Fandango’s Friday Flashback — August 23

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember?

Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 23rd) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.


This was originally posted on a now defunct blog of mine on August 23, 2011.

Lost in Translation

85A2A3CE-73D9-4027-AFFC-6A8DC67210F9“Home, James,” my wife said to me a few nights ago as we started our brief drive home from the restaurant.

Our son and daughter were sitting in the back seat of the car and our daughter asked my wife, “Why did you call him James?”

My wife and I looked at each other in disbelief. “Haven’t you heard that expression before?” I asked.

“No.”

“Well, it’s an old expression, and apparently a very dated one,” my wife said, “where ‘James’ is a chauffeur to some very wealthy person, who, sitting in the back seat of the carriage or limo, instructs her driver, ‘James,’ to take her home. It’s sort of a cliché, a reference to having someone do your bidding.”

“I still don’t get it,” our daughter said.

“I guess there’s a certain lost-in-translation factor when it comes to generational references,” I said. “Things that may have been relevant to an older generation have no meaning or context to a younger generation.”

This whole exchange got me thinking about cross-generational missed references, and not just within a family, but even in the workplace. After all, I’m an older guy and most of the people I work with are anywhere from 10 to 30 years younger than me.

How many times have I attempted to be witty or insightful by making a reference to something that no one else “got” because only those of my generation (i.e., early Baby Boomers) would recognize?

50688FBB-0D16-4800-94D8-C9B6EAE79CC2Why the awkward silence, I wondered, when I referred to someone who I thought acted like a mercenary gun for hire as “Paladin”? Didn’t these people ever watch “Have Gun Will Travel” back in the 50s?

I’ll never forget the time when I was talking about the film comedy team of Martin and Lewis and one of the thirty-somethings in the room said, “Oh, you mean the guys who explored the Louisiana Purchase, right?” Um, no, not even close.

Or when I mentioned “Ma Bell” and someone asked me whose mother I was referring to.

1CFCB8E3-5D25-4034-AF25-98D070A7021CHow about the blank stares when I commented, as our team was preparing for a finalist presentation for a prospective client, that we needed to make sure we were well rehearsed so that we didn’t come across like the Keystone Kops?  “Huh?  Who?  What?”

The other day someone asked me about an account I had worked on a few years ago and I said, “Hmm, that was quite a while ago. I think I’ll have to get into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback machine to refresh my memory.”

A334821A-B183-4082-A69C-BB1EC1443FFA“Mr. Peabody?”

“Yeah,” I said. “You know, Sherman and Mr. Peabody from Rocky and Bullwinkle.”

“Rocky and Bullwinkle?”

“Forget it. I’ll check the client file in my archived folders and get back to you.”

What once were relevant references from my generation too often fall flat on today’s Gen Xers and Millenials: TV test patterns, movie newsreels, 45s, 8-tracks, party-lines, rotary phones, Sputnik, Dr. Strangelove, Mr. Whipple, Bucky Beaver, Hi-Ho Silver, Kimosabe, Happy Trails, jump the shark.

Once, when something weird was going on, I sang the theme to the old TV show, “The Twilight Zone.” You know, “Nee-nee, nee-nee, nee-nee, nee-nee….” Nothing. No recognition.  The only weird things at that point were the looks I got from the others in the room.

Not that long ago, in the pre-mobile age, the term “landline” had no relevance and phones were never described as “smart.” Same with the word “download.” It had no applicable meaning. Neither did “emoji.”

Back then, being “online” meant queuing up in some long line, perhaps waiting to buy tickets to see the latest movie filmed in Todd-AO or CinemaScope. (Google it.)

A web browser could have been a phrase to describe someone who studied spider webs. A laptop was something a grandparent or parent might invite a child to climb up upon. Your desktop was merely the top surface of your desk. A mouse was an unwelcomed rodent…or a famous Disney character named Mickey.

Times change, technology changes, and, it seems, the language continually reinvents itself. Older references fade from consciousness and fresher, more contemporarily relevant ones emerge.

Maybe the post-Baby Boomer’s can’t relate to some of the expressions from my youth, just as I had trouble doing so to the expressions from an even earlier time (example: “23 Skidoo”; what the hell does that mean?).

But that’s okay. I’m down with that, which I think means it’s “groovy.”

30-Day Song Challenge — Golden Oldies

Today we are asked for “a song from the year we were born.” Now we are talking about some serious ancient history here. I was born about nine months after World War II ended. I was literally one of the first of the Baby Boomers. I Googled the Billboard top 100 songs of 1946 and this is the song that was sitting at the number one position:

Almost Over

img_0341The year 2017 is almost over and many of us are quite happy about that. It was, in the macro sense, a pretty shitty year. Can the upcoming year be any worse?

Personally speaking, though, 2017 wasn’t a bad year. I retired at the end of last year and managed to survive. Someone once told me that fifty percent of men die within their first year of retirement. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, I’m happy to still be among the living.

No one I personally know died 2017, which is a good thing. And my wife and I remain relatively heathy for aging Baby Boomers, so there’s that, as well.

I also started this blog in May of 2017, and I consider that to be an accomplishment. And my wife is happy about it because it keeps me occupied and out of her hair.

So while 2017 saw the world cratering, I’m doing okay. I just hope that next year at this time, when 2018 is almost over, I will not be calling it yet another truly shitty year.

Assuming, of course, the world doesn’t end and I live through my second year of retirement.


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “almost.”

The Swagger of the Sagger

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I’ve already written one post about manscaping and another one about murses and fanny packs. So why not, I thought, go for the trifecta when it comes to men’s fashion trends?

Today’s men’s fashion topic is “sagging,” which is a way of wearing pants that sag so that the top of the pants are significantly below the waist — sometimes even below the butt — to reveal much of the wearer’s underwear.

Supposedly, the origin of sagging came from prisons, where the inmates, who were prohibited from wearing belts, often wore sagging prison-issued uniforms, and they carried that look with them once they were back on the outside.

The problem, though, is that pants were never intended to be worn that way. They are supposed to be worn at the waist. That’s how they’re designed. That’s how they fit.

So what the hell is going on with guys who wear their pants with the top at or below their butt cheeks? I can’t imagine that it’s comfortable to wear pants that way. And since most of those I see wearing their pants like that have belts on, it’s not because their pants are too large and keep falling down.

Maybe they want to show off their fancy boxer shorts. After all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy who wears tighty-whities sagging his pants. Is it suppose to be a fashion statement?

Maybe those who sag think it gives them swagger, the appearance of defiance or insolence. Maybe they’re tying to send the message that they are dangerous dudes and are not to be messed with.

Well, I just don’t get it. If sagging is a fashion statement, I would really like someone explain it to me. Because if it’s meant to send a message about the sagger, the only message I’m getting is that they look totally ridiculous.

But hey, I’m just an aging Baby Boomer. I used to wear tie-dyed t-shirts and bell bottom jeans. So what do I know?