Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 27, 2011

Going to be back and forth between this game and The Oscars. I hope the rivalry is re-established. I still remember Jeff Van Gundy grabbing Alonzo Mourning's legs and holding on for dear life.

Still only saw The Social Network but will be watching anyway. Will have to see True Grit and The King's Speech sooner or later. People whose opinion I trust continue to rave about The King's Speech.

Michael Argirion and Jeff Knurek share the by-line and as of tomorrow Michael Argirion will be retiring. I do it every morning on the internet site working against the clock. David L. Hoyt will be the new Jumbler with Jeff Knurek.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

February 26, 2011

Beers for the weekend are Guinness Stout and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Straight and mixed.

Not crowded and not much available. But, Spring is coming soon.

American pussy willow (Salix discolor), native to northern North America. Pussy Willows are a classic harbinger of spring, opening well before the crocuses and snowdrops.

George with a bird on his head.

Bonk, a book about sex research by science writer Mary Roach was fascinating and hilarious. A great line: “My favourite sentence in the entire oeuvre of Alfred Kinsey, from Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female: “Cheese crumbs spread in front of a copulating pair of rats may distract the female, but not the male”.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21, 2011 - George Washington's BD

Yikes ! More snow.

Pretty scenery, though.

Well, it is George Washington's Birthday celebration, not President's Day. Here is the NYSE take on the matter:

Washington's Birthday was first declared a federal holiday by an 1879 act of Congress. The Monday Holiday Law, enacted in 1968, shifted the date of the commemoration of Washington's Birthday from February 22 to the third Monday in February, but neither that law nor any subsequent law changed the name of the holiday from Washington's Birthday to President's Day.

Although the third Monday in February has become popularly known as President's Day, the NYSE's designation of Washington's Birthday as an Exchange holiday (Rule 51) follows the form of the federal holiday outlined above (section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code).

Time for Lasagna.

Cadillac Margaritas too. This brand El Caballo Estrella Tequila is 100% de Blue Agave and about $5 cheaper than Jose Cuervo. Tequila is Tequila. I also use Gran Gala Orange Liqueur instead of Grand Marnier because it is half the price. A mixed drink allows many variations.

The Ninth Annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party at Madison Square Park will be June 11th and June 12th.

Today's NYT has a good interview of Walt Frazier. A book I have in my collection, Rockin' Steady has been re-issued.

Q.The revised book still has the segment about how you caught flies to get quick hands. Do you still do it?

A.They don’t come around me anymore. [Frazier laughed.] They heard about my reputation. They stay away from me now.

Robert Vaughn in The Magnificent Seven also had a thing about flies.

Lee: [Grabs at three flies - opens his hand] One. There was a time when I'd have gotten all three.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

February 20. 2011

Today's NYT Magazine has an article about the U.S.A. Memory Championship. I remember reading The Art of Memory and The Memory Palace of Mateo Ricci and applying the same techniques. They work.

Saw The Social Network and it was OK, thought-provoking and Jesse Eisenberg does a great job capturing the awkward genius at work. The dialogue is good but cannot approach anything by Paddy Chayefsky.

Vanity Fair has a good interview of Sean Parker , the person played by Justin Timberlake.

Gage: Mr. Zuckerberg, do I have your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: [stares out the window] No.
Gage: Do you think I deserve it?
Mark Zuckerberg: [looks at Gage] What?
Gage: Do you think I deserve your full attention?
Mark Zuckerberg: I had to swear an oath before we began this deposition, and I don't want to perjure myself, so I have a legal obligation to say no.
Gage: Okay - no. You don't think I deserve your attention.
Mark Zuckerberg: I think if your clients want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try - but there's no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention - you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.
Mark Zuckerberg: Did I adequately answer your condescending question?

Dominick's Hot Dogs voted the best in NYC by the Daily News. I agree, they're great.

Newly found Dashiell Hammett short story to be published later this month by The Strand.

I'm canceling my subscription to Newsweek, only 48 pages recently and a lot of good writers have jumped ship. I get a lot of magazines, a habit from school fund-raising appeals. Time will probably be canceled next.

The New Yorker still puts out a good magazine and I just subscribed. This week's piece on Scientology is worth reading, long, detailed and fascinating. Their on-line archive is also terrific and available to subscribers.

Serge Ibaka had an interesting stunt in the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest. Blake Griffin won the thing by jumping over a car.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February 19, 2011

Last night was Paddy Chayefsky night on Turner Classic Movies. They are having their usual Oscar Festival. The Hospital wears well, it is still a great movie.

Sidney Aaron Chayefsky received his more familiar nickname of Paddy while in the army during World War II. One Friday night, pork was being served in the mess hall. Rather than eat food forbidden him as an orthodox Jew, he said, in a put-on Irish brogue, that he was forbidden from eating meat on a Friday. His fellow soldiers, amused by this, started calling him Paddy, and the nickname stuck.

Paddy Chayefsky wrote such wonderful dialogue. I didn't stay up for Network but ordered the DVD from Barnes and Noble- $7.97, a steal.

Edmund Drummond: So at 9:15 this morning I rang for my nurse...
Bock: Rang for your nurse?
Edmund Drummond: To ensure one full hour of uninterrupted privacy.
Bock: Good.

Nelson Chaney: All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting.
Frank Hackett: We're not a respectable network. We're a whorehouse network, and we have to take whatever we can get.
Nelson Chaney: Well, I don't want any part of it. I don't fancy myself the president of a whorehouse.
Frank Hackett: That's very commendable of you, Nelson. Now sit down. Your indignation is duly noted; you can always resign tomorrow.

And, Bill Holden, doing what Chayefsky does best, looking back on decisions and consequences in a complex world.

Max Schumacher: I feel lousy about the pain that I've caused my wife and kids. I feel guilty and conscience-stricken, and all of those things you think sentimental, but which my generation calls simple human decency. And I miss my home, because I'm beginning to get scared shitless, because all of a sudden it's closer to the end than the beginning, and death is suddenly a perceptible thing to me, with definable features.

Beatrice Straight's Oscar-winning role in Network (1976) lasted a mere 5 minutes and 40 seconds on screen, making her performance the briefest ever to win an acting Oscar:

Louise Schumacher
: Get out, go anywhere you want, go to a hotel, go live with her, and don't come back. Because, after 25 years of building a home and raising a family and all the senseless pain that we have inflicted on each other, I'm damned if I'm going to stand here and have you tell me you're in love with somebody else. Because this isn't a convention weekend with your secretary, is it? Or - or some broad that you picked up after three belts of booze. This is your great winter romance, isn't it? Your last roar of passion before you settle into your emeritus years. Is that what's left for me? Is that my share? She gets the winter passion, and I get the dotage? What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to sit at home knitting and purling while you slink back like some penitent drunk? I'm your wife, damn it. And, if you can't work up a winter passion for me, the least I require is respect and allegiance. I hurt. Don't you understand that? I hurt badly.

My tax refund came in today, it was delayed for acceptance and only went in this Tuesday. Party Time ! Mimosas to start the day, with leftover truffles from Valentine's Day. Most of the cash infusion will be saved, but a little "Mad Money" must be spent, our National Economy needs it and I will do my share.

Outback time. A chain, but you can do well if you order correctly. A little Surf and Turf is in order. As are Margaritas.

Also ordered Simone Dinnerstein's Bach: A Strange Beauty and J.S. Bach: Goldberg Variations.

Had a Borders Gift Card with remaining money on it and went there today after reading about their upcoming Bankruptcy. Picked this one up and had a 33% discount coupon to boot. Atul Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto looked too good to pass up.

Beers for the long weekend are Barrier Brewery's Barrier Rembrandt Coffee Porter and On Cask: Barrier Smoked Scottish Ale.

Monday, February 14, 2011

February 14, 2011

Start the day with Champagne and Godiva Truffles.

Nectar Impèrial is the outcome of a special assemblage of the three grape varieties built around the structure of the Pinot Noir. It was designed to preserve the fresh taste of champagne while offering a subtle sweetness.

Approximately 200 individual crus make up this cuvèe. The traditional proportions for Nectar Impèrial are:
• 50-60% Pinot Noir
• 20-30% Pinot Meunier
• 10% Chardonnay
• 10-20% vins de réserve

Bill Murray and D.A. Points win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Carl Spackler would be proud.

Carl Spackler: So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one -- big hitter, the Lama -- long, into a ten-thousand foot crevice, right at the base of this glacier. And do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga...gunga -- gunga galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consiousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Reading for next weekend's Presidents' Day Thomas Paine's Common Sense. Always heard of it and never read it, inspired to read it by Chernow's Washington: A Life.

A Guilty Pleasure, I get a real kick out of watching Survivor. The new twist is Redemption Island where losing contestants can win their way back.

Tonight starts Man v. Machine. Go Humans !

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 13, 2011

CBS Sunday Morning had a nice piece on Herb Alpert. Not Latin, and neither was the Tijuana Brass. Interesting man with a generous heart.

The best trumpet piece outside of Louis Armstrong.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February 12, 2011

Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up, and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable - a most sacred right - a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world.
Abraham Lincoln

Marcus Yam for The New York Times

Wrote about Mexican Singers on the NYC Subway in December. They are now the subject of a NYT Article.

This book was excellent. I enjoyed the many maxims of war throughout:
Kadavergehorsam - corpse like obedience, blind obedience;

Marshal Foch
Mon centre cède, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j'attaque.
My centre is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking;

On S'engage; Et Puis, On Voit
(you engage and then you see)
One attacks, then waits to see what happens;

MEANING: noun: The point of focus; an area of concentrated effort, especially in a military operation.

ETYMOLOGY: From German Schwerpunkt (center of gravity, focal point), from schwer (weighty) + Punkt (point).

Another phrase from the book: l'esprit de l'escalier
(idiomatic) The experience of thinking of a devastating rejoinder only after leaving the scene of the debate. AKA: Staircase wit.

Noel Coward was a friend and correspondent.
Noel Coward, who told the actor Peter O'Toole (who played Lawrence in the film Lawrence of Arabia) that "If you'd been any prettier, it would have been Florence of Arabia."

At the time Lawrence was going under the name "Shaw", and signing himself, for example in the guest book at Philip Sassoon's Port Lympne estate, as "338171 A/C Shaw", Noel Coward in a letter to him asked "May I call you 338?"

Picked this one up at the Queens Library, part of my continuing exploration of popular culture. I enjoyed other Singer/Entertainer biographies of Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and Bob Dylan. They all tapped into the Zeitgeist. Sinatra did too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11, 2011

Tomorrow is Lincoln's Birthday, this picture captures the young man on the rise.

April 6, 1859: Letter to Henry L. Pierce
This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.

Still plowing through Chernow's Washington: A Life. I guess I had known it before but it was astonishing to see the number of Slaves (over 300) owned by Washington and his family. Chernow in an interview states:"I really felt that it was not a trivial fact of this man's life that he owned 300 human beings."

Egypt will put the Middle East on the right path , the alternative is unthinkable. Mubarak is no longer "Cling Tut." My recent readings involving Lawrence of Arabia schooled me in the development of the Modern Middle East by France and Great Britain with the Balfour Declaration. T.E. Lawrence preferred that the Arab states map their own destiny. The State of Israel also figures in the balance. The next couple of years will be interesting. The new era begins. Good luck world !

I'm a spy in the house of love
I know the dream, that you're dreamin' of
I know the word that you long to hear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I know your deepest, secret fear
I'm a spy, I can see
What you do
And I know

Time to kick back and take a little time off, like a four day weekend. Can't believe I was granted a Snow Day for dragging myself to work on January 27th. Will make use of it on Valentine's Day.

Rose sculptures on Park Avenue , a new public arts project by Will Ryman. Nice touch of color for the Winter.

Beer for the weekend is the Newcastle Brown Ale DraughtKeg. Smooth and tasty, not heavy at all.

With Egypt the biggest story in a decade, Time goes with Singularity as the cover. Computers will think like humans do by the end of the 2020s. Singularity — at which the progress of machines will supersede that of humans, put at 2045.