I can admit that “bigot” is strong. However, I feel strongly about the fact that Simmons brought race into a topic when it was totally irrelevant. I’m an emotional person who even has empathy from time to time.
I feel that the Media are in a unique position to influence people. In a time where we…
Let me throw a little gasoline on the fire here: Simmons probably didn’t even realize he was being a bigot (and he was) because he comes from Boston, the flat-out most racist city I’ve ever spent time in.
On days when my job seems particularly difficult I flash back to last fall when we were filming in Pittsburgh. The scene involved our star kicking an actor playing a villain in the nuts. Hard. We did almost 100 takes. Even though he was padded and protected, eventually that takes its toll. Especially when your star does everything to the extreme.
So if you are having a bad day just remember: at least you didn’t get kicked in the nuts 100 times today.
You really thought I had nothing to say about Nora Ephron?
Look, I don’t make it my business to trash the recently dead. I suppose it’s just my snap reaction to someone being lionized that I cannot resist the urge to make the counter-argument. And I’m sure Nora Ephron was a wonderful human being greatly beloved by friends and family alike. Lord knows she lived an interesting life. An intern in the Kennedy White House? That’s pretty solid. Even better, married to Carl Bernstein when he lived through “All the President’s Men”. Reporter, essayist, director, novelist, memoirist, fixture of New York’s cultural life, she did indeed live a life.
Holy God were her movies awful. Complete and utter putrid crap. Everyone swoons over Sleepless in Seattle, and I suppose it is the least awful of her films. Highly derivative, schmaltzy, emotionally manipulative and about as deep as a reflecting pool but not completely unwatchable. Let’s keep going, shall we? Mixed Nuts was an unfunny comedy about a suicide hotline. She had her choice of all the best actors in New York at the time and attracted a great cast which she somehow managed to do nothing with. Michael? Fat John Travolta as an unlikable angel? Another stellar cast criminally misused. How did this not end her career, I do not know. Then came You’ve Got Mail, which I admittedly have not and never could bring myself to watch. My facile and uninformed opinion is that it’s a desperate, pathetic attempt to recapture the success of Sleepless. How sad. Riding the zeitgeist she gives us another dose of fat John Travolta, this time as a weatherman. The less said about Lucky Numbers the better. Bewitched? You fucking kidding me? That is exhibit A in the case against Hollywood films. And no, you don’t get credit for Julie and Julia. Meryl covered your massive deficiencies, but your secondary character was detestable. Actually every single thing about the film not involving Stanley and Meryl’s performances was criminally bad.
So I apologize, Nora, I mourn you as a human being and empathize with your loved ones in this time of loss. I hold your husband Nick Pileggi in the highest regard and thank you for being his partner and supporting his art. But thank God your reign of cinematic terror is ended.
Someday I hope to sit my yet-to-be-conceived son on my lap and tell him truthful things. For instance, he may discover that one of his favorite musicians covered one of his favorite songs. He may spend forty bucks on an obscure out of print disc to acquire said song. Upon receipt of said disc he may discover that this version of the song is virtually unlistenable, and that sometimes life is just like that.
The upside of this is that I apparently found a record that Ron Burgundy played flute on.
One of the joys of working on location is exploring a new city and finding the best local purveyors. I had located bakeries (Flour for sweets, Iggy’s for breads), and got a cheesemonger and fishmonger dialed in quickly here. Produce comes from a patchwork of local greenmarkets, however they don’t seem to open on weekends so that is a work in progress. Fresh pasta comes from DePasquale’s on Cross Street. The real question remained: where to buy my meat. I’m a very hard grader with this, actually splitting my business between a dozen different places in New York depending on animal and cut. Knowing this, a pal tipped me to a butcher shop called Sulmona’s in the North End here. I was pleasantly surprised to find it one of the finest establishments I have ever set foot in.
At first I wasn’t sure I had found the right place. The small storefront on Parmenter Street is marked by a modest sign. Stepping inside, there was one key element missing: meat. I didn’t see any, nor were there signs or menus of any kind. There was an empty display case, a large butcher block, and faded walls decorated with images of the Virgin Mary and not much else. Three old men in white smocks sat behind the counter conversing in Italian. I almost turned and walked out, but fortunately another more experienced patron had entered the place just before me.
One of the butchers stood up and addressed him in English. The patron inquired about various cuts. After giving each one some thought, the butcher would trundle into the walk-in and return with the requested item hanging from a meathook. Gently removing it, he would lay it on the butcher block and present it for inspection. After a bit of back and forth to determine the ultimate use, cooking method and personal preference the counterman would expertly portion and clean the meat. Everything I saw looked quite nice.
In time one of the other fellows stood up and shuffled over to me. He didn’t speak a lick of English, so we communicated in grunts and pantomimes. Overcame the language barrier enough to secure me some very nice sweet pork sausages. As he plucked them from a separate cooler I glimpsed another man down a side corridor grinding and twisting links by hand. My request for strip steaks got me a beautifully presented high prime loin. I indicated a two inch cut with my fingers but the old guy thought differently. Looked at me with the same stone face he’d been giving me the whole time, shook his head no, and cut them at an inch and a half. He actually was right about that, I was just being greedy.
I thought I had more than enough until I saw another customer having some pieces of veal cut. It was the pinkest, prettiest piece I had ever seen. Seeing it was similar to eyeballing a high grade piece of toro. Rationalizing that I could freeze some of my purchases, I made the international symbol for four cutlets. He sharpened his knife on the whetstone, took the loin and sliced off a soft, thin slice. Taking that slice he slowly separated it in half again, creating a wonderfully thin cutlet. I’m barely going to hit a hot pan with these things before they are done. Covering them all in butcher paper he pounded them even thinner with the side of a massive cleaver.
I paid, and it wasn’t overpriced at all considering the quality and service I had received. My only quibble was the borderline glare I got from my butcher throughout the experience. Taking my change and turning to leave I thanked him quietly.
He placed his hand on my arm, gave me a sly grin and replied in heavily accented English.
I’m temporarily living in a high rise in Chinatown and there are spectacular dining options. Two doors down Q serves killer hot pot. Penang and Montien both serve excellent Thai food. The dim sum at China Pearl equals any I have had. There are half a dozen Pho shops I’ve yet to explore.
Today I rode the elevator with a delivery guy carrying a bag from PF Changs. Whoever ordered that food should just call it quits. The curve for humanity dips pretty low to begin with, and you’re still bringing it down.
Let the backlash to the backlash to complaining about the weather begin. As you know, New York is going through a miserable heat wave and its residents, as they are wont to do, are complaining about it on Twitter. In response, many of you have complained about the complaining residents. Well, I’ve…
New Yorkers live an extremely environmentally friendly lifestyle. We walk, bike or use mass transit. We live in apartments, not stand alone houses. Overall our carbon footprint is exponentially smaller than those living elsewhere in the country. So take your pick, listen to our bitching or park your car and walk your fat ass to the walmart.
Sorry, I’m in a mood.
Decided to sneak off and grab pictures of the Boston skyline at sunset. Grabbed my camera bag, tripod, and a cooler full of beer and headed out. After navigating traffic and making my way to the secret spot I had scouted out I grabbed my gear and hiked to the end of a long pier. Mind you, it was near 100 degrees here today so it took some real effort. Leveled the tripod and grabbed my camera only to discover that I had somehow crushed the lens. Filter was shattered and the lens crimped. Bummer but no real surprise as I’m a bit of a knock-around guy. I said the necessary goodbyes and reached for my backup camera only to remember that the Leica is being serviced. Pulled out the emergency backup (my underwater camera) and flipped it on. Battery dead as its dumbass owner had left the machines GPS unit on. Wow. Total failure.
Decided to make use of the tools I had left, which were a cooler and beer. Turned the cooler west, sat down and opened a cold pilsner. I shit you not, that was the mother of all sunsets. A perfectly full red orb hung low over the Charles unhindered by the clear, hot and still air. It’s beautiful hues colored both the gentle lapping waves of the harbor and the faces of the buildings downtown. A trawler steamed by in silhouette coning in from a long days work. It was as lovely an image as you might hope to see.
So there’s your picture. I’ll try to get it right next time.
The wife and I were sitting outside American Apparel yesterday, sharing the bench with a cute young Spanish girl. She looked to be about 17-18 or so. A guy wearing a sandwich board advertising suits on sale spent an uncomfortably long time hitting on her, leaning in a little too close and being a little skeevy. After he wandered a few steps away my wife asked the girl if he was bothering her but she said no, she was fine. I then chipped in “pretty ballsy trying to mack on you while wearing that sign.”. She smiled but didn’t really respond. The wife then informed me that my slang was out of date and she had no idea what I was talking about.
I have the two annoying yentas sitting behind me, and they clearly have no intention of shutting the fuck up for the entire four hour train ride. Please, ladies, be even more banal. It’s thrilling to listen to. At least I have the distraction of the ridiculously large woman who wedged herself into the seat directly across from me and has interrupted her steady hacking cough just long enough to loudly snort her own mucus back into her nose.
Strolling down the street today I came upon a rally of some sort. As I was approaching it from behind I could not see the placards at first, but could hear the amplified voice of the speaker.
"He is the only real hero to come out of our recent wars, and as long as we are killing people abroad we need to keep his memory alive and fight until his unjust imprisonment is ended" and so on. Coming around to the front of the demo I saw that the signs read "Free Bradley Manning".
cwj replied to your post: aaaaaaand that's more like it Try New York Pizza on Tremont near the corner of Stuart for great slices.
Thank you kind sir, that is right around the corner. I shall report back.
I don’t want to overstate this, but moving from a suburban business hotel to the current situation has lifted my spirits immeasurably. This is how it works for me. I need to live in a city, not near one.
Finally moved out of the hotel and into a swank high rise in Chinatown. Nice unit, decent views, all mod cons. Even a washer and dryer in the unit (hey, I’m from NYC, this is a big deal). When you walk out the door the sidewalks are congested and noisy. You bump up against people of all types. In other words, perfect! Better yet, within a five minute walk you have:
Montien, best Thai restaurant in Boston
Jacob Wirth, a German bar and grille that opened in 1878
Brattle Books, a killer used bookstore
A multiplex theatre
Some jamoke on the corner trying to sell me weed
I was just told a story that may or may not have actually happened. Either way, it is horrible to imagine. Apparently a guy crossed the wrong people and subsequently disappeared. His body was found in about fifteen feet of water in Boston Harbor. There were weights chained to his legs to keep him down and his hands were tied behind his back.
None of that is the bad part.
He had a small scuba bottle duct taped into his mouth, so he got a good hour of time underwater to think about what was happening.
“Then Friday night was the fucking dyke parade with all sorts of titties flopping around that I really did not need to see. These are the type of titties you didn’t want to see either, big old nasty dyke titties.”—The Mayor’s top aide, describing the Pride parade.
Me: This Bully Boy Vodka is delicious. Do you give a case discount?
Liquor Store Owner: Yes, but I only have four bottles in stock. I’ll knock 10% off those for you, though.
Me: Great, and you should probably order a case.
LSO: They come in cases of six, so I assume you want two?
Me: That’d be correct.
LSO: Won’t get ‘em in til Saturday, that ok?
Me: I think the four bottles will last me til then.
LSO: Never know, you might have a really good week.
Was questioned by an ATF agent and one from Homeland Security
Knocked on the doors of random strangers in a South Boston housing project
Went to the beach
Leased two floors of Class A office space in a building downtown
Signed a deal with the Boston Police Commissioner, who is lending me a precinct
Explored the cavernous basement of the old Boston Herald printing plant
Climbed to the roof of a derelict warehouse to get shots of the skyline
Went to a game at Fenway