Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Deborah!

My happiest birthday wishes to my good friend, Deborah Papson, who I've always found charming and smart, always a burst of good energy... Alas I have no picture, though I one day to give her a crash course in e-mailing digital pictures. :-) For now, I offer warm regards and pretty flowers, which are thankfully everywhere... But first, some toddlers wish to sing Happy Birthday to Deborah in Hebrew...

.I found this tulip bed in Jackie Robinson Park, up in the W 140s, where I was visiting Fernando & Sunil on Sunday..


Roses are pink at Rockefeller Center on a lovely spring afternoon, not far from where Deborah works... If she'd only play hooky more often... : - )

Also close to Deborah's office is the Helmsley Palace, and on the sidewalk in front the landscaped urns of red tulips are peaking in the sun...

Inside the Helmsley courtyard, more great stone bowls of colorful flowers... I love pinks and purples...

Cartoon du Jour: Irritable Spouse Syndrome

Engrish du Jour: A Most Peculiar Map

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Progress! The Great Kitchen Project winds down.. Here's the lovely tile pattern on my 'backsplash,' that portion of the wall behind my sink, dishwasher, and stove... (Meanwhile, Thomas posted interesting new photos from Argentina..)

And here's the close-up view....

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Enjoy this hilarious comedy/music clip, 'It's Business Time,' by Flight of the Conchords...

Time Flies Like An Arrow

DSC03634Fruit flies like a banana - Groucho Marx.

I miss the weekend already, though I am happy my kitchen is coming together. I had two lovely brunches (locally with Carlos and up in Hamilton Heights with Fernando & Sunil) and Saturday night was Q'Doba (pronounced Kyoo-doe-bah) and that Abu Graihb documentary, 'Standard Operating Procedure,' which I hope to review on Friday...

Here I am, at left, having latte and biscotti while chatting with Fernando.

Sunil, Fernando's boyfriend, is back from a month-long epic passage to India. I heard all about it Sunday. I can't wait to see the photos....

And here are Fernando and Sunil. We had brunch at 'Acapulco,' a Mexican place on Broadway between 143rd & 144th... We spoke Spanish with the staff and ate hearty, healthy and authentic fare, which I shall feature in an upcoming Food Journey segment...

You need not fear the Great North. On the West Side, up above 125th St, I found only vintage architecture, green spaces, community, landmarks, and surprising spacious streets popping up here and there, defying The Grid... Here's Fernando in St Nicholas' Park..

Fernando's great comment, passing this public works project: 'They sure got Spitzer's name off there in a hurry!' : - ) Our new governor, David Patterson, is becoming a personal hero to me... His legal blindness has been a non-issue throughout decades in law and politics. Fernando said that an auditorium full of blind children listened to him take the oath, showing them what they, too, could aspire to....

Remember this artsy shot of Mexico City's Torre Mayor from last year - see Sunday's post for more on the topic...

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: That's My Philosophy!

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Monday, April 28, 2008

This one's for my Mom. Who's afraid of Perry Como? : - )

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From France, With Attitude...

We have a wicked Song/Video of the Week today, 'Love No' by the Teenagers, in which the singer does a deadpan imitation of his girlfirend's incessant nagging, over an irresistible garage rock/new wave riff. The whole album is like this! Not everybody's cup of thé, but I think it's hilarious... From the accent I thought they were German or Scandinavian, but their venomous wit and muscular hooks are indeed from 'La Douce France...' These French 'teenagers' make Tatie Danielle look like Mr. Rogers (anybody get both of those references?)

Without further ado, the terrific black & white clip of "Love No," which has become a big favorite of mine...

They're on the offensive in their debut single, 'Homecoming,' their 'calling card' song, which is garage rock's scrappy, nasty answer to 'Summer Nights' from Grease... Here, the singer seduces his aunt's step-daughter, and while she sings 'I love my English romance,' he echoes something so rude I can't write it... But I admire their chutzpah...

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: Take Bake All Garbage

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Both Sides Now

When in Mexico on business, I usually stay at the Four Seasons, and my room looks out either on the beautiful inner courtyard (pictured below) or the four surrounding streets, three of which are fairly quiet...

But the northern street view is the lively grandeur and lush rush of Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City's major east-west artery....

Looking north from my room, across Paseo, is Torre Mayor, the tallest building in Latin America.
I got that view last year, and took this photo.


Note the word 'IXE' at the top - that's a major Mexican investment bank with offices therein. Last week, we met with IXE, and I got finally got to see Torre Mayor from the inside.

Here's a vast panorama of Mexico City taken from Torre Mayor's top-most floor, its 51st, from the balcony of posh 51 restaurant (see Food Journey of last Sunday, April 20, below)

Life at the top, balcony seating... It's windy up there, but with such a fence, falling off is not easy...

Criss-crossing Mexico City highways are the eastern view from IXE's Torre Mayor offices...

As promised yesterday, the light at the end of my kitchen tunnel. This really might be finished as early as Wednesday!


Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: Asian Rear

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tonight I'm seeing Errol Morris' disturbing 'Standard Operating Procedure,' which ponders the what, how, and why of Abu Grahib, including its photography... Here's the trailer... Review on Friday...

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The Food Journey: Chennai Garden

Way below, some kitchen-overhaul chaos. But first: a fortnight back, I feasted with David and his friends Jennifer & Daniel at two standout eateries: the fabu-vegetarian Chennai Garden on East 28th between Lex and 3rd, and the exposed brick late dessert comfort of Raffaela's, right by me on 9th Avenue and 21st.

What a luscious Chennai starter salad, spicy and tangy, with tamarind, yogurt, and green sauces dueling over garbanzos and their ilk:

These veggie dipping appetizers, though more commonplace, were fried to perfection... love the aqua dinnerware!

It's the main event.. Dhosa! Dhosa! Dhosa with me - the crispy pancake-shaped outside, the spiced potato & vegetable inside, the sauces, the white perfection of rice...

Peanut-coconut garnish concotion is quite irresistable... David chose a non-dhosa main dish, equally delectable...

David and Jennifer left, Daniel right.. for those who say I don't post enough of people...

Raffaela's pictures coming soon... Back to the kitchen project.. Here's what my living room looked like this week as Dan the contractor/designer painted it with the kitchen...

Displaced living room items compounded the clutter that is my bedroom...

But yesterday, paint job done, counter top installed, I began to see the gleaming kitchen at the end of the tunnel.. I'll show you THAT tomorrow..

Cartoon du Jour: Unlikely Questions

Engrish du Jour: Anxious Refrigerator

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Paint Job

The great kitchen project reaches the living room!

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T for Transformative

Last Sunday Christi & I saw Tom McCarthy's 'The Visitor,' a small and subtle film, but a rewarding one. Richard Jenkins plays a middle-aged college professor, a widower who's more bored and lonely that he'd ever admit. His life is impercetibly, indescribably altered by his encounter with a pair of undocumented immigrants who've been duped into falsely rented his NY pad. Our hero soon breaks the ice with the Syrian musician and his Senegalese artisan wife and discovers unexpected joys but also sad current political realities. Never exaggerated, always believable, well-acted and well-director.

1. Four Words That Encapsule: 'Chance Meeting Alters Life'

2. Haiku: (5/7/5)
'Birth, love, location,
accidents of fate and choice;
World, just let them be!'

'We're all stuck in ruts
varied in extent and form;
Fly over cuckoo!'

3. Oblique Commentary: For McCarthy, a worthy follow-up to 2005's 'The Station Agent.' For Jenkins, known to many as Six Feet Under's late patriarch Nathaniel Fisher, a show of versatility, in which accent, posture, and body language make you forget Fisher pretty quickly.

4. Insight: McCarthy's on-location filming is dead-on, particularly Washington Square Park musicians and the dubious downscale 'detention facility' in deepest Queens. Without being heavy-handed or biased, McCarthy shows us the inane, impersonal, and ultimately cruel way in which detainees are 'handled.' (Of course, this is outsourced - privatization redux).

5. Link: Metacritic summary of reviews. Graded 80 by 23 reviewers, this is an A-/B+ and already among the year's better-received films.

Here's the trailer, judge for yourself:

Cartoon du Jour:

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stop and Post The Flowers

Though I'm insanely busy, the blog must go on... I'm really sweating it this week... Spring splendor continues, highs in the mid-70s, and in the middle of my consciousness..

Buckets of redness...

Box of brightness...


Come on, budding leaves, you can do it!

Could I get any closer?

Cartoon du Jour:

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hello Dad

My Dad passed away in 1991, and today would have been his 72nd birthday...

Here are my parents and Andres, my first boyfriend, in 1990 - my parents look very young here, and, indeed, they were only 5 years old than I am now....

That's kind of a surreal....

New York Spring

...as promissed, photos of New York spring, taken yesterday on route to the eye doctor...

Flower-filled imported jumbo cement pots...

Budding tree on my wind-swept street...

Flower blooms ready for their close-up...

Post-bloom tulip beds in the Park Avenue divider...

Cartoon du Jour:

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