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.”
Anita Ward had a hit with that song. We saw her opening for Bootsy Collins at the War Memorial back in the day. Our neighbor had been telling us about these incidents where kids ring their doorbell late in the evening and then run. They did it three weeks in a row and twice her husband was able to open the door, yell at them and chase them off. Why would they keep coming back? Why wouldn’t they ring our bell?
They set up a camera and caught this kid in a short video and sent us this screen shot. I was encouraging them to call the cops. The kids rang the bell again at midnight and and the neighbors did call the cops. The next day Peggi and I were having dinner on our porch when a kid rode up on his bike, rang the neighbors bell in broad daylight and apologized. The neighbors told us the kid was almost crying.
We walked up to the post office today and I found part of a letter on the ground just a few doors from our house. All religious mumbo jumbo it started with, “He took our infirmities and bore my sickness. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.”
The tile on the floor of the India House Food & Imports Store at 999 S. Clinton Avenue is so familiar. It is a deja vu drug for me. My mom used to take us shopping here when it was Tierney’s Market. The floor had sawdust on it then and for good reason. And then there was smell of the 8 o’Clock Coffee that my mom let us grind for her. My grandfather was always behind the butcher case and that is what I remember the most, him slicing a half inch thick piece off one of those white-wrapped, homemade liverwurst rolls and handing it to me.
The Tierney family picnic was today. My grandparents are long gone and all that remains of the next generation is one set of my aunts and uncles. The picture below, taken at my grandparents’ anniversary breakfast, shows most of the extended family on that side although my sister and a few other cousins were not yet born. Most now have offspring with children of their own. We wear name tags to keep each other straight. My cousin Kathleen brought a dvd of The Mission for us. I remember liking the soundtrack so much we bought the lp but I hardly remember the movie. This year’s picnic was more talkative than most and we lost track of time missing most of Scott Regan and Steve Piper’s art opening.
My grandfather’s store on South Clinton was not his first. That one was on North Street downtown and two of my grandfather’s brothers were partners in the operation. Their parents, Ma and Pa Tierney are pictured below.
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.
Even art has an off season and it needs it. September’s First Friday signaled game on. We started at the William’s Gallery in the Unitarian Church where Jim Thomas showed recent pastel drawings of stones as seen through water and then abstracted. They played really well with Don Burkel’s close up photos of the Maine Coast. Jim said he was working on a different project altogether, large abstract paintings like the beauty he had in the recent Arena Group show. Bill Keyser was there and told us he is preparing for a retrospective at the University gallery at RIT. Known primarily as a woodworker, I asked if he was still painting and he said he was still working on a few that he started in Fred Lipp’s class.
We stopped in the RIT Gallery downtown, a show with work from four faculty members, an academic show. Despite having a gallery space downtown I’m always struck by how isolated the RIT scene, the artists, the art and even the gallery visitors are from the city. I wish they would have back downtown.
We fully expected the Anne Havens show at Colleen Buzzard’s studio to be the smash of the evening and it didn’t disappoint. Her work is smart, expressive and most most importantly, pure fun. Anne offered to meet us at the gallery for a guided tour and we plan to take her up on it.
At Warren Philips Gallery, where you might expect to see work experts framed and hung, we found mostly wood constructions on stands, the floor and some on the wall. Kenneth Martin’s work is playful, mysterious and beautiful. I was particularly attracted to this concrete. And mixed media piece entitled “Early Learned.” I asked Ken what his formula was for the concrete and gave it up.
3 parts mortar mix,1 part Portland cement and Acrylic concrete additive instead of water, all available at Home Depot.
We finished the night at 3 Heads Brewery where Bob Henrie and the Goners were tearing it up. Still my favorite band in the city.
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.
“Wednesday night I found myself at The Little Theater Café wallowing in the ether and digging the images this group routinely paints in my head. As the open-minded melodies really kicked in, the brain candy got more acute and I started hearing words coming out in a sort of celestial-Beat cadence. “Shit, I gotta write this down.” But alas, I had no paper, So I clicked on my phone’s notepad feature and began to write:
Space cowboy Got stars for spurs He’s got his You’ve got yours Rocket to the moon On a Wednesday night It was a tight flight Out of reach And outta sight“
Hope you can come out tonight or some Wednesday this month.
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.
The park was especially quiet today. Odd for Labor Day weekend but then the forecast was for rain later in the day. Only one of the picnic pavilions was occupied.
We headed for the beach and found a holiday’s worth of vehicles parked along the lake. A woman’s arm was hanging out of the first car window. She had a long cigarette between her fingers and the second hand smoke was nice. I noticed quite a few people just sitting in their car looking out at the lake. A young guy in a t-shirt was starting a fire in one of the metal barbecues. He was using Briquettes, lighter fluid and one of those long, slim, gun-like lighters. His girlfriend was taking hits off a vaping device. A guy with beard got out of a car with Maryland plates, dropped his skateboard on the path, and took off with perfectly silent bearings.
We watched some kids playing in the water while their young mothers were eating sandwiches on the beach. There was more sand than we had seen all summer so we tried walking down the beach and we made it all the way to where the big private homes of Rochester’s Gold Coast start.
We passed a goth couple sitting at a picnic table. The woman had bright red hair and she was wearing a long black skirt. A group of Indians or Pakistanis were shaking sand out of their clothes. A guy who looked like a classic hippie was sitting on one of those tree trunks of driftwood. He was all alone, long hair and beard, shorts and no shirt. We passed a large woman in a bathing suit sitting alone in one of those really low beach chairs. She looked up from the book she was reading and said hello. A man in a wet suit was in the water, up to his waist with a metal detector and net in his hands. And at end of the public beach this couple sitting on either side of their cooler. He was drinking Genny from the can and she was sipping wine.
“It is solved by walking.” This giant spoon was on the lawn in front of a house on the side street we took to Wegmans. The house was for sale, empty inside and this thing was sitting in that patch of land between the sidewalk and the street.
We had “Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” back in the red Netfllx envelope and by the door on its way to the mailbox when we decided to cut it open and watch the movie again. Luis Bunuel’s masterpiece keeps getting better. We made sure we digested the subtitles the first time through and we just sat back and enjoyed it the following night.
We watched “The Shining” last night. It’s the perfect horror movie but once you’ve seen it a few times its all about the amazing Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall performances. My favorite scene was Grady (the first caretaker) and Jack in the red and white bathroom. And after that it would have to be the interchanges between the bartender and Jack. Third favorite scene would be the interview when Jack officially gets the Overlook position. Plus the soundtrack takes centerstage and almost usurps the storyline. Whoever it was that put that altogether kicked ass.
While I worked to crop this just right in camera I realized the owner was sitting behind the wheel. He was wearing a cowboy hat. I braced for a conversation but none came. If you’re a glutton for punishment or perhaps you’re wondering where the other side is coming from you can click on this photo for clarity. The “AMAC” sticker at bottom left is the weirdest. The Association of Mature American Citizens.
We stopped by to visit our neighbor this afternoon. Peggi made some corn bread for him. I’ve talked about him before. We see him out walking his dog while wearing his MAGA hat. He was cleaning his leaf blower, a Toro model just like ours, and cut some of his fingers off. He’s the nicest guy but we don’t talk politics.
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..
Chimney Bluffs, just beyond Sodus Point, is a one of the minor league wonders of the world. We hadn’t been here since a Personal Effects photo shoot back in the eighties. We met friends yesterday for a picnic and we walked the trail along the ridge where I took this photo.
I don’t now if my mother even subscribed to House & Garden. We certainly don’t subscribe but we’ve been getting it for the last couple of years. We had my parents mail redirected to our house at the end and we’ve been getting it ever since. The cover story promises to help you “Find Your Creative Spark.”
Our garden, for the past six or seven years, has been down at our neighbors’. They converted their old tennis court into a garden and it comes with a fence to keep the deer out. They get a lot more sun than we do too. The new born fawns found a way in through the gate so Jared spent the afternoon rebuilding it.
We came back with a bounty of lettuce, kale, jalapeños, basil, tomatoes and cilantro. Tonight we watch “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”
I updated the PopWars architecture months ago. My default template wasn’t mobile compliant and I was in the habit of posting small cropped versions of my photos, ones that would link to a larger version. After the update, my old posts looked awkward so I began chipping my way through them, going backwards in time, inserting the full sized photo into each post. I was determined to get through August 2009, ten years, and I made it last night. I read the entry from the last day of July 2009 and was struck by how familiar it seemed.
The gauzy reminiscing, the Catholic baggage, another opportunity to mention Buñuel. It is all there. Peggi just finished “My Last Sigh,” the autobiography of Luis Buñuel. She read parts aloud and we dove into another Buñuel movie binge. Just watched Exterminating Angel” and “Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” should be in our mailbox later today. Duane read the book as well and told us, “Buñuel may be a better writer than he is director.” “I’m still an atheist. Thank God.”
Peggi and I brought a beer down to the pool and put the umbrella up. I was reading my Chillida book and Peggi was reading “The Collector” by John Fowles. Time slipped away and the pool was entirely in shade. We swam and and were drying off when our neighbors came in with their two grandkids. The little girl asked if I wanted to see her do a cannonball and I said I did. She is so tiny it wasn’t much of a splash. I told her, “Us skinny people have to can openers to get good splash.” I toyed with demonstrating one for her but wasn’t sure I could still do one.
Her grandfather had just come back from chemo treatment. He had a small portion of his colon removed and they found some cancer in his lymph nodes. He was wearing a bag that distributes the chemo though a port that he had put in his chest a few weeks back. He is scheduled for twelve treatments, one every other week and he already has two down.
He goes to an office and they give him a few drugs through the port. Something to jack up the red cell production and anti-nausea drugs and there may be a steroid involved. I did not follow it all and Peggi was talking to his wife at the same time so I missed some of the details. None of it sounded good but he was in good spirits. He spends a little over two hours at the place and then comes home with the bag which continues to distribute the poison for two more days. As he talked I thought I could smell the stuff. When it is empty a visiting nurse comes out to pick up the bag. I was trying to imagine sleeping with the thing on. I’m back and forth from stomach to back all night long. He said if you knock it on the floor and the tube comes out you have to call them immediately because the chemical is too toxic to clean up yourself.
I turned to Peggi and she said, “Sue (his wife) has Lyme disease. She checks herself regularly and never saw a tick, just a red rash on her knee which spread. Her doctor looked at it and sent her home. At a friend’s house she started losing feeling in the right side of her face and then found that the rash had spread. She went to a dermatologist and he started her on antibiotics right away saying you don’t want to mess around with Lyme.. He did a Lyme biopsy and it came back positive.
I have a different book for each location and I’m working my way through the batch at the same time.
I bring Eduardo Chillida’s “Writing” down to the pool with me. I picked the paperback up at Hauser Wirth in Chelsea last time we were down there. I’ve read it a few times. Its that kind of book. I have every other paragraph circled.
I’m reading “The Autobiography of Frederick Douglas” on my iPad, a powerful first hand account of our grisly past. I was really struck by his depiction of slave masters raping their female slaves, creating more slaves with lighter skin who looked like and were beaten by and sometimes favored by their father.
Peggi and I are both listening to “Bitten” byKris Newby from Audible.com. It’s “The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons” and it plays like a vampire story but much worse. We’re about two thirds of the way through and we just had to talk a break. I resist conspiracy theories but this one is irresistible.
I picked up a copy of Dr. Bill Valenti’s book, “AIDS: A Matter of Urgency,” from one of those little libraries in our neighborhood. He was an early AIDs specialist and I had heard he mentioned early local patients by name. I thought I might come across Tim Schapp, Danny Scipione, Bobby Moore or Larry Fritch, all friends and early victims, but I didn’t. Not much of a book, just a bunch of well deserved thank you to people who devoted so much to that fight.
I finished “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand” last night. It’s a beautiful book of photos with one hundred essays, one for each photo, by Geoff Dyer. Winnogrand and Dyer is a perfect match of manly artists. Winogrand’s photos are graphic, animated, visual novels and it is delightful to stay on the spread, slowly reading an essay while continually studying the photo.
I have Amy Rigby’s “Girl to City” and Sonja Livingston’s “The Virgin of Prince Street” preordered from the Apple Store.