Welcome to Talking ‘Bout My Generation

Hi. I’m Dave Price and I operate a writing/speaking/internet programming/tour guiding practice in Washington, DC. Before that, I was a journalist (10 years) and an educator and educational consultant (34 years).

I am focusing on 4 subjects:

  • the Baby Boomer generation
  • classic rock
  • issues on aging (especially as they affect men) and
  • free speech, dissent, and protest, today as they continue the concerns of the activist Baby Boom years.

As a Book Author: The first book in my 3-book series (and my first book ever) on classic rock entitled Come Together: How the Baby Boomers, the Beatles and a Young Counterculture Combined to Create the Music of the Woodstock Generation was published in November of 2019. Come Together is currently available at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC. It can be purchased here through the Politics and Prose website. It is also available in a Kindle edition. Click here to purchase the book for Kindle for Amazon.

As a Freelance Writer: I am a senior contributor to the digital hub Booming Encore. My work also appears in Sixty and Me .

As a Speaker: I deliver lectures for Smithsonian Associates and other venues here is DC. This was my summer 2019 program for the Smithsonian. Currently, all my 2020 lectures have been postponed due to closings prompted by the COVID-19 virus.

As an Internet Show Host: I am a co-host of the Facebook/YouTube political program Divided We Stand and also a co-host for the music history program Talking About the Music of Our Generation on Facebook and YouTube.

As a Tour Guide: I led First Amendment tours at the Newseum from 2017 until the museum closed in 2019. Currently, all my tours for 2020 have been postponed due to restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic.

At this Website: Talking ‘Bout My Generation contains my articles, musings, and photos focusing on the Baby Boom generation (those of us born between 1946 and 1964). More specifically you will find items dealing with rock music from the ’50s/’60s/’70s, events and personalities from 1960 to 1980, issues on aging that effect Baby Boomers today, and concerns of contemporary freedoms as specified in the First Amendment that echo those of the Baby Boom era.

Here is a link to an online version of what academics call a CV and most of us call a resume. You can find out more there about who I am and what I have done there. Thanks for checking out my writer/speaker/tour guiding page. I hope you find things here to interest you and keep you coming back.

From my musical years playing in some of the loudest, least legendary bands in the Philadelphia/ South Jersey Shore area.

Courting the Good Life

This article by me 1st appeared in The Prices Do DC

Any good sales person will tell you you need to push a product while it’s hot. That’s why, with the Washington Wizards in the NBA playoffs for the 1st time in 6 years, it wasn’t surprising that the Verizon Center was offering private, personalized visits to encourage wealthy fans to buy complete playoff and full season ticket packages.

But what was surprising is that I got one of the invites. As a retired journalist and educator who now blogs about DC, I don’t fit the profile of a DC-area elite. But hey – what’s the old saying: you don’t look a gift to spend an hour touring the Verizon Center in the mouth.

So with my wife Judy (who makes all the financial decisions for our family and I was still hoping that maybe I could see the playoff games for the $21 I had in my wallet) we headed by Metro (what did you expect – a chauffeur-driven limousine?) to the Center, which serves as the home for the Wizards, the ice hockey Capitals, the WNBA Mystics, and the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team.

We were met by our young, enthusiastic sales rep. I was upfront with him. I told him unless he had a $21-dollar package for the playoffs I wouldn’t be buying. I was fairly certain of his response since I had spent much more for a sandwich dinner at the venue at a recent Sting/ Paul Simon concert. I prepared to head back out the door.

Instead, he offered a huge table of free refreshment (where was he at that Sting/Simon concert?) and proceeded to give us an engaging tour of the facility he knew extremely well. I told him I would be blogging about the visit and he had only one request – I couldn’t use his name since he couldn’t be quoted in an official capacity for the organization. So for the sake of this blog, I will call our guide RGS (for really good salesperson).

We started at the top of the facility with the private and corporate boxes with their big screen TVs and individual bathrooms.  We moved down the sections, where still-available playoff seats were marked in white. We explored the 3 private clubs for season ticket holders, each one bigger than the next. One is located in the bowels of the building so you can feel even more a part of the action. In that section, we saw the stored-section-by-section floor for basketball and the zambonis that fix up the ice at hockey games. We visited the locker room areas. We even saw the in-site parking space for owner Ted Leonis.

RGS then escorted us down to court side. We sat at the scorer’s table. We sat in several different court side seats. And, may I say, the court side experience is much different than the in-the-heavens view I usually get.  My wife gave me her now-don’t-get-used-to-this-kind-of-life-look. I knew she was right, but for a second or two, I closed my eyes and imagined what sports is like when springing for court side seats is no financial barrier.

RGS asked us if we had any final questions. We said we didn’t and shook hands. Our tour was over.

But then a strange thing happened. As underdogs, the Wizards won both their away playoff games in Chicago against the Bulls. That means they will be returning tonight to the Verizon Center with a 2-0 lead in the best of 7 series. It also means that since my visit to the Center the Wizards are undefeated.

Now the sports world is well-known for its emphasis on lucky signs. Maybe I am one for the Wizards. So Mr. Ted Leonis, I have a special offer for you. I would be willing to become a season-ticket holder. Your salesperson RGS already gave me a great taste of what that life is like. I am sure I would be able to handle it.

Now I realize you are a business man. I am not asking for a free handout. I would be willing to pay $17.76 cents for the package. I would have paid you $21, but I bought an Arizona diet green tea drink.

I think you should seriously consider my offer. Imagine how much money you would make with an undefeated team. For a $17.76 outlay, that would be quite a bargain. In fact, that would make you one of the world’s great financial wizards. I will wait your reply. By the way, I am also available for the Caps and the Mystics if you want to try for an undefeated trifecta.

A Hairy Tale of 2 Jersey Boys

2 Jersey Boys – Bruces Springsteen and me – getting together in Georgia

This article article is part of an ongoing series of life in the Pandemic 2020

By Dave Price (5/29)

While this current worldwide pandemic has been both terrifying and deadly, it has been teaching us just how much we have in common. For the coronavirus is no respecter of status, talent, wealth, or fame – it is an equal opportunity presenter of problems.

Take the case of Bruce Springsteen and me.

Now even before the COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Springsteen and myself shared several things in common. We are both Baby Boomers, although at age 70 Bruce is two years older than me. We were both born in New Jersey. We both spent our teenage years playing dances at our high school and then performing at clubs and bars at the Jersey shore. In the 1970s, we both had concert shows at Villanova University, where I graduated in 1973.

But then our careers diverged. Bruce Springsteen went on to become one of the leading rock stars in music history. Because of his prodigious talent, Bruce accumulated status, wealth, and fame. Because of my lack of his talent, I was reduced to playing keyboard as a sideline in some of New Jersey’s always loud, but never legendary classic rock cover bands.

But now Bruce and I have been reunited. Because of the widespread closings as America tries to control the spread of .the coronavirus, we have both been forced to have our wives cut our hair.

Actually, this is not the first time Judy has been my barber. From 1971 until I began my reporting in 1974, she would be the sole person responsible for periodically (as in rarely) trimming my hair.

The mid 1970’s however was the time period was where our two roads began to diverge. While I was enjoying my $80-a-week first journalism job, Bruce signed a big record company advance, a deal he sings about in some detail in his beloved song “Rosalita”.

But now, as I mentioned earlier, our hair, at least as far as cutting it is concerned, has reunited us once again.

Here is the cut that Jersey girl Patti gave Bruce.

And here is the trim that Jersey girl Judy gave me. Uh-oh … that’s Judy’s  psycho look. Oh no … I think she’s going to stab me.

Of course, even there, you have to offer Bruce the upper hand. His haircut made the national news. I had to write this article myself to even let anybody know that Judy was back to cutting my hair.
But that’s not at all bad. As everyone from Jersey knows, Bruce is the Boss, and as I can’t think of anyone else who I would rather have eclipse – or maybe in this case e-clips – me than Bruce Springsteen.

Of yeah. If you get around to reading this Bruce, you have promised to throw the biggest party ever when we can finally get back to live performances. And you know I’ll be there. Maybe before or after the show, we can get together and compare haircuts.

O-My-God-Zilla: A Famed 50s Monster Makes Yet Another Comeback

This article 1st appeared in The Prices Do DC

Get prepared DC and the rest of America – Godzilla, that Japanese king of all monsters, is back. And this month, it will be a double attack.

First up was the return of the original monster over the past 4 days. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the movie’s release, Rialto Pictures showed its new restoration of Honda Ishiro’s uncut landmark 1954 film at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Springs.

The original film was chopped and butchered before it screened in America under the title Godzilla: King of Monsters in 1956. Actor Raymond Burr was inserted in the American version as the protagonist and only one hour of the original 98-minute running time was used. All the Japanese speaking roles were dubbed over. The restored version, named Godzilla: The Japanese Original, delivers the complete version with no dubbing.

For those few who might not be familiar with the Godzilla tale, it is the story of a radiation-breathing prehistoric monster, awakened after millenia by hydrogen bomb testing. Impervious to repeated shelling by the Japanese army, Godzilla wreaks havoc on a helpless Tokyo.

At the time, the monster – actually named Gojira in Japanese – was a visual metaphor for the feared effects of a nuclear attack and the aftereffects of radiation. It had specific resonance with Japan since they had been the scene of 2 nuclear attacks just 9 years before the movie’s release.

But the short run of the restored film just served as a prelude to the expected huge release of the remake of the original on May 16.  In that film, simply titled Godzilla, the famed monster is pitted against malevolent creatures, who bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten the existence of all humankind.

To celebrate the release of the new Godzilla (one of our favorite monsters of all-time and the only monster to be the central figure in a song by Blue Oyster Cult), here are a series of fun articles featuring the central figure of so many 50s and 60s nightmares.

Japanese are upset with supersized, fat American Godzilla. (from Science Fiction.Com)

In crossover ad, Godzilla chows down on a Fiat (from The New York Daily News)

Here’s what you all have been waiting for – Jawzilla: A Godzilla and Jaws trailer mashup. (from Indiewire)

Godzilla versus Smaug from The Hobbit: Who would win that dragon duel? (from The Wall Street Journal)

The ever increasing size of Godzilla and its implications for sexual selection and urine production. (from Deep Sea News)

Grocery Shopping in a Pandemic

This article article is part of an ongoing series of life in the Pandemic 2020

By Dave Price (4/04)

As recently as two months ago, if my wife had said we were going grocery shopping at 6, I would have said fine. We’ll do that and then come home and fix dinner.

Today, we did go grocery shopping at 6. But it was 6 a.m., not 6 p.m. And why, when I have always been a night person, would I go shopping at that absurdly early hour, you ask? Well, you can chalk it up to another change in our new normal world prompted by Covid-19.

Last week, the Harris Teeter where we shop announced the store would be opening from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. for seniors only on Mondays and Thursdays. That way, those of us in the age group identified as most at risk from serious, sometimes fatal consequences from the virus could shop when the store was less crowded.

So far, at least, Judy and I continue to go once a week for groceries. Now a lot of people have opted for home delivery or curbside pickup, but I’ve never minded grocery shopping and it is the only outing of the week where we actually get to see some people other than when we take our daily exercise walks.

So what is it like 65-and-over grocery shopping at 6 a.m.?

Here are some of the highlights:

Outside the store, there were both wiping cloths and sanitizer to take care of your grocery cart before you entered. There was a clerk there if you needed help.

There was a total of 10 customers in the store, 3 couples and 4 single shoppers. It’s the only time I’ve been in Harris Teeter when the workers outnumbered the customers.

The clerks in our store are always friendly and helpful, but they were especially so today.

Everyone shopping kept their distance as recommended with social distancing guidelines.

We were behind one couple in the checkout line. Soon, two single shoppers were standing behind us. Quickly, a second clerk opened a register so the line could be reduced.

The biggest change in shopping from last week concerned bagging. For more than 25 years, we have been taking cloth bags to the grocery store as part of our concern for the environment. At Harris Teeter, it had been standard that the clerks would bag for us. Today, however, that policy was no longer in effect. Customers were expected to do their own bagging, which Judy and I did with no problem.

Now the focus recently has been on what items stores do not have. But being inquisitive by nature and occupation, I have been checking out what appears not to be moving. And I feel safe in saying that one such item appears to be cream of asparagus soup. Each time we have visited the store, there have been 16 cans of that soup on the shelves, compared to the absence or scarcity of more popular soups like chicken noodle or tomato.

That was true today. The count stood at 0 cans of tomato soup, 4 cans of chicken noodle and 16 cans of cream of asparagus. I guess most people just don’t find cream of asparagus soup “mmm mmm good” and I know I am at the top of that list.

Overall, except for having to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. (I mean who even knew there was a 5:30 a.m.?), our shopping excursion went well. We were back at our apartment complex with our groceries by 7:10. By 7:30 they were put away. 

But our adventure did leave me with one question. Do you think 8 a.m. is too early for a nap?

My Dad, a World War, a Memorial, and Me

This article 1st appeared in The Prices Do DC

Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. I wasn’t alive for the original VE Day, but my Father, Alvin Owen Price, was. My dad, like millions of men of his generation, was a soldier in World War II. He served in the European theater.

And, like most of his contemporaries, he didn’t talk much about his war experiences. Over the years, I did learn some things. Never a fan of imposed authority, my dad spent much of his time rising in the Army ranks, only to be busted back down. He joked that he knew more about peeling potatoes on KP than firing his weapon on a battlefield. He was also convinced that the helmet the Army required him to wear made him go bald.

Actually, my dad didn’t need to use his weapon much. He was assigned to guard German prisoners-of-war. Every so often, some of the prisoners were flown back to the United States for further questioning. My dad would accompany them. They would fly into an airport near Fort Dix, New Jersey. It was on one of these trips to New Jersey that my story sort of begins.

One of the soldiers in his unit, Joe Falls, was a native of South Jersey. He told my dad that there was a city named Bridgeton about an hour away from Fort Dix that was known for its parties. My dad, never one to miss a chance to party, said that sounded good. So he and Falls obtained a weekend pass and traveled to Bridgeton.

Arriving in town, my dad and his friend headed to the dance hall. This is how my dad described what happened next. They walked in. My dad saw a woman pouring punch. He turned to Joe Falls and said, “See that woman. That is the woman I am going to marry.”

That woman was Mary Louise Ivins. She taught school and lived with her parents on a farm about 3 miles from Bridgeton.

Over the next couple of years, Alvin courted Louise. On May 9, 1945, the war in Europe ended. In 1946, my father was discharged from Fort Dix. Shortly thereafter, he married Mary Louise Ivins. In 1952, I was born. In 1972, my father died. Three years ago, after retiring, my wife and I left South Jersey and moved to Crystal City, just 3 Metro stops from DC.

And all of that brings us to yesterday, the 69th anniversary of the day the war my dad fought in ended.

One of the great things about living in the DC area is there is so much history here. So I decided to go to the World War II Memorial to pay tribute to all the men and women, but especially my father, who had fought for freedom.

World War II Memorial on the National Mall in DC

It wasn’t my first visit. I’m sure it won’t be my last. But it was my first visit on VE Day. I could have gone in the morning when there was a special ceremony honoring World War II veterans. But I wanted a more private, personal experience.

The chairs were still set up from the morning’s ceremony, but they were empty now. Those vacant chairs served as a stark reminder that some day in the not-too-distant future there won’t be any World War II veterans to fill them. When I was growing up, it seemed that every man I met had fought in that war. They had escaped death on the battlefield, but no amount of courage can keep you from death forever. Today, about 555 World War II veterans die every day. At that rate, you can see that it won’t be long until they will all be gone.

For those of you who have never visited the World War II Memorial, if you put yourself in the right frame of mind, it can become hallowed ground.

The monument contains vertical markers of all the states and US territories that sent men and women to serve. I went first to the Texas marker. That was where my father was born, the son of Walter Lee and Zonie Mae Price. My dad’s parents were farmers, but the driving winds of the 1930s blew their small farm and their Texas dreams away. So, like the Joad family in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, they loaded up their truck and headed west, eventually settling in Shelton, Washington. It was there that my dad enlisted. 

I walked to the other side of the memorial to the Jersey marker. As I walked, I thought about the travels my dad made. From Texas to Washington state to Europe to New Jersey. I also thought about war – the cause for much of that movement. I never fought in a war. My son Michael never fought in a war. We both hope that neither of his children, Audrey or Owen, have to fight in a war. But my dad wasn’t that fortunate. He did fight in a war. Unlike so many others, he survived. Surrounded by reminders of death, I thought about life. To be more specific, I thought about the what ifs that come with life. What if my dad hadn’t survived the war? What if he hadn’t been assigned to guard German prisoners and come to New Jersey? What if Joe Falls hadn’t brought him to Bridgeton that night? What if Mary Louise Ivins had decided not to attend that dance?

But, of course, none of that mattered.  For all those things did happen. Lost in reverie, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning, I saw an older man in a veterans’ cap. “Could you give something to help homeless veterans?” he asked. I looked in a my wallet. I had $9. I handed him a $5 bill. As sacrifices go, it wasn’t much, certainly nothing compared to all of those made from 1941 to 1945. My dad would have given all $9. He was that way. His generation was that way. That is why they deserve the label the Greatest Generation.  Somehow, I believe they were made of sterner stuff.

It’s hard to follow heroes. But heroes show us how to live in tough times. Eventually they die, but their deeds live on. When he was little, I told Michael about the grandfather he never met.  Both he and I will tell Audrey and Owen about their great-grandfather. I know they will both be interested, but Owen’s interest might be a little stronger since this is where he gets his first name.

And since they are now 6-and-a-half and 5, the next time they come to DC, I will take them to the World War II Memorial and tell them about all the heroes of that time. For, no matter what your age, you can never have too many heroes. And it’s the least I can do for a generation that gave so much.