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edited by Bruce Kauffman

November 2007
November news and trends about life as Boomers


All About Us…
USA Today says publishers aim to strike gold by using the B-word in book title after book title.  They appear to be aiming for the Me generation’s Achilles heel, an overweening obsession with ourselves.

Among the offerings:
Sara Davidson, out with “Leap! What Will We Do With the Rest of Our Lives, says it's the Boomer way to re-create and reinvent ourselves, whether we're figuring out how to handle teenaged kids, going through menopause or, as of now, embracing what one hipster calls "deep middle age.”

The Boomer literature boomlet is also stabbing for laughs. Tim Sandlin's "Jimi Hendrix Turns Eighty" depicts senescent nursing home denizens embracing the hippie days again.

 "Boomsday," by Christopher Buckley, tells of a time when the government gives us incentives to kill ourselves so as to thin the swelling rolls of Social Security swilling seniors.

Still More Highs for Manic Beatles Fans…
Look for the Beatles, one of the Boomers' favorite bands, to have all their tunes put online as a result of a deal forged with the makers of the iPod. It could make downloading "Please Please Me" legal for the first time.

So, some 43 years since they set off years of giddy mania after performing live before a screaming cadre of kids on national television's "The Ed Sullivan Show," the Beatles star ascends again. Some music industry types predict digital downloading will become routine among Boomers once they discover they can master pulling together a Fab Four collection...perhaps all over again.

It's not like they ever went away.  "Love," a remix album from Beatles producer George Martin debuted recently at number four on the Billboard chart and became on of four Fab Four records to go platinum since the year 2000.

Digital gurus are saying look for the iPod to come "pre-loaded" with music, including that of the Liverpudlians. Already, some models come with a coupon redeemable for $50 worth of downloaded Beatles songs.

The piercing sound of an inside-the-Beltway alarm…
The chairman of the Federal Reserve says the right time to reform Social Security and Medicare has come and gone. Ben Bernanke told Congress that more foot dragging now could deal a harsh blow to the economy.

His appearance before the Senate Budget Committee in January brought the central banker’s most forceful warning yet on the fate of the two programs heavily counted on by some 78 million Boomers, the first of whom start retiring this year.

The Gray, the Proud, the Active….
A seniors’ rights organization called the Gray Panthers is listing some 28,000 members in more than two dozen local networks across the nation, all focusing on ways to improve the lot of the newly-retiring Boomer with affordable health care and jobs that carry a living wage.

A lifelong activist named Maggie Kuhn formed the Panthers back in 1971 after she was forced to retire from her job with the Presbyterian Church at the age of 65.  She published her autobiography, “No Stone Unturned,” in 1991 and died in Philadelphia four years later at the age of 89.

Calling “old people” the “biggest untapped and undervalued human energy source" in the country, the Panthers allied with teenagers, another vital resource Kuhn said is not taken seriously enough in our fast-paced and exploitative culture.

Social Security remains well within the Panthers' sights. In founder Kuhn’s view, according to online reference Wikipedia, politicians have created a war between the generations over federal funds to divert attention from the real budget issues: profligate overspending on the military and extravagant tax breaks for the rich.

— edited by Bruce Kauffman

 


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