Friday, September 30, 2005

And upstate I go for the weekend. It looks sunny but crisp. 65F by day, as low as 40F by night. Suddenly, it was autumn...

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Emergency Landing

So I'm back from foreign trip #93, a day ahead of schedule. There was a slight scare on the flight home from the Domincan Republic, when a young passenger had heart palpitations. The plane got clearance for an 'emergency landing' at JFK, meaning they sped home, arrived early, were allowed to land immediately, and had medics and a stretcher waiting when the door opened. This weekend, I'll be upstate in Millerton, NY, near the NY-Massachusetts-Connecticut border, at the Taconic Lodge run by Sundance, the gay outdoors club for whom I am webmaster. Hope this beautiful weather holds up - I look forward to some foliage...

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

You Snooze You Lose

Wow, I was two minutes late to meet my colleagues in the lobby, and they left for an all-day plant tour without me! They didn't even call my room. Oh, well, this was just an 'extra' anyway - I'm flying home this morning then on the 11:20am flight arriving in NY at 3pm. Yesterday, ten hours of meetings were followed by a very long and delicious dinner at 'Pat e Palo' (pictured left) in the old historic district of Santo Domingo, where I stayed back in May. Chilean sea bass in creamy beer sauce on risotto, preceded by ceviche with avocado cream. Better hit the gym tonight... : - )

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Norway-tronica Night

Last week Christi and I took in Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp at Webster Hall, which included their compatriot, bubble-gum songstress Annie, as the warm-up act. Planetarium-quality laser lights, filtered through disco, shimmered and flickered through the club as the young, mad symphonic geniuses that are Röyksopp frantically pushed buttons, turned knobs, and played some mean drums. Annie's songs were cute, bubbly electro-pop, but her voice was somehow drowned out by the band and sounds sytem. Pity, as her lyrics are often arch, such as 'You think you're chocolate, but you're chewing gum.'

Röyksopp (Torbjørn Bruntlandt and Sven Berge) had a worlwide, million-selling hit (except in the US) with their debut album, "Melody A.M," on the strength of the singles "Eple" and "Poor Leno." Their second album, "The Understanding", was released in US on July 12 and has received outstanding reviews. Annie (born Anne Lilia Berge-Strand) is as pop as early Madonna or late Kylie Minogue, but with hipster credibility. She first made an impression in 1999 with a juicy Madonna-sampling single called "The Greatest Hit." Her success foundered on tragedy when her boyfriend, DJ Tore Andreas Kroknes, died of heart defect in 2001. Annie eventually picked herself up and became more involved in Bergen, Norway's club scene than ever. Her debut album, Anniemal, is very consistent and was released here in June with the singles "Heartbeat" and, yes, "Chewing Gum."

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Happy Birthday, Brian!!!!

Get out your Hall Hat! On this day, way back in 1967, my dear friend and former partner Brian was born, somewhere in California, which was less crowded back then. Brian has had an eventful four years since we parted, studying three different careers, living in three different Cali-places, and acquiring an adorable terrier-chihuahua named Fiedel, with the accent on the first syllable. Always open-minded and interested in spirituality, Brian plans to go to India in January for a 21-day special training program. Dot India. Near Chennai. Which used to be Madras. Like the spread. This will be Brian's 13th country and 4th continent. It won't be his first visit to the third world, having honeymooned with me in (relatively richer) Brazil and taken a 'favela tour' of the mountainous slums of Rio de Janeiro.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm off to the Dominican Republic in a few hours, for the second time this year, this time for business. It's only my second Carribean trip, though I still haven't really done the Carribean beach thing. If you're counting, this is my 93rd foreign trip... If you consider the Dominican Republic to be part of Latin America (opinions are divided), than this would be my 52nd trip to Latin America. I have spent 2 years and 357 days of my life outside the US - this trip, which last until Friday, will bring me only 5 days away from that three-year mark...

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Rest In Peace, My Dear Max

Don Adams, who for me will always be Maxwell Smart, passed on today at 82. So long, Max, and thank you for being a role model : - ) and for the hours and hours of laughter... and for standing on the world's first celular phone (pictured below at the Reagan Presidential Library!).

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Luncheon cancelled two minutes later... Oh, well. At least can get some work done

Surprise lunch at Four Seasons today! Woo Hoo. Flying to the
DR tomorrow, foreign trip #93...

Johnny We Hardly Knew Yer Tree

My curiosity was piqued by an article on Chris Kennedy Lawford's memoirs. Was he the one from the Florida trial? Or the one that ran for governor of Maryland? Or the one that slept with his kid's babysitter? I just can't keep my Kennedys straight... Thus, I was thoroughly edified by a visit to their family tree... I hadn't realized the extent of their tragedy. One of JFK's sisters, Kathleen, died in a plane crash in 1948. Another, Rosemary, was developmentally challenged and was permanently interned in 1941 following a failed lobotomy. JFK was 8 years older than Bobby and 15 years older than Teddy. Bobby's widow, Ethel, was pregnant with their 11th (!) child (Rory Kennedy, pictured left) at only 40 when he was assassinated in 1968. Two of those children are dead - one of a drug overdose, another ski-crashed into a tree (that's babysitter man) the same month as Sonny Bono. Four of Ethel's other children were married, divorced, and re-married. And poor Rory, born without a father, whose 1999 dream wedding was marred by the tragedy of her cousin JFK jr's death. My favorite, and most cheerful, Kennedy fact: All three of JFK's grandchildren are Jewish! I'm referring of course to Caroline's three children, Rose, Tatiana, and John Schlossberg...

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

South West Far East

Last night had a long, leisurely dinner with Day at Bright Food Shop, one of my all-time favorite eateries. In a restored 1930s diner (left), coffee-shop ambiance contrasts sharply with very unusual haute cuisine (like the Moo Shoo Mexican, pictured below) served at reasonalbe prices in sensible portions. They have an awesome collection of third world sodas and beers, and their dessert chef is also a genius. All topped off with fortune cookies! It's a very special place, one day I'll convince my Mom, who lives in Arizona, that it's not just another Southwestern place like the dozens that surround her there...

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Friday, September 23, 2005

a little Long Island humor here...

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Thursday, September 22, 2005

From this week’s Onion, my favorite feature, “What Do YOU Think?

Question: “With Northwest and Delta airlines filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, more than half of U.S flights will be made by bankrupt carriers. What do you think?”
Answer 1: "Is there anything sadder than a huge, faceless corporation going through hard financial troubles?"
Answer 2: "And our government isn't bailing them out? Why does Bush hate big business so much?"
Answer 3: "This could be the wake-up call the major airlines need to quit focusing so much on customer needs and pay some more attention to generating revenue."

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Say Goodbye To Green...

It's the first day of autumn! Time to pick the remaining blueberries (left).

Audit My What? It was suggested by our internal regulators that my personal blog be audited, despite the fact that it is strictly personal, to share my life and experiences with family and friends. This feels a bit pointless and intrusive. Anyway, I hope they like the cartoons. : - )

I'm meeting Christi tonight to see two Norwegian acts, Röyksopp and Annie, at Webster Hall. More later. Thomas left today - we had a final dinner at Café Gitane near Mott St last night, and we passed the San Genaro festival, which was going strong. Thomas, who used to live there, is glad to be rid of the week-long hoopla, especially the crass and loud star of 'Drown the Clown.'

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

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Monday, September 19, 2005

Through The (Disturbing) Past, Colorfully

What in tarnation? A great uncategorizable indie film, that's what. Jonathan Caouette uses snapshots, 70s and 80s video footage, old films, music, and written text to create one hell of a multisensory collage-autobiography. This free-form documentary vividly conjures his troubled childhood which included a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, hospitalization, precocious artistry, and growing up queer in a Texas suburb. The film dazzles with its cyclone of imagery, ideas, and sounds, while touching the heart with its subject matter. Hard to describe, but not to be missed...

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

It's very sunny here.

Sunday morning in NY, late late summer. Lazy weekend.

Not much to report. I've been mostly relaxing, strolling the streets with a plethora of audiobook mp3s on my trusty iPod©®.

Will probably have more to say later. Honest.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005

Question: “In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush is tapping the strategic oil reserve to help petroleum refiners. What do you think?”
Answer 1: "It's a compassionate gesture in a time of natural disaster, but I’m warning you: One of these days, Bush's big heart is going to get him in trouble."
Answer 2: "I'm against it. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created way back in 1973, during that passing fad of 'forward thinking.'"
Answer 3: "The oil industry can't rely on soaring prices and record profits to weather this meteorological inconvenience. They need a hand up."

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Blind, Pregnant Woman On Crutches...

Would YOU give up your subway seat? : - ) Ah, New York, New York... Went to Chipotle Grill last night with Thomas, never noticed this upscale, assembly-line premium fast food eatery before. It's all burritos, with many branches on the option tree as you move on down the line. They also serve beer. Btw, The Onion is truly hilarious this week!

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Busy week. Thomas is back in NY for five days! Last night I finished 'Unforgiven,' Clint Eastwood's dark, revisionist, western masterpiece. Very sharp and intense - more about that later. Back to work!

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Close Shave, Sudden Impact

Maybe my vote helped do the trick! In NY's Democratic Mayoral primary, Fernando Ferrer fell 111 votes short (out of 438,967!) of the 40% he needed to avoid a runoff with loudmouth Anthony Weiner. Shake it up! Cute gay candidate Brian Ellner didn't make Manhattan Borough President, polling fourth out of nine, with 12% or 17,006 votes, including mine. But Scott Stringer (pictured left), the best man, and my second choice, won handily with 26% or 37,719 votes. Turnout was reportedly less than 15%!

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Off-Year Election That Mattered?

I voted today, and it's the most intensely I've ever focused on a small election. turnout was way low, maximizing my impact. I made some tough decisions - I voted for Brian Ellner (pictured right) for Manhattan Borough President not just because he's gay & cute, but because a high-profile gay politician will benefit our cause. Scott Stringer probably deserves it more. There are seven candidates and no runoff, someone could win with as little as 20%, which is why Ellner's been camped out in Chelsea for the past two weeks. It's a crap shoot, but at least I got to choose from many good candidates.

As for the Democratic mayoral primary I don't feel strongly about any of the candidates, and voted for Weiner to shake things up since he has the best chance of upsetting Ferrer. I won't vote for Ferrer because he's Latino and he's been around forever. If he were gay, however... : - ) I'm actually fine with Bloomberg, anyway, I think he's a done a great job and is a democrat at heart.

In an hour, I'll be having Asian haute cuisine at a business dinner with Brazilian meat processors and intend to out myself once again if anyone asks if I'm married....

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Veni, Vidi, Voti... : - ) Details At 5!

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Election Day.... maybe I can vote between work & a business dinner... with some beef slaughterers.... the dinner, I mean...

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Vote For Me - I'm Cuter...

I can't wait for tomorrow's primary election to be over! My answering machine is full of pre-recorded candidate messages (some dialed from Canada to save money!) and I can't step out of my building without being accosted by three major candidates for Manhattan Borough President, an office which I consider to be a high-profile sinecure. Scott Stringer, an average looking straight politician, has been 100% cool on gay issues. But I may vote for the cute gay guy, Brian Ellner (pictured right), instead, who is accomplished, well-meaning, but perhaps a little cheesy. I shook his hand this morning and said 'good luck' without even removing my iPod earphones! A third candidate, Jewish Soccer Mom Eva Moskowitz, has the best slogan: "Don't Get Mad - Get Eva". Well, at least I'm choosing between three good candidates - how often can you say that? If I have time to vote at all...

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Deli Sushi Flowers

...and other non-sequiturs. While ambling down 7th Ave in the sun, I found my eyes drawn to a sign that said, with no warning or punctuation, 'Deli Sushi Flowers.' I'm afraid I'm a little skeptical here - one can only be good at so many things...

It's inane of me to say, but here goes: Happy September 11th. I'm glad you're all alive and that days of horror are the exception, not the rule...

This morning I saw "Pretty Persuasion," a wicked, twisted comedy of a movie, with Peter at the early 'blue-hair' session of Sunshine Cinema. Biting satirical, the film follows the machinations of a vengeful 15-year-old Lolita-esque vixen, skewering targets left and right with rampant political incorrectness. It's influenced by the movies "Election", "Heathers," "To Die For," and perhaps, "The Last Seduction," but nastier than at least the first three of that foursome. Reviews were mixed, but I loved it, and so did the times. Below, a few scenes for your pleasure...

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Not! : - )

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Good News: Took a client out to delicious lunch at Tse Yang, midtown's lushest Chinese eatery. Bad News: Accidentally paid with my personal credit card. Ugh.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's not often I take my quote of the day from Bloomberg, but this one's great...

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one..." - Voltaire

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Put Those White Shoes Away

That is, unless you don't mind being murdered by Kathleen Turner. Summer's over, I'm back from a weekend in Boston with Mom, work beckons. My car rental - get this - was an SUV! They were out of everything else, and were forced to upgrade me for free, just as I was forced to drive it and pay $3.30 a gallon as it guzzled gas up and down the New England coast...

We stopped at Newport, very different than what I pictured. Where I imagined imposing mansions with corinthian columns and an outdoor jazzfest, I encountered yet another quaint New England town with a harbor full of sailboats and lots of b&bs.

More later...

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Friday, September 02, 2005

Places I've Never Been...

...are one of my weaknesses. I've never been to Newport, Rhode Island, and am hoping to catch a late lunch or early dinner there today, with my Mom, en route to a Labor Day Weekend in Boston. I've driven through Rhode Island dozens of times, without seeing anything there. Today, that ends.

Last night I finished "All That Heaven Allows," the 1955 Douglas Sirk technicolor weepie where stylized gloss only thinly covers the outrage felt and middle-class hypocrisy and cruelty. Excellent performances by Jane Wyman as the lonely 40-ish widow and Rock Hudson (!) as the much younger free spirit who offers her love, and (gasp) sexual satisfaction. Highly recommended.


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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Afghan Dust Holiday...

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