The bar is on the floor

Dating nonsense

It was a strange week.

I joke a lot that I appreciate men in NYC being so bad with women because it makes my job so much easier.

As the Counselor likes to say, “The bar is on the floor,” so any improvement on top of that is significant.

Like I said, compared to the average NYC dude, I’m a goddamn pleasure.

Having said that, there’s a distinct negative to this reality, which is that very wealthy and/or very attractive women just behave in ways that are, frankly, appalling.

Case-in-point, one rando, but very attractive, blonde hit me up outta the blue the other day on IG and she seemed really friendly and nice with a large number of followers, which made me think she was normal.

But, when I took too long to respond to a question, she lost her mind and started ranting about some crazy stuff.

I had to block her and delete that convo because it got so unhinged.

Here’s the thing, I realize that I – as a man – have the luxury to simply move on with my life, while women that have to deal with this kinda nonsense have to contend with stalkers and far worse.

Still, I wonder a lot how people are raised that they can make demands of another person they barely know.

And my follow-up question is, how many men are jumping through every hoop this lady throws at them?

Me: Man, it’s awful out there.
Her: Well, yeah. On that note, what are we doing here?

As for the other reason why it was a weird week, was because I had two defining-the-relationship talks with two different women.

Like with Alison, I figure that I’ll know what I want when I meet what I want.

I’ve always found that logic has a limited role in these types of things.

Her: I just want to know that I’m not wasting my time.
Me: I get that. I only have about 11,000 days left here and I’m not looking to waste any of them. I wish I could give you more clarity than that.

After all these years, people are still the same, and – I suppose – I’m still ever the same.

We all have our front-runners and back-burners and the only real question is when to tell people where they are and where I am.

It’s the part of dating I hate the most and the part that I’d hoped I was long past almost decade-and-a-half-ago when I told Alison that all I wanted was her.

Location: the gym, of course, trying to drop two more pounds
Mood: earnest
Music: Nothing’s good enough for anybody else, it seems (Spotify)
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It’s always devestating

Honest and for true

Her: Do you want some cherries?
Me: Sure, rum if you have it, or beer – ideally light, since I’m watching my weight.
Her: Wait, I asked if you wanted cherries.
Me: (shrugging) I’ll just have any beer you have then.
Her: (laughs and gets two beers)

The boy just “graduated” his swimming class the other day

I remember learning how to swim at the YMCA on Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens.

Seems like a lifetime ago. Suppose it was.

He kept asking me to go to his last swimming class and the fact he so wanted me to be there was endearing. I couldn’t say no.

Him: You promise you’ll come?
Me: Yes.
Him: You swear?
Me: I do. But I don’t need to. I wanna see you swim.
Him: Really?
Me: (nodding) Honest and for true.

He got a certificate at the end of it and he stared at it with such joy and wonder that I wished, so badly, that Alison or someone was there with me to see how happy and proud he was, insteada just me.

Him: (noticing my face) You’re not happy that I finished?
Me: No, it’s not that at all. (smiling) Sorry, papa was thinking of something else. I’m super proud of you, kiddo.

Around the anniversary of Alison’s passing this year, the ABFF suggested we take the kids out for ice cream.

She actually got some balloons for the kids to write messages for Alison on and released them on her roof.

I didn’t go with them because I’d been pretty raw for a while.

It was touching, though, to see how much the ABFF loved Alison. I remember Alison telling me once how special she was to her as well.

Life is hard without your people. It’s always good when you find members of your tribe.

And it’s always devastating when you lose them.

We’re just left picking up the pieces.

Her: I’ll get some wine.
Me: I only like really sweet wines.
Her: Like what?
Me: Get a Moscato because I’m secretly a 65 year-old suburban Italian woman.

Read this report that people that lose meaningful relationships have long term mental, physical, and emotional issues – the more relationships you lose, the worse off you are in all three.

Couldn’t find that specific report but it’s pretty clear that good relationships lead to better lives all around.

And bad or no relationships lead to just awful lives.

In 2017, I lost both Alison and my dad, and I don’t think I’ve been anything close to who and what I used to be.

Just losing one would have been devastating but to lose them both within 90 days was more than I could bear, I think. Pretty sure I went a little starkers there.

Don’t really recognize who I was during that time, but I’m not sure who and what I am now.

Hope, whoever I end up being, it’s someone good. For the kid, if nuthin else.

I’m running outta time.

Location: earlier today, telling him not to be afraid of his dark room
Mood: messy
Music: look at our life now, all tattered and torn (Spotify)
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Dreaming of Revenge

A deadly diaspora

More thoughts on Ukraine: Do you remember when I went to Boston and wrote about the Irish?

Did you know that there are seven times more Irish in America than there are in Ireland? Legit.

There’s a new world coming – again, provided these fuckers don’t blow it up first – and it’s going to be a diaspora of Ukrainians who aren’t going to forget who and what did this to them took their home from them.

Like, the Irish aren’t forgetting about the famine anytime soon. And the Jews aren’t forgetting about the Holocaust anytime soon.

And, as I’ve said before, if cancer was a person, there is nothing on earth that would stop me from getting to him/her after what it did to my family. Nothing.

I’m beyond incensed over what’s happening in Ukraine and I’m 100% Chinese.

I can only imagine the hatred and dreams of revenge that young Ukrainian men and women are feeling right now.

I wrote a novel once that you can buy on Amazon if you’re so inclined. In it, I opened the book with a quote from artist Paul Gauguin:

Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.

Knowing as many Ukrainians as I do, I don’t see them forgetting who and what did this to them who took their home from them.

I don’t think the Russian government/Putin fully realize how many of these young men, women, and children now dream of revenge. That’s not a good thing for them.

Her: Did you read about…?
Me: I did.
Her: Wait, you didn’t even hear what I was going to say.
Me: If it’s about the war, I did. I most definitely did and wish I didn’t.

I made the kid some duck confit again – the first time around, he kinda liked it. Well, he liked it with the rice at least.

This time around, a lot less so.

Him: Why can’t we just have McDonalds?

Now, here’s the kicker – I said the exact same thing to my dad ages ago.

See, when I was his age, my dad owned a Japanese restaurant and food that he couldn’t sell and would go bad, he’d bring home for us.

So, we had sushi constantly and lobster and crab pretty regularly. I remember him telling us that we would regret this when we got older and he was totally right.

Me: OK, if I gave you some barbeque sauce from McDonalds to dip the duck into would you…
Him: Yes! I want that.

Ah, it’s moments like this I wish my dad were here so I could tell him about the boy. And that he was right. About so much. And that I miss him terribly.

Now, I want some sushi. Or more duck. Or even McDonalds.

I’m just hungry, yo. That, and I like to eat my feelings.

Speaking of eating my feelings, Daisy’s back. Kinda.

It’s a long story and hard to explain.

I’ll try and sort it all out for you at some point. Really, I’m trying to sort it all out for me, but I’ll tell you all about it if I do.

Location: at the gym, getting repeatedly strangled by Pez and Erin
Mood: so, so, so hungry
Music: Home Sweet Home (Spotify)
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Questionable and Complex

Palsgraf

Her: I showed my friend your picture and told her that you’re almost 49. She said, “He looks 32!” And she’s Asian!
Me: Whoa, now that’s a compliment.
Her: I’ll send it to you so you can frame it in your room.
Me: God, yes please…

I’m turning 49 in a week. On the one hand, I realize that not everyone gets to celebrate turning a year older so I’m lucky to have the chance.

On the other hand, every passing year gives me anxiety, not so much that I’ll die – although there is that – so much as I feel I’m running out of time to give the boy the tools I think he’ll need to navigate this world.

In some way, this blog itself is a tool for him.

I try to write as honestly as I can so that he can get what knowledge he can about why I am as I am and how I think.

Suppose time will tell if this is a good or terrible idea.

Her: You’re not worried about all the stuff you write about?
Me: No. Because I write about life and life itself is questionable and complex. If nothing else, he’ll read this blog and know that Alison and I loved him and I loved her. That works for me.

Her: I’m just visiting a few different schools. Wait, you’re the knife guy!
Me: What? (laughs) I’ve never had anyone call me that before.
Her: Really? But you are the knife guy, yeah?
Me: So it would seem.

There’s a place called the Summer Palace (頤和園; Yíhéyuán) that was the pinnacle of luxury and glory back in the days of Imperial China.

The legend goes – and this might just be pure sexism against someone that was actually awful but also happened to be a woman – that the Empress Dowager Cixi embezzled funds from the Chinese Navy to pay for work with it.

At the time, the Chinese navy was supposed to be the strongest navy in all of Asia. But when the Japanese invaded and the navy was totally trounced, the truth was uncovered – all of their technological and personnel advancements were just fluff.

Regardless if it was the Dowager or someone/something else embezzling the money, the money that was supposed to get to the military, never made it there.

Here, we’re seeing the same thing in Russia versus Ukraine. Just like China was supposed to easily beat Japan, Russia was supposed to easily beat Ukraine. But how does a politician like Putin own things like $700 million yachts?

I suspect the same way the Dowager could afford a second palace.

In 2022, China is still struggling to be the equal of the west, because of this national theft.

Think that that 2122’s Russia – provided we didn’t annihilate the world via nukes by then – will still be struggling with cascading consequences of what’s happening right now.

Who the fuck needs a second palace or a $700 million yacht?

There’s a name that instantly pulls every lawyer in America back to their first year of law school: Palsgraf.

It’s a long story, but it too is a story of unforeseen, cascading consequences.

The last time I said that name was close to a quarter century ago.

Her: How would you prove the chain of causation in that?
Me: Well, this is first time in my life, I’ve been on a date and the phrase, “Chain of causation” was used. Have you ever dated a lawyer before, Counselor?
Her: God, no.
Me: Yeah, I never fished off the company pier before. Oh wait, you’re gonna make me say it…
Her: What?
Me: Palsgraf.
Her: Oh, no! You said it! (laughs)

Location: A park, trying to get out of a conversation with a different pretty girl because she was freaking me out
Mood: more conflicted than ever, but for totally different reasons
Music: Any way you want it, that’s the way you need it (Spotify)
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The Mouse that Roared

Punching above our weight classes

My son’s eczema seems to be getting progressively worse and it’s alarming.

I’ve, unfortunately, had a lotta experience in watching someone I care about suffer from it. Watching my son trying to deal with it is just awful.

It was originally just a small patch on his back but now it covers large amounts of his body and he’s always asking me to scratch him.

Him: Stop, stop!
Me: Why?
Him: I have to scratch. (does so) I’m sorry I keep stopping.
Me: (shaking head) Don’t apologize for that. I’m sorry you’re uncomfortable.

I’ve now spent a small fortune on ointments, creams, and bath additions as well reading up on any number of things that are supposed to ameliorate things, with limited effectiveness.

Oddly, oatmeal seems to help matters, at least according to what I’ve been reading and what I know.

So, in addition to giving this kid regular oatmeal baths, which he tends to enjoy save for his annoyance with taking baths in general, I’ve been baking him oatmeal cookies and feeding him bowls of oatmeal like there’s no tomorrow.

The hope is that, once summer arrives, he’ll do much better.

In the meantime, I’m spending waaaay too much time reading up on the matter and feeling for everyone that has to deal with this nonsense.

On an unrelated point, and very separate from the horrors that we’re watching unfold in Ukraine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the novel, The Mouse That Roared.

I last read it when I was in grade school, maybe, so I’m sure I’ll get some of the details wrong, but it’s essentially the satirical story of a tiny nation that decides to start a war with the US in the hopes of losing and having the US rebuild them, stronger and better.

The kicker, however, is that they win and have no idea what to do after they’ve won.

It’s a bit like the Joker’s speech in The Dark Knight where Joker tells Two-Face that he’s just a dog chasing cars.

I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it.

Just like the British were unprepared for America winning the Revolutionary War, the Soviets were beaten by the Finns in WWII – fighting on skis of all things – the Koreans thrashed the Japanese Empire in 1592, and modern America was essentially beaten by Vietnam, I wonder if Ukraine has a chance to not just claw back its original territory from Russia but also regain Crimea and any other regions that Russia annexed.

If I’ve learned anything in my life, it’s that it’s difficult to adequately gauge the effects of (a) motivation, (b) home court advantage, and (c) luck on expected outcomes.

Let’s hope the Ukrainians continue to punch (way) above their weight.

And FWIW, I’m pretty sure the Ukrainians can figure out what to do if they do get back what’s rightfully theirs.

On a completely unrelated matter, we finally have a new Scenic Fights video up, this time regarding Atomic Blonde.

Give it a go?

I’m not sure what I’m doing in that still above…

Location: 7PM, the kitchen, making duck confit for a six-year old that wants McDonalds
Mood: irritated that I have to compete against McDonalds
Music: Remedy, running through the red lights (Spotify)
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Love is the eye of the storm

That’s why I asked

It’s been busy lately, for a number of reasons.

Red: I should tell you I’m married.
Me: That would have been useful information to have prior to this.
Her: We have an open relationship.
Me: I’m glad you found your person. Unfortunately, that’s not my bag.
Her:  I’ve never [had someone just say no].
Me: Life is nothing if not unexpected. I’m a terrible person, to be sure. But I don’t fuck with marriage.

Blue: Do you really want to know?
Me: That’s why I asked.
Her: Both my parents died and I was 16. So it was either leave school or be homeless. I made a choice. That’s probably why I’m [so successful now].
Me: That’s called a “Hobson’s Choice,” because you really had no choice at all. And I’m sorry.
Her: Don’t be. You didn’t do anything. And everything worked out.
Me: (shrugging) I’m sorry because I’m human. And some people’s human experience is much worse than others.
Her: I appreciate that, after all you’ve been through, you still have empathy for others.
Me: (laughing) How could I not? 

Green/White: I was married. Twice. Are you sure you want to hear about it?
Me: That’s why I asked.
Her: (shrugging) The first one, I was just a kid and it ended early. But the second one just ended right before the pandemic. He had his own trauma and the deal was that he would go to therapy after we got married.
Me: I assume he didn’t.
Her: (bitterly) No. You can tell I’m still angry about it. Sorry.
Me: Don’t apologize for your genuine emotions. You earned them. So, you’re entitled to them.


White: There wasn’t a straw in my drink.
Me: OK. (thinking) Ah, you think I put something into it.
Her: Well…
Me: (taking a sip of her drink) If I end up passing out because someone – not me – roofied your drink, just make sure I get into a cab toward the upper west side?

Black: It’s like a job. Once or twice a week, I wake up, switch on an app, answer a few dozen stupid/boring questions from a buncha stupid/boring guys, and then go on with my week.
Me: Ah, modern romance. Where do I stack up?
Her: (laughing) Are you sure you want to know?
Me: That’s why I asked.
Her: Charming. Handsome.  But shallow. Unable to commit.
Me: (nodding) Seems accurate.

Me: Well, I don’t mean this sound overly romantic, but if you’ll allow me to be maudlin and sentimental…
Her: Let’s hear it.
Me: (nodding) The universe, all of reality, is a storm. Love is the eye of that storm; the one bit of peace in an otherwise cruel and dispassionate world that doesn’t give a shit if we live or die. We’re born naked and confused, without claws, teeth, or fur. Nothing. We only survived because someone loved us enough to make sure we did. I don’t get why someone would want less than that. It’s like someone turning down a billion dollars. Yet, they throw away love for stupid shit as if it isn’t the most rare and valuable thing in existence. And that, Counselor, is what I want. Something I had once and was taken from me.

Location: Solas, of course
Mood: exhausted
Music: Put your arms ’round my neck, and your heart on my chest (Spotify)
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Everybody wants to rule the world

That must be nice

When my dad dropped me off at college, he gave me a hug and told me loved me before he left.

My suitemate – who was also Chinese – marveled at that.

Him: I don’t think my dad ever told me that he loved me.
Me: Really?
Him: Yeah. It’s not a really Chinese thing to do. Was he born here?
Me: (laughing) No, not at all.
Him: Oh. (quiet) That must be nice.

When I was a really young adult, I went to this rooftop party and chatted with this pretty girl. I suppose to impress her, I hopped onto the parapet while we were speaking.

Decades later, I still remember her eyes widening in horror. “Dude, we’re like 20 stories up! Get down from there!”

I remember laughing and hopping back down but then glancing over and realizing just how stupid that was. It was a straight drop down onto the Manhattan pavement.

The rest of the night was a disaster as I fully absorbed the what-if of that whole scenario.

The war in Ukraine eats at me for any number of reasons, least of which is the inequity of everything. These people were literally just living their lives when some douchebag decided to start murdering people, including pregnant women and unborn children.

And therein lies my own personal nexus with the matter.

Unlike Russia, which has been called the world’s gas station, Ukraine has a number of industries that the world relies upon. One major shadow industry they have is surrogacy:

It’s one of the only countries in the world where you can legally pay someone to have your own biological child.

For reasons we don’t need to get into now – although I’m sure you can guess – since 2021, I’ve been heavily researching surrogacy. To the point where I got one of my Russian speaking friends to speak to an agency about costs and procedures.

Fast forward to now. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of day/week/month-old infants whose biological parents are probably emotional wrecks knowing that their child – possibly their only chance to ever have a child ever – is being kept alive by nurses that are literally risking their lives just to keep them somewhat alive.

Man, Putin is really a special kinda motherfucker. Women really should rule the world.

It’s heartbreaking and maddening and yet another thing that pulls me away from the golden mean.

Just like the what-if of my parapet jump comes out of nowhere from time-to-time to haunt me, I’m haunted by the what-if I sent one of my only chances to have another biological child of mine and Alison’s to a warzone?

Would I try to get her, somehow? Or stay here to take care of the boy and not risk leaving him alone in the world?

Would she roam the world wondering who her parents were? Would she even be alive? Would people be nice to her? Would she be nice to people? Would she know she had a brother? Would she know I loved her?

Would she have Alison’s laugh?

 

 

Shit.

Him: Why are they doing that?
Me: I don’t know. I suppose everybody wants to rule the world.
Him: Do you?
Me: (thinking) If only to keep you safe. (later) I love you, you know?
Him: (laughing) I know.

Location: earlier tonight, just off West End Avenue and W. 79th Street, waiting
Mood: so conflicted
Music: It’s my own design, it’s my own remorse (Spotify)
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Then let’s go

Who knows about tomorrow?

One thing that the kid takes after me is that he runs hot. He often doesn’t wear a jacket out and I see parents looking at me as if I’m crazy.

But, I figure, he knows when he’s uncomfortable so I’m gonna respect that.

On that note, I’ve been wrestling with bringing my son to jits these days because of his eczema.

But, from everything I’ve been researching, most kids grow out of it so I’m hoping that this is just because our apartment is obscenely dry.

Hoping that the summer will be much better for him.

My very first girlfriend came from this very wealthy family. In 1990, her weekly allowance was $100, which is about $215 in 2022 purchasing power.

Mine was $20, I think?

At that time, I thought McDonalds was eating out, but she took me to places like Tavern on the Green and the restaurant at Rockefeller Center.

For our one-month “anniversary,” I bought her a pair of cheap gold-plated earrings; she got me a limited edition automatic Fendi watch. It was strange and different.

I think that the people that we let into our lives leave pieces of themselves with you – again, that whole you’re the average of the five people thing I always talk about.

She was not the nicest person and, because she was my first girlfriend, she left a lot of her good and bad traits and outlooks with me. How I look at dating, women, relationships, etc.

I think that, even some three decades later, I’m still trying to rid myself of bad traits people leave with me, including hers.

On the flip side, after Alison died, I left most of my old friends – who probably represent some of the best parts of me – because they were a constant reminder of her to me but, enough time has passed that it’s not that sharp anymore, which is one of the reasons I’m seeing them more these days.

One person I see somewhat regularly is her best friend. We actually don’t talk about Alison all that much but she’s a constant presence in our conversations, regardless.

It’s nice because I still feel connected to Alison in these small ways as I disconnect with others.

It’s strange. I feel like the past six years, my life was lived by someone else, someone I feel sorry for. He suffered, Alison suffered. It was all just shit.

Over a decade ago, I wrote about St. Augustine and how he ran into a prostitute that he used to visit before he became St. Augustine. The story goes that she tried to get his attention and when he walked past her, she said, Augustine, it is I.

And he replied without stopping, Yes, but it is not I. Because he wasn’t that guy any more. He looked like him but was not him.

That’s kind of how I feel again. I remember the horror and sadness, but I almost feel detached from it. It was me but not me.

Suppose it’s a survival mechanism but I do need to survive after all, so it makes sense.

Anywho, it was actually the second time I wrote about St. Augustine because, five years prior to that, I felt the same way.

Honestly, I don’t remember either guy at all – neither the 2006 version of me, nor the 2011 version of me.

If there is anything I have of value, for better or worse, it is the ability to survive and forget. Blessed are the forgetful, for they get the better even of their blunders.

I remember seeking the Golden Mean in 2006, again in 2011, and again now. It’s not ideal but it’s better than the alternative, I suppose.

Her: Are you ok?
Me: (shrugging) I am today. Who knows about tomorrow?

On that note, I limit myself to only a few articles a day about what’s happening in Ukraine. I feel my blood boil and the emotions rise again when I read about pregnant women being attacked in a hospital for, really, nothing but money.

This article about a man losing his entire family set me off for a while before I put it away in head.

His wife was 43, his son Mykyta was 18 and daughter Alisa was nine, when they were murdered this past Sunday.

All I could think was that, if it was me, I would burn the entire world down and wouldn’t stop until someone killed me. Hardly a healthy mental state.

And this fucked up world is the world I’m bringing this kid up in.

I wonder if my buddy was right about the ethics of having a kid. But it’s too late, regardless, I’m in it. We’re in it.

I’ve gotta make sure he’s ready.

Him: Are we going to jiu-jitsu?
Me: Do you want to go?
Him: Yes!
Me: (laughing) Then let’s go.

Location: earlier today, watching him do an armbar for the first time
Mood: affectionate
Music: you ain’t coming home. I am your family tree (Spotify)
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Opinion: Understanding the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian Conflict

It’s about the money

I interrupt my usual talk about nuthin to discuss yet another topic I know very little about. As you read this, please keep in mind that I’m basically a stay-at-home dad that owns a gym so everything I’m about to say is most likely nonsense.

Just like everyone else in the world, I think I’m right, though.


In 2015, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

This was echoed recently by Harvard economist Jason Furman who went further to say Russia’s economy is “incredibly unimportant in the global economy except for oil and gas….[i]t’s basically a big gas station.

What Putin is selling to the world right now, however, isn’t gas but the following story: The Ukrainians are essentially Russian and he’s just trying to unify them and protect them.

I call bullshit. But hold that thought.

(c) Wikipedia

Let’s turn to 1931 Japan for a hot second.

See, that’s when Japan sought to create the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (GEACPS) by saying that, “[w]e’re all Asian. We need to unite against white people. We’re gonna do that by taking over everyone so we can adequately protect you all.”

Sound familiar?

Under the banner of GEACPS, Japan did all manners of incredibly fucked-up shit.

But, according to Washington Post reporter Daniel Yergin, this was all bullshit – of course – it was for something a lot simpler: Oil.

Japan had – and has – zero oil and realized that it needed to invade other countries to acquire oil, hence all the GEACPS bullshit.

Things hit a massive bump when Japan invaded China in 1937, freaking out the US and causing the US to freeze all oil sales to Japan on August 1st, 1941. This action, plus the freezing of Japanese assets the month prior in July of 1941, directly caused the Asian Theatre portion of World War II.

 

Back to today, 2022.

Here, we have the same situation in reverse; Russia isn’t in need of energy – in this case, gas not oil – it has too much of it. And nuthin else. That’s all it has. Think of the last Russian car, jeans, movie, you purchased. I’m guessing you can’t.

All they have is a shitton of gas but, lucky for them, the world could use that.

But, just like most things in the world, it’s not the product itself that’s the issue, it’s the getting of the product to the consumer’s hands that’s the issue.

(c) Wikipedia

That’s why you’ve probably read about the Nord 2 pipeline; that’s this big-ass pipe Russia’s been building for the past ten years or so to get its gas to Germany and the rest of Europe.

But how’s Russia been able to get its gas to Europe for the past ten years while they’re building this damn thing?

BAM! Ukraine, baby.

Well, Ukraine and Belarus. But Belarus is essentially Russia. Check out the map below.

(c) Wikipedia

Here’s where things get nuts. Well, nuttier.

See, Ukraine and Russia worked out a deal where Russia would pay it for transport of gas from Russia via those red lines you see above. Irritating for a fella like Putin but business is business, right?

Except in 2009, Ukraine was accused of skimmin a little off the top for themselves. The facts, on both sides, were a little muddy but kinda irrelevant: Putin believed that they were stealing gas and that was when things really started heating up between the two countries, ending up where we are today.


I’m a New Yorker. There’s one thing you learn early on in NY; you don’t mess around with organized crime. And you sure as hell don’t interfere in the money-making ventures of organized crime.

But imagine a mob that ran a country and only had one single thing of value (albeit a shitton of that one thing) and (a) you were responsible for distribution of that thing to their biggest customer and (b) you were thought to have skimmed a little off the top?

Well, if you know anything about Bugsy Siegal and/or watched Casino, you know how well that worked out.

A poster of the film Casino. Distributed by Universal Pictures

I’m, not-at-all, blaming the Ukraine for this mess. They’re just trying to get paid for use of their land and the people of Ukraine are just trying to live.

They’ve been at war for years now, with Ukraine having battle-hardened soldiers ready to fight.

But Russia’s still bigger in every sense of the word and they’re betting that it’s easier, and cheaper, to take over the Ukraine a la Belarus than keep paying Ukraine.

What NATO has to do is convince them that the economic cost of trying to take over the Ukraine is gonna cost a lot more than just paying them rent.

Hence alla the sanctions.

It’s anyone’s guess if they can do that.

Russia is willing to start WWIII under the same pretenses of Japan in WWII. Probably with the same disastrous results.

None of this is good. And it’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.

Location: earlier today, wondering if we should move to Montana
Mood: concerned
Music: Man, I had a dreadful flight (Spotify)
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Women don’t get that luxury, Logan

Horror and a buncha random texts

Lately, my life’s been a whirlwind of things, almost all bad. Don’t even know where to start.

Since my injury in October, I’ve been to physical therapy for months. Finally got cleared to go back on the mats – without a brace – about two weeks ago.

Well, earlier this week, stepped onto the mats and someone I was sparring with got hold of my ankle and torqued it so hard that one girl said she heard it across the room.

She was so concerned that she wrote me, which was super sweet. We have some solid people in our gym.

(In our gym’s defense, this was a visitor and not one of our normal guys.)

It happened in a flash; I didn’t have a chance to tap. In terms of pain, it was just slightly less than the time I popped my ACL.

Regardless, after four months of being in rehab, two weeks of limited normalcy, I’m right back to where I started in October and injured again.

It’s less than ideal.

HEI saw my post and, like a million people I know, is dealing with her own health issues, so she shot me this.

There’s definitely something in the air.

Me: No! My LEFT hand. You have to hold my LEFT hand.
Him: But why?
Me: Because…because I need my right hand free.

I’ve been in my head a lot lately for a number of reasons I’m still trying to sort out.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to think clearly about anything what with the rising lunacy of the city.

The recent horrific and senseless killings of Christina Yuna Lee and Michelle Go – both Asian women – has my female and Asian friends on high alert.

I’m already stressed walking around with my kid when I’m relatively healthy. Being injured all these months have made matters worse. This latest injury, all the more so.

Plus, I feel bad for the kid because he’s too young to understand.

Although I recently met up with a young woman and her nine-year-old daughter and the topic of Christina Yuna Lee came up.

Maybe I shouldn’t keep him for knowing the world as it really is.

Daughter: Who was that (Christina Yuna Lee)?
Me: A woman, who got hurt.
Woman: (correcting me to her daughter) No. She was killed. She was killed by a stranger.
Me: (later) Don’t you think she’s a little young to know about these types of horrors?
Woman: (shaking her head) Girls don’t get that luxury of not knowing these things, Logan. Women don’t get that luxury.

I get that, I suppose, as much as a guy can get that.

Everything’s a horror these days but I forget that horror comes in layers of more horror.

Him: Are you mad to me?
Me: (shaking head) No, I’m sorry. Papa’s foot hurts and I’m just…frustrated.
Him: If I could, I’d carry you!
Me: (smiling) I know you would, kid. I know you would. Here, take my hand. My left hand. My other left, kid.


A babysitter I recently hired shot me this text and I was both flattered and somewhat creeped out.

This happens to me with some regularity so I can only imagine what a woman’s life must be like.

Actually, TBH, I’d rather not.

Location: waiting for the subway elevator
Mood: a bad mix
Music: wish that I could go back and say, “Hey, now or never” (Spotify)
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