The Baby Boomer Generation: trends, research, comment and discussion of the generation from 1946 - 1964. Includes bulletin boards, Sixties and Seventies music, culture, health and coverage of issues for Boomers

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The Baby Boomer Homepage is your source for trends, research, comment and discussion of the generation from 1946 - 1964. Includes bulletin boards, chat, Sixties and Seventies music, culture, health and coverage of issues for Boomers  
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."
August 28, 2012

Sex Over 50

Why you're not having sex:
According to HuffPo, there are specific reasons baby boomers aren't having sex. Although one has to ask, who says boomers aren't having sex?

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April 11, 2011

There's an App for That

The young hipsters who read Salon don't find this humor piece amusing. They will some day. Heh.

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April 4, 2011

Funny, Senior Style

I know we're not quite this old yet, but when we are, a sense of humour like this would go a long way toward feeling young.

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April 21, 2010

Facebook Etiquette Boomers Can Love

A little bit 'Leave it to Beaver,' a little bit South by Southwest:

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January 22, 2009

Middle Aged Driving

by Kelly Jackson

How midlife driving differs: I live in a neighborhood of blue-haired drivers, and I'm beginning to understand them. This is both dangerous and frightening. Back in the day, when I found myself going 20 in a 35 mph zone, it was because I had just taken the last puff off a big fatty with my friends in the car, and it never occurred to me that my mental state had been altered in such a way as to emulate the blue-hairs.

Now-a-days, my patience level has replaced the haze of THC in my brain, and I applaud those who take their time on the road. Of course, after living and driving in Manhattan for 12 years, I also appreciate those lunatics who pull out of a strip mall, flying across oncoming traffic to swerve into my lane about 6 inches in front of my car. "Nice NY cabbie move," I say to myself. After being captive in the back seat of many a NY cab, I know that when it's your chance, you must take it, seize the day, make your move and hope for the best.

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July 27, 2008

Oh, I'll Take This Almond Love; What Joe Cocker Really Said

An old high school friend sent this YouTube video. You mean those aren't the lyrics??

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July 23, 2008

MidLife Grocery Shopping

by Kelly Jackson

How midlife grocery shopping differs:
The first thing I do is look for a parking space in the shade as close to the front door as is humanly possible. I have a handicap tag which I borrow from my ancient mother and I try very hard not to abuse it, but if it's raining, it's every handicapped for him/herself. I'm not above feigning a slight limp on my way in either, just in case I run into someone in a grocery scooter who is legally entitled to park in these spaces.

Next up is getting all germs and bacteria off the shopping cart handle before I touch it with bare hands. God knows how many small children have wiped their drooling, snotty, little noses and then asked Mommy if they could push the cart. And, I'm always appalled whenever I see an even smaller tot with its little bottom sitting in the front section of the cart which is so obviously constructed for women's' purses. I would never ever ever put any fresh produce, for example, in that section of the cart for fear of cross contamination from those little, diapered human butts.

No more endless chit chat when confronted by someone I either know or knew and haven't seen in years. These people always seem to turn up at the grocery store when I do. I have no idea why. It's manspeak for me, "Hi, Genie, great to see you, planning a party, gotta run. Ciao." They usually haven't spit out their own salutation before I've rounded the corner from aisle 4 to 5. No time, not interested, looking for important items.

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December 24, 2006

Here kitty, kitty, kitty

cougar.jpgForgive me if this is just spreading rumor, but at a party last night, it was suggested that a cougar had been sighted nearby - just a few miles from where we were standing - in New Jersey.

When asked to describe New Jersey, most people outside the state think of oil refineries, urban sprawl and the infamous New Jersey Turnpike. But we live in the Skylands region, known for its rugged, mostly rural beauty. So when talk turned to the possibility of local cougars, no one was outwardly surprised. We've all seen red fox and coyotes, and black bears have been well documented.

The huge deer population here makes it even more plausible that mountain lions have followed their prey into our area.

If it's true we have big Jersey cats among us, we first need to get this name thing straight. Cougars, mountain lions, panthers, pumas, and catamounts are all names for the same thing. In the Florida swamps they're called Florida Panthers (creative huh?) and as a whole they're referred to as American Lions.

bigpussythumb.jpgFrankly, there's only one name we could possibly give to mountain lions in Jersey - Big Pussy - out of respect for the ill-fated Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero of Sopranos fame. And should our Big Pussy misbehave by taking down a six year old waiting for a school bus or by walking off with mom's favorite tabby, it might suffer the same fate as the fictional character - sleeping with the fishes. We don't mess around here in Jersey.

In a sort of light-hearted nervousness, the party conversation turned to preparation for our own close encounters. Trying to get an accurate description of what to look for, someone suggested "it is about the size and color of a shaved golden retriever." Frankly all that conjures up for me is an image of a very cold dog - a not-so-dignified description of our noble Big Pussy.

Here's the official description from The Mountain Lion Foundation:
"The mountain lion has a tan-colored coat, much like the African lion. The most recognizable feature of the cougar is it's long and heavy tail, which measures almost two-thirds the length of the head and body. Male lions typically weigh 110 to 180 pounds, while the females are slightly smaller, weighing 80 to 130 pounds. The mountain lion should not be confused with its cousin, the bobcat (a smaller cat of about 22 pounds), recognizable by its spotted coat, pointed ears, and short tail."

So what makes Big Pussy so different from other predators we know to be in our area? First of all, unlike foxes and coyotes, mountain lions have been known to shed their fear of humans and in some cases, view us as a two-legged main course. Here's one man's account of his own close encounter with a mountain lion.

Frankly, I'm more inclined to believe Jersey mountain lions have been spreading dark rumors in an elaborate protection scheme. "Yo, it would be a very unfortunate thing if yer little house cat was to suddenly disappear."

So until I see one for myself, or read some official documented evidence, I'm going to assume that mountain lion sighting on Petticoat Lane was just a golden retriever having a bad hair day.

Mountain lions in Jersey? Fagetabotit!

Then again, there is this to ponder.

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July 13, 2006

John Cleese Speaks Out

One of the advantages of growing older is that I forget what I read six months ago, so humor columns are funny all over again. Like the one I had stumbled upon last winter. In case you missed it...

OK--we've done it now. Because of our failure to elect a competent president, England is revoking our independence. Now we'll have to do that tea party thing all over again.

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May 31, 2006

It's All Our Fault

William Thomas is a baby boomer and boy, is he pissed off. But mostly at his Thomas is a Canadian humorist (no, that's not an oxymoron) and he's pretty sure our generation has wrecked the world for everyone else, as laid out in this column.

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May 2, 2006

Who Was That Masked Professor?

Frank Mullen III

I went to college in the 60s. The professors were either decrepit, brain-dead codgers who'd had their last coherent thoughts shortly after the First World War, or young assistant professors with flared sideburns and mod jackets who spent the mornings carrying protest signs back and forth across the quad, and the evenings carrying coeds back to their apartments.

So when I started teaching at an East Coast college, I had no good role models to fall back on. I had to devise my own techniques for dealing with student difficulties. And believe me, today's students have problems. Can you imagine delivering an oral report in front of your classmates and realizing that your navel-ring doesn't match your tongue-studs?

I think you'll see that I succeeded in dealing effectively with student problems. While I have edited some of my responses for clarity, the student questions and complaints below are authentic and presented verbatim, to the best of my recollection.

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April 22, 2006

Who Do You Want to Turn 60 With?

With all the "Ohmigod--we're turning 60" press lately, this columnist, Ed Cullen,in the Advocate in Baton Rouge, give us his funny take. I'll turn 60 with him any day.

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March 5, 2006

Needle in a Haystack--A GenX-er Who Likes Boomers

While reading, Grandma Boomers, just the kind of well-written, edgy boomer blog I delight in, I came across a link to this from a thirty-something. She likes us, she really likes us. As used to boomer bashing as I am, it was delightful to find a Gen-Xette who actually admires us. OK--her web site uses funny colors and is really hard to read without enlarging the text--and she makes a few spelling errors--but I'll take being idealized over trashed any day.

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December 15, 2005

Boomer Humor (Hey--that rhymes)

(We're always happy to have a contribution from Frank Mullen, our gently satirical and hardly ever curmudgenly guest humorist.)

Stay the Course, Boo Boo
by Frank Mullen III

Take a tip from me, Mr. President: convincing the electorate to be patient requires firm resolve.

Glenwood Junior High School Auditorium, January 5, 1962.

Mr. Rosen: Quiet down, please. It's time for opening statements from the two candidates for Chairman of the Dance Committee for the Spring Term. First, the incumbent, Frank Mullen.

Frank Mullen: Fellow students, I know that some of you are concerned that attendance at the 'Dress Like Your Favorite Cartoon Character' sock hops hasn't been growing as fast as we hoped. Well, things are turning around. We have to be patient.

Mr. Rosen: Now, the opposing candidate, committee member Jack Talbot.

Jack Talbot: The Cartoon Dances are a ridiculous idea that is not working. I told Frank we could get The Silvertone Cats to play for free, but he wouldn't listen. He insisted that kids would rather spend Friday afternoons dressed up like Olive Oyl and Wimpy, doing the Watusi to Maria D'Amato's record collection. Frank doesn't realize we're not in Miss Eisenmann's first-grade play group anymore. I think we deserve dances that don't require you to dress up like Yosemite Sam.

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November 23, 2005

A Boomer Randomly Surfs the Web

This has nothing to do with being a Baby Boomer, but I'd still like to know, "Why Can't I Own a Canadian?"

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July 26, 2005

The Utter Humiliation of a Baby Boomer

The Attic of Illusions
Frank Mullen III

Whew. This attic sure is stuffy.

It reminds me of the hours I spent in the attic of our house on Village
Drive when I was a kid.

Looking through dusty old photograph albums.

Trying on Dad's moth-eaten World War II uniform.

Crouching by the window with Billy Jacobson, whispering, "heavy" and "deep"
as we choked on the lung-searing smoke of dried banana peels.

Well, I came up here for my golf clubs, not a waltz down memory lane, so

Is that my canvas knapsack? I thought I threw it out years ago. I wonder if
there's anything in it.

Wow. My stash bag. I'd better not touch it; just disturbing whatever might
be in there would attract drug-sniffing dogs from three surrounding

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March 22, 2005

Where Are They Now, Next

Lately I've been thinking about Tom Lehrer. I figured no one under 40 had ever heard of him, but guess what? His rendition of the periodic table, The Elements, is all over Kazaa and Limewire. Are kids using it to study or have they discovered for themselves the subversive charm of melodic satire or both? I still have old vinyl of That Was the Year That Was and, as soon as I find an amp to hook the turntable up to, I'll give it a re-listen.

So, where's he been?

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February 24, 2005

A Boomer Reads Between the Lines

Point Your Browser My Way, Mr. Gonzales
by Frank Mullen III

I've come to the conclusion that the Bush administration's plans to keep records on American citizens is worth the slight effect it will have on our so-called "right to privacy." I am particularly impressed by new technologies that can monitor the internet use of private citizens.

[Frank Mullen votes Republican]

"Data-mining," as it is called, is a powerful tool for enhancing homeland security. For instance, it allows the government to keep track of the URLs of websites visited by internet users.

[Frank Mullen supports prayer in schools]

It also keeps records of website content and identifies authors.

[Frank Mullen is a Christian Fundamentalist]

The mechanism not only reads sites with up-to-date content, such as this one, but has archive-exploring subroutines that can dig up older postings. Government is particularly interested in communications that were created before Americans began toning down their opinions for the sake of national security.

[Frank Mullen did not do drugs to excess at Franconia College]
[Franconia College is an Assemblies of God seminary]
[Frank Mullen was kidding when he said that appointing Alberto Gonzales to head the Justice department is like putting Jesse Helms in charge of the NAACP]

The data-mining software operates much like internet search engines that look at documents and identify keywords according to their proximity to each other.

[Frank Mullen big Bush donor]
[Frank Mullen glad sacrifice freedom speech]
[Frank Mullen Bush daughters intelligent mature]

The Bush people are so sure of the efficiency and constitutionality of this procedure that they promise not to bother us by informing us when they have accessed information by us or about us; fortunately, these are people that we can trust to be discreet.

[Frank Mullen women barefoot pregnant]
[Frank Mullen no abortion not even rape incest]
[Frank Mullen support school prayer AND execute children AND low taxes rich

After all, just imagine what an untrustworthy government could do with information about its citizens.
[Frank Mullen accept Jesus Christ personal Savior]

Remember Nixon siccing the IRS on his enemies?

[Frank Mullen donate large sums Pat Robertson]

How about J. Edgar Hoover forwarding names of suspected radicals to the Selective Service?
[Frank Mullen Young Republican]

And they didn't even have digital databases back then!

[Frank Mullen Campus Christian Crusade]
It's a good thing those days are over, [Frank Mullen small potatoes] and power is now in the hands of Godly leaders of probity,
[Frank Mullen minor-league nobody] character
[Frank Mullen third-rate non-entity] and integrity.

Not that I personally have anything to worry about.
[Frank Mullen oppose affirmative action AND oppose mollycoddling criminals
AND oppose homosexual marriage]

Copyright 2004, Frank Mullen IIII.
Originally published by
Frank Mullen III is Suite101's
Baby Boomer Humor Contributing Editor.

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December 30, 2004

One Boomer's Quest for Joy to the World

A dear friend of ours has her own unique solution to the world's ills. It's simple, it's inexpensive, and I believe it may catch on. And, as Edith Wharton said, "If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time."


As things are there is little to smile about these days. So, I have started my own campaign to make people smile. I distribute those wee, paper umbrellas.
I bought a gross of them & started at home by putting one in my husband's evening wine. He arched an eyebrow & flicked it out, but I could tell he was secretly thrilled. Encouraged by this I put one in my daughter's water, & she was delighted.

Later I stabbed several into her dinner.
"Are we expecting rain in the kitchen?" she quipped.
"I'm just spreading a little joy, baby," I said.
"Well do it someplace else, please," she responded.
"GOOD IDEA!!!" I enthused. My crusade had begun.

My first public unbrellaings were an immense success. My husband & I were waiting for a table at the bar of a restaurant. Next to us sat two women. By the look of things they were sisters out on a bonding evening. My eyes lit up as I reached into my purse. My husband eyebrowed me so I knew it was a great idea. I dropped an umbrella into each of their drinks.
"Oh, I feel as if I'm on a tropical island! What fun!" they gushed. I was on my way to the merrification of the world.

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October 13, 2004

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Even Think About It

Frank Mullen III

You've given your teenager the facts about drug abuse. You've discussed it openly and respectfully, and she knows she can talk to you at any time, without fear of condemnation.

Congratulations. Your child has just awarded you a level of trust that will endure for, oh, maybe four minutes. That's how long it will be before Kirsten gets it through her peabrain that she missed something big and comes bouncing back into the living room with The Question:

"Sooo, did you use drugs when you were young?"

Welcome to the Voyage Of The Damned. On behalf of all parents who have already made this trek with their teenaged children, let me warn you of an ill-informed school of drug education that recommends you admit your youthful mistakes to your inquiring progeny. 'Be honest with your child,' the thinking goes, 'and you'll have a friend for life.'

The drug czar who thought this up needs to spend a few years in a re-education camp. We don't want our kids to grow up to be our friends. We want them to grow up to be people who visit us in the nursing home and empty the colostomy bag when the orderlies are off taking a cigarette break. If you want friends, join the Elks; I want someone whoâll say, 'Roll over, Dad, I can't reach
the catheter.'

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July 7, 2004

It's A Small, Sordid World

Baby Boomer Humor by
Frank Mullen III

I saw color television for the first time one evening in the early 1960s, after Sunday dinner at the Young's house. Mr. Young ushered my family into the den for a demonstration, and turned on the imposing RCA console. A harp glissando swept from the speaker, and Tinkerbell swished across the screen, spritzing pixie dust here and there. At the age of eleven, I was finally welcomed to "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color."

The predominant color in this wonderful world was green. This worked well for Peter Pan's suit, but made his face look like he'd been slurping snot from a dog bowl. Mr. Young adjusted some dials, and red became the hue du jour. Every time Captain Hook moved across the screen, his waistcoat left an effervescent trail of shimmering red pixels behind him, an effect with which I would become extensively familiar in college, while minoring in recreational hallucinogens. The imperfections of the new technology did not bother me, but I knew this innovation would not reside in our house any time soon; my father was determined to wait "until they get the bugs out." Shortly before he died in 1986, he threw caution to the wind, and color television entered the Mullen home.

In December of that year, I was in the ballroom of a Tokyo hotel, waiting to perform at a holiday show. I was backstage when the warmup act arrived, a troupe of performers from Japan's Disneyland. They took their costumes out of a large trunk and began dressing for the show. Lederhosen and a plastic proboscis turned a slight Japanese man into Pinocchio, and a blond American woman was transformed into Cinderella's fairy godmother, with the help of a few yards of blue chiffon and a generous application of foam padding. Soon, I found myself rubbing elbows with Dumbo, Prince Charming and the Queen of Hearts.

When the opening notes to "It's A Small World" filled the ballroom, the lights came up, and the denizens of Disneyland swept on stage, filling the world with enchantment. Even before they were halfway through the opening number, I'd forgotten that they were actors lip-synching to a pre-recorded tape.

Entranced, I watched from the wings as the medley of Disney melodies unfolded. Jiminy Cricket wished upon a star, and Snow White wished that her prince would come. He did, of course, followed by Grumpy, Sneezy and Dopey, who whistled while they worked, to the delight of oversized mice and chipmunks. Even the White Rabbit showed up; late, of course.

The act ended with a reprise of "It's A Small World." After a moment of thunderous applause, the exit music came up, and the cast waved goodbye as they marched offstage.

In my reverie, I neglected to move out of the way of the approaching parade. Cinderella's fairy godmother ran into me, shoving and screaming, "Move, goddam it." She ripped off her costume and began hurling garments into the wardrobe trunk, then turned to Pinocchio and said, "Listen, dirtwad, the next time you step on my foot during "Someday My Prince Will Come," I'm gonna take this magic wand and shove it."

"Suck on this, American whore," Pinocchio said, waving his detached nose in her face. "Besides," he said as he pulled down his lederhosen, "is Goofy fault; he always bumping me in ass when we doing the crossover."

My mother ran a nursery school in the 1950s, and our house overflowed with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs and picture books. I recently came across one of my old favorites, "Mickey Mouse's Birthday Party," at a garage sale. I looked fondly at the cover, but didn't dare open it; I've seen the coarse, naked reality that lurks behind the Disney facade, and it's not pretty.

Minnie Mouse called out from the kitchen, "It's so damn hot in here, I've got a heat rash that feels like a forest fire in my butt-cheeks."
Mickey looked up from his copy of "Hustler" and yelled, "Shut up and bake the frigging cake."
"Bite me," Minnie answered. "And tell your idiot pal, the duck, to get his feet off the table."
Mickey took a swig of Schlitz and belched. "Chill. He's rolling joints for the dwarves."
"Did you invite those perverts?" Minnie asked.
"You got a problem with my buddies?" Mickey replied.
"A problem?" Minnie said. "Seven stoned midgets barfing in the sink, clogging the toilet and making eyes at Pluto isn't a problem?"


Copyright 2004, Frank Mullen IIII.
Originally published by
Frank Mullen III is Suite101's Baby Boomer Humor Contributing Editor.

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June 24, 2004

Baby Boomer Flow Chart

Sometimes we just roam around the internet looking for things baby boomer. Sometimes we travel to strange places. We found this on a site called, a site of humor ranging from the silly to the sick. I'm betting that webmaster Welds is not a baby boomer.

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June 17, 2004

Internet Recreation

OK, I admit that in the last couple of days, this particular Baby Boomer has been taking a few too many surfing breaks. But this particular site really cracked me up.

If you've heard of the "4-1-9" scams, you know they generally start with a plea for help from someone in Nigeria. An individual or company receives a letter or fax from an alleged "official" representing a foreign government or agency.

Then, an offer is made to transfer millions of dollars in "over invoiced contract" funds into your personal bank account.

And so it starts.

This enterprising Internet athlete has made a sport out of baiting the scammers... and has a trophy room to prove it.

You owe it to yourself to take a look at 419 Eater

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April 13, 2004

Bush, The American Idol Wannabe

Is there no depth to which George Jr will not sink? Millions of fans tuned in to see the latest installment of American Idol tonight but instead got one sour note called George Bush. Oh those crazy Republicans!

Yes I'm a self-absorbed, social security hogging, out-of-touch fat old man who hasn't had a political thought in over a decade. But when Bush pre-empts American Idol, I get hoppin' mad! I hope he has an unfortunate wardrobe accident and the FCC punches his bullshit ticket and makes him cough up the millions it would take to actually buy this political advertising.

Better yet, why can't we have "American Political Idol"? In this suspense-filled competition, three judges would pick the candidates who sing and dance their way to the White House... oops, I guess that sounds a little too much like the current political process. Maybe instead of having the public vote, we can just turn the decision over to the judges... oops, sounds a little like the way it worked out last time.

Can we at least make the candidates eat handfuls of live mosquito larvae while dangling upside down from a helicopter? Sure would be better than what we have.

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March 22, 2004

More Boomer Humor

Frank Mullen dares to speak what we only think.

The Flip-side of Forever


Frank Mullen III

To: St. Peter

From: Director of Internal Investigation

Re: Problems in Rock 'n Roll Heaven

Dear Sir,

As I sit here in the front row of the auditorium, it is difficult to remember how peaceful Rock 'n Roll Heaven was when it was first created as an abode for Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper following their fatal plane crash in 1959. After a brief period of shared billing, these three artists became involved in a battle for the spotlight. As a consequence, Buddy has been on stage, singing 'Peggy Sue' in those geeky horn-rimmed glasses for close to half a century now, while simultaneously, the Big Bopper is droning his way through 'Chantilly Lace.' Time has not mellowed the effect of 'Ooh, Baby, you knoooww what I like!' On the rare occasion that either of them takes a short break, the lights come up on Richie Valens, who dives headfirst into 'Ba-da,-ba-da, La Bamba.' You'd think that after all this time, he'd learn the words. Woodstock was more organized than this.

From its inception, it was never clear whether Rock 'n Roll Heaven was intended as a private club for the original residents, or whether membership was open to every three-chord guitar player who died in an airplane accident. Aircraft of the early '60s tended to get where they were going, so the issue never came up. But in 1967, Otis Redding died in an air crash, forcing the admissions committee to address entrance requirements.

Two camps emerged. The Emotionalists, who couldn't tell blues from bubble gum, cared less about the mode of a performer's death than the quantity of tears shed by inconsolable fans. In opposition, the Purists decried the corruption of rhythm and blues into the caterwauling of bouffant-headed girl-groups and adolescent beach bums, and they became entrenched in their insistence on tragic death by aerial misfortune.

Eventually, a touching moment occurred that is still remembered by those who were there. When debate reached the heights of acrimony and personal slander, someone put Otis Reddingís 'Try A Little Tenderness' on the turntable. By the time the rhythm section kicked in, tears were flowing, everybody was hugging each other, and an agreement was reached: artistry and grief would be the primary consideration for admission, but special preference would be given to those who suffered aeronautical demise. Otis was welcomed, and in 1973, after another fatal crash, Jim Croce was admitted, despite 'Time In A Bottle.'

But compromise endures no longer in Eternity than it does in less permanent climes. The Emotionalists became particularly unhappy with this system of special preference for airplane death that gave Ricky Nelson the keys to the kingdom, but left John Lennon waiting on standby. It was no comfort to them to hear the Purists insist, 'A plane crash is a plane crash.'

Which is exactly what Dino Martin said in 1987. He demanded entry, and the committee was once again at war. Both sides agreed that Dino, Desi and Billyís contributions to rock 'n roll could fit in a Pez dispenser, but Dino's death had overtones of nobility--he had become an Air National Guard pilot, and had gone down with his jet. The Purists were swept up in a patriotic fever, while the Emotionalists uncharacteristically responded by playing the No-talent Card.

After bitter infighting, the committee decided that Martinís would be the last case of aeronautical demise to make the cut. Death by airplane crash would henceforth become a cause of complete disqualification from entrance to Rock 'n Roll Heaven.

Immediately, Marvin Gaye appealed his earlier rejection. His 1984 death had been singularly tragic--on the day before his birthday, his father had shot him. Clearly, most families would have simply jumped out from behind the furniture and yelled 'Surprise!'

Gaye was admitted, and his success threw open the floodgates to scores of big names who had earlier been turned down. Every Jimi, Janis and Elvis got the star treatment, and it was Standing Room Only in the aisles of Rock 'n Roll Heaven. Then, the unforseen occurred: the British Invasion.

The virtual elimination of admissions standards allowed entrance to any lisping Brit with flyaway hair, dental problems and a hit record. In addition to Beatles, Rock 'n Roll Heaven is now crawling with Yardbirds, Who's and Rolling Stones. Speaking of which, is Mick Jagger dead yet? I saw him on Letterman last night, and I didn't think he'd make it through the last commercial.

The result of this immigration has not been celestial harmony, and there is not likely to be a reunion of deceased Beatles anytime soon. George Harrison is still not speaking to John Lennon, but then, Lennon is rarely seen anymore. With a cluelessness that eluded him in life, he roams the heavenly byways, smiling beatifically at Angels and Archangels alike, blessing them and suggesting that they 'give peace a chance.

The backstage area is now crawling with suicides, heart attacks and idiots who forgot to use the turn signal. The clumsiest of oafs merits a Passport to Immortality--everyone is aware that Sonny Bono is here not because he can sing, but because he can't ski.

The complete debasement of this once-placid Land Of Rest is experienced when one steps into the Ladies' Lunchroom, where the lowest, crudest aspects of Rock 'n Roll Heaven are on display. The visitor finds himself thrust into a raging food-fight among Shirelles, Supremes and Shangri-las; Mama Cass stomps from table to table, scarfing down everybodyís else's chow--the babe is big--while Janis tosses f-words like hand grenades into the melee. Poor Karen Carpenter is down to about eleven pounds now, crying because the Singing Nun won't stop with the French vibrato . She has a point--eventually, 'Domanica, nica, nica' is no better than 'Ba-da, ba-da, La Bamba.' /P>

Rock 'n Roll Heaven is bursting at the seams of its sequined jumpsuit, and standards for residency need to be established, and quickly. It is no secret that Neil Sedaka is turning sixty-five and could walk in at any time, sit down at the piano and start whining 'Come-a come-a down, dooby-doo, down, down' with that Gomer Pyle smirk on his face. Neither is Petula Clark getting any younger--the thought of the two of them alternating sets is not causing Peace in the Valley.

I could provide further details, but it is becoming impossible to concentrate. Jimi has begun the opening riff to 'Purple Haze,' David Seville is tinkering with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder, trying to recreate his famous Chipmunks sound, and Jim Morrison, Dennis Wilson and Elvis are arguing over whether it is more heart-wrenching to drown in a bathtub, a marina, or a pool of your own vomit.

Sir, something has to be done. I know it won't be easy, but if anyone is thinking of simply reviving the idea of special preferences for airplane crashes, I have two words of warning:

John Denver

Copyright 2003, Frank Mullen III. Originally published by
Frank Mullen III is Suite101's Baby Boomer Humor Contributing Editor.

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March 2, 2004

An Open Letter from Barbie'm like sooooo tired of all the silly publicity about my breakup with Ken! I mean we've been going steady for like, 40-something years and this man gags when anyone mentions the 'M' word. I'm not getting any younger, you know! I mean like what more could he want? I've succeeded at every career in the book, have a wardrobe to die for, I'm still like totally hot and what?

Personally, (and I read about this in Cosmo) I think he's just a big stupid baby in a totally buff bod. Oh sure, he looks good, but does he ever want to talk about my feelings? Nooooooooo. Does he really want anything except some on-call booty? I don't thiiiink so.

So, all the stupid Mattel people can say we'll still be friends and that we've, ya know, grown apart. But I say...whaaaatever. Frankly, I was probably much too young when I met him to know any better. What kind of guy spends more energy on his wardrobe than he does on his girlfriend?! Cali thinks Ken is a metrosexual, whatever that is. I think he's just all about Ken.

So Ken--if you read this--thanks for the memories but how long can a girl's wardrobe include everything but a wedding gown? I've got a new policy now: no ring, no booty.

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February 29, 2004

Are Boomers Still Cool?

Australia seems to be as baby boomer-obsessed as the United States when it comes to analyzing our generation's impact on...well...everything. Found this article in the Sydney Morning Herald online.

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February 20, 2004

New Boomer Humor

We're happy to introduce a new occasional contributor. Frank Mullen (confirmed, card carrying Baby Boomer) commented once, so we promptly went and looked at his site. Yup--he's funny.

End of an Era
Frank Mullen III

The subject of my military service constantly comes up at the coffee shop. Only when it's relevant, of course.

"I see you put sugar in your coffee," I'll say, thereby establishing relevance. "We enlisted men learned to do without sugar back during Vietnam."

Not being a close observer of the subtle difference between the phrases 'during Vietnam' and 'in Vietnam,' you are likely to respond, "Army? Marines?"

"Navy," I say, "and I could tell you some stories." Then, with a faraway look, "But I don't like to talk about it."

I have flashed my warrior credentials and slipped them back in my vest pocket so smoothly that you are left with the impression that the memories of my time in the service are painful.They're not painful; they're boring. I was a stateside Navy musician. What memoirs do I have to offer?

"There I was, trapped in the middle of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; trombones ahead of me, alto saxophones behind, the spectators pelting us with a hellish rain of cheers and tickertape. Suddenly, the drum major gave the signal for 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing.' I put my lips to the mouthpiece of the tuba..."

Please understand that I have never claimed the status of 'Vietnam veteran.' That is a title of honor, reserved for those who were there.

But what about those of us who answered the call in other places? The mess cook working an eighteen-hour shift, the drill instructor on overnight march with his recruits, the musician moonlighting with Danny Kellerman's Dixieland Kings during happy hour at the officer's club five nights a week, cash under the table and free drinks--did we not also serve?

Indeed we did. I have long called myself a veteran, not of the Vietnam war, but of the Vietnam era.

At least I did until last Tuesday night, when I was cleaning the basement and came across a box of my old medals.

My Good Conduct award. They gave me three of them, that's how good I was.

My Navy Achievement medal, one of the highest awards you can get without being shot at.
An "E" ribbon with a star, representing two awards. Empathy? Esperanto? I never knew what I did to earn these, but I must have done it twice.

But no National Defense medal. This was the all-important award that identified the wearer as a Vietnam-era veteran. You didn't need to have been in Vietnam to get it; it simply signified military service anywhere, at any time between 1961 and 1974, so everybody got one.

Everybody but me. I enlisted in 1974, but somehow that medal was never awarded to me. A slip-up? Lost paperwork? I never knew. For my first four years of service I wore no ribbons or medals at all, which my Leading Petty Officer, Doug Blovall, could never understand.

"Why arenít you wearing ribbons, Mullen?"
"I don't have them."
"Go get them."
"Can I just go 'get' awards? Don't they have to be, shall we say, 'awarded'? "
"Well, you joined in '74, right? Where's your National Defense ribbon?"
"Beats me."
"Don't be so smart--go over to the uniform shop and order one."
"You mean I can 'order' a medal, like a taco or a Budweiser? In that case, I'll take two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star, to go."

The gay repartee ended only when I eventually received a Good Conduct award. At last I had a medal to make Blovall happy, and I forgot that my wartime experience had never been officially recognized.

Recognized or not, I have always tried to use my military experience for the public good. Every few years a war pops up, and the citizenry looks for knowledgeable veterans to put things in perspective. That's where I step in, analyzing strategy and tactics, telling everyone in the coffee shop what the generals should be doing.

After all, I'm a Vietnam-era veteran and, boy, I could tell you some stories.

So, there I was last Tuesday night, deciding it's about time I found out about the decoration I'd never received. I visited the Navy's website, clicked on 'medals and ribbons' and learned an astounding fact: the words 'National Defense' and 'Frank Mullen' cannot be used in the same sentence.

The mass giveaway of the National Defense award ended, along with the Vietnam-era, on August 14, 1974. I, however, didn't enlist until the following November.

By this reckoning, I wasn't in the Navy during what we loosely refer to as 'Vietnam;' I was in what we loosely refer to as 'college.' Apparently, they didn't give medals to guys who spent the war riding stolen cafeteria trays down the hill in the snow behind the library while waving jugs of Gallo and screaming, "I'm druuuunk!"

This has been a week of humiliation. It is as though I've been walking around in a tee-shirt that says, "What if they ended a war, and then Frank showed up--would he notice?"

But, life goes on. We do what we can, not to attain glory, but to serve; always to serve. If you think I'm going to stop offering my expertise where it is needed, let me tell you this, loud and clear:

We Grenada-era veterans aren't quitters.

You don't remember the Grenada Invasion? 1983? Maybe the campaign in that Caribbean hell-hole didn't drag out as long as Vietnam, but it was a weekend I'll never forget.

Did I see action? Not with the first assault wave--I was needed elsewhere, and I could tell you some stories.

But I don't like to talk about it.

Copyright 2003, Frank Mullen III. Originally published by
Frank Mullen III is Suite101's Baby Boomer Humor Contributing Editor.

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October 16, 2003

Skyhigh Airlines

For us Baby Boomers out there lucky enough to have experienced the horror of air travel, here's a disturbingly funny parody of a typical airline website.

Make sure you check out the new "Challenge Seating" and don't miss the "Super Scrimper Fares."

By linking to this site, we're obviously playing along with a marketing manager's dream come true - the site is produced by Alaska Airlines. Perhaps with a fictional airline like Skyhigh, Alaska Airlines doesn't look so bad. Whatever the evil intent, this site is downright hilarious and worth a look

Skyhigh Airlines

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August 18, 2003

Ticking Away The Moments

© 2003 Dan Sherman

Pink Floyd's Album, "Dark Side of the Moon" turned thirty this year. This means the album that formed the soundtrack to my high school years is older than all the Backstreet Boys combined.

To celebrate the event, EMI/Capitol has produced a new version in 5.1 channel surround sound, which, according to a news report on MSNBC, not only adds a three dimensional depth to the recording, but creates yet another reason to soak us for a $20 CD.

It's like laugh tracks: The entertainment business is always creating something for you that you once supplied yourself. My version of "Dark Side" was on a hissy old eight-track tape, and if it lacked three dimensions, my mind was happy to supply them.

Still, eight track players had an unusual quirk: the song would fade out as the machine got ready to switch to another track. So I'd be listening to the song "Time": a"Ticking away, the moments that make up the dull"... SILENCE. WHIRRING NOISE. I'd go to summer camp, come back and hear the rest of the song.

When it came out, "Dark Side" was unlike any Led Zep or Who album that anchored my eight-track collection. It magically combined a whole musicalâs worth of elements: gut-wrenching scat singing, gritty sax solos, bizarre sound effects and more goofy cockney accents than a Monty Python sketch.

The most amazing thing about "Dark Side" is that it was written and conceived in the studio in 1973, many moons BEFORE a kid in grade school could easily afford a fully equipped digital sound studio that fits in his lunchbox.

This was the age of dinosaur-sized reel-to-reel tape machines, and to create the cacophony of clocks in the song, "Time," or the coins and cash registers of "Money," the band had to splice together a mile of recording tape which looped around the studio. This explains the original name of the album, "I've Got Bloody Scotch Tape All Over My Body!"

The producer hired by EMI to do the surround sound remix, James Guthrie, admitted the difficulty of remaking history. "The record really lends itself to a three dimensional treatment," he said, "But everyone knows the original mix so well it's indelibly printed in our minds."

That's like saying New Yorkers 'put up' with the Yankees. "Dark Side" wasn't PRINTED on anything, it was actually ENCODED into the DNA of every teen living in Maplewood, N.J.

There were two worlds I lived in back in high school. One was the two-dimensional world of trying to pick up girls at the roller rink without crashing into the wall, making tie-dye shirts in the laundry room and turning everyone's clothes purple, raiding the liquor cabinet by taking a half-inch out of each bottle and wrecking the family car.

The other, more surreal world was upstairs in my third floor converted attic which was Maplewoodâ's equivalent of Rick's Bar in Casablanca, where a motley assortment of smugglers and con men in varsity jackets gathered to listen to "Dark Side" as it pulsed from speaker to speaker.

With our minds and lungs set on "in" and the attic exhaust fan firmly set on "out," we followed the pied pipers of Pink Floyd and floated out over the Suburban lawns like children floating away with Peter Pan.

And when Pink Floyd came to town for a concert in Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, we made the holy pilgrimage to watch them perform "Dark Side." We were mesmerized by the gigantic video screen behind them showing the clocks of "Time" melting like Dali's images·or maybe, our brains supplied the melting.

Pink Floyd's "Dark Side" provided the escape from everything that was Suburbia, back when I firmly believed that I could NEVER trust anyone over 30.

Now the album itself is over 30, a reminder as subtle as a kidney stone that time has a way of slipping by. As the song "Time" said, "And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun."

Thirty years gone. But the memories of an eight-track player, a drink made with peppermint schnapps called a "snowshoe" and a gang of lunatics in the attic is as fresh as yesterday.

Dan Sherman is a Reno, NV-based writer. Email him at

The anniversary album has its own website, Flash and all.

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July 23, 2003

The Thrill of it All

© 2003 Dan Sherman

I used to think that people who jumped from perfectly good airplanes with a flimsy sheet of nylon over their heads for the fun of it were the chief poster children for Lost A Screw Awareness Week.

Now I read that people are jumping from perfectly good office buildings, even without Spielberg below directing a disaster movie.

According to the Associated Press, skydivers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia jumped off the world's tallest building, a height of 1,483 feet, to see whose family would be the first to declare them legally insane.

Keep reading "The Thrill of it All" >>

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July 10, 2003

The King and I: A Story "That's All Right"

I'm all shook up about reporting two Elvis sightings. Well, not really Elvis himself, more like two Presleys.

The first sighting came when I switched on Larry King interviewing Priscilla Presley about her new book called "Elvis and Me." The book reveals how young Pricilla was when the King got stuck on her. In fact, he picked her out of a maternity ward line up.

The next morning I read about his daughter, Lisa Marie, and her new album, which has the same title as her self-help book, coauthored with Elizabeth Taylor, called, "The One Minute Marriage."

Seriously, it's called "Lights Out." The L.A. Times raved, "Presley's gutsy, blue-edged voice has a distinctive flair, and her lyrics on the song feature a memorable image about going through life under the weight of the Elvis Presley legacy."

Oh, please. The King's been dead over 20 years and we're STILL giggling about his weight?

I have nothing against Priscilla and Lisa Marie. But in terms of Presley sightings, once you've had Blue Suede Shoes, you can't substitute with L.A. Gear.

My first sighting was a life changing experience. It was 1968 and I was with my father, mother and brother in the basement of our home in Maplewood, N.J. I was 12, sitting with my mouth open, eyes glued to the television, astounded at the wonder of Elvis wriggling in a black leather suit on a square stage.

He was surrounded by a mob of women who were shaking and sobbing, their arms raised to the sky as if possessed by the devil, and hurling pink undies.

I had been studying piano since age eight, and would have preferred being outside hitting baseballs than hitting the right notes. But from then on I didn't mind practicing, and I begged my teacher to show me rock so I could learn all of Elvis's songs.

At 16 I got to personally appear in a musical with Elvis, or at least with my friend Pat Hardy pretending to be the King. Pat cut a dashing figure with his square jaw, broad shoulders and his pecs popping out of his yellow "Elvis jumpsuit" which had a V down to his navel. This was the musical "Bye Bye Birdie," a show about Elvis going off to fight communism in the beer halls of Germany.

I played Albert Peterson, his manager. My big number was "Grey skies are going to clear up, put on a happy face!" which I sang with enthusiasm making up for the fact that my previous singing engagements had been in the shower at 20 Kendal Ave.

In high school when we wrestlers met after class at the seedy, bluesy pool parlor we created in Pat's parent's suburban basement, the record player would be playing, "Don't be cruel to a heart that's true."

After pool we would go upstairs where there was a piano, and I would bang out a few Elvis tunes, like, "Oh baby let me be your loving teddy bear." My friends hurled the equivalent of the ladies' pink undies, namely dirty jockstraps.

Elvis kept me from going to the poorhouse in England when I was 23 and playing house with a girlfriend. One night while I was out buying her cigarettes, 'cause there's a fool such as I, I lost my wallet with all my money.

The next morning I made a list of all the Elvis songs I knew how to play on the piano, like Love Me Tender, Blue Christmas and Little Sister. Then I rode my bike all around our seaside town of Bournemouth, found a pub called the Beaufort Bars, and got an audition.

It turned out that in England, Elvis was bigger than the dole, and the bar booked me a few nights a week. The patrons loved the Elvis tunes, and would treat me nice with big glasses of brown rocket fuel called Guinness.

So, Elvis has always been special to me, and when he died, that's when my heartaches began. I think I'll play some Elvis and listen to him tell his girl she ain't nuthin but a hound dog.

We've got two Presleys now -- but without the REAL Presley around, it's another day in Heartbreak Hotel.

Dan Sherman is a nationally syndicated columnist. His website is

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July 1, 2003

Reader's Choice: The Bug by an Antenna

© Dan Sherman

I asked readers to submit stories about their favorite cars from their youth, and the car mentioned most was the Volkswagen Beetle, or 'bug.' In terms of all-time favorite German inventions, male readers ranked it just ahead of bratwurst, and just below Heidi Klum.

"My favorite car remains my 1968 VW bug which I owned for 21 years," writes Eddie Dell of Reno. "It could be fixed with duct tape and string and although I gave it up for dead many times, it always came goose-stepping back.

Once, when the accelerator cable broke in the Rockies during a blizzard, I reached under the car with a pair of needle-nosed vice grips and grabbed the wire, threading it through the floorboard. Then I propped up the vice grips with the handle of a broken screwdriver as a fulcrum and had a temporary accelerator pedal. It was temporary all right -- I drove it like that for about a year.

And when the heat gave up, I used candles on the dashboard as a defrost for two winters."

"My favorite car growing up in Ohio was my 1959 Volkswagen," says John Quinn of Santa Rosa, "in which you could, with your 1966 sawbuck (that's $10 for you Justin Timberlake fans) fill up the tank, go to the movies, and buy your girl a pizza and still have change. It was good in the winter unless it fell below 10 degrees in which case it would warm up only if you brought it into the living room."

Bugs were the first SUVs. "I used to borrow my parents' '69 VW Beetle and tool around the back roads of Pleasanton and Livermore, Calif. where I grew up," said Brian Crane, Sparks resident and Pickles author. " It didn't have a lot of power or 4-wheel drive, but it had a first gear that wouldn't quit and I took it through some pretty rough country."

Readers recalled muscle cars fondly. "We girls grew up wanting our cars to be bad, like our boyfriends," says columnist Adair Lara of San Francisco. "My first car was a souped-up pale yellow '66 Mustang convertible that I found at a used-car dealership in San Rafael when I was 19.

When I got behind the wheel of that car and headed down Fourth Street, for the first time I felt like a blonde, though I had been one for years. When the car conked out after five blocks, I was obscurely satisfied, as if that's what you got with a Bad Car: it was occasionally unavailable."

Clunkers were big favorites. "My favorite car was my father's Ford Galaxy 500," writes S. Jody Hyatt of Reno. "It was an enormous car with a huge engine. When you turned that sucker on, it had a distinctive powerful sound that you never hear today. I drove that car until the floor boards rusted and fell out."

Clunkers made great getaway cars, too. "I drove $50 junkers that had to be parked on hills, because they never fired up when you turned the key," writes Jo Beck of Missouri.

"Luckily, it was hilly almost everywhere within a fifty-mile radius of our farm, and we lived on a steep hill. When we parked the car, we put it at the top of the lane with a block of wood under the front tire so it wouldn't roll away.

This was a handy thing at night because it was a wonderfully silent escape. After Mom went to bed, we'd sneak out and tiptoe to the top of the hill, kick the block out, give the car a shove and coast to the bottom of the lane.

At the bottom of the hill, we'd let out the clutch and roar off in a great glorious cloud of dust and Marty Robbins music. There is something about that feeling -- having made a successful escape -- that is hard to match at any age, but teenagers seem to enjoy it the most. I know I did."

A clunker - German or Detroit. Freedom. And being young. With those three things you were king of the world.

Dan Sherman is a nationally syndicated columnist. His website is

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June 8, 2003

If I Had a Hammer--I'd Probably Trade It in for a Blow Dryer

Without yet having seen the movie, A Mighty Wind, I've had folk music on my mind these days. My Limewire hours are spent searching for Peter, Paul, and Mary; Tom Rush; acoustic Bob Dylan; Ian & Sylvia. I don't know for sure what brought this folkie thing on, but it coincides with an unusually stressful time---when the demands of being a mother are being outweighed by the demands of being a daughter. When I sit down to listen to music, I want to know "Where Have all the Flowers Gone," not "Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again?" The harmonies are complex and soothing, the lyrics straightforward.

I was watching a PBS special on folk music the other night and the audience snagged my attention. A few thousand overweight, balding, wrinkling, myopic, and grey haired old people. People just like me. They had one thing in common--a look of deeply wistful longing. Are our lives so complicated, so overwrought that the sixties look simple? Do we long for a time when we had causes beyond our bankbooks and college funds? Back when we thought that singing against war could actually end war. I remember when difficult decisions were whether to go to music festivals with or without pot. Whether to study for a final or march on Washington.

The folk music of our day was technically a folk revival---folk music brought to the masses and the media. Folk music always had tragic tales, injustice, and unhappy endings, along with the foot-stomping stuff. It was a way to process the world and spread the word. The best of it was passed down through generations, with permutations of lyrics and melodies. Today, the story of Barbara Allen is just as sad as it was generations ago.

What I keep hearing in folk music is sweetness, a gentle idealism, our troubles sung in harmonies and picked out on stringed instruments. Music has always had the power to inspire and to sustain the human spirit. And a music of the people spans different views and experiences to hit, literally, the common chord.

So, what are we wistful for? Idealism, community, or having the energy to worry about somebody else's troubles? Or is it just for our slender waistlines and long hair? All I know is that as I watched every single middle-aged person in that PBS audience sing along with the Kingston Trio, I was singing with them.

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June 5, 2003

Japanese Cars Are All Work, Work, Work

© Dan Sherman

In my gym's parking lot the other day I saw a classic '56 turquoise T Bird that looked like the model from the movie American Graffiti.

On closer inspection, the Thunderbird was a remake. It had the same round window in the rear, the same toothy grille, the same low-slung roadster look. But the four cup holders gave it away. In American Graffiti days we were happy holding a brew in one hand, smoking a cigarette with the other and steering with our knees.

At least they kept the name Thunderbird. I love the name because it combines what I want out of a car: Thunder -- or Power, and bird -- or Freedom. I want my car to make me a combination of Superman and Dion's The Wanderer. That's not much to ask, is it?

Cars used to have exciting names, because when as teens when we finally learned to drive we became animals behind the wheel. We drove Mustangs, Roadrunners, Impalas, Wildcats, Cheetahs, Lions, Tigers and Bears. Oh my! We were mild-mannered Algebra students by day, and hormone-raging beasts at night.

The names not only described how fast we drove in those 25 mph school zones (ha!), it described the overriding purpose of our cars. Telling a pretty blonde cheerleader you were going to pick her up in your Cougar gave her a small hint of the mauling that was on your mind.

So, what does a red-blooded American boy get to drive now? He gets a Cayenne, Kahunna, Triant, Touareg, Navicross, and OLV.

If the Beach Boys sang, "She'll have fun, fun, fun 'til her daddy takes her Touareg away," they'd still be playing pool parties in Manhattan Beach.

I don't recall the names of all my cars, I've been through so many. However, I do remember the first one. Like a first love, it's my sentimental, all-time favorite.

It was a hot rod, a red Ford Fairlane with a 428 Cobrajet engine, one of the fastest production cars ever made! It would go an astounding, whiplash-producing 3 mph when my pals and I pushed it to the gas station for repair, which was 99% of the time.

I then had a succession of cranky old Fords and Chevys that came with jumper cables as standard equipment and were always missing the perks, like heat, which would have been nice during New Jersey's artic winters.

One car was a white Ford station wagon I bought for $100. I had my sister sew up purple curtains for the back as if it were some kind of lusty, hippie van. I equipped it with an FM converter I hooked up under the AM radio, which was supposed to give me Black Sabbath songs, but the most I ever got out of it was a band called White Noise.

Still, the nice thing about the American cars was that when I opened the hood, I saw an engine I recognized. I had one major tool in my arsenal, which all teenage guys in Maplewood, N.J. were required to carry: a pocket comb.

I would jam it into the "butterfly" carburetor, which magically would start the car. Then, as it dripped with grease, I'd use it to comb my hair. It was part of the look.

But then came the Japanese cars, and I traded character for the convenience of a working car with heat that didn't have to be jumped every five miles. I owned a string of efficient but soulless Toyotas. When I looked under the hood it looked more like the Manhattan Project. Any nuclear scientist worth his salt could change the oil.

Today my Japanese car works great, but I'd never "cruise to the hamburger stand" in it. It's never cranky and there's nothing I can putter with without a PhD. I can't use my comb on it. I don't even know if it HAS a carburetor.

Sure, my Lexus may run, run, run. It's just not a T Bird. It's not "Fun, fun, fun."

What was YOUR favorite car from your youth, and why? Write to me c/o Daily Sparks Tribune Editorial Dept., 1002 C St., Sparks, NV 89431, or email I'll print the responses in an upcoming column.

Dan Sherman is a nationally syndicated columnist. His website is

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May 25, 2003

Hey! Are You Advertising to ME?

There is nothing that satisfies my thirst for ridiculous satire more than the film "Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail," unless you count Tom Arnold posing as a sports expert.

I will never forget the wizard named Tim, the holy hand grenade, or the hideous troll who quizzed the knights on their favorite color before he let them pass, and who then went on to success as the role model for DMV test-givers everywhere.

Up until now, I always felt smugly superior to the Monty Python characters.
Sadly, I feel I have become one.

I am referring to the old man being carried out of his home by John Cleese to a wheelbarrow where they are piling plague victims like "American Idol" rejects.

"I'm not dead, yet," says the old man. "Well, you will be soon," replied Cleese. "Really, I feel much better. I don't want to go." "Oh quit whining."

I feel like that old man when I watch television commercials, because advertisers must think I'm dead when I am clearly alive and well. They are now aiming their commercials, not to baby boomers like me, but to the new generation who created a cult following for the TV show "Jackass," in which actors try to prove how appropriate that title is.

If you don't know it, the theme of that show is to try to become organ candidates by taking part in stunts sanctioned only by The Association For Those Missing Brain Parts Needed For Rational Thought.

In appealing to this crowd, advertisers have created "edgy" commercials that are "in your face." As a discerning consumer, the only thing I want in MY face, thank you very much, would be a cold martini, a hot woman, and a winning lottery ticket.

Real examples of "edgy" commercials include one in which a young guy sits at a bar tasting a new beer, and it's a religious experience so life-changing that he screams like a factory whistle. This startles a dart thrower who misses the board and lands one into the butt of someone playing pool. They cut the tape before the pool player takes his cue stick and makes shish kebob with the beer drinker.

Another one, for a truck equipped with the engine from the nuclear carrier Nimitz, shows two guys driving and one guy gets some food stuck in his throat. His caring friend stomps on the gas so the truck hurtles way into the time-space continuum, then hits the brake, causing his friend to dislodge his food on to the windshield. The new truck is called, of course, The Heimlich.

In a third commercial, two guys in snowsuits head toward a small tent on a frozen tundra, where they find their pal frozen solid like a large ice cube, shaking uncontrollably.

Instead of rescuing him, his friends place their chocolate milk into his shaking hands, then they drink up and leave. This demonstrates the current meaning of "being sensitive" among guys who think "fun" equates to riding a skateboard down a 30-foot long handrail and turning themselves in hash on the absorbent concrete.

Well, even though the advertising folks would like to think I'm dead or not watching, I'm still here. And I've got an attitude about the commercials that they clearly ARE aiming at me. Enough with the Geritol, laxatives, heartburn pills and Grecian formula. Why don't they aim ads for jet skis at me? They don't. Just ones for adult diapers.

In a great Carole King song called "Goin' Back", she wrote: "Thinking young and growing older, ain't no sin; I can play the game of life to win." I FEEL young, but I'm not turned on by these edgy commercials. If being a consumer today means being a jackass, I'll stick with my favorite beer, favorite car, and favorite comedy movies

Now here's a soda commercial with the announcer gleefully watching a ski jumper going faster than the bullet train, hurtling through space and splattering on a billboard. Excuse me while I hurl this holy hand grenade into my 27" Samsung.

Dan Sherman is a Reno, NV-based writer. Email him at

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April 23, 2003

Clothes Make the Wrestler...If He's Nuts Enough

© 2003 Dan Sherman

As a baby boomer I was lucky to grow up in a time when we never had
shortages. There was always plenty of food, so much that people would sneak
up to our house at night like evil Tooth Fairies and leave sugary snacks
designed to knock out a few more teeth.

When I was nine I found a sample box of pop tarts hanging from doorknobs of
every house, like apples in the Garden of Eden. I didn't know that one bite
of those sugar lumps and I'd be addicted and banished to Chubby Land

But my parents grew up as Depression babies when there WERE shortages,
and they would save EVERYTHING, so that drawers were bursting with Rosie the Riveter posters, Roosevelt campaign buttons, old Playboy magazines (well, THAT was okay).

Now I understand my folks because we're in the midst of the Great American Fabric Shortage. If you've been to a mall lately, you've see teenage girls wearing shirts designed for Barbie dolls so they have to expose two feet of
flesh. I hope some farmer grows more cotton so we can clothe these semi-naked girls before some harem kidnaps them. But don't hurry. Thanks.

Teenage guys could chip in a few barge-fulls of fabric, because they prowl the mall wearing workout suits into which you could fit the entire U.S.
Congress plus Pavarotti.

They also wear sweatshirts with the hoods up as if they were loitering by
the North Pole location of Video Games 'R' Making You Antisocial Mutants. Is there also a body heat hortage?

I used to wear sweatshirts like that, but I wore the hood up indoors only to lose weight. Here's why.

In high school I got cut from the basketball team, and I was dejected. But my friends were going out for the wrestling team, so I joined them and found myself in a square room with mats lining the walls, the heat set at a balmy 600 degrees.

In the center of the room were guys with flattened donuts on their ears wearing tights and lunging at invisible foes like Peter Pans who had smoked too much pixie dust. I felt out of place and unsure I could ever learn the
moves, let alone look manly in tights.

But the team had the same stringent hiring policy as the Post Office: They'd take anybody! I weighed 165 lbs. so they put me in the 168 lbs. weight class on the JV squad, meaning my opponents had arms twice the size of Godzilla with the same notion that humans were essentially sushi. We did no mat cleaning that year because these monsters used me as a large leotard-clad Hoover.

The next year I went out for the varsity team at 141 lbs. But to do that I had to lose and keep off 25 lbs. BEFORE they invented those websites selling diet pills guaranteeing you can eat a truck full of Snickers and still weigh less than a Kleenex.

So, I would endure a torturous wrestling practice, come home and have a gourmet dinner of air, sprint five miles around the neighborhood, then spend the rest of the night doing jumping jacks in 37 layers of clothing in the
bathroom which I turned into a steam parlor by blasting hot water in the shower. What ABOUT the gas bill, Dad?

I made the varsity team and weighed 141 lbs. for every match, and my friends
called me The Skeleton. But I had fun and DID made extra money by renting myself out as a Halloween decoration.

Looking at these teenage guys in the mall with their hoods up, I wonder if
they are starving themselves like I did. Hard to see because their clothes are so baggy, both Gen X AND Y could be hiding in there.

I walk by them, past the women's stores selling shirts teenier than hydrogen
molecules, munching my sugar-frosted breakfast pastry. I'm on my way to Macys to pick up some more condo-sized Dockers.

They don't call me The Skeleton any more. They just call me chubby.

Dan Sherman is a Reno, NV-based writer. Email him at

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March 31, 2003

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, So What!

© 2003 Dan Sherman

I was sitting in a bar watching men and women mate as easily as they might sprint through wet concrete. Actually, there was no mating going on.

The women were in packs in heated discussions about leg waxing. The men were wishing they could mute them with a remote so they could get in a clever zinger.

But men speak as slow as DMV lines move, so to get a word in, men would have to talk like announcers at the end of car commercials reading what sounds like the Magna Charta in five seconds flat.

But I was content because there was a good college basketball game on television starring convicted felons with arms thicker than redwoods and decorated with enough blue ink to dye the GAP's jean output for a decade.

I sipped my beer, and when I looked up a hair plug commercial was on. When this happens at home I hit the remote so hard I've had to attach several new thumbs.

But now I had to watch pictures of me: On the left, I'm a cue ball; on the right, I have more hair than a wildebeest. Then there's the dweeb emerging delirious from a swimming pool as if all 12 Playmates of the Month had been under the water using his body like a board game.

I'm not swayed by these commercials because I feel my head is half full, not half empty. And I don't WANT new hair, because I have a relationship with my hair as long-standing as Batman and Robin.

When I was in Junior high, straight hair was in, and my waves seemed as desirable as mattress springs on my head. So, I had to straighten it with a "hot comb," a device similar to Chernobyl attached to a garden hoe that gently raised the surface temperature of my scalp to that of the sun.

In high school, wavy hair was cool. But I was cutting 25 lbs. to reach my wrestling weight class, and one day at a weigh-in I was a few ounces over 141 lbs.

Out came the shears, and my wacky coach -- who had the fashion sense of Boris Karloff -- gave me a new "escaped mental patient" hairdo on the spot which helped me make weight, but caused pretty girls to call SWAT teams when I strayed within two miles of them.

In the seventies, Afros for Jewish guys were finally "in." I grew my hair long, and used one of those metal Afro picks. After a heavy night of recreational "studying," however, I would usually space out and stick it in my back pocket leaving a row of ten small holes in my rear.

After college, I wrote ad copy by day while at night I played in a band. One night I got my hair cut at a new wave salon where they played loud punk and the white wine flowed in greater quantities than the conditioner.

My hairdresser (Elvira) suggested I color my hair and make a strong statement that I was helpless in the hands of a well-endowed woman getting me tipsy while twirling a razor sharp scissors. I was defiant. Then I picked blue.

I had to have a portion of my hair bleached first, which meant I sat under a nuclear-powered heat lamp with tin foil on my head like a toasted Martian receiving instructions from home. The blue hair was great. Till it faded and turned green so that I really DID look like a Martian.

But back to the bar: Around me I saw guys who shaved their hair off, thinking that since women adored Captain Picard of Star Trek, they would try baldness. But Picard also had a very cool spaceship to impress the girls. And they don't sell those down at Toyota.

I don't think guys trying to meet women need weaves or Picard's starship.
What they really need is confidence. If they don't have it, then they need a magical remote, speed talking instructional tapes, or, a line they can say faster than a hair commercial can make you feel like a cue ball.

Dan Sherman is a Reno, NV-based writer. Read all of his columns at Email him at

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March 21, 2003

My Misspent Youth Playing Games in the Rain

© 2003 Dan Sherman

Into every man's life comes a transitional time when you shift from being
your father's son to your own man, meaning you are supposed to be decent,
upstanding and capable of changing a light switch without plunging the
county into darkness.

That time recently came for me when I traveled to New Jersey to attend the
funeral of my father, a son of Russian immigrants who climbed the corporate
ladder of a pharmaceutical company on hard work, hard liquor-fueled dinner
parties, and a firm belief in the American Motto of, "Take two of these and
mortgage your house when you get the doctor bill."

After the funeral, I felt the need to revisit my boyhood hangouts and
reconnect with a time when my biggest decision was whether to chug my
Budweiser from cans or bottles. So I called up an old buddy, Robert, and
together the two of us, with less hair on top and more insulation around the
middle, took a trip down memory lane.

We landed in Maplewood N.J. at a place called Orchard Park. We stood like
two misty ghosts, bowed and beaten knights from King Arthur's Court n'
Drive-in, as we surveyed the shelter house. That roof kept us dry during
torrential summer showers as we grossly inflated the profits of
Anheiser-Busch. It was still painted the same mucous-like green, a color
unknown in the natural world.

There were the tennis courts where I played hapless Bozo to Robert's Pete
Sampras on crisp fall Saturday mornings, and the basketball hoops where
endless afternoon games were played and where elbowing, choking and eye
gouging were required moves.

There was the field, a stretch of mud, crab grass, sharp stones and bits of
broken Jack Daniels bottles that to us seemed as manicured as Augusta

Through a chilly drizzle, we could almost see our high school rag-tag forms
and a dozen friends playing "Crazy Football" -- a variation on tag football
where no matter who had the ball or where you were on the field, you could
pass in any direction to a teammate. This resulted in marathon games that
blended the kindness of a rugby match with the seriousness of a "Three
Stooges" movie.

As I think now about those wild games, the laughter, the tears, the broken
clavicles, the Yoo-Hoos and ring dings at the corner store afterwards where
we tried not to bleed on the Archie comics, I can't help but wonder at an
article in the San Francisco Chronicle drooling over the new "role playing"
online video games.

It seems that the favored way of enjoying sports with fellow playmates now
is through something called an X Box, where you interact via a video screen
while screaming into a Gap employee headset. Games like "Rip His Lungs Out
2000" and "Carve Out His Guts With A Rusty Machete" allow you to reduce your pals to digital dust without potentially getting a GOOD GRACIOUS! grass stain on your Calvins, or HORRORS! an elbow in the gut.

But, gee, the article says that it is fun AND cheap! "Assuming you have a
broadband line such as DSL for the Xbox," gushes the article, "the cost of
playing video basketball with your friends in Iceland is under $50." Friends
in Iceland? Pardon moi? (translation: You're from which planet?) I played
games with kids I could kick and dismember IN PERSON while feeling their
playful knees crunching my skull in joyful camaraderie.

Dylan must have been predicting the Xbox when he warbled, "The times they
are a-changing." For better or worse, though, only as individuals -- with
our crippled knees and inoperable shoulders -- can we really judge.

For me, I'll happily take the sprains, the aches, the dashing with a slimy
football in spring showers, the mud in your eyes and, yes, the close
friendships, that playing games with real protein-based life forms brought -
things my father's long days of peddling little pills made it possible for
me to enjoy.

Dan Sherman is a Reno, NV-based writer. Read all of his columns at Email him at

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March 12, 2003

Rolling Rock, Wherefore Art Thou, Rolling Rock?

© 2003 Dan Sherman

Whenever a man has an important task to do, something his wife or girlfriend
knows instinctively is CRUCIAL to the fate of the known universe, like
scouring the shower walls, it always seems that there is time for just one
more beer.

This reflex encoded in every man's DNA, known to scientists by its technical
term, "Chore Avoidance Response," can be seen in all men, regardless of
their TV size, blonde or brunette preference or NFL team they'd gladly give
a kidney for. Here's a classified NASA transcript as proof:

ED ALDRIN: Neil, how about another beer?
NEIL ARMSTRONG: Well, I AM scheduled to step on the moon now, but.what the
hey! Mmmmm. That's one small buzz for man!
ED ALDRIN: What minute! I'M Buzz!

Men love beer, maybe not as much as they love Heidi Klum, but their affair
with the suds makes Romeo and Juliet look as love struck as the 49ers and
the Cowboys.

To get some idea, watch Norm, the typical postman on "Cheers" who, just like
real life, never delivers any mail. You'll see a guy in love, giving his
frosty draft loving stares typically reserved for "Baywatch" actresses with
self-contained life preservers. You get the feeling that he relates better
to that beer than to anything animal, mineral, or vegetable because men do
NOT give that look to lima beans.and sometimes not even to their own wives.

Four out of five sociologists agree: The beer affair is the most significant
relationship a man has in his life, besides scratching his crotch. (The
fifth sociologist watches Oprah.)

Now ladies, holster those curling irons you have pointed at my classified
area, and take this quick test: How long have you known your man? OK, now,
how long has he been drinking beer? Makes you want to surprise him in a
Heineken costume tonight, doesn't it?

Simply put, beer has been in our lives forever, and has played a starring
role at key moments in our evolution from jabbering, drooling infants to
jabbering, drooling baboons. Take me, for instance, your typical, suave
"Planet of the Apes" extra.

Like many relationships, my beer affair started out like Tyson and
Hollyfield. As a 5-year-old, I wandered over to a group of men at a barbecue
who were gathered reverently around a garbage pail full of beer and ice like
Incas around a ceremonial altar. I asked for a beer, and discovered it
tasted very little like chocolate milk so I spit it out. I was tortured and
placed on the altar for sacrifice.

But like felons to Raiders games and pathological liars to Congress, I was
drawn to beer. The relationship took hold in high school when we'd go to the
supermarket on Friday nights with realistic IDs saying we were AARP-eligible
and get a six of Bud each to take to the park. Then, tastefully drenched in
eau d' brewery, we'd stagger to the high school dance and yahoo like cowboys
at a rodeo before barfing and bedding down in the bushes.

In college, our beer relationship gelled like dirty Fruit of the Looms to
the floor. On the first night of freshman year we sat in my dorm room, guys
new to each other and to Boston, nothing in common except for a magical
potion, beer, that would form the crux of our lives when we weren't studying
how to trick the pinball machine into giving free games.

That first night we tramped down to the "packy" (Boston-speak for "package
store") bought our beer, and now as sophisticated college men, danced in the
hallway to "Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting" like crazed hyenas
BEFORE we barfed and passed out.

Maybe if women had their OWN drink they'd understand, some concoction they
guzzled like men have guzzled beer since they lusted after their first
Corvette. But can you picture a commercial showing women laughing, slapping
each other on the back after a grueling sewing circle hitting the bar for a
well-deserved round of Banana Daiquiris? It's not the same.

Well, for me, life is different now. I no longer consume enough beer to
float an aircraft carrier. And instead of the liquor store I go to brew
pubs where they hand out menus with ridiculous aficionado terms, and where
they serve beers that have "citrus and tropical overtones" (YUK!)

Beer has changed and so have I. That means it's time for a new generation
of baboons to pick up the torch, lope with it proudly, trip, fall face
first, and lose it in the bushes. Me? I'll be home avoiding chores.

Read all of Dan's columns at

Posted by Jan at March 12, 2003 09:22 PM


Norm was not the postman. He was an accountant and later a house painter.

Posted by: butterfly on March 15, 2003 06:09 PM

You are right...what was I thinking! I wracked my brains and remembered that the postman was Cliff. He drank beer too, as I recall. Dan.

Posted by: Dan on March 17, 2003 11:35 AM

This column was about beer! I think it's entirely appropriate there was only one reader sober enough to catch that. In fact, I think Dan was testing us.

Posted by: Pete on March 17, 2003 04:13 PM

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March 5, 2003

Shake, Shake, Shake...Shake Your Crutches

© 2003 Dan Sherman

I have a new hero by the name of Drew Cummings, a 50-year-old teacher who is suing the "American Idol" show for age discrimination and violating his constitutional right to have his musical talent dismissed by a caustic weenie who can probably sing as well as an anvil. Cummings showed up at an "open" audition for the TV talent show in Miami, but was denied a chance to perform because "open" apparently refers only to people who remember the "Cold War" as a ski trip that went badly for Justin and Britney.

How dare "American Idol" put boomers down just because we're old enough to not only know what a "Chia Pet" is, but to sprout hairier growth than one in our noses requiring a weed whacker?

Just as Cummings is feeling Old Father Time (played by Dick Cheney in a Jedi costume) poking him in his rear with a scythe, I too feel Time pushing me closer to premature old farthood: I ignore ever larger denominations of money on the street because I don't feel like bending over, and I recently bought a pair of shorts with an elastic waist that was size "W" for whale.

I might as well just lie down in the grave of the unnamed boomer and have the "American Idol" judge bury me with my bell-bottoms, Led Zep eight-track tape and bottles of Hai Karate aftershave.

Another sign of impending adult diaper eligibility is that the music I grooved to when I first earned a paycheck is now a museum exhibit to be laughed at by teens with more artwork than the Louvre on their skin. The Experience Music Project in Seattle, a museum funded by Microsoft bazillionaire Paul Allen with some change he found in his sock drawer, just opened an exhibit called "Disco, A Decade of Saturday Nights." Okay. Dig the grave NOW!

A news article states: "The exhibit attempts to offer an intelligent, rooted history of a music form that was - and still is - widely dismissed by critics as anti-intellectual drivel that existed solely to put feet on the dance floor."

Yes, lyrics like, "We're gonna boogie oogie oogie 'til you just can't boogie no more" won't bump "Hamlet" off any college reading lists, but on Friday nights we went out to get down, not apply for Rhodes scholarships. And two of those "feet on the dance floor," as K.C. and the Sunshine Band pulsated from the speakers proving white guys CAN boogie, were MINE.

I remember being a "wet-behind-the-ears," "newly-minted," "still green" moist half-dollar-shaped lettuce leaf - no, I mean advertising copywriter in Boston, when on Friday nights we'd leave our IBM typewriters behind and head down to the disco where we would check in our brains and trade our working stiff uniforms for John Travolta jumpsuits.

The article is right when it says, "disco was a music of escapism." I'd walk through the disco doors like Dorothy landing in Oz, leaving the monochrome Boston behind me and entering a dazzling world of colored lights, sparkling mirrored balls, and guys in Nehru jackets wearing enough gold chains to circle the globe. I was completely enveloped in a fantasy where the only required action was boogie oogie oogieing and shaking your booty, which I believe were the same thing.

Did I listen to the lyrics? Ha ha! I was only concerned with finding a disco diva whom I could do "The Bump" with out on the floor, which was about as close as you could get to reenacting a blue movie with a perfect stranger while fully dressed in polyester and surrounded by a million of your closest friends. We also did "The Dog" - a sophisticated dance I can't describe because there may be children reading.

But now disco is in a museum, and I guess I should be too.

GUIDE: "This is the Scribeasaurus Danosaur from the Discozoic era. Put on your protective eyewear. Those flaming red polyester pants, neon blue shirts, chunky platform shoes and glittering medallions were worn by the Danosaur in an prehistoric courting ritual which, when accompanied by a warbling mating call emitted by the shaggy creature Rodus Stewartus, loosely translated by cryptologists as "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" were designed to hypnotize female members of the species into giving out their home numbers."

I realize that appreciating disco is like appreciating phone sex: It's easier to like if you were there in person. Now, as the Rodney Dangerfield of music trends, it gets no respect. However, I say it DEFINITELY helped me "Get Down Tonight."

And I know I still could. If I don't have to get down too far.

Read all of Dan's columns at

Posted by Jan at March 5, 2003 03:40 PM


I'm with ya Dan, right there with the other play-that-funky-music white boys (and girls). After four years of peace and love (for which we actually got degrees), the real work world was just a little too...well...real. The first time I walked into Studio 54, inhaled the second-hand 'popper' fumes, and hit the dance floor, I knew I had found exactly the right mindless, pulse-thumping antidote to the grown-up blues.

In fact, it was such a potent force that last year, we threw a dance party for all the old farts we know and whaddaya know---the dance floor was bumper-to-bumper with stock brokers and soccer moms throwing off our chains.

As for American Idol, I accidentally got hooked on it and am currently rehearsing my number for the senior version. I was thinking of doing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore."

Posted by: Jan on March 6, 2003 09:38 AM

Here's a link to the story about professor Cummings and his lawyer... a Mr. Kramer, whoÊhave files a discrimination complaint against American Idol.

AND get the MP3 with Drew himself singing "We're In This Love Together."

Posted by: Pete on March 6, 2003 04:22 PM

what makes me madder is that many of our generation actually embrace other music than just our own era. not only do most of us know music from way b4 our time (glen miller, etc.), but i could knock 1/2 of those 20-30 year olds out of the ballpark by knowing their own music such as pearl jam, 3rd eye blind, godsmack, etc, etc. better than they. why do they think our generation is so outdated? it was ours and the one right b4 ours that "invented" rock and we r very multifaceted. i believe the years we went to school were truly years of learning knowledge and not just getting an "education" as today where degrees r basically bought. do i sound like an angry baby boomer. oh yes, and i think that they r jealous that we refuse to age and let go.

Posted by: cstomic on May 6, 2003 03:14 PM

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February 25, 2003

A Boomer With Attitude

Some Days You Burn the CD, Some Days the CD Burns You

© 2003 Dan Sherman

I just got off the phone with the president of the Recording Industry Association of America who called to personally kiss my Converse sneakers, plus offer me carnal knowledge with my choice of any of the women in his family, for recently purchasing a new CD at its full gouge price of $87.50.

It was actually $20. But it felt like $87.50. Have you ever seen a grown man cry, other than when his team gets robbed in a play off game? Well, you should have been in the music store as I gripped that Jackson firmly, tears of disbelief on my cheeks, the counter girl staring nervously at me wondering whether to call Ripley's Believe It Or Not, the National Enquirer or the men from the funny farm because here was, incredibly, an actual person actually PAYING for music.

But I have an excuse: This latest product from Corporate America was the new CD from Boston, my favorite band during a hazy period in my life when I remember being very interested in the twin pursuits of backgammon and Cuervo Gold. The CD was called, I am not kidding, "Corporate America."

Because I've played the first Boston album so much now that the laser in my CD player disintegrated it, I thought, "I've been burned before buying CDs where I only like one song, but this is BOSTON!" I just knew it was going to be GREAT.

Not everyone does their patriotic consumer duty and buys music. You could have winged a Beatles 45 (teens, that's a small wax record) down the aisle of this music store and not hit a patriot or consumer. I recently read that Best Buy had closed 90 Sam Goody music stores. Not coincidentally a second article reported that KaZaA, an Internet music-sharing program, is on 157 million computers, exactly one million MORE than have a bootlegged Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Screen Saver.

I got a first hand look at music downloading courtesy of my 14- year-old nephew who pulled up KaZaA on his computer and showed me how easily he could pick any song, download it and burn his own CD of his favorites hits - like a real record executive, only one with zits who had to go to bed when his mom said so.

As I watched him, I flashed back to when I was in college and buying music was a Religious Event. Our favorite Rock Gods would release an album. We disciples would rush down to the Music Temple and pay our $7 offering. Then we'd rush back to the dorm for the Rite of the First Listen complete with the ceremonial medicine that the High Priest (ha ha!) had dropped off.

Now, it seemed so antiseptic sitting in this little kid's room, working at a PC that had more juice than my college's total computing capacity, plucking songs from the ether as easy as Elizabeth Taylor selecting husbands. But my new Boston CD was going to be GREAT!

So what caused this phenomenon? "The music industry did this to themselves," the music buff interviewed by USA Today said. "CDs cost too much money-if things weren't so expensive people wouldn't be going to these alternative methods to get music."

How true. For $7, you used to get 10 songs on a wax platter that if you didn't like, you could use as a perfectly good Frisbee. Now, for $20, you get a miniscule silver disk in a plastic case that shatters the first time you open it. For $20, they should enclose these in platinum.

Maybe if there was some good NEW music, people might want to pay for it. In my city there are 37 different CLASSIC rock stations playing hits along the decibel scale from Little River Weenie Band to All AC/DC All The Time. There's a station for "classic rock that rocks," one for "classic rock that shakes your molars loose," one for "classic rock that causes internal organs to explode," etc., but no NEW rock stations. I guess I could always listen to rap. Or I could have weasels suck my brain out. Same thing.

So am I going to join the Downloading Generation? Half of me says, "No, it's stealing the hard work of talented, dedicated artists." The other half says, "Hand over $20 for an ALBUM? I'd rather lie down in front of speeding Hummer!" So maybe I will. If I can find the patience to wait 2 hours to download one song on my hamster-powered two kilobytes-a-decade phone connection.

Oh, yeah. That $20 Boston CD I bought? I liked one song. I figured that.

Dan Sherman's stuff.

Posted by Jan at February 25, 2003 11:50 PM


Here's an idea... let's put together one of those "Starving Artist's" shows. All the bands from the generation could get together and hawk horrible imitations of their "classic" music... or do really tacky paintings on velvet; either one is fine with me.

Posted by: Pete on February 26, 2003 05:06 AM

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February 24, 2003

A Boomer With Attitude

Announcing a new feature on the Baby Boomer Homepage, a weekly humor column, by Dan Sherman, A Boomer with Attitude. (Who among us does not have attitude, I wonder?) We'll provide a new article from Dan every Tuesday or Wednesday. We really liked what we've read so far and think you will too. In the meantime, here's more about A Boomer With Attitude, from the boomer in question. Check out his website, too.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Boomer

dansherman.jpgDan Sherman's Humor Column provides a funny look at today's trends through the eyes of a baby boomer. A 46-year-old writer living in Nevada, Dan pokes fun at recent developments such as cell phones, SUVs, rap music, reality shows, extreme sports and video games. But most importantly, he pokes fun at himself as he strives to cope with living as a guy who is no longer a teenager, but still thinks and feels like one.

Dan Sherman has been writing professionally since he graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in English. After college he worked as an advertising copywriter in several Boston ad agencies. He then worked as a marketing manager in the financial services and high tech fields, during which time he wrote hundreds of ads, newsletters, brochures, speeches, handbooks, white papers, presentations, chain letters and ransom notes. His hand is still tired.

While creating marketing materials has allowed Dan to maintain his lavish "Bud, beer nuts n' Blockbuster" lifestyle, his true passion is creative writing. He has written short stories, plays, essays, articles for national magazines and a couple of books.

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