Last year, I confessed to being a hodophile (which is just a fancy word for someone who loves to travel).
Now I’m admitting to being a phillumenist.
If you don’t know what a phillumenist is, don’t worry — I didn’t even know it myself until yesterday, when I came across the word in a trivia quiz.
A phillumenist is someone who, naturally enough, engages in phillumeny: namely, collecting souvenir matchbook covers and match boxes. The word was coined in 1943 , derived from the Latin “lumen” for light, “philo” for loving, and “ist” for one who does something.
It’s apparently a particularly popular hobby in the UK, though major collectors are scattered across the globe.
My own collection dates from my childhood, and, truth to tell, I haven’t really practiced much phillumeny since the 1980s; my interest waned, and labeled matchbooks are also less ubiquitous… Continue reading
When I first saw this infographic from the UK company Computer Planet about the health benefits of playing video games, I thought, “Hmm, interesting, but how much relevance does it have to baby boomers?”
After all, the prototypical image of gamers is of young men — who, as the infographic itself suggests, are seen as “anti-social hermits who shut themselves in their bedrooms day and night.”
And along with that image goes empty pizza boxes, bottles of soda or beer, maybe a haze of cigarette smoke…you get the picture.
Then I did a little research and was surprised to read that nearly a quarter of all gamers in the U.S. are age 50-plus, outdistancing those aged 36-49 and not too far behind the under 18 and 18-35 age ranges.
There’s more: according to surveys by Pew Research, in 2017 55 percent of Americans aged 50 and up played video… Continue reading
A few months ago I attended a stamp and coin show in Tucson and was disappointed to see that most of the displays were devoted to coins, not stamps.
And I became almost morose while chatting with some of the few stamp dealers there (all of whom were baby boomers, by the way). They each told the same story: in their experience, at least, stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Many of their items had been marked down for faster sale.
As a boy growing up in Indiana, I became a fervent stamp collector while still in grade school.
While I collected stamps from all over the world, including the U.S., I especially liked the issues of British and French colonies — not because I romanticized colonization (I didn’t know its moral implications at the time), but because they beautifully depicted far-away, exotic places that, quite simply, made me… Continue reading