Friday, December 29, 2023

Gravity Gets Stronger As We Age

Gravity is something that most of us take for granted. (Or, as some folks like to say, “Take for granite,” which is not a grammatical blunder if you are falling off a cliff in New Hampshire. In that case, both gravity and granite will be major aspects of the state police accident report.) 

Anyway, the force of gravity keeps everything on earth from floating off into space. If gravitational forces suddenly ceased and everyone started to float away, it would make it, among other things, very difficult to get to work on time. Although that might not be the first thing that pops into anyone’s mind while drifting into the sub-zero temperatures of the stratosphere.
Remember when astronauts went to the moon, and we learned that gravity on the moon is only one-sixth as strong compared to earth? Even though they were wearing heavy, bulky spacesuits, the astronauts were hopping across the lunar surface like kangaroos and hitting golf balls 500 yards with one-handed swings.

Scientists tell us that gravity on earth is essentially constant. There are actually some barely perceptible variations, and if you ever have trouble falling asleep at night, just read the detailed explanations in a science journal. 

Even though most scientists say that gravity on earth is constant, I have discovered that the scientists are missing something very important. The force of gravity increases as we get older.

Just look at the faces and bodies of elderly people. Everything is sagging. Why? Because gravity is much stronger for these people. 

What is a major worry for old folks? Falling down. And why do seniors fall so often? Too much gravity.
Remember when you were in your 20s and you could bound up a flight of stairs two steps at a time? What is it like going up those same stairs now? Right, you slowly plod your way upward, one step at a time, and then have to pause to catch your breath at the top. Did the stairs change? No, gravity changed.

While astronauts can hit a golf ball 500 yards on the moon, I can’t even hit a drive 180 anymore, while I used to hit my tee shots around 250 (never straight, though). What changed? Obviously my personal gravity has gotten much stronger with age.

The original equation for gravity was determined by Sir Isaac Newton, who declared: 

That is, the gravitational force between two bodies is equal to the mass of the first body times the mass of the second body, times a gravitational constant; all divided by the distance between the two bodies squared. If you understand any of that, then you paid attention in physics class — something I did not. I may be baffled by the formula for gravity, but I do know how to cut and paste from a website.
My new scientific breakthrough means we have to add another section to Newton’s equation. We have to multiply everything by “(A/30)”, with “A” being your current age, divided by 30, a peak-health constant. This means that when you are 20 years old, gravity is only about two-thirds as strong. When you are 30, gravity is what Newton said. When you are 45 years old, gravity is now about 50% stronger than when you were 30. And when you are 60 years old, gravity is twice as strong. What about age 90? Don’t even ask.

So, don’t take gravity for granted (or granite). We need gravity to keep us from floating off into space. But be aware, as you get older, gravity gets stronger. I don’t have detailed scientific data to back up my claim, just a lot of real world experience. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Holy Family Was No Picnic for St. Joseph 

On Sunday, December 31st, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is the model for all families because that household was filled with peace, serenity, and love. For 2,000 years, the Holy Family has been the shining example all families strive to emulate. 

But consider this: of the three people in the Holy Family, only Joseph was a sinner. That’s right. Jesus was sinless, of course. And the Church has always taught that Mary was uniquely blessed by God to be conceived without sin (the “Immaculate Conception”). Which means, when you boil it down, in that peaceful and loving household, only Joseph fit the biblical truth that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). 
Wow! Talk about pressure! Anytime anything went wrong in that house, two sets of sinless eyes immediately turned and looked at the only family member who was NOT morally perfect. Poor ol’ Joseph must have struggled to maintain his self-esteem. 

Early in their marriage, I wonder if Joseph, like all husbands throughout history, often blurted out the phrase, “I didn’t do it.” For men, that phrase is an instinctive defense mechanism, as involuntary as flinching when someone suddenly throws something toward your face. When we husbands say, “I didn’t do it,” we are not actually declaring, “I. Did. Not. Do. It.” We are merely stalling for time so we can assess the situation and find out if we’re really in trouble or not. 

After a few years, I wonder if Joseph realized the futility of offering that phrase time after time, and just resigned himself to saying with a sigh, “Yeah, I did it, dear. I’m sorry.” 

Well, maybe that wasn’t exactly how it happened. Maybe I’m just imagining what it would’ve been like if I were Saint Joseph. However, since the Bible clearly tells us that Joseph was a righteous man, let’s just say all of Christendom is a lot better off that God did not pick someone to be the husband of Mary and the step-father of Jesus who spends way too much time hiding in a basement “man cave” watching sports on a big screen TV. 
Since Joseph was indeed a righteous man, the occasions when he did do something morally suspect were few and far between. (And by “morally suspect,” I don’t mean the kind of sins that are rampant in our culture today. I’m thinking of things like gossip, discouragement, and mildly profane utterances whenever he hit himself on the thumb with a hammer. You know, what we now call venial sins.) 

On the other hand, since Joseph was righteous, whenever he did do something wrong, he most likely admitted it right away and asked for forgiveness. And who better to ask forgiveness from than the two most merciful people in the history of the world? Can you imagine what it must’ve been like to have the Blessed Virgin Mary and/or Jesus say to you, “That’s OK. I forgive you. C’mere, big guy, gimme a hug!”? That must have been awesome. If I were Joseph, I’d be tempted to do things wrong on purpose, just to experience that unconditional forgiveness. (Yet another reason why God was so wise in not picking me for that job.) 

Actually, even though we are not a part of the Holy Family, we can experience the same kind of unconditional forgiveness and love Joseph experienced. All we need to do is go to Confession. (Also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation.) After all, we’re not asking the priest to forgive us. He merely sits in place of Jesus, the One who pours out His unconditional and total mercy on us. 

The best way we can emulate the Holy Family is to do what Jesus, Mary, and Joseph did: share the love and mercy of God with each other. We won’t ever become sinless on this side of eternity, but we will be filled with peace and serenity and joy. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Wide Awake at 3 am — Again!

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about sleep. Thoughts of slumber usually twirl through my brain around 2 or 3 a.m., when I am most definitely not asleep and instead I’m staring at the ceiling wondering why I’m wide awake.

I never used to think about sleep. I would just do it. No matter when I went to bed — 10 p.m., midnight, 2 a.m. — I would zonk out for eight hours and wake up refreshed. Yeah, good times.
So, I was intrigued when I recently read an article about sleep problems, which had this headline: “If you follow these 5 sleeping habits, you’re 30% less likely to die from any cause.”

Here are the five sleeping habits that will help you live longer:
  1. Sleep for an average of seven or eight hours each night
  2. Fall asleep without difficulty at least five nights per week
  3. Sleep through the night at least five times per week
  4. Do not use any sleep medication
  5. Feel well rested upon waking up at least five times per week
Hmm, at best I only meet numbers 2 and 4. I never have any difficulty falling asleep. My major problem with going to bed is the fact I cannot get any reading done. Sometimes the Post-it note I use for a bookmark only gets moved to a different paragraph on the same page. I can’t even get one page turned before my eyes slam shut. But don’t worry, four hours later my eyes will be wide open and staring at the ceiling. 

Regarding item number 4, I don’t use any sleep medication and I don’t really want to start. Just do a Google search for the phrase “Lunesta side effects.” Of course I want to sleep through the night, but I don’t want to be groggy the whole next day. (I can do that without any help!) And I certainly don’t want a metallic taste in my mouth, headaches, dizziness, a runny nose, and the possibility of becoming addicted. 

Now, just for fun, do the same Google search, but for Ambien. My senior citizen Bingo card definitely does not list these items: “memory problems,” “sleep driving,” and “hallucinations.” And whatever you do, don’t even look up the definition of “sexsomnia.”
The article I originally referenced explained that a man’s life expectancy is 4.7 years greater if he does all of those five sleep habits. But after listing all the details of the study — 172,000 American adults, average age of 50, carefully studied from 2013 to 2018 — the article said NOTHING about how someone can do those five habits. 

The last sentence of the article was: “The researchers hope patients and doctors will start talking about sleep as part of their overall health assessment and disease management planning.” Just talk about it with a doctor? They might as well have said, “You’re on your own, pal.”

Most articles about medical research studies explain the findings of the study, and then give advice on how a person can change his or her behavior to produce a more favorable outcome. But not this one. It explained the findings and then said, in essence, “Have a nice life — and for those of you who don’t do the five sleep habits, a SHORTER nice life.”
The only thing that article did for me (besides giving me a topic for this column) was to provide one more thing I can worry about during my regular 3 a.m. “stare at the ceiling” adventures.

In addition, the article mentioned that sleeping too much is also bad for a person’s health. Well, I’m sure that’s true. But just for a change of pace, I wouldn’t mind finding out first-hand.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The True Meaning of Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the land, not a creature was stirring – except for 330 million Americans who were scrambling frantically to prepare for the holiday by eating too much, drinking too much, spending too much, driving too much, and stressing out too much. In the process, they all were sleeping too little and meditating on the true meaning of Christmas not at all. 

In the greatest holiday special ever broadcast on TV, Charlie Brown pleads, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”
In reply, Linus walks out to the middle of the stage and starts reciting from Luke’s gospel. 

Well, I’d like to attempt to answer Charlie Brown’s question by citing John’s gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through Him all things were made….And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

Christmas is a love story. The eternal, supernatural Creator of the Universe is a person, not an impersonal force. Therefore, He is able to enter into loving relationships with other persons. He created human beings for the sole purpose of entering into loving relationships with us.

In order for any relationship between persons to be truly loving, the persons involved must have the freedom to love or to walk away. If we are forced to love God – just as if anyone is forced to love someone else as in, say, an arranged marriage – it would not be true love. Love is only real if both parties enter into the relationship willingly.

If human beings were created as obedient robots, programmed to be devoted to the Lord no matter what, it would not be real love. So, God created us with free will. This has been, alas, the source of all the problems in the history of the world. Giving us free will was a very risky thing for God to do, but apparently He thought it worth the risk, as it was the only way to have true loving relationships.

Very early on, things started to go awry. Sin entered the world with Adam and Eve, when they freely chose to focus on themselves and ignore God. Ever since, humanity has been proclaiming, “My will be done,” rather than, “Thy will be done.”

In order to bridge the vast gulf that developed between sinful humanity and the holy Creator God, the Lord of Heaven came up with a shocking and scandalous plan. He decided to send a piece of Himself, what we call the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, to take on human flesh. This stunning event is called the Incarnation, when God’s only Son became human. That is what we celebrate at Christmas.
Jesus Christ is fully God and at the same time fully man. Why did God lower Himself to become one of us? Out of love. He knew we were incapable of restoring the fractured relationship with Him on our own. So, He decided to do it Himself.

Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Christmas is the celebration of this earth-shattering event that occurred approximately 2,000 years ago. That’s why Christmas is a love story. 

Here’s another quote from John’s gospel: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

That famous verse summarizes the Good News of the Gospel: 1) God loves everyone in the world. 2) He gave His only Son to heal the wounds caused by sin. 3) If we put our faith and trust in Jesus, we can 4) have eternal life in Heaven rather than perish.

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God so loved the world that He did not want to see us separated from Him for all eternity. So, He lowered Himself to become one of us. 

To quote Linus: “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” 

Christmas Smorgasbord Column

Whenever I think of something that might be a good topic for a column, I’ll write it down on a scrap of paper and add it to a fairly large pile of notes on my desk. When I sit down at my computer to write, but have no specific idea in mind, I’ll flip through the notes and hope some creative inspiration jumps out at me. A few months ago, a spider jumped out from the note pile, and so far that’s the only jumping that’s occurred. (Not counting the jumping I did when I saw the spider.)

Anyway, as I was flipping through my notes, I thought, “None of these topics are interesting enough for a full column, but maybe I can do a smorgasbord essay, a series of short, unrelated observations.”

Well, my deadline is tomorrow, so here goes:

Recently I had to drive from Manchester to Waterbury on Interstate-84. Along the way I saw seven trial lawyer billboards. Let me rephrase that: I saw billboards for seven different trial lawyer FIRMS. The total number of lawyer billboards along that stretch of highway had to be at least 20.

Why are roadside billboards now dominated by accident and injury lawyers? I think I know why. The attorneys want to distract as many drivers as possible, and when they bang into each other, boom! Brand new clients.

I wonder if those trial lawyers can be held liable for causing a motor vehicle accident? I’d love to see the big lady with spiked hair sue the guy who’s always on a motorcycle.
*   *   *

I don’t know about you, but on my 2023 Bingo Card, I definitely did not have: “Dolly Parton sings ‘Free Bird’ with the surviving members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

Dolly’s new album, “Rock Star,” is actually a lot of fun. The country music icon recorded dozens of classic rock n’ roll songs, many as duets with the original artists, including Steven Tyler, Elton John, Joan Jett, Peter Frampton, Paul McCartney, Sting, Pat Benatar, and Stevie Nicks. I recommend that you give it a spin.

*   *   *

I recently read that 25% of all Americans still have not finished paying off their holiday shopping debt from 2022. What are the odds these same people refrained from making any Christmas purchases this year, to give themselves time to get their fiscal houses in order? Yeah, I agree: zero.

*   *   *

It dawned on me recently that I have no idea what figgy pudding is. Each December, I hear those old Christmas carols that mention figgy pudding, and often I sing along. But what exactly is it? No clue.

As an American, I know that pudding is a creamy, sweet, dairy product, which used to be pitched on TV by he-who-shall-not-be-named. Remember the ads for “Jello puddin’ pops”? Everyone now is trying to forget, and rightfully so, that he used to be called “America’s dad.” 

Anyway, I looked it up, and it turns out figgy pudding is more like a dense cake filled with dried fruit, which sounds like a typical British culinary move: start with something that has the potential to be tasty and then ruin it.
According to USA Today, this holiday favorite in the UK “is traditionally made with suet (which is raw beef or mutton fat), eggs, brown sugar, breadcrumbs, spices, dried fruits and, last — but certainly not least — brandy.”

It seems like figgy pudding is just the British version of fruitcake. And we all know how joyful it is to receive a fruitcake for Christmas. Not!

OK, we’re finished. My pile of notes did the job this week. Have a wonderful Christmas, and we’ll see you back here next week. Hopefully I’ll think of something interesting by then.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

‘Hey, Not Fair! It's MY Turn to Clean the House!’

Here is a direct quote from a recent news story: “A survey of 2,000 adults explored their cleaning habits and found that the average person spends over five hours a week scrubbing, washing, and dusting their home.”

The “average” person does that? Really? This news story claims the average American adult spends five-and-a-half hours each week cleaning his or her home. So, in a typical household with a husband and wife, a full 11 hours of cleaning is done each week? Nah, I’m not buying that. Something is odd here.

So, instead of reading only the headline and first paragraph, I decided to do something out of the ordinary since I had a few spare minutes: I read the entire news story. It turns out the survey was not exactly random, since it had a “double opt-in” format. This means the people who answered questions first had to go through two levels of online scrutiny. In other words, the folks who took the survey REALLY wanted to express their views about home cleaning. 
Here are some of the other findings of this study:
  • 32 percent of respondents said they do not like cleaning. (Only 32%? This figure should be closer to 100%. In other words, two-thirds of the people who took the survey LIKE to clean. See, I told you it wasn’t random.)

  • 26 percent said they have missed out on social events because they needed to stay home and clean instead. (OK, now we’re starting to get a better understanding of the people who took this survey. Right, the term “neat freak” popped into my head, too.)

  • On average, respondents said they start cleaning three days before they have guests over for the holidays, while one in seven survey takers start cleaning at least a week in advance. (Yup, definitely neat freaks.)

  • 39 percent of survey respondents claim that they show up early to events they’re not hosting to help the host clean. (No doubt about it. These folks are all members of the Felix Unger Fan Club.)

By now, you’re probably wondering what the point is of this survey and news story. That’s what I was wondering about halfway through the article. Then I read this sentence: “Half of the respondents said they would be interested in having help with cleaning from a professional if it would help free up their time.”

The next paragraph contained the “money quote.” Raychel Leong-Sullins had this to say: “Professional cleaning helps to free up time for people to have fun building memories with friends and family rather than focusing on the dreaded task of cleaning up before and after events.”

Who is Ms. Leong-Sullins, you ask? She just happens to be the president of Maid Brigade, a house cleaning franchise company. 

You might also be wondering who commissioned this scientific survey? Well, lookee here, it happens to be the Maid Brigade firm. 

Oh, and who wrote a press release in the format of a news story, and then paid to have it appear all over the Internet? None other than the marketing department at Maid Brigade.
To be honest, I’m kind of impressed with Maid Brigade’s business acumen. I bet this advertising campaign masquerading as a news story will generate a lot of new customers for the company’s franchisees. 

On the other hand, this story has me very concerned. If this faux news story makes the claim that the average American adult does 5-1/2 hours of house cleaning each week, someone I know might see the story. Then this particular someone might say to me, “You’re about 5 hours and 27 minutes below average, dear.”

To get my average up, I might have to call those Maid Brigade people.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Daily Mass Is Truly a Gift

A few weeks ago, I took a vacation day from work. I still got up early that morning, because sleeping late is just a distant memory these days. Does anybody remember the good ol’ days, when if you stayed up until 2 am you would sleep until 10 am? Yeah, fun times. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter when I go to bed. I’ll still wake up at quarter to five — or earlier.

So, on my vacation day, I still went to the YMCA to swim laps. After that, instead of my usual scramble to get to work on time, I basked in the glow of having no pressing engagements. I looked forward to going to a nearby donut shop and enjoying a glass of prune juice and some broccoli. (Just so you know, “prune juice and broccoli” are my code words for coffee and a glazed cruller.)
As I was driving to the donut shop, I realized I was only about five minutes away from a Catholic church, and daily Mass was scheduled to begin in 10 minutes. I started having an animated conversation with my conscience.

“Going to daily Mass wasn’t on my to-do list today,” I explained. My conscience said, “So what? Go anyway.”

“But I was planning on going to the donut shop now,” I said. “Well, go there after Mass. It’ll still be open,” my conscience replied.

I struggled to make a decision. Then I remembered a comment made by one of the keynote speakers at the Connecticut Catholic Men’s Conference back in September. I can’t remember which terrific speaker said this — I’m guessing it was Fr. Larry Richard. Here’s what was said: “If you have the opportunity to go to daily Mass, and you choose not to, you are an idiot!”

Just so you know, this was a boisterous conference with over 500 men in attendance, and the language was far more blunt than you normally would hear during, say, a homily at Sunday Mass. So, none of the guys present were offended by the word “idiot.” It was just the speaker’s way of vividly making a point.

And it is a very good point. Because after all, what is the Mass? Is it merely a ceremony we engage in to remind ourselves that we’re Catholic and to keep our religious traditions alive? 

No, at every Mass Jesus Christ becomes fully present — body, blood, soul, and divinity. The Mass is the closest thing to Heaven on earth. The Lord Himself is truly present at Mass, in a much more powerful way compared to praying or reading Scripture. (Don’t get me wrong. Prayer and Scripture are phenomenal. It’s just that Mass is another level greater than those important spiritual exercises.) The bottom line is this: at Mass we have the opportunity to receive genuine supernatural grace and enter into a mystical, loving relationship with Christ. 
Think of it this way: Imagine if someone had not eaten for two full days, and therefore was feeling really faint. And imagine this person was invited to an all-you-can-eat buffet at no charge. Then imagine this person said, “No, I’m not obligated to go today, so I’ll wait four more days until Sunday.”

Not a very smart decision, right? Well, Mass is like a spiritual buffet for our famished souls. Why wait until Sunday, when we’re “obligated” to go? Why not attend the spiritual feast on a Tuesday or Thursday? 

So, I finally decided to drive past the donut shop and go to daily Mass. It was a surprisingly agonizing decision. (You know how much I like broccoli.)

Well, of course, it was the right choice. Mass was wonderful. I drew much closer to the Lord in prayer, and then when I received the Eucharist I could feel His presence inside me. It turned out to be the highlight of my vacation day.
I’m not going to go so far as to call someone an idiot if he or she has the chance to attend daily Mass but chooses not to. But I at least ask that you prayerfully ponder what Mass is before making your decision.

Oh, and by the way, when Mass concluded, the donut shop, just as my conscience assured me, was still open for business. I arrived about 40 minutes later than planned. And the "prune juice and broccoli" were more tasty than ever.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

New Survey on the Eucharist Is More Encouraging

You might remember a Pew Research study a few years ago that shockingly claimed that less than one-third of Catholics in the U.S. believe that Jesus Christ is truly present in the Eucharist. This meant fully two-thirds of all Americans who identify as Catholic do not accept one of the Church’s most important doctrines: that the bread and wine are truly transformed at Mass into the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Christ. This doctrine has been proclaimed by faithful Christians since the first century. It goes all the way back to John, chapter 6, and 1 Corinthians, chapter 11.

That Pew study has been cited quite often as proof that the Church is, to use an old expression, going to hell in a handbasket. I cited that study multiple times in these Merry Catholic essays, essays that weren’t exactly merry, considering the sad findings of the survey.

Well, a new study has just been published, which shows that things are not quite so dire. Georgetown University’s Center of Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) conducted a new survey, and the results challenge the methodology of the 2019 Pew study.

The CARA study shows that almost two-thirds of adult Catholics in the U.S. believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Wow, that is quite a difference, and much more encouraging than the previous survey.

The people at CARA claim that the questions in the original Pew Research study were not phrased very well, which led to the surprisingly low percentage. For example, in the Pew study, this question was asked: “Regardless of the official teaching of the Catholic Church, what do you personally believe about the bread and wine used for Communion?”

Then there were options that could be chosen regarding the bread and wine:
  1. Actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
  2. Are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
  3. No answer.
The problem is, even though the Church has always taught that the bread and wine are truly transformed into the body and blood of Jesus, the Church also has taught that the Eucharist is both “substance and symbol.”
The Pew study only counted people who picked option #1 as accepting the Church’s historic teaching. However, someone who actually believes in the Real Presence may have remembered Sr. Mary Margaret mentioning in 9th grade theology class decades ago that the Eucharist is substance and symbol, and picked option #2.

The people at CARA think the wording of the Pew survey caused the percentage to be too low. Their new survey question was much more direct: “Just to clarify, do you personally believe that after Consecration during a Catholic Mass, that Jesus Christ is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine upon the altar?”  

This yes-or-no question revealed that 64% of U.S. Catholics said, “Yes.” 

So, slightly less than two-thirds is way better than slightly less than one-third. On the other hand, it still means there are millions of people in this country who call themselves faithful Catholics who do not accept the core doctrine that the Church has defined as the “source and summit of the Christian life.”

The idea of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist was not invented by some medieval pope a thousand years after Jesus walked the earth. It was taught by Jesus Himself, written about by St. Paul, and preached by Christian missionaries from the very beginning. 

There’s a good reason the Church calls the Eucharist the “source and summit of the Christian life.” It is truly Jesus in the flesh. And even though two-thirds of Catholics believe this, which is much better than only one-third, there are still so many people who are missing out.
Therefore, we still have a lot of work to do, and the clergy can’t do it alone. We all have to pitch in and remind our friends and loved ones about the doctrine of the Eucharist. The first thing we should do is go back and re-read the gospel of John, chapter 6, and St. Paul’s first epistle to the church at Corinth, chapter 11.

The Eucharist is a doctrine worth talking about. After all, it’s the closest we can get to Jesus while still here on earth.

(For more info on this topic, click here.)

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Is Classic Rock Now Dinosaur Music?

The other day I read an article that claimed classic rock is now a dinosaur musical genre, which soon will be relegated to the dustbin of history, along with Glenn Miller-type big band music from the 1930s and ‘40s.

The writer of the article, who obviously was some smart-aleck whippersnapper no older than age 40, pointed out that all the famous classic rock musicians are either dead, or will be dead in less than a decade. (I won’t mention the writer’s name here — mostly because I forgot it.)

It’s true that many of the artists who created rock n’ roll music, from the mid-1960s through the early ‘90s, are gone now. But on the other hand, some of them are still going strong. For example, the Rolling Stones just released a new album and the following senior citizen singers have performed in concert during the past year or so: Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Pete Townsend.
I think what annoyed me most about the snarky “classic rock is dead” article is the way the writer almost gleefully pointed out that Baby Boomers, those of us who are the biggest fans of classic rock, have entered into the final phase of our journey here on earth. He seemed anxious to be rid of us, so he would no longer be subjected to “old fogey” music from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Joan Jett, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tom Petty, Boston, Led Zeppelin, etc.

Speaking of being “subjected to” music, I attended a college football game back in November, and during halftime the PA system played rap music for 20 minutes straight. My seat was really close to a large speaker, and after about 10 minutes I turned to no one in particular and said out loud, “Any chance they can play some Beatles or Queen, ya know, something that actually has a melody?”
Two students nearby heard me, and turned and stared at me as if I had suggested the PA system should play Mozart’s Fugue in G minor. I smiled and shrugged. Over the next few minutes I noticed those two students were singing along with the rap songs. (Or is it reciting along with? Shouting along with? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure “singing” is not the correct word.) Anyway, they knew every word of the songs being played — in the same way I know every word of “Hey Jude” and “Born to Run” and a gazillion other classic rock tunes.

I thought I felt old during my recent annual physical, when the young whippersnapper doctor kept asking me questions like, “Have you noticed that you’re becoming more forgetful?” and, “Do you ever feel unsteady while walking?” However, that was nothing compared to the rap music halftime experience. When those two students stared at me with completely baffled expressions on their faces, I felt like saying, “And yes, I did meet Abraham Lincoln in person. He was a nice guy.”

To quote Joan Jett: “I love rock n’ roll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby!”
Hmm, the phrase “put another dime in the jukebox” is actually rather archaic. After all, jukeboxes were popular even before another musical relic, the beloved 8-track tape player. So, I guess for people who are in their 30s today, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll” is pretty much the same thing as Glenn Miller’s “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Well, I don’t care if classic rock is now a dinosaur musical genre, as long as I have my collection of tunes that put a smile on my face. As Bob Seger put it: “Today's music ain’t got the same soul / I like that old time rock n’ roll!”