Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Orange Mocha Future

We've chosen our wedding cake...
orange mocha with espresso and chocolate swirls... This masterpiece will be created by Anne-Marie Farrier of The Little Oven in Long Island City, not far from our wedding venue.
Wedding Cake

On the topic of wedding cakes, here's a flash of wisdom from Connie Francis circa 1969:
"Every woman knows a lot of give and take
Comes with the wedding cake"

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Cheering for Chobe

Our honeymoon includes two days at Chobe Game Park in Botswana...

We'll be staying in a fairly comfortable lodge...

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Falling In Love Again

Nothing screams 'honeymoon' more than a world-class waterfall.. For Americans, it's Niagara on the Canadian border.

South America's Iguazu Falls, straddling Argentina and Brazil, figures prominently in the early memories of two earlier relationships.

For my definitive honeymoon with my definitive man, it will be Victoria Falls, which roars between Zambia and Zimbabwe, within shouting distance of Botswana..

Of these three waterfalls, Victoria is the highest, Iguazu is the widest, and Niagara carries the greatest amount of water per year...

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Dream of Durban

I am buried in work but buoyed by my nuptuals in six weeks and my honeymoon in twelve. At least I'm having dinner with one close friend tonight and another tomorrow night.

Pictured left: Durban, South Africa's third largest city, center of its Indian community, perched on the Indian Ocean and blessed with a subtropical climate .. We'll be there a day and half, between the group safari tour through South Africa and the four-day stay up in Victoria Falls near Chobe Game Park..

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hankering for Hlane

I'm entering a few very high-pressure, frenetic weeks with an avalanche of first quarter earnings releases and publications to be written.. Happily, we've done most of the wedding planning! That's fortunate, because it's only 6 1/2 weeks away.. As of this morning, we actually have a honeymoon in Africa, of which I'm dreaming. It will take place July 28 to August 13, six weeks after the wedding. It will include Swaziland's Hlane National Park, pictured left..

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Different Strokes?

Today's song is the jittery, novel, and hyper-catchy 'Machu Picchu,' a worthy return to form for The Strokes. Ten years ago, this NY-raised, boarding-schooled quintet dropped a brilliant album of garage rock for the dysfunctional, post-9/11-era...

This frenetic, urgent, catchy music topped that year-end best lists, and looked poised to conquer the music world and define the sound of a new decade, rescuing us from boy bands, neanderthal gangstas, and pseudo-latin crooners...

Well, that didn't quite happen, and their solid second and third albums were tuneful if not surprising - they never broke out of indie-land into the mass consciousness. Now they're back in form after 5 years away - as long as the 5 years they had been 'on.'

Case in point, 'Machu Picchu':

The group blew away Letterman last month with 'Taken For A Fool,' a likely future single..

At Coachella 2011, another great new tune, 'Gratisfaction..'

Back in 2001 with their terrific debut single 'Last Night..'

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saying Goodbye

My Dad-fest continues in June 1974, when he sent me and my sister off on separate experiences that mark, in a sense, the end of childhood and the beginning of our lives as individuals. Here I am with Dad and Deena and JFK - Mom took the picture...
I was headed for a summer in Chile as a very unripe 14-year-old exchange student, an experience that would change the course of my life in many ways, and echo for decades through my career choice...

And Deena was headed off to Camp Wel-Met, an early beginning to her teen years, leaving my parents, for the first time, with an 'empty nest..' Dig the rounded-edge photos, another 70s fad...

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dad 75

My Dad would have turned 75 today, underscoring the sad fact that, in passing on at 54, he missed about a third of his natural life, most notably meeting his grandson, Dan, who will be voting-and-driving age in December. In seven weeks, he'll miss seeing his baby boy get happily married...Here's Dad in our dilapidated reclining chair, circa 1973. Those legs in the medical office uniform are my Mom's...

Here's a vivid memory: Washington's Birthday, 1973 (back then we celebrated Washington & Lincoln separately)..
Dad planned to take me and my sister for a terrific day in the city, not realizing that everything's closed on Mondays.. A series of mishaps ensued, taking the wrong bus, arriving at Central Park Zoo just after it closed. We wound up having felafel in the Village...

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Quite Colorful

My Dad was colorful. The 1970s were a colorful decade.
We were a colorful family in a colorful decade, and, by the early 1970s, we were even useful color film... This morning I started scanning some long-promissed photos for my Mom. Here are the four Holsbergs in January 1973 celebrating my Bar Mitzvah...

And here are my parents in 1972, looking elegant indeed on an evening out..

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Suitcase In Another Hall

The rigors of the road are somehow less rigorous when you have a home to come home to. God bless our happy home...
I am somehow reminded of the lovely, wistful 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall' from Evita (see below), which is sung by a minor character who was Peron's lover before Evita 'unemployed' her. Of course, Madonna made sure that her film version expunged this character and appropriated the song.... Here I am in Mexico City hotel room..

Shelby Acosta is the singer:

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Borobudur, Obama's Mom, and Me

Like Obama's then-young Mom, Stanley Ann Dunham, I scaled Indonesia's stunning 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument, Borobudur..

UNESCO-protected and gargantuan, Borobodur is in Central Java, an hour's drive from the estwhile Indonesian capital of Yogyakarta (pronounced Jo-jo-karta).

Its 9 levels contain 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues! It's huge: the base is 403 feet by 403 feet, and it towers 115 feet into the air. How it became abandoned and forgotten for 800 years is beyond me... It was finally unearthed in 1835 and cleaned up by 1873. My pilgrimmage there was in 1997, and I was so jet-lagged that I remained quite calm about a swarm of bees on the monument's south side... I just avoided that section; as I was leaving the monument, an army squadron with bee nets was charging up the staircase..

Look how wide and long it is!

Here's a cross section diagram..

At the top, super-stupas...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Now, Voices

Today's SOTW falls in to the 'instantly loveable' basket, and offers squiggly synths, fabulous falsettos, crisp production, and frenetic pacing tempered by waltz-like grace.

It's British electronic quartet Metronomy, whose inspired 'The Look' finds them adding vocals and lyrics to their third album, 'The English Riviera,' after two mostly instrumental outings.

Metronomy are also master remixers, and their clientele includes many SOTW alumni, notably Gorillaz, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, and Lykke Li.

Here's their playful clip for 'The Look'... I dig the birds...

More Metronomy continues, with the goofy, zephyr-rific 'A Thing For Me' - certainly a loopy way to feature ones lyrics...

Finally, 'Radio Ladio...' I can't resist brightly-colored body paint!

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Blue Skies

It's good to be back!

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in New York, looking out on 8th Avenue, not on the Pinheiros River as seen here, from the 28th floor of Santander's Sao Paulo office.... That's a heliport in the lower left corner; Sao Paulo traffic is so bad that top executives frequent resort to flying over it all in a chopper...


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Am My Own Esposa

Buenos Aires is the theatre capital of Latin America... Four years ago they ran a very successful version of Doug Wright's Pulitzer prize winning play based on his conversations with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a German transvestite who survived the Nazis and the communists..

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Arrived In Good Air; Aware of Delaware

I just arrived at the Buenos Aires Hilton, as featured in the classic Argy allegorical heist movie 'Nine Queens' - It's 2am and I"m going to bed.

Great news! Delaware legalized civil unions today! that makes 5 states with marriage and 8 with all the rights of marriage - will NY really get it together in time for my wedding in 8 weeks? stay tuned!

Below, the preview for 'Nine Queens,'  check it out - highly rentable/Net-flix-able if you haven't seen it yet...

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Renaissance Man

This morning I'm checking out of Sao Paulo's Renaissance Hotel, a Marriott property, and tonight I head for Buenos Aires on an 8pm flight, meaning I won't get to bed until after midnight..

The Other Brooklyn Bridge

Actually, it's a Brooklin Bridge, connecting to the chic Sao Paulo neighborhood called 'Brooklin Paulista'.... The Estaiada Bridge is designed with Brazilian panache.. I am also reminded of a terrific Italian restaurant in Buenos Aires named 'Broccolino,' again, after Brooklyn...

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two Rios

This is pre-posted in green and yellow, Brazil's national colors.  Wednesday I rise at 4:45am (ouch!) to catch a 7am plane to Rio for a day of meetings, then 'home' to Sao Paulo. 

Rio de Janeiro has many faces, but here I depict but two... 

First, the Rio I'll mostly see tomorrow: The Borg-like modernist behemoth that houses Petrobras, the national oil company; to the left of this picture you see half of Rio's cylindrical Metropolitan Cathedral..

The Rio I'll glance in passing: Botafogo beach....

I have one meeting on this lovely strip, which faces Pao de Açucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) and has rear-window view of Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer)...

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Members Only

How did I miss seeing Iceland's Penis Museum during my 2004 long-weekend there with Mom? My goal was to practice stick-shift driving in a relatively flat and unpopulated country that rents stick-shifts. 

Husavik, Iceland's Phallological Museum made headlines today by receiving its first human member!

The museum curator's 95-year-old friend, Pall Arason, passed on recently and bequeathed his 95-year-old penis, pickled, to their already solid collection. What a Pall!
The IPM, founded in 1997, boasts a collection of over 209 penises and penile parts "belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland.. 

We probably missed the place, pictured left, because Husavik is on Iceland's north shore, a 187-mile, 5-hour drive on Iceland's two-lane byways..

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Where I'm Not

Sao Paulo's lively Bela Vista, aka Bixiga (Be-SHEE-ga), is its Little Italy equivalent, an erstwhile immigrant enclave that exists as nightlife and nostalgia but long ceased to exist as a neighborhood community. 

It's still charming, with abundant modest, old-style Italian eateries and many theaters.. I haven't been there in a dog's age... of an old dog...

Got through my first day, four meetings down, sixteen to go...

It's very sunny here...

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Monday, April 11, 2011

We'll Always Have Argentina

Below, I outline a few thoughts on the structural underpinnings of America's escalating political dysfunction.. But first... there's still a middle class country with a far more dysfunctional political system.. It's very sunny there, it's called Argentina, and I'll be there for two days starting Thursday (in between Brazil and my return home)... Argentina's latest in a long serious of incompetent Presidents is the second in a row named Kirchner; this is because her predecessor was her husband. I was unaware until yesterday, that there was a German expressionist artist, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, that shares their last name.. Dr Aaron's diagnosis of US structural political dysfunction: a) we have two parties instead of several parties, creating an increasingly nasty holy war instead forcing diverse factions to forge alliances and deal; b) our checks and balances have become permanent gridlock instead of a buffer for safety and rationality. Our founders meant those check and balances as a systemic 'whoa, nelly,' and that would make different sides of an issuey listen, think, and engage, not harden into crazy glue.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blue Moon

Once in a blue moon I run across some worthy hip-hop track that 1) transcends the genre a bit, and 2) actually needs greater exposure.. Such is the case with Talib Kweli's 'Cold Rain...' Reasons I like it: great piano riff, intelligence, a social conscience, and soulful backup singers on the chorus... All this makes for fresh air, as opposed to same old, same old... Talib Kweli Greene is not your average everyday MC/rapper: he's a thirtysomething from a highly educated Park Slope family; his Mom's a CUNY English Professor, his Dad works at Adelphi U, and his younger brother Jamal professes constitutional law at Columbia and was a clerk to John Paul Stevens... Talib's an alum of Cheshire Academy, the prestigious Connecticut boarding school, and then studied experimental theater at NYU.. Talib actually means 'student' or 'seeker' in Arabic; 'Kweli' is Swahili for 'truth'; ('uhuru' means freedom in Swahili, hence the Star Trek lieutenant..) He's had scant radio play (except for guess spots for the likes of Black Star, Common and Mos Def, rap-only hits on million-selling albums), and yet enjoys critical acclaim and celebrity fans (Justin Timberlake and Quincy Jones do cameos on his tracks) and his latest album, Gutter Rainbows, has sold 19,000 copies on word of mouth since its January release. In case you are not one of the lucky 19,000, feast your eyes - and ears - on 'Cold Rain'... Hear Talib talk about his take on music, life, and his current album and tour... Here's one of Talib's best-known earlier rap hits, 2003's 'Get By'...again, musical track hard to resist... From Wikipedia: Rapping (also known as emceeing, MCing, spitting (bars), or just rhyming) refers to "spoken or chanted rhyming lyrics". The art form can be broken down into different components, as in the book How to Rap where it is separated into “content”, “flow” (rhythm and rhyme), and “delivery”. Rapping is distinct from spoken word poetry in that it is performed in time to a beat.

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Make That 128...

I'm off again on my 128th foreign trip, and my last before the wedding (I hope)... For those of you keeping track: My 82nd business trip begins tonight, and it will be a week-long research trip to interview 25 companies in Brazil (my 28th trip to the land of samba) and Argentina (my 23rd foray into tango territory); this will be my 77th trip to Latin America and my 43rd to South America.

Pictured left: iconic Route 128, the Boston Beltway and technology corridor (MIT etc), which I rode frequently during endless childhood visits to our Massachusetts relatives (after we abandoned the state back in 1966...)

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Friday, April 08, 2011

23 Foot Bronze Teddy Bear

A humongous bronze sculpture of a yellow teddy bear leaning against a massive table lamp was unveiled in Seagram Plaza today - on May 11, it will be auctioned for by Christie's for an expected $10 million.

But until then, The 23-foot neon behemoth created by Swiss artist-turned-New Yorker Urs Fischer will be on display in front of the Seagram Building at 375 Park Ave., between East 52nd and East 53rd streets.

At night the lamp will be turned on to illuminate the Godzilla-sized toy. We hear that the floor below the plaza had to be reinforced to accommodate the bear's massive girth

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Brief Encounter...

Watch this! At each others throats six months later for the full-fledged guest appearance,
here The Green Hornet and Kato merely exchange pleasantries with Batman and Robin through a window. Listen for Bruce Lee's single line.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Buzz Kill

JP and I have been watching the terrific old Green Hornet serial from 1940... Ever in the spirit, I've been buzzing around town and even referred to my Arizona rental car as 'Black Beauty!'...

I suppose I'll rent this year's Green Hornet remake, though it his hard to imagine Seth 'Superbad' Rogen as our stalwart green hero...

At left, the 2011 Hornet and Kato contrasted with Van Williams and Bruce Lee of the short-lived 1966-67 TV series. The mid-sixties version was produced by William Dozier of 'Batman' fame, but with absolutely zero camp content..

This 78 second trailer conveys the tempo and ambiance of the serial. Enjoy it!

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Shout It Out

New York weather improved considerably during my absence! Here are Bruno and Karl, enjoying what may finally become spring..

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Advanced Degree

This week, a big current favorite, the pretty but lo-fi pleasure of San Francsico-based alt-rock/shoegazer quintet Film School.

Inspired by post-punk, dream pop, and a touch of electronica, Film School began in 2001 as the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Krayg Burton (aka Greg Bertens), who changed the band's lineup and musical style frequently over ten years and four albums.

It's their latest opus, last year's 'Fission,' that captured my fancy with several lovely, urgent, hypnotic tracks that really stay with you; there's only one single, 'Sunny Day,' which gets this week's SOTW honors.

Film School's video work is less cinematic than their band name would suggest, it's a pair of feet wandering Los Angeles, a straightforward visual complement to 'Sunny Day'...

'Direct' is their album's most irresistible song, starting slowly and knocking you about about 1 minute in ; with no video or live performance available, I'm reduced to inviting you to stare at their album cover while you listen to the unspeakable joy that is 'Direct..'

Here's the Film School track that first grabbed me, 'Meet Around 10,' rendered live in Februrary at San Francisco's Cafe du Nord;

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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Flickr Curve Ball

y1 by holsbergaBarbie, made over by our grade school friends. Flickr picked the darnedest time to mess up their photo-embedding, as this is the cornerstone of my blogging...

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A Lovely Little Phobia

No, that's not the plant species... David so named this Cali-photo for the yellow and black bumble-insect that can be seen in the film's upper left quadrant...

David was in Oakland checking out his 'fixer-upper'.. I was in Gilbert, Arizona to celebrate my Mom's diamond birthday. We were in the same time zone, since Arizona ignores DST and 'falls back' to Pacific Time when the rest of us spring forward...

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Saturday, April 02, 2011


We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun... thoughts for a lobster in the 'waiting room' of a Chinatown seafood restaurant..


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