Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Who You Calling a Sociopath?

Can you really label an entire generation a bunch of sociopaths? You can if you write a book with the title A Generation of Sociopaths, but that doesn’t make it so.

Antisocial, lacking empathy, impulsive, egotistical, shameless, manipulative, deceitful….are these words that describe you or your fellow boomers? Maybe a few words match up with a few friends or acquaintances, but an entire generation? I don’t think so.

The author cites the usual suspects for his claim. Permissive parenting, too much television and prosperous times made us who we are. Massive debt, unemployment and environmental degradation are all down to us. Somehow, one generation (albeit a big one) has been able to ruin the world for everyone. The author won’t even give baby boomers credit for doing anything worthwhile. No credit for equal rights or anti-war movements, no pat on the back for efforts to promote clean water and protect the environment. We just greedily looked out for our own wellbeing and to hell with everyone else. All for one and all for one.

Slandering an entire generation with massively scaled generalizations seems so unfair, but when you’re part of what was then the largest generation ever, you come to expect that there’s a target on your back. Honestly, don’t you think our influence on everything from culture to politics is a little overrated? Every generation is responsible for a variety of trends but bell bottom pants and platform shoes did not really change the world.

Isn’t there a little bit of irony to the fact that the millennial author of the book is a venture capitalist. He was an early investor in Pay Pal and Facebook and that qualifies him to generalize about our lack of empathy? I’m thinking that banking on the internet to produce the next big thing to make a pile of money has a sociopathic ring to it.

Too bad we won’t be around in 40 years or so when someone writes a book titled “Millennials: The Next Generation of Sociopaths.”

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Feng Shui Trails

If you’re not looking down when hiking, you either have super powers or you fall a lot. The point is you’re constantly thinking about where you are going in order to plant the next step and the step after that, and the step after that. The trail could be rocky, muddy, sandy or covered in pine needles (my favorite), but you need to be looking down and making hundreds (maybe thousands) of split second decisions about where to plant your feet.

With all that concentration focused on remaining upright, it can be easy to miss nature’s feng shui efforts along the trail. You will encounter a log or root that crosses the trail at an angle with pine cones or rocks placed strategically in just the right position. You might see a natural step carved from a rock ledge that traverses the path. Even treefalls that block the trail have a natural symmetry that is unmistakably nature’s handiwork.

When viewed on a map, the entire trail can be an example of feng shui in that it conforms to the slope and topography of the land. Hiking trails were usually constructed with a nod towards finding the easiest line or axis. Given feng shui’s history as a forerunner of the magnetic compass, it makes perfect sense that there’s a real astronomical connection between the trail and the stars.

The English translation of feng shui is “wind-water” and both of these elements have a significant impact on the appearance of a hiking trail. Drainage erosion has created new trails and rerouted old trails, while wind blown sand covers up the path or forces the hiker to find a new line or route.

Is feng shui science or mystical pseudoscience? It doesn’t matter to the hiker who just wants to take the correct line or the right steps. Humans may create the trails but nature, and by extension feng shui, performs most of the upkeep. All we can do is try to take the right steps and be on the lookout for millions of feng shui examples one might see on any given hike.

It shouldn’t be that hard to see them. You are looking down at your feet for most of the hike.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Recliner Generation

Great news! Baby boomers are getting face lifts in record numbers, but even better than that, they have spurred a revolution in recliner chair design. That’s right, recliner chairs have gotten their own face lift.

Out of fashion are the big and bulky recliners your parents might have favored. They never fit in with your sleek d├ęcor anyway. But now that baby boomers are ready to recline, they want something more aesthetically pleasing and the furniture industry has responded.

A little history might be helpful here. La-Z-Boy (there’s something so perfect about that name) introduced the recliner in 1928. Apparently it was an immediate and long lasting hit with lazy men, and since they were often bought in pairs, there must have been a decent number of lazy women conjoined with their lazy mates.

The new and sleeker recliners not only have a smaller footprint, some are equipped with device charging stations and beverage coolers. They have even begun to motorize them so that the recliner will stand us up when we’re ready to get out of the chair (but why would we want to get up?). It’s not hard to imagine recliners that come with IV drips and other hospital-like features so that aging boomers never have to get up out of their chairs.

Four out of 10 recliners sold in 2014 were sold to baby boomers. Face it. Our generation is ready to get off its feet and stay off. But we want to do it in style. No more hiding the recliner. We want it out in the open for all to see and it has to look attractive. As usual, whatever boomers want, boomers get, as manufacturers clamor to please us.

Still, the old boxy recliner models are not going away. La-Z-Boy representatives say that they will never stop making the traditional recliner. So if you’re not jumping on the latest “sleek recliner” trend, La-Z-Boy can still accommodate your lack of fashion sense.

Either way, boomers appear ready to take this all lying down.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.