It took us a couple of days to finish watching the Atletica/Juventus Champions League match that we recorded on Wednesday. It was billed as a matchup of the the new and the aging Portuguese stars, Joao Felix and Christiano Ronaldo, and they both had moments of brilliance. In the end they each took a point home, not to Portugal but to their respective club team’s city.
We have been boning up on all things Portuguese. Cranking an Apple Music Fado playlist around the house and preparing to order coffee in their tongue. We saw Madonna lives in Lisbon now but she will be out on tour when we’re there. I’m sure it will be lovely but I’m already looking forward to walking right out of that country and into Spain.
We walked along the lake today and noticed a respectable amount of beach in place. We saw the guy with the camouflage pants and shaved head in the park. Earlier in the summer we connected him to the pickup truck with “Don’t Tread On Me” stickers, the creepiest of which reads “Meet My Family” above a row of guns, arranged by height from pistol to AR-15. He likes to let his dog run free despite the “Dogs Must Be Leashed” signs. And then he wants to say hi to us. “How’s the family?” No thanks.
I was in such a hurry to finish last night’s blog post that I left a huge chunk of copy in the copy/paste realm. I wanted to be in front of the tv for the third segment of Ken Burn’s Country show. So far we have survived Peter Coyote’s deadening narration and we are really enjoying the show. I found it surprising that right from the start people like The Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers were going after an old timey sound. I always thought they were the old timey sound. The current Americana fixation is as old as the hills. Of course genre busting artists like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and George Jones are in their own league.
In 1973 I was living with Peggi in a small rented house on the outskirts of town. We set up our bedroom on the porch. It was enclosed with wrap-around windows. We converted the bedroom to a band room and I was playing drums in there one night when someone knocked on the door. I opened the door and three guys were standing there. I was in my early twenties and these guys were old, well into their thirties. I was certain they were there to complain about the noise but they said they’d been outside listening and they wanted me to join their band. Apparently “Frank Canada” (listed on the card) had left the band and these guys were desperate. They had two gigs coming up that week.
This was Bloomington, Indiana I could tell by looking at them that they were talking about a kind of music I knew nothing about. I tried my best to talk my way out of this but a few days later I found myself out in the country, rehearsing in the living room of a trailer. Black velvet paintings on the wall and strange people sitting in the living room while we played songs I had never heard of. They kept asking, “You know that song called such and such?” and I would go, “No.”
Somehow we got through the gigs and rehearsed the next week in the bass player’s barn without the lead singer. Turns out the bass player, who had a sweet voice, and the rhythm guitar player, who loved Waylon Jennings, were conspiring to give Butch Miller (the cad) the boot and start their own band. They found a young guitar player with slicked back hair who worked at the Bloomington hospital and sang just like Johnny Cash. The three of them traded songs and we were booked every weekend and holiday for the next year and half in Eagles, Elks, Moose Clubs, American Legions, VFWs, coon hunts and anywhere cigarettes were smoked and Falstaff Beer was served.
I fell in love with the stuff, Classic Country by today’s definition. I recommended Dave Mahoney for the band when we left town and I think they changed their name to “The Breakers.”
Most of the days on our upcoming walk, the Camino Portuguese, will be twenty miles long so we need to be ramping up. Today we decided to walk to Atlas Eats on Clinton Avenue. We really hustled on the way over because they close at two. There was a band playing in the park next to House of Guitars and the HOG had all kinds of equipment out on the sidewalk. Some sort of tent sale. I waved to Bruce who was standing in the doorway and we kept going.
At Atlas the workers were all talking about Woodstock. Brenda had just watched the movie and Gerry had just re-read “Back to the Garden” by Pete Fornatale. I told them I was there but I didn’t see much of the music. Brenda had just taken a batch of cookies with psychedelic swirls out of the oven. She is calling them “Lemon Sunshine.” I had my usual, the tofu and kimchee bowl, and Peggi had the 13 Grain toasted cheese with salad.
On way back “Cosmic Meditation,” a two piece with congas and guitar, was on the bandstand so we hung around for a bit. A small sign in front of the stage read, “Please Keep Out of the Rain Garden.” I went into the store and Armand’s WAYO radio show was coming over the speakers. I was surprised to see him in store and I said there’s a guy that sounds just like you on the air. He told me he records his weekly show in the studio at the HOG and just sends it to the station. If you haven’t heard him you have to check him out. He has a great radio presence.
At dinner many years ago I asked my father whether he thought, in general, things were better today than they were when he was growing up. He was a genuinely positive, glass more than half full, kind of guy, progressive and always open to new ideas and technology. His response started heading in an affirmative direction but then wandered into a time when the parish priest kept a watchful eye on the whole community, reigning in those who went astray.
My parents left the church decades before but I knew father was holding out hope, not so much for the institution but for the concept. I wonder what he would have thought of the headline in today’s paper. “Rochester Diocese Files Bankruptcy.”
My mother’s first job after high school, one that lasted until she became pregnant with me, was a clerical position with the Rochester Diocese office which at the time was located in the old CYO building on Chestnut Street where the Garth Fagan Dance Troupe rehearses. She told us how the priests constantly pursued the young girls they hired. When I was at Bishop Kearney HS it was common knowledge that the math and drama teacher was chasing girl students. I have at least two relatives who were molested by priests.
It is obviously not just a problem in the church. The Pentagon estimates 10,000 male and 10,000 female service members are sexually assaulted by fellow service members each year. But because the church has set up this archiac unmarried, male hierarchy as shepherds their crimes seem particularly egregious. Of course they compounded the infractions but covering the crimes up and moving the offenders to other parishes where they could continue to prey on innocents.
The model is broken. The whole ship deserves to go down. It belongs in a museum. The Attorney General needs to ensure that information related to clergy abuse and cover-ups are not able to be kept hidden by this bankruptcy process.”
We watched “TheGreat Hack” the other night and it put everything into perspective. It did take some of the fun out of watching the debates though. None of this really matters when you’re sitting on your couch in New York State. The state will go blue and the electoral college will cast its votes accordingly.
As the documentary dispassionately lays it out there are only a handful of states where the outcome is uncertain. And in those states a small number of counties where the outcome is uncertain. But in those counties there are the “persuadables,” enough people who are either on the fence or just don’t really care. Reaching them with gentle pressure can sway not the popular vote but the Electoral College balance.
So those are the towns where the candidates go. It is also where all the money goes. Along comes Cambridge Analytica who combined data mining (mostly from FaceBook), data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication. The Trump campaign bought a million dollars a day of their targeted FB ads and managed to tip the persudables. The best democracy money can buy.
But I still give most of the credit to the Trumpeter. We watched the Republican debates last time around, saw the Trump train coming as he stole the Republicans entire platform and trounced one after the other of their leading candidates. Jeb, Marco and Cruz clearly lacked the Celebratory Apprentice qualities.
My watch sometimes has me doing a mile before we’ve even left the house so I’m not vouching for its accuracy. I do know we were about halfway though with our walk when we turned around at the end of the pier and started heading south again.
Our walks are long distance but leisurely, like they will be in Portugal and Spain. We stopped at Kathy’s on the way out (she wasn’t at home) and we stopped a few times on the way back. Frametasitic was having an “Art Sale.” They had a hand made sign propped up against their green garbage toat so we stopped in. We met the owner, Joan, and she showed a self portrait her husband had done before he passed. She has been in business on Culver Road for over fifty years. We walked right by the bait store but stopped in the liquor store to see if they had any Portuguese Port. We were having friends over for dinner and thought that might be appropriate, The small shop only had Taylor Port, a New York State product and the shopkeeper told us they carried that one because it is popular because of a rap song.
Horseshoes adds another bit of milage before the day wraps up. I’ve been on somewhat of a winning streak and I think it has everything to do with concentration. Not my strong suit.
I was not aware of a separatist movement in New York State. I don’t like Brexit. I would rather Catalonia remain part of Spain. I don’t even like the America First thing so I’m not getting behind this. Besides, I thought the wealthy New Yorkers put a bigger share in the NYS coffers.
Once again I made this bone-headed mistake. I set the recording device (Zoom) up before our gig on Wednesday. The levels looked good. It was about fifteen minutes before we were to start so I put the things on pause. We were three songs into our set and I know exactly what Peggi was thinking. It was sounding especially good, like better that ever. Phil was playing a new guitar, a Nash, we hadn’t played together in three months. I t ws all brand new.
The first song sounded like a Can thing, a simple, driving, repetitive riff that that kept shifting ever so slightly. The second song had a fantastic amount of bass movement, an exploration. And the third was full of interesting melodic dialog between Peggi and Phil. It was so good Peggi thought she better check the Zoom to make sure it was recording. It was still on pause so that will stay in a dream state.
We booked our flight to Portugal and are beginning to think about the walk, another approach to Santiago de Compostela, this one from Porto. We took photos of the things we carried last year when we did the traditional route, el Camino Frances, and we’ll put the same items back in our packs.
We’re starting to ramp up our local miles this month in preparation. We turned down Brad Street today, into that little neighborhood behind Parkside Pines, the oldest miniature golf course in the country. We took a photo of the street sign, “Brad Street,” and sent it to our friend, Brad, in Oakland. He called us and said he got the message but not the photo because he doesn’t use the cloud. He told us that our mutual friend’s sister had died so we called Steve and his conversation took us all the way home. Steve lives in Charleston and they were under a Mandatory Evacuation order. Of course, he isn’t going anywhere. He told he went down to the shore to check out the surf.
Finally shook that song “Sara.” I heard that days ago in Wegmans and woke up singing it. The thing should be banned. I was only able to free myself by replacing the tune with another, “Runnin’ Up That Hill,” which they were playing this morning at the health club.
It was my first time there. I came on a guest pass with Peggi. We were here for the 8:30 yoga class. Patty is a good teacher but she moves through the poses too fast. You hardly have time to think about the pose you’re in before she is on to the next. The one hour class seemed longer than Jeffery’s two and half hour classes. The New Age music doesn’t help. It agitates me rather than chilling me out.
We walked around downtown yesterday. Bought coffee beans at Canaltown, shopped at Abundance and had lunch at Orange Glory. We sat out on the sidewalk and watched the new Eastman students check out their environs. We spent sometime at the library. Hadn’t been to the downtown branch since they moved the Art section back across the street.
I brought home a 1935 Gaston LaChaise catalog from a MoMA retrospective. They had to go into the stacks for that one. I am in love with his drawings. And I borrowed a copy of “Louise Bourgeois Drawings and Observations.” Peggi picked out two books on Portugal. We’re planning to walk a good part of that country..
The neighbors think there may be two sets of triplets wandering around. We haven’t seen both sets together but we see three young ones and their young mom every day. They may be different sets, we can’t tell. They eat everything. Our ferns, which they usually leave alone have been nibbled to the ground and our Vinca in the pots out back are just stumps.
We sometimes walk in the rain but we waited for it to stop before heading out. The sun was coming out and steam was rising from Pine Valley. We watched a groundhog for a few minutes, we saw a fox slink by and a pack of deer, and then some more and more after that. Not the first time we’ve noticed we see more animals out when it’s raining. In the park on a hillside, near the trail that goes through Tamarack Swamp, we saw five bucks, all with big racks. Three were at least ten pointers. I took some photos to send to our deer hunting neighbor. He has a permit to bow hunt on his property and he will drool over these.
To this day Summerville, on the east side of the Genesee, and Charlotte on the west side are distinctly different communities. Both developed before there was a bridge over the river. There’s historical markers detailing the port of Charlotte’s role in the War of 1812 and the Summerville side is pointed to as an early resort town, an escape from the city.
We took a walking tour of both, a leisurely stroll of the expensive boats in the Port of Rochester and then paused on the O’Rourke Bridge where we looked down on the bustling shipyards in Summerville. In the center of this photo you can see a man towing a kayak with his bicycle. We had lunch at Schooner’s, under an umbrella out on their deck and we watched boats drift past.
We bought some locally grown apricots, plums and corn at Herrama’s and stuck our head in the new Murph’s. There’s a stage in there that would be perfect for Margaret Explosion.
The road at the end of our street didn’t always dead-end at the berm. It used to continue right into the park where it became Zoo Road. The road is still there but the zoo is gone. They had fifty or so buffalo, elk, goats and deer who all roamed together in a big, fenced-in big valley, just south of where the Park’s service area is now. It closed in the early sixties but the deer are still here.
We get our car serviced at B&B on Saint Paul and usually walk home while they work on it. This time we walked up to Seneca Park and along the river. They used to have a big outdoor public pool here. My parents would bring the whole family, or what there was of it back then. We’d swim, picnic and visit the zoo. Rochester had two zoos!
We had not been to Seneca Park Zoo since they added the new Savannah section with the giraffes, rhinos, elephants, lion and tigers and these zebras. They tore down the big old brick building, the one that housed the lemurs, and moved them temporarily while they build a new tropical environment for them. Peggi was planning on shooting some lemur footage for her long-in-the-works video for “Love Never Thinks.” Personal Effects – Love Never Thinks
The zoo seemed plenty busy. I was glad to see that. Mostly young kids and caregivers. The kids were really taken by the shaved rear ends of the baboons. They pointed to the piles of poop and got really excited when one of the baboons relieved himself. One of the males, visibly excited, tried mounting a female baoon right in front of where we were standing. A mom, just behind us, said, “Let’s get going kids,”
Aptly named, the first day of the week was letter perfect yesterday. Peggi and I were picked up in our driveway and chauffeured in the back seat of Jeff and Mary Kaye’s car to the eastern shore of Sodus Bay where we met our friends, Matthew and Louise. Jeff chose the to hug Ontario’s lakeshore, a dreamy route with gorgeous homes on the lakeside and orchards and barns on the other.
We shared conversation over wood fired pizza and beer under a picnic table umbrella. All the while wondering what it would be like to live on Eagle Island. We heard there is road for golf carts but no car access, only by boat or sled in the winter.
We stopped at this cobblestone house on the way home to inspect it up close. How did those craftsmen get these lake stones set in the concrete without displacing these beautiful ridges?
Our friend, Kathy, haunts second hand stores. And she finds all sorts of treasures at estate sales. I suspect that is where she bought an Italian pasta maker. We borrowed it and Peggi made two batches of pasta. One with mushrooms and one with her sauce. Both were delicious. We ordered one on Amazon and it showed up today so we walked her pasta maker back over to her house. We went through the woods on the way and then along the lake on the way back.
Kathy’s pergola is almost done. The wood has all been carefully scorched and then stained. We have made a point to stop by once a week for the last six just to see it take shape. I was not even sure what a pergola was. I couldn’t understand why you build all this and not put a roof on but now I get it. A pergola is something else altogether. An environment with diffuse light and, as Peggi pointed out, its own sound quality. I’m looking forward to sipping a beer here as we look out on the dreamy Bay.
This establishment is also on Ontario Avenue in Niagara Falls, just down the street from Prophet Isaiah’s Second Coming House which was pictured in yesterday’s post. I’m partial to the New York side of Niagara Falls. I like the view of the Falls better and it’s not as neat and tidy as the Canadian side. My uncle was born here and he and my aunt still live here. My cousin lives next door to them about five minutes from this place.
This neighborhood is still referred to as “Little Italy” even though it is mostly black now. My uncle grew up a block from the Monte Carlo although it wasn’t even here then. It’s not really here now either. The neighborhood went from Irish and Italian to African Americans from down south. Like most northeastern cities it has seen better days but maybe someone will buy the Monte Carlo and open it back up..
Jim Mott amazes me with his ability to capture a scene on a small scale in a rather short period of time like maybe an hour. He paints in oil on cardboard and the finished piece is consistently true to the color in front of him. Nothing in his finished image is overworked yet they are perfectly readable. His paintings remain painterly and fun to look at. But Jim is looking for something else. He wants to make a connection with his work.
He gave a talk, “The Art of Connection: 20 Years of Socially-Engaged Art Projects,” at The Yards at the Public Market and passed a short stack of his paintings around the room as he showed slides. He grew up wanting to be a local artist but found it was impossible to make any money. And furthermore, nobody seemed to really care. He became disgruntled.
In 2000 he placed a small ad in the New Yorker offering to paint pictures at strangers’ homes in exchange for hospitality. He arranged tours that took him across the country and back several times. He estimates he has been to 200 homes and each time the homeowner chose one the paintings he did at their place to keep for themselves. Jim brought the rest home. His presentation contained a bar chart that showed how much more productive he was on the road compared to staying at home. It was dramatic.
Last year he came up with a Landscape Lottery project where locations were chosen by random GPS corordinates. It took him to some strange places like the middle of a parking lot where he found he had to work harder to make a good painting and they were often some of his best.
He told us he is looking for new ideas for his next project so he has us thinking.
“If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I hate that saying. Why should you have to hang your own gutters? Or remodel your kitchen? There are craftsmen out there. People who have lots of experience. People who are really good at what they do. This “do it yourself” movement has left us with half-assed work everywhere you look.
That’s what I like to think but just because I like to think that doesn’t mean it makes any sense. We hired a company last Fall to replace a few gutters. They were recommended to us. I think that company subcontracted the job to someone else. The guy in charge hit his thumb with a hammer. He showed it to us and told us he thought he broke it. He came back three days later with it all wrapped up.
They hung the gutters with screws that came right through the backside of the fascia board. I didn’t call and complain because I didn’t want to see the guys again. I tried not to look up all winter and planned to back them out in the Spring and put in shorter screws. I finally got to it today. I found a whole long stretch were there were no screws at all. The hangers were lying in the gutter. I borrowed Jared’s six foot level and did the job right. You know what they say.
When our friend, Duane, was up from Brooklyn for a few days he reset the weight on the tone arm of our stereo. He said it felt too heavy. I knew that was asking for trouble. I played a George and Tammy song after dinner and then Family Affair by Sly and the Family Stone. “Near You” sounded scratchier than ever and the needle wouldn’t even stay in the groove for Sly. I added some more weight.
We watched the match today with our neighbors. Jedi played soccer growing up in Jamaica so he knows the game and he is fun to watch with. His wife, Helena, made some killer fried green tomatoes for the occasion and Peggi made hummus. We did some serious screaming.
Without the injured Rapino the US beat England but just by a whisker. A goal called back for being a few inches offsides and then a missed penalty shot prevented England from taking the match into overtime. England had the possession too but the US played better. All three goals were beauties. And Rose Lavelle’s nutmeg in the opening minutes, and not just a nutmeg but one where she picked up her own passon the other side, a good omen. The US is going all the way.
Peggi and I headed out for a walk today and ran into a neighbor, Larry, who was walking his dog. We were in his house once and he and his wife had Fox News on in the middle of the day. In summer we can hear right wing radio coming from his garage. He wore a red MAGA hat during the 2016 campaign and today we found him sporting a new TRUMP hat with the slogan “Keep America Great” on it. He’s a nice guy and although I think the hat is absurd we don’t talk politics.
I’m putting out feelers for a Don Jr. Tee. Something equally absurd. I created this graphic and I’m thinking about putting it on a white t-shirt. We printed some shirts a long time ago and it was a lot of work. I’m thinking of sending the art work off and getting someone else to print them but there is the question of how many to order.
Brazilian percussionist, Cyro Baptista, played with Laurie Anderson, Gato Barbieri, David Byrne, Dr. John, Brian Eno, Milton Nascimento, Carlos Santana and Caetano Veloso. He has been here a few times, always with a completely different band, and he is always irresistibly entertaining. Joyous Brazilian rhythms are the foundation of his music but his ensembles, exceptional team players, work with a full palette of world music. They opened the set we saw with a Don Cherry composition.
I wore my Spain shirt yesterday and tried to stuff my soft spot for their beautiful game. I expected the US to run over them but Spain gave them a real test. I’m happy for that. Rose Lavelle played great and Rapino, of course, but the US defense looked shaky. We are going to have cheer especially loud when they meet France.
I hated to see Canada go home but their match with Sweden was a duel between two teams with similar skills and approaches and consequentially they trapped each other in the center of the pitch. Canada had an edge in possession but Sweden was a bit tougher and put one in in the second half. I’m pulling for Italy and I was so happy to see them take down the tactical Chinese side. Valentina Giacinti is a joy to watch. I will cheer them all the way up to a possible confrontation with the US.