Weird things have happened all my life, but my relationship with Petra Koegel has to top them. I’ve been mulling it over for almost 20 years, and much more so following major psychic upheavals that began, and have continued since, August 2019.
Rather than throw around my and a few others’ opinions about what it all means–much of which is too fantastic for me to publish–I thought I’d present some evidence and let the public decide.
The Dalio Connection
Not long after moving to New York City in the fall of 2001, I made a fast-friendship with Ray’s personal assistant Petra. I didn’t know or care who she or Ray were when we met–she was a radiant and tall German blonde, perpetually dressed in white, and, at eighteen years my senior, showed a belief in me that I never experienced before or since. We spent many weekends together from 2002-2005 or so. We went on long walks in the city and Connecticut, she gave me books, took me to museums, and groomed me for…I knew not what.
At the time, I just took it in, happy to be praised and protected by an amazing woman.
She alluded that we had known each other in past lives and that I was once a king. Intuitively, I knew what she meant, but my scientifically-oriented mind couldn’t grasp the magnitude of what she was saying, much less the preposterousness of it all.
Petra and I eventually fell out of contact. But following a heroic, therapeutic, psychedelic journey in the fall of 2018, I began to revisit my relationship with her and its absurd nature, premises, and characters. I realized it wasn’t limited to her: the overall arc of my life and day-to-day has always had a tinge of the supernatural and has been filled with famous characters.
As a data-wonk, I know anecdote-originated-deductions are the worst form of evidence. As such, I thought I’d show some data-points–all of which can be accredited by cell-phone, email, and public records–about the supernatural phenomenon and big names that characterize my life on the reg.
Take a look and let me know what conclusion you’d come to in light of everything that’s happening in the world?
Above is an email from an astrologer friend from 2003, when I was trying to make sense of my relationship with Petra. Brian alludes to an initiation, which may relate to the fact I would soon thereafter finish my undergrad at Columbia University.
At right is one of my most recent texts to Petra. My last exchanges with her were both in Kingston, New York. In August of 2019, I would begin my all-out David Vs. Goliath assault on many of the people in my immediate network (not Petra, for what it’s worth). My attack is probably what she meant by “relevant moments of requirement.” I’m not going after the poor, good guy.
[By the way, I was wrong about Merriweather Lewis, but most other lives are quite clear.]
Grand Theft Girlfriend
Definitely one of the bigger head scratchers of the last few years was the identity of my ex-girlfriend, Josslyn Shapiro. We met under unusually auspicious conditions at the Transportation Alternatives Century in the Fall of 2017. We were both doing the 15 mile course with our children. Strangely, her name was almost identical to my ex-wife’s and her one son’s name is the same as my younger son’s name (Ryder). Both Josslyn and my ex grew up in Westchester. She was a 5’9″, thin, attractive, mom (has its perks for other parents) with a PhD in Environmental Sciences from Columbia. She had taken ice cores in McMurdo and was born on Earth Day. She lived near me and worked at the Park Slope Coop. It was all too good to be true. We began dating for two years soon after our chance meeting.
She introduced me to her wealthy family not long after we met. Not exactly a stranger to riches, I didn’t pry about the source of their wealth. Josslyn said her dad Ira had a publishing business and then he and his second wife, Jackie (also the name of my ex-wife), made some investments. I thought asking much more would be impolite.
I spent a great deal of time with Josslyn’s family, most of whom lived north of NYC in Westchester (she grew up in Edgemont) and the lush hills of Northern Connecticut (see her father’s estate below, which included ornamental peacocks and vintage cars). Though a newcomer and outsider, they treated me like royalty in their various, enormous and well-stocked homes.
We broke up in September of 2019 after my new, woke state became too hot for her to handle. There was an incident in Passive House expert Ken Levenson’s Park Slope salon that shocked and appalled her (it was not a big deal, and Ken said so, though he now thinks I’m a nut).
When Josslyn broke up with me, she expected me to fight. She didn’t know she was my rebound and I was on a date with City Ballet Soloist Megan (see below) the next day. Onward and upwards.
During COVID, I had lots of time to scratch curiosity itches. The first cat to kill was to find the source of her dad Ira’s wealth. The one bit I found online was an corporation filing for “Take Two Interactive” as well as a listing for an Ira Shapiro Architecture firm with the same address, though I knew Ira was not AIA.
Well, it turns out that Take Two Interactive is the holding company for Rockstar and 2K Games. Hmm.
And then I thought back to the Red Hook Crit. (I also thought of one of her two husbands she neglected to mention.) I took a dozen year hiatus from running after my exuberant and injurious debut into the New York City road racing scene. My first race back was the Red Hook Crit along the Brookyn waterfront (see pic of me above with my cheeky 212 bib). Josslyn escorted me to the race. It was a late race with a hard course and I did not race well. But I did it and I walked away from the race with a much-loved swag t-shirt that I wore frequently. I didn’t understand what the R and star logo was for, but liked the graphic design.
I wore that t-shirt for the one and a half years I had it and I was together with Josslyn. I wore in front of her family (I don’t have that many t-shirts). No one thought to mention the family fucking owned Rockstar Games (or some portion thereof).
This is a fun and funny one, but the girl I was flirting with after Josslyn was City Ballet vet, Megan Lecrone. Meg and I knew each other since 2005 when we met at Columbia, and had an awkward friendship/flirtation.
I reconnected with her during the lockdown, as I was immobilized in DC and she was stuck in the Bahamas with a fellow dancer. We Facetimed for a month or two and I got the sense this was always Meg’s plan: she would catch me as her career was in its twilight and mine was on the ascent. She would avoid all the nasty startup costs of success previous relationships were subjected to.
After a short while of chatting, it became clear Megan had little interest in getting to really know me. She was too busy waiting for me to “make it” (read: get rich to pay for her rock and roll lifestyle). She also smoked cigarettes. In fact, she was from Winston-Salem and had a strong suspicion her family was tied to big tobacco. I made a hard out.
Right around the time of the hard out, she was featured in a New York Times piece about people living in unusual situations during lockdown. She was in the first sentence of the feature…on my birthday. Did her dad buy the article? Was the The New York Times trolling me? It wouldn’t be the first time Salzburger tried to communicate something to me. What is it?
Why People Might Be Interested in Me Beyond Just Me
Few close to me would question my own accomplishments, which include being one of the father’s of the modern minimalist movement. I’ve long been a champion for bringing innovation to bear on creating a sustainable, just planet. Though not a household name, those in the know know me (this claim is greatly supported by the type of women I attract and the company I keep).
Some people also think I’m unusually handsome (I know, it’s a stretch).
My greatness is a reflection of where I came from, whether that’s within one lifetime or across many.
In my lifetime, I have been blessed with a family of preternaturally stainless character. I didn’t realize my family was great, first, because they were all head-cases (less my dad), and (especially my dad) they just did their thing. Doing the right thing–by people, the planet, etc.–was a way of life. It was embedded into our thinking and our lives. It was not, contrary to many powerful families, something we bragged about at charity events.
I knew a fair amount about my family, but it wasn’t until COVID when I dug deeper. My father’s family can credibly trace their ancestry back to the Old Testament and, more recent, the formations of the Zionist and Young Israel movements. Via his mom, my grandmother, a half-Jew, our family can trace its roots to the Knights Templar (my guess is that’s how Petra is connected here, though no one has brought me to any secret meetings, as much as I would have enjoyed the opportunity). Some other highlights:
- The Friedlanders stood up to McCarthy and my father was called, “the second most dangerous man in America,” by J. Edgar Hoover due to his being groomed for a youth leadership position in the American Communist Party.
- Dad, aunt, and grandma marched on Washington with MLK–this is a small part of the family’s long history of standing up for the poor and disenfranchised and being a friend of people of color.
- Disillusioned by the growing influence of Soviet Communism, my family shifted its attention to anti-nuclear proliferation, civil rights, and anti-Vietnam War activism. My father was a leader of the University of Wisconsin Chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), before he went to grad school at the University of Chicago. In Chicago, he carried on his activism and studied under the likes of Milton Friedman as he acquired his MS in Economics.
- Dad was a tech pioneer, starting with IBM in 1971 before shifting to startups in the late-seventies. He was an early executive at 3Com and Novell, and as a child, I witnessed the birth of tech-enabled network systems thinking. I was a lucky boy…in that way.
- My aunt Spring (nee Ruth), was a seminal figure in global LGBT rights, co-housing, fair-housing, green-building, and environmental movements.
- My mom was from a working class Irish Catholic, South-Side Chicago family with no name to speak of. Her father was a union railway worker and her mom stayed at home. My mom was a gifted student raised in a restrictive patriarchal household. After attending parochial schools, she attended a college that doubled as a convent and was a Franciscan nun for six years (she claims she had scholarships to Yale and University of Chicago, but was urged by her dad to become a nun). After doing grad work in London, she left the Order in 1964; this was concurrent with Vatican II and the birth of the free love movement. She then went on to enjoy the times (she hooked up with Freddy Hampton!) before meeting my dad at a party for political radicals she was hosting around 1970.
- When I was a child, my mom took me on her many business trips. She worked in the publishing industry, primarily with Prentice Hall. As a child, I got to hang out with the founders of Tower Records, Guy Kawasaki (my mom’s company published “The Macintosh Way”) and Gary Trudeau, among many others I can’t recall. This exposure to world-class intellects was one of the few places my mom had a positive impact on my life as a hard-partying 1980s mom (guess what she was doing with the Tower Record folks?).
That’s me circa 1987 at Rockefeller Center in front of my favorite tomes by John Rockefeller, Jr., the rink, and a statue of Prometheus, trickster Greek Titan credited with the creating humanity from clay, and who defies the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity as civilization. He likes to save humans even when the G_ds are like, “fuck them.”
Ask around, that pretty much describes me to a tee.
He is sometimes presented as the father of Deucalion, the hero of the flood story.
Don’t I sorta look like a baby Titan?
With me is my babysitter, Tina Turner (yes, that’s her name). She was my best friend Jason’s sister and she accompanied me and my mom on the latter’s many business trips for the book publishing industry to NYC, DC, SF, and other literary/cultural hubs from our then-south-suburban Chicago home.
Who Does it Better: David Friedlander or Derek Zoolander
Zoolander was released the month before I arrived in NYC, where I would initially try to make it as a model (I tried and failed. Probably for the best).