Clone My Cat

Ornette the cat
Ornette the cat

I remember laughing as I read about someone who was trying to clone their dog. I was probably laughing at myself, a few years down the road, wishing I could clone our cat, Ornette. He’s twelve now and he used to weigh twelve but he only weighs eight and we’re having a hard time getting him to eat.

When we picked him out at the pound there weren’t any kittens on the floor so we asked an employee if they had any young ones. I remember a girl coming out of the back with this fluffy little thing screaming at the top of his lungs. He wailed all the way home and we named him”Ornette”. He has a light fluffy coat of long hair and four extra toes on his front feet. He doesn’t care much for strangers and he won’t even let our friends get close to him so only Peggi and I know how lovable this guy is.

He goes about his usual routine but without his trademark vigor and it is really sad. He hasn’t dropped a single chipmunk at our door this year. Its noon now and he’s sleeping in his pink basket.

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Arborvitae By A Nose

Peggi and I celebrated an anniversary of sorts yesterday. Our first date was an outing to the Kentucky Derby. We rode in the back of Steve Hoy‘s van from Bloomington, Indiana to Louisville. Voice over talent extraordinaire, Joe Barrett was in the front seat. Secretariat won the race.

We make a point to tune in to the race every year and this time we watched it at Bill and Geri’s house. We were invited there to help take down a few Arborvitae trees that had grown out of control. The shrubs were probably planted there when the house was built and they were now taller than the house. Bill had one of his trees fall on a neighbor’s property many years ago and he bought a chain saw to clean up the mess. His saw has been on permanent loan to us and we really couldn’t live without it. I did most of the cutting but Bill stepped in for this dramatic footage while I grabbed a movie.

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I Like Lucinda

Timothy Horn's "Nerites" currently on view at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY
“Nerites” currently on view at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY

It figures we would run into Lucinda Storms at the opening of the glass show at the MAG. She was ogling Timothy Horn’s big jewelry piece entitled “Nerites” after the Greek god of shellfish and it was my favorite piece in the show. Lucinda was wearing her own creation – beautiful, organically shaped glass beads.

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For One Oh Nine

We put together a few cdrs of old Personal Effects records for Steve Lipincott and he sent us a short stack of things to listen to. It was a really tough call as to what to pop in first. We went with Miles Davis Nonet Boston ’72. Amazing three dimensional sound with Mtume Forman playing percussion in one channel, Badal Roy in the other and Pete Cosey’s wah wah guitar out there.

I’m looking at Miles Davis Quintet, Stockholm, playing “Bitches Brew” material or Captain Beefheart “Spotlight Kid Sessions” next.

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Busy Beaver

Beaver dam on Eastman Lake in Durand Eastman Park
Beaver dam on Eastman Lake in Durand Eastman Park

We often take a path through the woods that dumps us out on the golf course. We cross one of the fairways and head back in to the woods on one of the trails in the park. The last few days we noticed a bunch of birders gathered around the south end of Durand Lake. We wouldn’t know a rare bird from a local one so we didn’t think much of it. Yesterday we walked down that way and saw a lot of bare wood glistening in the distance. When we got closer we realized that these people were watching a beaver build a dam. These guys can really chew some wood. It looks like a micro-burst has come through here with all the debris strew about. His dam tough is water tight. There is about a foot difference in water levels on the two sides.

We didn’t see the beaver though so we made a point of going back today to look for him but no sign of him. You would think he would right there gorging on the trapped fish. I’m wondering if maybe the park people arrested the guy and took him somewhere.

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King of Beers Lives Here

Budweiser can and golf ball
Budweiser can and golf ball

In a sure sign of Spring they have put the flags up on Durand’s golf course. Beer and golf are really made for each other. We came home with a ball that we picked up as we crossed the course and a can that we found along the road.

I did the math. These big cans of Budweiser are equivalent of two 12 ounce cans. And they are not the sort of thing that comes in six packs or cases. In fact the only way you can buy these giant cans is singularly (or in groups of single cans). Beer sold singularly in a 24 ounce can is marketed to people who are not taking it home for later. And once you open a can you pretty much have to drink the whole thing. So that leaves two types of beer buyers. Kids, who we first thought were responsible for tossing all these empties on one of our hiking routes, fit this profile but so does an alcoholic who doesn’t want to bring the beer home to his wife or get caught with it in his car. The later is our neighbor’s theory and he told us who he suspects.

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Peaceable Kingdom

Turkey crosses our path in the woods
Turkey crosses our path in the woods

Deer are perfectly camouflaged in this gray brown landscape but something got a hold of one in the woods last night. We came across clumps of deer hair still attached to hunks of skin. And further up the path we saw some shit that didn’t look like it came from a dog or a deer shit because that looks like chocolate covered coffee beans and it wasn’t from a turkey because that looks like little blobs of dark pudding. We watched a coyote slink across an opening the other day and we were wondering if they might bother the deer. Our cat is not camouflaged (unless it’s snowing) and I hope they stay away from her.

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Rocket Number Nine

Peggi's mom's chair
Peggi’s mom’s chair

We picked up Peggi’s mom and brought her over for dinner. This is a big adventure for her these days. I marinated some chicken and Peggi roasted brussels sprouts. Peggi made tapioca pudding for dessert and we watched Rene Fleming sing with the Metropolitan Opera on PBS while we ate. We discussed the origins of Tapioca, speculating that it might have come from China or Japan or maybe Korea, becoming popular during the Martin Deny, Tiki torch days. I asked Peggi’s mom if she remembered having it as a kid and she said she didn’t. She thought it might be an Irish thing. On the way home she informed us that she really doesn’t have any sense of direction any more.

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Man From Uncle

DJ from Eric Silvey Entertainment


One too many bar mitzvahs.

It was smooth sailing through the Poconos and on to Route 280 but then it all went wrong. We zoomed by our exit and saw signs for Newark so we got off and tried to turn around. We got back on but it was the wrong highway and we found ourselves heading north on I-95. The Manhatten skyline was receding behind us. We paid a toll and did a u-turn back through the Oranges and into Montclair just in time to drop our bags off at Dale (New Math) and Myrna’s (Human Switchboard) and get to the temple for a run though of the Hebrew chants. Except the cantor canceled the rehearsal because of a personal conflict so we returned to Dale’s and watched a black and white “Man From Uncle” show..

We did the service without rehearsal so I was on the Bima looking for the groove with a guitar player and the chanting cantor. Two kids were making their bar mitzvah today and there were about three hundred people here. The stained glass looked like it had been designed by a madman but my drum sounded great in the room. The young cantor was attending to her boisterous child while she waited for her partner to show up and she encouraged me to not be shy. She MC’d and juggled her parental duties while effortlessly leading us in ancient sounding songs like “Ma Tovu”, “Adon Olam”, “Kiibud Av Vahem” and “Tav L”hodot”.

The regular service ended and the bar mitzvah portion started. Our nephew offered a few possibilities for the meaning of the name of their temple as his bar mitzvah project. It translates as “Eternal Flame” and he made a good argument for taking on the responsibility of keeping it alight.

His parents got up and told a few stories about their son. I kept thinking of the scene in King of Comedy” where Rupert Pupkin listens to his grade school teacher toast him. Overall the ceremony was lackluster and fidgety with bursts of meaningfulnes. The party afterward was a blast. The kids had fun and we had fun watching the kids. My family chipped in to buy our nephew a Kindle.

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Cross Country Dreams

Creek with snow
Creek with snow

We have to take our skis off to cross this creek.

Peggi helped me hang the second half of my Crime Face Paintings at the Printing and Book Arts Center in the old firehouse on Monroe Avenue. She gave a twenty foot high wall a fresh coat of white paint. This is an awkward space with old printing equipment scattered throughout the room but the paintings look pretty good. Still want to fool with the lights some more before the opening on Friday. Mitch Cohen, who runs this place, has a nice sound system but there’s no jack for my iPod so I might have to truck something over there.

We finished hanging in time to stop in at the Little for the last few songs of AMP (Alex, Mick, Peter). They sounded great. Jan Cuminale was there. She went out to her car to get a gift that she was going to drop of around Christmas, before she hurt her knee. It was two tree ornaments of of cross country skiers. The arm  on the woman was broken off but they look just like Peggi and I in our cross country dreams, all smilely in space age blue and white outfits. We love them. Might find a place for them year round.

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Slow Time Of Year

Eastman 10 at Abilene on Inauguration Night
Eastman 10 at Abilene on Inauguration Night

There were only four people in Peggi’s yoga class last night. Maybe it was the weather or maybe it had something to do with Jeffery, the yoga teacher, going on a cruise for a few weeks. There were seven people in my painting class but that’s everyone who signed up for the winter session. It’s the slow time of year and that’s the way we like it.

We dropped my father off after class and Peggi and I went downtown to Danny’s Ball at Abilene. The Eastman 10, who were arrested for playing in the streets on election night, did a rousing version of “God Bless America” and the packed house went nuts. We had our long sleeve Obama t-shirts on.

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Miniaturize My World

Stella sitting by the fireplace
Stella sitting by the fireplace

I know some people are cat people (like us) and some are dog people (like our neighbors, Rick and Monica)  and others are are just not pet people at all (like my parents). And that’s what makes the world go ’round.

This is Stella and she makes my world go “round. We sat by the fire this morning and read the New York Times on our iPod Touch. I love the way some sites are optimized for this thing and I want like rework all our sites for this tiny device.

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Over The Top

Fox News women
Fox News women

We don’t have cable tv but my mother-in-law does and she likes Fox News. So it is pretty jarring walking in on programming like this. Sometimes I forget that the world has gone over the top.

We previewed the dinner menu on the flyer by the tv and I set my sites on the “Chicken Parm”. We headed down the halls to the dining room and walked slowly by the residents art that hangs outside the dining room. Peggi’s mom sked what I thought of this painting of asparagus by E. T. Zogby and I said, “I love it”. Peggi’s mom laughed and said , “I figured you would like this”.

Asparagus painting by E. T. Zogby
Asparagus painting by E. T. Zogby

Peggi’s mom likes art and used to volunteer at the Detroit Institute of the Arts but she is always mystified by modern art and used to try to get me to explain why I like it. The best I could do was say, “It’s fun to look at”. She wrestled with the whole concept whenever we went to an art gallery and usually left frustrated. So I thought it was pretty cute that she knew I would like this painting and she didn’t seem bothered by it anymore. I feel like we are getting somewhere.

Suzanne, the dining room manager, stopped by to say hi and we started chatting. We said something about playing and she flashed on our old band, the Scorgie’s days, and realized why she always thought we looked so familiar. She was friends with Andrea Kohler and eventually married Jeff, the bass player in the Cliches. We always thought she looked pretty familiar too. It’s nice to know I have a connection to get my art work on the walls when I move out here in my senior years.

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I Want Wii Pants

Playing Nintendo Wii Baseball in my nephew's basement
Playing Nintendo Wii Baseball in my nephew’s basement

The last of the family holiday gatherings was at my sister’s for pizza. I spent some time in the basement with our nieces and nephews and their pet rabbit. I tried my hand at Nintendo’s Wii Baseball and managed to foul one off but I struck out pretty quickly. The ball players are all missing limbs for some reason. The hitters have no arms and the fielders don’t have any legs. I’m guessing this player is a woman. I love her pants.

I showed our nephews our new iPod Touch and they took me to the App Store where I took their reccomendations for free software like Google Earth, Pandora, UrbanSpoon and Flixter. I downloaded two drum machine programs that sound great through the stereo. I might try playing it with Margaret Explosion on New Year’s Eve. My nephews kept trying to sell me on games so I installed Cube Runner. I’m not very good at that either.

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Exception

Snowmen with faces in front yard
Snowmen with faces in front yard

The snowmen in our front yard have taken on real personalities with the new snow. I’m seeing Winston Churchill on the right.

I paid extra to have the hard drive that I ordered for my father delivered in two days. That should have been Friday. Tracking info showed it out for delivery but later in the day the page show an “Exception”. If I hovered over the word it said “Emergency conditions beyond UPS Control”. I’m guessing that was the snow we had. UPS doesn’t work weekends even in the holiday season so that would mean today if I’m lucky. You would think they might put it at the front of the line but it’s after four now and no package. The only reason I’m writing about this is the “Exception” claim. Can I use that on deadlines or do you have to be in a union?

I have a bunch of passes to MacWorld at the Moscone Center in SF if anyone wants them.

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Hot Pants Shaker Scene

Peggi buying cabbage at the Public Market in Rochester, NY
Peggi buying cabbage at the Public Market in Rochester, NY

I loaded my mother-in-law’s SUN though SAT, MORN, NOON, EVE, BED pill container like we do every weekend but today I felt like I was loading an Advent calender. We used to have those things in our house when we were growing up and most of the little doors would be open by now. This one though has no surprises unless you forget what medicine you’re taking every day and my mother-in-law just may fall into that category.

We started the day at the Public Market downtown. I love this place especially the way it seems to draw equally from all sub cultures of the city. Red peppers were in abundance for some reason and local cabbage, pears, onions, potatoes and apples were everywhere. Christmas trees were fifteen dollars and every sort of nic nac  or common junk drawer product was there, fresh off a Chinese container. One of the fish guys tried to talk Peggi into buying an eel by wiggling it at us. “They’re good in soup”, he said. We had read a rave review of Barry from Fair Game Foods’ pastrami sandwiches in City Newspaper so waited in line for one of those and took it to our car where we listened to a cd of Margaret Explosion with Phil Marshall from last week.

It started snowing on the way home and it looked like a shaker scene. We are up to about fifteen inches of the white stuff now. We had arranged to ski with Rick and Monica so we headed right out in to the woods. Rick led the way and took us across the golf course and down a few thrill seeker hills. When we got back home we built a fire and put James Brown’s “Hot Pants lp on.

There are a few things in the running for tonight. Bob Henrie and the Goners are at Abilene and Watkins and the rapiers are doing their Christmas show at the Flipside. We might try to do both.

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Where Were We?

Lumiere at the Litle Theater Cafe in Rochester, NY
Lumiere at the Litle Theater Cafe in Rochester, NY

We were kind of tired last night but heroically headed downtown for Lumiere’s last appearance this year. Guitarist Roy Berns fell off a ladder and injured his shoulder. He’s having it operated on and will miss most of next year. The violin player they had fits their gypsy jazz sound perfectly. I still miss Ed the accordion player but no sense crying over split milk. The band sounded great.

We must have had eight inches or up here near the lake. We talked about skiing all day but didn’t get out until four or so. We skiied down to the park and then back through the woods. The path was buried and it was pretty dark so we got lost a few times. We were so turned around we didn’t even know if we were headed in the right direction. We’ll look for our tracks tomorrow and find out where we were.

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Can’t Stop The Crimestoppers

Snowmen in front of the house
Snowmen in front of the house

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. The temperature was somewhere in the low thirties so it was perfect packing and we rolled these two dudes up.

I tried to help my dad by buying a harddrive so he good do a proper backup of his system but the Western Digital drive I bought at Buy.com was defective so I spent a good part of the day getting an RMA number, repacking the thing and running it out to the UPS Store to return it. I took advantage of the trip to buy some new canvases at the Art Store in South Town Plaza. I bought six 20″ by 24″ canvases that were 50 per cent off. I was thinking of doing something other than crime guys but there was an enticing “CrimeStoppers” page in the paper this morning.

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