Kathleen Norton

Posts Tagged ‘baby boomers

What's not to love?

OK people, get ready for a stroll down movie memory lane.

If it’ll help, grab some popcorn and chase it down with Ginkoba.

In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, let me know your favorite all-time movie from the ’60s or ’70s. We’ll share here – and in my newspaper column for the Poughkeepsie NY Journal.

You probably don’t even have to think that hard about it.

Saturday Night Fever? Jaws? Love Story? Carrie? M*A*S*H? Easy Rider? The Godfather? The Way We Were? The Graduate?

It may be the first movie you saw with the old “M’’ rating, or the first one you saw with the guy or gal who’d be “The One.’’

It may be the movie you saw four times in a theater that had only one movie showing at a time.

Remember when everybody going into a theater at the same time was there to see the same film?

To get things rolling, this baby boomer will reveal her all-time favorite movie.

It’s the one I have seen at least 45 times – three times when it first came out – but most of my viewings have been on TV.

I simply can’t click past it. I have to stop whatever I’m doing, put my feet up and watch Rocky Balboa beat the you-know-what out of a side of beef before he gets you-know-what pounded out of him in the boxing ring.

I love the movie so much I even watch the sequels – even the one when they kill off Adrian, who of course is on the receiving end of my all-time favorite movie line: “Yo Adrian!’’

Ok, it’s not Shakespeare. But I’m a sucker for an underdog and Rocky led the pack in that category. He still does.

I mean come on, how many barely literate tough guys can melt a girl’s heart simply by introducing her to a couple of pet turtles named “Cuff and Link.’’

And don’t get me started on the “Rocky’’ theme song. One bar and I’m jogging up the nearest flight of steps and at the top, doing the slow-motion Rocky jumping dance.

It used to get laughs in our house. But after 24,867 performances, they don’t even look up.

“Go ahead,’’ they say. “Knock yourself out. We’ll wait.’’

A couple of years ago, we went to Philadelphia and I hit pay dirt. I found a shop that sold Rocky paraphernalia only.

They even sold a fleece throw blanket featuring the scene where Rocky beats up that bloody meat. How’d you like to snuggle with that on the couch?

I had to be dragged out of the shop against my will and don’t remember seeing the Liberty Bell though I am told we went there on that trip.

BTW, the picture you see here is what’s on my favorite T-shirt.

So now you know my favorite movie from the ’60s and ’70s – and possibly of all time. How about the rest of you?

Send them in lickety-split. To get inspired, click here for some scenes from the original Rocky!



The time: New Year’s Eve.

The setting: Our house.

The situation: Two middle-aged Baby Boomers who cannot remain awake past 11 p.m. though they desperately want to believe they still can.

But no matter what, our eyelids begin to close well before Leno and refuse to open until dawn. Apparently, we need our beauty sleep so desperately that Mother Nature gives us no say in the matter.

She just steps in and renders us unconscious.

What happened to the good ol’ days? What happened to the good ol’ us?

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, our weekend nights routinely began AFTER Saturday Night Live was over at 1 a.m.

And New Year’s Eve was no different. But now, on Planet Middle Age, things are quite the opposite.

I have my flannel jammies on as soon as the sun goes down, which this time of year is before dinner. And he is slumped over the latest biography of Lincoln while I rally to stay awake for “Glee.’’

The last time I can remember staying awake on New Year’s Eve was to ring in  2000, and that was only because Y2K madness and mayhem were predicted.

If we were going to lose modern civilization, we wanted to be awake for it.

Even with that hanging over our heads the kids were nudging us on the couch because we kept dozing off. They were disgusted that their parents were so old they could not remain awake on such a momentous occasion.

Actually, now that I think about it, they were teenagers then and were pretty much disgusted about everything, especially if it had to do with us.

We could have been leading the New Year’s Eve charge at Times Square and they would have been disgusted about that, too.

At least in 2000, we gave it the old college try. We wore party hats and made onion dip and roused ourselves to shout “Happy New Year!’’ when the ball finally dropped after what seemed like the longest night of our lives.

Since then, we’ve called it an early night and mumbled something about “getting over serious colds’’ when confronted by other middle-agers who party on New Year’s Eve because they go by the Second Childhood Approach to Middle Age.

But this year, we came up with a new scheme. We choose to ring in the New Year according to a different time zone.

We decided on Brazil because their clocks are several hours ahead of our own and because it is the kind of place we are very likely to never visit.

A quiet round of golf in upstate New York is more our speed so this would kill two birds with one stone.

We have no clue how they really celebrate in Brazil.

Based on the pop-up ads we have seen for “Brazilian butt lift’’ exercise routines, it’s probably pretty good.

After all, if they can invent aerobics look make you look like that, they probably can throw a great party.

Besides, just saying we had a Brazilian New Year’s Eve, even if it only means we rang in the New Year a few hours early, sounds lots better than the reality:

Warm jammies, a New Year’s toast with hot cocoa and bedtime before 11.

The 'brains' behind commercials

I have startling news.

Because of the incredible talent my pals have for finding all things tacky, an alarming situation has come to light.

Junior high schools have been infiltrated by ad executives who need crude material for commercials.

After all, what better way to find this stuff than to pick the brains of 13-year-old American boys?

Based on the tacky ads and commercials you sent me (and please keep them coming!) there can be no other explanation.

How else would anybody come up with the JCPenney ad for the “ULTIMATE UPSIZE” bra, which adds two sizes to what you’re already packin’ and promotes “EXTREME CLEAVAGE.”


Doesn’t ‘EXTREME CLEAVAGE’ sound like something a junior-high boy illustrated on his history notebook?

Only now, he can sell it to those ad execs lurking out in the parking lot. “Psst! Hey, kid,” they say. “Let us take that history notebook off your hands!”

It’s a win-win. The ad execs have plenty of trashy ideas to work with, and the hormone-crazed kid gets paid to doodle what he would have doodled anyway.

Now, let’s move on to the “Have a happy period!” commercial that several people reported on. This slogan has led to “Have a happy period! greeting cards.

I am not kidding. Click here to see.

To be fair, it is probably impossible to come up with a tactful idea for advertising feminine hygiene products. But there is nothing, and I mean nothing,  anyone can sell us that can live up to that slogan.

As one person put it: I am sure a man wrote that.

Next, we have Zestra, a female pleasure enhancing product that puts zing back in your swing.

So to speak.

I cannot go into details about how it works exactly except to quote the ad, “Before you know it, it takes you there!”

On the site, you will see testimonials and pictures of female customers who may have been “there” at the exact moment the camera clicked.

The ad did nothing for me until I saw the online coupon, which is always something to get excited about.

While the best of the worst commercials tend to be about women’s bodies, the ad that my pals found for AXE men’s body wash has leveled the playing field.

I tried to look at it online, but had to sign in and promise my firstborn grandchild, plus show proof of age.

(Not that I mind being carded. It’s been a long time.)

The commercial shows a beautiful woman demonstrating how well AXE cleans golf balls, then soccer balls — and it goes downhill from there.

The 13-year-old who hit the jackpot with this idea is probably running his own advertising agency.

Thanks to the pals who e-mailed about this, especially Cindy, who was braving an episode of the “Jersey Shore” “to see what my son finds so fascinating” when the AXE commercial came on.

That means poor Cindy saw Snooki, The Situation and the world’s tackiest commercial all at once.

This is more tackiness than one woman should have to endure. But she carried on for all of our sakes.

Bless you, Cindy. You may never be normal again.

My crown has lost its luster

I am trying to quit.

But it’s not what you’re thinking. This is not about the usual stuff. Drinking. Smoking. Collecting garden gnomes.

What  I’m trying to quit is my birth order. I want to resign my position as Firstborn. Or, as my three younger sisters used to call me  (and probably still do when they are texting about me): The Queen of Bossy Island.

My sisters may not believe this – and neither will any of the middle and youngest children out there – but we First Borns get tired of being in charge.

Do you think we like telling everyone what to do all the time?

Do you think it makes us happy that we will always know more than you do because we have more time on this planet?

We do not. It is exhausting.

Besides, at least in my case, the younger ones don’t listen to me like they used to.

As kids they had no choice.

I was put in charge of the backyard and if they wanted a push on the swing, they had to fetch me snacks as payment.

And now? Well, I can’t remember the last time one of them needed a push, or got me a Ring Ding on command.

“Get your own Ring Ding!” they sniffed at the last family reunion.

My powers over them have been significantly diminished.

To make matters worse, they’ve started examining my face for aging signs so they can see how theirs will look in a couple of years.

“Ouch!’’ is a common reaction.

This is from the younger sisters who once swooned over my grownup lipstick and begged to borrow my sweaters.

The same sisters who needed me to tie their shoes and were once at my beck and call now consider me their own personal version of Back to the Future.

Being the First Born pretty much stinks these days. But quitting the behavior that comes with it turns out to be no picnic, either.

I spent a half a century (has it been that long?) telling younger siblings what to do. Putting on the brakes is painful.

My first idea was to find somebody else’s siblings to boss instead. This was a bust. Not a single person obeyed when I yelled, “Get me a Yoo-hoo and make it snappy!’’ on the street the other day.

One woman did pause briefly.

I’ll bet she was probably a middle child, which means she would have gone for the Yoo-hoo to make peace and shut me up. But then she moved on.

She must have a good therapist, whom I may have to borrow at some point to overcome my behavior.

My best friends have been absolutely no help. Most of them are firstborns, too, and together we morph into a big, bossy blob.

Changing myself may turn out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done – including when I went cold turkey in the middle of a TV Land “Happy Days’’ marathon.

It was not pretty. Weaning yourself off the Fonz never is.

But resigning as Queen of Bossy Island?

Hallucinations about Potsie, Ralph and Richie are going to seem like a hoot after this.

Move over pig, I want the 'Year of Kathy'

The place mats at my favorite Chinese restaurant always irked my Baby Boomer soul.

“Why do roosters have a special year but I don’t?’’ I whined. “What’s a pig got that I haven’t?’’

Call me selfish, but I am a victim with psychological scars from growing up a member of the most overcrowded generation in history.

Our Boomer schools were so crammed that we took turns sitting.  I had odd days. Even now, I check the calendar before taking a seat.

There were so many kids on the kickball team, we had a farm league so everybody got to play.

Teachers constantly ran out of school supplies: you were forced to find a crayon pusher on the playground.

Due to those bleak conditions, middle-aged Boomers have an overwhelming need to be singled out, to grab the spotlight, to be special.

What? Did you think I started this blog just for fun? Nope. It fulfills a desperate boomer need to be noticed.

One time I thought I had a cure for this strange generational affliction. The idea came to me over egg foo yung while the Year of the Rat loomed under my plate.

Why not declare the Year of the Boomer?

So I took a poll.

Non-boomers were not amused. They already blamed us for bankrupting Social Security and wanted us to formally apologize for disco.

They were not interested in the Year of the Boomer. And I almost gave up.

But then along came Chuck.

He is a Boomer pal who e-mailed from Connecticut. Chuck did the most amazing thing. At his party to celebrate his first 50 years on the planet, he launched “The Year of Chuck.’’

He did not wait for a day to honor all Boomers. He did not ask anybody’s permission.

He simply elbowed his way to center stage (like only a tormented boomer can) and planned out a year of doing the things he’d always wanted to do with friends and family.

Now that, my friends, is some decent Boomer chutzpah.

During the “Year of Chuck’’ he and his wife kissed the Blarney Stone. They went to ballgames and concerts they’d wanted to see. They had a “Year of Chuck’’ banner and flew it along the way.

Chuck said he used the occasion to buy a large screen HDTV, and I must stop here and state my objection to this because it encourages all other husbands out there. “Chuck has one!’’ they will cry.

But Chuck’s giant TV was not the high point. During the Year of Chuck, he got to meet his Boomer boyhood football hero, Joe Namath.

Oh my boomer heart be still!

As an eighth grader I planned out my entire wedding to Broadway Joe – right down to the green and white tuxedos – and waited for him to return my 1,457 phone calls.

In 1970, this was “puppy love.’’

Today, it’s called “stalking.’’

Anyway, when the Year of Chuck was over, a funny thing happened. Chuck decided to continue with all the fun, and it’s still going on even as I write this.

Some even think it will turn into the Decade of Chuck. And to this I say: Whoa, Chuck. Give another Boomer a chance.

My banner’s almost done. The Year of Kathy is about to begin.

I just need one teensy, weensy favor from you.

Please send me Joe Willie’s phone number.


Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

No, it’s a mid-life crisis in a parachute!

This is no laughing matter. It is a matter of  public safety.

There are 78 million middle-aged baby boomers and lots of them are skydiving, swimming with sharks, climbing volcanoes and all kinds of  crazy stuff so they can forget they’re getting old.

Better keep a helmet handy because odds are one of the flying boomers could land on your head at any moment.

There’s even going to be a TV show about this phenomena called Boomers Gone Wild! Each week you will see boomers in dangerous activities, all the while smiling and waving to the people who are videotaping their adventures.

They want videos so they can show them off at their parties. Or at their funerals should things not go so well.

“At least he died having fun!”’ they want people to say.

It’s gotten so the worst thing a boomer can be is afraid. You have to hide it from the other boomers or they call you names and tie you up with their parachute straps.

I should know. It has happened to me.

My biggest thrill recently was finishing a book for book club night. I couldn’t wait to get to the meeting and tell my big news.

“I finished the book!” I exclaimed.

“Big deal,” a fellow boomer said. “I jumped from a plane. Get over here and see the video, you big wuss!”

At this point I am afraid to tell any other boomers that I am going on any trips because when I do, they point out all the incredibly dangerous situations I should be putting myself into while I am away.

For example, my husband and I are going to Denver this summer.

He wants to watch mountain birds. I want to see the Denver Old Dolls and Antiquated Toy Museum.

Afterward, we will both need naps.

Some of our boomer friends insist there is more to do out there in Denver. Like whitewater rafting on ferocious rivers and climbing the snow-covered peaks in the sky.

We are too embarrassed to tell them that I am afraid of heights. We are mortified to admit that he doesn’t even like the bathtub filled to the top.

So yes, of course it is safer being a Wienie Boomer.

And smarter. More logical. Reasonable. And all of those things.

Oh, but the shame! The shame!

(Hey, check out Kathleen’s new weekly feature on this blog!)

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