Is Social Security a Silver-Haired Lining?

The Economy is on everyone’s mind more so than ever. We read and hear how things are getting better but Unemployment is still way too high and many are working jobs below their skill level and collecting pay that does not keep up with the Joneses. I have it on good word, though, that Mr. Jones has been out of a job for the last eighteen months as his wife tries to hold the fort down with her meager salary. Jonesy is thinking of asking about that greeter’s job opening at Walmart.

Around the beginning of this century, baby boomers figured we would continue to hold our own in eking out enough of a living to pay current expenses even if we were not putting much away for the future. We also figured that Social Security benefits at age 65 would help when we retired and that Medicare would take care of health payments for our old age ailments and drug prescriptions. But, of course, that all changed.
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Bring Back What’s My Line

As a kid in the early 1960’s, the tv shows I watched were part of a group decision. There was only one set for a family of four kids (for the time being) and two parental units. My three sisters had their preference for girlie shows, but, we all always wanted to watch what we thought must have been meant for adult viewing. As if we got extra credit for trying to make ourselves seem more sophisticated than we were.

In those days, if a show got good ratings, it stayed on the air for several years. Good ratings meant that they were drawing lots of people on a regular basis. Of course, this was before cable and dishes that give you anywhere from 50 to 150 channels to choose from. In the big cities, you were glad to have five or six channels. In 1973, All in The Family one week drew a 33.7 rating which translated into a 54 share. This meant that fifty-four percent of all tv’s in use were watching Archie Bunker pontificate. Today, the most watched shows are ecstatic to get up to 25 percent of the sets in use.
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A Driving Lesson Learned

By all rights, I should have received my drivers license when I turned sixteen in the fall of 1968. The problem was that I flunked the driving test portion of driver’s education class. I got an A in the classroom portion but apparently it did not hold much weight against the fact that I didn’t know how to drive within the lines and parallel park. You’d have thought they would have given me a second chance. But, no- it was tough times in the ‘hood and no one wanted to hang around to re-test me. This was during the summer at Austin High School on Chicago’s far west side a few weeks after the riots in the area just to the east of us in the aftermath of the murder of Martin Luther King.
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Whatever Happened to TV Westerns?

Back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, there were more than twenty western shows on TV at one time. Each one had a gimmick. There was Bat Masterson with his cane and derby hat, Chuck Connors with a sawed off shotgun, Richard Boone with his unique calling card, Nick Adams wearing a rebel hat and so on…

wyattearp batmasterson havegunwilltravel maverick

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Soy milk comes from vegetarian cows?

When I was young, not even ten years old, my digestive system as well as my psyche told me that I did not like milk. It’s not easy for a kid to tell his parents that he doesn’t want any dairy products. The process of eliminating that stuff from my diet was a slow wean. I quickly stopped drinking regular white milk, eating butter, cheese and related ichy edibles. I still drank chocolate milk, chocolate shakes and sodas and ate ice cream cones into my early teens. I even gobbled up milk chocolate candy bars until my thirties. And then I stopped cold turkey.

I remember at age six my father trying to force me to eat a cream cheese sandwich and I practically glued my mouth shut until my mother came home from wherever she was to save me.
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Funeral Costs Could Kill You

By Larry Teren

It doesn’t pay to die- no kidding. Even with prepaid burial plots accounted for, a service and funeral procession could easily go for close to six thousand dollars. Continue reading “Funeral Costs Could Kill You”

Can You Really Have A Best Friend?

When I was younger, I had a best friend named Perry. He was a buddy for close to twenty-five years. What killed our friendship? I found out that he was doing nasty things to me that until then I chalked up to coincidence.

The demise began when he announced he was getting married. We had been sharing a place so I knew everything he did. This included going out with the same woman for close to ten years while he was actively pursuing the dating of others. At the time, I didn’t understand why he was so two-faced. If he didn’t think he could make a go of it with the steady, why not just end it?
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My First Job at the Factory

Like death and taxes, everyone has a first job. I’ve had a few first jobs. The “first” first was a taste of what it was like to get bossed around by somebody other than my parents or school teachers. It happened in the summer of 1970 after I graduated high school.

I knew where I was going to college in the fall but had no idea what I was going to do for the next eight weeks or so now that I was a free man. (College wasn’t like grammar or high school because it wasn’t mandatory. Well, it was, if I was looking ahead to getting a good job when I was 21, presuming Uncle Sam wasn’t going to get to me first. Luckily, it all turned out okay as my selective service lottery number was 344 which meant that aliens, children and women would be picked ahead of me.)
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Working Mothers vs. Stay At Home Moms

Women who raise a family as well as work in a job outside the home are called Working Mothers. This gets the dander up of the ladies who raise children and do not work an outside job as well. After all, taking the responsibility to care for a household is just as much work, if not more, than going to a job and getting paid for it.

Technically, my father was the breadwinner in the family while mom stayed at home, washed the dishes, cleaned the house, did the laundry, made our lunches and babysat those who were too young to venture out to school. Somehow, they made enough to live on while sending their five kids to private school and the accompanying tuition costs. They didn’t buy their own place until my father was 45 but it was paid for and still under my mother’s control.
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My First Airplane Flight

By Larry Teren

If you were born in the 1970’s or later, there is a chance you don’t remember much about your first airplane ride. You were a kid or maybe even a baby. I, who  was born when Truman still had a couple of months left in his presidency, didn’t go higher than the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper until after I graduated college.

In the 1950’s and 60’s, flying was relatively expensive. It was mostly for business travelers or those who had money to burn and needed to get somewhere quickly. The rest of us either took a train or went by car. If you don’t count taking a commuter train or the Chicago Rapid Transit (yah, sure) , I’ve never, ever been on a train to go from one city to another.

My first flight was in 1978 to go to a resort in the Catskill Mountains in upper state NY. In those days, the FAA did not prevent air traffic over the downtown areas of major cities. I requested and got a window seat. I remember as we were still rising, floating maybe ten thousand feet in the air, that I looked down over the Merchandise Mart along the Chicago River marking the northwestern edge of the Loop.
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