Our daily Merida pattern has shifted gears and now centers on the main attraction, our nephew’s wedding. He and his wife to be are chefs in Miami where one of their two restaurants has earned a Michelin star. They love Merida and the food here is an inspiration to them for good reason. Approximently 150 people are gathering here from all parts of the world for their destination wedding.
We checked out of our hotel yesterday and are now staying in an Airbnb with Peggi’s sister, another nephew, his partner and their daughter. We met the groom to be for dinner last night and a much bigger group of early arrivers met for lunch today. Tonight after dinner we’re joining an even bigger group at a rooftop bar. Each of these establishments have been carefully selected by the chefs. All easy going and top notch.
We still found time for yoga this morning and and then a walk around town. We stopped at a sweet little church where a mass was going on and I grabbed this photo of N. Señora del Segrado Corazón.
The Mayans developed the concept of zero. Bow down.
I don’t think we were even living together yet when we decided to go to Mexico for the first time. It must have been in the summer because Peggi was still going to school. I remember saving money for the trip in a little box and the total wasn’t more than a few hundred dollars. We were living in southern Indiana and we drove Peggi’s orange Vega to Oaxaca and Salina Cruz at the southern tip of Mexico and back to Indiana.
Our first stop, in Paducah Kentucky, was almost as memorable as Mexico. We spent the night in a campground and someone there told us about a carnival down the road. It was one of those really creepy affairs where you pay to get into small attractions where all sorts of strange curiosities were on display. I will never forget the animals with extra legs.
In Mexico we continued to sleep in the back of the Vega until we learned that hotels were just a dollar or two a night. We are still astounded at how cheaply you can eat and entertain yourselves in Mexico. We took a bus to Progreso, on the coast about 30 miles north of Merida and the round trip for two was 4 dollars. We walked on the beach and swam in the warm turquoise waves before stopping for a Negra Modelo.
Three flights sounded like a nightmare but they all went smoothly and we were poolside at a lovely little hotel in Mérida, Mexico by 2 pm. We found a restaurant with great reviews just 800 ft away but found they weren’t serving until seven. We chose another two blocks away but on the way to that one we found the intriguing Museo de La Gastronomía Yucateca, an open courtyard in the center of an old building with huge doors, the kind you would see in a Vincent Price movie.
They started us with two ice cream sized scoops of whipped beans con salsa verde. We each ordered a Cerveza Patito IPA and we split a bowl of Sopa de Lima. We shared a serving of Pollo Pibil, baked in banana leaves and didn’t have room to pick the bones. We ate like kings and the bill was not even thirty US dollars. Quizás, Quizás, Quizás by Celia Cruz on the sound system topped it off.
We would rather eat at home than in a restaurant but we’ve been following the story of Noma’s chef closing shop to be reborn as a “giant lab.” What comes after tiny dishes prepared from locally foraged ingredients? Our nephew and his partner own a restaurant in Miami. They earned themselves a Michelin star during the pandemic when the fine dining business was forced to reinvent themselves. We hope to have reservations there someday soon.
Based on the evidence we find along the small lakes in Durand Eastman beavers are not all that fussy. They take down poplar, aspen, birch, willow and maple trees to eat the bark. Contrary to popular belief they don’t eat fish. They are strictly herbivores.
We are in an early winter cruciferous stage. We finished our walk today at the garden where our kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts are still producing. We brought back an armful for dinner.
I could never remember whether it was fission or fusion that my father was working on. His engineering division at Kodak was lent out to the UR Laboratory for Laser Energetics in the mid seventies and one of his first projects was designing the mural pictured in the photo above. He was responsible for painting it too and he enlisted help from my brother’s and sisters and their friends. The room was empty at the time. Peggi and I pitched in and I remember Duane Sherwood up on a ladder with a bucket of blue paint. My father hired Refrigerator artist, Chris Schepp to create a large, air-brushed illustration of the UR laser process.
My father met Moshe Lubin there, the founding director, and would continue to work freelance for him into the nineties. Lubin started his own company, Hampshire Instruments, in the old Stromberg Carlson building (where Radio Social is now.) Every year my father and I worked on a slideshow for Hampshire, a crazy high pressure, last minute affair as Hampshire did battle to win the X-Ray lithography race to etch semiconductors. The business eventually failed and Lubin was said to have committed suicide. Before my father passed he sent me links to online speculation that Lubin was murdered so someone could make off with the technology.
My father loved his work at UR and took another off campus job at Los Alamos Laboratory in the early eighties, still officially working for Kodak. He had to wear a badge there, one that would light up if he exceeded his maximum dose of radiation exposure. Peggi, Steve Hoy and I drove out to visit my parents in New Mexico while my father was working at the famous lab, the one where the world’s first nuclear explosion occurred in 1945.
These projects that my father was involved with were fusion related, the cleaner (no nuclear waste) of the two f words. Leo would have been so happy with the recent news. Although clean energy from fusion is a long way off they finally were able to generate a greater amount of energy than they put in.
Referring to Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski and soccer’s golden generation, Rory Smith, writing in the Times, says, “This generation shone too brightly for anything to grow; it was only when their shadows had lengthened, just a little, that conditions proved amenable.” For Gavi and Pedri of Spain, Argentina’s Enzo Fernández and Kylian Mbappé of France of course. All under 23, it is as though soccer skipped a generation.
“It is perfectly fitting that it should have worked out this way: that their final stand should come in a tournament of unparalleled gloss and superimposed glamour, played out in lavish, gilded arenas, monuments to a world where money is no object, paid for with the sweat and the blood and the lives of people too poor to be part of the spectacle, rising above the desert sands in a country drawn to the game because of their irresistible appeal, their star power, their sheer fame.”
We were happy to see Morocco beat our number one, Spain, and then Portugal. The US did ok. Two of our favorites are still in, Argentina and France, so Sunday’s final will be fun. We’ll start out rooting for Argentina (Messi, DiMaria, Alvarez, Corea and DePaul) and we’ll switch allegiances when France goes ahead. Half of their team plays professionally in Spain. It has all been good from our vantage point, the northwest corner of our house in upstate New York. We tacked a large piece of leftover material up behind the tv to block the sun. We don’t usually have that thing on in the daylight.
Peggi and I both noticed how beautiful the back end of the Puntarenas Ferry looked. I went down to the lowest level when we were furthest out in the bay, when the ship was really starting to sway. I got really sick on a ferry years ago and I didn’t want to take any chances. I’m still thinking about how idyllic Costa Rica was and I was sorry to see them get knocked out of the World Cup last night.
We’ve been watching two matches a day for weeks. Hardly enough time left over for wood splitting. The round of 16 starts tomorrow with the US and the matches will have a little bit of breathing room as the field narrows. We go right to the Sports section in the morning papers now. There are so many great reporters to follow, Rory Smith in the Times and Sid Lowe in the Guardian, They are as much fun to read as the match was to watch.
OK, Spain is advancing but they have taken the beautiful game to extremes, playing it out of the back and maintaining possession while wearing down their opponents, that is until someone makes an errant pass and the opposition scores on a fast break. Japan is good at that, so good you wonder if it might all be a calculation. They swarm on a loose ball like a pack of industrious bees. And everyone of the worker bees is giving it their all. They upset Germany and then Spain. As upsetting as that was, we’re looking forward to their match with Croatia.
An article in the paper just before we left got us to New York’s New Museum for the first time. Theaster Gates “Young Lords and their Traces” fills three floors with found, rescued and reworked objects of cultural significance. He calls it “generative care”— tending to the past by carrying its lessons into the future. In video he is shown working in clay, singing spirituals in another.
The title of the show nods to the 1969 Chicago based Puerto Rican organization, an important force in community organizing. Gates rose to fame by reviving a neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side, purchasing vacant and distressed properties and transforming them into artist studios, affordable housing, and performance and exhibition spaces.
Had this been a Saturday we would have had the opportunity to hear the Hammond B3 Organ that was wired to six wall-mounted speakers. I particularly loved the workaday materials and earthy palette of his work. So warm and deeply human in response to forces in our culture.
President Eisenhower officially opened the St. Lawrence Seaway (Highway H2O) in 1959. It allowed oceangoing vessels to carry goods from the Atlantic Ocean to the western end of Lake Superior. A boom for some and bust others. Grain from the Midwest moved right through Buffalo and down to NYC or overseas. Buffalo’s grain silos have sat idle since. Portions have been redeveloped as Riverworks and last weekend the site played host to Playground, art installations in a stunning environment.
We had been to Playground a few years back when the installations filled an old school in Albion and we were looking forward to this one. One artist was busy bricking himself in. When we arrived he was up on a stool behind a five foot wall of newly laid bricks. Visitors could buy a brick for $1.99. We picked one out, handed it to him and he gave us a receipt. There were a few sound installations and movies. Our favorite was Shawn Chiki’s Womp Womp Machine.
I think the location upstaged the installations. I took more photos of the industrial setting than I did of the installations.
The screen saver on our Apple TV is a slideshow of our panorama photos. We have the transition set to the Ken Burns effect so the long photos slide across the screen.
We need more early morning appointments. We dropped the car off at B&B Automotive on Lake Ave. and went for a walk along the river while they changed our oil. It was another beautiful day, crisp and clear, and we had only one cup of coffee under our belts so it made it especially spacey. We listened to Brian Eno’s new record on the way over after reading about it in this morning’s paper so that contributed. Dont really care for his vocals.
John Gilmore lives on a dead end street just one block north of B&B so we walked by his place (all the windows were drawn) across the zoo parking lot and into the Frederick Law Olmsted park on the banks of the Genesee. We’re usually find ourselves over here in the winter so the park was all new. We walked north toward the lake and right out of the park but not before we climbed down at the gorge and got right up close to the river.
Stopped at Atlas Eats on the way home for two reasons. We picked up some blueberry scones. Brenda wasn’t working and her replacement was just drizzling the the frosting on a fresh batch. And we had to ask Diane and Gerry for recommendations on a hotel in Merida. They vacationed there and we have a winter destination wedding there.
“For most of the year, challah is formed into long braids made from multiple strands. But on Rosh Hashanah, the loaves are always round.” So much for that tidbit. Peggi made these long loaves for Rosh Hashanah when my brother and his family were up for our sister’s birthday bash. They watched their New Jersey temple service via Zoom while we hung out with other family members upstairs. I had a backlog of photos on my old school digital camera and just got to this one.
Another Jewish holiday has passed and Peggi has made three more pots of sauce (this orange Le Creuset pot, a glass bread pan and a Corning dish) but no challah. She has been making bread with Gloria’s sour dough starter and the sweet challah loaves doesn’t work with that. We plan to check in the garden today but those were the last batches of sauce. Our tomato output has slowed to a crawl and the basil is spent.
You can see we used leftover fresh corn in this batch. We used to drop the tomatoes into boiling water and then remove the skins but now we just cut up the tomatoes and bake them with onions, garlic, jalapeños and big chunks of carrots from the garden. The carrots behave like meatballs and they sweeten the sauce. The frozen portions become our go-to meal throughout the year.
This one goes in the “We Live Like Kings” category.
A true metaverse is at least a decade away. GeoPose AR functions as a blueprint for the metaverse. A pioneer, Bubiko Foodtour, has been exploring the pre-metaverse (AR, VR, NFTs, POAP) for a few years now and was in town for the Flour City Tour.
We caught up with Bubiko Foodtour at the Brainery on Anderson Avenue this afternoon where Steve Black filled the Green Room with all sorts of virtual items. Some, like the bagels fly through the space. Others allow you walk up to and then around them. The closer you get, the bigger the three dimensional object becomes. My wooden sculpture, “Self Portrait,” is shown floating near the right arm of the woman on the right above. I was able to study the contours at close range in 3D.
The art installation potential of this technology, even as it exists today, is mind-blowing.
We had two full days in Boston, walked eleven miles the first and ten the second, ate all our meals outdoors, slept in a king-sized bed and spent five full hours with Philip Guston paintings. We walked through the Commons, the North End and the harbor, Beacon Hill, the Public Gardens, the Charles River Esplanade, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Museum of Fine Arts as well as large sections of the Freedom Trail. We masked up indoors and hopefully got out without catching Covid.
After the Guston show, our second Guston retrospective, I reviewed the description I recorded for the MAG when the painting, “Web,” from MoMA’s collection, was here with the “Paint Made Flesh” show in 2009. The comments hold up.
We tracked down two Van Goghs on the way out. The museum has their Gaston LaChaise drawing in the back room. I bought an Arthur Dove postcard in the gift shop and Peggi read Madeline aloud to me. We left on a cloud.
I remember laughing with my brother, Mark, and sister, Ann as we sat on the brick stoop in front of our house on Brookfield Road. We were off from school and trying to stay silent on this day, Good Friday, between the hours of noon and three when Jesus was said to have hung on the cross.
As young Catholics we had to do all these sort of challenging things. We gave up candy for five weeks during Lent. We had to fast before Communion so even though we were up playing for hours before Sunday mass we had to put on a jacket and tie and file into the stuffy church where one of us would sometimes pass out during the service. And of course, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays.
I have so lost touch with that faith that I mistakenly thought it was Good Friday two weeks ago. I still love the rituals. I love the iconography. And the Stations of the Cross, a series of 14 images depicting Christ on the day of his crucifixtion, is my favorite. I love visiting old churches especially in Spain where they still have holy water fonts at the door and candles to light to your favorite saint statues. Holy Week in southern Spain is an out of body experience.
I’m writing this at two in the afternoon so the 12th station is where we’re at. All 14 of my recent version can be viewed here.
There must have been a microburst that tore through the woods off Pine Valley Road. We hadn’t taken that trail in a few weeks and we found five full sized trees laying across our path. Out on Culver Road we turned toward the lake and walked what remains of the road. The swing bridge at the mouth of the bay had just swung open minutes before we arrived. The town mechanics were just finishing up. We watched the procedure one year and found it was pretty much one guy with something like an electric drill turning the gears while the others watched. So we’re stuck on this side of the bay until November.
We’re watching the first season of the original Hawaii 5-O and last night’s show, “Cocoon,” featured a different Danny. The governor was played by a different actor and Steve McGarrett put the moves on a college girl! It was unsettling to say the least. We looked up the episode and found this show was initially the pilot and the test audience showed good taste by suggesting they dump the imposter and get Steve to cool his jets.
The Jetty at the top of Skaneateles Lake in the town of Skaneateles had a low slung chain hanging across the entryway. It was apparently closed for the season. We stepped over it and walked to the end where a fisherman was happily casting about.
The Clintons had a summer place here. Listings in the window of a Real Estate office showed restored mansions, lake front properties and empty lots in the millions. There is a Talbots on Main Street and at least a dozen gift shops. The stuff they chose to put in their windows scared us so we walked north down the side streets where the townspeople live. We were trying to understand why people live here. The blocks of idyilic homes felt dreamy but unreal.
We usually come through here on our way down to NYC. We stop at the small bakery for coffee and then drive down the east side of the lake to Binghamton. This time we walked down the west side where we are guessing the Clintons stayed. We walked through a cemetery with a huge monument to the town’s Civil War dead. That felt real. I am sure the town was vital then. Today it is a resort town and that is why we were here.
We were meeting our friends, Matthew and Louise, for lunch and celebrating her birthday. Peggi and I came a whole day early and stayed at Mirbeau, a French style inn and spa. We had dinner in the dining and were expecting a health centered menu but it was meat laden. The room had a gas fireplace, a bath tub and a shower with enough water pressure for both Peggi and me to bath at once. But before that we put the white Mirbeau robes and slippers on and walked across the bridge in the courtyard to the sauna and steam room. We read by the fireplace and slept soundly in the king-sized bed.
Matthew bought us a loaf of French bread from the Patisserie, the best bread we’ve had in ages. I would go back just for another of those loaves.
The little flower that could, Winter Aconite, first identified by my father, has popped up through last night’s snow. Nearly all is right with the world.
I’m nearly finished with Volume XX! of “Brief History of the World.” It is a very slow process of gathering, weeding and juxtaposing. At the same time I’ve been digitizing another volume in preparation for its release as an eBook. The aproprieated images are arranged as spreads so the detail above is out of the admitedly abstract context. I’m also selecting a collection of the spreads from the 21 volumes to use in an upcoming digital presentation.
I know it is not over but it feels like it is for now. So many bare faces and smiles. Our Margaret Explosion show was packed on Wednesday, a double bonus night for the band, and there were a lot people out last night for First Friday. We spent most of the evening in the Anderson Building where Pete Monacelli, George Wegman and Kathy Farrell were showing new work at Richard Margolis’s fourth floor studio. Pete is showing 15 of his “Searching for Home” pieces, this batch in dialog with Renaissance artists.
I fell in love with the luscious George Wegman painting (above) as soon as I set my eyes on it and looked for George to have him put a red dot next to it. He was holding court so I drew up my own “sold” note and attached it to the wall tag. I love the palette, the paint handling and the subject matter. It reminded Peggi of my “Subterranean Surrogates” series and I was thinking of the last Margaret Explosion CD cover. I can’t wait to get the painting home.
I really enjoyed the figure drawing show at Nancy Valle’s studio. A group meets there for three hours every Monday and it is hard to find an excuse not to join them. Still on the fourth floor we revisited Joan Lyon’s show and spent some time in Colleen Buzzard’s studio which had been re-invigorated by a tidy-up for a photo shoot. Peggi and I were trying to remember Colleen’s exact words and couldn’t but the gist of her comment to someone (we can’t remember that either) was out of the darkness and isolation comes new energy. We finished the night on the first floor where Heather Gray was preparing to wrap up a gorgeous new painting she had just sold.
I took this photo through the passenger side window while Peggi was driving to the Co-op. We had to get our monthly shop in. Members save ten percent once a month, the number of times we shop there each month. The wall in front of the wall is what remains of Lock 65 on the Erie Canal as flowed through Rochester. I guess the canal didn’t exactly flow, it just sat there until they drained in the winter months.
They also called it the “Reservoir Lock” because it was connected to what is now Lake Riley, the pond at the base of Cobbs Hill. I guess barges could turn around there or rest maybe. We used to skate on the pond in the winter and I played Little League there in the summer. The canal was moved several times. The old bed became the subway line and now it is the expressway we were traveling on.
We usually leave our car in the Co-Op parking lot and walk in a big loop before shopping, sometimes up to UR, across Elmwood and back down on the west side of the river or sometimes downtown to Rochester Art Supply. Getting the canal, which runs east/west, across the Genesee River, which as you can see in this photo gets pretty wild, was no easy feat for the Irish. The lower part of the bridge in the photo above carried the canal across the river which flows south to north, an intersection of two waterways in the center of the city. And at some point they built a second layer to the bridge in order to carry cars. They canal now intersects the river in a lazy fashion in Genesee Valley Park.
There was talk of re-watering the canal in downtown Rochester but I think that fizzled. I read there is serious talk of taking the car layer off the bridge and converting the former canal bed layer to a pedestrian park. I never thought I would live to see them take the Inner Loop out so who knows.
Barcelona, long the best football team in world, fell apart. They got so big they couldn’t afford their big money players. Messi, still the best player in the world, is paying in Paris with Neymar and Mbappe. Others took a cut in salary. A former player has returned to coach the team and he is playing youngsters, 17 and 18 years old, with the remaining veterans, the mentors, Pique and Busquets. They still play the beautiful game and they are even more fun to watch. Unfortunately they can’t seem to win but they are coming closer.
The Bilbao club is the opposite of a big money team. They only hire people born in the Basque region. That region, in northwestern Spain stretches in France. Basque before country! This last match was played in Bilbao and before the match began, while the stadium was bathed in deep red LED lights we were treated to tradition Basque music played on xalaparta, a hollow wood instrument.
Bilbao has a famous soccer academy and the graduates for the most part stay in the region. Most Spanish teams have their ultra fan sections. The fans in Bilbao are all ultra fans. They are loyal backers and proud of their team. They beat Barcelona in overtime and will advance to the final rounds of the Copa del Rey.