Pop, Pop

Butterflies

No Pants?

Urban Boomers

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

Urban Boomers

 

The numbers tell the story. Baby boomers are moving to the big city for the good life. Well, maybe not the bigger cities, but cities nonetheless. According to research from Zipcar, millennials may be the dominant force in urban centers, but boomers aged 50-69 are closing fast.

 

Why so many boomers in the city? They’re empty-nesters for sure, or they are downsizing, but many are just motivated by the desire to have more fun and activities in their lives, so the city is the place to be. 90% say they are looking for more cultural experiences, outdoor activities, as well as access to restaurants, shopping and fitness facilities. Only 32% are retired, so they must be loving the shorter commute times. And no big surprise, 57% are single.

 

And the move seems to be working. 55% of urban boomers say that their life is more carefree and exciting. 61% say they feel closer to their significant other. 69% say that they use mobile apps to make their lives easier. And this stat either scares you or comforts you --- 81% of urban boomers use Facebook.

 

They are taking clasess (22%), starting new hobbies (23%), attending local events/gatherings (42%), and volunteering in their community (22%).

 

I’m starting to see a trend here. Millennials finally start to assume the jobs of retiring or scaling-back boomers. Then they finally can afford to get married and buy homes---- like those being sold by boomers who are ready to move to the city. It’s like a giant migratory transfer---boomers move out, millennials move in. Maybe in time they can all just do housing swaps. You take my loft condo and I’ll take the rancher in the burbs. In no time at all, it will be millennials making the trip to the city to visit their parents.

 

If this whole cycle sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Many of us started off our careers living in the city because that’s where the action was. Some of us renovated houses, worked different jobs, dined at all the trendy restaurants, hung out at the cool bars, and shopped at the hippest stores until it was time for us to grow into the next phase of our lives. Now, like salmon swimming back to their spawning grounds, here we are again.

 

Good to be back home.


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.

 

 

 

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FICTION

 

 

Bubble Wrap 1957-2015

 

It is with great sadness that I report the death of the global entertainer, Bubble Wrap. “His regularly spaced, air-filled hemispheres made of polymer plastic will no longer offer their signature Popping sound,” said family friend Popeye.

 

Bubble Wrap was conceived in 1957 by Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, former partners at The Sealed Air Corporation. Fielding and Chavannes hoped their invention would become a three-dimensional plastic wallpaper.

 

The inventors soon discovered no one really wanted a three-dimensional plastic wallpaper.

 

After Bubble Wrap failed miserably at his first job, he would have just popped into obscurity had he not found suitable work as a superior packing material.

 

While keeping his day job as packing material, Bubble Wrap soon rose to national prominence as an entertainer, thrilling millions with his distinctive “Pop. Pop. Popping sound.” People all over America, indeed the world, couldn’t wait to get a package delivered to their home or office just to hear Bubble Wrap deliver his classic “Pop.”

 

Bubble Wrap’s death came at the hands of a new product introduced by The Sealed Air Corporation. It is called iBubble Wrap. Instead of having individual chambers of air (hence the popping), the new product uses one interconnected pocket of air. Hence, no popping!

 

Funeral services for Bubble Wrap were led by Pop Francis and it was attended by many friends and relatives, including Saran Wrap, Panera Wrap, Hip Hop Rap, and his Mexican cousin, Taco Bell’s Chipotle Wrap.

 

Mourners included Snap Crackle and Pop, Pop Sickle, Soda Pop, Pop Corn, Pop Gunn and Pop Warner. “No one will ever duplicate his unique sound,” said one famous mourner. “It seems like yesterday he was here and now, POP!, he’s gone,” said Pop Gosa Weasel.

 

Even competitors at the funeral like Packing Peanuts and Tissue Paper shed a tear at the loss of their longtime friend, Bubble Wrap.

 

In a fitting tribute to Bubble Wrap, a distraught fan hurriedly wrote FRAGILE on the side of Bubble Wrap’s cardboard coffin.

 

Jack Goldenberg is a prolific Copywriter, innovative Creative Director and consummate, strategic marketer. Read his blog at  10 minutes of brilliance. With all he’s done, he still believes his best efforts are ahead of him.

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TRAVEL

 

 

No Pants, No Speak

 

I attended my first town council meeting.

 

Ever.

 

I got thrown out of my first town council meeting.

 

Ever.

 

Monday evening, some of the residents of Guacimo de Atenas decided to register their displeasure with lack of action to repair the road from Atenas to Guacimo.

 

We decided that I should attend the meeting as a show of support for our neighbors. I wrote out a little speech to deliver in Spanish and everything.

 

They threw me out before I could deliver it.

 

I was wearing shorts.

 

The first order of business was to swear in newly elected officials.

They read their second order of business and voted.

 

Then the woman running the meeting (not the mayor) made a statement, looked at me, and every head in the room swiveled and looked RIGHT AT ME.

 

I made a goofy embarrassed face and stood. I said (in Spanish) that my Spanish was not very good and I didn’t understand. As per usual, she said the same thing – and everybody looked at me AGAIN.  A woman in the back said

 

El no comprendo.

 

A young man caught my eye and said (in English) “You can’t be in the meeting wearing short pants.”

 

I would have been very happy if a sink hole would have opened beneath me and I disappeared forever.

 

It didn’t. I got thrown out.

 

I said in Spanish “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. It is my fault. Please excuse me.”

 

Getting thrown out is hyperbole of course. Everybody was very understanding. They said I was welcome to sit on the bench outside and listen through the windows. A woman soon followed me out and pointed to her knee length pants and did the circle-the-ear gesture and said. “Loco.”

After I took my place on the bench, Carmen, a council member who spoke english came out and explained the reason I was thrown out.  She asked if I was with the Guacimo contingent to address the meeting. If so, she could be happy to stand with me in the doorway and translate. Very very nice gesture.

 

The meeting continued and I could not understand ONE. DAMN. WORD. A combination of amplified Spanish, cars, motos, and bus traffic, pretty much guaranteed that I was doomed.

 

BUT...As they say in the newspaper business, I’ve “buried the lead.”

 

Our road will be asphalted.

 

I’ll believe it when I see it. But everybody in the meeting seemed convinced that the road will be asphalt.

 

There were ideas for fiestas and a tope to celebrate.

 

I will be there --  in shorts.

 

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

 

 

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ARTS

 

 

Butterfly Picks

 

I don’t remember when I began teaching myself different fingerpicking patterns, but I do remember buying a set of plastic fingerpicks. I tried them a couple of times, but they didn’t feel natural to me, so I put them in a box somewhere and forgot about them. Well, except for the thumb pick. That came in handy sometimes. I went back to my usual bare finger fingerpicking (try saying that three times!), not even considering grooming my nails to work for me. Lately, though, I’ve become more aware of the different sounds I can create using my nails. Problem is, my nails are extremely fragile and just one night of extended playing probably would trash them. Guitar players go to all kinds of lengths to have strong nails, including having acrylics and gels applied. I don’t know about you, but I hate the heaviness of fake nails, and they’re expensive besides. What’s a choosy guitarist to do?

 

Last week I saw Butterfly Fingerpicks on Pinterest and I was immediately intrigued. Besides looking damned cool, the idea behind them seemed rational. Adjustable wires form-fitted to my fingers and nails? Hey! That sounded like those Indian water buffalo sandals we had in the Sixties! With those, all you had to do was put them on and stand a bath tub of water for a while, stretching them out, and then walk around in them until they were dried to a custom fit! I ordered a set of fingerpicks, and they arrived today.

 

First of all, they come in a really sturdy clear plastic box. Who wants to worry about them getting smashed by your gear? They come in three metals: gold, silver, and copper. I got the copper ones because I wanted a softer, less metallic sound from my 12-string. They also come in three basic sizes, small, medium, and large.

 

When I took them out I thought, “Figuring out which pick goes on which finger might not be easy,” but I needn’t have worried. It was pretty obvious.

 

When I first put them on, they didn’t fit at all, but I was prepared for that. I bought the small size, and they were just a bit too tight and a couple of them didn’t slide into place at all. But these are adjustable, remember? I went to the website and read the instructions on how to fit them properly.

With all four in place, I was surprised at how comfortable they are. You really could wear them for hours. But fingerpicks aren’t just for looks and comfort, you know. They have to sound good, so I tried them on each of my three guitars. On the Luna Trinity 12-string they were hard to use; all those strings so close together made picking a bit clumsy, but I suspect that with practice that’ll sort itself out. On the Fender nylon string they sounded great, a lot like when classical guitarists use their long nails. But it was on the Briarwood 6-string that they really wowed me. Nice action and even nicer tone.

 

The hardest part for me will be getting accustomed to playing with “extensions”. I’m used to my fingers being right on the strings and without that sensation of skin-against-string, I feel a little disconnected. I’m going to work with them, one guitar at a time, until I’m comfortable using them on all three.


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.

 

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GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

10 - 10<>

 

Steve Jordan is a school teacher from Fresno, CA and has been capturing the Calfornia wilderness
with his camera. You can see more of his photos on flickr.

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon    Viva Veracruz Polly-Vous Francais