Skip to content

oxycodone IS magic Vol 46

If you actually heard “one small step for man … ” , you must be a Boomer !

I am back, blogging on Boomers who need to stop glazing at their belly buttons, and get off the couch and do something. I am back after doing a very Boomer thing, having a full knee replacement. I know breast implant operations are probably still the number one vanity elective procedure overall ( and why not ! ), for the Boomer set, knee fixes are steadily climbing.

We are an active generation – at least compared to our fathers – so it was only a matter of time before something broke down. After 45 years of jogging and gym workouts, 25 years of hockey, 15 years of football ( including University ball ), and 10 years of basketball, 3 “scopes”, 2 Synvisc needles, and a winter of rehab without success, it was time to cut. My case, which seems to be of a common thread with my ex-hockey buddies, is that eventually something goes. Maybe its a back disc, maybe a nerve pinch, but usually its a knee. There are stories of Boomers dying on the ice of a heart attack, but usually a teammate who have all the symptoms of an attack, and I have seen only a few, get the immediate attention they need to survive.

I do wonder, being 59 and needing surgery simply because I was active, if it was all worth it ? Would I advise a younger me, if the opportunity existed, to try to take it easy, to give up all the years of enjoyment, social interaction with gym or teammates, sharing in victories and defeats, addicted to the physical buzz of working out ? Ballroom dancing perhaps, or swimming ? Ah, probably not.

After all, modern medicine is amazing. I got a new hip a few years ago, the result of an accident, and have never regretted it. If they can replace a hip with no ill effects today, imagine what they will be able to do in the next few years ! I even know of guys still playing hockey with new hips. Unfortunately, a new knee can not replicate the motion and torque needed to play hockey, so that part of my social life will have to change.

Since change is part of being a successful Boomer, I treated my worn out cartilage as a opportunity to look for new hobbies. I am still looking …

So, appointment made, a frustrating 2 year wait, and I am now the 8 week owner of a new right knee. The operation takes 90 minutes, and the usual hospital stay is two nights. I was up walking the next day, with the help of the rehab staff, which is the usual timeline. Frankly, the faster you are able to get to the bathroom to pee on your own, the quicker the catheter gets pulled out of your penis. Now there is a sensation I can not describe. In case you were wondering, I was already asleep on the operating table when the pee tube was inserted, as I have no memory of that experience.

I suppose its in the same family of feelings involved with a colonoscopy exam, but I insisted on being asleep for that as well, as I see no need to explore my inner faggot.

Day 2, they start weaning you off the morphine, giving me a choice between Percocet’s ( a pill with oxycodone and acetaminophen ) and Tylenol 3’s ( codeine, acetaminophen, and caffeine ). Highly addictive, I preferred the Oxy opiate in the Percocet. T3’s made me drowsy and fogged in mentally. Motivation to do rehab was difficult to muster, but it was a great pain killer and lasted a little longer than the Percocet.

Rehab, unfortunately was a must. Otherwise your leg stiffens up, you lose your range of motion and flexibility, and what is the point of the surgery if you wind up still limping ?

Oxy, on the other hand, while being a little fogging, was a much better pain killer as it just seemed to turn off the pain, instead of mask it. I had the motivation to do the exercises, and rehab is proceeding on schedule. I have gone from 8 pills a day, down to 1-2, and see needing none soon. I do not see the addictive aspects of the drug, but I understand that lots of people do get addicted. I do get why Oxy is in such demand as a chronic pain killer, to the point that people try to buy it illegally. If I had a chronic condition, I would definitely prefer Oxy.

I could not see doing the operation without being to control the pain afterwards, especially during rehab. The doctors tell you to “stay on top of the pain”, but that means being medicated 24/7 for a few weeks while you blend metal, space age plastics, with human flesh. Frankly, I doubt many people would go through with the operation without some pain relief. After all, we Boomers like our medications, don’t we ?

Next on Boomers – wtf !, why Arab boomers are the stupidest on the planet !


Say Yes to the Death Penalty Vol 45

If muffin-top is no longer just a food group, you must be a Boomer !

Boomers seem to be very short sighted these days. Few take the long view anymore. Personally, I think it is due to the speed of life we now see all around us. My 86 year old father-in-law just got a smart phone as a birthday present, and he is taking “how to” classes, in the retirement community where he lives, even thought most of the apps are of no use to him.

I asked him why he even had a smart phone, when he really had no need for the technology. He pulled out his iPAD and Kindle reader, and pointed out the fact that he did not buy any of these things – they were all given to him by his kids. What else do you give Boomer parents who have everything they need, and lots of stuff they don’t ? Perhaps giving technology to the very young and very old will have benefits we can not see yet, like less dementia !

The point is we are all living in a world that is moving faster all the time. Boomers, especially home bound women who are now entering the workplace, are confusing their vision of the future, or better said, only contemplate a future 5 minutes out. As a result, we have lost the trait of our species to think long term. Everything seems to about today. Worse, everything gets blown out of proportion for about 5 minutes, then we move on to the next thing. Remember Syria. This scattergun approach to choice is disturbing because it diminishes the usual menu of thinking about issues so that we arrive at responsible outcomes. Since this blog is about Boomers recapturing our reputation from its current drug induced, debt offloading, “fuck you, its only about me” , inequality loving, fad following obese selves, being short-sighted only leads us to more problems, not solutions.

My example for today is the death penalty. When Clayton Lockett, the Oklahoma murderer on death row, was executed, the drugs did not work as planned, and he had a heart attack while the authorities were trying to kill him humanly. This lead to all types of outrage, with everyone calling for investigations and stays. I call this the power of one, where a very small portion of the population can get things cancelled or changed. I know we get the politicians we deserve, and that as a cohort we are basically ungovernable, but lets not lose sight of why we have the death penalty.

While I am not a religious person, I am a moral man. The difference ? This is a longer conversation worth having, but for now, I believe that we do have a soul, and the soul reincarnates. I do believe that no-one knows how this works, and I mistrust groups who not only preach that they know, but also charge for the privilege of getting a reserved seat into the next life.

This soul gets born, socialized, and matures. The issue is when the soul gets damaged beyond repair. Child molesters, serial killers, to name a few examples of a narrow band of damaged people, forfeit their rights as humans. As an aside, some experts have postulated that no-one is born damaged, that all evil is a learned response, thus killing someone who was abused as a child, and then repeats the learned behaviour, deserves a chance to get un-learned. The trouble is that at a certain point, people who can perform certain acts, who either have the ability to kill in cold blood, or molest an innocent, they are damaged beyond repair. Ending their soul is required morally. Let the soul start over.

Also, when people try to make the humane argument that locking someone up for 50 years versus ending their lives now, I fall on the ending now side, the option that is much more humane. Really, what gets accomplished putting a convict into a max prison for a long time ? Remember, we are talking about the small slice of humanity who don’t respect the rest of us. Unless you want to punish them by inflicting prison, then you make my argument for me – who is being more humane ?

Yes, there will be some miscarriages of justice, whereby an innocent man is wrongly killed. With the advent of DNA sampling, that will help limit this from happening. If a few slip through, and remember we are only talking about a slim slice of the population well, so be it. We kill each other every day, so why stop at the prison door ?

Economically, the idea that my taxes go to feed and house a serial killer for the rest of their life is abhorrent. I believe that studies now show that to keep a convict on death row now costs more, in the various court definitions of a humane existence, than it costs to educate a child. This use of scarce assets is counter-productive. N’uff said.

Victims rights also should count for something. The sentence for raping a child can be 10 years. Imagine the victim never being able to get over the event, and having to wonder about the convict getting out at some point. Could you move on from what must be a daily worry. How do you heal from that ?

This should not be a liberal versus conservative fight. Politically, our elected officials bend to lots of court challenges today, the latest being that the convict is, in some way, mentally retarded, so his/her execution should be stayed. Of course their soul is impaired – who in their right mind does things that get to them sent to death row ? Can’t we all agree that society is better off if we humanly cull the criminally insane from the herd ?

No one is perfect, and we Boomers accept that, understanding that as hard as we try, mistakes will occur, and people will be effected. Limits need to be set, but we can not live in a consequence-free society. So, stop reacting to the latest news flash, and ponder who you want to be, and what kind of society you want to live in when you grow up ?

Next on Boomers – wtf !, why you should stop trusting your gut. Look at the results !

Racism, part 2 Vol 44

If you remember where you were when Elvis died, you must be a Boomer !

My last blog received some comments that I did not expect. Being a white Boomer, it was pointed out that I can not understand racism, especially as it pertains to black peoples. One has to live an experience to fully understand it. One has to appreciate that racism may never be eradicated, as we all judge based on our sect, tribe, or family, but it does need to be fought, whenever found.

Racism does confuse me. Being of Irish decent ( fathers father, with lots of other European influences ), I have seen the movies depicting the hard times the Irish had when they emigrated to this continent. Whatever the reason, few immigrants back then came of their own free will, but suffered some type of calamity, whether it was famine, religious persecution, or a family tragedy. So, I have lots of questions that seem needing answers.

First, am I a racist ! Yes, like all Boomers, of any colour, we all like our race, and judge all others to our own scale. Even Michael Jordan, the ex-basketball player superstar and team owner, admitted this week that he had racist thoughts. The art of judging makes us racist, but few of us let it rule our existence. I have never considered myself an Irish-American, although perhaps my father did ? Since both my parents are gone, I will never know the point, if ever, that my father stopped thinking of himself as a hyphenated person. So, does that mean that as soon as the black stops with the African-American label, we will have gotten over that problem ?

I am sure I can be considered naive, based on that last sentence. I will probably be reminded that I can not know what it’s like being black in a white society. That is definitely true, although soon our melting pot will not be the colour white, but brown. However, how come the Latinos and Asian folks, to my reckoning, do not verbalize the same affliction ? How come only the Blacks express their contempt with the society they help build, and defend ? Is the slave memory still too fresh, unlike the Asian and Latinos, who were slaves in their history but not here, not have the sense of the whip to recoil from being builders of their own narrative ? What am I missing ?

Second, if racism is an underlying problem as important as it seems, at least to some Boomers, why are our leaders not addressing the issue in an open and frank way ? Our society is a diverse melting pot, an economic necessity today, something that we need to embrace and grow. Why isn’t Obama, now that he is not facing an election, discussing this issue every day ? He talks in generalities about drug wars, gun cultures, and housing issues, but does not use the bully pulpit to sow understanding. If not him, then whom ? Basketball players ?

Donald Stirling, the NBA owner who ignited this current firestorm, was discriminatory in the past, when he tried to exclude blacks from his housing projects. Personally, Stirling is entitled to his opinions, as we all are, to a limit of exciting hate, which he has not done. I would not want to listen to him or live in his projects, but I accept his right to speak his mind in the privacy of his own house. Wow, if we have to watch what we say 100% of the time, we would all be in trouble. Nevertheless, Where are our leaders and the middle ground ? Where is the rush to understanding ? Stirling may represent a generational issue, but they will soon pass into history, just like those who did not want to give women the vote !

Third, do I sound like I blame the blacks for perpetuating their situation ? While I did not live through the Irish gang wars, the insults and cultural challenges that their poor and uneducated family’s had to endure, I can try to emphasize with their struggles, and use this insight to understand the blacks mindset. Interestingly, it is well known that some immigrants return home, not able to adjust to our melting pot, at least not in the timeframe they are comfortable with. I wonder how many blacks have returned to Africa ?

We are all from someplace else, including the Natives – they just came over earlier than the rest of us. There are villains and hicks in every culture, serial killers do not have a singular DNA, and bigots are universal. One could extrapolate then that the reason that the blacks make such a fuss, when everyone knows there are Donald Stirling’s in this world, is because they reason that this is the best way to end racism as they know it ?

Lastly, what bothers me the most, and I expect most Boomers would agree, is being blamed for something I have not done ! Single out the bigots when you can. but do not use too wide a brush in condemning the rest of us. I have two daughters, grown-ups, who try to educate me on today’s society ( really. werewolves and vampires !!! ). I have different views, but I am trying to sharpen my listening skills, to understand the evolving world around us, so I can both fit in, and help change it for the better. Incarceration rates, educational opportunities, and housing issues, I am listening ?

To this end, who can send me a couple of paragraphs on what it is like to be Black in North America, why that experience is different from a Polish-Englander or French-Canadian, and a couple of things I could do to help the cause.

Next on Boomers – wtf !, you will be nudged, and will enjoy it !

Sterling Grundy and me, Racist ? Vol 43

If you remember Woodstock , you must be a Boomer !

Racism is in the news these days as Donald Stirling, the basketball team owner, was caught lamenting with his girlfriend about her type of friends. Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who grazed his cattle on federal lands but did not want to pay for the privilege, also got into trouble lamenting the case of the negro. Both instances generated lots of outrage and commentary. Thankfully, my racism is not news, yet.

This subject and its sidebars is larger than a single blog or person, but let me mention a few points. First, lets tackle the privacy issue. A guy was talking in his own home, about something he felt deeply about, to a friend he trusted, at least at that point. We have no idea what caused the outburst, what was said by his girlfriend prior to the taped recording, the environment at the time, nor the circumstances surrounding the obvious relationship fight. What was a young girl doing dating a married 80 year old in the first place ? A few adjectives come to mind.

Next thing Donald knows, his words are all over the media. I am sure he did not give his permission for their release, and it worries me that the bitch ( by any definition, that is what she is now ) seems to have gotten away with an invasion of privacy. Hopefully, Donald will sue her, and extract some form of punishment, so that everyone will understand that some form of privacy ( not all, as the NSA activities have shown ) is all we really have left in this society. After all, aren’t the British papers getting sued today over taping people against their wishes.

The overreaction by the media is another problem. My adult children are always quoting TMZ, like I quote a NY Times article. Therein lies the problem. Most social media today is adventurous at best, allowing gossip to percolate into the mainstream without some form of edit. Bomani Jones, an ESPN host, commented that it was well known, from previous court cases, that Stirling discriminated against Blacks, so why was the story just coming into the mainstream now, when this should have been dealt with years ago ? He called everyone who was outraged at Stirling’s words today frauds, when it was well known that he had racist leanings years ago. The difference is our new media, and its lack of rules. Personally, I like to think of twitter, Facebook, and all their ilk like the light bulb that burns brightest just before it burns out. Soon, we will tire of their game, and realize that it is not news that they serve up as content.

The Bundy example is even better. Cliven was immediately upheld by numerous conservative pundits for using federal lands without paying a marginal sum for the privilege – something about federal overreach versus the small job creator. As soon as he gets the chance, he uses his new pulpit to expound his views, and forces all those smart FOX commentators to disavow him. Who looks stupid now ?

Next, lets tackle the racism issue. Boomers, like everyone else, are racist. Everyone, including Blacks, are racist. Let me explain. Briefly, to love yourself, you must have a self worth, a feeling that you are special. Rationally, if you are special, everyone else must be less special, or not as special. This does not mean that you hate everyone else, but it does mean that you think more highly of yourself than most other people think of you. The “specialness” usually translates into “me versus them” feelings. For example, I am a white male, so a part of me feels superior to all non white non males. I am tall, so I feel superior to short people. These feelings, or thoughts, are inherent to our emotional makeup, our self esteem, and are necessary for our definition of self. I am sure that a Muslim female feels superior to me in her own way, and I expect her to. Where the problems start is when these feelings become overwhelming. Our “ism’s” should only be a small part of our make-up, say 25%, allowing our socialization to make up the rest. Thus the majority of our identity should be filled with a respect for life, a respect for all other people and their cultures, a respect for the planet – whatever you were socialized to believe. This overwhelming majority of our make-up is good, and helps society grow.

So, lets do way with labels, as my kids would tell me. Overall, I try to agree with them, but I do have one question. When Stirling talked about Blacks, and Bundy talked about “the Negro”, were they talking about the same thing ? All the Boomers I talked to believe that they were discussing the same thing, the culture of the Afro-American, not their skin colour. Interestingly, since we all came from somewhere else, is calling yourself an anything-American a form of your internal vision, or is it perpetuating a cultural phenomena that includes racism ? In effect, if we want to get rid racism, don’t we have to start with doing away with anything – ism ?

If you need to call yourself a Ukraine – American for example, are you feeding your self worth, or denoting that you are different, and want to be treated differently ? Someone smarter than I am will have to answer that question, but it does lead to my one form of racism – I do not have a problem with skin colour, but I do view certain cultures with distain. Black, white, green, or blue skin, who cares. It’s what is inside that counts, and most Boomers would agree. It’s when you start to try to push parts of your culture on Boomers that we rebel. We understand that a melting pot of peoples is a necessary thing. The melting can take time, and that is also understood. So, maybe the real message today is to look at the two old white guys and not get angry, but realize how far we have come from their day ! Stirling and Bundy are a dying breed, thankfully. Me, well, I may never get over my aversion to gay marriage, but that my problem now, isn’t it, not yours ?

Next on Boomers – wtf !, why failing, and failing fast, is good for you !

Environmentalism is failing, Thank God Vol 42

If yoga was someone the Beatles talked to in India, you must be a Boomer !

Each time I read about a famous environmentalist giving up their fight, I get emotional. More and more lately it seems, the tree huggers are giving up their fight to change our ways, and instead join the people who believe that technology will solution the problems.

Like most Boomers, I somewhat believe that we humans are changing the environment around us. So, not a climate denier, but also not unaware of our impact on the planet. I know that we Boomers believe that technology will solve the problems of the present. While the solutions may not be perfect, they will move our civilization upward. I sometimes wonder if there were environmentalists on the Mayflower. Imagine some religious types saying that the pilgrims could not cut down the trees to make a fort, to make them safe from the natives ! I wonder what ever happened to him ? Maybe his last name was Stockade ?

In many ways I feel for the environmentalists, as they were trying to get us Boomers ( our kids already get the message ) to change, and its near impossible. I feel because I am trying to wage the same type of fight, to get Boomers off their couches, away from the buffet table, and turn their energies on doing good. How do you nudge someone off a well worn path, who is used to getting exactly what they want, when they want it, without consequence ? Remember when there were 4 channels ? Now Springsteen’s codex of “500 channels and nothing on” is appropriate.

So, there have always been luddites of one type or another. The environmentalists are just the latest group that included people who figured that the streets of New York would be un-usable based on the amount of horseshit that would soon be littering the streets due to population trends. Remember, we did not leave the stone age because we ran out of stones !

We have been solving technology issues forever, and I fully expect us to continue this process. Really, it’s a trait that continues to make us the dominant species on the planet, and hopefully soon, the galaxy. Indeed, think of humans venturing off this planet, populating the space around us, and understand that needing and using our resources to do this is paramount to our survival. I am no space nut, but any logical future for our species has to include space exploration. We are, after all, one small meteor away annihilation. Perhaps Mars is the next big step. For today, I would settle for raising everyone out of poverty, and having people have a chance to be the best that they can be. Only then will the human race be firing on all cylinders.

To do this, we need to look at and solve some the more inefficient societal compacts that have grown over time, like environmentalism, acting as a drag on our progress. For example, assisted suicide is a must have. We will otherwise spend lots of resources on people who can not appreciate the effort , nor pay for it.

Another example is the death penalty. To me, we seem to have lost the meaning of penalty. Overall, jails have proven to be better schools for criminals instead of places of reflection. I am a moral person, and believe in a soul. I am not sure who gave me this soul, or what happens to it when I die, but I do believe that someone who has a damaged soul should pay the penalty, and be asked to start over. Use the space for those who can repent, and be rehabilitated. Also, since I am on the subject, legalise pot, and empty the jails of the weed victims.

How is that for a centrist’s policy – use the death penalty, but legalize marijuana. Yes, a few innocent people may lose their lives, but lets be real – we kill more people using our cars than would ever be equaled by wrongful lethal injection. And besides, wouldn’t prisons, with perhaps a few minor touches, make perfect old age homes ! Boom, two birds with one stone.

I get emotional because we need other luddites to join us in our fight to flight. One group who needs to wake up are all the religious zealots. They will eventually see that they are working at cross purposes to their goals, which dwell in the past, and have no future.

We also need to end some of the so-called wars we are on, and try something else. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. Are food stamps the best we can do ? Really, cancel all the current benefits and start over, cause they did not work. Don’t get me wrong, I want poverty eliminated – all I am saying is that the current ideas did not work, so what else can we try ? Same idea for the war on drugs. Is building prisons the net effect ? Start over, please.

I feel the same way about social housing. I don’t know about your city, but in mine, we have tried putting the poor in subsidized housing, without success. So, sell the houses, perhaps even give them away to the occupants, and move on. Try something else. The economic axiom of ” no one ever washed a rented mule” may be dated, but its still appropriate in this case. Ownership has its rewards but also has consequences, while subsidies have neither.

These are all things that hold us back, and need fixing, not elimination. Let’s try something else. Maybe some Boomers will come up with a few good ideas to implement. Maybe eliminating poverty is our generation’s goal !

I do believe in a leading a moral life. Most Boomers do. I am in no way suggesting we abandon people in need, but I argue that the solutions currently used are not working. Any ideas ?

Next on Boomers – wtf !, why failing at something is actually a fast path to success.

Cocooning Boomers watch WW3 ? Vol 41

If you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot, you must be a Boomer !

After a month fighting the flu and a subsequent bout of pneumonia, I am back trying to motivate Boomers to step up, lean in , and be the great generation we can be. We number in the millions, will live for many decades more, and have no clue what to do next. It’s a great opportunity to continue some of the great things our parents started, like gay rights, and fix new problems, like global warming.

But first, we must recognize that the old adage is true – if you do not have your health, you have nothing. I lived in a housecoat for three weeks, sleeping 18 hours a day, trying to control the flem and hacking cough that was the hallmark of this round of the virus. We will not discuss the white stuff that came out of my eyes ! After being stuffed up, I can finally think again. My bout of pneumonia is finally coming to an end, and my voice is returning. Really, I felt lost, like that plane, MH370, that disappeared into the Indian ocean. It was one of the two stories on TV that you could not ignore if you were house bound, as I was.

As an aside, it has been pointed out to me that globally we are overdue for a really bad flu epidemic, like the Spanish flu, which affected millions. The mystery is why we have not incurred this by now, considering how fast bugs can travel these days. One can point to our western health systems, food safety protocols, and drug research as our defense, but look at how easily measles spread in Canada recently, based on one visitor arriving from an infected country.

Being homebound, I now hate TV today even more than I did previously. MH370 was played up as a kind of reality television show, all breaking news and talking heads discussing nothing – there were no facts to discuss. The story had all the feel of a daytime soap, with some reality aspects. Boring to the extreme. It reminds me that people do watch this stuff, day in and day out, so the networks show it. We get the TV we deserve, as CNN just announced that its ratings were up for March, and all they showed was the flight mystery 24/7. Yes, I watched some – I was brain dead for a few weeks, remember ! – of the coverage. At least the commercials were not all geared for Boomers, like some shows. I always know when a program is geared for my age group, as the advertisements focus either on Viagra or Depends diapers for men. Sometimes I get angry at the commercials, and try to watch shows that still have beer commercials and hot car ads. Unfortunately, the content either is about the walking dead, or comprises a story about werewolves or vampires. Like I said TV sucks. If you find yourself spending excess time in front of the TV, and we all have some favourite shows, check out the commercials, and see if the show is geared for you, or your kids.

The other big story, and vastly more important, started with Putin’s annexation of the Crimea. This was fascinating to see unfold in today’s news coverage. First, the west is not going to resolve this with weapons or war, as that is so last century. Today’s weapons of mass destruction are economic. Sanctions will undo Putin’s plan soon enough. Since the Crimea, eastern Ukraine is now being stressed by Russian Special Forces. Are we watching the beginning of World War 3 ? I imagine that Obama is pissed that Putin has made him look weak. Even David Brooks, the New York Times columnist expressed his concern for Obama’s “lack of manhood” on Sunday’s talk shows. If a mostly reasonable conservative is concerned, Putin must already be planning the invasion.

I suppose legacy issues are the main reason for the aggression / annexations. Putin has been in power for a while, and can only see Russia going the way of Iran. I speak of the young people seeing what a liberal democracy can do with capitalism, and they want some. While China is attempting to use Communism to control capitalism, with some early success, Putin’s Russia will not resort to Communism, but do rely on the same type of cronyism, without the luxury of it having a fancy name. He needs some type of success to stay in power, or he will be turfed.

Personally, I do not believe that we are seeing the beginning of WW3. Instead, we are seeing the West’s economic success being somewhat copied, without the benefit of the full suite of tools needed to be fully implemented ( ie a legal system everyone can count on ). The young people will bring change, given time. Putin knows that the gas pipelines going through Ukraine are needed to fund his economy today, and that any issues with the pipelines spell trouble with his regime. All that oil and gas going to Europe through the pipelines going through uncontrolled countries could be turned off, or held for ransom, so Putin has just struck first, to get the best deal he can. He does not want Europe to stop trusting Russian supply, and turn to fracking, or other types of energy.

So, resistance to the west is futile. Whether through social media, migration, TV, or word of mouth, their children, whether in Iran, Russia, or Syria, do not want the status quo. With this realization, television goes back to being boring, and not history in the making, no matter what Wolf Blitzer wants you to believe.

Next on Boomers – wtf !, the end of environmentalism, thankfully.

Elysium as a Solution ? Vol 40

If thinking of OJ reminds you of the glove, and not the juice, you must be a Boomer !

I am conflicted as to how the movie Elysium shows us Boomers as a stereotype of inequality, while also showing everyone what the unhealthy pursuit of wealth can bring a civilization. Showing a hospital unable to do what a single machine ( a medical bed in a house ) can accomplish is an interesting way to highlight technology and its accomplishments.

Boomers will see the distance between the space station Elysium and the planet Earth in many different perspectives. We recognize that a great movie director will push many themes in their films, trying to engage us on many levels. Politics, environmentalism, human rights, medicine, technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, man’s inhumanity to man, this movie packs a lot into it. Where to start !

It’s important for Boomers to see Elysium as Democratic Capitalism at its extreme, to realize that no one wants that. For example, using robots as law enforcement would elicit the wrong reactions, forcing humans into predictable ” fuck you ” patterns. By definition, we humans resist being herded – it’s probably what saved us from being the next cows, “milkers” then becoming the wealthy strata. We resist herding as we resist the bee hive, the communistic collective with major inequality.

Being a Western Boomer, but not one of the 1%, it is easy for me to imaging someone in the developing world seeing the movie and making the small leap to thinking that Elysium already exists. An Egyptian, for example, living in the rubble of their day to day existence, sees manicured lawns and day long parties as the West personified in our media. Hopefully, they see the movie as a goal to be worked for, and not as a reason for terrorism, a optimistic reason to build, not an angry reason to destroy. Also, most Boomers must see Elysium as a caricature of our lives, not real, but having tidbits of truth for us to contemplate.

Perhaps the main lesson of the movie is that Boomers need to see that we should help the rest of humanity rise above the rubble and squalor percolating through much of the planet today. Nature, and our natural instincts can, have, and will be overcome. I am not trying to get us to forget our past, on the contrary, but to remember that inequality is something inherent in nature. The fact that we see it growing every day in our society is something for us, as the dominant species on the planet, to work to resist. Our system may not be perfect, but there is no better system as successful. Look at nature, like the bee hive, and study other different successful species. Most have a very steep pyramid of society, like the one portrayed in Elysium. Since inequality is actually the major organizational focus in nature, a small narrow hierarchy can look normal.

In essence, the Elysium society while possible today, is not probably. The movie shows a natural environment, a potential progression of our society if certain conditions, like inequality and technology, continue down certain paths. Boomers would never let this set of circumstances occur, as we would all want to go to Elysium, and would fight for inclusion.

Make no mistake, just like most of the species on this planet, we humans like and want some structure ! We like a certain amount of certainty, some laws to govern our impulses, the same as all species, although our laws have evolved from a general set of natural instincts. Also, we are breeders, and recognize the need to “have a place in society” to be successful. We are physical beings, and without some structure we would otherwise kill each other if we could. We are the most successful species on the planet ( and maybe the Milky Way ), and recognize the need to be humble. We know that ‘EGO’, while a close friend, is still part of the ID and superego, so we may not know the laws, but we recognize that there must be boundaries. We realize that ‘there’, while important in its impartiality, loses to ‘their’ in its emotional quotient. We like complicated, and continually try to make things complicated, but really things are simple – ignore the marketing, the pretty hats, and see the story as it is – basic, and emotional. Lastly, we wander the whole planet, really our whole environment, not just parts we are herded into.

Is the answer to our success as a species in that we force a wide pyramid structure, an inclusive democratic system of feedback ? We know that anyone who picks a historical hierarchy of governmental structure picks the losing structure, so we have growing confidence that, for example, there is no terrorist strategy that can will win long term ( we are even co-opting your kids over to our way of thinking, something the Palestinians taught us, really ).

One should argue that looking at nature for a path forward is the wrong direction. Those are the losing conditions Boomers do not want to repeat. We must discount a cow’s instincts as a losing survival strategy. Why any elephant today is even still trying to be civil is beyond me, when they have no generational knowledge of freedom !

Boomers can and must remold the planet as we see fit. It’s only a vessel of rock, to mold as we need. We are nature’s winners, and if we need to venture off this big rock, then that is our destiny. The real question is, what are we going to conquer next, Mars ?

Perhaps a more interesting question is how we broke out of the mold, and somehow evolved to go where no other species went. How did we accomplish this evolutionary feat ? Is this another offshoot of the popular idea gaining some traction today that our learning to cook separated us from the rest of the pack ? Surely a subject for another blog.

Next on Boomers – wtf !, nudging and why its good for you !

Boomers and their Kludges, part 1 Vol 39

If the color of your living room rug is ‘multiple’, you must be a Boomer !

As a Boomer, I tell my kids that they should not think of life as a straight line. Perhaps for planning purposes its ok, but life will throw everyone many curves along the way. To have your life seem like a disjointed broken finger, or a snakes and ladder game is probably more appropriate for most of us. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way life should be.

These snakes, or unexpected detours, keep life interesting, and allow us to grow in ways we would not otherwise have thought of, or dreamed of. Yes, it does make a retrospective view of our Boomer lives more interesting, but it does highlight some baggage we need to jettison. Our disjointed, sum of parts lives, are made up of some genetic material, some environmental circumstances, and a bunch of kludges.

A what ? In essence, a kludge is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “an ill-assorted collection of parts assembled to fulfill a particular purpose…a clumsy but temporarily effective solution to a particular fault or problem.” It’s a term most used in software programming, whereby a fault is found, say a security breach, and instead of rewriting the whole program to fix the problem, a piece of code is added to the existing program to hopefully fix the problem. Over time, you get a collection of patches that make the original intent seem hidden. Any user of Microsoft Windows will immediately understand my meaning.

Kludges take on a life of their own. They almost never fit together, as many hands had a part in their manufacture. They solve different problems, so their underlying structure is usually incompatible with the original programming. They are added at different times, so the overall organizing principle is lost. By definition, patches leak, as they are not perfect fixes, so the system still has some holes, to be fixed later, and the process replicates. A system crash can be a regular outcome if the kludge is imperfect.

So why bother ? Well, kludges are produced because going back to fix the original programming is too expensive and time consuming. They are more efficient than always starting over. Secondly, they actually make us more predictable. Their whole purpose is to ensure that the software works in ways we expect the it to perform, to make it safer, or to keep the cost down.

Many governmental programs are effectively kludges. They might have started out as pure programs, with easily understood priorities, and well thought out processes. Over the years though, other priorities have been added, other problems have surfaced that needed to be addressed, and the legal rules have changed as our society has evolved. Obamacare is the perfect example of a governmental kludge. “Clumsy but temporarily effective” also describes much of public policy today. To see policy kludges in action, one need look no further than the mind-numbing complexity of the health-care system (which even Obamacare’s champions must admit has only grown more unknowable ).

The US Marine term FUBAR comes to mind. FUBAR, “fucked up beyond all recognition” is an apt phrase that describes many Boomer lives. We started off original, but then real life struck. Perhaps your parents did not bring you up right. Perhaps you made some mistakes along the way, and had to change who you were to survive. You got married, and had to change to fit in with another person’s expectations. Work pushed you in different directions than you had originally planned. Friends, or people you considered role models, let you down, forcing a relook at your life plan.

You survived by finding ways to cope, producing your own personal kludges. Perhaps they are made up of a generic drug, like smoking or alcohol, or specific fix, like prescription medication. Obesity masks a few kludges, as does fanatical workouts. Divorce can seem like a fix, but it usually means we failed at an important relationship, failure again starting the kludge production machine.

Somehow, you survived all that life has thrown at you, a Boomer who, in a quiet moment of reflection, cannot see your original self. Looking deep within, it’s hard to separate the add-ons from the pure essence of who you were. This could be a time of great distress, a mid life crisis in the making unless you realize that what you are going through is normal. Self reflection is a necessary exercise for a Boomer, as we have reached the point in life whereby we have the ability to see the patches, and still have the energy and gumption to change who we are.

You are not chained to your past self. You can change who you are, how you react to situations, decide what your new goals should be, and when / how fast to start. You can look up from your current life, and see all the opportunities now available to you, if you so decide to take the leap and try new things.

Boomers understand that their kludges were necessary for their survival, and that most Boomers may decide that additional patches will suffice to fix their lives. Remember though, you now have the time to start from scratch, the wisdom to see all the patches, and the experience to fit the whole of you back together.

So, don’t be FUBAR, just push off the kludges that really affect you. Feel the weight loss.

Next on Boomers – wtf !, kludges are all around us !

Boomer Creativity and Gray Divorce Vol 38

If the only reason you took up jogging was to hear heavy breathing again, you must be a Boomer !

BONO, the U2 singer and UN ambassador, was on TV recently talking about creativity. Basically, his interpretation was that it starts with an emptiness inside. You try to fill the emptiness somehow, and this is usually when art fills the space.

I was struck by his definition, which we have to ponder, coming from a world class artist. Personally, I believe that creativity flows out of us, like a turned on water faucet. I sometimes lie awake late at night, and the blog thoughts flow into my brain. I have to get up and start typing, just to get the thoughts out of my head. Friends have suggested I get a dictaphone, but I can just picture my wife’s reaction to me talking into a machine in bed at 3am. I do want to stay married.

Perhaps the way to amalgamate these two processes is to consider the idea that we all have some creativity in us. Generally speaking, it is probably a finite amount, not a life long outpouring, and it probably comes in different levels. Not all of us are Steve Jobs like creators, nor do we have the longevity of a Bono. Imagine Bono as someone who has used up his outpouring of ideas, and now he uses his business music experience and past ideas to plod forward, seeking to capture his past glory in new ways. This view makes him very Boomer like.

I am not downplaying his accomplishments, only putting them into a Boomer context. When I first took time off – a semi retirement if you will after 30 years of daily business grinding, I was disappointed to determine that nothing creative surfaced. I have failed at the saxophone twice, do not have a book in me, and have not learned a language. Frankly, even looking at something like Luminosity, the web based brain game, seems like a failure. Many Boomers I have talked to have this same emptiness – I am not suggesting that it is caused by a creative hole, but it could be. After all, we have been successful in our lives to date, and that success must have had creative elements to it. Whether in how you solved work or family problems, managed people, built up your community, or stayed married, some creative thoughts must have been in play. Your faucet of ideas was used to watch out for career landmines, raise your kids with some values, make friends and keep them, and plan for the future.

Looking backward, it is easy to see that Boomers tried to fill this hole in many ways. Vacations, gardening, TV, eating and drinking being the most popular. Boomers who can look past the work career experience and picture a creative future are the lucky ones. Unfortunately, most Boomers fit the Bono model, as we have used up our idea pool just to get to where we are in life, but lack the training required to be synergistic going forward. Perhaps we should reconsider our view, and look at Bono as a role model. I agree that its hard work, because the usual ideas we would get to fill the emptiness is new to us, but is not necessarily art.

Looking inward, I can see that this fill can come from many places. It can come from joy, like the birth of a grandchild, or despair, potentially flowing from a life changing illness. Since it is the emptiness that needs filling that evokes the creative thoughts, do not worry about failing ( getting lousy content). It’s the exercise of filling that’s necessary, so don’t resist, just go with the flow. It can be hard work, analyzing the fill, starting over, editing – this edit process can feel like failure, buts its only creativity !!!

Having suggest a path forward, Boomers need to be careful as to the extent of the changes possible. It is not time to relive your childhood, although I am sure this idea excites a minority of us. Opting out is not really an option. Becoming a drunk, for example – having a few too many each night, because you can – is not a long term solution to anything.

Boomers should start this process with small changes, and not do anything drastic, at least at first. An example of drastic is imbedded in one statistic that is troubling, and that is the 50%+ increase in Gray divorces. This is loosely defined at Boomer break-ups, although it really involves couples coping with a mid-life crisis at a stage in their lives when their menu of choices changes. The old adage that a man has three excellent days in his life – when the kids leave, when the mortgage is paid, and when the dog dies – is now playing out for Boomers, with unintended consequences. Since there must be some equivalent dates in a women’s life, the fact that I do not know them is probably telling, and so I could become part of the problem. ( please send me a comment if you know them )-

Boomers are getting divorced because of many issues. One major problem is the lack of sex. The NY Times Magazine had a great article on equal marriages and how, as the male become more integrated into the household, either through a stay-at-home career choice, or through negotiation, the wife sees the husband as less sexy. Metrosexuals beware ! Each relationship is different, but it is clear from the research that women still prefer a sexy man, not an equal relationship.

Secondly, with the kids gone, some economic independence, and freedom from a daily work grind, many Boomer couples are now negotiating their desires. Questions like should we buy a vacation spot, or an RV, should we sell everything and move south, can we agree on what movies to watch, even should we sell the family home and downsize, all are becoming contentious. It leads to separate TV rooms at best, and expensive life changing divorce at worse.

Perhaps we should start using our creativity on our relationships first.

Next on Boomers – wtf !, Nudging and why is good for you !

Tribalism vs Inequality, DAVOS versus the SOTU Vol 37

If you remember even one Knock Knock joke, you must be a Boomer !

Boomers should be proud of their accomplishments and their place in this era of civilization. I sometimes forget to honour our fellow Boomers for their vision and accomplishments, as we focus on our failings and the future. My fault. So Boomer of me, really !

There are less conflicts in the world today, then ever in our history. More people, but less violence. Less poverty, no matter what your definition. More human rights for more humans. Religious freedoms coupled with ethnic tolerance. An unstoppable path to renewable energy, and the start of working on the environment. A focus on Mars. Medical breakthroughs at the start of life, and to prolong it. Imaging living until 100, imagine the things life will show you in 40 years ? I could go on. Why then, are we so bored ? And, if we are bored today, imagine how bored we will be in a few decades ?

Allow me to circle this positive thrust with a few random thoughts. First, I believe that everyone is prejudice to some degree. To like yourself, you have to like who you are, like people like yourself, and love the offspring you produce. I would suggest that Boomers have the smallest prejudice index, or internal view of what they hate, than any society on history. If you are white, a Muslim is not a terrorist, but a co-worker, or a friend. Our tolerance is only growing.

Thus, our tribalism is ebbing, as we address the inequality issues that are color blind. There has been a lot written about our capitalistic system and it resulting inequality. Boomers own this problem, and must work on the fixes. This could prove to be a generational process, as many of the suggested solutions tackle issues that will not be easy to get our hands around. For example, one could argue that our inequality is due to parents not sacrificing their time for their kids, like few of us did. Dual working parents do not have the time to spend the quality time with their kids, teaching them things like how to read critically, social discipline, and a long term view versus instant gratification. One could argue that the vicious cycle, needing to work to support their kids as opposed to spending time investing in their kids, causes inequality. Our kids kids see marriage breakups, many caused by economic issues. They act out at school because teachers are not given the discipline stick Boomer parents gave our teachers – remember if your teacher threatened to tell your parents that you were trouble at school ? Kids getting pregnant, falling into drugs as a pass-time activity, latchkey kids with no structure. participants who are not allowed to fail, and so lose the whole concept of self worth and the purpose of sacrifice.

In reading the results coming from the Davos conference, where these issues were discussed, there were as many solution ideas as there were attendees. Scary really when you consider the brainpower discussing the problem. Personally, as a Boomer, I was more interested in the potential economic issues surrounding work, employment, and productivity than I was the social aspects. In this regard, reading about the technological changes that we will see shortly is just scary. Artificial intelligence, new materials, an internet of everything, well I can now believe the idea that new types of jobs will be prevalent in the near future. At 58, I must accept the fact that I will need training for my next career, whether I like it or not. Better to accept the future than fight it. Our kids will only learn from our acceptance.

So, what can we expect from our leaders ? Based on the Obama State of the Union address, we will see a Liberal agenda try to address these issues of inequality. It must be remembered that Liberalism is new, and is being invented as we go along. Conservatism is well known, is existing, is the familiar. This is not a judgement call, but does bespeak to the idea that as we evolve, we have tugs at us. Tugs that point to prior success, prior stability, prior outcomes that have proven to be advantageous to Boomers as a species. Liberalism really is a “what if” exercise, as it has been since Christ’s time. I grant you that some of the things we hold most dear surely came out of a liberalism, but not everything.

Boomers should not try to make a Conservative argument, whether they be from Utah or Iran, on the pros or cons of liberalism. I believe the focus should be on the long term. Think of liberalism as a short term focus, or timeline. and Conservatism as a long term focus, or timeline.

As a bridging exercise, we should all look at the SOTU ideas, like a higher minimum wage, from all sides. A conservative view might focus on rebalancing the capital versus labour equation. Capitalism need customers, and if people cannot afford to buy your stuff, you go out of business. Think feudalism. A liberal view would be to increase social justice, allowing poor working mothers more money to increase their kids nutrition.

We worry about our kids not growing up and moving out. How could they expect to just stay at home forever. Who are they, Italian ? It has been suggested that perhaps Boomers are doing the same thing, and is that a bad thing ? If everything has its time, is it fair that our kids, who will live a long time, not feel the same urgency to launch as we believe they should ? In that spirit, it it fair for Boomers to also have a time-out ? The answer is a resounding NO, to both. Tying these ribbons of ideas together is the challenge of our times, and there is lots of room for individual improvisations as long as we start soon.

Wouldn’t it be classic if the appropriate analogy of our day is a slave ship where we all have to row together to survive.

Next time on Boomers – wtf !, Nudging and why its good for you.