Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Look Out Below!

Flocks of police converge nervously on our street corners. Helicopters hover menacingly in the air. Onlookers of every stripe gawk as a quarter million protesters welcome the RNC into deep deep blue country.. Early yesterday morning (left) police had already set up tight control my busy corner of 23rd and 8th. The graffiti below pretty much sums up New York's reaction to the invasion of our space - and threat to our security - posed by Bush & Co.

To my horror, as I lifted the screen to better photograph a sea of protesters coming up 23rd St last night, the screen fell out of my hands and wafted down ten stories, landing at the feet of several puzzled pedestrians. With visions of lawsuits snatching away my beleaguered nest egg (false alarm - whew), I scrambled, trying to gather my keys, my pants, and my composure, and flew into the elevator, out of the building, andaround the corner to retreive my grimy, disgusting screen window.

A lefty protester hugs his homemade picket sign...

I tried to photograph the march from my window, seconds before losing my screen. The results below show that I have a lot to learn, indeed, about night distance photography. Time to go manual and study the wonders of aperture and shutter speed...

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Monday, August 30, 2004

You're Sure To Fall In Love
With Old Cape Cod

"If you like the taste of a lobster stew,
Served by a window with an ocean view..." - Patti Page, 'Old Cape Cod', 1954

Some images from 4 days of R&R in lovely Provincetown:

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Fond Of Sand Dunes..
...And Salty Air

To the sea, to the sea... I'm headed up to Provincetown tonight to spend a few days with my friend Erik, and his friend Alex, in a lovely guest house on a side street... Brian's response was "I can't keep up with your travelling ass." : - ) This is really the coda of the symphony that began with my Aug 6-15 US West national park odyssey, and continued here with my Mom's visit. I'll be back Monday, at which time this blog shall resume, including French Fry Days. (Christian, il y aura qch en français lundi pour toi!) Have a great weekend.
xo Aaron

Cartoons for the road:

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004


My Dad, in 1943, at age 7. Dad's parents (below) were poor and lived in Dorchester, the Bronx of Boston, then mostly Jewish but now mostly African-American. Dad's father, a lovely man, had a severe heart attack when Dad was 10, one of many bad breaks, and worked as a fruit peddler. Grandpa was proud of Dad's education and read almost every book Dad ever brought home. Dad's mom stuggled with poverty and with the tragedy of losing a child; she deeply believed socialism would lift up the poor and make the world a better place. She deprived herself of everything, even medical attention, to put Dad through school.

Me and My Holsberg Grandparents:

Unintentional Humor, Part 3
From my friend Pat, Sign Syntax Gone Awry...

In an office:

In another office:

Outside a secondhand shop:

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Monday, August 23, 2004

Get Well Soon

Bizarre occurence on Friday. While walking home, down 22nd Street, my foot bumped into something beanbag-ish, soft but thick. I screamed when the 'beanbag', a huge rat, squealed and ran like hell... I... ....love New Yooooorrrrkkkkk : - )

Thomas found a corner of New York where creativity ran dry...

Here's an early picture of me and my sister Deena, visiting our Mom's parents in Lowell, MA back in 1966... I appear determined to steal the scene here... : - ) I digitized hundreds of childhood pictures this weekend. Deena, in the hospital with a badly smashed right heel, had a difficult and depressing weekend, with her surgery delayed by complications. I have to think of something to cheer her up... Any ideas?

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Beauty In The Eye

Your own face, on the silver screen.... I felt that way, at times, watching "Garden State," the utterly fresh and original film debut of writer/director/lead actor Zach Braff. Unusually, I entered that theater with zero information, except that it's gotten good reviews. I was blown away - just see it. As icing on the cake, Zach Braff has a very Aaron-at-25 kind of look: thick lips, prominent semitic nose, and puppy-dog eyes - it looked attractive, and I was attracted, in a very self-affirming kind of way. I didn't even recognize Natalie Portman, I just thought she was one of the amazing unknown actors Braff assembled for this project. Bonus Points: Braff balked at filming it in Toronto instead of Jersey to save money, which his studio was pushing him to do....

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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Movies With Gray Matter Do Matter..

Big thumbs up to Manchurian Candidate, which I saw with my Mom in the East Village last night. Tightly directed, brilliantly acted, and as current as an Orange Alert, it's a riveting, intelligent political suspense movie, which is harder to find these days than a parking space for a stretch limo on Park Avenue. I like the 1962 original, too, in a retro, cult-film sort of way. I first saw it during its 1986 theatrical re-release, but I hadn't slept in days, wild boy that I was then, and was fading in and out, and years later I rented it.

The current version has a much more brilliant cast - Meryl Streep in the Angela Lansbury role and Denzel Washington upgrading Frank Sinatra's performance - as well as the quirky genius of director Jonathan Demme, who brought us "Something Wild", "Silence Of The Lambs" and "Stop Making Sense." Like the original, which made villains both communists and McCarthyists, this version attacks no single target - indeed the bad guys are in the opposition as well as the government - but creates a scary and paranoid landscape of power-hungry and profit-thirsty politicans and businessmen that cross party lines and national borders. See it!

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Friday, August 20, 2004

Since... my Mom's here for her annual visit. Here's my chance to catch up on movies and theater, starting this weekend. We might see Manchurian Candidate tonight. We may check out NY's annual Fringe Festival, with hundreds of Off Off Off shows for $10 or less. Here's a NYT article that picks a few gems from the (large) theatrical pile.

It looks like I have a few promissing dates coming up.. Yes!

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Dude, Where's My Habitat?

Here's the underside of the MGM lion, in case you were wondering. : - ) It was taken at MGM Casino in Las Vegas, where gamblers can stroll around - and through - a transparent plastic cage housing two lions.. What a great natural habitat for the King of Beasts! : - ) Wonder what they make of all the slot machine noises...

Unintentional Humor, Part 2. Pat Stumpp was kind enough to send me these hilarious signs:

In a mall:
"Toilet out of order. Please use floor below."

In a laundromat:
"Automatic washing machines. Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out."

Seen during a conference:
"For anyone who has children and doesn't know it, there is a day care on the 1st floor"

French Fry Days Vendredi Français

Just spent three weeks, as you know, in the company of my dear friends Denis and Christian from Paris. They went home yesterday (snif). For Christian, who speaks only French, I will henceforth include a bilingual tidbit every Friday. Happy weekend! Je viens de passer trois semaines dans l'agreable compagnie de mes chers amis français Denis et Christian. Hier ils sont retournes en France (son de larmes). Pour Christian, qui est exclusivement francophone, dorenavant je vais mettre chaque vendredi un petit paragraphe bilingue. Je t'encule, connasse!!

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Regular People Or Just Cheese Figures?

Las Vegas is the cheesiest place in the world. Brian actually heard some yuppie unintentionally do a self-parody by yelling to a concierge, exasperated, "But I've Got PLACES to go!"... Las Vegas is more an endless adult theme park than a real city, and the casinos hire people to dress as floozies, bananas, mushrooms, Elvis, anything to get attention. But the tourists themselves often look pretty outlandish. We saw a couple that resembled Colonel Sanders and a Southern Belle, and I turned to Brian and asked "are these tourists or just cheese figures?". And thus, my freshly minted "cheese figure" entered the Brian-Aaron lexicon...
Another Music Cartoon:

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Robbers Steal The Show

Favorite Tombstone Inscription:
"I told you I was sick!" - The People's Almanac, sometime in the 1970s; even if it doesn't exist, it's a winning idea..

Just broke up the week, with Thomas, at Mercury Lounge to catch Robbers On High Street, the marquee name on an $8, four-act bill. ROHS combine the energy of "new garage rock" with the melodicism and novel song structure of "new new wave." The lead singer is a triple threat: vocal, guitar, and keyboard. Skinny college-aged kids with longish hair, the two leads reminded me of college-age Aaron and his musician friend Mark Fried... Coincidentally, the two leads grew up not far from my alma mater, Vassar, in Poughkeepsie, NY.

From last week’s Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?
Question: “According to a recent study, recreational use of Viagra is on the rise among younger men who don't suffer from impotence. What do you think?”

Answer 1: "Is having sex for 48 hours straight some kind of a game to these people?"
Answer 2: "At last, a medical miracle to eliminate the 3 percent of the time 20-year-olds don't have erections."
Answer 3: "This is what happens when the increasingly conservative young people go emulating Bob Dole."
Answer 4: "Wow, there's an illicit market for these pills? And all this time, I've foolishly been using them to try to satisfy my wife."
Answer 5: "If kids today just pop a pill every time they want an erection, how are they going to learn valuable pussy-eating skills?"
Answer 6: "The young people should just stick to the marijuana and the goofballs and let their elders have their Viagra."

Oh dear. My sister Deena's going to need two foot operations to rebuild her heel, which broke in two in a car crash Sunday. She's in the hospital, and in a lot of pain... :- (

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

More Fun Than
A Barrel of Hemmingways...

Quote du Jour: "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked me for my autograph." - Shirley Temple

Color me underslept.... but happy, in the glow of a great vacation... Great company and scenery, and the space and distance to reflect on my life... But I also tried really hard to be in the moment as we hiked through the bright colors and bizarre shapes of Bryce Canyon and Zion... Having ridden two elephants and a camel in my various travels, I rode horseback for the first time down the steep slopes of Bryce. It was fun, but I just couldn't bring myself to kick the horse to make it go... to the annoyance of those behind me. : - ) Pictured left is Key West's annual Hemmingway lookalike contest. For some reason, Hemmingway reminds me of my late bear of a father...

Music-Related Cartoons:

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Very bad news. My sister Deena had a bad accident yesterday, breaking her heel in two and probably totaling her car. I feel really bad... she's currently hospitalized and waiting to meet with a foot surgeon, this could be a long recovery... Here's a picture of me and my newborn sister 'getting acquainted' in February 1964... More pictures of Deena and my family are on my web site, as is my childhood pics page.

Unintentional Humor, Part 1:
"How To Repair Your VCR." -- The title of a how-to video tape.
"Ears pierced while you wait." -- A sign in a shop.
"Be Kind -- Please Rewind." -- A label on a DVD disc at a rental.

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Sunday, August 15, 2004

Planet Home...

What a wonderful vacation. Great company, and thoroughly scenic and interesting. I have pictures and anecdotes to last for weeks! How are you all?

Pictured: Aaron close-up at Zion National Park, and Scenery at Bryce Canyon National Park, both in Southwest Utah.

Frontier-themed cartoons:

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Gone Fishin'

See You Sunday August 15th! Vacation, all I ever wanted... I'm off to Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Death Valley, Yosemite, and points west... I'm taking a nine-day break from the computer screen, this blog, and even e-mail... I will have my cel phone though, 917 817 4363, the voice of a friend is always a welcome sound

I recommend these three sites for daily humor and moarle boost in my absence:
1. Overheard In New York, by Morgan Friedman, is a reliable daily giggle or guffaw and proves that real life is more entertaining than fiction...
2. My pal Thomas Hobbs posts great photos almost daily with brief notes in his inimitable subtly droll and playful style.
3. New Yorkers should hit Gothamist every day for a thirtysomething-citizen's-eye-view of goings-on in our fabulous city...

Quotes du Jour for the road:
1. "Get involved. The world is run by those who show up" - bumper sticker
2. "90% of brilliance is just showing up..." - Woody Allen

and one last cartoon:

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Cool On The Hill..

Quote du Jour:

"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his shoes... That way, if he gets angry, he'll be a mile away - and barefoot..." - Bumper Sticker spotted in UWS

Read the signs, if you can... This colorful calligraphy was spotted on the island of Koh Samet off the shore of Thailand, in an airport that had the playful and artificial feel of summer day camp. I was, you will recall, hobbling around on my newly minted broken leg.. : - ) I did manage to hobble up the steps of a spa on the top of a hill, a surreal, deserted, camp-like series of incense-scented pavillions with breathtaking views. There was a clothes-changing hut, an ritual bathing hut, and at the top of the hill, I enjoyed a symphonic massage in the utter silence of a wind-swept and sunny Thai afternoon...

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Quote of the Day:
"I have had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it..." - Groucho Marx

My pal Thomas posted great Scissorpictures from PS 1 on Saturday. Mike from Satan's Laundromat posted awesome photos of New York's half-completed phantom 2nd Ave Subway.

Purloined Humor, from New Yorker:

...And this timeless classic:

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Glory That Was Greece...

54 miles east of New York, on a island of fire that parallels the shore, is Cherry Grove's Belvedere hotel, the decadent, mad vision of a set designer gone hog wild... Amidst the naked statues, hot tubs, and the lovely overdecorated ambience, my friends Denis and Christian are having a unique beachside experience...

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