| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:25

    yup, that's me, dear readers, photographed by the light of a flash camera and a nearby silk-shaded table lamp. isn't it maddening how many designers eschew kindly table lamps for fixtures more suited to mechanical robots than flesh and blood human beings? if ever emperors were not wearing clothes...

    this paper's photographer, andrew schwartz, found my homey digs, the dark red living room walls especially, "very appealing, but it's not bright enough for the photo, so let's use the lobby." two days later, the lobby, which was never over-lit, was stripped for a "new look makeover." alas, "makeovers" in general rarely agree with me; the great exception was our last lobby renovation. boohoo!

    civic friend joy zagoren thought my photo was, "awful-you look better than that." i don't, but building staff member martin griffith's "nice photo" remark raised my spirits. so did staff member jose temprano's astute comment, "you should be seen shaking your fist at all the wrongs you protest!" or maybe crying that those protests don't seem to really right any wrongs.

    that object on my cheek is a bell attached to my glasses, the better to see and hear them when i absentmindedly put them down, or they accidentally tumble out of a pocket.

    as for my photo and the lobby, well, like the old maxim says, "pretty is as pretty does," when it comes to people. but places should be as pretty and as emotionally comfortable and becoming to all persons as is humanly possible. perfect example of the latter is the sadly outgoing wicked wolf restaurant's tiffany glass chandeliers, dark wood paneling, checked tablecloths and also wonderful windows on the neighborhood.

    i'd like to impeach those who can't see that stark, hard-edged designs are unbecoming to many, and fluorescence makes us look weary and wan when we're not. inanimate objects also lose their luster under ruthless lighting. these very unstable times demand emotionally comfortable surroundings, kindly lighting and no ceiling pin-spots, but rather chandeliers, silk-shaded lamps and wall sconces. and again, to save the planet without blighting it, reduce the real lighting scourge, the last half century's excessive use of light, above all in "special effects" in tv backgrounds, pop concerts, theatrical and sporting events.

    cut back there, you naked emperors bent on banning incandescents that enhance everyday places-homes, schools, work places, places of spiritual and physical healing and traveling. do your homework on how profoundly we're affected by our physical surroundings. yes, especially aware people like me, except the "unawares" are in control too much of the time.

    but even more important, these most worrisome times demand the learning and using of words that comfort and strengthen, especially for the multitudes who've lost their jobs or their businesses. several columns dwelt on how regular patrons are adversely affected by the closing of places like café 79 and wicked wolf, but think of the effect on the proprietors after all those years. and, naturally, consider staff members' plights in these times of super-high unemployment.

    future columns will offer (your input so welcome) words that help and platitudes to avoid, like, "well, at least, you have this, or that," or, "another door will open, blah, blah, blah." listen, empathize and maybe ask the "bereft" person for advice or some kind of help. continuity matters-much more later; just don't say you're fine when you're not!