Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tips for painting

I know most of you people don't paint for a living, so I thought it might be fun to give you some insight into what it's like to do so.

Tip #1: If you have this much paint on your foot, it's not going well.

More tips to come as needed, but I thought this was important.

On to other things--do you remember my idea about a series called "The Chickens of Helmut Lang"? It kind of fell to the wayside once I was confronted with the difficulties of finding Mr. Lang and his chickens. He's on Long Island somewhere, but hard to pin down. I asked among my fashion industry friends and got no place.

Quick statistic: The UK consumes 10 billion eggs a year whereas the USA only sucks down 67 billion. Odd, yes? But let's forget the Brits and concentrate on matters closer to home. For the record, as near as I can tell, a chicken lays one egg a day. No more; no less.

Which means, assuming the vast majority of the eggs Americans eat are domestically produced, that there are X (67,000,000,000 divided by 365 equals X) chickens in the US. That's a lot of chickens.

By the way, I'm working on a commissioned painting but I'm not allowed to show you. So we're talking about paint on feet and chickens.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Best Fi crash ever

With the high probability that the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix will be run in the rain tomorrow, I, as a public service, offer this--the best F1 crash ever. It too occurred in Belgium, some 12 years ago; apparently caused by one David Coulthard. Given that nobody was hurt just makes it good clean fun.

And, as an additional bonus, make sure you wait til around the 2:50 point to see Michael Schumacher rip his right front suspension clean off after slamming into the same David Coulthard's McLaren and then driving around the circuit on three wheels. This too is good clean fun, although once he gets to the pits he tears his helmet off and charges down to the McLaren stall with the presumed intention of kicking the hell out of DC.

Remember, dear reader, that violence rarely solves anything.

And, as a bonus, here's the layout of the circuit.

The coolest part of the course, and some would say one of the best corners in F1, is the little chicane about a third of the way down the main straight called L'eau Rouge (at least that's what it says here. I always said Eau Rouge). What makes it interesting is that you go down a hill then abruptly up another with the road twisting left then right, presumably without taking your foot off the gas.

Here's Jacques Villeneuve coming out of Eau Rouge after slightly misjudging his velocity.

No need to thank me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bill Millin

Did you hear about Bill Millin dying? 88 years old, he was the Scot who marched up and down his particular stretch of beach at Normandy (or points thereabout) playing "Highland Laddie" and "Road to the Isles." Neither of which ring a bell, but I'm just reporting what The Times had to say.

More specifically, two excerpts made me smile. First this:
He said he found out later, after meeting Germans who had manned guns above the beach, that they didn’t shoot him “because they thought I was crazy.”
Then this:
In later years Mr. Millin told the BBC he did not regard what he had done as heroic. When Lord Lovat insisted that he play, he said, “I just said ‘O.K.,’ and got on with it.” He added: “I didn’t notice I was being shot at. When you’re young, you do things you wouldn’t dream of doing when you’re older.”
This is Mr. Millin further inland, entertaining the troops.

Which brings us, of course, to this, which is not actually the Scottish National Anthem, although everybody thinks it is. Apparently they don't have one. Regardless:


O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen.
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

The hills are bare now,
And autumn leaves lie thick and still
O'er land that is lost now,
Which those so dearly held
That stood against him,
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

Those days are past now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again!
That stood against him
Proud Edward's army
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

O Flower of Scotland,
When will we see your like again
That fought and died for
Your wee bit hill and glen.
And stood against him,
Proud Edward's army,
And sent him homeward
Tae think again.

Note to Clan Shelby: When do we eat?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Paintings, like onions and the big snakes at the zoo, reveal themselves in layers

Of course you know that, dear reader, from watching numerous paintings appear on these very pages.

First comes the gesso, then the sketch, then the first stuff, then some more stuff, then the self-castigation, then long pauses, then a turn is made, a penetration achieved, if you will, and then, finally, rescued, it would seem, from the abyss, the final painting is revealed.

The perspective is weird, but I like the two sets of diamonds.

We can start to see where the plums are going.

Getting back to the process above: Is revealing the right word? Emerging, perhaps? Or, artistic mumbo-jumbo aside, construction? The simple result of the painstaking application of paint? Just because I usually throw it down doesn't mean I'm not doing so painstakingly. At least when I'm not drunk, that is. Which, parenthetically, isn't that often, but it does happen.

Me? I'm of two minds. Since half the stuff I do surprises me, then I guess there's an aspect of revelation. Alternatively, if you stare closely at, say, a Pollock or a Rothko there is certainly a revealing that occurs as well. I wonder what's revealed. I mean, really? The depths of our soul? The infinitude of the universe? Hmmm. These are questions.

What I can state categorically is that what we are trying to achieve here ... what we are attempting to reveal ... despite all the talk of beets and plums and cherries, has absolutely nothing to do with stuff like this, from a guy named Guiseppe Arcimboldo:

The above is a portrait of somebody called Rudolph II. A bit kitschy for me. Likewise the artist, since his self-portrait looks like this:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Update on Fox's "Happy Hour"

Hmmm. Apparently "Happy Hour" doesn't exist anymore. Canceled, I guess.

Makes perfect sense--the thing was a disaster. One segment that sticks in my head had the aforementioned Ms. Gomez modeling tight dresses for a fashion segment. And let me tell you, dear reader, she could fill out the dresses. But what, I would have liked to ask her, did she think that was going to do for her career as a business journalist?

More on that later. What "Happy Hour" DID have going for it was that it was broadcast live from a bar in the back of the Waldorf Astoria called The Bull & Bear, maybe. Furthermore, I actually went to a show. That part of it was fabulous. I've always been fascinated by television production and it was more good clean fun than you could imagine to sit at a fancy bar, drink inappropriately expensive beer and watch a television show happen.

None of which excuses the excrescence of a product. If that's a word.
It is a word.
Yes. It means either: 1) A distinct outgrowth on a human or animal body or on a plant, esp. one that is the result of disease or abnormality, or 2) An unattractive or superfluous addition or feature.
Hunh. I thought it had something to do with shit.
Not surprising. I mean the fact that it shares its root with excrement speaks volumes for your theory.
Even though it's wrong.
Hey. At least the fact that it shared its root with excrement spoke volumes for my theory.
A victory of a sort, I suppose.
I suppose.

This post to be titled later

Remember, back when you used to do a lot of drugs, how lovely the milk was after the Fruit Loops had sat in it for a while? This perfect light pink. Strawberry with a lot of white added.

Lately I've been substituting beet greens for spinach in certain pasta dishes--the ones that take spinach, obviously--and even though they're mostly green, there's still a lot of residual red in the beet greens (is that the right word? greens? shoots? Naaaah, not shoots.). And the color of my spaghetti, dear reader, is as lovely as ... as ... well, I just can't describe it.

But it is uplifting, I can assure you.

Anyway, all of which leads us to this:

This is a still life of tomatoes and beets from which I'm going to derive a painting of Fox Business Network correspondent Rebecca Gomez Diamond. She hosts a show called "Happy Hour" which, really, is virtually unendurable. And that's putting the best possible spin on things.

The name of the painting goes something like: "Study for: 'Numb from the stultifying vapidity of "Happy Hour", Rebecca Gomez relaxes with a glass of red wine '". Not THAT is a name, my friend. A name that will be scrawled across the top of the painting in all its glory.

Here's the canvas as it stands now:

Now the idea is to paint a still life of vegetables laid out in what approximates the shape of a woman reclining, presumably nude. Although I've since moved on from beets and tomatoes to plums and cherries. But that's not really the point.

The point is this: If you scrawl the name of the person you are painting across the top of the painting, you can pretty much depict them anyway you see fit. Including in a completely non-representational way. Like fruit, if you will.

Likewise, and I know you've likely had a hard day and you don't want quite this much art theory right about now, if tell people it's a portrait of, say, Newt Gingrich and people write all over it, then voila! It becomes one. Even though it's a head of cabbage. On a number of levels.

Is all I'm saying. Just a thought.

Plus, while we're thinking, ever since I smeared all that yellow on the background of Naked Cramer, I've been thinking about backgrounds. That's what that harlequin thing is. Stretched out just beneath it will be the plums. Below that will be a different set of diamonds--each approximately a third the size of the top ones.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Reasons to move to Colorado

I'm not going anywhere, but still, sometimes you can see the lure of the thing. Likewise northern California, but that's a different story.

Check out this clip from the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail. Those trees in the back are actually trees. Beautiful. Likewise Misa Kuranaga.

I'm a sucker for ballet. Daughter #2 (speaking only chronologically) and I like to go. I would have liked to have seen this.

Given the name of the venue, impressive that nobody even stumbled.

Daughter #2 and I were at Lincoln Center watching Swan Lake, if I remember correctly, and the lead ballerina, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, misstepped coming out of one of her twirly things and fell flat on the floor. The entire audience gasped. She got up, finished the dance. At the end the applause was massive.

This is Ms. Kuranaga, all dressed up and ready to go.

I should be painting this stuff.

Ogle this bagatelle from my boy Eddie Degas while you think about that.

Friday, August 06, 2010

"This Ganja is Pretty Good"

Bob Marley, in a song called "Rat Race", once wrote, "In the abundance of water, the Fool is thirsty."
Rat race.

Rat race. That's the next line.


I thought your readers should know.

You're welcome.
A friend of mine once said to me that the problem with reggae music was "once you got past Bob Marley there wasn't much there." Although he has something resembling a point, it's an ironic one. There's plenty of there there (although you could argue that the greatness of reggae music is in its legacy rather than its reality). Anyway, clearly he'd never heard "Blackheart Man" by Bunny Wailer (Bob's old wailin' mate). Just to name one favorite.

All of which brings us to Wyclef Jean and his announcement last week of his candidacy for the presidency of Haiti. I'd vote for him in a shot. I can still remember that first Fugees album like it was yesterday. This is him, playing at an AIDS benefit:

I also like that he's a Strat guy.

Bob also wrote "One good thing about music... When it hits you feel okay." He was, I'm assuming, comparing it to the way it feels when, say, a night stick hits.

I think we need more politicians who aren't politicians. There are clearly exceptions. Sarah Palin jumps to mind. But, by and large, I stand behind the statement. Look at my boy Mike Bloomberg. Enough said. Nelson Mandela. Folks like that. People who are not fools.

Somebody wrote the title of this post in the upper-right hand corner of Cramer: Naked Short.

We can surmise that he's a ZeroHedge reader because it's written in green.
Rasta don't work for no CIA
I'm singing the song.
I thought your readers would enjoy it.
You're welcome.
Since we're all over it, here are the complete lyrics:
Uh! Ya too rude!
Uh! Eh! What a rat race!
Oh, what a rat race!
Oh, what a rat race!
Oh, what a rat race!
This is the rat race! Rat race! (Rat race!)

Some a lawful, some a bastard, some a jacket:
Oh, what a rat race, yeah! Rat race!

Some a gorgon-a, some a hooligan-a, some a guine-gog-a
In this 'ere rat race, yeah!
Rat race!
I'm singin' that
When the cat's away,
The mice will play.
Political voilence fill ya city, ye-ah!
Don't involve Rasta in your say say;
Rasta don't work for no C.I.A.
Rat race, rat race, rat race! Rat race, I'm sayin':
When you think is peace and safety:
A sudden destruction.
Collective security for surety, ye-ah!

Don't forget your history;
Know your destiny:
In the abundance of water,
The fool is thirsty.
Rat race, rat race, rat race!

Rat race!
Oh, it's a disgrace
To see the human-race
In a rat race, rat race!
You got the horse race;
You got the dog race;
You got the human-race;
But this is a rat race, rat race!
I'd love to know the definition of guine-gog-a.
(real time pause)
I actually Googled guine-gog-a. Came up with a bunch of stuff, but this was the most fun, even though it's completely off subject:

I'm calling it "The Tomato Can Strikes Back."
(real time pause)
Of course that was when I thought, in my haste to deliver breaking news to you, dear reader, that it was Buster Douglas throwing the punch. Herein, one might insert parenthetically, lies a cautionary note about the state of the media today.

But that too is a little off topic. Regarding boxing: Lennox Lewis was actually some version of the Real Thing. Rasta don't work for no WBA.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Celery and tofu salad

Presented without comment, but certainly worth consideration:

It's not the salad so much that has me fired up. But the hot oil gives me chills.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Closing the book on Cramer

I think it turned out pretty well. Lots of stuff going on. Basquiatesque, what with the four vertical and one diagonal slash thing in the upper left (total # of annotation days).

I might have soft-pedaled the yellow background a bit, but I think I like a bit of color in the back. Just lighter.

Do you recognize this numerical progression: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 etc.?

Some guy named Lenny Fibonacci came up with it. He also has a kind of a swirl, which looks like this:

There's a good bit of suggestion amongst the Commentariat that Cramer's nipples are Fibonacci Spirals. This is not the case, although the fact remains that the F-word appears a number of times on the face of the canvas. Go figure.

Here are a couple of quick Basquiats. One's a self portrait; the other is a reinterpretation of the ML.

Funny how you start out painting like Pollock, end up painting like Basquiat. Go figure.