FOTOFRIDAY

FOTOFRIDAY: Cigarette Butts

Posted on: Friday, February 28th, 2020
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Is it just me or does toilet humor (literally) seem to be on the rise? Maybe it’s just men’s rooms. Maybe it’s bars and restaurants trying to increase the fun factor to boost sales. Maybe it’s another sign of the rather rude, crude times we live in.

Regardless, my collection of such statements has become noteworthy. (Yes, I try to shoot fast and not disturb fellow bathroom guests.)

No butts about it, this toilet “art” caught my eye and made me chuckle. And since the bathroom was on the island of Belize, they were serious about not wanting cigarette butts in the septic system. You’d see similar signs in most any establishment. But few were, shall we say, as eye-catching.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Life Before Costco

Posted on: Friday, February 21st, 2020
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Here you see a shop-owner dutifully working in the shadows of his perfect produce shop just outside of Paris 20 years ago. So much has changed on USA soil; there are myriad grocery options in most American cities, yet a family-owned fruit and beverage boutique may be impossible to find. Who can market a small market and make a living?

So this is life before Costco. It also portrays the other-worldly passion of worldly Paris, where such artisanal shops in 2020 are probably less omnipresent but still very present. And residents show up.

This writer-chef loves the savvy of Trader Joe’s and the convenience of a Target that sells everything from grapes to undergarments. But as I reminisce this random Parisian morning and a sight any traveler to France will encounter countless times, there’s no question which lifestyle offers better connection, quality, and values.

Long live Costco? No. Viva la France!

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FOTOFRIDAY: Hello Luna

Posted on: Friday, February 14th, 2020
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Still figuring out the new iPhone 11 camera. In some ways, it seems much ado about not so much. In other way, like this “dark mode” shot taken in actual darkness, it just might be pretty cool.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Play Ball!

Posted on: Friday, February 7th, 2020
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To some of us, baseball remains a blissy mini-Breakaway. The game plays without a time clock, in the open air (ideally), and during the warm, long days. Oh sure, football has become WAY more popular, as presaged long ago by journalist Mary McGrory: “Baseball is what we were, and football is what we have become.”

But hey, football is finished for a while. Finally. And…

Next week, pitchers and catchers start reporting to pre-season practice—a rite of spring, of optimism, and of gentlemanly competition usually devoid of vulgarity and violence. We could use some of that in Washington, DC right about now. Although it’s worth noting that said city is presently home to the world champion Washington Nationals.

A sign of hope? Keep dreaming.

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FOTOFRIDAY: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

Posted on: Friday, January 31st, 2020
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And don’t you forget it. And BTW, congrats to Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and a whole bunch of new-school superstars who are helping us rethink what beauty means—and making millions and winning awards while doing so!

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FOTOFRIDAY: Wish We Were There

Posted on: Friday, January 24th, 2020
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If you live in MN and you look at the iPhone weather app, you’ll notice that NO SUN icons appear for the next 10 days. In real-time, that means: NO SUN will shine for the next 10 days. 

Wish you were here? No. Better to be in warm ocean water, playing with your kids and a brilliant beach ball. Nothing better. 

But most of us are not. We are shoveling snow, navigating treacherous roads, wearing layers of wool, itching scaly skin, and practicing the most controversial of zen mantras: Be here now. So keep the faith; the summer solstice is only 5 months away. 

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FOTOFRIDAY: Reality BreakAway or Sports Porn?

Posted on: Friday, January 10th, 2020
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Last Saturday, I wandered Target Center in Minneapolis at the Chipotle Clash of Champions with 17,000 close friends. This is high school sports on steroids—local phenom hoops team Minnehaha Academy vs. Sierra Canyon (from CA, featuring the sons of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade).

The organizers pulled a Wily Marketing silky smooth move by changing the event from the high school to the downtown arena. Sure, tickets were only $25 (if you bought in-person and avoided TM’s ridiculous fees). And people want to be entertained! Yet this athletics lover wonders when America’s sports appetite will become full or filled.

By the looks of this crowd and other games I’ve attended lately with far more challenging prices and logistics, we are nowhere near the tipping point.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Ice Fishing BreakAways?

Posted on: Friday, January 3rd, 2020
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Throughout the past week, a friend has been sending me pics of his Florida beach vacation. He knows my love of all things warm, watery and beachy. He also knows I am mostly stuck in Minnesota during this holiday season, despite years of winter escapes for as long as 355 days. Or 4 months. Or 69 days. The longer, the better!

Things change. While I cherish those memories and pine for long winter getaways, I could do no better than to reply to my friend with this view from my desk—no need for 1,000 words.

Ice fishing BreakAways? Well, why not? For that guy, sitting on a frozen lake and hoping to land something fishy feels like a fun escape. A break from the grind. Some moments of peace and meditation, perhaps. Who needs surf, sun, sand?

I do. Yet I also know some are happy just to ice-fish. And that savvy, sane people pursue BreakAways wherever, whenever, and however.

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FOTOFRIDAY: (Belated) Merry Christmas!

Posted on: Friday, December 27th, 2019
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Christmas means different things to different people, obviously.

As for me, I can’t help but notice that it/sales start earlier every year. And yet…it’s over before it’s over. The parties and gifts: All happen before Christmas Day. The big church services and family events: Mostly on Christmas Eve. The day that most people are ready to “tear down” Christmas décor: The day after.

So it’s only fitting to be late, if only to be contrary. Anyway, for me, the colorful décor and twinkly lights help make Minnesota’s dark and dreary winters a little less…dark and dreary.

And so we might be on time (early) this time: Happy New Year!

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FOTOFRIDAY: ‘Tis the Season to be Musical

Posted on: Friday, December 20th, 2019
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See those angels on my piano? I hardly ever see them—because they are hidden inside the upright and only show up when the piano tuner opens up the instrument. It’s always a pleasure. But this time, I learned they’re not. Not angels. They’re flowers! Hand-painted inside this artisanal beauty. Imagine my disappointment—and during the holiday season, even!

Christmas takes a lot of knocks, deservedly so, since commercialism has taken over and drowned out the more celestial messages. So I listen instead to the music, since great Christmas music is abundant and timeless—whether from long-gone composers, Americana crooners, or contemporary creations.

I also enjoy playing Christmas music (especially when no one is listening). Few diversions offer such a complete, if temporary, BreakAway vibe.

One of my musical toys is this here Schimmel piano, hand-made in Faribault, MN. A German maker dating back to 1885, mine was crafted circa 1893, when the Schimmel family expanded to America for a short while and made only about 3,000 instruments. I am lucky to own one. And my Schimmel is lucky to have me—since old pianos often can’t find compassionate caretakers these days.

Got music? Play it. You’ll feel better, and fill your surroundings with angelic sounds.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and may the peace be with you.

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