Blonde Obsession

I decided to be a blonde once. Well, actually. It wasn’t me who decided. It was my hairdresser Maggie’s idea, and I went along.

“Wish I was born with lighter hair,” I complained to her, as she was cutting away, “This dark hair is so harsh.”
“But it’s your natural color”, she said, “It was the way God meant it to be.”
“It doesn’t look like my natural color. Look at my skin. It’s light, like my mothers’. Her hair is lighter, and it looks great on her.”

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Our Grandchildren, the Millennials, Usher in an Era of Change

At first glance, the Millennials look like anyone else, distinguishable only by their youth and the proximity of their iphones. But we know they are different—we can feel it from where we sit, just by looking at them, their group behavior, their subtle interactions. While we are watching everything around us, and making idle conversation, this is not what they are doing. Instead, they are looking down, tracking messages on their phones.

We can see it in their clothing too, simple and comfortable—jeans, tights, blazers, untucked shirts, sneakers, uniformly consistent and understated.

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Your Grandchildren, the Millennials, are Watching American Politics Unfold

My grandson, Aiden, is one of the Millennials, just turning nineteen today. He is perched on the arm of a chair in the front room, his long legs reaching halfway across the carpet, blond hair punked in a short cut, a shadow of a beard on his chin. He takes his eyes away from his iphone momentarily, and asks me,

“Gramma, what do you think is going to happen?”

“About what?” I ask.

“About what’s going on now, across America, across the world.”

I feel a little twinge in my chest, something that always happens when I know I have to dig deep and find a difficult truth that needs to be spoken. Here is my grandson, who I have watched grow and turn into a beautiful young man, with his whole life ahead of him, having worries no young person should have. We grandparents, like their parents, always want to say to the young people in our lives, “You are safe”.

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How Viral Sharing Powered the Women’s March

As millions of women, men and children in cities across the world streamed home after the Women’s March against Donald Trump on January 21, they felt what most people would feel after being part of such a monumental event: tired, exhilarated, somehow blessed. They knew they had been a part of something staggering, a bringing together of people in  massive record-breaking crowds. It was, they felt, one of humanity’s finest hours.

For days, the news showed happy throngs, many of them young, meeting, losing each other, reconnecting by iphone, expressing their joy and wonder that their concerns were shared. Jubilant in the message that bound them, not even aware of how it came about, and taking for granted that this sort of thing can happen in the era of social media.

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MOOC: Finally! A Revolution in Education.

While the public swoons over the arrival of the latest smart watch and FitBit, and the newest smart phone is your grandchild’s constant obsession, another quieter, more lasting revolution is unfolding in the technological world. It comes in the form of MOOC, which stands for Massive Open Online Courses, and promises a sea change in the most basic of our public needs.

Accessible education for all, the stuff that academics and students dream about, has arrived without fanfare or the benefit of a trade show. We shouldn’t be surprised—just as the Internet has invaded corporate and government domination over the communication and music industries, it has now set its sights on one of the most change-resistant public services ever, college education, threatening to make it virtually free, and to end that monopoly for all time.

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Sensational! The CES Trade Show in Las Vegas

If I was a guest at the CES trade show in Las Vegas last week, I know I’d be wandering the aisles and hallways, boggle eyed, like a deer in the headlights.

Unlike fellow blogger, Lois Whitman, who has attended every one of the CES conferences through its 50 years of existence, and has the presence of mind to blog about it brilliantly (DigiDame), I would be overwhelmed. Maybe I’d even skip the whole thing and go to the beach (kidding—it’s a 5 hour drive!).

CES, is an international electronics show, which showcases what’s new, what is coming up, and what some of the world’s noteworthy scientists are thinking. Here is a description from its website:

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The Two Faces of Artificial Intelligence

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about driverless cars (guided by artificial intelligence), and how they would impact employment, a burning issue during the recent US presidential campaign. Until then, I had never given much thought to artificial intelligence (AI). Of course I’d heard of it, but shrugged it off as movie mania that I had to endure in science fiction previews at the movies. But driverless cars took me to other aspects of the AI world, and I found myself drawn to the hundreds of articles and books on the subject. Now I’m hooked, and it’s a bit late to go back.

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Happy 2017! What’s in Store For Us This Year?

I want to wish you a Happy New Year more personally this year, so I’ve created this short video, which I hope will give you a better idea of who I am, and what I hope to offer in this blog in 2017.

I’m a member of the Silent Generation, born just before the second world war. I started this blog two years ago in order to discuss what is important about my age group, and what we can do to keep our memory and contributions alive. Many of us had hardships, and did without privileges during our youth, but once we reached adulthood, we were privy to the fastest growing and most stable economy and job situation ever. We had what we wished our children could build upon.

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A Holiday Greeting to My Followers!

Thank you to all of my followers for making this year an extraordinary one! I have been so gratified to have you visit my blog regularly, and to post thoughtful, sometimes challenging and sometimes funny comments. You made me laugh. You made me think!

You helped me to feel connected while doing this work, which can be lonely and isolating.
I wish you all the best as you celebrate this time of year. May you have good health, happiness and an abundance of love in 2017.

I have many new writing ideas for my blog next year, and hope that I can entertain you, bring you a unique perspective, and contribute to your life in some way. I’ll be back in 2017, after a rest and a few days of celebration and reflection.

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Eureka! It’s Time to Light up the Christmas Tree!

This week my husband went downstairs to the storage room to bring up our boxes of Christmas tree decorations. It takes real commitment to do this every year. After all, we know what those boxes contain—glass balls without the metal hangers, garlands with last year’s needles still attached, and messes (I mean masses) of Christmas tree lights carelessly tossed in and destined for a sorting out, (which never happens).

And we’re late, red and green Christmas lights went up on our Parliament buildings across the harbor two weeks ago, the conical imitation trees are already scattered around the city, reminding everyone that Christmas is just around the corner. Not to mention my condo neighbors, who put up their usual display of astoundingly beautiful decorations inside and outside of their unit in late November. But the urgency I feel this year is a little different.

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It’s Christmas—Let’s Talk About Love

Let’s put aside the hateful political rhetoric that has dominated the news for months. Let’s stop speculating about the fearsome cabinet picks of the new president-elect—especially those who have a hate-based reputation.  And let’s stop giving air space to the “fake news” that is currently poking it’s head out of the underground passages of the internet.

After all, it’s the season of peace and goodwill—the season of love. And ultimately, everything we do in preparing for Christmas is for someone we love:

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Christmas, Cabooses, Cars—And Change!

Change, Same Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

Today marks the three week deadline to Christmas, stores have been clamoring about it for weeks, emotional pressure is building up, and once again, I wonder what I can change to make preparations easier. Two years ago, I edited my Christmas card list, last year I halved my gift buying, this year I’m thinking about not sending parcels—sending money instead. Each adjustment comes with its own brand of guilt and regret.

But change is a constant in the lives of humans, and being adaptable is what keeps us going. This week I heard about an event that makes my minor Christmas adjustments pale in comparison—an announcement about a pilot project bringing driverless cars to Ontario, a province in our country. This is a significant event for me, since I’ve only recently become aware of driverless cars.

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