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It started with “WOKE.”  Then it was “OK, BOOMER.”  And then I realized I was hopelessly out of touch with current slang.

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I know and used these expressions!

Staying “relevant” seems to be on lots of folks’ minds these days.  In today’s Andy’s Corner, Andy is fussing about whether being “hip” or “square” is relevant.

In my internet search I was hoping to find advice on helping seniors stay up-to-date and instead I came up with this: The Secrets to Stay Relevant After 40.  Are you friggin’ kiddin’ me?  You have to worry about that when you’re 35 years younger than I am? OMG.

That article notwithstanding, I feel like I’m pretty on top of things news- and information-wise.  I probably spend way too much time on the computer reading everything fit to print (as if we had print anymore!). However, I fall short in some of the 6 suggestions made in this essay written for the Boomer Cafe (did you know there WAS a Boomer Cafe for Boomers to submit relevant essays?):

  1. Upgrade everything. Do it now.
  2. Don’t diss modern culture.
  3. Exercise. No really, work out.
  4. Keep aches and pains to yourself.
  5. Go out. Actually leave the house.
  6. You can’t drink like them.

Under the “going out” category, the writer specifically cautions against 5:30 dinner reservations – which, coincidentally, I had just made for four of us at our local restaurant, The Glen Ellen Star :).

Suggestion #2 really caught my attention: “Don’t diss modern culture.”  Which brings me to our Albuquerque Guest-Blogger friend David.   I’m not sure he was exactly “dissing modern culture,” but David recently remarked on our blog that he had designed a line of t-shirts & more displaying his pro-Boomer – and maybe anti-Millenial/XGen – sentiment.  The name?  “wOKe Boomer.”

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Get it now at Zazzle!

That totally stumped me; but David explained that it was a reaction to this common (to everyone except me, apparently) Generation Z’s snarky reaction to Baby Boomers: “OK, Boomer.”  And then I had to have David explain “woke.”

A disclaimer is needed here:  David, being two whole years younger than I am, qualifies as a Baby Boomer.  Andy, born in 1943, is a War Baby.  My 1944 birthdate puts me right on the borderline – and able to smugly disavow any Boomer tendencies.

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This is worth a watch

Just when I thought David was fussing way too much about something that most of us near or total Boomers had never experienced or confronted – or even heard of, I saw this article in the NYTimes, Jan 15.  Who would have thought that in the midst of a Supreme Court hearing, our Chief Justice would be savvy enough to refer to that sarcastic anti-Boomer expression?

Wednesday’s Supreme Court argument, over what federal workers must show to prove age discrimination, could have been dry and technical. Instead, it was a lively affair that spotlighted Chief Justice John G. Roberts’s sly wit, one that may serve him well when he crosses the street to preside over the impeachment trial.

The chief justice, who will turn 65 this month, asked whether a stray remark from a supervisor would suffice as evidence of age discrimination. Would a stinging “O.K., Boomer,” he asked, be enough?

(Two even more recent headlines read, Woke William,’ Activist Prince, Would Make Princess Diana So Proud – and Bill Maher Warns Trump Could Win Because Democrats Too ‘Woke’.  Whew.  What a relief that I now know what that means!)

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I promise not to “drink like THEM!”

Yes…until – or if-  I start “upgrading everything“, “keeping my aches and pains to myself,” and “not drinking like THEM” (in addition to #2, 3, and 5), I’m just going to focus on staying relevant food-wise.

The trendiest, yummiest, hippest food item we have in our fridge or pantry – according to our foodie daughter – is Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp.  Writers from Taste and NewYork Mag agree – read more here and here, as do the wonderful family of bloggers on The Woks of Life (great name!) who offer up a fantastic-sounding recipe using Lao Gan Ma.

And if you’re embarrassingly unhip food-wise, let me describe this jar of chili to you.  It’s garlicky, spicy, and wonderfully crunchy because of fried chiles.  It has umami – probably due to the MSG (but don’t worry about that; read this.).  I can take a little half teaspoon of Lao Gan Ma – straight – without dying of the heat.  I can’t do that with our most-used chili sauce, Sriracha.  You can mix it with yogurt as a topping for a veggie salad.  You can top scrambled eggs with it, use it on our scrambled egg taco or put it atop our Jook Chicken or on some skillet-fried potatoes.  YUM!  Use it on stir-fried noodles or our Fried Rice.  Even wilder and crazier and hipper – top some vanilla ice cream with it.

Where will you find this “Old God-mother’s” chili?  Probably not at your local Safeway.  But, of course, you can get it from Amazon.  Don’t be afraid to order 3; we’re betting you’ll use the jars up quickly and probably order still more.  Just remember to give it all a good stir when you first open the jar.


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Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp




  1. Robert Carleton says:

    Will definitely look for the Lao Gan Ma… but our go-to top-of-the-counter essential is Cholula, from Mexico. Piquin and Arbol peppers with spices; adds some heat, but mostly adds flavor. Eggs, soups, rice, veggies… good stuff.


    • David Ewing says:

      These are not really comparable condiments. The fried chile oil is not a hot sauce, though it is a good and useful thing. (Neither is Tabasco, which should be labeled as toxic waste, but I don’t want to step on any Louisiana toes, here.)

      I love Cholula and it used to be my go-to hot sauce, but these days I favor Valentina and buy it by the quart at my Mexican grocery for a fraction of what a 6 oz bottle of Cholula costs. I prefer the black label version, which is supposedly más picante than the more common red label version, though it is still not excessively hot. Sadly, it doesn’t have the cool wooden ball for a top that Cholula does. I suppose one could refill the Cholula bottle with Valentina, like I do with box wine in my expensive wine bottle empties.


  2. sara deseran says:

    So glad to see my Christmas present of spicy chile crisp has been enjoyed! Not sure what it has to do with slang but that’s the beauty of Big Little Meals. You never know where it’s going to end up!! 🙂


    • theRaggedys says:

      Andy here – Thanks for giving us our first jar and thanks for the comment – I think. The spicy chili crisp has definitely changed our culinary lives and since it has become the “hippest food item we have in our fridge or pantry” it has a lot to do with slang. So you can cool it for now.


  3. David Ewing says:

    A number of Ann’s examples of “1960s slang” struck me as rather older than that, so I started looking them up. “Cooties” is from World War I. Several of them–hip, cat, cool, square–are from the 1940s African-American Jazz scene. I guess Ann must be from Ft. Collins, where (like my hometown of Farmington, NM) we ran a good 20 behind the vanguard of fashion in all things. Talk about a rabbit hole. I finally found a meta-resource that is itself suitably square and figured I’d share it: Who knew the Saturday Evening Post even still existed?


    • theRaggedys says:

      Andy here: Thanks for the Post reference to slang. Ann appreciated your suggestion that folks from Fort Collins are a bit more sophisticated than those from locales where slang is more accepted (I’m assuming that’s what you were driving at).


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