Vinepair Podcast

I did this podcast a few weeks ago; it came out this past Friday.

You can listen to it here

I had such a great time, and the podcast came out great!

In full transparency, I am an investor in Vinepair, which has been growing profitably for ten years!

Cannabis Stats

More and more cannabis research is finally being done in the United States. The stats are not surprising to someone like me, who has been consuming for a long time.

Let’s start with the emergency rooms. Multiple conservative senators have touted (and I sure have never got stoned) that Federally legal cannabis will overwhelm our emergency rooms. WRONG! Visitations to the emergency room are 50% lower in legal cannabis states vs illegal cannabis states.

Seniors are choosing cannabis over pharma products. Let’s start with anyone over fifty who is absolutely thrilled that they can buy legal weed because many were smokers back in the day. Many are on pharmaceuticals and are willing to try something else. Ends up Oxi did not do the pharmaceutical companies any favors. Everyone I know is a bit wary of taking pharma drugs, particularly around pain and sleep, where cannabis fits the bill.

Many stoner celebs, except for Seth Rogan, are turning to edibles. Different strokes but smoking weed is still number one, but edibles are coming in these days as a strong second.

And last, although not weed-related, again, not shocking. Companies that have flexible work policies outperform companies that do not. Giving people control of their lives is better for everyone.

Data is always the shining light these days with the social media doom and gloomers. And for all those Senators who are opposed, and that includes Biden, hit me up, let’s go smoke a joint together. Maybe we can knock some sense of reality into your head.

Returning Home

Going away is always good, but coming home after a real vacation is the best. We got to walk, eat out, see art, buy a few goodies, read books, and work, vs. my everyday life of work, walking, eating out, reading books, seeing art, and buying some goodies pretty much in that order.

Walking lets me feel part of the city. The vibe changes from neighborhood to neighborhood. Some hoods are changing, and some remain the same. It is educational

We settled in at home, and Fred went to get us a seat at Via Carota, worth the wait time. I walked over to meet Fred, and we spent some time roaming the West Village. I am here to tell you that NYC is alive and well. Unclear what we are all seeing on social media these days. Is it real, or is it false? Is the economy good? The numbers say so, but maybe it’s not. The angry narratives being pushed at all of us every day are killing all of us.

But on the street level of downtown NYC, it is humming.  The West Village is rocking with new stores and new spots, and they are all packed. I would love to know what they are all paying in rent. We are real estate owners and landlords, but it is not okay that the real estate owners are the puppeteers of this town.

Some buildings on the street have been empty or under construction for too long. They are eye sores. The city should give each building permit an amount of time to complete their project. If they don’t finish it, they start to get fined daily. It puts the onus on the landlords who found themselves short of cash to complete the project or have decided to wait until they get the rent they want. Unfortunately, I do not see how this will ever happen unless someone in the mayor’s administration makes it a priority.

After being in Amsterdam and Paris last week, where the beat of the street feels completely different. You do not see empty buildings, buildings under permanent construction, or shoring up a structure for eternity. Those cities are beautiful, and so is NYC, and it would be even more beautiful if there were limits on construction projects and rent expectancies.

Regardless, it does feel insanely good to be home.

Wrapping Up Paris

It has been quite a week between keeping up on Gotham and taking in Paris! We returned to Vantre for dinner, our second time; what a lovely spot with delicious food. It is one of those unique Parisian spots.

We took the Metro to the Foundation Louis Vuitton the following day to see the Rothko show. The LVF continues to put on new and worthy installations. This piece above was the earlier work of Rothko when he came to NYC; this is “The Subway,” 1937.

He began to find his voice. He said, “I belong to a generation that was preoccupied with the human figure; it did not meet my needs. Whoever used it mutilated it.” This piece is from 1944.

Then, this came along in 1948.

It was 1950 when the work we think of when we think of Rothko came to be.

And then, in 1967, his final work was paired with Giacometti sculptures. Whether you like Rothko or not, the exhibit stuck with me.

I read about a new book called Let’s Eat Paris. I have eaten Paris, and this book is exceptionally well done. François-Régis Gaudry has done serious research. We decided we would head back to 3rd for lunch, hit up Broken Arm, and eat some Vietnamese street food. Banh Mi is run by Angela, who knows her food. This might have been one of the best Banh Mi sandwiches we have had, but it was the soup we will return for. Angela clued me in on how to make it, too. I will report back when I make it.

Dinner was at Passerini, our second time back. Incredible Italian food. This is half of a pigeon rolled up with a piece of foie gras inside. The pastas are lick the bowl delicious. We will be back again!

On our last day, we did an errand on my list for years. When we entertain, we use the same china we got when we were married. It was time to make an addition. I have researched this for too long. We went to Marie Daage, a custom shop where you can choose from countless designs with your own colors. It was quite a great experience. And now I have crossed that off the list!

We walked home, picked up some chocolates at Patrick Roger, and enjoyed the last afternoon in Paris before going home tomorrow—a fantastic trip, relaxed and ready to return to my favorite city, NYC.

Galavanting in Paris

Spending a few days in Paris is my downtime. We walk, eat, see art, relax, and catch up on stuff—the perfect vacation.

I saw someone in the Belleville area, finished early, and decided to walk to Cafe Les Deux Gares. Walking through the 20th into the 10th is an interesting walk. Each of these areas has changed so much over the past decade. I took this shot of the Gare du Nord as I was coming over the bridge.

We were the only people at the cafe speaking English: nothing fancy here, but a great vibe.

The next day, we completely relaxed before heading out to Mokonuts for lunch. Mokonuts have become our must-have lunch every time we come to Paris. The food changes daily; it is always creative and delicious, and I am a fan of the owners. A reservation is a must; if you have never been, the cookie plate is epic.

I did a few errands during the afternoon before heading to Table for dinner. This is our third time there. The experience is unique, and the attention to detail in everything is impressive. We always go with the wine that they recommend with each dish. The sommelier is among the most knowledgeable wine people I have ever met. She digs deep into small makers throughout the globe. We watched a whole fish get made on a grill while we ate and drank, eventually finding it served to us in the photo above.

This is the cheese shaper they use. I might have to find one.

We got up the following day and walked over to Bourse de Commerce. This museum is such an incredible addition to the Paris landscape. The building is so unique, and the shows that are curated there are cutting-edge. Right now, there are two exhibits that we were glad we saw. One is Mike Kelley. This installation in the middle of the museum is based on Kandor, the mythical city that Superman grew up in. This photo does not do it justice.

There was an installation of Lee Lozano, an American conceptual artist. She was insanely prolific in the 60s and the early 70s before disappearing from the art world.

Walking to lunch, we dipped into Bibliotheques, a jaw-dropping library we had never been in. There is always something new to experience in Paris.

This staircase in the library is stunning. I love circular staircases.

Off to lunch for some sushi and some shopping, of course. More in the days to come.


One of the most civilized ways to travel around Europe is by train. Obviously, the country is much smaller than the states, so a train from Paris to Amsterdam takes a little over three hours. Just enough time to relax, get some work done, and get to where you are going. Jessica is living here for the next two years, and we are already planning on when to come back and see her.

The autumn is quite rainy in Amsterdam, so preparing for a sprinkle here and there is essential; it could be a full-on downpour, too. We were lucky to have sprinkles on Saturday; on Sunday, we were even more fortunate to have a full sunny day. Saturday, we started at the Zuidermrkt. This market takes up several streets and squares with cheese, vegetables, meats, clothing, jams, and anything you need for the week ahead, only on Saturdays.

Flowers are abundant: flower stores and plenty of flowers at the market.

There are also ample cheese shops and spots for lunch—more take-out than sit-in. We picked up some cheese before heading over to the Stedelijk Museum, where we sat outside at a picnic table and enjoyed our cheese, bread, cornichons, and beer lunch.

This museum has an incredible curation of modern and contemporary art. I am entirely self-taught in art and continue to learn every day. This piece by Martha Rosler, Semiotics of the Kitchen, drew me in. Ends up, this is a piece of work that is well-known and referenced in college art classes. I plan on digging in on this.

On Sunday, we started at the Rijksmuseum. The museum is gorgeous, and seeing Rembrandt and Vermeer. never gets boring. I was pleasantly surprised to see two female artists of that time hanging proudly on the wall. This is called the Serenade by Judith Leyster, the first woman master painter of the 17th Century. She received that title in 1633 after being admitted to the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke. That status allowed her to have a studio in Haarlem and take on students.

When in Amsterdam, it is all about the bikes. They also rule the road no matter what the weather is. This is me and Jess on route to the other side of town.

One of my favorite meals was at Tigris & Eufraat, a Syrian deli serving up delicious falafel, halloumi, and shwarma-wrapped sandwiches. They also make a variety of dips and pre-made items to bring home. If this was in the city, I would come here often and make sure to bring ample home.

We had three dinners there, but our favorite was 4850—a calming wine bar with over 700 bottles to choose from, including Nordic-flavored shared plates. Most of the food is vegetable-focused. No waste is definitely one of the mottos of this country, and we could all learn from this.

Back in Paris for a few days, but we will be back in Amsterdam soon!

Paris Photo

I have been coming to the Paris Photo Show for years. It is my favorite of all the numerous art fairs out there. There is something about a singular medium that is easier to take in. The show has been shown at a makeshift building erected in front of the Eiffel Tower Park for the last few years, but it returns to the Grand Palais next year. That in itself is extremely civilized.

We got into Paris on Thursday morning and found our elevator out of order, although someone was working on it. Shlepping our bags up five flights was not quite in the cards unless we had no choice. We tucked our bags in the back alley with the bicycles and trash, hoping that when we returned, so would the elevator.

Our first stop was something to eat. A spot we had never been to before, Back in Black, serves breakfast all day long. They also roast their beans, have great music, and is located in the 11th. The French know how to make eggs.

We had no shower, little sleep, and no elevator, so we went to the Photo Show. The show was packed. It is always interesting to see some trends. We saw a few places with photos that had been hammered into metal. We also saw some pieces where photos were behind materials, such as frosted glass or a dripping of a painting.

This piece by Orly Cogan, an Israeli-American artist who works in fibers at the Robert Mann Gallery, is now part of our collection. Artists who work with materials are finally having their day.

These also spoke to us. The work is called Sky Garden by Zhang Kechun, a Chinese artist represented at Paris-B.

The other pieces we loved, and I continue to think about (good sign), is a series called Being There by Omar Victor Diop and Lee Shulman called the Anonymous Project. All these images are photos from the 1950s of white family activities, and the artist used a green screen of himself dressed in the appropriate clothing in the picture and then photoshopped himself into a new image. It is quite a large series and absolutely brilliant.

Back to our place to find the elevator in fine working order. Phew! A quick shower and out to dinner. We dined at one of our favorite spots, Le Servan. We have eaten there at least a dozen times over the years. Most of the time, it never fails to make us happy.

The Shed

The Shed is a gem amid Hudson Yards that defines horrendous city planning. The Sheds programming continues to push the envelope, be it theater, music, art, or events. We went to the opening of Open Call this past weekend.

Open Call features work from emerging NY artists who have come from across the globe. This year, the works chosen are personal responses to the issues of our time. It is an outstanding exhibit, small and powerful.

This piece, and there were a few of them, is by Bryan Fernandez, a 23-year-old artist. His work is tied to his family history of community and cultural practices from the Dominican Republic. Each piece maps his connection to the community that has migrated to the Northeast in suburban Yonkers and Lawrence, Massachusetts—an incredibly talented young man.

This incredible chandelier is from Jeffrey Meris. The shutdown of COVID pushed Meris to look for a sanctuary he found through gardening. The piece references other pieces of his life, from anti-Blackness to queerphobia.

This particular piece is called The Nine Demands by Luis Guttlerrez. It is a reminder of a story that I did not know, another part of history swept under the carpet. In 1928, the Chiquita Banana company gathered its employees in the square of Cienga Columbia to address their desire to unionize. They were confronted by the Columbian military and killed. These pieces represent the workers’ nine demands brought to the company’s attention. This violence continues to be used by American companies to keep supermarket shelves stocked with food at the expense of cheap labor.

There are other pieces at the installation that are worth seeing and reading about. One particular is a short movie about Weeksville, a historically African-American neighborhood founded by the freed slaves of the 19th century. It’s worth seeing this show.

Helicopter Parents

The term helicopter parents was coined in 1969 by Dr. Haim Ginott. It describes overprotective parents who hover over their children, believing that these efforts will ensure they succeed and are protected from danger.

I have always wondered how these kids will survive on their own. How will they become independent adults when, throughout their childhood, someone was over-protecting them, doing their homework, taking care of everything, and never allowing them to forge their destiny?

Being overprotective creates a sense of fear that the world is a dangerous place. It keeps kids from engaging in the opportunity to build their relationships and learn social skills. Over time, it restricts their ability to be adults. Kids have to fail to succeed; we all do.

Kids are all different like adults. Everyone has their quirks, assets, thought processes, and behaviors. I do believe in nurture, but nature is pretty damn powerful.

There has been research done on this topic. Although not exact, it appears that many of the children whom helicopter parents have raised have been found to have a more challenging time emotionally, from depression to anxiety, which leads to mental health issues as these kids always need to look for guidance.

Each generation of parents parent differently. I am fascinated with how people interact with their adult children as well as their small children. Nobody gets it perfect; that is life because life is complicated, and people are complicated. But the hovering, I never got it.

Reality in Government

Last week, I spent a fair amount of time talking to people in NYS’ Government about cannabis. There are countless challenges, but the biggest issue is the illicit market. It isn’t that nobody cares; it is hard to crack down on because of the way the cannabis laws were written. The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) controls everything. They are understaffed, they need more resources (they do not even have the capital to put out PSAs), they can’t handle all the applications or spend time talking to the legal stores that are already opened, and they must be involved in the shutting down of illicit shops. That is a huge responsibility that might have looked good on paper when they began, but they are drowning.

Besides being involved in the cannabis business, as an NYer, I care about the many CAURD licensees who got their golden ticket but have been waiting in perpetuity to open because of endless lawsuits, and we will continue to see more. Time will tell, but for most of us, particularly the farmers, getting there is costly and extremely painful.

I read an article about a handful of GOP MAGAs who believe that the way to stop fentanyl coming into the country is to invade Mexico. They have introduced legislation that would tie drugs to the war on terrorism. Do any of these people pay attention to the failed war on drugs? Do they understand why it failed? Simple, Americans like drugs. They want to gamble, have sex, drink, and do drugs. Some are addicted to these sins, while others have a good time. Those are facts across the globe.

Eighty-eight percent of medical cannabis patients reduced their use of prescription drugs and alcohol. The ability to buy CBD legally leads to a significant drop in opioid prescriptions. Based on the destruction of many families from Oxicotin, one would believe that this is a good thing. Cities with legally licensed cannabis retailers have seen the average home values increase by 40% over cities without legal cannabis retailers. The benefits are increased tax revenues, jobs, and if Federally legal, investment opportunities.

If the Federal Government legalized cannabis, fewer people would be obtaining illegal products on the street that might have fentanyl in them. If we legalized all drugs, the issues of fentanyl would change dramatically. There will always be illicit dealers, but chances are we will have fewer deaths from this.

After spending a day in Albany testifying with other people in the cannabis industry, my suggestion would be for the Government, both local and Federal, to spend more time talking to the people who are in the trenches. There is enough data to learn from vs. wasting everyone’s time with ridiculous legislation that lives in its echo chamber.

I am tired of absurd rhetoric from the right field that creates sound bites. This is a nascent industry that is producing record tax revenues; it is time to legalize it. It would help the states, it would help the citizens of this country, and it would save lives.