Monday, September 30, 2013

Dispatches from the front line

Plieku province.  About twenty klicks northeast of Kontum.  In a shitty little ville next to a shitty little river that, two hours earlier, was brimming with hostiles, all of whom were shooting at us.   We would have had the situation under control a little earlier but the biggest Burmese python I've ever seen had chosen that exact moment to grab ahold of Little Pat's leg.  And let me tell you, you can't imagine what a clusterfuck that was.

Anyway, I was just about to ignite the roof of a hooch with my trusty Zippo when the lieutenant said they needed me in Saigon.  Half an hour later the slick arrived.  Forty-five minutes after that I was in Da Nang.  Three hours later I was in Saigon staring at some motherfucking rear-echelon leg colonel smoking a cigar.  He sat, I stood.

"It's your birthday," he told me.
Interesting.  Out there in the fields you tend to lose track.
"You're 60."
"Sixty!  Jeeze, Colonel.  I feel like I'm 25."
"Well you're not.  And what the fuck are you doing out in the bush at your age?"
"I'm not really out there.  Just like you don't really exist."
I could see him inhale.  Expand to his fullest dimensions.
"You're saying I don't exist, soldier?"
"Yessir.  You're just part of the Saigon slash Wall Street fusion novella I'm writing."
"I'm almost done.  And, truth be told, you don't even really exist in that, except perhaps as a minor contribution to the mise-en-scene."
"That's French, right?"
"Those fucking Frogs ..."

Sixty!  I'm amazed I'm alive.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's a black day for football fans

Jets and Giants both lose.  Oy.

Plus I tuned in to Sunday Night Football with the hopes of seeing Tom Brady break his leg or something and couldn't help but feel like this Underwood woman is a mere shadow compared to my girl Faith Hill.  Too reedy.  Very unsatisfactory theme song.

And baseball season is over.  The Mets came in third -- a spot ahead of the Yankees.  So that's something.

Mouse scorecard

Okay -- I'm not a Buddhist.  Which makes me feel better now that I've notched my second mouse.  The theory being that as the weather changes they just come inside.  These days it's like a scene from the Red Wedding.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Dan'l Boone killed a bar

Me?  I killed a mouse.  Set a trap, waited, killed him last night.

Clever mouse.  He'd already eaten the peanut butter I'd put on the trap without incident.  Likewise the pepper jack cheese (I had worried it would be too hot).  Finally I really wedged a goober of rye breat (seeded) into the trigger mechanism.  Woke up this morning ... voila!

Being a Buddhist, however, this troubles me.  We respect life in all its forms and crushing that little mouse resonates with me.  I should buy a cat and let the cat kill the mice.

A couple of thoughts?
First, you're not a Buddhist.
Okay.  Where are you going with this?
Nowhere.  Just stating the fact that you are a lapsed Catholic, not a Buddhist.
Second, if you were a Buddhist, buy the cat and letting him kill the mice wouldn't let you off the hook.  It's like those JPMorgan guys sitting back and saying (to eachother), "Manomanoman, Madoff must be doing something illegal to generate that level of profit that consistently" but saying nothing to the larger world.
Meaning guilty!  As charged!  Or as they should be charged.

Me?  I'm making some lentil soup.  Only one chicken killed ... and not by me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Seasons Greetings, Paul Konigsberg

Does the name Paul Konigsberg mean anything to you?


Well, he was Bernie Madoff's accountant.  Also the only non-family shareholder in Madoff's London operation.  The 'operation' being, according to some considerable research by me (I read it in the Times), money laundering.  And besides, surely there's a rule against the accountant also being a shareholder?

Anyway, they arrested his ass yesterday.  Interesting how the chickens are finally coming back to roost.  Likewise the swallows.

In Capistrano?

My Madoff painting is not my finest hour, portrayal-wise, but people had a lot of interesting things to say.  And a couple of years ago somebody wrote me and asked me for permission to use the painting as the cover art for holiday cards.  I couldn't say yes fast enough, the only proviso being that they send me a box.

For the record, Mr. Konigsberg's lawyer claims his client is innocent and looking forward to his day in court.

Back to the painting for a moment:  There was some fun had by the commentariat re. the resemblance to Tony Bennett.  One wag wrote "I left my funds in San Francisco."  Which did make me smile.

Hey, is it my fault Bernie Madoff looks like Tony Bennett?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I'm turning 60 in five days.  What's that David Bowie song?

Anyway, the general thinking is this ...

Actually I don't know what the general thinking is.  But that long moment of silence speaks volumes, doesn't it?   A friend of mine asked me if I was okay with such a momentous transition and I said yes.  I mean, I don't look a day over 58, so I'm good with it all.

Me?  I'm surprised I'm not dead already.

And I've more or less finished Saigon:  Too Big To Fail, which is exciting.  Not the work itself, which is quite pedestrian, but the idea of finishing it.  Plus, after re-nitrogenizing my soil (by planting plenty of winter mustard, then plowing it back in), I can feel all kinds of shit bubbling up creatively.  Plus it hit me like a ton of bricks the other day that the solution to the PeaceWorks Project is to just man up and pivot from plan A to plan B (no matter how in love with Plan A I was).  So I'm doing that.  More on the specifics later.

And WTF?  I'm still 59!

I do know that the day after my birthday, some friends are going to buy me oysters and sparkling wine and we're going to party like it's 1999.  When I was 46, and really could party.

Dick Van Dyke

Somehow I stumbled onto an episode of the Dick Van Dyke show the other day.  Right at the beginning, so I decided to watch the whole thing.

If for no other reason than to ogle the young Mary Tyler Moore.
They should put her picture next to "dewey" in the Collier's illustrated dictionary.
Yes they should, although it's interesting that some women are referred to as dewey but truman is used a good deal less.
And he won.

Anyway, it was surprisingly good.  I mean, burst out funny.  There were moments when, had I been drinking a beverage, some of it might have come out of my nose.

And then, because timing is everything, this article about the Dick Van Dyke show appears in the Mothership.  Interesting bit about historic television, even if you weren't around for Rob and Laura Petrie in their heyday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Black and White Buffett

Is the term "Obscured Box Technique" meaningful to you?  I, apparently, am the only practitioner.  Here's a video of me unwrapping a black and white painting of Warren Buffett ...

As of this typing, all that shows up is a link.  Don't quite understand.  Click here.  It's easier.

This, by the way, is classic early Geoff Raymond.  Greatness lay within me, although I'm not sure it had blossomed yet.

Seed Money

Who eats rye bread without seeds?  A great number of people do, apparently, since it's harder to find seeded than unseeded in your average supermarket.  I suppose it's like The Today Show.  Or Jiffy peanut butter.  Part and parcel of the stupidification of the world we inhabit.

A couple of months ago I walked into my local PriceChopper and saw they were out of the natural PB I usually buy.  Smuckers, maybe?  The one where you have to stir it up so the oil goes away?  How does a major chain like PC run out of something?  Anyway, I had a yen so I bought some Jiffy.  Or Skippy.

It's like the seeds in the rye.   Some kid in some focus group in Omaha said she didn't like the seeds and before you know it, Big Food has answered.  Likewise the notion that everything Americans eat can be improved by adding sugar.  The simple yet majestic puree of peanuts and perhaps a little salt was found wanting.  So every can of Jiffy gets a tablespoon of sugar.

All this by way of saying:

Eat your rye with seeds.  It's, to quote Vince Vaughn, money.  Thus the title.

Second, my lunch today consisted of open-faced cheese sandwiches on rye.  With a Pabst ...

Seeded rye.  Monterey jack with hollapeenyo.  I don't have time to look up the spelling so I went phonetic.  And sliced tomatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Toast the bread first, then assemble, then throw it all under the broiler.

I might have gone with a good sharp cheddar.
Me too.  It's the classic version.  But as I get older I find I need to keep upping the stakes in my mouth.
No filets anymore?
No.  Only rib-eyes.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Had trouble sleeping this morning.  More to the point, I woke up at 6:45 and I could tell I'd not be able to go back to sleep.  At 6:58 I realized that if I got up immediately I could watch the beginning of the Today Show with their shiny new, mostly orange set.

Who's idea was that?
The orange?
I don't know, but I'm not certain it's a good one.

So I did.  Didn't expect Savannah Guthrie to also be wearing a bright orange outfit -- that was a bit of a blow to the head that early.

I can promise you she didn't just walk in this morning with an orange dress on.  
Not likely.
I mean, I bet there were several meetings and a screen test done before anybody gave that dress clearance for airtime.
No doubt.

But I soldiered on.  Made the best of things, even though it was horrid.  Who watches this stuff?  And when I say soldiered on, I managed to make it to 7:45 before I simply had to tune away.  I spent some fairly enjoyable time watching Charlie Rose and Gail King on whatever show theirs is.  I think it's on CBS.  Vastly superior.

The good news?  I used to watch Today every day.  This was years ago.  But then it got more and more insipid until finally I just said no to morning television.  So it was instructive, I suppose, to go back and see how much worse it's gotten since I said goodbye.  And I say all this as someone whose work has been covered, quite favorably, by the show.  So I honestly wish them the best.  Although that fuck-up with my girl Anne Curry still sticks in the craw.

Me?  I could watch that CBS show.  That felt much better on almost every level.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rush, and the Downside of Living in the Country

Rave review of Rush in the Times today by my girl Manolo Blahnik.  Ron Howard's movie about Formula 1?  Surely you've been waiting ...

So I'm all fired up to hop in the car and drive to my nearest BijouPlex until I read that it's only being released in New York and Los Angeles.

Which is stupid, if you ask me. 
Not as stupid as you calling Manohla Dargis Manolo Blahnik.
No, I suppose not.

Anyway, I'm all fired up.  But I suppose I'll have to wait another week or two to scratch the itch.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Have you read this?

A piece about me on Sina Finance here.

If you find yourself here on The Year of Magical Painting (Season 7), you might want to visit my other site just to look at the paintings.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Remembering Lehman

Five years ago this coming Sunday, Lehman Brothers went under.  I've painted most of the cast of characters operating in that time period and am putting them together in two sets of four.  "The Private Sector" (Cayne, Fuld, Blankfein, Dimon) and "The Public Sector" (Greenspan, Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner).

Each set is signed and numbered.  The price is $699.00 plus $75 domestic shipping.  International shipping is quoted at cost, so send me an email and we can discuss an international delivery.

The Private Sector ...

The Public Sector ...

When ordering, be sure to specify which set you want in the comments section.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Lovely piece in Businessweek.  See it here.  It's also part of a larger, interactive timeline which is kind of fun.  Click here for that.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself here because you read about me there, I would suggest visiting AnnotatedPaintings -- my other site.  It's a more straightforward presentation of the paintings and their prices.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's Wrong with the New York Times?

I'm not sure when long enough is, but it hasn't been long enough.  I stared at the front page of the New York Times this morning, almost exactly twelve years after the planes hit the towers, and noticed there wasn't a single mention of 9/11.  Not one.

They didn't have the energy for something like this ...

Taken by a friend of mine.  Or this ...

Taken by another friend of mine who has a panorama fetish.

What the fuck?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Massa's

This is Felipe Massa and his father ...

Sad news today:  Massa won't be driving for Ferrari next year.  Their decision, not his -- that's how the tea leaves read.  I wish him well.

Surely you remember the Grand Prix of Brazil in 2008?  In the rain?  To become World Champion Massa needed to win the race and have Hamilton finish no better than sixth?

Me?  I remember it like it was yesterday.   Last corner of the last lap:  Massa in his Ferrari comes around in first; wins the race.  The camera shows everybody in the Massa family going absolutely bananas.  The look of ecstasy on his father's face was a marvel of fatherly love and pride.

[I'm reminded of the time Daughter #2 pitched two almost perfect innings in the Waldwick All-Star softball A vs. B game.  I thought my head was going to explode ... in a good way.]

Anyway, back to the race:  Seconds later, here comes Hamilton.  Into the final corner in sixth place.  Out of the final corner in fifth.  Nobody said the kid didn't have skills.  Hamilton wins the championship.  And as the camera cuts back to Massa Sr., the look of joy turning to alarm, confusion, then outright despair ... well, I'll never forget it.

Massa never came close again.  The next year he took a piece of automotive shrapnel to the head at the Hungaroring at 180 or so and almost died.  He came back, raced hard, but was never the same.

May the road rise up to meet you, Felipe.  Ideally at 200 mph.  There's talk of getting a ride with Sauber, the team he started with.  And who doesn't like a circle?

Adios, Campagnolo.  

BusinessWeek ...

... is doing a piece on me this week.

Have you ever been to the Bloomberg offices (they own BusinessWeek)?  I have a friend who used to work there, so I was at both the old ones (near Bloomingdales) and the new ones (also fairly near Bloomingdales) and I must say, of all the big business I would have liked to work for, Bloomberg is right up there.  If only as a function of office ambience.

The old building had glass panels in the floor and model trains would run under your feet.  Go figure.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


This movie combines two things I love dearly -- country banjo playin' and elitist bullshit.  Check out the unusually modified E-Type in this.

Viewing note:  Once you watch the first minute or so it might, if you're not in a contemplative mood, get boring.  Since all he does is drive around the English countryside in the rain.  But be sure to FF to about the 5:15 mark, when he stops and gets out.  Then just let it roll to the end.