Archive for the ‘Life Is A Spell’ Category


Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Small lake with ice in Spring, Rochester, New York

There is often a point in the evening when associations get loose and sometimes even free. On Friday night Louise was sitting across from us wearing her brown Luna t-shirt and talking about the end-of-the-working-week sensation. I said something contrary like, “it’s really just another night” and I think she said, “that’s oldsome.” (like a seasoned “awesome”) I may have heard this wrong but I thought it was brilliant. I feel like I am in that sweet spot, just daffy enough to have a sense of well being, not able to clearly hear as well as I used to and easily astonished but not so easily shaken. Oldsome!


Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Low Rider on East Ridge Road in Rochester, New York

Our yellow Winter Aconite flowers are more bountiful than ever his year. They were stuck under the snow and about a month late but they are wide open today. They don’t last long like that. They prefer the old weather and is in the sixties today. The low riders and motorcycles are out. Our neighbor’s main water line is still frozen so it’s probably too early to turn on the water to the outdoor faucets. They went out of town for a bit and their water line froze. They have a garden hose connected to the house next door. I threw the last of the snow on our patio out into the yard and got the lawn chairs out of the garage. I’m ready for horseshoes.

In Between

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Willow tree on Hoffman Road in Spring snow

We spotted out first Red Wing Blackbirds today hearing their distinctive call before we zeroed in on them. And I found my first golf ball as we cut through the park The X-Country ski email says they are still getting fresh powder at Harriet Hollister and the conditions are excellent. I love this feeling of suspension that we sometimes get between the the two seasons. Much better than the abrupt transformation to flip flops and shorts.

I got a kick out of the Easter Sunday soft news piece about the Talpiot Tombs discovered outside of Jerusalem in the eighties. Assumed to have belonged to a wealthy Jewish family they were inscribed with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, common names at the turn of the century. The widely disputed findings are being pointed to the “Jesus family plot” but hold on. Would this be proof that he didn’t rise from the dead?

Passion Play Redux

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

"Passion Play" 1998 by Paul Dodd, notebook assemblages for stations of the cross

Years ago, on this day, my parents tried to get us to sit in silence on a day off from school between the hours of noon and three. These were the hours Christ hung on the cross and this was the culmination of Lent. This year we helped my father file his taxes via TurboTax while my mother watched “Guys & Dolls.”

In 1998 I filled a notebook with bits and pieces of news clippings, sketches and nearly disjointed thoughts on a modern day retelling of the Passion Play set in my city neighborhood, all in preparation for paintings of the fourteen stations of the cross. I created large assembleges in Photoshop and printed the series at Scale 2 on St. Paul Street. I still haven’t done the paintings, there are so many approaches. I’m still sort of collecting references and each Good Friday I look at the paper for a Christian related story. The Ted Kaczynski in full-on crucifixion mode picture was on the front page of the old Times Union. In today’s paper there was a story about the Somali rebels going door to door in Kenya sparing Muslims and killing Christians. I entered the prints in the Finger Lakes Show and won the Harris Popular Award. They are kind of fun to look back on.

The original files for my Passion Play prints are so old they wouldn’t display properly. I had to take them into Photoshop, copy the layer and paste it into a new document and then save them out as tiff. Formats do not stay the same.

Homegrown Hotdogs

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Tree in icy snow on Hoffman Road in Rochester New York

I emailed Martin to see if we could bring some hummus to his party. The message went as “bring some humans” but he figured it out and responded, I emailed Kathy Farrell about picking up my paintings. I said “I guess pickup is at nine” and that message went through as “Iglesias pick up at nine” Kathy didn’t miss a beat and confirmed the time. Peggi was reading about the local food fair at Harts and I thought I heard her say one of the vendors was offering “homegrown hotdogs.”

After birthday parties on Friday and Saturday night for friends that turned 60, 50 and 65 (all milestones of a sort), I had the hardest time putting down the “T” Magazine Design Issue this morning. I started with it and must have spent two hours with it. The front cover read “The Revival of Everything,” a glorious concept. We’ll pass the issue on to Olga when we’re done with it. She broke her leg this winter, cross-country skiing, and she has another four weeks of immobility. We been saving anything “style” related and passing it on to her. She is going to love the piece on the Gerald and Betty Ford house.

Peggi and I took my show down at the Little on Saturday just in time for Richard Margolis to walk in with some big photos for behind the piano. When the car was loaded with piles of paintings we walked next door for the Hart’s Grocery “Vender Market.” We strolled from outpost to outpost in the store sampling local sweet potato chips, Ouzon licorice pop, Schutts cider and fried cakes, Hedonist chocolate, Native American roasted corn flour cookies, spiced olive oil dippings, Escabeche carrots, Rohrbach Brown Ale, fish oil, Daicon radish kimchi and Coffee Conection coffee.

Yellow Marker

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Winter Aconite in backyard, 2015

I was kind of jealous, seeing that picture in the paper of the Winter Aconite blooming on the front yard of the Eastman House. I have been looking for the ones we have in our yard but they are still under the snow. Just a few years back they were out on February 20th. I like thinking about them isolated by the snow, ready to pop with just a little sun. They are official Spring marker. Sure, the geese are squawking overhead, the witch hazel is out, the pussy willows are in bloom but the winter is not over until the yellow Winter Aconite pop. And I found this one out back today, a full month later than in 2012.

Imaginary Emoticon

Saturday, March 21st, 2015

Don't Tread On Me Flag on Saint Patrick's Day in Rochester, NY

My niece is big on the emoticons. They all look the same to me. Noisy. I would rather read into text messages or read between the lines but most of the time I just take them at face value. These flags are a lot like emoticons. I’m big on imaginary emoticons.


Saturday, March 7th, 2015

1840 white house on Stoney Clover Road in Pittsford New York

We pushed it yesterday and skied down one side of Lake Eastman then across the lake on the ice and back on the other side and then crossed back over again just because we could. Consequently I was late for a doctor’s appointment, an appointment that was scheduled at the same time as JD McPherson’s free show at Record Archive. We headed over there anyway gambling that maybe the show started on rock ‘n roll time but no such luck. Danny Deutsch, who was promoting the show was walking out as we approached the door. Guess “they played their asses off.” We had never heard them but we liked Spevak’s interview with the guy in the Thursday’s paper.

It was nice sunny day so we headed out to Pittsford, just south of Rochester, to track down a short list of Don Hershey homes for Peggi’s website. According to Don’s notebooks there are either three or four Hersheys on Stoney Clover. Stoney Clover Lane is off Stone Road which is off of Clover. I was riding shotgun and shooting photos. We are pretty good at spotting them. Low slung ranches with his mid-century modern touchstones like glass brick, corner windows and most importantly, houses that are ideally situated on their piece of property.

My first photo caught a young woman standing in the window of big, brick, monastery-like house. She came out and told us it was “a little unnerving” to have someone take photos of their house. The houses out here are huge and the lots are all at least an acre. I took the photo above of one that looked like the White House or a southern plantation in snow. I just assumed it was a MacMansion but we looked it up when we got home and discovered it was built in 1840.

Art Decade

Saturday, March 7th, 2015

Carnegie Building on Goodman Street in Rochester, New York

Our painting class was canceled on Tuesday because of the weather. It was somewhere between snow and rain so the roads were iced over. We were disappointed but a make-up class will be tacked on to the schedule. We already missed another session the night after this building on the old UofR campus burned down. It was being rehabbed and going condo like every other hundred year old building in the city. Our class in the basement of the Cutler Union building is directly downwind of this building so we were literally smoked out.

We ran into Jim and Gail Thomas at an art opening tonight and they were telling us about the time they were living in Medina and the winter came to a quick end and the snow melted so fast that water came rolling down the street and filled their basement. We are headed toward 50 next week so this conversation course was only natural.

We heard Bowie’s “Art Decade” on the way home. What ever happened to him? He had good thing going with Eno in that “Low/Heroes” period.

If God Was A Man

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

"I Am Legend" New York licence plates on car at the art store in Henrietta

I was happy to see Janet Williams studying my basketball players at last night’s opening. I remember talking to her about the first batch of paintings that I did of these guys. I love Janet’s paintings and couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say about this batch. Her husband, Ted, showed up as we were talking and pulled out a picture of his high school basketball team. He wanted me to find him in the picture. Unlike the six member Mynderse Academy team that I painted Ted’s Brighton High School team had almost twenty players on it. Without thinking I said, “Wow, I’ll bet you never played.” Ted told me they put him in once and and he ran a layup and slammed the ball against the backstop so hard it bounced all the way to the other end of the court. The sports reporter, Bob Mathews, and former County Executive, Bob King, were both on his team. I found Ted in the photo right away. He looked just like one of his sons.

Kathy Krupp brought me a little laminated photo that she found on the ground over by the UofR. About one inch by one inch, a close cropped photo of a man’s head, like something you would see on an id. Bob Martin thought I was one of the ones pictured in the basketball series. Brian Peterson wanted to know all about my source material, the Crimestopper page, now online as a pdf. Most people wanted to talk about who these people were, which one was the homeless girl, that sort of thing. Fred Lipp was there even though he had seen everyone of these pieces in class. If I didn’t do them in class I at least ran them by the master before officially considering them “done.” I would rather talk about the paintings and did so for quite a while with Steve Caswell. He was making a connection between the way I paint and way I play drums. That was a springboard for the whole minimalism as maximalism thing. The importance of each element, what to leave out.

Richard Margolis asked me if he could ask me a business question. I said “no” without missing a beat and he asked anyway. Ken Franks asked me what I thought of the band name, “Sun Rags.” Pete Monicelli, who is on the board at BOA Editions, read us a poem that he wrote in response to a recent book that BOA published, something about if god was a woman. I was thinking a better title would be “If God Was A Man.” There were quite a few artists there but a lot of current and former art teachers there last night. I mean like ten that I can think of now.

I would have been happy to keep the art buzz going all night but a little after 8 Bob started making noise with his guitar. The band did have an engagement last night so with Martha O’Conner’s help we moved the hors d’oeuvres table against the wall and band began playing. Martin Edic came up to me while I was playing and said, “I want you to know. I really love your show.”

A better title for this entry would be “Leftover Vegetables and Hummus.”


Friday, February 20th, 2015

Ski path through Commons

I moved my painting upstairs to our big south-facing window in order to capture the last few moments of sunlight. Then, as the sun went down, I moved toward the sink to wash my brushes, instinctively trying each light switch I passed. That impulse is almost hard-wired. I was thinking about our friends, Pete and Shelley, living up in the woods with a permanent power outage.

The phone was out too, not because there was any problem with the phone lines, our phones all depend on electricity. And there probably wasn’t any problem with our cable internet connectIon, just that the modem requires electricity. Of course, if we had a cell phone we’d call Rochester Gas & Electric. Ah, but I did purchase a twenty dollar, one gig data plan for my iPad so I went to RG&E’s site and clicked on the “outage” tab. I entered our customer id and and submitted my report. The response read, “There are no power outages reported in your area.”

It was only 5 degrees out. We’re also taking care of our neighbor’s house and I was beginning to panic. We built a fire and I submitted my report again. This time the response read, “We are aware of an electricity outage in your area affecting 917 customer(s). The estimated restoration time is Thursday, February 19 at 7:00 PM.”

You have to wonder about a message like this. The power goes out unexpectantly due to an accident or something and yet they can give you a time for when it will be back up and running? But we put our faith in the power company and went to a movie, the documentary shot in Canadaigua, outside Rochester, where the national Veteran’s Suicide Hotline has received a million calls from current and former soldiers considering or threatening suicide. The neighborhood was all lit up on our return.

Italian Assorted

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Original Rubino's on East Ridge Road in Rochester, New York

I have had a craving for Rubino’s for a while now so I emailed my father and suggested we bring some sandwiches over there for lunch. Two “Italian Assorted” and a meatball sub for my mom. No peppers or olives on my father’s Italian assorted. He still pronounces the first “I” in Italian as a long vowel.

My sister had found a tin of Charlie Chips somewhere, something I hadn’t seen in thirty years or so, and my father put those on the table. Peggi looked at the ingredients. Cottonseed oil doesn’t sound too heathy but there was zero cholesterol. We had a tough choice between almond and fig cookies at Rubino’s but we settled on almond. The coffee is bottomless down the hall from their apartment. My dad had two Cokes. This might become a regulat gig.

New Brain Cells

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Ryan Lamfers "Degradation" at R Gallery in Rochester, New York

“Through rain, sleet and snow the mail must go through.” Well, forget about that.

We had an envelope in our box for two days and no one picked it up. We’ve been collecting our neighbor’s mail while they are away and their box was empty as well. So I called the Post Office. “Monique (our regular carrier) was on vacation and the substitute got lost.” That was the excuse for the first day. On the second day (Monday) we had some snow, not too much, just enough to freshen up the ski paths through the woods. But I guess it was enough delay the substitute carrier and at five thirty or so they all the delivery people were called off the roads.

So the New Yorker was a couple days late.

The apartment building where my father lives has a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and my father picks it up at the end of the day. He cut out a few articles for us, one on books about the Spanish Civil War, one on the abstract expressionist, Franz Kline, and one on cultivating new brain cells.

Frederick Gage of the Salk Institute says our brains regenerate new cells while taking long walks. Because we are still evolving, thank god, “our bodies associate the exertion with moving from an existing territory, which had perhaps become depleted of food or too dangerous, to a new, unexplored territory whose details must be learned. In anticipation, the brain releases new cells and growth factors, which create a more plastic state and make possible new neural connections.”

According To My Junk

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Found photo of people, found in our house

We hear they hauled away two dumpsters of stuff from our house before we bought it. The former owner lived alone, he had no relatives here and he had a heart attack in our bedroom. I wish they had just left the stuff here. I kind of like going through junk.

The house was empty when we moved in except for a giant candle, maybe a foot tall and six inches in diameter with a huge wick. We left it burning on our porch one night and reduced it to a small puddle of wax. There was a deer rack mounted over the back door of the garage and we kept that up. There was a pool cue rack on the wall of the basement which we threw out. And beneath a built-in seat in our living room we found a big, cardboard box of photos.

There were five different Kodak, photo business cards of his were in the box so we arranged them chronologically. He looked a lot like they in the photo above but we’re pretty sure that is his father and mother. We were able to piece together his hobbies (going to auto races and shooting telephoto shots of women’s rear ends) and the places he visited (amusement parks with his two kids during his visitation stints). He probably had free film processing so he shot thousands of of bad photos, not even interestingly bad. We filled a garbage bag with them but I did manage to fill a small scrapbook with a strange assortment. Some day maybe someone will piece my life together with my junk.

Zen & X-Country

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Freshly groomed cross-country ski trails in Durand Eastman Park in Rochester, New York

Donations to the Rochester X-Country Ski Foundation are in order this year. The groomed trails in the parks are the best option for skiing due to the lack of a substantial snowfall that would cushion the trials in the woods. And all that time out in the open covering a vast expanse of open land (golf course) has made us better skiers. When we first started it was clearly a trudge. I would say we skied no faster than we would move through the snow on foot. Then came a slow glide and it was much less effort than walking and we covered more ground. Now we have taken to studying the motion of skiers who ski like you would skate. We mimic them for a few strokes and then stop to marvel at the scenery.

Galaxie 300

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Bowling balls at Park View Bowl on Culver Road in Rochester, New York

I’ve read that Rochester used to have more bowling lanes per capita than any other city in the world. Park View Bowl in Sea Breeze might have capitalized on that boom, somewhere in the fifties or sixties, when they busted a hole in the side of their concrete-block building and added a seventh and eighth lane. That’s where they put our crew on Monday night, a perfect spot as we surely would have disrupted the regular’s groove.

Louise wore her Hendrix t-shirt and she and Peggi were the only women in the place other than the owner’s sister who was behind the bar while her brother bowled. But they did have room for us tonight so we each picked out a ball. Louise chose a “Smart Ball.” It was so light it couldn’t fully return on the ramp that brings your ball back. My solid black ball weighed a ton and was labeled “Ebonite.” Peggi chose a blue sparkly ball called “Galaxie 300.” We laughed about that one because Louise’s bother played in a band called “Galaxie 500.” Matthew’s ball was nicknamed “The Hammer.”

One dollar bought three tunes on the juke box. Mine went for the Righteous Brothers, Temptations and Stones. I bought the second pitcher and the owners’s sister started to pour Yuengling. I asked if she could make this one Labatt’s Blue and she gave me a Marlene Dietrich worthy look of exasperation. Earlier, when I asked for size eleven shoes, she said, “I can’t reach those.” Her brother, Kevin, is a sweetie. He tallied up our scores at the end of both games because we none of us could keep score.

Louise tell this story better.

Welcome To The World

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Saint Ann statue at Saint Ann's Home in Rochester, New York

We parked our car in Saint Ann’s lot across the street from Rochester General in order to save the parking fees. An added bonus was the short walk on a 40 plus degree day. All it takes is one of these days to screw up a winter groove. The rink in front of the town hall looked as sad as can be. We had been on a pretty good X-country ski run until this happened.

Our niece had a baby girl. Penelope. I’m thinking “Peña” as a nickname but me niece didn’t seem to like that one. Penelope is really quite a wonder, not even a day old on her literal “birthday.”

On our way back the lights were on statue of Saint Ann. Saint Ann is Mary’s mother so that would be the future virgin mother standing in front of her. Presumably Mary’s birth was not an immaculate conception. I know my niece’s wasn’t.

Satan In A Bind

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Funky signs near Clifton Springs in Rochester, New York

We drove out to Clifton Springs with my parents to attend a birthday party for my. She turned ninety. She was my godmother and one of my earliest memories is being at her wedding. She was a nurse at Saint Mary’s on Genesee Street where I was born and she met her husband while attending to a farm injury that he sustained.

We got off he NYS thruway at Manchester and we took the first left on a road that would take us right into Clifton Spring. Right there, near the intersection I hit the mother-load of content for my Funky Signs site.

The Next Call

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Tree on Lake Ontario, January 2015

“This is the return call you requested regarding the back brace commercial you saw on tv.” ‘Your computer is reporting suspicious errors. Press 1 to talk to a Microsoft representative now.”

We registered our home phone number with the “Do Not Call Registry” but got these two calls this week. I went to the government’s site and found this alert on their front page. “Scammers have been making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry.” I’m trying to decide whether to go skiing or wait for the next call.


Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Path to Horseshoe Road near Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York

Twelve degrees is the perfect temperature for cross country skiing. Crisp, light snow with lots of plenty of glide. Not so cold you that want to turn back but cold enough to make the experience exhilarating. I remember being twelve. I thought I was on top of the world. It was my lucky number for a while because I won a box of Snickers at the Saint John the Evangelist fair by placing my bet on that number. A whole box of Snickers!