Start Your Year With a Smile – 2018 Edition

Welcome to the 2018 Edition of my photographic year in review.  A couple of modest themes will show up later on, but for the most part we’re just going to dive right in.

Sometimes fusion works really well.  Like with cuisine. And jazz. As a retail concept, though, maybe it can be just a bit too much:


2017-02-01 13.57.58



Everything I know about practicing mindfulness says that it’s a good thing.  But still, I have my doubts.


2017-02-12 20.28.48


For an equally challenging version of staying mindful, there’s this:

2017-08-14 21.34.59


I once heard Eric Clapton say that he is at pains not to repeat himself.  Well, friends, I am no Eric Clapton.  When I first saw this a couple of years ago, I figured it was a rare, one-off experience.  But nope, they did it again! (Look closely – you’ll see what the sign is supposed to say.)

2017-01-25 18.49.38


Dammit, I think the wheelchairs deserve a little privacy!  Don’t you?

2017-07-14 19.33.15


OK, if you’re this guy, how do you go back to your day job on Monday and explain to your colleagues exactly what you did all weekend?  Or this IS your day job.  In which case, what do you say when you’re making small talk at a barbecue and new turns to you and says, “So tell me, Bob, what do you do for a living?”

2017-02-25 18.48.32


At last, the 2AM dry mouth explained!

2017-04-11 16.07.51


This big guy moved into my building just a few days after I did.  Apparently, he prepared for Moving Day by having way too much to drink the night before.

2017-04-30 11.56.06

I have to say, though, that moving can have its benefits.  The bear and I both get to enjoy this view:

2017-04-22 20.15.03


Speaking of being mindful, here’s a healthy approach to life:

2017-06-11 10.58.22


I spent some wonderful time in Italy this year, where I discovered that some things don’t translate very well:

2017-06-25 13.48.26


A pair of relics, side by side:

2017-06-25 15.41.21


My Italian is far from perfect, but this looks to me like the Institute for the Mastery of Filipino Pie:

2017-06-25 20.09.12


You can’t really make it out, but the green sign says “Angri.”  Exit at your own risk.

2017-06-26 17.54.42 copy


That was from southern Italy.  The northern Italians are not to be outdone:

2017-07-03 14.56.41


By the way, the Italians make cars that look like Bugs Bunny:

2017-07-01 20.22.00


This is from the Colosseum in Rome.  They should have added to the sign, “But scratching hieroglyphics on them with a sharp object is totally cool!”

2017-06-28 16.14.21


Interesting name for a leather boutique in Florence.  Someone’s a big James Bond fan.

2017-07-02 10.52.01

To make it even more interesting, the trademark listing for this place starts with “Saddlery, whips and animal apparel; umbrellas and parasols. . .”  And, no doubt, so much more.  Yes, I look these things up.


Best Oxy-Clean Commercial Ever!!!!

2017-07-02 21.16.55


Go ahead, pronounce this.  I dare you:

2017-07-03 14.09.16


These two guys are duking it out for market share in Milan, but in the most civilized of ways:

2017-07-08 17.13.36  2017-07-08 17.13.41


Back home, in the harbor where I now keep a boat, there’s a question. . .

2017-07-13 19.03.29

And just down the pier is the answer:

2017-07-13 19.09.40


Then there’s this guy:

2017-08-06 12.44.56

And yes, this really is the boat he’s on:

2017-08-06 12.45.13


Oh my God!  What are the poor amateurs going to use?!?!

2017-09-07 07.35.11


Oops, they did it again (again)!

2017-10-04 19.47.07


Food fight!!!!!

2017-10-17 17.41.39


OK, this might be a repeat as well.  This little sign reminds me of two things.

2017-10-20 10.58.58

First, many years ago, a colleague of mine, while asleep, managed to swallow his uvula, which is that little thing that hangs down at the back of your throat.  The result was an elongated uvula that required extensive treatment.  And, yes, I’m quite sure you didn’t wake up this morning expecting to encounter the phrase “elongated uvula.”

The consequences of ignoring this sign seem like they would be similar, only a lot more painful.

Second, it reminds me of this:  By the way, be careful of the video channel this will lead you to.  You could disappear in there for days and come out with your sides aching:


Nothing says “Happy 5th Birthday!” like a neon martini sign. . .

2017-11-14 18.56.29

. . .unless it’s the OTHER side of the same neon martini sign:

2017-11-14 18.57.14


Are you willing to entrust your life to an elevator company that counts this well?

2017-12-19 15.23.31


I THINK it won’t fall down! I THINK it won’t fall down! I THINK it won’t fall down.

2017-12-27 11.56.56

I received many great guest photos this year, including some that were wonderfully way too off color to use.  Here’s a sampling of the usable best.  If you sent me one that’s not here, I’m sorry.  There’s only so much time.

From Jack Altschuler:

Altschuler Bunny & Rabbit


From Tony Diaz, there’s this, which manages to turn the word “abut” into a noun.  And please don’t ask me to explain the metal pole.  I can’t.

Diaz Road Abutters


From Lisa Manning:

Manning Puddle


From John Muller:

Muller Shrub (Lake Cook & Waukegan)


And finally, this last minute (literally) gift from Lou Costabile, who answers the question I know you’ve been asking yourself: “Where DOES Jimmy John eat?”

Costabile Jimmy Johns
2017 was a very strange year in many ways.  In the midst of that, however, it’s worth remembering that it’s still possible to be rendered utterly speechless by the works of man. . .

2017-06-27 11.20.42

2017-06-30 11.55.29

2017-07-08 18.18.20

. . .and nature

2017-10-18 07.56.03


I wish you a healthy, happy, joy-filled and prosperous New Year.  If you’ve made it this far in the blog post, you’ve certainly earned it.



8 thoughts on “Start Your Year With a Smile – 2018 Edition

  1. Well done Dan – I enjoyed and appreciate the time and effort you put into this,,, Lou, Jimmy Johns was great!! Best to you and yours in ‘2018’.

  2. Dan, thank you. This has become one of my treats in early, cold January. When you’re email arrived, I said “:Goodie” and waited until I had a quiet moment to savor it.

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