A daiquiri is not a frozen daiquiri

A daiquiri is completely different than a frozen daiquiri – also a pic of me with a hi-top fade

Her: What the…?
Me: Well, I did ask for a hightop fade.
Her: You did?
Me: Of course I didn’t! Look at me! I look like Kid from Kid ‘n Play.

Because of the insane heat in New York the past few weeks, been trying to do whatever I could to keep cool.

One thing was to go out with my buddy PB to a place around me called the Gin Mill and ask for a daquiri.

Like always, the waitress said, “We don’t have a blender.”

For pete’s … let’s clear up something right now: A daiquiri is as different from a frozen daiquiri as a yogurt is from frozen yogurt. As different as chocolate is from hot chocolate.

They’re completely different things.

Don’t know when it started that people think that the only daiquiris that exist are the frozen kind. At it’s most basic, a daiquiri is limeade and rum. That’s it.

Caipirinha, a Brazilian daiquiri
Caipirinha – essentially a daiquiri with sugercane rum.

Here’s my version of it:

  • Shot of light rum
  • Juice of one-half lime
  • 1/3 to 1/2 shot of sugar syrup or agave
  • Ice-filled glass
  • Top off with seltzer or water

And when it comes to beating the heat, that plus a fan is the classic way to do it.

A recent Esquire article titled, In Defense of the Daiquiri had the exact same issue with the blender and noted that, “It’s one of those cocktails that’s hard to make well because you can’t hide.”

I’ll tell people that’s why I drink them.

But that’s a lie.

You and I know that the real reason is that I just like to get rum into my fat belly.

Her: Oh, it doesn’t look that bad. Bring your big head over here.
Me: Hey…
Her: (hugging my head) It’ll grow back. (thinking) What’s the circumference of this thing?

Kid 'n' Play

Location: 21:00 yest, thrust, parry, thrust on the UWS
Mood: tired
Music: Pretend the water is champagne and fill my glass again and again
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I’d rather have a king or emperor than a Weiner or a Palin

In praise of kings

Town Crier for William and Kate's baby

My brother went to London a little while back and it turned out to be during the Queen’s Jubilee celebration and he wrote the following: Celebrating 60 years of non-merit-based ultra-lavish living by hereditary entitlement.

Now, if you’ve ever met my brother, you know that he’s far smarter than me. But I think that there’s more to royalty than simply that.

When I was a kid, I remember reading once that Alexander Hamilton, and to a lesser degree, John Adams, argued for an American king. Hamilton envisioned that George Washington would be made king for life with the ability to veto all congressional bills.

For those of you that don’t know much about Hamilton beyond him being the dude on the $10 bill the guy that was killed by Burr, he’s a fascinating – rum-drinking – fella.

The current arguments now about states rights (Republican/Jefferson) versus federal rights (Democrat/Hamilton) were essentially started between him and Jefferson and continue to this day.

I’ve always believed as my brother has, which is that non-merit based leadership is wrong. But Hamilton was a brilliant man, so I wondered how he could have stumbled so much on this topic.

Now that I’m older, I see things differently.

You see, Hamilton was a founder of the Society of the Cincinnati, which honored Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus – a man who did not want to lead Rome, but did in one of its darkest hours, and then immediately abdicated after he had done what he needed to do.

Yes, there are centuries of stories about rulers that simply took from the population, but in modern times, are the people that have nothing but naked ambition any better?

Are Anthony Wiener or Sarah Palin any better to rule just because they have over-sized egos and ambition? Are they really any better than two exceptionally educated men that lost their mother in youth and put themselves in harms way like Princes William and Harry?

I’m not advocating a return to a monarchy. But if there’s one thing I know to be true – and that history has shown over and over again – it’s that power corrupts.

And some of the best leadership humanity ever had was had by people like Washington, Cincinnatus, and Gandi; people who never really wanted power in the first place but did it because it was their duty. What was the film The King’s Speech about if not about a man who did not want to lead but had to?

Baby Prince George VII will never lead in the pure sense of the word, but I hope that he “leads” as King George VI did, and as his grandmother Diana did, through service, grace, and a sense of duty.

In fact, King George VI’s wife, when asked why the family didn’t go to Canada during the Axis bombings said, “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.”

I suppose what I’m really saying is that good souls come from all parts. By extension, good leaders.

A friend on Facebook once wrote scathingly of Alice Walton – who essentially gives away much of her fortune – purely because she was born a Walton, as if she had any control over that.

In other words, she detests Alice because of original sin; that she was even born.

I say we judge people on what they’ve done with the life they’re given not on the life their given.

To do otherwise makes about as much as sense as being super proud that one is right-handed.

Location: enjoying the weather finally
Mood: stuffed
Music: My life’s become as vapid as a night out in Los Angeles
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Everyone has their thing

Here’s what I think of the royal baby being born

Town Crier for William and Kate's baby

I don’t like football. Considering that – amongst other things – a professional player gets between 900 to 1,500 blows to the head in a single season it strikes me as the closest modern analogy to gladiator battles.

Of course, I love MMA/UFC matches and I make excuses for it all the time: the amount of blows are different, the ability for someone to defend himself properly is different, the fact that a participant is encouraged to “give up” when in danger add to the safety, etc.

But I realize that, while it makes sense to me, it makes little sense to someone else.

For that reason, while I don’t like football, I wouldn’t go online and bash it just to bash it. Everyone’s got their thing, yeah?

Which brings me to this royal baby business.

My Facebook feed is exploding with people that are just angered by how much coverage it’s receiving. Almost none of them realize how much money this kid is going to inject into the British economy – up to $400 million according to some estimates.

Now, I don’t get it. Not even a little. BUT I don’t begrudge anyone their joy. If someone finds joy in watching grown men hurl themselves at each other while chasing a leather ball or cheering the birth of a singularly lucky (lucky) child, so be it.

Also, I realize that people have their fates tied up to odd things.

Like that dude in the picture above – for all I know, this is his shining moment, the greatest thing he’s ever done: Announce the birth of the next king in a funny hat. I don’t know, nor do I really care that much.

But someone does and that’s all fine and good. I’ll turn the channel just like I do when football is on.

We all have our weird things and we should let others have their weird thing too.

Speaking of weird things, I believe I’m due for some more chili for a midday snack.

Location: off to the gym
Mood: praying for rain
Music: Is there room for one more son
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Picasso and his napkin art

Effortless things take years of effort to accomplish

Female client: This bill is outrageous! Who do you think you are?
Me: I think I’m someone that needs to get paid for the work I do.
Her: For four pages of work?
Me: Let me tell you a story: Picasso was sitting in a cafe one day when someone asked him to draw something on a napkin. He did and asked for $12,000. Like you, the man said that it was outrageous because it only took him a minute, to which Picasso said, “Actually, that took me 40 years.”
Her: So you think you’re Picasso?
Me: No, but I did spend the 15 years learning how to write that four page document you’re holding in your hand. If you could have done it, you would’ve. You came to me, not the other way around. You don’t work for free, why do you expect me to?

It’s a never-ending thing in the service industry: explaining the difference between value and price.

Igor Stravinsky and Pablo Picasso collaborated...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Location: back from the gym
Mood: irritated
Music: my brush would take me there But only If I were a painter
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Jaws or Poetry is in the limitations

Jaws was the world’s first blockbuster because of what it couldn’t do


Me: What about Wednesday?
Her: (looking at calendar) I think I’m free Wednesday night.
Me: Cool, it’s a date. (laughing) This is like when we were first dating.

Planning out a date night with the wife, we discussed what film to see.

Years ago, summer was when Hollywood put out its shlock. Their very best films they brought out in wintertime – the holidays – and the dregs of what they had was reserved for the summer.

That is until Jaws.

famous poster
famous poster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jaws was such a massive success that it actually created the modern meaning of the word, “blockbuster” as well as the entire summer movie season.

And the reason why it was a blockbuster was because of a mechanical shark named “Bruce” (after his lawyer!)

Bruce was built specifically for the film but the problem was that it was so experimental that it broke down constantly. All these scenes that Spielberg had envisioned in his head, Bruce couldn’t do.

And a pivotal scene was when a girl is attacked by the monster.

So Spielberg decided to not show the the shark/the monster/Bruce at all. Instead, you see the girl being yanked under and dragged about.

If you’ve seen the film, you’re seeing this scene in your head as you read this. I saw the film 25 years ago and still remember it vividly.

Partly because of that scene, and a number of other changes Spielberg made because Bruce was so persnickety, Jaws became that first blockbuster.

Art is in the limitations.

When I wrassle, there are a number of things I can’t do because of my injuries. And there are some things my fencing students can’t do because of injuries or physical limitations. So we find other things to do. Cool things. Artful things.

I’ve reached a point in my life where, when things don’t go my way, I think, OK, what can we do differently here? And more times than not, it’s better.

I suppose it’s a plus of being older. Which is good, because there are a lot of negatives.

Barber: You know, you should wear a hat.
Me: I do in the winter.
Her: Good. Hats make older people like you look distinguished. Plus you can hide your bald spot.

 

Location: looking for air conditioned rooms
Mood: steamy
Music: Well, might as well give it another day
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Why are Poison Dart Frogs posionous in the first place?

We become what we consume

Poison dart frogs are well known for their bri...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most poisonous thing on the planet is a frog; more specifically, it’s the Golden Poison Frog with enough venom to kill between 10-20 humans or two elephants.

But the interesting thing with the Golden Poison Frog – or any poison frog for that matter – is that they aren’t inherently poisonous. They become poisonous from the specific things they eat; if you took baby frogs and fed them things that didn’t have the poison, they wouldn’t be poisonous.

They become poisonous because of what they consume.

On a related note, I’ve come to realize that I know people that consume a steady diet of outrage, and because of that they’re outraged all the time. Or perhaps it’s reversed and they’re outraged all the time and then consume a steady diet of more outrage.

Still others have a steady diet of stupidity, and they’re stupid all the time. And it goes on.

Young, broken people grow up to be old, broken people and after a while you can tell who’s going to end up which.

And I’m finding out that they’re every bit as poisonous to me as those frogs. So I keep my distance.

After all, a frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean and I like to know of oceans.

Conversely, however, I’m also finding that I have more optimistic, worldly, and ambitious people in my life than I might have otherwise expected. And these people consume those things that make them more optimistic, more worldly, and more ambitious.

These people I don’t keep at a distance.

Finally, I’ve been dreaming of the other side again. Just this past weekend, had a dream I lived in Gibraltar.

I’ll tell you about it someday.

Location: the start of a NYC heat wave
Mood: relaxed
Music: again, and again, I think I will break but I mend
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We make 15 decisions a day

To relieve stress, you should try to make less than 15 decisions a day


Read once somewhere that people can make 15 decisions a day. That sounds about right.

In fact, I’ll take it one step further, the fact that:

  1. we can only make 15 decisions a day and
  2. must make 15 decisions a day,

…leads to the stress in our lives. Because sometimes we have to make more. And we’re not really equipped/built to do so.

IMHO, that’s the real reason that we miss childhood; back then, someone else made the decisions for us.

While still young, we fought to make more of those 15 decisions, and then as we got older still, we found we had to make those decisions.

Well, that was dumb.

English: Decisions Decisions (Horton, Point or...
English: Decisions Decisions (Horton, Point or Green) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bearing this in mind, a few years back, I tried to minimize the number of decisions I had to make on a daily basis.

You know why you have rules? You have rules so you don’t have to think because you’ve already thought about it before.

That’s why I have rules and a schedule. It minimizes the discrete decisions I have to make each.

  • Is it Monday? That’s when I usually have client meetings and phone calls.
  • It it Tuesday? I pop over and see my parents in midday and have my fencing class at night.

When the weather’s cool, I wear a suit because it’s easy. I don’t wear a tie even though I have more ties than pretty much anyone I know. One less decision to make.

The problem with this whole plan is when I have a new decision to make. Usually labour over it for a while before I make a decision. But once I do, I try as best as I can not to go back.

After all, we all wanna keep going forward don’t we? I’d like to, anywho.

Location: it’s Wednesday, so that means more meetings and the gym
Mood: steamy
Music: It’s a beautiful bright day outside the door.
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A rather mundane Monday

I hope for two things for us


Just walked in the door from the great state of New Jersey,

For those of you in the States, hope you had a good holiday weekend. For those of you not, still hope it was great.

Pretty much worked the entire time to catch up on work I missed out on while on vacation. Had the place to myself since the wife went to see her folks for the holiday. Turned out to be a good thing because I underestimated the sheer volume of things I had to do.

Did manage to hit the gym a couple of times and even met up with my cousin for a drink with a friend of hers that read, and enjoyed, my book.

On that note, I get about one random email a month from someone saying how much they like The Men Made of Stone. If you did, consider telling someone about it or posting a review?

In any case, been bouncing the idea for a new story in my head but I’m still fleshing it out. Also thinking of writing a book on dating.

So many ideas and so little time.

In the midst of all this, kept up with the plane crash that happened and the firefighters that recently died.

On the plane crash, they interviewed someone that was part of it all who said that he didn’t know how he was going to act in such a situation and he was pleased to find that he was able to keep calm and help others. It’s like I said once, we’re made in our sleep and by our lonely.

I hope two things for myself and you:

  1. That we never have to find out what we are truly made of, and
  2. That if we must, we find that we are made of noble things.

And on that note, I wish the people in the crash and those that the firefighters left behind well and turn back to my rather mundane Monday.

It’s a lucky thing to have a mundane Monday, I think.

Location: in my roasting pad
Mood: busy
Music: It’s easier to believe in this sweet madness
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You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with

We become like the five people we spend the most time with


This fella named Jim Rohm, whom I’ve mentioned before, said something once that is the inverse of what I believe.

I believe that our friends mirror some quality of us. After all, people become our friends precisely because they see some part of the world we see.

For example, I don’t have any rabid football fans as friends because I’m not a rabid football friend.

Most of my friends are rum-swilling, chili- and gyro-eating, ambitious nerds because I’m a rum-swilling, chili- and gyro-eating, ambitious nerd. It’s my tribe.

But Jim Rohn said that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

We become like the five people we spend the most time with.

I think this is true too and yet another reason why I end up cutting so many people out of my life – because I want to be around people that point me in the direction I want to go.

Wanna be at least half as good a writer as my writer friend, at least half as a wrestler as my coach, at least half as good a lawyer as my boss, at least half as good a fencer…

Oh, you get the point.

I have 11,680 days left. I want them to matter.

Looking at the silliness I call my life, had five tickets to give out. Think I’ve chosen wisely.

You?

Location: caught in rain again, dammit
Mood: wet again
Music: I’ll admit I’m just the same as I was
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Pathological Altrusim

When kindness hurts


Perhaps one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever come across in my life is the true story of the victim that almost escaped Jeffrey Dahmer.

It’s so disturbing, in fact, that I’m unable to summarize it here. If you want to know more about it, google him and “escaped victim.” I caution you to think twice before you do, though.

In any case, had another night of insomnia recently and thought about a report I read recently by Oakland University professor Barbara Oakley, who coined a new term for something I’ve seen myself repeatedly: Pathological Altruism.

Simply put, it’s when being kind is the worst thing one can be. The Dahmer story is an extreme example but it’s an almost daily occurrence – like soccer trophies for just showing up.

We think we’re doing something kind when in fact we’re doing the exact opposite.

The wife and I watched Jamie Oliver’s TED talk about nutrition over the weekend where a grossly overweight woman came to the realization that she was – literally – killing her own children with a diet of fast food and soda.

She and I also talked about a friend I cut because he ended up being that one drunk idiot at our wedding amongst other questionable actions. He’s also had a string of really bad relationships and I’ve tried to explain that the common denominator in it all is…him.

But he keeps doing what he does and keeps getting what he gets. And I can’t surround myself with people that have no interest in being better than they were yesterday.

More on that Wednesday.

Getting back to pathological altruism, a buddy in college once came back from spring break and told me this story:

He’d been speeding home when a cop pulled him over and wrote him a ticket. The cop said he was sorry he did it but my buddy was going 50 in a 35 zone and it was foggy, as it often is in upstate NY. Stepping back into the car, my buddy continued on his way, depressed and irritated. Suddenly, a deer jumped out in front of him and he slammed on the brakes.

He said that the ticket probably saved his life, and at the very least, saved the life of the deer and his car.

Best ticket I ever got, he said.

In any case, one thing I can summarize here is a joke that goes something like this:

A bird was flying south for the winter when he became tired and fell out of the sky, landing in snow. Almost freezing to death, a cow happened to defecate on him. As the warm dung revived him, the bird began to sing. A wolf, hearing this, immediately dug him out of the dung and devoured him.

There are three morals to this story:

  1. Not everyone who craps on you is your enemy.
  2. Not everyone who pulls you out of crap is your friend.
  3. If you’re buried in crap, it’s best to keep quiet.

 

Location: caught in rain immediately before a 90 min phone call
Mood: wet
Music: Don’t take to heart the words that he says
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