Hot Topics: Middle-Aged Olympians, Memorial Day, Bob Dylan's Birthday Bash
Family Loyalty: On Memorial Day weekend, it's fitting that we spend a few minutes reading Jessica Pearce Rotondi's deeply moving Huffington Post essay about her uncle, Air Force Gunnery Sgt. Edwin "Jack" Pearce, who went missing in action in Laos in 1972. The story recounts a family's decades-long struggle to accept his fate.
One line from the soldier's epitaph is guaranteed to stick with you: "The son's remains were returned thirty-six years after he was shot down, to be laid to rest with his father, who had never stopped searching for him."
Middle-Aged Olympic Hopefuls: In a recent post, I wrote about a slew of American athletes in their 40s who are striving to win medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, among them swimmers Dara Torres and Janet Evans. Here are two new members of that elite club. North Carolina resident Erika Braun, 40, has qualified for the U.S. Olympic swimming trials, to be held in Omaha June 25 to July 2, in the 50-meter freestyle event. After coming close to the trials' qualifying time of 26.39 seconds several times this spring, Braun finally swam a lifetime personal best of 26.32 to make the cut. Another 40-year-old swimmer who'll be competing for a chance to go to London is Steve West, a member of the Novaquatics swimming club in Southern California, who qualified for the trials in April by setting a world record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:04:68.
Experience Shines on the Big Screen: The New York Times reports on the remarkable success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a gentle comedy about British retirees in India. The movie is now on track to reach $100 million in box-office receipts worldwide, even though its main stars, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, are both in their late 70s. As The Times notes, Fox Searchlight deliberately targeted the film at what executives saw as an untapped audience of middle-aged and older moviegoers. (Here's a recent SecondAct piece on a contest co-sponsored by the studio, which will award $5,000 grants to midlifers who are spearheading second acts as social entrepreneurs in their communities.) The strategy worked so well that Fox Searchlight is trying to get Marigold Hotel on more screens nationwide. For more films in the same vein, check out SecondAct's guide to summer movies for grownups.
Bob Dylan Gets Quite a Birthday Present: Freewheelin' Bob, who turned 69 on Thursday, will be one of 13 honorees to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in a May 29 White House ceremony. As this Reuters story details, Dylan will be in esteemed company on the dais -- along with novelist Toni Morrison, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn, and former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt. In this Wall Street Journal piece, Jon Friedman, author of a recent book on Dylan, suggests that the folk-rock icon's next award may be a Nobel Prize, while this Broward-Palm Beach New Times article by Lee Zimmerman (apparently no relation to Bob, though they share the same original surname) offers this fascinating primer on the myriad twists and turns taken by Dylan in his eclectic half-century-long musical career. Here also is a collection of SecondAct's articles on Dylan.
Steven Tyler Reminds Us He's More Than an Idol Judge: The Aerosmith singer has reinvented himself as a supportive mentor to young performers on American Idol, which this week concluded its season. (As this Los Angeles Times piece details, while Idol's audience was smaller this year, the venerable talent show still is a ratings juggernaut, with 20.7 million viewers tuning in for the finale.) But Tyler hasn't given up his other gig, as he demonstrated when Aerosmith performed Wednesday night on the show. In this Rolling Stone article, Tyler dishes on the band's upcoming CD, Music From Another Dimension, set for release in August.
How to Help Adult Kids Become Financially Independent: From Kiplinger.com, here's an insightful piece by Janet Bodnar on how to help your twentysomething offspring get started in adult life without becoming one of those dreaded helicopter parents. Included are tips on how to give useful but nonintrusive advice on job interviewing, and how to sit down and work out a sensible plan for filling the inevitable shortfalls in their personal budgets. She links back to a previous piece by a millennial-generation colleague, Amanda Lilly, who offers a youthful perspective on how to utilize parents' help wisely.
Sideways on Stage: Here's a Los Angeles Times review of the theatrical version of Sideways, the tale of two middle-aged guys and their misadventures in California wine country, which was spawned by Rex Pickett's 2000 novel and the 2004 hit movie based on the book. A few weeks ago, I wrote this SecondAct piece on what those of us attempting midlife reinventions can learn from Pickett's own career struggles and successes.
Robin Gibb's Last Encore: Robin Gibb, 62, who along with brothers Barry and Maurice formed the British pop group the Bee Gees, died in England this week after a battle with cancer. Robin Gibb contributed more to music than just his distinctive vibrato on the song "Staying Alive." As this Time article details, Robin and his son R.J. Gibb also composed The Titanic Requiem, a orchestral work that was performed in April in London by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Here's a studio recording of one of its songs, "Don't Cry Alone," with a haunting vocal by Robin.
Remembering Kathi Kamen Goldmark: The author of the 2004 comic novel And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You, Goldmark was the organizer and founding member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a group of authors-turned-musicians who perform live to benefit charity. (Other members include Dave Barry, Amy Tan and Stephen King.) Goldmark, of San Francisco, died this week at 63. In her honor, here's a live performance of her satirical love ballad "Older Than Him."
Last Word: "I manage my investments the way I play golf. I don't take risks." -- former pro golfer Annika Sorenstam, 41, in this week's Forbes article on how financially savvy athletes deal with retirement
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