Overcorrecting

If you say so

Of course, on the day I went to see my son, the teacher was reading the class a story about a fish looking for his mom. Because, of course.

It’s the first video I’m posting with his voice, if you’re interested in hearing it.

Boy: Can I have a pretzel?
Me: What have you done to earn a pretzel?
Him: I dunno. (thinking) I love you?
Me: (reaching for pretzels) Man, I am so easily manipulated.
Him: Manipulated!

When I first learned to drive, and now when I wrestle, I tended to overcorrect. Things that need to go, say, 5 degrees to the left, I go 15.

Do you remember the Minority Report with Tom Cruise?

There’s a scene where Cruise’s character sits in the dark by himself and watches videos of his son and his wife. He no longer had them, you see.

I remember watching that scene and feeling so sad about it. Enough that 18 years later I recall it, having recalled little else about the film.

I told you that I don’t have too many videos of Alison; almost none, in fact. She hated being recorded.

Of course, I have videos of her immediately after she got sick. One in particular I’ve never seen and don’t think I ever will. I wouldn’t survive it, I don’t think.

But that’s a memory for me and my lonely nights.

In any case, she asked that I try not to put pictures or videos up of her on this blog so I didn’t. I wish I did.

I wish I took so many more pictures and videos of her. God, she was beautiful.

I probably take too many pictures of the boy and people I care about these days. I’m definitely overcorrecting. But I don’t care.

As the years go on, these little bits of digital ink are all I have left of some people and moments. I’ll take them.

Him: I miss mommy.
Me: I do too. All the time. She was my best friend.

Just got back from seeing him. The hope is that he can safely go back to school part-time next semester and that this country’ll have an actual plan of trying to deal with this goddamn virus.

He still gets sad whenever I leave and I tell myself that this is a good thing but it’s hard. Everything’s harder than it should be.

Him: I could wave to you from the front door.
Me: It’s too dark. You wouldn’t see me. Stay here.
Him: (sadly) If you say so, papa.
Me: I do. I’ll be back soon. I promise
Him: (nods, cries)
Me: Really. I promise.

Podcast Version
Location: home, looking at pictures of people I’ll always love
Mood: lonely
Music: Don’t come and go like you do. (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

We *all* have problems, Logan

Good luck and good day

Me: You want some Sriracha?
Chad: (covers his entire meal with it).
Mouse: That’s a lot of Sriracha!
Me: I’ve made him into a man now, Mouse.
Chad: (nods, doesn’t stop eating)

People keep calling me to help out with these projects and I take what work I feel I’m a right fit for or if I want to help someone out.

You know that I don’t advertise? Been working for myself for over two decades and I’ve never advertised anything ever beyond this blog, I suppose. Maybe a few things, here and there.

Huy Fong, the makers of Sriracha also never advertised. They got by purely on their reputation. Must be an Asian thing.

Anywho, a lawyer buddy of mine asked me to help out with a client so, as a favour to him, I reached out to her and sent her what I could do and what I would charge.

Her: That seems excessive for a few pages of paper.
Me: I couldn’t agree more. You can probably find someone much cheaper with the New York Country Bar Association. You can ring up a lovely woman named Hannah there at 212-267-6646, ext. 217 to find someone else.
Her: Wait, but…
Me: 212-267-6646, ext. 217. Hannah. With two H’s and two N’s. Good luck and good day, madam.

I know what I’m worth and I don’t have the time or interest in convincing anyone of my value.

On that note, last week was one of my busier work weeks in a while.

On the flip side, I can also remember sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Of course, that was before everything in my life turned to shit.

Speaking of sitting at home, like I said earlier, Chad broke his foot but he’s a teacher by nature, so he’s definitely going stir crazy locked in his pad.

And Cho just got a new whip.

So, I offered for them to come by – along with Mouse – and roll in exchange for some food and entertainment.

And on a random weekday night, they were here.

We were all grateful for the lesson and I think Chad was grateful to just be on a mat again. He literally walked in – or hobbled in – and lay on the mat for a moment and sighed.

Just like the first time he came over.

After our lesson, he asked if we had any questions.

Me: About what you just taught or life?
Chad: We don’t have that much time, Logan.
Me: Well, I’ve got a lot going on.
Him: We all have problems, Logan!
Me: You don’t have to yell.

Pro tip: If you see a bottle of Lao Gan Ma Crispy Chili, buy it. You’ll be ahead of the curve. Trust me on this.

It’ll be the next big thing.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, trying to break an arm
Mood: tired
Music: I don’t want somebody like you (Spotify)
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How JFK killed the hat industry

The president leads

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.

What happened?

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.

Podcast Version
Location: Battery Park City, seeing about a girl
Mood: hot, hot heat
Music: I’m just gonna go out (Spotify)
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Opinion: The judge in the Five Pointz case got it wrong

VARA isn’t a great law, but it’s the law

(c) Ezmosis

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:

The judge in The Five Pointz case got it wrong.

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.

 

Location: memory lane
Mood: wistful
Music: a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a second hand store

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Black suit and a white shirt

It’s the right tone for a wrong day

Black suit and watch
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.

About two years ago, went to a funeral for my buddy’s mom.

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.

Me: I’m so sorry, man.

Location: last week, upstate
Mood: hopeful
Music: Sometimes it seems like lately I just don’t know

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Kill what you eat

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.

Halal Gyro food in NYC

Location: last night, 7PM, watching the game at a buddy’s
Mood: sore
Music: Gonna hunt you like an, an, an, an, an, animal

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Die knowing something

Die knowing something. You are not here long.

Walker Evans - Dead End - 1973

There was this photographer named Walker Evans who took some pretty famous pictures – you might recognize some of his work.

All of these pics are his.

Walker Evans - Damaged

He always walked around New York snapping shots but with much worse equipment and much better results.

Walker Evans - Brooklyn Bridge - 1928

He once said, Die knowing something. You are not here long.

Walker Evans - Man with accordion in Subway

Always thought that to be sage advice.

I suppose we all wish we had more time. However much we’re given, never feels like much.

Walker Evans - Girl on Fulton St - 1929

There’s so much I realize I don’t know and I would like to.

Walker Evans - Pelham Bay Park

There just never seems to be enough time.

Location: heading to post office
Mood: worried
Music: i’ll keep waiting and some day, darling you’ll come to me
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We love death more than you love life

At the very least, they’re honest about that

Polished concrete floor

A few years back, had to replace a large section of floor and was given a number of options like ceramic tile, wood, etc.

One guy suggested stained polished concrete, which we chose because of its versatility.

The guy that installed it said that he worked with concrete because it’s one of the oldest, strongest, more durable construction materials out there.

We stained it a leather brown, polished it to high gloss, and sealed it with wax. Everyone that comes by always asks about it.

It cost me about half of what it would have cost to put in anything else because, while the labor costs were the same or more (for the specialized knowledge), the raw material is just so cheap.

60 pounds of concrete costs $3.00 here in Manhattan. Three dollars.

And everything’s more expensive in Manhattan.

Recently, I’ve had a number of heated discussions with well-meaning but staggeringly ill-informed people regarding the current Israel/Gaza strife and lately, I’ve just been asking one question:

Where are the bomb shelters in Gaza?

There are at least 30 tunnels – at a cost of $30 million and  at least 1,780 rockets (all fired). Where are the bomb shelters?

There answer is that there are none. There is nothing to protect the people of Gaza by the ersatz government of Gaza because that’s not how Hamas sees the role of government.

But no one says it better than Hamas themselves:

We are a people that love death for the sake of Allah as much as our enemies love life.

That is their slogan. Their motto. Their trademark.

And the trademark lawyer in me cynically thinks, “Well, at the very least, they’re honest about that.”

Location: the interstate
Mood: cynical
Music: A spray of stars hit the screen As the 10th impact shimmered
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Logan’s Chinese Food, Gyro, and Chili Extravaganza

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

Hit and try-to-run-but-cannot-run-driver

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.

This is versus McDonalds, which only has a few dozen different items – in fact, one guy just wrote about How to Hack a Big Mac from other dishes.

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.

Location: back to wrasslin in just a bit
Mood: sore
Music: Does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
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How I met your mother in a refrigerator

This is why you’re bothered by the HIMYM finale

How I met your mother
Wasn’t planning on writing two back-to-back opinion posts but these things have been bothering me enough to say something.

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

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.

Green Lantern Kyle Radner finds his girlfriend in a refrigeratorThat’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.

End rant. Back to nuthin later on this week.

 

Location: apartment on a rainy Monday morning
Mood: still irritated
Music: Girlfriend in a coma, I know, I know – it’s serious
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