Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert

Unspeakably sad news for American journalism: Tim Russert has passed away of a heart attack at the age of 58. More here from The New York Times.

Whatever the fk I'm feeling at the moment

But first, two things I'm not fking feeling.

1. Fees for checking luggage on a fking aeroplane. Seriously? You already made the food so bad that we thought we didn't want it, and then you took the food away! Now you want to charge for people to bring stuff? All that's going to happen is that if you are not one of the first eight people to get on the plane, there will be nowhere to stow your carry-on luggage except under the seat in front of you. I am not a little dude and my legs already run the risk of deformity when I don't have a bag where the feet are supposed to go.

As you know, Pacific Standard is solution minded, so here's what should happen:

The FAA should regulate and standardize airfare so it more closely reflects the price of fuel. The cost of jet travel has not really gone up—and in many cases has gone down—since the early '90s, and paying more will sting badly. Luckily, the fact that the airlines will then be forced to compete in other ways, like by making their planes into gigantic, luxurious, open-bar flying fking cocktail lounges, will soothe the pain. And it might just force us to take a look at more green forms of long distance transit, such as trains, beaming up, etc.

2. John McCain. There have been times in the past when Senator McCain seemed like an acceptable Republican. He has reached across the aisle and seemed downright progressive in some instances. Those days are long gone. The incredible hawk side has fully taken over and each day seems to bring a new statement of incompetence and detachment as he outlines his plans for the White House. I will leave it to Keith Olbermann to explain. (Incidentally, I predict McCain will choose a running mate from the far right, allowing him to tack left a month or two before the election—as he did in New York yesterday—and try to restore his reputation as a moderate. A message to the disaffected Hillary supporters: don't believe it for one second. He is anti-choice, he is enthusiastically pro-war, he is incompetent on the economy, and possibly most importantly, he will be in the position to appoint more conservative justices to the Supreme Court. It is time for a new direction.)

Now on to some positive thinking with some things I am feeling.

1. Spoon The Ghost of You Lingers MP3 I realize I am literally one year late on this, but I have been playing this song over and over recently. It's like chopsticks on mushrooms or something and makes me imagine being in a dark old house. I can't explain why that is appealing to me, it's just a very visual song and I like it. In the '90s I spent a long time only listening to hip-hop and rare groove, and really skipped over a ton of other good music. As hip-hop has gone down hill, I've gone back to the way I was as a kid, listening to a ton of variety, catching up on what I missed in the '90s and buying as many new records as I do oldies. When I was growing up, there was a radio station in Seattle called KJET that played a little bit of everything. It was the first place I heard hip-hop, the first place I heard The B-52's, and The Clash, and various Martin Hannett productions and the Young Fresh Fellows. I split my radio time between KJET and my mom's station, KFOX, and the result was a massive variety of music and influences that I'm totally thankful for. So anyway, I never knew the band Spoon and kind of assumed they were one of those boring rock bands of the era, but I like this song and I'm getting into them.

2. The Safeway in downtown Bellevue. I am reminded of this building because my mom would go to the store and I would stay in the car and listen to the AM radio in our Toyota station wagon. I never appreciated the architecture but it's a pretty sweet, like a low-rider quonset hut. Photo courtesy of the amazing blog Vintage Seattle.

3. The Downhill Racer movie poster. I was reminded of this recently when Oakley Hall, the author and westerner who wrote the book the movie is based on, passed away. Honestly it's kind of a boring movie, but it's visually stunning. It's good to have a collection of movies you can watch with the sound off. Just looking at this poster makes me feel a few degrees cooler.

4. Mr. Littlejeans. We went to the vet yesterday and other than his morbid obesity, young Mr. Science is perfectly healthy. I was trying to find out if it would be okay for him to fly or if he would need to be driven across the country. (Driving it is.) I'm not sure if I explained this before here, but Littlejeans was born in the Bronx, and his first owner died when he was a kitten. As happens all too often in New York, no one discovered the body for a week, and when they removed it, they left Jeans in the apartment by himself for an entire additional week. You can understand how this might mess with the mind of a little kitten, and it also messed with his stomach. He can only eat certain kinds of extremely high fiber dry cat food. It's actually diet food, and we don't even feed him as much as they suggest, and his weight chart from the vet still looks like this:

Honestly, is that even a "chart?" It's just a big uphill line. At what point is information design not really necessary? I get it, he's fat. It's glandular. What.

He's just about the happiest cat I've ever known, though (we concur) it sucks to be fat and furry in the middle of a heat wave.

5. The 1973 Graphis Posters Annual Emily found in Sag Harbor last weekend. There's a bookstore there called Black Cat Books that has a really impressive, reasonably priced collection of photography and design books (we also picked up a book of Peter Lindbergh fashion photography, and Diana Vreeland's autobiography D.V.).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dive Bar Pirate

One more family-related post and then I'll return to my regular coverage of whatever the fk I'm feeling at the moment.

Today is my brother's birthday and he and I went out for some beers last night. The heatwave finally broke, so we walked from the Q at Union Square over to the Hudson to check out the Rusty Knot. The sun was going down and the far west side of Manhattan is a pretty nice place at that time of day.

One thing I will miss about the East when we move (and there are a lot of things on that list) is that the sunlight glistens in the humid air, and makes this really warm light at certain times of day.

The Rusty Knot, has a nautical dive bar "theme." This means it is full of people who would probably not go to nautical dive bars. There are plenty of those around the city:

Bait & Tackle, Red Hook

Sunny's, Red Hook

The Gowanus Yacht Club, Carroll Gardens (full of hipsters but the operation is essentially divey)

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge (admittedly, I have not yet ventured into the Brooklyn Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge, it's always been closed when I've walked by)

The Rusty Knot is not rusty in the least. It does have a lot of nice furniture and some cool model boats, one with windows that are lit from the inside. They also have these little mermaids that go on the cocktails. The food is supposed to be amazing (we weren't hungry at the time, but it looks great...there's a chicken liver and bacon sandwich on the menu). We stuck with Tecate, which they serve with lime juice and salt mixed in already.

We left when it started to get super crowded and (the bartender agreed with us) the douche factor was getting very very high. All in all not a bad place but you have to go early. I will be back for that sandwich, mark my words.

Next up we went to the Spotted Pig. There is some connection between the two bars—I think they share an owner or a chef. Emily and I went there on our anniversary a couple years ago and Jay-Z and Beyonch were at the next table (I think he's a part owner too). It was too crowded last night, so we went to our old stand-bys, WXOU Radio and then the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, finishing the night with some Hornitos, Frito pie and wingy.

Sky's promotion to the truck (the ladder), came through yesterday on his two-year anniversary with the FDNY, so we were also celebrating that. He will see a lot more fires now, and a lot less first-responder type stuff like car accidents, murders, heart attacks, suicides, ODs, etc. When you're a firefighter, that's what you want—you want to put out fires—so congrats and happy birthday to my little bro.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nobody's Going to Explode

Zach Galifianakis is in a new movie called Visioneers, premiering this week at the Seattle International Film Festival. It's directed by Brandon and Jared Drake, two brothers from Snoqualmie-WA who went to UCLA film school and made good. The film also stars Judy Greer (you may know her as George Bluth's secretary), Mia Maestro, James LeGros, and...the cast of "Almost Live?"

Click here to download a Quicktime version of the trailer, so you can watch it over and over again on your iPod while you ride the subway and think about your life.

More info at

While we're at it, here's an interview with Zach Galifianakis on The Michael Showalter Showalter:

More of those here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Family Affair, Part Two

I'm starting to feel kind of uncreative compared to the rest of my family.

My stepmom Sybil Barney has an opening tonight in Seattle at Whimsy (5–9pm, 1535 14th Avenue at Pine). The layers upon layers in her abstractions are mesmerizing, reflecting (at least to me) the power of the water that is an ever present force in the PNW. (On that note, sorry about the weather there, but I would still probably trade our current 100º+humidity for some classic high overcast).

Looking to the Light (pictured above) and several other paintings will be up through June 20th.

Second, my dad has a major feature in the new issue of Fine WoodWorking, with expanded features on their website, mostly discussing the Biedermeier-style cabinet he made for the mystery novelist John Saul.

My dad has been making furniture for longer than I've been around and it's great to see him getting some much deserved press in recent years from the likes of Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, The Seattle Times and others. See more of his work at

Photography and stellar PR by Rebecca Nelson

Monday, June 9, 2008

Reflection Eternal

Anne Christensen's T blog post on Anish Kapoor's show at Barbara Gladstone reminded me that I forgot to put up this picture of Emily and me, from when we saw the show a couple weeks ago. I didn't expect to like the show that much—I thought of it as a glorified funhouse mirror—but the reflections are constantly surprising, and like the Olafur Eliasson show at MOMA right now, there's something cool about experiencing an unusual space with a group of strangers.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Island Letter

Emily's parents are visiting us from Idaho this week, and Friday through Sunday we went out to the Hamptons for the wedding of an old family friend. I didn't take pictures at the wedding but you can read about it at

Here are some pictures from a day trip we took to Montauk:

These little guys are all over Long Island right now.

We stopped for clam strips and a beer on the side of the road.

The Montauk lighthouse is at the farthest eastern point of Long Island, which is the longest island in the continental USA. (The second longest is Whidbey Island.)