Do You Believe In Reincarnation?

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Do You Believe In Reincarnation?

Last week I wrote that the way to get to Carnegie Hall is to “practice, practice, practice”. What about having talent and knowing where it comes from?

I thought about it back on November 19, 2016, after reading a story in the Datebook of the SF Chronicle “Alma Deutscher, a composer, virtuoso, pianist and concert violinist who wrote her first sonata five years ago and whose first full opera will have a World Premiere next month, and she’s only 11.” She started playing piano at the age of two, and when compared with Mozart, who started playing in public at the age of 6, was capable of playing multiple instruments and wrote “The Symphony No. 1” at the age of eight years, Alma laughed dismissively, “I think for me it is more interesting to be Alma”, instead of Mozart”, she says. And being special is really normal because I don’t know anything else.” Her future plans include composing a piano concerto and symphony. She has started a book that she wants to make into a film, with her own score.

Alma Deutscher and Amadeus Mozart are not the only who started their musical career before the age of 12. I found a list of at least 132 famous musicians from different periods and parts of the world, online. The list continued into different genres of music like country and bluegrass, folk and world music, blues, jazz, soul and funk, pop, rock, Indian classic music, and even bagpipes.

Talent is of course not limited to music. There are talented people in the fields of science, computers, sports and many other areas. As it happened, on the same night, when I read the article, we were invited to a fundraising event. Among many adults, there was a little boy, around the age of 10. I noticed him because he was small and skinny, with big ears that stuck out, which reminded me of myself at his age. After the speaker finished his overview of today’s political climate, there was a Q and A, and the boy asked a very interesting unexpected question for someone his age. And then after it was over I overheard his conversation where he was analyzing the results of the recent election, utilizing statistics and information, which presumably would be known to only a very informed adult. I asked him how he knows all of this “stuff”. “I like it”, he simply answered. I have no doubt that this boy has potential talent and I was talking to one of our future leaders.

What is your talent? How does it help other people? Perhaps your talent is to share my “42 Encounters in San Francisco” book with your friends and family. Please go to Amazon.com and read the reviews and buy the book. Enjoy and Share on Twitter, and other Social Media platforms.

P.S. There is no restriction in photographing children on the streets. Nevertheless, some parents are concerned and are naturally very protective. As a result, the four images I’m sharing with you, I photographed ten years ago, and they are not small children any more.

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Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

How to Get to Carnegie Hall

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How to Get to Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall, which most of you may know is a well-known performance hall in New York City, was built by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1891. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious venues in the world for both classical and popular music. Jack Benny (a leading American entertainer in the 20th century) first coined the joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”, whose punch line was, “Practice, practice, practice.” We actually got there by taxi. At the end of last year, we traveled to New York and stayed in a hotel on 7th Avenue, just across the street from the famous hall. It also happened to be situated next to another famous place with the familiar name – Carnegie Deli. Every day (even during heavy rain) there were long lines of tourists, standing outside to experience an authentic New York breakfast. It is one of the most famous delis in the U.S., if not in the world. But unfortunately after feeding people with delicatessen which had been called “nearly orgasmic” for 80 years, it closed its doors on December 31, 2016.

We had three reasons for our visit to New York. The first was an invitation from our friends in San Francisco, who decided to celebrate their double birthday in the Big Apple (a nickname for New York City, which was first popularized in 1920 by the sports writer, John J. Fitz Gerald). The second reason was another birthday. Our good friend who lives in a retirement home in New Jersey turned 100 in August (we couldn’t come then because of our daughter’s wedding). The third reason was a photographic event, where I had the opportunity to show my book “42 Encounters in San Francisco” to a group of ten photography experts, who liked it very much.

For many years, New York was our travel destination, as both of our daughters went to university there (Alona received her Master’s degree from Columbia and Tamar received her Bachelor’s degree from NYU). Through the years my feelings toward New York changed, and I am glad that our family is not one of over 8.5 million people who live here. There is no precise count, but some experts believe that New York is home for people who speak as many as 800 languages.

While I was wandering through the streets with my camera and encountering New Yorkers, I decided to put together yet another book — “42 Encounters in New York”, sometime in the future. After photographing our 100 years old young friend, I also started working on a collection of images of those who are at least 100 years old, including their life stories. Please let me know if you know any centenarians. Enjoy and Share on Facebook.

P.S. One of the readers of my first book made a comment that my images should be at the SF MOMA. If her wish comes true, it might take 10 years. At my 80th birthday, after my first twenty-one “42 Encounters” books will be published, they might honor me with a retrospective. Meanwhile, as you can see from my four images of New York, it can be very bright there at night. You can start your own collection by buying “42 Encounters in San Francisco” at Amazon.com.

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Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!

Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

What We Know Or Do Not Know

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What We Know Or Do Not Know

When I’m asked if I know something specific such as, “Will the interest go up?” (I am rarely asked if they will come down), my answer is that “I know that I do not know”. When I looked up who coined this saying on Wikipedia, I discovered that the sayings “I know that I know nothing” or “I know one thing – that I know nothing.” are sometimes called the Socratic Paradox. It turned out that Socrates himself never recorded it. It is widely attributed to Plato, who wrote down Socrates’ teachings, but actually occurs nowhere in Plato’s works.

Going back to the interest rates. On Sunday, January 15th, the SF Chronicle reported — “Fed Official: “We’re in a good place.” The article reported that the Fed expects to increase interest rates three times this year. When interest went up after the Presidential Elections, the same paper reported on November 27th, “Quick Mortgage Rate Rise Surprises Both Buyers And Lenders.” This is not the first surprise. Last year the world was surprised by Donald Trump winning the election to become next U.S. President. In 2008 the world was surprised by the economic meltdown, and so it goes. We can be only surprised if we claim that we know the outcome of anything in our lives, like that night follows the day. Are you sure? Perhaps it is the reverse, after all, in the Torah it is written, “And there was evening, and there was morning” (Genesis 1:13).

When the Federal Reserve Bank will increase its benchmark interest rate, as an indication that the economy is improving, how will it affect the mortgage rate? My answer is “I know that I do not know”. There are many factors which affect the fluctuation of the mortgage rates. The Fed’s increase of the rate – the cost that banks and depository institutions charge one another for overnight loans – has only an indirect impact on mortgage rates. The Fed’s rate, sometimes called the Discount rate, which is currently only 0.75%, is the basis of the Prime rate, the rate that commercial banks charge their most credit worth customers. The interest rates for the Lines of Credit, secured by the real estate, are often tied to the Prime rate, which is usually 3% above the Discount rate, plus (or minus if you received your L/C a while ago) the margin. Thus, if the margin is 2%, your rate today would be 5.75%. When the Prime rate will go up, so will the rate on your line of credit. If you want to refinance to combine your first mortgage, with the existing line of credit, this can create a cash-out, which might increase the rate on the combined loan amount. Even though I’ve been in the mortgage business for 33 years, authored two books on the subject, my claim is the same – “I know that I do not know.” The mortgage business is very dynamic. No one knows, but I expect that the new administration will ease the way the industry is functioning. This, in turn, will allow more money to flow into home financing (after all it is the backbone of the economy). And this might lead to interest rates going down. Enjoy and Share.

P.S. But there is at least one thing I know. Regardless what happens with the interest rates, the sun will appear in the sky and will illuminate the ocean. I witnessed it many times in the Sea Ranch and now you can too. And yes, there is one more thing. I know that if you go to Amazon.com and type Manny Kagan or “42 Encounters in San Francisco”, you will be able to read some remarkable reviews, which will convince you to buy the book as well.

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Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Do You Know What You Want?

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Do You Know What You Want?

Last Friday I met with new clients; a couple, who are originally from France. The wife, who was driving from Marin, was delayed by an anti-Trump demonstration at the Golden Gate Bridge. “What do those people want?” she asked. “They have a new President, nothing can be changed right now.” Hearing that, I pointed out that in France people demonstrate all the time. “Yes, but they have very specific demands, they know what they want”, she replied.

I thought about this conversation the next day. I decided to take the Muni train downtown to try out my new camera that Elfa got me for my 70th Birthday. On the way there, I learned that there would be a demonstration starting from Civic Center, so this information determined my destination. Thousands of people gathered to listen to inspiring speeches in front of City Hall, and moved along Market Street carrying printed placards – some of which read, “I Am Pro-Life Generation” in both English and Spanish and “Choose Life” and “Defend Life”. They were greeted by a smaller group of protesters on the sidewalk with homemade placards that read, “My Body, My Choice.” A few held signs that read “Obstruct Trump” and “We Shall Overcome”. It turned out this was just a warm-up demonstration. The real one, the “Women’s March” was starting at 3pm. When I returned to Civic Center, it was swelling with masses of people. The rain started to fall, and I had enough images for my story, so I decided to head back home. The Muni trains arrived at the station with masses of people pouring out. Many people wore knitted pink hats and carried placards in their hands and rushed to join the crowd. The Women’s March organizers began planning the event on November 9, 2016, the day after Election Day, in reaction to Trump getting elected and his political views.

On January 12, the Women’s March organizers released a policy platform addressing reproductive rights, immigration reform, religious discrimination, LGBTQ rights and racial inequities, workers’ rights and other issues.

All of those issues are very important, however to accomplish those mostly social rights, the new Presidential administration has to work on solving many issues, which I am sure, everyone wants to be solved as well. A stable economy, low mortgage rates, a good comfortable life, employment, secure borders, equality for everyone, good roads, good education for children, respect for all. The list can go on and on. To accomplish all of those above we have a new government. We might not like the person in charge or his views, but we have no choice other than to give him a chance. We have four years to evaluate the results. Until then, work hard to fulfill your own wants and desires.

Enjoy and Share with a Friend on Social Media.

P.S. I’ve enjoyed photographing with my new FujifilmXT-2 camera and had difficulty choosing just four images for your enjoyment.

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Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!

Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Last Weekend We Had FOG in San Francisco

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Last Weekend We Had FOG
in San Francisco

San Francisco has a reputation as being the “foggy city”. The geological conditions in San Francisco are sometimes referred to as “naturally air conditioned”  However, we had another FOG in our city, which has to do with design and art. It was an art show called FOG which took place last weekend at Fort Mason Center. The accompanied brochure stated that “FOG named after the iconic and ethereal phenomenon for which San Francisco is renowned. FOG DESIGN + ART is a platform for design and art that shifts, morphs, and reveals itself through multiple forms and dimensions”.

When I entered the pavilion I faced a huge colorful wall. Only when I came closer did I realize that the wall was made from beautiful flowers. This was just the beginning of the incredible experience in seeing beauty and craftsmanship. This year was the fourth year of the celebration of art with the participation of 45 leading international galleries and design dealers. If you missed FOG, there are other art related interesting events happening in San Francisco. Like “Photo Fairs”, the international Art Fair dedicated to photography will take place on January 27-29, 2017 at the Festival Pavilion of Fort Mason(tickets and information can be found at photofairs.com).

You will not find my photos there but I can ensure you that you there will be many other talented photographers who would be honored by your presence. If you will not be able to attend, but enjoy photographer, you might find solace in my photo book “42 Encounters in San Francisco)” available on amazon.com

Enjoy and Share on Social Media.

Ps. When I visit exhibits and shows, I not only enjoy art expression of incredible talented and skillful artist, but also use opportunity to photograph those around. This time the focus was on the eyes, four images attest to my experience.

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Smile And Please SHARE It With A Friend!

Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature