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new york city photos: beautiful brooklyn 2013

photos by ryn gargulinski, 2013

Want more NYC pix? Check out:

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Rude and crude no more: Shame folks into acting courteous

Chivalry died with World War II, one of my professors used to say. He was the same man who made students take off their baseball caps in class.

One form of public humiliation at Renaissance Fair/Ryn Gargulinski
Public humiliation at Renaissance Fair/Ryn Gargulinski

Common sense’s passing is mourned in its obituary, written by Lori Borgman and first published in 1998.

But we’re still trying to figure out when simple courtesy went extinct. Regardless of its exact date of death, we do know it’s deader than the dodo bird.

We see examples all over Tucson, from bike boy and dog to sidewalk hogs, with really bad drivers and clueless jaywalkers in between.

There are two ways to deal with this frustrating situation.

We can suffer in silence, holding in the anger until we blow up on one random day and punch our fists through a window or wall.

Or we can shame folks into acting properly.

This courteous fellow kept standing up during event, giving those behind him a grand view of his sunburned scalp/Ryn Gargulinski
This courteous fellow kept standing up during event, giving those behind him a grand view of his sunburned scalp/Ryn Gargulinski

No, we can’t bring back medieval stocks and pillories – in this day and age overrun with political correctness, such devices would definitely be considered somewhat incorrect.

But we have a better tool – the Internet.

A new Violation Report website lets us rant, rave and blow off steam about discourteous behavior so we no longer have to punch our fist through a window or wall.

Check it out at

The site, although useful, is mainly for fun, says Violation Report Commissioner Grant Gold.

“Violation Report provides a bulletin board for the public shaming of discourteous people to procure a community that is more aware of the people around them. It is an entertaining outlet for stress that can be used to popularize the consideration of others and shame inattention and thoughtlessness.”

Brooklynite Gold created the site when he New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, which oversees subway trains, had to enact actual laws to get people to act courteously on the trains.

Rude tomato/Ryn Gargulinski
Oh that rude tomato/Ryn Gargulinski

“Things that were once common knowledge are no longer followed by everybody (such as give up your seat to the elderly, disabled and pregnant; or crowded trains are no excuse for inappropriate touching or behavior),” Grant wrote in an e-mail.

“These are things that were obvious up to a point, and now must be mandated as rules. I thought that was a sign of something wrong in our new world of disconnectedness and I wanted to do something about it.”

While New York City may be the rude capital of the world, we’ll bet Tucson could make it in the running.

To report a violation, all we need to do is take a photo of the violation in action and upload it onto the site with a brief description.

For those who really want to get into it, the site even features courtesy manuals or tickets we can hand out to our discourteous fellows.

Just be ready to run – especially with a new Arizona law soon going into effect that lets folks carry concealed weapons without a permit.

More than 50 violations already appear on the site, reported by everyday citizens who are fed up with courtesy’s extinction.

Most of the reported violations thus far are on subway trains, but we Tucsonans can show New Yorkers we have our share of rude and crude, too.

Heck, we may be able to collect as many as 50 examples of rude motorists from one quick drive to the corner store.


Even kids know when rudeness deserves correction/Ryn Gargulinski
Even kids know when rudeness deserves correction/Ryn Gargulinski

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Is public humiliation a good way to shame people into acting polite?

What do you do when you see someone behaving rudely?

How do you relieve stress when you’re fed up with the behavior of those around you?

Do you start random, public fights?

When was the last time you punched a wall?

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Tattoos in Tucson – slide show and poll

Spiders and snakes weren’t the only thing on display at this past weekend’s Tucson Reptile Show – we also got an eyeful of some terrific tattoos.

We are not sure why many folks who dig reptiles are also into body art, but the two go together as well as a skink with a bowl full of meal worms.

And we’re not talking about a microscopic butterfly tattoo hidden down by an ankle bone. We’re talking big, bold, beautiful artwork that covered arms, legs, stomachs and probably other places the camera didn’t get to see.

Check out what we did get a peek at.


Names and artists are included in some, while others wished to remain anonymous. Or at least as anonymous as you can be with a bold tattoo. All photos by Ryn Gargulinski.

NAME was not at the reptile show, but we simply had to include his tattoo/Ryn Gargulinski
This dude was not snapped at the reptile show, but we had to include his tattoo/Ryn Gargulinski

Take the tattoo poll


Please leave additional comments below.


Which pictured tattoo is your favorite?

What tattoos do you have?

Any theories on why many reptile folks also dig tattoos?

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From dismal drunk to Daddy Rocker

Many of us are suckers for a success story, and we can find one in a flash with Tom Moran.

This Brooklyn boy went from suicidal drunk to Daddy Rocker who just released his second album “Ain’t Gonna Give Up.”

Tom in front of Coney Island's Wonder Wheel/Daddy Rocker photo
Tom in front of Coney Island's Wonder Wheel/Daddy Rocker photo

Success didn’t come easy. The 44-year-old first had to ride the express train to hell and hit a bottom so low he needed to be scraped off it. And he’s not ashamed to admit some of the tough stuff he’s been through.

“I am so proud of my life and my past, ” he said. “I can now help others through my music and by being an example to them.”

Although booze badgered him, bludgeoned him and eventually ruled his life, Moran didn’t even dig the taste of his first drink.

That drink came as a teen and he slowly slid into a life of beer and pining after girls who didn’t pine back. It got worse right after high school.

“That’s when I really got hooked on the juice,” he said.

Other than smashing a beer bottle outside his frequent hole-in-the-wall hangout called the Truck Stop, Moran didn’t get into much trouble drinking – at least on the outside.

Inside, he was dying.

Still in his early 20s, the Canarsie chap moved to upstate New York to live with his sister. But his “good buddy Weiser” came with him.

“I was lost for some time upstate and in my mind,” he said. Thoughts of suicide constantly trampled through his head. “My life was really nowhere. I really did not want to go on anymore with my useless life.”

Waking up was turmoil, pulling himself out of bed a major chore.

“Getting up the next morning was hard to do. After a night out, I remember getting up the next day and wishing I would die and the hangover had my head spinning.”

Moran finally sought help when his sister decided to quit her own drinking.

“I went where she went and got some help,” he said. “That was the best decision I ever made: getting help for my drinking.”

Falteringly at first, Moran finally embraced a life without alcohol – even when that life continued to fall apart.

Married and living in Gerritsen Beach, Moran was working as a teacher, which he still does, with 90 percent of his cash going to fixing up the couple’s refinanced house.

He decided to use the meager 10 percent to record his first album, “Starting Over.”

That may not be the main reason behind the divorce that followed – “She did complain a lot!” – but the result still left him as a single parent raising his son Jonathan.

Tom with son John/Daddy Rocker photo
Tom with son John/Daddy Rocker photo

Move over Budweiser, as his son, now 10, took over as the most important thing in his life.

“When he first called me dad, I lit up,” Daddy Rocker said. “When your kid calls you dad for the first time, it’s amazing and wonderful.”

Working with former drug and alcohol addicts in recovery programs, teaching physical education to special needs children and, of course, spreading his message through his music are near the top of his list, too.

Moran’s first album sold 12,000 copies – not bad for “an unusual bad boy turned good,” as he jokes.

His second album has just hit the market, and I’ve already picked out my three favorite tracks:

1. Kisses & Hugs – An oozy, bluesy tune that soothes, grooves and mentions Santa Claus a la Leonard Cohen.

2. No Big Deal – Rocking number that devotes a whole stanza to the joy of Jonathan, especially watching the Yankees-loving boy play baseball.

3. This Poor Boy – Sweet, soulful song asking for help being put back together.

Even with through the turmoil of depression, alcohol addiction, divorce and working as a teacher in NYC public schools, Moran’s music is uplifting and filled with hope.

It is also infused with a simple innocence that makes you smile, not to mention tap the steering wheel while driving.

Even though Moran no longer longs for death, he easily answered the question I asked about what he would want on his headstone as his final words:

To my son Jonathan: I love you.
Go Out and Enjoy Your Life
Love, Daddy
P.S. Daddy will always be with you.

Full disclosure: I’ve known Tom for about 10 years and he’s one of those sweet, supportive friends that can’t make you mad even if they try. (Tom – that doesn’t mean you should try.)

Check out his album, video and more on his website

Tom gives special thanks to his publicist, DeAlan Wilson.

I’ll be playing some Daddy Rocker songs on my weekly webcast Friday at 4 p.m. (7 p.m. EST) at


My favorite promo shot - love the vest!/Daddy Rocker photo
My favorite promo shot - love the vest!/Daddy Rocker photo

Do you know someone who is a success story?

Maybe you are success story yourself?

Who inspires you?

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Invasion of the crispy, brown demons

Crispy, brown demons are invading my yard, and for once it’s not part of my artwork.

If I figure out how to incorporate them, however, they soon shall be.

Perhaps invasion is too strong a word. There are about a half dozen of these crispy critters, which are apparently the exoskeletons of some type of demonic looking insect.

Demonic close up/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Demonic close up/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

What first caught my eye was how the exoskeleton is left behind still clinging in precarious places, like the thin plastic tube I used for the tail of a rock rat or the side of a concrete tree border.

Demonic side view/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

I am enthralled with these little demons and, although insects in general give me the heebie-jeebies, I have come to adore these and some other Tucson bugs:

Tarantula hawk wasp/File photo
Tarantula hawk wasp/File photo

The tarantula hawk wasp. These large black bugs with bright reddish-orange wings are about the size of hummingbirds. They appear menacing and evil. They are beautiful.

• Those giant mosquito-looking things that are not mosquitoes. They are easy to smash and don’t leave green innards behind.

Moths. They are easy to cup in the hand and take back outside, which gives you the feeling that you are a worthwhile, very saintly person and leads to a good night’s sleep.

Southern Arizona is also ideal because it lacks other insects we have come to abhor, like the cockroach.

Sure, Tucson may have those giant sewer bugs that folks call roaches. These can be seen swarming under lampposts and atop manhole covers.

But I shall never again have the roach invasion that hit when I lived above a Brooklyn pizzeria. Here the world “invasion” is not too strong a word.

The roaches bred like bunnies in the large sacks of pizza flour and then worked their way upstairs. One early morning they started plopping from the ceiling like plump, crunchy raindrops.

I’ll take the crispy, brown demons any day.

Illustration Ryn Gargulinski
Illustration Ryn Gargulinski

What insects to you love to hate? Hate to love?

Have you ever been invaded? What happened?