Monday, October 30, 2023

Halloween (#5)

Halloween Costume #5: Creating the last costume displayed in this series, a mermaid, I went all out. I employed props and designed lighting for an oceanic photoshoot. The prospect of becoming a mermaid filled me with bouyant enthusiasm. Believing there are no creative limits on Halloween projects, I dove into this one. Afterward I went for a long swim among my fellow sea-creatures.

Detecting a thread in these costumes? Half-fish. Half-deer. Half-romantic. You might suspect I'm only half-normal. I wouldn't dispute that. The other half, my friends, is a mystery. :)

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Halloween (#4)

Halloween Costume #4: Great character in a classic film -- Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in "Casablanca." Here's looking at you, kid.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Halloween (#3)

Halloween Costume #3: Twenty years ago "Alias" was an exciting television show. It was created by JJ Abrams. The show stars Jennifer Garner as secret agent Sydney Bristow. Packed with action, "Alias" ran for five years and was very popular (2001-2006). If you've never seen it, you're in for a treat; you can find it on DVD and streaming platforms (e.g., Amazon Freevee).

You know how much I like secret agents and espionage stories. A decade ago I dressed up as Sydney Bristow for Halloween (2013). Yes, that's a gun and grenade strapped to my leg. I use them to escape when my cover is blown at fancy cocktail parties.

A spy must be a master of disguise willing to fully commit to a false identity and utilize it to accomplish our mission. When the fate of the world is at stake, half-measures are not enough. You need to fully commit, as I do here. :)

Friday, October 27, 2023

Halloween (#2)

Halloween Costume #2: "Sweet Tooth" is a fantasy TV show on Netflix (2021+). Its main character is a boy named Gus who is half-human, half-deer. The story revolves around Gus searching for his mother in a dangerous apocalypse.

Charmed by the character and story, I chose to portray Gus on Halloween two years ago. Note the deer ears and antlers!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Halloween (#1)

Halloween delights me. The holiday grants us freedom to have fun and be creative. Everything is allowed.

I try not to miss such opportunity but, this year, I can't participate. My condition precludes making a costume and photographing it. I've tried -- and failed -- to take pictures recently because my eyesight just isn't good enough. Perhaps by next year I'll discover a work-around.

In the meantime I thought it'd be fun to re-visit some old Halloween costumes of mine. From now until Halloween I'm gonna display my favorite past costumes, one a day. Let's start with my all-time best outfit (below). 

Can you guess who I am? Hint: "It's finger-lickin' good."

Tuesday, October 24, 2023


I've vowed to stop posting about Bitcoin (and other crypto) because most people don't have any interest in the subject. Which is fine; this is America; everyone gets to choose how to live their life. I don't want to bore you; I just thought I was being helpful alerting everyone to valuable news. Before I stop, let me issue one last post as I go silent.

Bitcoin is soon going to soar to the Moon and beyond. Ice is thawing in the current "crypto-winter" and first cracks appeared today causing BTC's value to jump significantly. The reason BTC is going to explode are inevitable governmental approvals of "spot ETFs." The first approval might happen this year; several are almost certain next year. (We're talking about U.S. government; ETFs are available in other countries.)

Long story short: the SEC, under lobbying influence from the banking industry, has been opposing crypto-currency by (1) refusing to develop regulations (which have already been adopted in Europe); (2) refusing to approve any of dozens of proposed ETFs over the past five years, and (3) pursuing misguided enforcement actions.

SEC has been suffering judicial losses in those enforcement actions, including a recent major defeat of their core argument (claiming that cryptos are "securities"). While final outcomes in those cases are years away (since SEC vows to appeal its defeats) and, thus, not going to cause change soon, movement on ETFs is going to happen more quickly and will have immense impact.

SEC was sued by one of the largest financial institutions for dragging its heels in reviewing their ETF application. A District Court directed SEC to move forward with the review. SEC did not. Today the same Court ordered SEC to do its job or face contempt sanctions. This is like your parent getting loud and signaling your delay going to bed is over. You realize they're serious this time.

There is no legitimate ground to deny approving spot ETFs. None. SEC, against its desire to continue protecting banks from competition, will have to take this action or face more litigation from a powerful opponent (and others). Lobbying money spent by banks to influence the SEC to neglect doing its job won't be efficacious any more in the face of firm judicial pressure.

Approving ETFs will open a floodgate of investment money which will flow into crypto and pump prices up dramatically. The only question is when. I recommend getting in before this happens. That, of course, is an individual decision and I won't mention the subject again. 

Good luck. Be safe out there.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Money and Bathrooms

As hard as my life is now, I'm hanging on -- and seeing improvement. Last night, for example, I had dinner with friends at my favorite restaurant (Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor). During the three-hour meal, I made $52,000. Really!

One of my larger stock-holdings is Netflix (NFLX). The company released third-quarter earnings at 6 pm and instantly soared 12%. Between appetizers and dessert I made a tidy profit.

Dinner was delightful and our conversation was charming. The only downside was midway through the meal when I needed to use the  bathroom. Eager to display my new independence I declined assistance and ventured off by myself. The restaurant was dark; my vision is only half as bright as it used to be and I wandered, wandered, wandered. Eventually I asked staff and they pointed in directions but that didn't help; I couldn't see the door even when standing in front of it. During my expedition I visited the restaurant's basement and didn't find a restroom there either. 

As tough as this was it was still better than my experience at the Rock (the arena where the Devils play). My friend Charlie led me to the bathroom entrance and I went inside. After doing my business I looked for a way out and couldn't find one. I couldn't see any opening in the white walls and circled around and around inside the large room. Eventually Charlie realized something was wrong, came in and rescued me. 

I want to be as self-sufficient as before but impaired vision presents some obstacles. At least I'm trying -- and making money while I eat. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

Friday the 13th

Today is Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th! In October, the spookiest month of the year! Are you superstitious? 

Fortunately I don't suffer from  paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th). I took a long walk this morning, crossed the busiest street on Long Island several times and rewarded my courage with a hot cup of java at a distant Starbucks. All without incident. No problems at all. I'm sure your day will go smoothly too.

While I have you, can I share something? Let me begin by saying I try to be joyful. I try to spread happiness in the world. Something was bothering me and I reflected on it during my walk. I've decided to spin the experience around, deplete it of distress and try to adopt a healthy attitude. Let me know what you think.

When facing mortal peril our emotions become super-charged. Small gestures possess heightened importance. A single kind word feels like a mountain of support. The opposite, however, is equally true.

Almost all of my friends (like you!) have offered sympathetic words during my ordeal this year. I appreciate that more deeply than you realize. Your support lifted me out of despair so dark I can't even describe its pit. Learning I have friends, hearing they care re-connected me to life. I was teetering on a cliff where all prospects were possible, including falling off.

That's the good news. 95% of my friends lived up to the label and receive huge credit and appreciation from me. 

There are, however, a few who did not offer support. The 5% who disappeared. I reached out to them seeking to include them in my journey and discovered they don't want to hear about it. Or from me.

I understand I'm an acquired taste and not everybody wants to be my friend. I accept that. But dumping me when I'm suffering seems cruel. These are people I thought were friends -- certainly I treated them as such -- so their rejection at this moment hurts. I don't know what shambolic thoughts these folks have (maybe they're afraid blindness is contagious) but their coldness felt awful.

After considering this I've just decided to let it go. I have plenty of friends willing to accept gifts I offer; I needn't worry about a few who don't. Their retreat from my life is no longer a concern.

I hope your Friday the 13th is smooth sailing. :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Helping Out

I believe in helping others. Artists in particular, for two reasons.

First, their journeys are hard. Society doesn't reward or even compensate most artists for their work. They struggle simply to be able to continue in their efforts.

Second, art is a social good. A gift to humanity. We should acknowledge that. If others don't I will.

Through friends I recently became acquainted with a young glass-blower in Ohio (Ian). He's been pursuing glass for a few years and is very ambitious in his artistic goals. Ian hasn't achieved any success yet but that's okay; public attention is fickle and not a judge of merit.

Ian posted online that his car was recently broken into and the thief took all of his valuable glass-blowing equipment. Ian needs to replace the equipment to keep working but lacks funds. I contacted him privately, offered to help him purchase new equipment and mailed a check that he received today.

I can't think of a better use of that money.

(P.S., I'm not identifying Ian's last name to keep this private.)

Thursday, October 5, 2023

A New Hockey Season

I'm back, baby!

Last night my friend Charlie and I traveled to New Jersey and watched the NJ Devils beat the NY Rangers 5-2 in an exciting game. The Devils skated fast and sharp; the Rangers less so. A new hockey season is starting and, after last year's breakout success, the Devils are serious contenders. They've won all of their first six games so far. Plus, there's nobody else to root for in New York sports right now -- the Mets and Yankees failed to made the baseball playoffs; the Jets and Giants in football look awful.

Honestly I was unsure what it'd be like to watch hockey with my new visual impairments. Fortunately none of them interfered. And it was thrilling to join 18,000 other people and jump up when the Devils scored. The atmosphere at the Rock was electric with gleeful fans, colorful lights and blaring sounds. Charlie helped me safely navigate the crowd and we had fun. 

A few months ago I worried this type of experience was lost to me. But it's not; it's just harder. Rewards make the effort worthwhile.