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

 

 

When Good Books Make Bad Movies

When I heard Atlas Shrugged would soon be released, I was elated. I had just read the book.

I wondered why I had waited so long to read it, when it was practically a cult classic. I was hooked from the beginning and the only hard part to get through was John Galt’s infamous 60-page speech. I wanted to say, Geez, John, be a little more concise, will ya’? As my high school English teacher used to preach: Concise! Pithy! Epigrammatic!

The book does tend to be a bit repetitious in its message, just in case you didn’t get it the first time, Ms Rand drills it in over and over. Capitalism = Free Markets = Good. Only when you reward the entrepreneurs, when you allow them to be individuals and succeed in business in whichever way they choose, can society survive. Communism doesn’t work, although it wasn’t exactly Communism as such, but more of an unselfish society where no one must rise above the rest, when all things must be divided equally and all persons share in the wealth.

The novel is over 1000 pages long. There are a lot of subplots, a lot of expounding, a lot of character-building. But it’s all good. The slovenly brother of Dagny, the greedy, clueless family of Hank, the various hanger-ons and leeches. The successful, disappearing businessmen, the scientists influenced by inept politicians. The three brave world-changers.

It was a very engaging, very deep, very complicated novel. Perhaps Ms. Rand could have skinnied this down some, but she chose not to, and if she is a bit verbose, that particular shortcoming is not one which was troublesome to me.

How are they ever going to make a movie of it, wondered I? How will they capture all that nuance into a movie? Then I learned that the new movie was actually Atlas Shrugged, Part II. Ah. So better Netflix Part I because this rather anal reader and watcher of movies must see Part I before Part II. It would be blasphemy to do otherwise. 1 before 2. A before B.

(After rereading the above paragraph, I note that “Netflix” has now become a verb. When did that happen?)

Herr Schneider and I watched Part I. Herr had read Atlas Shrugged when most people did — back when we were young and self-perceived intellectuals. It had been many decades so he barely remembered it, just the message, but not any of the characters or the story.

Part I wasted no time. Bang! Got a lot of ground to cover! Even in multiple movie parts, we need to get going here. Lots of action packed into those scenes. If I hadn’t just read the novel, I wouldn’t have had the first clue about what was going on. I struggled to keep up. 

This is Hank and Dagny as they discover John Galt’s wonderful motor. Picture the scene. They are in an abandoned manufacturing plant. Windows broken, birds flying around. Debris laying all over the place. The place is huge, yet Dagny goes directly to the secret door wherein lies the motor.

Dagny: Looks like they just walked away.

Hank: Not much here.

Dagny: Too bad, I’d really like to figure out what happened here.

(Music swells)

Hank: Dagny. This is it! This is where they made the engine!

Dagny: You think it’s here?

Hank: I can’t believe all this stuff. Some of this is incredibly sophisticated.

Dagny: Unbelievable.

(Pause, as it dawns on Hank and Dagny, they both see it for the first time, and  they move reverently toward the workbench whereupon sits the aforementioned engine,  here in the old, abandoned factory strewn with litter and broken glass and bird poop.)

Dagny: Hank?

(Meaningful pause. Music swells a bit louder now)

Dagny: Atmospheric vacuum.

Hank: What?

Dagny: It’s known as the Casimir effect. It’s a small particle accelerator.

Hank: And this… must be a secondary cooling system, probably designed to eliminate excess heat generated during the process.

Dagny: Ex-ACT-ly. And this creates a magnetic field — in place long enough for the collapsing vacuum pressure to be captured.

Hank: The engine uses atmospheric vacuum to create static electricity! Now does it say anywhere on this document who designed this thing?

Dagny: I don’t see any names. We could get a list of the building employees?

Hank: We go to the Town Hall records, we find the last owner of the factory, we track it back from there. My God Dagny… this could change the world!

This scene was a whole chapter in the book, but took less than seven minutes in the movie.

After watching Atlas Shrugged, Part I, I am not sure I will bother with Part II. The movie seemed cartoonish to me, and events happened so fast my brain couldn’t keep up.

Sometimes, great books don’t make great movies. This was one clear example of that fact. How can a movie, even one in multiple parts, capture what it too 1000+ pages to explain?

It’s clear, it can’t.

Agree? No? Tell me.

Obamacare Made Us Do It!

What!!? No more Twinkies?

Hostess Brands recently announced its intention to go into bankruptcy, lay off over 18,000 workers and liquidate assets. The management/union disagreements focused on reducing workers’ benefits and salary cuts. The CEO got his pay tripled, but the rest of the worker bees doing the baking and packaging and distributing of the delectable little goodies were supposed to suck it up and settle for less. Among those reduced benefits is health insurance. But the union objected to this plan and now Hostess is one of those whining companies “Obamacare made us do it!!”

I guess it’s not unreasonable to assume that a company which makes its profit by delivering shit to kids and adults with Ding Dong addictions wouldn’t really be too concerned about healthy eating, let along health care for its employees.

And after all, those employees probably got a lot better perks than health insurance, like access to the Twinkie rejects and good deals on the merchandise. They should be willing to trade snack cakes for health care. It’s only fair, right?

But, really? No more Hostess Products? No more tasty cupcakes, no more gooey, spongy, chemical-laden “snack cakes”? No more Wonder bread? Whatever is to become of us? Oh wait. We stopped eating that garbage decades ago. That’s right. Now I remember, when companies had to start labeling their products with the actual crap that was in them. In addition to the usual: high fructose corn syrup, glucose, dextrose, palm oil, sweet dairy whey and cellulose gum, there are more mysterious ingredients to be noted. Stuff like ferrous sulfate, sodium caseinate, mono and diglycerides, stearoyllactylate, sodium caseinate, agar and a few things to “retain freshness”. Oh yeah, Hostess products have a 25-day shelf life.

Pretend you made some chocolate cupcakes. Pretend you injected them with white sticky goo and wrapped them in plastic and sat them on your counter for 25 days. Do you think you’d be wanting to chomp into one on that last day? Then think of what has to go into Hostess cupcakes to keep them from getting the way yours now look after a 3 1/2 week sabbatical.

This would be their cupcake:

Photo credit: Newbirth35 / Foter / CC BY-NC

This would be your cupcake:

fungal flouce

Photo by Psybeartist

I once worked in a small town in Ohio. Kind of an everyman’s kind of town, and I’d stop in at a tiny grocery two or three times a week in the morning to get a coffee to go and a newspaper. Invariably, I’d see high school kids in there, before school, buying cigarettes, Mountain Dew and Hostess snacks. Talk about a three-way burner! Holy headspin! We’re talkin’ some major uppers here, enough to get those kids through until third period at least.

You may think, but kids can’t buy cigarettes. Well, in this place they could, because the guy behind the counter taking in the small change was related in some way to all of them. It was that kind of town, where The Extreme Tractor Pull and The September Gopher Shoot were the two major social events of the year.

I’m trying real hard not to put a label on the types of people who would buy Hostess stuff, but it is difficult not to do that. Usually, it’s people who live for today, the hell with tomorrow, if I want to eat stuff that in no way resembles real food, then I should be able to do that. So don’t take away my Dolly Madison Cakes. And I’ll have a 20-ounce Dew and a pack of Marlboros with them.

Thankfully, this segment of the population seems to be in decline as people become more and more concerned with health issues and what kinds of foods they eat. Consumers now want organic-grown vegetables and meat that hasn’t been injected with growth hormones and antibiotics. A lot of us now really care what we are putting into our bodies. To a person, we are rejecting Hostess stuff.

So finally  Hostess reluctantly admitted that well, yes, there has been a downturn in recent years, a somewhat diminished demand for their products.

You think?

It’s getting very tiring listening to these junk food places blathering on about Obamacare. It hasn’t even happened yet. To my knowledge, 2014 is the first year anyone has to do anything about it. So why all the bitching about it now?

Maybe because, you weren’t on the winning side in this latest election? Maybe because you want to get out there and let everyone know, “Well, it’s your fault, you 51% of Americans for voting for him. It’s all his fault we have to lay off people and close down our good factories.” Bullshit.

It’s your own fault, Hostess, for committing to products that no one wants anymore. You’ve mismanaged your company for years. You’re in debt you can’t get out of. This is just a good excuse to get political and obfuscate the real reasons for your failure.

Yeah, yeah, we all know how Denny’s Grand Slam is going to go up by 49 cents and Papa John’s Pizza will cost more in order to pay for Obamacare. Sniff, sniff. Get over yourselves. It won’t work. It would be a dark day I’d dine in Denny’s. (How’s that for alliteration?). One doesn’t “dine” in Denny’s, one scarfs.

And I like pizza as well as the next person, but Papa John, think I’ll be passin’ on you.

Get a life. You lost.

So, Hostess, while it is so much more convenient to complain about Obamacare and blame the death of your company on labor unions, it was going down anyway.

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!

 

 

Are You A Twitter User? Check Your Tweets!

If you have decided to use Twitter as a marketing tool for your self-published novel (or for any other reason), check your tweets regularly. Because, if you don’t — You Might Miss Something!

Social media is the way to promote books, if you are an Indie author and/or publisher. That’s pretty much a given, but there are so many venues. Which one(s) to choose? I chose Facebook and Twitter. I have a Facebook fan page, where I post a link to a new blog article, and an autopost goes to Twitter whenever there is a new blog post published.

I checked Twitter faithfully for a long time and accumulated a few followers, and noticed that I would get this notification: “@xtrememarketing is now following you on Twitter!”. When I’d check out this particular Twitter user, often I wouldn’t know how s/he found me in the first place. Many of these strangers were following thousands of other people. I couldn’t figure out how they would ever see my particular tweets and anyway, why would they care about what I had to say?

Puzzling over this, I did a little research and found that what a lot of people do is check the list of followers for people they currently follow, and become followers of all those people. Twitter etiquette is more or less “you follow me, I’ll follow you” but what these mass marketers would do, is unfollow me as soon as I signed up to follow them. You don’t know when someone unfollows you, only when they begin to follow you. So now, you are following them but they don’t have to follow you.

Even if they don’t unfollow you, how can they ever find you, in the sea of tweets of thousands? There are lists that can be created, where you can follow the tweets of only the people you really care about. Again, what are my chances of being included on the A-list?

Bottom line, I forgot about Twitter. Didn’t check, didn’t have time, didn’t bother. Then one night I got the urge to tweet something so I downloaded Tweetdeck onto my phone and now started getting tweets again. This past weekend I got a notification (when someone tweets you directly) that I’d been nominated for a blogger award. But also on that list, was a tweet from one of my Boomers and Books buddies, that she had featured Perigee Moon on her Teaser Tuesday post! Great news, except it was back in June! I hadn’t even known about it.

Gah! I felt terrible.

I should have been on that post, replying to the people who left comments. But it’s too late now, it’s been four months.

Moral of the story: If you sign up for Twitter, people expect you are using it, and they assume you read your tweets. If you aren’t going to check them, disable your account. Otherwise, you won’t know what you are missing.

Many readers of The Tuesday Teaser post left comments. Most were positive, “sounds like a good read”, “will check it out”, etc. But here were three I found interesting:

Luke sounds a little bit spineless

Not sure if its for me though…I like stronger willed characters.

I think that Luke is going to be a character that I would like to shake really hard and tell him to get a life

Poor Luke has had this criticism before, that he can be pushed around, that he doesn’t think for himself, etc. I tried to portray him as a passive sort of guy, who keeps a lot of his thoughts inside and was able to be manipulated when he was younger. Sometimes it takes a little growth and maturity to become the person we were meant to be. It was so with Luke.

I know of a case where this Kate/Luke scenario actually happened. Not firsthand, but a friend of a friend kind of situation. Here’s how it went. The woman stalked him, sat outside his house and waited for him to come home at night, from outings with his friends and even dates with other girls. She wouldn’t go away. Finally, he caved and she got her man, and they’ve been married for decades. This is a happier ending than Luke and Kate but I found that story interesting and fictionalized their relationship on the idea that if one person wants it bad enough, sometimes she can convince the other to go along.

This is what happened to Luke. What do you think? Some of you baby boomers, don’t you think that was possible back then? I thought it was.

And now…

News You Should Not Notice!

“I have something, very, very big concerning the President of the United States.” Donald Trump, self-appointed highly respected political analyst, teased the Fox & Friends folks with this tidbit Monday during a phone interview. He is going to announce it sometime on Wednesday, he says, and “it’s going to be very big.”

DonkeyHotey / Foter / CC BY-SA

Just how big is that, Donald? When are we, as a nation who recognizes people such as this guy as somehow having something valuable to say (like “the job numbers are a lot of monkey business”), going to slap ourselves up side the head and recognize that maybe, uh, he’s a moron? Monkey business? That’s a phrase out of the fifties.

Remember, Donald, “The world rewards the appearance of merit oftener than merit itself.” (François de la Rochefoucauld) 

Appearance is the key word here. You only appear to be someone who matters. You really aren’t.

Distressed Lady Photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.

3D Man Photo courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

Why Would Anyone Do That? (Listen to 60’s Music)

The other day, whilst whipping up this bourgeois gastric delight from the last century, I thought why not dip further into nostalgia and listen to music of that same era? So I turned on the Old Fogey Station and as I chopped and sauted and opened cans, I happened to take a good listen to some of the crap with which we used to numb our brains.

Depending on which part of the country you hail from, you will refer to the plebian delight pictured here as either goulash (preferred), or Johnny Marzetti (Midwestern) or Chili Mac (Texas, maybe?). It’s has been around forever, a dish full of stuff, and was especially popular in the fifties and sixties. I am including one of six thousand recipes for it at the bottom of this post, in DIY casual instructions.

Back to the music, here are seven of my observations about some sexist and/or dumb lyrics I heard.

First up: Wives and Lovers, written by Burt Bacharach.

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

Thanks, Burt, for this lovely chauvinistic message. I’m sure it inspired a lot of women to go out and buy more of your crappy music.

Sure I sent him off to the office still in curlers but at least I have good hair! What’s with that sausage-roll flippy thing you’re sportin’ there?

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Next! Under My Thumb, The Rolling Stones

It’s down to me, yes it is
The way she does just what she’s told
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb

Under my thumb
A siamese cat of a girl
Under my thumb
She’s the sweetest, hmmm, pet in the world

Mick Jagger was in favor of “The Rolling Misogynists” but was voted down 4 to 1.

Geez, Mick, what will the neighbors think?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And here’s You’re Havin’ My Baby, by Paul Anka (and this is too bad, because I really like you Paul, but this rates an 8 on the Suck-O-Meter).

Havin’ my baby
What a lovely way of sayin’
How much you love me
Havin’ my baby
What a lovely way of sayin’
What you’re thinkin’ of me
I can see it, face is glowin’
I can see in your eyes
I’m happy you know it

Because, Paul, it’s all about you, isn’t it?

Yeah, Paul, it was fine when it was just a baby bump but now that I’m the size of a VW Beetle you’re sorta changin’ your mind now, aren’t ya?

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Next up, If You Wanna Be Happy by Jimmy Soul. You knew this one was coming, didn’t you?

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty women your wife
Go for my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

Don’t let your friends tell you you have no taste
go ahead and marry anyway
Her face is ugly her eyes don’t match
take it from me shes a better catch

Oh, Jimmy Soul. You didn’t make old bones but if you had, some woman would have killed you by now anyway. RIP, but Dude, what a nasty song.

Who’s ugly now, Jimmy, you two-hit wonder!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ah, sweet Donovan, how we loved ya’. That is until we listened, really listened, to what you were saying to us.

Superman or Green Lantern ain’t got a-nothin’ on me
I can make like a turtle and dive for your pearls in the sea, yeah!
A you-you-you can just sit there a-thinking on your velvet throne
’bout all the rainbows a-you can a-have for your own
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine
I’ll pick up your hand and slowly blow your little mind
When you’ve made your mind up forever to be mine

Slowly “blow your little mind”? Little mind? Um, I think, lovely Donovan, that perchance it’s you with the little mind, given your penchant for the cannabis.

Maybe I should have tried to find a two-syllable word other than “little”.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Next is Cherish, by the Association.

Oh, I could say I need you, but then you’d realize
That I want you, just like a thousand other guys
Who’d say they loved you with all the rest of their lies
When all they wanted was to touch your face, your hands
And gaze into your eyes

Who wants to bet that they have more on their minds (these thousand other guys) than touching your face and your hands and gazing? Even back then, I don’t recall this scenario. Oh, you say, this is the third-grade? Oh, well then.

Funny, this look worked for the Beatles but we’re not getting anywhere with it.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And now, Do You Love Me, by the Contours.

You broke my heart
‘Cause I couldn’t dance
You didn’t even want me around
And now I’m back, to let you know
I can really shake ’em down

Do you love me? (I can really move)
Do you love me? (I’m in the groove)
Ah do you love? (Do you love me)
Now that I can dance (dance)

Listen up. Any wench who dumps you because you can’t dance ain’t worth learning to do the shimmy-shimmy for.

Look, I can dance! You can’t see it but I’m doing the whirly thing with my hands. I’m the one with no partner!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Last but CERTAINLY not least, Next Door to an Angel by the ever-annoying and always-slimy Neil Sedaka.

Do do do, doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don
Doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don
Doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don
Doobie bop bop, oh do bop she don don

I took a look and oh what a shock
to find a little bit of heaven right on the block.
I’m living right next door to an angel
and I’m gonna make that angel mine.

I can’t believe that this is the girl next door,
her funny little face isn’t funny no more,
sixteen and oh what a dream, ain’t it strange
how she changed into such a lovely angel.

Do you know where your sixteen-year-old angels are?

Mmm, it’s a little bit of heaven living right next door to an angel. Did I say, mmm?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And now for that recipe:

Goulash (aka Johnny Marzetti and Chili Mac) is a combination of pasta, meat, flavorings and tomato stuff. Makes one of those 9 X 13 baking dishes full of good eatin’.
Pasta: Elbow macaroni or whatever you have. Cook 1 pound, make sure it’s al dente since it will cook further.
Meat: Hamburger and/or sweet Italian sausage. Whatever amounts you want but not more than 1.5 lb total.
Flavorings: Any combination, of onions (one medium), green pepper (one medium) and mushrooms (8 oz.) depending upon personal preference. Mushrooms need to be sauteed first since they throw off so much water.
Tomato stuff: One can diced tomatoes, and jarred or canned spaghetti sauce. This dish isn’t worth using up homemade sauce for.

Cook up the meat with the onion and peppers and drain. Mix in tomatoes, optional sauteed mushrooms and jar/canned sauce till it looks like a big slug of chili. Mix in enough pasta that it looks right, being careful not to over-pasta-ize since it swells up as it cooks and can take over your kitchen. Don’t forget to salt and pepper to taste (whatever that means). Other cool stuff you can add: parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. I guess that’s “to taste” also. Just dump some in. Slop this into a baking dish and cover with cheddar cheese. You know the little shards that come in a bag with the texture of cardboard? That stuff. I think it keeps the moisture in or something but really, it isn’t edible. Bake covered for a while, maybe while you drink your first martini, then uncover. Make a second martini and consume it. When done, so is dinner. Good luck because by now you might be too shitfaced to eat it. If so, stick it in the refrigerator and nuke it later, but beware that the stuff on the top does not improve with nuking.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I didn’t count the lyrics. So taking that reduction into account, I am well below the word limit.

12 Things Not To “Like” About Facebook

This post might offend some Facebook users so, true to my wimpy, introverted nature, I won’t post a link to this post from my personal Facebook page. After all, I don’t really harbor any latent death wishes. I will only post it on my Books page since most likely the people who have “liked” that page will forgive my rants, given that you’ve more or less volunteered for it.

Facebook was a good idea in the beginning. Now it’s pretty much tripe. I still look at it, but I rarely comment on anything, and I am not guilty of posting any of the types of things exampled below. I wouldn’t do it, because I very much believe that NOTHING any of my “friends” post about their personal religious beliefs or political sentiments will ever affect how I feel about those same subjects, so I wouldn’t think the reverse would be true.

Speaking of “friends”, that’s kind of a bump-up in the amount of affection I feel for upwards of 75% of the Facebook personalities I am currently connected to. If I were able to recognize even 10% (a generous percentage) of my Facebook friends if I met them head-on in the frozen food aisle, that would be happily surprising.  

That’s not to say I don’t have genuine friends on Facebook and I have marked them as such. But I’ve been gathering info from all the statuses and links so I can blast away at Facebook in this post.

Not all of the 12 are friend-related grievances. Some are just Facebook being what it is, a big colossal waste of time. Not to mention, every Facebook user is in mortal danger of having his or her equilibrium thrown into a spin cycle with flashing blue to pink ads or things that move.

Is that picture of the woman with beet juice on her face moving or am I having a seizure here? Damn, I knew I shouldn’t have combined that goat’s milk with the Happy Hour Sake at Ed’s Sushi Shack last night.

Here’s the list of twelve (and there are probably fifty more):

The “You’re a Winner” flashing banner. This is the blue/pink thing I was talking about. I have won a free Walmart gift card? Somehow I doubt that. And besides, I avoid Walmark like I would a mosquito wearing a West Nile Virus Alert ID bracelet.

This is not a joke! The fact that you have to say that this is “not a joke”, is a joke. What is it about this that is NOT a joke?  I am the 100,000th visitor of the day so I can claim my “prize”? Funny, I have seen that same thing before. How can I be the 100,000th visitor on one day and then again a day later? I don’t get the math here.

Girls online. Well, look at these tarty little Eastern European girls. Warning! They are VERY attracted to westernized men. I am pretty sure I listed my gender as female. I am also pretty sure these fluties would not appeal to lesbians. So assuming these two things, that NO female is interested in flirting with or dating these Eastern European girls, why would you show me this ad? Get with the program, Facebook. It’s not rocket science.

Games. Now, I’m sure there is probably a way to prevent this type of post from appearing. Some setting somewhere. But the real problem is I don’t care enough to investigate it in order to figure out where that is. Do we really have to see this stuff? No, I don’t have any space helmets! And when did we start playing Cityville? I thought we were playing Farmville! Oh wait, the Industrial Revolution must have happened.

Horoscopes. Ah. If only I cared about your Virgo horoscope. Not being a Virgo, and not even giving the teeniest of sh*ts about my own horoscope, I certainly don’t care about yours. But wait. It says “Everything you’ve been working towards is likely to be positively received… “ If only I’d been a Virgo! I hold my parents directly responsible for the misalignment of my astrological future endeavors. However, I believe the key word in the horoscope here is “likely”.

“This person supports” with the arrow pointing at the supporter’s Facebook profile pic. I think some PhotoShopping is in order. How about a little text change here. “This person supports The Ritualistic Sacrifice and Blood-letting of Small Animals.”

Challenges. The above is a nice sentiment. But I refuse to do this just because you Double Dog Dare me to. Sure, Mattel should make the Hope doll. But will they? No. Because it probably wouldn’t make economic sense. So maybe your time could be better spent by writing directly to Mattel if you feel strongly about this subject? I’m just playin’ devil’s advocate here.

Really annoying posters. Speakig of the devil. Oh my. This is offensive on so many levels. First of all, how do you know this kid feels that way? Did you ask him? Did you get his permission to use his image on this poster? Aren’t you kinda playing with fire here? What if this lovely urchin turns out to be an agnostic? He might sue you when he grows up, and you know? That would, like totally serve you right.

Requests to get you to copy and post as a status.  Another nice sentiment. And love the little heart things. The more the better! But no, I’m afraid I can’t do this. Why? Because it is phony and disingenuous? Well, that’s a start. It’s kind of like those billboards you see with the lone Bible verse on it. I always wonder who put that there, who paid for it, and what do they hope to accomplish? I feel the same about this. Of course everyone feels this way about cancer. No need to cheese it up.

Horrific political sentiments. This is further proof that some people are plain mean-spirited, nasty and will say and post anything. This is just vile. It’s stupid and insulting. Want to find a good way to get about half of your “friends” to un-friend you? Post this. The woman who did it got the old hover, unfriend, click from me. Not that she probably cares. And she was after all, not in the 10% that I would recognize in the frozen food aisle.

Unrecognizable pictures of nasty people. Who is this kindly looking gentleman? He looks like a nice man. WAIT! That’s Rush Limbaugh. No fair posting pictures that make him look like a regular guy so that nobody even recognize him. I bet someone just told him his prescription for Oxycontin is ready at Walgreen’s.

Religion-R-Us. Ta-da! The most irritating, disgusting of all — requests that you “friend” Jesus. I made this lovely collage because I couldn’t decide which image was worse. You know how Evangelicals always scoff and titter when someone spots the image of the Virgin Mary in a tortilla shell? This is right down that same religious-nuttery street. To me, this borders on sacrilege. Get your priorities straight. Don’t mix Facebook with your version of religion, whatever that is.

Well, there you have it! Twelve reasons. Do you need any more? Do you have any more?

My apologies that this post went well beyond the 800 word limit. Sometimes I just can’t shut up. 

Photo of 3D Man (sans sign text) courtesy of freedigitalprints.net

All other photos are screen shots from my personal Facebook page.

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?