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The last update to this blog was in 2012. Since then, my marriage to Ann has dissolved. This was not a public matter until 2015, where I made an update to Facebook explaining that we had separated and would be divorcing. I also made it clear that the children were fine.
They are.

Thankfully, we chose to do a collaborative divorce and we live one mile apart. I see my children daily and communicate with their mother regularly. As a matter of fact, this morning we had breakfast at a diner, went over the summer schedule for the next two weeks, discussed some issues with each child, especially our 13-year-old daughter, she did me a favor, and all was fine.

We have both moved on; the children have no perception of animus (because, thankfully, that is past us), and kind of dig having two houses.

New mates have come into both of our lives and we are happier. The backstory, rationale, explanations, history and other examinations of how we got here are unimportant. Suffice to say that divorce is a painful, difficult process that comes at a cost that is beyond financial. It is a blessing to avoid litigation and to not have judges and attorneys determine your future lives.

I am engaged to Melissa, and that is a story for another time.

This past week I celebrated my 50th birthday and pondered Orwell’s famous quote:
“At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.”
Looking in the mirror, I was grateful for who I saw.


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There have been some news stories lately on the insensistive and flat out bigoted names given to customers by restaurant servers on their receipts. One of them was documented at a Papa Johns, where the receipt said “lady chinky eyes” and the company did the right thing and publicly apologized on Facebook

Of course, when I clicked on the Papa Johns Facebook page, I saw that some guy thought that it would be funny to pile on to the original offense and add not one, but two more asian jokes in the comment section. Dustin Ehrlich, of Lincoln, Nebraska, apparently thought that the jokes, in the screenshots attached, would be hilarious enough to post for all the world to see. 


Now, perhaps this is just youthful intemperance. Or maybe someone posted under his name on an open laptop at his house just for kicks. Maybe. But if that happened, the joke is in the revelation, not the secret, and he never removed the remarks 11 months later. And take one look at his home page wall and you’ll see more racist and sexist timeline photos and group “likes.”  

Perhaps someday Dustin will google his name and find this page and learn a valuable lesson in social media. Perhaps a girl he asks out or perspective employer will do the same. That will be another lesson. My wife is 100% American. She was raised in Queens and is of Korean descent. She has borne the brunt of these jokes for years. So, as the father of children who are not 100% caucasion, and the husband in a marriage that might be considered illegal in some places a few generations ago, I find Mr Ehrlich’s jokes to be really not funny, and those that know me know that I love a good laugh. 

I want my children to grow up in a better world than one where someone like Dustin can get a cheap laugh at their expense. 

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One of the unique pieces of local lore attached to Ossining is the Leatherman, a well known drifter seen for decades around Westchester and Fairfield counties in the late 1800s who is buried in Sparta cemetery.

His origins were largely unknown. He was unique: a quiet, itinerant wanderer who walked a 365 mile loop through the Hudson Valley and Connecticut clad entirely in leather, slept in outdoor shelters of his own making, he seldom spoke (and when he did, it was often in French) and revealed little about himself. What we do know of him is largely derived from old newspaper records mentioning his comings and goings, and the odd word of mouth stories passed through the generations. I learned of the Leatherman in the late 1970’s from my scoutmaster.

He was kindly and helpful but immensely private. While a vagabond, he was well regarded enough for many towns to exempt him from local vagrant statutes, and he came and went freely. He died in 1889 near Ossining, and was buried in a pauper’s grave in Sparta Cemetery on Route 9. Recently, the Ossining Historical Society petitioned the court to move the grave due to its close proximity to the widening highway, and to exhume and study his remains for any forensic DNA evidence of his true ethnicity and perhaps his medical condition.

Over the protests of some, the exhumation took place May 25, 2011 and his grave was dug up and relocated to higher ground on the small, historic cemetery, further in from the road. The Leatherman had the last say in the exhumation. The fiercely private, enigmatic old soul will remain a mystery- all that remained of his corporeal form was the soil and a few coffin nails.

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“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

This hung in the boathouse of the Villanova Crew when I was on the rowing team. 

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Today’s Journal News editorial favoring gay marriage allows comments, and of course the first guy has to say “Rome is upon us.” Yes, bestowing civil rights is what caused the Roman Empire to decline. I remember that well from history class. Rome was overrun by the more civilized Huns and collapsed from within because personal liberty and freedom ran amok. Sodomy caused the dark ages. I totally forgot that. 

Gay marriage won’t make us Rome. Gay Marriage will make us New York, the state that gave the USA Susan B Anthony, the Roosevelts, and played a huge part in the Underground Railroad. Gay marriage puts us on the right side of human rights. 

No true fiscal conservative should oppose gay marriage. It is good for the economy. 

No true pro life supporter should oppose gay adoption. It is a pro-life choice. 

Social conservatives seem more commited to the suicide pact of knee jerk orthodoxy instead of a reasoned, organic approach to growing the economy in a sustainable way. Take all those resources devoted to suppressing equal rights for gay Americans and gays in the military and harness their vast talents. Let gay folks walk in the sun with the rest of us. 

I have dozens of gay clients. They are all good, decent, honorable people and they have helped keep my business open through a really bad downturn in the industry. I am feeding my children and building my empire thank in significant part to gay people, not seeing my empire decline. 



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