Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Birthday, J.P.!

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, It's Your Birthday, and I Love You.....







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Friday, October 30, 2009

Tomorrow is October 31, JP's birthday (and my Halloween party).. Tonight I'm taking him for a romantic dinner at HanGawi, a vegetarian Korean restaurant he's very fond of..

I also realized that my own birthday, January 30, will be on Saturday this year. This means that my birthday will always be on the same day of the week as JP's last birthday. This is because we're separated by 91 days, or exactly 13 weeks (91 divided by 7).

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Honored and Humbled

Good news!

I've just accepted a job offer from Cantor Fitzgerald to work as their Latin Corporate bond analyst, right down on the bond floor with a sales and trading team.

I start next Wednesday.

Cantor Fitzgerald has a long and impressive history, dating back to its 1945 founding by B. Gerald "Bernie" Cantor (pictured left), a true trailblazer in business and a well-known philanthropist and art collector. "Cantor Fitz," as they're affectionately called, in 1972 invented the 'screen bond brokerage,' the now-universal practice of displaying live market information on computer screens.. Cantor's innovative and creative streak continued into the internet age, with their successful 'eSpeed' electronic trading network launched in the 1990s.

Cantor's corporate headquarters at One World Trade Center was on floors 101 through 105 and was destroyed on September 11, 2001, losing all 658 employees in the office, a quarter of the day's casualties and far more than any other tenant or even the police or fire department.

Cantor's survivors bravely vowed to keep their company going, and how they came back quickly and strongly is an inspiring story. Today they are bigger than ever, headquartered at 110 East 59th St. (pictured above). From 2002 to 2006 Cantor donated 25% of their profits to the surviving families of the fallen - in the end they contributed a total of $180 million.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

White Collar Stunt

Last week USA Network staged an expensive and fun publicity stunt for their new 'White Collar' series in Rockefeller Center.


The concept was simple: Step right up and get yourself a free custom-made shirt! From Pink®!

They took measurements and mailing addresses, and many NY businessmen will receive a Pink package soon... Of course, you had to line up... I blew it off, not having an extra half-hour to waste, alas...

USA Network also treated passers-by to free shoe shines!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Only Have Eyes...

This sort of street art was sprinkled all over San Francisco..

We stayed near the Tenderloin, a colorful borderline area in between downtown & Civic Center...


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Anything But...

Today will be very eventful... The San Francisco graffiti below looks like cake icing but is probably putty or cement... I didn't touch it...


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Monday, October 26, 2009

Low Key & Legendary

I'm thrilled to highlight, this week, new music by veteran indie lo-fi rock trio Yo La Tengo from Hoboken, who are likely the most respected indie band in American music. Our song of the week, 'Nothing To Hide' is a spare but energetic tune, as catchy as it is drony..

YLT's uncompromising innovation and creativity, and avoidance of all trends, have made them "the quintessential critics' band.' Their ironically titled new album, 'Popular Songs,' showcase the group's diverse palette within their chosen genre, with nods to Motown, 60s pop, blues-rock, and many, many moods..

YLT's core is the long, happy marriage of Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley, who play guitar and drums, respectively, and both sing wonders within their modest range. The trio's third wheel is the hefty James McNew on base, notable for his 'Dump' side project of drony Prince remakes called 'That skinny motherf**ker with the high voice'.

As for the name 'Yo La Tengo,' spanish for 'I got it!', it's a phrase frequently yelled by the New York Mets' Venezuelan shortstop, Elio Chacón, in the 60s, before colliding with the center fielder... : - )

Yo La Tengo worked with great directors to provide four videos for the new album. 'Periodically Double or Triple' is a adorable fruit-play with a 60s pop organ riff...

Here's the very mellow 'Avalon or Someone Very Similar,' shot in the park, with a little electric animation..

Our Song of the Week, 'Nothing To Hide' is mostly performance...

'Here to Fall' somehow combines violin riffs, soft rock, psychedelia, and Led-Zeppelin blues, in a poignant six-minute package...

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just Desserts From South Asia

JP & I had a lovely dinner last night at gourmet Indian Tamarind, on E 22nd between Park & Broadway, with our friends Jon and Oriyan. Tamarind's modest but mouth-watering dinner portions happily left room for dessert, which did not disappoint! Jon and Oriyan shared a mango cheesecake..

JP had 'kufi,' traditional Indian ice cream, icier than ours, pistachio flavors and with some syrup strokes for decoration...

I went with the creamy, tangy ginger icre cream served in a caramelized sugar basket with a mint leaf....

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Feranando!

And a big, bold birthday salute to my great friend Fernando, surely one of the nicest and most interesting people I've ever met. Hats off to a fellow linguist and world traveler and a (younger) role model for aging.. : - )

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Better Red Than Dead

Beans are a very healthy food, but it's
the red ones that take nutrition to a whole new level! Small red beans and dark red kidney beans give you well-needed iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and thiamin. They're also an excellent low-fat, low-calorie source of protein and dietary fiber. Finally, they contain phytonutrients that may help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer... That's a lot of goodness for $1, folks...

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Thursday, October 22, 2009


Coll-uzzle... Mix up my art forms.... Ah, San Francisco, what a colorful, creative place it is...


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Post-apocalyptic ATM? : - ) Seen in San Fran...

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

73 Men Sailed...

... from the San Francisco Bay.... which looks beautiful indeed as you walk across the Golden Gate Bridge...


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Monday, October 19, 2009

Lovely Loopy Electropop Side Project

One of 2009's surprise musical pleasures is the electro-pop candy of Discovery, a side project by Vampire Weekend's erudite keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij as Ra Ra Riot vocalist Wes Miles... Today's Song of The Week is 'Osaka Loop Line,' a shimmery percolating and melodic synth thumper of a song.. Enjoy! The album was described by music critic Patrick Sisson as "filled with innocent, lovelorn lyrics and the last 30 years' worth of guilty-pleasure keyboard cliches."

No videos here and no live performances... But listen to 'Osaka Loop Line,' it's a pretty album cover, all in rainbow... : - )

So, no singles and no promotion? Maybe I just haven't seen it.
Both their group name 'Discovery' and their album name 'LP' are very hard to Google... Here's my second favorite song of their album, 'Orange Shirt'...

And now one song each from the twosome's respective day jobs... First, Vampire Weekend's witty, pretty, literate 'Oxford Comma'....

And the animated clip for Ra Ra Riot's 'Dying Is Fine,'
a cleverly arranged orchestral pop number that was almost a Song of The Week last year...

Both Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot came out of Columbia University and are intelligent, wry, crisp, and, well... collegiate..... Vampire Weekend's 2008 debut topped many 'best of' lists that year - including my own!.. Ra Ra Riot got off to a slower start, sadly due to the death by drowning of the band's original drummer.... Vampire Weekend's sophomore album, Contra, is among the most anticipated in all music-dom... It's coming January 11, 2010... If it's really, really great I might consider revisiting an artist for the FIRST TIME since I launched Song of the Week in September 2007, 109 songs ago... Vampire Weekend was the FIFTH of 110 Songs of the Week, with 'Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.'

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm Dreaming Of A... White Halloween?

The NY Metro Area's first snowfall of the season just fell, it's really more like a tad of snow dust, like frost.. It's 38F in town (I'm writing this yesterday - today I'm in SF with JP)...

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Wow, that huge construction site at 8th Ave & 14th St finally turned into a building, and a pretty one, at that.. With a brick water tower! More on this later - I'm up way early today, off to San Francisco for 2 days, tagging along on JP's business trip...

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Search Of The Berlin Wall!

Right here in Manhattan, on E 53rd between Madison and 5th, you can see a small piece of
the Berlin Wall, all 87 miles of which are pretty much gone from Berlin... Here's JP, arms in the air...

Here are some other places in the US where you can encounter The Wall...
First, Honolulu University...

At the Reagan Library in California..

In a bathroom in Las Vegas!

And 6,000 miles down south, at a cafè in Buenos Aires...

Here's the wall in 1986... Hundreds of people where shot trying to cross it..

But in today Berlin, it's just an outline....

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Smells Like Andy..

Warhol, that is... How fitting that a dollar sign is the emblem of Andy Warhol's new
'Success Is A Job' scent at Bond 9's four NY locations... JP & I wandered by their Madison Avenue store on Sunday...

The 'Success-Mobile' got our attention - it's parked outside the store, with a very sleepy driver!

This photo doesn't begin to do JP justice... If he looks skeptical in the face of this pretensive top-dollar Warholesque stunt, it's understandable...

Madison Avenue viewed through a field of dollar-emblazed perfume bottles..

On the other side of the 'Success-Mobile' viewed

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Could This Be True?

Well, yeah,
it can be. It really depends on how you define literacy.
If you define it as 'using a TV guide to find out what programs are on' or 'comparing two ticket prices,' 19% of New York (and 14% of the US) can't do it. If you define it as 'consulting reference materials to determine which food contains a particular vitamin', 50% of of New Yorkers fail the test (as do 43% of Americans). Here are the stats, as of 2003: read 'em and weep... Happily, JumpStart NY intends to do something about this!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Distinctive Ear Candy

Today, some funky British dance ear candy that US radio may not ever feed you... too early to tell. Melodic verses, a catchy chorus, and inventive, foot-stomping production make 'New In Town,' by Little Boots into something very special....

Little Boots is 25-year-old Victoria Hesketh, an electropop singer and musician who plays keyboards including piano, stylophone, and a Japanese electronic instrument called the 'Tenori-on.' Hesketh, whose 'Little Boots' moniker is the plural English translation of 'Caligula', was a failed 'Pop Idol' contestant at age 16. For three years she fronted the band Dead Disco, a pop combo that named itself by randomly picking words from a hat..

She went solo last year and joins the ranks of up-and-coming British 20-something female singer/songwriters, a group spearheaded by Lady GaGa, who broke through in the US bigtime this year, and which also includes Ladyhawke, La Roux, and Florence and the Machine...

Without further ado, here's the musical welcome mat that IS 'New In Town'

Little Boots' follow-up single is a full-on attack.. I like it, though one critic called it 'Poker Face as sung by Mary Poppins!' Ouch!

And here's 'Meddle,' live on British TV (Jools Holland Show)...

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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mexcellent! And Back Where It Belongs...

I really, really, REALLY, missed
Burritoville when it closed two years ago. It was the only cheap, quick, healthy, tasty meal in these hear parts. I was so, so SO happy that they re-opened two weeks ago on 23rd St near 8th Avenue, right next door to its old location... With their trademark Mexican versions of Hollywood movie posters!

Founded in 1992, this health-and-veggie-friendly chain grew to 16 locations in Manhattan and one each in Long Island (Westbury) and NJ (Hoboken). Bankrupt in September 2008, all the Manhattan locations closed! (sniff, sniff).. but.... It was sold to new owners in November and completely made over, with a streamlined but still-great menu...

That's 'Untameable Eagles' up there (a cheap French knock off of Howard Hawkes' 'Only Angels Have Wings'), with 'The Wasp Woman' on the right and 'no smoking' under it... Excerpt from 'Angels': click here.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cloudy, blustery, but still a good day for fudge in NYC! Hey there. It's a 3-day weekend. But not for JP! and I may even work Monday just to prepare. At least it's a 2-day weekend. Maybe I'll win a Nobel Prize today! The day is so full of possibilities. Tonight, an expedition into deepest Jackson Heights. Details to follow...

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Friday, October 09, 2009

There Is A Rose In Spaha...

Hello, Columbus! Three days free, free, free! Can you guess what NYC neighborhood has 'Spaha' as its new acronym? Here's the answer.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Signs of the Times, Continued..

I love the creativity of this town! Hey there.. Under the weather here, though the weather is fine, and looking forward to Columbus Day weekend.

Beware of furniture left in the street. But whoever threw out this groovy purple office chair was kind enough to leave a note with a warning....

Don't let the bed bugs bite....

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