Thursday, February 16, 2023

Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch just died.

You could not have been alive 50 years ago and been unaware of who she was. Western society elevated her to the pinnacle of womanhood -- a dubious and slippery perch.

At that time Raquel said something deeply true, not just for her but for many women who learn conventional "beauty" isn't an attribute but a tool: "To have it said that you’re a sex symbol, the most beautiful girl in the world, is initially terrific. You think, isn’t that neat? Then you pass a mirror and you say, ‘Uh-oh, that face ain’t gonna launch a thousand ships, and that bod’s not so hot either.’ Nobody can be the most beautiful girl in the world. It’s just fairy-tale time. Now, after some psychotherapy, I’ve come to grips with the monster and said OK, there’s the public thing, the label. It means money and the chance to do other things. It’s going to be tough, but using it you can open up the other side and let people find out you’re a serious artist." (source)

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Valentine's Day

I hit the Valentine's Day jackpot last night. Took Robin to dinner and a live concert of Beatles songs by a talented band at My Father's Place

Robin sang, danced and laughed all night -- the happiest I've seen her in years. Beatles music magically makes people happy: there was enthusiasm from teenagers to 80-year olds.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Legal Marijuana

New York State recently made marijuana legal for recreational use and the first store just opened in NYC. To its credit the State is prioritizing social justice in licensing sellers. The first store is a laudable non-profit (Housing Works) which started in 1990 to help people with AIDS find housing. Currently it provides housing, healthcare, and vocational training to thousands of New Yorkers. I went into the city for an art event today so I added a detour to Housing Works and -- legally -- bought cannabis.

I understand those who oppose marijuana but (1) it's legal here, (2) I'm an adult, and (3) you're gonna have to respect my self-determination. As a former pot-user I know the scare tactics of the drug war (from 1960s onward) were untrue: I'm not going to become a heroin addict after puffing a joint.

Candidly I haven't smoked grass in 40 years. I consumed it in college and law school, then dropped the activity when I got a job. For me lighting up after such a long time is more nostalgia than anything else.

The reason I smoked during the seven years I spent in higher education was to reduce stress from academic striving. Those were tough years and pot helped me relax after long days of study. I didn't get that relief from alcohol and currently drink only for flavor or to improve socializing. 

Marijuana has changed over the past half-century. Grown with better care than the skunk-weed we often got, it's cultivated by horticulturalists who know what they're doing. Legal weed is guaranteed pure and safe, avoiding contamination that sometimes taints illegal pot. Plus, a new market is opening -- products designed to appeal to connoisseurs. Terms like terpenes and cannobinoids are used to distinguish among different weed strains. Each type is labeled with its percentage of THC (the thing that makes you high) so telling strong product from weak is now easy. This isn't your grandpa's ganja.

Buying pot in New York means standing in line, proving you're over 21, selecting from a menu and paying. Like you do for everything else. Simple and efficient. The menu has dozens of brands of pot in flower form, rolled joints, vape oil and edibles. 

Have you ever smoked pot? Will legalization make you consider it again?

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Kim Petras

Kim Petras is a 30-year old singer from Germany. She's transgender and transitioned when she was 16. Her career is blossoming and she's hitting a number of firsts. Last year she was the first transgender performer to appear in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. This year she won a Grammy for Best Duo/Group and is the first transgender musician to do that. She also performed at the Grammys with Sam Smith ("Unholy").

Have you heard of her? Her music?

Monday, February 6, 2023

Winter Scenes

Photography teaches us how to see -- which we do with our brain, not our eyes.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

5-Bar Tour

In the dead of winter motorcyclists get bored. To combat this we go on a 5-bar tour. One of us knows dive bars intimately throughout New York City and leads us on a fun excursion. It changes every year.

This year the tour included sights like the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, the Dakota Hotel where John Lennon was living when killed, and the firehouse used in the Ghostbuster movies.

Have you ever been to New York City?