Of Ice and Men
For all intents and purposes, this ad might
just as well have been written and art directed in the Ice
Age itself, given its incriminating anthropological implications.
The copy is proud to point out that this “is
one sure way of making life easier for the woman who runs
the house,” (for after all that is her job alone,
is it not?). And note that the father is the only one dressed,
and in a suit and tie no less, on early Christmas morning.
On we go to something of a more expansive
and contemporary icy note, that even those on opposite poles
on the global warming issue should be made aware. According
to the latest findings from the National Snow & Ice
Data Center (NSIDC)…
the rate of Arctic sea ice loss is normally fastest during
July, the warmest month of the year, ice loss was even
faster than usual over the first two weeks of July 2013.”
But don’t sweat it. Just fly over to
Colombia and enjoy a Coca-Cola out of a new bottle
made entirely out of frozen water. Yes, ice. And yes only
available in Colombia. (For now.) And yes, it is shaped like
the traditional glass Coke bottle. And yes, they’re
going like hot cakes.
And in case you were wondering about ease
of handling, each bottle comes equipped with a red rubber
band for better grip, which can then double as a bracelet
when done. A keepsake of sorts. “Yankee go home!”?
Not on your life.
And please, we will have no jokes on the redundancy of a new
“coke” experience coming out of Colombia.
In the absence of any attempt at a segue…
ever wonder what happened to Torvill and Dean? Those darling
skaters from the U.K. who took home the gold at the ‘84
Olympics in Sarajevo, with their stunning routine to Ravel’s
Bolero? Unbeknownst to we here “across the
pond” (a vomitatious idiom if ever there was), they
have been serving as coaches, choreographers and performers
on a TV program since 2007, called Dancing On Ice.
How did we miss this? Imagine the gold to
be mined from an obvious extension of our own “brand”
here at home: Dancing With the Stars… On Ice!
What would we not give to watch Cloris Leachman at age 87
or Bristol Palin skating on mother’s coattails, cutting
a few “Figure Eights” at mid rink.
And now, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean
have announced that the 2014 season will be their last. And
as one “pond source” said regarding their departure,
“…the world is not awash with shows that rate
like Dancing On Ice does.” That big? Who knew?
(And to think I have been wasting time following updates on
the fragile state of Nelson Mandela’s health).
Yet there is hope, as that venerable British
tabloid The Sun is now reporting, that the show may
avoid “the chop” with new pros being brought in
to fill the rather large skates that T&D will leave behind.
Phew. Thank God.
And then comes this pièce de résistance,
via a PR release picked up by the New York Post.
new 23-degree 'ice bar' offers frozen escape in the summer
city's first ice bar is now open at the Hilton Hotel on
Sixth Avenue. Admission includes gloves and a parka for
the privilege of drinking cocktails in the freezing Minus5
tables, chairs, walls and sculptures are all carved from
what promoters say is "100 percent Canadian ice."
The temperature? A chilly 23 degrees Fahrenheit (note:
i.e minus 5 degrees Celsius and therefore the name of the
Apparently, this is old hat since there are
many ice bars around the world including two in our very own
Las Vegas. But it’s a new hat for this old head —apparently
I never got the tweets. But, “If you build it they will
come.” And so the ice man cometh.
Now several dollars the lesser, and having
experienced that classic existential sense of disorientation
and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or
absurd world. Kierkegaard in a cover charge.
Afternoon at the White
listen to the voices from the boilermaker days
A cold one set to chase the glass of Jameson at hand
Echoing longshoremen on a soap box from their graves
Sitting at the bar you will gather where they stand.
So gather ye cold Buds while ye may
Be there no obsession with the burden of the plight
Claim an empty stool to keep the rubbernecks at bay
Drink yourself as Dylan did to death here one fine
Imploring us to rage against and burn and not go gentle
Yogi in concurrence said ain’t over till
Adding, that ninety, percent uhduh game’s
The smoke long gone; the syntax still in clover.
Another round gets covered
from the cash pile on the bar
The credit cards you carry
only carry you so far.
In Homage to Hopper
He is a painter of moment; of time standing
still. Of absence. Of distance while in proximity. He is Edward
Hopper, and the thrust of the current Hopper Drawing
exhibit at the Whitney Museum, is to let us in on the creative
process behind some of his more iconic paintings. Of particular
note are Early Sunday Morning, Office at Night and
The first of these is a personal favorite,
as might be gathered by its repeated "logoed" appearance
throughout my website. And so maybe it was through that filter,
when a few years ago one morning in Syracuse, I happened upon
a street that struck me as so suggestive of that very painting.
I tried to capture it with an iPhone camera, and then ran
it through Photoshop to create a faux Hopper in homage.
It doesn’t seem like there are many painters who would
elicit that sort of instant familiarity in the course of a
casual stroll. But the sense of absence in this urban setting,
one so out of time, was almost palpable and so “Hopperesque.”
When you do encounter people
in a Hopper work, they are never in motion. They are sitting
or standing and forever frozen in contemplation. And you cannot
help but wonder, just what are they thinking? And just what
is Hopper suggesting? Such as in the case of Office at
Night, where two people are so close and yet so far apart.
And now given access to the changes and tweaks he made in
the transition from the original sketch to the final canvas,
it further fuels the question as to just what is going on
An affair that once was and can no longer
be? And yet no escaping the reminder of it?
His paintings cry out for a narrative. And
every observer has had a go at it, including many poets, if
the anthology published almost twenty years ago, The Poetry
of Solitude: A Tribute To Edward Hopper, is any indication.
And that dichotomy of nearness yet distance, is once again
personified in his most famous painting, Nighthawks,
as the first stanza in this poem seems ready to tackle.
place is at the corner of Empty and Bleak,
The time is night’s most desolate hour,
scene is Al’s Coffee Cup or the Hamburger Tower,
persons in this drama do not speak.
After the painting by Edward Hopper
Hopper Drawing, with over 200 such
on display—many of which have never been viewed before—will
close on October 6th and comes highly recommended. Some critics
contend that it is one of the best Hopper shows ever held
at the Whitney. Which is saying something, since it houses
more “Hoppers” than any museum in the world and
has exhibited so much of his oeuvre in the past.
Perhaps what makes a show like this so compelling, is that
one gets to peak behind the curtain to get a sense of how
the “trick” is done. And what we invariably rediscover
when made privy to that type of insider information, is a
reminder of that classic quote by Thomas Edison:
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent
As I’ve always thought of Hopper in
that kind of way, a no nonsense blue collar painter who didn’t
like to color outside the lines too much, this show seems
to support that notion.
Quote of the Month
never knows, do one?”
This month will mark the 50th year since Martin
Luther King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on
August 28, 1963, and delivered what most historians have called
one of the greatest speeches ever given. It had style, substance
and impact. And yes, poetry.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi
and every mountainside.
With those resounding words in mind, bell-ringing
events are planned in the U.S. and around the world, to peel
at 3pm in each city’s respective time zone on that day.
And as might have been expected, there will also be a massive
gathering in Washington—with Lincoln once again looking
on from his chair— to commemorate what has since been
considered to be the defining moment of the American Civil
Rights Movement. There were 250,000 present back then…
it will be interesting to see how large a crowd now.
There will be a deluge of media reportage
and analysis on the specifics of that day and its historical
There will be speeches as politicians will
take to podiums attempting to align themselves in some way
with King’s legacy. And of course there will be discussions
among talking heads and various people of note, in which that
inevitable question will arise: “Where were you on that
day?” (Though not of any note, I regret to note, I nevertheless
note, that having just turned 18 while on a three week stay
in Puerto Rico, I might have been drinking Cuba Libres while
hard at work on coming of age. And you fellow AARPers?).
Given the white heat atmosphere of ‘63
on matters of civil rights— especially in the midst
of a four month period leading into The Speech— of demonstrations,
hosings, cross burnings, police attack dogs, guardsmen bearing
bayonets, the assassination of Medger Evers, explosions (killing
four black girls just three weeks after King’s
eloquence)— to stand there and espouse with such passion,
“I have a dream!” makes the man even greater than
The man is not always greater than the speech.
This has been demonstrated time and again. But this one was.
And a federal holiday bears his name.