Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sunil!

A big birthday hug to my friend Sunil ! We are almost birthday twins, as he was born one day later (OK, one day and 16 years later). Sunil is unusually nice, a welcome dose of sunshine in an icy winter.

Below is my photo birthday salute to Sunil, but first we'll celebrate Sunil's Hindu roots with some classic 1960s Bollywood surf music (courtesy of the 2001 indie film 'Ghost World')

Here's Sunil....

Here's Sunil in 2006 at my Halloween Party, dressed as 1/6 of the Village People. : - ) In the northwest corner that's the mouth and nose tip of Sunil's boyfriend Fernando...

And here are Sunil and Fernando later that year, spending a winter holiday night in warm, sunny Buenos Aires...

Here's Sunil in December 2006 at Ed's Xmas Party uptown....

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: Who are more likely to be romantically responsive. Women under thirty or women over thirty?
Lynde: I don't have a third choice?

Cartoon du Jour:

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

We'll celebrate with an Aaron-o-Rama of pictures, but first a two-minute treat, the first video by my beloved Vampire Weekend, four Columbia grads who fuse collegiate wit with African musical styles in a catchy and endearing way, much like Paul Simon did in Graceland.. Their album finally came out yesterday to rave reviews!

My favorite lyric: 'The Argentines collapse in defeat / the admiralty surveys the remnants of the fleet...'

Here's Mansard Roof:

Aaron-o-Rama... Then....

Let them eat cake...

the boy with the conical hat...

finger in the cookie jar, again? (that's my Mom on the wall, btw)

so seductive, even at age 6....

Aaron-o-Rama... Now...

at work...

at play.. I ain't over no hill....

in Arizona...

speaking at a Mexico conference..

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: In The Wizard of Oz, the Lion wanted courage and the Tin Man wanted a heart. What did the Scarecrow want??
Lynde: He wanted the Tin Man to notice him.

Cartoon du Jour:

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In the next seven days: we review '3:10 to Yuma,' photo-blog a musical night in funky Williamsburg, continue our food journey, and appreciate rarely seen art... birthdays are celebrated - be there or be square!

Our campy Paul-Lynde-athon of witty comebacks also continues...

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How Swede It Is

Today's Song/Video of the Week is "I Wouldn't Know What To Do" by Sweden's Honeydrips, and hasn't even been released in the US, though I suspect this will happen soon.

Honeydrips is actually a one-person group, populated by singer/songwriter Mikael Carlsson from Goteborg.

But the thing is, the music sounds like the work of a group, a wondergroup with influences as diverse as the Beatles, Morrissey, and Joy Division.

Two things won me over immediately:

1) several songs, including 'I Wouldn't Know,' have that mid-to-late 1960s sound I can never resist; and

2) one song uses a hilarious sample from Woody Allen's 'Annie Hall' about a neurotic 8-year old and his exasperated mother... (the hilarious 45 second Allen clip is presented below)

At left, the groovy album cover of "Here Comes The Future"

and, without further ado, the music itself:

Our lovely song of the week, 'I Wouldn't Know What To Do'

Their other, funkier, uptempo single, '(Lack Of) Love Will Tear Us Apart,' sounds like a space-age but classicist white girl group - he's clearly using girl singers, I think. His presence is limited to a short mid-song monologue. The title of course references Joy Division's woeful 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' though the music is certainly more hopeful. It's a more kinetic video as well.

From Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" - "The Universe Is Expanding":

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: Which is better looking, a pixie or a fairy?
Lynde: I'll go for the fairy.

Cartoons du Jour:

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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Food Journey: Rocking Horse Returns

A week ago, on Martin Luther King Day, I treated myself to a sumptuous delivery from Chelsea's favorite gourmet, nouvelle cuisine, vaguely-Mexican-inspired restaurant.

We started with a special, White Bean Soup w Scallions - simmered in lightly spiced tomato salsa base, for a tangy taste

Our Main Dish: Chiltepe Chile Crusted Tuna with chorizo-poblano studded wild rice and sweet corn emulsion. The tuna tender but dusted with chile joy, while the chorizo-wild rice-corn emulsion serves as a loving, complementary warm flavor bath.

For dessert: Valrhona Chocolate Tortita. This extremely rich ring of chocolate with spice is offset by cinnamon ice cream. A feast for the senses.

And here's a panorama of my place setting. I dined alone that night.

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: In Alice in Wonderland, who kept crying, "I'm late, I'm late"?
Lynde: Alice. And her mother is sick about it.

Cartoons du Jour:

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

I'll Have You Know

I'm headed for Boston this morning, lunch with my cousin, birthday dinner with Erik, five presentations Monday, and home...

Mexico City airport was empty by the time our plane finally left...

I'm your businessman, that's what I am...

Life through a taxi windshield, Mexico City...

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: When you pat a dog on its head he will usually wag his tail. What will a goose do?
Lynde: Make him bark.

Cartoons du Jour:

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

One Man's Nectar

About 10 days back I had dinner with Jon at Mexicana Mama Centro on W 12th St, and, finally well enough to drink alcohol, probably overdid it with two hibiscus margaritas. That, combined with four-alarm guacamole and this exquisite smooth-texture fish served over equally spicy sauce, was sufficient to cause a 1910 Revolution in my poor stomach at 4 in the morning : - (

I finally took a great picture of Jon!

My tea bag disintegrated...

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Cartoons du Jour:

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Friday, January 25, 2008

"Sweeney Todd" reviewed below, but first - a salute to Erik! I arrived home late last night after a long, grueling trip... But I slept in...

Happy Birthday, Erik!

Erik has been my friend for nearly 25 years! Now that's staying power. This great picture is my iPhone photo of Erik.

Here's Erik in the Rockies, 2005. Sunshine on his shoulders makes him happy...

just the two of us..

Erik taking in the eerie travertine limestone terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone.

Beware of Meat Pies

I saw the Sweeney Todd film Saturday with Steve, and it did not disappoint. Like the play, whose revival I saw two years back with Christi, it's fairly dark, cynical, and goulish for a musical comedy... but, it manages to be humorous, fun, and romantic even with cannibalism and throat-slashing. Stephen Sondheim does have a genius for sharp lyrics.

Without further ado, the 5 Parameters.

1. Four Words That Encapsule: "Bloody, Edible, Lucrative Revenge..."

2. Haiku (5/7/5):
"London was a sewer; Rich fiends preyed on the helpless; Victim gets revenge."

3. Oblique comments: a) Both Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter can really sing well! As always, Johnny Depp does excellent, memorable work within his growing range. I never realized Carter was married to Tim Burton, the film's director; b) Burton's the right director for this project, being a specialist in macabre but fanciful universes. The gore is more comic than chilling, though the blood-dripping opening credits are slightly unnerving; c) Today's London is considerably less cruel and wretched but that history colors my view of London far more than, say, tenements affect my view of New York. In my very home-centric quirkly world view, New York is the gleaming metropolis of glass and steel, and London is the teeming masses breathing poorly and eating awful meat pies. : - )

4. Insight: Hats off to the director, cast, and crew for making you feel arch laughter, slight horror, a dollop of romanticism - they really pulled it off. And Bravo to the further consolidation of the Broadway musical in modern American cinema. Welcome back, we missed you! : - )

5. Link: Metacritic Summary Reviews. It was very well-reviewed. Will its strengths lead to Oscar nominations, leaping over the extra hurdle of being a musical? Actually, by the time this is posted, we'll already know that - I'll update it before then. Happy Friday!

And here's the movie trailer...

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: A cub scout holds up two fingers. A boy scout holds up three fingers. What does a girl scout hold up?
Lynde: Well, that just depends on how many cookies you buy.

Cartoons du Jour:

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chilquiles con Arrachera - tortilla squares friend and bathed in spicy sauce, topped by thin strips of flank steak. Washed down with three tall glasses of carrot juice. Ah, breakfast in Monterrey, Mexico.

But likely our only full meal today, since we leave at noon, thru Dallas, arriving LGA 10pm.

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I´m flying home tonight. This Mexico insta-trip was produtive but grueling. Last night we sat in 2 hours of traffic en route to the airport - only to face a 3 hour delay. Didn´t get to bed until 2am. Nobody said glamour would be easy. :-)

No, I Regret Nothing

That's a rough translation of Edith Piaf's signature song - or one of them. Her other emblem is 'La Vie En Rose,' or, 'Life Through Rose Colored Glasses,' which is the title of a better-than-average French biopic of the singer. This film is good, but watching it elevated to specialness by the mesmerizing performance of Marion Cotillard as Piaf.


1. Four Words That Encapsule: "Candle In Le Vent"

2. Haiku (5/7/5):
"From brothel to grave,
Street waif sang her joys and pains;
French candle burned out."

3. Oblique Comment(s): Cotillard literally becomes Piaf, from a tough, coarse young street singer through a meteoric career that left her a drug-addled wreck. It's a tour-de-force for Cotillard, first of all because she's 5'7" and Piaf was 4'11," and second because she's convicing as both young Piaf and old Piaf, each with its distinct voice, posture, facial expressions, and body language. She seems to sing the songs, though they're lip-synced to the unforgettable originals. Highly, highly recommended.

4. Insight: The film wisely darts back and forth in time, revealing pieces of the puzzle that was Piaf's life. It's a real eye-opener for those unfamiliar with her raw, pained, passionate personality of her life story, whose background, exploits, fast friends, uneasy lovers are compelling and paint quite a tableau of her life and times.

5. Link:
Metacritic reviews summary. Average of 66, like a B or B-; I'd give it at least B+, 75-80. I really liked this film. My hairstylist, Sasha, said it inspired her to resume studying French!

And here's a two-minute clip of the real Edith Piaf singing 'Je Ne Regrette Rien" for you with subtitles so you can savor the richness of the lyrics:

The trailer for 'La Vie En Rose':

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: True or false? Your teeth are about the same size and shape as a pig's.

Lynde: Look who's talking, Beaverface.

Cartoons du Jour:

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good Neighbors To The South

I'll be in Mexico when you read this, on a whiz-bang two day trip to interview eight companies in Mexico City and Monterrey, returning Thursday night.

It's my 27th trip to Mexico! ...and my 111th foreign trip overall...

It's good to travel. It's also good to come home...

Below, for your entertainment, photos from a late 2006 Mexico business trip in which I visited a juice factory. This was confidential at the time, but now it's 'de-classified' since the deal never happened...

Mexican juice factory workers punching the clock at shift-change..
A - Shift Change 3

There are many workers, but a computer system monitors the juice-bottling process....
A - Controls

Where juice is bottled, look for a mountain of sugar bags somewhere..
A - Bags Of Sugar

These wooden thingies are called 'pallets,' and are placed on a wheeled-gizmo to move heavy boxes around the plant...
A - Pallets

Paul Lynde Snappy Answer of the Day:

Q: It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics. What is the other?
Lynde: Tape measures.

Cartoons du Jour:

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