One of my oldest and dearest friends called me the other day.
Me: What’s up? How’ve you been? Him: (laughing) OK. I heard about your uncle and your anniversary and I wanted to check in on you. Me: Thanks man, it’s been a rough few weeks. Him: I know, that’s why I’m calling. (later) I should mention that I was in the ER two weeks ago. They’re still not 100% what happened but I was there for five days. Me: Holy shitballs, what happened? Him: I was feeling pain in my stomach like crazy so I went to the ER and told the attendant that I was in a tremendous amount of pain. Like a 7 or 8. He said, “You don’t look like you’re in a lot of pain.” Me: What did you say? Him: I told him, “That’s cause I’m not a whiney-ass bitch.” Me: (laughing) Yeah, that sounds like you.
A large dose of antibiotics cleared him out enough that they didn’t have to cut him open. But he’s gotta go back for more tests.
Him: I didn’t wanna tell you because… Me: Dude, the past two weeks, I was a whiney-ass bitch. It’s good you didn’t tell me. I absolutely wouldn’t have handled it well. Him: (quietly) Then I’m glad I didn’t tell you.
He’s been through his own stuff. He’s one of the people that I told you lost his mother recently. He understands grief.
Me: The fucked up thing is that, unlike most people, I understand that life is a non-linear system. I get that. Bad things happen and the life you expect isn’t promised you. But…I never expected my life – and Alison’s – to be quite so non-linear. Him: It is a non-linear system, yeah. But we have some things like our family and good friends. Me: You know, if there is a god, he fucking hates us. Or maybe he’s just a racist asshole. Him: (laughing) Maybe, Logan. Maybe.
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.
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.
A cornerstone of this blog is that communication isn’t what you say, it’s what the listener hears. That’s because this is my blog and that’s a cornerstone of my life.
Above’s a picture of JFK’s presidential inauguration. Look at the men in the crowd of the picture. What do you see?
Hats. Dudes wore hats back then. Period.
But now, check out Johnson’s inauguration pic just a few years later. Notice that, while there are hats, there are a lot fewer of them.
The answer’s pretty simple; JFK generally didn’t wear hats. And dudes that saw him walk around without a hat thought – consciously or unconsciously – Well, if he’s not wearing a hat, I’m not gonna wear one either.
Did JFK purposely go out of his way to single-handedly destroy the hat-making industry in America? Probably not. But that’s what happened.
Unintended consequences and alla that.
I’ve been noticing that the deep red people I know are suddenly fixated on China as the evil empire – which it is, for sure – when they never previously posted anything about it before.
Similarly, wearing a mask has become a political statement versus a simple safety measure.
I also note that Trump has generally not worn a mask and that the US now leads the world in COVID-19 rates and deaths.
To say that JFK destroyed the hat industry is to simply go back and piece together facts.
To say that Trump killed his fellow Americans by the thousands is probably similarly accurate, although only time will tell.
As for me, I’m glad that JFK didn’t wear hats because, with my huge head, I’d probably block out the sun.
Wrote once about The Pigtail Ordinance: That was when this super racist judge in 1873 tossed out alla these racist local laws against the Chinese because he knew that the laws were contrary to the Constitution, the controlling law of the land.
In other words, he upheld the main law of the land over his own personal feelings.
You see, the Constitution says you can’t hurt a group of people just because you don’t like them.
That’s equal protection, which came about in 1868; The Pigtail Ordinance was shot down just five years later, which makes it all the more impressive.
But logically, if what I just said is true – that the Constitution says you can’t hurt a group of people just because you don’t like them – then the contrapositive must also be true: If you like a group of people, you can’t help them.
Thought about that with everything that’s going on politically.
Nowadays, it’s all about one’s team winning – whatever winning entails – at the cost of following the rules. Help those you like, hurt those you don’t. That’s not how it should be.
That’s all a preface for an unpopular thing I’m about to say:
Since we’re walking down memory lane together, do you remember when I flew to give a lecture in front of the Paris Bar Association? The topic I was speaking about was VARA: The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. VARA was the law in question for this case.
Most of my clients – when I had clients – were artists.
So I’ve always been on the artists side. And what I’ve always believed was that VARA didn’t go far enough to protect artists. For example:
Why are only visual artists protected?
Why isn’t the art protected if the artist wants it destroyed?
Why is the law written so that only works of “recognized stature” are protected?
That last one always bothered me. Because who is to say when a work is of “recognized stature?”
But that’s one of the main areas where the judge got it wrong (amongst others).
In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, he saw that the developer was kinda a sleezeball, which he was, and simply assumed that 45 (45!) works of graffiti were of “recognized stature.”
That’s just not fair.
If I put a gun to the head of the average person and asked him/her to point out the Mona Lisa or Nighthawks, chances are they’d get it.
What if I did the same thing but asked him/her to name any one of these art pieces?
What if I did the same thing to the average art critic?
VARA is a wrong law and but that’s still the law. You don’t get to cherry-pick the laws you like and the laws you don’t like.
A racist judge shouldn’t ignore the Constitution to help white people.
A (rightfully) offended judge shouldn’t ignore the wording of a poorly constructed federal law to help these artists and hurt an unsavory person.
The artists were allowed to paint on the exterior of this building. That doesn’t give them the right to prevent the building from being torn down. They could have removed their art, at their cost, or taken hi-res pictures of it, which they did.
How the developer did it – without warning – was sleazy. But VARA doesn’t comment on the character of the art benefactor.
VARA should be replaced with a better law that truly protects art and the artist. But until then, it should be followed.
Below’s me talking about the case a lifetime ago. If you want to read my notes on the subject, you can download the powerpoint here.
And now I return to my life now: changing diapers and trying to figure out a way to get my kid to eat something besides peanut butter.
I bought another suit a while ago. My tailor isn’t in the US so it takes a few months to reach me.
Got it because my old black suit was looking worn. And the reason I need another solid jet black suit is because I seem to at an age where I’m going to funerals and memorials a lot more than anyone might want.
Not that anyone ever wants to go to them.
Have a memorial coming up next week for my buddy Bobbie and the suit arrived in time for that. Unfortunately, sad events don’t follow anyone’s timeline.
Then, unexpectedly, had to go to one for his brother just last week. It seems terribly cruel for such misery to visited upon anyone, let alone someone so young.
In any case, my suit arrived the very next day. I found that odd.
Writer Neil Gaiman said in one of his books:
I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me feel uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult. Today they gave me comfort of a kind. I was wearing the right clothes for a hard day.
I agree with that.
For me, a black suit is comforting in it’s own way. It strikes the right, somber tone for a very wrong day.
If you’re willing to eat meat, you should be willing to kill it
Me: The best part of a chicken is the back. Him: (disgusted) I’m not eating that. Me: More for me.
My parents grew up in a time and place where they’ve each had to kill something to eat, my mother in particular.
When I was little kid, I went to Taiwan to see her mother, my grandma, who showed me how to properly kill a chicken. I saw this chicken walking around one moment and decapitated the next. She then proceeded to butcher it in the alley behind the house, careful not to nick any of the intestines.
Her: You’ll wreck it, otherwise. Do it wrong and you’ll get poop everywhere. Me: Poop? Her: Poop. Everywhere.
She did all this while smoking a cigarette, which is neither here nor there – just comically funny to me.
In any case, I saw the above video a few days ago; a friend put it up. It bothers me. People who have no problem buying sausage and a visceral reaction to seeing a pig being “slaughtered” for that sausage.
That strikes me as wrong.
If you’re gonna eat something, you should be able to accept that you’re about to eat something that was once a living, breathing animal.
It part of the reason why I find just tossing away food of any type, particularly meat, troubling.
That was once a living thing. Living things should be treated with respect.
Wife: You can’t have 19 Big Macs in a row! Me: Technically, I could.
They’re having this deal where you get two burgers for one and I look for any excuse to stuff my fat face.
Which reminds me of a discussion I had regarding Jennifer 8. Lee’s book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, where she said that Chinese restaurants in America outnumber McDonalds, Burger Kings, and Wendy’s combined.
The thing is that there’s no one single large Chinese food chain, like Logan’s Chinese Food, Gyro, and Chili Extravaganza.
The reason why, I think, is because of the sheer number of items that a Chinese restaurant carries. There’re too many dishes, recipes, and ingredients in most restaurants to be consistently good at all of them.
Relate it to my own life because I find so many things intellectually stimulating but I gotta force myself not to concentrate on the things I actually really care about.
Speaking of things I really care about: The wife is heading to her parents for a spell for a little break while I get some work done around the house. So we’re trying to cram in together time while we can.
In our own special fashion.
Her: (hugging me) I’m gonna miss that face… Me: Aw, thanks… Wife: …and your giant, giant, head.