Cyrano de Low and the Siege of Melos

Yo-Yo, the Philosopher

Back before I met Alison, I recall writing emails to women on behalf of my friends, or – at the very least – editing them.

Now, with everyone texting these days, I find myself being asked by friends to respond to messages from women. It’s all pretty amusing for me, gotta say.

I was trying to explain to one friend that communication isn’t just what you say but what the listener/reader hears.

To further drive the point home, I told him something that I tell my friends alla time but also gave him two versions of the same concept: The first is by Thucydides during the Seige of Melos and the second by a kid called Yo-Yo in my junior high school.

 

On a related note, a young woman in my gym is going back to college – an ivy league – and wondering what she should pick as her major if she wants to go to law school.

Been telling her that, if that’s the case, she should really consider philosophy and read more from people like Thucydides – although, admittedly, he’s more of a historian than straight philosopher.

I actually never took any philosophy classes as an undergrad and it’s a regret of mine.

As for my own dating life, I saw the Acrobat and the Counselor recently, which is always entertaining, conversation-wise and otherwise.

Me: (noticing her ordering an open drink) Aren’t you concerned about roofies?
Her: With you? No. Not even sure I’d object. No wait, I would. I’d want to be awake for that.
Me: Noted.

The Counselor was actually in my area doing a cold sauna, for people with inflammation (everyone has inflammation to varying degrees).

The concept is to step into a super cold – negative 140 degrees Celsius – room and just be there for three minutes.

She was part ice cube when I met up with her.

Her: It was so cold, Logan!
Me: (laughing) I can imagine.

We ended up going to the Dublin House, which I’ve actually never been to, despite it being only a few blocks south of me and one of the oldest bars in NYC with a really cool neon sign that was recently rehabed.

Me: You should take advantage of me while you can. These looks won’t last forever.
Her: (shrugging) I figure that if you were going to fall apart, it would have happened already.

The Dublin House was cool but without air conditioning so we went to another of my usual bars around the way.

This one had both air conditioning and candy all over the place. Unfortunately, I’m dieting for a couple of things coming up so I ended up trying to hand the candy to other people so I wouldn’t be tempted.

We’ve both been so busy that we’ve not actually seen each other in a while so we ended up chatting most of the evening.

Her: My last boyfriend was closer in age to my dad than me.
Me: No kidding. What was the age difference?
Her: (thinking) 15 years?
Me: Wait, that’s the difference between us.
Her: Oh! You’re right. I forget.

Location: sitting in front of a 14TB external USB drive at 5400RPM and an 8TB external USB drive at 7200RPM with a USB-C hub and wondering if I should shuck both, and then swap the internals.
Mood: super tired
Music: Fell in love with a girl who’s a few years younger (Spotify)
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Just-ever-so-slightly

Controlling the effects

Saw my mom and sis this past weekend. They were happy to see us, I think.

The cat, less so…

Also saw the surgeon, his brother, and their families this past weekend at another dinner party.

Surgeon’s wife: You really should ask out French Dancer. Except, she’s really young.
Me: Yeah, really young. I’m busy enough as it is, anywho.
Her: Oh! What’s the latest?
Me: Where to begin?

A couple that I didn’t know was there and the wife commented that I was probably 34 vis-a-vis something else entirely.

Me: Well, you get a hug for that.
Her: Wait, how old are you?
Me: Almost 50.
Her: How is that possible?!
Me: (shrugging) Same as everyone else: 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For 49 years.

I often marvel at how many really good souls I’ve met in my life.

While my luck – broadly speaking – is of the stripe most people don’t want, in that small regard, I consider myself lucky.

On a related point, there were about five women that I met after Alison died. They all had a hand in helping me pull myself outta my crazy and depression, to varying degrees.

Unfortunately, I was probably the worst version of myself so it’s no surprise that none of them are really on speaking terms with me. I get that.

It’s one of my 10,000 regrets.

On that point, Lviv rang me today. After everything that went down between us, I’m touched that she still finds the time to check in on me.

I told her, honestly, that I was grateful.

Me: Before you left, you said, very simply, “Love shouldn’t be this hard,” [about a messy situationship I was in]. I appreciate that and you. Thanks for that.
Her: Aww it’s good to hear, I just want you to be happy.

She didn’t realize what a profound effect her throwaway line had on me. In fact, it’s probably the main reason everything in my life has been so different – and better – these past several months.

Of course, she’s part of my possible pasts. I wonder what woulda happened between us if things were different.

I wonder about so many things that were just-ever-so-slightly outside of my control.

Boy: Why’s he so mean?
Me: I dunno, kid. Here’s the thing, though: You can’t control other people and how they treat you. But you can control how you let things affect you. Pretty soon, you won’t care. So, you can start not caring right now.
Him: OK. I’ll try.

Location: earlier today, chatting up a tall singer named Izzy in a park
Mood: hopeful
Music: I’m out of my mind but I’m feeling just fine (Spotify)
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Memorial Day Weekend 3: PSA – Recognizing a drowning victim

Drowning doesn’t look like drowning

Mentioned before that the kid “graduated” his swimming class recently – which means he can do some basic floating and kicking.

Well, when we first got to my buddy’s pad and the boy saw the pool, he was so excited that he cannonballed right into the deep end of the pool.

Luckily for both of us, I had already emptied out my pockets and taken off my shirt so I immediately dived in after him and hauled him out.

He was SUPER upset and wanted to get outta the pool but after a few minutes, calmed down and was back in the pool for a bit.

I’d gotten dressed and was chilling with my friends but kept an eye on him for the remainder of the day.

After a while, we both relaxed and I proceeded to absolutely crush whatever food was offered.

While I was doing this, the kid had climbed on top of a clear banana float. Almost as soon as he got on, he slipped off in the middle of the pool, which was still over his head.

I saw him go under and he exhibited all the classic drowning signs – which, if you don’t know, look nuthin like in the movies.

Here they are, for your edification, alla which the kid displayed perfectly.

        1. Mouth at water level, bobbing in and out of the water
        2. Arms out to the side.
        3. Head tilted back.
        4. Vertical body
        5. Gasping for breath.
        6. NO SOUND!

When someone is drowning, they’re desperately trying to breathe so there’s no chance to yell out, “Help.”

But as soon as I saw that he exhibited all six signs, I dove in after him, fully dressed.

This is what we looked like a few minutes later.

The whole process – my assessment and then going in after him – took less than two seconds but it felt like an eternity.

I pulled him out, sputtering, for the second time that day but this time there were no tears or crying.

He simply looked at me and said, “I’m sorry you had to get your shirt wet to save me.”

I wanted to cry. Partly because I’m always terrified of something happening to him, and partly because – goddamn, what a sweet little kid.

He almost drowns for the second time with me and is worried about me messing up a $20 tee-shirt. This is kid is gold.

Me: It’s fine. This my job. I’m here to take care of you.
Him: OK, papa. Thank you.
Me: I love you, kid. Let’s not scare papa like that again, ok?

Think that one of the hallmarks of good friends is that they try their best to make life annoying for you.

Case in point, there was a twisty slide that you can see in the above photo that the kid loved going down.

But, because it was at the deep end of the pool, I had to literally catch him and carry him all Lion-King-like to the shallow end of the pool.

Rick: (to my son) Do you want to go down the slide? Your daddy will catch you.
Me: What? No!
Him: Yay! Slide!
Me: (to Rick) God, I hate you.
Rick: (to son) It’s fun right!?

I did that half a dozen times before Gar’s wife, Wynn, gave him a life vest and I could go back to day-drinking.

He literally spent the next three hours climbing up the ladder, counting down 5-4-3-2-1, and then going down the slide.

When I was a very little kid, I remember my mom in either a pink or white dress and her suddenly jumping into a pool while we were on vacation somewhere.

Turns out that it was my kid sister drowning and my mom sprang into action. There’s nothing quite like a parent’s love for their child, which makes the recent national events in Texas all the more gutting.

In any case, all these years and decades later, and I still remember well when my mom saved my sister.

I suspect this past weekend will join it as one of my fondest memories.

Him: Do we have to go?
Me: All good things come to an end at some point. But we’ll do this again.
Him: Promise?
Me: (nodding) Absolutely.
Him: I’m sorry about your shirt.
Me: Don’t be. As long as you’re ok, I’m ok. OK?
Him: (nodding) OK.

Location: tonight, a party in midtown with PT Steve
Mood: grateful
Music: why you gotta be so in between loving me and leaving (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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Grief and I are old friends

Falling in love, repeatedly

The boy’s away for spring break so I’ve been catching up with people when I can.

Before he left, though, I went to his school for career day.

Me: OK, so I have few jobs I do. I’m a lawyer, I run a building, I own part of a gym, and I teach people how to fight. Which one do you…?
Kids: Fight!

That made me laugh. The boy looked so happy and proud of me, I coulda burst.

This fella – don’t remember who – once said that you don’t just love your kids, you fall in love with them. I’ll add to that: Repeatedly.

Gotta say, that’s spot on.

Him: Thanks for coming, papa!
Me: Sure. Thanks for being glad I came, kid.

 

Met someone recently that I’ll call Heidi. In many ways, she reminds me of Daisy; dealing with a lotta things, ranging from simple heartache to some serious horrors.

Her: It’s sweet that you’ll listen to a stranger. I’m sorry I’m crying.
Me: After my wife died, strangers listened to me. So, I figured I’d pay it forward. And you should never apologize to anyone for your honest emotions.
Her: Whatever happened with the last girl?
Me: (shrugging) We were awful to each other, in our own ways. I suppose –  not that it’s an excuse – that we were both trying to survive. Which is what you’re trying to do now: Whatever you need to do to survive.
Her: That’s the first helpful thing anyone’s told me.
Me: Unfortunately, grief and I are old friends.

Saw the Acrobat, briefly and I’ll just keep the details of that to myself. We’re both unmoored in the world, but for very different reasons.

I suspect we’re all looking for home, but she’s a leaf in the wind and I’m a ship on the waves.

Because of that, what we want for ourselves are two very different ideas of home.

Sunday, it was my birthday.

I’m 40-freaking-nine. I cannot believe it.

Him: Honestly, you’re like a vampire, Logan. I don’t think you’ve aged a day in the two decades I’ve known you.
Me: I always believed that I just aged slower than other people, for a buncha reasons. (thinking) But the last six years aged me more than any other time in my life, I think. So, I’m catching up.

Of course, I did the traditional Chinese breakfast of cooking a six-pound pork shoulder overnight and waking up early to make a Cuban Sandwich for myself with an overly sweet, hot cuppa joe.

Birthday brekkie of champions.

Her: You spent your birthday alone? (laughing) You need better friends. I would have taken you out.
Me: I know. I appreciate that. It’s fine. I’m not sure how good company I’d be, anywho.

My birthday always falls around Easter but this time it fell on Easter. I remembered that Alison made a whole weekend of plans for me once and we caught the Easter parade too.

This year, I wanted to see it alone.

But I didn’t quite make it – partly because Heidi called me, and partly because, I hit the grief button because Heidi called me and I couldn’t.

I was doing so well.

Maybe next year.

Location: home, baking four dozen high-protein chocolate chip cookies for him
Mood: allergic to life
Music: you are flowing like a river, washing right over my soul (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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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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