Early Boomers heard and danced

to this music when it was first introduced.

Many of our Boomer Generation

Inspirations and Anthems

Are connected to these 

Sights and Sounds.

#  #  #  #




Share your Thoughts

#  #  #  #


The Wall That Heals

John H. Wrisberg III listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall replica on display in Elgin, IL

I knew John for several years before he went to Vietnam.  

He had a lot of potential.  He wanted to make a difference.

John is remembered.

Do you remember?

Who do you remember?VietnamWall_TheWallThatHeals_20130922

You might like to check the Wall of Faces …

Leave a remembrance for John … or someone else you remember.

If you are in the Chicago area …

Visit the Moving Wall

in Aurora, Illinois

November 7 to 11


Boomer Review 2011 Summary
Table of Contents

We are approaching a new year and, like many, we are reviewing what we have done and considering changes for the new year.

Boomer Review was introduced in 2010 with a plan to … be focused on stories by, about, and of interest to Boomers and those who are interested in the Baby Boom Generation.

We think we have a good start on achieving that objective.

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a regular,
take few moments to look around.

The top navigation bar offers links to special sections:

  • Home … Well (duh)Rock_and_a_Hard_Spot
  • About Boomer Review … Review, Evolution, Revolution, Revitalization, Bust
  • Cruzin’ & Cruising … Making choices to take our lives in a very new direction.
  • John Alaska … The adventures of a  Boomer in search of a place to retire
  • Links We Like … This is where we share links to more information and resources
  • Welcome! … We welcome your thoughts and stories about the Baby Boom Generation

If you are looking for something related to a specific topic, check the Categories in a Cloud section on the right side of the Home page.


  • Hello world!  … Boomer Review is a forum for sharing, evaluating, and learning from the Boomer Experience.

AGE & AGINGGramdpa







TRAVELBlue Heron at Buffalo Rock

  • Cruising the Loop  … Sailing The Great Loop – 2 People, 1 Catamaran, 6,500 miles

Ode To A Fingerwave

Where I grew up … we gave the finger to everyone … actually two fingers.

In my home town you greet everyone.

It doesn’t matter whether you know them or not.

You acknowledge them.

You welcome them.

You give them the tw0-finger wave.

The poem above came to my attention last weekend when I returned to my hometown for my uncle’s visitation and funeral services. The poet is my cousin, Paul. The man in the pickup truck is my uncle, Warren Earl “Jake” Jacobson.

Uncle Jake is a great example of how open, warm and helpful most people are when they grow up in Midwestern small towns and their parents, family, and friends are great role models for them to emulate.

Jake was an electrician. It is likely that he has worked on every home in town at one time or another. He was active in the community and was always available to help someone when they needed it.

Our poet, Paul, is Jake & Betty’s second son. In his career as an airline pilot, he has met people from all over the world as he shuttled them from one continent to another. So, he is in a good position to know how people act in different places and from different cultures. He and his family have lived in several different parts of the USA, but Fingerwavehe still exhibits his small town Midwestern roots.

If you see him driving somewhere,
he is likely to
give you the finger(s).

Discrimination in the Workplace

My wife & I operate a recruiting firm. We hear many stories about discriminatory hiring practices, rudeness, and stupidity perpetrated by recruiters, HR Departments, and hiring managers.

We had several conversations this week with job seekers who felt they were not progressing well in their job search because of one form of discrimination or another. During a long bike ride this weekend, my mind made a connection between these concerns about discrimination and the new NBC program The Voice.

In the initial episodes recording artists Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, and Adam Levine listened to contestants without seeing them or knowing anything about them in advance. They selected contestants they wanted on their team based solely on what they heard.

Wouldn’t it be great if job candidates could be evaluated solely on what is important to the job?

One of the contestants that stood out in this regard was Beverly McClellan.  Prior to her onstage presentation, they showed her talking about how she felt about the competition. Beverley said she hoped that how she sang her song would be get her noticed and selected. Since it would be a “blind” audition, the judges wouldn’t be distracted by her age (older than the other contestants) and appearance (shaved head, tattoos, piercings).

Her performance was a soulful rendition of “Piece of My Heart” … well-known by those who enjoy Janis Joplin.

The judges liked her.

Since The Voice is concerned about show business and stage presence, Beverly might have been selected because her appearance was unorthodox. However, most shows like this select young (often teenage) women with gorgeous hair and anorexic figures … not a heavy-set Lex Luthor wearing clothes purchased at the second-hand store next door to the tattoo parlor.

She was chosen for her obvious vocal talent.

Since that first show, Beverly and her co-contestants have been coached by professionals regarding what it takes to be accepted by a wider audience. Stars are helping them make the most of their talents, so they too can become stars in their own right.

It’s too bad candidate evaluation, interviews, and the early days on a new job aren’t a bit more like The Voice … focused on what is critical and supported by people who can show a new employee how to improve.

Before use of the Internet became wide-spread … before social networking … Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning … it was possible to submit resumes tailored to a particular position and pass the first few hiring hurdles before being rejected for some real or imagined  short-coming. At the very least, you might get invited to an interview.

Now, there is so much information on the Web about us … placed there by you, your friends, or dug up through data mining by someone hoping to make a buck with the information … that the personal information we might prefer to keep to ourselves can be accessed by anyone with the determination to search or willingness to spend a few dollars.

Age discrimination is not the only infraction we hear about, but it may be the most pervasive … manifested in the widest variety of forms.

Today, age discrimination … age-ism … has many disguises:

  • You are over-qualified.
  • That experience is not current.
  • We don’t think you fit the culture.
  • You have had positions at a higher level.
  • You’ve earned more money in previous positions.

The subtext for these excuses can include many other issues:

  • We are trying to drive salaries down.
  • You could push up our group benefit premiums.
  • Your experience could be intimidating to the hiring manager.
  • You might not be able to keep up with the younger employees.
  • You are likely to retire in a few years … yah, sure, like most jobs last more than three years!

We are interested in hearing your voice!

No Discrimination


In our business blog … Sirius About Jobs … we share thoughts on these issues.  Recently, I posted thoughts regarding an experience I had that was very closely tied to age discrimination. I also published a guest blog on the topic.

Boomer Birthdays Can Be Boom or Bust

The same can be said
for any generational group
at any time in our history.

April 1st seems like a good day
to write down these thoughts and
kick off a new Boomer Review feature …

Happy Birthday Again

This is a place to share thoughts about Birthdays …
Your Days … Looking Back … Looking Forward …
Taking Your Measure … Taking Your Next Step!

 Today is my sister’s birthday. When she was born her three older brothers thought she was a great April Fools Day prank.  We thought she would be another boy.

When our CPA dad made a visit to our school two weeks before the April 15 tax deadline, we thought he was playing a big April Fool’s Day joke.  I was convinced it was a prank when he told us we now had a sister.

She was No Joke

She went on to become a CPA, raise two great kids, and retire early to live and cruise on the water in warm places. I look forward to talking with her today about her birthday.

So … that’s the inspiration.

Here is the invitation …

If you would like to share your thoughts on these topics, please add your comments to postings that inspire you to respond AND submit guest blog material when you would like me to feature your thoughts.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tell me …

Are We Better or Bitter?

 Happy Birthday

Please enjoy the following guest blog from a very interesting friend. She, too, just had another birthday.


This is the inauguration …


Birthday Dinner

Last night I had the pleasure of being invited out to dinner by a couple I’ve been close with for 33 years now. The wife and I just had birthdays days apart.  We first met because the husband and I had been co-workers at a medical technology company in California when we were young and frisky and … not only did we share a strange NY sense of humor, a common interest in many books and lots of films, but his wife and I became close friends as well.

Today, 33 years later …

  • we are fortunate to be in the same city, Boston,
  • making many of the same jokes that others rarely understand,
  • have different jobs (and in my case am looking for one) and
  • wonder about our futures… something we never did back in California.

In the intervening years we worked hard to see each other several times a year if we lived in different parts of the country.

In the past three decades we all moved around a lot,

  • to Europe and back
  • from top to bottom and
  • side to side in the US.

My friend has ended up in academia where he is doing exceptionally well after finally accepting he is simply not cut out for corporate battles.  His wife, originally a speech pathologist, is happily teaching high school and college psychology.

As for me, I have had the happy circumstance of working with and for my friend at least six times in the past 30 years while at various employers. I consider him a mentor, a friend, confidante and prime critic.  Their now-grown children have become part of my pack of close friends and loved ones.

During our leisurely dinner we wondered at our past and our current state of affairs.  All three of us have had glorious highs and serious lows. At the moment, I am the one struggling through a low point.

Did I ever think that in Boomer middle age I would find myself divorced, childless, financially on the brink of disaster and without a job?  Never.  As recently as last year I had a full and busy consulting practice; didn’t have to think of taking a full-time job with a corporation until the unheard of happened.

A client who owed me six figures didn’t pay. 

I had to sue outside the US.  Won the case, but it cost me six figures in legal fees.  Other clients started paying slowly; in one case not at all.

I had to do something fast. 

And that thing was get a job where I didn’t have to wonder where the next paycheck was coming from.

Sure I had great experience, I had been a Director and a VP at big companies, had done consulting for more than ten years (not so good if you’re interested in going back to corporate land I found out).  And I had an unusual combination of skills that could make me marketable in a way that competitors would not be.  Or so I thought.

In a matter of months, I became what I call an “also ran.” 

A runner-up. 

Too much experience
… making the hiring manager nervous about their own job,
too old,
too this or
not enough that. 

What put me over the edge were the flaws that were perpetrated by hiring managers and HR departments. “We have to give precedence to internal employees.”  Or, more recently, on the day and at the hour of a pre-scheduled phone interview, “sorry but something just came up, we made an offer to someone last week and he accepted.”  That sure cheered me up. No one thought of calling ahead of time?  Today a recruiter called with a job offer in Switzerland, a serious offer.  And don’t think I won’t consider it.

Naturally friends who have never been out of work and who have always earned less money encourage me to apply to much lower level jobs not understanding I can’t get an interview for these.

Maybe as a barista at Starbucks but not in my field.

But back to last night’s dinner. 

Birthday Dinner Party

The fellow I’m friendly with said I had better get a job fast because he needs me as a contact for what he wants to do next.

I joked with him about not “retiring.”  He didn’t laugh. 

He and his wife who together make an excellent living had put two daughters through college and grad school and live in a rented a house. An expensive rented house.

They once owned a house … even built a custom one … but at one point they were paying for two homes…  and were cleaned out financially so they are back to renting.  They just will never have the amount necessary to buy a home again but aren’t sobbing about it.  Real estate is just not a good investment now anyway.  But they never expected it.  I on the other hand, unemployed and worried about every cent, own my home outright but naturally can’t sell it.  If I get a position out-of-town, I’ll rent it and hopefully eventually sell it though it does need work I can’t afford to do on it.

I now think of my home as a black hole I just pour money into.

My friend’s wife, who teaches, makes a measly amount of money considering she works six days a week and loves what she does.  But between expenses and helping grandchildren and just life, they haven’t had a real vacation for six years and now one of the daughters is getting married in a few months, just after graduating from her master’s program.  It doesn’t end.

I question if we are all lucky enough to work, will we all die at our desks, heads across our keyboards, saliva dripping on to our cell phones?  One thing for certain is that I know I will not enjoy the gracious living my 96-year-old father and his wife have at their adult community with lots of activities.  Being single, I don’t even know if I have the energy for a date.  I put myself on “hiatus” three years ago because I couldn’t work and have a social life and survive.  Now, I can’t put the energy into a job search and date.  And dating someone who is “retired” would just, well….piss me off.

Frankly I don’t ever want to retire. 

I just want to rearrange my priorities a bit.  My life has thrown me a few challenges.  A lousy marriage and worse divorce that cost me more than I ever imagined (and that’s just financially) and a professional situation that just blew up in my face.  Sure I’m creative and have lots of ideas.

 But I’m not entirely sure I want to continue doing what I have for the past thirty years. 

But who in their right mind would give me a job just because I’m clever?  If any of you know that person, send them my way before any more brain cells evaporate or I forget my address.

Will I get the job in Switzerland?  How about moving to another part of the country (I’m all for that)?  What about a local job that just cropped up on the radar again after nine months?  Is it ready to give birth once again?

No one understands why I’m out of work. 

Even I’m having trouble now.  No matter how awful or depressed I feel, I manage to drag up a perky presence on the phone, a good attitude and the ability to check those gazillions of job listings seven days a week.  Maybe I need a vacation.  Or a trip to the moon.  Or less criticism from my family who reminds me how well my YOUNGER sisters are doing (and then I remind them how each of them is being supported by a partner as well).

Is this part of getting older? 

Can we continue to blame it on the economy?  Is it me?  Should I have stayed married?  Never moved to Boston?  Been a schoolteacher like my mother suggested?  Maybe get a face lift (I don’t think I need one).

Does boomer bias exist? 

Please don’t tell me its age.  But maybe it is.  I haven’t heard it to my face and I’ve gotten plenty of interviews versus some of my other out of work friends.  But too many people I know are out of work after long careers and we’re all running out of money and have had to hit those retirement accounts.

Listen, group therapy isn’t going to help.  We all need the same thing and it has nothing to do with makeovers of the state of our minds.

We need jobs. 
And we need HR managers to take us seriously.

More importantly we require hiring managers not to be fearful that we will usurp them (though we can of course).  But we can behave and be grateful we’re working.  Its HR’s job to train uppity young hiring managers not to be scared of slightly older workers, but we all know about HR managers, don’t we?  We might teach them something and we have a longer list of good jokes to share and have accumulated a bit more patience.

And we’re not used up. 
Hey I don’t want to have this conversation!

I have a great resume.  I don’t want to talk about age.  I look at least ten years younger than I am and take care of myself but this whole process is starting to give me teenage acne and how can I explain that.

If all I have to look forward to is bagging groceries or checking out books at Barnes and Noble (and even they aren’t doing so hot) I’m in trouble.

Anybody have a job for me and my friends?

Some of us would like to retire while we can still remember where the car keys are and some of us would like to have enough money to eat.  The rest of us who are working would like our companies to stay honest so they don’t go out of business.  Is this asking a lot or did Woodstock just burn out too many of my brain cells???

Respectfully submitted, but still complaining,


JohnAlaska - John Fleming & Friend
The JohnAlaska Costa Rica Relocation story continues.  We skip ahead in this segment to a special moment for John.
Christmas Conga … in the Moonlight

I arrived in Costa Rica close to midnight.  After driving by my house to make sure it was still standing, I went to Harry’s beach house to let him know I was in town.

Harry was more than pleased to see me.  Then, he told me that his common law wife had given birth to his son. He also said that she had left him and moved back to little town where her mother lived.  He was distraught over the separation, and said he was on his way to Jaco to get something to eat. He asked me to join him.

It only takes about 15 minutes to get to Jaco, and after a quick meal at Los Amigos, we found ourselves at the Beatle bar. Harry had convinced himself that, after the harsh treatment the mother of his son had given him; he deserved a date with one of the working girls at the bar.  I told him that he was on his own.  I was ready to recover from the jet lag resulting from enduring 4 airports and 22 hours of travel … shower … rest.Beatle Bar in Jaco

We sat at a table with 3 beautiful working girls that were interested in making some extra money to enable them to buy Christmas presents for their children. I believe these were weekend workers just looking for extra cash for the holidays. It is important to understand that Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, and the people seem to have no feelings of guilt or shame about prostitution.  Quite the opposite, in some cases a father may be proud to have a daughter that is good looking enough to provide a means of paying the family bills.

A woman in Costa Rica works from quite a different list of values than those we live by in the States.  At the top of the list here is financial security, and the amount of money a man has to offer. Way down the list in spot number 4 or 5 is the desire to have a man that is physically attractive, and even farther down the list is the desire to have a man that will be faithful.

Harry was determined to have a woman that evening to soften the wounds of losing the mother of his child … that … along with the fact that she failed a polygraph he had her take in regard to being faithful to him.

I was tired and smelled bad, from my full day of traveling, and was anxious to shower and come back to life.  The three ladies at our table were not thrilled about the fact that Harry insisted they take the 15 minute drive to another town for the sexual encounter, and it was really a hard sell. That all changed when we left the bar and they realized that the bright canary yellow Hummer parked right outside the door was our means of transportation.


I did not want to lead these ladies into thinking I was in the market for a night … or should I say an hour … of lovemaking.  I was upfront about the fact that I was weary from travel, and I was not buying what they had to offer.


The three of them had driven down from San Jose just for the evening, and insisted that they stay together as a group. When we reached the beach house, they were more than impressed with the mansion on the beach with the huge terrace.  Harry made some quick drinks with the blender, and I headed for a much needed shower.

When I returned to the large terrace wearing just a towel from my shower downstairs, and realizing my suitcase and change of clothes were still upstairs, I found the other two ladies were sitting in lounge chairs listening to Local Costa Rican music called “CUMBIA”, a kind of Latino, zydeco music.

A full moon completely lit up the terrace.  The situation was idyllic with the addition of the crashing waves on the beach below and the reflection of the moon over the ocean. Though totally impressed with the beach house, the two ladies were not happy about the fact that they did not have a paying customer in this gringo from Alaska. They gave me a hard-sell pitch, which I dodged with excuses of being weary from my trip.

 The ladies were so beautiful, and the moon was so bright, that I seriously contemplated becoming a customer.  I felt like an idiot for being such a prude, and not being able to contributing to their funds for their children’s Christmas presents. My Spanish was so weak that I could not even make small talk conversation with these two ladies. Finally, I had an epiphany, something about seizing the moment, yet keeping my dignity at the same time.

All I Want for Christmas … is …

A Conga … in the Moonlight


I handed each one of the ladies a fifty dollar bill, managed to communicate in poor Spanish that all I wanted was to dance a conga line, nude in the moonlight. They were more than happy to shed what little clothes they were wearing, and join me in a Conga line dance around the terrace.

We danced one song, laughed and finished our drinks.

For me it was a dance of a lifetime, something I will never forget.

For the ladies it was easy money, and I am sure they still talk about the whitest ass they have ever seen in their lives.

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