Friday, February 27, 2009
Hosea won. Six months from now ask someone who won TC 5 and they may very well look at you blankly, hem and haw, and then ask what Fabio's up to. Nothing against Hosea, but he's no Stephanie, or Hung, or Ilan, or even Harold. Wait. What's with all of the "H" names? 3 of 5 winners have names starting with H. I barely know any men with an H name. Living men, that is. I know a couple of dead Herbies.
But, in a larger context, beyond how immemorable Hosea is, is the alarming manner that the producers have chosen to edit the show. It started with TC4 and Evil Lisa. She provided conflict and villiany, so she got to hang around lost past her expiration date. We saw that once again with Leah in TC5, someone with marginal skill at best hanging on challenge after challenge while more talented cookies crumbled. I thought surely that Leah would be toast after she quit during a quickfire because year after year we've heard about effort and dedication and passion from the judges until we want to take a fistful of xanax with a bottle of cheap vodka.
Still, Leah remained.
Top Chef, I implore you to stick to the tenets of the show that you established. Force the contestants to work at the highest level. Expect more, expect better, accept no substitutions!
Which is my ham handed segue into the problem that is Toby Young. Does this person know the first thing about food and flavors? Even Padma, who is too nice for her own good, had to smack him down with his whole praise of Stefan's dessert by saying, It was pedestrian at best. Doesn't he know this? And then, why doesn't he know this? There have been great men and women of the culinary world sitting at that judges' table, and Toby Young isn't one of them. He cheapens the very process by just being there.
I sincerely hope that we've seen the last of Young on Top Chef. A glib remark doesn't make up for substance when it comes to critiquing food, or anything else for that matter.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Ok, so, what if this entire season of TLW is a collective subconscious effort by Ilene Chaiken and company to destroy the myth of The Chaiken. To deconstruct her psyche by having the character of Jenny serve as The Chaiken, evolving into an even more loathesome character than in seasons past and thereby serving as the perfect, if senseless, vehicle to utterly destroy The Chaiken, and just as the Phoenix rose triumphantly from a big ass pile of ashes, so shall The Chaiken be reborn in the sacrificial death of Jenny! Actually, this makes a tiny bit of sense since Ilene Chaiken has said that she isn't going to reveal who killed Jenny, because really, who killed Jenny doesn't matter. Jenny isn't a person, she's an id wrapped in a superego run amok. Without an ego there's nothing rational about Jenny, which is why she's the golem of The Chaiken, and why her murder isn't a death, but a device, if not public service.
And there you have my latest crank theory! Thoughts?
"The thing to remember about love affairs," says Simone, "is that they are all like having raccoons in your chimney."
"Oh, not the raccoon story," groans Cal.
"Yes! The raccoons!" cries Eugene.
I'm sawing at my duck.
"We have raccoons sometimes in our chimney," explains Simone.
"Hmmmm," I say, not surprised.
"And once we tried to smoke them out. We lit a fire, knowing they were there, but we hoped that the smoke would cause them to scurry out the top and never come back. Instead, they caught on fire and came crashing down into our living room, all charred and in flames and running madly around until they dropped dead." Simone swallows some wine. "Love affairs are like that," she says. "They are all like that."
You can listen to a podcast of author Louise Erdrich reading this short story, 'Dance in America', on The New Yorker's website, or just click here. Nothing is quite as fun as listening to one author fawn over another, except for one author hating on another (the famous feud between Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman, anyone?).
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
We knew that celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz had some serious financial problems. But we didn't know they were so bad that she had to sign over all of her photos to a pawn shop:
The NYT today reveals that Leibovitz took out more than $15 million in loans from Art Capital Group—essentially a very high class pawn shop specializing in art.
Last fall, Annie Leibovitz, the photographer, borrowed $5 million from a company called Art Capital Group. In December, she borrowed $10.5 million more from the same firm. As collateral, among other items, she used town houses she owns in Greenwich Village, a country house, and something else: the rights to all of her photographs.
In addition to the lawsuit for more than $700k from unpaid vendors, Leibovitz reportedly used the cash to pay back taxes and finance "a lengthy, costly and litigious renovation on the three adjoining town houses." Why one would pawn their town houses in order to raise money to renovate them, I do not know.
Obviously, a $2 million per year income is no savior from hard times. And hey, Julian Schnabel also pawned some real estate with the same firm to help finance his goddamn monstrosity of a pink, constantly-discounted celebrity condo building, Palazzo Chupi. Pawn shops prey on the rich just as they do the poor. Fairness!
-I don't know what to make of all of this except to say that obviously she doesn't handle money well. But to leverage your own work like that? I can't imagine! Money is money, but your life's work is like...your very being.
I love Leibovitz. I think that her portrait work is some of the finest ever conceived and executed and she's brought a lot of postive and serious attention to the craft of photography. I just hope that she hasn't made a deal with the devil to get her hands on ready cash.
|The Pittsburgh Passion's season starts on April 18th, but that's not the only thing the team has to be excited about: |
PITTSBURGH PASSION, A FEATURE FILM DOCUMENTARY, NOMINATED FOR A 2009 BILLIE AWARD IN JOURNALISM
| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Contact: Jen Yee
LOS ANGELES -- Pittsburgh Passion, documentary feature film, has been nominated for a 2009 Billie Award in Journalism. The Billie Awards honor extraordinary contribution to media coverage and insightful portrayal of women and girls in sports. With special honoree, Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, and special performance by Sir Elton John, the winners will be honored on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, home of the Hollywood Golden Globes. A program of the Women's Sports Foundation, trustees include Billie Jean King, Sheryl Crow, Laila Ali, and Holly Hunter.
Pittsburgh Passion gives an inside look at the realization of women's professional football in the United States and follows the pioneers who overcame all physical and historical odds to build a new sport for a nation. It documents the ever impossible 2007 perfect championship dream season of the Pittsburgh Passion women's football franchise.
Pittsburgh Passion was produced by Back Light Productions LLC, a Los Angeles based motion picture production company committed to producing stories that enrich, inspire, and dignify the goodness of the human experience.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Anyway, I'm back up and good to go. Hopefully I'll have something either profound or silly to say later today...and with a little luck, both!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
So it is that I've finally stumbled upon two authors I'd never heard of: Lorrie Moore and Sara Ryan. These authors have nothing in common, apart from both being women and thereby human, but as fate would have it, here I am ordering their books. Not that I don't have a stack of books glaring at me on the bedside table, I'm just not in the mood yet for 'Outliers', and let's face it, I'm never going to finish that one book by some guy who thought something about something but used too many words to never get to his point. I just can't commit any more time to someone like that. I've broken off the reader end of that relationship and unfriended him on MySpace.*
Like many readers, avid and otherwise, I depend on book recommendations from friends and reviews I peruse at my leisure on the interweb tubes. In all honesty, I probably rely more on reviews than on friends because ever since that 'Bel Canto' recommendation I've cast a rheumy eye toward what some people consider a 'must' read.
Now I just await the delivery of Moore's 'Birds of America' and Ryan's 'Empress of the World'.
*I'm not on MySpace, or Facebook, or Twitter, or classmates or really anything that makes me more accessible. I just can't resolve all that interaction with my hermetic world view.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Just my guess.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
But I don't think that that is what dad's doing in this instance. I think that he has carefully weighed his options and he's heading down the path of not least resistance, but best outcome.
Also, I have to give a shout out to UPMC Passavant's cafeteria. I had the best red bell pepper soup there the other day, and I mean that it was really delicious! Almost as good as my mom's stuffed bell pepper soup, which is saying something. I don't know how the cooks at a hospital cafeteria manage to make delectable food, but this is by far the best hospital cafeteria food I've ever had. The soup was far superior to the funky bisque that I had at the Carson Street Deli the next day. A word of advice: Never order a soup with seafood in it from a mid-range deli. Whatever you are thinking at the time ('How bad can it be?'), ignore that voice! Get a veggie wrap instead. Your intestinal tract will thank you later.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
My father and I have a problematic relationship. In some ways we're alike, we have the same sense of humor, but in other ways we're so diametrically opposed that it's difficult to believe that we're sharing the same plane of existence. Which also might explain why we both love Fringe.
So, yesterday I was at the hospital all day with my dad while he got biopsied and scanned. While we waited all he wanted to talk about was Tuesday night's Fringe. Which we did. My mother sat by the bed and knitted barely listening, sometimes interjecting something along the lines of: A cow in the lab seems unsanitary. I would argue that the cow is a metaphor for the easily led masses, but that seems to pat a conclusion to draw. For all I know the cow is just a cow, or maybe an ancient god reincarnated who is really leading Walter. Or the cow is just a cow.
Anyway, Dad seemed to be in much better spirits by the time I left, fully satisfied that we'd plumbed the depths of meaning within Fringe...and more importantly, his mind was off all of the medical stuff at hand. Better to bond late than never.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
And the room I'm in here is in the Spider Kingdom, aka, my basement. The proximity of potential terror keeps me on my toes.
I took this pic while MK and I walked the dog around the streets of Pittsburgh's south side. I've taken to carrying a disposable Kodak camera with me (expired, because then I can buy them in bulk and get them cheap) and I have to say that the lack of refinement using this sort of 'equipment' lends a realism and immediacy that I might not otherwise be able to achieve.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Not really, but it sounded good when I typed it.
For years this painting hung in my mother's house. I remember standing in front of it and wondering what he found so interesting to endlessly peer at his own image. I still think that when I look at this painting hanging in my brother's house now.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other place in the world. One day MK and I were out walking and we passed beneath one of them. I shot straight up at the girders. I only shoot film because it's what I know and what I feel comfortable with. Here I was using a Pentax A 3000 loaded with Kodak Gold 100 film (expired). The original didn't come back from the processing lab very impressive, so I started digitally tinkering with the contrast. The rust on the main beam bled red while the bit of paint that remained on the lesser support emerged a more brilliant yellow. The shadows completely engulfed the rest of the structure so that I ended up with an incongruentous architectural representation of form without form. Does that even make sense? Gotta love open interpretation!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This is not an American protectionist rant. What I'm trying to get at here is that the local has been discarded for the global. I don't want to eat a 3,000 mile salad or drink a 700 mile glass of milk. I don't want cookie cutter strip malls stretching as far as the eye can see. And I definitely don't want to drive across a bridge re-enforced with Chinese steel.
But and still, the world does not turn on what I want. And I have to bear in mind that I do have control over how I spend my money, what I choose to buy and from whom. Not that I buy much. I'm ridiculously frugal, probably to a fault. Being so heavily influenced by my depression-era grandparents, how could I be any other way?
The economic road ahead is uncertain, and the best I can do is plan my garden for the spring. I look forward to enjoying a ten foot salad. Oh! And MK's colleague is raising chickens, so we've got fresh eggs coming our way soon too. I've never gutted and plucked a chicken, but I have a pheasant and a turkey, so it can't be that different, right?
Tina Fey, we love you! And by 'we' I mean me.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Good on them and I wish them all the best! Typical of most real life pairings, I just didn't see their chemistry on screen. Isn't it odd that off screen couples seldom look hot together on film? I'm chuckling to myself just idly recalling how disastrous Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were in 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Wooden, but not in a porn-y sense, leaps to mind.
But why is that noncouples have the best onscreen chemistry? Take Booth and Brennan on 'Bones'. What Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz bring to those two characters is really electrifying. It feel so real, but of course it's just fake. Maybe the reason that real couples can't project their chemistry is because they're trying to act and you can't bring something that's already there...And before I get more convoluted, I'll go to the post office.
Monday, February 2, 2009
But, and I love the Steelers, that game was emotionally draining! We almost blew it in the fourth quarter. My heart almost stopped when the Cards took the lead. Oh, and I don't want to have to tell you how ugly it got at my brother's super bowl party. The lowlights consist of him throwing our sister and her dumbass boyfriend out. I should've left too, but you see, the difference between me and them is that I hold out hope. Call me a starry-eyed dreamer, but I believed that Ben could bring us back from the edge of despair and bathe us in the shimmering light of boundless joy. And you know what? I was right, goddamn it!
Anyway, I desperately wanted to unwind with The Office. Curl up on the couch with the dog and giggle like a school girl at Angela tossing her cat to Oscar in the ceiling...If you haven't seen the episode, go now and do so. GO! NOW!
Congratulations, Steelers! Big Ben and all the rest, we love you like how a mental patient loves crazy!