Wednesday, June 24, 2009

747 HOTEL--that's my kind of hotel--how original and how beautiful

I have always been fascinated with airlines and airliners. When I was a kid I collected airline timetables from around the world. Go figure?

The 747 was launched in late 60s which was about the same time that I became an airline timetable addict. I was maybe 9 or 10. But the 747 captured my heart and imagination. It still makes my heart flutter and I breathe a wistful sigh whenever I see a photo or when I actually see the real thing. Such a graceful stately bird!

But can you imagine this. In Stockholm, an old 747 has been converted to a hotel! Isn't that an original thought (have you heard about those restaurants in NY and LA and I think in London where you eat in a bed.....that is my kind of living. I'll have to research and blog on that one day). So here it is. It'd be nice to see Stockholm, yeah, but this would be the real reason I'd be going. I might not even leave my room. Just order room service and stay holed up in my hotel room for the duration (which is my idea of the ultimate in comfort).

Check it out:

This must be the penthouse suite......I don't think so. Can I see another room, please?
Oh Stewardess, I'll have some tea, please.

Perfect.......even have a plasma tv.

MELODY DAY--short film using Tet Four Remix of the song by Caribou: Who is Tet Four and what's a remix?

Well that title oughta catch your attention. Actually, I have to admit that I'm kind of old. A sign of my antiquity is that I sort of knew but couldn't have explained what a "remix" is. This song caught my attention when it was played on KCRW (another obsession for another blog post...but this is the most important radio institution in the universe) a few months ago. When I went later to the playlist and saw that it was the Tet Four Remix, I really was kind of clueless. I just knew that I loved the beautiful song that I heard. Turns out there is a wonderful sweet short film that goes with Tet Four's remix. Doesn't that cute bloke seem awfully sad? Watch:

After doing a little surf/sleuthing I stumbled upon the original song as released by the band Caribou. There is a world of difference no doubt. While I liked the song, I LOVED the Tet Four remix which in my opinion transcended a very special and inspired song from just an interesting one. So, our lesson for the day was: what is a remix and wow sometimes remixes can be better than the original. I'm sure all the youngsters must know this.

Here's the original if you want to compare. I think you'll agree that whoever that Tet Four dude is, his version was inspired.

That concludes today's lesson for us old folks and hopefully we turned some young folks on to a great remix. At least, we all know what remix means now!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Richard Avedon Photo--Elephants--Beautiful Photo

Richard Avedon-Master Photographer
"Avedon Fashion: 1944-2000"
A New Retrospective running at the International Museum of Photography in New York through Sept 6

Dovima with Elephants
Dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955
(c) 2009 The Richard Avedon Foundation

Audrey Hepburn
With Art Buchwald with Simone, Frederick Eberstadt, Barbara Mullen and Dr. Regina, Maxim's, Paris, July 1959
(c) 2009 The Richard Avedon Foundation

Shoe by Perugia
Place du Trocadéro, Paris, August 1948
(c) 2009 The Richard Avedon Foundation

Stephanie Seymour

Dress and shoes by Chanel, Paris, September 1994

Source: Time Magazine,29307,1901308_1891214,00.html

Saturday, June 20, 2009

ROBBIE WILLIAMS--Feel--in concert: a beautiful performance of a beautiful song by a beautiful man

This is a wonderful live heartfelt performance. I wept. It felt good.

ME Want #1--GULFSTREAM 650 private jet--an object of my obsession

I' ve always wanted to have a private jet. I'd even just like to actually take a trip on a private jet. Now, I'm not talking about one of those weenie Learjet things. I'm talking about a JET.

My father was a private pilot and I grew up flying in private planes. The largest plane we had was a Queen Air which had a galley and small lavatory. It was quite fun! I suppose that it was those experiences which later attracted me to this current era of private jets.

The private jet I most want is a Gulfstream (I know friends out there may have different preferences). The newest Gulfstream will be the 650 so that is the one I want!

The Gulfstream appeal to me aesthetically, I guess.....more so than others. Gulfstreams are the jets that movie stars own (Tom Cruise, Schvarzenaaaaager, John Travolta). They are to me the most beautiful and elegant of the private jets. See:

I love the Gulfstream's large oval windows. And as we'll see in the video below, the high ceilings.

This post is sort of a mini-documentary about the beauty and elegance of something I've never personally experienced: a private jet. I've yet to fly on one of these.....but we can still dream can't we:) And what a schweeeeeet dream this is. Come on with me through the various short videos and photos to follow and we'll enter a world of enchantment. Once you're finished you'll have a lovely fresh bright new day ahead!

So, first, check out this tall dude as he shows us inside my dream private jet, the upcoming Gulfstream 650:

Pretty damn plush, no?

Okay, so since I've never flown on one of these things (believe me a Queen Air is cute but it is not a JET), and since you've "prolly" (as daninokc says) never flown on one of these things let's take a trip to the world of private jets. This first video is fun....and with the champagne and cute dudes we'll get a little buzz on. This plane is a pretty decent Dussault jet (not a weenie one) I think. I especially love an Australian accent. This video indulges me on several'll see why):

Okay, so now that we've completely entered a sublime, who-cares-about-reality reality, at least for the moment, let's completely dream LARGE. Now here is a JET.

That was an Airbus Business Jet which is roughly the size of a Boeing 737 (Boeing also makes a 737 Business Jet). This is the way I'd love to live! Here's the Boeing 737 Business Jet and a real slice o' life look at a family flying on it. Couldn't they have a maid to run around after the children and pick up? And where is the Air Hostess? I realize that the screaming kids may ruin the serenity of our journey on private jets so I've disabled the sound so you can watch it peacefully:)

So who exactly can afford a jet like this? Well let's take a look at one example.......the pretty cute dude Russian Roman Abramovich. He's got a Boeing 767.

The thing about this fella is that he's in his early 40's, he's handsome and he's got billions. It wouldn't suck to be him, now would it? (I won't say anything else:)) He also has a lot of ME Wants :)

Here he is jumping off the back of his private Yacht (another toy that I have a yen for).

But, guess what?? This guy is into living LARGE. I mean LARGE. First of all, he is the owner of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor's former home Chateau de la Croe in Cap D'Antibes (which would be my ultimate ME Want....well, that and Le Moulin de la Tuilerie).

He just ordered a new private jet and get this: it's the LARGE Airbus A380.

Here's what the inside of this beauty will look like....since I've completely suspended all sense of reality :)

This beautiful work of art of an aircraft cost that dude £300million. This thing has three-floors and an elevator that takes you down to the landing tarmac. Absolutely ingenious, if you ask my opinion. That little airplane engineer was inspired.

Now this would be a great place to wake up in the morning, no?

I think its time for us to start our descent back into the real world. We'll make our landing with this fun video of a trip to Monaco on a sort of weenie Cessna Citation (methinks?). Cute dudes again and more champagne...that should make for a less bumpy landing at the end of this blog post.

I don't know that I'll ever own a private jet but it sure is fun thinking about it. I'm not sure that I'll ever even have an opportunity to fly on a private jet but hell I'd do it as an "Air Hostess" if that was my only option!

Welcome to your final destination, back to your life. I hope after our lovely journey through the perfect world of private jets that you'll have a very peaceful, soothing and beautiful day!

Beautiful photo

Friday, June 19, 2009

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW--cover song by Holly Cole Trio--this will make your day

This is one of the best cover songs I've ever is better than the original. Holly Cole Trio doing I Can See Clearly Now. And, Carla, if your reading this: "she feels it, she really feels it." No doubt that you really see clearly now: Carla just graduated from law school and I am so in awe of her. Congratulations, Carla. This one is dedicated to you!

Yes, indeed, I do believe that Holly does feel it's going "to be a bright sunshiny day."

I know I always do when I listen to this of my favorites:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ABELARDO MORRELL--Camera Obscura--one of my favorite photographers

When I lived in San Diego a few years ago one of our neighbors was very involved in The Museum of Photographic Images ( which is in the Casa de Balboa building at the exquisite Balboa Park, one of San Diego's most captivating of places. I had never been to a museum devoted to photography although I'd always had a bit of interest in photography. I joined the museum and would visit periodically.

And then an exhibition came that completely mesmerized me. The exhibition was photographer Abelardo Morrell's "Camera Obscura." Camera Obscura, and I didn't know a thing about this, was a device that was invented by a Persian around 1000 AD which eventually led to photography.

Here's the wikipedia definition of camera obscura:

The camera obscura (Latin veiled chamber) is an optical device used, for example, in drawing or for entertainment. It is one of the inventions leading to photography. The principle can be demonstrated with a box with a hole in one side (the box may be room-sized, or hangar sized). Light from a scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface where it is reproduced, in color, and upside-down. The image's perspective is accurate. The image can be projected onto paper, which when traced can produce a highly accurate representation.

Using mirrors, as in the 18th century overhead version (illustrated in the Discovery and Origins section below), it is possible to project a right-side-up image. Another more portable type is a box with an angled mirror projecting onto tracing paper placed on the glass top, the image upright as viewed from the back.

As a pinhole is made smaller, the image gets sharper, but the projected image becomes dimmer. With too small a pinhole the sharpness again becomes worse due to diffraction. Some practical camera obscurae use a lens rather than a pinhole because it allows a larger aperture, giving a usable brightness while maintaining focus.

The photographer's exhibition was fascinating to me and I fell in love with the Morell's work. Here's just a few reasons why (all photographs are copyright of Abelardo Morrell):
Light Bulb, 1991

The Empire State Building in Bedroom, 1994
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, East Entrance in Gallery #171 with a deChirico Painting, 2006Times Square in Hotel Room, 1997

The Eiffel Tower in the Hotel Frantour, 1999
Camera Obscura: View of Central Park Looking North-Summer, 2008 The Grand Tetons in Resort Room, 1997

At the exhibition they had a walk-in camera obscura where you could observe the phenomenon yourself. The complicated set up and length of time it takes to capture these images, in so many different settings, is as elaborate as can be although the images themselves are beautiful in their simplicity.

I especially enjoyed his Alice In Wonderland series and the Book series!

Check out the trailer for a documentary film about Morrell titled Shadow of the House:

To order the DVD:

If you're like me I just can't get enough of the beauty that this guy creates. Please visit Abelardo Morell's website at to see the rest of his work. And please check out one of his exhibitions if it comes to your town.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Short Film--SIGNS--this'll make your day

This short film oughta brighten anyone's day. Enjoy! You'll have a beautiful day after you've watched this. And isn't the cute dude the most earnest thing. (thanks to roborange for the discovery of this great short film.)


Monday, June 15, 2009

Remarkable Vanity Fair cover for July--and not just because of Johnny Depp

Just received the latest issue of Vanity Fair which has a very interesting cover. The face of Johnny Depp, that exquisitely beautiful man, takes up about 80% of the cover. Very interesting and quite a fascinating character study of a photograph. I can't stop exploring the photo of Depp's face. At the bottom right hand of the cover, though, on Depp's collar, just at the edge of the page, is a remarkable quote in very tiny almost have to hunt for it through the wonderful distraction of Depp's face:

"There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way."
--Christopher Morley

That really says it all, doesn't it? What a beautiful thought.

And what a beautiful cover...what a very anti-Photoshop/airbrush statement, no? with all of the recent commotion about airbrushed, faux perfection on magazine covers....and how unusual for a close up photo to take up so much room.....a unique, nontraditional, and captivating cover. This is not a vanity photo but perfectly gorgeous in every way if you ask me. See what I mean?

Carbonara Sauce--My favorite Italian food--another passion

I love food. I love to eat. I've always picked up strange fascinations with certain dishes. The two primary obsessions, for which I've spent years on a quest seeking the perfect recipe, are Carbonara Sauce and Jambalaya (my favorite food is Cajun food).

We'll stick with Carbonara Sauce for this post. There is nothing more perfect than the perfect Carbonara (and I am still searching). The best carbonara that I've ever had was at a restaurant in Rome.

Sometimes the best dishes are ones that are very simple and straightforward. Carbonara is a perfect example: eggs, cream, butter, parmesan cheese, a little onion, parsley and bacon (pancetta). This is one of the most sinfully delicious meals ever. And, such beauty in a dish, no?

For years, I have tasted this dish in restaurants and for years I've hunted for carbonara recipes in cookbooks (someday I'm going to publish a cookbook solely about carbonara). Most restaurants idea of carbonara differ quite a bit from my ideal.

There seems to be two types of carbonara recipes. The first is a cream-based sauce similar to alfredo. The second, and my personal preference, is egg-based. Then there are recipes that combine both which as long as it's light on the cream are okay alternatives in my book.

Sometimes you'll find restaurants or recipes that add either mushrooms or English peas in the carbonara. I tend to be a purist and prefer it without either.

The best recipes for carbonara, in my opinion, have little cream, and you literally pour the raw eggs and bacon mixture over pasta and toss. Perfection! Exquisite! And relatively inexpensive to make.

What I'd like to further explore is why there are two schools of thought about carbonara Sauce: cream-based versus egg-based. Is it a regional Italian preference? Where exactly did carbonara Sauce originate.

Oh, and my personal pasta preference with Carbonara is spaghetti, but I've had it with every type of pasta and it's always perfect.

I'd love to hear from others about your preferred Carbonara recipe. So here's a recent one that I tried and it was quel good (as Holly Gollightly referred to one of her suitors, "quel rat"):

Carbonara Sauce
15 oz/425 g spaghetti
freshly gated Parmesan cheese, to serve

1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 oz/175g pancetta (or other bacon)
1 tbsp butter
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 eggs beaten
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent. Add the garlic and bacon and cook until the bacon is crisp. Transfer to a warm dish or bowl. When ready to prepare return the bacon mixture to the skillet.

*Combine the cream, eggs, and cheese in a large bowl and season to taste.

Working very quickly, tip the spaghetti into the bacon mixture and pour over the eggs. Add the chopped parsley. Toss the spaghetti quickly until the egg and cream mixture, using 2 forks, and serve immediately. Garnish with fresh sage twigs and parmesan cheese.

Cook's tip: the key to success with this recipe is not to overcook the egg. It is important to keep all the ingredients hot enough to just cook the egg and to work rapidly to avoid scrambling it.

(Optional: this recipe called for mushrooms. If you'd like to add mushrooms then here's the modified recipe: 3 cups sliced mushrooms, 2 tbsp butter. Keep the 2 tbsp of butter out of the initial step of heating the onion and garlic. After the onion and garlic prep, then melt the butter in the skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Follow recipe from here*)

This recipe came from a book titled: Pasta Sauces: A classic collection of Italian-style recipes published by Parragon, 2004, page 24-25.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S--one of my favorite films of all times. And continuing my obsession with courtesans...

One of my favorite authors is Truman Capote. One of my favorite stories of Capote's is Breakfast at Tiffany's. And one of my favorite movies of all times, ever, is Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard.

Before we talk about the movie, let's talk about Capote's novella. This is a beautiful wistful story that takes place in 1940 and tells the story of the narrator and his neighbor Holly Gollightly. Capote's Gollightly is probably one of the most brilliantly drawn characters in the history of literature. Norman Mailer, that nasty curmudgeon, said that he "would not have changed two words in Breakfast at Tiffany's." I seldom agreed with much that man said but in this case we're singing in the same choir.

This is another example where a book and the movie are equally brilliant. But in this case, they are brilliant in completely different ways. Capote once said in a review: ''The transposition of one art form into another seems to me a corrupt, somewhat vulgar enterprise.'' In reality, Capote didn't approve of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Gollightly which makes sense because the character in the film ended up having only a few qualities in common with the character in Capote's novella. The author actually wanted Marilyn Monroe for the part of Gollightly which would have been good casting if the film depicted Gollightly the way the author "wrote" her in his book (or as Jessica Rabbit said: "I'm not bad....I'm just drawn that way.")

The film Breakfast At Tiffany's was brilliant in its own unique and genius way, thanks to Blake Edwards' direction. The film takes place in the late 50's/early 60's, contemporary times when the film was made. And Hepburn's portrayal of Gollightly in the film is as brilliantly drawn a characterization as Capote's was in the book--in a different way.

So you should check out both of these equal but different masterpieces.

I've watched this movie probably 50 times and I never get tired of it. I always see something new every single time. This movie has some of my favorite scenes/lines from any films of all times which I want to share.

But before we do that I'd like to talk about the movie and my study of courtesans. This film is interesting because its two main characters, Holly Gollightly and Paul Varjack (Hepburn and Peppard), both make their primary living by prostituting themselves. In fact, Varjack is essentially a courtesan to his chief patron, Mrs. Failensen (played brilliantly by Patricia Neal). Gollightly earns her money by collecting pocket money from her dates when she goes to the powder room. We're never quite certain if she prostitutes herself for sexual favors. But it seems to me that Gollightly was a modern day courtesan and most definitely a "fortune hunter" [see my posting on June 13 about Dangerous Beauty and courtesans].

Which brings us to an interesting illustration of the male as courtesan in history. If you read (see the post on June 13 about courtesans, DANGEROUS BEAUTY) the book by Susan Griffin, The Book of the Courtesans, we see Vaslav Nijinsky, as a courtesan to his male patron, Serge Diaghilev. The wikipedia article for courtesans includes the following paragraph: "A male figure comparable to the courtesan was the Italian cicisbeo, the French chevalier servant, the Spanish cortejo or estrecho. It actually seems that the figure of the chevalier servant (French, lit. serving cavalier, lady's escort) of a married lady was quite common in Europe up to the 18th century."

Occasionally you'll see the term cicisbeo in 18th century literature, Jane Austen, even. Cicisbeo is defined by Merriam Webster as:

(noun) si-sis-bee-oh, an escort or lover of a married woman (esp. in Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries).

Interesting to think about the male as a courtesan but certainly not as compelling as female as courtesan since men had power to begin with. Female courtesans used the only power they had available, sex, to attain wealth and personal power and complete autonomy.

Back to Paul Varjak, the cisisbeo, in Breakfast at Tiffany's. One of the things about the movie is how breathtakingly beautiful George Peppard was. In the first scene in the clip below when he and Holly fall asleep together in his bed, every time I watch it I weep at how beautiful he was. I'm not sure you can see it well in this clip, but you'll see what I mean when you watch the movie.

Also, if you watch the clips below or the film, think about this: "Is she or isn't she?" Which is one of my favorite lines in the film. It is in one of my favorite scenes from the movie. In fact, the party scene at Holly Gollightly's apartment is the best party scene ever filmed in the cinema (see in clips below). So, is she (Holly) or isn't she a courtesan?

Here are my favorite lines/scenes from the film:
  • When Mag Wildwood tells the billionaire she's going to take him to the zoo and "feed you to the yak as soon I finish this drink." Followed by Mag Wildwood falling dead to the floor: "Timber".
  • "Your the top banana in the shock department."
  • "Is she or isn't she?".....This question which O. J. Berman poses to Paul Varjak about Holly. Delivered just after Berman makes a pass at a beautiful blonde transvestite. So, is she or isn't she? A brilliant and inspired scene!
  • "She's a real phony," O.J. Berman says to Varjak about Holly.
  • The scene where the lady is drunk and laughing at herself in the mirror followed a few frames later with the same lady sobbing, mascara running, into the mirror. Absolutely brilliant.
  • "Mean Reds" as Holly calls a state of depression worse than the blues.
  • "I'm a stylish girl" says Mrs. Failensen, Varjak's patron. She then offers to let him have a little paid time off and suggests he and the "other boys" form a union to demand benefits. Love this scene and love Neal in it. "I'm a stylish girl."
Okay so watch these to see what I'm talking about:

Let me hear from you!

Hello GORGEOUS--Burj Dubai-Tallest Building in the World

BURJ DUBAI in United Arab Emirates is the tallest building in the world.

I've always been obsessed with tall buildings :) The taller the structure the greater my obsession :) This building defied my wildest dreams ever. The Burj Dubai now holds the following world records:

* Tallest structure: 818 m (2,684 ft) (previously KVLY-TV mast - 628.8 m (2,063 ft))

*Tallest freestanding structure: 818 m (2,684 ft) (previously CN Tower - 553.3 m (1,815 ft)
* Building with most floors: 160 (previously Sears Tower / World Trade Center - 110)
* Highest vertical concrete pumping (for a building): 601 m (1,972 ft) (previously Taipei 101 - 449.2 m (1,474 ft)

* Highest vertical concrete pumping (for any construction): 601 m (1,972 ft)[19] (previously Riva del Garda Hydroelectric Power Plant - 532 m (1,745 ft)[20])

* First world's tallest structure in history that includes residential space.

At 160 floors the building finally topped out on January 2009 at 2,864 feet. And it is a beautiful structure. This is a remarkable advance for mankind. Now if we can achieve commercial supersonic aviation again (alas the SST) I'll really feel as though we are advancing as a species!
The building is still under construction and is expected to open September 2009.

The Burj Dubai website wasn't very informative. I finally had to go to the entry on wikipedia to found out how many floors it has (this is a more important fact for me than the actual height...go figure?). The wikipedia article is much more interesting. The world records listed above are from the wikipedia article. Read more at:

They can't build high enough or fast enough in my opinion....but this one was a giant leap for mankind :) And so gorgeous, too.