How to Give a 2nd Chance

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How to Give a 2nd Chance

I received a call from my friend Iona, whom I was able to help with a reverse mortgage recently.  She knew that I had just finished working on my photo-story book about dogs, and thoughtfully invited me to check out Muttville, an organization whose motto is to give senior dogs a “2nd chance.  They are located at the corner of 16th Street and Alabama Street, next to the SPCA.

I’ve visited dog shelters before; one of them, the San Francisco SPCA, has an incredible facility.  But most of the dogs there are young, and more easily adoptable.  The dogs stay in small rooms and visitors can observe them through a glass door.  When I visited Muttville, I had no idea what to expect.  The building, which was used as a bank in the 1930’s, has many rooms with high ceilings. (The former vault is used for storage.)  Dogs are attended to by 16 staff members and about 300 volunteers, and wander freely through the room.  Throughout the space, there are dogs beds with blankets on the floor. Every week, they rescue about twenty-five new senior dogs, and about the same number are adopted by happy families. Most of them arrive here from other dog shelters from all over California.  Some are shipped here from Mexico, Taiwan and even Iran.  Sherri Franklin founded Muttville in 2007.  After volunteering in the SPCA for many years, she realized that senior dogs, those who are 7 years and older, were considered “unadoptable” and were routinely euthanized. She decided to save some by adopting them and kept the seniors in her home (now she still has ten in her charge). Her desire to save more dogs led her to start the organization, which over ten years, has saved over 5000 senior dogs.  In 2016, Sherri Franklin and Muttville were one of ten “CNN Hero of The Year Finalists”. The day before I visited Muttville, a friend (who is a senior) told me that he had adopted an older dog.  I inquired from which shelter and was not surprised that it was Muttville.  He also told me that his friend had adopted five dogs from Muttville, as well.

One of the programs offered at the shelter is matching human seniors with their four-legged senior companions without having to pay an adoption fee.  In the lower level of the building, there is a large room with comfortable chairs, where human seniors, who cannot have dogs where they live, come and spend time and play with the adorable, loving creatures.

All of the dogs go through a thorough examination by a vet and are prescribed any necessary medications and special diets to help expedite their recovery.

I love dogs, and many times I have been in the parks where different dogs congregate together and mix with people, but being at Muttville was an emotional experience for me and filled my eyes with tears.  I have no idea what caused this, but I decided to do what I can to help.  10% of the profits from the sale of my book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” will go to Muttville or any other dog loving organizations of the readerschoice.  Please help our beautiful senior dogs.  When you buy the book at encounterspublishing.com or amazon.com, I will make a contribution on your behalf to the dog charity of your choice.

P.S. I’ve chosen four images to show the dogs’ lives during my visit to the Muttville facility.  You can visit the facility on weekends.  It is located at 255 Alabama Street, in San Francisco.  On Saturday (tomorrow), August18th you will find me there with my books.  And if you are too busy, check them out online.  When I was leaving, Ms. Franklin gave me a package with the information about Muttville.  There was a note – “Without You there are no 2nd Chances”.

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“What in the F*** Are You Going to Do with That?”

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“WHAT in the F*** ARE YOU GOING to DO with THAT?”

We recently visited a very interesting exhibition at the Legion of Honor at the Fine Arts Museum called “Truth and Beauty.  The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters”.  After we parked the car, I noticed a woman dressed in a 19thcentury dress.  As we walked toward the museum, I saw more and more people dressed up.  Before we entered the museum, a group of four young women were posing for each other and taking selfies with their mobile phones.  When I pulled out my photo-camera to join them, one of them said that she doesn’t want to be photographed, while another asked me what I am planning to do with her image.  And then she told me that before photographing her, I should ask for permission. I tried to tell her that as a “street photographer” I can photograph anyone.  To this she retorted that instead of arguing with me, I better get lost. In spite of being rude, she had a point. What right do I have to photograph others without their will and permission, and what am I going to do with thousands of images of these strangers on my computer?  For me, the answer could be relatively simple – to use them in my “Encounters” with the hope that you might be interested in seeing them. In addition, when I have enough good images to choose 42, I can create one of my next photo-books.  And besides, there were so many other dressed-up people inside the museum who did not mind to be photographed and even posed for me.

The exhibit was actually of the art of a group of talented young artists, who decided not to follow the prescribed tradition of time.  On the museum’s website I found that in 1848, seven young Englishmen formed an artistic alliance inspiring a rebellion against the contemporary Victorian art world.  They called themselves The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – PRB.  The exhibit shows the juxtaposition of their remarkable work, mostly in bright highly saturated colors, with the works of the Italian, Dutch and German old masters, and shows how during the coming years their work evolved and was influenced by the Renaissance painters such as Botticelli, Raphael, Titian and Veronese, going back to works of Jan van Eyck (ca 1399-1441) .  If you are not familiar with those artistic works, it is another good reason to visit the museum.  The exhibit ends on September 30, 2018.  If you prefer modern art (in connection with traditional art) there is also exhibit of Julian Schnabel’s huge paintings and sculptures, which require a lot of imagination and perhaps reflection, especially after seeing the works of the “old artists”.

As far as I am concerned, I got my share of creative opportunities. I was inspired by the bright colors of the PRB’s and want to replicate that in my photography.  Before leaving the museum, among some of the dressed-up people, I met a group who responded by laughing at one of my jokes.  As a result, I have one more image with people laughing.  One of my future books is going to be “42 Encounters with Laughter.”  Be patient, it might take awhile to catch 42 laughing people.  Meanwhile, one of the life lessons (good for photographers as well) – do not be discouraged if you stumble at first in your journey – keep going.  After all, as the old adage goes, “He who laughs last, laughs longest”.

P.S. Seeing and photographing dressed-up people was a bonus. It turned out to be the “Victorian Visions 19thCentury Costume Day”.  As my wife said, “It was your lucky day”, as these three images can attest.  Meanwhile my photo-story book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” will be available next week. Hooray!  I just received the first box, and the rest will follow next week. Will keep you posted.

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How to Celebrate a 1st Birthday

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How to Celebrate a 1st Birthday

We first met our labradoodle puppy Max last September 4th, when he was just ten weeks young.  He came to this world together with five brothers and one sister.  On June 28th, all seven of them turned one. Since his siblings live in the Bay Area, I decided to commemorate this momentous event, and to organize a celebration and family reunion.  Two of his brothers and his sister, along with their “parents”/owners and children gathered at Stern Grove Park by the picnic area at Pine Lake.  We hoped their breeder Melinda Leahy would join us as well, but she just had 20 new labradoodle puppies born from two different mothers.  That means that twenty more families will have the joy and challenges of taking care of their new “babies”.

In my book “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, I write about how we ended up getting Max.  My wife Elfa said when we are ready to have a new dog, she wants a labradoodle. For a while I checked different dog shelters, but since this breed is very popular, I ended up finding a breeder, who would have new puppies at the time of our return from the 50thwedding anniversary celebratory trip.

The labradoodle became known in 1988, when Australian Breeder Wally Conron crossed the Labrador retriever with the Standard Poodle.  His aim was to combine the low-shedding coat of a poodle with the gentleness and trainability of a Labrador retriever, and to provide a guide dog suitable for people with allergies to dogs’ fur.  Max is an Australian Labradoodle, and his breeder Melinda is very conscious about preserving the lineage.  Doodles are not considered a BREED, but rather a hybrid, which means they are a mix of more than one purebred dog.  To my huge surprise, on dogbreedinfo.com, I learned that there are 112 different dog mixes with poodles.  Wow! They’re sometimes called Hybrid Dogs; Designer Dogs; Poos; or simply Doodles.  Whatever you call them, they are dogs who need to be loved, fed, sheltered and trained.  Some people do not think, or forget about the importance of training their dogs.  This is one of the reasons why close to 4 million enter dog shelters nationwide, annually. About 1.5 million of those dogs are euthanized (killed) every year.  After I finished working on “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers”, I decided to use my book to promote awareness of how to become your dog’s best friend. The first step is to donate 10% from the sale of the book on behalf of the buyers, to various dog shelters.  I also started Facebook page, “Max and Manny” where I share my experiences with Max.  As time progresses you will learn more about my readers’ and my activities.

The book is going to be available after the 15thof August. You will be able to order it on Amazon.com or you can pre-order at encounterspublishing.com.

P.S. These four images are from Max and his siblings’ birthday party.  You see Truman with his “mom” Norma, Ziggy on the hand of his “Dad” Shawn, Rosy after indulging in birthday cake, and all four of them after deciding birthday cake can be even too much for a dog.  Please check out the Max and Manny Facebook Page.

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How To Live A Long Life And Be Healthy

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How To Live A Long Life And Be Healthy

As I have previously mentioned, one of my writing projects is a book titled, “Retirement Solutions for Smart People.  5 Easy to Enjoy Your Golden Age.”  One of the subjects that I write about in this book is about our body as a vehicle to carry us through the years into retirement. I gathered a lot of information and read other books on the subject.  And as it often happens, the necessary information just appeared in front of my nose. This time, my daughter Alona invited me to a cooking demonstration, using pots and pans from the company Saladmaster, that was taught by Isis Melinda Israel, a chef and nutrition instructor, who also runs a cooking school.

Since my wife Elfa is very good, among other things, at food preparation, what is left to me is to eat and to clean the kitchen.  However, during the demonstration Alona exclaimed, “With this equipment even Dad can prepare food.”  I agree and I am intending to attend one or a few more cooking classes. Since I do not eat meat, this type of cooking fits my stomach perfectly.

Turns out that in addition to what goes into our mouths is very important, so is the equipment used to prepare it.  Saladmaster cookware is made from Titanium, which does not rust or oxidize.  I happen to have titanium in one replaced hip. And in our busy world — time is money. The five-meal course, including a delicious chocolate-based dessert was prepared in about 35 minutes.  In spite of my wife’s initial skepticism, she decided to gradually get rid of her old pots and pans, including an electric teapot, and invested in replacing them with the best cooking tools money can buy.

But of course ingredients play a huge role in our well-being as well.  It was in 1826 that French physician and father of the Paleo and low-carb movement, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, ”Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are”.

I also found an article online written by Cynthia Sees:

“The phrase ”You are what you eat” is literally true. Nutrients from foods you eat provide the foundation of the structure, function and integrity of every little cell in your body, from your skin and hair to your muscles, bones, digestive and immune systems.  You may not feel it, but you’re constantly repairing, healing and rebuilding your body”.

There are many books written by well-known doctors, such as Dr. Oz, Dr. Deepak Chopra and many others who promote a fruit and vegetable based diet.  One of them, Dr. Neal Bernard, who wrote about how to reverse diabetes, also stated, “A plant based diet is key to cancer prevention and survival”. My wife Elfa and I have been pescetarians for the past thirty-five years (i.e. we maintain a lacto-vegetarian diet, and also eat fish).  And since I am planning to be around for at least another fifty years, it is up to you to stick around (and to enjoy) my “42 Encounters” books.

P.S. These four images were taken during the food demonstration.  The chocolate cake, which had carrot and zucchini in it, was so delicious that I took two extra servings.

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History Does Not Repeat Itself

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History Does Not Repeat Itself

Supposedly it was Mark Twain, who said, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.”  I thought about this phrase while reading an article in The Wall Street Journal titled, Russias Turn To Its Asian Past”, written by Yaroslav Trofimov, about the current geopolitical situation in Russia.  The summit between President Donald Trump with President Vladimir Putin took place on July 16thin Helsinki, the capital of Finland. There was a time when Finland was part of the Russian Empire. Its’ loss occurred nearly overnight in December 1991, which Mr. Putin described as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20thcentury.  Historically in the last 200 years, Russia followed Western-centric approval, however after Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the Western economic sanctions pushed Russia into a recession and financial crisis. This led to the conclusion of some Russian politicians that an attempt to become part of the West will not lead to desired results.  As a result, some Russian nationalists looked into the past, which is connected to the Mongol-Turkic state governed by the descendants of Genghis Khan’s oldest son, as the foundation of Russia’s own eternal empire.  This process is rewriting history since Russia’s official historians and the Orthodox Church long viewed the Mongolian Golden Horde’s rule over Moscow in the 15thcentury as a barbarian “yoke”.  This is the basis and the justification of Russia developing relationships with China, Iran and Turkey.  Russian historian Alexey Malashenko pointed out that “In Russia rewriting the past to suit present ideological needs is time-honored tradition.  Everything is opportunistic.  When I was a student, there was a Tatar-Mongol yoke, then it became a Mongol yoke, then it became just a Golden Horde yoke, and now it turns out there was no yoke at all, and it all was just an interaction between the East and Russia.” However there is also a connection between Mongolia and the United States.  About 14,000 Mongolians live in our country with about 5,000 people of Mongolian descent who currently reside in the state of California.  As many as 3,000 Mongolian immigrants are estimated to live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Every year, they get together to celebrate at the Mongolian Heritage Festival called Naadam. The origin of the festival dates back to the great Genghis Khan’s period in the 13thcentury.  Naadam means “Festival of Feast of Sports”.  It consists of three sports: horse race, wrestling and archery.

This year was the 18thNaadam, in which many Mongolian families and their friends gathered at the Alameda Point Multi-Purpose Field, to celebrate the event, to eat, to drink and just to have a good time.

P.S. I was invited to the event by one of our new employees, Sunny, who is from Mongolia.  You can see her in the national blue dress.  The other three images show how the past connects with the present, at least once a year, just by dressing up in the national costumes.

P.P.S. It is almost here.  I am talking about “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers.”  If you pre-order at encounterspublishing.com, you could have your own copy in two weeks.

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