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Showing posts from 2022

CLOSED SHOP 170

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 Most of the time, you just pass closed shops and the miscellaneous of street wandering. Sometimes though, you catch a reflection, a pattern, mark or color that makes you pause. A learned blessing it is to be wise enough to stop, reflect, imagine or just enjoy for a moment...

LEFTOVERS

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  We had been through so many mergers in 24 months that we lost count of them. Every morning when we came in, we looked at the name over the reception desk trying to find some foundation to things. There were just nine of us left from the original staff of 40 people. Those let go were replaced with rookies and a current crop of new management. Branded with the macro vision of our new owners, often separated laughingly from the market place we worked in. Where did they get their research anyway?  We began to call ourselves the leftovers. There were reasons why we were still there. Most of the time, it was the book of business we had, that somehow remained loyal through all the changes or some specialized knowledge not easily replaced. It was not because they loved us. In fact, we were kept far away from the inner circle of where the big next moves were made. The new rookies sent out like bots to capture that vision. Quickly replaced if they did not. It was almost like they did not

THE OTHER MARKET

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  There’s another market for opportunity out there. One often overlooked. It’s a market where consumer units are a mix between people trying to stay in the middle class or striving to reach it. Where a segment uses a culture of improvised self sufficiency and government support just to make it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks our economy into five income brackets. Much of the target for products and services is the two top brackets, consumers making more than $96 thousand. Disposable income fuels a slew of luxury items in hot competition with each other. However, these two brackets only represent 30% of the 132 million consumer units in the United States. Surprisingly, the three lower brackets representing 92 million consumer units combined almost equal the spending of the top two. No wonder it has attracted business models like the dollar stores. This other market often falls outside the traditional profit thinking of many. Part of the reason is the breadth and diversity of the

WHIMSICAL THINGS

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  The next you may be no further than the pencil on your desk. It’s important to move the edges of our experience. To think and create whimsical things. More difficult with age, because of the burden our our legacy experiences. The marks and strides may not be of any importance or impact. Sometimes though, it turns into art, special things that inspire. Artists like Cy Twombly and Joan Miro were masters of turning random marks, swirls and squiggles into beautiful things to ponder. It’s all about getting beyond the self you have known, testing the bounds that hold you in place. Whether it be in art or business, it is where great performances can be found…

U - Haul Trailer

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  Some Small Towns don’t have much to say for themselves, except the U-Haul Trailer  you keep in a corner of your mind … 

BUILDING ON BAY STREET

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  I walked by it each work day, the building on Bay Street. It watched the city for many years, but had nothing to say. The spark of life gone from its eyes. Only the changing light and time of day made it look different.  You wondered what it had been all those years. Shops and people once there, I knew not who now. Each day I would walk by the building on Bay Street. It said nothing, but maybe ask why I did so. Why, when there was so much of the world to see...

SCATTERED PLACES

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  You find them all around, where things don’t fit together right. Like broken pieces of glass we can’t walk over. We pass them quickly, not wanting to spend the time understanding or finding our way through. We prefer the well ordered in life. The tree lined street or row of stores we know. Still scattered places somehow linger on our mind, like unfinished business. Often these scenes that don’t have much love in them. They stand out in the desert against the vastness, adding mystery and intrigue. Urban areas are different. The parts closer together, but still a disorder to them. The best ones have an area of calm. Space we can use to try to figure them out.  Their appeal may be the scenes themselves, their uniqueness or maybe the unfinished edges of our own lives..

OPTIMIST INTERRUPTED

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  The world spins around. Fortune can be a phone call or right word away. You have to be an optimist and hope dreams are not interrupted by reality...

BOX STORE

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  A walk around AT HOME box store, Carolina Place Mall

PLAY LIKE A CHILD

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  The thing I most admire about artists is their ability to make art look simple to do. You think, wow I could do that in a flash, but then try. It’s not so simple. Three artists who excelled in making things look simple were Joan Miro, Cy Twombly and Picasso. The drawings of all three display this ability the most. Twombly could make random marks somehow come together in a symphony. Miro conjured up fanciful images with random lines and Picasso could draw anything seemingly without ever lifting the pencil from the paper. They all somehow rose above the dark abstraction of Pollock or the deep color studies of Rothko to create a more joyous world. These gifts did not come naturally, but were a learned skill over time. As Picasso once said, he worked all his life so he could finally do art like a child. I never hope to achieve artistic levels of these giants, but I can enjoy simple work along the way. Efforts that sometimes, yield surprises you might call art…

FACTORY WINDOW

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  FACTORY WINDOW Worker faces all the same Building cars, missiles, trucks. Worker faces all the same Behind these windows. Workers faces all the same Came and went each day. Workers faces all the same Only sound from work. Workers faces all the same Like machines within. Workers faces all the same No one ever knew their names. young '22

MALL WALLS

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  A visit to the mall always has the glitz of stores, mosaic of shoppers, cascading sounds and steps. Sometimes, one can find  even more interest on the edges. Malls all have a history. Some long and successful, but always with many transitions. Marks on the walls reflect changes over time, a replaced sign, a scrape, a restructured surface. One example of this is the parking deck at Southpark Mall in Charlotte. The interior and stores of the mall have changed many times since it was built in 1970. Owners have ranged from Belk to a Dutch Firm to Simon Properties. All have brought their own concepts with them. In the case of Southpark, it led to success with the mall now being the 10th largest on the East Coast with over 1.7 million sq ft of retail.  Still you can get a sense of the history and place by walking around the outside and parking decks where you can see how the mall structure came to together. Noting along the way wall marks of time left behind.

LEFT ALONE

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  I have traveled to Great Falls SC many times seeking sparks of creativity and a good photo. It’s not an easy place to pull things together. You find a scene here and there, but nothing that ties them together. Great Falls has always been like that.  Even in its heyday when J. B. Duke built a hydro-electric power plant and the Republic Textile Mill came into existence. A time when farmers left their fields and moved to Great Falls for the new style of work offered. The city grew rapidly, but in two directions. The lower part was dominated by a row of company owned stores. The upper portion, around the corner, by privately owned stores. Both sections competing with each other. All this is history now. Only two rows remain of these sections of town.  From a distance they look interesting colorful fronts. Up close though, they are empty and in decay. Only a couple of stores remain with irregular hours. No people walk the sidewalks, only a rare auto passes. It’s like everything left town,

A WINTER EVENING

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  Rain is falling, loud enough to hear. Damping out the last light. Winter is different. Different from summer, When the light never seems to die. Where there is always something more to do. Winter is different. A quiet time, if you let it. The day measured shorter. Thoughts turn to warmth, Sips of scotch, a fireplace. A meal on the table. Winter is different. A loved one and bed to go to. The curious satisfaction of it all. The last sight of the trees, Bare now and stalwart.  Close together protecting each other. Maybe a brief glimmer of sunset, Viewed between the rain clouds. Thankfulness for the warmth around. You think these things, Not time for in summer. Winter is different. dty ‘22

DESERT SPIRITS

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  It's warmth and quiet captures your soul. Taking it to a peaceful place you've never known. The desert wants to learn about you, to hear your dreams.  If it likes your dreams, the desert may let you stay for awhile. If not, it will sweep you away. All the while reminding you, with sudden storms, it's watching.  (photograph "Desert Spirit" by Kathleen Young)

CHINESE RESTAURANT

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LESSONS FROM THE MEDICAL MATRIX

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  We were deep into the seemingly unending hallways of the huge medical complex. The color of the walls, equipment and lighting subdued echoing the seriousness of the place. Other patients with masks walked by, not a glance. We stopped and looked out the window at the enormity of the complex around us. Without saying a word, we each knew our thoughts. We both felt small, out of place in this world that seemed Orwellian and almost apocalyptic. A world we would visit frequently over the next few months. The medical matrix revealed its insights slowly. The medical staff wore pandemic fatigue on their faces, but were professional to the end. Like the other patients around us, we seemed caught in time waiting for the next treatment or diagnosis. The medical profession is taught to “cure“ and dedicated to it. That cure though may come at a heavy price to your quality of life. Medical decisions all come down to your judgement in the end. You only hope for the best guides along the way.  The m

FALLING BRICKS

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  Words sharp as The crash of falling bricks Against the soft day of you. Gone once said, only Debris of what’s done. How I could have stopped, Paused, held back the Pounding of the day. The brick damage not me. I am more gentle than that. Please grace me with pause. The world hurts enough, Let me not be the hurter.

CITY ON THE HILL

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  A city on the hill, Most people called it a town. It still glittered, But the gold was gone. People still live out their lives. School chums, family, work. Day after day, their dreams A pay check away. Not much changed, A hope here and there, Most gone away. Always the sound Of distant trains That could take you A paycheck away.

MARKS

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Thoughts wash over you, Like incoming waves. Only to go out, Just beyond the grasp. Like a blank wall with  Marks left. You seek To bring it all together. Fighting back the frustration, Waiting for shells to be Left on your beach. Ones you can reach for.