Smells Like Money

One of the best lines in “Food Inc.” was spoken by the overweight hillbilly chicken farmer. He boasted that he owned about 300,000 chickens. The rest of the farmers featured in the documentary playing at the High Falls Film Fest deserve our sympathy as they slug it out with the monstrous agriconglomerates. Monsanto genetically altered and patented the Round-up Ready soy bean and they now own the plant. If you try to grow your own strain and your plants get cross pollinated by your neighbors’ Monsanto crop, they will see you in court.

The movie was heavy handed and preachy when it didn’t need to be. I was one of the only ones laughing as we watched an absurd parade of corn-fed chickens on assembly lines grow so fat they couldn’t take two steps without falling over and cattle up to their knees in their own shit on their way to a slaughterhouse that kills 400 cows an hour. There were flyover shots of endless corn fields that would make the earth artists envious. Corn is in everything now and they’re teaching farm raised fish to eat it for Christ’s sake. Near the end of the movie, after growing accustomed to bloated produce, hogs, chickens and cattle, we see diabetes ridden fat people that drive this market.

We rode home from the movie in Rick and Monica’s car and Rick suggested sausage shish kabobs for dinner. “A man’s gotta eat.”

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Beyond Considering

Janet Marshall kitchen
Janet Marshall kitchen

We were standing outside the fence at the Rickie Lee/Dr John show when Jan Marshall walked by with her son and his friends. She recently bought a house near the park and we walked there to see it. You can tell it is a work in progress by the sight of paint brushes in the sink. Jan and her late husband have had a string of cool houses and this song came to mind.

Considering a Move to Memphis
I’m considering a move to Memphis with my hair all aglow
When I arrive in Memphis, I’m bound to meet up with someone I might know

I’m considering, I’m considering
A move to Memphis, a move to Memphis
I’m considering, I’m considering

I’ll visit the Graceland mansion and set my face in wax
Then go back to my motel room to file my income tax
I’m considering a move to Memphis and this much I know
When I arrive in Memphis, I’ll have to spent my dough
I’ll walk down to Beale Street to watch the jug band show
I’ll shake hands with Gus Cannon, he’s someone I should know
I’ll get myself a motel room that’s not too small to see
I’ll get one with a private bath and a black and white TV
Memphis isn’t all that big, at least that’s how I found it
Why, it took only an hour and a half to walk completely around it
Memphis isn’t all that big, it isn’t all that wide
Still, it is the kind of place where a country boy can hide

I’m considering, I’m considering
A move to Memphis, a move to Memphis
I’m considering, I’m considering

I’ll find a favourite restaurant and eat there every day
And at the nearby bowling alley I’ll bowl my cares away
Some days I’ll order chicken, some days I’ll order fish
Some days I’ll have piroshki’s, that’s a Polish dish
And after bowling twenty frames, I’ll sit and have a beer
Perhaps I meet a pretty girl who is a barmaid there
I’ll get a job at a steak house, wash dishes, mob floors
Yes, I know I won’t get rich
Memphis is the kind of town that won’t feel like a trap
Besides, I kind of like the way it sits there on the map
I’m considering a move to Memphis, that’s Memphis Tennessee
It worked for Elvis Presley, why can’t it work for me?
The people in the restaurants there will all use forks and knives
They won’t take decongestions though for fear of getting hives

I’m considering, I’m considering
A move to Memphis, a move to Memphis
I’m considering, I’m considering

I’ll ask the lowly sparrow, up in his lofty perch
“Would you please direct me to the local Baptist church?”
I’ll attend the Wednesday meeting and there I’ll speak in tongues
I’ll shout and holler “praise the lord” ”till I nearly burst my lungs
Someday I’ll return to Memphis in my own private jet
I’ll remember my first visit there, that’s if I don’t forget
When I arrive in Memphis I’ll put a sign out on the door
“It’s ok to disturb me, that’s what I came here for”

I’m considering, I’m considering
A move to Memphis, a move to Memphis
I’m considering, I’m considering

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Soft In The Head

Horseshoe Dispute
Horseshoe Dispute


That’s my ringer underneath Rick’s leaner. If the leaner came after the ringer does it cancel the ringer?

Our neighbor is 92 and still driving but he is forgetting his way around the city. The other day he drove up and down Hudson Avenue looking for a place that had closed decades ago. He rang our bell this morning asking directions to Rowe Photo on Mount Hope.

I was pulling my hair out with this jquerry ThickBox script until Bill Jones troubleshot our work and found that I had to remove an @ in the thickbox.js code.

I brought up a Google map and showed our neighbor how to get to Rowe but I could see he wasn’t quite following it. He told me “he’s getting soft in the head”. I asked him what he was going out there for and he said that his camera was broken. I took a look at it and found he had locked the card so that he couldn’t write to it. I opened the photos that were already on the card including the photo he took in Rowe Photo when he bought the thing. I found one of him and his lady friend and I cloned his face onto the woman’s head. He asked if he could do that with his computer. I said “sure” but then he told me he had hired someone to help him with his pc twice at 90 bucks per visit and it still wasn’t working right. I’m quite sure the computer is fine. I told him that sounds like some easy money, easier than jquerry implementation, and I laughingly told him to call us next time.

My brother is a mason and he bids on some pretty big projects. A few weeks ago he drove to Buffalo to pick up some plans that the builder wanted to email him. He didn’t have a computer then but he does now. He had a pc years ago when his daughter was in her teens and she brought the computer to its knees with viruses. I encouraged him to buy a Mac this time and he did so we’ve been doing phone support all week. We told our neighbor to buy a Mac too but he found a cheaper pc.

I used to be much more competitive when I was younger. Sports is about all I did in my teens and the drive to be better propelled me. We have horseshoe pits in our front yard and Rick from across the street will play at the drop of a hat. I just have to go out front and clang the shoes together. Rick called the other day while we were still working. I picked up the phone and all he said was, “Clang, Clang”. Of course he beat me so we played another and he beat me again. I try my best to hit the stake but I have the hardest time keeping score. I can’t bring myself tally the points. I don’t really care who wins. I’m thinking I’ve gone soft in the head.

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Late Inning Rally

Ornette out front with his first chipmunk of the year
Ornette out front with his first chipmunk of the year

I was especially tired yesterday because we drank coffee the night before with my mom and we both wound up tossing all night. And I compounded the funk worrying about Ornette not eating. I picked up some Felovite at PetCo and gave him a squirt but he hardly ate anything else all day.

I slung his boney body over my shoulder this morning and walked slowly around the house as he purred in my ear. I set him down and went in to read the paper and couldn’t believe my eyes as he came up the sidewalk with his first chipmunk of the year. He ate a good bit of it too but I’ll spare you the documentation. Could this be a late inning rally?

We opened the street pool this morning. Took the cover off, got the pump primed, put the diving board in place, swept the deck and dumped a bunch of chemicals in the water. Consequently, we missed the annual Weiner Dog Parade. Our friends, Bob and Liz, were planning on bringing their long haired low riders down there so I hope to see photos. We got an email blast from Rocco at Small World Books about a sale, poetry reading and greens and beans this afternoon. We might stop by there. We talked about riding our bikes over to Highland Park to listen to Ricki Lee Jones and Dr. John but it looks like rain. Perfect weather for painting in the basement.

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Four Minutes To Fidget

Leo fixes our ceramic fish
Leo fixes our ceramic fish

Peggi was trying to bust the screen open in our kitchen and she knocked our ceramic fish off the widow ledge. We bought it at the Clothesline Show a long time ago and we never found a place to hang it in our new crib. Funny thing is the fish came from one of the nearby ponds that we walk and ski around. A tag on the back of it reads, “The mold for this fish was made by a Perch caught by Joe Lake in a pond of Durand Eastman Park in Rochester, NY in 1993.”

Rick Simpson suggested that we take the pieces over to our neighbor, Leo, who excels in glue applications. Leo chose a two part epoxy that looks black when it hardens. We tried holding the pieces together with nails, our hands and duct tape. We had four minutes to fidget. The seam is pretty visible but it is a whole again.

I sat down to talk to Sue Rogers at last Wednesday’s Margaret Explosion gig and I remember fidgeting with Scott Regan’s pens while we talked. Well, I found the pen in my pocket the next day. I’m bad. I will return it.

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You Are Stuck With It

Easter display in house on Culver Road in Rochester, NY
Easter display in house on Culver Road in Rochester, NY

I rode my bike past this display in the front window of a house on Culver Road and couldn’t resist stopping to take a photo. Even after reading how that guy came out of his house and shot that kid. Someone who puts Easter animals in their window probably wouldn’t tote guns would they? This display is either a week late or these people are on the Eastern Orthodox calendar like our neighbor, Helen.

Raised as a Catholic, and still mystified by that whole thing, I was never taught the significance of the bunny and chick. You can hardly even speculate anymore with Wikipedia right at your fingertips but I would have guessed that the chick has something to do with being born again. And maybe that’s why Catholics scoffed at these pagan symbols. You are born Catholic and then stuck with it. You don’t have the option of being born again. I certainly knew the bunny showed up with the an overdose of candy just after we had given up candy for Lent but this guy was suspect too. The focus, of course, was supposed to be on the most suspect of all Catholic legends, the resurrection.

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Pasta Fazool

Marc Chagall self portrait on the cover of Time in 1965
Marc Chagall self portrait on the cover of Time in 1965

Rob Storms from Sound Source called us on Saturday afternoon to invite us to Small World Books for some homemade pasta fazool. This invitation came right out of the blue and we accepted it. Small World Books is in a beautiful old building near downtown on North Street and it specializes in used, rare, and out of print books.

Rocco runs the place and he made the soup. They do most of their business online so it is no surprise we had never been there. We wandered around the building for for an hour or so and I came across this magazine from another era. There is a beautiful light filled gallery upstairs and a small performance space. We’re thinking, we’re thinking. I bought a Matisse book for five dollars and Peggi bought a Sparky doll. I might post a picture of that tomorrow.

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Tap Tap Tap

Tree foaming in the woods
Tree foaming in the woods

This probably happens every year but if you’re not in the woods when it happens – you know what they say about hearing trees fall out there. At first glance we thought it might be sap pouring out of the trees, maybe even maple syrup, but these weren’t maple trees and the foam wasn’t sticky. Our friends, Pete and Shelley, spend a good bit of March “syrupping down” so it can’t just bubble out of the trees.

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I Would Rather Be Sailing

Virtual business card for 4D Advertising
Virtual business card for 4D Advertising

I had a meeting today with a client at his office. He showed me his logo and then explained that it is not intended to be an oval. His flat panel monitor was distorting everything he looks at by a long shot, even the picture of his son that used as his wallpaper. He asked me if I could remedy the situation so there I was duking it out with his clunky Windows pc.

This afternoon my father sent me this Word doc that he had spent most of the day on. It was given to him by a pc user and he added a bunch of stuff and sent it back but the guy wasn’t able to open the file. All I had to do add the “.doc” suffix to the file name and send it back. You’d think a Windows machine would recognize a Word doc.

A friend of ours programs data bases for web sites and he laughingly told us that he just stopped previewing his sites in Explorer. He said the people who use that program are idiots and he doesn’t care about them. I was reading a bad review of Explorer 8 today and they had a link to stats that showed two thirds of all web users use IE. That’s a lot of idiots. The economy would get a real sot in the arm if all web developers could quit wasting time with IE workarounds.

I was reading about the new system for the iPhone and Touch and an app for them that will allow users to see other users on the same network and exchange virtual business and it reminded me that we haven’t done new business cards since we moved. We have been using the “we just moved” excuse for four years now. We had some business cards printed online for a client they came out great. They offer rounded corners too. So I spent some time today playing with the 4D Advertising logo. I love coming up with logos and haven’t done one in a while.

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Off Road Computing

Woods Walking Movie

The ground is dry and the woods are pretty bare so we were able to do some exploring today. I think we were on a deer path. I took a short movie. Found a few Budweiser beer cans on the way home and ran into a neighbor who was out smoking a cigar. He had his own theory as to who has been doing all the drinking. He thinks his neighbor is pounding them on the way home and hiding the evidence from his wife by chucking them out the window of his car.

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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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Grey or Gray Days

Auburn Sign

It is so beautiful this time of year when the snow disappears and the ground is a dusty brown. The trees without leaves are grey and the trunks turn black if it rains. Big trees take on Egon Schiele like expressions. We had little yellow flowers blooming out back last week before the snow melted. I did a Google search for first yellow flower in New York and I think I have identified them as Winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis. With a little more rain most things will be green before we know it.

I came back with three new signs for the Signs Section and the one above is my favorite. On our way down to New York we got off the Thruway in Waterloo and drove through Auburn toward Skaneateles. We stopped for a bit in front of this sign because it required some thought to determine which way to turn. I am visually oriented and I really wanted to turn right for Auburn. I’m guessing the prisoners who make these signs for the state are only allowed to “justify” their type. It would be a lot easier to read if they could flush left or right.

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Spring Preview

Amaryllis in bloom on our table
Amaryllis in bloom on our table

Jeff and Mary Kaye gave us an Amaryllis plant before they went to Mexico. It had just barley broken ground before they left. We put it in the center of our table and now, six weeks later or so, there  are six huge flowers in bloomand two more on the way. I wasn’t sure how to spell Amaryllis so took a stab at it in Google and found a time lapse movie of what we saw but set to a Liz Phair song. Peggi isn’t awake yet so I watched this without the sound.

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Wind Powered Skiing

Wind powered cross country skiing in Webster, NY
Wind powered cross country skiing in Webster, NY

I ran out of spray fixative, that nasty crap that you coat a charcoal drawing with so that it doesn’t smear. And it was Sunday and Rochester Art Supply is closed so I started calling around. Staples put me on hold for about ten minutes and Home Depot had never heard of the stuff. The bay bridge at the end of Culver is open in the winter so Webster was an option. Peggi wanted to look at some fabric so we headed out to Jo-Ann Fabrics.

We drove along the lake and turned up Baker Road toward the village. Most of Webster has been swallowed up with housing tracks and they are sprinkled between old farm houses so it makes them all the more depressing. There are still some open spaces and we spotted one on our left. There was someone out in a field struggling with a huge kite. I pulled over and we watched while this guy get the big red kite off the ground. And then he took off but never left the ground. He was wearing cross country skis and a helmet just in case. He traveled the length of this field in less than a minute.

Turns out we were looking at the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve, a 163 acre woods with oak, hickory and hemlock trees that are 350 years old. If we get some more snow we plan to head out here to ski the trails. I think we can manage without the wind propullsion.

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Big Bird

Turkey up in a tree out back
Turkey up in a tree out back

We were eatting dinner kind of early so Peggi could get to her yoga class and a big bird flew by our back window. It was a turkey and it landed in one of the trees down back. I grabbed my camera. When we come across them in the woods they are usually waddling along in groups of eight or so. They stand about four feet high. It seems like a miracle that these things can fly.

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60 Degrees and Snow

Ontario Beach in Rochester, NY, February 2009
Ontario Beach in Rochester, NY, February 2009

Ontario Beach is thawing. We watched big chunks of ice break off and float away. I was almost like being in Antarctica.

We have been doing a mini Altman fest in our living room. We added most of his movies, in chronological order, to our NetFlix cue and last night it was Mash’s turn. This wild movie is nonstop action without hardly anything happening. The tv show did not do it justice and there is no way that it could. It’s only worth noting because the movie is a near masterpiece.

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Nice Day Rochester

Main Street Bridge Rochester, New York
Main Street Bridge Rochester, NY

The moon was almost full last night and it lit up the snow. Peggi watched as the moon dropped into view and then disappeared below our bedroom window view. I was snoring and missed the whole thing. She said it was beautiful.

Today was beautiful and I was ide awake for it. The sun is quite a bit higher in the sky and it felt warm at 31 degrees.

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Anybody Have A Kind Heart?


Subway to MoMA
Subway to MoMA

We got on the F train in Brooklyn at Fort Hamilton and headed for the Modern in Manhattan. We were sitting at the front of the first car. This line brings you above ground for a few stops before going down under the East River. A very short man with a camouflaged hat got on and started singing a beautiful folk song in Spanish. I gave him a dollar. At the next stop a guy in a trench coat got on with a styrofoam cup that he was rattling. I tried not to look at him.

A women burst through the door right behind him and loudly addressed the passengers, “OK people. I will try to be brief. My husband has abused me, humiliated me. . . etc.” She kept walking to the other end of the car and we tried to tune her out but she worked her way back to us with her hand out, repeating, “Anybody have a kind heart? Anybody have a kind heart?” She said this like it didn’t have a question mark. Next on was a woman with missing front teeth. She was dragging a big black trash bag. She leaned against the pole in front of us and began singing, “I believe the children are the future”.

The distance between stops as the train goes under the river is longer than that between most stops so this train is a magnet for buskers. Duane, our NYC friend and guide, told us he has seen guys bring a whole drum set in, set it up and bang out a hip hop tune. They get of on the other side, cross over and ride back all day long.

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Museum Quality Trees

Margaret Explosion at the Memorial  Art Gallery opening for"Leaded"
Margaret Explosion at the Memorial Art Gallery opening for”Leaded”

Ken and Peggi spent the longest time discussing whether the tree that was positioned between them was real or fake.

I took this shot with the timer while we were setting up in “The Pavillion” of the Memorial Art Gallery for the opening of “Leaded”, a drawing show featuring ten artists. I was expecting a lot more drawing but the work was all executed with lead.

The contract called for Margaret Explosion  to pay five, fifty minute, sets starting at 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10, the first two hours where for the patrons. We made up songs most of the night only covering three or four of our own in the last set. The band sounded really good in here and we are really happy the MAG invited us to their party.

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The Fish Aren’t Jumpin

Ice Fishing on Irondequoit Bay
Ice Fishing on Irondequoit Bay

Irondequoit Bay is winter playground once it freezes over. We got out on the ice and talked to a few of the fisherman. They were pulling fish out of their holes but they were all pretty small. We watched a group of kids play hockey on a rink they had cleared for themselves. I remember doing that in that same spot when I was a kid. And at the other end of the bay we saw motorcycles were racing around in circles. There’s plenty of funky places to eat down here too. I would recomend Vic & Irv’s, Shamrock Jack’s or Nick’s Seabeeze Inn.

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