Previous month:
June 2006
Next month:
August 2006

The Same Old Story

In a recent issue of Time magazine, model and actress Isabella Rossellini caught my attention [subscription required] with this statement:

“Yes, there’s ageism in modeling and acting…The story you hear over and over is about seducing a man and getting married, but women do much more than that.”

Without having time for extended contemplation or research, that strikes me as painfully true. It doesn’t matter if she’s a doctor, a lawyer or hooker, or if it’s set in modern day New York, ancient Rome or on a space ship - in the movies, the woman’s story is always about finding a man. Unless she is old and then it’s about mourning a man.

This may be radical notion, but after the kids are raised, who cares? And that’s Ms. Rossellini’s point, isn’t it: there are no movies about women older than 40.

On the other hand, the story we hear again and again about men is the hero who saves the world – whether on the home front or the entire planet. I wonder if men are as weary of their only story as I am of women’s?

We are all – men and women - so much more than that.


Just Once Before She Dies

category_bug_journal2.gif It is high season for Queen Anne’s Lace, the most profuse of the wild flowers I see on my morning walks along Casco Bay.

There was just as much Queen Anne’s Lace where I grew up on the other side of the United States in Portland, Oregon. Back then, I never understood why everyone considered it a weed, and I still don’t. Its astounding beauty lies in its intricacy and in the charming surprise in the center of every bloom.

Queen Anne's Lace Close Up Tiny, white flowers grow into lacy, flat-topped clusters as delicate as a butterfly’s wing. In the middle of each cluster is one – and only one - Lilliputian flower of a red so deep and dark in color it could be a drop of blood. In fact, legend has it that the center red flower represents a blood drop from the finger of expert lace maker, Queen Anne of Denmark, when she pricked her finger with a needle.

All my life, I’ve been drawn to Queen Anne’s Lace along the sides of roads and paths, at the edges of meadows and where it irritates suburban gardeners when it sneaks into the outer reaches of neatly trimmed lawns.

And so it came to pass of a recent morning’s walk that an irresistible urge overtook respect for the law and - I confess it here to the world - I picked some Queen Anne’s Lace for a floral arrangement at home. And I didn’t stop there. I also cut two branches of those red berries I showed you the other day because they would help spotlight that single tiny red flower in the middle of each Queen Anne’s bloom.

It was a good idea. Look at how beautiful my first-ever Queen Anne’s Lace bouquet turned out.

Queen Anne's Lace Bouquet

In reality, I don’t know if there is a law against picking flowers in the park in Portland, Maine, but most cities have such prohibitions for good reasons and I support them. Even so, once in awhile an old lady’s gotta do what an old lady’s gotta do – just once before she dies.


Guest Blog at Panchromatica

category_bug_journal2.gif Long before I launched Time Goes By, I met Ian when we both were members of fotolog.net, a precurser to Flickr.

For the next couple of weeks Ian, like me a few weeks ago, will be in the throes of moving to a new home and not have an internet connection for a short while. He asked if I would contribute a guest blog to fill in and how could I refuse - he had so graciously substituted for me during my move.

So today at Ian's blog, Panchromatica, you will find a guest blog from me about leaving the great, big city of New York - population 8 million - for my new home in Portland, Maine - population 64,000.

Ian and I would both be pleased if you stopped by.


I Don't Mind That I'm Old

category_bug_ageism.gif Thanks to Marge Roach for alerting me to this “My Turn” piece in the latest Newsweek issue titled “I’m Old and I’m Just Fine With That.”

Writer Mary Blair Immel relates how she found herself in a home improvement store asking the location of the replacement part she needed:

“The thirtysomething clerk looked at me and then made an announcement over the loudspeaker, ‘Will someone from plumbing please escort this young lady to aisle 14?’

“…He made me feel as though I were teetering on the brink of extinction and needed his encouragement to keep breathing.”

I could quote at length, but it is too good a read to synopsize, so go read the whole piece. Except, I can’t resist Ms. Immel’s conclusion which I could not have said better myself:

“Yes, being young was wonderful, but why are so many people afraid of the word ‘old’? I don't mind the fact that I am an old woman. I confront my age every morning when I look in the mirror, but I don't feel the need to be nipped and tucked, lifted or sucked. What I see is what I want to live with.

“I have been around for more than three quarters of a century. That is a long time, but it is OK with me. There is a story behind each and every wrinkle and laugh line. I don't mind the passage of time—that is, I don't mind it until someone, embarrassed or frightened by the thought of aging, tries to convince me that I am not old by calling me ‘young lady.’"


The Obligations of Elders in the Workplace

category_bug_ageism.gif The Blame the Victim post ten days or so ago provoked some lively commentary that shouldn't be left to drift off into the ether without acknowledgement.

But mostly, I'm picking on Alan G who, as he frequently does, left a provocative comment that I find impossible to let be without a response. He's a big boy, he can take it and he always has the power of the comment button for rebuttal.

Alan writes:

“Not all elders who are looking for substantial employment should be out looking for substantial employment…”

“…we do have to be as honest with our individual abilities as we are critical of those who would simply deny us out abilities simply based on age.”

“I have had several experiences working with folks older than I am right now, all of whom were more than qualified intellectually and experience wise…[but] could not produce efficiently. They were slow…”

This is true of some elders. It is also true of some youngsters right out of school. And of some experienced, middle-aged workers.

The problem with age discrimination in the workplace is that although these failings (and many others) apply to some workers of all ages, only elders are universally tagged as incompetent for them, and always the tagging is related to their age. It could just as well be related to their laziness or stupidity which, unfortunately, does not usually improve with age - but it is always made to be about age.

In any group described by a single attribute - skin color, size, education, religion, age, etc. - some are good at what they do and some are hopeless. The sin – and in some cases, the actual crime – is attributing the failings of some to everyone within the group. And while Alan’s exhortation to be honest about our abilities is a worthy goal, it applies to elders no more than any other group.

On a factual note, Alan writes that “…many employers are looking for someone who they think will be with them for years.”

Um, not for the past two decades or more. Today, if a recruiter or hiring manager sees a job on a resume that lasted ten years, they’ll want to know what’s wrong. In general, today, anyone who doesn’t change jobs every three or four years is seen as a loser who lacks ambition, initiative and enthusiasm. And for the few employers who might be looking for long-term commitment, there are no guarantees. 20-somethings quit every day. 45-year-olds die every day. And 60-year-olds sometimes live to be 90, competent to the end. No one can predict the future.

The last item I want to tackle is Alan’s statement that “as with any issue regarding racism or prejudice, let us not forget that no one owes us anything.”

I'm not so sure. Everyone is owed respect until they prove they are undeserving of it and, on the topic at hand, everyone is owed the right to make a living. In the United States, no one may be refused employment based on race, religion, ethnic background, gender or – ahem, age. It is the law, and even though the law is flouted every day by thousands of employers, we are all owed that right. Whoever may deny it is to be denounced.

That too many elders are denied the right to earn a living merely because they are no longer young is a large part of the reason Time Goes By was created and we will not back down from that point.

Workers of any age have no more obligation than to do the job they are paid for to the best of their ability. Women and blacks have battled the requirement to be better than everyone else just to tread water in their careers. Let’s not lay the same burden on elders.


A Morning Walk on Casco Bay

category_bug_journal2.gif The light in the 20 or 30 minutes before and after sunrise has an eerie, primeval quality I like, especially along a coastline. Dawn on Casco Bay these days is at about 5:15AM, so I try to get down to the path on the Eastern Prom before 5AM to take in all the parts of a new day's awakening.

Sometimes I use the path along the street above the water as when I showed you some of the beautiful Victorians that face the sea. But more frequently I prefer to be on the water, to hear it lapping against the rocks and watch it wash against the small strip of sandy beach leaving behind a piece of seaweed here and driftwood there.

Lights1

Photographs don’t begin to express the morning magic; you need all five senses and maybe part of your sixth one, too. So to accompany me on today’s walk, you must imagine a variety of birds, mostly invisible among tree branches as they greet the dawn, calling to one another in voices high and low, screeching and melodious, songs short and long, creating a symphony of welcome for the sun as it once again, as every day, approaches the horizon.

Boats_trees

The air is crisp, about 60 or 65 degrees F with a slight breeze against your skin, cool but not cold. The tide is high on this day and it takes a little more effort than on low-tide mornings for the salty-sour smell and taste of sea to find you – but it’s there, if you pay attention, on each wisp of breeze. Oh, look. The big catamaran moored offshore is new since yesterday morning.

Catamaran

Other boats lay at anchor too and I think how lovely it must be for those on board to be wakened by the rocking from the wavelets and the creaking of the boat's joints in the gentle morning sea.

Sailboat

The red berry bushes (maybe some gardening readers know the proper name) are at their peak today, a splash of brash, bright color bursting upon the green/gray dawn before the day seems quite ready for such exuberance.

Berries

By the time we get to the sidelined railroad cars, I’m hitting my stride, muscles fully engaged and feeling as ripe as those berries. Right now I believe I could walk, with ease, a hundred miles before lunch.

Cranberryrailcar

Across the path from those rail cars is a small marina and boat repair yard where one-person sailboats, a good-sized yacht or two and many intermediate-sized boats await, in the early morning light, an expert's hand to set them right again.

Boatyard1

Inside the boatyard's locked fence is this statue of someone whose attire suggests he lived long ago, but is important enough to still be honored with fresh flowers at his feet. One day I’ll come by during business hours to find out who he is.

Statue

I had been meaning to take the well-advertised, narrow-gauge railroad ride until I realized it rolls along my morning walkway, so no need – except maybe the tour leader could tell me who the statue is.

Narrowgauge

Some days I walk farther on toward the Old Port, but this morning we’ll turn around here and when we do – lo, there is the sunrise in the tree.

Sunrise

The meadow is brighter now that the sun is above the horizon and god almighty, it's almost perfect, don’t you think…

Meadow

It is easier now than on our first pass by to see this behemoth, anchored a ways offshore. It wasn’t there yesterday. There is a workaday feel to it - or a dread quality reminiscent of Mad Max - depending on your fancy this early in the morning. It does not move. A deep, steady groan emanates from it.

Behemoth

It’s been almost an hour now and we come upon the path lights again, nearly back to where we began.

Lights2

A lone seagull screams (at me?) as he swoops and soars over the bay in search, no doubt, of breakfast.

Loneseagull

After a shower, my own breakfast on the deck where the geraniums are behaving as though I know how to grow plants. I don’t. It can only be due to luck and the gods’ graces that they are doing so well.

Redgeranium

The fresh, clean breeze feels sparkly against my skin out here on the deck. The coffee is rich and thick. The flowers are as bright and clear in the morning sun as if their colors had been invented just for me today.

I think I might never have been so completely of the moment, so perfectly content in a time and place that my heart might burst from the pleasure of it. It is a good thing I have done, in my old age, to move to Portland, Maine. I have chosen well.

A short while later, I remember there is laundry from yesterday still in the dryer. When it’s piled on the bed for folding, Ollie the cat - who knows a thing or two about seizing the moment - discovers that rolling around in freshly washed sheets is ecstasy on the order of heaven - or at least as good as salmon for dinner.

Ollie


Is This Why Some Consider Mainstream Media Irrelevant?

Like her alter ego, Crabby Old Lady is on partial hiatus until some pressing deadlines are met, but she can’t resist commenting this morning on a New York Times piece that may be the biggest non-story Crabby has ever read.

The only backup provided for the headline, “Nation Sweats as Heat Hits Triple Digits,” is that it was 100 degrees yesterday in New York City and 125 in Death Valley, California.

Wait a minute. Has it not always been thus in summer? Where’s the news in this story? What first drew Crabby’s attention and caused her to nearly spit her coffee across the computer screen was this:

“The heat was at its worst in the Northeast, Midwest and West.”

That pretty much covers the entire United States.

An Indiana three-year-old died when he locked himself in a hot car. That is a tragedy, but it is not a heat story; it happens too frequently in much less than extreme temperatures.

And hey, hey, hey, alert the rest of the media; here are a couple of buried headlines that deserve wider attention:

  • Day laborers paused to drink water in southern California yesterday
  • Children splashed in fountains

And how’s this for a flash:

“In St. Louis; Tulsa, Okla.; and Philadelphia, temperatures are expected to fall only to the mid-70’s at night…”

Wow. 75 degrees F at night in July. Now there’s the final proof of global warming Crabby’s been waiting for.


Blogging – Not Just For Kids

Read the headline again…

You know that. Crabby Old Lady knows that. Now, when will the press catch up?

Even this late in the game, blogs are still dismissed as nothing more than teenage angst diaries, but there are thousands – well, probably millions worldwide – written by and for adults who are contributing thoughtful commentary and expertise on any topic you can imagine. And the number of non-bloggers who seek out blogs for information they want or need is growing dramatically.

Perhaps this week’s ignorant reporter, who writes for STLToday (the online home of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), thinks he is being humorous when he accuses St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay of being too old to blog:

“The mayor has a blog?

“That's not smart. It's one thing to want to seem young, hip and connected, but there must be better ways of doing it. Wear a baseball cap backward. Start calling your friends your posse. See if Nelly will let you have a part in his next video. But a blog?”

stltoday.com, 14 July 2006

That was columnist Bill McClellan’s uninformed, cutesy-poo lede to a story that is of crisis proportion in
his own town and in most big cities in the U.S. – failing public education systems. Crabby Old Lady was alerted to McClellan’s column by Liz Ditz of I Speak of Dreams. Liz frequently blogs about education issues and the story in St. Louis is an old one.

  • The school system is in shambles
  • The kids are not learning
  • The mayor tries something new
  • The school board doesn’t like it
  • All sides accuse the others of being either imbeciles or criminals
  • Some officials are fired
  • The school system is still in shambles
  • The kids are still not learning

This failure is so common throughout urban America that it’s hard to rouse ourselves to notice. But the story in St. Louis caught Liz’s attention, and then Crabby’s, when columnist McCLellan blamed the mayor’s blog for the city education contretemps.

School board members, according to McClellan, don’t like the mayor’s blog any more than he does but at least it's the content, not the blog itself, they object to. They think the mayor is being petty and unfair. But as McClellan explains, he prefers their old-fashioned method of hiding their slurs behind a reporter (him) than the mayor’s straight-to-the-people approach:

“Why has the mayor overlooked the historical role of the press? In previous administrations, we've served as a filter. If a mayor wants to launch an attack on an enemy, he slips the information to one of us. Our standards are not high. We use anything we can. So if the stuff passes muster with us - it's petty, but not real, real, real petty; unfair, but not real, real, real unfair - we use it, and the target is upset with us, rather than with the mayor.”

In an era during which the press has so shamefully abdicated its “historical role” as watchdog of the powerful, Crabby can’t find anything funny in what is, apparently, meant to be a humorous paragraph. And in many cases, it is adult blogs that are doing the press’s job while McClellan fishes around for a bad joke with which to end his column:

“Exactly why the mayor taunts the new board is beyond me. I guess that's what a guy does when he has a blog. We'd be better off if he'd just wear his cap backward.”

Here’s what Crabby Old Lady thinks: More (blog) power to the mayor of St. Louis. And may other mayors follow his lead. He appears, from his blog, to be – especially for a politician – a forthright sort of fellow with a wry sense of humor [emphases are Crabby’s]:

“The strategy I proposed includes more jobs, social services, education and help for children leading troubled lives. Getting there requires the several important legislative and budgetary changes. Some of it has happened.”

“Given the mixed directions, the results were inevitable: administrative chaos, no budget agreement, dramatically lowered enrollment projections, and – now - questions about whether schools can even open on time in the Fall. This is not better.

“Another good – and probably inevitable – example is the growth in personal fitness studios and gyms downtown to counterbalance all those restaurants, gelato shops, cooking lessons.”

One important element missing from Mayor Slay’s blog is a comments section. Although Crabby doesn’t personally believe a website is legitimately a blog without comments, she can well understand, given the cutthroat partisanship of politics in BushAmerica, why the mayor of a major city might not want – nor have the time – to counter the inevitable foul responses that would be left by those who disagree with him.

But if Mayor Slay asked, Crabby’s advice would be to turn on comments for awhile. Unless the trolls take over completely, it can’t do anything but good for a politician to take his licks and as Time Goes By proves here day in and day out, the conversation among commenters is always enlightening. They might even provide the mayor with some new ideas that could work.

As to columnist McClellan – by refusing to grasp the importance and impact of blogs on the media, politics and, Crabby suspects, on the future of democracy itself, he proves himself to be as hopelessly out of touch as any reader could instantly glean from that baseball cap reference. Even Crabby Old lady knows that wearing them backwards hasn’t been cool for several years.


Age Discrimination: Blame the Victim

category_bug_ageism.gif I was contacted by a man who is writing a story for the job website, monster.com, about how old people can “reposition their skills for today’s job market.”

Having no idea what that means, I asked the writer who said it refers to old people who are “afraid” to update their skills. When I pushed for a source for that piece of information, he told me it’s “all those old people out there” who say so.

Ah, I see. That’s certainly as reliable as a Pew survey or a Yankelovich poll, don’t you think?

I had been skeptical of this interview from the get-go and had warned the writer when he first emailed that I might not be the person who could best meet his needs since I’d already taken issue with his ageist assumptions a couple of years ago.

On that occasion, he had written approvingly that elders could take pay cuts of 20 percent to get a job (no matter their skills or experience, of course) because with their kids out of college, their living expenses are low.

Let’s see if that statement can withstand the TGB Bias Test by replacing the word “elders” with “blacks”: “…blacks can take pay cuts of 20 percent because their living expenses are low.”

As expected, it fails the test. The statement would never make it past the editor’s desk but, apparently, it’s okay when applied to elders.

Well, it wasn’t okay when it was published and it will never be okay. In print or in practice, that statement is morally reprehensible and typical of too much so-called “advice” to elders on getting a job.

In fact, it is an excellent example of pure, unadulterated age discrimination, the kind of ludicrous practice the women’s movement took down several decades ago. (It was once acceptable to pay women less than men for the same job because men had families to support and women didn’t.)

When I reminded the interviewer that I’d made such objections to his advice in the past, he told me it would be a waste of time to interview me and hung up. I’m sure he will find someone to quote who more closely matches his point of view on elder workers, which makes it important to speak up against the shameful tactic of most of the employment experts who in print and practice blame the victim.

Elder job seekers are invariably told to play the age discrimination game with the following advice:

  • Update your skills
  • Don’t list your college graduation date
  • Don’t list any jobs older than ten years
  • Use a “functional” not “chronological” resume
  • Be prepared for young interviewers to be shocked at your aged appearance after they’ve read your resume with no dates and assumed you are younger
  • Be sure you are well groomed for the interview

What’s wrong with this list? First, it is demeaning, but that is the least of it. These and similar directives (one “expert” recommends cosmetic surgery) from headhunters, recruiters, employment experts and job sites such as monster.com abet a real crime.

There are federal and local laws against age discrimination in the workplace that are flouted every day with a wink and a nod. When people who set themselves up as experts – many who consider themselves journalists - tell elders to hide their age, they are going along with a crime and in doing so, transferring the responsibility from the criminals – employers who practice age discrimination - onto elder victims of it. (“Well, if you give the actual year you graduated from college, of course they won’t hire you.”)

These people are telling us that we must lie or we will not be allowed to work no matter the law.

It’s much the same as the current debate on illegal immigrants. Whatever you believe their fate should be (stay or go), it is they who are taking the heat for usurping jobs Americans might or might not otherwise want. Meanwhile, their employers are allowed to reap billion-dollar profits on the backs of the immigrants who are paid slave wages.

And, according to a piece he wrote in 2004, the interviewer who hung up when I challenged his ageism believes that elders, like illegal immigrants, deserve no more than slave wages.

None of this will change until we – elders – demand to be treated as full citizens with all the rights and privileges we enjoyed before we committed the sin of getting old. What makes it harder than it would otherwise be is that being old isn’t the actual sin. The culture – employers, media, youth and beauty police, etc. – don’t really care how old anyone is as long as they appear to be young. These people are hypocrites even while blaming the victim.


How Elders Can Find New Music They Like

Newsweek continues its intermittent series of “The Boomer Files” cover stories concentrating this week on the relationship between boomers and their music.

Aside from the fact that designating this series as being only about boomers gets more irritating with every issue (as if those of us older than 60 are too senile, if not already dead, to be worthy of interest), there is a good story on how to find new music that matches (or comes close to matching) the tastes we developed during the Sixties which was, arguably, the most astonishingly creative period in the history of popular music.

How many sets of Beatles albums have you worn out in the past 40 years? Or Dylan? Or the Stones or Joplin or Hendrix or so many others? They’ve held up for nearly half a century and continue to capture the attention of younger generations as each comes along.

Still, it would be nice to have a guide to whatever it is that’s going on the pop music world today because it is impossible to keep up when it’s fragmented into so many genres and sub-genres emerging from so many different sources. There is hardly such a thing as a top 40 anymore, or a band or singer who can capture the imagination of an entire country the way Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles did, each in their era.

But help is available. According to Newsweek reporter, Steven Levy, there is a bunch of online services that, using the latest technology, can track down new music you would probably like if The Doors still light your fire - something, maybe, that segues nicely out of The Crystal Ship but has a 21st century edge to it.

Since Newsweek inexplicably does not link to the free services Mr. Levy describes, I’ve done the work for them (and you) with the list and links below. Perhaps, if you try these, you will report back here on your success - or not - in finding some terrific new music you like.

Pandora - Immediate search from home page delivers computer matches

Last.fm - Immediate search from home page delivers computer matches

MyStrands - Requires download for Windows Media Player or iTunes

MOG - More like Friendster for music, there is no computer matching. A place to find others who share your musical tastes and appears to be focused on young MySpace users.


The Ugly Excuses for Ageism

It takes Crabby Old Lady’s breath away how relentless bigots are in their ability to excuse their prejudices.

In a story titled “Why Language Matters” last May, Time Goes By pointed out an example of everyday ageism that would be minor enough to be overlooked except for the fact that such breaches of civility are repeated day in and day out in publications everywhere, which subtly reinforces the acceptability of ageist beliefs.

The example in May came from Ken Winell, CEO of Expert Collab quoted by InformationWeek reporter Paula Rooney. It read, in part:

“’Blogs and MySpace/social networking is the modern day community bulletin board,’ he said. ‘I expect to see kiosks for blogs at the senior centers that talk about shuffleboard and bad dinner theater any day now!’”
InformationWeek, 26 May 2006

Yesterday, on the same day that Crabby Old Lady upbraided some others for age prejudice, Mr. Winell responded [scroll down to near the bottom of the comments] that he was taken out of context and:

“…I think my quote on how instead of bulletin boards at assisted living facilities, community centers etc, will eventually change to electronic and social networking web sites, is accurate.”

Accurate? Certainly (although hardly a revelation), but it does not acknowledge the bigotry of the original quote. Elsewhere in his comment, Mr. Winell jams his foot further down his throat:

“This quote was not reflective of bigotry of older generations, in fact, what I was trying to get across was how technology permeates itself despite general opposition of persons to accept change.”

“…despite general opposition of persons to accept change”? Is Crabby Old Lady meant to understand from this response that elders not only have poor judgment regarding the quality of live theater, according to Mr. Winell, they oppose change?

He continues…

“The bad dinner theater comment may have been in bad taste…”

Bad taste?!? Bad taste is flocked wallpaper; the dinner theater comment is bigotry. No other point outweighs bigotry – ever - and bigotry in service to another point is gratuitous and demeaning and serious and unacceptable.


Tech Ageism Unchecked

The sixth annual Gnomedex conference took place last week in Seattle. This event would have escaped Crabby Old Lady’s notice but for Cowtown Pattie of Texas Trifles who emailed regarding Jeremy Zawodny, the leader of a “bitch session” at the conference which was described in part at the noded blog thusly:

“Low point of the day was the discussion led by Jeremy Zawodny which came across as a profiling of ‘older people’ as unable to operate the internet or a computer without massive browser rewrites or something…”
noded, 2 July 2006

Bad enough, especially from the representative of one of the biggest, most important tech companies in the world, but Crabby had not attended so she thought to let it go. Then, she read this comment left by a reader named Joe :

“The reason the internet appears to be younger-person centric is because older members of society haven't felt a need to be hooked up. And when an older person asks me about the internet, I don't have a reason why it's important for them. Useful, sure. But important? I don't think so.”

Crabby doesn’t know who Joe is, but she is flummoxed as to why he would believe the internet is not important to elders. And who says “older members of society haven’t felt a need to be hooked up”? Cite your sources, Joe. Crabby wants to know why you consider her and others of her age to be out of touch with the interests of mainstream America.

Both of these men are exhibiting blatant ageism and Crabby fears neither of them recognizes it in himself which is, of course, what makes age prejudice so insidious – no one thinks it’s as important as sexism or racism.

So let’s give the statements of these two men the standard TGB Bias Test by replacing the word “older” with “black”:

Zawodny via noded: “…profiling of ‘black people’ as unable to operate the internet or a computer without massive browser rewrites or something…”

Joe: “…black members of society haven't felt a need to be hooked up. And when a black person asks me about the internet, I don't have a reason why it's important for them.

Imagine the ruckus if these two rewritten statements had been spoken at the conference or written on the blogs where they actually appeared but with that one-word difference.

Jeremy Zawodny is identified as an employee of Yahoo! and as Yahoo!’s "top blogger" – whatever that means. Crabby Old Lady believes that if Mr. Zawodny had made these same statements about blacks, he would no longer be in the employ of Yahoo!

But he keeps his job because no one at Yahoo! or anywhere else takes bigotry against elders seriously. Mr. Zawodny is, apparently, a big deal in the technology blogosphere and Crabby Old Lady is pained at how telling it is that no A-listers in that community have condemned Mr. Zawodny's bigotry.


Just so no one thinks Crabby Old Lady is entirely humorless on the topic of aging:

Gnomedex, where this latest example of nasty ageism in the tech world was exhibited, is the brainchild of Chris Pirillo (not be tarred with the same brush as Mr. Zawodny). Together with Brad Fitzpatrick, Chris has just launched Blaugh! The Unofficial Comic of the Blogosphere. Today's entry, titled "A New MySpace Generation", gave Crabby Old Lady a much-needed morning laugh, particularly after the above. Congratulations, Chris and Brad. Crabby will be a regular reader.


Temporary Change in the Blog Weather

category_bug_journal2.gif There is no Silver Threads today and not much of a post except to announce a semi-hiatus until 1 August.

I do this reluctantly. For more than two years, the daily post due here each morning has ordered my day, organized my thoughts and revealed to me, after a lifetime career as a generalist, a topic on which I can be fully engaged, eager to learn more and become more deeply involved and passionate as time goes by.

With the move to Portland, Maine, I put on hold a sizeable project, a professional obligation the deadline for which looms, along with several smaller chits I owe people. I expected, once the move was complete, to catch up. But I didn’t account for either the time involved or the interest I would have in making all the purchases and arrangements to turn this apartment into a comfortable home.

Nor did expect the lure I feel to be out and about exploring not just my new neighborhood and city, but also the coast of Maine, similar in many ways to the northern coast of Oregon where I grew up, and many other places of general, historical and specific interest.

In addition, I was not prepared for how such a dramatic move – from a city of eight million to a town of 64,000; from a tiny, Greenwich Village apartment to a much larger home with more ways of being in it; from a place where all things can be done by walking to another where every requirement and desire involves driving – would change how I want to live.

It rains a lot here, much like where I grew up in Portland, Oregon. It appears, from what people say, that the amount of rain since I’ve arrived is not usual for this time of year but because of it, I have discovered I like to sit outside on my (covered) deck during storms. I like to listen to the rain, watch it, smell it and while I’m there, check the pots of geraniums and lemon balm and thyme that Mary Lee of Full Fathom Five brought by to welcome me to Maine. That uses up more time than I would have guessed.

There are people who love walking the streets of New York City and I understand them; there is something new to see with every step. But I was never one of those people. As much as I walked that city, I always needed a purpose and destination to get my body in motion. But that has changed now.

The Eastern Prom – a trail of several miles along Casco Bay – is just two blocks from my new home. It has already become my habit to be out there walking it early every morning. And now, I’m sometimes being drawn there for another walk in the evenings. More time.

Both of these activities – walking, sitting in the rain – beget quiet thought which leads to more ideas for Time Goes By on aging and related issues that I want to research and write about here.

And because of the move, I missed the two-year anniversary of Time Goes By. I think two years is a much more interesting point to mark in regard to blogging than one year because of the dedication it involves and the development it implies. I want to the time to explore and write about that for TGB.

Most of all, I want a day – regularly - during which I have not a single obligation, nothing I have promised others I will do and no plans or chores or errands of my own. Just wide open, empty hours to use as whim might dictate from moment to moment. I have never had or taken this kind of time. I want to give myself the space to see what bubbles up. What else, besides what I already do, there might be that – like my interest in what it’s really like to get old – I’d like to spend time learning about, knowing and doing in my elder years.

The attraction of these and other notions is sometimes impossible to ignore, but then I feel guilty because I’m not finishing those projects I owe other people and I don’t relish the idea of pulling several all-nighters to meet those deadlines.

And so, the semi-hiatus from Time Goes By. My reluctance is that I relish, every day, the community that has grown here. I didn’t plan it and would not have predicted that it would grow as it has. It came about because you, readers of TGB, created it over the past two years and I now rely on your intelligence, thoughtfulness, humor, kindness and good will in response to what’s posted here each day. I’ll miss checking in with the frequency I’ve become accustomed to each day, but clearing my desk of those other obligations requires that I back away for a few weeks.

During the next month, I’ll post here now and then, but not on a schedule – only when I have something I feel compelled to say. The result should be a clean slate for me and a fresh perspective for TGB when I’m no longer feeling guilty about letting other projects slide.


Silly Saturday Blog Post

category_bug_oliver You’ve packed up your entire household of belongings and shipped it to another state. The new home is twice as large as the old one, so you spend a lot of time searching for new furniture and waiting for delivery.

It’s been only three weeks since you moved in, but it feels like ten and you’d like to settle into a routine before winter. Because it will be at least a couple of months until the bookshelves are built, the 50-plus cartons of books are stacked in the guest room along with assorted detritus that tends to accumulate on top of the boxes.

It is disorderly in there. A catchall room for now. Chaotic and offensive to the eye.

So when the new box springs and mattress arrived – even sans headboard and nightstands - you found some sheets, scrounged around for a summer quilt and even managed to locate the matching shams. At least one end of the room can be tidy and there is satisfaction in the semi-orderliness.

On hearing unfamiliar sounds from the room, you check them out. In place of the nice set of pillows you fluffed and plumped an hour ago is a messy nest only a cat could love. Caught red-pawed in the process of further pillow rearrangement, said cat looks skyward: “Who? Me?”

Olliewhome