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December 14, 2021


Hi there, 

I never thought Madonna would become my role model. The pop star got famous in the ‘80s and ‘90s for her outrageousness as well as her music. I always admired her courage for doing it her way, but my feminist self did not admire the woman who turned herself into a sex object, flaunting her body as much as her talent.

I take it all back.

Not because Madonna stopped flaunting her body, but because she is STILL flaunting her body at age 63—despite getting a lot of flack for it. The New York Post thinks she has every right to post semi-nude pics of herself on Instagram, including one of her reclining on a bed topless wearing fishnet stockings and another of an even more private part. But she has gotten criticism on social media and from tabloid journalist Piers Morgan for daring to be sexy at her age. At the 2016 Billboard Women in Music event, she summed up her attitude: “To age is a sin. You will be criticized, you will be vilified, and you will definitely not be played on the radio. People say that I’m so controversial," she said. "But I think the most controversial thing I have ever done is to stick around."

You go, girl! And keep going!

I’m Erica Manfred, a 70+ Geezer Geek and Snarky Senior. I moved to Florida alone in my trusty Ford Focus seven years ago from upstate New York and haven’t regretted it. I’ve always written about my life and now that I’m old, I still do. Fighting ageism is my latest focus. I’m writing this newsletter as part of the event platform Life Experienced. Each week, I’ll be exploring what matters to us later in life, from combating ageism, to finding new friends, to nuts and bolts stuff like figuring out our phones. Know someone we should feature? Email us at or join us on Facebook.

How to introduce your grandkids to Groucho

Whatever happened to the family gathering in front of the TV to watch It’s a Wonderful Life during the holidays? Does that still happen? I suspect it’s rare. Today’s family is more likely to eat dinner together and then go off to their separate screens.

If you want to bond with—and have an influence on—your grandkids this holiday season, make a bold suggestion. Offer to introduce them to the classic movies and TV shows that you loved as a kid and vice versa. Make a deal: You’ll watch their favorite show and then they’ll watch yours so you can talk about them. Be prepared for moans and groans at watching black and white, but explain that it’s now trendy. If you have to resort to bribes like their favorite candy—or a video game—go for it.

To get a head start, ask what shows they’re watching these days. Then stream them in advance so you sound cool. Teen favorites for 2021 include: Sex Education (comedy), Riverdale (drama/horror), Never Have I Ever (comedy/drama), Stranger Things (sci-fi), and The Umbrella Academy (sci-fi/superhero). My favorite is Stranger Things.

As for your picks, classic MGM musicals are a safe bet. And slapstick comedy is always a kid pleaser.

Here are links to a few of my favorite classics the kids of today should enjoy. But be sure to pick your own personal favorites. Most old movies and TV series are streaming somewhere.

Singin’ in the Rain with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. In glorious Technicolor. “The best musical ever!!!,” according to a 16-year-old reviewer on Common Sense Media who says, “This was the first movie that I ever watched as a child. … Because of it I ended up taking tap dancing for many years! Parents: beware that your child may develop a love for singing, old movies, and tap dancing as a result of watching this movie!”

The Gold Rush with Charlie Chaplin. Introduce your grandchild to an actual silent movie. This iconic film was Chaplin’s favorite and features some of his funniest slapstick bits, including him as the Little Tramp eating a shoe with a knife and fork, confronting an angry bear, and falling out of his teetering cabin as he’s battered by waves of fake snow.

Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland is a gorgeous Christmas movie, starring Garland at her most beguiling. She first became a star in The Wizard of Oz (which I have to assume your grandkids have already seen) and cemented her stardom with this movie. Her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” has never been topped. About the trials and tribulations of a family that has to relocate from the Midwest to New York City, it’s perfect for family viewing.

I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball. Ball is in the news lately because of a new movie about her relationship with her husband and co-star, Desi Arnaz. Of all the sitcoms ever aired, I Love Lucy, wildly popular during the early ‘50s, might be the most influential. Both Lucille Ball herself and her TV persona, Lucy Ricardo, were early feminists. In a time when women didn’t work, Lucy pursued madcap careers, from a TV pitchwoman who gets drunk on the health tonic she’s selling, to a grape stomper for a vineyard. Without I Love Lucy, there never would have been Seinfeld.

Duck Soup with the Marx Brothers. A biting political satire, although it’s hard to tell because of the non-stop silliness. Released in 1933, it’s considered to be among the Marx Brothers’ best films. Famous bit: The mirror routine where Harpo pantomimes Groucho in a nonexistent mirror. It’s classic vaudeville and a kid favorite. 

Whatever you do, when talking to kids about pop culture, don’t condescend. You may not like their favorite shows or music, but that doesn’t mean your preferences are better, just different. Don’t expect young people to explain their generation to you, which can come across as obnoxious. Just try to start a conversation about social issues in a non-judgmental way. 

Featured event

Reverse glass painting class
Thursday, December 16, 2021
9:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET

Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica, will be hosting this reverse glass painting class on Thursday in partnership with Life Experienced. Follow her step-by-step guidance via Facebook Live and leave with a painting you can give as a gift or keep for yourself. Learn more and check out the supply list at Crafty Chica. If you can’t attend live, save this link to watch the replay!


Partner spotlight

The Community Living Campaign taps the power of relationships to assure every person’s right to community living through self-help, mutual assistance, and systems change initiatives. We do this through community-building, empowerment, and advocacy. Programs include grocery delivery, community connector networks, virtual and online activities and workshops, employment assistance, computer training, and coalition-building and support. To learn more, email or visit our website,

Become a partner

Does your organization reach a community of older adults? Get in touch with us for information on amplifying your events and activities on the platform and expanding the Life Experienced service to your network. There is no cost to partnering. Get in touch with us here:

That’s it! Thanks for reading. And if you want to chime in with your two cents on what this newsletter should include, email us at

Until next time, 

Events are more fun with friends

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