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Be certain to ask me, when you've had enough of this, if I'd 'like some cheese to go with that whine.'

The Gathering Vultures

After my last little heart-related loss of consciousness and the resultant tumble down the stairs, I gave explicit instructions to my staff to keep quiet the fact that I'd not been well. It was just before Chinese New Year time and such things, culturally, are looked at as a sign of bad luck.

Someone leaked. The Chinese community in the state where I live, although rather spread-out, is constantly in communication. Whether over tea at lunch, on the email at the office, or at dinner parties at my restaurant, another restaurant, or someone's home, news travels fast. It is frankly a mystery to me why so many educated, adult men and women engage in gossip. That, too, is a cultural thing.

Perhaps you're thinking well, everybody gossips from time to time. Sure. But I must say that the only more gossipy crowd I've ever met in my life were neither well-educated nor truly adult. (It appears that noders couldn't care less about gossip; I SEARCHed for the names of five great gossip columnists to pipelink to for this paragraph and only came up with one.)

Two different people came into the restaurant asking what the selling price for the place would be. One asked my wife this question with me sitting right there, across from their table (I'd gone back to work.) You can imagine his shock when I stood up and introduced myself. He hadn't any idea who I was nor that I was alive and well and working. Suffice it to say he turned white as a sheet and ran away.

The other one, apparently, had assumed that I'd passed on. For all he cared my corpse could still be warm and still he's approaching my wife about things like this. But that's the way it works in my business, and in the matter-of-fact, up-front and honest Chinese culture in general. That's why I like the Chinese so much.

There are still vibes in the air that I'm not healthy enough to conduct business. However, what these tasteless vultures don't know is that should I drop dead tomorrow, my wife will do a fine job running the show.

Record Producer

Ignorance is bliss. I love to be blissfully ignorant; even if I'm just kidding myself. A week ago it sunk in to my thick skull that an investment I made in a record so I could be called "producer" was a bad decision. Mid-project, it became two records, and recently three. The first record got out by Christmas but it resembled my original vision not a bit. At some point I was busy and I approved the production of a Christmas album.

Add to this that the album will be sold on the internet and in inspirational-goods stores with proceeds going to the artist's church.

I saw it coming in the way one would see a large truck coming quickly down the road after one has slipped down a steep, snowy hill and ended up on on one's ass, on the ice in the middle of said road. Despite careful plans, colorful charts and spreadsheets presented to me by the artist and others, things were not to be as I'd wanted. It's my fault.

I was then put in the very difficult and embarrassing situation of having to actually answer the question "what percentage of the profit do you want to take." The last thing I want to do is take a percentage of a recording that is already top-heavy with expenses and will yield precious little money to the rightful recipient: the church. So I said no. That was the right thing to do. I don't wanna be part of a charity of the type that delivers only a fraction of the gross receipts to those in need.

Well, I did get something. I got my name on the record. If I wanna see my name on expensive things, I can go to Tiffany's and have a silver and crystal beverage set engraved.

However, I could've really used the money. The numbers are completely fouled up with regard to the other two projects (the first of which, at least, is completed and mastered but should have also been released before Christmas). In the rare moments when I sit down and take stock of where this thing is going and am honest with myself, I see no way I'll profit from this venture. In fact, I have little reason to believe I'll be left with principal investment either. Nothing but a fully-paid-for master recording. Hell, it's nice to listen to, a sumptuous recording of jazz standards by an accomplished vocalist and superb accompaniment. But to make any money with it it must be peddled to a label, marketed, etc. The investment capital, I can kiss goodbye. And I could use that money, too.

Good News

The good news is that although the economic climate has put a big dent in business, we're managing to hold our heads above water. I do miss the excesses of past years, however. I have found less expensive hobbies which will be noded in good time.

Love and peace,


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