Friday, December 21, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Thursday, October 25, 2012
I did my own share of boyhood adrenaline induced yells. My first girlfriend at age four was Doreen. She lived just two houses down from me. Doreen was pretty and sweet and kind and I can’t count the number times I scared the crap out of her pretending I was holding a frog behind my back. She screamed and ran home every time. It’s little wonder that relationship didn’t work out.
When I was about ten I dressed up as the Wolfman for Halloween. With my rubbery hairy hands, lumberjack shirt, and latex mask I was a zaftig Lon Chaney. Unfortunately, it was also the hottest Halloween on record and rubber is not exactly a breathing fabric. The costume lasted about three houses. Without the mask I looked, and probably smelled, more like my Uncle Joey coming home from the docks. But I loved that mask and looked forward to the opportunity to wearing it again. To a ten year old that made sense.
It turns out it didn’t take long. The following summer our neighbors who were about five and four came over to see if they could play. My older brother, same fun loving guy previously mentioned, had the idea to scare these kids by having me pretend to be the real Wolfman. So I got my mask on and waited for my cue to come out. After a few minutes the two kids were on the edge of their seats listening to my brother spin his yarn. How he convinces them the Wolfman moved from Europe to Levittown I don’t quite remember. At the right moment I came running out onto our patio. The four-year-old girl screamed and immediately ran off. Her brother, determine to protect his little sister, stayed behind to fight off this monster. He was firing his toy gun at me at point blank range with no affect. To this day I can still see the terror on his little face through the eyeholes of my rubber mask. Tears streaming down his checks. I felt so sorry for him. That sympathy soon changed to fear.
Superman with George Reeves was a popular TV show back then. In almost every episode a crook fires his gun at the Man of Steel. When that doesn’t work he throws the gun at him in a desperate attempt to escape. It was a weak premise that seemed utterly ridiculous even to a ten year old. It turns out it’s not as unlikely as it sounds. For realizing the bullets were useless against this Wolfman wearing PF Flyers and an ice cream stained striped polo shirt, the little five-year-old boy made a last ditch effort of taking me down. Grabbing the gun by its barrel, he began swinging at me connecting with my knuckles over and over again. Now it was my turn to scream. At this point I stopped growling and started pleading with him to stop, but he kept on swinging away determine to destroy the beast. He threw the gun hitting me in the shins in which case I let out one more howl and he ran off never to be seen again.
My bruises lasted longer than the fight, even longer than my brother’s laughter as he rolled around the back lawn. Did I learn my lesson? I think the women in my life would have something to say about that.
Enjoy this Halloween and be safe.
After a year of plein air painting my work looks no different from when I started. Well, Christmas is coming so I'll have plenty of packaging material.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
We narrowed it down to three.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Monday, April 9, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Friday, March 2, 2012
I plan on self-publishing it sometime this spring, because we all know how much kids love to read in the summer. The story is finished along with fourteen of the twenty completely new black and white drawings. "Sidney Sees A Shrink" holds a place close to my heart, but north of my pancreas, and will be available through LuLu.com and I hope you can check it out.
While in the middle of group therapy the dogs are convinced there is a cat in the room.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
In 1864, Lewis Carroll asked John Tenniel to illustrate Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Tenniel accepted and was paid £138 or roughly $219. Today writers, and some publishers, seeking illustrators offer around the same amount to illustrate an entire book.
Rick Santorum's view on women’s rights dates back to the Middle Ages. If that is what he believes I can accept it, but who is voting for him? They can’t all be men. While a group of white middle-age religious men testified on Capital Hill about Women’s Contraception Rights, not one woman was asked to participate. In fact one was denied to speak.
Would someone look out the window and see if Superman is circling the globe backwards?
I was driving home from the local nursery, Strother & Martin’s, when I heard Governor Christie wants to lower the flags at half-mast for Whitney Houston. I would rather see them lowered for a sanitation worker killed in the line of duty than a drug addict. Celebrity you say? They weren’t lowered for Frank Sinatra or Lou Costello, both Jersey born, why her?
It has all become too acceptable for an entertainer to overdose. Maybe the industry should be regulated like sports. When players started receiving too many serious head injuries, the NFL changed the design of the helmets along with the rules. Instead of protecting entertainers the industry has these tributes that go on for days. It’s safer to be in porn than music.
I wish the producers of “The Bachelor” were involved in the Republican nomination race. It would go a lot faster. Mitt will you accept this rose?
The other day at a Chinese restaurant I got a fortune cookie that read “Your luck will change”. What the hell does that mean? Now it’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep trying to figure out whether I have had a good life or not.
The father of my daughter’s friend told me he is planning to swim the Straights of Gibraltar next summer. I told him it wasn’t necessary since they have a ferry system now, but he said its part of his bucket list. That’s the kind of people you find out here. My bucket list has ‘buy a DVR’, which I thought was a sure thing until I got that damn fortune cookie.
If you read my last piece I wrote about my Oscar picks, which will be televised this Sunday (The Oscars that is not my picks, although I guarantee they would go a lot shorter). I have to write an addendum. I just finished watching “The Help” a few minutes ago. By far the best picture I have seen in a long time. This film was beautiful, poignant, clever, funny, but mostly important. It showed a similar human spirit as “Schindler’s List”. I was very hesitant to watch it thinking it was a ‘chick flick’. Sometimes great films have awful marketing. That is the case here. It really was a great piece of filmmaking. I know I always have a least one thing to critique, and I do with “The Help” but unlike Minny’s pie recipe, I’ll keep it to myself.
By the way, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is circulating a petition about what happened on Capitol Hill if you are interested. Here is the link and yes I did sign it. Apparently, even though it is 2012 I still need to help protect my daughters’ and wife’s rights.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Yes the Oscars will soon be upon us and that means you are eagerly waiting to read what I have the say about them. I won’t go through all the categories in fear this will read like the show itself. Speaking of the show. Next year please get someone else to host rather than a balloon with a painted face. What is with old comedians and plastic surgery? Are they so desperate to get a laugh?
This has a good chance for the title alone. Hollywood still thinks it makes art. But spending over $75 for tickets, snacks, and a sitter for a black and white silent film? I’ll wait for the DVD.
ehh, good not Oscar worthy.
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Too painful and released too late.
Seems like many African-Americans hate this film, so forget its chances. Didn’t see it.
Beautifully filmed. Marty will most likely win since he is passed due, although I have a few critiques. 1) While imitating French films the characters seems more like caricatures. Just compare an early scene with one from “Amelie”. 2) Borat as an inspector? Please. 3) Why does Hollywood use English actors to portray everyone from a foreign country? Not only would it feel more authentic to have them speak with French accents, but it would heighten Hugo’s isolation. Marty, for your next project, call me. Second half with Méliés was great. Yes, I said great.
"Midnight in Paris"
Beautiful charming film. Little overdone with the yellow filter. Owen Wilson looked like he was caught between his acting style and Woody’s. Won’t win.
"The Tree of Life"
Good time to catch up on that much needed nap.
Remake of “Frances Goes to War” but without the laughs. Boring meandering plot. Only one decent scene with the cavalry charging the machine guns in an old world meets new. If Spielberg didn’t have his name on this it wouldn’t have made the cut.
My pick? “Thor”. Out of all the nominated films I couldn’t watch any twice. That’s the true test of an Oscar winner. Be honest, which of these would you watch more than once?
Actor in a Leading Role
Demián Bichir in "A Better Life"
Never heard of it.
George Clooney in "The Descendants"
I wasn’t sure about this pick until I talked to my wife. She was deeply saddened watching this film. Sad? Did we see the same film? Here’s a brief summation. Clooney’s character is married to a horrible woman that apparently is a crappy mother and is having an affair with Shaggy. She is in a boating accident and dies. The guy is a lawyer whose family owns a billion dollars of Hawaiian real estate, his kids start to love him again, he lives in Hawaii, AND he looks like George Clooney! And everyone feels bad for the guy? That, my friend, is acting.
Jean Dujardin in "The Artist"
I’ll get back to you.
Gary Oldman in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Someone tell the academy remakes don’t win.
Brad Pitt in "Moneyball"
Actor in a Supporting Role
Kenneth Branagh in "My Week with Marilyn"
Sorry but I just can’t see him as Marilyn.
Jonah Hill in "Moneyball"
Was he in this?
Nick Nolte in "Warrior" Really?
Christopher Plummer in "Beginners"
Chris is long, LONG overdue. One of the best actors around today.
Max von Sydow in "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
Max is long, LONG overdue. One of the best actors around today. Wait, did I just…Aren’t they the same person?
Actress in a Leading Role
I didn’t see any of these movies, so I’ll just pick Michelle Williams since Hollywood loves Marilyn. Besides, everyone is sick of Meryl, “The Help” is too controversial, Rooney comes from money, and Glenn Close really is a man. Why do you think they call her Glenn?
Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs"
Viola Davis in "The Help"
Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"
Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"
Michelle Williams in "My Week with Marilyn"
Actress in a Supporting Role
I only saw “Bridesmaids” and comedies very rarely win. Besides, does anyone really care about this category? Can’t they move it to the technical night and make the show shorter?
Bérénice Bejo in "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain in "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer in "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer in "The Help"
The saddest comment is the number of original songs nominated. Just two and they had to scrape iTunes clearance barrel for them. Maybe the Academy should just skip categories some years. However, I think it will be a big night for Scorsese who made a film the Academy can get behind.
Overall it promises to be one of the most mundane years ever. I think the only thing that will help is if Vegas sets some odds. What’s the over/under for GOP jokes in the monologue?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
“Okay Nicole,” I told her, “you’re going down,” with an air of misguided bravado. Nicole let out a slight smile and was quiet as she placed her elbow on the padded bench her forearm poised her hand in an open grip. Bam! Over. You know those cameras that capture hummingbird wings flapping around a flower? Well, you needed one of those to capture Nicole’s victory in all its glory. What really was upsetting was her “In your face” taunts afterwards that rang through the gym as if from a cracked tin bell. It was briefly after this first humiliation that I was dealt with yet another.
While driving in the car with my youngest daughter she told me I should start working out. “But honey,” I said “I have been. In fact I go to the gym four to five times a week.” She couldn’t believe her ears and asked “Then why are you still fat?” I went on to tell her that stomachs are naturally round in nature. Flat stomachs are an oddity. Just look at our cousins, the orangutan. Besides, I added, I have a six-pack of abs. I just prefer to keep them in a cooler where they belong.
Let’s face facts. Most of us aren’t cut and can’t get cut to the point where strangers (and sometimes loved ones) want to look at us. It’s a myth perpetrated by the film industry using high tech computer software, a good deal of makeup, digital imaging and androids. These ‘humans’, if that’s what they really are, have it in their contracts to be shirtless in every movie they appear. Its reverse sex discrimination and I for one am very offended.
Movies are an escape. Instead they have become a sadistic minefield, selling buttered popcorn while images of superior body types flash before my wife’s eyes. Well, I won’t let them do that to her. I refuse to see any movie with George Clooney, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Lautner (to be honest I wouldn’t see him in any movie), Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, or Daniel Craig. Consequently, as a result of my boycott, I miss a lot of movies. But more importantly, they make me sick. From now on I only take my wife to films that star Paul Giamatti or Steve Buscemi. And who wouldn’t want to see a Philip Seymour Hoffman, or a Clint Howard in a romantic comedy? How about a remake of Valentine’s Day where a shirtless Drew Carey makes out with Linda Hunt? It may still suck, but I could leave the theatre feeling good about myself for a change.
Instead of excessive dieting and exercise what we need is a new spokesman for this generation. What Telly Savalas did for bald men in the seventies, Jack Black could do for the heavy weights now. Instead of ‘Bald is Beautiful’ (although come to think of it I could use that too), we can have ‘Pretty in Portly’, or maybe ‘Fat is Phat’. There was a period when beautiful starlets such as Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron donned ugly makeup for roles. I’m issuing a challenge to all those actors out there. If Salma Hayek is brave enough to wear a unibrow, why can’t Matt Damon? What’s the matter pretty boy? Afraid? Come on Hollywood, what about us regular guys?
"Who Loves Ya Baby"
An unrelated Harvester 1-12-12
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Is it the perspective of age and a certain amount of sagacity over the years that I have learned to be more tolerant? Hardly. More likely it is due to having less to protest with since losing my hair and a good deal of hearing, Although, I think I still have those painter’s pants in the back of my closet along with a Jethro Tull concert T from 1979. But as any reader of these ramblings can tell you I haven’t mellowed completely over the years. I’ve gone from an angry young man to a complaining old one. Now I’m ready to turn another corner.
My first idea was to install a plaque on my front door. I got this notion when I went to the movies. The sign would read “Please refrain from using your cell phone and keep your voice down for the enjoyment of others.” These marketing people know what they are doing. But that didn’t go far enough.
I’ve entered the millennium last week (better late than never I suppose) with a purchase of an iPhone. Not the new one mind you, but the one you can get for .99, $1.07 with tax. It was a reluctant decision based mostly on the fact that the ‘6’ button didn’t work on my old phone. Not having a keyboard didn’t help either while trying to communicate with those accustomed to texting.
I resisted for as long as I could. But now that I own one my viewpoint is changing. I am now embracing the American art of marketing and advertising. The first thing I notice were all the alerts you can choose from. I want to incorporate them throughout my whole house. Who wouldn’t feel important when you open the front door to the fanfare of French horns from the ‘Sherwood Forest’ clip? I may just go in and out a few times each day to give my frail and tattered ego a boost. I plan on having all my entrances wired so they play different alerts depending who is there. I call it the iDoor. Now everyone can have his or her own theme song, just like Dick Cheney has Darth Vader’s. For my mother-in-law, what else but ‘Science Fiction’ to give me a heads up. ‘Suspense’ is perfect for strangers and bill collectors. I can even use the ‘Bark’ since my dog has become apathetic and doesn’t give a shit who is knocking any more.
Why stop at the front door? For those long dinners that need a little pick me up how about iTable? Have a very close friend that tells awful jokes? The ‘Cricket’ is perfect for those occasions. ‘Time Passing’ may give those never want to leave guests the hint. Introducing the iPet, a small CPU chip we implant in your pet so you can get them to behave the way you want them to. Hmmm, maybe an iSpouse? (Note to self: tell my wife I stopped writing this blog.)
And you people were worried now that Steve Jobs is gone. Tsk, tsk. Why I have a million ways we can push Apple to the next frontier. There’s the iBoss (be your own boss), the iGovenment (we can save a lot of waste here folks!) and the iI where eventually you can replace yourself. Yes sir, once again I’m hip and happening. It only took four decades. I only have one question. What are theses things called ‘apps’?
Just a couple of sketches I did on vacation before my pad fell in an ice bucket.
Monday, January 2, 2012
I suppose you want to read something all cheery and full of hope for the New Year? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m still suffering the effects of my money hangover to be optimistic.
I started the year off in the right frame of mind but by the 2nd of January it was only a dim memory. You see for this year I made a whole list of resolutions that would bring great changes and much joy to my life. Oh they weren’t for me, but for my loved ones, family, friends, fellow motorists, theatre-goers, restaurant guests, and any strangers that I happened to meet along the way. For some reason, however, they were less than enthusiastic upon receiving my unsolicited advice. I haven’t seen such strong resistance since France in the 1940s.
And they weren’t just for my benefit. I have been exposed to enough bad habits, poor hygiene, misguided parenting, and mental disorders that could serve as the new lineup for TLC. And yet…oh well. That’s the last time I try to help. Well, maybe the second to last.
I do have one more resolution. This one is for the news media. It seems every year for as long as I can remember they dig up a story about a good Samaritan helping a family in need, getting them gifts for under the Christmas tree or paying off a much needed debt. And while these stories warm the cockles of my heart (yes I have cockles, but the doctor promised me he could get rid of them) it got me to thinking. Aren’t there any Jews, Muslims or, God forbid, atheists out there that could use some help? Don’t they ever have problems during Chanukah, Ramadan, or Festivus? Couldn’t the media show someone helping out a non-Christian for once? One of the principles of this country is Freedom of Religion, and that is with half the founding fathers as practicing atheists. I guess what I’m asking for is a little Freedom From Religion.
Even as I write this I can hear some of you saying, “Well, he’s going to Hell.” You may be right. Please believe me I’m not trying to be anti-religion. I just think sometimes we forget that we should love and show kindness to everyone, not just the ones that believe what we believe.
A fortune-teller told me a few years back that I'll probably die in my 50s or 60s. So I decided to enjoy what time I have left, to be less concerned about money, less critical, and be a kinder person (How am I doing so far?). If she was right I'll enjoy my remaining years. If she was wrong I'll be asking people if they want two percent or whole milk in their lattes when I'm 75 while trying to make ends meet.
And who knows. Maybe the Mayans will be right and we're all going in 2012. Although, why would anyone put much faith in a race of people that couldn't figure out how over one million of them could beat two-dozen Spaniards is beyond me. When the time comes and if there is a God maybe He’ll be a regular guy and say, “Well you are a complaining little bastard, but what the hell c'mon in.” Either way, I’m okay with it. And I suppose if I want to be a better person I should start now and wish everyone a wonderful 2012. I hope you receive all that you long for this year, unless of course you’re Mayan.