Surreal Ocean City Beach And Sky After Hurricane Sandy, A Photo Story

Dancing sand moving machines

Surreal photos of the Ocean City, Maryland, beach and sky Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, the day after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey and moved inland. Photos made possible by my new digital camera. No extra charge for the words.

Shoreham Hotel with Irish pub @ 4th St. stands tall after the storm, reflected in a pool of water deposited at the base of the boardwalk sea wall by Hurricane Sandy.

The little sea wall that saved the Ocean City boardwalk from Hurricane Sandy. How close did the ocean come to the boardwalk? This close, and more.   Continue reading

Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake in “Trouble With The Curve”

You want romance and character development? See Bull Durham.  Justin Timberlake and Amy Adams in Trouble With The Curve aren’t in the same league with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham.

Trouble With The Curve is all Clint Eastwood. The romance is fluff. Baseball is only the setting. Trouble With The Curve is about life and loss, failure and decline, maybe even aging gracefully. Not that I’m calling Clint Eastwood graceful.

Trouble With The Curve begins as a baseball movie that only a grumpy old man could love. But it fools you like a curveball in the dirt, and turns into, of all things, a chick flick. It might be the best baseball/romance combination since Bull Durham. Both movies are about life-changing events, about going with the curveballs life throws at you.

How do you get away with casting Clint Eastwood and Justin Timberlake in the same film? You add Amy Adams as daughter of the old man and love interest of the young one.

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Social Security at 62, Because You Never Know What Might Happen Next

I didn’t wake up yesterday knowing I’d have the opportunity to take a picture of a Studebaker pickup truck. I didn’t even know that Studebaker MADE pickup trucks.

See, you never know what you might learn on any given day, and you never know what might happen next. Expect the unexpected. So here’s this shiny burgundy Studebaker pickup waiting for me in the church parking lot.

Which leads to the point of this post. Life is too short to waste it writing only serious blog posts. Going forward, I will give priority to posts and photos that make me smile. Or that surprise me with the unexpected. If there’s any time left over, I might write something serious.

Perhaps this editorial policy will make Life After 60 a more interesting blog, while not losing sight of the reality that ordinary Americans might still be making an unscheduled crash landing in a storm of economic change.

I see this concept of writing the fun posts first as a sign of maturity. Delayed gratification has its place. But since I’m an over-sixty Baby Boomer, and I’m not flying as high as I used to, it seems like a perfectly mature and logical decision to eat dessert first.

To put it another way, since I’m losing altitude, it makes perfect sense to start collecting Social Security at age 62. The economy being what it is, and with age discrimination being a fact of life, it’s not surprising that Social Security at 62 is a trend among my generation (folks who are old enough to remember, with a smile, the Studebaker, the Edsel, and the Rambler.)



Simplify Or Perish


Golden Retriever with dog biscuit on nose


My first encounter with simplicity came in a chess game, when I was a boy.

Sometimes I found myself on the defensive. My opponent had the momentum, I was constantly reacting to his moves. I needed a “game-changer.” When I could see no better option, I resorted to simplification.

In chess, I learned two quick ways to simplify. A player can “castle,” which is the only gambit in chess that allows you to move two pieces at once. Your king switches places with one of your rooks. This allows your king to escape immediate pressure, and possibly creates a whole new dynamic on the chess board.

The other way to simplify in chess is a last resort. You “exchange” pieces of equal value. For instance, you take your opponent’s knight, knowing that one of your own knights will be captured. You sacrifice your knight for your opponent’s, and both knights are removed from the board. The result is a “simplified” game, perhaps working to your advantage.

If the exchange involves the most powerful chess pieces, sacrificing a queen for a queen, the result can be dramatic simplification. Without the queens, the players may be reduced to a frustrating game of attrition, possibly leading to stalemate rather than checkmate.


In real life, as in chess, you often have to give up something in return for simplification.

I can choose a new major in college; fire my boss (i.e., quit my job); end a friendship or relationship. I can give up a hobby or recreation that takes time away from responsibilities; change a harmful habit or behavior, improve my diet, quit smoking.

As in chess, I may have to give up something, sacrifice something.  Changes usually require thought and decision-making, even discernment. Not every change leads to simplicity. Sometimes we need to make a change to challenge ourselves more, not less; to grow; to be more productive. Small changes may have greater consequences than we imagined.

Some changes can be turning points.  A career change, a marriage or divorce, a geographic relocation — all these have the power to change the course of your life.

A desire for ease or simplicity is not sufficient reason to walk away from a responsibility. Many times, life requires us to take up new responsibilities. Necessary change may make life more complicated, not more simple.

But even shouldering heavy responsibilities can sometimes simplify life. The responsibility may be greater, but the way forward may be clearer. By giving up what is unnecessary or distracting, we may be able to focus on what is important.

As the author Marsha Sinetar says, attention is power. Giving full attention to what is important is a kind of simplicity.

Simplicity is not for every person or every situation. When I study, I like to study in silence. But many people prefer to study while listening to music. People are very different in their abilities, talents, and needs. My doctor once pointed out that intelligence is like computing power. Some computers have more processing power than others. Some people can tolerate more complexity than others. Some people thrive on complexity.

I’ve often found myself working with people who have faster brains than mine. I’ve often compensated by working longer hours to keep up. This can lead to fatigue or even burnout. So I often seek simplicity, either through focused concentration, or simple lifestyle. Not many responsibilities, only one or two. Not many interests and recreations, one or two is enough.

I’ve always been attracted to simplicity. As a boy, I though Dunkin’ Donuts had an excellent business concept, and later, McDonald’s. They concentrated on a limited menu. Donuts and coffee; or hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. They focused on consistent quality and service.

Simplicity is not for everyone. I don’t agree with self-help gurus who say, “Everyone should do this,” or “Everyone must do that.”  You hear that everyone should meditate; the world would be better if we were all vegetarians; everyone should exercise four times a week; everyone should give up sugar and salt; everyone should use mass transportation, or ride a bicycle to work. All good suggestions, but not for everybody. People are different, and one size does not fit all.

Many people thrive on complexity.  I need to simplify in order to survive.

— John Hayden