Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Adventures in the Commonwealth

Yes, I've been away. But I'm back. For now...

Cory and I both have colds, but we're otherwise uninjured from our travels, except a slight burn on my arms, where I seem to have missed a spot or two with the sunscreen. But I am getting ahead of myself.

As you know, a few weekends ago we went to the Solid Sound Festival/aka Wilcofest at Mass MoCA. I've forborne posting on it here, partly because there's already SO MUCH out there on the internets about it. If I get truly inspired, maybe I'll jot down a few notes on the subject. Suffice to say, it was an exercise in awesomness.

The following weekend, we were back in the Bay State - saw the Sox get truly pummeled by the Blue Jays at Fenway. Ugh. Still, it was a beautiful night in a beautiful place, and we were with Molly, so that can't be a bad thing.

A relaxing couple of days later, we saw a couple of our Wilcofest comrades perform at the Church. My Own Worst Enemy, live and fully rocking, in spite of a cold that Sue brought back from the Berkshires. Hey... wait a minute... is that where we got this cold from? Suuuuuuue! (insert shaking fist here.)

The next day after breakfast it was off to Martha's Vineyard. That's right: it's not just for Presidents anymore. But you knew that, because you saw it here last year. This year's stay was different, in a number of ways. And we'll count those ways in posts to come, but for now I'll start you off with a couple images of what the first couple days looked like through the window.

Please do not confuse this with a complaint! We had a wonderful time the whole week, and I'll share some photographic evidence of that in the course of the next several installments of our adventures.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Countdown to Wilco

T minus 27 hours and counting.

Tomorrow, Cory and I are taking Lola (fresh with a brand-new battery, a little ahead of schedule in my opinion, but she did have that rough day last year, and it's good not to have to worry about it) to Mass MoCA for the Solid Sound Festival, featuring the musical stylings of Wilco, Mavis Staples, the Baseball Project, the Books, and bunches of others, in the company of Sue & Steve & Laura, and graciously hosted by Sue & Kevin (and Max & Jackson!)

Can I get a Woo Hoo?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

But Mama Grizzly Says It's a Good Thing!

Paul Krugman on preserving the Bush tax cuts.

It’s a disastrous choice in both the short run and the long run.

In the short run, those state and local cutbacks are a major drag on the economy, perpetuating devastatingly high unemployment.

It’s crucial to keep state and local government in mind when you hear people ranting about runaway government spending under President Obama. Yes, the federal government is spending more, although not as much as you might think. But state and local governments are cutting back. And if you add them together, it turns out that the only big spending increases have been in safety-net programs like unemployment insurance, which have soared in cost thanks to the severity of the slump...

The antigovernment campaign has always been phrased in terms of opposition to waste and fraud — to checks sent to welfare queens driving Cadillacs, to vast armies of bureaucrats uselessly pushing paper around. But those were myths, of course; there was never remotely as much waste and fraud as the right claimed. And now that the campaign has reached fruition, we’re seeing what was actually in the firing line: services that everyone except the very rich need, services that government must provide or nobody will, like lighted streets, drivable roads and decent schooling for the public as a whole.

Ok, yes, I threw in some emphasis. I'm not sure how to put it any simpler other than to say it's a very, very bad idea.

In case you're keeping score, my opinion is that we need to roll back the cuts on more than just the top 2%.

Of course, I could be wrong.

Monday, August 09, 2010


A/K/A today's date.

Which is pretty cool.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Happy Birthday Andy

Today is Andy Warhol's birthday. Maybe you knew that; maybe you didn't. I don't know your life. And I don't know how you feel about Mssr. Andy, and I don't have anything particularly Warholian planned for today, but I did want to dash off a few words and tuck in an image or three.

I found this one connected to the DeVorzon Gallery, which is selling the Sunday B. Morning series of the Marilyn and Flowers prints, but I can't figure out whom to attribute the photo to (maybe Warhol himself?) Anyway, I really love the frame play here: says a lot about an artist who knew how important framing is, who understood the sufficiency of simply employing the notion of a frame, of simply using the conceptual frame of saying "this thing is art." And in this image (the notion of the image being another that Warhol explored beyond thoroughly), we've get mileage on a number of levels: the wooden frame within the photo frame; the artist holding the frame around himself, this singular artist who created his own public image on virtually a daily basis; the cockeyed angle of the frame, projecting a continual impulse to skew art or turn it inside out; the corner of the wooden frame extending just out of sight beyond the margin of the photo's frame. Kind of perfect.

I was not an instant fan of Andy when I was a kid; I loved a lot of the people and things he influenced (especially musicians) before I came around to loving him. But the appreciation did come on eventually, and took root pretty strongly.

So it's only right to give him a little attention on his birthday day. There was a good segment on WYNC this morning. Covered the celebrations that his friends still hold almost every year on this day (including seances, according to the report) at Serendipity 3, where Warhol drank coffee and ate ice cream (and that frozen hot chocolate!) and gathered with friends and sometimes worked in the early years. If you have 8 minutes, it's worth a listen.

When I got to Chome this afternoon (right around the corner from the Chelsea Hotel, another important location in the Warhol Universe) I had some food on Cory's Warhol/Marilyn plates. Andy would be pleased, I think, at the utilitarian application of his work, and also with its ubiquity.

And ubiquity is the right word, I think. Even this computer, with the touch of a few buttons, lets you - nay, encourages you; practically defies you not to - make a little birthday card of your own to Andy.

So now Cory and I are off to catch some Brazilian music and great companionship. Maybe afterward we'll listen to Songs for Drella. Or at least have some frozen hot chocolate...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Courage, Cowardice and the Great Western Butter Slide

I'm guessing most of you have seen some video version of Anthony Weiner's (D-NY) speech in the House of Representatives on the Health and Compensation Act intended for First Responders to the World Trade Center attacks and people who lived in the vicinity. But in case you haven't, here it is:

Just for kicks, the YouTube page I embedded this time is not sponsored by Huffington Post or some such; it purports to be more of a 'neutral' post, (which includes the usual range of subtle and thoughtful discussion in the comment section for your amusement should you wish to dive down that hole.)

Shockingly, the Right has been accusing Mr. Weiner of using the platform to get some limelight, and possibly jump-start his run for Mayor of New York. And they have been holding this up as evidence that we need to return to reasonable discourse, to restore dignity to the hallowed halls of Congress. Naturally. Because that's what they're all about.

[We'll take a brief pause while you digest that.]

More to the point for today's installment is this Op Ed by Representative Weiner himself, which describes the reasons why he felt compelled to go into Red-Faced Rant mode.

...what upset me most last week were comments voiced by Republicans who claimed to be supporters of the bill, yet who used their time on the House floor not to persuade skeptical Republican colleagues to vote yes but to excoriate Democrats for using the suspension calendar.
Emphasis mine.

And for what it's worth, if a little ranting from the Honorable Congressman shines some light on both parties' tendency to politicize suffering and exploit fear (some Republicans actually claimed they were holding this bill up because they want to make sure that it didn't benefit any illegal immigrants. Because they are the cause of all our problems. This week. Them and the gays.) then I'm, you know, pretty ok with it.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Big Takeover

No, I'm not talking about the so-funny-I-forgot-to-laugh management transfer at BP. Nor the fact that Bernadette Peters is stepping into the role that Catherine Zeta-Jones started in the current production of A Little Night Music.

I'm talking about the punk/indie/lo-fi music magazine Jack Rabid started some 30 years ago. The anniversary got some press, and they had a concert/birthday party last weekend too.

"This was the most accidental 30-year career I’ve ever seen."

Not that I went to it or anything. My weekend was spent (quite happily, thank you very much) with Cory and my sister and my father, who were resting up (sort of) from setting up her house on Long Island. In addition to the resting, Dad and I saw Winter's Tale at the Delacorte, we went shopping for air conditioners for Lori, and we all hit Citi Field for the D-Backs Debacle (Ugh. Argh. Yikes.) Plus, you know, good ol' family time.

I also missed the Bill Schimmel Accordionarama that Carl was playing in. Sigh. You can't do it all.