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Veterans

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My dad was my favorite veteran. This Navy boot camp picture was taken near the end of WWII. He didn’t see combat but his ship almost went down in a typhoon in the Pacific. Veterans Day is an awkward mix of emotions for me because Dad died on this day several years ago due to complications from Parkinson’s disease, a much more unpredictable enemy than the countries we fought in the war.
I don’t really know how Dad felt about war or the military, but I do know he had deferments for a few years because of the nature of his work and he enlisted when those ran out. The war ended while he was in boot camp. I wonder how he felt about that.
The salutes to veterans that dominate media on Veterans Day remind me that Dad rarely reminded anyone he served.
The tributes and messages remind me that I am a veteran too, but don’t waste your breath thanking me for my service. The Vietnam War was still on, I ran out of deferments and enlisted because I thought I’d have more choices than if I was draf…

Are We There Yet Are We There Yet?

Remember when you were 10 or 12 years old?  A year felt like an eternity. A month did too. 

“I have to wait till SATURDAY?  That’s like five more whole days.”

When we get to our 50s or 60s, it feels like time flies faster than a jet. 

“How did it get to be November already? It feels like our summer vacation was only last week.”

I read an interesting reader letter in AARP The Magazine recently in which the writer explained the speed-up phenomenon in math terms. 

“As you age, each unit of time comprises less of your life,” she writes. At age 10, one year is 10% of your life; 2% at age 50, 1.3% at age 75. Simple math. 

Interesting observation, isn’t it?

I sometimes compare aging to a football field. On the 10-yard line, the other goal post seems miles away and it’ll take forever to run there. When you get to the 50-yard line, it seems like it’ll take less time to get to the end zone. The 40 or 30-yard line in field goal range?  

“Uh, can I stop the clock for a few minutes?  Or years?”

I bet 80 wi…

The Best Or the Worst

Political extremes bother me, even if I am sometimes on the extreme end myself. 

I had a frustrating conversation with my friend LB the other night. It was a scary chat, not because it was Halloween (it was) but because LB started with the words “I think Trump is the best president in my lifetime.”  My reply was, “I think Trump is the worst president in the history of our country.”

LB is a great guy. He is intelligent and runs a successful local business. He is in the boomer age range. He and I, along with our significant others, spend time together at our local wine bar and at each other’s homes. We eat out together, go to cultural events  together; we’ve even started a New Year’s Eve tradition together. 

He is a Republican; I’m a Democrat. That should not be a problem. That political difference should lead to some pretty interesting sharing of opposing viewpoints. In a perfect world, the conversation should be spirited but not especially argumentative. Should be. Isn’t. 

We had several …

A Few More Tech Observations

My previous post was inspired by watching Millennials at a wedding. I’m surrounded by that generation at work, so I see the slight technology disconnect daily.

The rapid pace of tech advances does make it more difficult for boomers to adapt to the changes, but some things we considered normal in the 1960s and 70s were still astonishing to our parents.

Examples:
My parents grew up before television was invented. In fact, radio was a brand new technology in their youth.

Automatic transmission wasn’t even an option in my Dad’s first three cars.

Dialing a long-distance phone call without operator assist was unusual for my parents, even early in my life.

Some random tech observations from this week that are already close to normal:

Hands free toilet flushing in the Men’s room. Don’t have to use your hands to wash your hands either. Future humans probably won’t have hands because they don’t need them.

Cars that drive themselves. A neighborhood friend has a car that parks itself. At pr…

Trends Tech and Wow

If you’re Gen X or a millennial you might laugh at some of what I’m about to write. Some things that are normal for you still seem new to us boomers.

If you’re a boomer, think back to when you saw some new movies during the first few weeks they were out. Cool Hand Luke, In The Heat Of the Night, the first Star Wars, Grease; even newer movies like Top Gun, Dances With Wolves or the Kristopherson/Streisand version of A Star Is Born.

You determined where and when they were showing by checking a newspaper ad or phoning a nearby theater (after looking up the number in a phone book). You stood in line to buy tickets, hoped it wasn’t sold out, paid with cash and maybe got there early enough to pick good seats.

On the afternoon I’m writing this I’m going to see the new version of A Star Is Born. This morning I opened my Fandango app and quickly saw a list of show times at theaters near me. I picked a location and show time and saw that I could reserve specific seats. Comfy reclining seats…

Timeless Music

It is probably a mistake to assume certain age people only like certain music. I’ll explain why in a minute.

I am also rethinking another assumption. A radio consultant who helped guide strategies for several radio stations I worked for early in my career said that music people liked at high school age (or similar sounding music) is what they continue to like for the rest of their lives. There is evidence backing up that theory. Just talk with a boomer who thinks no good music has been recorded since (fill in the year of their last year in high school).

All of those theories are refuted by what I witnessed at a wedding recently. Bride and groom are both 30 years old, which means they were born in 1988. Their friends are all between 28 and 35. Their parents, aunts and uncles are mostly between 55 and 65.

The afore-mentioned theories tell us the bridal party and friends would mostly like music from around the early 2000s. Songs like Smash Mouth “All Star”, Santana with Rob Thomas “Sm…

Dreams

“Music is all I wanted to do. There was no plan B.”   -Miguel

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do it.”      -Carly Pearce

Those are two quotes I heard while watching artist profile fillers during a live stream of the recent iHeart Radio Music Festival Daytime Stage. Miguel and Carly Pearce are two up and coming music artists who each have a strong desire to express themselves through their music in  unique ways that music executives didn’t initially see. Both artists refused to give up and each took risks and never gave up. Now they are rising stars in their respective genres and are living their dreams.

What can we boomers learn from that? 

I am so lucky that I have spent most of my adult life making a living doing what I love. I say ‘lucky’ but actually my radio dream started before high school. Looking back I realize I started taking steps in this direction that far back. I paid attention to DJ styles, learned about music, listened to radio stations from all across the …