Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Globe

Four hundred years ago today the Globe Theatre burned down.  Ignited by a cannon being used as part of a Henry VIII production.  Shit happens.

This is probably a photo of the new one.  But still ...

Have you seen the HBO documentary called, I think, Love, Marilyn?  Modern day actors read from Monroe's letters, diary entries, etc.  Augmented with archival footage, as you might imagine.  Boy, even now you watch the footage of Marilyn -- interestingly enough the interview scenes, rather than the movies, are the most interesting slash revealing -- and you say manomanoman that woman had something going on.

What exactly it was she had going on remains a mystery.  That's why it's cool.


F1

The Formula One season appears to be going to hell in a handbasket.  Whatever that even means. Witness:  Hamilton on pole; Vettel in the 3rd spot; Raikkonen 9th; Alonso 10th.

There's some thought that the Ferraris and Lotuses are going to be better on long runs in tomorrow's hotter weather, but tenth is tenth.

Troubling.

Friday, June 28, 2013

It feels like a Friday morning. I'm guessing it's June

I'm having a busy day, so I'll leave you with the lyrics of Invisible Man by the Floating Men ...

I don’t ever get lost anymore
I’m never falling behind
‘Cause I don’t care where I wind up sleeping
And nobody notices what time I arrive
It feels like a Sunday morning out
I’m guessing it’s June
Maybe that highway leads to paradise
Maybe it leads to the fountain of youth

CHORUS:
I’m going to hire me a spotlight
And the finest crowd that money can buy
I’m going to build me a grandstand
And stand around staring down at the barren ground
Of this invisible life

I don’t dream about wealth anymore
And I don’t let myself dream about fame
And I refuse to dream about the poacher’s daughter
Or the laughter at midnight in the mud and the rain
I’ve given up on ever joining the rodeo
But I’d still make one hell of a spy
I know I’ll never be a Hollywood Romeo
I’m too easy to see through and so hard to find

CHORUS

It’s a glorious world out here
And I’m a glorious man
And it’s a glorious day to wait around for a tow truck
With both axles stuck in the sugar-white sand
It feels like a Sunday morning out
Hell, maybe it’s noon
Maybe that highway leads to the ocean
And maybe it leads to the moon

CHORUS

O. Winston Link

I love this photo of Coppi ...

 Look at the biplane in the background.  Bike/Car/Plane.

Reminds me of O. Winston Link's most famous image ...

Car/Plane/Train.  Are you with me?

O. Winston Link was an American genius of a certain sort.  The Wikipedia entry alone is worth taking a peek at.

Not for the faint of heart ...

U-Tube video of TV car causing accident ...



Items of note:  It's a barbed-wire fence that the guy on the left tumbles into.  The other guy just falls to the road at about 30 mph.

Second, both riders finished the race.  Think about that.

Me?  This is obviously an extreme example, but I'm amazed that more car/rider accidents don't happen.  Likewise rider/spectator accidents.  Witness the time Lance got his handlebar caught in the strap of a woman's hand bag.



You don't have to watch the whole thing.  The accident happens at around the :40 mark.

[Editorial note:  What mouth-breather decides that you can't watch the car accident footage on my blog but gives you the link to go to U-Tube and watch it?  What a load.]

Tejay van Garderen in 21

OMG!  O.M.F.G.

I don't usually communicate like a 14 year old girl, but really -- the hundredth running of the Tour de France commences on the morrow.  Lord have mercy.

I'm trying an experiment:  That being, I'm paying the twenty-some bucks to get live feeds on my computer/iPad.  I'm going to be jumping around quite a bit in July, with a lot of time in NYC, and sometimes the Tour is harder to access than a rational person might suppose.

We'll see how it works.

The title of the post, by the way, is both a nod to my recent spate of NBA predictions and a reference to the number of cycling days it takes to make your way around France at the leisurely average pace of about 25 mph.  Have you ever tried to sustain 25 mph on a bike on a flat road for, let's say, an hour?  Very few people can.  Now try doing it for five or six hours a day for three weeks, including two trips up l'Alpe d'Huez.

[Disclaimer:  I know you people count on me for a certain level of steely accuracy, so let me just say in advance that 21 days is accurate to within one day.  I'm not sure exactly how many days in this year's tour, but it's always about three weeks.]

Tejay van Garderen, by the way, is the American rider with the Dutch-sounding name.  He's a state-of-the-art rider, but he probably won't win.  Chris Froome will probably win.  Best team, plus the departure of the sprinter Cavandish leaves them with a sole focus:  the General Classification win.  If not Froome, then perhaps that knucklehead Contador, fresh off his two year drug suspension.

It will be interesting to see how the peleton responds to Contador.  Doping is by no means dead in cycling.  But it is less prevalent than it used to be.  And I say this not because I'm stupid enough to believe what the cyclists themselves are saying but because the climbing times for the major Tour summits (which they recycle every couple of tours, so there's a wealth of data) have been dropping slowly in the past several years.

Same reason why hitting 50 home runs in a season is a big deal again.

There is also a more vocal antidoping subset of riders than ever existed before, and the possibility of some ostracizing of Contador is tantalizing.

Tour de France!  100 Years!  OMFG!

I leave you with a photo of Fausto Coppi ...

If the photo was in color, you'd see he's riding a beautiful Celeste green Bianchi.  And that thing wrapped around his shoulders is a tire tube.  The car following him should give you a hint as to the rough date.  If you're bad with cars, think late 40s/early 50s.

Fausto, è magnifico pezzo di un uomo.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Better Times

Here's a lovely moment before they ripped my boy's head off ...

I think we shouldn't fix the damned thing.  I think I should buy a cheap, round side table from a junk shop, plus a purple velvet pillow -- or heliotrope -- and make a public installation:

The headless statue
On the table, the pillow
On the pillow, the head
Behind us all, Robert Siler's head shot.

Just a thought.

Next week

I was gonna drag this big guy down to the city this week but decided against it.

Glad I did, since it's like a thousand degrees down there.  Proof, surely, to those uninformed souls who think New York City is hell.

Love Abides

Herewith the lyrics of "Baby Baby" ...

Baby, baby
Baby don't leave me
Ooh, please don't leave me
All by myself

I've got this burning, burning
Yearning feelin' inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

You came into my heart
So tenderly
With a burning love
That stings like a bee

Now that I surrender
So helplessly
You now wanna leave
Ooh, you wanna leave me

Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?
Ooh, don't you want me
Don't you want me no more
Ooh, baby

Baby, baby
Where did our love go
And all your promisses
Of a love forever more

I've got this burning, burning
Yearning feelin' inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

Before you won my heart
You were a perfect guy
But now that you got me
You wanna leave me behind
(Baby, baby) ooh baby

Baby, baby don't leave me
Ooh, please don't leave me
All by myself

Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?

A classic!

Congratulations to the Supremes for pulling their shit together and striking down DOMA.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

You don't see this everyday



Claude Monet painting his water garden in, presumably, Giverny.

Regarding the camera man ... what kind of idiot doesn't pan left a couple of times so we can see what the painting looks like?  Despite this frustration, pretty interesting.  Plus, the soundtrack is quite strong.

And speaking to sound, I just listened to Kanye West's new album, "Yeezus."  I listened carefully.  I gave it my full attention.  I thought it sucked.

Advice for the Average Investor


Flee! You fools!

Today's tautology:  The Fed's withdrawal from the bond market = The American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

I'm sure it will go well.

Blackhawks in Six

I don't care that much for hockey, but I did watch significant parts of every one of the six games the Blackhawks played against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals.  I thought it was a great series, and the way the Hawks won the final game was, honestly, stunning.

I have plenty of friends in Boston and very few in Chicago.  So I was rooting for the bears.  But not enough to be upset.

I should paint Paula Deen

This is a South Troy Burger, available at the Brown Bag on 4th Street in Troy ...

Burger, bacon, peanut butter, all on a glazed donut.  I've never had one, although I should, just to see.  Certainly the question of ketchup and mustard floats around in the back of the head, but I'm not going to worry about that.

[Health alert:  I recently had a physical and was told I don't have diabetes.  If you do, don't eat this thing.]

What it really does is makes me think of Paula Deen.  Because she's built an empire on dreaming up dishes just like the South Troy Burger.  You know how I like to go on about Duke University and that it was built on the corpses of nicotine addicts?  Ditto Deen's food empire.  Except we're talking about the obese now, not smokers.

I should totally paint her ...

She's like a perkier, slightly fatter version of Angela Merkel.  And although Merkel's life is moving forward smoothly enough (or as smoothly as it can if you are the leader of a significant European country), Deen's has taken a bit of a nose dive.  In the course of about a week, the Food Channel has cancelled all three of her shows and her largest sponsor, Smithfield Ham (if memory serves) has withdrawn its support, CVC is starting to get cold feet, and Random House is considering squashing her upcoming cook book.  The title of which is, as I understand it, "Paula Deen's New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up."

Wow.

I won't get into the allegations against her since the whole uproar doesn't merit quite that much of my valuable attention.  But it is all about how she and her brother Bubba (allegedly) discriminate against their black employees.

Bubba?  Really?
Really.

I should paint her and drive to Savannah and sit around, drinking mint juleps and handing out Sharpies.  Instead, I think I'm going to paint Bernanke.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why I'm Not a Journalist

Close readers of TYOMP will attest that I'm a man with a way with a word.  Sometimes clumps of them.  That plus a keen nose for the scent of the gist of a thing make me an excellent candidate for a career in journalism.  Except I've been thinking about those x-number of journalists who got on the plane in Moscow thinking to accompany Snowden The Betrayer to Cuba, only to figure out, at some point after the wheels were up, that he never got on.

I bet that's gonna be some party in Havana tonight.

[I'm an excellent drinker and that's just one more reason why I would be a good journalist.]

The good news?  Some American journalists were thrown off the plane because they didn't have the right paperwork to get into Cuba.  That's like being one of those Swedish guys at the beginning of Titanic who lose their tickets to America to Leo and his friend.

Snowden the Betrayer?  Really?
I know.  It's a bit harsh, isn't it?  I haven't really decided what I think about Edward Snowden.  I may wait til somebody whose opinion I respect tells me what to think and then go with that.
Smart move.
Exactly.  Keep the synapses ready for the really important stuff.
Like the Bruins game tonight.
Exactly.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Heat in Seven

Just as predicted.

Thank God basketball is over.  Although that was a series for the ages.  I feel good for LeBron and D-Wade, both of whom I like.  And even though that whole "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" thing was a massive clusterfuck, hey -- we all say stuff we'd like to take back later.

Case in point, many years ago a woman I was dating said to me, "Look, sweetie.  I lost ten pounds."
I said "Turn around, I think I found it."

Word.

That is to say, we all say stupid stuff.  LeBron's a good guy.  And Wade is the most magnificent basketball player in history that people don't call a massive superstar.  If that makes sense.  And I like Spoelstra -- he has vivid eyes.  And I'll never forget how Pat Riley turned the Knicks around.  Thank you again, Pat, if I haven't said it many times before.

So I'm good.  And besides, Timmy already has four rings, so it's not like he's going hungry.  Likewise Parker, plus he was married to Eva Longoria, so how bad can you feel for him?  And Popovich -- the Tony Soprano of coaches -- has become so full of himself that a little come-uppence is due.  If that's how you spell it.

And I survived watching the game.  So that's good.  Although I must say there was a good bit of squirming and shouting at the wall (upon which I watch basketball).

The Confident Fed

Amazing how Ben Bernanke says things are looking great and they immediately fall apart.  It's more complicated than that, but still ...


Thursday, June 20, 2013

We Now Begin the James Gandolfini Moratorium

But first, how about a video of him reading In The Night Kitchen, a Maurice Sendak book ...



Okay.  Now, enough already.

Yes, The Sopranos fundamentally changed television.  And yes, James Gandolfini was one of the major assets of the show.  And yes, by most accounts (although the immediate posthumous accounts are notoriously inaccurate) he was a good, decent man.  But honestly, you'd think Nelson Mandela had died.  Let's not fly off the handle.

Miami Vice changed television too, but I don't expect the passing of Phillip Michael Thomas to create quite such a stir.

Does all this make me a bad person?
Perhaps.  
Maybe as penance I'll go back and watch the first season of The Sopranos.
Not a bad idea.  Perhaps you could report back.
Perhaps.

The Decisions People Like Me are Called Upon to Make

Honestly, you can't even imagine half of them.  Take this Wesselmann painting from several posts below ...

Now take this Damien Hirst dot painting.  Don't be confused by the visible background; concentrate instead on the relationship between the dots and the edge of the canvas ...

And this one (as per above instructions) ...
Me?  I like a little space so the forms can breath.  Which means I don't like the first Hirst painting nearly as much as the second (I say this as a way to make my point about the top painting.  I don't actually like either of these dot paintings, preferring by a wide margin the ones with two or three hundred dots rather than a dozen or so).

[Brief aside: To me, the whole idea of the dot paintings is their relationship to Jackson Pollock, not their relationship with simple geometry.]  

The point being, if it were me instead of Wesselmann, I would have added an inch or two of blue on the left side of the image so we could enjoy her chin without all that tension.

I am, however, in love with that blue/black Georgia O'Keefe background.  That seems like an act of brilliance to me.

Also worth noting is the general painterly idea that if you have some pleasing color on one side of the image -- in this case the blue of her eye-shadow -- you can make the whole painting feel more harmonious by throwing a bit of the same color on the other side.  Thus the streak of blue coming down the left edge.

I do it all the time.  Witness the blue next to Big Wayne's nostril, then in his opposite cheek, then along his jawline. Kind of pulls the whole thing together.  And just so you don't think I'm a pathetic hack, John Constable used to do the same thing all the time.  And he was really good.

All that said, what I really like about the Wesselmann painting is the barely noticeable wedge of dark green at the top left corner, between the blue and the black, and how that green is reflected on her forehead on the right side.  It's easier to see if you double-click.  Same idea as the blue, but stealthy.  Subversive might be another word.

This, of course, is just one man's opinion.

Works on Paper

The work of Li Hongbo has, I think been featured here before.  If you don't remember, check this out ...



Quite amazing.  This image comes from one of my favorite web sites: thisiscolossal.com ...

The specific colossal link is here, but the whole site is quite fabulous.  The artist's name is Long Bin Chen.

Tampons

Both my children, both of whom are women, came for a visit a couple of weekends ago.  One came out of the bathroom and said, "Why do you have tampons in your bathroom?"  I replied, "They certainly aren't for my use.  One of you must have left them behind from the last visit."  Or something like that.

Me?  I don't think about menstruation that much.  Why should I?  But if you do, you might get a giggle out of this ...



The good news is that the Sochi Winter Olympics are only about seven months away.  Da!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cut To Black



Watching this the first time, back in the day, when it seemed like half of America was glued to their television doing the same thing, I thought something bad was going to happen to Meadow.  Like getting hit by a car crossing the street.  Instead, just as she was coming in the front door, the guy who had gone into the men's room moments earlier came back out and plugged Tony.  Which, I guess, is something bad happening to Meadow.

Or it could just have been the end of the show.  You have to stop somewhere.

James Gandolfini, dead earlier today.  Either a heart attack or stroke.  He was 51.

Heat in Seven

Have we come full circle?  Not quite -- I think my original prediction was six, not seven.  But manomanoman, that was a game.

It's been well-chronicled in these pages that I watched the Thrilla in Manila via closed circuit TV for one of my late-teen/early-twenties birthdays.  If I'm not mistaken, that was the fight that left Ali so beaten up he looked like the loser and not the winner.  He later said he literally thought he was going to die during the fight.

That's what the guys on the Spurs bench looked like last night near the end of the game.  Tony Parker, in particular, looked like he was in physical agony.  He looked utterly spent, but still ready to suck it up for another couple of minutes.  Barring outright injury, one usually doesn't see NBA players in that level of extremus.  Breathtaking.  What a game.

The Heat just barely survived the worst the Spurs could give them.  But survival is the name of the game, and I think they are going to gain strength from the experience.  The Spurs, on the other hand, are a tough-minded team but I think the emotional agony of having the game (and the championship) in the bag and then losing it will occlude them with a malaise that won't clear til, perhaps, August.  I don't expect Game Seven to be a close one.  Heat by eleven.

[Injury report:  One of the Heat -- perhaps Chris Anderson -- accidentally rolled up on Tim Duncan's left knee late in the third quarter.  He wasn't the same after that.  I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lingering effect.]

Occlude?
Yeah.  What of it?

BP Portrait Winner

The person who painted this, a woman named Suzanne du Toit, which is a great name, just won Thirty Thousand Pounds Sterling in the BP portrait painting contest.  It's a portrait of her 35-year old son, Pieter.

Born in South Africa.  Currently residing in England.  Website is here.  Good for her ...

Not to quibble, but one wonders how many ducks they could be cleaning with that money.  Although that's not really fair -- too simplistic a take on life in the world today.  And besides, I like the painting.

The BP Portrait contest is held every year in conjunction with the (British) National Portrait Gallery.  The winner gets 30-Large.  Second place gets 10K.  Etc.  I heard about the call for entries last year about a week after the deadline had passed.  I thought it might have been appropriate to submit this ...

Portrait of then-BP Head Tony Hayward, painted about two months after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out.

My favorite part is the logo ...

Which you could describe as me at the absolute zenith of my powers.  But really, the whole thing is magnificent.  I love the nose too.

I'm reminded of Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet the first time she sees Pemberley.  Her mouth agape (realizing, at that point, that she'd just turned down Mr. Darcy, and everything that came with him -- including a house that made Downton Abbey look like a potting shed), she just stands there, dumbfounded, until somebody says "Elizabeth?  Are you all right?" and she responds "Yes.  I'm just taking in the magnificence of the thing."

I'm sure I didn't get those lines even close to right, but still, the magnificence of this particular painting is considerable.

Somebody asked me the other day where I'd have my LaPierre painting annotated and we got into a long discussion of Times Square vs. the Stock Exchange.  Virtually every one of my annotated paintings have stood in front of the NYSE; only Big Tony made it to Times Square.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One last thing about my girl Michele ...

... and then I have to make preparations for the first game of the Mets double-header.

Here's the painting, which I've already gone on record as saying that I love ...

Now, that is to say.  I love it now.  When I was painting it, though, I hated the upper right hand corner.  The flower you now see wasn't there and I was having trouble figuring out what the hell was going on.  Not going on might be a better description of the problem.  Let's just say I knew I needed something.

The solution came when I took a trip to Boston to see the Gauguin show at the MFA (is that what they call it?).  Blockbuster show, full of amazing images.  I came home with my head swirling, poured a finger of scotch, sat down and stared at Big Michele.  And it hit me.

"Dog," I said.  "She's already got that orange/yellow/burnt umber thing going on.  Why not put a flower in her hair and call it a day."  Which I did.

In retrospect, I might have coughed up a superior rendering of a flower, but I'm a lover, not a hater, and I love this just the way it is.

Go Mets!  Matt Harvey in the first game; Zach Wheeler in the second; Heat/Spurs tonight.  I've slated this as a low-productivity day (Although I could be wrong about that -- who can actually sit all the way through two Mets games, no matter how potentially historically significant, without going insane?).


Body Parts

We're all about comparing body parts here at TYOMP.  Not in a scurrilous manner.  Nothing salacious.  Just looking at parts of one person, then looking at parts of another, then discussing.  The recent Taylor Swift post is the perfect example.

Likewise this.  One of these men is Richard Grasso.  The other is General George Pickett (famous for his eponymous Charge).  I won't tell you which one, but you can compare the images with my painting of Grasso and probably figure it out.



They both have the most extravagant wrinkling around their eyes.  I particularly like the swoop of the right eyelid in the bottom image.  Imaging that with some eye make-up.  It would be like Priscilla of the Jungle, or something.

Unrelated note:  Amazing that one of these photos is from 2005 and the other is from, roughly, 1865.

"Artist Finds His Muse in Former Exchange Chief"

Apparently there's some talk about making Charlie Gasparino's book about Richard Grasso, titled  "King of the Club", into a movie.  Good luck to all involved -- none of what you see on TYOMP would have been possible without Richard Grasso, and my painting of same ...

I think it was titled "Big Dick (100 Million)", although the specifics escape me.

I googled Richard Grasso Geoffrey Raymond and quite a bit came up.  This, from the Times' Dealbook, is a good one.  The date is December 6, 2006.  Wow.

It's funny, for me at least, to look at paintings like this and see how my style has/has not evolved.

[The painting did sell, by the way]

Monday, June 17, 2013

League of Legends

A friend of mine is involved in a business venture related to the video gaming industry.  It has something to do with League of Legends, but I don't fully understand what.  LoL, which is an unfortunate acronym for a game, if you've ever sent even one text message, apparently is an MMORPG about medieval battle, etc.  MMORPG = massive, multi-player online role-playing game.

[See previous post about that little girl at The Chuck with a broadsword]

Me?  I never really quite lost my Lord of the Rings jones, so I've played my share of video games.    I like the games that are a bit more cerebral and a bit less about chopping someone else's head off.  Although don't get me wrong, I'm perfectly happy bludgeoning someone with my battle axe (I tend to prefer two-handed weapons).

What I don't like is live, co-op style games where your opponent is some blood-crazed, Red Bull-swilling twelve year old.  Speaking as a man who lies to the person at the movie theaters and asks for a senior discount, I know I'm never going to win encounters like that.

So I thought about taking the game for a spin, out of solidarity with my friend and, secondarily, with the thinking that the chances are very low that he's ever played the thing and perhaps I could give him some insights.  But I decided against it.

League of Legends.  Kind of a cheesy name.

I would also add that the internet in my building -- even the souped-up version I pay extra for -- stops feeding signals for short periods of time.  Perhaps five seconds every ten minutes.  Unbelievably annoying.  And let me tell you, if you're up to your ass in Orcs or whatever and the internet freezes you for a second or two.

Voila -- Orc food.  And those guys don't leave any meat on the bone.

Taylor Swift's Mouth

This is a painting of a friend of mine ...

It is one of my all-time favorite paintings.

Okay.  So, I was wandering through the internet, as is my occasional wont, and happened across a photo of Taylor Swift receiving an award.  Something about it grabbed me.  It's not that Ms. Swift isn't lovely, because she is.  Although, as a personal aside, I'm less impressed by lovely women partly in the business of being lovely than I am those in the business of just being normal people.  That is to say, Ms. Swift -- and there is no criticism in this observation -- is compensated in part for her looks as well as her talent and the amount of money she spends on things like hair, make-up, exercise, general wellness and wardrobe certainly registers in the tens of thousands of dollars, annually.  Hundreds of thousands is also a possibility, depending on how one counts.

Anyway, forget all that.  I kept looking at the picture of Ms. Swift and it hit me:  she and my friend Michele have exactly the same mouth.

Swift ...
Michele ...

Then I felt better and was able to continue.



Hi, You

As has been noted, I'm fragile emotionally.  Part of being an artist is staying open to the experience, so you tend to have less defenses than regular people.  So when I watch the commercials they show on sports shows I tend to believe that I have all the diseases with those weird, so-called consumer-friendly abbreviations.

Like Low-T.  A-Fib.  High-U (which leads to gout).  You name it.  Plus something involving someone named Edie.

That's E.D.
Gaaaah!  Not that!

At least I'm not a Yankees fan, so I don't have A-Rod.  But I'm still a wreck.

Update on Bilbo Baggins

It was his 111th birthday.  Pronounced "eleventy-first."  At the same time, it was young Frodo's 33rd birthday.  Pronounced "thirty-third."

Also Patrick Ewing's number ...

Just so we're clear:  I love this man.  I wish someone would let him be a head coach somewhere.

[Memo to Michael Jordan:  WTF?  Your team's a disaster -- give Patrick a chance]

Twelve more days

Do you know that song by Bob Dylan called Seven Days?  The one about waiting for his sweetie to come home?  One of the lines reads "Seven more days, all I gotta do is survive"?

Of course you do.  And this is all by way of saying that the One Hundredth (!!!) Tour de France starts on June 29th.  Twelve more days.  All I gotta do is survive.

This will be the seventh Tour we've covered in depth here at The Year of Magical Painting, and every year is either less or more special than the last.  Which brings to mind both Bilbo Baggins famous farewell quote to the attendees of his 150th birthday ...

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."  

... and 1934 US Open winner Olin Dutra's advice for winning at Merion ...

"Just hit the next one better."

Which, along with about two thirds of Jane Austen and the line "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats" from The Wind in the Willows, tells you at least 40% of what you need to know about quite a bit of life.

Was it his 150th birthday?
Half of me says yes; 30% says no.  I'm trying to remember.

Spurs In Six

Two reasons:

1 -- Ball don't lie.

2 -- My constitution is fragile and I'm not sure I can handle the tension of a seventh game.  Let's just get on with Base Ball Season!  The new kid Wheeler will be pitching for the Mets on Tuesday; their super-rookie catcher, Travis d'Arnaud's foot will soon be well enough to allow him to catch a game; and my boy, Kirk Nieuwenhuis (spell that three times fast), hit a walk-off, 3-run homer last night.

Nieuwenhuis is probably one of those complicated European names that appears to have a lot of vowels and consonants and syllables but, in the end, is pronounced something like Ness.

[See: Worchestershire]

A genius with the nipple

A friend of mine told me he was going to see a Tom Wesselmann retrospective.  I responded by saying something along the lines of "The man's a genius with nipples."  A week later, after seeing the show, my friend wrote "The Tom Wesselmann exhibit was stunningly beautiful."

I'll buy that.  I like Wesselmann.  Here he is, displaying his particular genius in what one might call a characteristic manner ...


The guy's got a lot going on, from Alex Katz to Roy Lichtenstein to Mark Kostabi (of whom I'm not particularly fond) to, certainly, my boy Matisse.  And nipples aside, I particularly like this image, if for no other reason than that it relates to some comments I made several posts below about the close-ups of the mouth of a beautiful woman in a car commercial ...

I also like it because it's quite lovely.  That whole sun-drenched-southern-California-airbrushed-eroticism thing in spades.

As a structuralist, I'm a big fan of Wesselmann's recurring theme of just depicting a similarly colored mouth and nipples amidst a sea of what seems like silk-screened flesh.  And because this blog is nothing if not self-serving, I'll call your attention to this bit from a post several months ago ...

____________________________________________________


 I call it "Tosha et al".  It was either that or "Benefits Supervisor (Pregnant)".  The kid you can't see is now two or three years old.  I wanted her to pose completely nude, but she felt more comfortable wearing a thong.

Which was fine.  It's her body, she can show it to whomever she wishes.  Or not.

I like this painting but I don't love it.  But I do love the nipple at the bottom.  The idea was that the top nipple would be all business.  I mean, a very straight-forward depiction of an anatomical feature.  The thinking with the bottom one was a kind of diaphanous, half-nipple/half-rose kind of a thing.

Picasso, who -- like the black and white cookie -- must be with us always, friends, was of the notion that you shouldn't paint a person's two eyes the same way.  One should be different from the other.  So this is something a bit like that.

You could argue that the color is a bit too technicolor for real life.  Fair enough, but I was also in love with the idea of all the reds almost matching -- the sofa, the nipple, the deep shadow, her lips, belly button, etc.

All that aside, drag the picture onto your desktop and enlarge it as far as it will go.  Scrounge around in it.  Luxuriate in its splendidness.

____________________________________________

Not completely the same kettle of fish, but not that far from it either.  I should drag myself down to Richmond to see both my friend and this show.  The train might be a giggle.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Harper's

There's an article in Harper's Magazine about how to purchase all the pieces necessary to create an completely unregistered, untraceable AR-15 by mail/the web.  I'd give you the link but Harper's is one of those publications that doesn't share its content without a subscription.

Here's the link to a worked-around PDF.  Which I wouldn't ordinarily post, except the future of America is at stake and if that kid from the NSA can, in the interests of patriotism, divulge a shit-load of highly classified information, I can give you a PDF from Harper's.

It's bit of a read, but pretty interesting.  Sometimes scary, if you're of a particular mindset.

I'm amused by the notion of doing just what the author is talking about, except then not finishing the drilling on the 80% receiver referenced in the article, but just binding it all together in an abstract jumble.  Voila -- a mini-PeaceWork.

I'll keep you posted.

Ahhh, Father's Day

It's good to be one when you have children like mine.  Or anybody's, really.  It's a pretty good gig, especially once they're old enough to buy the dinner.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

This Time It's For Real, Volume 2

SS Johnny was a bit of a disappointment.  I spent most of his performance about a block away, drinking beer at an outside table at Bacchus Wood Fired Pizza.  Which was good.

I got the feeling SouthSide was trying out new material on us Trojans and it wasn't sticking.  Plus, the sound mix was terrible.  I would say "one man's opinion" here, but I turned to Scully and said "The sound's terrible" and he agreed.

This is what it looked like.  The building to the right is where I both live and work.  The small white sign on the side of the building reads something like Troy Dental for Kids, which is the dentist office next to my studio.  On the left is Clement Gallery and Frames, where I have my framing done.  Excellent.

Straight ahead, on the right, about 3/4 of a block, is Bacchus.

Sound is a funny thing.  You could still hear the band pretty well.

The Annotated LaPierre

Let the spectacle begin.  In a fit of productivity I took my folding chair and Big Wayne down in front of my building and started handing people attending RiverFest some magic markers.  Here's how it turned out ...

Shot in some weird light in my hallway.  Disregard the color.

Here's the street scene ...

In my line of work you like a bit of conflict.  Right above his head one person wrote "Guns Kill", which is certainly true.  Next to it, perhaps half an hour later, someone else wrote "People Kill", which is certainly true.

Life's a conundrum.

My favorite comment so far?  "More gumbo."




The Mighty Head

Do you know what keeps me up at night?  Well, there's a list, certainly.  But I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how I'm going to attach my first PeaceWork sculpture to it's base.  A subset of this thinking is the question of how do I attach the guns to the armature that will be attached to the base.

This guy, clearly, has things figured out ...

It's called The Mighty Head, created by the guy on the ladder -- Nic Fiddian-Green -- and is almost ready for its unveiling at Ascot, the famous English horse racing track.  I like it, just for the record.

I mean, he's leaning a ladder against the thing!  I have this fear that if I even lean against my PeaceWork it's going to roll away.

The thought of which keeps me up at night.

Back to The Mighty Head, I like how Fiddian-Green decided to position the horse's head in a nose-down, submissive position.  My ex-brother in law is a vet in California, has dealt with his share of big animals (as opposed to, say, chihuahuas and parakeets) and he once told me that race horses are not nice animals.  Maybe it was somebody else who told me that, but the point holds.

This particular horse looks as sweet as peas.

[Quick note on parakeets.  There was a time in my life when I would end up being the owner of some of my children's less successful pets.  In the parakeet's case -- I don't even remember the name of the thing -- there was some question about the cat's willingness to hurl himself at the cage in an attempt to eat the thing.  This, as you can imagine, created domestic stress on several levels, beginning with the bird itself and rising all the way through the ranks to what, one might call, senior management.

Anyway, I ended up with the parakeet.  And let me tell you, it was a pretty satisfactory pet.  Died eventually, but led a full, rich bird-life.  What I liked about it was the warmth of it's little body when you wrapped your hand around it's body, folded wings and all.  If he knew you, the parakeet didn't mind.

A friend of mine owns a parrot.  I'm not sure I'm ready for an animal that has a high probability of living longer than I do.  But I can see the lure.]


Friday, June 14, 2013

And one brief Game of Thrones note ...

... which I know you hate.  But I don't care.  Most of you don't even watch Game Of Thrones.  Which makes the fact that you are missing Peter Dinklage's towering performance as the Imp,  Tyrion Lannister, your problem not mine.

Me?  I was sitting with some friends in what I call the Chuck, more formally known as the Charles Lucas Confectionary and Wine Bar (maybe), drinking the heart out of a beautiful Trojan night.  It was perhaps eight pee em.  And a man walked out the door followed by his ten year old daughter.  Nothing odd about that.  Except that the daughter had what appeared to be a wooden version of a medieval broad sword tucked down the back of her shirt so only the hilt was visible.

This, friends, you don't see very often.  At least not in this century.  Or even on this continent, ever.  More of a European thing.  I turned to a friend of mine to see if I had somehow imagined it, and she confirmed the broadsword sighting.

I said to her, "No way is that kid going to bed before Game of Thrones."

At which point we all started laughing.  But speaking as the father of two daughters, I'm a firm believer in letting the kids go where their imagination takes them.  It was, honestly, the sweetest thing I've seen in a long time.

I'm reminded of the time I went to see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon -- if that was the name of the thing -- in NYC years ago.  The theater was relatively empty, but in front of me, two rows away, perhaps five seats to the right were a father and son.  They had apparently not expected the film to have subtitles and the kid was having trouble.  So the father, in a low voice, read every subtitle to the kid.  Every one.  I only noticed it during the quiet moments, but it was such a perfect act of fatherly generosity that it sticks with me to this day.

I asked the two of them on the way out how they liked the movie.  The kid said it was fabulous.  When he said that, the father looked pleased.

This Time It's For Real ...

Tomorrow, Southside Johnny will be making his appearance in Troy.  Four pee em.  With his unique brand of brass-infused, Jersey slow-dance-under-the-boardwalk shuffle.  Which I, for one, find compelling.

I've been thinking about LeBron James quite a bit these days ...

What right-thinking person hasn't, I suppose is the question.

I've been thinking that if basketball is the ballet of sport.  Which it is.  And, just as a brief aside, let me tell you that LeBron has excellent turn-out.  I've been thinking that for such a graceful man, LeBron's jump shot looks like shit.

Do you recognize this man?

I love the photo.  Looks like I painted it.

Anyway, it's Len "Truck" Robinson.  86th all-time in offensive rebounds.  Which, friends, is not chicken feed.  Horrible foul shooter though.  No grace.  Shot foul shots like a truck.  Hence, perhaps, the name.  

Foul shots should originate in the balls of the feet and unfold, rhythmically, upwards, like a pelican taking flight.  Perhaps not like that, but you get the point.  Maybe you don't get the point.  Doesn't matter.  I'm trying to envision the subset of the 13,000 TYOMP visitors this month for whom effectively shooting free-throws is a valuable skill.  I bet it's less than ten.

Me?  I use the Modified Winter method.  Which, if you come to Troy and give me a thousand dollars, I'll teach you.  Free tip:  I always start by leisurely tossing the ball in the air and letting it bounce once.  This gives you time to arrange your shorts so you're not in a bind.  Catch it, then bend over and bounce the ball quickly a second and third time.  With rhythm.  With purpose.  With malevolent intent.  This ain't no CBGB's, man.

You'll need to pay up to get the rest.  Toss in another grand and I'll teach you how to paint like me.  Believe me, the foul shooting is much harder.  

LeBron's jump-shooting stylings remind me a little of Truck Robinson.

Brief addendum:  Mozart thought music came out of the instruments and rose straight to Heaven.  Foul shots should be like that, if only conceptually.

Jason Leffler, dead two days ago

There's a huge Bass Pro Shop on Islamorada, one of the big keys you hit on your way to Key West.  It's on the right side of the road if you're headed south, but you don't need such specific directions since it's about the size of a WalMart and has a huge sign.  I stopped in there once on my way from Miami to Key West to meet my friend Chuck and his brother Harvey for some fishing.

Wow, what a place.  I was on a schedule, but I could have walked around staring at the doo-dads for an hour, easy.  And I'm a guy who knows almost nothing about fishing.  I only pretend to like it so Chuck and Harvey can enjoy themselves without feeling like I'm bored.

But all that aside, even if I'd never heard of a Bass Pro Shop, I'd certainly be a big fan if I ever saw this car race ...

This is a sprint car (not to be confused the the Generation-6 cars that race in the NASCAR Sprint series) similar to the one Jason Leffler died in the other day.  Leffler, widely-liked, was a bottom-tier stock car racer who sometimes raced in NASCAR but more typically was doing dirt tracks.  He died in a race at Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey after hitting the wall.  Bridgeport, if you don't know, is a six-tenths mile, highly-banked dirt track located in Swedesboro, NJ.  Manoman, I'd like to drive on that thing just once, just to see.

The cars themselves are crazy looking, what with the massive airfoils above the cockpit.  What I hadn't realized is that they are churning out about 800 horsepower.  Which is quite a bit.  I would have said it was significantly less.  Shows you what I know.  The driving style is a lots-of-gas, lots-of-reverse-lock, lots-of-drift kind of a thing.  You turn left by turning right, if you catch my drift.

Rest in peace, "Left Turn" Leffler.

p.s.  I once owned an Infiniti Q45, which I really liked until Daughter #1 hit it with her mother's Toyota.  Don't ask.  Anyway, the Q45 was Nissan's effort (just as the Lexus 400 was Toyota's) to steal some boojums from Mercedes' and BMW's domination of the lucrative high-end performance sedan market segment.  Which, history tells us, they did.

The point of the story is that the Q45 had a high-performance Japanese V-8 that produced a good bit of horsepower, and big wide tires.  And when you took the thing out in the snow and turned off the ride-control electronics, it took barely a blip of the throttle to make the back wheels spin like crazy.

So I'm amazed a Sprint car can put all 800 bhp on the ground, given the big fat tires and all that dirt.  I suppose there's a technique to it.

Spurs in Seven

I wanted to say Heat, but nobody has managed to win two in a row in this series and so I envision the Spurs winning the next one, losing the first back in Miami and winning the final game.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

God Save the Queen

And now, this just in ...




A brand new portrait of the Queen of England was unveiled in Westminster Abbey.  Then defaced by some asshole with an axe to grind about the rights of divorced fathers to see their kids.  Which, being one, is a cause I can sympathise with, if only intellectually.  But I'm not sure defacing public art is the answer.

Nine feet by twelve, so there's quite a bit to deface.  Painted by an Australian named Ralph Heimans.  Hey Ralph, I know how you feel.

Me?  I like the Queen.

The Secret of the Cheetah

According to the New York Times, it's not about top speed it's about the ability to change direction.  We're talking about the hunting prowess of cheetahs, but we could just as well be talking about my painting.

For example, you find that your boy Wayne's eyes are too far from his mouth ...

 Quick.  Change direction ...

That's the point I'm making.  Turning radius times a traction coefficient yields responsive portraiture.  Those three bumps on the right are pretty annoying, aren't they?

I went to the Post Office today ...

... to get a quote on mailing a package to Australia.  A tube, actually, containing a print.  When all was said and done, it looks like it's about forty bucks.  Less if I didn't need a signature.

I've never sent a tube to Australia, but I've sent those mothers all over Europe, almost always via UPS or FedEx, and the price for three to five-day delivery (the cheapest option) is almost always north of $125.

No wonder the Post Office is going out of business.  Either that or I'd recommend buying stock in FedEx (although all the starch went out of them after they merged with Kinkos).  Who, in their right mind, would merge one of the most highly regarded brands in the world (FedEx) with a company known for its horrendous customer service (Kinkos).

I'm buying UPS.

13,000

Assuming 186 visitors arrive here before 8pm, Eastern Daylight, I will have hit thirteen thousand visitors for the last month.  At which point, I will feel like this ...

Honestly, people.  Do something more productive with your lives than visiting here.

Obviously you don't mean that.
Why not?
Because it's a bit disingenuous to castigate the reader for visiting the site and then post some stupid cat picture that's designed to stimulate traffic the way only cute cat pictures can.
Point taken.  But it is a cute picture.
Yes it is.

I don't know why I own a car

The last time I drove my car was I don't know when.  Thank God I've got off-street parking, because downtown Trojan street parking regulations are draconian.  Deeply misguided is a term that also jumps to mind.

And even though it's a Mercedes, I find myself rooting for Ferrari, not the Merc-powered McLarens in the Grands Prix.  So what's with that?

I think this whole car business has something to do with living in New York for so long.  You just resist getting in the car and going someplace unless you have to.  Movies jump to mind.  Troy's one failing is that you pretty much have to get in a car and drive to a suburban multiplex to see a movie.  Which, really, isn't like going to the dentist.  Or for a colonoscopy.  It's just not that big a deal.  Fifteen minutes and you're there!

All this by way of saying I don't know why I haven't gone to see the Gatsby movie.  I wonder if it's even still there.  But somebody wrote me from Australia earlier today and said he'd like to buy a print of this ...

Dammit!  I should turn off my computer and just go see that movie right now.

Right ho, Old Sport.
Exactly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dude ...

Check Kelly Slater out as he scores 20 out of 20 -- whatever that means.  He's apparently the Geoff Raymond of surfers ...



Watch the second wave, when they cut to the side angle and you're staring right up the tube.  Just once I'd like to rest my hand against the side of a wave like that.   Hard and soft, kinetic and potential, yes and no, the sun and the moon, the Secrets of the Universe and the fundamental Truths of Life, all right there where you can feel 'em.

Are you finished?
Yes.
Because it felt like you were getting carried away a little bit.
Maybe.  But it makes me sad because I'm never gonna do it.
Do what?
Feel the side of that wave.
Dude ... your painting is your wave.
It is?
Totally, man.  You think all that stuff about the universe isn't right there in Big Wayne's mouth?
It is?
Totally, man.
I bet it feels like the side of a porpoise.
I bet it does too.

Cheating

And I suppose I should admit to some form of cheating with the mouth ...

Cheating is the wrong word.  But I did take a super-thin Sharpie and draw in the outlines of the teeth.

I used to be a maniac about this stuff.  It started out that, other than priming the canvas and printing the title I never used anything but dripped paint.  Then I started squirting tube paint onto my thumb and smushing it onto the canvas.  Then I started smushing the tube paint directly on the canvas.  Then, every once in a while, if it seems like it's going to be more efficacious, I grab a paint brush and do a little bit of this or that (let me hasten to say in my defense that this is still extremely rare -- I'm trying to think of an example and am unable to do so; I only know I've done it).  And now, with the Sharpies ...

God help me.

Also there's something about an extreme close-up isn't there?  This, in and of itself, could be a fabulous painting.  Titled "The Mouth of the NRA" it would be something, perhaps ten feet wide and four feet high.

There's a commercial that's running during the basketball featuring a beautiful young woman in some kind of fancy Korean car.  Most of the time they are showing the exterior of the car.  But every once in a while they cut to an extreme close-up of either her eyes or her mouth.  Her lipstick must have taken somebody an hour to apply, then another hour with her head in the kiln to make it look like porcelain.  It's an extraordinary visual -- I'm gonna try to shoot it the next time I see it.

In the meantime, all you have is what you see above.  Replete with cheating.

Big Wayne Final

This is a bigger, more technicolor version.  I'm gonna have to drag it out one more time and manually set my ISI for something lower than 400 to get the sharpest image possible, but still ...

Me?  I'm fond of the blue.  Which was a late addition.  Particularly the one near his nose.

I'm also fond of the eyes ...

And, as noted before, the mouth ...


Roughly a Million Bucks

Big Wayne is finished.  If the wind stops blowing I'll take it outside and shoot a hi-def image so you can really zoom in.  In the meantime, consider this ...

Disregard those little bumps on the right side, or that bit of a slice on the left.  Just life in the fast lane.

The first annotation, being of course mine, is currently slated to read "A Million Bucks a Year.  The Price of a Soul?"

Something like that.

All I ever learned from love ...

... was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.

As if you weren't depressed enough by the Heat/Spurs game, have you ever really read the Hallelujah lyrics?  Wow.

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Spurs in Five

I'm listening to two things:  Jeff Buckley's album Grace -- he's currently singing Hallelujah -- and a small child screaming in the dentist's office next to my studio.  The sound the child is making is a series of rhythmic, two-second screams at the top of her lungs.  Absent the context, it could be considered almost musical.


All that aside, if advanced game theory tells us nothing, it tells us that the middle of the game can be very different from what we, at the beginning of the game, thought the middle of the game would be.  And we have to remain open to this, friends.  Thus my continually revised assessments of the Heat/Spurs series.

I see Timmy and The Boys taking the next two and calling it a year, leaving behind them the rubble of the Miami dynasty that never happened.

This from my boy Percy Bysshe Shelley ...

I met a traveler from an antique land 
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; 
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: 
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” 
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare 
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Back to Hallelujah:  Buckley's version (of a Leonard Cohen song) is probably the best known of any of them.  Although Brandi Carlisle does a mighty nice one too.  Either way, quite beautiful.  It's one of those songs that unfairly loses some of it's majesty because television producers insist on playing it on shows like Scandal or Grey's Anatomy.

Which would take the wind out of anybody.

[I'm listening to Brandi Carlisle's version now.  I think I like it better, if for no other reason that Jeff Buckley, in the manner of Ray LaMontagne, was a bit full of himself.]