Give It Up For Clarence

Jackie or Jill's wagon on floor as our house was being built
Jackie or Jill’s wagon on floor as our house was being built

Clarence Meyer stopped by to visit us and the Don Hershey house that he built in the the nineteen forties. Clarence is 97 now and this is his third visit since we have lived here. He had both of his daughters with him this time, one form Ohio and one from California. If you click on the photo above you can see the girl’s wagon in the foreground while Clarence is up on a ladder smoking a pipe as his wife hands him some nails.

It has been such a pleasure getting to know the guy who built our house, to be able to ask him questions about the construction and to hear his stories about the architect and the materials used. The war years were a tough time to be building a new house for a young family so Clarence did most of the work himself. And he didn’t cut any corners while carrying out the architect’s labor intensive, special touches. He is so delighted to see someone in the house who appreciates all his work and he’s thrilled to see the small updates we’ve done. He is an inspiration to us.

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Fcuk Him

Fcuk for him on display at A. J. Wright store in Rochester, New York
Fcuk for him on display at A. J. Wright store in Rochester, New York

I had worn a hole in the rear end of my pajamas so I stopped in A. J. Wright up in Culver Ridge Plaza. I asked the clerk where the pajamas were and she took me over to a rack of “Loungewear”, all bottoms, colorful concoctions that you sometimes see big muscular guys with mullets wearing out on the street. I guess they don’t sell pjs in sets anymore. This place is so discount they don’t have a dressing room and I couldn’t decide whether to go with Large or Medium. At 6 feet, 150, I’m half of each. I went with medium.

This “Fcuk Him” product caught my eye on the reduced table near the checkout. A kid with the “Why Can’t We All Just Get A Bong” t-shirt caught my eye at the Public Market this morning. And I was thinking of this line from Jeff Spevak’s review of the crowd at last night’s Phish concert – “a museum of non-sequiturs.” Give it up for Jeff.

Everything is in season now. We hauled four big bags home. Corn from Honeyoe Falls, peaches from Hamlin and blueberries, apricots, beets, cucumbers, peppers, pears from other local farms. I just made my first tomato and onion sandwich of the year.

Deer aren’t supposed to like Rhododendrons. That’s why ours are shaped like Palm trees. And they aren’t supposed to like Marigolds either but they got ours last night. Second time this year. The yellow would have spoiled all the green anyway.

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Sparky Doll Discovery

Sparky Doll purchased at Small Word Books on North Street in Rochester, NY
Sparky Doll purchased at Small Word Books on North Street in Rochester, NY

Sparky Doll purchased at Small Word Books on North Street in Rochester, NY

It wasn’t even a close call to pick our favorite Sparky doll from the fourteen on display at Small World Books on North Street. Peggi picked this one up for two bucks. The owner, Rocco, let me photograph all fourteen while we hung around talking. He told me these things are pretty common in New England.

Sparky Dolls found at Small World Books in Rochester, New York

I had to call Sparky this morning to check in on him. We were neighbors for twenty some years and I kept track of him when we lived in the city. We even developed a mythological site devoted to him and I’m sorry to report I don’t have any new episodes for it.

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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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Everything Is Right With The World

Paul Dodd Crime Faces on the front wall of the Little Theater Cafe
Five Paul Dodd Crime Faces on the front wall of the Little Theatr Cafe

I found a Hawaii quarter in my pocket today. That completes my little green book. And it made me think of our brand new funky president.

We were going to drive down to New York this evening but we chickened out and called our host, Duane, to tell him we would not be making it. Martin Edic told us last night that Jet Blue had $49 dollar flights so we booked some for an upcoming weekend.

We skied up to the lake and around the ponds. We saw the Mayor of Durand and his posse. The mayor was drinking LaBatts from a can this time and he had a gun for measuring speed. He and his buddies were clocking each other on their sleds and listening to mellow instrumental music. It was eight degrees and sunny.

We checked online to see they had put anything in the Irondequoit Post about my painting show. They had and Peggi read it aloud. She got down to the end and read that I have a second opening on February 6. Only then did we realize we would be in New York City for my opening in Rochester. Jet Blue was very nice about switching the dates.

The first opening went well. I almost forgot that the walls are a burnt orange. Jaffe sat in with the band on piano. He told me, “I’ve seen some piddily ass artwork in here. This stuff is real”. I thought that was kind of funny.

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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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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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Soul Revival

Peggi and Monica skating at Manhattan Square Park
Peggi and Monica skating at Manhattan Square Park

Monica had the brilliant idea to invite us to go skating with her and Rick at Manhattan Square Park after work on Friday. We put our long johns on and warmed up our skates by the heater. Peggi hung on to me for the first few laps and then she was on her own. She had a collision with a young kid and they both fell but no one was hurt. The rink here has been renovated and it is now kidney shaped and very pretty. I could have done without the Christmas music but that is a losing battle.

I clomped next door with my skates on to Manhattan Square apartments where Frank Paolo works but the guard told me “Frankie wasn’t in yet”. We drove over to Corn Hill to look for a Mexican restaurant and wound up at an Italian place called Tony D’s. They specialize in coal fired pizza and they let us to place a special order of caramelized  onion pizza with no cheese. We sat by the oven and watched three beefy guys do the cooking. They played eighties soul music and got talking about Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and the whole soul revival thing goin’ on.

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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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