Whatever Happened to Greasers?

By Larry Teren

All baby boomers remember that when a stranger didn’t like how we were behaving, he or she would call us a “juvenile delinquent”. It also didn’t help a boy to dress in a weird way or to comb the hair back in a duck-tail. That was the ‘hoodie’ look of the 1950s and early 60s. Normal boys had crew cut hair styles. But, if you looked like a punk, you were a juvenile delinquent or greaser. Clothes make the man. Appearances count. Yada, yada, yada. greaser Continue reading “Whatever Happened to Greasers?”

“Where Have You Gone, Jackie Robinson…”

By Larry Teren
simon&garfunkel
Remember the Simon and Garfunkel song “Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio” from the late 1960’s? It was sort of an anthem for baby boomers weighing in on the changing of the guard from the 1950’s rock and roll culture to the hippie drug craze. Dimaggio retired from playing ball with the New York Yankees  in 1951 after a World War II shortened career grabbed away some reachable goals in the annals of baseball records. He had another fifteen minutes of fame in the mid-50’s as one of Marilyn Monroe’s husbands. Joe kept his iconic status burning in the 60s and 70s with Mr. Coffee commercials as well as the annual trek to Monroe’s grave site to lay a garland of flowers on her tombstone.

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Going Postal

Here we go again. The U.S. Postal Service is threatening dire actions unless the U.S. taxpayer bails them out for the umpteenth time. This time they say they will close many processing centers around the country. This will result in no longer promising to deliver the mail the next day in the same postal zone after it is put in a mailbox but adding a day or two to the length of time. Like that has been a lock for the past several years until now, right?

The Post Office complains that businesses have cut down on the amount of junk mail they send out. Yah, sure. They also say that our use of email has killed their business model. Well, whoopee do!
That’s life. Do you think that the president of the buggy whip association back in 1905 went to Congress and demanded that we all continue to buy accessories for no-longer-existent horses in the backyard barn?

As a society, we are paying our bills more than ever online. Let’s face it. It is faster and a better chance of getting delivered than by the Post Office. And you can tell the bank when to remit the payment rather than releasing the funds immediately.

Those of us who are baby boomers in our 50’s (ahem) can faintly remember that yet in the late 1950’s the Post Office delivered the mail to businesses in Chicago’s downtown area as well as other key locations twice a day . Postage stamps back then cost a mere 3 cents. A new car about $2000, a newspaper 7 cents for a weekday edition, a new house about $20,000, and a movie ticket about 75 cents for an adult.

Today, everything listed about is most likely more than ten times that amount but with all except mail delivery you get the same product or even more for the higher price than back then. Today, a single postage stamp of first class delivery is 44 cents. But, delivery has become less often and shakier. And heaven help you when your mailman (well, at least mine is a guy) goes on vacation and they send out a substitute. Email and electronic transfer of financial data is a good thing. Hey, it’s called progress.

When we first moved into our current office building after the turn of the century (this one- hey, watch it!), we immediately recognized that it had a very important amenity- a mail box pickup location inside.
A sticker posted on the lid you open to drop in the mail listed two pickup times. One around 10am and the other 4:45pm. This made sense as it gave us a chance to compose important business communications, run it through the postage meter and as we went home and dropped it in the mail chute, we knew that by the next morning it would already be on its way to getting processed.

This is no longer the fact. Last year- in a cost-cutting action, the post office decided to reduce pickup to once a day. Fine. No problem. Doable. However, the geniuses decided to make the pickup at 10am and dropped the more beneficial 4:45pm. Presumably because it was beneficial for the paying customer but not their pampered employees who loathed making a pickup late in the day when they preferred to be heading home. What this means is that if I get to the office after the 10am pickup, I have to advance the date in the postage meter before I slide an envelope through. Why? I am a firm believer that the next morning when the mail is brought to the processing plant that a postal employee will see the previous day’s date on the metered envelope and put it on the side to teach me a lesson in ruining that person’s karma.

The U.S. Postal Service has not raised stamp fees from 3 to 44 cents and dropped delivery from twice a day to barely once only because the cost of living that has skyrocketed in 50 years.. It is out-of-control pension plans, vacation and personal leave benefits that our “all types of weather” letter carriers get. But, hey- that’s progress. I tell you what- I quit when my computer starts asking me for the same considerations.

Mr. Coverup

I recently decided it was time to have a piece or two of furniture re-upholstered. I called Arnold, whom I’ve known socially for more than thirty years and invited him to come by, look over the situation and make an offer.
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Overtures

Funny how words in the English language take on a different purpose from generation to generation. Take, for instance, the word “overture”. It is used quite often as an expression to start the ball rolling in negotiations. Everyone seems to be chasing rainbows and looking to cut a deal. “Let’s make an overture” usually means “let’s indicate interest to the other party so that we can make an offer that they will not refuse.”

There was a time when “overture” served an entirely different purpose. It was mostly used to describe the beginning portion of a musical performance. It was intended to provide a nurturing effect in getting everyone to their seats, relaxed and prepared to watch a movie or concert. In the 1950’s and 60’s, when movie musicals were still very popular, a film would contain several songs that would be familiar to the audience before they even went to the theater. If you went to see a blockbuster film such as “Oklahoma”, “Carousel”, “South Pacific”, “West Side Story”, “The Music Man” or even a drama with a moving score such as “Exodus”, you’d expect to be entertained with short segments from many of the popular musical numbers.
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