Sunday, June 29, 2014

The rails

Herewith the obligatory moment when we realize we are running off the rails ...

Sort of amusing the Christ-like aspect of the drips.  Blood from the crown of thorns sort of a thing.  But there's going to be a lot of whiting out before things get better.

Although that's not unexpected, is it?  We always run off the rails.  And somehow, we get back on track.  The weight of the train notwithstanding.

Me?  I just pulled into Nazareth ...

Prediction:  Netherlands 3, Mexico 1

Your intrepid reporter,

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Plein air

My house has a number of charms, not the least of which is how small the back yard is.  Nonetheless, there's plenty of room for sitting on the veranda and staring at Polaroid No.1 out of the corner of one's eye.  While drinking some second-rate Prosecco.  Which, after the second glass, is actually fine.

Dude, it's like Monet at Giverny.  Or Picasso at Montmartre.  With Francoise Gilot.  Who, at 90, is still kind of hot ...

Although she looked hotter here.  One of my all-time favorite Picasso images ...

The invoices are coming in nicely ...

This is such an inside joke that only one person in the world gets it.  Regardless, we continue with Polaroid No.1 ...

I leave now for the farmer's market, where my friend (acquaintance, really) Jessica has quit her job and opened a permanent indoor juice stand.  If that's what it's called.  Juice stand.  They're not smoothies, really.  So I'm going with juice stand.

Collar City Hard Pressed is, I believe, the name of the thing.  If you're in downtown Troy you should go.  Every day.  For juice.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Polaroid, Volume 2

The camel spits ...

This shot includes my feet.  I've always thought it odd how my big toes come out of my foot straight, than at the second knuckle make a 40 or so degree turn.  Like a dogleg left.  Or right.  Depending.

Cropped, it looks like this ...

I really cranked up the contrast and sharpness features because I've always liked paintings that give you a sense of the guts of the thing.  How it was made.  Bits of sketching, for example, showing through.  Rearranged boats (See:  Homer, Winslow).  Etc.  So there's going to come a time, near the end, when a decision is going to have to be made.  Likely in conjunction with the client.  Because there are, actually, times when the client gets a vote.  The decision will relate to whether we keep those lines and numbers and the miscellaneous drips, etc.

Because you can make an argument for cleaning the thing up at the end.  Sharp, straight lines, the perfect color-saturated box floating on a white canvas surface.  That's a legitimate approach.


Or  you can just leave it like it is, or will be.   A hot mess of a thing.  Hopefully.  I remember a quote from Jackie Onassis when John John was dating Darryl Hannah.  She was nice enough, Jackie noted, but she always looked like an unmade bed.

This, friends, is what we're shooting for.


Maybe you should stop blogging about sports and start blogging about a painting.
Excellent idea.
I mean, how much World Cup do you think these people have in them?
Tolerance wise?
I don't know.  I find it endlessly fascinating.
That's you.
It's my blog.
Is it?  Or is it like the Knicks?  A public trust for which you've been awarded stewardship.
Wow.  I never thought of it that way.
That's because you're self-absorbed.  I can assure you that hundreds of people a day wish you'd get your shit together.
I'm thinking thousands.
That's because you're self-absorbed.

Self-absorption or not, I've been clogged up with this painting for so long it's embarrassing.  A couple of starts, a couple of stops, each followed by complete erasure, each then followed by silence.

Now this ...

These pictures should be looked at with the volume turned to ten.  Because the silence is ended.  Ahhhh.

What we are trying to achieve here is the first of what I call my Polaroid series.  The use of the word 'series' is a bit optimistic, given that even this one doesn't yet exist as a finished piece.  Although once I figure it out in a way that doesn't make me feel like a complete jackass, I think more will follow.  Like a deluge.

The problem was that once I came up with this Polaroid idea, the specifics of the execution became a mystery.  I could have just gridded the thing out in rough Polaroid dimensions and dripped it, but that wasn't exactly what I was looking for.  Still not sure this is it, but, by God, I'm riding the fucking horse.

I'm also painting it outside, which is a giggle.  I hope a bird shits on it, or a leaf falls off a tree and gets imbedded in the wet paint.  That, friends, would be grand.  Because the sun is so bright, I take it into the shade, take the picture, email it to myself, adjust as well as I can and the whole thing comes out blue.  Which is annoying.

Not that it matters, but the second one seems better adjusted.  What is also worth noting is that the painted sections are actually a deep, gloss purple.  The idea is to grapple with the highly-saturated Polaroid images that people of a certain age are familiar with.  This will become evident once I take a decent picture.  For now it is what it is.

Jürgen Klinsmann is correct

We are not going to win the World Cup.  We suck.

He also doesn't have an umlaut in his first name, but I'm in love with the whole business of what happens when you push the U key down and hold it until the little umlaut menu pops up.  You then release the key and type 2 and voila -- you get this:  Ü

Which, in addition to being a typographical event is its own little emoticon.  So I will continue to do so.


He was also right about something else, and I wish I'd said what I was thinking (that being that I like the guy quite a bit) in a more timely manner so that it didn't appear that I was jumping on the Klinsmann bandwagon after he started winning.  But his decision to leave Landon Donovan off the squad has not created the horrific outcome that so many predicted.  And I can promise you that at least 99% of those running around holding their heads screaming that the sky was falling know vastly less about soccer than Mr. Klinsmann does.

Shit happens.  You get old.  Young guys need playing time.  The absence of Donovan hasn't been the problem.  The problem, says I -- someone who knows way less about soccer than my boy Jürgen -- is that Jozy Altidore is hurt and Michael Bradley is playing way below a reasonable expectation.

And yet lo, after all this, we play Belgium on Tuesday in the Round of 16.

Me?  I've been to Belgium many times and am, in fact, extremely fond of the place.  The food is fabulous.  Better than France, many say.  The women are beautiful.  At least some of them are, but isn't that always the way?  The men are mostly modest physical specimens, often wearing wispy beards, almost always wearing dark green houndstooth blazers, brown trousers and what appear to be Wallabees.  They couldn't be more pleasant as a general group, but none appear to be the least bit athletic.  I can't believe that the boys of summer can't beat the hell out of them.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vive le Tour, Volume 101

It's time to drag out my all-time favorite picture of a bicycle ...

God, look at the thing!  I think it's a mid-90s Tour de France Bianchi.  If the picture was bigger you would see that the Tour route is painted on the downtube.  Plus the polka dots on the back stays -- the polka-dot jersey signifying the leader of the King of the Mountains competition just as the yellow jersey signifies the GC leader.  And those celeste-green mag wheels!  Celeste being the most famous color in bicycling.

Bianchi, just so we're clear, was the state-of-the-art bicycle back in the day.  It's since been eclipsed by any number of manufacturers; even dropped out of the Tour when the Liquigas team disbanded (Liquigas being pronounced "leaky gas", which I always thought was unfortunate, since the last thing one wants from one's gas is a leak).  Lately they've made a comeback, however.  Which makes me, as the rider of one (a celeste Veloce Ten for you completists), happy.

And the record should show that no matter how many Cervelos or Cannondales whiz by the Tour de France spectators, they don't have pictures like this back at the front office ...

Check out those shoes!  Magnifico, Fausto!

Only nine more days til the running of the 101st Tour.  Maybe ten.  Either way, be still my heart.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The dismantling of the Knicks begins

Wow.  Tyson Chandler and human-Swedish-meatball Raymond Felton have been sent to Dallas for a bunch of people who are pretty good but whose names I am unable to summon at this moment.

One theory says this slashes payroll and preps the Orange and Blue for an impressive foray into the free agency marketplace.  Me?  I say we take the whole thing apart and put it back together with different parts.  Toodle-oo, Carmelo.

I was actually one of the few who liked Raymond Felton.  At least the one of a couple of years ago. Last year's version ... not so much.  And the gun possession rap was a bridge too far, even for me.  But you could argue that, based on what we got vs. what we expected, Felton was a better Knick than former Defensive Player of the Year Chandler.  As a Knick, Chandler played defense like Ernie DiGregorio.  Who arrived in the NBA with "Ernie D" as his nickname and left with "Ernie No-D" in its place.

Deep from the vaults, famous Bob McAdoo response to a question about his defensive prowess:

"Who's playing defense on me?"  

Which, truth be told, was a fair question.

It's Good to be King

I'm reading an article in Grantland, one of my favorite web sites, that suggests the opening three and a half minutes of The Lion King is perfect movie-making.  Perfect.

About this, I'm not certain. Me? I thought the final scene of McCabe and Mrs. Miller was perfect...

Regardless, it's good to be King.

The College World Series

If that's what they call it.

The zenith of collegiate baseball.  Very exciting.  Best of three and currently tied at one.  Vanderbilt versus the University of Virginia.  Everybody's got a V on their hat.

Prediction:  Virginia in three.

Other than one disastrous inning early in the first game (which they lost), the Cavaliers have been the superior team by a considerable margin.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Update from the Old Bailey ...

I can't believe Rebekah Brooks isn't headed to the slammer.  Or whatever they call it in England.

Ms. Brooks, if you've lost track, was the British tabloid editor who was up to her neck in the phone-tapping scandal of a number of years ago that led to the closing of the News of the World and wide-spread scrutiny of the general sleaziness of the product Fleet Street squeezes out, like merde, on a daily basis.  She was acquitted of all charges yesterday.  The immediate assumption would be that Johnny Cochran was her lawyer.  Except he's dead.

Me?  I loathe the woman, if for no other reason (and there are plenty), than 46-year-old women who dress like 12-year-olds on their way to church are creepy.

Get a haircut.


Oh look!  Rendezvous, the greatest under-ten-minute car movie ever, is back on free streaming.
Rendezvous from Matthew Fisher on Vimeo.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Beautiful Game, Volume 3

I'm calmer now that a day has passed since the Portugal match.  Thus some math.

As a younger man I played a fine game of basketball.  I would have played professionally, but I wasn't good enough.  But I bet at the zenith of my playing skills there weren't more than two or three million people in the world who were better than me.  In the entire world.  Out of a population of what was then roughly 4 billion.  So I had some skills.

All of which brings me to this whole Michael Bradley incompetence business.  And I'd like to say, like a man, that hey, I've cracked under pressure too.  Sometimes our bodies just betrays us.  Because sports is the struggle to command the body to do extraordinary things under pressure.  And it's an imperfect thing, at best.  Otherwise it wouldn't be a struggle, would it?  Even Rick Barry, a little of whom went a long, damned way back in the day, missed a free throw every ten or so times.

So I'm forgiving Michael Bradley.  I'm choosing to look forward.  Particularly because we don't have anybody better to slide into his spot.  Bring on Germany.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Massa! Volume 2

Things didn't turn out exactly right.  Felipe came in 4th.  Rosberg, as predicted, came in first, which is good, followed by Hamilton, which is bad.  But not as bad as Hamilton winning.

Hey!  At least the US beat Portugal in the World Cup, which I never thought they'd do.

[fevered whispering]
No way!
I turned it off at the 94 minute mark!
Well, you missed the fireworks.

Actually, I saw the whole thing.

Note to Jürgen Klinsmann:  I don't care if that dude Bradley's father used to be the coach, I want him off the team.  Same problem as with Ghana -- passing the fucking ball to the guys in the other colored shirts.  And this time, at the worst single moment one could possibly imagine.

I'm not asking for Ronaldo-level ball control skills.  But in the closing seconds you should be able to execute basic soccer skills like trapping, dribbling and passing to somebody in the same colored shirt that you are wearing.  When he turned the ball over for the final time he wasn't even under that much defensive pressure.

Very troubling.  The good news is that we're in better shape heading into the final game than anyone predicted.  The bad news is that one decent pass by Bradley and we'd have already claimed our spot in the round of 16.

Fun fact:  Ronaldo is, amazingly, named in honor of Ronald Reagan.  Which I can promise you, in addition to the fact that he's the Carmelo Anthony of soccer (all O, no D), makes me like him even less.


Felipe Massa has large brown eyes.  More on that in a minute.

Am taking time out from my busy day to write this.  Just finished watching Massa take pole for the Austrian Grand Prix.  Amazing.  He hasn't been on pole since Brazil of 2004, the race in which he finished first and Lewis Hamilton, that whinger, finished fifth, pipping my boy Felipe by one point to win the Driver's Championship.  It was a black day -- one man's opinion.

Anyway, to see Massa in the post-qualification interview with his eyes welling up with tears of joy was a beautiful thing.  A vindication for him, since Ferrari basically told him he was too slow and kicked him off the team last year.  Likewise, a magnificent, triumphant moment for Williams, one of the great names in the sport, but which has also been in a massive, decade-long slump.

Massa first, Bottas (his Williams teammate) in second position, Rosberg (the likely winner, because he's got the fastest car on the planet) third, Alonso in his Ferrari fourth and Hamilton, that whinger, 9th on the grid.  Wow.  Can't ask for more.

Me?  I can't wait for the race.  Which, it should be noted, has already happened, but I've stayed away from any media that might spill the beans so the results will be news to me.  I think I'm going to go downstairs, toast an everything bagel, put some cream cheese and smoked salmon on it, bring it back upstairs and watch the race.  If, for some reason, you happen to ring me up during the next several hours, don't tell me who wins.

And tonight?  US vs. Portugal.  Which should also be cool.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"Half of the time we're gone and we don't know where"

Sometimes we do something but we're not sure what it is until somebody tells us.  I refer, of course, to this ...

I don't know why the image cuts off partway down the page, but since my paintings were not pictured, I'm not getting to worked up about losing them.  Since I'm not.  Since they're not pictured.

An excerpt of the first paragraph, since you almost certainly can't read it, goes like this ...

"... and Geoffrey Raymond's identification with the struggle of socio-economic oppression in portraiture (aligned with the iconic work of Chuck Close) ..."

Out of context it sounds okay enough, although the placement of "in portraiture" is a bit ungainly, as one might think the oppression is happening in portraiture, rather than the identification -- if I understand this correctly.  In context I'm not fully convinced.

Regardless, I attended the opening of "Art after 'The Art Album' Vol. 1" which featured two paintings of mine: The American Investor and The American Worker.  And it was lovely.  You walk in the front door; the gallery, Castle Fitzjohns, on Orchard near Delancy, is, as so many are, relatively long for its width; you are drawn to the painting at the far wall of the beautiful black woman wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt (which you can see above); then you turn right and there my two paintings are.  Lovely.  Although I think the Black Sabbath girl was the coolest thing in the room.  I was quite taken by it.

And it's good to know what I'm doing.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Confidence ... it's what you carry

Have you seen the new Glock commercial?  Yes, that's what I just said.  Who knew?


Lets assess.

Plusses and minuses, certainly.  First, the good:  I love how she has a compartment in her purse to carry the thing.  Just in case, if you catch my drift.  Plus the Powerpoint-in-the-conference-room sequence was fun too.  In a mind-boggling sort of way.

The bad:  I don't like how they've engraved USA on the side of the thing (although the fact that they've done so is terrifyingly predictable).  For those of you not fully in the loop, a Glock is a German pistol.  They make Beemers in Tennessee, or something, but they don't stamp USA next to the 330i part.

The other bad part, I suppose, is that they're advertising pistols on television.

Getting back to the whole USA-stamp business, here's an excerpt from a classic post titled The New Year ...

The Remington Arms Company is one of the oldest companies in the country.  Founded in 1816.  Pretty old.  It is owned by a firearms conglomerate called The Freedom Group.  The Freedom Group is, in turn, owned by Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm.  But that's not the point.  The point is that somebody thinks "The Freedom Group" is a good name for a bunch of gun companies.  Can you imagine why they think it's a good idea?

Because they think we're a bunch of fucking idiots.  And there's substantial evidence to support their theory.

If you're of a mood, the whole thing is here.

On your behalf, dear reader, I just went on the Glock site to take a look around.  I wonder if I'm now on some kind of a list.

Best Father's Day ever

Except for the whole McManus thing.

If you scroll down a couple of posts you can see a photo of me wearing a silly hat, posing with my daughters.  I think it's a hot pepper, but I don't really remember.

Anyway, one of the gifts I received yesterday (which was when we all managed to actually get together) was a framed version of that very same picture, which can now be seen hanging on the wall of my office ...


I also received Wolfenstein: The New Order.  Which is a video game.  I can't wait for the sun to go down so I can start shooting Nazis.  Also got to meet Daughter #1's boyfriend, which was also excellent.  The Raymond girls are of the take-no-prisoners school of dinner conversation, and I thought he held up nicely.  Also got a haircut -- a Number Two all over with a natural back -- which has me working the Seal Team Six/Mahatma Gandhi fusion thing nicely.

Best Father's Day ever.

Unrelated note:  the piece of office machinery you see in the lower left is a Canon Pixma Something.  It probably has a model number but they're too embarrassed to write it on the machine itself.  Color printer, fax, copier, scanner -- the usual sort of a thing.  It will, after quite a bit of clunking and wheezing, generate a fairly nice color photo.  But even given points for that, it's the worst fucking printer I've ever owned.

Memorize this:  Canon Pixma.  Don't ever buy one.

The Commentariat weighs in ...

Nothing like the World Cup to bring out the crazies.  Because nobody writes to the Colonel, or at least not very many people, I make a point of highlighting the stuff that's at least borderline cogent.  Thus, re. my recent post about the US soccer team, here's the first of two comments ...

Sorry, but a polite rebuttal to your post and disagreement regarding the score if the match was against Germany. Probably be 25-1, we usually play well against Germany.

First to give you props on picking that the US won't make the finals. The world knows it will be one of the power houses; Germany, Brazil, Netherlands, or even the dark horse Belgium. I'm hoping Germany as they have an amazing side right now.

BUT, the US didn't play as bad as you would like to make out. They always have to be the underdog with their backs against the wall to play well. When they get a lead, they become flat. And they knew that they would need at least 2 goals to win. Going clean sheet against Ghana is never likely. Ghana's whole strategy is to assault a defense time after time until they finally wear down. They are a younger and more fit team, average age last night was 22... The US didn't relent until the 63rd minute and that was after having three key players hurt. The team was limping like a wounded animal and still held out. I think you'll be surprised at what their game looks like against Portugal, who by the way we are really well matched against.

Not saying it was pretty, but pretty doesn't matter if you get the job done. And Ghana's a better side than they get credit for... So stop throwing shade.

Although you may just still be smarting from your Heat's loss and transferring that disappointment.

And the second ...

every soccer coach i've had the pleasure or pain of playing for, including NCAA Div 1 and professional level play (if you can call US soccer in the late 80's and early 90's professional) always said a strong midfield can make your game. Against Ghana, Mike Bradley had one of the worst games I've ever seen him play. Absolutely horrid. He and the rest of the midfield must step it up to even have a chance at having a chance of making it to the next round. jeez!

Both, in their own way, impressive, although each loses a point for not taking the opportunity to refer to me as Geef.

The first guy seems to have an axe to grind.  I know this because I had a beer with him yesterday and watched, sort of, Brazil and Mexico play to a tie.  Sadly, the Peter McManus Cafe appears to have the Health Department so far up their ass they can taste Brylcreem.  I know this because of the yellow stickers in the windows and the locked doors.  Which meant that we had to find another okay bar within easy walking distance of 7th and 19th (because I had Fathers Day dinner planned at Elmo).

No easy feat.  We tried Jake's Saloon, but it was predictably inexcreble.  Whatever that means, if it's even a word.  We ended up in some hole in the wall on the north side of 23rd street, up near the blind people, with artisanal beers that were okay and stools that were so uncomfortable, if I had your address I would send you a sample.  Just so you'd understand.

You want to send them stool samples?
Yeah.  What's wrong with that?  As, like, a TYOMP promotional piece.
I can't imagine a better idea.

Anyway, there's no place for axe-grinding on The Year of Magical Painting.  Other than, of course, whatever axe I might have to grind.  That is completely different.  At least the second guy stayed on topic.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Beautiful Game, Volume 2

Jürgen Klinsmann is correct.  We are not going to win the World Cup.

Nice looking ball, though.

Points should be awarded to the US for a certain defensive tenacity, plus, obviously two points for the goals they scored.  And 86% of teams who win their first game advance to the knock-out round.  And our points differential mattress has been stuffed nicely by Portugal losing by 4.  But let's not let any of that obscure the reality of the situation:  the US looked horrible, borderline amateur.  If Clint Dempsey had scored in the first 32 seconds against Germany, the way he did against Ghana, we'd have lost by 75-1.

The US team should be forced to sit down and watch Games 3, 4 and 5 of the recent NBA finals.  Hopefully it will then dawn on them that you pass the ball to your teammate, not to your opponent.  That's why they have different colored shirts, so you can tell them apart.

I'm giving some serious consideration to changing my name to Geef and telling people I'm from the Netherlands.  At least then I'd have a decent team to root for.

Keep Fighting Michael

The media reports that Michael Schumacher is out of his coma.

This, unfortunately, is not to be confused with out of the woods.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And So Begins the Summer of My Discontent

I was talking to my friend LeBron the other day and warning him that those who play the game of thrones either win or die.

All by way of saying basketball is over.  As I predicted, the Spurs won in five and all is right with the world.  Let now the offseason commence.  And by that I mean Carmelo Anthony's free agency.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Melo.

Me?  As much as I admire the man's offensive game (and it is, honestly, stunning), I'm sick of having a superstar on my team who plays no defense.  I'd rather watch the Knicks than Carmelo, if you can appreciate the difference.  So let the man leave and let's see what Big Chief Triangle comes up with.  This ship be sinking, to quote Michael Ray Richardson.  So let's get another ship.

The good news is that the World Cup takes us through June, although I'm not as enthralled as many.  Then the Tour de France (bicycle racing often referred to as the Beautiful Game) takes us through July.  And then training camp opens for the Jets and that, plus the Mets, takes us through August.  Then, before you know it, Michael Vick is leading the much improved boys in green to the playoffs.

It should also be noted that Game of Thrones the television show ended tonight as well.  Pretty much as I figured it would (having read the books), although I was unsatisfied with the way Arya and the Hound parted ways.

Valar morghulis, baby.

Happy Father's Day

I'm a father for two reasons ...

Daughters Number One and Two, depicted here, left to right, in reverse numerical order.

And actually I take that back.  Daughter Number Two didn't make me a father, I already was one by the time she came along.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Beautiful Game

Anybody who thinks I'm talking about soccer must not have watched Brazil versus Croatia.

No, dear reader.  The beautiful game refers, of course, to the type of basketball being played by the San Antonio Spurs.  The very Spurs who have drubbed the Miami Heat -- my boys -- in two straight games.  Drubbed them.

I was looking back at some earlier basketball posts and realized that a massive typographic error had occurred.  Not once but several times.  Somehow, when I went to type San Antonio in Five the computer, clearly a Heat fan, autocorrected to Miami in Six.  Go figure.  If Miami wins tomorrow I'll be surprised.

All that said, and with the full understanding that soccer is an inferior sport to basketball, the header by Robin van Persie in the Netherlands/Spain game was something to behold.

Friday, June 13, 2014

"The last time I felt like this, I was in the wilderness"

Here's an interesting obituary in Bloomberg about Larry McCarthy.   I just found out he died last December of an aneurysm at age 49.

One of McCarthy's claims to fame was that he was a prominent dissenting voice in Lehman Brothers management during the build-up to the melt-down, warning that the credit-default swaps guys were "working on bringing down the whole world."  Nobody listened and he left Lehman in July of 2007.  Fifteen months later he was vindicated.

McCarthy had a Chicago Bears helmet signed by, if memory serves, Mike Singletary in a prominent place in his living room in New York.  Also some Super Bowl ticket stubs.  And my painting of Richard Fuld.  Which is why I'm bringing the whole business up.

I didn't know him that well, but I thought he was a pretty good guy.

Adios Campagnolo.

I'm a little upset.  Listening to Pieces of Sky, by Emmy Lou Harris.  Which is a stunning piece of work, lo these many years later.  She's currently singing Boulder to Birmingham, which isn't really cheering me up.

The Secret to Great Chili

Revealed at about the twenty minute mark of this astonishing documentary ...

...  is that the secret to great chili is adding coffee.  I've never tried it.  I wouldn't know how much to add.  His theory about fusion cooking is also slightly alarming, if only as a food image.

I only bring this up because of my passing comment a couple of posts below that the guitarist for Orphan Jane, whose name is Dave, cooked for Kenny Shopsin, the subject of the documentary, for ten years.  Dave's wife also worked there.

I Like Killing Flies is one of the greatest movies ever, provided you've ever worked, or better yet, cooked in a restaurant.  Right up there with Big Night.  The fact that you can just bing it up on U-Tube in its entirety amazes me.

I'm a Bigot, But for the Left ... Alternate Annie Hall Version

I also found this, which is different from the first clip.  What the hell is going on?

Not only is the resolution better, but it's more fun with the subtitles.  Plus I love the face he makes when he hears that her last name is Portchnik.  One wonders if, perhaps, an international version of the movie might be cut differently than the American release.

The plan, dear Reader, is once I finish my Wu-Tang Clan project I'll rent Annie Hall -- I've been thinking of expanding my Netflix membership beyond just streaming -- and report back in depth.

This, if you're curious, is a Ben Shahn drawing ...

If you need more, here's an interesting piece from the Times, circa 1998.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Woody Allen tangentially predicts the hypocrisy of the Donald Sterling uproar in Annie Hall

Mark Cuban, of whom a little bit goes a long way, made an excellent point during the recent Clippers uproar.  That being that finding people unfit to own NBA teams on the basis of shaky morals/ethics is a slippery slope.  Cuban goes on to further ask, rhetorically, how many of his fellow NBA team owners are, in fact, without sin.

All that said, Sterling's a shitbag.  A ... um ...

What's that word for when you do something over and over, even after you've been caught?
Yes.  Nicely said.

Sterling's a recidivist when it comes to racial discrimination, and he deserves having two billion dollars worth of shit dumped on his head (although it's worth noting that the shit washes off in the shower but the Two Billion continues to reside in the bank account).   But Cuban's comments make a good bit of sense.  They also make me think about the bit from Annie Hall, where Alvy Singer is talking to Allison Portchnik.

Allison: I'm in the midst of doing my thesis.
Alvy Singer: On what?
Allison: Political commitment in twentieth century literature.
Alvy Singer: You, you, you're like New York, Jewish, left-wing, liberal, intellectual, Central Park West, Brandeis University, the socialist summer camps and the, the father with the Ben Shahn drawings, right, and the really, y'know, strike-oriented kind of, red diaper ... stop me before I make a complete imbecile of myself.
Allison: No, that was wonderful. I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype.
Alvy Singer: Right, I'm a bigot, I know, but for the left.

I'm a bigot, I know, but for the left.  That makes me laugh every time, because we are all, friends, bigots of a sort.  Let he who is not cast the first stone.

Oh look -- I found the video ...

Sorry about the hard to read type.  I know from experience that if I try to go in and change it it will get worse, not better.

Also, kind of interesting the difference between the actual script and the scene as it played in the movie.

Your good deed for the day

Dear readers.  I know that whenever I suggest that you do actually something you flee in the opposite direction.  Which I never understand because I only want you to be better people.

Anyway, here's a chance to change all that by voting for my boy Bobby the Gravedigger's band in the Brooklyn Battle of the Bands.  The video is here ...

One votes by texting BK3 to 69866. Whatever that means.

Bobby is the bass player.  The band, Orphan Jane, has clawed its way to the final five (which, given the number of bands in Brooklyn, is saying something) with a kind of a Kurt Weill meets The Demon Barber of Fleet Street sort of a vibe.

Here, I'll hum a few bars:  La da da da da da da daaa daaa.  Catchy, yes?

Also worth noting, the guitarist cooked for the famous Kenny Shopsin for ten years.  Boy, does he have some stories.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Scream of the Butterfly

Do you know those internet photos of terrified cats hanging from the ceiling?

I was upstairs yesterday watching Pardon The Interruption on the telly, if that's not too precious.

Dude, you sound like Madonna.  Or Gwyneth Paltrow.  Each with her fake English accent.
I do?
Telly?  Really?  It's a television.

Ok.  So I was upstairs watching television.  The house I live in is actually two houses, duplexes might be a better word, sharing a common wall.  Or duplices.  In the back there are length-of-the-house verandas on both floors (the top one may be a balcony, not a veranda), and it's perfectly okay for each neighbor to wander over and knock on the other's back door, provided you do so on the ground floor.  We stay to ourselves upstairs because, hey, a person could be naked, brushing one's teeth, or whatever.  And you wouldn't want your neighbor choosing that particular moment to knock on the door and ask for some mouthwash.

It all works fine.  You should see our garden.  Lovely.

So I'm upstairs watching TV, engrossed, because when I do something I give it my all, with the back door open because it's warm and I like the cross ventilation.  And, without invitation, one of my favorite dogs in the world -- Rosie, a 15-year-old dachshund -- wanders out my neighbors' door and in mine.  Quietly, like an assassin.  I don't notice anything until she licks the side of my leg.

Moments later, hanging from the ceiling like terrified cat, I remember thinking that if I can actually do this it might be time to trim my toenails.

If that's not too much.

Here's the Range Rover commercial ...

I'm going to buy a Range Rover Evoque

Not really, but I'll get to that later.

So.  I set my television to tape Morning Joe this morning and have just finished the first hour.  Which is the only good part; the second hour is typically kind of a mish-mash, and the third hour is, as near as I can tell, a cleverly disguised repeat of the first hour.  I swear, I think they replay whole segments of the first hour while Joe and Mika and Willie drink coffee in the green room and play Jenga, then they come back at the end, as if no subterfuge had occurred, to say goodbye.

All that said, MJ remains one of the better talk television shows when political news hits, and I wanted to watch what they had to say about Dave Brat's if-not-historic-then-certainly-epic bitch-slapping of Eric Cantor.  Which -- one man's opinion -- couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

I remember a couple of years ago standing in the parking lot of Scott Stadium, on the grounds of the University of Virginia, drinking some beer and eating fried chicken and deviled eggs with friends, waiting for the right moment to put the beers down and take our seats for the game, when up drive a lot of black Escalades.  And out pops Eric Cantor -- the only time I've ever seen the man in the flesh before or since.

What a nice looking man.

Anyway, some friends of friends had wandered into the group moments previously and one of those guys launched into effusive praise of Mr. Cantor and his political stylings.  At which point, I wish I could remember the line, my friend Dave (who resides in Virginia's 7th District) silenced the man with a line so withering that the party dispersed shortly thereafter.

That's why Dave is my hero.

Anyway, since it's taped, I usually blow through the commercials on fast-forward.  But there's one commercial I always watch.  The Range Rover Evoque commercial in which the guy finds a scarf, lets his dog smell it, then follows the hound through the back streets of Rome, maybe, til the dog finally locates the woman who dropped it.

Best commercial ever, but not because of what they're selling.  Who the hell wants an Evoque?  Expensive, not tremendously reliable, and ugly beyond most people's ability to describe.  And I'm saying this to you, dear reader, as a former Range Rover owner.

But I can't take my eyes off that dog.  I love the way he keeps looking back to see if his idiot master in his overpriced SUV is keeping up.  What an animal!  And while the girl with the scarf is hot, I think in the end I'd rather have the dog.

Unrelated aside:  Towards the end of the first hour of Morning Joe, Campbell Brown made an appearance.  Grrrrr, says Irby, my imaginary dog.  For those of you with short memories, Campbell Brown once trashed me in prime time on CNN in such an irresponsible manner that, after complaining, I received a letter of apology from her producer that was clearly written by the CNN lawyer.

If you're motivated, type My Fight with CNN in the TYOMP search box.

Here's the related painting ...

Monday, June 09, 2014

Winslow Homer and Aldous Huxley

The fun thing about music streaming services is that you can just type something in and, as if by magic, listen to it.  So I just finished listening to a good bit of the first Doors album.  Wow.  I remember hanging out in the attic of my friends Ken and Joe Shelby's house in the summer of 1967 listening to this album on one of those stereos that looked like suitcases til you unfolded it.

Of course, Light My Fire hit me like a ton of bricks.

It would have been fun if you'd written brix there instead of bricks.
Do you think?
I do.
Brix being, roughly, the scientific term for the percentage of sucrose in an aqueous solution?
Exactly.  Would have been a nice link back to that whole Welch's thing.
Do you think?  Welch's is pretty sensitive about the sugar content of their juice.
I do.  Were I a defense attorney I'd say that you opened up the whole Doors slash juice thing in the direct and that I'd like to explore it in the cross.
You would?

All I remember upon first hearing Light My Fire was thinking something like, "Shit!  They're allowed to put all that instrumental stuff in the middle of a rock song?"

Likewise, perhaps five years earlier, I remember the first time my father took me to the National Gallery of Art and showed me Winslow Homer's "Breezin' Up" and thinking something like, "Shit!  They're allowed to just erase stuff and move it around?"

I refer, of course, to the ghost image just to the right of the kid holding the tiller which ended up as the sailboat you see on the far right of the painting.  It was an eye-opener, dear friends.  Like doing mescaline without all the negative side effects.

What does any of this have to do with Aldous Huxley?

Jim Morrison and Sour Grapes

I'm thinking about Jim Morrison's famous line that goes, approximately, "I eat mo' chicken any man ever seen."

I feel the same way about Concord grape juice.  I was lucky enough to have Welch's as a client for many years and I'll wager you I've consumed more Concord grape juice than 99.999% of the world's population.  Gallons of it, I'm telling you.  Dozens of gallons.  And it was a privilege.  What nice people, and thanks to them for helping put both my children through college.

That said, at a certain point I realized I'd had enough.  I don't drink grape juice anymore.  At least I certainly don't buy it at the grocery store.  I'm more of an Original V8 guy.  And, of course, OJ.  So how much juice can one man drink?

I once managed a seafood restaurant.  One of the perks was that I could eat anything on the menu as my shift meal.  And so, for a while, I pursued lobster with the same youthful enthusiasm one might apply to pursuing, say, Bar Refaeli.  Albeit with better results.  And so, just like with the grape juice, I'm pretty much done with lobster.  I've eaten mo' lobster any man ever seen, and now, lo these many years later, it still doesn't do very much for me.  On the other hand, lamb chops, of which I've also eaten a ton, have never lost their appeal.  Funny.

Insert cheesecake photo to stimulate male blog traffic ...

I do, however, still buy Concord grape jelly.  Or jam.  Or spread -- which is a less attractive word than jelly or jam, but that's okay.  I would call your attention to this ...

Outstanding.  I'm not sure what's going on here, other than the lack of HFCS.  The consistency seems more granular to me.  In a good way.  I think it's the best jelly Welch's has ever made (even though it's not technically jelly), made from sweet, luscious Concord grapes and, presumably, love.  No sour grapes here.

The same can't be said for mouth-breather Steve Coburn, disgruntled owner of California Chrome who, upon losing the Belmont Stakes, launched into a mean-spirited screed about the current Triple Crown structure not being fair to the horses.  Fair to the horses?  Really?  I very much enjoyed John Oliver's take on Last Week Tonight, the HBO news show.  His reaction to Coburn's lame bitching and moaning went something like this ...

"Not fair to the horses?  I'll tell you what's fair to the horses.  Breeding them until they have the structural integrity of a Jengo tower and then, when they inevitably break down, shooting them in the head."

I laugh out loud every time I watch that show.

Every couple of years a couple of shmos (very much in the spirit of the theory that suggests that, given enough time, 20 monkeys with typewriters could write King Lear by accident) manage to come up with a great horse -- Funny Cide rings a bell -- and they get to goof it up on the big stage for a while.  And at first it's a great story.  But by the time the media starts hyping the Belmont, you get mighty damn sick of these knuckleheads and wish that guys like Bob Baffert were getting more screen time.

I'm not going to miss Steve Coburn for even one minute.

The Laws of Physics Prevail

Have you ever looked at one of those massive Carnival Cruise ships and wondered why they just don't tip right over?  Check this out ...

Unbelievable.  When you first see it, the same thought goes through your mind -- mine at least.  That being "That thing sure looks top heavy."

I love how the manufacturer claims it doesn't understand how such a thing could happen.  Dude!  Physics!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Heat in Six

Did you see the game last night?  Heat/Spurs, Game One?  The one where the air-conditioning went down and the court-side temperature hit 90-plus?  And LeBron got cramps at just the wrong moment?

Outstanding.  My prediction, even with the Spurs up 1-0, is Heat in Six.  Assuming they can fix the A/C before Sunday.

Of course, I'm terrible at predictions like this.  Thus, I may be wrong.  Which would be okay with me, since I really like the Spurs too.  I admire Timmy Duncan quite a bit, although I don't know if I've ever encountered a less-charismatic superstar in my life.  And Tony Parker, with his jitter-bug, twinkle-in-the-eye, if-I-wasn't-playing-ball-I'd-be-a-pirate style?  What's not to like?

All that duly noted, my deepest affections are reserved for Dwyane Wade.  Or Duane Wayde.  Or however he spells it.  Thus:  Heat in Six.  Likewise, because of my affection for Rosie Napravnik, I'm picking General A Rod in the Belmont.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Don Zimmer, dead yesterday

Lots of great story-telling about Original Met Don Zimmer, dead at 83 yesterday.  My favorite thing about the man is that, upon leaving the Yankees, he vowed to never come back to the stadium.  He had had enough of George Steinbrenner to last him a lifetime.

A pity more people didn't react that way to Steinbrenner, who is surely one of the most loathsome people in the history of sports.  As he went about committing felonies, earning suspensions, and maliciously fucking with people in ways that make Ramsay Snow seem like a rational, mentally stable person, he became the poster boy for the fallacy that winning is everything.

Here's Olbermann, who I like better as a sports guy than as a political guy, managing to eulogize Zimmer without mentioning Steinbrenner once.

[Video removed by me because it autoplays everytime the blog opens up, and that annoys me when I'm trying to listen to something else.  Why can't ESPN manage their videos like U-Tube, with it's click to play feature?}

Good-o Keith.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Nipple Tattoos

Did you see the article in The Times about Vinnie Myers, the tattoo artist who recreates nipples for women who have undergone radical mastectomies?  Amazing, although "recreate" is the wrong word.  The article is here and the video is here.  If you, busy reader, are picking just one, the video is the best part.

God bless The Times.  This more than makes up for the electric composter story.  And the fact that they are willing to show the woman's breasts, before and after tattooing, is both surprising and laudatory.

Very moving.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

I hear the train a-comin'...

I'm of course thinking about the Folsom Prison Blues because a) it's a great song and who doesn't think about it every once in a while? and b) I'm trying to think of the closest Federal prison facility to where Phil Mickelson lives.

What a knucklehead.

I used to be a big Mickelson fan, but then I got sick of always being let down and I sort of wandered away.  Now, the mean and bitter side of me laughs at the thought of him doing 5-10 at Folsom for insider trading.  I wonder if they have a putting green?  I'm sure their performance arts program is first rate.

Here's Johnny Cash doing a prison concert.

San Quentin, not Folsom, but who can really tell from the inside?

He is under suspicion of illegally trading Clorox stock.  Really?  Clorox?  Who knew it even had stock to trade?  Me?  If you'd asked me about Clorox I would have bet a million dollars it was owned by Procter & Gamble, or Unilever, or somebody like that.

Exactly.  Right next to the diapers.

But just Clorox?  Fighting it out on its own?  How much margin can there be on bleach?  I'm just saying.

If you want to play it on guitar and sing like Johnny it goes E/E7(which is really just putting your pinkie down)/A/E/B/A/E.  Then repeat...

Some people play it C/C7/F/C/G7/C.  Same difference.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Reds and Blues ... plus a Game of Thrones spoiler

This is thought to be the clearest picture of Mercury ever taken ...

Wow.  Who knew it was blue?

Do you know who else is blue?  The formerly-Red Viper, who last night had his head crushed like one of those old Letterman jokes where they throw the watermelons off the roof of a building.  Yikes.   It could be argued that last night was one of the best Game of Thrones episodes ever.  Certainly one of the best sword fights.

Not as good, however, as this scene from from Rob Roy.  Which could be the best sword fight ever.

And just to get back to Game of Thrones for a minute, I was loving Sansa Stark channeling Lady MacBeth.  This is a woman who's been fucked with for the last time.  You go, girl.

And just to get back to Rob Roy for a minute, I was going to weave an elaborate joke about The Good Wife into the above narrative until I realized that Tim Roth and Alan Cummings are not the same person.  Likewise, I was going to have some additional red/blue fun with Mercury until I realized instead that Mars is the Red Planet.

Which took some of the wind out of my sails.

Sunday, June 01, 2014


Sometimes, back in the day, when somebody became intoxicated at the Peter McManus Cafe, my old friend Patrick used to say that he had been over-served.  Which is fun because a) it's a more pleasant phrase than, say, stumbling, retching drunk (See here for the post titled The Night Peerless Pete Threw Up -- a classic, if I do say so myself), and b) because it subtly shifts the blame away from the drunk person and onto the establishment in which he has gotten drunk.

None of which has anything to do with today, other than the use of the euphemism.  What has to do with today is that it was a beautiful day for a bike ride.  So I took one.  Like Yogi coming to a fork in the road.  And taking it.

I pedaled down 1st Street for a while, then made a right and rode past the jail.  Which they call the Rensselaer County Safety Facility, or something like that.  Can't call it the County Jail?  No.

I then made a left and rode down this long road I never knew about until I got to a place called the Water Treatment Plant.  But by the smell of it I could tell it was the Sewage Treatment Plant.  Who, exactly, are we fooling?  You should have smelled the place.

This is the back of the t-shirt I wore on my ride ...

Fourteen years old and counting.  The front is covered with paint.  If you can't read upside-down, the first part goes "New York Rangers First Home Game of the Millennium."  The game took place at the Garden on January 3, 2000 against the St. Louis Blues.  Thankfully, it is euphemism-free.

Wouldn't it be fun if the Rangers won the Stanley Cup again?  There will be plenty of over-serving at McManus the night they do.