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Deanna, RIP!

[Yearbook] Deanna Basta

Got a call this past Thursday from Gail Armitage with the news that Deanna had passed away one week earlier, April 13. She had been in failing health recently with cardio/pulmonary issues. She’d been in a local hospice near her home in Summerfield, FL, not even a week. According to Gail the urgency of her condition came on rather suddenly—or so it seemed to non-family observers. And yet it was totally in keeping with Deanna’s spirit and past behavior to ignore it, at best, or be in complete denial, at worst. A brief obit appears here in the Villages News.

Rest in peace, Dee. You were a lifelong friend, a class leader, a good wife and citizen who loved your country with a passion. All that and a healthy, grown-up ego to boot. I am writing more on your Classmate Update page and inviting all of the many classmates who knew you and loved you to do likewise.

Hendersonville, NC


“The High School that Rocked”


Got a recent link from Noel to a Hartford Courant article about how a couple of Staples grads were able to persuade name bands to perform at Staples.

From the article:

From 1966 to 1968, Staples High in Westport pulled off what would seem to be impossible: Students lured The Doors, Cream, Sly & the Family Stone, the Rascals, the Animals, the Yardbirds and other top-name performers to perform live shows on campus…

Fred Cantor of Westport, who graduated from Staples High in 1971 and recently retired from his career as an attorney, produced the 27-minute film. It was directed and edited by Staples grad Casey Denton. The film tells the story of two students who teamed up to bring the bands to Staples.

Link to the article to read how they did it.

So why didn’t we think to ask, say, Chuck Berry to perform at our senior prom…? (I had to search online to recall which Rock ‘n Rollers were around in our day. By the way, Berry—a Rock ‘n Roll founder and Hall of Famer—died just two days ago at age 90.)

Thanks for the link, Noel… :-)


Formatting Delays

Sketch by Randy Enos

Shortly after the Civil War I began reformatting this blog (the former software version) in preparation for last year’s Big Software Upgrade.

Alas… you can see that the upgrade pretty much trashed said reformatting. The images, the captions and certain typographic elements do not render correctly. The question is how long will it take to redo it? It’s all about mucking around with the underlying HTML code and, where necessary, uploading the images again. And there’s billions of images…! I shall try to get it done—a little here and there as time permits—hopefully before we’ve all passed on. Wish me luck.

Hendersonville, NC


New Blog Format

With 2017 just begun and the inauguration of our 45th president just days away, I thought a new look for our blog might be in order. The MSM (Main Stream Media) are in a panic, the Twitter-verse is all (you knew it was coming…) a-twitter, and Hollywood celebrities are in full-frontal meltdown. And so it seemed to me that we older and wiser Children of the Fifties might bring some perspective to the current news circus while handing out free Valium.

Over the past several months I have done a lot of thinking about this site, launched some 12 years ago. Here, from the gut, is what I keep coming back to:

If this blog has any excuse for continuing to exist, it needs to be broadened to include classmate reaction and reflection on the major events and cultural direction of the day.

That said, the mission is now threefold:

  1. Classmate news Always the priority.
  2. Memorabilia Classmate photos and clippings of our youth along with notes and remembrances. (They’re all waiting patiently in some attic shoebox when you find the energy to get up there.)
  3. Commentary Classmate reflection on the passing scene and cultural artifacts—books, movies, music, etc., as well as an occasional rant about some current public sphere psycho-event. Since seen and filtered through the eyes of our rapidly vanishing (or at least trans-ishing) mid-century American culture, it will represent a kind of digital scrapbook for our dotage upon which from time to time to marinate and muse during our “…hour upon the stage…” And weep…

As promised a year ago, I have completed the software upgrade of our blog. Technical and time-consuming. However the new version offers automatic version upgrades (TG!). In preparation I went through the entire site content and redid all graphic elements for a more consistent look. In passing I removed a few posts no longer valid and quite a few duplicate photos. With the new “theme” in place I must now redo the text formatting, which differs in every theme. (Naturally…!)

Anyway, I’m on it!

New features:

  • Site banner (header image) Will vary from time to time depending on the season or what’s dominating the news cycle
  • RSS feed This will allow classmates to sign up for blog updates. A notice will appear in your Inbox when there’s a staples55.com update.
  • “Responsive” design This means the blog’s design will conform to all devices: PCs, iPads, notebooks, mobile phones.
  • Updates Lord willing, posts will be more frequent.
  • Commentary As mentioned there’ll be a separate page for longer “position papers”. The betting is that I will post the first one… :-)
  • Books (fiction) Anybody read a good novel lately? I did. The Girl on the Train . Wonderful escapism. The cover art caught my eye: a woman on a commuter train focusing with intense interest on something happening in the passing neighborhood. (Metro-North anyone…?)
  • Movies (drama) Another Bourne sequel…? Yes, No. 4: Jason Bourne . As compelling as the first three, in my view. Having watched the original and first two sequels 86 times, I feel qualified to offer a rating. Yes, Matt Damon is Jason.

Thanks for your patience. Thoughts, anyone…?


“Greatest Generation?” Who Knew…?

[Click any image to enlarge.]

[Yahoo.com] Generational Transitions

Life's Cycle

With Pearl Harbor Day upon us (75th anniversary), Bruce Kent sent me a link to an Atlantic.com piece claiming, by inference, that we little munchkins from The Fifties were members of the “Greatest Generation”…!


Like Bruce and probably everyone else in the class, I never considered myself a member of that special generation—the men and women who fought in World War II! It was our parents who fought the Great War. It was our dads who went off to fight on foreign soil. It was our moms who went with them as WAC and WAVE auxiliaries or who worked in munitions factories. Clearly it was the generation before us who so heroically fought and died to save the world from tyranny.

How could the authors of this piece come to such an errant (my opinion) conclusion…? Naming the generations (“Greatest Generation“), et. al., has no official standing with the U.S. Census Bureau (“We do not define the different generations,” according to a spokesperson), except for the “Baby Boomer” generation which began in 1946. Allied fighters returning home at war’s end served to “punctuate” traditional demographic growth by making a historic number of babies rather suddenly. The article goes on to name ensuing generations (“Generation X”, “Millennial”, etc.) up to the present time based on their research:

  • Greatest Generation 1906 – 1925 (“These are the people that fought and died in World War II for our freedom…”)
  • Baby Boomers 1946 – 1964 (“It began when the Greatest Generation got home and started having sex with everyone…”)
  • Generation ‘X’ 1965 – 1984 (Harvard U.)
  • Generation ‘Y’ mid-70s – mid-2000s (a “made-up” generation according to the article)
  • Millennials 1982 – 2004 (independent researchers)
  • No Name 2005 – 2024 (unnamed as yet)

To Bruce’s point, where the hell are we in this classification? Are we the “Forgotten” generation…? It wasn’t we who fought and died to make the world safe for democracy! At three years of age I was sucking my thumb, not a german bayonet! In other words every living U.S. citizen (and unborn till 2024) over the past 100 years is accounted for in this scheme except for us!

The reference to “Greatest Generation” is attributed to the title of a well-known historical work by Tom Brokaw—formerly an NBC news commentator. As mentioned, the Baby Boomer generation began when our soldiers returned from the war in 1946. And the remaining generations mentioned in the article come roughly in 20-year consecutive brackets until today.

This oversight in the article began tweaking my ulcer(s) to the point where I did a little research, myself (a hazard of having no life to speak of…). Have a look at wartime conscription by birth year:

Draft Eligibility Birth Years
Year Grandparents
Draft Eligible
Draft Eligible
Our Generation
Draft Eligible
1940 Born 1904-1905
(Age 35-36)
Born 1906-1919
(Age 21-34)
Selective Service eligibility by law (9/16/1940): 21 – 36
1941 Born 1905
(Age 36)
Born 1906-1920
(Age 21-35)
1942 Born 1905
(Age 37)
Born 1906-1924
(Age 18-36)
Amended eligibility range (11/11/1942): 18-37
1943 Born 1906-1925
(Age 18-37)
1944 Born 1907-1925
(Age 19-37)
Born 1926
(Age 18)
1945 Born 1908-1925
(Age 20-37)
Born 1926-1927
(Age 18-19)
V-E Day: 5/8/1945

You can readily see from the table what a disproportionately huge contribution our parents’ generation made to the World War II effort. And by comparison how small a total from our generation: 14 months of eligibility in 1944 and 1945 (18- and 19-year olds) compared to 56 months on our parents’ part.

In search of a proper name for our generation (1926 – 1945), we need to ask what was the defining historic event that took place during our lifetime. Was there any?

Sure there was. Discounting The Great Depression (which we had no part in causing and were late arrivals to the party, anyway), we are the Rock ‘n’ Roll generation, are we not? From Wikipedia.org:

While elements of rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until the 1950s…

Beyond simply a musical style, rock and roll, as seen in movies and on television, influenced lifestyles, fashion, attitudes, and language. In addition, rock and roll may have contributed to the civil rights movement because both African-American and white American teens enjoyed the music.

[Google Images] Elvis Presley


It was larger than a music genre. It spread to Europe and around the world. It became part of the Civil Rights movement. C’mon, people: it was a whole damn culture! And we helped create it…! :-)

So, Bruce, here’s how the past century (five generations) might be redefined. At least in my overworked cranium. Maybe yours, too:

  • Greatest Generation 1906 – 1925 (the vast majority of men and women in uniform during WW II)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Generation 1926 – 1945 (that’s us!)
  • Baby Boomers 1946 – 1965
  • Generation ‘X’ 1966 – 1985
  • Millennials 1986 – 2005

Any other suggestions…? Comments, please…

P.S. A couple of ex-classmates recalled in comments (see below) that we already have a name: the Silent Generation. Amen to that.


[06880danwoog.com] James Comey, FBI Director[Click any image to enlarge.]


Here we are already, 2016 elections:

  • Voter Fraud Day, Tuesday, November 8, come and gone
  • Post-Election Protest & Rioting Week in full swing one week out
  • Democrat Party hand-wringing, soul-searching while Bernie supporters plot how to take over DNC…

With the long-anticipated election of Hillary Clinton as the first female U.S. president thwarted in a stunning defeat by Donald J. Trump, real estate tycoon, Reality TV icon and Republican nominee, we now learn that the current FBI Chief, James Comey, who recently drew attention with his unusual (and questionable) role in the Clinton email scandal investigation…is or was—are you ready— a Westport resident…?!!! Full story at 06880DanWoog.com.

[06880danwoog.com] Comey's residence on Beachside Ave.Photo shows Comey’s residence on Beachside Avenue in Greens Farms. Although a Greens Farms kid, myself, I don’t recognize the house. (We didn’t have gated driveways on our street…) Comey’s career included a stint as general counsel to Bridgewater Associates, a noted hedge fund located in Westport. Its corporate campus is on Glendinning Place off Weston Road (Route 57) near the Lyons Plains intersection. Used to be a nature preserve and neat place to jog.

Anyway, who knew…? Will life ever return to normal…? Are there any smelling salts around here? I’m having the vapors…

P.S. Hat tip to Bruce Kent for this link to 06880 blog. Illegal vote count starting to come in. First reports: 3 million. No word yet on how many dead voted this time. Will keep you posted…


Westport Sitcom Panned



Last week I received an 06880danwoog.com heads-up from Bruce Kent about a new ABC sitcom scheduled to launch yesterday, October 11, 2016. It takes place in our once-beloved, once-recognizable hometown of Westport.

Didn’t watch American Housewife, myself. According to reviews at 06880danwoog.com and another in The New York Times, we didn’t miss much: a stream of unfunny lines by actors not acting so much as mugging for the camera. Since I didn’t watch it, I won’t comment except to say this: Having read the NY Times piece and being the Certified Cultural Dinosaur that I am alleged to be, I came away completely clueless as to the point of the series. And so…

Another TV sitcom nothingburger I can mercifully ignore.


Hendersonville, NC


Happy Father’s Day…!

Father's Day at the Clifford's


Father’s Day just past, I asked myself what should I be expecting on Father’s Day at this point in my life…? Seriously: A $100 gift certificate to take mom out to dinner…? A book, say, Killing Patton…? A loving phone call…? Ok, a loving Father’s Day card: “Dad, you are my hero. The greatest dad in the whole world…!” Etc.

Truth? All of the above reasonable scenarios, yes?

Not so fast. When that child so lovingly raised turns out to be a smart-ass… Maybe the expectations should be lowered somewhat. Whaddya’ think…? (Click image to enlarge.)

Father’s Day Karma, anyone…? :-)


Georgetown School Days…Who Knew…?

[Yearbook] Virginia Morehouse


Rummaging around in her self-described pack rat attic, Ginny came across some photos of 7th-grade classmates. Not from a Wilton school, but from the Gilbert & Bennett School in Georgetown where kids went in 7th grade after graduation from the Wilton Center (elementary) School. Who knew…!? Full story here.

[Ed. Great stuff, Ginny…! Any more pix, please forward.]


Why Men Shouldn’t Write Advice Columns

This advice column recently appeared in a Charlotte, NC, newspaper:

Dear John,
I hope you can help me. The other day I set off for work leaving my husband in the house watching TV. My car stalled and then it broke down about a mile down the road. I had to walk back to get help from my husband. When I got home I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was in our bedroom with the neighbor’s daughter…!!!

I am 32 and my husband is 34. We have been married ten years. The neighbor’s daughter is 19. When I confronted him he broke down and admitted they’d been having an affair for the past six months. He won’t go to counseling and I’m a wreck. I need advice urgently. Can you please help…!?


Dear Sheila,
A car stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of engine faults. Start by checking there is no debris in the fuel line. If clear, check the vacuum pipes and hoses on the intake manifold. Also check all grounding wires. If none of this solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump, itself, is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the injectors. I hope this helps.

All the best,

[Ed. I’m tempted to ask why this strikes people as funny… :-)]