Going Topless

CensoredI hope you’re sitting down because I have some shocking news for you: for now and the foreseeable future, I shall be going topless. Perhaps some further explanation is warranted to help ease your nerves regarding this matter and perhaps save you the trouble of contacting the authorities.

The scandalous chain of events that caused this uncomfortable situation has its origin in the snowstorm that hit Fulton last week. A snowstorm in January is certainly nothing new around these parts. That is what makes the story even more tragic.

It was “garbage day” in my section of the city, and my trash sat sealed and snug in their containers, waiting to be picked up – which they were, right on time. But this particular day saw the wind pick up to treacherous levels, and I feared for the safety of my trash receptacles. As soon as I heard the sanitation truck pass my house, I went outside to corral the containers and put them in my garage. But by the time I got there, the damage had already been done: one of the lids was missing.

I searched the neighborhood, but it was no use. No doubt the combination of gale winds and its Frisbee-like shape sent it flying away. By the time I got there, it was probably already in Minetto. Sadly, I was forced to give up my quest.

But the story continues.

Today I found myself in my favorite shopping superstore, hoping to put an end to this horrendous tale of woe. I selected a brand new lid, tossed it into my cart, and headed to the checkout line. And that is where the story takes a turn for the worse.

The cashier lifted the lid from the conveyor belt and look me dead in the eyes. “Why are you buying a garbage can lid?” she asked.

At first, I thought maybe she was the kind of person who took special interest in her clients, but that didn’t seem likely. Still, I am not the kind of person who easily shares such intimate personal details, so I opted for a simple answer.

“I need one. My old one flew away.” That was all the information she would get out of me. The conversation continued.

“Well, you can’t buy one,” she replied. “We don’t sell them.”

“Then what are you holding in your hand?” I asked, becoming slightly queasy at the uneasy exchange of question and answer.

“I mean that we don’t sell them by themselves. They only come with garbage cans. To get a lid, you have to buy a can.”

“But I don’t need a can. I already have one. I only need the lid,” I said.

“Those are the rules. Anyhow, lids don’t even have a UPC code. I can’t ring it up.”

Those in fact were the rules. The cashier caller her supervisor to render a decision and tell me my options. It was true. I was not allowed to purchase a lid unless I bought the can to go with it. Being a law-abiding citizen who did not want to violate any sanitation ordinances, I decided to thank them for their time and return home.

On my drive home, I began to wonder about these so-called “rules.” This particular one didn’t seem very wise. Surely other people would find themselves in the same position as me. Surely others would want to purchase a trash can lid. Why weren’t they for sale all by themselves?

Ideas floated around my mind. Could this possibly be a diabolical scheme whereby store employees wander the neighborhoods on trash day and misappropriate trash can lids in order to boost sales of cans? That was one possibility. If that were true, I had better buy a new can or else I would be putting can workers out of their jobs; and I would be responsible for ruining the economy.

Another possibility is that we in America now live in a throw-away society. We don’t repair anything. We don’t sew torn clothes or mend cracked things. We toss in the trash and buy another of the same, brand shiny new. Of course I have no proof of this, but I bet if you checked how glue sales were going, it would give a clue into the trend.

As for my dilemma, I don’t see a solution at the moment. So I will have to go topless. I will be forced to put my trash into the garbage can without a lid and hope that the wind does not send it flying around the neighborhood. In the meantime, I’m saving up to buy the complete set: garbage lid and can. But when that happens, I will have a new dilemma…

How do you get rid of a garbage can?


The First Snowfall

First Snowfall

Right around this time of year, something profound happens. Like clockwork, Mother Nature shifts her calendar and treats us to the majesty of the season’s first snowfall. With it, comes a change in our thinking, giving insight into one’s personality.

Some of my friends will wail and bemoan the arrival of yet another snow season, five to six months of shoveling, scraping, slipping and sliding. Others will jolt with eager anticipation of snowmobiling across the countryside. And others will reach for their credit cards, as another holiday shopping season is here.

As I watch the faint mist of flakes slowly fall to the ground, barely enough to cover a blade of grass, I grow nostalgic. I vividly recall childhood excitement of the wondrous holiday season just ahead, of sleds and snowmen, and grabbing a handful of snow to shove into my mouth – even when my mother said not to.

I am reminded of the passing of time and of people no longer with us, sad that they are gone, but glad that they will never be forgotten.

The first snowfall is an emotional time for me, a strange cloudy mix of memories. But most of all, it is a reminder of how beautiful the world can be if I look at it with innocent eyes, and how lucky I am to be here to observe it.

#snow #snowfall #first_snowfall #winter #seasons #memories #nostalgia



Rain Forest


Soft Afternoon


The warm glow of the afternoon sun lit the trees with a soothing softness.

Surf’s Down

Surfs Down2

Surfer’s at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii take time out to enjoy the sunset.



This photo doesn’t seem very special until you look at it closely to get the proper perspective.  See if you can figure out why I felt this shot was amazing.

Tropical Fragrance


Hawaiian flower of unknown species.  There were many.


IMG_4160View from half-way up on our hike up Diamond Head on the island of Oahu.

Mixed Moods

IMG_4562Waikiki Beach at sunset



And the Winner Is…


Here’s some shocking news: I am old.

I say this as a matter of fact.  It has been scientifically proven that if you orbit the sun enough times, you will be classified as old.  I do not look at this as a bad thing, despite what the makers of all those anti-aging products would have you believe.  I look at it as an achievement. Life is not easy, and I have survived this far.  I deserve an award.

Speaking of awards (see how I cleverly worked that in), the Academy Awards are about to be given out again.  I used to look forward to this event; but over the years, my feelings about it have changed. I think it’s worth looking into why.

I can remember when Johnny Carson used to emcee the event. I was a boy, and it took a bit of persuading to get my parents to allow me to stay up that late.  That is one of the reasons why I saved up to buy my own little black and white set for my bedroom.  I could sneak watching TV if I kept the volume low. (The cat is out of the bag.)

Back then, the show seemed more exciting and the stars bigger.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t hear about them every day in tabloids, entertainment shows, news programs and social media.  There is something to be said about mystery.  There is a certain aura about it.  Over-familiarity often brings with it boredom.

There are other reasons why (to me) the show has lost its panache. If you like the word panache, I will try to use others like it to keep you excited. Here is a brief list of why I don’t want to watch the Oscars being handed out anymore:


  1. Everyone is a genius. Over the course of the evening, the words “genius” will be tossed about like a Frisbee in a tornado. This director is a genius. That actress is a genius. The guy who delivered cronuts to the set was a genius. For me, a genius is somebody like DaVinci or Edison. In entertainment, geniuses don’t come along that often.  Charlie Chaplin was a genius.
  2. The beauty hypocrisy. Be prepared to watch as the actresses who complain about being judged solely by their looks, will vigorously compete for the honor of being named the most beautiful woman at the event. Some will strip down to barely-legal outfits in order to “rule the red carpet.” It’s too bad that they feel like they have to do this. We should stop judging them by how they look. They were right in the first place.
  3. Déjà vu all over again. Producers will pat each other on the backs for coming up with brilliant ideas for movie plots, when often we are fed nothing more than sequels and movies made from old TV shows. The Flintstones, The Beverly Hillbillies, George of the Jungle, Scooby Doo, and many others have made it to the big screen to join such classics as Rocky 6 and Fast and Furious 9. Personally, I am waiting for Dude, Where’s My Car 12 to come out. An instant classic, for sure!
  4. Irony and confusion: How come they give the lifetime achievement award to someone who is still alive? Their life isn’t over yet. They still have time to mess up. Maybe they should call this the “life so far” achievement award. But then again, I may just be a stickler for accuracy, and the world is an inaccurate place.
  5. Hunger: I always run out of popcorn about 3 hours into the show and am too lazy to pop some more. (Yes, I am old school and make kettle corn in a huge pot.)
  6. Boredom: I start drifting into a boredom-induced stupor after 90 minutes because they feel compelled to list every award given out – and give the recipients air time to make their acceptance speech. As a result, we get to hear an 8-minute speech from the guy from Poland who won the award for “Best Foreign Short Documentary” about the history of cheese. Later on, they cut short the Best Director speech because the Chia Pet infomercial is due to air.
  7. Empathy: Stars show up in chauffeur-driven limos wearing half a million dollars’ worth of designer clothes and jewelry to later lecture us about how tough life is.
  8. Length. I fall into a deep sleep a half hour before the end where they cram the top 5 awards into the last 30 minutes of the show.
  9. Excitement: Nobody ever has a wardrobe malfunction anymore.
  10. Nostalgia: I miss Billy Crystal!