Same Time Zone-Alternate Realities

New York City.  A fantastic place that involves all your senses.

Fort Myers, FL. This second image is taken further south, about 1,250 miles [2,012 km] away. Here’s a destination where the senses aren’t always engaged. Let’s just say “relaxed” is a more fitting adjective. Finally, both photos were taken approximately around the same time of day: late afternoon.

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Rooms and a view [Contentment vs Depression]

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Freedom. Choices in travel and direction. Sunlight and open air. Architectural beauty.

Al Capone’s prison cell.

Incarceration. Small living space. A single window. Concrete walls. Iron bars.

Penitence among the ruins

In my life, only 2 museums have profoundly impacted my psyche: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and most recently the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. As instruments for education, they are a means to an end.

The prison in Philadelphia was built to help those find and practice penitence for whatever crime they committed. Human nature can be flexible and adaptable across time, however, incarceration and solitary confinement has a way of bringing ruin to flexibility and adaptation.

With that ruin, even the strongest of men—and women—lose their hearts, emotions, everything, to spiritual atrophy.

If marketing is the means to help us remember a brand and its benefits, then the marketing of such museums is to reinforce the unimaginable cruelty were capable of, and to keep alive the most powerful and universal of virtues that are love and hope.

 

Uncomplications

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.

Uncomplications.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Touch of Spring

Pour ceux qui sont fatigués de l’hiver, laissez-moi partager avec vous un aperçu du printemps.

Chaque printemps, Smith College ouvre la porte de leurs maisons vertes. Pour un petit don, vous pouvez vous perdre dans la chaleur, la couleur et la promesse de la météo à venir.

La patience est nécessaire car les week-ends sont toujours occupés avec les visiteurs, proches et lointains.

 

 

 

Tanglewood

I have been to this place many times before, but not in winter. It’s called Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. To walk the grounds void of flora, visitors and the orchestral sounds of a storied symphony is not only cathartic, but prone to nostalgia.

When you’ve visited a place numerous times, memories can fill many empty spaces. On a summer Sunday afternoon during the season, it’s not an uncommon quest to find a suitable open space on the lawns. But, you do find a spot, spread out your blanket, set-up your food and beverages and soak up the sun and air, all while music literally spans the grounds.