Monday, February 28, 2005

All Good Things Must...

A Toast to Thomas: His going-away party yesterday was a lovely coda to a great period of fun and charming experiences that I will not soon forget. Tomorrow, weather permitting, Thomas sets sail for new horizons and new wanderings, that will begin in Argentina and Brazil and likely lead through most of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.. But Thomas' spirit of adventure will live on in these parts, the trail of goodwill, good company, and good ideas he always leaves in his wake... My digital camera was on the blink yesterday, so here's a reproduced home-made party decoration:

From a recent issue of The Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?"

Question: “With obesity among children rising steadily, health experts say our school's physical education programs are woefully inadequate. What do you think?”

Answer 1: "Well, what do people expect? How are today's gym teachers supposed to motivate kids, now that homophobia, verbal harassment, and physical abuse are off limits?"
Answer 2: "I don't want my kids missing out on all that gym class offers. That's why I give them cruel nicknames, make them shower together, and snap them with wet towels."
Answer 3: "Oh good. It's our nation's schools that are to blame for my 200-pound son. Phew!"
Answer 4: "The dubious benefits of a mandatory exercise program weighed against the undeniable fattening of America's kids? Sounds like it's time for an in-depth shirts vs. skins debate."
Answer 5: "You know, sex burns a lot of calories. Teens love sex. I can't see why no one has thought of this before."
Answer 6: "There are many reasons that a school should have an extensive Phys Ed program. For one thing, it's the best way to increase kids' interest in reading and math."

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Sunday, February 27, 2005

¡Adiós, Nonino!

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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Happy Birthday, Deena!

Here's my baby sister on one of her happy birthdays, back in 1966...


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Friday, February 25, 2005

Dr. Projecto Rides Again...

Did some intense financial projections yesterday. This involved identifying key variables of a sugar company, calculating what drives each one and how they might change, and expressing this as a dynamic, multi-worksheet Excel file that shows what happens to this company, if, say, the price of sugar rises or falls..

In my younger days they called me "Dr. Projecto." My motto, from an old finance professor: "Never confuse precision with accuracy..."

Today marks 14 years since my Dad (pictured left with 2-year-old me)passed on.. In 1991, on a snowy day, as US forces captured Kuwait City....Tomorrow's my sister's birthday - there's a long history of calamities befalling her on or around Feb 26, of which Dad's passing was the low point...

Great quote Peter saw in a bookstore window: "Don't judge a book by its movie."

Cartoons, Personal & Political:

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Hey there. Here's a review of my favorite book of 2004, which I wrote a few weeks back and saved:

Wry, Wistful, and Sung In Brogue

Meet my favorite book of the past two years, Julia Glass' smart, wry, honest, Booker-Prize-winning "Three Junes," which hops around in time, perspective, and location, etching out the complex relationships of a Scottish family whose gay, bookish son is exiled to Greenwich Village in the AIDS-stricken 1980s. Gourmet funerals, a sardonic dying opera critic, the last heir of a local newspaper, a pony-tailed avant garde photographer, veterinarians, artificial insemination, literary disillusionment, Lockerbie, all of these are but background details as the story focuses squarely on the thoughts, hopes, dreams, and failures of its central characters. Special bonus: the audio-CD is read by a charming young actor with a delicious Scottish brogue. I look forward to/am fearful of the movie version.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Glug Glug!

Earnings Season! 3 simultaneous conference calls as I write this (so why am I writing this? :-) ). Major downsizing here yesterday. I sit in a sea of empty cubicles... Hung w Thomas last night - can't believe he's leaving in 6 days to see the world...

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Dude, Where's My Weekend?

I don't know where the time went, and didn't do much... I saw "The Gates" again in the frigid clarity that was Sunday morning, this time from the northern, 'emerging' end of Central Park, at 110th St and Malcolm X Boulevard. You know you're in deep blue state territory when a major artery can be named for Malcolm X... I had a nice Thai dinner with friends Sunday evening. I finished the movie "Reality Bites" on Netflix Saturday, which I will review this week. I watched about 14 episodes of "Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends" - about 3 1/2 minutes per episode, but I had to press the 'menu' button a lot. It's interesting watching 'Rocky' as an adult - I get the double entendres now, but take the action less seriously. I didn't see any Oscar candidate movies. I hung out with Bart Saturday afternoon and listened to the likes of Liza Minelli and Judy Garland on Rhapsody (with my computer's sound card gloriously restored). Congrats, Bart (you know what for, though you rarely read my blog, so this is kind of tree-falling-in-the-woods-y).

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Monday, February 21, 2005

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

Sure, Man

Good morning. Check out Thomas' picture of Keren Ann, who we saw Thursday night at Tonic, as well as his pictures of The Gates.

Also, check out my friend Peter's new blog!

Note that both Thomas' and Peter's blogs are among the links on the left side of this page.

The Gates await! At 3pm I'm braving 19F weather and meeting Bart at 110th St & 5th Ave to take in the Gates with the southern sunlight in our faces. In a few minutes the Computer Guy is coming to solve all of my Computer Woes (sound card, driver, sudden crashes). Look here later this weekend, I expect interesting posts. Peace, Aaron

Political Cartoon:

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Friday, February 18, 2005

I Think Of You, And Let It Go....

On my way to work, late as usual, I 'let go' of my birthday, literally, by releasing two helium party balloons into the air in between my building and the 23rd St subway entrance. Up, up, up, the balloons drifted and wafted, amazingly high for something that had just left my hands, up above my coop's 20 stories and the honking, rushing din of 8th avenue, smaller and smaller, then blown eastward until I could no longer discern them on the horizon.

Last night Thomas and I went to Tonic, a struggling small venue way down on Norfolk St in the Lower East Side. There, we saw Keren Ann (pictured left), a winsome chanteuse of Russian-Dutch extraction by way of Israel and Indonesia, sing her quietly sad, pretty repertoire in French and English. With her shy wisp of a voice, she projects intimacy with just enough distance, world-weary but not without humor and subtle playfulness. Her combo was lovely, including players of viola and french horn, as well as cute Jason, master of the synthesized keyboard as well as the xylophone (!)

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Thursday, February 17, 2005


I got back from Brazil at 6am, this time via business class, so I'm feeling coherent if not refreshed. Lots of work awaits me, all piled up, physically and electronically. Tonight, I'm going to take in some live music with Thomas, our last such outing before his imminent before he begins two years of wandering the world... This shot of Christo's Gates comes courtesy of BlueJake, one-half of the team that brings you NY-themed group blog Gothamist.

Petit Dessein du Jour:

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Lula... La La La Lula...

With apologies to the Kinks. : - ) Lula, of course, is Brazil's President, a lifetime socialist who kind of looks like my late Dad, and who Dad surely would have appreciated. Today is the end of my 19th trip to Brazil, my 28th to South America, my 47th to Latin America, and my 87th trip overall. Brazil now ties Mexico as my most visited country. This 'competition' will surely heat up this year, as I have further business to do in both places.

Upon my arrival I was puzzled by the painted faces, in jigsaw puzzle shapes and nursery school colors, of swarms of upper-middle-class Brazilian teenagers, stopping cars in the streets with bizarre requests. The explanation, it appears, is that universities just began a new school year, and these face-painted escapades correspond to initiations of fraternities in the US.

I am home tomorrow at 7am. The Gates await.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Faraway Is The New Nearby

Greetings from São Paolo's sun-drenched daylight-savings-time splendor and its inviting 80 degrees with a breeze summer climate. This aerial photo is Ibirapuera, São Paolo's answer to Central Park, minus the Gates. It's a relaxed but focused trip - instead of running to meetings, I'm here interviewing job candidates (for a shared-resource-to-be) and writing reports on my laptop. I leave tomorrow on the 11:59am flight (why not just make it midnight?), arriving in NY right before 7am Thursday morning. I look forward to savouring the Gates early one weekend morning. Check out Thomas's terrific photos, including fabric samples, unfurlings, and many shots from the (relatively) deserted north side of Central Park.

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

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No Free Lunch

Or dinner, or peanuts, or pretzels. Just cramped space, and long, long lines. Such has been my experience flying coach all of last week, and now last night from New York to Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Result: massive jetlag.

Be nice to your flight attendants. Their orders have the authority of federal police instructions, and defying or verbally abusing one can land you ´behind bars.´ Case in point: a loudmouth 60-year old woman on the NY-Fort Lauderdale flight made such an incessant fuss that the flight attendant, already in a bad mood, arranged for federal police to meet the lady at the gate...

Post from Sunday afternoon:
I'm off to Brazil, back Thursday and can't wait for a 3 day weekend at home, sweet home
Go see The Gates if you can - just lovely

I'll try to post daily. Até logo

Don't Blink You Might Miss Me

Post from Sunday morning:
Got back last night from LA, and this evening I leave for three days in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I am to help interview a new hire. This is actually kind of tedious, I'd rather be with friends, enjoying the Gates in Central Park...

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Golden Streams

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Friday, February 11, 2005

I'm in LA and it's raining buckets! They accidentally booked us into a luxury hotel. Yay. Yesterday crossed the entire sun belt by jet, w meetings in Florida, Houston, and LA. Another first. Back home tomorrow evening.

Quote of the Day:
"Miss Davis, why do you think you have played women who could be considered bitches so well?" - Interviewer
"I play bitches well because I am not a bitch, perhaps that’s also the reason Miss Crawford has done so well at playing ladies." (puff, puff) -- Bette Davis

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Uruguay and the L Word

I'm in Miami, business dinner lasted until 11 last night, didn't get to see my friend or sleep very well. I have two meetings here this morning, an afternoon presentation in Houston, and dinner in LA. Today, pre-recorded, comes Part 2 of my very liberal translation of Andres' impressions and thoughts following his recent visit to Uruguay. "When Argentine diva Sandra Mihanovich (on the right) and rock firecracker Celeste Carballo (to her left) declared their love in song, they chose for lyrics a poem by one of my favorite authors, Uruguay's Mario Benedetti. It runs like this... "

"If I love you it's because / you're my soul mate, accomplice, and everything / and in the street walking elbow to elbow / we're much more than just two..."

Well, it does sound more poetic in rhyming Spanish. "This song recalls my own love story with someone who had come to Buenos Aries - he adored the song and we sang it in the streets... and so, 'elbow to elbow,' I was soon swept away to New York. But, back to Uruguay. Benedetti is a keen observer of character and social mores in this sleepy little Republic, and is best known for his brilliant short stories, which, among other things, look unflinchingly at Uruguay's 'Dirty War' in the 1970s and its many 'disappeared' ones.

But for many, Benedetti will always be the author of "La Tregua (The Truce)", a memorable short novel from 1959 about a May-September romance, as chronicled by the September party, a widower with three children who has eschewed relationships for a long time. The widower's favorite son turns out to be gay, which hurts him deeply, and remains unresolved, which is observed fairly and open-mindedly by Benedetti. In 1970 La Tregua was made into an unforgetable classic of a movie (nominated for a best foreign film Oscar) by Argentine director Sergio Renan, who is also gay, and its cast is practically a 'Who's Who' of a generation of Argentine acting talent.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Oriental Continental

This afternoon, I am off to Miami, the next leg of customer visits. Today's post is the first installment of Andres' musings on, and photos of, his recent trip to the Oriental Republic Of Uruguay. That's actually this very European South American country's official name, though 'oriental' is used here in its original meaning of 'eastern' - the opposite of occidental and western. Uruguay occupies the eastern strip of the sea arm and gulf known as Rio de la Plata. (Tomorrow, we look at gay portrayals in Uruguayan literature and their influence on regional music, and cinema, but today, some basic background.)

"Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, stands at the mouth of Rio de la Plata, and is the country's industrial and commercial center. Its population in the early 19th century was scarcely 300,000, but today, with its suburbs, it stands at 1.5 million, roughly half the country. (Pictured left is Andres in front of the monument to José Artigas, Uruguay's liberator and national hero. ) Right beside colonial buildings such as the Cabildo stand modernist architectural gems such as Congress, the University, the Customs House, and the Clinic Hospital. This hospital today also performs sex-change operations, which are still illegal in Argentina. Beautiful parks, like Rodó, Battle, and Ordoñez, act as the city's lungs. Founded in 1726, Montevideo has an excellent port and is among South America's most beautiful and interesting capitals."

"Perhaps Uruguay's greatest luminary was José Henrique Rodó (pictured left), writer, thinker, and humanist, who lived from 1872 to 1917 and wrote "Ariel", "The motives of Proteus" and "Men of America." Rodó eventually embraced idealism, and began South America's best modernist poet and one of its greatest intellectuals. "


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