Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The magic of the Photo Both.......

I must admit, it was a totally wonderful weekend. The weather has been perfect since last Friday here at the beach - highs 75 to 80ish, sunny, blue skies and low humidity.
The weekend consisted of great friends, great food, great drink, great laughs - all the key ingredients to a successful life. Today will, hopefully, be a studio day today as I have much to do.
But first, here's something fun from the weekend - ye old photostrip-

That's myself and my friend Miguel (who was visiting) taken on the boardwalk of Rehoboth Beach in one of those wonderful old B/W photoboths. I love those things, and I must admit, their existence has been a factor in my memory banks since I was a young child....

Here's a strip of my brother David and I circa 1970. I'm on the right.
We had countless numbers of these strips growing up and I love each and every one of them...

This would be myself and some friends from High School - Beth, Judy and Richard. This is circa 1982 - or gulp...23 years ago....I have no idea what became of Beth. Richard and I still send each other emails on occasion and I haven't heard from Judy in years - though I know she's out there. She and I were very close in High School and she was a brilliant artist back then. Judy - if you read this one day, drop me an email....

I think that I'm about 22ish in this one which would be around 1987 or so. This would be around the same time that I met my dear friend Mandy who I reference in this blog frequently and who's blog you can read by clicking on the "Mad, Mad Day" link under Blogs O' Plenty.

That's my nutty friend Mark Lowry popping his head in. While it looks like something illicit is occurring in the last shot, I'm actually trying to stop Mark from smashing his head through the curtain again ( I did this successfully in the second frame). I think there was some bodily pain involved in this. For some reason, the first frame of this strip is missing......
Mark and I are still very close. He's married now with a lovely wife and 8,000 kids and he is, appropriately, a Pediatrician.

I think my favorite strip image that I have is one of my parents taken while they were still engaged to be married....

I love this photo and I had it professionally enlarged and keep it in a vintage frame. It's probably from anywhere between 1959 and 1961. I love their loving expressions here. So full of youth, so in love and so ready to take on whatever my lie ahead of them - which happened to be a hell of a lot.

By 2001, they were both gone - they passed much too young in my book. This is the photo that I lit two little candles by after I had learned of my Father's death. My father was devestated by my mother's death at the age of 52 and he never really got over it. He died 12 years later. My sister (who was with my father when he passed) told me recently that right before he died, he looked upwards with a wonderful expression on his face as if he was witnessing something beautiful. I like to think that it was my mother coming back to him and that she may have looked like this.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend and the Giant Gehrkin of 1949

Here at the beach, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the holiday season and it's a whirlwind of activity and celebration. It just so happens that the weather for today is predicted to be Spectacular because we have a had a long line of bad weather days. Already, it’s bright and sunny with the type of big blue skies that go on forever and I can hear the laughing cries of the seagulls wafting in from my open window.

Today will be a day for me to drive around with the top down ( I drive the same make and color of the bug here - the color is called "Harvest Moon". I love bugs)

and run errands until our of town guests arrive for the weekend ( most everyone that lives here will either have or know of people that will have out of town guests this weekend - they all come a runnin' from the big cities to the beach - DC, Philly, Baltimore and NYC - if you plan on being one of these people, live as early as possible to avoid the horrendous traffic).

It’s going to be an incredible weekend and I intend to enjoy every second of it. SO, in honor of this big holiday weekend, I thought that I would post an image of Rehoboth Beach celebrations of days gone by ( which I also thought would be appropriate for the “Memorial” in Memorial Day). So here tis.

But wait - what's this??
In the area where I have placed the pink circle…What the hell is that on the beach? I kept looking at the image over and over again. It appears to be a man walking hand in hand with a giant gherkin Pickle!

(This poor soul seems desperately addicted to the sweet yet sour crunchy taste offered by the Gherkin. Her expression seems to read, “At last!!! Mine, mine all mine!!!” There’s probably a scene of indescribably horrific carnage behind her that we are thankfully not being allowed to see of those unfortunate enough to have been in the direct path between her and the Gehrkin - but I digress..)

Back to the postcard imagery (which I have conveniently “blown- up” in detail here for you).

It seems from the others on the beach that this giant walking Gherkin is of no special notice. They seem blissfully unaware of he and his partner strolling along the surf. Perhaps they are just nervously diverting their eyes to avoid staring. Perhaps there are ugly whispers that envelope the twain like low lying fog and even a few ugly names being yelled by small children who quickly dart behind beach umbrellas. The Gherkin and his friend are very brave indeed to walk so proudly together unashamed of their love!

Or perhaps, sadly, the Gherkin is being led astray by the man lured by the empty promises of friendship, acceptance and love. Perhaps the man has ulterior, more sinister motives at heart - such as a “ladies only” all you can eat Gherkin-fest which he will secretly photograph from behind a tree……

But this thought makes my heart heavy, and it’s much too beautiful of a day for that type of thinking…..

Thursday, May 26, 2005

What did Michael learn today?

I'm sorry to say that it has been 3 days since my last blog update. I actually had some good studio time however and much has happened in those three days.
I have decided to add two new sections to my blog that I will hopefully be able to incorporate into each post.

They will be my "WTF??!!" section ( which of course stands for What The F***K??!) and my "What did Michael learn today?" section. Both are self explanatory.

But first - here is a little painting that I finished yesterday:

It only measures 12" x 14", but I like the way it came out. It's actually modeled after an early photo of Lotte Lenya. This German actress and musician had a truly amazing life. Some may remember her for her role of Rosa Kleb in the James Bond film From Russia with Love ( she was the lesbian with the knife that came out of the end of her shoe - man - there sure have been some times when I wanted some shoes like that!). While that may not be her most endearing role, she had a long a rich career on the stage.

I also finished this commissioned work of a client's grandson. There is a long and complicated story connected to this work and, let's just say - color perception. I really want to share it - but I can't. Sorry about the tease.:

So - onto my two new additions! First here is my WTF??!! For today....

Well - let's start with this: Phil Spector is a freak. That's all there is to it.

Look at his hair!!! WTF??!! This is how he showed up at court where he is accused of murdering a B-movie starlet!! I can't comprehend looking at myself in the mirror in the morning after fixing my hair to look like that and saying " Ahhh. Now I'm ready to defend myself successfully in court." I've read that he had a total gun fixation to boot - here's a snap from the 1970's .

Hmmm...Big hair and guns. Growing up in Kentucky - you learn rather quickly that the two don't mix very well.

And then there is the strange and hilarious story that goes along with this pic:

You can read about it here. I love the run on the disposable cameras...

So now onto.....

Actually this would be a few things that I have learned since my last post....

  1. Thanks to an email from my cousin Mary, I have learned that my grandfather's father on my mother's side was indeed Portuguese ( born and raised in the Azores which is a beautiful island group about 6 hours off the coast of Portugal). This means that I am officially Irish/Portuguese mix. There is off course quite a lot of other bits of heritage mixed within from my father's side. But on my mother's side, I am 3rd generation down from my g-grandparents almost all of whom came from either Ireland or the Azores.
  2. If you move improperly while making the bed you will almost certainly throw your back out.
  3. Staying up late with friends and drinking copious amounts of white wine will almost certainly cause you to move improperly while making the bed.
  4. Reality IS perception
  5. Eric Clapton played solo guitar on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".
  6. I did not win the PowerBall lottery whatever it is. But, I may try again....

Monday, May 23, 2005

Warm Kitten and Salt Water Taffy Salad....

Here it is Monday again and I have so many directions to move into that I can't really think straight. So, in order to clear my thoughts this morning, I took a walk on the beach ( which is only a 15 minute walk from my home). I brought along the digital camera so I took pics, but before that - this. I ran across a blog the other day that had a unique feature to it that I liked. This blogger used her blog only to record things that she had learned that day.

Now - mind you, most of these things were very syrupy and could make most intelligent people who have yet to drink the Kool-Aid offered by our current American non-culture and administration feel the need to un-swallow such as “I learned that when I look into my little boy’s eyes I can feel the love of Jesus looking back at me” and “I learned that love is a warm kitten”. Ahem.
However, I liked the idea - recognizing that life is one non-stop learning experience. I think that documenting these thoughts here may help me to become more aware of my existence and my role in this world in which we are all connected. Or I may just learn that love is a warm kitten…

In any event, here are some things that I learned over the weekend…..

1: Some gay men who brag about their homes in Florida, Rehoboth and Hawaii and are obviously over the age of 65 though they think that they can pass for 45 because of the massive amount of plastic surgery they have had will get slightly offended when you make the comment to them “So, you must obviously be retired now”, to shut them up. ( This was after Raspberry Martini number 3).

2: Sofia Coppola directed and wrote the screen play for “The Virgin Suicides” which is an excellent film by the way.

3: Kirsten Dunst was 17 when I met and spoke with her that extremely hot Summer afternoon in Georgetown when she was filming Dick in 1999.

4: According to the “grapevine” I am having an affair with my friend Michael with whom I was spotted watching the Kentucky Derby with at Striper Bites in Lewes

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about at all" :Oscar Wilde

And now the pics from this morning - all from the lovely Rehoboth Beach...

This is..well - the beach. Isn't it lovely?

This is a view of the Boardwalk that runs along Rehoboth Beach for a mile. You’ll find arcades and junk food establishments here that offer traditional beach fare like Thrasher's Boardwalk Fries,(which really are the best Fires you will ever eat)

Tee Hee! Here’s a semi-disturbing pop corned headed creature that has just surfed in to frighten the children and cause create great commotion.

And here’s his slower, frumpy, overweight and overwrought cousin who is always coming in on the surfboard several lengths behind him.

A Horseshoe Crab....

The one mile marker on the boardwalk on the beach

Boardwalk from a tie your shoe level

The famous Dolly's Saltwater Taffy place.

The Sunview Motel. I know nothing about this place, but its' been around for years and I have always loved it's vibrant white stucco walls and it's intense blue lettering

The boardwalk and the mini-beach mansions that run along it...

Here is a pic of the mystery boat that I have seen offfshore for quite a few days. Perhaps more later - I must get into the studio now. More on that later as well....

Friday, May 20, 2005


Did you know that if you place the word "rain" in the google image search you will get over 700,000 results? Some of them are quite lovely. You will get a wide range of images - from this

To this...

To this...

The reason I bring this up is that it has been raining like a mofo since pre-dawn here. Yesterday's weather was so lovely.....

Today is a good day for the studio, which is where I will go soon. I have much work to do. There is a wine and cheese grand opening event that George and I must attend at 6:00 this evening at my friend's Sharon's new biz "And The Bead Goes On". So, until then I will paint. Hwoever, I will post some pics from my day yesterday.

First, I went to Lewes Beach to look for Sea Glass ( which is very meditative by the way)

Lewes Beach is actually on the Delaware Bay

There is quite a lot of sea glass to be fuond there. I have actually found some that dates back to the early 1600's. It's rare and called black glass. I live in Rehoboth Beach which is actually on the Atlantic Ocean, but it's only about a 20 minute drive to Lewes beach from here.

While at the beach, I heard a strange mechanical sound coming from the sky. I looked up and saw a blimp!

I took a picture of it. A Fuji Film blimp. I love blimps! Even the word is funny -
blimp... Is it not? I found out later that there is only ONE Fuji Film blimp in exsistence.
Which means that if you have ever seen this blimp, then we have seen the same one - isn't it amazing how we are all connected.... For some reason, the one and only Fuji FIlm Blimp was flying over little Lewes Beach yesterday when I was looking for Sea Glass.

When I came home, I discovered some lovely new photos of my beautiful niece Gwen sent to me by my sister Holly. Here she is horseback riding...

She really is lovely. She looks very much like this famous little girl

Though I am sure that her mother ( my sister) has informed her of the evils of white bread.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Did you enjoy Doy?

Well, there I am on my 40th b-day which was yesterday. I must admit I had a very fun, though somewhat laid back time with George and some close friends (Sharon, Michael, Justin, and Henry).

George and I started the day by having lunch at one of Rehoboth's relatively newer restaurant, Nage ( pronounced Nosh).

OK, the atmosphere is great and the food is tasty, but the menu is ABSURDLY overpriced and pretentious for what you get. Check out the web site here:
NAGE but be prepared to turn off the obnoxious rubber band sounding riff and drum kit that will play through your entire visit to the sight.

It was a very lovely gesture on my partner's part to take me out to lunch on my 40th as I loved to be winded and dined. So, the first thing that I do is order a glass of white wine.

The price per glass of wine started at 6 and went up. I opted for a $7.00 glass of wine.I opted for a $7.00 glass of wine. When I received it, my initial thought was " perhaps they ran out of this particular vintage" because this was most definitely an UNDER POUR. I know this because I was once a bartender and waited tables on and off for over 10 years. My partner George was also a bartender in his younger days and also waited tables. There are pours, over pours and under pours. This was an under pour for 7 dollars a glass.

I knew it and George knew it, but we decided to say nothing as it was our first time at the place and I wanted to see how it would play out ( meaning that if it were the norm, we would learn from the event and not come back). Based upon other under pours that I saw at other tables it was not a mistake. Now, what George and I realized is that a few years ago, at least in larger cities here in the East Coast, restaurants and café’s began to pour what would look like an under pour of wine, but in reality was not because they were using LARGER bowled glasses. Nage was using a traditional sized white wine glass.

So, believe it or not, I quietly got over the under pour and realized that it would be my one and only glass of wine at lunch for I was not going to pay 14 dollars for two under pours. ( I have literally had more wine in a glass at wine testing). So, on to the menu. I chose the crab cake for 15 dollars and George choose the Steak Frites for 16.

When there “entrees” arrived and I saw the size, I was certain that they had been lovingly prepared in the kitchen by the chef with an Easy Bake Oven.

I won’t go on with this, because it is tedious. Needless to say, I was disappointed, not with the experience of being out for a special lunch with my partner of 12 years mind you - but with the ridiculous cost for lunch entrées which were barely passable as appetizers. The website for Nage uses the term “award winning”. This award is not mentioned on the site. Perhaps it is the “Emperor’s New Clothes” award

for newest restaurant. Also, it is worth mentioning that even though they state on the web site that they are “located on Highway 1 in the beautiful summer resort town of Rehoboth Beach on the Delmarva peninsula”, they are in actuality nowhere near the “beautiful summer resort” area of Rehoboth, even though they are officially within the town limits. In fact, they share a large parking lot with the Salvation Army and a Cigarette Outlet!
It really is outrageous.

I will say though that the rest of the day was wonderful and I really did have a great time later in the evening which included some lovely and thoughtful gifts, many cocktails, a hilarious dining experience at a Tokyo Steak House (our chef’s name was Doy - and at one point our server - asked us quite seriously - “Did you enjoy Doy”) with wonderful sushi, and much laughter….. I mean, really, what else could a guy like me ask for?

Um...I mean besides that.