being..with a life before kids and all the other grown-up things. Or....as the country song says, "Mama..before she was Mama.'
There will be photos that seem familiar to all of us--- from the 50's (and before) through what look like the 80's. But unlike sites that celebrate the snarky, the derisive and often bizarre, like Awkward Family Photos, My Parents is a tribute, not only to our own youthful awesomeness, but to the fact that our kids see it that way too. One quibble: what's with the My Parents Were Awesome?
I'm not ot sure how it all started, perhaps finding friends on Facebook had reached an end. So, I searched for God.
First, there are several Gods on Facebook. I suspect Facebook of trying to cover their bases. What if one of them really is God? Would you want to be the guy at Facebook to say - "Sorry, we already have a God. You could be God01." Right then and there, I decide (to my dismay) Facebook itself is not God.
This first God has just 317 Friends. And apparently this God is administered by a guy named Jordan Howard - better known as the "creator."
OK, I'm not falling for this. I don't think God would allow Jordon to call himself the creator. Seems a little blasphemous to me. And according to Facebook, we're connected by geography. So right there, I know this isn't God, because I live in New Jersey.
Not sure this is God at all because there are posts from someone named Aylin Baysefr from Russia posing the burning question... "russian girls is the most beautiful girl in the world/... do u agree?????" Well, I don't think God would allow god-awful grammar and spelling on his wall - 19 times. This God is administered by Afsal Hamza from Romaina, so maybe it's some sort of our-girls-are-hotter-than-your-girls smackdown site. I considerd joining this group, but this God lists a related group as "Kung Fu Panda." God only knows, that movie sucked.
Now it gets interesting,
the next God
has 767 friends - mainly because I think this God has a sense of humor (something I look for in my God.)
He states, "You are not friends, until you are facebook friends with God." I've always heard of people having a personal relationship with God, but according to Manish Volraire (this God's administrator) it now requires prayer AND friending God.
I admit, it would be cool to see "Peter is now friends with God." But I'm just not sure this is really God. Lots of earnest scripture quoting here. Do religious people go to some Christian language seminar where they learn words like "helpeth"? BTW, our friend from Russia is also posting about hot girls here... which proves even God can't get rid of spam.
Finally, the really big God.
2,825,000 friends. WOW, this must really be God. Then I think, shouldn't God have something like 200 bazillion friends?
This God doesn't allow wall comments, which seems fair, afterall, he's already got prayer, what does he need a Facebook wall for?
So, I'm getting the impression this is just some slick God marketing until I read - "recent activity - God joined Facebook." - and I KNOW this is a fake, because we all know God CREATED Facebook.
Anyway, the other Facebook Gods look like pikers compared to this one.
I can't comment to my God. My God doesn't have any status updates. There's no live God feed or God photos. I can't have snappy recourse with other God fans, and aside from the Brittany Spears ad in the right column, this God looks more legit than most. So now that I've found my God, all I can really do is is share my God with friends. For this, he is saving MySpace in heaven.
Just a couple of notes for those of you wanting to do a more extensive search for God:
www.god.com Uninspired design and mostly hawking books for sale. www.heaven.com Nifty "religion tree." Note, how Christians are apparently closer to God than any other religion. Satan has a snappy logo, but they don't link to him and apparently satan is at the root of all religion.
Good is apparently is a technology company - I'm jaded.
Bad is just an advertising site - fitting, I guess.
Yes, it's the 40th anniversary of the real Woodstock. Several sequels notwithstanding, the 3 days of peace and love was a defining event of a generation. What's interesting to me is how many people use Woodstock as a frame of reference:
"I was there and..."
"I was on the way there but..."
"I wasn't there but my (fill-in-the-blank) was...."
"Um...I think I was there..."
We would love to hear your Woodstock weekend stories--whether you were there or couldn't be there or didn't even want to be there. What were you doing the weekend of August 15-18, 1969?
We asked a few friends and here are some of things we've heard so far:
"How could I be there? I was so young I would've had to go with a babysitter."
"I was all ready to go, but my parents grounded me."
"Even then I wasn't so much about camping and stuff. How would I have dried my hair?"
"I was there..no, really, I was."
Personally, I was engrossed in the music scene in Newport, Rhode Island that summer. I stayed for a few months and went to the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals. It required taking odd, odder and oddest jobs, copious amounts of drugs, occasional sleeping in parks or on floors, and some of the best music I had ever heard. Sadly, I was summoned (ordered) home in mid-August--August 15th to be exact.
As boomers ponder their dream retirement havens, it would be wise to consider more than just the state tax element of the benefit/drawback equation. Amenities aside, considerations such as sales tax, social security and property tax need to be taken into account as well. Of course, when you live in one of the most expensive states in the country like we do, almost anywhere else looks good. This article on nj.com is a good overview of tax considerations.
"Two of Mr. Jackson's closest friends, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross, both sent regrets. Ms. Taylor via Twitter..."
I'm struggling to imagine Liz Taylor's 77-year old bejeweled fingers texting her RSVP. What did she write? 'Can't cm 2 ur prty'? For those who think the newest tech toys are only for the young, please take a moment to visualize this.
OK, it's probable that one of her staff did this for her. Did they have to explain Twitter first? And did she, brought up in a more etiquette-conscious time, think that a tweet was an appropriate response? When I think of all the stupid things I could use my Twitter account for, condolences to a close friend's family doesn't make the list.
I have to return to my vision of a mu-mu clad, diamond-dripping Elizabeth Taylor texting while she waits for the elevator.
"No one in America can know what will happen. No one is in real control. America is having a nervous breakdown ... Therefore there has been great exaltation, despair, prophecy, strain, suicide, secrecy, and public gaiety among the poets of the city."
Being only 8 at the time, I wasn't purchasing Miles Davis' Kind of Blue or worried about Fidel or reading Lady Chatterly's Lover. But the story is an interesting look at a year in the life of our Boomer experience.
The House has passed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which, besides providing more volunteer opportunities for middle school and high school students, recognizes baby boomers' enormous potential for civic engagement. The bill expands existing services such as AmeriCorps , which will now have money reserved for enrolling adults over 55. It also creates new service corps focused on education, health care, energy and veterans.
Older adults (meaning us) will be encouraged to take both volunteer and paid non-profit positions. The New York Times quotes John Gomperts, president of the nonprofit research group Civic Ventures, "It represents an attitudinal shift in Congress -- an important recognition that national service isn't just for the young." Well, we know that!
The bill includes the following:
Expands Service Opportunities for Older Americans and Public-Private Partnerships
* Creates two new fellowships to engage social entrepreneurs, boomers and retirees, the private sector and Americans from all generations into service. Older Americans will be allowed to transfer their awards to a child, foster child or grandchild to help them pay for college.
1. ServeAmerica Fellowships: ServeAmerica Fellows are individuals who propose their own plans for serving in their communities to address national needs and are matched up with a service sponsor.
2. Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships: These programs offer Americans, age 55 or older, post-career service opportunities as well as entrance into new careers in the public or nonprofit sector. Silver Scholars will be able to earn up to $1,000 in exchange for 350 hours of service.
There are many more provisions to encourage boomers to become involved; you can read a more detailed summary of the bill on GovTrak.us
Times have surely changed since I wrote about being the oldest living human on Facebook a few years ago. Not only are the original college-aged kids now out in the real world and using Facebook for both social and business networking, but Boomers have discovered it too. And, like everything else we do, we do it in a big way. These days you'll find everyone from your distant 4th-cousin-once-removed to your BFF from high school. Lev Grossman, on Time.com, has presented the ultimate top 10 reasons for the old fogie invasion.
We've enjoyed Michael Winerip's Parenting column in the New York Times, mainly because his kids are relatively close in age to ours, so we were sad to see it end.
But wait! He's back! And now he's writing about...well...hmm....baby boomers. The new column is called Generation B, probably because Aging Hipsters was taken. First article talks about talking about Boomers and lists some of us who are particularly impressive. Including our new president, who probably really wishes he weren't one.
With the kids out of the house, it's only natural to turn reflective about age. All those years we had kids at home to keep us feeling young, in touch, and way too busy to think--what a welcome distraction that was. We're looking forward to this addition to boomerography.
For starters, she's middle-aged. For seconders, she's funny. Did I mention she began her career as a comic at age 49? Interesting article from 1981 in the New York Times about creativity in old age. (Not that we're old, of course.) While it has nothing to do with Mrs. Hughes, parenting or comedy, it does offer even more inspiration for us potential second lifers and late bloomers.
Thinking About Buying a Motorcycle: Boomers on Wheels or in Mid-Life Crisis
Got the Bug, Got the Motorcycle Bug
Driving along you notice the graybeard motorcycle rider in the lane next to
you. The wind is blowing his beard back and you can see the wrinkles on his
face. You figure he must be fifty or sixty years old. It gets you thinking.
Or, what about all of these new motor scooters that seem to be popping up all
over the place? Students, blue collar workers and the occasional professional
are all just putting along enjoying the 90 miles per gallon fuel savings. Hmmm,
looks like fun.
A lot of people just like you have the bug, the motorcycle rider bug. But you
have it real bad and you are seriously thinking about actually doing it, buying
a motorcycle and having a little fun yourself. What’s the holdup?
Well, motorcycles can kill you. Yes they can. But on the other hand, you spouse
may kill you just for considering a motorcycle. OK folks, a little humor, lets
not get too morbid here, you are only thinking about getting a motorcycle right?
You haven’t actually done it yet.
I was going to write today about the Presidential debate, but instead find I need to say goodbye to the first man I ever loved--Paul Newman. As a pre-pubescent girl curled up in an armchair on rainy Sundays watching movies, my teeny nascent lust was aroused by the eyes, that attitude. Who wouldn't follow Ari Ben Canaan to Palestine? What woman wouldn't stick with Fast Eddie Felson? And who could play the grifter/drifter/anti-hero better?
He aged perfectly--staying interesting till the end, both as an actor and a man.
Imdb has a complete filmography. Even I, a lifelong fan, was surprised by how many of his movies were iconic milestones for me. And how many were just so damn good.
We recently received this release from the Social Security Administration and think it may come in handy.
By Brandon Robertson
Social Security Administration
More Americans than ever are using the internet to conduct business. On behalf of the Social Security Administration, we would like to share some of the many resources available at our website www.socialsecurity.gov.
Visitors to the website may apply for retirement, spouse's or disability benefits. If visitors to the site are already receiving benefits, they may request a replacement Medicare card, report a change of address or update direct deposit information.
Social Security has recently introduced a new "Retirement Estimator" at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. Getting a personalized online estimate of your future retirement benefits is now easier than ever before.
The online Retirement Estimator is a convenient, secure and quick financial planning tool that lets visitors to the website calculate how much they might expect to receive in Social Security benefits when they retire.
The Estimator allows visitors to create multiple "what if" scenarios. Visitors may, for example, change an expected retirement date or projected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. Just visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator to use this terrific financial planning tool!
The website also offers a Frequently Asked Questions feature. Visitors to the site may select a topic; the site then displays all available information on that topic.
Much Social Security business can be done from the comfort of a home or office by visiting our website or by calling 1-800-772-1213. Social Security offers a variety of service options: you can visit us online, by telephone or at one of our community based offices.
Social Security is just a click away! Save a trip and go to www.socialsecurity.gov to get started. You can rest assured that doing business with Social Security online is fast, secure, and convenient.
There was an interesting essay in the Sunday NY Times written by a 30-something about her parents' decision to pick up and move to Hong Kong. So many of us are still watching the last of our children leave and yet Baby Boomers are also relocating.
According to a report on HomeInsight,
59% of younger Boomers (ages 41-49) and 50% of older Boomers (ages 50-59) indicate they plan to buy a new home for their retirement. Of course, some of are moving for a better job as is the case in the NY TImes essay.
With all the hand-wringing some of us experience as the babies leave, I hadn't realized it could work both ways. Blame it on mid-life crisis, empty-nest syndrome, downsizing, work or just a spirit of adventure. While many of our parents went somewhere to wait to die, Baby Boomers are often moving on to thrive.
I love Lynn Ermann's final thoughts on the matter: Like so many in their generation, my parents are remaking the rules once again. Watching them has liberated us, too. Suddenly, our own lives seem less circumscribed, less finite. We can always go nuts at 60.
I just returned from San Francisco where I attended the BlogHer conference at the request of a client. Over the weekend I met, or at least was in the same room as, maybe 1000 women bloggers. Yeah--there's a boatload of us/them. The largest contingent by far was the group known as MommyBloggers, a designation I'm pretty much over, if I was ever there at all. No doubt I adore my children to the point of idiocy, but my days of full-time mommyhood are long gone and I'm old and cranky enough to no longer be fascinated by first words, first steps, and which are the best car seats.
My favorite 45 minutes by far was spent in the 'Boomers and Beyond' breakout session, moderated by Virginia DeBolt who looks all the world like a 3rd grade teacher and, now that I've read her blog, I've realized is a kickass technology ace.
The women in this group seemed to range from mid-40's to late 60's and all of them are online writing blogs and pretty much putting to rest the silly notion that we old folks don't 'get' technology. Many of them use Twitter with the ease of a teenybopper.
It was downright relaxing to be among peers. Maybe we have a little of the been -there-done-that attitude, but all of them had ideas as fresh and interesting as tomorrow's technology. The session was way too short. Could've done with less long breaks and more long break-outs.
So, here are a few fellow boomers you might enjoy:
A recent Pew Research Center study finds that Baby Boomers are the most dissatisfied generation. This comes on the heels of a University of Chicago study reporting that it's not a sign of the times, we've always been this way.
Growing up in New Jersey, you were sure to either know some surfin' Beach Boy blonds or be one. Well, it seems the Jersey shore is seeing more surfers than ever and some of them are likely to be the same Jersey boys of summer one knew in high school.
According to an article in the in the NY Times, "in New Jersey, people who follow the sport say, a quarter to a half of the surfers may be middle-age or older."
They may be a little creakier but you'll know them by their long boards and by the fact they may just as easily be in the water in winter as summer. Some have been surfing since they were kids; others have taken up the sport in middle-age.
Where Did the Time Go? A Boomer's Stroll Through Memories
If there's one thing that can remind us how time flies and yet how some things seem to stand still, it's a local community tradition. For us, it's our annual July 4th carnival, a major fundraiser for our volunteer fire squad.Held on a small field that spends most of the year overgrown and open, (and an excellent place to let dogs run), the carnival anticipation starts when we see the volunteers out there mowing. The banner goes up over the bridge, the rides seem to show up magically and suddenly it's carnival time again.
For an event with few rides and a layout you can walk in five minutes, it can generate up to 6000 visitors on a good night--the good nights being 'bracelet night,' when kids can ride all night without using up their college funds, and fireworks night. And for a teeny town, they put on a damn good show. One thing that never ever changes is the food. Believe it or not, aside from the usual fare, our landlocked carnival is known for its steamed clams.
Now here's the thing about time. I've been visiting the carnival for 23 years-- from the time my older son was in a stroller. With only a few exceptions, I've been there every year. I watched my kids graduate from the kiddy rides to the big boy rides, from us winning stuffed animals for them to them winning stuffed animals for me. From very long bracelet nights of ride after ride to keeping a watchful out for roving bands of young thugs---yup...my kids and their friends.
As a professor muses on the issues of aging in academia in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I was struck by the universality of the issues--whether one is a college professor or auto mechanic. Age-associated changes that affect 'teaching, learning and research' can ripple through our lives regardless of profession. Lennard Davis's article is a thoughtful....um..where did I put my nouns......essay on our declining powers.
You probably have an elevated level of skepticism when it comes to guarantees. In most cases it's a time limit, mileage or hidden prerequisites that slant the guarantee in favor of the manufacturer. Then, even when you've met all the criteria, try to actually get the retailer to honor it. Good luck.
So when I headed to Sears Sunday with my broken Craftsman ratchet, I was expecting a few hoops to jump through. After all, the rachet was part of a set given as a wedding gift over 30 years ago. But Craftsman has an unconditional guarantee - if it breaks, return it to Sears for a replacement. Yeah, right.
I went to the customer service counter and simply said - "this rachet is broken," and added "what do I need to do to get it replaced," thinking perhaps I needed the original sales receipt or would have to mail it in or some such nonsense.
The woman behind the counter took the rachet (without saying a word) and started rooting around in a couple of bins under the counter. Then she began comparing my rachet to several in her bins. Nothing seemed to match.
Still in doubt, I said, "so it's true?" "
"Yes," was her response as she continued to look for a match.
After comparing several, nothing matched and I began to have this sinking feeling that if there wasn't something in her bins, I was going to have to start hoop jumping. But she just called over the manager and told him there was nothing in her collection that matched my rachet. He took my rachet, walked over to the shelf stock, compared it to one on the pegs and handed over a brand new rachet.
"That's it? No complicated paperwork, no special order, no first-born clause?"
"Yer set," said the manager.
On a side note, I'd just like to thank my good friend Bob for this wonderful wedding gift from way back in 1978. At the time I thought it was an odd gift, but over the years, it is truely the one thing that has endured. The marriage broke up but I got the Craftsman rachet set (still complete with every piece). And thanks to Sears, it should go on into the next generation.
Many of us Baby Boomer men have been collecting the things that define us for a lifetime. From tools to trains. We started with a little corner of the basement and somehow this collection obsession has evolved into the places we go to be - well, men.
I'm assuming here, but to many women, our spaces look disorganized, random and down right filthy. But pick up any random thing in my man-space and get a story (or an excuse about why I kept a broken thing-a-ma-bob). Frankly, it only looks like a mess to someone else. Need trumps order, nostalgia naturally gets dusty and whether or not I can actually find something is irrelevant.
Someone recently suggested that she could do wonders with my office helping organize, categorize, sanitize and de-randomize. Fine for her, but if I'm relegated to a single room, it's going to be the way I want it - and the way I want it is exactly the way it is. Free-form.
The pile of gravity-defying stuff at the door isn't there because I like stuff so much, it's a physical barrier. It says (very loudly) "you really have want to come in here." Besides, the element of risk adds a certain masculinity to the cave entrance, I think.
Which brings me to a book - written by James B. Twitchell called "Where Men Hide." Last Sunday, we attended the opening of an exhibition by the photographer who Illustrated the book - Ken Ross. Ken is a friend who's been a photographer and teacher (and by the way is retiring this year). While I connected with the words - the photographs had me nodding in appreciation for the various ways we men decorate our grottos.
I actually believe I have genetic disposition for this sort of thing. My father had his own space (at the farthest reaches of the basement) where he hoarded a collection of off-sized pieces of mahogany salvaged from the Chris Craft plant down the road. According to dad, the short cut ends of planks were piled so high in the factory yard it looked like one of those giant salt mounds at the DOT garage.
Dad saw the value in gluing up all those little pieces into bigger pieces - which supposedly were to become something grand one day. But looking back, I think it was the mere fact that he had those treasures - and not necessarily what he was going to do with them.
Then there was Mr. Draper, our next door neighbor. Mr. Draper (I don't know his first name because he will forever be "Mr. Draper" to a five-year-old) had what could only be described as the palace of men's spaces; called simply, "The Doghouse." He had a WWII Jeep that ceremoniously guarded the entrance, and the mother of all workbenches on the back wall.
He would let my brother and I sit in the Jeep, toot the horn, pretend to drive and occasionally turn on the wipers (individually controlled with their own tiny electric motors).
But to behold his workbench was to look upon heaven itself. Each tool (hundreds, I'm sure) had it's own space on the pegboard - represented by a painted outline. The bench had a HUGE vice that could crush a head (yeah, we tried). And lining the ceiling were at least 1000 baby food jars with their lids screwed to the ceiling joist. Each jar filled with a single-sized screw, nut or nail. It was the perfect solution - visible, out of the way and accessible. Brilliant.
I'm sure Mrs. Draper was proud of how organized and efficient Mr. Draper was. But somehow I'm not sure he cared. It was a reflection of himself and a monument to a lifetime of collecting. Bravo, Mr. Draper.
I came across this opinion piece about the differences among the generations and about change in general. It got me thinking about the classic animosity Gen x-ers have towards us Boomers and how the same just isn't true about the Millennials starting to become adults and entering the workforce. The writer mentions talking to someone about a recent study:
The fellow said some experts predict there will be tension in the U.S. economy as the Boomers begin retiring in the tens and hundreds of thousands. Many of their jobs will be filled by Millennials. According to the study -- which like all massive studies only applies in general terms -- Millennials are more capable, brighter and more optimistic than either of the two generations that preceded them.
Well of course they're capable, bright, and optimistic--some of those front-end Millennials are our kids!
I was scanning a shoebox-size load of pictures from my father's vast collection and after scanning about 6, I decided there had to be a better way. I mean, 6 at a time on my little flatbed scanner, then into photoshop and finally burning them to DVD. Geeze.
Yes, Virginia, there is a better, nearly as fast (or faster depending on your scanner prowess) and worthwhile way to get all those photos scanned and safely on digital media.
So, at the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I found these guys who will scan, organize and burn all your photos to DVD (there's even a TV-DVD option) and believe me, it's WORTH every penny.
I was a little hesitant to send the whole shoebox, but they held my hand the whole way, even emailing me when the box had arrived. What I got back was a DVD full of memories - and another for my brother.
Now, the only thing we have to decide is what to do with the originals.
This has nothing to do with being a baby boomer--unless our message to the world is 'Slooooow down." Or unless you remember political theatre and 'happenings.' It's another nugget from Mark Hurst's newsletter, goodexperience.com, which directed me to ImprovEverywhere.com, where you can read the story. See the video here:
Money In, Money Out--Boomers Paying Out in Both Directions
According to a recent Ameriprise survey, almost all boomers surveyed are giving their adult children financial assistance, while a fair amount are also assisting aging parents financially. This can substantially affect our ability to save and invest for retirement. Download the study results.
There's something I often say to my kids when one or the other is whining about lost chances--"It's not too late until you're dead." Yet as I reach another birthday, I realize that I have mentally moved a great deal of life into the 'too late' category. It's not as if I consider an activity or an accomplishment and then reach the reasonable conclusion that I don't have the brains, strength, looks, appetite, (insert attribute here) for it. I just assume it's too late.
So, with the aforementioned birthday looming I decided to make a list of things it really is too late for me to do, assuming I even wanted to do them. I expected a really long list since I do sometimes walk around in a fog of wouldacouldashoulda.
Once I ruled out things I have absoultely no interest in pursuing, the list got really really short. Of course, I probably will not learn to be a jet pilot. But I don't want to be a jet pilot. I'm too old to be a major league baseball player--but I've always been the wrong gender for that.
I'm not too old to learn new things--maybe I'll learn slower, but since when was youth a prerequisite for learning a language, learning to bake puff pastry, playing boogie-woogie piano, or snowboarding? OK--the snowboarding thing may be a little out of reach. But it's not too late to live somewhere else, develop a taste for olives, dye my hair odd colors, or write a book.
In fact, with the exception of things is was too late to do from the moment I was born who I am, what is really out of reach? We may be limited by our interests or talents--I will probably not star in a Broadway musical--but that doesn't stop me from knowing all the songs and singing along.
When I was young and money was tight, I used to joke that I could always go to work as a stripper if worse came to worst (no--I couldn't really, honest). And you know what? That may be the single thing it's really too late for me to do. Oh yeah..and the baseball thing. And being president. That's about it. What's on your 'too late' list?
We're a little late with this story, but 'AARP the Magazine' (as it calls itself) came out with a study this year of 5 great cities for retirement and other cities to watch. I've often thought a city would make more sense than an isolated gated adult community where no one delivers Chinese food and your only transportation option is a twice-daily senior shuttle. It's an interesting list. Milwaukee??? Who'da thunk it?
It's been too sad around here lately to update the site. Several weeks ago, a terrific golden boy--19 years old--was killed in a car crash in Yellowstone. He was my son's best friend, a musician, surfer, lover of mountains, funny, free-spirited, glass-half-full type--or more apt--glass all the way full and let's drink up. Truly the leader of the pack and one of those kids you're glad your kid hangs around with.
For most of the children (I know--they're almost adults) this is the first grievous loss in their young lives. It's the defining moment that separates thoughtless immortality from the inevitable mortality. For us parents, the feeling of loss is personal and aching along with grief for our kids. We all liked him so much, appreciated him, and looked forward to what he'd say and do next. I stop in mid-task and feel the loss as sharply as I did when I first heard the news.
But as parents, there's another component. Think of all the times, as your children leave to drive back to school or go skiing or the city, or the times you've hugged them goodbye at an airport, that you say 'call me when you get there.' We know, absolutely know, they'll be fine. We ask them to call, partly out of habit and partly out of an uneasiness we think might be a little neurotic. After all, If parents had to consciously live in a nameless state of dread, we'd all be in padded rooms by now.
And yet, and yet--they're not safe, they may just not be fine. And that that phone call could come for any of us. As this golden boy's mother said to me, "We don't sit around asking 'why us?' The question is really 'why not us?' "
Jeff--you're not really gone. You're our spirit in the sky.
Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Grown Ups
I have become one of those mothers I used to laugh at. Remember the mothers who cried when they put their little ones on the school bus for the first day of kindergarten? The ones who slipped tear-stained middle-school graduation pictures into the ongoing and seemingly perpetual scrapbook? All I could see back then was the few hours of newly gained freedom I would enjoy each day--the loosening of the reins that ran between me and my child...the light relaxation of constant vigilance.
That's great--until you send the last one off to college...two thousand miles away. It feels like I just gave him the car keys and he's driven off with the car---which happens to be my life. I'm just about past the part where soppy country songs about mothers make me cry. I've pretty much mastered the self-pity part. Haven't yet managed to cook only enough for two.
The trick seems to be to look at it not just as a beginning for our kids, but as a beginning for us--to find who we are now. No matter how ill-fitting some of us may have found the maternal mantel, we wore it for a long time. And truth is, we won't stop being parents. We just stop being in situ and become eminus. Or as a New York Times columnist put it, we're downsized moms.
I was given a book as a gift meant to console, but that actually made me curl up in the fetal position. I highly recommend The Empty Nest, edited by Karen Stabiner, to any parent who is anticipating, dreading, living in, or finally over the cutely named 'empty nest syndrome.' Once you get past the essays that make you crawl into the closet weeping, there are great insights into the relationship of adult parents and adult children (or faux-adult children, depending on how grown-up your kid is).
Contributors include one of my favorites, Anna Quindlen; columnist Ellen Goodman; Harry Shearer; novelist Susan Shreve; another favorite--Letty Cotin Pogrebin--and many more.
One effect of being 76-million strong is that everything we do is larger-than-life and some sort of public occasion. Sometimes it seems we're the proverbial butterfly fluttering its wings. Case in point--last week the first baby boomer filed for her Social Security retirement benefits. She didn't just file online and hit "done." The SSA actually held an event to mark this Boomer milestone, hosted by Michael Astrue, the Commissioner of Social Security. By the way, you notice I said she filed 'online?' Who says we're old and in the way?
You can download the SSA press release here.
Next time some Gen-Xer or your children roll their eyes at how out-of-date we old folks are, you might point them to this article on MSNBC.com. Yes kiddies--we did pretty much invent the technology that you claim so proudly as your own. And if the kids' multi-tasking, limited attention span kicks in and they can't bother to actually read the article, try this quote on them:
The boomers themselves can take credit for shaping the course of this technology if not the entire direction of the digital revolution. Gates is among a cadre of industry pioneers now in their 50s. But several decades ago they were tech-savvy kids who seized the moment when their elders had no clue...In the 1960s and early 1970s, many in the counterculture absolutely loathed computers and everything about them. They were seen as part of the Defense Department's War Machine, and also associated with depersonalization of a mass society.
But boomer math nerds, who figured out how to finagle computer time, didn't care...the idea arose that computers could empower people.
Have lots of things you'd like to learn how to do? Considering a new job, hobby, hairdo? And--most important--want to waste lots of time noodling around being entertained while you consider these new things? We found just the website---SoYouWanna.
Today I learned how to get a job as a production assistant, how to avoid common errors in logic, how to quit smoking and how to audition for American idol. I will probably (no, certainly) do none of those things, but it made for some pretty entertaining and informative reading.
This comes up in our house now and then. To go gray or stay a youthful red? Even if the youthful red is being chemically enhanced. On the one hand, I think of my grandmother who was a vibrant blondish-gold well into her 90's. Did anyone really believe that was her natural color? On the other hand, do I want to look like my husband is dating his elderly great-aunt? Is it about vanity or marketability? And if it's marketability, are we all warily looking at the double standard? Gray-haired men are 'distinguished.' Gray-haired women are old. Follow the debate in this article on Time.com.
Most everyone, Boomer or not, can recall the first time they fell in love. I certainly do.
I was five years old, and watching the Mickey Mouse Show when Annette (I didn't know her last name) appeared on our black-and-white television. What a beautiful young lady.
The Mickey Mouse Show is a strong memory in the minds of a wide range of Boomers. That's because it was rerun after its initial life, so youngsters like myself who missed its original 1955-59 run could enjoy it after school like their older brothers and sisters did.
Walt Disney, who had already scored big in movies and amusement parks (well, just one amusement park in those days), proved to be a television genius as well. His Sunday night show, whose name kept changing, was a strong, long-lived hit. His second shot at a series was this one. And its immortality is its legacy, even though the show itself ran a mere three years. A fourth season was produced by re-airing earlier episodes.
Even if the article weren't interesting, how can I resist a headline that includes two great search terms--baby boomers and Paris Hilton? Not to mention, someone finally has something good to say about us:
The Baby Boomers or so called 'Me Generation,' on some level, weren't all that different. They were often seen as egocentric and self absorbed, as having a sense of entitlement. But, along the way, they developed the capacity for self reflection. Now, entering the retirement years, they are serving the greater good and are often referred to as the 'We Generation.' Paris Hilton can learn a lesson or two from the changes in their attitudes and behavior...
"They say seventy is the new forty," a California health plan's radio commercial begins its pitch. Naturally, this got me thinking ... then sixty must be the new thirty.
I'm a sixty-something -- 62-1/2 precisely -- navigating a brand-new path. And thinking about it, What To Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect in the First Year are best sellers. So couldn't we have someone please write What to Expect in the Sixtieth Year and Beyond. H e l l o! Of course, I know with some certainty that some Boomer will get the best-selling word out...somehow. It's early yet. It was only last week when it hit me that I'm a sexagenarian, a person between the ages of 60 and 70. The term made me laugh. I wonder: what do they call people in their fifties? I'll tell you when I find out.
Under the premise that sixty is the new thirty, I reflected on life in my thirties. I was a married, working mother of two. I hardly remember anything except self-doubt, fatigue, confusion about women's lib issues; never having enough time for anything. OK! I remember my children's births of course and some other personal events. And I vaguely remember the odd/even gas lines, The Hite Report, leisure suits, Jimmy Carter and pet rocks, and not necessarily in that order. Oh, and I believe bread cost 24 cents a loaf.
In our never-ending quest to find ways to waste time, we offer this from the Social Security Administration. Pick a year and see the most popular baby names for that year. So, how many Susans were in your homeroom?
It was only a matter of time before we'd try to replicate a sacred teenage ritual--going to the drive-in. Of course in my day it meant one or two or three couples in a car---either planning to drink ourselves sick (if we were a crowd) or well..you know...in the back seat. Hell--even in the front seat since so few cars had bucket seats back then. I even remember being taken to the drive in as a kid--my parents in the front watching the movie and me in the back in pajamas and all the popcorn I could eat.
Apparently the drive-in theatre is enjoying a resurgence, albeit a G-rated one. According to an article on nbc4.com, 20 new drive-ins have opened across the country in the last year. Maybe whole new generations can enjoy that odd feeling of being part of a crowd except not really; watching a movie...kinda; understanding every third word through the speakers; and finding new and interesting ways to get a knee over the stick shift without maiming oneself.
The Summer of Love East Coast Style: Boomer Memories
My mother once said, after hearing I had waited on line two days for Rolling Stones tickets, "Someday this will embarrass you." What she meant, I suppose, was that someday almost everything we thought, felt, or did back then would embarrass all of us. She might have had a point. So often articles I read about the sixties have a self-deprecating air, as if at the time our antics--you know, war protests, campus demonstrations, love-ins, acid trips--seemed so important and now seem, well, silly.
Mark Jacobson's article in New York Magazine has some of that same tone. But it certainly brought back memories. New York did have its own gritty version of the Summer of Love. The city did not join hands and offer up a collective round of Kumbaya, but the muggy air was electric with change, conflict, potential, and the occasional cloud of marijuana smoke. As usual, Jacobson's writing is literate, muscular, and pretty much spot-on.
We have not hit the in-law milestone yet but there must be rafts of Boomer mothers-in-law out there. Contact writer Apryl Chapman Thomas if you have something to say about that most interesting of relationships.
I am a freelance writer who is currently working on an article about Evil Daughter in Laws. I am looking for sources, who might could speak anonymously if they like, on the subject for my article. I am particularly interested in speaking with mother in laws who feel like their relationship is strained or not the way the would like for it to be. I have a few questions that can be taken care of through email. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm sitting in the hill country of Wisconsin this afternoon waiting with baited breath for spring to arrive. Looking out the window I'm watching it snow sideways in the middle of April. It must be that global warming I'm hearing so much about, which brings me to the topic at hand. This is usually the time of year I break my old cars out of storage and start burning more fossil fuel in these carbureted, no-pollution control cars. It may melt the polar ice cap, but I can't let go of those cars that we grew up with.
Many of us boomers grew up in the age of gas shortages, alternate day gas purchase plans, red and green gas station flags and the introduction of smaller, fuel efficient cars. The cars that I have decided to collect aren't the ones that you will see on the Speed Channel at that fancy auction down in Arizona. My garage is filled with cars that would bring a smile to many a boomer face.
Imagine my surprise upon cracking open last Sunday's NY Times Magazine to find an entire issue devoted to boomers. From wisdom, fitness, science and sex--to the obligatory but still very hot Boomer Babes, we are treated with the respect any humongous demographic, money-spending cohort should be. William Safire and Nora Ephron are funny, the Silver Palette cookbook is back, and pretty much everyone is trying to figure out how to part a boomer from his money. Good reading, nonetheless.
Recently my college-bound son invited me to be his friend on Facebook. Whether this was a temporary lapse into cuteness, sentimentality, or mischief, even he isn't sure. But, like the intrepid internet pioneer I am, I said "golly, sure thing" and registered. Originally intended as the private domain of college kids with .edu addresses, Facebook now allows pretty much anyone to register.
Little did I know what I would face as the Oldest Living Human on Facebook. But first the good stuff. A parent with less-than-pure intentions could, for example, post embarrassing comments on a child's 'wall.' While their friends are posting quick comments in kid-code, you could, maybe, write "hugs and kisses from mommy." Not that you would, but you could. Then you could upload that cute picture of little Bobby buck-naked in the wading pool when he was 2. Not that you would.
Well they are not silver coloured alians who balance on surfboards off the coast of California or Australia. A company called AXA has produced findings in a survey that states that OAPs (What an expression - it stands for Old Age Pensioners) are now more likely to surf the internet than do a spot of gardening. Considering that the Old Age Pensioners are possibly not living in properties with gardens anymore, that is probably not such an outrageous statistic. What is it with the younger people that they can reduce a huge segment of the population to an acronym? I suppose one never realises, when that age, that one will be there oneself in a few years. And boy, do those years fly quickly. It will be in the blink of an eye. So you would have gathered that a Silver Surfer is an ancient dude who likes the internet. For ancient read somebody over 50.
To paraphrase John Gorka, '"we're from New Jersey, we don't expect much..." But Imus crossed the line in the turnpike by dissing the Rutgers Women's basketball team. These young women really know how to play basketball, they're quality students, and, unlike some of their male counterparts in college and pro sports, they're not awaiting trial for assault or on probation for gun charges.
"We were stripped of this moment by the degrading comments made by Mr. Imus last Wednesday," said sophomore Heather Zurich. "We were insulted and, yes, we were angry."
Hey RU girls--he's a jackass, you're terrific. Shine on.
By the way, perhaps the day will come when 'ho' is as an outrageous insult as 'nappy-headed.'
According to a survey by the Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University, Boomers have more fun and better music than generations on either side of us. OK, we may not be the most generous, but 44% of respondents said we boomers have the most fun in life and 43% said our music was significantly better than that of either the WW2 (Silent) generation of Gen X-ers. Well, we could of told you that.
A boomerang is an item I became familiar with during a trip I took to Australia a few years ago. If you know how to toss it just right, it will slice through the air and return to you in a near perfect arc. That reminds me a lot of the way our generation has aged. The older this baby boomer gets, the more I seem to be reverting to my younger self. The boomerang that has been my life really does seem to have gone full circle. The same seems to be true of a lot of my contemporaries.
An NYU graduate Capstone team is working with the United Hospital Fund on a project to engage Boomers in hospital volunteerism.
"The boomer generation is better educated and healthier than previous generations, and is also more culturally, economically, and socially diverse. With the first wave of boomers approaching the threshold of retirement in the next five years, many organizations hope to utilize the skills and experience that boomers possess."
To better understand what would motivate the members of the baby boomer generation to volunteer in a hospital setting they have developed an online survey.
If you're willing to take the survey, you can find it here.
With the release of "We Are Marshall" I'm not the only moviegoer who will be remembering that cold November night when the entire Marshall football team, coaches and supporters perished in a plane crash. I'll be remembering my town, my team and my school.
I remember the serious tone of Boz Johnson, the local TV news anchor, as the first pictures started coming in from the Tri-State Airport crash site. For me, it was like seeing JFK being shot in Dallas, or watching Bobby Kennedy bleed out on the floor of a restaurant kitchen - grainy, unreal, devastating. But this was close. These were people we knew - my father's boss, both parents of the three kids across the street- these were people we knew in the football program or on the radio play-by-play. Local heros, all gone in an instant.
That single moment defined a college and a college town. Time was measured in "since the crash." The longest losing streak in college football always seemed to put anoher yearly exclamation point on that sudden loss. And a succession of coaches seemed to illustrate that there is no magic to the 20 year process of rebuilding a football program and more importantly, its very soul.
Sitting in the stands at the 1992 National Championship, I knew Marshall football and Huntington, WV had once again found its soul. As the seconds ticked off, I peeked over my left shoulder to the cemetery visible in the hilly distance. I wanted to share the last few seconds of this historic moment with the young men who had framed it.
Why Boomers Acting Like They're 25 May Not Be So Bad
Every year the New York Times Magazine puts out their Year in Ideas issue and one of the entries should appeal to (and explain) some of us. Psychological neoteny or, 'the retention of youthful attitudes and behaviors into later adulthood," may be a valuable trait. In other words, immaturity and the refusal to act like an adult may result in greater adaptability and openness--traits that just might be survival tools in a world where some of us are on a fourth career, third relocation, and multiple marriages. Forget second childhood--some of us have barely left our first.
I stumbled upon a terrific blog yesterday, Don to Earth, written by Donald Crowdis, who according to his Wikipedia entry, was the first host of Candian Broadcasting's The Nature of Things television program and curator of the Novia Scotia Museum. For sheer erudition and provocative articles, it's a joy to read. Did I mention that Mr. Crowdis is 92? While we boomers push and whine to remind the world that we're not too old for technology, that we were the pioneers of it, for God's sake, and that we're not behind the curve, a nonagenarian seems as comfortable with the technology as any Gen Y-er I know. Beautiful images, too.
We have been busy, we have been remiss. Frontline recently aired an important program, "Living Old," which explores the "uncharted territory of Americans living longer than ever -- and what it means for them, their loved ones and our society." Here's a statistic from the program I wish I never read: only those with
three or more daughters or daughters-in-law have a better than 50%
chance of not ending their life in a nursing home or institution. I'm going off right now to interview suitable daughter-in-law candidates since I have only sons.
The show is thought-provoking and the web site is extremely readable and informative. You can watch a video of the entire program, too on the Frontline site.
There was uneasy silence last evening as we spent the first night alone without our friend and protector. Maxwell passed away on Saturday morning, one week short of his 15th birthday.
Max was born in the fall of 1991 and soon demonstrated that Weimeraners are exactly as advertised - headstrong, manipulative, intensely loyal and protective. He spent a great deal of his early days in a crate and, many hours in obedience school learning to control his Weimie exuberance. When his original family had a child, Max needed to find a new home - and he found Jan.
It wasn't long before Jan learned Max didn't like the crate, and he demonstrated his amazing powers of escape over it. He destroyed two proving his persistence made the crate a moot point. A fenced dog run was next- it only slightly slowed him down. Max 3, Jan 0. The electric fence was a nifty compromise. Max could go wherever he wanted in the expansive yard and he developed a healthy respect of the collar in literally minutes. For ten years, he never tried going over the fence and to our knowledge was shocked only once. Jan 1, Max 3.
I have to say that above all, Max was polite. He never whined; never begged at the dinner table. He never barked to go out or made himself a nuisance about the things he wanted. BUT, he had "The Stare." At 5 pm every day, Max would plant himself directly in your field of view and stare at you. As if to say, "you know what time it is, now get up and feed me."
If he needed to go out, he would sit and stare at the front door. If he needed something else (less obvious) he would sit in front of the TV and stare at you - blocking just enough of the screen to make his presence known.
Weimies were bred to be versatile hunting dogs as well as companions, so he craved being with his humans. The 9pm stare meant, "I'm tired, let's go to bed." He so routinely stared at the box of dog cookies that we devised an experiment. Was it the box of cookies or the concept of the cookie box? We tried moving the box to another corner of the kitchen to see. Sure enough, Max stated at the same old place, cookie box or not. We surmised he knew the box had moved, but to make things clear to his stupid humans, it was simply easier for him to just point to the same old place.
Early on, Max employed "The Stare" at the side of the bed. Sure, he had his own comfy plaid bed complete with a cushy sleeping bag, but "The Stare" meant he wanted more and Jan was no match. Soon, he was occupying whatever space he wanted in the bed - where he stayed until just recently when getting into the bed became impossible for him.
Max demonstrates "The Stare." It must be close to dinner time.
I have to admit it was love at first sight for Max and me. Perhaps he was most comfortable with two humans - something left over from his early upbringing - but for whatever reason, I was immediately accepted into Maxwell's world.
My past history with dogs never prepared me for Max. He had his own way of doing things, and I was just another end to his doggie means. Another human to follow around, another human to take him for walks and, another human to play with - and manipulate. I was a willing participant.
Max wouldn't chase a thrown ball or play tug of war - he had his own games. Take his pool game, for example. Weimies are supposed to love the water, but Max didn't like getting wet - and wouldn't jump in the pool after a ball. But that didn't stop him from inventing his own game. When people were in the pool, he would run nervously around the edge until someone threw the ball OUT of the water. He would dutifully retrieve it, walk to the deep end and gently drop the ball INTO the water, then wait for the game to start again.
Max knew several words: cookie, walk, car ride - and (don't say this one out loud) GOPHER! We live in the country and the groundhog population (prior to Max' arrival) was substantial. After his arrival, we would regularly see whole gopher families packing their belongings and moving out. He was a relentless gopher hunter.
He also had several encounters with the cows, who would often escape their pasture and wander into Maxwell's realm - the yard. Most of the time his barking was just an early warning signal that the cows had escaped. We'd round them up and herd them back into the barnyard. One spring day however, a cow found herself face to face with Max. Most of the time they ignored his frantic barking, but this cow, with calf in tow, was having nothing to do with it. She put her head down, snorted and made an aggressive move toward Max. His reaction - roll over on his back and play dead. I didn't think surrender was in his breeding.
The last few years, Max mellowed out. The gophers had gone, the cows stayed in the pasture - all that was left was the occasional jogger or dog-walker passing the house.
This is my favorite shot of Max; it captures his true personality. Jan's son, was home from school because of an illness. I'd like to think Max was being vigilant over his sick friend. Truth is, he didn't often share his couch - apparently he made an exception just this once.
Max and his two dog buddies developed an early warning system. Woody, the Jack Russell next door would announce the presence of something to bark at, which would alert Max (asleep in his chair on the front porch), who would in turn alert Porkchop, the dog one house down. For dog-walkers especially, it was highly organized territorial gauntlet of about 100 yards.
I'll miss him demanding attention by putting his head in my lap and nuzzling my hand for a pat. I'll miss him staring at the cookie box. I'll miss him warming my feet on a cold night. Most of all, I'll miss him following just a step behind - always interested in what I'm doing, always willing to give comfort, never failing to please.
Update: Monday, 7am. I spotted a groundhog in the back yard today. I think I saw him signaling the "all clear."
OK folks, here's a chance to put your money with your mouth is. If you're in the Portland, OR area, this may be for you:
Peace Corps Hosting Info Session on Sept. 12 for Baby Boomers
The Peace Corps is looking for a few good baby boomers. The Peace Corps believes that no single group has more to offer in terms of experience, maturity, and demonstrated ability. Because there's no upper age limit to serve, it's never too late. In fact, Volunteers who are well into their 80's have served and continue to serve. The Peace Corps is inviting Portland area residents to a free evening info session about Peace Corps service for the plus-50 Volunteer. A panel of returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served over the age of 50 will speak and answer audience queries.
When: Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Portland Central Library (US Bank Meeting Room) 801 SW 10th Avenue
For more information, please contact Maria Lee at email@example.com
Newsweek recently issued Boomer Files, Part 2. Very nice stuff for a trip into the past. But Alan Ehrenhalt's essay,The Faustian Generation, comparing the Boomer experience to Faust's deal with the Devil, is a bit of a stretch.
Does anyone but me think it's a bit creepy that Chrysler is using Dr. Z (complete with heavy German accent) to pitch Jeeps? My father, God rest his soul, would be throwing shoes at the TV if he could see this.
Dad traipsed all over Europe in the back of the venerable Jeep. Now, as if we Boomers don't remember WWII, we're asked to believe that because Mercedes owns Jeep, we should be comforted by the fact that it now has all this great German Engineering.
This has nothing to do with being a boomer--I just stumbled on a site about the World Championships of Sand Sculpture in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. The sculpture is absolutely amazing and most are much more elaborate than the example here. This one just appealed to my politics.
Here's another opportunity for Boomers to contribute. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is looking for boomers interested in mentoring kids in a one-on-one setting. Our own kids may think we're idiots, but maybe we can make a difference in caring friendships with other people's children. According to BBBSA Boomers account for only 16% of mentors around the country. It's a great way to make use of all these decades of life experience and stay connected too.
NEW YORK (AP) Lew Anderson, who captivated young baby boomers as the Howdy Doody Show's final Clarabell the Clown, has died. He was 84.
The musician and actor died Sunday in Hawthorne of complications from prostate cancer, said his son, Christopher Anderson.
Long mute as Clarabell, Anderson broke the clown's silence in the show's final episode in 1960. With trembling lips and a visible tear in his eye, he spoke the show's final words: "Goodbye, kids."
With the show's Peanut Gallery of kids looking on, Anderson used bicycle horns to give yes and no answers. For more expressive moments, he wielded a bottle of seltzer.
The show, which launched in 1947 when television was still a novelty, was the first network weekday children's show. Anderson joined "Doodyville," a circus town peopled with puppets and human actors and watched by the Peanut Gallery, in the mid 1950s.
Though his fame as Clarabell followed him throughout his life, Anderson was also a success as a musician and bandleader. In recent years, his All-American Big Band appeared on Friday nights at New York's Birdland jazz club.
What was hilarious in the druggie humor of Cheech and Chong is apparently not so funny in 60-something substance abusers. The number of substance abusers over 50-- of both prescription and illegal drugs-- will reach 5 million by 2020. Perhaps it has something to do with our casual and experimental drug use in the 60's and 70's. I suspect it's also tied to a culture that touts a feel-good philosophy where all signs of aging or discomfort can be banished through good living and pharmaceuticals. Whatever the causes, expect more and more of us to be zoned out on pain meds, anti-depressants, and alcohol as we age. A grey-haired doper falling face-first into his bowl of farina is not a pretty picture.
We were in NYC yesterday on official business but couldn't help wandering over to 59th and 5th to see the new Apple store. Reminiscent of the glass pyramid outside the Louve, the store sits beneath a glass cube topped off with a chrome corporate logo.
The line was about a half hour long but the incentive was a free laptop every hour. No, we didn't win, but we had a great conversation with fellow boomers about waiting in line for Stones tickets. Somehow the two queues, separated by 35 years, seemed strangely familiar in their cult-like appeal.
We received this from a member of a new cohousing community in Massachusetts.
"Cohousing is a concept that may be very appealing to the aging hipster. Cohousing is a intergenerational pedestrian friendly neighborhood geared toward a balance of private and community space" Take a look at Mosaic Commons.
Hmmm...old age home with jello for lunch and a nice game of bingo after dinner or a community in some beautiful part of the country with real neighborhood, several generations, and independence. Tough choice.
Cohousing is a burgeoning movement, with communities all over the country. It's an interesting option for those who want to get back to their hippie roots, redefine community, or just start planning for their second acts. The Cohousing Association of the United States is a good starting point.
Our local weekly newspaper--you know the kind with livestock prices and dates for the next Tricky Tray--has a curmudgeonly Boomer columnist, George L. Stafford, who came out with this article just last week. Never heard it said better.
Pardon me, if I don't keel over just yet
It has recently come to my attention that anyone over forty is considered to be over the hill, literally. Those over forty-five are obsolete. Those above fifty fall into the category of endangered species. Anyone fifty-five and older is dead but has simply refused to fall down.
We're Great. We Suck. What They Really Think of Boomers
Hmmm...and here we thought we were doing everything right. Gen-Y (that would be OUR kids) spoke up in an AP article by Martha Irvine, about how the Boomer lifestyle and parenting style has affected them.
Found this little quiz originally published by the Associated Press. Since so many in our forums are obsessed with generational definitions, this should be fodder for some nostalgia discussions. We invite you to add your own differentiators.
Are you a baby boomer? A Gen Xer? A slacker? Part of the entitlement generation? Some clues to figuring out where you fit in.
I used to believe that if reindeer are good, reindarlings must be even better. For a glimpse back to the wondrous world of childhood beliefs and (mis)conceptions check out I Used to Believe .
OK--here's one I really did believe: I was always covered in freckles as a kid. When I was about 4, a bigger kid told me that when I grew up, all my freckles would melt together and I would be Black. I believed her completely, in spite of the fact that I knew perfectly well there were kids my own age who were Black already. I guess I just thought their freckles melted together earlier than mine.
A Pew Research poll recently found that a goodly percent of Boomers are bearing financial responsibility for both their children and their parents. From the survey:
Sixty-eight percent of baby boomers with adult children help those children financially.
Twenty-nine percent of baby boomers whose parents are still alive provide them with some financial assistance.
Thirteen percent of baby boomers provide financial support to both parents and children.
Two-thirds of baby boomers say parents have a responsibility to pay for their children's college education, an opinion that varies little with income.
One-third of boomers say parents have a responsibility to provide housing for adult children.
Fifty-six percent of boomers say adult children have a responsibility to provide housing for elderly parents.
But in past generations, didn't the family always take care of its own? Farmers typically broke off acreage for a house for their children and often had their parents living with them as well. There was something to be said for the extended family close at hand. The elders could help care for the youngers and help children with the benefit of their experience. Even in the suburb where I grew up, it wasn't uncommon for a grandma or grandpa to be living with my friends' families. Now we all hope we can scrape together the money to ship old Mom off to a half-decent nursing home if, God forbid, she can't live off her investments.
There do seem to be more post-college kids coming home again. Just when you think it's safe to turn the kid's room into a home gym, here they are again---fancy college degree and not a job prospect in sight. I admit to going home for three months after college, but I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Even if it meant waiting tables and living in a dump. Does this reverse exodus mean we haven't done a good enough job of teaching independence or do they just like their parents a lot? I've read some marketing literature that claims Gen Y-ers actually do admire and like their parents--that would be us--more than say Boomers did.
Now allegedly, we Boomers have more money than any other generation, but does that account for those who have been downsized and/or lost their pensions in the last several years? So for those of us not enjoying the deserved riches of approaching old age, how exactly do we support both the young 'uns and the old 'uns? And still have something left for our own decrepitude?
The Smothers Brothers (you remember them, right?) used to do a bit about the best rescue strategy if you ever found yourself drowning in a vat of chocolate. Their conclusion was yell "FIRE" 'cuz no one will ever come running if you yell "CHOCOLATE!"
I think I was recently pushed into a vat of chocolate.
You see, the other day, my significant other (riding in the passenger seat) yelled "TEENAGER!" I could hear the urgency in her voice, but she was yelling "CHOCOLATE!" Just then, a late 80's model white Corolla with a backwards-hat-wearing boy cut the corner, nearly removing my left front fender.
It wasn't the near accident that pissed me off, it was the perturbed look on his face. Perhaps he cuts that corner every day and there had never been anyone there before!
By the way, that significant other I mentioned also yells "DARLING" when there's a deer about to bolt out in front of the car - she doesn't want me confusing "DEER!" with "DEAR!" So now I know that "TEENAGER!" is code for "brace yourself, old man, you're about to become a statistic."
P.S. Thanks to a reader for pointing out it was the Smothers Brothers, not Bill Cosby who did the Vat of Chocolate Routine.
A recent article by Lisa Belkin in the New York Times Magazine offered a retirement solution I hadn't thought of--I can go back to live at college! In efforts to stop mass boomer migration and to provide us with something more than pottery classes in the nursing home, communities are being developed on or near college campuses for 'life-long learners.' Some require a link to the school, most do not.
A model development, is the University Commons near the University of Michigan, where residents can select townhouses, villas, or condominiums.They have the benefit of the educational and cultural resources of a univerity setting and the development even offers high-speedinternet access, a university email address, a recital hall, and dinners prepared by students in a local culinary program.
One company, Campus Continuum is developing a nation-wide "network of university-branded residential communities."
What an appealing idea! All of the advantages of college life and none of the downside -- no term papers, no frat houses, no cafeteria food. And it sure beats exiling oneself to the homogenous world of typical retirement communities where the only people under 55 are the golf pro and the nurse who takes your blood pressure.
Those Ivies that rejected you 40 years ago are welcoming you now. Princeton, here I come!
They go too far. Just when I got used to hearing our music used as pseudo-symbolic themes, marketing everything from cars to box stores, along comes Fidelity Funds--who are shameless enough to use In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, for Christ's sake, to convince us to hand over our money. At least the other brazen carpetbaggers pretend to try to tie the song into the product. The only thing the Iron Butterfly 'classic'evokes in me is an unpleasant acid flashback and an urge to wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth. Investments...stupid stoner song...what the hell dots are they trying to connect here? Unless it's those between companies who'll do anything to make a buck from Boomers and the advertising firms who'd sell their mothers to get the account. Oh wait..they sort of are selling their mothers.
We weren't the only ones shaking our collective Boomer heads - Karen Heller at Philly.com was wondering the same thing... "Utilizing "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to sell retirement services is absurd, ironic and self-referential, which makes sense because these are the hallmarks of the group Fidelity is trying to land as clients." Read Keller's entire article here >
And for those of you wondering what ever happened to Philip Kramer, the one-time bassist for Iron Butterfly... no he didn't discover faster-than-light space travel, his minivan was found at the bottom of a 200 foot ravine in 1999. Get the facts here >
I of course never color and am completely totally absolutely utterly still the same redhead I was when I was six. But some of the most beautiful Boomers I know have magnificent heads of glorious white hair. If you've braved the going-gray issue and come out on the side of letting nature run its course, this Boomer writer would like to hear from you.
Calling all women with gray hair! If you are between the ages of 45 and 65 and have made the transition from coloring your hair to wearing it naturally gray, I'd love to hear from you!
I am in the process of completing a book about my experience of going gray and am including personal stories and images of women who have also made the decision to stop dyeing their hair and allow their natural silver to grow in.
While the book began as a discussion on ending one's use of hair dye, it evolved into a much larger discussion and "Going Gray" became a metaphor for the many spiritual, psychological and social aspects of this stage of life.
If selected, your story will become part of a book and/or website that supports the quest to age gracefully, both inside and out.
If you would be willing to share your experience of this transition for the book and/or its corresponding website, as well as supply some before-and-after pictures of yourself, Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the submission information.
It's not so much second childhoods many of us are after, it's more second hippie-hoods. Not that it's necessarily time to re-learn macrame, but maybe it's never too late to be a rock star. A friend sent us an article from the New York Times that's probably hitting a chord with aging hipsters and their loving groupies everywhere.
By the way, check out this ultimate Boomer band with a monomaniacal (albeit justified) attachment to Steely Dan.
We received a release about Newsweek's Boomer Files Style edition, on news stands today. That was a great thing about hippiedom: you could identify members of the pack by what they wore and what their houses looked like. If I saw bellbottoms, granny glasses, Batik, earth shoes, bead curtains, peace signs, or a tastefully placed bong on premises, I knew this person was 'one of us.' Not sure I would've ever called it 'design' or even 'style'-- I thought it more a matter of budget and altered states of consciousness than any kind of style statement. Our visual sense has been legitimized over the decades--witness the interest in 60's poster art and the kind of retro styles you see in teen catalogs like Urban Outfitters these days.
We're happy, we're high on life, we're generous, responsible, and basically fabulous. According to an article in the Washington Times , Pew Research conducted a broad survey of boomers, released in December 2005, that shows boomers are optimistic, pretty mature, and satisfied (obviously they didn't ask any questions about politics). The survey is loaded with boomer statistics--pretty interesting reading and probably great fodder for all those college kids writing term papers.
Sometimes the news of the day and one more photo op of George W & Co. dismantling democracy is more than I can take. It drains the energy from my brain and makes me want to crawl under the covers until he's out of office. But we found someone who's as pissed off as we are and has the energy to write about it. Check out BooManTribune for your daily dose of articulate outrage. Not to mention, he's sponsored us for BlogAds, which means we may be able to pay for printer ink someday, or at least those love beads we found on E-bay.
Blah, blah, blah..the first Boomers are turning sixty this year. What'd they think? We'd all die at 59? I defy you to find a news outlet that hasn't done a story on our pending senescence. But I did come across a list of the greats and near-greats who hit 60 this year, so any of you potentials codgers out there are in good company.
I'm not surprised that Dolly Parton is turning 60, but Patti Smith? How could the punk darling be sixty? On the other hand, there are some who seem to have been sixty years ago--like George W, who I have never wanted to claim as one of us anyway. And how about Pat Sajak and Donald Trump? "Youthful" isn't the first word that leaps to mind.
On the other hand, if some of these women are about to be sixty, then sixty must be the new 40---to paraphrase Gloria Steinem. Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and Linda Rondstadt for starters. Is it really all in the bone structure? Or perhaps beauty is as beauty does. Some of our cohort look like they've been rode hard and put away wet. The years have been downright cruel to Liza Minelli for instance, and Darryl Hall (reinforcing my theory that pretty boys just don't hold up to time).
I don't care how old Jimmy Buffett or Cheech Marin are--I'd smoke a joint with them any day. And speaking of joint, our very first Boomer president, Bill Clinton, will celebrate 60 this year.
There was an interesting article by Mary Tannen in the NY Times Magazine a few weeks ago about how the fashion and cosmetics industries are starting to put their marketing where the money is: women over 40. M.A.C. Cosmetics, Dior, Miu Miu among others, are now using fantabulous women of a certain age to sell products to the women who actually use them. Look for Kim Bassinger, Sharon Stone, and Catherine Deneuve in new ad campaigns this year--as if I could have looked like them even in my 20's...right.
Since we are not a culture that reveres, exalts, or even tolerates the signs of aging, I suppose we'll continue to throw a portion of our 1 trillion dollars of spending money (that is not an exaggeration, by the way) at anything to keep us looking as young as we feel. While I'm slathering on the anti-aging cream and hydrating serum, I'll be listening to my current anthem by Dar Williams and wishing I could allow myself to simply age well.
This columnist in the Toronto Star has it in for us baby boomers. Would we kindly get out of the way, stop having good jobs, stop wanting to stay vital, healthy, and sexy, and...what the hell..can't we just melt into the pavement, like the Wicked Witch?
I suspect she'll be singing a different, and perhaps less whiny, tune when she's about to hit 60.
I was wondering the other day what would happen if our generation started to view retirement differently... as if it was a chance to resume where we left off before the mortgage and 2.5 kids.
Wouldn't it be grand if we could sit on the steps of the administration building just one more time and chant "hell no, we won't go"? Perhaps this tme with all the power and insight of age. Perhaps we'd see the fire of youth continue to burn, as we once again feel the exhileration of a cause.
Wouldn't you know it, there's already a group putting Boomer Power to work.
"The first of 77 million baby boomers turn 60 in 2006. They are on the front edge of the largest, healthiest, best educated population of Americans ever to move through and beyond their fifties.
They are pioneers in a new stage spanning the decades between middle and late life. Neither young nor old, they represent an extraordinary pool of social and human capital. And, in large numbers, they want to do work that serves a greater good.
Millions are determined to apply their experience to make a difference for others. Some are able to do so as unpaid volunteers. Many are looking to combine aspects of work-income and health benefits-with elements of service through second careers tailored to their interests and circumstances.
But too often, their individual enthusiasm is stymied by perceptions, policies, and practices that discourage the sharing of experience. As a result, this growing number of Americans represents a largely untapped resource in a nation with many unmet needs.
Imagine unleashing their potential."
As far as I'm concerned AARP can go away - suddenly - if this sort of thing gets legs. I'm hoping for positive results on both counts.
We received this inquiry from Fuji TV Network News. Interested Boomers, g'head and make contact. You could be a star on Japanese TV:
Fuji TV News is looking to produce a segment for its prime-time news show about aging baby boomers in the US. FYI, Fuji TV is the ABC-affiliate, and highest-rated network, in Japan.
As you may know, Japan has its own baby boomer generation (known as the "dankai" generation), although it is mostly considered to be people born from 1947~49. "Dankai" means "the massive group." Given Japan's aging society, this is a hot-topic in the news right now, and so naturally, they are looking to the US to see how our boomers are handling their impending retirement age.
We are looking for a Miami, FL-based baby boomer to profile (male or female) for this segment, and would like to do a 'day-in-the-life-of' type story about them. We are most interested in former hippie types (Woodstock attendees a plus!) who are now avid hobbyists of health (sports, excercising, etc.) or technology (keeping up with the latest computers, etc.).
Our deadline for this story is Feb 7, so we are hoping to conduct a half-day shoot on a date most convenient between Jan 30 and Feb 7. This segment will air only in Japan.
If interested, please contact me immediately (the lucky boomer will be selected on a first come first served basis).
Fuji TV Network News
Mike Males is talking about his generation. They think they're going to live forever, he's complaining. They're in unbelievable denial about their vulnerability. Look at the numbers: dying of drug overdoses in this state at more than twice the rate documented in 1990. Fastest-growing age group for felony and violent felony arrests in California. Biggest demographic for HIV and AIDS cases. One in three not just overweight but obese.
He sets aside the pile of papers he is grading in his apartment near UC Santa Cruz, where he teaches. The street below bustles with young people, but they're not the issue - teenagers' markers of trouble have been declining for decades.
"No one wants to hear it," says Males, a gray-bearded sociologist whose latest project is a book tentatively titled "Boomergeddon," "but we're having a lot of problems with the middle-aged."
Yikes, I've done it again. Perfectly nice journalists call us and ask perfectly reasonable questions and I manage to sound like a jerk. Maybe we're not 'better' than old fogies, but we Boomers sure perceive ourselves to be a different group of um...elders?....old farts?....aging hipsters?
Anyway, Rebcca Nappi, in the Spokesman-Review , asks a good question--what will we want to be called as we approach senior citizenship?
Woo-hoo, ABC is doing a story on Baby Boomers turning 60. In typical television fashion it was 30 seconds of stuff we already knew. Titled "boomer Breakthroughs," the story tonight dealt with Baby Boomers challenging the accepted notion of retirement.
Just so we don't feel scooped by the big boys, here's a rundown of what we already knew (and wrote about here):
Baby Boomers who are still working have apparently weathered the last of the corporate downsizings. But as a group, Boomers are still under attack from corporations downsizing or eliminating pension plans - that's a different topic.
The real winners here are the generations directly behind us - Gen X and Y. While Gen-X was whining about their own career stalemate and retirement liquidity (which they've blamed on us) what they didn't realize is that over the next few years, all those plum jobs we Boomers are leaving behind will need to be filled.
Corporations will use this "natural" downsizing to eliminate many jobs, but some of the best are there for the taking. But there's a problem.
As Virginia Galt points out in her recent article for the Globe & Mail: "perhaps because they thought incumbents in the top jobs would never leave, many Gen Xers and younger Gen Ys have not given much thought to advancement, and are ill-prepared for leadership roles..."
According to Robert McGovern, a former executive with Hewlett-Packard Co. and the founder of the on-line job site CareerBuilder.com, "a lot of the Gen Xers and Gen Ys are living their careers . . .experience to experience. They do something as long as they enjoy it, and then go looking for the next thing,"
The Mature Market had a release awhile ago about something which is making me gag, and no, it's not eating brussel sprouts. Apparently, someone named Neil Doherty is putting on an expo of some sort--what he calls a Baby Boomer show--in New York this coming Spring.
According to the release:
"...The theme of the show will be to focus on those products and services that are now important to members of this great generation of people. And, to allow the attendees to obtain answers and information for many of the questions that they may have to allow them to continue living full and productive lives."
Continue living full lives?? Is this man mad or merely hyper-entreprenuerial? It's as if to say we're so far out of the mainstream that we need special products and services that don't apply to normal people. What? ergonomically correct hash pipes? Or does he perceive us as so doddering that we need custom wheel chairs and organic prune juice? Apparently, based on the exhibitors list, we need help managing our finances, booking a vacation, doing arts & crafts projects (what--macrame Depends?), and basically getting out of bed in the morning.
Usually I find the rush to market to boomers amusing. But, if I weren't so old and incompetent and such a 'special interest group,' I'd grab my walker and picket the damn thing.
Lately I've had boomer-esque dreams of a Dharma Bums/On the Road retirement, including parking an Airstream trailer on the cliffs overlooking California somewhere, traveling the country making impulsive stops, and generally reverting to the hippie ideal. Well, I just read a Sports illustrated column about a guy who's taking retirement road trips to a new extreme.
In a column by the always entertaining Rick Reilly, he describes the retirement of one Dave Moffitt, who basically lives in his car going from one sporting event to another...and another...and another. And has been doing so for over six years. Notice a stranger at your kid's high school football game? That might be Mr. Moffitt. He's hit just about every pro sports stadium and many college and high school ones as well...for almost any sport you can think of---although he may have missed a water polo match or two. So, as you dream of your perfect retirement, think of Dave Moffitt, who, sans house, sans wife, sans much of anything, is living his retirement dream.
For those of you don't get the hard copy of the magazine, the column is available by subscription.
We received this request from a doctoral student at University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus. Let's make sure we're not deprived of technology when we're doddering around an old folks' home and, not incidentally, show the young 'uns we're major participators/early adopters/daringly ahead of the curve when it comes to technology.
I am a graduate student in the Information Systems department of the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). I am conducting a study on
determining the near future technology needs of the baby boomer generation
and the practical implications of a change in technology understanding in
the next generation of senior citizens.
As part of this study, I am eliciting participation in a university approved
online survey. I would very much appreciate if you could help by taking the
study yourself or forwarding this message to any others you think would be
The first population I am targeting is baby boomers age 41-59, but all users
are invited to participate as I have some flexibility on age and other
The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and is available here
My elder son turns 21 tomorrow. That's a big birthday. And as all old geezerettes say, "I remember 21 like it was yesterday." Yup---my parents were old farts and I knew everything. I was an adult, by gum. Now it's his turn. I'm an old fart and he knows everything. He's an adult. Adult?? That little toddler who watched Raffi videos and napped in the hammock? Who dressed in costumes and pedaled his first car around the yard? Maybe things aren't so different after all. On his last break from college, he watched the Simpsons and napped on the sofa. He dressed in his Che Guevara tee-shirt and drove his car over the curb.
Of course, now he lives with roommates instead of parents and writes papers on Descartes instead of drawing pictures of Spiderman. I am as proud of him as when he took his first step, said his first word, got his first A. I worry about him as much as when he first went to sleep-away camp, first started high school, got his driving permit. Pride and worry---I suppose parents own these emotions all our parental lives. Oh yeah, and love.
A long time ago we got email from a bone fide aging hipster. He has a great blog about "living on the flagship commune of the Seventies with its own cowboy guru, four-marriages, massive home birthings, organic sacrament-inspired agreements, and a completely home-built village in the midst of the evangelical Christian south."
Read it and reminisce (or pretend to reminisce since you probably weren't anywhere like that).
He's got some pretty good internet credentials too as former manger of THE WELL, an early online community.
One of us just turned fifty and, of course, needed a landmark occasion to celebrate a landmark event. Or should I say 'landmine' event? Did he want a red Ferrari or a trophy bimbo? No. Did he dye his hair or take up step aerobics? No. Being a World War ll buff and someone who'd look damn good in a uniform, he wanted a different type of experience---the man wanted to drive a tank.
Because we love a challenge almost as much as we love him, a tank ride he got. So, imagine 2 fifty-something men in flame-retardent jumpsuits manning a Russian T34 tank in the wilds of Minnesota--killing the hell out of a mini-van and dodging fire from a propane cannon. Not to mention shooting off a few hundred rounds with a German WWll-vintage machine gun and probably killing a cattle pond dead.
He did and and we have proof. Stay tuned for his retelling of the saga.
So, if any of you guys want to relive your favorite war movies, check out Tank Ride or Texas Tanks. The latter is quite expensive and we don't know if they use real or reproduction tanks. Or just email 50 or so WWII re-enactment groups and hope for results. By the way, we would like to thank all those who replied to our email quest and gave us terrific information on re-enactment groups, tanks, where to find them, and the men who love them.
This article in the recent issue of American Heritage looks at everything from our bad attitudes to the the toys we played with. Actually, it's a vastly comprehensive look at this cohort--origins, history, and impact. Recommended reading for all you college kids out there doing research on Baby Boomers and those of us who like to read about ourselves.
According to this article from the Arizona Republic, we're responsible for the breakdown of everything from the economy to public education. Truth? Paranoia? A Gen-Xer masquerading as 'one of us?' A typical case of blaming the grownups. Oh wait...are we the grownups?
We bought the original Television's Greatest Hits 20 years ago in a moment of silliness and, among other things, 'name that TV theme' became a favorite family game. Now comes the ultimate compilation--a 2 CD set of Television's Greatest Hits, in chronological order, by the original performers--bringing back memories of just last week or many decades ago.
Because we love this stuff, we're offering another Boomer promo.
You can win your own copy of Television's Greatest Hits by emailing us and telling us what your favorite theme song is. We'll aribitrarily pick five responses and send the lucky winners the double-CD set. And while you're in the TV mood, check out this trivia game in celebration of the CD release.
The president of Passion Parties, those Tupperware parties for sex accessories, has contributed to a new book for boomer women re-entering the world of dating. According to the press release, Pat Davis "gives advice to help women navigate the difficult process of re-exploring desire and building intimacy with a new lover."
"I am a Baby Boomer," said the 63 year-old Davis. "I know it can be hard for a mature woman to express her romantic needs to her partner, especially if the relationship is new. Passion Parties helps women create a fun dialogue about sensuality with their lovers."
Hmmm---I'm all for passion toys, but do Boomer women need more help than other age groups in expressing sexuality? It's hard whether at twenty or sixty to establish the trust beach head, but is our age an additional impediment? Asking one Passion Parties consultant about the age thing, she said that age was not the determinant in successful parties. At least in her neck of the woods (which happens to be the most un-woods-like NYC), socio-economics and race play a greater role, with upper class white women being the least receptive--regardless of age.
We Boomer women came of age in pretty enlightened times (at least on the younger end of the boomer cohort); Women's Lib, 'drugs, sex, and rock and roll,' 'make love not war.' Chances are we took some of that freedom into our later intimate relationships. Isn't it possible that most of us have a pretty good idea who we are by now and won't necessarily be shy about asking for what we want?
Passion Parties sound like a lot of fun---another chance to hang out with friends and maybe buy one of those 'edibles, sensual touch, lingerie, and passion toys.' But I'd prefer not to be singled out as needing extra help in the sex classroom because I'm old.
As the gap between the generations grows, our collective Boomer waistline has done the same. Now, in an attempt to lure back lost customers, the Gap has unveiled a new concept store designed to target Baby Boomer women.
"Female baby boomers who grew up in Gap jeans but found themselves sized out of the market in middle age have a new shopping alternative: Forth & Towne, Gap's first new store concept in more than a decade.
Gap hopes to woo boomers back with a store that combines the service of a boutique with the bigger choice of a department store."
To celebrate its 100th issue, the UK magazine, Uncut, conducted a poll of rock and film personalities to determine the music, television, and films that have changed the world. Change the world may be a bit grandiose, but it's hard to disagree with the number #1 pick--Bob Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone.' With personalities like Patti Smith, Paul McCartney Brian Wilson, Noel Gallagher, Keith Richards, and Lou Reed voting, the Dylan song beat out Elvis Presley's 'Heartbreak Hotel' for first place. Just one aging hipster's opinion: what the list lacks in ecelecticism, it makes up for in shortsightedness. But interesting and grounds for lots of arguement nonetheless.
According to the newswire story:
"The 1965 single beat Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel into second place in the survey for UK magazine Uncut. Sir Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher, Robert Downey Jr, Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Lou Reed were among those who gave their opinions.
Rocker Patti Smith said of the winning song: "It got me through adolescence."
Former Beatle Sir Paul picked Heartbreak Hotel as his No.1 choice. He said: "It's the way [Presley] sings it, as if he is singing from the depths of hell. His phrasing, use of echo -- it's all so beautiful. Musically, it's perfect."
Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange was the highest-placed movie at No.5, followed by The Godfather and The Godfather II films.
The Prisoner was the top-ranking TV series at No.10, while Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road was the highest book, in 19th place.
Uncut editor Allan Jones said: "This list has been a massive undertaking and considering which films have had a greater cultural impact than Bowie, for example, has fuelled many discussions.
"What we have been left with is Dylan as the most seminal artistic statement of the last five decades --but I'm sure others will disagree."
MUSIC, FILMS, TV AND BOOKS THAT 'CHANGED THE WORLD'
Yikes!! I'd say this poster on blogcritics.org really got taken in his divorce and didn't get much conjugal booty either. While I reluctantly buy into some of the rants against our (and his) generation and have certainly considered the marriage as prostitution angle (someone--maybe Flo Kennedy-- once said that a woman is only one man away from welfare) what I'm hearing here borders on misogyny. Or maybe, as one of those 'real call girls' as he calls divorcing Boomer women, I just didn't charge enough.
Ted Mack couldn't sell me Geritol, but perhaps Greg Allman could.
Tom Watson, in his blog titled "My dirty life and times." notes the irony (and frequency) of aging pop icons pitching Boomers. Too bad Janis isn't around to hawk the latest Mercedes.
"Sitting in my usual place of post-labor repose, wine glass in hand, I watch mouth agape while Mick Jagger tries to sell me on a new mortgage for these four walls.
'Whether your dream is to buy a home, refinance or see the Rolling Stones in concert, Ameriquest can help.'
And there's Mick, and there's Keith and his five-stringed Tele tuned to open G, and there's an Ameriquest broker peddling refinancing deals in the front rows of a Stones concert. Never more ironic, the tune covering the pitch is "It's Only Rock and Roll." So true.
Whether it's Bob Dylan moving pink bustiers for Victoria's Secret or Keef pushing low monthly payments in suburbia, 60s youth icons - those who are still alive - continue to cash in. And who can blame them. The market is there, the dollars are there, and the music rolls on.
I watched Stay Hungry on cable the other day and it got me wondering about Bob Rafelson. Back in 1970, he directed the benchmark movie Five Easy Pieces and other quintessential independent films, like The Postman Always Rings Twice and Stay Hungry. Where is he? What happened? Which naturally led to another Where-Are-They-Now rumination.
I remember seeing Five Easy Pieces and feeling that it was a dangerous movie, The tension, the edge, the performances, the utter disintegration of character --it felt like the movie itself might spin out of control at any moment.
How did a guy go from executive produce/writer/director of The Monkees TV show to Five Easy Pieces to 'where is he now?"
I knew this would happen. We always want things in life to be our way. Now, according to this AP article, we want to pass away our way too. Boomers are turning funeral directors into event planners as they order customized caskets, video clips, movie screenings, or have their ashes turned into diamonds. I've joked about the 3-ring binder I'm leaving with my funeral instructions. Maybe I better quit fooling around and start filling the thing out.
A must-read from a columnist at the Richmond Times Dispatch about the ultimate test of our generation. Will we make the effort to make a difference? Can we? I'll be interested to hear any response to this article.
We hardly think about it - we, the self-absorbed, self-indulgent Boomer Generation - but it's going to happen. As our parents age and eventually pass on, each of us will be facing the odd realization of being orphans.
We didn't volunteer, but we're about to take one giant step forward toward our own mortality - and in the process perhaps, re-evaluate our place in society. Some will call it an epiphany, for others it's an inevitable generational climb toward the top of Maslow's pyramid.
The Baby Boomers have often been described as the "sandwich generation" - stuck between aging parents and college-age children. More precisely, Boomers have been moving through a "sandwich phase" which is rapidly ending. How do I know? My father, and only remaining parent, died last week. Perhaps sharing some of what I felt in the ensuing days will help - you and me.
What I find most interesting about this AARP study of sexuality is that anyone even wants to know about middle-aged sex. But then again, we are the baby boomers and there are now 78 million of us. When I was in my early twenties, I believed that we 'owned' sex---the thought of people with grey hair getting down and dirty was well.....ewwwwwww. I don't think the younger generations' attitude about us old folks has changed much. A 17-year old girl I know pronounced that people over 30 having sex was disgusting. Unless they were really 'buff'--in which case maybe they could have sex until they were 35. According to the article in AARP Magazine
"The Baby Boom generation famously came of age in a time when sexual mores were changing radically. And now, according to an AARP study of the sexual attitudes and practices of Americans 45 and older, the Boomers are creating a second sexual revolution-- one that will change forever the way people think about sex and aging.
If you remember the first time you got carded while buying beer, you may recall whipping out your driver's licence and and proudly displaying your legal age. Well, the screw has turned for many of us and that pride changes to shock the first time a cashier asks if you hve a senior discount card - the horror of it all!
We recently received a request from the Chicago Trubune asking readers here if they have had a similar experiences. They would like to hear from you - contact the Trib writer at: email@example.com or post your own story in the Baby Boomer Forum
Boomer Retirement Survey - Help A College Kid Graduate
It's mid-May and you need 3 credit hours to graduate college... Sound familiar? Now fast-forward 30 years or so and it's your son or daughter in the same predicament, only this time, you're footing the bill. Why not help a starving parent - take this survey and help a college student graduate.
"I am a student going for my Master's degree and I am posting a survey for my thesis. I am studying the retirement intentions of the baby boom generation and I need to find 300 participants aged 55 and over who are currently working. If this is you or describes someone you know, please click this link, or send it to someone you know who fits the criteria.
Boomers are in the unique position of being the "sandwich generation," still caring for our children and often responsible for our parents as well. The Positive Aging Network may prove to be a good resource for those of us needing information and resources to care for our aging parents.
When we aspire to a higher goal here it is that this site would somehow become a community of Boomers. We're like-minded by age and share similar experience but we've honestly never achieved that goal, preferring instead to endlessly debate the petty.
There are times when we wish we could mobilize even a portion of our Boomer readers - and perhaps this is such a time.
We list Boomer Bloggers in our left sidebar. One writer named Gail who authors "Crossing the Rubicon," is currently going through a difficult time, but has continued to blog. Perhaps the process of writing helps her deal with the pain and frustration.
Whatever the case, why not take a moment to stop by and offer a word of encouragement.
UPDATE: Gail has closed comments on her blog -we don't blame her. If you feel so inclined, comment here.
According to this article in the Seattle Times, it's not late to join the Peace Corps. In fact, they are actively recruiting gray hairs like us, in part because we've already developed specialized skills and valuable experience.
If you think it's time to 'give back' and missed the opportunity when you were younger and sprightlier, check out the Peace Corps call to old folks like us.
UPDATE: A recruiter for the Peace Corps will be at Rutgers University on June 1. We're planning a trip for a look-see. We'll let you know what we find.
A friend, in response to the phrase "how ya doin'" would reply, "well, I'm still vertical." I guess it was the least he could say about his current condition. Now, the BBC is reporting on an Austrailan cemetery that has been given the go-ahead to bury "clients" in a standing position and without a coffin.
Apparently, it saves space and is environmentally friendly.
Too bad my friend can't buy a headstone reading, "Here Stands Steve - He's Still Vertical"
I've been driving a pokey Volvo wagon for 10 years. Before that I drove another pokey Volvo wagon. But according to this report, Boomers are driving the market for cool cars. Despite marketers best efforts to ignore us, it seems we Boomers are not interested in safe and stodgy. The report notes that
Boomers are also helping stoke demand for some unlikely products, like the Scion Xb, Honda Element, Pontiac Matrix and Vibe, all specifically targeted to younger buyers but, according to Spinella, "have been high jacked by boomers" who want style, comfort and easy to maintain vehicles at a good price.
My first car was my grandmother's old Buick. Apparently my last car may just be a Stingray.
Apparently George W. isn't the only one unwilling to discuss his smoking and snorting years.
According to a study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, only 6% of us has even discussed drug use with our kids. I suspect that grows from our ambivalence and uncertainty what to say:
'Sure, kid, I did it and loved it. In fact I still do."
"Oh I tried it, but it was awful...just awful."
"I never inhaled."
"Never touched the stuff"
Do we tell the truth, a version of the truth, or just outright lie? The study makes an interesting point: drug use was significantly higher during our teen years than it is now. If I read that right it means more of us got high than our kids' generation.
One issue does have me worried. The study points out rightly that many of the drugs available today are more dangerous than those in common use 25-30 years ago--we just weren't doing crystal meth or Ecstasy. And whatever we may think of pot, by not discussing drugs with our kids, are we giving them tacit permission to try stuff that might kill them?
Maybe we need to set a good example for our president and have the discussion with our teenagers--no matter how ambivalent I may be about pot, I'm absolutely clear that I don't want to see my kid in jail, in rehab, or in the graveyard.
I will never...never...be old enough to be a grandmother. But if I were,would I want to be known as Granny? I think not. In this article from PhillyBurbs.com, Boomers, who've tried to change so many other things, set out to change what their grandchildren will call them. OK--assuming any of us will in fact be/are grandparents, what do you want the little ones to call you? I already have dibs on 'Queen Mum.'
Hunter S. Thompson--Road Man for the Lords of Karma
"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."
Fear and Loathing began as a magazine assignment about a motorcycle convention in Nevada and morphed into a star-turn hallucination, starring the journalist.
Reading Thompson was dangerous--like a contact high or shared hallucinations. Turning each page, I expected something to detonate, someone to crash and burn. Thompson raised the bar on creative insanity in print and kept us laughing the whole ride.
I wasn't surprised that he killed himself---did we really expect him to mellow into a benign old age? I was just surprised at how much it mattered to me.
Some interesting Thompson sites:
This one's terrific
---full of information, essays and (when they get their bandth issues resolved), pictures.
The site, Encore Rock 'n Roll Nostalgia, is poorly designed, but get past that to find some great merchandise from the days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Where else will you find a Frank Zappa poster from a performance in 1972 or Nag Champa incense?
If you are a woman of a certain age, you might think you're becoming more invisible with each passing year. Check out the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies, a razzle-dazzle and enormously popular vaudeville review, where the youngest of these hot babes is 58. The youngest. The men ain't bad either. This is no novelty act---these women (and men) are lifelong professional dancers/actors/entertainers with the gorgeousity and hard bodies to prove it. It's never too late--auditions are held every year for those over 55.
If your dance skills aren't up to snuff but you look fab in an evening gown, consider the Ms. Golden America contest, 'focusing on the beauty and accomplishments of women baby boomers', according to its press release. OK--maybe it's vapid,insipid, superficial, commercial--but it might be nice to be exploited for one's looks over 50.
Read this and then let me tell you a story about a certain Baby Boomer I know.
While Hollywood makes light of the torch passing from one generation to another, the hard reality is that there is some serious age discrimination going on out there an it's seething just under the surface.
This guy I know was laid off from a fairly lucrative job nearly three years ago. At the time he didn't think much of it. Business was down and in a small company, sales declines mean people lose jobs. But what he wasn't prepared for was the almost simultaneous start of open season on Baby Boomers.
He had an impeccable resume, worked on some high-profile projects and considered himself quite marketable. What he found was an endless string of black holes into which his resume had fallen.
Part of his strategy was to use the Internet job sites to track down and land the next job, but after sending hundreds of resumes without even a nibble, he decided to revamp his resume and see what happened.
He suspected that age might be a problem so he started by removing all the dates from his resume. He left it in chronological order, but didn't publicize the fact that he graduated college in 1977. Within a week he had an enquiry from the human resources manager of a California firm.
In the following week they spoke on the phone a couple of times, each time "passing" to the next step and finally to an online personality profile. Everything seemed ok and it sounded to him like he had a real rapport with the recruiter.
Then came the interview. They flew him out, put him up in a nice hotel and the next day he reported to the office for an interview. According to him, the look on her face said it all. As if she had never considered the applicant might be over 40.
That was the last time he heard from them. Phone calls weren't returned, e-mails were left unanswered and needless to say, he didn't get the job. He's still looking.
New Study Of the Baby Boomer Generation Reveals Surprising Insights
Originally published 12-16-04
The popular image of baby boomers is of white, suburban kids who grew up watching "The Mickey Mouse Club" and protested the Vietnam War, not the children who came of age during the Reagan era.
But a new study by two Duke University sociologists, released as the last of the boomers is turning 40, shows the Baby Boom as a diverse group of people whose experiences differ not only from those of previous generations, but also from each other.
A new report has come out examining the Baby Boomer generation and our ability to have a major impact on society and policy as we age. According to an article in The Mature Market , (doncha hate that name?), the report, released by the Harvard School of Public Health-MetLife Foundation Initiative on Retirement and Civic Engagement, looks at the our generation in terms of our interest in volunteerism and shaping public policy, as well as examining the way we handle our later years. Read a copy of the report here.
Our childhood heros or laughingstocks---those we remember and those we can only try to forget. We get a bit nostalgic with the new year and so a new occasional and randomly arbitrary series wondering where are they now?
I was thinking about Woodstock the other day so naturally my thoughts
turned to Wavy Gravy, the master of ceremonies at the real Woodstock and founding member of the Hog Farm. During the sixties, he made activism fun. Still alive (now 68), still active, still a reminder that sometimes more can be achieved from manic pranksterism than from sober PC politicking.
Wavy and other Hog Farm members have founded a non-profit organizaion, SEVA, whose mission statement reads
"Seva is a donor-supported non-profit foundation
building partnerships to respond to locally defined problems
with culturally sustainable solutions throughout the world."
He is also the founder of Camp Winnarainbow, a circus camp for kids and adults, located in Northern California at the still alive-and-well Hog Farm.
'Tis the time to set up the traditonal aluminum pole and compete in feats of strength. We've already aired plenty of grievances, but we welcome yours. Last Sunday's NY Times gave us the definitive story of Festivus. For those who cannot log in to the Times, you can read it here.
Whoppeee--Madison Avenue may finally be waking up to the over-50 market. As this article in the Amarillo Globe News points out, all those callow and ever-so-cool 20-somethings might have to notice our sheer spending power.
According to The Boomer Project, a marketing consultant firm, Boomers are responsible for over $2 trillion in consumption and our money is up for grabs.
Know what would be really fun? To point our discretionary income as far away from the marketplace as possible. To buy off-brand and as inexpensively as possible. To buy with a social conscience instead of with status-consciousness. To save instead of spend.
What would happen if every single boomer refrained from spending anything for one day? It would be interesting to see our effect on the national marketplace and might remind us of the power of numbers to influence both the marketplace and public policy. Anyone up for a little experiment?
OK-- this article by Ben Stein--yes that Ben Stein--scared the hell out of me. If his calculations of what we Baby Boomers will need to retire are accurate, I'll be the bag lady sitting on the curb with a sign reading "Will work for high-speed access."
I cannot be a grandparent--I don't know how to make a strudel, I don't own a hair net, and my stocking are never rolled down to my knees. I can't crochet, play mah-jong, or speak Yiddish. How could people as young and hip as we Boomers turn into grandparents?
The article also mentions "A Boomer's Guide to Grandparenting," by Kathryn and Allan Zullo, who became grandparents in their 40's. Yikes! In my forties, I was still attending parent-teacher conferences at the middle school.
Anyway, Mr. Zullo had been kind enough to come right here to the Aging Hipsters when he was researching the book, so we thought we'd give it nice plug. In preparation for the next role in your life, why not start learning how to be the best, if not the hippest grandparents ever. Buy the book at Amazon.
At least Pillsbury admits the fact that a good portion of their success can be attributed to the packaged food revolution starting (coincidentally) around the time Baby Boomers could walk.
Give credit to a marketing strategy that aims to teach us how to cook for two. Now that the kids are on their own and our food prep needs have dwindled, the Doughboy is out hawking ways for us to continue to use his products in a downsized household. No matter that we already look like human versions - put a fork in me, I'm done.
We've written before about the way Baby Boomers can bring our experience and energy to volunteer service. We've found a valuable resource for those who are interested in making a difference (still/again). Recent studies have shown that not only can volunteering improve the lives of those we help, but also benefit our own mental and physical well-being. After all, if everything the Gen-Xers think about us is true, there's gotta be something in it for us. Check out Civic Ventures and make yourself useful.
And we thought we were paranoid. Aging hipsters aren't the only ones feeling the wrath of later generations. This columnist from the Richmond Times Dispatch also seems to think that the only recourse left is to pick our ice floes and wave goodbye.
Occasionally, a worthwhile and interesting opportunity to contribute comes along. Hence, the Poverty Action Lab at MIT, which states as its goals 'to improve the effectiveness of poverty programs...with clear scientific results that help shape successful policies to combat poverty.'
This is no wishy-washy 'good cause' stuff, but hard research into what works and what does not in reducing global poverty. If you have a spare few dollars, this could be the place to spend it. Even if you don't, take a look at their work.
Because we love divisiveness, provocation, and argument, we were interested in this article by Jeffrey Zaslow for the Wall Street Journal. With any luck it will inflame Boomers from both ends of the Boomer timeline and fuel the ongoing (and, to our minds, tedious) debate about just who and who is not a baby boomer.
We are enshrined. The Woodstock festival (the real one) is now on display at the New York State Museum. The exhibit includes artifacts such as ticket stubs, photos, and even articles of clothing from the weekend of mud-and-love.
If any of you out there make the trip, please see if you can locate my macarame roach clip holder. I'm pretty sure I lost it somewhere near the First Aid tent.
We are so special, we require our very own radio show. Called Encore Living, the call-in radio show apparently caters to boomers with such topics as travel, entertainment, legal affairs, health, financial news, and a little Las Vegas comedy from Buddy Hackett's son, Sandy.
The show, which has launched in about a dozen cities, is meant to be the next best thing for our generation since we are either ignored or dissed by younger generations (read 'market share'). However, during a brief listen to Encore's sales clip, I heard the word Senior a dozen times and some decidely un-hip radio chitchat.
For those of us who have turned into our parents, Encore Living may be right on target. However, if I need to feel old, I just listen to my kids' music.
Admit it, it's been years since you were actually abreast of the current lingo. You have no idea what "fo' shizzle my nizzle" means, but worse yet, it bothers you that the world has somehow left you out of the linguistic fraternaty you once ruled.
Fear not; the Baby Boomer Generation is here to help you get a clue.
Be careful with this site, you might actually develop an addictionary.
Pharmaceuticals are taking on a whole different meaning as we get older. Seems the illegal pleasures of our youth are being replaced by the anti-aging pharmaceuticals of today. It used to be enough to feel good, enter an altered state, or seek the godhead through chemistry.
Now it seems that all we want is our lost youth. Maybe if we hadn't indulged in all those little helpers in the first place, we wouldn't be demanding a new set of them today.
According to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Met Life Foundation, Boomers can find fulfillment in volunteering. Finally someone is looking at us as a resource instead of a rotting anchor dragging society down. If you take into the account the best intentions of our younger years, volunteering should be second nature. Apparently it's also good for us. Just don't ask us to stuff envelopes.
A friend was telling us about an interesting talk given by the headmaster at her child's school. The talk was about letting our children grow up, using an analogy something like this:
When they're little, our kids sit in the back of the car in a car seat.
As they grow, they progress to seat belts and the front seat next to us.
Soon, we're giving them driving lessons.
OK---it's their turn---they're driving the car.
Baby Boomer parents seem to be singularly reluctant to let go. We've concentrated so much on our kids' sense of self-esteem and fulfillment that perhaps we've neglected the part about growing up, becoming independent and taking responsibility for their own lives. (Believe me---I am among the worst offenders in this.)
We've been pretty busy lately and haven't had time for our usual trenchant pieces. So, maybe you could all talk amongst yourselves till we renew our brains. In the meantime, try to catch Boomer Nation tonight, Sunday, on A&E. That might give us all something to talk about
A brief surf through news about baby boomers turns up a dozen articles positing that we are facing financial disaster as we reach retirement age. Read, for instance, this article from the Wichita Eagle
So, we're not such great planners, are we? Sites like RetirementPlanner.org may help...or at least scare you into getting some professional financial help.
OK--this is scary. That Gen-Xer who hates us, scorns us, and derides us may be your next boss, according to this article in the Washington Times. Don't be tough on us, Master--we work really really hard.
See, now here's an example of what I've been talking about. Not only do they hate us, now they want to kill us. We're all just fat, balding and in the way.
I frankly like the invitation to comment:"...if you're in any way offended by the content or message of Boomer Deathwatch , sorry, but we really don't care. Seriously. We'll probably just post your pissy e-mail and make fun of it, so don't bother."
Oh, don't worry, I never get in a pissing contest with a skunk.
Your mother was right! There seems to be some emperical evidence that Baby Boomers are indeed (ahem)a "self-serving" bunch. According to this article, we're going blind at an alarming rate.
And you thought you could stop when you needed glasses!
USA Today "Studies foresee increased vision loss among boomers."
Perhaps if we'd had WebMD when we were teenagers, we wouldn't be going blind now. Note, they dispell the hairy palms myth, but not a word about going blind. I think this is a confirmation by ommission!
Found this article in The Age, from Australia, the other country as obsessed with baby boomers as the US. So--for all you Gen-whatevers and 'I-couldn't-possibly-be-a-baby-boomers' out there, let's remember that the genesis for all this labelling is the the commercial world's need to pigeonhole all of us into neat market segments.
Well, aren't we lucky, at least those Boomers who live in the Albany, New York area. According to The Business Review, you are about to get Boom, a new 'feature-oriented monthly newspaper' aimed at baby boomers. According to the article, the magazine will be taking a 'how to age gracefully approach.' Are we supposed to want to age gracefully? Looking forward to hearing from those of you in the capitol New York area about the usefulness (or lack of) of Boom.
While I'm on the subject, apparently a Chicago-based company is about to launch a 24-hour national comedy cable network targeting baby boomers. According to The Indianapolis Star Online, the programming will be a mix of live shows from around the country and vintage shows, movies, and stand-up routines.
Pardon my cynicism, but are we looking at just two more ways to separate us from our paychecks? What's next? Boomer cable news that only runs news stories from the 60's and 70's?
We've posted lots of articles about the penniless and bleak future we Boomers will face---our stock portfolios decimated, Social Security bankrupt, and many of us downsized out of lifelong jobs. Start-ups and freelancing have traditionally been the bailiwick of the young--new to the job market. But more Boomers seem to be starting again from relative scratch. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "There are no second acts in American lives." We don't believe that's true and we'd like to hear from any of you who have reinvented yourselves---who are indeed into their second act.
Found this article on the Daily NonPareil Online. For once, we're not being marketed to, harangued as the end of Social Security, or warned about the dire effects of growing old. Just a thoughtful, reasoned piece about who Boomers are and how we grew up.
The only thing that worries me is the use of the past tense in the title...are we done contributing? Is it time to put us on a collective ice floe and let us drift out to sea? By the way, for all of you spending way too much time arguing the official Baby Boomer years, the article addresses that as well.
You can also read it by clicking 'read more' in case you have a problem with the link.
As the specter of retirement and empty-nesting looms, baby boomers are hardly entering old age-homes or assisted living facilities. Known in the realty biz as 'active adult communities.' I like to think of it as 'we-want-what-we-want-when- we-want-it-the-way-we want it' communities. Read this article from the AP.
Demand for maintenance-free living grows among baby boomers
By ANUSHA SHRIVASTAVA, Associated Press
NEW YORK ÷ When Deborah and Thomas Turcol decided to leave San Diego after 15 years, they bought the kind of house they had always dreamed of, with open floors, gorgeous views - and no backyard to care for.
"We wanted a house that seemed more like a resort," Deborah Turcol said.
The couple moved into a house in an active adult community - an age-targeted development for those 55 and above - in Surprise, Ariz. They joined the growing number of baby boomers seeking a different kind of housing, one that offers maintenance-free living not far from where they worked and lived or that's close to family and friends.
An old friend wandered India, the Middle East, and Africa for a year or two. Someone from college lived on a houseboat in Amsterdam. A high school buddy ended up in Tibet for a few years. One or two headed east--as in Far East and haven't surfaced yet. A few made their way to San Francisco via Canada. So many of us roamed the world in the 60's and early 70's. And, most places we went we found instant community with young nomads from the rest of the world.
Now it seems we travel with GPS, reservations, credit cards, cell phone, and mini-van. Was it better then? Do you have memories of hippie vagabonding? Share 'em here. Where did you go? What did you do? And what did it all mean?
Because Microsoft has not yet made enough money, they are now working on technology to ease us into what they call the 'awkward age of computing.' Does this mean my computer will soon be able to yell back?
Microsoft's new campaign targets aging baby boomers
SEATTLE -- Has the print on your computer screen gotten too small? Is that auto-alert you've set up too faint? Can't find your cursor?
Hey there, Microsoft says, maybe it's not the technology troubling you, but the inevitable signs of aging.
On Monday, Microsoft will unveil a marketing campaign aimed at workers the software company says "may be entering the 'awkward age of computing.' "
The technology it's touting, such as text magnification, speech recognition and filter keys, already exist in Microsoft products, and was developed mainly for disabled users. But with the U.S. workforce getting older, Microsoft figures more people are finding their computer has become "awkward."
Well, when marketers finally turn their attention to Baby Boomers, they're hawking geriatric products. I haven't run into any of my over-50 friends in the Geritol aisle lately. They're all too busy working 12-hour days, breaking their own 25-mile-a-day cycling records, preparing their art for gallery openings, putting the finishing touches on their CD's, or getting their notes ready for board meetings. Helloooooo? We're still breathing out here!
By the year 2030, the number of people with Alzheimer's disease in this country is expected to increase by 70 percent. If it's any comfort, perhaps I'll forget what it is that pissed me off so much about my bratty kids, whiney Gen-Xers and the state of the national debt.
Until that time, I guess I'll just have to go on ranting in my self-centered Baby Boomer way.
We belatedly pay tribute to the true constant of our Baby Boomer childhoods, Captain Kangaroo, who died in late January at the age of 76. I can hardly believe he was only 76---seems he was old enough to be our collective grandfather fifty years ago. From ping-pong balls to knock-knock jokes, he has left a lasting impression for those of us in the Baby Boomer Generation. What's your favorite recollection of Captain Kangaroo? See if the audio file here doesn't jog your memory.
On the heels of Fox's "The Apprentice" we thnk there should be a companion show just for Baby Boomers. The premise is this: You take 20 out-of-work Baby Boomers and tell them that they will have to go through a series of trials to determine who will get hired for the one available job.
Here is a sampling of the episodes we'd like to see.
"Hide you age" where Boomers will have to undergo a makeover (nice cross-promotion here) and convince interviewers of they are under 40. Boomer bashing as a masquerading member of Gen-X gets extra points.
"Sell Your 401-K" Participants will have to cash in their savings and retirement funds to pay for food and shelter during the entire 26 week show. Running short means living in your SUV.
We're sure you have some of your own suggestions. Drop us a comment below.
Get ready for the next big bang! Retiring Baby Boomers are hitting the streets and according to some, light midday traffic could merge with rush hour to make a maddening 12-hour long debacle in many metro areas.
Combine that with the fact that many Baby Boomers will keep working (out of need) and you have the makings of an arterial blow out.
Attention old hippies! Dig our your bell-bottoms and slightly-out-of-tune
acoustic guitar. It's almost time for the annual Hippies Meet Up. According the web site
this is what people do at Meet-Ups: "Chat, chew the fat, shoot the breeze,
sling the bull, babble, cackle, chatter, gab, yak, yammer.
No big whoop." Um...I think they forgot to mention substance abuse.
Gen X may dismiss us as old and in the way, but marketing to Boomers seems to be the topic du jour, judging from all the news items about finding new and improved ways to part us from our money. Now AARP has jumped in with an ad campaign designed to remind Madison Avenue that weâre not dead yet. Here's the New York Times article.
AARP Aims to Deliver Message to Marketers
By NAT IVES
Published: January 12, 2004
With ads that show older consumers who have been body-bagged or toe-tagged while still living, breathing and trying to shop, AARP today began its latest attempt to convince marketers not to write off consumers over 50 years old.
"These days, doctors don't pronounce you dead," one ad says. "Marketers do."
This article recently appeared in the Los Angeles Times. We're hot, we're the majority, and we're not gonna take it anymore.
They hold the purse
Movies like "Calendar Girls" reveal -- again -- that older women are an audience to reckon with.
By Margy Rochlin
Special to The Times
December 14 2003
When Disney's "Calendar Girls" was released in England four months ago, it was No. 1 at the box office for four weeks running. But that wasn't the statistic that had industry analysts buzzing. UCI, the largest chain of movie theaters in the United Kingdom, reported a potent 500% increase in tea sales at concession stands, indicating that "Calendar Girls" was drawing an older crowd. "I just envisage middle-aged women with their husbands having a cup before the movie," says "Calendar Girls" director Nigel Cole.
It was just one not-so-small reminder to the youth-obsessed movie marketing culture that women born before 1964 not only like to go to the multiplex but can be a force to be reckoned with.
This is a well-written article (from Australia) attempting to help Boomers better understand Generation-X. Here's an excerpt:
"Frankly, it must be surprising to many baby boomers that I, a member of generation X, am capable of using a word processor, since clearly the fact that I managed to put my pants on this morning was quite an achievement."
"...you are not to blame for this. It is not your generation's fault. Most gen Xers do not believe that baby boomers are part of a global conspiracy to screw younger generations of money and opportunity.
"But if we want to avoid intergenerational conflict, how about the boomers losing some of the smugness - and drop the snide remarks about my generation's ability to look after itself."
As if we weren't viewed as self-promotional enough, Kia Motors has awakened to the power of 76 million potential customers by taking on Merriam-Webster on our behalf. They armed a willing Baby Boomer couple with a new Kia and a cross-country mission to fill a petition with 12,000 names.
The stated purpose was to change the dictionary definition of baby boomer. But we suspect in the bargain Kia is attempting to appeal to the millions of "inner hippies" screaming for a new-age cause.
We believe it might be time to listen to our Gen-X detractors and quit consuming crap like this and put our "inner hippies" back to work for causes that really mean something.
With the holiday season upon us, consider getting in your Kia or whatever other gas-guzzling mode of transportation we've popularized these days, and satisfy that need for self-actualization in a constructive manner.
What's your cause? Enter a comment and tell us about it.
UPDATE 12-10-03: Volunteer Match is a web-based service designed to link willing volunteers to programs of interest. You can search in your zip code or by your interests.
Okay--apparently we're neither immortal nor invincible. According to recent articles, heart disease is on the rise among baby boomers. After a youth of blessed excess, many of still don't take care of ourselves or even want to admit we're at risk. For more information, check out these websites:
Don't you just hate when a friend keeps insisting there's a book you MUST read? Whether it sounds interesting or not? I have just become that friend. I've been handing out copies of Getting Over Getting Older to all my women friends. Pogrebin's credentials are impeccable; as a co-founder of Ms magazine, she's certainly proved her feminisim. So don't expect coy tips on making yourself seem younger than you are.
MIT in conjunction with several well-connected "laborotory partners" has created the AgeLab. With companies like Procter & Gamble, The Hartford and Philips, the AgeLab's goal is to go where no aging hipster has gone before; seeking out new products designed just for us Baby Boomers.
Here's their mission statement:
The AgeLab was established at MIT in 1999, as a partnership with industry and the aging community, to develop new technologies promoting healthy, independent living throughout the human lifespan.
Our research involves an array of disciplines including engineering, computer science, human factors, health and medical sciences, management, marketing, and the social and behavioral sciences.
All of our work is motivated by a shared belief that the appropriate use of technology, along with innovations in its delivery, can have a significant impact on the quality of life for older people, their families and caregivers.
We've said it hear many times before... Baby Boomers (all 76 million of us) are not going to go quietly into the night just because we've turned the corner on 50. As a generation we will continue to have profound effect on the economy through ever-increasing and ever-changing needs.
With a health care crisis of our own to worry about, many Baby Boomers are already dealing with the challenge of aging parents.
As BRIAN BERGSTEIN of the Associated Press writes: "Joan Coleman calls it her nightmare. When her 74-year-old mother fell ill, Coleman assisted her in the hospital and also had to get her stroke-afflicted 75-year-old stepfather and 95-year-old grandmother into a nursing home.
That put Coleman in the difficult position many baby boomers face suddenly thrust into helping parents pay for expensive nursing care that threatens to drain savings accumulated over a lifetime."
While venture capitalists were predicting a "boom" in the creamation industry brought on by the statistical demise of the Baby Boomer Generation, the Grim Reaper seems to have been visiting the crematoriums sooner than Boomers themselves.
"It's a simple problem. The diagnosis for the cremation industry is dire because the key baby-boomer growth market appears to be staving off the Grim Reaper, despite forecasts by statisticians in the past that more of them would be, ahem, dead by now."
Jim Hamilton of the Buffalo Reflex has written an interesting piece on the influence of television on the Baby Boomer Generation. In part, he says:
"Earlier generations may have had The Shadow and Green Hornet to listen to on the radio or western movie heroes, but they didn't have television. In much of the rural Ozarks, including Dallas County, parents of Baby Boomers didn't even have electricity in their homes (Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act in 1936). Now, there's no denying that growing up without electrical conveniences in the Great Depression and World War II years shaped the value systems of our parents. Even if it seems silly to us when they turn off the lights when leaving a room, save string or reuse aluminum foil, we understand such frugalities.
We Baby Boomers were similarly shaped by our times, and to no small extent by what we saw on television.
I owe a lot to Fess Parker's Davey Crockett. His never-tell-a-lie backwoods philosophies provided solid reinforcement to the values my parents taught me. My heroes were Hopalong Cassidy, Gene Autry, Gary Cooper (I first saw High Noon on TV) and hosts of other good guys who never had trouble distinguishing right from wrong. That was the good side of television."
Despite the alarming title of this article, it's not all gloom and doom for you Gen-Xers waiting with baited breath for us Boomers to get the heck out of the way... but it's close.
According to a new AARP poll, fully 45% of working Baby Boomers intend to work past the traditional retirement age of 65.
"Reasons for working in retirement varied, but many pre-retirees indicated that their motivation revolves around "a need for money" (22 percent). Seventeen percent said that they planned to work because of a "need for health benefits." Other leading reasons cited were: a desire to remain "mentally active" (15 percent) and to remain "productive or useful" (14 percent)," the survey said.
Most alarming is the 18% who said they would continue working into their 80's.
Imagine the effect on the health care system should Boomers actually do what they say. As if the health care crisis wasn't bad enough...
Baby Boomers have been the subject of several article recently concerning how we will affect the economy over the next couple of decades. Not be be lost in the banter is this article from Europe concerning the growning environmental impact of dying Boomers... WHAT?
It seems that ecology-minded Baby Boomers are actually contributing to the solid waste and air polution problem.
"Baby boomers won't live happily ever after. Those soon retiring may not be able to afford the sea change they've always dreamt of..."
This is a recurring theme of those watching the generational glacier creeping across world economies.
Here's just a sample of what's to come:
Increasing demand for healthcare and a shrinking healthcare workforce
Reduced demand for housing, and the deflation of current values.
Retiring Boomers leaving a huge void in the workforce.
As Gregory Hywood writes "...all these issues are complex. Take just one - the changing demand patterns for housing. For retiring baby boomers that means a decision: sea change or not?
This is an article from the http://www.theage.com, an Austrailian publication, but the issues can be easily translated across the Pacific.
Being the incredibly organized and decisive person that I am, I just decided tonight to go to my 30th high school reunion. Not that I didn't want to go, but it's a 9 hour drive and frankly, it's total regression. Having spent the better part of the last three decades getting as far away as I could, it takes a bit of courage to actually WANT to do to this.
What strikes me about the reunion so far is the frieghtening sameness of person and place. BUT if that's the case, I'll be able to rendezvous with my little group of pot-smoking arty drop outs behind the gym. We can only hope.
Actually, I'm not exactly sure why we have reunions. I've kept in touch with most of my close high school friends, so I won't be too surprised by their thinning hair or lack of weight control. I guess there is some sort of primal curiosity that comes with matching your mental image of an 18 year old with that same person 30 years later.
I think I'll post some messages next week about the reunion and perhaps some before and after photos. Meanwhile, here I am with my father in 1973 and 2003.
Does anyone have some interesting 30th high school reunion stories?
-Who was the biggest suprise and why?
-Did you re-connect with anyone?
The Ageless Project is "sending the message that the personal, creative side of the web is diverse and ageless. If you have a personal, non-commercial website (that's original) and don't mind sharing your date of birth, you might help us prove the point."
Blogs are searchable by owner's date of birth and this directory includes some suprisingly beautiful graphic and literary works.
Here are the stats by decade:
Born in the 1930s: 8 (0.46%)
Born in the 1940s: 37 (2.11%)
Born in the 1950s: 139 (7.93%)
Born in the 1960s: 331 (18.88%)
Born in the 1970s: 711 (40.56%)
Born in the 1980s: 517 (29.49%)
Born in the 1990s: 2 (0.11%)
I didn't know it at the time but I was a space junkie. On a hot Sunday afternoon in July 1969, my father determined it was a good day to take the family on a picnic. I was horrified. Was he living in a hole? Four days earlier Apollo 11 had set off for a rendezvous with the moon. This was no time to be out of contact with mission control!
Now, as we traveled further and further from home, I was convinced we were going to miss the biggest moment in space history as reception on the AM radio faded into static.
The entire afternoon I was glued to the car radio trying to tune in whatever bit of news I could find and as the Eagle touched down, we were 50 miles from home... and I was on my own personal dark side. I pleaded with the old man for a retro-rocket burn. Finally, as Armstrong and Aldrin made preparations for their historic journey, our trip home had just begun.
As we re-entered the AM zone, the two astronauts were going through their checklist and I was glued to the back of the front seat straining to hear.
We pulled into the driveway just about the time they were opening the door to the lunar lander. I raced into the house to warm up the Philco just in time to hear Armstrong describe stepping out onto the ladder to begin his decent. When he reached the final step he kind of hopped down and stumbled through his historic remarks.
I watched every Apollo lift off after that, including the ones early in the mornings. Toward the end of the Apollo missions, the TV wasn't even covering them anymore. I guess we had done what we had set out to accomplish and walking on the moon was closure for both our collective space goals and the fulfillment of Kennedy's dream.
For me, Armstrong became a hero, in a time when heroes were so rare.
Baby Boomers Can Age-In-Place, (if we must age, that is)
A visitor to the site sent us this article about an interesting new concept in senior (that's soon to be us, fellow baby boomers) living--aging-in-place communities. It's hard to imagine us allowing ourselves to be shipped off to nursing homes: the type of community that Madeline Hill started is beginning to sound pretty good--as long as we can have high-speed internet access.
Madeline Hill, a pioneer in the concept of aging-in-place, created Mountain Meadows Community in Ashland, Oregon
By JOHN DARLING
for the Mail Tribune
After a long and prestigious career as a gerontologist, helping end the nursing home model of elder care and creating the State Senior Services
Division, Madeline Hill began wondering what the ideal senior community might look like - and whether she could build it.
One of the interesting results of being listed high in the search engines is that we receive all sorts of requests, marketing come-ons, and offers to affiliate with sites from Tonga to Staten Island. Naturally, dear readers, we protect you from most of these. Occasionally however, one comes along that seems worthy of your attention. The following is a request for input from an entrepreneurial person looking into retirement-benefit planning for us um...aging hipsters. You can help her out by clicking on the link below and taking a short survey.
"In the past twenty years, corporate pension plans have shifted from mostly defined benefit plans to mostly defined contribution plans. However, few employees have kept pace with this change or are adequately prepared to assume the responsibility and risk of managing the investment of their retirement savings.
The consulting firm Growth Solutions is conducting a brief survey of employees who participate in company-sponsored retirement plans. We want to know what you think of the concept of a company-sponsored benefit that provides retirement-planning services to employees.
Completing the survey takes only a few minutes. All respondents will be entered in a drawing and five lucky winners will receive a $50 American Express gift cheque!
My 52 year old Baby Boomer friend refuses to join AARP, and with it, the denial of all those discounts and perks we could be getting... like dinner at 4 PM for a dollar off. Denying her age is one thing, but perception is reality, deary.
NEW YORK -- Mary Jones Pelt got the bad news a year ago. She had worked in accounts receivable at Boar's Head Provisions Co. Inc. for 17 years, but the maker of luncheon meats was moving from New York to Florida.
Pelt decided to stay with her family in New York _ and found discouragement at every turn. Some employers say she is overqualified; others offer half what she made at Boar's Head. Unemployment benefits have run out, and Pelt, 44, worries she might end up in a low-paying job in a supermarket alongside her teenage daughter.
``I didn't think at this stage of my life I'd be making decisions like this,'' Pelt said. ``I thought I'd be making plans for my retirement.''
With nationwide unemployment at 6.1 percent in May, America has plenty of stories of disappointment. But Pelt's experience illustrates the particular cruelties joblessness inflicts on baby boomers, the more than 70 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964.
Many are hunting for work for the first time in decades, but are limited in their flexibility to move and pressured to provide for their children or elderly parents.
``The unemployment numbers just tell part of the story,'' said Leslie B. Prager, senior partner in The Prager-Bernstein Group, a career service in New York. ``What many individuals are having to do is take a stopgap job, possibly a job that would make them underemployed, while they wait for a job that's more like what they were doing before.''
The unemployment rate for 45- to 54-year-olds was 4.1 percent in the first quarter, up from 2.4 percent three years earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The overall jump in that period was from 4.0 percent to 5.8 percent.
The effects can be seen at the New York City Workforce1 Career Center in Manhattan, a federally funded job training and counseling office jointly run by the city and state. Based in Harlem, the center's staff works with everyone from Ph.D. holders to laborers who need computer training, networking advice and help writing resumes.
Counselor Susan Banks tells boomers to make sure their resumes highlight ways they helped their previous employers save money or bring in new revenue. She also helps get their computer skills as up-to-date as possible.
``You're seeing people who have been in their jobs 15, 16, 20 years, who did things a certain way _ they were in a routine,'' Banks said. ``That's not good enough anymore.''
Althea Dickson, another counselor at the Harlem center, recently advised a woman in her 40s who has a master's in business administration and had been making $85,000 in an executive position. Unable to find anything comparable, the woman sought administrative assistant jobs, but kept hearing she was overqualified. Many employers resist hiring such people out of fear they'll leave when the economy turns around.
Dickson finally suggested the woman undersell herself. They took her MBA off her resume, leaving her with a bachelor's degree. They downgraded her previous executive position to administrative assistant. The woman was hired as an assistant, making $32,000.
``It's frustrating when you hear you're overqualified,'' said Carmen Polson, 49, who has been unemployed since May 2002, when the steel company where she was a high-level assistant merged with two rivals. ``What do you say? `But sir, I need this job!'''
Polson tries to stay upbeat. She checks newspaper listings and sends e-mail queries every Tuesday, out of the belief that pitches that arrive on Mondays get lost or tossed in the first-day-back-from-the-weekend crunch.
Her husband, an electrical engineer, is willing to leave New York if necessary, but Polson still hopes to land something in the city.
``Everything will change,'' Polson said. ``Nothing lasts forever.''
That might be the biggest lesson unemployment taught Joan Allen, 50, of Baltimore. For her, being an out-of-work boomer became a blessing.
Allen had lived a white-collar life until new management at a mall ousted her as marketing director 11 years ago.
Never married, and without children, Allen decided to gamble. Instead of seeking another regular job, she cobbled together a series of projects _ a process she now says helped her ``inner person'' burst out.
She took refresher courses in TV production, worked as a freelancer and did a documentary on teenage depression. She wrote a book for single boomers, did some matchmaking and recently turned a family recipe into a brownie-making business, Chocolate Goddess.
Getting laid off ``could have been a mid-life crisis,'' she said. ``But I kept thinking of myself when I was 70 years old, looking back with regrets. I had to erase that image. That would be more painful than anything.''
It's a funny world we live in---no time for leisure and less time to do the stuff we have to do. Many of us have turned to online banking, take-out menus, 10-minute workouts, and now, speed dating. In case you don't know how this works, singles gather in one social venue, spend maybe 3 minutes one-on-one with several members of the opposite sex and decide who they'd like to get to know better.
We recently heard from a company in New York called Fastdater that offers regularly scheduled parties targeted for specific age groups. In fact, they offer events just for Boomers. Here's how they describe FastDating:
Everyone has a nametag, a participant number and a scorecard. The event begins and it's time to chat and get acquainted, one on one, while seated at a table for two. After three minutes, the bell rings and you're done! Simply score 'Yes' or 'No' next to your "date's" participant number on your scorecard, and move on (usually we make the guys do the moving). At the end of the evening, we collect the scorecards and tabulate results. If you both say "Yes" it's a match! We email you the results and the rest is up to you.
Well, why not? Blind dates arranged by Mom with her chiropractor's brother's niece; online personals; groups like Single Soccer Parents Who Knit---at least with FastDating, you get home before owing the babysitter a week's rent.
And by the way, they're offering a discount to anyone who mentions they heard it first on the Baby Boomer Homepage --20% for New York events in June and July.
The next Baby Boomer event (ages 46-58) is being held on Monday, June 23rd at the 'Secret Garden' of Trattoria Dopo Teatro, 125 West 44th Street, New York, NY (between 6th and 7th.) Registration for this event is $35.00, and if you tell them you heard about FastDating from us, they'll give you a 20% discount for the event. Sign up for the event at FastDater and they'll send you a special link to process your payment.
For more information, visit their website, write to them at FastDaterNYC@aol.com, or call at 212-877-3341.
And let us know how it goes. We may have 3 minutes to spare someday.
The logs don't lie. Here are some interesting tidbits from our search query logs:
More people searched on "social Security" than they did on Sex. At least we have our priorities straight.
"What is a Baby Boomer" was searched numerous times, making me guess that these are your chldren burning the midnight oil with that term paper due tomorrow.
"Why were so many people born during this time?" And "Where do boomers come from?" were frequent queries. I can only guess at the answer myself, but I think it was because of war, or sex, but certainly not social security.
A brilliant Gen-Xer searched on "gneration-x," twice.
Cosmetic surgery looks like it's hit the charts with a bullet.
Economy, jobs, money and employment have recently been popular search subjects... can you say anxiety?
Finally, retirement is getting a lot of attention. Perhaps with such a crappy economy, we Baby Boomers are checking out early.
The wretched excess of my own generation never ceases to amaze me. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that not only is the Hummer the current Baby Boomer toy de jour, it's got it's own "driving academy."
We just fought a war so these myopic, selfish, wasteful people can tear up the landscape behind the wheel of their personal Godzilla. But I suspect, for participants of "Hummer U", it was the first time they've ever gone anywhere other than the local Piggly Wiggly. It must be tough totin' home a gourmet bag of kiwi fruit in the front seat.
Frankly, "a hummer" meant something completely different in my day, which begs the question: "is it better to give or recieve a hummer?"
A recent American Stroke Association survey shows that many baby boomers do not recognize all five of the major warning signs for stroke and are in denial about the looming threat of America's number three killer in their own lives. Find out more here
Menawhiloe here's our top TWO things Baby Boomers should know about stroke:
1. They suck
2. You don't want one
This AP article should be of interest to those Gen-X and Y-ers out there who think they were the first to discover the net. Heck, we all know Al Gore invented the Internet and he's a Boomer!
May 24, 5:02 PM
"NEW YORK -- Long before teenagers and college students began downloading free music and chatting away through instant messaging, the Internet was a world of baby boomers -- yesterday's youths.
These online veterans helped build the Internet and witnessed its dominance shift from academia to commerce. They've seen usage and manners change as businesses discovered the medium along with people less familiar with technology.
And they defy the common perceptions that the Internet's earliest adopters are teens and twenty-somethings. " More >>
"Surveys of adult Americans conducted by Pew show that nearly 40 percent of baby boomers who use the Internet are veterans of at least six years. By contrast, only 7 percent are "newbies" with a year or less of experience."
Cool - I sent my first email in '94 so I have 9 years of the Internet - was sending netmail and running my own BBS in '92 :-) Nice to know that there's one thing I beat the average on - rofl
The Associated Press is reporting on a study released by the Department of Health and Human Services that indicates aging Baby Boomers will create a shortage of over 3 million health care workers by 2050.
By then the Baby Boomer Generation will be well into its bedpan years and it looks like we'll be changing our own sheets if we don't do something about it.
Couple that with predictions that there will be a worldwide shortage of workers everywhere by 2015 and you've got the makings of a real Boomer disaster.
Lured back into the workforce, Boomers will find their career experience finally pays off as they work out their golden years so they can afford substandard medical care.
Wait, what am I worried about? There's always Social Security to count on, right?
Greg Schneider of The Washington Post captures the essence of a new Boomer trend:
"As the Summer of Love evolves into the Autumn of Viagra, baby-boomer males are buying all the cool toys they couldn't afford as kids."
In particular, he sees Harley-Davidson dealers as the beneficiary of our new-found wealth.
"These days, Harley dealerships feel a little like Pottery Barns with leather. At East Coast Harley near the Quantico (Va.) Marine Corps base, bikes sit in a line near racks of Harley boots (starting around $100), Harley Motorclothes and Harley cat toys. It's a lifestyle as much as a product."
According to Dr. Nick DiNubile-orthopaedic surgeon, Boomers are paying the price for being in shape... and he's even given it a name... "Boomer-itis."
According to DiNubile, Baby Boomer bodies are suffering from overuse. "They're related to repetitive movement. Somebody who's moving. Somebody who's biking. Hitting numerous tennis balls over and over, repetitive movement that gradually over time creates micro damage or microtrauma to the tissues," he said.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has published a consumer guide that, according to the AAOS, "is a new musculoskeletal self-help book that 'demystifies' bone and joint health for the general public."
It's been eight years since our last Boomer Timeline and we're having a hard time believing we were even alive 40 years ago, let alone experiencing any of this. However, we were already sentient people, if small ones, and these events and experiences are ours to claim. In case your memory has grown a little foggy with age (or whatever), see if any of this rings a bell.
1963 was a great year for movies, treating us to all the following, among others: Hud (Did you know this was based on a novel, Horseman, Pass By, by one of our favorites writers, Larry McMurtry The Birds (One of us is still scared of a gathering of more than 5 birds on a telephone wire)
In case you find the idea of 834 birds perched on your roofline interesting, here's a bird-watching starter. The Great Escape
For those who like their gaming on the nostalgic side, you too can now be Steve McQueen Tom Jones (one's pre-pubescent self thought this was pretty sexy ... they showed a great deal of...um...bosom) How the West Was Won It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World
To see what a bunch of other people thought of the movie and, by the way, check out a kind of interesting movie/DVD site, take a look at Rotten Tomatoes
Long Time Coming, by Elizabeth H. Cobbs and Petric Smith gives an in-depth look at the Birmingham church bombing. Available at Amazon
Please Please Me, the Beatles' first album to be released in the US, hit the stores in 1963.
One hit wonder, the Singing Nun, topped the charts with "Dominique (inique inique)". It was also the #1 Christmas single that year.
Not only can you read more than you want to know about Jeanine Deckers (aka the Singing Nun), but check out this whole site for more on the "Swingin' Chicks of the 60's"
America gets the Zip Code on July 1.
If you happen to need to look up a zipcode
In November, Wham-O files a patent for the Frisbee, thus leading to the extreme sport of Ultimate Frisbee.
And you thought Ultilmate Frisbee was a casual past time? Nyuh-uh. It has its own official organization, the UPA.
Busy month. Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen hits the charts in November. Apparently J. Edgar Hoover thought the song was obscene-- how could he tell? Was he the only person in the country who could understand the lyrics? Read all about it The Lyrics...once and for all
Dec 8th--Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at gunpoint from a Lake Tahoe motel but released after 36 hours.
Okay, if you simply must know more about it.
Dr. Michael De Bakey first uses an artificial heart to take over the circulation of a patient's blood during heart surgery.
Robert Frost dies on January 29th. For those of you who think Frost was just this crusty rural poet. read him again.
Some of the top songs of the year. Clearly 'our music' hadn't taken over yet. Those Lazy , Crazy Hazy Days of Summer, Nat King Cole Kind of a scary version Danke Schoen, Wayne Newton
Some people really love this guy! Call Me Irresponsible Yellow Roses
Well folks, that wraps up BB Timeline, Part 2. We're sure there's plenty more we left out, either because we felt like it or because we didn't come across it. Feel free to add your true factoids from that memorable year.
We Came across a little article that should raise the hackles of baby boomers everywhere. Think the government invades your privacy too much in the name of 'security?' How about a database containing every single citizen's DNA? That's what a British forensic scientist suggests.
We came across this essay while aimlessly surfing anything with the words "baby boomer" in it. Tracking down the writer we learned it was originally written for a college class in 1996 (talk about the olden days of online technology!). The writer adds this comment:
"Feel free to use my first attempt at web writing. If you want an update, this gray haired baby-boomer is Instructional Technology Coordinator for Forney Independent School District. That just goes to prove you can teach and old gal a lot of new tricks."
Can the Oldest Baby Boomers
Handle the Newest Technology?
By Suzanne Smith
There seems to be a widely held opinion that those of us who are around 50 years old are intimidated by technology and therefore are not going to be productive members in the computer age. In a recent conversation with two of my cousins, who like me are fiftyish grandmas, I discovered that I was not the only one who is chagrined by this misconception. Martie, who is a consultant for a major university, was extolling the marvelous technological equipment she has and was explaining the intricacies of her newest computer enhancements, all of which she uses to assess exemplary education software that is used in the workplace and the schools. I was expressing my delight over the vast amount of teacher resources that are available on the Internet and endeavoring to describe one of my favorite sites and its uses in the classroom. Upon hearing excited discussions of hardware and software, Katie, who is co-owner and operator of a very successful business that relies heavily on computer technology, stated that she could not understand why people our age were considered to make up only a small percentage of the computer consumer base. She further stated that when she goes into a computer retailing establishment, she is often treated in a patronizing manner by the young person who is waiting on her. She said, "Just because we have graying hair does not mean we cannot learn to think in terms of bits and bytes. Someone is missing a marvelous marketing opportunity here. After all, at our age our kids are grown, so we have the money and time to spend on the newest technology."
I, too, have been patronized in the computer store, and I have had people on this campus assume for no other reason than my age and perhaps my gender that I know either very little or absolutely nothing about computers. While this is irritating and rather narrow-minded behavior, I can understand the basis for it. Not all people my age are as comfortable with computers as my cousins and I are. We grew up at a time when advanced technology, in particular computer technology, was a part of the very separate and mysterious community of scientists that put John Glenn in space and Neil Armstrong on the moon. Computers were giant, intricate machines and you had to have several advanced degrees to operate them. Our whole generation learned to stand in awe of computers and the accomplishments of the mysterious and highly educated men who operated them. To many fifty-somethings, computers are still surrounded by this seemingly impenetrable mystique, and for this reason it is difficult for them to incorporate computers into their daily life. So, I guess I cannot blame those young computer salesmen if they have a hard time visualizing us women from a generation they most probably associate with Marion Cunningham sitting in front of a computer since many Mrs. C types have a hard time visualizing themselves there.
Conversely, our generation should view itself as especially able to adapt to technological advances. We have had a lot of practice adapting to change. When I was a child, our family had one telephone, and it was black, very heavy and ugly. We had to share the phone line with our neighbors, and their son would get on the phone and refuse to get off no matter how many times we picked up the receiver and coughed. When our "party line" was free, I just told the operator the three-digit number of my friend and she connected me -- no dials or buttons. Today, my husband and I have two phone lines into the house (one for my computer), a phone jack in each room, four decorator phones, one cordless phone, an answering machine, a beeper and two cellular phones -- all with extensive programming capabilities. These are not luxuries. We could not operate our home-based business without these communication advances. It used to be hard to get in touch with people, but now, with beepers, and cellular phones, it is possible and essential to our business never to be out-of-touch.
Communications is not the only area in which I have witnessed sweeping technological changes. My dad was in the appliance and TV business, so I was a very interested observer of television's technological advances. In the 1950's not everyone thought it absolutely necessary to buy a TV, and the TVs Dad did sell were, of course, black-and-white only. And, when he first opened business in the small oil patch town in west Texas, there was only one channel. It was an astounding event when we could get two different channels. I distinctly remember the excitement surrounding the advent of color TV. "Bonanza" was the only show broadcast in color. In those days no respectable retail establishment stayed open past 6:00 p.m., so my dad thought up a way to conform to convention and still whet the potential customer's appetite for color TV. Dad kept the doors locked, but he tuned his most expensive TV to "Bonanza," placed the TV up close to the plate glass window, hooked up outside speakers, and watched the crowd gather. The sidewalk around the front of his store overflowed with people marveling as they watched Hoss, Adam and Little Joe mounted up and galloping across the Ponderosa-- in Living Color. Today my husband and I have two TVs (color of course), and I have lost track of the number of channels we receive. My husband has an impressive array of three remote control devices to channel surf as well as operate the VCR. And in addition the big-screen, surround-sound TVs that turn the living room into a theater are an incredible advance from the "Bonanza" sidewalk show.
Beyond the living room, advancing technology has penetrated every room in the Smith home over the last 35 years. Some of these changes have revolutionized daily tasks and the way I run my home. In the 1960's I was delighted that my kitchen had a refrigerator that would hold four trays of ice. Today I get a choice of crushed or cubed ice without filling trays or even opening the freezer door. In the 1970's I saw no reason for buying a microwave, but my children insisted, and now I would find it difficult to cook without one. In 1990 technology entered my sewing room when I finally gave up my 30 year-old, well-used sewing machine and purchased one of the new computerized models. Not only is ordinary sewing easier, but advanced technology also opened up enormous opportunities for creativity that were not possible before. Ironically, I had to buy a revolutionary new sewing machine before I could create Victorian heirloom dresses for my grandchildren.
Although technological innovations in our home brought many welcome gains, one in particular also brought a loss in aesthetics. Instead of our beautiful, 5 foot 9 inch Baldwin grand piano, our daughter now plays Mozart on a 12 inch Roland keyboard. The loss is in the physical presence of the piano, not really the sound quality. Our daughter says the sound is great and our not-so-well-trained ears agree; after all, Roland touts this keyboard as having the digitized sound of an 11-foot grand. Our daughter is thrilled because there is no way she could get that sound out of a regular piano that would fit in her apartment, but she says that it does not feel quite the same. My husband and I are pleased that we no longer have to organize our home around finding room for the Baldwin, and my husband is especially glad not to have to move it. Moreover, the grand piano now fits in the back seat of our daughter's car. She can put on a concert almost anywhere with her portable grand. But with all these advantages, we miss seeing her in command of that beautiful instrument. The words "beautiful instrument" do not seem to apply to the small, black metal Roland as they did to the massive, mahogany Baldwin.
These are just a small sampling of the numerous changes our generation has experienced. Having incorporated all these innovations as well as many others into my home and my life, I feel that I have developed a flexibility that does indeed allow me to approach the new technology with an open mind and seek the skills and information necessary to incorporate it into my lifestyle. Further, my life experience allows me to be a consumer of technology with out being consumed by it. Most of the aforementioned household enhancements have made my life easier and allowed me to accomplish tasks much faster. High speed seems to be a common attribute of the technological advances which produce such things as instant meals, instant heirlooms, and instant concerts. I believe it is possible and, yes, even necessary for us fiftyish grandmas to operate at high-tech speed. But because we have also operated quite effectively at a slower pace, we can, without anxiety, turn off the machines and then enjoy a spectacular sunset, immerse ourselves in a novel in front of a warm fire or hold a child in our lap and tell her a tale. These are important even in a high-tech society.
Yes, I think the oldest baby boomers can more than handle the newest technology. Beyond being capable, sensible consumers of computer technology, I believe our generation has a unique opportunity to make a valuable contribution to the emerging electronic society. Our generation can be likened to the wizened storytellers in the oral society who learned to read and write. They brought the richness of storytelling onto the printed page. I hope that in the new electronic society we will draw on our generation's deep wealth of literary resources and endeavor to bring the richness of the printed page onto the terminal.
This site by Suzanne Smith
at, as Virginia Woolf might say,
A Computer of My Own.
Established for English 3371
on September 18, 1996
and last updated Nobember 24, 1996.
Since this was written in 1996, I'd be interested to know what has happened inthe following years. Did you keep up with the pace of technology? What new insights have you gained over the years?
"Coaltion (of the Willing) forces have been in Iraq for more than seventy-two (72) hours and not a single post from anyone from the generation that burned their draft cards, fled to Canada, or just smoked dope and listened to Arlo Guthrie sing about Alice's Restaurant!
Our children are being called to fight a war that the UN Security Council could not endorse, nor could our allies. We are asking our sons and daughters to do something that we so vehemently protested.
I'm not inviting arguments, rather personal opinions of Operation Iraqi Freedom "
Posted by Pete at March 29, 2003 08:31 AM
It would seem that the writer is expecting Baby Boomers everywhere to rise up and protest war... any war. There are significant differences as well as striking similarities. Not the least of which is the loss of young lives, which in and of itself is the horror of war.
Did we need to go into Iraq and remove Saddam? History will probably write that it was, but as I've said here before, Bush has done a terrible job of selling the US on why this war is needed now.
I don't believe Baby Boomers are particularly apathetic; I think we are scared to death. Scared where escalation will take us and Bush to re-kindle mistrust in the government.
Looking back on Viet Nam era war protests, I believe that in our youth, we didn't realize what kind of message we were sending our troops. And on their return, we snubbed them as if they were evil. I'm embarrassed by that.
Finally, this is an all volunteer army. A great deal of the Viet Nam protest was against the draft. Boomers are now well beyond draft age, so I wouldn't expect the same kind of anti-war passion. We are, after all, the "ME" generation.
See the post above for my own "spin" on this subject.
Also, I got my wake up call when I heard Halliburton Corp was issued defense department contracts to secure any burning oil fields. The same Halliburton Corp that had Dick Cheney at it's head up until just a couple of years ago.
I have read many, many times about how the Baby Boomers approach and deal with the issues of the day. The original posting which started this discussion illuminates those types of issues and how "we" (Baby Boomers) react to them. The actual truth was that the overwhelming majority of "us" did none of the things in the 1960's the writer speaks of because we did not have the time for those things, much less care to waste our time in that manner.
But we did care personally about (at least all the young males did) about Vietnam. I know I did want want to go there and did everything possible not to. Most of the males of my generation felt exactly the same way I did. I spent nearly a year on the waiting list to enlist in the local unit of the U. S. Army Reserve. So, I did not go to Vietnam. I simply worked with the situation that did exist and tried to achieve the best possible outcome.
So, while reality has always been difficult some people. Thankfully, it is not difficult for enough of us to make it possible for those for whom reality is diffult to be allowed time to struggle with accepting it.
I would welcome anyone's thoughts on this subject and thanks for the soapbox.
Hey Dirk---I think you'll look good with grey hair...and the walker kind of becomes you. I have a couple extra coupons for Depends--consider them my gift to you. Seriously, can I have a ride to the next AARP meeting?
Here's an example of a well designed, well written and up-to-date weblog produced by someone born in 1949.
Some Gen-xers lurking about here believe we Baby Boomers are incapable of harnessing technology; Doug must be the exception that proves the mouse click knows no age.
Posted by Pete at March 23, 2003 07:16 PM
Hey thanks :-) How did you come across my weblog? I just saw your link turn up in my referers so I thought I'd check you out. You have an interesting looking site.
As for boomers using technology :-) Well, long before the Internet became popular or even easily available outside of the academic environment I started a BBS in Vancouver, Canada and ran it for 3 years. I had 250 regular users dialing in and getting netmail (that's the precursor to email for the gen-x types), exchanging files and playing games. Some of those games were the very earliest versions of networked games where the results of your session were sent via at regular intervals up through the network and at the same time other players results would be downloaded - it could take weeks to have a battle :-) - if you were an old BBS gamer you might remember Red Dragon - that was one of my favourite games.
Boomers using technology? I'm a telecom consultant . I do analyses of a region's telecom infrastructure for fledgling community networks. I'm currently working on and off wit a local group to bring fiber to the home and high-speed wireless networks to an area of BC with about 150 communities - now that's technology :-)
There have been a few comments here from Gen-Xers throwing dirt on us Boomers for being a bunch of ludites. I posted the link above because I thought the Dynamic Driveler was a good example of technology at work in the hands of a Baby Boomer.
Your comments reminded me of my own digital past. I lived in Columbus, OH during the time Comp-U-Serve was in it's hayday. I had a 300 baud modem that I used to connect to special interest groups on CSI. At the time, it was dominated by college professors who wanted to discuss quantum physics... so I lost interest pretty quickly. But boy did things shnage with my brand new 2400 baud modem and the WWW. The rest is history.
CNN reports a British cannabis campaigner, who changed his name by deed poll to Free R Cannabis was jailed for two months on Friday for auctioning the drug at a demonstration. Cannabis, 33, previously known as Robert Christopher, openly sold the drug using a microphone in London's Hyde Park.
A couple questions come to mind:
1. Was business so bad he had to advertise?
2. Was Mr. Cannabis wearing a big sign that said "bust me"?
Many, many moons ago during a time when numerous outdoor concerts were spawned by the Woodstock phenomenon, I was lucky enough to attend a mini free-love and music event in of all places, West Virginia. Attendance was lackluster at best and by the end of the second day, the promoters were on stage auctioning off bags of pot to cover their expenses.
It didn't seem even the least bit strange at the time.
I agree---it's the only obstacle to legalization. By the way, I understand it's always more effective when you hold your breath:) Take a look at the article link on the sidebar, "Nevada to Vote On legalizing Possession of Pot."
I agree. My only problem is what to tell the kids. I can't allow or even 'ignore' them smoking pot, in spite of the fact that I believe it's more benign than many legals 'highs.' I choose not to share my own experiences with them either (under the guise of different time, different place). Hypocrisy, thy name is Mommy.
as a teenager, I'd say don't hold back on talking to your children. say,"yes, I once tried it, and I won't condone you for trying it, but its illegal, and so if you get caught my fist will come down" I think if you discuss the topic in a mature manor they will get the picture. And if they already do smoke (such as myself) give them your true opinion, not "what you think is best for them".
My person feeling is that if it doesn't affect my school work, social life, or athletics, and I don't get caught, then its not really hurting me. just my two cents.
Galen--I think your point is valid. And truthfully, I think the one thing they need to realize is that it doesn't matter what 'I' think about them smoking pot. What matters is the fact that it is indeed illegal and neither of them would look good in prison orange.
California usually leads the way to reform, I doubt my state will catch up within my lifetime. Pot should be classified differently from other street drugs. The effect of Speed, Coke, and all the new street drugs pose a greater risk to our children than pot. I do not condone smoking Pot to Drinking Alcohol as a teenager. Adults should have a choice.
Golly geez: They figured out how to tax booze real quick after they GAVE UP on prohibition didn't they? So what's the problem now? Maybe too many pickled brain cells to remember how they did it or maybe those ideas are squirreled away in some underground storage bunker.
I 'm a dead has-been and I didn't even know it. Thanks, Jeff for pointing out that I am a steaming pile of cow dung on the fast track to nowhere.
He does offer some hope that by 2017 there will be such demand for workers, that companies will be forced to hire us old geezers just to fill the ranks.
I'm going to brush up on my typing for that post-retirement steno pool job just waiting for me at age 62.
BY JEFFREY ZASLOW
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
"We baby boomers used to feel great about ourselves. We were creative, idealistic, in charge and in the spotlight. And now? Now we fear there's a new term that describes us: has-beens.
Boomer has-beens are human byproducts of the down economy and the youth culture we created. Lately, we have been measuring our declining relevancy by the losses in our portfolios, the length of our unemployment and the lines in our faces. Worst of all, we gauge it by the feeling in our guts that our greatest achievements may be behind us. " More >>
For those of you in the Dallas area, this exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art is closing in mid-March. Imagine---a whole exhibit relating to us, us, us. "Boomerangs and Baby Boomers: Design 1945-2000," features objects and design from the last 50 years. For more, check out the museum's website.
Now here's an article in Wired that struck close to home. After being everything but strip-searched THREE times on our way to Grand Rapids (that hot bed of terrorism), I'm convinced that there is little actual deductive reasoning at the heart of airport security. Why impose the same search on the same two people within 6 feet of the previous search while 1