AL COMMITS AGEISM, YEAH THAT'S RIGHT, AL 8/23/19

Our first idea came from an article Andy’s son Greg sent to Andy. It was about 40 being the new 60. Did anyone say The New 60? The article talked about the last allowable prejudice in these politically correct times. Ageism. The author was saying 40 now seemed old and he felt as if it was perceived the same as being 60 was, hence The New 60. Great article Greg and thanks for the insight. That got us to wondering, are we all subject to ageism, and are we guilty of it, even if we ourselves are seniors? Who among us hasn’t encountered an older person behind the counter at a fast food restaurant, at a Starbucks, or selling running shoes and wondered, aren’t you a little old for this? And the answer is no. If you can do it, then do it. I mean we’re not applying for the Olympic 400 meter relay team. Al confronts such a situation in his fledgling chain store, Pizza on a Stick.

The next idea came from a trip to the Vermont Country Store. Really, that’s what it’s called. They had all sorts of great food, jams, cheeses breads and the like, but, if you are a person of a certain age, they had all this nostalgic stuff from your childhood. 6 oz coke bottles, gummy lemon wedges and orange peels, Colorforms, and toys you’d think don’t exist anymore like, Rock’em Sock ‘em Robots. To us they seem like the coolest things ever made, and we say cliched stuff such as, “they don;t make ‘em like that anymore.” To the younger generation it’s, “yawn, you think this holds a candle to Play Station? Really? Have you ever played Madden 2019? Even once?

No. Because it’s not as good as Rock ‘em Sock ‘em and (if we’re really honest), we’d be terrible at it.

That’s it for this week. See you again next Friday. Have a great last weekend before Labor Day, and stop working so much, will ya’?

The New 60.

Research. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it 7/12/19

We at the New 60 realize viewers have come to expect a certain level of professionalism from this comic strip. We go the extra mile to bring you high-quality laughs- no short cuts taken here, nosiree. It is with this attention to detail in mind that we bring you this week’s two comics and tell you about a recent field trip we went on, all in the name of research. While strolling the aisles of our local supermarket, we noticed how many different versions of popular products there are- line extensions are what we used to call it when we wore our marketing hats. That inspired our first comic. But it’s not just packaged goods that tempt consumers with a wealth of choices. And that leads us to our second comic which we “researched” at an entirely different kind of supermarket.

Al is, shall we say, perturbed at the over 20 varieties of Triscuit crackers he encounters. In the old days if we wanted cheese on a Triscuit, we’d put cheese on for a savory taste. You didn’t need Gouda flavored Triscuits. And if we craved a sweeter taste, we’d put jelly on a triscuit. Or suppose you wanted a thinner cracker? Well then you’d buy Wheat Thins. Not Thin Wheat Triscuits. Really it’s okay to have a little competition. One company doesn’t have to own every variety of every cracker. It’s enough to turn us back into, gasp, bread eaters (but only the gluten free kind). And when’s the last time you checked the cereal aisle? Let me decide what I want to put on my Cheerios. Don’t let some “marketing genius” artificially flavor them for me. And Special K? Fuhgeddaboutit. Just don’t get Al (or either of us) started on this vitally important topic.

Next, we conducted extensive research at one of the new, and very popular, legal marijuana dispensaries. Like we said… no stone unturned (or is it no turn unstoned?) Who knew a simple thing like pot could become as complicated as Triscuits? There’s old fashioned weed, now called flower, vape pens, chocolate candies, grape flavored gummies, something called tinctures, which you take with a dropper and then wax, shatter, pre rolled…you get the idea. And when they start talking about hybrid blends of indica and sativa and ratio of cbd to thc, you need a PhD to understand what’s going on. It makes us long for a simpler time.

Enough ranting for this week. Enjoy the blog, the comics and we will be back at you next week, with two fresh ones. And no, we won’t be offering a Gouda flavored alternative to either comic.

The New 60

Decluttering and other fun topics 6/14/19

Hey, it happens to all of us. The kids grow up, get jobs, and move out of the house. Suddenly the place becomes cavernous. The school taxes are ridiculous, especially since the aforementioned kids are no longer in school. You and your partner think, what are we doing in this money pit? And you move. But first you have to declutter. Out go the kids’ lacrosse sticks, their old cleats, field hockey sticks, art projects, report cards, in short, stuff you saved simply because you had the room to store (and lacked the courage to toss it). It’s easy to get rid of somebody else’s old junk, but what about your own? Surely your new abode can’t accommodate your out of favor exercise equipment, Bowflex, Heavy Hands, ab rollers, etc. It may hurt to give these up for pennies on the dollar, but very few people want them. One of us recalls going out for a run during his yard sale and returning home seeing his old Nordic Track ski trainer in an open trunk, driving down the street. Upon returning to the house, he asked the auctioneer, “so how much did that go for,” and the auctioneer proudly announced, “We got $50 for it.” Forget that it cost $600 new. So if you are considering downsizing, you’ve got two basic alternatives, sell everything you can’t fit into your smaller living quarters for a mere pittance or…don’t move. The choice is yours, our friends. It’s a painful topic, but it makes an entertaining comic strip. At least we hope so.

Our other area this week is computer bots, or in longhand, robots. You know when you get asked to check a box saying “I am not a robot?” and then that isn’t good enough so you have to check how many cars are in the block of pictures, or how many crosswalks or how many cars? And who takes those godawful blurry photographs in the first place??? If you’re reading this blog, you’ve been asked all these questions just to get on our mailing list. It’s a security problem, say the experts. You need this because it’ll protect your readers from being bothered by other internet marketers. Personally, let the damn robots have their day. Just don’t ask me if I’m one of them, okay? So it is both aggravating and the topic of one this week’s comics.

Please enjoy them and let us know what you think in the comments section below. We answer everything we get.

Have a terrific weekend and we’ll see you next Friday. Well we won’t “see you” see you, but you get the drift.

The New 60

Unplugging 6/7

Yeah, we know it’s a little strange writing a blog about unplugging while on a laptop computer. As Alanis Morissette once sang, “Isn’t it Ironic”? And this week, both our comics are about ways to unplug and de-stress. One is about a thing we’ve been doing long before it became a thing. We call it, “taking a walk in the woods.” But it turns out that’s an ancient Japanese custom called Shinrin-Yoku or “Forest Bathing.” Who knew? We stumbled upon it while doing research for a advertising a wood treatment product. It turns out the decaying trees on the ground coupled with the smells of growing trees and leaves give off beneficial smells that reduce stress hormones in men and women. And it’s a slow walk, not a forced hike. But warning, you’ve got to take off the wireless Beats, Bose or Apple headphones and listen to stuff like the birds chirping and the wind rustling the leaves and the babbling brooks. Why do we need this? Well, I can only speak for myself (Andy) but I can often be found watching a Mets game on my tv, while doing the crossword on my iPad and pausing to shoot off an occasional text on my iphone. All this while receiving a bump on the wrist from my apple watch telling me it’s time for deep breathing. We thought the name “forest bathing” cried out for fun and we hope we provided it.

The other comic comes from experience. These Fitbit wrist bands and apple watches are great if you need external motivation to get going. But what if you don’t? Then it becomes annoying as hell. Both John and I have had recent incidents when we took off our watches or bands for some reason, did some heavy physical activity, and then realized we hadn’t put the watch/band back on. Heavens! Sure we got the benefits of the exercise but it totally didn’t count because we didn’t record it. You know, if a tree falls and no one hears it, does it make a sound? So we tackled the absurdity of our reliance on these all-encompassing devices that serve to remind us we have failed miserably as human beings on a daily basis. And we pay good money to find out!

So anyway dear readers, show technology who’s boss this week. Turn off your phone, okay but what if your kids call and they are in trouble? Turn off your tv, but how can I watch the Mets? Turn off your laptop, but how can I read my ebook, and for god’s sake toss away the Fitbit, except I’m about to get my congratulatory 10,000 step thingie. Ya know what? Forget the whole thing and if you gotta plug in, at least make sure you plug into the New 60.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

The New 60

Should I take it now or take it later? 5/3/19

Social security. Once you hit 60 you start thinking about it. Should I take it as soon as I can? That would be age 62 1/2 (why the half is anyone’s guess), or should I wait as long as I can? That would be age 70 1/2 (there’s that damn half again). If you take it right away, you get less each month. The longer you wait, the more you get. But who knows how long you’re going to last? Gosh, this is getting kind of morbid, but at any rate, it’s a thing John and I discussed. It’s kind of funny because the 70 1/2 thing works only if you plan on being around a long time. I proposed that idea to John and he said, no, what does everyone you know say when you talk about how long you’re gonna be around? They say, “Yeah, but what happens if you get hit by a bus?” And that was the core of our first idea this week.

Our second thought came from having to wait on the phone. Anytime you have to, it’s horrible, and if you’re like us, you dread it even before it happens. It’s the call to dispute an insurance claim, a bank statement, a credit card bill, fun stuff like that. I recently suffered through one of these with Citibank. Now I’m sure it’s a fine institution, but it’s an institution. And my “representative” obviously had a script she was reading from. She was told, when the customer seems to be getting more and more upset (that’d be me) just tell him/her that “I understand the frustration you’re going through.” Trust me, it doesn’t work. I once had an advertising client who, in rejecting my idea said, “I applaud your passion, but…no.” Hey, buddy, applaud this.

One final note, John repeated the opening lyrics to “Brandy, you’re a fine girl,” word for word. I tried to get us to do “Mandy” but I could only get as far as “I remember all my life…” so John won.

See you next week.

The New 60

A couple of mind readers, we're not. 4/19/19

Remember the mini series, The People vs. O.J.? In it, the all-black jury is coming to OJ’s house to see if he’s truly part of the black community. OJ’s lawyers take a peek first and are horrified to find pictures of OJ and his white wife, NIcole. OJ Playing golf with the extremely white Arnold Palmer, etc. The lawyers then “blackify” his house with African Art and sculpture. Well this is sort of like that, with much, much lower stakes. Al rearranges Craig’s apartment to be much more appealing to Craig’s date. Cause Al’s a mindreader. Al knows exactly what’s going to work. On a woman he’s never met. Sure he does.

The next strip is born of an amazing coincidence. It turns out both John and my oldest kids are daughters, both the same age, both named Ali! Now we will always see them as our “kids” even though they are all grown up. But what happens when someone calls them “ma’am” for the first time? We certainly remember the first time we were called “sir.” It’s a sign of respect. The hell with that, it’s a sign of age, is what it is. We watch Marv’s daughter, named Alicia (absolutely NO relation to either of our daughters, purely coincidental) experience her first encounter with that phenomenon. We tried to read the mind of what a young woman must think while being confronted with a ma’am. I’m sure we failed spectacularly, but that’s all part of the fun.

Have a great weekend and we will see you next week with two new ones.

The New 60

Prescription for dealing with prescription drug ads 3/22/19

These days, it seems like you can’t turn on the tv without listening to a pharmaceutical ad. Now maybe that’s a result of watching things like cable news shows, but still. One day I said to John, you ever notice with these new drugs, how they say “People who are allergic to X shouldn’t take X. No shit.” He said, “I wonder about that all the time. How the hell would you know you’re allergic to something if you’ve never taken that thing?” And so our first comic was born.

This is part of what is known as “fair balance.” And that, dear readers, led us to our second comic. The fair balance is the part that comes after the part when they tell you how wonderful your life will be if you take whatever drug they happen to be hawking. It’s the part with the disgusting and scary list of side effects, such as “anal leakage.” We decided to spare you by leaving that part out of the actual comic.

Now as many of you know, John and I had long careers in advertising. And towards the end, we did a lot of pharma (industry shorthand for pharmaceutical advertising). That’s why we know fancy terms like “fair balance.” True story, we rarely worked together in advertising, but did work in the same agency for the last 10 years or so. It was at that agency that John and his partner came up with a terrific animated campaign for an arthritis drug. After miraculously making it through the myriad testing layers, the campaign aired, everyone was thrilled at the response, and soon there were several more executions ready to move into production. Then a similar drug was found to cause fatal heart attacks. All advertising was pulled…leading to the unceremonious demise of the cheery little animated campaign. Eventually, the drug went back on air but they were required to include the possible fatal side effects in the fair balance So the announcer, with a cheery voice, had to say something like: “People who are allergic to _________ shouldn’t take ________. Side effects may include nausea, lightheadedness and internal bleeding, which in rare cases, can lead to death.” You’re sitting in the recording session saying, “Uhh can you make that death part seem not so dark?”

Oh, and one last thing. in case you never bothered to wrestle with the name, Dis-kure-zitall, is our goof name for “This cures it all.” See you next week.

The New 60

A big tip on getting up there 3/15/19

We were trying to schedule dinner with friends both locally and in the city. You know how planning can get. So after another cancellation, we made reservations for 6 (3 couples) to meet for some great old school Italian in the Bronx. What people dismissively call a “red sauce joint” but I call “delicious.” If you tell me you can’t stand chicken parm, I’m telling you you’re a liar. As fate would have it, a major snowstorm was called for that evening. We moved dinner up early and arrived early and 4 of us went to the bar. After ordering drinks the bar tender asked us all for our ID’s. And I noticed the women seemed delighted. When I mentioned this to John the next day, he quickly thought of a more diabolical ending then the one that actually happened. What really happened was we said “Really,” and he said “No, not really.” He was having fun with us, but you can’t recreate dialogue like that with a still image so we changed the ending accordingly. A tip to all bartenders: ask for the ID. You’ll make fast friends.

Our second comic comes from two separate incidents. One of us saw Elton John in a big stadium while the other attended a local music hall to see Michael McDonald (he of the Doobie Brothers, one album with Steely Dan and a long solo career). What we noticed was how freaking old everyone in the audience was. It shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was anyway. Often my wife and I will say, “Can you believe how old everyone is around here?” and it occurs to me we don’t have the luxury of a mirror when we say this. Plus it’s an ego thing, so when we say, “Can you believe how old everyone is,” we never are ever talking about ourselves. Ever. Is that clear? Not even when we go on a hiking trip to celebrate my brother in law’s 70th birthday. We are young damn it. Understand?

Phoning it in 11/30/18

No, we’re not actually phoning it in. We’re doing a “Then and Now” about the ubiquitous, sometimes obnoxious, and always interruptus … cell phone. When we got the idea I thought it would be great to show all the things you used to do and show how they’re done now. But John said no, I have a different insight. It doesn't matter what the current technology happens to be, we’re still doing exactly the same stuff we used to do, only now it’s on a phone. Better angle. That phone brings joy and pain, and like the people in your life that are most important to you, there are times you can’t live with them, but god forbid you try to live without them.

A good case in point was involved the Landorf family dog, a wheaten terrier (we called him a Wheaten Terrorist) named Otis. Unfortunately Otis grew increasingly aggressive after he turned 7 or 8. He became agitated when I went to work. And would bark in a menacing way. Every morning I had to go downstairs, put him in a cage, get my work bag and coat, come back downstairs and take a biscuit. I’d let Otis out of the cage and toss the biscuit across the room. He’d chase after it and I’d open the door to the garage and quickly shut it behind me. Until one day when I left my cell phone behind. Rather than deal with my dog, I spent the day without a phone. But soon thereafter, we were without Otis. Trust me, we tried to make it work.

The motivation for the next comic came from the midterm elections. We noticed a raft of younger and younger candidates. They overcame long odds and beat their much older and more established opponents in the primaries and then went on to win their respective midterms. So many of them sounded so mature and reasonable and full of energy. We were mutually impressed. And then we wondered if either of us could have run for congress when we were in our twenties. The answer was a resounding no. (Something about getting into a car after consuming two pot brownies probably disqualified me).

We had fun thinking that one up and recalling all the intelligent things we did in our 20’s.

At any rate, we hope you enjoy this week’s strips (take your minds out of the gutter) and we’ll be back with two new ones next week.

Have a terrific weekend (even if you’re a Giants or Jets fan)

The New 60

Stuffing the turkey, stuffing ourselves 11/23/18

It seems hard to believe but Thanksgiving is upon us once again. As we get a little older, we lose a few miles per hour off our fastballs, but maybe, hopefully, we gain perspective. The prospect of metaphorically losing a few miles off your fastball is of course was what led John to the fly swatter. Not that HE’S lost anything mind you.

We think a wonderful source of comedy is the difference between how we see ourselves and the way the rest of the world sees us. In our minds, we’re not that much different from when we were in our 20’s and 30’s. At least mentally. But then stuff happens. The cute waitress calls you “sir.” Someone gets up on the bus and offers you their seat. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, some lady leaned out of a car window and said “you’re crossing against the light, old man.” I looked behind me to see who she was talking to (not really, I knew who she was talking to, but being called old man was still a shock.)

Even an act as simple as catching a fly (not a fly ball, but the kind that flies around in the kitchen) becomes a test of “I’ve still got it.” Which is better than a test of reflexes, because let’s face it, they’re slower than they used to be. This week’s first comic shows Al grappling with a fly, and of course, with getting older. But with perspective we adjust. Playing more doubles than singles in tennis. Hitting from a forward tee in golf and mulling a switch to senior shafts. And, speaking of fly balls, playing in an over 60 slo-pitch softball league. But with perspective, it’s all okay. ‘Cause we’re still out there playing tennis, golf and softball (well I’m not playing softball, but as soon as I find an over 60 league, I’m back, and watch out fellas, I can still throw the ball all the way from the pitchers mound to first base.)

The second comic is John’s tribute to Norman Rockwell’s famed Thanksgiving portrait, using our characters. And it’s a reminder to have a great Thanksgiving. Enjoy your families and don’t talk politics until Uncle Albert goes home.

Happy Holidays

The New 60