Hi there. I’m here, but not for long — hitting the road for the Buckeye State in a few. But I found a couple things in my perambulations over the last few days I thought you might want to read and discuss, while I check in from an undisclosed location from time to time.
First, our pen pal Hank Stuever files from “the beginning of the end of Mallworld as we know it,” a Black Friday essay on the long slow eclipse of shopping:
Certain Circuit City locations are marked for death here and there, and certain Ann Taylor Lofts are not responding to the corporate chemo, and the vacant Hecht’s box is still a forlorn husk at Westfield Wheaton Shopping Centre, its parking lot filled with empty school buses. Across the land, it’s heebie-jeebie vibes in the homogenous habitat. Bennigan’s, Sharper Image, Bombay Co., Linens ‘N Things, RIP. It’s a series of harbingers. It’s the end of things ‘N things.
Are you reading Roger Ebert’s blog? If not, you should. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve generally only followed links there when he’s talking about movies, but the guy has a wide-ranging and restless intellect, and writes about everything. But this piece, about having a Phantom of the Opera face (and some great memories of Gene Siskel), is superior. He is such a generous writer. I simply lurve him.
Oh, my goodness — the best rickroll EVAHR. You gotta love celebrities who can laugh at themselves. Although, honestly, isn’t it a bit of a stretch to call Rick Astley a celebrity? By the way, I always sort of liked that song. I always associate Rick Astley and Billy Ocean (“Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car”) with aerobics classes in the ’80s. It must be linked with endorphins in my lizard brain.
Off to Columbus.
Danny said on November 28, 2008 at 10:38 am
Okay, here is the Black Friday story that caught my attention. A stampede at a Long Island Wal-Mart results in one dead employee and one miscarriage.
First, I thought New Yorkers were impervious to the lure of Wal-Mart. Second, even people in the Midwest know that the only good reason for a stampede that ends in death is a Who concert.
LAMary said on November 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm
Long Island is not the same as New Yorkers, Danny. Same state, not the same city.
I absolutely can’t imagine getting that nuts about shopping. I will probably go to Target sometime in the next 48 hours. I spotted some corduroy jeans I know my older son would like and he needs jeans, but I would rather live without a 42 inch flat screen TV than go through something like the running of the bulls without the bravado.
moe99 said on November 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm
I am making turkey carcass soup. I love it because it depends on what’s leftover plus some fresh rosemary from my garden. This year, it’s a bit darker than usual because the gravy was dark. I tried a new turkey roasting recipe which included a turkey rub made of butter and paprika and halfway through the roasting you poured a cup of warm white wine over the turkey which added great flavor to the drippings, though they were darker than usual. Yum!
caliban said on November 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm
Isn’t it amazing how the savior got so stupid so fast? When a group of people choose to call themselves Progressives, you know there’s trouble in River City. Liberal isn’t good enough for these self-righteous bastards? No joke, next pompous prig calls himself a progressive gets a broken nose for bitching about Hillary.
I don’t believe you actually need a passport to go to Long Island. Block Island, that’s another thing. My shopping experience in NYC: I stole a multicolored leather web belt from Macys back around ’71. Pretty amazing getting away with robbing the world’s largest department store.
For pure shopping frenzy, nothing will ever touch the Filene’s wedding gown sale. would-be brides? How much alcohol was involved? But that’s crass, and there’s no accounting for love. This reminds me of the Ray Davies song about turning out the living room lights, and the Ray Davies song about Fat Flabby Anny, and the Ray Davies song about Lola. But he had a child with Chrissie Hynd. Ain’t Lola, by any stretch.
LA Mary said on November 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm
Depends on where in Long Island you’re going, Caliban. Massapequa and East Hampton have little in common.
jcburns said on November 28, 2008 at 4:44 pm
Nance, give my regards to E N Broadway!
Dexter said on November 28, 2008 at 6:49 pm
I just made a roast beef and ate a plate with gravy-over-rice…and man ,my dogs loved it, too.
When I think of visiting my daughter in C-bus I try to plan a visit to that German place that has the best German chocolate cake I have ever had (excepting my buddy’s wife’s GC cake…best in the world).
Once he was planning to see Neil Young at JLA in Detroit and asked me to draw him a map since at that time I75 was all screwed up. I took him in on Fort Street and for my cartography she made me a huge German chocolate cake. Best ever, ever, ever.
caliban said on November 28, 2008 at 8:10 pm
How Germany did Sarah better, with brains and a long time ago.
caliban said on November 28, 2008 at 8:48 pm
Roger Ebert is very smart, and he’s a naturally gifted writer. Sort of like Keillor without the presumption and the turn toward the florid. One thing I can say is for sure in this world–if Roger Ebert likes a movie, I know I’ll like it.
On the other hand, he’s ambivalent about my favorite movie, Blade Runner. What he says:
And yet the world of “Blade Runner” has undeniably become one of the visual touchstones of modern movies. The movie’s Los Angeles, with its permanent dark cloud of smog, its billboards hundreds of feet high, its street poverty living side by side with incredible wealth, may or may not come true — but there aren’t many 10-year-old movies that look more prophetic now than they did at the time. Mighty good writing. Deckerd is human and Rachel lives forever.
Laura said on November 29, 2008 at 12:23 am
Nick Lowe wrote a song about Rick Astley:
Do you remember the singer Rick Astley?
He had a hit record, it was ghastly
Dexter said on November 29, 2008 at 12:28 am
art break…Jackson Pollock…look like anything that was on your Thanksgiving table? Oh hell yes it does!
Dexter said on November 29, 2008 at 12:40 am
one more…an Edward Hopper…what’s on her mind?
JGW said on November 29, 2008 at 3:36 am
The New York Daily News has a photoset from a shopper’s cellphone cam. The pics shed a lot of light on what happened, and the comments, close to 600 now, have dashed my theory that we’re not a racially torn nation. But that crowd was a riot on the move, and just happened to settle at WallyWorld.
Put it this way, I would not have stood on that line, and no one of my racial background seems to have either. Only white face in the photset is a county police officer.
Valley Stream is a bad neighborhood and it is a avery differerent Long Island that say the Eastern end near Montauk. It’s a world away from where my 103 year old Grandpa lives in Centerport, Suffolk County, which has to be the most white bread place I have ever been.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2008 at 9:37 am
Oh, c’mon, that can’t be Hopper!
An element in all this early am/Thanksgiving camping, waiting, surging, rioting that i’m not seeing/hearing in news stories — a goodly chunk of these folk are scooping up the laptops and tvs and game systems to re-sell on eBay and such. They’re looking for income, which is likely even more critical in an area like Valley Stream than getting your carpet-chewer the gift of their dreams.
To some degree, the way the Black Monday story is getting covered is just an adjunct to the ad sales dept. Zooming up the hype, and burning the brand into the brains of folk at home in their robes shaking their heads at their fellow shoppers (which they ain’t, they’re speculators and props in the promo scheme), making sure that those second wave folk come to their store “later, when things aren’t so crazy.”
Which is what this is all really about, and the poor part-timer at Walmart was collateral damage, friendly fire by a different name.
Deborah said on November 29, 2008 at 10:08 am
Yeah Dexter, I agree Jeff (tmmo), no way is that a Hopper.
Danny said on November 29, 2008 at 10:19 am
Caliban, “Blade Runner” is one of my favs too. The quote I always remember is Roy Batty’s:
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.
I went running on Thanksgiving day and it started pouring rain on me with water streaming down my face. I thought of this line.
I don’t see how how Ebert could not love “Blade Runner.” I mean, he gushed about “My Dinner with Andre.” Geesh.
Danny said on November 29, 2008 at 10:23 am
Yeah Dexter, I agree Jeff (tmmo), no way is that a Hopper.
Jeff/Deborah, let me clear this up for you. I think what Dexter meant to type was that Edward would hop her. And even though I don’t know him personally, I can understand Ed’s point of view.
nancy said on November 29, 2008 at 10:28 am
If that’s an Edward Hopper, I’m Marilyn Monroe.
Danny said on November 29, 2008 at 11:01 am
Flex Gunship … er… Nancy, this has been rattling around in my head for a couple of weeks but I keep forgetting to mention it. The Palin interview with the turkey execution in the background? I was listening to it and at one point she referred to her son’s striker brigade being safe in Iraq, but I misheard it at first and thought she was referring to her son, “Striker Brigade.” Took me a moment to realize this. Heeheh.
Catherine said on November 29, 2008 at 11:14 am
Since we’re apparently sharing about art, here’s the exhibit of ancient Afghani treasures that’s at the top of my must-see list:
I’ve always wanted to use the phrase “Bactrian hoard” in conversation.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2008 at 11:22 am
For anyone in the Cleveland area the next month — http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com — and it is an even better experience than i expected, well worth a few bucks and an hour.
Premiered 25 years ago, which truly does not seem possible.
(ps — the “A Summer Story” sequel is worth hunting up if you can find it. Charles Grodin in the Darrin McGavin role as Dad, but the same house. Oh, and much of “The Deer Hunter” was filmed two blocks north. Not the bamboo cage part, of course.)
coozledad said on November 29, 2008 at 12:06 pm
You wonder how just much of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage was plowed under by the Taliban.
Speaking of Hopper, I don’t recall seeing this one. It looks like a preparatory sketch (for Hopper), but it shows a lot of similarities to the Nabis.
Catherine said on November 29, 2008 at 1:18 pm
Tons. Just tons. Anything figurative.
LA Mary said on November 29, 2008 at 1:48 pm
JGW, my family is out in the Greenport/Southold area. When I used to spend summers there it was about as white as a place could be. There were migrant workers for the potato fields, but otherwise everyone seemed to be either old settler stock from 1640 or Polish. One or two Portugese surnames of folks who had moved across the Sound from Connecticut.
I have a nephew who is a cop there now, and a brother with two charter boats.
When I was a sales rep in NYC, parts of Nassau county were my territory, and it was like any other older suburban area surrounding NYC. Working class, not posh, not lily white.
My nephew and I aren’t in touch much, but the only two conversations we’ve had in the last six years involved him saying something stunningly racist. Those white folks out on the end of the Island are very protective of their turf.
JGW said on November 29, 2008 at 2:52 pm
I regret making that observation about the Valley Stream Walmart incident. Race isn’t the real factor, it’s lack of culture and courtesy, which is just as rampant in white folks. Case in point, all those college sports riots, and soccer stampedes in Europe.
There were 2000 shoppers lined up according to the NY Times. In that kind of situation the crowd mentality takes over, and a few bad eggs can enjoy stirring up trouble.
I haven’t done the Black Friday thing since the first Furby mania for my daughter who is now 18 and was like 2 at the time. I take that back, I did it at a Walmart in NJ but it was in a rural area and very subdued.
Still I wouldn’t have stood in that crowd, and being at the front of the line was prolly scary with hundreds of people shoving foward.
It must have been insane when they tried to clear the store. A lot of people didn’t know what happened, and quite a few didn’t care. They waited online for close to 12 hours, and I would have been pissed too if I had to drop my goodies.
I’m doing 90% of my shopping online, bewteen Newegg and my favorite deal finder site I’ll save a lot anyway and I only shop from sites that don’t collect sales tax (sorry Amazon and Walmart) so I can usually justify the shipping costs.
Check out :
Also I read a few Walmart employee blogs and one amused me yesterday. The blogger notes that for employees in his position Black Friday rocks because it’s the one day they are to busy to know where he is and management assumes all hands are helping customers and stocking.
This guy makes sure his radio isn’t charged, then he and a few buddies sneak out for a leisurely meal, on the clock. No one has ever noticed they are gone for hours. No one has ever asked but he would just claim the battery died and they are not permitted to go to the back of the store to get a fresh one.
He also notes in another post that Walmart’s policy for employees heading to the back to punch out for breaks or meals is TAKE THE VEST OFF so no customer stops you and keeps you on the clock. Nice!
Dexter said on November 29, 2008 at 5:34 pm
No, it wasn’t a Hopper at all…I was admiring an album of Hoppers and some wag stuck that one in there, and of course it “stuck out” and I didn’t even question it, assuming no one would do that …but yes, I was “had”….
Dexter said on November 29, 2008 at 5:39 pm
…Marilyn Monroe? Check out the new set of Google Images of Marilyn , digitalized and from Life Magazine.
Dexter said on November 29, 2008 at 6:54 pm
well, no questioning whose work this is…what is kind of amazing is that it auctioned for $800K two years ago.
I have a print hanging.
Norman Rockwell, 1929
Deborah said on November 29, 2008 at 8:09 pm
Coozledad (what’s the story behind that name by the way) lovely painterly Hopper sketch. There was a Hopper exhibit here in Chicago at the Art Institute earlier this year, just amazing, I went to see it four times, I have a membership and I work a few blocks away, so it was easy. I loved your comparison to the Nabis, Vuillard is my favorite painter of all time.
Dexter said on November 29, 2008 at 10:28 pm
Deborah: I can assume Hopper’s “Nighthawks” still hangs in the AI? I saw it there twenty years ago when I attended the Paul Gauguin exhibit.
I find the entire Nabis group fascinating, and yes, I can understand why Vuillard can be someone’s favorite painter.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 29, 2008 at 10:46 pm
Traveling from Indy back thru Columbus to home, we took a small diversion to see the 6 pm lighting at http://www.cliftonmill.com — and it is the most amazing kitschfest i have ever seen anywhere.
OK, i haven’t made it to Wall Drug yet, but it’s on my bucket list.
From now to Jan. 1, if you’ve got a chance and you’re around I-70 and Springfield (just east of Dayton) around sunset/early evening, it’s worth a ten mile side trip and $10 a head ($8 Sunday to Thursday) to wallow in America’s finest holiday season schlock (my son says the chili dogs are good, which they oughta be at $3.75).
Plus, the mill actually works, and you can buy a sack of buckwheat pancake mix.
Deborah said on November 30, 2008 at 9:12 am
I saw my first Vuillard painting in the 70s at the Fort Worth art museum designed by Louis Kahn. It was before I knew anything about architecture but I had minored in fine arts in college so I knew a little something about art (just a bit). I don’t know if the building influenced my love of that painting, but I’ll never forget the experience of seeing a Vuillard for the first time. Now, I’m married to an architect and I work at an architectural firm as a graphic designer. Louis Kahn is still my favorite architect.
coozledad said on November 30, 2008 at 9:22 am
Deborah. Vuilliard fan here too. I always liked the fact you could pretty much hang a Nabis painting anywhere, and it would work. I also like Vallotton’s work, even though Sasha Newman is correct: If you examine his work carefully enough, you can see all the late nineteenth century misogynist cues on display. Sometimes, though, a guy has to paint a picture of a prostitute to decorate someone’s dining room. It’s business.
I like the sculptural quality of his stuff. Probably comes from his experience as a woodcut artist.
moe99 said on November 30, 2008 at 11:08 am
beb said on November 30, 2008 at 12:54 pm
Hopper’s “Nighthawks” was in the Art Institute when we visited Chicago in August. The big pointilistic picture from Ferris Beuller, however was removed while the room in would be in was renovated. *drat!* I’m probably revealing myself as a philistine when I say that outside of “Nighthawks” was the only painting in the room that I liked. Everything else was just weird and pointless.
Deborah said on November 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm
Nice link, I was more familiar with Valloton as a woodcut artist, the paintings are wonderful. By the way the museum in Fort Worth I mentioned earlier is officially the Kimball not the Fort Worth Art Museum.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 30, 2008 at 3:58 pm
Along with American Gothic, if you like Nighthawks at the Art Institute, you have to see Jules Breton’s The Song of the Lark — http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/94841 — was hung for the 1893 World’s Fair and was the blockbuster painting of the show, so much that locals raised the money to keep her in town permanently, and put her in the building where the World Parliament of Religions met . . . which is now the Art Institute!
But i love that girl (my wife’s ok with it).
Julie Robinson said on November 30, 2008 at 5:19 pm
Traveling home to Illinois from Iowa at Christmastime, we would always detour through the small town of Wyoming to view their Christmas decorations. It was the largest collection of God-awful crap you ever saw, but there was lots of it on every house and down the main street. Clifton Mills looks classy and understated in comparison. But it just wasn’t Christmas without the Wyoming lights, and we always lobbied to stay late enough to view them.
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 30, 2008 at 5:55 pm
Wyoming, Illinois? That’s on the Spoon River, bless ’em — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_River_Anthology — didn’t know about the lights . . .
Dexter said on November 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm
for me, art break’s over…one more…and if you want to capture the feeling of this Grandma Moses painting, visit The Barn Restaurant in the Sauder Village tourist area just north of Archbold , Ohio.
The Tramp at Christmas
brian stouder said on November 30, 2008 at 5:56 pm
Jeff – the lady in The Song of the Lark looks like a more attractive Sarah Palin (possibly thinking about what she’d do to that lark, with her scythe)
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 30, 2008 at 7:08 pm
What i love as much as the girl’s expression and implied backstory is the idea that in 1893 people lined up for hours to see a static representation, an oil painting, just to look at her bare feet, the peasant headwrap, the understanding many viewers would have had of working until “can’t see,” and the endless days of the same stretching ahead . . . and yet the lift in mind and even body from hearing these small birds wheel overhead in the dusk, about to see distant landscapes you can barely imagine.
Willa Cather got a whole novel out of her experience standing before this painting in 1893.
brian stouder said on November 30, 2008 at 8:40 pm
Over the holiday weekend here in Hoosierland, this article was the subject of a few conversations
Here’s the nub of it –
A Fort Wayne man accused of trying to brand his initials into a woman’s backside with a hot knife and whipping her with an electrical cord faces up to 19 years in prison now that a jury in Allen Superior Court found him guilty of two counts of battery – one a felony, the other a misdemeanor – and a count of being a habitual offender.
Morgan Kerwin Govan, 30, of the 5800 block of Creek Drive, will be sentenced Dec. 22. The jury came to its conclusion Wednesday even though Govan’s victim testified that the incidents began as consensual acts, that she asked him to hurt her and that the pair engaged in “physically hurtful” sex from time to time.
Elsewhere in the article, it is revealed that the folks had an “open” relationship, and the feller was angered that the lady was “cheating”… making us wonder how one “cheats” in an open relationship? (by being faithful?)
As my brother, in his best Norm Crosby line of the day, said – it sounded like “consexual behavior”. (A charge of criminal confinement was also originally included, since she was found tied up in the closet, but those charges were dropped because she said that she helped him with the bindings and walked into the closet voluntarily)
Dexter said on December 1, 2008 at 12:49 am
interlude…e street band….
Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 1, 2008 at 8:38 am
Try not to enjoy this story too much — i guess Bill Kurtis got out just in time.
What i don’t get is that with the end of long-time local anchors, no one but meteorologists will be making regular salaries in TV news. How the heck does that work? I guess it works the same way as no one but editors making a regular, grown-up salary in newspaper offices.
Julie Robinson said on December 1, 2008 at 8:52 am
Jeff–Wyoming Iowa, all 2000 citizens of them.