Age is Just a Number (Sometimes a Big Number)

Here we go again. First thing on a Monday morning, I get a notice of a new post on Boomer Cafe. It’s called How Old Are You? One Baby Boomer Says It Really Does Not Matter. It’s written by a guy named Stew.

Yet another baby boomer yelling about how “you are only as old as you feel” and “age is just a number”. Bah.

Stew says:

As a person who is “older” (okay, I have trouble with that word), I have learned a few things about aging … mainly, I don’t understand what everyone is talking about. I don’t know how old I am unless I calculate it. When asked, all I know is that I am as old as I am feeling that day – be it 26 or 42 or maybe 31. And that is what I tell people.

Well, Stew, I have learned a few things about aging too. And here’s what I have learned.

  • It takes me longer to do things than it used to.
  • I am now afraid of slipping on ice, when I used to play on it.
  • I now have to read on a Kindle so I can make the text real big.
  • I now have aches and pains in places I never suspected would hurt.
  • I now go places and look around and think “everyone here is younger than me”.

The above is just a sampling. There is so much more. So do I feel 26 or 42 or 31 on certain days? Maybe if my mirrors came with PhotoShop installed, I would feel that way. But no, Stew, not really.

Stew likes to skydive. Doesn’t that just figure? People who blah-blahther on about how they don’t look at calendars except for when they have a dentist appointment always skydive. What is the point of it? Why would anyone even consider skydiving for one minute? Don’t you have enough respect for life to think, but wait, what if that little pull cord thingy doesn’t work? Yeah, think about that. I recently bought a temporary electric toothbrush. It has a little button to press for vibration. It doesn’t work. It’s defective. So think about that pull cord again, Stew.

Speaking of the dentist. Sure, you only consult the calendar when you have an appointment. Old people have to go to the dentist more. Their crowns break, their gums rot, the longer we are on this earth, the more we chew things and the more our teeth get busted up. That’s why you are going to the dentist, Stew, and why you have to consult your calendar.

Don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here. But shit aging happens and saying you are 26 when you are really 62 just means you are dyslexic, not “young at heart”.

Here’s another good idea. Stew doesn’t think we should travel south. Don’t go to Florida. Everyone in Florida is old.

Stew also says:

My idea of a challenge is not seeing how few times I can hit a dimpled white ball for 18 holes. The only dimples I want to see should be resting on the pillow in bed next to me and making me feel … and act … 25.

This is probably not a good idea, Stew. This sounds like promiscuous behavior to me. Or, sounds like you have a thing for younger women. Very problematic. Or maybe when you say “dimples” you are referring to some other part of the anatomy? In that case, okay. But 25? Really? You taking some of that “Vigara” that keeps showing up in my spam folder?

(And as an aside here, if people are going to spam you with ads for drugs, wouldn’t it be prudent to spell what you’re selling correctly? Just wonderin’.)

So, I did a triple eye roll at Stew’s post. Stew, you need to consult your calendar. You were born back when stamps cost two cents. When your phone number had four digits. When the milkman left dairy products in glass bottles on your doorstep. When you got S&H green stamps at the grocery store. When people still said “gee whiz”. When jello was a food staple.

There’s nothing wrong with aging. I think we, as aging grownups, might be better off accepting our new limitations instead of trying to pretend otherwise. Nothing screams “old geezer” more than someone trying to pretend they are thirty years younger than they are.

Shibui, that’s what we need in this country. Respect your age. It’s what got you where you are.

Baby Boomer Literature – A New Genre?

Last week, I read an article on Boomer Cafe called “Author Claude Nougat Knows the Next Trend in Publishing”.

Boomer Cafe.. it’s your place is a site that explores issues which affect people of the BB generation. You can find informative articles about financial management, health issues, trends, retirement topics and lots of other interesting subject matter, and they welcome contributions from readers too.

boomercafe_02

The article header says:

“Almost since we reached middle age, advertisers and marketers have sold us short. They said we no longer represented the demographic they were looking for. Well, we’ve got news for them: baby boomers are the biggest, richest demographic in the world today. Author Claude Nougat already knew that, and has begun to promote books written specifically for, and about, baby boomers. She says, it’s the next phenomenon in publishing.”

Coincidental. I had been thinking about pitching Boomer Cafe to do a guest post of my own. But I didn’t have to do that, because Ms. Nougat did it first. I have been talking about this for a long time myself, so I was very glad to read it and discover others were thinking the same way.

In the article, there is a link to a Goodreads Group specifically for BB authors which promotes nothing but BB Lit. YEAH! It took me eleven seconds to sign up for the group and comment. All you readers who are BB authors, you need to check this out! You are not alone. Help is on the way.

Here is the Goodreads group and this link is also in Claude’s article.

Since that article was published, it was picked up by the Passive Voice. It attracted some, shall we say, negative attention. Here are a sampling of some of those not-so-nice remarks:

”As for many baby boomer novels being published, last time I pitched one I can’t remember if the agent guffawed or gagged.”

“There are, Lord knows, some Baby Boomers out there who are so self-absorbed that they think the sole function of popular culture is to chronicle their every whim and eructation.”

“To come to such a conclusion does indeed require the assumption that whatever stage of life the Baby Boomers are going through at a given moment, the paramount purpose of popular culture is to record it.”

“The bottom line is: Old people just aren’t very interesting (I know, I am 65).”

And later, the article was picked up by Kindle Nation Daily. This site didn’t generate much negativity. Most of the commenters felt it was a great idea and many listed books they have written. Some interesting titles: “Bastard Husband: A Love Story”, “Sex, Lies & Hot Tubs” and “The Old Guy Rules”.

Naturally there are going to be a huge cross-section of people who don’t want to see this, especially those who have it in for our generation, that we are all a bunch of selfish, it’s-all-about-me, self-centered crybabies. If you don’t believe me, google “baby boomers suck” and see what you get. We are blamed for everything from the financial crisis to the current political situation to the high medical costs. We are responsible for taking younger people’s jobs because we won’t die off soon enough. We are aiding in the demise of the world and causing the earth to warm by our conspicuous consumerism.

This is disconcerting, that as a generation we are viewed that way. Personally, I have always been rather pleased to be part of a world-changing group of people. We were sought after, and marketed to when we were younger, but now, not so much. A while back I bitched about NBC taking Harry’s Law off the air. Their reasoning was, we’re old, we’re stuck in the past, we don’t switch brands, we don’t buy enough stuff. All crap, of course, but it appears we, as a generation, have outlived our appeal to advertisers.

Still, there is strength in our sheer numbers, 79 million being one of the more popular counts. It’s decreasing daily, of course, as we die off (although not fast enough for some). If only a portion of this group is interested in reading novels about people their own age, that is still a sizeable market.

The oldest of us are beginning to retire. I did. Gave up the Corporate Hell Life in order to do what I wanted to do. In the coming years, people will retire in great numbers, and with retirement comes leisure, and with leisure comes more time to read.

Baby Boomers Do Not Suck. We are still cool and we will rock our nursing homes. And we’ll still be reading.

It’s about time we had an official Baby Boomer Literature genre.

Rock 'n Read

Rock ‘n Read

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clipart

 

 

The Baby Boomer Reviewer?

I’ll drink to that!

This post started out as a whiney, complainy, bogged down piece of crap-writing that I started weeks ago and then decided never to publish. And I keep whittling it down, taking out the Poor Me stuff until this is what remains.

I’ve been on this marketing project for several months now, and not getting anywhere with it. As a matter of fact, it’s downright discouraging. Many of the new writers I have come to know are having a lot more success than I am. I am beginning to suspect that there are a lot of folks out there who have no interest in what I write, which is fine. Not everyone likes the same thing.

However! It might be time to ask, “Hold up a minute here! What’s the problem?”

So far I can’t figure out what the problem is. Whether I am not reaching my target audience or whether my target audience really would rather read the Twilight series or Fifty Shades of Grey.  

Photo by saratogajean

Where did everyone go?

Recently, I did a free giveaway of the Kindle version of Perigee Moon and got less than 200 downloads and no reviews out of it, the reviews being the main point of the giveaway. So what good did the whole exercise do? I went to all the book free day sites and made the announcement. I don’t see any positive results in doing any of it, although maybe it will take time for reviews to come in. The more good reviews a book has, the better it does. 

On a more positive note, I believe I have learned a lot about the writing craft in the last decade or so. I know what I perceive is good writing. I know whose voice I love and whose I don’t. I can recognize good writing, believable characters, and excellent stories. So I am thinking very seriously of becoming an “official” book reviewer.

I wrote a post recently about trying to find sites to get my own book reviewed, about the criteria I used to determine if a site would be a good fit. I wrote about the overabundance of people willing to review books about vampires and monsters and other foul creatures, but there were very few, make that none, that I could be absolutely positive would be a site that would want to review books about baby boomers finding their way at last, determining who they want to be later on in life, finding love.

One thing I have always believed, and still do, is that our generation is one of readers. We didn’t have video games and computers and other electronics to distract us when we were growing up, we had television and books. And while many of us have embraced the technology that makes our lives more connected and more interesting, we still basically love to read. As we start to retire, we have more time to read, and what better subject to read about than our own generation?

What if I become the Baby Boomer Reviewer? Books by and/or about that generation? They wouldn’t all have to be in my exact genre, but if they are written by baby boomer authors who just want to get reviewed then I’d be willing to do it. Hell, you don’t even have to be a baby boomer. Just a new author trying to get a start. And, of course, these reviews will be given with no currency exchanging hands.

If I can help to spread the word, help a new author, then why not?

Here’s the catch. I’d have a very hard time telling an author that I didn’t like his work. I’d have to be really honest and that will be hard for me, but a review isn’t worth anything unless it’s genuine. And who’s to say, I might not like it but someone else might love it? I’ve sure noticed that all people don’t like the same thing myself.

I’d be reluctant to give 5 star reviews. I have given them in the past, but really, I think 5 star reviews are reserved for truly great pieces of literature. Prose where I marvel at the beautiful sentences, and the exquisite phrasing. You all probably know by now how I feel about Scott Spencer and Jonathan Franzen. These men have both written books I would consider 5 star quality. But for the rest of us, well, we can’t all be authors of that caliber. We just can’t. It isn’t possible.

I’ve written quite a few reviews lately. Few of them were 5 star, but some of them were really, really good books. I’m including a link here to my Amazon reviews.

I’d post each review on a new My Reviews page as I do them, with a link to Amazon (or wherever the author would like the review directed). Here are some of the genres of books I would review:

  • General Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Literary Fiction
  • Baby Boomer Fiction
  • Memoir
  • Mystery/Thrillers
  • Short Story Collections
  • Non-fiction (as long as I have some knowledge of the topic)

No genre romance, no inspiration, no erotica. No urban fantasy, no vampires, werewolves or drudges. No steampunk — and if anyone can explain to me exactly what this is, would you please comment? None of these interest me and I wouldn’t be able to give a satisfactory review of that material.

I’d love to hear if there are any new authors who would be interested in having me review their work.

Blather of a Shoe-Watcher

One thing that has always intrigued me is shoes. Especially now that I have officially become a member of the comfort generation. I like to shoe-watch, and marvel at what women consider attractive, functional, appropriate shoes. Or, in some of the cases depicted here, the term “shoes” may be a misnomer – the things women choose to put on their feet.

What is the exact history of this behavior, that women feel as if they must encase perhaps their most important appendages, that upon which they stand and which allows them to be mobile, into the most weather-inappropriate, unlovely, nay even bizarre, adornment?

It may have started in China with foot binding. And yes, there are pictures available of what this lady’s feet actually look like sans her teeny-tiny shoes, and no, I’m not posting it here because it may take the last meal away from the safe confines of your digestive tract. It’s hurl-worthy.

The strange custom may have originated among the upper class court dancers in the early Song dynasty, but this is unclear. It spread to the lower classes eventually and became very popular because men thought it to be highly attractive. OH! I get it now. Because MEN FOUND IT TO BE HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE! Well, then, ‘nough said.

The woman in the above photo is still alive today, and to assume she has a bit of trouble getting around is a no-brainer.

It’s no surprise to anyone that women dress up their lower extremities because this is what men like. Or so women think, and oh yeah, men also like butt implants, fake boobs and engorged lips. But do they really? And, more important, should women care if that’s what men like? It’s not like men are willing to don inappropriate and uncomfortable garb for the sake of a woman. But somehow, women need to do it for men? Where’s the equality in that?

Ya’ mean you want me to, like, take a shower or sumpin’?

Shouldn’t women care more about what they are doing to their bodies and say screw it if guys don’t like this? Get some Shibui!  I think that would be most appropriate in this day of supposed women’s liberation. But from the looks of the stuff we put on our feet, we aren’t very liberated, now are we?

Still, it is better than foot binding.

Here are a few reasons why women should not wear high heels, and note that they are all pretty much related to the actual health of the foot:

  • Foot pain
  • Increased chance of fractures and sprains
  • Creation of foot deformities, such as hammertoes and bunions
  • Unsteady gait
  • Stride is shortened
  • Inability to run
  • A decrease in normal rotation of the foot puts more rotation stress on the knee causing degeneration of the knee joint
  • Tendon problems

Okay, now here a few reasons why women should wear high heels, and note that these reasons are generally related to aesthetics, or man-pleasing:

  • The appearance of calves is accentuated
  • Posture is changed because a more upright carriage is required, considered seductive
  • Wearer appears taller
  • Wearer’s legs appear longer
  • Wearer’s feet appear smaller
  • Wearer’s toes appear shorter
  • Arches of the feet appear higher and better defined

Some articles even say that men are turned on by a woman in high heels because she is more vulnerable and can’t escape as easily. Now, isn’t that a good reason to NOT wear these things?

I believe that women should not be turned on by men who are turned on by high heels. Unless said women are also turned on by 24-inch biceps and snake tattoos. Then maybe. But in that case, they’d deserve each other.

Here are some examples of the most grotesque examples of “shoes” I found:

Very versatile, goes with anything!

Extra support for ballet dancers!

I love throwing on something comfortable and relaxing with a glass of wine!

Just thought I’d pop out to Wal-mart. Want anything?

Double Boots, for those who like to walk backwards.

And here are some that could be considered odd perhaps, yet not quite so freakish:

Ack! Dog shoes! Get the PETA people in here.

Feet shoes, but maybe better if those feet weren’t from an eighty-year-old guy

Ladder shoes?

Hoof shoes, for when you’re impersonating a goat

Wanta keep him away? Porcupine shoes.

Wheel shoes.Great for when you’re late for work.

Lastly, my favorites:

Ahh. Shibui!

 

 

Nothing Says “Freedom” Like Voter Suppression

Watched Rachel Maddow last night. Rachel is one of my personal heroes. Anyone who can get on TV and just talk for an hour and make so much sense and sound so interesting, is someone way up on the People I Most Admire scale. I couldn’t do it.

I’m sure she takes a lot of abuse from the Gay-Unfriendly Conservative Right Wingers but I refuse to listen to any of it. She laughingly refers to herself as “just a middle-aged lesbian in a cheap jacket.” She’s so much more than that.

She did a show on early voter suppression. Republicans naturally want to do this, because Democrats vote early in greater numbers. That’s because they (the Democrats) need flexibility, they can’t always bop down to the polling location on Election Day in their SUVs, fresh from Yoga, like the Republicans can.

Voter Fraud is a Felony! Billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin that went up in intercity and known student residential neighborhoods, which seemed to indicate that the act of merely voting could land you in jail. These billboards were paid for by an “unknown family”. I so wish I knew who that was. Eventually they were taken down and replaced with Voting is Your Right billboards, but who knows how many people were affected by that message?

Florida is required by the Voting Rights Act to offer  a set amount of hours for early voting so what did they do? They attempted to schedule early voting so that the polls would not be open on Sunday Nov. 4th because it is well known that this when churches encourage their members to vote (Souls to the Polls) and there is a huge African-American turnout after church. It didn’t work, the courts struck it down and the polls were opened, but still, they tried. And the lines! Six, seven, eight hours in line in some areas because the polling locations aren’t manned with enough people and the voting hours are structured in such a way that minority groups tend to show up at the same time, thus discouraging them from voting. You know, people who work for a living.

Back to Ohio, Jon Husted is playing the voter suppression card, this time at the eleventh hour, in a controversial new directive concerning provisional ballots. He ordered election officials (this past Friday) to shift the burden of filling out provisional ballots from the poll worker to the voter. Previously the recording of the voter’s form of ID was the poll worker’s responsibility, but not any longer. Doesn’t seem like a big deal? It is, actually. It has the potential to impact the count of thousands of votes. And, remembering 2000, we know how important thousands of votes can be.

I have been in both Ohio and Florida this election season. And while I am glad to be in a state that politicians consider vote-worthy, I am really tired of hearing about how Republicans continually try to get the vote to come out better for their side. If you can’t win with billions of dollars, then suppress the vote. It’s just disgusting.

I’ve been doing a little voter suppression of my own. Here’s how it goes:

I have a benign political discussion with someone (anyone).

Me: Who are you voting for?

They: Romney.

Me:(yawning) Well I’m voting for Obama. Hey, I hear those lines are hours long! What say both of us don’t bother to vote, we’ll just cancel each other out and we won’t have to go to the polls!

They: Okay.

Then I’m on to the next person, but then, of course, I vote anyway!

I doubt it will work but it’s worth a try.

Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.

 

Questions About Offshoring American Jobs

Warning: Non-humorous post. The fact that I warn that this post may not be funny assumes that there are earlier posts which have been funny, which, of course, is only in the eye of the humor-beholder. 

There is one issue, well actually there are several, but this is one I’ve been thinking about for years. Outsourcing to other countries, or offshoring. Specifically, the offshoring, or elimination of American IT jobs. I do not profess to be an economic expert, nor do I have a degree in finance, but can anyone out there enlighten me as to how the practice of sending as many of our IT jobs as we can to other countries is good for our economy and ultimately for our country?

I’m just talking about IT here because it’s what affects me. Other professions currently offshored include (but are not limited to) writers, administrative assistants, tax preparers, web programmers and designers, drafters, human resources, call centers, and the biggest sinkhole of jobs, manufacturing. In 2011, 2,273,392 jobs were outsourced. 53% of the manufacturing jobs, 43% of IT jobs, 38% of R&D, and the list goes on. On and on.

My name is Peggy.

IT, in the olden days, was a niche career path where one could establish a place for him/herself in the solid, safe middle class. It took a certain amount of interest and aptitude in computers and logic, so it appealed to some but to others it seemed boring and nerdy. I always considered it a good thing that not everyone wanted to do this particular work since it was what I did, and if everyone wanted my job then there would be less opportunity for me. Selfish? Maybe. But I’m guessing most everyone feels that way about his or her chosen profession.

So we IT-ers enjoyed two-plus decades of secure cube-dwelling positions, established ourselves as professionals, bonded with those sharing our interests, bought homes, consumed things, put food on the table, planned for retirement, took vacations and saved for our kids’ educations. It wasn’t a grand lifestyle but it worked out pretty well for a lot of us.

Then came The New Millenium and the passion for money, and more money, and money no matter what, and screw your way to the top of the money making market. Do it cheap, in order to put more on the bottom line. Outsource, offshore, “right-size”. There are people who will do it for a third of the money. Get rid of the high-paid American workers. The larger the corporation, the more the push to outsource. Get your IT services cheap! Any corporation who is still paying the big bucks for foot-draggin’ Americans has some ‘splainin’ to do to its stockholders.

Aren’t we kind of paying the price for that now? Everyone complains about the current administration, how the “economy hasn’t improved” how unemployment hasn’t gone down. An aside here, isn’t the percentage of unemployment a manufactured number anyway? How do we count those who have used up their unemployment benefits and are still jobless, and unemployment-less as well? I never did get that.

If we have millions less jobs available here, how can the job market ever improve, how can the housing market improve, how can the tax base be supported? There are cities and municipalities going bankrupt now. As a matter of fact, it was the story of Scranton, Pennsylvania which prompted me to finally write this blog. Fire-fighters and policemen have had their wages slashed to minimum wage. Minimum wage? You can probably make more than that pulling Double Expresso Lattes at Starbucks. And the benefits might be better. So forget risking your life to do a job. What’s the point?

 

(Cartoon by Bennett / Chattanooga Times Free Press)

 

This is not a political blog. But what can the current administration do about this? Force corporations not to outsource? Or, convince them with straight talk and earnest pleas not to do it anymore, or at least reduce the number of jobs outsourced? I don’t know if that’s possible.

What I do know is that one of the candidates who will be on the ballot in November believes in outsourcing. He’s been accused of having done it. That’s not to say he won’t try really hard to change the way things are now, because for sure this individual has changed his mind a number of times about a number of issues. I’m just sayin’.

Interestingly, when I wanted to see if anyone out there was blogging about offshoring, I googled “blogs about offshoring”. Know what came up? Every item in the list concerned how to get offshore help to write blogs.

So I repeat my question. If there is someone out there who could tell me, or point me to an article or a book that would explain it all to me, how outsourcing helps (or at least doesn’t harm) our economy and our country, would you please comment? I surely would appreciate it.

I’ll leave you with an image. You know when you made that call to get help with your wireless internet router? This is where that call went.

Are you 50+? Then NBC Doesn’t Want You!

In May, NBC decided not to renew the series “Harry’s Law”. Why do you suppose they did that? Was it because no one watched it? No, that wasn’t the reason. It was the second most-watched series on NBC, 8.8 million viewers, just under the 9 million viewers who watched the first most-watched “Smash”. Well, then, why would they have cancelled it? Isn’t the show’s popularity what appeals to networks? Well, yes and no.

Don’t networks care that a lot of people are watching their shows? That depends on the advertisers. Don’t advertisers care that a lot of people are watching the shows wherein they air their commercials? Yes. As long as the watchers are between the ages of 18 and 49. Otherwise, not so much.

Networks kiss the rings of advertisers, so advertisers determine what we watch on TV. And they (these esteemed “Advertisers”) don’t give a rat’s ass if every single person 50 years of age and older is watching a program or not. They don’t want us. They want the younger crowd. So that would seem to say, “Seniors, suck it up! Learn to love what the demographic that we care about is watching. You are just too damn old to matter to us any longer.”

One NBC executive had the nerve (oh how I’d like to use another term here), to say, “Its [Harry’s Law’s] audience skewed very old and it is hard to monetize that.”

Monetize this, dipshits.

  • 75% of America’s wealth is controlled by those 55 and older.
  • We spend nearly $400 billion more than any other generation, each year.
  • We outspend the average consumer (whoever that is) in categories such as entertainment and dining, gifts and furniture, and these are the types of commercials that generally air during prime time.

Bottom line. We have more money and we spend it.

But advertisers still listen to the Neilsen Company, who has been monitoring what we watch for the last 40+ years or so. It would appear they continue to use the same methodology they did back in the 70’s.

The Neilsen Company is telling advertisers that the only people who matter are under 50. The advertisers are listening to Neilsen, which is a huge mistake, and threatening to pull ads where the demographic is suspect. No advertisers = no show.

The strategy the Neilsen Co. uses is installing a box in a select number of homes. These are the “Neilsen Families” and they are paid for the inconvenience of having their TV viewing privacy violated. I have never been approached by Neilsen to be one of their select “families” nor do I know anyone who has, but I would have told them where they might place their monitoring device, should they have invited me to become a “Neilsen Family”.

“Hello, may I speak to the head of the household?” says Neilsen.

“Speaking,” say I.

“We, at Neilsen, would like to invite you to become a Neilsen Family, and in that way you can take part in our ongoing quest for Accuracy in Television Viewing and aid our clients in determining who is watching what shows, and if they should bother to advertise on said shows or not, which will then result in those advertisers pressuring the TV networks to axe certain programs. And we would be delighted to bestow a small gift upon you and your family for your cooperation in this matter.”

“No way,” say I. And then I would have told them the location where the monitoring device might be deposited.

Click.

That’s the way that conversation would have gone.

Who would agree to do that? The checks they send aren’t generous, the term used is “token”, and anyone who would do it for that paltry money is certainly not the demographic Neilsen is targeting.

The Neilsen Company wants to “identify, message and find your [the Almighty Advertiser’s] most valuable consumers to maximize marketing efficiency”. They also hope to “adjust your strategy, product and/or marketing to better appeal to key consumers”. (Hint: We are not the key consumers of which they so eloquently business-speak.) And finally, they hope to “…identify white-space innovation opportunities based on a proprietary understanding of latent and emerging demand.”

Wow. WTF does all that purposely obfiscating, nonsensical stuff mean? It means basically, we’re screwed. You will watch American Idol and Dancing With the Stars and NCIS and like it. Turn to the AMC channel if you don’t like it, you old farts.

What’ll it be, Mother? The Travel Channel or The Weather Channel?

One of the reasons they say old-timers aren’t worth pursuing as viewers is that everyone knows that brand-loyalty is established between the ages of 18 – 34. Well, I sorta beg to differ on that one. I’ve switched brands lots of times, and I use products that weren’t available back then, and I’ve changed my mind about a lot of stuff so don’t tell me that I have any brand loyalty at all because I don’t. How do we establish brand loyalty for cell phones, and flat screen TVs, and eReaders between the ages of 18 and 34 when they weren’t around then? And never mind that the brands you might have been loyal to, have long been driven out of business anyway!

And another thing. What about all the 18 – 49 year-olds who DVR everything so they can fast-forward through the commercials. Everyone does that, but I’d be willing to bet Baby Boomers do it less than 18 – 49 year-olds.

Here’s the perfect solution. Advertise the products you think we are interested in (even though we’re clearly not), but in your infinite wisdom of what you think makes good business sense, it would fit in quite nicely. And then you can advertise these products on Harry’s Law.

A few products to consider:

  • The Pride Mobility Go-Go Ultra X 4-wheel Scooter
  • The Rollator/Transport Chair Walker Combo
  • The Medlift Economy Full Size Adjustable Bed
  • Depend® Real Fit Briefs – Discrete Protection (Choose the one which suits your lifestyle)
  • Poligrip Denture Adhesive (Helps keep food out)
  • Funeral Pre-planning (Give your family Peace of Mind)
  • The myriad of drugs marketed on the National News, including (but not limited to) ED helpers, osteoporosis, emphysema and “going and going and going” medications and all the other junk drugs that fix one problem and cause four more.

But give us back Harry’s Law.

I Want My Harry’s Law!

What do you think about this?

Baby Boomer Women Are Shibui!

Shibusa (shibui) is a Japanese concept, with no real translation into English (Shibui is the adjective, shibusa the noun.) The people of Japan think of beauty in levels – from blatant, harsh and bold to the ideal beauty of shibusa, which is the type of beauty that involves complexity, the imperfections and patina that only time can bring. A mature beauty, like a vintage wine, a history that is conveyed by the artifact. Understated quiet sophistication.

I can’t think of a word in English that comes close. Elegant? Tasteful? Refined? Dignified? These words all describe aspects of shibusa but don’t really define it. It’s the idea that things get better with age, and that perfection is not as well tolerated as shibusa.

Shibusa is simplicity, implicitness, modesty, silence, naturalness, everydayness and imperfection.

  • An old rocking chair is shibui.
  • A “real leather” lazy boy recliner is not shibui.
  • An old baggy cashmere sweater is shibui.
  • A 100% polyester “fleece” is not shibui.
  • Old English aged cheddar is shibui.
  • Cheez whiz is not shibui.

You get the idea here.

I had the insane notion that us boomer women need to throw off fifty or sixty plus years of age discrimination and embrace the idea of shibusa. Why not? We’ve been calling the shots as to what’s cool for decades, so why should we stop now, just because we’re getting old, and challenged in any number of ways?

Let’s throw away the anti-aging creams, the hair coloring, the gold jewelry, the fake nails, the spikey shoes, the clothes that (let’s face it here) aren’t meant to adorn bodies that have been around almost as long as Cheerios.

At some point we’re going to have to resort to plastic surgery if we want to keep up the charade. You can only hide behind dark glasses, botox injections, turtle necks and big hair for a limited amount of time. After that, it’s the old nip ‘n tuck.

I have lighting in my bathroom that makes me look like I am a decade or two younger. I planned it that way. You know the kind. Like when you go into a really upscale department store and the dressing rooms are all lit softly, dramatically, such that you look really good, instead of those fluorescent abominations in Target. Except for a couple of flaws (which can’t be ignored) the skin tones look perfect; unblemished, smooth and nearly wrinkle-free.

Imagine my surprise when I catch sight of myself in some other venue (even a turned off Smartphone will do the evil deed) and find to my horror that instead of looking like the ageless person I believed myself to be, I do in fact look pretty much like other people my age do.

Never mind photos. I think cameras should be able to calculate the age of the person upon which they are focusing and add the appropriate amount of PhotoShop right there. That way, no embarrassingly awful pictures can be posted on Facebook and to which you have to beg the poster to “please take that down, I hate it!” and to which they reply, “aw, I thought it was cute”. Take the friggin’ thing down before I unfriend you. I don’t care if you’re my daughter or not! Say I.

There’s a 55-year-old woman who is trying out for the Dallas Cowboy’s cheerleading squad. Everyone says, “Imagine that! She’s 55! Doesn’t she look great for 55?” What the hell difference does it make? She’s still 55! She’s got an AARP card! She qualifies for the Bob Evans Senior Meal! She can buy a house in a special gated community because she meets the minimum age requirements!

We baby boomer women need to embrace the concept of shibusa and hopefully convince others to embrace it too. Then our wrinkles and hair of (whatever color it is, I wouldn’t know anymore) and sagging skin would all be shibui, very cool.

So instead of this:

I’m going for this:

Three Drugs You Should Not Ask Your Doctor About

This has been done before. I know it, but I can’t resist it. The irritation I feel when I see any drug commercial is enough to cause me to ask my doctor for one, preferably an anxiety-reliever. 

This post has nothing to do with writing, except the writing of some very bad, atrociously bad, commercials. And marketing. Of course, always marketing. It’s all about the big drug companies, and how they can appropriate a bigger share of the health industry profit pie.

Ask your doctor if [insert name of C-drug here] is right for you.

Does anyone else (other than me) want to lift the nearest piece of furniture, which weighs such that an average woman can lift it, and hurl it at the TV when you hear these words? I don’t know about you, but when I go to my doctor, he has to look at a computer screen to remember who I am. It’s not like he’s a personal friend or anything, although I think I did see him in a movie theater at one time and he said hello. I was struck dumb, and he said it’s Dr. Smith, you probably don’t recognize me without the white coat. I had been in his office just the day before (two at the most) so that’s probably the reason he remembered me.

He had recently moved from a private practice to one of those places with names which make people think they actually care about making people better, such as OhioHealth, places where he is paid by some huge conglomeration of doctors and clinics and urgent care units and maybe even hospitals, where he only has to be a doctor and doesn’t have to worry about running out of tongue depressors. I accused him of “working for the man” and he was just a bit defensive and said that now he could pay attention to doctoring without worrying about the administrative part, at which he feared he actually kind of sucked at. I was surprised at this admission.

He is a very good guy, and I have nothing bad to say about him, but if I asked him if X drug was right for me, he’d probably think I was cah-razy.

I decided to concentrate on drugs that start with the letter C. They are a truly unique and diverse bunch of stuff that you can take for ailments which you might not know you had, or for which you might not have known you should be concerned about.

Cymbalta. This is a drug for depression and/or pain. This seems odd to me, right out of the blocks, that one drug could be good for both of these things. But yes, it is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), anxiety disorder, neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis pain and chronic low back pain. So, if I’m depressed, shouldn’t I take a drug that’s JUST for depression and not combined with these other wimpy ailments? I mean really, depression seems more serious to me than something I could pop an Advil for. But if I decide to take Cymbalta, and my doctor says to me, “I believe that Cymbalta is right for you, oh Patient No. 412847534548” (<– this is a made up number, I don’t think my doctor has this many patients) then I might consider taking it. Because after all, I’ve seen the commercials, where the unhappy older people look sad and rub their knees and look out the window at a dreary day and they look, well, pretty pathetic. The commercial is divided into four parts:

Bad part. This is you, sad, depressed, in pain, not functional. Anxious and pretty much a loser. The voice-over guy is talking about how miserable you are, and the camera shots are making you look, well, not good.

Good part. The part where you play with a dog and laugh when he licks your mouth, and you walking on a beach, reading a book, with a small, slightly sad yet satisfied, fulfilled smile. The voice-over guy now talks about how wonderful life will be after Cymbalta.

Bad part. Uh oh. This is what can happen if you take Cymbalta. Make the pretty music a little louder, the voice-over guy speeds up the dialogue a bit so you have to strain to understand it. This is where they tell you that you can expect nausea, dry mouth, sleepiness, fatigue, constipation, dizziness, decreased appetite, and increased sweating. This sounds like it might not be worth the trouble to me, so let’s skim over this part. Get it over with quick.

Last part. The clincher, yeah there’s bad stuff that can happen but all in all Cymbalta is a pretty good deal, so “Ask your doctor if Cymbalta is right for you.”

They write songs just for drugs. Here is the Cymbalta song, as performed by the original composer.

Chantix. In order to be in a Chantix commercial, you must be a middle-aged, middle-class (or less) heavily accented woman from New Jersey. You must be able to pronounce Chantix (CHAY-un-tix). You must have smoked for forty years, or ten years less than your age. You can then tell your part of the smoking story in 49 seconds of a two-minute commercial, how you are a pack a day smoker, how you’ve instructed your kids never to pick up a cigarette, etc. How your doctor prescribed CHAY-un-tix. Then for the next one minute of the two-minute commercial, all the bad stuff that will happen to you if you take CHAY-un-tix will be all spelled out for you. Yeah, the music gets a little louder here too. Here’s what can go wrong:

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Chantix: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Chantix and call your doctor at once if you have any mood or behavior changes, confusion, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, extreme fear, or if you feel impulsive, agitated, aggressive, restless, hostile, depressed, hyperactive (mentally or physically), or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself. Chest pain or pressure, tight feeling in your neck or jaw, pain spreading to your arm or shoulder, vomiting, sweating, general ill feeling; feeling light-headed or short of breath; sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; easy bruising, unusual bleeding, blood in your urine or stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash; or the first sign of any blistering type of skin rash, no matter how mild. Here are a few less serious side effects of Chantix: nausea (may persist for several months); stomach pain, indigestion, constipation, gas; weakness, tired feeling; dry mouth, unpleasant taste in your mouth; headache; or sleep problems (insomnia) or unusual dreams.

Holy crap. I think I’d take my chances with smoking.

But hey, it can’t be that bad. Right? I mean, there’s Robin, slicing an apple with a scary looking knife. Obviously, SHE’S not suicidal.

What’s interesting about this ad is, that it lasts for two minutes and nearly half of it consists of admissions of all the horrible side effects.

Is this drug right for you? I think not.

Here is Robin in case you don’t believe me. Click on “Watch Robin’s Ad”.

Cialis. This is a very handy drug. When you take it, the walls of your house can fall away and you are sitting on the grassy banks of a stream and it is a beautiful, very green place. This can probably be done because of the way they build houses today, everything being kind of temporary. It is troubling to think what could happen in severe weather, can the walls fall away when you don’t want them to?

With Cialis, you take it, there are several seductive glances between the couple, the walls fall away, and then they are magically transported into two bathtubs.

Here are the side effects: The most common side effects with CIALIS are: headache, indigestion, back pain, muscle aches, flushing, and stuffy or runny nose. These side effects usually go away after a few hours. Uncommon but serious side effects include: An erection that won’t go away: If you get an erection lasting more than 4 hours, seek immediate medical help to avoid long-term injury. (Yeah, yeah. We’ve heard about this, but does it really happen? And if it does, is this considered a side effect?)

In rare instances, men taking prescription ED tablets, including CIALIS, reported a sudden decrease or loss of vision or hearing (sometimes with ringing in the ears and dizziness).  Remember, back when you were told that performing certain acts would make you go blind, guys? It’s for real.

The good news is that the unhappy, depressed, in-pain people can pop a Cymbalta, then pop a Cialis and wait for the walls to fall away. Maybe afterwards they can share a cigarette.

Komen Foundation: Race for the Consumer

Life in the Boomer Lane

For those of you who believe that Komen’s decision to pull breast cancer screening from Planned Parenthood goes against what Komen is supposed to stand for, read the following words from Ed of ginandtacos.com:

I have been of two minds about how to approach this. One option is to be thorough, do some research, and make a careful, reasoned argument about why the Susan G. Komen Foundationtm is a marketing consultancy masquerading as a charity, a fact only reinforced by their recent actions regarding Planned Parenthood. The other is to put my gall bladder on the keyboard, crank the Dillinger Escape Plan, and let the bile-laced invective fly. Press A for the first option or B for the second.

That’s what I thought. No one ever picks A.

As a preface, please consult Lea Goldman’s outstanding, well-researched article “The Big Business of Breast Cancer”, which represents what may…

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