Gabriel Byrne, new boomer sex symbol?

Score one for us 50-somethings. Apparently the character of Dr. Paul Weston of HBO’s In Treatment is a hottie. As played by 56-year-old actor Gabriel Byrne (shown in HBO photo from series), the psychotherapist is, in the words of one woman in today’s NY Times article “a hunk, totally. He’s hot” and, the article says, “His sympathetic response to patients ‘makes him even hotter.’ “

The show is on HBO five nights a week, with four nights of Weston doing a session with a patient (in one case, a couple), and one night of his own session with a colleague. I like the show — interesting format, excellent acting — but totally missed Byrne-the-boomer-sex-symbol angle, even though the Times says men are into him as well.

I will say I expected more women to be upset at Dr. Weston’s interest in a younger patient”Laura, a sullen 30-year-old anesthesiologist who chases Paul with a fervor bordering on the predatory,” as the article says. (Apparently, some of the women who are hot for Dr. Paul identify with Laura, the article says. Something to do with finding it attractive when men listen and care. Of course, as the headline says, “He Listens. He Cares. He Isn’t Real.”)

Random thoughts while doing laundry, Part 9

AARP sent me another solicitation on Friday. Hey, AARP, it’s not you, it’s me. Leave me alone…OK, I’ll be honest, I would love the hotel discount and fantasize that I’d be carded each time I try to claim the AARP discount…NY Times has an article today on Eons, the baby boomer site you used to not be able to join until turning 50 years old. It recently began allowing younger people to join. Wonder how that will work out for them? The article says many users aren’t happy about it — kind of the same way those young people felt when we boomers flooded Facebook…speaking of Facebook, I need more friends…Same goes for Eons, which I don’t remember joining, but have a profile under JCold23…Question: As Groucho might have asked, do I want to be a member of any club that would have me as a member?….I enjoy the NY Times Sunday feature Modern Love, except today’s, titled “A Valley of Misery Between Peaks of Joy,” looks at research that basically says that in our year of turning 50, we are at the bottom of a U-shaped Joy Ride — our peaks are in our 20s and 70s-plus. Great…This is a gratuitous link to my colleague Kris Hey’s blog, because she is worried it will be killed without more traffic. Click and Help Yourself (and Kris).

Did boomers care when James Dean died?

The New York Times Week in Review section today had an article on “When Icons Die Young,” spinning off the death of actor Heath Ledger. I wondered, though, about one sentence — “In 1955, Baby Boomers grieved the passing of the 24-year-old James Dean, who received two posthumous Academy Award nominations on his way to the pantheon.”

Is that true? In 1955, the oldest boomer was all of 9 years old. We were barely halfway into the boom. Perhaps a little loose writing there.

My guess is our generation’s iconic deaths might start with Buddy Holly in 1959, Marilyn Monroe (1962), run (obviously) through John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. (although this article is talking more celebrity deaths) through Elvis and John Lennon. The last two might fit closer to the Ledger death, through neither was a young as Ledger. But the youngest boomers were teens when Elvis and Lennon died and maybe of us were just into our 20s.

I’m sure I’m missing better examples, but then this is a depressing topic.

Some more jokes for someone turning 50

The majority of people who end up on this blog come by searching Google for turning 50 jokes. Every so often, I like to prowl around myself and look for old new ones (or is that new old ones) on the Internet. Through Boomer Chronicles blog, I stumbled upon Boomer Jokes. Seems to be a fair number of good ones on this site, but, perhaps because I like word plays on popular culture, I was drawn to the post on “Pop Artists of the ’60’s Revisited,” which takes some well know lyrics and titles and twists them for boomers and seniors. For example:

  • Ringo Starr — I Get By With a Little Help From Depends.
  • The Bee Gees — How Can You Mend a Broken Hip.
  • Bobby Darin — Splish, Splash, I Was Havin’ a Flash.
  • Roberta Flack — The First Time Ever I Forgot Your Face.
  • Johnny Nash — I Can’t See Clearly Now.
  • Paul Simon — Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver.
  • The Commodores – Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom.

You can read more of them here, and be sure to click down the left rail for other baby boomer jokes that would work for someone turning 50 years old. (And, yes, some of the jokes, like the ones above are real groaners, but those often work best if your party involves a roast or just a series of toasts.)

AARP tries to get me again

I’m not sure how many times I’ve received AARP’s offer to join the organization. I think at least four times. Another came Friday. When will it end? I wonder if this strategy works — eventually, will I give in, pay my $12.50 — less than a 12-pack of good beer! — and start getting the discounts I have earned based on my LOOONNNNGGGGG life…Speaking of AARP, the group is seeking a Daily News Editor for Bulletin Today, “a new web-based daily designed to be the go-to news source for 50+ America.” If I ran a web site catering to boomers, I might be worried. Just be sheer numbers, AARP could be a category killer for boomer news and draw significant advertising. (Disclosure: I’ve written in the past for AARP Bulletin, its newspaper, when I was a freelance writer in the late 1990s and early ’00’s.)

I’m going to live to 89!

According to the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator, I have another 39 years to live. So maybe turning 50 years old isn’t that bad after all. (OK, yes, I know, it’s only an estimate, etc. etc. Stop being such a buzz kill! If I do have another 39 years left, maybe I can finally finish that novel…OK, finally start it…OK! For sure, I have time to get to that the leaky faucet this week while Mrs. Year of Turning 50 is in Las Vegas at Big Builder ’07.)

For those who come here seeking turning 50 jokes, to me, this calculator offers some possibilities, as does the idea of what your favorite baby boomer would do if he or she really has several more decades to live.

For those who come here seeking existential insights into aging, you’re at the wrong blog.

Turning 50 and looking, but not feeling, different

In the week since turning 50 years old, I would love to say I have some new insight to share, some new perspective that only comes now that I am older and, presumably, wiser.

I don’t.

So, since I am a baby boomer, and appearances matter, I changed the photo on my profile. It’s the same one I use now on my Facebook profile, which a friend recently said was better than the grim one that was there (and here). Of course, she also told me to smile. My response: I wouldn’t want to ruin my grumpy reputation.

The photo actually has some significance. It was taken with a birthday present, a new pocket digital camera (Canon Powershot SD750, which I got for those moments when I don’t want to carry our digital SLR, a Canon Rebel XTI. You can see some of my photographer on my Flickr account.)

Got a ‘Whole Lotta Love’ for turning 50

OK, yes, I am THAT baby boomer, whose musical tastes (at times) are stuck somewhere in the early 1970s. I downloaded the new, remastered compilation of Led Zeppelin hits last night from iTunes. Called Mothership, it’s 24 of the songs I grew up on as a teenager, though I did have to download one of my favorites, “Going to California” separately. “Whole Lotta Love” is probably the first real hard rock song I owned, a 45 I wore out, putting aside all those Beatles, Beach Boys, Three Dog Night (and yes, that other 1969 hit) “Sugar Sugar” by the Archies. I remember going with my high school friend Rick to see Zeppelin in Madison Square Garden sometime in the mid-1970s, a concert so good I thought I’d never see a better one (though I did, once, an Emerson Lake and Palmer show at MSG around the same time. Might have been the company I kept.) And, yes, I still turn up “Stairway to Heaven” and can associate a clear memory from my teens with every song — though some I wouldn’t even tell my priest, though I have in private moments told my God. I wonder if, when I am really old, will they play Zeppelin in the nursing home?

Boomers were born to be wild, or was that mild?

OK, this animated cartoon, about aging baby boomers trying to stay young, has me laughing out loud, or LOL as we used to say in the AOL years. (Note you have to follow the link to see the Walt Handelsman piece.) It contains a song you could all sing to your favorite baby boomer turning 50 years ago, to the tune “Born to Ride.” It opens with the lines: “Get your Mortin ready…Head out on the treadmill” and gets better from there. (Note: It’s on Newsday.com, which also is owned by the company that owns OrlandoSentinel.com, where I work.)

No discounts for you!

I think I was 40 when I was offered my first senior discount, which must have said something about the kind of night I had the day before I stopped in Mickey D’s for some coffee. I was, like, dude, I’m only, like, barely over 30. But this column raises an interesting point — will all of us baby boomers sink the senior discount?Are there just to dang many of us for businesses to offer us a little reduction in the price? What! No more 35-cent cups of Joe? No more 10-percent off Tuesdays? Forget the Social Security crisis. I’m behind the candidate who solves the “boomers-want-the-senior-discount-even-though-we-won’t-say-we’re seniors” problem.