One More

Bluer

Honest Ticos

So Long Sport

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

So Long Sport

 

Have you noticed that low to the ground cars are hard to exit? Almost like you need a crane to extract yourself from the seat. It’s probably worse if you have two vehicles; one with a high clearance and one with a low to the ground stance. That sporty vehicle may be spending more time in the garage.

 

If you have shared this experience, it won’t come as a surprise to you that sports car sales have taken a deep dive. Mustang and Corvette sales are dismal and it’s all our fault. As more and more boomers get close to 70 years of age, the lure of these “life-stage” vehicles starts to fade. We’re “aging out” according to automotive magazine writers, and it could all be down to our aching backs.

 

Among U.S. drivers, the over 65 year old segment is the fastest growing demo. Almost 1 in 5! So when we can’t accordion fold ourselves into a sports car, the whole industry feels the pain. GenXers and millennials are not going to pick up the slack with starting prices for sports models starting north of $30,000.

 

There are some techniques for extricating yourself from a sports car. One popular trick is to swing both legs out and then use both sides of the door frame to launch yourself. Of course you will look like an idiot when you do this in the grocery store parking lot, but you already know you’re fast approaching geezer status. The upside of being a geezer is that you could care less how silly you look getting out of your trophy sports car. Just make sure you can reach your cellphone in case the back locks up.

 

It could be worse. Carmakers could start producing cars that have doors similar to those walk-in bathtubs. What the hell….maybe they will start motorizing the walk-in bathtub and you can bathe and get to the grocery store at the same time.

 

It would be funny if it wasn’t a scary possibility

 

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

FICTION

 

 

 

One More

 

We needed another song for the set, and I wanted it to be a waltz and also wanted to feature Cookie’s vocal. We had already spent some time arranging a cowboy tune, something about heroes and belt buckles- you have to start somewhere- and the obstacle, as always, is getting and paying for the rights to record somebody else’s songs. On this project we have partially skirted the issue by using material from the Public Domain. Another option could be to write our own song.

 

All I had to do was sell Cookie on the idea and then write the song. I was reassured by the idea that neither one of us was happy with the “heroes” arrangement. It’s a well-crafted tune, but it’s not a perfect fit with the rest of our material except that it is a waltz, and Cookie sings. Can we agree that there is an advantage in using one of our songs? Why not let our polish time be spent on something that we have written?

 

I gave myself an assignment to start a song in three-quarter time in the key of G using the waltz I learned from Cookie as a starting point. In many cases I begin with a title but in this instance the first line popped into my head along with a thousand other rejects, and it felt a good start to me.

 

There is a lot of satisfaction in saying what you mean and getting it to fit in the words of a song or a story. Once there is a structure then everything you hear or think you hear becomes another stanza or a verse or hook. Off I went listening to the progression from my “source song” in my head: three-quarter time starting on a G major chord. It’s a small step, but a big change, to think in six-eight time, then it’s already a new song. I like to write familiar but fresh.

 

The first line was easy, two pick-up notes and then:

 

(There is) Nothing original under the sun

Although it might not be true

What happens next is as big a surprise

To me as it must be for you

 

The tune is familiar, the chords are the same, aren’t they?

(Oh) Where have I heard that before?

On Top of Old Smokey? No, Down In the Valley, or

You are My Sunshine for sure.

 

Harpeth Rivers is a New Mexico transplant from all over who has in the last year written songs about isosceles triangles, played bass guitar in a band, and declared himself "Retro-eclectic." His novel-in-progress is entitled Last Year.

 

 

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL

 

 

Honest Ticos

 

We all complain about the Gringo pricing – where it appears that Gringos get a different price than Ticos. And the car mechanics and electricians and property surveyors, etc . etc that have two sets of prices… it may not be illegal, but it sure leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

 

But it is apparent that there are many honest Ticos.

 

Here’a a story from a recent Facebook post…

 

With the recent spate of robberies and all the bad news stories regarding the downside of Costa Rican living, I think a good news story is in order. Yesterday I went to town and stopped at the Co-op in the afternoon for groceries. I was in a hurry to get home so I unloaded my cart and left the cart in the lot (I know….bad manners but I rarely do that). About 5 last evening, I got a call from a gentleman asking for me…all in Spanish so he gave the phone to me. My Spanish is passable, not fluent, but I gathered that I had left a card of some kind at Co-op, even though I knew I paid in cash for groceries. He said he had the card at his home in Estranrillos. I took the man’s name and arranged to meet him Saturday morning at Co-op and hung up. Then I began to wonder what the card could be and went searching for my wallet. Yup….no wallet. Now I’m in a panic….all my ID, credit cards, driver’s license, not much money but that was minor in comparison. I ran through my brain what I would have to do to replace all this, especially here! I checked the phone to call this man back and the record of the call said “no number”. So what now? Do I cancel the cards and go through virtual hell to get it all replaced?

 

I knew I couldn’t wait overnight, so we got in the car and drove to Co-op …maybe he is an employee who found my wallet and took it home for safekeeping. We got to Co-op and to my great relief, saw Sylvia at the outdoor café. This lovely lady put aside the work she was doing and agreed to help me and we spent some time going from employee to employee asking if this man worked at Co-op (no) and did anyone know him? (again, no). I have to admit, my hope was sinking. Finally we figured out where he might live (I was confusing the local name) and Sylvia made contact with a woman from the same neighborhood. By chance, she happened to be at Co-op and came out to give directions to this man’s home. Off we went and sure enough, we found the house and the most delightful man and his wife returned my wallet to me, completely intact including even a ring I had removed and left in the change compartment. I had, apparently, left it in the cart outside. Such a huge relief and such wonderful people and yes, I did reward him. Thank you Sylvia, I could not have done it without your help. Above all, thanks to the gentleman for his honesty and diligence, finding my husband’s phone number on a scrap of paper among many scraps, in my wallet…I hope this helps to restore some lost faith…Pura Vida!

 

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

ARTS

 

 

A Little Bluer, If You Please

 

Every now and again I think I might take up walking as a means to find interesting things to photograph for this blog. One of my all-time favorite blogs is The Smitten Image, where the author and photographer shares her visual and emotional perceptions of the world in which she lives. Each post, besides being beautiful, draws her readers into her sensual experience and each post has a different theme. These aren’t just snapshots, folks. Her posts are carefully and painstakingly put together, often using photos she takes at different times and during different walks. And every time she posts a new entry I come away feeling inspired to capture my world in a similar manner.

 

The problem is, I’m not really a visual person and there is no camera out there (that I know of) that can visualize what I hear when I go for a walk. I experience life aurally and, although I’m a synesthete (or maybe because I am), it’s the aural that stimulates the visual. Simply put, I hear first, which then triggers the visual. Hearing the world around me comes naturally and automatically; I do absolutely nothing to make this happen, and trying to be a visual person is like trying to make myself left-handed. It makes my brain hurt. For me, middle C is a glowing yellow ball, E is a red lightening streak, G is a green leaf-like shape, and A is a boisterous, wash of blue sky. And all of these have soft edges, like watercolors, which is why images like this one are so appealing to me. I’d love to have this framed and on my wall. It brings me a sense of balance and peace, because it settles all the noise in my head into perfect harmony and resolution.

 

This is called synethesia, which means my senses cross paths in my brain. There are five known types of synesthesia. You can take a test here if you suspect you might also be a synesthete.

 

So, until something happens to either my brain, or my ability to shut this off (which I’d never want to do!) you probably won’t see many posts from me that are strictly of photographs. I suggest you visit The Smitten Image for some truly beautiful and insightful photos.

 

Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge,  takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Bucksnort Chronicles and SKWaller.com.

 

 

 

Sign up for BoomSpeak Email Updates

 

 

 

 

 

 

GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

10 - 10<>

Renee Rendler-Kaplan likes to work with natural light around her Chicago environs, and is particularly attracted to everyday items. View more of her photos on flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon    Viva Veracruz The Bucksnort Chronicles