Monday, November 29, 2021
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Saturday, November 27, 2021
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
The history of slavery and racial segregation in America has been downplayed and whitewashed. Which explains why, when I saw this picture, I was so shocked. The emotional impact of the scene feels like a blow to my chest.
The photograph was taken by Gordon Parks, a noted African-American artist. In 1956 Parks was commissioned by Life magazine to go to segregated Alabama and document racial tensions entrenched there. This is one of his several photographs from that trip.
I was born in 1957. It's hard to believe that racial segregation existed in our lifetime but it has in mine.
Monday, November 22, 2021
Believe it or not -- there are credible news reports (here) that young women in South Korea are wearing hair curlers IN PUBLIC. With no shame or remorse. In fact, to the contrary, they're doing it with a sense of gender pride and style. The most popular use is with bangs.
What do you think? Are you as aghast as older Koreans at this new trend?
Sunday, November 21, 2021
These days we see people so glued to to their phone-screens that they walk across traffic without looking and even drive that way. Talk about risky behavior. The phenomenon causes me to examine why humans act this way. Here's what I'm learning.
Distraction is a way to avoid existential anxiety. Kierkegaard wrote "anxiety is the dizziness of freedom."
Humans are ambivalent about being free. On one hand we claim "I want to be free" but when we are free, it feels metaphorically like we don't have gravity. As a result, many people attach balls and chains to their lives so they don't have to experience freedom. Focusing on phone 'gram/games when you should be attuned to your physical environment is a symptom of this modern ailment.
My suggestion -- resist! Be consciously aware of your life as it slides by. There's pleasure in paying attention. And wisdom, too.
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
It's over. Finally.
In truth, being a commercial litigator (i.e., a lawyer who fights business cases) was never a natural fit for me. I'm a kind, gentle soul who prefers to improve the world, not tear it down. But this job I've had for 40 years involves confrontation, aggravation, stress and public speaking -- things at which I recoil but deal with because I have to. I never wanted to do this kind of work; I simply fell into it when fate dropped me into this position at the start of my career in 1982. I developed valuable skills for the work during my first employment and ultimately became good at the job. But I've always hated it.
My plan, from about 20 years ago until now, was to steer my career toward self-employment (so I could stop enriching others at my expense) and when I had enough money, quit. I've achieved that goal. I can afford to "retire" -- which for me means steering my energy and talent in different directions, not lounging on a couch in front of a TV. I have intense passion for numerous interests and multiple activities. I want to actively pursue them, not sit in an office. Work inhibits those pursuits; not working will create opportunity to explore my passions.
I've studied retirement options and plans during the past 2-3 years and have a firm, educated grasp on what I need to finance the rest of my life and how I want to spend that time. Rather than labor for clients merely for money, I want to tackle bigger, more meaningful goals without having to worry about money. That means not having to compromise my ideals for a buck. I can chase goals independent of financial outcome.
Today was, hopefully, the last trial of my career. A big case, I conducted it before a civil jury and devoted serious effort toward it. The case had been pending for ten years so I didn't want to retire leaving it unfinished. Today it wrapped up (successfully) and I can now gradually wind down my law practice without guilt.
It'll take several months to do that. I'll have to turn down new business during that time which is hard; it runs contrary to my ingrained business instinct. Just today a colleague was bragging to his client about how good I am and wrote that the client wants to come into my office ASAP to give me a fat check. How do you say no to that? I'll figure out how tomorrow.
Freedom. Freedom from stress and agita, that's what I want. Freedom to explore new ground, travel to new places, deepen my understanding of intellectual and artistic subjects. I won't run out of fun things to pursue so I want to get started without delay.
Wish me luck. :-)
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Sunday, November 7, 2021
What's the most thrilling thing you've ever done?
For me it's clear -- my laps at a racetrack on a motorcycle going as fast as one's skill and courage allow. No words adequately describe the extreme excitement of those experiences. You dance, full-bodied, with powerful forces of nature, trying to tame them as they threaten to throw your body off the track in nano-seconds.
I realized this fact today after some spirited riding this morning and now watching MotoGP, the highest level of pro racing. Riding a sportbike fast exceeds all other experiences I've had in my life. The stupendous speed, the remarkable rush, the critical need for full attention, there's nothing like it.
What do you do for thrills?
Friday, November 5, 2021
For my birthday someone gave me something I've never tried before: Pu' er tea.
Made in China, it looks and tastes like black tea but is actually fermented green tea. The flavor is unusual and appealing. The tea comes in fun-looking pressed discs.
Have you ever tried it?
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Monday, November 1, 2021
Question: what's the most you'd pay for a watch?
I'm looking for a new wristwatch and want something nice. Something of value, a watch I can keep for years. But at how high a cost?
The best watches are mechanical ones made in Switzerland. The tradition of hand-making watches is still alive there and expert technicians not only make watches by hand, they make the tools they use by hand. Design and craftsmanship distinguish these watches from ordinary, mass-produced, quartz-powered ones.
I fell in love with a beautiful watch by H. Moser & Cie. Their website doesn't list prices. I should have realized that since the company limits the number of watches they make (to 50 of these, to 1,200 total), the price was going to be steep. But I had no idea what level that is. When I found it, I was shocked... but... it is within reach. The real question is how important is this purchase to me, in terms of its priority against other potential purchases?
If you wear a watch (and yes I know the kids are using their phones these days instead), what's your limit? $500? $5,000? $50,000? More?