Category Archives: Blasts From the Past

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Happy Earth Day.

Almost 45 years ago today in 1970 millions of people took to the streets in demonstrations and marches calling attention to the pollution issues in America. Earth Day was originally created to bring awareness to environmental concerns such as air and water pollution. It was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970.

I could overflow your feed with ways to help the environment but there is enough information out there. Instead I would like to stop and take a a few minutes to enjoy some of my favorite photos of mother nature. Happy Earth Day. Hope You Enjoy!

dewy grass

spring blooms

light house

tidal wave

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sunset

grand canyon

the lake

little girl with dog

Image from IMDB.com Robin Williams entry

Some memorable roles and oh, that presence!

A few weeks ago Robin Williams tragically took his life.  There was an immediate shockwave and outpouring of grief from an adoring public, who felt they had lost someone very familiar,  from Mork,  the lovable ork to a staggering array of characters that have become ensconced in the common imagination like Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam, to the voice of the genie in Aladdin. Add to that his manic comedy that constantly amazed people as to how one person could reel off so much in so little time. Talk show hosts had only to sit back and let Robin go and be assured of no dead time. And it was amazing to watch the movies in which he displayed an amazing flair for the dramatic, even some which also included some of that amazing wit (like Patch Adams, Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society, or psychological analyst/counselor Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting).

It was as if Robin Williams represented a generation of boomer’s memories in his body of work, from childhood relived with our own kids with Popeye, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, or as Peter Pan in “Hook”, to adulthood with masterpieces like Good Will Hunting, Awakenings, and Dead Poet’s Society. Many of us have our own favorites. It was, for me, the biggest sense of personal loss I have ever felt at the death of a movie star. RIP, Robin!
(Image from the Robin Williams entry at imdb.com )

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Ebooks Coming of Age; Older Audience Adoption Increase

The sales of ebook readers AND ebooks over the last 2 years is further indication that ebooks sales, readers and books, is slowing,  NOT decreasing,  just slowing.  But this is inevitable as we move closer to “saturation”;  the adoption of ebooks as a habitual way of reading books went through a monstrous growth after the first mass market ebooks were introduced,  especially the Kindle from Amazon,  whose extremely convenient website sales and book information made it an easy habit to adopt.

My own acquisition of a Kindle during Christmas 2011 surely accelerated my own frequency of book purchasing,  and the addition of further features add to the allure of the ebook.  Amazon began offering extremely cheap audio versions of purchased ebooks that enable readers to switch seamlessly back and forth from reading the ebook to listening to the same book (usually during various commutes).  When I start up my Audible Book app on my phone and select a book,  it jumps to the spot where I last read in the ebook.  And when I return to the ebook at home or on my Kindle at the Y while riding the stationary bike,  I am dropped into the book at the spot where I left off listening to the audio.

Such habit-forming technologies of convenience encourage more frequent book reading ,  and this seems to fit the boomer/older adult lifestyle as well.  As they continue to expand the features and conveniences of ebook reader devices and the people who use them,  things such as “social reading” (like “e-book clubs”)  will add the additional allure many older adults crave such as camaraderie and community around books.

Some have expressed surprise that older audiences have warmed to the use of ebooks over printed books,  but the separation there is not as apparent as one might suppose.  Adoption of ebooks is not always a rejection of printed books.  Take me , for example.  I still like to have the books I’m reading on bookshelves.  I created that habit over 30+ years in the pre-e-book age.  But as a “techie”,  I avail myself of the conveniences of moving from Kindle to phone Kindle app to Audible Audio app (for the car or for during exercise where I can’t read so easily with my eyes while moving).  But as a someone over 55,  I have too much a past with books to fail to appreciate the experience of the printed books,  even though many of those experiences are sufficiently replicated or often even surpassed by the electronic book.  Suffice it to say that I would love to see bookselllers offer enticing “package deals” of the various formats for ONE form-agnostic book purchase. I am often finishing an ebook version of a book that made me want a “hardcopy” version to add to my “library”.  As a journeyer from the pre-electronic book age,  I still derive a sense of comfort from having my office lined with books.

It’s interesting how hard it is to find recent ebook sales figures and the demographics.  Nearly everything is from a couple years ago,  and that was when there was lots of media coverage of the impact of ebooks.  I’d like to see more research on how now that the sales explosions of devices and books has “slowed”,  how have reader behaviors and habits shifted?

Here’s a few links to items relating to ebooks, from various sources.  These kinds of items you might also find in my Social Media postings on Facebook , Twitter, and Google.  I found an interesting Pinterest board here which posts a lot of charts and cartoons about Books and the issues around “Digital or Print”. Here’s another on “charts and stats to help size and define the eBook and eReader market

Now the links,  and feel free to chime in and tell me your thoughts on the matter.  This is one of my favorite areas to discuss,  and the thoughts of others are important here.

public domain from clker.com

The thrill of the unexpected – March Madness

The March Madness of 2014 has been the extreme parity of the field of teams.  At the start,  many were talking about how many teams had a real shot this year,  unlike previous years when the “favorites” being talked about were limited to about 5 teams.  Not this year.  And the championship game coming up tonight pits two teams who were,  according to the seeding,  NOT in the “likely” category.

Kentucky and U. Conn,  not exactly historical also-rans,  with 6 of the last 18 championships between them (3 apiece).  But both were not even in the field at all last year.  And both were “seeded low” as in high-number seeds (7 and 8).  As a Kentucky fan,  a month ago I would have laughed at someone predicting a Kentucky championship this year.  And here they are,  a 3 point favorite to do just that.

What is the most unexpected (and possibly “thrilling”) “underdog winner”  NCAA tourney in your experience (other than this year of that would be your choice)?  For me it was probably Butler,  who got to the championship (falling short each time, however) two consecutive years, 2010 and 2011,  as if to say to all those people talking about how rare and “flukey” it was for them to have made it once,  and made it as an even lower seed  the second time (8).  In 2011,  my Kentucky team had made an unlikely run, knocking off favorites Ohio State and North Carolina in the second weekend to advance to the final four,  after an “off year”  (much like this year).  But it was 2010 that Butler took Duke to the wire (a hated foe for Ky. fans) that captured everyone’s admiration and brought just about non-Duke fans to rally around the underdog Butler Bulldogs.  They narrowly missed a half court heave,  just to leave that hint of destiny bouncing off the backboard and rim.  What a game! So how about you?

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

Beatles Mania Revisited

The 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show probably drew a very large Boomer and Senior audience.  I  was young when that happened (8 yrs. old),  but I remember liking “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You”.  I was starting high school when they were finishing their group’s big hits like “Let It Be” and “With a Little Help From My Friends”.   It’s also the week of Valentine’s Day,  and since The Beatles songs are a part of a lot of “Romantic memories”,  this might be a good question to ask of the Sciddy readers.  What , if any,  of the Beatles songs represent a romantic memory for you?

Some good candidates: “Something” , “We Can Work It Out”, “Love Me Do” , “From Me To You”.

I also just read that CBS is going to air the special again on Wednesday night , February 13th from 8:30- 11 pm Eastern.

Image info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Beatles_in_America.JPG