Sunday, August 31, 2008
(And why, I wonder is hardly anyone mentioning the fact that Sarah Palin is under investigation for an ethics breach, or questioning the wisdom of a candidate who would choose a running mate under such circumstances?)
It looks as if the media is as confused as the Republicans as to what their role is in this new era. I was heartened to see that CNN’s straight coverage of the campaign won out over the other networks’ gabble of talking heads. It wasn’t just rhetoric when, in his acceptance speech, Obama said that it wasn’t about him. What the media hasn’t gotten yet, is that it’s not about them, either.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Wearing a flag pin and a confident mien, Barack Obama looked like a presidential candidate accepting the nomination of the Democratic party.
Well, excuse me, but what else should he look like?
And then there was David Brooks’ infantile response to Obama's historic speech, which serves as an indication of Republican desperation. I can’t believe the Times actually prints this stuff. On a par with McCain’s Paris Hilton video, Brooks insults “a new generation of Americans, a generation that came of age amid iced chai and mocha strawberry Frappucinos, a generation with a historical memory that doesn’t extend past Coke Zero.” Brooks, who was once responsible for an inane rail against hipster parents, of all things, must be feeling the pain of encroaching old fartdom.
So Monday came, and after several hours of panting up and down the three flights from the basement to my studio and back again, the very nice repair guy fixed everything—for now. After all, the last guy thought he fixed everything, too.
Tuesday I got a voice message from Debbie, at the local company that provides me with propane, telling me that even though I’d signed up for their “budget” plan, where they deduct a predetermined amount every month from my credit card, the number of which they have on file, I would still need to call her each month to “remind” her. I did not make this up—however the delivery guy, who came the next day, was able to go back and set her straight (I get my tank filled 3 or so times a year, for a total of $2200 to heat about the same number of square feet. He told me he has a client he goes to every week. “It’s a big house.” OMG.)
Wednesday it was Design Within Reach. I’d phoned ten days before to say that the replacement bulbs they sent me for my Cortina Table Lamp didn’t work, yet hadn’t heard from their tech department as promised, nor did I get an answer to my “Contact Us” email—so tried Customer Service again this afternoon where I got J., whose only proposed “solution,” which she repeated over and over, consisted of sending me another set of the same bulbs, because those were the only ones they had listed for that lamp. After hearing that one more time than I could stand, I hung up.
So while I’m not quite ready to entirely give up on designer lighting, I’d advise anyone who’s willing to shell out that much money for it to be aware of the possible pitfalls—and stock up on lots of replacement bulbs.
Most people who call customer service, including me, are among the “Situationally Difficult”—people who are irritated because something isn’t working, for whom an apology and a little empathy would go a long way. Suppose J. at DWR, instead of insisting over and over that they sent the right bulbs so therefore they should work, end of story, had said: “I am so sorry no one called you back; I’d be very frustrated too. Let me see what I can do to help.” And then, of course, she’d actually have to call the manufacturer, as I ultimately did, but is that really too much effort to keep a loyal customer?
When he came to fix my line, the Verizon guy was empathetic. “No one should have to go through that,” he said, referring to the voice prompt system. A friend, who had had the same experience, likened it to the Bush administration, and after a couple of days of thinking about it, I see what means—people who say they care when they don’t really give a shit—as with Katrina, or the returning injured from Iraq. When the people at the top are insincere and unaccountable, it has a trickle-down effect. What a difference it could make—will make—to have a president who could actually be a role model.
Wow, I had no idea where this was going; it’s turned out to be my longest post ever when, really, I was just sounding off about Verizon. But you know what? I just tried to publish it and discovered that the DSL light is blinking again, and I can’t go online….
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Penelope Cruz in "Vicky Maria Barcelona".
P.S. Researching this I found that Pedro Almodovar has a blog, where I read about his migraines and opinion on Penelope Cruz's hairstyle in Allen's film. Also that we share the same birthday.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Kronos, like many contemporary musicians, make free use of pre-recorded audio, the only part that, for me, was disconcerting. I don’t mind sampling because it’s clear what it is, but I found it distracting to sit there and wonder what was live and what wasn't. This is one of the things I value in—and have learned from—the visual work of Robert Irwin and Olafur Eliasson, who make a point of keeping their means obvious so that the experience is the experience, and not marred by conjecture about how it’s done. One of my companions at the concert, Gregory, suggested that the Kronos might be better off having someone behind the computer up there on the stage with them, just to acknowledge the source of the sounds. But in general I don’t love the combination of canned music with live performance (even with dance)—it reminds me too much of lip-syncing (how about those Chinese?), or the violinists in the subway whose backup orchestra is a CD in a boombox.
The Kronos Quartet playing Sigur Ros:
Sigur Ros video Gobbledigook
I neglected to bring my camera, so Gregory took these pics of Ozawa hall with his iPhone:
Thursday, August 14, 2008
During: a random slide show of Joe's photographs documenting the trip. While not all artists make good photographers, Joe's photographs are gorgeous. More pictures and the story on their blog.
Sculpture with extras:
Where the magic happens:
Monday, August 11, 2008
light years away.
to alert my parents.
I chose to paint with,
I've been a whore, a saint, a sinner, a healer, a heathen,
Friday, August 8, 2008
In the August Interview, I read an exchange between filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and Brian Burton a.k.a. Danger Mouse, who achieved international fame at 27 after spending untold hours in his bedroom mashing up the Beatles “white” album with Jay Z’s The Black Album to make the The Grey Album. Intended for his friends and released for free on the Web, it was downloaded, bootlegged and shared by millions until the lawyers got in the way. His collaboration with Cee-Lo, dubbed Gnarls Barkley, resulted in “Crazy”, the song that was the summer of 2006, and he’s produced two of my favorite albums: Gorillaz’s Demon Days and the new Beck, which has a title I wish I’d made up: Modern Guilt.
In the interview, Soderbergh (whose own career began similarly, with international prominence at age 26 for the low budget film sex, lies and videotape), notes that the “traditional models for success are just disappearing” to which Danger Mouse says, “Well, in the history of humans making music, how long have musicians been rich and famous? In the end, I think musicians know that getting up in the morning and making music you love, doesn’t necessarily mean that you deserve billions of dollars or worship from anybody.” Then:
SS: I’ve heard you say that you don’t necessarily believe in talent.
DM: No, I don’t.
SS: But I’m wondering if you’re making a distinction between talent and skill.
DM: I guess I just look at talent as a very subjective thing. I mean, if you’ve never tried playing an oboe, how do you know you’re not the most talented oboe player ever? The point is that if you don’t love it, then it doesn’t matter. No matter how naturally gifted you are, it’s your passion that’s going to make you better and maybe touch some people. There is no genius—there is only love.
Looking for an illustration for this post, I was wandering around YouTube and came across this live video of “Hong Kong”—from the Gorillaz album D-Sides—a song that sends me into a swoon each time I hear it. I don’t think Danger Mouse produced “Hong Kong,” so it’s not exactly related, but then that’s the beauty of a blog, I can go where I want with it. Even though it’s not the absolutely best recording of the song, Damon Albarn will make you swoon anyway, but what’s really special about it is the performance of the beauteous Zhen Zhen on the harp-like guzheng.