— Al Jacobs Ladder —


Work Goes On Even at Seventy-Eight And It Gets Tougher  —  wrote here about myself in the Ladder because I believe something that controlled my life,  you sometimes have to buck the system, I call it Seek And Discover (SAD not SAT) and curiosity which started me on my lowly voyage.  I wish to share that encouragement for those out there who might need a little push during these trying times…  

And it shows obstacles are merely simple things like numbers you come across in a workout. You push through… at 78 outliving most of my tribe, including beating a recent heart attack, walking into and out of the hospital, something worked well but age regardless is catching up.  The Golden years are when you transfer most of your gold to the Doctors insurance plans and your children. 

I am down to my last wish… I am the last of my generation still alive… relatively no family, fortunately lots of friends and acquaintances,  and if I see nothing, the Donald T-RUMP utter demise and convictions, in politics and life is all I’m asking…  

He is the False Prophet the bible warned us about.  He has managed to destroy the American core of fairness and the American dream and potentially kill over 6000,000 people plus and does not care… and jeopardized one million more.  As one whose relatives died in the Holocaust I see him as a reincarnation of Hitler’s authoritarianism and no better, with no compassion for human life except himself… 

If there will be a normalcy anymore, I fear, wrong I know many of T-Rumps proclamations called Executive Powers were filled with lies, hatred and mis-information. More to attack a previous President and anyone who does not agree with him with nit-twitt attacks and lies.  And he is the true liar, and blames everybody else. 

I am a solo player, somehow I inherited two things from my mother, independence and questioning everything. Even more important today as we live in a world of liars and cheats, crooks and cons and thats just the politicians…  FOX news and Pots and pans on TV lie too…  If you are naive to think they work for you, you need help.  

I’m Just A Kid From Brooklyn
In the beginning there was light, somewhat… finding the switch helped, paying the Con Edison Electric bill made it happen and in 1943 to be exact,  at 990 Montgomery Street,  in Crown Heights Brooklyn. With no TV and a flashlight light I became a reader, the start…  

I was a typical Brooklyn wise guy!  I occasionally speak the Kings English, preferring Brooklyn based meta-phonetic syllabication aka Street English, Brooklynise, Slang and that explains my poor writing skills.  I’m really not a writer…I am a story teller from Brooklyn, who tells it as it is…, sort of a non-fiction type investigator…  

Because I could read almost a year and half ahead of other kids my age, on a stage with no computers, no big screen TV, no car… I had to create my world and write my own play…

I attended city primary schools, a public high school and a city college, learning, but I consider myself self taught.  Two of my high school teachers called me names and would have strangled me if the law allowed, and I felt the same towards them, but I stood my ground,  I was convinced of my righteousness and proved it. College was better because we were left to our own devices and allowed to think.

Education  —  George W. Wingate High School — Community College 
Was a critical point in my life as I discovered many of those in control and power are totally screwed up,  true to this day especially, haven’t a clue and couldn’t run a free water store in the Gobi desert.  Sounds basically similar to our government.  It was our Government!   Today George W. Wingate High School is a defunct comprehensive dead school in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Wingate neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York City.  

It opened in 1956, closed down in June 2006.  Poor academic performance and years of some severe dangerous problems like stabbings and racial disparity, poor staff, and incompetence.  Wingate was an experiment in race relations.  

Stinking thinking — The idea was to mix kids exactly in a 50-50 ratio from a notoriously bad neighborhood,  Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. was well known as a hellhole, mixing with kids from another community white middle class,  and “ something might rub off”.  It did… nothing exceptionally good.  More rubbed on…

Survival Training  —  I majored in survival through detention and cutting classes, I relished it.  Most of what was being discussed in classes was inaccurate, nor relative to things current,  nor scientifically correct.  And I had my books to read, which were advanced for my classes. I was learning in detention more than in the class.  And in a dream I earned in my mind a detention chair with my name on it.

My English teacher and my Earth Science teacher, were new enemies, and boring. The battle in English was Shakespeare, I questioned the value of Shakespeare since as I explained he was quite dead and good riddance,  I jokingly taunted “ He talked Funny”.

The battle in Science was over the Dinosaurs, Man and creationism.  I somehow cracked, went ballistic when hearing her version, the biblical big bang, the Apple and the Snake bullsh*t.  I humbly mumbled “ BULLSH*T”  at 56 decibels, a bit  too loud… off to detention… and making truancy an art form and detention a welcome break

My Interest and Goals  — To this day I do not regret what I had to do, to learn,  as I learned first hand on site, live and in living color and became a self-proclaimed reporter creating book reports as evidence of  Al’s Unauthorized Truancy field trips to the NY Museums of Natural History;  Modern Art;  The Guggenheim; The HUGE Manhattan Library: I visited all  the Zoos, from Prospect Park to the Bronx Zoo;  Ebbets Field, Home of the Dodgers: National Parks like the Statue of Liberty, and  my local library and Camera stores, Newspapers, Hospitals, learning all about a myriad of things first hand and on hand. 

I believe truant officers had my picture in their wallets making me number one and creating fake field passes with clever artwork and forgery.  I admit my guilt but this was survival… I credit an insatiable desire to read,  learn and combined with great librarian friends, well, two of them, at the public library.  The Librarian at the Eastern Parkway location in Brooklyn was my mentor…almost a tutor and she loved my inquisitiveness.   

When finally I got called on the carpet, and they were talking expulsion, I was outnumbered, the Dean, the Principal, One of my Teachers, my Parents and just me.  It was about my excursions, I demanded to express my self and produced “ My Reports and Findings to the one sided jury of my peers”. 

My reports, from Earth science and pictures with my camera,  sketches, maps and charts to some new poetry and medicine, courts etc.  It blew the mind of the Dean and Principal.  Actually the Dean applauded my work saying it was college level… the Principal agreed.   And I had made a friend at the local paper… The Post… and I had a report they might not have liked had I been disciplined.  I was learning real fast about  “ How things really  work”. just like our government today.

A Better School Was All I wanted  —  I wanted a transfer…   denied… About three miles away… Erasmus Hall was a great school, reflected today with a lot of kids who made the big time, number one school today in the country.   One category entertainment alone beat the odds.  

I managed to make two rapid advances (RA’s) skipping grades two and eight because I was skilled in reading, science and math, comprehensive skills way above my classmates graduating two years earlier than others of my age.   See Ya!   Have a Nice Day!   But I just turned sixteen by two months and graduated High School and became a kid in a school of higher learning… I was a babe in the woods and college girls were more fun… I was open for adoption… Wow!  Good looks, great sense of humor and girls that knew more than me about some things, I was a quick learner.

Master Machinist  -  I’m Good With My Hands  — Metal Shop

As mentioned, chemistry labs, wood and metal shops were my favorite engaged hands on classes. 

I remember the first tools I made at Wingate in the metal shop on my own.  I learned to work with my hands on drill presses, welding, and basic mills. I appreciated the knowledge and ingenuity from the shop teacher.  It was the tools I designed that got me the fame I deserved…

Even today they still talk of the Jacobs Hubcap Remover, not sold in stores, originally in paint, today in new Midnight Black Powder coat.  

You too can have a career in “ Hubcap Restoration” for only $39.95.  Make it back on your first job even if you only got the front ones!   Our exclusive rear view mirror (not found on any of the competition) means you can get rid of paying your lookout and make more money for yourself.  

With twin handles it allows faster retrieval with either hand.  The mirror makes sure there are no onlookers behind you who might get hit with a flying hubcap or steal your work.

It comes complete with instructions for both domestic and foreign hubcaps.  And we’ll send you my new book “ Guide to the Great Bail Bondsmen of America” with a signed autograph by Joey Fonzini (who graduated early from San Quentin). 


I Diversify, I Love My America, Aviation, Food, Photography,

Our Soldiers, and What I Have Learned From Those Opportunities…

You Can Do Anything If you Accept Challenges… 

I had to do it on my own  —  Age wise, I was a square peg in a round hole — I made it through a higher education working part time in the culinary world from a busboy to the night chef…  I paid my way working weekends as a Wedding Photographer, working from a Wedding Mill in The Bronx.  Over 450 weddings with my crew and still alive though some of the wedding got very testy, like Romeo and Juliet.

I have supported my brothers in arms with memorials — thirty-five years serving on a board of directors, the troops as a military contractor, though a charitable organization as VP and served six Generals during that duration. 
 And Completed Memorials

I made my own dreams come forth  —  i managed a few certificates in Open Water Scuba Diving… stupid enough to swim with sharks in Jamaica and smart enough to know when to quit.  So I sold my boat and bought an airplane… I flew as Pilot in Command, I owned my aircraft, serviced them, had a few good scares, and flew my real planes for thirty-three plus something years and discovered that a boat is a hole in the ocean you pour money into … but owning an airplane proves the sky is bigger than the ocean.

I am certified Qualified as a certified Range Officer in IPSC Competition… and competed three guns, Rifle, Shotgun, the .45 Pistol and competed in State championships… never a first, facing supported and sponsored teams but not on the bottom either.  You don’t win against a $$$ factory team… with free and unlimited ammo.

This shot taken at MacDill AFB was for the trials of the shorty M-16, new scope and rails, front vertical grip, laser,  adjustable short stock, new barrel designed lands… I voted yes, this was a great adaptation and upgrade. I believe it was Knights Armory made the prototypes.  They would not let me take it home… I had dark hair then before 911, I have shooting glasses on and internal ear noise abatement protection on.

Worked With Sales And Business Training —  Performed lots Of Corporate Descriptive Element Work… Almost becoming a hatchet man realizing corporate ebb and flow, promotions and money are not always fair and the importance of good leadership which many do not understand and actually harm good organizations…

I Designed And Built My Own Products  —  Manufactured in house and sold my own products for the Photography industry… The Black Box has been around for almost forty plus years, I still have customers I help… And at the same time stayed in the game and 

Worked Journalism, Commercial, Wedding and Corporate Photography… went digital… And my favorite thing is mentoring  children, many from far away lands and… the kids 8-9 grade are incredible and even with minor language difficulties, you got to love them, they want to learn so bad but I have to help knowing it was two ladies who helped me.  

My Craziest Segway — Food Was Part Of My Life   —  I am a foodie by choice  -  My mother was a wonderful creative chef who never used a cook book.  I asked her once and she showed me a spoon, “ You taste it, and it will tell you what it needs”.  In the top pen pocket of my chefs jacket there is a spoon bent correctly for no drip and a thermometer.  I learned by watching her as a kid, then fortunate to be tutored by another creative person who showed me the business end of the restaurant game.  It was a job,  working in a couple restaurants to afford going to school and I wanted more learning about cooking food… especially foods a Jewish person normally doesn’t see on a table like  pork and some seafood like clams, oysters, crayfish, lobster etc.  Both food and photographing weddings paid for college tuition  which was a paltry eight dollars a credit and later rent.

I use those Culinary lessons today creating good food for my friends and patients with Stem-Cells transplants.  Super saturated easy to digest soups and entrees using their likes and dislike and camouflaging good stuff hidden in the food,  like Kale which is very healthy and bitter.   

Results from better food does aid in recovery obviously.   After stem cell transplantation they are totally depleted underweight and those new stem cells need nourishment fast, not TV diners. 2000 calories a day instead of a 400 calorie TV diner - tough love at dinner!

Being A Critic Is Threatening    Foodie skills later in life working with the paper covering stories with the Restaurant Police was eye-opening. We are totally a tourist state and eating out is very popular.  “ We have more chains, lots of corporate bullsh*t  that we call corpo-guano”,  and really bad food by franchise than any other state.  Thats if they don’t screw it up in the micro-wave…

COVID hit restaurants hard, very hard, some will not return, some should not return  —  Most fast food is fried and thats the killer…  …  FAST drop the “ S” and you got FAT food… I bring this to the surface every chance I get and I am quite well hated for my commentary…  

Critics are hated because they tell the truth and if you saw what I have seen you might eat in more often. The axiom is laziness and obesity.  has a few tips and lists  you might want to read… Of places you thought were safe and are not. I take no prisoners on my food site.  Just like here…  

Refugee Learning — I thank my grandfather who spoke little English but communicated  from a great humble and loving mind.  He was a refugee from the Czars Pogroms and a tailor…  sounds like “ Fiddler on the roof”.   

At seven I was repairing toasters with Grandpa and a gasoline powered blow torch soldering tool about as big as me. He taught me primitive tools, no electrics.  Persistence came from my uncles, Jesse and Hy who taught me tough wins;  they were tough, fighters and survivors of WWII in the Philippines with MacArthur, and the War in Europe. 

My Uncle Eddie Briggin, ( Not present) like Uncle Morris was an inventor who taught me electronics and creativeness.   He has and shares the original patents for inventing the Home Humidifiers by KAZ, used to treat dry coughing like Whooping Cough.

My Uncle Morris Mann, my mentor taught me Lithography, and Photography doing the color separations of printing through graphic arts and lots of Album covers for RCA, together with kindness, very forgiving, and photography after school.  The photography, a gift from the Gods became a fixture for the rest of my life. 

I was doing journey man color separation and platemaking at fifteen and way too young for the Union even though I thought I could easily pass trials and the exams.  But a war got in the way…

PHOTOGRAPHY —Divine Guidance, Finders Keeper  —

I have for better than sixty-four years being, creating, owning, designing, and manufacturing, doing my own Photography even retail as a store owner, lab owner, photojournalist and a writer.  It started for me when someone left a paper bag left sitting on a park bench in the Zoo area in NYCs Central Park.  

was fourteen, a junior, and was naturally, playing hooky from school.  I grabbed the bag after eyeing it for an hour.  With no one claiming it, I stood on top of the park bench and yelled the sacred words “ Finders keepers”.  Escaping the park, by back trails,  I had mischievously become the owner of an AIRES IIIL 35 millimeter Rangefinder Camera, the first of the Japanese clones of a Leica.  

It took nice pictures of the Dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, the Statue of Liberty and other sites when I played hooky and got caught.  My school passes and a real looking camera saved my butt. 

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC INDUSTRY  —  The camera showing that I was doing something to help my education got me off easier.  Today after being involved in several photo operations:   I designed  manufactured and sold much of my own gear for forty plus years like battery packs, “ THE BLACK BOX” .  

I repaired and designed  flash cables, brackets and product shooting tables. I designed and built the S2D slide to digital machines that translate Kodachrome and Ektachrome into digital images suitable for use on TV ’s Computers and cellphones…

Tearfully, the little Aires either got lost (stolen). Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.   My richness came from people who got me excited and inquisitive about things that make the world go around and that was worth more than all of the things money could buy.

JOURNALISM:  The most important thing I picked up because I am inquisitive, was learning to use the five points of light in journalism.  Who, When, What, Where, and Why, they open doors…  you ask the questions,  to get answers, which were the most important thing in my world, I researched everything, still do,  and made my own decisions.  I just call it being independently nosy and secure only with truth and I am a hunter of those who lie in the food, political arena and the greatest lie of all, the theology business. I was on a path


Being the local photographer for the Playboy Club in St. Petersburg Florida had it's benefits.  I got a chance to meet and work with David Chan who was their Art Director and Head Photographer that year. 

Mr. Hefner was selling franchises at that time and who would ever believe the Playboy Organization would ever franchise a club in St. Petersburg.  It's remotely part of the Bible Belt though closest to the Bible Socks would be a better description.

While the club was open, life was good. Good food, good entertainment. And almost every night someone of significance popped in. Many great nightclub acts, and the music of the seventies.  The Corporate Playboy crew, and an endless supply of Bunnies. 

My job, catch what I could while being as far in the background as possible. Also to cull pictures of certain folks who were never there.  

That's because the place was never exactly blessed by the local clergy and thus the politicos that hung out there didn't want the clergy to know where they were sinning. (Ha, what a joke, Lucifer wasn't an only child)  If they only knew several of the brothers of the cloth had their own nights there, all hell would of  broken loose.

Remember in those days the uniforms were scandalous. Compared to today, they were overdressed.  There's more exposure in our Hooters and Wing joints here today.  When they had their open Bunny Call to hire, it was standing room only for hours.  I got to know most of the girls who worked there and the gals were great, both in personality and it was a very uplifting experience for me.  Pure wire torqued to extremes.  The girls told me they were not that comfortable to wear, very stiff and that originated the "Bunny Dip" to serve drinks. You couldn't bend in it.  

They were closely watched, guarded and almost like a national treasure, limited access to the Bunny dressing rooms and a Bunny Mother was always there.  I could float where I wanted but stayed clear of the back end. Problematic girls were quickly dispatched as was their policy.  No hanky, no panky, and no problems... 

All of the clubs are closed today to my knowledge, except whatever Mr. Hefner's company holdings are. The franchises died off.  I don't know about the one in England. The one in St. Petersburg went belly up and closed.  I managed to salvage my last paycheck by running a big, big, tab at the restaurant and bar with dinners for friends and scooted. That was the end. They closed up. Bankrupt. I had a 2300 dollar farewell party.

Note: I have two pictures left from that entire time.  Every other negative and photo got stuffed in a garbage can and burnt.  X-Wives will do that to you.  In the wedding section, I mention that again. Twenty or so years work and pictures went in seconds. I divorced her just as quick.  Five years later I met my true love Dolly and we were together for 32 years.

So the nice lady on the phone asks if I photograph women and children,  at the time I was doing some work for the Playboy Club. I replied "Women yes, children not really".

She replies: "Well you were referred to us by so-and-so". Since so-and-so was a good client of mine, in that case, I said "Drop by the studio and I'll see what you have in mind and perhaps we'll put something together".

At that time shots of women bare backed with children in their arms, sometime called the "Madonna Shot" was getting popular and OK maybe I had to throw one up on the wall.

Now I always had a way with women, the wrong way. But this was love at first sight.  It was her eyes that caught me off guard.

This kid had more brass and confidence than any kid I ever met. Her name was Shana.  I shot and we chatted for two hours and learned Shana's story.

Shana told it to me.  She was diagnosed with MD I believe, and goes to school main stream under a program they were trying at that time. This was a radical idea in those days.  If you look carefully at the bottom picture Shana was to graduate to braces and crutches with a little more work and get out of the chair.

Well, Oh, the pictures?  They were exclusively used for the AD Campaign called "Care, Then Share" for the United Way of Florida in Pinellas County and became part of the billboards and media blitz that went statewide..  Later on, I was to find out that Shana did not have what the Doctors had diagnosed and instead had a treatable condition.  I learned She did very well in school and then I lost track of her.  I know she has a wonderful life.

Journalism and Aviation The Two Dreams Come True  —  And aviation was a big interest, I loved airplanes playing hooky got me to airports and the Naval Air Station at Floyd Bennett Field with its Corsair fighters, Dakotas (DC-3’s) and Catalina Seaplanes.  I worked at the soda stand on weekends and I drew a love of aviation, drew pictures, and shot pics with my new found camera, and it grew.  I bummed rides on the planes there whenever I could and made playing hooky worth it. I was tall and big for my age and got away with it.

Later in my thirties, books I read about aviation came to the forefront of my goals.  I also was earning which coined an expression I wrote.

“ If you think boats are a huge hole in the ocean you pour money into, go take up flying… the sky is a hell of lot bigger”.

I made up my mind and became a pilot. It was a simple action, the library had the books,  I researched aircraft for sale, bought and paid for my first real airplane, a Piper Lycoming powered 140.  Now I need an instructor. 

Photo right…Thats little bird…  I owned Cessna’s and Pipers as a Pilot In Command for 32 years… this is little bird my first, self taught, in the books at first, with my instructor, I soloed in five hours, aced the exams at the same time, no school, self taught, and had my first license at 40 hours, the legal minimum needed in under 90 days.  They got bigger and more expensive. Training got tougher and well worth it… Then middle age set in…

Quest…Training, Training, Training… Its All About Training
Now, thousands of  hours later, It was my life’s dream,  sheer enjoyment shattered occasionally by bouts of sheer terror…blown tires, rough idles, failed parts, a million things involving weather, through advanced weather training courtesy of Chanute air Force Base, and U of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, aircraft engine and airframe maintenance and emergency procedures training.

Eventually it caught up to me with three real people on board returning from Key-West and a fire trailing caused by a sinking carburetor float, impossible to detect and no notice except for the windscreen going dark.  Luckily I was preparing to land about ten-twelve miles from my location, and then the fire and the Gods were with me… altitude and airspeed…  3000 feet in altitude, leaking gas, smoke and I followed the drill rehearsed hundred of times.

Pilots know the drill, FLY the airplane, shut the fuel system down before the fuel system enveloped the aircraft,  maintain airspeed, DECLARE radio PAN - MAYDAY  no engine,  I declared an emergency to a closer tower Albert Whitted’s tower,  requested runway six, was immediately cleared, and aimed for and dead sticked a book perfect short field landing into Albert Whitted airport ( My alternate was a water landing).  

The building at the end of the displaced runway claimed I left wheel marks on their roof but I think they were kidding me…  I had no option and cut it close, the student pilots in the pattern got a free demonstration of a no engine short field approach at just over stall speeds, and applauded.

I can talk about it today how a little twenty dollar plastic float created 3500 dollars worth of firewall fire forward damage (three maybe four times that amount today) and the paint had extensive fire damage.  I can brag about that landing today, it  was my best short field landing, and made the first turnoff after said displaced runway right in front of the fire cart.  I received the foam bath…

In aviation you are only as good as training you have and thought process, otherwise they call you a statistic.  Pressing on to be better is critical in aviation.  Like life…I had in my mind the best instructor in the beginning, I’ll never forget my first instructor, Joe Dineen and I believed in the culture of his training.  

Pilots joke about it, but I am a believer now…during an emergency, you hear your instructor telling you what to do, the mind and solid training makes your response automatic and to this day if asked I will tell you I heard his voice and performed, lived and will swear to it

Going to other crashes, was to some a lesson in harsh reality but it gets your head on right, you see what mistakes do, unprepared consequences, dumb actions and gore…But if you use the training seriously to this day I heard him coaching me in my mind going through the process and getting it perfect.  After a couple thousand hours and 65 years old, I retired from flying but still look up in the sky overtime I hear an aircraft, I miss it

06/04/2021   aljacobsladder.com