THE BARBERSHOP AROUND THE CORNER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

Haircuts can be a complex problem for a guy. Nay, you say?

Yay, I say — if you’re a man of color.

Not all barbers can cut “our kind” of hair. It’s one of America’s darker secrets. If one has curly, sometimes called “kinky” hair, barbers are befuddled and sometimes nervous. White barbers. Fellas used to the electric razor and scissors to trim the smooth hair of boys, teens, men, and even older gents with fair skin.

It’s a sensitive, ethnic thing.

Growing up, I always went to black-owned and operated barber shops in our diverse neighborhoods. No worries. You asked for a summer or winter haircut. Close or maybe moderate — to accommodate the weather. Awaiting my time in the barber chair, I’d peruse the men’s magazines with pictures that stimulated my growing body. The air was usually full of cigar smoke and raunchy conversation with much laughter. One of the barbers would caution there were kids in the shop. The laughter only got louder with someone slapping me on the shoulder. I remember those days with great affection.

Fast forward through the decades. It’s 1970 and I’m a newly arrived TV news reporter in Boston. Predominantly WHITE Boston. I was living IN Boston, five minutes away from downtown businesses and the TV station. There were several barber shops or men’s hair stylists in the area.

I tried one recommended by the star anchorman whose blonde, carefully layered coif was a thing of beauty.

I could feel the stares as I entered the ornate hair salon. I waited a few, very long moments until a gent who looked like the old time actor William Powell approached me. His white barber jacket had perfect creases. He offered a polite smile while informing me his shop could not properly “address” my kind of hair. I smiled and left, quietly seething inside.

I needed a trim before making my Boston television début.  So it was that I instantly became a celebrity client at the local barber’s college. It wasn’t pretty.

Word spread quickly and I received a call from Boston Mayor Kevin White’s office. A day later, I had a personal barber. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship that lasted more than 30 years.

Fast forward again, maybe another 10 years. Now retired and living in small town New England,  I had no real need for spiffy hair cuts. However, I still travelled a distance because I didn’t trust any of our local barbers who didn’t seem eager to get my business.

We were now living on a fixed income. It seemed silly to travel that distance and pay $40 (plus tip) for a fancy hair salon clip with my receding hairline. I summoned up my old Marine Corps courage and decided to check out a local, corner barbershop.  The classic barber’s pole beckoned me. I entered and surprise —  smiles and friendly greetings. I walked over to the available barber and quietly, awkwardly asked if he could cut “my” hair. He smiled broadly and said, “No problem, Bro”.  It was the beginning of another beautiful friendship.

Eddie knew his stuff. He smiled as I removed my hearing aids and told him I was in his hands.  Ten minutes later and I was a new man with a crisply trimmed coif that managed to hide some of the growing shiny spots atop my head.

Eddie would tell me he prided himself with his work. It was his way of saying ethnicity was not an issue. His biggest issue? Smart-aleck kids with overbearing parents. Eddie soon opened his own shop. He branched to a second operation and is a well-respected fella in our small town. Yes, I’ve recommended him to other people of varying ethnicities.

There are no men’s magazines with adult photographs in Eddie’s place. He’s sensitive to the young people who come through the door. There are lots of interesting pictures on the wall,  most guaranteed to make you smile.

If you’re in our town and need a haircut, stop in at Eddie’s place. You’ll like him.

You’ll love his prices.

THE FIVE SECOND RULE – RICH PASCHALL

A few curious thoughts by Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog


Admit it!  You have probably invoked the five second rule many times in your life.  Maybe you tend to do it when no one else is around, but you do it nonetheless.  No matter what some in society may say, you can not help yourself.  You may think it just a little bit evil, but you do it anyway.  You may even do it openly, not caring what others may think.  Don’t worry.  They do it too.

In case you are one of the few who have not heard about it and have not followed the widely disputed practice, the “Five Second Rule” is the belief that if you drop some food on the floor, it is alright to eat if you pick it up right away, say in five seconds.  While common sense may speak against such a practice, some science seems to be coming down in favor of what once was folklore or an “old wives’ tale.”  A recent study seems to suggest that a few seconds on the floor does not matter much.  Your wet gummy bears are not likely to pick up much in the way of bacteria if you pick them up right away.the special

Unbelievably, dropping food on your carpet seems to pick up less bacteria than dropping it on your tile or linoleum floor.  Of course, if you own a dog or a cat, the food item may pick up some animal hair or dander you might not want to pop in your mouth.

No matter how clean Fido looks to you, all that rolling around on the floor is not good for your dropped food.  Also, you have to consider that Fido might beat you to the item, in which case your dog has the treat you lost and let’s face it.  Your dog never seems to get sick after eating food off the floor.

While I would not care to eat off my floors, considering what I know, I may be less reluctant elsewhere.  You may have heard that Aunt Matilda’s house was so clean you could eat off the floors.  That may literally be true, although I do not think I would try that on a dare.  She might slap me.  Still, it is good to know that your odds of puking later are greatly diminished according to modern-day science, if your food is not down there too long.

Who funds this type of study, you may wonder?  Who cares?  This particular science is extremely important when you consider the amount of people who drop food on the floor, then pop it in their mouths.  Isn’t it time we got the answer to the age-old question, “Does the five second rule really exist?”  Now we know (perhaps).  There are, of course, studies that say the exact opposite (see link below).  We will ignore them for now.

Life itself also has a rule like the Five Second Rule.  It goes like this. The longer you are down, the more likely you are to pick up dirt.  When you fall down, get knocked down, get tripped up or whatever it is that causes you to land on your butt or your face, it is best if you get right back up and get going.  The world just does not look as good when you have fallen to the floor.

No scientific study is needed here.  Hopefully common sense will tell you. The quicker you get up and clean yourself off the better it is for you.  If it has been a particularly bad day, it can be hard to convince yourself to get off the ground.  You may wish to wallow in whatever is down there.  Just like the food in the study, more is likely to jump on you if you stay put.  It is the nature of life.

There is one more thing to consider while we are invoking scientific studies.  It is a known fact that if you fall and stay down, you will look like a dropped treat to people-eating Cyclops.  In that case one of them is likely to scoop you up and pop you in his mouth.  Another thing to know from the most recent study is that Cyclops have a much longer time, a 5 day rule perhaps.  In that case, wallowing in the muck with one of Fido’s playmates is likely to do you in.  Being chomped on by Cyclops is far worse than eating candy off the floor.  You have been warned.

See also:
“Does the five second rule really work?”  howstuffworks.com/science

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAYS: A COMPARISON

BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: AFTER AND BEFORE Y1-04


FROM PAULA: On Sundays I normally publish a photo challenge in black and white that I call Black & White Sunday. I usually come up with a fresh theme for it, but once a month I publish a recurrent (monthly) theme: after and before where you are supposed to show the same photo, regardless of the subject, in both monochrome and colour.

This is a way of encouraging you not only to set your camera to black and white setting, but to shoot in colour and to convert it into black and white in post processing. Hopefully you will enjoy this exercise in seeing and editing. After all it is all about fun. Have a  beautiful day!


Blackstone River, Rhode Island with the last snow on the ground – Color
Blackstone River, Rhode Island with the last snow on the ground – B & W

I like both pictures. I don’t know which I prefer, but both came out pretty well.

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WHITE CHURCH BY THE COMMONS

It was one of the first churches in town and it has been abandoned. I don’t know how many years it has been empty, but it’s been awhile. Probably at least ten years, now. The church has no heat and no parking. The amount of work it would need to make it suitable for a modern community is enough to build a new church … and this one is small.

I love it. It’s a jewel box of a church, a perfect representation of the white clapboard churches which are the symbol of New England. I hoped someone would buy it, but as the years pass, I think it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball gets to it.