Fade-free nostalgia…

What is it about nostalgia that some of us cannot jettison? A valid concern is that the yearning makes a mess of being-in-the-moment.  That same yearning can deny future possibilities when it turns to ruminating.  For some, nostalgia can magnify preoccupation.  Not good.

Kodachrome~Epson Scanner

Yet there are fragments of nostalgia that remain fade-free. Like writing/journaling and photography, riding a sport bike can be solitary, well, a choice by many, including myself. Certainly some of my own experience aboard two wheels can be marked as memorable [and mostly positive].

Kodachrome~Epson Scanner

As is fitting this time of year, nostalgia tends to swell, though more specifically with auld lang syne, those days of fond remembrance, of days spent from far-off times or even those more recent. It matters none because an experience that generates a fondness or even a light-hearted sense of joy is timeless. The decades can sometimes feel “like only yesterday.”

The distinction I’m trying to make is that auld lang syne speaks of a heart-felt time devoid of regret and rumination. Isn’t that what probes our memory at year’s end?  What have we forgotten? Whom have we forgotten?

My school of thought is that these fade-free capsules of nostalgia are not containers of events that could’ve or should’ve been. No, auld lang syne is more about preserving good things which matter: lessons learned, people who’ve made a difference, the unconditional, enduring quality of gratitude and love.

Before I make a mess of this post, I’ll let the poet Robert Burns weigh in. He’s the Scot who made this poem, this inimitable song, about as timeless as anything found in life. Click here.




The 10,000 Hour Rule

Ten years ago, author Malcolm Gladwell published his book, Outliers, a NY Times Bestseller. In his book, Mr. Gladwell posited that to master a specific skill, a total of 10,000 hours is required. That’s the milestone to accomplish being the best, “to accomplish greatness” according to the author.

But once again, “greatness” and “the best” have varying metrics. Is any of this based on earnings? On the number of gold medals? The number of championships [world or otherwise]? Metrics do have a place, certainly, but winning cannot be everything.

If there is a dark side to marketing it’s this notion that aside from the hours required, you also need equipment, supplies et al of equal or higher quality. Marketing promotes aspirational consumption: if I have the best ______, then I have a better chance of becoming the best.

No….10,000 hours is an unreasonable expectation. Predictably, no one denies consistent practice is mandatory in order to reach a given standard or goal [especially your own]. However, my own “rule” is far simpler: give it your best and know it was your best. Save some time to enjoy other things in Life.


Is our evolutionary advancement driven, in part, by the creation of things increasingly complex? This home sitting stoically somewhere in London, is the antithesis of a modern home. You won’t find computer-controlled lights, security systems, or appliances seamlessly linked to an app on your phone or tablet. Think simple yet purposeful. Venerated in stature, an edifice devoid of pretense.

Similarly, this pub distills [pun intended] an uncomplicated persona. How so? Nowhere did I see a roster of specialty beers, ales, lagers, mixed drinks, martinis and so on. Visually, there’s a lot to draw your attention, but nothing approaching sensory overload. Six taps of beer, the usual suspects in liquor and I’m sure a wine list practical in scale and price points.

Ditto for this uncomplicated yet tasteful-looking bar. I’m all for imaginative thinking, but that’s a far cry from thinking that the latest and greatest is something we need. Novelty can make many things interesting, but the fascination can quickly fade.

Today, we’re seeing even more complexity in an already complex, confounding arena that is automobile manufacturing. Case in point, the steering wheel of Formula 1 race cars. It’s essentially a computer with a realm of adjustments a driver can make while racing. Granted, an F1 car is an extremely specialized machine, but we’re already witnessing technology trickling down to passenger cars: paddle shifting, adjustable suspension rates, electronically controlled ride height, dual clutch transmissions, electronic steering, throttle control and more.

Growing complexity effectively commoditizes our thinking. Artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction and this growing reliance, this transference or programming of cognition to things inanimate is troubling. Interestingly, the late Dr. Stephen Hawking once said that the rise of AI is utterly frightening. Why? AI advancement and its integration to our day-to-day living will reshape civilization and redefine humanity.


Have a face-to-face conversation [not Skype, not Facetime] with someone you value and keep in high regard. Pen a letter or card [not an IM, email or Tweet]. To feel good—really good—do something that will make another person smile, even laugh. We give too much of our time to monitors, hand-held devices, playlists, news feeds and much less to each other.








“This is London Calling”*

*This was the BBC radio introduction that was used during the Second World War. Personally, I tie this to a sentiment that I need to go back…

The River Thames
Atop the Big Eye
Parliament at the Thames
Close to the London Academy of Music
Afternoon tea…
…with my favorite “cup-of-tea”



Remnants v3

Dennison R6 L-C016

MOMA has a photography exhibit, appropriately, Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015It runs through March 20 and I hope to plan an escape some weekend. It seems that each year, this exhibition—like others that explore trends and new artists in a given medium—brings out the opposing camps: “No, this isn’t photography” in one corner versus “Of course it is, it’s a new, fresh look at photography” in the other. Time marches on so change is inevitable, good or bad.  For now, I take a look back.

Dinsmore R0 L-C026

These B&W photos—like the ones in Remnant and Remnant v2 come from the same collection or year they were taken, which was sometime in 1973.  I am particularly moved by this photo, a portrait of a teacher I had in high school.  Mr. Dinsmore was his name. He had an emotional quotient [EQ] that was apparent long before EQ became a chapter in any number of business management books and case studies. First and foremost, he was a very good english literature teacher.

Dinsmore 70 L-C-2-18

Sadly, I learned that Mr. Dinsmore passed away, a brain tumor taking him from the school and his charges.  His spirit—and my memory of him—lives on.