Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sweet Lou, Volume Two

A short obit, written by Laurie Anderson, his wife ...

To our neighbors:

What a beautiful fall! Everything shimmering and golden and all that incredible soft light. Water surrounding us.

Lou and I have spent a lot of time here in the past few years, and even though we’re city people this is our spiritual home.

Last week I promised Lou to get him out of the hospital and come home to Springs. And we made it!

Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.

Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us.

— Laurie Anderson
his loving wife and eternal friend

I've got to take up Tai Chi.

What is wrong with the New York Times slash some notes on typography. If that's even the right word for what we're talking about.

What is wrong with the New York Times?

Nothing, just for starters, that another hundred employees couldn't fix.  But that's never going to happen.  So we, dear reader -- you and I -- are going to have to suffer through one weirdly edited edition after the next.  I refer not to the multitude of misspellings that every day brings.  I saw a recent article slugged as being from the Associated Press about NASCAR that had, by my count, a minimum of four typographical errors.  I'm talking whole words missing.  But shit happens.  And I did wonder at the time if it was a Times thing or an AP thing.  But that's not what we're talking about.  We're talking about the use of the word slash to verbally indicate the presence of the typographical entity call the slash.

Do you know how sometimes, when speaking, we say the word "slash" to connect two related thoughts?  For example:  "Scottie Pippin was the greatest shooting guard slash small forward to ever play the game."

Since I don't remember the actual quote, and couldn't find it after peeking around The Times website for a while, I'm using the Pippin quote as an example (and don't be writing in saying shit like Vince Carter).  As I sit here typing and breathing I swear to you that The Times chose to render the quote like this:

"Scottie Pippin was the greatest shooting guard/slash/small forward to ever play the game."  Which, if I read just the middle section aloud, would go something like " ... guard slash slash slash small ..."

I mean, what is that?  God help us.

If I may?
By all means.
This blog has a shitload of typos and you're throwing stones?
Yes I am.
Meaning this is just some shmegegge blog; they're The New York Times.
The Mothership.  The one who must be obeyed.
The shining city on the hill?
Nicely said.
Are you sure that's how you spell shmegegge?

Hallowe'en. WTF?

So I dress up for Hallowe'en, so that when I open the door I can hear the children squeal with horror and glee ...

And nobody rings the goddam doorbell.  I thought I'd be up to my ass in kids.  [Fat man's dilemma:  OMG, what am I going to do with all this candy?]  It is, I should say to give you the full picture, currently raining.  But still ...

The costume, if you're curious, is The Phantom of the Opera Without His Mask.

You don't think it's pretentious to put that apostrophe in Halloween?

The object of the Phantom's obsession is Emmy Rossum in one of her first roles.  This, clearly, was before she started obsessively taking her knickers off in Shameless.

Yikes -- talk about dewey!  I'd totally grab her and drag her down into the catacombs.  But first I'd check her driver's license to make sure she was 18.  Because I may have been horribly scarred, but I'm not a pervert.

What?  Is that too creepy?
Grabbing Emmy Rossum by the hair and dragging her into the catacombs?  
C'mon.  It's Hallowe'en.  It's supposed to be creepy.
Scary creepy, not old-guy-abducting-beautiful-young-girl creepy.
Do you see my point?
No.  Not at all.

"We better than this shit right here."

Moving to Troy has been bad for my health.  I don't walk nearly as much as I used to in New York and I've swelled up to a frightening degree.  Sometimes, now, when I write emails to my children I sign off lovingly as "Big Papi."

But the real Big Papi is David Ortiz.  MVP of this year's Series with an amazing stat line, and star of all three Sox Series wins in the recent era.  Here's an excerpt from his now famous Game 4, 6th inning impromptu address to the team in the dugout ...

“We don’t get here every day. Let’s fucking relax and play the game the way we know how. We better than this shit right here. Let’s loosen up. Let’s play the game we do.”

Me?  After hearing that, I'd certainly hit a home run the next time I was at the plate.  Here, courtesy of the Daily Beast, are some numbers ...

4 walks in game six. 3 were intentional.
19 times on base, in 25 plate appearances against the Cardinals.
37 years old, third oldest World Series MVP.
.688 batting percentage with 11 hits in 16 at bats. (Record is .750 by Billy Hatcher.)
.465 career batting average in World Series.
2 home runs, and RBIs.
Carlos Beltran rib bruised after robbing Ortiz of a grand slam.
3 World Series won with the Red Sox in 10 years.
0 curses in his MVP acceptance speech. He did say “beep” in an act of self-censorship.
Awesome beard.

Not to mention his address to the people of Boston after the bombing of the Marathon.  Part of which went:  "This is our fucking town."

Big Papi.

Inverted Murdoch --- Number Sixteen!

Inverted Murdoch ...

Number 16 on my list of all-time favorite paintings.

This was painted when the phone hacking scandals first started to rock News Corp.  Now, two years later, one of the biggest players in the uproar, former News of the World editor in chief and Murdoch favorite Rebekah Brooks, steps into the blocks, closely shadowed by a huge red thing that I can only assume is her hair, to be held accountable for allegations of phone hacking, bribing government officials and obstruction of justice.  All of these being laypersons' terminology for British legal terms that are probably different.

I hope they throw the book at her.  What kind of a way to spell Rebecca is that?

In a perfect world they'd throw Rupert in the clink as well, but honestly, what are the chances?  Plus, as loathsome a lizard of a man that he is, it's entirely possible he didn't break the law.  All I can do is punish him with Benjamin Moore house paint, dripped from my stick, and the vox populi, as scrawled on my canvas.

It should be noted that Inverted Murdoch represents the first time I turned the portrait over.  It was followed a month later with Inverted Perry, and then some time after that, Inverted Keynes.   All of which are classics.  I was taking a pee the other day in the downstairs bathroom and I looked to my right and thought, "Hmmm -- that's a pretty big wall.  Maybe I should hang a painting in here."

I can't think of a better place to put Inverted Murdoch.

Negative space

You've seen this ...

And this ...

The mind has a wonderful way of filling negative space with meaning.  The white area in the first painting is obviously a head.  You can usually read sentences composed of words from which all the vowels have been removed.  Music is as much about what isn't there as what is.

Ditto baseball.

It occurred to me last night as I watched a good deal of the World Series in a bar on a TV with no sound that it's the space between the pitches that makes baseball special.  If you look away -- to watch a basketball game, for example -- and only look back for the pitch, it's like you've missed half the fun.

Some people call that the boring part.
I understand that.  I don't happen to find it boring.
You're not easily bored.
No.  But I will say this:  There are some pitchers who take waaay too long between pitches, and that becomes an annoyance.  There's a balance needed.
Plus, it's way better with the sound up.
Yes it is.
And good announcers.  I love Gary, Ron and Keith.
Who doesn't?

Go Sox.  Turns out I was rooting for them all the time, if for no other reason than Shane Victorino looks just like my friend Adam from Peter McManus.  Also noteworthy is the retirement of Tim McCarver, at age 72, from the announcing booth.  Years ago, McCarver was the Mets color guy and one of the best baseball announcers around.  Then, as happens to some of us but not me, he became fuller and fuller of himself.  At a certain point it seemed like he just became a bit too pleased to be Tim McCarver, and it made me dislike his broadcasts.

Or at least like them less.  The guy really knew what he was talking about.  There will no doubt be a slew of goodbye columns devoted to McCarver in the coming days.  Here's one.

Adios, Campagnolo.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dogfish Dead/Grateful Head.

Thoughts on tonight's activities:

Lovely time at Bacchus.  Lots of Dogfish.  Which was horrible.

Went to the sports bar:

Nets lose. To a tomato can of a team.
Knicks win (although they were 20+ to the good at the half but still had to fight through a tie in the 4th).
Red Sox seemingly on their way to a third Super Bowl win in ten years.  Up 6-1 in the 7th.

At some point I was going to title this post "Hey Brooklyn? Blow Me!", but cooler heads prevailed.   Otherwise everything was more or less lovely at Bootleggers.  Except the bartender poured my Bud Light into a green glass -- apparently a Rolling Rock promotion.  And that threw me off track for a bit.

Watching all three events ended up being worse, rather than better, than I thought it would be.  Instead of the experience of the whole exceeding the sum of the parts, it was the reverse.  I'm not sure the human mind can really manage three sports events at once, if none of them are football.

Remind me to share with you my theory about the relationship between negative space (an art term) and baseball (a baseball term).

Also remind me to discuss the buy-back policy at Bootleggers and my plans from years ago to open a bar named McManny's One Two Free.

Can't do it now.

SportsNight USA

Tonight's quite a night in sports:

Game 6 of the World Series.
First game of the Knicks season.
First game of the Nets season.

Very exciting.  I think I'm going to go to a sports bar and watch all three at the same time.  I wonder what Clyde Frazier will be wearing.  Perhaps his famous cow suit ...

The 3:50 from New York to Albany ...

I'm listening right now to an album called The Pizza Tapes.  Which is a riff on The Basement Tapes, except that, instead of Bob Dylan and The Band there's Jerry Garcia (who everybody knows about) and David Grisman (who less people know about, but manomanoman, he's a mandolin wizard).  Jerry and David are sitting around with a couple of friends just playing songs, trading licks, talking between songs, probably drinking some Dogfish Head Craft-Brewed Ale.

It's not the greatest album in the world, but when they stop talking and start playing some of the stuff that comes out is outstanding.

All this by way of saying that the estimable Troy establishment Bacchus Wood-Fired Pizza is hosting a Grateful Dead/Dogfish Head (which rhymes) celebration of a new Dogfish ale called American Beauty.  Which, if you're one of those people who likes Grateful Dead albums (as opposed to going and seeing them live), is one of the best.

I'm trying to put that in a song lyric.
Grateful Dead and Dogfish Head.
I've got the Grateful Dead/Dogfish Head Guatemalan blues.
That's the lyric?
Yeah.  It's just a beginning.
I think there's an opportunity for messing around with the juxtaposition of Dead and Head.
I think you're right.
And what does Guatemala have to do with anything?
Sometimes lyrics don't have to do with anything.  They simply exist.

There's a MegaBus leaving New York at 3:50 this afternoon.  You catch it at the corner of 34th Street and 11th Avenue.  Gets you into Albany at around 6:30.  You can be at Bacchus by quarter of seven, at which point the party should be kicking nicely into gear.  You should come up.

You don't even like Dogfish Head.
No.  I think it tastes like excresence.
That's not even a word.
Perhaps not.  But a lot of people do like Dogfish.  Me?  I'm of the light and fizzy school of beer.  Schlitz jumps to mind.
There's a lot of people who think Schlitz tastes like piss.
Which is better than excresence.
Says you.

If you can find me, and then show me your MegaBus ticket, I'll buy you a beer.  I look something like this ...

No you don't.  That's Francis Bacon.

Sorry.  If you can find me, and then show me your MegaBus ticket, I'll buy you a Budweiser.  I look something like this.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monogram 1955-59

Here's one last Rauschenberg thing ...

I love the looks on the Guggenheim employees as they're moving the goat with the fork lift.  "OMG, there's the goat!"  I'm referring to the awe with which they beheld it.  The white gloves they used whenever they touched it, or while assembling its base.

It's like that line from The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down
Yeah.  There goes the Robert E. Lee.

Usually I ship my paintings rolled.  Not so long ago, however, with a Greenspan painting, the buyer wanted it shipped flat.  I said, "Okay, but that's exponentially more expensive so the shipping is on you."  Which was fine with him.  So I delivered the painting to the USArt warehouse -- my art shipping company of choice -- somewhere in Queens.

Understand that this painting had been rolled, unrolled, rolled, unrolled, stuffed in a golf bag, dragged around the subways of New York, unfurled and annotated not only on Wall Street but in the Peter McManus Cafe as well.  Also, during the painting stages, kicked around the floor of my studio, stepped on, spit on, sweated on, and generally disregarded in any number of ways.

Yet once I handed it to the nice people at USArt they all wore white gloves and treated it as well as they might have treated Picasso's Three Musicians.  Perhaps not that well, but really, it was given the royal treatment.  They measured it, took photos of it, identified miscellaneous bits of filth that have migrated from the New York sidewalk to the underside of the painting, wrote everything down and had me sign it.  The bill of lading, not the painting.  That had already been signed.

Just before they took it away to be wrapped, I put my mouth up to one of its corners and said, "Don't every let anybody tell you you aren't a great painting."

And then it was gone.

Erased de Kooning

If the erased de Kooning thing tickled your fancy, this is kind of a fun video ...

Here it is again ...

Rauschenberg (of whom I'm not the biggest fan, but what does that even mean?) must have been asked the same question a bunch of times, so his answer is pretty canned.  Still, he's a pretty charming guy.

The goat combine is certainly a high point in his career ...


I can't sleep.
Of course you can't.  It's the middle of the morning.
It's late morning, and I'm referring to my late morning nap.
Tossing and turning.
Why?  Too much coffee?
I feel bad for telling that Anonymous guy to shut the fuck up.  How am I to expect a high level of discourse if I'm telling people to shut the fuck up?
He did come at you pretty hard.
Maybe.  But still ...
And I thought his juxtaposition of the lines "let her stand on her own merits" and "a true beauty" was slightly creepy.
Me too.  But still ...
Are we to assume that part of standing on her own merits is the acknowledgment of how hot she is?  Surely that flies in the face of gender-blindness in the workplace.
Surely.  But still ...
Although I did think his final line about fine art was interesting.  Wrong, but interesting.
Here.  Check this out ...

What is it?  It's just a blank sheet of paper with some smudges.
It's a work of art by Robert Rauschenberg called Erased de Kooning Drawing.  He used to live in the same building as de Kooning and one night, after a couple drinks, he went upstairs, knocked on the door, and asked if he could have a drawing that he, Rauschenberg, would then proceed to erase.
And the erasure would be like performance art?
Not exactly.  I'd have gone with neo-Dadaist conceptualism.
You would?
If you're making me attach labels, yeah.  
Okay ...
The notion that things change; that sometimes we have to blow the old shit up before the new shit can thrive.  A kind of Schumpeter for the art world.
Who's Schumpeter?
Joseph Schumpeter.  An Austrian economist.
Was he the guy who said "Buy soup.  Build a fort.  Set that on fire."
That was Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I love that guy's stuff.  Think what fun he'd have had with the banking crisis.
The fun part of the Rauschenberg business was that de Kooning, who liked Rauschenberg's idea, gave him what he thought would be the most difficult drawing he had to erase.  
As a gag.
Exactly.  It took Rauschenberg two months before he was done.

Monday, October 28, 2013

I'd call this "One Last Thing About the Knicks" except it won't be. Not by a long shot.

The owner of the Knicks is a guy named James Dolan.  His father was a cable genius and the moving force behind Cablevision.  So the family is loaded enough to buy an NBA team.  And Madison Square Garden.  And the Rangers.  And then not have to care about what happens to any of these things.

Too busy playing in his blues band, I suppose ...

Oy gevalt.

Actually, if I didn't know the whole story I'd say the band was almost ok.  I could hear them in a bar happily enough, although I wouldn't pay money to see them.  But I do know the whole story.  And sad truth is that James Dolan is a better musician than he is a sports executive.

Which, just saying it, sits on my tongue like ashes from a cigarette.  I loathe the man.

The Commentariat Weighs In

In response to the Maria Bartiromo painting Anonymous writes ...

and mean spirited is why you haven't sold the goddam painting....who the fuck knows or cares who her lover was/ is...let her stand on her own merits...a true get to caught up in the media frenzy...fine art is made of composition, not distraction

This I find annoying on several levels.

First, the painting sold nicely, thank you.

Second, as the leading face of CNBC and one of the most influential electronic journalists covering Wall Street, there is a very real concern about, at the minimum, the appearance of conflict of interest.  The New York Times devotes a thousand or so words to the very question here and additional coverage in other pieces.  Likewise Time Magazine here.  CNN, etc.  So it's not like the question wasn't worth asking in a serious manner.  Or painting.

If the two of them were just average people, you'd be right in asking who knows or cares.  But they're not.  She's an influential journalist who covers Citigroup.  He was the CFO of the Citigroup Wealth Management Unit ... and, just so we're clear, he got fired because of it.  So as a subject for my work it all seems right on point.

But the painting evolved past the Thompson stuff because, as noted, I thought it was mean-spirited.  Which is a good thing, not a bad thing.  So shut the fuck up.

Third, fine art is made of a lot of things.  Just so we're also clear on that as well.

Next question, please.

I love it when you get in a big lather.
Sorry.  The comment aggravated me.  I don't need to be lectured on what fine art is.
I'm reminded of that de Kooning quote.
Which one?
It went, from memory, "They don't know what it's like.  They don't know it's like jumping off a 12 story building every day."
Great quote.  It should probably be noted that my work is rarely confused with de Kooning's.
Duly noted.  Though not material to the subject at hand.

Number Seventeen!

Maria Bartiroma as the Virgin Mary ...

This was the painting responsible for my one and only time on the Post's Page Six.  Lame, to the Nth degree, the blurb reads:

MARIA Bartiromo has an artistic follower. Geoffrey Raymond was standing outside Goldman Sachs yesterday exhibiting his new painting depicting CNBC’s “Money Honey” as the Virgin Mary, with the quotation above her head: “If I see that bitch Erin Burnett on the ‘Today’ show one more time, I’m gonna freak out!” Raymond told us, “I think the picture is actually very pro-Bartiromo. Were I she and I saw Burnett popping up on ‘Today,’ I’d freak out, too. It seems like a very honest emotion."

Looked like this at one point ...

But that was a disaster.  Eventually it evolved into this ...

The writing in the arch referred to a mini-scandal about Bartiromo sharing a private Citi jet with a high-level executive named Todd Thompson coming back from Asia.  The other Citi employees scheduled to fly on the jet were unceremoniously told to fly commercial.  So, ostensibly, the two of them could be alone.

In the end I decided the painting in the Todd Thompson form was a bit too mean-spirited -- that's presumably his wife talking to him.  So I put it away.  Six months later, I hit on the Erin Burnett thing and went with that.

Which shows you I'm not the asshole a lot of people say I am.

Russell Brand Takes Over MoJo

You'll recall from a few posts ago my new-found fondness for Russell Brand.  Let me add this as Exhibit B for the Prosecution.  If prosecution means I'm for the guy, not against the guy.

I think you're prosecuting your point of view.
As in putting it forward in an aggressive way?

Fair enough.  Herewith, Exhibit B for the Prosecution ...

Pay special attention near the end to his comment about the way Mica is holding her water bottle and her subsequent reaction.  Priceless.

Me?  I like most of the people on Morning Joe (and I'm drawn to Mica on a number of levels).  But over the last several years they've gone from a second-tier morning television destination to what many consider must-see political TV, and a certain smugness has set in.  At which point I decided I was sick of Morning Joe and decided I'd stay away until the next significant election cycle (which on some calendars has already started but not on mine).

Thirteen seconds of Formula 1

Formula 1 cars used to be more complicated than they are now.  As if that's even imaginable.  Traction control; anti-lock brakes; moveable aerodynamic devices.  Hell, one version of a Tyrrell had four front wheels.

What was odd -- and I remember trying to explain this to a friend of mine years ago, was that they sometimes sounded as if the back of the car was going to burst into pieces at any minute.  Which is disintuitive, given they are the pinnacle of automotive technology.  You'd think they'd sound like a Swiss chronometer.  The baddest Swiss chronometer on the planet.

But no.  They didn't.

Looking for a Cowboy Junkies video, of all things, I stumbled on this ...

... which illustrates my point nicely.

Sadly, they don't sound like this anymore.  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

field goal field goal field goal field goal field goal

Five field goals were enough to win the Eagles game.  Go Blue.  The Birds are now officially cooked.

At the same time, the Cowboys are self-destructing.  I would call your attention to Dez Bryant's cancerous outburst on the sidelines, not once but twice, during today's game.  Which they lost by one point!  Jeremy Shockey, an extremely talented player but an asshole, used to do this with the Giants all the time.  Because the Giants are a high-functioning franchise they got rid of him.  Dallas is the opposite of high-functioning, mostly because its owner insists on being the team's general manager.

And the Redskins?  Up by fourteen in the third quarter.  Then Denver put the squeeze on them big-time.

Picture this:  You're an ecotourist.  You're walking along a sandy path in the middle of the Costa Rican rain forest.  You're thinking Manomanoman, life is beautiful.  This -- bear with me now -- is the mindset of the Washington Redskins half way through the third quarter of the Broncos game.  Trippin' down the sandy path, looking for fun and feeling groovy.  Then you feel a strange sensation.  Something appears to have attached itself to your leg.  You look down and it's the biggest fucking snake in the world.  Seconds later you've been pulled into the jungle and the snake has wrapped itself around you.  Hmmm, you're thinking.  Hard to breath.  And every time you exhale, the snake tightens up a little.  Hmmm, you're thinking.  I can breathe out, but not in.  Getting harder to breathe.  It takes a while for you to fade, but nobody's in a hurry.  Somewhere in the back of your mind you can hear the Velvet Underground singing Sweet Jane.  Then you realize you are being eaten head-first.

The snake here is Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos.  Implacable.  Resistance is futile.  Remain calm -- soon you'll be gone.

The Redskins will never come back from that.  Their season is over.  I didn't see the game, but I'd have loved to see Mike Shanahan's face at the end.

I see a smooth road for the Giants, straight to the playoffs.  Maybe to the Super Bowl.  Where they will be eaten, head-first, by the Denver Broncos.

Sweet Lou

Lou Reed died today.  These are the Cowboy Junkies ...

Adios, Campagnolo.

Black Day in India

Sebastian Vettel wins the F1 Driver's Championship for the fourth consecutive year.  Aaaargh.

Open Memo to Bernie Ecclestone:

Dear Bernie --
I, like many right-minded people, stopped watching this year's campaign shortly after Silverstone, when Pirelli changed tire formulas and it became a Sebastian Vettel coronation.  If you think I'm going to watch that piss-ant sanctimoniously parade around like he's the next Michael Schumacher, you've got another thing coming.  I'm switching to NASCAR.  Blow me.
And I hope they crucify you in court next month.
Otherwise all the best,
Geoffrey Raymond

I mean, a man has his limits.

The Giants Are On Fire!

It's too dangerous to watch the Giants at home, alone, given the proximity of sharp knives in the kitchen.  So these days I go to a bar and just watch the first half.  When I left at halftime of today's game it was Big Blue leading 12-0.  Field goal field goal field goal field goal.  I'm reminded of that really old Saturday Night Live sketch:  "Hamburger hamburger hamburger hamburger."

Back to football -- a strong enough defense and that formula can get you to the Super Bowl.

Me?  I remain sanguine.  Whatever that means.

Go Cards Slash Not Safe for Work

Bobby the Gravedigger is one of my true buddies.  And a maniac Red Sox fan.  So if you see him, don't tell him what I'm about to tell you:

I'm rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Easy to say now, you're thinking, since they just went up 2-1 in the series.  On an obstruction call, of all things.  But I'm not talking about betting.  I'm not talking about money.  I'm just talking about rooting.  So it's okay.

First of all, there's the whole Keith Hernandez connection, and Keith is my all-time favorite baseball player.  Second, there's the whole Carlos Beltran thing, and Carlos is a player of whom I'm extremely fond.  He takes more shit per square inch for watching that Adam Wainwright curve ball go by him without swinging than anybody deserves.

You, dear friend!  You try batting against Adam Wainwright. If it's me, I'm totally sitting on the fastball.  Ditto Carlos.

And truth be told, my fondness for the Red Sox is really a function of my antipathy towards the Yankees.  And that's a false emotion.  That's not how one is supposed to live one's life.  Liking the Sox because I hate the Yankees is the sports analog of playing the derivatives market and not just picking stocks.  It's the work of Satan.

So I'm rooting for the Cards because I want my boy Carlos (Charlie Belt-One) Beltran to win a World Series.  Plus, those Red Sox beards are annoying.

And, speaking of baseball, here's the best thing ever ...


It's a tongue in cheek documentary about my boy Keith Hernandez.  There's pornographic levels of sex and nudity in the last quarter, but the play at the 5:30 mark (I'm telling you from memory, but it's definitely before the six minute mark) is one of the most extraordinary plays in baseball ever.  And the recurring Seinfeld stuff is, like Teri Hatcher's breasts back in the day, spectacular.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What We Call Long-Form Journalism

Does the word Grantland mean anything to you?

More specifically,  You should check it out.  Certainly worth a visit.  Some of the best in-depth sports journalism on the web.  Ditto for pop culture, whatever that is.  Or isn't.  They had a guy named Tom Bissell -- I don't think he works there anymore, but still -- who had some of the most interesting things to say about video games I've ever read.

Back to sports, Exhibit A for the Defense, and I do mean Defense, since it takes several thousand words to shred the Knicks', can be found here.  Quite interesting.  Depressing, really, since the guys at Grantland are joining everybody else on the planet other than me in predicting a slide into mediocrity for the boys in orange and blue.  I'd love to spend some quality time with Walt Frazier and get his thinking on it.

You could also show him your catch-the-fly-in-mid-air trick.
Which I know he would love.
I'm sure he would.
Thirty-six and nineteen are two numbers one can never lose sight of when talking about Clyde.
Really?  Why so?
Well, everybody talks about the famous Game 7 when Willis Reed limped out and hit the jumper.
I still get chills thinking about it.
Well, what is often overlooked is that, after Willis canned his first jumper, Clyde broke out for 36 points and 19 assist.
Seven boards, too.  As if as an afterthought.
I know what you're going to say next.
You do?
You're going to say "Attention must be paid."
Attention must be paid.
One certainly wonders if Willy Lohman had dressed as well as Frazier whether he might have sold more widgets.
One certainly does.

There's also a video series featuring Bill Simmons (the Editor in Chief) and Jalen Rose in which they spend a good fifteen-twenty minutes dissecting each NBA team.  And I mean, dissecting.

But enough already with the sports.  Back to this Bissell guy for a moment.  One of the things I liked about him was that one day, out of the blue, mid-paragraph, he called out The Times' video game reporter in no uncertain terms.  Called him out?  Hell, he took him out behind the woodshed and whupped him.

Which seemed like good clean fun to me because, honestly, what do you think the chances were of The Mothership actually beaming somebody up who could really report on video games?

You either get the previous statement or you don't, but if you don't it's so complicated that I don't have time to explain it to you.  All I'll say is that it has something to do with the old joke about a person refusing to join a club that would allow him to be a member.

Quick!  Use the word 'horticulture' in a sentence!
Okay.  You can lead a horticulture but you can't make her talk right.

Something like that as well.

More on Picasso

Because there's always more where Picasso is concerned.

He would have been 132 yesterday.  Like Lennon, it's sad he died so young.  It would have been amazing to see what he did as an older man.

Crikeys.  He was 92 when he died!
Exactly.  Too bad he couldn't have squeezed out a bit more.  I would have loved to hear what he had to say about one of Jeff Koons' dogs.

He was a man who always looked good in a fisherman's shirt.  This, I think, is Edie Sedgwick, but it could just as easily have been my boy Pablo.

Except for the fishnets -- he never wore those.  Although wearing fishnets when you are wearing a fisherman's shirt is really committing to the look.  And I respect that.

I'm not comfortable with that cigarette.
Me neither.

And that dude could really paint fast.  Me?  I do layer after layer after layer, so I admire that too.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, Pablito

Oh my God -- it's Pablo Picasso's birthday.

This is my favorite of his paintings ...

The best part being, of course, the dog under the table.

This is right up there too.  I remember when they had a Picasso maxi-show at MoMA perhaps twenty years ago.  I visited several times, but the second time I went I got in line before the door opened and, when they let us all in, I sprinted up the stairs to see this one -- Three Women at the Fountain.

I stared at it until the crowds started to arrive.  Then I stared a bit more.  What a painting.

I also love this one ...

Although it isn't technically a Picasso.

How do you know?
That it's not a Picasso?
Because it's hanging in my bedroom.

The World, As It Sees Me

I vigorously debate Google as to the total number of visitors I've had to TYOMP.   They only really started counting, as near as I can tell, a couple of years ago.  So my numbers are higher than they say.

Regardless, this is their analytics graphic of page views by countries.

Pageviews by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
United States
United Kingdom

WTF?  Where's China?

How am I going to make any money if China isn't hanging on my every word?  Perhaps we, as a community, should reflect on this.  Suggestions welcome.

You Say You Want a Revolution? Slash Number 18!

I was in the check-out line at the grocery store when I asked a women if she could scunch forward just a bit so I could grab a copy of Life magazine.  The issue was dedicated to John Lennon.

"He was my favorite one," she said.
"George was my favorite," I replied.  "But it would have been interesting to see what John would have done with the rest of his life."

We then nodded and I glanced through the magazine while she bought her vegetables and whatever and left.  Just so we're clear:  I don't buy stuff like that, but I do read it in check-out lines.

Fast forward to last weekend.  Daughter #2 had popped up for a visit.  We were sitting in my living room.  She was grading papers (she's a teacher) and I was sort of reading, sort of watching her grade the papers feeling that I'd done my societal duty and raised a child who is making a difference in the world.

One never stops trying to make one's children better, however.  So when she wasn't looking I slid over to the stereo and put on a Miles Davis album.  Kind of Blue, specifically.  Which is widely hailed as one of the most important albums of, well, ever.

So it's playing for a while.  Three songs in (half way through Blue in Green), she says to me, "Can we stop listening to this stuff?  Let's go upstairs and watch the Katy Perry documentary."

This, it should be said, is just one of the many ways our children punish us for the sins we've committed in the name of parenting.

Brief aside:  Whenever D#2 comes to visit, one of us rents a movie to watch.  I knew she liked Ms. Perry, so I rented the recent documentary about her world tour; the one in which her husband (of like twenty minutes) Russell Brand breaks up with her near the end.  I wasn't sure how to weave the movie's existence into the early part of the narrative, so I'm just telling it to you now.

So we watch the documentary.  And I'm seething with rage at that shit Brand for dumping our girl, Miss Katy, thereby making her cry.  Via email, no less!

Then a friend of mine sends me this video ...

And now I'm thinking Russell Brand and I should be best mates.  This dude totally wants a revolution.

Quick note:

At about the 8:30 mark he makes reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement.  This, titled The American Worker, was extensively annotated (everything in red) at Zuccotti Park ...

All of which by way of saying that I'm pleased to announce that The American Worker is Number 18 on my list of all-time favorite paintings.

Check this out ...

As near as I can tell, this is what he was writing ...

Which isn't technically correct but speaks to the general anger of the moment.

I'm Channeling The Electric Prunes

This from one of my favorite photographers -- Mary Jane O'Malley.  This is my Uncle Sam sculpture during its very early days -- just a couple of things written on it -- standing behind the bar at Bacchus Wood Fired Pizza.  Those were simpler times.  Nobody had ripped the poor guy's head off yet.

Worth noting:  I've had nights when bars actually looked like this, but I've calmed down lately.

Last night your shadow fell upon my lonely room
I touched your golden hair and tasted your perfume
Your eyes were filled with love the way they used to be
Your gentle hand reached out to comfort me, know
Then came the dawn and you were gone
And you were gone, gone, gone

I had too much to dream last night
Too much to dream
I'm not ready to face the light
I had too much to dream
Last night, last night

The room was empty as I staggered from my bed
I could not bear the image racing through my head
You were so real that I could feel your eagerness
And when you raised your lips for me to kiss
Came the dawn and you were gone
And you were gone, gone, gone

I had too much to dream last night
Too much to dream
I'm not ready to face the light
I had too much to dream
Last night, last night

I had too much to dream last night
Too much to dream
I'm not ready to face the light
I had too much to dream
Last night, last night
Oh too much to dream
Oh too much to dream

I had too much to dream last night
Oh too much to dream
Yes I had too much to dream
I had too much to dream

In addition to being a masterpiece of psychodelica, the song speaks directly to the notion that soon they are going to auction my Uncle Sam off and I'll never see him again.  Whenever I roll up a painting and get ready to ship it, I always whisper into the tube: "Don't ever let anybody tell you you're not a great painting."  Then I tape it shut and head for the UPS store.  But it's always a bittersweet moment.

I bet the money helps.
Yes it does.
I'm not convinced that Too Much To Dream is a masterpiece of psychodelica.  If that's even a word.
Perhaps not.  But it's what I thought of when I saw Mary Jane's photo.  And one's first instincts are sometimes the best ones.
Sometimes not.  I would have gone with Tommy James' Crimson and Clover.
That's a stupid song.
Says you.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jimmy ... Jimmy ... Jimmy ...

We hardly knew ya.

I was at the movies yesterday and had to choose between Gravity and Enough Said.  Which seemed like a stupid title but did contain what I understood to be James Gandolfini's last feature performance.  So, since I figured Gravity would be around for months to come, I bought a ticket for Enough Said.  Because, as if I needed another reason, who doesn't like Julia Louis-Dreyfus?  If that's even how you spell it.

The experience was bittersweet, though.  The whole thing made me sad.  Gandolfini was great.  So was J L-D, in a role so far from her comedic sweet spot that I was amazed.  And then I felt bad because around the time of Gandolfini's death I made a passing comment, on these very pages, that perhaps he wasn't as good an actor as everybody was making him out to be.

But he was really good in this.

I'll close with this:

I get in the theater.  Walk down the left side.  Come to the indentations in the seating that modern theaters frequently have to accommodate wheel chairs and such, and take a seat that, because of the indentation, has nothing in front of it.  Maximum legroom, if you will.  Amar'e Stoudemire would have been comfortable.

Unfortunately there's a couple sitting in the row directly behind me.  So the fact of the matter is that, in a relatively empty theater I sat right in front of someone.  At which point, even though I slumped way down, she started complaining in a loud voice to her husband and, shortly thereafter, they moved.

I felt like reading her the riot act, but by the time I'd pieced my speech together she'd moved to the other side of the theater.  The gist of my speech being, what do you expect if you choose to sit directly behind the most desirable seat in the house?  If it had been a sea of seats, all equivalent, I wouldn't have sat in front of her.  But they weren't.  Equivalent, that is.  And I exercised the rights duly accorded me as the legitimate owner of one senior ticket to the movie.

Me?  I continued to seethe in silence.

Tony Soprano?  He would have said what was on his mind, then maybe beaten up the husband.

Adios, Campagnolo.

And just one more thing about Tyler Hansbrough

There's a pretty good chance that the Pacers are going to be as good as, if not better than, the Knicks for the next few years.  So I was delighted to see that they traded Hansbrough all the way to Canada.  Now, at least, when the Pacers beat the Knicks I won't have my personal antipathy for the player adding to my general misery.

Because we may not be favorites in our division anymore, but we can still handle the fucking Raptors.

Enough with the basketball.  The season hasn't even started yet.
Okay.  But soon enough.

World Peace!

It's amusing that a man with World Peace as a last name should be the Knicks' enforcer.  Here the artist formerly known as Ron Artest lets Tyler Hansbrough, perhaps my least favorite NBA player, know who the boss still is ...

God God, those strange eyeballs and the small cranium ...  The man looks like Gollum!

And while we're on the subject of the St. Johns Red Storm, I've decided to throw my considerable weight behind the Rename-The-Washington-Redskins movement.  If for no other reason than to rub mud in Daniel Snyder's face.

Sonny remains my all-time favorite Skin.  I don't play Lotto often, but when I do there's a spot for old #9 in my numerical sequence.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Seared Tuna

They make a seared tuna appetizer at Daisy Baker's that is, perhaps, my favorite restaurant dish in Troy.  It's a toss up between that and any pizza -- you pick em -- from Bacchus.

Anyway, I'll find myself there soon enough, sitting at the bar, asking for an Evan Williams Green Label and getting stares of noncomprehension.  But rather than be nasty, I'll likely just have a Guiness and some of that tuna.  In anticipation of having just that (rather than a whole meal), I just had a little pasta with tomatoes and olive oil.  And some wine from a box.

The beef with wine from the box -- it mostly sucks, despite what people will tell you -- is that it's almost universally too sweet.  But I love the idea that it comes in a box, so earlier today I bought a Botta Box of Malbec and popped it open.  'Popped it open' may be the wrong phrase.  There's a good deal of wrestling with bladders (reminiscent of the way one sometimes wrestles with one's bladder around 3:00 am) and cardboard and such.

Amazingly it wasn't sweet at all.  Instead it was flat, like dishwater but without the interesting taste notes.  Not sweet, though, so I'll be fine.  Thank God there's only three liters.  Could be worse.

Three liters?  How could it be worse?
I'm not sure.  But I'm sure it could be.

And just for the record, I don't mind a little sweetness in my wine.  But it can't be the wine equivalent of Skippy peanut butter.  You'll perhaps remember my screed about that?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sports in America

How about those Jets?  Not only did they win, which continues their win one/lose one pattern (a sure recipe for achieving our stated goal of 8-8), but they managed to beat the hated Patriots.  In overtime.  I thought I'd plotz.

Would have been better if the Eagles had beaten the Cowboys, but what can you do?

Daughter #2 stopped in for the weekend and God almighty that girl can wear a person out.  So no count-down today.

Tomorrow?  #18!  And what could be more exciting than that?

I repair now to the living room to finish reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  The third book in the Stieg Larsson Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  And it has been outstanding.  I refer to the whole trilogy, but this last one is obviously top of mind (since I'm reading it) and it is absolutely careening towards its ending.

Back to the Jets, an optimist could envision someone hitting Tom Brady as hard as Mo Lewis hit Drew Bledsoe sometime in the next few games and the Jets winning the division.

An optimist?
Perhaps a crazy person.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Porsche Conundrum

If you are a Porsche guy you are familiar with what I'm about to tell you.  That being that Porsches -- 911s in particular (even though they're not called 911s anymore; they really are) -- are extremely fast cars that like nothing better than a curvy stretch of road.  That said, they all (with perhaps the exception of the most recent models) share a handling quirk.  That being that if you find yourself deep in a curve and are thinking you're going perhaps too fast (as if any responsible person in a high performance sports car would find themselves in such a fix), the last thing you want to do is take your foot off the gas.

I repeat:  You are going too fast through the corner, but whatever you do, don't take your foot off the gas.

If you do, take a moment to look out the side window.  You'll see your rear end sliding past you.  The massive crunch you'll hear next is the car's arrival, rear-end first, in the ditch or the guardrail or the cow pasture (Cow pastures don't make such a crunching sound.  More of a squish).

What do you do instead?  Give it a bit more gas, turn into the skid, and with a little luck the car will find its own way through the mess; your incompetence notwithstanding.  The way it's sometimes better to just let your horse figure out how to negotiate some tricky trail.

All that sounds a bit easier said than done.
That's why it's a conundrum.

This reminds me a little bit of drinking at the Peter McManus Cafe.  You say to yourself, OMG I'm drinking too much too fast.  I've found myself in this very predicament and I can promise you,  the very next thing you should do is order a shot of whiskey.  Do not, I repeat, do not take your foot off the gas.

Thousand Yard Stare

I seem to specialize in women with thousand yard stares.  I was looking at St. Agnes' face and it dawned on me that it reminded me, a little, of "Cheerleader With Banana", of which this is a detail ...

The thinking here is that Cheerleader... isn't going to make the top 20.  But it had its moments.

Number 19

Called "The Agony of St. Agnes."   One of my Catholic saints series ...

 This from Wikipedia ...

Agnes, whose name means “chaste” in Greek, was a beautiful young girl of wealthy family and therefore had many suitors of high rank. Details of her story are unreliable, but legend holds that the young men, slighted by Agnes' resolute devotion to religious purity, submitted her name to the authorities as a follower of Christianity.[3]
The Prefect Sempronius condemned her to be dragged naked through the streets to a brothel. Various versions of the legend give different methods of escape from this predicament. In one, as she prayed, her hair grew and covered her body.[4] It was also said that all of the men who attempted to rape her were immediately struck blind. In another the son of the prefect is struck dead, but revived after Agnes prayed for him, causing her release. There is then a trial from which Sempronius excuses himself, and another figure presides, sentencing her to death. When led out to die she was tied to a stake, but the bundle of wood would not burn, or the flames parted away from her, whereupon the officer in charge of the troops drew his sword and beheaded her, or, in some other texts, stabbed her in the throat. It is also said that the blood of Agnes poured to the stadium floor where other Christians soaked up the blood with cloths.

Wow.  If I'd been around I'd have painted the Annotated Sempronius.  What a jerk.  Anyway, the painting itself is not that great.  I particularly dislike her chest and the muddiness of the paint as it descends toward her stomach.  But the face!

Man, this was one of those moments when I said to myself, "Dude, you really can paint."  And I don't know what to say about the two-sided border reading "ogodogodogod..."

I don't think you have to say anything.
Okay.  Thanks.
You're welcome.
I'm reminded about that lyric in Stuck inside of Mobile...
Which one?
The one about the railroad men drinking up your blood like wine.
That's a great line.  Very evocative.
Yes it is.
I don't know about you but I've only met one railroad man, excluding Amtrak employees.
Yeah.  Very unpleasant.  He smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette.
I thought so.
One would have expected it to be the other way around.
One would.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Number 20!

I'm compiling a All-Time Top Twenty list of my paintings.  Which is exciting.  Drumroll, please ...

Number 20 is [dramatic pause] "Big Dick 1(Hundred Million)".

There was some talk amongst my media-savvy friends back then about whether the New York Times would actually print the title, given that it could be taken a number of ways.  Turns out they did.  Likewise the Wall Street Journal.  And maybe Gawker or Dealbreaker.  It's been a while -- maybe the summer of 2007?

It's annoying that I don't have a full picture of the painting.  If you look closely you can see the title, written in dark gray, cropped about in half, lengthwise.  In a perfect world I would be less disfunctional.  But I'm not and I've learned to live with it.

Truth be told, half the idea of The Year of Magical Painting was to create an archive of images that I'd probably otherwise lose or misplace.

Oddly enough, I just posted this picture a week or so ago.  And really, if you put a gun to my head, I'm not sure if this is really Number 20 or not.  I just came up with the idea of a list a minute ago and picked one at random that wasn't magnificent but which deserved to be on the list.

Update:  It was December 5, 2006.  Turns out I wrote a press release.  I know this because it was included in the Gothamist piece.  Which, I dunno, sort of bugged me so I stopped doing media outreach shortly thereafter.  Which could be described as yet more disfunction, although the counter-argument is that nobody wants to see how the sausage is made, they just want to eat it.

Big Dick sold for $3,050.00 on eBay.  It was the first of my Wall Street paintings to sell.  It was also my Wall Street painting.  Good to know I broke cleanly from the gate.

Here's the NYTimes piece.

So This Is How It Ends -- Volume 2

Update on my salmonella poisoning:  Apparently I've not been poisoned.

Country Western lyrics

My baby dumped me in a honky-tonk dive
Which might be fine if he was twenty-five
Which might have been fine if I was twenty-two
But I've got other stuff to do.
At thirty-two

My experience with country western music, except when played by the Rolling Stones, is that there's an extremely low signal to noise ratio.  That said, my experience is limited.  And I must admit John C. Fogerty's new album, which is a collection of duets with well-known country singers, is outstanding.

I call the song 'Thirty-Two ... and Counting.'  Here's a picture of Mick ...