I’m retiring… everyday but Saturday.

Saturday

 

My Retirement Plan:  Make every day Saturday …except Saturday which becomes Super Saturday….

I have always loved Saturday’s.   For years I have tried to find a way to fit a day in between Saturday and Sunday to make it last …. I tried taking a Friday or Monday off to see if that would help, but nothing beats a Saturday…

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Why is it that Saturday morning coffee, breakfast, cartoons, people all seem better than on any other day of the week? There must be something special about this day that magically makes life better….So, my plan for retirement which starts at the end of this week is to:

Make every day Saturday …except Saturday which will become Super Saturday….
Since announcing my retirement everyone is curious about what I am going to be doing with myself. Frankly it was a little bit stressful not having some awesome plan like saving the planet or world peace to report as the new driving force in my life.  I told myself I was not going to stress over having an elaborate plan that detained day by day goals and objectives…. So here is a short list of Saturday’s Daily Menu:

  • Wear pajamas much more often
  • Stop setting the alarm clock… and stressing about time in general
  • Take longer runs, bike rides and swims… and stop along the way to take mental images of the beautiful area I live in.
  • Become a tourist in New England…
  • Focus on healthy…eating, reading, exercise
  • Be more social…

After all I’m just a kid from Cambridge…who grew up loving, wishing for and dreaming about Saturday’s….  It took a long time but I finally figured out that by retiring everyday but Saturday my wish could come true…. Carpe Satur-diem

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Images in my mind….

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To me photography is as much art as any painting or sculpture. I’m sure my bias comes from working for Polaroid for 20 plus years starting in the late 1970’s …. During that time, I grew to love a great photographs knowing intimately what goes into their making. Over my career at Polaroid I worked with almost every aspect of film and camera manufacturing, Q&A, testing, and support.

I learned a lot and witnessed art works from some of the most brilliant, creative and talented people of the time. In the early days the hallways and stairwells were strewn with photography.

Ansel Adams and William Wegman were some of my favorite Images to pass by each day. Ansel’s work (Below) I’d describe as an example of beauty in nature and adamsWegman’s (Above) was more the nature of beauty. If you can imagine working in an art gallery that also made art tools that was life at Polaroid.

Ansel Adams worked as a consultant to Polaroid Corporation during which he became close friends with Dr. Edwin Land. Adams the artist and Land the inventor inspired each other to explore new directions in their respective fields. This long-term collaboration resulted in Adams and Land going on many expeditions together to test film and equipment generating many wonderful test shots that made their way back to the walls of the research labs on Osborn Street, Cambridge.

On Monday April 23nd something happened that changed things at Polaroid.  Walking up the stairwell to the Q&A lab where I worked, I noticed that the artwork was missing …leaving only the grime frame marking where the photos had been. I wondered to myself, if the hallway was getting ready for new paint… It felt strange.. like seeing someone naked in the street…

What I did not know was ….Ansel Adams has passed away the day before, Sunday April 22nd.  By afternoon Polaroid Security was seen roaming the halls looking for anything Adams.

Their mission was to secure his works …. In a day those images were now considered valuable collectables and were being confiscated for storage in the company archives.  Funny…. how a simple photograph is in one movement art for consumption and in the next a collection for preservation.

I never reconciled for myself if I was happy or sad that employees got to most of the artwork in the hallways before the Security detail. In some respects this was a labor of their love, their legacy, fruits of their ingenuity …who better to own and love it.  On the other hand it was company property…to be stored and preserved in the company achieves for posterity… Secretly I’m glad they got to them first.

I still see them however, as images in the hallways of my mind …

An open letter to my eldest daughter..

Writing3Katelyn Mary….This is an open letter to you …days before your 36th birthday.

I’ve been sitting here at my desk wondering where time has gone, while you have been busy emerging from adolescence into womanhood.  Happy Birthday you have earned it!

I know reading any of my blog posts would be painful to the English professor side of you.  I misuse words and am horrible with punctuation. I don’t know a comma from a semicolon except to separate stuff which I often use a series of periods for also ………  It makes me proud to know you love language and understand punctuation so much that any misuse of it causes visceral, physical pain.  It’s OK …I get it….that’s how you are wired.

As a kid, you have always loved books and tended lose yourself in them. Your interests varied widely which motivated you to plowed through lots of different books, stories and poems. Through the years you developed expert skills to analyze and research all manner of works to support your scholastic endeavors.

Now you teach critical thinking in your classes and embellish works as your classes examine the authors, cultures, time periods, and genres.  At an early age you developed a passion for literature which you used to lay the foundation for success in your role as an English professor.  Finding clues to the deeper meaning in books, stories, plays, and poems is the key which you now use to unlock the interest and learning among your students.

During our father / daughter conversations I know you silently correct my grammar and politely smile away the urge to scream, stop, stop, stop!  I am proud of you and what you have become.  Know ….that if you should ever read this open letter, that these are the things that make your Dad happy.

P.S. Thank you also for my wonderful red headed grandson…Aengus the Red…

P.S.S. Find a way to ensure he is included in my coven of granddaughters.  Its been close knit up to now, he’ll need to beguile his way in.

Clean Shaving, Hot Sex & Heart Failure

I come across the most bizarre magazine articles while waiting for an oil change at Jiffy Lube.   I stumbled upon one in an old edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology “The risk factors for non-shavers vs shavers”.  It started by saying “We did find an association between low frequency of sexual intercourse and infrequent shaving”.  Thinking that this might be important to know I read on….I discovered that one fifth of men who shaved less frequently than daily shavers were shorter, less likely to be married, had a lower frequency of orgasm, more likely to smoke, to have angina, and to work in manual occupations than other men. What??? I sudden felt the urge to lather up. I mean …knowing this would motivate a guy to go hairless….shave his beard, head, ears, nose and his Netherland Man-Teeny region. Being a baldy seems like a benefit after this piece of info…cancel my hair club for men membership please!!

I hope all you high school guidance counselors are reading this crap…. Think about how critical this gold mine of information is guys!!! If you shaved more as a pubescent teen you’d be taller, have a better job, get married to someone who statically guaranteed orgasms, save money on cigarettes and heart ache…. OMG… makes you think differently about those Brazilians’ the ladies get doesn’t it?  Maybe our wives know something we don’t? but ouch-eeeowwwee!

Coincidentally, I’d been thinking about shaving a lot lately because I have been running a shave cream use test for a high school buddy of mine. His company is developing a lubricated cream shaving product called ShaveUpshave2and he needed an opinion from a daily shaver.  I use Gel shaving cream which allows me to make a Santa Claus foam beard with little effort. Cream for the most part isn’t going to lather up a beard so it more of an adult style of shaving versus a home alone event.  I must admit i started out with a bias…. thinking that cream was a bit pretentious …. dabbing dollops of cream from a jar looked like someone applying makeup and naturally makes you raise your pinky up during its application..  but I digress …

shave1Shave Result: Not only did it produce a smooth shave it left my face moisturized which during the winter dry skin season is a plus. My expectations were already set not to expect the foamy lather I enjoy with the gel shave cream I use daily, so I was looking for a trade-off  and a moisturized feeling after shaving did it… but I wanted more fun also like the Santa beard.

I went looking for a shave brush to lather things up a bit.  I use my daughter Izzy’s make up brush to see if it lathered better and it did…she probably won’t use that brush ever again….but, I can honestly say that ShaveUp worked well both with and without a brush and I would consider using this product as part of my daily regime,  especially as part of my travel items as carrying a can has always been a pain.

So what does cream shaving have to do with Sex and Heart Failure you ask yourself???

Here’s the connection for me…..the AJE study states men who shave live longer, get taller, have sexy wives and great jobs…. and the article has all the facts and figures to prove their point…which is way too complicated for this guy…. The simple answer is this:

shave3A clean shaving man is a handsome man…A handsome man’s face creates a happy heart,
A happy heart attracts a lover and a lover attracts a happy wife and a happy wife makes a happy life…

If after all the cream shaving and flirting ….she still has any energy left ….you’ll be glad that your heart should be strong enough to survive the great sex you’ll be having… Shave on brothers….

I need to come by Jiffy Lube more often….maybe that’s how they got their name…Hmmm??

Charlie’s Tap

Charlies tap

I grew up in a town with a lot of bars.  This particular one is tucked behind Central Square, Cambridge and was called Charlie’s Tap, a gritty workingman’s tavern.  I hated the place as a kid…. because my mother worked there as a barmaid…. a fact I was not proud of as a kid growing up.  I guess I wanted more of a stay at home “June Cleaver” type mom than one that had to work 2 to 3 jobs to raise five boys.  A few days a week I’d sit in a booth in the back and have my dinner listening to the men talking about their day.  A kid can learn a lot, very quickly about life in pub….but nothing that I could repeat in class the next day at the Blessed Sacrament School.

The old building is still standing but bears a new name and ownership, updated brick-face and new clientele. It still has that casual, and inviting feel of a local Tap which draws you up to its very long, narrow, dimly-lit bar.  My mom held court behind that well worn barricade and took no guff, gave her fair share keeping the boys in line…. She stored a miniature baseball bat behind the bar and used it liberally when persuasion was required….

Most days it was shoulder to shoulder workingmen all the way to the bustling open kitchen at the back …..The sound of pots and pans clanging, dishes clinking preceded the cook’s barking out Order Up! That steamy kitchen was always hot as hell and the cooks white T shirt and apron looked like he had served a company of hungry Marines. The cook was my brother Charlie… he was one hell of a comfort food cook….but the Camel cigarette that hung while cooking at times from his lips always took the comfort down a notch for me…. I guess you could say it was an original Charlies Kitchen..

At “The Tap”….my mom served whiskey shot’s with a beer chaser on Friday’s ….an especially busy day as most locals stopped to have a pop, cash their checks on their way home for a fish dinner.  I guess it kinda took the edge off the week and helped many settle into the weekend.

Seemed like everyone walked to where they needed to go..  We burned shoe leather rather than fossil fuels back then keeping “Jimmy the Greek” Papalambros the local cobbler / shoe repairman piled high with work.  Man he could make an old pair of shoes like brand new with soles and heels…  My mom always had him put taps on my heels to slow down their wear…. I was Fred Astaire for a few weeks until the taps wore down…

Everything smelled…. both good and bad…each fragrance imprinting on your memory. The Tap smelled of Camels, Lucky Strikes and Stogies… Whiskey, Urine and Beer. The Italian men smoked Parodies …dark black sticks of tobacco….one puff could send a swooping bar fly into a death spiral.

The butchers, fish mongers, plumbers and garbage men all smelled from work and BO. Business cards were not necessary… you knew what they did all day.  Cologne was the popular antidote…High Karate, English Leather, Canoe, Old Spice for the men and upstairs Chanel #9 and Jean Nate for the ladies all available at the local Rexall Drug Store.

The best smells of my youth came from the Frank’s Barber Shop….Every haircut started with a funny story moved to the sound of his razor slap sharpening against the leather strap….then to the smell of  hot shave cream while he trimmed your neck and sides, the sting of Clubman aftershave and ended with a brush full of talc powder that would choke a horse….  If you didn’t feel like a million bucks after all that you don’t know good living.

When I pass by the old “Charlies Tap” these days I remember how hard my family worked to make a buck.  I remember that we walked everywhere because we didn’t have a car, we smelled after a hard days work….but we cleaned up nicely…looking and feeling like a million bucks….Somehow we made life work and like Charlies Tap we are a few bricks short but still standing…

 

 

 

Brick walls that talked and made pictures

1280px-Cambridge_telephone_call_2There’s an old brick building on the corner of Main and Osborn Street in Cambridge Massachusetts that arguably could be considered the birthplace of the modern day smart phone.  An unassuming structure as historic buildings go, for years it looked like an abandoned warehouse but inside the beauty of innovation has blossomed for years.  What makes this building unique is that it hosted the workshops of both Alexander Graham Bell the inventor of the 1st telephone and Dr. Edwin land the inventor of the Polaroid Instant camera.

Image result for orsborn and main street cambridge alexander graham bellOn the Main street side hangs a bronze plaque which was its only adornment on an otherwise plain building, aside from the chicken wire that used to cover the 1st floor windows for years.

710_Main_Street,_Cambridge,_MA_-_telephony_plaqueAt this site on October 9th 1876 Thomas A Augustus Watson and Alexander Graham Bell  made the 1st long distance telephone conversation over wire.  Bell became a professor in elocution at Boston University was working on transmitting sound using an electrical current.  In 1876, Bell had advanced his work to the point where he was able to transmit sounds using a method that involved a needle vibrating in water, which caused the electrical current to change. The change in current was what transmitted the sound. It was this water-based device that Bell used to utter the words “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you” to his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was listening in another room on another of the same device.

Image result for dr edwin land osborn streetDr Land’s Polaroid Company started out making Polarized sheet materials used in sunglasses, camera lenses, and many military applications during the war.   He needed a way to expand his company’s product line into something that could extend its reach into new markets.   While on vacation with his family an idea came to him.  The “high-tech” camera Land was using that day was a Rolleiflex box model. The film would have to be unloaded from the camera, taken to a pharmacy, and shipped off to a laboratory to be painstakingly developed before being shipped back. Land’s daughter was disappointed when she learned that it would be weeks before she would be able to see her photographs. “Why can’t I see these pictures right now?” she asked. “I don’t want to wait.”

Inside this building two inventors worked their vision and history was made.  Their legacy has endured and converged into a single device that enables people to communicate and make images that Edwin and Alexander would be proud of.

I guess it is fair to say that brick walls cannot hold back great inventions if the right people are inside. 

 

 

 

New Message, Same As the Old Message

Team,

I sent this message to all of you in 2010 to inspire us all to use that winter wisely and to promote a healthy 2011 race season.  We may be a few years older but the message is still a good one… USMC Motivation Sgt. Ferguson

Messages from the past:
A 2010 Season Winter Statement:

 

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Team, Once again we find ourselves at that point in the off season where we make the choice about what kind of year we want 2011 to be.

The old phrase the more you sweat in Peace Time the less you bleed in War fits the current situation well.

I know we are not where we want to be right now but given it’s winter we have plenty of time to get there.

Let’s keep pushing one another to get off the couch and into the gym or on the road. The messages I receive from all of you help push me a little harder.

I am going to try to keep this blog going again this year to track what each of you is doing. I hope this will serve a a motivational tool for you as your notes and pics have been for me.  Fergy

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