October 3, 2004

So there I was on the sunny weekend morning racing through Wolfe’s Pond Park on my inline skates. Something I do every weekend. Upon stopping at the step leading down to the beach, I noticed I was being videotaped. Not intentionally a woman was just scanning her camcorder around the whole park.

I stopped at my favorite bench and began to wonder how many people have caught be on video or clicked pictures of me. Whether I’m on my skates at the park. Or when I’m just strolling down Astor Place or elsewhere.

Obviously, I’m not the only one this has happened too and I’m sure I have clicked pictures of plenty of people I’ve never met and probably never will-be at Disney World, on a snorkeling trip or wherever.

Most of the time, I like to take pictures of scenery be it the trees, waves, crystal clear blue water or historic buildings, etc. I prefer my shots with no one it. Of course, when with family I take plenty of shots and can be a picture hog.

But I often wonder when people aimlessly scan their cameras be it video or DSLR do they care if they are taking pix of people they nothing about? What will they think ten years from now when they rummage through their photo albums and show them to friends. Are they ever asked did they know that nut job on his skates with his Depeche Mode t-shirt? Or do they just not care? Not sure if I do or should.

But years from now do you think they’d recognize the person they shot if they were on the same line as them in McDonald’s or squished in the same crowded subway car? No.

But what if they did? Do you ever see people who stare at you strangely? Sort of like they are trying to place your face. Or those who say hey did I know you from somewhere. Maybe that person clicked your pix years ago and was rummaging through their photo album. And by some coincidence you just happened to be on the same line in Banana Republic with that individual.

‘Ya never know.

Using Facebook to promote good

Over the last year or so, Facebook has been overwhelmed with political rants. There are other rants. Those might include comments about athletes, musicians, celebrities, vacation spots, etc. But somehow they get tied into politics.

I have tons of friends on Facebook who do nothing but blast our political landscape. Both sides. Only once, many years ago, did I ever post anything political. I made a positive comment about a former president. An old friend, a few years younger than myself, whom I met in Boy Scout camp, commented negatively. He “unfriended” me. Shortly after that, we bumped into each other. He said, I thought about your post and you’re right. He was a good president. He said he would friend me again. Once again, we became friends.

I have friends who seem to do nothing but sit on their mobile devices and post their rants. My question to them, “How many of you are actually doing something to change the situation? Or is Facebook your soapbox?” Wouldn’t you rather work to make changes in people’s lives? Or are you content with ranting? They seem to enjoy getting enamored to or enraged by fake news. Some spend all day posting this.

My wall is filled with my photography, pro-NY Yankees posts (Yes, that has been attacked by fans from Boston and Flushing), some cartoons and music. However, a key part of my Facebook life is promoting the organizations I volunteer with, which include ELEM-Youth in Distress in Israel, my religious institution and Sscouting stuff.

All of these groups are making a difference in the lives of kids, the elderly, our environment, etc. I manage several pages. We get tons of comments, shares and even a donation or two.

Posting photos of communities we’ve helped and invites to fundraising events jump-starts the conversation and pushes others to help. It gives me a feeling of pride knowing we use social media productively.

Dead Fish

When you hear the words “dead fish”, you are likely thinking about that goldfish you need to flush down the toilet. Maybe you were thinking of the latest toxic spill off the coast of Alaska.

I bet you weren’t thinking of the world-renowned sport of dead fish fighting. I used to be an active player in this game. Were you?

Let me tell you about it. Years ago in camp we would go on Delaware canoe trips. I loved them. About half way into the trip, our leader, Rodney (not his real name, but his alter ego) would start attacking us with dead fish. You see, from the start of the trip he’d be loading his vessel with dead fish.

Just at the right time he would unleash his arsenal. He would start attacking his fellow canoeists. Rodney would paddle up to his victim and when their eyes would go astray, he’d smack them over the head with several dead fish. Then he’d paddle away.

One trip Bergy and I were doing real well. We were paddling hard and making great time. The next thing I remember was getting smacked in the head with multiple dead fish. Bergy was also attacked. We tried to clean ourselves up. But alas, we could not. Our only choice was to jump out of our canoe and take a swim in the Delaware.

Once we got back into our canoe, Rodney attacked again. These days, I think about dead fish fights way too often. I’m so up for one. Are you?

Last spring, I had numerous lunches and dinners with a wonderful family, whose male children were planning to go to summer camp. I gave explained the glory of a dead fish fight. I mean you should forget about color wars, hurdles, softball and cookouts. Real men have dead fish fights. They promised they would engage in one.

I anxiously awaited their return from camp. I finally saw them. They told me about all the fun they had in camp. They reported during their rafting trip, all they did was paddle and go for a swim. They left the dead fish in the water.

Oh well.

Do we live for likes?

I reluctantly joined Facebook in 2008. I resisted for quite a while.  Then I got an invite email saying two of your friends are on Facebook.  The two were paired together. One was a very pretty ex-coworker, who looked like she was ready for the beach-bleached blonde hair, low cut shirt and shorts. The other was a Chasidic rabbi, dressed in the traditional wear-black hat, white shirt, long black coat and beard. Seeing the two of them together prompted me to join.

I remember my early days. I got annoyed when people would write, “I just sipped a diet Coke” or “I’m doing laundry.” Who cares?  I wrote about my dismay. Within minutes, dozens of friends wrote on my wall that they were doing laundry or having a Coke.


Posts from friends include political rants, photos of their dogs, children, deceased relatives, vacations, cars and more. Much more.

I have friends who’ve posted throwbacks from way before Facebook burst onto the scene and way before people were regularly online.  Some complained they were devastated because no one commented or liked their photos or statements.

I post plenty of photos. I want to get exposure for them. Some have been taken at events of groups I belong to. Most were shot in parks and on the street.  I get some likes, reactions and comments.  Do I care? Not really.

Some of my friends who received no likes or were not satisfied with the comments picked up the phone to tell me about their disappointment. I tried to console them. But it was to no avail.  They said they were either going to pull their photos. Or never post pictures again. My response was no one would care.  They didn’t get it.

I know certain posts will get over 100 likes within seconds. Days, even weeks later, these folks will still be reeling in the likes.  The “hot properties” are often reluctant to have their photos taken. They know they will wind up on someone’s wall and the post will be shared.  At times, I’ve posted photos featuring two or three of the most liked people in one shot.

But most of my photos get zero likes or comments.  I post because I like the work I produced.  Someone told me to take pride in my work.  I try.

I’ve never been upset or counted likes. I will admit at some events, I may take more photos of the top likable folks. That is done to promote the event and inspire more people to show their own work.

Well, if you like my thoughts great. No worries if you don’t.