Sunday, July 31, 2011

Inverted Murdoch, Final Version

I'm taking this to New York tomorrow. I'd hoped to go today, but the bus was sold out and the train didn't feel right to me for some reason.

I've been wrestling with an opening annotation. Two actually, because the first thing I'm going to do is write "News is Sacred" below his head, mirroring that well-chronicled moment from what seems like a long time ago.

Following that, I'm leaning towards something like "If news is sacred then you've spent your entire life with your pants down, shitting on the alter."

Or something like that.

Just to get the ball rolling.

Live-blogging the Brickyard 400

I'm not actually live-blogging it, but my boy Juan-Pablo Montoya is in third place with 41 laps to go and he's the only guy at the front with a set of new tires ... and I just can't bear it so I came down to the studio.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

And a note about my recent absence

I don't usually go two weeks without a post. Statistically speaking, I've posted 300 days a year for five years running. But July is traditionally a hard month for me, what with the Tour de France. Which consumes an easy three hours a day.

That's over now. Cadel Evans won in a barn-burner of a Tour. And I'm back.

Au Revoir, Geithner

Much like CBGB's or the Mud Club, I don't have time for Geithner right now. Besides, he won't be stepping down for a little bit more--certainly not til after the whole debt crisis is put to bed (as if).

In the meantime, consider this:

"Inverted Murdoch" Like a lightening bolt from the temple of Zeus. Unleash the Kraken!, to quote Liam Neeson.

What, just because I haven't posted in ten days or so, you think I'm just screwing around?
When you say temple, are you talking about a building?
No. The side of his head, man. The flat spot right behind the eye socket.

Ahhh. Like a lightening bolt from the forehead of Zeus!
Exactly. Except it came from the temple.
Now you're messing with me, right?
It's a work in progress. And it looks more like Rupert--if it, in fact, looks at all like Rupert--if you keep it inverted. Don't be spinning the thing around--that's cheating.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Geithner Au Revoir

Ahhh ... the Pyreneees.

Tomorrow, the mountains finally arrive. Two leg shattering climbs, both famous. The Col de Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden. All spellings approximate. In lieu of riding, I'll be watching. Which means some delay in the next painting (although I suppose I could paint in the afternoon).

How 'bout this picture of Timmy the G?

Anybody who looks at my work with any degree of attention knows I love the hands. So what's not to like here? The urge to paint him sideways is almost overpowering.

I have a history of unusual Geithner paintings...

I'm calling it Geithner Au Revoir. Which is strong, as titles go.

But first, the mountains.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Client #9

Speaking of numbers of annotations, consider the all-time champ...

People were grabbing pens and writing on the sides of the thing. I lost count at 350 plus.

I only bring this up because Netflix sent me "Client #9--The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer" the other day. Amazing on several levels, not the least of which being that the producer got Eliot to sit down for what I believe was five interviews.

Hard to believe, that. Although less so, I suppose, if you jigger it into his public image rehabilitation campaign--of which, I suppose, this was one of the first volleys.

Still, pretty engaging look at the man, and the times, and the pickle he got himself into.

I'm sorry they canceled his show. He seems like a nice enough person (assuming we're talking about the moments when he's not standing in your face, screaming so hard that spittle is ruining your Italian tie).
Channeling his inner Fuld, you might say.
Yes. Yes you might.
And speaking of assholes, I thought they were way too nice to Hank Greenberg. Amazing they got him to sit for an interview too, given the givens.

And finally, in case you do see it, what is really interesting is that almost every documentary interview you see is shot so that the interviewee is staring at the interviewer (who is either to the left or right of the camera), not straight into the lens. Client #9 stares right at you. So does Hank. So does that snake in the grass that used to run Home Depot.

Quite amazing.

Most amusing Krugman comment...

If you look at the lower right hand cornerof Black and White Krugman, neatly inscribed (by me, on behalf of someone else), are the words "Fuck Krugman ... He's Not Worth Our Input."

This was the next to last comment from the Zero Hedge Krugman post, after 95 or so otherwise decent caring people tore into America's foremost economics professor (some would say) in the comments section and very much put the lie to the notion that he's not worth the input.
I find the placement of it a bit precious.
Do you? I thought it was like a bit of punctuation. A coda of a sort.
Reminds me of that famous University of Virginia running back with the engaging nickname.
Tiki Barber?
Thomas Jones?
Jelly Roll Morton?
No. Did he even play for Virginia?
No. Barry "The Last" Word?
Between the 90-some from ZH and the 100 or so from public annotation, I'm pegging the total number of comments at roughly 200, with a plus/minus of 25.

Ahhh, Krugman--Volume 3

I know you people sit around and shake your heads when I say things like "I'm painting Krugman now" or "Let the spectacle begin!" I know you are thinking something like "This guy's so full of shit you can see it coming out his ears."

So how you liking me now?

I'm actually surprised at how well it turned out. Deep inside I knew that if I scrawled enough comments (Thank you, Zero Hedge readers) onto the background of the thing that the ghostly face would emerge, limpid and beautiful in that same terrible way that zombies can sometimes be. Particularly if they used to be extremely attractive women. The technical term is something like negative space--or something like that.

Nonetheless, wowzers. And Lord, the nasty things people had to say to the man. Or to me...about him. Or to me, specifically. I'm still scalded by the comment I think I shared a couple of posts below.



Fuck you.

Anyway, 55K. Carpe diem, dear friends. The hounds of the Baskervilles will be baying at the moon tonight; and if one of them is loaded it might be too late for you.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar...

There... Happy?

I'm starting Season Six of TYOMP off with a non-Springsteen lyric. Paul Simon from Graceland, in fact. If I remember correctly, the entire song goes something like this:
The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war

I'm going to Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland
Poorboys and Pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland
My traveling companion is nine years old
He is the child of my first marriage
But I've reason to believe
We both will be received
In Graceland

She comes back to tell me she's gone
As if I didn't know that
As if I didn't know my own bed
As if I'd never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead
And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

I'm going to Graceland
Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland
Poorboys and Pilgrims with families
And we are going to Graceland

And my traveling companions
Are ghosts and empty sockets
I'm looking at ghosts and empties
But I've reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland

There is a girl in New York City
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when I'm falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
Oh, so this is what she means
She means we're bouncing into Graceland
And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees you're blown apart
Everybody feels the wind blow

In Graceland, in Graceland
I'm going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There's some part of me wants to see
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there's no obligations now
Maybe I've a reason to believe
We all will be received
In Graceland
She comes back to tell me she's gone! I mean really, that is a song. You think I don't know my own bed?

For you completists, I'm listening to my Easy Star All-Stars channel on Pandora (basic Pandora, not Pandora One, if that's what it's called). I sometimes wonder how much better the 9-buck-a-month version is. Easy Star's claim to fame is doing reggae versions of classic rock albums. I'm listening to them do Brain Damage from Dark Side of the Moon. Good clean fun.

We all, my friends, will be received in Graceland. This is the theme for Season Six.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Post # 1456

They must be singing The Star Spangled Banner on the Champs d'Elysees.

Why, you are wondering? Because Tyler Farrar, the best American sprinter since God knows how long, won Stage Three of the Tour de France in thrilling fashion.

And whither, you are likely asking, the Manx Missle? He straggled in fifth or sixth after having run into a bit of trouble.

On a patriotic note, I'll offer this to punctuate the fifth season and the one thousand four hundred fifty-sixth post of The Year of Magical Painting.

Of Mice and Men ... and Independence Day

Five years ago today I put a bullet in the head of my public relations agency and walked out the door. It wasn't as harsh as I make it sound, though. The truth was that it wasn't particularly well--my agency--and it knew something was up. So when it asked, for like the 500th time, "Tell me about the rabbits, Geoff?" I took its hand, led it to the front of the office, where the windows look out over 19th Street, and started telling it about the rabbits while I stroked its hair.

Just when we got to the good part (which, because we were built to service Big Pharma, came at the moment when they heavily sedated the rabbits and then vivisected them), I put a bullet in the head of my public relations agency and walked out the door. Five years ago, today.

Two thoughts came to mind at the time:

First, I said to myself, "Shit, I've got twenty bucks in my pocket and a buck-sixty-three in my bank account. Better sell that watch quick."

Second, I said to myself, "It could be worse. Now I'll never have to listen to another smirky, 28-year old Wharton MBA explain to me why my strategy was wrong and hers was right when, in reality, hers was wrong and mine was right
Brief personal aside: I used the above Wharton example because one of my all-time favorite clients was, in fact, a 28-year old product manager with a Wharton MBA, and it was one of the most delightful work experiences ever. So you Wharton people can untwist your knickers and continue, unencumbered by new-found negativity, with your plans to buy a painting.
To quote the Bard of Asbury Park:
Well Papa go to bed now it's getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now
I'll be leaving in the morning from St. Mary's Gate
We wouldn't change this thing even if we could somehow
Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us
There's a darkness in this town that's got us too
But they can't touch me now
And you can't touch me now
They ain't gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

So say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day
All down the line
Just say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day this time

Now I don't know what it always was with us
We chose the words, and yeah, we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind

Well say goodbye it's Independence Day
It's Independence Day all boys must run away
So say goodbye it's Independence Day
All men must make their way come Independence Day

Now the rooms are all empty down at Frankie's joint
And the highway she's deserted down to Breaker's Point
There's a lot of people leaving town now
Leaving their friends, their homes
At night they walk that dark and dusty highway all alone

Well Papa go to bed now it's getting late
Nothing we can say can change anything now
Because there's just different people coming down here now
and they see things in different ways
And soon everything we've known will just be swept away

So say goodbye it's Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won't you just say goodbye it's Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away
I know what you're thinking. Enough with the fucking Bruce Springsteen lyrics on the 4th of July, you're thinking. Every goddam year with the Springsteen? What, you never heard of Billy Joel?

You don't like it? Write your own goddam blog. And just so we're clear, today marks the first day of the sixth season of The Year of Magical Painting. And that, my friends, is something. Consider this:

Black and White Krugman with all, or much, of the stupid shit whited out. Because today I'm announcing my independence from idiots who want to write stupid stuff on my paintings. No more I Heart New York. No more I Love My Family. No more plugs for South American soccer teams. If you are gonna write something on my paintings you have to apply some brain power to the process. Or, barring that, write "I am Spartacus."

Does this make me a bad person?
Naaah. Keep saying to yourself Picasso was an asshole too.
Picasso was an asshole too. Picasso was an asshole too.


Gauguin was an asshole too. Gauguin was an asshole too.

That's the ticket!
And Matisse! Seemed like a nice enough guy, but he could be a son of a bitch.

Anyway, I'm gonna take my new-found real estate and transcribe recent comments from Zero Hedge. My favorite so far?
Im not sure I really like these pieces very much. As a gimick I think they are great. Nobody else can make them, if even if done better. Unfortinately they could be a lot better. They have the tropes of bathhroom wall graffiti, but lack there full expression a bathroom wall offers. The author has made his contribution overly precious. It poses as a launching point for collective expression, but in the end its just dandiest illustration, and as dandiest illustrations go they are pretty boring. Each portrait then seems the same as the last. Had the author yielded authority each likely would have been far more interearing and each highly unique and transcended the gimmick. Id still buy one as is if I could afford it, but thats just because boring gimmicks still sell.
Ouch! They are a pretty tough crew. I have some thoughts about this, but perhaps another time. I just got invited to a barbeque and will now have to take a shower. Which is a colossal imposition.

Saturday, July 02, 2011


The whole idea of being the animal custodian (one dog, one cat, ten days) is to deliver the animals back to the owners in basically the same shape you received them. In exchange for this, the people don't mind that you drank some of their beer and ate the marinated artichoke hearts in the back fridge.

A month ago I was charged with watching a friend's 14-year-old dog for a weekend. In this situation, you just hope she--the dog--doesn't croak on your watch. With the animals currently in question, general health wasn't such an issue. But you can't lose the damned things--that's for sure.

All of which brings me to the events of yesterday evening. Late afternoon, the dog and I are coming in from the backyard. At that exact moment, the mailman is delivering the mail. The dog goes bananas; I rush to identify the problem; the cat slips out the back door.


I spend the next several hours watching Mets/Yankees and periodically taking a dish with some dried food out back and kind of shaking it so it sounds to the cat like dinner is being served. No luck. Plus, the Yankees are killing the Mets. So glumness rules. Around ten pee em, the dog seemed to sense that something was up so we went out the back door and looked around. Sure enough, there was the cat. You have to find him out the corner of your eye (black cat, dark night) because of that whole cones and rods thing. But there he was and, after a bit of thissing and thatting, I nabbed him.


Nonetheless, the question remains: Was it planned? And if so, who was in on it? The dog and the cat? Just the cat? God help us--the mailman? I physically inspected the cat, who I trust about as far as I can throw the dog, closely to see if, perhaps, the floor-plan of the house was tattooed on its chest like in that TV show. Nothing.

Me? I'm out of here tomorrow, so I'm not gonna worry about it. All I know is that I've been spared that whole "Welcome back ... the cat's missing" conversation. Which is a relief.

That said, I'd like to think that the dog was on my side.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Lord Have Mercy!

No--I mean it. Lord have mercy! The Tour de France is starting tomorrow and I can barely function, given my anticipation.
Some would suggest you barely function anyway.
And there would be a nugget of truth in that. But my anticipatory disfunction is peaking as we speak. I can barely type!
We're excited too.
The TdeF is like nothing else. No--I mean it. Who could forget the time Lance, avoiding a downed cyclist on a switch-back descent of some humongous mountain, plummeted off the side of the road, somehow rode his road bike through a 100 yards of two-foot-high weeds at about a 45 degree angle, caught the road again, and proceeded to win the thing for the Nth time?

That said, Lance is kind of an asshole. But I don't think you get to where he got being nice. Look at me. Sometimes the price of gargantuan talent is paid in the other parts of one's life.
[insert moment of uncomfortable self-reflection]
The import thing is that, as they do every three or four years, they are climbing up the Alpe d'Huez.
We're getting chills just thinking about it.
Me too!