Boomers – We love gadgets too!

January 28, 2016

iPadRecently I registered at an online website, which shall remain nameless, promising to survey me for various consumer studies. I did this so I could have a say on products and manufacturers. As a writer I was also interested in the results of the surveys for informational purposes.

I took the time to carefully complete the demographic form with my information, age, income, occupation, hobbies and interests, etc. This was relatively generic in that no specific personal information was taken such as name, address and phone.

The website in question is for a well-respected and trusted organization. They promote registration and being available for surveys and questions by offering discounts and prizes.

When I finished the form and submitted it, I received a message that they didn’t need me for any surveys at the present time. It seems they’re busy surveying the young generation, 18 to 35, for their consumer habits and opinions.

My generation, the baby boomers born between 1946 – 1964, who now make up over one-third of the population are of little or no interest to retailers. I find this incredible! Most boomers are not rich, but do have abundant disposable incomes. These same boomers are migrating to the internet and tech gadgets in mass numbers right now.

Boomers are using Facebook and other social network sites to keep in touch with children and grand-children around the world. They use computer tools to network with other boomers on health care, recreation, travel, relationship, and products and services.

I was in an Apple store a couple of weeks ago and was amazed to see a class in session on iPhone use. Almost all the attendees appeared to be of my generation, the boomers. When I questioned one of the associates, he told me seniors are buying technology in large numbers. They prefer to buy user friendly products and from retailers who offer training and support.

Although not a boomer, my mother began using the internet several years ago. She is now on Facebook following her children, grand-children and great-grand-children. Sellers are likely not interested in her though, because she is 90 years young. This amazing woman travels extensively on tours and cruises, not rich but certainly with a comfortable level of disposible income to enjoy her life. My brother, sister and myself who are all boomers are close to retirement or retired, have disposal income and all love gadgets and travel. Need I say more? The writing is on the wall.

My message to retailers and manufacturers is this – pay attention to the Boomers – or lose out on the profits to be made and customers to be found.

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Alberta Birds of Prey Centre – Coaldale, Alberta

August 16, 2013
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My daughter handling a Great Horned Owl which is the Provincial bird of Alberta. His name was Gordon.

Located in Coaldale, 10 minutes east of Lethbridge, Alberta on Highway #3 is a gem of an attraction. It’s the Alberta Birds of Prey Nature Centre. This is a nationally recognized conservation centre.

When injured, orphaned or distressed wildlife need help the centre offers a place to go for help. Volunteers are on call every day of the year to respond. The centre makes every effort to rehabilitate and release to the wild, but if this is not possible then they have a home and are well cared for. The resident birds serve to educate the public and raise awareness of the value of these predator birds.

Visitors experience close-up encounters with hawks, falcons, eagles and owls. They get an opportunity to see first-hand the centre’s rescue, captive breeding and public education programs. Daily flight demonstrations will awe the visitor. Wait until you see one of these magnificent birds fly. Interactive experiences are available. You can hold one of these birds on your arm and marvel close-up eye-to-eye.

I recently visited the centre with my children and came away thrilled by the experience, more than that we gained a greater appreciation of these birds.  I invite you to visit and have this experience for yourself.  You’ll be enriched for it.

Admission Prices: (as per the latest brochure – August 2013)
Adults                   $8.50
Seniors 65+         $7.50
Students (6-18)   $5.50
Youth (3 – 5)        $4.50
Under 3                No charge

Note: The centre operates without subsidies. Donations are needed to ensure the good work continues.
(Charity BN/Registration # 896535895RR001)

Hours of Operation:        9:30 to 5:00 p.m.  May 10th to September 10th

Contact:
Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation
P.O. Box 1030
Coaldale, Alberta  T1M 1M8

403-345-4262
http://www.burrowingowl.com


Stand By Me: Classic coming of age tale.

August 1, 2012

Stand By Me, deluxe version

I rewatched Stand By Me the classic coming of age film by director Rob Reiner, based on a Stephen King novella ” The Body”. I was so moved once again by this film I had to write about it.

The story concerns four friends living in a small town of about 1200 people. One hot summer a teenage boy, Roy Brower disappears. It seems the rumour is he was struck by a train and is out by the Royal River. The four boys decide to set out to find the body and become famous or at least heroes in the process.

The story this film is based on, The Body, can be found in a collection of Stephen King stories called Different Seasons published in 1982. The collection also includes a story title Shawshank Redemption which later became an award winning film The Shawshank Redemption.

Their world is one of relative innocence, but their journey to find the body, their encounter with Ace Merrill (Kiefer Sutherland), the local bad boy and his gang, and finding Brower’s dead body put an end to that innocence. In the end the boys find out about reality and how it isn’t glamorous.

The line that best sums up the entire movie is typed on the computer screen by The Writer (Richard Dreyfuss) at the end of the movie,

“I never had friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus does anyone?”

The four friends are played by Wil Wheaton (Gordie Lachance), River Phoenix (Chris Chambers), Corey Feldman (Teddy Duchamp), and Jerry O’Connell (Vern Tessio). Gordie Lachance is the writer. The story begins with the death of his friend Chris Chambers on the headline of a newspaper. He then takes us back to tell the story of their adventure that one summer so many years ago.

This movie makes you laugh one moment and cry the next. Most of all it makes you think back to your own childhood and the friends you had and the adventures they shared with you.

A warning this movie does contain bad language including the F-word, but it is too good not to let your young son or daughter watch it with you. Made in 1986 it stands the test of time very well. Definitely a movie to rent, or even better to own.


Glenn Miller – Another Mysterious Disappearance

February 10, 2010

On December 15, 1944 Glenn Miller took off in a light plane from England to entertain troops in France. The weather at the time was atrocious and he was told to wait, but he said the troops needed him. He disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. No trace of him or his plane have ever been found. He was only 40 years old.

Glenn Miller was arguably the greatest Big Band leader of the era. His music was the anthem of the 1940’s. Girls swooned and men cheered his band’s sound. It was like rock and roll today.

During the Second World War he and his band volunteered to travel to the war zone and entertain the troops. They also traveled all over the United States building morale and selling War Bonds.

His story was told in the 1953 movie, “The Glenn Miller Story”, starring James Stewart.

On this day in 1942 he was awarded the first ever Gold Record for selling 1.2 million copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. Other great songs include, “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “Pennsylvania 6-5000”.

The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in 1996 honoring him. It is shown below.


Where the Wild Things Are

October 19, 2009

WildThingStampUS2006Maurice Sendak is an Jewish-American writer and illustrator born June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. He both wrote and illustrated the book. It was published in 1963 and became an immediate hit. The story received the Caldecott prize for Most Distinguished American Picture book for children in 1964.  Sendak’s books are somewhat controversial because of his drawings and subject matter, but the kids eat it up.

“Where the Wild Things Are” is now a major motion picture. In 1966 the United States Postal Service issued a set of stamps for the best children’s books. His story was one of the stamps.

Sendak’s “Little Bear” stories are now a TV series and appear on Treehouse TV here in Canada.  Sendak is still living and is now 81. He helped write the screenplay for this movie.


Gary Cooper – Hollywood Legend

September 8, 2009
as Will Kane in High Noon

as Will Kane in High Noon

I’ve often driven along I-15 and passed through Helena, Montana without a thought. Recently I discovered it was the birthplace and boyhood home of one of my Hollywood idols, Gary Cooper.

“Coop” as he was known to his peers was born Frank James Cooper May 7, 1901 in Helena. He lived there until he was in his early 20’s. His father was a judge on the Montana Supreme Court. In 1924 they moved to Los Angeles. He started in movies as an extra or stand-in for western stars. His first credited role came in 1925 in “Lightnin’ Wins”. Coop accepted a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures and changed his name to Gary.

veracruzHe won two Academy Awards for Best Actor. The first in 1942 for Sergeant York, and the second in 1953 for his role as Will Kane in High Noon. This is his best known role. In total he received five nominations for Best Actor in his career. Other movies and roles of note include The Pride of the Yankees (Lou Gehrig), and one of my faves Vera Cruz.

He died on May 13, 1961 at the age of 60 of cancer. Six months prior he was awarded an honorary Oscar by the Academy. He was too ill to attend so his close friend James Stewart accepted it on his behalf.

garycooper

copyright USPS

 

Coop made over 100 movies from 1925 until just before his death in 1961.

On September 10, 2009 the USPS will issue a stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series honoring Gary Cooper. To the left is the image of the 44c commemorative stamp. First Day of Issue is Los Angeles, CA.


James Dean: Shooting Star of the Movies

January 29, 2008

dean_ts_3.jpgThe recent tragic death of up-and-coming movie star Heath Ledger reminded all of us how mortal we are. Over the years many actors have died before their time. The most notable to my memory being the death of James Dean, an immense talent, who’s life was like a shooting star, brilliant but short

James Dean starred in only three feature films:

East of Eden, 1955: played Cal Trask and film was based on the John Steinbeck’s 1952 novel of the same name. The book has recently been on Oprah’s book club list and is experiencing a revival.

Rebel Without a Cause, 1955: played a rebellious teenager. This film defined him. His co-star was Natalie Wood who also died before her time in later years.

Giant, 1956: played Jett and had to age himself for the role. Co-stars were Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.

Dean was killed in a car accident on September 30, 1955 while driving his Porsche at high speed. Alcohol and drugs were not factors, speed was. He was 25 years old.

He was the first person to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. This was for East of Eden. He received his second Academy Award nomination for Giant, also posthumously. He did not win on either occasion, but to be nominated two out of three starring roles is incredible.

jdeanstamp.gifJames Dean because of the rebellious characters he played in these films and his death in a fast car at a young age, has become a cult figure. At right is the postage stamp issued by the United States Postal Service in 1996 to honor Dean.

Like the song says, “only the good die young”, or so it seems at times.


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