Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eau Rouge, continued

Nine hours til the start of the first practice at Spa.

Here's how things used to look, back in the 50s ...

And, of course, Senna, in the 80s.  Same corner, other direction ...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A little full of ones self, are we ...?

I love it when people comment on my blog.  I almost always publish them unless they are some kind of spam.  Or inappropriately stupid or mean-spirited, which rarely, although sometimes, happens.

[Just so we're clear, I don't mind stupid or mean-spirited.  It's just the inappropriately stupid and mean-spirited stuff that gets the axe.]

So, when "A little full of ones self, are we ..?" popped anonymously into view, in relation to a post titled "And this, my friends, is that" from November of 2011, I couldn't push "publish" fast enough.

That, however, doesn't mean I can't take issue with the thing said.

In this case, my immediate reaction was something along the lines of "You're halfway through my blog and this is only occurring to you now?"  Referring, of course, to my self-absorption.

Then I looked at the post and decided that it fell somewhere in the middle three quintiles of self-absorption, so I didn't really understand the comment.  Jeeze -- if I scrounged around I'm sure I could find several dozen posts that are so insufferable as to make "And this, my friends ..." feel like bathing in warm cocoanut milk.  With a mojito in one's hand.

Do you know the posts that bug me?  It's the one's that I run across, looking for something, etc., and I see they have a big typo in them.  That really bugs me.

When I started The Year of Magical Painting I decided I wanted it to drill down into the process of becoming a full-time painter.  Talk about painting technique; talk about sales figures; share personal feelings to a degree; successes and failures, some of which are measured in dollars; share what the media said about me; blah blah blah.

And doing all that is, by definition, self-absorption.

Me?  I think it's a pretty good fucking blog.  And I wouldn't change a single word of the "And this, my friends, is that" post.

What if the person's comment was made in fun?  In the same spirit in which you sometimes engage in self-deprecation?
Were that the case, wouldn't you feel like an ass?
I'm guessing the answer is no.
No, as in I wouldn't feel like an ass?
Really.  Why?
You're too full of yourself.

Broke my toe(s)

Can't speak.  Broke my toe(s).

I was out in the garden yesterday evening picking a tomato to put in the dinner.  Coming back onto the porch I kicked the composter with my bare foot.  The pain was so intense I almost painted a Gilbert & George painting in my drawers.

Last night I could barely walk.  This morning I woke up and it felt a lot better, but looked like this ...

Yikes.  I'd go to the doctor, but they'd just tell me to go home and man up.

My Grandfather's Work is Doo-Doo!

Are you familiar with the art/life partnership known as Gilbert & George?  They, as Wikipedia might tell you if you wandered over there, are "known for their distinctive and highly formal appearance and manner and also for their brightly colored graphic-style, photo-based artworks."

I would add the word "massive" to the description, since I don't think I've ever seen one smaller than 8'x10'.  Ditto "self-referential", since they seem to crop up in their own shit all the time.

Me?  I think the art is a hoot ...

They've created a veritable cottage industry around painting shit.  I had to google "Gilbert & George turds" to get this one ...

Not my favorite shit painting of theirs, but it gives you an idea.

This is one of their famous ones ...

I bring all this up because the Guardian recently did an interview with them here.  My favorite line is "We said very early on that we never wanted to become the artists that Mother would be ashamed of.  It hasn't worked out exactly like that."

Oh look!  I found the one I was looking for ...

I remember seeing this one at the Sonnabend Gallery (the stuffiest fucking art gallery in the world -- one man's opinion) a number of years ago and remarking to my friend, "Are those cigars?"  "Look at the title," she suggested.  At which point it all started to make sense.

"My grandfather's work is doo-doo."
--Dr. Frederick Frankenstein

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I would describe my anxiety as palpable

Does the name Nina Lundgren mean anything to you?  Me neither, until I saw this ...

And this ...

If you haven't figured it out, she's a woman who specializes in making monumental sculptures out of cardboard boxes.  Which, I thought, was my gig.  Does it make me seem shallow if I say that I feel a little bit better because she's lovely?

Speaking on behalf of your readers, you could never seem shallower to us than you already are.
Thank you.  That's a comfort.

You can read a full piece about her at This Is Colossal, one of my favorite art sites.

The good news?  Actually there's quite a bit:

1 -- She's not really working with cardboard boxes; she's working with cardboard that's assembled into things that might be termed boxes.
2 -- Case in point, not a single one of them has the words Bob's Moving and Storage on its side.
3 -- They are neither painted black nor filled with toxic foam.
4 -- They are not displayed inside a greenhouse.

I would describe my anxiety as fading.  I think I'm golden, like the sun over the Pacific late in the day.

I would also call your attention to the website of Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, which is a great name.  Part of what she does, as I understand it, is create Victorian structures using discarded materials, although I lost the part of her blog that talks about doing that and can't seem to find it again.  All I get is her restoring her Victorian house.  Regardless, when the time comes for the greenhouse, maybe I should call her.  Although some of the stuff looks pricey.

Maybe, instead, I should simply be inspired by her and go down to that place in Albany with all the old windows, buy some and just make the goddam greenhouse myself.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Man on Phone

Honey, they just made me President for Practices, Sectors and Offerings.
That's great, sweetie.  What does that mean you'll be doing?
No idea.  That's the beauty of it.

The Cobbler's Children, or the Emperor's Clothes

It's one of the two.

The point being that it's always fun to read about big companies that can't seem to do for themselves what they are paid large amounts of money to do for other people.  And, in the interest of truth in blogging, I suppose I should just say that I could market myself better, and I used to be a marketing genius.  So I don't want to throw too many stones.

I'm just trying to make a point.

I refer, of course, to the article in today's Times about Edelman, the largest independent PR company in the world, as measured by earnings.  The article, which is here, castigates them for both their willingness to represent climate change deniers (meaning big buck entities like, say, ExxonMobil or fill-in-the-blank) and responding poorly to an industry survey about their willingness to do so.

Their one substantive solution was firing the president of the company for poorly filling out the survey (if I've got that right) and sending out a press release announcing that they'd learned their lesson.  Certainly the guy that got fired did; I'm less convinced about Edelman.  Regardless, the take away message went something like: How can Edelman counsel its clients on media management if it can't manage to get its own media management right?

All of which is unfair.  I can assure you that Edelman is packed to the gills with highly intelligent marketing and communications people who have sold some subset of their soul to Satan in exchange for a tasty paycheck.  Just as I once did.  Plus it's always easier to manage somebody else's shit than your own.  Anybody whose personal life is a shambles but has sat down over a beer and, without irony, told a friend exactly how to manage his life knows this.  Which would be all of us.

Me?  Here's what bugs me about Edelman:  The first guy quoted in the article is somebody named Ben Boyd.  Which is a great name.  His title?  Not so great.  He's President for Practices, Sectors and Offerings.  I kid you not.

What the fuck does that mean?  It's laughable from so many perspectives.  It's a New Yorker cartoon.

Figby, we're making you President for Practices, Sectors and Offerings.
Could I just put shards of glass in my eyes instead?

First lesson in communications goes roughly like this:  Unless you're trying to hide something, reduce the bullshit to the bare minimum and just try saying something intelligible.  If you, as a company, don't see a problem with a title like President for Practices, Sectors and Offerings, where do you go from there?

Just a thought.  Also, the use of the word 'for' instead of 'of' is execrable.

I should also add in the interest of full disclosure that Edelman once offered me a fabulous job.  I would have been tasked with growing their pharmaceutical business west of the Mississippi (which, at the time, would have been like shooting cheese in a barrel).  There would have been one person between me and whichever Edelman was running the place at the time (and I remember thinking I could eat her lunch).  I would have been paid quite a bit.  If I'd taken it I'd probably still be there now, sitting in one of those high-tech desk chairs eating a gluten-free salad, thinking up shit like Senior Fun Runs sponsored by AndroGel and staring at a picture of my fifth wife and our five children.

[What can I say?  The woman was remarkably fertile, and 19 when I married her.]

Oh, and the job was in Chicago.  A hell-hole of a place -- one man's opinion.

Blow wind.  Crack your cheeks.
Something like that.

So I turned it down.  Became, years later, a painter.  Prolly all for the best.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Fanciest Hat

I refer, of course, to the 2BRnot2B soliloquy.

Just saying this makes my imaginary dog, Irby, more formally IrbyCauthen, thump his tail wildly against the nearest object.

I remember wandering into some version of Shakespeare 101 early in my college career and seeing the real Irby Cauthen -- the man after whom I've named my imaginary dog -- standing there, waiting to give us The Truth in several large, chokingly-thick doses.  I think I took two more courses from Dr. Cauthen and, in toto, they were certainly up to that point the greatest educational experiences of my skinny little life.

But let me tell you, I thought, when it came to Shakespeare, that watching Slings & Arrows was a close second.  Third, maybe, after that Harold Bloom book about Shakespeare inventing the human.  That was pretty rocking, if you were in the mood.  And it did go on for 700 or so pages.  So you had to really be in the mood.

Easier to swallow was Slings & Arrows ...

If you're curious, that's a young Rachel McAdams at the end, before she became famous.

This wasn't actually the bit I was looking for.  I was looking for the one where Geoffrey, the director, tells Jack, the guy playing Hamlet, about the six soliloquies and that they were all that mattered.  That was a great one.

Remain calm -- I'll scrounge around.

"Perry responds to indictment, calls it a political 'farce,' vows to defend himself."

Fox News headline.  Proving, using one of those trains of logic that you learn the name of if you take one of those courses in college, that he's obviously guilty.

A soliloquy?
No.  Something else.
A syllogism?
No.  A syllogism is one of those things in Hamlet.
No it isn't.  That's a soliloquy.
I always thought a soliloquy was a kind of a hat.
It isn't.
It is, sort of.  You could argue that Hamlet is composed of a handful of soliloquies that the actor wears like so many fancy hats.
Olivier always looked great in a hat.
Yes he did.
And the rest, as they say, is silence.
Nicely said.

Just for the record, what's the percentage of indicted national politicians who claim innocence and vow to fight on, as compared to those who are actually innocent?

"My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on."

This from Michele Roberts, the first woman to lead a North American professional athlete's union.  That being the NBA.  Which, just to make Ms. Roberts' life even more interesting, is by far the most disfunctional union of the major sports.  Read the Times article here.

Very impressive, but not as impressive as Peter Frampton playing While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Peter Frampton ... of all people

Did you happen to be at the Peter Frampton concert in Lewiston, NY in 2012?  Me neither.  But I just finished listening to the cover version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps that he played there, and I had to tell somebody.

If I was the sort of person that did a lot of drugs, I'd take them all and then play it again.   Unbelievable.  Who knew the guy was still alive?

I hope I'm not waking you.

Food alright, little Alex?

How about that Rick Perry ...

Indicted by a grand jury on two felony counts of abuse of power yesterday.  Of course he's innocent until proven guilty, but c'mon, you know he did it.  Whatever it was.  Or at least I'm choosing to think that he did it.  Or them, since it's two counts.  After all, speaking as a muckraker, him being innocent is way less interesting than him being guilty.  So really, it's a matter of editorial convenience.

You know, this whole thing could have been avoided if we'd just elected the man president.

What's wrong with you people?

Friday, August 15, 2014

More boxes, Volume 2

Just to beat this damn thing to death, take a moment to imagine the white of the greenhouse ...

... and the black of the sculpture ...

Even though neither wouldn't look anything like the photos.

But still, wow.

Eau Rouge

Six days and twelve hours until the first practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, which is held on a circut called Spa-Francorchamps, which contains the coolest corner in all of F1.  The famous Eau Rouge chicane.  Chicane, while probably technically correct, doesn't begin to do the turn justice.  Complex, maybe.

Yes it is.
Exceedingly complex.
Yes it is.

Just to fire you up, here's this ...

As one wag in the comments section notes, they don't sound like this anymore.  But that's not what's important.  What's important is not lifting.  Not taking your foot off the gas for even a nanosecond as you enter the first turn going downhill, bottom out while turning left, come back up the far side, make the right, crest the hill, where traction is at its lowest point, and make the left.   Typing it is easy.  Doing it, not so much.  Doing it without lifting?  At 180 mph?  Priceless!

Great interview response by James Hunt in '76 when asked how he managed to go so fast.  "Big balls," he said.

This, while imperfect, gives you a sense of how fast F1 cars go through the turn compared to regular old raggedy-assed race cars ...

I can't wait for the race.

More boxes ...

As previously noted, I love the idea of a monumental sculpture made out of foam-filled cardboard boxes.  If you visit these pages regularly you're probably so sick of hearing about boxes that you're ready to scream.

Noogies.  More specifically, tough noogies.

Anyway, one of the concerns about such a work is that no matter how much polyurethane I slap on that puppy, the elements are going to eventually have their way.  So check this out, titled, I think, "I Drivhuset" ...


By a Danish artist named Susanne Ussing, whose Wikipedia page, it should be noted, is shorter than mine.  And she's dead; I've still got time to expand!

Although, of course, it's not a contest.

Anyway, look at this thing.  How extraordinarily beautiful.  Imagine, friends, "Preet Bharara holds the Head of Steven A. Cohen Aloft in the Manner of Perseus and Medusa" filling every inch of a similar such structure.

God almighty, how wonderful that would be.  I wish the photos were better ...

And, thinking further, looking at the above photo, a heretofore unanticipated challenge would be creating the sculpture in a manner sympatico with the green house.  Because obviously, in a situation like this, the greenhouse is the sculpture.  Or part of it.

Shit, I'm not going to be able to think about anything else all day.  I love that aluminum arm.


My favorite color.

Next time I'm really flush I'm going to start collecting Rolex watches that have some green component.  My favorite, as would anybody's be, is this ...

Lord have mercy.  I wonder how many 'gators they killed and discarded before they got just the right one for the band.  The size of the painting I'm going to have to sell for this little emerald should be about 15'x20'.

Moving on, sights lowered, I showed a new newly-purchased three pack of Irish Spring soap to my houseguests yesterday, explaining that I love green soap.  I gravitate to Irish Spring because I was always drawn to the brogue of the young Irish woman in the commercial who would say, after her brawny husband had made it clear that it was a man's soap, "... and I like it too," but Lever 2000 is also just fine.

Fast forward to this morning, when I stepped into the shower and realized I didn't have any soap.  Luckily, my 3-pak of Irish Spring was within reach.  Barely.  After some contorting, I got my hands on one of the boxes and returned to the welcoming stream of warm water.  All good up until the moment I opened the damned thing and the bar was blue.  With some dark speckles.

A setback, surely.  But if this is the worst thing to happen to me today I'll be fine.

On the positive side, it occurred to me that if I didn't get the box wet, and opened it carefully, I could use it as one of the smaller boxes I plan to use to make a maquette for "Preet Bharara holds the Head of Steven A. Cohen Aloft in the Manner of Perseus and Medusa."

So already the day is looking up.