Saturday, January 1, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind...
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp !
and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne. 

From Wikipedia
"Auld Lang Syne" is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many English-speaking (and other) countries and is often sung to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight.
The song's Scots title may be translated into English literally as "old long since", or more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by" or "old times". Consequently "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, is loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".

Friday, December 31, 2010

Bar none

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and unguarded New Year.

New York landlords

New York landlords are world famous for giving headaches and hassles, intimidation, threats and not enough care. 
Our landlord gives chocolate cakes. 
Thank you Carnegie and thank you Charles. 
Happy New Year to you and yours, too.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

how hard and long an artist must work

Illustrator/painter Norman Rockwell dominated his era like no other commercial artist ever since. He created cover images first for the Saturday Evening Post and later for Look Magazine, both leading American periodicals of his time. His 46 year professional relationship with the Saturday Evening Post is legendary.

With an uncanny ability to capture people in deeply personal and insightful ways, he scored his first national magazine cover at 22. Rockwell’s talent to lend historical importance to the most ordinary of human situations seemed almost divinely inspired.
But it wasn’t. He earned it. 

A fine retrospective of his paintings and the photographic method that produced them is at the BROOKLYN MUSEUM and confirms once again that “inspiration comes from perspiration.” Talent counts of course, but diligence will out and Norman Rockwell worked his you-know-what off.

Using photography as an organizational tool with a near microscopic attention to detail, he conceived, cast, costumed, propped, lit, staged and shot real life prototypes of his famous covers, often shooting several different models in as many as 200 photographs with slight adjustments between exposures until an image grew close to perfect. His photographers shot in black and white so he could add his own color palette to the finished painting.

The work was often a composite. He’d find the face in one exposure, the hands in another, the settings in still another and the lighting somewhere else and then composite it all into iconographic images that documented day to day life in both rural and urban America from the 1940’s through the 1970’s. 

I’m old enough to remember many of these famous images first hand and I enjoyed this walk down memory lane very much.

But you don’t have to be a fan or even familiar with the work of a master to gain insight into an artistic process that considers then discards hundreds of minute artistic options to finally reveal what a finished image should be, rather than one inspired intuition that simply “knows.”
The ClockTower prides itself on the artistic talent of our ClockTowerTenants. Today I gained insight into just how hard and long an artist must work at his craft to be respected as highly and remembered as fondly as someone like Norman Rockwell. We can all take a lesson.
“Behind the Camera”, at the Brooklyn Museum, through April 10, 2011.

Two feet of snow fell in Queens

I’m glad nobody got hurt.

Thanks, Crank.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

in a frenzy searching for something

In time-honored New York fashion I was standing at the window-shelf of a pizza joint grabbing a slice at 72nd and Second last week when I noticed a hyperactive security camera observing the intersection.

See it bolted to the corner of the building on the left, the south west corner?

But it was jerking around in a frenzy searching for something and the installation looked kinda temporary to me. Turns out it’s not security. They are digging the new 2nd Avenue subway there at the moment.

So I went outside and asked the boss of the digging crew. It’s a “seismometer” he told me. It measures movement in the earth. 
The green and white laser spins on that axis you can see below the shelf. The white box above is an all-weather computer that monitors the data and relays it all back to the mainframe in Queens. The little silver disc is the coverplate of the electrical hookup box, to power the spinning servo motor and the computer.

Before any digging occurs the advance crew mounts optically perfect reflectors in various locations on all the nearby buildings, then the vectors are established with the laser and the databank is set. During digging the little laser spins around looking up and down for each of the reflectors. When it finds them, it compares the shoot-angle to the databank. He told me there were “dozens” at this particular dig site.

If a foundation is affected and a building shifts as little as 1/1,000th of an inch the little laser knows, an alert is sent to the mainframe and the giant underground digger---also linked-in to the computer---is auto-shutdown.

Now we know.

Monday, December 27, 2010

20 hours in 38 seconds

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound

"I was lost, but now I’m found"

Found last night, about 11:15pm, in the snow
 at the front door to the ClockTower.

Snowed In 2010