Saturday, November 16, 2019

Thrift Shop Shopping

I didn’t realize charity thrift shops have gone upscale until I dropped off several bags of my stuff. I guess I can’t blame them. 

First, the staff is composed of all volunteers. Every item in each bag must be carefully scrutinized, and that takes time. People time. 

Second, apparently today no one wants clothes that are torn, stained, and dreadfully discolored, nor are folks eager to buy chipped, broken and/or unworkable goods. 

Third, the store has limited space. Items less than in almost-pristine condition do not sell quickly, if at all. The charity makes more money with top-notch items. And the word gets around. Folks tell others about a shop selling high-quality, or at least UNdamaged, merchandise. Store traffic rises, sales increase, and the charity makes more money.

Rewind a few years and many things not accepted in thrift shops today were gladly accepted – and eventually sold. Old clothes were purchased and reworked for quilt material, nursery school craft projects and costume boxes, and other reusables. Maybe people are not as creative nowadays. Maybe they don’t have as much time for do-it-yourself projects.

The embarrassing thing about all this is that a day or two or three before my discarded items landed in a give-away bag, they were in my house. Used. Worn. One day I toss them in a bag and drive to the thrift shop. The volunteer behind the counter says, “We have to go through the bags. Anything we don’t want you have to take back.” So I unpack the bags and one by one the volunteer examines them, then throws each piece on one of two piles – the accepted stack, or the reject pile. Luckily few items are excluded – sometimes none. I’ve learned. I now toss items I assume will be rejected into the garbage, eliminating the middleman. 

I am well acquainted with thrift shops and consignment stores. When I worked at a women’s center helping people re-enter the work force, an enjoyable activity was shopping at a consignment shop for interview outfits and staging a fashion show. 

One year my niece and I bought a variety of items at a thrift shop which we threw together for Halloween costumes.

When I pass a consignment store when visiting cities and walking neighborhoods, I cannot resist stopping in. Frequently I end up purchasing something, most often an article of clothing.  Hub and I were out of town years ago and packed an inappropriate wardrobe – spring clothes when a cold streak blasted through town. Within walking distance of our motel was a Goodwill store. We purchased sweaters.

I have bought toys and games for the grandkids at our local thrift shop and at garage sales.

And – who knew – thrift shop shopping is now IN – a trendy thing. While writing this post I came across the following article entitled Regifting Is No Longer A Sin In Red Hot Resale Market

I am being environmentally friendly by recycling possessions I no longer need and I am being green by purchasing and reusing previously owned items...thrift shops, garage sales, consignment stores rock!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Binge-watching Bliss

Daylight hours grow shorter, the dark hours of late afternoon and evening seem endless, and each day gets a bit colder and grayer. 

It is binge-watching season! 

Pop the popcorn, unroll a blanket, don the sweats, dig out the leftover Halloween candy, get comfortable in a favorite chair or couch and enjoy a program – maybe a mini-series with three or four installments, or a series with years of episodes you never got around to watching. Or never heard of until a friend suggested it.

Hub and I just finished binge-watching a show highly recommended by friends, a comedy with occasional dramatic overtones, available on Netflix, The Kominsky Method. Michael Douglas plays an actor now acting coach, and Alan Arkin is a talent agent. The two are not a couple, but friends helping each other stagger through seniorhood. They deal with issues most seniors can identify with – death of a spouse, sexual anxieties, health issues, work matters, family problems, the fear and doubts of growing old. 

Chuck Lorre, creator of The Big Bang Theory, one of my all-time favorite shows, likewise created The Kominsky Method. Throughout the 16 episodes, each about a half hour, a continuous line of oldie but goodie performers appear – Patti LaBelle, Danny DeVito, Elliott Gould, Alison Janney, to name a few. A number of mature actors have recurring roles, including Paul Reiser, Jane Seymour, and Kathleen Turner.

I realize everyone may not be able to enjoy The Kominsky Method on their TV or computer. Nowadays it is not easy figuring out whether or not a particular show is available on your screen. There is Comcast OnDemand, Netflix, Dish, Direct TV, Amazon, Hulu, and others I am unfamiliar with, plus pay channels like HBO, Showtime...we used to get Turner Classic Movies, but Comcast, eager to milk old folks who enjoy old movies for more money, decided to add the channel to an upgraded package. Which we do not and will not get. 

I am not sure what our next binge-watching experience will be. 
Any suggestions?

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Pondering the Political

My congressional district made the national news this past week. A sleepy district in the southern part of the state of New Jersey, it covers a large territory – the largest in terms of land in the state – encompassing farms, suburbs, towns and casino central - Atlantic City. Our esteemed Congressional representative, Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat elected last November who replaced a Republican who served 22 years and retired, was one of two Democrats who voted against the impeachment probe of the President.

Van Drew probably voted against impeachment because he wants to be reelected next November, and he needs Republican votes to accomplish that goal. His Republican opponent last year was so extreme that the national Republican party disavowed him. Next year Van Drew's opponent will be more mainstream in terms of Republican ideology, or at least be more careful with his rhetoric. Van Drew knows he faces an uphill battle. 

Local Democrats – or to be more accurate, a lot of local Dems but not 100% - were not excited by Van Drew’s candidacy. He was bestowed upon our district by a regional (unelected) Democratic boss, George Norcross, a man previously under investigation by the FBI and who recently wrangled with the state’s Democratic governor. Norcross has ruled Democratic politics in south Jersey for over 30 years. 

The era of the political boss is not dead. It is alive and well in south Jersey.

Our country has a history of political bosses. Examples include New York City’s Boss Tweed during the 19thcentury, Huey Long in the south in the early 20th century, mid-20th century Chicago/Cook County’s Richard Daley, and Atlantic City’s notorious Nucky Johnson of Boardwalk Empire fame. Johnson ruled Atlantic City during the Prohibition era of the 1920s and 1930s. 

But Johnson is not the last political figure involved in crime and corruption in Atlantic City. On October 3, 2019, the city’s mayor, Frank Gilliam, resigned after pleading guilty to wire fraud. He stole $87,000 from a youth basketball league he founded.

Gilliam enters a special roster of Atlantic City mayors. He is the sixth mayor since the 1970s to resign in disgrace. But the city’s corruption does not begin or end at the top. In 2007 one-third of the nine member City Council pled guilty to accepting bribes. 

Then there is the disappearing mayor. Mayor Bob Levy left Atlantic City on September 26, 2007, destination unknown at the time. He checked into a clinic specializing in psychiatric and addiction issues, and a few days later resigned. At the time he was under investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs for embellishing his military record.

Corruption runs deep in casino city and throughout the state. In the first decade of the 21st century almost 150 of New Jersey’s senators, mayors, county executives and council members got caught accepting bribes.

...I could go on...and on...but the evidence is in. The state’s culture of corruption is deeply rooted, and doubtless one reason for New Jersey’s #1 ranking as the state with the highest property tax rate in the country. 

A #1 ranking, I guess, is worth noting, however inexcusable and appalling it might be. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

A Sad Fond Farewell

Bidding farewell to long-held possessions can be somewhat traumatic. Some items may have been owned for years, decades, maybe even a lifetime. How many of us have - stuffed in a drawer or box in the basement, attic or garage - a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or other childhood treasure? Most things, however, disappear during our journey through life. Items get lost, they break and cannot be repaired or cost too much to fix or replacement parts are unavailable. Some we give away. We might donate items to charity, send them off to a consignment shop in the hopes someone else will want and actually pay for our discarded stuff, and sometimes we gift a treasured possession to a friend or relative.

Over ten years ago, when my Dad could no longer drive, his car was passed down to a family member. Skipping a generation, my son Jason became the proud owner of Dad’s 1998 Toyota Corolla.

The car, which registered 35,000 miles when Jason took possession, went to college with my son, accompanied him to job interviews, stayed with him as he entered the work world, drove him home for occasional visits, carried his gear to bike races and marathons, and transported his daughters to preschool and play dates.

Now 20 years old with an odometer reading of 165,000 miles, the car shows its age. Frequent visits to the car repair shop, weird sounds when it runs - coughing, hissing - like a very old person, it is ready for the next chapter in life.

So this afternoon Jason drove his beloved Toyota to the Good News Garage and donated the vehicle to charity. He is unsure what will happen to it. The car still runs so it may go to an individual in need of transportation to school or work. Or it may be mined for parts and metal. Or…we have no idea.

It was a sad, somber scene, saying goodbye to a possession used and cared for, for so many years, linking generations. 

Cars have become connections to events in our lives…the car I drove - or tried to drive - for my first driving test. I got behind the wheel and the car refused to start. It was towed to the nearest repair shop…the first van hub and I bought one Christmas Eve…the red Saturn I drove off the lot, not a sports car but close…the car (NOT my Saturn, but a Ford Escort) handed down to our son (NOT Jason) when he learned to drive, affectionately known as the POS (piece of s**t)…There are other stories, life through vehicles owned, used, experienced. 

I end this tale of woe with a picture of the Toyota, 1998-2019.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Boomers on Pursuits Major and Mundane

Continuous rain signaled a quiet day at home on my couch, under a  blanket, reading the best-seller Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I finished the book, which was highly recommended by friends. The author will be in town in November and I wanted to read the book before attending her lecture. I became engrossed in the story, a journey into the land and inhabitants, human and otherwise, of North Carolina’s Outer Banks before the region became a tourist mecca.

Meanwhile my fellow boomers spent time this week on endeavors major and mundane.

Health happenings 
Rebecca Olkowski, with, attended a 2-day Osteoporosis Summit with a group of over-50 bloggers and influencers at Amgen. Participants flew in from all over the country to learn about bone health and the importance of having a bone density scan. She toured the facility, listened to a panel of experts and even did a cooking class – recipe included. Read about what she learned here.
Levelheaded ideas on a controversial topic 
Tom at Sightings Over Sixty steps into the line of fire with this week's post Guns Don't Kill People . . .  Take a look, if your mind is even slightly open about the subject.

Money-saving Ideas 

On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist, offers 10 top tips for saving energy and money. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average household spends at least $2,200 on energy, and at least half of that is for heating and cooling their home.

Pursuits close to home

If you've ever wondered what the "secret" was to vision boards -  a collage of images and words that represent what a person wants to do, be, or have in life - then Jennifer of Unfold and Begin has an answer for you.  In How to Unlock the Secret Behind Vision Boards, she shares the 4 key steps to creating and using one.
Laurie Stone from Musings, Rants & Scribbles knows how we take many things for granted in life – health, shelter, water, food, and yes...comforters. She's been on a quest for a new one for months and you’d think she was pursuing the Hope Diamond or Ark of the Covenant. Why is Comforter Land playing such hardball this time? Did bedding change or did she?

Thanks for stopping by and hope you take a few moments to drop by our boomers and say hi! We love to hear from you.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Three Blind Mice, and Another One...

A wonder of the internet is that we can explore and discover all kinds of information. A piece of worthless trivia unearthed this week is that on October 12, 1609 – over 400 years ago – the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice was published in London. In case it has been a very long time since you crooned with a toddler or two, here are the lyrics:

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

The verse seems cute and innocent. It is anything but. Adults and the toddlers they teach have no idea the rhyme has underlying meaning. And not a delightful one. 
Many nursery rhymes recited today were written in England during a time when speaking openly against the government, the King or Queen, or the Church, was dangerous and could result in dire consequences. To get around this obstacle dissenters wrote poems cloaked in innuendo.
Three Blind Mice, based on a true event, is one example. The three blind mice refers to three Protestant noblemen convicted of plotting against Queen Mary I, ruler of England and Ireland from 1553 until her death in 1558. Mary was Catholic and determined to reverse the Protestant Reformation. She killed many Protestants and earned the nickname Bloody Mary. The farmer’s wife alludes to Mary and her husband, King Philip of Spain. They owned a number of large estates. Mary did not have the three men dismembered and blinded, as inferred in the rhyme. However the three men were burned at the stake in 1555.
In our time free speech is a right (in some parts of the world). We can speak and write diatribes proclaiming opposition to whoever or whatever we want. Sometimes the target is apparent, and sometimes the target is revealed obliquely, or not at all. 
An example is the popular 1980 song by the British band Queen, Another One Bites the Dust. I don’t sing along whenever heard on the radio because of the song’s message; the message I learned. A Google search finds more than one meaning, but I still don’t feel comfortable warbling the lyrics.

A theme of the song is death, referenced in the phrase “another one bites the dust”. The song may represent a metaphorical death, like the end of a romantic relationship, or - the interpretation I learned - the song is all about mass murder. On a lighter note, another piece of trivia discovered in my research is that the song played backwards conveys (maybe) a pro-marijuana message.

Perhaps each person should figure out what the song is all about for themselves. As for future generations, young and old may continue crooning the song, its enduring popularity due to the captivating tune and lyrics.

Here is a YouTube of Another One Bites the Dust. Reach your own conclusion...

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Golden Years Bring Tears

 Age-wise, I am in a sweet spot dubbed ‘the golden years’. The term was first coined in a 1959 ad for Sun City, Arizona, considered the first active adult retirement community. The phrase is supposed to conjure images of retirement, leisure time, relaxation, enjoyment of life - a stretch of time before the ailments and illnesses of old age prevail. 

What I am learning as I march into my sunset years is that those ailments and illnesses don’t pop up one day, a message screaming, OK, gal, you’re now OLD. Rather those disorders creep up on you – maybe not you, but definitely on me. One day I feel fine, one day I AM fine, and the next day something is not quite right...

My latest issue is, according to my doctor, an allergy. To what I have no idea. I never had an allergy. Until now.

Suddenly I am fine and then my eyes tear and redden, my nose runs, I sneeze. Then the symptoms disappear. I tested to find out if the problem was my soap, makeup, shampoo...none of these variables made a difference. After months of this on-and-off scenario it was time for a professional opinion.

The diagnosis: I probably have an allergy to something (Eureka!). So I am trying an over-the-counter antihistamine, and if that doesn’t work will add a prescription med. 

What is going on? Why am I turning into a weak-bodied specimen?

Apparently I am not alone. There has been a world-wide increase in allergies among folks over 50 in the past few decades. In fact, so many older people succumb to allergies that WHO, the World Health Organization, has classified the trend an ‘epidemic’ of the 21st century.

Reasons for the rise in allergies over the past few years include:
·      Environmental transformations, such as climate change and pollution, contribute to increased susceptibility and lower body immunity.
·      Mold and pollen are common respiratory-related allergy agents. Climate variations, habitat destruction and alterations result in increased cases of allergies among adults.
·      The immune system and tissue structure changes as we age. A consequence can be heightened sensitivity to allergy-producing agents, such as foods and substances we breathe.
·      Everyday life may contribute to allergies in the form of stress. Stress releases hormones and other molecules that lead to allergy symptoms. Although not a direct cause of allergies, stress can make an allergy worse.

All this information is interesting but not helpful to my situation. On doctor’s orders I am to keep a diary of my allergy episodes, in the hopes that eventually a commonality will be found (another Eureka moment!).  Otherwise I will walk around forever wearing dark glasses as tears stream down my face and I bump into people and objects because my sight is impaired, while folks wonder – what is wrong with that woman?

To be continued, eventually, for better or worse...

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Hamilton Hype is Well-Deserved

We prepared beforehand, listening to Hamilton on YouTube. No action, no pictures, but with the most important element necessary to appreciate the show - the lyrics. 

It is not easy to understand all the words on the album when first heard. It is probably an impossible task. Rewind, listen carefully, re-read the words on the screen a second or third time (or more) – and appreciate. And you can enjoy all this for free! Or, to be more precise, for the cost of your monthly internet fee. Occasionally the rendition is interrupted by a commercial break, but after a click on the Skip ad note in the corner of the screen the ad disappears and the music continues. We did not listen to the entire performance, all 2 hours and 22 minutes, at one time, but absorbed it over a period of days. 

This was preparation for attending a live performance, Hamilton the musical and Broadway play. Except we saw it in Philadelphia.

The hype, in my opinion, is well deserved. The characters, the lyrics, the hip-hop music, the story all weave together to create a masterpiece. Our tickets were $167 each, and as hub declared, we were in nosebleed territory, but we saw and heard everything. 

Do not despair if ticket prices are too steep for your pocketbook. I am sure there will be a movie eventually – probably currently in the works, or at the very least the film rights are being negotiated at this moment. Local playhouses will produce the show, with varied success. Meanwhile listen to the entire show on YouTube. Free. Or invest in the album.

Some people are familiar with Alexander Hamilton, craftsman of the country’s financial system, killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, at the time America's Vice President. A potpourri of historical figures appear in the show, many familiar and others less so: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Marquis de Lafayette, General Charles Lee, King George III (my favorite and the comic relief character.) And the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, did not forget the ladies. The Schuyler sisters, Eliza, Angelica, and Peggy, emerge onstage, and two of them play key roles in the show. 

There are observers upset by the fact that the country’s founders are portrayed by performers who do not look anything like the originals. In the play they are black, brown, Asian...One purist noted that, in the production we saw, the Thomas Jefferson character was short. In ‘real life’ he was a tall man. Does it make a difference? At what point is it OK to be historically inaccurate? And when is it important to stick to the facts? I don’t have the answers, but these are thought-provoking issues for debate.

The playwright’s idea was to make the story of the creation of the nation a narrative Americans today can relate to. Costumes are not 21st century, but do not adhere to 18th century protocol either - no powdered wigs, long waistcoats or knee breeches. The play focuses on relatable characters, language understandable to careful listeners, and  issues, ideas, and disputes relevant today.

Hamilton the musical rocks.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Downton Abbey: The Movie

The hype worked for me. Six seasons of episodes immersed in an upper crust, extravagant lifestyle, exhibits of Downton Abbey clothes, dinnerware, table settings and other items, Facebook posts, TV commercials – all whet my appetite for THE movie.

I bought tickets online the day before the movie opened. Seniors that we are, hub and I chose a late afternoon time slot. We arrived a few minutes early, splurged on a bag of popcorn and entered the theater (one of seven screens). Of course the movie did not start at 4:20; previews began at that time. We settled into oversized plush seats, anticipating an enjoyable two hours captivated by another world.

I didn’t mind the previews; they passed quickly as I munched away. Finally, after an
opening scene in which viewers don’t know what is going on until later in the movie, the pristine English countryside appears onscreen. As the camera moves out to reveal a grander view, our eyes settle on Downton Abbey, an English almost-castle. We become engrossed in the lifestyle of lords and ladies as well as a peak into the life of commoners. 

The year is 1927. Life is good, but even aristocrats have a challenging time making ends meet. Numerous servants to pay, clothes to buy (how many outfits are needed when you dress for dinner every night?), food to purchase, a castle to maintain...

And the king and queen invite themselves over for a night.

Folks not familiar with the show need a cheat sheet of the characters and a review of the events of season six if they hope to figure out what is going on. Wikipedia is a great resource for a list of the entire cast throughout the show’s six seasons. 

What struck me as interesting, and rather sad, is that many of the issues confronting the characters and the country remain problems today – England and Ireland, homosexuality, the role of women in society.

The usual cast members show up. Some look older (Lady Grantham and Mr. Carson), some better than ever (Tom Branson). Everyday dilemmas of the characters interweave with preparations for the king and queen’s visit. To add to character confusion new ones are introduced, and I bet a couple will appear in future movies/TV miniseries/comic books/videogames, when and wherever the saga continues.

There are light-hearted moments and banter, exquisite outfits, pageantry, a little intrigue. Downton Abbey fans will appreciate the film, others not so much. A couple of story lines seem to set the stage for a sequel. Or two or three. I can’t wait...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Debating Law and Order

I sit on a bed in a motel in St Augustine, Florida, on a road trip with hub. The Democratic debate blares on TV and I listen, sort of. If I pay too close attention I get a headache. 

The objective of this trip (who wants to be in the sunshine state during a sizzling, hurricane-prone time? Not me. Or hub. We fly home the day after reaching our destination.)- to deliver our 2012 Mazda 3 to our grandson, 15-years-old and recent recipient of a learner’s permit. We purchased a new car (Honda CR-V). The trade-in price proposed was so low we shrugged it off and offered the car to any member of our extended family in need of wheels. Initially rejecting the idea, on reconsidering our Florida family decided a used Mazda beats no car at all.

The candidates on the screen drone on. And on. One of the many topics discussed is law and order. My mind wanders to the late great TV show of the same name. Friday, September 13th is the show’s anniversary. Law & Order debuted on that date in 1990 on NBC, and lasted twenty seasons, tied with Gunsmoke (1955-75) and a Law & Order franchise spin-off, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-present), for the longest-running live-action scripted American primetime series.

The original show spawned a number of spin-offs in addition to Law & Order: Special Victims Unit...Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury, LA, True Crime, Hate Crimes, foreign adaptations – including a Law & Order UK, and TV movies and video games. The Chicago TV series are also part of the Law & Order franchise – Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice, which lasted only one season. There may be more, but it’s hard keeping up and I am currently not a fan of any of these shows...

The original Law & Order produced 1,149 episodes. I cannot imagine binge-watching the entire series. How many days...weeks...months would it take? In the past I watched the show on and off over the years. But I am sure if watched again I would not remember which character committed the crime (usually murder). Want to watch old episodes or the entire series? You can’t. For some reason known only to decision-making media magnates, the show is not currently available on any streaming service.

Honestly, I would prefer to sit back, relax and watch three episodes of Law & Order than develop a low-grade headache watching the Presidential candidates spar verbally for three hours. Unless I move to another state quickly (like Iowa or New Hampshire), my vote will have no impact on which candidate carries the Democratic Presidential mantle. My state’s primary is too late to make any impact on the choice of candidate. Whose brilliant idea was it for the debates to drag on for three hours? 

I cannot watch the entire debate. My motel bed beckons...

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Seafood at the Seashore

Locals consider September the best month in our shore town. The weather is mild and sunny (most days), the days long (although getting shorter by minutes each day), the water warm, restaurants uncrowded (except Saturday nights), and parking spots available. Special events bring folks out to enjoy the atmosphere and activities.

This weekend the Downbeach Seafood Festival served up delicious food, with vendors representing some of the most popular (and best) seafood places in the area. There was music, games for the kids, a beer tent, cooking demonstrations and dance performers.
I am not sure you can read the print on this poster, 
but the various items offered by the restaurant vendors are listed.
Fish tacos - my choice, with soft tacos, fresh fish and veggies - lobster rolls, 
an entire boiled dinner, clams, mussels, shrimp...
The chef at a local hotel (the Sheraton) demonstrated how to
cook a fish - the picture above shows a tilefish she prepared, 
caught in the waters off Brigantine, NJ.
An event at the shore must have a sand sculpture!
After the festival, a couple of hours at the beach. 
Beach time is precious now as each day brings autumn closer...
followed by winter cold...then spring rains...and finally summer. 
I can't wait!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Boomers Forge Ahead into the Transitional Month of September

All at once, summer collapsed into fall.
-      Oscar Wilde

This Labor Day weekend the weather could not have been better. My beach town is overrun with folks taking in the last summer rays, waiting patiently in long lines for their preferred ice cream concoction, savoring favorite restaurant dishes. But shorter days and cool nights remind us that it is time to prepare for a new season’s activities and learn something new. 

This week the boomers have some ideas to help jump-start your autumn. 

Continuing with her 2019 theme of extreme self-care, Jennifer, of Unfold and Begin, focuses on our health with her September calendar.  It's Time to Tune-up in September, remind us how important it is to take care of our body and our mental and emotional well-being. If you haven't already, it's time to make those important Doctor appointments in September.

Tom at Sightings Over Sixty was surprised to read in a recent poll that almost half of the people surveyed believe that Medicare is free. In What Does Medicare Cost? he offers a primer to how much we pay to get coverage -- so new retirees don't get too much of a shock, and so the rest of us can review what we really do pay for our benefits.

You'd think technology would distance people from annoyances but in some cases, it has created brand new levels of intrusion. Over at Heart-Mind-Soul, Carol Cassara puts on her curmudgeon hat and lays out some of today's intrusive marketing efforts and other 21st century annoyances in "You Can...But Should You?”.

On The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide, Rita R. Robison, consumer and personal finance journalist, writes about what to do about your digital assets as you get older. Digital assets are something of value or significance created online or on a mobile phone, laptop, or tablet.

Sometimes we just want to 'get away from it all'  - including the 24/7 news - if only for a few hours. 

Living in a big city like Los Angeles can make you crazy but there are many wonderful places you can go to get away for a while. Rebecca Olkowski, with went to visit The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens near Pasadena. She spent the day there in its serene environment. Here’s what she saw.

You know the feeling. If you see one more all red, all caps “Breaking News” flash, you’re gonna blow. There’s too much coming at us too often and it’s happening all the time. According to Laurie Stone at Musings, Rants, & Scribbles, here are 4 signs you’re on cable news overload and what to do about it

I am in the process of 'getting away from it all' by binge watching a British TV series. Read all about it here.

Check out this week's boomers and drop them a line. We love to hear from you.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ten reasons I got hooked on the British detective series Midsomer Murders

Binge watching has become all the rage. Why wait week after week for another episode of a favorite show? Why wait anxiously through a seasonal hiatus and begin watching again when you have a 21st century alternative – binge watch the entire series, whether a 3-episode miniseries or a show with a 20-year longevity. 

Yup, that’s me. The show: the British detective series Midsomer Murders. First aired in England in 1997, 21st season currently in production. Each episode 1½ hours. 119 episodes after 20 seasons. 

A lot of TV viewing. 

Too much squandered time, I admit. But the show is addictive. 

The setting is a somewhat affluent fictional county of small villages, farms, and country
manors. The manors are not as large as the grandiose Downton Abbey, but impressive nonetheless. Smaller dwellings also appear, characterized by low ceilings and doorways and tended flower gardens, crammed with the stuff of British middle-class life. Run-down shacks in the woods house folks of dubious backgrounds.

A pub or two play a part in most episodes, venues with dark wood paneling and a bar counter where detectives search for strangers and chat with tavern owners and barmaids. Village folks occupy cozy alcoves and guzzle alcoholic beverages, consume hearty meals, and gossip. A village church and its vicar recur...also the police station...and scenic narrow country roads, settings for car crashes, hit and runs, and mad dashes to prevent another murder. There is rarely only one homicide per episode.

Ten reasons I got hooked on the British detective series Midsomer Murders:

1.   I like detective shows, everything from Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote, Columbo and Castle to Elementary.
2.   Great scenery. Villages look unscarred by 20th and 21st century development – no chain stores or supermarkets, little traffic, pristine landscapes. Family-owned businesses proliferate, although financial troubles surface, a common theme.
3.   The actors look like real people. Apparently British TV does not feel the need to make every actor/actress handsome/pretty. 
4.   Interesting story lines and no annoying commercial breaks.
5.   The culprit is not obvious, but can be deduced.
6.   I am learning a little British lingo, and closed captions (British accents can be difficult to understand) ensure none of the dialogue or background sounds - music, doors creaking, footsteps - are missed.
7.  Lead actors are appealing.
8.   Don’t need to watch in sequence; each episode can stand alone.
9.   Amusing dialogue and dark humor lighten the drama.
10.Characters mirror real life - everybody has secrets, some relevant to the case and others irrelevant.

Midsomer is an idyllic (except for the murders) semi-rural region. I wonder what will happen when the writers kill off everyone living, working, and visiting the various Midsomer villages. 

How many more years can Midsomer Murders endure?

Meanwhile I am on season 16...