Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sunil!

Sunil is just a terrific human being and a great friend. Always like a breath of fresh air... Sunil, wishing you all the best as you hit another milestone... Here's Sunil at Empanada Mama...

Here's Sunil in Argentina..

Sunil on the rear hump of a camel in Rajasthan, India...

Sunil at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Japanese Garden

Sunil is very very patient with my incessant photographic experimentation

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

Here I am, all happy at the Virgins concert back in December.... It's my day of birth, with all that implies!  January 30, 1960 it was, and today is my 49 mark..  My usual shindig tomorrow night... Much is happening, good and bad, and very good...  My sister's recovering from a rough foot operation, my ex-colleague Katie Stanton is leaving Yahoo! to join the Obama Administration!!  Haven't found out in what capacity yet...

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Thomas posted some awesome shots from the lovely Buenos Aires Botanical Garden, where I've spent many a contemplative hour...

and Jesse Archer, visiting Thomas, posted photos of my beloved Tigre delta, place of a thousand islands, little boats, a rural Venice, if you will, so to speak.... Many great photos, including romantic Colonia and naked Evita, on Jesse's blog, Jesse on the Brink...

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Last Week's Snow

Not this week's snow. But last week's. Low on energy. New York is a wet, slushy, Winter Wonder-LAND. The sleet in Crete is never very neat.........

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One Day The Only Blood

..spilling in the Middle East will come from Blood Oranges®. One day they'll barely remember why they were fighting... one day FAR into the future. I'm not sure, though, that eating these Blood Oranges® would do much for their temperament today...

It's not intuitive, you know... Orange slices the color of raw meat....They're very sweet and somehow tart... You can tell that lemons and limes are their cousins... Blood oranges are hence a good cocktail ingredient and work well in marmelade, baking, and gelato.

Seedless, no. Colorful, yes. The flesh color is due to anthocyanin, a pigment common to fruits and flowers, but rare in the citrus family.
This pigment is very good for you - it can diminish the risk for heart disease, some type s of cancer, and cataracts.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not Without My Finger

It's an old adage: never rush when you're slicing something with a sharp knife. I was running late while slicing ginger and
I cut a bit into my poor index finger. Blood gushed forth like a mighty river, at frightening speed, and only when I finally stemmed the outflow with band-aids did I realize the cut was superficial.. False alarm, and I met my friend on time...

My share of self-inflicted calamities, I have had, notably the deep gash in my knee from the jagged edge of a broken shower soap dish, back in late 2003... I remember trying to field a job-interview-related call on my cell phone from the ER....

Reminds me of a great song by the
Swedish Sultan of Irony, Jens Lekman, called 'You Put Your Arms Around Me...' What you realize as he sings is that he was cutting meat, and, startled, he removed 18% of his middle finger.....

Some lyrics:
" was slicing up a watermelon
when you came up behind me
with your silent brand new sneakers,
your reflection I did not see

blood sprayed on the kitchen sink
whats this? i had time to think
i see the tip of my index finger
my mind is slowly creating a link"

Watch Jens perform this live:

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Hard To Pin Down, Easy To Love

That would be Chairlift, the band formed at University of Colorado that settled in Brooklyn, Williamsburg to be precise. 'Bruises,' their signature song, is indie-pop that draws from new wave and electronica, but the vocal drives the song, and lyrics are sharp and subtlely poignant...  And inventive!  Amid the electronic keyboard whirr and bass guitar thump, you can also hear tambourines in there.

Chairlift is two guys and a girl, and one of the former is named Aaron (I love that!).   Aaron Pfenning , the heart of this combo, shares vocals and song-writing duties with Caroline Polachek, while Patrick Wimberly adds drums, bass guitar, keyboard, and production.

Oh, just watch the video clip!

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Erik!

I've been friends with this guy for nearly 25 years!!!! Just about half my life, and most of the adult part... My longest-running out of town friendship, Erik calls Boston his home (though I, of course, am the true child of Boston). Erik and I traveled the globe together, particularly back in 2002-03 when I was 'between gigs'

From our vacation in Central America last summer..


At Yellowstone in 2005...

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High Up Their Tree

Brian salvaged hundreds of childhood photos that were nearly thrown out due to overzealous and inattentive housecleaning. Here's a particularly great snapshot - probably 1973 or 1974 - of Brian, his sister Carolyn, and their dad Harry Hall. I love the facial expressions - you can see that Brian was a smart kid....

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Button, Button....

I've now seen 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' exactly 1.55 times! : - ) Clarification: when I saw this year's most-Oscar-nominated film with my family in Arizona a month ago, I feel asleep 15 minutes into the movie and woke up about halfway through, and, honestly, it seemed like a very convincing movie edited that way. The central couple met as adults for the first time just after I woke up, so I felt I saw the whole love story. Not so, I found out today upon a second, complete viewing with David... What's worse, I would have missed the joke about the guy struck by lightning seven times....

I'll have a full review for you all at some point....

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Oops, I did it again... It was a long, intense week for a 4-day week, and last night, when I went to the gym... in the locker room... I realized that I had only put on one black sneaker... the other foot was wearing a black walking shoe.  Neither, as you can see, are spring chickens. I knew it was exercise right then or not at all, and so... I did my workout.. wearing two different shoes.... I'll be posting spontaneously this weekend, here and there, this and that, like snowflakes that may or may not stick....

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Faster Better Stronger

Computer back, 3g of RAM installed, faster than ever, making both my work and personal life far less complicated.... Something to smile about besides viernes...

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

I stupid failed failed to know not to install memory in my desktop on my own, no matter how much the help desk person said it was simple..
Now I am desktop-less until tomorrow afternoon, complicating work and hobbies but freeing up a surprising amount of time : - )
Reflecting how I feel, this is Krakatoa, which, of course, is WEST of Java...

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Waltz With César

I raise a toast to César Romero, 1907-1994, Latin Lover of the 1930s-1940s Silver Screen, and, to 6-year-old Aaron, The Joker on the Batman TV series...So he's the first gay actor I can remember (I discovered 'Bewitched' a year or two later), though I didn't know that and he wasn't out....

First, this is awesome: watch the agile seventy-something transformed, moustache and all, into the Clown Prince of Crime in 45 seconds for an 80s reunion..

Second, a two-minute taste of César's earlier screen career....

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes I Can Can

Stand in the cold... Or I could could... If I was off my rocker rocker.. Still, President-Elect Obama was kind enough to interrupt his busy day to send me a mass-produced 'invitation' to attend open-to-the-public events or just watch it on TV surrounded by loved ones... Thanks, Barack. Yes, I can.... see your inauguration on my flat-screen... : - )


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Like Sands

As my grandmother's black and white TV would blair, at 2pm, back in the 1960s..
'like sands through the hourglass, such are the days of our lives...'

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In 5 Years Time...

This marks five years of blogging my musings, entertainments, and attempts at photography... i.e. sharing my life, or a part of it, with you... 

Here's to us....

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Peachy Keane

Adored in their native UK, inexplicably unknown here, their music is just too pretty to dismiss as 'Coldplay-lite..'

They are classic purveyors of piano-driven pop-rock ballads and midtempo confections - they weren't aiming to be poets or geniuses, just to touch your heartstrings, and touch they do...

Also, Tim Rice-Oxley has vocal range and soulfulness that Coldplay's Chris Martin can only dream of...

Originally named The Lotus Eaters, they renamed themselves Cherry Keane after a family friend of pianist Tom Chaplin who encouraged him to follow his dreams, and later died of cancer. They later shortened the name to just 'Keane...'

Here's 'The Lovers Are Losing,' a live version with excellent sound quality. The official video has been blocked by their record label... Happily, they sound terrific light and don't need heavy instrumentation or production...

Keane broke through in the UK with a string of major pop hits in 2004-2005... It's very radio-friendly, easily digestible light pop..

My favorite song from their debut album, here's 'Bedshaped' live, putting the finishing touch on a concert...

'Somewhere Only We Know...' Here, with lyrics subtitled in Spanish!

Everybody's Changing, set to Japanese animé, with a spoken intro...

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunil's India - Part 9 and final


Sunil: 'sunrise at Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin), the southernmost tip of India, where the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Indian Ocean meet...'

Sunil: 'morning walk....'

Sunil: 'guests awaiting their turn at the wedding of Sundareshwaram and Meenakshi, the South Indian version of Shiva and Parvati. who knew that gods got married annually?'

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Waltz You Shouldn't Miss

First, just watch the 'Waltz With Bashir' trailer, please...

This award-winning Israeli film is visually stunning, often beautiful. It's deeply personal and provocative. It speaks volumes about the nightmare of war in general, and, obliquely, the nightmare feedback loop that is the Israeli-Palestinian predicament. All delivered in 90 breathless, timeless minutes... It's a film and a documentary, as it follows the director's search to fill in wartime memories memory gaps from his tour of duty back in 1980s Lebanon where Israelis stood by silently - but closely - during a third-party massacre of Palestinians by Christians.

Let's talk visual. 'Waltz With Bashir' use 'rotoscopy' in which a movie is filmed and then animation is drawn over it, allowing the beauty of animation to coexist with the authenticity of real faces and real places. It's a perfect medium for flashbacks and dream sequences...

This film is also a reminder that - as with Vietnam - Lebanon, and Gaza.. and Iraq... a government makes war decisions which many of citizens may be against - or not understand... 

I blame Israel for the current Gaza horror, but Israel nonetheless is a pluralistic society, not a solid block. This doesn't help the Gaza Palestinians much, but neither did my objections help the many civilians that died in Iraq and Vietnam (yes, 8-year-old Aaron actually objected, and wrote a letter to Lyndon Johnson...)

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Split Second Before Takedown

Still stick in frigid Gotham, but playing it smart. Call it 'smart-sick,' if you will... :-) I was happy to remember to photograph the holiday decorations in my building right before they were taken down...


Ma-oh-zur-ya-shu-oh-see....  Interesting things ahead on my afternoon post....

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Friday, January 16, 2009


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oh! Yeah!

I'm home sick today. Came down with a bug/virus Tuesday night, and this morning decided to sleep in and work from home. It's quite frigid outside... 

Just learned that my Brazilian friend Milton Rizzato (pictured left) launched a blog last month - in Portuguese - to share his musings from far-away Barcelona, where he's pursuing a masters degree of some sort.  Henceforth Milton's blog link will be in my left sidebar under 'Favorites.'

Today Milton' post was inspired by the video clip I posted Monday of Dragonette's 'Take It Like A Man' - I hadn't really watched the clip carefully - it's actually an homage to late-70s / early 80s porn of the 'Boogie Nights' variety.. It's very well done. And guess what curious young Brazilians called these US porn imports back in the day? 'filmes 'Oh! Yeah!' : - )

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Test Icicles, Anyone?

That's actually a rock group name, btw. Will 2009 be the year I truly study photography, and
learn the proper use of the flash?

I tested my flash knowledge with these test
icicles, testily one testy, zesty, frosty evening on the scaffolding that strangles my place of residence as its windows are slowly slowly installed....

Ice, darkness, and a nasty wind so cutting it
yanks at your facial nerve endings like so many jealous baby sisters fighting over a doll...

An ice monster losing its teeth? An
artsy arctic take on Devangari script? Does it speak in Morse Code as it melts?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joost!

My friend Joost is eternally 29, because I can never find a more recent picture than this Amsterdam classic taken in 1993...

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American Sisyphus

A comedy classic, and we've ALL had a day like this....

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's 'Martes Trece' - Latin America's equivalent of Friday the 13th, considered bad luck throughout the region. Only there, it's served on Tuesday. And, yes, that 80s horror film series, when released down there, was 'moved up three days.'.....

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Share Blame, Think Out Of The Box

Like many, I believe that the Gaza attacks must end, immediately, and spare the Gaza's million and a half people the heavy civilian bloodshed and massive hardship we see on our screens. But can we resolve the deep, intractable conflicts that have brought us to where we are? 

Maybe we can....

I've recently read two intelligent, well-balanced articles on the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

The first examines the causes and makes both sides share the blame, and question their assumptions and prejudices: The Economist's 'The Hundred Years' War'

The second maps a road lined with risk-taking, resource-sharing, and out-of-the-box thinking to escape the zero-sum game trap and create a solution that few will love but that most can live with: Daniel Klaidman of Newsweek: "Will It Ever End?"

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Monday, January 12, 2009

It's not too late to see Equus w D. Radcliffe! and cheap!

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Just had a lovely dinner at Hudson's with my old pal Pat and her boyfriend Nick - I know work four blocks from Pat's apartment on Lex & 36th. 

Good company, delicious food (mushroom bisque, seared swordfish), and a quiet, intimate atmosphere.. a bit too quiet, I'm afraid. 

Pat and Nick were shocked to see the place so empty, even on Monday night.   Economy.

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Take It Like A Man...

You knew I wasn't going to resist Dragonette, a band described as both 'Scissor Sisters with Ana Matronic singing lead' and 'Gwen Stefani fronting The Killers..'

While they're certainly not era-melding inspired geniuses like the Sisters and they lack the Killers' bombast and gravitas, they are onto to something: crafty, trashy gay-friendly pop, with an ironic vixen at the microphone..

The production here is contemporary enough to slip on the radio between Beyoncé and Leona Lewis... but it didn't happen.. America just hasn't learned to 'Take It Like A Man...'

Which is the title of today's Song/Video of the Week. Here's 'Take It Like A Man'....

Their first single was the equally radio-worthy 'I Get Around...' Here presented in a great remix by Midnight Juggernauts...

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hey there, much to catch up on, weekend whisking itself away, have a coffee date in 10 minutes.. It was the snowstorm that wasn't... I did a very therapeutic housecleaning this morning focused on my desk & night table drawers, using the principle - keep closest what you need most often, and where you need it... so sings Chrissie: 'Go back and repeat into you learn, learn, learn, learn...'

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