Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Peppers…yum.


Saturday, March 02, 2013

Pretty in Provincetown

Last summer, early morning.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Genius Failed

Books like this are why I almost never read fiction, which seems contrived. What is better than unvarnished history and facts to make a book so enjoyable. I wish this book had been longer!

Subtitled "The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Management", this book by Roger Lowenstein was written in 2000 and is even richer because of the way it translates to the housing bubble and subsequent financial crisis. Proving there is nothing new under the sun, one could lift entire paragraphs and seamlessly place them in a book written in 2011 about the previous decade.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Texture: Rust Never Sleeps

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Favorite New Album

PJ Harvey:
Let England Shake

Favorite songs:
On Battleship Hill
The Colour of the Earth
Hanging on the Wire

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Spirit

ELAINE: Anyway so Fred and I are going to do some volunteer work for that Church on Amsterdam.

JERRY: Oh, volunteer work!. See that's what I like about the holiday season. That's the true spirit of Christmas. People being helped by people other than me. That makes me feel good inside.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Crazy for God

I was introduced to Frank Schaeffer via this segment on Rachel Maddow and decided I needed to read his memior, "Crazy for God". I'm glad I did. It's a helluva book. This guy has led a dynamic life and beyond his tell-all about the psychotic and hypocritical evangelists we all know, he mainly shows how living a faith is more important than touting a faith.

Most enlightening was the portrayal of his famous parents who were horrified by the political and hateful direction fundamentalism took after Roe v. Wade. All in all I'd recommend this book to anyone. It's one of those books that is hard to put down. His life is a roller coaster!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Early Morning Rain























This Gordon Lightfoot song blows me away. Simple strumming acoustic guitar and that soaring voice. Available here.

In the early morning rain
With a dollar in my hand
With an achin' in my heart
And my pockets full of sand
I'm a long way from home
And I miss my loved ones so
In the early morning rain
With no place to go

Out on runway number nine
Big 707 set to go
But I'm stuck here in the grass
Where the cold wind blows
Now the liquor tasted good
And the women all were fast
Well there she goes my friend
Well she's rollin' down at last

Hear the mighty engines roar
See the silver bird on high
She's away and westward bound
Far above the clouds she'll fly
Where the mornin' rain don't fall
And the sun always shines
She'll be flyin' o'er my home
In about three hours time

This old airport's got me down
It's no earthly good to me
'Cause I'm stuck here on the ground
As cold and drunk as I can be
You can't jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I'd best be on my way
In the early morning rain
You can't jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I'd best be on my way
In the early morning rain

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Come January 4

Ian McCullough of Echo and the Bunnymen from Rolling Stone:

RS: How did it feel to turn 50 this year?
Ian: Being 50 means nothing to me. The idea of being dead, now that’ll be fucking weird.

Friday, September 04, 2009

500 Days of Summer

Romantic comedies are tricky. This film has all sorts of schemes to avoid the predictable.

For example, the 500 days are enumerated on screen as dividers to separate flashbacks and give chronological guidance. The art behind the numbers is even shaded to correspond to the mood of the romance at that point in time. There are lots of other gimmicks and plenty of pop musical soundtrack (and I mean plenty) to flesh out the ups and downs of the main character's infatuation with Summer (the girl).

I liked the film although it exploited one of my cinematic pet peeves: the precocious child who has unbelievable insight into adult relationships. This peeve is accompanied by an equally annoying corollary: the adult friend who is has an unbelievable lack of insight into adult relationships.

Nevertheless, see it. It's fun. The music is good, even if every nook and cranny is filled with it. The acting is good even though at times you just want to slap the characters out of their self-indulgence.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not sure I want this job

Genuine line from job ad on Monster.com:

EFFORT:
Sitting for long periods of time at a computer. Must be able to see, hear and speak. Filing, fingering and sorting is a usual activity.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I'll Be Your Mirror

A classic song beautifully redone by Beck et. al.

Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico "I'll Be Your Mirror" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Herring Cove Beach on cloudy day





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Wood End Lighthouse

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The Red Inn

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Beautiful muck

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Fences

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Herring Cove Beach, the moors are dry

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Update: euphemisms for "died"

Here's an interesting addition to my previous post culling obituaries for alternatives to the traditional "died".

"crossed the finish line, took the checkered flag, entered victory lane and raced home into the outstretched arms of Jesus"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Away We Go

Decent movie with wonderful acting by Maya Rudolph. The movie is a little too earnest at times, kinda like an indie folk song that tries hard to be hip, subtle, funny and serious at the same time.

It is very funny though. The scene skewering the new age couple (aka awful parents) is really funny. The couple is against sugar and strollers which says it all. They're morons and our main couple calls them out appropriately.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Up

The best word for this film is "darling." Wonderful entertainment on many levels.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Dated, juvenile and not that funny.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea


LOL funny...to the point I had to come in the house from reading this hilarious book in the back yard because I'm sure the neighbors thought I was a guffawing lunatic.

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Will You Take Me As I Am?


Michelle Mercer's exposition of Joni Mitchell's Blue Period, defined as spanning the five albums Blue through Hejira, features some nice biographical details and lyrical insights. However, like the recent Wolff book about Rupert Murdoch, the author's unprecedented access to subject yields an unfocused and bloated book.

Do we really need 3 pages about Loudon Wainwright vacillating on the curative nature of songwriting? It's tangents like these that make the reader realize this short book would have been a much more interesting long magazine article, with the appropriate editor.

There is even a blatant factual error at one point (Tin Angel is not on Joni's first album).

Joni comes off as somewhat arrogant and misguided (e.g. rationalization of her life-long smoking addiction, laughable mentions of astrological crap) but Mercer appropriately counters this and delights us with a final section about the things Joni likes, culled from her hours of interviews and other sources. As such, both author and subject are rehabilitated at the end. Joni is obviously brilliant and talented but her concomitant ego dulls the shine. She reminds me of Michael Schermer's book, "Why People Believe Weird Things."

The most interesting revelation is a background story about the song "Court and Spark", something Larry Klein (Joni's ex-husband) divulged that Joni did not want exposed. Understandably, I think, she did not want the universal nature of the song delimited by a specific anecdote. However, now that the cat's out of the bag, the background provides an utterly fascinating view of Joni's songwriting process: the assimilation of an encounter with someone and its transformation to serve the song in an enigmatic and different way.

Finally, if one is covering the "blue period" of an artist, it follows that a clearer and more chronological review would serve the reader best. The author bounces around in time way too much, pays inordinate attention to "Blue" and virtually ignores "The Hissing of Summer Lawns".

I'd give this book a "C-" but any self-respecting Joni fan will gobble it up as I did and relish the positives over the negatives.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Last Tycoons


Hats off to William Cohan for a wonderful book about the history of an investment bank. In almost 700 pages we learn the exhaustive history of Lazard and its Great Men.

The title is "The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co." The long subtitle is "A tale of unrestrained ambition, billion-dollar fortunes, byzantine power struggles, and hidden scandal." Indeed!

For 150+ years these bankers dispensed advice to businesses and earned enormous fees. It's all here--from the small dry goods store founded in New Orleans to Bruce Wasserstein commandeering the company in 2002 and taking it public shortly thereafter.

What might sound boring or exhausting is, for the most part, actually engaging. I think this is due to Cohan's ability to corral a million facts into highly readable and even action-packed prose. I'm downright envious of his writing ability.

My only nit to pick is the lack of photos. Given the depth of characterizations it would have been handy to see what the players look like.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Star Trek

Loved it. I think it succeeds on action alone but mixes some predictable and surprise elements in the plot and characterizations to keep a long-time fan entertained. I actually left the theater in a good mood. It's also the first film in a while that hasn't made me check my watch mid-film.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Doggie!

Tulips

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hopper























I loved this overview of Edward Hopper's career. Some of the text is overwrought but remains insightful for the most part. The reproductions are wonderful. Some captions go beyond the basics with added commentary. This title turned my Hopper fever up a degree or two, which is welcome.

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Sunshine Cleaning

The story of how a missing component affects lives: missing mother, missing arm, etc.

The art of the deal escapes Alan Arkin's character as he disposes of gobs of shrimp. Why? Board of Health ruins his plan. Also, the Cleaning Company needs to get certified to get insurance. It seems the direct path to entrepreneurial success is burdened by bureaucracy.

Are these characters growing up? High school affair remains in force. Everybody knows. Even the wife.

This movie is full of life but subtle.

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Two Lovers

This dark and downmarket Woody Allen ripoff got worse and worse as the film progressed (or better, regressed). Pass.

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Duplicity

I saw this movie starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen a week ago and can't remember anything about it except is was forgettable.

It was all plot driven and very complicated resulting in...not much.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Adventureland

Finally, a good film! It occurred to me that this is the type of film where many scenes left this wannabe director thinking "I wish I had thought of that".

Random thoughts:

A moving scene shows a silent car ride to "Pale Blue Eyes". It's a beautiful scene. The bridge structure overhead floats by.

References to Lou Reed permeate the film.

Ryan Reynolds brings back memories of the Matthew McConaughey character in "Dazed and Confused".

Good soundtrack effectively used.

Funny as hell. "Strong-ish" is the response when the nerd saves a drunk girl from falling. The delay between syllables is perfect.

The lights outside the bus in New York resemble the lights of Adventureland; the next adventure starts in New York.

I might even see this one a second time.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Perfect Easter video

Thursday, April 09, 2009

I love this TV commercial

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One more reason to like President Obama

"It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I’m talking
about before I speak."
PRESIDENT OBAMA, defending his decision to wait a few days
before expressing anger over bonuses paid to executives of the
insurance giant A.I.G.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Armchair Economist

Causes of the economic downturn, aka The Great Deleverage:

1. Too much borrowing (individuals and institutions)
2. Ratings agencies (conflict of interest being paid by those they rate)
3. Lack of efficacious regulation
4. Insufficient capital requirements for derivatives
5. Existence of institutions "too big to fail" (Achilles heel for economic national security)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Cute but ultimately futile.

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I Love You Man

The story of two unlikeable characters who form a friendship so one can have the other as best man. If you're interested so far, see it. If not, you win what's behind door #2: $6.50 and two hours of life.

Honestly, are they not even trying to make good films anymore?

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Two" by Ryan Adams

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tornado Watch