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Bus Driver by occupation,pro photographer, businessman in the making, wannabe musician, amateur designer/artist/writer/poet, a native of Detroit now living in Suburbia. Here is where I pretty much unwind whatever's on the brain.

Stupid IS As Stupid DOES!

This picture (not mine, obviously) literally speaks for itself!

Not to play the race card, per se, but black people, esp. our black men, we have got to do better with our lot in life.

Period!

West Warren and West Grand Blvd (I know that area well), Detroit’s upper southwest side. A man named Jamal (again, the pic speaks for itself), was “bum-rushed” for flexing his $20,000.00 gold chain at a gas station.

$20,000.00

Let that sink in…

$20,000.00

20K

20 Stacks

20 Racks

20 Gs

20 Bands

You get the picture!

Feel free to view the video to see further of this unfortunate incident…

Now, my thoughts and opinions on this incident, seeing that this is a plague in the black community…

First of all, I wanna say, that I am not a gambler, I suck horribly at it!

But WHY in God’s name, would you take a 30K lotto win and (please pardon the expression) jack it off for a 20K gold chain?!? That makes no sense to me at all! NONE! I first heard of this on Social Media, and they had a ball with this, Celebs who caught wind of the matter, had a bloody field day with this idiot.

Do you have any idea, ANY FRICKIN’ IDEA of what you or I could do with 30 bands? ESPECIALLY in the inner-city of Detroit (a city that hasn’t been right since the ’67 riots which contributed to the eventual “White Flight” that came to a fever pitch well into the 1990s)? Google it.

But I digress…

30K. You can buy an automobile of any kind fresh off the line, and still have change in your pockets! You can buy a house and rent it out, you can start a business, heck, INVEST THE MONEY into Stash, Credit Karma, WeBull, Robin Hood, and let the money make money for you and get massive dividends for you!

Already I am visualising Dave Ramsey and his co grilling this poor sap once he gets wind of this (I wouldn’t be surprised if he did), likewise with Steve Harvey.

But no, this negro wanted to flex and show off his new gains. This was basically a slap in the face to those in that part of town who are struggling to stay above water as it is. And let’s not forget that there were taxes taken out of that money as well. $30,000.00. A third of that went to taxes (in Michigan, taxes are merciless), and two-thirds of that went to a gold chain. Even if he were to keep that chain, and try to pawn, or sell it, he’d get very little profit from it despite the fact that gold is a good investment. But his ignorance (and stupidity) was truly his undoing in this regard. Most of us who have partial knowledge, at best, about money would have (and utilise) the common sense not to throw away that kinda money! And judging by his appearance, he should’ve taken that money and invested in his health and a much better taste in clothes.

An overweight man in skinny jeans. Skinny jeans? Seriously…? This fool had virtually no idea how unsightly he was looking. Not to mention he was balding and had dreads, and he couldn’t even outrun the the thugs who beat him down and took this goods.

Now thankfully one of the men responsible for the assault, is a wanted felon and his face was clearly seen on the footage. So it’s just a matter of time before he’s behind bars (again). Thankfully it didn’t escalate further, hopefully Jamal has “smartened himself up” after that unfortunate debacle, in other words, let’s hope that he learned from his mistakes and his errors.

Think about this, for all we know, that could’ve been a fake gold chain and he was conned into blowing 20 Stacks on that necklace. I know personally some folks who have 7-8 figure incomes and they don’t flex like that! That kinda money-even in the hood-could’ve been used for something less lavish.

Charles Mingus, one of the baddest bass players in jazz, gave this advice to some young musicians: “…if you must make a fool of yourself, then make a damn fool of yourself.”

Truer words have never been spoken!

Sadly time will not allow me to continue on this. But the number one extrapolation is one my favourite adages that originated in the Bible “a fool and his money are soon parted”!

An example of what not to do when you win money that you didn’t work for…

A Night On The Town

Some of my best night shots over the years with a short backstory. Hope you like it!

New Center Area, Detroit, MI. Practising long exposures on West Grand Blvd between Cass and 2nd. This area was the border of Downtown Detroit. The entire strip of Grand Blvd was the border of Downtown Detroit (this was in the early to mid-1980s). As Detroit’s population continued to drop, so did downtown’s boundaries. The current borders are M-10 (Lodge Fwy), I-75 (Fisher Fwy), and I-375 which may be reverted to a street/walkway (Chrysler Fwy).

The Press/321 Apartments. Formerly the headquarters of the Detroit Free Press on 321 W. Lafayette in Detroit’s Financial District. For years the building was dormant, but thanks to Dan Gilbert and Quicken Loans, the iconic building has had some new life breathed into it as of late. The lights in the middle of the building (they occasionally change colours) are a nice touch!

Bishop Park, Wyandotte MI. BP was one of the artist hangouts. Still is during their art festival. COVID had pretty much halted everything this past year. But in the late 90s and early 2000s I’d hang out here a lot. Nowadays instead of my easel and sketchbooks, I have my camera, iPhone, and tripod for both.
Detroit Public Library Main Branch. Located in Midtown Detroit. Its hard to see because of the darkness outside, but behind the library is Wayne State University whose famous alumni include Wayne Dyer, Dan Gilbert, Peter Karmanos, Casey Kasem (remember America’s Top 40?), Donald Byrd, Lily Tomlin…and the list goes on, obviously.

American Coney Island. Annexed inside and out to Lafayette Coney Island. A flatiron style eatery famous for its coney dogs (Google it). Beer, fires and hot dogs, this place rocks! Especially after a game or a concert! If you’re visiting for the first time, make this one of your first stops! You won’t be sorry.
Picture of a picture being taken. Both pictures taken simultaneously by me! Shot with a Canon 70D and iPhone 7 Plus. I used a Slow Shutter app on my phone which eventually produced the long exposure not to mention the bokeh in the background from my DSLR. My main focus was the GM Renaissance Center on East Jefferson. Some of the best eateries and best views of both Detroit and Windsor (our neighbours in Canada). Be sure to check out Highlands (formerly Coach Insignia, previously known as The Summit), located at the very top of the hotel skyscraper. I’ve gone to the restaurant under the first monikers, I’ve yet to visit under the new ownership.

Well, that’s it for now. Later.

LG Electronics Ditches The Smartphone

Well, it is official. LG Electronics is leaving the smartphone industry. I only have two words for that:

Good Bloody Riddance, okay that’s three, but anyway…

LG, as some of us old-schoolers may remember, is the abbreviated acronym of Lucky Goldstar. Some of you may have owned items from Goldstar i.e. microwaves, dishwashers, radios, TV sets (that’s we called them back then), you get the picture. Goldstar then had merged with Lucky Chemicals (formerly Luk Hai, pronounced the same in Korean as well as English) in 1995 forming the major conglomerate that we see today.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all the horsecrap outta way, I’m just here to voice my thoughts and opinions on why this Asian Electronics giant is cutting ties in the smartphone industry…

I was first introduced to LG in the early 2000’s and needless to say I was very impressed by what I’d seen and heard. Around that time, I had left Verizon to join T-Mobile when they were virtually brand new companies, and LG had this one phone called the VX-8100, which was only available to VZW at the time.

Side note: Around that time, there was a bill passed that as of 2005 (or 2006), whatever your phone number was, you could now keep it! Gone was the headache of changing numbers while simultaneously changing carriers as well. And seeing that I’ve had my number going on 20 years, those ten digits are indelibly marked into my history!

Back to the VX!

This marvelous phone, the price at the time escapes me, but it wasn’t cheap, that’s for sure! Nowadays you can get one dirt cheap on Amazon or eBay for literally pennies on the dollar! This phone was one of the most popular flip phones of the 2000s to say the least. It served as a speakerphone, media player, portable storage, even an online feature called “V Cast”. Granted, all these had come at a price, and that price battery drainage, which pretty much defeated the purpose of “long battery life”. Now understand, this was years before the iPhone had come out, and I forgot to mention that V Cast wasn’t cheap, either. If you clicked on the VX8100 link above, it should provide all the specs and details. I don’t have time to discuss all the specifics of a now obsolete 20 year-old cell phone. One thing that really excited me about that particular phone, was you could listen to media with the phone opened as well as closed, which, to me, at least, was a novelty. Most of my cell phones were bricks with retractable antennas prior to that.

Another LG phone I’ve owned, was the VX8700.

This is where my relationship with both LG and Verizon had gone south… and that’s putting it mildly!

Long story short, I’d gone through not one, not two, not three, not even four, but SEVEN of these phones! I really wanted to get either the Motorola RAZR, or one of the first Droid phones.

Sidebar: I was promised by VZW that because of my years of loyalty, I was eligible for a Droid phone (that fell through, and I was pretty much done with both VZW and LG at that point).

Back to the VX, the second one!

I’d mentioned the RAZR earlier, and this particular LG was a competitor, mainly a cheap knock-off of the RAZR. The features in common was a very sleek exterior with a flush keypad. They both oozed luxury and even sexiness at the same time. But on the flip side, the battery life was terrible, the RAZR had shorted, even caused fires, whereas the VX8700 either wouldn’t hold a charge, or it would short, or just flat out die on you! And every time I had the phone replaced, I’d lose most of my information, numbers, texts, etc. One day I’d had enough and went to a Verizon store crosstown and told the salesman that this has got to be rectified in some way! When I told him what had happened with phone number 7, he immediately was able to fix it! Little did I realize that the LG VX8700 and I would be a thing of the past! I ended up with…

An LG Chocolate! Which I’ve wanted to the longest time since I couldn’t afford either an iPod, iPhone, or even the very first LG Chocolate (which debuted approximately one year before the iPhone did). This act of kindness definitely restored my faith in VZW and yours truly was happy once again, because I was gonna slap both LG and VZW with a lawsuit, because that debacle with the VX8700 was ridiculous, man! Now that that story is over, I can continue with this one. The unfortunate thing for me was this particular phone was a clamshell (flip phone), not a slider like its predecessors. From what I recall, the 1st Gen LG Chocolate was the best one made, the 2nd Gen Chocolate, not so hot, the flip phone-3rd Gen, almost better than the first two! You could take pictures with the phone open or shut, you could even watch videos with the phone shut, and the speaker quality was to die for!

Fast forward years later, and this time, I’ll be brief and get right into it!

I eventually joined other carriers with my phone number still intact, and I was with Metro POS (yes, you read that right, piece of crap), and I bought an LG Optimus. Remember the adage “those who forget history are condemned to repeat it“? Well, that was me again, unfortunately. The proverbial “dog has returned to its vomit” as it were. But in return I came across a very vital tidbit of information that distributors are not supposed to share with consumers like you and I. The Optimus M MS690 and the VX8700 shared a lot in common, and I’ll leave it right there, I’ve wasted more than enough time on the blogosphere as it was. But that little secret, that most consumers don’t know of. Some of these companies deliberately make faulty products for the reasons that 1) they’re cheap, 2) they’re also aware that these were defective from the start, 3) they also knew that customers were gonna want their money back, so the distributors shelled out as many units as possible just to get rid of them, even to the point of replacing them for free or a small fee. My run with LG phones were done for good despite that little gold nugget of priceless information that was given to me years ago. Now a decade later, LG is “cutting the cord”, as it were, and as they should!

Years of losses (I wonder why) are the main reason why Lucky Goldstar is cutting bait. Kinda sucks, because I’ve owned both “peaches and lemons” from them over the years. But my thoughts an opinions are this: Over the decades I’ve owned Goldstar/LG appliances, and I’ve even owned an A/C from Kenmore that had an LG compressor inside of it! And it was ice cold in the summer, too. Long story short, LG was-and is-still killing it in the appliance game! I mentioned the window A/C unit from Sears, but I’ve owned microwaves, radios, even a dishwasher, LG is one of the best brands out there when it comes to appliances.

But the cell phone was the Achilles Heel for them.

Tough titty said the kitty when the milk ran dry!

So while most of what I’ve written tonight consists of my thoughts and opinions, I did want to point out that LG was one of the first smartphone makers, at one point in time it was number 3 in the smartphone category (you already know what the first two are), and they had some of the best designs on the market, and still do, to some point! But remember the issues that I wrote about earlier in this article? The two LG lemons that I owned? By itself, that alone wasn’t the reason why LG is cutting bait, it’s a reason, but not the reason. It was as Apple, Samsung, and Motorola was moving up in the industry, LG had gotten complaisant, set in their ways, as it were. Q4 2020 had pretty much sealed the deal for them. Somewhere down the road, LG didn’t pay as much attention to their cellular brand as they have their other electronics. And that was their undoing.

As stated on more than one occasion, I’m just voicing my opinions and my past experiences with LG. I only hope that longtime LG phone owners will eventually make up their minds as to where they’re gonna go from here. God forbid, they end up being just as stubborn as the manufacturers.

To quote the late Bill Bonds, “if you don’t change, if you don’t adjust, you go bye-bye”!

Truer words have never been spoken.

R.I.P., Armando “Chick” Corea (1941-2021)

NOTE: Image not mine (obviously, wish I was there to take this shot).

I was informed that Grammy winning pianist/keyboardist Chick Corea died at the age of 79 due to a rare form of cancer that was discovered late. Having taking some time to process this unfortunate information, I reflected on how his music resonated with the younger as well as the older audiences and how ahead of his time he really was. Like a handful of keyboard players i.e. Billy Joel, Joe Sample, Jeff Lorber, Geroge Duke, Little Richard, Herbie Hancock, even comedians Jaime Foxx, Dudley Moore, and Eddie Murphy, Corea had taken the piano to greater heights in the music world.

Having started from a family of musicians, he went to school to further his studies in music, but found it dispiriting to say the least (many musicians from the 50s and 60s had gone through that rough patch), but his career flourished with the likes of Mongo Santamaria, Stan Getz, Willie Bobo to name a few. But his biggest breakthrough came when he was a part of Miles Davis’ new lineup (Miles at that time was converting from traditional jazz to electric, making him one of the founding fathers-along with Corea-one of the founding fathers of jazz-rock fusion). Another rough patch Corea hit was that he was used to the acoustic piano, but Miles made him play the electric piano. And one of his first electric instruments was the Fender-Rhodes (still popular today), and later the Moog Synthesizer (invented by the late Robert Moog, also still used today).

During his tenure with Miles, he was featured on one of the best selling jazz albums to this day, Bitches Brew (I’ve posted an entry on that some time ago), with a lineup of young musicians who, like Chick, had already some exposure of their own, but their careers had skyrocketed even further. Musicians like John McLaughlin (who later formed Mahavishnu Orchestra), Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter (who formed Weather Report), and Chick Corea himself (who formed the Grammy Award-winning group Return to Forever with a young drummer named Lenny White in two).

While managing his RTF group (which was reduced to a quartet featuring a then-19 year old Al Di Meola), he also managed to juggle a solo career simultaneously. One of my favourite albums of Chick Corea was his 1976 album “My Spanish Heart” where he also featured his wife, Gayle Moran (I’m sorry, I love Mariah and Minnie, but Gayle had them beat, she had some strong pipes on her in this album). I suggest that you give that album a listen. 1976 was also the same year that RTF had run its course but would reunite seven years later. What came out of that was a young 21 year old Al Di Meola had began his solo career with his debut LP “Land of The Midnight Sun” which featured his RTF bandmates Stanley Clarke, Lenny White, and of course Chick Corea. The RTF LP “Musicmagic” had brought the group back to its original roots featuring a horn section and vocals bringing the band full circle. The icing on the cake was their RTF Live ’77 album was when Chick and Stanley really had come full circle as a band along with Gayle Moran and the late Joe Farrell (who died very young in the mid-80s). I have that concert on CD, I’ve had it for well over 20 years, and to this day, I’ve yet to listen to the entire concert-it’s that long! But the bits and pieces that I eventually did listen to was, in a word, magical. Chick had that touch!

In the 80s and 90s he had the Elektric/Akoustic Band. And around that time a new generation of fans had been drawn to his music, but the RTF band was the one that resonated with fans the most! One of RTFs biggest fusion albums was Romantic Warrior, a best-seller to this day. When the album was reissued in the late 1990s, it was through enormous fanfare of fusion fanatics-past and present. Corea summed up his observation of his RTF reminiscence when he stated that “we played for the eventual audience who we knew would listen”. How right he was! Like his late mentor, Sir Miles Davis, Corea was way ahead of his time in the music industry.

Having recorded/toured with many heavyweights in the business like Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Christian McBride, and a plethora of many others. Unfortunately, time will not allow me to take this further (it’s late), but more than likely I’ll do a part two to this.

Rest well, Armando. You will be sorely missed.

R.I.P., Fink!😢

Longtime ring announcer Howard Finkel AKA “The Fink” has died last week. One of World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) first and oldest employees since the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) owned by the late Vince McMahon, Sr. in the late 1970s. A Hall of Famer, his contributions to the wrestling world speak for themselves.

Time will not allow me to say the things that have already been about Fink. One thing that was very distinctive was his booming voice-esp. when a championship had changed hands! Case in point: “The winner of the bout, and NEWWWWW World/intercontinental/US/Tag Team Champions…”, and you heard a louder “pop” (crowd reaction) even before the winner’s name(s) was announced. This gentleman had an impact.

I will not go into some angles that Vince McMahon, Jr. or his writers had him involved in, to me, they were pretty much forgettable. But he made wrestling worth watching. Many tributes were made from both wrestlers and the fans. And like the superstars, Fink, too, was a part of our childhood. We was in as much anticipation of whom Fink would announce as we were in expectation of who won or lost the match.

Sidebar: I grew up in the 80s and early 90s as a wrestling fan, and around ‘89 (or ‘90), there was an article every Friday in the paper that would reveal some of the “dirtsheets” as to whom Vince, Jr would crown the winners of the events coming up-some of these were months-a year at the longest. While it was a dime-a-dozen at the time that this kinda information would be public knowledge, it was always good to have the upper hand during PPV (pay per view) who won or lost while the other kids remained oblivious to the outcome of the match. I wouldn’t be surprised if some kids had a hustle going on about pro wrestling back then.

Again, Mr. Finkel’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Having retired due to recent health issues last year, he was still honoured by his peers in Sports Entertainment. His voice is silenced, but his legacy lives on.

Another sidebar: Google/YouTube Howard Finkel’s announcements, and if you’re subscribed to the WWE Network, need I say more on that?

Rest well, Mr. Finkel. And thank you for making wrestling enjoyable for both children and adults.

Monochrome 100

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Subject:  Starbucks

Location:  New York, NY, Las Vegas, NV

Camera:  Canon 70D

Filters:  Ribbet Photo Editing, Double B/W Layering

Monochrome #99

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Subject:  Whiskey and a book

Location:  At home in quarantine

Camera:  iPhone 7 Plus

Filter:  iOS Light Adjustment and Mono

Monochrome #98

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Subject:  Skywalk

Location:  Downtown Las Vegas

Camera:  Canon 70D

Filters:  Ribbet online photo editing, B/W

Monochrome #97

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Subject:  Selfie in an elevator

Camera:  Canon 70D

Filters:  Ribbet photo editing, B/W and Infrared Film

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

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