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Showing posts from 2021

THE GREAT ASIAN MALL

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  The dark loneliness left you to fill in the blanks about the place. Such it was in the almost deserted Great Asian Mall. A giant place framed by an endless parking lot with only a few cars Greatness had long left this place. I learned the owner a man from Vietnam resided far away, the mall floors unswept. The closed shops with windows covered by newspaper sat side by side like forgotten tombstones, only names remained.   There’s a sadness here, but the far end of the mall still has life. There a cosmetic art school, Asian market, dim sum restaurant and Vietnam sandwich shop kept the lights on. Everyday, debris from each would fill the mall space between them. Each fighting with the other to keep entry ways clear. You could see stacks of crates and pallets moving all the time. Money still flowed here. The women at the cosmetic school sat at attention, all hoping for a better future. Numbers on paper hung on wall boards. Some hawking services, some seeking the lost. The dim sum found

A $4,853 Bottle of Tylenol

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  If you want to be immersed in abstract thinking, be dazzled by statistics, or ponder what is wrong with our health care system, look no further than hospitals and how they bill. A recent trip to the hospital for an operation left me scratching my head regarding our health system. It’s not the skilled care and great results the hospital delivered. It’s the cost of the services and how it impacts different individuals that dazzles me. My bills for surgery and overnight stay came to $49,450, including a hospital pharmacy bill of $4,853. Fortunately between medicare and my insurance carrier, I only paid a small fraction of this bill.  The way hospitals charge is at best confusing. While raw rates are in part based on cost, they also are for market positioning. Those raw rates are forced much lower if the patient is medicare or medicaid. The balance left is further settled at a lower negotiated rate with major insurers. The hospital simply writes off the difference. Thats all good

SMALL BUILDING TALES (Rock Hill, SC)

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    The small towns of the South are full of small buildings with tales to tell. Such is the case in Rock Hill, SC. Some of these buildings are little gems that need no tales, some wear their tales on their sides, and other bear the notes from many endeavors. The building at 528 S. Dave Lyle Boulevard (pictured above) is beautiful to behold, even if you didn’t know its history. It has one though. Build in 1909 it was the headquarters for the Afro-American insurance Company which grew to have many offices in the South. It is listed in the National Historical Buildings and also in the Greenbook. Some buildings hint at their purpose by the architecture. The building at 114 Oakland Avenue looks like piano keys on the side. If you turn the corner, you find an elegant piano featured in the only showcase window. Turns out that the building houses Marshalls Piano Company. The Marshall family founded the buisness in 1925 and still operate it today. The company features pianos from $3,500 to $

LOST AND FOUND

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Henry David Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.” When you are lost though, it can be difficult to find the “Lost and Found” department for people. There are many ways you can find yourself lost. Too many problems and failures in the rear-view mirror of life, loss of love, no one to reach out to, being stuck in a remote place, shoved aside by society and loosing the strength to risk. All these and many more can leave you frozen in time, unable to take advantage of opportunities or new relationships, even if they pass by you everyday. The world is a dynamic and wonderful place. Most of us recover from being lost. We gain a new spirituality, find internal peace with what has passed, meet a special person, rediscover our dreams or finally risk finding that new opportunity. The time lost gives us space we need to gather our resources and venture again. For some, it’s a much longer journey than others. They find only darkness i

WORKAROUNDS

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  Todays complex and connected world takes problems you encounter to a new depth. The inevitable of death and taxes now has a new partner. Unending time spent with technicians to unravel those problems. This is giving rise to a resurgence of workarounds. Fixes you find yourself that do not solve the problem but keep things working. All be it on a temporary basis. Who has the time to spend half a day with technicians trying to completely solve a problem. Even Captain Kirk had to call on the workaround talent of Scotty to figure out quick fixes to save the Enterprise. Scotty in most cases today is a Google search. It’s not surprising that the term workarounds originated in the early 1960’s with the growth of technology. Since then, we have more and more devices, more compressed chips and continual upgrades. Recently, my HomePod went on the fritz. It couldn’t pull up Apple Music. Impertinent messages from the device simply said, “Theres a problem accessing Apple Music.” Two and a half hou

FOUND WALL MARKS

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DREAMS

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    They walk alongside us. There but never fully understood. Random images that spring from our being. Silent rendering of the world. We know not how they shape us. Some urge us to great things, some just remind us of what could be. Alongside they are acted out in a world held back by reality, but wanting to be.

JUST ONE THING

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Paul Theroux went on epic journies through South, Mexico and places by Train. For brief times, he would travel with his daughter. She once ask him what she should take back as souveniors. Theroux said, “Just take one thing back from each place. It will teach you to observe and learn more.” I have not traveled to all the exotic places Theroux had. However, my journeys  with my camera take me to places unusual. I follow his advice and just take one thing from those places back with me.  Usually, It is a piece of found art. A surveyors stake with engineering marks on it. A discarded peice of metal along in a rail yard. Memoriories all, to savor and remind. I love each one. David Young ( Coupling  Rail Ring Photo, Chester SC)  

BUILDING ON THE CORNER

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  Hundreds of cars passed by it everyday. The building had nothing to say. The dreamers imagined a coffee shop behind the roll up door, putting a new jive name in the worn sign holder. Not sure how they would every use the back wing, but no matter The Developers saw the building gone, a bare lot to build on. Permits, plans and profit danced in their minds. The homeless man slept in the back wing hoping the traffic would die down. Fate always patient just waited for time…

AMEN STREET

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  The building had been there forever on Amen Street. Few people could remember the small dress shop in front. Or the reverend who preached in the back room to poor railroad workers. The sounds of the trains not far away on the tracks they laid. Only accountants and lawyers occupied the top floor now. Paying homage to different gods along Amen Street.

HEARD AT THE BAR

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  The Custom House Clock Tower crowned Boston’s financial district. Its bar a beacon every evening for young financial titans. The bars wood paneling reflected clubbiness and intimacy. Here they could exchange tales of the day and their success. There were few chairs, except for stools at the bar. Most just stood with drink in hand. Joey’s group were regulars, all Harvard graduates, never shy about mentioning the fact. They could have met at the Harvard Club down the street, but their fathers were there. The Custom House allowed them more freedom to be and brag. Joey always seemed to lead the conversations and had the most swagger, his swept back hair and narrow eyes all spoke of blue blood . Paul the bartender presided over the bar. A slight built balding man who always seemed in motion, scurrying from one end of the bar to the other to fill orders. If the Harvard crowd were the swells , Paul was the labor. He wore the working class heritage on his bland face. He stuck to his work and

JESUS SAVES SIGNS

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  I always kept a camera in the car, just for these moments. Across the empty parking lot a man sat leaning against the side wall of a box store. The parking lot iconic in foreground with concrete yellow car stops.  I initially took him for a pan handler, but the site made no sense. No car would stop in front of him, they just passed him by. Besides, I kept to a personal rule of never photographing the down and out just looking for a few dollars. I hesitated taking the photo. I attached my long lens to get a better look. He sat praying, a small sign in front read “Jesus Saves.” There was no asking for money. A small red umbrella shielding him from the sun, adding to the scene. My mind clicked back to seeing these “Jesus Saves” signs all over town placed high on telephone posts at busy intersections. They hung beyond human reach echoing their message and casting mystery of how they got there. Curious, I had even searched the net about their origins. No answers found.  I looked through t

MOMENTS ALONE

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  Perhaps the only good thing about the pandemic is the time afforded us to be alone and explore the complexity of ourselves. And realize how important others are in our life....

OUR OWN WORLD

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    OUR OWN WORLD: We live so much these days in our own little worlds. Forgetting that we are only a second of the 10,000 year history of civizations. Of the untold number of humanity that has lived and died. Especially in these times, It's good to look at whats happening not only in the USA, but also the world. To honor those who dig in the soil to understand our past. To those who have found greater purpose in life beyond thier own lives. So I walk the trails of the forest deep, picking up stones here and there. Looking at them and feeling their roughness and smoothness. Understanding there is more than our own little world here.

THE ART OF BUSINESS AND INSURANCE

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  When you think of all the things that go into the art of successful business, you seldom think of Insurance. In fact, few people even like the subject.  Insurance though can play a pivotal role in your business success. Not having the right insurance can be a roadblock. With proper insurance coverage in place, you differentiate your firm in the market place. You not only protect your company, but also make it easy to do business with you. The gig market place moves quickly and is highly competitive. Having insurance in place gives you a leg up on securing opportunities. This might take the form of a choice lease, winning a contract or attracting the right strategic partner. In short, proper insurance shows you have your act together.  Not all insurance though is created equal. The simple general liability policy (bodily injury and property damage) may not fully protect you. This is especially true if you are a designer, consultant, recruiter, project manager, coach or programer. You

BEACON

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  I walked by it each day. It was like a beacon for me looking back at the city. I knew I would move there as soon as I could. Look from its windows watching the city grow as I would....

END OF LINES

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  They seemingly appear out of nowhere, iconic in their simplicity and design. Box hotels at the far reaches of a city where existing lines end and new development is underway.  Here utility crews laying new lines stay for weeks, salespeople eyeing new clients and architects all mix. The salesman envying the utility workers who knew each day what their job would be. The utility worker envying the salesman for the freedom they had and the architect lost in their dreams. They would go out to make a new market each day. Always returning for another night at the end of the lines. David Young

CAR WASH

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  You always enter a car wash with a certain trapadation. Will my car make it, will I be safe. There is no escape. You suspect that among the whirling brushes, shaking and streaming water there are things you don’t want to know about. Things that will cause dents in you perfect life. Things that might sweep you away. You worry and worry about these things, until it lets you go.....

WANDERING BRUSH

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  I have never been able to settle on a painting style I could call my own. Peter, a friend of mine and great artist, once told me that to be successful you have to develop a style that is recognized as your work. Paintings that galleries can line up side by side. The gallery goers seeing the artist in each and every one. He painted beautiful abstracts of life. Galleries clamored for his work.   He once warned me though, “Your success can trap you.” Shortly after that, Peter stopped painting and disappeared for a time. Some said it was a marketing ploy to make his work more valuable. I knew he was wandering seeking himself again.  Years later he reappeared and started painting, but never the same. So I clean my brushes carefully and try to paint again. My brush still wants to wander and try new things. Maybe it’s all the techniques and colors that confuse me. Maybe, painting success and greatness will alway allude me. Maybe it’s the echo of my friend’s wisdom…

DREAMLAND WALLS

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  A truism is that you should never travel to the South without first learning of its history. If you don’t, you will miss all that it’s about and never understand the people who live there. The South in many ways is a land of dreams. Ones rebuilt over and over again. The walls of town buildings reflect unspoken history. Walls usually made of brick, but never uniform. Different types of brick and colors all mashed together. The walls do not speak, but have tales to tell. Stories about invading armies from afar and the North, burning of towns, rebuilding, the restoration, burning again, of great textile plants, then town deaths, then the long waiting for the rebirth again. I once walked the streets of Chester, South Carolina, stopping to watch the demolition of a building that sat in the middle of a city block. “Dreamland” appeared on the side of the newly exposed wall of the adjacent building. The building once full of flickering film and small plays, wall paintings of attendees still

DALTON STREET WINDOWS

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 DALTON STREET WINDOWS Even in the most difficult times, Beauty can be found .... (warehouse windows on Dalton Street, Charlotte NC)

A PATH BACK

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  Over the past year we have lived with the devastation of the pandemic. It is difficult to predict when things will return to normal. What is certain is the last year has changed most of us and that confusion reigns about how we might find our path back. How our new selves will emerge, embrace and move forward. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York exhibit called “Degree Zero” offers some insights on paths back. MOMA researched how great artists like Pollack, Volpi, and Lewis began the process of returning to work after the utter destruction and devastation of World War II. The exhibit is filled with their simple drawings and brush marks. They did not leap into major art pieces. Instead choosing to concentrate on laying down these simple marks and drawings. A way of saying they were still here. Each a foundations and step back to normal. Their method of getting in touch with life again, played out against a landscape that had been brought to zero by the war. They

POETRY STOP

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"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance." - Carl Sandburg RAINBOW MOTEL They did it for a dollar earned, Hidden hands painting it. No two colors the same, Like a miss mashed family. They kept it alive Though it never thrived. The curious looked  From a freeway near. It stood mostly empty But to us, it was love. PLANT FACE The plant with all its blankness  Faced my life each work day. Like some alien ship Dropped to harvest earth. A dull churning sound Numbing to the senses, always there. I stayed behind in this small plant town When others left. Content for a time To earn mine and know the place. But now, all I did was carry my lunch Into this windowless place each day. To work my shift And know the other bots there. Why we all said silently Had we not left... MAIN STREET Hum of the City Always there. Still I found pause A sight or corner The grandeur of tall buildings And shinny steel. Taking my thoughts away. I loved the city. Maybe grandfather Fr

ARTHUR SAYS....

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  ITS ALL ABOUT THE COLLATERAL YOU HAVE IN 2021......

THE ART OF CHAOS

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  Scenes speaking of peace and calmness have always attracted my camera eye. Roaming up and down side streets, finding the artful mark on the wall or an urban moment held still still fill most of my wandering thoughts. Now though, I find myself drawn toward scenes of chaos, where life is jumbled together. Where you can feel its beat mixed in the coming and going of people and things. Signs all barking their messages, trying to draw people in. There is art here, not fully understood by me in the past. Maybe it’s the result of the pandemic that isolates us in so many ways. My senses want life, color, even chaos. You wonder if you will ever return to those times. When you can complain again about crowds, traffic, life ramming together on busy streets. Chaos, I miss your art and wish for it again. David Young

THERE

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  The long miles and vistas of the desert stretch your mind. You find rare breaks. Ones that cause you to pause. Places and scenes where man and nature came together for a time, leaving remnants of being there.  These are not grand or monuments. They are small places that draw your eyes and being. Left behind, caught by desert light, cast across a few desert acres and beyond in an unsorted way. Ones that don’t change the desert, but give it stillness. Small mysteries always swirl here. Who were the people, what were there dreams. The desert wind blows hot warmth around you. Nothing else but quiet, you and what will be left in your soul from seeing these small scenes. You never know the full story, but are glad they are there. David Young