Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Securely taking Social Security

It surely is one of the most difficult and consequential of decisions for Baby Boomers: When can I retire and, more importantly, when should I start collecting my Social Security benefits.

Well, a writer at CNN.com (of all places) has done some of the heavy lifting for us:

"Say you want to retire at 62 and would draw a Social Security benefit of $1,125 a month. That's 25 percent less than the $1,500 you would collect if you waited until age 66.

"By age 77 and 11 months (let's call it 78) you'd have collected roughly $216,000 in total benefits, whether you opted for early benefits ($1,125 x 192 months from ages 62 until 78) or full retirement age benefits ($1,500 x 144 months from ages 66 until 78).

"But your break-even age is actually later when you factor in the investment value of your early benefits. Even if you don't invest those early benefits directly, taking them might mean you can leave other savings to keep growing. That could add three to five years to your break-even point...."

She even linked to the Social Security Administration's breakeven calculator.

The full piece is here. It is worth your time.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Father's Story; A Pentagon Tribute

We live in extremely difficult times, and we Baby Boomers have seen all of this before.

It is nearly impossible to believe that so many of us have forgotten the lessons learned from - and the pain inflicted by - the Vietnam experience, but clearly we have.

An ill-conceived, disastrously managed war. Our young, and in some cases, not-so-young maimed and killed. Our economy and our serenity and our standing in the world damaged nearly beyond repair.

Our troops richly deserve our support and respect and gratitude, but the cause for which they and their families must sacrifice - while so many of us remain untouched? We must think carefully about this. Yes, our enemies are vicious and tenacious and they must be confronted, fought and defeated, but where were they before we invaded Iraq and where are they now?

Here, on Memorial Day, are two relatively brief pieces worthy of your review.

One is from the Wall Street Journal and reflects the anguish of a father who not only lost a son to the war but must struggle to come to terms with his role in that loss; the other is about a moving weekly ceremony at the Pentagon and is written by - actually relayed by - a friend and colleague, military correspondent Joe Galloway.

Please read them. Please think about them.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A Crisp Salute...

...to the fallen who died in service to their country.

BoomVista will be away for the holiday weekend, but let's try to keep in mind the purpose of Memorial Day. It is not to shop, picnic or drive to the shore, though there's nothing wrong with any of that.

The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor soldiers, sailors, Marines, Air Force personnel and Coast Guard men and women who were killed in the line of duty.

As a veteran, I find myself feeling this more keenly as each year passes and as each Memorial Day and Veterans Day pass.

And, for what it's worth, I think this would be a better nation if everyone were compelled to devote two years of service to their nation.

Could be military, could be a form of civilian service. No matter. The country needs it, and many of our young people could use a bit of discipline, a sense of responsibility to something larger than themselves.

End of sermon. Enjoy the holiday, but also...remember.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

R.I.P. And Pass The Buffalo Wings

Hard to know what to think about this one.

An interesting story in the Press-Enterprise, a newspaper that is based...somewhere (its website is amazingly vague about that), is promoted with this irresistible headline:

"Funerals are becoming a personal celebration."

This is how it begins:

"Louise Felicetta threw her husband, Dominic, a big bash on Feb. 24, the day after his 72nd birthday. At the Gourmet restaurant in San Bernardino, 200 friends and family members nibbled on wings and meatballs, danced to a live band, watched the couple's life unfold on videos and sifted through photos and memorabilia.

"But the guest of honor wasn't there. Dominic Felicetta, of Rialto, was dead. After a short bout with pancreatic cancer, he had been cremated. His ashes eventually will be co-mingled with his wife's and buried in the family plot.

" 'He didn't want a funeral or memorial," says Felicetta, 79. "It was a special day. I came home a little sad, but uplifted." '

Yep, that's how I'm hoping Mrs. BoomVista will feel on that somewhat special day. A little sad, but oh-so-uplifted.

Setting that aside for the moment, along with the fact that the piece attributes all of this to self-absorbed Baby Boomers, even though Mr. Felicetta and his slightly melancholy but uplifted widow are Boomer Emeriti, the article does reflect a growing reality.

Many of us are unlikely to do the fill-in-the-blanks funeral routine. As the piece says, without any apparent awareness of the pun, "Blame it on baby boomers for thinking outside the box."

Mrs. BoomVista, for instance, knows that I want to be buried with a portable XM Satellite Radio and a six-pack of batteries. Yes, XM's 60s music is that good. I'm serious (not to be confused with Sirius).

What about you? Given it any thought? Oh, c'mon, you know you have.

The rest of the article is here. (Upon close examination, the Press-Enterprise might cover the Riverside-San Bernadino area of southern California. But it's apparently not the sort of thing they want to say definitively on their web page.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Balancing Post (rimshot)

OK, so most of us remember the days before Black/CrackBerries, before cell phones and, more to the point I'll eventually get to, before pocket calculators. We remember pencils and paper. We remember those damn multiplication tables.

Boy, do we remember those multiplication tables. And, speaking for myself, I want to keep remembering them.

So I balance my checkbook the old-fashioned way. I insist on receiving hard-copy monthly statements in the mail (you have to be careful - banks are developing all sorts of tricks to get you to click the 'electronic delivery' box). And when the statements arrive, I pull out a pen and the checkbook, and I add and substract and curse and whine and so on and so forth.

Now, I'm no Luddite. I have computers, 6.0 DSL service, a wireless home network, satellite TV and XM Satellite Radio (I still have to get to that post), and I know I can go online and pretty much have the bank do it for me or program the computer to do it.

But I don't. And I usually don't use a calculator either, for the same reason I sometime walk stairs when I can ride an elevator. Exercise.

I want to keep this brain - or reasonable facsimile thereof - as sharp as I can. And I'm thinking (rimshot redux) the best way to do that is to keep exercising it.

Whaddya think? Anyone have a similar hard-headed policy about bank statements and checkbooks? Other examples of the same sort of thing?

Friday, May 18, 2007

We Bet They Do

First, the kicker quote from an AP story about nudist colonies seeking to recruit younger members as an offset to the wrinkling maturing crop of Baby Boomer customers:

"Unlike any other place in life, people actually look at you when they talk to you."

Yes, we bet...

Anyway, the rest of the article is here. It, uhm, raises the question: How comfortable would you be on the receiving end of widespread visual attention?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sad News Today

Lauren Terrazzano, the young Newsday reporter who wrote so movingly about her battle with cancer, has died.

She was married for just over a year. She was 39 years old. "What matters is the present moment," she wrote.

Our condolences and best wishes to her husband, other relatives, friends and colleagues at Newsday.

Here is the obituary published by her newspaper.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Standards and Practices, Part 2

Well, I guess some standards still exist and some lines cannot be crossed without consequences.
--
XM Radio Suspends Opie & Anthony

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK, May 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- XM Radio announced today that the company has suspended Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia, hosts of "The Opie & Anthony Show" and ceased broadcast of the show for 30 days, effective immediately.

XM Radio deplored the comments aired on "The Opie & Anthony Show" last week. At the time, the company strongly expressed its views to Opie and Anthony, and they issued an immediate apology.

Comments made by Opie and Anthony on yesterday's broadcast put into question whether they appreciate the seriousness of the matter. The management of XM Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony to make clear that our on-air talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom requires of them.

As a company, XM provides customers with tools to control what they listen to on XM. "The Opie & Anthony Show" appears on one of XM's explicit language channels (XL). Whenever a radio is tuned to an explicit language channel, the letters "XL" continuously appear on the screen. XM frequently mentions on its explicit language channels that the content may be inappropriate for certain listeners and tells how to "block" channels that feature this type of content. Channel blocking is available through xmradio.com or by calling 1-800-XMRADIO.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Keeping The 'Lights' On

Excellent news was confirmed on Monday.

NBC renewed "Friday Night Lights," one of the best - if not the best - television programs of recent years.

In addition, NBC says that repeats of the first season will begin airing on Sunday, May 27. Pass the word. As previously discussed, this is a high-quality program that Baby Boomers and their children and grandchildren should support.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Standards and Practices

People who know me well are a little surprised that I haven't yet mentioned one of the things that is making this Baby Boomer's journey into the Third Third most enjoyable: XM Satellite Radio.

One day, I will wax poetic about XM and what it delivers. One day...but not today.

Today, in a bit of an echo of the Don Imus situation, I am compelled to speak harshly about something that was broadcast on XM this past week.

This is difficult for me because I am such a fan of XM and such a proponent of free speech, so I think I'll begin with this description of the event, posted on the web by someone else:

"Warning: Extremely Vulgar Language. XM Shock Jocks Opie and Anthony engage in discussion about forced sex with the Secretary of State. A studio guest, Homeless Charlie, begins describing the scenario as the hosts laugh and encourage him. Anthony talks about the horror for Rice as the guest is "holding her down" and assaulting her. They invite Charlie to be a regular guest."

If you want to hear this for yourself, and I don't particularly recommend it, you can access an audio clip here. A full New York Times account of the resulting controversy can be found here.

Some people I know, also XM fans, are shrugging their shoulders about this. Just a skit, they say. You could hear the same thing on HBO or Saturday Night Live. Some other shock jocks are expressing alarm, saying that criticism of O&A shows that it is becoming a "dangerous time" to be on radio.

Let's be clear. This was not a 'skit.' This was not a comedy routine you would see on HBO. It was not a segment of Saturday Night Live. It would have been edited out of any program broadcast on any television network in this or virtually any other country.

This was a detailed, profanity-laced discussion about forcible, violent sex - also known as rape - on someone, a discussion that appeared to approve of that act and made light of it.

If someone were to rationalize this away, what is next?

Is it OK to have a similar, approving discussion about, say, slavery?

The genocide of Armenians, Jewish people or others?

A forcible, violent sex attack on a six-year-old child?

This was an abuse of free speech every bit as much as yelling 'fire' in a crowded theater is an abuse of free speech, and - in my opinion - it should be condemned as such.

Back in the '60s and early '70s, the most popular weatherman in New York City, the largest market in the country, was Tex Antoine. One night, his weather report came on right after a news report about a violent rape of a five-year-old girl.

Antoine said, on the air: "With rape so predominant in the news lately, it is well to remember the words of Confucius: 'If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it.' "

He was suspended and ultimately fired. His career essentially ended that night.

I don't remember anyone raising free speech issues or complaining that it was becoming a dangerous time to be on television.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

And The Answers Are

1. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet.
2. The Ed Sullivan Show.
3. On Route 66.
4. To protect the innocent.
5. The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
6. The limbo.
7. Chocolate (Bonus opportunity: Who was pictured along side that question?)
8. Louis Armstrong.
9. The Timex watch.
10. Freddy The Freeloader, and "Good Night and may God Bless."
11. Draft cards (bras also were burned).
12. Beetle or Bug.
13. Buddy Holly.
14. Sputnik.
15. Hoola-hoop.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

There Will Be A Test

And here it is.

Most questions are easy; some not so much.

Click 'Comments' at the bottom of the post to list your guesses/answers or to comment about someone else's comments. The full list of correct answers will be posted later in the week.

(And thanks to Mark, a loyal BoomVista-ista, for the contribution.


------------------ A TEST FOR OLDER KIDS ---------------


1. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, "Who was that masked man?" Invariably, someone would answer, "I don't know, but he left this behind..." What did he leave behind?

2. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. in early 1964, we all watched them on The _______ Show.

3. "Get your kicks, ________."

4. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed __________."

5. "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ___."

6. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we "danced" under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the "_______."

7. "N_E_S_T_L_E_S", Nestle's makes the very best___."




8. Satchmo was America's "Ambassador of Goodwill." This great jazz trumpeter's name was ___.

9. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking?

10. Red Skelton's hobo character was named _____ and Red always ended his television show by saying, "Good Night, and "___ ___."

11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their ______.

12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW ___? What two other names did it go by?

13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, "The day the music died." This was a tribute to _______.

14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called _____.

15. One of the big fads of the late 50s and 60s was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the _______.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Extra! Extra! Read All About Us!

Two messages here.

1. We mentioned this awhile back, but this Sunday's New York Times Magazine is entirely devoted to Baby Boomers. More about that in a minute, but first...

2. It seems like advertisers finally get it, and they are warming to us.

For many years, ad agencies made it clear that they weren't interested in us. Too old. Too locked into our ways.

This made so sense, of course, because we tend to have considerable disposable income - not all of us, but many of us - and we have a history of disposing it.

Well, it took 'em awhile, but advertisers are wising up.

The NYTimes calls this Sunday's edition: “The New Middle Ages: A Special Issue.” It says the magazine "will be devoted entirely to topics facing baby-boomers as they hit middle age. It will cover the ways in which our nation’s most talked-about generation addresses lifestyle choices concerning work, money, travel, politics, spirituality, relationships, health and more."

And here's the kicker: The issue has attracted what the magazine calls "significant advertiser interest" - 56 advertising pages, with the largest contribution in ad sales coming from the financial sector.

(The paper says that NYTimes.com/Magazine, an online version of The New Middle Ages issue, will offer exclusive interactive features, including a crossword puzzle with clues created by former President Bill Clinton, an original documentary on boomer sex lives by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Rachel Dretzin, a video Q&A about the new science of longevity and a questionnaire that measures a person’s wisdom.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Inexpensive travel to London

We're always looking for bargains to share. So, here's a travel tip contributed by John, a loyal BoomVista-ista:

Google Maps is awesome for making travel plans ... follow the steps below to find the cheapest route to London.

1. Go to Google
2. Click on "maps"
3. Click on "get directions"
4. Type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. Type "London" in the second box (the "to" box)
6. Hit 'Get Directions'
7. Be sure to see step #24

It's Never Really Enough, Is It?

So, how much money do or will we need to retire comfortably? And what does that mean exactly anyway...comfortably?

I think a reasonable definition is: Will Mrs. BoomVista let me buy a new car when I want to? OK, more seriously, a reasonable definition is: Enjoying your retirement while spending wisely and modestly and, most importantly, without becoming obsessed by your bank account or net worth.

Coop, a loyal BoomVista, sends along some advice that passed through his computer the other day. It comes from a firm called Daniel A. White Associates, which says it "solely serves the financial needs of those nearing retirement and those already retired."

Much of it is pretty obvious, but it never hurts to review the obvious. Here is the material, which some bracketed remarks from BoomVista:

As retirement rolls into view for the Baby Boomer generation, many people are wondering if their nest egg will provide the quality of life they have been dreaming about for so many years.

There is no universally accepted method for calculating how much money is needed to cover retirement expenses. But a comprehensive evaluation of your financial situation will improve the accuracy of whatever planning tool you use to measure your nest egg. Here is a summary of information you will need.

- Retirement expenses. Start by figuring out current living expenses, then determine what will change in retirement. Most retirees spend less on expenses like food [Huh?] and clothing, but many spend more on travel and second homes. Don't forget health care when estimating your annual retirement budget in today's dollars. [That's certainly the biggie, isn't it? BoomVista's plan - Have Mrs. BoomVista continue working for the health insurance...pretty much forever. :) ]

- Cash flow sources. Be conservative on what you expect from Social Security, although President Bush has promised full benefits for everyone born before 1950. [See this previous post.] Pensions, annuities and reverse mortgages will reduce the amount you need to withdraw from investment accounts. [Many other experts advise extreme caution when considering reverse mortgages.]

- Future events. Downsizing to a smaller home or selling property will add to your nest egg. Money you expect to inherit should be included in your calculations.

- Investment return and risk. How much risk you are willing to take will affect how fast your nest egg grows and how safe it is after your retire. While you are still working, you can take more risks to increase investment returns because you will have time to recover from a stock market setback. But once you've retired, it's advisable to reduce investment risk in order to protect your nest egg from sudden declines in value when you need to make withdrawals.

- Retirement date. People who work past 65 will have a bigger nest egg and fewer years of retirement expenses to cover. [They also will get more work-related aggravation.] Some retirees have found they should have kept their jobs for a few more years.

- Expect the unexpected. Don't rely on formulas based on average investment return, inflation and longevity rates, because deviations from the norm can throw off projections. [This is good advice.}

- Keep saving. The best way to improve your odds for a carefree retirement is to keep adding to your nest egg. [Duh.]

Sunday, April 29, 2007

I Think, Therefore I Am...I Think

Let's face it, we're slowing down on all fronts. We're fighting it and we'll keep fighting it, but there's no doubt about it - it's a struggle.

And I'm not talking about our tennis games, our jogging, our ability to sink those putts. I'm talking brain power - our ability to process information as efficiently and reliably as in the past.

The other day, I finally solved an annoying little problem with our pool pump. Darn thing kept taking in some air. In previous weeks, I tried lots of stuff - searched for leaks, replaced two rubber O-rings in the system, cursed it, banged it, kicked it. Nothing helped. Then, staring at it in pure hatred, the cause came into focus - the valve that controlled water flow into the pump. Gee, maybe if I readjust that? Sure enough. Problem gone. The simplest, most obvious solution had eluded me for weeks. I am utterly convinced that this would not have happened 30, 20, 10, even five years ago.

This is familiar to all of us. Some days, we're just sharper than other days, and it has nothing to do with how much sleep we had the night before, how much...see, right there, I momentarily forgot the name of my favorite beer...Corona we might have consumed, or anything else that we readily can point to. Some days, we wake up and the old sharpness is right there; some days, it's not.

Not to worry, it's normal, the experts say, and there is some compensating mental value to getting old moving along in time.

A study (actually a study of previous studies) recently found that the human brain's ability to process information deteriorates with age, but at the same time, our deepening well of experience provides growing benefits.

"Thinking capacity declines with time," said Ellen Peters, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and a senior research scientist with Decision Research, a non-profit research group. "We learn less easily. We process information more slowly."

However, from the emotional side of processing, "we may show improvements over time, she said. "We may tend to feel our way through decisions more when we are older."

Her work mostly involves the truly elderly, but much of it applies to Baby Boomers.

Take this insight and conclusion, for instance:

As we grow older (and time grows shorter), our motivation begins to change from doing what might be best for us in the future to doing what might feel best to us right now. (Yeah, I know, Boomers and self-indulgence and living for the moment and blah blah blah, but we're being serious here).

For instance, Another recently published study found that, when it comes to making choices about health and medical treatment, older people focus more on positive and fairly immediate benefits and less on the long-term negative risks.

So, for instance, though your doctor might tell you to try that Prilosec OTC for 14 days and then lay off it for awhile, if the acid reflux returns after just a day or two without it...boom...there you go, unsealing that annoying foil wrapper and popping one of those wonderfully effective pink pills. The heck with the future; I need this now.

Probably nothing wrong with that, but it could be helpful as we get older to keep in mind that...our minds keep changing.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We'll Eventually Come Up With A Reason Why We Posted This

BoomVista has a rigidly applied rule that every post somehow must be related to Baby Boomers. But this one...wait...I have it! Baby Boomers have senses of humor, right?

Allrighty then, here we go (and thanks to Rick, a BoomVista-ista, for this contribution).
--
These are from a book called Disorder in the Court: Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
WITNESS: Yes.
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan.

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
ATTORNEY: Voodoo?
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Would you repeat the question?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
WITNESS: Oral.

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
WITNESS: No.
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Where WERE These Women? (I Was Looking Everywhere)

OK, this is really a little depressing.

Remember that sexual revolution thing in the 60s? That one that seemed to pass you right by? Well, you really have NO idea just how passed by you were.

A truly fascinating study has just come to BoomVista's attention through a link provided by an interesting site called seniorjournal.com . Released earlier this year and published in Public Health Reports, it concludes that pretty much everybody was doing it. All the time. Back then. Before back then. After back then. Allthedarntime.

From the report:

"Among cohorts of women turning 15 between 1964 and 1993, at least 91% had had premarital sex by age 30. Among those turning 15 between 1954 and 1963, 82% had had premarital sex by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44.

"Conclusions: Almost all Americans have sex before marrying. These findings argue for education and interventions that provide the skills and information people need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases once they become sexually active, regardless of marital status."

Yeah, and it also argues that some of us Baby Boomers were incredibly unlucky back then.

Click here for the full report.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Good News, Bad News

So, the nation may have a little extra time to deal with the...timebomb...that is Social Security and Medicare, but once again, we Baby Boomers are inadvertently causing a problem and, once again, we'll be penalized.

Once again, something we were promised , something on which we depended, will be reduced, curtailed or withdrawn.

Yesterday delivered news that, as the Associated Press put it, "Fewer benefits, more tax money and some accounting magic have bought an extra year of life for Social Security and Medicare, trustees of the government's two largest benefit programs said Monday."

Still, the article said, the Medicare trust fund could crash by 2019 and the Social Security trust fund could run dry by 2041.

"Today's report reinforces the need for Congress to address runaway entitlement spending that will bankrupt future generations of Americans," said House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio.

Yep, that's you he's talking about, Mr. and Mrs Runaway Entitlement Spending. That's where we're wasting money. Not on an ill-conceived war gone bad. Not on Halliburton. Not on bridges to nowhere in Alaska or tax cuts for the super-rich. You. You and your oh-so-precious Social Security and Medicare funds, those safety nets you've been buying on the installment plan for the last 40 years or so.

Shame on you.

So, what's the plan? Should we end that expensive war? Rollback those tax cuts? Nah. Here's the preferred plan, according to the Social Security trustees' latest report:

"An immediate increase of 16 percent in payroll tax revenues or an immediate reduction in benefits of 13 percent or some combination of the two."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Maybe He Just Fell?

From a Reuter's article:

"SAN FRANCISCO: Iggy Pop marked his 60th birthday just like any other respectable senior citizen would.

"The eerily athletic Godfather of Punk stripped down to a tight pair of blue jeans and dived off the stage into the arms of his adoring fans during a concert in San Francisco with his reunited band the Stooges.

"Towards the end of the 80-minute show, the crowd at the Warfield theater sang along as his bandmates struck up Happy Birthday, and Pop was surprised as balloons bearing his image dropped from the ceiling.

"A fan also handed him a white T-shirt inscribed 'Birthday Boy Iggy,' which the singer proudly displayed to his unimpressed bandmates.

"Pop, whose real name is Jim Osterberg, seemed thrilled by all the attention, but did not dwell too much on the special occasion. He muttered a few thanks along the way before resuming his usual routine: manic singing and dancing, spitting into the crowd, scampering onto the speakers and throwing his microphone stand around the stage..."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Downsizing consultants

No, we don't mean getting rid of consultants, though our experience suggests that would be a terrific idea.

What we have here is a whole new business model: People who advise Baby Boomers about what to take with them when they go. To a smaller house or apartment, that is.

According to an interesting piece in today's Baltimore Sun, these folks are called "senior move managers."

From the article:

"These professionals guide clients through a journey that's often as much about sorting through a lifetime's worth of memories as it is about possessions. They help clients decide what to take, what to leave and how to redirect it. They also set up and organize their new homes.

"The field is attracting many middle-aged women who are searching for a career that combines their entrepreneurial dreams with their nurturing abilities.

" 'Our service is far more than packing items; it's providing the intelligence in sorting through and interpreting a customers' needs and wants,' says Kim McMahon of Let's Move Inc. in Howard County."

Sounds good, Kim. But we're telling you right now that we're taking the drums (including the cymbals) and every single one of our baseball caps, and that's that.


(Just like we did the last time we moved, pictured to the left.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

HEY! Get Off Your Butt

If this is true, it's scary stuff.

According to a front page Washington Post article, our generation may be the first to enter retirement in worse physical condition than the previous generation.

Basically, it suggests that the many advances in medicine and health are being counteracted by overweight and stress, among other things.

The first two paragraphs:

"As the first wave of baby boomers edges toward retirement, a growing body of evidence suggests that they may be the first generation to enter their golden years in worse health than their parents. While not definitive, the data sketch a startlingly different picture than the popular image of health-obsessed workout fanatics who know their antioxidants from their trans fats and look 10 years younger than their age.

"Boomers are healthier in some important ways -- they are much less likely to smoke, for example -- but large surveys are consistently finding that they tend to describe themselves as less hale and hearty than their forebears did at the same age. They are more likely to report difficulty climbing stairs, getting up from a chair and doing other routine activities, as well as more chronic problems such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes."

Read more here, preferably as you work out on the treadmill or somedamnthing. C'mon people. This is not acceptable. And, in most cases, it's at least somewhat under our control. (And thanks to David, a BoomVista-ista, for the tip.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Beep-Beep

Submitted for your consideration:

This paragraph from today's Wall Street Journal story about the Blackberry/Crackberry service outage, an article that is reproduced here with a little emphasis but no additional comment.

"Tuesday night, the West Coast was wrapping up its workday when the outage began. Lori Sale, a senior agent at the Los Angeles-based talent agency International Creative Management, was at her 14-year-old son's baseball game when her BlackBerry stopped working. She first realized something was wrong at about 5:15 p.m. PDT, when she noticed she had received no emails on her BlackBerry since 5:03 p.m. Ms. Sale, who estimates she receives more than 500 emails a day, became alarmed when her boss then called and asked why she hadn't responded to his email sent four minutes earlier about a sudden problem."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Turning (gulp) 60

Here it comes. Just a few months away.

Mrs. BoomVista has been insisting that I choose an appropriate way to celebrate The Big 60, so I finally did. We take a quick getaway to a nearby resort with the daughter and son-in-law. Minimum travel, maximum relaxation.

Was just informed that it was vetoed. The four of us are going to Vegas, I was told. As soon as I make the plans for everyone.

That sort of thing aside, I've been trying to get my head around turning 60.

Never had a problem with any prior birthdays.

Thirty. Forty. No prob. Slid right through them. Fifty? Slight hesitation, interesting number, but not all that significant. Let's move on. What's next?

Well, 60. That's what's next. And this one is causing some pausing.

Not too hard to figure out why. Let's face it, when we were kids and our grandparents were 60, they were old. Really, truly old. Get-some-pocket-change-right-now-from-them-because-they-may-not-be-here-tomorrow old.

So 60 equaled old. No two ways about it.

Now, times have changed. With luck, we're healthier, wealthier and...younger...than they were at 60. And that's good.

But...stilll...60.

Hmmmmmm....

Thoughts? Click the comments button. (And...hurry)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Q: Seven letter word for...

...a former president who will create a boomer-focused crossword puzzle for the New York Times.

A: Clinton

Advertising Age reports two facts of interest to us.

- The New York Times Magazine apparently will devote much of the content of its May 6 issue to baby boomers.

- Bill Clinton, a known crossword freak, is producing a boomer-oriented puzzle that will be available that day, though apparently only online at the Times' website.

"This is all part of building out the game portal," Robert Z. Samuels, senior product manager, games and mobile, New York Times Digital, told Advertising Age.

Presumably, the crossword puzzle will include a clear and definitive definition of the word "is."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Things I Don't Get, Part 1

1. If our taxes are higher than ever, how come our public schools, our roads, our senses of personal safety and security (and those of our children and grandchildren) are worse than ever?

2. Talking about schools, when and how did we come to accept the fact that teachers must buy - out of their own pockets - paper, pencils and other supplies for their students?

3. Talking about reaching into our pockets, when and how did we come to accept the fact that parents and other loved ones of our military members must buy - out of their own pockets - bullet-proof vests and other protective gear for our soldiers and Marines?

4. Why can't you just hook up your computer to the wire coming out of the wall and get to the Internet - how in the world did all of these settings, devices and other complications come about?

5. Geraldo Rivera.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Imus and Civility and Us

You know, I've been wanting to post about The Imus Affair since the moment news broke Thursday that he'd been fired by CBS, but I found myself hesitating and now I think I know why:

The situation compels us to confront a fundamental facet of our generational...duality.

Many of us are children of the '60s, even if we were born earlier - or later. The events of those years and of the 50s and 70s -- the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, Watergate and Nixon, etc. -- propelled us toward a particular embrace of free expression, which in turn has taken us down a variety of paths.

For the most part, those were beneficial paths. We tend, more than previous generations, to be more open and candid with each other and with our children (and, now, grandchildren). This is good.

Unfortunately, another of those paths has led us to the casual use of profanity. And yet another has led some people to a place where they believe they have a right, almost an obligation, to say anything that pops into their heads. After all, free expression is limitless, right?

Well...maybe not so much.

And that's where the duality comes in. On one hand, we remember our younger, liberated, idealistic selves - the people who vowed that they wouldn't be all bound up like so many of their parents. On the other hand, we are older, wiser, more experienced, in many ways - hold on now - more conservative.

We, or at least I, believe that civility has some value, and we - at least I - mourn each erosion of it.

So:

1. We can defend Imus' right to say pretty much anything, with the proviso that if you don't like what he says, you simply turn off the radio and/or pull your advertising.

2. Or we can say, 'Listen. Enough is enough. He inflicted great pain on a group of admirable young women - and many other people. He has a history of it. This sort of behavior is, among other things, uncivil. Perhaps he has a right to say anything he likes, but his bosses also have a right to impose standards of what they will tolerate under their flag.'

Personally, I'm cheered that so much of this nation was genuinely appalled by what Imus said. And by what Mel Gibson and Michael Richards said last year. I think a case can be made that the nation, as a whole, is beyond this sort of thing now and in many ways is ahead of some of its media figures.

And so, I lean toward No. 2 above. I lean there with some discomfort, but there you go. As Stevie Nicks said in Landslide: "Even children get older. And I'm getting older too."

What do you think? Click the comment button right below this post.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Kids Are Gone, Let's Buy Something...


...that's on sale.

(And, no, BoomVista is not going to carry your pocketbook as we walk through the mall.)

OK, we are 78 million strong and, Lord knows, we're not in the habit of denying ourselves anything that we want or think we need. So that means we spend money, and that, in turn, has inspired more than a few companies to begin specializing in Boomer-related consumer research.

We'll spend some time looking at those firms, but for now, we've come across an interesting study by a unit called BoomerEyes. According to the group's website and a summary of the report:

- We spend about $2 trillion annually.

- Nearly 40 percent of the 1,110 survey respondents are empty nesters, and they say they have an average of $315 more to spend each month.

- Nevertheless, nearly half of the respondents say that financial issues are at the top of their list of concerns.

- More than 70 percent of those 50 to 64 years old say they spend a lot of time using the Internet. (Which we here at BoomVista consider very good news indeed.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

BlogSpeak 101

It occurs to me than some BoomVista-istas might not be familiar with the conventions of BlogSpeak-MessageForumSpeak-InstantMessageSpeak, some of which are popping up in our various comments sections.

Here is a primer:

BTW=By the way
FWIW=For what it's worth
BRB=Be right back
TIA=Thanks in advance
TKU=Thank you
LOL=Laughing out loud. (Everyone probably knows that one.)
K=OK (=Okay)
:)=Happy, laughing
:(=Sad, crying
IMO=In my opinion
CUL=See you later
IDNBYCAYOINCSB=I'm done now but you can add your own in the comments section below.

Oh, That's Our Shortstop!

Offered for your enjoyment simply because we're old enough to remember Abbott and Costello (and thanks to Jack, a BoomVista-ista, for the contribution).
--

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their famous sketch, "Who's on First?" might have turned out something like this:

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
ABBOTT: Mac?
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
ABBOTT: Mac?
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look at the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO:! Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
ABBOTT: Yes.
COSTELLO: For my office?
ABBOTT: Yes.
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let's just say I'm sitting at my omputer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
ABBOTT: Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W."
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "W" if you don't start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Why not? THEY OWN IT!

(A few days later)
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on "START"

Between and Betwixt

OK, the phone rings at 10:30 p.m., and that means someone needs help, and as a Boomer, you play the little mental game we all play or have played: "Who's On My Line - The Kid or The Parent?"

That is, is it my young-adult-of-a-child or my aging parent or parent-in-law?

With the kids (they're never too old to be "the kids"), you at least have some clue. Whatever the problem, you've probably seen and dealt with it before.

But for the other side of the spectrum, for your elders, that's another story. Doctors who are supposed to care for patients but instead seem overly impatient. Hospitals and their baffling bills and schedules. Insurance companies (don't even get us started there). Pharmacies. Social Security. Transportation issues. Groceries. Nursing homes, ALFs, and on and on and on.

At one point a few years ago, I and Mrs. BoomVista found ourselves dealing with those issues nearly simultaneously for my mother, her husband and my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. The word 'nightmare' doesn't begin to capture it. But what do you do? They cared for us, now we must care for them.

A friend and loyal BoomVista-ista, Coop, also went through it and he found a place that might help. He recommends that we take a look at Elder Care Online. I haven't been completely through the site, but it certainly seems like an excellent resource.

This is Elder Care's welcome message:

ElderCare Online is a beacon for people caring for aging loved ones. Whether you are caring for a spouse, parent, relative or neighbor, we are committed to providing an online community where supportive peers and professionals help you improve quality of life for yourself and your elder.

It looks like a great place to start. If you have tips to share or an observation, please click the "Comments" link right below this post.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"What matters is the present moment"

Every now and then, someone writes or otherwise creates a work that explores a familiar theme yet touches us in a new and profound way. The following newspaper column, published this week in Newsday, certainly qualifies.

The writer, Lauren Terrazzano, is only 39, tragic in itself. But I bet every Boomer knows someone who is dealing with an equally awful challenge. (I have two close friends, both Boomers, in situations similar to this.) And we know that, as we get older, we will confront all of this more frequently and more closely.

And we, too, will learn - or relearn - that "what matters is the present moment."

Enough said, by me.

--

Lauren Terrazzano: Life, With Cancer

Focusing on present matters the most

April 10, 2007

'Two to three months," the doctor said, almost reluctantly, when I finally posed the question. That's eight to twelve weeks. Sixty to 90 days. Or 2,160 hours, if you want to get right down to it.

I don't know what possessed me to ask the oncologist how long I have left. In the nearly three years I've been battling this disease, I've never asked for my prognosis. I hate that word. But my body has betrayed me lately, more than usual. I've had a rough couple of weeks, with news of my cancer spreading, new blood clots, and fluid buildup in my abdomen, which has made it difficult to breathe.

There seem to be no more weapons left in the arsenal. Chemo is no longer an option; nothing seems to work. I've had so much surgery I feel like the Bionic Woman: "We can rebuild her." But with each operation, it has been harder and harder, quite frankly, to rebuild me.

Whether the oncologist is right, no one knows. These white-coated mortals do their best and make their best guesses based on data and statistics and other cases. But death, like life, is not a precise science. Only fate knows. What I know for certain is that I am 39. I have seen people like my grandfather live simple but happy long lives. He died when he was 93. On the opposite end, in my job as a reporter, I have seen 3-year-olds die at the hands of abusive parents. Nothing really makes sense when it comes to death...

Read the rest of this column here.

Keep The (Friday Night) Lights On

First, a reminder that the finale - either season or ultimate - of "Friday Night Lights" is on the air tonight (NBC, 8 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. CDT). For more information and to learn why we should care, see the previous BoomVista post on this subject.

Second, word is surfacing that six additional scripts have been ordered, a terrific leading indicator that the series will be renewed.

Third, Susan sends along this advice from today's San Jose Mercury News:
--
By Charlie McCollum
San Jose Mercury News

Want to save "Friday Night Lights"? Here are some things you can do:

Go to fan site www.fnl-online.com, which outlines its campaign to keep the show on the air.

Write to Kevin Reilly, president of NBC Entertainment, at 3000 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, Calif. 91523. Be polite. He loves the series.

E-mail your thoughts to NBC by going to www.nbc.com/Footer/Contact_Us. Go to the pulldown under "questions not found on the FAQ page." Use the pulldown to find "Friday Night Lights" and send your message.

Do You REALLY Want To Do The Math?

So, David The Blogging Head Coach (yes, BoomVista has its own coaching staff, including a few people whose assistance was actually sought) brought to my attention a "formula" that's sort of...scary...for Boomers to consider, in a purely theoretical way, of course.

It goes a little something like this:

If you were a man considering the acquisition of a mistress or a woman considering the acquisition of a ... hmm, there seems to be no mirror-image word for "mistress" -- lover, this formula supposedly produces the perfect age for your "friend."

Variously attributed to several groups, including our personal favorite, the French, the guideline suggests that you divide your age in half and add seven years. That would be the perfect age for your...friend.

So, now hang on to your keyboard here, if you are turning 60 this year, your mistress or whatever should be 37 years old.

Also, and here's where the Zoloft could come in handy, if someone were seeking you out as the chronologically ideal...friend, that person would have to be about 105 years old.

(And a good time was had by...no one.)

Anyway, if you need a little help doing the calculation, you can find a handy-dandy "Half Your Age Plus 7 Calculator" right here. There's also a somewhat over-the-top commentary attached to that site.

We promise to work diligently to avoid depressing items like this in the future and to think carefully before we take any more calls from David the Head Blogging Coach.

(Also please join me in hoping that Mrs. BoomVista has a busy day at work today and doesn't have time to check out the blog.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Welcome To Our New Friends

Hello. Many of you may be visiting BoomVista for the first time today.

I welcome you and hope you'll return often to share your experiences, your opinions, your insights and your concerns.

This is a site for Boomers, generally defined as people born between 1946 and 1964. All 78.2 million of us.

The content on this site is pretty much self-explanatory, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Click here to see our intentions, our plans, our marching orders, what we would call our Mission Statement if we weren't determined to avoid high-falutin' management-speak.

Click here for a quick primer on how to join the conversation by posting comments.

Along the right-hand border, you'll see shortcuts to Boomer Facts, Boomer Links, Fun Links, and Labels (that can help you sort posts by category).

And that's largely it. Aside from that, please scroll through the content already on this site. To see other posts, click the Archive links along the right hand side or the "Older Posts" link at the bottom of the page.

Thanks again for stopping by, and please join us here often. In coming days, weeks, months and years, we'll be exploring a wide range of issues relevant to folks of our advancing surprising shocking interesting age.

Also special thanks to Marion, David, Coop and Susan for helping me develop and road test this site.

Marty

Monday, April 9, 2007

Don't Mess With Us

How could this happen? It turns out that now WE are the establishment.

According to a new study by the Scripps Howard chain of newspapers, Boomers now hold a majority of the 6,100 elected state and national offices around the country,

The study found that 55 percent of the nation's governors, state lawmakers and congressional representatives and senators were born between 1946 and 1964.

Ten of the 15 announced or soon-to-announce candidates for president are Boomers, as were the last two occupants of the White House: Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

We also control the U.S. House and soon we will control the Senate.

We are SO going to outlaw learn how to appropriately appreciate hip-hop "music."

Read more from the report here. (Whaddya think? Click the comments link right below this post.)

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Accents (What's It To Ya?!)

A possible insight:

Many of us had regional accents - Bostonian, New York City, Cajun, Midwest, etc. - when we were growing up and, in many cases, they sort of faded on us. Military service, college, the deepening and neutralizing influence of national radio and television broadcasts all tended to influence and flatten our speech patterns.

But here's the thing: As I get older, I find that the Noo Yawk accent that nearly disappeared in my young- and middle-adulthood seems to be creeping back into me again.

I can't find any research on this, but here's an interesting site dedicated to American speech patterns.

(Anyone else out there experiencing a similar phenomenon? Click the comments link right below this post and join the discussion.)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Our Kind of TV Program - And It Needs Our Help

Friday Night Lights is not on the air Friday nights and, though the lights illuminate a football field (and much more), the program is not really about football.

It is about life and family and persistence and values. And marriages and kids, and health and priorities.

It is about the things we always cared about and find ourselves caring about ever-deeper as we grow ever older.

This is, in the view of many people, not only the best new program of this season, but the best program on TV. Period. If you bemoan the current state of television, trust me - Friday Night Lights is the antidote and you owe it to yourself to give it a try. (NBC, Wednesday nights, 8 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. CDT)

It is shot with hand-held cameras. Some of the dialogue is clearly improvised. The music and landscapes and emotions strike deeply. If you don't tear up at least twice an hour, you need a soul transplant.

Oh, by the way, it just won a Peabody award. Here is what the citation said:

"No dramatic series, broadcast or cable, is more grounded in contemporary American reality than this clear-eyed serial about the hopes, dreams, livelihoods and egos intertwined with the fate of high-school football in a Texas town."

One of the actors, Kyle Chandler, who masterfully plays the lead role of Coach Taylor (above), recently said there are two kinds of television viewers - those who have not yet seen Friday Night Lights and those who are addicted to it. The darn thing is worth watching just to savor the relationship between Coach and his wife, also wonderfully played by Connie Britton (also above). But there is so much more going on here.

If you haven't seen Friday Night Lights, this week could be your last chance. For this season and maybe forever.

The program is on the ratings bubble. NBC executives, not generally known for their heart and compassion, are said to love the program and are looking for a reason to renew it, despite borderline ratings.

If you've seen the program or you see it this week and want it to survive, you can lobby for it by filling out a comment form. Maybe it will help. It certainly couldn't hurt.

You can watch a representative excerpt (highly recommended, though again this is about much more than football) and even entire episodes, though it certainly isn't easy watching an hour-long TV program on your computer screen.

Also, there is a chance that the entire first season will be rebroadcast on Bravo, the cable network owned by NBC. We'll be monitoring that and will keep you advised.

(Have you seen this program? What do you think? What do you think of television in general these days, especially when compared to the 50s and 60s? Click the comment link right below this post and join the conversation.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

We Are Not Alone

Hey, they also have boomers in England, though they apparently boom a little earlier there. Probably has something to do with all that cigarette smoke.

Anyway, a web report from Over There asserts that "the over-50 population now command approximately 80% of the UK's wealth."

Sister, can you spare a shilling?

A report by Friends Provident, which apparently sells life insurance or something (why can't the British learn to speak/write English properly?), also says that those over 50 years old "are living a dream life" in the United Kingdom.

This obviously includes the Queen. And her No. 1 son. And probably his No. 1 son. (They are shown here. Charles is on the right, his son on the left. Or possibly the other way around.)

The report also found that retirees in the baby boomer generation, people aged between 52 and 60, have achieved a "perfect work/life balance" and can eat chocolate chip ice cream three times a day without ill effect, and don't even get us started about their sex lives.

OK, I made up the last two. I think. I kinda stopped reading the thing. Hard to know whether to feel envious of them or pity for them insofar as anyone would believe all of that.

Anyway, if you want to press onward, the entire report is here.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Incentives? Can We Negotiate?

Wretched Excess would be a great name for a rock band (apologies to Dave Barry), but in this case it's part of the headline for a review in the Chicago Sun-Times of a new book called Boomsday.

Written by Christopher Buckley, the book is said to sizzle with the same rollicking brand of satire on display in his Thank You for Smoking and Florence of Arabia: A Novel. Both of which were terrific.

Anyway, here is what we newspeople call the "nut graf" of the review, which approvingly calls the the plot "...as convoluted as Social Security financing and as outrageous as mass suicide."

Indeed, the central character, 29-year-old Cassandra (Cass) Devine, suggests the latter as a solution to the former. Angry over the government's fiscal irresponsibility in taking "food off my generation's table in order to feather the nests of aging, self-indulgent, pampered Baby Boomers," she proposes in a blog that, in exchange for certain incentives, boomers be encouraged to commit suicide -- or, as she calls it, Voluntary Transitioning -- at age 65 or 70 to prevent Social Security's financial meltdown.

And so, our first question: Do these incentives include complimentary FloMax (our current all-time favorite prescription drug) during the pre-transitional period?

The book comes from Twelve, a relatively new, impressively exclusive and rather interesting publishing house. Read more from the review here.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

How about Len Barry's hit - "1, 2, uhm...uhm..."

This email is making the rounds (contributed by Sandy):
----
BABY BOOMER HIT PARADE!

It's been fun being a baby boomer ... Until now. Some of the artists
Of the '50s and'60s are revising their hits with new lyrics to accommodate aging baby boomers. They include:

1. Herman's Hermits--- Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Walker.


2. The Bee Gees--- How Can You Mend a Broken Hip.

3. Bobby Darin--- Splish, Splash, I Was Havin' a Flash.

4. Ringo Starr--- I Get By With a Little Help From Depends.

5. Roberta Flack--- The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face.

6. Johnny Nash--- I Can't See Clearly Now.

7. Paul Simon--- Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver.

8. The Commodores--- Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom.

9. Marvin Gaye--- Heard It Through the Grape Nuts.

10. Procol Harum--- A Whiter Shade Of Hair.

11. Leo Sayer--- You Make Me Feel Like Napping.

12. The Temptations --- Papa's Got a Kidney Stone.

13. Abba--- Denture Queen.

14. Tony Orlando--- Knock 3 Times On The Ceiling If You Hear Me Fall.

15. Helen Reddy--- I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore.

16. Leslie Gore--- It's My Procedure, and I'll Cry If I Want To.

17. Willie Nelson--- On the Commode Again.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

All Together Now...

Well, that PBS program was constructed a little oddly, but seemed very perceptive indeed.

One key insight: The explosion of television and other mass media during the 50s and 60s made ours the first generation in human history to repeatedly share formative experiences at precisely the same time.

Not all 78 million of us, of course. Economic realities and other issues left some folks behind, but still....

The Kennedy and King assasinations. The Cuban missile crisis (duck and cover). Howdy Doody and Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet.

So, in the end, half of us (more or less) developed crushes on Annette Funicello - the cute one - at the same time. Later, half of us (more or less) developed crushes on Paul McCartney - the cute one - at the same time.

Never before has a generation been as...bonded...by mutual experience as ours.

And now, as we enter our 60s, here we go again. Together.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Now we have our own century

Tonight, PBS presents a two-hour documentary that runs strides slips right into our sweet spot: "The Boomer Century: 1946-2046."

It seems to touch all the right themes, and the advance reviews are promising.

You can read more about it and also find a lot of supporting material here.

Look for it on your local PBS station and/or set your Tivos.

Hmm, Tivos. We should talk about that.

Boomer Facts

(Thanks to Coop for the suggestion)

- Our numbers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are estimated at 76.4 million, and that represents 27 percent of the U.S. population. (Source: MetLife).

- Subtract deaths and add immigrants and our current population is estimated at 78.2 million (The Boomer Century).

- Nearly 8,000 Americans turn 60 every day (The Boomer Century).

- According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than half of all baby boomers live in the following nine states (in order of size): California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey.

- Only about one in seven of us expects to begin collecting Social Security at age 62 (The Boomer Century).

- About one-third of all Boomer households have at least $100,000 in investable assets, but about four in 10 Boomers have less than $10,000 in retirement savings (The Boomer Century).

- Can't we just get along? Baby boomers have a higher divorce rate than prior generations: 14.2 percent of boomers are divorced (U.S. Census Bureau).

- Nearly 17 percent of us belong to minority groups: 12 percent are black, four percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, less than one percent are American Indian and Alaskan Native. People of Hispanic origin (who may be of any race) comprise
9.8 percent of the baby boomers (MetLife).

- Baby boomers have a higher level of education than any generation before them. Nearly 89 percent completed high school and 28.5 percent have a bachelor’s or higher college degree (MetLife).

- We're not responsible for Geraldo Rivera. He was born on July 4, 1943, three years before the beginning of the Baby Boom.

- We're also not responsible for Anna Nicole Smith. She was born on Nov. 28, 1967, three years after the end of the Baby Boom. (Sorry, but the Commissioner of Major League Blogging has ruled that every blog must mention, at least once, Anna Nicole Smith, and now we've done it twice in the same post. Any broadcast or re-transmission of this post without the express written consent of the Commissioner of Major League Blogging is....highly unlikely.)

- Fifty-five percent of America's elected national and state officials are Baby Boomers - including 74 percent of the 50 state governors(Scripps Howard).

What is BoomVista

Welcome to BoomVista.

This site – this developing community – is for those of us on the leading edge of the baby boom.

Folks who were born between 1946 and 1964. Folks who are changing course – moving from one career to another or to early retirement. Folks entering the third third.

Folks who wake up in the morning, climb out of bed and think: "Hey, who snuck in here last night and poured rust into my knees?" Folks whose kids are married or almost married yet still call on Sunday morning, as they were trained, but immediately and thriftily say, “Can you call me back?” Folks who remember movies with plots, radio stations that didn’t assault listeners with inanities or profanities, songs with lyrics ("Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my…" Hmm. Never mind about the last one. It may need a little more thought).

Folks who grew up thinking that 60 was really, really old – and it was, back then. Folks who moved through adulthood determined not to let it pass quickly or unnoticed and now look back and think, "Wow, where’d it go?" Folks who are still searching and will never stop searching.

Among us: David Bowie. Nolan Ryan. Farrah Fawcett. Dan Quayle. Rob Reiner. Carole Bayer Sager. Billy Crystal. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Dave Barry. David Letterman. O.J. Simpson. The late Jessica Savitch. You’d be amazed by some of the others, by the abundance of famed and accomplished people, all born in 1947 alone.

Only because it seems relevant here, my mini-story: Also born in 1947. Raised in Brooklyn, N.Y.; moved away a long time ago. Married, with one grown child. Reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper for longer than I care to remember. (Newspapers – remember them? Rather quaint things they were are.) Served as a business writer, foreign and national correspondent, and so on and so forth.

But this is not intended to be the Internet version of a vanity, “it’s-all-about-me” ego trip. My experiences are no more important or insightful than yours. But taken together, our experiences are worthy of note, especially those experiences that remain ahead.

So, here we are. On the brink of 60 or already just over it or able to imagine it out there a bit over the horizon. Imagine that. How the hell did that happen?

Let’s share the journey. Let’s row together as we navigate these new shoals of life. Let’s try to figure it out.

What we’re looking for is an answer. More likely, a series of answers.

The question: So, what do we do now that we’re almost sort of kinda grown up?

Contacting BoomVista

We welcome private email, but - to better share our experiences and impressions - we encourage you to click the word 'comment' below each original post and share your views with the rest of us.

To ensure a reasonably high level of discourse, we moderate these comments but we assure you that our tolerance level is high and we aim to clear the vast majority of contributions.

The comment form can be a bit confusing, so here's some guidance:

After you type your comment, you will see a place to "Choose an identity." If you already have registered a Blogger name, you can use that. If not, you can click "Other" and use your real name or create an alias. You do NOT have to fill out the box titled "Your Web Page" - just leave it blank. You also can click "Anonymous" and no name will appear on your comment.

After you leave a comment, be sure to check back regularly to see and respond to comments that other folks might have posted. And, so, we create a conversation.

If, however. you have a need or a preference to email, the address is: boomvista@yahoo.com

By the way, you can email a particular post to someone else. Simply click the email icon to the right of the comment form.