Conversations with the wife and politics

Putin knew what he was working with

New York Historical Society - Old Police Equipment

Felt rough all week; my leg was swollen like a sausage and I was under the weather. So I stayed home one day, put on my most comfortable, ratty tee-shirt and what can only be described as capris for men.

I’m not (terribly) proud.

The wife saw me puttering around and pulled me close, nuzzled me, and gave me a kiss. She then pulled away and looked me deeply in my eyes.

“You look like a homeless person,” she said.

———-
On a more somber note, the news is full of what’s going on in Israel and Ukraine. On the former, it’s a complex subject and one I’m not qualified to address, although I have my own particular views on the matter.

On the latter, however, I read with interest how Putin is publicly shocked at what’s gone on despite being actively involved in the unrest in Ukraine since the first day. Which immediately recalled to mind a story I once told you years ago.

Putin’s been working with murderous thugs for years and he’s suddenly surprised when they start acting like murderous thugs.

He knew what he was working with when he started.

Location: home, with an ice pack
Mood: old
Music: Tell my wife I love her very much (she knows!)
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The people that make NYC miserable

Demolished a room and got hit by a car

Hit and try-to-run-but-cannot-run-driver
Had an interesting weekend.

Walking out of my gym in midtown, met a young guy who worked at a masonry shop a few doors down.

Yes, it’s odd that there’s a masonry in the middle of Manhattan but where we are, there’s still a lot of old NY there.

After a little chatting, mentioned that I was thinking of fixing up part of my apartment and exchanged info. Got a call later on that week that he was in the neighborhood. Within ninety minutes of that call, cabinets and appliance were ripped out and hauled away.

Sometimes, things  just move quickly.

Which is the opposite of what was happening on the street in front of my apartment on Saturday morning because of the garbage truck you see in the picture above.

This was enough to cause some jerk sit on his horn and wake up everyone in the hood.

When I came out to take a picture of him, he proceeded to bump me with his car.

Again: He hit me with his car even though he could not move because of the garbage truck in front of him.

I was unhurt – although it’s my ACL leg so it’s a little sore. Shoulda called the police but I had my usual bout of insomnia the night before and didn’t think it through.

Ended up calling the cops afterward, but by then, figured it wasn’t worth it. Interestingly, the cop that came was actually another student from my old gym and we chatted about my current wrasslin partner, whom everyone in NYC seems to know cause he’s such a nice guy.

The opposite of this guy here, who’s the type of self-important NYC douchebag that make life miserable for everyone else.

He drives a fine German automobile and wears a button-down shirt but was clearly raised by wolves.

Like I said, young broken people grow up to be old broken people.
Selfish New Yorker
And now, a new week. Let’s see what happens.

Location: back to wrasslin in just a bit
Mood: sore
Music: you know it don’t matter anyway. You can rely on the old man’s money
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We handle life as we do bad weather

Someday we’ll know

Sunset at sea

Her: I don’t think of you as 41…
Me: Thanks, that really…
Her: …mainly because you act so immature.

For my birthday last week, Paul and his fiancee took me and the wife out for sushi around the way; they recounted their first date with us, which I’d not heard before. The funny thing about first dates is that you never know if that first date will lead to something more or less in the future.

Speaking of the future, been thinking about it more and more these days as I (slowly) accept that I’m 41. I’m nine years away from 50. I’m solidly middle-aged. And, when I fill out forms, I’m in a totally new age bracket.

But, it’s better than the alternative.

This Austrian named Alfred Polgar once said, “Too often man handles life as he does the bad weather. He whiles away the time as he waits for it to stop.”

So I try make these moments worth something, if only to myself.

Suppose someday we’ll know if it was worth something to anyone else.

Location: the middle of my life
Mood: pensive
Music: bought a ticket to the end of the rainbow
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Painting oneself into a corner

The new Old World Order


This whole Ukraine/Russia world event is interesting to me as someone that grew up in the 70s and 80s.

As a kid, the “commies” were the bad guys. They were what we taunted each other with in the playground, what adults discussed in hushed tones

The Berlin Wall fell and then the Soviet Union followed.

Suddenly, these guys that we’ve been hating all this time just up and disappeared. But on the flip side, we’re still the same. We’re still the Americans. We still have the Republicans and Democrats (for better or worse). And that rhetoric is still there.

For the Russians, there’s an element of their own success at painting us out to be their enemy. Decades of it, plus the fact that the West triumphed in the Cold War, plus our own self-inflicted stupidity and arrogance, means that it’s easy for us to remain their boogeyman while they’re no longer ours.

They’re victims of their own propaganda success.

As for me, I try as much as I can to be even-keeled. Because I never know when the situation may change. On a related note, spoke to an old friend the other day and was reminded why we stopped speaking in the first place.

He’s 42 and still angry, still suspicious, still sure that conspiracies abound. He’s 42 but really still 18.

At 18 his convictions were hills from which he looked; at 42 they’re caves where he hides. The world’s changed around him but he hasn’t.

RedditFor the  Reddit Ask Me Anything this Thursday, I dropped the the price for The Men Made of Stone to $0.99 and A Great First Date to $2.99, so pick up a copy!

Here are some details about the novel.

Location: the weekend, the local diner getting a Cobb Salad
Mood: good
Music: everybody’s gotta get there somehow
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Dating advice from someone that doesn’t look like you?

Doing a Reddit AMA for The Men Made of Stone

Me: I never even thought of that.
Him: Well, why would you have?

After I put up that video on A Great First Date, something interesting happened: My sales essentially froze.

Now I first thought this was perhaps due to something I said or some way I came off, but my very talented marketing friend said simply, “I don’t think people expected you to be Chinese.”

It never occurred to me that might be an issue. But then I realized that all my popular dating posts had no mention of my ethnicity nor a picture of me; there was no reason for it.

JK Rowling was never actually called “JK” in her life. She made up that name because her publishers weren’t sure anyone would buy a book about a boy wizard from a woman.

That may have been a good move on their part. We’ll never know.

In hindsight, perhaps I should have written it under a pseudonym. But I suppose we’ll never know that either.

Being Asian has never been a problem or plus for me as an adult, it was just a fact of my life. No more or less.

Suppose time will tell how this all plays out.

On a related matter, I’m actually going to be doing an AMA on Reddit Books (/r/books) on the other book I wrote, called The Men Made of Stone, which is completely different from A Great First Date. It’s a full length novel on Asian gangs in NYC during the 1990s.

People that read that book first and then read the dating book are probably a bit surprised, and vice-versa.

In any case, I’ll tell you more about it as we get closer to the date – which is supposed to be March 27th at 5PM EST. So stop by and ask me anything!

And thanks to the guys at Flow Athletics for encouraging me to go do the AMA.

Location: yesterday, home, waiting for a sofa
Mood: chagrined
Music: no, I’ll never give up and I’ll never look back
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Winning a Bronze makes you happier than winning a Silver

How you look at your life depends on how you look at others

Took a moment to watch the Olympics this past weekend and it reminded me of a story from NPR.

If you look at the picture carefully, you’ll see that the gold medalist in the middle is beaming, the bronze medalist on the left is slightly smiling, and the silver medalist on the right is barely smiling at all.

Researchers went through picture after picture after picture of other Olympic winners and saw the same thing.

It’s obvious why the gold winner is so psyched – she won. But the other two?

Well, it turns out that the silver winner is almost always unhappy because she compares herself to the gold winner.

If only I …ran faster, longer, better, that would have been me up there with the gold.

In other words, she compares upward, ignoring all below her and only seeing the one person above her. But the bronze winner always compares downward.

I made it! I can’t believe I beat all those other people and just made it.

Two scenarios, again.

On that note, I try to remind myself regularly that I’ve won the lottery in life. Some days are easier than others. But I keep hoping.

As for you, when you watch the Olympics this week, watch the winners faces and you’ll see the above repeatedly.

After all, you can’t un-notice something you’ve noticed.

And I’ve noticed I’m late to start my work week.

Hope it’s better than last.
Image (c)Julian Finney/Getty Images

Location: 6AM, in front of yet more @#$@#$ snow
Mood: anxious
Music: alright, the nights settling, settling in your bones
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Gradually, then suddenly

Hemingway summed up the human existence in three words


Went to the doctor’s again this weekend. Not for me but it was just as stressful.

The thing with life is that you expect everything to happen to someone else. Injuries, disease, general misfortune, etc., these are things that happen to other people and not you.

And when it actually does happen to you, you think, What the … ?

Ernest Hemingway had a character in The Sun Also Rises that was asked how he became bankrupt.

“Gradually, then suddenly,” he replied.

And that’s why Hemingway was a brilliant writer. Because in three words, he summed up the totality of human existence.

You live your quiet, banal, little life when suddenly:

Or whatever personal little hell you have to deal with.  And you have to drop everything to deal with it.

And there’s not much else to do but deal with it. Some days you deal with it better than others.

Him: How’re doing?
Me: Well, I broke down crying like a 10-year-old girl on the 7 train the other day; which I don’t recommend. Because of a whole other list of craziness, I haven’t had a drink for 45 days and won’t be able to until next week – when I’m gonna drink the CRAP outta my rum stash. And my insomnia is kicking up so I slept one hour last night. But besides that, not too bad. You?

However, there’s hope.

Because joy also inevitably comes.

And it comes just as unexpectedly and just as suddenly. And so I wait for it.

For the time being, without my rum, but still…

———-

Did get a tiny piece of good news last week, which is that a Facebook Fan site I created for A Great First Date hit over 1,000 likes in less than ten days.

Take a look and maybe hit that LIKE button yourself.


Location: an hour ago, in front of a large needle
Mood: anxious
Music: Someday all this mess will make me laugh, I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait
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Political Post: What people say and actually do, are two very different things.

If you’re young and conservative you have no heart. If you’re old and you’re liberal, you have no brain.


There’s a quote that’s been floated around for decades, usually attributed to Winston Churchill, that goes something like, If you’re young and conservative you have no heart. If you’re old and you’re liberal, you have no brain.

That’s a bit draconian but as I get older, I’m personally becoming a bit more liberal, mainly because I realize how much dumb luck is really involved in our lives.

But that’s another post for another time.

The other thing I’m realizing is this: It’s always the younger people that are demanding all these social programs because “it’s the right thing to do.”

They march. They protest. They lament what will happen if something is or isn’t done. No fracking, no pink slime, etc.

My theory: They do this because they’re not the ones that have to pay for it. Someone else will.

As you probably know, I’m pro-Obamacare.

Interestingly, for the first time I can remember, the young have a direct ability to – literally and figuratively – put their money where their mouth is.

They have the ability to change the world, and help people, they just have to bear some cost of it.

And the latest news is showing that the exact the opposite is going on. They’re all for Obamacare, but only if someone else pays for it.

It’s like that old “bell the cat” trope where the mice have a genius idea to put a bell on a cat to keep from being killed, but which mouse will do it?

The conservatives are being proven right here.

I’d like Obamacare to succeed. But it looks like it will struggle for exactly the same reason other social programs like Medicaid and Social Security is struggling.

Because what people say and what people actually do, are two very different things.

 

Location: desk, finishing some projects
Mood: cynical
Music: I will change if I must. Slow it down and bring it home, I will adjust
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How many times have you called 911?

Last night was something new


How many times have you called 911 in your life?

I’ve done it twice. The first was a when I was in my office in Times Square and I saw sparks and smoke on a construction site where the Ernst & Young building is now. That turned out to be nothing.

The second time was last night. Just after midnight, heard a woman screaming, “Call 911!” and then just general screaming.

Because of how the acoustics work in our apartment, I ran out to my living room thinking it was my wife but it was someone just outside my door on the street.

Went outside and there was a woman whose face was covered – just covered – in bright red blood. I ran back inside and called 911 on my cell phone.

I’d like to pause for a second to note that I was transferred to the local NYC 911 dispatch pretty quickly; good to know that the system works.

With them on the phone, I dashed back out and saw that a small crowd had gathered.

The injured woman was lying on the wet ground and someone had balled up a towel under her head for a pillow. A man, wearing only boxers and a jacket draped around his shoulder, was applying pressure to what looked like her left eye. Two women were leaning over and comforting her, as was a tenant of my building.

She had stopped screaming and instead murmured, “You’re all so nice.”

After I got off the phone with 911, a young lady came up to me and said she called also. We figured out that an icicle from the neighboring building had dropped off and either hit her eye or cut into her scalp while walking the dog.

For years, I’ve been telling people to be careful about the icicles that grow next door. First time I ever saw someone hit by one.

After the ambulance took her away, got into bed to try to get some sleep.

Hope she’s ok. What a way to start off the new year.

On the plus side, it’s nice to know that there are some good souls in the world.

On the street where I live, anyway.

Wife: That was scary.
Me: It was. But it’s nice to know that people want to help.

Location: computer, back at work
Mood: tired
Music: When the storm cut you to the bone, there was always shelter
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People who are willing to sacrifice their rights for safety, deserve neither

Another thing with an air of truth

Spent Sunday actually relaxing cause I finished almost all of my projects for the year – and by “relaxing” I mean fixing stuff around the house.

Also read a lot of Facebook.

Two friends separately, and coincidentally, paraphrased a Benjamin Franklin quote; one while talking about NYC random bag searches, the other about US gun owner rights.

But it’s one of those commonly referred to quotes that have the air of truth but no real truth to them at all – at least depending on how it’s paraphrased.

Both quoted it as saying: People who are willing to sacrifice their rights for safety, deserve neither.

But that’s not what Franklin said. What he actually said in a book called, Memoirs of the life & writings of Benjamin Franklin, was:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

The following words are often and conveniently left out:

  • Essential – are guns essential? I’ve lived 40 years with only firing one less than a handful of times. In other words, does everyone need to own guns like the way everyone needs a voice in government. I doubt it.
  • Little temporary – is the ability to not get blown up in a bus a little temporary safety? I’d hope not.

Franklin was saying quite the opposite of what my two friends and many people use his quote for.

He wasn’t saying that every right was equal, he was saying that essential rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – were not worth exchanges of small temporary safety.

A bag search is not that. Sane gun laws are not that. They are both the opposite of that.

Sorry, every once in a while I have to be a lawyer and lawyers aren’t allowed to be inexact.

Like that quote that goes, First kill all the lawyers…, what a quote actually means, often means the opposite of what they think it means.

Here are more quotes that have the air of truth to them but either have no real truth to them at all or are misquoted/misunderstood:

Location: desk, being a lawyer
Mood: nerdy
Music: don’t mind the traffic cops or the TSA Long as I’m with you I’m having a good day
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