Sunday, February 4, 2018

Top 5 Classic Rock Super Bowl Halftime Performances


Let's face it, any proper list of the top Super Bowl halftime performances is going to be dominated by classic rock acts. 

If any good came from Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 halftime show, it’s that for the next half dozen years the NFL chose to give classic rockers such as Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartneythe home field advantage in terms of booking.

Of course, the music chosen for halftime shows has inevitably swung back to the world of pop in recent years. So, as we prepare for this year's big game, we take a fond look back at the Top 5 Super Bowl Halftime Show Performances:

To keep reading this article, click here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Baby Boomers and the Bomb -- Part 1 in a Series

Facing the Terrifying Reality of Possible Nuclear War… Again

Facing the Terrifying Reality of Possible Nuclear War… Again
By Dave Price
As Baby Boomers (those of us born between 1946 and 1964), we were the first generation to grow up during the Atomic Age, aware at any moment that devastatingly destructive nuclear bombs could rain from the sky, ending much of life and civilization as we knew it.
Of course, at no time was that threat more real than during those 13 tension-packed days of October, 1962, which came to be called the Cuban Missile Crisis.
During that short, yet terrifying period, the world held its collective breath as the two major nuclear powers, America and the Soviet Union, appeared on the brink of war over Russia’s decision to install armed nuclear missile launchers in its fellow Communist country of Cuba, an island nation only 90 miles from America’s Florida coast.
However, thanks to luck, back-door negotiations between representatives of the two countries, and calming, not calamitous, decisions from American President John Kennedy and Russian leader Nikita Kruschev, the horrifying tragedy that was first witnessed when the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japaneese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II was averted.
During the ensuing years of the 20th Century, although the threat of nuclear war was always a possibility, Baby Boom parents were relieved to find their children didn’t have to undergo the terror of the duck-and-cover drills and daily reports of imminent danger that had filled their own childhoods.
However, our grandchildren aren’t being as fortunate. 
Increasing worldwide terrorism, continuing tensions in the Middle East, and a flurry of worrisome tweets and official statements between American President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong II have once again brought the possibility of nuclear war to the forefront of media coverage.

Three recent events demonstrate just how serious the situation is.

Earlier this month, Hawaii, which was already undergoing emergency preparations for any possible nuclear attack from North Korea, was plunged into a state of panic when a message warning:
Emergency Alert – BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL 
was dispatched to cellphones across the state.
The alert was found to be false and the result of human error, but for 38 dread-filled minutes, residents of Hawaii prepared for the worst.
People scrambled to find their families. Residents flocked to established shelters or hunkered in their homes. Others crowded the highways in terror, intent on seeking supposed safety outside of cities. And, all the while, emergency sirens wailed in parts of the state, adding to the panic.
Of course, while utterly terrifying for all those involved, the false alert did end happily.
But it does starkly remind us of what can happen when the old realities of the nuclear age collide with the speed and uncertainty of our new internet age.
Then, just last week, a panel of scientists and scholars announced they believe the world right now is as close as it has ever been to a nuclear doomsday scenario.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a group which has been tracking the threat posed by nuclear weapons since the 1940s, moved the second hand on its symbolic Doomsday Clock forward to two minutes before apocalyptic midnight.
North Korea’s nuclear weapon program made remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks to North Korea itself, other countries in the region, and the United States,’” the group warned in a statement. “Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation”.
In an announcement certain to chill many, especially Baby Boomers, the last time the clock was so close to midnight was in 1953 during the Cold War arms race.
The final sign of our new nuclear age, while not as prominently reported as the other two, may, quite possibly prove to be the most disturbing.
On February 13, Severin Films will release on DVD and Blu-Ray the infamous 1984 British film Threads, a completely terrifying (Writer’s Note: I consider it to be the most horrifying film I have ever seen) made-for-TV dramatization of what would happen to the British city of Sheffield and its people in the wake of a nuclear attack.
Peter Bradshaw, a writer for The Guardian, calls the shocking post-nuclear masterpiece “the only film I have been really and truly scared and indeed horrified by.
it wasn’t until I saw Threads that I found that something on screen could make me break out in a cold, shivering sweat and keep me in that condition for 20 minutes, followed by weeks of anxiety and depression,” Bradshaw added.
(Here is the trailer for Threads. Please be aware there are some disturbing images.)

Of course, these warnings, terrifying as they are, do not have to become prophetic reality.

Nuclear Armageddon is not inevitable. 
But as concerned scientists and activist filmmakers point out, the clock is ticking. The symbolic hands can, should, and must be turned back. That will take action from every one of us concerned about the fate of ourselves, our progeny, and indeed the entire human race.
For if we fail to let our voices be heard, we will be forced to learn the hard truth behind American jazz musician Dexter Gordon’s somewhat glib saying: “In nuclear war, all men are cremated equally.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first in an ongoing series of Booming Encore articles which will examine some of the history behind atomic weaponry as it has affected Baby Boomers; what science, art, literature, and film have to say about the issue; and what can be done to assure that nuclear fears do not become nuclear realities.
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Dave Price operates a freelance writing/speaking/consulting/tour guiding practice in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on 3 topics – the Baby Boomer generation, classic rock, and issues on aging, especially those affecting men. A former journalist and educator, Price is researching 2 books, one on the status of classic rock music and its songs, performers, and fans today and the other a DC guidebook designed especially for Baby Boomers.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Problems of Men and Aging - Part 4 in a Series

Men – Let’s Talk About Your Mental Health

Men – Let’s Talk About Your Mental Health
By Dave Price

Even though you may think differently, no one is immune to mental illness.

According to the World Health Organization, one in four people (currently this is approximately 450 million people worldwide) will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
Disturbingly, however, a multitude of current studies indicate it is extremely difficult for many people, especially men, to reach out and seek help for mental disorders. Obviously, however, if help isn’t sought, such illnesses can’t be controlled or cured.
In fact, many alarmed medical experts are indicating that in our increasingly complex, speed-filled, stressful world, the don’t-seek-help stance is reaching crisis status, causing grave harm not only to individuals, but to the societies in which they live.
So, what is contributing to this personal silence?

Economics plays a significant role.

A recent study by the British Equality and Human Rights Commission shows that, despite the fact that it is illegal under The Equality Act of 2010, there is a wide mental-health pay gap in England.
Men there living with depression or anxiety earn 26 percent less than men who don’t experience that condition. For men who experience panic attacks, the gap is an incredible 42 percent. The study shows that while women also experience a mental-health pay difference, that gap is only 10 percent.
Officials for the Men’s Health Forum weren’t surprised at those results, since they support their own findings.
The MHF has reported that 34 percent of men would be embarrassed or ashamed to take time off from work for mental health concerns. For men who had actually experienced mental health problems – and therefore had also experienced the reaction to them – 52 percent are concerned about specifying their problems and taking time off for treatment.
MHF chief executive officer Todd Martin says the findings indicate that despite scientific advances in identifying the reasons for mental disorders and how they can be treated, widely-held stigmas about such diseases, especially as they affect men, still exist.
Based on figures like these, employers need to do much more to tackle stigma and discrimination against mental health problems in the workplace,” Martin contends.
But the CEO also believes changes in the British health system are needed, too. “We can’t wait for every employer to change,” Martin says. “People must be able to get confidential support for mental health issues outside working hours without their employer knowing.”
Nations around the world are now coming up with innovative, countrywide programs to try to reduce the long-standing stigma surrounding mental illness. Most are aimed at encouraging more discussion about mental illness, both the problems it causes and, even more importantly, the treatment options that are available.
Once a year, Bell Canada sponsors its Bell: Let’s Talk day, which is set for January 31. The program promotes four simple ways people can help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. They are:
  • Breaking the silence and have informative, open discussions. This is crucial since two out of three people suffer mental illness in silence, fearing judgement and rejection. Experts point out that being open to such conversations is the first step toward eliminating the stigma.
  • Educating yourself to have the right tools, knowing the right words to use, and understanding how to correctly speak with someone who is experiencing the devastating impact of mental illness.
  • If you believe that someone is suffering from mental illness, being a good listener and asking how you can help or simply being there for people you care about is often a first step in their recovery.
  • As so often is the case, kindness is the key to helping. Expressions like “don’t worry, you’ll get over it” or “just relax” actually hurt more than help. But simple acts such as a sincere smile coupled with a willingness to talk or an invitation to chat over coffee can open up the conversation and let someone know you are there for them.
Started in 2010, the annual Bell Program continues to promote an awareness strategy that is focused on four pillars:
  1. overcoming the stigma attached to mental illness
  2. supporting a variety of agencies that help provide mental health support when and where it is needed
  3.  investing in research programs with the potential to have transformative impacts on mental health, and
  4. encouraging greater corporate engagement to help workers overcome mental health issues.
So how does Bell Canada fund these programs? Here are some examples that you can participate in on January 31st:
  • Send a text message. For every text sent by Bell Canada, Bell Allant, and Bell MTS customers on Let’s Talk Day, Bell donates five cents towards mental health issues.
  • That same five-cent contribution is made for any phone call.
  • The company also makes a five-cent donation any time you watch its Bell Let’s Talk video on Facebook, Instagram, or SnapChat or tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk.
If you want to get involved in the program or just learn more about mental illness, Bell Canada has put together a comprehensive toolkit which you can download here.
This is the fourth segment in an ongoing series written by Dave Price on some of the challenges men experience with aging. Here are his other three posts;
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Dave Price operates a freelance writing/speaking/consulting/tour guiding practice in Washington, D.C., where he focuses on 3 topics – the Baby Boomer generation, classic rock, and issues on aging, especially those affecting men. A former journalist and educator, Price is researching 2 books, one on the status of classic rock music and its songs, performers, and fans today and the other a DC guidebook designed especially for Baby Boomers.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Baby Boomers Should Ignore Calls to Slow Down, 'American Pie' Singer Says



For ‘American Pie’ star Don McLean, 

there’s no age limit to success, even if 

much of the world would like to set 

one.



Speaking to Starts at 60, the father-of-two has opened up about his secrets to success through the years, and why he’ll continue rocking for years to come. “There’s a lot of effort on the part of the world to tell you to pack it in, stay on the porch in a rocking chair, don’t do that,” he says of the view of older people. “Well, I say do it – in fact, do more now because you’ve got less time.”
True to his word, the 72-year-old is still performing in sell-out shows, planning a new world tour, and releasing another album, Botanical Gardens, in just a few weeks time.
“I love it, I love doing what I do and I thank God I can still do what I love to do, how many 72-year-olds are looking at a world tour for the next two years?” he says. “A lot of people are drooling somewhere from home, and I’m rocking! Me and Mick Jagger are still out there!"
To keep reading this article, click here.