Written for a friend who recently lost a few friends

Written By David Steven Simon (a prolific writer for TV, theater, books, essays, and poems). We know him for years and have been the recipient of many of his great works.

Amidst A Tangle of Final Baby Breath

The flowers

Which we cradled in a pale, life-chipped ceramic vase,

Like a vibrant , rosy-cheeked baby from 

The fields of Arles

Can only love us

For so long 

Before they begin to curtsy and bend

Like an exhausted prima ballerina

On withered stems

Who will then

float away

towards the eternity

Of the wings

at the speed of 

suddenly lost love.

And yet it was only a few days ago

When we carried them home in our arms

Trimmed and arranged them

Like soft-hearted teachers placing children in size order

In an orderly line

And carried them on the reverence of tip toes

to their place of honor,

On the notched pine bed of a  coffee table

Where we stared at them every morning

And every night like

Hypnotized parents 

And did everything we could

to keep them happy and alive.

And yet

While we were otherwise engaged

Watching The Crown

Or playing Sudoku

There was 

A sudden decline

An unannounced droop

A Garbo collapse  as

The cells surrendered 

and the bouquet passed quietly away

Amidst a tangle of final baby breath

Which is why I suppose that

artists memorialize our fallen flowers

And why

photographers capture them

And writers eulogize about them.

To remind us

That every cherished visit

Is as brief as an idea

That to welcome the limpidity of beauty

And the transmission of color

Is to be loved unconditionally 

That there are indelible lessons in the magic

Of fidelity

And most importantly, that the pain of loss can be stilled by 

By the legacy that you have inherited

The epilogue of a life

that will continue to guide and inspire you

Long after they said goodbye.

Did It Ever Occur To You?

What is the opposite of a croissant? A happy uncle.

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? Pilgrims.

Which branch of the military accepts toddlers? The infantry.

Did you know you can actually listen to the blood in your veins? You just have to listen varicosely.

Though I enjoy the sport, I could never date a tennis player. Love means nothing to them.

I have a joke about time travel, but I’m not gonna share it. You guys didn’t like it.

What’s the opposite of irony? Wrinkly.

I was kidnapped by mimes once. They did unspeakable things to me.

Got a PS5 for my little brother. Best trade I’ve ever done!

I finally decided to sell my vacuum cleaner. All it was doing was gathering dust!

A friend of mine went bald years ago, but still carries around an old comb. He just can’t part with it.

You know there’s no official training for trash collectors? They just pick things up as they go along.

I’m thinking of a career where I estimate crowd sizes at different outdoor events. I wonder how many people are in that field.

What do you call a woman who sets fire to all her bills? Bernadette.

Did you hear how the zombie bodybuilder hurt his back? He was dead-lifting.

I saw Usain Bolt sprinting around the track shouting, “Why did the chicken cross the road!?” It was a running joke.

Where does the General keep his armies? In his sleevies.

How does a squid go into battle? Well-armed.

What’s the best thing about Switzerland? I don’t know, but their flag is a huge plus.

A bear walks into a restaurant. He tells his waiter, “I want a grilled…cheese.” The waiter says, “What’s with the pause?” “Whaddya mean?” the bear replies. “I’m a bear!”

What do you call a Frenchman wearing sandals? Phillipe Phillope.

Never criticize someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’ll be a mile away, and you’ll have their shoes.

Two men meet on opposite sides of a river. One shouts to the other, “I need you to help me get to the other side!” The other guy replies, “You’re on the other side!”

What’s the difference between a hippo and a Zippo? One is really heavy, and the other is a little lighter.

What do Alexander the Great and Winnie the Pooh have in common? Same middle name

Thank you cousin Harvey Oshinsky for these little gems.

Many Kids Today Inspire To “Goof Off” As Their Occupation

Bill Maher is so right. No one wants to work anymore. I have countless parents calling me just as their children are graduating college to ask if I would counsel them on career choices. Nine times out of 10, I find out that the ladies want to be Kim Kardashian and the gents want to be house husbands.

They just don’t want to work. What’s the point of that? They think their parents wasted their lives working all the time in a world that is just falling apart. They would rather own less, and experience more.

Watch Bill outline the scenario for you in the following video.

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Warning! Be Prepared To Cry Your Eyes Out. This is an emotional ride

First Seen On 60 Minutes. Despite his Alzheimer’s, Tony Bennett prepares to perform with Lady Gaga. He is the miracle man, his wife, an angel, and Lady Gaga, a wonderful human being. What a wonderful world this could be.

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Second Act

Super fabulous news. The greatest PR agent to the stars is moving from LA to my hood. This is us at her son Jeremy’s Bar Mitzvah in 1986. We have been working together since 1974 and now we are the Golden Girls still making people, products and things famous. The fun has just begun. I am thrilled beyond description.

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Some Of Our First Shots From The iPhone 13 Pro

Your head is in the clouds. What’s the point of $100 million condo 60 stories up? Photo by Eliot Hess on Billionaires Row, NYC

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During our flight from NYC to Miami on AA, the pilot suddenly said, “tighten your seat belts, we are going to hit some turbulence.” When we looked out the window are saw Trump’s National Doral Golf Club. Photo by Eliot Hess.

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NYC back in action. Photo by Eliot Hess
They don’t build buildings like this anymore. NBC studios in NYC. Photo by Eliot Hess..

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This is what some of the upscale outdoor dining looks like in Manhattan. Thank you Quality Meats.

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Eliot becomes part of the merchandising display at Nordstrom’s.
Eliot captured quite a view of the Rockaways when we first arrived at JFK airport.

If You Love Taking Photos

We just bought the iPhone 13 Pro. Jefferson Graham explains why the improvements in the camera are so powerful. All smartphone cameras should have these features in the future.

Why I want the iPhone 13 Pro. Photography must.

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If you don’t care about the camera, skip it

jeffersongraham

I’m a pro photographer so of course I want the new iPhone 13 Pro. I’ve got three key reasons why I can’t wait for the new model.

Caveat: if you have an older iPhone 11 or last year’s iPhone 12 and you don’t shoot much video, you can skip the upgrade. But if you take even the occasional photo and wish you could get closer to the action, the iPhone 13 Pro is worth considering.  

The selling points for the new phones start with the improved camera features. There’s also the usual: more powerful processing chip, longer lasting battery and more liberal internal storage.

Here’s why I’m excited:

Cinematic Video. The marquee feature of the 13 series, from the entry-level $699 Mini and $799 iPhone 13, to the $999 13 Pro and $1,099 13 Pro Max, is a whole new look to iPhone video that removes the “everything in focus all the time,” flat cellphone video look.

You know that blurring of the background effect that’s so popular in Portrait Mode? Now it will be available on video, bringing more pro-level quality to iPhone recordings, which was already great. With Portrait mode like adjustable focus to iPhone videos, the clips will look like they do in the movies, with the lead subject in focus while the background is not. Best of all, the focus can be re-adjusted after the fact, like the blur effect in Portrait Mode. This is a big deal and something I can’t do on my big Sony.  

77 mm Zoom: The “Portrait” lens on the Pro models expands from 65mm in the 12 Pro to 77mm, giving us a much stronger telephoto, getting us closer to the action.  

Since, like many photographers, my go-to lens for my Sony A7III is 24-70mm, I’ve now got the holy grail of zooms on a little phone in my pocket. (Sidenote: I shoot most portraits on my 70-200mm zoom at the 100mm+ mark, so the phone lens still has a ways to go.) And granted, an iPhone 12-77mm will never be as sharp as my $2,100 Sony G master lens, but what a treat to have it on my walk around camera, which is the one that fits into my pocket. (Equal time: I heard from several photographers who welcome the extra zoom on the iPhone, but note that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a more longer zoom, with the equivalent of a 200mm+ throw.)Erik Kuna 🚀 @erikkuna@jeffersongraham Good to see they’re catching up to @SamsungMobile and their s21 ultra at 14-240mm optical. Still got a way to go though… @Apple getting to 200mm optical would be the game changer.September 14th 2021

Macro: Again, this feature is only on the Pro models, allowing us to get ultra ultra close, to capture objects as close as 2 centimeters from the phone. That’s a close-up!

Aside from that, the new phones look pretty identical. Except for a smaller notch on the front and a redesigned look to the camera lenses. That’s 2 on the entry level iPhone 13 and Mini editions, and 3 for the Pro and Max versions. And the 4 new models all start with a way more generous 128 GB of storage, which is important. You shoot a lot of high-resolution photos and videos, download a lot of apps and such, and you’ll need as much storage as you can get. Remember just a few years ago when new phones had just 16 GB? 

The Big Question?

So if you have an iPhone 12 Pro Max do you need to ditch it for the new models? I would for the video, telephoto and macro, but that’s me. I think it’s a pretty easy decision. I use the iPhone professionally, for shooting my Photowalks travel photography series, and believe me, the pro looking “Cinematic” focus will really be handy, as will the expanded telephoto and macro. 

(Of course, let’s see how it all works out when we get the phones for review.) 

PRICING

One of the great things about new iPhones is seeing older phones getting their prices lowered. The 12 is now $100 off at $699, while the geekier 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max models, the ones with better cameras, have been discontinued. So if you have an older phone and its upgrade time, you really have no choice but to go forward with a 13 Pro.

  • iPhone 13 Mini: $699
  • iPhone 13: $799
  • iPhone 13 Pro: $999
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max: $1,099

The older iPhone 12 at $699 is actually $749 once you upgrade the storage to 128 GB (which you’ll want) so at that rate, why not spend the extra $50 and get the newer iPhone 13 model?

Photography focused folks are looking at $1K for the Pro, others may be happy with 2 camera lenses instead of 3.

And if you don’t feel like upgrading at all, but want great new photo features for your iPhone, check out my recent post on what’s new for the iOS 15 operating system upgrade for photographers. These features are free to all. The software update will be available on 9/20.

Jefferson Graham’s newsletter📸 Cool new photo features in iOS 15Read more16 days ago · 3 likes · 3 comments · jeffersongraham

The new iPhones begin pre-order Friday at 5 a.m. PT, and will be in stores on Sept. 24. 

Apple also introduced two new iPads. The entry-level $329 iPad has a more powerful chip and better camera, the iPad Mini gets a bigger screen and a $100 price boost to $499.