Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Best Ryan comment...

"November 8, 2012--You won't have Paul Ryan to kick around anymore."

If only.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Leonard Skinner

It figures that the band that wrote the words ...

In Birmingham they love the governor,
Now we all did what we could do
Now Watergate does not bother me
Does your conscience bother you?

... would agree to play at the Republican convention.

If I were there, listening to various Republicans step up to the plate and sign onto the program -- and make no mistake that there is a program -- I'd be shouting "Freebird" at the top of my lungs til they threw me out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Positively Nixonian

This is Paul Ryan as he will look in thirty more years.

I'm comfortable with the phrase "Positively Nixonian" only with the caveat that I don't want Paul Ryan to be president, ever.  Other than that, I'm good.

This ain't no Mudd Club...

To quote the Talking Heads, "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around..."

Taken right in the wheel house of Occupy Wall Street, in the bowels of Zucotti Park, the idea is to show you that what I do, if that's what you want to call it, ain't no CBGB.  I don't have time for that now--this is serious shit, man.  I am standing on the frontline of the American Revolution.  Maybe.

Can you clarify what you call what you do?
You do what, exactly?

Look at the face on that guy.  Man, he was feeling it.

Apparently the statement "You won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore" was wrong.

And now this: 

I was going to title it "Daily I stroll contentedly in my garden.  There is a gate, but it is always shut. Beyond the gate I can hear people.  But I don't let them in."

Which, as I'm sure you've guessed already, is a slightly modified version of a poem by 5th Century Chinese poet Tao Qian.  First two lines by him; second two by me.  Except it was too long.

Creepy-odd how much Paul Ryan looks like Richard Nixon.  I couldn't help myself--he just kept appearing in the paint.  And at a certain point all I could do was welcome him in and congratulate him on his foreign policy.

One interesting note, if you find these things interesting, is during what one might call the discovery stage, I glued down several pieces of the New York Times.  This is one little bit that remains visible.  It's on his right ear.  So we're clear, the article from which the newsprint was ripped had nothing to do with Ryan.  It was just ...  well, I don't know what it was.  

Me?  I always felt like collage was a second rate art form.  Does that make me a bad person?  

Anyway, this is about what's going to New York with me tomorrow.  I need to sign it, plus clean up his collar.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Black and White Ryan

now looks something like this...

Still much work to do, but I can't get this tape off my foot.

Disregard the fact that it doesn't look like the guy.  A--that's never really bugged me that much so why should it bug you.  B--I'm still working on it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Self-delusion, Volume 2 -- The One about The Chicken Breasts

I would have included this in the previous post but I couldn't remember it until a little while ago when I saw the chicken breasts sitting on a plate on my kitchen counter.

Rewinding just a bit, I had a beautiful rack of organic, boneless chicken breasts in my ice box a while back.  And I got worried that I wouldn't have a chance to eat them before they went bad, so at some point I popped them in the freezer.  Then, the other day, I took them back out to let them thaw again.

Then I forgot about them for a day or so as they sat in the bottom shelf of the ice box.  And then last night I unwrapped them and gave them the smell test.  Which they passed.

But I was still suspicious.  I washed them carefully, patted them dry, applied some oil, salt, pepper, and the spice rub I get from the spice rub guy at the farmers' market, and threw them in my deluxe George Foreman grill.  Which, despite the ridiculousness of the very idea of George Foreman, a man who named all his sons George, even having a grill, is really an amazingly convenient appliance.

So I cooked them up.

But I never trusted them.  I kept saying to myself 'Hey, they passed the smell test' but then a voice in the back of my head was saying 'They may have passed the smell test, but that paper wrapper smelled a little funky.'

A voice in the back of your head?
Like me!  How wonderful.
Yeah, I suppose.

So I never trusted them.

When they were done, I sliced off a tiny bit of cooked breast and chewed it.  It was fine, although in the  back of my head I couldn't help think it was a bit sour-tasting.  So I stopped eating it and watched an episode of Pardon the Interruption.  Then I went back and tasted another bit.  And then another.

And then the voice in the back of my head said to me 'Man's ability to fool himself is exceeded only by...  well, I'm not sure what,' to which I found myself bobbing my head in agreement.  The voice then added 'And you're crazy if you think that chicken breast is okay.  Throw the goddam things out.'

Which I did.


Or rather, which I resolved to do the next time I thought about it.  Which is now, except I'm in the studio and they are still sitting on my kitchen counter.


Man's ability to fool himself is exceeded only by...  well, I'm not sure what.

And by 'man', I'm of course referring to me.  Geoffrey Raymond.  Who has been fooling himself about his Paul Ryan painting for long enough.  So today, with the exception of a massive, albeit welcome, interruption by an old friend, the paint started flying.

We'll see how it turns out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fully Calibrated; Loaded for Bear

Do you know what I love?  Truly love?  I love this goddam painting:

The whole black and white thing...  The fact that you can see the grid I used to sketched the thing.  The mono chromaticism of the thing.

Man, that's gotta be hyphenated.

The whole mono-chromaticism of the thing.

The downside?  As I look at the financial landscape of the last five years (and I've had a front row seat of a sort), I think Krugman has been one of the few sane heads with a bully pulpit.  He's a hero.

One man's opinion.
Yes, one man's opinion.

So it makes me sad when they take my beautiful painting and write the nastiest things imaginable on it.  I mean, the painting is covered with nastiness.  Just one example is the tiny note on the lower right hand corner.

And I still love it.  Kind of the way I love this one...

Except I don't really love it.  I think it's ok.

But I do love American Investor (which, by the way, is the egg from which American Worker cracked).  Now THAT is a goddam painting!!!!!

All of this, I suppose, is to support the notion that I have a long history of black and white paintings, and to suggest to you, dear reader, that when I tell you I'm thinking of leaving this one alone, it comes not out of laziness but rather from a deep and rich pool of precedents.

I refer, of course, to Black & White Ryan...

I'm not saying it's done, but there's very little distance between this and what the finished product might be.

One could argue for a reduction in the sheer mass of the ears.
Yes, one could.
And I'm not comfortable with the size of the collar of his shirt, particularly the one on the left side.
Nor am I.

This is one of the all time great GVR political paintings:

Red for Republicans; Blue for Democrats; Black for independents.  Who don't get capitalized.  Sorry.  But I can't stop thinking about old Paul Krugman with all that black writing.  So I'm thinking about finishing Ryan and giving everybody black pens.  I mean, shouldn't you be able to tell from the comments what the people think?  And isn't, in this sad world we live in, the current state of political polarization obscene?   Maybe we're better not assigning colors to parties?

pause here for lengthy personal reflection

So black and white it is.

There's a part of me that wants to title the thing "Black & White Ryan (Fully Calibrated; Loaded for Bear)" but I don't think I'm gonna do that.

The fully calibrated business functions on two levels:  First, say what you will about Ryan but he is a legitimate budget wonk.  Second, if you look closely at the painting you can still see the lines I use to divide the canvas into 80 6-inch squares.  Which is a loose sort of calibration, I suppose.

And as regards the bear thing, substitute "old people" for the word bear.  or "anybody making less than 100K."  And that's only two.

It's Good to be a Chicken in America

Sharing a classic from a year or so ago...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One Last Note on This Whole Julia Child Business

a--She would have been 100 yesterday, not today

b--She would have been proud of me last night when, on her hundredth birthday, I looked down at my dinner and thought it needed one more thing.

The dinner I beheld was simple enough:  artisanal fettucini tossed with olive oil, green peas and a chopped mix of black olives, marinated garlic and hot peppers.  I had a glass of wine in one hand, some hard cheese in the other.  All of which I then put down, reached into the ice box and pulled out some Trojan goat cheese (We're literally up to our asses here in goats) that had been rolled in herbs and chives.  I sliced a goober of goat cheese from the ball and dropped it into the hot pasta.

Whereupon it melted, turning the olive oil into the most glorious cream sauce you could imagine.  Like Alfredo, but with a bit more bite.  If you believe, as I do, that bacon and black olives are basically the same things, perhaps a Carbonara of a sort.

Both of which are Italian, not French.  But still, the spirit resides within.

Aren't chives herbs?
Maybe.  I think of them as small onions.

I sat on the sofa, 17 feet from the door to the bathroom, and watched an episode of Giada At Home and ate my pasta.  What a scary woman that Giada de Laurentiis is, with that double row of teeth.  Scary but at the same time beautiful.  Like some cross between Mila Kunis and a great white shark.  By the end of the show I was so lathered up I had to take a cold shower.

Julia Child would have been one hundred years old today

Makes me want to slam a whole chicken on the counter and start hacking it apart.  The only chicken I have, unfortunately, is a nice pair of organic boneless chicken breasts.  So, in acknowledgment, I just bought her book.  My Life In France is the name, I'm thinking.

Me?  I always liked Ms. Child.  Not so much Jaques Pepin, although he wrote a lovely remembrance of her in the Times.

When you say 'not so much Jaques Pepin' do you mean Pepin didn't like Child, or you didn't like Pepin?
It's not clear, is it?
I meant I didn't--don't--like Pepin.
Because he and I once got into a shouting match at a restaurant called Hubert's.  He was the guest chef and I was the waiter.  Guess who got fired.
Maybe it's for the best.  

Anyway, that was a long time ago.  And one shouldn't hold grudges.  But I'm still a little pissed, and my simmering anger is only exacerbated by staring at the red copy just above and wishing it was indented as a block.

My Life in France, as I understand it, is one of the primary sources for Julia and Julia--a movie I know I'm going to love if I ever get around to seeing it.  I'm also hoping it will bear some resemblance to A Year in Provence, which was charming.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A quick note on TYOMP typography

Since time immemorial my interaction with the Greek chorus has been indented and colored red.  No longer.  From now on, it'll be flush left, just like the rest of the copy.  Red, still, but not indented.

The reason?  Every time Google improves Blogger it makes it worse.  I find it now almost impossible to work with, but am not completely sure how I might grab six years of a blog and transfer it to Wordpress or something.

On the same topic, I'm no longer positioning photographs flush left because Blogger defaults them to the center position.  Were it merely a matter of a quick format change or two, I'd do it, since I like them flush left just like I like the Greek chorus indented.  But it's not a quick change or two.

Note to future bloggers:  Don't use Blogger.

This whole Burmese python business

So I'm sitting upstairs, eating a bit of lunch, watching Morning Joe on tape, avoiding going downstairs to paint Tim Geithner, the doing of which, as noted previously, is not going well.  This whole painting business is currently a massive black hole.  A massive fucking black hole.  I don't want to talk about it.

Anyway, so there I'm sitting.  If you were somehow able to rip the top of my apartment off and stare down at me from, say, a blimp, I'd be sitting on what, given the right orientation, would be the bottom left of a slightly rectangular room.  On the upper right corner, catty corner, which I feel certain isn't how you spell that, is the door to the bathroom.  My reckoning is that from where I'm sitting on the sofa to the opposite corner of the room is somewhere between 18 and 22 feet.  I mean, who really measures?  This is merely an approximation; an attempt to quantify in your mind the lay of the land.

Excellent Morning Joe, by the way.  This Ryan guy has everyone apoplectic.

I can barely function, just thinking about it.
Me neither.

Anyway, across the bottom of the screen little bits of news from around the world are being horizontally scrolled.  Up pops one.  It reads:

"Seventeen foot Burmese python found in Everglades"

Really.  Really?  Seventeen feet?  That's a massive fucking snake.

Me?  I have a shark phobia.  I love to swim in the ocean and am generally comfortable doing so.  But if I find myself a bit too far out from the shore, to the point where I can't feel the bottom with my feet during the lulls between the waves, I become anxious.

Anxious of what?
Of what?  That's your question?  Of what?
Yes.  Of what are you anxious?
Sharks, man!  I open the paragraph by saying I had a shark phobia, then I start talking about swimming in the ocean, then I discuss anxiety, and you can't do that math?
Hmmm.  I suppose, put that way, laid out in a neat linear fashion, that I should have guessed.

Just so it's clear, dear reader, I experience shark-related anxiety when my feet can't touch the ocean floor.  Oddly, if I'm snorkeling or diving (I've only scuba dived twice, but still), it doesn't bother me. But in the cold, dark Atlantic...


So I'm sitting looking at the distance between me and the bathroom door a moment ago and imagining that space filled to near capacity with 17 feet of Burmese python and let me tell you, I'm totally getting the heebie-jeebies.  Heebie-jeebies, by the way, is what's called a reduplicated phrase.  Interesting little article here.  Boogie-woogie is another.

Which of course makes me think of this:

To this day I can't decide whether I like this guy (Mondrian) or not.  So I have anxiety about that as well.

I think a snake that big could, by utilizing its excellent detachable jaw, eat me whole.

I was texting a friend of mine after the golf, talking about how lovely it would be to own one of those houses that abut the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.  My comment to my friend went something like "I'd love to own one of those houses, but I'd be afraid that an alligator would eat my dog."

To which he responded "That would be a legitimate concern, but only if you have an actual, not an imaginary, dog."

Easy for him to say.  He's got a nice little white dog.

Me?  I want to get a redbone coonhound, but I'm having trouble resolving riding my bike to Miami with dog ownership.

This, of course, is a gag.  The real ones look like this:

O' noble beast.

Important update:  This is a picture of the python in question:

I'm feeling less threatened.  My vision of a 17-foot snake was much thicker than what appears to be the reality.  Bottom line:  It could still kill me, when push came to shove, but I don't think it could eat me.  Which is the part I'm worried about--being half awake and half dead and being eaten alive.   Brrrrr.

But it could sure as hell eat my dog.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Current Status, Vol. 2

I'm sitting at my desk, blogging--if that's even a verb--while listening to Joshua Tree, the seminal U2 album.  But not my favorite, just so we're clear.  My favorite would be whatever the album is that has One on it, then Rattle & Hum, then Joshua Tree.
"Edge!  Play the blues!"
Achtung Baby is the name you're searching for.
Yes it is.  Thank you.
Not necessary.  We exist to serve.
Me too.
Yes it is.
Anyway, I'm typing away and the presence of a bit of a scratch on the album makes itself known to me through my ears.  Less a scratch and more a physical thing.  Like a tiny chunk of something attached to the surface of the record.  The fun thing is that you hear it five times:  the first, quite dimly in just the left speaker as the edge of the stylus brushes by it; then more noticeably, but still in the left; then fully, and centered; then less noticeably, now in the right speaker; then finally, dimly, again right; and then nothing.

It should be noted that the Doppler Effect is not in play here.  Likewise, it should also be noted that the use of the words left and right may, in reality, be reversed.  I don't feel like going back and checking.
"Outside is America!"

Do you know what the difference between Troy and New York is?

Every once in a while, New York--and by this I mean New York City--does something extraordinary on a monumental, or quasi-monumental basis.
Do you mean like Central Park?
Yes, I suppose.  More currently, perhaps, one might think of the High Line.
Yes, I suppose one might.
Troy?  Lovely spot, but not so much with the quasi-monumental business.  Although the remake of the waterfront park turned out better than I thought it would, and one rejoices in the small victories, doesn't one?

Okay.  As a warm up, picture yourself in a train in a station.  Got it?  Good.

Now consider this photo, taken moments ago with a wide angle lens while looking across Monument Square at my current dwelling.

Don't even ask about the picture.  It should, however, be noted that not only do I have a Wikipedia page, but my dwelling does too.  And how many people can say that?

The point of the thing is the massive column in the middle of the square (which is about as square as Times Square, fyi).  It's capped with a sculpture of a woman blowing a long horn.  I think it's a woman--it's hard to tell because it's fifty feet in the air.

Now consider these from the NYTimes:

The article, by the way, is here.  A must-read if you are a certain sort of a person.  More specifically, the sort of a person who likes stuff like this.  More specifically, not a Dallas Cowboys fan.  Although I'm sure there's a subset of Cowboys fans who can read without moving their lips.  But still...

Anyway, the photo shows the column in Columbus Circle sheathed in a temporary structure that will allow people to climb up the stairs and hang out on sofas and easy chairs with Columbus himself.  The artist's depiction of his temporary "living room" is the second image.  Just so we're clear, that's the statue of Columbus at the top of the column coming up through the floor of the room.


It might be interesting for the City of Troy to ask the City of New York if they could have the structure when the exhibit is finished, and do the same thing in Monument Square.

Now that would be something.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Current status

I'm trying to squeeze out a portrait of Timothy Geithner, as celebration of the London Interbank Offered Rate kerkuffle, but it's taking so long that I may have to end up calling it "Libor Day!" rather than the original, and still pending, "The Liborated Geithner."

The painting currently looks like this:

So you can see there's a ways to go.  I should just stop right here, title it "The Jeffersonian Ideal" and call it a day.  The only reason I don't is because I can't wait to inscribe The First Annotation, which will read, roughly, "Is Tim Geithner is the New Joe Paterno?"

I may also inscribe, in balloon letters, something like this:
We Are!
The Fed!
In the meantime, here's a picture of my new bike:

This is a better pic:

Crazy People

You, as they say, do the math...

Two photos.  The first taken quite recently (I believe) of Marvin Wilson, executed in Texas yesterday despite being declared mentally retarded.

This from the Daily Beast:
At 6:27 local time, Marvin Wilson was executed in Texas. The Supreme Court denied on Tuesday a stay of the execution on the grounds that Wilson was mentally retarded. Marvin Wilson was convicted of beating Jerry Williams, a police informant, and then shooting him in the head and neck at close range in November 1992. Wilson’s lawyers said their client has a low IQ of 61 and never progressed beyond the elementary-school level in reading and math. In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that mentally deficient defendants couldn’t be put to death, but left it up to the states to determine the threshold.
This would be Mr. Wilson:

This, of course, is "Inverted Perry," my portrait of the current Texas Governor and former contestant for the Republican nomination for president.

There's actually more written on the painting, but my computer crashed a few months ago and it's hard to drill into my backup hard drive and get the damned thing.  All of which is unimportant, to a degree, since the salient annotation is clearly visible under my signature/date on the upper right hand corner.

This from "Inverted Perry":

If the State of Texas is executing retarded people willy-nilly, I don't see the harm in stringing up Bernanke.  At least he knows what he's doing.

The price of this painting just went up to $125,000.  Buy it now and I'll take ten percent off.
Brief personal aside:  It should be noted that the horns seen on the Perry painting appeared during the annotation process, and are not part of my original painting.  That, howsoever appropriate, would have been inappropriate, given my quasi-journalistic sobriquet, The Painter of Record.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sabbatical over

This is Mothlight from Stan Brakhage:

<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Jaezt80Sm1A" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

And this is a brief recounting of his  meeting Jackson Pollock and Pollock's angry response to the term Chance Operation.

<iframe width="480" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ydCRxGWrbZY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Me?  As a man who's thrown a lot of paint, I don't believe it.  But there you are.