Growing Older is a Bitch

There have been a number of news stories of late that have gotten me thinking about growing older and the aging process:

  • From the “She was as pure as Ivory… oh, never mind” Department: Yesterday’s news brought word of the death of Marilyn Chambers at age 56. For you youngsters out there, Marilyn Chambers was the one time mom on the Ivory Snow box, who also had this little career as a porn actress back in the days when porn movies had plots… and some of them were actually well known audience draws (such as her movie, Behind the Green Door). What I found interesting was not the main porn aspect (although she didn’t have the typical porn hyperinflated look), but more her age. Just like the question in 70 Girls 70, “Where do the elephants go?”, where do aging porn stars go? Do they just fade away. You rarely see obits on porn stars. Marilyn was a rarity, in that aspect.
  • From the “But Her Boot Size Didn’t Change” Department: Another sex kitten in the news is Nancy Sinatra, who was famous in my youth for “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (YouTube Video). The OC Register just had a story on her: she’s now 68, and I’m sorry, but not quite a pretty sight. Botox was her friend, indeed.
  • From the “Success Story” Department: But just to show folks can age gracefully, I point you again to Valerie Bertinelli. Beautiful at 48. You want older? Try Bernadette Peters, looking good at 61. Dawn Wells is looking good into her 70s. So it can be done.

[For the ladies out there: I know this is from a guys POV. Feel free to share your stories of men that have aged well… and those that have not.]


The Resonant Frequency of Chum

A number of articles today seemed to resonate with me as my birthday approaches:

  • From the “It’s No Longer Cool When Your Parents Do It” Department: USAToday has an article about the percentage of older adults on social networks is growing. According to the article, 35% of adult Internet users now have a profile on at least one social networking site. And among online adults ages 35-44, 30% have a profile. For those aged 45 to 54 (I’m turning 49), the percentage is 19% (55-64, 10%; .GE. 65, 7%). The article notes that most adults use social networking for personal rather than professional reasons; about half of adult users are on MySpace and just under a quarter use Facebook. Just 6% use LinkedIn, geared for business networking. They don’t mention LJ. I guess I’m an a oddity: I’m on LJ, MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Haven’t yet gotten into twittering though….
  • From the “Dum Dum Dum Dum” Department: Some of us are old enough to remember when Peanuts still had new run strips (i.e., before 1999). It turns out there were multiple layers in the strips involving Schroder. The music in those strips… it was real snippets of Beethoven chosen specifically for each strip. Evidently, Schulz carefully chose each snatch of music he drew and transcribed the notes from the score. Alas, I never got the joke, as I don’t read music.

Three for Some, Fun for All

  • Observation the First. There’s a new Austin Lounge Lizard’s Video/Song, done for Consumer’s Union: The Balance Transfer Switcheroo
  • Observation the Second: Well, we’re now in a relationship with a failed bank. Our mortgage is with Downey Savings, or should I now say U.S. Bank. Still, it might provide us an opportunity. We’ve been wanting to refinance out of our 5/25 variable before it goes variable in 2011, but the rates haven’t come down as fast as the house’s value, making the refi harder. I can hope they might want to renogotiate the terms knowing what we had invested (we bought with more than 20% down)… all we are looking for is a fixed at our current rate.
  • Observation the Third: Working the conference, I think I’m beginning to see a generational difference. I’m at the age I like paper. Paper final programs. Paper At-a-glances. But we have a number of younger folks (OK, in their 30s) involved with the conference who seem to think that if it is on the web, we’re good to go. The presumption seems to be that everyone surfs the web with their phones these days, so why print. I’ve never had internet on my phone (I don’t even text): I use my phone to make calls. Am I wrong? Is this generational?

My, how times have changed!

One of the blogs I enjoy reading at the LA Times is the “Daily Mirror” blog, which looks at news stories from the past, and includes various ads from the era. Today, one of the posts was about the death of ex-Mayor Frank Poole, but what interested me was the ad in the corner of the January 24, 1958 front page:

Now, think about the naivete of the times. You submit your social security numbers to the newspaper for a contest. Forty of them are published each day in the paper. If a newspaper did that today, imagine the uproar.

You realize that many young people today probably don’t remember when times were that simple, when we didn’t have to worry about identity theft. When faith was extended on a signature and a handshake, or an unverified letter of reference, as opposed to background checks and googling? My, how times have changed!


The Letter

Well, the dreaded letter came to our house a few weeks ago. You know the one: the one you get when a large advocacy group gets your name, and says “We hear you’re soon to be one of us. Do you want to join?” I showed it to my wife, and asked her what she wanted to do (because they addressed it to her). She wanted to join, so I dutifully wrote the check and sent it in.

Today the membership package came.

We’re now AARP members. Sigh. All together now…

So when you find it in your mailbox for the first time my friend
You can tell that you getting older, you’re turning grey
It’s a first sign of decline, it’s a start of the end
When your wrinkles out number your hairs then it’s headed your way

Modern Maturity, means you’re getting old
When you get the magazine that you hide from your friends
Once it was Rolling Stone, it was thrill after thrill
Now Modern Maturity means over the hill

When Mick Jagger has his breakfast of yogurt and bran
Does he read of prescriptions by mail or of self-rising chairs
You can keep on rockin’ and rollin’ as long as you can
But then you sit in your little seat and you ride up the stairs

(chorus: Modern Maturity…)

I’ve looked through its pages and what I see there
Is that everyone looks about twenty-five with white hair

You can buy polyester pants for nineteen ninety-five
You can get your grandchildren’s picture on your coffee cup
And if you’re tired of walking there’s a scooter that you can drive
Or a button to push if you’ve fallen and you can’t get up

(chorus: Modern Maturity…)

MODERN MATURITY (Tom Paxton) Copyright (c) 1993 Pax Music (ASCAP)

[Yes, this is a choice in the birthday poll.]


Your Father’s Search Engine

The Daily News is reporting about a new search engine,, whose goal is to be the search engine for the over-50 crowd (luckily, I don’t need it yet). The developers of this search engine state that it is a specialty search engine designed to please aging baby boomers by processing every request from the perspective of someone who is at least 50 years old. I’m not quite sure what that means; they think it means showing just four Web sites in the nonadvertising section of each results page and making the sparser listings more relevant to its target audience. How do they do this? After teaming up with Internet research firm Compete Inc. to identify the 500,000 most popular Web sites among people at least 45 years old, Cranky dispatched reviewers to dig even deeper into the top 5,000 destinations. The reviewers then wrote descriptions about the content and tried to ensure the index contained more direct links to the most meaningful information.

What I find more interesting, however, is the top 10 searches that the engine displayed when I visited it:

1. brain builders
2. jobs after retirement
3. work from home
4. body mass index
5. make new friends
     6. elderhostel
7. blogs
8. reiki
9. stephen king
10. sex

Yup, the over-50 crowd :-). Of course, one might expect #10 to be higher, but then again….

I also heard a rumor that the company that built Cranky was thinking about building a search engine specifically for the under-30 crowd. They are doing this so that folks will trust the results.

Those of you out there not suffering from CRS (Can’t Remember S***) should recall that this is National Delurking Week. This week is designed for all ages, you don’t have to be over 18 to participate. If you’re reading this blog, I encourage you to comment. Remember, if you don’t leave a comment, you’re letting the folks at AARP win.


De·liv·er: (n) What you eat with deonions.

[An observation, whilst the tea steeps and cools…]

Today is Soupy Sales‘ birthday.

Now, my mentioning this to you is probably no surprise, as folks know I’m into children’s television of the 1960s. I do enjoy watching Soupy, I do enjoy his bad puns. I have his DVDs. But my reason for this post isn’t only to discuss Soupy’s birthday. Rather, it is a musing on aging.

Last night, otaku_tetsuko brought over a load from the storage area. This had a lot of my dad’s books in it. Books on movie actors and actresses of the 1930s and 1940s. Books on Al Jolson. “Where are they now?” books. It got me to thinking about how, as we get older, we start viewing with nostalgia what we watched and did in our youths, when we were in pre-teens and teens. That’s why I like children’s television… it is one of the few good memories I have from when I was 5, 6, 7. My father probably liked Jolson and old old movie stars for the same reason: he was doing his growing up during the 1920s and 1930s.

I know I’m probably older than many of the folks reading my journal (I turn 47 on the 21st), so I’m probably reaching that nostalgia point. Many of my journal readers are probably too young. But what do you recall fondly from your youth that you miss today?

P.S. Please remember that January 31st is National Gorilla Suit Day, and this week is National Delurking Week. More on that later.