Monday, December 29, 2008

The 0-16 Lions - time to change their colors





Wow...you gotta feel for a team that sets a new record for losing. 0-16. Maybe some of that federal funding can go to the team.







As if Detroit didn't have enough problems this year. One idea to fix their problems next year is to change the color of their uniforms. Their colors are blue and silver (after their owners, the Ford Motor Co.), but maybe they need to be a bit more regal and go for brown and gold, like their mascot, and one day become king of the football jungle.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Isaac turned 13


In the crazy holiday season leading up to Xmas, my son Isaac turned 13 on December 13th. My baby boy is, according to the Jewish faith anyway, a man now. Not really, but he is a teenager.


We recently saw a college football game together on the sidelines when my alma mater, University of Delaware played James Madison University, and got a chance to hang with my good old college buddy, Coach K.C. Keeler of the Fighting Blue Hens.





We stood next to the cheerleaders and I was able to capture this moment of Isaac in his new aged glory. Happy Birthday Isaac. Love ya. ---John Anderson

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Russian Standart vodka


'Tis the season to imbibe, and we have really been enjoying a new Russian vodka called The Russian Standart (the Russians use a "t" instead of a "d," but you can also call it Russian Standard - they don't mind. It is better than all those other top-shelf brands - Ketel One, Grey Goose, Belvedere, you name it, it beats 'em all. The actual meaning of vodka in Russian is "little water." The Russian Standart is made in St. Petersburg, and is the #1 selling premium vodka over there.

Check this spot out...Russian madness with very pretty Russian women everywhere. We can't figure out where that one on the swing went though, after she flew through the bar.

This stuff is tremendous coming straight out of the freezer, pored over ice with a slice of lemon. The best thing of all is that it's half the price of all those other name brands with twice the flavor. Gotta hand it to those Russians...they sure know how to ferment those potatoes. Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Kings of Belmont


We saw this band in Virginia over the weekend, and man can these fellas play! When we walked in the door, they were playing the Doors, and the lead singer looked like Jim M. himself - no lie. They covered a wide variety of stuff - Pink Floyd, Cranberries, crazy..right? Their own stuff is really good. They are out of Charlottesville, Virginia. Here's their website. kingsofbelmont.com Check em out some time. Love the song Booze Em Up. They did this crazy Santa song bout him being all boozed up and on pills. This while they were downing PBR and whiskey on stage. Whiskey a go-go.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Your kid's art


Given the economy, we - like everyone else we know - are cutting back on gifts this year. Our kids are making gifts for their cousins and family, instead of buying things. The greatest thing of all is that these gifts will be remembered far longer than an iTunes card. I've been greatly admiring of late some art done by my two boys. This art is the best stuff that we own. Above is a masterpiece done by Isaac Anderson. I'm sure you feel the same way about your kid's work. Gotta love love. Happy holidays everyone. --John Anderson

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Allen & Son - Chapel Hill, NC - great BBQ, pork style



We were in Chapel Hill recently, visiting some university folk at the University of Carolina, Chapel Hill. Go Tar Heels! We wanted to learn more about what students were up to at the journalism and advertising programs there. Great visit.

On our way around the area, we came across this incredible BBQ joint called Allen & Co. They smoke their pig, real slow, in this crappy old container that looked like it used to be part of a 40s or 50s refrigerator truck.







The BBQ was so tender, and the pies were just as good. Put a little slaw on top of the pork, and bam, you got yourself heaven in a bun. Don't forget to order the pecan pie for dessert, ice cream on the side. All this while eating on green tablecloth..yum!





Best of all is the scenic trailer park right behind the joint. It ain't gettin' more authentic than this, fellas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"The Farm" aka "La Masia" by Joan Miró




We really enjoyed this article about "The Farm" painting by Joan Miró that showed up in Saturday's Wall Street Journal. We love the painting even more.

By MICHAEL FITZGERALD

After working on "The Farm" seven or eight hours a day for more than nine months beginning in July 1921 and continuing through the following spring, Joan Miró (1893-1983) threw himself into the challenging process of finding a buyer for the painting in the fickle Parisian art world. As he recalled, "In the evening, I would go to the gym to do boxing. My intellectual work all day required a physical outlet." One of his sparring partners at the popular American club was Ernest Hemingway. Miró's aggressive punching, despite his short stature, won Hemingway's respect and helped Miró score an artistic knockout -- the writer ultimately bought "The Farm" and extolled it in print as capturing "all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there. . . . No one could look at it and not know it was painted by a great painter."

For once, a critic's words matched the artist's intentions. "The Farm was a résumé of my entire life in the country. I wanted to put everything I loved about the country into that canvas -- from a huge tree to a tiny little snail." Miró had labored so long on the canvas because he conceived it as a true masterpiece -- a proof of his artistic achievements up to that time. In the process, it opened the path to his finest work of the later '20s and probably the greatest of his career, paintings that share "The Farm"'s central vision but reverse its celebration of plentitude with radically austere compositions of sparely drawn figures and saturated fields of color.

For a painting that Miró hoped would establish his reputation in Paris, he picked an odd subject: the family farm, or masia, outside Barcelona. The even brilliance of the sky and tawny raw earth provide an elemental setting capturing a sense of the intense Mediterranean light that illuminates every exposed surface and casts the darkest of shadows. Miró harnessed this contrast of blazing clarity and deep obscurity to create a scene both tangible and strange. Whether one's eyes are drawn to the abundance of cracks that turn the house's façade into a veritable topographic map, the motley array of buckets, pails and watering cans littering the yard, the families of rabbits and chickens in the coop, or the lizards and snails meandering over the unplowed ground in the right foreground, each object -- animate or not -- is rendered with indiscriminate, comprehensive detail and given individual prominence by appearing in isolation against a light background. The result is a vast menagerie that turns the arid farmyard into a veritable Garden of Eden.

Miró has done more than showcase his remarkable skill as a draftsman and realist. He has set his subjects in a world that tips into the profoundly unreal. In a space that should recede to distant mountains, there is hardly any difference between the very near and the very far. The hawthorn plant in the left foreground is as precisely rendered as the eucalyptus tree in the center and the horse-drawn mill on the edge of the distant woods. The house and barn flatten like cardboard cutouts instead of serving their traditional purpose of mapping three-dimensional depth. Even the square paving stones in the central foreground seem to point up to the sky rather than lead back into the illusory space of the painted world. The teaming life of Miró's farm presses forward and nearly tumbles onto our laps.

Miró had no intention of merely portraying a typical Catalan farm. For him, these ancient homesteads were deeply imbedded in the natural order. In his rendering, the woman drawing water at a trough and baby playing nearby are easily overlooked even though they are near the center of the composition, and nothing distinguishes them from the surrounding animals, plants or rocks. Miró celebrates a transcendent belief in the unity of nature, a riot of vitality that unites all things.

The great eucalyptus tree stands at the heart of Miró's conception. Its tall trunk nearly ascends the height of the painting. Next to a full moon, its rangy branches stretch across the sky with bright edges and clusters of black leaves like an inverse of nighttime constellations. Rising from the soil, its trunk bears every gnarl and pit of its ancient age. Miró juxtaposed his wildest conceit to this exacting realism. The trunk is not rooted in the ground but floats, surrounded by a black circle from which it seems to grow. This disk is Miró's symbol of the world, an abstract microcosm from which the largest and most vital thing propagates. He improvised the image from another Catalonian legacy, the remarkable 12th-century wall paintings that are among the greatest achievements of European art. In these boldly drawn and highly stylized images of damnation and salvation, the blessing hand of God appears disembodied in a surrounding sphere of deep colors. Miró metamorphosed it, freed of Catholic doctrine, into the central emblem of a pantheistic natural order.

For all its evocation of Catalonian culture, "The Farm" was completed in Paris, where Miró famously tore a fistful of grass from the Bois de Boulogne to guide his finishing touches. Even more than a celebration of Miró's native land, it is a picture that demonstrates the power of the imagination to transform reality, preserving the uniqueness of every little thing and sweeping them together in a grand vision of universal vitality. This resort to the fantastic soon made Miró a darling of the Surrealists, even if they never understood that his inspiration lay in the countryside of Catalonia rather than the cafés of Paris. Still, Miró left a clue that he wasn't thinking only of his homeland. The watering can in the central foreground of the picture sits on a folded newspaper whose masthead read in full L'Intransigeant -- the Parisian journal most favored by the avant-garde.

Despite this bow to his chosen audience, Miró did spend months drumming up interest after he completed the painting in the spring of 1922. He finally found a dealer willing to take it on consignment after Picasso stepped in to aid his friend. Hemingway's purchase three years later not only helped diminish that neglect but started the picture on an odyssey through Hemingway's family that finally ended with its donation to the National Gallery of Art in 1987.

Mr. FitzGerald teaches the history of modern art at Trinity College.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Men multitasking

Gotta love the Brits for this one. video

Car bailout


This print ad was circulating through our office emails yesterday - very clever, but depressing at the same time. It's hard to figure this issue out...there are good arguments on both sides. It would be a tragedy to lose any of the Big Three auto makers, yet at the same time, Detroit has been making substandard vehicles for years. What's a president-elect to do?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Miss it?


As we close in on the shortest day of the year, you have to ask yourself- where did that doggone sun go? Only five and a half more months 'til Memorial Day and chewin' on some salt water taffy, licking on a lollipop the size of your head, and steaming the greatest food ever to come from salt water - the Maryland blue crab. Hang in there.







Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Farm of Tomorrow

We found this wonderful cartoon from MGM cartoons called "The Farm of Tomorrow." It was directed by Tex Avery, the same guy who created Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Droopy. It's got that crazy 50s soundtrack to it. The theme is all about what happens when you cross-breed animals. Since we are always cross-breeding ourselves, from TV to web to print to radio, we could certainly relate. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beware of the Doghouse

You have to see this extremely funny bit about guys in the doghouse for buying the totally wrong gift at Xmas. Here's the link to see it in high rez: bewareofthedoghouse.com/videoPage.aspx

It's branded entertainment, at its best, for J C Penney to better help the retail chain get men to buy jewelry during this brutal holiday season.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Before Santa had a sleigh, he plowed fields on The Farm

Ugly Homes

Given that this is the worst housing crisis in our memory, we thought what it must be like for owners of the ugliest houses in America. How could you ever sell these?




Heart of Dixie






Does anyone really know where the Heart of Dixie is located? Google Images thinks it does:



Friday, December 5, 2008

Rocky Patel


In the midst of this crazy global financial meltdown, there is one guy who is growing his business - literally. His name is Rocky Patel, an amazing guy that I met about a month ago. He travels the country promoting his premium cigars. He was a lawyer who got tired of reading paper, so he decided to go into a business that burns, very smoothly.

I was talking to David of Milan Tobacconists the other day http://www.milantobacco.com
who told me that Rocky is now the fifth largest cigar seller in the country. You have to check out his website http://www.rockypatel.com. You gotta love the open..very Vegas meets Cuba. There you can see the Rock wandering through his tobacco fields. He invited me to come visit his factory, which I may do (if the gods, and my wife allow me to). Anyway, I just picked up his premium Decade cigar which I'll review here after I fire that baby up.

Here is Rocky telling us about it.



I won it from my cigar purveyor Poochie who is an avid Redskins fan (and who sillily bet against the Giants). If you like lighter cigars, try the Connecticut vintage 1999 cigar...smooth as silk. For a darker, richer, deep cigar go for the 1992 version. Anyway, gotta go and light up.

--john anderson

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Father and Son


OK, call me corny, but I had to post this incredible father/son picture that our good friend, Sarah Hazlegrove, took of my son Seth and I. He is now a sophomore in high school. Time is clicking bye just too darn fast, but when Seth laid his head down on my shoulder for this picture, time stood still.

Pearl Jam, Brown Bag bootlegs





My iPod starting playing today this amazing series of live songs from Pearl Jam that I bought way back in 2000. It was when Eddy and the lads were fighting like hell against the music establishment, specifically Ticketmaster. They released a series of official bootleg CDs that showed up in Tower Records (remember Tower on Broadway @ 4th and the other store on Broadway @66 th? That'll be another blog entry soon).

Anyway, there was this huge stack of brown bag-covered CDs at Tower that featured each live show by Pearl Jam. There was no art on the CD cover, just a stamp like the one shown here.

The first show was the one that I bought which was in Lisbon on May 23, 2000 is the first in Pearl Jam's official bootleg series of the 2000 tour of Europe and North America. There were 2 CDs in it, which cost about $10, jock a block full with PJ's greatest hits.




The Portugese really dig the show, doing all kinds of soccer chants. Eddie can't remember the lyrics at time. You have to check out "Immortality" if you can find it. I would love to get my hands on other concerts, but they are very rare to find now. I found this site that had a few European imports -

http://www.bigwentertainment.com.au/artist/pearl_jam_2743.html




Hear are the songs on my two brown bagged CDs:
Disk 1
1. Of the Girl [6:56]
2. Do the Evolution [3:49]
3. Animal [2:56]
4. Red Mosquito [5:09]
5. Corduroy [5:29]
6. Grievance [4:31]
7. Light Years [5:12]
8. Nothing as It Seems [5:57]
9. Given to Fly [4:12]
10. Even Flow [5:13]
11. Faithful [4:43]
12. [Untitled] [3:59]
13. Last Kiss [3:27]
14. Mfc [2:37]
15. Breakerfall [2:47]
16. Wishlist [3:52]
Disk 2
17. Thin Air [3:55]
18. Daughter [6:45]
19. Evacuation [3:03]
20. Immortality [6:03]
21. Betterman [4:52]
22. Black [7:20]
23. Go [3:50]
24. Encore Break [3:30]
25. Last Exit [2:49]
26. Jeremy [6:24]
27. Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town [3:39]
28. Alive [10:44]
29. Yellow Ledbetter [*] [6:19]

--john anderson

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Basketball: Robert Smith, Goth Bunnies, & the Yellow Jackets

We're coaching a basketball team of 12 year olds, and so we started kicking around some ideas for a team name. Our favorite was the Goth Bunnies, inspired by this fellow, Robert Smith of The Cure.

The problem is that we don't think the rest of the league would have appreciated the name or the mascot image, especially for an all-boys team.






























So we decided to go a safer route with black by adding a bit of gold and becoming the Yellow Jackets instead.




But what if we had our cheerleading squad be the Goth Bunnies. Here's a possible approach. How do you think the parents would react then? No good..bad idea...but fun to think about nonetheless.

What was he thinking?


We are so happy that the Giants are 11-1 despite Plaxico Burress' antics, as detailed below. What is Coach Couglin going to say to this guy? Here's the summary of the situation from USA Today:

NEW YORK — New York Giants star wide receiver Plaxico Burress faces an uncertain future after he was charged Monday with two felony counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, stemming from the accidental discharge of a gun.

Released on $100,000 bond, Burress, who was led into court handcuffed, faces 3½ to 15 years in prison if convicted. New York state law requires mandatory prison for carrying a loaded handgun.

Both the NFL and the defending Super Bowl champions are monitoring the police investigation. A criminal complaint released by prosecutors provides an account from a witness at the Latin Quarter in Manhattan last Friday night who heard a popping sound, then saw a bloody pistol — a .40 caliber Glock — fall out of Burress' pant leg. He did not have a permit to carry a handgun in New York.

"This is a law enforcement matter and we are continuing to cooperate fully with the police," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. "In addition, it will be reviewed under our league policies."

What was he thinking?

Friday, November 14, 2008

James








We have been meaning to write about our friend, Deborah Williamson, for awhile now, ever since she and her husband Bryan Calvert opened their Brooklyn restaurant called James. It is an amazing place. Bryan is the chef, and he's incredible. We remember him from way back when he worked at Union Pacific under Rocco DiSpirito as a sous chef. Deborah handles all the details at the front of the house. She knows how to make anyone feel right at home. We bet it has a lot to do with her Fort Worth, Texas upbringing. We met her Dad when she and Bryan got married, and he is perhaps the happiest, coolest Pop on the planet Earth!

James is named after Bryan's grandpa, and its atmosphere is tin ceiling, distressed wall chic. Grandpa's portrait hangs right over the door to the kitchen.


They found this amazing chandelier that emits light in a unique way. It doesn't translate in the picture here, so you have to just go there yourself to see what we're talking about.

Here's a great little summary of the place by The New Yorker:

Tables for Two

James

605 Carlton Ave., at St. Marks Ave., Brooklyn (718-942-4255)

by Mike Peed October 13, 2008

Deep in the brownstones of Prospect Heights, away from the cafés of Flatbush and Vanderbilt Avenues, with their homelier crowds and everyday fare, James glows like a well-kept campfire, luring diners to an otherwise quiet residential block. For several years, this historic Brooklyn neighborhood has been enduring a growth spurt, and the locals’ eager acceptance of James, coupled with what is essentially a no-reservation policy, has led to hour-long waits. Since James has little room to spare, would-be diners are sometimes forced curbside, left to watch the action within. Once you’re seated, the place is dreamlike: amber beams from an outré Lucite chandelier are reflected in opposite mirrors, and James’s affectations—the grand palms at the end of the bar; the deliberately distressed wall; the copious votive candles—evoke Rick’s Café Américain, via Klimt’s “The Kiss.”

Too many servers conflate good with frequently ordered, but at James recently a diner’s request for guidance induced a waitress to recite nearly the whole menu—“seasonal-American . . . with ‘old-world European influences,’ ” as the Web site has it. She was right, beginning with a crab-cake starter that’s capped, in her words, with “super-fresh and really yummy micro-greens.” (The co-owners, Bryan Calvert, who cooks, and his wife, Deborah Williamson, who mingles, live above the restaurant, where they tend a six-hundred-square-foot herb garden.) Seared scallops float in a watercress purée studded with sweet roasted corn, while flaxen prawns are served with a sunchoke purée and garlic confit. An excellent fillet of brook trout is first sautéed, then covered with hazelnuts and chives, folded in half, tied with a string of budding chive, and balanced with a side of fennel and oranges—evidence of James’s vast but not vulgar aspirations. A tender loin of lamb, encrusted with pine nuts and rosemary, and served with a buttery three-bean stew, struck just the right notes of heavy and light. The desserts, though, especially the warm ricotta beignets, win out. On a recent evening, the finest compliment, aside from the empty plates and the vows to return, came from a couple who live just down the block. Thinking of their postprandial chores, one of the two leaned in to say, “We’ll never let our dog go pee on their planters.” (Open Tuesdays through Sundays for dinner. Entrées $14-$29.)

And here's a review of the joint by the NY Times:

605 Carlton Avenue
(St. Marks Avenue)
Brooklyn, NY
Phone (718) 942-4255
American, European
Brooklyn
$$$
On the ground floor of an apartment building on a residential block of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, James is a small, sweet restaurant that exemplifies how pleasing and quietly sophisticated the food at such neighborhood refuges has become. It's also a Mom-and-Pop restaurant for the Alice Waters era, owned and managed a married couple, Bryan Calvert and Deborah Williamson, who live smack above it and pluck herbs from a rooftop garden next door. Mr. Calvert worked at Bouley and Union Pacific, and that experience serves him well across a succinct New American menu. He doesn't nail every dish, but the salads, the roasted chicken and the roasted loin of lamb are first-rate. -- Frank Bruni
-The New York Times