February 2005 Archives

Now that New York’s latest great public art experiment has come to an end (they’re tearing down the Gates as I type, attempting to remove as much as possible before the noreaster slams into the city this afternoon), I do believe that we, as a city, will miss the Gates once they’ve gone. I know, the naysayers and the critics have harped on the excessive cost and the monumental egos and utter lack of humor that Christo and Jean-Claude have displayed over this fortnight, but the art itself—the 7,500 orange rectangular frames, echoing Shinto torii gates—was, ultimately, embraced by the city.

The park will feel different without them, even though the park itself has been restored to its original condition; it seems to me that this is one of the reasons why it was only up for two weeks. Indeed, this may have been one of the whole points of the exercise. The park has changed, even though it hasn’t. And the way we interact with the park has changed, even though the park hasn’t. Art is supposed to be transformative (in more than one sense); at least on that count, the Gates have been a unqualified success.

Each visitor has their own way of interacting with this giant public sculpture; everyone brings their own experiences and filters and takes away something different from the interaction.

Click on the picture to go to a slide show of my Gates pictures—I’ve added to them since last time I posted about them.

Previous posts about the Gates: initial impressions, a friend reflects on them (first entry), and my Dad goes and photographs them in the snow.

Because It's Becoming A Tradition


And because it’s an excuse to procrastinate: Live Blogging the 77th Annual Academy Awards!

8:34: Ok, the opening montage is a snoozapalooza.

8:37: No reaction shot on Nicole Kidman during her joke. Interesting. But there was a Kirsten Dunst reaction shot after the Toby Maguire joke.

8:38: OK, he seems to be done insulting most of Hollywood’s A-minus-listers.

8:39: Spike Lee: Ugly, ugly, ugly glasses.

8:43: B- on the monologue. Too much political stuff. Not really that funny. One hell of a dress that Halle’s wearing, though.

8:47: Renee’s gone brunette? Nice dress, and I like the train. Girl needs a In-And-Out Burger, though. Maybe two.

8:50: Go Morgan! A good sign for Jamie Foxx later for Best Actor. Slightly tangental: Clive Owen would make a great James Bond, I think.

8:51: Star Trek music? Is Patrick Stewart coming out?

8:57: Robin Williams was much, much funnier than Rock was. Loved the Nicholson. Plus a well-deserved win for The Incredibles (making Eisner’s public feud with Pixar look stupider by the minute…). And the model standing next to Robin Williams must be like 7 feet tall. He comes up to her bosom. I don’t think that he thinks it’s a bad thing.

9:01: The announcer-and-winners-in-the-audience thing doesn’t seem to be working.

9:02: Drew’s brunette too? What, is brown in this year?

9:04: Never having seen Beyonce sing live before, I can’t tell if her constantly looking stage right is a performance tic or if she’s looking for a prompter/cue cards…

9:13: Miss Johansson is really working that Marilyn thing, isn’t she? Her dress is very 1961.

9:19: Speaking of costumes, the Edna Mole bit is a bit over the top, but they must have rehersed a bit to get that down. The winner’s dress seemed to change color as she walked over pick up her award.

9:22: Looks like Howard Hughes is picking all the awards he’s up for. Mr. Cate Blanchett should have worn a tie, I would say, though. It’s the Oscars, for God’s sake; a tie wouldn’t have killed the man.

9:29: I’m not sure that a Carson tribute was such a good idea—it only serves to remind us how far the talent currently on the stage has to go.

9:34: Orlando Bloom and Miss Dunst on the stage together? Cheekbones of the world unite! And in the ongoing tally, Howard Hughes has won again. He must be a very happy man. And what is it with the 7-foot-tall models?

9:36: Adam Duritz is gonna hurt someone with that hair. And seriously, this song sounds like it could have been performed by the Monkees.

10:08: This Andrew Lloyd Webber song is making me nauseous. Admittedly, most of them do, but…

10:10: I do like Jeremy Irons’ coat.

10:12: Laura Linney—ease up on the Botox, willya?

10:21: That’s one hell of a dress that Miss Hayek’s got on. Yowza.

10:29: Who knew that Antonio Bandaras was a song-and-dance guy?

10:52: Yo-Yo Ma brings entirely unexpected culcha and class to Oscar. I wouldn’t get too worried though; I have ever expectation that they’ll go back to being crass and self-congratulatory by the time the next Best Song nominee is performed. Which would be right now.

10:59: Fake snow on stage! We’re gonna be getting a few bucketfuls of the real thing tomorrow…

11:00: I know I probably say this every year, but the nominees for Best Song really sucked. I believe that the word I’m looking for is “craptacular”. Quite embarrassing, I think, that they have Prince doing the award presentation…

11:01: Favorite Oscar acceptance speech ever? Only one word in English. Brilliant.

11:06: Did Hillary Swank put her dress on backwards? Well, at least we know that she doesn’t have one of those lower back tattoos. And really, she should have this short Oscar speech thing down by now, don’t you think?

11:26: Jamie Foxx, winner for Ray. Who didn’t see that one coming?

11:34: Upset of the night: Clint takes Best Director. And holy cow, they made that movie in only 37 days! This, of course, makes Best Picture for Clint a forgone conclusion at this point…

11:38: And Clint is officially crowned. It came down to Man With No Name against Howard Hughes, and Blondie walked away with the naked gold guy. Goodnight America!

LOST In A Land Without Toiletries


Correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t the castaways on Lost been on that island for more than a month? So shouldn’t the men have grown full beards by this point?

As a side note, check out this fictional fan site for the fictional band Driveshaft, which is, of course, the hobbit’s band in the series.

March On, My Friends


Time for the March title contest: submit your favorite quote that mentions the month March in the comments. Winner gets, well, you should know by now. I should point out that the Paris Hilton Phonebook contest is still going, and that has a real live actual physical prize you can hold in your hands.

Bon Voyage

Just a reminder that there will be a memorial get-together for Mike Wolf tonight at the Overlook Lounge from 7 until… well, whenever. For my stalkers, I’ll make it easy for you: I’ll be there around nine or so.

Amy Langfield reports on the maybe-semi-fictional* practice of "ferret bagging". According to legend**, this practice, which allegedly originated in northern England, involves tying off one's trousers at the ankles, dropping a live ferret down the front, and then tightening one's belt.

Yeah, you heard that right. One assumes that large quantities of alcohol are consumed prior to the pant-ferret interaction.

Why? I'm guessing there really must be nothing to do on Saturday night out there.

*Nothing on Google about this.

**Legend=Amy's husband.

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The Gates of Snow


I suspect that one of the reason why Christo and Jeanne-Claude wanted the Gates to be mounted in February (and you can interpret that statement however you like, you pervy readers, you) was in the hopes that it would snow and the bright saffron orange would really pop out against a blanket of white.

Well, however improbable or speculative this theory may be, these pictures taken by my dad the other day when it snowed at least confirm the fact that they do look pretty amazing in a snow-covered Central Park.

Now, if it’d only snowed about a foot more, then we’d really have something…

What do you call someone who eats a lot of bacon? A bacontarian, obviously.

Related: Want a pretty girl to come over and cook bacon for you?

Paris In The Springtime


So, who did you call from Paris Hilton’s phonebook, and what did they say?

Best answer (in comments) gets a fabulous prize. (credit due whybark)

Contest open to any readers of this here fine website. Contest will run from February 22, 2005, through March 1, 2005. Employees of pf.org and their immediate families are not eligible for the grand prize. All judging decisions are final. You’re not still reading this, are you? The “fabulous prize” will be truly fabulous, I promise crossmyheart. T’was brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.


I was going through some old stuff on my dresser this morning and managed to find four blank post cards from Hong Kong I managed to bring back last summer. Since they’re awfully pretty and it’d be a shame to waste them, [the next four three two one folks to email me with your name and address gets a postcard from Hong Kong (via Manhattan) All done, folks. Thanks for playing!

Behold The Mighty Squonk!

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Things to think about on a cold, wet Monday morning:

OK, maybe I should have broken them out into a few different posts.

See: Red Glare, Rockets'

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There’s noting quite like sitting in a dim sum palace on the other side of a divider from a raucous and very large Chinese New Year celebration.

Particularly when the music suddenly switches over from an er hu solo to an enthusiastic brass band* rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.

And then later there were dragon dances inside the restaurant.

*I think the band was on tape, but the singing certainly was very much live.



I went to Central Park the other day to see the Gates. Actually, I’d seen them before, but from the back seat in a cab in the middle of the night is probably not the best way to see them, so I figured that getting up close and personal was a better option.

I gotta say that I was originally somewhat skeptical, but they’re really very nice. For whatever reason, people tend to be very quiet around them, so there’s a certain amount of peacefulness and tranquility involved in the viewing experience, particularly when fabric was rustling in the wind. That, however, doesn’t really explain the people who were gawking at the giant orange (that’s not the color of saffron, no matter how hard they insist it is) structures whilst completely plugged into their iPods. Kinda misses the point, I think.

The rest of my Gates pictures are here. I might go back out this weekend if the light is any good to take some more pictures.

Also: the Gates from Outer Space. You can see pf.org Global Headquarters in this picture; no, I’m not telling you where it is.

Any Takers?

It’s Feb. 14th again?

How time flies.

Three years ago, I flew to Paris in mid-February, in large part to visit my sister, but also in part to avoid spending St. Valentine’s Day in Manhattan. Two years ago, I managed to set my jacket on fire at a anti-war fundraiser. Last year, I made dinner for my dad.

While I won’t be spending my time with my friends Johnnie and Jack this year (too much work to do, too many applications to send out), I would like to take the time to point out that I will be at home with with appropriate refreshments later this evening, should any attractive, lissome young women who might be reading this decide that I need to be properly distracted from my studies.

[I know that it didn’t work last year, but hey, what’s wrong with trying again?]


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One of the most surprising interesting things to come out of Mike’s death is the community of grieving that has sprung up on the web. This has not just been limited to those who knew him in the flesh [those listed previously, plus Ricky, Kambri, Brian, Kirstin], but includes those who only knew him as a virtual presence [Mo, Shareen, Lori, Whybark, Jim, Denis, Spinsouth, Little Toy Robot]. Indeed, some of those who mark his passing on their blogs had never heard of Mike before a few days ago [Everyday Baby, ISB, Becky, Martin].

The comments section on his last post is still quite active as people post their remembrances of the man. In addition, Sansanee has set up Mike Wolf Remembered as a central repository of these stories. I suspect that we’re seeing the adaptation of the blog form to the mourning process. Someone with more sociology training than I could probably write a pretty good paper about this.

And finally, there will be a gathering in memory of Mike on Friday, February 25, at the Overlook Lounge (E. 44th and 2nd Ave., or so I’m told). Daniella has all the details.

So Long, My Friend


My friend and fellow blogger Mike Wolf died last night.

The comments section on his last post has become an impromptu memorial to him.

The last time I had seen him was about a month ago; I surprised him by travelling up to visit him while he was in the hospital. I gave him some DVDs and some CDs to listen to to help him pass the time.

I was chatting with him on IM yesterday; he told me that he had to loan me the DVDs I’d given him so he’d have someone to talk to about them. He was passionate about pop music (Elvis Costello in particular), baseball (unfortunatley, his beloved Tigers were perennially out of it), and obscure movies. Mike had just started a new relationship and was happier than I’d seen him in a really long time. He was talking on the phone with his girlfriend when he passed away.

Mike Wolf was my friend, and I shall miss him terribly.

Other bloggers remember our dear, dear friend:
* Lady Crumpet * Deano
* Linus * A Picture of Me * Daniella * This Fish * Ken Goldstein * Zeebah * Krissa

Hello Darkness My Old Friend


Instead of seriously writing about the following topics….

  • Happy Year of The Cock Rooster! Gothamist has the info on NYC-based events.

  • Christo Is Coming! NewYorkology has a roundup. (how meta is a roundup linking to another roundup?)

  • Warp 11: a Star Trek (TOS, at that) tribute band? With song titles like “Suds Me Up Sulu,” “Kirk Gets Laid Again,” and “Suck My Spock”, how can you go wrong? (via the sparky one)

  • Answers to the oft-posed questions: Is the Pope Catholic and do bears shit in the woods? Warning: answers are not what they may appear to be.

  • Nudist Priest, a nudist Judas Priest tribute band. Somewhat scary and probably not safe for work, unless a picture of a very hairy naked guy in a cowboy hat playing a guitar is safe for your workplace. (from BB)

  • So I’m reading this profile of fired blogger Dawn Eden, and in it she says “I think our society is losing something by not having people who have disabilities … in our culture. It contributes to making us less compassionate.” Um, perhaps it’s just me, I find that statement profoundly disturbing (not to mention sick) on very many different levels.

  • I was apparently Gawkered the other day, in relation to a bit I did a year ago about a talk I attended on Valentine’s Day (where, incidentally, I briefly met the abovementioned Dawn Eden). So I thought that I should lay down some ground rules. Basically, if you invite me to a ‘free lunch’ at a restaurant that has the word “steakhouse” in its name, then perhaps there should be some freakin’ steak involved in the lunch. Or, in other words, yes, I can be bought… with steak.

Stupor Bowl XXXIX


OK, so it wasn’t nearly as much of a blowout as I was expecting. The Patriots’ defense certainly did what was expected of them, save that long drive in the third quarter. The surprise for me was how effective the Eagles’ defense was at shutting down the Patriots’ offense. Actually, if you like well-played defensive football, it was a pretty good game.

I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed in the commentary; I’ve come to expect consistantly mediocre commentary from Buck, Aikman, and Collinswoth over the years but they really underdid themselves during this game. I mean, given the fact that was clearly a smash-mouth, defensive football game, you’d think that the commentators would actually, you know, talk about the defenses. Plus, not every third-down conversion is “critical,” nor are they all “turning points in the game”. Get a grip, guys.

Ads: The Burt Reynolds/Dancing Bear ad was my favorite, followed by the GoDaddy.com bimbo-at-the-congressional-hearing ad (redeemed mostly by a 3-second shot of an octogenarian sucking heavily on an oxygen mask). The Mustang convertible is a car I want. And Honda’s new pickup looks like the designers played a little too much with their Tonka trucks when they were kids. It is, however, a very large vehicle, no matter what it looks like. Wonder if they make them in Tonka yellow.

A Monthly Reminder! Who Woulda Thunk It?

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So this women gets the brilliant idea that she can use her computer to remind her when her PMS is about to strike (and, oh yeah, write about it for Salon). As they say, hilarity ensues.

Of course, some women have figured out how to avoid all that drama altogether.

Yes, I Am Such A Geek

So a guy goes out, buys a bunch of iPod Shuffles, and turns them into a RAID. Almost as cool, and just as useless, as the guy who made the floppy-based RAID.

Useful Ways To Spend Time

I’m not sure that there are many better more rewarding ways to spend four-and-a-half minutes than carefully listening to Hélène Grimaud play the cadenza from the Beethoven Piano Concerto #4 in G. (6.4 MB mp3 file; right-click/control-click to download)

I Swear I Had Nothing To Do With This

Scientists have figured out how to build artificial cells from scratch.

Craigslist Knows All

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Craigslist on the differences between the sexes:

I don’t mean dumb, but guys are so not complicated. GUYS SEE BOOBS AND GET EXCITED. That’s what I mean by simple. Women see a naked guy and think: 1: He’s cute. 2: Do I want him to be the father of my children? 3: Could I spend the rest of my life with him? 4: I wonder how much a wedding costs these days. 5: I need to get Modern Brides Magazine. 6: I forgot what I was doing before this. 7: Huh, well, I’m sure it wasn’t important.

As a technical side note, I got hit by a crapflood of spammy trackback pings last night, so trackbacks have been disabled until I can get MT 3.15 installed.