What Is Your Legacy?

  

What Is Your Legacy?

I was helping a client recently, who required a creative mortgage solution. After a career as an engineer, he is currently doing what he always liked to do – finding art bargains and reselling them at auctions. After seeing my photo-gallery in our office, he told me that he thinks a lot of people would like to own my prints, and he can help to sell them. I was flattered, and I knew from personal experience that printing (I like a larger sized print) and framing has a significant upfront expense. “Why would I bother with it?” I asked. “To leave a legacy”, was his answer.

On legacyproject.org I learned that “legacy is fundamental to what is to be human. Research shows that without a sense of working to create a legacy, adults lose meaning of life.”  The dictionary defines legacy as “an amount of money or property left to someone in a will.”

Most people would like to be remembered. For them, the home they own or the remaining equity (which is the appraised value minus the current loan) often represents their major asset. Often in their minds this is what is left after they are gone and represents their legacy. Some want to leave their home after their death to their children, others to charity. However, there might be a “slight” problem. Because people live longer and since a majority would prefer to die in their home, people often run out of money. Many do not want to sell or cannot because it can only make the situation worse. After paying off a mortgage, capital gains and real estate commission, not much is left to live on. And not much is left for the legacy.

Perhaps this sounds like an advertisement, but for many homeowners the solution is often in securing a reverse mortgage. This may be why I have recently received a lot of inquiries for this opportunity. I helped clients buy a home with a reverse mortgage after they were evicted. A friend, who spent two million dollars on medical bills, was able to have some money and no mortgage payments. A client got the money to do extensive surgery; another one got extra money for his real estate investments. And an eighty-seven years young man could fix the roof of his house and had money to buy a new car, and plenty left to enjoy the rest of his life. The stories go on. It is almost like having your cake and eating it too.

There is a lot of confusion and misinformation about reverse mortgages. Not everyone can get a reverse mortgage, but for many this is an opportunity to enjoy the rest of their lives and to leave a legacy.

Please call me to find out how.

P.S. Meanwhile, please help me to preserve my legacy by buying “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” on Amazon.com. The four images you see are my photography which is on the walls in our office, which I use as my personal art gallery.

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The Sun and The Beach

  

The Sun and The Beach

Living in San Francisco offers a lot of attractions. One of them is being close to the ocean, which offers the opportunity to enjoy its spectacular beauty. Unlike other coastal cities, San Francisco’s foggy, cold weather and high winds are somewhat unusual beach weather conditions. From the early days of our city’s history, the beach has been a weekend destination. It was known as “Outside Lands”. Development of the area started when the steam railroad began going to Beach Pavilion for concerts and dancing, starting in 1884. By 1890, trolley lines reached Ocean Beach. It is difficult to believe today, but at that time private automobiles had not yet existed, so some visitors traveled on bicycles to get to the far Western part of the city. The Cliff House, which opened in 1863, and Sutro Baths in 1896, drew thousands of visitors. At that time, the land was owned by Adolph Sutro, who made money by building a tunnel to drain water after silver was found in Comstock Lode in Nevada, in 1860. After his death in 1898, the land ownership changed hands. The area started its transformation in the 1920s and 1930s with the construction of the Great Highway and housing along the road. Gradually the area stopped being a resort area. The Sutro Baths were destroyed in 1966, and the Amusement Park was replaced with apartments and a supermarket in the 1990s.

I started visiting the beach years ago. I would come here with my camera to photograph people, the sand and the water. During the winter months, this is a place to capture incredible sunsets. The arrival of our puppy Max in our lives changed my relationship to the beach in various ways. In the morning, three times a week, I drive Max to his doggy sitter. After that, I often take the Great Highway along the beach, for my commute to my office in Daly City, just to enjoy the scenery. Sometimes I stop to take some photos for a few minutes, especially during the stormy winter weather. Recently, we started coming to the beach with Max. Thanks to the extended daylight hours, we can come here after 7pm and spend some time until the sunset. Max loves it, and so do we. He runs on the sand, chases birds, or plays with other dogs. For me, it is a great opportunity to photograph the sun, the beach and all of the surrounding beauty, and of course other dog lovers. Sometimes the thought crosses my mind about all of those people, who, like ourselves, were coming here many years ago. They are all gone, like we will be one day. But someone else is always going to enjoy the sun and the beach.

P.S. I hope that these four images will convey some of my experiences, my feelings and of course the eternal beauty. You can buy “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, where you will find one of the images from the beach, on Amazon.com.

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Do You Look Like Your Dog?

  

Do You Look Like Your Dog?

On June 6th, 2019 SFGATE published an article titled, “Stressed out? Your dog may feel it, too, study suggests” written by Jeremy Rehm.

According to the Swedish researchers who focused on 58 people who own border collies or Shetland sheepdogs, dog owners experiencing long bouts of stress can transfer it to their dogs. The article also quoted Alicia Buttner, director of Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha.

“New evidence is continually emerging, showing that people and their dogs have incredibly close bonds that resemble the ones that parents share with their children,”

That reminded me of a story I read some years ago. When I looked online, I found an article in The Huffington Post titled, “People Really Do Look Like Their Dogs, And Here is Why”.

The answer to the question came from Sadahiko Nakajima, a psychologist, who did his research at Japan’s Kwansei Gakuin University. He did an experiment where more than 500 people were shown two sets of photographs. They had to identify dogs and their owners, even when part of their face, like the eyes or mouth were covered. After the experiment, Nakajima concluded that the results “clearly show that individuals made their decisions on the dog-owner resemblances primarily by comparing the features of the eye region between the dogs and their owners.”

“But why do people wind up looking like their dogs? Perhaps that a person might choose a dog who looks similar to themselves because of a preference for the familiar,” was Nakajima’s conclusion.

As you might know, last year I published a photo-story book titled “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”. To select forty-two images, I had to sort out through hundreds of photographs that I took over many years in different parts of the world. And I continue to photograph dog lovers with their four-legged companions, and yes, I noticed that some dogs resemble their owners or reverse.

So then I have a question about our puppy Max: does he look my wife Elfa or myself? When we picked him up from his breeder almost two years ago (he was born on June 27th, 2017), he looked different from the way he looks now (though just as adorable). When we walk together, people often comment – “so handsome” (I suspect that we at least share this quality).

These four images either confirm or dispel the idea about the similarity between dogs and their owners. You be the judge.

P.S. You can continue your research in my photo-story book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, which you can buy on Amazon.com.

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What Would You Do With An Extra $58 Million?

  

What Would You Do
With An Extra $58 Million?

I recently attended a fundraising event organized by “Hebrew Free Loan”. The organization traces its roots to 1897, when nine members of San Francisco’s small Jewish community decided to help Jewish immigrants build new lives. Guided by an interest-free lending mandate in the Torah, those founding members pledged to start a loan fund by contributing 25 cents every month. When the fund grew to $50.00, the first interest-free loan was made. Many things have changed over the following 122 years. Our family managed to settle in San Francisco without the remarkable organization’s help; however, we acted as guarantors to many requests, and are financial supporters (I recently discovered that the first President of the organization was Menachem Cohen, from 1897 to 1900, coincidently this is also my Jewish name). The event took place at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Besides serving as a museum, it is a very interesting venue for various events. After food and drinks we were invited to the Morrison Planetarium – the world’s largest completely digital planetarium dome. There we experienced an incredible show about outer space. I’ve seen it before, but this time I had my small, but very powerful camera with me (my wife Elfa claims that it is permanently attached to my hand, which is not true, I do not photograph while I sleep). After I made a lot of photos and saw the results, I obviously wanted to share them with you, but I needed a catchy headline and more to the story.

As it often happens, the answer to what my story would be about came out of the blue (or black) sky. I recently picked up an audiobook at the public library, by Steven Hawking “Brief Answers to the Big Questions”. Mr. Hawking, who died on March 14, 2018, was a brilliant British scientist. His book, “A Brief History of Time” became a bestseller in 1998. The new book, which is a compilation of Mr. Hawking’s various lectures, was for me an extension of what I briefly saw at the planetarium. But he also posed questions like, “Who or what created the Universe?”, “How did it all begin?” and “If there can and will be an end, and when?” “What is, or are black holes?” “How many Universes are there?” “Was or is there a God?” and “Does he play dice?” The last question was based on a famous quote by Albert Einstein, “Quantum theory yields much, but it hardly brings us close to the Old One’s secrets. I, in any case, am convinced He does not play dice with the universe.”

As important as all of those questions are, most of us are busy with other issues in our lives, like where to find money we need for so many of our everyday needs. But there are some people who can manage without a loan from Hebrew Free Loan. On June 7th the San Francisco Chronicle posted an article titled, “Long-distance trip: NASA opening space station to visitors.” It turns out that next year, two fortunate tourists might be able to brag to their friends that they were astronauts, just for a small fortune of $58 million for the trip. Perhaps they will find an answer to Mr. Hawking’s questions.

P.S. These four images show an interesting way in which digital artists can bring the view of the world to us, which only people like Steven Hawking could imagine and other scientists, with the help of the Hobart Telescope can observe. You can see images taken by the Telescope and read great stories in the book “The Hand of God. Thoughts and Images Reflecting the Spirit of the Universe” by Michael Reagan, which can be found on Amazon.com.

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I Missed Him Very Much

  

I Missed Him Very Much

A few weeks ago, we were invited to our friends’ 50thwedding anniversary. The party started at 4pm. As it happened, we had tickets to a performance of Eifman Ballet on the same evening. Both events took place in Berkeley. The only issue was our puppy Max. We usually don’t leave him alone for more than three hours. Since we were going to be out for about 7 hours, we decided to have him stay at his dog sitter’s. I dropped him off there on Friday morning, and Elfa picked him up on Sunday morning.

When I came home from work on Friday night, there was no one waiting for me at the top of the stairs. Elfa tells me that Max knows when I am coming and sits by the door, even before I open the garage door. There was no one to celebrate Shabbat dinner with us on Friday night. Max usually sits and looks up while I read the prayer before the meal. At first, we thought that he has spiritual inclinations. Turns out that he was just waiting for an empty bottle of San Pellegrino water, which I give him to play with after dinner.

In the morning, there was no one to wake me up at 6 am with a lick to my face, and there was no one to exercise with, since Max did not take me out for a walk around our neighborhood. Nor was there anyone to go with to the park, to practice my ball throwing technique. There was no tail wagging or smart eyes looking with the question: What are we going to play next?But then things went back to normal on Sunday morning when Max returned home. He was very happy to be back, running from room to room, jumping and trying to kiss me. And he saw his “sister” Alona, who stayed over after the concert on Saturday night; and it is impossible to describe Max’s and our joy of being with each other. I read in “how to” books about dogs that we, the owners, should not let our “best friends” jump on us, since a big dog can easily to knock you down. But with Max this is not a problem, and jumping is his normal way of behavior.

It is not the first time Max stayed overnight at his dog sitter’s, and on a previous occasion, we went away for a week. However, since we were out of our familiar environment, the experience was different.

If you own a dog and have a close relationship with your “baby”, you can easily relate to my personal experience. If you do not have one and are lacking love in your life, I strongly recommend getting one as a remedy.

Regardless if you have a dog or not, my photo-story book, “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, which you can buy on Amazon.com, will bring you joy, I guarantee it. Meanwhile, enjoy these four latest images of Max. He sends you his best wishes.

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