30 April 2007

To blog or not to blog

Whether it is more noble to polish brass,
Or shine silver letters that will gleam
In the firmament of the sky of eye
To hold sway over mind, An airy nothing
That will grip the blind night, A large
Breath that will hold a universe
Without friction, Such art requires no diction.
I shiver, I shake, A momentary conniption;
Everything will be alright. The heart knows.

Forgiveness is a tale of love, Convinced of love,
And knowing self or other same, Forgiveness is a
Tale of love, Writ upon the wing of love, Reaching
The breath of truth, I have not traveled far, Going out
Of home to find the door I am, Entry or exit same, The
Place with no face, Space, space, space calls me,
It doesn't know where it is; But I belong, I do not know
The song, Or the words, But I am melody for long,
Long, long have I sought, That which is self taught.

I ring, ring, ring like the moon in the clouds.





Copyright Alf Zollo 2007

29 April 2007

Songs

If you would like to see a groovy clip for Romulus by Sufjan Stevens then head over to Creative Arson.

And here is an amazing cover of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me by Culture Club performed by The Last Town Chorus.

Of course, I have also been enjoying the sound track to Singin' In The Rain which I went out and bought.

Gene Kelly On The Muppet Show

Singin' In The Rain

No joke, they really don't make movies like this anymore. Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds. I watched it for the first time this afternoon and it is definitely on my favourite movie list now. It is brilliant.

Donald O'Connor was my favourite, check out the clip below from the film for the number Make 'Em Laugh to see why.



Another great clip, which is called Moses, which I can't embed, can be seen here.

By the way, you may have noticed, for some reason my clips don't display properly here, and despite numerous e-mails to YouTube Support I can't work out why. The amazing thing is that they wrote back and tried to help. They must get a million e-mails!

Let's hope the clip below never really happens:



Awesome film!

28 April 2007

Stuff

I have never really been a fan of MySpace and this post from I Am Fuel, You Are Friends totally sums it up. Actually, MySpace is a really good way to check out musical artists.

Have I converted you to Sufjan Stevens yet? If so, there is a great track available for download from another blog I frequent. It is called Opie's Funeral Song. This blog has consistently posted good music and discussion. It has a slightly risque name, so in the interest of public safety, I haven't said it here. Oddly, the picture in the masthead is from Singin' in The Rain. I will watch this film soon. Apparently, it rocks. The special edition DVD is in the living room already, waiting for me.

I don't remember how I found all these blogs in the first place, probably hunting for songs at Elbows.

Have a nice weekend.

Caveat Emptor

I just found the following story in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Japanese fooled in poodle scam


April 26, 2007 - 8:59PM

Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles.

Flocks of sheep were imported to Japan and then sold by a company called Poodles as Pets, marketed as fashionable accessories, available at $1,600 each.

That is a snip compared to a real poodle which retails for twice that much in Japan.

The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.

She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.

Then hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new "poodle" was also a sheep.

One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves.

Japanese police believe there could be 2,000 people affected by the scam, which operated in Sapporo and capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like.

"We launched an investigation after we were made aware that a company were selling sheep as poodles," Japanese police said, the The Sun reported.

"Sadly we think there is more than one company operating in this way.

"The sheep are believed to have been imported from overseas - Britain, Australia."

Many of the sheep have now been donated to zoos and farms.

I bolded that sentence for you because every time I read it, it makes me insane with laughter.

27 April 2007

Karma

Just the other night, as the fine folk of the house where I live finished up dinner, a housemate informed me that in the morning he had washed my plate and knife for me after breakfast. I left it on the bench and went straight off to work. Struck nearly dumb with horror, I immediately offered to wash his plate; but patiently explained the following: He had accrued good karma through his actions. If he wanted to cash it in so soon, then a dish for a dish it would be. Of course, there might be an advantage in letting this karma earn some interest, but that really wasn’t up to me.

I let the import of my wise words linger, but within moments I stumbled straight off to bed and didn’t do a single dish. (I think it was the jet lag.)

The next morning, I hung a large load of the dishwasher’s clothes out on the line. To be sure, that is pretty high interest on washing a plate and knife, but it is imperative to follow the dharma. This above all, for the words of a man are like the tusks of an elephant: they can get you killed.*

I was too busy laughing at the morning to notice that it looked like it would rain that day. Luckily, it didn't, and I even brought the clothes in when I got home from work.

The circle is complete. I am the sound of one hand clapping and the tree which falls in the forest for no-one to hear.

My morning smile binds God.
My afternoon smile claims God.
My evening smile manifests God.
from Fortune Philosophy by Sri Chinmoy

*More commonly, it is said that once they come out, they can not go back in again.

24 April 2007

For laughs

This might be apocryphal, but so what...

Some actual notes on public hospital charts:


1. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

2. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

3. On the second day the knee was better, and on the third day it disappeared.

4. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

5. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

6. Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

7. Healthy appearing decrepit 69 years old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

8. The patient refused autopsy.

9. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

10. Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.

11. Patient's medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

12. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

13. She is numb from her toes down.

14. While in ER, she was examined, x-rated and sent home.

15. The skin was moist and dry.

16. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

17. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

18. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

19. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

20. I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.

21. The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

22. The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stock broker instead.

23. Skin: somewhat pale but present.

24. The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.

25. Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Blank, who felt we should sit on the abdomen and I agree.

23 April 2007

Some new music

Have I raved about Rosie Thomas yet? Listen to a sample of her dulcet wares here. She has a beautiful voice. I discovered her via Sufjan Stevens as she has done backing vocals for him. You can listen to or download Say Hello which is a duet by Rosie and Sufjan from her album . It is a totally gorgeous song and although romantic enough to break one in two, too cute to miss. Which reminds me:

One one was a race horse,
Two two was one too,
One one won one race,
Two two won one too.

You can see some clips of Rosie and friends performing at the blog of WXPN.

Anyways, if you happen to be as mad keen on Sufjan as some people I know then Cable and Tweed has a link to download a whole concert of his from Atlanta last year. It is a good recording and performance, but it is a huge file. One day I will see him live.

Well, I won't get over my jet lag if I sit around blogging at 3 am all the time, but it is fun.

18 April 2007

Portrait of the artist as a bull

Bull: Confidence

Bull, my bull,
God has Confidence
And you have confidence,
And nobody else.

God has the creative Power
And you have the creative power,
And nobody else.

God confides in you His Vision-flood,
You confide in God your mission-blood.

Excerpt from Animal Kingdom by Sri Chinmoy.

A little poem to start off this photo essay which consists of many photos but is well worth a look. Asidhari was asked to create a bull's head as a prop for a play and he did it in just a few hours. We all felt awe as it took shape. He was given a couple of shots of the Charging Bull from Wall Street and that was it. It was mostly hand sculpted. Genius.

I am hoping that this piece of art gets mounted over the fire place when it has performed its role.

Enjoy.

























Lunch

Today I went to Quintessence, a raw, vegan, organic restaurant in Manhattan for lunch. Noivedya hopes to write a story on this place in the future. I recommended that it start with, "Forget birkenstocks and dreadlocks. Wake up and don't smell the patchouli." If this advice is to be accepted or not, the fullness of time will tell. The food was passing good, which is to say excellent. Who knew that a dehydrated base of sprouted kamut, sun-dried tomato and quinoa existed and qualified to be called pizza? Put your hand down. No, really it was seriously yummy.

Still, by the time the dessert platter was finished I felt overwhelmed by a homogenity of nuts in general. Bloody healthy. Here's a shot of the Fofu Fusion. I could get used to being a restaurant reviewer as it is so easy to say now, "The soy sauce was a superflous flourish which slightly overwhelmed the more subtle flavours present in this otherwise exemplary dish." Maybe that's just me...



Took a couple of shots in the city too. Here is one way to advertise your band.



And this seemed original for a garage wall.



This is Tejaswi, shot unawares in the living room. Ha ha.

Reading

I tried so hard to read some Saul Bellow. I failed. I didn't find the words and concepts engaged me. I figured that as Humboldt's Gift was published just before he won the Nobel Prize for Literature it should be a good sign, like The Winter of Our Discontent by Steinbeck which I love, but it wasn't.

I found a few books in the lounge to entertain me instead. I read About a Boy by Nick Hornby which was cool. The film was pretty faithful to the book but it was a lot more sentimental or romantic. Great book, very warm. This led me to High Fidelity also by Nick Hornby but that lost me about half way through as I found it too indulgent. It became a movie too, so I grabbed the soundtrack and am listening to that instead. Travelling down the same road I just finished A Long Way Down and it was alright, good theme, faithful interplay between the characters.

Right now I am reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and I really like it. All this means is I am finding it compelling. This book is considered a pretty big deal, it is certainly trippy. I am interested to see what The First Tuesday Book Club makes of it. I read Cat's Cradle last year and thought it was kooky but I didn't leap to any grand conclusion as a result. I love satire but unless it makes me laugh it doesn't stick if that's not too harsh a comment. I'll try and do better this time and rave here later.

Enough about books.

17 April 2007

Living music

Went to Luna Lounge the other night to see Kristin Hoffmann in Brooklyn. Her music was much better live than on CD. It inspired me to be to get a bit creative again, so I took out the camera and have some shots of an awesome sculpture in progress to publish shortly.

Although I thought I had worked it all out (life, the universe, everything) I stumbled upon an explanation of the saying, "You can't have your cake and eat it too." I realised I always took it to mean, "You can't get your cake and eat it too." I am not alone in this idiocy from the ensuing conversations I have had. The point is you can't have your cake and eat it too, because if you eat it, you don't have it anymore. Right, that is cleared up, not at all.

There are some new Sufjan Stevens tunes here. It is all sounding pretty mellow and classical which is fine with me.

I'll work on getting some photos for your soon.

13 April 2007

Too good not to share



Thanks Richard

Staying warm

Another post on clothing.

I still recall my friend's Scottish mother saying once, "Ooh, Alf's a bit of a dandy is he?"

You might say that. Probably. In fact. True.

Except this is real basic stuff I am raving about now.

It is called Icebreaker.

It has been a little on the chilly side here, no more than 10C and often 0 at night. Sure, a beautiful Siberian summer to some, but I originate from greener pastures.

This clothing I am talking about is pure merino wool. It was a little pricey but it is super warm and comfortable. It is just thermal underwear, what you might call a spencer and long johns. And I bought a lovely scarf too.

The box had testimonials on it like, "I rode up Mt Everest on a canoe and after wearing the same Icebreaker gear for 40 days and nights straight it never once smelt, itched or spontaneously combusted."

It's true.

I'm never washing mine.

Never.



What to wear when arriving at US Immigration.

You can't have your cake

John has inspired me to write another post, seeing as he is all the way...in the next room. He was not happy with his vegetarian meal on United. I flew Asiana for the first time. Picked up a good deal on travel.com. Tell them you know me.

What gets me about the ovo-lacto vegetarian option on planes is that it means, "No cake." Yeah, like I don't want to eat cream, custard, caramel or all those other things that actually make life worth living.

Yes, I do!

Can I hear an Amen?

As the meal service was wrapping up, I had a quiet word to a stewardess on behalf of suffering airborne vegetarians everywhere. "Excuse me, I am a vegetarian and I didn't get any cake. We never get cake...do you think that there might be a spare piece?"

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh. Wait - that's not right - she said, "I will see what I can do."

Shortly she returned with another bread roll, a fruit salad and...the cake, the precious cake!

This story goes to show that you can have your cake and eat it too, although I am pretty sure that God invented the original saying. In fact, I think it's His favourite.

The cake was pretty crap of course.

That's the point.

What do you want from airline food anyway?



That's me in the middle with the friendly flight crew.

07 April 2007

On the face of it

Sometimes an album cover confidently proclaims alternative, or indie, like this one. It was very big in 2006, as far as these things go, and i heard it a few weeks ago. Listen to Head Home if you want. It really drives along.



Sometimes an album cover is just really strange. Who knows what they were thinking? No wonder Paul became a vegetarian.



Sometimes an album cover says something else entirely. This one definitely barks back to a bygone era.

05 April 2007

You must be joking

Went with two friends to a cafe on the Lower East Side. I didn't have my real camera but I had my phone, so I took a few shots. I don't really know my way around Manhattan - although i am comfortable getting lost here - so I followed them.



I had a hot chocolate. That's Asidhari on the left and Dinesha on the right.



This is me looking foolish, I'm sure you'll agree, but in a New York type of way.



All around the world, the biggest news story right now is the odd tale of one Keith Richards.



Yeah, right.

04 April 2007

Fashion

In the past I have raved about clothing and what to wear, but here is a new look I think is going to take off in a big way.



This will be huge between Melbourne Cup and Christmas Day, right when my fruit and vegetable man assures me that watermelon will be at its best.

You heard it here first.

In the kitchen

How did they cook this without burning the ears?



I really don't know.

03 April 2007

Van Dyke Parks


I have been listening to Van Dyke Parks. I have been curious about this artist for a long time after reading about him in a review over a year ago. As well as hooking up with Brian Wilson, of Beach Boys fame, Van Dyke Parks produces a lot of music too, like Joanna Newsom's latest album: Ys, which suffered from critical acclaim in 2006. It is not really weird music, she just happens to be a virtuoso harpist who sings a bit like Bjork. That might be a superficial comparison but not unreasonable. Oddly, Van Dyke Parks is also responsible for the orchestration on the Silverchair track I posted the other day. I am still recommending that to you.

Because my Ipod broke, and it would have cost nearly as much to try and fix it, I upgraded to a newer version. This one displays the album artwork so I have been hunting lots of album covers via google initially and then decided to use whatever looked good. That is how I found the drawing up top. You can see more drawings by David Scrima.

02 April 2007

The new dinner


I am talking about breakfast. Going out for dinner is so last century. Really cool people only actually ever eat breakfast, even for lunch and dinner.

Pictured above is the Vegie Lot from Tilley's which I consumed on Saturday morning. I was on the way to Sydney to catch a plane the following day. Going to the airport tends to make me really nervous. Perhaps that inspired me to eat this meal in about 3 minutes, even though I was technically running a day early. I felt sick afterwards.

I can't explain it, but I would feel more comfortable if Tilley's were known as Captain Edna's.

Anyway, made my plane on time, spent forever in the air - locked in my mind - and landed here.

If I have any good breakfasts you will be the first to know.