Friday, December 22, 2006

Great Friends Are Good to Have 2

Great Friends Are Good to Have 2
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Great Friends Are Good to Have

Last night I had a few beers with two of my best friends, Rayner and Suzanne.

I felt very happy being with them and upon reflection concluded that great friends are good have.

It was an extraordinary day in other ways as well: Rayner had completed one of the holy sacraments of becoming a “man” and Suzanne had found a certain man that she had been looking for.

I am honored to have been privy to the details of both of their experiences and was grateful for the opportunity to celebrate these important events in their lives with them.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Doctor Said I've Got ABD...Alec Baldwin Disease

The Doctor Said I've Got ABD...Alec Baldwin Disease
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

It’s Not Easy Being a Baldwin…

I need a good workout.

Better yet, I need a good work-out partner—someone for some…mutual motivation.

Because, quite honestly, as per the photo above, I’ve discovered that December is the worst month of the year to decide that you want to get back into shape (i.e. from amorphous blob back to some semblance of a human being). Granted, it took me several years to realize this, but, here I am, now realizing it.

My problem, you see, is two-fold.

First, I’ve been partying far too much lately—far more than ever before—call it my middle-age crisis or simply a result of a spurt of opportunity. Either way, the revelry has to stop; okay-okay, at least I have to taper it.

And secondly, uh-hum, please excuse what will immediately come across as hubris, but frankly, I’ve been banking on a bit of brazen demeanor and general good looks a little too much lately.

I’ve found that people often are attracted to characters with confidence. Moreover, having a pretty face makes you cocky, which combined with a little bravado and persistence usually gets you what you want and desire, so much so that your body and constitution pay the price. Because, even though you get lazy, you keep getting laid (an expression I’m using quite liberally here—not literally—to make a point).

Truth is, it’s not easy being a Baldwin, which I’m not, but I believe I’ve gained a good understanding as to why Alec has gotten so damn fat.

Anyway, working out for me, until this year, used to run the gamut of not-so-long-distance running; a faux-blend of tai-chi, yoga and pilates; trekking about Manhattan taking pictures; spontaneously running circles around quirky-quasi dates; a lot of dancing—and tantric sex.

I ran the New York City Marathon almost 15 years ago at a 6:45 pace, so I once-wasn’t so bad of a runner. Alas, that was then, and this is now, and somehow I’ve let go of the requisite discipline. My mile time is probably double what it used to be (on a good day).

Until the end of last year I was a drill sergeant when it came to getting my ass to the gym. For a couple of years, one way or another, I’d wake up at four AM, and after reading and writing for an hour, I’d work out for another hour or so, either at home or in the office gym.

Alas (again), I went through some significant life changes this year, and so my workout regimen gradually and quickly changed. Funny how the price of freedom can be degenerative debauchery.

Dancing, oh, dancing. Lerner and Lowe once put it quite aptly: “Dancing is like making love to music playing.” It’s true, with a good partner who intuitively understands the give-and-take of ballroom, swing and traditional Latin dancing (i.e. the man leads) it is easy to feel like you’re making mad-love on the dance floor—it is not a lurid feeling, so much as a sentiment of sensuous synchronicity.

Earlier this summer, I had an amazing dance partner and we went salsa dancing a couple of times a week. Unfortunately, this partnership was not meant to last. Besides, the late nights were beginning to wear upon me and incur upon everything else I wanted to do and accomplish. Hence, I guess, now I’m seeking a better balance.

This morning I was getting dressed in my study, when my eyes set upon a group of books running the gamut from The History of Sexuality to The Illustrated Kama Sutra and The “New” Joy of Sex (pocket edition). I literally considered putting the latter into my pocket, but quickly gave up that fantasy to reality.

For the sad fact is that you need a partner to practice that art. And although there is a lot to be said for preparing for the next opportunity, masturbation doesn’t burn enough calories to justify a reread.

That said, albeit a workout partner-and-sexually insatiable girlfriend would be ideal, I’d settle for a plain ol’ platonic running partner (3-6 miles about the park, a few times a week) right now.


The accompanying photo here was taken on October 31, Halloween (pretty scary, huh?)—things haven’t changed much since then. And although it may very well be a gross exaggeration of the sad shape I’m in, I think it keenly signifies how I’m feeling.

Most importantly, owning up to who I really am is key to change. For you’ve got to accept what you are before you can truly change who you are; and I’m set to changin’.

Moreover, considering that this photo is not bound to coral me that harem I’m vying for, I figure motivating myself is going to prove to be my best bet at this juncture.

Although, I will add, that not too long ago, I posted another self-deprecating photo that had all the ladies saying that “a sense of humor” was a great lure, line and sinker.

Well, guess what? Apparently, someone forgot to tell me that you also need a hook to catch something, to reel in one of them fish in the sea.

Oh, well, at least I’ve still got me and my sense of humor…



Friday, December 15, 2006

Dead at the Table

Watch Out Men!
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Dead at the Table

So, these two outlaws here were playing a game of cards you see.

And they got in a mean old scuffle. They’re a yelling and shouting and a screaming at each other one minute. And then suddenly, when it starts to get real hot in here, I mean broiling, the cowboy with the black kerchief (they called him the black bandit I heard!) pulls out his pistol; then the other one does the same, but lightening-quick; and then, Bang! Bang! one shot right after the after.

So, mister, what you see here is what you got, two shots and both were left dead at the table.

Word is that they were brothers, and they got in a dispute over some lady or uther.

Can never be too careful when it come to them women-folk you know, they’ll distract ya! And before you know it you’ll be fighting over them, even if it is yer own bruther! Dag nab it!

They women-folk ain’t no good I tell ya! Devil’s brew, witching ya all the time with their luuuv-spells and magic batting eyelashes, lookin’ at you like you was Ulysses, hero of the Seven Seas!!

And they make you believe it too! “Ohhh, you’re so strong, and ooooo, yer so this and yer so that…”– meanwhile they’re emptying out yer pockets, and then its your bank account! “Buy me this and buy me that….”

The other night I dropped a whole lot of silver for one of them dames. She kept kissing me and telling me, “Come on now darling, just buy me one more drink! Just one more…?”

I tell her, “Look darling you’re depleting me of my life savings."

Quick as silver, she bats them long and lovely lashes, puts her hands on her hips and with a wicked smile wiggles me a little witchy dance, “Well, I’m an expensive date you know!”

“Yeah, I know, but are you worth it?” I countered, “Am I gonna be able to take you home tonight?”

She just smiled, wicked and all, bewitching me, and she replies with a wile that was a mile long, “Just buy me another drink cowboy, and put you’re pistols back in your pockets! I just need one more drink…”

Smiling all innocent and all..Jeessh.

So, of course, what did I do? Well, I bought her another drink of course. I felt like I was back at the gold rush again. All excited and all, panning in the stream, looking for that magic gleam in her eyes, but this time it wasn’t the stream I was dreaming about, it was this little sass of a lass called Lydia. Ol’ Lydia! What you do to me! Oooo, eeeee!

Anyway, they’re man-eating sirens I tell ya, every one of them! At least, all the pretty ones are…I know cause Lydia ate me alive, swallowed me right up!

But no, we don’t learn do we? Even after being swooned and tormented over and over again, we just continue looking, standing on the corner watching all the girls by…waving our fishing poles, hoping one of them is hungry enough to take a bite.

So, then when we got them - and they really got us - and were listening to them (or at least pretendin’ to, you know what I mean men? Snicker, snicker) we get sucked in anyway! Pulled in like a sucker!

Dag nab it!

Evil, just plain evil.

So, careful out there fellas, because they’re all out to get ya; and if one of them don’t do you in, you’ll probably end up like these two men, killin’ each other over a little ol’ lady friend. Shame, shame I tell ya, what a shame….

You’ve to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run.

You never count yer money
when you’re sittin at the table
They’re be time enough for counting
When the dealin’s done!

- The Gambler, Kenny Rogers -

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Atlanta,GA, Thursday, December 14, 2006:

How is it that I always seem to have a great time whenever I’m in Atlanta?

These photos are from Twisted Taco in Midtown Atlanta on 12th Street, where my colleagues and I went after our annual holiday party at Nikolai’s Roof, atop the Atlanta Hilton and Towers Hotel.

It was pretty crazy.

Thank you to all my friends, new and old, in Atlanta-Alpharetta. I appreciate the good times. I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

And Happy Holidays to all my friends around the world, may your celebration of life equal your appreciation for it.

Love, Peace, Happiness and Lots of Good Lovin’…


Tuesday, December 5, 2006

It Is Only The Beginning

It Is Only The Beginning
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

The End is Not The End
(it is only the beginning)

Last night, my estranged wife and I sat down in the breakfast nook and looked over the photo from her recent high school reunion.

She demurely asked me if she could “Ask me a question”

I hesitated for a moment, if only because there is this thick entanglement of synapses in my brain that when triggered tell me to pause, tell me to figure out how I should react, tell me that I must assess the moment first and then respond, because something seemed amiss here.

Thus, “I knew what was coming,” because I understood by the context, by the moment, and by her look that she wanted to ask me a “guy” question.

Despite this learned, and truly token, reason for pause, I was actually open to answering.

Besides, before we were dating, before we fell in love and decided to try this matrimony thing, before the kids, the house and the corporate job—we were actually very good friends. And things are fairly amicable now, living apart is apparently the elixir to everything.

Nonetheless and allthemore, she eventually asked and I honestly answered. I was actually happy for her. She is a wonderful woman and she deserves a lot of attention—at least a lot more than I was able to give her when we were together the last couple of tumultuous years.

(12 hours later)

Anyway, sleepy-eyed and a little worried about being late to work (again) this morning, I consoled myself on the bus stuck in traffic by reminiscing on this warm moment.

As a result, it occurred to me, I had an epiphany, that there are really very few bad experiences in life, that for the most part life is pretty kosher, it is vibrant, teeming with possibility, and it is wonderful—if you want it to be.

The two bad experiences that immediately came to mind though were—one, actually being physically sick (Enzo, our oldest, was reeling from a cold this morning, crying because he didn’t want to go to school)—we all know how excruciatingly grueling truly ailing can be— when there never seems to be an end to it all and you vow to clean up your act if only you ‘re allowed to survive; and two, is the experience of being in a sick relationship—not sick as in perverted, but sick as in quite normal, sick as in the natural disintegration of it all, when you can’t just have fun anymore and actually have to deal (with issues, decisions, obligations, and dreams that pull you apart and off into opposite directions).

Of the two, I’d take reeling over the bowl for a night or two, because the latter lasts a lot longer, and is much more painful in so many respects—your heart, soul and mind all ache at the same time and, combined, they make your body sick.

Since the separation, we don’t argue much anymore. We play tennis on occasion. We talk, we calmly make decisions—and like last night, we even talk about our feelings.

Two nights ago I wrote to her:

Subject: just want you to know

i'm wearing one of my favorite, most comfortable, shirts right now: the orange LBI t-shirt (that you gave me). thanks.

i still love you (you know). i may just not want to live with you, or anyone else, for that matter, but i still love you, nonetheless and allthemore.

say hi the kids for me, please tell them i love them (too).



So why do I share this with you? It does seem rather personal after all.

Well, it is rather personal, and thus it is rather real.

I think it is important to be real, to not be afraid of being human, to encourage others to do and be the same. I encounter too many people who are afraid of expressing themselves for fear of being judged, for fear of not being like everyone else, for fear of having failed one ideal or another.

Moreover, I think it is important to convey that there are alternatives to nasty break-ups. I know of too many that have gone this course; I’ve witnessed the rage, the grating anger, the virulent frustration. I find it unfortunate and unnecessary.

Perhaps, it is because I believe that the end of a relationship is not as bad as it seems nor as tragic as our society purports it to be.

It is primarily because we deem it to be that it becomes heavier than it really is. The end of anything is always the beginning of something else. Sometimes, it is the unknown, sometimes it means we have grown beyond the realm of another or that our vines have spread apart.

Initially, the intertwining is divine, but then we find ourselves thirsting, pining for space, and we start to miss the taste of freedom.

Ultimately, we begin to face the reality that we are squeezing life out of one another.

Thus, although given the druthers, we usually choose to continue suffocating, because we are taught suffering is part of the deal. We are sold a set of beliefs that justify the grief of monogamy and (un)dying commitment by deeming them as natural as breathing, and that intimacy and love and desire are as everlasting as life itself.

But just as life meets death, the makeshift bliss of contrived human relations dies too.

Once we have begun the institutionalized path of the relationship it is almost impossible for it not to become the same old thing, the same hard road to nowhere where upon all the signs read "dead end."

Most of us see this sign and resign ourselves, as if we had signed a contract with a no-compete clause, the breech thereof that would end absolutely everything—till death do us part.

Thus, we sigh, we cry, anger takes over, we become utterly despondent and sulk, never realizing that the answer lies in our innate inclination to run away, to turn in another direction, if only to move on, elsewhere alone.

You see, there are essentially two realities we live in. There is a personal reality that all of us are capable of manifesting, but which most of us do not realize. And then, there is the social reality that the vast majority blindly follow by heeding to contemporary values, constructs of thinking, and the institutions that support them.

Thus, to live a happy life it is incumbent upon the individual to realize what is the absolute truth within one self. Personally, I know that the great things in life, whether they be interactions with others or the awe of the morning, are all fleeting. Perfection is possible, but it is ephemeral.

Therefore, It is wholly natural to say goodbye, for everything must come to an end. And when we realize and accept this inescapable principle of being, we allow ourselves to turn our strife from a bumpy road to hell into the joyride of our lives.

It is true that nothing lasts forever, including "love," and yet as foolish humans we still strangely perceive, conceive and cohort as if we are capable of manifesting otherwise. And despite the wise lessons of time, we find ourselves falling in love over and over again anyway.

The late and great mythologist Joseph Campbell stated that he believed the romantic form of love as we know it today in Western civilization began with the troubadours of the Middle Ages. Therefore, everlasting or "true" romance is not something that has existed throughout the history of mankind. And not only has it not always been universal, it is also not necessarily an innate need that can only be fulfilled by "the one."

In fact, the notion of the "soul mate" has been alien to much of the world for most of the time we have existed as intelligent sapient beings. It is oddly as elusive as all those things which are invisible and divine, yet somehow we find ourselves inclined to hopelessly believing that such ideals can be manifested in a single person anyway.

The hard truth is that romance is a commercial enterprise that we actively partake in and which artificially realizes this swell of sentiment within us, one that does not entirely stem naturally from within. Or if it does, it is expressed with trite expressions of amorous emotions. Valentine's Day is a perfect example of this, for it honors something that should be celebrated creatively everyday, and one which buying a card or candy or a bouquet is only okay if you are too lazy to make an effort.

Overall, we accept so many things that we are told wholesale to believe in, simply because it is easiest to sail through life that way. If we had to try and figure out which way to go with every step, we would immediately get weary and wary of the journey.

Surely love is a many splendored thing, but it is not always meant to be everlasting. And once one has learned to accept this, she or he will be all the more happier, and likely happier than most.

So, the end is not the end. In fact, I’d like to think that in terms of my marriage, that perhaps we are at a new beginning somehow. We are becoming friends again, and that is a good thing.

My feelings on the matter are akin to how I feel about death. I want people to party at my funeral, not because I am dead, but because I have lived, and my life has been an example of how to live the good life, for life should be a celebration, a comedy—not a tragedy.


JC: Goethe says "all things are metaphors" —everything that is transitory is but a metaphorical reference. That's what we all are.
BM: But how does one worship a metaphor, love a metaphor, die for a metaphor?
JC: Well, that's what people are doing all over the place! Dying for metaphors. And when you really realize the sound aum the sound of the mystery of the word everywhere—then you don't have to go out and die for anything because its right there all around , and just sit still and see it, and experience and know it.

~ The Power of the Myth, Love and the Goddess, Bill Moyers Interviews Joseph Campbell

The End is Not The End

Sunday, December 3, 2006

A Lazy Sunday Inside

A Subway to Somewhere
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

A Lazy Sunday Inside

It was a beautiful day outside today, so I heard.

And so it seemed, by the cool breeze and bright sunshine streaming in through the windows. I stayed inside though, a lazy Sunday inside after a long night of revelry—got home at five this morning, slept in till after noon, then got up and cleaned the apartment; reshuffled things a bit, rearranged furniture, made changes, if only to keep things fresh and new.

Even though I’m getting old(er), I feel new. Renewed really, practically every morning I wake up, Not absolutely everyday though, because I am only human, after all. Getting old teaches you that.

I walk through my apartment and think, “Gee, I’d like to just sit on my couch for a moment,” but then I pass the couch, and as I’m passing my bedroom I think, “Gee, I’d love to lay down in my bed and close my eyes for a while.” Alas, I pass that opportunity too, and keep on walking to the study, because I have to, because I want to edit some photos, because I want to work and I want to be creative and productive and feel as if I am making something out of my life. So no repose, no rest, keep on going, invest, put something into your life, because you know that’s how you’re going to get something out of it—in the end.

I like cheese sandwiches, I had one for dinner tonight: fresh, toasted Portuguese bread, and a good half a dozen slices of pepper jack (Monterey jack cheese with jalapeños) and Wisconsin extra sharp cheddar, all covered in Talapio, my favorite Mexican hot sauce.

This tasty treat was complemented by a Stella Artois in a frosted jelly jar. I cut fresh lime and squeezed a little on the edge of the glass, and then sprinkled a tad of salt on that. Mmmm, yum.

I sat at my long wooden dining table (in its new place) and slowly ate, alone. It was a very satisfying feeling, the sandwich was to die for—I like cheese, I like bread, I like hot sauce. Thus the combination was heavenly.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Life Has Been Good to Me

Life Has Been Good to Me
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

1. 40 Days Old, 2. Mom and Me in San Franciso, 3. Pops and I in Frisco, 4. The Birthday Bath, 5. Inspired to be a Photographer, 6. Hewwo?, 7. The Dawning of the Lush Life, 8. Lounging with Pops, 9. The Mud Mites, 10. Lorenzo "Pancho" Villa, 11. First Grade, 12. Me and My Siblings

Life is Good

November 22, 2006 (my birthday), New York City:

So I was late to work again this morning.

I was compelled to answer the phone every time it rang (it was ringing off the hook), and to respond to the hundreds of happy birthday wishes that were sent to me…

Actually, I just work up late (ker-plunk).

And, I received only one phone call—from my estranged wife—she said, “Happy Birthday Lorenzo,” and promptly handed the phone over to the boys. I told them that I was looking forward to seeing them this evening when were planning to have a nice quiet dinner together at Guido’s Italian; a local red-sauce joint in Jersey with just myself, the boys and Mama—my estranged wife (Actually, it has been a rather amicable separation. I just like the gritty way it sounds.)

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter that I wasn’t flooded with gifts and well-wishes this morning. After almost 40 years you learn that less is more.

Besides, the only real reason I want to celebrate is to have a reason to party—to let go, to get drunk, to get high (on life), to dance, and spend some wonderfully ribald moments with good friends.

If I didn’t have to work and I didn’t have obligations, I probably wouldn’t wait to one day in Fall every year to let go of my inhibitions (not that I ever really wait).

Moreover, the celebration of life should not be limited to one day a year, just as we shouldn’t wait to until Christmas or Hannakah, Kwanza or 'Id al-Fitr (د الفطر,) to give to (and be with) others, in celebration of our love and appreciation of our friends and family.

So, that’s why I’m having a belated birthday party next Saturday at my apartment. Friends will get their invites today.

The morning wasn’t a total loss though, for I did receive a very nice compilation for my birthday last night from my friend Suzanne, which I listened to this morning; Mom and Pops both called; and I also received a note from a new New York friend who wrote to tell me that my photostream is “extraordinary.”

She also wondered if there was really a Lorenzo or if it was actually a small corporation hiding behind my pseudonym.

I was flattered to say the least, but confessed, “Alas, I am merely a man,” a one-man band with a drum-bass tied to my foot, a squeaky-squawky accordion strapped to my side, and a pair of drumsticks in my hands.

So, its my birthday. Hence, the new collage—the retrospective look at a life gone by.


Life is good though. And I can’t wait to celebrate it next Saturday. Write me a note (i.e. e-mail me) if you consider yourself a friend and would like to celebrate life with me and my other friends.

Or maybe you just want to be (become) a friend and believe yourself to be extraordinary, for all my friends and heroes (one in the same) are extraordinary. Each one of them has a tale to tell, a bridge to sell or at least is willing to jump off of one with me.

One of my best friends is my father. His birthday is next week, November 29. Lately, he has been telling his grandsons that he wants to jump out of a plane.

Of course, I find it extraordinary (a little crazy really) that my old man, at the age of 62 wants to take up skydiving. So, I guess I might just have to jump with him, if only to celebrate the life that he and my dear Mama gave me.

Thanks Pops, Thanks Mom.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rose & Olive

Rose & Olive
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

1. happiness, exhiliration, immediacy, delay, 2. green green green, 3. from the same poem in which is included: "think of my hip as it lay" and "I stir my martinis with a screw", 4. thrusting for one, 5. Untitled, 6. , not quite., 7. Can you see my left red foot?, 8. you forever knew., 9. moles, blades, tips and sheets, 10. rose. finally alone with me in the western inn., 11. something like happiness, 12. Untitled

a mosaic of rose and olive’s enchanting photos, and a little diptych of my own…


Rose, Olive and Me

I don’t know rose and olive.

But I’d like to.

Intimately, (parenthetically), diptychally, upside-downally, sidewaysey, peripherally, diagonally, metaphysically, psychically, physically, poetically, from-a-distance-y (a long-ways-away-sy), closely and closer-again-y. Each and every improbably and impossibly-possible way—I’d like to know them (y).

They live in Texas though, and I live in New York City (note: everyone knows NYC is the equivalent of any state in the union).

So, despite the distance, I decided that today would be a perfect day to get to know them. Thus, today I have taken a look at each and every of their photos, and read each tag, and thought about every comment that their fans have left behind.

Fortunately (for me), by a sequence of unfortunate events (for them), that wasn’t too hard to do though, because they’ve only got 57 photos up right now.

They used to have something like 57,000 up at one time—I think they pissed someone off, instigated a revolution, advocated free love or were just expressing their idiosyncrasies a little too much for someone else’s narrow-minded tastes, something like that; so than one thing led to another, and ultimately their inaugural account (tetheredbythesun) was axed.

Thus, therefore, hence, and furthermore, they’ve begun anew—started all over again. And I have taken advantage of them and their misfortune in order to create my ode.

Anyway, so I took a look.

I hadn’t really done so before. Sure, I had scanned, skimmed, gawked and spent some time perusing—immediately confusing love, infatuation and appreciation with lust. But, I really hadn’t delved, although I’ve long intended to do so ever since.

Ultimately, I concluded—I’d like to sleep with them.

Sex is wholly, truly—really—entirely optional though. I just think it would be nice to close my eyes upon a smile, after a long winter night whittling time away, spoon-feeding chocolate pudding, getting high (on life) while regaling ribald adventures, and making fun of Double-Yah (George, the monkey that would be made an emperor).

Like a voyeur from above, I can see how I’d have Rose on one side and Olive on the other—Olive on her belly, her palm pressed lithely upon my breast, and Rose’s right hand is clasped tight in my left, her head leaning upon my shoulder, her left knee bent and resting upon my left thigh (sigh). The shot: Olive’s hand, my smile, Rose’s closed eyes.

This is my dream, nothing more, nothing less—my personal, less-than-lurid vision, the PG version of every man’s fantasy.

Otherwise, looking at their photos makes me ponder, wonder, contemplate, debate (if only with myself), imagine running away with them—hitchhiking, trespassing, small-time pilfering and making suggestive photos of them with lonely, skinny truck drivers who have given us rides to dusty, hideaway roadside motels.

Rescuing butterflies
cut down the middle,
loving them,
worshiping them
with Polaroids,
because they are stronger-than-you,
more beautiful for it.

A tab of saliva,
some dirt,
her chin;
strange motorcycle men…

I digress.

Nonetheless and allthemore, despite this cursory look into their lives, one thing was certain for me from the very beginning:

Rose and Olive are Extra Ordinary.

They are extraordinary gals, they’d make extra ordinary pals, they are extraordinary artists and extraordinary friends (with each other), extraordinary photographers who are extraordinarily enigmatic.

In essence, they are magic.

And thus like Madonna, Arnold, My Boys (Enzo & Nicky) and Steve Irwin, today they, Rose and Olive, are my heroes too.

Thus, and that’s why—I’d like to know them.

Monday, November 20, 2006

To Live, Hope, Survive, and Breath in New York City

A Corner of Williamsburg 004
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

To Live, Hope, Survive, and Breath in New York City

Although I love taking photos for many-many reasons, the one thing I lament about this medium is that there are a million sensations that we miss that are vital to the experience that is otherwise only visually-captured by each photo.

This is especially true in New York City, where you are often overwhelmed by the clamor, the putrescence, and the grit of city life. As a result, you tend to shut yourself off from all this in order to endure.

Unfortunately, as quintessential as plugging in your iPod may be to survival in the great Cosmos, many great and wonderful things are missed as a result of tuning out. Because if you can tolerate the hustle and bustle, the noise and the general chagrin of every stranger that glares at you, the experience can be quite magical.

This morning for instance, while riding the train to work, I experienced the following attack to my senses:

·The suffocating overdose of Old Spice wafting in waves from the big guy in front of me;

·The instant-reeling, that not-so-pleasant vertigo feeling, that overcame me when 2-hour old coffee breath rolled over my shoulder like the eerie fog from a horror movie.

·The trickle of sweat sliding down my back due to disparity between the MTA’s attempt at temperature control and Mother Nature’s control over the Earth—for although I was smiling while I zipped in the plush liner into my winter coat this morning and I broke out those new leather gloves because the weather-guy blurted “It’s colllld out there!,” the Metropolitan Transit Authority apparently wasn’t listening. And so I ended up going from a cozy bundled-up 40 degrees to a crowded 80 degrees and-getting-hotter on the rush-hour train;

·And most titillating, was the flutter of endorphins triggered by long lashes, light eyes and a seductively-shy smile from across the car.

This small-small sample of what we miss when we merely look at the photos is why I love writing as often as possible about what I hear, smell, touch and feel when taking photos on the streets of New York; writing allows me to fill in the important details, the sine-qua-non of the true metropolitan experience. And this is why I have tried to make it an essential element of my particular brand of photography.

Thus, I am grateful to all those who take the extra time to read these complementary little musings of mine. And I hope that from the little that I offer that you can divine a part of what it is like to live, hope, survive, and breath in New York City.

Some day I hope to return to my beloved California, so that I may document much as I have done here. For it is a wholly different experience to live, breath, shine and languor in the Sunshine State.

“Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.” ~ Mary Schmich, Columnist, Chicago Tribune

The Thrill of the (Joy) Ride

The Beauty of the Ride 9
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

The Thrill of the (Joy) Ride

This set is best viewed as a one-second slide show, with your favorite upbeat music playing as a soundtrack.

These photos were shot on November 7, 2006 from the rain-spotted window of a taxi home (The Upper West Side) from a reception at the Lotus club on 14th Street in the heart of the meat-packing district of Manhattan, which I attended with my father ("Pops") who was visiting from California.

The taxi ride photos happen spontaneously in various ways. I've learned to not look through my viewfinder for many of my photos I take because it allows me to take photos from many more interesting and insightful angles. Thus, I shoot from the hip a lot, and the ground as well.

Moreover, I am ever fascinated by the thrill of the ride and have tried to capture the excitement of the moment with my photos over the last year or so. I find that we take the fact that we can move so quickly across land for granted all-too often. It is simply a miracle that we have only experienced for a little over two hundred years now.

Thus, here I present many of the other sets featuring rides of all sorts: taxi rides! bus rides! skateboard and bike rides! and even a provocative riding-upon-my-hips ride...:

A Ride on the Wild Side

Taxi! Take Me Thru Times Square!

A Beautiful Blur

Going to Bed with Gill: The Taxi Ride

Subway Strips

The Amazing Picture Show

To and Fro

Busted! (For The "Stupid" Pictures)

Running with the Devil

I Love to Ride My Bicycle

I Ride My Bicycle

My favorite ride of all though is when my friend Mia rode on me, while I took photos of her in playful ecstasy...

Joy Ride!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Back in the Groove

An Ode to Hilary
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Back in the Groove

I went to bed at 2 AM, and set the alarm at 6 last night (this morning).

When it went off, I awoke dreaming that a friend, a friend who apparently is only a friend because it is convenient for her (i.e. I have something she wants), was repeatedly yelling “Have a Nice Day!,” “Have a Nice Day!,” “Have a Nice Day!”

I soon realized that it was my mind playing tricks on me, taking my anxieties and blending them with reality—the blaring alarm becoming her blurting.

However, as is usually the case, if I wake up in the middle of a REM state, my first inclination is to hit the snooze—which I promptly did.

I reset the alarm to 7 and closed my eyes again.

Apparently, I didn’t set if properly though, because a moment later the snooze setting overrode my somnolent intentions and startled me promptly at 6:15.

This time I got up, brushed my teeth, took a wee and then got back into bed, making sure that I had set the alarm properly this time.

Alas, I couldn’t fall back asleep—too much was on my mind, there was simply too much to do, and surprisingly, I was feeling alright now, despite the lack of sleep.

Thus, hence, therefore, I ordered myself to “get the fuck up,” and make the most of this restlessness.

And I did.

Over the next hour, I wrote a few letters, foraged through a dozen folders of photos shot over the first few weeks of November, and culled together what I felt were the best of the best. I edited this select group, and with this musing present them here and now.

After my daily vitamin, a little lo-chi (i.e. stretching, a touch of yoga and some faux tai-chi) , and three shots of espresso—I was feelin’ good. Let me tell you, it’s been a long-time comin’.

This is the first morning in almost three frickin’ weeks now that I can breath freely and haven’t been hacking up a storm. In sum, allergy-set bronchitis is a bitch. The worst part about it though is not the bouts of asthma and pain-wrenching coughs, but actually the stupor that the drugs stoop me into. Antibiotics, as well as the usual round of supplemental expectorants and such, cumulatively make me insensate and always adversely affect my performance, my vitality and my mood.

But now, I’m back in the groove again.

Sorting through my latest crop of photos helped me realize that despite all this, my assiduity, my focus and my persistence have paid off.

It almost always does, but it is often difficult to taste the fruit of your labor when you’re in the midst of toiling, sowing and planting seeds.

Nonetheless and allthemore, here and now, I feel good, I’m feeling wow!

And I’m eager to take on something big, something monumental again, something I can be obsessed over, something in which I can pour my all passion into—another book maybe, peut être a complex, multi-faceted project, an amalgam of photo, word, and people; and perhaps even just an insatiable lover, a spunky girlfriend, or merely a new muse.

Albeit, with the posting of An Ode to Hilary, my newest self-portrait , I’m not so sure the latter is going to happen.

Regardless, at least I’ve got my senses and my sense of humor back, at least I’ve got the balls to post such a self-effacing piece de résistance, at least I am again free enough of the pandering ego to accept myself and say, “Hey, this is me. Laugh if you will, actually I would love it if you did.”

This portrait was actually taken a few weeks ago, when I thought I was going to start the 365 project that is so en vogue these days. Alas, I couldn’t keep up with myself, for simply taking one good photo a day was a task too big for my britches.

Nonetheless and allthemore, I am posting this particular photo as an ode to my dear friend and inspiration Brooklyn Hilary. She is one wacky, kooky, and wonderfully zany gal.

And she well knows that I much rather project a more suave, controlled and debonair image. However, on occasion I will concede, if only for her, to being simply human and make fun of myself.

Besides, it is a good for the soul to succumb to some self-mockery every once in a while—keeps you real, keeps me humble. And God, knows I need to do just that a little more often.

Maybe, that’s why I got sick—to taper the exuberance, the narcissism and the natural spring of élan for a moment.

Yeah, whatever.

All I know is that I’m back. I’m feeling good, and I’m ready to take on whatever comes my way.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by lorenzodom


Everything is in flux today.

I seem to be transitioning. Seem to be because I’m not really sure of anything right now, and “transitioning” sounds like an appropriate euphemism at this juncture.

Many things are out of whack right now—my boss is indefinitely out on leave; I spent all morning moving my office to a new space; the art exhibit that I’ve been working on for months may not happen after all; I’ve got a rather annoying case of acute bronchitis; and there ain’t no love in my life (at least, not the kind that keeps you warm, happy and healthy on cold nights…).

Moreover, I haven’t taken pictures in earnest for a couple of weeks now, and have written just as infrequently. Albeit my father was in town for a week, I had care of the kids for most of those days, and I focused on renovating my apartment during that time as well, there was still a little time here and there when I could have accomplished some creative work.

Alas, the inspiration just wasn’t there.

This morning I started to get the itch again though. I was walking from Port Authority down Eight Avenue to work and the metropolis was waking up—brimming with urban beauty, as it stretched and yawned and began to irk and pique and inspire the hustlers who were going to and fro.

And although I really didn’t have the energy, with practically every step I was inspired and moved and yearned to takeout my camera and take pictures. Alas, I didn’t want to be late to work (again) and I didn’t want a hundred more photos to edit.

Nonetheless and allthemore, I took note of the amazing things I saw and took pictures of all of them, if only with my mind—I took one of the guy dressed up in an all-red zoot suit, apparently just in town for a pimp convention (they actually have those you know); a few as I passed the line of colorful day-laborers on the corner of Eight and 36th, waiting for a chance to earn a few honest dollars while scrubbing toilets, food prepping, stocking, doing things that a lot of others are not willing to do; an upward side-shot as I walked with the woman who suddenly got a call on her cell phone and burst into this bright, almost inspirational, smile as she bid good morning to a good friend; another one as I was approaching the three DHL guys dressed entirely in red and yellow, pushing delivery carts in the middle of the street while crossing 34th; and then there was my favorite shot of the accidental tourist whose light-blue suitcase perfectly complemented the giant and slightly-darker blue scrawl of graffiti on the steel storefront doors that stood behind her.

One after another, I saw and appreciated several exquisite city scenes this morning. The positive experience motivated me to bust out of this rut I’m in.

The last time that I was in a mood like this, I posted an image that was all black. This time, I chose to make it indicative of my emerging mood, a gradient shift from all-gloom to off-white—not only reflecting the changing color of the sky at sunrise this morning, but also to suggest that there is an underlying optimism beneath my otherwise brooding demeanor—because I’m confident that the sun will eventually shine through.

Maybe that’s why I see myself as “transitioning,” rather than simply feeling stuck in the upheaval, caught in the mire of life’s trials and tribulations, anchored in the storm that is my life.

“A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Harry S. Truman

Monday, October 30, 2006

One Big Wet Dream

One Big Wet Dream
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

One Big Wet Dream

Oui ("way"), que peux-je dire de Stephanie ?

Well, perhaps, peut-être, the most memorable part of our intermittent conversation that evening was when she felt compelled to tell me, "I just want you to know, that I'm engaged." And she said it in a way that sounded more like she was protecting herself from herself, rather than me; in a manner that was more of a reminder to behave than as any sort of cross-bearing gesture against the hungry lecher.

I gave her a knowing smirk in response and professed, “Hmmm, that's interesting," insinuating, if not inciting, more of the same. I went on to explain that simply because she was an extraordinarily beautiful woman and I wanted to take more photos of her—did not mean I wanted to make mad love with her. "Well, I do," I added, "But I really would love to take pictures of you as well."

And that's the rated PG version of what I really said. After all, she's French, I'm an ugly and blunt American, and so I figured she could handle the truth. She laughed, and acknowledged that any typically "American" prudence was unnecessary, and essentially—a turn-off.

She also agreed to give my photos a look online, if only because she thought I was "crazy." I suspect that this is a promising sign.

The second most interesting point in our conversation happened earlier in the evening when she told me about how she might be directing a play soon.

She was partial to The Bard, and so I prodded her with my curiosity, butting her gently, piquing her in just the right way, so that she might get over her fear that I was just another bothersome wolf in a cheap costume.

Eventually, she divulged how her favorite Shakespeare play was, "How do you call it in English...a summer dream.." "Midsummer Night's Dream," I offered." "Yes, that's it."

She went on to explain how she essentially found it to be one big wet dream; a subtle and not-so-subtle orgy of words and inferences and people being amorous people.

At one point she suddenly broke loose of her reticent demeanor and smiled widely, stating with great fervor, "You'd be a great Faunas! Yes! You'd be perfect!"

At this point, I admitted that I wasn't familiar with this character, because I'd yet to read the play, but that I was quite eager to do so now, and so I begged her to tell me more.

"You know the one with the elfins...", which she pronounced “Elle,” as in the L-word, “fanhhh.”
"Ohhhh, fairies. Yes, you mean Pan, half-man, half-goat, the catalyst of lust and debauchery. Music man for the all forest nymphs and playful river sprites..."
"Yes, that's him!"

I suspected that apart from the mischief and make-shift pandering, the fact that I had come dressed as an “avid adventurer,” replete with a mud-crusted chin, and wind-swept hair that was adorned with the seasonal tidings of fall leaves, also inspired her élan and exuberant association.

Moreover, she also told me she was likewise dressed as an adventurer of sorts herself, a
sexual adventurer that is, a certain special lady of the night—Miss Madame X, the all-powerful and all-knowing dominatrix.

Hence, naturally, I made sure to butt her with my horns a few times, and then declared with a drunken slur, "And now for something utterly spontaneous! Because I can tell that you're the kind of person that loves surprises and whims and people who indulge them," which was my way of saying that she I thought she was somewhat of an emotionally-repressed artist.

Then I wrapped my arms around her, gave her a squeeze and a long drawn out kiss on the cheek.

She smiled, she laughed.

And I walked away.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"And you're next, if you don't shut the fuck up," ...

"And you're next, if you don't shut the fuck up," Robert screamed at me, quite convincingly
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Framing My Friend Robert

These photos depict Robert and Rayner fooling around in the vestibule of Robert’s apartment where he and the ever-beautiful Lisa hosted a kick-ass party last night—with buckets and buckets of jello shots, courtesy of their magnanimous neighbors, Heidi and Chug.

Actually, I really don’t know if their names are Heidi and Chug, but one was dressed as a bar maid and the other was a beer keg. So, my makeshift names seem to befit my foggy memory here.

Anyway, Robert and Rayner began role-playing. Robert was supposed to be some tough-guy (faggety-ass) federal agent and Rayner was dressed as “Robert in the 80s” in full regalia with a mullet, leather jacket, “faggety-ass” pants and doc martins.

I kept telling the guys all-night long that all I had to do now was kill Rayner, “A good two shots to the chest.” For now that I had proof it would be a cinch to frame Robert. Especially, since you can see the fire in his eyes in these photos, the intensity with which he’d do it, if he had done it.

Moreover, I can say that I witnessed them smoking crack together before the incident. Robert is pointing at one of the fluorescent green drug vials in the first photo of this set—a little something that Rayner, with wide and wild-eyes, liked to call “Kryptonite,” because “Not even Superman can handle this shit mannn…”

And after they both cracked open the vial and lit up a half each, Robert pulled out his pistol and started getting crazy and shit, yelling and screaming, telling me, quite convincingly, “And if you don’t shut the fuck up, I’m going to kill you next.”

All this tomfoolery and theatrics worked out perfectly to my advantage, because today I’m supposed to help Rayner move out of the apartment.

Alas, after three beers, six jello shots, and a glass of muscadette last night, I’m not really in the mood…

So, Rayner’s dead now.

Robert did it.

I waited until Rayner packed up all the boxes, so that he would be worn down and tired, and would offer little resistance.

Now, I’ve just got to get rid of all his shit, excuse me—stuff, possessions, belongings. Apparently, he’s kept every shirt he’s ever owned since 1981.

Maybe, all the bums on the corner, who line the sidewalks everyday to sell everyone’s else’s crap, will give me a few bucks for them.

And now that Robert will be in the slammer for a while, I wonder if Lisa will let me move into her apartment, so that way I don’t have to pay rent...

I guess that means we’ll just have to get rid of all Robert’s crap too though.

Much like the aforementioned transient folk, he’s been collecting odds and ends of discarded furniture ever since he first moved into this apartment a decade ago. Let me tell you, that’s a lot of crappy furniture. Oh, I’m sorry, “antiques” as Robert likes to call them…

Yeah, so, Rayner’s dead now.

And Robert clearly did it.

Bye bye Rayner. Bye Robert.

It was good while it lasted. And now that you're dearly departed I suddenly realize that I truly cherished your friendships. We had some good times together. Didn’t we?


Cholos Con Huevos

Cholos Con Huevos
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

The Gang’s All Here

Inspired by GillianLeigh's latest gang-banger photo, I'm posting an oldie but goodie.

This photo was taken around 1989 or so while I was in college. My brother Danny, is the hommie with the white t-shirt on the left, and his friend and our neighbor Terry is the vato on the right; I'm the bad-ass in the middle, sporting the poncho and BB gun. We are posing as ganster-slash-homeboys from the barrio, otherwise known as "cholos" in Northern California, where this was taken, and where I grew up.

Moving back into Manhattan in May rekindled this fascination with the thug life for me.

All summer long I had this fantasy of shooting all the characters that carouse about my street at all hours of the night—hoods hooting and hollering, and jus' hanging out in my neighborhood, the Upper-Crusty West Side of Manhattan.

I'm especially keen on capturing all the drug dealers who sit on my stoop all day, especially since they’ll all likely be pushed out into periphery of this increasingly gentrified area in the next couple of years anyway.

108th Street has long been a stronghold of Latinos made of Domicanos, Boriqua (Puerto Ricans) and invading Mexicans (un)like me. However, with the encroachment of greedy developers, el barrio will soon be cleaned up to make room for more Starbucks, banks and Columbia University owned faculty and student housing.

Just today, while having a Coronet slice, I read in the Columbia Press about the demise of Wood-O-Rama, which is directly across the street from me. It was reported that now they have to move out to Jersey, because the new building owners raised their rent and plan to build a luxury apartment building in its place. The small little lumbershop that could has faithfully served this neighborhood for 35 years.

Thus, I have this pressing desire to take photos of the locals before they’re all gone; I’m yearning to capture the grit and surly manners that make New York City such an energizing enclave of mean streets.

Moreover, there's just something very "real" about their iconic nature—their mean streaks, their baggy clothes, their mutha fuck'n bad-ass rep as gangstas—that strikes a chord I me.

However, even though the thug life is often commercially portrayed in movies and music as rather glamorous, in reality, it is a very precarious lifestyle, one that should never be envied.

Albeit, we are only pretending to be rough-n-tumbleweeds from the hood in the photo above, gang violence is really no joke. And although not that all gangsters are murderers, senseless violence has long been glorified in our society, and merely abets the trouble these gangbangers get into.

As prosaic as the suburban haven of San Jose was at the time when I was living there, we were, unfortunately, well versed in violence.

About the same time as this photo, one of my cousins, the youngest of five, Arturo (also known as "Tutti" amongst family and close friends) was shot in the head pointe-blank, simply because he got in an argument with another young turk. Although he was a bit of a hood himself, no one felt that the caustic verbal exchange he had had should have led to this brutal act of utterly senseless violence. His teenage murder was a great tragedy for our close-knit family, and weighed upon us for a long time.

In fact, in reminiscing about all this, I now recall that this event moved my sister so much, that she started a sticker company when she was in high-school with her artist-boyfriend at the time, selling stickers that read — "Stop The Violence."

Although I have no idea what the impact of her campaign was, I do know violence, regardless of where it takes place—the seemingly innocuous suburban streets of San Jose, the mean streets of New York Fuckin’ City, or the war-torn roads of the Middle East—always and often sends the same message—its not worth it.

Life is fleeting, life is precious, life is beautiful, so why cut it any shorter with inane games of machismo, egotism or nationalism? Regardless of our differences—our names, our languages, the color of our skin, our beliefs—were all one in the same, we are all simply human, we all only have one life to live.

And nothing ever gives anyone the right to take away that life away from another.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

From Boys to Men

From Boys to Men
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Saturday, October 21, 2006, Jersey:

Boys Will Be Boys

I love being with my boys.

For they not only remind me of what it is like to be a boy, or a child even, but also a “man,” or at least – male.

Because for these guys it’s all about getting down and dirty, competing against each other, fighting, taking risks, adventure, jumping in and giving it all you’ve got.

All day long at work I often feel like I’m flatlining – making sure no one’s offended by this word or that phrase, making sure no one is somehow excluded, because its all about inclusion or cooperation or teamwork these days; making sure the world is perceived as flat and that our organization has no discernable pulse.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works for a lot of men. Were more apt play by old-school rules – winner takes all, may the best man win, give it all you got, either you’re a winner or a loser. At least that’s the case with your (stereo-)typical type-A-personality, alpha, over-aggressive, extroverted, Scorpio-Sagittarius, American rugged individualistic male like me.

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
– Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach, Green Bay Packers –

All this talk about giving everyone a chance, sometimes means you’re bringing down curve; while you’re creating equal opportunities you’re also stymieing the potential of your best performers and most extraordinary individuals, those that are most apt to make a difference.

That’s why I was rather proud of Nicky today, he was by far the most focused on the field and he knew it. Later in the day he made a point to tell me, “Papa, I’m better than all the other players, because I always kick it on the right goal, but they don’t. They’re stupid

I didn’t know whether to smile or frown upon his thoughts. For although from what I observed today this was essentially the truth, I made sure to try to explain to him that even though it was important to be the best ball-player you could be, that he need not belittle other players in turn.

Because as much as I was excited to see him revved up about the game today, for he was truly exuberant while playing, I still wanted him to comport himself like a true little gentleman. That to me is a true mark of excellence – nonpareil performance combined with grace outside the race, on and off the court, and apart from the cut-throat throes of the game. Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Lance Armstrong, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Joe Montana, are but a few good examples of this critical combination.

All of these sports heroes exhibited uncommon sportsmanship, which has always been a mark of distinction and a personal aspiration of my own. Hence, I would like my children to learn much the same, and thus I tried to convey that to Nicky this morning.

Nonetheless and allthemore, we’re still men and were still liable to be less graceful and uncivilized then most women, mothers, girlfriends and innocent bystanders would prefer us to be. And today proved to be a wonderful experience and exemplar of why this is true, why boys will be boys, regardless of how often our natural inclinations are batted down, so that we might behave.

This morning I took Nicky to soccer practice. It was a special Saturday morning session held primarily to give many of the fathers a chance to see their children play, because practices are usually held on Wednesday mornings, when the moms bring the kids. Thus, myself and the other fathers bonded this morning when at one particular moment Nicky demonstrated the other side of what it means to be male.

The coach was doing a great job with all these 5 year olds and was rolling through a gamut of playful exercises. At one point she said that she was going to show them various ways to handle the ball.

The first was “Mashing The Potato,” which meant they had to stop the ball by stepping on it.

Second came the “Kick The Potato” where the kids practiced dribbling.

Third was “Juggling The Potato,” which required practicing juggling the ball by bouncing it on their knee.

Finally, the coach asked, “Now, how do you think you do the ‘Stinky Potato’?”

Nicky, didn’t miss a beat, and he immediately blurted out, “You FART!”

Myself and the other fathers hanging out on the sidelines all burst out laughing. It was great timing and the perfect male-minded and male-bonding joke. They all asked me, “Is he yours?” I beamed when I answered affirmatively, and one of the fathers came over to me to give me a high-five.

Now that the ice was broken, with a touch of W.C. Fields, I boasted in jest, “Yesss, I taught him well didn’t Iiii?” Seeing that they were still laughing, I continued in parody of the moment, “So, son what’s the first thing you do in the morning? – Fart!” At this point one of the fathers took it one step further and added “or ssshit!”

Perhaps it was one step too far, for while we were all still laughing, this guy’s wife rolled her eyes and said, “Alright Jake, I’m going over there for a while.”

Thus, as you can see, whether were four-years-old or bordering-on-forty, the inherent thrill of potty talk, fighting, slapstick humor and other aggressive behavior and gestures really rarely wears itself out.

After soccer practice I was really so proud of Nicky that I folded when he asked if we could get donuts. Initially I said, “No,” but then, I spontaneously spun into the Dunkin’ Donuts parking when I reflected upon the morning.

It was bitter cold, and so some of the kids and the parents including myself, were complaining. Yet, even though he was the only one with a short-sleeved uniform and shorts, Nicky never uttered a word about it, I kept on asking him if we wanted his jacket, but he insisted on playing without it. He was so into the game that nothing seemed to bother him.

Moreover, seeing him laugh and run restlessly about and shout with glee continually over the hour made me beam with joy myself. I felt that the passion and spirit, this joie de vivre, that I often see in Enzo and try to constantly stoke within myself, was overflowing from Nicky this morning. Thus, I stopped the car after practice, and ran in to get a small bag of munchkins (donut holes).


At noon, we met Rayner, Zea, and Kaya and drove up the Garden State Parkway to exit 168 to go apple picking. Alas, “all the apples had been picked” purportedly and all they were offering were over-priced hay-rides and pumpkins. We compromised by buying a pumpkin and ice cream for all. Then we went for a whimsical ride in the countryside and not only admired the colorful display of autumn leaves, but also how all the rich people live, for everywhere we looked old mansions were being torn down and castles were being built in their place.

Eventually we returned to my humble abode, a comfortable two-story colonial in the small town of Bloomfield, and we played in the backyard for a while.

At about five we all jumped back in the car again, drove into Manhattan, dropped off the Ramirez family and spun around the corner to eat at La Rosita on Broadway, which is a wonderful little Dominican restaurant that has seemingly been around forever. It is a father-and-son operation, with Don Francisco doing a lot of the cooking and his son, Eduardo, managing the dining room and cash register.

It so happened that the son, Edie, recognized me, and asked if I used to come here when I went to school up the block at Columbia. I confirmed his intuition and explained why I was now living across the street again, at the very same apartment..

Thereafter we chatted a bit in Spanish, discussing how, although my boys weren’t speaking it right now, they would eventually catch on, and that the exposure would prep them for the time when they would embrace learning and being proficient in a second or third language. He had observed this phenomenon in two of his nephews who initially fought speaking Spanish, but later became very excited about learning the native-tongue of their forefathers.


By the time we got home it was close to nine o’clock and although I fully expected the boys to fall asleep on the ride home, they were still wide awake and began faux-fighting in the driveway. I loved the spotlight that they fought under, and thus ran inside the house to grab my camera.

I had already taught Enzo some basic boxing principles, such as a stable stance, how to hold your hands up in front of your face to block your opponent, and most importantly, that you should always keep one of those arms up whenever you throw a punch yourself. Thus, I thought it was the perfect time to teach Nicky. Of course, as expected, he adapted like a pro and began to throw punches at his older brother more aggressively than ever, now that the lesson had instilled a little extra confidence in him.

The boys loved brawling, and I loved watching them. (Click HERE to watch a 90 second slide-show of street fighting Jersey-style. Make sure to change the speed to one second, and to either play or hum the theme to Rocky).

Of course, eventually, both got a little hurt, Nicky a little more than Enzo, so that Nicky cried for a moment, but he soon recovered after I consoled him with a hug and then grabbed Enzo, so that Nicky could feel better by punching him a few times. The little bruises and scrapes they might have received were innocuous enough that I felt that it was good for them, it would toughen them up, much as it toughened me up whenever I likewise fought with my two older cousins as a boy.

Moreover, in retrospect it makes me proud to pass on the things that my father and the other male influences of my life had taught me. Although the time for me to teach my boys to be “men” per se is still some years off, there is much that must begin now, because God knows its becoming increasingly harder to be a “man” in our society. Times are changing and roles are changing, and although men and women should definitely be given the equal opportunity to develop and prove their strength, character and intelligence, there is something to be said about cultivating those gender-specific characteristics and skills that have traditionally distinguished the boys from the girls, and separated the boys from the men.

Just as I had written in the last piece about why I am grateful for girls, science is continually confirming what we have known all along - men and women are different and the differences exhibit themselves from the very beginning. Not only in terms of color preferences and how each gender subsequently expresses themselves, but also in regards to activity preferences and preferred modes of interaction.

Once again, I’ll cite Dr. Leonard Sax, who published Why Genders Matter (2005), and made the following salient points at a recent conference in DC:

• Most boys are impressed by other boys who take risks, especially if the risk taker succeeds. Girls may be willing to take risks, but they are less likely to seek out risky situations just for the sake of living dangerously.
• Boys are much more likely to engage in physically risky activities.
• With boys it is important to have as many “supervised” risk-taking opportunities as possible. Unsupervised boys together are often a real danger to themselves. As a rule encourage a boy to play any organized sport (even the rough ones), but do not let a boy practice his skateboarding with his mates in the road!
• Boys fight physically about twenty times more often than girls do. Boys, however, find many friends through fights. Picking a fight can be a way of relating to another boy. Controlled aggression can have positive outcomes for boys. This is not true for girls
• There is evidence that some of these differences are biologically programmed. The “rough and tumble” activities of boys are not socialized behaviors. In fact, there is evidence that “rough and tumbling” as a young male can reduce their aggression as an adult male. They learn the rules of the game of life in this way.
• Aggression between girls destroys their relationships. When boys and girls interact their styles can often clash. The proverbial boy pulling on a girl’s pigtail is the boy trying to make friends!
• Pain is processed differently by male and female brains. Males and females perceive pain differently. Stress reduces the male’s pain awareness and increases the female’s pain awareness.
•Girls’ friendships work best when the friendship is between equals. Boys, on the other hand, are comfortable in an unequal relationship, even if they are the lesser party. With boys the hierarchical character of a relationship can define and even ennoble the friendship.
•The best way to break down gender stereotypes is to embrace gender differences.

That’s why some males in particular prefer competition to cooperation, strategic cut-throat tactics over team-building collaborations, being lupine leaders over sheepish followers, keeping calm and taking control in crisis situations, and taking risks while everyone else plays it safe.

That’s why I’m tired of trying to make the world flat again; tired of appealing to the lowest common denominator, because the lowest common denominator is not very appealing; tired of taking exciting and colorful ideas at work and making them bland, baseline and mechanical; tired of having to behave asexually, hide the-man-i-am because I work with four other females on my team, and thus have no true-blue male camaraderie to relate to.

And that’s why, women just don’t get a good fart joke when it happens, or maybe they “get it,” but just they don’t see why its so damn funny. Well, we may not really understand why either, but it just is. Much like women don’t understand why men never get tired of watching The Three Stooges - they’re just funny, you know, like they amuse us.

And much like many men will agree that one of the funniest movie dialogues comes from one of our favorite violent gangster-guy movies, Martin Scorcese’s hallmark bad-guy film, Good Fellas. The scene is when Tommy DeVito decides to test Henry Hill and bust his balls a little in front of all the other fellas. For most of the scene you’re on the edge of your seat, because you’re made to believe that any moment Tommy is about to whack (kill) Henry:

Henry: You're a pistol, you're really funny. You're really funny.
Tommy: What do you mean I'm funny?
Henry: It's funny, you know. It's a good story, it's funny, you're a funny guy.
Tommy: what do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry: It's just, you know. You're just funny, it's... funny, the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What's funny about it?
Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong.
Tommy: Oh, oh, Anthony. He's a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry: Jus...
Tommy: What?
Henry: Just... ya know... you're funny.
Tommy: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry: Just... you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy: No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!
Henry: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.


I surmise that since testosterone underlies all our actions, and because men have long been the more physically active and aggressive gender, that we put a lot of emphasis on proving ourselves physically. Thus, when an individual either excels or blunders, we get as excited as any little boy might get when watching sports highlights and bloopers.

Seemingly this proclivity has been around a long time. Thus, I can readily imagine that Neanderthals grunted and guffawed much as we do today, scrawling upon cave walls and reenacting the more notable club-kills and fatal falters of the day.

Thus, I truly enjoyed watching my boys play and fight and interact as most men are apt to do, today.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowances for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies;
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it in one turn of pitch - and - toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart, and nerve, and sinew
To serve your turn long after these are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crouds and keep your virtue
Or walk with kings - nor lose your common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count on you, but none too much;
If you can fill an unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth distance run,
Yours is the earth and all that's in it.
And -which is more - you'll be a man, my son.

-Rudyard Kipling -


More stories, musings and poems about and written for my sons:

To Live A Life Uncommon

There’s Always Something (Ode for a Son)

Nicky The Brave (The Spine of Life)

Like Father, Like Son (a paternal self-fulfilling prophecy)

I Love You, Dominic

Three Familiar Faces (Lesson 6: If…)

I’m A Father (Designing My Little Architects

Just The Two of Us (Papa Loves You)

From Boys to Men

The Quiet One

The Boys (Collection of Photo Sets )

Friday, October 20, 2006

Thank God for Girls!

Thank God for Girls!
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Thank God for girls!

Okay, okay, and for girly-men too.

Because without them—there would be no colour in this world.

“Once when my mother and I were coloring, I didn’t have a green crayon and couldn’t figure out how to color the trees. ‘The trees can be any color you want,” she told me. I’ve made that my life philosophy ever since.’” – Bobby Blue –

I was crossing the rain-strewed street this morning, as usual admiring the symmetry and the simplicity of the lines, when suddenly splashes of bright pink, light froggy-green, and a touch of blue scurried before me.

The stark contrast between the black and white geometry against the running splatter of softer pastels, on this dark and dreary morning, was utterly delightful.

What a pleasure to view the world in all its splendor regardless of the weather, regardless of whether or not the sun shines to showcase all its hues.

It so happens that today I’m wearing the same as usual—my monkey suit, fairly standard corporate fare; a dark-grey, pin-stripped two-button three-piece with a cobalt blue dress shirt with a wide-spread collar—nothing too colorful, nothing flamboyant, nothing that might bring unnecessary attention to me while I “work.” In other words, I look like your basic and boring heterosexual American male, again, today. And, admittedly, I’m almost ashamed to admit it.

That said, you’ve got to wonder, at least, I’ve gotta wonder, “Who wrote the book of love?” Ooops, sorry wrong discussion…

I mean, “Why pink and blue?” Wherefore and where from did we get the tradition of distinguishing genders via these two colors?

A 2001 study of college students by Ficek and Ellis in the journal of Personality and Individual Differences, found that that “the males had a stronger preference for shades of blue than the females. Findings indicated no color preference differences between self-identified heterosexuals and homosexuals of either gender.”

Hmmm, that’s interesting. But was that nurture or nature? Was this penchant inherent from day one or was it instilled in them over the years?

The year before, a study done by a number of scientists at the Brain Imaging Center and Behavioral Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory, Consolidated Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, concluded that their findings “support a sex and color-dependent differential pattern of primary visual cortical response to photic stimulation and suggest a method for assessing the influence of specific dopamine agonist/antagonist medications on visual function.”

In simpler terms, they found a significant difference in how men and women responded to blue and red light stimulation. Using the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technique, “males and females showed similar BOLD signal change to red light, but males showed a threefold greater increase (0.52%) to blue light stimulation when compared to females (0.14%).”

Thus, once again, it appears that men, males, primates, have a true-blue penchant for the darker hue.

Moreover, more current findings by Dr. Leonard Sax, who published Why Genders Matter in 2005, show that the male visual system (optical and neural) relies more heavily on type M (magnocellular) ganglion cells, which detect movement. Girls, on the other hand generally have more type P (parvocellular) ganglion cells, which are sensitive to color variety and other fine sensory activity. Consequently, boys use more images and action when they write, whereas girls tend employ words that reference color and other fine sensory information.

Speaking at the International Coalition of Boys’ Schools Conference in Washington DC in June of last year, Dr. Sax concluded his presentation with the following:

Adults need to get serious about the question of gender. They need to accept the
responsibility of helping children to develop a pro-social meaning for masculinity and
femininity…the result of our society’s indifference to the deep meaning of sexuality is sometimes resulting in social chaos.

For the past thirty years, any suggestion that there are innate differences between girls and boys, in how they learn and think or interact with one another, has been viewed in many quarters as chauvinistic backsliding. We have been indoctrinated in the dogma that girls and boys should be taught the same subjects in the same way at the same time.

We must create a society that has the courage and the wisdom to cherish and celebrate the innate differences between the sexes, while at the same time enabling equal opportunities or every child of both genders.


As much of my writing has indicated in the past, I tend to agree. There are differences for a reason. Opposites attract and attraction is critical to the survival of the species.

Vive le Difference!

Thank heaven for little girls
thank heaven for them all,
no matter where, no matter who
for without them, what would little boys do?

Thank heaven... thank heaven...
Thank heaven for little girls!

- Thank Heaven for Little Girls (Gigi), Lerner & Lowe, best known by Maurice Chevalier -

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Henri and His Leica

I Leica Edit 14
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

This series of photos is an example of the Decisive Moments that I mention in the following musing mulling over the evening I took these photos outside the Leica Gallery in Manhattan.

Henri and His Leica

Tonight, Mia took me to a reception at the Leica Gallery on Broadway in Manhattan. Hosted by the Hungarian Consulate, the show celebrated the work of Erich Lessing and focused on his photos from 1956, in remembrance of the Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

As you may already know, Oskar Barnack revolutionized photography with the invention of his small-format lightweight, 35 mm Leitz camera in 1914, offering unprecedented freedom to journalistic and artistic photographers. However, due to WWI the camera wasn’t introduced to the public for another ten years in 1924 as the first Leica.

One of the best-known and most-respected photographers of all time was Henri Cartier-Bresson, who, for practically 45 years, favored using the Leica camera for his work.

In my upcoming book, 25 Lessons (about photography; Cyan Books, Spring 2007) I elaborate a little on his work and technique. Following is an excerpt:

After I had settled in at the little church and was going out regularly into the city to take photos, I not only realized how pervasive beauty was, but I also realized that every once in a while I was able to capture these absolutely exquisite moments—moments when all the elements simply fell together and created a photo that was utterly a marvel to look at.

Eventually I would come to discover that my pursuit of this type of picture was quite akin to the art of a well known photographer by the name of Henri Cartier-Bresson, a Frenchman whose style eventually came to be known as one that captures “The Decisive Moment,” a term coined by Cardinal von Retz. The American publisher of Cartier-Bresson’s first English edition of his work, Dick Simon, used von Retz’s phrase as the title of Cartier-Bresson’s book (originally titled Images à la Sauvette), the first photodocumentary of decades of his work.

French poet Yves Bonnefoy aptly summarizes the magical quality of Bresson’s style in his description of his photograph Place de l’Europe in the Rain (1932): “How was he able to recognize the analogy between the man running across the plaza and the poster in the background so quickly, how could he compose a scene out of so many fleeting moments—a scene that is as perfect in detail as it is mysterious in its totality?”

Over the year following my stay at the Little Church I continued to hone my own style and art, and found that I too had a knack for capturing such decisive moments, especially as the occurred in the streets of New York City.

In retrospect, I also came to find out that Cartier-Bresson and I shared the same philosophy in regards to the equipment we used. The vast majority of his photos were taken via a 50mm lens, which is in a sense equivalent to the point-and-shoot I have used for all my photos.

This is especially true considering the much more powerful equipment that was eventually available to both us. Although fellow photographers and friends have encouraged me to upgrade to something like an “SLR,” I realized that these heavier, more conspicuous, much more expensive and higher-quality cameras were not suited to my off-the-cuff, hit-and-run, street style. Cartier-Bresson believed much the same thing as he felt that he needed to carry a minimal amount of equipment because it needed to serve him as a “sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously.”

With the aid of digital equipment though, I feel that I have been able to take this a step further by actually capturing a series of sequential “decisive moments,” in which I have documented a moment in time, much as someone might do with a video camera, but in a fashion that stops time, so that one can actually see how a moment evolves or tumbles or explodes with action, energy and color.

Oddly enough, a lot of people don’t see this though and complain that they do not understand why I post so many photos of the same thing.

“The same thing?” I often retort, if only to myself. To me, almost every photo has something new to offer that wasn’t in the previous or following shot—an emerging smile, a coincidental pairing of background and foreground elements, a sudden change in sunlight—all these things and so-so-so many more really do make each photo quite special to me.

Hence, despite the criticism I continued to post photos in this manner from one spring to another, until ultimately, after only a year on flickr I had posted more than 15,000 images.


Here is a set of examples of some of the special moments I have been able to capture with my little Power Shot, Canon A50, point-and-shoot: The Decisive Moment

Unfortunately, they did not serve goulash (I'm sure I misspelled that) or any tasty Hungarian pastries at the reception—just crusty old cheese bread and wine.

Nonetheless, the photos were interesting and the president of Leica was at the reception passing out their new the digital rangefinder LEICA M8 cameras for people to try.