Thursday, April 30, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
Growing up in the 1980's, watching Alex Keaton bring a briefcase to work on television, and Bud Fox learn to play squash on the fly, a young man grew to aspire to wearing a "power tie". Perhaps he would wear it to a "power breakfast", he might think to himself. What goes into such a meal, he had no idea, but certainly even this 10 year old knew that a power tie meant a bold coloured, solid or print tie; a tie that made sure everyone in the room knew he meant business.
According to a one of the surprisingly many fashion sites devoted to men's apparel, "In the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan was known for his red power tie, as much a virility symbol in American corporate culture as a red convertible has been in the culture at large."
If you dig a little deeper, you'll find that though opinions vary about which ties contain the most power, there is very little disagreement that people will do as you say if you wear one.
So with that, it seems important that we clear up just which power the various styles convey.
1. Red, solid: I'm the president, or I've met him. I just finished breakfast with some powerful people. I am just stopping in here to let you all know that I have somewhere very important to be, but have taken a few minutes to speak with you so you'd better listen and listen good.
2. Yellow, solid: I'm incredibly important, but not the kind of jerk who would wear a bright red tie to meet with you. You should trust me. I'm a powerful man who is hungry for a power meal of some kind but I like you enough to stop in here and have a quick word. I don't eat spaghetti because stains show really easily on my tie.
3. Azure blue, with navy flecks: I'm incredibly powerful but speak softly. Listen closely so you can hear all the details because I certainly don't have time to repeat myself. I lost my drivers licence some time ago, but it's ok because I have a driver. Also, I like pasta. Some of these flecks are sauce.
4. Lime Green, solid: I got dressed in the dark. But it's because I live on West Coast time and as powerful as I am, I haven't convinced the sun to rise earlier to meet my needs. You should listen to what I say and comply with great speed because God knows when I do finally foreclose on the Sun, those who opposed me will be burned. But for real.
5. Blue and Red, stripes: I am a Republican. I do everything except hunt in this tie. I find it goes great with khakis and a blue blazer. It makes me feel powerful, but less so, say at a convention or something where everyone else is wearing the same tie. That and boarding schools.
6. Lavender, with light thorn pattern: I just a guy who likes spring.
7. Polka Dots of Any Kind: I am powerful but insouciant. I collect art but would rather not speak of it as it's a personal passion. I can tell a good joke but damnit you had better laugh like you mean it or there is going to be real trouble. I'm approachable, but please be sure to offer to pay for drinks before I tell you that I would never permit such a thing.
8. Bright Orange: I had better be the leader of the Ukraine or coach of the Dutch national soccer team. Possible I'm just a heavy hitter shopping for helicopters in the Caymans. I wear shaded glasses even indoors.
9. Salmon pink, Solid: I am Donald Trump.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Violet May, born at 8:42pm on Friday, February 27th, weighing in at a fighting 7lbs.
We will buy very pretty things
A-walking through the faubourgs.
Violets are blue, roses are red,
Violets are blue, I love my loves
Hard to believe it's only been 13½ months.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I love movies. I love India. Frieda Pinto is a knockout. Danny Boyle is a wicked stylish director who knows how to put great tunes and great colours together on screen.
I loved Slumdog Millionaire. I really did. It was the quintessence of "a good time at the movies".
And having not seen any other movies nominated for Best Picture this year I am probably under-qualified to vote. But it made me very sad to think that as good as this Mumbai slum film was that it was the best the world had to offer this year. Is it too much to ask that all movies be entertaining and touching and pretty to look at with good music and be pulled together with snappy editing? This is what now qualifies for special mention? This dominates the awards scene?
Now of course I understand the awards are a result of savvy campaigning and the general whimsy of an academy of artists. But still.
Nothing of particularly innovative or novel nature happened this year? Really? If not, then boo movies; if yes, then boo academy.
Maybe this weekend I'll rent Shakespeare in Love and see how that's aging.
It is just another step down in the process of my decreasing interest in films and those who produce them; there is a reason that television serials have essentially replaced movies in my house. And that's all I have to say about that.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
You know that you are reading a Book Club book when there is an appendix of special features including, "How to Fall In Love With Opera" and a series of suggested topics for further discussion.
Middlebrow is the word that kept springing to mind as I read it. It's certainly not "chick-lit" (there are zero shopping sprees and very little in the way of heaving chests) but with writing like this, it is not really deserving of serious consideration either.
While certainly lyrical enough (believe me the musical allusions are not tough to find), it is rife with purple passages that include the "drinking in" of various peoples souls and so on. "Gen's head was filled with Carmen" is the kind of stuff that makes my teeth ache.
The passages about music are worse. Which, to be fair, writing about music is really difficult - witness how even the most knowledgeable reviewers are prone to near meaningless cliches in their critique. The media simply don't lend well to each other and Ms. Patchett at least infuses Opera with a romantic enthusiasm. It's just that it's all, well, over-zealous.
Like here where a young boy sings in public for the first time after listening raptly (with bursting pants, no less) to the soprano in captivity:
He didn't seem to hear them laughing. His gaze was unfocused.
He was singing to no one in particular. It wasn't that he was mocking her
so much as he was just trying to fill up the space where she should have
been. It would have been mocking if it had only been her gestures he
was repeating, but it wasn't. It was her voice. The legendary
voice of Roxane Coss. He held his notes long and clear. He
reached down into the depths of his lungs for power, the volume he had not
allowed himself when singing alone under his breath. He was singing
now, a par that was too high for him and yet he jumped up and grabbed
onto the edge of the note. He pulled himself up and held it.
Is it a good story? Sure. Is it romantic? Absolutely. But as much as she is a good story teller and holds readers' attention with passable, even cinematic character development, there is a sneaking suspicion one gains early on that the power of music is going to save the day.
Does it? Not really. The ending is, in fact both well-earned and surprising. Which is cool, especially since I only had to groan through 315 pages to get there.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Items of Which The First Is Incredibly Good And The Second Not Nearly So And In Fact A Bit Of A Letdown On The Whole
Pizza, Slice of
Egg McMuffin, with Sausage
The Matrix, film
Waterski, session of
Pint of brown ale, Smithicks comes to mind
Service, in tennis
Shampoo, Rinse and...
Coffee, cup of
Underpants, pair of
Shave, session of
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
"Oh, this is delicious."
"Well it's got to be at least $25"
"That's what I thought too! But in fact it's way better. $38!"
"Wow, I had no idea. I mean, when I first smelled it, I thought, 'north of $40 for sure' but then after I tasted it, it just didn't seem like a $38 at all."
"No, it totally is. I served it with ribeyes the other day and everyone was like, 'What's this wine, $55?'! It really depends on how the palette is formed."
"I guess you're right. Were the glasses expensive?"
"Yah. $25 per."
"That explains a lot. A good glass can add $5-$10 to any wine."
"What was that, Italian?"
"Something like that. $38! Delicious. I'm going to remember this one."
Monday, January 19, 2009
The woods were soft beneath his boots. The frost had given way to muck and there wasn't much left for the season. All was quiet except for the subterranean trickle of snow runoff somewhere somehow seeking lower ground.
Breathing deeply, he thought to himself how strange it is that Springtime represents rebirth and life, but smells more like rot.
Peering under the hood, he looked into the bucket: not much sap left. He pulled the spigot and a few drops dripped onto his fingers. Sweet but thin and watery. It was over.
He cleaned the spigot and emptied the bucket into the drum which he would wheel back to the shack for boiling. He looked back at the tree and noticed that a few tears of sap had squeezed from the hole drilled just a few weeks ago. In the sunlight, he could see a glistening trail was left behind as they trickled down the trunk.
"I'll be back next Spring," he said quietly.
"I know," she replied, "it's just that,"
"It's just that what?"
"I love you."
He didn't know what to say.
"Why?" he asked, meaning it.
But there was no answer. Trees, he thought, who could understand them?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
A good deal was written about these three deaths and I read most of it. Like many who sit in seats like mine, the disappearance of the major financial institutions that we dealt with, competed with, or simply looked to for leadership (Bear Stearns had already been dispatched to Davy Jones locker in the spring) lead to my spending much of that week staring in rapt horror at my Bloomberg screen and reading about the tectonic shift in my industry.
To get back to thinking about me: even in a week as surprising as that one, I was most surprised that the death of DFW affected me so much more deeply than those of LEH and MER. Sure, one was a person and the other two simply entities, but frankly none of them had been to my house for dinner and two of them represented (indirectly) my livelihood. DFW never once held out any promise that he would help keep my children in jeans. But he did tell me things that I had never known: things about the tennis, things about philosophy, things about addiction, things about grammar, things about obsession, things about myself.
It has taken me longer to post about it than I had meant, but nonetheless I miss him.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
And its more than just his Dubai address. He's clearly peaking earlier than me.
But this past year was a tough one for both of us. As a longtime fan, it was tough to watch him. It seemed like he wasn't enjoying himself as he used to. Lost that extra gear or something. He was *sweating* for God's sake.