Posts

Showing posts from April, 2017

Alexa, Write My Blog Post

Image
So another type of device boomers first saw on the original Star Trek is becoming a normal part of our lives.

Many things in Star Trek, from computers to daily logs to elevators, were operated by voice control. That was fantasy in 1967. Ten or fifteen years ago, some cell phones had a voice dialing feature and some secretarial duties were assisted by software called Naturally Speaking. Today we have Siri on the iPhone, Cortana on some laptops and Alexa on that thing that looks like a hockey puck.

I work around technology daily but I'm not an early adopter. I prefer to wait for the new product bugs to be worked out and for prices to come down. My first four cell phones were free with the $39/month Verizon plan. One, a Motorola Star Tac flip phone, looked like the 'communicator' on Star Trek.

My first iPhone was the 4, which I bought the day the 4s came out because I couldn't justify the cost of versions 1, 2 and 3 and I didn't want Siri, newly available on the 4s.…

Learning Appreciation

He hit her during another drunken stupor. Her aunt beat her. An uncle raped her. Her husband regularly insulted her, berated her, called her the 'c' word. Her brother raped her. The father got the daughter pregnant, the daughter had the baby, the wife stayed and endured the embarrassment. The husband threatened to kill his wife, mother and children. The father regular made his daughter fondle him. The adult celebrity was beaten and abused by relatives in her youth. The husband went to the ex wife's house to argue about visitation with the son, leading to a shouting match during which the husband ran up the stairs, kicked in the door of the room where the 4-year-old son was hiding at the insistence of the mother who feared for his safety.

Each of incidents noted above happened, each sentence referring to a different person or persons, some to people who I read about in the news and some to people I know. I actually witnessed the last incident and kept my involvement verba…

One by One

Facebook is a much kinder, gentler corner of the Internet lately. At least it seems that way to me. It's probably because I have blocked regularly negative feeds, one at a time.

No, I'm not afraid of reading views that are different from mine. In fact, I think it is a good idea to consider a variety of opinions on various topics. I am opposed to the loud and biased link between opinion and fact, presenting them as if they are the same thing. I dislike people presenting opinions as facts and thinking that their solutions to problems are the only solutions. I'm annoyed when my ultra conservative Facebook friends claim that everything a Republican says is good and everything a Democrat says is bad. I have blocked the one-sided, overly biased feeds of ten or fifteen friends in recent months.

Conversely, I am annoyed when my ultra liberal friends claim that everything a Democrat says is good and everything a Republican says is bad. I recently blocked the feeds of one such fri…

Do You Remember Them?

The tall, black wrought iron fence was new but the small cottage was right there where it's always been, three doors from the corner. The house was wider than I remembered and the small porch was now a southern-style wraparound veranda.  Red and pink azaleas flanking the steps were in bloom as they had been at this time of year for decades.

Dad stood on the top step in learning pose, head looking slightly down as he intently studied what appeared to be an iPad. He wore his signature khaki pants, plaid short sleeve sport shirt and thick-soled working man shoes. He seemed to be in his early 60s.

With the blink of an eye, Mom appeared in the foreground of my view, slightly to the left, partially blocking my view of Dad. It was a 50-year-old version of Mom. She smiled and said something unintelligible about Dad and looked as surprised as I was to see him on the porch. Her mouth and eyes moved in her signature storytelling manner but I heard no sound.

Moments later my eyes popped ope…

It's Only A Number

Why are we often obsessed with the number we get when subtracting the year of our birth from the current year?  Age is just a number, right?  So what if you're 50, 54, 62, 67, 74, 100?

I've been writing (whining) about age since the beginning of my blogging. I'm pretty damn comfortable with my age (it's one of the numbers in the first paragraph) but I'm not comfortable admitting the number to all but a select few friends, relatives and drinking buddies. Why? Because of stereotypes attached to certain age numbers.

Facebook friends frequently flaunt their age on their birthdays while others claim to be "officially old" as they turn 35 or 40. If you think you're old at 40, wait till you hit the next decade marker. Or the one after that.

I'm certain I celebrated my 40th live on the radio station where I was a DJ at the time. It felt good. I did not celebrate 50 outside of my house. It was memorable, however, because those were better times in my now…

The Balance Dilemma

Work/life, work/play, work/work/work.

The strategy of finding a work/life balance is to not work so hard or so long each day that it interferes with the rest of your life. I'm balancing laughing with crying as I write this paragraph because it's 8 pm and I'm in my office at work. I've been here since 10 am. I'll go home, eat dinner, sip wine, go to bed. The work/life thing ain't balanced tonight.

THIS paragraph is written two days later, on a Saturday afternoon. I'm so tired and exhausted from work that all I've done today is grocery shopping and napping. I'm sitting in my guest room/home office, attempting AGAIN to make progress on my ongoing cleanup project. It's a beautiful, sunny day. I can see that through the window. I should be on the other side of said window, soaking up sunshine instead of sitting inside shredding old documents and searching for my long lost car title.

Guilt keep me indoors today. This project has to get done. I repea…

Older and Wiser?

Image
A quiet voice deep in the background on one side whispers, "Do it. You've earned it."  Another voice from deep on the other side whispers, "Don't do it. There's no real reason to do it."

And so goes the simple, recurring conversation in the back of my brain, a not-so-subtle debate about retirement.

The whispers turn to shouts every time I learn about an 'old person' doing something that defies the aging stereotype. Recently my internal debate intensified when I saw a local TV news report about a 92-year-old school crossing guard celebrating her 50th anniversary on that job.



The do-it-don't-do-it chorus crescendoed a few mornings ago as I watched a Today Show report about "super-agers".

Super-agers are people 70 and older who have brain power and physical abilities like 20-somethings.  Scientific studies including brain scans back this up.

How do they do it? According to the story, they challenge both brain and body and learn new…

I Don't Get It

They could only sit in certain designated seats in the back of the bus. There were separate designated water fountains, rest rooms and entrances to buildings for them. Some businesses denied them access or service. Signs indicting these restrictions were posted in highly visible locations.

'They' were called colored or negro or other things I won't write here; words and slurs that were a regular part of white American vocabulary as recently as the 1960s.

People under 50 might only recognize those scenes as something described in history books. Boomers like me lived through those scenes. I hate to admit it, but my parents, their siblings and their friends were racist for much of their lives. It didn't occur to them that there was anything wrong with that attitude. Thinking of African American people as a little bit subhuman was passed on from generation to generation and that belief was often reinforced by limited personal exposure to black people. If the only black pe…