Saturday, July 31, 2004

Free Entertainment Of The Third Kind

I love "Overheard In New York," a wonderful site by Morgan Friedman I check daily for funny and bizarre dialogue overheard around town. Best of all are hilarious title/responses Morgan thinks up for each entry. Here are recent samples:

1. How About "We Don't Try to Conquer Europe"?
German tourist: You can't smoke inside and you can't drink outside. What the hell do you people do in New York City?

2. Swing Low Sweet Chariots
Teen girl #1: I hate you. Your boobs are always so cute and perky!
Teen girl #2: Yeah, but when I'm not wearing a bra, they're like...down to my navel.

3. Sausage Fest Y2K4
Man #1: I am getting ready to throw my annual party soon.
Man #2: Dude, just remember to invite women this year.

this entry's permalink

Friday, July 30, 2004

It's A Beautiful Day... and Help Is On The Way... We Democrats now have our marching songs, courtesy of U2 and the Whatnauts. Add them to your I-Pods!

this entry's permalink
From last week’s Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?"
Question: “Researchers recently said that the chimpanzee, hunted for meat and threatened by deforestation, could be extinct in 50 years. What do you think?”

Answer 1: "Oh, boo hoo. They had their chance."
Answer 2: "They're being hunted for meat? Are chimp fajitas any good?"
Answer 3: "Well, I say it's one less species who will masturbate in public. Good riddance!"
Answer 4: “As a poacher, whenever I catch a chimp, I just throw it back. I'm after the tastier marmosets."
Answer 5: "What?! Oh, chimps. I thought you said 'chicks.' Shit. Wow. For a second there... fuck."
Answer 6: "Crap! We'd better remake The Barefoot Executive now, before it's too late."

this entry's permalink

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Kerry knocks it out of the ballpark! Kerry comes alive!

this entry's permalink

Girl Drink Drunk

My French friends safely arrived, so we headed to Regional Thai Taste to celebrate their visit and our two broken elevators : - ) Lively colors on a red background predominate, creating a bright collage of decor, cuisine, and Girl Drinks. Of course, Girl Drinks the exotic, multi-colored beverages flavored by fruit, powered by rum, and adorned with plastic mermaids and folding umbrellas. I only get drunk drinking Girl Drinks. Yes, I am Girl Drink Drunk. : - )

Quote of the Day
"Working with Julie Andrews is like getting hit over the head with a valentine." - Christopher Plummer (Canada's most brilliant theater actor of the 50s and 60s, who regrets that he'll be remembered for playing Captain Von Trapp in the film he refers to as "The Sound of Mucus." ) : - )

this entry's permalink

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Two jet-lagged guests, two broken elevators... ...and a partridge in a pear tree....

But I was a good friend and helped them carry their suitcases to the freight elevator, now the only alternative to the stairs, until they either fix elevator 1 or finish the renovation on elevator 2

This is Christian's first NYC visit, and will be Denis' first San Francisco-Vegas-Natural Parks visit when we head west a week from Friday... It's now 4 in the morning Paris time, they've just conked out and I'm about to do likewise. Cheery-o

this entry's permalink

This is AT&T® 23rd Street...
...Next stop, Microsoft® 14th Street?

Bewitched, broke, and bewildered, New York's transportation authority MTA is planning to plug their $1 billion deficit by seeking corporate sponsorship of subway stops and even transportation hubs! Which is more disturbing, a $3 subway fare or boarding a train at Reebok® Grand Central Station? I guess I'd have to choose the latter, groaning, rather than incresae the already heavy burden on NYC's low-wage earners. NY Times had a good article on this yesterday, too.

Fun facts: 1) More Americans ride NY's MTA in 11 weeks than take airplanes in an entire year. 2) Every 3 years NY's MTA moves the entire population of the earth - 6 billion rides!

Spot quiz - e-mail me your guess of how many women senators we have, how many women in the House of Representatives, and what percentage of state legislators are women... I'll post the closest guesser, and the actual answer, on Friday...

this entry's permalink
Whirr. Whirr. Time does fly! Denis arrives tonight! Susan Sontag's gonna get me... Yesterday as I crunched numbers I pondered the implications of photographing strangers. I had been taking increasing pleasure in catpuring all the spontaneous oddity I encounter every day in digital photos and posting them here. But am I also violating these people, stealing their images to make fun of them on my blog? "To photograph people," Sontag said, "is to violate them...It turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed." I'm not sure how I feel about this issue, I'm still digesting.

Quote of the Day:
"As a rule, I am very careful to be shallow and conventional where depth and originality are wasted." - Lucy Maud Montgomery, writer

this entry's permalink

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


I spotted this lady on the subway last night, sporting foot-long curlicue gray fingernails adorned with stripes and other patterns, on one hand only. Throwing shyness and courtesy to the wind, I grabbed for my camera and snapped. Photography really makes you tune in to the world around you, which in New York is filled with oddity and wonder.

Denis and Christian arrive from Paris tomorrow night! From tomorrow to Labor Day, continuously, I'll either have visitors, be on vacation, or both. I've split my vacation into two one-week pieces, bracketed by weekends. I head west with Denis and Christian for the first leg, Aug 6-15, to search for America's soul on a meandering route from Utah to San Francisco, stopping at four national parks and Las Vegas. My Mom arrives the day I return, and I leave one week later (TBD, probably Europe and driving a stick shift) while she and her friend Harriet stay at my place and enjoy a NY holiday. Can you remember all that? : - )

this entry's permalink

Monday, July 26, 2004

Quote of the Day:
"And how old would you be if you didn't know how old you were? " - Ruth Gordon, actress (Harold and Maude, Where's Poppa) ...I was frequently told in the 80s that I resembled Harold. : - )

this entry's permalink

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Sunny End... On my way up to Briarcliff to visit my friend Deborah and her family, sunbeams pierced the clouds, and sunlight bathed the remainder of the day. Highlights included a delicious and inventive home-cooked meal, and meeting Joshua, Deborah and Elias' 5 1/2 year old son. With my nephew Danny 3,400 miles away in Arizona, I feel kind of nephew-deprived. : - ) Joshua likes to cut up for the camera and he moves very fast, but I did manage to get a good natural shot (picture left). I'm going to learn true photography, really I am. This is the year!

Six Feet Under, my favorite TV show in 20 years, had been falling off this season, but I'm glad Brian talked me into watching tonight. It had moments of dead-on emotional truth and felt much more organic. Nice to have it back

Two of my favorite current groups are the Bees (60s psychedelia) and the Hives (garage rock). Those who've known me a while will appreciate the irony of my liking groups with these names. : - )

this entry's permalink

Outside Inside

It's an overcast Sunday, but I'm going to visit friends in Westchester, nice contrast to a solitary Saturday... I took these pictuers of outdoor and indoor art on Thursday:

This rusty coil graces the green island dividing Park Avenue:

This shiny gold vertical squiggle greets me at work every morning between the escalator and the elevator:

this entry's permalink

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Shot 66 Times And Happy About It...

Good morning, and it is indeed. Rain pitter-patters outside, but inside I bask in my cocoon of art, music, air conditioning and good vibes... Thomas sent me all the pictures from our photo shoot Sunday, and I am blown away. I've put nine of my favorites on a special page for you to see. This should get me some dates!

Speaking of Thomas, it turns out he's been living downstairs from the 'bomb cop,' an unhinged 9/11 crew survivor that allegedly planted a pipe bomb in the 42nd St subway Monday and burned himself 'rescuing the public' from it... Read about it in his Thursday post.

Facing Windows with Christi... Braving sheets of rain Christi and I took in a great Italian mystery/character film at the 70s-drenched, seat-bucket art house known as the Quad. "Facing Windows" is about young woman in a strained marriage whose husband takes in a lost elderly amnesiac, and who is attracted to the Clark-Kent-like young man whose window faces hers across the courtyard. Unfolding at a meandering but engaging pace, this story leads to some unexpected places. It is not at all Hitchcockean suspense, despite some traces of "Rear Windows," but it is heartfelt, thoughtful and emotionally honest. It swept Italy's film awards this year, and I highly recommend that you see it if you can..

this entry's permalink

Friday, July 23, 2004

They've Got The Land...
...But We've Got The View

Freedom With Brownie Points... Yesterday, my 35th Floor deal marathon ended with a whimper. Despite being 85% done, unforeseen circumstances have pushed the project back to early September. But I added value and earned gratitude. Hope it does eventually happen... My thoughts turned to photography as the project's 30 bankers, laywers, customers, and go-fers began to mentally check out and disperse.

Here's the Unilever building from an interesting angle. Above, the view southward down Park Avenue, with photographer Aaron superimposed.

Quote del Giorno:
"My breasts are not actresses." - Liv Ullmann

Here's an odd aerial of Central Synagogue, an jewel of 19th century architecture which houses New York's longest runing Jewish congregation. Note the exquisite twin domes. The "twin" theme is a New York classic, with several dozen twin ornaments and buildings over the years, including of course WTC:

Modern Art, Corporate Cafeteria:

Finally, 350 Park Avenue, with its "new hat" following a 1990s facelift, and in the 1980s when I worked there:

this entry's permalink

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Way Cool...

I was delighted to see, as I arrived home sleep-deprived from another intense day on the deal team, this amazing photo of me on my friend Thomas' photoblog, with a nice note. Thomas also snapped the lovely masthead photo in this blog's upper left corner, of me in my checkered shirt. He really captures something essential in his photo portraits, I think. I can literally feel my personality radiating from this photo...

Quote del Día
"Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke

this entry's permalink

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Kaleidoscope Spin Cycle

Quote of the Day
"Hey, I'm a simple man. I may not be able to point out Canada on a map but I know one thing ... It has too many bears" - Ted Nugent, singer-songwriter and Michigan luminary : - )

My sleep-deprived brain feels like a Kaleidoscope Spin Cycle... Why is Stevie Nicks doing chiropractor advertisements? :- ) ... hmmm 'hmmm' in Russian is 'gmmm.' I'm gearing up for another marathon day with the lawyers, the bankers, and the endless proofreading and bickering over semantics. High up on the 35th floor, looking south over East Midtown. The view out the panoramic window includes the tippy top of the UN and the pasted-on ornament that tops 350 Park Ave (could only find a picture of what it used to look like, see below), my very first workplace 22 years ago. ABBA would pronounce ago with an accent on the 'o.' I always found ABBA's cluelessness about English tonic stress to be one of their charms.

this entry's permalink

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

(16 Hour Work-)Day Of The Friend

Just worked my first grueling 16 hour day -yes, 16, from 7:45am to 12 midnight, in quite a long time. I was sequestered on a deal with a conference room full of lawyers and businesspeople, high up on the 35th floor of a Park Avenue landmark building. I was basically hostage to a make-or-break deal for my team, working beyond my normal research duties. My mind is like jello, my muscles are wobbly, I ate cookies all day and about 13 lbs of Sushi when dinner finally arrived at 9:30pm. Not healthy. But temporary, thank goodness. It resumes tomorrow at 8am. And, oh yes, in a suit and tie!

Ironically, July 20 is Friendship Day (Dia del Amigo) in Argentina, a day for celebrating personal connections, not burying oneself in work. I exchanged sweet message with my ex Andres, my friend Celia.. Celia informs me that the actual inspiration for Friendship Day was the July 20, 1969 'one giant step for mankind' - the lunar landing whose anniversary seems to have been forgotten amidst the campaign and conventions and security hubbub. In Argentina, restaurants are booked as friends go out to celebrate. Picture above is me, semi-celebratory in Paris, in one of the world's more beautiful restaurant bathrooms. I look like I've had a bit of Merlot. : - ) Well, bed time now...

p.s. If I had read the High Line site, I would have known in advance that police are agressively ticketing and arresting trespassers. Click here to see the High Line's four finalist designs and the other 716 entries, with 36 countries represented.

this entry's permalink


Remember my LA trip a month ago, when I wrote "I am writing this on the TV in my room, the only internet access offered here"? And I noted that "I enjoy the novelty though it is cumbersome. This is to interet access what an attic is to a penthouse. My analogy du jour. " Here, then, are two pictures I snapped of "Lame Internet."

Speaking of Cyber-lameness, my work is now blocking my blog server! ugggh! They're also blocking, Gothamist, my alternative blog news source. Well, that won't keep me from posting. Just like the musical group !!! said about Giuliani: "he can sick his lackeys on me / but he can't stop a new age dawning.."

Quote du Jour:
"I think that everybody, to a certain extent, uses humor to hide behind, and I think Jews are particularly good at it. I'm not trying to suggest that there is anything bad about hiding behind something for the purpose of comedy. I think it's a device to take us away from the pain of living." - Jonathan Katz, 1947

this entry's permalink

Monday, July 19, 2004

Today's Quote du Jour seems apt given my recent adventure. : - )
"Trouble has a habit of finding me and I have a habit of embracing it when it does." - G. Gordon Liddy, former White House aide and convicted Watergate felon.

this entry's permalink

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Aaron Nabbed By Federal Agent On High Line (!)

Well, I wanted to be adventurous... Like any self-respecting NYC-based blogger and photographer, I wanted to experience the lovely, abandoned urban anomaly on sticks that is the High Line. For my non-NYC readers, the High Line is a defunct elevated freight railway (pictured left) that citizens are fighting to preserve as a park and promenade, fighting obtuse developers that wanted to tear it down. It's private property, yes, I knew that.. But it beckoned, and off I went, in Exclesior mode, with my camera and my mp3 player.

So I headed for the Greyhound bus yard at 34th St and West Side Highway, as suggested by Gothamist, a NYC-themed blog. That's where the elevated railway touches ground, before climbing 20 feet up and extending over a mile southward, all the way to Gansevoort St in the Village, mostly running between 10th and 11th avenues. I snuck through between two large trailers (pictured left)and climbed up an embankment, on to the tracks.

Exhilerated, I began my way upward, between the rails, among the weeds and wildflowers and shattered beer bottles, past flies, butterflies, and the occasional bee, and took a few pictures, shown left and below. I'd gone about 100 feet when a loud, angry voice from below insisted that I 'get down here right now' and inquired what the hell I was doing. Startled, I looked down and saw a uniformed agent with a gun. I froze, and he reiterated, or rather shouted, that I'd better come down and not try to run away. Alas, descending his side of the tracks involved a 10 foot drop with not much to grasp on the way down. And descend, I did, landing unharmed, and I went to face an irate federal agent.

With his vocal chords on volume 10, the agent pointed to the 'no trespassing' posters and told me I could spend the next three days in jail, or just receive a summons, if I was lucky. He took my driver's license. I think I handled myself very well. I was calm, sober, polite, respectful and projected the aura of a decent person caught doing something admittedly dumb but not really harmful. I didn't speak much. He read me the riot act, and asked me questions, including why I did it (because it was pretty, I answered), where I worked, if I was working for lawyers, architects, or any of the many interested parties in the High Line struggle.

In the end, he was lenient, giving me a summons to appear in Community Court, which, similar to a speeding ticket, will not go on my record or be reported to my employer. I signed the summons (see copy below) as requested, took a copy and my license, apologized, and walked home. Not quite the adventure I had hoped for, but at least I saw a small corner of the High Line. Happily, Friends of the High Line appear to be winning the battle, and I suspect that the rustly rails will house a beautifully green and serene urban promenade by the end of the decade. I'll have to make a contribution. This, by the way, made me the second Friend of The High Line to face prison in two days. Yes, that's right, Martha is a Friend. : - )
Today my blog is exactly six months old!  What a way to celebrate....


this entry's permalink

Saturday, July 17, 2004

36 Hours In The City Of Light

My friend Denis, taken last weekend in Paris.  My blog server's best new feature makes it much easier for me to post my own photos here.  I no longer have to go through the intermediate step of loading the photo first to my web page. 

Sun, Summer, Saturday Morning...  Outside I go, shortly, for a gallery hop and a long-dreamed of elevated adventure (details to follow, if I pull it off). 

I found an amazing art site, Insecula, that lets you comfortably browse some great Paris and New York museums, inlcuding Orsay, Pompidou, the Met, and MoMA.  Collections are very complete, images are nice and large, and downloading is easy (except for the tiny Insecula copyright in the corner of each artwork). Well worth checking out!  In addition to art, there's plenty of architecture and monuments, including over a hundred pictures of Cambodia's immense Angkor Wat, which I hobbled through on crutches in January 2003.

More Paris pictures:

Denis and Chrisitian's building faces the romantic Canal St Martin:

Denis works in a palatial building on Avenue Montaigne, with his office on second floor center. Yes, the one with the balcony! Evita, Evita....  : - )

this entry's permalink

Friday, July 16, 2004

Complicated Is The New Simple

Blogger.com, my host, apparently upgraded its system last night. Arrgh. This means I have hundreds of new choices and options, but that I'm not sure I know how to do anything anymore! These changes are usually a net plus, once you've absorbed them... Also transformed is Allmusic.com, my ultimate music reference.. Now it's slow and cumbersome. Less Is More. Simple Is Sophisticated. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. : - )  Pictured left: Birds from my childhood.  You get it, right?

Movie time! I have plans to see movies with both Bart and Christi, tomorrow and next Friday respectively, but we haven't decided which movies.   I came up with several possibilties, as follows, with links to their New York Times reviews:  the gay comedy Touch Of Pink, the Italian thriller Facing Windows, Jeff Bridges' acclaimed performance in the John Irving adaptation "Door In The Floor," Will Ferrell's Anchorman, the Chinese love-triangle import Zhou Yu's Train, and the well-reviewed romantic drama The Notebook. Already seen, and really loved: Napoleon Dynamite and Fahrenheit 911.

Quotes Of The Day:
"Condoms are easier to change than diapers." - Bumper Sticker    
     "We need a president who's fluent in at least one language." - Buck Henry

this entry's permalink

Thursday, July 15, 2004

This just in: The full name of Fiedel, my ex Brian's dog, turns out to be Fiedelis Barkingsworth : - ) Surnames considered and discarded include Chihuahuaberg and Poopington... Todd Solondz watch: Toronto Film Festival in September will see the debut of "Palindromes," the new film by the genius of "Happiness", "Dollhouse", and "Storytelling." Check out this cool Todd Solondz site.

this entry's permalink

Lucy In The Field With Flowers

I love Lucy. Boston's amazing Museum Of Bad Art (MOBA) began with this attempt at painting gone awry...No obvious Bad Art in this collection, such as Elvis or puppy dogs on velvet: MOBA accepts only ingenious Bad Art. Basically, competent painters having a very bad day, or that took a major wrong turn...

MOBA provokes hilarity by brilliantly satirizing museum-speak and art criticism! For example, describing "Lucy":

"The motion, the chair, the sway of her breast, the subtle hues of the sky, the expression on her face -- every detail combines to create this transcendent and compelling portrait, every detail cries out "masterpiece.""

"As with all great art, extended viewing reveals endless layers of mysteries: What is Norman Mailer's head doing on an innocent grandma's body, and are those crows or F-16's skimming the hills? "

MOBA can be found in the basement of the Deadham's Community Theater in surburban Boston, conveniently located just outside the men's room...

p.s. Bill Clinton boogies down with Kevin Spacey at a London gay club, and later provokes mayhem at a London straight club, in the July 14th post of his fake blog.

this entry's permalink

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

How To Fight Loneliness

I'm still enjoying the Fake Bill Clinton Blog, which is gently funny, picturing him as slightly depressed and lonely, on the road promoting his book. It's kind of like how I'd feel if I were him... Here's an excerpt:

"I feel pretty lonely. With all my friends, my supporters, Hillary and Chelsea, I feel all alone, because all these people are connected with the politician Bill Clinton, not with me personally. How many friends do I have? How many people like me? Tony Robbins is right. It's over. I need to put politics behind me. Problem is, I am politics. If I have to move on, I'll have to start from scratch. All of a sudden, I'm 57 and I'm nobody and I have nobody. When I look around right now, I see the security guard leaning back in his chair. He notices me and gives me a disinterested look back. I see the housekeeper cleaning the window. The look on her face tells me she'd rather be somewhere else. I see the spots she left on the window. I know I'll have to talk to her about her work pretty soon and I know she's so beaten by decades of hard manual labor, she won't even care if I fire her or not. "

Quotes Of The Day:

"Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals, dying of nothing." - Red Foxx
"Today, we will settle this Indian problem." - George Armstrong Custer

Happy Bastille Day, Denis and Christian!!!

this entry's permalink

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

40.5' N 73.3' W

New York's latitude and longitude have nothing whatsoever to do with zebras. Nor are either the subject of this post. : - )

Slander and Guilty Pleasure. Here's a hilarious excerpt from a fake on-line biography of Zachary Taylor, our 12th President:

"Taylor was the philanderer that JFK could only dream of being, twice the lush that Benjamin Harrison ever was. On a slow day, he was a bigger crook than Nixon, a worse gambler than James K. Polk, and more of an insufferable whining brat than George Bush. Few people are aware of this today." and "The story of exactly how he acquired the peculiar nickname "muskrat head" has unfortunately been lost, but we do know that he was plagued with it almost from birth."

Here's the correct Taylor bio, from the White House web site.

Quotes Of The Day:
"It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper." - Rod Serling, 1958
"Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age." - Victor Hugo

this entry's permalink

Monday, July 12, 2004

"Some editors are failed writers, but then, so are most writers..." - T.S. Eliot

this entry's permalink

Out Of The Closet....
.... And On To The Music Charts

Great article on Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters in NEXT, one of NY's two gay going-out guides (the other is HX - Homo Xtra). Can an openly gay music group that doesn't fit into any one musical genre hit it big in the US like they did in Europe? Stay tuned - their CD comes out here July 27! It's 5am and I can't sleep - Arrgh.

this entry's permalink

Sunday, July 11, 2004

I'm back and only semi-conscious. To bed! More news and cheer on the morrow!

this entry's permalink

Je T'Encule, Connasse

That's colorful language here, which I learned last night from Christian and his friend Thierry as the 4 of us feasted at "La Boca", a local eatery with mile-high tin ceilings and soft pastel colors. Amazing food, but the waitress brought Denis beef insisting it was veal, as if we were credulous idiots. :-) Denis wound up eating very tasty lamb, half an hour after we'd all finished... To add insult to injury, they brought Denis the wrong dessert. In this country, that translates to no tip at all, since the waiterfolk here are paid a living wage. To Denis' relief, I have finally realized, after 11 years of visits, that it is not appropriate to leave 15% or more :-) Today will be long, as I arrive home 2am Paris time. Au revoir, my friends.

this entry's permalink

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Bipolar weather in Paris - brilliant sunshine alternating with sudden downpours from blackening skies. Spectaculqr architecture and gallic charm abound. Guess what American movie my French friends decided we should see? Pictured: Denis circa 1993.

this entry's permalink

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?