You don’t know what you don’t know

Volkwagen Part 199.398.500.A

Went to the doctor’s. Again. Seriously.

Me: Another finger’s infected. He’s never seen anything like this.
Pac: You’re kidding me.
Me: He thinks that I’m washing my hands too much – like twice an hour, on the hour.
Him: Now that I believe.

Way back in 1997, I mentioned to a lawyer that lived in my building that I was thinking of buying stock in either International Paper or Iomega, the maker of the zip disk.

He rolled his eyes and said sarcastically, Paper. Yeah, real forward thinking, Logan. That’s gonna be a money-maker for sure.

One of my rules I have  in life is that if someone says something sarcastically, they’re probably hiding either a complete lack of knowledge on a subject or, at the very least, aren’t very well versed in it.

But this guy was a pretty smart lawyer so I was conflicted. In the end, I decided to stick to my rule and assume that he was, in fact, an idiot.

He was. Iomega’s bankrupt now. While I did buy some, I also bought a lot of International Paper and did well with it.

You see, the lawyer scoffed because – to him – paper meant letters and newspapers, two things that the internet was crushing.

But to me, paper meant cardboard boxes, packaging, and coffee cups – all of which were rising, rapidly, in demand, due to the internet.

OK, maybe not coffee cups, but you get my drift.

Anywho, the lawyer’s problem was that he couldn’t see things for what they really were, only what he thought them to be.

Now, if I asked you what Volkswagen sold the most of for the past 45 years, you’d probably say, cars. Or trucks.

But those aren’t its number one selling product.

Volkswagon’s number one selling product is a sausage. Specifically Volkswagen part number 199.398.500.A – Currywurst sausage.

In 2017, it sold 6.8 million currywursts, significantly more than number of cars or trucks it sold during that same time.

The point of all this is that you don’t know, what you don’t know, until you know, that you don’t know it.

Like, I didn’t know that over-washing my hands might lead to infections. Now I do.

Past Contestant: You’re not exactly my regular type, Logan.
Me: And what’s your regular type?
Her: (laughing) Well, not a 47 year old widowed Chinese guy with a kid.
Me: And how’s that worked out for you so far? All I’m saying is that if you keep doing what you do, you keep getting what you get. Besides, you’ve never met a fella like me before. Shoes off, please. 

On that note, think I’m gonna take a little break from dating.

It’s all the disappointing and disappointments I told you about before.

Podcast Version
Location: the doctor’s office, seriously
Mood: busy again
Music: I think it’s all in my mind (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Weapons invite death

A Faustian bargain

Weapons and grappling are two, very different, forms of violence.

The former is binary – I will die and/or sustain grave bodily injury, or you will die and/or sustain grave bodily injury. There’s no middle ground. It’s useful as a force multiplier in situations like multiple attackers or similarly armed assailants.

The latter, however, has an n-ary relationship, whereby I can control the level of lethality from simple control all the way to death. It is my option. As with weapons work, grappling is also a force multiplier but it’s less useful against armed and/or multiple assailants.

When the police are not allowed to use the latter, their only option is the former. This means going from an n-ary relationship to a binary one of life or death/grave bodily injury. Again, there is no middle ground.

This is because weapons invite death. That is the nature of a weapon.

Mr. Floyd’s murder is a horrific one and one where the murderer deserves the most extreme punishment; at best, he showed a depraved heart, at worst, he’s just a piece of shit. But note that Mr. Floyd is dead precisely because of the option of death; the murderer chose to kill a man.

Just like you could kill someone with a fork, a fork serves many other useful purposes beyond murder – in fact, a fork is a sub-optimal means of killing someone, just as grappling is a sub-optimal means of killing someone. A gun or knife does that far more quickly and efficiently.

Note that, the particular movement used by the murderer – knee on neck – is one I’ve never done and would never do. I’ve never seen it done in real life. I’ve never had it done to me. It’s because it’s not the best tool for the job of restraint.

But to throw out the entirety of the latter – pin controls and restraints – means that the only option NYC is giving the police is the former.

This is Faustian bargain on its face; the very people the law Mayor DeBlasio is claiming to help will be the ones that will have to deal with the consequences of the police having less-lethal options to do their job.

Podcast Version
Location: home, waiting for a plumber
Mood: puzzled
Music: I don’t usually give in to peer pressure (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

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)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Pandemics and lifestyle

Going through this very moment

Nick Cordero’s death really shook me. Mainly because I thought he would make it, somehow.

I guess you can relate.

Also, because I know exactly what his young wife with their young child is going through at this very moment. Exactly. It’s heartbreakingly awful.

I wish her whatever she needs to survive this. Making it through to the other side is never guaranteed.

I married Alison for dozens of reasons. One was that she didn’t wear shoes in the house.

This may seem like a stupid thing but changing someone’s lifelong habit is difficult, if not impossible. The key to any relationship – romantic or otherwise – is reducing friction between the two parties. This means a combination of communication and shared interests.

Was thinking of this as it related to this whole COVID-19 insanity.

Did you ever read Guns, Germs, and Steel? It’s a fascinating look at why white Europeans were able to essentially conquer the world both socially and economically.

One thing that Europeans did, that Asians and Native Americans did not do, was live with livestock.

Assuming, arguendo, that these pandemics like:

      • COVID-19 (bats)
      • measles, tuberculosis, and cowpox (cattle)
      • influenza (pigs)

originally came from animals, and European invaders essentially wiped out entire populations of native Americans, it’s interesting to see how something as simple as one’s lifestyle can change the entire course of history.

Having now experienced a pandemic firsthand – again, I don’t recommend it –  it’s morbidly fascinating to realize how much of the world I currently live in is the result of just random chance.

This is all just a long way of me saying, while it’s probably better for the kid’s immune system, I can’t have dogs in my pad.

Which is unfortunate because it seems that every single girl in NYC has a dog.

Me: Oh, it’s 7PM. I thought you had to leave for a date.
AnotherGirlWithADog: I cancelled while we were chatting.
Me: Now why would you do that?
Her: (laughs) Well, you’re more interesting.
Me: You don’t know the half of it, lady. I’d prefer to be a bit less interesting, frankly. (later) Oh, you should be investing. Has anyone ever told you about compound interest?
Her: That kind of stuff is too complex for me.
Me: Don’t put self-limiting beliefs like that out into the aether.

Podcast Version
Location: Home, missing out on a thunderstorm
Mood: stupidly sober
Music: It’s dead steady, there’s falling and flying (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Batman, rabbits, deer…

…and bright red leather jackets

Chuck: Nice (bright red leather) jacket.
Me: Oh, thanks. I had it made years ago. Finally started wearing it again.
Him: Do they make it for men?
Me: Evidently not!

Batman was once asked why he wore a bright yellow bat on his chest.

The lawyer in me knows it was done for trademark reasons but the writers came up with a rather ingenious reason; because criminals would aim for his protected chest rather than his unprotected head.

That’s something straight outta nature.

If you look at some rabbits and deer, they have bright, white tails. So, when they’re chased by predators, they’re easily seen and chased.

That is, until they turn. Then the pursuer loses sight of the bright white tracker and, by extension, the prey.

Told a buddy of mine recently that a large part of life is separating signal from noise. What’s important and what’s merely misdirection?

I think I’ve been paying attention to distractions more than anything for the past while.

But, since I’ve recovered from COVID, it’s like someone turned up the volume and brightness on my life again because I see things so much more clearly than before.

On the flip side, as I see things more clearly, I miss the boy all that much more.

Oh, he graduated this week from Pre4K! It was far more emotional for me than I’d expected.

Which, I suppose, I should’ve expected.

Son: Will you come see me? I miss you.
Me: Then I’ll see you soon. I just can’t rent a car right now.
Him: You could take a train. Or get a ride with Auntie. I know! You could take a bus.
Me: (laughing) Don’t worry, I’ll get to you. Papa’ll find a way.

Oh, Chad and I have a new Scenic Fights Video up – this time, Chad’s breaking down the Jiu Jitsu in Donnie Yen’s Special ID.

Podcast Version
Location: home, looking up train schedules
Mood: homesick
Music: doesn’t matter how you get to me, just get to me (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

The world’s loneliest creature

Lonely enough

I find whales fascinating.

When Gradgirl and I went to the Museum of Natural History, I said to her:

Me: You know, they just cleaned it a few years back.
Her: (laughing) I’m always surprised at all these random facts you have.

It being the giant blue whale on the ceiling of the Hall of Ocean Life.

These giants are locked in daily battles of life and death every single day: Three million mind-blowing battles between animals as big as a house on the daily.

Most whales speak to each other at frequencies ranging from 10–39 Hz. But, there a single, solitary whale that speaks at 52Hz. (I’ll call it her just to make it easier to write).

She’s called the loneliest whale in the world.

One. One of her kind.

Basically, scientists record her calling out into the world for friends and her answer’s always the same: Silence. No one can hear or understand her.

I’ve met people like that, who can’t seem to communicate with the rest of the world. The woman in my building’s one of them. There are others.

In my recent clarity – and drinking for several weeks straight will really gum up your brain, lemme tell ya – I realized, with more than a little shame, that I shoulda been more patient with some of these people. One in particular.

I allowed them to get me angry and that’s always a bad deal for everyone. Especially since, in many ways, I struggled to communicate with other people myself, for years.

Anywho, some whales live for 200 years. I hope she isn’t one of them.

Podcast Version
Life’s lonely enough without your tribe.

Me: There’s another thing about being different.
Him: What’s that?
Me: The loneliness. There are people I keep in my life that I shouldn’t. But I do because they’re the only ones that understand me in some narrow regard. Not being understood is…painful.

Location: outside, looking for frozen peas and carrots
Mood: infatuated
Music: I never thought you’d let me go (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Owing a debt

Mother is the name of God

Podcast Version

Him: Why do you stay in contact with her and people like him?
Me: I owe them a debt. Anyone that shows a kindness to my family, I owe a debt.

My head’s quiet again.

That’s more than I can say about the state of the nation, what with a pandemic, murder hornets, cannibal rats, state-sponsored murder, and now race riots.

The thing is: I get it. As my buddy from my gym said, you never get over the anger. And what’s the anger all about? Inequity.

It’s bullshit that Alison died so young, so close to her dream of finally – finally – getting a family. Bullshit.

I said earlier that I couldn’t watch the whole video. I stopped when Floyd cried out for his mother.

That broke my heart. As a regular, run-of-the-mill-normal human being, it broke my heart. That someone could die for no fucking reason whatsoever.

And what crushed it to powder was the thought that in the darkest moments of his life, my son will cry out for me. Because he didn’t know Alison.

And I’m half the person she was. You see, Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of children.

Except for mine, that is. Fuckballs.

I counted the days. Alison lived exactly 13,893 days. HALF of what she was promised. What we were promised. The inequity makes my blood boil.

Alison and George are gone now, for no good reason whatsoever. So, I understand the rage.

But there’s another facet to the rage. And that’s the debt.

In 1847 – after the Trail of Tears – the Choctaw heard about the starving Irish during their potato famine and somehow, managed to scrape together and send $170 (about $5,000 today) to help these people strangers.

For every bit of inequity – where one isn’t given what one’s owed – there’s a flip side. There’s grace; that’s when you’re given something you didn’t earn.

When Alison was sick, the grace I saw, humbled me. To those people that helped us, my family owes them a debt. That’s it.

We owe them a debt.

The Choctaw owed the Irish no debt but they paid a value to someone in need. And 173 years later, the descendants of those with the debt paid back some of it.

I think I hold a special place of contempt in my heart for those in mixed-race relationships – particularly white male and Asian female relationships – where the white male doesn’t realize the debt he owes the African-American community.

Like the the officer that murdered Mr. Floyd, who is married to a Laotian woman.

That officer doesn’t realize the debt his family owes to the black community, that was regularly lynched for just looking at a white woman, and had to go to court to gain us all the right to marry any one of any race we wanted.

I was able to legally marry Alison because a white man named Loving – of all things – wanted to marry a black woman, named Mildred. My family would not exist but for Mildred and Loving. The debt every interracial couple owes to them cannot be overstated.

If you’re white and in a mixed-race relationship and you don’t feel any rage over what happened to Mr. Floyd and don’t recognize the debt you owe to that community then I gotta point it out to you now.

You owe them a debt.

But rage against inequity works both ways.

Chauvin’s wife just announced that she was divorcing him.

Podcast Version
Location: 95th and Broadway
Mood: angry
Music: so sick of being so lonely; miss all my family (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Cleaning the darkness around us

Magic Soap

Her: Did…did you just wash the fruit with hand soap?
Me: Yeah. It’s fine.
Her: It’s not! You can’t do that!

People are often horrified when they see me wash fruits and vegetables – all fruits and vegetables – with my foaming hand soap. What they don’t know is that I use castile soap, which is made from vegetables and safe to use on pretty much everything.

If you’ve ever been out at a store, you’ve probably seen the most famous one, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. I tend to buy the peppermint one.

Bronner had an interesting and tragic life.

He was a jew born in Germany and, when the Nazis took power, he implored his family to leave with him to America. But his parents felt they were German – Jewish Germans but still Germans. They refused to believe that they were in danger in their own home country so he left alone.

The last he heard from them was a single postcard from his father that simply read:

You were right. – Your loving father.

His parents were murdered by a country they loved that didn’t love them back.

What a terrible thing, to realize that a country – or anything – you love, not only doesn’t love you back, instead, wishes you and your family harm.

I’ve always been fascinated by bright things that emerge, directly or indirectly, from dark origins. The hope is always that some good can come from something awful and tragic.

It’s the hope, at least.

Random thought for a random day.

I hope you all stay safe. And I hope you’re all loved by someone or something that you love.

Me: Honestly, it’s fine. You gotta trust me on this.

Podcast Version
Location: my kitchen, popping painkillers
Mood: contemplative
Music: tell me if you love me or not (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Damaged people are dangerous

They know they can survive

Well, my neighbors are back. So much for the afternoon screaming.

Years ago, I was casually talking to someone at my gym and I mentioned that I grew up poor.

A fella there overheard and scoffed.

Him: Nonea y’all know what it’s like to be poor.
Me: What do you mean by that?
Him: (shaking head) You’re not poor unless you’re black and’ve gone hungry.
Me: Well, one of those two applies to me. I’ve had sleep for dinner plenty of times.

I grew up before the microwave. Or, at least, before the microwave was affordable.

Both my parents worked, so I’d come home, alone, and unlock the door to our tiny apartment and go to the sink.

I’d go to the sink for two reasons: (1) To wash my hands, and (2) because my mom would always put two unopened cans of Chef Boyardee in a pot with hot water trickling out of the faucet to warm them up.

Ideally beef ravioli but, really, whatever was on sale; cheese ravioli was always such a disappointment.

Then again, I grew up wearing homemade clothes. My grandma knit those hats my brother and I are wearing in the pic above.

Anywho, my mom always left a note that said something like:

Please try to save some for your sister – I love you!

It was then that I realized that “serving size” was a joke. That was dinner. She wanted me to put it in a bowl but that just meant something else for me to do so I’d just eat it outta the can and tell her I washed the dish.

In hindsight, the canned spaghetti and meatballs were the worst.

I mean, I still ate it, but, yeah…

Watching the news these days, I’m reminded of things like that. People waiting in lines for food at the food banks.

I remember all the goddamn lines we stood on, growing up.

One fall day, my mom bundled my sister and me (my brother was away) in our warmest clothes and we stood in line for hours for something. I complained the entire time. Finally, she grabbed me by the shoulders and said:

They’re giving away free vaccine shots and we can’t afford to get you two shots any other way. If you want to eat tonight, you’ll wait.

And then she turned away and tried to hide the fact that she was crying.

Man, I felt awful at that moment.

I was 12? I’m 47 now and, while I don’t remember how the shot felt, I remember how making my mom feel inadequate felt.

As a parent now, I feel it all the more. I do what I can. They did what they could.

Realize it’s a luxury that I don’t have to worry about my next meal any more. If I want a party pack of tacos, I buy myself a goddamn party pack of tacos.

I have sleep for dinner these days outta choice, not necessity.

This lady named Josephine Hart once said something like: Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.

This pandemic is filling my head with such sad thoughts, I cannot even begin to tell you. But, perhaps that’s for the best.

Cause, I know I’m damaged.

If nuthin else, I survive shit, even when I don’t really wanna.

Podcast Version: Damaged People are Dangerous
Location: my empty apartment, now with lots of cheesecake
Mood: can’t look at another piece of cheesecake
Music: Man, I was dealt these cards and I played dem out (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Doubling-Down, Pt 2 – Baseline

Histrionic Personality Disorder

This is a long entry because I just wanna get this off my chest and be done with it.

I saw Chad the other day, which is another entry.  We were talking about this whole crazy situation when somehow our old coach came up, and this is actually why I returned to this topic.

Him: I want you to know for sure; he told me that he was kicking you out because Mouse was dating you.
Me: Oh my god, thank you for telling me. There was always a part of me wondering if I was crazy or not.

Continuing with my last post, on the three steps of an apology, our old coach always did Step 3, like offering free classes or taking people out to eat, but he never did Steps 1 or 2.

One day, a huge newbie came to the gym and we were doing take-downs. My coach asked me to work with the noob and the first thing he did was tackle me at full-speed, completely tearing my ACL.

My coach told me that he wouldn’t charge me for classes and also did fundraisers for Alison when she got sick, both of which I appreciated. But note that both are only Step 3.

He not only never did Step 1 – apologize for setting me up with a newbie without properly instructing him on what to do – like the acquaintance from my last entry, he doubled-down on 2.

You really should’ve just gone with it, Logan.

Meaning, I caused myself to tear my ACL and not the 200-pound newbie, who tackled me, and my coach’s poor supervision.

My coach wasn’t even looking at us when it happened. Trust me when I tell you, I went with it.

That was it. Eight years later, nuthin. He just left it with Step 3 and the double-down.

Actually, I finally hit the red line with him when he triple-downed with me with his weird attraction to Mouse and started me thinking deeply about what his damage was. It’s just creepy and weird all around.

Did you know that you need a physical injury for cancer? You can’t mentally will someone to get cancer, you have to have something actually injure you – a virus (HPV), a particle (asbestos, coal), a physical action (tick bite), something.

Well, when you hurt someone, without early intervention, that injury metastasizes like cancer.

You wanna stop cancer? You gotta get it early, Stage 1. If you do nothing? The worst outcome happens.

That’s why they’re so lonely. Because they not only don’t try to stop it at Stage 1, they double and triple-down, to ensure that there’s no relationship.

I remember bringing the three steps up with the acquaintance and he just scoffed and essentially said, That’s just you, most people don’t need that. That’s demonstrably false, especially since he’s destroyed every relationship that mattered to him, ever.

That’s like saying, you don’t need medical intervention to cure cancer, just drink lemon juice.

Dude, your naked belief doesn’t change something factually true. The truth is that the best bet for curing cancer – and it’s a shitshow, lemme tell ya – is to throw every scientifically valid thing against it.

You screwed up and you wanna save a relationship? The starting point for everyone on the planet is the three steps. Everyone. That’s baseline.

If I’m honest with myself, I never got over that my coach destroyed my physical body and just moved on with his life. I can’t, I don’t have that luxury.

For the rest of my life, when I wake up, my knee reminds me of his failure as a coach and – frankly – as a basic, decent human being.

Our mutual friend asked me to forgive him and I told him honestly: No. He’s never done the baseline of what forgiveness requires. Not for any of us: Me, Chad, Pac, Robinson, just off the top of my head.

He injured us all in some way and went about his life and those injuries metastasized. What could’ve been an easy fix – I’m sorry, I had a bad day, I’ll make it up to you – is now insurmountable because of the doubling/tripling-down.

It’s your fault.

And that’s why these people are the loneliest people I know: Their 14-year-old selves were somehow taught that you never apologize for things (properly – all three steps). Their adult-selves, and others, pay the price.

They share more with Trump than they can admit. And Trump is a lonely soul.

Interestingly, all the people I mentioned – Trump, Michael Scott from the office, my acquaintance, and my old coach – all seem to suffer from Histrionic Personality Disorder.

They have weird relationships with the opposite sex (they can only have opposite-sex relationships that have some sexual component to it), are attention-seeking, and have poor impulse-control, among other things.

The two people I know personally definitely had traumatic childhoods, and I do pity them. But I also accept that they will never change because they don’t want to. They make the conscious choice to not change and to double- and triple-down, every single time.

That’s not healthy for anyone. I don’t wish them any ill; I just don’t want to risk getting injured again.

None of these people are bad people. Like everyone, they’re capable of good and bad actions. But if they can’t accept responsibility when they factually hurt other people, it overwhelms whatever good they possess.

At least for me.

Look, I get what happened to me was eight years ago. But what’s changed besides time? Time not only doesn’t replace the three steps, time makes the three steps even harder – for everyone.

Halsey wrote a song called, You Should Be Sad for her ex. She was basically saying that she wanted the relationship to work but it didn’t. She was sad over what was lost but, at least according to the song, he didn’t even give her that: Grief over losing the relationship, Step 2.

I get it. Cause that’s baseline, man. I’m sorry. I feel bad. What can I do to fix this? That’s baseline.

Podcast Version: Doubling-Down, Pt 2 – Baseline
Location: my empty apartment, which is fulla carbs
Mood: thoughtful
Music: I tried to help you, it just made you mad (Spotify)
Subscribe!
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.