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Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting
November 25, 2009 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Cloe. I am begging you honey. None of that Jello crap. No one eats it and the garbage stinks for a week after I throw it out. Margaret and Helen (mostly Helen) have a blog, thanks to Helen's grandson, and have a lot to say to America, about remembering an America where black men didn't grow up to be president, abortion, and the sorry state of the American media, among other topics.
posted by emjaybee (144 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want to live to be 84, so I can be this direct.

Wonderful stuff.
posted by jrochest at 11:05 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


This woman is invited to my Thanksgiving any time.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:06 AM on November 25, 2009


BEST. OF. THE. WEB.

Thanks for sharing.
posted by JimmyJames at 11:06 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


aw, it's a shame it's fake. I would love it if Helen and Margaret were real.
posted by shmegegge at 11:07 AM on November 25, 2009


It scans as fake to me too. Do we know that to be a fact?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:09 AM on November 25, 2009


Smegegge, Helen claims to be "real" on her About page; do you have any evidence it's not? She's well-written, true, but has it been debunked somewhere I didn't find?
posted by emjaybee at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2009


If it's fake, I wish it were real.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2009


On the Web, nobody knows you're the real deal. They have to guess or make assumptions (or send in the MetaFilter Detectives). Then again, most Professional Journalists are faking it too; they just have to work harder at it because they're getting paid for it.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to believe.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2009


Even if it is fake, I'm enjoying it for gems like this:

No one is planning on killing you or your grandmother with rationed healthcare or death squads. By the looks of the American citizenry turning out for these town hall meetings, we’re doing a fine job of killing ourselves with fast food, cigarettes and an overindulgence of ignorance.
posted by marxchivist at 11:13 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder what's causing me and others scan this as fake. If it is fake, they're pretty good characters and it reads well. If it's not, then well, awesome.
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on November 25, 2009


She uses a "the rabbit lived" joke, which suggests considerable old-personhood.

What's the evidence that it is fake, other than the progressive viewpoints?
posted by Countess Elena at 11:13 AM on November 25, 2009


The about page sounds pretty real, including the first comment by Helen.
posted by DU at 11:13 AM on November 25, 2009


Bah. There's nothing like a good old Jello salad.

One of my favorite had cream cheese, red Jello and Red Hots.

Even if you don't like it, you get to say that you ate it.
posted by All Out of Lulz at 11:15 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's the evidence that it is fake, other than the progressive viewpoints?

Why would even that be evidence of fakery? Besides the fact that there are plenty of progressive old people, the Progressive Era lasted through the 20s, which is about when these women would have been growing up and forming opinions.
posted by DU at 11:15 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is great. Thank you!
posted by Bageena at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2009


Exactly, DU, that's why I would think someone would be suspicious if they didn't know any better.
posted by Countess Elena at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2009


Oh, I forgot, mods; should have added that I stumbled across the Thanksgiving letter at Daily Kos. You can add a "via" if you like.
posted by emjaybee at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2009


Helen really has some strong anti-Palin opinions, which makes her the bees knees in my book. This rule cracked me up:

Leave your cell phone in your car. They used to be called mobile phones for a reason. Now-a-days the only thing mobile about your phone is your thumbs. Trust me. Skinny thumbs and a fat ass are not a good look.

I have found my new hero, and Helen is her name.
posted by schleppo at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2009


What makes it scan as fake is the mental Venn diagram we have, with one circle representing everything we know about 82 year-olds, and another circle that contains every single sentence in these blog posts, and the ten fucking miles of empty space between those two circles.
posted by fleacircus at 11:17 AM on November 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


man you guys must know different old people then I do, fake or not it scans as plausible to me based on plenty of old person encounters.
posted by edgeways at 11:19 AM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


we have living wills to determine how we will leave this world when the time comes. Mine states that unless the feeding tube is large enough for a piece of pie, I don’t want to be hooked up to it. Harold, of course, says his can only be connected to him if the other end is connected to a bottle of single malt scotch.

i wanna grow up to be Harold. that is all.
posted by infini at 11:19 AM on November 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


emjaybee: "Smegegge, Helen claims to be "real" on her About page; do you have any evidence it's not? She's well-written, true, but has it been debunked somewhere I didn't find?"

it just doesn't read as real to me. here's an example:

margaret's response to helen's 1st blog entry:
Hello?…Helen??
Testing,1,2,…check, check.
Helen, Dear, it’s me, Margaret!!
Look at us now…surfing this here innernet…we are two “happen’in” broads aren’t we? Is this thing on??
My nephew is telling me what to do here. I going to press send now.
Helen, I will call you to see if you received my Blog entry…oh, my nephew says I don’t have to call you.
it reads like she's saying it in real time, which is not how the uninformed use the internet. maybe if she were dictating into a speech-to-text thing, but the idea that she's using one is laughable considering even people who use computers regularly find them unreasonably difficult and fidgety to make any practical use of.

that whole part, and much of what's written around that time, comes off in a different tone of voice, an old lady charicature. and what's written nowadays comes off more like a 20-30-something mefite than an 82 year old lady. no, this is not proof. but no, I do not believe it's genuine.

nevertheless, I'm enjoying it and am glad you linked to it. I just hope this doesn't turn into some book, movie or tv deal for a 20-something mefite type.
posted by shmegegge at 11:19 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


She reminds me of Molly Ivins. Maybe they just breed tough female progressives down there.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:22 AM on November 25, 2009


You mean like Bob Dole and Jimmy Carter and Andy Rooney and Christopher Lee? All of which seemed to be in remarkable control of the faculties last time I checked, considering what we all know about 82 year olds.

Yes, octogenarians are clearly frauds if they don't act like Grandpa Simpson.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:22 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Margaret and Helen -- you'd do well here at MetaFilter. Your insights and commentary are spot-on.
posted by ericb at 11:22 AM on November 25, 2009


It scans at fake to me because it sounds written by a contributor to Television Without Pity. I suppose it is possible that an older person would have adopted that snark-a-minute attitude, including phrases like "not so much," but the resulting tone is one I associate with relatively young people. I'm not saying it is fake. It just doesn't ring authentic to me, because of the writing style.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:24 AM on November 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I hope to one day have kids who I think can sing well.

/Marshall
posted by emelenjr at 11:25 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You mean like Bob Dole and Jimmy Carter and Andy Rooney and Christopher Lee?

I doubt they would write blogs this shallow, this insightless, this bereft of any signs of personal experience with the public life further back than 2 years ago. This blog is wisdom-less crap, no matter who it's written by.

If Helen is real, she's missing about 50 years of her life, and I don't think I'd want to be like her at that age.
posted by fleacircus at 11:28 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is texas the center of the universe? Everything seems to be "longhorns and aggies"and i am saying this as a longhorn. What the hell?

I'm a sucker, but i believe that if an old lady wants to type on the internet and have progressive viewpoints, there really wouldn't be anything stopping her from doing so. My grandmother could probably type stuff like this, except for the fact that she has no concept of grammar and her views are on the other side. But i mean, i have met my fair share of snarky, sassy old ladies.
posted by djduckie at 11:34 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


My 82 year old grandmother still starts IMs and chats with Dear Amy, and finishes them with Love, Grandma.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:36 AM on November 25, 2009 [13 favorites]


The two ladies in the banner don't seem to be the same as the ones on the About page, and I don't see any other photos of them on the site. It's hardly proof, but it points toward a possible fake.
posted by echo target at 11:37 AM on November 25, 2009


I've seen this before and I completely assumed it was fake, too - cute, but not for a second did I think it was genuinely written by 2 elderly women. Hm. Am I just a cynical asshole?
posted by tristeza at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2009


I'm usually pretty gullible when it comes to these borderline "Is it real - Is it fake?" blogs. Even I had red flags going up when reading this. Can't put my finger on it, just a hunch.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:41 AM on November 25, 2009


The two ladies in the banner don't seem to be the same as the ones on the About page

Based on the fact they are riding scooters in one and not the other? Who says the pics are from the same decade or that they are in the scooters full time?

But at least you are presenting some evidence other than "my mefi-sense is tingling".
posted by DU at 11:43 AM on November 25, 2009


... we’re doing a fine job of killing ourselves with fast food...

Is that the same woman who claims she uses five pounds of butter in one Thanksgiving meal?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:44 AM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have read blogs by older people, and I guess another thing that's rining my bell is this one's formatting. The careful breaking of texts into small paragraphs and the extensive use of bullet pointing is that way Web professionals and PR people are taught to do Web pages, because it's supposed to make them easier to scan and optimize them for search engines. It's not proof of anything, but just another thing that makes the voice sound more contemporary and web savvy than any other old person blog I have ever read.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:44 AM on November 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


But at least you are presenting some evidence other than "my mefi-sense is tingling".

Don't underestimate that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:49 AM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah it's cool, but I'm just not buying the voice.

And the not one, but two FAQs asserting realness struck me as kind of a winking admission of the opposite.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:49 AM on November 25, 2009


I got pointed to this blog during election season, and I'd love for it to be real, but I just don't think it is.

There is something about the syntax that is terribly off...half the time Margaret and Helen speak in a particular voice, with particular slang, that would be normal for heavy internet users, except they claim not to be. Other times they throw in "old-timey" phrases in a manner that approaches non-sequitor.

I believe Margaret and Helen are real; I just don't think they're writing this blog.
posted by lalex at 11:50 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are no comments from the family, or anyone who knows them IRL, that I saw. The lack of pictures is a flag for me. A shot of them together when they met maybe? The Mod statement seems forced into a different writing style, and is pretty vague, with odd specifics (Temporarily in London).

This stuff combined with, well, what Astro Zombie said about style and snark.

I would bet money this is fiction.
posted by rainbaby at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2009


But at least you are presenting some evidence other than "my mefi-sense is tingling".

Oh please. We sort of pride ourselves around here on being able to sniff this shit out even if there's no obvious evidence to the contrary. And if the "mefi-sense" is wrong, so be it. You found yourself a fun blog to read.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It scans fake to me, too. It's just too...precious...and exactly what the (supposedly intended) audience wants to hear...i.e members of the vaunted "greatest generation" writing like a Nation guest columnist. It's just too perfect.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


... we’re doing a fine job of killing ourselves with fast food...

Is that the same woman who claims she uses five pounds of butter in one Thanksgiving meal?


There's a huge difference between using a lot of butter (which isn't that bad for you, anyway) to prepare a special meal once a year, and subsisting on hamburgers, french fries, and 64 ounces of high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden soda daily.

Frankly, almost any home-cooked food is better for you than fast food. A big bowl of homemade ice cream followed by two shots of fresh bathtub gin probably has a better nutrition:calorie ratio than half the crap you can get at McDonalds or Taco Bell.
posted by vorfeed at 11:59 AM on November 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


There's a number of things that don't match in the photos, but the one that I thought was most telling was the height difference. 'Helen' looks a good bit taller than 'Margaret' in the banner photo - look at the angle of their legs. In the About photos they're the same height. People do get shorter as they get older, but the banner photo looks more recent than the other.

Again, I'm not entirely convinced either way, I'm just considering.
posted by echo target at 11:59 AM on November 25, 2009


Oh please. We sort of pride ourselves around here on being able to sniff this shit out

Yes. Some say that they can't define porn exactly, but they know it when they see it.

I know a fake blog when I see it, in the same way that we can all smell a self-link from 10,000 miles away.
posted by lalex at 12:00 PM on November 25, 2009


Frankly, almost any home-cooked food is better for you than fast food. A big bowl of homemade ice cream followed by two shots of fresh bathtub gin probably has a better nutrition:calorie ratio than half the crap you can get at McDonalds or Taco Bell.

And now I have thanksgiving dinner alll wrapped up.
posted by The Whelk at 12:00 PM on November 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Besides the fact that there are plenty of progressive old people, the Progressive Era lasted through the 20s, which is about when these women would have been growing up and forming opinions.

What?

"The Progressive Era lasted through the 20s"? That would certainly come as a shock to Franklin Roosevelt.

Or was the "20s" bit a typo?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:01 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some say that they can't define porn exactly, but they know it when they see it.

I have a simpler method. If I'm masturbating to it, it's probably porn.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:02 PM on November 25, 2009 [19 favorites]


THIS BLOG IS FAKED I CAN TELL FROM SOME OF THE ANECDOTES AND FROM HAVING SEEN QUITE A FEW OLD PEOPLE IN MY LIFE
posted by boo_radley at 12:02 PM on November 25, 2009 [28 favorites]


We sort of pride ourselves around here on being able to sniff this shit out even if there's no obvious evidence to the contrary.

How do you know you've sniffed it out if there's no evidence that you were right?

I'm not saying this is real, I'm just saying that the reasons given here for it not being real are pretty pathetic.
posted by DU at 12:03 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


It reads like one of those "funny" emails that my family likes to forward.
posted by lyam at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2009


"The Progressive Era lasted through the 20s"? That would certainly come as a shock to Franklin Roosevelt.

And many other progressives who didn't live in the "official era". Feel free to edit Wikipedia.
posted by DU at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2009


scans fake

I have no idea how these people got their agèd silvertongues sockpuppet bloggers wedged into their scanners, or why.
posted by everichon at 12:04 PM on November 25, 2009


DU, I just gave a reason: the syntax is painfully awkward.
posted by lalex at 12:05 PM on November 25, 2009



For all you people who are not old..........hang in there. With a little luck you will be ----some day. Maybe.
posted by notreally at 12:06 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


There are practically 0 references to politicians earlier than Bill Clinton. Whenever my elders talk politics they don't usually go any later than Reagan.

So I'm going to call fake.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 12:06 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I bet most of you will be progressives.
posted by notreally at 12:06 PM on November 25, 2009


I wasn't a fan, but that doesn’t mean I didn't respect his talent… even if I didn’t understand it – all that jumping around like he had ants in his pants.

It seems like fake old-people talk to me too. I don't think the politics are that unusual for elderly people, but (from the few posts I read) the writing style and references seem odd.

I gotta side with the hoaxers, though I wouldn't be surprised either way. The lack of pictures and family comments seem unusual.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2009


This isn't fake.My grandma's a rapper and she has a webpage it's rappingranny.biz (I'm setting up the website) and so it's obvious you guys wouldn't know a hip granny if she bit you on your **sholes. This is goes out to Helne and the other lady and of course to my granny (rappin granny)
posted by Mirror-Universe Optimus Chyme at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


For all you people who are not old..........hang in there. With a little luck you will be ----some day. Maybe.

That's why I got this portrait painted.
posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


Astro Zombie: "I have a simpler method. If I'm masturbating to it, it's probably porn."

I forgot to mention the other reason why I don't think the writer is actually an 82 year old lady. It's clearly porn.
posted by shmegegge at 12:07 PM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Regarding the formatting: she says that her grandson and/or nephew do a lot of site management, so if she is not as up on contemporary formatting techniques it's possible that her posts are being edited by her kin.

Also, I have no idea how one can determine some sort of height variance between those two photos, one being a distance shot of them on scooters.

However, to me it seems a little too spot on to be genuine. Poor old people, they have so much more to prove.
posted by Think_Long at 12:09 PM on November 25, 2009


Also, who the fuck doesn't eat jello? Jello is fucking delicious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:10 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Would that be the America where rights to privacy are ignored?" Looked at your own government lately, dear? I think you chaps have more cameras per sq ft than anyone.

As for the pre-Thanksgiving salvo...I don't know, she seems like a bitch to me.
posted by e40 at 12:10 PM on November 25, 2009



That she doesn't go on about politicians prior to Reagan is to me substantiation she is a progressive. Even at 82 her emphasis is on the present and future. Not the past.

That said, please don't be a hoax.
posted by notreally at 12:11 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, who the fuck doesn't eat jello? Jello is fucking delicious.

My wife, once I made the mistake of letting her in on the origins of gelatin. Won't touch the box, even.
posted by Pragmatica at 12:16 PM on November 25, 2009


A big bowl of homemade ice cream followed by two shots of fresh bathtub gin probably has a better nutrition:calorie ratio than half the crap you can get at McDonalds or Taco Bell.
posted by vorfeed


When can I come to your house for dinner?
posted by marxchivist at 12:18 PM on November 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm not buying it either. I know a bunch of 70 and 80 year old progressives who hate Sarah Palin but none of them would use the phrase, "not so much".
posted by octothorpe at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll be a nay-sayer, in terms of authenticity. The tone is too pitch-perfect Blogger Ca. 2009. Many of the articles practically beg to be circulated in email amongst the pastel, cat-themed sweater wearing members of my family.

A skeptical analysis of the site from last year.
posted by mrdaneri at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2009


it reads like she's saying it in real time, which is not how the uninformed use the internet. maybe if she were dictating into a speech-to-text thing

My guess was that she was using something like Skype to record messages to Margaret, and her grandson did the transcribing. (I would not be surprised if Helen did not grasp the conversational aspect of VoIP. My father treats IM like email and all of his instant messages to me are letters in their own right and end with "Love, Dad".)
posted by Spatch at 12:24 PM on November 25, 2009


If this is fake, this must be fake too, right?

Anyhow, CBS is now making a sitcom out of shitmydadsays. So maybe this one'll get a sitcom too. It'll be a really politicized revamp of "The Golden Girls."
posted by blucevalo at 12:26 PM on November 25, 2009


And many other progressives who didn't live in the "official era". Feel free to edit Wikipedia.

So you really were suggesting a) that 84-year-old women were "forming their political opinions" at the age of 5, and b) that the "progressive era" in US politics wasn't either i) the period of time in which the Progressive Party played a significant role in national political politics (which is 1890-1913 or 1918, depending on which historians you read), or ii) a period of time in which small-cap progressives were running the country, which would include the Roosevelt and Truman administrations?

Any definition of "Progressive Era" that runs through 1929 and then stops is nonsensical. Either it's over before these ladies were born, or it goes on until they're in their late 20s.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:27 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've seen this before, and I agree that there's an air of the not-quite-real.

However, I'd also like to comment on the formatting. "Helen" reminds me a lot of my grandma, who was very e-mail savvy for several years before she died in 2004. She would have been 90 this year. Helen's syntax, tone and use of formatting are things I would fully expect to see from my grandma, especially since she was highly educated and a published author: used to basic aspects of design and making things clear. I could definitely see her working with a grandson, because my cousins used to do just that.

As for this comment... well, my mom sends me e-mails exactly like that. Still.

So no, it's not the digital equivalent of the Castle Aaaaaaarggggggh.
posted by Madamina at 12:27 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I will be editing the Wikipedia article, thanks. What a bizarre thing for someone (the author of the Wikipedia article, not you, DU) to do--sourcing a sweepingly wrong statement to one publication from the National Parks Service.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:30 PM on November 25, 2009


If it's fake (and it may well be), it'd be an interesting choice of premise to set up a fake blog upon. If it's not for real, why wouldn't granny just have gotten on the 'net to spout off in cyberspace? Why the awkward backstory about using the blog to stay in contact with a friend?
posted by rollbiz at 12:31 PM on November 25, 2009


If it's fake (and it may well be), it'd be an interesting choice of premise to set up a fake blog upon. If it's not for real, why wouldn't granny just have gotten on the 'net to spout off in cyberspace? Why the awkward backstory about using the blog to stay in contact with a friend?

Oh. I dunno, maybe so we'd all talk about it?
posted by lalex at 12:33 PM on November 25, 2009


If you look at the weblog feed in Google Reader, the first five establishing entries all have the same day and timestamp, 20:16 on October 5th 2008, with the last entry of the batch being the Sarah Palin one. I don't know shit about Wordpress so maybe that's not an indication of someone trying to pull a fast one but I
posted by cmonkey at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2009


cmonkey? CMONKEY?!?!
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:38 PM on November 25, 2009 [20 favorites]


It seems very secondary to the content, lalex. Every comment above mine deals with the subject matter she's writing about, the language she uses, etc.
posted by rollbiz at 12:39 PM on November 25, 2009


I AM BEING SILENCED

from saying that I can't believe it's real.
posted by cmonkey at 12:40 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Spatch: "My guess was that she was using something like Skype to record messages to Margaret, and her grandson did the transcribing. (I would not be surprised if Helen did not grasp the conversational aspect of VoIP."

you think this is more likely than it simply not being real? that margaret used skype to speak with helen's grandson, who did the transcribing and posted it verbatim for her as a comment on the blog?
posted by shmegegge at 12:43 PM on November 25, 2009


I'm torn on this one. I have spent a lot of time with pretty damn progressive old ladies and have no problem with that angle or the takes on politicians, but the tone somehow reads wrong to me. My mother and my aunt were the same demographic: college educated and born in the 20s. My mother would never have cursed like that in public and my aunt, who barely ever stops (at a recent aquarium visit: "Look at those fish! They're fucking!"), certainly doesn't discriminate, so that "F-word will get you banned" thing on the about page throws me a bit. But I don't know any old ladies in Texas; perhaps it's different in Texas? Neither my mother nor my aunt would ever have used the phrase not so much, which is too contemporary, or the word crap, which is declasse, or something, I don't know, but is considered a Bad Word. And neither one of them ever gave a hoot for Michael Jackson.

So, I think that it rings a little off, but it could conceivably be overly assiduous editing on the part of the grandson.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:44 PM on November 25, 2009


Madamina: "well, my mom sends me e-mails exactly like that. Still.
"

just to be clear about how you're using the word "exactly," do your mother's emails to you start like this?

"Madamina? ... Madamina??"

and I mean, complete with elipses to indicate a pause and the implication that your mother is waiting for you to respond and isn't sure that you're there?
posted by shmegegge at 12:45 PM on November 25, 2009


If genuine, tech-savvy grandson or somebody else sure seems to be heavily and non-transparently editing... which would make it at least somewhat dishonest.

That and its close proximity to the Feisty Old Lady stereotype used fairly frequently in TV and movies (Estelle Getty on Golden Girls, most obviously), overlapping in the Zenn Diagram more than 'real life' old folks I met. (Yet my own 80+ father is so similar to Jerry Stiller's character on Seinfeld & King of Queens, and when I was growing up he WAS Kurtwood Smith on That 70's Show... otherwise, I'd have tried to sell a sitcom based on shit MY dad says)
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:54 PM on November 25, 2009


I want to believe, but chalk me up as fake, yo. The pitch is too perfect; not to say that mature people can't have practiced prose, but it's just not.. .. right.
posted by cavalier at 1:01 PM on November 25, 2009


you think this is more likely than it simply not being real?

Theorizing is a creative form of denial.
posted by Spatch at 1:07 PM on November 25, 2009


I have a one question test that should clear this up:

Old lady on teh interwebs, iz u 4 reals?

A [ ] Yes
B [ ] Fo shizzle
C [ ] I have no idea what you're talking about, young man. Please get off my lawn.


Truthful answer is C.
posted by ob at 1:08 PM on November 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


In some of the other forums that I frequent, the young people who post there have a struggle believing that people my age can work the internet as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:08 PM on November 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, who the fuck doesn't eat jello? Jello is fucking delicious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:10 PM on November 25 [+] [!]


AZ, don't you live in Minnesota? Obviously she's referring to the festive jello salads we all hate.
posted by Think_Long at 1:17 PM on November 25, 2009


I have definitely seen this blog posted before. I guess it wasn't here? I can't imagine where else I would have seen it though.

Anyways, I don't believe it's really two old ladies doing this, no.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:17 PM on November 25, 2009


I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently. If that was really written by a couple ladies in their eighties, we would know it because they would never, ever use the return key or proper paragraph breaks. And their spelling would be dreadful.

This is all beside the much larger question- do you really think an 83-year-old woman would have it together enough to set up a Wordpress blog, much less one that's reasonably easy on the eyes?
posted by dunkadunc at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2009


real. and not really so far-fetched in my opinion. All I've heard so far is a lot of speculation and gut feelings. and yes, I want to believe. please feel free to prove me wrong.
posted by Jeeb at 1:19 PM on November 25, 2009


THIS BLOG IS FAKED I CAN TELL FROM SOME OF THE ANECDOTES AND FROM HAVING SEEN QUITE A FEW OLD PEOPLE IN MY LIFE

Yes, old people*** don’t think or talk like the hep cats here.

Which is the second bit of enlightenment I’ve received on MeFi today. (I earlier learned from the deleted thread that I'm a troglodyte Palin-lover because I shop at Borders and WalMart and have some weekdays free.)

***Old = over 35
posted by NorthernLite at 1:23 PM on November 25, 2009


Man, post one holiday-appropriate blog link and start a teacup tempest/ageism discussion. Speaking of unanticipated consequences.

Anyway. I emailed the blog author(s) at the contact email they listed. I live in the Dallas area, and I asked Helen (or "Helen", whichever) if she would be interested in letting me interview her re the blog. And take a snapshot.

So, supposing she gets back to me and agrees; any question suggestions? I'll go through the comments about what makes her seem fake, though I'm not sure there's any way she can prove her age-appropriate-snarking abilities.

If this is a scam, either they won't get back to me, or will try and scam me in person, I assume. Which would be interesting.

If it's not, undoubtedly I'll get some spicy commentary about what she thinks of Mefi's fakery-instincts.
posted by emjaybee at 1:27 PM on November 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


with one circle representing everything we know about 82 year-olds, and another circle that contains every single sentence in these blog posts

My 80-year-old father-in-law could have written every word there...but I guess he's a bit younger than this pair.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2009


Thanks emjaybee, nice post, and I look forward to your follow-up!
posted by Jeeb at 1:31 PM on November 25, 2009


Shmegegge, I can tell you with great certainty that I have received multiple "Is this thing on???" e-mails, half to be funny and half because she didn't get it and didn't want to come flat out and say so. And, oddly, this grammar-obsessed woman suddenly began ending every sentence (fragment, really) with lines............ of extra stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and has never really explained why?????????????

This is a woman who, when she was in a writing class several years ago, woke me up to turn on the printer for her so she could write the stories in an e-mail to herself, send it, receive it, print it, take the printout down to Kinkos, cut off the header and make copies. She regularly referred to the modem as the "beep-boo-bop-boo-beep-boo-bop."

So......................

Yeah.
posted by Madamina at 1:38 PM on November 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


If they really were old, every ellipses would contain about 500% more periods.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:38 PM on November 25, 2009


I have definitely seen this blog posted before. I guess it wasn't here?

It was linked in at least one of last year's campaign threads.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:46 PM on November 25, 2009


Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently.

My 80-year-old mother re-installs hardware on her computer. Granted, it took about two years of coaching her how to deal with a balky modem, but she does it on her own now, and she does support for her 90-something sisters, who are all e-mail fiends.

On the other hand, my father-in-law, referenced above, refuses to even look at a computer. If I find an article I think he'd like, I have to print it out or he won't read it. I suspect he can't even type, since he had a secretary for that stuff throughout his whole career.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:49 PM on November 25, 2009


they would never, ever use the return key or proper paragraph breaks. And their spelling would be dreadful.

what? you're kidding right? There are a lot of older women who can type insanely fast and accurately - remember that before everyone had computers, a lot of women earned their living as secretaries and typists.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:10 PM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Daniel Shorr is in his 90's. Ray Bradbury is 90. Certainly people in their 80's and 90's can be sharp, interesting writers, with a modern sensibility and a robust interest in how things are, as opposed to how they were. (Okay, maybe Bradbury is a little old-fashioned in his sensibilities but he still writes very very well). My Constitutional law professor was in his 80's and still teaching with a passionate liberal bent, vigorously demanding that all his students question their motives, perceptions, and assumptions in life and in school. Certainly, old women jawing about their families can be equally acerbic, perceptive, funny or articulate, if they are skilled writers. Why not?

They probably do have lots of technical intervention, though. Even people in their 30s can't figure out how to make things look good on the internet.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:15 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


They probably do have lots of technical intervention, though. Even people in their 30s can't figure out how to make things look good on the internet.

The "grandson" says here that, "My only other involvement is to format the posts for Helen and Margaret which sometimes slows down the process as well." So yeah, there's someone with a younger eye responsible for layout and whatnot, which likely contributes to a certain vibe people are getting off of it.
posted by mumkin at 2:28 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


NorthernLite: "Yes, old people*** don’t think or talk like the hep cats here. "

I'm 34, you insensitive clod. In case you're actually serious (are you? It's hard to tell), have this.
posted by boo_radley at 2:38 PM on November 25, 2009


She regularly referred to the modem as the "beep-boo-bop-boo-beep-boo-bop."

I am 32. I do the same thing, or did, when modems were in fact tiny boxes that went beYOOObeZZTdztBEEdaBEE. Now the internet does not have a sound, and I sometimes miss it.

I'll be sad when we find out Margaret and Helen's blog is fake. I hope it's not.
posted by winna at 2:52 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc: "I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently.

You need to meet more old people.

If that was really written by a couple ladies in their eighties, we would know it because they would never, ever use the return key or proper paragraph breaks. And their spelling would be dreadful.


What? Dreadful spelling? I've found older people to be much better spellers than young people, in general.

This is all beside the much larger question- do you really think an 83-year-old woman would have it together enough to set up a Wordpress blog, much less one that's reasonably easy on the eyes?"

Yes. I don't know if this is real or not, but yes, I do believe an 83-year-old woman could write a blog on WordPress, especially if someone had helped her set it up or set it up for her. I do my blog on WordPress, and if it weren't for the photos (which they don't use) it would be just type and hit "publish."

(I also don't know if your comment is real or not, because it's so bizarre.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently. If that was really written by a couple ladies in their eighties, we would know it because they would never, ever use the return key or proper paragraph breaks. And their spelling would be dreadful.

What? All the old people I know went to school. Their spelling isn't any more dreadful than anyone else's. I'm not sure why you think they wouldn't know how to type, either. It's not like QWERTY was newly developed for the internet.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:12 PM on November 25, 2009


when I was growing up he WAS Kurtwood Smith...

Dumbass!
posted by ericb at 3:12 PM on November 25, 2009


Well, this is going to be hard to factually "prove" from here on the internet, but I was bored and dug through some of the old posts:

from here:
Governor Perry and Governor Sanford fight to see which state secedes from the Union first- Texas or South Carolina? If only…

And yet the Thanksgiving letter contains this:
But we have our own issues. For instance, some of us are Aggies and others are Longhorns.

Aggies and Longhorns refer to two universities in Texas. So we have a family of Texans, hoping for Texas to secede? Oops.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:15 PM on November 25, 2009


Margaret, we’re old. We were born in 1925. Well, I was anyway. You were born in 1926, but whose counting? Either way, we are still a couple of old broads. When we were born the Ku Klux Klan had 5 million members and Catholics and Jews were hated almost as much as the blacks… almost.
This, to me, sounds like someone born much later than 1925 reciting statistics they've read in a history book or saw on an A&E special about how shocking it was when an Irish Catholic was electred president. I know a lot of 80-somethings of varying religions, many of whom grew up in other parts of the country other than my hometown, and not once have I heard any references to Catholics being hated or ostracized. Joked or gossiped about, maybe, because of the size of their families, but never any "we didn't go to X because we knew Catholics weren't welcome there" stories. The whole Helen and Margaret blog hints at being written by a liberal 20 or 30-something trying to sound like a hip octogenarian.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:28 PM on November 25, 2009


When we were born the Ku Klux Klan had 5 million members and Catholics and Jews were hated almost as much as the blacks… almost.

I'll tell you what, I have friends that I have had for 20 years or so, and I never write them saying, you know, when we were born in 1968, the world was a different place, with the hippies and the summer of love and the Vietnam war. That sounds like somebody writing to an audience to establish their age. Stuff like that also makes me suspicious.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:39 PM on November 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


ertainly people in their 80's and 90's can be sharp, interesting writers, with a modern sensibility and a robust interest in how things are, as opposed to how they were. (Okay, maybe Bradbury is a little old-fashioned in his sensibilities but he still writes very very well). My Constitutional law professor was in his 80's and still teaching with a passionate liberal bent

But those 80-year-old writers don't sound, at times, either exactly like a 25-year-old writer or exactly like a 25-year-old writer poorly imitating an 80 year old writer.

I'm not expecting doddering old biddies who can't string a sentence together. I'm expecting women who have a long and rich life experience. None of that is evident on the blog. They apparently grew up in the heart of the Great Depression and came of age during WWII, and yet they do not draw on any of that experience when pondering current political and economic events?
posted by muddgirl at 4:42 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Trust me. Skinny thumbs and a fat ass are not a good look.

Lady, you are awesome! Even if you are fake.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:02 PM on November 25, 2009


I miss my grandma.
posted by green herring at 5:31 PM on November 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


they've been around for a while. i think i stumbled upon that blog
either in 07 or 08. i dont think it's fake. i used to have a blogger
on my site (a margaret, btw) who was 79-80 when she blogged
for us (us being culturekitchen.com )
posted by liza at 5:49 PM on November 25, 2009


The blog may be fake, but this thread made my soul die just the same. Also, it made me feel old. About 85, come to think of it.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 5:50 PM on November 25, 2009


I know a lot of 80-somethings of varying religions, many of whom grew up in other parts of the country other than my hometown, and not once have I heard any references to Catholics being hated or ostracized.

That's fascinating. I grew up in small-town South Dakota, and my 80-year-old Grandma stories like that. Not "we sure hated Catholics", but "We didn't trust them because they were Catholics" kind of things.
posted by graventy at 6:13 PM on November 25, 2009


So we have a family of Texans, hoping for Texas to secede? Oops.

Not sure what you're getting at with this, but I know quite a few Texans who wouldn't mind going back to the time when Texas was its own republic. Their state advertising slogan used to be "Texas! Its like a whole other country!", after all.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:41 PM on November 25, 2009


dunkadunc: "I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently.


Tell that to my 70-year-old coworker, who happens to be a print production layout artist.
posted by Windigo at 6:42 PM on November 25, 2009


I have definitely seen this blog posted before. I guess it wasn't here? I can't imagine where else I would have seen it though.


It was linked during the epic Palin thread, which is when I started reading it. I think I assumed right from the beginning that it was a fake, mainly because of the timing. A few innocuous blogs about vacations and then ..whammo..out comes the hardball blog entry, "Sarah Palin is a Bitch...There I said it." After that, no more boring family vacation entries.

Still, it is a fun read and I miss Molly Ivins like crazy so I have to get my little old lady fix from somewhere.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:15 PM on November 25, 2009


I know a lot of 80-somethings of varying religions, many of whom grew up in other parts of the country other than my hometown, and not once have I heard any references to Catholics being hated or ostracized.

My 81-year-old dad (who had one Catholic parent and one Congregationalist-turned-Unitarian parent) will give you chapter and verse of anti-Catholic discrimination he personally experienced.

How lucky for your 80-something friends not to have encountered any themselves.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:15 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


My grandmothers third husband was a huge fan of what we most unaffectionately and in private called "nerd salad". (This was in the 80s) It consisted entirely of lime jello, chopped cabbage, and olives. That gastronomic catastrophe may have been eclipsed by an award winning dinner salad that was purportedly submitted by a nun, consisting of Cherry Jello, Coca Cola as a substitute for water, and marshmallows. I would be hard pressed to choose which one to tackle...
posted by jcworth at 7:38 PM on November 25, 2009


It was linked during the epic Palin thread, Ack. No, my mistake. The epic thread ended Sept. 29th and this blog didn't show up until Oct. 5. Well cybercoitus interruptus found at least one time it was linked last year, there may have been others. Check out this comment if you missed the crazy Palin Fever that swept through MetaFilter.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:44 PM on November 25, 2009


Oh Lord, jcworth, you have forced me to remember my own dear mother's horrible jello salad: Lime jello, cottage cheese, onion, carrot, and pineapple chunks. Vomit in, vomit out.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:46 PM on November 25, 2009


I could have sworn I saw this like a year ago, but I guess it wasn't linked on metafilter.

dunkadunc: "I'm sorry, I don't buy it. Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently.

Ugh. Jesus this kind of thinking is so stupid it actually makes me mad. this isn't most old people posting on a blog, it's only one. There are millions of old people, you think there isn't a single old lady out there who knows how to blog? not one?!

The idea that 'they're all' the same and suffering from some cognitive deficiency is ridiculous. David Broder is 80 years old and his articles are entirely lucid, if stultifying. Now obviously he has an editor.

I think a lot of the 'inability' by older people to use computers is simply resentment about having to learn something new. People who want to learn are not really going to have those big problems, especially with modern GUIs, etc.
posted by delmoi at 7:51 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: "I have a simpler method. If I'm masturbating to it, it's probably porn."

I forgot to mention the other reason why I don't think the writer is actually an 82 year old lady. It's clearly porn.
Gloria Vanderbilt is 85 years old and Just wrote an erotic article. She also must have a pretty expensive plastic surgeon, she doesn’t look older then 50. Kind of creepy. And she's also Anderson cooper's mom.
posted by delmoi at 8:08 PM on November 25, 2009


Btw, I'm not saying I don't think it's fake, I'm just saying you can't just say "Old people don't know how to use computers, so this is fake"
posted by delmoi at 8:39 PM on November 25, 2009


Governor Perry and Governor Sanford fight to see which state secedes from the Union first- Texas or South Carolina? If only…

So we have a family of Texans, hoping for Texas to secede? Oops.

I don't think she wants to see Texas secede, that notion would be out of line with everything else she writes. I think she just wants to see a couple of idiots fight to the death over a stupid idea.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:05 PM on November 25, 2009


It makes me sad that instead of discussing jello salads past, this thread is discussing the supposed over-hipness of some old lady's writing. I started reading M&H because my boyfriend's grandma emailed me a link to one of the Palin posts. My 64 year old mother loves this site too. Neither of them has any problem with understanding the phrase "not so much" in conversation or in writing. My guess is that Helen spends a fair amount of time talking to people younger than herself. Keep reading. She talks more about history in earlier posts.

Also, I think the Rick Perry comment was meant sarcastically.

I love how young people think they invented everything, from anal sex to snark. Read more Twain.
posted by irisclara at 9:18 PM on November 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


My only data point is that my friend's mother (66) talks like this and called Palin "That horrible woman."
posted by The Whelk at 9:50 PM on November 25, 2009


I have no idea if it's real or not, and I don't especially care, but the insistence that it simply must be fake because old people can't use the internet and wouldn't use modern slang sort of pisses me off. Most older people I know (70+) are pretty internet-savvy, since they've been getting pushed by their kids and grandkids to get email so they can keep in touch more easily, get Skype so they can talk for cheap, get digital cameras so they don't have to mess with developing pictures after they visit, blah blah et cetera blah. My 81 year old grandmother only retired from her job about 18 months ago, and since then she's been bored out of her mind, so she cooked up a project for herself -- she's going to scan all of her old family photos, upload them to Flickr, and identify everyone in them (some photos are very old and she's the last person alive who knows who the hell these people are). She got on Flickr and set up her account without my help, and I think the actual uploading and tagging process there is more complex than posting a Wordpress entry.

Oh, and octothorpe? When I asked Grandma if she had any trouble setting up her Flickr account, she said, "Trouble? No, not so much."
posted by palomar at 10:50 PM on November 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Looks like I picked the wrong birthday to quit reading threads about people older than 35 on the internet.

*opens glue tube, huffs, falls over*
posted by bakerina at 11:12 PM on November 25, 2009


I don't know much about old people other than I hope to be one one day. However, I was once a young person and can verify this, YOU ARE ALL FUCKING IDIOTS!!!!

Now, get off my lawn.
posted by secondhand at 11:39 PM on November 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


We have/had contributors here who are in their seventies, and they seem relatively coherent in comparison to the usual ; ) The supposed age of the ladies is not in and of itself at all conclusive to the authenticity of the blog. I look forward to emjaybees follow up.

However, the rest of the evidence would seem quite damning. The content is well constructed to be of interest to genY type internet wags.
posted by asok at 6:40 AM on November 26, 2009


That's fascinating. I grew up in small-town South Dakota, and my 80-year-old Grandma stories like that. Not "we sure hated Catholics", but "We didn't trust them because they were Catholics" kind of things.

I know people right now who don't trust Catholics. They're pagan Pope-worshipers, don't you know. And these are forty and fifty year old people, not octogenarians.

Bigotry: the gift that keeps on giving!
posted by winna at 10:16 AM on November 26, 2009


I happen to have a lot of personal experience in the realm of altercockers writing for the web. My 92- and 97-year-old grandparents can't do anything with a computer, but they blog with my help. Their own blog is mainly video of them being incredibly cute, but for grandma's thriving career as a restaurant reviewer on Yelp, she throws out a bunch of opinions in response to my sister's leading questions and I edit her words into a cohesive review that's in her voice and is what she thinks, but tarted up a bit so it scans "Yelpier."

Margaret and Helen? After reading a couple of entries it doesn't pass my sniff test, either. I think the youngster who writes it could be asking grandma for talking points, though. The ideas aren't unlikely in someone of that age, but the language and the tone are miles off.
posted by Scram at 2:23 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


grandma's thriving career as a restaurant reviewer on Yelp
posted by Scram at 4:23 PM on November 26
The Vanilla Almond French toast was very good to where I was sorry I split it. I could have eaten my whole share. But Harry liked it, and I like him, and we can just go back and order it again.
I love your grandmother.
posted by joannemerriam at 3:16 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


My mama grew up in Minnesota and once made an "ironic" Jell-o salad: Weiner Jell-o. People actually ate it and thought she was serious.

Also: I hope Margaret & Helen are real. I'm going on the "innocent until proven guilty" vibe.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:22 PM on November 27, 2009


Old people almost NEVER know how to use computers competently.

Yeah, my Mom's website looks like it's stuck in the 90's. She also wants to be friends on facebook and myspace. Gosh, will she ever figure out how to use these computer things?

She is about 10 years younger than Margaret & Helen though, so I guess she had more opportunities to learn about computers. I think she might have seen one once when she was a child. Must have been what formed her current opinions.
posted by yohko at 6:03 PM on November 27, 2009


Bah. If my great-grandma was still around (born 1913...hey, they had kids early then), she'd be ALL OVER THIS. You'd have to rip her away from the keyboard. She'd probably have a Days of Our Lives review blog or something, and it would be called "My Stories" and she would complain about stupid plot points. She was totally down with Days, let me tell you.

But my favorite grandma story was me shaving my head when I was 14ish, my dad bitching and moaning about it and Grandma saying "I shaved my head when I was her age, I think it's cute!" to which Dad responded: "YOU HAD SCARLET FEVER!!!"

So yeah. Totally progressive, our Dorothy. M&H remind me a lot of her.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:57 PM on November 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


not once have I heard any references to Catholics being hated or ostracized.

My mother tells an anecdote about a cow orker of hers who, in a discussion of prayers to open City Council meetings in Houston, said that the city had had non-Christians do the opening prayer because a Catholic priest had performed it. This was in the 1990s.

I don't know whether the blog is real or not, but I have no trouble believing that part. (Nor that there are grand old progressive ladies in the metro Dallas area. I hope they are real.)
posted by immlass at 8:18 PM on November 29, 2009


Yeah, Oriole Adams, you must have not had the luck to discuss religion with fundie Christians very often. In college (late '80s, big Midwestern university), I was told (by other college students) that I couldn't possibly be a Christian because I was Catholic.

Also, my mom (now a 70-year-old grandmother) graduated from a two-year computer program in 1996. So, yeah, her ignorance of computers? Not so much...
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:33 AM on November 30, 2009


grandma's thriving career as a restaurant reviewer on Yelp
posted by Scram at 4:23 PM on November 26


That's some great stuff there.
posted by marxchivist at 1:02 PM on November 30, 2009


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