Tommy Telephone (b. 1947)

Tommy Telephone, a Baby Boomer cartoon character animated in 1947, shows us how to build a then state-of-the-art telephone by assembling its 433 pieces.

(Hey, why not? It's Friday!)

Blog: The Savvy Boomer

Please allow The Boomer Beat to introduce you to one of the best Baby Boomer blogs it has found to date, The Savvy Boomer.

Take some time and have a look around there. The topics are wide-ranging. You will certainly find something useful.

Harley-Davidson, Women--and Wrinkles?

As previously noted, marketers seem a bit uncertain about how to target and pursue the huge Baby Boomer demographic. Tailoring Messages to a New Audience: Wrinkled Baby Boomers, a New York Times article, reinforces that assessment. To quote excerpts:

"YOUNG LOVE," the longtime siren song of Madison Avenue, is being remixed as marketers increasingly turn their attention to consumers born when "45" meant music rather than the number after 44 and "Apple" meant fruit.

Not every marketing maneuver aimed at older consumers is wildly successful. For example, the trade publication Advertising Age reported last week that a new line of anti-aging products sold by Unilever under the Dove Pro-Age name is being outsold by a similar line of products sold by Procter & Gamble under the Olay Definity brand.

The Pro-Age line drew widespread attention for ads of nude grandmothers, tastefully photographed by Annie Leibovitz. The article in Advertising Age wondered whether the Dove ads "went a step too far in embracing aging in all its naked, wrinkled and sagging glory"; the ads for Olay Definity are more conventional.

The Boomer Beat finds the information about Dove's Pro-Age line of cosmetics interesting. Although sales figures tend not to lie, only positive comments about the advertising campaign from Baby Boomer women have been heard to date. In fact, as a male I found the campaign featuring older women both tasteful and refreshing. The women in the ads would be considered beautiful at any age.

And mature women on Harley-Davidson motorcycles? Now that is sexy.

Read the entire article here...

Baby Boomers Online, But Not Socializing?

They have never really figured us out, and still cannot. (They? Marketers.)

In the rapidly expanding world of online social networking, "baby boomer" has become the latest buzz term.

Once seen as the exclusive realm of teens and college students, social networking sites catering to those kids' parents and elders have been amassing on the Web. What isn't clear is whether that graying generation wants a Web site of its own.

Despite receiving backing from venture capitalists, most social networking sites for baby boomers don't command the kind of traffic MySpace and Facebook do among people 45- to 64-years old, according to data supplied by online metric company comScore Inc.

Continued here...


By now, we should all know about the infamous Nigerian money scams. However, as P.T. Barnum duly noted a century ago and which still applies today, "There's a sucker born every minute." That means someone today will again lose money to internet fraud. (Although I do not have them right at hand, the statistics are sobering.)

What's a body to do? First, always remember if it sounds too good to be true, it very likely is. But also, a joint project by the U.S. Postal Service, the National Consumers League and other consumer groups--the Fake Check Campaign (FakeChecks.org)--has it as their mission to get the word out on check fraud, which comes in several forms, fake foreign lotteries, scheming suitors and phony work at home businesses, to name a few.

The Boomer Beat recommends that you take just a few minutes and drop by FakeChecks.org and tune-up your scam radar. Even after being on the internet for the past 20 years, I occasionally see an offer (or just a subject line) that grabs my attention. No, I have never fallen for such a scam, but the fact that an attempt even gets my attention is testament to scams' current levels of sophistication and apparent credibility.

In the words of Phil from the old Hill Street Blues TV program, "Let's be careful out there."

Additional links: Fraud.org; 2006 Top 10 Internet Scams!; FBI Overview of Internet Fraud; Internet Financial Scams; Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3); LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com


The Perspectives Project

Excerpted from the press release:

The Perspectives Project, part of SocialMaturity.com, is an outreach program designed to enable those of boomer age and beyond to preserve their stories online for younger generations. The Perspectives Project encourages [the posting of] videos that are informative about life in the early to mid 20th century.

Unlike FaceBook, MySpace and YouTube, videos of television shows, commercials, dogs on skateboards, and mattress fights will not be included. While the subject matter of the videos will vary from tragic to humorous, the presentation will be that of a parent or grandparent telling a story to their child or grandchild - a story that will add perspective to understanding life in the 21st century.

The project is open to all [of the right age] who care to participate whether or not they are members of SocialMaturity.com. SocialMaturity.com is a free social networking website designed for those of the baby boomer generation and older.

"The Boss" (a.k.a. Bruce Springsteen)

Bruce Springsteen has become an American music icon. I saw his Born To Run tour way back in 1975, the same year he appeared on both the covers of Newsweek and Time magazines. (I had second row seats even!)

Thirty years later and looking a little older, he's back with another critically acclaimed album, Magic. And, he's still "The Boss."

("Album?" My choice of words clearly dates me.)

Obit: "Miss Moneypenny"

Although not a Baby Boomer herself, what self-respecting Boomer doesn't know who Miss Moneypenny is? As you may recall, she appeared in 14 James Bond movies, starting with Dr. No in 1962 and her last being A View to a Kill in 1985. Her real name was Lois Maxwell and The Boomer Beat mourns her passing with many fond memories.

"How Baby Boomers Tap Nest Eggs To Fund Ventures"

The Wall Street Journal has an informative article about how some Baby Boomer entrepreneurs are using their nest eggs to start their own businesses. Should you be considering starting your own business, the article is required reading. A couple of excerpts:

Entrepreneurs have always tapped their cash reserves to start businesses. But boomers are discovering they have a crucial advantage over younger businesspeople: They can draw on decades' worth of savings to fund their start-ups. And that means much more latitude. Boomers don't always have to spend valuable time and energy lining up loans. And they aren't stuck making onerous debt payments on top of other business costs.

Of course, betting the nest egg carries big risks. If boomers lose a big chunk of their money, they may not have time to make back the cash.

"On The Road" [again]

Jack Kerouac's seminal work, On The Road, turned fifty years old last month--verifying its status as a Baby Boomer in its own right. A current New York Times opinion piece about the book's original review states:

“On the Road” was a frenzied search for affirmation, a book that rejected the ennui, pessimism and cynicism of the Lost Generation. The heroes of the book savored everything, enjoyed everything, took pleasure in everything.
However, looking back and comparing then to now, the present-day reviewer notes:

If Sal Paradise were alive today, he’d be a product of the new rules. He’d be a grad student with an interest in power yoga, on the road to the M.L.A. convention with a documentary about a politically engaged Manitoban dance troop that he hopes will win a MacArthur grant. He’d be driving a Prius, going a conscientious 55, wearing a seat belt and calling Mom from the Comfort Inns.
In one of the book's best known quotes, Kerouac stated:

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn.”
So, are we [Baby Boomers] the ones yawning now or has the world truly changed? Or as the reviewer notes, maybe it's now illegal to be cheerful as we were then.

"Boomers Leading Change"

In news from Colorado, a Baby Boomer haven:

Boomers Leading Change is a long-term Rose Community Foundation initiative to engage people over 55 in opportunities for ongoing work, community service and lifelong learning. Boomers Leading Change recognizes that this large and highly experienced segment of the population has much to offer American society and communities for many years to come.

Boomers Leading Change is based on the promise of the “experience dividend” that baby boomers will contribute to their communities, their nation and their world by remaining engaged, or by re-engaging in socially useful and personally meaningful activities during retirement — or instead of retirement. As the baby boomers reinvent aging, they will challenge America’s institutions to remove barriers, change perceptions and adapt to the changing reality of aging.

Continued here...


Linux for regular people, not just geeks. (Wubi)

Many Baby Boomers somehow missed the boat on the whole personal computer thing. (Admittedly, that one still boggles The Boomer Beat. After all, computers were effectively born right around the same time as the oldest Baby Boomers.) Given that, most of you have had Microsoft forced down your throat somewhere along the way, and that's all you know. Some of you may be Macintosh users, again either by force, or with Mac more likely by choice. Still...

...there is another fantastic OS (operating system) available, but it has a well-deserved reputation for putting people off. That OS would be Linux. However, it is now time to put aside your bias for any one OS and give Linux a try because Linux has finally been made easy (or, a great deal easier).

Meet Wubi. Wubi is an easy-as-pie installer of the Ubuntu variant of Linux. Yes, it is now both possible and very easy to setup your Windows PC as a dual-boot Windows/Linux box. Forget repartitioning your hard drive. Forget arcane command line instructions. Forget pretty much every awful thing you've heard about converting to or trying Linux.

Yes, forget all the bad and hoary things you've heard about Linux and give Ubuntu (especially with the Wubi installer) a try. You might find yourself saying goodbye to Microsoft. Oh, and remember that everything Wubi/Linux-related (e.g., software, OS) is completely free! (Well, it may cost you just a very few gray cells to see the computing world anew, but they'll grow back.)

In fact, using Wubi and Ubuntu is the perfect cure for your older computers' blues. They are too old and slow to run a modern Microsoft OS, but they will find a new life with Wubi/Ubuntu. In fact, if you're still a tad cautious, you can always first try Linux on the older computer. However, The Boomer Beat doubts that will be where you stop.