Friday, April 29, 2022

The Right Attitude

I learned in childhood that competition can sap all the joy out of sport. It's a lesson to be heeded at all stages of life. 

I enjoyed playing baseball in pick-up games around our neighborhood but dreaded playing it in Little League where adults yelled at small boys for ordinary play. I remember standing on the field hoping the ball wasn't hit to me for fear of making an error and becoming a target of abuse from adult coaches. 

There's intrinsic fun in all physical activity but you can ruin a good time by focusing on "winning." True winning is enjoying yourself. If you're not a paid professional (as none of us are) fun should the goal, not beating others in matches that don't matter. That's my attitude in billiards, motorcycle-riding and other activities.

I also use this insight as a spectator. Competition is okay to keep score of how your team is doing but shouldn't obscure the magic of their play. This year I went to ten hockey games. My team (NJ Devils) is one of the very worst in the NHL. Overall they lost more than two out of every three games they played -- yet I loved the excitement of attending. I saw young players developing promising careers, an old player savoring his remaining time on the ice, crowds roaring with delight at spirited play and a community wearing colorful jerseys to share their pride. Those games were highlights of my year and unaffected by whether the team won or lost. (In fact, they won seven of the ten games.)

We can choose how we live and think. Much modern culture, especially around sports, is wrong-headed and leads to unhealthy experience. Adopt the right attitude and sports can enhance your life.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

New Jersey

On the way home from a Devils game yesterday I took shots of a Jersey girl in Jersey.

Friday, April 22, 2022


I always carry a camera with me. Usually two (one film, one digital). 

This is why...

Thursday, April 14, 2022

New Adventures

The fun part of the year is beginning -- what are your plans for adventure? Travel? Hobbies?

I decided to switch my primary motorcycle-riding from the big, comfortable touring bike (BMW K1600GTL) to the more exciting sport-bike (BMW S1000R). The tourer is a two-wheeled RV with a windscreen, GPS and heated seat. The sport-bike is faster and more nimble. I always smile bigger getting off the S1000R but usually choose the GTL 'cause I'm lazy. This year I'm thinkin' I want the sport-bike's excitement even if my thighs ache the next day, which they always do. (You use them for body-positioning and as shock-absorbers.)

Yesterday I was riding down the street when two young guys in a truck shouted "Nice bike!" and gave big thumbs up to the S1000R. It felt good being applauded by folks literally half my age. Which made me reflect on aging.

When I was young, people my age now (64) looked OLD. And acted it. In contrast I feel vigorous now, on the doorstep to a new chapter in life. Years don't matter, attitude does.

The S1000R is set for the season: new tires, inspected and serviced. I'm also ready with new Sidi boots and aerodynamic backpack. In addition to spirited riding on the street I'll take this missile to the track before the end of the year. My last sport-bike (Yamaha FZ-1) hit 140 mph there and I know the BMW can reach 160 mph.

So what are your plans?! 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

New Art

A painter and a sculptor met in the 1950s, started making glass art together, married in the 1960s and spent the next half-century making hugely innovative art for which they invented new artistic processes. The artists became world-famous despite a massive handicap: living in a Communist country (then known as Czechoslovakia) which rigidly limited artistic expression. The artists are Stanislav Libensk√Ĺ and Jaroslava Brychtov√°.

I'm going into NYC on Friday to view and buy some of their work. The owner of the gallery showing it met his wife at a museum exhibition for these artists in 1994; she was their interpreter. He gives me behind-the-scenes info about them.

You can learn more about the artists here (link) and here (link).

Monday, April 4, 2022

Delightful Surprise

You never know what you're gonna get with old cameras.

Two months ago a friend gave me a 1972 Kodak Instamatic 30. It uses tiny film in 110-roll cartridges. It's certainly the smallest camera I own and slips easily into a pocket.

Being 50 years old has a disadvantage: the camera can't work without batteries (electronic shutter) and they don't make those batteries any more. Fortunately I discovered a clever work-around last month.

I had very low expectations for the camera due to its cheap plastic lens and small film-size. I was thus delighted to see beautiful, sharp pictures come back from the lab. Good focus, nice depth-of-field and impressive contrast. 

This is now my favorite vintage camera and I plan to carry it with me everywhere. Morale: don't give up on something just because it's old!

Friday, April 1, 2022

1950 Census Records

Wow! The U.S. Government just released its census records from 1950. By law, those records were kept confidential for 72 years. Now they're available and you can search them by name.

I found my mother's family, shown in the detail provided. The entry identifies my mom as a "step-daughter" (which was a family secret; I wasn't told her "father" wasn't her biological dad until my adulthood). The entry also lists my mother's two younger sisters but doesn't include her youngest brother because he wasn't born yet. My mom was 13 years old when this form was filled out.

You can search for your family here: link