I’m all for marriage, gay or otherwise

Marriage is not just a piece of paper because we’re not teenagers

Black and white dinner setting

I wrote the below a long time ago to a friend who told me she loved her boyfriend but wouldn’t marry him because marriage was “just a piece of paper.”


Let’s put aside all these teenage ideas of love and romance and talk about this like realistic adults, ok?

This fella named Pericles once said, Just because you do not take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean that politics won’t take an interest in you.

Hold that thought.

Yes, you can live without a piece of paper that says you’re married. But you’re gonna need a lot more papers without that marriage license.

  • Have a bank account together? You’ll need a piece of paper that says you have access to all monies in each of those accounts.
  • Have a car? You’ll need a piece of paper that says you’re allowed to drive it.
  • You live in his house? You’ll need a piece of paper that says you’re allowed to stay in it if something happens to him.
  • He’s in an accident? You’ll need a piece of paper that says you’re allowed to see him.

You see where I’m going with this, yeah?

We’re talking thousands of different documents – and you’ll also need to predict the future.

Can you predict that you two will be on vacation one day, you’ll both be riding motorcycles, a mudslide comes, kills him, and your passports are in your hotel room lockbox that only he knows the combo for and he put the room on his credit card, so you cannot say goodbye to him at all?

That’s an actual case!

So, without that license – that “piece of paper” you so casually dismiss – each time you two do anything together, you’ll need a different piece of paper.

You also need those papers notarized because the mom/dad/brother/former kid will fight you on it. You need to go to court to prove it’s real. This happens constantly.

Google “stieg larsson girlfriend.” Constantly.

I’m working on something where my client has spent $60,000 to disprove a SINGLE signature on a single doc.

Another true example (and why I’m for gay marriage) an insurance company disallowed a man from collecting the $1 million for insurance for his mate for cancer treatment. He went to court and eventually won – but his mate died in that time.

He didn’t have the right to get the legal grace of marriage. You do.

Look, if you don’t want to get married because of the cost, or because you don’t really love him, or whatever, say that. But don’t say it’s because you don’t need a piece of paper that says you two love each other. We’re not teenagers.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics, the government, doesn’t mean that politics the government won’t take an interest in you.

My legal $0.02,



They broke up not that long ago

I wrote once that attraction is not a choice. Integrity forces me to say that it’s not a qualified statement: Attraction is not a choice for straight people only.

As for me, I find marriage comforting. It’s nice to know that someone is on your side.

Life is hard enough without someone on your side. Everyone needs someone on their side.

Me: (to wife) Can you help me with something?
Her: Sure.

Location: getting dressed to see my pop (again)
Mood: hopeful
Music: You’ve got your home of the brave and I’ve got my land of the free
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The militant religious and non-religious

I don’t understand militant atheists

Cathedral in the UWS in NYC

Spent yesterday in church because it was Palm Sunday and also because I had a meeting. I still volunteer there after all these years.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly devout Christian in the big city. I merely am one

It’s a bit like when I wrote about being left-handed and proud – not exactly since one can choose to be religious or not – it’s similar in that it’s merely a state of being.

At least for me.

I do take issue with the number of people that – particularly on Facebook – feel it’s their duty in life to shame those that are religious. Moreover, I don’t think they would ever sign on and mock Muslims or Jews but Christians seem to be fair game.

A Salon article sent to me this morning by my Columbia University educated wrasslin coach sums up my thoughts on the matter whereby militant atheism has itself become it’s own religion.

And that’s precisely why I find it all so puzzling.

I am not 100% that there even is a god, let alone my god. But in my moments of doubt and belief, I find myself more often than not siding with my belief.

After all, if there is a god, he exists completely separate from my belief in him.

Yet a day doesn’t go by where I don’t have someone post something about their love of Atheism. Atheism, by definition, a rejection of all religions. It is the absence of religion. This is also different from Agnosticism where one is neither certain there is or isn’t a god.

Yet the people I run across are so smugly sure that there isn’t a god that it’s elevated to it’s own belief system.

“As one philosopher put it, being a militant atheist is like ‘sleeping furiously.'”

And with any belief system, there is that sense of superiority that I detest so very much.

The thing that jumped out at me from the article is the line that went: Dogmatists have one advantage: they are poor listeners.

In the very last tiff that I got into regarding someone bashing Christianity, this young fella that goes to my gym engaged me but only to tell me his beliefs and then write: “I will not be further commenting on this thread.”

At which point, I also stopped; partly because I found him childish, partly because of his sloppy grammar, and partly because trying to discuss anything with a militant – any militant – is a waste of time.

It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing: It’s a waste of your time and annoys the pig.

Speaking of my gym, there are dozens of really dangerous people that walk around. But you’d never know it because they know they’re dangerous. They don’t need to prove it to anyone else.

And if asked to prove it, they would and not simply say, I choose not to engage.

Again, that’s why I find militant atheism so peculiar.

If they were so sure of their beliefs, they wouldn’t feel the need to constantly prove it. I don’t.

Moreover, why would they care what I or anyone else believes?

I can assure you, my wrassln coach doesn’t care if I think I can beat him in a fight or not, he knows he can beat me in a fight. I know he can – that’s why he’s the coach.

As for my needing to say something, I read something by Elie Wiesel in junior high school where he “swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

That is a good thing to swear to, I think.

Someone should always say something.

Location: getting dressed to see my pop
Mood: devout(ish)
Music: I have to climb Up on the side of this mountain of mine
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The history of Rum is the history of US

Why do I drink aged rum?

Liquor storefront in NYC

Consider this my ode to aged rum.

Merriam-Webster defines distillation as the process of purifying a liquid by successive evaporation and condensation.

Removal through fire and heat, if you will, of all that is not the essence of something.

  • Brandy is the purified essence of wine.
  • Whiskey is the purified essence of beer.*

And rum? Well, the French call traditional rum, ruhm industrial for a very particular reason.

Rum is made of industrial waste. It is the distilled essence of industrial waste, then.

It’s made from molasses, the waste byproduct of sugar manufacturing. It was the leftover, black soupy crap that gummed up the works of the sugar machines. An annoyance at best.

You couldn’t give the stuff away.

But people discovered that you could ferment it and distill it and get a drink so terrible that it could kill the devil himself, so they called it Kill-Devil.

Later, as all good marketers do, it was re-branded to Rum and it stuck.

Now the rum that most people drink is essentially like moonshine.

It’s only a step or two above the Kill-Devil stuff they made back in the day. However, if you took a barrel that was burned on the inside – to kill bacteria and germs – put rum in that barrel, and then put that barrel on a ship bound for distant lands, it becomes something more.

It ages. It mellows. It becomes the best version of itself.

Crack open a bottle of aged rum and it’s something completely different from its roots.

I drink aged rum because I like how it tastes. And because I imagine I’m a pirate. And because one can drink buckets of the stuff and not have a hangover.

But it’s also because it’s like finding your people.

You like someone initially because of some small connection but as you delve further, you find you’re more similar than different.

I like to think of aged rum like me: Thoroughly American – despite outward appearances – with a sense of history, descended from people no one wanted, bound for distant shores, rough and crude in my youth and better with time.

And, with time, I’m hoping I’ll be better still.

Glass of aged rum

*For some additional reading on rum, pick up a copy of  And a Bottle of Rum by Wayne Curtis – it was he who pointed out the Brandy/Whiskey/Rum distinction. Great book and it comes with rum recipes (!)

While you’re at it, pick up a bottle of Cruzan Single-Barrel Rum and have it on the rocks with a thick slice of orange that you partially squeezed into a whiskey glass.

If you close your eyes, you can just about imagine sunnier shores.

Location: about to run to the gym
Mood: finally rested
Music: if you’re right, you’ll agree, here’s coming a better version of me
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It’s not easy being a responsible adult

Lobsters from Maine

Fresh cooked lobster

The wife’s boss lives in Maine and stopped by for dinner on Sunday with fresh lobsters he brought. Did not know that one can just board a regular plane with a cooler full of lobsters and seaweed.

Now, I’ve always liked the guy, but anyone that’s willing to haul a cooler full of six lobsters and about 15 pounds of seaweed across four state line’s a good boss in my book.

Live lobsters from Maine.

Me: (yawning loudly)
Her: What was that? It sounded like a horn from middle earth.
Me: Thanks Hon.

Still fighting the insomnia. It’s been pretty bad lately. Every time daylight savings happens, it seems to be worse.

Got four invitations to watch the GSP v. Diaz fight but had the turn them all down because I’ve been trying to stay on a tight sleep schedule to get a handle on the insomnia and not seem totally loopy on Sunday in front of the wife’s boss.

It’s not easy being a responsible adult.

Which is fine, because I do it so rarely.

Location: Astoria, Queens
Mood: busy
Music: hear your moonlight dancing crash into the ocean
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Insomnia and a day of meetings on tap

Another sleepless night

Had a bunch of things I wanted to write about but a particularly bad bout of insomnia this week has made it so that everything’s hazy. A copy of a copy of a copy.

Last night a car alarm kept my entire building awake as well so that was beyond irritating. Wanted to go outside with a sledgehammer.

Now I’ve got to slap myself awake and prep for a day of meetings from 11AM to 7:30PM. No fun.

In some ways, NYC and I are in an abusive relationship. She treats me terribly but her charms are enough that I stay. Some of us are just nighthawks, I suppose.

Apparently Billy Joel feels the same way too; check out this vid with him and a random Vanderbuilt college kid named Michael Pollock that wants to play the piano with him.

Here’s the thing: If you never ask, there’s zero chance you’ll get what you want. The risk one takes by opening the mouth and asking changes everything.

Everything good comes from the asking. Michael Pollock asked to play and Joel said yes.

Guess it’s time for another meeting.

Why yes, I will have another cup of coffee…

Mood: ex-fricken-hausted
Music: so easy livin’ day by day Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
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Goldfish are limited to the size of their bowl

Your surroundings determine your growth

The title of this post is a bit misleading; it’s only partly true that it’s the size of a bowl that limits the size of a goldfish. It’s more accurate to say that:

A goldfish in a small bowl, that’s fed just a little bit, will grow slowly and most likely die as a small goldfish. A lot has to do with the nitrate concentration of the bowl whereby the smaller the bowl, the higher the relative concentration.

But for the sake of not boring you more than I normally do, let’s just say it’s (a) the size of the bowl, (b) the type of fish, and (c) how much crap that fish ingests.

I have an interesting cross section of friends. One group is made up of my college friends, the other is made up of my business/legal friends, the other is made up by my fencing/wrasslin/fighting friends.

If there is a plus with being almost 40, it’s that I can choose exactly what to do with my time, and with whom I spend it. I get to choose my bowl, if you will.

Another thing I do is try to minimize the amount of crap I take in, both literally and figuratively. Literally, I try to eat well and minimize my intake of processed foods whenever possible. Gyros not withstanding. Pureprovender helps me out with this.

Figuratively, try to minimize my intake of crap beliefs whenever possible too. I’m regularly surprised who I find on one end of a spectrum or another.

The hopelessly liberal that believe that every person of wealth is evil (type of fish) and the intransigent conservative that ignores environment (size of bowl).

The feverishly religious is as difficult to stand as the ardently atheist. The list goes on.

I recognize my own prejudices but, because of social media, have to put up all these shrill – unsourced – beliefs.

Luckily, I can block them out but I set up a reminder for myself to check in with them every so often. But it’s ever the same. They’re in their same bowls, ingesting the same nitrogen. A frog in a well knows nothing of the ocean.

It’s disappointing but living your own life is hard enough so I just let be and swim away.

As for me, I seek bigger bowls whenever possible.

Mood: upbeat
Music: I’m just a normal boy that sank when I fell overboard
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If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything

These are two people who don’t know the definition of “Great”

Hitler, I am beginning to feel, is a very great man, like an inspired religious leader…not scheming, not selfish, not greedy for power, but a mystic, a visionary who really wants the best for his country….

— Charles Lindbergh on meeting Adolf Hitler (1936)

He’s a great guy.

— Dennis Rodman on meeting Kim Jong Un (2013)


Imagine for a moment that you remembered everything you ever learned. Ever high school lesson, every cooking recipe, everything. You would probably be the smartest person on earth.

But the opposite is also true; if you don’t learn anything from the past, you may end up the dumbest person on earth.

While we’re all stupid on different subjects, the universally stupid seem to be those people that refuse to learn anything about history. Because history is nuthin if not repetitive.

Michael Crichton once said that, If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.

Unfortunately, if Facebook has taught me anything, it’s that people have zero sense of history. Yet they’re part of a greater collective, a greater tree of stupid.

This worries me.

Then again, I can hardly count myself amongst the truly smart.

Her: Didn’t you just say those chips were making you feel sick?
Me: Yes.
Her: They why are you continuing to eat them?!
Me: (mouthful of chips) I’m not.


My buddy Ji just started a blog too so here’s a little plug for him – Better Pickled.

And while I’m at it, please check out artist Dana Burns, who left NYC to be an artist in France and posts in both English and French! Grenobloise

Mood: busy
Music: He’s so simple minded he can’t drive his module
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We spend our lives looking for our people

Saint Clair Cemin's - Portrait of the Word Why -in Verdi Square
Said once that the people that you choose to hang around with are mirrors to some aspect of yourself.

If you are a boxer, chances are high that you have a lot of boxer friends; if you are pianist, chances are high that you have friends that are musicians. Trekkies know trekkies.

It’s because we connect with people on narrow lines and as we get to know them, we find that we have more connections or less connections than we originally thought.

If we have less, these people fade away; if we have more, we find ourselves more and more involved with their lives.

I think it goes:

  1. stranger
  2. acquaintance
  3. friend
  4. close friend
  5. tribe-member
  6. family

Somewhere, we end up cutting or tightening the relationships between 2 and 4. And we all know people that should have cut and tightened instead and we also know those that cut that shouldn’t have.

Ultimately, we spend our lives looking for our people – looking for others in our tribe. Sometimes it cuts along racial lines, sometimes, religious, and sometimes something else entirely.

It’s quite something when you find your people, your person, and your poison.

When you meet your people – even if it’s not said – there’s the thought, “Where have you been this whole time?”

Me: Have you ever heard this song?
Her: Are you kidding, I love that song!

Mood: sore
Music: You and I travel to the beat of a different drum
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