Capitalism Is Eating Itself

We met with our Merrill Lynch adviser this morning and were left with the distinct impression that capitalism is indeed eating itself. Our portfolio is worth less than what we put in to it and we’re doing “pretty good”. The same guys who have been saying for as long as I have been listening that “business knows best” are begging the government, who can’t balance a checkbook, for help. The receptionist, who used to greet us here, has been laid off because of the restructuring that Bank of America, who now owns Merrill, has started. And the Wall Street Journal I glanced at in ML’s lobby had an article about New York’s Attorney General, Mario Cuomo’s son, shaming Merrill’s CEO into not taking his ten million dollar bonus this year.

“Does the that fact that big business is begging the government for help indicate that things are really worse than they seem now?”, I asked. Our guy agreed that that was the case. We pushed ahead. Are there any buying opportunities out there now that just about everything has tanked? Maybe but even with their commission danging there they had no solid recommendations. “Do you feel that the Dow could drop much further?”. Our guy thought we would see a twenty to twenty five percent drop before things turned around.

We sold a few things at a loss so we could deduct it from our taxable income and called it a day at the races.

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Art Aficionado

Frank DeBlase photos at Record Archive - A View From The Pit
Frank DeBlase photos at Record Archive – A View From The Pit

There’s Nod right in the middle of Frank DeBlase’s “View From The Pit” show at Record Archive

Record Archive was hopping last night. There were about twenty five skateboarders out front on the unseasonably warm night. Inside Alanya offered us a can of ice cold Rolling Rock and Dick Storms had Nino’s pizza laid out on the table. It was hard to get an unobstructed view of Frank‘s photos. I centered my shot around Nod so I didn’t get Joan Jett or Ivy. There are hundred photos in this show and the prints were selling fast. So you better get over there before all the good ones are gone.

Art opening hound at Svan Aken’s “Audition” at RoCo
Art opening hound at Svan Aken’s “Audition” at RoCo

We go to a lot of local art openings but I’m willing to bet this fellow art aficionado goes to all the art openings. I usually see him chowing down at the refreshments table but last night he was checking out the Sam van Aken’s “Audition” at RoCo on East Avenue. His outfit was nicely cordinated with he work last night. Chas Davis had some nice big Paul Jenkins like paintings in the back room.

Back view of am Svan Aken’s “Audition” at RoCo
Back view of am Svan Aken’s “Audition” at RoCo
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Best Club In Town

Margaret Explosion in the Green Room at WXXI studios
Margaret Explosion in the Green Room at WXXI studios

There was nothing green in the Green Room at WXXI (unless you count Peggi’s shirt). The management and staff were pros and they treated us like kings (except when Pete and Shelley were caught pouring beer from the tap before they had officially opened the bar). Between songs during the performance Julia Figueras asked about the Scorgie’s days. After the show, Gary Trainer from The Atomic Swindlers said, “Forget about Scorgies. This is the best club in town.” We had a blast.

Margaret Explosion in Green Room at WXXI
Margaret Explosion in the Green Room at WXXI studios
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Making Time Stand Still

Funnel Cakes, the perfect summer food
Funnel Cakes, the perfect summer food

I added the tiny Foxy music player to the new Firefox and linked it to our iTunes library. Neil Young’s “It’s A Dream” is playing right now. Maybe that’s why this photo looks so dreamy. This photo does seem to make time stand still like it used to do in the summer. “Fried Dough” gets a little nasty and “Deep Fried Oreo Cookies” are way over the line but “Funnel Cakes” sound delightful.

We are headed out to Peggi’s mom’s place for dinner in the “Bistro” located on the top floor of her apartment building. It is our favorite restaurant in town.

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Getting With The Program

Winter aconite flowers in the snow.
Winter aconite flowers in the snow.

It snowed yesterday, a wet snow, and during the night clumps of snow fell off the pine tree that hangs over our bedroom. It sounded like squirrels jumping from the limbs to our roof and it sounded like they were digging into something. I figured they had found a way into our attic which is about a foot and a half tall at the peak. I imagined they were tearing up the place. I got the ladder out in the morning and went up on the roof. There were no footprints.

It was good packing. We rolled up a dirty snowman.

Work is so slow, I’ve been spending days organizing my digital life. I have all our mp3s on one drive and a backup of that folder on another drive. Each computer had its own folder of photos and random backups were scattered about. Never again. Our photos are all on one drive and we have a backup of that. Our primary computers are all running Time Machine. And there is a hard drive next to the stereo with the mp3 library on it. New cds get ripped when they walk in the door. I’m even letting iTunes manage the batch.

With all our mp3s in one place the Party Shuffle feature gets a good groove on. We just listened to a Coltrane tune from Impressions, Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent, a 20 minute Mingus Medley, Respectable by the Stones (their last good album), Eric Dolphy Springtime, The ChiLites Oh Girl, Tommy James Cellophane Symphony, Bob Dylan I’m Not There, Maggot Brain, I Got It Bad by Peggy Lee and Marquee Moon.

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Thank U 4 Lettin Me B Myself Again

Rick Simpson Discovers North Pole
Rick Simpson Discovers North Pole

We skied into the woods this morning under pure blue skies and ahead of the 40 degree temperatures. Peggi had rubbed glide wax on our waxless skis and they were so fast they wanted to go right out from under us. My right right arm felt sore and then I remembered arm wrestling with Monica over the weekend. I will not underestimate her one hundred pounds again. She challenged me and we wrestled to a draw. Actually I called the draw and quit. She is amazing.

Peggi and I hooked up Rick and Monica and skied up to Lake Ontario over the weekend. They invited us over for lunch. We had leftovers of mushroom barley soup from Polska Chata and artichoke, roasted red pepper, Kalamata olives hard Sicilian cheese ($2 extra) from Nino’s. Rick let us borrow a Dick Cavett set of dvds.

We watched “The Woodstock Show” last night. I remember watching that with Dave Mahoney after he talked us into leaving Woodstock early because he thought they were going to run out of food. Joni Mitchell made the Jefferson Airplane look silly with her a capella version of “The Fiddle and the Drum”. Up next was Sly and the Family Stone and Debbie Reynolds (ouch). Sly was very cool but Dick Cavett acted like Sly was incoherent. He was just being Sly for crying out loud. Dick Cavett was starting to piss me off. Janis Joplin had a real dorky band but she was still amazing. Dick fawned all over her because she read a book or two. David Bowie looked kinda geeky and nervous fiddling with his cane. Maybe it was speed. Mick Jagger took complete command of the camera and made Dick Cavett look tiny.

We still have another disc or so to go. I wish they had left the original commercials in there

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We Live Like Kings

We had dinner with Peggi’s mom at Max’s on Monroe Avenue. We sat below some bad collage art. I tried not to let it spoil the dinner. We each ordered a roasted beet salad with orange slices and pistachios. Fantastic! We followed that up with an order of wild rice with dried cherries and pine nuts. I forgot all about the art.

Our NetFlix queue had two documentaries lined up in a row. We sat through Sicko a few nights ago and the Ralph Nader movie last night. I had a couple questions about Sicko. Isn’t Michael Moore big enough to stay out of his movies? And why is he so big anyway? And during the Nader movie I kept wondering why he wasn’t in the 2008 race and then he announced his candidacy this morning. We need more parties but how about somebody younger with a sense of humor? Hillary’s crack about “Change you can Xerox” rang a little differently in Xerox’s hometown but it still landed like a clunker. Xerox hasn’t been synonymous with copy since the desktop revolution.

We walked to the library and returned “Duma Key” which was two days overdue. Peggi did manage to finish the 600 pages. She told me I should read this one because it is all about painting. Some guy loses an arm and then takes up painting and discovers his paintings actually affect people’s lives. I’m busy reading “the Object Stares Back” by James Elkins. We stopped at Wegmans and picked up the ingredients for the “Hot and Sour Soup” recipe that was in the paper. Shitake mushrooms, Bella mushrooms, tofu, ginger, scallions, garlic and red pepper. Peggi also made some bread with buckwheat flour because we ran out of unbleached and we ate like kings.

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No Heavy Machinery

Peggi driving leaf picker upper
Peggi driving leaf picker upper

Here is Peggi driving our neighbor’s leaf picker upper. She had to wake up at four this morning and drink the second half of her MoviPrep. The doctor’s office was cozy. I brought the paper and then moved on to some of the reading material that they had there like “Diseases of the Liver” and “W, The Biggest Issue Ever!”.

The routine procedure went well and her doctor told her that he would see her again in ten years. We drove directly to Golden Dynasty and had Chinese food. Peggi ordered General Tsang Soy but still under the influence of her narcotic, it came out “General Chang Choy”. Her fortune was, “There is beauty in simplicity”. It was about seventy degrees when we got home so we went out to rake leaves. Peggi had instructions not to drive or operate machinery and not to make any major decisions. She broke the first rule and the night is still young.

Farm-Raised Trees

When we lived in the city we bought a live Christmas tree. It was about two feet tall and more like a shrub. We decorated it, watered it and when the holidays were over we dug a hole in the back yard and planted it. It grew like a weed and in a few years we lopped the top off and brought in the house for Christmas. The tree developed four or five tops and each year we would bring one of them in at Christmas. These were sort of wild looking and good conversation pieces.

Peggi with Xmas tree and saw.
Peggi with Xmas tree and saw.

This year we headed out to Wilbert’s Tree Farm right next to Wilbert’s Buick & GM Parts and junk yard to bring home a tree. We ran into my parents out there. My father was trying to fit a small tree in the trunk of his Honda. The trees were $25 if you cut your own and $30 if you took one of the ones they had already cut. We picked this one out and ended its life.

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Life Is A Spell

We went to the RoCo Members Show last night. Each member gets to submit one piece and it always manages to be a good show and a fun event. Anne Havens submitted a beautiful artist’s book and read it. We found a quote there attributed to E.D. (Emily Dickinson) that read, “Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it”. Wow.

Paul Dodd “Crime Face” 2007, at RoCo Members Show 2007
Paul Dodd “Crime Face” 2007, at RoCo Members Show 2007

On the way over to RoCo we stopped at Book Smart Studio where two RIT students were showing their thesis work. I really loved Jessica Marquez’s “A Naturual History”. She took profile shots of her extended family and fine tuned them in Photoshop so the detail of the features remained in the silouetted images. She coated the balnk pages of old books with something that allowed her to print her photos on these pages. They look like something she found in an attic. They require close examination and are exquisite!

Jessica Marquez’s “A Natural History” at Book Smart Studio
Jessica Marquez’s “A Natural History” at Book Smart Studio

After the galleries we stopped by Bill and Geri’s to see their renovation project. We bought Molson Ice 40 ouncer for $3 at the Twelve Corners Quickstop and watched a Heart reunion in high def on VH1.

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