Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh the Gaul of it All...

You know one thing that makes life fun? Sleds. It's not snowing yet, but thankfully we also have periodic comic jolts during the non-snowy months, surges of inanity that make us chuckle and alleviate a persistent existential angst-y feeling that tells us nothing more will surprise us.* We are invariably wrong, and sometimes gleefully so. Just ask this guy:

That's the face of a guy with a bunch of Picassos nobody knew about. Ha! Take that, Art World. It's the Holy Grail all over again ('ees already got on, you see!! It's a very niiiice one, too!!). Pierre Le Guennec, my retired French electrician brother, already got 271 of 'em, actually. The great master gave him a box of them, he says, after what must have been the best installation of some switches, ever, in a handful of Riviera maisons.

Not to be out-Frenched by a Frenchman, the French are not amused, and have, in fact, accused Monsieur Le Guennac of being too French, promptly impounding the artworks and launching an inquiry. This, after the upturned nose of Picasso heir and estate administrator Claude Ruiz-Picasso smelled something afoul.

I suspect what was really bothering him was his amateur Frenchness, and/or growing up in arguably the largest artistic shadow of the 20th Century. I mean how much attention is Dad going to give your homemade Pinewood Derby voiture if he's busy sculpting this?

But back to Monsieur Le Guennac and his femme, Danielle, who appears none too happy, herself.
Now, their $60 million garaged nest egg has been scrambled by an establishment that refuses to believe a couple of pensioners could possibly have come by these artworks in the manner they say they did--that the artist gave it to them.
Perhaps it was payment. Perhaps Pablo didn't have time to go to L'Ah-Tay-Em, that afternoon. Perhaps he was not exactly in his right mind--it was the 70's afterall and so few people were. Whatever the reason, Baby Claude and his elitist brethren are attempting to right the horrid wrong of the working homme possessing more of the pie than is seemly. “I leave it to the justice system to shed light on the matter. We ourselves are certainly not acting for our own profit. We’re not in need,” said Claude... What dude needs apparently, is a sense of humor. He could have just said "Thanks! Hey thanks for coming forward and showing me a major pile of my Dad's work that we didn't know about---that's really cool, actually. A lot of people are going to appreciate this. Let's figure something out that compensates you and your wife for your stewardship, and also exhibits these newfound treasures as soon as possible. Want some coffee?"
Ah. if only he were wholly French, he'd appreciate the irony, put on a black silk shirt and light up a Gauloise while he moved on in life... 
Thanks for reading, and please remember that even if the emperor wears no clothes, and you decide to disrobe, too, then you're pretty much naked and they'll just fine you for indecent exposure. Blaiser sez: Keep your black silk shirt handy at all times.
* Do feel free to nominate this to the Pro-Am Blogger Association for their 2010 "Worst.Sentence.Ever" award.

Pierre Le Guennec images: (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In Praise of One Morning...

Today's day of Thanks is brought to you by the Chilean miners who made it; the New Zealand miners who, sadly, didn't; Liberals who hunt; Conservative union members, and sometimes, Y.

This morning, I spent two hours walking the Pennsylvanian woods in search of its state bird, good ol' Bonasa umbellus:

As luck would have it, the season's first snow was in progress, sifting down a powder layer in the wet woods. Only two minutes out of the house, amongst chest-high goldenrod, I was treated to perhaps the finest Thanksgiving morning flush in memory. I missed the bird of course, well behind him, but the poetry of the snow-globe moment, and his russet wings against a gray sky... wish you could have been there to see it. Perhaps you'd like to hear what a grouse flush sounds like...

Grouse do the 50-yard dash of the wing-shooting world. They love heavy, dense cover, and either flush wild before you can even see them, or wait until you're about to step on them, and explode out of the brush, sending your pulse skyward and forcing an instinctual shot. Nothing quite like it, and one gets a lovely aerobic workout combing the woods in search of them. 

I also saw quite a lot of deer print, and buck scratches. For the uninitiated, they look like this:

  As luck would have it, I ran into another hunter skulking around a hillside, and promptly turned in the other direction. It's getting harder and harder to hunt the circuit without running into "Buddy" as we like to call the other guy. Nearly all hunting "isms" can be traced to Maestro Arturo, my woodland mentor who last appeared in these pages here. Also, when I stopped to eat an apple, what looked like a Golden Lab streaked by me, about 75 yards down the hill. Weird. Later, I had to turn away again, when I crossed what looked like its owner's tracks. Further evidence to really watch one's step in the woods. Which I'm thankful I can do.

That's all for now, kidlets. Do something you love today, with people you love. It's like that on a November Thursday, and other days, too.

Thanks for reading, too, and please remember to leave the Safety on until you're sure you have a clear, safe shot.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Contracting the Squash...

A mea culpa from the auteur: I inadvertantly Published a draft of this post yesterday evening, thanks to underwhelming Blogger protocols and my touchy chicklet keyboard. I hurriedly took it down and pasted a new draft so I could finish my Monday effort. But I just heard it through the blogvine (thanks DaisyFae!) that die-hard Blaiserblogarians apparently automatically get a new post seared into their readers like some kind of digital branding iron... And like an errant curve ball from a Minor League prospect, my crappy first draft is apparently unretrievable. So there ya go. At any rate, please find the finished product below. Anyone got the 800 number for WordPress...?

You know what sucks about pumpkins? They won't announce they're rotten until you go to lift that small one placed upon your stereo for decoration, and its stem comes off in your hand, and just that little jolt opens up a slit in its liquified interior, and rancid pumpkin juices run down your stereo. Don't deny this has happened to you.

It's Autumn for the love of Mike. You placed the pumpkin there because it made the place more Fall-like. It was not only a good idea at the time, it was a damn fine idea. Trouble is, there's no expiration date for squash. And the deceitful pumpkin... vessel of pulp and wet seed and that which Linus made holy with his worship... well let's just say that it's not your friend. No, not at all your friend.

But it never lets you see it sweat... it's downright regal, the pumpkin, until it's a corpse and then it's too late. This is a metaphor for something, and if you'll bear with me, maybe I can get to it.

When Martha Graham was 95 and still clinging to life as the artistic director of her eponymous dance company, they'd carry her out on stage in a chair so that she could take her curtain call -- mummified though she already was, sporting a deathmask right out of Terry Gilliam's Brazil, scaring the hell out of the union stagehands, who don't spook easy. Then one day, they picked her up and the juices just ran right out of her, and that was that. Never saw her sweat until the bitter end. Just like a pumpkin. *

Random joy for your Tuesday mid-morning: instead of that fourth cup of coffee: Ben Folds' cover of "In Between Days." I've created a "meme" for your edification. Press play on the embedded clip below, and then follow the instructions on scrolling down. I know, I know, it's more work than you want to do. It's worth it. Quit whinging and hit Play already.

First 36 bars:


next 32 bars:

short 16 bars:

last 32 bars of Intro:

First Verse 32 Bars:

Go On, Go On, Just Walk Away:

Short 16 bars: (And I know it was wrong..)

Before Second Verse:

Second Verse 32 Bars:

Next 32 Bars (Come Back, Come Back...:)


Short 16 Bars:

Without You 32 bars:

Big Choral Finish! 32 bars

Without You: (scroll down at your leisure)

Thanks again for listening and reading. And please remember: Just because Steve Jobs is slaving away on the new Maximum Aphrodisiac App for the iPad, it doesn't make your jeans fit any better.

* I have the highest regard possible for Ms. Graham, her singular impact on American art, and the subsequent army of modern dance choreographers that enabled me to get paid to see Europe. I have fictionalized her death in the service of Zany Optimism and mean no dissrespect. You can find the real deal, by a real writer, here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pulling the Lever

Here's to sanity. Here's to checks and balances. Here's to humbling the incoming loudmouths. Here's to Election Day, a cold cup of coffee for a national hangover and a great excuse for my union brothers and sisters to make time-and-a-half before they hopefully head home and pull a lever.

BlaiserBlog began as an outcropping of post-election euphoria two years ago. It's been a bumpy road, but overall I've found ample opportunity to continue believing in zany optimism, continue believing that every day is another chance to get it right, continue believing that the Yankees just aren't interesting as a concept and that forgiveness--or at least acceptance--gives one far better traction in the muddy cornfields of life than just about anything, especially a jacked-up '69 Chevelle.

I'm unsure that BlaiserBlog will survive these midterm elections. Production has tailed off. Attentions are shifting, seasons are shifting, scenes are shifting. If you pay attention to the fashion world, shifts are shifting.

It gives one pause and begs the question, What's it all about?

Here's a humble offering of what it might be all about:

it's a Midwestern Grandmother having a blast in a studio audience in Manhattan,
it's watching a child sleep, through the rear-view mirror
it's the spice of October on a damp, sylvan floor
it's the quiet enthusiasm of a lawn frog
it's the sweet silence of a lost lover
it's the je ne sais quoi behind a stranger's wink
it's having the determination of the oak while waving like the willow
it's standing on a beach, applauding the osprey
it's a pork tenderloin roast, filthy with rosemary and oil.
it's astonishment in the ordinary
it's stagehands playing stringed instruments
it's a rally in the Mall

it's a first date in Iceland
it's straddling the ladder
it's twenty-two sevenths
it's stalking the Heffalump
it's de-pilling the sweater
it's exceeding expectations
it's opera on vinyl
it's what Rock-n-Roll's doing to them kids, Emma.
it's an image of a mage
and every once in a while -- not often, but enough to keep hope alive -- it is, in fact, the Sprite in you.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment. Get out and vote, whenever possible. And please remember -- just because the World Series is over, we do not have to lose the sweet spot of the artistic bat.