Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

Reviewing Reviews

I DID NOT TAKE THIS PICTURE. I did buy it from a photo stock shop on the internet. I do think it is a lovely scene. I've tried to take a picture like this in the fields around Old Deerfield, but the sun, sky and blossoms were never quite right.

This... not the same.'re going out for dinner, and you are eager to try someplace new. How do you decide? You go to Google and check out reviews (or maybe Yelp, or maybe Trip Advisor). 

I am forever looking for the perfection (in a restaurant, for instance) of the first photograph. I inevitably find myself dealing with something less...cracked dry ground beneath worn-out blooms. The review may have been accurate and fair; but a moment is a moment, and a meal is a meal, and moods and mindsets are what they are. (The above photographs being used as a sort of clever and only sort of segue from a discussion of image "pop" to online reviews).

Online reviews have become the Petri dish for stewing anger and animus in our culture. This is why I have mostly sworn off leaving reviews with Trip Advisor...unless I am going to totally rave about a place for all good reasons. My dissatisfaction with life's this or that too easily tarnishes my objectivity. Enjoy the company. Enjoy the moment. Not wild about the place. Don't go back. It's not hard.

Besides, I know that too often my critique of a place is nothing more than what I am pretty sure my mother would have said about it. Nothing was ever really good enough!

I was at the business of a good friend yesterday, and asked about Google reviews. I mentioned my interest in online reviews and commented that in my other blog I was writing about the importance of checking your "review status" online—like it or not people do look. This particular business had a bunch of good Yelp reviews, but just one Google review, and that one was a bomb. Gak! I quickly wrote a positive review to set the record straight. 

(It will take more than my single riposte to move the average rating...and in the end, this is a well established business in a small town, street reputation counts most. The one bad review will not turn aside the masses).

Iowa Caucuses. Focus Groups. CNN polls. Amazon/Ebay Reviews. It is all a bit much...and it is not good for the soul of a culture. At least, writing reviews is not good for my soul. Let me be honest: for all the hundreds of reviews I have submitted in one form or another there is only one that made me glad I took the time—a bottle of first rate barbeque sauce for filling out a survey at this killer barbeque restaurant that hits it out of the park every single meal. I would go back there sauce or not.

Jimmy Buffett said so much so well in his song, It's my Job. Put that in a mindfulness package and forget about reviews. I'm even kind of liking my picture of the field in Old Deerfield. Or better yet, how about this...all green! (pretend the pylons in the background are tree trunks...or something)

Thursday Images

In and About - Kinderhook, NY