Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Every time I have to pop into the (godawful) Midtown Sam Ash for some trusty Thomastik Dominants or W.E. Hill and Sons rosin (which they haven't had for months, ahem), I make a stop at Manny's. They don't have violin stuff, but they do have walls lined with photos, autographed by everyone from Clapton to Dylan to the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel...the list goes on forever. On display on the first floor was a sample guitar favored by George Harrison on his visits to the shop. All of the greats walked Manny's halls. It was a free museum of rock.
I loved to take my guitar-nerd friends here, and to pick up and play the acoustics upstairs. I've made small purchases here over the years, but it was really more about the visiting experience for me. Even the delighfully antiquated 3-layer, dot-matrix printed, carbon-copy receipts were charming. Popular suspicion seems to indicate that the rest of Music Row will follow suit in shutting down, but I am positive that no place will be missed more terribly than Manny's.
[image via Flickr]
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
[Warning: Long post about baseball. Feel free to skip.]
Why baseball? Up in the nosebleeds in 50-degree weather on Sunday, watching two teams in which I have no personal investment, I couldn’t have been happier. Of all sports, why does only baseball hold a romantic allure for me? I could say it’s all those hours spent at the Little League fields while my brothers moved from tee ball to real ball to fall ball to all-stars. But I think it’s more than that.
Baseball has a wider appeal. It’s not just for the jocks who stuffed your skinny stepbrother into a locker. Your skinny stepbrother loves baseball, too. He brings a notepad to the ball field and crunches numbers. He knows batting averages, records, dates. He gets respect for this, because annotating the annals of this sport is important. Baseball has a history and a mythology of its own, deep and entire, yet inextricably tied to the history and mythology of America.
And baseball’s not just for rich folks or the incredibly tall or for ruffians. It’s for everyone. It requires minimal equipment. It can be played anywhere. Even professionally, it is not played under cover. Wind, rain, and beating sun affect the players just as they’d affect anyone else.
As for baseball players, they make mistakes. Heck, this is a sport with a statistical designation for “error,” right up there on the JumboTron for everyone to see. And so we understand baseball players—they’re like us somehow. Even with the major leagues, we feel like the players are boys we’ve known forever. We give them nicknames as if we used to share after-school milk and cookies. When we watch them play, they’re not covered in pads, strapped to skates, or otherwise burdened by equipment. They are men. First, foremost, visibly.
Baseball is not only mental or only physical; it’s both. It’s not just a team sport or just a solo sport; it’s both. Golf is a game of a guy with a stick and a ball; baseball holds more appeal for the showdown factor—a guy with a stick and another guy with a ball, and nine unfolding innings of the infinite possibilities of physics contained in the 60 feet between them.
So, why baseball? I guess the appeal lies mostly in the players. It is this factor, I suppose, that makes baseball steroid stories so upsetting. The game is then no longer real, the players no longer human. It’s Hollywood; reality-plus: a 65-year old person without laugh lines. Players who juice pollute the dreams of kids who believe the ball player's life is something to aspire to and ruin the romance for adults who like to believe that you can know a person. After all, we like our game built the way our country was: From the ground up, equal parts emotional fortitude and elbow grease.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
NASA astronaut Mike Massimino is sending "tweets" from space. His first update:
"From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!"
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
History wins: Ellis Island will be receiving $26 million in federal funds for the restoration of the baggage and dormitory building. I can never get enough of Ellis Island. There is some sadness in the soul of the place, but mostly I leave feeling the residual effects of the determination, bravery, and audacious optimism that passed continually through it. To think some of my own relatives came through here from Ireland, ready to carve out a new life. More restoration details here.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
1) My name. Just-Beth-Not-Bethany-or-Elizabeth. I once longed to change this to the more formal, old-fashioned Eliz(s)abeth, especially after my sixth grade social studies teacher kept trying to insist that I had not filled in my "full" name on our state standardized tests. Now I rather like Just-Beth, and as I understand it, the name was largely my mom's idea.
2) A love of baking. Sometimes I get the random urge to make a million chocolate-chip cookies, just like my mom.
3) "Seizures": Family term for when you're holding something just fine one minute and drop it the next, without the influence of any outside force.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Whenever I'm feeling low on creative energy, I listen to my playlist of music by friends and family. I draw a lot of inspiration from those I know, but this morning I realized one flaw in the playlist: No visuals. So I had to cure that by browsing Lis's site. She shows from time to time at Giant Robot here in NYC and has designed e-mailable valentines for Kate Spade for 2 years running. The intricate lines in her illustrations always hypnotize me; they're so full of movement and life.