Saturday, 30 September 2006

Be Careful Who You Call Old!

According to a recent article in MediaPost’s Marketing Daily, ”. . . when companies do target boomers, the marketing often misses the mark.

We don't have the same need to put people into named pigeon holes here in Europe, but I would also fit onto the tail end of the boomer age group and, I too resent the way we are often looked upon as blithering idiots, or worse, "silver heads walking into the sunset."

One of my pet hates about advertising aimed at the over 50's is this need to somehow remind us of the fact that we either have, or we are about to get grey hair. I don't know about others, but that is not the "me" I envisage when I am NOT looking in the mirror. We want to be hip and cool too - advertisers would be better off using models with a certain amount of maturity, say around 35.

It's what we are more likely to identify with, as it's as far as most of us imagine we've gone!

For instance, this "mistake of marketing to them like they are computer illiterate." For goodness sake, I have been using computers (terminals) since the late 1970's, run mini-computers, had access to personal computers at home since the mid-1980's and managed computer systems and networks for small businesses in the UK in the late 80's, before going to Anderson in 1990, where we had email and I was known as a bit of spreadsheet automation / macro guru! Then, of course, getting online in the mid-late 90's when it arrived here.

Even my late father (born in the 1920's) wasn't computer illiterate.

The article says, "Sheehy also emphasized that younger marketers, in particular, need to understand that boomers are mentally delaying classifying themselves as being "old" for as long as possible."

This is SO true. Like I said, we prefer not to.

My own theory is that "old" is always 15 years older than your parents and, yes, I am aware that this must have an upper limit someplace.

OK, so I will be 50 next year. There, I've said it (I hate the idea.)

But actually, what is any different now than when I was 19?

Not a lot, mentally, at least. The mirror tells a whole other story, although I still don't have grey hair, nor wrinkles and I have not put on excessive weight since then. And my wardrobe is still probably more suited to the hip-hop fraternity than the "twin-set" brigade.

So, I don't have the energy I once had and get more aches, so I pace physical activities and maybe I have developed the common sense not to partake in high-risk activities, but I truly feel that my generation is retaining the same tastes and lifestyles as we had when we were younger and - shock - we also mix in tastes for some of the very same things that today's youth enjoy.

Be Careful Who You Call Old!

Friday, 29 September 2006

Blame Is A Hindrance For Personal Growth And Success

Blame is a roadblock to your success. Blame robs you of the energy needed to move forward and achieve your goals. Blame is often the culprit when people find themselves trapped in a rut, unable to move ahead and grow. Instead of taking responsibility for actions they have taken, they wallow in blame over opportunities they have missed.

If you find yourself in this position, you must find a way to stop blaming yourself and blaming others, You must become an active participant in your life. It doesn't matter what your goals are be they large or small. You will never reach them if you don't start moving towards them day by day.

Depending too much on other people to support you is a form of self sabotage that prevents you from taking responsibility for your life. Blaming yourself for your shortcomings is also a form of self sabotage. Self blame leads to self pity and lack of self esteem. Personal responsibility leads to change.

One who has poor self esteem and requires support from others is deficient in the qualities that promote survival including social survival. One that is frozen in a habit of blaming himself or others is living in denial.

He becomes manipulative and uses self blame and blaming others to further entrench his handicaps rather than abolishing them.

He puts the blame for his behaviour on himself instead of accepting responsibility for it. He therefore becomes filled with guilt, shame and doubt and has no energy left over to haul himself out of his rut.

If you find you can't get out of a self created rut, seek the help of a mental health care professional. Often just talking to someone can help you see things more clearly. In addition to that, start moving physically. Walk, go to the gym, do whatever you can to get the energy around you and in you moving and keep it moving by staying active.

About The Author: Sylvia Jameson is a staff writer at and is an occasional contributor to several other websites, including

Monday, 11 September 2006

Time to move on ...

towers1 The Twin Towers as they were when I visited New York, way back in September 1980. Nobody needs reminding what the date is and this year, on the fifth anniversary, I'm seeing far more being said about 9/11 (although not everywhere) than I have on any of the previous ones.

Perhaps, in my case, this is because Spanish TV channel, cuatro has been showing a series of documentary programs over several days.

These culminate tonight with a BBC produced documentary, which cuatro say is to debut simultaneously on TV stations around the world. Using digital animation, interviews and archive footage, the viewer will be taken inside the Twin Towers to follow the experiences of a dozen people. Hardly entertainment.

But perhaps, the time has come when we are able to look back more calmly and face this; that the "bombardment" of coverage will serve to "get it out of the system" and, will help us all to move forward to the next stage of the mourning process.

On Saturday, I watched El hombre del aire (The Falling Man).

Whilst I can partially agree with the conclusion that maybe it is better that he is left inconclusively identified, since he then represents all Twin Towers victims, in much the same way as the "Unknown Soldier" represents all his fallen colleagues. At the same time, not putting a positive ID on the falling man, does in a way, prevent "him" (or at least the image, speculation and controversy) from finally being laid to rest.

(If, as it seems most likely, that he was Jonathan Briley, then he was exactly one year younger than me. To the day. We shared the same birthday, March 5.)

But what struck me most about the documentary was the reaction, which is typical of the US and still, to a certain degree in the UK, but which I would never expect to find in Spain, in that the residents of Allentown, Pennsylvania, complained bitterly about the image when it was published in local newspaper, The Morning Call.

Look, nobody WANTS that this happened and nobody WANTS to have to look at the resultant harrowing images, but pleas by "Disgusted of Allentown" who did NOT WANT to see the images, unfortunately, does not make it all go away.

The US media is criticized (and, rightly so, I feel) for not having told the truth, the whole truth, etc., including about these events and everything associated with them, but so far, we have assumed (probably with some accuracy) this was because of pressure on publishers and editors from "higher sources".

What this documentary showed is that what has also been happening, is "auto censorship". That is, editors have been keeping unsavory things back because the "average US public" simply will not accept seeing and facing stark realities.

These documentaries have not been easy to watch, by any means (nor is blow-by-blow war coverage, nor closeups of real - not movie - dead people that is normal on Spanish news and is alien to those of us from other countries), but if there is one thing I have learned from almost 15 years living in Spain it is that "unsavory ideas" are best confronted, dealt with and worked out, if one is to heal and move on.

Spanish media, to an outsider, at times, seems funny. Broadcasters will reschedule programming to show some airline disaster movie after a real plane crash has been in the news, "Towering Inferno" after a building burns or "Titanic" after a ship sinks.

It is a surreal way to face death head on and this near comical "theme night" programming would definitely be considered insensitive elsewhere.

But, you know what? Facing it works.

At the time, you often don't know whether to laugh or cry, but you are forced to react and, by that action, work through it.

towers Yes I have been to New York and it was a SPECIAL place to visit. On September 11, 2001, I felt as affronted as any New Yorker could be by the attacks.

Those who were personally affected can never forget. They deserve respect and homage paid and, I'm going to assume that someone has actually asked them if memorial services is what they want and will help them.

But the rest of us need to work on something more forward thinking.

Personally, I think the "War on terror" never had any direction in the first place. The reaction to 9/11 was just that; a reaction with a lot of opportunism thrown in, not an appropriate planned response.

As Laura Lospitao Pastor in Madrid, says, "... in the years that followed America made mistakes" and that, "The cure turned out to be worse than the disease."

Not least for the effects - which I've felt personally - of increasing suspicion of all "foreigners" and everything associated, like higher rates of hate crimes.

And the whole thing keeps coming back to fear and therein lies the biggest paradox. Because, if we continue to buy the fear mongering, we LET the terrorists win.

So, I want to end this "diatribe" with some items that I hope will help put this into perspective. I do not deny that 2,973 is too many people to die that should not have died that day, nor that it is the largest death toll from a terrorist attack.

However, history has provided us with a whole shopping list of disasters (both natural or otherwise), that have had much higher death tolls.

There is action that could be taken to at least mitigate some of these disasters, which would save tens of thousands, if not millions of lives, but which are given no priority whatsoever. The fact that they are not, must be telling in itself, even to the smallest intellect.

The biggest natural disaster in recent history being the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami, which lists 229,866 persons lost, including 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing. Each year in America there are about 300,000 deaths that can be attributed to obesity. Every year, 18,000 Americans die because they do not have health insurance. Even the European heatwave of 2003 claimed the lives of 35,000. The 1,836 killed by Hurricane Katrina does not include the 2,500 who are missing. What about deaths from diseases in Europe (millions) and the Americas (tens of millions) from diseases exchanged between continents after 1492?

Even donkeys kill more people than plane crashes.

The fact is, I could go on forever with this list, but what we all need to do is realize that life is risky. In fact, we can all guarantee that life will kill us one day. Getting born, not terrorists, is the surest way of making sure that one day, you will die. In the meantime, there is only one thing worth doing:

LIVE. Preferably in peace.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Elderly 'vulnerable' to malnutrition

Elderly People sign
Originally uploaded by bensons.
An Australian specialist in geriatric medicine has said elderly people living alone were most vulnerable, often unable but sometimes unwilling to feed themselves properly. He said elderly people needed as much protein as a bodybuilder and a British study he had recently conducted showed the meals supplied in many nursing homes contained only two-thirds of the recommended daily allowances of basic vitamins.

Elderly 'vulnerable' to malnutrition

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Sitting room only for U.K. bars?

"The police (we'd say Police State formerly known as the UK) want to stop pubgoers from standing while drinking, not because they're likely to fall if they imbibe too much, but because they feel that standing and swilling promotes rowdy, sometimes violent behavior.

The solution, they say, is to have all drinkers be seated."

OK, we know that people often behave like animals, but more rules like these are not going to stop them from misbehaving. In fact, in my humble opinion, the more restrictions you put on people, the harder they will kick. Britain does NOT know how to enjoy itself and they don't seem to want people to do so.

Fifteen years in Spain has shown me that, generally, if you let people party hard, as well as work hard, it takes care of what would otherwise be pent up aggression. Try to put the lid on them and it all boils over nastily.

Sitting room only for U.K. bars?


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