Saturday, May 31, 2014

And just a quick thought about Beats by Dr. Dre

By which I mean the very fashionable headphones that look like this ...

I tried them out a year or so ago at an Apple store.  It was all I could do to keep from tearing them off my head, hurling them to the ground and stamping on them.  But I realized it would cost me $299 to do so, so I simply placed them back on the rack.

$299?  For shitty headphones.  Google the words "Review Beats Headphones" and you'll find crappy review after crappy review.  I'm not talking mediocre, I'm talking bad.  They are, I'm not kidding, almost universally reviled.  Plus, they're really expensive!  Do you ever find yourself standing at a traffic light and some guy in a beat-up Nissan has the windows down and the stereo up and the bass dialed all the way to 11?

That's what these things sound like.  Only worse.

The fact that Dre sells about a billion dollars worth of the things annually leaves me troubled.  Whither, I ask, in the name of fashion?  It reminds me of women who buy uncomfortable shoes because the minions of Anna Wintour have instructed them to do so.  Which is something I'll never really understand, but then again, I'm not a woman.

All by way of saying that if this is what Beats thinks is a good headphone, I despair at what they think a good music streaming service will be like.

What I'm listening to right now ...

It finally happened.  I was reading a post on my boy Harbour's blog, and he was talking about Sting's album titled Nothing Like The Sun.  Thinking I'd give it a listen, I opened MOG -- my music streaming service -- and they told me that they had been purchased by Beats Music and I had to switch everything over to Beats.  I knew it was coming but hoped it would never arrive.

Iambic pentameter.
What is?
That last sentence.
Not quite.
Close enough.  Plus, it's a great line for a country western song.
Yes it is.  
Can you hum a few bars?
Sure:  mmmmm, mmm, mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm.
Catchy.  It's going to be hard to get that out of my head.  Got any words?
Sure.  Needs work, but I'm thinking about something like I knew it was coming but hoped it would never arrive/My baby finally told me it was over and now I feel like I'm fixin' to die.
Needs work.
Yes it does.  I'm trying to fit the phrase Ford F-150 in there, but it's resisting me.

Anyway, the point of the thing is that I don't want to be a Beats person -- have you ever heard their headphones?  Horrible.  I want to be a MOG person.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  I'm change averse.

And the fact that Beats has just recently and quite famously been bought by Apple doesn't make me feel any better.  Apple should be focusing on creating a television that will genuinely change my life, not fucking around with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine.

Anyway, I just didn't have it in my heart to sign up for Beats so I'm listening to nothing right now.

Friday, May 30, 2014

White Boy in Wonderland, Volume 2

For those of you keeping score at home on my Wu-Tang Clan project, I've listened to ...

Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
and Supreme Clientele

The last two by members of the Clan but not the full Clan itself, Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, respectively.

Up next is Liquid Swords by GZA.

Of the three, I think my order of preference matches the order I've listed them above.  Supreme Clientele left me a bit cold, truth be told, but the other two were really quite interesting.

Amazon Instant Video has the oddest collection of movies ever.  Funny how different the major streaming services are.  Anyway, one of the things Amazon seems to specialize in is the full set of Criterion re-mastered art movies.  Amongst which are some classics by directors like Godard, Rohmer, some other French Guys, Fellini and Bergman.  Plus a shit-load of Kung Fu movies.

I bring this up because it might be interesting to cross-reference what movies the Wu-Tang Clan was watching when they were conceptualizing their work.  Although that might be more investment than the project actually merits.

Worth noting:  Ghostface Killah got his name from a character in the 1979 kung fu movie Mystery of Chessboxing.   In the movie, Killah is, not surprisingly, spelled Killer.  Maybe that would be worth a peek, just to see.  Also worth noting is that there's a track on Enter the Wu-Tang called Da Mystery of Chessboxin'.

Which I just listened to again, for your benefit, dear readers.  The lyrics are complicated and the diction not the easiest, but they go, from memory, about like this ...

The game of chess, is like a swordfight
You must think first, before you move
Toad style is immensely strong
And immune to nearly any weapon
When it's properly used, it's almost invincible}
Raw Imma give it to ya, with no trivia
Raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia
My hip hop will rock and shock the nation
Like the emancipation proclamation
Weak MC's approach with slang that's dead
You might as well run into the wall
And bang your head
I'm pushin' force, my force your doubtin'
I'm makin' devils cower
To the caucus mountains
Well I'm a sire, I set the microphone on fire
Rap styles vary, and carry like Mariah
I come from the Shaolin slum
And the isle I'm from
Is comin' through with nuff niggaz
And nuff guns
So if you wanna come sweatin'
Stressin' contestin'
You'll catch a sharp sword to the midsection
Don't talk the talk, if you can't walk the walk
Phony niggaz are outlined in chalk
A man vexed
Is what the projects made me
Rebel to the grain there's no way to barricade me
Steamrollin' niggas like a eighteen wheeler
With the drunk driver drivin'
There's no survivin'
Ruff like Timberland wear, yea
Me and the clan
And, yo, the landcruisers out there
Peace to all the crooks
All the niggaz with bad looks
Bald heads, braids, blow this hook
We got chrome teks, nickel plated macs
Black ac's, drug dealin' styles in phat stacks
I only been a good nigga for a minute though
'Cuz I got to get my props, and win it, yo
I got beef wit commercial ass niggaz with gold teeth
Lampin' in a Lexus eatin' beef
Straight up and down don't even bother
I got forty niggaz up in here now
Who kill niggaz fathers
My peoples, are you with me?
Where you at?
(In the front, in the back killa bees on attack)
My peoples, are you with me?
Where you at?
(Yeah yeah)
(Smokin' meth hittin' cats on the block with the gats)
Here I go, deep type flow
Jacques Cousteau could never get this low
I'm cherry bombin' shits, boom
Just warmin' up a little bit, umm hmm
Rappinin' is what's happenin'
Keep the pockets stacked and then
Gands clappin' and
At the party when I move my body
Gotta get up, and be somebody
Grab the microphone put strength to the bone
Duh, duh, duh, enter the Wutang zone
Sure enough when I rock that stuff
Huff puff, I'm gonna catch your bluff tuff
Rough, kickin' rhymes like Jim Kelly
Or Alex Haley I'm a m' Beetle Bailey rhymes
Comin' raw style, hardcore
Niggaz be comin' to the hip hop store
Comin' to buy grocery from me
Tryin to be a hip hop MC
The law, in order to enter the Wutang
You must bring the old dirty bastard type slang
Represent the GZA, Abbot, RZA, Shaquan, Inspecta Deck
Dirty hoe gettin' low wit' his flow
Introducin' the ghostface killer
No one could get illa
My peoples, are you with me?
Where you at?
(In the front, in the back killa bees on attack)
My peoples, are you with me?
Where you at?
(Smokin' meth hittin' cats on the block with the gats)
Speakin' of the Devil psych
No it's the God, get the shit right
Mega Trife and, yo, I killed you in a past life
On the mic while you was kickin' that fast shit
You renegged tried again, and got blasted
Half mastered ass style mad ruff task
When I struck I had on Tims and a black mask
Remember that shit? I know you don't remember Jack
That night yo I wuz hittin like a spiked bat
And then you thought I was bugged out, and crazy
Strapped for nonsense, after me became lazy
Yo, nobody budge while I shot slugs
Never shot thugs, I'm runnin' with thugs that flood mugs
So grab your eight plus one, start flippin' and trippin'
Niggaz is jettin' I'm lickin' off son
(Wutang, Wutang, Wutang, Wutang)
{Wutang is immensely struck}
Homicide's illegal and death is the penalty
What justifies the homicide, when he dies?
In his own iniquity it's the
Master of the mantis rapture comin' at cha?
We have an APB on an MC killer
Look like the work of a master
Evidence indicates that's it's stature
Merciless like a terrorist hard to capture
The flow changes like a chameleon
Plays like a friend, and stabs you like a dagger
This technique attacks the immune system
The styles like alive paralyzin' the victim
You scream, as it enters your bloodstream
Erupts your brain from the pain these thoughts contain
Movin' on a nigga with the speed of a centipede
Or ninja any motha fuckin' contender
My peoples, are you with me?
Where you at?
(In the front, in the back killa bees on attack)
My peoples, are you with me?
Where you at?
(Smokin' meth hittin' cats on the block with the gats)
{Immune to nearly any weapon
When it's properly used, it's almost invincible
Toad style is immensely strong
And immune to nearly any weapon
When it's properly used, it's almost invincible
It's properly used}

The best line being, surely, "Phony niggaz are outlined in chalk."  Which, surely, is about as much as you need to know about all this.

Two Large

Even in a world where size matters, sometimes two large is too much.  I refer to Steve Ballmer's purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers for two billion bucks.  Roughly four times the most recent purchase price of an NBA team (although it was Milwaukee, or something, so it doesn't completely correlate).

Anyway, I'm glad Ballmer got it.  The notion of Oprah Winfrey owning the Clippers annoyed me so much I ... well, I don't know what I was going to say.  But these teams are not baubles for accessorizing a lifestyle; they're public trusts.

Maybe not the Clippers, because, honestly, who gives a shit?  But surely the Mets belong to something larger than a couple of mouth-breathing knuckleheaded friends of Bernie Madoff.  The tragedy of the Mets is that they are owned by people who can, post-Madoff, no longer afford to play in the big leagues but are too selfish to put the public good ahead of their desire to remain owners.  And so the Mets operate on a budget that would better be attached to some second tier team like ... I don't know -- maybe the Kansas City Royals?  If that's still a team?  Wouldn't it be great if, heartened by the Clippers transaction, the Wilpons put the Mets up for sale?  Two large would not be too much for the Amazing Mets.  Maybe Ronnie and Keith can buy the team -- they're both loaded.

On a related, philosophical note, isn't it funny how stuff just dribbles out.  After all this time talking about Donald Sterling, it only now becomes public that his wife Shelly has control of the trust that owns the team because Donald has been deemed mentally incapacitated.  This from the Washington Post ...

Donald Sterling was reportedly recently ruled “mentally incapacitated” by experts, a move that cleared the path for his wife Shelly to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and other news outlets.
The determination of “incapacitated” was made on behalf of the family trust that owns the Clippers and it was not known what definition, expertise or authority its lawyers employed in getting the finding, which under its bylaws appears to cut Sterling out of any decision-making role.
Go figure.  If somebody could get Fred Wilpon ruled as mentally incapacitated, we'd really be onto something.  I wonder if there's some kind of eminent domain thing that would allow the City of New York to buy the Mets.  Although now that Mike's stepped down it almost certainly won't happen.

I should paint Ballmer.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

And lastly, this sad bit ...

... The New York Times, the Mothership, that once-grand purveyor of all the news fit to print, coughs up a massive typographical error on the front page ...
One can't help but think of Jill Abramson somewhere, smiling, drinking a double espresso mocha latte with skim and walking the dog.

Hint:  Response is spelled with two Ss


Is the numerical designation of the anniversary I would have celebrated this past Saturday, had I remained married.  This, according to Daughter #2, who has a mind like a steel trap on things like this.

As an act of self-celebration I'll share a picture from when I was married ...


That's how old John F. Kennedy would have been today.  Happy birthday, Mr. President.

Since I've requested "Wolfenstein: The New Order" as my father's day gift, it's thematically tempting to wonder about what might have happened had he not been assassinated; had history taken a different turn.

I'm not going to go into it here.  I thought about cranking out a quick five hundred words but it got really confusing really quickly.  Instead, I'll just say that it's tempting to wonder what, say, four years of commanding the Vietnam war would have done for his legacy.

All of which makes me think of the term transformational president -- one that's frequently pinned on the back of our current one like a target.  I choose to think that Obama's presidency says less about him than it does about the politics of the world we live in.  It would have been interesting to see what a full two terms would have said about JFK.

Cue the Green Lantern ...

And the eponymous political theory.

"Let me get this straight ..."

That would be God speaking, as She reflects on today's perfect alignment of Manhattan's east/west throughways and the setting sun.  Like Stonehenge, but Manhattanhenge ...

Cool.  Looks like a scene from an Avengers movie, kind of.  The Hammer of Thor, and all that.  Mjölnir, for those of you closer to the Norse legend.

Great name for a dog.
If you're an idiot.
Yes.  Exactly.
Urbig is a good name for a dog.
Yes it is.

Here's a picture of the actual Stonehenge ...

Which is fine, but if you get hungry can you get a decent bagel?  Walk to the movies?  Have a beer at the Peter McManus Cafe?  See Dürer's Melencolia I at the Met?  Hurry on that last one -- it's only there for another six weeks.

I like Manhattanhenge better.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Red wigglers

In addition to being the greatest newspaper in the world, The New York Times is also full of shit.  Exhibit A being their recent article for a $399 electric food composter.  $399!  What's wrong with you people?  By "you people" I refer to both the Times editors who thought this story was a good idea and the legion of idiots who might actually buy one.  Read it here

In the Times' defense, the final line of the article reads "For that amount, you could buy at least 14,000 red worms on Amazon."  So they do have a sense of humor about the whole thing.  

Me?  I don't need that many.  But I might spring for 250 of Uncle Jim's red wigglers.

$11.99 plus shipping.  Buy them here.  The good news is that Amazon is ready to ship immediately, as opposed to, say, any book published by Hachette.  If this sentence is meaningless to you, read this quick bit about Amazon's scorched earth policy for a publisher that doesn't toe the line.

You could also buy about two pounds of really good weed, sit in your living room, listen to Benny Goodman, fuck the garden and just compost yourself.
Nicely said.
No worms required.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ahhhh, Nico

Good-o, Nico Rosberg.  Beating Hamilton, retaking the lead in the drivers' championship, all while his father, who won a championship in his day, looked on proudly.  Lovely.

If my boy Helio Castroneves could have snatched the Indianapolis 500 at the very end, instead of coming in second, and the Mets could have won both games at home against one of the worst teams in the league, instead of the one they did win, it would have been a pretty good day.

I get the news I need on the weather report

Just watched A Normal Heart on HBO.  Which, really, is still making television like most people aren't.

Very moving.  I spent part of the time trying to count the number of friends of mine that died of AIDS.  I came up with eleven.  Which, if you lived in New York in the mid-80s and worked in certain industries, isn't really that many.  Since it was, literally, a plague.

I managed to stay merely misty-eyed right up until the very end, when they played The Only Living Boy in New York, which is one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel songs.  And that did get right in amongst me.  Paul wrote it about Artie when it was clear that they were breaking up.  Lovely song.

Half of the time we're gone but we don't know where.

Friday, May 23, 2014


"It's like riding a bike around your front room."  
-- Nelson Piquet

In support of the Bianchi-in-the-living-room concept, consider this quick lap by Ayrton Senna ...

The best part is the pass at the 1:15 mark.  It is also worth noting that he is essentially driving with one hand, since you shift 50-60 times in the space of just less than 75 seconds.

For those of you not in the loop, the Grand Prix of Monaco takes place on Sunday.  You can watch it on the NBC Sports Network sometime in the late morning/early afternoon.  Then open a bag of chips and watch the Indy 500.  Then grab the onion dip, more chips, a 16 oz can of Bud Light, and watch the Whatever 600 after that.  Although now that Juan Pablo Montoya doesn't race anymore I can't be bothered with NASCAR.

This is Alberto Ascari taking a bit of a dip in the harbor at Monaco, circa 1955 ...

All that stuff you see in the water are hay bales.  Which are what passed for safety barriers in those days.  That banner, still stuck to the car, is kind of a giggle too.  We can laugh about it because once he had cooled off, Ascari then swam to shore, unhurt.

His car, I'm sure, was worse for the wear.  They fished it out later, and I wonder if, somewhere, in some museum or collection someplace, that car is sitting there waiting to be looked at.

Historical note:  Ascari died four days later, testing a Ferrari at Monza.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Where's my Ikea catalog?

Came across this picture sent by a client.  Guess what country he lives in ...

Me?  I love the fact that he has both a painting and four prints.  The man is dedicated to the cause.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Classic Post

Here's a classic post from January of 2013.  Before I moved to Scenic South Troy.  I like it because it has a bit of Willem de Kooning, a bit of Elizabeth Taylor (including my favorite picture of her), a bit about the Illium Cafe (whose chef, Marla, just won 18 Large on the Food Channel) and some other stuff pertinent to recent thinking ...


The Illium Cafe and the Jerk Pork Dumpling I had for Breakfast

I try to eat breakfast at the Illium Cafe every day.  Sure, sometimes there are complications.  Like Hurricane Sandy.  But most of the time I'm there.  For those who don't fully understand the topography of my life, I live on the third floor, my studio is on the second floor and the Illium is on the first.  So where else am I going to eat breakfast?

I use it as a way to compose my thoughts before entering the studio.  Plus eat breakfast.  Plus drink a tank-load of coffee.  Plus read The Times.

For a long time, the staff would see me staring into the distance, as I typically do when thinking about work, and think something was wrong.  I think they've gotten used to it now, but they still come over sometimes, thinking I need something when I actually don't.  Particularly the new ones.

Which is great.  It's better than the alternative, which is they don't come over at all and you're out of coffee.

Here's a picture of Willem de Kooning and his then-girlfriend Ruth Kligman.  Kligman's claim to fame was that she dated Jackson Pollock (and was the only surviver of the car wreck that killed him) before de Kooning.

De Kooning once said, roughly:  "They don't know what it's like.  They think it's easy.  They don't know it's like jumping off a 12-story building everyday."

My guess is that, in the picture, de Kooning is thinking about the building, and Kligman is thinking about how much she looks like Elizabeth Taylor.

He might be thinking about the time Pollock peed in Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace.
Yes he might.

This is my favorite picture of Elizabeth Taylor ever ...

I like it because you don't think of Elizabeth Taylor as a dancer.  You think of her as a stationary object.  A fixed force of nature.  Not one who might burst into pirouettes.  Plus, look at that neck!

Anyway, staring into the distance is half the fucking job.  If you ever see me do it, don't be alarmed.  Or think I'm emotionally unstable.  Or think that I'm looking at you.  Some people don't like being looked at.

Not to worry -- I'm looking through you.

Oh God.  Now, I suppose, is the time for the obligatory Beatles lyrics.
Fuck you.
No, fuck you.  
I can't believe you think it's okay to just take the wind out of my sails like that.
I speak on behalf of the 103-thousand people who have been to this blog.  We're sick of the fucking Beatles.
(gasp)  I'm putting my fingers in my ears.
Good luck typing like that.

I had a fried jerk pork and goat cheese dumpling at the Illium the other day.  I can't stop thinking about it.

"You have to have a little faith in people"

This is a line from Woody Allen's movie Manhattan.  I think Mariel Hemingway's character says it to Woody Allen's character.

I bring this up because Gordon Willis, cinematographer nonpariel, died a couple of days ago, and Manhattan was one of his masterpieces.  So too, if we're counting, was The Godfather.  This is the opening scene ...

Which actually starts at the :45 mark, if you're not interested in the titles.  I love the business with the cat.  I'd forgotten that part.

But that's not what we're here for.  We're here because I want you to look at this image from Manhattan ...

And read this bit of prose ...

It might have been midnight.  We were sitting on a park bench not too far, oddly enough, from Le Cygne Noir, staring across the dark surface of the canal at Cholon.  
She slid her hand gently up and down the inside of my arm.  
“No, Jebby.  It’s okay,” she said quietly.  “I think I was half-zonked through most of it.”
On both shores an assortment of boats gently rose and fell in accordance with the laws of nature, illuminated from above by the street lamps that lined the banks and from below by the reflective iridescence of the water.  In front of us a woman appeared on the deck of her junk and pulled up a small net.  A handful of fish caught the light as they thrashed.  A bit of fireworks filled the sky a ways down-river.  A woman with her hair pulled back in a ponytail jogged by, ear buds in place.  It was beautiful.

All of Saigon was beautiful, really, if you looked.

The first being Willis' most iconic image.  The second you will, of course, recognize as an excerpt from "Saigon: Too Big To Fail."

One of the fundamental themes of which is portraying Saigon in 1969 the way Woody Allen portrays Manhattan in 1970.  Or Scott Fitzgerald Paris in 1922.  The idea being that you can draw a bright line from the bridge scene in Manhattan to the canal scene in S2B2F.  I tell you this because part of why people read The Year of Magical Painting is to glimpse the underbelly of the creative process.  To taste the flat, coppery taste of terror without actually biting your tongue.  To feel the nausea burn the back of your throat without worrying that you might actually have to throw up.  This is my gift to you, you rear-echelon mother fuckers.

It should be noted that the above shot was designed for the movie poster ...

The actual shot is wider and significantly darker ...


"They don't know it's like jumping off a 12-story building every day"
--Willem de Kooning

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mets History

Found myself at U.S. Military Academy on Wednesday.  Quite grand.  Took this ...

Found myself at the Baseball Hall of Fame on Thursday.  Quite grand.  Took this ...

The first one is the Cadet Chapel at West Point.  The plaque is of my favorite Hall of Famer -- Ralph Kiner.

Kiner called Mets games from 1962 until his death this year at the age of 88.  Slowed in later years by Bell's palsy, he would only appear once or twice a week, usually stopping by to shoot the breeze with Gary, Ronnie and Keith in the middle innings.  I loved his story about Mickey Mantle setting him up with Elizabeth Taylor.

With friends like that a man could lead a happy life.

Anyway, Mets fans saw a historic moment today.  That, of course, being Jenrry Mejia's first save.  Wouldn't it be fun if this was the first of hundreds?  I wish Ralph could have been here to see it.

re. the Hall itself, quite a load of fun.  A bit annoying that the entire Babe Ruth room is on tour, but the lake was beautiful.  I'd go back.

Monday, May 12, 2014

In the Simulator

Did you watch the Spanish Grand Prix?  The usual Mercedes dominance, which is fine with me, with Hamilton once again holding off Rosberg, which is less fine with me.  The man's a whiner.

Me?  Prior to a given race, I like to spend some time driving the course in the simulator.  Teams like Ferrari and McLaren spend tens of millions of dollars on their simulators.  My simulator is less impressive -- it cost $299 four or five years ago and is made by Sony.

Nonetheless, I did step into the virtual version of Mark Webber's 2012 Red Bull and managed to negotiate the Circuit de Catalunya in 1:30.6.  Which phonetically sounds like "one minute thirty point six seconds."  Which I thought was pretty good, even though I had it set on "easy" with both transmission and brakes being automatic.  Being somewhat Red Bull-phobic, I initially tried a Ferrari.  But in 2012, if the Red Bulls were like nuclear submarines then the Ferraris were like submarine sandwiches.  If that's not too labored a turn of phrase.

For comparison's sake, Kimi Raikkonen set the track record back in 2008 at 1:21.6.  He was driving a Ferrari like this one ...

This was back in the day when Formula 1 cars were, if not exactly beautiful, at least not completely hideous.

Update:  After the race, the Mercedes boys, at the request of F1, will stay behind and test out some knucklehead's idea of strapping a megaphone onto the end of the exhaust pipe in an attempt to make the cars sound cooler.  I find this appalling, but not the least bit surprising.  Right up there with BMW playing engine noise through the stereo, so the drivers of their über-expensive M5 feels more at one with the car.

Dude.  Roll down the window.

It's funny, the stuff people do

I refer, of course, to the virtual cottage industry of Sharon Tate tribute videos on U-Tube.  Here's one ...

Worth noting in the notes that it was the 4th such video the person made.  Here's the fifth ...

What a hobby!  Both the songs are nicely chosen, so good-oh to the creator.  But who sits down and thinks Hey, I think I'm going to make a Sharon Tate tribute video?

Moving on:  As far as Roman Polanski is concerned, there's a part of me that doesn't blame him for completely going off the rails after his lovely wife (Ms. Tate) was murdered by the Manson Family while she was eight months pregnant.  That said, a good rule of thumb is that you shouldn't date anybody under 21, assuming you're like 50 or something.

The reason this all came up is that I'm researching 60s fashion for the Saigon: Too Big To Fail series and have employed as my muses Ms. Tate, Patty Boyd and Marianne Faithful.  So while not necessarily top of mind, they are at least somewhere near the front of the thing.  Fast forward (or rewind) to this morning and I was reading something in the Times (click here) about a Tate resurgence as a function of the Mad Men theory that Don Draper's wife is headed for some helter-skelter of the very worst sort.  Which is almost enough to make me watch Mad Men.  Which also took me to the above videos, which I thought were lovely.  A little creepy, but lovely.

Which, inexorably, takes me to this ...

I love that dress. Hard to believe she wrote Sister Morphine.

Reader update:  My Wu-Tang Clan project is going slower than I thought it would.  I kind of lost energy after the first album.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Fog, Amphetamines, Pearls

As you may know, fashion designer L'Wren Scott committed suicide a month or so ago.  In addition to being a famous person in her own right, she was also Mick Jagger's girlfriend.  Her funeral was a week or so ago.  Very sad.

This morning a friend of mine told me that Mick Jagger sang a song at the funeral.  I'm having difficulty corroborating this, but since I'm not a reporter and this isn't a news site, I'm just going with it.

The song?  "Just Like a Woman."

Which strikes me as achingly sad.

Me? I can't stop listening to Blonde on Blonde.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

This just in ...

I was doing some work on the computer.  Playing "Private Investigations: The Best of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits" (who slash which didn't get enough credit, generally speaking, in my opinion).  Brothers in Arms comes up in the queue, which takes me to this ...

As if further proof is needed that Miami Vice was the finest cop show ever.  Which it isn't.  The antecedent of "it" here being, of course (as if it even needed to be said), "proof" not "Miami Vice."

Funny how one of the best shows on television ever featured one of the worst actors in the history of the world in a lead role.  That being Philip Michael Thomas.  Who was terrible.  Just terrible.

$174.39 gets the boxed set from Amazon.  Buy here.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Cornelius Gurlitt

How about that guy?  Dead at 81.  Go figure.

He, for you not in the loop, was the guy who the German authorities caught with a cache of thousands of WW2-era paintings and drawings in his Munich apartment, a great many of which were snatched during the Holocaust.  We're talking Picasso, Chagall (who, honestly, doesn't blow me away -- but that's just a personal thing), Matisse, Beckmann.  So we're talking real stuff.

There's a school of thought that says Beckmann, Caravaggio and me are the three greatest painters of black in history.

This is my boy Cornelius.  He had a bad heart to start with.  Being the center of one of the most sensational art uproars of the century didn't help.

White Boy in Wonderland slash Make a Motherfucking Ruckus

I saw a piece in Forbes about Wu-Tang Clan's idea for their most recent album "The Wu -- Once Upon a Time in Shaolin"; that being to make just one (as opposed to, say, ten million) of the thing.  Then sell it to some insanely rich guy.  Or not -- I'm not sure selling it is the actual point of the thing.  Read it here.

Duly inspired, I've decided to comprehensively listen to the Wu-Tang oeuvre.  By comprehensively, I mean that I typed "5 best Wu Tang Clan albums" into the google search box and they shot back a list, from first to fifth, comprising ...

Wu-Tang Clan, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)(1993)

Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (1995)

Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele (2000)

GZA, Liquid Swords (1995)

Wu-Tang Clan, Wu-Tang Forever (1997)

Don't ask me to explain any of this.  Like, for starters, it doesn't sound like albums 2-4 are by the Wu-Tang Clan.  Also, please don't write in and suggest a change to my list.  The beauty of the thing is its arbitrariness.  I'm currently listening to "Clan in Da Front" from "Enter the Wu-Tang", loud because I know my neighbor's not home.  Interesting.  I might have to listen to this stuff twice before I get even half of what's going on.  Which reminds me of Bilbo Baggins' famous line ...

"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."

I'll report back in a week or so.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Game of Thrones/Frozen Mash-up

I don't usually give in to mash-up videos, but this one actually was quite fantastic At some point during my sleepover at Daughter #2's we ended up watching Frozen. To be honest, I didn't think it was all that great. Good -- don't get me wrong -- but not as good as, say, Brave. Which was outstanding.

 And while we're on the topic, other than Let It Go, I didn't think the soundtrack was that fabulous either. Which is odd, given that it's held the #1 spot for weeks. The takeaway on all this is that I'd urge you to visit the the Steampunk Empire page of Gail Folsom, the young woman who sings the mash-up.

It is here.

Because attention should be paid.


The greatest ever.  Died at Imola twenty years ago yesterday.  Here's the tribute done by Top Gear several years ago in celebration of what would have been his 50th birthday ...

Ayrton Senna Top Gear Tribute from Gintautas Kuzmauskas on Vimeo.

The best part is the last five minutes, beginning around the 11:15 mark, when Lewis Hamilton takes Senna's legendary McLaren for a test drive.  Take special note at the 12:30 mark of what the thing sounds like when they turn it on.  If that doesn't give you goosebumps then there's no help for you.

If, on the other hand, you do get goosebumps, the next step is that you stream Senna (the documentary) on Netflix tonight.  Turn the sound way up.

Kareem weighs in

Power Memorial graduate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a pretty good piece about the Donald Sterling uproar on Time Magazine's website.  Titled "Welcome to the Finger-Wagging Olympics," you can read it here.

My question is this:  Why has nobody come up with the first name of V. Stiviano?

She doesn't have a first name.  She changed it to V. Stiviano from Maria Vanessa Perez in 2010.
Imagine all the shit she has to go through during official documentation.  Try telling the woman at the Motor Vehicles department that your first name is V.
I'm with you.  I have a hard enough time getting people to spell Jeffrey with a G.  The mind reels.
Try getting them to spell Persephone right.

She's a strange looking woman.  Seems like a lot of second-rate cosmetic surgery has transpired.

This is, actually, a fairly flattering portrait of her.

I wonder if she's had her breasts done.
I don't know, but I've got a thousand bucks right here that says yes.
That's it?  A thousand.
Okay.  Ten thousand.
Sight unseen?
Sight unseen.
I'm not taking that bet.
Only a crazy person would.

I, like Kareem, feel like she really dropped a shit bomb on Sterling's head by, presumably illegally, recording their conversation and then going public with it.

Not that he doesn't deserve it, but still ...

It would be fun if the notoriously litigious Sterling, after he loses his case against the NBA, turns around and sues the shit out of Miss V. and TMZ.  I hope he does.