Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Norberto!

Norberto had a very Happy Birthday party on Sunday, after he and his boyfriend Rajat, on the way back from a New England weekend, planned an impromptu dinner celebration at Royal Siam Thai restaurant just across my street. Here he is surrounded by friends, family, presents, and a cake... Food pics later this week.

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No Skunks In Newfoundland

There aren't any. I have it on good authority from 'The Extraordinary Book of Facts,' a present from my sister. Today was lovely and uneventful, as I basked in the 75-degree sunniness that drenched New York...

A good 5,000 miles southwest of Newfoundland is Mexico City, where I spent a week with Thomas in early August. Here's a peek into a courtyard...

...and a gaze up at the sky....

I liked this terminal building, near the Saturday 'Goth Mexicano' market, which I will post about later this week..

Cartoons du Jour:

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Food Journey:
How To Celebrate a US$750mm Blowout Transaction!

And they said it couldn't be done. But wisdom, perseverance, judgement, and luck carried the day for our breakthrough bond issue by a Colombian gas pipeline company, which re-opened a closed market and allowed us to shine a week before the likely sale of ABN...

So this had to be celebrate, and Wednesday night the bankers, the client, and I congregated at posh, cavernous, upscale Buddakan for a pan-Asian gourmet feast.

This began with tuna sushi tartare on a bed of avocado laced with wasabe....

Mouth-watering steak strips aged in a spicy, sweet marinade...

Decadent deep-fried shrimp, crunchy and candy-like on the outside, juicy on the inside, with candied pecans and jalapeƱo strips...

Some sort of noodle dish I passed on...

Succulent, perfectly-seasoned unforgettable duck. A culinary high point of 2007.

When you're being treated, how can you turn down two carafes of premium sake, smooth as silk. Less smooth was the premium hang over I woke up with at 4am, as my stomach cried 'foul!'

Clever presentation. The flavor balls come off, the sticks do not. This wasn't as tasty or interesting as it looks here.

The venue was endless, cavernous, and cacophonous. After walking in the front chamber, it took me ten minutes to find my cohorts at their table. In this interval, I was approached by three different guests asking for direction or complaining that their order was overdue. Did I look like a server in my dark gray outfit? I was tempted to tell the hungry diner that his order was 'coming right out.' : - )

Cartoons du Jour:

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Brian!

Happy Birthday to You!!! Here's a full-on photographic salute to my dear friend and favorite ex-boyfriend:

Here's a very recent picture of Brian, dressed all fancy... His full name is Brian Adair Hall. Adair is his maternal grandfather's middle name. Hall was shortened from 'Halajian' by his paternal grandfather upon arriving in the United States from Armenia, a foreign country.

From humble beginnings, sprung a legend in his own time. : - ) Here's an early Brian picture, in the arms of his late Mom, Jean Hall, who, as you all know, invented the computer....

Here's Brian with his current boyfriend, Fiedelis... Although Fiedel is 11, in dog years that makes him an older man. : - ) Brian is a sprightly young 40 now, a mere baby in human years...

As you can see from this 1998 photo, Brian looks even better today than then. Here he is on the ferry to Fire Island, and in the background, that celebrity of cable porn, Robynbyrd, hostess of 'Byrd Droppings.'

Here's Brian, his parents Harry and Jean, and his sister Carolyn, at the height of Brian's legendary Brady Bunch childhood. : - )

Music has the Right to Children. And so did Harry and Jean, with all that implies....

Cartoons du Jour:

Real Genius:

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Who You Gonna Call?

I'm always amused by the kind of professional who feels compelled to advertise on the subways. "When Word of Mouth Is Not Enough" : - ) Three weeks back a subway-advertising doctor was my only option on a Saturday when I came back with a bad rash, aside from 8 hours in ER. I got the right medicine, but the guy definitely could polish his social skills....

Last night I was up quite late partying with my colleagues to celebrate our wildly successful TGI deal, a huge step forward for us, for bond markets, and for Colombia! I drank quite a bit of Sake at Budakkan on 16th and 9th - more about that this weekend. My stomach voiced its discontent at about 4am, alas. : - (

Tomorrow is Brian's birthday! With all that implies.... Tune in then!

If I had just one phone call, it probably wouldn't be to 1-800-INNOCENT. : -)

... nor would I use their Divorce Division...

Some call them ambulance chasers, but they're also defenders of sick, victimized children... One such lawyer defended my mother when a nurse's aide sent to care for her when Mom was wheelchair-bound robbed some family valuables.

But, hey, this guy sure looks like serious business to me...

...and I love the firm's little fighting leprechaun logo...

Cartoons du Jour:

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Do You Review? Can You Haiku?

No, I haven't morphed into Dr. Seuss, despite the 24/7 pressure cooker of a live deal.

YOU, further to my Monday evening post on movie reviews, are invited to submit your review of any movie you've seen recently in theaters or on DVD, provided that it is either a Haiku (5-7-5) or a (really good) Four Word Encapsulation. I'll gladly publish it, right here, in this very space...

Subway billboard ads that struck my eye. First, here's Micheal C. Hall, formerly the gay son on 'Six Feet Under', as a detective/serial killer, in the dark TV series 'Dexter' - the spattered blood is a great touch.

And then there's a new series, 'Cane' - proving sugar production is now fashionable! The bearded guy reminds me of the Latin husband on 'Desperate Houswives'

Finally, Dennis Lehane's 'Gone Baby Gone,' about a missing child, becomes a film. I've listened to this audiobook in Swedish, understanding about 3/4 of it, so a good visual may fill in the gaps... My friend Erik from Boston, once worked with the wife of Mr. Lehane, author of 'Mystic River,' who sets all his work in Boston.

Cartoons du Jour:

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Check out Thomas' great Chicago photos...

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National Treasure
(Shin Bone's Connected To The... )

Song Of The Week! It's mystifying that The Shins are not a household word around the world - their melodies are so invigorating, captivating, pretty, unusual, and downright catchy. And they've done this without fail on every single song of their three wonderful albums. Their lyrics are unabashedly poetic and smart, but not more so than late Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel. Based in Albuquerque, The Shins are surely one of the best music groups in the country and world!

Here for your listening pleasure is 'Turn on Me,' their latest single and video, the third from their current album 'Wincing The Night Away.'
( Just click one on the left (or the top) - still figuring out how to kill the 'mirror image' ). If you like this song, you'll love its two earlier singles, the soaring, upbeat 'Australia' or infectious, chord-changing wonder that is 'Phantom Limb'

Cartoons du Jour:

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Defining Hilarity!

Ninety minutes flew by in cascading spasms of laughter. The culprit here is "Death At A Funeral," the British ensemble farce that is surely the year's funniest film to date.

So how does one review a film? Let me count the ways.

1. Four words that encapsule. "Ingeniously hilarious, don't miss!"

2. Haiku (5-7-5)
"Four warped brilliant gags.
Endless mirthful confusion.
Shreds of dignity."

3. Oblique comment. "I love films with average-looking people."

4. Insight. "The British are ideal for farce, if only for their dogged attempts to retain some semblence of composure in the face of utter chaos and distress."

5. A link to Metacritic. Surely you know about Metacritic...

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Pest and Post-Pest - An End, A Beginning

This post concludes our two-week Central European travelogue, but I'll continue to dribble out additional great trip photos over the next few weeks.

But our broader journey does continue!

Coming this week: world travel photos (including early August in Mexico City), plus daily cartoons, Song of The Week (a Tuesday e-mail/blog tie-in), and comments on and/or photos of whatever strikes my fancy: film, theater, art, current events, city life oddities, and my own humorous ups and downs..

On the last day of our Central European trip: we strolled and trammed around Budapest's Pest side, in a dripping, soaking, rain-drenched foray .. I think this is the National Opera Building. It was very pretty inside, very lush and ornamented.

St. Stephen's Cathedral on St. Stephen's Square, the iconic heart of Budapest, the scene of much distant and recent history...

St. Stephen's Square's extension is vast, though not so vast as its ex-Eastern Bloc counterparts, the Main Square in Krakow or Red Square in Moscow...

The Cow Parade has invaded Budapest, as it did New York and Buenos Aires and many other capitals over the past few years. You know the deal - local artists are given complete license to decorate a vast army of plastic cows deployed throughout the city center...

Our guide, Josef, said this building wasn't special, just an 'ordinary building' in Budapest. I'm impressed.

Budapest's huge covered marketplace, with endless array of vegetables, meats, knick-knacks and what have you in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building...

Paprika in its ground form...

Cow innards, anyone? My fellow travellers found this far less digestible than the aforementioned plastic cows.

Chicken feet, legs, wings, necks, thighs, and in the center, a tin full of hearts, I think. Missing is the 'poopick', my Mom's yiddish word for a chicken's belly button, I think....

Freshly scooped out beef God-knows-what!

Budapest city street in the rain, it could easily be Paris or... Buenos Aires. The film 'Evita' was filmed half in Buenos Aires, where I spent nearly a year, and half in Budapest, where I spent half a rainy day. On film, damned if I can tell the difference...

Cartoon du Jour: My moon is where?

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