Friday, October 6, 2023

OK, Boomer

Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring Dana: Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"Now, do I think the baby boomers tend to be self-absorbed? I do." 
                                                                   -P.J. O'Rourke 

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

(Freshen up your coffee, It's a long-un) 

I can't remember when I first encountered the expression in question. My memory ain't what it used to be. I'm a Boomer and I'm getting old older. 

I find the seemingly endless whining, wailing, and gnashing of teeth by many of the many people who are slightly younger than me -- the Genxrs, Millies, and Zoomers -- rather annoying. 

However: the whining, wailing, and gnashing of teeth by no shortage of my fellow Boomers also gets on my nerves and the non-Boomers may have a minor point or two. Some Intergenerational upper lip-stiffening is clearly called for. 

Dilbert creator, cartoonist Scott Adams, like me, is an oldish pasty patriarch. Although technically canceled, he posts a popular free vlog, 7x365. FYI, paid subscribers can follow the continuing adventures of Dibert and company. 

Mr. Adams has pointed out that when he's out and about in meatspace and interacting with H. sapiens of all sorts, usually nothing particularly remarkable (as in worth noting) happens.

On those rare occasions when I leave the Fortress of Solitude, my experience is much the same. 

Given the tendency of the omnipresent screaming screens loose in the world warning of impending existential doom, one would think that leaving the house without suitable defenses/weaponry in place is a suicide mission.     

Of course, poop happens. 

{Have you noticed that although it was not all that long ago the use of the P-word was uncommon, nowadays you encounter it here, there, and even over there sometimes?}

Indeed, Dana, but given the fact that F-bombs are tossed around like firecrackers nowadays, I prefer the word poop to the commonly used and much cruder version. However, encountering a full-fledged poopstorm by most people, on most days, is uncommon. 

{Tell that to people who pass through certain sections of certain cities.}

Fortunately, I live in Flyoverland. But I must admit even Flyoverland has cities that...

{Say, could we call an end to this descent into scatology?}

You started it. This is supposed to be a column about Boomers v. their occasionally resentful progeny, and how reality, viewed through billions of screens, is easily distorted.

{No I didn't, you did,.. and what are you on about now anyway?}

One of my recurring themes, life in the Dizzinformation Age.  

As to the resentful _______... (We need a collective name for the three generations that have followed in the Boomer wake.) Anyway, I'll admit that the anti-Boomers (?) may not be entirely incorrect. Suppose we Boomers had been subject to the whims and fancies of adults like us.

Suppose, like many Genxrs, we had been "latchkey kids," left to our own devices till our parents came home from another day of ladder climbing, ceiling smashing, and/or just trying to make enough money to survive in a country wherein systemic inflation has begun catching up with us all? 

Suppose, like many Millies and Zoomers, we had been deposited in daycare A.S.A.P and then raised from a distance by parents who simultaneously monitored/scheduled us carefully? Reminds me of all those rich English aristocrats who ship their kids off to boarding school in all those BBC/Masterpiece Theater productions.

{Is Masterpiece Theater still a thing?}  

Suppose dad, or even mummy (literally or figuratively), had fled the scene to "find themselves," or indulge a love of recreational pharmaceuticals while we were growing up in an age wherein long-established social compacts were being rapidly abandoned without mutually agreed upon replacements? 

Suppose our parents, programmed by Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and ideology, really believed they could "have it all," set out to prove it, and are still looking for "it" even if their mattresses are stuffed with dough, the trophy wall is full, and their many virtues clearly signaled?

{Or refused to leave The Swamp even after their cognitive/ethical decline was obvious.}

And what if our parents, successful or limping from paycheck to paycheck, demanded a buck's worth of services from The Fedrl Gummit for 80¢ (HT: George Will) and had been running up the balance on the national credit card for decades?

Wouldn't we be just a little bitchy?

Cyberspace is great except for all the problems. There are 8,000,000,000+ meat puppets on the planet Earth, almost 200,000,000 computers, and nearly 7,000,000,000 smartphones. 

{I know! Once there are more smartphones than people the artificial intelligenci will begin marshaling it's forces to launch an inevitable coup, take over the world, and kill all the H. sapiens except for Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, Taylor Swift, Scott Baio, and all Google CEOs.}

Don't be ridiculous, we'll all be dead long before that happens, two words pal, climate change. Why the Zuck, Gates, Swift, Baio, and the Google dudes by the way?

{You live under a rock? It's all over the internet!}

I love the internet, the web of all knowledge. Like Johnny 5, I need, no crave, input. Unfortunately, it also proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and that there's nothing new under the sun because...

{You're so wise!}

Because everything new is a variation on a theme, and human nature doesn't change. 

Wilma sometimes returned from the water hole bubbling over with news, gossip, rumor, and/or innuendo that she couldn't wait to pass on to Betty. 

Fast forward a millennium or three and William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, and the like are doing the same thing, but are able to reach a much larger audience via "yellow" newspapers that served as windows on, and filters of, reality. 

"Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism." -Wikipedia

Blink twice and there are more screens (don't forget TVs) on the planet than there are H. sapiens and the yellow press is now purple. 

"Purple JournalismJournalism as currently perpetrated by many news outlets that claim to be professional, unbiased, and factual. In reality, they are partisan, prone to sensationalism, and motivated primarily by their bottom line." -me   

{You have a keen eye for the obvious, sir. Do you have a solution?}

Piece o' cake. Just make sure your input is gathered from a well-organized cross-section of semi-trusted sources that you can, and do, pursue relatively quickly, easily, and regularly -- while keeping in mind that although we're tribal by nature, we have to share the same playground, So... 

Resist the siren song of the many who seek to benefit from keeping us at each other throats to get elected and/or fill their pockets, And... 

Turn off your screens occasionally and go for a walk (assuming you don't live in certain sections of certain cities) once in a while, And... 

Sit down and share a pie (better than cake, particularly caramel-apple) with friends/family occasionally and exchange well-worn stories. Lies and exaggeration are encouraged as long as no malice is intended. 

Piece o' cake. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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I post links to my columns on both Facebook and the social media site formerly known as Twitter so you can love me, hate me, or lobby to have me canceled or publically flogged on either site. Cranky don't tweet (X?).  



Friday, September 29, 2023

I Was Thinking About Getting a Passport

Image by Anna ZieliƄska from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now, haunt them after I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring Dana: Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

"Without opening your door, you can open your heart to the world." -Lao Tzu

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

I visited Mexico, once, in the late eighties, and I've been to Canada a few times. At the time all I needed to get into Canada, and return, was my driver's license. 

I needed a driver's license to get back into the USA from Mexico but when wild-eyed Walter and I walked over the bridge from Brownsville to Matamoros the gentleman in a booth on the Mexican side merely nodded to us as we strolled by.

I always thought it would be cool to have a passport and when, a few years back, I heard that Americans now needed a passport to travel to/return from either country it occurred to me that I should think about getting a passport, "just in case."

However, I'm not much of a traveler these days, never have been really, so I wasn't in a hurry. 

{A few years back? That policy went into effect 1/1/2008, 15 years ago!}

Thanks for pointing that out, Dana. 

Since then, things in Mexico have gotten a little too interesting in my opinion; I've seen Niagra Falls at least twice from the Canadian side — well worth the trip — but heading north out of Ohio (Canada's deep South) instead of in the opposite direction is nowadays counter-intuitive to me. 

Also, I came across a news story recently that has me wondering if things in Canada might be getting a little too interesting as well.

There's an ongoing kerfuffle concerning book banning in American schools. 

{You never tire of the K-word do you?}  

Being a former bibliophile (my ardor for books, not unlike many former fascinations, has diminished) and a dude who read and enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 way back when, book-banning stories always catch my eye. 

I admit that as a parent, grandparent, and semi-rational H. sapien that I have no problem with parents who are trying to get what amount to graphic sex manuals removed from little Johnny's/Joanie's/J's school library.

Unfortunately, many a news report on specific examples of this phenomenon paint all the parents involved as far-right wingnuts, homophobes, etc. but often what the parents are objecting to is content that's so graphic that... Well, here's an example:

Personally, what I find shocking is the willingness of many people/parents to bend over backward, in a rush to non-judgment of age-inappropriate books, or anything else, to demonstrate how accepting, fair, and open-minded they are. 

If it feels good, or right, do it — or steal it, or set it on fire, or beat them up, or...

Here's a looong article from titled Closed Book — I watched "book bans" happen in real time. I thought they were all hysteria. Then I opened one of the most challenged titles — written by Aymann Ismail.

Long article short, Mr. Ismail admits the book in question, It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie H. Harris, freaked him out, but only sort/kinda, cause he's a very sophisticated dude. 

But he also admits that although it's supposed to be appropriate for kids 10 and up he wouldn't want his kids reading it once they reach the age of ten.  

He goes on and on (and on) about why graphic sex manuals with illustrations, for kids and teens, are not necessarily a bad thing, and quotes experts, mentions book bannings, beats up on conservative Christian parents, and also... 

{Okay, fine, so now we know you're not sex-positive. What's this got to do with...}

Canada? Well, I don't know how he feels about graphic sex manuals for kids and teens, but the Ontario Minister of Education and some... enthusiastic librarians at the Erindale Secondary School have come up with an interesting way to protect kids from the pernicious threat of Pasty Patriarchical Hegemonistic Euro-imperialism — equity-based book weeding.

{You spelled patriarchal wrong.}

Yes, I did. 

The Harry Potter and Hunger Games books are history. Another looong (but much more interesting article as it's often unintentionally hilarious) on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website tells the tale.

"In May, [Mary]Takata says the shelves at Erindale Secondary School were full of books, but she noticed that they had gradually started to disappear. 'This [school] year, I came into my school library and there are rows and rows of empty shelves with absolutely no books,' said Takata...'

'In the spring,' Takata says students were told by staff that 'if the shelves look emptier right now it's because we have to remove all books [published] prior to 2008.'"

Where did all the books go? Why 2008? 

Ontario's Education Minister, the Honourable Stephen Lecce issued a directive and then a... 

{You spelled Honorable wrong.}

No, I didn't. 

As best I can tell — it's a complicated story and none of the parties involved are accepting blame — Mr. Lecce, based on the results of a report he commissioned, ordered an "equity-based weeding" of library books at Mary Takata's high school which is under the control of the Peel District School Board (PDSB). 

The 46-page report determined that the PDSB was running a district (45% South Asian, 17% white, 10% black, 6% East Asian, 5% Middle Eastern, 17% Others) that was a hotbed of anti-black racism in need of multiple reforms.

The equity-based "weeding" ordered by Ontario's Honourable Minister of Education was for all books published 15 or more years ago (2008). The librarians were to examine each and every book and apply an acronym, MUSTIE, to determine its fate. 

Was the book Misleading, Unpleasant (physical condition... in theory), Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant, or Elsewhere? You can discover details by reading the article. 

Unfortunately/hilariously, the librarians simply tossed all books published prior to 2008 in the trash. Allegedly, this was a mistake, a miscommunication. Personally, I hope they did it on purpose and are still exchanging secret smiles, or laughing out loud when hanging out at the librarian's water hole after work. 

The relevant parties aren't doing any finger-pointing, Canadians being much nicer people than ugly Americans. However, they've all issued bum-covering statements that read like they were composed by lawyers.

Big BUT, the members of a newly formed local organization called Libraries Not Landfills would like some answers. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Scroll down to leave a comment, share my work, or access my golden oldies.   

I post links to my columns on both Facebook and the social media site formerly known as Twitter so you can love me, hate me, or lobby to have me canceled or publically flogged on either site. Cranky don't tweet (X?).   









Friday, September 22, 2023

A few Observations From a Garrulous Geezer

A Random Randomnesses Column

Image by Max Yakovlev from Pixabay

This is a weekly column of letters to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise them now and haunt them when I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring Dana: Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device

"All you need is love." -John Lennon (A yellow submarine would be cool too) 

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),

You may be old, or at least getting there waaay too fast, when you encounter some input that reveals that hip-hop has been around long enough to join AARP having recently celebrated its 50th birthday and you're at least mildly shocked.  

"Kool Herc made history in 1973 when he and his sister hosted the “Back to School Jam” in the recreation room of their Bronx apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. This historical party is recognized for launching the hip-hop movement."

If you must force yourself to face the fact the eighties are as significant to the many people who are younger than you as the 1960s are to you, you're definitely old.  


No but. Just because getting old is not what you thought it would be doesn't necessarily make you seem any younger to the young.

If it makes you feel any better, I personally regard most hip-hop as doggerel with a psyche-smashing backbeat. I heard Winton Marsalis refer to it as the new minstrelsy somewhere, and no shortage of other H. sapiens seem to hold the same opinion.

However, I'm old; I yell at clouds, and no shortage of ancient infidels were appalled by the traditional rock 'n' roll that I fell in love with. A relationship that endures, but ain't what it used to be.

Music fans are aware that at some point after WW2 recording technology advanced to the point that musicians and recording techies gradually began using the technology to not only dramatically improve the sound quality of the recordings, it enabled them to turn recording studios into musical instruments.  

It became possible to create songs that were difficult to play live. Purists complained, most musicians, and most of the public (including me, growing up while taking it for granted) embraced it. 

Very long story short, technology kept/keeps rapidly evolving, and now unapologetic "disrupters" are using AI to write and even "perform" songs constructed of the pieces/parts of potentially anything ever recorded. 

We've gone from H. sapiens creatively using comparatively limited technology to the ability to "borrow" chunks of the work of others and create mash-ups using computer-generated "instruments" and/or computer-enhanced real instruments and/or computer-generated voices and/or computer-enhanced voices.

And for some mysterious reason, it sounds cold, repetitive, and empty despite regularly adding in some eardrum-busting bass to try and give it some soul. 

I've written about encountering the phrases based on facts that meet fiction and representationally accurate that I've seen used in place of the formerly ubiquitous based on a true story.

I've recently encountered this is a fictional account based on deeply researched facts.

As far as I know, for some reason, no one uses anything like my (recently updated) version:

"The content you're about to consume is an allegedly more or less sorta/kinda accurate depiction that has been sliced, diced, tweaked, sexed-up, dumbed-down, and/or altered in any number of ways to make it more entertaining and hopefully more likely to make some money. It's based on facts that meet fiction, a representationally accurate fictional account based on the deeply researched facts of a true story.

{Impressive, I forgot that you got kicked out of law school for not cheating.}    

Spokespersons from the D.I.E. (diversity, inclusion, and equity) departments of several well-known, prestigious, and obscenely expensive colleges and universities have contacted me and pointed out that the word "geezerettes" is blatantly ageist, sexist and might make queer folx of various and sundry denominations feel unsafe.

{Queer! You can't say...}

Clearly, you're not as chill as I am. You can not only say it you can get a degree, in Queer studies. For example, at Denison University, located in my little corner of Flyoverland (Ohio). It costs $79,400 a year but that includes three hots and a cot.

{Do people still say chill?}

If you provide your own food and shelter it's only $57,500 a year. Word to the wise? Living in a tent in Ohio — aka southern Canada — can be somewhat problematic.

You may have heard, or been told something similar to:
"And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make" -Lennon/McCartney 

Permit me to/forgive me for pointing out that this just ain't true. In the end, you may discover that you have "made more love" than you received.    

{What are you talking about?}

Me mum (thinking about the Beetles sometimes causes me to write with an English accent). It's quite simple really. In the end, if she had been asked, and if she answered honestly, she would've had to admit she had given far more love, in all sorts of ways, than she received in return. 

I'll grant you that she was loved by lots of people, but to assume that this was necessarily of any practical value in any given situation, or to claim that "in the end" giving and receiving will balance out, is just wrong. 

Sweet — and giving without expecting an eventual balancing of the books is virtuous under the right circumstances, and with good guardrails in place — but wrong.  

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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