Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My sabbatical

... is over. More to come.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My sabbatical

I'm on one, if you didn't know.  And, evidence to the contrary, I'm still on it.  Remain calm and carry on.

On a philosophical note, I would say that sometimes, after seven years of almost constant blogging, it's good to take a rest.  Enough already.  How much does one person have to say?  I mean, really?

New York is lovely.

If, in my absence, you find yourself with nothing to do, try buying a set of prints.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Life is an imperfect equation

Just as the leaders of the 16th stage of the Tour are barreling down the hill, into Gap, I lose my picture.  Still have audio, but no video.  Very annoying.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Black Jackson

From the archives ...

Kind of weird.  Small, it looks cartoonish.  Expanded, I kind of like it.

Just so we're clear, this is Jackson smoking a cigarette and saying to himself "I've run this drip thing into the ground.  What the hell am I going to do now?"

Here's his girlfriend, Ruth Kligman, making time with deKooning long after Jackson bought it.

The bad boys get all the hot chicks.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Le Tour is Finis

Which is made-up French for this:  Chris Froome took control of the Tour de France today by accelerating up the side of Mont Ventoux, shattering Alberto Contador and fellow pretenders.  In the end, even the little Colombian, Nairo Quintana, couldn't keep up.  Froome is now well-positioned to handily win the thing, even though a slew of Alps stages stand between him and Paris.

Froome will also be the second Englishman in a row to win the Tour.  Long Live the Queen.  Somebody light a fire beneath the Duchess of Cambridge -- I can't wait to see that baby.

Back to the French, today is Bastille Day.  Which is always fun, I suppose.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

One More Thing About Andy ...

... and this whole business of "what if he'd lived to a ripe old age?"

I don't think Andy had much left as a painter.  And I always thought adding Nico to the Velvet Underground was a horrible idea, so let's rule him out as a music producer.  And his films were more notable because they were made by him than because of what they, themselves, were.

Case in point, "Blow Job."

A classic!  27 minutes of a close-up of a guy getting a blow job.  Looks a lot like the young Brando, but isn't.  The powers that be won't let me post it on the blog, but the link is here.  I'm not telling you to watch it (although I once watched ten minutes or so of it at a Warhol show on 24th Street several years ago).  I'm just informing you of its existence.

[General caveat:  Probably not safe for most work environments]

It should be noted that the first three slates of the film read:

Slate 1 -- Andy Warhol's
Slate 2 -- Blow Job
Slate 3 -- This film has been preserved by the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film

The Museum of Modern Art thinks it's worth keeping.  So hell, maybe the joke's on me.  Or maybe not.  If the joke was on MoMA, one wonders at what point would they have stopped laughing?

All that aside, I could see Warhol living on, more like Truman Capote than anything else.  Lunching and la-di-dah, followed by a massive flame-out of some nature or other.  Masterminded, perhaps, by Warhol himself.

Because the man was a genius.

Andy Warhol

My ambivalence about Andy Warhol has been widely and deeply reported on these pages.  Here's a photo of a sculpture of Andy made out of, I'm told, Wonder Bread ...

Now this is something I can get behind.

It looks dark for Wonder Bread.
It does, doesn't it?  But I'm just passing along what I'm told.
Maybe it darkens up when you smush it all together.

Here's a painting of Andy Warhol by Jean-Michel Basquiat, who I admire very much.  Titled "Brown Spots"

It would have been interesting if they'd both lived longer.  Or maybe it would have been horrible. I mean, if you think about it, who would want to see Jackson Pollock thrashing around his studio in The Springs, looking for the next big thing at age 60?

Likewise Andy (my theory being that he'd run his course, but I'm probably too negative).

Basquiat, however, I could see flowering into something really special.  More special than he already was.  I'm talking really special.

Here's a movie to watch ...

Journey to the Moon

My brother, who should know, told me once that parts of Afghanistan seemed more like the face of the moon than the face of the earth.  Which reminds me of the summit of Mont Ventoux, tomorrow's finish line for the Tour de France ...

On most of the finishes in the Alps you are really high up, but there are usually trees strewn about in abundance.  Blankets of cool, green grass.  A mountain brook gurgling happily.  Plenty of nice places for a picnic which, if you had one, might feature a few bottles of wine as you wait for the peloton to arrive.  Perhaps a lovely cheese course to finish things off.  Punctuated with a half-bottle of 1988 Chateau d'Yquem.  If we're feeling flush.

None of that foolishness on Mont Ventoux, old sport.  It's the mountaintop finishes that separate the men from the boys in the Tour and this is traditionally one of the good ones, featuring a final ascent of 20+ kilometers.  Which doesn't seem like much if you are in an air-conditioned Bentley but does, I can promise you, if you're on a bike.

I typically ask that questions be held til the end.
But I'd like to pursue the matter now.
Okay -- fire away if you must.
Has your brother ever been to the moon?  And have you ever ridden a bike up Mont Ventoux?
So you're both talking through your asses.
I might describe it as taking literary license.  And I, in my leaner days, have ridden a bike up a steep five kilometer hill, and found that to be difficult.
You're suggesting that, because 20K is longer than 5K that it, too, will be difficult?
Difficult doesn't begin to describe it, but yes, that's the gist of my thesis.  
Hmmm.  Fair enough.  But I'm still not comfortable about the moon thing.
Just work with it.

Yesterday my boy Chris Froome lost a minute-plus to Alberto Voldemort.  Wait ... slip of the tongue.  Make that Contador, not Voldemort.  So now Froome is only two minutes ahead.  Which is better than a stick in the eye, surely.  But it's become clear that his team is no match for Contador's in the mountains.  There's also a young Colombian rider whose name escapes me.  So we shall see.

Additional Note:  It should be acknowledged that the NBCSports mobile apps have worked flawlessly throughout the Tour.  I say this with some surprise, given the hash NBC has made in their first year of televising Formula One.  Frankly, my expectations were low.  But I'm a big enough man to say Well Done when it's called for.

Vive la France.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bud Heavy

Here's a shot of part of a beer list at a local Troy watering hole ...

This seems like too much by a factor of half (although that ginger and lime business sounds pretty good).  Being a University of Virginia graduate, the term Wahoo always stimulates my saliva production, so I suppose that's a positive.  I'd tell you that I'd love to be eating a Gusburger right now (except they no longer exist), but I won't because that would be digressing.

Instead, let me just say that I'm a simple man.  I like to know if my beer is a Bud, and if so, if it's light or heavy.  If the bartender tells me it's extra-heavy then that, of course, is code for Guinness.

Consider this from my still verklempt Uncle Sam sculpture ...

Troy's a town full of beer snobs.  It's its only failing.

A final philosophical thought:  If you are absolutely dead-set on coming off as an insufferable smarty-pants, don't have typos in your beer lists.  I refer to the use of the word "but" when "by" was the correct word.  I don't ordinarily throw stones like this, but the more I look at the beer menu the more annoyed I become.

Running with the Bulls

If you ever get the urge to do so, watch this recent video before booking passage to Pamplona.

For the record, I don't even think Rex Ryan actually did run with the bulls.  He told us he could be a good head coach.  Which was a lie.  So why should we believe him now?

But if he did, the Jets Nation would surely be rooting for a face to face between Rex and the black bull.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Death Star ... Unveiled

After who knows how long, Fabrice Tourre -- he of the Goldman Sachs/Abacus/John Paulson uproar -- gets his ass dragged into court by the SEC.

This being pulled from an email to his girlfriend ...

“The whole building is about to collapse anytime now.  Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab, standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications.”

Fabrice, you dirty dog, here's your map painting.

Monday, July 08, 2013

"He's a good lookin' rascal." -- President Bill Clinton

Remember that saying about how, assuming Satan exists, you wouldn't recognize him if you ran into him on the street.  He wouldn't look all scaly, with wings and claws and a tail and stinking of hellfire and brimstone.  Hell, he'd probably look like Bar Rafaeli.  Or Rick Perry.

All this talk of the dark side by way of saying I didn't paint those horns.  Some annotator added them after the fact.  But I support the thinking.

Reports are saying that Governor Perry will, after three terms, step down.  As for what he'll do next, he apparently said he "will also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path."

What a miserable, loathsome shit of a man.  I applaud his idea of turning to prayer for guidance.  Too bad he didn't try that when the State of Texas systematically killed any number of inmates whose mental status was clearly in doubt.  Or the guy who got the needle because his assigned public defender chose to sleep in court rather than mount a defense.  And any number of other abuses of the justice system that resulted in the big snuff.

And God Help You if, during those proceedings, you happened to notice that you were black.  Because then you were truly screwed.

What a miserable, loathsome, stupid shit of a man.  One of my least favorite politicians ever.

I'm not one to pat myself on my back (actually I am), but I love those reptilian eyes.  Goodbye and good riddance.

Year 8

I know some children that are younger than The Year of Magical Painting.  Cute ones, too.

That said, we are back in the saddle after our brief 4 July sabbatical, churning out world-class pablum in a manner that's the envy of the industry.  Next up, the Americas Cup.  About which there is a fair bit to say, not the least being that Luna Rossa reached speeds of nearly 50 miles per hour yesterday in a practice race.

This would be a good time to remind you people that these ships don't have engines.

Somebody once said that having a downhill bike accident in the Tour was like stripping to your skivvies and jumping out the window of a car traveling 50 mph.  Witness Jens Voight falling over in 2010 ...

... at about 50 mph.

Ahhh, home

The whole idea of going to New York was to go see some cool shows.  The problem was that it was so hot.  I ended up going to no shows and three movies (as noted previously).  The movie I really wanted to see but missed was 20 Feet From Stardom -- the documentary about back-up singers.  But I'm biding my time.  It looks like the kind of flick that's going to hang around the NY art houses for a while.  And, in the event that I miss it completely, being a Netflix subscriber has its benefits.

I will say that, after the requisite glitch or two (one of which took me over a day to fix), NBC's mobile app for watching the Tour de France has been working nicely.  And, as previously predicted, Chris Froome ripped the Maillot Jeune from the back of the pretenders on the first stage in the Pyrenees and survived attack after attack in the second stage while lesser men (including all his teammates) dropped away.

Today is a day of rest for the Tour.  Although it is not Sunday.  And tomorrow, being flat, is a day for the sprinters.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

I'm in New York for a couple of days ...

... so the postings will be thin for a while.

That said, I've seen White House Down, World War Z and The Great Gatsby, about which I will say:

The NYTimes said White House Down was "less stupid than you'd expect it to be."  So I went and, armed with heightened expectations, was significantly let down.  I found it far stupider than I thought it would be.  And I became downright angry when they tacked a Rolling Stones song (Street Fighting Man, or some other really famous one -- I was so angry I forgot) onto the back of it.  I said to my friend "They think they can save this piece of shit with a Rolling Stones song at the end?"

I found the smirky, self-congratulatory tone to be particularly grating, and Jamie Foxx has nowhere near the gravitas to play the President of the US.  A disaster.

As regards WWZ, the theater was cold but shortly after the zombies arrived I felt slightly warmer.  Turned out I'd peed in my pants.

[That last part isn't true]

And The Great Gatsby was great.  Would have been better with anybody other than Tobey Maguire.  But Leo and Michelle were excellent.  Jordan Baker didn't get full shrift, in my opinion.  Nor did the mechanic's wife, Myrtle.  But those are quibbles.  Lovely.  More on this movie later, likely along the lines of: you know you've got strong and enduring source material if people are constantly fucking with it (See: Shakespeare).  So Baz Luhrmann fucking with Fitzgerald's masterpiece was fine with me and, by and large, pretty well done.  Or at least deserving of a nod of the head and the cautious murmuring of the word "okaaay."


And so, with the annual publication of the lyrics of 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), begins The Eighth Year of Magical Painting ...

Sandy the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Forcin' a light into all those stoned-out faces left
stranded on this forth of July
Down in town the circuit's full with switchblade lovers
so fast so shiny so sharp
As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open
like Latin lovers along the shoreChasin' all them silly girls
Sandy the aurora is risin' beh ind us
The pier lights our carnival life forever
Love me tonight for I may never see you againHey Sandy girl
Now the greasers they tramp the streets or get busted for
trying to sleep on the beach all night
Them boys in their spiked high heels ah Sandy their skins are so white
And me I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades
bangin' them pleasure machines
Chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk where
they promise to unsnap their jeans
And you know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag
I got on it last night and my shirt got caught
And that Joey kept me spinnin' I didn't think I'd ever get off
Oh Sandy the aurora is risin' behind us
The pier lights our carnival life on the water
Runnin' down the beach at night with my boss's daughter
Well he ain't my boss no more Sandy
Sandy the angels have lost their desire for us
I spoke to 'em just last night and they said they won't
set themselves on fire for us anymore
Every summer when the weather gets hot they ride that road
down from heaven on their Harleys they come and they go
And you can see 'em dressed like stars in all the cheap
little seashore bars parked making love with their
babies out on the Kokomo
Well the cops finally busted Madame Marie for tellin'
fortunes better than they doThis boardwalk life for me is through
You kmow you ought to quit this scene tooSandy the aurora's rising behind us
The pier lights out carnival life forever
Oh love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever