Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Number Fourteen

My fourteenth favorite painting of all time is ...

If I'd tried I couldn't have come up with a worse picture.  I can't believe I thought using a flash was a good idea.  But there it is, regardless.  In the flesh (without all that over-exposure in the middle of the image) it's a dark, glowering presence.  The sculpture of Balzac that sits at the bottom of the stairs at the Museum of Modern Art went through my mind as I painted it.

It hangs, as you might know if you're a Trojan, in the dining room of Daisy Baker's, a local downtown restaurant of some note.  I meet a friend there for cocktails just about every Tuesday night.  And sometimes the seared tuna appetizer, which is outstanding.

Me?  I'm a Bass Ale guy, but they stopped serving that several years ago.  Which makes you wonder, whatever happened to Bass Ale?  I thought it was the best beer in the world.  So I switched to Guinness.  Except that now they don't serve that on tap anymore either, they just have those sixteen ounce cans with the little energizer thing inside.  One wonders why I still even go.

I will say this, they've brought in a bartender these last six months or so with a real aptitude for what are annoyingly called artisanal cocktails.  Proof that the Brooklynization of Troy proceeds apace.  Nonetheless, some of the things he cranks out (I knows this because I sip my friend's, not because I order them) are state-of-the-art.

"Don't Order The Cold Noodles" is about five feet tall, two and a half wide.  Maybe a tad smaller.  Executed primarily with a four-inch putty knife.   The story behind the title is this:  I used to live in a hotel on Monument Square in downtown Troy.  Also on the square -- I could see it out my window -- was a Chinese restaurant called Sushi King.  Which is an odd name for a Chinese restaurant.

Anyway, they were tremendously fast.  I used to place an order for delivery and 30 seconds later my buzzer would sound.  At least that's the way it seemed.  It helped that I often ordered the same thing:  one egg roll, one hot and sour soup, an order of fried dumplings, and, as often as not, an order of cold noodles with sesame sauce.  Which was invariably terrible.  The worst cold noodles, on a regular basis, that I've ever eaten.

That said, cold noodles are like pizza.  Even the worst pizza is actually pretty good.  That notwithstanding, one day I decided to forge a reminder to myself not to order the noodles.  Thus the painting, which I hung in my living room.

Turned out it didn't work.  I'd still kept ordering the cold noodles.  So I decided to long-term-loan it to Daisy's.  That way, if, on a Tuesday, I'm talking to somebody and they ask what I do, I tell them to look "over there" and they can see one of my favorite paintings.

That's a lot of food.
What is?
Your Sushi King order.
Yeah.  Sometimes I'd leave the noodles for lunch the next day.  They were so awful that, truth be told, twelve hours in the fridge might have actually improved them.
And sometimes you'd eat them that same night?
Yeah. If the Knicks were horrid I would sometimes seek comfort in food.

You, and here I'm using the second person plural to address the full scope of the TYOMP Nation, should buy this painting for Christmas.  I have no idea what I'd charge, but I bet we could work something out.


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