Forget baby boomers going back to class--they are the class at American University in Washington, D.C., this fall.
Scroll through The Washington Post's list of odd college courses available in our nation's capitol (vampires, time travel, raising chickens at home) to No. 10, "Understanding Baby Boomers." Here's the catalog description: "This course journeys through the years of idealism, tumult, and conflict experienced by the baby boomers, allowing students to explore the social and cultural changes that took place during this period." Think it's available online?
Not quite 30 years ago, I moved into my first apartment, and the very first thing I did was hook up my stereo. As chance would have it, the first thing I put on the turntable was a Columbia Records promotional new artists sampler that I had bought at a used record store for a buck.
As I unpacked boxes, I listened to the screechy affectations of various punk and power-pop bands and singers, most of whom have thankfully passed into obscurity. Then, suddenly, I heard something different--the clean, crisp chords of an acoustic guitar backed sparsely by drums and bass and a deep, haunting female voice--plaintive yet also somehow smoldering with anger. I stopped what I was doing and picked up the album cover. The singer was someone named Rosanne Cash. She was two years older than me and the daughter of Johnny Cash, the country music superstar whose hit TV show I'd watched when I was a child. But the younger Cash didn't look like some Nashville belle in sequins. With her lush helmet of dark hair and intense, piercing stare, she looked like she would be more at home at CBGB than the Grand Ole Opry. The song that had entranced me, "Baby Better Start Turning 'Em Down," had been written by her then-fiancee, Rodney Crowell. But when I got her LP "Seven Year Ache," Cash's own songs--in particular, that album's cover track--were even stronger stuff, as potent and bitter as cheap red wine, but just as beautiful, like stepping into a gutter and gazing up at the stars.
Can baby boomers save the world? That's the question that writer (and provocateur) Michael Kinsley asks in the October issue of the Atlantic Monthly. He then goes on to challenge the children of the so-called Greatest Generation to step up and lead the U.S. out of the economic crisis:
"So what do you give the country that has everything? You give it cash. The biggest peril Americans now face (is)...our own inability to live within our means. It would be nice to give our country the wisdom and self-discipline to stop running up the credit card. And we should try."
I once took my six-week-old daughter on a job interview.
The magazine bureau chief who asked me to come in knew I was on maternity leave and said it was fine if my baby tagged along. But I never anticipated she'd start screaming halfway through the conversation and I'd have to excuse myself to nurse her. Not surprisingly, I never heard from the editor again.
The greens are going green in Memphis, Tenn., as pop idol Justin Timberlake sinks $16 million into an eco-friendly golf course in his hometown. It's 18 holes on 7,000 acres, with drainage and watering set up to make the best use of natural rainfall and preserve the resort's native wetlands and wildflowers. Next up? Solar-powered golf carts.
From the fairway to the runway, the green trend continues as a growing number of designers embrace eco-friendly fabrics. Leading the way are The Green Shows, where designers are invited to show their environmentally conscious wares.
I would be surprised if novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy, How To Be Good, A Long Way Down, Slam and most recently, Juliet, Naked) ever joins an Indian ashram--unless there's pale ale on tap and a satellite TV hookup so he can watch Arsenal matches while he's meditating. And Julia Roberts has far too much hair to portray the follicularly challenged 53-year-old Brit on screen.
Nevertheless, he's the closest thing that we male members of Generation Jones have to Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) in terms of expressing the secret yearnings, fixations, existential dilemmas and heartbreak of my sub-generation.
Is Diana Nyad running out of time? It's beginning to look as though the biggest hurdle standing between the 61-year-old athlete and her second attempt at a Cuba-to-Florida swim isn't age or distance, or even the capricious weather of hurricane season--it's government bureaucracy.
The extreme swimmer has been in the Florida Keys with her support team, waiting (and waiting) for the Cuban government to grant her a visa. She's been ready for the past month and, as she says in a blog post, is beginning to wonder whether she's hit a bureaucratic wall:
John Glenn represented Ohio in the U.S. Senate for 25 years. Buzz Aldrin became an author, commercial space advocate and pop culture personality last seen on Dancing with the Stars and Top Chef, where he judged meals that contestants prepared for future space missions.
The future of hiring is among the highly skilled, with all aspects of the medical field expanding to serve baby boomers' future needs, says MSNBC:
"By 2018, the government forecasts a net total of 15.3 million new jobs. If that proves true, unemployment would drop far closer to a historical norm of 5 percent."
No one's ever described me as a foodie--I had to grit my teeth to make it through Julie and Julia, and my idea of a fabulous repast is a microwaved portion of Trader Joe's canned vegetarian chili, hastily gobbled while I peruse New Scientist on my laptop for the latest developments in nanotechnology and gene-splicing.
That's why I was understandably puzzled when my editor suggested that I review a new cookbook about Greek cuisine. But then I realized that I'd misread the title. The book is actually Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter. Although he offers plenty of tasty-sounding recipes, Potter--a software engineer by trade--spends much more space on subjects such as the physiology and psychology of taste and the chemical reactions that occur in cooking and how they contribute to the ultimate result.