Archive for July, 2007

Nominate a Baby Boomer Celebrity for a Guest Appearance on this Blog

Friday, July 27th, 2007

I know a lot of you have already weighed in on this but I wanted to let other readers know that there are still a few days left (until midnight, July 31) to nominate a baby boomer celebrity to appear as a guest interview on this here baby boomer blog.

Thus far, the nominees are (in no particular order):

Kevin Costner (1955); The Beaver (aka Jerry Mathers; 1948); Hillary Clinton (1947); Bobby Orr (1948); David Letterman (1947); Denzel Washington (1954); Sting (1951); Steven Tyler (1948); James Spader (1960); John Travolta (1954); Cher (1946); Sigourney Weaver (1949); Robert Plant (1948); Albert Brooks (1947); Susan Orlean (1955); Robin Williams (1952); Geena Davis (1956); Meryl Streep (1949); Patricia Cornwell (1956); Susan Sarandon (1946); Arlo Guthrie (1947); Edie Brickell (1966); George Clooney (1961); Jay Leno (1950); Ozzy Osbourne (1948); Hugh Laurie (1959); Richard Thomas (1951); Stedman Graham (1951); Kirstie Alley (1951)

Several of the nominees were not baby boomers: Goldie Hawn (1945); Paul Simon (1941); Art Garfunkel (1941); Bette Midler (1945); Ali McGraw (1938).

This weekend a small committee will winnow down the nominees to a handful of names and then YOU will vote for the winner next week. Then I will contact the winner’s manager or agent, and we’ll go from there.

The Cat Who Can Predict Death

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

Oscar_cat.gifI’ve told you in the past about my little pup and how he does pet therapy at a local nursing home.

I just heard about an extraordinary cat who does pet therapy in the hospice unit of a Providence, Rhode Island, nursing home. He has an amazing ability to figure out who is going to die next. Oscar is not a particularly friendly cat, so when he enters a patient’s room and nestles on the bed, the staff knows that the patient is within 4 hours of death. Oscar has been correct 25 times.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” said Dr. David Dosa, [an assistant professor of medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University]. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families.

Read a fascinating and beautiful essay about the cat by Dr. Dosa that was published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Read a news story about Oscar at

The Sweetest Sound of Summer

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Ice_cream_cone.jpgLet’s face it. The songs that ice cream trucks play are like torture: They’re repetitive and sound like they were recorded on Mars. But how else can they let you know that Mister Softee is right around the corner?

New York City just passed a new noise ordinance that prohibits ice cream trucks from playing their tunes while stopped in residential areas. The New York Post reports:

“It’s going to be bad for us,” said driver Fatih Erdogan. “Especially in the summer, when people put the air conditioners on, I need something to let the people know I’m here.”

“This job put my daughters through college,” said Doc Guishard, a Brooklyn ice-cream distributor who owns two trucks.

Before they start passing this noise ordinance in other cities, get your own ice cream truck.

Here’s the sheet music for the Mister Softee tune, so you can play it at home as often as you’d like.

The Saddest Sound in All of Nature

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Last night I was coming home from seeing friends when I heard it for the first time. It was not very loud and didn’t last very long, but it was there just the same.

The first crickets of the season. They always start chirping around this time of year. It makes me feel sad because they signal the end of summer.

When you live in a four-season climate like I do in New England, you often endure winter and crave summer. It’s almost unbearable to think about the end of summer.

Here’s someone else who finds the sound of crickets very evocative.

Does Anyone Wear a Slip Anymore?

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

As a tomboy growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, one of banes of my existence were slips — those frilly white things you wear under dresses. I hated them.

I was talking to a 20-something friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and learned something astonishing. They aren’t wearing slips anymore! Is this true?

God, I was born in the wrong generation.

Another Reason Canada is Superior to the U.S.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

Most Americans recognize that Canadians are nicer, have better lives and safer cities. Today, we learn that Canada also has the best sea otter webcam online. Check out these critters at the Vancouver Aquarium.

UPDATE: Ever since I posted this, the webcam has been messed up. I guess Canada may not have the best sea otter webcam after all.

This isn’t as good as a live webcam, but watch a video of two of the otters holding hands.

Hands Off My Easy-Bake Oven

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Growing up in the 1960s, I had a lot of toys and a few favorite ones, like the Easy-Bake Oven. If you had one, too, I’m sure you remember how cool it was to be able to bake all by yourself without your mother’s help. More importantly, it was the first and last time most of us will ever cook anything by lightbulb.

I was so sad to hear that a bunch of the ovens are being recalled right now due to safety problems. The ‘bad’ ovens were sold between May 2006 and July 2007. Call Hasbro at 1-800-601-8418 for details on how to return them.

No More Harry Potter, No More Reading

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Hey, you. Yes, you. Did you lose sleep over the weekend devouring the last installment of Harry Potter? Well, wake up. I have something important to say.

I read just the first Potter book, but I love reading and writing. In fact, I can’t imagine a life without books. So when I read recent reports about the fact that many of the kids who are obsessed with the Harry Potter series are not necessarily reading other books, I was upset.

A 2004 study by the National Endowment for the Arts shows that reading for pleasure is dropping for all age groups. Here’s the whole report, “Reading at Risk.”

From the New York Times:

Some researchers and educators say that the series, in the end, has not permanently tempted children to put down their Game Boys and curl up with a book instead.

“The Harry Potter craze was a very positive thing for kids,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who has reviewed statistics from federal and private sources that consistently show that children read less as they age. “It got millions of kids to read a long and reasonably complex series of books. The trouble is that one Harry Potter novel every few years is not enough to reverse the decline in reading.”

For the kids in your lives, was the Harry Potter series a big deal? Are they showing interest in other books?

BloggingBoomers Carnival #31

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Good morning. Baby boomers, stop what you’re doing. Go directly to Contemporary Retirement: Helping You Get the Retirement You Deserve. Check out this week’s Carnival offerings. You’ll find lots of stuff for the edification and entertainment of people like you.

Chinese Toothpaste: No; Chinese Coffins: Yes.

Friday, July 20th, 2007

Yesterday I received an email from Carol, a representative of a Chinese casket maker. I was a little offended that Tang Long Inc. thought baby boomers were an appropriate market for their products, but I suppose we are, with aging parents and whatnot. I want to pass along the information in case you want to order a coffin.

In her inimitable English, Carol (I bet that’s not her real name) wrote:

I would like to inform you that coffin is our strongest point. We have factories producing coffin in Jiangmen City, Guangdong province, China. If you are looking for some Chinese factories that supply you product of high quality and good design in competitive prices, TangLong International Group INC is your best choice. Moreover, we provide great customers service.

And the website says:

Our company produces coffin and urns, the material is by the wood, the iron, the copper and the crystal. The design have many, deeply user community high praise. In our company product, the quality is to be reliable, the price is reasonable. Because the variety is many, cannot record it all, for the product details, please welcome to consult our company website or send an email to us.

Check out the Tang Long Inc. coffin website for more.

Lesson for Today: Chinese toothpaste: no; Chinese coffins: yes.