If you're in the market for a great summer read, try Composed, the new memoir by Roseanne Cash. Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times calls the book "witty, poignant, heartbreaking and disarmingly honest."
Maybe you're looking for that inspirational push to try something really, really different. Here's the story of Angela Miller, who went from literary agent to goat farmer. Talk about a detour.
As boomers get older, we tend to worry more about the Big C--and unfortunately, those fears are justified. As this 2007 article from the scientific journal Nature details, scientists have discovered that the biological processes of cancer and aging, while different and separate, are woven from similar molecular threads.
But maybe we don't have to be so fatalistic: A breakthrough announced this week by scientists at Israel's Tel Aviv University holds out the possibility of dramatically improving the chances of surviving many types of cancers that have been difficult to treat.
It's undeniable that the recession has created a more conscious consumer. Coming off a binge of consumption, more people are simplifying their lives and looking for new ways to save money. The age-old practice of bartering has recently seen resurgence online where people are trading everything from books, to cars, to manual labor.
"Swapping is a very natural behavior that occurs in all of our everyday lives, traditionally with our family and friends offline," says Jeff Bennett, CEO of the one million-member online trading site Swaptree.com. "With the web becoming an increasingly social place, we're now seeing a real emergence online."
The fate of the U.S. economy now depends upon the very rich, according to The Wall Street Journal. Research by Moody's shows 37 percent of all consumer spending is done by those with the top five percent of income. Why does this matter? "Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product, or the value of all goods and services produced in the nation. And spending by the rich now accounts for the largest share of consumer outlays in at least 20 years," the WSJ concludes.
Add Tony Blair to the list of former heads of state who have found a second act outside politics. For the one-time British prime minister, the reinvention takes the form of a startup investment firm. And this being Blair, his new venture is not without controversy--mere days after the announcement of the company's formation.
Meanwhile, the not-so-rich seem to be circling the wagons in these tough economic times. The New York Times points out that small investors are fleeing the stock market in droves, withdrawing $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first nine months of the year.
At SecondAct.com, columnist Karin Price Mueller suggests this is the right time to get into a Roth IRA.
Some encouraging news for the million-plus Americans who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome: Researchers are homing in on the cause of the debilitating condition.
And while the recall of eggs tainted with salmonella continues to grow, U.S. News & World Report offers four steps to help protect yourself from the outbreak.
As the number of baby boomers hitting retirement age grows, so does the number of stories and columns peppered with dire predictions about the effect on the economy. The U.K. Guardian opines that while parents are comfy in their golden years, it's at the expense of their kids, for whom they've left a broken world.
The Colorado Springs Gazette takes a milder tone with the same material, covering the effect of mass retirement on health care and Social Security.
Which leads AllVoices.com to ask a fair question: Are baby boomers being demonized? Will they become the next target of discrimination?
Let's close with something inspiring, namely Diana Nyad and her return to endurance swimming. We've been following her here at SecondAct.com, and now the Miami Herald comes out with a nice profile. She just turned 61 in Florida while preparing for her Cuba-to-Miami swim: "I'm still young, passionate, vibrant," she says. "Still relevant. But society doesn't always treat us that way. In some professions, you are forced to retire at 62. I was experiencing what millions my age are feeling--no longer valued, worried the best years are behind, that it's all downhill from here. I'm here to empower people my age, to prove you are never too old to chase a dream."
If you went to the movies last weekend, you might have seen the trailer (shown below) for The Social Network, a fictionalized account of how Mark Zuckerberg and a couple of friends started Facebook while still Harvard undergrads.
What do you think the chances are that Hollywood would have green-lighted that movie, which opens October 1, if Zuckerberg had started Facebook when he was 49 instead of 19?
I previously wrote in this space about the fundraising effort to build a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Education Center in Washington, D.C. The facility would help to inform future generations about the sacrifices made by the more than 58,000 members of the U.S. military--many of them boomers--who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.
One part of the project is the National Call for Photos, an effort to collect and display photos of all the dead veterans commemorated on the walls of the memorial. As you might imagine, locating pictures of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have been dead for decades is a daunting task. (The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund provides a helpful list of ways to submit photos.)
Whether you consider golf to be a metaphor for life or a good walk spoiled, an unavoidable truth about the game is the tons of chemicals used to keep the world's greens so clean. Until now, that is. A story in The New York Times highlights the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., an all-organic course. The course is making headlines due to a planned visit by the nation's Golfer in Chief. And with green practices to deal with weeds (boiling water) and grubs (grub-eating worms), environmentalists hope the course's eco-friendly ways will spread to its chemical-addicted cousins.
When it comes to being green, economies of scale matter. Consider single-use disposables like cups or to-go containers, which choke our landfills. National Geographic reports on entrepreneurs who are replacing petroleum products such as Styrofoam with materials made from agar, rice husks and mushrooms. Not only do the plant-based items easily degrade, but they also take one-eighth the energy to produce.
Will my kids be proud or think their old man is really a square?
When they're out having fun, yeah, will I still wanna have my share?
Will I love my wife for the rest of my life
When I grow up to be a man?
--The Beach Boys' "When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)"
I was happy to read recently that fortysomething character actor Patrick Gallagher, who played football coach and earnest but excruciatingly inept suitor Ken Tanaka on Glee, is joining the cast of TNT's Men of a Certain Age when it returns for a second season in November. Gallagher, who also was in one of my favorite movies of the last few years, Sideways, has an uncanny knack for personifying Thoreau's oft-quoted observation that the great masses of men lead lives of quiet desperation. (If Thoreau was here today, he might also have observed that they also wear fanny packs, tube socks and slightly too-snug athletic shorts, like the outfit that coach Ken sported.) And I'm also rooting for his soon-to-be fellow cast member Andre Braugher, who will be vying for best supporting actor in a drama category at the 2010 Emmy Awards on August 29. (Braugher previously won best actor in a drama in 1998 for his role in Homicide: Life on the Street.)
If you've planned your retirement strategy, you've got some numbers in mind--how much money you'll need to finance the work-free years, when you'll reach that goal, and how you'll spend both the money and the time.
Along the way, you're making tough choices and more than a few sacrifices. According to U.S. News & World Report, there's a right and a wrong way to proceed. Check their intriguing list (don't neglect family, be sure to explore outside interests) of retirement dos and don'ts, with some good links to sound retirement planning.
What was it about Norman Rockwell that inspired Steven Spielberg and George Lucas?
For the blockbuster directors, it was the iconic illustrator's Saturday Evening Post covers depicting children being entertained by their imaginations.