A cornerstone of this blog is that communication isn’t what you say, it’s what the listener hears. That’s because this is my blog and that’s a cornerstone of my life.
Above’s a picture of JFK’s presidential inauguration. Look at the men in the crowd of the picture. What do you see?
Hats. Dudes wore hats back then. Period.
But now, check out Johnson’s inauguration pic just a few years later. Notice that, while there are hats, there are a lot fewer of them.
The answer’s pretty simple; JFK generally didn’t wear hats. And dudes that saw him walk around without a hat thought – consciously or unconsciously – Well, if he’s not wearing a hat, I’m not gonna wear one either.
Did JFK purposely go out of his way to single-handedly destroy the hat-making industry in America? Probably not. But that’s what happened.
Unintended consequences and alla that.
I’ve been noticing that the deep red people I know are suddenly fixated on China as the evil empire – which it is, for sure – when they never previously posted anything about it before.
Similarly, wearing a mask has become a political statement versus a simple safety measure.
I also note that Trump has generally not worn a mask and that the US now leads the world in COVID-19 rates and deaths.
To say that JFK destroyed the hat industry is to simply go back and piece together facts.
To say that Trump killed his fellow Americans by the thousands is probably similarly accurate, although only time will tell.
As for me, I’m glad that JFK didn’t wear hats because, with my huge head, I’d probably block out the sun.
Wrote once about The Pigtail Ordinance: That was when this super racist judge in 1873 tossed out alla these racist local laws against the Chinese because he knew that the laws were contrary to the Constitution, the controlling law of the land.
In other words, he upheld the main law of the land over his own personal feelings.
You see, the Constitution says you can’t hurt a group of people just because you don’t like them.
That’s equal protection, which came about in 1868; The Pigtail Ordinance was shot down just five years later, which makes it all the more impressive.
But logically, if what I just said is true – that the Constitution says you can’t hurt a group of people just because you don’t like them – then the contrapositive must also be true: If you like a group of people, you can’t help them.
Thought about that with everything that’s going on politically.
Nowadays, it’s all about one’s team winning – whatever winning entails – at the cost of following the rules. Help those you like, hurt those you don’t. That’s not how it should be.
That’s all a preface for an unpopular thing I’m about to say:
Since we’re walking down memory lane together, do you remember when I flew to give a lecture in front of the Paris Bar Association? The topic I was speaking about was VARA: The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. VARA was the law in question for this case.
Most of my clients – when I had clients – were artists.
So I’ve always been on the artists side. And what I’ve always believed was that VARA didn’t go far enough to protect artists. For example:
Why are only visual artists protected?
Why isn’t the art protected if the artist wants it destroyed?
Why is the law written so that only works of “recognized stature” are protected?
That last one always bothered me. Because who is to say when a work is of “recognized stature?”
But that’s one of the main areas where the judge got it wrong (amongst others).
In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, he saw that the developer was kinda a sleezeball, which he was, and simply assumed that 45 (45!) works of graffiti were of “recognized stature.”
That’s just not fair.
If I put a gun to the head of the average person and asked him/her to point out the Mona Lisa or Nighthawks, chances are they’d get it.
What if I did the same thing but asked him/her to name any one of these art pieces?
What if I did the same thing to the average art critic?
VARA is a wrong law and but that’s still the law. You don’t get to cherry-pick the laws you like and the laws you don’t like.
A racist judge shouldn’t ignore the Constitution to help white people.
A (rightfully) offended judge shouldn’t ignore the wording of a poorly constructed federal law to help these artists and hurt an unsavory person.
The artists were allowed to paint on the exterior of this building. That doesn’t give them the right to prevent the building from being torn down. They could have removed their art, at their cost, or taken hi-res pictures of it, which they did.
How the developer did it – without warning – was sleazy. But VARA doesn’t comment on the character of the art benefactor.
VARA should be replaced with a better law that truly protects art and the artist. But until then, it should be followed.
Below’s me talking about the case a lifetime ago. If you want to read my notes on the subject, you can download the powerpoint here.
And now I return to my life now: changing diapers and trying to figure out a way to get my kid to eat something besides peanut butter.
I bought another suit a while ago. My tailor isn’t in the US so it takes a few months to reach me.
Got it because my old black suit was looking worn. And the reason I need another solid jet black suit is because I seem to at an age where I’m going to funerals and memorials a lot more than anyone might want.
Not that anyone ever wants to go to them.
Have a memorial coming up next week for my buddy Bobbie and the suit arrived in time for that. Unfortunately, sad events don’t follow anyone’s timeline.
Then, unexpectedly, had to go to one for his brother just last week. It seems terribly cruel for such misery to visited upon anyone, let alone someone so young.
In any case, my suit arrived the very next day. I found that odd.
Writer Neil Gaiman said in one of his books:
I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me feel uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult. Today they gave me comfort of a kind. I was wearing the right clothes for a hard day.
I agree with that.
For me, a black suit is comforting in it’s own way. It strikes the right, somber tone for a very wrong day.
If you’re willing to eat meat, you should be willing to kill it
Me: The best part of a chicken is the back. Him: (disgusted) I’m not eating that. Me: More for me.
My parents grew up in a time and place where they’ve each had to kill something to eat, my mother in particular.
When I was little kid, I went to Taiwan to see her mother, my grandma, who showed me how to properly kill a chicken. I saw this chicken walking around one moment and decapitated the next. She then proceeded to butcher it in the alley behind the house, careful not to nick any of the intestines.
Her: You’ll wreck it, otherwise. Do it wrong and you’ll get poop everywhere. Me: Poop? Her: Poop. Everywhere.
She did all this while smoking a cigarette, which is neither here nor there – just comically funny to me.
In any case, I saw the above video a few days ago; a friend put it up. It bothers me. People who have no problem buying sausage and a visceral reaction to seeing a pig being “slaughtered” for that sausage.
That strikes me as wrong.
If you’re gonna eat something, you should be able to accept that you’re about to eat something that was once a living, breathing animal.
It part of the reason why I find just tossing away food of any type, particularly meat, troubling.
That was once a living thing. Living things should be treated with respect.
Wife: You can’t have 19 Big Macs in a row! Me: Technically, I could.
They’re having this deal where you get two burgers for one and I look for any excuse to stuff my fat face.
Which reminds me of a discussion I had regarding Jennifer 8. Lee’s book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, where she said that Chinese restaurants in America outnumber McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendy’s combined.
The thing is that there’s no one single large Chinese food chain, like Logan’s Chinese Food, Gyro, and Chili Extravaganza.
The reason why, I think, is because of the sheer number of items that a Chinese restaurant carries. There’re too many dishes, recipes, and ingredients in most restaurants to be consistently good at all of them.
Relate it to my own life because I find so many things intellectually stimulating but I gotta force myself not to concentrate on the things I actually really care about.
Speaking of things I really care about: The wife is heading to her parents for a spell for a little break while I get some work done around the house. So we’re trying to cram in together time while we can.
In our own special fashion.
Her: (hugging me) I’m gonna miss that face… Me: Aw, thanks… Wife: …and your giant, giant, head.
Wasn’t planning on writing two back-to-back opinion posts but these things have been bothering me enough to say something.
If you’ve watched the finale, you know that the mother was a red herring the entire time. The story really was, and is, about how Ted and Robin end up together after years of orbiting around each other.
But if it left a distaste in your mouth and you can’t figure out why, let me tell you about the Women in Refrigerators issue in comic books.
The term comes from a 1994 story where a superhero returns to find that his girlfriend has been killed and stuffed into his refrigerator.
It’s a plot device, whereby a female character is killed or maimed in a male-centered story purely to make stuff happen for that male character. And it happens enough to have a name.
Turning back to HIMYM, we essentially meet the mother in a refrigerator in that we met her when she was already dead six years.
The purpose of the refrigerator in comic books is to shock and horrify; ditto for the reveal in HIMYM.
That’s why the finale bothered me. Because this character was ostensibly there purely to provide story impetus – and offspring – for Ted and then is conveniently killed off to make room for the person he’s loved all this time, Robin.
The entire last season, which could have been a look into the mother’s life – let’s call her Tracy, because characters of meaning deserve names – was instead just about Robin’s marriage, which itself was a red herring.
And Robin’s life is essentially a waiting game for Ted. So both females lives are disposable and there to serve the protagonist of the story, that is all.
We’re not even told how Tracy died or why, that’s how marginal her death actually is.
Of course, does this happen in real life? Sure. Girlfriends and wives are killed every day, spurring the men in their lives to take action. But men are killed as well and this isn’t a major trope in writing.
Ultimately, to devote close to a decade of storyline to characters only to do a fake out seems cheap and easy.
I’m no hardcore feminist, but this is so glaringly distasteful that it’s difficult not to notice it.
There were some good questions and interest in The Men Made of Stone; if you’re curious about some of the backstory behind the rise and fall of organized crime between 1980 and 1993, you can check the AMA for details.
Speaking of writing, I’m working on a a quick little thing about online dating profiles that I’ll probably either just give away or sell inexpensively.
Been fitting in a few lines here and there between work; hopefully, I can finish it up this week.
About 11 years ago, this relatively unknown fighter named Eddie Bravo fought one of the most well-respected fighters on the planet named Royler Gracie and won. Many people thought it was a fluke.
After all this time, a rematch was arranged over the weekend between the two so I went in the rain to my gym on Saturday night after fencing class to watch it with my coach.
The interesting thing about these two fighters is that one is 43 and the other 48. Don’t think there’s ever been so much excitement over two very middle-aged men fighting.
And yet, they aren’t what one would think of when one thinks of a typical 43 year-old and 48 year-old. Probably because they don’t more or act like most others.
The body always says, “Quit” before the mind does.
Because – for most people – the mind is subservient to the body, when the body quits, the mind quickly follows.
But there are those for whom the body serves the mind. The body only quits when the mind allows it. Like these two men.
If being a fat kid ever taught me anything, it’s that that is the way it should be: The body should serve the mind. For as long as possible, I’d like to be that way.
On that note, I’m going to be 41 next month. I can’t really believe it.
Wife: You should just tell everyone you’re 37. People would believe that. Me: That’s not a bad idea.
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.