Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Matthew's drone over marsh on Hoffman Road in Rochester, New York

The news that the Flash, the reigning National Women’s Soccer League champions, have been sold and are leaving Rochester is totally depressing. I don’t want to talk about it.

Our nephew was in town with his family and we suggested he put his drone up above the marsh on Hoffman Road. He put it way up and grabbed some dramatic shots of our house, high resolution shots that included the city skycap in the distance.

We stopped in the Memorial Art Gallery to see the M. C. Escher show. His prints were so popular back in the day, especially the ones that inverted gravity, and they still look good today even without the smoke. Escher travelled to Spain in 1922 and 1936 and nothing had a greater impact on his work than the Alhambra in Granada where he was captivated by the interlocking Moorish designs of tile work on the floors and walls. I like this quote of his. “I know of no greater pleasure than to wander over hills and through vales, from village to village, feeling the effects of unspoiled nature and enjoying the unexpected and unlooked for…”


Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Foxy Divea licens plates at the Friendly Home in Rochester, New York

I’m guessing these plates belong to one of the caretakers at the Friendly Home and not one of the staff, residents or a visitor. You have to have a pretty good sense of humor or at least a healthy dose of self worth to work there. In a perfect world they would be paid a lot more. Peggi had altered a couple pairs of her pants and we stopped in her room to hang them up. My mom wasn’t in but two other residents were, one asleep in my mom’s chair and the other sitting on my mom’s bed. My mom has been abstracting reality for some time now but the place itself pretty darned abstract. My mom used to say, “You wouldn’t believe what goes on in here.” She hasn’t carried a purse in years but today she told us she needed a bigger one.

Dating Yourself

Friday, December 30th, 2016

The old Dentico's Italian Villa on Culver Road in Rochester, New York

585 Magazine has a feature in the new issue on solo dining that is a must read for singles. The piece is written by our friend, Martin, so we are biased but there are some good restaurant tips in there for couples as well.

I first met Martin when he was working for Midtown Records on the second floor of the mall. I loved that store because they had real urban crowd and the 45 racks were well stocked and up to the minute. Martin tells the story of when Lenny Silver brought in a truckload of Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” 12 inches and piled them next to the register in the front of the store. He sold them all. Martin had a long ponytail at the time and he was looking to join a band but he didn’t have an instrument. He bought something he called “the plank,” a homemade bass guitar, before our first practice as the HiTechs. We opened for Grandmaster Flash at the Haunt in Ithaca. They had a song called “White Lines” at the time. “White lines, don’t do it.” They were were doing it.

I’m glad to see Martin is back in the food critic business. He used to do quite a bit of that, anonymously, back in the Refrigerator days. Maybe he’ll comment on this post. I’ve probably mixed up some of the so-called facts. I did a painting many years ago of Martin as “The Eccentric.”

Hi-Techs - Subscription
Hi-Techs – Subscription

Without Any Words

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Snow covered tree near Lake Eastman in Durand Eastman Park

Peggi just told me that the pop-up of the photo in my last post wasn’t working. I fixed it but I may have missed the opportunity to send you a holiday greet so I am calling your attention to it. Of course the photo above works just as well without any words.

OK, Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Paul, Peggi and Danny Wegman at the Ridge Culver Wegman's

Louise emailed me to remind me that it had been three days since I last posted here. She gave me an out by suggesting that I must be busy. Busy skiing in the park, visiting my mother and discarding the dead possum that Peggi found in the backyard. Some animal went right for the guts.

Oh yeah and we happened to be in Wegmans when “corporate” showed up. That’s how how our cashier described it. We knew something was up when we saw the employees gathered around the enterance, just kinda standing around, something that would have driven my uncle crazy when I worked for him at his Super Duper stores. He was was a sticker for staying busy in the down times.

Leaf Scarf

Monday, December 19th, 2016

Snowman with leaf scarf in Durand Eastman Park

With a couple of holiday parties under our belt and planning underway for a family gathering I have gained a clearer understand of the fuzzy line between function and disfunction. It was crystalized by a conversation I had with a married couple who were sitting at opposite ends of a long table. The woman was doing most of the talking and told us how they both came from large families. I thought my was large at seven siblings. They had eight and nine.

The woman said her family gathered somewhere different every year and they all got along but they had a few ground rules that were established because of previous problems. No one was to talk about politics, religion and another topic that I can’t remember but it was big enough to leave pretty much only the weather. And then she gestured toward the other end of the table. “His family is completely dysfunctional.”

The guy said, “That’s because I told a couple of them that they were full of shit.” And we all laughed.

Real Winter

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Birch tree trunks along Durand Eastman Beach in Rochester, New York

There was just enough snow for us to ski for the first time this year. The temperature was in the teens and there was a brisk wind off the lake. It was exhilarating.

Let’s hope we get a real winter this year. The kind where businesses are closed and the snow falls so fast you can’t shovel it all in one session. Enough snow to bring trees down in the woods, to knock the power out, enough so that even the mail can’t get through. The kind where you can’t leave the house for a week or so.

Standing Rock

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Inside out Pomegranate on kitchen counter

I was so happy to read that the Army will not approve an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. A real victory for the Native American tribes and protesters!

The RoCo Members show is always a treat. It is my favorite show of theirs most years with one work from every member and there are a record number of members this year. The show is still visibly pleasing and credit must go to those who hung the show. Or maybe it is simply the abundance of engaging work. This is really something for Rochester to be proud of.

Louise brought us two Pomegranates for Thanksgiving dinner. We had one with Mascarpone for dinner that day and we hung on to the other. I cut into it this morning and squeezed and knocked the seeds out as she had shown us. It was juicier and much sweeter than the first. The inverted shell looked quite exotic, like coral or something, and I took a few shots of it. It would look good in Instagram’s square format.

Earth Art

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

Chopped up leaves on the front yard

My watch says I walked 7.56 miles yesterday and I never left the yard. We raked and then mowed our leaves. In a good year we only mow the so called lawn once but we have mowed (aka mulched) the leaves four times. This should it. We have about two inches of chopped up leaves out there and it looks something like Robert Smithson’s earth art.

I Don’t Know

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

Maple leaves standing in the snow in late November

Many Maple trees, the Sugar Maples in particular, turn brilliant colors early and drop their leaves before the oaks but Norway Maples turn yellow and hang on. When they fell en masse a few days ago, with rain/wind/snow punch, they landed upright in the snow. It looked unnatural, like an art installation or something.

Recording live, as we do at the Little Theater, has spoiled me. The song is done as soon as we play it. We put a title on some and post them on the site but when we hit two hundred songs I started looking for ones to retire before putting another up in its place. The song below was recorded last week. Conceived, played, mixed and recorded in as much time as the song is long. Simple.

Multi-track recording is a whole other story. We got together here a few months ago, six sessions, a couple hours each and laid down some improvised tracks. Since then we’ve done piano overdubs. We’ve looped sections created ending through editing. We mashed a few songs together as one. Peggi doubled one of her sax tracks. We’ve replaced whole tracks with new takes. We tore the drums and bass out from under one song and put congas and electric bass on it. We’re adding bass clarinet next week. All this is a lot of work. Many nights are consumed with compressor settings and reverb plug ins. I haven’t even had time to check in here.

Does all of this sound any better than closing our eyes and knocking the songs off live? I don’t know.

Listen to “Inner Dialog” by Margaret Explosion, recorded last week at the Little Theater Café
Margaret Explosion - Inner Dialog
Margaret Explosion – Inner Dialog
Margaret Explosion plays Wednesday evenings at the Little Theatre Café.

Waiting For The White Out

Sunday, November 20th, 2016

Green and brown leaves on concrete driveway


Saturday, November 19th, 2016

Sewer manhole cover at the top o Hoffman Road in Rochester, New York

I guess I never came across our town seal until the other day. Gerundegut is the Native American word for “Where the Land and the waters meet,” a perfect description of town, now know as Irondequoit. When we lived in the city I chronicled the nearby manhole covers in this slideshow. I’m going to start looking down again.

Bare Bones

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

10 point buck off Wisner Road in Rochester, New York

The day before election day we saw “A Palo Seco” perform at the Dryden Theater as part of the Eastman’s World Music Series. The New York based company puts a contemporary spin on raw, “a palo seco” or bare-bones flamenco, minimal musical accompianment with some improvisation. Mostly this was voice and percussive dancing, heals clicking and hands clapping. We loved it. Check out their video.

The day after the election there was blood on Hoffman Road in two different spots, both near houses with “Repeal the Safe Act” signs. I know there is a controlled deer bow hunt on property nearby and maybe the wounded wandered around before dropping but we’ve always thought people take deer on their own property even if they do live within the the town limits. There’s far too many deer around here. They decimate the undergrowth and the next generations old growth. But you can stop and look at these guys standing still just ten feet away and they don’t flinch. There can’t be much sport in taking them out.

I Shook Danny Wegmans Hand

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Paella cooking over an open fire at Wegman's Next Door restaurant

Next Door (by Wegmans) threw a “Tapas and Paella” party over the weekend. As hardcore Españaphiles we couldn’t resist. It was pretty expensive so we were afraid to suggest it to any of our friends but we ran into Tony who comes to see Margaret Explosion and we mingled and had a great time.

They had some famous Spanish chefs there cooking paella in huge pans over an open fire on the patio. There was a bar out outside and seating around a couple of fire pits. Tapas were prepared and served inside where a band, Roja Jazz, was playing. They did a great job creating a Spanish atmosphere. The tapas came fast and furious, Manchego and Valderon cheese, pulpo swimming in olive oil, shrimp, champioñes and of course, Jamoón Iberico.

Outdoors the temperature must have been in the forties but the conversation was lively. We were talking to someone about Spain and he told us he was somewhat of a train buff. He and his wife had taken the high speed train from Barcelona to Madrid and then down to Sevilla. We said something about the effort to get a high speed train here and he said, “Well, I’m with Don Trump,” which sounded like a non-sequitor until he explained he didn’t think the government should be subsidizing the trains. Oh, and Danny Wegman was there. I saw someone shaking his hand so I want over thanked him for having this event. I told him my mother was a Tierney and they were all in the grocery business in Rochester. He interrupted, “I know who the Tierney’s were.

Peanut Butter Bagels

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Musical entertainer at the Friendly Home in Rochester, New York

We had lunch with my mom yesterday and I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me. A Vassar girl some seventy years ago, she told me she was in the Yale Commons that morning and they were serving peanut butter bagels. Her mother and dad were there too. I was trying to figure out whether the peanut butter was baked into the bagel or spread on top. She said she was trying to eat one with a fork and she just couldn’t get a piece of it. I told her most people pick up a bagel with their hands and eat it that way. She said I know that but I couldn’t get a hold of it so I asked for a fork.

Bush Whack

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Red Algae near Brickyard Trail in Brighton New York

We met Richard Carstensen in the back corner of Temple B’rith Kodesh’s parking lot and headed off into the woods, bushwhacking style. We were wearing our socks on the outside of our pants, our shirts were tucked in and our Permethrin hoods were up. We skirted but deliberately stayed off the newly dedicated Brickyard Trail. We found fox holes and frogs and butterflies. They are still out there.

Above The Thick Of It

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

Frank Paolo waving from his apartment on Saint Paul Boulevard in Rochester, New York

We bought tickets to the Landmark Society’s “Inside Downtown Tour,” mostly newly renovated loft spaces in the old garment district but a couple of historic churches and the Clade Brandon designed Chamber of Commerce building were included. My grandmother worked at Suberba Cravet, the tie makers, whose building was right around the corner and my grandfather worked for a shoemaker here before he opened his restaurant. Frank Paolo lives right in the the thick of it or, more accurately, above the thick of it, but his Brutalist building was not included. Someday it will fit landmark status. We called him and asked him to step out on his porch so I could take this picture.

Most of the open plan lofts were under a 1000 square feet but the ceilings were so tall and the windows so large, in some cases floor to ceiling, that the spaces felt very livable. One of the developers of HIVE@116, Dan Morganstern had his place place open and his wife greeted us at the door. We ran into Gap and Janet Mangione there. The Morgansterns had a huge place and the walls were covered with art. Peggi spotted two of her clown paintings from RoCo’s 6×6 show. They looked sensational!

Our Lady of Victory Church was giving away Saint Theresa medals from Italy so I put on on my keychain. I had not been in World Wide News in years. I went in just to see if they still sold magazines. They do so I bought aN Art Forum. We finished with a complimentary Genny beer inside the the Micheals-Stern Building.

Food Issue

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Display in waiting room at Thai Mii Up Restaurant in Rochester, New York

We checked out Thai Mii Up, the new restaurant up on Ridge Road, by bringing home an order of one of the chef’s specials, “Salt and Pepper Shrimp.” It was especially lively with a whole jalapeño pepper sliced like you would slice bread and mixed in with the lightly battered crustaceans. I would go back.

Aman’s will be taking their “Fresh Corn” sandwich sign in for the winter pretty soon. The corn was coming from a farm in Hamlin and now one in Penfield but the clerk told us it was coming to the end of the line. We had some black bean and mango salad at the Genesee Co-op the other day and I wrote down the ingredients. It was delicious and corn was in there(Black bean, mango, corn, sweet bell pepper, garlic, olive oil. cilantro, red onion, lime juice). I plan to make it with last night’s corn leftovers.

Louise brought us a small grape pie. We split that for breakfast.

We took care of my sister’s dog for a few days. Clarabell looks exactly like the Hush Puppy dog and people can’t resist her. We had neighbors come out of their houses to pet the dog while we were so-called “walking” her (letting her poop on someone else’s lawn and then retrieving the poop in a Wegman’s bag). My sister bought us some peanut butter fudge to thank us and made short work of that.

It is our neighbor, Sue’s, birthday so Peggi made her a cherry pie and plan to walk it down to her as soon as it cools.

End Of The Line

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Rochester Subway movie at the Little Theater in Rochester, New York

At one time Rochester was the smallest city in the country with a subway system. Most of the lines were above ground so it was more of a streetcar system but it sure looked cool in the movie we saw at the Little Theater tonight. It was screened in Theater 1 and we almost didn’t get in. It was sold our so we put our names on a wait list and then spotted the director, Fred Armstrong, who told us about a couple of seats up in the balcony, the best seats in the house. This movie is twenty years old and was narrated by Walter Dixon. All the old-timers featured in the movie are dead and it made me realize how lucky we are that this history was preserved in film.

My father would talk about the subway all the time. How he’d take it to the end of the line with his family and his dad would go in to a bar there while he went swimming with his sisters. They had a great panel discussion after the movie with the directors, a city councilman and a state transportation engineer and a couple of guys from the The New York Museum of Transportation. They would have you believe the streetcar is still viable and could be in our future.

Chicken Goes To College

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Rochester skyline from Cobbs Hill

I had never heard of “Cornell Chicken” but our neighbors had. Rick and I were playing horseshoes and he told me the Cornell Cooperative Extension on St. Paul Boulevard was doing their annual chicken barbecue. He asked if we wanted him to pick up a couple of dinners. We didn’t have any dinner plans so I gave him twenty bucks and he took off. He called about ten minutes later to say he was a night early.

By the following night he had already told the neighbors down the street about the Cornell Chicken so he picked up six servings of chicken, boiled potatoes and corn and we ate on their new porch. You may know that Rick and Monica traded houses with the young couple who lives across the street from us. We listened to Duane’s “Crucial Roots Chapter 2 Dub and Circulate” and the dinner conversation swung from corporal punishment in Catholic schools to recreational drugs. Close calls and busts but mostly funny. War stories for a certain set. One of the group is from Jamaica and another via Puerto Rico but the stories are all the same because we are all about the same age.

As far as I can tell Cornell Chicken is salty and fairly dry but it has a nice barbecue flavor.

We stopped up to see my mom today and decided to do our day’s exercise up at Cobb’s Hill. We walked around the reservoir a few times interrupting a women’s exercise group in the main building each time we circled. And we stopped to watch a couple of City employees unlock the gate and go inside the reservoir with a long handled net. They came out with a pair of white, high-top running shoes. Someone had thrown them in our drinking water.